When life gives you lemons,…

Posted in Pointless ramblings on August 26, 2015 by krautscientist

Lemons
Hey everyone,

just a quick explanation for those of you who might be wondering why there’s no new content: There’s a half-written review of the new Stormcast Eternal models sitting in my WordPress backend, but unfortunately I don’t see it going anywhere for now.

The truth is that I am currently going through a bit of a rough patch: The non-profit organisation I have been working for over the last couple of years is currently in dire straits and lacks sufficient funding to keep me on as an employee. So I guess I’ll be without a job in the near future — awesome!

What this means is…well, you can probably imagine what it means. What it means for you, at any rate, is that the posting schedule here on the blog might be a bit haphazard for a while, with the odd bout of radio silence thrown in. Sorry for that, but please bear with me while I am finding my feet. I am pretty confident there’ll always be more little plastic men in my future, and also more blog posts about them!

Anyway, you have been warned. Take care now, and godspeed!

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

#ilovequeenbees

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

Freeblade_Logo

Hey everyone,

just a quick update for today, and a plea for your support: In time for the weekend, let us all give a fellow hobbyist a bit of a leg up! So what is this about?

If you have been reading the posts about my recent Knight-related work, you have probably picked up on the fact that I consider JeffTibbetts’ Imperial Knight conversion – dubbed “The Queen Bee” – one of the best, if not the best, Knight model around:

QueenBee WIP converted and painted by JeffTibbetts

QueenBee WIP converted and painted by JeffTibbetts

Although not quite finished yet, the model is a gorgeous piece of work, and one I have been borrowing a massive bunch of ideas from when painting my own converted Imperial Knight.

Now mobile game developer Pixel Toys has announced a game called “Freeblade”, that will allow you to play customisable Imperial Knights, and Jeff seems to be dead-set on making his Queen Bee appear in that game as an unlockable skin. So he has launched a bit of a campaign for that, and I would encourage you all to support him in his endeavour! Jeff’s a great guy and a superb hobbyist, and I owe him a great debt of honour for stealing so many ideas from him, so head over to his blog, read his post on the matter and support his little campaign, please! Thanks in advance!

So, anyway, that is all for today. I’ll be returning to my own WIP Knight now. Have a great weekend, everyone!

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

Getting dressed… Painting my Chaos Knight, pt. 3

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 12, 2015 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, another Knight-related update today. The original plan was to post a review of the recent Stormcast Eternals release today, but I spent yesterday in Frankfurt, visiting a pretty cool exhibition about the intertwined histories of film and videogames at the Deutsches Filmmuseum — the museum also had some pretty cool stuff apart from that particular exhibition. Such as this:

Xenomorph (2)
Xenomorph (1)
Aaanyway, this left me with very little time for expansive writeups on the old blog, so you will have to content yourselves with some more incremental progress on my Chaos Knight — I realise that this style of updates may not be all that spectacular, but bear with me here: For one, this is easily the biggest and most complex single project of my hobby life so far, so I may be forgiven for taking it slowly (and also for documenting my progress rather meticulously). This also allows me to showcase some details that I am especially proud of, as it happens — so I hope you’re not yet bored of the model yet ;)

When we last saw the Chaos Knight, I was hard at work on its daemon-faced breastplate. And indeed, here’s the model with a more complete version of that breastplate already mounted in place:

Chaos Knight PIP (84)
I wasn’t sure at first about whether or not to paint the eyes, but in the end I think the effect works rather nicely without being to cartoony. The teeth will need some additional highlighting, though.

I quickly added the lower jaw as well:

Chaos Knight PIP (87)
Once again, the area will need some more work — in fact, most of the armoured areas that are looking pretty much finished in the pictures are anything but: I’ll still need to add decals, further detail, some grime and maybe a little weathering. Anyway, this is what the Knight looked like at this point:

Chaos Knight PIP (88)
And lest we forget, a quick look at the Baron in his cockpit ;)

Chaos Knight PIP (85)
While the top carapace has only been undercoated, I think the picture shows rather nicely how the design of the cockpit and pilot works rather nicely, even when only glimpsed through the open top hatch (in any case, I’ll be leaving the carapace detachable, though).

This was also the point where I had to start working on the more complicated parts of the Knight’s armour: The pauldrons were especially daunting to me, mostly because I had planned adding a World Eaters decal to one of them. Let’s take a closer look at how that went in a minute. Before that, here’s a look at the Knight with its mostly finished faceplate in place:

Chaos Knight PIP (89)
And, once again, the entire model so far:

Chaos Knight PIP (92)
Chaos Knight PIP (91)
Chaos Knight PIP (95)
I think by now we can really see this guy coming together, wouldn’t you agree? One armour plate at a time…

As for the pauldrons, I am really happy that they are mostly finished now. Here’s the left one, complete with a big icon of Khorne and some additional totems and trophies:

Chaos Knight PIP (97)
Paintig this part was a bit fiddly because all the small trinkets had already been glued in place beforehand, but it wasn’t that much of a problem. I really like the look and feel of the design — it seems chaotic without being overly warped or mutated. The chains are also a callback to the World Eaters gladiatorial tendencies. And the pauldron actually mirrors the design of the shin armour on the same side.

