Lorimar – the post-Isstvan years

Posted in Conversions, Fluff, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 26, 2016 by krautscientist

For todays’s post, let us return to plastic models wearing Cataphractii Terminator armour for a bit. Because, even with the squad of five Cataphractii finished, there was still the matter of the Praetor model that came with the Betrayal at Calth box to take care of:

Betrayal at Calth release (17)
In many ways, it’s a rather strange model: On the one hand, it’s well designed and fairly elegantly engineered. Like most of GW’s newer plastic characters, it’s made up of a number of parts that lock together in a very clever way, creating a character model that definitely has the right amount of bulk, detail and depth. The armour is also a nice step up from the standard Cataphractii design and, along with the flowing cape and the more detailed pteryges leather straps, instantly communicates the fact that this guy is an officer. So far, so good, right?

But then there’s the pose: I cannot even begin to guess what made GW’s designers decide on such a rigidly posed model. Maybe they merely wanted to provide the model with some agency, instead of going for the classic “posing with outstretched weapon arms” look of the yesteryear? Or maybe the Praetor was designed as an opposite to Forgeworld’s own Praetor in Cataphractii armour?

Whatever the reason, the pose is definitely one of the model’s weaker parts for me, and it seemed like the one factor that would make any conversion rather challenging. Even with quite a number of fairly clever conversions appearing over at The Bolter & Chainsword, few versions of the Praetor managed to get rid of the somewhat pidgeon-toed stance of the base model — which really seemed at once central to the conversion and fairly challenging to me.

And maybe it was  that challenge that drew me towards attempting a conversion in the first place. I had originally planned to leave this guy for last, but when I recently started hitting a bit of a roll with my Catapphractii, I felt motivated enough to start working on the Praetor as well. There was just one problem, however:

You may remember that my 30k models are supposed to represent an earlier incarnation of my 40k army of choice: The World Eaters’ 4th assault company. And the 4th has one commander, and one commander alone: Lord Captain Lorimar. And I even already had a 30k model for him:

Lorimar then and now
The model shown above was originally mostly built and painted by AgnostosTheos, and I bought it from him when he sold off his collection of World Eaters about two years ago. It took very little work to turn the model into an earlier incarnation of Lorimar, and I am still reasonably happy with the way both versions of the character look next to each other — incidentally, you can read more about the models and the character that informed them here.

So was there actually any room for yet another version of Lorimar? Or for a different character serving as Praetor? Of course this whole discourse only really makes a lick of sense if you take the whole background part of the hobby seriously, but I am just funny that way in that I tend to build and paint characters, not just playing pieces. At least that is what it feels like to me.

In the end, however, the urge to create a badass Cataphractii Praetor got the better of me, and I decided to play this one by ear: If the resulting model ended up as another version of Lorimar, then I would find a place for him in my collection somehow.

So I started making some adjustments to the base model, and here’s what I ended up with after putting in the first bit of work:

WE Cataphractii Praetor WIP
Like I said, the base model is pretty cool in principle, but it’s also severly hampered by the somewhat rigid (and slightly uncomfortable looking) pose, so that was the part I really needed to change. I also knew that it wouldn’t do for a World Eater to focus so much on a shooting weapon, so I changed the model’s entire orientation.

The most important part was to cut off the right leg above the knee and slightly rotate it inwards. Such a small thing, really, but it was really key for making the pose far less awkward — in fact, it’s a neat little trick that I would recommend to anyone trying to change the model’s pose around a bit:
You cut right between the kneecap armour and the armour plate covering the hip (directly under that one line of decorative trim on the leg). There’s really only an area of about 0.5 mm width where you can make the cut without damaging either armour plate, so the sweet spot should be easy enough to find. Then you rotate the leg inwards, stopping once you’re happy with the pose. There’s going to be some damage, especially if you are trying to have both feet meet the ground at the same angle, but it’s really easy to repair with some plastic glue and some plastic shavings, plus the damage will be nearly invisible from the front. And if you are using the stock model’s cape, the damage will be neatly camouflaged by the Praetor’s cape.

The other considerable change I made to the base model was to cut off the hand holding the combi-bolter and replace it with that massive chainsword from the Space Wolves Upgrade Pack — incidentally, that sword was one of the two reasons that made me pick up that sprue in the first place, and its mass and length seemed ideal for a World Eaters Praetor.

And finally, I cut away the model’s original head, mostly to allow for a head facing in a different direction. As it happened, however, I had an extra head from the chaos warshrine priest still knocking about – the exact head I also used on 40k Lorimar – so I decided to use it in my early mockup.

With the basic pose out of the way, the next part was to add some detail that would make the model read as an actual World Eater. Seeing how the stock model’s armour was already very detailed, I had to try not to go overboard, lest the model end up looking too busy. In the end, I think I managed to come up with a fairly good solution, though:

WE Cataphractii Praetor WIP (2)

WE Cataphractii Praetor WIP (1)

The bandolier of skulls is a classic for World Eaters, especially since the more recent fluff has given it a deliciously ambiguous nature: Are those the skulls of enemies, displayed as trophies? Or are they the remains of honoured battle brothers, allowed to see the field of battle once more? Or a little from column A and a little from column B, perhaps?

I also added another shackle bit from the AoS Bloodreavers — as DexterKong astutely pointed out when commenting on my Cataphractii, shackles are such a tragically fitting accessory for 30k World Eaters, are they not?

And finally, I tried to give the a slightly more ornate version of the topknot the other Cataphractii have, spliced together from a topknot that came with the chaos chariot and the tail of a Marauder horse. I like how the front of the piece could be seen as a stylised Iron Halo or as the iconic arrows of chaos…

The one thing that didn’t sit right with me was the chainfist. Granted, it works pretty well with the tweaked pose — arguably better than on the stock model, really. But I just couldn’t help it, I had to mock up an alternate arm holding an axe.

I used the upper arm from a plastic 40k Terminator (which had to be shaved down quite a bit) and the forearm from an Age of Sigmar Stormcast Eternal, as the curves of the armour fit the overall Cataphractii look pretty well. As for the axe, I chose the same blade I already used on 40k Lorimar. And here’s the model with an alternate arm:

WE Cataphractii Praetor WIP (11)
And seeing the axe arm in place actually decided things for me: I would be turning this guy into a representation of Lorimar, after all.
Incidentally, when putting all three models in a row, I realised that there was a really nice sense of visual progression between the three. Take a look:

Lorimar comparison

The version on the left represents Lorimar as a younger officer, say a Secutor-Sergeant, during the latter stages of the Great Crusade, or even as a young Captain, having just taken command of the 4th after winning his captaincy in the fighting pits. The new version in the middle is him during the Heresy: The more ostentatious armour shows his newfound confidence in his command. And he has started to discard the trappings of a loyalist Astartes: Where his younger version is armed with weapons bearing a strong aquila motif, his new weapons are more vicious and cruel-looking, and there’s not an aquila to be seen — I really like how his weapons get less Imperial as he goes! Finally, the model on the rightis him in the 40k setting, now in fully Khornate regalia.

So basically all that was left for the conversion at this point was some cleanup work. One interesting part is that I have not yet glued the different parts of the model together — I think this will make painting quite a bit easier in this case, because the seams between the parts are cleverly hidden. Anyway, here’s the model as it looks right now:

WE Cataphractii Praetor WIP (15)
WE Cataphractii Praetor WIP (16)
One thing I still want to do is to make his axe look slightly less chaotic. I am going to fill in the chips and nicks in the blade with GS, provided I manage to pull it off in a clean enough way. As for the chaotic eye, a fellow forumite on a big German forum came up with the idea to keep the eye, but to fill in the chaotic arrows around it, making it look like some kind of decorative jewel. I think I rather like that idea, as just removing everything would just create a huge flat area on the axe blade.

One small detail I am really happy with is how I have used some leather straps from another Cataphractii Praetor model to close the gaps between the straps that were already there:

WE Cataphractii Praetor WIP (18)
Shaving these off from the source model’s shoulders was slightly fiddly, but the extra effort was definitely worth it!

And here’s a look at the model’s back. Careful observers will spot the stylised Khornate rune adorning the crossguard of Lorimar’s sword (I put it there to replace a wolf skull):

WE Cataphractii Praetor WIP (17)
All in all, I am very happy with the model, both because it makes for a pretty cool “missing link” between the two versions of Lorimar I already have, and because I have managed to tweak just about everything that I didn’t like about the stock Cataphractii Praetor. In fact, having discovered how easy it is to carefully turn the base model into something quite different, I would basically recommend this guy to every hobbyist looking for a characterful base model to turn into a commander for their own Space Marines! What’s more, as has already been postulated by Commissar Molotov, the Praetor is also a pretty ideal base morel for a true scale conversion — as it happens, I am working on a true scale Chapter Master based on this model right now, but that is a story for another time😉

Before I wind up this post, here’s a look of Captain Lorimar with his Cataphractii bodyguard:

Lorimar's Fist 30k WIP (4)
As always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Imperial Knights: Renegade — Gilgamesh Triumphant!

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 18, 2016 by krautscientist

A short interlude today, before I return with a more sizeable new post soon: With the release of Imperial Knights: Renegade, Chaos Knights are now very much a thing, even for those who shun the rules by Forgeworld (that have already been available for some time now). Due to the strange ways of the webway, I am pretty certain that the new rules will find their way to each and every Chaos player in pretty short order, and there is much rejoicing about this turn of events.

