Archive for January, 2013

Chaos Fantasy

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 30, 2013 by krautscientist

Since taking a look at the new DA release and all the potential for conversions turned out to be a lot of fun, it stands to reason I have to do the same with the new WFB Warriors of Chaos release, seeing how these twisted guys are even closer to my heart than a couple of loyalist dogs: What’s more, Warriors of Chaos were my first love in WFB and actually the first tabletop army I ever managed to complete, so while it’s very unlikely that I will ever return to WFB, I still have a huge soft spot in my heart for these guys!

Chaos players really have much cause for celebration at the moment, with a new book for the Chaos Space Marines released last October, a huge WoC update right now and books for Daemons in 40k and WFB already in the works, supposedly. And even though some of the models may be a little hit-or-miss so far, I feel that’s quite easily forgivable given the sheer amount of stuff released for chaos players. So let’s take a look at the latest slew of releases, as I gather some spur of the moment ideas on what could possibly be done with the new kits…

As per my usual routine, I’ll probably mostly talk about how these kits can be used in 40k in one way or another. I hope you won’t mind…

So let’s start with the characters:

 

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Throgg, King of Trolls

Let’s begin with this huuuge Finecast model. I love this guy, period. He’s everything that a troll king should be, in my opinion. I love the face, I love the pose, I even like the (slightly ridiculous) cape. What really makes this model stand out, though, are the small details: The magical crown lodged on one of his tusks. The way the model has a pretty coherent shape overall but is still wracked with mutation (take a look at that teeth gnashing maws on Throgg’s belly and leg). Without a doubt, this is a worthy centrepiece for any army. There may be no conceivable way of using him in 40k (at least not without lots of harebrained explanations and/or extensive conversions that would probably destroy what’s so great about the model), and I will also very likely never buy this guy. But I still think it’s a marvelous model! Great job!

 

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Vilitch the Curseling

Actually my second favourite model in this release — I wonder what’s wrong with me 😉 But let’s take a closer look:
While some people prefer the more “conventional” look Vilitch has in the older artwork, I really love just how alien he looks: The armour on the bigger brother immediately reads as Tzeentchian, while the actual Vilitch looks nightmarish and twisted enough (he is also eyeless…brrrr): I think it’s a cool idea to have Vilitch fused to his brother’s body in a haphazard and asymmetrical (this is Tzeentch, remember?) fashion, instead of merely being carried piggyback. My only gripe is that the smaller brother’s staff should have been quite a bit shorter (it just looks extremely impractical as is), so I would probably shorten it to just above the “bandaged” part of the grip. All in all, this model shows a more stylised look that I am normally not exceptionally fond of – we’ll get to that in a minute – but for some reason, it works here.

Again, I am really not sure this guy has any use for 40k, but if I actually still played WFB, this would be a must-buy for me.

 

New WoC models (3)

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Plastic Chaos Lord

Well, this guy deserves kudos for the mere fact that he’s plastic — I love plastic characters! Apart from that, the model’s quite alright. I don’t mind the static pose too much, since we are talking about a mighty warlord here, and he should exude quiet menace. The head seems a little iffy, although that should be easily solvable with a simple head change. The lance is cool enough, but seems like too much of a good thing: I really can’t see this guy fighting with a broadsword and a lance at the same time. Personally speaking, I’d just leave it off or replace it with something else.

All in all, this guy is pretty cool, nothing more and nothing less. His main importance will possibly lie in serving as a base for myriads of conversions in both WFB and 40k, and it should be fairly easy to transform him into a follower of a specific chaos god (or a CSM, for that matter). I really expect this guy to be the model that everyone will love to convert. As a matter of fact, I could even see him used as a base for INQ28 conversions!  So even though I am not totally floored by the model, I am pretty likely to pick up one of these, just for the heck of it.

 

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Chaos Chariot/Gorebeast Chariot

This kit comes with options to build either the Chaos Chariot you see above and the Gorebeast Chariot that is being pulled by a single …well, Gorebeast actually:

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

A new chariot kit has been overdue for WoC, obviously. Let’s see how this one stacks up:
On the one hand, I like the supposed flexibility of the kit and the fact that it’s plastic (I LOVE plastic, in case you didn’t know 😉 ). According to WD, the kit also comes with lots of head and weapon options and additional bitz, so that’s a plus as well.

On the other hand, there’s something going on with the design of this kit that I am not really all that fond of. Let me show you what I mean. by taking a closer look at one of the chariot crew:

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Well, this guy is definitely screaming Chaos alright: He’s huge and imposing. He’s heavily armoured. He’s also quite spiky. But the bold lines and pointy bitz make him look almost too comic-book-like for my taste. GW’s Chaos is usually baroque and lavish, with a side of spiky and feral. Yet this guy is almost too stylised for his own good. Don’t get me wrong, the model is cool, taken on its own. Yet when placed next to some of the older models (or even some of the not-so-old models from the first wave of the release), he looks almost cartoony by comparison. A trace of the same element is also present in the Vilitch model. Yet where Vilitch manages to transform this otherness into an actual part of what’s cool about the character, the crew member above just slightly looks like the animé version of Chaos for some reason. Does this make any sense?
Maybe I am putting too much thought into this…

 

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Forsaken

When the first, fuzzy images for this release were “leaked” onto the net, I was really thrilled for these! I hoped they would give us yet another alternative for constructing mutated followers of chaos. Yet where the 40k Possessed kit is very cool but also very “creppy crawly” visually, I had hoped for these to be slightly more subtle in execution.

