Lord of the XII Legion – A Triptych, pt. 2

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, Pointless ramblings, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 24, 2016 by krautscientist

Prologue

So here we are with part two of this mini-series centered around Angron, the Lord of the XII Legion, and today I would like to focus on my interpretation of Angron in his post-ascension form as a Daemon-Primarch (a project already teased in my last post). Now it may seem counter-intuitive to deal with this last and (canonically) latest version of Angron first, but I have long stopped wondering about when and how inspiration strikes, electing instead to just go with the flow. And in this particular case, there was ample inspiration to be had, indeed — but we’ll be getting to that in a minute!

Let me start by telling you that this particular project has been long in the making. It actually started over a year ago, when I received a second plastic Bloodthirster as a gift. Back then, my first Bloodthirster (bought immediately upon the new kit’s release) had already been assembled, and I didn’t really want to merely build another one. But I also didn’t want to just put the kit away into my cupboard of shame, so my mind started wandering…would it actually be possible to build a version of Daemon-Primarch Angron using this kit…?

Following my usual approach, I started by doing lots of research. And a huge part of this progress was to check out what had come before. Like this guy:

Angron by Wade Pryce

Angron by Wade Pryce

Wade Pryce’s Angron conversion, based on the old metal Bloodthirster. Now for those of you who don’t know Wade’s army, it’s easily one of the most spectacular 40k World Eaters armies of all time, and one that played a huge part for creating the concept of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt, when I got back into the hobby. And true to the quality of his World Eaters, Wade served as a trailblazer once again with his Angron conversion, being just about the first hobbyist with the actual audacity to tackle such a project.

Now while the model may seem a bit dated, given the ever escalating quality of models we have been seeing over the last years, it still remains important in that it serves as a proof of concept that Daemon-Primarch Angron is possible in model form — to wit, Wade’s model basically served as GW’s quasi-official 40k Angron for quite a while, even being featured on their homepage until fairly recently.

Speaking of official models, there was that hokey Epic 40k model of Angron, of course:

image source: SOLegends

image source: SOLegends

But seriously, it didn’t feel like I could take lots of inspiration from this guy, right? Keep this particular model in mind, however, as we’ll be encountering him in the unlikeliest place before this is over…

I. Research and main inspiration

But anyway, GW wouldn’t be a big help here, at least not when it came to models. So I turned to the hobbyists, and while Daemon-Primarch Angron certainly isn’t a super-popular subject for converters so far, there are some conversions of him floating around. Among this, some seemed especially noteworthy to me due to their quality: VonKessler’s truly monstrous Angron was quite stunning, as was Rumplemaster’s Angron. I am also a fan of this version of Angron in Daemon-Primarch form by Renaes, while we are on the subject — but while all three versions are very cool and rather inspiring, they all use very different base models from the Bloodthirster I had chosen as my starting point.

And then there was Reg, French hobbyist extraordinaire, who, I was flabbergasted to find out, is responsible for more than a dozen different Angron conversions (don’t believe me? Go check up on him — I’ll be waiting). But what’s more, his Angron conversions are among the best interpretations of the character you can find online. And when I recently saw this latest Angron from Reg on CMON, based on the Bloodthirster, no less, I was simply blown away:

Bloodthirster-based Angron conversion by Reg

Bloodthirster-based Angron conversion by Reg

Seriously, this is probably the best Daemon-Primarch Angron I have seen so far, and really, really close to my own interpretation of the character! A part of me actually hated Reg for having come up with this before me — where was the point in even starting my own project now? But then I calmed myself and started to think and plan and throw around bitz, and while I would be using this as one of my main inspirations and …erm “borrow” quite a few ideas from it, there were also some things that I wanted to do slightly differently. Plus I wanted to incorporate some different sources as well.

The second major inspiration for my own Angron conversion was what I believe is the only official atrwork to date depicting Daemon Primarch Angron, a piece by Alex Boyd (who was obviously channelling his inner John Blanche when painting this piece):

Daemon Primarch Angron by Alex Boyd

Daemon Primarch Angron by Alex Boyd

I understand this artwork originally appeared in the Visions of Heresy artbooks, but I first saw it back when it appeared in White Dwarf, accompanying some rules for using Angron in games of Apocalypse.

I think it goes without saying that Reg seems to have taken quite a few cues from this piece of art (as did Rumplemaster). And both have come up with models that are looking wildly different from one another while also both being reasonable interpretations of the art. Because what’s really rather amazing about the illustration is that the style is loose and painterly enough to be up to interpretation to a certain degree.

I also really, really love how the art features callbacks to Angron’s human form, as depicted by John Blanche and Wayne England (see my previous post): The three-spiked crest above Angron’s head, the curved shoulder pads and the axe are all elements drawn from those earlier pieces of artwork. The axe, in particular, seems like a daemonic version of the huge two-handed axe appearing in the earlier Horus Heresy artwork, decorative wing ornament and all. What a brilliant sense of continuity!

So I chose this illustration as my second main influence when building and painting my own Angron. But there was one more source that became a major influence:

MINOR SPOILERS for “The Emperor’s Gift” follow!

The description of post-ascension Angron that appeared in Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s “The Emperor’s Gift”

„And there it was. Behind the diseased humidity and stench of fresh blood: a shadow that stained the horde’s core. It rose from the wreckage of a temple, spreading monstrous wings to the sky.

One of my brothers breathed the words +Throne of the Emperor.+ It may have even been me.
Bone and ceramite armoured its sweating flesh in equal measure, while its skin was a scorched and cracked display of inhuman red meat, strained by pulsing veins of black iron. A thrashing mane of dreadlocked cables rose from the back of its malformed head in a daemonic crest. Some became brass chains ending in bound skulls. Others were connected to the creature’s ornate bronze-scale armour.“
(…)
It turned its eyes to us. The skeletal landscape of its face turned with a slowness I could only describe as bestial, but it most definitely saw us. The coal pits of its eyes steamed as blood bubbled and boiled in the thing’s swollen tear ducts. Slowly – still so very slowly – its jaws opened to reveal a quivering tongue the colour of spoiled meat, with pinkish saliva roping and stretching between rows of sharkish teeth.“

END SPOILERS

So these were my main sources when planning the conversion. And they provided me with many ideas and cool influences, turning this into a very enjoyable, if challenging, conversion.

II. Getting started

After assembling all the ideas and bitz I needed, I started by putting together the plastic Bloodthirster’s body. I had already done this once with my first Bloodthirster, so this part was easy work. I knew that I wanted to change the look of the model as much as possible, however, and the main area of interest to sell the conversion as Angron would be the head. So that’s where I started the proper conversion — with a very early, slightly ridiculous looking mockup made from poster tack:

Daemon Primarch Angron very early mockup (3)

Daemon Primarch Angron very early mockup (2)
Daemon Primarch Angron very early mockup (1)
Based on the various descriptions and depictions of Daemon-Primarch Angron, I decided that the standard “human” Bloodthirster face would work perfectly as a base for the conversion. However, I wanted to make two substantial changes to it: One, open the jaws far wider than on the stock model, for that extra bit of madness and body horror. And two, elongating the neck protion quite a bit, both to change the silhouette of the model and to make room for the mutated cables and tendrils representing Angron’s “Butcher’s Nails” implants.

Early during this step, I decided to lose the smaller horns and ears on the stock face, because I really wanted to make the head look different than the standard Bloodthirster face. I also wanted to draw more attention to the sculpted area of the head, but this also meant I would have to come up with some decent sculpting, which seemed like a pretty daunting task. But I didn’t really have a choice in the matter, so I started by using some GS to build up the basic shape of the head and neck:

DPA early WIP (4)
DPA early WIP (3)
DPA early WIP (2)
DPA early WIP (1)
Admittedly, the model didn’t look like much at this point, and I was briefly afraid of having ruined a pretty expensive kit. But when I tentatively posted these early WIPs on various forums, people immediately recognised the model as a WIP Angron and seemed very enthusiastic — phew!😉

Another part of “The Emperor’s Gift” refers to Angron’s “saurian head”, and I liked the idea that an elongated head gave him a bit of a reptilian look without completely superseding the human origins of the character.

The next part of the conversion was to build up several parts of the model at the same time: More and more cables were added to the head, some of them GW bitz (all the cables from the Space Marine Centurions really came in handy here), while others were sculpted from GS using a fine-tooth comb and lots of patience (thanks to a neat tip from fellow hobbyist Mechanist). At the same time, I also added the various planned armour plates to Angron’s body. Here’s what the model looked like a short while later:

Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (1)
My original plan was to use the Ogre Bull gut plates resembling the World Eaters’ legion badge as kneepads (to emulate the kneepads of Forgeworld’s Angron model), but then I realised that the gut plate also worked really well in its intended function, providing a piece of armour that fit very well while also differentiating the model further from the stock Bloodthirster.