What makes this even better though, at least for me, is that my very own Chaos Knight, Gilgamesh, has actually made it into GW’s daily blog as one of the examples for converted Renegade Knights. Yay!

Gilgamesh on GW blog 01
Now I should probably be far more nonchalant and humble about this whole thing, but I simply cannot pull it off: Gilgamesh remains my biggest and most involved hobby project to date, and one that I am incredibly proud of, so to see him being featured on the GW site like this just makes me incredibly happy! Thanks so much to all the fellow hobbyists who brought this to my attention. And to the content managers at GW, obviously😉

But this post should have some kind of use beyond allowing me to talk about how great I think I am, right?😉
So, to all those of you who are now looking at the option of adding a Knight or two to their Chaos armies with renewed interest, on account of the new rules, maybe my collected posts about converting and painting my own Chaos Knight may prove helpful, so feel free to check them out here:

PRELUDE

– THE BUILDING –

PART I
PART II
PART III

– THE PAINTING –

PART I
PART II
PART III
PART IV
PART V

Also make sure to take a peek at this companion post over at Dark Future Gaming, where I discuss some of the excellent conversions that have inspired my own take on the Chaos Knight, because I am really standing on the shoulders of giants here!

The only cloud on the horizon here is how the ‘Eavy Metal Team seemingly didn’t convert and paint a dedicated posterboy Renegade Knight for the new game but rsther decided to paint over the heraldry of an already completed, pretty sweet loyalist model:

ImperialKnightRenegadeSeriously, guys: You have already painted a score of these beasts. Would one more really have killed you…?

But all in all, this has been an amazing surprise, both from a general hobby perspective, but also for my personal hobby life!

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

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh, the Warrior King (12)

Cutting up some Cataphractii

Posted in Conversions, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 12, 2016 by krautscientist

This week, let’s head back to the Heresy for a bit, as I show you my latest conversions based on models from the Betrayal at Calth box. So you’ll be seeing a lot of unpainted plastic, unfortunately, but also – hopefully – a conversion idea or two that might inspire you😉

One thing that I have always loved about the Horus Heresy in the pre-Forgeworld days is how sketchy and adventurous it all seemed: Back when the original Visions of Heresy artbooks were released, you could get the feeling that the artists really had a lot of leeway when it came to interpreting the various armour marks and war machines of the Heresy era Astartes legions. So you would see all kinds of crazy armour designs (Wayne England’s Heresy artwork is a prime example of this), and then people would go and convert models based on that, and it was all pretty great.

Forgeworld created a more streamlined and and standardised look for the Legiones Astartes, and there’s a lot to be said for that: The various armour marks, for instance, are excellent and suitably different now, and they really allow for lots of customisation to achieve the exact look you want for your army. However, at the same time, I cannot help feeling every once in a while that some of the craziness of the pre-FW Heresy days has been lost along the way, with the new models sometimes seeming a bit less interesting than the old artwork.

Nowhere is this more obvious than with the Cataphractii design. To wit, here’s an early Cataphractii illustration (probably the first one, at that) courtesy of John Blanche:

Cataphractii illustration by John Blanche

Cataphractii illustration by John Blanche

 

Even beyond the hallmarks of John’s personal style, there’s something cool and barbaric about this individual: He looks far more than a tank than the 40k Terminators, yes, but there are also elements like the pteryges and the massive topknot that give the Cataphractii the look of a Roman legionary turned up to eleven — and that’s really just what Space Marines are, in a nutshell, right?

Forgeworld’s Cataphractii design ditches some of the zanier parts of the old art, particularly the topknots, which I think is a shame. And the plastic Cataphractii included with the Betrayal of Calth box are probably, at the same time, the best and the worst part of the entire release. The best part because a fully customisable multi part squad was definitely more than we could have expected. And the worst because the models are painfully generic and vailla, even moreso than the rest of the models from the set!

But vanilla wasn’t what I wanted for my own Cataphractii: I wanted to turn them into World Eaters, so they needed to become slightly more interesting, slightly more gladiatorial and slightly more feral, while their possible allegiance to Khorne during the latter stages of the Heresy needed to be kept at least somewhat abiguous without straying too far into 40k levels of Khornate decoration: To go all spiky and baroque on them would ultimately have lead to a 40k chaos look, and I still wanted these guys to be recognisable as 30k models. So a bit of character was needed, but not too much of it. Oh, and I also wanted to incorporate some of the small touches from the older artwork that have since fallen by the wayside. That’s quite a lot on one plate, right?😉

I started by experimenting with a couple of bitz, and while this lies beyond the scope of this post, one thing that I have found out is that it’s relatively easy to make Cataphractii that resemble various legions’ dedicated Terminators simply by virtue of using different heads: Just discard the stock “half heads” you get with the kit (or better yet, keep them in the bitzbox for the future), and shave away that one small piece of plastic from the inside of the torso’s cowling to allow the torso to accept different heads. You will also need to shave down the heads and helmets you use a bit, so they fit snugly into the recess, but it’s really not that complicated. Just check out my quick study for Sons of Horus Justaerin and Deathshroud-like Deathguard helmets here:

Justaerin WIP
Deathshroud WIP
It took me only a couple of minutes and some different helmets to make these, and I wasn’t really serious about the endeavour, either. On a related note, check out thamier’s excellent Justaerin based on the plastic Cataphractii to see where you can take these humble base models with a bit of work.

 

Regarding my own Cataphractii, however, it took another puzzle piece for things to finally fall into place: Fellow hobbyist weirdingway (yes, the guy with the amazing Navigators) sent me some leftovers from the AoS starter box Bloodreavers. And while I own a full set of – mostly – mint Bloodreavers myself, it was while playing around with those leftover heads, daggers and doodads that I realised that the Bloodreaver parts where perfect for adding some oomph to my Cataphractii!

And once I had that idea, I just started building. So let me show you the different models in the squad, one by one:

WE Cataphractii WIP (14)
WE Cataphractii WIP (13)
WE Cataphractii WIP (12)
This is actually the second Cataphractii Terminator I built, but the first model I want to show you, because the plan here was to incorporate several elements of that JB drawing shown above: The horsehair topknot was an auto-include, since it’s such an iconic piece of the Cataphractii design for me. After experimenting with various topknots and hair pieces, I ultimately decided to use the old horse tails from the WFB Empire Knights, both because I still had some of those lying around, but also because I rather like the volume and slightly stylised look of the hair. I realise that this part may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I really think the topknots do a pretty good job of recreating that vintage look.

I also wanted the pointy fingers on the power fist, at least on this one model, so I carefully spliced together the original Cataphractii arm with a CSM power first for that slightly more vicious look. As for the head, I experimented with a shaved down Grey Knights head for a while, and it ended up resembling the illustration rather closely. But then I found the option pictured above, which I liked even better, even though it doesn’t resemble the artwork: There’s just something brutal and menacing about that Bloodreaver head that really sells the character, if you ask me.

Speaking of Bloodreavers, another part of those models was added to the model, and it’s a part that would turn into a recurring element with the squad: A Bloodreaver dagger was added to the every model in the squad, and I think it really creates a nice bit of continuity. My idea for the 4th assault company’s background is that, even during the latter days of the Crusade, their identity as hunters had already begun to assert itself, so it only seems right that each of their Cataphractii veterans should bear an ornate flensing knife, right? At the same time, the daggers also subtly hint at the World Eaters growing allegiance to a new master, as their decorations feature touches of Khornate inconography here and there.

I am really happy with this guy, as he just has the lumbering, menacing look that I think is  just right for a World Eater in Cataphractii armour.

Now you already know this guy, as he was my first Cataphractii test model from a while ago. However, I have changed the pose back to its earlier version, as the “screaming at the heavens in rage” just never gets old, especially for a World Eater😉

WE Cataphractii WIP (10)
WE Cataphractii WIP (9)
WE Cataphractii WIP (11)
Since we last saw him, though, I’ve added a Bloodreaver dagger and a stylised daemon face belt buckle to him, and I think those elements provide just the right amount of flavour to seel him as a World Eater — the heavily scarred Bloodsecrator head helps as well, of course.

Knowing myself as well as I do, I was aware of the danger of just giving each of the Cataphractii some crazy combination of viciously barbed CC weapons (as I’ve done on my 40k Terminators). I forced myself not to indulge that urge, however, as I wanted to keep at least a bit of that more regimented, orderly 30k look. So I needed to stick to a more subdued weapons loadouts while also finding a way to make them look slightly more interesting. This next guy was an attempt at getting this right:

WE Cataphractii WIP (16)
WE Cataphractii WIP (15)
While he does use a fairly pedestrian bolter/chainfist combo, I made the chainfist look quite a bit more vicious by splicing in the blade of a CSM chainsword:

WE Cataphractii WIP (17)
Moreover, the scarred head, while originally just a placeholder, has really grown on me, as it adds another subtly feral element to the model.

Next in line was the Sergeant. I thought it would be cool if one model of the squad were to sport the classic “bunny ears” as a sign of a growing devotion to the war god. What’s more, the classic Khornate helmet crests have received some official 40k background: They are called the “Caedere Remissum” now and form a gladiatorial tradition from Angron’s “homeworld” Nuceria.

