On my desk: Lone wolf and cubs

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,Β  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 πŸ˜‰
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!

3 Responses to “On my desk: Lone wolf and cubs”

  1. It’s so good to see my stuff inspiring others to make more cool stuff ))

    Like the conversions and especially Joras Turnpelt. Bearded Marauder Horsemen heads look great on Terminator bodies (as termies don’t have that frontal collar which makes it hard to fit a beared head on a marine), my only suggestion would probably be sinking it a bit deeper to avoid the hunched look.

    Love the regular marines as well, chaos and SW bitz never look wrong together. Did you consider removing the paint, though? It looks a bit thick, might make repainting trickier.

    To me, SW being loyalists always seemed a bit too stretched. I mean, c’mon, you have crazy space vikings with piratic mentality, wearing furs and trophies, boasting martial powess, drinking and humping women, etc, and make them fight for the most totalitarian regime in 40k? So all and any armies of Wolves off their leashes will get thumbs up for me.

    • Cheers, mate! The inspiration was much appreciated in this case πŸ˜‰

      You’re probably right regarding Joras’ head, but that would mean I have to lose the braided hair (or cut it off and reattach it somehow). I’ll take a look at it. Right now, most of the model is only tacked together anyway, so I still have lots of room for experimentation πŸ˜‰

      As for the painted parts, I think I’ll just take my chances with them. The black undercoat is virtually impossible to remove in any case, plus I intend to spray these in dark grey, which will remain the main colour of their armour. So I’ll have to add less coats of paint on top. If they should end looking up too clunky due to the thickness of the paint, they’re only test models that came at no extra cost, so I’ll have to live with it.

      Fluffwise, the wolves are interesting because, in a way, they’re the most loyal chapter and the one most likely to fall to chaos at the same time — does that make sense? πŸ˜‰

      What I mean is that it is easy enough to imagine them as fiercely loyal: All their culture is built around honour and kin, and though they are fairly unconventional for an Astartes chapter, they are loyal servants of the Emperor. At the same time, there’s always that slightly feral quality about them. It’s in their chapter lore as well as in their genes, so they always have to take care to keep that wild side in check. I think it’s this duality that makes them interesting to explore and lifts them above being mere “vikings in space”.

  2. […] time ago, I showed you some test models for a small squad of traitorous Space Wolves. I had put off painting the first test model until […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: