State of the Hunt, Week 47/2018: Back on watch duty

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 19, 2018 by krautscientist

Having been in a bit of a painting slump recently (after a more than productive first half of the year), I was happy to discover that my recent completion of the “Chibi Knight 2.0” project seems to have returned at least a healthy part of my hobby mojo. So I didn’t lose any time and returned to yet another project that has kept me occupied this year: my true scale, Primaris-based Deathwatch killteam for my INQ28 collection.

It has been a while since the last finished member of the team, to be honest: Here’s where we left off in the summer:


In order to make up some lost time, I decided to have a go at painting the next two members of the killteam back to back. These guys, originally converted a while ago:


On the left is a member of the Castigators, while the Astartes on the right is a Lamenter — in fact, I already started painting them back in August, that is I painstakingly created their respective right shoulder pads, complete with freehand designs. A technique that still makes me nervous, I must say:

Compared with that really fiddly stuff, the rest of the paintjobs was business as usual, really, so I finally got to work.

First in line was the Castigator, a member of Commissar Molotov’s own DIY chapter, included in my killteam as a little shout out to one of the “founding fathers” of the INQ28 movement, as it were:

Incidentally, I had the idea of actually having the model wield a massive whip fairly early on, inspired by some of the artwork from Commissar Molotov’s aforementioned background thread:

When it came to the actual paintjob, I stuck to my established Deathwatch recipe of scratched black armour and a slightly 2nd edition-ish combination of bright reds and golds, and was able to mostly finish the paintjob in an afternoon:

And, a short time later and in much better lighting:






Something I really like about the conversion in hindsight is the helmet: It’s one of the old metal Deathwatch helmets that I simply used both because I wanted to have at least one relatively clean-cut Mk. VII-ish Marine in the kill team, and also because it seemed like a nice shout out to the older Deathwatch parts. I realised during painting that the features of the facemask were a bit sharper and more menacing than your average plastic Mk. VII helmet, which I think really works for the character.


He’s still missing his base and a name — I have actually reached out to Commissar Molotov in order to ask him whether he would like to name the character. It only seems proper, what with the Castigators being his chapter and everything…

While I was waiting for his reply, I began working on the second model, a Lamenter named Brother Mikhael Zephon (the first name’s a shout out to fellow hobbyist Augustus b’Raass, who was kind enough to donate the Primaris model required for the conversion):

This model was an interesting case in that it was the second member of the killteam to be wearing a helmet and because the massive weapon would shake up my usual Deathwatch approach a bit. Here are some impressions from early during my painting session:

I started with the helmet. The teardrop jewels on the right side of the visor had me slightly nervous, but I was able to come up with a pretty nice result thanks to an excellent painting tutorial over at the Tale of Painters blog.


Now the rather massive frag cannon was a big part of the paintjob, and in order to get it right, I used both GW’s own paintjobs as well as PDH’s Iron Knights Deathwatch operative here as reference material:

Deathwatch operative by PDH

Here’s a shot of the model with the frag cannon already in place (taken, once again, very late in the evening and in fairly poorly lighting conditions):

And here’s what the model looks like right now:


The one area that still requires quite a few finishing touches is his backpack:

But I am already working on it, trying to add the last tweaks and finishing touches to the actual model.

For now, here are the – mostly finished – Castigator and Lamenter:


I am quite happy with the way these are turning out — the Castigator, in particular, has quite a bit of presence, wouldn’t you say? And while I was a bit nervous about that huge gun and equally massive backpack on the Lamenter, everything seems to be coming together rather nicely, if I do say so myself.

Here’s a look at the entire killteam so far:

Once the Lamenter and Castigator have been finished, that leaves me with only the – already converted – Carcharodon as the last prospective member of killteam Ulrach, so this is a project that I might actually be able to wrap up this year πŸ˜‰

Until then, any feedback you may have is welcome, so please drop me a comment! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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A Short Knight, pt. 3: The Grand Finale

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 13, 2018 by krautscientist

Welcome everyone to the third and final part of my recent Chibi-Knight project! This has been such a fun little endeavour, and today you finally get to take a look at the finished model, so here goes:

The paintjob for the actual Knight was actually just about finished last time. So here’s where we left off:

This only really left the basing, but since the objective with this entire model was to match the bigger version as closely as possible, I wanted this ethos to extend to the base as well. So for starters, check out the base of the bigger version of Gilgamesh:

As you can see, I used some pieces from the Space Marine statue from the Honoured Imperium terrain kit to represent fallen Imperial monuments, and I really wanted to recreate that look — and it seemed that fate was very much on my side…

I actually realised a long time ago that the aforementioned statue seems to have been created mostly by upscaling existing Space Marine bitz: If you take a closer look, many of the parts of the statue seem to consist of bigger versions of plastic bitz from the company champion that comes as part of the old Space Marine command squad box (incidentally, I am pretty sure the statue’s cape is an upscaled chaos warrior cape, but that’s beside the point). And I actually discovered a while ago that GW used a face very similar – if not identical – to the statue’s face for different kits as well. So it didn’t take much work to collect the pieces that would allow for a very close recreation of my original design for the base. Take a look:

The shield on the left is pretty much the exact same shield also worn by the Honoured Imperium statue. It came from the aforementioned Space Marine command squad kit. The sword is from a plastic Terminator — I’ll admit the company champion’s sword would have been a better fit from a visual standpoint, but the Terminator sword worked better due to its size and proportions. And the head on the right is a piece of a broken Imperial monument from the WFB/AoS giant.

So I used these parts (or rather, copies of these parts) to create a setup that was fairly similar to the original base:

Now I had to improvise a bit, due to the bigger Knight’s base having an oval shape (and hence more room), but I think the setup worked out pretty well. I also chose to have the head in an upright pose this time around — something I should have done on the bigger base as well.