The sergeant was the obvious candidate for this element. I also gave him a slightly daemonic looking (Blood Warrior) pauldron as a test, although I think it works fairly well. Oh, and I recycled the leftover combi-bolter/melta from the Praetor for this model (we’ll be getting to the Praetor in another post, although let’s just say that he won’t be needing that combi-weapon anymore…):

WE Cataphractii WIP (19)

WE Cataphractii WIP (20)
My original plan was to exchange the sword for a chainaxe, but I really rather liked the elegant look of the weapon, mostly because it seems so very at odds with the lumbering brute wielding it.😉

Here’s a closer look at the headcrest and the right pauldron:

WE Cataphractii WIP (21)
The one thing I am not quite happy with yet is the position of the head: I realise that it should be turned towards the combi-weapon even more, but I have already shaved quite a bit of plastic from that Bloodreaver helmet in order to make it fit, and I am actually slightly afraid of ruining it for good…

All in all, I am pretty pleased with the sergeant, though.

And finally, the heavy weapons guy. This was arguably the hardest model to get right, mostly on account of the somewhat dopey looking leg pose. I also considered arming this guy with a Reaper autocannon for a while, but eventually went for the heavy flamer included with the kit due to, you know, that whole “Kill! Maim! Burn!” thing…

So here’s the model:

WE Cataphractii WIP (24)
WE Cataphractii WIP (23)
WE Cataphractii WIP (25)
The legs remain slightly awkward, but I tweaked the pose until I could live with it. Beyond that, it was mainly a question of adding some gladiatorial touches, such as the marauder shield on the flamer. I also chose a – pretty old – rebreather head, both because a flamer guy needs a rebreather and because I really like the head’s scarred look — it doesn’t photograph to well, unfortunately, due to the older plastic.

When I posted my first Cataphractii conversions on Dakka, fellow hobbyist Anvildude suggested – only half-jokingly, I suspect – adding an “axefist” to one of the models. Much fun was had by everyone involved, trying to figure out how such a weapon would even work, but in the end, I am always up for a little fun, and I also didn’t want to repeat myself too much with this squad. So here it is, an axefist:

WE Cataphractii WIP (26)

 

My overarching impression of the plastic Cataphractii kit is that it has a lot of potential, but it also needs quite a bit of work to produce models that are a bit more characterful than the stock versions. The kit also has some slightly strange idiosyncracies — some of the arms just seem decidedly too short for me. And some of the power fists are pretty terrible, to be honest. And there’s always the fact that we don’t get any arms that allow for easy modification into CC arms, that one measly power sword arm notwithstanding. In my opinion, they should have made the chainfist an optional power first upgrade and rather included some CC arms.

At the same time, there are things that the kit does incredibly well. Chief of all among these is the fact that the finished Cataphractii really end up looking like walking tanks to a much greater degree than any 40k Terminator: They seem like massive, lumbering brutes, which I think is a great match with their depiction in the background.

Ultimately, putting in some serious work to transform the squad into something a bit more original was really worth it. I am very happy with these guys, if I do say so myself:

World Eaters Cataphractii squad WIP
They are still recognisable as Cataphractii and Legiones Astartes warriors. They are brutal and vicious enough to read as World Eaters. Some subtle, Khornate influences are already in evidence, although they do not overpower the models. These guys are hopefully going to look great in white and blue! And they have the classic topknots — what’s not to like?😉

So yeah, so much for converting the Cataphractii from Betrayal at Calth into proper World Eaters. It goes without saying that I would love to hear any feedback you might have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Inquisitor 28: The Road Crew slowly takes shape…

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 6, 2016 by krautscientist

Today I would like to share some new models from one of my recent projects with you. You probably still remember the kitbashed pit slaves I created fairly recently, along with the first ideas for a small gang of escaped former slaves and mutants from the world of St- Sabasto’s Reach (and if not, you can always go back and read up on it all here😉 ). Anyway, here are the two gladiators I had when we last heard of this particular project:

Pitslaves (2)
I have begun to refer to this growing warband as “The Road Crew” in the back of my head for some reason. Maybe it’s because they do take a bit of an inspirations from settings like the one in Mad Max: Fury Road (as well as tangentially related settings from videogames like Fallout, Borderlands, or what have you). Maybe it’s the yellow reminding me of heavy duty construction engines? Or maybe I just like the sound of the name?

Now the next model in line for painting was this mutant brute based on the Bloodstoker from the Age of Sigmar starter box:

Mutant Overlord WIP (4)
I think you’ll agree with me that there’s a pretty obvious Mad Max vibe going on here, especially with regards to the facemask and trophy pole, right? Anyway, I painted the model, applying the recipe that had already proved fairly successful on the pit slaves.

Here’s the finished model, Tiny the Brute:

Mutant Overlord (2)
Mutant Overlord (3)
Mutant Overlord (4)

Mutant Overlord (6)
Now if you look at Tiny next to my recently completed pit slaves, you’ll see that there’s a common look and feel to the models, in spite of the new model being fairly different in nature:

Pitslaves (3)
I think the paintjob does play a fairly big part in drawing these models together into a cohesive whole, but there’s also a certain feeling of coherence beyond that. And that is really something I want to explore with this warband: a collection of models of different shapes, sizes and archetypes that still read as a fairly cohesive gang. I think I’ll be drawing lots of inspirations from classic Necromunda gangs, such as Goliaths, Pit slaves and Scavvies, but I would also like to blur the lines between those factions a bit: The hard divisions between the various gangs make lots of sense for a game like Necromunda, where you simply need several different factions. But there’s also enough overlap between the various gangs that a warband taking inspirations from several different sources should work out really well — and in any case, INQ28 is all about the grey areas and thus has little need for clearly defined borders, right?😉

So since I really wanted to take the idea of exploring different shapes and sizes for the various gang members further, I chose something even more extreme – in a way – for my next model:

Chopper WIP (1)
Chopper WIP (4)
A diminutive mutant wielding a huge evsicerator. The model was originally one of those “bonus gnoblars” you get with several of the Ogre Kingdoms kits. I love those guys, both because they are very characterful and because it’s fairly easy to convert them into something that seems right at home in the 40k universe: In this case, all it took was a hooded head from the AdMech Skitarii Rangers, a Khorne berzerker chainsword and some odd bitz and bobs.

Painting this guy was a fairly quick affair, yet the challenge was to make the recipe I already had in place work on a model that is very different from the hulking brutes I had painted so far. In the end, it came down to featuring enough of the yellow to serve as a visual tie-in. And I had cunningly added another armour plate to the model’s right shoulder beforehand to give myself an extra yellow area😉 Anyway, without further ado, heeere’s Chopper:

Chopper (2)
Chopper (1)
Chopper (3)
This has mainly been a quick and fun model, and I don’t really see him as a character with huge ramifications for any greater narrative, but I think he provides a nice extra bit of flavour to the warband and manages to move them beyond mere pit slave archetypes.

Funnily enough, Chopper has also managed to attract a bit of a fan club at various forums: DexterKong even mentioned his intent to put the small guy on a T-Shirt to wear at the gym. So if anyone wants to follow his lead, I whipped up a small T-Shirt design for your perusal:

Hereschopper02
A hires version of the image is, of course, available😉

So here’s a look at the models I have so far:

Pitslaves (5)
I am pretty happy with these guys, especially since they have come together so quickly and organically. I also think they look rather striking as a group — it must be the combination of deadly weapons and that bright yellow😉

One thing I have decided not to include on these models are hazard stripes, though, even though they might seem like a natural addition. This is something I decided right out of the gate, ecause I really wanted to suggest a slightly industrial look without overdoing it, and hazard stripes would just be that little bit too much. I also didn’t want these guy to look like Iron Warriors auxiliars😉

So what else is in store for the Road Crew? Well, I have already started building the next member, a former Tech-Priest, codenamed “Doc” for now, serving as medicae/mechanic/possible leader?! to the escaped slaves:

Doc WIP (4)

Doc WIP (5)

Doc WIP (3)
This was a slightly fiddly conversion, because I had to make the Ruststalker legs conform to the general shape outlined by the Skitarii Trenchcoat. It all worked our rather well in the end, however, and I rather like Doc’s tall, gaunt appearance.  The mostly organic face was also a very important (and conscious) choice, as it represents a certain amount of humanity, something we don’t see often in a member of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Somehow I really like the idea of a former Tech-Priest who rediscovered a part of his humanity in the slave pits of St. Sabasto’s Reach and went rogue as a consequence.

DexterKong also suggested this guy may be the Road Crew’s “bookie” as well as their mechanic, organising fights and assignments for the group to enable them to assemble the credits and tech to keep functioning as a fairly independent outfit. Anyway, it feels like this guy is definitely a keeper!

Maybe this twist witch doctor I built a while ago would also be an interesting addition to the gang:

Witch Doctor WIP
Now he may seem like a pretty odd fit at first glance, but keep in mind that I would really like to branch out into some more out there character types: I actually want to get a bit more visual variety into this warband, so that they don’t read as merely pit slaves or mutants, but as a coalition of escaped slaves, shady characters and lost men. I think a shamanistic twist witch doctor might just be the colourful touch I need for that. He could even be a follower of a particularly devolved and archaic variation of the Imperial Creed, with the Emperor as some kind of totem?! We’ll see…

One thing that I definitely want to add to the gang at some point is this:

PickUp WIP (1)

An old Gorkamorka trukk that I’ve had in my bitzbox for quite a while. The original plan was to use it for my Traitor Guard, but it seems far more appropriate in an INQ28/Necromunda setting. Plus it would be a cool asset to have for INQ28 games in general, once painted. So I tweaked the driver a bit, making him look suitably postapocalyptic:

PickUp WIP (2)
PickUp WIP (3)
The vehicle itself needs some more bitz and bobs – a bit of additional gear here and there, but nothing too drastic. I think much of the appeal will come from a suitably grimy and weathered paintjob.