As for the spiked crest you can see above Angron’s head, that is a shout out to several pieces of artwork, as there was always a three-spiked crest above Angron’s head in the older artwork, both in his mortal and immortal incarnation. However, Simon Egan’s Angron model has slightly redesigned this element into a World Eaters symbol framed by what seems curiously like a chaos star. Therefore, I felt that would be cool to hint at the updated design, and so I used a part from the WFB warshrine of chaos as a crest.

Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (5)
The shoulder pads were a part that confounded me for quite a while, and I also felt that this was the part where many Angron conversion, even the truly excellent ones, faltered, trying to add pauldrons made from GS that ended up looking slightly too gooey and awkward.

After much consideration, I discovered some chaos shields from Maxmini.eu which Augustus b’Raass had sent me a while ago in my bitzbox, and they really seemed like an excellent compromise, recalling the pauldrons in the art while also fitting the Bloodthirster model surprisingly well (and featuring the same amount of detail as the rest of the armour plates):

Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (2)
The most involved part of the conversion was to keep adding more and more cables to the head, and this also took far more patience than I normally have. But I forced myself to work in several sessions and kept adding more and more detail to build up the head. You may notice the cables’ different textures. This was a conscious choice, as I wanted to capture the feeling of various cables at various stages of “transformation”, for lack of a better word: There are the more slender, clearly metallic cables, slightly thicker cables that already have a distinctly organic look (and somewhat more gooey texture) and, finally, fleshy tendrils that no longer really look like cables at all. I wanted this ensemble to look like the nails had actually become a part of Angron’s very being upon his ascension, and I planned to underline this even further during the painting stage.

Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (3)
So with the model’s body finally taking shape, this was also the right moment to think about the weapon I wanted Angron to wield. Canonically, Daemon-Primarch Angron is armed with the Black Blade, a massive daemonsword forged for him during the Heresy by Vel Kheredar, at the behest of Lorgar.

Coming up with a suitable blade would have been a rather neat challenge (I considered Nagash’s sword for a while, or the sword from the Nemesis Dreadknight), but the longer I thought about it, the more I realised that I really wanted to incorporate that huge axe that appears both in the early Horus Heresy artwork and in Alex Boyd’s illustration.

I knew from looking at Reg’s model that this could work really well, using one of the Bloodthirster axes. However, I diverged from his design by using the big, two-handed axe rather than one of the smaller ones. Here’s the finished, slightly tweaked axe:

Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (6)
The haft was shortened and straightened a bit to make the axe seem slightly less unwieldy (I also thought the crooked haft did look slightly silly). And I definitely needed that huge wing ornament on the axe head — I took inspiration from Reg’s model here, using a wing from a Dark Vengeance Ravenwing bike and gluing it to the axe.

So here’s a mockup of Angron holding the weapon:

Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (7)
Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (8)
Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (9)
And as you can see in the pictures, there’s also a little something in Angron’s right hand: This is perhaps the second rather substantial difference from Reg’s amazing version: I really wanted to do something with the empty hand, and it seemed like the perfect chance to incorporate another shout out to Alex Boyd’s illustration: The artwork shows Angron gripping an unlucky Astartes, probably an Ultramarine, in his off-hand, so I chose to create a similar effect on my own model. A Grey Knight would have been an interesting alternative, but I ultimately chose an Ultramarine, both as a callback to the art and because using a Grey Knight would have “dated” the model:

You see, Angron was one of the first Primarchs to ascend to daemonhood, during the Mid-Heresy. Yet at the same time, it stands to reason that his appearance as a Daemon-Primarch would still be roughly the same several millennia later. So using an Ultramarine here would ultimately allow me to use the model both for 30k and 40k (as a piece linking together the two versions of my World Eaters, if you will), which I thought was a pretty nifty bonus!

Towards this end, I tried to make the Ultramarine’s armour look like it could have originated during the Heresy, mainly using Mk IV components:

Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (24)
I do realise that gory trophies like these can be a bit of a divisive feature, but I chose to cut the Ultamarine apart at the waist, showing how Angron must have torn his opponent in half moments earlier. I think having an entire Astartes dangling from his fist would have ended up looking rather awkward, so the legs will appear on the base. I tried to keep the splatter factor pretty low though, avoiding lots of dangling innards and limiting myself to a barely visible spine and one coiled rope of entrails:

Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (25)
My take is that the Marine is still alive, by the way, if only just barely — “Only in death…”, and all that: I reckon this guy has one last swing left in him, not that it’ll do him any good. This is also the reason while he is still facing towards Angron:

Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (26)

So with both hands completed, it was time to attach the wings and add the final details before the conversion was ready for paint:

The most important part to tidy up was the head, although I found I didn’t even want to add lots and lots of additional cables, as I was really rather happy with the way it looked. In addition to the cables, some small chains and several skulls (both from the Empire Flagellant kit) were nestled in between all the cabling and fleshy tendrils, in keeping with both the art and ADB’s description. As for the face itself, the two final additions were some gruesome spikes on each cheek and some studs carefully added to the forehead, both as a way of approximating similar elements appearing in the artwork:

Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (34)
And there was one last “special effect” that I wanted to add to the model: Because I had made such a lot of changes to the model’s head, there was no way to use the crest of fur that normally runs down the stock Bloodthirster’s head. So I used this area to add another detail differentiating my Angron conversion from the stock ‘Thirster, while also serving as a shout out to my plastic Angron conversion.

As you might remember, my plastic Angron kept the exposed spine from the Slaughterpriest model:

Angron WIP (21)

Now I thought it would be a cool, if somewhat grisly, in-joke to use the same element on my Daemon-Primarch Angron, so I used the big spine from the AoS Bloodsecrator of Khorne and some GS to create this:

Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (35)
And with those final additions, the conversion was finished. Let’s take a look at how the model looked before painting:

Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (36)
Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (37)
Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (38)
Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (39)
Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (40)
Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (42)
Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (44)
Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (47)

Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (48)
Here’s a comparison picture showing Angron next to my Bloodthirster: Considering the fact that it’s basically the same model, I do think I’ve done a reasonable job of making the conversion look different:

Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (49)
All in all, I am really extremely happy with the conversion: While it’s very obvious that I have taken a fair bit of inspiration from Reg’s Angron conversion, I also think that I’ve made enough tweaks on the formula for my model to be able to stand on its own. At the same time, I also feel the model is a pretty fair, if not 100% picture-perfect, representation of Alex Boyd’s artwork, even if I’ve had to switch hands on my model, for the sake of practicality:

Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (45)
I am particularly happy with the face and head:

Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (46)
Yup, looks like Daemon-Primarch Angron to me😉

Now, do you still remember that silly Epic 40k version of Angron shown at the beginning of this post? Now what if I tell you that my buddy Biohazard is currently working on his own version of Daemon-Primarch Angron (because the both of us seem to be having a bit of an Angron conversion arms race going on at the moment), and his version is actually based on that Epic 40k model?

It is also completely awesome:

Daemon-Primarch Angron conversion by Biohazard

Daemon-Primarch Angron conversion by Biohazard

As you can see, Biohazard’s even arming Angron with the proper Black Blade, having made a fantastic kitbash utilising the Nemesis Dreadknight’s sword. I love the fact how we’ve chosen to build the same character and use the same stock model, yet our respective interpretations should end up looking wildly different! Keep track of Biohazard’s brilliant conversion work here.

As for my own version, there was one last test to pass: We are all prepared to cut a conversion some slack while it’s still in different shades of grey and green, but the truly magic moment comes when it’s all brought together by the same colour — or not. So it was with some nervousness that I spraypainted the entire model black:

Daemon Primarch Angron PIP (2)
Daemon Primarch Angron PIP (4)
And yet with only the black undercoat in place, I think it’s already obvious how the different parts of the head (and, by extension, the conversion) merge together fairly seamlessly, wouldn’t you agree?

Once again, the armour plates were being kept seperate during the painting process, in order to make painting easier and avoid hard to reach nooks and crannies:

Daemon Primarch Angron PIP (1)

Right, time to get this bad boy painted, eh?😉

So stay tuned for the next part of this series, when I’ll be walking you through the painting process. Until then, I’d really love to hear your feedback on the conversion so far and my working process for this project! And a heartfelt thank you to all those who have provided the necessary inspiration – or bitz – for this particular project!

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

Lord of the XII Legion – A Triptych, pt. 1

Posted in Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, Pointless ramblings, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 20, 2016 by krautscientist

Prologue

I have been thinking a lot about Angron lately.

