Archive for April, 2012

When will the legions be upon us?

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Fluff, Pointless ramblings, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 27, 2012 by krautscientist

The new Chaos Codex, tentatively called “Codex Chaos Legions”, has been looming on the horizon for quite a while now. And while all the augurs and soothsayers in our wonderful blogosphere cannot yet decide whether it’s a new 4ok edition first, then CSM, then DA or the other way around, it seems reasonably safe to assume that a new book is on its way sooner rather than later. So what better time to discuss my anticipation as well as my misgivings about the whole affair?

Right, to get this out of my system first: The  prospect of a new Chaos Codex fills me with equal parts of anticipation and dread. Why is that, you ask? Well, there’s much to consider. Let’s call it: the good, the bad and the (potentially) ugly:


New stuff: I think one thing we can all agree upon is that one reason for looking forward to a new book is the fact that it will be accompanied by a slew of new models and kits. Seeing the amount of care given to some of the more recent releases (with each army getting multiple “waves” of great plastic kits and Finecast models), it seems a fair assumption that Chaos will get all that and more. After all, it is without a doubt one of Games Workshop’s most loved and most interesting properties. There are many rumours about what will or will not get a redesign, rerelease or new plastic kit, and while I have my own wish list (new Khorne Berzerkers would be great, legion – or at least god – specific upgrade sprues would be even better, a plastic Dread is almost a no-brainer, and Cultists or Traitor Guard as a new troop choice would be glorious), the bottom line is that it’s probably going to be a huge release with a couple of spectacular new (plastic) kits. In my experience, most Chaos players are also avid converters and kitbashers, so even those kits not immediately useful for your actual army will probably get taken for a ride in all kinds of crazy conversion projects. The new models are really something to look forward to.

New ideas: Speaking as someone relentlessly devoted to cutting up little plastic men, the new models are only half of the fun. The other half is seeing what all those crazy converters on the Internet come up with. Some of those people can take a twenty year old kit and still really make it sing. Imagine what they can do with brand new models and bits! Once the new book hits, Dakka and other forums will be awash with hundreds of new Chaos army projects. Some of them will, of course, be fairly bland or even rubbish. But I am already looking forward to the crazy stuff some of the more talented converters will come up with!

New rules: While I am also a little afraid about possible changes to the rules (We’ll get to that in a minute), the world just needs some changes once in a while. Even as someone who usually doesn’t give a hoot about the rules, I think it’s cool that a new book will help in mixing things up a bit – at least until the new “undefeatable” lists have been universally agreed upon…


New rules: Like I said, a bit of change is nice every once in a while. Here’s the catch, though: I have to be honest with you, I do quite like the current Codex. While that will probably devalue anything I have to say on the matter for many, let’s take a look:

Say about the old book what you want (for example that it thoroughly lacks flavour), but Gav Thorpe makes an excellent case on his blog (here and here) that the main design paradigm behind the Codex was to emphasise flexibility: Where the (oft-lauded) 3.5 Codex tried to achieve character by adding limits and restrictions to what you could add to your army, the 4th edition codex did a very good job in giving you a lot of flexibility.

For example, I love my World Eaters. I love the fact that they are best when fighting at close quarters and usually cannot hit the side of a barn when shooting at anything. However, I already voiced my dislike for the fact that the recent fluff only ever portrays the World Eaters as nothing but raving lunatics who are always angry all the time and need to kill something every five seconds. I think that this is not very interesting (and not very realistic, but let’s not get started on realism). Often enough, it was also not a lot of fun:

The 3.5 codex forced me to play an army of guys who sometimes just disembarked from their tanks and started running towards the enemey, even if those tanks would get them into the fray much faster than their feet. The codex also didn’t allow me to use jump infantry in my World Eaters army, even though using a jump pack is something that every frenzied berzerker should find very appealing. Let’s face it: All that equipment was great and full of flavour, but the rules sometimes just didn’t add up. I don’t want to play an army that always wins. I want to play an army that conforms to my aesthetic whims and that “feels right” to me. That’s far more important than winning.

