FRABuSEL, In Memoriam

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , on May 29, 2016 by krautscientist

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Hey everyone, it’s been a while since the last update, for which I apologise. Unfortunately, there’s a pretty sad reason for today’s post, as my favourite hobby store, FRABuSEL, will be closing its doors come the end of the month. So I’d like the opportunity to talk about the store a bit and share some memories of the last couple of years. Let this serve as a heartfelt eulogy to my favourite FLGS:

FRABuSEL's storefront: Taking a look at the various armies presented there always made me come away with a new conversion idea or two.

FRABuSEL’s storefront: Taking a look at the various armies presented there always made me come away with a new conversion idea or two.

I only really found out about FRABuSEL’s fate last week, when I swung by the store to pick up a pot of paint or two: I was faced with half-empty shelves and a jumble of moving boxes. And sure enough, Carsten – the owner – confirmed my suspicions: Due to the recent lack of sales, and especially due to the lack of new customers, running the store had turned out to no longer be economically viable. Now you can probably imagine that this came as a bit of a shock to me: I had been purchasing virtually all of my hobby products (with the exception of some specific bitz purchases) at the store for the last couple of years (and at FRABuSEL’s predecessor store Spieltraum for more than a decade beforehand), and most of my armies and warbands consist of models purchased at the store:

Khorne's Eternal Hunt 2016 (1) big

And for a good reason, because FRABuSEL wasn’t merely the closest and most convenient location to pick up new plastic crack, but also a teriffic store in its own right: Carsten ran a great business and was always quick with good advice or a fair discount. What’s more, as is a sign of all the best hobby stores, FRABuSEL was also a venue for all kinds of events and friendly games, and while I am not a huge gamer myself, Khorne’s Eternal Hunt did see quite a few outings against its enemies on the tables provided by the store, and some of those games remain among my favourite tabletop moments (such as that one time I wiped the table with my cousin’s Dark Eldar and then let victory elude my grasp because I actually played too much like a World Eater).

Khorne's Eternal Hunt facing off against a coalition of Craftworld Eldar and their dark kin at FRABuSEL

Khorne’s Eternal Hunt facing off against a coalition of Craftworld Eldar and their dark kin at FRABuSEL

It helped that the business side of things was excellent as well, of course: Carsten stocked a lot of products that would otherwise have been a bit of a hassle to get hold of (ranging from a wide range of Vallejo colours to all kinds of OOP GW metal models). And whenever the internet erupted in cries of misery due to a newly released model or boxed set selling out about 3.5 minutes after first becoming available, I could rest easy in the knowledge that a copy of it would be waiting at FRABuSEL for me the coming week, should I wish to pick it up. And whenever I read about more and more hobby stores around the world closing their doors, I was happy to know that my own FLGS was still around — and hopefully would remain so for a long time to come!

Discovering excellent models, such as this Looted Knight, courtesy of the store's other regulars, was always an additional treat!

Discovering excellent models, such as this Looted Knight, courtesy of the store’s other regulars, was always an additional treat!

Only now it won’t be around any longer, and that really sucks! It makes picking up new hobby supplies more complicated (and much less personal), but that’s only the smallest part of the problem , obviously. It also means one less place for getting in touch with other hobbyists, sharing friendly banter and advice, and for immersing myself in this particular part of hobby culture.

Granted, this is certainly only a part of much bigger developments, with more and more specialist and special interest stores going out of business, while people primarily buy online. But while the internet has done lots of good for our hobby, providing forums, blogs and communities that foster communication and the exchange of ideas and hobby projects, it has also been doing a hell of a number on the brick and mortar stores that have been real hearthfires, so to speak, for hobbyists for years and years. The same is obviously true for all kinds of smaller, owner-managed stores, as more and more of them drop out of the race at. And maybe that’s just the way of the world. But its’s a bad way, and it leaves all our cities looking exactly the same, with just the same five big store chains endlessly arranging and re-arranging their respective stores in slightly different configurations.

One of Carsten's own models, a Soulgrinder well-known to regular customers.

One of Carsten’s own models, a Soulgrinder well-known to regular customers.

 

But back to this particular story: I dropped by the store one last time last Friday, and dug through the packing crates with models in order to score some final deals. It did feel like helping to pick clean the bones of a former pet, to be honest, even after Carsten repeatedly assured me that every sale helped. But yeah, it wasn’t a particularly happy day, for obvious reasons.

One of the crates containing heaps of miniature blisters. Digging through these for the last time did leave a bittersweet feeling...

One of the crates containing heaps of miniature blisters. Digging through these for the last time did leave a bittersweet feeling…

 

So here’s to FRABuSEL, my favourite FLGS, and the store that launched a thousand armies (three or four in my case alone, actually)! And here’s to Carsten, who was always a pillar of the community, and to whom I wish all the best from the bottom of my heart!

So if you have any brick and mortar stores in your vincinity that you like, please make sure to spend some money there as soon as possible, lest they share the same fate — that 20% discount online may seem tempting now, but those guys at the big online sellers are not going to provide any tables for you to play on, and neither will they remember you when someone brings in a huge box of odds and ends and allow you to dig through it at your leisure — just sayin’…

In spite of everything, I would like to wrap up this somewhat sad post on a slightly uplifting note, and maybe I have just the thing for that: In addition to the stuff I purchased during my last two visits, Carsten also gave me a Space Wolves model he had assembled himself as a small gift. And the least I could do was to give this poor straggler a new home. So I just made a few small tweaks…

Kharrsten Bloodhowl WIP (1)
Kharrsten Bloodhowl WIP (2)
Kharrsten Bloodhowl WIP (3)
…and now Kharrsten Bloodhowl, the Death-Dealer, stands ready to join my next batch of traitorous Space Wolves and ultimately become a part of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt:

New Blood Wolves WIP
It’s a very small gesture, to be sure, but one that at least seems like a neat little tribute to me😉

So thanks again to Carsten for running an amazing store over these last years! And, as always, thanks to your for looking! Stay tuned for more!

Carsten's Imperial Guard, now heading for another battlefield. The Emperor protect you, soldiers!

Carsten’s Imperial Guard, now heading for a different battlefield. The Emperor protect you, soldiers!

Inquisitor 28: From Cataphractii to Chapter Master

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 12, 2016 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, after speaking – at length – about my conversions using the Cataphractii Terminators from Betrayal at Calth and about my experiences converting that Cataphractii Praetor from the same boxed set into yet another 30k version of Lord Captain Lorimar, let’s return to the wonderful world of Cataphractii once more and discuss another conversion. The base for today’s project was, once again, the Betrayal at Calth Cataphractii Praetor:

Betrayal at Calth release (17)
Messing around with the model had already taught me that it didn’t take much to really transform the stock version of the Praetor into something else — but I wasn’t quite finished with the model yet, because I had to remember Commissar Molotov’s very interesting proof of concept for a true scale Astartes based on the Cataphractii Praetor. And after learning for myself how relatively easy it was to get rid of the model’s pidgeon-toed stance, I couldn’t get this idea out of my head. And when I recently had the chance of picking up another Praetor for cheap from fellow hobbyist Mineralwasser, that basically settled the deal. And what better way to convert this model again than to make it into the Chapter Master of my DIY Chapter, the Golden Legion?

I started by creating a very simple first mockup:

Second Golden Legionnaire early WIP (1)
The main objective here was to get a basic feel for what I wanted the model to look like. As you can see, I made the exact same adjustment to the legs I used on my Lorimar conversion earlier. Beyond that, a couple of things were pretty easy to decide, even at this early point: I really, really wanted to use that fantastic, bearded head from the Sternguard kit (possibly one of the best Space Marine heads ever), and some ostentatious shoulder pads from the same kit would be used for the Chapter Master’s pauldrons.

Regarding the overall look of the armour, I think the Cataphractii Praetor is a really promising base model for a true scale conversion, as the armour could easily pass for an older mark of regular power armour or some kind of artifcer armour. Possibly the best part is that the layered armour on the arms and legs believably looks like enforced standard power armour — unlike plastic 40k Terminator parts that will always look like Terminator armour, unless you are prepared to invest quite a bit of work.

Anyway, here’s a comparison picture with the early mockup version and my previous Golden Legion Astartes, Praetor Janus Auriga:

Second Golden Legionnaire early WIP (2)

The next step was to nail down the pose I wanted as well as the overall feel of the model, in order to decide on the additional bits I would need . For instance, the Praetor’s stock arm with the combi-bolter worked reasonably well, but it wasn’t what I had in mind for the Golden Legion. In my background notes, swordplay is a huge part of the Legion’s culture and mythology, so it goes without saying that the Chapter Master would need an especially ostentatious sword. However, as the following picture shows, using the stock arm and weapon would work really well for an Astartes with a slightly more standard set of equipment!

Second Golden Legionnaire early WIP (3)
For the left forearm, I decided to use an arm from the Stormcast Eternals models from the Age of Sigmar starter box: I already knew at this point that I wouldn’t be keeping the hammer, but the vambrace has a very nice lion design on one side, plus it really worked well scale-wise for a true scale Astartes.

But yeah, I wanted a sword, so I browsed through GW’s entire catalogue until I came upon a bit that I thought might do the trick — I even made a crude Photoshop mockup of the whole shebang at this point😉

Second Golden Legionnaire early WIP (5)
So I ordered that sword from the Deathwing command squad, along with a small collection of additional bitz — we’ll get to the result in a second. Before that, however, here’s a look at the model’s back, warts and all, to show you the construction I used:

Second Golden Legionnaire WIP (5)
The model’s back is basically a shaved down GK Terminator torso back, which fit surprisingly well with a bit of shaving here and there. What’s more, the shaved-down back vents really make for an excellent point of attachment for a standard Space Marine backpack without any further work — I used the same approach on my first true scale Marine, incidentally.

One thing you will also have noticed in the picture above is that I did try to add a stylised deathmask to the model’s right pauldron. The idea was that this is the Deathmask of St. Sabasto, the Velsen Sector’s patron saint, so to speak, and that the Golden Legion is using it almost like a chapter badge. I felt mighty smart when I press-molded a Sanguinary Guard mask with GS, because I thought a GS duplicate would ultimately conform to the shoulder pad’s curvature far better — but unfortunately it ended up looking pretty hokey! I did find a very simple solution for this problem, though.

So here’s a look at a far more complete version of the Chapter Master:

Golden Legion Chapter Master WIP (1)
As you can see, the Deathwing sword works really well with the stock arm, even though it turned out to be even longer than I had anticipated. I also added a cape from the same Deathwing kit, because, let’s face it, Chapter Masters just need to look suitably ostentatious😉

As for the mask on the shoulder pad, the solution turned out to be almost disappointingly simple: I simply grafted an original plastic Sanguinary Guard faceplate to the shoulder pad, and it worked much better than the GS copy I had on there earlier (even though it made me feel a bit stupid for even trying the long way around, so to speak):

Golden Legion Chapter Master WIP (3)
Golden Legion Chapter Master WIP (2)
As I have mentioned earlier, the idea behind the deathmask is that it’s the stylised face of the Imperial Martyr Sabasto, patron saint of the Velsen Sector. The Golden Legion were his personal guard of honour when he defended  the sector against an incursion by the forces of the Arch-Enemy about 1,500 years ago, and his ultimate demise at the very forefront of the Crusade remains a mark of shame to the chapter, and a reason for their fanatical need to protect the Velsen Sector against any enemies from without.

At this point, most of the conversion was basically finished:

Golden Legion Chapter Master WIP (4)
All that was left to figure out was what to do with the left hand: I considered – and ultimately discared – many different weapon and equipment options, because they all ended up feeling a bit too pedestrian to me. But then again, leaving the hand completely empty also seemed like a bit of a missed opportunity.