So here’s the base after undercoating…

…and with the Knight provisionally placed on top:

And here’s the finished base, painted to fit the bigger version:

So all that was left was to affix the new Chibi-Gilgamesh to his new home, and then the model was done. So here, once again, the big version for the sake of comparison:

And without further ado, I give you

Chibi-Gilgamesh version 2.0









I am actually really happy with the way the model has turned out. I may have had to compromise a bit here and there because a couple of visual touches from the bigger model just couldn’t be reproduced at the smaller scale (at least not without ending up looking extremely goofy, that is), but you can still tell at a glance that this is supposed to be Gilgamesh at a smaller scale, wouldn’t you agree?

And there’s also my favourite part about this project, the somewhat harebrained, yet ultimately successful, scheme of adding a fully sculpted interior and pilot to a Knight at the Adeptus Titanicus scale. Check out the bigger version of Baron Harrowthorne again:


And here’s the chibi-version:




And now that the new model has been finished, here’s another comparison shot with its predecessor:


As I’ve said before, I really like how the older Chibi-Knight seems to represent the somewhat clunkier vintage Epic 40k design, while the new model fits the sleeker, more faithful designs from the new Adeptus Titanicus.

That’s not quite all, though. Because with the model finished, it was of course time to trot out the actual 28mm Gilgamesh in order to find out how well the new Chibi-Knight stands up to the big guy.

well,…



I think there’s definitely quite a bit of family resemblance, wouldn’t you agree?

Having managed to closely recreate the base also makes me stupidly happy, to be honest πŸ˜‰

So yeah, a fun project all around! And you know what? I am also going to pledge this little guy as part of Azazel’s Mechanical November ’18 community challenge — fits well enough, I’d say πŸ˜‰

In any case, it goes without saying that I would love to hear any feedback you might have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more! πŸ™‚

A Short Knight, pt. 2

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 10, 2018 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, here’s the next look at my current project, the recreation of my 28mm Renegade Knight Questoris, Gilgamesh, the Warrior King, at the Adeptus Titanicus scale. I haven’t had much hobby time since my update, but I’ve tried to make it count. So let’s take a look, shall we?

First of all, this is where we left off last time:

While the similarity between the Adeptus Titanicus Knight Questoris and its bigger 28mm version already astonished me during the building stages, the parallels even extended to the actual painting process: Due to the way the model comes together, it’s actually possible to keep most of the armour plates, especially the big top carapace and shoulder pads, separate from the Knight’s “skeleton” during painting, so it was once again a matter of undercoating the skeleton in silver and the armour plates in red, then work from there.

And since this was my biggest alteration to the stock model, I did of course have to start with the pilot, trying the best I could to have the paintjob make up for the lack of sculpted detail:


Even at this stage, I was already reasonably happy with the way the chibi-version of Baron Harrowthorne looked, so after that, it was mostly a matter of carefully blocking in all of the base colours. Due to the delicate sculpt of the Knight, this was a bit more fiddly than on, say, a bog standard Space Marine model, but it was still fairly quick work. Here’s Chibi Gilgamesh 2.0 with all the base colours and washes in place:

And now came the delightful part: I carefully tried to match as many visual cues from the bigger version as possible — including the decals used on the original Gilgamesh. In some cases, I was able to use smaller decals that were a close – or even perfect – fit, in other cases (on the kneepads, for instance), I had to use a fine liner instead.

But anyway, enough talk, let’s take a look at the mostly finished model:

Just to remind you, here’s the big version:

And here’s what I have right now:


Pretty close, wouldn’t you agree?

As for Baron Harrowthorne and the cockpit, I had to give the area another small round of tweaks, of course:

So, once again, let’s start with the bigger version:


And here’s the Chibi-Baron:

As I’ve said before, since there is so very little actual detail on the pilot, I’ve had to use the paintjob to suggest detail were none extists, and to create an evocation, for lack of a better word, of the much bigger, more detailed 28mm pilot. I am pretty happy with the outcome, though — if you take a closer look you can even see the glowing buttons on the control panel:

And here’s another comparison picture with my earlier Chibi-Knight kitbash:

So a few very minor tweaks notwithstanding, the new Chibi Knight is basically finished at this point — except for the basing, that is, and I do have a rather nifty plan for that. Let’s hope it works out!

Until then, however, I would love to hear what you think! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

A Short Knight, pt. 1

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 29, 2018 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, still no painted models this week, alas, but rather a small project that had me sidetracked. Small in every sense of the word, actually. So what is this about?

The recently released 2018 version of Adeptus Titanicus has left me weirdly indifferent so far — surprising, really, as I always thought I would be right at the front of the queue if it ever made a return. But the focus on the biggest Titans somehow makes it less interesting to me (even though I’ll readily acknowledge that being able to own multiple Warlords without having to sell a kidney is probably one of the main draws of the game).

That being said, when the AT-scaled Questoris Knights were released, I knew I had to pick up some of them. And at 25 Euros for three, they seemed reasonably priced, so I made the plunge:

What really surprised me was how the detail on these is truly off the charts: It’s almost uncanny how GW has managed to make them resemble the bigger version down to some of the smallest detail. And I found myself regularly having dΓ©jΓ -vu moments while building the first model — it’s that close to it’s bigger kin. And seeing how I was already having those dΓ©jΓ -vues, I started feeling the urge to build a smaller version of my Renegade Knight, Gilgamesh — in fact, some of you might still remember my previous attempt at building a “Chibi-Knight”, roughly at the Adeptus Titanicus scale – from all kinds of odds and ends:

 

 


Building that smaller version – dubbed “Chibi-Knight” by me – was a fun project back then, and I think the model still holds up fairly well, all things considered, even if it’s maybe a bit too clunky. But having a base model that was already a fairly perfect representation of an Imperial Knight from the get-go this time around really made me want to one-up my previous effort.

So I got to work, trying to make one of those small Adeptus Titanicus Knights resemble this guy as closely as possible:

And after a bit of messing around, my first WIP looked like this:

Pretty good already, wouldn’t you agree? Here’s a comparison of my first WIP next to the previous, kitbashed Chibi-Knight:

I actually like how the previous versions’s slightly weird proportions make it resemble the visual clunkiness and retro charm of the old Epic 40k models. By the same token – and due to the more delicate sculpt of the AT Knight – coming up with a way to mirror those chaotic decorations was slightly tricky, and had to drop some of the detail that was simply too small to reproduce – or would look weirdly clunky (such as using a Bloodletter face on the gun barrel, for instance). I also got the impression that most 28mm GW bitz are just a tad too big to use on those delicate AT Questoris Knights, so this did take some doing.

