Wayne England – In Memoriam

Posted in 40k, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 10, 2016 by krautscientist

It’s only February, but 2016 certainly hasn’t been pulling its punches so far, with some spectacularly talented people sadly departed from this planet these last few weeks. Unfortunately, Wayne England is now among those departed, and I was very sad to learn yesterday that he had passed away, because he has been an all time favourite among GW’s artists for me: His very stylised, angular illustrations of heavily armoured – and mostly very evil – guys were one of the most effective gateway drugs for getting me in this hobby and played a big part when permanently roping me into assembling and painting little spiky plastic men. In fact, Wayne England’s work was probably just about as important for getting me into the hobby as the iconic illustrations by John Blanche, especially during my younger years, when the latter’s work sometimes just seemed a bit too trippy for me to grasp ;)

By the same token, some of GW’s publications – and indeed some stages of my own hobby life – will always be inextricably tied to Wayne England’s artwork, so in honour of this great artist, allow me to reminisce for a bit:

 

Army Book Realm of Chaos and the Champions of Chaos Supplement

These were the first chaos army books I ever owned, and I can still remember poring over Wyne England’s tableaus of jagged chaotic weaponry and armour in search of possible conversion ideas as a lad:

Wayne England artwork (18)

And his cover for the Champions of Chaos supplement was probably even more iconic (and also served as the cover for my first ever issue of White Dwarf, incidentally):

Wayne England artwork (17)

This bad boy really embodied everything that I loved about the hordes of chaos back then: He’s heavily armoured, faceless, spiky and utterly menacing – what’s not to love?

 

3rd edition Codex Chaos Space Marines cover

My first CSM Codex  — and the one iteration of the book that I think most chaos players would rather like to forget: This Codex was one of the first to follow GW’s somewhat questionable idea of radically reducing the Codices in scope (in order to be able to produce more of them at a faster rate). Alas, it didn’t end well, as the resulting books ended up feeling rather thin in more ways than one. But something that still stays with me is the warped, iron-toothed champion of the ruinous powers to adorn the book’s cover, once again courtesy of Wayne England:

Wayne England artwork (8)

In a way, this illustration actually serves as a perfect companion piece to the aforementioned cover of “Champions of Chaos”, with both pictures creating perfect avatars of the WFB and 40k sides of chaos, respectively.

 

3rd edition Warhammer 40k rulebook
This book ‘s background section has often been called one of the darkest versions of the 40k universe, and this is at least true when looking at the very dark, brooding black and white artwork appearing throughout the book. Wayne England created a couple of extraordinarily dark pieces, giving us, among other things, some very grimdark interpretations of the three monkeys,…

Wayne England artwork (20)

Wayne England artwork (19)

…a brilliantly creepy illustration presumably showing a Dark Eldar Haemonculus that had me marveling at how monstrous these guys seemed…

Wayne England artwork (21)

…a splash page perfectly capturing the Astartes’ duality between noble and righteous warriors and creepily inhuman weapons of mass destruction:

Wayne England artwork (22)

….and finally what may still be my favourite piece of Dark Eldar art, even after all these years:

Wayne England artwork (11)

 

2nd edition Codex Chaos

Actually published earlier than at least the two previous entries on this list, of course, but I didn’t own the book until well into the 2000s. It remains one of my favourite GW books ever, as you may remember. Of course I was delighted to discover some very cool Wayne England artwork in this book as well. Such as one of my all time favourite World Eaters:

Wayne England artwork (23)

I actually think Wayne England may also have been responsible for the original version of the various traitor legion symbols published in this book – at the very least, they seem to show quite a few hallmarks of his style. I still love these symbols and the amount of detail that has gone into them – Forgeworld’s treatment of the traitor legion heraldry notwithstanding, these older versions blow all of the newer interpretations out of the water, if you ask me.

 

And all of this is really merely scratching the surface: How can I not mention the excellent illustrations for Kharn the Betrayer or Angron from the Horus Heresy trading card game, along with more excellent work from the same source (In fact, his work for the setting really managed to give the Heresy an epic and mythical quality, something that seems to be missing from the more codified, cleaner artwork of recent years)? Or the beautifully forlorn voidborn? Or the seminal Sons of Sekh art? In fact, let me just share just a few of my favourite pieces by Wayne England that appeared beyond the books mentioned above:

In short, Wayne England’s work has always been emblematic of GW’s style during some of my formative hobby years, especially when it came to portraying the forces of chaos. I remember reading about him participating in the Oldhammer scene a fair bit recently, and while that scene’s old school sensibilities don’t always fully agree with me, I was still very happy to see him make an appearance there. He also created a brilliant illustration for morbäck, depicting the latter’s Chaos Lord Korthalis a while ago. It’s an excellent piece of art with all the strengths of his vintage GW artwork, and Maxime must be incredibly happy to have received it – even moreso in the light of recent events.
Wayne England’s artwork still speaks to me many years later, and his trademark style added a layer of visual identity to GW’s publications that is sadly lacking from the newer books – and has been for quite a while.

My heart goes out to his family. And thank you, Mr. England, for all the wonderfully spiky evil guys! And all the best to you, wherever you may be now!

Inquisitor 28: A Man of the Void-Sea

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Fluff, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 5, 2016 by krautscientist

At the moment, I frequently feel drawn towards some of my earlier INQ28 conversions — not only due to a desire to finally finish those models, although that does obviously play a part in the matter, but also because after all the ultra-grimdark stuff, it’s enjoyable to return to the somewhat simpler archetypes laid out in the Inquisitor Rulebook: the Rogue Trader, the Security Agent. After all, let’s not forget that those archetypes seemed pretty out-there and grimdark back when the game was originally released, at least to those of us who had only been used to 40k proper at that time.

Nowadays, after several years of hobbyists doing their darnedest to come up with ever more creative and spectacular characters (and to great effect, I might add!), some of those character archetypes may seem almost pedestrian by comparison, but they do have a swashbuckling charm that I like, and returning to some of those earlier ideas just feels like the right thing for me, so here goes:

Enter a conversion I created a couple of years ago for the retinue of Inquisitor Erasmus Gotthardt, Rogue Trader Iskander Gagarin:

Rogue Trader Iskander Gagarin WIP (1)

This was actually one of my very first INQ28 conversions, and I guess it shows, both in how closely it retreads some of the design cues from the stock 54mm models (Von Castellan, in this case) and how the model is a testament to my much smaller bitzbox in those times: It was mainly built from Cadian parts and some leftovers from the Empire models that came with the 6th edition WFB starter box. But in the end, I am still pretty pleased with the way the model channels both the 18th century military look typical of many of GW’s own rogue trader concepts as well as the flamboyance expected from such an individual, as evidenced by the xenos weaponry (I am so happy I still had that 2nd edition shuriken pistol!), the fur coat or the rather outrageous topknot.

I had wanted to get the model painted for years, and now I felt it was finally time. So I blew off the dust and made some finishing touches in order to spruce up the model for its day in the limelight:

Rogue Trader Iskander Gagarin WIP (1)
Rogue Trader Iskander Gagarin WIP (2)
I only really added a bit or two, but the one tricky part was to splice a suitably impressive ring (from the Skaven Stormvermin, of all places) onto that pointy finger. That did take some rather delicate cutting, but Iskander just seemed like the kind of guy who would wear a clunky signet ring (probably doubling as a digital laser, come to think of it), so there was ultimately no choice in the matter ;)

When it came to actually painting the model, I had basically figured out the colour palette quite a while ago, back when I painted Iskander’s little familiar, PeeDee the Monkey:

PeeDee (5)
So I bascially stuck to those colours, going for a paintjob that was at once suitably militaristic, but also flamboyant enough for a man of Gagarin’s station. And while the result possibly isn’t one of my more technically accomplished paintjobs, I do think it manages to sell the character. Take a look:

Rogue Trader Iskander Gagarin (1)

“Ceruleam est Terra. Imperator Deus est.”
Motto of House Gagarin

Iskander Gagarin is a Rogue Trader of some renown operating in the Velsen Sector, and scion of the Gagarin merchant house — a house, according to Gagarin himself, that was one of the first in the galaxy to actually sail out into the great void-sea. An outrageous claim, certainly, but House Gagarin’s trade warrant is real enough, signed and stamped millennia ago on Holy Terra, and Iskander has built a small but considerable merchant empire based on his exploits into the treacherous region of space know as the Veil of Impurity.

In fact, it was after one particularly daring expedition into that cluster of stars that the rogue trader crossed paths with Inquisitor Erasmus Gotthardt. Back then, the Ordo Xenos Velsen was hot on Gagarin’s heels, pursuing him for smuggling Xenos contraband. And so Gotthardt offered his protection to the rogue trader, expecting his continued cooperation in return — and thus did Iskander Gagarin become a member of Inquisitor Gotthardt’s retinue

At first glance, Gagarin may seem like a braggart and ladies’ man, above all else, entirely too full of himself and utterly irresponsible. But while those traits may be very real facets of his personality, the outer veneer of a flamboyant merchant king hides a surprisingly resourceful individual, and it is for this reason that Iskander Gagarin has become one of Inquisitor Gotthardt’s most capable operatives.

Rogue Trader Iskander Gagarin (2)

Rogue Trader Iskander Gagarin (3)

Rogue Trader Iskander Gagarin (4)

Along with the signet ring, I also added a hip flask to Gagarin’s belt as a last minute addition: Just because he’s in the middle of a black ops for the Ordo Hereticus doesn’t mean a real man of the world cannot take a quick sip of priceless Amasec now, does it? ;)

Rogue Trader Iskander Gagarin (5)
And here’s Iskander next to his personal pet, PeeDee the Monkey:

Rogue Trader Iskander Gagarin and PeeDee the Monkey

I feels good to finally have finished one of my oldest conversions ;) And as an added benefit, completing Gagarin also brings Inquisitor Gotthardt’s retinue a fair bit closer towards completion as well. Here’s a quick shot of the retinue as it stands right now:

Inquisitor Gotthardt and Retinue early 2016
While I was at it, I made some small touchups to the other models, such as repainting some parts of the bases so they would fit together and finally adding some Inquisitorial symbols to Gotthardt himself. One thing that I like is how Gagarin’s paintjob also functions as a bit of visual storytelling: In the retinue’s background, Gagarin and Esteban Revas are rivals and works as foils to each other. Which is why their paintjobs share quite a few similarities, while Gagarin seems more flamboyant. Anyway, there’s really quite a bit of backstory in place for these characters, and they really do feel like fleshed-out characters to me rather than mere playing pieces, which I think is a good thing.