Fortunately, JaggedToothGrin came up with the excellent idea of having the model hold some kind of rosary or amulet, and EdT suggested using the left hand of this Age of Sigmar Paladin Retributor:

Paladin Retributor Champion

I instantly liked this idea, but I didn’t know how easy it would be to source the required bit — but it soon became obvious that I wouldn’t even have to find that particular hand, because I discovered yet another suitable part on the Sternguard sprue.

So here’s Orestes Prabian, Lord Commander of the Golden Legion, finished except for maybe a bit or two😉

Golden Legion Chapter Master WIP (10)
The small chain with a Crux Terminatus dangling from it was originally part of a Sternguard torso, but it seemed like a natural fit, so I carefully snipped it off and grafted it to an empty fist from the same source, and I am really happy with the result:

 

Golden Legion Chapter Master WIP (12)

Golden Legion Chapter Master WIP (14)

The area where the backpack meets the cape will require some minor cleanup, but that shouldn’t be too much of a problem. After that, it’ll mostly be a case of carefully adding a bit more bling to the model here and there😉

Golden Legion Chapter Master WIP (13)

I think the finished conversion is suitably iconic to work as a Chapter Master — and, maybe even more importantly, it also believably works as a true scale Astartes! Here’s another comparison picture with Janus Auriga:

Prabian & Auriga comparison picture
Granted, upon closer examination, Janus may be ever so slightly taller than his Chapter Master — a result of my cobbling together a recipe while I was going on the first model, whereas the second Astartes was mostly based on a rock solid base model. In the end, I didn’t want to mess up the Chapter Master’s proportions by awkwardly splicing in any spacers, though — and who knows, maybe Janus is just a big guy, even for an Astartes?

Here’s another picture, showing both the Chapter Master and my 30k Lorimar version — both of them are obviously based on the same plastic Cataphractii Praetor:

Prabian & Lorimar comparison picture
While I wasn’t completely sold on the stock model for a while, it has really grown on me, due to its surprising versatility. And it does make for a pretty much perfect base for a true scale conversion, if you ask me!

And with that, we can mostly consider the Cataphractii case closed — expect to see more of these guys once I get some paint on them😉

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

Golden Legion Chapter Master WIP (11)

Khorne’s Eternal Hunt — the 2016 Parade

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, Pointless ramblings, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 5, 2016 by krautscientist

In between all of the unpainted plastic, let’s look at something a little more colourful this week, because it is that time of year again: I’ve made the most of the good weather and assembled the World Eaters’ entire 4th assault company – or at least the part of it that has actually been painted so far – for a new round of army pictures.

Now I’ll have to admit that there haven’t been that many additions to the force since last year’s showcase article (except for one pretty big addition, but we’ll be getting to that), but all in all, the army still remains my biggest hobby achievement.

Just to remind you, this is what Khorne’s Eternal Hunt looked like back in 2012, the year I started this blog:

WE_Army05
And this is the army earlier today:

Khorne's Eternal Hunt 2016 (1) big
Quite a development, if I do say so myself! At least for a glacially slow and immensely lazy painter like yours truly…😉
Bigger versions of the army pictures can be found here and here, by the way.

The most noticeable addition to the army is the towering form of Gilgamesh, my converted Chaos Knight, now finally marching to war alongside the 4th assault company’s coterie of Daemon Engines:

Khorne's Eternal Hunt 2016 (7)
Another part of the army that I am still tremendously happy with is the Master of the Hunt, Lord Captain Lorimar, surrounded by his Terminator bodyguard, Lorimar’s Fist. Take a look:

Khorne's Eternal Hunt 2016 (3)
Khorne's Eternal Hunt 2016 (4)
Khorne's Eternal Hunt 2016 (5)
Khorne's Eternal Hunt 2016 (6)
And there are many other parts of the army that make me happy whenever I look at them. For instance, this was just a happy accident, but I really love the way my true scale Khârn seems to get psyched-up for battle in the following picture:

Khorne's Eternal Hunt 2016 (9)
And I didn’t even stop with the World Eaters either, but took photos of my entire 40k Chaos collection while I was at it! Next in line was my small detachment of Traitor Guard, known as “Urash’s Marauders”:

Urash's Marauders 2016 (2) big
Now this certainly isn’t a big army by any stretch of the imagination. But then again, it’s a rather sizeable collection when you consider the fact that these guys were mainly built on a whim, back when there weren’t even any proper rules for using Traitor Guard (beyond the Vraksian Renegade rules put out by Forgeworld, that is). Anyway, the Marauders can provide some support to the 4th assault company when needed, plus most of the models can do double duty as cultists in a CSM army.

