3rd birthday and some tributes to the Hunt

Posted in Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 25, 2015 by krautscientist

yearthree

Oh my, Eternal Hunt has turned three! I think we can actually call this blog settled now, can’t we? ;)

Seriously, though: I am very happy to have managed three years of constant blogging about my various hobby projects, and I am also quite proud of the numbers: There have been 256 posts overall (62 of those in during my third year of blogging). What’s more, this blog has managed to attract about 360,000 views in total — and more than 175,000 of those views during my third year of blogging — just to put things into perspective: That’s only slightly less than the overall number of views on this blog in its first and second years together! All of this is really pretty amazing, given the fact that it’s just little ol’ me and my shoddily painted little plastic men here ;)

I am also really proud of having managed to attract 177 followers and receive visitors from as many as 138 counties! You guys rock, and I want to assure you that every single comment is really important for keeping me on track and for bolstering my (often fleeting) hobby motivation! So please keep reading and please keep participating! You guys are the only proof that I am not just talking to myself here, in my little bubble within the warp!

But I don’t just want to bombard you with numbers today, I would also like to promise you that I will keep updating this blog with my latest conversions, paintjobs and my thoughts about new model releases. There will be quite a bit of red and bronze, seeing how my World Eaters continue to be my most important hobby project:

Khorne's Eternal Hunt 2014 02
But there will also be more shadowy figures from the underhive. And blinged-out guys in golden armour (hopefully). And grennskins n football gear, I suppose?!

 

For now, by way of celebration, allow me to share two things that may not have been intended as birthday gifts for this blog in the first place, but that nevertheless please me very much. And either of these would not have come into existence without my venturing out into the wilds of the internet in order to chronicle my hobby endeavours ;)

 

I. A portrait of an angry man

First up, I believe I may have mentioned some time ago that I managed to win a small competition run by fellow hobbyist Greyall. For those who don’t know Greyall, he is known for producing extraordinarily detailed and awesome line artwork depicting (Chaos) Space Marines, so it won’t be a big surprise to you that I’ve craved such a piece of artwork showing one of my characters for quite a while.

So imagine my joy when Greyall liked my conversion for Lord Captain Lorimar well enough to render him in his trademark style! Allow me to share the result with you. Just to remind you, here’s my converted (but yet unpainted, alas) model for Lorimar:

Lord Captain Lorimar WIP (2)

And here’s Greyall’s take on the character, showing the Master of the Hunt during a duel with a warp-spawned monstrosity in service to Slaanesh:

Lord Captain Lorimar by Greyall

Lord Captain Lorimar by Greyall

What can I say? Finally having such an awesome piece of art depicting what may be the most important character from my favourite army project makes me so happy! A huge thank you to Greyall! And definitely make sure to head over to Greyall’s thread at The Bolter & Chainsword or to his DeviantArt page and check out his amazing work! Now the only thing left to do is to find someone to professionally colour this piece for me…

 

II. A hunter’s story

The second thing I would like to show you today is a bit of a cooperative project: Some time ago, Flint13 (also one of my hobbyists of the year 2014, in case you forgot) approached me with an idea for a fun hobby challenge: Flint wanted to build and paint a character from Khorne’s Eternal Hunt as a bit of a shout out to my army, and I was to compose an accompanying bit of fluff. Knowing that Flint usually doesn’t relish the prospect of doing 40k chaos, I was pretty honoured by this idea, and a short time later, she showed me this picture of the completed model:

The Hunter by Flint13 (1)

Model converted and painted by Flint13

Certainly a worthy addition to Khorne’s Eternal Hunt, wouldn’t you say? But what about this guy’s background? Well, let me share the story I came up with. Enjoy!

 

Hunters

Flames were already billowing from the ramshackle habs as the Hunter strode into the settlement. He turned his horned helm this way and that, surveying the destruction and slaughter surrounding him. What remained of the poor wretches who had eked out a meagre living here in the freezing wastelands of a backwater world at the fringes of Imperial space spoke of violent, careless slaughter, but there was something more underneath it: A frantic need the Hunter understood but found distasteful.
He paced around the main square of the settlement, his warrior’s mind piecing together the events: the desperate but eventually futile struggle. The bloodletting. And what seemed to be the pursuit of a few settlers that had somehow managed to escape the slaughter. The Hunter examined the tracks leading through the outer parts of the settlement and into the wilderness beyond, already being covered up by the falling snow, here where the heat of the flames was not as intense.

The Hunter cocked his head, listening and sniffing. Again, his head turned this way and that, as he tried to find a trace of his prey. Suddenly, he paused. And if someone had been very close by, they might have noticed a telltale glint of bared teeth behind his helmet’s mouth slit: a feral, hungry thing of a smile. But nobody was there to see. All that remained in the settlement was death. His ancient warplate thrumming, the Hunter set off towards the east. Towards his prey.

***

The thrill of the hunt started to recede, and already Iriralar Nightclaw was feeling a flutter of disappointment. He had spent hours artfully stalking his prey, slowly separating each of the Mon’Keigh’ from the group, then taking them down one by one. If he had just wanted to kill them, it would have been a quick task, but Iriralar had wanted to wring every possible drop of pleasure from this particular hunt, and he had succeeded in that. Nevertheless, with the game so very nearly over, he couldn’t help feeling a nagging sense of regret.
He looked at the poor wretch scrambling away from him now on hands and knees, leaving crimson traces in the snow. Still so desperate to get away. Iriralar almost had to smile in recognition of his prey’s perseverance. Alas, all good things must come to an end.
Slowly, ever so slowly, Iriralar drew his blades, the curved steel only giving the faintest whisper as it slid from its twin sheaths. The Mon’Keigh stared at him in utter horror and despair, but still kept crawling away from him. Iriralar bared sharp, pearly white teeth in a predator’s smile:
“So then, shall we dance?”

When it was over – and it was over far too soon – Iriralar stepped back from what remained of his prey. It was not much, and even that would soon be lost under a blanket of snow. Iriralar slowly breathed in the sweet scent of a dying soul. He would have to return to his raiding party soon.
Going after a pack of Mon’Keigh cattle on his own was an indulgence, surely, but nobody would dare reprimand the Lord Archon’s own son for such behavior. Iriralar smiled to himself…
…and froze.

There was something close by. Iriralar could smell it. Surely, none of his prey could have eluded him? He focused and inhaled. Indeed, it was a Mon’Keigh. But there was something more: The creature’s animal stink was compounded by the acrid tang of a metabolism retuned, a body crudely reshaped into something else…and there was something underneath all of that, something even more sublime… Iriralar smiled to himself. Maybe this hunt was not over after all…

***

The hunt had been going on for hours now, and Iriralar’s earlier exhilaration at the prospect of worthy prey had begun to turn into a nagging sense of irritation. It felt like his quarry was leading him around in circles, but there seemed to be little point in it: He kept his distance, yet always stayed in sight. There was something decidedly off about this situation, and Iriralar craved some kind of resolution

He had at first thought the Mon’Keigh to belong to one of the primitive warrior orders that had pledged themselves to the carrion god. But not this one – just a few short glances at his ancient power armour were proof that the Astartes served one of the lords of the warp: the Blood God. Which made this game of cat and mouse all the more irritating and strange.
Suddenly, the towering form came to a halt, standing at the center of a clearing Iriralar was sure they had passed before.  With a hum of servo motors, the Mon’Keigh turned to face Iriralar.

The towering figure seemed like a heathen idol dreamt up by a madman: The bulky Astartes armour was jagged and baroque, with talismans and trophies dangling from its shoulder pads. Across the Mon’Keigh’s chest was a bandolier of skulls that clacked softly with every move. And though encrusted with hoarfrost, the arterial red and brass of the armour was clearly visible beneath.

Iriralar had learned the Mon’ Keigh language, not out of a fascination with their culture, but for a far more practical reason: He enjoyed being able to understand his prey’s last whimpered words.  He had thus become very familiar with the intricacies of the Mon’Keigh’s blunt and primitive emotions, and it was for this reason that he was able to hear a smile in the Astartes’ voice when he called out to Iriralar: “Time to end this, don’t you think?”
As if to accompany his words, he slowly drew his weapons: a huge axe and an ancient, baroque chainblade. He gunned the chainblade’s trigger, as if to check its function, and the axe’s head flared up in a blue white power field. Iriralar thought he could make out the glint of a smile underneath the warrior’s horned helmet, but before he could be sure, the massive Astartes threw himself at Iriralar with astonishing speed. Iriralar’s blades hissed from their sheats, and the dance was on.

Fast though he might have been, the Mon’Keigh was too slow for Iriralar: It was almost too easy to avoid his swings and sidestep his towering form. At the same time, however, his thick warplate deflected most of Iriralar’s probing slashes, so he would need to wait for an opening, for an exposed joint or a bared throat. But he was patient enough – his earlier irritation had been replaced with a feeling of rapture that made his blood run hot.