So yeah, just a fun little paintjob and a chance to finally tie up some loose ends. What’s not to like, right? ;)
But seriously: I’d love to hear your feedback, of course! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

More 30k World Eaters — and a recipe for bloodshed

Posted in Conversions, paintjob, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 26, 2016 by krautscientist

Having already teased some additional painted 30k World Eaters in my last post, I think it’s only proper to take a closer look at these models today. Some of you may remember that my first 30k test model ended up quite alright, but also that I didn’t find the process of painting white armour all that enjoyable.

Well, no more. Because I have actually manage to tweak my recipe for 30k World Eaters so as to be far less time consuming and nerve-wracking. Which made my second test model far more enjoyable to paint than the first one! So without further ado, here’s the model:

2nd 30k World Eater (1)
“To the prim and proper XIIIth or the bleeding heart XVIIIth, the thought of Astartes killing Astartes is anathema.
But we have been doing this for decades, night after night, in the cages and on the hot dust.
The only difference is that there is no longer any need to hold back.”

Legionary Sarn, Eigar Veteran Tactical squad, 4th assault company, XII Legion Astartes

 

2nd 30k World Eater (2)

2nd 30k World Eater (3)

2nd 30k World Eater (4)

2nd 30k World Eater (5)

2nd 30k World Eater (7)

Regarding the parts I chose for the model, I spliced in some CSM arms and a Khorne berzerker torso. While the finished model seems like a fairly standard marine at first glance, it retains a certain sense of brutality that works well for the World Eaters, I think. Using CSM arms on the Betrayal at Calth plastics also allows for slightly more interesting poses. And the spiked and barbed CSM weapons are an excellent fit for World Eaters weaponry, without looking too chaotic — in fact, maybe this is Sarum pattern equipment, provided by the Forgeworld of the same name that the World Eaters liberated during the latter stages of the Great Crusade…?

As for painting the model, the main change to my original recipe was to use GW Corax White spraypaint for the white undercoat instead of having to paint it all on by brush. This really cut down on the time it took me to complete the model, plus it also reduced the number of somewhat iffy areas that needed further touchups. What’s more, having an easier time with the basic paintjob gave me the liberty to experiment with some additional effects.

The first of those was the blood: It was clear of course that blood would have to enter the picture at some point, so I chose this model as a test piece for that as well, trying to create an effect that would subtly enhance the model without overpowering it. I actually used a tootbrush to flick small amounts of Tamiya Clear Red at the model, in order to create realistic patterns. Then I went back and added some more blood to select areas of the model, such as the chainblade and the knee. I think it’s fun to apply the blood in a very deliberate manner, rather than just slathering it on. That way, figuring out how the blood may actually have gotten there in the first place turns into an interesting bit of meta-narrative — did this guy knee his opponent in the face, for instance? ;)

I also added another decal to the right shoulder pad: A “XII” numeral (actually a cut-down XIII from the Betrayal at Calth decal sheet):

2nd 30k World Eater (8)

And I included the pauldron of a fallen Armaturan Evocatus on the model’s base, trampled underfoot during the battle, maybe?

2nd 30k World Eater (6)

All in all, I am really rather happy with the World Eaters recipe I have come up with! It’s fairly effective and pretty fast to pull off, especially if, like me, you don’t like having to paint multiple thin layers of a base colour but enjoy the aspects of weathering and adding “special effects” far more.

30k legion badge

In fact, allow me to share my recipe — maybe those of you thinking about a 30k World Eaters project of their own will find this helpful.
So here’s a step by step tutorial for the white armour:

What you will need:

  • GW Corax White spraypaint
  • a white of your choice (I use Vallejo Dead White, but GW Ceramite White will work just the same)
  • GW Lahmian Medium (!)
  • a black and brown wash of your choice. I use Army Painter Strong Tone and Dark Tone, respectively, but GW Agrax Earthshade and GW Nuln Oil should also do the job.
  • a suitable dark brown/dark grey/green-brown colour for the sponge weathering. I use the OOP GW Charadon Granite (which is wonderful). However, any very dark grey/black/dark brown should work similarly well.

Oh, and one more piece of advice: You’ll make your life quite a bit easier if you leave the backpack and shoulder pads off and paint them separately. In fact, I even use a different undercoat for them (Chaos Black for the pauldrons and Chaos Black followed by Leadbelcher for the backpack). You can also leave off the head in order to be able to get into all the little nooks and crannies. However, all the following steps apply to both the head and body of the model.

So here we go:

Step 1: Spraypaint the entire model using GW Corax White. You get to decide how white you want your model to be during this step. For a slightly grey-ish off white, use the spraypaint sparingly. For a cleaner white, use a thicker coat of paint (or multiple passes of spraying). Make sure not to lay the colour on too thickly, though. This is what your model will look like afterwards:

Pre Heresy World Eaters white tutorial (1)
Step 2: After everything has dried, check to see whether there are any areas that remain unpainted. If so, this is the moment to use some slightly diluted white to clean them up a bit. As soon as that is finished, you should give the entire model a drybrushing with the same white, in order to build up a bit of contrast on the raised parts of the armour. It goes without saying that this will be more effective if you went for a slightly thinner undercoat beforehand.

Step 3: Now’s the time to block in all the different colours that aren’t white, i.e. the metallics, skin, trophies, pieces of cloth, pouches etc. This recipe won’t focus on my colour choices for this part, although I might do a more detailed tutorial in the future. Anyway, this is what the model will look like after this step:

Pre Heresy World Eaters white tutorial (2)
If you think it looks pretty terrible, you’re absolutely right. Don’t fret, as that’ll change in a minute ;)

One important thing, though: This is also the moment where you apply all the decals you want to go onto the armour, as we’ll need to weather them along with the armour to make them look realistic. So if you want to use any of those red World Eaters decals from Forgeworld, apply them now! After they are well dry, add a coat of matt varnish on top to seal them , just for hood measure.
This is also the last opportunity to clean up the white: Any errors that you don’t correct now will have to be covered up by the weathering later, so take another look at the areas that might require a bit of cleanup now!

Step 4: Here’s where it gets interesting: Mix a glaze using Lahmian Medium and your brown and black washes on your palette. No need for an exact recipe, although the Lahmian Medium should account for about 60-70% of the mixture, with the rest made up of the black and brown. You’ll also want slightly more black than brown for a World Eater, (while mixing in a lot more brown and little to no black would give you a pretty nice glaze for a Death Guard legionnaire, incidentally). Once you have mixed the colours together, quickly and generously paint them onto the white armour, and do it in one go, so as not to produce any ugly borders. The glaze will shade the armour without drying on the even surfaces in a splotchy way (as a mere wash would), while also giving the whole armour a slightly muddy and off-white quality. Here’s what the model will look like after this step:

Pre Heresy World Eaters white tutorial (3)
The picture is rather misleading in that it was taken late in the evening, in less than ideal lighting. I just wanted to keep painting instead of waiting for better light, so the photo isn’t as good as it should be. The white is just as bright as the white in the following picture, if not brighter, it just doesn’t appear that way.

Step 5: We’re almost there. Now give the model some time to dry (!) before you tackle the next step. When everything is nice and dry, you put some Charadon Granite (or your alternate dark brown/dark grey) onto your palette and use a small piece of blister sponge to dip into it. Then you should sponge off most of the colour back onto the palette or onto a piece of kitchen towel. When there’s just a bit of colour left, use the sponge to carefully add weathering to the surfaces of the armour. This is not an exact science, so you need to experiment a bit. You can also build up the effect in several layers. The sponge weathering will end up looking very organic, which is great, plus it’s really useful for covering up errors and ugly areas. Just keep in mind that you will also have to use the effect on the blue parts of the armour (i.e. the shoulder pads and backpack), so they won’t stick out later by being too clean.

Anyway, I added multiple layers of spomge weathering until I was happy. And here’s the mostly finished model:

Pre Heresy World Eaters white tutorial (4)
As you can see, the shoulder pad and backpack are already back in place. You can do this as soon as you no longer need access to every part of the armour. I also added a selective edge highlight to some raised parts of the armour, such as the helmet’s faceplate, the elbows, the armour plate covering the model’s stomach etc. Oh, and I brushed some Steel Legion Drab over the model’s feet and greaves, in order to create a visual connection with the base. Of course you’ll have to adjust this part, depending on the colour scheme you have chosen for your basing.

As for the blood, like I said above, I use Tamiya Clear Red (although I keep hearing good things about GW Blood for the Blood God as well, and it may be easier to source), flicking it at the armour with the help of a toothbrush and then adding some of the paint to select areas. When touching up the gore, you should mix in some brown and/or black wash, so you’ll get slightly different hues and saturations that will make the blood look more believable.

Oh, and let me speak about the blue parts as well: When I painted my first 30k World Eater, I didn’t have any suitable blue, so I just used Vallejo Magic Blue with a drop of black, mostly as a stopgap solution. However, I really like the colour that resulted from this, so I’ve decided to keep the recipe for the rest of my models.

Anyway, so much for the tutorial. Aftersome final touchups and a completed base, here’s what the model looks like now:

3rd 30k World Eater (1)

“You think we take our opponents’ skulls to mock them, Evocatus? Hah, quite the opposite!
Even in death, your eyes will be allowed to glimpse the battlefield once more — what greater honour could be bestowed upon a true warrior?”

Legionary Molax of the Triarii, XII Legion Astartes. Seconded to the 4th assault company following the Battle of Armatura.

3rd 30k World Eater (2)
3rd 30k World Eater (3)
3rd 30k World Eater (4)

Regarding the conversion itself, I wanted to experiment with a more gladiatorial look, which I believe turned out pretty convincing. I also spliced in some actual Khorne Berzerker parts to create the kind of “mongrel” plate that should have been a pretty regular occurence in the XII legion, considering its rather heads-on approach to warfare and the amount of losses taken during the outbreak of the Heresy and the subsequent Shadow War.

And here are all three test models I have painted so far:

30k World Eaters test models (3)
One thing you can see in the picture is how the ratio between the black and brown washes will slightly influence the colour of the armour: If you look closely, you’ll see that Molax is slightly more brownish than the other two. This is because I used slightly more brown wash when mixing the glaze for his armour. The other two models use less brown and more black, leading to a somewhat colder look.

