Distracted by Iron

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, WIP with tags , , , , , , , on May 27, 2015 by krautscientist

When I recently showed you my Iron Warriors Warsmith, I already mentioned the temptation of building and painting a small Iron Warriors Killteam and, well, what can I say? I am a huge hobby butterfly, which is why I am already hard at work on the various models that will make up the team ;)

On the one hand, this is yet another instance of me getting sidetracked by another project. On the other hand, trying to build models that are Chaos Space Marines, yet fairly different in design from my World Eaters, is quite an educational and enjoyable experience. So allow me to share the results of my work with you today ;)

The idea behind this Killteam is to build the models to be immediately recognisable as Iron Warriors, so I thought about which visual archetypes I wanted to include. The Iron Warriors, to me, are characterised by their cold efficiency and bitterness: a reliance on superior strategy and wargear and the will to sacrifice as many lives as it will take to vanquish the foe. I wanted the models to exude a sense of cold and sinister brutality, a menace born of the disregard for human lives. I’ll let you be the judge as to whether or not I have succeeded.

Before we get to actually take a look at the model, let me mention two resources that made this project possible in the first place:

The first is the batch of Dark Vengeance Chosen models kindly given to me by Commissar Molotov: The Chosen had just the amount of bulk and presence I needed to make my Iron Warriors look like actual, bitter veterans of the Long War instead of just some more CSM flunkies. So many thanks again to Mol for his generosity!

The other thing that really helped were the Iron Warrior torso pieces (from the old IW conversion kit) I managed to pick up as part of an ebay auction some time ago: These are still excellent, and their bulk and uniformity provide an excellent visual backbone for the Killteam. They would also work exceptionally well for Iron Hands, come to think of it…

Anyway, enough talk! Time for the models! ;)

I. Testing the waters

There actually exists an Iron Warriors model beyond the recently completed Warsmith in my collection: An Iron Warriors test model I just painted for the heck of it what feels like ages ago. Here it is:

IW_old 01
IW_old 02
While certainly nothing special by today’s standard, I didn’t simply want to leave this guy behind, so I decided to give him a bit of a facelift. The clunky icon was replaced with a DV Chosen bolter. And while I didn’t completely repaint the model, I used it to test some new painting techniques of mine, especially on the hazard stripes.

So here’s the touched-up version:

Iron Warriors Killteam test model (1)
Iron Warriors Killteam test model (2)
Iron Warriors Killteam test model (3)
Having this model as a test piece allowed me to figure out a way to include the legion number on one of the pauldrons (by using a cut out and inverted Cadian decal, incidentally).

Iron Warriors Killteam test model (4)
Granted, he certainly isn’t contest winning material, even with the touchups and all, but it feels good to finally have found a new home for the model ;)

 

II. The Champion

You should still remember this guy from the last Iron Warriors related post. Here’s what he looked like when we last saw him:

Iron Warriors Champion WIP (6)
I am still really happy with the conversion, so I was actually pretty psyched to get some more paint on this guy! And painting him turned out to be a rather enjoyable experience too, since the Leadbelcher basecoat worked extremely well! I washed it with GW Gryphonne Sepia once and with black twice, and all that remained afterwards was to block out the details and add some final touches. Granted, it was a bit more complicated in reality, but it certainly didn’t feel like it ;)

Anyway, here’s the finished model:

Iron Warriors Killteam Champion (2)
Iron Warriors Killteam Champion (1)
Iron Warriors Killteam Champion (3)
Iron Warriors Killteam Champion (4)
All in all, I think the model makes for an excellent IW squad leader, if I do say so myself. There’s something dark and brooding about him that seems really fitting! And although it seems a bit blasphemous that I had to cut up a Skullcrusher helmet to build the model, it’s probably the best possible helmet for an IW champion — many thanks to Oldschoolsoviet for giving me this idea!

 

III. The Apothecary

So, which Iron Warriors archetype to tackle next? Before I could stop myself, I was thinking “If I were to build an Iron Warriors Killteam, one of them would have to be an Apothecary, due to the IW’s well-documented history of scavengin geneseed…” The model was already halfway done before I realised what I was doing ;)

Anyway, here’s the finished Apothecary conversion:

Iron Warriors Killteam Apothecary (2)
Iron Warriors Killteam Apothecary (1)
Iron Warriors Killteam Apothecary (3)
On this model, the biggest challenge was to maintain the balance between having the character look like a Chaos Space Marine (and an Iron Warrior, at that), while also seeming businesslike enough to work as an Apothecary. In the end, the bit that really makes the conversion is a bare, augmented head from the Skitarii Ranger/Vanguard kit. It just fits so well, don’t you think?

By the way, the first version of the model was carrying a plasma pistol, rather than an axe, but I felt the axe added a subtle executioner look to the character, and that’s certainly an aspect of his role as an Apothecary, don’t you think?

IV. The Breacher

The next archetype was pretty easy to figure out, because you cannot have an Iron Warriors Killteam without a massive Breacher guy, can you? I wanted this next character to be more dynamic and aggressive than the prior models, so I chose the running Chosen legs and made his pose pretty dynamic. Take a look:

Iron Warriors Killteam Breacher (1)
Iron Warriors Killteam Breacher (3)
Iron Warriors Killteam Breacher (2)
As you can see, some WFB chaos bitz proved to be a great help here, allowing me to arm the Breacher with a massive mace and boarding shield. I also added a holstered bolter, though — this guy is a crazy prepared Iron Warrior, after all.

My favourite detail, apart from the pose, is the helmet: I really enjoy the “expressionless”, utterly inhuman look of that particular helmet from the WFB Chaos chariot crew, and I added some tech-y gubbins to the helmet to make it look slightly more modern.

V. The Trencher

Seeing how my IW killteam is built around what I consider the big Iron Warrior archetypes, there were two ideas I wanted to use on this model: The first is the Marine’s CC weapon, which represents an Iron Warriors entrenching tool. The other was the use of a bionic limb, seeing how the Iron Warriors are known to replace mutated (or damaged) limbs with sophisticated augmetic parts. Here’s what I came up with, based on those two ideas:

Iron Warriors Killteam Trencher (3)
Iron Warriors Killteam Trencher (2)
Iron Warriors Killteam Trencher (1)
Iron Warriors Killteam Trencher (4)
The entrenching tool is a weapon from the WFB Skaven Stormvermin kit, and easily one of my favourite plastic weapons, simply because it’s so vicious-looking! I have wanted to use this particular part for quite a while, and this model turned out to be the perfect occasion.

As for the bionic limb, I settled on replacing the model’s right leg, mostly because I used Kranon’s legs, and the right leg is only partially formed anyway (because the model’s cape normally obscures it). Now I do realise that some may see my design choice as a bit of a divisive feature, because I went for a – fairly thin – Skitarii leg. However, this was a rather conscious choice, because I wanted to achieve a slightly peg-legged look: Seeing how the entire armour will be silver, a leg painted in silver wouldn’t stand out too much, which is why I went for the Skitarii part. Plus I was also inspired by a scene in Graham McNeill’s Storm of Iron, where a veteran Iron Warrior actually experiences difficulties due to his leg replacement — I wanted the leg to be both at once: a highly sophisticated replacement, but also a possible weakness, and I think the Skitarii leg does a great job embodying that particular duality.

VI. Anything else…?

So far for the finished conversions, but are there any more plans for this particular Killteam? Right now, I think there will be two more members: A heavy weapons specialist (I am leaning towards arming him with a rocket launcher) will be one of the additional members. I already have most of the bitz I’ll need for the conversion.

And there may also be one final model for the Killteam that will be rather different in size and nature from its peers. I’ll just leave you with a little teaser for now…

The Twins

But that’s basically all for today, folks. Here are the finished models for the Killteam so far:

Iron Warriors Killteam WIP (1)
And the entire Killteam, including the unpainted models:

Iron Warriors Killteam WIP (3)
Like I said, this has been a very rewarding mini-project so far, and I think I have learned quite a few days that will ultimately also benefit my World Eaters.

So, what do you think? Any ideas for additional members of suggestions regarding the existing models? I’d be happy to hear any feedback you might have — just drop me a comment. In closing, I’ve also made a small “glamour shot” of the finished Iron Warriors, which should make an excellent finale for this post ;)

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

Iron Within

Khorne’s Eternal Hunt: Trooping the Colour

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2015 by krautscientist

Back in January, I promised you some updated army pictures of my biggest and longest-running hobby project, my World Eaters army. And today, I intend to make good on that promise, so let’s have a little army showcase, shall we?

I’ve said many times that my World Eaters continue to be my favourite hobby project, and while I am indeed a huge hobby butterfly, I usually try to put whatever I learn on my various other projects to good use on my World Eaters, endeavouring to imbue the army with as much character as I can: On the one hand, the 4th assault company may be a typical World Eaters force in that it features lots and lots of red and brass, scores of aggressive guys wielding chainweapons and a huge number of bunny ears ;) But at the same time, pretty much every model of the army has been converted to fit my interpretation of the World Eaters and my aesthetic sensibilities.

What’s more, maybe the most important thing I have learned during those last few years in the hobby is that every model should matter. This may seem like a thoroughly outdated concept in these days of staggering, unbound Apocalypse battles with many thousand points on either side of the table, but it’s still my firm belief: Every model in this army is a grizzled veteran (often of ten millennia of fighting the Long War), and it should show in the models.