On and on, the dance went, the snow underneath slowly turning into a slippery trap. Iriralar noticed the first telltale signs of fatigue in his enemy, the strain of having to keep up with a much faster opponent. His lips peeled back from his white teeth in an amused smile: Time to end this.

The huge Mon’Keigh attacked. Too slow. Always too slow. Iriralar almost laughed out loud as he ghosted out of the way and saw his enemy stumble forward due to his momentum, opening up an opportunity to strike. This was it. Iriralar saw his stumbling enemy as though in slow motion as he jumped forward. He would end the Mon’Keigh beast. So close now. Just a hearbeat until the kill.
The moment his feet touched the ground, there was a sharp, metallic sound. Then pain, unbearable pain. Iriralar’s eyes snapped to the ground, seeing the ugly, serrated metal jaws that had lain hidden underneath the thick blanket of snow. That had closed with a whip crack when he had disturbed the trap, punching through his legs, tearing flesh and breaking bone. With a cry of anguish, Iriralar crumpled to the floor in a graceless slump.
He felt the rush of the combat stims that took the white hot edge off the pain, and he tried to get up, to get away. But the jagged metal teeth would not let go, pinning him to the ground. Over his own panting breath, Iriralar could hear a low chuckle, as the towering form of the Mon’Keigh approached him:

“It is an old trick, I will give you that. But one that does not produce any heat or scanner readings. All it requires is a bit of preparation.”

Iriralar frantically tried to reach his fallen blades, but it was impossible. He could not get away either. The strain made the blood pump from his legs at an alarming rate, and he could feel the spike of pain even through the haze induced by the combat drugs. The Mon’Keigh slowly circled him, seeming amused by the situation. He pointed to the scrimshawed bone trinkets adorning Iriralar’s armour:
“I see you enjoy taking trophies”, he growled, “In that, we are not so different, you and I.”
Irialar spat a gob of bloody phlegm at the Astartes and bared his teeth in a rictus grin: “Do you expect me to be afraid, filthy Mon’Keigh? There is nothing you could possibly do to me that would scare me.”

Once more, Iriralar could hear the smile in the Mon’Keigh’s words: “Ah, but that is where you are wrong. You see, a good hunter learns all there is to learn about his prey, is that not right? And I have had a very long time to learn…”

With that he pulled something from a pouch at his belt and held it out. A glint of metal was visible as the small object fell from his hand, dangling by a fine silver thread. A jewel, it seemed. Iriralar focused on the gem, in spite of the pain, in spite of the danger. It seemed important somehow. He focused and felt his blood run cold:
Dangling from the Astartes’ fist was a spirit stone.

“So, then. Shall we begin?”

***

When it was over, the Hunter stepped away from his prey. He had learned much, more than he had anticipated. It had been a successful hunt.

He opened a vox channel and said but a single word:

“Hokar”
“Acknowledged”, came the Huntmaster’s reply. His spireborn sneer of a voice managed to make a single word sound haughty, even over the temperamental vox. The arrogant high-rider bastard.
“Scouting complete. The Eldar pirates have moved on the main settlements. They do not suspect our presence and should be blind to anything but their current…entertainment.”
“Numbers?”
“Only a raiding party about a hundred strong. It seems they did not expect much resistance. In that, they were wrong.”
“And the Archon?”
“He is with them. He has led us a merry dance, but now the hunt is nearly at an end.”
“Maybe. Did you get visual confirmation?”
“Of course. What do you take me for?”
Hokar did not miss a beat: “What I take you for right now, hunter, is a soldier two hundred clicks off his mark, which I am certain you have a perfectly valid reason for. What, pray tell, have you been doing down there?”
“Tying up some loose ends. But fear not, I am on my way.” Again, anybody near enough to witness this exchange might have seen that telltale glint of teeth that gave away the Hunter’s smile as he terminated the vox link.
And maybe, just maybe, such a person would also have noticed  a small gem now dangling from the Hunter’s belt. A strange touch of beauty on the legionary’s jagged and pitted armour, the stone was now  imbued with a fire that rendered it even more beautiful. But nobody was there to witness this, so it went unnoticed.

The Hunter set out towards the west, where new prey waited.

 

Flint seemed to be happy enough with this little vignette — in fact, she even changed the model to incorporate an element of the story. Take a close look:

The Hunter by Flint13 (2)

Model converted and painted by Flint13

So thanks to Flint13 for building and painting such a worthy new recruit for the 4th assault company! And for making me get off my arse and write a suitable piece of background!

 

And, of course, thanks to you all! I am always happy to hear any feedback you might have — just drop me a comment! And stick around for year four, alright? ;)

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

Blood and Brass, pt. 3: Engine of spite

Posted in 40k, Chaos, paintjob, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 18, 2015 by krautscientist

Welcome to the third part of this mini-series, in which I walk you through the latest additions to my World Eaters army. Today I have another new model to show you — and this time it’s a pretty big addition. So, what is this about?

I already mentioned that I wanted to use the Call of Chaos event in order to force myself to finally finish some models that I had kept on the backburner. And one of those models was a Forgefiend for Khorne’s Eternal Hunt. When I went through my cupboard of shame in order to determine which models to include in my vow, it was with a rather guilty feeling that I realised I bought, built and undercoated this model almost two years ago, then let it sit in its box unattended for a long time — what better way to finally revisit the poor dear than to make it a part of my vow for the event, right?

Just to remind you, here’s what the undercoated model looked like:

Forgefiend WIP (1)

Forgefiend WIP (2)
I realise that the fiend models get quite a bad rap from many hobbyists – they are not referred to as “Dinobots” for nothing – but I think the model is a rather good fit for a World Eaters army! As you can see, I didn’t even perform any heavy surgery on the model, seeing how it was already looking like a bigger juggernaut of Khorne straight out of the box, electing instead to only make some small additions here and there: A couple of decorative skulls were added to the Forgefiend’s shoulders, a suitable collar of Khorne was put around the beast’s neck, and a Stonehorn tail lend a bit more visual balance to the rather stubby hind section.

When it came to painting the model, I jumped in at the deep end, choosing to paint the body and hind legs first. This is what it looked like after most of this step had been finished:

Call of Chaos WIP (3)
And then everything just …stopped. It just wasn’t happening, for some reason. It was hair-pullingly frustrating, but I just couldn’t go on. So the model stayed that way while I painted first my custom Kharn the Betrayer, then the Doomwall and finally my new Dreadnought. In the end, with the model less than half-finished and less than a week left until the deadline for the Call of Chaos event, I was basically resigned to giving up on my vow.

But then the strangest thing happened: Looking at all the fantastic stuff completed by other participants, I felt the spark of motivation returning: Be it Chaeron’s unbelievable amount of completed models or Augustus b’Raass’ utterly stunning Khornate daemon engine, I just felt I had to give it my all to complete this vow, and so I returned to the painting table — cheers for the help, guys!

The task remained a problematic one, however: I really didn’t like painting the Forgefiend, and I swear it was hating me right back: In true daemon engine fashion, it kept fighting me every step of the way. But since this was so very fitting after all, I decided to actually incorporate the model’s struggle against being painted into the daemon engine’s name:

So here, then, is the daemon engine Gorespite — I like it when a model’s character becomes apparent even during its construction and painting:

Gorespite (1)
Gorespite (3)

Gorespite (2)
Gorespite (4)
Gorespite (5)
Gorespite (6)
Gorespite (7)
Even though painting this model was such a hassle, I am really rather happy with the result: This was a veritable battle of attrition, and finally having managed to complete this piece gives me a feeling of achievement! There are also some areas that I am really rather proud of — especially the glowing areas in the Forgefiend’s torso and the eyes, for instance.

What made this even better was that the completion of this model also marked the completion of my entire Call of Chaos vow, consisting of:

With this post, you’ve seen all these models. Here they are again, in a picture showing my entire Call of Chaos vow:

Call of Chaos vow 2014 (2)

That’s a sweet additional 500 points or so for Khorne’s Eternal Hunt! Yay! :)

This was the first time I ever participated in an event like this, which makes me all the happier to actually have finished my vow! I can also safely say that events like these are a perfect way of putting a certain amount of constructive pressure on yourself for finally getting stuff finished — if not for the event, I might have let that Forgefiend sit in its box for another year or two, after all…

Speaking of which, not only did I whip up yet another photo montage to celebrate the occasion, but I also created a piece of background to accompany the model. Enjoy:

Engine of Spite
“Engine of Spite”

The freight elevator ground home with a deafening metallic clank, and the blast doors opened to near full darkness. The lumen strips on the high ceiling had been dimmed down so much that the corridor ahead was only barely visible to the human eye. This did not slow down the two figures now stepping from the elevator, however, since neither of them would have qualified as human any longer.