I’ve explained before how I think Matthew Farrer’s “After Desh’ea” and Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s “Betrayer” have managed to turn a bad comic book villain into a much more rounded, tragic character, and I still stand by that sentiment: Even in a series of tie-in fiction, Angron has become a strong and interesting character. He’s the most monstrous of the Primarchs. And, in some ways, also the most human. He is a tragic villain. And also utterly irredeemable. All he ever wanted was freedom. From the high-riders. From the Emperor. And he ended up being one of the first of his brothers to ascend to a life of eternal service. That’s quite a development, from generic angry guy bit-part (“Angry Ron”, indeed) to a much more interesting key player in the Horus Heresy.

There’s also the fact that Angron has been depicted in some rather excellent artwork over the years. I suppose everything must have started with John Blanche’s depiction of the World Eaters’ Primarch:

Angron by John Blanche

Angron by John Blanche

John’s trademark style goes for shock and awe tactics here, showing us Angron as a hulking barbarian warlord, if anything. Even after all these years, this still seems like an apt interpretation of the character, and it’s quite fascinating to see how most of the elements from this drawing seem to have found their way into subsequent depictions (and even the official model!).

Then there’s this piece by the late, great Wayne England, one of the wonderful illustrations that used to define the look of the Horus Heresy prior to Forgeworld:

Angron by Wayne England

Angron by Wayne England

What I really love about this piece is how it plays with the character’s duality: The barbarian warlord is still there, but Angron seems more regal and composed than the JB version. And yet, there’s that strand of viscera dangling from his fist: Even as a powerful Imperial warlord, this man remains a dangerous beast, indeed.

And there’s the far more recent, official piece of artwork from Forgeworld, of course, depicting what is effectively a picture-perfect representation of Simon Egan’s Angron:

Angron Forgeworld artwork
It’s another very cool piece of artwork — although those axes seem awfully small, come to think of it.

And finally. two more pieces of art that define Angron as a character for me, both from brilliantly talented artist slaine69:

Angron sketch by slaine69

Angron sketch by slaine69

This first one actually had me gasping out loud when I first saw it: What we see here is a much more monstrous, almost grotesque, take on Angron — and yet it almost perfectly matches the description of the Primarch appearing in Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s stories: After more than a century of warfare, Angron looks like a scarred and disfigured stature of a legendary hero — this is exactly how I imagine Angron during the Nuceria campaign and shortly before his ascension to daemonhood!

The other piece is more moody in nature, but arguably even more effective:

"Portrait of an angry guy" by slaine69

“Portrait of an angry guy” by slaine69

The quality of the writing and artwork slowly made me realise that, as a dedicated World Eater, I would need some model version of Angron at some point. And the growing feeling of wanting to do the Lord of the XII Legion justice in model form, in turn, led to the start of this project: But if I wanted an Angron model, what was I to do?

I. Do it yourself…

Of course getting the (fantastic) official Forgeworld model would have been the most obvious solution — but for some reason that seemed, too easy and too complicated at the same time: I didn’t want to go through the process of having to order the model, really, plus I am not a big fan of resin. And if I was to build Angron, I wanted it to be a conversion project.

As is so often the case, all it took to knock me over the edge was the right piece of inspiration. And it came in the form of invivos’ plastic Angron conversion:

Angron conversion by invivos

Angron conversion by invivos

Now that conversion is just clever, wouldn’t you agree? It uses some fairly readily available components to create a model that definitely reads as Angron — I especially love the use of half a Space Marine shoulder pad to create Angron’s characteristic high collar!  What a neat little touch! If there’s one – very minor – problem with the conversion, it’s that it might just be a bit too small to represent a Primarch (at least by modern FW standards). But it’s still a wonderfully elegant little conversion — and it served as proof to me that a plastic version of Angron was possible!

And then, one day, I found myself at the Hanover GW store with an AoS Slaughterpriest of Khorne in my hand and a plan beginning to form in the back of my head. So I picked up the model and started with an early mockup:

Angron WIP (1)
The stock Slaughterpriest body and head were basically perfect for the project, and the model was tall enough to read as a Primarch. Even at this early stage, however, I realised I would have to make some tweaks: The Slaughterpriest arms were holding a two-handed axe, and I knew right away that I rather wanted my Angron to be wielding twin chainaxes, like his official incarnation. However, with the axe left off, the arms were in a rather awkward pose, plus they also ended up looking puny, so I replaced them with Ork boy arms. The chainaxes came from FWs Cataphractii models, and the shoulder pad I used in my mockup had been sent to me by Augustus b’Raass a while ago (it’s either from MaxMini or from PuppetsWar, I believe).

Angron WIP (3)
Now when it came to the model’s back, those horns growing from either side of the Saughterpriest’s spine definitely needed to go! I chose to keep the hideous, exposed spine, though, both because I rather liked its look and because it seemed like a suitably brutal surgical alteration (either performed by the ringmasters on Nuceria, or by the Imperium in order to allow Angron to interface with is armour):

Angron WIP (4)
Angron WIP (5)
And while this version was still fairly rough, it definitely felt like a huge step in the right direction!

The next obvious step was to add the thing that defines Angron like nothing else: His Butcher’s Nails implants:

Angron WIP (8)
Angron WIP (10)
Angron WIP (12)
This actually turned out to be really easy, mostly due to a lucky discovery: When I took a closer look at the Sicarian Ruststalkers princeps’ head, I realised that the cabling forming a “beard” of sorts would work perfectly as Butcher’s Nails with very little additional work:
Angron WIP (13)
While I was at it, I also carefully shaved off the Khornate rune from the armour — seeing how Angron never even realised he was the Blood God’s champion before his ascension to daemonhood, it just seemed more fitting this way:

Angron WIP (15)
And as you can see in this size comparison picture, my plastic conversion was really quite a bit taller than a standard power armoured Marine and even than a World Eater in Cataphractii armour:

Angron WIP (18)
So the final thing left to do was to replace the white modeling putty with solidly sculpted areas of greenstuff, in order to rebuild Angron’s back where needed, and add a detail or two. While I am not especially handy with GS, this turned out to be a fairly straightforward affair. So here’s the finished Angron conversion:

Angron WIP (20)
Angron WIP (19)
As you can see, I even managed to add Angron’s “Triumph Rope” scar, an element described in “After De’shea” and also prominently shown on the cover of “Butcher’s Nails.”

Here’s the finished back:

Angron WIP (21)
And let me just point out that I think the Slaughterpriest’s face is easily one of GW’s best face sculpts, with the set of the muscles beautifully supporting the look of boundless rage:

Angron WIP (22)

I even thought about a “GW-friendly” version of the model: If I should ever endeavour to send some pictures of the finished model to White Dwarf, for instance, I’ll have to replace the shoulder pad with a GW bit:

Angron WIP (27)
Angron WIP (28)
Which of the two pauldrons do you prefer?

But yeah, I am really happy with the finished model, because I think it’s instantly recognisable as the XII legion’s Primarch: I also like how it’s pretty abiguous whether the model represents Angron during his time as an arena champion on Nuceria or rather during a sparring match with his sons in the fighting pits aboard the Conqueror. Whichever might be the case, he seems just seconds away from the iconic pose appearing on the cover of “Butcher’s Nails”:

Butcher's Nails cover artwork
Angron WIP (31)
Now while I have decided to keep my Angron bare-chested, let me tell you that it should really be easy enough to build an armoured version using the same basic approach. For instance, the Stormcast Eternal breastplates are a pretty good fit for the model’s torso and also resemble the type of armour worn by Forgeworld’s Angron. Here’s a quick mockup:

Angron WIP (26)
As it happens, my buddy Biohazard is working on an absolutely spectacular armoured version of Angron based on the same Slaughterpriest model. Take a look:

Angron conversion by Biohazard

Angron conversion by Biohazard

So if you should ever find yourself wondering about how to start a plastic Angron conversion, I’d suggest taking a look at the Slaughterpriest — in fact, if you have access to both versions of the Slaughterpriest, you might be able to come up with an even better version. But anyway, I am really happy with my kitbashed Angron, and I am also looking forward to painting him, hopefully in the near future!

2. The Universe has a sense of humor…

…or so they say, because no sooner was my plastic Angron conversion finished than I was contacted by Adam Wier (of Between the Bolter And Me fame), who told me that he had an almost complete Forgeworld Angron that he would be willing to send over. And indeed, he was awesome enough to go through with it, so a short time later, thanks to Adam’s kindness, I found myself in the possession of the “official” model as well:

Forgeworld Angron WIP (1)
Forgeworld Angron WIP (2)
And what can I say: I am really happy with my converted Angron, but I also remain a fan of Simon Egan’s “official” version — I’d even go so far as to say that I believe Angron is still one of the best Primarch sculpts (in spite of also being the first Primarch to be released), mostly because the model takes visual cues from all the various depictions of the character and combines them into something that is, amazingly enough, a really good match for each piece of artwork while also being an excellent model in its own right!