But I’m rambling, and you probably came here for the pictures, above all else, right? So here goes:

This is what the army looked like back in 2012:

WE_Army05
And in 2013

WE_Army09

And finally, here’s a big part of the army, photographed in late 2014 for the “We Are Legion” event over at the Blog dé Kouzes:

Khorne's Eternal Hunt 2014 02
But even this latest photo was missing some of the models, so it was time to troop them all out and take some new pictures — quite a task at this point, because the army has grown so big that it has become rather unwieldy for photo sessions ;)

But I persevered, and here are the results: The entirety of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt as of May 2015:

army shot 01 big colour
That’s quite a bit of red, eh? ;)

Seriously, though: It’s possibly not the biggest army out there (everything in the picture above adds up to about 4,000 points), or the best-painted one. But it’s easily one of my biggest hobby achievements so far, and the project I always keep returning to. And I do feel pretty proud when seeing them neatly arrayed like that — or at least, as neatly arrayed as is possible with a horde of bloodthirsty maniacs…

army shot 03 big colour
The lineup pitured above also includes some twelve or so Khorne berzerkers that were painted way back when, during the late 90s. The paintjobs are really showing their age by now, but I just couldn’t bring myself to exclude them from the picture (and the extra bodies also come in handy during games, of course).

On the other hand, when I look back at the development of the army over the last year or so, there have been some fairly recent additions that I am especially happy with, so let’s take a closer look at those:

First up, here are all the models added to the army since the last “official” army shocase back in 2014:

Newblood 2015
Not a huge mass of models, certainly, but some of my favourite pieces have been the work of the last one or two years:

There’s the Wargrinder, of course:

Wargrinder (26)
Still one of my favourite conversions, and a project I am particularly proud of. I remember I had never tackled a model of this size before, and working on this piece taught me that there’s really nothing to be afraid of — in fact, bigger models can be quite enjoyable to work on and provide and excellent change of pace!

Read more about the Wargrinder here, in case you’re interested.

Together with a – fairly recently completed – Forgefiend (that kept fighting me every part of the way, thus earning the name Gorespite for itself), the Wargrinder nicely rounds out my collection of bigger war machines and daemon engines. In-universe, these are the creations of this fine gentleman here, Huntmaster Deracin, Keeper of the Forge and Warpsmith to the 4th assault company (and yet another model I am really happy with):

Huntmaster Deracin (11)
And here he is once again, surrounded by his fiendish creations. A man and his daemons, so to speak:

A man and his daemons
And make no mistake: The great forge aboard the Aeternus Venator never sleeps, so there may yet be more daemons of steel and brass given shape by Deracin in the future…

Speaking of steel, there are also the Ancients of the company. Meet Brother Marax the Fallen, Damokk the Breacher, Khorlen the Lost and Khoron the Undying, Keeper of Trophies:

Barbershop Helquartet of Doom
I rather love Dreadnoughts, so making each of these into a true character in their own right has been a fun challenge. They now form the Barbershop Helquartet of DOOM!, obviously (overpowered dataslate pending) ;)

Then there’s my updated version of everybody’s favourite madman, Khârn the Betrayer:

Kharn the Betrayer  (1)
Kharn the Betrayer (2)
Now Khârn and my own Lord Captain Lorimar haven’t exactly been on speaking terms since Skalathrax, so it’s rather unlikely that they’ll be fighting alongside one another in battle. This was still a fun project, however, and I tried to stay true to the spirit of the – still excellent – vintage Khârn by Jes Goodwin. Speaking of which, I am still rather proud of my – pretty comprehensive – post on Khârn’s various incarnations over the years, so check that out as well!

While we are on the matter of legendary World Eaters, the project I am possibly most pleased with is the completion of Lord Captain Lorimar, Master of the Hunt and commander of the 4th assault company:

Master of the Hunt 02
Getting this model finished really took a long time, and I am particularly pleased that finally putting the finishing touches on Lorimar happened as a friendly hobby challenge between Biohazard and me. Read all about it here.

So Lorimar is finally leading his warriors from the front, as it should be:

Head of the Pack
So what’s next for Khorne’s Eternal Hunt? Let’s take a look:

One thing I would like to do is to finally paint the remaining members of my Gladiatorii squad:

The Gladiatorii
Building and painting these gladiatorial World Eaters has been great fun so far, and there are three more models that have already been built but have yet to see any paint before I can call this squad finished.

I also realised I should show more love to my Blood Wolves, because I really like the look of these guys:

The Bloodwolves
I already have some more converted traitorous Space Wolves to make up an entire squad of Chaos Space Marines. And maybe I’ll add a Dreadnought, based on the brilliantly versatile SW Dread?

And finally, my next big project: I finally need to get this guy painted: Gilgamesh, the Warrior King, the Twice-Consecrated, Son of the Ember Queen:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh WIP (1)
But worry not, I’ve included the model in my first vow for the E Tenebrae Lux IV event at The Bolter & Chainsword, in order to finally force myself into action, so it won’t be long now…

As it happens, I’ve made one last addition to the model before painting: I stripped some cabling from the interior of an old PC and added them to the Knight’s cockpit, in order to make it look a bit more believable:

Chaos Knight interior cabling (2)
Chaos Knight interior cabling (1)
It’s a small thing, admittedly, but a detail I think will made a difference in the end.

And here’s a comparison picture with the Knight and a smaller, roughly Epic-scaled “Chibi-version” of the same model:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh WIP (2)
On a related note, I am rather relieved that the Chaos Knight conversion kit recently unveiled by Forgeworld isn’t quite as spectacular as I had expected. Granted, it might still be a WIP version, but at least I am still very happy with my own take on a Chaos Knight! So yeah, expect to see some colour on this model this summer — and wish me luck!

So, anything else about Khorne’s Eternal Hunt? Yes, well, one small thing, actually:

This is just a fairly minor detail, but I like how all the leftover champions and stragglers almost form their own – pretty cool – squad by now. Take a look:

WE Stragglers
For an extremely lazy painter like yours truly, that is quite a nice little extra benefit ;)

 

So yeah, so much for this year’s World Eaters showcase. Don’t worry, there’ll be more madmen in red and brass in the future. But for now, I am very pleased with this army’s development over the last few years!

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

army shot 02 colour

Grimdark Miscellany — a look at GW’s recent mini-releases

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 12, 2015 by krautscientist

With the Admech Skitarii behind us and the Cult Mechanicus just arriving on our doorstep, let us take a moment to examine GW’s releases for the period between the Machine Soldiers and their masters: The last month has seen multiple releases for different armies, and for the sake of simplicity, we’ll look at them all in one go. It goes without saying, of course, that we will be focusing on the models and on the various conversion opportunities arising from them, as is tried and true tradition here at Eternal Hunt.

I. Eldar mini-release: Rounding out the catalogue

Eldar (1)While we were still reeling from the sheer brilliance of the Skitarii release, GW surprised us with some kits to round out hobbyists’ Eldar collections, along with the new Codex: Craftworlds. I won’t comment too much on GW’s hyperactive, almost erratic, release schedule when it comes to new army books, although you’ve got to wonder where this book actually stands in relation to the actual Eldar Codex…? Anyway, let’s take a look at the models, shall we?

 

Eldar Windriders

Eldar (17)Oh my, here they are at long last: Those redesigned jetbikes Eldar players have been anticipating for what seems like a century. The old models were long overdue a facelift, to be sure, and this is it, bringing the Eldar jetbikes in line with their younger cousins, the Dark Eldar Reaver jetbikes and Harlequin Skyweavers. And while the kit seems like a competent and much awaited addition to the Eldar catalogue, it’s pretty hard to get to excited about these models at this point. I mean, Jes Goodwin’s prototype for new Eldar jetbikes has been out there for years, and after the Reaver jetbikes and Skyweavers respectively pioneered and refined the new look, these “vanilla” jetbikes almost feel like an afterthought. In fact, it feels like these should have been released years ago, which would have given them more of a day in the limelight.

Eldar (19)But let’s not get too negative here: They are here, after all, and I doubt any Eldar player will be too disappointed with the new look — even though it’s hardly surprising at this point.

One thing I’d like to point out is that I really like this particular paintjob:

Eldar (21)Anyway, this is a solid kit that should have been released much sooner. It seems like a pretty basic part of the Eldar’s catalogue, which makes it all the more baffling that there have been three (!) non-Craftworld Eldar jetbike variants released before GW ever got around to redoing these.

 

Eldar Farseer Skyrunner/Warlock Skyrunner

Eldar (2)
With new jetbikes now finally available, releasing a Farseer/Warlock on jetbike along with the new bikes seems like a pretty logical option. So what we have here is a clamshell character that finally frees us from the need to convert out own jetbike characters. The model’s pretty much exactly what it says on the tin, with optional bitz for both the Farseer and Warlock.

The Farseer is very close in design to the fairly recent clamshell Farseer, which is a nice bit of visual consistency (although I personally prefer my Farseers without the slightly silly “pharao beard”, thank you very much): The model looks pretty cool atop its jetbike, although the legs do seem a little clunky, or is that just me?

Eldar (5)Anyway, the model clearly puts the excellent Eldar aesthetic to very good use, and the extra detailing on the jetbike itself is also pretty cool.

The Warlock is actually my pick of the litter here, mostly because I am really in love with the classic 90s Warlock helmet design, and it’s great to finally have that particular helmet type available as a plastic piece:

Eldar (9)
I also really like the Hagun Zar — and what is certainly great about the kit is that the bitz you don’t use will be very useful for building yet another Farseer or Warlock on foot!

Eldar (11)So it’s a pretty cool model, and at a fairly solid price point (at least for GW’s recent standard), considering you get both the jetbike and the rider in the clampack. But not unlike the jetbikes, this guy feels like he should have been released before. He’s a solid reimagining of some of Jes Goodwin’s classic Farseers and Warlocks, and all on a jetbike, no less. But the model feels fairly safe and unexciting. A solid, middle of the road, bread and butter character model.

 

Eldar Autarch

Eldar (12)
And finally, another clamshell character brings up the rear of this mini-release. I’ll have to call the Autarch the best part of the bunch, both because he’s a mostly original sculpt and because there are some parts of the model that I really like — particularly the feather motif present both in the model’s wings (DUH!) and helmet. I also love the flow of the cape!