In the end, I went for the visual essence of the model, trying to hit enough design cues to make it work, dropping some that were just too much trouble to get right, and figuring out which bitz to use for either.

So here’s the basically finished build for Chibi-Gilgamesh version 2.0 that I have come up with:






All things considered, I think I have managed to come up with a pretty good reproduction of my 28mm Gilgamesh at the smaller scale. But that wasn’t even the end of the project, because during the conversion process, I found myself staring at the Knight’s hollow interior again and again…


…and wondering if maybe….just maybe…

…it would be possible to add a fully realised interior as well — just as I had done on 28mm Gilgamesh.

Sure, the mere concept is a bit ridiculous, but once I had gotten the idea into my head, I realised that there would be no way to weasel out of this challenge: Chibi-Gilgamesh 2.0 needed a cockpit!

Coming up with a pilot was the most challenging part of that, obviously: I thought I was already out of the woods when I remembered some 40+ years-ish old plastic Army Men style soldiers my uncle used to play with as a child, and wanted to use one of those, but they turned out to still be a tad too big. As was a pilot from one of my uncle’s old model planes:


My next idea was to use a Z-scale model train figure — and indeed, those come in all shapes and sizes, even in a sitting position. And they are also readily available online. In batches of one hundred, no less!

In the end, that would have included purchasing them in China, however, and it just didn’t seem sustainable to pick up something so cheap and minuscule from halfway across the planet. So I was already planning a visit to the local model train shop when another idea struck me: I remembered one of the old plastic Bretonnian Knights from an old WFB starter box having a stylised little person as their heraldic helmet crest — maybe at just the right scale?

When I dug out the bit from my cupboard of shame, I realised the figure was pretty much the right scale indeed — but alas, it was a Lady of the Lake style sculpt:

Space Marine helmet included for scale.

Very fitting for Bretonnians, no doubt, but not a particularly good match to recreate my Baron Harrowthorne model at a smaller scale. But maybe there was still something there that I could use? So I shaved off most of the detail from the helmet crest, until I was left with only the bare outline of the model, then tried to carve it into a rough incarnation of Gilgamesh’s pilot:

If nothing else, I was able to leave the suggestion of facial features in place. And I realised I had the beginnings of a pilot.

The cockpit, on the other hand, was almost trivially easy to build: I used some tech-y leftover bitz (from a Heldrake foot, IIRC) for the reactor section…


…and if you take a closer look, you’ll see that I even included a small control panel for the pilot:

So here’s another comparison shot for you: The 28mm version of the cockpit and pilot:


And my WIP version at the Adeptus Titanicus scale:

Of course I realised that the pilot was still looking slightly too primitive, so I added some tweaks to him, greenstuffing in the tiniest shoulder pads and placing some teeny tiny plastic nubs on the model to suggest both the medals on the bigger version’s chest as well as the cranial augmetic implants:

The rest of the detail will be suggested by the paintjob — at least that’s what I hope! Now in all fairness, the pilot is probably still a tad too big, but there’s just no way I can come up with an even smaller version, so I’ll call this conversion a success!

This has been such a fun little project — and given the size of the model, I hope it’ll be easy enough to paint up as well. Maybe this could even be the model to get me out of my recent painting slump? Keep your fingers crossed for me! πŸ™‚

In any case, that’s it for today’s update. It should go without saying that I am looking forward to any feedback you might have. And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more! πŸ™‚

A Child for the Warrior King, pt.6 — and a small interlude

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 15, 2018 by krautscientist

My hobby work has not been all that exciting recently: The combination of a decided lack of feedback here on the blog and a prolongued downtime over at The Bolter & Chainsword has worked as a bit of a dampener to my hobby motivation. But I have a new update to share with you all, dealing with my second converted Armiger once again. And as a special treat, I’ll also sneak in a small bonus-review somewhere along the way, so keep your eyes peeled πŸ˜‰

But first things first: My second Renegade Armiger was already mostly finished in my previous post, but it still needed that final bit of attention, especially when it came to finishing the chaotic decoration: The most important part was to add spikes and skull trophies to the top carapace. At the same time, I also grafted some small teeth, carefully shaved off the little vanes that come with the CSM Raptors, to the pauldrons and leg armour, for that certain chaotic je ne sais quoi.

So here’s the result:


Those added elements really do a pretty great job of pulling all of the parts of the model together from a visual standpoint, plus they also serve as a parallel to my other Armiger Warglaive.

So the model is basically ready for paint now. Take a look:


Oh, and after adding the final layer of detailing, I also straightened out the cockpit and pilot, making a few final tweaks and additons here and there. So here’s the completed build for the Huntress inside her cockpit:


As you can see, the way the Huntress controls the machine actually matches the setup I used for the first Armiger. This time around, however, I actually made sure to make the alignment of the machine’s head match that of the pilot (it’s only a small thing, but since I used the standard Armiger head this time around, at least beneath the extra bitz, it was easy enough to keep the head poseable):


I am actually really happy with the conversion, plus I think the two Armiger really work rather well together. Several people on the forum pointed out how the machines seemes like two pack mates, ready to bring an opposing Knight (or even Titan?!) down, and how the new Armiger actually seemed a touch more feral than the first model. Since that’s the impression I was really going for, I am rather happy to have achieved that dynamic with the two models:

Incidentally, I also made a small tweak to the Hound, adding some Blood Warrior decorations to his pauldrons. See if you can spot them in the picture above πŸ˜‰

 

Bonus review: Canis Rex

So, while we are on the subject of (Imperial) Knights, allow me to sneak in some thoughts on one of GW’s fairly recent releases thtat I have wanted to share for a while: I am talking about Canis Rex here:

The release of Canis Rex was interesting for a number of reasons: It marks the third revision of the Imperial Knight kit in almost as many years, for one: Each subsequent release has added new parts and options, and this latest kit is no exception, providing us with all the weapon options released so far, along with a new weapon, the las-impulsor, that can be used to assemble the model as a Knight-Preceptor. So far, so good. At the same time, Canis Rex is also a veritable named character, so the model comes with original parts to turn a generic Knight into Canis Rex with its unique heraldry. Last but not least, there’s also the fact that the kit provides us with the bitz for a fully designed cockpit – something that the GW-Knights have lacked so far – and for the pilot, Sir Hekhtur the Chainbreaker.