One of them was stooped and rake thin, clothed in the cowled robes of a Forge Adept. The other was massive in the way only those of the legion could be, but its huge frame was more impressive still, clad in a bulky suit of warplate and a harness from which four multijointed servo limbs emerged. The figures continued down the corridor in silence, the metallic pounding of their footsteps the only sound. This deep in the belly of the ship, not even the slow, regular heartbeat of the Great Forge was audible any longer.

“Has everything been prepared?”, the giant asked?
“Yes, lord. The bindings are in place. Every result so far has been within the expected parameters,” came the adept’s reply in a blurt of binary cant.
“How long until planetfall?”
“One hour, lord.”
“That will suffice. Leave me now.”
The adept’s remaining organic eye showed the apprehension he felt, but he knew better than to voice his concern. The spindly figure bowed stiffly and turned around, advancing back the way it had come.

Huntmaster Deracin turned to the blast door now. He drew himself up to his full height and pressed the activator rune. The door slid open, and Deracin entered the room beyond.

The room was vast, but even its dimensions did not offer an explanation for the kind of darkness that had gathered towards the far wall. Deracin could hear the sound now, wet and low, like a huge beast drawing breath.
Deracin stapped into the light and brought the haft of his two-handed war axe down onto the deck with a clank.
“Awaken, servant!”, he called.
The breathing turned louder and became something else. A snarl. A growl. Something more dangerous. Tendrils of warpfrost stretched towards Deracin on every surface.
He could see it now, wrapped in murky shadows, its bulky form a strange amalgamation of beast and machine, straining in vein against the rune inscribed chains. Its blunt snout turned towards him, lips peeled back from wet fangs. The daemon engine’s blue eyes were glowing like ice. Deracin grinned:“Oh, aye, you hate me with every fibre of your being, do you not, creature? With every beat of your furnace heart?”

The growling grew in volume, as if in affirmation of Deracin’s words. And the daemon engine’s straining against its bindings grew more fierce. A mind impulse was enough to move the arms emerging from Deracin’s servo-harness in front of him in protection, bringing into view a melta and the diamond teeth of a massive chainaxe. Deracin nodded as he noticed the creature flinch ever so slightly.

“Good, stand down. I made you, and I can unmake you just the same. And what’s more, this is not a time for anatgonism, creature: After all, I have come to offer you a gift…” Deracin paused, noticing how the growl had turned into a low purr. Then he continued:

“Not your freedom, of course, but something you will appreciate nonetheless.“ Deracin grinned. “I will give you somewhere to vent your anger.”

It was 45 minutes to planetfall.

 

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

 

Blood and Brass, pt. 2: Once more into the breach!

Posted in Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 11, 2015 by krautscientist

Welcome to the second instalment of this mini-series about my latest additions to the ranks of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt, in which we meet yet another friendly face from the 4th assault company. And while the Doomwall was already pretty heavily armoured, we’ll be cranking up the heavy metal factor a notch for this guy — that’s right, we’re talking about another Dreadnought/Helbrute for my World Eaters!

Everything started when I bought myself a Dreadnought sprue from the Black Reach boxed set a while ago. Since working on my earlier Dreadnoughts had also resulted in a rather sizeable collection of different Dreadnought weapons, I felt that building another customisable Dread would be the best way to make the most out of all those weapon options. And since I wanted to keep things easy and cheap, using the AOBR Dread as a base model seemed to be the sensible way to go here.

When the model arrived, I found myself messing around with a couple of bitz to find out which approach I was going to take for the Dread. Here’s a very early version of the model from that time:

Chaos Dread early WIP

But while some of the characteristics of the early WIP above did indeed carry through to the final version, I just couldn’t really seem to get a grip on figuring out what kind of model I wanted. Once more, the Call of Chaos event was a nice occasion to finally force myself into action and get my act together, so I pledged a Dreadnought/Helbrute as part of my vow. With that, I had set myself a firm deadline, and even for a lazy slacker like me, there’s nothing quite as conductive to creativity as a bit of well applied pressure ;)

One of the main problems was that the AOBR Dread comes in only seven pieces, and the entire body is basically made up of two pieces — an excellent piece of economical design, to be sure, but it makes converting the model slightly more difficult. There was also the fact that I couldn’t get too adventurous with the arms, seeing how I wanted to keep them detachable.

In the end, thinking about what kind of character I wanted this Dread to be really turned out to be the breakthrough. I already have a frenzied berserker Dread (Marax the Fallen), a noble ancient of the company (Khoron the Undying) and a tragic, malformed monster (Khorlen the Lost), so I wanted this newest Dreadnought to fill yet another character archetype: the stoic line soldier.

In the end, I decided that he is a former Breacher Sergeant, and from there on out, it was pretty easy to design the Dreadnought around that concept and include some visual touches that would underline that background idea: A chaos knight shield was attached to his left shoulder as a kind of stylised boarding shield, for one. I also souped up the (really boaring) standard power fist by adding some spiky bitz from the WFB chaos chariot, in order to make it look like a miniature version of the siege claws wielded by the Chaos Decimator. And I found out that one of the Skullcrusher helmets – minus the Khornate “bunny ears” – made for a pretty convincing Mk III helmet.

And, like I said, what really made this model happen was the pressure of having to get my act together for the Call of Chaos vow ;) Here’s the finished conversion again:

Breacher Dread WIP (1)
Breacher Dread WIP (2)
Breacher Dread WIP (3)
Painting the Dread was a relatively straightforward affair, but then it has to be said that I really like painting Dreads to begin with: There’s just something to their scale and angularity that makes them really enjoyable to paint. The one thing that was slightly more difficult on this model was that the torso and legs came in one big piece, so I had to paint it all in one go. Apart from that, however, it was smooth sailing all the way.

Before I show you the whole model, I’d like to share a small detail that I am quite happy with: I have wanted to feature a mostly destroyed Necron warrior on one of my bases for a long time — as a shout out to the iconic ending of the original Terminator movie, and now I finally went for it:

Breacher Dread base detail (1)
Breacher Dread base detail (2)

t’s certainly just a small thing, but there’s a nice irony about two dead guys who both inhabit machine bodies sharing one base like this, don’t you think?

Anyway, without further ado, here’s the finished Dread:

Damokk the Breacher (3)
Damokk the Breacher (11)
Damokk the Breacher (5)
Damokk the Breacher (6)
Damokk the Breacher (13)
Damokk the Breacher (8)

And the remains of that poor Necron again, leaking oily fluid onto the ground…

Damokk the Breacher (9)

One thing I really wanted to do this time around was to use some decals on the Dreadnought’s armour, in order to give him a slightly more businesslike, soldierly feel. I chose one of the excellent legion symbols from the Forgeworld World Eaters decal sheet for the armour panel on the Dread’s right side. For the other panel, I wanted to include his legion number — but it was actually pretty difficult to find a numeral XII in white that would fit the fairly limited space! The solution was to use a decal from the Cadian shock troops and cut it down to size. It’s a small detail, to be sure, but one that I really think adds to the model as a whole:

Damokk the Breacher (12)
In fact, I like the effect so much that I am seriously considering going back to my earlier Dreads and adding some decals to them as well..

And since I’ve kept the arms detachable, the model can now be used with all the different extra Dreadnought weapons I have built so far. Here’s an example of a more “shooty” loadout:

Damokk the Breacher (10)
It seems pretty shocking to me in hindsight, but this is indeed my fourth Dreadnought! But like I said, there’s just something about these guys that appeals to me, rules be damned! ;)
In fact, I think I may have one more Dreadnought in me at a later date. The only thing to decide is whether I want it to be a Dread for my fallen Space Wolves (who are allies to my World Eaters) or a huge, warp-infused beast. Or both?

For now, however, the only thing left to do was to come up with a bit of background for this latest ancient of the 4th assault company and then call it a day. Enjoy:

 

Brother Damokk, “The Breacher”

Damokk the Breacher (15)
Originally a member of the fabled Triarii, Brother Damokk quickly found his true calling as a Breacher Sergeant and member of the 4th assault company during the turbulent days after the purging of Nuceria. He excelled as a warrior in shipboard actions and when it came to breaching fortified positions, and his prowess was so great that, upon suffering fatal injuries during a boarding action, it was decided to grant him the honour of serving the 4th as a Dreadnought.

Damokk’s ironform still bears many cues of his former station, such as his stylised boarding shield or the visor of his primary visual interface unit, shaped like an Mk 3 helmet. And his favourite armament, a combination of Multimelta – complete with underslung chainblade –  and siege claw, serves as yet another reminder of his time in the World Eaters’ Breacher squads.

