Toll the great bell thrice — my first experiments with the new AdMech kits

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Fluff, Inquisitor, paintjob, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 1, 2015 by krautscientist

In ancient times, men built wonders, laid claim to the stars and sought to better themselves for the good of all. But we are much wiser now.
“Speculations On Pre-Imperial History”

Given my gushing and rather wordy reviews of the Skitarii and Cult Mechanicus releases, you may have wondered why I haven’t actually boarded the AdMech train yet, at least when it comes to conversion and painting projects. The reasons for this are simple: I only wanted to start showing my own AdMech models once I had managed to come up with something that doesn’t feel like a cheap knock-off of Jeff Vader’s fantastic recent projects, for one. The other reason is that working with some of these kits requires quite a bit of planning beforehand: The Skitarii Vanguard/Rangers, for instance, are wonderfully sculpted models, yet their construction means that any and all conversion projects involving the kit require some thought. The same goes for the Kastelan robots: While the models themselves are spectacularly versatile, it behooves the converter to know where he’s going with these models before getting out the modeling knife ;)

Anyway, to make a long story short, I have finally arrived at the point where I am comfortable with showing you some of my AdMech conversions. So allow me to share some of the things I am currently working on:

 

1. “Wir sind die Roboter”

I have gone on record stating that the Kastelan robots are possibly one of the most promising parts of the recent Cult Mechanicus release — and indeed, they were the first kit from that release I actually picked up. I started messing around with the kit with the vague plan of building one or two walkers for my World Eaters and/or Iron Warriors Killteam — to give credit where credit is due, TJ Atwell’s idea to use the kit in order to build a plastic Contemptor was what originally led me down this road.

After giving the matter a bit of thought, I decided that I didn’t want to build a straight-up Contemptor: Doing so would have required a fair bit of sculpting and/or plasticard work, for starters, and there was also the fact that the more humanoid look of the robots appealed to me. So my plan was to embrace the basic look of the models and see whether I could make them seem more baroque and chaotic.

The first step towards this end was to find out how to replace the heads. While I don’t hate the blank 50s SciFi robot heads, it didn’t seem like the right choice for a Chaos walker. Nehekare’s very helpful thread over at The Bolter & Chainsword really helped me out, though, because it showed me that the options for alternate heads I had been considering would work really well. And so a short while later, I had these early mockups:

The Twins
As you can see, it’s really easy to replace the stock heads. The “head” and faceplates from the Defiler kit work really well, as does the head from the Tomb Kings Necrosphinx (seen on the right). In both cases, a plate from a CSM Rhino turret hatch was glued inside the Kastelan’s chest cavity, with the head added on top.

The next goal I had was to go for a slightly more involved pose than what you see on the stock Kastelans. Because the kit is really amazingly versatile when it comes to posing the legs: I don’t understand why GW doesn’t make a bigger fuss about this particular feature, but once you cut off the little nubs that lock the legs into a certain position, the world’s your oyster. As you can see, I have gone for a running pose, and it was really easy to achieve! I also added some early bitz in order to transform my Kastelan robot into a Khornate killing machine, as you can see:

WE_Kastelan WIP
Fortunately enough, there were a couple of very happy coincidences that helped me with this conversion:

  • the hammer-wielding hand from the Nemesis Dreadknight turned out to be a pretty perfect fit for the Kastelan. What’s more, the hammer head I still had left from the Bloodthirster kit provided the perfect replacement for the stock hammer head, so I ended up with a suitably Khornate weapon!
  • I realised that one of the breastplates from the Bloodthirster kit was a pretty good fit for the Kastelan torso, so I cut it to size and bent it around the torso, in order to make it fit more snugly.
  • I was able to use various armour plates from the Skullreaper/Wrathmonger kit to make the rest of the Kastelan’s body look more baroque and fittingly chaotic and to get rid of some of the rounded, clean aesthetic of the stock model.

All of this quickly led to my first finished Kastelan. Here’s the model I ended up with:

WE_Kastelan WIP (22)
WE_Kastelan WIP (19)
WE_Kastelan WIP (20)
WE_Kastelan WIP (21)
As you can see, I snuckin a few additional touches along the way: Some GS was used to fill in the various recesses on the head. and to extend the middle section a bit, in order to make the model slightly less tubby (an excellent suggestion by Bruticus, that last bit!). The arms were slightly extended as well, mostly by attaching the hands at a lower point.

As for the various details, I really wanted to keep one of the stock model’s “Contemptor-esque” fists, yet I added a weapon muzzle inside the palm, to hint at some kind of integrated flamethrower. And the empty eye sockets of the Necrosphinx skull were filled with proper optical lenses — I hope these will end up looking pretty stunning when painted in bright blue.

And finally, I’ve made a simple press mold of the Bloodthirster’s hoof print and tried to duplicate the Khornate rune on the Kastelan’s left sole:

WE_Kastelan WIP (23)
This element will require some cleanup work, but I think it should look pretty cool in the end.

All in all, I am really pretty happy with the way the model has turned out: This guy should be a pretty excellent addition to my menagerie of chaotic walkers, as he towers over a regular Dreadnought — Alpha Helbrute, anyone?

As for the other Kastelan, I am still committed to turning him into a member of my Iron Warriors Killteam, and a recent conversion by Jeff Vader, attempting to bring the Kastelan more in line with Jes Goodwin’s vintage drawings for the Colossus robot, have provided me with all the inspiration I need. Watch this space…

2. The Adeptus Mechanicus Velsen

It’s not all about the chaotic side of things, however! I have been a fan of the Adeptus Mechanicus for a rather long time, so it would be heresy to merely use the new kits for chaotic conversions. Because of that, I have also been working on a small collection of actual Mechanicus models. Here’s the first early family portrait of what may or may not become a dedicated AdMech warband for the wonderful world of INQ28:

AdMech kitbashes WIP (24)

Like I said, I am not sure yet whether this will become an actual warband. Maybe the models will end up in various INQ28 warbands. That said, I really like the idea of a warband representing a gathering of high-ranking Magi from the Velsen Sector’s resident Forgeworld of Korhold and a few of their Skitarii bodyguards. One image from the 40k lore that really speaks to me is the idea of a small team of Tech Priests where each of the Magi looks quite distinct (and rather inhuman), and the one thing where I think the AdMech releases have let us down a little is how they haven’t actually given us all that many actual Tech Priests. So that was what I wanted to rectify. Let’s take a closer look at the models I’ve come up with:

AdMech kitbashes WIP (4)
Something simple for starters: I picked up this Forgeworld servitor a while ago, because I think he makes for an excellent Tech-Priest (I want him to be a Magos Xenobiologis). I switched his original left hand with a creepy claw from the Datasmith model, and while it’s a very small detail, I really like the change: In spite of his slack face, he looks rather keen to dissect come Xenos, doesn’t he?
Maybe I should remove the Inquisitorial symbol on his breastplate, but I am also partial to the idea that he has been closely working with an Inquisitor for so long as to almost be seen as a traitor by his fellow Tech-Priests? Anyway, we will see…

Magos Explorator WIP
Next up, the Datasmith from the Kastelan kit. Now I already pointed out in my review how much this guy reminds me both of the artwork for Delphan Gruss and of a piece of artwork depicting a Magos Explorator, so that’s what he will be used as: The model’s bulk and extensive weaponry really fit the life of a Magos Explorator, dedicated to rediscover lost knowledge in long forgotten (and dangerous) places.

I actually didn’t convert the model beyond an attempt at uncluttering it a bit: I got rid of the smaller servo-arm on the chest as well as the cable connecting the chest apparatus to the head. Both elements seemed a bit too clunky for my taste, and I like the cleaner silhouette created by these alterations. A lovely model all in all — painting him should be a treat!

I also simply had to pick up the Tech-Priest Dominus, because I simply love the model. I have started assembling it, and this is what it looks like right now:

AdMech kitbashes WIP (2)
I’ve only made two very small changes so far: I clipped off the proboscis-like piece of tech dangling from the Tech-Priest’s facemask, because I like it better that way. And I am considering swapping out his right weapon arm with a kitbashed forearm with a converted Necron hand, because the gun option seems rather OTT for an INQ28 character. What do you think, should I keep the arm I have or go back to one of the guns after all?

AdMech kitbashes WIP (3)
The Tech-Priests will also be accompanied by their bodyguard, so I have started working on a couple of Skitarii models. Here’s the first test model:

AdMech kitbashes WIP (10)
To be perfectly honest, the recipe for this guy was stolen wholesale from one of Dave Taylor’s Skitarii. I am normally opposed to lifting entire conversions from fellow hobbyists like this, but what can I say? Dave’s model was just perfect, and I wanted a guy like that in my own AdMech warband…

So, nothing all that interesting yet, eh? Well, I tried to be a bit more adventurous with my first two kitbashed Tech-Priest models:

First up, I wanted to try whether I could come up with a Tech-Priest mostly based on Skitarii parts. In order to achieve the robed look I consider compulsory for Magi of the Adeptus Mechanicus, I used a slightly shaved-down Empire Wizard set of legs I still had in the old bitzbox. Here’s the result:

AdMech kitbashes WIP (21)
AdMech kitbashes WIP (22)
As you can see, the conversion is fairly straightforward, although I did want to make sure the model read as something more than just any old Skitarius. Which is why I built a custom axe from a Dark Vengeance cultist axe, the condensator unit from the arc pistol, an Empire flagellant staff and some cabling.

The pistol, on the other hand, was a weapon I had originally converted for Brynn Yulner. After shortening the barrel a bit, it ended up looking pretty cool on the Tech-Priest — like an archeotech raygun of sorts (think Marvin the Martian ;) ), with all of the weapon’s mechanisms completely internalised and hidden beneath a curved casing. Something not often seen in the 40k setting!

Oh, and maybe my favourite part of the conversion is how I replaced the original foot with a Skitarii foot. Not very flashy, but a nice detail, don’t you think? ;)

I also made some changes to the backpack in an attempt to make it look less like standard Skitarii issue:

AdMech kitbashes WIP (23)
I added a lantern, simply because I thought it might look pretty eerie and cool when painted with subtle blue glow. Speaking of which, I decided that I wanted this model to become my first test model for a possible AdMech painting recipe, so I started painting it right away. And here’s the painted model as it looked only a short while later:

AdMech Tech-Priest (1)
AdMech Tech-Priest (3)
I would have been happy enough with the model, but Jeff Vader suggested adding some kind of decorative trim in the cog style typical of the Adeptus Mechanicus. And while I couldn’t possibly have freehanded anything convincing, the Skitarii decal sheet had just the design I needed. So I added it and it really adds something to the model, if you ask me.

