Archive for April, 2013

Why I love the Internet: The Cobb Incident

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Pointless ramblings on April 26, 2013 by krautscientist

I never tire of preaching the manifold advantages of blogging and getting in touch with other hobbyists: Exchanging ideas with others can lead to all kinds of fantastic hobby projects (*cough* like this *cough*), but you probably know that by now (and are sick of hearing it).

Today, I would like to tell you an absolutely brilliant hobby story that actually has nothing to do with other hobbyists, but everything to do with blogging. So, what is this about?

As you may remember, quite a while ago, I built this guy:

Elias Cobb (3)

Elias Cobb, a twist sniper and member of Inquisitor Lazarus Antrecht’s retinue. When I originally built the model, I chose the name because I liked its sound. In hindsight, I’d like to imagine the name has an almost Dickensian ring to it, if that makes any sense. Heck, it just sounded right for the character. I don’t know.
In any case, the model and its background previously appeared on this blog.

And then, about six months ago, I received an e-mail RE: I’m Elias Cobb. Here’s what it said:

Hello,

I came across your blog, and the figurine you named Elias Cobb while working on branding.  As I am in the recruiting business, I always like to make sure my name is represented well on the internet.  Anyway, imagine my surprise when I came across your “twist sniper” blog and saw you had named him Elias Cobb!!!

Let me just interject that, having read this far, I was pretty sure I was about three sentences away from being served with a cease and desist. But let’s continue:

Can I ask how you came up with that name for the figurine?  And would it be possible for you to make me one and send it to me?  I’d love to display it, and print out your description of his background.  It’s very funny to my co-workers to see –they are getting a lot of mileage out of me being a mutant!

Thank you!

Elias Cobb

Phew, can’t say I had expected that to happen. I mean, what are the odds? In any case, Elias definitely deserved a well-considered answer to his question — if anybody called me a mutant on the Internet, I would want to know what deal was as well. So this was my reply to him:

Dear Elias Cobb,

thanks a lot for your message! Well I’ll be… That’s as unexpected for me as it must have been for you!

First of all, let me say that it was, of course, never my intention to get you connected to mutants on the internet! So if you feel that the fictional character created by me as well as the associated model and background somehow impact your public image and livelihood, I’d be glad to do everything in my power to change that: I could leave out the character’s last name, for example, and edit all my posts on the matter accordingly. Just let me know if you would like me to do anything like that!

As for the creation of the model, here’s how that came about:
First of all, I guess you’re not into tabletop wargaming, right? So let me give you a brief introduction:
Tabletop wargaming is basically a hobby halfway between a boardgame and a roleyplaying game, with the players building (or at least customising) their own playing pieces and painting them. Then those pieces are used in confrontations not completely unlike chess — at least, that’s what some of us hobbyists would like to believe. Usually, there’s also some kind of background attached to the whole thing. In this case, the background is that of the Warhammer 40k universe (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warhammer_40k), an amalgamation of all kinds of 80s dark future and science fiction influences — imagine a mix of Orwell, Dune and Bladerunner, all rolled into one and turned up to eleven, and you’re not too far off the mark. I’ll readily admit that it’s a bit of an acquired taste…

Anyway, “my” Elias Cobb was built for use in a sub-game of Warhammer 40k called “Inquisitor” (think Eco’s “The Name of the Rose” set in a world like the one outlined above). I wanted the character to basically be a good guy whose only fault in life had been to be born a mutant (or “twist”). Mutants are frowned upon in the scenario, as you may have gathered from the character’s background. As for the name, I wanted the first name to have a classical, even biblical quality, to show how the character is a devout believer. The second name was a bit of a coincidence, but it ended up sounding just right, a bit like a character from a novel by Dickens — I realise that this is all a bit strange, seeing how this is actually your name. But there you have it. That’s the origin story.

Regarding your request of having another model built: Well, I guess it’s the least I can do after branding you as a mutant on the worldwide web 😉 However, since these models are built by using different (often disparate) parts from different kits released by the British company Games Workshop ( http://www.games-workshop.com/gws/home.jsp ), I may not be able to come up with something exactly like the model you saw, but only with something very similar. It may also take a little while for me to get the required parts, build the model and paint it. Still, the whole story is so completely off the hook that I’d be quite a killjoy not to play along, don’t you think?

Also, a small request, if I may: In case you don’t want this whole affair to be completely taken off the net in the first place, would it be okay for me to post about this on my blog? I think it would be a blast for my readers to read about this whole story. Again, only if that’s okay with you.

In any case, thanks for bringing this to my attention! Just let me know how we should proceed in this!

Best wishes,

Stefan aka “KrautScientist”

A short while later, I received another e-mail from Elias:

Stefan,

Thanks for getting back to me!  I admit to not knowing much about the wargaming world, but I do understand what you are talking about.

And no, your model doesn’t impact me at all – you don’t need to take down any postings or change the name, etc.  I mostly thought it was pretty funny that you came up with that name, especially given that Elias isn’t exactly a common name!