Now my love for the Imperial Knight per se is well documented, and I still consider the model a landmark release and one of GW’s finest modern kits. All the original kit’s strenghts remain, obviously, and we actually get some new toys to play around with. So let us take a closer look:

Let’s start with the new weapon: Where most of the Knight weapons we have seen so far have a rather more brutal, archaic look, this new gun hews closer to a more experimental, “Martian Deathray” look, which is nice. On a related note, looking at the silhouette of the weapon, I cannot help but realise how you could probably kitbash a similar weapon using the side panels from a 40k life pod (from either the 40k objectives kit or the new Kill Team: Rogue Trader boxed set), if you need the weapon but don’t want to buy the new kit.
Whether or not you like the las-impulsor, though: The kit also seems to contain every other Knight weapon released so far, so the world is really your oyster here.

When it comes to Canis Rex’s unique armour plates (and heraldic elements), those bitz are nice, if a bit vanilla: The facemask strikes me as ever so slightly too generically medieval, but that’s purely a matter of personal choice. On the other hand, the combination of a wolf/dog head and a chain on the tilt plate and banner make me wonder whether those bitz might be useful in a 30k World Eaters/War Hounds project…

What I really like about the inclusion of those bitz is how GW actually embraces the idea of having those Knights be true individuals — something that has always played a big role in the background, but it’s still nice to actually see that philosophy now realised in model form. If anything, coming up with your own background, heraldry and backstory for your noble is something to be encouraged.

So far, the additions to the kit are nice but not exactly massively exciting.This all changes with the third big addition to the kit, however, and easily the biggest draw of the model, if you ask me: The inclusion of both a fully detailed cockpit and a pilot:


Seeing how the nobles piloting the Knights were already being played up as important and powerful individuals in the background, I actually find it baffling that it has taken GW so long to represent them in model form. If anything, I feel Imperial Knights should have been themed around their pilots from the get-go. But anyway, now we finally get our pilot model, and both in a walking and a sitting form, which is nice:


I like how the model’s armour/pilot suit neatly straddles the line between baroque(medieval and functional — it arguably works better with the general 40k aesthetics than Forgeworld’s almost too sleek and futuristic looking Knight pilot. At the same time, it’s also nice how some design elements (see the arrows on the armour plates, for instance) are shared between the Knight and its pilot.

Now while the pilot is supposed to be Sir Hekhtur the Chainbreaker, it’s easy to see how a simple headswap would be enough to turn him into an original (male) knight pilot. Creating a female noble from those bitz would still be possible, albeit with a bit more conversion work — and maybe the inclusion of some of the slightly narrower Genestealer Hybrid body parts.

When it comes to the actual cockpit, I really love how GW’s sculptors have managed to squeeze lots and lots of detail into a pretty tight area (believe me, I know): The design looks great and channels visual cues from both Forgeworld’s Knights and various Titans:

If I have one criticism, it’s that I think the controls are almost a bit too modern and “Space Marine-y” and should maybe have looked a bit more archaic – like the kind of tech you see in Forgeworld’s Titan cockpits – but the design still works very well, and the option to build it so it can even be looked at with the top carapace closed and the hatch open is an awesome little touch:

 

For me, and other hobbyists as weird as me, coming up with a way of building the interior of a Knight has been one of the most interesting parts of working with the model. So seeing an “official”, readymade version now is a slightly bittersweet moment: On the one hand, it’s great that GW has finally stepped up and provided us with the building blocks for a Knight interior. At the same time, however, this also takes away some of the adventure, for lack of a better word, and challenge of scratchbuilding and kitbashing an area like this — oh well, at least we still have the Armiger interiors to think about πŸ˜‰

On a related note, and if you’ll excuse a bit of boasting, I have to say that I am really rather happy with the way I managed to come up with something pretty similar to GW’s “official” look for the pilot and cockpit years ago, back when I built my own Knight:



So for those who do not own any Imperial Knights yet, you guys are in luck: You are now able to pick up the definitive version of an already fantastic kit and end up with lots and lots of beautiful options to play around with. If, like me, you were among the early adopters of the Imperial Knight, you might be forgiven for feeling a bit left out (and for being expected to buy yet another 100+ Euros kit). The third revision of the kit in as many years. Because much as I like this newest revision to the kit (and much as I liked the previous revision), I cannot help asking myself whether those weapon options and cockpit bitz could have been part of the model from the beginning — the pilot and cockpit, in particular, seem like parts of the sculpt that must have been considered from the beginning…

 

Call of Chaos 2018:

Before I wind up this post, let me quickly address the current Call of Chaos event over at The Bolter & Chainsword: With the forum back up and running, fortunately enough, I think I’ll just have a go at joining in the event again this year. Here are the models I think I’ll be pledging as my Call of Chaos vow:


Including the second Armiger is a bit of a no-brainer, obviously, as I really want to have the happy family finished before the year is out πŸ˜‰ In addition, I want to get some paint on two Nurglite characters that have been sitting on my desk for ages:

First up, a Nurglite Lord on bike that was built over a year ago (originally for another forum painting event last year):

Still pretty happy with this guy — you certainly wouldn’t think he started out as a Ravenwing biker from Dark Vengeance, would you? πŸ˜‰

And there’s this conversion of Maxime Pastourel’s Lord of Contagion model from the Dark Imperium boxed set:

his guy should be fun to paint, with all the gribbly areas of distressed skin and gooey intestines πŸ˜‰

 

So anyway, that’s it for today’s update. It goes without saying that I would love to hear any feedback you might have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more! πŸ™‚

A Child for the Warrior King, pt.5

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 24, 2018 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, with the annual Call of Chaos event (over at The Bolter & Chainsword) upon us, I thought it was time for a rather more chaotic update this week. Because I have had a bit of a breakthrough with my second Armiger Warglaive – and the second member of Enkidu Lance, Baron Harrowthorne’s retinue – this past weekend.