I’ll really have to return to these guys at some point: Looking at them again makes me realise how happy I am with my chaotic Tempestus Scions:

Urash's Marauders 2016 (4)
I still have an unpainted icon bearer for this squad — maybe I should paint him next?

Anyway, it’s a fun little army project that can complement my World Eaters but can also work on its own — at least from a visual perspective😉

But there’s more: Over the years, I have dipped my toes into several smaller chaotic warbands and sub-factions, and each of them could be expanded into a stand-alone warband or detachment at some point. For instance, remember the four models I built back when the then-brand-new 6th edition Codex Chaos Space Marines was released? One Astartes for each of the Cult Legions:

Followers of the Pantheon
I tried to capture the visual quintessence of each of the four legions aligned with a major chaos power, and I am still pretty pleased with the outcome. From left to right: Malchius Blight of the Death Guard, Gades Elphenor of the Emperor’s Children, Suresh Asp of the Thousand Sons and Targon Kel of the World Eaters.

Read more about his project here, in case you are interested.

Then there are my Blood Wolves, of course, created to fill the role of Chaos Space Marines with the Mark of Khorne in my World Eaters army:

Blood Wolves (2)
Joras Turnpelt and his damned brethren surely warrant some more attention — in fact, I have quite a few models already built for a whole squad of Blood Wolves. Ahh, so much unpainted plastic, and so little time (and, let’s face it, even less discipline).

There’s a squad of Plague Marines big enough to actually use in games, if the 4th assault company should ever require their scrofulous assistance:

Nurglite Detachment
Let’s not forget Warsmith Greimolt Sturm of the Iron Warriors and his first two soldiers, either. Iron Within, Iron Without!

Iron Warriors
Once again, these are merely the first models for a small kill team of Iron Warriors that will definitely be finished one of these days! Scout’s honour!😉

Oh, and last -but very definitely not least – is PDH’s wonderful version of Lord Zhufor the Impaler, given to me as a fantastic gift a while ago:

Lord Zhufor by PDH (1)

Lord Zhufor by PDH (2)
So yeah, that’s the painted part of my 40k chaos collection. I just love chaos in all of its colours (especially in red, though), and I actually see the many projects I have already started – or partially finished – as great little or small hobby endeavours to get back to whenever I feel like it.

Anyway, so much for my collection. I hope you’ve enjoyed these latest pictures and I would love to hear any feedback you might have! As always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!:)

Khorne's Eternal Hunt 2016 (2) big

Lorimar – the post-Isstvan years

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WE Cataphractii Praetor WIP (2)

WE Cataphractii Praetor WIP (1)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lorimar comparison

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Imperial Knights: Renegade — Gilgamesh Triumphant!

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

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

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

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

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

PRELUDE

– THE BUILDING –

PART I
PART II
PART III

– THE PAINTING –

PART I
PART II
PART III
PART IV
PART V

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

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

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

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

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

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh, the Warrior King (12)

Cutting up some Cataphractii

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

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

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

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

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

Cataphractii illustration by John Blanche

Cataphractii illustration by John Blanche

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WE Cataphractii WIP (19)

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

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

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

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

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

So here’s the model:

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

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

WE Cataphractii WIP (26)

 

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

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

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

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

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

Inquisitor 28: The Road Crew slowly takes shape…

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s the finished model, Tiny the Brute:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Doc WIP (4)

Doc WIP (5)

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

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

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

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

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

PickUp WIP (1)

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

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

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

New members WIP

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

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

Pitslaves (4)

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