Another thing that’s evident in the picture is how the models are quite a bit less uniform than the stock Betrayal of Calth tactical Marines. I really wanted my World Eaters to have a slightly more ragtag appearance, as this just seems appropriate for the legion. As I keep adding new models, I think some of them will look quite different, with the spectrum ranging from fairly standard Mk IV Marines to guys in far less standardised gear, yet I hope to include some visual touches that pull it all together, creating a feeling of visual coherency while also allowing for quite a bit of variation at the same time.

Speaking of which, here are the two 30k models I am currently working on:

Plasma Gunner and Triarius WIP (2)
Plasma Gunner and Triarius WIP (3)
The model on the right further explores the Triarii archetype, while the guy on the left is a pretty standard plasma gunner. Like I said, these may seem rather different when compared like this, but I do think they’ll work together rather nicely in the finished squad. And there’s always the option of spinning off the Triarii into their own squad somewhere along the way, of course.

In this particular case, the main challenge was to make the guy with the plasma gun look suitably massive and menacing and not like “that boring model with the gun”. I think I was fairly successful with that, though.

And there’s also another model that I am fairly excited about. This guy:

WE Praetor 30k WIP (2)
WE Praetor 30k WIP (1)
The model was originally built as an officer for my 40k World Eaters, but it seems as though he might make an even better officer for my small 30k project, even if he’s a bit more openly Khornate than the other guys so far — personally, I think that all bets were really off for the World Eaters after Armatura and Nuceria, so I imagine some Khornate elements will have begun to sneak into the legion by then — after all, they were definitely present shortly after the Heresy, according to Khârn: Eater of Worlds.

 

Anyway so much for the status of my little 30k project. Again, don’t expect this to grow into a fully-fledged Horus Heresy army any time soon! That being said, this project is a great way of exploring an earlier incarnation of my 40k World Eaters and of using ideas that I’ve always found cool but couldn’t make work on the 40k setting. So it’s definitely a win/win situation for now ;)

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

The 2015 Eternal Hunt Awards, pt. 3: A look back at my hobby year

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

Awards

Welcome everyone to this third and final installment of the 2015 Eternal Hunt Awards. After the last post’s lofty heights, we are back to my own measly models — I hope the contrast won’t be too jarring! ;)

But then, it wouldn’t be the Eternal Hunt Awards without a good look at my own hobby year — and besides, I am far too vain to omit this part. So allow me to share some of the models that I am particularly proud of as well as some of my favourite hobby moments from the last year.

I. My hobby projects

Some of you may already know that, from a personal perspective, 2015 turned into a pretty awful year for me just around the halfway mark. In spite of this, strangely enough, it was also a pretty successful hobby year. Go figure!

You wouldn’t know it from the sheer numbers, though, as I only managed to complete about 25 models, all in all. That’s quite a bit less than my 2014 turnout, at first glance, and really doesn’t sound like a whole lot of new stuff, right?

Well, the good news is that among those 25 models are some pieces that I am especially proud of — indeed, some of them are models that I have wanted to paint for years. And I also tackled at least one hobby project in 2015 that really moved beyond anything I had tried up to that point. But all in good order:

 

1. Khorne’s Eternal Hunt

2015 was very much a World Eaters year for me, with Khorne’s Eternal Hunt once again being one of the most important projects over the last twelve months and seeing quite a few additions.

You may remember this picture from about the same time last year, showing a pretty big part of my army:

Khorne's Eternal Hunt 2014 02
But since 2015 saw me adding quite a few models to the force, a proper new army picture was in order. So I trooped out the entire army for a photo shoot back in spring. Here’s Khorne’s Eternal Hunt in its current incarnation:

army shot 01 big colour

The army currently stands at about 4,000 points, give or take. Not a massive Apocalypse force, by any means, but still the culmination of several years of work — and still my favourite hobby project!

So let’s take a closer look at some of the new conscripts, shall we?

The year started strong, due to my participation in the 2014 Call of Chaos over at The Bolter & Chainsword. I really gave it my all and managed to paint four pretty cool models for the event:

Call of Chaos vow 2014 (2)

The truescaled version of Kharn had already been completed in late 2014. The Maulerfiend kept fighting me every step of the way, true to form, earning the name Gorespite in the process. Converting yet another Dreadnought/Helbrute was, once again, quite a bit of fun. And then there’s this gentleman, my last model of 2014 and my first model of 2015 (completed between the years, so to speak): The Doomwall, a converted Chaos Lord wearing a suit of Mk I-ish Terminator armour:

The Doomwall (6)

I am still immensely pleased with this guy, mostly because I think I’ve really managed to bring the Mk I armour into the 21st century, visually, while also making it look suitably chaotic.  There’s also a sense of bulk and menace to the model that I really like.

Read more about the Doomwall here.

 

The true star of the show when it comes to Chaos Lords was this guy, however: Lord Captain Baltus Lorimar, supreme commander of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt:

Master of the Hunt 02
Since Lorimar is such an important character in my army’s narrative, it has literally taken me ages to finish him: The model was converted all the way back in 2012 (and after much deliberation and several attempts, no less), but it was only this last year that I finally worked up the courage to paint it — something for which I have to thank my buddy Biohazard, as we engaged in a mutual challenge to finally finish our respective army generals.

Anyway, having worked on the model over such a long time, it was really liberating to finally complete it. And I also think Lorimar makes for a worthy Master of the Hunt. Here’s the Lord Captain among his personal retinue of Chaos Terminators, Lorimar’s Fist:

Lord Captain Lorimar and retinue (2)

What’s more, since Lorimar is such an important character for the 4th assault company, I even made sure to have both a 40k and a Horus Heresy era version of him in my collection:

Lorimar then and now

The 30k version was mostly built and painted by AgnostosTheos — I did add the hands and weapons, though, transforming the model into a fairly plausible representation of a younger Captain Lorimar.

And finally, to top things off, two different hobbyists provided me with some excellent artwork of Lorimar. I love both pieces to bits, be it Greyall’s brilliant illustration of the Lord Captain tearing a Daemon Prince(ss?) of Slaanesh to pieces…

Lord Captain Lorimar by Greyall

Lord Captain Lorimar by Greyall

…or Bloodygoodtime’s wonderfully charming sketch of a slightly more cartoony, yet suitably brooding, Lorimar:

illustration by Bloodygoodtime

illustration by Bloodygoodtime

I realise, of course, that Lorimar is essentially just one slightly bigger Chaos Terminator — but he was one of the most important projects of 2015 for me, and finally having finished the model and being able to place him amidst his followers feels great!

Read more about my work on the model here and here.

 

And while we are on the matter of World Eaters characters, here’s another little guy in red I added to my army as a special guest star, if you will: My own version of Aaron Dembski Bowden’s excellent Lheorvine Ukris, easily my favourite character from The Talon of Horus:

Lheorvine Ukris (9)

Coming up with a model to fit both the description in the book and a certain piece of artwork was quite a bit of fun — and let’s face it, Lheor’s just so awesome that I needed him in my World Eaters army, if only as a cameo ;)

Read more about the model here.

 

2. The Warrior King

While this project was also completed as part of my World Eaters army, strictly speaking, it was still monumental enough for me to deserve its own sub-section:

One of my hobby resolutions for 2015 was to paint the Chaos Knight I converted last year. And it is with quite a bit of pride that I can call this particular mission accomplished. Meet Gilgamesh, the Warrior King:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh, the Warrior King (12)
In all fairness, if you are a regular reader of this blog, there’s no way you haven’t seen this model before. But I hope you’ll forgive the repetition, because Gilgamesh is really far beyond anything I’ve ever done before, so I am really immensely pleased with having finished him.

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh, the Warrior King (13)
Chaos Knight Gilgamesh, the Warrior King (4)

There are many parts of the model I am really proud of, but possibly the biggest achievement was the inclusion of an entirely kitbashed cockpit in order to house the Knight’s pilot, Baron Augustus Melchiah Harrowthorne:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh, the Warrior King (22)
I think it’s an addition that really sells the model for me, because it just adds so much character. In fact, inspired by JeffTibbetts’ groundbreaking work on his Queen Bee, I also tried to hint at a deeper narrative behind this ancient warmachine wherever I could, adding things like battle honours, campaign badges or the bloody handprints adorning the Knight’s shin armour — a detail based on a very nifty idea originally supplied by fellow hobbyist dantay_xv.

Possibly my favourite part about this project has to be how it all worked out in spite of a near-catastrophic undercoating mishap right at the beginning — and there I was fearing I had managed to ruin an extensively converted model worth more than 100 Euros for a moment…

Oh, and let’s not forget that the project also increased my, already considerable, admiration for GW’s Imperial Knight kit: It’s so beautifully engineered and well-explained and goes together so woderfully that I shouldn’t really have been so afraid of the task beforehand!

In fact, this whole project was such a blast that I returned to the Warrior King later in the year and created an Epic-scaled version of the Knight, just for the heck of it:

Chibi-Knight Gilgamesh (1)

Now I can hardly wait for a re-released version of Adeptus Titanicus, so my “Chibi-Knight” can reap skulls for the skull throne ;)

Anyway, in case you’re interested, feel free to read up about the Warrior King and his smaller brother.

 

3. “Iron Within, Iron Without!”

This small project gets a special mention because it transformed from a mere test into something legitimately fun and engaging.

Everything started when I decided to use an Iron Warriors Warsmith I had converted ages ago as a test piece for trying out the Leadbelcher spraypaint I wanted to use on my Chaos Knight (short version: The spraypaint is pretty awesome, unless you use it in too hot weater and from too far away). Here’s the model that came out of that test, Warsmith Greimolt Sturm:

Warsmith Greimolt Sturm 01
While the model was merely intended as a test piece, I liked the result enough to start converting some more Iron Warriors to accompany their Warsmith. Thanks to some Dark Vengeance Chosen models kindly provided by Commissar Molotov, I came up with a small gang of Iron Warriors that explore the various archetypes present in the legion, from an Apothecary harvesting geneseed from fallen loyalists to a Breacher batting aside all opposition with his massive shield. So far, only three models have been completed, but this killteam is a fun project that I definitely want to return to at some point in 2016!

Iron Within

Check out my work on the Killteam here and here.

 

4. On the road to Heresy…?

I was never all that interested in starting my own Horus Heresy themed project, both because the thought of having to work with that much resin seemed very unappealing to me and because I found the prospect of having to paint the World Eaters’ Heresy era colour scheme fairly daunting.