I think these models would make for some rather neat additions and create just the kind of visual variety, different shapes, sizes and archeytpes I want for the Road Crew:

New members WIP

More than anything, though, these guys really are a fun diversion, and it’s pretty cool to just go with the flow and see where inspiration takes me. Of course it goes without saying that I would love to hear any ideas and feedback you might have, so just leave me a comment or a suggestion!

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

Pitslaves (4)

Corruption has never felt so good – a look at Deathwatch: Overkill

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2016 by krautscientist

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So here we are, at long last, with my look at Deathwatch: Overkill. Sorry for being so awfully late to this particular party, but I really had to force myself to sit down and create a suitably long writeup, especially given the huge amount of conversion potential inherent in these new kits. But I persevered, and here I am, probably the last person in the world to discuss this new board game release on their blog. I hope you’ll be taking a look, nevertheless😉

Say what you want about the constantly escalating scale and rules complexity of 40k or about GW’s somewhat aimless treatment of Age of Sigmar, but I cannot deny that GW has been steadily ticking boxes off my personal Most Wanted list for quite a while now: An 28mm Imperial Knight, check. More and better Khornate models, check. A fully fledged plastic AdMech release, check. Plastic Sisters,…no, wait, we haven’t seen those yet.

But possibly the only thing quite as interesting as a proper Sisters release is a new version of Genestealer Cults, and lo and behold: That’s exactly what we are getting with Deathwatch: Overkill, the latest boxed game by GW. Oh yeah, some Space Marines are also included, of course, but I suppose that’s a given😉

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So join me as I ponder the new models and their possible use in all kinds of conversion projects — in fact, several highly talented hobbyists are already hard at work, putting the new sprues through their paces, and it goes without saying that I’ll be pointing you towards their work as well. Also make sure to check out Heresy & Heroes` and Wudugast’s posts on the matter, as I enjoyed reading them and they should make excellent companion pieces for my take on the matter.

So here goes:

 

Team Deathwatch:

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You simply cannot have a Deathwatch centered game without a Deathwatch Killteam, obviously, and here we are. Now it’s of course perfectly obvious that this collection of models is a pretty shrewd move by GW, because what we are getting here, beyond the scope of the game at hand, is basically a collection of eleven custom Space Marine clamshell characters that would look great in any Astartes army. What’s more, there’s also a model for nearly every popular chapter, probably making this box an auto-purchase for Space Marine players while also giving rise to a healthy shadow economy of selling the different models on ebay.

But what of the models themselves? Let’s take a look at each member of Killteam Cassius in turn:

 

Ortan Cassius:

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Well, what do you know: It’s a great little surprise to encounter a younger version of one of the Ultramarines’ special characters, dating back to before he fell, head-first, into the meatgrinder known as Hivefleet Behemoth — or it was a surprise for me, at least, because I didn’t follow BL’s string of Deathwatch related short stories. But let’s talk about the model:

The obvious thing is to check for parallels to the older version of the character, and it’s nice to see how quite a few parts of the model create a nice sense of continuity: The general design of the armour, the crocius, the book at the hip. What I really like is how some of Cassius’ equipment yet seems free of the Tyrannic influence: the book of prayers will end up bound in Tyranid hide, and his crocius will one day be crowned with a winged Tyranid skull. But his is a younger version of him, so his equipment is still more generically imperial — a good thing for once😉

I also like the model’s powerful pose, and even though it’s fairly static, the flowing seals and dangling chain create a nice, subtle sense of dynamism.

All in all, Cassius is a worthy leader of the Killteam and also, arguably, a much better chaplain model than the one included in the Reclusiam Command Squad.

 

Drenn Redblade:

Deathwatch Overkill release

Drenn seems like the archetypal Space Wolves Blood Claw: Running forward? Check. Bareheaded? Check. Mohawk? Check. But there’s an elegance to the model that I really appreciate: The running pose is well done, but I especially like the way the sculptors have treated Drenn’s gear: The underslung bolter with the strap running across the model’s chest, the empty scabbard for the combat knife — stuff like that. I realise that many people are unhappy with the unsubtle “Vikings in Space” look of the 40k Space Wolves, but while Drenn shows all the hallmarks of modern SW design (the pelt, the runes, the totemic doodads), there’s also an air of restraint and focus about the model that has been pulled off rather beautifully — easily one of my favourite Astartes from this box!

 

Jensus Natorian:

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Jenus is the first plastic Blood Ravens model we get, so hooray for that! Beyond that, he’s a fairly standard Librarian model. I like the implementation of his heraldry, but his face seems a bit too “generic angry dude 101” for my taste. A solid model, certainly, but no match for the awesome, bearded clamshell Libarian, if you ask me.

 

Garran Branatar:

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Am I the only one reminded of Pat Benatar by that name? Anyway, the model: The inclusion of a Terminator certainly makes for a nice change of pace — unfortunately, the model itself is a bit underwhelming, though, especially the somewhat generic pose. Space Hulk really showed us how to make loyalist Terminators look great and imbue them with lots of character, even with their helmets on, but Brother Branatar seemingly never got the memo. I also think the heavy flamer/melta combo seems a bit iffy, although I realise that it’s probably a Salamanders thing. Speaking of which: FW’s Firedrakes are some of the cooler legion-specific Terminators, and I guess I would have liked GW to have taken a few more design cues from them instead of going for an – ultimately fairly generic – set of Indomitus Pattern Terminator armour.

 

Jetek Suberei:

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Another standout model in that the character comes with a bike, being a White Scar and all. But while the idea is cool enough, it’s all a bit much really: The bike, the gear, the topknot and the cyber eagle. It feels like the model is just trying to do too much at once, where a bit more restraint would have been the better way to go, in my opinion — in fact, this is an ongoing tendency for some of the Deathwatch models from the box (and also one or two of the Genestealer pieces).

It’s not all bad, however: I really like the sabre with its scabbard and the hybrid head trophy! And I am pretty sure that Brother Suberei would make for an excellent Khan. He just seems a bit OTT for a Deathwatch Killteam.

 

Edryc Setorax:

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Raven Guard models often oscillate between badass and silly, and it’s good to see Brother Edryc fall into the former camp. While the pose seems, once again, slightly awkwardly balanced between landing and jumping (it seems like GW’s sculptors have some issues with jumping/flying models…), there are some touches that are really well executed: The more beaklike design of the Mk VI helmet, complete with nostrils, really works for once.  The lightning claws have just the right curvature to make them suitably sinister and menacing. And the spiked toecaps are a very nice touch. All in all, certainly one of the stronger models from Team Deathwatch!

 

Vael Donatus:

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A very iconic Ultramarine, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing, especially if it’s as well executed as here: strong pose, very good detail, looking suitably different from the other Ultramarine in the box. Vael Donatus seems like the quintessential Space Marine, really, and I rather like that quality. I also think he would look absolutely terrific in Ultramarines colours°

 

Zameon Gydrael:

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A nice enough model, but not that different from what is already available (or convertable) from existing Dark Angels bitz, which makes this character a bit of a letdown. The way the belt is picking up the model’s motion is a nice touch, and he instantly reads as a Dark Angel, but he really doesn’t bring anything new to the table. Solid enough, but not really all that special.

 

Antor Delassio:

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Also pretty similar to models you can already create from existing Blood Angels bitz, but the face really saves the day here, as it’s more delicate than your usual, broad-featured Astartes mug — something that not even the other available BA heads have managed to pull off so far.

That bit of plumbing serving as the attachment point betweeen the model and the base does seem a bit silly, though. Why not use a nice, chunky rock? And I am also wondering whether the left arm would work far better rotated outward by a few degrees. All in all, however, Brother Delassio boasts enough cool touches to make him one of the better models from the box.

 

Rodicus Grytt:

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The gun is fairly close to looking helplesly OTT. That helmet is excellent, though, providing exactly the right sense of knightly armour. I expect this guy to look great if painted in Imperial Fist colours. the head arguably works even better on true scale models, as the slightly bigger scale gives it a bit more room to breathe. I also like the subtle Devastator touches on the armour and the inclusion of a targeting servo-skull.

 

Ennox Sorrlock:

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Easily one of my favourite Space Marines from the kit, mostly because he adds some really nice elements to the – very small – pool of possible Iron Hands bitz: The face and backpack, in particular, are excellent, and we also finally get a plastic bionic leg — yay! All of that makes for a model that looks at once heavily augmented and suitably implacable. Very nice!

 

All in all, the aim with these models seem to have been to create models that were archetypal avatars of their respective chapters — and by and large, this objective has been accomplished rather successfully. At the same time, however, this seems to make the group somewhat less coherent, beyond the common colour of their armour. Compare Space Hulk to see how a squad (of Terminators, no less!) can be made to look coherent and effective as a collection, while also having each of its members read as an individual in their own right. Granted, all of those Terminators belong to the same chapter, which must have made things a bit easier. But the fact remains that the Deathwatch Marines do seem a bit too much like solo artists where a band would be required.

