Five years!

Posted in 30k, 40k, Blood Bowl, Chaos, Conversions, Inq28, Pointless ramblings, state of the hunt, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 21, 2017 by krautscientist

yearfive
Now would you believe it: Another anniversary snuck up on me while I wasn’t looking: As of this week, Eternal Hunt is actually five years old! That means five years of screaming into the void — quite an achievement, wouldn’t you say? πŸ˜‰

But seriously, I am actually really proud of having managed to keep this blog going for so long. Now I realise that some people may consider posts like this to be self-congratulatory. But in a hobby where maintaining focus and motivation is so very important, it feels like a little self-congratulation every once in a while doesn’t hurt, so if you’ll indulge me…?

 

Speaking of the raw numbers, five years of Eternal Hunt means 345 posts, all in all, and around 829,000 views.Β There have been 311,000 visitors to this blog and I have managed to attract 320 followers to date. Given the fact that the blog is a mere hobby project, those are some numbers to be reasonably proud of — I really do want to hit a million views, though! πŸ˜‰

 

Anyway, in previous years, I have always used the blog’s anniversary to showcase some of my earlies hobby efforts, but five years of constant blogging have managed to pretty much bleed me dry on that front: I have shared my somewhat embarrassing first Space Crusade models as well as an incredibly bad paintjob for the classic HeroQuest barbarian, the first model I have ever attempted to paint back in the day. I also showed you my first WFB and 40k armies, respectively, as well as my attempt at creating a Mordheim chaos warband back when Mordheim wasn’t even really officially a thing yet. And I even let you take a look at the highly deriative fantasy artwork I cobbled together during my late teens. So there’s really not much more of my past embarrassments for you to entertain yourselves with πŸ˜‰

So let’s do something different this year: Let’s not focus on my models, for a change, but rather on some of the fantastic pieces I have been given by fellow hobbyists.

You see, this blog has enabled me to not only talk about my personal hobby experiences, but also to get in touch with some extremely talented artists and creators, some of them venerable hobby legends. And while that’s already cool enough in and of itself, I was also lucky enough to have been sent some truly wonderful models over the years: Some of them completely painted, some to be painted by be. Some were already assembled, others came in parts. But they all added something unique and interesting to my collection of models, and some of them even made me approach a particular project or a part of my collection from a new angle.

Plus all of those models also make for a pretty eclectic group when collected. Take a look:

eternal-hunt-5th-anniversary-2
Now these are the finished models that were given to me by fellow hobbyists in one form or another.

Given the focus of my blog, it shouldn’s surprise you that the XII legion (and their daemonic allies) feature heavily:

eternal-hunt-5th-anniversary-3
The massive Obliterators were built thanks to some wonderful custom parts that I received from fellow hobbyist Thamier. BrotherJim sent me an excellent converted Khornate champion in his trademark style from Australia. Sagal and AMaximus provided me with some vintage Bloodletters. And the centre piece is definitely PDH’s wonderfully painted Lord Zhufor that he sent over as a surprise – and just in time for the blog’s 2016 birthday! And while I bought those Heresy era World Eaters from fellow German hobbyist AgnostosTheos when he sold off his collection, they came about as the result of a little joint hobby project — and ultimately served as a sort of blueprint for my own exploits into the world of 30k.

And there’s the wonderful world of INQ28, of course: This is the category where I have received some particularly grimdark and Blanchian pieces:

eternal-hunt-5th-anniversary-5
Neil101 let me have that wonderfully sinister Khornate Champion (and …erm his bucket), while the legendary Ron Saikowski and Drone21c from Australia, respectively, sent me some stunning models based on classic John Blanche artwork. The little powder monkey was originally part of a bitz drop from PDH — and after being turned into a small augmetic familiar, he was named “PeeDee the Monkey” in Peter’s honour πŸ˜‰ Oh, and let’s not forget that cyber-mastiff, converted from a Malifaux model I won in a raffle over at MiniatureTim’s blog.

And then there are my friend Annie’s wonderful additions to my Blood Bowl team, of course:

eternal-hunt-5th-anniversary-6
And that’s not nearly all, because those are only the models I have managed to paint so far (or the ones that came pre-painted, as it were). As it happens, I still have some wonderful donations from fellow hobbyists to look forward to on my painting desk:

eternal-hunt-5th-anniversary-7

Among those are Malthus Dire, a Khornate Chaos Lord, courtesy of Commissar Molotov. A grimdark belle sculpted by Steifer. A really, really old Imperial Guard Trooper, once again kindly sent over by Drone21c. The Space Wolves model given to me by the owner of my (now sadly defunct) FLGS. And a freaking Forgeworld Primarch, sent my way by Adam Wier of Between The Bolter And Me — the latter in particular forms a stunning addition to my collection, and I’ll make sure to do him justice!

And that’s still not all either, because I haven’t even talked about the various bitz drops and the constant exchange of ideas between me and other hobbyists — the list goes on and on.

In short, both my collection of models as well as my entire hobby have been enriched by generous gifts and creative ideas from fellow hobbyists from all across the world. And getting in touch with them has only been possible via sharing my work as well as my ideas online, and by commenting on their work and learning from them in turn. And this entire process continues to be an extremely rewarding and, occasionally, humbling experience!

So whether you are one of the brilliant people who have sent me models or bitz over the years or you are a follower, reader or even frequent commenter on this blog, thank you! From the bottom of my heart! Because your contributions keep this blog running, and your influences have really broadened my hobby horizon!

In closing, allow me to share just one further example for the amazing way this whole blogging business leads to more and more surprises:

While browsing for inspirational artwork of Angron, the XII Legion Primarch, I recently came upon this illustration of Angron created by artist Dariiy:

Angron illustration by Dariiy

Angron illustration by Dariiy

Now I did notice certain similarities to my own conversion of Daemon-Primarch Angron, so I sent Dariiy a message enquiring about whether or not that was a coincidence — and imagine how happy and surprised I was when she wrote back that the illustration, done by her as a birthday gift for a friend, mostly used design cues from Alex Boyd’s iconic artwork of Angron in his Daemonic form — and, indeed, from my model version of the character. Now that’s the awesome and crazy stuff this hobby of ours can lead to: An illustration resembling a model you’ve built on the wall of somebody in a totally different country and shared with the rest of the world via social media. Incredible stuff, wouldn’t you agree?

Make sure to check out Dariiy’s tumblr, by the way, as there’s some pretty cool work on diplay over there!

 

So anyway, thank you all, once again — here’s to the next five years, eh? πŸ˜‰

As always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

The State of the Hunt, Week 7/2017

Posted in 40k, Blood Bowl, Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, Inq28, Inquisitor, state of the hunt, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2017 by krautscientist

As it turns out, last week’s decision to force myself to actually sit down and paint something was really for the best: Not only did it result in a model I am really, really happy with — I’ve also managed to keep the creative spark alive until now. So even though I am currently suffering from a rather nasty case of the flu, I have still finished some more hobby related stuff. So let’s take about some of the recent developments today:

 

I. A Chaotic Tome

One of the more frustrating parts of the 2016 Christmas season was my attempt to get hold of a) the Traitor Legions Codex Supplement, b) Canoness Veridyan and c) the Index Chaotica book. The Canoness, in particular, sold out about three or four times, and once the model was finally back in stock, the Index Chaotica was gone for good — or at least that’s what it looked like then.

index-chaotica-1
Enter fellow hobbyist Augustus b’Raass (whose fantastic work you might want to check out here, by the way): Auggs was nice enough to swing by the Amsterdam GW store, pick up a spare copy of the book and send it my way — that was really awesome and yet another proof that this hobby of ours is full of wonderfully generous and thoughtful people!

As for the book itself, while I am writing this, it seems to be back in stock, so is it worth it? I’d say so, yes. The cynic in me wants to poke fun at the fact that it’s basically a – ever so slightly haphazard – collection of pre-published content, but then the stuff from Realm of Chaos, for instance, is only really available in the original books, and you’ll be paying through the nose if you want to obtain one of those. Plus the vintage chaos content is simply that good: sinister, evil, spiky and occasionally darkly humorous. And some of the classic artwork is still spectacular.

For instance, I was elated to find within the book a wonderfully vibrant reproduction of Geoff Taylor’s iconic World Eaters illustration. In spite of being decidedly old skool, it has also managed to age incredibly well, if you ask me:

index-chaotica-2
There’s also this WFB-chaos centric piece from the same artist that actually almost seems like a companion piece of the World Eaters picture:

index-chaotica-3
I still remember when this image appeared on the box of the Chaotic paints set (Tentacle Pink FTW!), and I was spellbound and tried to figure out what I was actually seeing — the lumbering war machine in the back was especially fascinating, as it subtly hinted at a WFB/40k connection. From a modern standpoint, I’d say it’s actually a depiction of a Lord of War, a Khornate daemon engine from Epic 40k that eventually grew into the modern Lord of Skulls. It also serves as living proof of how much more awesome GW artwork was when it didn’t limit itself to picturing available models — but that’s a subject for another time.

Speaking of Khorne, the Khornate content alone is basically worth the price of admission and should provide me with lots and lots of new ideas. And while the internet will provide you with lots and lots of fuzzy scans of vintage GW artwork, there are still some surprises to be had here, among them an elusive Jes Goodwin sketch for a dedicated heavy support World Eater:

index-chaotica-4
Actually, Jes Goodwin’s design sketches are yet another reason to pick up the book: I cannot help marveling at the quality of his concepts for the four cult legions and the original 2nd edition CSM special characters –incredible stuff!
Oh, and let me just state for the record that the book obviously wouldn’t have been complete without the wonderful berzerker on the right courtesy of Mark Gibbons! πŸ™‚

So anyway, I’ve spent some very enjoyable weeks going back and forth through the book and immersing myself in the rich background for the chaos powers. I am ever so thankful to Augustus b’Raass for getting me a copy, and I suppose I’ll have to come up with something special in order to make it up to him — cheers, buddy! πŸ™‚

 

II. A Merry Band of Misfits

I didn’t merely spend my time browsing through iconic chaos content from the yesteryear, though: Some of you might remember this little project here from last year: The Road Crew:

the-road-crew-2016
Now this little warband project was basically started as a fun diversion (and as a way to channel some of the influences from the Mad Max universe), but before I realised it, it had already started to take on a life of its own, coagulating into a little retinue.