Here’s the finished Tech-Priest, Magos Zoltan Phract:

Magos Zoltan Phract (2)
Magos Zoltan Phract (1)
Magos Zoltan Phract (3)
Magos Zoltan Phract (4)

Magos Zoltan Phract (5)
Zoltan Phract is a Tech-Priest of the Velsian Adeptus Mechanicus, whose recent accomplishments have made him a rising star within this secretive order, in spite of his relative youth. His rise to prominence began during his tenure as representative of the Adeptus Mechanicus in the directorate controlling the ore-rich mining world of Silon Minoris. When the mutant workers of the world raised up their arms in protest against their life of slavery, it was Magos Phract’s decisive and, some would say, chillingly efficient chain of countermeasures that ended the workers’ revolt and insured the mines didn’t suffer from a noticeable decrease in productivity.

 

All in all, I was really very happy with this first test model, because it looked like I had found a good recipe for my AdMech models. But Phract ended up looking very much like the archetypal Tech-Priest: A slender, robed figure — yet still fairly human, at least with regard to his anatomy. I also wanted to explore the more deranged side of the Adeptus Mechanicus, however, so the next Tech-Priest I built was a floating Magos Genetor without a lower body, and I went for a creepier look this time around:

Magos Genetor WIP (4)
Magos Genetor WIP (5)
Magos Genetor WIP (6)
Magos Genetor WIP (3)
My favourite part about the model is that it was basically converted using nothing but leftovers: The head is the face from the plastic Commisar model with lots of added cabling from various kits. The upper body came from the Skaven Stormvermin, while the arms are from the Skitarii and Tech-Priest Dominus kits. And the cloak is a piece of cloth from the WFB Vampire Counts Coven Throne. All in all, these bitz made for a fairly creepy and original character, don’t you think?

In-universe, I imagine the lack of a lower body means that he can easily connect himself to the massive machine that makes up the centre piece of his surgical theatre via the cabling dangling from his torso. And when he decides to venture out of his lab, a set of antigrav stabilisers keep him floating,  his hanging robes working as an attempt at passing as a halfway-human figure when he has to deal with regular, unaugmented persons.

I was really happy with the conversion and started painting the model right away. Since Magos Phract had turned out so well, I basically used the exact same approach. So here’s the finished model:

Genetor Grendel (1)
Genetor Grendel (2)
A mix of Ecclesiarchy and Skitarii decals was used to add some holy AdMech scripture to the parchment dangling from the Genetor’s back:

Genetor Grendel (4)
Genetor Grendel (5)

Genetor Grendel (3)
“There are those within our order who consider my fascination with the organic a waste of time or even misguided. To those I reply: There can be no question as to the superiority of the divine machine over the frailties of the flesh. Yet it is only by considering the flawed, organic machines willed into being by this universe, that we may find the tools necessary to mend that which was created broken.”

Genetor Karras Grendel, Discourses on the Merits of the Organic

 

Grendel is a model I am really happy with, because he comes so close to the archetypal picture of a mad scientist in the back of my head: There are several more or less conscious inspirations for him (such as the villain from City of Lost Children, for instance), but when all is said and done, he seems fairly human at first and becomes pereptually less so the closer you look at him. What can I say, I really achieved the look I wanted on this model ;)

 

And finally, one last AdMech work in progress before we tune out for this week:

Did you ever have that feeling where you just want to build something cool, and you start aimlessly messing around with some bitz, but then things kinda get out of hand, and next thing you know, you’ve build a biomechanic monstrosity? Yeah, well, what can I say. This kinda happened:

Chimeric Servitor WIP (3)

So, whatever is the deal with this thing? All I can say is that the general plan was to build a huge, monstrous combat servitor of some sort. Maybe working on Genetor Grendel made me consider a more radical, disgusting approach, but there you have it. I had picked up the Blood Island rat ogred ages ago, with some half-formed ideas for converting them into Dark Eldar Grotesques or big mutants, but I never got around to using them. When the new AdMech models came out, I actually realised that they share some common ground with the rat ogres (those metallic tanks on the model’s back are fairly close to the tanks the Tech-Priest Dominus has, for example), so I thought I’d give them another look. The other thing that inspired this conversion was an illustration from the Inquisitor rulebook, where some monstrous, heavily augmented servitors can just be glimpsed through the fog.

Anyway, in spite of these ideas, the model really came together quite organically: I wanted to replace the lower legs with sharp augmetic stilts (originally Heldrake claws), and the expressionless facemask (from the Blood Angels Librarian Dreadnought) just seemed more interesting than yet another monstrous face. In fact, Neil101 pointed out that the mask gives the model a golem-like quality, which I like quite a bit!

After seeing how well the Kastelan power fist worked on the servitor, I changed the other hand to a Kastelan fist as well, only I used one of the guns this time around. I also added some cabling and cleaned up some details, and here’s what my “Chimeric Servitor” looks like right now:

Chimeric Servitor WIP (8)
Chimeric Servitor WIP (9)
Chimeric Servitor WIP (10)

As you can see, the model has had another augmetic leg grafted on — I thought this was a cool way of making the servitor look even more disturbing and less human. The kind of thing you only come up with in the middle of a kitbashing spree, eh…? ;)
Anyway, so much for my first few conversions involving the new AdMech kits! I hope you like some of these — I think I can safely say that we’ll be seeing more of this particular project in the near future. Until then, feel free to let me know any feedback you might have. And in closing, let me share another picture of Genetor Grendel and Magos Phract — in a a way, these guys are pretty much on the opposite ends on the craziness spectrum, but I just love them both.

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

Genetor Grendel and Magos Phract

Going through the motions – a look at the 2015 Space Marines release

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2015 by krautscientist

Wait, wasn’t there a Space Marine release fairly recently? In fact, it’s already been almost two years, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it. Granted, the Space Marines are 40k’s most popular faction and main cash cow, but even so, it feels like we only received a new Codex a very short while ago. But here it is, nevertheless, a new book, complete with a bunch of new kits to accompany it, so who am I to argue, eh?

2015 Space Marine Release (1)
The thing is: 2013’s Space Marine release was a pretty big release all around, thoroughly revamping the standard Tactical Squad, giving us plastic Sternguard and Vanguard, introducing Centurions, grav weapons and two new, Rhino-based tank variants. Plus we got new models for a couple of generic Space Marine HQ choices. So it feels like this new release does have quite a bit to measure up to. Let’s take a look at whether or not the new kits manage to hold up — and it goes without saying that we’ll also be taking a look at the various conversion options along the way!

 

Space Marines Terminator Librarian

2015 Space Marine Release (2)
The clamshell characters are often a very interesting part of each release — one need look no further than the Tech-Priest Dominus as proof. And the Space Marines receive another HQ option via this Librarian in Terminator armour.

Tell you what: I think there’s something off about the model. Something I cannot quite put my finger on. Sure enough, all the required boxes have been ticked: The model clearly reads as a Librarian, psi-staff, psychic hoods, lots of scrolls parchments and doodads — all accounted for. And the various details on the armour certainly look cool enough!

2015 Space Marine Release (4)But there’s something about the model’s design that makes it seem like the upper and lower halves don’t mesh: Maybe it’s the fact that the torso and head have a slightly squashed look about them? Maybe it’s the slightly iffy pose? Or maybe it’s just the angle of the picture? Whatever the reason may be, the model seems subtly wrong to me, almost as if the upper and lower parts of the body belong to different models and have been grafted together semi-successfully…

The good news is that I think the effect is slightly less of a problem when using the model’s alternate arm with its cool wizard pose:

2015 Space Marine Release (3)
And since this arm is far more interesting visually than the tired old Stormbolter anyway, all is well with the world, right?

Well, I’m not sold on the model, to be honest: There’s the slightly strange overall feeling described above, for starters. There’s also the fact that a look at the sprue reveals that most of the model, bar the arms, is made up of two massive slabs of plastic, with very little leeway for modifications, rendering conversions beyond arm or weapon swaps pretty complicated:

2015 Space Marine Release (5)
But all of this would probably be excusable, if not for the fact that the new plastic model is an inferior replacement to its predecessor and a better alternative is readily available. But all in good order!

Let’s look at the Terminator Librarian’s previous incarnation:

OOP Librarian Terminator
Now you all know that I am a huge fan of plastic models, but even I have to admit that the older Librarian model had a lot more character and dynamism going for it. It also seems less dubious anatomically. It does have the beefy look you would expect of a Terminator, but it still seems fairly plausible and natural — well, as plausible and natural as can be expected, that is…

There’s also a much better flow about the model — something that can arguably be hard to capture in multipart plastic models. But then, the new Librarian isn’t even that multipart to begin with (compare the sprue above).

What’s even worse, though, is that the Blood Angels Librarian in Terminator armour, released fairly recently, also seems like a more balanced model:

Blood Angels release 2014 (2)Granted, the BA Librarian is costs one Euro more and might require some minor conversion work to get rid of the BA iconography. That seems like a good investment, however, seeing how much better the model looks overall, and is quite a bit more flexible when it comes to conversion options (as it’s closer in construction to a standard, multipart Terminator). Back when this model was released, I was wondering whether it shouldn’t have been a generic Termie Librarian to begin with — and seeing the actual generic Termie Librarian now only enforces this notion: The BA Libby seems like the superior design, essentially rendering the new model obsolete, as long as you don’t mind some minor conversion work…

All in all, the new Terminator Librarian certainly isn’t terrible. But the model is a bit of a letdown, especially seeing how a superior plastic model is already available. I think I’ll pass on this one…

 

Space Marines Assault Squad

2015 Space Marine Release (6)
The Assault Marines were possibly one of the oldest plastic Space Marine kits still in service, so it certainly makes sense to give them a facelift. The new kit carefully updates the models and adds in some new options, yet at the end of the day, it still provides us with all the neccessary parts to build five Assault Marines, either with or without jump packs.

2015 Space Marine Release (7)This means the models have to work in both running and jumping poses, which seems to be the case. What’s more, we get some nifty pieces of crumbled masonry for our jump infantry, which is pretty nice. These small basing parts seem pretty interesting and are a nice bit of service — it’s especially cool that they come as separate parts, unlike the rubble in the Raptor/Warp Talon kit that is attached to the legs. And if you don’t like them or want to build your Marines without jump packs, just leave them off and the models will look like they are running:

2015 Space Marine Release (12)

Some of the poses do seem a little awkward, though (like the guy on the left in the above picture) — although, in all fairness, assembling running Marines that seem natural always takes a bit of doing and fine-tuning.

One thing I really love about the new kit is that it includes a plastic Eviscerator:

2015 Space Marine Release (11)
While we are looking at that Sergeant model, however, what is the matter with that face? The brow seems a bit huge, doesn’t it? Maybe this is a conscious effort to create Space Marine faces showing the kind of gigantism alluded to in the background — but it does seem a little weird, since it has never been done before…

I really love the other bare head included with the kit, however: I could easily imagine this guy as a gladiatorial World Eater:

2015 Space Marine Release (13)
All in all, the kit seems like a sensible and careful redesign, and if you should find yourself in need of some additional Assault Marines (or simpply some running legs), it seems like a sound option: You get five Assault Marines without any massive bells and whistles to speak of.