And now one of those models was mine, and it even came perfectly cleaned up, probably due to Adam’s meticulousness😉

So the first thing this allowed me to do was to actually make a comparison between my converted Angron and the official model:

Angron Twins (4)
Angron Twins (2)
And you know what? I think that, at least from a size perspective, my Slaughterpriest-based Angron holds up fairly well. Granted, he may be slightly smaller than Forgeworld-Angron (if the latter were to stand perfectly erect). But the model is also tall enough to read as a Primarch, if you ask me — plus he’s mostly out of his armour, so there’s that, too😉

At the same time, it was also clear to me that I really wanted to paint both versions of the model now, perhaps creating snapshots from different moments in the Primarch’s life, so to speak.

I had one problem to solve however: While the model was almost complete, some parts were missing. Mostly minor stuff, really, but the one thing I would need to replace was the cloak. And it took me a while to think of a solution — but then I was saved by a bitz drop from fellow hobbyist Helega, and now my Forgeworld-Angron looks like this:

Forgeworld Angron WIP (3)
Forgeworld Angron WIP (4)
Forgeworld Angron WIP (5)
Forgeworld Angron WIP (6)
A slightly tweaked version of the chain cape from the WFB Chaos Lord on Manticore seems like a pretty ideal replacement for Angron’s standard cape — the conversion isn’t quite finished yet, but I do think I am on the right track.

So that’s two versions of the same character for me to paint, right? Seems like I have my work cut out for me. Wait a second, though, because we are still not quite done…

3. Things to come…

What you maybe don’t know yet is that, in addition to the two versions of Angron in “regular” (super-)human form, I have been planning for quite a while to also build and paint a version of the Primarch after his ascension to daemonhood. So that makes three Angrons, which is why this project has now officially become a triptych! My version of Angron’s daemonic form definitely deserves a post of its own, due to the sheer scope of the project, but allow me to share one teaser image with you, while we are here:

Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (46)
Trust me, you’ll be seeing *a lot* of this guy — and soon!😉

 

So yeah, I think this is going to be a rather exciting project: Three versions of the Lord of the XII Legion, and I really want to do each of the models justice and paint them to the best of my abilities — wish me luck! During my last visit to the Hanover GW store, the manager even suggested making a diorama of the three finished versions and present it at the store as part of their “Armies on Parade” event in October — we will see…

Anyway, I would like to extend a heartfelt “thank you” to those amazing people who have made this project possible by providing inspiration, bitz or even entire freaking Forgeworld models (cheers, Adam!)!I’d love to hear your thoughts on the project so far!

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

Bringing a boltgun to a masked-ball — a closer look at Death Masque

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2016 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, it has been quite some time since the last review here on the blog, because for what is probably the first time in my hobby life, I am productive enough to keep showing you finished models instead of talking about releases. Go me!😉

At the same time, however, the backlog of released stuff I want to talk about keeps building up, so the recent release of Death Masque seemed like a good excuse to dip my toes into this particular pool again (I also want to discuss Silver Tower in more detail one of these days, probably as the last hobbyist in the world, but that will have to wait until I finally get my act together and write the rather comprehensive post I know the game deserves).

Death Masque release (1)
Anyway, here we are with a new boxed game, and it’s centered around the Deathwatch once more. Which is pretty cool, because the Deathwatch has always been a bit of a red-haired stepchild, at least when it comes to the Inquisitorial Ordos’ Chambers Militant: The Ordo Malleus’ Grey Knights have now enjoyed full faction status for years, and the Sisters of Battle, allied by ancient decree to the Ordo Hereticus…well, let’s not get into the whole drama and tragic release history surrounding them right now — suffice to say that they at least did form a complete army at one point.

The Deathwatch, on the other hand, was always restricted to a couple of conversion bitz, so if you wanted to run a Deathwatch killteam or, god forbid, an entire army, some OOP metal conversion bitz and a couple of plastic shoulder pads were all the material at your disposal.

All of this has changed with Deathwatch:Overkill, which provided us with some pretty excellent characters that already defined a general outline of what the modern Deathwatch could look like. And now we get another boxed game — this time chock-full of actual multi part kits and delicious conversion fodder! We also get a Deathwatch Codex to boot, but as my perspective is chiefly that of a converter, let’s focus on the models and discuss their strenghts and flaws as well as possible conversion ideas:

 

Team Xenos

The Xenos are definitely getting the short end of the stick in this box — at least in terms of new sculpts: All of the models (except one, but we’ll be getting to that in a minute) are the plastic Harlequin kits that were released a while back. They are still pretty cool, of course, but there’s really no need to talk about those models again — all my thoughts on the plastic Harlequin models can be found here, in case you’re interested.

But like I said, there’s one notable exception. This guy:

 

Eldrad Ulthran, Farseer of Ulthwé

Death Masque release (2)
Well, quite a surprise, this one! I don’t think many people were expecting a plastic version of this classic 2nd edition character, seeing how Eldrad seemed to have died a typical Disney villain death at the tail end of the Eye of Terror campaign all those years ago, but mostly because the original Jes Goodwin sculpt is certainly one of the most iconic 40k models:

Death Masque release (3)
Confession time: I consider this one of the best 40k models ever, period. Easily one of my top five if one considers the whole 40k catalogue, and certainly one of the models you should show somebody if you were trying to explain to them what 40k is. Sure, the model is slightly two-dimensional, being very much a product of its time, but the amount of detailing, strong triangular composition and perfect pose make this model one for the ages, in my opinion. And now they have chosen to update this piece. Ho hum…

GW’s respect for the original Eldrad model shows in that they basically chose to keep almost every part of the original model: The staff and sword are virtually identical, as are most of the clothes and various doodads dangling from Eldrad’s belt and arms. The helm is also really similar, although I really hate the fact that Eldrad now sports one of those silly “pharao beards” that have been the bane of every Farseer design for quite a while now.

The pose is also very similar to the original, but while adding a bit of depth to the original sculpt, it also ends up looking ever so slightly less iconic. Now maybe this is just nostalgia getting the better of me, but for some reason the new Eldrad, for all his excellent detail, doesn’t seem to be quite as tightly composed as the original piece:

Eldrad comparison
While some will certainly welcome the slightly airier pose and sense of depth and motion to the model, but I just cannot get over how brilliant the original is. Nothing is better proof of this than the fact that the new Eldrad instantly becomes far inferior if you drop the sword arm and use the alternate, “casting” hand for him:

Death Masque release (4)
Of course it’s a huge boon that the new model is plastic, so it lends itself to converting much better than the old metal model, allowing for using it as the base as a customised Farseer conversion (or for smaller tweaks like, for instance, getting rid of that beard…):

Death Masque release (5)
When all is said and done, it’s a very nice and fitting model when taken on its own merits. When compared to its legendary predecessor, however, I have to admit that it doesn’t quite hold up: If I were to build the new plastic Eldrad, I would do my darnedest to make him look as much as the original metal model as possible by tweaking the pose (and by GETTING RID OF THAT BEARD!), and I think that says al lot about which version is the superior one…

I wonder what this means for the (rumoured) plastic update of Khârn the Betrayer…?

 

Team Deathwatch

It takes no rocket scientist to figure out that the Deathwatch are the more appealing faction in this particular set, mostly because there’s more original content for them. But even so, the Deathwatch side of things also makes heavy use of pre-existing kits: It looks like you basically get one Vanguard and Venerable Dreadnought kit and then the new Deathwatch Veteran sprue to build five Veterans and use the remaining bitz to spice up the other models to your heart’s content. Regarding the base kits, all of them are excellent kits, whether you’re starting a new Astartes force or adding to an existing one. Some detailed thoughts of on the Vanguard kit can be found here.

But yeah, beyond those kits, there’s the new Deathwatch Veteran sprue — and quite a sprue it is:

Death Masque release (9)
Looks like we are getting lots of weapons and decoration, but also a dedicated set of bodies and legs, which is very nice! And here’s what the bitz from the sprue will look like when used to create a squad of Deathwatch Veterans:

Death Masque release (10)
The inclusion of already establised visual elements, such as the Inquisition symbols, shoulder pads covered in scripture and special bolters, was a given, of course. What I really like, however, is how the main point of this new sprue seems to be to give the Deathwatch its own visual identity: Deathwatch Marines basically used to be standard Marines with a special bolter and one slightly more interesting shoulder pad. The new parts, however, really create a new look for them:

Death Masque release (12)
Their armour has a more streamlined and modern look to it (is that an Mk8 breastplate, I wonder?), which befits an Inquisitorial special force. If anything they have a sleek “Spec Ops” looks that is rendered even stronger by their armour being black.

It’s very interesting to see how they differ from their obvious counterparts, the Grey Knights: The Grey Knights look like, well, Knights: very ornamental and medieval. The Deathwatch, on the other hand, look like a particularly bad-ass black ops team from your favourite 90s military shooter, thrown into a blender and turned up to eleven — which also happens to make them look far more believably like an Inquisitorial sub-organisation now!