The basic idea here was to start with some of the pit slave tropes introduced by Necromunda, but move beyond those character archetypes to include mutants, gunmen or even former Imperial adepts and shape them into a gang of malcontents that have disappeared between the cracks of the 41st millennium.

Now if you take a look at the image above, you’ll realise that there are already quite a few beefy warrior types — but this outfit still needed some brains. That’s why I built this guy last year:

Doc WIP (5)
Where the more gladiatorial types are muscular and crudely augmented, I wanted a gaunt and more delicate look for the brainy guy, and a combination of AdMech parts led to an outcome that was pretty close to my vision. The interesting task was to make a model that is so different from a structural standpoint look like it still belonged with the group. I tried to achieve that via a suitably strong paintjob, and here’s the result of that little endeavour:

solon-antonov-1
solon-antonov-2
solon-antonov-3
solon-antonov-6
solon-antonov-4
This is Solon Antonov, nicknamed “The Doktor”, formerly a low to mid-tier member of the Adeptus Mechanicus who stationed on St. Sabasto’s Reach to select suitable slaves to undergo augmetic modification and be transported off-world, to spend the rest of their sad lives toiling away in one of the mines or forges of the Velsian Adeptus Mechanicus. But, surprising enough for a man mostly made from metal by this point, Antonov discovered he still had a heart after all, and absconded with a group of slaves. Ever since, he has been the brains behind the “Road Crew”, tasked both with planning their activities and with the “maintenance” of its various members.

As you can see, I used the exact same colours on Antonov and the gladiators, with the scratched and damaged yellow armour serving as the element that really pulls the models together. I was actually happy enough with the outcome that I started to work on the next model right away. This little guy here:

Twist Witch Doctor (1)
I thought a mutant witch doctor type would nicely expand the character of the warband beyond a mere gang of pitslaves, even if this guy may initally seem a bit far out. Anyway, he’s still a little rough around the edges and needs some finishing touches, but here are some photos of the nearly finished model:

twist-witch-doctor-1
twist-witch-doctor-2
twist-witch-doctor-3
twist-witch-doctor-4
All in all, this project is a lot of fun, because it allows for some very organic kitbashing and painting. It’s also a nice vehicle for telling a somewhat more intimate story: These guys aren’t part of the fight for the Emperor’s soul, they just want to get by. That being said, it’s kinda interesting to explore the contrast between their humanity and their somewhat distressed, grotesque outer appearances.

So here’s the entire gang so far. Meet the Road Crew:

the-road-crew-early-2017-2
From left to right: Crusher Vexx, Tiny (the Road Crew’s battle captain), Doktor Antonov, Grimspyke, Chopper and the PIP twist witch doctor (if anyone has a cool idea for a name, I’d love to hear it).

So what’s in store for the Road Crew? I think there’ll be one or two additional members, and a suitable ramshackle ride for them — I already have a plan on that account. Keep your eyes peeled! πŸ˜‰

 

III. A Squig-shaped Surprise

And last but definitely not least, imagine my surprise when I visited my friend Annie last week for one of our semi-regular painting sessions, only to present me with two wonderfully characterful squig-shaped dice for my Blood Bowl team, the Orkheim Ultraz:

squig-shaped-counters
These lovely little models can be picked up at Comixininos, and they should make for excellent turn/reroll counters for my team! And I really love how Annie painted them to perfectly match the colours of the Orkheim Ultraz:

orkheim-ultraz-early-2017
Thanks so much for the amazing gift, Annie! πŸ™‚

By the way, we’ll be taking a closer look at one of Annie’s Blood Bowl teams in the near future, if only to show you her fairly different approach as well as her balls-to-the-wall crazy and creative ideas for the team. You should definitely look forward to that!
So yeah, as you can see, I am finally back into the swing of things! And I would love to hear any feedback you might have — just drop me a comment or two! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Ancient Vaako of the World Eaters

Posted in 30k, Conversions, Fluff, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2017 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, surprise: I am not dead! πŸ˜‰ I’ve gone through a bit of a rocky patch – from a purely hobby-related perspective – however, with a combination of work and other personal interests taking up most of my time, and very little hobby mojo left to speak of. So I haven’t really done much hobby related stuff since before Christmas, and that involves participating in forum discussions, writing blog posts or even personal, hobby-related correspondence.

Anyway, I decided that it was high time I broke this personal hobby-dreadlock, so here we are with a fresh post. Now some of you may be wondering where that third and final part of my Eternal Hunt Awards went: I remain committed to doing a writeup of my favourite 2016 projects from other hobbyistsΒ  – if you still want to read it, that is – but for now, it felt like the best way to actually get back into the swing of things was to just sit down and finish a model.

So let’s talk about my first 2017 model — fortunately enough, it’s a piece that I have wanted to finish for a long time now: All the way back at the tail end of 2015, when Betrayal at Calth had just been released, I immediately started to cut up the somewhat generic Contemptor that came with the box, turning it first into this:

World Eaters Contemptor 30k early WIP (1)

And then into this:

World Eaters Contemptor 30k WIP (9)
My plan for the model was to make it a bit more interesting by taking cues from Forgeworld’s World Eaters Dreadnought while also putting my own spin on things. For those interested in the subject, more conversion notes can be found in my original post here. And since I was really happy with the finished conversion, I really wanted to do this guy justice with a suitably good paintjob.

So when The Bolter & Chainsword started yet another forum-wide hobby event earlier this year, I knew it was time to get off my arse and finish this bad boy. So he became a part of my vow for the “Loyalty & Treachery III” event, along with two other models that I hope to paint soon-ish:

loyalty-treachery-vow-2017
But the Contemptor was definitely first in line. I usually really enjoy painting Dreadnoughts, you see, so I hoped this guy would be fun to paint as well!

The first task was to carefully think about which undercoats to use. In the end, I used two different colours to undercoat the model (white for the legs and breastplate, silver for the arms and torso). This made for a good start, because I ended up with parts of the model in colours that were already closed to the finished effect. So I carefully picked out all the details in the correct colours and also added the characteristic blue on the shoulder pads, knee pads and the reactor section. Here’s what the model looked like after this step:

world-eaters-contemptor-pip

Then I washed and highlighted some of the detail, such as the chain dangling from the Contemptor’s breastplate, the bronze parts etc. A look at the finished World Eater next to the Contemptor perfectly shows the difference between the squeaky clean white of the PIP Contemptor and the finished, grimy and dirty white on the legionary — but before tackling the white areas, there was something to take care of first:

I had decided to make use of quite a few Forgeworld World Eaters decals, and in order for the whole ensemble to look suitably believable, the decals had to be applied at this early stage, to be weathered and dirtied up later, along with the rest of the white armour. Here’s the Contemptor with nearly all decals in place:

world-eaters-contemptor-pip-2
world-eaters-contemptor-pip-3
Better, but still far too clean, wouldn’t you agree? As an aside, I was really happy to be able to pull off that huge crossed chain decal on the leg armour.

In order to get the right, battle worn look, I used the same approach I had come up with for the rest of my 30k World Eaters so far: All of the white armour plates were washed with Army Painter Dark Tone, heavily diluted with GW Lahmian Medium. This shades the white parts and adds a grimy, dusty look to the armour. Afterwards, I used a small piece of blister foam and some GW Charadon Granite to add small patches of sponge weathering, adding to the dirty and unkempt look. By adding all of this on top of the decals, they ended up looking like a believable part of the model and not like an afterthought. Here’s the Contemptor after this step:

world-eaters-contemptor-pip-4
world-eaters-contemptor-pip-8
And while the model was already looking quite alright by this point, I decided to add some further tweaks: GW Leadbelcher was carefully sponged onto the blue armour plates, for instance, to create a scratched look. I also added suitable amounts of grime and soot around the Contemptor’s reactor section:

world-eaters-contemptor-pip-12
world-eaters-contemptor-pip-13
You might also have noticed the inclusion of a big “IV” decal on the model’s chest plate: The original plan was to have one of the red XII decals from the World Eaters decal sheet there, but that didn’t work out at all, as the red decal didn’t really read against the brass background. So I decided on a white numeral that stands for the Contemptor’s affiliation with the 4th assault company — I suppose there are enough XII decals scattered across the model to make it obvious which legion this guy belongs to πŸ˜‰

In the meantime, I also created a base to match the model. For this project, I used some granite slabs from the 40k basing kit for big models. But while the parts worked well enough, they also soffered from very, very soft detailing — my pet peeve with the kit, as you’ll probably remember. I brushed on some Liquid GS to create additional texture:

contemptor-base-wip
The paintjob was meant to evoke a dusty battlefield, like the crumbling avenues and plazas of Armatura, the Ultramarines’ war-world. So of course I had to add a fallen member of the XIII legion as well πŸ˜‰

contemptor-base-3
contemptor-base-1
contemptor-base-2
Now just for the record: I don’t harbour any particular hate for the Ultramarines, but my 30k World Eaters are based on the legion circa during the Shadow Crusade (so from Isstvan to Nuceria) with a possible focus on the battles of Armatura and Nuceria. And the XIII Legion were the World Eaters’ main opponent during that campaign. Plus there’s an excellent showdown between Guilliman and Angron at Nuceria that shows how they are basically polar opposites in many ways, so it seems like a nice fit.

At this point, only some minor touchups were neccessary to finish the model. So let’s take a look at the finished Contemptor, alright?

 

Ancient Vaako

the Immortal, the Cerberite, honoured veteran of the XII Legion Astartes

In his dreams, he is still at Cerberus Station, its steel corridors and rock catacombs bathed in amber warning lights, the ropes of blood and viscera on every surface like the studies of a mad artist. The renegades have taken a terrible toll in blood, and he can see the corpses of station personnel, fallen inmates and the remains of servitors, strewn like ragdolls across the floors and makeshift barricades. And between them, in far smaller numbers, yet still shockingly common, the bodies of his brothers, the grey blue ceramite shards of their armour like cracked eggshells. All is quiet, strangely enough, yet the air is heavy with the scent of bad deaths.

When he rounds the next corner, he finds himself face to face with one of the monsters, squatting atop a pile of broken bodies. It is dying from a thousand cuts already, but just too stubborn to realise it yet. Its armour is cracked and scarred, but he still recognises it as an earlier, cruder version of his own warplate. Even then, he senses in his bones that their kinship goes farther still.