However, while having an updated kit is nice, it’s also pretty hard to get too excited about these models, because they are treading ground that has been thoroughly explored by several other kits. In fact, I would argue that almost everything this kit does, the Vanguard kit does better. And at merely two Euros more a pop, I know which kit I prefer.
Solid work, certainly, but nothing to write home about.

 

Space Marines Devastator Squad:

2015 Space Marine Release (15)
While the Devastator kit has seen more updates than some of the other Space Marine infantry, the addition of a couple of new weapons (with grav weapons being the prime example) obviously neccessitated yet another update. So here we are with a new Devastator kit that gives us lots and lots of weapons options…

2015 Space Marine Release (18)
Chief among these are the grav weapons, of course, but I’ll be honest: I am still not a fan of them from a visual standpoint. They seem clunky and ill-conceived, and not nearly as iconic as the other heavy weapons in the Space Marine catalogue — but maybe that’s just me being a grumpy old man there for a minute ;)

Beyond such concerns, it’s great to see that the new Devastator kit contains lots and lots of weapons (basically two each of every heavy weapon plus a bunch of combi-weapons, pistols and a full complement of CC weapons for the Sergeant). This makes the new kit very comprehensive when it comes to weapon options — and thus possibly an essential purchase.

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However, GW’s designers weren’t simply content with adding more weapons, they also added some visual touches to distinguish the Devastators from your standard Tactical Marines — basically the kind of attention sorely lacking in the new Assault Marines, if you ask me. Each of the Devastators comes with reinforced leg armour and an additional sensor array integrated into the model’s helmet:

2015 Space Marine Release (17)
Both ideas are pretty cool, because they visually support the Devastators’ battlefield rule and add some identity to the models beyond the heavy weapons they are lugging around. Even so, some of these new elements seem slightly uneven in execution: The extra sensors work far better on some helmets than on others (the one on the Marine with the grav gun in the above picture looks legitimately terrible, for instance).

As for the reinforced armour, it’s a pretty nifty idea! While I would have preferred some plastic versions of older armour marks (Mk. 2 or 3 would have been ideal for Devastators, if you ask me), I can still appreciate the extra effort. And the options for customising the squad leader are actually pretty awesome:

2015 Space Marine Release (19)In fact, we get quite a few bitz and bobs for the squad that are pretty interesting: the rockets streaming smoke may be a bit hit-or-miss, but I like the inclusion of a cherub, even if the sculpt does seem a bit clunky — I wonder whether the paintjob is partly to blame for this…?

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All in all, this kit seems far more substantial than the Assault Marines, and it should be legitimately useful for Marine players both old and new. A very solid, if not exactly exciting, offering!

 

Space Marine Chapter-specific conversion kits

Now this is possibly the most interesting part of the release, at least for me: We get one conversion sprue each for the Blood Angels, Dark Angels, Ultramarines and Space Wolves — quite an interesting tool for customising champions and army commanders, and a possible return to offering conversion sets and bitz? We will see.

I do realise that many people seem fairly critical of these, seeing how they sell for 10.50 Euros a pop for a pretty small sprue of bitz. So let’s take a look at each of them in turn in order to figure out whether they are worth it:

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The Blood Angels sprue is possibly the least interesting of the bunch, seeing how most of the bitz seem to appear in one of the existing BA kits in similar shape or form. The Mephiston-style torso piece is a notable exception, but most of the other contents of the sprue are very close to the stuff we get with the Sanguinary Guard, Death Company and BA Tac Squad. So while the bitz themselves are fairly cool, there’s nothing super-exciting here. Next.

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The Dark Angels sprue suffers from a similar problem, but that’s mostly due to the fact that there are already several kits with lots and lots of DA conversion bitz in existence. The standout parts here are the mastercrafted breastplate, highly ostentatious sword and plasma pistol. The feathered helmet is a staple of DA lore but looks very clunky — I’d pick the Chapter Master helmet from the Dark Vengeance boxed set over this helmet any day of the week. Again, pretty nice, but ultimately nonessential.

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The Space Wolves have just as many dedicated plastic kits as the Blood Angels and Dark Angels, yet their conversion sprue still turns out more interesting: The sword and axe are very sweet (and seem to be channeling the look of Krom Dragongaze’s weapons). The backpack also seems similar to his and is very cool — I love the vicious look of those wolf heads. Speaking of which, I thik the wolf head helmet is probably my favourite part of the sprue: Some may think it’s too cartoony, but I love how feral it looks. It’s far less stylised than the helmet we get as part of the existing SW sprue, and I think it would work just as well for a champion of chaos. This is a pretty cool conversion kit, mostly because it manages to move beyond the bitz that are already available as part of the regular kits.

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And finally, the sprue for everybody’s favourite Do-Gooders, the Ultramarines. And you know what? This is definitely the best of the bunch! Because, for all their appearances in the background and posterboy status, the Ultramarines have never received any dedicated plastic kits, so this is our chance to finally make our Ultramarines characters look like true Ultramarines: The shoulder pads are obviously useful for that, but my favourite parts have to be the breastplate, sword and gladius combo and the knightly veteran helmet. I have never been a huge Ultramarines fan, but I really like this conversion kit because it provides something new in plastic — very cool!

All in all, the pricetag on these sprues may indeed be a bit steep, but I am prepared to call them a fairly promising experiment: If you want to use these for your whole army, you’ll be spending quite a lot of money — but that’s not the point: Each of the sprues would work perfectly for customising one or two models per army and really make them stand out — all you need are some Marine legs and bodies, and you’re golden. Which puts them at an ultimately reasonable price point below the – fairly expensive – new clamshell characters. What’s more, they certainly don’t force you to pick these up: You’ll still be getting lots and lots of leftover bitz that can work just as well from your regular kits. But as it stands, these new kits seem like a promising prospect, and it’ll be interesting to see what GW does with this approach. And I wonder whether these have anything to do with Forgeworld’s own, legion-specific upgrade packs…?

 

Bonus Content: HQ Command Tanks

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I do of course realise that this kit is a Warhammer World exclusive, but seeing how it’s certainly vanilla-Marine themed, we might as well throw it in with the rest, don’t you think? ;)

I think the boxy Space Marine tanks can use all the help they can get in order to look more interesting, and offering conversion kits to turn them into suitably ostentatious command vehicles seems like an interesting option. From my impressions, some things about the kit are pretty awesome, and some are pretty awful. Let’s start with the bad stuff: Those aquila-shaped radar dishes and the sensor array on top of the Rhino are pretty terrible. Seriously, there is such a thing as too clunky.

What I really like, however, are the alternate side panels, because they really make the vehicles look like relicts of a bygone age — ancient artifacts of the chapter that also happen to be warmachines. And I do have a bit of a thing for the Chapter Master atop the Land Raider — pretty cool!

So does this kit alone warrant a trip to Warhammer World or is it worth the hilarious prices some folks are asking on ebay? The answer to either would be no, if you ask me — although there are probably enough reasons for wanting to check out the new Warhammer World.

When all is said and done, this kit made me want to think about how to kitbash command tanks that are just as cool, but much less expensive — and I think it really wouldn’t be all that hard, given a reasonably well-stacked bitzbox. Still, it’s a cool idea, and I think one that many converters should be able to have a field day with ;)

 

Conversion options:

One of the biggest strengths of the entire Space Marine catalogue is how it provides an interlocking system of fully (or mostly) compatible kits, and the same goes for the new kits, of course: Whichever of these you pick up, you’ll always end up with more stuff for the huge Space Marine toolbox. And there’s no question that, for instance, all the extra stuff within the Devastator kit will prove hugely useful. So the release certainly provides new tools for all the (Chaos) Space Marine players out there.

I’ll be honest with you, though: No part of the release strikes me as particularly exciting or fantastic from a converter’s perspective. The things that interest me are mostly different bits and bobs: The pieces of rubble, Eviscerator and mostly bald head from the Assault Squad (because the latter would be great for a World Eaters officer). The servo-skull and cherub from the Devastators (because one can never have enough servo-skulls and cherubs in INQ28). The sword from the DA conversion set (because one can never have enough blinged out swords). And possibly the entire SW and Ultramarines conversion sprues (the SW sprue is, once again, full of cool options for World Eaters, and I just like the design of the Ultramarine bitz and the novelty of having Ultramarine parts available in plastic).

Many releases can become exciting even for those hobbyists who don’t play the army at hand. But this certainly isn’t one of those releases: It’s rather a workhorse of a release, replacing some outdated kits and tentatively offering some customisation and conversion options that might become more interesting in the future. I have always loved Space Marines, but even I cannot really get excited about the new kits — the most interesting part for me are the conversion kits, and even those are mostly interesting for what they could become for other armies or factions somewhere along the line.

 

Comparing this release to the recent AdMech extravaganza, one cannot help to see the new Space Marine kits as a disappointment, because they are ultimately just more of the same. The 2013 Space Marine release was more interesting, because we actually got something new (the Centurions, whether you like them or not), and the redesigned kits (Vanguard and Sternguard) were pretty exciting.

This time around, we mostly get small updates, which is nice. And taking an even-handed approach, we can probably call this a solid, if a little bland, bread and butter release. But in a world where the Skitarii and Cult Mechanicus have just turned the entire GW catalogue on its head, maybe solid just doesn’t cut it any longer? But then we knew AdMech would be a tough act to follow ;)

 

So what do you think? Do you feel differently about the new Space Marine kits or would you like to discuss some crazy conversion ideas of yours that I didn’t think of? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section!

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

Inquisitor 28: Taking stock

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob, Pointless ramblings, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 17, 2015 by krautscientist

After the recent post showcasing the current status of my World Eaters army, I thought it might be fun to prepare a similar post about my INQ28 collection — after all, the World Eaters and my Inquisitor-themed models have certainly been my two biggest projects, ever since I got back into the hobby: To me, the world of the Battle for the Emperor’s Soul continues to be one of the most fascinating parts of the hobby, and one that I always return to when looking for an outlet for my creativity.