On the battlefield, Damokk implacably dismantles enemy fortifications with a surgical precision not often seen in a World Eater. In fact, Huntmaster Deracin has been known to jest that, if not for the numeral “XII” emblazoned on his ironform, Damokk would probably forget the fact that he is not an Iron Warrior…

 

I would love to hear any feedback you might have in the comments section! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Blood and Brass, pt. 1: Silent Behemoth

Posted in Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 4, 2015 by krautscientist

“There are rumours that Brother Garron hasn’t uttered a single word since the beginning of the Long War, and there may be some truth to that. But tell me: After being felled and left for dead by those he considered brothers on the blasted plains of Istvaan, after the shame of Terra and after the sundering of our once glorious legions during the hellish night of madness on Skalathrax, what is there left to say?”
Huntmaster Deracin

 

Alright, everyone, I promised you red and brass, and I intend to make good on that promise! So let’s kick of a mini-series focusing on my World Eaters in order to show you the models I have managed to complete over the Christmas holiday, as part of my Call of Chaos vow over at The Bolter & Chainsword! You may already have seen the first model that was part of the vow, my custom Khârn the Betrayer. Today, let’s continue with a model I am particularly proud of.

I am talking about the Doomwall, a Chaos Lord named for his massive suit of ancient Terminator armour. The armour is the most important thing here, because this project originally began as an attempt to build a (plastic) model incorporating visual elements from GW’s elusive Mk 1 Tactical Dreadnought armour, as seen in this plan view:

Mk_01_concept
Or in this concept sketch for Terminators in the original Space Hulk by Jes Goodwin:

Mk_01_concept
If you want the full story, the project originally started here and then massively improved thanks to a fantastic piece of advice by fellow hobbyist Carnosaur93 regarding the placement of the shoulder pads. More inspiration for the actual conversion was drawn from two excellent pieces of art by Greyall for his characters Pramus Kholosk (of the Imperial Fists) and Mjuron Vvharkhor (of the World Eaters). Greyall’s art was especially helpful for this project, because it moves beyond the somewhat clunky and outdated original design and explores what a modern interpretation of the Mk 1 armour might look like, were Forgeworld to explore the idea today.

So after much to and fro, I settled on this final version of the Doomwall:

The Doomwall WIP (22)

I do realise of course that this is not a perfectly accurate rendition of Mk 1 armour: There are far more faithful renditions of the original designs around — just check out Dark Rage’s excellent Mk 1 Terminators, for example. There’s also the fact that I have incorporated a number of visual cues from different armour variants on the model: The crest of hair came from the original artwork in the Horus Heresy trading card game depicting Cataphractii armour, while the reactor section was inspired by the actual Forgeworld Cataphractii models. The legs have remained unchanged, representing the chaos version of Indomitus armour, rather than the actual Mk 1 design — you could probably say that this model is my attempt at a “best of” collection of pre-heresy Terminator armour design cues, with a noticeable Mk 1 bend.

Oh, and I’ve explained it before, but just in case: The Space Wolves thunder hammer was chosen because the wolf head on it could also be interpreted as a representation of the War Hounds’ original legion badge, before they were reborn as the World Eaters.

So the conversion had been finished for a while, but I was still waiting for the right moment to paint it (which basically translates to: I was too afraid and/or lazy to actually start painting in my case). But the Call of Chaos provided the perfect incentive! And so, a short while later, the Doomwall was finished (this was actually the last model I painted in 2014, finished on December 31st):

The Doomwall (1)
The Doomwall (9)
The Doomwall (8)
The Doomwall (7)
The Doomwall (5)
The Doomwall (4)
The Doomwall (2)

The Doomwall (6)
There’s not that much to say about the paintjob, really: I basically gave the Doomwall my usual World Eaters treatment, and he really does look pretty sexy in red and bronze, don’t you think? I also added a bit of a visual flourish to the base, in the form of an unfortunate, long dead loyalist Astartes.

And here’s the Doomwall together with the other members of Lord Captain Lorimar’s retinue that have been finished so far. Behold the beginnings of Lorimar’s Fist:

Lorimar's Fist (2)
The objective I am trying to accomplish for these guys is to come up with a squad of Terminators where every model is quite unique, with their own individual set of weapons and customised armour (which is a bit ironic, really, when you consider that most of the models so far are based on the same Chaos Lord in Terminator armour…;) Anyway, I am really happy with the way these guys are coming along, because they look very much like World Eaters (at least to me), without merely aping the look of the FW World Eaters Terminators. Alright, yes, one of them actually is a FW World Eaters Terminator, but that’s besides the point ;)

All in all, I am very happy with the Doomwall: The model looks massive and intimidating, yet there is also something almost contemplative about this guy, don’t you think?

The massive armour and closed helmet also makes him seem somewhat mysterious, if you ask me, and it was this quality that I wanted to expand upon for the character’s background:

 

Brother Garron, “The Doomwall”

Silent Behemoth
In battle, the hulking figure of Brother Garron is a sight to be feared, a towering, utterly silent warrior, smashing all opposition with mighty swings of his enormous thunder hammer, his baroque suit of artificer warplate seemingly impervious to damage. This has earned him the epithet Doomwall, and it is a name spoken with a certain tenseness by the legionaries of the 4th, for so much about this silent Behemoth is shrouded in mystery: Why does his weapon still bear the heraldic device of the War Hounds? And while his heavily modified suit of prototype Tactical Dreadnought Armour stands as a testament to Huntmaster Deracin’s ingenuity, what remains of the man within?

Some whisper that Garron actually fought in the first wave at Istvaan III, as part of the loyalist remnants of the legion that were to be purged by their own brethren. Yet how he survived that ordeal and why he now serves as a silent enforcer to Lord Captain Lorimar remains an enigma. Only the Master of the Hunt himself and his most trusted lieutenants could divulge more of the Doomwall’s history, yet they seem reluctant to do so.

And in any case, the only mind holding the absolute truth of the matter would be that of Brother Garron himself — and he remains ever silent…

 

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

The Rat Pack – a look at the Skaven End Times release

Posted in Conversions, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , on January 28, 2015 by krautscientist

While everyone was busy settling into the beginning of the new year and getting back into the swing of things, GW has been hard at work bringing us the next End Times release: This time, it’s the Skaven’s turn, and although I have never owned a Skaven army (or even a haphazard collection of Skaven models, for that matter), I find myself strangely fond of these filthy, backstabby guys for some reason. But how does this release compare to the rest of the – amazing – End Times output? And do converters get their money’s worth out of this latest batch of plastic crack? Let’s find out!

Skaven End Times release (1)
I first encountered the Skaven when I bought a used copy of Advanced HeroQuest at a jumble sale many years ago: A pile of plastic Skaven formed the entire villain faction of the set, which seemed slightly disappointing at first, given the fact that the original HeroQuest had contained so many different types of monsters and villainous creatures. Then again, I didn’t even make the HeroQuest connection back then, at least not at first, because Advanced HeroQuest was marketed as “Herr des Schwertes” in Germany, with no HeroQuest connection whatsoever on the box (apart from a strangely similar piece of cover artwork).

Anyway, my disappointment quickly turned into interest as I delved into the sourcebook, because the somewhat samey plastic Skaven models were imbued with a very interesting background, offering glimpses at the various Skaven clans, their devotion to the Horned Rat and also at some of the (pretty excellent) early late 80s/early 90s Skaven metal models — so while it would yet take a couple of years for me to discover the role of the Skaven in the bigger Warhammer universe, my fondness for the race started back then.

Ever since, the Skaven have been a pretty fascinating faction to follow, with their culture based on entropy, backstabbing, plague and body horror, and their steampunk-ish technology that wouldn’t look out of place in the 40k setting. Meanwhile, some of the more recent Skaven releases are some of the coolest and most characterful WFB plastic models, in my opinion (there’s a reason why so many people use those Blood Island Rat Ogres as conversion fodder, for instance) — and now everybody’s favourite entropic Ratmen get the End Times treatment — what’s not to love? So let us take a closer look at the new kits and at all the fun we could have with them. Quick-quick! This way!


Skaven Verminlords

Skaven End Times release (2)
Every End Times model release so far has featured some kind of huge model, and the Skaven don’t disappoint in this respect, providing us with a kit that can be used to assemble one of four different, towering avatars of the Horned Rat, including the special character Skreech Verminking (as seen above). Let’s look at these one by one:

Skreech Verminking actually seems like a modernised version of the original metal Verminlord. Just check out this picture:

Vintage Skaven Verminlord

It’s all there: the glaive, the patches of mangy fur, the half-skeletal face — even the pose, albeit mirrored:

Skaven End Times release (3)I like that kind of shout out, and it’s certainly performed admirably here. A nice bit of continuity between the old model and the new interpretation!

The other variants of the kit, interestingly enough, each seem to embody one of the leitmotifs of the Skaven, with some of them also closely fitting the design paradigm of a specific the Skaven clan. It’s interesting to see how subtle changes to the same body create a set where each model has a rather different feel:

Skaven End Times release (4)
The Verminlord Warpseer is closest in design to Skreech Verminking, sharing the same set of horns, the same glaive and the same pose. This seems to be the Verminlord most attuned to magic, and it shows in the magic orb he holds aloft.