Up close, its animal stink and the sharp tang of its chemical secretions are almost overwhelming: the cancerous odour of a biological experiment slowly breaking down into its composite parts.

They quietly observe each other for a moment then, and in its rheumy eyes, he sees the ending of an age — but there is more there: infinite sadness. A sense of betrayal. The broken spirit of a once proud warrior, now merely a tool discarded by its own creator.

+++

He awakens underwater, his lungs filled with icy liquid. As usual, it takes a moment for him to remember where he is. And what he has become. While jagged Nagrakali runes dance before his eyes, his gaze turns downward to the men a merciless conqueror king has crudely reshaped into his brothers. He wonders why they have come. Why they will not let him sleep and dream of betrayal the colour of blood and amber light. And then they begin to speak, and speak for a long time, and while their words weave a tapestry depicting a world gone mad, he remembers the spiteful, sad gaze of a discarded, broken toy and realises, with grim certainty, that it is all happening again.

vaako-the-immortal-world-eaters-contemptor-1
A Terran veteran from the days when the XII legion was still named the War Hounds, Brahim Vaako is one of the oldest members of the 4th assault company. His status as a honoured ancient of the company made his support crucial when Captain Lorimar succeeded the company’s former commander, Lord Valna, whom he had slain in the fighting pits.

Unlike many Terran-born veterans of the World Eaters, he has never felt any resentment towards the Primarch Angron and the changes the latter had wrought upon the legion: During the quelling of the Cerberus Insurrection, the campaign in which Vaako would first distinguish himself, he sawΒ  the last Thunder Warriors die, and their fate and the World Eatersβ€˜ role in their demise planted the seed for a growing disillusionment with the Emperor and the Imperial Truth in him, long before the Horus Heresy ever broke out.

So here’s the finished model, and let’s not mince words: I am incredibly happy with how the model has come out! So let’s take a closer look at him:

vaako-the-immortal-world-eaters-contemptor-3
vaako-the-immortal-world-eaters-contemptor-4
vaako-the-immortal-world-eaters-contemptor-6
vaako-the-immortal-world-eaters-contemptor-7
vaako-the-immortal-world-eaters-contemptor-8
vaako-the-immortal-world-eaters-contemptor-9
As you can see, I also added some blood – par for the course for a World Eater, really – and it was once again pretty much the hardest part of the project, because it’s just so easy to overdo an effect like that. The fist was a no-brainer, of course. Regarding the legs, my rationale was that any fallen enemy at the Contemptor’s feet could only ever hope to reach as high as the Dread’s shins — and would likely make a terrible mess down there while expiring πŸ˜‰

Also, there may or may not be suggestions of bloody handprints in that bloody mess. At the same time, the effect also provided me with a good way to add some detail to those barren inner sides of the legs.

One thing I really spent a lot of time on was the use of matching decals to create both a feeling of belonging to the XII legion and a kind of personal heraldry for the character. For instance, the numeral “IV” stenciled onto his chest plate proudly proclaims his allegiance to the 4th assault company:

vaako-the-immortal-world-eaters-contemptor-2
Meanwhile, the row of three hound heads appearing on his torso is a reminder of his participation in the quelling of the Cerberus Insurrection, a campaign that also earned him the epithet “Cerberite”:

vaako-the-immortal-world-eaters-contemptor-5
Speaking of personal heraldry, the one thing that fell by the wayside during the painting stage, surprisingly enough, was the heraldic shield on Vaako’s left shoulder: I originally really liked the idea of having it there as a way of showing personal heraldry, but when I tacked it own, it turned out the shield really upset the model’s colour balance — so it had to go.

The base came together in a pretty experimental way — which makes me all the happier that it looks pretty much like I imagined it:

vaako-the-immortal-world-eaters-contemptor-11
And here’s Vaako together with his “squishier” little brothers:

30k-world-eaters-and-contemptor-1
I think this little group serves as a pretty neat proof of concept of what I want my 30k World Eaters to look like! I think you can expect some more of these at some point in the not-too-distant future πŸ˜‰

For now, though, I am really happy to have finally finished this model — and about possibly having my hobby mojo back for now. YAY! πŸ™‚

Of course I would love to hear your feedback, so let me know what you think in the comments! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

30k-world-eaters-and-contemptor-2

The 2016 Eternal Hunt Awards, pt. 2: The Industry

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings, Traitor Guard, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 21, 2017 by krautscientist

Awards

Okay everyone, forgive me for dropping off the radar for a bit there, but work has been pretty crazy for the last couple of weeks, and my free time has mostly been dedicated to the wonderful world of digital entertainment for quite a while (as an aside, if you like this blog, you should probably check out Dishonored 2 and Last Guardian, if you haven’t already).

Anyway, if you’ll indulge me, I would still like to get the Eternal Hunt Awards gig done and dusted before properly starting into a new hobby year — and it’ not as though I already have a whole lot of new stuff to show, either, so it’s finally time to continue this year’s…erm or rather: last year’s Eternal Hunt Awards.

For today’s installment, let’s take a look at the stuff GW released in 2016: I am going to outline the best and worst parts of the 2016 catalogue of releases. What were the highest and lowest points? And what else was cool …or curiously missing from the releases? Read on to find out!

 

I. Best releases

After a pretty strong 2015, 2016 was yet another spectacular year when it comes to GW’s releases — and if there’s one thing that was extremely surprising to me, it’s how many of GW’s 2017 releases seemed to bring to life stuff many hobbyists, myself included, have been dreaming of for years (often to the amusement of others, who dubbed things like updated Genestealer Cults or models for Daemon-Primarchs completely unlikely). So there πŸ˜‰

This, along with a massive change in GW’s outward communication, might just be a hint at something bigger, a bit of a policy change, if you will. And whether or not you agree with all of the stuff GW has been doing over the last twelve months, I think we can all agree that it’s been a rather fascinating ride πŸ˜‰

But even in a spectacular year, there were some things that stood out, so allow me to share my favourite 2016 kits and models:

 

1. The Burning of Prospero

burning-of-prospero-release-1Betrayal at Calth (the game, not the unfortunate event) was one of the great unexpected surprises of 2015, and another HH era boxed set in 2016 serves as clear proof that plastic Horus Heresy is very much a thing now!

And what a boxed set it is: The Burning of Prospero contains a somewhat more eclectic collection of models than Betrayal at Calth, but it arguably refines some of the latter’s contents: Regarding the vanilla angle, we got pretty excellent plastic Mk. III Tactical Marines, making my favourite Heresy era armour mark available in a material I am much more comfortable with. Excellent!

burning-of-prospero-release-11
The real surprise, however, was the inclusion of a squad of plastic Custodian Guard and plastic Sisters of Silence, respectively — for those models to have been revealed would certainly have made enough of a splash, but for them to be included in a boxed set, and in plastic, no less —Β  frankly, my mind was blown!

burning-of-prospero-release-13
It helps that the models are mostly excellent, of course.

If you want to start a plastic Horus Heresy army, you’ll probably find Betrayal at Calth a bit more flexible and useful than The Burning of Prospero. But Prospero is like a slightly strange distant cousin: A bit less dependable, certainly, yet also rather eclectic and eccentric — and all the more fascinating for it!

See my detailed review of the boxed set here.

 

2. Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower

Silver Tower Release (1)

I have gone on record saying that, while I don’t actively dislike the Age of Sigmar setting, I still have a hard time getting a feeling for the new world and its idiosyncrasies. Much of this might have something to do with trying to see WFB in Age of Sigmar, which is probably the wrong approach altogether, as the new setting strieves to be very much its own thing.

So it was a good thing when yet another excellent boxed set tried to present a different, more intimate, look at the world of Age of Sigmar, and I have to say that Silver Tower pushed all of my HeroQuest nostalgia buttons:

The idea to create this as a self-contained boardgame in the vein of the classic HeroQuest was a brilliant approach, because it makes you care about little snippets of the world before trying to make you care about the entire (still rather vaguely defined) setting. We also get a look at the different “good” factions (The Golden Dudes (TM), Duardim, Aelf and what have you), and presenting them condensed into a single hero character each works great to give us an idea of the respective faction’s identity. To wit, the Stormcast Eternal hero included in the set is probably one of the best Sigmarine models so far:

Silver Tower Release (15)He also defines the look and feel of the faction more concisely than the entire slew of golden dudes we have been getting.

And, once again, I am getting such a HeroQuest vibe from the Sigmarite Priest and Darkoath Chieftain:

Silver Tower Release (22)

Silver Tower Release (25)
The bad guys are no slouches either, with an excellent new version of the Gaunt Summoner and a warlock ogre — or should that be ogre warlock? Anyway, characters like the Ogroid Thaumaturge are the kind of thing that differentiates the new setting from the old, and it’s great to finally get to know them!

Silver Tower Release (3)Possibly the biggest achievement of Silver Tower is how it makes me like the Tzeentchian aesthetic – something that’s usually not exactly my cup of tea – by simply applying it to fantastic models, such as the aforementioned sorcerers, the Kairic Acolytes or the simply stunning Tzaangors — and the latter are even a shout out to the golden Oldhammer days!

Silver Tower Release (10)You know what? In a perfect world GW would have used a self-contained boardgame like Silver Tower to introduce us to the setting in the first place! A tighter, more focused experience might have made us care far more about the new setting. There are many reasons why such an approach would probably have been madness (they needed to replace a wargame, after all). But the fact still stands: I find myself caring more about Silver Tower than about almost the entire Age of Sigmar catalogue so far (Khornate models notwithstanding, for obvious reasons).

Plus you get a model of a fish on legs. That is all.

Silver Tower Release (14)Anyway, the boxed set stands as a rather charming introduction to the setting, and like I said, it manages to pull at my HeroQuest heartstrings, plus the models are pretty amazing as well. Which makes Silver Tower one of my favourite releases of 2016. ‘Nuff said.

 

3. Genestealer Cults

genestealer-cults-release-19

Genestealer Cults are easily one of my favourite parts of the 40k setting — and arguably the one thing that not only makes Tyranids interesting, but also removes them a bit from their very obvious main inspiration. And over the years, I’ve gone back time and time again to that one page from the 2nd edition rulebook showing some genestealer hybrids, wondering why GW had left this fascinating little part of the lore fall by the wayside. At the same time, it seemed very unlikely that we would ever see a new version of the Genestealer Cults.