Which makes it all the more regrettable that 2014 wasn’t a very productive year in that respect — at least not when it comes to finished models: I only managed to complete four pieces for INQ28:

INQ28 class of 2014
And while I like each of the models well enough in their way, one of my hobby resolutions for 2015 was to get more paint on my huge collection of INQ28 kitbashes. And while I am just as much of a lazy bum this year as I was in 2014, I have been reasonably successful with that:

Let’s start with the latest INQ28 model I have managed to finish, and one I am pretty proud of, mostly because it has been in my collection for such a long time: Quite a while ago, my cousin Andy let me have the pilot model from the “Battle for Maccrage” 4th edition boxed set, easily one of my favourite one-off special models produced by GW. I used the model to convert a Enforcer type of character:

Arbites Judge WIP (2)
This may not seem like the most obvious use for this particular model, but my inspiration came from one of the illustrations John Blanche made back when Inquisitor was first released. Take a look at his Enforcer design:

JB_Enforcer
I think we can all agree that the resemblance is rather uncanny — which is why I decided to turn the pilot into an Enforcer: A tough Hive Cop who has walked the beat on the wrong side of the monorail tracks a thousand times and knows the shadier parts of the Hive City like the back of his hand. As you can see, giving him one of the characteristic power mauls was really easy, and I also added some gloves on his belt, because I really liked the idea of him wearing some kind of riot cop gear for tough arrests.

But then it took me ages to actually settle on a colour scheme for the model. Maybe it was the fact that I knew I would probably not get my hands on another of those pilots, so I had to get it right the first time around? Anyway, it took my until fairly recently to come up with an approach that I think might work. But I did it, I finally sat down and painted the guy. And here’s the finished model:

Remus Ingram (1)
Remus Ingram (2)
Remus Ingram (3)
Remus Ingram (4)
Remus Ingram (5)
I went for a look resembling a steampunk 19th century Nightwatchman, since that seemed to fit both the character and the eclecticism of 40k. I also made one last addition to the model, as I felt a Skitarii Vanguard helmet would nicely complement the rest of his gear, so I added one to his belt. All in all, I am really happy with the model: The look I wanted is clearly there, and there is a weight of years and experience to him that I really like. I’ve already started to think of him as a character, which is always a good sign: This is Remus Ingram, veteran of the Riftyr Hiveguard on Saarthen IV, capital world of the Metyan Subsector of Velsen. After long years spent in the perpetually gloomy and rainy underhive settlement known as “Ashertown”, Ingram was recruited by Inquisitor Erasmus Gotthardt after a joint operation in the depths of the Hive.

Speaking of which, completing this model also means that Inquisitor Gotthardt’s warband now has one more fully painted member…well, two more fully painted members, to be exact:

Inquisitor Gotthardt's retinue (1)
The warband is far from finished, of course, with four characters still unpainted, but it’s getting there. To the left, you can make out another of my very first INQ28 characters: Captain Esteban Revas, former regimental champion of the 126th Haaruthian Dragoons. He’ll be getting a post of his own at some point in the near future, complete with a look at his backstory, which – interestingly enough – is probably the most expansive fluff I have come up with yet…

All in all, I am really happy to say that, when it comes to INQ28, I have already been more productive in the first half of 2015 than I was in the entirety of 2014. Case in point, here are the latest additions to my collection of INQ28 models:

INQ28 class of 2015 (2)
The obvious star of the show here is Praetor Janus Auriga, my true scale Marine. I am still extremely happy with this model! There’s also Sister Euphrati Eisen, of the Order of the Martyred Sword. And let’s not forget Inquisitor Brynn Yulner (the model that re-invigorated my passion for painting INQ28 characters), the wonderful, custom Arch-Deaconne Drone 21c donated to my cause and the brilliant Astropath conversion Ron Saikowski sent me (including that last model is a bit of cheating on my part, seeing how it already came beautifully painted). To learn more about these last three characters, head over here.

And what about the big picture? Well, here’s the collection of painted models I have managed to complete since circa 2011:

INQ28_alltogethernow (2)
Not a massive pile of miniatures, certainly: Merely some thirty models. But still, I am really happy with these, because each of them is a handcrafted character exploring a particular part of the 40k lore. And they make for a rather interesting menagerie, don’t you think?

The bad news, obviously, is that there are just as many, if not more, unpainted INQ28 models in my cupboard of shame:

INQ28_alltogethernow (1)
But I think all that I can do is to slowly keep working away at these, completing one model at a time — after all, INQ28 isn’t about huge model counts for me, but rather about tweaking each and every conversion and paintjob until I am happy with them. These are characters, first and foremost, and not merely playing pieces.

At the same time, the fact that kitbashing new INQ28 models can be so much fun certainly doesn’t make the task any easier. Just let me show you some of my recent kitbashes, starting with some quick and dirty projects like this Hive Ganger/Punkette,…

40kPunkette WIP (3)
…a Mutant Witch Doctor from the underhive…

Twist Witch Doctor (2)
Twist Witch Doctor (1)
…or this Cyber-Famililar that just came together in about half an hour one day:

Cyber Familiar WIP (3)
Cyber Familiar WIP (1)
I actually really love familiars, cherubs and servo-skulls, because they are such an integral part of the 40k lore and imagery. Which is why I am slowly assembling a small collection of these critters, I suppose…

Cyber Familiar WIP (4)
On the other side of the spectrum, we have conversions that are quite a bit more involved and take more time to come together. Like my recent attempt at kitbashing an Adeptus Arbites Enforcer, based on Tempestus Scions parts:

Arbites Judge early WIP (1)
There were several parts of the model I really liked: the (Skitarii) power maul, the spliced-together head, complete with a classic lantern jaw of justice and the riot shield. Yet the model just didn’t seem to come together, becoming less than the sum of its parts. It took several attempts and some feedback by the awesome people over at the Ammobunker’s INQ28 board until I ended up with a model I was much happier with: A blend of 2nd edition Arbites and Judge Dredd elements that I think really works for me:

Arbites Judge WIP (7)
Arbites Judge WIP (6)
Arbites Judge WIP (8)
Big and small projects like these are really one of my absolute favourite parts of our hobby, because they give me the chance to figure out new and interesting ways to use all the plastic crack GW gives us — at the same time, these projects also lead to a neverending stream of unpainted models, but that cannot be helped, I guess ;) And we haven’t even talked about the AdMech kits — although we’ll be getting to that in a future post. After all, I am already hard at work, producing yet more models I will have to paint eventually ;)

For now, while my productivity may wax and wane, I am still pretty pleased with my INQ28 collection, both when it comes to the painted and unpainted parts. Coming back to these models is always a blast, even if it takes years. And working on a single character until everything just falls into place always feels like a breath of fresh air!

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

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Toll the great bell twice – a look at the Cult Mechanicus release

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 10, 2015 by krautscientist

The AdMech madness continues, with another sub-faction of creepy machine men and another slew of new plastic kits — after years and years of yearning for AdMech models to make an appearance, with nothing but a lone Enginseer model to tide us over, this is certainly a great time for veteran hobbyists who grew up loving John Blanche’s and Jes Goodwin’s brilliantly creepy AdMech artwork!

Cult Mechanicus Release (1)So while the recent Skitarii release provided us with Mars’ endless legions of machine soldiers, we now get a look at the “men” (for lak of a better word) behind the machines with the Cult Mechanicus — and yet more creepy man/machine fusions make an appearance So let us take a closer look at the new kits and think about all the wonderful conversion projects we could use them for… Follow me to my workshop…;)

 

Tech-Priest Dominus

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I was slightly disappointed when the Skitarii release didn’t feature an actual Tech-Priest, which made seeing this guy all the sweeter. Seriously, what a fantastic interpretation of a venerable Magos (and imposing battle commander of the Adeptus Mechanicus, no less)! I am in love with this guy!

But all in good order: The model certainly ticks all the right boxes for me: It’s hunched-over, clad in the tattered robes of the priesthood of Mars, heavily augmented (to the point where only one mostly organic hand remains) and just brilliantly creepy all around. What irony that my attempt at building the most disturbing and out-there AdMech model I could possibly come up with now basically gets overtaken by the Cult Mechanicus standard HQ — oh well… ;)

My favourite part about the model is probably how it seems almost impossible to guess what the Tech-Priest would actually look like underneath those robes: He seems like a stooped, but ultimately humanoid figure at first glance, yet those insectile legs hint at something very creepy and inhuman. There’s a palpable Warmahordes Cryx influence to the whole design, yet also enough of the established 40k AdMech look to firmly bring it into the 41st millennium.

The model is also quite a bit bigger than I had expected, making it tower over most infantry models –maybe that is the one tiny piece of criticism I have: The Tech-Priest Dominus might just be a tad too imposing ;) A smaller, more frail figure at the centre of all that cyborg firepower could have been an equally interesting idea.

But the design remains fantastic! I was also pleasantly surprised by the inclusion of a second head and some additional weapons options!

Cult Mechanicus Release (4)While I slightly prefer the traditional AdMech cowl, the alternate head gives the model a much more priestly look, which is especially obvious on this alternate paintjob:

Cult Mechanicus Release (3)All the options are looking great, and it’s certainly nice to have the option of changing things around a bit when building multiple Domini.

Speaking of which, a closer look at the sprue(s) reveals that this is easily one of the most complex clamshell characters so far:

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The good news, however, is that while the model seems pretty complicated, it goes together very well — you can even leave off the arms for easier painting without a hitch and glue them on later. In fact, maybe converting this guy wouldn’t even be quite as complicated as I had initially suspected…

All in all, the Tech-Priest Dominus is an absolutely fantastic model that embodies much of what I have always loved about the Adeptus Mechanicus. It is also a great army commander, easily measuring up to the various, hulking characters and creatures commanding the other armies of the 41st millennium. A definite high point of this release for me, and one of the models I have already purchased myself. Excellent!

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Adeptus Mechanicus Kastelan Robots

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And here, ladies and gentlemen, is the new kit everybody loves to hate ;) But seriously, we often see kits that are a bit divisive, and the Kastelan Robots certainly fill this role for the Cult Mechanicus release, mostly because they are so different from what we are used to:

The idea behind these robots seems to be that they are relicts from the Dark Age of Technology, merely salvaged and repurposed by the Adeptus Mechanicus. Which is why their look is so very unlike most other 40k warmachines: They have a rounded, slightly minimalist retro 50s SciFi look that seems more at home in Fallout than 40k, at least initially. It is this look, I suppose, that has earned them the scorn of quite a few commenters online.

But allow me to raise several points about this design, possibly in its defense:

One, unconventional as this direction may seem, it is not new — not even for 40k. Just compare this Kastelan:

Cult Mechanicus Release (10)…to the Rogue Trader era incarnation of a robot of the same name that can be seen in the lower right here:

Rogue Trader era Legio Cybernetica robots
As has been the case with several parts of the Mechanicus releases, these models provide yet another callback to established parts of the lore from way back when, which is something I like very much (on a mostly unrelated note, doesn’t the model in the top left slot really remind you of Forgeworld’s Vorax battle automata…?). I think it’s great how GW seems to be carefully redesigning and updating certain concepts and visual elements that have been in existence for a long time for the AdMech factions — it seems very fitting, considering the background of the army.