Eldar (14)
Both the helmet and sword are great pieces, lending the model the kind of elegance and majesty you would expect of an Eldar warlord. I do have two nitpicks about the model, however:

One, the landing pose is a bit of an acquired taste, as it can give the model a somewhat “undecided” look, if that makes any sense. It’s excuseable here, seeing how the model is so clearly built around the whole wing and feather motif, but it’s certainly not for everybody. Two, what I really liked about the older Autarch models is that they gave you quite a few equipment options, allowing you to add touches of several warrior aspects to your particular Autarch. This clamshell character, however, is pretty short on options, basically allowing for one build, and one build alone.

To be fair, a look at the sprue reveals that it should be every easy to basically splice in any Eldar weapon or bit you desire…

Eldar (16)…but it still feels like a bit of a missed opportunity.

In spite of this, however, this is a very pretty model, and a suitable centre piece for an Eldar army, no doubt about that.

 

So what about the release as a whole? A bit disappointing, to be honest. Now I do of course realise that GW probably didn’t plan this as a huge release to blow us away, but they have really upped the ante when it comes to hobbyists’ expectations, and this just seems like giving us some kits that should have been released before. Which is why these are mostly interesting for Craftworld Eldar players, who will certainly find a lot to like about having yet more plastic options at their fingertips. For the rest of us, however, this seems like a bit of a middling effort. All of the kits are solid, no doubt about it, but they just seem to lack that special spark. To quote a point I made in my review of the Harlequins a while back:

It seems like GW mainly put the Eldar catalgoue’s visual strengths (and Jes Goodwin’s excellent designs) to good use here, reaping the fruit of earlier design (..). There’s nothing wrong with it (…) but it’s not exactly high-hanging fruit, either.

That’s how I felt about the Harlequins, and they certainly had their share of original ideas. The new Eldar kits, however, are mostly carried by excellent design decisions Jes Goodwin made about two decades ago. That doesn’t make them any worse, but these kits just don’t match up to some of the crazy stuff we’ve seen recently. Sorry :(

 

II. Assassinorum: Execution Force: Buy one, get four free

Hmm, now here’s where it gets a bit more interesting, both because GW decided to bring back some very classic archetypes and because they did it in a way we haven’t seen yet:

Execution Force (1)Assassinorum: Execution Force is a standalone game that also happens to contain four new plastic Assassins, one for each of the major temples of the Officio Assassinorum. The game doesn’t seem to be nearly as complex or self-sustaining as, say, Space Hulk, but then its models are completely compatible with 40k proper: In additon to the Assassins, we get one Chaos Terminator Lord, three snapfit Chaos Space Marines and fifteen DV Chaos Cultists — quite a way to move that old stock, GW ;)

To be fair, it seems like pretty good value for the money: The Chaos Termie Lord is one of my favourite multipart kits, somewhat clunky design notwithstanding, the chaos cultists are brilliant and versatile conversion fodder (although they can be had for a song on ebay and similar places), and let’s just forget about those pushfit CSM. I’ll just say that, if I had an entire warehouse full of them, I’d want to get rid of them too ;)

Anyway, if you can use all (or most) of the models, this is certainly a good deal! If you’re just in it for the Assassins, though, it seems a little iffy. I’ll be honest with you: I am really torn between considering this a clever case of cross-promotion and a bit of a dick move, especially since we don’t know with any certainty whether or not we’ll ever see those Assassins as a separate release.

Better to take a look at the Assassin models, then, and quite some models they are!

Each of these are fairly close representations of the earlier metal designs, with some subtle changes here and there. Let’s take a look at each of them in turn:

Execution Force (6)
The Vindicare Assassin seems to get the most flak online for his static pose, but I kinda like him. I may be the only person feeling that way, but neither of the older versions had a pose that I found satisfying. This guy, however, comes down slap bang in the middle between the two metal versions, and he just works for me. I think the static pose is a good way of showing that this is the long range guy. I also like the (optional) ruin on his base. Not a spectacular model at first glance, but he does have a quiet confidence to him that I really like!

Execution Force (3)Oh my, the Callidus Assassin is a bit too dynamic for her own good! While the basic design is very cool (and very close to the original metal models), the combination of the pose and the pillar on the base is just a bit too much. Which is why I think the model needs some tweaking: A different base and a slightly less hokey pose (check out Heretek in Extremis’ wonderful conversion — it gets rid of all the problematic areas, thereby improving the model a lot).

Execution Force (5)The Eversor Assassin seems to be everybody’s darling, and rightly so: The model is absolutely fantastic, and it’s hard to believe that the above picture actually shows an 28mm model and not an action figure — the detail is just something else, and every part of the classic Eversor equipment is perfectly rendered on this piece. Wonderful!

Two remarks, though: The ‘Eavy Metal paintjob seems to be letting the model down a bit, if you ask me: Those red areas make the character look a bit too cartoony — and you don’t want to make this guy look any more like a comic book character than he already does. The other thing is that many people seem to dislike that piece of architecture on his base, although there’s a very simple solution to that problem — just don’t use it! I think it’s great to give his pose a Matrix-like quality, because this guy is basically The Matrix turned up to eleven…thousand, right? “WRYYY!”, anyone? ;)

So yeah, the Eversor is certainly my favourite of the bunch, and the one I would definitely pick up, if he were to be released by himself.

Execution Force (4)Oh, man, so much win and so much fail in one model! But all in good order: The Culexus Assassin has been made up as being one of the creepiest beings in the 41st millennium — and if you’re playing in the same ballpark as giant alien dinosaurs, transhuman killing machines and, well, Eversor Assassins, that is really saying something.

What I love about the model is how the subtly sinister pose really makes the assassin all the more menacing. The slightly organic, almost gigeresque design of the helmet is also there — but whatever happened to the stylised skull face? Before, it seemed like the uncaring mask of death, now this guy seems like he’s basically in it for the EVULZ. Maybe the mask would look better with a different paintjob, but man, they really dropped the ball here. The good news is that there seems to be an alternate face (which is basically blank), so even if you’re not going to use that, splicing in a really sinister skull face should be easy enough.

This guy would be on par with the Eversor, if not for the face. Oh well…

So yeah, I guess there cannot be any doubt that the Assassins are the stars of the show here:

Execution Force (7)
And all nitpicks notwithstanding, these are fantastic plastic renditions of the traditional designs! As for possible conversions, I think the modes could probably work rather nicely as base models for more specialised Inquisitorial operatives, as making them more (or even less) human should be as easy as exchanging a couple of bits: The standard Assassin bodysuit would work just as well for all kinds of agents and operatives. But seeing how these guys will probably stay a pretty rare commodity (at least for a while), maybe conversions to make them look closer to your personal interpretation of the various assassin temples are probably the better option, instead of just carving up the models ;) Personally speaking, I’d probably keep the Eversor and Vindicare as they are — both are pretty perfect, and I even like the added bonus masonry on the bases ;) The Callidus would profit from some toning down, as per Heretek in Extremis’ approach. And I would definitely add a different skeletal face (maybe one of the Cairn Wraith heads or from the Dark Elf Executioners?!) to the Culexus.

I won’t be picking up Assassinorum: Execution Force, however. I thought about it long and hard, but I think I’ll just take my chances and wait for a separate clamshell release. That day may never come, and even if it comes, getting these plus the twenty other models would probably have been a good deal, but I am just not feeling like purchasing another boxed game right now, in spite of the stellar Eversor sculpt…

 

III. Imperial Knight Release — Hey, wait a second: Where’s my gatling gun and rocket launcher?

Oh my, that was a pretty short half-life period for that Imperial Knight Codex, eh? Just a year later, we are getting a revised version of the book, complete with a new set of Knights to field in our armies.

2015 Imperial Knight Release (1)The book is accompanied by a new and updated Imperial Knight kit, which gives us more options than before in order to be able to build those new Knight variants. The first thing to note is that GW chose to basically use the existing Imperial Knight kit as a standard template for the various Knight types, instead of designing additional modern versions of the existing Epic and Adeptus Titanicus designs. And while I don’t harbor any special, nostalgic feelings for those goofy old metal models, it still seems like a bit of a missed opportunity, especially with some hobbyists using their plastic Knights to build versions that are very true to the old models, albeit more imposing and much cooler — I’ll just link Dave Taylor’s Knight Warden here as one particularly cool example. But then, it seems like Forgeworld have the market for alternate Knight designs well cornered, so the decision to stick with one basic template was probably a very conscious one.

The good news is that the basic template is amazing (and easily one of my favourite GW models ever), so what we are getting is a more rounded-out version of an already amazing kit. So let’s take a look at the new Knight variants and the new equipment options we get:

Knight Crusader

2015 Imperial Knight Release (2)First uo, the shooties Knight version imaginable: In addition with the familar cannon, the Knight Crusader comes with a massive gatling cannon as well as what looks like a carapace-mounted AA gun. The latter element just seems wonderfully workmanlike and recalls WW II scale-models, doesn’t it?

2015 Imperial Knight Release (3)The chain gun is also pretty cool, although I felt immediately reminded of Heresy and Heroes’ Slaaneshi Knight conversion. But a gatling gun remains a gatling gun, I suppose.

All of this leads to a model that seems much more geared towards long range firefights, and I like how it really shows in the model’s silhouette. Very cool!

Next up is the Knight Gallant, and I really love how GW’s version of the model seems to be full of anticipation:

"Ho hum, ho hum, what am I going to crush next?"

“Ho hum, ho hum, what am I going to crush next?”

But seriously, what we are getting here is a massive power fist, seemingly with fully articulated fingers, which is very cool! As a matter of fact, there have been many power fist conversions for Imperial Knights so far, using everything from a plastic spoon to a Dreamforge Games Titan fist as a base, so I guess many Imperial Knight players will really love the inclusion of this weapon! The fact that it should be easy enough to repose the fingers as needed is also very cool!

the other addition is a carapace mounted rocket launcher — aha, so that’s what that hole was for! I really love how this element recalls the Reaver Titans’s rocket launcher, creating a strong bit of visual coherency between the two models!