However, with the release of Betrayal at Calth, the first point became moot, and I wanted to at least see for myself whether or not that blue and white heraldry would be as hard to paint as I had feared. So I did paint my first Heresy era World Eaters, after all. And I must say that I am really pleased with the result so far:

30k World Eaters test models (3)

In fact, the painting turned out to be a ton of fun, especially when it came to sponge-weathering and using a glaze to create the dirty, off-white armour — the experience was almost liberating, to tell you the truth!

So there will be more Heresy era World Eaters, that much is already decided. Don’t expect a full-blown army anytime soon – or at all – though: While this should be a great way to explore an earlier iteration of my favourite 40k army, it will be a rather deliberate process, favouring characters over massed ranks. A killteam seems like a sensible place to start, there will obviously be some of the characters I have already built. And that tweaked Contemptor I have already shared here on the blog. Beyond that, it’s all up in the air. If it all spins off into an army project at some point, that’s great. I wouldn’tcount on it, though, so please don’t hold your breath! ;)

For now, I am pleasantly surprised that painting the WE Heresy scheme has turned out to be such a cakewalk: I knew that if I were to do any Heresy models, it would have to be World Eaters after all, but the fear of pulling off that white scheme really scared me off. And now I have stumbled upon a recipe that makes it all so easy and pleasant — and I’ll be sharing it with you shortly. Scout’s honour! ;)

Oh, and as if I needed any more justification to further pursue this particular project, the post showcasing my first test model actually attracted exactly 888 views:

BftBG

It seems that Khorne approves…

 

So yeah, so much for the Traitor Legions. Expect to see more of these guys in 2016 :)

Traitor Legions Class of 2015 (3)

 

 

5. The world of INQ28

Another of my resolutions for 2015 was to complete more models for INQ28, having finished a measly four characters in 2014:

INQ28 class of 2014
And while I still didn’t complete a deluge of characters by any stretch of the imagination, I think we can still call this endeavour a success as well. Take a look at the “Class of 2015”, so to speak:

Inquisitor Class of 2015 (3)

12 new models for my INQ28 collection, all in all. Although I have to admit that I didn’t build and paint all of the models in the picture: The Astropath model was kindly donated to me by the legendary Ron Saikowski — and subsequently named “Skorin Saikov” in his honour:

Model converted and painted by Ron Saikowski

Model converted and painted by Ron Saikowski

What I especially love about the model is how it’s a rather cunning recreation of one of John Blanche’s illustrations:

Insignium p1-10:-

Interestingly enough, there was actually another model similarly based on a piece of JB art and very kindly given to me by Drone21c. Meet the Arch-Deaconne:

The Arch Deaconne
This time around, at least the paintjob is mine ;) In any case, I think it’s utterly stunning that people not only create those wonderfully Blanchian models, but also send them to me. Nuts!

Anyway, so I did manage to put out more models. But I’ll also consider the project a success because I actually completed some of my best INQ28 work so far, if I do say so myself, such as my very first true scale Astartes, Praetor Janus Auriga of the Golden Legion:

Praetor Janus Auriga (13)

Or Sister Euphrati Eisen of the Order of the Martyred Sword:

Sister Euphrati Eisen (10)
There’s Interrogator Brynn Yulner, who started out as an okay conversion, but only really came into his own once I swapped his legs for a set of Tempestus Scion legs at the eleventh hour:

Interrogator Brynn Yulner (2)
I am also rather happy with the paintjob, to be honest.

I also began building and painting an AdMech-centred warband that has been a lot of fun to work on so far:

Adeptus Mechanicus Magi and Chimeric Servitor (2).

I painted one of Jes Goodwin’s classic Eldar Warlocks which was quite a bit of fun and a very nice change of pace:

Eldar Warlock (1)
Eldar Warlock (4)
Seeing how the model features some lovely retro touches (such as the fur collar), I also endeavoured to paint it in a slightly Oldhammer-ly way (I am especially pleased with the leopard/ermine pattern on the fur, if I do say so myself).

And finally, one model I am particularly fond of is my tough-as-nails Hive Cop Remus Ingram, finally finished this last year:

Remus Ingram (1)
This is actually one of my oldest INQ28 conversions, which makes me even happier that I have finally managed to paint him — I still like that base model enormously, by the way, and I also think the conversion is pretty clever, albeit not all that complex ;)

Tell you what, here’s actually a bit of a call-forward to 2016: I’ve wanted to give Remus a Cyber-Mastiff for quite a while now, although I never had a suitable model. Yet when I won the Malifaux Relic Hunters box in Miniature Tim’s raffle last year, the dog included in that kit provided an excellent base model for that plan. And so my first INQ28 model this year – and indeed my first model for 2016 – turns out to be…a dog. Huh.

Cyber-Mastiff (1)
Cyber-Mastiff (2)
I didn’t convert the model too heavily, both because I rather like the stoic nature of the base model and because I wanted it to still be relatable to as a dog, and not as a vat-grown, ‘roided-out monster: I merely added some cabling running along the back, a small electrical coil and some AdMech gauges on the collar and a bionic eye to show that some augmetics had been put in place. All in all, I am really rather happy with the outcome. As several people have remarked, the bionic eye makes the pup look rather sophisticated ;)

Cyber-Mastiff (3)
I also think the two work together rather nicely, even if the dog is quite a beast:

Remus Ingram and Cyber-Mastiff (2)

Anyway, INQ28 is really my other big passion in this hobby, and I am really happy to have been more productive at it in 2015. I think I’ll try to keep it up in 2016 as well! ;)

Inquisitor Class of 2015 (2)

 

 

II. My favourite hobby moments

Once again, in addition to finishing some models I am really immensely proud of, the interactions with other hobbyists, bloggers and forumites were probably the best part of my 2015 hobby life: From people like Ron Saikowski and Drone21c sending me their Blanche-inspired models to Miniature Tim being awesome enough to not only give away a huge box of stuff as part of a raffle, but to also send it halfway across the world to my doorstep, it has been – once again – a year of humbling generosity and general awesomness.

In a time where everyday politics seem to be defined once again by petty nationalism and disconcerting “The boat is full!” propaganda, it’s a nice counterpoint to be in contact with people all around the globe who are being so supportive and generous. Just take my growing list of “bitz-buddies”: bitzbuddies2015

Or Augustus b’Raass sending my Khornate merch — where does he get that stuff?

Merch for the Merch God
Or the story of the Vaettir:

The Vaettir in his new home
Or any number of additional smaller and bigger moments of cameraderie that have become so central to this hobby for me. Granted, we live in complicated times, and one cannot simply equate sending little pieces of plastic around the world to very pressing political issues. But I do know that this kind of international comradeship has really made me appreciate the avenues of communication open to us today as well as the value of peace between nations — gah, I’m being all sappy and overly-grandiose. Sorry for that! ;)

Oh, you know what was also awesome? That one time Aaron Dembski-Bowden called my work “breathtaking” on his blog. Seriously, that really happened. Look:

YES!
Yeah, that was pretty amazing…

III. Blogging

Blogging on a regular basis is hard work, as any blogger will tell you. And yet, I persevered, in spite of everything: I published 51 posts in 2015 and attracted 224,401 views from over 90,000 visitors. What’s more, I also managed to reach the mark of 500,000 views overall, which I think is pretty cool!

Oh, and I learned what happens when one of my posts – the one about the fun one can have with the freebie Liberator included with a copy of WD back in July, in this particular case – gets shared in the right Reddit-thread:

Reddit

 

So a very heartfelt thank you must also go to all you beautiful readers and commenters! Thanks for reading all of this pointless rambling! And thanks for getting in touch and participating in the discussion! I always love to hear any feedback you might have, so keep the comments coming, alright?

 

So yeah, so much for 2015. And what’s in the cards for 2016? I don’t know. A new job, hopefully! Some new blog posts, certainly. And one thing that I am pretty sure about is that there will be more little plastic men — the majority of them unpainted, I fear. But we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it ;)

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

The 2015 Eternal Hunt Awards, pt. 2: The Hobbyists

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , on January 12, 2016 by krautscientist

Awards

2015 has been a frantic and pretty spectacular year for GW, but what about the hobbyists? In this second part of the 2015 Eternal Hunt Awards, allow me to share the best work I’ve seen from fellow hobbyists all around the world this last year. This will be quite a post, I am afraid, but you’ll walk away with quite a bit of inspiration and a new link or two for your blogroll — I guarantee it! :)

 

Hobby blog of the year

Before we get to the most impressive blogs and logs of the year, it goes without saying once again that many of the past entries from this category have managed to remain just as fantastic and inspiring as ever! However, in the interest of variety, I have once again decided to only feature blogs that haven’t appeared on the Eternal Hunt Awards yet. So with that out of the way, here are that blogs that blew me away in 2015:

 

Ed’s Heresy Kill-Teams

Custodes exiting the Webway by EdT

Not actually a blog in the classical sense, but rather an ongoing WIP thread over at The Bolter & Chainsword, EdT’s log is nevertheless my favourite 2015 hobby blog, as the amount of sheer inspiration contained in it stands a head above the rest of the competition: Ed originally started out building and painting small Heresy-themed warbands for various Astartes legions and Imperial factions that were perfect little slices of the background, exploring the Heresy in a way that was at once interesting and highly original. He ultimately graduated to creating even more involved projects like the absolutely stunning Custodes-themed diorama shown above and below, possibly my favourite piece of his work:

models built and painted by EdT

models built and painted by EdT

There are many more fantastic dioramas where that one came from, however, and most of them are even accompanied by some truly fantastic writing, such as the brilliant “Barque of Neter-Khertet” here:

models built and painted by EdT

models built and painted by EdT

You will really have to explore the thread yourself in order to see how cool it is, although let me point out two of my favourite parts about Ed’s work: One, his boundless creativity when it comes to creating perfect little slices of the 32nd millennium. Two, his growing ambition, as you can really see him growing as a hobbyist over the course of the thread. To wit, his latest project, featured in a thread of his own, is a Cerastus Knight Lancer designed through the lense of East-African cultural influences. Pretty ambitious, wouldn’t you agree?

For these reasons, EdT’s thread is easily my favourite hobby blog of 2015. Yet it is with a certain bitter-sweetness that I tell you this, for Ed has recently decided to quit the hobby after finishing his latest project. While I respect his decision, I still think that’s rather terrible news! On the other hand, I have no doubt that his creativity will lead him to success in whatever field he decides to apply himself to next. And in any case, his thread’s still there, though, so make sure to check it out and be blown away!