The other thing I find interesting is how the Kastelan shares quite a few visual cues with both the Contemptor and the Mechanicum Thallax: It’s easy to imagine how both machines may have been attempts by the Mechanicum of old to reverse-engineer or evolve the Kastelan template they had salvaged from the clutches of Old Night — a very nice bit of visual storytelling for those who are into such things!

The third thing is that the design unequivocally marks the Kastelan as a robot, rather than a cyborg: The domed heads with their empty visors – an element disliked by some – clearly evokes an unthinking, unfeeling machine. It also seems like an invitation to painters to get creative (I wonder why nobody has tried a Fallout-style effect in green yet ;) ).

Whether or not you like the design of these, one thing that certainly seems like a thoroughly underadvertised feature is the models’ sheer poseability. Now let’s take a look at the second robot. Out of the box, the pose may seem a bit underwhelming:

Cult Mechanicus Release (11)
You know what, though? You can basically pose this guy any way you like! The legs, in particular, are every bit as flexible as those of a Contemptor: You simply cut off the nubs that lock them into place, and different poses (even running or walking) are really easy to achieve.

If there is one real shortcoming to the kit, it’s the lack of options: While the model’s pose may be unbelievably flexible, there are actually only very few ways of equipping these guys: the – delightfully Contemptor-esque – power fists or the slightly goofy gauntlets with integrated guns (reminding me of the equally goofy Batman villain KGBeast, for some reason). And while the shoulder mounted weapons are a pretty clever shout out to the model’s earlier incarnation, they do seem like a bit of an afterthought, from a visual standpoint.

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And there’s a personal gripe of mine: The arms are just too short. It’s easy to see that this was a deliberate choice on the designers’ part, but it just seems slightly strange that the Kastelan would probably have difficulties hitting anything with its power fists.

But wait, it’s not all about the robots! In addition to the two Kastelan models, we also get a Datasmith as part of the deal!

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I really love this guy for a number of reasons: He’s instantly recognisable as a Tech-Priest, for one, but there are also several interesting things about him: He’s more massive and imposing than your average, hunched over Magos. He’s pretty heavily armed. And while he has the robes, his heavily augmented head remains uncovered, giving him a rather distinct look. And you’ve got to respect the amount of thought that must have gone into the array of servo-arms designed to slot his datacards into the Kastelan robots on the fly.

But what is possibly my favourite thing about the Datasmith is how the model seems like a reunion with a long-lost friend. Come on, guys, doesn’t he remind you of someone…?

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That’s right: The model is strikingly similar to the artwork depicting Magos Delphan Gruss from the Inquisitor rulebook:

Delphan Gruss
And there’s just as much of a resemblance to this Magos Explorator from one of Fantasy Flight’s publications (possibly influenced by Gruss in turn, but yeah):

Magos Explorator

Which makes the Datasmith model yet another wonderful callback to several older Mechanicus concepts. Man, I just love that kind of meta stuff ;)

It helps that the model itself is, once more, beautifully detailed, with lots and lots of tech-y gubbinz to feast your eyes on. And we get yet another optional head for the bitzbox:

Cult Mechanicus Release (14)All in all, this is probably the most interesting kit from this release, at least for me. Because, when all is said and done, what you get are two easily Dreadnought-sized, highly customisable models that will be immensely useful for a lot of conversion projects plus a very distinct, Space Marine sized Tech-Priest — and all at a fairly reasonable price point, no less. I think it won’t be a big surprise for you to hear that this was the first kit from this release I actually picked up ;)

 

Adeptus Mechanicus Kataphron Battle Servitors

Cult Mechanicus Release (21)While the Kastelan Robots didn’t meet unanimous enthusiasm within the 40k crowd, I think we can safely say that this is a kit that many hobbyists have been waiting for, seeing how Praetorian servitors with track units for lower bodies have been a long-established part of AdMech lore. Personally speaking, the concept has never resonated all that strongly with me, but that’s probably just a matter of personal taste — so yeah, here we go: tracked servitors. Good job, GW!

Seriously, though: The designers certainly delivered on the concept, providing us with yet another spectactularly detailed multi-kit that allows us to build one of two kinds of Kataphron servitors. Let’s look at each of them in turn:Cult Mechanicus Release (22)First up, the Kataphron Destroyers, which basically work as mobile weapon platforms: While both variants of the kit use the same general template of a humanoid torso grafted to a track unit, the design seems to work slightly less well on the Destroyers, because the models seem less human, due to the spindly arms and crude augmentations. I am pretty sure that this effect is entirely deliberate, although the resulting model just seems a tad ill-proportioned to me.

The constituent parts of the models are great, though, with excellently designed weapons that are both instantly recognisable as well as slightly more sophisticated and “tech-y” than their IG or Marine counterparts:

Cult Mechanicus Release (24)The torso pieces also deserve some credit, because they are beautifully sinister: I just love the combination of organic heads with huge, clunky bionics:

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All in all, however, this particular setup doesn’t really agree with me: It just looks slightly too haphazard and hokey for my taste.

The Kataphron Breachers, on the other hand, are far more to my liking, even though they are basically very similar to the Destroyers:

Cult Mechanicus Release (16)What really improves the models in my book is the addition of extra armour plates, which adds a more centauroid look to the entire model: The human torso seems less incidental and more integrated with the machine, which is definitely a plus! I also love the shoulder pads, high collars and the more imposing left arms: The Breachers are every bit as sinister and creepy as the Destroyers, yet they seem more balanced and have a much better flow:

Cult Mechanicus Release (18)Once again, the detailing on each part of the models is something to behold. And I just love those upper bodies with just the slightest bit of organic face peering out from all that armour. Brilliantly creepy!

Cult Mechanicus Release (20)Like I said, the whole concept of servitors with track units as their undercarriage has never really worked all that well for me, but I can still recognise these models as excellent iterations of that concept. What’s more, these should be really excellent conversion fodder for a variety of projects — but we’ll be getting to that ;)

 

Adeptus Mechanicus Electro-Priests

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When the first, fuzzy pictures of the two kinds of Electro Priests emerged, I wasn’t sold: In these washed out leaked pictures, they looked like crude kitbashes made from Dark Eldar Wracks and the robed legs from the old Dark Angels Veterans. Fortunately enough, the finished models have ended up looking far more convincing, and they also use another vintage character concept that I remember from my happy days of reading the 2nd edition Codex Imperialis. Yay!

It’s great how both variants of the kit work with some of the elements established in the lore so long ago: The burnt-out eyes and electoos, for exaple. The contrast between the bare upper bodies and robed legs also add a monkish look to the models — almost like the 40k, AdMech version of flagellants, which is a great idea and produces a squad with a very distinctive look amongst all the mechanoid monstrosities.

So far so good, but let’s take a closer look at the two kinds of Electro Priests we get:

First up, the Corpuscarii Electro Priests:

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I really love these guys for their decided Steampunk/Diesel Punk vibe. The main reason for this are the massive electric coils around their heads and hands, complete with fairly crude cabling and massive backpacks grafted to their spines:

Cult Mechanicus Release (30)This gives the impression of individuals very crudely reshaped into organic lightning rods: Their equipment is so cumbersome and eclectic that you’ve really got to love it! At the same time, the cluster of coils around their heads also works as a kind of halo, adding a nice twist to their monkish, priestly look and turning them into living angels of electricity, so to speak.

There’s something wonderful about the contrast between the organic, flowing lines of the bodies and the crude, invasive augmetics and cables, making these guys very interesting to look at. Very cool!

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The Fulgurite Electro Priests, on the other hand, seem somewhat less impressive to me. Yes, they retain most of the visual strenghts of the kit, but the two-handed weapons just don’t speak to me the way the Corpuscarii Electro Priests‘ crazy and cobbled-together looking equipment does:

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They are still pretty cool, make no mistake, but the weapons result in a kind of “SciFi-Shaolin” look that seems slightly less interesting than the Steampunk vibe the Corpuscarii have going on.

What I love about these models is how they bring something very new and distinct to the AdMech catalogue: I a collection of models that is mostly characterised by monstrous cyborgs or utterly inhuman machine soldiers, these guys make for a very interesting and grimdark contrast, which is great. I can also imagine they’ll be very popular with the converters. All in all, a very cool kit giving us one outstanding and one slightly less interesting, yet still fairly cool, type of infantry.

 

Conversion ideas:

I think the Cult Mechanicus kits will prove to be a real treasure trove for converters, and we are already seeing the first results online. So allow me to share a couple of ideas with you and point you towards some inspirational best practice examples:

First of all, it should be mentioned that all of these kits would be just as great for a Dark Mechanicus army, obviously. They are already pretty disturbing and sinister as it is, and I think it would be a lot of fun to take them even further via an influx of chaos, Dark Eldar and Skaven bitz. The Cult Mechanicus models are arguably even better suited to this fate than the Skitarii, seeing how many of them are more grimdark and less clean and stylised than the Skitarii kits.

The other big winners of this release are the INQ28 aficionados, once again. While it’s true that an enterprising INQ28 fan can use almost anything for a conversion project, it’s great to finally have so many options for building AdMech characters and their disturbing creations for our own warbands and retinues.

So, after this short prelude, let’s check out what might be in store for all the different kits:

Tech-Priest Dominus:
This model initially seems pretty complicated to convert, yet one need look no further than  Omegon’s excellent conversion of the model to see that it’s fairly easy to make an already rather disturbing stock model about 100% creepier! I think we can look forward to many people tackling conversions of this particular model, especially when it comes to INQ28. Beyond the confines of the Adeptus Mechanicus, I also think the Dominus would work really well as an alternate Chaos Lord or Warpsmith!

Kastelan Robots:
Probably the most interesting kit for converters — I am actually hard at work on these myself (and will share my conversions with you soon). The sheer flexibility of the models turns them into a perfect canvas for converters. Just to outline a few options…

  • as recently suggested by TJ Atwell, they could work really well as counts as Contemptors or as a possible base model for converting your own plastic Contemptor. These comparison shots – kindly provided by Kilofix – shows the models are reasonably close in size, so it would definitely work.
  • If you don’t feel up to the task of making a full-fledged Contemptor out of them, that’s fine too! Why not use them as alternate Dreadnoughts or Helbrutes (Alpha Brute, anyone…?) or something a little more exotic — such as Shibboleth’s fantastic Penitent Engines?
  • But maybe you need not even go that far: For those of you merely slightly unhappy with the design, particularly with the heads, it can be really easy to change the look of the models with a few small tweaks. Just check out Andreas Kentorp’s excellent Kastelan to see what can be achieved with just some small changes (and a gorgeous paintjob, of course).