And finally, the Knight Warden: No longer the turtle-shelled machine of the yesteryear, but rather a remix of the Crusader and Gallant, with three of the new weapons added to the Imperial Knight chassis:

2015 Imperial Knight Release (7)
2015 Imperial Knight Release (8)
The model is looking amazing, and surprisingly close to some of the bigger Titan classes. Who would have thought that all it takes are some weapons that are more similar to those of the Warhound and Reaver Titan?

So, what we basically get out of the new kit are five new bigger weapons (the gatling gun, the fist, the carapace mounted gun and two rocket launcher variants) and a couple of alternative secondary weapons. But that’s not all: There are also three new faceplates:

2015 Imperial Knight Release (11)Interestingly enough, the top and bottom left options really remind me of the classic Epic Warhound Titan — which is kinda ironic, seeing how Forgeworld is currently hard at work phasing out the old design in favour of something farm more Imperial Knight-like. Both are quite cool, however, with the top one making for an almost doglike muzzle, while the one on the lower left somehow seems rather gladiatorial to me. The half mask in the bottom right seems a bit like the odd one out here, mostly because it reuses one of the existing designs, but that may just be a matter of preference. Together with the existing three masks, these provide quite a collection to make your Knight individual — and that’s before you start splicing together various masks into new designs!

So all of those additions are very cool and give Knight owners quite a few new options to play around with. So all’s well with the world, right?

Yes, well…

Now, don’t get me wrong: The Imperial Knight released last year was an utterly fantastic kit then — and it very much remains so now, even without the new options. The revised Imperial Knight provides a more rounded-out version of that brilliant kit, which is great. I am really happy with the Imperial Knight I purchased, scout’s honour…
…and yet, I cannot quite shake the feeling that the kit should have been as comprehensive as this from the start: All the signs where there to see: The kit looked far more modular than it was (back then). Now we see the options for modifying the model beyond the initial weapons options were there all along, and while I don’t want to sound like an entitled neckbeard, maybe the release of both a new Codex and a revised kit after such a short amount of time is an indicator that the version we get now should have been the original release.

Again, I’m not mad. I am happy with my Knight model, and I will probably find a way to build the additional weapon options that I like. But making people buy yet another Knight just to get some additional weapons seems like a bit of a ripoff, in spite of the fantastic kit. Maybe there should be an option to purchase the extra sprue on its own, you know, for those of us who already bought five of those Knights? Pretty please…?

Let’s not kid ourselves, though: It’s probably not going to happen. So what to do?

Short of hitting ebay or swapping for the weapons we need, I think there are a couple of ways to kitbash proxies for the new weapons: The fist has already been done several times — and done well, at that: You can use a plastic spoon as the housing and make the fingers from leftover sprue. You can work with plasticard. Or you could purchase one of those Dreamforge Games weapons, seeing how they can be purchases separately.

The wonderful carapace mounted AA gun would be easy enough to build with several available cannons: A leftover quad gun from the Aegis Defense Line would work, or a gun from an Imperial tank? Or maybe even the trusty old Reaper Autocannon that comes with the Defiler kit?

The gatling cannon is probably the least problematic one to kitbash: Just use one of the Hades Autocannons from the Forgefiend kit, and you’re there (as Heresy and Heroes’ model linked above shows).

And the rocket launcher? Seeing how there are two in each of the new kits, it should be possible to get your hands on one. And if not, there’s always plasticard…

All in all, I feel a bit torn here: The new Imperial Knight kit seems amazing — even better than its already spectacular predeccessor. But I don’t see myself shelling out another 100+ Euros for some additional weapon options, and a single Imperial Knight is more than enough to keep me occupied converting and paint-wise, thank you very much…

 

So, anyway, what to make of it all? It goes without saying that the April release cannot be compared to a huge “flavour of the month” release, because it’s simply too scattershot for that — and intendedly so. As it stands, the release does provide some pretty nice service for Eldar players Imperial Knight players and people who have been yearning for new Assassin models. Conversion options seem a bit thin on the ground this time, mostly because two of the mini-releases seem like add-ons, more than anything else, and the Assassin models are just too rare right now to just cut them up with impunity.

But that’s not all: Yes, this may be a collection of three mini-releases, but wedged in between the absolutely spectacular Skitarii release and the highly anticipated Cult Mechanicus, the April release just seems a little lacklustre — could it be that GW’s frantic pace when it comes to releasing new stuff has also changed our expectations? Maybe potpourris like this just don’t cut it any longer, because we are so used to spectacular new products at this point…?

Anyway, what do you think about the new Eldar, Knights and Assassinorum:Execution Force? Any thoughts you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section!

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

 

Iron Within, Iron Without!

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 5, 2015 by krautscientist

As you will probably have gathered from the post’s title, today will deal with the IV Legion Astartes, the Iron Warriors. Confession time: The Iron Warriors are actually one of my favourite traitor legions, and if I didn’t love the World Eaters so much, I could easily see myself starting and Iron Warriors army instead. I just love that the legion has basically remained unchanged in their outlook over the last ten millennia: They were already fairly disillusioned and fatalistic before the heresy, with very little actual conviction in the Emperor’s bigger vision, merely bound to his orders by a grim fatalism and soldierly loyalty, above all else. Nowadays, their allegiance to the Ruinous Powers is very similar to that, so the only thing that has changed for them is their employer, in a way. There’s something pretty cool about that. Plus their colour scheme of silver and gold – with the iconic yellow and black hazard stripes as a point of contrast – just rocks!

But why talk about Iron Warriors all of a sudden? Well, I have recently joined the “E Tenebrae Lux IV” event over at The Bolter & Chainsword, both because I find events like this to be very conductive to my painting morale and us Chaos players really need to show it to those loyalist dogs! ;) The ETL provides me with the perfet incentive for finally painting my Chaos Knight conversion — at long last!

But the scope of the project means I will need a plan to streamline my work a bit, and one tool that could become very handy for that is GW’s recently released Leadbelcher spray paint: I think this could be really helpful when it comes to undercoating/basecoating the many metallic areas on my Knight. But I wanted a way to safely test the properties of the new paint without having to potentially ruin a 100+ Euros kit. Which is where the Iron Warriors come in:

Enter a converted Iron Warriors Warsmith I built quite a while ago. You may remember the model’s earliest incarnation:

Iron Warriors Warsmith early WIP
Definitely some pretty bold ideas on display: The shoulder pads were made from Chaos Marauder drums, and I wanted them to have a Pre Heresy look (back when no actual Heresy era Terminator pauldrons were available). I still think it was a pretty clever concept, given the lack of suitable material when I built the model. The hammer was converted using a weapon from the Ogre Kingdoms’ Ironbreakers: I wanted the weapon to look like it had actually been built from the remains of a razed fortress — maybe it’s even a stone from the Imperial Palace, collected during the Siege of Terra?

And finally, that massive Dark Eldar Talos claw: That was just one of those “Why the heck not?” moments. But let’s face it, the claw is awesome, but it just seems too big…

Which is why I went back to the model about a year ago and made some changes. Here’s the Warsmith’s second incarnation:

Iron Warriors Warsmith WIP (2)
As you can see, both the claw and hammer were replaced, with a lightning claw from the Warp Talons and a Dragon Ogre weapon, respectively. Both parts may lack the zaniness of the earlier version, but still make for a more balanced, plausible model, if you ask me.

This just seemed like the perfect model to test the new Leadbelcher spray while also getting a cool result out of the deal, so I made this guy a part of my ETL vow and prepared to start with him. After all, after having seen several revisions, you would expect this model to be ready for painting at this point, right?

Well, almost: The pauldrons that had seemed so clever to me before just didn’t cut it any more: They may have been a cool touch in a world before the actual heresy era armour variants were released, but they just seemed a little silly now. So I made one last change to the model and ended up with this final (I promise! ;) incarnation:

Iron Warriors Warsmith WIP (2)
Iron Warriors Warsmith WIP (3)
I used two armour plates from a BA Dreadnought kit as the new shoulder pads, and I really like the rounded look, both because it’s decidely non-standard, but also because it recalls the design of Heresy era Terminator armour without being too “on the nose” about it. Plus it would give me a brilliant occasion for painting hazard stripes and adding some decals to the model’s shoulder pads.

So after a couple of years and several revisions, the model was finally ready for painting. Quite a big production for a mere Termie lord, eh? ;)

I undercoated the model with Chaos Black spray, as usual. After everything was dry, the Leadbelcher spray went on top of the black. And I was seriously surprised by the product: It went on like a dream and produced a near perfect coverage — I didn’t even need to clean up the silver anywhere, since the whole model had a very nice, even coat of metallic paint. Very nice!

If there is one small disadvantage to the Leadbelcher spray, it is that it’s very bright. So unless you’re going for goody two shoes loyalist Marines, you may find it a bit too bright and clean for your taste. However, that is nothing a coat or two of washes won’t solve. For a very helpful in-depth look at how the colour performs, check out this excellent post by InsanePsychopath.

My very successful experiments with the new spray paint provided me with a lot of inspiration to quickly finish the model, and the model basically painted itself. Which is why it took me only a pretty short time to get it to this stage:

Warsmith Greimolt Sturm PIP 02
Warsmith Greimolt Sturm PIP 01
The silver areas were actually washed with GW Gryphonne Sepia and then with two generous passes of black wash, which provided exactly the kind of look I wanted. And as you can see, those smooth, curved shoulder pads were excellent areas for the classic hazard stripe treatment — but more on that in a minute.