Oh, and before we move on, let’s not forget the inclusion of a servo-skull and teleport marker! Even though both of these elements seem to be slightly touched-up versions of earlier bitz, it’s still a nice bonus and something I would love to see more often!

 

 

Team Broodkin:

 

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Now these guys are the real starts of the show, and have certainly been highly anticipated by many hobbyists, myself included: The concept of Genestealer Cults has always been one of the more interesting parts of 40k lore for me, especially since it moves the Genestealers a bit beyond their, very obvious, Xenomorph inspirations by creating something that is arguably even more disturbing: The idea of aliens not only invading human society, but of also interbreeding with our species with horrific results. This part of the background had seemingly been dropped by GW, so it’s a fantastic surprise to see it return with aplomb! So let’s take a closer look at the members of Team Broodkin:

 

Genestealer Patriarch:

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First of all, I am actually glad to see that GW has moved away from the old concept of a Patriarch that’s bloated to the point of immobility. Sure, the old models had a grotesque charm, but the Patriarch should work more as an “end boss”, if anything, and the new model is much better suited to that function. There are also some parts of the model that I really love, such as the mean and grotesque face and head and the way some nameless alien …residue has been used to coat those skulls on the base in a coat of vile mucus:

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I do think, however, that the Patriarch falls victim to the aforementioned problem of trying to do too much at once: Trying to have him mimick the design of the cult’s wyrm seal in silhouette is a very clever idea, but it also means that quite a few elements have to be crammed together in very little space: That stinger (or ovipositor, possibly?), for instance, is a cool idea in and of itself, but it does look pretty awkward, wedged in there between the model’s legs and the ventilation shaft the Patriarch is standing on. And those dorsal spines are just a bit much, aren’t they?

What’s more, if you ask me, GW already had a pretty much perfect template for an eventual Genestealer Patriarch on their hands. This guy:

Space Hulk Broodlord

The Space Hulk Broodlord gets it all right, in my opinion: The pose is fantastic, creating a sense of menace and malice, but also one of alien elegance and lethal mobility. This guy already looked like a perfect Patriarch for me even before Genestealer Cults were, once again, a thing.

And GW must have agreed with me, because they used the basic design template to come up with this guy, the Spawn of Cryptus:

Tyranid Release 2014 (27)But you know what? The added tweaks and details actually watered down the excellence of the initial model instead of adding to it. So the Spawn of Cryptus ended up being a pretty cool model, but arguably inferior to its predecessor.

And, unfortunately enough, the designers seem to have used the Spawn of Cryptus, in turn, as a template for the Patriarch, adding yet more stuff on top. And I just wish they had gone back to the original Space Hulk Broodlord for inspiration, cutting out the middle man, so to speak.

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As it stands, the Patriarch is still a suitably massive and monstrous model, but it lacks some of the finess of the Broodlord and could have profited from just a tad more restraint.

 

Genestealer Magus:

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Confession time: For me, the classic Genestealer Magus from the early 90s is easily one of GW’s all time greats. Just take a look at this picture, taken from the 2nd edition rulebook’s colour section:

Classic Genestealer Magus

Now, slightly tacky retro paintjob notwithstanding, this model just does so much right: It’s diminutive in stature and has a fairly static pose, yet it excudes a palpable sense of menace and alien power. I love the quasi-organic shapes of its armour, especially the high collar. And the face is just something to behold: Those slightly alien features that could never quite pass for human upon closer inspection. That subtle scowl. He knows things, this guy.

Now GW’s sculptors must have known they already had solid gold on their hands with this design, because they simply emulated most of it for the modern incarnation:

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The armour shape, flowing robes, staff and alien head — all of that is still there, nicely updated to the current design standard. Along the way, the Magus became quite a bit taller, but I don’t really mind — I like my centre piece models with a bit of stature. I also really like the way the stole adds another layer to the Magus’ clothing, while managing to incorporate some more cult imagery   — very nice!

If I do have one minor quibble about the model, it’s the head: It just doesn’t match the older version’s quiet malevolence. The main reason for this is that they slipped up and made it look too angry and shouty (why does he need to shout in the first place? Doesn’t he communicate with the brood through some kind of psychic link?) I think much of the original Magus’ impact came from that inscrutable facial expression, and the new version unfortunately falters in this small – but crucial – way. I also feel the head could have been recessed into the collar a bit more, although the converter in me thinks that it’s good that we won’t have to painstakingly dig it out. Anyway, it’s a problem that should be easy enough to rectify by replacing the head with a less shouty one from one of the 3rd/4th generation hybrids, I suppose?

The model is still excellent, though, all the more so because its one disadvantage should be easy enough to get rid of.

 

Familiars:

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The Broodkin get some bonus models as well, and they are even brand new sculpts. Now granted, those familiars do seem ever so slightly awkward and silly (especially the one on the left), but they are also a delicious reminder of the yesteryear, when there were lots of strange little models and familiars like that. An awesome little bonus! And if all else fails, they could make for excellent, subtly disturbing statues when painted in suitable colours, especially the crouching guy on the right.

 

Genestealer Primus:

Deathwatch Overkill release (23)I really like the idea of expanding the various types of hybrids beyond the already established phenotypes, so the Genestealer Primus is a very interesting addition! Although I do have to say that, in the context of the game, this guy seems a bit undecided as to what he wants to be: He’s not quite human enough to blend in with the populace, but also not quite alien enough to work as a killing machine like the Patriarch or the purestrains. And the face is, once again, arguably the model’s weakest point, failing to capture that (admittedly very tiny) sweet spot between believably human and subtly alien (I do like the tube feeding into the model’s nostril, though).

That’s not really that much of a problem, though, as there are so many cool parts about the model: I love the clawed (and augmented) left hand! We finally get a plastic needle pistol! And I think it’s easy to see why the body will become *very* popular with converters — in fact, half a dozen of my fellow Ammobunker forumites are busy cutting up this guy as I write this. And to wit, I already have one of these coming in the post😉

So while I don’t see this guy as a hugely relevant addition to the Genestealer lore, the model is a godsend for converters! One last thing, though: Let me take a moment to share my thoughts about those alien daggers we see on the hybrids: They…do not make a whole lot of sense, do they? At least not when you think about them: Are they manufactured? That seems like a bit too much work for a mere CC weapon, especially when you’ve got a set of scything claws hidden under your mackintosh, right? Are they organic? Do the hybrids grow these as separate weapons? But that would run counter to the whole Tyranid concept? Or do they, I don’t know, break them off bigger organisms that we have yet to see? The mind boggles…

Probably best not to think about this stuff too closely, however. They do look awesome, and that’s good enough for me😉

 

Purestrain Genestealers:

Now these guys don’t really get much coverage, to the point that the GW homepage doesn’t even feature any pictures of them, but we do get two purestrain Genestealers with the kit. But that’s possibly due to the fact that they are mostly the standard Genestealers we already know. A small voice in the back of my head says they should have taken the effort to give us bigger, “true scale” Genestealers for this game, to really make them look like the Apex Predators they are presented as, easily able to take out a Space Marine, even if the latter is wearing Terminator armour. But that’s well beyond the scope of this game, especially since we already get so many original sculpts in the box. So let me mention one small detail I like: Both models have been outfitted with hideous, Xenomorph-like ovipositors — a very nice and fitting touch, given the setting of the game!

 

Genestealer Aberrants:

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I was really excited about the inclusion of these guys, because, like I said, it always felt like it would be interesting to explore more possible variations of the hybrid concept, beyond the tried and true generations we already saw in the old fluff. GW seems to have decided to do just that, giving us hulking, malformed brutes that seem quite a bit less genetically stable than their smaller brethren, just like the  kind of unforeseeable half-breed you would probably end up with, were you to wildly tamper with human and Xenos genetics.

And in spite of their rather mono-pose nature, i really like these guys: They are hulking and overmuscled and lopsided and make for a stunning visual contrast among the smaller, more human cultists. Plus they bring back the concept of working with rather striking silhouettes:

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All in all, these are a fun little addition, and I would love GW to experiment with further Genestealer hybrid types (what about lithe, almost daeonette-like female hybrids? Just saying…)

 

Acolyte Hybrids:

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Now here’s where the real fun begins, as the various hybrids are easily the most exciting part of the release for me.
All of the hybrids so a perfect job of recreating the strangely organic shape of the classic models’ armour while also giving it a somewhat believable context: It’s miners’ equipment, complete with lamps and rebreathers, and while it will make the hybrids useful far beyond their original function, it also really beautifully approximated the older design.

The Acolyte Hybrids are the more bestial members of the Brood, looking like a missing link between humans and purestrains. I like the subtle progression between the 1st and 2nd generations: They look very similar when seen from afar, but upon closer inspection, subtle differences become visible. It’s a tough and delicate look to get right, but these really succeed at capturing the look of breeding out certain alien characteristics over the generations.

I only have two, very minor, quibbles with these: One thing I really loved about the classic metal hybrids was how puny some of them looked, with seemingly atrophied claws hidden under their tattered robes. By comparison, the new models seem almost too formidable and monstrous — but then, they arguably make a better fit as dangerous, lethal combattants, so it’s all okay (I can always build my own, pathetic hybrids using Crypt Ghouls, Flagellants, Plague Monks or what have you).

Deathwatch Overkill release (29)The second problem is that they are slightly too uniform for my taste, with the same number of limbs appearing in the same configuration on too many models — this should be really easy to remedy, however, by cutting off and reattaching some limbs for greater variety.