 

Ex Profundis

Ex Profundis Logo

There are few blogs with a style as utterly distinctive as Ex Profundis — which is even more stunning when you realise that the blog showcases the work of several people and a couple of recurring guest artists. Even so, there’s nary a blog to be found that presents an equally dark and compelling look at our favourite hobby. While also featuring some of the most kick-ass modeling and painting work in existence, no less.

Dark Mechanicus House Sinekai by Bruticus

Dark Mechanicus House Sinekai by Bruticus

From Bruticus’ wonderfully gritty and sinister INQ28 warbands to Meade’s brilliantly creepy Dark Mechanicus and mutant hordes, Ex Profundis shows us a very particular and dark side of our favourite setting that we don’t really get to see anywhere else — and that is definitely saying something!

Mutant by meade

Mutant by meade

 

Mutant by meade

Mutant by meade

 

Mutant by meade

Mutant by meade

 

Mutant by meade

Mutant by meade

The pervading style and unique voice of the various projects really make this blog into something special. And even better, in addition to the fantastic modeling and painting projects, those guys even have something worthwile to say about various artistic subjects ranging from the artwork of the standout Manga-series Berserk to a rather insightful post on the importance of skulls in WFB and 40k...

Oh, and GW should probably let Bruticus do some of the world building for Age of Sigmar — I think the setting would really profit from that… ;)

Anyway, a standout blog that you should definitely check out at your earliest convenience!

 

Death of a Rubricist

DOAR Banner
I have to confess that I am pretty late to this particular party, as many of you will probably already know Apologist’s excellent blog. After all, he owns what is probably the most impressive Ultramarines army around — and those guys are all true-scaled, natch!

Ultramarines by Apologist

Ultramarines by Apologist

Indeed, the army has seriously made me reconsider my stance on the XIII legion, as both the models as well as the amount of care Apologist puts into their construction and the narrative behind them really turns them into the awe-inspiring force we have always read about in GW’s materials. I would never have expected to be interested in the XIII legions armour markings, but Apologist’s posts on the matter unfailingly have me spellbound — NUTS!

True scale Ultramarine by Apologist

True scale Ultramarine by Apologist

To wit, Apologist has even managed to come up with a model of Roboute Guilliman that I think is actually cooler than Forgeworld’s official model — at least it’s closer to how I imagine the Lord of the XIIIth:

Rouboute Guilliman by Apologist

Rouboute Guilliman by Apologist

But it doesn’t stop there, as this amazing level of quality and dedication is typical of all of Apologist’s work, regardless of whether he creates more Ultramarines or some equally excellent true-scaled Iron Warriors,…

Iron Warriors by Apologist

Iron Warriors by Apologist

…or a growing collection of wonderfully dark and medieval INQ28 models centered around the eponymous Rubricist…

Rubricist by Apologist

Rubricist by Apologist

…or even the odd Xenos model:

Eldar Prince by Apologist

Eldar Prince by Apologist

Whatever part of the grimdark future Apologist puts his mind to, he produces outstanding work! And his accompanying story vignettes unfailingly cut to the heart of everything that is awesome about the Horus Heresy or 40k. A wonderful blog and an excellent discovery, even if I was kind of slow on the uptake on this particular occasion ;)

Anyway, go explore Death of a Rubricist by following this “inload” (see what I did there…?)!

 

Nicolas Grillet’s blog

Nico Grillet banner
A fairly recent addition to my blog roll, this one, yet Nico Grillet’s blog has still managed to shoot straight into the list of my favourites. He has managed to produce an utterly fantastic warband of AdMech Explorators, for one:

AdMech Explorator warband by Nicolas Grillet

AdMech Explorator warband by Nicolas Grillet

But that’s not nearly all, because Nicolas has also come up with a breathtaking, entirely scratchbuilt Underhive board for his Explorators to inhabit and …well, explore, I suppose ;) The terrain is unbelievable in scope and quality, and on par with perennial favourites like Neil’s Yggdrassillium board or ThenickeNinja’s underhive terrain. Just take a look:

Underhive terrain by Nicolas Grillet

Underhive terrain by Nicolas Grillet

 

Underhive terrain by Nicolas Grillet

Underhive terrain by Nicolas Grillet

 

Underhive terrain by Nicolas Grillet

Underhive terrain by Nicolas Grillet

 

Underhive terrain by Nicolas Grillet

Underhive terrain by Nicolas Grillet

To top it all off, all of this modeling and painting goodness is merely one slice of Nicolas’ blog, because the guy is also a kick-ass illustrator. So make sure to head over there and take it all in in big, greedy gulps. Brilliant stuff!

Best models of the year

The quality of a lot of the stuff I am seeing online regularly manages to blow me away. Yet there are some models each year that manage to stand a head above the rest — not necessarily because they are flawlessly painted (although that certainly factors into the equation), but because they manage to perfectly embody a particular aspect of the background, and each and every detail is masterfully applied to support that effect. The level of quality when it comes to hobbyists’ creations is really quite off the charts by now — it’s almost unbelievable how many quality projects, logs, blogs and galleries can be found online! But even in this Golden Age of creativity, there are some that rise above the crowd. So let me present you some of the best pieces of 2014:

 

Queen Bee by Jeff Tibbetts

Queen Bee by Jeff Tibbetts

Queen Bee by Jeff Tibbetts

Well, there really cannot be any other model to open this section but the Queen Bee: I’ve heaped gushing praise on the model before, mostly because it was one of my most valuable inspirations when building and painting my own Knight, but it has to be said again: The Queen Bee may just be the best Imperial Knight model currently in existence, period.

The reason for this is that JeffTibbetts didn’t cut any corners when creating the model, but did rather do everything in his power to imbue the piece with a sense of underlying narrative: There’s a real history in the peeling layers of paint, the battle damage and the countless little details adorning various parts of the model — there’s even a little bird’s nest precariously balanced on one of the Queen Bee’s arms, for crying out loud!

This tendency continues with the actual paintjob, as Jeff has spent an unbelievable amount of work and care on replicating certain effects you would expect of an ancient and hallowed machine like this: The rust, the grit, the flaking paint — all of those brilliant little touches make the Queen Bee into a character rather than just a playing piece, and that is the biggest compliment I can probably think of.

Queen Bee by JeffTibbetts

Queen Bee by JeffTibbetts

In fact, let me single out just one particular detail, because it’s probably my favourite part of the model and because I had the honour of playing a small part in its inception: JeffTibbetts wanted to feature a sort of pinup on the Knight’s heraldic shield, as a shout out to the machine’s humble origins as little more than a glorified wood-clearing machine or construction engine during the Dark Age of Technology. Over an extended discussion over at The Bolter & Chainsword, we thought about how more than ten millennia of cultural and technological regression might influence such a pinup picture, turning it into something much more medieval and quasi-religious. And Jeff really knocked it out of the park with the finished design:

Queen Bee by JeffTibbetts

Queen Bee by JeffTibbetts

Possibly the best part is that the classic pinup pose is still there. But the design is steeped in the hallmarks of gothic madness and religious fervor we have come to expect of the 40k universe — utterly brilliant stuff!

In a moment of sheer brilliance, the Queen Bee’s excellence even managed to make it into an unlockable skin for the player’s Knight in Pixel Toys’ recent Knight-themed IOS game Freeblade, with a surprisingly faithful recreation of the model appearing in the game, as can be seen in this comparison shot made by Jeff and nicked from his own blog:

Queen Bee by JeffTibbetts (1)

And what do you know, they even featured my favourite part of the model in the game as well:

Queen Bee by JeffTibbetts (7)

JeffTibbetts’ Queen Bee stands as a towering triumph, as a proof what dedication to a model can produce — and how it can ultimately be rewarded in the coolest possible way. It’s a stunning piece, a fantastic inspiration to anyone building and painting an Imperial Knight of their own, and easily my favourite model of 2015.

Jeff’s work on the Queen Bee be has been extensively – and invaluably – chronicled over at his blog, so may sure to read up on it!

 

Lukas Kupferberg and Scarabée Intrépide by morbäck

models built and painted by morbäck

models built and painted by morbäck

Morbäck is easily one of my favourite hobbyists, both for his unbelievable conversions and his very distinctive style of painting. So it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that his models make an appearance in this post, right? Well, even so, this year’s offering ist really something else. But all in good order:

First Morbäck managed to create a single miniature that was simply gorgeous and just about perfect. I am talking about Lukas Kupferberg here:

Lukas Kupferberg by morbäck

Lukas Kupferberg by morbäck

Everything about this model is spectacular: The fantastic paintjob, the wonderfully inspired conversion — what really gets me going, however, is how Morbäck has skillfully used some Skitarii parts to make this guy look like a pilot: The Vanguard helmet just works perfectly, as do the backpack parts on the shoulders. All in all, the model looks so delicious that I’d like to eat it!

Amazing as Lukas Kupferberg may bee when seen on his own, however, the model was merely a prelude to an even bigger project: He was created to serve as a character in a scenario called “Burning Skies” that, as far as I’ve managed to understand it with my lousy French, basically consists of playing something akin to Aeronautica Imperialis at the 28mm scale — and with a much reduced cast of very characterful aircraft and pilots!

Towards this end, Morbäck also built an aircraft for Lukas to pilot. The Scarabée Intrépide. Just take a look. Words don’t do it justice:

Scarabée Intrépide by morbäck

Scarabée Intrépide by morbäck

After you’ve picked your jaw back off the floor and stopped asking yourself “How did he do it?”, you start noticing some of the brilliant detail:  Not only does the vehicle feature an excellent seated and helmeted version of Lukas Kupferberg in its cockpit…

Scarabée Intrépide by morbäck

Scarabée Intrépide by morbäck

…but it EVEN TRANSFORMS SLAVE ONE-STYLE, for crying out loud:

Scarabée Intrépide by morbäck

Scarabée Intrépide by morbäck

Again, I really don’t have any words for this…

None of Morbäck’s creations are never less than spectacular, but he has managed to outdo himself this time. Unbelievable stuff! I can’t even. ;)

Make sure to check out Morbäck’s excellent, more detailed posts on Lukas Kupferberg and the Scarabée Intrépide, respectively. And take a look at the other Kouzes’ fantastic work as well, while you’re over there! ;)

 

Empyrium Emulation Chamber by Cerebralerebus

Empyrium Emulation Chamber by Cerebralerebus

Empyrium Emulation Chamber by Cerebralerebus

2015 definitely was the Adeptus Mechanicus year. But even with AdMech now a playable faction and one of the most gorgeous 40k armies, let us not forget those hobbyists who blazed the trail with their own, scratchbuilt AdMech armies, long before it was cool.