Just to remind you, here’s my previous Armiger from earlier this year:


You can read up on the model in more detail here.

So of course I still wanted to complete the second child of the warrior king. Unfortunately, not much really happened with the model for a rather long while since the last WIP pictures I shared with you.

The main reason for this was that I lacked some parts I thought were crucial for the conversion: Having discovered how well Bloodthirster vambraces work as leg armour for Renegade Armigers, I definitely wanted to feature this element on my second Armiger as well, but I just couldn’t get my hands on another set of the bitz, which also pretty much blocked any further work on the model.

But last week, thanks to theΒ  awesome generosity of fellow hobbyist ElDuderino, I received a bitz drop that contained some of those ever important vambraces, and this provided me with the motivation (and the bitz!) I needed to hammer out most of the conversion over the weekend. So allow me to share my progress with you:

Here’s where we left off last time:

Promising, but nothing to write home about yet. So the first order of business was to nail down a pose for the Armiger. And after a bit of hemming and hawing, here’s what I came up with:

It’s really just a subtle tweak of the standard Armiger leg pose, which is very narrow and makes the model look as though it were marching straight forward. By attaching the legs at a slightly different angle (and cutting off the nubs that look the feet in place, allowing for a bit more flexibility), I have widened the stance just a bit, making it look slightly more aggressive while also creating a pose that could be interpreted as the Armiger bracing for firing its harpoon.

I’ve set myself a bit of an overarching visual framework for both Armigers in that I want both models have their own personality while also featuring a fair number of recurring visual elements between them, in order to show how both machines (and their pilots) are still retainers – and, ultimately, subordinates – to the same renegade noble.

So when it came to featuring some recurring models, I basically copied most of the armour from my previous model, especially the shin armour and Khornate icons (the trophies and spikes I add to the carapace will also follow a similar design, while still allowing for some individuality).

Anyway, here’s what the second Armiger currently looks like:

On the model’s left arm, you can see the Ursus Claw harpoon I converted (some detailed conversion notes can be found here):


As for the gun arm, I felt tempted to go with an original, kitbashed weapon for a while, but then ultimately decided to use yet another of the Forgefiend’s ectoplasma cannons: They work really well on an Armiger, for one, and provide some instant “chaotification”. And it also makes sense for both models to be armed with the same gun, seeing how there’s really only one wargear template for Armiger Warglaives so far, especially when it comes to their guns. Oh, and the ectoplasma cannon bit will also allow me to paint some plasma coils again, which is always a plus πŸ˜‰

One small complication was that I had to replace some of the cabling on the gun, because I had cut it off earlier (for a different conversion), but I think I have managed to come up with a look that works.

 

So there are definitely enough shared elements between the two models to tie them together from a visual standpoint. But at the same time, I also wanted each model to have its own personality and, by the same token, have the Armigers reflect the personality of their respective pilots:

With the Hound, I imagine its pilot as a former member of a loyalist Knight household who was forced into rebellion when the Forgeworld protected by his house seceded from the Imperium. He eventually found his way into Baron Harrowthorne’s lance, as part of the World Eaters’ 4th assault company, but when all is said and done, he still subscribes to the traditions and trappings of knightly houses, which also shows on his Armiger (the fairly standard armament, the banner listing the pilot’s accomplishments,…).

This second Armiger’s pilot (codenamed “The Huntress” for now), on the other hand comes from a more techno-barbarian-styled background, as a member of a slightly more feral warclan. Now her homeworld may be a Dark Mechanicum Forgeworld or a former Knight world, but it has been in the clutches of the ruinous powers for far longer, and this shows in her warlike disposition as well as the somewhat more feral look of her machine. For this reason, I chose a slightly more brutal looking armour plate (from the vintage Bloodthirster) for the space between the legs in place of the – more traditional – banner. I also added a huge spike to the right pauldron (for a slightly more gladiatorial look). At the same time, I think the more open, threatening pose also does a nice job of hinting at a less restrained, more openly aggressive personality for the pilot.

So when you place the two Armigers next to one another, there’s a lot to tie them together, but also a slight difference in look, which is exactly the effect I was going for:

And while we are already speaking of the pilots, I also made some tweaks to my model for “The Huntress”, of course:



While the basic kitbash already worked fairly well last time around, I now had to clean it up and make sure the model actually fit into the interior even when the carapace was placed on top and locked in place. I also tried to make her pose look similar to that of the first pilot, mostly in order to hint at the underlying way in which an Armiger is piloted.

I also added some bitz and bobs that few people will ever notice once the model is glued in place: There’s a small chaos icon dangling from the model’s belt, and also a skull shoulder pad that nobody is ever going to see πŸ˜‰ I also added a jagged tooth worn as a necklace to hint at the Huntress’ more tribal/techno-barbarian background.

And once again, getting it all to fit together really took some doing πŸ˜‰

So with most of the heavy lifting out of the way, the rest of the conversion will be mostly about two areas: There’s some gap-filling and a bit of extra detailing to be done in the cockpit area. The biggest part still left will be the detailing of the carapace and armour plates, including the placement of trophies and spikes, grafting some teeth to the armour trim here and there, and adding some battle damage to match the look of the Bloodthirster vambraces.

For now, however, I am fairly happy with the look of the model — and with finally having managed to get this project under steam again, mostly thanks to ElDuderino. Cheers, mate! πŸ™‚

It goes without saying that I would love to hear any feedback you might have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more! πŸ™‚

Coming full circle?! A closer look at Kill Team: Rogue Trader

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 17, 2018 by krautscientist

As some of my readers have already pointed out, I no longer do many reviews these days. But I will gladly make an exception for Kill Team: Rogue Trader, one of the most delightful hobby surprises to come out of 2018 so far:

Kill Team: Rogue Trader is remarkable in several ways: For one, it’s a look at a part of the 40k universe that has appeared in background lore every now and then, but – apart from some Inquisitor models – has never been explored in depth in model form. There’s also the fact that this actually feels like an attempt to take the – already fairly promising – killteam concept into a more narrative and, dare I say it, inquisitorial direction. And at the same time, it also feels like coming full circle, in that both the subject matter and scope of the boxed set seems like a modernised look at the old Rogue Trader, as in: the first version of Warhammer 40k.

 

Enough reasons, then, to give this release a closer look. And it goes without saying that I will be focusing on the models that come with the set, looking at their strengths and shortcomings as well as thinking about possible uses for them in the wider hobby and the odd conversion opportunity. So here we go. Just like old times, eh? πŸ˜‰

I. The Elucidian Starstriders

To get this right out of the way, I am simply in love with this kill team: GW’s sculptors have done an amazing job at making the team look like the actual household of a Rogue Trader, with an actual background story and some really interesting characters. That alone makes this part of the release a triumph!

I also really appreciate how not only are there strong shared design elements between the models (the baroque armour, the stylised heraldic animal crests for different ranks and functions), but the design also manages to both fit the 40k universe and expand its visual language (with a decidedly baroque influence versus the classic “gothic” approach), making it clear that Rogue Traders are a force unto themselves.


Rogue Trader Elucia Vhane

So, let us start with the actual Rogue Trader, Elucia Vhane: For the most part, this is a lovely and eclectic figure befitting the status of a Rogue Trader. Moreover, since most of the depictions of Rogue Traders so far have invariably shown dudes in some kind of 19th century-ish military uniform, I think we’ll have to give GW some extra kudos for going with a female Rogue Trader!

The detail on the model is rather lovely: The filigreed armour and ruffles are a great touch, as is the slightly old timey aquila clasp on her right shoulder.

My one gripe with the model is how her face is mostly covered by a veil: I get how this was probably supposed to show the eclecticism of Rogue Traders and also add an air of mystery, because you cannot help but wonder how Elucia looks under the veil: a woman kept young and beautiful by rejuvenat treatments? A hideous crone? Something altogether more mysterious? I can also really imagine the veil working great in one of John Blanche’s concept sketches.

The thing is, however, that it fares less well in actual model form. As it stands, the part of the model that should be its absolute focus point ends up looking, well, rather uninteresting. And given the fact that GW’s catalogue absolutely lacks interesting and characterful female faces, this choice seems like an even more egregious copout. Personally speaking, I think a half-veiled face, some kind of stylised porcelain mask (or, even better yet, half-mask) would have been a better solution here, and obviously made for an even more interesting character — therefore, the face is definitely the one thing I would personally convert.


Knosso Prond

Elucia Vhane’s personal assass…erm “bodyguard” has to be one of my top three models from this release: You can never go wrong with a poised, stylised pose with a sword, and Knosso illustrates this very well. I also love how there’s such a clear asian influence to her design – particularly evident on her sword and facemask – but it’s an influence that gets reflected through the general 40k look and feel, and the result is really lovely, if you ask me. That mask and hairdo, in particular, are just great touches! One of the high points, certainly!


Sanistasia Minst

Yet another female character (which is great), and also an exploration of a character archetype we haven’t seen all that often: the medic. The model does an awesome job of straddling the line between a clean, clinical look very fitting for a medicae, and the more ostentatious and baroque elements that are a part of the household’s visual language. I especially like how her equipment (the helmet, shoulder pad and gloves, in particular) seem functional and ostentatious at the same time.

Oh, and that Nurgling is a nice touch, obviously, creating a cool little shout out, both to the background of the game and to the Gellerpox Infected.


Larsen van der Grauss

The Starstriders’ resident tech-priest, Larsen has a very cool and weird design with a strong silhouette. There’s enough weird equipment and tech-y elements to keep us guessing how everything works. I especially like the head!
Funnily enough, the model doesn’t even look all that AdMech at first glance, but it’s cool to see the Tech-Priest look extended a bit, particularly for a member of the Adeptus Mechanicus who has been embedded with a different faction for a longer time.

The look and angle of the left arm seem like a shout out to the old 2nd edition characters that were fairly flat and needed to be all about silhouette — slightly anachronistic in these more modern times, but it actually seems like a conscious choice here, given the many shout outs to older lore and concepts.

Β 

Elucia also comes with her own household guard, which I think deserves extra compliments because these are a part of any given warband or retinue we normally don’t get to see — the actual soldiers doing the dirty work πŸ˜‰

Stromian Grell

A burly man with a massive gatling gun — what’s not to like, right? Very iconic pose. Almost reminds me of one of the old Warzone Imperial (or Capitol) models, although in a good way. The boat cap is a lovely touch. I also love how his almost modern SciFi look gets tampered by the baroque influences, such as the filigree on the armour (and even on the weapon). The scarred forearms are also a cool little touch and a nice bit of visual storytelling that hints at an eventful life.

Also, kudos for actually going with a non-caucasian skin colour, ‘Eavy Metal Team! πŸ™‚

Voidmaster Nitsch

Another very 2nd edition pose — and frankly, it’s amost a bit too much with the two guns. At the same time, I really love the clean lines of the model. And possibly my favourite part is how Nitsch foregoes the usual “pants in boots” look for some actual suit pants and a far more suave setup — very interesting, and also a rather interesting resource for converting INQ28 characters and Imperial civilians…

He also looks like an officer, a gentleman, but also a hard-as-nails veteran.

Nitsch’s Squad

Nitsch’s small squad ofs Voidsmen is actually one of my favourite parts of this release. Even though they are fairly uniform, the different poses and weapons (as well as the fact that their actual uniforms are really cool) still make them a great visual addition to the kill team. Even better, there’s yet another female character in there, and for once she doesn’t suffer from the endemic boob armour problem (and is arguably the coolest of the bunch). These three really bring the household vibe to life!

Plus the squad also features what must be the boxed set’s best model bar none: Aximillion the cyber-mutt:

 

Seriously, I just love this guy! The attentive pose and armour plates matching his handlers are just so cool. How I would have loved to have access to this model, back when I wanted to build a cyber-mastiff for my INQ28 collection! Granted, I found a different solution. But it’s still awesome to have an “official” GW model to fill the function!