All in all, the hybrids are excellent redesigns of the older versions, taking all the right ideas from the classic models and bringing them into the 21st century.

 

Neophyte Hybrids:

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And finally, arguably the best models to come out of this boxed game: The 3rd/4th generation hybrids brilliantly continue the trend of becoming gradually more human, and its their humanity that makes them into such fantastic and versatile models — but all in good order.

First of all, this is one of the few cases where the classic models were really rather terrible: The almost human hybrids of the yesteryear ended up looking pretty silly and hideous, and in all the wrong ways. The modern versions are far more subtle: These guys could really pass for humans…almost.

I also really like the way their miner’s gear and ribbed armour plates hint at their darker nature, in spite of having a perfectly plausible in-universe explanation.

Possibly the best single model is the guy with the glasses:

Deathwatch Overkill release (32)Now for all intents and purposes, he looks perfectly human and could be used as such. But that’s the beauty of the piece: Place him among his more openly alien brethren, and he becomes one of them, by virtue of a common visual heritage. But remove him from that context, and he could become a voidfarer, a miner, or any other human archetype. I also think that head is one of the best faces produced by GW — Eat your heart out, clunky metal Delaques!😉

At the other end of the spectrum comes this, rather heavily mutated, heavy weapons guy: Good thing he has that third arm, eh?😉

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To have a collection of models with so much variety yet also such an unified look is nothing short of a brilliant accomplishment. The restraint and subtly evident in these models is something so very rare in recent GW releases that it really needs to be pointed out: This is brilliant stuff!

And possibly the best thing is how freaking many of these guys we get in the box — trust me, converters all around the world are going to have a field day with these. But we’ll be getting to that in a minute!

 

In closing, let me talk about the paintjob GW chose for the official models: In my opinion, ‘Eavy Metal knocked it out of the park with regards to the hybrids’ clothing: The colour of the armour and fatigues are just perfect, evoking the design and colour of the spaceships and props from the Alien series — which seems extremely apt, for obvious reasons. It’s a brilliant little shout out, and one that is far more subtle and delicious than the very overt Giger-influences exhibited by the Genestealers.

There’s also a part of the paintjobs, however, that I am not all that happy with, and that’s the way the actual Genestealers (and Genestealer body parts) have been painted: Now I am pretty sure that we all have a certain fondness for the classic blue and purple Genestealer paint scheme — but it’s really rather a nostalgia thing, and I think those colours just seem a bit too outlandish for alien creatures nestled at the heart of human society. Since the Tyranids so obviously take design cues from Giger, I think they would work far better when painted in a more restrained, organic and ultimately disturbing palette, in order to reproduce some of the Xenomorph’s creepiness. Take, for instance, Stephen Flack’s Genestealer scheme here. I think that’s what modern Genestealers should look like! It’s funny that the ‘Eavy Metal painter seem to have adapted the Alien look so readily when painting the models’ clothes, but have shied away from it on, you know, the actual aliens.

I like this approach much better, and if (when) I am starting my own Hybrid warband, I think I’ll be trying something more along those lines. And even before that, I would really love to see someone take the new models along a more realistic route, such as this.

On a semi-related note, painting the Magus’ robe red seems like such a strange idea — Thraxas of Turai’s approach here shows how the Magus will arguably look quite a bit cooler when painted closer to the “classic” colour scheme for once.

 

All in all, the box certainly provides us with a huge pile of brilliant models! The Broodkin are a fantastic reimagining of the earlier sculpts, a few very minor slipups notwithstanding, and easily one of the best surprises in a long time. If anything, the Space Marines seem a bit lacking by comparison, mostly because GW seems to be going through the motions a bit when designing Astartes these days. Make no mistake, some of those models are very nice, and even the worse ones are still more than solid. But compared to the sheer brilliance of those Genestealer sculpts, they just seem a bit uninspired.

 

Conversion options

 

Okay, so much for the models, but what about the possible conversions? Allow me to share some ideas and to point you towards some particularly interesting examples:

Deathwatch:

Now this is the easy part, as the various models will certainly be useable for all kinds of Space Marine projects, especially with a bit of deft cutting: It seems to be easy enough to remove most Deathwatch trappings, turning these into characters for their respective chapters (or, at the very least, Deathwatch veterans). By the same token, it should also be easy enough to turn most of the models to members of different chapters, successor chapters or what have you. And of course some of those helmets, weapons etc. will certainly become sought after conversion bitz: The IF helmet, the IH augmented head — the list goes on.

On the other hand, some of those Deathwatch bitz would of course be perfect for any kind of Deathwatch project moving beyond the chapters included in the game — or even beyond the scale of the models. For instance, Commissar Molotov is making excellent use of the various Deathwatch bitz for his true scale Deathwatch, and some of those bitz really shine when used at the slightly bigger scale.

One of the Space Marines’ biggest strength is the compatibility of their various kits — and even their clamshell characters. So as long as you’re careful and use a sharp knife, those new models should provide you with lots of options, if you’re a Space Marines player.

 

Broodkin:

Here’s where the  conversion fun really begins, as most of the Broodkin models could be used for several different projects, armies and warbands. Just off the top of my head…

Genestealer Patriarch:

Well, who am I kidding: He’ll always look like a massive Tyrandi/Genesealer monster. That said, he’d obviously make for a pretty cool Broodlord in a Tyranid army — or for a great “boss monster” in games of INQ28 and Necromunda. Moving on…

Genestealer Magus:

This guy is quite a bit more versatile. Personally, I’d try to give him a less shouty head and he would be perfect. But even beyond Genestealer cults, he could be turned into all kinds of characters with a bit of work: A Navigator or Astropath? A radical Inquisitor? A renegade psyker or Chaos Sorcerer? It all seems quite feasible to me!

Genestealer Primus:

Like I said, the INQ28 scene is already in love with this guy. And rightly so, for he’s a great base model for all kinds of possible characters, among them…

  • Inquisitors, especially for the Ordo Xenos
  • Chaos Demagogues or cultist leaders
  • a Magos Explorator of the Adeptus Mechanicus
  • a slightly more militaristic Navigator

Aberrants:

I think it should really be easy enough to get rid of their obvious Genestealer characteristics and turn them into big Mutants, Scalies or Traitor Ogryns.

1st & 2nd Generation Hybrids:

It would take a bit of work, but I think these would make for excellent mutants, Scavvies or particularly downtrodden Traitor Guard soldiers.

3rd & 4th generation Hybrids:

And finally, these may just be some of the most versatile human-sized models ever released by GW, easily on par with the Dark Vengeance cultists! Depending on which bitz you use, these could become…

  • Imperial working crews or miners
  • voidfarers, naval crews or crewmen of a Rogue Trader’s vessel
  • all kinds of cultists or Traitor Guard
  • Tech Gangers (or alternate Delaque Gangers for Necromunda — just use Skitarii trenchcoats and you’re set😉 )
  • Members of an explorator team, hive delvers, maintenance workers or all kinds of underhive adventurers
  • members of a Navigator’s retinue — their somewhat astronaut-like clothing would work really well for that!
  • members of an Astra Militarum regiment or a planetary defense force

And all of those ideas have only taken me five minutes to come up with. In fact, I would argue that, between the Skitarii, Genestealer Hybrids, Dark Vengeance Cultists and Tempestus Scions, we now basically have the perfect toolkit for making every kind of grimdark soldier/explorer/footman at our fingertips. For starters, check out the following projects:

And it goes without saying that I cannot wait for weirdingway to start using the new models for his Navigator House Merz-Itano. That’s going to be brilliant, trust me!:)

 

So yeah, this is really a rather brilliant kit and a fantastic way of revitalising a part of the lore that we had thought permanently eliminated. As far as I am concerned, they could even have dropped the Space Mariens from the deal — but that just shows my excitement for the new Broodkin models. It seems like GW’s designers are always at their very best when coming completely out of the left field. And the subtlty of the hybrids is certainly something that some of the future kits (especially for Age of Sigmar) would do well to emulate!

So what are your thoughts on the new models? And do you have any crazy conversion ideas to share? I would love to hear your feedback in the comments!

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

Greetings from the pit…

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Fluff, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 10, 2016 by krautscientist

So, yet another round of fresh INQ28 models this week — I just cannot help myself, and I know far better than to second guess any motivation I might have for painting stuff. Next week, we’ll finally be taking a closer look at the models from Deathwatch:Overkill, in case you were wondering, but such review posts take a lot of time and work to complete, and at least for the time being, I would rather use this energy to actually create something new and not to merely write about models😉

So anyway, one thing that I have wanted to do ever since I saw Bruticus’ brilliant pit slave gang last year was to build a pit slave or two of my own. A recent conversion by Legatho taught me that the combination of an Age of Sigmar Bloodreaver and a Skitarii Vanguard head would be a terrific mix to start the project, so I grabbed a Bloodreaver body, carefully shaved off all the chaotic and Khornate runes (HERESY!) and tried my best. But the model just refused to come together for some reason, and so the parts landed on my desktop, glowering at me accusingly every now and then — at least that’s what it felt like.