Feel free to share anything about this on your blog – it is pretty funny and one heck of a coincidence overall!  And I definitely appreciate your idea on building a new model – if you get around to it, wonderful!  If not, I definitely understand as well.

I am now following your blog as well, you may see me as a follower (…)

Anyway, thanks for replying!  Hope you are well.

Elias

So yeah, that’s why I decided to post this brilliant story here for your amusement. Let me just take a moment to say how awesome it is of Elias to play along like this! He’s really very nice and relaxed about this whole thing, which is not all that common a reaction, given all the hysteria surrounding the question of being adequately represented on the Internet.

Anyway, it was perfectly clear to me that I had to honour my promise to Elias and build him another Elias Cobb model. Fortunately enough, the  model sharing a name with Elias was a rather simple and straightforward conversion: If I should ever be contacted by a real-life Legion or Lord Captain Lorimar, I’ll be royally screwed.

And so my quest to duplicate one of my models began. Quite an interesting challenge, actually, since I usually try to make every model as unique as possible.

Unfortunately, it took me some time to get my hands on all the bitz I needed for a second Elias Cobb model – which is why it took me so long to post this story – but I finally made it. Take a look at the Cobb Twins:

The Cobb Twins (1)
The Cobb Twins (2)
Pretty close, huh? Granted, I had to change one or two bitz because I lacked duplicates of the ones I had originally used: The head is slightly different, as are the scroll dangling from that spear and the purity seal on the rifle stock. And the cork on the base looks slightly different, for obvious reasons. But I still think the models are very similar (actually, I should have gone with that scroll in the first place when building the original model. It’s a much better fit).

Shortly afterwards, I painted the new model. Fortunately, the model is fairly small and the original was one of the first models I painted with a heavy use of washes, so recreating the paintjob was a reasonably simple affair. So after about one and a half hours, the twins were ready for their second photo shoot:

The Cobb Twins (3)
If anything, the new paintjob may actually be slightly more polished, since I was still finding my feet with that particular technique when painting the original Elias Cobb.

The Cobb Twins (4)
You know, it’s actually getting to the point where even I start to confuse both models…

The Cobb Twins (6)
You can always spot the differences by looking at the slightly different bitz used in the conversion, of course, but I think you’ll agree that the new model is a fairly accurate recreation of the original.

The last thing to do was to find a suitable container for the model to make its voyage across the great pond in. So I bought a small “treasure chest” and made a custom foam inlay to protect the model:

The Cobb Twins (7)
The Cobb Twins (9)
With the model – hopefully – protected against accidents or enterprising employees of the postal service, I will send it off to the United States in the next days. Let us all keep our fingers crossed that this little guy reaches his namesake in good health!

Elias Cobb twin (2)
Quite a story, don’t you think? Sometimes, the online interactions with non-hobbyists can be just as fascinating as the exchange of ideas with other people addicted to cutting up little plastic men 😉

So, to wind up this post, let me once again say a very heartfelt “thank you” to Elias, who was a true gentleman about all of this and who, I might add, is most defintely NOT a mutant and looks nothing like the model named after him. Take that, Google! 😉

And of course, thanks to you for looking and stay tuned for more!

Advertisements

Orkheim Ultraz: Meet da Team!

Posted in Conversions, Orcs & Goblins, paintjob with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 24, 2013 by krautscientist

So while we were dealing with the Arrke and Khorne’s Eternal Hunt, what have those Greenskins been up to, I wonder?

Good news regarding the Orkheim Ultraz: This rather unassuming Lineman was the last model to be painted for the initial team roster to be completed:

BB last Lineman (1)
BB last Lineman (3)
BB last Lineman (2)
BB last Lineman (4)
Not a particularly impressive member of the team, to be sure. Just another Orc trying his best to catch a ball that is too damn clever 😉

The model was still significant, though, since putting the last brush strokes on this guy meant I finally head a playable team! Yay! Let’s take a closer at the finished models:

Thrower:

BB Thrower (2)

Linemen:

BB Linemen (2)

Blitzers:

BB Blitzers (2)

Black Orc Blockers:

BB Blockers (1)

And, of course, Les Gobboz:

BB Gobboz (2)
I was really pretty fast this time, mostly painting these guys in pairs. So now the Orkheim Ultraz are ready to face their first game. Here’s the whole team for you:

BB Team (3)
BB Team (2)

So does this mark the end of this particular hobby endeavour? No way! For starters, I have to tell you that I cannot recall when I last had so much fun painting models, so I will eagerly jump at the opportunity to get some more Ultraz finished. But what’s in the cards for the team?