Well, silly me, because if anything, the Forsaken are even more over the top than their 40k brethren. As a matter of fact, they seem like a shout out to the old mutation sprue released by GW during the early 2000s for use in both WFB and 40k. Then again, while some of those mutations may look slightly silly, there’s also a couple of really nice and disturbing ideas in this kit, along with mutations that clearly recall specific chaos gods.

I also really feel that the …thing emerging from this guy’s mouth…

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

…could be used to build a fantastic Daemonhost for INQ28.

So what to do? I can easily see these as a viable alternative to further spice up your mutation-wracked forces in both WFB and 40k. The kit should come with lots and lots of interesting bits, and by the look of it it should be fairly compatible with most other (chaos) kits. Whether that’s worth 40,00 Euros a pop is up to you, of course. Personally, I would have hoped for something a little less hammy and more understated (and thus even more disturbing). But that’s just my personal taste, of course.

 

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Dragon Ogres

I have to be honest with you: The very concept of “Dragon Ogres” always seemed a little iffy to me. They seemed to be a part of the setting for no other reason than somebody thinking “Dude, wouldn’t it be awesome to have Ogres with DRAGON BODIES??? Let’s totally do that!” somewhere along the way. Still, this kit has been a long time coming, and it is really, really nice, if you ask me: The Dragon Ogres are huge and imposing (fortunately eschewing the slightly silly charm of the Ogre Kingdoms models). The design is great, and I can see these being a joy to paint as well, with the slightly larger scale lending itself rather well to all kinds of tricks and effects.

From a 40k perspective, I cannot resist thinking about using one of these as a base for a Khornate Daemon Prince. Just look at this guy:

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Wouldn’t he just be perfect for the role with some small additions and changes? Oh well, one can always dream…

 

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Slaughterbrute / Mutalith Vortex Beast

One huge beast per army seems to be par for the course now, so this was only to be expected. In this case, it’s a combi-kit that allows you to build either the Slaughterbrute or the …other thing –no way I am typing that out again 😉 The Slaughterbrute (shown above) is sure to make the mouths of chaos player the world over water, and rightly so. It’s a nice and chaotic design, and if you ask me, this is pretty much what the Scyla Anfingrimm mini should have looked like in the first place.

Anyway, a couple of more detailed impressions, if I may:

First of all, the multi-eyed (and multi-tongued, ewww) head looks decidedly non-GW, if you know what I mean. I am not sure whether that’s a good thing. In any case, the kit obviously comes with an alternate head that is freaking awesome (and looks very Khornate to boot). Take a look:

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

I also love how there seems to be some kind of harness/chaos artifact thing rammed into the beast’s back — maybe as some kind of binding or incantation? What I really hate are the smaller arms emerging from the model’s uhh…nipples? Anyway, while they certainly make the beast look more chaotic, they also mess with the very strong silhouette and the points where they emerge look really silly and lazily designed, which is a shame on an otherwise great model.

This big guy could easily be used as a “counts as” Defiler or Greater Daemon in games of 40k (until we are finally getting the rumored new plastic GDs, that is). I am also looking forward to seeing the crazy conversions some of the more inspired hobbyists come up with — I, for one, would love to see the likes of GuitaRasmus or Biohazard have a field day with this kit! The only reason that I am not totally blown away is the fact that the logistics of building and painting such a huge model don’t appeal to me all that much. But again, that is just a matter of personal preference.

Now let’s look at that other …thing as well:

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Wow, just…wow! It actually takes quite a while to a) make sense of this thing and b) realise that this beast is based on the exact same body also used for the Slaughterbrute. I have repeatedly stated that I am not a huge fan of the “mutated beyond any reason” look. That said, this model perfectly embodies chaos, and that is an achievement all of its own. It also goes without saying that followers of Tzeentch and/or Slaanesh will probably cry with joy at this particular model. So while I’ll gladly pass, I still acknowledge that this is a pretty extraordinary piece. It should also be usable in 40k, similar to the possible uses for the Slaughterbrute I outlined above.

Oh, one thing: That chaos portal thing one the beast’s back looks really cool:

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

I also love the paintjob on this part and sincerely hope it can be duplicated by mere mortals (like me).
As a final remark on this kit, it somehow feels like this is a dream come true for those who follow Khorne, Tzeentch and Slaanesh, yet Nurgle followers seem to get the short end of the stick. Then again, Nurgle players should be used to the necessary conversions by now… 😉

 

All in all, some smaller nitpicks notwithstanding, I think that this is a rather strong release for chaos players. While the price tags are once again unlikely to elicit responses of joy (and rightly so), chaos players for both 40k and WFB now have a huge menu of (plastic) kits to tug into. And if you don’t like any part of the release, well, there’s nobody stopping you from coming up with something better: Converting stuff is what being a chaos player is all about, anyway 😉

So what do you think of this new release? Any ideas? Do you need to vent your anger? Let me know in the comments section!

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

On my desk: Lone wolf and cubs

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, Pointless ramblings, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2013 by krautscientist

To be honest with you, I’ve been in a bit of a motivational slump lately. Maybe it’s just the remains of my holiday laziness rearing its ugly head again, maybe it’s the murky weather outside, but I find myself with very little inclination to paint anything at the moment. However, this is not a case of complete hobby burnout: I love trawling the forums and looking at stuff. It’s only when it comes to the projects sitting unfinished on my desktop that I fall short.

So, apart from a rather big project (my contribution for the latest Painting/Modelling contest over at Throne of Skulls,  which I’ll probably be unveiling rather soon), my work at the moment is pretty limited. In any case, I feel that the one thing I can do to restore my hobby mojo is not to force it, but to do things that take my fancy in pursuit of that elusive power: inspiration. Today’s post, then, will deal with one of those spontaneous moments of inspiration:

I’ve been thinking about converting some Space Wolves that have fallen to Khorne for a while now. Not for gameplay reasons, mind you, I just like the thought of a squad of Wolves transformed into berserkers in the heat of battle, discovering the wrath of Khorne that lies within them. It’s not even clear whether I will use these on the tabletop. And if I do, they’ll likely be played as normal CSM (or Khrone berzerkers, for that matter).

In any case, I think that these will be a great way of getting a slightly different perspective on traitors. You see, the original traitor legions have been at this game for so long that they have fully renounced their loyalist origins. And while there may be all kinds of anger, resentment and bitterness among them, they can at least feel assured in the knowledge that their entire legion joined what they considered to be the “right side” during Heresy (except, maybe for the Alpha Legion, where things are slightly more complicated…). But what about a Space Wolf who has to come to terms with the fact that his rage and subsequent betrayal have estranged him from the rest of his chapter forever? There should be all kinds of tasty, chaotic emotions and self-hatred there to explore, from a narrative standpoint. This was the beginning of the story of one Joras Turnpelt and his fellow traitorous Space Wolves…

 

Joras’ Great Company fought against Khorne’s Eternal Hunt, and given both sides’ ferocity in combat, the fight was extremely hard and unforgiving. The company’s Wolf Lord and Joras (his second in command at the time) didn’t see eye to eye regarding how to proceed: The Lord knew the Space Wolves were in acute danger of losing the battle and wanted to consolidate their forces, maybe even order a tactical retreat, while Joras would hear none of it. Seething with adrenaline and beginning frenzy, he wanted to press on and obliterate the enemy, in direct defiance of his superior’s orders. During the fighting, Joras eventually flew into a berserker rage, slaying his own Wolf Lord, who was trying to intervene. This act of betrayal shattered the great company, with the brethren falling on themselves and the World Eaters at the same time. At the end, only a small band of warriors remained, defeated and encircled by the warriors of the 4th, shaken by their own actions and ready to be killed. But Lorimar let them live, feeling that Joras, in the depths of his rage, had found something dark and powerful. The Master of the Hunt was intrigued…

 

Anyway, so much for my preliminary background sketch. As for the modelling part, I built a couple of test models using some really badly painted SW bitz and some rather rough Khorne berzerker parts that I had picked up from different auctions, rescued from the depths of several bitzboxes and the like:

Khorne Wolves Test Models (1)
The first model combines SW and CSM parts in equal measure. The torso and arms came pre-assembled as well as pre-painted, so I only added some chaos shoulderpads and a CSM head.

Khorne Wolves Test Models (4)
This guy uses an old berzerker body, combined with SW arms and a SW head. For some reason, he looks rather menacing, if you ask me.

Khorne Wolves Test Models (5)
With the third model, I wanted to explore the more barbaric side of the Space Wolves, so I used a bare head as well as an unarmoured arm from the WFB Chaos Marauders.

And here’s the whole “squad” so far:

Khorne Wolves Test Models (6)
To be honest with you, I cannot help but shudder inwardly at their partly painted horribleness right now, but rest assured that this will be changed as soon as I ‘ve managed to pick up some of Army Painter’s Uniform Grey basecoat at the FLGS. All in all, I am considering dark grey with silver trim for most of the armour, with the shoulderpads and some of the detail picked out in red (the same red I use on my World Eaters, in fact), with added brass trim. That should make them look slightly reminiscent of the original SW palette, while also nicely tying them into the rest of my World Eaters force.

Like I said, there’s very little actual gameplay reason for these models. I would just like to explore the modelling and painting opportunities as well as the narrative potential. Weird, huh? The again, the fact that these are mainly built using old SW and Khorne Berzerker parts I picked up from the bottoms of different bitzboxes, makes this a fancy that is really rather easy to indulge right now.

Oh, I also did a first mockup of Joras Turnpelt, of course:

Joras Turnpelt WIP (2)
Joras Turnpelt WIP (1)
As you can see, I did manage to find an alternate use for that doubleheaded axe I originally converted for my Lorimar model after all 😉
All in all, this guy was inspired by DRommel’s excellent “Ljotolf the Kinslayer” model, so I used the same head. I wanted Joras to look like he was about to be rushing forward, swinging his axe in wide arcs, which was rather easy to achieve with the walking/running SW Terminator legs I still had. I also gave him a single Lightning Claw, just for the heck of it (I really like the asymmetrical look achieved by this). He’ll probably need a couple of additional bitz, and I am considering adding a Chaos Hound’s head to his fur cloak, but the basic build of the model is pretty much complete as this point.

So let’s see where this small project takes me. And let’s wind up this post with a closer look at Joras and his start of darkness. Enjoy!

 

When Joras came to, he was kneeling at the center of a circle of traitor legionaries, disarmed and bleeding from a dozen wounds. He looked around, seeing his surviving brothers. Now that the frenzy had left them, their eyes had the glazed-over dullness of someone who has just escaped a nightmare, only to wake up to an even more horrifying reality. Joras understood them perfectly. He was feeling the same.

In front of him, the circle of red and bronze parted, and an enormous figure emerged: A hulking traitor wearing a baroque suit of Terminator armour, the surfaces of which were encrusted with heretical symbols of the Blood God. The Chaos Lord’s gaunt features were entirely without expression, his dark eyes bored into Joras’. This had to be the monster itself: Lorimar, master of the World Eaters’ warband known as Khorne’s Eternal Hunt.

Tapping reserves he hadn’t realised he possessed, Joras threw himself at the traitor, his fists his only weapons, a blood curdling howl on his lips. He didn’t even see Lorimar move, as he backhanded him across the face with his armoured gauntlet, sending Joras sprawling to the ground again, where he had to draw a few ragged breaths before looking back at his enemy.

“Fight me!”, Joras roared.
“There does not seem too much fight left in you, loyalist dog.” The traitor’s voice was impossibly deep, a dark growl that chilled Joras to the bone.

Joras got up again with a wordless below, rushing at the Chaos Lord once more. This time, Lorimar swiftly drew a long, wickedly serrated blade, burning in an evil glow. The daemon weapon’s point came to rest against Joras’ throat, pinning him where he stod. “Fight me!”, he howled with frustration. Lorimar made a grating noise in his throat. It took Joras a moment to realise it was a chuckle.

“Fight you? Look at yourself: You are weak, broken, defeated. There would be no honour in taking your skull now. Besides…”, Lorimar’s eyes were aflame with cold fire, “it seems you took your first prey in the eyes of our Lord Khorne. It would not be right to take your life, now that your path to true glory has but begun.”

“Do not mock me, monster!” Joras growled. “This is madness!”

Lorimar chuckled again: “Oh, to be sure. When you killed your lord and gave in to your anger, it was madness that lay hidden within you. When you tore through both my warriors and your own brethren, it was madness that made your heart race. You howled with frenzy, …brother wolf, and something deep within you howled back. Indeed, madness has transformed you. The change is quite …uncanny.”

“Kill me then.” Joras whispered, suddenly feeling very tired.

Again, Lorimar chuckled. Joras wanted to make him shut up. Tear out his heart like wild beast. Rip off his smirking head and hold it aloft, howling out his victory and then… Joras felt his rage subside. And a terrible, yawning feeling of horror fill his guts with ice. Lorimar seemed to understand his thoughts, and he locked gazes with Joras once more. His next words were almost gentle:

“Oh, I might kill you yet, brother wolf. But not here, and not now. For after all, we now serve the same master.”

 

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

Ruined buildings — quick & easy

Posted in 40k, DIY, Terrain with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 23, 2013 by krautscientist

Another quick and easy tutorial of sorts: This time we’ll deal with how to easily build a couple of ruined buildings in very short time.

Ruined buildings and crumbling hab-blocks are a staple of cityfight tables in particular and 40k terrain in general. It’s no surprise that GW has released lots and lots of easily assembled and nicely detailed cityfight ruins, and those kits are great! But sometimes you’ll want to fill up a lot of table space in a short amount of time, and maybe you also don’t want to spend a lot of money. And then, maybe you’re a bit like me and get a kick out of building terrain with readily and cheaply available materials? If you can subscribe to any (or all) of the conditions listed above, this post is definitely for you!

There are lots of useful materials when building your own ruined buildings: Cardboard, plywood, styrofoam and many others. Personally, I tend to go for foamcore, though, since it’s usually readily available and easy enough to handle. I usually work with foamcore of two different thicknesses: 2.5 mm and 4 mm. While the former is easier to cut, the latter is great for jobs that require more stability (outer walls, bases).

When I built my first ruined buildings, I prepared a very crude template that I simply drew on an A4 sheet of paper. This is pretty much what it looked like:

ruin_template
I used a 40k model for reference to get the proportions right. Since I needed some space to attach the template to the foamcore (using paperclips), the actual template is slightly smaller in size than A4. There also wasn’t enough space to add a full story at the top, as you can see. I found an easy way around that, though: Just cutting off half of the uppermost story, making it look like it had been partly destroyed. In addition to my rather crude sketch, there are also all kinds of great templates floating around the net, by the way. For a while, even GW offered a set of templates for hab-blocks, although I always found these a little off in scale. Anyway, it’s very easy to come up with a fitting template yourself or find one online.

After that, it’s really as easy as just cutting the foamcore to resemble the template. Be sure to use a very sharp exacto-knife for this, though, to make sure you get smooth edges when cutting: Foamcore tends to wear out blades pretty fast, so take care!

Once you have a finished wall, you can either just glue it together with other pieces of foamcore to make a building, or you can add some damage. If you cut the wall roughly in half, both halves can then be used to form different walls of the building, leading to a bombed-out look. Actually constructing buildings is really easy: Just glue your wall to a base (made of plywood or thicker foamcore), attach other pieces of foamcore at a 90 degrees angle, and you’re good! Foamcore is easy to glue together using wood- or PVA glue.

The great thing is how fast you’ll be able to build ruins this way. Let’s take a look at two buildings I built using just the one template you see above:






As you can see, you can achieve a very different look by just changing around the configuration of the walls. I also added in the remains of the buildings’ different floors, using leftover pieces of foamcore. Leftover sprue can be used to add broken and bent support beams. And you can use small stones, cork and slate to add some rubble to the corners of the building. The thing to keep in mind when adding rubble is that the building should still be useful in games, so it can make sense to actually use less rubble than would be realistic (given the damage on the building) for the simple reason that you may still want to be able to place a squad of models inside. Oh, and one small thing: Definitely take the time to add some windowsills, cut from leftover foamcore! It doesn’t take long, but that small detail really goes a long way towards making your ruined buildings look more realistic!

Granted, these buildings look far less detailed than the ones released by GW. But they’re very easy to build and come at very little extra cost. They can also really be as simple or as sophisticated as you want them to be. Here’s a more complex building I built with games of Necromunda or Inquisitor 28 in mind:




As you can see, I added a number of walkways as well as a central column. Still, the building was constructed using the exact same template as shown above.

You can also really go to town on these buildings, adding all kinds of propaganda posters, additional bitz and what have you.  You could conceivably even combine your foamcore parts with parts of the GW cityfight buildings to spice things up a bit!

In my case, I wanted these buildings to be quickly usable, so I basically just undercoated them with texture paint, sprayed them with cheap grey paint from the DIY superstore and they were ready to go on the table.

Seeing how easy it is to build these, you’ll quickly want to try your hand at building more sophisticated structures as well:

Foamcore_ruins (1)

Foamcore_ruins (2)
Foamcore_ruins (3)
Most of these were built about one and a half years ago, and I am actually a little embarrassed by how crude some of them are. I believe that I could probably do much better today. Still, the point in showing these to you is to demonstrate how your own imagination is really the only limit here. And you’ll quickly have a table full of terrain: Get together with some people at your FLGS or wargaming club, and you can easily churn out a table’s worth of cool stuff in a couple of afternoons! Here’s the cityfight terrain I managed to build over the span of one summer in 2011:

Foamcore_ruins (4)
I already explained at some length that there are many great reasons for building your own terrain! And today’s post demonstrates that it’s really quite easy to do so. So get building!

Any questions or remarks? Or any buildings or terrain projects of your own that you would like to show off? I’d be glad to hear from you in the comments section!

In any case, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Some thoughts on the new Dark Angels models

Posted in 40k, Custodes, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , on January 18, 2013 by krautscientist

With the new Dark Angels release now available and with much of my Custodes force actually based on Dark Angels models in one form or another, I thought it would be fun to take a look at the new models from a personal perspective. Expect no brand new insights or tactica (if you want those, head on over to DFG. Those guys have got you covered), however, just a couple of opinions and ideas from someone who loves to discuss models and dream of kitbashes 😉

So, let’s start with the Finecast characters, shall we?

 

New_DA_models (3)

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Belial

Well, not too much of a surprise there, really: He mostly looks like people expected him to, and also like most of the Belial conversions people did when there was no model around. In my opinion, Belial is quite a nice and ornate model, suitably imposing and baroque for a DA HQ model. It seems that many people don’t like the pose, but I think it’s really a pretty good idea to try a slightly straighter look for Terminator legs for a change. That said, if you really find the model horrible, overpriced, or just slightly underwhelming, nobody’s stopping you from just converting your own version using bits from the Deathwing Knights (as Mordian7th has beautifully demonstrated here).

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Asmodai

Another competent sculpt, to be sure. My main gripe with the model is that it doesn’t really feel like all that much of an improvement over the older version, which, in my opinion, still boasts one of the coolest skull masks ever:

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

In my opinion, they should rather have focused on a new model for Azrael, who is beginning to look a bit puny next to his blinged-out new brethren by now…

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Dark Angels standard bearer

Nothing to write home about: This guy looks reasonably similar to the older metal standard bearer, but sports a fully sculpted banner. While it’s a nice enough model, you could build your own version using nothing but plastic parts very easily, making this an absolutely non-essential purchase in my book.

 

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Ravenwing Command Squad

The first of the squad kits comes with enough optional parts to build either a Ravenwing Command Squad or a squad of Ravenwing Knights. The bikes follow the slightly updated look introduced by the bikes included in the Dark Vengeance starter box, yet they should still work alright alongside your older Ravenwing bikes.  Lots and lots of nice detail on these guys — as a matter of fact, they are almost a tad too busy for my taste. But maybe I am just miffed at GW for now using the rank “Huntmaster” for a DA unit champion. And there I thought I had come up with something truly original. Oh well…

On a related note, while he is certainly not a Huntmaster on par with those of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt, I really like the bare head on this guy:

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

 

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Deathwing Command Squad / Deathwing Knights

Definitely the cream of the crop for me, but first things first: The kit gives you enough parts to build either a Deathwing command squad consisting of five models, five regular Deathwing Terminators or a five man squad of Deathwing knights (we’ll get to those in a minute). Again, the models look nicely detailed, with lots of options. Many people seem to be complaining about the price of these. especially when looking at the other Terminator kits. However, that’s a bit like comparing apples and oranges, seeing how none of the other Terminator kits gives you enough extra parts to essentially build three different unit types. So while these guys are indeed a little pricey, you should be able to kitbash lots and lots of Deathwing Terminators by getting one box of these and a box of regular Termies or Black Reach Termies, even (once again, Mordian 7th’s post here shows what thrifty use of the new bits can achieve).

In fact, I have a totally different gripe with these: While the amount of detail is really nice (and I particularly like the two-handed halberd), some of the poses and proportions seem a little …off: The models with twin LC and the Plasmagun in the above picture are the worst offenders in this respect. I guess that’s the price for making the kit flexible enough to allow you to build these guys as well:

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

The Deathwing knights are definitely the stars of the show for me! While I admit that they are probably not to everyone’s taste, I rather like the knightly, monastic look to them (it also fits well with the established DA look). The most interesting thing about these models may be their use as something different than DA, though: I can easily see these being a great base for a particularly imposing Inquisitor or a kitbashed and heavily converted Deathshroud for your pre- or post-heresy Deathguard army (in case you don’t want to use the new FW models). And call me crazy, but I think this is a perfect weapon for a warlord of Nurgle, if ever there was one:

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

So while I have little use for most of the DA release, I can see myself picking up a box of these in the future. It’s definitely not a priority, but the kit should give me lots of nice stuff to play around with. One thing, though:

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

I realise that you guys are super-mysterious and all that, but seriously, get that hood out of your eyes, soldier! 😉

 

And now for the vehicles:

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Land Speeder Vengeance

Well, let’s get this out of the way first:  I would love to be all edgy and unconventional here, but, like many other people, I am really not sold on this model. In fact, here’s what my first association was once I saw the model:

God, how I loved that film as a child...

