Raising Hell, pt. 1

It’s plain to see that the various new Daemon Engines played a rather huge part in the last Chaos Space Marine release: While not everyone is especially fond of the Heldrake and fiend models, there’s no doubt that they add a new perspective to the army, both from a visual and a gameplay standpoint. The most eagerly disputed of these daemon engines has to be the Heldrake: Not only does it add the first real flyer to the traitor legions’ lineup, but the model itself is also a very clear case of “love it or hate it.”

I have to be honest with you: In this particular question, I feel rather drawn towards the haters’ camp: While I love the idea of a chaos flyer slowly mutating and changing to a quasi-living being, with its erstwhile pilot having atrophied to a husk serving as the beast’s black heart, and while the latest FAQ pretty much transformed the Heldrake from a very viable option into an “auto-include”, I am still not sold on the kit itself. Make no mistake, the beast has grown on me a little, and I don’t hate it as much as I did last October, but it was immediately clear to me that any Heldrake included in my World Eaters army would have to look pretty different. This mini-series, then, will deal with my own Heldrake conversion slowly taking shape.

As luck would have it, I had won a Painting/Converting Contest over at Throne of Skulls some time ago, and so I was allowed to choose the motto for the next contest — what better occasion than this to force myself to actually convert and paint a chaos flyer of my own? So I decreed that the contest would deal with Khornate Daemon Engines, in order to both let myself be inspired by other peoples’ awesome creations and to put myself under a bit of pressure regarding my own entry.

The first step was choose a general approach to the matter. I did pick up the Heldrake kit, because I felt it was at least a good starting point, and did a little research to find out what other people had done with the kit. After some time spent looking at a number of very cool chaos flyers, I knew what to do:

My inspiration for this conversion came from Marshalfaust’s thread on Warseer. Honourable mentions must also go to Morf’s exquisite “Hellbat” and Old School Terminator’s scratchbuilt Nurglite Heldrake (or his “Hellworm”: that …thing is truly something else) — those would be my conversions of choice if I wanted to build Night Lords or Death Guard flyers, respectively.

With my World Eaters in mind, though, the conversion ended up very close to Marshalfaust’s, in order to make the Heldrake look less like a dragon and more like a sinuous, strangely organic jetfighter. Take a look:

Hellrazor WIP (1)
Hellrazor WIP (2)
Hellrazor WIP (3)
Hellrazor WIP (5)
As you can see, only the longest set of front wings was used. I attached it directly to the main body, leading to a look slightly reminiscent of the different FW chaos flyers.Β  One smaller set of wings was added in the regular position. While I wanted to add yet another set of wings towards the back in order to give further definition to the model’s shape, that would obviously have to wait until everything was painted (looking back now, that turned out to be a very smart decision…).
The neck was also left out, and the head replaced with an optional leftover head from the Forgefiend kit.

Hellrazor WIP (4)
Due to a spontaneous moment of inspiration, I forced the remains of a WFB Necrosphinx skull head into the mouth cavity. Bydoing this, I wanted to give the model an actual “face” as a focal point. I also liked the notion that the skull’s mouth would be the place where the flames from the baleflamer emerged…

I also used some lasher tendrils from the Maulerfiend kit to “plug” some of the jet nozzles on the model’s back and make the body look even more disturbing:

Hellrazor WIP (6)
With the lost arms and claws on my Heldrake, I also like to think that these tentacles are used as a CC weapon of sorts, slashing and whipping at other flyers and enemies on the ground.

All in all, I was reasonably pleased with the basic build of my Heldrake, which I decided to name the “Hellrazor” for a double pun – a cookie goes to you if you can figure it out πŸ˜‰

The next step was to start painting this thing, and I will not lie to you: It was a nightmare!

Hellrazor PIP (1)
All those small panels on the wings took ages to paint. And there were so many of them, even though I hadn’t used all the wings that came with the kit in the first place!

Nevertheless, I persevered and used the same base colours appearing throughout all of my army: The red areas were painted using GW Mechrite Red, the Bronze trim was picked out in Vallejo Tinny Tin, and the silver areas were done with GW Boltgun Metal. I decided to paint the slightly fleshy, mutated bits of the model in a dark brown-red instead of a paler skin tone. That way, I would get a pretty organic transition to the reds on the model and would be able to avoid any expansive, pink areas.

Hellrazor PIP (2)
I’ll be honest with you: Getting all the base colours done on the model was quite a chore, and not an experience I would want to repeat anytime soon. Oh, I worked in multiple sub-assemblies, by the way, with the head and armour plates on the model’s back being painted separately to make sure every detail was easy enough to reach. It also quickly became clear that the changes I had done to the wings and rear of the model didn’t exactly make the job any easier…

Hellrazor PIP (3)

But in the end, all the base colours were done, and I was free to tackle the next, hopefully much more enjoyable, steps of the paintjob: Applying the washes, and then seeing to the details…

But that, as they say, is a story for anoter time. So stay tuned for the next installment of Raising Hell, coming this Friday!

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

13 Responses to “Raising Hell, pt. 1”

  1. Awesome work on this killer kitbash. It has the looks of a actual fighter jet while having a primitive beast look to it at closer inspection.

  2. this is a rather nice beast! much more along the lines of how I picture them looking compared to GWs ex-transformer look…
    really like the skull in the jaw and the tendrils add some appearance of movement to the piece which is cool =)

    • Thanks, Jessica! The skull may be my one original idea here, since most of the conversion was basically stolen from Marshalfaust’s very nice model. But the skull provided a nice opportunity during painting, as you’ll see tomorrow πŸ˜‰

  3. This is freaking brilliant, I love that it looks like the Hell Talon.

    • Thanks, mate! Yeah, I really think the Heldrake has a bit of a resemblance to the FW models, as it is. So it was really just a question of bringing that to the foreground.

  4. Nice! I really, really like how that turned out – Way better than the normal kit, awesome work, man!

  5. I’m with you in the haters camp – I am really not keen on the whole dragon aesthetic, but I think you have done an excellent job! I am planning something similar for mine, though I intend to build a replacement head which will look a bit like a huge heavy flamer, and have it underslung with some cables and metal plates. I do really like your conversion -not sure why you chose that name though :/ and I salute your efforts to disguise the cartoonish dragon look.

    • Cheers, Mako πŸ˜‰

      “Cartoony”, yes, I guess that’s what I found off-putting about the original design. It somehow seems like a animΓ©-videogame version of Chaos, so I had to change that.

      As for the name, the one idea was to have a name that was similar to the different classes of chaos flyers: Hell Talon, Hell Blade, Hellrazor. And, of course, there’s Hellraiser, as in: to raise hell πŸ˜‰

  6. […] up is a Forgefiend. I picked up the kit way back when I started working on my Heldrake conversion and never really managed to move beyond the basic construction. So I sat down to assemble and […]

  7. Michael LeBaron Says:

    Wish I could afford to try that conversion myself… It looks awesome…

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