The Datasmith accompanying the models also warrants a couple of sentences, since he seems like a brilliantly versatile model to me:

  • He can obviously be used as a very cool Tech-Priest character for INQ28. Seeing how similar he is to both Delphan Gruss and that FFG illustration shown further up in this post, I think I’ll make him into a Magos Explorator, for instance.
  • But it doesn’t stop there: The fact that he’s scaled very similarly to a Space Marine, he would make for a fantastic base model when converting a Tech Marine, Master of the Forge, Iron Hands Officer, Warpsmith, Iron Warriors Commander or what have you — some additional bitz and you’re there!
  • and there’s always the option of using him as an alternate Enginseer model in your Astra Militarum army.
  • Maybe he could even be converted into an Inquisitor of the Ordo Machinum…? Just sayin’…

Kataphron Battle Servitors:
Another kit that should lend itself really well to conversions, since each part of the model could be used for something different. Or you could just keep them mostly as they are and use them as alternate (Iron Hands) Centurions — or Obliterators for your CSM army, in case you still haven’t found an option for representing Obliterators that you are happy with.

As for some more involved conversion projects, what about…

  • using a Kataphron as a base model for an Iron Warriors Lord or even Daemon Prince?
  • using the upper bodies on top of Terminator legs? This should work pretty well, and you could end up with pretty brilliant true scale Iron Hands, Iron Warriors, bipedal Skitarii battle servitors, particularly imposing Necromunda Pitslaves or similarly augmented warriors.
  • The track units, on the other hand, could be used to kitbash your own plastic Rapier weapon batteries…
  • …or even Grot Tanks?!

 

Electro Priests
These should really come in handy for all kinds of 40k and INQ28 kitbashes, including but not limited to:

  • the Corpuscarii would work excellently as an alternate highly experimental psyker battle squad for the Astra Militarum: I can just imagine someone in the Imperium crazy enough to use implants and augmentations in order to make psykers easier to control and/or more powerful
  • one of these as a penitent psyker or augmented warrior in a radical Inquisitor’s retinue would probably look pretty cool!
  • the blind heads would be excellent for all kinds of psyker and Astropath conversions
  • the models could be used to convert members of a particular unhinged cult…
  • …and the options for chaos are basically endless: tainted psykers? Dark Mechanicus cultists? Kitbashes involving the gribbly bitz from the Dark Eldar wracks and/or gas mask heads from the snap fit cultists? The world’s your oyster here!

Oh, and one final thing: If you haven’t already done so, you should definitely check out John Blanche’s own, recent AdMech warband. Either via the brilliant photo feature in this month’s issue of Warhammer:Visions or by browsing through this thread over at the Ammobunker. John not only showcases the versatility of the new kits, but also ends up with a truly spectacular and unbelievably grimdark collection of models, as should be expected from one of the fathers of 40k!

 

So what about the release on the whole? While I am prepared to call this a very strong offering, I cannot help feeling the Skitarii may have been the slightly better release of the two. Sure, the Cult Mechanicus is more eclectic and disturbing, yet at the cost of some divisive design decisions. The Skitarii, on the other hand, played it a bit safer, yet ended up the more even, consistently great release. At least in my book.

However, such considerations are ultimately moot, of course, because these two releases should definitely be seen as one, overarching faction: After all, the division between the two sub-factions still seems pretty artificial to me. Maybe this is just the way GW would like us to think about armies from now on: as multiple, smaller sub-factions that can be freely allied to each other, rather than monolithic blocks?

If considered as a bigger whole, the combined Adeptus Mechanicus faction is certainly one of the most spectacular armies available right now, easily on par with the redesigned Dark Eldar. And that’s without talking about the extra options you get by adding the Forgeworld Mechanicum catalogue! Speaking of which, I actually prefer the plastic 40k models over Forgeworld’s offerings in this particular case: The kits are eclectic and versatile, and really cutting edge when it comes to the detail level and sculpt, whereas the Forgeworld Mechanicum models have mostly left me cold so far, with the exception of one or two kits.

Another thing that I really love about the whole Mechanicus faction is how the new models manage to serve as shout outs and callbacks to pieces of art and character concepts we have known for years – or, in some cases, decades – while managing to turn it all into one coherent army (or two coherent armies that can be allied, to be exact). This makes the Skitarii and Cult Mechanicus an enormous bit of fanservice towards long time fans of the grimdark 41st millennium — at least that’s what it feels like to me.

So is there nothing negative about the AdMech models? Well, one thing: Modeler and painter extraordinaire Jeff Vader recently leveled one particular criticism at this release, and it is one I share wholeheartedly: For all the brilliant new kits, GW didn’t nearly do enough with the Tech-Priests themselves: It would have been awesome to be able to build Magi of different shapes and sizes with all kinds of bizarre augmentations. As it stands, enterprising converters will still be able to make it happen via the bitz provided by the release, and it is certainly something I will attempt myself when I inevitable build an AdMech retinue for INQ28, but actually having this reflected in the release would have been the icing on the cake.

In spite of that, we have a spectacular new faction for 40k and some brilliant new kits to play around with, and it feels like it’s been worth the wait.

 

But what do you think? Are you happy with the Cult Mechanicus kits or were you looking for something else? And do you have any conversion ideas you would like to share? I’d be happy to hear from you in the comments section!

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

News from the Brazen Forge…

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 2, 2015 by krautscientist

The original plan for this week was to present to you an in-depth look at the recent Cult Mechanicus release, but unfortunately some RL related issues are currently wreaking havoc on my hobby mojo, so that particular post will yet have to wait for a while — please bear with me ;)

But we cannot have a week without some fresh content, of course, so let me whip up a small consolation price: My latest set of Khornate kitbashes, never before shown on this blog. I hope you’ll find something to like about these, even if they are not AdMech. So, shall we…?

 

I. Chosen by Khorne

As you have seen in my recent Iron Warriors related post, I’ve been rather enthusiastically cutting up some of those Dark Vengeance Chosen models. Now they are beautiful models, make no mistake, but after an initial reluctance to cut them apart and convert them, they have turned out to be a remarkable source of kitbashing fun. Which is why I not only use them as a base for my Iron Warriors Killteam, but also for some World Eaters:

Let’s start with a model that was actually inspired by a piece of art from Fantasy Flight’s Tome of Blood: Ever since I saw this piece by Diegogisbertllorens, I wanted to convert a model resembling the berzerker in that illustration. So I cut up one of my leftover Chosen models and started to experiment. Here’s what I came up with:

WE_Chosen_kitbash (7)
As you can see, the model diverges from the art in some places, but the inspiration is still pretty obvious. And even the parts that do diverge from the source material have been a conscious choice. For one, several people have pointed out that one of the FW berzerker heads with a rebreather would have been a much closer match for the artwork, and I actually tried it on the model. But it did feel a bit much: He already has the spiky and warped Chosen armour, and he ended up looking a tad too monstrous, if that makes any sense. I also tried all the other rebreather heads I had in my collection (loyal and chaos Terminators, the rebreather head from the Raptors with shaved down horns,…), but none of them worked for me quite as well as the one I ultimately chose: A humble rebreather head from the very first version of the 90s multipart plastic Space Marines:

It’s heavily scarred (maybe not easy to make out in the picture), which is a plus. But it also has a special, almost – dare I say it – forlorn quality to it that I think serves as a nice counterpoint to the rest of the model. This is clearly not a berzerker running at his next victim, but rather a guy who slowly advances. Sure, there’ll be bloodshed and murder at the end, but I like the very slight ambiguity created by the head. As if he’s saying “I cannot help what I am, so let’s get this over with.” The smaller hatchet held in his right hand underlines the effect even further, lending the model a workmanlike quality, if you ask me: Only a truly fearsome fighter would step onto the battlefields of th 41st millennium wielding a relatively diminutive weapon like that… ;)

On a related note, this conversion actually led straight into the next small project, because the head transplant on the Chosen left me with half a chopped-off head, and since I am always careful not to throw away anything the might yet prove useful, I tried my best to repair that helmet for future use. The solution was to splice it together with the jaw of a WFB Cairn Wraith skull. Take a look:

Chosen_helmet_WIP
I was just stupidly happy with this for some reason…

Working from there, the combination of my fellow World Eater Biohazard’s feedback, browsing through Wade Pryce’s excellent World Eaters again and the memory of a certain piece of Adrian Smith artwork from the 3.5 codex made me realise that there was just one way to go for this helmet:

Chosen_helmet_WIP02
And while I was super-happy with the helmet, the usual routine of dry-fitting it to a couple of possible bodies I had lying around didn’t really work out all that well: The head just looked too “special”, for lack of a better word, to be squandered on yet another Chaos Space Marine. But then, fate intervened, because I still had a spare Kranon the Relentless model. I had picked this up a while ago from a fellow forumite, but the problem was that the previous owner seems to have been very fond of the old superglue, and while the regular Chosen are easy enough to cut apart, even once assembled, the way Kranon is designed has really prevented me from working with the model so far — all that superglue really made it impossible to take the model apart. So it basically went to the bottom of the pile, with very little chance of ever seeing the light of day again.

But lo and behold, it turned out to be the perfect base for a conversion using the newly converted head. And so, a short while later, I had the following model. Let’s call him “Huntmaster Korann” or “Kornan” or whatever anagram of Kranon we can think of, for now:

Huntmaster Korann WIP (16)
Huntmaster Korann WIP (14)
Huntmaster Korann WIP (15)
Huntmaster Korann WIP (17)
Getting the pose and details on this model just so took a bit of doing — and I am very much indebted to the feedback of many fellow hobbyists over at The Bolter & Chainsword for providing feedback on this model. It nearly drew me up the wall at the time, but in the end all those suggestions really were for the best ;)

I also built yet another Huntmaster for Khorne’s Eternal Hunt: Barras Ergha, the 4th assault company’s Master of Signal:

Barras Ergha, Master of Signal WIP (1)
Barras Ergha, Master of Signal WIP (2)
Barras Ergha, Master of Signal WIP (4)
Barras Ergha, Master of Signal WIP (5)
Granted, Master of Signal may not be the most obvious battlefield role for a World Eaters, but seeing how I imagine the 4th to be a bit more disciplined and focused than your average force of bloodcrazed madmen, I thought it was fun to have them retain some of the command structure of a Pre-Heresy legion, including the various specialists. The fact that one of Flint13’s coolest Night Lords characters is also a Master of Signal may have had some influence on my decision as well…

At the same time, this guy is still a World Eater, so he needed to look like a true warrior. I think I’ve managed a pretty good balance.

Once more, this conversion was made possible by Commissar Molotov’s recent bitz drop, since the right arm, head and legs came from his little care package — the legs are even from one of the web-exclusive Space Marine Captains released a while ago!