God, how I loved that film as a child…

Yes, that’s right: Skeletor’s barge from the 80s Masters of the Universe film. Go figure.

Anyway, with its slightly iffy visual status between a landspeeder and a fully fledged flyer, this model just looks sooo clunky, doesn’t it? And I really don’t think that gun turret in front was such a good idea: What is that marine standing on? How did he get in there in the first place?

On the other hand, not unlike the WFB Warshrine of Chaos model, the kit should be chock full of fantastic conversion bitz (the pilots and gunners are quite lovely, for one). Still, really not sold on this one. Moving on…

 

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Dark Talon / Nephilim Fighter

Now we’re talking! Yet another combi-kit, this time a flyer. Most importantly, I think this is what a Space Marine flyer should look like (and what the Storm Talon should have been in the first place). The addition of Aquila shuttle-like wings add some much needed plausibility to the model. It also doesn’t look as squat and bumblebee-ish as the Storm Talon. The downside is the much higher price, which seems like a bit of a rip-off really. But there’s no way around it: If I ever were to build a Space Marine flyer, it would be based on this kit.

Strangely enough, all the archaic and statuesque elements added to the model to make the Dark Talon really don’t gel well with the overall look, in my opinion. While I am a big fan of the strangely archaic elements found in 40k, all those statues somehow look decidedly off against the otherwise uncluttered silhouette of the flyer. But that’s just me…

 

All in all, the new release does a good job in adding some interesting new models and units to the mix. The DA’s characteristic look is also further fleshed-out in a fitting way. There are a few minor slipups along the way, but my main concern are the rather hefty price tags carried by some of those kits – justified as they may be.
From a converter’s perspective, most of this is fortunately pretty non-essential: I’ll probably pick up a box of Deathwing Knights at some point, just for the heck of it. Apart from that, I’ll leave the new kits to the DA players. Still, they have been competently serviced, at the very least.

What do you think of the new DA models? Any gripes? Any plans for creative kitbashes and crazy conversions? I’d love to hear your opinion in the comments section!

In any case, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Guards, Guards!

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Custodes, paintjob, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2013 by krautscientist

While the Custodes army I started some time last year was originally just a small side project with a very limited scope and a “Why the hell not?” approach, several factors have led to the army expanding far beyond what was originally planned: One reason for this was the fact that kitbashing Custodes out of all kinds of Space Marine parts is just a whole lot of fun. And there were all the Dark Angels models from the Dark Vengeance starter box too. I had to use them for something, didn’t I? Anyway, even after completing the first two squads for the army, I still couldn’t stop building and building. Today, let’s take a look at the most recent additions to my Custodes:

 

1.) Kitbashed Cataphractii

I already featured all of the individual models, but here’s another look at my finished Custodes Cataphractii squad, basically ready for painting:

Completed Cataphractii Squad WIP
Originally, I had planned to build only one model as a proof of concept, but the Terminators that came with the Dark Vengeance box allowed me to bump the squad size up to five. While these may look a little different from FW’s “official” Cataphractii model, they were kitbashed with base models and bitz I already owned anyway, and I think they read as Heresy-era Terminators well enough. Still, five models should be enough for now, so the next step would be to actually get some colour on these guys.

 

2.) Sisters of Silence

Another spur of the moment idea was to add a small squad of Sisters of Silence to the army. This was made pretty easy by the fact that some of the Dark Eldar models make for pretty convincing Sisters when combined with a couple of more imperial looking bitz.

I recently added another model to the squad. This time, the model was converted from a Dark Eldar Kabalite Warrior instead of a Wych:

SoS (10)
SoS (11)
SoS (13)
I thought it would be a cool idea have a model wielding a flamer in the squad, so I used a bit from the plastic Empire wizard kit and combined it with the body of a Dark Eldar shredder to create a flamer that looked suitably archaic and ornate (and was, once again, pretty close to the official HH artwork).

Here’s the squad so far:

SoS (15)
SoS (14)
I think I’ll be adding one more model to make sure the squad is actually legally playable. They could probably be used as Scouts, although that’s really not all that important to me. In any case, a squad of five will look nice enough, even if it’s just on a display board 😉 The one decision I still have to make is whether to paint these in gold (like the regular Custodes) or rather in a combination of red and silver (as they are seen in several pieces of HH artwork).

 

3.) Legio Champion

I have mentioned the fact that I am slightly addicted to building HQ models on several occasions. So in addition to my already completed Custodes Shield Captain (and another possible commander converted from the Dark Vengeance Company Master), I wanted to build an imposing warrior to represent a mighty champion of the Legio Custodes. I wanted him to look like he could basically bring down a fortress all by himself. Here’s the result:

Legio Champion (6)
Legio Champion (3)
Legio Champion (8)
Legio Champion (9)
I combined all kinds of Marine parts with the legs of a WFB Warrior of Chaos. I also added a slightly converted Thunder Hammer. The storm bolter looks a little too clunky, so maybe I’ll just swap it for a storm shield. And I have to be honest with you: The whole model was really heavily inspired by one of the very nice Custodes models over at The Buddy Times (I really wish Hashashin would get back to building more Custodes!).

 

4.) Jump Infantry

I already told you that my Praetorians were built using parst from the GK, Sanguinary Guard and DA Veterans kits. That means I had a lot of leftover bits from those kits, so I thought it would be cool to build some kind of jump infantry for my Custodes, using those parts. Here are my test models for a squad of five:

Jump Infantry (1)
Jump Infantry (2)
Jump Infantry (3)
And the second model:

Jump Infantry (4)
Jump Infantry (5)
Jump Infantry (6)
This one is a bit closer to the classic Custodes look, wielding yet another converted judgement spear.