What I love about both Skreech Verminking and the Warpseer is the extremely complex set of horns, because it’s a nice callback to the appearance of horns on the Grey Seers, for one, but also because the design seems quite unlike most of the horns we’ve seen so far in WFB (and we’ve seen quite a few), lending the model a fairly unique and recognisable silhouette.

Skaven End Times release (7)
The Verminlord Warbringer embodies the warlike quality of the Skaven, which is immediately obvious due to the heavily armoured head and the sinister looking punching dagger. There’s quite a resemblance with the various Skaven warlord models and the Stormvermin, and the less ornate looking horns also underline the blunt, more openly aggressive feeling of the model.

Skaven End Times release (5)
The Verminlord Corruptor is slightly more interesting in that he deviates from the Skreech Verminking model a bit more, with a different set of weapons and different resting place for his right foot, making for a pretty different look overall. I also like the signs of rot and decay, such as the broken horns and the diseased face. And the sickle weapon almost gives him a bit of a druid feel, if you ask me…

Skaven End Times release (6)And finally, the Verminlord Deceiver, who is basically….an enormous ninja rat (probably in keeping with the Skaven’s predilection for subterfuge in general and Clan Eshin’s antics in particular). This version of the model comes with all the hallmarks of a Skaven assassin: a vicious looking dagger, an equally sinister throwing star and, of course, a bad ass ninja cowl. So far so good, right?

It’s a cool model, make no mistake, but there’s actually something undeniably ridiculous about the thought of a rat ninja the size of a house…

All in all, it’s a cool and fairly flexible kit that should provide a great centrepiece for your Skaven army. There are, however, some issues with the kit that extend to all the various Verminlord characters: The pose of the right leg seems very precariously balanced — especially on those versions of the model where the Verminlord actually has one of his feet on his own glaive (which, let’s face it, seems like a pretty dumb thing to do). The version with the rock is better, but still looks a bit hokey — it would probably have looked better if the rock had been more massive, with the foot firmly placed on its surface. As it is, the Verminlord looks as though a strong gust of wind might knock him over.
The multi-pronged tail may just be a tad too much for my taste. Granted, he adds a pretty flashy element to the model, but I am wondering whether it was really needed.

What really stands out to me is that the new Verminlord kit seems very different in design to Forgeworld’s Exalted Verminlord: The new plastic model is very slender, very flashy and quite busy, while FWs treatment of the character looks more pudgy and closer in proportion to an actual rat. While the somewhat “videogamey” look of the plastic model appeals to me (being a videogame nerd, and all), it’s quite interesting to see GW’s and FW’s approaches differ so significantly.

Ultimately, it’s an interesting kit that very much goes for visual shock and awe tactics. It’s not without its issues, though…

 

Thanquol and Boneripper

Skaven End Times release (8)
Another shout out to a classic Skaven character, this modernised version of Thanquol and his personal killing machine has probably been long awaited! It is also where the release really hits its stride, if you ask me!

The huge, malformed monstrosity that is Boneripper really steals the show here, especially given the fact that you actually get different weapon options and heads out of the deal, potentially leading to two fairly different models:

Skaven End Times release (9)At first, I was slightly unhappy with how Boneripper’s upper set of arms have been implemented, because they look like they really shouldn’t be there… this became a bit of fridge brilliance, however, when I realised that this may have been the entire point: The ill-fitting and ill-muscled way his extra pair of arms has been grafted on underlines what a strange and malformed creation he is — pretty cool!

The model is also exquisitely detailed, with lots and lots of fine detail to be discovered (such as the stitching on Boneripper’s torso or the very cool bionic leg). Where the older incarnations of Boneripper always felt a bit ridiculous to me, I really love this guy! Excellent job!

Thanquol himself ends up playing second fiddle to Boneripper, but ist still a cool model in his own right: What seems interesting is that this version of Thanquol lacks the terrible dignity of his earlier, cleaner and more collected 90s’ style incarnation, looking rather frantic and unhinged instead:

Skaven End Times release (10)But then, this is probably a good fit for a fanatic, slightly mad Grey Seer. The one thing that I am not sure about are the warpstone horns: Once again, they are just a bit much, overcluttering the model’s head portion — maybe it’s the colour, but it’s warpstone after all, it has to be glowy, right?

All in all, I really love this model! There’s something excellent about the concept of a spindly, highly dynamic model riding on the back of a huge, hulking brute “Master-Blaster-style”, and the concept is really pulled off wonderfully here — probably my hight point in this release!

 

Stormfiends

Skaven End Times release (11)
What do you do when you have a perfect idea, like the design for Boneripper above, on your hands — easy, you make more of them! The Stormfiends very obviously share many of Boneripper’s visual traits, making for a unit of hulking, partly bionic monster rats — which ends up every bit as awesome as it sounds!

The old Rat Ogres were some of the first GW models to have been designed digitally, if I remember correctly, and they are some of the most terrible sculpts still around today, making them stick out like a sore thumb when placed to their more recent kin. These new Stormfiends, by comparison, take lots of visual cues from the more recent Rat Ogres designed for the Blood Island boxed set and the adding more than a pinch of Dark Eldar Talos on top for seasoning.

The resulting models are huge, heavily armoured, hideous, and covered in totally over the top and fully insane Skaven gadgetry. Just take a look at this guy:

Skaven End Times release (12)This leads to a pack of very impressive and highly detailed models with almost too many tech-y gubbinz: They look every bit like the mad, crudely stitched together Skaven experiments that they are supposed to be:

Skaven End Times release (13)I think the fun the designers had while creating these guys is clearly evident in the over the top nature of the weapons. Almost too much so, in some cases:

Skaven End Times release (14)
The chest mounted gatling is just too much, as is the warpstone-based alternative:

Skaven End Times release (17)That said, the amount of weapon options you get with the kit seems to be pretty staggering, so there’s nothing to stop you from coming up with a combination that suits your preferences. And these guys just look totally badass, don’t they?

Skaven End Times release (15)

One beautiful little detail that I only discovered due to the comment of a fellow hobbyist over at Faeit212 pointed out: Each of the Stormfiends seem tso have a tiny, atrophied Skaven embryo plugged into sockets on their backs: Ewww!

Skaven End Times release (18)When all is said and done, what we end up with is a teriffic kit full of options and details that will allow us to build three huge, monstrous and completely whacky brutes. Maybe you’ll have to get used to these as a Skaven player, but I think it’s safe to say that this is the one kit to come out of this release that has converters and kitbashers foaming at the mouth in anticipation — but we’ll be getting to that! I really like these guys. I can easily see myself picking them up. The only really bad thing about them is how the old Rat Ogres will now look even more terrible…

 

Skaven Grey Seer

Skaven End Times release (19)As one of two clamshell characters and as one of the Skaven’s well established HQ models, this guy really forms the bread and butter part of the release — and it shows, to be honest. After the zaniness of the Thanquol/Boneripper combo and the Stormfiends, the Grey Seer seems almost pedestrian by comparison.
It is a nice enough model, though, nicely detailed and with the depth and threedimensionality we have come to expect from the plastic clamshell characters. The standout element about this guy is the little rat perched atop his staff, reminding me of Terry Pratchett’s Death of Rats, for some reason…

A look at the sprue reveals that it should be easy enough to swap in a new head, leave off the tail or make some other adjustment to the model, also making it interesting for conversion purposes.

Skaven End Times release (20)
All in all, this is a nice model. Not particularly spectacular, but we have learned that the clamshell characters’ strength is in their versatility and staying power!


Skaven Warlord

Skaven End Times release (21)Another clamshell character, and the one I personally prefer: The Skaven Warlord really looks the part, managing to seem suitably imposing for a warlord and suitably cowardly for a Skaven at the same time — no mean feat! I also like how the pose and base make him look like he’s surveying and commanding his army — because that’s the right place for any ambitious Skaven warlord, right? Not at the front lines, but safely behind them, sending his skittering underlings to their doom!

There’s also something about the combination of Skaven armour and tattered robes that really works for me, for some reason.
Once again, a look at the sprue reveals the model’s usefulness: It should be really easy to freely customise this guy:

Skaven End Times release (22)This is a very nice addition to the clamshell range, and I can easily see myself picking this guy up for a conversion sooner rather than later — good job!