The true star of the show is the right pauldron, though — complete with a World Eaters icon and numbers for the legion and company the Knight has been attached to:

Chaos Knight PIP (94)
I had been planning to use a Forgeworld decal (kindly provided by Mr. poom, no less) for a long time, although the process turned out to be just the nightmare I had anticipated: Making a decal conform to a curved surface can be tiring enough at the best of times, but I found out that it was even more of a hassle here, in spite of copious amounts of decal softener. Which makes me all the more happy to have pulled it off like this — save for a few tiny irregularities, it ended up looking fairly convincing, don’t you think? I also added some weathering on top in order to represent places where the paint had been slightly damaged and nicked.

Once again, the right pauldron shares similarities with the corresponding shin armour — especially since both use the same spikes (which, in turn, are a callback to the studded parts of Heresy-era Astartes armour).

So here’s the entire model:

Chaos Knight PIP (100)
Next stop: the carapace. And boy what a job that will be! Wish me luck! ;)

Anyway, so much for the progress on my Chaos Knight. If you have any feedback or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you!

Before I tune out for today, allow me to share something very cool with you: Fellow hobbyist Bloodygoodtime sent me a wonderful little sketch of Lord Captain Lorimar. Take a look:

illustration by Bloodygoodtime

illustration by Bloodygoodtime

I almost laughed myself off my chair when I first saw it, because it’s just perfect: badass and adorable at the same time, and it really captures the very essence of the character for me — in fact, it makes me wonder whether the Eternal Hunt wouldn’t make for an excellent Saturday morning cartoon… Anyway, a huge thank you, mate! You rock!

And, of course, to everyone else: Thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

The Devil is in the detail… Painting my Chaos Knight, pt. 2

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

Having managed to bring my Chaos Knight back from the brink after the undercoating mishap, it was finally time to get to work on some of the detail I hoped would make the model into something truly special. So today I would like to show you some of the detail work on the model — some of these areas seemed like very daunting tasks beforehand, but have ended up really well, if I do say so myself.

Anyway, after lots and lots of weathering and trying to make the metallic areas actually look like metal, it was good tor return to something rather different. I already showed you some progress on both the pilot and the cockpit in my last post, and so I got in some more work on those two areas. So here’s the finished Baron Augustus Melchia Harrowthorne in his cockpit.

Chaos Knight PIP (54)
This guy is basically at the heart of this whole project, as thinking of a backstory for a traitorous Knight pilot was what provoked my building a Chaos Knight in the first place. Which is why it feels really good to finally see him in his place of honour like that! :)

I actually spent quite a bit of time coming up with just the right look for the Baron, as I tried to figure out just what kind of pilot I wanted (and how I wanted him to interact with his machine). There are many different kinds of Imperial Knight cockpits out there, and I am very willing to accept any kind of pilot interface as long as the artist in question really, really nails it. For instance, my understanding is that control of a Knight is heavily based on some kind of neural interfacing, where you actually control the machine with your thoughts, right? But I also love the idea of some kind of mechanic control, and when it’s well realised, I think it really adds something to the model. Take Jeromgb’s absolutely fantastic cockpit here: It’s very retro, almost WWI in a way, and the pilot is much more “hands on” than my own take on the matter, yet it’s perfectly executed and absolutely believable, and it really sells the concept of a pilot doing his darnedest to stay one step ahead of his opponent.

By the same token, if you look at Forgeworld’s Titan Princeps models, they all seem to have some physical controls as well as neural interfaces — and I think it really makes sense for a setting as eclectic and retro-futuristic as 40k to fall back on a mix of both ways. What’s more, given the fact that the Knight Households are such a very ancient remnant of pre-Imperial times, with each machine a millennia-old artifact, I think it’s totally conceivable that there are as many types of interface as there are Knight worlds.

As for my own model, I wanted Harrowthorne to have some kind of physical control, but I also wanted him to look very dignified and noble, which is why I heavily based him on the Princeps from FW’s Warhound Titan. As for the actual points of interface on my model, Harrowthorne is rather extensively augmented, as you can see: In addition to that, there’s some cabling on the back of his head, and his throne has several parts that look like ports for a possible interface, so I imagine him to be plugged into those. All in all, I really think he looks like quite the character, and I am very happy with him:

Baron Harrowthorne PIP (6)
Fun fact: Harrowthorne’s paintjob was actually heavily inspired by the Dark Jedi Jerec, villain of the first Jedi Knight videogame…

Baron Harrowthorne PIP (8)

Here’s another picture of the Knight’s interior: You can see both the cockpit and the engine compartment in their basically finished forms. Since all of this was basically scratchbuilt and kitbashed, it remains among my favourite parts of the model — and it’s pretty cool that the solution I came up with ended up fairly similar to the “official” Knight interiors produced by Forgeworld (even moreso because I actually came up with mine before Forgeworld’s version was even available!):

Chaos Knight PIP (62)

The above picture also shows how I have gone for a little “special effect” with the flames emerging from the additional baroque outlets on the Knight’s back: My idea was that these would function as some kind of extra vent, allowing the machine to vent excessive warp power or what have you (don’t overthink this bit, I only wanted it to look cool ;) ). Anyway, my original plan was to paint the flames in a slightly more supernatural blue, but I was afraid the effect would end up looking too unnatural and toylike. So I went with a slightly more naturalistic approach — and I was fortunate enough to find an absolutely excellent tutorial for painting flames over at Tale of Painters, which allowed me to finish the whole area in very short order, even though I’d never attempted painting natural looking flames before! The tutorial also provided a sweet tip for using a glaze made from Mephiston Red and Lahmian Medium to create an effect resembling glowing coals around the flames — just what I needed, as it makes the area surrounding the flames look interesting without diverting too much attention towards it.

Still inspired by the success of my first-time flame painting, I then tackled the one area I was really rather afraid of: The monitors and displays inside the cockpit. Since the cockpit had already been permanently assembled at this point, I had set myself up for a rather fiddly task. But while the challenge turned out to be just as fiddly as I had expected, I am really rather happy with the result:

Chaos Knight PIP (67)
I’m certainly not great with freehanding, but I am still pretty happy with the suggested data streams on those tiny monitors. I also used the aforementioned Mephiston Red glaze to give some of the buttons a glowing look:

Chaos Knight PIP (66)
And, once again, here’s the Baron inside the now finished cockpit:

Chaos Knight PIP (68)

Chaos Knight PIP (69)
Fellow hobbyist The Hydra pointed out that it would have been really funny to have one of the monitors display a game of Pong! Dang, what a missed opportunity! ;)

But seriously, I am really, really happy with the finished cockpit!

So the Knight’s skeleton is bascially finished at this point: I tidied up the last few rough spots and added some leftover Heldrake armour plates on the arms. Here’s what I ended up with:

Chaos Knight PIP (71)

Chaos Knight PIP (70)
Chaos Knight PIP (72)

Chaos Knight PIP (73)
Chaos Knight PIP (74)
Chaos Knight PIP (75)
Chaos Knight PIP (76)

Chaos Knight PIP (77)

Chaos Knight PIP (78)

On a related note, let me take a moment to address Forgeworld’s “official” Chaos Knight kit: It was actually interesting to see this being released recently, after it had already made a sneaky appearance in the new Warhammer: World displays… ;)

Forgeworld Chaos Knight (1)
Forgeworld Chaos Knight (2)
But to be perfectly honest, I am almost a little underwhelmed by the model. Sure, it clearly reads as a Chaos Knight. But doesn’t the design seem like they phoned it in a bit, at least compared with Forgeworld’s regular output? It seems very generically chaotic to me, especially with the warped armour and teeth around the head. And some touches are pretty close to my own version, as it happens: Just take a look at the chaos star on the back of the cannon, the spikes on the chainsword and the reactor section…

Forgeworld Chaos Knight (3)

I think when all is said and done, this should work as a pretty serviceable basic template for a Chaos Knight, although it might need some additional conversion and kitbashing to really bring it to the next level. However, if I need to further convert the model anyway, I might as well make it an all plastic conversion in the first place and circumvent the issue of potentiall having to deal with ill-fitting resin parts, right? Or one could go for the Kytan Daemon Engine of Khorne, which seems like the more interesting project, at least for a follower of Khorne like yours truly… ;)

It’s a nice enough kit, surely, but I am actually rather relieved that it’s not that much more awesome than my own conversion — at least that’s how I feel about it. This means I can happily finish my own model without feeling like I missed out on an even cooler version. And one advantage of the release is that we know have semi-official Chaos Knight rules! Yay!

 

All the more incentive to keep plugging away on my own Chaos Knight. And I have already made pretty good headway regarding the armour plates. Let me show you a final sneak peek or two of what is to come:

The Knight with its leg armour in varying stages of completion:

Chaos Knight PIP (79)
And here’s a first look at the PIP belly plate:

Chaos Knight PIP (80)
Oh, and there’s one thing you guys can help me with: I want to add a decal to the Knight that represents the Machine’s honorary membership in the Legio Audax (The “Ember Wolves”), the Titan Legion that fought alongside the World Eaters during the Heresy. So I was looking at a suitably wolf-y decal in order to represent that affiliation: At first I wanted to use one of the War Hounds decals, but those definitely show a dog, not a wolf. So which of the following do you think would work best for the intended effect (As for placement, I’m thinking one of the kneecaps)?

Possible Audax decals
As it happens, some hobbyists have suggested some very cool – and slightly less common – SW decals to represent the Legio: The flame wolf (playing on the whole “Ember Wolves” thing):

Flame WolfOr these very cool, slightly more feral looking symbols that I hadn’t even seen before:

Possible Audax decals (2)
Are these even available as decals? And if so, if anyone has some of these left, (especially the more hirsute looking wolf heads dead centre and in the bottom row), feel free to send them my way! ;)

 

So yeah, I think you could really say I am having a blast with this big boy right now, even though painting the model is turning out to be a ton of work. So stay tuned, there should be more shortly ;)

If you have any feedback or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you, of course. And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Knight in fuzzy armour? Painting my Chaos Knight, pt. 1

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 29, 2015 by krautscientist

Oh boy, where to start…? It’s been a rather eventful couple of days, from a hobby perspective, and I have been through a veritable rollercoaster of emotions. So what happened?

Everything started when I finally decided to paint my converted Chaos Knight: This has been one of my biggest hobby projects so far, and so it has taken me a little over a year to work up the courage to paint him — well, that and I pledged him as part of my vow for the ETL IV event over at The Bolter & Chainsword, with the deadline later this week.

So, anyway, I was finally prepared to get this big boy painted, right? Just so you remember, this is what the finished conversion looked like (the entire project so far has been chronicled here and here, for your edification):

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh WIP (1)
The situation was already less than optimal, though: All kinds of work related shenanigans had left me with precious little time for painting my vowed models — and also happened to kill much of my hobby drive, at least when it came to painting. So with under a week left to complete my vow, I still tried to make this happen. So I grabbed the model as well as a can of Chaos Black and Leadbelcher each and headed outside to undercoat the model.

The black undercoat worked like a charm. Then came the silver. Now some of you may remember that I even used a dedicated test model to make sure the Leadbelcher spray worked as intended (in fact, that test model then spawned an entire gaiden project of its own). So I was pretty sure everything would work out just fine. So after both the black and silver had gone on, the model ended up looking like this:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (3)
Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (1)
Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (2)
Seems nice enough, doesn’t it? Only when I picked up the model afterwards, I realised that, due to an unforeseen (and inexplicable) undercoating mishap, the whole model now sported a very gritty, almost sandpapery texture (you can just about make out the effect in some of the pictures). The only part of the model that escaped this problem was Baron Harrowthorne himself (undercoated five minutes prior, using exactly the same spray can, to add insult to injury):

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (4)

As you can probably imagine, my first reaction was sheer panic: It seemed like I had just managed to ruin a 100+ Euros model, and one I have spent many hours converting, at that. But after thinking things through, I realised that I didn’t just want to give up quite so fast: If there was any way to save this model after all, I wanted to find it!

So I started experimenting: The first thing I did was to take a tootbrush to the entire model in an attempt to take of some of the worst grit — before that, handling the model would leave some silvery pigments on my hands every time! With some of the texture brushed of, the resulting look wasn’t all that bad, really: The silver had a pretty nice gunmetal look,  and while that certainly hadn’t been planned, I was confident that I would be able to work with it. So I started washing the entire model with Army Painter Dark Tone and hoped for the best.

However, it turned out that whatever had happened had also messed up the way the undercoat reacted to other paints: The most imminent consequence was that it took a lot of wash to actually darken the silver to a point I was happy with. And I was also pretty apprehensive about how well other colours would work on top of this rather funky undercoat.

Here’s what the model looked like with the black wash and some first red and bronze parts blocked in:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (5)
A closer look at the head reveals the sandpapery effect:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (6)
Fortunately enough, it turned out that it was easy enough to add other paints on top of the undercoat:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (7)

And, like I said, it took *a lot* of wash to suitably darken the undercoat: Compare the main body with the chaotic heat outlets (yet unwashed) in this picture:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (9)
But while I was still worried about whether or not I would manage to salvage the model, it did start to look a little better with the first details in red and bronze:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (10)
So I did the only thing I could and continued painting. One thing that put at least some of my worries to rest was that all the Knight’s armour plates wouldn’t have the same problem, so even if the skeleton retains some of the gritty texture, adding the armour plates on top will make it somewhat less noticeable.

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (11)
I also felt that I might just as well try and make the effect work to my advantage — after all, the rather blunt gunmetal look worked pretty well in some places, making the metallic parts look like the heavily worn chassis of a machine that has been in service for a long time. The bad news was that other areas ended up looking more toylike because of the undercoat. This was especially noticeable on the arms, for instance:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (13)
So I spent a lot of time covering various parts of the model with different washes to add some depth to the metal and to create areas where grime and oil would have built up over the millennia. Jeff Tibbetts’ wonderful thread really became a lifesaver for me, because not only has Jeff gone for a fairly similar look for the metallics on his Knight, the Queen-Bee, but his thread is also chock-full of fantastic advice for weathering a model of this size. So I stole what I could from his thread and tried to simplify some of his especially cool recipes for use on my own Knight — and it started to work: The judicious use of washes and drybrushing slowly added more and more depth to the model and helped making the problems far less obvious:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (16)
Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (17)
I also needed a little quick fun to keep me going, so I actually finished the head a little early:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (33)

The engine compartment was also starting to look as oily and grimy as it should:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (18)

So after about a week of frantic painting, here’s what I have right now:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (19)
Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (20)
Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (21)
Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (22)
Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (34)
Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (25)
Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (26)

It’s actually slightly frustrating that all of the photos are looking so similar, when the model in front of me looks so much better than it did before — but the camera just eats up some of the more subtle touches. I guess it cannot be helped.

Anyway, I think the “skeleton” is actually nearing completion: All the red and bronze areas have been finished, and I’ve done a ton of weathering on just about every metallic surface: I’ve added some rather subtle verdigris to some of the bronze parts, but most of the time has clearly been spent working on the silver, using a combination of GW Typhus Corrosion, Vallejo’s Smoky Ink and various GW washes to create the aforementioned buildup of grime.

So here’s a couple of closeups for you:

The engine compartment, now with added verdigris:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (27)
The various weathering effects really work together rather nicely now (I tried not to go overboard with the verdigris effect, because I didn’t want the model to look to “colourful” because of it). Plus I’ve also taken quite some time to make the leg pistons look fairly realistic, as per JeffTibbetts’ wonderful tutorials:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (28)
Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (29)
Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (30)
Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (31)
And finally, what may be my favourite detail at the moment: I painted the small vials on the sword arm so they looked like liquid was sloshing around inside them – something I borrowed from JeffTibbetts yet again! It really make sense though that those vials would contain some liquid lubricating the chain of the big sword or something like that:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (23)
And a closeup:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (24)
Not GD level painting, certainly, but I am stupidly happy about having managed to pull this off. I may lack Jeff’s patience, attention to detail and dedication, but some of his ideas were fortunately easy enough to adapt to my own, rather slapdash painting style ;)

And before I wind up this post, let me show you the latest addition to the model: The Knight’s mostly completed pilot, Baron Harrowthorne:

Baron Harrowthorne PIP (1)
Baron Harrowthorne PIP (2)
Baron Harrowthorne PIP (3)
So, like I said, it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster: At first, I was convinced that I had ruined the model and was just about ready to just throw it away. But looking at it now, I think I may just have managed to turn this ship around. The problems created by the fuzzy undercoat are not nearly as noticeable now, and I am actually legitimately excited to continue painting this model! It may take longer than I had originally planned, but I think I’m getting there.

If you have any feedback and suggestions, I’d be happy to hear them. As for the eventual fate of my Chaos Knight, I’ll keep you posted ;)

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

EDIT: Jeff Tibbetts has thankfully reminded me that everything to do with his spectacular Knight project can also be found on his blog, which I would recommend you subscribe to ASAP. Thanks for reminding me, mate!

Back to AdMech — at least for a while…

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 22, 2015 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, I only have some new kitbashes for todays’s update, seeing how I am currently swamped with work — and both my plans for the Age of Sigmar starter box minis as well as the paintjob for my “Stormcast Inquisitor” will still take some time to gestate into something tangible. In the meantime, I have returned to my various AdMech plastic kits for a spell of converting, and I realised once again that the Mechanicus models may just be some of the most visually arresting 40k kits currently available!

So I put in some more work on my growing INQ28 Mechanicus warband, which will basically fulfill two goals: One, I want to explore the Adeptus Mechanicus in its different shapes and sizes with this warband, creating a rather eclectic and eccentric collection of models — just as eclectic and eccentric as the Adeptus Mechanicus itself, that is. Two, since I don’t want to assemble an entire army of these guys, this warband will serve as a “best of collection”, so to speak, allowing me to have fun with the AdMech kits I like most.

Speaking of which, my dear cousin Andy recently gave me a box of Sicarian Ruststalkers as a slightly belated birthday present, which was awesome! The kit is chock-full of amazing little bitz — and it has provided me with the material for several conversions. So let me show you what I am currently working on:

First up is the leader of the warband, a slightly tweaked Tech-Priest Domius serving as an Archmagos Veneratus for the Velsian branch of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Now the stock model is so beautiful that I didn’t want to change anything major, but the huge weapon on the Magos’ right side seemed a little OTT for an INQ28 character, which is why I already tried replacing it with an alternate lower arm earlier:

AdMech kitbashes WIP (3)
But while the idea seemed sound enough, the look just wasn’t there. Enter the wonderfully creepy chord claws from the Sicarian Ruststalkers kit, one of which provided the perfect alternate hand for the Magos. Take a look:

Archmagos Veneratus WIP (2)
Archmagos Veneratus WIP (3)
Archmagos Veneratus WIP (4)
I am really happy with the result — this is such a minor conversion, really, but that creepy metallic claw just complements the rest of the model rather well, don’t you agree? Plus it still makes for an impressive enough weapons, without looking as OTT as one of the “deathrays” that come with the model ;)

While we are on the subject of Sicarian Ruststalkers, these are easily some of my favourite GW models right now: There’s just something about them that perfectly encapsulates the idea of a lithe, sinister cyborg assassin, which I love immensely. So I might be forgiven for actually assembling two of the models from the kit mostly unchanged:

Sicarian Ruststalker WIP (1)
Sicarian Ruststalker WIP (2)
I only added a small halo taken from a servo-skull to this first guy, which I think rather fits the model. This guy is one of the feared Clockwork Assassins, used as a terror weapon by the Machine Lords of Korhold against their enemies.

I also built the Princeps, once again without any major conversion, save for a different chord claw (to give him a creepy “come hither” pose):

Magos Militant WIP (1)
Magos Militant WIP (2)
I already mentioned in my review of the Skitarii release how this model didn’t look so much like a unit champ to me, but rather like a more warlike Tech-Priest: All the telltale signs are there — the flowing robes, the cowl, the face full of tubes ;) So I am seeing this guy as some kind of “Magos Militant”, overseeing the performance of the Skitarii on the front line or counseling the sector command when it comes to military questions. I actually considered swapping in some of the more esoteric pieces of equipment from the Sicarian Infiltrators, such as the servo-skull and “grimdark notebook”, but truth be told, I would rather use those bitz on a different model altogether, and the Princeps just has a visual balance that I love — hence a mostly unconverted model, for a change.

Interestingly enough, fellow hobbyist Plus Four pointed out that there’s a precedent for a very similar character in the novel “Priests of Mars”:

As far as the Tech-Magos is concerned you need look no further than Magos Hirimau Dahan from Priests of Mars who is described as having a “muscular body of plastic hued flesh…regular pair of arms…with augmenting energy blades…..a second pair of arms…tipped with a forked weapon….purple lightning arced between the bladed tines”. This would suggest that a combat oriented Secutor Magos looks nothing like the archetypal GW Magos!

So yeah, these guys may be hardly converted at all, but I am still pretty happy with them. And that’s what counts, right?

I did create two slightly more involved pieces, however, even if the first one was basically stolen from somebody else ;)

A while ago, curnow made an excellent Skitarii conversion resembling a Japanese Ashigaru foot-soldier. I loved the idea so much that I simply had to borrow his recipe and make a very similar model, since it seemed like the perfect addition to my collection. I made some small changes to his formula, but the resulting model still owes an enormous debt of inspiration to his. Take a look:

Skitarii Sniper WIP (6)
Skitarii Sniper WIP (3)
Skitarii Sniper WIP (4)
Skitarii Sniper WIP (5)
I am really happy with the model, even if I am feeling slighly guilty for borrowing curnow’s excellent idea ;) Several people over at The Ammobunker have taken issue with the length of the rifle, and while they raise some excellent points, I think I’ll keep it this way: I really want it to look as cumbersome as possible: Not only does it provide a fairly unique silhouette, but it’s also a nice sign of the AdMech’s eccentricities. I also think it really adds something to the Ashigaru look mentioned above. Plus it differentiates this guy from the other, slightly sniper-esque Skitarius I have built for the warband:

AdMech Riflemen WIP

Speaking of which, this will probably turn out to be quite a band of characters (as per my original mission statement), incorporating such colourful individuals as a “typical” Magos in the warbend, complete with cog-axe and everything, a wraithlike Magos Genetor without a lower body, a burly Magos Explorator, a slack-jawed Magos Xenobiologis with hideous metallic claws, a weird, pseudo-Japanese sniper, a gladiator-esque Clockwork Assassin with a stylised halo, and yeah, a lithe and deadly Tech-Priest on stilts. So what else is new in the 41st millennium? ;)

Here’s the unpainted part of the warband so far:

AdMech kitbashes WIP (26)

Before today’s post ends, there’s one last kitbash I would like to share with you: It came about rather organically as an attempt to make a slightly more involved conversion using the Sicarian Ruststalker kit. Plus I also realised that the servo-skull that came with the Tech-Priest Dominus looked far too evil and sinister to be denied a body ;) Check this guy out:

Cyborg Assassin WIP (1)
Cyborg Assassin WIP (2)
Cyborg Assassin WIP (3)
He’s not quite done yet, possibly, but I like where the model is going. I kept thinking “Cyborg Eversor” while making him, for some reason…

 

So that’s it for today! 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!

Age of Sigmar: Fun with freebies

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Custodes, Inq28, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 15, 2015 by krautscientist

While the ruinstorm of nerd rage is still going strong elsewhere on the internet, I am slowly coming to grips with the implications of the recent Age of Sigmar release — maybe my terribly wordy post on the matter did function as some kind of therapy, after all? ;)

Anyway, I picked up my own copy of the game yesterday. A first look at the sprues reveals that the amount of detail on the models is really off the charts. At the same time, formulating a plan for all of these models will take some time — I am basically committed to converting quite a few, if not all, of them at this point, but I will have to think carefully before the knife comes out.

In the meantime, let’s deal with something related: Everyone and their cousin have been messing around with the freebie Liberator that came with White Dwarf, and it has been a regular pasttime of mine for the last several days to google for awesome conversions involving the model. So I would like to share two things with you today: One, my favourite kitbashes and conversions involving the Liberator so far. There are many people happily cutting away at the little guy, yet some models manage to stand out regardless. Two, I would like to show you the conversion I have settled on myself, lest this post become totally dependant on other people’s excellent work.

But first, a showcase of my favourite Liberator conversions. It’s rather noticeable how most (if not all) of the conversions I’ve seen so far neatly fall into one of the following categories:

 

I. Marines

The obvious choice, really: These guys haven’t been nicknamed “Sigmarines” for nothing, right? It’s no surprise that Truescalers all around the globe are enthusiastically checking out the possible ways of using the Stormcast Eternals as material for building bigger Astartes — and there are already quite a few rather impressive examples for this approach!

Blood Angels (Terminator Librarian) by Jair Nunez (via Spikey Bits):

model converted by Jair Nunez

model converted by Jair Nunez

This model certainly goes for shock and awe tactics, transforming the Liberator into something that almost looks like a Primarch at first glance! There’s a lot to love about this model: The Liberators’ more form-fitting armour is a great fit for Blood Angels anyway, and Jair underlines this with a very effective use of BA bitz. I especially love the hammer, since doesn’t remotely look like the fairly clunky Liberator weapon even longer — even though its head has been kept 100% intact! I am not yet wholly sure how I feel about the slightly extended midsection, but such minor quibbles notwithstanding, this is certainly an excellent kitbash!

Space Marine by DogZombie:

model converted by DogZombie

model converted by DogZombie

While DogZombie hasn’t done much to change the basic makeup of the model, his kitbash still ends up quite convincing because there’s just something about the combination of that clearly Imperial sword, Sternguard face, power fist and servo-skull that instantly makes this guy read as a Space Marine. A fairly straightforward, yet very effective job!

Space Marine by Wilhelminiatures:

model converted by Wilhelminiatures

model converted by Wilhelminiatures

Easily the most iconic Liberator-based Astartes conversion I have seen so far! Wilhelm has gone for the good old bolter setup, and has really nailed the look, if you ask me: Those Mk. III arms just work so well, and the praetor head really makes the model look like a grizzled veteran. The conversion shows an admirable restraint and ends up quite lovely because of it — possibly my favourite “Sigmarine” Astartes so far!

Thunder Warrior from the Oldhammer Facebook Group (via Sepulchre of Heroes):

conversion from the Oldhammer Facebook group

conversion from the Oldhammer Facebook group

Some hobbyists have even gone further back in time, using the Liberator for conversions from the Pre-Heresy or even Unification era: This Thunder Warrior is an excellent proof of concept, showing the Stormcast Eternals provide great material for such a conversion. If anything, this works even better than the standard Astartes conversions, seeing how Thunder armour doesn’t neccessarily conform to the design templates established by the later armour marks. As this model shows, if you have ever wanted your own Thunder Warrior army, you now have the perfect base models at your fingertips — as it happens, Mikko from Iron Sleet seems to be planning an entire army of these guys. A project I am really looking forward to!

As an aside, I was unable to find out who originally built and painted this, so if you recognise your model (or know the creator), please give me a holler, and I will of course give credit where credit is due!

II. The Legio Custodes

While we are already in the 30k time period after discussing that Thunder Warrior, let’s addresst the other very popular idea involving the Stormcast Eternals: using them as base models for Custodes conversions. There’s a clear resemblance here – arguably an even bigger resemblance than the one with the Astartes, and fortunately enough, some excellent Custodes conversions have already turned up as well:

Constantin Valdor by Ryan Stevenson:

model created by Ryan Stevenson

model created by Ryan Stevenson

Who better to build first than the Legio Custodes’ Captain-General, Constantin Valdor? As you can see, the model is wonderfully chunky and impressive, while also seeming rather dynamic in spite of its bulk. I am still very happy with my own (Space Marine based) conversion for Valdor, but wow, that guy is just huge! I also really like the guardian spear! The only thing I am not quite sold on is the third party shield, but that’s just a matter of personal preference.

Custodian by Noctus Cornix:

Liberator conversion by Noctus Cornix
Ever the inspirational kitbasher, Noctus Cornix has knocked it out of the park once more with his Custodian conversion: The model may be less dynamic than the Constantin Valdor conversion shown above, but there’s something strong, yet contemplative in this guy’s pose that I really love. And the way Noctus has used that left hand from the Chaos Lord on Manticore kit is just beautiful. A lovely model all around!

III. Automata

As part of my recent Age of Sigmar review, I wonderedd whether or not the Stormcast Eternals could be turned into gilded automata, serving the Adeptus Mechanicus or representing relics from ages long forgotten — and I didn’t really have to wait long before some hobbyists endeavoured to find out:

AdMech Automaton by Nuclearhawke:

model converted by Nuclearhawke

model converted by Nuclearhawke

Nuclearhawke is currently working on an AdMech warband anyway (make sure to check out his Ammobunker thread linked above!), and so he has turned his Liberator into a wonderfully chunky, fairly gladiatorial combat servitor via an influx of Forgeworld AdMech bitz. I love how merely replacing a couple of key elements completely changes the look and feel of the model!

“Tick-Tock Man” by Leadballoony:

model converted by Leadballloony

model converted by Leadballloony

Interestingly, while Alex from Leadballoony has gone for a structurally similar approach (electing to replace some key features, while leaving an equal part of the model unaltered), he has come up with a completely different mechanical creature: His “Tick-Tock Man” is a relict from a bygone age, stalking the depths of the underhive. The baroque armour possibly speaks of pre-Imperial times, while the hideous mechanical claws and weapons (from the Kataphron kit, I believe) hint at the machine’s true, much more sinister function.

IV. There’s no school like the old school…

Of course there are also hobbyists who are not trying their darnedest to turn their freebie Liberator into a 40k model, but are perfectly content to use him as a character for WFB or Age of Sigmar. In fact, some of the best conversions seem to have come about this way.

Warrior of Chaos by Xander:

model converted by Xander

model converted by Xander

Xander’s straightforward, yet effective kitbash shows how easy it can be to turn the Stormcast Eternals into servants of the Dark Gods — Aren’t chaos players lovable little rascals, always trying to corrupt everything that gets released into gristle for their dark lords’ wars? You’ve gotta love ’em ;) Erm, anyway, what occurs to me is that the rounded armour and detailing makes the Liberators a pretty good fit for Tzeentch or Slaanesh (or whatever may have taken Slaanesh’s job, that is…).

Warrior of Chaos by smile:

model converted by smile

model converted by smile

Fellow German hobbyist smile was even more adventurous, using GS and some wonderfully oldskool OOP plastic bitz in order to make his warrior of chaos. I really love the no nonsense nature of this guy, and some of the detail (such as the belt buckle or the chain running across the chest) are really quite wonderful! Excellent job! In fact, smile started the thread linked above in order to entice people to post their own Liberator conversions — let’s hope people go for it, but so far, smile and me seem to be the only ones…

Undead Knight by Matthew Davies:

model converted by Matthew Davies

model converted by Matthew Davies

Another rather original idea, this one! Matthew’s skeleton knight ends up looking far more formidable and bulky than the undead you normally see, but I guess in a world where the toothless old men in pantaloons have been replaced with ironclad demi-gods, the undead will have to keep up as well, eh? Once again, the addition of some carefully considered bitz end up completely changing the model — very nice! Personally speaking, I would probably add some rust holes to the armour, but that’s just my two cents.

Franz Ascendant by Bishmeister (via Clan Khorvaak):

model created by Bishmeister

model created by Bishmeister

Okay, there’s really not much to say here except this model literally blew me away when I first saw it: The conversion is brilliant (recalling a fairly recent Golden Demon entry based on the plastic Nurgle Lord, if I am not mistaken), and the paintjob is just wonderfully lush and warm — and just check out that shield! Not only is this possibly my favourite Liberator conversion right now, but it’s also a perfect embodiment of the Empire now lost to us (sniff). But what a send-off! Brilliant!

Stormcast Eternal Liberator by Heaven’s Teeth:

model created by Heaven's Teeth

model created by Heaven’s Teeth

One final model, and a wonderfully sublime one, at that: Heaven’s Teeth didn’t perform any outlandish conversion work, but merely made some subtle touches, creating a small vignette of a proud demigod at rest. Coupled with a great paintjob and a wonderfully natural looking base, the result makes for a rather stunning piece — very nice!