While the final details on the model were drying, I spent some time on the base. Since the model was planned as a one-off project, I took the liberty of making the base as trench-warefare-ish as I could (taking quite a few cues from EdT’s fantastic tutorial here), instead of making it resemble the bases on my World Eaters. Anyway, here’s the finished base:

Warsmith_base01

As you can see, the base comes complete with a broken Imperial Fists icon, courtesy of a bitz donation by fellow hobbyist Sagal.
I also used quite a bit of gloss varnish to make the mud look suitably wet and…well, muddy:

Warsmith_base02
And finally, I am rather happy with that Imperial Fists helmet:

Warsmith_base03
It’s just a very minor detail, of course, but it just came out rather well, if you ask me. All in all, going for the trench warfare look seemed very fitting for the Iron Warriors, and I am really very happy with the finished base!

So all that remained was to combine model and base and finish the last remaining details, but that was quick work. So here’s the finished model, Warsmith Greimolt Sturm of the Iron Warriors:

Warsmith Greimolt Sturm 01
Warsmith Greimolt Sturm 04
Warsmith Greimolt Sturm 05
The shield slung over the model’s shoulder was mostly placed there as an excuse for painting some more hazard stripes: Yellow areas like this are a pain to finish, but they do look pretty cool in the end, don’t they?

Speaking of which, I am quite happy with the model, although you might notice that the chevron pattern seems slightly different across the two pauldrons — that’s just me being too dense to realise that I should have inverted the pattern between the different pauldrons. Oh well…

I did add a little additional flourish to the shoulder pads, though, in the shape of two decals. One of them shows the legion badge:

Warsmith Greimolt Sturm 06

I actually used on of the 90s decals for this, as I like them far better than their more modern counterpart.

The other shoulder pad received a Roman numeral “IV”, for obvious reasons ;)

Warsmith Greimolt Sturm 07
So not only did I get the experimental data I needed on that Leadbelcher spray (which I believe will work beautifully on the metallic parts of my Chaos Knight), but I also ended up with a cool new Terminator Lord — and managed to finish a long term project, so what’s not to like?

Warsmith Greimolt Sturm 03
Warsmith Greimolt Sturm 02
“Lorimar, the man who killed Voss.”
“Voss died well. That is more than can be said for most of us. What was he to you, Iron Warrior?”
“You should rather ask what I was to him, World Eater. A brother. More of a brother than you, at least. What kind of man kills his own brethren like that?”
“The kind that survived Isstvaan. The kind that survived Terra. The kind that survived Skalathrax.”

Lord Captain Lorimar and Warsmith Sturm

 

So, all’s well that ends well? Yes, mostly. There’s just one thing, though: Painting this model was such a blast that I immediately felt the need to create yet another Iron Warrior, even though I don’t strictly have any use for IW models and don’t want to get sidetracked yet again — What I really hate about one-off projects is how they never seem to stay one-off. At least for me ;)

But I indulged myself anyway and tried to convert the coolest, most badass IW champ I could come up with:

Iron Warriors Champion WIP (1)
Iron Warriors Champion WIP (2)
Iron Warriors Champion WIP (4)
Iron Warriors Champion WIP (3)
Iron Warriors Champion WIP (5)
As you can see, I gave him quite a bit of wargear, because that creates the workmanlike look I think is so cool about the Iron Warriors: A World Eater will stab you in the eye with a broken bone and tear you apart with his bare hands. An Iron Warrior could do that as well, but he is too well-armed and too crazy-prepared to ever let it come to that ;) Anyway, I really wanted the model to immediately be recognisable as an Iron Warrior, which I think I succeeded with.

Here’s the model already undercoated (this is what the silver will look like before any washes have been applied, btw):

Iron Warriors Champion WIP (8)
Iron Warriors Champion WIP (7)
Iron Warriors Champion WIP (6)
I am actually really psyched to get this guy painted next — let’s just hope I can get a grip on myself afterwards, instead of jumping right into the next hobby project. Still, a highly converted Iron Warriors killteam seems like a pretty cool hobby endeavour. Must. Resist… ;)

In any case, it’s great when a project not only serves to test a product without the risk of ruining a pricy kit but also produces a cool result like this — I suppose this is the kind of happy incident that helps keeping me motivated ;)

So, what do you think about these latest models? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

 

Inquisitor 28: Praetor Janus Auriga of the Golden Legion

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Fluff, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 1, 2015 by krautscientist

“Our shield wall marks the borders of the Imperium. Behind us lies the Velsen Sector, forever protected by the brethren of the Golden Legion. For the martyr! For the Sword Saint! The Emperor Protects!”

Golden Legion battle chant

 

Almost every INQ28 aficionado will invariably start thinking about true scale Astartes at some point in their hobby life. Maybe it’s a strange relapse to the stage of desperately wanting to incorporate Space Marines into games of Inquisitor, maybe it’s the realisation that INQ28, with its bigger focus on individuals over squads or armies, is the perfect occasion to do justice to the legendary transhuman warriors the Astartes appear as in the background. Whatever the reason, many hobbyists feel drawn to the task of building their own true scaled Marine — or ten, for that matter.

I was no exception to this rule, and you may remember that I was really happy when I had finally completed the conversion for my first truescale Marine — once again, this has been a long running project (check out my first post on the matter for the whole story). In any case, the completed model ended up looking like this:

Brother Sergeant Auriga (7)
Brother Sergeant Auriga (4)
One thing that I was particularly happy with is how the model compares when placed next to regular, 28mm Marines:

Brother Sergeant Auriga (8)
So much for the conversion job, then. But it was obvious that the model would have to be painted at some point, and I really wanted to give it my best shot. I did have an idea for a highly ostentatious, “blinged out” Imperial Fists successor chapter that patterned itself after the Legio Custodes of old, to some degree. But before I jumped in at the deep end, I set out to collect some inspiration to help me.

Thanks must go to DexterKong, above all else, as some lengthy conversations with him helped me nail down what I wanted the Golden Legion to be like. So why some of the chapter history may still be up in the air at the moment, the ideas born in these conversations really helped me to imbue the model with an underlying narrative, even if you know nothing about the actual chapter.

Regarding actual models that inspired me, Bruticus’ wonderful Brother Mythras of the Sun Titans was certainly a huge influence, seeing how he’s both a Marine in golden armour, plus Bruticus also used the Custodes connection in his fluff — speaking of which, definitely make sure to check out the chapter’s excellent background!

Then there were EdT’s amazing true scale warbands (I recommend you bookmark his thread right away), which were also a huge help in getting me started.

And finally, Jeff Vader said he felt inspired by my true scale conversion to draw this illustration of a Space Marine…

illustration by Jeff Vader

illustration by Jeff Vader

…which then went right back into influencing the paintjob for my own model (as you will see in a minute).

So with those inspirational pieces firmly on my mind (and after the usual bit of deliberation on my part), it was finally time to get painting. Here’s what I did:

Everything started with a foundation for the golden armour. This was a pretty enjoyable step, as it involved lots of drybrushing and washing, and I had made sure during the building stage that the model’s armour would have lots of raised detail. Here’s what the armour looked like after this step:

Janus Auriga PIP (1)
The recipe was easy but effective: The entire model was undercoated with black spraypaint (as usual), then generously drybrushed with GW Warplock Bronze. Then a wash of Gryphonne Sepia (although Seraphim Sepia or Army Painter Soft Tone would probably have worked just as well), then another drybrush with GW Brass Scorpion. And finally, some more controlled highlights with a mix of Brass Scorpion and Mithril Silver. Not rocket science, really, but it got the job done.

Afterwards, it was mostly a matter of blocking out the various detail, although I did try to add a special flourish or two:

Inspired by Jeff Vader’s illustration above, I wanted to paint a checkerboard pattern on one of the pauldrons, in order to make the model look more interesting (and also a bit more gothic). This turned out to be quite a challenge, as I hadn’t attempted anything similar for about twenty years, I suppose…

In the end, I managed to come up with a checkerboard pattern that certainly wasn’t perfect, but convincing enough for me:

Janus Auriga PIP (15)
Janus Auriga PIP (16)

And after that, filling out the rest of the blanks wasn’t that much of a challenge, really. So without further ado, I give you Praetor Janus Auriga of the Golden Legion:

Praetor Janus Auriga (9)
Praetor Janus Auriga (13)
Praetor Janus Auriga (14)
Praetor Janus Auriga (15)
Praetor Janus Auriga (16)
Praetor Janus Auriga (1)

Here’s a closer look at the left pauldron with its checkerboard pattern:

Praetor Janus Auriga (10)
I am actually really pleased with this part of the model, warts and all! Oh, and in a second personal premiere, this also marks the first time that I have ever managed to paint a red jewel that didn’t end up looking like some kind of cherry — I am so happy! ;)

Praetor Janus Auriga (11)
Praetor Janus Auriga (12)
Some people have remarked that he seems like a gnarly, hard-boiled Clint Eastwood type to them, which is exactly what I had in mind: The backstory for Brother Auriga is that he is no longer 100% combat worthy after an injury and has been seconded to the council advising the Sector Governor by the Chapter’s Lord Commander, in order to speak as his representative. Brother Auriga is blunt to a fault, and was deliberately selected by the Lord Commander to counteract the amount of bargaining and politicking on the council. He also sees his posting as a honourless and onerous task and would much rather return to combat.

Oh, and one more thing about the model: You may have noticed that I’ve decided to keep the Inquisitorial seal on his breastplate. This wasn’t an oversight, but a conscious decision: Brother Auriga was one of a number of battle brothers who had the honour of fighting alongside the forces of the Ordo Malleus during the quelling of the daemon-infested world of St. Berthold, which is why he still proudly wears an Inquisitorial signet as part of his personal heraldry.