The current book made that possible. It allowed me to field a wide array of units. Most of those could be given the mark of Khorne without immediately turning into imbeciles. I was even allowed to use small traces of tactical finesse, like giving my jump infantry melters, you know, so they could actually fulfil more than one role on the battlefield. Oh, and all my berzerkers knew at all times that their dedicated transport was a pretty good bet when it came to getting them across the table in one piece. That was nice, too.

To tell you the truth, I am a little afraid that the new book will take that away from me again and instead create flavour by enforcing all kinds of restrictions. It’s also a valid strategy. It’s just not something that I find interesting or inspiring. I think a good book should let me play the army I like, not the one everyone thinks I should be playing.

New players: I really don’t want to hate on bandwagon players too much here, the more the merrier, I say. What I am really not looking forward to though are the countless articles about “totally radical, unbeatable lists that you really have to play, bro”, if that makes any sense. But there’s an easy remedy to that – don’t read the stuff in the first place 😉


New fluff: I know, I know. How can new fluff be bad? It’s awesome to get cool new vignettes about our favourite armies and characters, right? I wholeheartedly agree to that! However, like with the rules, I am a little nervous that the fluff could not live up to the standard people tend to expect from Chaos. I am quite aware that it’s an enormous task to live up to the fans’ expectations, and there definitely is such a thing as an unpleasable fanbase, but here’s the thing: What I am wishing for with all my heart is the kind of well-written, evocative fluff that offers an overall outline but invites you to be creative and tell your own story in the context of the universe. A good example of what I mean is the fluff in the new Dark Eldar book. It gives a great and detailed overwiev of the Dark City and its inhabitants with their factions and feuds, but it also adds enough narrative leeway to make sure that basically any Kabal and faction you can conceivably come up with may be painlessly attached to the existing fluff. That’s the kind of fluff I love: It inspires you, gives you a good idea of the army and its characteristics, but it doesn’t prevent you from having your own ideas.

Whereas, for example, specifying all the names for every Sergeant and officer in a Space Marine Chapter (or company) is really very stupid, because you are telling people that there’s a definite version of the truth. Granted, it’s GW’s intellectual property in the first place, but it’s the fans’ creativity that made it what it is today.

So while I hope that the new fluff will be just as good as the new models, I don’t have high hopes on that front. After all, for me the best version of the Chaos Space Marine fluff is still that found in the 2nd edition Codex. And that was a looong time ago.

One last thing: If you’ve been reading this carefully, you might be able to hazard a guess as to which GW-author I would or would not prefer to write the new book. And while I really don’t want to participate in the relentless bashing of certain authors, some things are indeed just silly.

So, there you have it. That’s my two cents on the new Codex, whenever it may hit. I’d like to hear what you think! Let me know in the comments section!

As always, thanks for reading, everyone! Have a nice weekend and stay tuned for more!

Birth of a Chaos Dread Reloaded, pt.1

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , on April 25, 2012 by krautscientist

Building and painting my first Chaos Dread was really a lot of fun, and I am still very pleased with the result. And that is precisely the reason why I really wanted to build a second one right after the first one was finished. Well, that and the fact that I lack any sort of impulse control, but that’s another story…

So here we goe again: Join me for the second season of “Birth of a Chaos Dread”. I promise it’ll be fun (at least for me…).

Once again, I had a couple of things I wanted to achieve when building the model:

  • again, I wanted to avoid the refridgerator look as much as possible
  • this second Dread was going to be a lot shootier than the first (who totally focused on CC). I felt that the plastic Venerable Dreadnought kit was the way to go here, considering all the weapon options included.
  • I really, REALLY wanted to use this head for my Dread:

The big question in order to find out if you are as much of a nerd as I am: Does anyone recognise this? Then go on and drop me a comment. I’ll be waiting 😉

Anyway, I thought that it would be really cool to feature a part of one of my old toys in a conversion. Plus I think the head has a bit of a resemblance with the head from the original FW World Eaters Dread. But that might just be my imagination. In any case, I liked the slightly inhuman look created by the single eyeslit, a bit like this.