In addition to the sleek new armour designs, the sprue also seems to be featuring some of the Ordo Xenos’ more…esoteric gear, such as the sword on the squad leader:

Death Masque release (11)
Seems like we’ve been stealing some tech from the Necrons, eh?😉 Now while this particular weapon seems a bit hit or miss to me, I still think it’s neat that some of the equipment seems to be both more esoteric and seemingly inspired by Xenos tech.

For those of you who want boisterous and ostentatious instead of sneaky and subdued, however, the good news is that the new Deathwatch bitz seem to allow for that option as well:

Death Masque release (13)
Ah, what would we be without huge hammers and crazily ornate boarding shields, eh? They are looking awesome, though!

But whatever happened to the handle on this poor fellow’s hammer…?

Death Masque release (14)There’s also a collection of shoulder pads bearing quite a plethora of different chapter symbols on the sprue, which should really help to make any given Deathwatch force look like it has actually been assembled from Astartes hailing from many different chapters. And the fact that we don’t just get yet more heraldic elements of the “big” chapters like the Ultramarines, Dark Angels or Blood Angels, but rather a collection of more obscure iconography, is both a great shout out to the wider 40k lore and a great modeling opportunity!

And finally, the bitz on the sprue can also be used to convert Dreadnoughts into a Deathwatch variant:

Death Masque release (15)All in all, the new sprue seems like a deliciously versatile new toy, and I can see it becoming really popular, both with 40k players and the INQ28 crowd alike! For instance, Commissar Molotov, being both the Godfather of INQ28 and quite the Deathwatch fiend, will probably find much to like about the new sprue😉

 

Watch-Captain Artemis

Death Masque release (6)
Well, this was another really excellent surprise: Whom do we get as the Deathwatch commander but a veteran of 54mm Inquisitor? For those of you who haven’t been into this hobby for years and years, Artemis will merely seem like a cool enough Deathwatch model. But if you remember the old 54mm Inquisitor line of models, you will also remember Artemis, arguably one of the most spectacular models at the bigger scale. And just check out this comparison to see how closely the new model matches the earlier incarnation:

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

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

It’s really crazy how GW’s sculptors have managed to incorporate almost all of the visual elements from the 54mm Artemis! Especially if you consider that one of the huge draws of the original Inquisitor models was how 28mm plastic couldn’t hope to capture the same amount of detail — I think it’s a testament to the quality of GW’s modern plastics that almost all of the detail has been retained at about half the size!

There are some smaller differences: Artemis seems to have done rather well for himself since we last saw him , earning the right to wear a snazzy cape. His Deathwatch boltgun has also been exchanged with an actual combi-weapon, and both his sword and his backpack have received some additional bling. I kinda miss the Crux Terminatus necklace, though, as it provided a nice extra bit of dynamism to the model. And I think I’d add a purity seal to the front of his left shoulder pad, just for old times’ sake😉

The main difference is in the face, if you ask me: Where 54mm Artemis’ face is classically handsome (in the way many retro Space Marines used to be), the 28mm models have noticeably broader features — whether this is merely due to technical factors or an actual attempt at giving him the broader, heavier features that seem to be a trademark of Space Marines in some of the literature, I cannot say. Personally, I prefer the 54mm face, not because of the additional detail, but because the callback to the older, more handsome Marines appeals to me in an entirely nostalgic way. Curiously enough, the bare head that came with the old Dark Angels veteran sprue really resembles 54mm Artemis, though, so if you want to change that part, that’s the face I’d recommend — in fact, there’s a fantastic older 28mm Artemis conversion by Siamtiger that happens to be using the head in question.

Death Masque release (7)
But that’s obviously nitpicking: Artemis’ new incarnation is a brilliant call-back to a classic miniature and also a fantastic looking centrepiece for a Deathwatch army in its own right — very nice!

 

Conversion options:

It goes without saying that I won’t be discussing the general conversion options for the older kits contained in the boxed kit, for obvious reasons, although my thoughts on possible conversions may be found in the aforementioned reviews of the respective kits linked above.

So this leaves us with the two special characters and the new Deathwatch sprue to discuss:

Eldrad could obviously become a building template for your own custom Farseer with just a few cuts and a bit of kitbashing. The prospect isn’t hugely exciting, certainly, mostly because we already have a generic clamshell Farseer who can fill that role, although it’s nice to have the option. Seeing how his breastplate (with most of the Eldaresque decoration) seems to be a separate piece, it should be possible to use the model as the base for a non-Eldar robed character, such as an Inquisitor, Imperial Psyker, Chaos demagogue or what have you. And of course it goes without saying that his sword and staff would also be cool conversion bitz for any Eldar players.

But really, when all is said and done, there’s no doubt that this model should probably be used to build Eldrad, above all else. So the most appealing conversion options here would be to make minor tweaks to make him resemble his classic incarnation even more closely (rotating the head counter-clockwise by a few degrees, and OFF WITH THAT BEARD!).

Artemis should be easy enough to tweak as well with some careful cutting — but once again, I find myself strangely reluctant to even think about using the model for a conversion. It’s such a cool shout out to the 54mm model, and using it for anything else would just lose that — and there’s really no shortage of Space Marine bitz to use, so we might as well leave this guy in one piece, eh? Just this once😉

Come to think of it, the one tweak I think would improve the model would be to slightly rotate its head so as to mirror the 54mm version’s pose even more closely.

So with the two special characters best left untouched, for the most part, the Deathwatch sprue is obviously the true star of the show here, and rumours have it that GW really intends to package it with a huge number of Space Marine kits to give the Deathwatch a real push. And why shouldn’t they? The designers have been building up the compatibility of the various Space Marine kits literally for decades now, and towards this end, releasing a sprue that will allow you to turn virtually every Space Marine kit into a Deathwatch kit is a pretty shrewd move!

There’s also the fact that the sprue seems far more comprehensive than the Dark Angels and Black Templars sprues that were its distant predecessors (and those weren’t half bad either): If you carefully divide the contents of the sprue between your squads, you’ll get quite a bit of mileage out of those bitz!

Possibly the best part of the sprue, however, is that it really plays to the appeal of the Deathwatch: The great thing about them is that they allow you to build a Killteam or force that is very much centered around the individual models, as they all hail from different chapters. So if you want to test some ideas for a DIY chapter or build a model belonging to one of the more obscure chapters, building a model for your Deathwatch project will allow you to do just that without having to commit to an entire squad or army.

And we finally get a distinctive look for the Deathwatch — one that goes beyond the concept of standard tac Marines with black armour and a silver left arm. True enough, these are still Space Marines, but even if they lack the plethora of kits the Grey Knights have nowadays, at least they now have their own visual identity!

The flexibility of the sprue means that it should also become quite popular with converters: Whether you are looking to add a killteam (or a single Deathwatch veteran) to your army or want some suitably original and esoteric equipment for your chapter masters or Inquisitors, there should be something for you on this sprue. Even if you are going for true scale Deathwatch (because true INQ28 aficionados will only ever settle for true scale Astartes), you’ll be thankful for the Terminator-sized Deathwatch shoulder pads.

 

All in all, Death Masque seems like a cool boxed set that basically combines several of GW’s most successful recent ideas: If you look at the kits in the box, that’s some pretty major bang for the buck. The game functions as a standalone entity, drawing in new people and working as yet another gateway drug, so to speak. The redesigned Deathwatch will pluck at the heartstrings of veteran players and hobbyists. And the special characters provide that extra bit of sugar sprinkled on top — well played, GW!

So what’s your take on the new models and conversion bitz? I would love to hear your opinion, so feel free to drop me a comment! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Interlude: State of the Hunt

Posted in 40k, Chaos, old stuff, paintjob, Pointless ramblings, Totally worth it, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 29, 2016 by krautscientist

After a couple of weeks of frantic, ETL-related activity, this last week has been a bit of a cooldown period for me, which leaves me with the opportunity to share some World Eaters-related miscellany with you. So what’s on the menu today?

 

I. A really good read

A while ago, I was approached by Adam Jones aka Ratboy. Adam runs a monthly hobby fanzine called “The Golden D6”, pulling together a digest of hobby related content from various blogs and websites and turning it all into a rather bespoke online magazine featuring the kind of quality hobby content that we all remember from the WD issues of the yesteryear.

To my shame, however, I didn’t know anything of this at first, so when Adam asked me whether I would be okay with The Golden D6 doing a feature of my World Eaters, there was a bit of back and forth between the two of us, and with Adam trying his utmost to cater to my various whims and fancies, we arrived at a rather expansive (and pretty nifty, if I do say so myself) photo feature of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt that now makes up the tail section of The Golden D6’s issue 5:

D6 Screenshot

Beyond this army feature, the issue is full of reviews, battle reports and tutorials and makes for a very pleasant read indeed! Adam’s passion for this project shows both in his personal dealings with me and in the mag’s quality, and I am happy to have been a part of this issue! I also urge you to head over to The Golden D6 website and check out an issue or two: The asking price of $ 5,95 per issue certainly seems fair for the quality content that is on show, and a passionate hobbyist like Adam surely deserves a buck or two for engaging in this kind of endeavour!