Some of you may have noticed the helmet mag-locked to his belt. I added it because, even though I am a huge fan of bareheaded Marines, it seemed sensible for a comms-officer to have the option of donning a helmet that certainly has some additional sensors and communications functionality. Speaking of which, I lost my marbles a bit and obsessively added some comms-equipment and additional sensors to the helmet to make it look more plausible:

Barras Ergha, Master of Signal WIP (6)

 

II. More Skullreaper Shenanigans

It goes without saying that I didn’t forget about all those wonderful Skullreaper/Wrathmonger bitz I still had lying around either. For instance, I finished the conversion of my plastic Herald of Khorne/Counts as Skulltaker. You may remember the model from a while ago:

Plastic Skulltaker counts as WIP (2)
I was still considering a cape for the model at this point, to bring it closer in line with the stock model for Skulltaker. After quite a bit of deliberation, however, I ultimately decided against it: A cape would have destroyed the dynamic, lithe look of the model, which is basically my favourite part of the conversion. It might have worked better on a more static, bulky model like the original Skulltaker. In the end, though, I rather wanted to end up with a model that I like than with a model that instantly reads as a Skulltaker counts as.

That said, the model’s back did seem a bit barren, so what to do? Funnily enough, trying to give this guy some wings was as easy as digging out some Vargheist leftovers from my bitzbox, because a pair of vestigial wings is included with the kit. Take a look:

Plastic Skulltaker counts as WIP (5)
Here’s the thing, though: While it did look alright, it just wasn’t what I was looking for for the character. I love how the model seems to be running towards its next prey, and the winged version somehow loses that feeling — plus the wings really messed up the model’s silhouette. So back into the bitzbox they went (just for a short while, though — we’ll be getting to that in a minute…).

But what about some kind of trophy pole? Sure, most standard trophy poles were straight out, because the model’s elongated skull would make a normal trophy pole impossible: Even if I had managed to find a position where both elements didn’t interfere with one another, the model would still have ended up wearing a trophy pole that prevents it from turning its head. Ouch!

I did have a trophy rack from the Dark Eldar Kabalite warriors, though — and I think it really works! Take a look:

Plastic Skulltaker counts as WIP (7)
Plastic Skulltaker counts as WIP (6)
Plastic Skulltaker counts as WIP (8)
It doesn’t interfere with the skull, plus I like the blade-like look it has. It even has some 40k bric-a-brac dangling from it, which is nice as well. I think we may finally consider this conversion finished!

But wait, there’s more: Ever since I first saw those Skullreapers, I wondered whether it would be possible to use them as a base for truescaled World Eaters, so that was definitely something I wanted to try! It was Martox’ true scale Khornate Marine that provided me with the inspiration I needed for my own conversion, and I chose a similar approach to come up with this model:

Truescale World Eater WIP (1)
Truescale World Eater WIP (2)
Truescale World Eater WIP (3)
Truescale World Eater WIP (4)
Just like Martox, I used a Chaos Terminator torso for the upper body, but I shaved mine down until it worked (and until the original Skullreaper breastplate fit over it). The axe was spliced together from a Chaos Terminator weapon and an axe from the Skullreaper kit. And the right pauldron came from a very sweet bitz package Augustus b’Raass sent me a while ago (cheers, mate!).

As for the model’s size, here’s a scale comparison shot showing the WIP World Eater next to my (pretty big) true scaled model for Praetor Janus Auriga:

Truescale World Eater WIP (5)

 

III. “Don’t call me Firefist!”

Those of you who have read Aaaron Dembski-Bowden’s (highly recommended) novel “Talon of Horus” may remember one Lheorvine “Firefist” Ukris, a World Eater who steals every scene he’s in.  There’s even a piece of artwork representing Lheor:

Lheor_artwork
I liked the character so much that I definitely wanted to build him in miniature form, as some kind of cameo character for my World Eaters, so to speak. Granted, building Lheor seemed a bit derivative, seeing how both InsanePsychopath and Flint13 have come up with stunning interpretations of the character, but then those two models were what inspired me to go for it in the first place — I just couldn’t resist.

So here’s my interpretation of the character (still slightly WIP):

Lheorvine Ukris WIP (1)
Lheorvine Ukris WIP (4)
Lheorvine Ukris WIP (2)
Lheorvine Ukris WIP (3)
Lheorvine Ukris WIP (5)
Some parts of the model try to faithfully recreate the depiction of the character in the novel and accompanying artwork, but I did take some liberties: For instance, I ditched the aquila breastplate, because…well, screw aquila breastplates, alright? ;)  Seriously, I just loved the “Great Crusade” look created by that particular torso, so I just rolled with it.

 

IV. Let loose the dogs of war

And last, but definitely not least: A conversion I am really proud of, and a project that came about very spontaneously: I was looking at some WFB Dragon Ogre bitz and one of the leftover heads from the plastic Bloodthirster a while ago, and before I knew what I was doing, I had made this:

Massive Fleshhound WIP (1)
Massive Fleshhound WIP (2)

The beginnings of a rather huge Flesh Hound of Khorne: I have always loved the Flesh Hound concept and design, and the creatures are certainly a fantastic fit for an army designed as a hunting party. I really hate the most recent models, though, since they seem so clunky and ill-proportioned.

Using the leftover Bloodthirster head was a spontaneous idea, when I realised it should fit the Dragon Ogre bodies rather well. In the end, it took very little shaving (and the addition of a plastic Daemon Prince neck) to create the basic construction.

With the basic construction worked out, I added the characteristic neck frills and collar of Khorne — both indispensable parts of the Flesh Hound archetype, of course:

Massive Flesh Hound WIP (7)
Massive Flesh Hound WIP (8)
As a matter of fact, those frills are the same vestigial Vargheist wings that didn’t make the cut on the Skulltaker model shown further up in this post — waste not want not, and all that… ;)

And here’s a comparison picture showing both the kitbashed Flesh Hound and a standard Space Marine:

Massive Flesh Hound WIP (9)
As you can see, this guy is roughly the same size as a juggernaut (albeit a bit less bulky), so he could be used as a mount for a Marine. I think I’ll rather be using him as one of Lorimar’s hunting dogs, however. Oh, and those front legs will probably be gripping some kind of rocky outcrop, with a mangled Astartes corpse right below the creature’s head — at least that’s the plan for now

 

So yeah, so much for my recent Khornate kitbashing activities. When any of these will actually be painted is anyone’s guess of course — but I would still love to hear any feedback you might have! Just drop me a comment!

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

Distracted by Iron

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, WIP with tags , , , , , , , on May 27, 2015 by krautscientist

When I recently showed you my Iron Warriors Warsmith, I already mentioned the temptation of building and painting a small Iron Warriors Killteam and, well, what can I say? I am a huge hobby butterfly, which is why I am already hard at work on the various models that will make up the team ;)

On the one hand, this is yet another instance of me getting sidetracked by another project. On the other hand, trying to build models that are Chaos Space Marines, yet fairly different in design from my World Eaters, is quite an educational and enjoyable experience. So allow me to share the results of my work with you today ;)

The idea behind this Killteam is to build the models to be immediately recognisable as Iron Warriors, so I thought about which visual archetypes I wanted to include. The Iron Warriors, to me, are characterised by their cold efficiency and bitterness: a reliance on superior strategy and wargear and the will to sacrifice as many lives as it will take to vanquish the foe. I wanted the models to exude a sense of cold and sinister brutality, a menace born of the disregard for human lives. I’ll let you be the judge as to whether or not I have succeeded.

Before we get to actually take a look at the model, let me mention two resources that made this project possible in the first place:

The first is the batch of Dark Vengeance Chosen models kindly given to me by Commissar Molotov: The Chosen had just the amount of bulk and presence I needed to make my Iron Warriors look like actual, bitter veterans of the Long War instead of just some more CSM flunkies. So many thanks again to Mol for his generosity!

The other thing that really helped were the Iron Warrior torso pieces (from the old IW conversion kit) I managed to pick up as part of an ebay auction some time ago: These are still excellent, and their bulk and uniformity provide an excellent visual backbone for the Killteam. They would also work exceptionally well for Iron Hands, come to think of it…

Anyway, enough talk! Time for the models! ;)

I. Testing the waters

There actually exists an Iron Warriors model beyond the recently completed Warsmith in my collection: An Iron Warriors test model I just painted for the heck of it what feels like ages ago. Here it is:

IW_old 01
IW_old 02
While certainly nothing special by today’s standard, I didn’t simply want to leave this guy behind, so I decided to give him a bit of a facelift. The clunky icon was replaced with a DV Chosen bolter. And while I didn’t completely repaint the model, I used it to test some new painting techniques of mine, especially on the hazard stripes.

So here’s the touched-up version:

Iron Warriors Killteam test model (1)
Iron Warriors Killteam test model (2)
Iron Warriors Killteam test model (3)
Having this model as a test piece allowed me to figure out a way to include the legion number on one of the pauldrons (by using a cut out and inverted Cadian decal, incidentally).

Iron Warriors Killteam test model (4)
Granted, he certainly isn’t contest winning material, even with the touchups and all, but it feels good to finally have found a new home for the model ;)

 

II. The Champion

You should still remember this guy from the last Iron Warriors related post. Here’s what he looked like when we last saw him:

Iron Warriors Champion WIP (6)
I am still really happy with the conversion, so I was actually pretty psyched to get some more paint on this guy! And painting him turned out to be a rather enjoyable experience too, since the Leadbelcher basecoat worked extremely well! I washed it with GW Gryphonne Sepia once and with black twice, and all that remained afterwards was to block out the details and add some final touches. Granted, it was a bit more complicated in reality, but it certainly didn’t feel like it ;)

Anyway, here’s the finished model:

Iron Warriors Killteam Champion (2)
Iron Warriors Killteam Champion (1)
Iron Warriors Killteam Champion (3)
Iron Warriors Killteam Champion (4)
All in all, I think the model makes for an excellent IW squad leader, if I do say so myself. There’s something dark and brooding about him that seems really fitting! And although it seems a bit blasphemous that I had to cut up a Skullcrusher helmet to build the model, it’s probably the best possible helmet for an IW champion — many thanks to Oldschoolsoviet for giving me this idea!

 

III. The Apothecary

So, which Iron Warriors archetype to tackle next? Before I could stop myself, I was thinking “If I were to build an Iron Warriors Killteam, one of them would have to be an Apothecary, due to the IW’s well-documented history of scavengin geneseed…” The model was already halfway done before I realised what I was doing ;)

Anyway, here’s the finished Apothecary conversion:

Iron Warriors Killteam Apothecary (2)
Iron Warriors Killteam Apothecary (1)
Iron Warriors Killteam Apothecary (3)
On this model, the biggest challenge was to maintain the balance between having the character look like a Chaos Space Marine (and an Iron Warrior, at that), while also seeming businesslike enough to work as an Apothecary. In the end, the bit that really makes the conversion is a bare, augmented head from the Skitarii Ranger/Vanguard kit. It just fits so well, don’t you think?

By the way, the first version of the model was carrying a plasma pistol, rather than an axe, but I felt the axe added a subtle executioner look to the character, and that’s certainly an aspect of his role as an Apothecary, don’t you think?