So I immediately bought the Dread kit, hurried home, broke out my knife and yellow-tac and made a mockup of the thing. Here’s what I got:

As much as I love the head, there was no getting around the fact that it was simply too big: It did not fit between the shoulders, like I had intended it to, so it was left facing slightly downwards. And with such a large head, the Dread looked somewhat misshapen – and not in a good way. So, with a heavy heart, I discarded the head that had inspired the whole conversion in the first place. Don’t feel bad for it, though: One day, its moment of glory will come. For example, if I ever do a Dreadknight conversion, then…no!…must…resist…temptation…

Fortunately, there was a good alternative: I still had some leftover parts from my Defiler conversion, and my fellow Khornate slaughterers Doombreed and Guitarasmus turned out to be very inspirational with their own Dreads. So I got to work again and ended up with this:

Much better! While this version is maybe less original, the head just fits better with the rest of the body. I changed the position of the left arm to give the model a more interesting silhouette (and to make it look like it was celebrating a successfully destroyed enemy vehicle or something like that). I also wanted the Dread to be standing on something with his left foot, so I used a sandbag as a placeholder. A stylised maw from the Ogre kingdoms was once again used to represent the World Eaters legion badge.

While there was some detailing left to do, I felt that this worked as a basic pose. However, in contrast to my CC Dread, a bit of thought would be necessary to figure out how to best build the different weapon options and give them the “Chaos treatment”…

Next time on Birth of a Chaos Dread Reloaded: the details. Until then, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Cousin Andy’s grotesque models

Posted in 40k, Conversions, paintjob with tags , , , , , , on April 20, 2012 by krautscientist

I believe I did repeatedly mention my cousin Andy. You may remember that he was the one dragging me back into all of this in the first place with a seemingly innocent Christmas present. I also cited his Dark Eldar army as a constant wellspring of inspiration when I posted one of my own Dark Eldar Kabalite Warriors that I painted on a whim last Friday. So it seems only logical to allow you a glimpse of what my dear cousin is working on in his dark laboratory beneath Commorragh.

Let’s get one thing out of the way first, though: While the new Dark Eldar models are fantastic, I think that the one definite slipup in the line is the Grotesque (oh, and the Beastmaster. That sculpt is just lazy when you consider the pure epicness of the other models). While I cannot fault the concept of the model per se, the pose is …strange to say the least. And there is only one version. And it’s Finecast only. Need I say more?

In all fairness, it is clearly a testament to Jes Goodwin’s artistic vision that only one or two models across the whole line are a bit disappointing while the rest is uniformly excellent. But then, it’s also a bit of a shame that it had to be the Grotesques that got the short end of the stick. Oh well, you cannot win them all, I guess.

Anyway, it doesn’t really surprise me that people have begun converting their own Grotesques left and right. The most viable approach seems to be to base these conversions on either Ogres or the Blood Island Rat Ogres. While the former variant usually turns out a bit static, the latter option admittedly usually looks very nice. But nearly everybody is doing it now, so it was a no-go for my cousin who likes to make things a bit harder on himself. So he built this:

Totally going against the grain, he based his conversions on the much-maligned plastic Minotaurs for Warhammer Fantasy. These models have been slammed as horrible on multiple websites, mostly due to their overexaggerated musculature. Well, with Andy’s conversions, the steroid look really plays to the models’ advantage, seeing as how Grotesques are supposed to be these genetically engineered, spliced up abominations bulging with muscle and horrible surgical extensions. By adding leftover parts from the Talos/Cronos kit, Andy gave the models an unmistakeable Dark Eldar feel, tieing them in with all the other Coven models. It’s also fortunate that one Talos/Chronos kit will leave you with lots and lots of leftover bits – just what you need to stitch together your own horrible experiments!

Here’s one of the regular grunts — inasmuch as the word “regular” can be employed when dealing with a gigantic hulking nightmare from the depths of the Dark city:

As you can see, cousin Andy used the strange vertebrae bits as equally strange weapons, formed perhaps from the Grotesques own twisted bones. The cloven hooves of the Minotaur add to the unnatural look of the model in my opinion.