D6 Screenshot 02
Full disclosure: As a contributor to the mag, I was given free access to issue 5. I still consider it a good deal, however, especially if you are interested in the varied style of hobby content that made old skool White Dwarf such a success!

You can purchase the various issues of the mag here.

II. An old skool daemon…and a taste of things to come…?!

And while we are on the matter of old skool White Dwarf, back when I first got into Warhammer, it was the time of the Realm of Chaos army box and a slew of related models, especially a new generation of greater and lesser Daemons. I’ve already talked at lenght about my love for the – then brand new – metal Bloodthirster here, but there were also the Bloodletters of course. And so when I needed a model to test yet another iteration of my recipe for red daemon skin earlier this week, I came across this guy here, languishing in my bitz box:

Old Skool Bloodletter WIP (2)
Old Skool Bloodletter WIP (1)
An old, mid-90s metal Bloodletter (one of the pre-predecessors of the modern plastics). I received this guy as part of a bitz drop a while ago, courtesy of fellow hobbyist Sagal (cheers, buddy!😉 ).

Granted, these guys have a couple of glaring issues that are pretty hard to ignore by today’s standards, among them a certain anatomical wonkiness and that general clunkiness that is a hallmark of many vintage GW modelsfrom the 90s. I remember them looking truly excellent as a ranked regiment (for WFB), though: like a wall of red muscle and spiky swords. And they were a hell of an improvement over the goofy first Bloodletter incarnation, with the comically serpentine body and the lanky arms *shudder*. In fact, one could say that the current plastics are a successful attempt at taking the idea of the first Bloodletters and actually making it work.

Anyway, in spite of all their shortcomings, the slightly clunky mid-90s metal Bloodletters will always have a place in my heart, and painting one for fun should be a nice little throwback to those inncoent times! I did allow myself one small tweak to the model, however, and replaced the Bloodletter’s sword with a modern plastic Hellblade: The original sword had been snipped off when I received the model, and while I still have the bit, I still decided to replace it, as the old swords are arguably the models’ weakest point (well, that and the anatomically dubious bare asses…).

When it came to painting the model, I once again used the recipe from GW’s Bloodthirster video tutorial as a basic template. However, I made one small change to the recipe, replacing Khorne Red with Mephiston Red. The model was a blast to paint — it almost painted itself, so to speak, so here’s the finished Bloodletter:

Old Skool Bloodletter (1)
Old Skool Bloodletter (2)
Old Skool Bloodletter (3)
Old Skool Bloodletter (4)
Old Skool Bloodletter (5)
I am really happy with the result — and also rather surprised at the impact the the use Mephiston Red has had on the skin tone: The red is quite deep and luxurious, but also a bit brighter and it has more pop than the red I have used on my Bloodthirster and Skulltaker. Here’s a comparison picture that shows the difference really well:

Old Skool Bloodletter (6)
With the exception of a single colour, these models share the exact same palette. And look how much of a difference that one colour makes regarding their respective skin tones!

Anyway, this tweaked red skin recipe will be used on a pretty big upcoming project of mine — but that is a story for another day😉

Until then, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

ETL V: Go out with a bang!

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, Traitor Guard, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 21, 2016 by krautscientist

Alright, one more post about the ETL, and then we’re off to…well, whatever’s next, really😉

With three finished vows under my belt, I was basically prepared to call it a day, but I couldn’t help noticing that the amount of points I had pledged was still below the 1,000 points mark — by 70 points, to be exact.

Now I didn’t harbour any ambitions to contribute a huge amount of points to the ETL, as there are some other people who have that particular corner covered much better than I ever could. But somehow I did want to read the 1,000 points mark — and as it happens, I realised that I had one last model on my unpainted pile that perfectly fit the bill:

Some of you may remember my first “Thamier-pattern” Obliterator, based on some excellent, custom parts provided courtesy of my fellow hobbyist Thamier (hence the name). Those parts allowed me to finally come up with an excellent Obliterator design that fit my army as well as the outline of what an Obliterator should look like:

Hadrak Firebringer (8)
Back when Thamier sent me those bitz, he was awesome enough to include enough parts for two Obliterators. But I only ever managed to finish one of them and just couldn’t seem to settle on a final configuration for the second one.

For some reason, however, this changed after finishing my Bloodthirster recently — something must have been shaken loose in the back of my head, and suddenly I knew exactly how to build this guy, easy as that. A short while later, I had the finished conversion in my hands:

2nd Thamier pattern Obliterator WIP (5)
2nd Thamier pattern Obliterator WIP (4)
2nd Thamier pattern Obliterator WIP (6)
And as luck would have it, a single Obliterator can count as a squad and is worth exactly 70 points — just the amount I was still missing! So I decided to finish my contribution in this event by making a fourth and (final) vow. I was really looking forward to finally owning two finished Obliterators of this size and design!

2nd Thamier pattern Obliterator WIP (3)
Besides, it was just a single model, right? So what could possibly go wrong?

Unfortunately, the last couple of days have been the hottest days of the year so far in northwestern Germany, with temperatures of more than 30 degrees Celsius outside. Hardly the perfect weather to be painting miniatures — quite the opposite, actually!

However, I realised that losing momentum was the biggest danger for me, so I soldiered through the paintjob. And I managed to finish the Obliterator yesterday. Take a look:

2nd Thamier pattern Obliterator (5)
2nd Thamier pattern Obliterator (6)
2nd Thamier pattern Obliterator (11)
2nd Thamier pattern Obliterator (9)
2nd Thamier pattern Obliterator (7)
And here’s a closer look at the weapon arms, spliced together from many, many different bits and kits:

2nd Thamier pattern Obliterator (8)

2nd Thamier pattern Obliterator (10)
Now it has been pointed out to me by Thousand Eyes and Augustus b’Raass that the armour trim needs some cleanup work here and there — particularly on the leg greaves! And I happily agree — painting this guy in the sweltering heat – and in a slightly darkened room, no less – certainly didn’t do the exactness of my paintjob any favours. But I think those problems should be easy enough to solve with some minor touchups when it’s a bit colder, and I am still reasonably happy with this guy: Now I have two massive juggernauts that can lay down quite a bit of fire between them. YAY!😉

Thamier pattern Obliterators (1)
And with the points of all the models I have managed to finish not at exactly 1,000 points, I think this is also the perfect moment to consider my contribution to this year’s ETL concluded: I’ve already done three vows more than I had originally planned, and while it has been a blast, I think it’s important to end things on a high note. I also don’t want to fail again, like last year!😉

But even so, I couldn’t be any happier with my performance: Granted, 1,000 points isn’t all that much when compared to the amounts of stuff some of the crazier contributors have come up with, but then I think I have really managed to complete some rather cool models — some of this stuff is arguably my finest work to date:

ETL V All Vows (3)
Another thing that pleases me immensely is that each model is one I have wanted to get painted for quite a while.

And while waiting for the opportunity to purchase some new Chaos Black spray halfway through the event, I actually made the most of the downtime and painted two “bonus models” (that had already been undercoated earlier), in order to keep my momentum going.

The first of those was a berzerker that I had already considered beyond saving earlier: I originally wanted to use the model as a test piece for the Mephiston Red spray paint, back when it was released. So I undercoated it with the – then brand new – spray paint, hoping that the paint would become a mainstay of my World Eaters recipe:

New red test model 01

Unfortunately, the stuff performed rather terribly, and I ended up with a test model that was a slog to paint. Everything still looked pretty nice until after spraying, with a nice red undercoat across the whole model. But when I began to pick out the details in different colours, I realised that the undercoat had a somewhat strange, sandpapery texture that made the colours on top behave strangely, turning the whole painting progress into an exercise in frustration:

new red test model 02

Now this is about as far as I got with the model:

new red test model 03

But when the colour actually started rubbing off in places, revealing the bright red undercoat, I basically abandoned the whole project as a failure — and the half-finished model kept sitting on a sideboard, daring me to finish it at some point.

And that moment had finally come! So I thought “What the heck?” and gave the model another try: I repainted the armour with my new red recipe and persevered, because I really rather like this particular conversion and didn’t want to abandon it completely, and here’s what I ended up with:

Salvaged Berzerker (1)
Salvaged Berzerker (2)

Now this is hardly my best work – and it couldn’t be either, given the damage done by the original undercoat – but this guy is at least presentable enough now to take his place amongst the rank and file, and I am pretty happy that I’ve managed to finish the paintjob, after all!