Cerebralerebus is one of those hobbyists, and his deliciously yellow/orange AdMech army is truly spectacular. What’s even better, though, is that he returned to his army in 2015 and proved that his conversions easily hold up when compared with the “official” models. In fact, his brilliantly creepy “Empyrium Emulation Chamber” is precisely the kind of insane gadget that is yet missing from the official releases, if you ask me:

Empyrium Emulation Chamber by Cerebralerebus

Empyrium Emulation Chamber by Cerebralerebus

There are tons of clever little touches on the model: The way it seems to be floating. The way the tortured psyker souls in its main compartment seem to be floating. The Admech personnel guarding and controlling the machine. You can spend an hour just looking at all the intricate little touches and try to think about the function of this machine in the back of your head — whatever the chamber is supposed to do, it surely doesn’t look pleasant:

Empyrium Emulation Chamber by Cerebralerebus

Empyrium Emulation Chamber by Cerebralerebus

I won’t mince any words: Can we please get a kit for this thing as part of the next rumoured Adeptus Mechanicus update, GW? Thank you! :)

More on the Empyrium Emulation Chamber can be found here, along with the rest of Cerebralerebus’ absolutely stunning (and entirely converted and kitbashed) Admech army.

 

Einherjar the Eternal, Daemon Engine of Khorne, by Augustus b’Raass

model built and painted by Augustus b'Raass

model built and painted by Augustus b’Raass

It shouldn’t surprise you that this list always has to feature at least one massive, spiky Khornate model, and this year’s slot deservedly goes to Augustus b’Raass’ absolutely amazing Daemon Engine: I suppose the Lord of Skulls would have been far more popular with the crowd if it had looked a bit more like this ;) Anyway, the model is massive and menacing, and the perfect centre piece for Augustus’ small (but hopefully still growing) detachment of World Eaters. Khorne is pleased, Brother-Slaughterer! :)

Check out Einherjar in more detail in Augustus’ showcase thread over at The Bolter & Chainsword.

 

Necrotic Rotstalker by Jeff Vader

Rotstalker by Jeff Vader

Rotstalker by Jeff Vader


Leave it to hobby prodigy, illustrator extraordinaire and all around great guy Johan Egerkrans to blow us away at the eleventh hour: In spite of taking a longer hiatus from building and painting little plastic men in 2015, Jeff exploded back onto the scene late in the year and effortlessly created one of the standout pieces of 2015: The Necrotic Rotstalker. The model is a perfect combination of the trailblazing work performed by Kari Hernesniemi on his “Stryderre” model in 2014, the creepiness of the Sicarian Ruststalkers and a healthy dose of Nurgle’s Rot (the visual approach, not the eponymous technical paint). I hate you so much, Jeff Vader, because you make it all look so very easy! ;)

Take a closer look at the Necrotic Rotstalker and his upcoming buddies here.

 

Inquisitor Lucanus Molnár by Adam Wier

Inquisitor Lucanus Molnar by Adam Wier

Inquisitor Lucanus Molnar by Adam Wier

Conversions of non-GW models for use in GW settings often don’t end too well — there’s just something about the look and feel of GW’s own products that can be a little tricky to approximate when working with base models from other manufacturers. In this regard, Adam Wier’s conversion for Inquisitor Molnár is an especially huge triumph, as the model looks right at home in the 41st millennium while seamless combining one of Dreamforge Games’ (excellent) Valkir Stormtroopers with a clever selection of actual GW bitz.

Beyond the elegance of the conversion, Inquisitor Molnár is a fantastic character in his own right: A hulking representative of the Ordo Machinum (the Ordo overseeing the Adeptus Mechanicus), and each and every part of the model comes together to create a stunning piece — even more stunning, actually, for the fact that it’s one of the first models Adam has painted in years. Quite a return to form, I must say!

Read up on the model and its creation here.

 

Inquisitor Eisenhorn by Nordic

Inquisitor Eisenhorn by Nordic

Inquisitor Eisenhorn by Nordic


Well, what is there to say? Everyone loves Gregor Eisenhorn, and Nordic has just managed to come up with just about the perfect 28mm respresentation of everybody’s favourite 54mm miniature. Incidentally, as we will be seeing in a minute, Nordic’s prowess at creating stunning INQ28 models based on character concepts from the Inquisitor rulebook and original set of 54mm releases has to be seen to be believed, but even amongst a brilliant collection, the Eisenhorn model stands out!

 

Army/warband of the year

And finally, to top off our annual collection of eye candy, let’s escalate things a bit and look at 2015’s best armies and warbands. This will be quite a treat. Trust me! ;)

 

First Claw by Augustus b’Raass

First Claw by Augustus b'Raass

First Claw by Augustus b’Raass

I have yet to meet a hobbyist that wasn’t instantly turned into Night Lords fanboy after reading Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s Night Lords trilogy. ADB’s novels always feature an impressive cast of rounded and compelling characters, but the “Certainly not friends/possibly actual enemies/still brothers in spite of everything” dynamic of First Claw has to be one of the high-points of his literary work. It’s no surprise that many people love Talos and his crew, and quite a few have come up with their own attempt at capturing First Claw in model form.

And to make a long story short, nobody has managed to nail it quite like Augustus b’Raass with his version of First Claw. Each of the squad members has been painstakingly and beautifully recreated, and each is a pretty much perfect representation of the character. Personally, I think I favour Uzas — but then he was my favourite in the novels as well ;)

Even Aaron Dembski-Bowden himself was blown away by Augustus’ models — and rightly so! Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I have to thumb through my copy of the Night Lords Omnibus again…

A closer look at First Claw and its various members can be found here, once again as part of Augustus’ showcase thread.

 

Inquisitor Machaius’ retinue by Nordic

Inquisitor Machaius' retinue by Nordic

Inquisitor Machaius’ retinue by Nordic

I already mentioned Nordic’s knack for building stunning INQ28 models based on sketches from the Inquisitor rulebook above, and Inquisitor Machaius and retinue are just the perfect example: Almost all of the models in the retinue are excellent representations of a piece of artwork from the book and/or a sketch from John Blanche’s Inquisitor sketchbook. And the resulting warband is simply amazing! In fact, Nordic’s entire INQ28 related output for 2015 has to be seen to be believed!

INQ28 year one collection by Nordic

INQ28 year one collection by Nordic

Likewise, Nordic’s thread over at the Ammobunker is full of massively inspiring work — which is why you’ll have to read through it all, I’m afraid. Trust me, though: It’s well worth it! :)

 

Nurglite warbands by Jeff Vader

Nurgle Warband by Jeff Vader

Nurgle Warband by Jeff Vader

In a way, these form the perfect bookends for 2015, do they not? One warband each to explore what the concept of Nurgle can be, both in the dark past and in the grimdark future. And without over-relying on any overly tired Nurgle tropes, natch! There’s also the fact that Jeff Vader is always at the top of his game when creating excellent and evocative plastic conversions. And I don’t even need to talk about those paintjobs — I’d probably sacrifice a small kitten to be able to paint like that (on second thought, no, I probably couldn’t do it, but I hope Jeff Vader will appreciate the sentiment ;) ).

It’s a testament to the quality of hiw work that he can take a few months off from building little plastic men and still create some of the truly defining work of 2015. Amazing stuff, all around!

You’ll find more information on those stunning Nurglite models over at The Convertorum — but you already knew that, I wager. And if you weren’t, well, then what in the seven hells are you still doing here? ;)

Nurgle Warband by Jeff Vader

Nurgle Warband by Jeff Vader

 

Pitslave Gang by Bruticus

Pitslave Gang by Bruticus

Pitslave Gang by Bruticus

I already mentioned Ex Profundis’ distinctive style further up in this post, and Bruticus’ wonderful Pitslave Gang can serve as a wonderful example of it: He has created a wonderfully gritty, very visceral and utterly believable gang of models that is equal parts Mad Max and Necromunda, and all the better for it:

Pitslave Gang by Bruticus

Pitslave Gang by Bruticus

The variety of different kits that has gone into making this warband is truly staggering, but Bruticus pulls it all together into a cohesive whole, giving us both gangers that are very heavily inspired by classic post-apocalyptic tropes,…

Pitslave Gang by Bruticus

Pitslave Gang by Bruticus

 

Pitslave Gang by Bruticus

Pitslave Gang by Bruticus

…while also incorporating more heavily augmented cyborgs and brutes that look very different but seem perfectly at home in the collection:

Pitslave Gang by Bruticus

Pitslave Gang by Bruticus

 

Pitslave Gang by Bruticus

Pitslave Gang by Bruticus

All of this is achieved via one of Bruticus’ trademark fantastic paintjobs, combining a deceptively bright main colour with lots of dirt, grime, blood and oil and that delicious blue as a spot colour. Spectacular stuff!

And to add insult to injury, he has even built a wonderful vehicle to accompany his pit slaves:

Pitslave Gang by Bruticus

Pitslave Gang by Bruticus

Bruticus’ style is immediately recognisable, and there’s nobody who paints in quite the same way. And nowhere does his trademark style work better than on his gorgeous Pitslaves!

Check out Bruticus’ Pitslave warband in more detail here.

 

Heresy-era Emperor’s Children / Heresy-era Astartes by kizzdougs

The Sekhmet -Emperor's Children army by kizzdougs

The Sekhmet -Emperor’s Children army by kizzdougs

Kizzdougs has been an absolutely stunning painter for quite a long time, but he really blew me away time and time again in 2015 with his ongoing WIP thread over at The Bolter & Chainsword. For starters, it features his army of Heresy era Emperor’s Children – the Sekhmet – a gorgeous collection of models, and arguably the best III legion army around, including, for instance, what may just be the perfect Horus Heresy model:

model built and painted by kizzdougs

model built and painted by kizzdougs

Stunning as the army may be, however, that’s only the half of it:

In recent months, Kizzdougs has also begun building several test models to represent each of the (traitor) Astartes legions, relying more and more on the new Mk IV plastics from the Betrayal at Calth box. And not only are the results perfect little slices of the 32nd millennium come to life, as you can plainly see yourself,…

Heresy era Legionaries by kizzdougs

Heresy era Legionaries by kizzdougs

…but they also show how far some careful kitbashing and a brilliant paintjob will get quite some variation out of those – very vanilla – stock models and create wonderfully evocative pieces — it really shouldn’t surprise you that Kizzdougs’ World Eaters model shown below was one of my main design templates when starting to paint my own first 30k World Eaters. His example even made me try my hand at sponge-weathering, and I am really happy I did!