All in all, like I said, these were basically built from leftovers. I considered adding the Sanguinary Guard wings for a long time, seeing how they are a really nice fit with the overall Custodes aesthetics, but I decided against it in the end: For one, the models would have looked like nothing more than Sanguinary Guard with High-Elf heads. Plus leaving the wings off means the jump packs look identical to FW’s MK IV jump packs, adding to the models’ Pre-Heresy look. And without a doubt, the leftover wings will come in handy sooner rather than later…

Jump Infantry (7)
Apart from the two painted test models, there are three more in the squad. I’ll probably paint these next, so expect them to be the next update concerning my Custodes army.

 

Anyway, these are my Custodes-related projects at the moment. All in all, the army remains a fun project to distract me from all the World Eaters stuff. Plus it offers me the way of using all the strange and obscure Marine bitz that end up in my bitzbox in new and interesting ways.

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

Totally worth it: Warzone

Posted in Conversions, old stuff, paintjob, Pointless ramblings, Totally worth it with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 11, 2013 by krautscientist

Totallyworthit_Banner02
In the last installment of Totally Worth It, I talked about a pretty well recognised classic: The Inquisitor Rulebook. But this series would be extraordinarily boring if it only dealt with well-known stuff, so for today I have chosen something a bit more obscure: A game that went under without ever making that much of a splash, but also a release totally worth checking out: The Warzone 2nd edition starter box.

Image appears courtesy of Prince August

Image appears courtesy of Prince August

In case you don’t know the game, don’t fret: It was released by the Swedish Company Target Games some time during the 90s in an attempt to challenge GW’s dominance over the wargaming market. In those days, however, it was usually not as widely available as GW’s systems: I remember discovering a catalogue of Target Games releases at my local FLGS in the late 90s and quite liking some of the designs, but ordering stuff in those dark days (before the internet made sure everything was always just one click away) was an arcane and hazardous business at the best of times, so I never persevered. Then, a couple of years ago, a couple of conversions started cropping up on the forums, with people using their old Warzone starter box minis to bulk out the ranks of their Imperial Guard or Lost and the Damned traitor armies. And I immediately recalled that I had rather liked those designs all those years ago. So when I had the chance to pick up a whole Warzone starter box on ebay for a song, I went for it and was pleasantly surprised.

But enough about me, let’s cut to the chase: Warzone is set in the Mutant Chronicles universe, where a number of Megacorporations originating on good old Earth are continually duking it out all over the galaxy: Hostile takeovers here are indeed a rather bloody affair, with the necessary paperwork usually only signed after the fact. The corporations also heavily draw on a number of national stereotypes, which is pretty evident by their names alone: Imperial (totally not the UK), Capitol (totally not the USA), Bauhaus (totally not Imperial Germany, with the rest of 19th century continental Europe thrown into the mix for flavour), Mishima (totally not Edo-period Japan), and Cybertronic (totally not, well, Microsoft, I guess…). Oh, and there’s also a church state (totally not Christianity) and the four Dark Apostles (totally not GW’s chaos gods) and their followers. In short, the whole background is just as much of a glorious trainwreck as the 40k lore of old, and I really think the Chaos-God-expies are a bit superfluous, but the whole Megacorporation angle and the way the associated tropes are used still seem rather interesting and original today.

The background is (rather briefly) detailed in the accompanying three books: one for the background itself, one for the rules and one for the army lists (the latter has all the army lists for all the factions, by the way). While the books are partly suffering from a pretty angular 90s layout, they are chock-full of great artwork (from artists like Paul Bonner, comic book prodigy Simon Bisley and others) and lots and lots of nicely photographed models.

Speaking of the models, there’s a decidedly WWI-ish feel to the whole thing from an aesthetic standpoint: The Imperial soldiers even come with Brodie helmets, and no Bauhaus soldier could ever be complete without his trusty “Pickelhaube”.

With the starter box, you get 40 soldiers of the Bauhaus and Imperial corporations, respectively. The plastic models were designed by Bob Naismith, one of the “fathers” of the original Space Marines, and it shows: In short, I would go so far as to say that the starter box minis may very well be the best models released for Warzone. Let’s take a look:

Warzone Minis (1)
Warzone Minis (3)
Warzone Minis (2)
This is a regular Imperial infantryman. I painted him in suitably muddy colours and added an IG decal for good measure.

Warzone Minis (6)
Warzone Minis (4)
And here’s an Imperial heavy weapon’s expert after I gave him the same treatment.

And finally, an Imperial officer:

Warzone Minis (9)
Warzone Minis (8)
Warzone Minis (7)
In this case, I added red as a spot colour on the officer’s cap and left shoulderpad.

And here’s all three of them together:

Warzone Minis (13)

And here’s an officer from the other faction, Bauhaus:

Warzone Minis (10)
Warzone Minis (11)
Warzone Minis (12)
Of course I chose a very different recipe for painting him, but I think it works rather well. And you may call me crazy, but I rather think that the flowing lines of the shoulder armour are very reminiscent of the Volkswagen Beetle. I wonder if this was a deliberate choice…

I have to tell you I really like these guys. They are pretty great starter minis, and they sport a decidedly distinct look. Granted, with only three poses per faction, there may be a pronounced lack of variety, but keep in mind that it’s the 90s we are talking about here. Let’s take a look at GW’s 2nd edition starter box minis from the same time:

2nd edition Blood Angel, painted approximately 15 years ago by my good buddy Phil

2nd edition Blood Angel, painted approximately 15 years ago by my good buddy Phil

2nd edition Ork Boy, painted approximately 15 years ago by my good buddy Phil

2nd edition Ork Boy, painted approximately 15 years ago by my good buddy Phil

While the Ork Boy is still rather charming in a corny retro-way, both models are certainly nothing to write home about. I think we can all agree that Warzone’s starter minis are spitting on the second edition 40k minis from a very tall height.