And yet here we are, with the Genestealer Cults now an official sub-faction of their own — and with some seriously brilliant models, no less! Everything started with yet another fantastic boxed set – Deathwatch: Overkill – and the absolutely brilliant new hybrid models contained within it.

Deathwatch Overkill release (31)

So GW actually revisited one of the favourite retro-factions of my youth, but they also managed to bring it into the modern age with some cutting edge kits: The hybrids stand tall, with both the excellent snap fit models from the boxed set and with a dedicated multipart plastic kit of their own, providing us with a tool to not only build an excellent Genestealer Cult, but to also use the new parts in all kinds of INQ28 and Necromunda-related shenanigans:

genestealer-cults-release-21There’s just so much about those models that hints at the more “civilian”, for lack of a better word, side of 40k, the side we keep seeing in Dan Abnett’s Inquisitor novels: These guys are creepy Xenos soldiers, yes, but they are wearing miner’s garb and wielding repurposed tools and rather pedestrian weapons, making for a wonderfully workmanlike, low-level look that provides something visually new and appealing (and, again, also makes for exquisite INQ28 kitbashing).

genestealer-cults-release-23
There are also some rather beautifully subtle touches about the whole design: Call me crazy, but the ribbed structure of the miner’s armour reminds me not only of the actual Xenomorph in Alien, but also of the industrial design defining the look and feel of Ridley Scott’s classic series.

And we even get a more civilian 40k vehicle in the Goliath Truck/Rock Grinder, a wonderfully utilitarian looking workhorse that should be right up your alley, whether you’re trying to provide a sweet ride for your cult or searching for a vehicle for your pitslave gang:

genestealer-cults-release-28
With the Genestealer Cults, GW has revisited one of the most interesting ideas from the vintage 40k lore and brought it into the 21st century with a bang — what a wonderful surprise!

My first observations about the cool hybrid models that were released as part of the Deathwatch:Overkill set can be found here.

 

4. Thousand Sons

thousand-sons-release-18

The new Thousand Sons, arriving at the tail end of 2016, were great for a number of reasons: For me as a chaos player, seeing these guys being given a proper modern age plastic treatment was really a bit of a dream come true — and it’s all even better if you consider the new Thousand Sons as a possible precedent for what could be a full new set of cult legion models! I am definitely keeping my fingers crossed on this account.

But even beyond the forces dedicated to a single chaos god, the new Thousand Sons also serve as a bit of a template for a new, modernised CSM design, showing us some tweaked proportions and definitely a much improved level of detail — nowhere is that more obvious than when looking at the new Rubric Marines:

thousand-sons-release-19

And frankly, that would already have been enough to turn the Thousand Sons into one of my favourite 2016 released, but there were two more bombshells buried within this particular release.

One, a redesigned Ahriman:

thousand-sons-release-8

Out of all the four or so classic, archetypal characters GW decided to revisit in 2016, Ahriman is arguably the best by far: He keeps pretty much everything that was awesome about the original model and adds an amount of three-dimensionality and dynamism that are hallmarks of GW’s modern plastic design. He’s also actually closer to Jes Goodwin’s original design sketch than the vintage model, and that is certainly saying something! While the original Ahriman is still a classic, the new version is a worthy successor. Well played, GW!

And of course, there’s the pink elephant in the room: Magnus the Red, the first (discounting those rather embarrassing Epic 40k versions) Daemon-Primarch model released by GW:

thousand-sons-release-3

And while the model itself is certainly nice enough, I cannot help actually feeling more excited by what Magnus actually represents: That GW is now willing to explore Daemon-Primarchs in model form. Now this might yet all go horribly wrong, with ulta-cheesy fluff and a WFB End Times-level brouhaha for the entire setting. But right here and now, having a plastic model of a Daemon-Primarch that so excellently draws from all the depictions of the character in the classic artwork certainly feels like a rather exciting moment!

I know that chaos players carry a – not entirely undeserved – reputation for constantly bitching about getting the short end of the stick. But at the same time, it’s also true that GW has fumbled the ball more than once when adding to the Chaos Space Marine faction. But the new Thousand Sons show that GW still knows how do to chaos right, and just imagining that we could be getting more of this at some point in the future gives me goosebumps — just imagine the possibilities…

You can find my thoughts on the entire release here.

 

 

5. Canoness Veryidian

veryidian

This last item on the list is particularly close to my heart, as the Canoness Veryidian model was an even bigger surprise to me than Daemon-Primarch Magnus!

You see, if somebody asked me what 40k was all about, I would point them to two particular pieces of artwork by the venerable John Blance. And one of those two pieces of art would be this, invariably:

Adepta_Sororitas_by_John_Blanche

It’s really all there: 40k’s particular blend of religious iconography, grimdark dystopian sci-fi and medieval madness. The glitzy, 80s fantasy style warrior woman with the crazy hairdo. And the influences from classic painters like Bosch, Breughel, Rembrandt et. al. It’s 40k in a perfectly formed nutshell.

And to get an almost picture perfect model representing that character, courtesy of Martin Footit, was a very particular delight, and one I wouldn’t have expected in a million years.

A sizeable chunk of my Christmas holiday was spent trying to get my hands on one of the elusive Canoness Veryidian models, and when I finally succeeded, it felt like a true triumph indeed! What a wonderful surprise! I hope I’ll be able to do the model justice with my paintjob!

 

6. Honorary mention: Seeing Artemis again…

For the sake of the comparison, both models are displayed at the same size, when they are really anything but...

Featured in a boxed set that was somewhat more pedestrian than some of the more spectacular sets released this year, but even so: Seeing Artemis released in a 28mm version was definitely a nice surprise!

 

II. Worst releases/biggest disappointment

The quality of GW’s 2016 output was pretty astounding, overall, but there were some kits that somehow fell short of the mark. Don’t ge me wrong, none of the following models were completely terrible. But in the light of so many great releases, some designs were a bit of a letdown for me, and they arguably feel all the more disappointing for all the brilliant stuff released by GW last year — so here’s what I didn’t like:

1. Wulfen

plastic-wulfen-1
Out of all the new kits released in 2016, there is really only one kit that came dangerously close to actually qualify as “bad” in my personal opinion — the new plastic Wulfen models.

Now to cut GW’s designers some slack, designing Space Marine werevolves that actually look cool and suitably believable cannot be a simple task. And to be fair, the kit definitely looks like they gave it their all, trying to incorporate as many cool touches as possible.

But in the end, it all just collapses in on itself, because the groundwork was never sound to begin with. Much of this has something to do with the Wulfen anatomy: Now the original Wulfen models certainly had their own share of problems, but one thing the classic models did really well was to convey a sense of chaotic devolution, their armour being cracked and broken away in different places by the terrible changes in their physiology:

classic-wulfen-models

At the same time, they certainly didn’t take any big chances with the overall anatomy, basically keeping a standard human setup.

By comparison, the new Wulfen look far animalistic, but also like a strangely stable – if hairy – genotype, with every model sharing the same general build. But shouldn’t the transformation into a Wulfen be somewhat more haphazard and unstable? In fact, the longer I think about it, the more this drives me up the wall: They are even wearing contoured armour that seems to have been carefully adapted to their new build. Who in the world is making that stuff for the heavily muated Wulfen, along with the backpack-mounted pistols and custom wargear? Another Wulfen? A Wulfen scientist, if you will? Or are they fortunate enough to have kept a few sane fellows around?

Instead of looking like feral, yet tragic, creatures tortured by the changes wrought upon their bodies by unstable genetics, the new Wulfen look more like a World of Warcraft character class. And there’s also the fact that the faces remind me of the Wolf Man, for the most part:

the-wolf-man

And let’s not even get in the squad leader’s awkward, overdesigned jumping pose…

What we end up with is a collection of pretty amazing conversion parts — but the completed models somehow become less than the sum of their parts. And what really amazes me that I have yet to see the new Wulfen assembled or painted in a way that makes them work. So even while the designers probably had their cards stacked against them from the beginning – SciFi werewolves seems like just about the most thankless imaginable archetype – I am sad to say that the Wulfen are my personal GW low point from last year.

2. GW basing sets

40k-basing-set-2

The idea itself was brilliant: GW putting out some bases and bitz-based basing sets on their own is long overdue. So I was really happy when the new bases for 40k were announced.

I picked up the Sector Imperialis Large Base Kit, because it seemed like the most immediately useful addition to my bitzbox, and I was really looking forward to having some dedicated basing bitz at my disposal.

The problem was that the quality of the cast was absolutely abysmal, with very soft detail and a general clunkiness to the cast that would have been slightly embarrassing in the mid-90s, but simply seems baffling from a modern standpoint. Here’s a company that can put out the most delicate plastic models imaginable to man, and the cast of their basing kits seems more appropriate for a cheap aftermarket knock-off?

I’ve heard rumours that the first batch of those basing kits was produced in China — but seriously, that excuse doesn’t cut it for me: They were still on sale at a GW store, for the same premium price as the rest of their kits.

To make a long story short, will I be able to still put those bitz to good use? You bet. But seeing a kit I had really been looking forward to deliver such a poor experience was still one of the low points of my hobby year.

3. Ulrik the Slayer…Unmasked!

ulrik-the-slayer
In his original incarnation, Ulrik was a rather iconic model, sinister and somewhat mysterious with his wolf skull helmet. Now, more than two decades later, he has finally decided to show us his face, and wouldn’t you know it: He looks just like generic bearded Space Wolf guy no. 101′ — what a letdown!

Now I couldn’t even tell you what it was I expected — maybe the helmet should just have stayed on, is all I am saying. It’s even more of a shame when the rest of the model is really pretty awesome!