Heresy era legionaries by kizzdougs

Heresy era legionaries by kizzdougs

So, to make a long story short: If you are even the slightest bit interested in Astartes, make sure to visit Kizzdougs’ brilliant ongoing WIP thread over at The Bolter & Chainsword.

 

Honorary mention: Navigator House Merz-Itano by weirdingway

Navigator House Merz-Itano by weirdingway

Navigator House Merz-Itano by weirdingway

Now I’ve actually made it a part of the – pretty rickety rules – of this contest that no army will receive an award more than one time in a row. And yet, this section simply wouldn’t be complete without mentioning weirdingway’s wonderful Navigatorial house yet again: He may have won last year’s award which should exclude him from the competition, but his growing collection of wonderfully original and unconventional models is, simply put, the most exciting and inspiring 40k project in existence right now.

Weirdingway has an absolutely amazing ongoing thread over at The Ammobunker, and it’s even more brilliant now than it was last year, obviously. Check it out at your earliest convenience — you can thank me later! ;)

 

So yeah, this is it. Quite a ride, wouldn’t you agree? Anyway, congratulations to all the “winners”, and I believe all you beautiful readers will have a list of blogs to check out now that will see you through until the third and final part of the 2015 Eternal Hunt Awards, in which I will be taking a look at my personal hobby year.

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

The 2015 Eternal Hunt Awards, pt. 1: The Industry

Posted in 40k, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , on January 5, 2016 by krautscientist

Awards

And here we are after all, with 2015’s Eternal Hunt Awards. Kept you waiting, huh? ;)

It has been …quite a year for hobbyists, no question about that. For today’s first parts of my annual recap, let’s take a look at GW’s releases this last year, as they have been even more crazy than the 2014 lineup. To wit: 2015, the year when we finally got AdMech as a playable army. When GW blew up Warhammer Fantasy Battles and reshaped its broken bones into a new setting. When the first plastic Horus Heresy models were released. When the return of the Specialist Games was announced.

Quite a year, indeed. But what were the great and not so great releases of 2015? Step this way to hear my opinion of the matter:

 

I. Best releases of 2015:

Surprisingly enough, GW has not merely kept up the relentless barrage of releases we saw 2014, but has even managed to up the ante when it comes to some rather huge releases, with some of them really rather surprising. So what are my favourite releases of 2015? It’s a tough call to make, but in the end, here’s my selection:

The Adeptus Mechanicus release(s)

AdMech Skitarii Release (1)

The importance of finally delivering the Adeptus Mechanicus as a playable 40k faction – and all on glorious plastic, no less – simply cannot be overstated. The Adeptus Mechanicus has always been one of the most quintessential and original parts of the whole 40k background. So hobbyists have wanted more AdMech for years — and now we finally get our wish, and it’s glorious!

It helps that the models are utterly stunning, though, turning the two AdMech factions into one of the most visually arresting armies in GW’s catalogue right now. They probably knew they had to pull this off in style, and they did, a few very minor hiccups notwithstanding. From the lithe creepiness of the Sicarian Ruststalkers to the excellent versatility of the Skitarii Rangers/Vanguard, it’s really hard to choose favourites. Some kits that formed a part of the release, however, deserve special mention:

The Sydonian Dragoon for arguably being the most ouright-Blanchian and quintessentially 40k model released for the mainline game so far:

AdMech Skitarii Release (23)

The Tech-Priest-Dominus for its brilliant creepiness, flawless design and disturbing inhumanity:

Cult Mechanicus Release (8)

Seriously, speculating what the guy may actually look like beneath his robes provides endless fun as well as goosebumps…

There also the fact that the Datasmith accompanying the Kastelan robots seems like an 28mm version of the original artwork for Magos Delphan Gruss from the Inquisitor rulebook — that’s the kind of meta continuity porn that just gets me every time ;)

Cult Mechanicus Release (12)

And the list really goes on and on: We got actual models based on the electro priest background that hadn’t been seen since the 2nd edition Codex Imperialis. And some robots whose retro-futuristic design à la Fallout is something really new for 40k (which is why they weren’t universally liked, I imagine). And the kits I have worked with so far are beautifully engineered and look stunning when painted up, regardless of whether or not you are an ‘Eavy Metal painter!

The result is a brilliant collection of models that is, arguably, even better than Forgeworld’s Mechanicus models: In short, when it comes to both fanservice and visual design, there is nothing that can quite compare to the Adeptus Mechanicus models. Sure, splitting the release into two sub-factions seems like a slightly dubious move in hindsight, but I’ll let it slide. A triumph, all in all!

In case you’re interested, feel free to take a closer look at my original reviews for the Skitarii and Cult Mechanicus releases.

 

Betrayal at Calth
Betrayal at Calth release (5)

Oh boy, where to start. Giving us plastic AdMech was already a pretty big act of fanservice, but finally releasing plastic Horus Heresy models? Who would have expected something like that only twelve months ago?

I suppose it only made sense, though: The Horus Heresy has become a rather massive commercial juggernaut for GW, it seems, so it was only a question of time before some “gateway drug” for people interested in getting started with gaming in the Heresy era became inevitable. But what a gateway drug it is: With three complete and newly designed MK IV tactical squads, a squad of multipart Cataphractii, a freaking plastic Contemptor and two special characters, the box delivers a lot of bang for the buck — and it even includes an actual game to be played with the models, let’s not forget that!

It’s also pretty brilliant how the models included in the box will flawlessly work for both 30k and 40k: Whether you want to dip your feet into the Horus Heresy or are merely looking to spice up your 40k Space Marine army, you’ll walk away happy.

Betrayal at Calth release (7)
Are the models a little too generic, maybe? Does the Contemptor suffer from a rather pidgeon-toed pose? The answer is yes on both counts. And yet, Betrayal at Calth remains a fantastic package — fantastic enough to even get me to paint some Heresy era models, and in white to boot.

Beyond the quality of the actual box contents, it’ll also interesting to see how this all plays out: Will there me more Horus Heresy stuff in plastic? Will the setting thus become more approachable for people like me who are not that fond of resin as a material (or have no more kidneys left to sell in order to pay for their Forgeworld spending). Whatever happens, this was one heck of a surprise!

Take a look at my original review for the Betrayal at Calth models here.

 

The Age of Sigmar starter box

Age of Sigmar starter box (3)

If you can say one thing about GW, is that they really know how to put together rather fantastic starter boxes. Which is why the Age of Sigmar boxed set has made it onto this list alongside Betrayal of Calth. In fact, the AoS starter almost seems like the ying to BoC’s yang: While the latter seems to have been engineered for maximum versatility, allowing you to customise the models any way you see fit, the Age of Sigmar boxed set gives you two small armies composed of highly individual mono-pose snapfit models that should make for fairly spectacular forces on the tabletop And GW really seems to excel at either way of putting together a starter box, which is certainly no mean feat.

The first faction included in the box, the Stormcast Eternals, provided us with a first glimpse of Age of Sigmar’s new posterboy faction, and if nothing else, the models make for a pretty stunning showcase:

Age of Sigmar starter box (4)
Granted, the models may be more videogamey and World of Warcraft-like than many diehard WFB fans may be comfortable with, but you cannot fault the quality of the sculpts or the visual presence of the models. What’s more, the humble snapfit Liberators in the box turn out to be surprisingly versatile, with a bit of experimentation…

The other faction included in the box is a far more traditional WFB army, nevertheless giving us some of the best Khornate models available so far:

Age of Sigmar starter box (13)

Again, there’s slightly zany stuff like the too-large standard on the Bloodsecrator or the crazily mutated Khorgorath, but the models are still excellent. In fact, the small army almost seems like a medieval version of Dark Vengeance’s (equally great) Chaos force.

While hobbyists in general still seem divided over the overall merits of Age of Sigmar versus the dearly departed WFB, there’s no question as to the quality of the starter box: The models are fantastic and make a compelling case for the game. I was quick to pick up the box, and I am not even really planning to play Age of Sigmar. Another fantastic starter box, even if the models are not as versatile as the ones included with Betrayal of Calth. To see two boxes of this caliber released in one year is really rather stunning!

Read my original thoughts on the box here.

 

Third time’s the charm: The new Tau Mechs

The Tau have been one of 40k’s more interesting faction for quite a while now, precisely because they seem so different from the setting’s usual, grimdark stylings and so freely borrow inspiration from Japanese Animé and giant Mecha. And yet, the one thing the faction should have gotten right from the get go – the actual giant Mecha – has always seemed a bit lacklustre. Sure, the battlesuits were a fun idea, but they never looked quite as cool as they could have. Should have. Last year’s Tau release started to rectify that with the Riptide, among other things, but it’s this year’s update that provides some additional huge battlesuit models — arguably some of the best models of the catalogue:

2015 Tau release (3)
One of the most interesting parts about Mech design is when it breaks up the vaguely humanoid shape of the machine in interesting ways, and the Stormsurge manages just that, replacing regular arms with massive rocket launchers, adding support struts to the legs and incorporating a massive railgun that every Metal Gear Solid veteran will fall in love with. The resulting model instantly reads as the massive heavy fire support unit it is supposed to be in-game.

Possibly my favourite part of the model is the open cockpit, though: Cockpit design is so very important when designing cool Mecha, and after dropping the ball on the – otherwise fantastic – Imperial Knight kit, it’s great to see GW make the most of this particular element this time around.

2015 Tau release (8)

The other massive model to come out of this release is possibly even cooler, though: If you ask me, the Ghostkeel may just be the definitive Tau Mecha-suit right now: The model incorporates many, many established Tau design elementes, while combining them into a model that seems massive as well as elegant and flexible. It also has a rather interesting head, for once, something that most of the Tau robotic suits so far have sadly lacked.

2015 Tau release (12)
Even better is the fact that it features what might be my favourite cockpit right now, giving you a closer look at the way the pilot is positioned inside the machine. Much was made of the female Tau head provided for the pilot, and it’s certainly a nice additional bit, but the real star of the show here is the clever engineering that has gone into the entire chest/cockpit area:

2015 Tau release (15)
After fumbling the challenge a bit for so long, it seems like the new Tau battlesuits now finally channel everything that’s great about Animé Mecha design, resulting in two models that actually make it hard to resist starting a Tau army — easily some of the best models of 2015, if you ask me!

