Archive for February, 2013

Apostle of War

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 8, 2013 by krautscientist

Not only am I a great fan of building characters for my World Eaters army (as evidenced by many, many posts on this blog), I also enjoy having models to represent must – if not all – of the possible selections from the Codex. What’s more, I am constantly trying come up with conversions and kitbashes that put a spin on the ideas presented in the book and make the models fit my army’s background: My Chaos Spawn are former World Eaters and still retain some of the gladiatorial feel typical of the legion. My champions and officers are “Huntmasters”, accomplished hunters out to run down their prey. Indeed, most of my army is designed with the hunting background firmly in mind, and for each entry in the codex, I try to come up with a model that is not only clearly recognisable, but also makes sense within the context of the army’s overall look and feel.

The Dark Apostle HQ selection was one that had me stumped so far. You see, for me, the Dark Apostle will always remain a character type firmly connected to the Word Bearers legion. I also wanted to build my own model for a possible Dark Apostle instead of the Finecast one released by GW (though the model is, of course, really cool). So after a bit of thought, I figured that I had two possibilities:

  1. Make the Apostle a Word Bearer that had been assigned to the 4th assault company during the Great Crusade and had been staying with them ever since.
  2. Come up with a way to create a “Khornate” Dark Apostle that made sense within the framework of my army’s background.

While the first option may be pretty promising from a narrative standpoint, I somehow just wasn’t feeling it: While the Dark Apostle Azalon actually appears in the background of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt and definitely had a hand in their corruption, he’s a character I would maybe like to spin off into a separate army project one of these days. So I thought about making my own apostle as a member of the 4th assault company.

Several Khorne players have come up with some kind of “blood priest”, inciting his brothers to even greater rage during battle. But while that idea was also very cool, it still wasn’t what I was looking for. Instead, I thought about what the members of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt would possibly use as a means of bolstering their morale and drive them forward. And since it’s a hunting party we are talking about here, the answer was rather simple: a horn.

My Dark Apostle would be a hornblower, wielding an ancient and  treasured artifact to call the warriors of the 4th to arms and order them forward. To my mind, it makes a lot of sense that the sound of their most revered warhorn should serve as a surge of motivation to the legionaries of the 4th!

So far so good! Now when it came to actually building the model, everything boiled down to a lucky coincidence, as is so often the case: When I swung by the FLGS the other day after a particularly horrible day at work, I couldn’t help but treat myself to one of GW’s brand new plastic Chaos Lords.

While I hadn’t been 100% sold on the model before, this guy is actually pretty great once you see him firsthand! So I sat down and did a couple of really easy changes to the model to transform him into my “counts as” Dark Apostle. Take a look:

Apostle of War WIP (2)
Apostle of War WIP (1)
Apostle of War WIP (5)
Apostle of War WIP (6)
As you can see, it didn’t take much to make the model look quite different: I carefully cut off the hand holding the glaive and used a different head. Oh, and I also “converted” the base to fit on a 40k round base. Apart from that, in a move that is fairly atypical for me, the model remains very close to the original design.

While the head that comes with the model is much nicer than the pictures in WD would have you believe, and while it has a really interesting “Herne the Hunter” vibe going on, it was a little to over the top for the look I wanted to achieve. So I used a champion head from the Skullcrusher kit instead. The Khorne rune on the forehead is quite a nice touch, and while I had originally planned to shave off the small set of horns, they somehow really complement the rest of the model rather well, don’t you think?

Apostle of War WIP (3)
Apostle of War WIP (4)

Apostle of War WIP (10)

The huge horn came from the Chaos Daemon Bloodcrusher kit and is nicely decorated with different chaotic runes. I originally wanted to use the even cooler horn from the Skullcrushers, but that one was unfortunately right-handed, so I had little choice in the matter. In any case, the horn really looks like an ancient and powerful artifact of the Warp…

Apostle of War WIP (9)
Granted, this guy still looks very much like a WFB model. But even though I might have been slightly tempted to make an even more involved conversion out of this model, I was too in love with the lines and silhouette of the model to further cut it up. And while I am not one to be easily swayed by GW’s marketing speak, their gushing about how great the model’s sword and cape are designed is, for once, really true. Take a look:

Apostle of War WIP (8)
What’s really great about the new Chaos Lord is the depth of the model: He doesn’t look nearly as flat as the plastic models of old. However, this also comes at a price: The parts only fit together in a fairly specific way, so if you want to convert this guy, you should keep that in mind.

It’s fairly easy to swap in a couple of new forearms (and weapons) and the neck cavity will accept pretty much any head you choose to put there. The model could even conceivably be left off the sculpted base. Beyond that, though, converting this guy could get pretty complicated though. Still, knowing people like GuitaRasmus, PDH or migsula, I think we can rest assured that we will be seeing a couple of rather striking re-designs sooner rather than later…

Another word of advice: If you want to make painting this model a lot easier for yourself, you should think about what to glue together and what to leave apart before painting. Personally speaking, I would advise you to work in these four sub-assemblies:

Apostle of War WIP (11)
A: You can definitely glue together the base and small rocky outcrop with a part of the model’s right foot on it. If you want to keep the glaive, this will be quite a bit more complicated, since the weapon potentially connects sub-assemblies A and B. Since I just cut it off, I made my life that much easier 😉

B: The cape and forearms can be glued together: You can still add or remove the rest of the body (C) afterwards without a hitch. Again, see above for possible difficulties if you keep the glaive in the model’s right hand.