And below, once again, you can see my personal star of the show: The unit’s champion. A Talos tail and arm were used to make the model even more intimidating. The heads in his right fist were a small touch from my own bitzbox, a meagre recompensation for cousin Andy’s unending generousness in donating bits for my own projects. You really do not want to encounter this guy in close quarters combat! And who knows where that horrible syringe has been?

As you can see, there’s a reasonably simple kitbash at the heart of this project. But the choice of model to base the conversion on is sheer genius! I don’t think I have seen the Minotaur kit being used in this way before, so I guess Cousin Andy did it first 😉

When painting the models, Andy used the Bronze typical of his Kabal’s colour scheme to tie them together with the rest of his force. While personally I would have preferred a paler, sickly skin colour, I cannot argue with the effectiveness of the paintjob. On a related note, please excuse the fuzzy pictures! I am entirely to blame!

I also like how the right arm is much more muscular than the left one. Granted, this was more of a lucky coincidence, but it gives the model a somewhat lopsided, disturbing look.

So there you have it. It’s when I look at these models from my cousin’s army that I dream of my own, sinister force of Dark Eldar time and time again. And there’s much more cool stuff where this came from! Maybe we’ll have another look or two in the future.

I like to imagine that it was me who got cousin Andy infected with the conversion and kitbashing bug (in exchange for his getting me addicted to plastic crack once again). But it’s models like these that show me that he has truly come into his own as a converter. In fact, I am quite envious of these beautiful, horrible models. What do you think?

But enough with the Xenos scum already! Come next Wednesday, this blog will once again return to dealing with the glorious legion of the World Eaters. Until then, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Inquisitor 28: Daemonhost Zalambur

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Fluff, Inq28, Inquisitor with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 18, 2012 by krautscientist

Here’s another Inquisitor model, and this time I even have some WIP pictures. Yay!

To me, one of the most interesting archetypes in Inquisitor is that of the Daemonhosts: They really show the extent of what some Inquisitors are prepared to do in their service to the Emperor. And with Lazarus Antrecht being an indiviual of a fairly radical persuasion, it was clear to me that I would need a Daemonhost for his retinue.

Unfortunately, the official GW models at 28mm are, in a word, hideous (and not in a good way) and lack nearly all of the subtle menace exuded by the original Cherubael model – if anything, they look like amateurish attempts at recapturing what made Cherubael so great. So it stood to reason that I would once again have to resort to my two favourite pasttimes: converting and kitbashing. After a bit of research, I discovered a couple of great options for converting a daemonhost. Two of my favourites were this and this.

There was a problem though: Both models used the same head from the WFB Warriors of Chaos, incidentally one of my favourite heads ever. These were so hard to get by that there was no way I would use up one of my stock on a non World Eaters model. And I also really didn’t want to use the horrible metal models as a basis for my conversion. What to do?

I jumped in at the deep end and bought a box of Crypt Ghouls. It seemed to me that those were the models with the look most fitting for a Daemonhost: tortured, emaciated and with a slightly feral quality. Plus I would have lots and lots of leftovers for different projects (Twists, Arco Flagellants,…) So, after much bending and cutting and some greenstuffing to boot, here’s what I came up with:

As you can probably see, the legs, torso, arms and head all come from the Crypt Ghouls, so that was quite easy. I did however have to do quite a serious bit of work on the pose: Crypt Ghouls are all hunchbacked and bent forward, while I wanted my Daemonhost to be floating and looking like its poor body was at full stretch. I achieved this by changing the way the torso connects to the legs and by greenstuffing in a new stomach. I hid the rough spots of the conversion behind some kind of religious icon – no idea where this came from. I also repositioned the arms so that the Daemonhost looked like it was reaching for something only visible to itself. Again, the seams of the conversion work were camouflaged, this time with a purity seal.

I also wanted to have the Daemonhost clearly floating, so I had to find something to keep it in the air. In the end, I used a part of a chain from the Chaos vehicle sprue. It was stable enough to hold the model in the air, and the skull attached to its end offered a solid point of contact with the base. Further chains were added to show how the Daemonhost is bound and “weighed down”. I kept the strange, bony quills emerhing from the model’s back since they fitted the concept of daemonic possession in my opinion. I also added a tongue from a Bloodletter of Khorne to enhance the appearance. The last part of the conversion was the base: I used some cork and a couple of strange spikes from the Chaos Terminator Lord sprue.