4. New Eldrad Ulthran

Eldrad comparison

GW released new plastic versions of several of the most iconic 40k characters last year, and in my opinion, Eldrad was the one to get the short end of the stick. Now the new versions definitely isn’t a terrible model — far from it. But where, say, the aforementioned new Ahriman basically takes all that was great about the original model and tweaks the formula to perfection, the new Eldrad loses (or, at the very least, seriously waters down) the iconic composition that made the original such a classic. Face it guys: This isn’t Elrad. It’s just some warlock guy trying his darnedest to seem as cool as the big man πŸ˜‰

III. Still on the fence about…

  • Losing Warhammer: Visions: Now don’t get me wrong: I really rather like the new monthly White Dwarf format. In fact, the weekly White Dwarf was a travesty: far too expensive and far too thin on content. And the new mag, at least judging by the first couple of issues, seems to be a return for form in som many ways. Can I be perfectly honest with you, though: I was one of the few people to actually like Warhammer: Visions. I loved looking at pages after pages of glorious armies and models, especially if those were the creations of fellow hobbyisty and featured many personal touches and conversions. Now the new White Dwarf might be a great overall hobby magazine yet again, but the army features, for instance, just cannot compare to the ones in Warhammer: Visions.
    I realise that most people saw visions as a redundant coffee table book, but I find myself kinda missing the format. Is that weird…?
  • No plastic Sisters yet agai….WAIT! Whoa, does this mean we might be getting new Sisters of Battle? In plastic? Oh, pretty please…? Seriously, though: It’s. About. Damn. Time!

 

IV. Also pretty cool

  • New plastic Blood Bowl: I really love how GW has given the classic game more than just a new coat of paint, and if this is any precedent for the new Specialist Games, I am really optimistic about the future!
  • The new attitude: I also really love GW’s new approach to communicating with their cuctomers and with hobbyist: That they are back to actively using social media. That they are actually acting proactively in the whole rumours business instead of merely reacting to all those leaked materials online. That they are posting supremely helpful (looking at you again Duncan Rhodes) as well as genuinely funny video material. Now all of this seems like common sense, really, but let’s not forget that some of us hobbyists can be a fanbase that not even a mother could love. Anyway, good work, guys and girls! Do carry on! πŸ™‚

 

All in all, it’s been a teriffic year for GW, and I am certainly looking forward to the next batch of releases? So much for 2016, then, at least where the industry is concerned. Next up is the third and final installment of the 2016 Eternal Hunt Awards, taking a look at my favourite models from fellow hobbyists all over the blogosphere — arriving soon, hopefully, here on the blog.

Until then, feel free to let me know your feedback: Do you agree (or disagree) with my assessment of last year’s releases? What were your favourite parts, and which models did you hate? Did I forget anything important? I am looking forward to your comments!

And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

The 2016 Eternal Hunt Awards, pt. 1: A look back at my hobby year

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings, Traitor Guard, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 23, 2016 by krautscientist

Awards

Yes, it’s that time of year again: Welcome everyone to the 2016 Eternal Hunts Awards, where I take a look at this past hobby year and talk about the best releases, the most inspiring work from fellow hobbyists and about my own hobby year — in fact, just to shake things up a bit – and also because this will be the least complicated part of this year’s series – let’s start with a little retrospective of my hobby work. So here are my favourite personal achievements and hobby moments from the last twelve months:

 

I. My hobby projects

I think we can all agree that 2016 has been a spectacularly awful year in many, many ways. At the same time, it has also been a really successful year for me in hobby terms — go figure! Maybe one reason for this is that focusing on hobby related activities was one of the things that helped me stay sane during a time of great personal upheaval and insecurity: Escapism isn’t always a good thing, but being able to focus on something different for a couple of hours every now and then will do wonders for your peace of mind! And I find that, due to the handicraft angle of the hobby, converting and painting little plastic men feels decidedly less frivolous than, say, playing videogames for hours on end πŸ˜‰

So anyway, in spite of everything, I managed to come up with some new models that I am really rather happy with. And with some thirty completed models compared to 2015’s 25, I even managed to outdo myself!

class-of-2016-2

So, in keeping with well-established tradition, allow me to walk you through my 2016 completions and highlight some of the models and projects I am especially happy with:

 

1. Khorne’s Eternal Hunt

2016 was another strong year for my longest-running army project, so let’s focus on my World Eaters for a moment. Here’s what Khorne’s Eternal Hunt looked like in late 2015:

army shot 01 big colour

And here’s an updated army picture from the summer of 2016:

Khorne's Eternal Hunt 2016 (2) big
And while this may not look like a huge evolution – with the notable exception of the towering Chaos Knight loitering around in the back row – I wasn’t nearly done with painting Khornate models at that point.

But even back then, the army already looked rathe impressive, if I do say so myself, and there are many parts of this project I am still rather happy with. Especially the various characters I have completed for my World Eaters:

Masters of the Hunt 2016 (2)
Even so, the latter half of the year saw some sizeable additions to the army, though, and the main reason for this was the existence of the superbly-run and highly motivational community events over at The Bolter & Chainsword: Both the E Tenebrae Lux V and the Call of Chaos IX really managed to light a fire under me, prompting me to complete two hefty vows.

Here are the models I pledged during this year’s ETL:

ETL V All Vows (2)

And here’s the – slightly less impressive – vow I completed earlier this month during the Call of Chaos:

finished-call-2016-11
It helps that the community over at the B&C is wonderfully lively and constructive, and without the support and feedback from fellow hobbyists over there, I doubt I would have completed as many models.

Just to single out some of my favourite parts from those events, I did manage to finish the last missing model for my squad of traitorous Tempestus Scions which is now one of my favourite squads from my collection:

Traitor Elite full squad (4)
I also included an Iron Warriors Apothecary I had converted last year in one of my vows:

apothecary-phastos-of-the-iron-warriors-5
And this guy then provided the perfect occasion to get back to my small Iron Warriors killteam, a side project that I am hopefully going to devote even more time to in the new year:

iron-warriors-killteam-wip-5
Since this year’s Call of Chaos event was Tzeentch-themed, I also created a model to represent Iskandar Khayon from Aaaron Dembski-Bowden’s wonderful novel “The Talon of Horus”:

iskandar-khayon-3
So I now have two of the novel’s main characters in model form:

iskandar-khayon-and-lheorvine-ukris
And next year’s Call is going to be Slaanesh-themed — sounds like a perfect excuse to build Telemachon Lyras and complete the set πŸ˜‰

And finally, despite having been a faithful follower of chaos for almost almost two decades at this point, this year saw me complete my very first daemon models — in a series of escalating steps that would lead to completing one of the new plastic Bloodthirsters…

Bloodthirster Ghor'Lash'Kharganath (4)
…and then moving on to what is possibly my finest work to date:

 

2. The Lord of the XII Legion

It was clear to me that 2015’s Gilgamesh would be a tough act to follow. But when I found myself in possession of an extra Bloodthirster kit earlier this year,Β  an idea began to form in the back of my head. An idea that would eventually lead to the creation of my very own version of Angron in his form as a Daemon-Primarch:

Daemon-Primarch Angron (16)
Daemon-Primarch Angron (31)
Daemon-Primarch Angron (21)
Daemon-Primarch Angron (15)
And I am just incredibly proud of this model: From a technical standpoint, it’s very probably my best paintjob to date, and it’s also very close to how I imagine the XII Primarch in his daemonic form. Now that Daemon-Primarchs are actually a thing in 40k, I have no doubt that an eventual “official” version of Angron will surpass and invalidate my interpretation — but I cannot help it, I am still incredibly pleased with the big guy!

Read more about the model’s inception here.

Daemon-Primarch Angron (23)
The Red Angel
Speaking of Angron, I built another version of him, to represent him during his days as a gladiator on Nuceria, and it’s another model I am really happy with:

angron-thalkr-lord-of-the-red-sands-11

Let me also mention that I couldn’t really have created either version of Angron without drawing some massive inspiration from the work of fellow hobbyists, chief among them Reg with his dozen or so of incredible Angron conversions πŸ˜‰

So all in all, those models make for quite a nice collection of vicious, daemonic killers. Here’s the Khornate part of my 2016 output:

class-of-2016-world-eaters
A fair few of these models are daemons, so the pieces you see below may or may not become the start of a dedicated daemonic detachment:

class-of-2016-daemons
In fact, I realise in hindsight that monstrous daemons make up a sizeable part of my 2016 output –but come, on: Given the current state of the world, I might be forgiven for the subconscious need to keep painting red-skinned devils, wouldn’t you agree? πŸ˜‰

In closing, here are all of the chaotic footsloggers (minus the two big guys) again:

class-of-2016-chaos-2

 

 

3. The world of INQ28

While my INQ28-related work this year didn’t quite match my 2015 output, I am nevertheless fairly happy with the new additions to my collection. Strangely enough, everything started with…a dog:

Cyber-Mastiff (3)

A Cyber-Mastiff conversion based on a Malifaux model. I am still rather happy with the mutt πŸ˜‰

But anyway, here’s the entire “INQ28 Class of 2016”:

class-of-2016-inq28
The achievement I am probably the most happy with was to finally paint some models that had been knocking about in my cupboard of shame for ages, and this lead to a nearly 100% finished retinue for Inquisitor Erasmus Gotthardt of the Ord Hereticus Velsen:

inquisitor-gotthardt-and-retinue-early-2016-8
Now I have a huge soft spot for this warband, mostly because it’s made up of my attempt at putting a spin one most of the classic character archetypes from the Inquisitor rulebook (the Rogue Trader, the Security Agent, the Drill Abbot,…). As a consequence, the retinue has a very colourful, swashbuckling look that I like. Most of Gotthardt’s operatives were built years ago – and with a much smaller bitzbox, at that – but I do think they still hold up for the most part. So just one last member for the warband – a female psyker – and then the project will finally be completed at long last!

That’s not the only warband I have managed to complete, though: I also finished two retainers for my true scale Astartes, Praetor Janus Auriga, creating a “mini-warband”, if you will:

Praetor Janus Auriga and retainers (3)
This project was simply an excellent way of exploring the more ostentatious, medieval side of the Adeptus Astartes. Plus the retainers make Auriga look even more massive and monstrous, providing a great visual framing device for the character. Coming up with a concept for a chapter serf was also great fun!

And finally, I came up with the beginnings for a slightly Mad Max-inspired group of misfits dubbed “The Road Crew”:

the-road-crew-2016
These guys have been brilliant fun to work on so far, and I hope I’ll be able to tound out the group in 2017!