My one gripe with these guys is that not only are they rather fiddly to put together, but the plastic these were made also comes straight from hell, which makes removing moldlines and gluing them together more of an adventure than it should be. Still, the designs are really great, in my opinion, and still hold up rather nicely today.

Unfortunately, the rest of the catalogue didn’t necessarily fare as well: Target Games employed lots of different designers, resulting in a very uneven level of quality: Some of the metal Warzone minis are simply gorgeous (having been designed by people like Werner Klocke), while others are looking terribly clunky, failing to capture the pretty great artwork they are based on. It also seems like some of the models were designed at the heroic 28mm scale, while others are far more realistically proportioned. And some of this stuff is simply very goofy looking (Mishima’s dragon landspeeder or the majority of the Dark Apostle’s forces come to mind…). But still, the books and models that come with the starter box are rather nice, and definitely great value for a starter box from that time.

So what about the game itself? Honestly, I couldn’t tell you with any measure of reliability: I am not a rules guy, especially not when the game in question has been dead for close to 15 years. At a glance, it looks like the rules were reasonably similar to 2nd edition 40k, although with a more skirmish-like approach. There is a number of differences and smart ideas, but ultimately the game seems fairly similar to its direct competitor.

Unfortunately, very shortly after the release of Warzone’s 2nd edition, the 3rd edition of Wathammer 40k hit tabletops everywhere: With a radically streamlined ruleset and the spectacular multipart plastic Space Marines in the starter box, GW left the competition in the dust. Target Games also tried to challenge GW yet again with its own fantasy wargame called “Chronopia”, with quite similar results (as an interesting aside, though, some of those Chronopia models rather look like early design studies for Warmachine, in my opinion…): GW simply seemed invincible in the late 90s.

So what to make of it all?

In any case, the Warzone starter box is an artifact from an interesting era of tabletop wargaming: Target Games dared to challenge GW, and though they may have failed in this, you have to admire their ambition! What’s more, the minis from the box still holf up rather nicely, and are a great way of getting your hands on some cheap alternative IG models: I could see these being used as an alternative for the Death Korps of Krieg, and DRommel did some very nice Savlar Chem Dogs based on Imperial soldiers. Then there’s the option of using them as chaos cultists, Planetary Defense forces, alternative Arbites, Inquisition troops or simply as NPCs in games of Inquisitor 28 or Necromunda. And if all else fails, you can always use them to pull off stunts like this one:

Converted Traitor commissar using a Warzone Imperial officer's head

Converted Traitor commissar using a Warzone Imperial officer’s head

The game, huge bags of the plastic starter models and the remainder of the old metal models can still be had for a song over at Prince August, who picked up the rights to Target Games’ wargames. So I encourage you to take a look. Especially at this price, Warzone may very well be totally worth it, if only for conversion fodder or to satisfy your curiosity RE: “wargaming history…”

Do you have any experiences with the Warzone minis, or maybe even with playing the game? Let me know in the comments section!

In any case, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Facing Demons, pt. 2: All your base…

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 9, 2013 by krautscientist

One of the few hobby-related things I managed to do over the holidays was to get some more work done on my Lorimar model. In my last post about this guy, I already described the thoughts that went into building the model. Still, there were still some details to attend to:

The first of those was to build a base for the model. The base for Lorimar had to be rather tall and imposing — not only to show off the model, but for a rather simple reason, really: Lorimar’s flowing cape was pretty long, so I had to elevate him quite a bit in order to raise it clear of the ground. With this in mind, I got to work. Here’s what I came up with:

Lorimar base WIP (1)
Lorimar base WIP (5)
Lorimar base WIP (4)
Lorimar base WIP (3)
Lorimar base WIP (2)
As you can see, the rock from the Chaos Lord kit was used as a centrepiece for the base. The model had been built with this particular rock in mind as well, so it made a lot of sense to use it. The bit was combined with quite a bit of cork in order to make it look a little less generic. I used a couple of skulls on stakes, but I didn’t go overboard with it: After all, the model has enough skulls as it is 😉
I also added a couple of spears, jutting out of the ground at different angles. Those came from the WFB Marauder Horsemen. I used the he same kind of spears when building my custom objective markers, leading to a nice bit of visual consistency across the army.

Although the base still needs some additional cork chaff and small pieces of slate to better blend in the plastic rock with the rest of the base and to add some texture, the overall build is complete.

I also did a last minute change to the model itself: Even though I rather liked the two-handed axe that I had converted for Lorimar, it was still the one part about the model that kept bothering me: It looked too heavy to be wielded in tandem with a sword, for one. And the silhouette of the weapon, extraordinary as it might have been, didn’t immediately read as an axe. So I exchanged it for a slightly less clunky model. Take a look:

Lorimar WIP (9)
Lorimar WIP (10)
Lorimar WIP (11)
Lorimar WIP (13)
The new axe head came from one of the Dark Vengeance Chosen. Even though it doesn’t look as unique as the original axe, I still think it strikes a far better balance: Lorimar looks like he could actually fight wielding both weapons at the same time, which had been the original plan for the model. The converted axe head went into the bitzbox for a future project, of course…

Some smaller additions to the base notwithstanding, this is basically the finished model ready for painting. So when you next hear about Lorimar, expect the model to have some paint on it 😉

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

Lorimar WIP (14)