When it came to painting the model, I went for a very unhealthy skin tone achieved by generously washing a basecoat of GW Dheneb Stone with GW Leviathan Purple. This led to an almost pink colour (maybe even too much so, in hindsight), but the colour added to the twisted, inhuman feeling of the model, so I guess that it’s all cool in the end.

The rest was all detailing. I highlighted the scars and welts all over the model and painted all the details. The bone quills and tongue were painted purple to show how the daemon is slowly emerging fromwithin the host body, twisting and transforming it in the process. The spikes on the base were painted to look like some kind of daemonic growth erupting from the floor as the Daemonhost floats by.

While there are a couple of rough spots on the model, I still far prefer it to the official GW ones. So with the modeling and painting out of the way, all that remained was to cook up some background for the character…

Daemonhost Zalambur

Inquisitor Antrecht still thought about Rikkert Nozick from time to time, and it was always a bittersweet memory. When Antrecht had come to Barsavia Hive to investigate the actions of the notorious Heretek Amnon Helix, Rikkert had been there from the start, trying to be helpful and ingratiate himself with the Inquisitor. Still, he had been a competent guide and managed to open quite a few doors in the hive, so Antrecht had indulged him.

Then the young man had asked to be inducted into the Inquisitor’s retinue, and while Antrecht had laughed at the audacity of the idea, he had still seriously considered it. He hated to let a potential asset go to waste, after all. But he had felt something in the young man that he did not like, some kind of inner flaw or deficiency, hidden by his eagerness to please. And while Antrecht could not quite put his finger on what it was that was bothering him, he had felt that there was a thirst within Rikkert Nozick that could never be quenched by service to the God Emperor alone. So Antrecht had turned him down and set off into the underhive on his own.

But fate is a harsh mistress, or so they say, and so when Antrecht was dangling above a yawning chasm, bloodied and broken after his confrontation with the heretic Helix, just barely hanging on with his last ounce of strength, it was Rikkert Nozick who had slipped from the shadows and offered to save the Inquisitor.  He did however have one condition: Antrecht’s life would be saved, but Rikkert would join him as a member of his retinue when he left the planet.

Antrecht had little choice in the matter if he wanted to live, so he gave his word. He limped from the underhive, hurt but alive, leaning on his new “apprentice”, for that was how the young man had come to see himself.

The Inquisitor had other plans, however, for he simply could not trust a man who had used a moment of weakness to haggle for privileges. But then, a promise had been made, and Lazarus Antrecht knew a lot about the importance of promises.

Fortunately, fate intervened again: An interesting opportunity presented itself soon afterwards and so, when Inquisitor Antrecht left the planet, young Nozick joined him as a permanent member of his retinue. His wish had been fulfilled.

All this Antrecht remembered. And as he cast a sideways glance at the pale creature floating along next to him, he could not help but think that there was still much of the young man he had encountered in Barsavia Hive in its sharp features. The Daemonhost noticed Antrecht’s attention and bared its iron teeth in a rictus grin. Yes, even now, the resemblance was uncanny.

Inquisitor Antrecht still thought about Rikkert Nozick from time to time. And it was always a bittersweet memory.
And a reminder to always be careful what you wish for.

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

Celebrating…again: This time with something to look at!

Posted in old stuff, paintjob, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , on April 16, 2012 by krautscientist

Hello everyone,

here I was, boasting about my first 500 views only two weeks ago, and now the number has grown to a thousand! Still not blockbuster territory admittedly, but I am happy nonetheless! Thanks for showing interest, people!

In celebration, I’ll show you one of my earlier attempts at painting, back when I could not imagine that either the models or my paintjobs for them could ever get any more awesome than this (I imagine you all recognise this gentleman):

Ah, those were the days! I am still quite proud of the effect on his sword, though!

Anyway, I promise that I won’t make such a fuss again until the numbers have grown truly spectacular 😉

Thanks for looking and stay tuned for more! Next regular update on Wednesday.