The project wasn’t kickstarted back into life until I started messing around with some of the – brilliantly crude – bionic limbs from the Ork Nobz kit, but when I discovered a brutal looking bionic harpoon arm among those bitz, I knew I had found the missing piece for that pit slave gladiator. And just a short while later, I had a finished conversion. Take a look:

Pitslave WIP (5)
Pitslave WIP (2)
Pitslave WIP (4)
Pitslave WIP (3)
The crude bionic arm really sells the model, if you ask me. And the Skitarii Vanguard helmet adds a sinister, quasi-robotic look that seems really fitting for a heavily augmented killing machine. For the pit slave’s right hand, I chose a standard CSM chainsword that was made quite a bit more spiky and hideous by making a few small tweaks. I also added some of the Ork armour plate and some tech-y bitz that I had shaved off from some Skitarii backpacks. Those latter parts were used to disguise the areas where I had had to shave off chaotic detailing from the original Bloodreaver model.

When it came to painting the model, I went for a main colour that I don’t use all that often: a very strong industrial yellow for the various armour plates and bionics. My reasons for choosing the approach was that I wanted the armour and augmetics to slightly recall heavy duty construction machines. Plus I thought that the gladiators in the fighting pits would go for bold colours to serve as some kind of “stage outfit”, so to speak. I did add several layers of scratches and sponge weathering, though, to make the yellow parts look suitably grimy and damaged.

So here’s the finished pit slave model. I give you Grimspyke “the Impaler”, former champion in the fighting pits of St. Sabasto’s Reach:

Pitslave Gladiator Grimspyke (1)
Pitslave Gladiator Grimspyke (2)
Pitslave Gladiator Grimspyke (4)
Pitslave Gladiator Grimspyke (3)
All in all, I am really rather happy with the finished model: Grimspyke looks suitably gladiatorial, but there’s also an Imperial underhive angle about him that removes him from his roots as a Khornate model.  In fact, I was so happy with the model that I almost instantly started converting another gladiator. Go figure…

This time, the inspiration I chose was one of my favourite classic Inquisitor models: Arco-flagellant Gryx from Phil Kelly’s seminal warband for Inquisitor Lichtenstein:

warband built and painted by Phil Kelly

warband built and painted by Phil Kelly

Back when Phil wrote about this warband in White Dwarf, he said that Gryx had been inspired by Judge Dredd’s Mean Machine — and even though I actually experimented with several different versions of my own conversion, I wasn’t happy until I had decided to recreate the one-armed look. Here’s the conversion I came up with:

2nd Pitslave WIP (1)
2nd Pitslave WIP (2)
2nd Pitslave WIP (3)
As you can see, a Bloodreaver from the AoS starter box forms the base of the conversion once again. I chose a massive Ork power claw for the right arm and cut off most of the left arm so it ended up looking like an augmetic stump where a bionic arm may once have existed. I wanted this model to explore the slightly grotesque – and ultimately rather sad – angle about pit slaves: that they are crudely augmented to serve as tools or fighting machines, divorced from their humanity and turned into misshapen creatures. This is also the reason I chose a more human head (originally from the Space Marine Scout Bikers, I believe). All in all, the model looks lumbering and lopsided, with an overmuscled look to its right side — exactly the effect I had intended.

I chose the same recipe for painting this guy that I had already used on my first pit slaves — these guys might actually end up in a warband together at some point…

So here’s the second pit slave: “Crusher” Vex, also known as “Old Man Claw”:

Pitslave Crusher Vex (2)
Pitslave Crusher Vex (4)
Pitslave Crusher Vex (3)
Something that doesn’t show well in most of the pictures is that I have added some greying fuzz to Crusher’s head:

Pitslave Crusher Vex (5)
I wanted to show that he’s a rather old guy, and definitely well past his prime as a pitfighter.

And here are the two gladiators together:

Pitslaves (1)
“The championship match between Grimspyke and Crusher Vex? One for the ages, that was! I’ll never forget when Grimspyke took Crusher’s arm clean off during the fifth bout!”

“Shug” Holn, Sector 2 Habber

 

For now, these are mostly a fun little diversion. But I do like the idea of spinning these off into their won little warband at some point. I don’t even see these as members of a simple pit slave gang, either, but rather as a crew of former pit slaves, mutants, workers and other malcontents. In fact, they would work great asa warband hailing from the world of St. Sabasto’s Reach that DexterKong and I invented for the Velsen Sector. Here’s the outline for the planet that I wrote a while ago:

St. Sabasto’s Reach

An extremely rich hive world grown fat and depraved through slave trade and the exploitation of its mutant lower class.

The world originally earned its name when the Imperial Saint Sabasto rested here after his great victory on the fields of Belzifer, before engaging in the last stage of his holy crusade for the defense of Velsen against the forces of the Arch-enemy. While Sabasto’s crusade army was still magnificent at this point, it had also suffered heavy losses (a fact, it is argued by some contemporary Velsian historians, that conrtibuted to Sabasto’s eventual defeat within the Veil of Impurity).

When the Saint contemplated the price in blood paid for the reclamation of Velsen, he decreed that the entire world of St. Sabasto’s Reach would be given to the orphans of the slain and that the Imperium would see to it that the children of martyrs would never need to go hungry. This spurred the planetary populace into religious fervor, and countless orphanages and scholae were opened in the saint’s name, earning the world bynames like “The Planet of Orphans” or “The Orphans’ Cradle”.

However, with a slow decline in piety and a general economic recession, many of the world’s orphanages have had to close over the centuries, while others have turned to a far darker trade, giving the world’s epithet a new, sinister meaning. It is true that Imperial organisations like the Schola Progenium, the Ecclesiarchy and even the Inquisition still maintain a presence on St. Sabasto’s Reach and recruit from the ranks of the homeless orphans, choosing the most talented or devout to serve in their respective organisations. And in the deeper levels of the world’s hives, missions and orphanages still offer a real, if meagre, chance for survival to this day. Yet that is only one face of St. Sabasto’s Reach. For at the same time, the world has also become the biggest fleshmarket in the entire Velsen Sector, providing human resources in a very literal sense, from mutant workers to household servants. Moreover, it is rumoured that there exists a slave for every kind of service in the almshouses and slave pits of St. Sabasto’s Reach, and the masters of the world have long prided themselves on being able to cater to every taste and desire, no matter how “eccentric” it may be.

Another mainstay of the world’s culture, the countless circuses and fighting arenas, are also fueled by a constant influx of “material” from the slave pits. At one point, the world’s renowned Circus Imperialis served as a front for a cult of chaos worshippers and was purged by the hand of Inquisitor Antrecht. But even after this upheaval, the remaining slavelords and ringmasters of St. Sabasto’s Reach quickly regained their step, slightly realigning themselves in the resulting power struggle and carving out a new pecking order among themselves. Because the Inquisition’s issue was never with the slave trade itself, but with the presence of heretics, and so the House of Blossoms, the Angelflesh Lodge and countless other establishments like them continue to ply their dark trade to this day…

 

I think a group of former slaves would be an interesting concept, plus it would allow for all kinds of different character types, including pitslaves, mutants, workers and some more exotic members. I don’t consider this a high priority project at the moment, but it’s still a fun diversion. In fact, this mutant overlord that I built recently, using the Bloodstoker from the AoS starter box would also make for a great member of that particular warband:

Mutant Overlord WIP (4)
Mutant Overlord WIP (2)
Mutant Overlord WIP (3)
As it happens, the Ork Nobz kit provided the final missing piece for this model as well: a crude trophy pole that looks great on the mutant’s back:

Mutant Overlord WIP (4)
I am normally *very* reluctant about adding back banners or trophy poles to models, because they end up looking very silly more often than not, messing up the model’s silhouette. But I thought this guy needed that precise pole ever since I started building him, and I like it a lot. It also has the added benefit of adding another layer to the model, so to speak, as the base model is surprisingly two-dimensional.

Anyway, I think this could become a rather interesting project somewhere down the line! Keep your eyes peeled!😉

For now, I am happy enough with my first two pit slaves, though:

Pitslaves (2)
Let me know what you think! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Inquisitor 28: Can’t stop!

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Fluff, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 1, 2016 by krautscientist

More INQ28-related work this week, which may or may not be good news for you, depending on what it is you want from this blog😉 But I really can’t help it, I seem to be on a bit of a roll when it comes to INQ28 lately, in spite of everything, so I guess you’ll just have to indulge me.

There are two projects I would like to share with you today, and the first is basically a further exploration of the things I talked about in my previous post, that is the idea of exploring INQ28 characters by building retainers and familiars to further their background. Hot off my recent work on Inquisitor Gotthardt’s retinue, I focused my attention on this gentleman here, Praetor Janus Auriga of the Golden Legion, my first true scale Marine:

Praetor Janus Auriga (13)
I am still tremedously pleased with the model, but there were still a couple of loose ends for me to tie up: Shortly after completing the original conversion, I came up with two retainers for Janus Auriga, creating something like a “mini-warband” of sorts.

The first of those was a converted chapter serf carrying Praetor Auriga’s helmet:

Chapter Serf
This model was originally created for a fairly mundane reason: I had a nice helmet for my true scale Marine, but I also definitely wanted the model to be bare headed. Of course I could have just glued the helmet to the model’s belt, but building a chapter serf for the task of carrying the helmet just seemed like such a great way of channelling the medieval nature of the Space Marines, so I just went for it. You also don’t usually see too many chapter serfs in model for, so there was that, too.