 

Conversion options:

This release provides Skaven players with quite a few new and amazing new toys. But the true value of the release, at least for me, lies in the conversion options, because some of these new kits could really be a converter’s dream come true: My cup runneth over with conversion options! Let’s take a look:

Verminlords:
The first idea that came to me when looking at the blurry, leaked pictures of the Verminlords was: This kit would make for an amazing Greater Daemon of Slaanesh: And it’s really not hard to imagine, isn’t it? The pose is there, as is the lithe build. The ostentatious pair of horns would be perfect! Add a second pair of arms (complete with Tyranid pincers), a different face (something bull-like from the Beastman range? Or a golden mask made from the human head of the Necrosphinx?), lose the silly tail, and you’re almost there! Sure, you’ll have to get rid of the Skaven runes and maybe the fur, but I think this might be a very promising conversion endeavour. It’s also one of the ideas I’ve seen crop up online fairly often, so I imagine it won’t be long before we’ll be seeing results.

So the Verminlords would make for excellent Greater Daemons (or Daemon Princes, for that matter) of Slaanesh. But what about the other chaos gods? Nurgle’s association with filth, decay and plague is no secret, so a giant rat could have its uses in his legions — maybe the Verminlord Corruptor could have a place in a Nurglite army as a very different Daemon Prince? Once again, with even more work, I think one could make a very cool Daemon Prince out of this kit — or maybe even a base for a Mortarion Daemon Primarch conversion?

The  build of the kit would even make a Lord of Change conversion imaginable: Maybe the Verminlord body could be coupled with the head and wings from the High Elf Flamespyre Phoenix kit? Just sayin’…

All in all, the only chaos god I cannot see profiting from this is Khorne: The Verminlord body looks far too gangly for the Blood God — we prefer our warriors heavily muscled, thank you very much! ;)

 

Boneripper and Stormfiends:
Now this is where it gets interesting, because both kits offer some crazy conversion potential. To wit:

  • both Boneripper and the Stormfiends would make perfect base models for Dark Eldar Grotesques! Just add some Talos facemasks, and you’re golden! They’ll even look great next to those Blood Island Rat Ogre-based grotesques you converted last year! ;)
  • If you’ve been looking for an interesting alternative to the existing Chaos Space Marine Obliterators and Mutilators, look no further! The Stormfiends could work as either, right out of the box! And if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, it should be easy enough to swap in suitably chaotic heads, add more armour, replace the Stormfiend weapons with actual CSM weapons or what have you.
  • If the teeming hordes of the Lost and the Damned are more to your liking, well, you’re in luch too, because Boneripper and the Stormfiends would work brilliantly as Renegade Ogryns, Ogryn Berserkers, big mutants or simply alternate Ogryns or Bullgryns, if you’re still using the Astra Militarum Codex: The crudely stitched-together and mutated look would be a perfect fit! You could even replace the head of that atrophied rat fetus on the model’s back with a crypt ghoul head (or the gas mask of a DV cultist) for a super creepy surprise, once your opponent sees the back of your model ;)
  • This should be obvious, but the models would also work beautifully as Chaos Spawn — although they are almost too awesome for that.
  • And, of course, (Dark) Mechanicus Flesh constructs, weapon servitors or what have you: The crude augmetic implants, stitches and highly experimental looking weapons make this one of the best possible conversion uses. Just writing about it almost makes me want to build a warband consisting of a rogue Magos Genetor and his warped creations — MUST.RESIST…
  • It goes without saying that almost all of the above options would also work for the wonderful world of INQ28, where crude, monstrous brutes are the rule rather than the exception.

Grey Seer, Warlord and Thanquol himself:
These would basically be perfect for any kind of unhinged, frayed-around-the-edges character you can think of: rogue psykers, heretics, (Nurglite) cultists or Scavvies — basically anything that might crawl from the underhive at some point. The Skaven Warlord is pretty much the perfect Scavvy king (even the similar names are a dead-giveaway ;) ).

 

So, all in all, I really like the Skaven End Times release — but I believe that I am clearly biased here, due to all the lovely conversion potential. Taking back a step and taking a more even-handed approach, I have to point out that, while I personally love the design of the new models, I do realise that they are fairly flashy and stylised, almost cartoony or, as I’ve said above, videogamey. If that is your cup of tea, you will love these guys, just like me. But I can easily imagine that many people will not appreciate the look quite as much, and in all fairness: This kind of design can be a bit of an acquired taste. One need not look any farther than the difference between the GW and FW Verminlords I outlined above to see what I mean, and not everyone will be happy with this visual direction.

From a purely technical standpoint, these new kits certainly continue the trend of astonishing kits we have seen so far under the End Times label — and I can only repeat myself here: I am really excited at all the conversion potential in these new kits!

 

So, how do you feel about this release? Any thoughts you’d like to share or conversion options I have overlooked? I’d be happy to hear from you in the comments section!

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

The 2014 Eternal Hunt Awards, pt. 4: A look back at my hobby year

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 20, 2015 by krautscientist

Awards

One last look backwards, at 2014, and then we’re off to a productive new year — at least that’s what I hope! But as our last installment in 2014’s Eternal Hunt Awards, allow me to walk you through my personal hobby year and present both the models as well as the events that were especially noteworthy for me:

 

I. My hobby projects

2014 was a pretty busy year, but I still tried to stay as productive as I could. I managed to paint about 40 models (which is only very slightly less than my 2013 result). Not a breathtaking amount of work, certainly, but then I am still happy enough with the stuff I actually did manage to paint. What gives me pause, however, is the fact that I doubtlessly kitbashed and converted many, many more models than I actually painted — I’ll have to keep working on that ratio, I guess…

But what do those 40 models mean if seen in the context of my various bigger and smaller projects? Allow me to elaborate:

1. Khorne’s Eternal Hunt

My World Eaters army certainly remains my most important project, and 2014 was very much a World Eaters year for me! The absolute majority of my newly completed models ended up in the 4th assault company.

All these new additions certainly call for some new army pictures in the near future! However, I suppose it’ll be quite some time before the weather allows me to set it all up outside and take some dapper new photos. Until then, I have this picture (taken this last December for the “We Are Legion!” contest over at Le blog dé Kouzes) showing a pretty big part of the army to tide you over:

Khorne's Eternal Hunt 2014 02
It’s not the entire army (it’s missing the twenty odd “old” berzerkers from before my hobby hiatus during the 2000s, for instance, and a couple of other models), but it’s a fairly accurate depiction of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt in its current incarnation.

And here are some 2014 additions to my World Eaters that I am especially happy with:

 

World Eaters Gladiators (67)
World Eaters Gladiatorii squad

This project started as a spontaneous kitbash and then grew into something bigger when I decided to convert a gladiatorial Khornate champion along with his coterie of grimdark gladiators. Though these would probably be counted as bog standard Khorne Berzerkers when used in a game, building a squad of distinctly gladiatorial World Eaters has been a great way to explore that particular part of the legion’s background — plus it was lots of fun to come up with different types of gladiators that call back to actual historical sources while also seeming believable in the 41st millennium.

If you’re interested, check out the full story of the gladiatorii here, here and here.

 

Valkar the Scarred (1)
Lord Valkar, the Scarred One

This was a model that I had wanted to complete for a long time, and as has been the case so often, the ongoing Painting and Converting Contest over at Throne of Skulls provided the perfect excuse to finally get my act together! I am really happy with both the resulting model and the fact that I now own one of the truly effective Khornate unit choices: A Chaos Lord on juggernaut — what could be more Khornate than that, right?

Check out Lord Valkar in more detail here.

 

Hadrak Firebringer (8)
Thamier-pattern Obliterator

This is a model I am especially happy with for several reasons: It marks the first Obliterator in my army, for one, because it took me so freaking long to finally settle on an interpretation of this unit type I was happy with. I was insanely fortunate enough to procure some wonderful, custom sculpted parts from fellow hobbyist thamier (whose “Balefire Legion” you should definitely check out ASAP) for this project, and the result is a model I am really proud of. And maybe the best thing is that I still have enough parts for a second Obliterator. Yay!

Find out what went into building this guy here.

 

Helbrute (2)
Brother Khorlen the Lost

Finishing this model was one of the rare instances where I actually managed to surprise myself: I had just seen the newly released multipart Helbrute (which I really liked a lot), but instead of buying it right away (my usual reflex), I rather painted the Dark Vengeance Helbrute I still had lying around ever since the boxed set was released. And boy am I happy about that decision in hindsight! The model was pretty challenging to paint, make no mistake, but finally managing to finish what may be my favourite Dark Vengeance model really felt good — and I am actually rather happy with the result, too!

Find out more about this one instance where I actually showed some discipline here.

Kharn the Betrayer redux (12)
And, of course, my re-imagined Kharn the Betrayer: This model was, once again, built for a contest over at Throne of Skulls, but at the same time, it also kicked off a sizeable painting project of mine that saw me paint more than 500 points for my World Eaters over the Christmas holiday — we’ll be talking about those models in more detail really soon, I promise you.

Learn more about Kharn the Betrayer and my interpretation of him here.