 

The new Bloodthirster

Khorne End Times release (9)

The old metal Bloodthirster is one of the outstanding models of my youth: I remember marveling at the model in my very first copy of WD. But in all honesty, the model really hasn’t aged all that gracefully, and a replacement was long overdue. The new Bloodthirster solves this task wonderfully, and I really hadn’t expected that: After waiting so long for new Greater Daemon models, I was convinced any new version of the classic daempns could only end up as a bit of a disappointment — especially given the competition in the form of models like Creature Caster’s spectacular Warrior Demon, for instance.

In spite of it all, however, the new Bloodthirster really makes for a stunning reinterpretation of the classic concept, even resembling one of the coolest pieces of Mark Gibbons artwork from the yesteryear, while also featuring the dynamism and level of detail we have come to expect from modern plastic kits. Some fairly awkward parts remain – especially the meteor hammer weapons option and the flaming pillar designed to optionally boost the model’s height – but the bog standard whip and axe Bloodthirster pictured above is brilliant enough to make me overlook those smaller slipups. Just look at that cute little face:

Khorne End Times release (10)
Awww! Brilliant stuff! In fact, I already have one of these guys completely built and will hopefully paint the model sooner rather than later.

 

II. Worst release/biggest disappointment

Once again, it’s a pleasant surprise to see that none of 2015’s releases were actually really bad or downright horrible. However, some models were less cool than they should have been, while other releases seemed slightly underwhelming. So let’s take a look at the stuff that didn’t blow me away and also at some general tendencies and occurences I found disappointing:

 

The Deluge of Golden Dudes AKA the Stormcast Eternals release

Stormcast Eternals release (1)
Wait, didn’t I just choose the Age of Sigmar starter box as one of my favourite releases of 2015? And now this? What gives?

I stand by my earlier assessment that the Stormcast Eternal models from the starter box are very cool and make for a pretty good showcase for the faction. At the same time, I would have expected something a bit more interesting from the subsequent full release of the faction. It’s very obvious that the Stormcast Eternals are an attempt at creating an iconic army on par with the Space Marines of 40k, as there are just so many parallels between the two factions. Incidentally, the Stormcast Eternals are actually very close in size to the “true-scale” Marines so many hobbyists have been clamouring for. So what’s the problem?

Maybe it’s the fact that the new models lack the Space Marines 30 years’ worth of background: We are told they are amazing warriors capable of unbelievable feats, but we haven’t really seen all that much of them yet, and the AoS lore so far doesn’t really get the job done. In a way, the Stormcast Eternals make me understand for the first time what a Space Marine release must look like for someone not actually interested in Space Marines: Just the same bunch of dudes in heavy armour. Over and over and over.

At the same time, while the models are meticulously designed and crafted, the army does seem a bit samey. Maybe a more human element would have provided a bit of contrast? Or maybe the Stormcast Eternals will finally grow into their own, once the game and its world get developed a bit more? Maybe I’m just disgruntled because there are no more quasi-renaissance soldiers wearing floppy hats and pantaloons?

For now, I’ll say this much: The Stormcast Eternals from the starter box seemed like an interesting first taste. The rest of the release so far has not yet managed to live up to the hype generated by GW’s marketing for these guys. We will see what the future holds. Until then, I have to say that I found the Stormcast Eternals release slightly underwhelming, especially for something that is supposed to be the iconic new fantasy army.

 

Also pretty disappointing: The 2015 Space Marines release

2015 Space Marine Release (1)While we are on the subject of big armoured dudes, the 2015 Space Marines release didn’t exactly blow me away either — not a bad release per se, certainly, but still a bit lacklustre, wouldn’t you agree? Giving their posterboys an update has always been a rather big occasion for GW, yet almost every part of the release had already been done better by another, earlier kit: The Vanguard kit lets you create more interesting assault Marines than the actual new assault Marine kit, the BA Terminator Chaplain is quite a bit cooler than the awkward looking vanilla one, and the updated Devastators, while definitely a highly useful kit, nevertheless suffer from a couple of strange design decisions (those really awkward helmets, for instance, and the ugly grav weaponry). Of course we didn’t know back then that the “real” 2015 Space Marine release would arrive later in the year — in the form of Betrayal at Calth ;) So maybe that explains why these guys ended up less than spectacular…?

 

Those axe-flail-things on Skarr Bloodwrath

Khorne End Times release (18)

Look, I am seriously willing to excuse a lot of crap and suspend my disbelief as far as it will possibly stretch, but who in the seven hells thought this was a good idea? Did someone actually imagine how this guy’s fighting style would look in motion? I’m just glad those chains are easy enough to snip off…

 

The “Denglish” is getting unbearable

I already described this very problem last year, so let me just quote myself here for a bit:

As of the spring of 2014, all of GW’s publications use the English names – and only the English names – for any given unit type or character in all of their game systems. (…) Unfortunately, this creates Codices and publications with lots and lots of gibberish, where plain text is suddenly and rather violently broken apart by seemingly wanton insertion of English terms, even when a perfectly serviceable and well established translation for these terms exists in-universe.

Suffice to say that this already deplorable condition has really been turned up to eleven this last year, which makes the German translations of GW publications almost unbearable to read at this point. The fact that so many of the Age of Sigmar names are pretty overwrought doesn’t help, but it also extends to stuff that has been well established before (and appeared in BL novels, for crying out loud), with words suddenly getting English plurals in the German text. Once again, I realise that it probably all makes sense from a business perspective, but the effect is so jarring and ruins the quality of the writing so thoroughly that it’s almost offensive, especially when GW’s German translations used to make for pretty decent reading.

 

Plastic Sisters of Battle…pretty please?!

For the fourth year in a row, I’ve been pining for some redesigned plastic Sisters of Battle. Sure, one learns to make do, but it’s not the same as finally having access to some sweet new kits. Still, there may be hope: I mean, if we can finally get plastic AdMech with its slender, delicate and highly detailed Skitarii models, certainly new plastic Sisters must now be feasible, right? RIGHT???

 

One last thing…

The new plastic Blood Angels Chaplain with jump pack seems like such an amazing piece, right? I was seriously excited about the model when I saw the first fuzzy pictures. And then the hires photos appeared, and while I still think the model makes for a rather striking figure…

Blood Angels Chaplain (1)
…just take a moment to take a closer look at that face:

Blood Angels Chaplain (2)

Does that…does that skull mask have a little mustache? Awww…
Seriously, it’s just one of those things you can never unsee…

III. Still on the fence about…

  • Age of Sigmar lore and world building: If you blow up a franchise with about three decades of world building behind it, you better make sure you have a terrific plan B in place beforehand, right? However, not unlike the Stormcast Eternals, the Age of Sigmar background has failed to live up to the promise of a compelling new world so far. This certainly has something to do with the lack of hard information: The well-established places of the “world that was”, like the Empire or Naggaroth, have been replaced with rather vague and generic-sounding realms, and those realms have so far been painted in rather broad strokes only. Meanwhile, armies assembled from the same WFB units and characters we’ve been using so far (or the aforemtioned Golden Dudes) are duking it out over a world that feels pretty hard to care about at this point — but then, we hardly know the new world. This seems like a clear case where “show, don’t tell” would be the right approach: Give us more of the new factions, show us more of this new world, so we can grow attached to it! So far, it all seems a bit arbitrary and generic. And the silly names certainly aren’t helping. But maybe it’s all a question of time? We’ll be talking about this same time next year, scout’s honour ;)

IV. Also pretty cool

  • Plastic Horus Heresy: It remains to be seen how much of an impact the release of Betrayal at Calth will ultimately have, but even if nothing new ever comes of it, we now have access to two multipart plastic Heresy kits that were only available in resin up until now. That is pretty amazing, and everything from here on out is just bonus, really ;)
  • Specialist Games making a return! I mean, seriously, what’s not to love. Bring. It. On.
  • the GW painting videos on YouTube: GW’s traditional painting articles never did all that much for me, because they always seemed strangely vague or even arguably dishonest when it counted: Up to step number three, everything was peaches and cream, but step number four would invariably feature pictures of a model almost at full ‘Eavy Metal standard while the accompanying text would always assure us that only something very minor had been done between steps three and four. Well, no more, because GW now has a pretty excellent series of YouTube videos to help painters get started on particular models and effects, and while I was initially skeptical, the videos are really great! It helps of course that Duncan Rhodes just seems like the nicest guy in the world, which makes it a joy to follow his tutorials, but seriously: This is quality content, and it comes for free, and especially since GW so often gets portrayed as this ultra-evil and greedy company, they do deserve to be commended for providing a very nice bit of service like that!

 

Another very exciting year for hobbyists, and a relentless barrage of – mostly very good – releases from GW. Once again, it’ll be interesting to see where we go from here, although two things have become clear in 2015: GW is willing to both make a bold move (like the destruction of the Old World and the introduction of Age of Sigmar) and give hobbyists stuff they’ve been wanting for a long time (AdMech and plastic Horus Heresy) — and if nothing else, that certainly seems like a promising starting point for 2016, right?

So much for the industry, but what about the hobbyists? Join me next time for the second part of the 2015 Eternal Hunt Awards and a closer look at my favourite blogs, conversions and hobbyists of the year.

Until then, I would love to hear your feedback: Any thoughts about my favourite releases that you would like to share? Any observations of your own? I’d be happy to hear from you in the comments section! And, of course, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Year’s End/Coming Soon…

Posted in Pointless ramblings, Uncategorized with tags on December 31, 2015 by krautscientist

Hey everyone,

my original plan was to publish the first part of the annual Eternal Hunt Awards today, but I am not quite ready yet, and I really want to make this small series of posts the best it can possibly be every year, so you’ll have to bear with me for a bit here. In all honesty, I am entirely to blame for this situation, since I was just too darn lazy and spent the Christmas holiday catching up on a couple of videogames that I didn’t have time for earlier this year (on a mostly unrelated note, Batman: Arkham Knight is indeed every bit as good as I expected).

Anyway, this leaves me with – mostly – empty hands for today, for which I apologise. Please be patient for a little while, and I’ll be right back with part one of my 2015 recap — and to prove that I haven’t been lazy all the time, here’s a picture of some more 30k World Eaters I painted during the last couple of days:

30k World Eaters test models (3)
In fact, here’s another small teaser picture showing you the models I have managed to finish this year — rest assured that we will be taking a closer look at my hobby ouput for 2015 in one of the next posts.

2015 models
But, like I said, that will have to wait for a bit. Until then, let me take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy new year! Wherever you may be in the world, give 2015 an appropriate sendoff and have a terrific 2016 — preferredly with many little plastic men in it ;)

So yeah, here’s to the new year! There’ll be more soon, so stay tuned!

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

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