V. My own Liberator conversion

Worry not, I won’t wind up this post without adding my own conversion to the pile. In fact, I started converting the model the day after picking up the issue of White Dwarf it came with.

While the idea of turning the model into a Custodian was fairly tempting, there was also the fact that I already own a fully converted (if not fully painted) Custodes army, so I was able to resist the call. The same was true for the idea of building a truescale Marine: Brother Auriga fills that role rather admirably right now, and while I won’t rule out building more true scale Marines in the future, I wanted to do something different with the freebie Liberator.

In the end, I decided to turn the model into a rather impressive Inquisitor — not outlandishly creative, admittedly, but also not something I have seen done a lot (yet). So I started messing around with some bitz and soon had this very early WIP:

Stormcast Inquisitor
It quickly became clear that the model’s size and armour would make it a good candidate for a fairly warlike Malleus or Hereticus Inquisitor, which is why I decided for a GK stormbolter on the Inquisitor’s off-hand. Beyond that, I mainly attempted to make the armour look more imperial by adding a bit or two. One thing that ended up feeling wrong, however, was the hammer: While it seemed like a fitting weapon for a member of the Ordo Malleus, at least, both the weapon’s design and angle looked slightly wrong for the type of character I was trying to create.

Then I saw Logan’s version of the Liberator, which was fairly similar and convinced me my own Inquisitor needed a sword as well:

model converted by Logan

model converted by Logan

This turned out to be slightly tricky, however, because the sole, loyalist-looking sword I still had in the old bitzbox was the GK sword with an impaled Plaguebearer head on its tip. So quite a bit of cutting and glueing was in order to replace the blade with that of an Empire Wizard’s sword and to reverse the grip of the hand on the sword.

Beyond the weapon swap, I also started seriously working on the armour in an attempt to make it look more Inquisitorial:

Stormcast Inquisitor WIP (1)
Stormcast Inquisitor WIP (2)
Stormcast Inquisitor WIP (3)
Stormcast Inquisitor WIP (4)
As you can see, I also added Skitarii backpack in order to create some kind of nonstandard power source for the Inquisitor’s armour.

At this point, I was pretty happy with the model, but felt it needed a cape — both for the additional bulk and for the extra bit of ostentatiousness it provided — the Inquisitor just seems like that kind of guy to me ;)

Once again, I had to improvise a bit, because the model’s size made finding a cape at the appropriate scale slightly tricky. Fortunately, I still had a cape from the Deathwing Knights/Deathwing Terminators that worked very well, after a bit of cutting:

Stormcast Inquisitor WIP (5)
The model was almost done at this point. DexterKong suggested adding a techy bit or two to the legs, seeing how the model was looking very medieval below the beltline. I chose a fairly restrained solution though, since I didn’t want to overclutter the model, adding a tech-y connection port and some cabling to the model’s legs.

And with that, my “Stormcast Inquisitor” conversion was completed:

Stormcast Inquisitor WIP (11)
Stormcast Inquisitor WIP (12)
Stormcast Inquisitor WIP (13)
Stormcast Inquisitor WIP (14)
I think he really looks like a Lord Inquisitor, Grandmaster of an Ordo or what have you. Commissar Molotov pointed out the model reminded him of an alternate take on Forgeworld’s Hector Rex — which really made me happy, seeing how Rex had become one of the main inspirations for the conversion somewhere along the way!

One thing that is a bit of a problem, however, is the model’s size: The Inquisitor is indeed taller than a standard Terminator. Here’s a scale comparison image:

Stormcast Inquisitor scale comparison
The image makes it clear that the Inquisitor would look plain ridiculous if placed next to a standard Marine. However, as you can see, there’s still a small difference in heigth and a more noticeable one in bulk between the Inquisitor and Brother Auriga, my true scale Marine. Which makes me thing that the model, while admittedly very tall, still ultimately works in the scale framework I have set for my INQ28 characters. I imagine the Inquisitor had undergone gene-therapy and heavy augmentation, in addition to wearing a suit of custom armour: His size and bulk evoke the picture of a human augmented to the very limits of the human frame, while still not quite on par with an Astartes.

The next big challenge will be to figure out a colour scheme for him: Golden armour would be the obvious – but maybe slightly boring – option. Cream-coloured armour with golden trim would be cool, but there may not be enough actual trim for this to work. Silver armour is out because I don’t want the model to be mistaken as a Grey Knight — a very real danger, given the fact that it uses GK weapons!

My current idea, after some input from DexterKong, is to actually attempt to paint the armour in a marble effect. I’ve already spent quite some time downloading suitable marble textures, and I think something along these lines could work really well:

marble texture mockup
I really want the Inquisitor to have a very luxurious feel, so the current idea is to combine the marble effect with golden armour trim and glossy red as an additional spot colour (on the model’s pauldrons and heraldic plate, for instance). Of course whether or not I’ll be able to pull if off painting-wise remains anyone’s guess… At the very least, Apologist’s recent tutorial for painting marble should really come in handy for this project…

Anyway, so much fun with a single freebie miniature — isn’t that just crazy? Just imagine what it’ll be like when I finally tuck into the rest of the Age of Sigmar box… ;)

One thing I can safely say is that messing around with the Liberator models is quite a lot of fun. Sure, they are started box models and lack some of the flexibility we have come to love. But the way they are designed makes it very easy to convert them into any number of character archetypes — I think this post provides ample proof of that!
Have you converted your own Liberator yet? Or are there any excellent conversions you’ve seen online that you would like to point out? I’m always happy to hear from you in the comments section!

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

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