C: The model’s main body and right lower leg can also be glued together. There’s really only one possible position here. Even so, you might want to dryfit this part with sub-assembly A to make sure everything fits together.

D: Whatever head you want to use should probably be kept separate until after painting.

Oh, and one more thing: This guy is huge! Especially if you use the sculpted base! While he is a little less bulky than a Terminator, he almost reaches up to the same height as my Lorimar conversion (base included).

All in all, I am really pleased with this guy right now: I may add a small bit or two (and possibly a Dark Vengeance Chosen backpack, to make the model look a little more 40k), but he is pretty gorgeous and quite majestic as he is. I also think he makes for a rather convincing Dark Apostle in the context of my whole army. And I can also recommend the WoC plastic Lord, even though the price is nothing to laugh at.

Anyway, let me know what you think! And as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Apostle of War WIP (7)

Dark Vengeance …again

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 6, 2013 by krautscientist

You have to hand it to GW: That Dark Vengeance boxed set is quite a lot of bang for the buck: I’ve been happily cutting away on those models ever since the box was released last summer, and I still didn’t get all the way through its contents.

Case in point: The Chosen. The box comes with six exquisitely detailed plastic Chosen. The models are so good that any chaos player should be happy enough to draft them into his forces, right?

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

So why haven’t I done any work on these? They are, without a doubt, some of the finest CSM models ever released, yet they have sat untouched in their box so far — what the heck is wrong with me?

Well, there may be a couple of reasons, actually: First of all, I already converted some Chosen for my army before Dark Vengeance came along. And while they may not look nearly as cool as these guys, they fit the look of my army. They also decidedly look like World Eaters, while the Dark Vengeance Chosen were designed to represent Chaos on a more global scale — and rightly so!

What this means, though, is that it is actually rather hard to find a place for these in my army. Plus I felt slightly reluctant to cut apart the beautiful models.
But as is so often the case, something happened that set things in motion. It all began with this guy:

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

He may actually be my least favourite Chosen model: While he is nicely detailed, the model has a slightly squat look to it when seen firsthand. He did have a very nice power axe, though, so I used this guy as a donor when the time came to re-arm Lord Captain Lorimar. After that, things didn’t look to good for the poor Chosen: Without a CC weapon left, it didn’t really look like this guy was being fast-tracked for promotion in the World Eaters’ 4th assault company.

But for some reason, I picked up the model recently and started to work on it: After all, the new challenge rules in Codex Chaos Space Marines meant I was in dire need of a skull champion or two wielding power weapons. And there was no reason why I shouldn’t use this guy for that, right?

So a short while later, this is what he looks like:

Dark Vengeance Chosen (3)
Dark Vengeance Chosen (1)
Dark Vengeance Chosen (4)
A pretty straightforward conversion, as you can see: I added some Khornate bunny ears which succeeded in making the model look decidedly more like a World Eater and also managed to balance out the somewhat squat-looking helmet. And of course, the model needed a new axe, courtesy of the WFB Chaos Knights:

Dark Vengeance Chosen (2)
Coincidentally, this is an axe blade identical to the ones I used to build the first version of the axe wielded by Lorimar (later replaced by the Chosen’s power axe) — that’s Karma for you…

Anyway, while this was a fairly simply conversion, I still think the model now makes for a rather imposing skull champion!

Motivated by my unexpected success, I then turned to this guy:

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Again, a nice model, but he really doesn’t look like a World Eater. The fact that he’s armed with a Bolter doesn’t really help either. And due to the fact that there are actually two models of this particular design in the box, I could actually try a more involved conversion without destroying a unique model.

So I was feeling a little more adventurous this time around. Still, I got a bit carried away at some point, hacking and slashing and kitbashing away, until I finally came to and this guy was standing before me:

Dark Vengeance Chosen (6)
Quite a transformation, if I do say so myself…
As you can see, this is a far more involved conversion, only keeping the base model’s legs. I mostly added parts from the WFB Chaos Knights and the new Skullcrusher kit to build a pretty bad-ass looking Khornate champion:

Dark Vengeance Chosen (5)
Dark Vengeance Chosen (7)
Dark Vengeance Chosen (8)
What I especially like about this conversion is that it really developed quite organically without much of an overarching plan in place. It also looks quite different from the original model (and, again, much more like a servant of Khorne) now.

So it looks like I have found a place for the first two Chosen at last. I don’t doubt that their buddies will also find their calling in due time. In any case, I love the fact that the Dark Vengeance starter box is still fun to work with, even months after its release.