IV. The Breacher

The next archetype was pretty easy to figure out, because you cannot have an Iron Warriors Killteam without a massive Breacher guy, can you? I wanted this next character to be more dynamic and aggressive than the prior models, so I chose the running Chosen legs and made his pose pretty dynamic. Take a look:

Iron Warriors Killteam Breacher (1)
Iron Warriors Killteam Breacher (3)
Iron Warriors Killteam Breacher (2)
As you can see, some WFB chaos bitz proved to be a great help here, allowing me to arm the Breacher with a massive mace and boarding shield. I also added a holstered bolter, though — this guy is a crazy prepared Iron Warrior, after all.

My favourite detail, apart from the pose, is the helmet: I really enjoy the “expressionless”, utterly inhuman look of that particular helmet from the WFB Chaos chariot crew, and I added some tech-y gubbins to the helmet to make it look slightly more modern.

V. The Trencher

Seeing how my IW killteam is built around what I consider the big Iron Warrior archetypes, there were two ideas I wanted to use on this model: The first is the Marine’s CC weapon, which represents an Iron Warriors entrenching tool. The other was the use of a bionic limb, seeing how the Iron Warriors are known to replace mutated (or damaged) limbs with sophisticated augmetic parts. Here’s what I came up with, based on those two ideas:

Iron Warriors Killteam Trencher (3)
Iron Warriors Killteam Trencher (2)
Iron Warriors Killteam Trencher (1)
Iron Warriors Killteam Trencher (4)
The entrenching tool is a weapon from the WFB Skaven Stormvermin kit, and easily one of my favourite plastic weapons, simply because it’s so vicious-looking! I have wanted to use this particular part for quite a while, and this model turned out to be the perfect occasion.

As for the bionic limb, I settled on replacing the model’s right leg, mostly because I used Kranon’s legs, and the right leg is only partially formed anyway (because the model’s cape normally obscures it). Now I do realise that some may see my design choice as a bit of a divisive feature, because I went for a – fairly thin – Skitarii leg. However, this was a rather conscious choice, because I wanted to achieve a slightly peg-legged look: Seeing how the entire armour will be silver, a leg painted in silver wouldn’t stand out too much, which is why I went for the Skitarii part. Plus I was also inspired by a scene in Graham McNeill’s Storm of Iron, where a veteran Iron Warrior actually experiences difficulties due to his leg replacement — I wanted the leg to be both at once: a highly sophisticated replacement, but also a possible weakness, and I think the Skitarii leg does a great job embodying that particular duality.

VI. Anything else…?

So far for the finished conversions, but are there any more plans for this particular Killteam? Right now, I think there will be two more members: A heavy weapons specialist (I am leaning towards arming him with a rocket launcher) will be one of the additional members. I already have most of the bitz I’ll need for the conversion.

And there may also be one final model for the Killteam that will be rather different in size and nature from its peers. I’ll just leave you with a little teaser for now…

The Twins

But that’s basically all for today, folks. Here are the finished models for the Killteam so far:

Iron Warriors Killteam WIP (1)
And the entire Killteam, including the unpainted models:

Iron Warriors Killteam WIP (3)
Like I said, this has been a very rewarding mini-project so far, and I think I have learned quite a few days that will ultimately also benefit my World Eaters.

So, what do you think? Any ideas for additional members of suggestions regarding the existing models? I’d be happy to hear any feedback you might have — just drop me a comment. In closing, I’ve also made a small “glamour shot” of the finished Iron Warriors, which should make an excellent finale for this post ;)

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

Iron Within

Khorne’s Eternal Hunt: Trooping the Colour

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2015 by krautscientist

Back in January, I promised you some updated army pictures of my biggest and longest-running hobby project, my World Eaters army. And today, I intend to make good on that promise, so let’s have a little army showcase, shall we?

I’ve said many times that my World Eaters continue to be my favourite hobby project, and while I am indeed a huge hobby butterfly, I usually try to put whatever I learn on my various other projects to good use on my World Eaters, endeavouring to imbue the army with as much character as I can: On the one hand, the 4th assault company may be a typical World Eaters force in that it features lots and lots of red and brass, scores of aggressive guys wielding chainweapons and a huge number of bunny ears ;) But at the same time, pretty much every model of the army has been converted to fit my interpretation of the World Eaters and my aesthetic sensibilities.

What’s more, maybe the most important thing I have learned during those last few years in the hobby is that every model should matter. This may seem like a thoroughly outdated concept in these days of staggering, unbound Apocalypse battles with many thousand points on either side of the table, but it’s still my firm belief: Every model in this army is a grizzled veteran (often of ten millennia of fighting the Long War), and it should show in the models.

But I’m rambling, and you probably came here for the pictures, above all else, right? So here goes:

This is what the army looked like back in 2012:

WE_Army05
And in 2013

WE_Army09

And finally, here’s a big part of the army, photographed in late 2014 for the “We Are Legion” event over at the Blog dé Kouzes:

Khorne's Eternal Hunt 2014 02
But even this latest photo was missing some of the models, so it was time to troop them all out and take some new pictures — quite a task at this point, because the army has grown so big that it has become rather unwieldy for photo sessions ;)

But I persevered, and here are the results: The entirety of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt as of May 2015:

army shot 01 big colour
That’s quite a bit of red, eh? ;)

Seriously, though: It’s possibly not the biggest army out there (everything in the picture above adds up to about 4,000 points), or the best-painted one. But it’s easily one of my biggest hobby achievements so far, and the project I always keep returning to. And I do feel pretty proud when seeing them neatly arrayed like that — or at least, as neatly arrayed as is possible with a horde of bloodthirsty maniacs…

army shot 03 big colour
The lineup pitured above also includes some twelve or so Khorne berzerkers that were painted way back when, during the late 90s. The paintjobs are really showing their age by now, but I just couldn’t bring myself to exclude them from the picture (and the extra bodies also come in handy during games, of course).

On the other hand, when I look back at the development of the army over the last year or so, there have been some fairly recent additions that I am especially happy with, so let’s take a closer look at those:

First up, here are all the models added to the army since the last “official” army shocase back in 2014:

Newblood 2015
Not a huge mass of models, certainly, but some of my favourite pieces have been the work of the last one or two years:

There’s the Wargrinder, of course:

Wargrinder (26)
Still one of my favourite conversions, and a project I am particularly proud of. I remember I had never tackled a model of this size before, and working on this piece taught me that there’s really nothing to be afraid of — in fact, bigger models can be quite enjoyable to work on and provide and excellent change of pace!

Read more about the Wargrinder here, in case you’re interested.

Together with a – fairly recently completed – Forgefiend (that kept fighting me every part of the way, thus earning the name Gorespite for itself), the Wargrinder nicely rounds out my collection of bigger war machines and daemon engines. In-universe, these are the creations of this fine gentleman here, Huntmaster Deracin, Keeper of the Forge and Warpsmith to the 4th assault company (and yet another model I am really happy with):

Huntmaster Deracin (11)
And here he is once again, surrounded by his fiendish creations. A man and his daemons, so to speak:

A man and his daemons
And make no mistake: The great forge aboard the Aeternus Venator never sleeps, so there may yet be more daemons of steel and brass given shape by Deracin in the future…

Speaking of steel, there are also the Ancients of the company. Meet Brother Marax the Fallen, Damokk the Breacher, Khorlen the Lost and Khoron the Undying, Keeper of Trophies:

Barbershop Helquartet of Doom
I rather love Dreadnoughts, so making each of these into a true character in their own right has been a fun challenge. They now form the Barbershop Helquartet of DOOM!, obviously (overpowered dataslate pending) ;)

Then there’s my updated version of everybody’s favourite madman, Khârn the Betrayer:

Kharn the Betrayer  (1)
Kharn the Betrayer (2)
Now Khârn and my own Lord Captain Lorimar haven’t exactly been on speaking terms since Skalathrax, so it’s rather unlikely that they’ll be fighting alongside one another in battle. This was still a fun project, however, and I tried to stay true to the spirit of the – still excellent – vintage Khârn by Jes Goodwin. Speaking of which, I am still rather proud of my – pretty comprehensive – post on Khârn’s various incarnations over the years, so check that out as well!

While we are on the matter of legendary World Eaters, the project I am possibly most pleased with is the completion of Lord Captain Lorimar, Master of the Hunt and commander of the 4th assault company:

Master of the Hunt 02
Getting this model finished really took a long time, and I am particularly pleased that finally putting the finishing touches on Lorimar happened as a friendly hobby challenge between Biohazard and me. Read all about it here.

So Lorimar is finally leading his warriors from the front, as it should be:

Head of the Pack
So what’s next for Khorne’s Eternal Hunt? Let’s take a look:

One thing I would like to do is to finally paint the remaining members of my Gladiatorii squad:

The Gladiatorii
Building and painting these gladiatorial World Eaters has been great fun so far, and there are three more models that have already been built but have yet to see any paint before I can call this squad finished.

I also realised I should show more love to my Blood Wolves, because I really like the look of these guys:

The Bloodwolves
I already have some more converted traitorous Space Wolves to make up an entire squad of Chaos Space Marines. And maybe I’ll add a Dreadnought, based on the brilliantly versatile SW Dread?

And finally, my next big project: I finally need to get this guy painted: Gilgamesh, the Warrior King, the Twice-Consecrated, Son of the Ember Queen:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh WIP (1)
But worry not, I’ve included the model in my first vow for the E Tenebrae Lux IV event at The Bolter & Chainsword, in order to finally force myself into action, so it won’t be long now…

As it happens, I’ve made one last addition to the model before painting: I stripped some cabling from the interior of an old PC and added them to the Knight’s cockpit, in order to make it look a bit more believable:

Chaos Knight interior cabling (2)
Chaos Knight interior cabling (1)
It’s a small thing, admittedly, but a detail I think will made a difference in the end.

And here’s a comparison picture with the Knight and a smaller, roughly Epic-scaled “Chibi-version” of the same model:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh WIP (2)
On a related note, I am rather relieved that the Chaos Knight conversion kit recently unveiled by Forgeworld isn’t quite as spectacular as I had expected. Granted, it might still be a WIP version, but at least I am still very happy with my own take on a Chaos Knight! So yeah, expect to see some colour on this model this summer — and wish me luck!

So, anything else about Khorne’s Eternal Hunt? Yes, well, one small thing, actually:

This is just a fairly minor detail, but I like how all the leftover champions and stragglers almost form their own – pretty cool – squad by now. Take a look:

WE Stragglers
For an extremely lazy painter like yours truly, that is quite a nice little extra benefit ;)

 

So yeah, so much for this year’s World Eaters showcase. Don’t worry, there’ll be more madmen in red and brass in the future. But for now, I am very pleased with this army’s development over the last few years!

It goes without saying that I’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback on the project as well, so feel free to drop me a comment! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

army shot 02 colour

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