 

II. The Gellerpox Infected

On the other side of the aisle, we get one of the weirdest and eclectic collections of mutants, monsters and creepy-crawlies I have ever seen in a GW boxed set. The Gellerpox Infected don’t seem so much like an actual killteam, but rather like a “toolkit” for a GM to populate a setting with monsters and opponents for the party to fight. Like the collections of monsters you would see in, say HeroQuest or Space Crusade.

So let us take a look at all of those creatures in turn:

Vulgrar Thrice-Cursed

The leader of the Gellerpox Infected, Vulgrar is huge and brilliantly detailed — the latter really was to be expected, given GW’s standard for plastic models these days. The model is a rather disturbing amalgamation of distressed flesh and crude bionics. While the Nurglite touches are subtle, I still like them: The three heads,Β  the pockmarked skin – they hint at the source of the Gellerpox plague without turning the model overwhelmingly Nurglite, which is pretty cool.

Those heads are particularly excellent and seem like they would just look fantastic on a wide variety of conversions. At the same time, the burning furnace, complete with flames licking out if it…may be a bit much πŸ˜‰

In spite of many very cool design elements, I am still not in love with the model. I cannot quite put my finger on what’s the problem here, but it still feels like all the really cool individual components come together into a model that is somehow less than the sum of its parts. Is Vulgrar a terrifically detailed monstrosity? Without a doubt. But he’s not a showstopper or standout piece in a boxed set, like, say, the Dark Vengeance Helbrute used to be. My two cents πŸ˜‰


Nightmare Hulks

Now these big guys obviously add a lot of visual oomph to the Gellerpox Infected. And I really love how they were designed with archetypal nightmare monsters in mind: the monster from the deep, the cannibalistic abomination, the relentless engine of destruction — I think we can all agree that these are some brilliantly disgusting abominations πŸ˜‰


Gnasher-Screamer


Now this guy actually looks like a John Blance sketch come to life, which I think was the whole point. Giant Butcher-like brutes are always great fun, and Gnasher-Screamer hits all the right notes on this accord: He has the butcher’s apron, the giant cleaver, and also the unhinged, inbred redneck look to pull it all off. Like something from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, only turned up to eleven and refracted through the particular breed of body horror supplied by the ruinous powers.

If I had to find something to criticise, it would be that the model is maybe a tad too stylised for its own good: The fact that it looks like the 3d version of a drawing is both a blessing and a curse in that respect. But still, Gnasher-Screamer is a brilliant monstrosity, and that’s obviously enough! πŸ˜‰


Big Spike

In some ways, this guy is actually my favourite Nightmare Hulk: There’s just something about the juxtaposition of a grotesquely overmuscled arm with a withered and decayed limb on the other side that works every time. Now replacing the withered right arm with some weird fly-body may be seen as slightly too gimmicky by some, but I just love the sheer grotesqueness of it.

At the same time, I also have a gripe about the model: the face. It just seems weirdly pedestrian and normal to me, and the goggles (ostensibly the remains of the creature’s formal life) actually make it worse. I think Big Spike would work much better with some kind of weird breathing apparatus strapped to his face (the obvious insectile connotations would also work really well with that little fly buddy growing out of this right shoulder).


The Writher

Ah, yes: You’ve got to have one chaos monster with tentacles, right? πŸ˜‰

Now this guy reminded me of an old WD article where the sculptors discussed how tentacles were such a difficult element of sculpting because they could make a model look weak and also because they would also often recall some kind of deep sea creature, which seemed a bit ridiculous in the 40k setting. Interestingly enough, the designers seem to actually have embraced the deep sea look on the Writher, as his tentacles and pseudopods resemble nothing so much as the limbs of a giant octopus.

In all fairness, it actually works in the model’s favour: The tentacles, weird distended flesh and hideous shoulder area actually reminded me a bit of the – brilliantly scary – creatures in the (deep sea) videogame SOMA (*shiver*), plus there’s arguably a deep sea angle to the warp that seems like it might be fun to explore.

I also really like the way the Writher’s features are covered by a crude saccloth hood that leaves some parts of his countenance up to our imagination while also still showing us a fair share of disgusting stuff πŸ˜‰

pose seems a bit more unbalanced than the rest of the hulks, especially with the massive belly — although I suspect they were going for a bloated corpse look, in keeping with the deep sea angle. The scared face of a victim peaking from the Writher’s abdomen is just a little silly, though… And maybe the sculptors have taken the deep sea angle a tad too far, what with the harpoon sticking from the model’s left shoulder? πŸ˜‰


The Vox-Shamblers

Now these guys are hands down my least favourite part of the boxed set. Poxwalkers? Pirates? Plague Bearers? They seem a bit like the unfocused kitbashes some people come up with when they really want to go crazy and chaotic for the first time, just throwing everything and the kitchen sink together. The weirdly Necron-like skull masks don’t really help either. I’d say the Poxwalkers actually work better as mutated crewmen than these guys…

I appreciate wanting to go more interesting than mere shambling zombie archetypes, but these guys just seem to have too many things going on at the same time. On the other hand, while they may not be my cup of tea, maybe they are also intended as a shout out to the general weirdness that was all over the vintage Rogue Trader and its models from the 80s — that weird mohawk on the middle guy, for instance, seems like evidence for this.

When all is said and done, however, these are pretty much the low point of the release for me, if only because, when compared with the very well realised characters that are part of the Elucidan Starstriders, they just seem a little thin and generically monstrous.