And finally, a couple of scale comparisons that will show you how Brother Auriga measures up to next to my other latest INQ28 models:

Brother Auriga next to Interrogatory Brynn Yulner (a roughly Cadian sized model):

Praetor Janus Auriga scale comparison (2)
And next to Sister Euphrati Eisen:

Praetor Janus Auriga scale comparison (1)
In fact, Brother Auriga makes a rather nice centre piece for my entire INQ28 collection, as he basically towers over all the other models ;)

And of course this post wouldn’t be complete without a little background vignette to accompany the model. So here goes:

Protector of Velsen
Praetor Janus Auriga, of the Golden Legion Astartes Chapter

Seneschal Secundus Goswinus Baehrn stood at the edge of the landing platform, his robes flapping about him in the icy breeze. Baehrn prided himself on being a thoroughly unemotional person, but even so, he had been extremely nervous, ever since the news had reached him half an hour earlier: The Astartes gunship “Falco Aureus” had made planetfall and was approaching the Hive Primus with an urgent dispatch for the Lord Governor himself.

Direct dealings with the Chapter were few and far between these days, and mostly limited to the most prestigious social functions, which was why Goswinus Baehrn had never actually laid eyes on a member of the Adeptus Astartes up close during his fifteen years in his fairly prestigious position. Under normal circumstances, the task of welcoming a representative of the Legion on Bastold would have fallen under the purview of Senschal Primus Mathewelin, but the old man had retired to his chambers the prior night, with a generous supply of amasec and Obscura and, it was whispered, in the company of several women of questionable renown. In any case, Baehrn had been unable to rouse his superior, which now left him the highest-ranking official to deal with this unforeseen event — He could only suspect that the Seneschal Primus would have to say something about this breach of etiquette at some point in the near future. In fact, there would almost certainly be hell to pay later in the day, not a doubt about it, yet even this prospect was nothing against the mounting sense of dread filling Baehrn as he saw the Astartes vessel approaching: The gunship came in low against the rising sun, as if for a covert attack run. It was a blunt, brutal shape, not unlike a fist, the roar of its engines growing from clearly audible to almost unbearable, as it drew close to the landing platform.

The gunship touched down at the very centre of the platform. Baehrn could see its golden bulk, the exquisite scrollwork and lettering in High Gothic proclaiming its many glorious years of service, yet also the scars and welts that spoke of a life of constant battles. The Seneschal Secundus drew himself up to his full height as the front ramp opened with a hiss, taking a deep breath and sending a silent prayer to the God-Emperor to grant him composure.

“They have sent us a statue!” That was his first thought as he saw the massive golden figure standing at the top of the ramp: A perfect rendition of an Astartes in gold, its armour beautifully detailed, its arms clutching a boltgun across the chest in the most iconic pose imaginable. Baehrn almost laughed out loud as relief flooded through him — the Golden Legion merely wanted to provide an overwrought – and fairly narcissistic – gift to the rulers of Velsen, doubtlessly to be unveiled during a suitably extensive and garish ceremony.

This feeling was short lived, however, and quickly replaced by utter dread as the golden figure started marching down the landing ramp in precise, measured steps.

It was all Goswinus Baehrn could do not to cringe in fear at the approaching giant, and he bowed his head in supplication instead, making the sign of the aquila. When the low purr of active power armour finally emanated from directly in front of him, setting his teeth on edge, there was only a very slight quaver in his voice as he intoned the formal greeting in High Gothic:

“We welcome thee, protector of Velsen, in this hallowed fulcrum of our realm. It is our honour to lay eyes upon thee, and thine every wish shalt be our command, honoured battle brother of the Legio Aurea. The Emperor Protects.”

“Who are you?” The armour’s speaker systems lent the voice a slightly metallic quality, but it was powerful and deep underneath. A voice that demanded instant obeissance.

“Seneschal Secundus Goswinus Baehrn, my lord, member of the household of House Vlachen and most obedient servant of the Lord High-Protector, the Emperor bless his name.”

The giant in golden armour kept staring at Baehrn through glowing blue eye lenses for what seemed like an eternity, but could only have been a few heartbeats, then he lowered the massive bolter, securing it to his thigh with a soft metallic clank. He reached up towards his laurel crested helmet, disengaging the seals with a hiss. When he lifted the helmet free of his head, Baehrn could see a grizzled face, stern and lined, yet with broad features that instantly marked its owner as something more than human, and crowned by a crest of hair so bright that it appeared white. The Astartes’ eyes were of a piercing blue, and as Baehrn did his best to hold their gaze, he felt as though he were being evaluated, no, …targeted. Then The giant spoke:

“I am Praetor Janus Auriga  of the Golden Legion, envoy to Lord Commander Prabian. I am here on the Lord Commander’s orders, to speak with Lord Governor Vlachen, that I might advise him in the the governing of Velsen.”

“Advise…the Lord Governor?” Baehrn almost spluttered: “My lord, that…”

Auriga interrupted him briskly: “The Lord Commander feels that, in the light of current events, the Chapter should take a more active role in guiding the sector. I have therefore been commanded to take the legion’s customary seat on the council.”

Baehrn could barely keep his emotions in check, reeling as he was from the implications of the Praetor’s words: The Golden Legion’s seat on the council had been vacant for a very long time – so long as to make the office seem more than a symbolic gesture than anything – and he doubted even the older members of the noble houses could remember when a member of the Chapter had actually traveled to Bastold to speak on behalf of his Lord Commander on the council. The mere revelation of this latest development would throw the council in an uproar. All of this went through Baehrn’s head, as his mind raced to find an appropriate reply.

A non-committal “…my lord” was all he could safely come up with.

“I will need accommodations for myself and my retainers.” The Praetor indicated a small group of robed figures exiting the gunship.

“It will be done, my lord!” Baehrn was glad the conversation seemed to be on terra firma. “It shall be attended to at once. And I will send notice to your quarters, once the council is back in session, so that you may speak to the representatives…”

“Negative!”, Auriga interrupted: “I will address the council now!”

Baehrn almost reeled back, as the terror came flooding back in full force. “NOW? But, my lord,…the council is in recess right now. The council members will…”

“Are the council chambers still located in sector C-34 of the central spire?”

“Y…yes, my lord.”

“Good. Then I will meet the council members there.”

With these words, the giant in golden armour started to march towards the Hive’s interior, with a very agitated Senschal Secundus doing his best to keep up.

Things on Bastold were about to change.

 

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

400,000 views — and the evolution of a Zombie…

Posted in old stuff, paintjob, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , on April 28, 2015 by krautscientist

400000views
Hey everyone, just a quick post to let you know that Eternal Hunt has actually managed to hit the 400,000 total views mark earlier this week, which I think is pretty cool! So, once again, thanks to all of you who keep reading, following, sharing and commenting! It really means a lot to me!

In order to provide you with something appropriate to the occasion, I burrowed down deep and actually managed to dig out what may be the absolute first model I’ve ever painted. Check it out:

Zombie (1)
A trusty HeroQuest Zombie, as you can see, and I think it’s fair to say that I didn’t really know what I was doing. I distinctly remember wanting to approximate the look of the painted example on the game box, with its dead, blueish skin and faded red jacket. But I went for neon blue and bright red which didn’t help. Plus there’s also the fact that I had very obvious difficulties in the field of brush control, as you can plainly see…

Zombie (2)
I must have realised that even back then, which is probably why the poor blighter never got finished. All of this happened circa 1992, when actually painting the miniatures that came with a boxed game seemed like a strange and novel concept, and my first experiences in this field certainly scared me away for a couple of years.

Until 1994, that is, when I started taking an interest in the painting of miniatures again. And as it happens, I have yet another HeroQuest Zombie to show for it. So here’s exhibit B:

Zombie (3)
Not bad, not bad at all — I certainly had a much better idea of what a tabletop Zombie should look like this time, and I also went the whole hog and actually finished the model. And while the paintjob is hardly brilliant, it also isn’t massively embarrassing, either.

Zombie (4)
My one big mistake, in hindsight, was to use some pretty horrible, glossy enamel paints. But I was definitely getting there (I believe I painted my first model using GW paints pretty soon afterwards — it was the chaos warlock from the HeroQuest box). Oh, and for the record: I still think those faded blood stains on the blade of the cleaver are kind of cool ;)

Which brings us to the present — or to 2014, to be exact: I speedpainted a couple of HeroQuest models last year, as a bit of quick fun, and the Zombie model was one of them. Take a look:

Zombie (5)
Granted, it’s not competition level painting by any stretch of the imagination, but then I hardly spent an hour on the model. And I think it’s a fairly accurate representation of my current painting standard. What’s interesting about the model is that it’s actually really close to the look I had wanted to achieve on that first Zombie: dead, mouldering flesh and faded, threadbare clothes. Anyway, I am pretty happy with this guy.

Zombie (6)
I also think those HeroQuest models have aged teriffically well, in spite of everything — they are single piece and rather limited, but their very distinc silhouettes and general design still manage to hold up. The Zombie, for one, is still one of my favourite tabletop Zombie models!

So there we have it: Twenty plus years of my personal painting career in one comparison picture:

Zombie Evolution (3)
I may not be a brilliant painter, but I still seem to have come a rather long way, after all ;)

So, once again, thanks for reading this blog and providing me with some motivation to produce new conversions and paint a model every now and then. There’ll be a more substantial update – with an actual, finished model – later this week. Scout’s honour!

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

Toll the great bell once — a look at the Skitarii release

Posted in 40k, Conversions with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 22, 2015 by krautscientist

They have finally given us plastic AdMech!

I repeat: THEY HAVE FINALLY GIVEN US PLASTIC ADMECH!

Seriously, though: I am pretty sure it’s no exaggeration to say that, for many hobbyists, the introduction of the Adeptus Mechanicus Skitarii as a separate faction is wish-fulfillment of the first order. There’s just something about the Adeptus Mechanicus that’s so quintessentially grimdark and 40k that it makes the faction almost irresistible to some of us — myself included.