Dumah & Salvaged Berzerker

The other additional model I painted is one that I am really happy with: An icon bearer for my Traitor Guard that I had wanted to finish for quite a while:

Traitor Elite Icon Bearer PIP (1)
Traitor Elite Icon Bearer PIP (3)
As you can see on the – mostly painted – model shown above, the conversion was based on another Tempestus Scions model. The head from one of the Dark Vengeance cultists champions creates a very palpable Blood Pact vibe (which was quite intentional), while the use of some WFB Skaven bitz creates a pretty cool, almost asian influence.

The icon was painted to resemble flayed human skin, and it goes without saying that it needed a suitably gruesome design added on top. So I broke out the Tamiya Clear Red and ended up with this:

Traitor Elite Icon Bearer (1)
Traitor Elite Icon Bearer (2)
Traitor Elite Icon Bearer (3)
Traitor Elite Icon Bearer (4)
Nothing says Traitor Guard quite as clearly as a crude heretical symbol daubed on in blood, wouldn’t you agree?😉

What’s really cool is how this model finally rounds out my first squad of Traitor Elites, arguably creating one of the best squads in my entire collection:

Traitor Elite full squad (4)
So when I include those two “bonus models”, that actually brings the number of models I have managed to complete during this year’s ETL up to…eight. How auspicious, indeed! I certainly hope Khorne is pleased…

ETL V All Vows (1)
So yeah, I am really happy with the outcome!

But wait, there’s more: In addition to the stuff I managed to complete myself, there’s also the fact that fellow hobbyist Augustus b’Raass chose to honour me by naming an absolutely brilliant World Eaters Contemptor for his growing Khorne Daemonkin force after me.

Meet Ancient Ka’Ruat of the World Eaters’ 59th assault echelon, ladies and gentlemen:

model converted and painted by Augustus b'Raass

model converted and painted by Augustus b’Raass

 

model converted and painted by Augustus b'Raass

model converted and painted by Augustus b’Raass

What an utterly fantastic surprise! And quite an honour, too! Make sure to check out Auggie’s ongoing WIP thread over at The Bolter & Chainsword, by the way: That guy is on fire!

All things considered, this has been a really enjoyable – and successful – ETL for me! Best of luck to those hobbyists who are still working on their vows and/or are planning to finish even more models for the glory of chaos! I’ll be watching your amazing work from the sidelines while offering snide comments every now and then😉

It goes without saying that I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback, so feel free to drop me a comment! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

ETL V All Vows (2)

ETL V: Thirsting for paint

Posted in 40k, Chaos, paintjob, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 14, 2016 by krautscientist

With another – fairly big – model recently finished, my motivation to actually get stuff painted still showed no signs of dying down: a feeling that was both unfamiliar and rather exhilarating, to be honest.

And so I decided to finally go all-out and vow the big guy as my third (and possibly final) ETL vow. Which big guy, you ask? This big guy:

ETL V Bloodthirster WIP
The model was assembled quite a while ago, and in all fairness, both the Skulltaker conversion and the bestial Daemon Prince were test runs for this piece, above all else. Everything built up to this, so I felt it was finally time to get some paint on this bad boy.

What’s more, owning and painting a Bloodthirster seems like a special thing for me, because when I received my very first issues of White Dwarf a long time ago, along with the 5th edition starter box of Warhammer Fantasy Battles, one of the issues had a feature on the – then brand new – metal Bloodthirster:

Classic Bloodthirster
And I instantly fell in love. This model felt like a revelation, like the ultimate goal to be attained in this hobby. I just couldn’t get over how cool it was. It also seemed completely out of my league…

And yet I did pick up one of those metal Bloodthirsters, after all, as part of a job lot I purchased from ebay a couple of years ago. I even started to clean and assemble it, but there was no longer any fire in it, somehow. Some parts of the model have arguably aged rather poorly, and I just couldn’t seem to get back the warm and fuzzy feelings from seeing that first Bloodthirster.

Until the new Bloodthirster was released, and I was in love: While the alternate builds did have some visual shortcomings, the Bloodthirster of Unfettered Fury seemed like the perfect update for the old model, and it finally gave me the opportunity to make this old hobby dream of mine a reality!

So I hit the ground running and make some excellent progress with the skin in a very short amount of time:

ETL V Bloodthirster PIP (3)
ETL V Bloodthirster PIP (1)
I realise I must probably sound like a broken record at this point, but Duncan Rhodes’ painting tutorial saved the day once again: It had already worked really well on the two previous models, but it waseven more fantastic when used on the model it was actually intended for! What I ended up with was a brilliant amount of depth and variation to the skin — and mostly by drybrushing on different hues of red, no less!

At this point I felt the need to reward myself for painting the entire skin in a single day, so I indulged myself and finished the face:

ETL V Bloodthirster PIP (2)
With the skin finished, the next task was to carefully block out all the leather straps, piercings and various ornaments covering the Bloodthirster’s body. But I was happy enough with the way the skin had turned out that my motivation carried me all through this slightly tedious task:

ETL V Bloodthirster PIP (5)
ETL V Bloodthirster PIP (4)
ETL V Bloodthirster PIP (6)
I also finished the wings, and even though I decided on a fairly minimalist approach, they still turned out to be a lot of work: The entire membrane area had to be painted black once again, before I could drybrush the wings with a lighter grey, and getting the black paint into all of those nooks and crannies was quite an exercise in frustration😉

Up until this point, I had followed Duncan Rhodes’ tutorial to the letter, but I decided to go for a slightly different approach when painting the metals and armour plates, mostly because I wanted them to look similar to both the bronze areas on the rest of my Khornate army and the armour plates on my recently finished Skulltaker conversion:

Calvarax the Exalted, counts as Skulltaker (3)
So I went with black armour plates and bronze trim on my Bloodthirster as well. However, something unexpected happened at this point: I had originally planned to add the full set of available armour plates to the Bloodthirster: the breastplate, two vambraces, two armour plates on the upper thighs and one skull-shaped shoulder pad. However, while test-fitting the armour, I realised that it ended up covering much of the red skin, and especially some of the areas that I was particularly happy with!

So in the end I decided to lose some of the armour plates — which is probably a first for me, but there you have it😉

ETL V Bloodthirster PIP (16)
This left only the whip to be painted, and unfortunately, this turned out to be a drag quite on par with painting the wings: all those damned little spikes… Anyway, there was obviously no stopping me at this point, so I soldiered on and ended up with this:

ETL V Bloodthirster PIP (22)
ETL V Bloodthirster PIP (24)
Not bad, not bad at all! Now you may have noticed that the whip is missing that flaming eight-pointed star — I carefully cut that off and shaved the remaining whip down into a point, as the ornament just seemed a bit much to me, and I preferred the “classic” look of the whip tapering down into a point.

So the last thing on my list was to come up with a suitable base, and it was clear that a model of this stature deserved something a bit more involved. The base also needed to accomplish several things at the same time: I wanted to create a bit of an elevation for the Bloodthirster to jump off from, and I really wanted to feature some big symbol of the Imperiums’s shattered might. So let’s just take a look at the finished model, shall we?

I give you…

Ghor’Lash’Kharganath, the Gorelord, the Ever-Wrathful, Chosen Hunter of Khorne

Bloodthirster Ghor'Lash'Kharganath (1)
Bloodthirster Ghor'Lash'Kharganath (2)
Bloodthirster Ghor'Lash'Kharganath (3)
Bloodthirster Ghor'Lash'Kharganath (5)
Bloodthirster Ghor'Lash'Kharganath (6)
Bloodthirster Ghor'Lash'Kharganath (7)
Quite a beast, indeed! I am especially happy with how he resembles Mark Gibbons’ incredibly iconic piece of Bloodthirster art:

Artwork by Mark Gibbons

Artwork by Mark Gibbons

Let’s take a closer look at the base I’ve built for the model:

Bloodthirster Ghor'Lash'Kharganath (8)
The elevation at one end of the base was created by glueing three bases on top of each other, with the bases getting smaller towards the top, creating a layered incline. This was then covered up with GS, and I added cork, sand and ballast on top. Since the Bloodthirster attaches to the base at one very tiny point, it was important to make that connection rock solid, and the surface of a plastic base was sure to bond well with the Bloodthirster’s hoof.

Regarding the symbol of the failing Imperium of Man I wanted, I think the shattered shield really fits the bill, wouldn’t you agree?😉

Bloodthirster Ghor'Lash'Kharganath (12)
In a bit of an in-joke, the bease also features another helmet from the Golden Legion, my DIY Astartes Chapter created for INQ28:

Bloodthirster Ghor'Lash'Kharganath (9)
And finally, I really liked the idea of the earth itself reacting to the daemon’s malign presence where his ironshod hooves touched the ground — hence the bloody bone spikes jutting from the rock. And in the middle of it all, the Bloodthirster is ascending from a pit of boiling blood on a pillar of fire:

Bloodthirster Ghor'Lash'Kharganath (10)
Bloodthirster Ghor'Lash'Kharganath (11)
The flames were painted with the help of Garfy’s excellent tutorial here. It’s an effect that is surprisingly easy and incredibly satisfying to pull off!