Any thoughts on these conversions? Just drop me a comment! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Going the extra mile

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Pointless ramblings, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 1, 2013 by krautscientist

For most of us hobbyists, the hobby consists of an eternal string of compromises, with the first of those usually being: “I’ll never be able to paint like the folks in the ‘Eavy Metal Team …at least not right off the bat”. Another common compromise is to balance  what you want your models to look like against what you can realistically achieve with your abilities, money and bitzbox. And, of course, you have to compromise when it comes to actually getting stuff finished and on the table versus obsessing over each minute detail for ages. Like it or not, we all have to make those decisions in our hobby life.

Compromising also does not necessarily have to be a bad thing: As long as I considered the ‘Eavy Metal painting standard to be some absolute ideal to be strieved for, I put myself under quite a bit of pressure when it came to my own meagre painting efforts. It took many years and lots of hobbyists on the internet to show me that it’s not about trying to emulate somebody else, but about finding a style you are comfortable with. In any case, when it comes to actually getting an army finished and on the table, a bit of compromising never hurt anyone.

On the other hand, it is all too easy to grow complacent. Case in point:

Shortly after getting back into 40k big time, I purchased an old Chaos Megaforce online. It was a great deal, giving me lots and lots of models to bolster the ranks of my World Eaters (as well as a Rhino and a Defiler). Three bikes were also part of the deal, but in those days, bikes weren’t all that hot from a rules perspective, so while I wanted to build them, I did not obsess over how well the models would turn out. Big mistake on my part, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

Anyway, I built a Chaos Lord on bike to represent Huntmaster Gerrax, Master of the Hounds. I am still reasonably pleased with the model:

Lord on Bike
This guy was pretty much an amalgamation of all the great ideas I could find online. I also gave him a spear and slightly more ornate armour to make him look more like the hunter he was. And I think he really looks the part.

But there were two more bikes, and I put them together and used some berzerker parts to make the riders look like they were World Eaters. I also did a number of minuscule conversions to add cc weapons (and a Meltagun), but then I called them finished. Here’s what they looked like:

Old bikes
In hindsight, I would call these serviceable at best. What they are certainly not is the least bit visually exciting. And that’s why I didn’t feel the pull to actually paint them (or add any more bikers) for quite a long time. Even when the new codex made bikers very interesting again (especially for World Eaters armies), I just couldn’t be bothered to think about more bikes. The ones I already had didn’t seem to warrant any more attention to the subject.

But then, last week, I saw the bikes Biohazard had built on his Dakka thread. And I realised that this was what I actually wanted my bikes to look like: aggressive, dynamically posed and quite a bit more imposing than my own. So I immediately sat down, taking apart the bikers and adding a couple of bitz. I also started to think about how to use the bases as a means of making the models more interesting: Granted, I hadn’t done that with my old bikes at all, but I really should have, since it’s a crucial element!

In short, I finally did what I should have all along and went the extra mile.

For the first biker, I didn’t even change any of the original parts! I just tilted the bike to the side a bit and changed the rider’s position. Like so:

Bikers of the Hounds (1)
Bikers of the Hounds (3)
Bikers of the Hounds (2)
Bikers of the Hounds (5)
Quite a change, don’t you think? And all it took was a couple of minutes!

For the second biker, I was feeling a little more adventurous, so in addition to changing the model’s pose, I also added a couple of new parts. Here’s the result:

Bikers of the Hounds (6)
Bikers of the Hounds (9)

Bikers of the Hounds (10)
Bikers of the Hounds (11)

The model received a new axe and some new pauldrons (courtesy of the WFB Skullcrushers kit) as well as a bare head from a loyal Marine kit. I think he really looks like he means business now!

Concerning the Huntmaster, I didn’t change too much, since the model was busy enough as it was. I did however tilt the bike a little…

Bikers of the Hounds (12)
Bikers of the Hounds (14)
Bikers of the Hounds (16)
…and I also changed the position of the head to make it look like the Huntmaster was focusing on an enemy:

Bikers of the Hounds (17)

So, are these models completely fantastic and earth-shatteringly cool now? Nah, probably not. But they are much better than before, and that is what matters 😉
Maybe I’ll have to add some additional skulls and chains to the bikes, but all in all, I already think they are much improved. What’s more, I actually feel motivated again to think about adding further bikes to my army. I am even considering building a bike with a sidecar, with a World Eater using it as some kind of “chariot” — wouldn’t that be a really cool idea, fitting nicely with the World Eaters’ gladiatorial traditions?

Anyway, what what did I learn from this?

  • First and foremost, you should’t settle for “quite alright” when building models! Go the extra mile, and you’ll probably end up with a model that is much cooler — and sometimes it can be as easy as just tilting this part or that a few degrees to the side! This doesn’t mean that you have to obsess over stuff for ages, just that you take some time to come up with something special!
  • Don’t be afraid to revisit older models! Chances are, you’ll be able to bring a new and interesting perspective to them! Plus going through your collection and tweaking a model here and there can be great fun, and just as interesting as building something completely new!
  • Finally, it’s always a great idea to look to other hobbyists for inspiration: If I hadn’t seen Biohazard’s bikes when I did, I might never have gone back to my own bikes to make them better. There are tons of inspiration out there, and tons of talented people!

Thanks for (hopefully )staying awake through my rambling! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!