AdMech Skitarii Release (1)
If you grew up with 40k at a certain time and share a certain mindset, then you will have looked forward to any AdMech release just as much as me: I remember coming across illustrations like this John Blanche piece…

AdMech by John Blanche

Illustration by John Blanche

or this equally brilliant piece by Jes Goodwin…

Illustration by Jes Goodwin

Illustration by Jes Goodwin

…and starting to wonder what the deal with those Mechanicus guys was. Those ponderings formed the foundation for an ongoing fascination with the Adeptus Mechanicus, and I think the main reason for this fascination is the fact that, not unlike the Adepta Sororitas, the Adeptus Mechanicus is very much at the heart of what makes 40k such a memorable setting: The eclecticism, rampant anachronisms and grimdark feel of these ancient guardians of knowledge (or should that be ignorance?) are what make them so cool. Their heavily augmented, red-robed forms are as iconic of the darker, more Blanchian side of 40k as the colourful, slightly more modern Space Marines are of mainline 40k.

And to be honest, we never really expected there to be an official plastic AdMech release, did we? I think I speak for all of us AdMech aficionados when I say that we would probably have been happy with a clamshell character or two. And many people were overjoyed at Forgeworld making the Mechanicum a faction in the Horus Heresy setting. But plastic AdMech in 40k proper? Unthinkable!

And yet, here it is! So let us take a look at all the new kits and discuss their high and low points. And it goes without saying that we will also be looking at the possible conversion options. All hail the Machine! ;)

 

Skitarii Rangers/Skitarii Vanguard:

AdMech Skitarii Release (2)Okay, this is our very first AdMech plastic infantry kit, and right out of the gate, we can see that GW means business.
The kit gives us the option to assemble two types of infantry: Skitarii Rangers and Skitarii Vanguard. Let’s start with the Rangers, because these guys are so quintessentially AdMech with their red robes, cowled and masked heads and heavy augmentations: And not only do they closely resemble the picture many hobbyists have had of the Skitarii, but I also think it’s really stunning how closely these models…

AdMech Skitarii Release (5)

..resemble the Skitarii artwork by none other than John Blanche himself. Just check it out:

Skitarius by John Blanche

Skitarius by John Blanche

This is just the first of several instances where the new models tap into the well established look for the faction, but once again, it’s really amazing to finally have the models to fit the artwork!

One thing that stands out about this kit as well as the whole release is the use of anachronism in the design of the models, particularly the weapons. The inclusion of a very WFB Empire-like sniper rifle serves as a sterling example of this:

AdMech Skitarii Release (6)
Now this certainly goes for all of 40k to some degree, but it’s especially obvious with the Skitarii weapons, both due to their design as well as their idiosyncratic nature: On the surface, these are some really elegant weapons, with beautifully decorated grips and delicate, slender designs, lending a strong 19th century feeling to the models. At the same time, there’s a rather chilling contrast between the very classy, elegant design of the weapons and their terrible function: In a world as grimdark as 40k, the Tech Priests of Mars alone are big enough bastards to let their troops use weapons that not only irradiate the surroundings but also the very soldiers wielding them.

In any case, these guys are very close to the well established Skitarii image and provide us with some wonderful plastic renditions of the art we all love so much — very nice!

The other option is to assemble the kit as ten Skitarii Vanguard, with different weapons and heads:

AdMech Skitarii Release (8)

And while the very different look of the Vanguard helmets when compared to the usual, cowled AdMech look did take some getting used to, I find myself growing more and more fond of these guys: There is something very neo-Prussian about them, which adds to the 19th century feeling of the models. And at the same time, there’s also a palpable influence of 50s SciFi evident in the models’ design.

AdMech Skitarii Release (10)

All the parts in the kit are beautifully detailed and present some of GW’s finest work in plastic. The resulting models are wonderfully scaled, slender and detailed, with a brilliant contrast between flowing robes and highly busy technical components. One piece of criticism I have seen leveled at the kit is that the models seem relatively “safe” and “clean”, mostly devoid of the rampant body horror and man/machine fusion we get in some of the more extreme AdMech artwork. But while that may be true, I would argue that it seems sensible to make the main infantry kit for the faction a bit more restrained — there will be ample body horror later, for one, plus it should also be really easy to make these guys as distressed as you want them to be via some kitbashing. But more on that later!

One last thing I love about the kit is how it gives us ten models to play around with — and at a fairly reasonable price, at that. Sure, ten squad members used to be norm rather than the exception, but so many of the more recent kits have used five models as a new standard that it’s really nice to see a bigger squad again!

All in all, this kit is fantastic and feels like an almost compulsory purchase for every 40k aficionado. Excellent job!

 

Sicarian Infiltrators/ Sicarian Ruststalkers

AdMech Skitarii Release (13)
Another multi-kit, so we are certainly getting our money’s worth out of this new plastic crack! Both variants of the kit make for some very unique models, so let’s take a look at both of them in turn:

AdMech Skitarii Release (14)

Let’s start with the Infiltrators: Man, I just love these guys: They look every bit the lithe, deadly assassins they are supposed to be. The grafted-on augmetic stilts do a perfect job of making them taller and giving them a more unique silhouette, and their bionic arms with the transonic blades add to that effect. I also really like the gas-masked heads: These guys just have the “Clockwork Ninja” look down pat:

AdMech Skitarii Release (16)
It also looks like their arm blades can be used to achieve all kinds of bad-ass ninja poses. And I love how they are tall and impressive enough to use Termie bases, yet their slender silhouette still ties them in with the classic AdMech look. It’s also noticeable how the lack of robes actually works in their favour, making them look far more dynamic and deadly — beautiful!

Speaking of robes, there’s also the squad’s Princeps:

AdMech Skitarii Release (15)
And, if anything, he’s even cooler than his charges! Seriously, I love this guy: The cowled, heavily cabled face, the voluminous robes extra set of servo-arms — he’s just everything I would expect of a highly combative member of the AdMech. If I have one gripe with this guy, it’s that he almost looks a tad too far removed from the rest of the squad — more like a proper Tech Priest and less like a mere unit champ. But the model itself is pretty much perfect, which is why I’ll let it slide. One more thing: You’ve got to love that evil looking claw, don’t you think?

Apart from that, my only point of critique about the Infiltrators is that the various doodads dangling down from the models’ backpack seem to work against the models’ otherwise very clean and uncluttered silhouette. I guess how these are supposed to be recurring elements all across the army, but they are slightly surplus to requirements here, if you ask me. But ultimately, that is a very minor problem — I just love these guys, period.

There’s also the option of assembling the models as Sicarian Ruststalkers, a squad of high-tech soldiers jamming transmissions and frying enemy brains with their constant broadcasting of the AdMech version of deadly white noise:

AdMech Skitarii Release (17)
These guys have a very obvious 50s SciFi look going on, and their domed helmets really do a good job of communicating their function. I also like the alternative set of weapons — especially the grimdark uzis ;) One thing that I really want to point out is how similar these guys are to a 1990s concept for Imperial robots, courtesy of Jes Goodwin. Just see for yourselves:

AdMech Skitarii Release (22)

Imperial Robot by Jes Goodwin
What a wonderful way of giving a shout out to these older, yet still wonderful, concept sketches!

Ultimately, I like these guys slightly less than the Infiltrators, but that may just be me: They are a bit goofier and slightly less sinister and lethal looking. What I really like is how a change of heads and weapons really transforms the models!

One thing, though: Doesn’t it just look like the squad leader has a Santa Claus beard made of cabling:

AdMech Skitarii Release (20)
I just cannot unsee this now, especially with that red cloak… Erm…that is one bad ass looking servo-skull, though, so I think that makes up for the slightly dubious head ;)

It also bears mentioning that these guys are less clean and more sinister than the Vanguard/Rangers, hewing closer to the more demented side of AdMech lore. So if the other footsloggers feel too safe for you, these guys should be right up your alley! There’s also something chilling about their backstory: Skitarii so damaged by their prior years of service that their only use is to be turned into utterly terrifying killing machines.

Ultimately, I love this kit just as much as the Vanguard/Ranger kit: One of the main pitfalls for this army must have been to maintain the balance between having a strong look of visual coherency (these are machine soldiers, after all) while also having the different units look original enough. These models are a great variation of the look introduced by the Vanguard/Ranger kit, and I will certainly pick up a box of these sooner rather than later! Fantastic!

 

Ironstrider Ballistarius/ Sydonian Dragoon

AdMech Skitarii Release (25)Okay, this third kit certainly ups the ante when it comes to grimdark visuals and puts us slap bang in the middle of Blanchian design sensibilities.

The Ironstrider Ballistarius is the AdMech idea of a mobile weapons platform — and didn’t you just expect these guys to have something pretty interesting going for that? The result is a beautifully eclectic, avian walker with some very noticeable design parallels to the Imperial Knight (the armour plates on the legs make this especially obvious), creating a strong and very fitting visual connection between the two subfactions.

Oh, and this has to be one of my favourite heads designed by GW:

AdMech Skitarii Release (27)
By changing around the various rider bitz and main weapon, we actually get a sub-variant of this kit with a sniper focus:

AdMech Skitarii Release (29)You may call me crazy, but (mostly due to the 19th century design of the weapons) I am getting a massive “big game hunter” feeling from this version of the kit, which I think is fantastic!

The real star of the show, however, has to be the Sydonian Dragoon:

AdMech Skitarii Release (23)

In his recent review of the kit, Dave Taylor calls the idea of a retro-futuristic Knight riding a birdlike walker and wielding a massive taser lance a wonderful case of “bringing a knife to a gunfight”, and that is a very apt description. What’s more, in many ways this embodies the very spirit of 40k itself: Fighting the wars of the future with the weapons of the past. All the weapons of the past, to be precise — and at the same time, no less ;)

The Neo-Prussian look is also back in full force here, with the rider actually going to war complete with a trusty Pickelhaube helmet. This leads to a fantastic and ultimately smooth blend of medieval knight, 18th/19th century design sensibilities and all the clockpunk/dieselpunk touches you could ask for in a single model.

The result is a model that is, at the same time, the quintessential retro-fururistic steampunk knight and also basically 40k in a nutshell. A real triumph! And I can easily see this guy making his way into the display cabinets of countless hobbyists, even if they have no intention whatsoever of starting a Skitarii force.