 

4. Blood Bowl

A completion that is very close to my hear, this one: After quite a bit of procrastrination, I finally completed the first big guy for my kitbashed Blood Bowl team, the Orkheim Ultraz:

blood-bowl-troll-1
It was simply great fun to make sure the troll fits the overall look of the team while also adding his own visual touches to the larger project:

orkheim-ultraz-2016-4
And the model really manages to make the team look and feel complete — even if there’s a really good chance we’ll be seeing more models for it in the future!

orkheim-ultraz-2016-2

So yeah, all things considered, thats quite an eclectic collection of new models, and one that I am really rather proud of:

class-of-2016-1

 

II. My favourite hobby moments

There were also some really awesomeΒ  hobby moments that didn’t involve building and painting new models, so let’s take a look at those as well:

For instance, I was really happy when Gilgamesh, my Chaos-Knight, made GW’s Webstore blog as an example of a converted Renegade Knight back in April:

Gilgamesh on GW blog 01
Alas, thanks to GW’s recent decision to fold their daily blog into a new (and admittedly rather cool) community site, my moment of triumph was short-lived. But at least I have the screenshots for proof πŸ˜‰

Being approached by Adam Jones to contribute to his excellent hobby mag, The Golden D6, was also fantastic! Thanks to Adam, some of my work appeared in three issues of the mag:

An army feature focusing on Khorne’s Eternal Hunt in issue #5…

D6 Screenshot
…and a two-part series on how to glitz up your miniature photography, published in issues #6 and #7:

d6-deimos
This particular feature even earned me a rather glowing endorsement from Natfka over at Faeit212, as an added bonus:

faeit-212
And finally, my dear Lord Captain Lorimar even made the cover for The Golden D6′s issue #7:

d6-issue-7-cover
Anyway, if Adam’ll have me, I’d love to do some more contributions for the mag in 2017!

And last, but definitely not least, I would be remiss not to mention the fact that some of the best new additions to my collection happened courtesy ofΒ  enormously generous people who sent me conversions, bitz or even entire painted models:

class-of-2016-gifts-donations
Just to name some particularly wonderful examples off the top of my head…

  • a wonderfully painted Lord Zhufor sent to me by PDH,
  • an excellent converted Khornate Chaos Lord provided by BrotherJim
  • vintage Bloodletters kindly sent to me by Sagal and AMaximus
  • the base model for the Cyber-Mastiff conversion, courtesy of a Malifaux box that Miniature Tim sent me
  • a brilliantly moody Khornate cultist (and his bucket) gifted to me by Neil101:
Models built and painted by Neil101

Models built and painted by Neil101

And those are just the painted models! Let’s not forget Helega sending me one amazing bitz drop after the other, or the incredibly generous Adam Wier (of Between the Bolter And Me fame), who actually let me have a nearly complete Forgeworld Angron:

Forgeworld Angron WIP (1)
Thank you all so much, guys! You’re really turning this hobby into something even cooler for me, and I am really, really happy about that! πŸ™‚

III. Bad news

In spite of feeling fairly happy with my hobby output this year and having my share of awesome hobby moments, I also have to say that it wasn’t all peaches and cream: For one, there were some rather sad developments: 2016 saw my beloved FLGS, Frabusel, closing its doors for good, which still sucks (and which has also rendered the procurement of hobby supplies somewhat more complicated). And I was really sad to learn of the passing of hobby and fantasy legends such as Joe Dever or the late, great Wayne England.

There’s also one instance where I really regret failing a hobby goal I had set for myself: Earlier this year, fellow hobbyists extraordinaire Jeff Vader, Nordic and Alexander were awesome enough to invite me to participate in a Path of Glory event. I felt really honoured and started to build a Khornate warband for the project, but in the end a combination of being too preoccupied with my RL situation and simply not devoting nearly enough time to the project resulted in my failing to participate, which I really regret. It would have been great fun to hang out with those gentlemen, surely, and failing to live up to their expectations (and my own) felt like a huge missed opportunity — I hope I’ll be getting another chance to complete my small warband of Khornate misfits – or an altogether different warband for another event.

khornate-warband-ks-7

*Sigh*, it just wasn’t meant to be…

IV. Plans

So what’s in the card for 2017? Now I usually try not to make any grand promises, because I know how much my output will be tied to inspiration — or to my considerable laziness πŸ˜‰

That being said, there’s a couple of things that I would like to focus on next year. Two projects stand out above all others:

First up, and somewhat to my chagrin, my collection of 30k World Eaters is looking more and more like an actual army:

30k World Eaters 4th assault company WIP (2)
And while I won’t make any promises as to the eventual scope of this project, I will be focusing on finishing some of those guys in 2017 — if only to finally paint that sweet Angron model Adam Wier sent me πŸ˜‰

If nothing else, gladiatorial Angron already seems right at home next to his Heresy era sons:

angron-thalkr-lord-of-the-red-sands-13

When it comes to INQ28, I would really love to start painting my Ordo Scriptorum warband representing Redactor Orlanth and his operatives:

Inquisitor Orlanth and Parchment Scrotener WIP
Even in its WIP stage, the warband already features some of my best INQ28 conversions, and I also do have some rather interesting ideas about what I want the retinue to look like when painted, so giving this project my best try should be fun!

I am not deluding myself, however: It’s just as likely that the next crazy GW release throws me way of course and gets me totally sidetracked — speaking of which, we’ll be taking a closer look at all the pretty things GW provided for us this year. And, of course, the Eternal Hunt Awards wouldn’t be complete without a showcase of the most inspiring work created by my fellow hobbyists.

 

But all of this will have to wait until after Christmas. Until then, let me wish you all a very Merry Christmas and say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who sent me models, bitz or other hobby materials or commented on this blog! I really appreciate it!

And of course I would love to hear any comments or feedback you might have about my 2016 output, so let me hear those comments!

And finally, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

The State of the Hunt — Week 50

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, state of the hunt, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 17, 2016 by krautscientist

Only a short update today, mostly because it has been one hell of a week, due to a ridiculously important deadline at work. Still, there are two news items I would like to share with you, so let’s take a look at the current State of the Hunt:

 

I. Return of the Chibi-Knight!

Some of you might remember that, back when I built and painted my Renegade Knight, Gilgamesh, I also included a roughly Epic 40k-scaled version of the same warmachine in the project as an added bit of fun. I dubbed it the “Chibi-Knight” back then:

Chibi-Knight Gilgamesh (1)

Now cobbling together a – pretty faithful – smaller version of the Knight was a very entertaining, if fairly involved, endeavour. But I didn’t really consider doing it again.

Enter fellow German hobbyist Helega, who helped me out with several really spectacular bitz drops this year. For instance, he provided the chain cape I used to replace the missing cape on my Forgeworld Angron. Anyway, Helega asked me whether I could build another Chibi-Knight for him, and while I knew this would mean some fiddly work, there was really no way I could turn down the request. So I tried to reverse-engineer my original kitbashing process and make another copy.

As an added twist, Helega wanted his Knight to be the loyalist version, so I had to account for that during the building process. There was also no way I would be able to cover up dodgy areas with spikes and baroque decorations this time around πŸ˜‰

I started by putting together the same basic assembly I had used last time: CSM Raptor legs (chosen due to the separate feet, and because the lightning bolt decoration works both for chaos and for Great Crusade era Imperial machines, a Space Marine Terminator torso and a Dreadnought shin guard:

chibi-knight-mk-ii-1
chibi-knight-mk-ii-3
Instead of last time’s Raptor pauldrons, I ended up using some Chaos Marauder shoulder guards, and they arguably worked even better, making the torso look really familiar to that of GW’s stock Imperial Knight. I also found out that one of the ancient plastic chaos warriors’ helmets looks almost exactly like one of the face masks that come with the Knight kit.

So I knew I was on the right track, but this is where the fiddly work began: I painstakingly spliced together the Chibi-Knight’s feet using the hook bit from the CSMvehicle accessory sprue, and I once again tried to create weapon arms that were as close as possible to those of the 28mm version.

Helega told me he wanted the Knight to be armed with a gatling cannon and power fist, so I took a long hard look at the Imperial Knight Warden and worked from there:

28mm-imperial-knight-warden-1
And after a lot of messing around with various bitz, this is what I came up with:

chibi-knight-mk-ii-8
chibi-knight-mk-ii-10
chibi-knight-mk-ii-13
chibi-knight-mk-ii-14
chibi-knight-mk-ii-17
Here’s a side by side comparison showing the weapon arms of the big version and my “chibi-versions” of the same weapons:

Power Fist:

28mm-imperial-knight-warden-1
chibi-knight-mk-ii-9
Gatling Cannon:

28mm-imperial-knight-warden-2
chibi-knight-mk-ii-11
Not a 100% perfect match, maybe, but certainly reasonable enough, given the difference in scale! πŸ˜‰

So here’s what I packed up and sent to Helega:

chibi-knight-mk-ii-7
As you can see, I have left the part in several sub-assemblies. This should make for easier painting, plus it’ll also allow Helega to tweak the pose according to his wishes. I have also included an alternate head and a bit that could serve as the carapace-mounted missile launcher.

So yeah, another Chibi-Knight finished! Here he is, next to Chibi-Gilgamesh:

chibi-knight-mk-ii-18
The new version is arguably even slightly more elegant a conversion than my first attempt in several respects πŸ˜‰

Anyway, I am really happy with the finished conversion, if I do say so myself, and I hope Helega will be happy as well! As far as I know, the Knight will be painted in either Death Guard or Dusk Raiders colours, and I am really looking forward to seeing the finished model!

chibi-knight-mk-ii-15

Β II. Getting to the finish line — but only just barely…

In other news, I am happy to report that I did manage to finish my vow for the Call of Chaos event over at The Bolter & Chainsword — even if it didn’t look like I would be successful for the longest time.

Earlier this week, I found myself with two models yet to finish for the vow and virtually no painting time to dedicate to the task. So I was basically prepared to call the endeavour a lost cause when a last minute pep-talk from fellow hobbyist Augustus b’Raass brought me back on track.

So I basically put in every waking hour of leisure time I had this Tuesday and completed the last models for my vow — at 2.30 in the morning πŸ˜‰

Anyway, here’s a look at all the completed models:

finished-call-2016-10
Rest assured that we’ll be taking a closer look at these guys pretty soon. And starting next week, it’s also time for the annual Eternal Hunt Awards, I believe… πŸ˜‰

But that’ll have to wait for a couple of days. For now, let me know what you think! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Change we can believe in — a closer look at the Thousand Sons release

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 7, 2016 by krautscientist

Oh my, it has really happened… The rumours seemed far too crazy at first, but now here we are with the first actual Daemon-Primarch and what could be the beginning of a complete (and much needed) design update for the entire CSM faction, especially when it comes to models for the cult legions (I am crossing my fingers so hard it hurts, as you can probably imagine).