And here’s a closeup of the axe blade, another area that I am really happy with:

Bloodthirster Ghor'Lash'Kharganath (13)
Lots of Army Painter Dark Tone and Vallejo Smokey Ink were used to darken down the blade and make it look suitably sinister and tarnished, and I am really happy with the finished effect!

And with that, my first Bloodthirster was finished. I am not going to mince words here: I am incredibly happy with the model! From a purely technical standpoint, this is very probably my finest paintjob to date. And when I look back at my hobby life and remember salivating over that classic metal Bloodthirster all those years back, it also feels like things have really come full circle, in a way: Owning and painting a Bloodthirster felt like a true pinnacle of the hobby back then. And here I am now, with the, arguably much superior, successor model finally painted to the best of my ability. Go me!😉

Plus this also means a third finished ETL vow. Very nice!

So yeah, that’s it for my brand new Bloodthirster! I would love to hear your feedback, of course, so drop me a comment or two! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Bloodthirster Ghor'Lash'Kharganath (4)

ETL V: Avatar of the Hunt

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, paintjob, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2016 by krautscientist

With my first vow for the current ETL V event on The Bolter & Chainsword finished, I found myself in a mostly unprecedented situationof still feeling very motivated to keep painting stuff — certainly not something that happens to me a lot, I can tell you! So I actually found myself considering a second vow, and my glance fell on a long running backburner project of mine. This guy:

Daemon Prince WIP (15)
A bestial Daemon Prince built all the way back in 2013. Many of the thoughts that went into the model as well as the actual building process have been documented here and here, but just to give a short recap, the model basically started when I found myself in the possession of both a WFB Manticore and some leftover Maulerfiend limbs. My idea for this somewhat haphazard collection of parts was to create a grotesque, feral creature that would serve as a very different kind of Daemon Prince, in keeping with the background of my World Eaters: I was inspired by a throwaway line in Codex: Chaos Space Marines about the elevation to daemonhood basically signifiying and unending life of servitude. And I also thought of Angron’s ascension at the tail end of Betrayer, an event that leaves the tortured Primarch even more bestial and doesn’t exactly transform him into a darkly angelic creature…

So I came up with the concept of a Daemon Prince that embodied both the 4th assault company’s strong theme of the Hunt and their fear of letting go, of losing control and of completely turning into mindless beasts, and that’s where this model came from.

Alas, it had been sitting at the bottom of a box since an unsuccessful painting attempt last year. This is what the model looked like when I dug it out of its shameful temporary abode:

Bestial Daemon Prince PIP (1)
The dark brown you see on the body is proof of the fact that I didn’t really know what I was doing last time around — but at the same time, getting the skin right would be instrumental for this particular paintjob. But something was different this time: Not only was I motivated, but I already had a daemonic skin recipe that had already worked its magic once:

Calvarax the Exalted, counts as Skulltaker (3)
That’s right: I would be using the skin recipe from Duncan Rhodes’ voideo tutorial for painting the Bloodthirster again, this time on a far bigger model.

And in fact, the recipe worked just as wonderfully this time around, leaving me with this promising result after only a very short amount of time:

Bestial Daemon Prince PIP (3)
Bestial Daemon Prince PIP (4)
The skin was an absolute blast to paint. The oily metal emerging from the arms and legs, though? Not so much — Due to the way the machine parts are woven in among the muscle, this was both a finicky and exhausting part of the model to paint, and I was really glad once I was finished with it!

Even at this early point, I gave some extra attention to the creature’s mouth area, as that part would become really hard to reach with the ears and horns attached to the sides of the head. So I made sure now that the mouth cavity was suitably wet and glistening😉

Bestial Daemon Prince PIP (5)
By far the trickiest question was to figure out what to do with the armour plates: The bronze trim was a no-brainer, but I didn’t want to go for predominantly black armour in order to avoid the Black Legion look. I also tried to paint them red (my old red recipe, even), but the result just lacked contrast when compared to the skin. And then I realised that all bronze armour plates might end up looking very Khornate: Now I have this image in the back of my head of the red parts of the armour turning into blood and running off during the Daemon Prince’s ascension, or boiling away as the daemonic brass underneath becomes visible. And in any case, since this guy was basically a just for fun project, I might as well try some new stuff, right? So with that decision out of the way, I was able to finish the model:

Bestial Daemon Prince PIP (13)
Bestial Daemon Prince PIP (11)
As you can see, I painted the patterns etched into the shoulder pads with Tamiya Clear Red — I didn’t want to risk a silly looking OSL effect here, and the blood seemed like a nice fit.

Speaking of the shoulder pads, one thing I want to point out is how I’ve included several visual elements that hint at the Daemon Prince’s Astartes roots, in spite of his animalistic look: The shoulder pads, the fused remains of the Astartes backpack on the shoulders and the sockets appearing on the Daemon Prince’s body where he used to be connected to his power armour all hint at the fact that this creature was once a proud Space Marine:

Bestial Daemon Prince PIP (19)
And what’s more, the chains emerging from the creature’s mane (actually the transformed Butcher’s Nails implants) and the jagged Triumph Rope scar crisscrossing its torso are both remnants of its previous life as a World Eater:

Bestial Daemon Prince PIP (16)
I think that all of these elements make for some rather neat visual storytelling, really. But even so, I do of course realise that the model is a bit of an acquired taste, as there is a misshapen, overmuscled look to the creature. Let me just clarify though that his was very much an intended effect: Like I said, the idea for this model was to show how a World Eater, at the height of his madness and bloodlust, maybe wouldn’t be transformed into a darkly angelic figure, but into a feral daemonic beast.

Here’s a closer look at the model’s face, an area I am especially happy with:

Bestial Daemon Prince PIP (18)
Bestial Daemon Prince PIP (17)
I actually really love the Manticore’s face, both for the amount of animalistic rage it exudes, but also because it’s such a dead ringer for the Behemoth, an iconic recurring enemy from the Final Fantasy series of video games😉

So all that was left was a base for the beast, and I had already constructed a base that would make it look as though the Daemon Prince were barreling forward, almost on all fours, and/or reaching down to crush one of its pesky opponents with its massive paw. So here’s the finished model, base and all:

Avatar of the Hunt (8)
The Curse of Daemonhood

Not a single World Eater, no matter how deranged after millennia of warfare or driven to madness by the bite of the Butcher’s Nails, could ever forget the moment of Angron’s ascension. The image of the tortured Primarch transforming into a daemonic god beast amidst a howling vortex of balefire was permanently seared into the World Eaters’ collective memory at the climax of the Purge of Nuceria. For some, Angron’s transformation became an example to be followed during the millennia of the Long War, his new form the ultimate reward for a life of slaughter.

The members of the 4th assault company, however, regard Angron’s fate as something far different: They see no boon in the ascension to daemonhood, but rather feel a lingering fear at the possible changes wrought on a mind stripped of that last shred of humanity after a lifetime of rage and bloodlust: The muscles swollen with daemonic power and warped into something grotesque. The Butcher’s Nails transfigured by the powers of the warp into the shackles they always were in mortal life. The blood turned into hellfire, pumped through a monstrous body by the beating of an eternal daemon heart, forever bound in service to the Lord of War as a true Avatar of the Hunt.

No, Angron’s ascension has not been forgotten by the warriors of the 4th. It marks a pivotal moment in the legion’s fate. And to those willing to look, it serves as a grim reminder of a fate not far removed from the curse of spawndom.

Avatar of the Hunt (3)
Avatar of the Hunt (4)
Avatar of the Hunt (5)
Avatar of the Hunt (9)
Avatar of the Hunt (10)
Avatar of the Hunt (11)
Avatar of the Hunt (12)
Avatar of the Hunt (1)
Avatar of the Hunt (2)
I am actually really surprised at how much I actually enjoyed painting this big lump of plastic! And what’s more, I believe the colours and recipes used on the Daemon Prince and Skulltaker conversions will factor rather heavily into any additional daemons that may be in the cards for my army — for instance, after two successful test runs, you can expect the recipe for the skin to appear again on my Bloodthirster (*wink*wink*nudge*).After all, this recipe has really served me rather well so far, wouldn’t you agree?

Avatar of the Hunt (14)

For now, however, I am mostly happy about having finished an unexpected second ETL vow — and another long running project! Huzzah!🙂

It goes without saying that I would love to heary any feedback you might have, so feel free to drop me a comment or two. And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Avatar of the Hunt (7)

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