Afterwards, ing simply fell into place: I still had a cherub carrying a bolter back from when Codex: Witchhunters was originally released. My cousin Andy gave the model to me a while ago:

Bolter_Cherub
And while the sculpt is not without its problems, this little guy just seemed like the perfect addition to Brother Auriga’s small retinue: One servant to carry the helmet, one to carry the bolter — ideal, really! So I merely rebased the cherub, and he was ready for painting.

Bolter Cherub WIP (1)

What I ended up with was a rather characterful little group, if I do say so myself:

Brother Sergeant Auriga and Retainers WIP
And in addition to giving up a very strong 40k vibe, the two retainers also contextualise the Astartes, making him seem even more massive and monstrous.

So with my recent success while working on some older models for Inquisitor Gotthardt’s retinue, I felt it was finally time to return to Brother Auriga’s servants and finally complete them.

First up, the chapter serf. Here’s a PIP shot:

Golden Legion Chapter Serf PIP (1)
It was clear from the start that the helmet would be painted to match the Praetor’s armour. So in order to really make the helmet stand out as the priceless chapter relic it probably is, I had to paint the chapter serf in mostly drab, earthen tones, so as not to make him to overwhelming from a visual perspective. This proved to be an interesting challenge, because while I did want the model to clearly read as a servant and chapter menial, I also didn’t want the character to come across as (too) filthy and downtrodden, because while that would certainly have highlighted the whole medieval angle about him, it would also have felt somewhat unsuitable for a Space Marine chapter, even a rather archaic one. What’s more, while this guy may be a mere menial for the chapter, his task is still an important one, and he takes pride in it (I am actually feeling reminded of the Bright Carvers from Gormenghast, if that makes any sense).

I also realised that I would need something beyond the helmet to suggest the model’s affiliation with the Golden Legion chapter, and golden armour was out of the question, for fairly obvious reasons. Hence the inclusion of a small heraldic plate featuring the Golden Legion’s trademark black and white checkerboard pattern (that also appears on Praetor Janus Auriga’s left pauldron).

So here’s the finished chapter serf:

Golden Legion Chapter Serf (2)
Golden Legion Chapter Serf (1)
Golden Legion Chapter Serf (3)
As you can see, I added a backpack to the model. I really wanted to invoke the impression that, in addition to carrying that helmet in a suitably dramatic fashion, the chapter serf also serves Janus Auriga as a personal artificer:

Golden Legion Chapter Serf (4)
Golden Legion Chapter Serf (5).JPG
Golden Legion Chapter Serf (6)
Something I really like about the finished model is the combination of fairly mundane equipment (like the hammer and wrench) with the more esoteric gear underneath (small caskets of what I imagine to be holy oils and unguents, and a small book containing the correct rites of maintenance for the Astartes warplate): In spite of all the mysticism surrounding technology in the 41st millennium, what are you going to use, at the end of the day, to get a dent out of an armour plate but a hammer? Of course you’ll be singing the required hymyms of repair at the top of your lungs during the act, but my point still stands😉

So here are Janus Auriga and his chapter serf. I really like the dynamic between the two models:

Janus Auriga of the Golden Legion and Chapter Serf
After the challenge of painting the serf model, getting some paint on the cherub was a pretty straightforward affair — the main challenge here was to work around some of the kinks inherent in the model itself. I’ll be honest with you: I am really just about through with metal models at this point. But the little guy made such a beautiful retainer for Janus Auriga that I gritted my teeth together and persevered:

Bolter Cherub (1)
Bolter Cherub (2)
Bolter Cherub (3)
So here are all three models together:

Praetor Janus Auriga and retainers (3)
I really think the combination of Janus Auriga’s somewhat archaic artificer warplate and his two servants underlines the quasi-medieval and archaic nature of the Astartes as monastic warrior knights, for lack of a better word.

Interestingly enough, the whole project wasn’t really about rules or gaming concerns — …appearing, so to speak, and they felt like a great way of fleshing out the nature of the Golden Legion. That said, the helmet bearer and cherub really have the feeling of a fancy wound counters, don’t they? Maybe one mini-mission could even be to reunite the Astartes with his helmet and bolter, with the two pieces of equipment being carried by those familiars…?

Anyway, I am pretty happy with this “mini-warband”, and it feels good to be able to cross two more formerly unpainted models off from my list😉

 

The other project I would like to share with you today is one that really makes me profoundly happy, even if it began with a very sad event: As you’ll remember, Wayne England passed away recently, and we have seen all kinds of tributes to him across the blogosphere and the forums. One particularly beautiful  tribute came in the form of a very elegant conversion inspired by one of Mr. England’s illustrations courtesy of the very talented Brothers Wier.

Now when I saw their model, I actually felt a pang of envy, both because the conversion was excellent, but also because I really didn’t feel able to come up with a similar tribute in model form, and that irked me a bit.

But then the strangest thing happened: PDH posted some thoughts about a new Inquisitorial Ordo, the Ordo Scriptorum, over at the Ammobunker. To quote Peter on the matter:

Ordo Scriptorum
The main task of the Ordo Scriptorum is to find errors and failures within Adeptus Administratum and Adeptus Astra Telepathica. The Ordo examines and investigates the communications and record keeping of the Imperium. Since its inception it has branched out and subsumed the roles and responsibilities of Ordo Scriptus, preserving the official historical records of the Imperium too. The Ordo Scriptorum maintains and scrutinises the record keeping of the entire Imperium from the present and going back to its inception, prior to the Horus Heresy and the Great Crusade. For millennia the Ordo Scriptorum has been based solely on Terra but factions within it have begun moving resources off the Throne World; they feel a presence in Sectors throughout the wider Imperium would reduce the error rate and the time it takes to discover and rectify mistakes. Plus being able to proportionate blame in person is seen as a good deterrent to scribes of the Adeptus Administatum.

Some find is surprising how well armed and militant Ordo Scriptorum Inquisitors can be. But the Ordo Scriptorum often finds itself acting within the remit of the Ordo Hereticus upon bureaucults and the fallen within the Adeptus Administratum. Plus the philosophical wars with the Ordo Scriptorum mean that its members are often required to bear arms for protection (…)

And while this already reads like a rather promising outline, Peter also added a piece of artwork by none other than the late and great Wayne England to illustrate what he thought an Inquisitor of the Ordo Scriptorum might look like. Incidentally, I have featured the very same illustration as part of my recent tribute post to Wayne England, and it’s easily one of my favourite pieces of art done by him:

illustration by Wayne England

illustration by Wayne England

And seeing these ideas and concepts being brought together by Peter just resonated with me, for some reason: Things just started to fall into place, and suddenly I found myself starting to convert a model, and I didn’t really come to until I was halfway through the project.

At first I merely started trying out some bitz and shapes. One thing I really wanted to get right was the stunning silhouette and pose from the original artwork. So this is what I ended up with after a bit of messing around:

Redactor early WIP (2)
Redactor early WIP (3)
Redactor early WIP (1)
I was lucky enough to have some bitz lying around that really came in handy during this process: The robed legs from the WFB/AoS Chaos Sorcerer were a bit of a no-brainer. Then I discovered that the bitz best-suited to producing the pose and overall look I wanted came from the Dreamforge Games Eisenkern Stormtroopers. And the part that really made the conversion promising, even at this early stage, was a servitor head from the Space Marines Stormraven kit — easily one of the best overlooked bitz from GW’s entire catalogue, if you ask me.

So I was off to a fairly promising start, but the model wasn’t quite there yet, obviously. So I didn’t stop until I had this:

Redactor WIP (1)
Redactor WIP (2)
Redactor WIP (3)
Yes, definitely getting there!

And thanks to an abundance of helpful feedback on the Ammobunker and Dakka, I was able to make the final push and complete the conversion:

Redactor WIP (15)
I decided to add another book to the model’s hip, in spite of my misgivings about it possibly messing with the silhouette: What really won me over was the parallel between those books and twin pistol holsters: It seems as though this Inquisitor were wielding his knowledge as a weapon…

I also added a scroll (from the 54mm Eisenhorn model, no less) to the left hand. And a key from the WFB Empire flagellants, an element hinting at hidden knowledge and a certain mysticism.

Redactor WIP (14)
I also couldn’t help myself and added a small Inquisitorial symbol to one of the books😉

Redactor WIP (13)
The model’s back is where I deviated from the original sketch: I didn’t recreate that big, augmetic sack of scrolls appearing in the artwork, but rather went for something a little more subdued, mostly because I think it better fits the character: An Inquisitor of some standing should have a menial to carry around all of those scrolls, after all (which also gives me a handy excuse for building yet another model):

Redactor WIP (12)
All in all, I am really very, very happy with the model! Here’s another comparison between the orignal illustration and my interpretation of it:

illustration by Wayne England

illustration by Wayne England

Redactor WIP (15)
As for a possible retinue, I think it would have to have a very special feel, like the Inquisitor himself. Right now, I am considering at least one menial carrying books and scrolls (similar to a couple of models PDH is building at the moment). And maybe a hulking member of the Guild of Parchment Scroteners, doubling as a bodyguard? This model would probably be based on the Brian Nelson Nurgle Lord (or a Putrid Blightking) and use an approach similar to conversions done by PDH and Jeff Vader. Maybe I’ll also have to source those scribes/assistants from the Celestial Hurricaum kit…? Anyway, I am open to suggestions for possible characters, of course!

 

So yeah, so much from the wonderful world of INQ28 for today! It goes without saying that I would love to hear any feedback you might have!

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

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