That remains to be seen, though. For now let us focus on the new Thousand Sons, as that means we have enough on our plate as it is.

thousand-sons-release-1
I may have mentioned before that I usually find Tzeentch the hardest chaos god to like, mostly due to the whole wanton mutation angle: The daemonic servants of Tzeentch are often too abstract for my taste, and the often heavily mutated mortal servants also tend to leave me cold — what can I say, I am a Khorne “heavy armour and no nonsense” kind of guy through and through πŸ˜‰

That being said, I have always liked the concept of the Thousand Sons very much, precisely because they put such a nice spin on the usual Tzeentchian approach: Ahriman’s Rubric was an attempt to stop the very mutating powers that usually plague servants of the Architect of Fate, and it ended up creating an army of unfeeling, disembodied combat automata — the exact opposite of what you would expect of a Tzeentchian host (and then again, the subversion is delicious, of course, this being Tzeentch we are talking about). Anyway, there’s something clever and interesting about the legion, and the Thousand Sons are also, arguably, one of the most tragic traitor legions, so there’s much to like there in concept. And now we finally see them as a fully fleshed out model release — I never thought I’d see the day!

I also think it’s a rather clever approach to release 30k and 40k Thousand Sons back to back like that, and once again, there’s delicious irony in the fact that both are released at the same time while 10 millennia have passed in the background between both incarnations of the legion. A clever bit of planning there — if it was planned in the first place, of course. But, again, it’s Tzeentch we are talking about here, so yeah…

 

Before this all gets a little bit too meta, however, let’s just focus on the models, take a look at all the different parts of the release and consider some of the possible conversion opportunities.

Before we begin, allow me to point out that, once again, there is something I would like to think of as an unofficial companion piece to this review over at Wudugast’s blog, and I recommend you check it out as well.

So here we go:

 

Magnus the Red, Daemon-Primarch of the Thousand Sons

thousand-sons-release-3So yeah, it seems like Daemon-Primarchs are now officially a thing in 40k. Good thing I already made one earlier this year πŸ˜‰

But anyway, it’s obvious that this is a pretty exciting development, especially given the fact that our only look at the Daemon-Primarchs in model for so far were the respective Epic 40k versions — and the less said about them, the better…

If we look at the model at hand, I have to say that Magnus looks pretty much exactly the way I always envisioned him — well, except for the chicken feet, maybe πŸ˜‰
But even an element as unexpected as the avian feet works pretty well for giving the model a Tzeentchian look without sacrificing any of Magnus’s impressive physicality.

It pleases me immensely that there is quite a lot of Wayne England’s interpretation of Daemon-Primarch Magnus in the model, because you just cannot go wrong with taking cues from Wayne England, if you ask me:

illustration by Wayne England

illustration by Wayne England

What’s more, all the changes made to Wayne England’s design certainly make sense: I already mentioned the avian feet above, and the inclusion of feathers on strategic points of the model (and the choice of replacing the classic daemon wings in the art with feathered wings) all enforce Magnus’ connection with classic Tzeentch imagery. These elements also make him look like a scintillating hellish bird of prey — rather fitting for Tzeentch’s favoured daemonic servant. One could argue that the finished model is almost too fabulous — but come on, which other Primarch would warrant a look as exalted as this, if not the lord of sorcerers? Well, Fulgrim perhaps, but we’ll be getting there, I suppose… πŸ˜‰

The model is also pretty enormous, easily towering over even greater daemons (which probably doesn’t bode well for my Angron conversion. Bugger!):

thousand-sons-release-4
As is always the case, however, it’s the small things that make or break even a huge model like this, and GW has certainly put in the required work:

I really love the inclusion of three different heads, for one: The actual cyclopean face – for all its dorkiness – echoes the classic Epic model and the vintage depiction of Magus in the fluff. What’s more, the three different faces also mirror a particular scene in Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s Betrayer where Magus’ face seems to be jumping between different versions while you look at him — and I really, really love that little bit of lore represented in model form!

thousand-sons-release-5
Personally, I prefer the masked face, both for its mysterious and regal qualities and because it’s not quite as gnarled as the other two.

I also like the fact that we get the choice of arming him with either a glaive or a Kopesh. If you ask me, the sword seems like the more elegant solution, mostly because that huge ball of energy forming above the glaive’s blade doesn’t quite come together visually:

thousand-sons-release-6

I wonder if this “multiple choice” version of characters will happen more often in the future, as the classic approach is to have one version for a special character and no options whatsoever. Such are the liberties of plastic models, I suppose…

There’s also an incredible amount of detail on Magnus’s armour, and all of those embellishments don’t merely serve as decoration: It seems like there’s a real depth of symbolism here, with layers and layers of callbacks to the lore – or, indeed, to real world culture – for us to figure out. Wudugast has done a fantastic job of pointing out many of these elements in his aforementioned post, and it would be remiss of me to steal his work here, so make sure to give it a look.
thousand-sons-release-7
I wonder why his right hand is so freakishly big, though. Is there some explanation for this in the lore? Or is that just his literal Red Right Hand? (Badum-Tish! πŸ™‚ )

Speaking of red, though, I have to say that the ‘Eavy Metal paintjob of the new model – while technically impeccable, of course – makes Magnus look a tad too pink for my taste. Fellow hobbyist Tzen is currently doing a paintjob in a darker red, and with feathers that almost look crystalline — I am really looking forward to the results! Check out his progress here.

All in all, I think Magnus is a really worthy first Daemon-Primarch, and I am really looking forward to seeing his brothers rendered in equally monstrous forms! At the same time, I cannot stop wondering whether was it really clever to release the Daemon-Primarch version before the regular FW Primarch version. I think there’s a very real danger of the “mortal” version ending up feeling slightly underwhelming now — oh well, I guess FW’s sculptors will just have to give it their best shot πŸ˜‰

 

Ahriman

thousand-sons-release-8
After Eldrad Ulthran and KhΓ’rn the Betrayer, Ahriman is the third classic 2nd edition Jes Goodwin model to be given a redesign, and it should be obvious that these models are the ones to be nervous about, given the originals’ iconic quality.

The first thing to note, then, is that the model definitely reads as Ahriman, and in a bit of a surprise, the new version might actually be closer to Jes Goodwin’s original sketch than the classic version:

thousand-sons-release-16

Nearly all the iconic elements of Ahriman’s previous incarnation are accounted for: the horned helmet, the sorcerer’s staff topped with the same gazelle horns, the robes and high collar — even the pose is very close to the original! This is obviously the same guy, only in a slightly more modern version.

thousand-sons-release-11There are a couple of devations (or rather, evolutions) of the classic design, however: For one, the new model has much more depth and dynamism, whereas classic Ahriman is very much a product of his time: I remember a WD article where Jes Goodwin said that Ahriman was one of the first 40k models to get actual additional pieces for added depth instead of being single-piece. Now the new model continues this approach and adds lots of depth to the character, making him look dynamic and like he has some agency while basically standing still:

thousand-sons-release-15

At the same time, the model neatly keeps the original’s arrogant pose — the addition of a disc of Tzeentch arguably even enforces Ahriman’s haughtly look: He’s just too important and powerful to merely walk.

Now I’ve never been a huge fan of the whole disc idea, which is why I appreciate the fact that a) the disc is an optional part of the model and it’s just as feasible to just have Ahriman on a base like the original version and b) the designer went for a less creepy crawly approach, making the disc look more like an arcane machine, which is a great fit for Ahriman’s character! And there’s even a scarab symbol on top of the disc — a very nice touch!

In fact, it’s subtle touches like these that really sell the model as an evolution instead of a mere retread of the older model: For instance, the buffalo skulls dangling from the stole around Ahriman’s neck on the original model, have been exchanged for more delicate occult doodads, which seems like a much better fit for the character.

However, I do have some very minor quibbles with the model, even if all of these are plainly based on personal preference: That sorcerous flame in Ahriman’s left hand is a bit of an acquired taste for me — but can arguably look amazing when painted well. While I love the rest of the official paintjob, though, the flame just doesn’t work all that well in green and blue. Or maybe I just miss the hand holding the bolt pistol? For some strange reason. It’s a surprisingly iconic part of the original model for me.

On a related note, I find myself going back and forth over whether I like the original helmet better (I think I do — it has something to do with the precise proportions and angles of the faceplate).

But when all is said and done, Ahriman stands as possibly the best re-envisioning of a classic Jes Goodwin model to date. Much better than Eldrad and even with a bit of an edge over the new KhΓ’rn. And what’s simply beautiful is that – due to the new model being so similar to the classic version – the excellent mix of similarity and contrast between the 30k and 40k versions I described in my last review remains firmly in place:

thousand-sons-release-12

 

Thousand Sons Exalted Sorcerers

thousand-sons-release-31
I love building characters, so this is really the perfect kit for me, allowing for three highly individualised sorcerers with lots and lots of options. One thing that strikes me about the kit is how many mutated bits are featured, as this seems like a slight readjustment in the fluff to me — didn’t the Rubric of Ahriman stop the flesh change outright in those with enough sorcerous power? Then again, maybe the millennia in service to the god of change were just too much. Anyway, expect lots of mutations of the avian variety.

In all fairness, however, those bitz are fairly excellent, especially the plethora of staffs and heads we get out of this kit!

thousand-sons-release-36
thousand-sons-release-37

There are also many charming little touches on those parts: The sorcerous hand using an ectoplasmic flame to reload a bolt pistol might be a bit much, but I do love the avian skulls on this guy’s stole seemingly snapping at the enemy:

thousand-sons-release-34
Also, can we just spend a moment in quiet contemplation at the beautiful way the cloth has been attached to the same sorcerer’s backpack:

thousand-sons-release-34b
In fact, the backpacks are probably one of the best parts of the kit, making the best possible use of Egyptian and Tzeentchian elements to create a unique silhouette for each of the sorcerers — this is an excellent touch that we need to see more of, especially because, for the most part, CSM backpacks only used to be a bit of an afterthought so far.