 

Chaos Knight WIP (79)
Chaos Knight Titan

Last and very definitely not least: My Chaos Knight conversion. Though this model yet remains unpainted, it is probably the one 2014 hobby project I am most happy with: Working at such a scale was a first for me, and I was really intimidated by the project, to be honest — so much so, in fact, that it took me several months to actually get started on the model.

In the end, however, I am more than happy with the result so far: The Imperial Knight is a wonderful kit in its own right, and I think that I have managed to make sure this conversion will be a suitable centre point for Khorne’s Eternal Hunt! I even built a full interior for the model — something I wouldn’t really have considered beforehand.

Chaos Knight WIP (80)

I hope that finally getting this big guy painted will turn into a successful hobby project of mine in 2015 — I am still working up the courage for it, to be honest…

Until then, why not check out my posts on the creation of my Chaos Knight Titan here and here?

 

2. The world of INQ28

The wonderful world of Inquisitor and the battle for the Emperor’s soul continues to be a fascinating subject and an endless source of inspiration to me. Even so, I am painfully aware that I have only managed to paint a measly four models for INQ28 in 2014:

INQ28 class of 2014
And while I am really rather happy with each of them – and do in fact think that they make for a wonderfully eclectic little group in the above picture – I really want to make sure to produce more finished pieces for INQ28 this year!

In fact, I have kitbashed lots and lots of characters I am really happy with so far, such as my first real true scale Marine, Brother Janus Auriga…

Brother Sergeant Auriga (1)

…among many others, so it looks like I have my work cut out for me — let’s see if I can manage to get this show on the road again!

 

3. Legio Custodes

Alas, my beloved Custodians received even less attention from me than my INQ28 models. However, I did at least manage to build some models that I am really happy with for this project: A rather convincing (if I do say so myself) version of Chief Custodian Constantin Valdor and a really badass looking Custodian in Pre-Heresy style Astartes battle plate:

Valdor and Custodian WIP
As with my INQ28 collection, I will endeavour to get more of these guys finished in 2015. After all, it’s only a matter of time until Forgeworld’s own Custodes are released, making my kitbashes entirely obsolete — at least in the eye of the public ;)

Find out more about my kitbashed Custodes here.

 

4. Urash’s Marauders

Traitor Elite (16)
And finally, my Traitor Guard. To be honest, it took me a while to get back to this project, but I did so with an addition that has thoroughly revitalised my interest in this army: After long deliberation and multiple test builds, I have finally come up with the beginnings of a squad of elite traitors, shown above, mostly based on GW’s excellent Tempestus Scions. And though it has taken me quite a while to get these guys finished, I am now really happy with them, especially with the unit champion:

Traitor Elite (03)
I think I’ve mentioned this before, but it really does bear repeating: This guy takes much inspiration from PDH’s excellent renegade troopers, and is also the first time that I have come (reasonably) close to reproducing the excellence of those models. In fact, the guy above may just be the Traitor Guard model I am most happy with to date, so expect to see more additions to Urash’s Marauders sooner rather than later.

Until then, read more about the squad here.

II. My favourite hobby moments

So much for my own hobby projects, but what else was cool? Once again, there were several moments in 2014 that really served as “milestones of awesome”, so to speak,  making my hobby year truly special:

First among those moments – and by a long shot – was being featured in Warhammer:Visions — in Blanchitsu, no less!

Blanchitsu
Seriously, this really took the cake! It also had me running around with a huge grin for at least a couple of days. And it is an achievement that I am pretty sure I won’t be able to reproduce anytime soon, which really makes it even more awesome. Being featured in this column along with extremely talented guys like PDH and Mikko Luoma was the icing on the cake, of course.

I have talked at length about Legion, the model that finally made the pages of Warhammer:Visions, and I promise I won’t put you through it all again — unless you want to, of course, in which case you can find the whole story here.

The various interactions with other hobbyists online were almost as good as my stint in Visions: The friendly and constructive way people in our hobby can interact via the power of the interwebz is one thing that never ceases to astound me, the other is the unending generosity of so many of my fellow hobbyists. Therefore, it’s really hard to pick that one favourite moment from among all the pleasant interactions I have had in 2014. Rather, it’s a collection of warm and fuzzy memories: being sent amazing bitz drops and unique models by PDH, Drone21c and Steifer, sharing friendly banter and thoughts about the hobby with Flint13, Augustus b’Raass and others over at The Bolter & Chainsword, trying my best to produce cool models for the contests at Throne of Skulls and getting my ass kicked time and time again by DexterKong, hammering out the backstory for a whole Imperial sector in cooperation with that same DexterKong, having hobbyists build models that share my name as a shout out (and trying to repay that particular kindness),…the list goes on and on.

Let me maybe show you one small thing to illustrate my point: Here’s a map showing you all the people I’ve done bitz swaps with so far. Without any money involved, I might add — just for the sake of helping each other out:

bitzbuddies

I think this is ample proof of the amount of generosity present in our hobby! Thank you all, guys and girls! You rock!

 

I was also really blown away when I received a very special gift for my birthday last year:

Fan Troll (13)
my colleague Annie converted and painted a wonderful fan troll for my Blood Bowl team, the “Orkheim Ultraz”, which really left me speechless. I know you are not supposed to feed the troll, but I really want to ;) Thanks again, Annie — you’re awesome! :)

Read the whole story here.

And one last thing that I am really happy with: As I’ve mentioned above, I really managed to get my act together over the holidays, painting a pretty chunk of new World Eaters models for Khorne’s Eternal Hunt. This all happened as part of The Bolter & Chainsword’s 2014 Call of Chaos event, which not only gave me a deadline to meet, but also provided lots and lots of motivation via the friendly competition among board members. I’ll be showing off the completed models in more detail very soon — I hope you like red and bronze! ;)

 

III. Blogging

Providing a constant stream of content for this blog remained a fun – albeit challenging – endeavour during 2014: I managed 63 posts and attracted 170,000 views from 138 countries — numbers that may not be all that spectacular in the larger order of things but still feel pretty unreal to me, seeing how this is just my small, uninteresting corner of the internet ;) I also managed to reach the mark of 300,000 views overall, which I think is pretty cool!

For those of you interested in this kind of stuff, here’s a link to the annual report WordPress has kindly provided.

 

All in all, it has been a busy year. A productive year. A fun year. Yet also a year full of unpainted plastic — but what else is new? Thank you all for joining me on this ride. This concludes our little retrospective, and we’ll be strictly focusing on new stuff from now on: Here’s to 2015!

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

The 2014 Eternal Hunt Awards, pt. 3: The Industry

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , on January 14, 2015 by krautscientist

Awards

Sorry for taking a while with the next update — completing my painting vow for The Bolter & Chainsword has left me pretty drained — if happy, because I managed to finish all of the models I had pledged (more on them soon). That said, I have certainly kept you waiting long enough, as evidenced by the dip in daily visits over the last few days ;) So here goes:

As we’ve seen, the hobbyists definitely put out some amazing stuff, but what about GW? How doe the 2014 releases stack up? Was it a good year? What were the highlights and the disappointments? Let’s find out!

 

I. Best release of 2014:

I think we can all agree that GW has managed to maintain quite the relentless barrage of new releases all through 2014, and most of it was of astonishing quality as well. But to me, there were some kits that stood out, models that really wowed me and turned me into a small boy again, as I wondered at them. And there were models that turned out to be absolutely invaluable for conversions and kitbashes. So, what are my favourites of 2014?

 

1st place: Imperial Knight

Knight Release (3)
Last year, GW brought over the design of the good old Epic 40,000 warmachines into 40k proper, introducing the Lord of Skulls — and people were divided, to say the least: Maybe the original design of the Khornate daemon engines in Epic was too goofy to begin with, maybe there were too many skulls — whatever the reason, many thought the Lord of Skulls was a ridiculous kit. I have gone on record as being a fan of the model, but overall reception of the “Skulldozer” was mixed, at best.

But one year later, it seems like the Lord of Skulls was merely GW’s tracer bullet, and the Imperial Knight was the heartshot to follow, if you’ll excuse the somewhat militaristic, albeit very fitting, simile:

Where the Lord of Skulls was maybe too reliant on personal taste, the Imperial Knight has managed to win fans all across the board: Even people without a 40k army or without any lover for games at the Apocalypse scale felt they had to get one of these bad boys — and many hobbyists actually completed several of them. Unbelievable, right?

In this case, the model really justifies the hype, though: It’s a wonderfully designed piece, giving us a giant Mecha with all the right touches to tie it into the 40k universe. It also actually manages to look like a knight, although you could never mistake it for anything other than a machine of (pre) Imperial manufacture. And it is a terrifically well planned kit that is a joy to assemble and convert! I was really scared of the model, when I started work on my own Knight, but I was pleasantly surprised by how well it all went together.