So, is everything perfect about this kit? Well, I do have one small issue, to be honest:

AdMech Skitarii Release (24)

The servitor controlling the machine’s movement just seems a bit too BDSM for my taste. Now don’t get me wrong: It’s a very grimdark element. It’s just that it’s almost too much (and there’s also the fact that, god help me, it really reminds me of a particular invention by South Park’s Mr. Garrison, called the IT bike — google at your own risk, as it’s definitely NSFW. You have been warned!).

But that’s just my personal taste, of course, and what’s more, it’s just one detail. All in all, this kit is nothing short of spectacular! This release really goes from strength to strength!

 

Onager Dunecrawler

AdMech Skitarii Release (30)
And finally, ostrich-like walkers are all well and good, but you certainly cannot have a 40k faction without a beefy tank, can you? ;) So this is it, the Adeptus Mechanicus’ idea of a tank. And it does have insectile legs, of course — no surprise there.

My first thought when seeing this was actually “Oh look, it’s GW doing a Dust:Tactics tank!” And sure enough, there’s more than a little resemblance between this kit and some of the Dust models. But then, spider legged WWII-esque walkers have certainly been done before, so I guess we can let it slide ;)

Obvious inspirations aside, this was possibly my least favourite part of the release, initially. The juxtaposition of the spindly, elegant legs and the bulky main body just seemed a bit off for my taste.

However, the owner of my FLGS – a huge tank aficionado, both when it comes to historical tanks and crazy, half-organic deathmobiles – pointed out to me that some builds of the model look far better than others. The option with the twin-linked autocannon and rocket launcher above is pretty cool, whereas some of the other setups I have seen look overly busy. In fact, the more I think about it the more obvious it becomes to me that the model looks better with a slightly stripped-down silhouette:

AdMech Skitarii Release (33)
Which it why I would probably leave off those strange manipulators/drills and just use the headlights instead- it seems to me like the less busy builds end up looking far better.

AdMech Skitarii Release (35)So while some of the additional detail, as well as some of the more esoteric weapons, may be beautifully designed, I feel that the model works better with a tidier, more workmanlike look. Interestingly enough, its design makes this tank more futuristic than your regular old IG tank, yet also more retro in a sense, as there is a very palpable WWI /WWII feeling to the whole affair — only with some added spider legs ;)

AdMech Skitarii Release (31)Speaking of which, the spider legs once again form a visual connection with the Imperial Knight kit — and I think the Onager could even be seen as a bit of a missing link between Imperial warmachines and the dreaded Defiler: While the Defiler was designed from the ground up by the Traitor Legions, I like the idea that the Magi of the Dark Mechanicum should have come up with designs not all that different from those of their loyal counterparts ;)

All in all, while the Onager lacks the shock and awe brilliance of the other kits in this release, I have to say that it’s a kit that grows on you over time. And in a game full of boxy, uninspired tanks, something like the Onager is certainly a welcome change of pace!

 

Conversion options:

It shouldn’t surprise you that the first AdMech conversions using the new kits are already cropping up all over the internet — after all, we’ve had to make ends meet for years, with no “official” AdMech plastic parts available. And what a treasure trove of conversion options these new kits provide to the enterprising converter! Let’s take a look:

Vanguard/Rangers:

The INQ28 crowd are already going nuts over this kit, so I think we can look forward to seeing all kinds of Inquisitorial and unsavoury characters seeing the light of day due to this release. I’ve collected a couple of very cool examples for you:

  • Weirdingway is really putting the kit through its paces, creating some wonderful hybrids of Skitarii and other models. His Tech Gang is especially noteworthy, proving that the Skitarii can work wonderfully as Confrontation-style Tech Gangers (seriously, GW, what is it with all the hidden Confrontation conversion bitz lately? Is there some bigger plan at play here?), voidship crews or similar archetypes.
  • EdT, well known for his brilliant warband concepts, is hard at work on another fantastic crew of characters, with some excellent insectile Skitarii on the way that bring the kit more in line with the darker, more inhuman side of the Adeptus Mechanicus.
  • Morbäck of Le blog dé Kouzes has come up with a wonderful way of using Skitarii bitz for converting an excellent Imperial Rogue Trader/Pilot: The way the Vanguard helmets can be made to look like pilot helmets is especially brilliant!
  • And John Blanche himself has been working on some truly excellent and evocative kitbashes using some of the new Skitarii parts — check them out over at the Ammobunker!

All these examples are ample proof that the kit will work great for any kind of AdMech related conversion, even though kitbashing these guys requires a bit of thought, due to the way the body and legs go together. That said, even beyond the Skitarii bodies, the kit also provides some beautiful conversion bitz: Those hooded Ranger heads will make Tech Priest conversion much easier, and the beautiful Vanguard helmets would look great on mechanised IG regiments: Maybe this would be a cool way of giving your Astra Militarum detachment that special AdMech look, supposing you want to use a combination of both factions. Come to think of it, there’s even a noticeable Solar Auxilia resemblance, so these heads may be an interesting way of approximating the Solar Auxilia look without having to purchase the FW models. At the same time, they will also work well for Enforcers or even Arbites for Necromunda or INQ28. It would also be interesting to play up the knightly angle of these guys and go for steampunk cavalry — or whatever else you can think of. And what about combining the Skitarii kit with some Dark Eldar Wrack parts? Wouldn’t that be a perfect start for some really creepy Dark Mechanicum models…? In fact, the whole Dark Mechanicum angle is pretty fascinating, with the Skitarii as a possible jumping-off point for all kinds of demented kitbashes. Even now, I find myself thinking of combining Skitarii with Skaven Stormvermin, Empire Flagellants or what have you. For starters, here are some very cool Dark Mechanicum Skitarii courtesy of InsanePsychopath, who has managed to come up with great models with just a few clever tweaks to the models and their paintjobs

 

Infiltrators/Ruststalkers:

Okay, let’s get the most obvious thing out of the way first: Since these models work so well as lithe, sinister assassin types, they would be great for any Inquisitor’s retinue: It would just take a few tweaks to turn them into Death Cultists with a penchant for body modifications or even a sub-variety of arco-flagellants. They could also be turned into Spyrers with a bit of work, because you can easily see these guys stalking their prey in the underhive, right?

And that’s really just the tip of the iceberg: Consider Drazuul’s “Mecha-Nid”, for instance: Could there be a more chilling example of the (Dark) Mechanicum’s ingenuity than the thought of an enterprising Magos Genetor (or radical Inquisitor) trying to improve upon the biological killing machines constructed by the Hivemind?

In fact, the Infiltrators would also work as basic templates for all kinds of Dark Mechanicum killing machines, such as Bronze Malifects. Likewise, I could easily see those domed helmets from the Sicarian Ruststalkers for all kinds of robot/killdroid/drone conversions! And finally, the unit champ works great as a particularly combative Magos for INQ28, right out of the box.

 

Sydonian Dragoon / Ironstrider Ballistarius:

While it almost seems a bit sacrilegious to use this kit for anything else than its intended use, there are a couple of possible ideas knocking around in the back of my head: My first idea was that this kit would provide a pretty cool base for a – Blood Pact style – stalk tank for Traitor Guard forces. The model’s slightly more organic, creepy vibe when compared with the trusty old Sentinel would certainly make it a viable option for enterprising chaos converters!

Likewise, the legs and main body would probably be great for whenever an even more elaborate, ostentatious walker chassis is needed — for an Ecclesiarchy walker, a walking pulpit or even a kitbashed Penitent Engine.  And the kit provides a great pair of legs for every biomechanic monstrosity you could possibly think of, of course — what about making a Helbrute a bit more impressive by adding those Ironstrider legs, I wonder…?

 

Onager Dunestalker
Once again, the model should make for an excellent basic template when converting traitor (stalk) tanks: At the very least, the spider-legged build provides a visually much more interesting option for chaos players than the same old boxy Imperial tank models. Speaking of which, this kit should also come in handy when planning possible daemon engines. For instance, AMaxmius recently shared idead for a daemon engine with me that I am confident will put these legs to excellent use –check out his first post on the matter here.

Beyond that, suffice it to say that these legs should work wonderfully for your daemon engine needs, if you don’t want to use the Defiler legs, as those haven’t aged all that well by today’s standards…

 

So, when all is said and done, what to make of this release? To be honest, I was blown away by these kits! Just when we thought we’d seen it all, GW gives us the most Blanchian models in over a decade, channeling not only the wealth of AdMech artwork created over the years, but also lots of visual influences, from 50s SciFi to clockpunk, dieselpunk and steampunk. The result is something that seems pretty unique, yet also perfectly at home in the 40k setting. Pieces like the Sydonian Dragoon are just wonderfully evocative, while the Skitarii infantry kits provide us with lots of excellent tech-y conversion fodder. And even the less brilliant parts of the release (yes Onager, I am looking at you) are still fairly strong offerings, if seen on their own.

One thing that is interesting to note is the absence of actual Tech Priests (so far): Does GW intentionally stay out of the actual Cult Mechanicus in order not to step on FW’s toes? Or do the Skitarii serve as a test balloon or a mere prelude, with the Magi of Mars held back for a potential future release? The beauty of it is that it really doesn’t matter that much: Even if we never get a Mechanicus second wave, this release stands on its own as a fantastic design achievement — and it provided converters and kitbashers with all the toys they need for their AdMech needs.

All in all, I will have to call this a stellar release, both for its quality and focus as well as for the very fact that plastic AdMech is really happening at long last! I also have to say that these kits speak to me in a way that the FW Mechanicum designs do not (except for a few noteable exceptions like the Tech Thralls and that one tank looking like an art déco car). So yeah, fantastic work, GW! Respect where respect is due!

 

But what do you think about this release? Are you as happy with the new kits as I am, or do these men of metal leave you completely cold? And would you like to discuss any more conversion ideas? I would be happy to hear from you in the comments section!

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

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