 

The Gellerpox Infected come with a pretty vast array of slightly Nurglite critters:

Eyestinger Swarms

At first glance, these models reminded me of the old plastic swarms for 6th edition WFB, obviously with much superior sculpting. They also serve as a shout out to the various flies and daemonic insects that are parts of many of the new Deathguard models, which establishes a nice bit of visual consistency. I also like the fact that we get four original designs — personally speaking, the swarm of tiny flies erupting from a ribcage seems the goofiest to me, if only because


Cursemites


I really like these because there’s something chitinous and disgusting about them. They seem like a nightmare fusion of chestbursters and bluebottle flies, and they still manage to be adorable in that weird, Nurglite sense — especially the little guy seemingly puking his guts out…


Glitchlings

Somebody must have told the Nurglings to keep their masks on, so nobody would recognise them… Seriously, though, like all Nurglings these are good fun, and the resemblance between their masks and those of the vox-shamblers is a neat idea, at least in theory. At the same time, they also come dangerously close to feeling a bit too gimmicky — especially the Two-Bad-style guy…


Sludge-Grubs

Another type of critter, and another set of four unique sculpts, which is nice. There’s a lot of disgusting detail here, as well as some visual shout outs to various Nurgle models. When all is said and done, the grubs are fun, but nothing to write home about.

And I think that may just be my main criticism when it comes to the Gellerpox Infected: That they lack the amount of character and coherence present in the Elucidian Starstriders. They don’t really feel so much like an actual kill team, but rather like a collection of monsters the GM can sick on the player. Now I realise that this probably isn’t any kind of viable criticism at all, because that’s probably exactly what these guys were supposed to be. But while the Gellerpox infected work great as a collection of monsters and creepy-crawlies, they also lack any real characters. Even the Nightmare Hulks seem more like Scooby Doo Monsters of the Week than anything.

At the same time, I think we also need to consider the angle that the whole box seems like a shout out to the vintage Rogue Trader — and to the craziness of those days. So it seems perfectly appropriate when some of the creatures reflect some of those vintage sensibilities.Β  Besides, every chaos player should be happy with this toolkit of monsters and mutants to work with. It’s maybe just that, seeing how the Starstriders work as such a well realised and coherent groups, the mutants fall a little flat in comparison.

III. The Rest

On top of the two kill teams, the boxed set also provides us with some smaller terrain pieces and, I imagine, objectives. These all seem to be beautifully detailed and look like a great match for the new terrain kits. I appreciate the inclusion of consoles and pilot seats, because these could really be useful for all kinds of projects. And I like how the small livepods channel design elements both from the escape pod that’s a part of the 40k objectives set, as well as the larger Space Marine drop pods.

IV. The opportunities

 

Elucidian Starstriders

I think it should be really easy to see how these could be incredible useful for both INQ28 retinues or custom Rogue Trader warbands. Just to outline a few ideas:

  • Elucia works great both as a Rogue Trader or, with some tweaks, as an Inquisitrix. In any case, I would probably replace her face with something a bit more interesting (read: less veiled). Come to think of it, she would also make for a pretty cool commanding officer for a rather baroque and eclectic regiment of the Astra Militarum.
  • Knosso Prond, Sanistaria Minst, Larsen van der Grauss and Stromian Grell would also be perfect for all kinds of Inquisitorial warbands, even without any conversions. They would also work great as specialists for, say, an Astra Militarum army.
  • Voidmaster Nitsch is interesting because his elegant getup turns him into prime material for converting a number of characters: He could be an Interrogator, obviously. Or some kind of Imperial agent. Or a chastener of the Adeptus Arbites. But he would also make a great base model for an Imperial noble or a high-ranking operative of a trading cartel or other Imperial organisation — in fact, I have an idea for an operative for the Mandelholtz Banking House that I think Nitsch would be the perfect base model for…
  • The Voidsmen would make for fantastic Imperial Navy Armsmen, a squad of Hive Cops (or even Arbites), Inquisitorial troopers or a Navigator’s household guard — in fact, we can probably expect to see these guys a lot in the future — trust me on this.

One thing I realise looking at the models is that, since they are so well realised as a coherent group, I almost feel reluctant to think about ways to convert them or cut them up, bar the small tweak here and there. I think that is very much a testament to the quality of the job GW’s sculptors have done on this kill team!

Gellerpox Infected:

  • The Nightmare Hulks would make for perfect chaos spawn, far surpassing the official kit (which really hasn’t aged well).
  • Even though they are all supposed to be – subtly – nurglite, it wouldn’t be much work to turn some of them to the service of the other gods: The Gnasher-Screamer already looks like a servant of Khorne. The Writher’s tentacle look or Big Spike’s claw would work equally well for a Slaaneshi force or warband, given a couple of tweaks.
  • By the same token, Vulgrar Thrice-Cursed, with his crude augmetics, would also be a perfect construct for a Dark Mechanicus-themed force or warband.
  • The Vox-Shamblers are so close in design to both the Plague Bearers and the Poxwalkers that they could work as champions/heralds for either. At the same time, they seem like a perfect template for Necromunda mutants, Scavies or similar, downtrodden creatures.
  • The rest of the various critters would be a cool addition for every Nurgle army, of course, where they could be used both as swarms of vile creatures and to accessorise special characters and champions.
  • At the same time, they would also work really well as hazards, enemies or obstacles in games of Necromunda, as they perfectly recall some of the various critters and hazards from the old Necromunda tables πŸ˜‰

All in all, this boxed set is a fantastic way to experience both kill team as well as the particular eclecticism of 40k as a background! The Elucian Starstriders are a wonderful achievement, and I applaud GW for creating them! The Gellerpox Infected are a fun and versatile menagerie of monsters to be used in various ways (and settings). And even if I would have preferred another kill team as well realised as the Starstriders, the box as a whole is still a wonderful little surprise. And best of all, it also recalls the vintage Rogue Trader and its inherent weirdness in all the right ways for that extra nostalgia bonus — after several decades of releases, it does seem like GW has, in a way, come full-circle with this release!

At the same time, the set is exciting not only for its contents, but for how it represents GW’s willingness to explore well-loved but underutilised parts of the lore and background. At this point, even Inquisitorial retinues and releases for them probably wouldn’t be out of the question. And even if this should be a one-shot, it’s a wonderful way to explore the grimdarkness of the far future beyond the well-trod paths of massive battles and twenty different flavours of SPESS MEHREENZ πŸ˜‰

So what’s your take on this release? Do you agree with me or do you find fault with my points? And what are your ideas for the models from this boxed set? I would love to hear from you in the comments section! πŸ™‚

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