All of those qualities certainly speak in the Knight’s favour, but its biggest achievement may be the way it manages to straddle the fine line between modern design sensibilities and nostalgia for the Rogue Trader and Adeptus Titanicus days: Where the Lord of Skulls may have tried the same thing with mixed success, the Imperial Knight really nails it: It recreates the look of Knight Titans, not as they actually looked twenty years ago, but as you wish they would have looked. It’s basically your idealised memories of 80s GW artwork given form, and that is a towering achievemt indeed!

I’ll go out on a limb here and say that the original plastic Imperial Knight kit still surpasses the later Forgeworld variants. I know I may be in the absolute minority with this opinion, but there you have it. In closing, I think the Imperial Knight is a perfectly balanced, excellently designed piece, and it is easily my favourite release to come out of 2014.

Read my original review of the Imperial Knight here.

 

2nd place: Almost the entire End Times release for Warhammer Fantasy Battles

end times

Well, this may seem like a gigantic cop-out on my part, but the longer I thought about it, the more obvious it became that the entire release was worthy of this award (and the Imperial Knight only came out on top due to personal sympathy and the fact that I think the scale of the model really did pave the way for some of the End Times kits in the first place).

So yeah, I think I don’t need to explain to you how the various End Times kits have generated all kinds of excitement and buzz — and rightly so! Some of the finest plastic kits released by GW so far have appeared under this label, and it’s a testament to the quality of their design that 40k players feel just as drawn towards these kits as the WFB folks.

Even in a release as consistently great as this one, however, there have to be some favourites:

Undead End Times Release (3)
Nagash, obviously, for not only kicking off the slew of awesome kits, but for also thoroughly revitalising one of the most evil characters in the entire WFB lore with a spectacular new model that still calls back to its earlier incarnation in many ways! Read my original thoughts here.

End Times Nurgle Release (26)The Glottkin, for truly being a model for the ages: An excellent, almost painterly and utterly apocalyptic work of art that is truly Mark Harrison’s masterpiece! Read my original review here.

And of course, last but definitely not least…

End Times Nurgle Release (6)The Putrid Blightkings, for being just about the best “Nurgle all stars” showcase imaginable: So many people have already had so much fun with this kit (including yours truly), and the importance of this kit for all things Nurgle really cannot be overstated!

What’s even better, the first pictures of the coming Skaven release show that the quality just keeps coming with the End Times stuff — marvelous work, GW!

 

3rd place: Tempestus Scions

Astra Militarum Release (22)

It certainly says something about the quality of the 2014 releases that my third place almost looks a bit pedestrian next to the End Times kits listed above. Even so, the Tempestus Scions provided 40k players and INQ28 aficionados with a fantastic toolbox that can fulfill all kinds of functions beyond merely working as the Astra Militarum elite: The amount of options and versatility in this kit is truly staggering, and the models themselve strike a perfect balance between armed to the teeth spec-ops soldiers and baroque and grimdark individuals. The Tempestus Scions may lack the flashiness of some of the other kits on this list, but their sheer usefulness and versatility could mean that they have the potential to outshine far more spectacular kits in the long run. I, for one, have already had tons of fun with the kit and would basically consider it a compulsory pickup for almost every 40k and INQ28 player — it really is that simple.

Read my original thoughts about the kit here and take a look at my experiments here.

II. Worst release/biggest disappointment

When it comes to release, it’s a testament to the quality of 2014’s releases that there were almost no bad or truly horrible models: Event the kits I don’t feel particularly fond of either come with a second assembly variant to soften the blow, or they are well designed models in their own right that just don’t tickle my particular fancy. In fact, in can only remember a single instance last year where I was truly disappointed in a release: GW’s Realm of Battles: Sector Imperialis game board:

99220199053_SectorImperialis01I was really excited when I heard GW were going to release a cityfight themed Realm of Battles board, but the eventual result left me entirely cold: It just seems like an overdesigned, overpriced piece of terrain that is not nearly versatile or flexible enough. I appreciate the fact that it has been designed to fit together seamlessly with all those very beautiful cityfight ruins. But seriously, hobbyists have had a long time to come up with their own cityfight and underhive tables, and with people like thenickeninja in this world, this stuff just doesn’t cut it. Sorry, GW, but you either have to step up your game with this terrain stuff or stick to what you know…

So almost all of the kits were great. But does this mean everything was peaches and cream? Unfortunately, no: I do have some gripes with GW’s releases over the last year, and here are the things that I found most disappointing:

  • new naming conventions: This probably flew below the radar for all native English speakers in our hobby, but maybe some of those whose native language isn’t English can sympathise with me here: As of the spring of 2014, all of GW’s publications use the English names – and only the English names – for any given unit type or character in all of their game systems. “So what?”, you might say, “most of those names are in English anyway.” Well, yes and no. Unfortunately, this creates Codices and publications with lots and lots of gibberish, where plain text is suddenly and rather violently broken apart by seemingly wanton insertion of English terms, even when a perfectly serviceable and well established translation for these terms exists in-universe. What’s more, those armies that have yet to receive their updated books retain their translated names, so a text about, say, the different factions of the elves in WFB happily mixes English and translated names. For the record: I love English. I am also, I believe, reasonably fluent in it. But GW had a pretty solid track record when it came to translating their books into other languages, and I think it’s really sad that a decision like this basically destroys all the good work they have done so far in this respect. Sure, using universal naming conventions may be an excellent idea from a marketing and retail standpoint. But it renders all the non-English versions much less enjoyable to read (if not downright unreadable), and that’s the reason why I am now buying all my rulebooks in English. Which is a pretty good solution, but I’ll still always be playing the game in German, so it does create a rather iffy situation.
  • Where are my Sisters, dammit? I feel like a broken record here, because I believe I’ve said the same thing in 2012 and 2013 as well — but please, please, can we get some decent, upated Sisters of Battle, GW? That would be sweet! Thank you very much!

 

III. Still on the fence about…

  • all those rules in 40k: I get it, I get it: You want to give hobbyists more options, which is great. You also want to make more money, which may not be great but is quite alright with me. But seriously, folks, this is getting out of hand: The constant barrage of dataslates, formations and DLC has created an environment where it’s almost impossible to understand all that is going on. To wit, they even had to patch their own game (because that’s what 7th edition is: a patch) in order for it to accept all the new supplementary content. I have heard people say that all of this is not a big problem, because hobbyists get to choose the way they want to play, and that is certainly an excellent point. But here’s the catch: I have this problem where an overabundance of options will paralyse me rather than empower my decision making. So in the end, I end up taking no choice at all. In terms of 40k, this means that the sheer difficulty of keeping up with the rules and current state of play has basically led to me abandoning the gaming angle altogether — at least for now.
  • Instant awesome? Just add Forgeworld! Now this may sound a bit cantankerous, but hear me out: With the Horus Heresy releases having become such a smash hit, Forgeworld stuff has become far more widespread, where it used to be a rare but exquisite seasoning on top of an army, so to speak. And that’s okay, of course: More power to them, because they are performing some outstanding work. But it sometimes seems to me like the growing prevalence of Forgeworld materials can hurt both hobbyists’ creativity as well as the FW design team itself: All of their stuff used to be pretty much perfect all the time, but now that they need to crank out huge amounts of stuff at a higher rate, the amount of lacklustre kits has definitely grown. And on the hobbyist side, for every 1000heathens, Mr. Poom or, Flint13, there seems to be at least one guy (or girl) who’s content enough to just throw together a cookie cutter army made from expensive Forgeworld crack. So my issue doesn’t lie with Forgeworld, but rather with those hobbyists who think the way to make your army awesome is to just throw resin at it — really, people, show a bit more dedication ;)

IV. Also pretty cool

  • Warhammer: Visions: I do realise of course that I may be fairly alone with this assessment, but bear with me: Visions gets so much flak for basically being a coffee table book of miniatures to browse through. But therein lies its strength! There are lots and lots of ideas hidden in those pages! There’s a – usually excellent – army of the month feature. There’s Blanchitsu, for crying out loud! Some of my earlier gripes with Visions remain, and I realise that it may have an uncertain future. But when all is said and done, I might pick up the odd WD Weekly every now and then, mainly out of habit –but Warhammer:Visions is the GW puclication I am actually looking forward to each month!

 

All in all, 2014 has been a terrific year when it comes to model releases, and at the very least a very busy one for GW’s game systems. It’ll be interesting to see where we go from here, and not all seems like it will make us happy (seriously, have you seen those 9th edition WFB rumours — what the heck?). For me, however, it has always been about the models and the lore, first and foremost, and if the first pictures of 2015s releases are any indication, we need not worry on that account.

So what were your highlights and low points when it comes to 2014s releases? And do you agree or disagree with my own assessment? I would love to hear from you in the comments section!

 

In any case, I will see you soon with the fourth and last installment of the 2014 Eternal Hunt Awards: a look back at my personal hobby year. Until then, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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