I also rather love the avian feet on this guy:

thousand-sons-release-33
Upon closer inspection…what exactly is keeping him aloft, though? Is it sorcerous power or…erm, something altogether more nefarious?
thousand-sons-release-33b

Nice as the three models featured on the product page are, however, I almost prefer the alternate builds that were showcased earlier, on GW’s new community site:

thousand-sons-release-32
Even when the sorcerers are more mutated than their ghostly brethren, they are arguably more disturbing when fitted with concealing helmets, leaving their exact nature ambiguous (I also really love the raptor-like look of the top left guy with that sweet Mk. VI variant helmet).

Maybe the biggest strength of this kit lies in how it gives you the freedom to build your sorcerers exactly how you like them best: As overly mutated, massively corrupted creatures of chaos. As masked and mostly unchanged, yet also subtly touched, master planners. Or as something in between.

Whatever you do, the models you end up with will look powerful and arcane, and there’ll be a really nice contrast between their warped, dynamic forms and their more regimented Rubricae brethren. This is easily one of the most tempting parts of the release for me, in spite of the odd moment of silliness πŸ˜‰

 

Thousand Sons Rubric Marines

thousand-sons-release-19In a way, this was the one kit they just had to get right, even moreso than Magnus and Ahriman: The Rubricae are what defines the look of the Thousand Sons more than anything else, so they had to make this count. And if you ask me, boy did hit it out of the park with the new Rubric Marines!

I remember the first Thousand Son I ever saw, one of Jes Goodwin’s iconic set of models for the cult legions, appearing in the colour section from the 2nd edition rulebook:

jes-goodwin-cult-legionariesIt’s utterly astounding how – even decades later – those four guys still stand among the best models ever designed for the cult legions. And the Rubric Marine was just lovely, hinting at an arcane and mysterious legion through visual cues: You got an excellent idea of what the legion was about simply by looking at this model, without ever needing to read a single line of background.

During the 2000s, we saw a dedicated Thousand Sons conversion set, based on some of the design cues from that first proof-of-concept model. And while the conversion set was nice enough for its time, it never really lived up to the quality of Jes Goodwin’s original Thousand Son. Then several Space Wolves models tantalisingly featured the iconic helmet as a trophy – trampled underfoot, no less – and ever since I have been hoping for a true successor to that first Rubric Marines.

And the new guys really fit the bill:

thousand-sons-release-22
Seriously, I just love them! The strongest part of the cult legions’ design was always in strong silhouettes and clear visual cues. And the new Rubric Marines absolutely deliver on that, clearly reading as Chaos Space Marines, followers of Tzeentch and Thousand Sons at the same time. The helmet designs are just beautiful, and the flowing lines of the armour trim really takes the classic CSM design to the next level. The added tassets are an excellent little touch. I also love how the new Rubric Marines have their own dedicated backpack designs!

As aΒ  bonus for fans of the Horus Heresy, there’s a marked resemblance between the Rubricaes armour and Mk. IV power armour, which begs the question: Will we go back to certain armour types being associated with certain cult legions? I would really love to see bulky Mk. II Plague Marines and massive Mk. V World Eaters whose armour is covered in studs and bolts!

In addition to the beautifully redesigned bolter-wielding Rubricae, we also get some new weapon options, which certainly makes sense:thousand-sons-release-23
Well, those flamers certainly look Tzeentchian to me! πŸ˜‰

Plus we also get the most arcane looking rotary cannon ever witnessed by Man:

thousand-sons-release-24
If I have one minor gripe about the kit, it’s merely the fact that the new sorcerer cannot quite match the excellent old one, a model only available as part the classic upgrade set:

thousand-sons-classic-sorcerer
What can I say: I just love that guy πŸ˜‰

But all things considered, this is a stellar new kit for the Rubric Marines, and arguably a cornerstone of this release. Excellent work!

 

Thousand Sons Scarab Occult Terminators

thousand-sons-release-26
Oh wow, dedicated traitor legion Terminators — yet another pleasant surprise! Even better, though, is that the Scarab Occult Terminators look completely unlike vanilla CSM Terminators and yet perfectly read as Thousand Sons. Make no mistake, I am really fond of the classic CSM Terminator look, spikes and tusks and all. But for the Thousand Sons, something more elegant and less barbaric seems far more appropriate.

By the same token, all the strengths of the new Rubric Marines are present on the Terminators as well, — in fact, there’s a palpable sense of visual coherency between the two kits, with many of the design elements (the Keltaran helmet crests, the flowing lines of the armour trim, the avian skulls and weapon designs) appearing across both kits, allowing you to field very different troop types that still look like they belong to the same traitor legion.

thousand-sons-release-28

thousand-sons-release-29And in another parallel to the Rubric Marines, the Scarab Occults’ Terminator armour also clearly resembles an established Heresy era armour mark, namely the Tartaros pattern. Again, this seems like a very interesting (and possibly promising) design decision that I hope will be used again on possible future traitor legion releases — it also really enforces the notion that the armour dates back to the actual Heresy era, which certainly makes sense, given the fact that the victims of Ahriman’s Rubric have been bodyless automata for millennia, with no needΒ (or even ability) for changing their armour.

Let me also mention that the squad champion/sorcerer just exudes a sense of elegance and terrible dignity

thousand-sons-release-27Also, chain kopesh swords FTW! πŸ˜‰

Between the Rubric Marines and Scarab Occult Terminators, it’s possible now to build a Thousand Sons army that is visually distinctive, with a strong identity for the legion. And that’s really a brilliant development for CSM players, even moreso considering the quality of the new sculpts!

 

Tzaangors

thousand-sons-release-38

The inclusion of these guys is certainly a bit of a surprise — although I guess all the signs were there to see back when plastic Tzaangors first appeared as part of the Silver Tower boxed set. Even so, it’s certainly nice to have dedicated Tzeentchian beastmen available now, mostly because the classic goatman look doesn’t really fit the Changer of the Ways all that well…

While its’s fairly obvious that the multipart Tzaangors share many common design traits with the Tzaangor models from Silver Tower, I would argue that the multipart models are not quite as good as the Silver Tower guys: The latter just seem to have the more iconic poses — which is easier to achieve with a monopose model, of course, but what can I say: Just look at those fantastic poses:

Silver Tower Release (10)
On the other hand, there’s a real benefit to the multipart nature of the new kit that goes beyond the usual flexibility offered by plastic kits: It looks like kits that cross over between 40k and Age of Sigmar are now officially a thing again (even beyond the Chaos Daemon line of models, that is), as a closer inspection of the sprues reveals an extra sprue that can only be considered a dedicated 40k weapons sprue, when the other sprue seemingly has the more medieval looking weapons intended for AoS.

thousand-sons-release-43
All things considered, these guys are maybe the weakest parts of the release for me. But I think we can let it slide, both because we didn’t even expect 40k Tzaangors in the first place, and because the proper Thousand Sons models make for a pretty robust competition. When all is said and done, it’s still a nice kit that provides Tzeentch players with some interesting new option!

 

Conversion options

Oh man, the chaos community is going to have a field day with these new kits! And I, for one, can hardly wait for talented folks like Aasfresser, for instance, to put the new bitz through their paces! For now, let me just jot down some quick ideas for possible conversion projects involving the new models:

First up, the obvious idea: I think that many parts of this release would work brilliantly for 30k Thousand Sons as well!
To wit:

  • the Scarab Occult Terminators could be used as, well, 30k Scarab Occult Terminators with next to no need for further conversion. In fact, the kit almost seems like the first dedicated unit for a specific legion to appear in plastic and not as a FW upgrade set. I would like to see more of this, please! πŸ˜‰
  • by the same token, it’s also possible to use parts from the Scarab Occult for 30k Thousand Sons Praetors and officers.
  • there’s also nothing stopping you from you from sprinkling some of those new Thousand Sons bitz on top of your 30k Thousand Sons, seeing how the legion grew more and more towards the arcane by its latter days as a loyalist legion, and how things like the iconic Keltaran crests had obviously taken root within the legion far before the present day of 40k (at least judging by their mention in “The Talon of Horus”, which is set not too long after the Heresy). The brilliant thing is that you bascially get to decide “how far gone” you want your Thousand Sons to be: Have they only started their descent? In that case, just add a staff or helmet from the new kits here and there. Do they already embrace the sorcerous powers more actively? Then you can use more and more 40k Thousand Sons bitz to create Marines that look more and more like sorcerers –and have begun to display physical changes.
  • expanding on that last part, mutation bitz from the Exalted Sorcerers could be used to depict 30k Thousand Sons in the throes of the flesh change.

I also think that all of those gorgeous helmets, mutation bitz and arcane doodads also allow for quite a bit of crossover between 40k and WFB/Age of Sigmar: So why not use some of those helmets and bitz to create a warriors of chaos warband that really looks Tzeentchian?

Back to 40k – and, arguably, INQ28: The Tzaangor weapons could be used to turn Khairic Cultists from Silver Tower into Tzeentchian cultists for the 40k setting. Or you could use the same weapons to give chaos cultists from Dark Vengeance that extra bit of Tzeentchian oomph.

And finally, why not use those Tzaangor bodies and heads to create your own, strangely avian xenos species for INQ28 — or your Tau army? Speaking of Tau, maybe those Tzaangor parts would also be promising if spliced together with Kroot bitz?!

 

All in all, this is a truly stellar release for CSM players, arguably made even better by the fact that it wasn’t really expected in the first place. Even if we don’t get any more modernised CSM models, it’s already a great addition to the armouries of chaos. Certainly more than I expected in every conceivable way!

I also love the fact that a chaos god other than Khorne or Nurgle is finally getting some love. I’ll never tire of Khornate and Nurglite kits, of course, but let’s just face it: It was really somebody else’s turn this time around πŸ˜‰

At the same time, it won’t surprise you to learn that I really wish for more plastic cult troops (we *need* new Khorne Berzerkers! And Plague Marines!) and updated vanilla CSM. Let’s just dream for a moment: How awesome would it be if we could only get this amount of quality for the rest of the traitor legions — maybe only one kit each? We can always hope! And if nothing else, if the sheer quality of the new Thousand Sons is anything to go by, we may be in for quite a ride indeed!

 

So what’s your take on the new models? Are you as pleased as me or did you expect more? And are there any conversion ideas you would like to share? I’d be happy to hear from you in the comments!

As always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!