Well, first we will have to see how these guys are doing in an actual game. More on that soon! Then there is couple of models yet to be added: First of all, the fan/cheerleader models I have already built as well as the team’s “Kit Git”. Several people have also advised me to add two more Black Orcs to the team, and from what little I understand of the rules, I am tempted to agree (it helps that the models are so cool, of course…). Then I’ll probably build and paint one additional thrower and lineman, respectively, just to be on the safe side. I also recently purchased a WFB plastic feral Orc Waaghboss to convert a suitably brutal looking star player. And I love the new plastic trolls, so adding one of those (and another one to my soon to be Mordheim warband) certainly isn’t out of the question. And there’s always the fact that rumours of a new edition of Blood Bowl hitting the shelves later this year have begun to surface, so there’s that to consider as well…

Anyway, all of that is still in the future. For now, let’s get these guys broken in and bloodied for the first time on an actual Blood Bowl pitch. I’ll get back to you shortly to tell you how that went…

Until then, let me hear all the C&C you can think of! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Orkheim Ultraz Teaser_lores

Meanwhile, aboard the Arrke… pt.2

Posted in 40k, Battle report, Conversions, Inq28, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2013 by krautscientist

It’s been almost a week since the last game set aboard the Arrke, and a huge cache of delicious information about the event has since turned up on the net. So like I promised, let’s take another look at this strange and demented world, and let me finally show you my dear Legion in action:

I’ll be honest with you: After having sent the model to England, I was of course dying to know how it would all play out: Would Legion fit the overall aesthetics of the game? Would he blend in well with Neil’s fantastic board? Would John Blanche and all those other talented guys like the model?

And then I checked my e-mail account on Saturday, to discover that none other than John Blanche himself had sent me a snapshot of Legion in action:

Legion at home (1)

Look at you, Hacker! …no, wait, wrong game!

I really couldn’t have been any happier! And I am only a little ashamed to admit that I spent quite a while during that afternoon repeatedly pressing F5, in order to see whether there were any news from the Arrke. And, indeed, John was good enough to send me multiple pictures during the game. Thanks so much, JB!

By all accounts, it must have been a fantastic event! And now that lots and lots of pictures from the event have started turning up, everybody can see the glory of it all: The amount of crazy modelling and painting talent on display was stupenduous. And what’s more, PDH somehow managed to weave it all into one game and one narrative, even though it must have been a pretty busy afternoon aboard the Arrke.

Anyway, let’s take a look at some more photos of our favourite insane AdMech monstrosity, shall we? All of the following pictures were very kindly provided by Neil101, by the way.

Legion at home (2)

Legion emerging from the Arrke’s dark nooks and crannies. Check out that fantastic, flaking paint on the wall in the background!

Legion at home (8)

Some time later, Legion is gazing across the derelict and rusty halls of the Myth Shippe from a lofty vantage point.

Legion at home (5)

And finally, having arrived at the banks of the vile Sump, Legion casts a contemplative glance across the frothing waters — awfully introspective for a biomechanic monstrosity, isn’t he?

Legion at home (6)

I really love how the Cult of the True Journey’s sniper seems to be drawing a bead on Legion in this picture

And finally, what has to be my favourite picture of Legion to date, taken by Fulgrim:

Legion at home (7)
As you can see, Legion does indeed look like he’s emerging from the very underbelly of the Arrke itself. I am very pleased that I managed to achieve that!

So what about all the other amazing models? Though I would like dearly to post them, I won’t do that. Not in order to keep all the glory for myself, mind you: I think you should really head over to the other guys’ respective blogs to check out what they have to say about their marvelous creations! And don’t fret, I’ll provide a handy list of links for your perusal. You ABSOLUTELY need to check out this stuff! Seriously!

To begin, Fulgrim has started a brilliant writeup of the event, introducing all the different gangs and walking us through the narrative (with lots of pretty pictures):

Arrke retour

Part I
Part II
Part III

I imagine the series will be running for the rest of the week. And I, for one, can’t wait to read more of this stuff!

 

Then there’s JRN’s Sump Huntress Hanin. A class act, as usual!

 

The Spiky Rat Pack don’t disappoint either, with Kari posting his brilliant Stryderre, complete with sinister poetry, and Mikko’s Living Coffin following hot on his heels.

 

And finally, be sure to check out PDH’s Yggdrassillium threads at Dakka and the Ammobunker. Again, lots of pretty pictures and well deserved awe.

And while you’re there, don’t forget leaving a nice word or two for PDH himself: It only becomes clear now what a spectacular job he has managed to pull off with this: Models from several countries, lots and lots of characters, and he even had to GM the whole thing. The mind boggles!

 

So, once again, a million thank yous to everyone involved! It’s been a pleasure, and I have certainly never had so much fun with an event without even being present 😉

To wind up this post, just because I can, let me share a picture of Neil’s spectacular Arrke board:

Legion at home (4)
The only question is: How are we ever going to surpass this? 😉

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

Beasts of the Northern Wild

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 17, 2013 by krautscientist

So how do you follow up a post like the one about Legion? Easy: You don’t, at least not right away 😉

While quite a few pictures of the game set aboard the Arrke (some of them slightly fuzzy, but all of them fantastic!) can already be found online, I’ll give it a few more days until all the other people involved have had a chance to post their own fantastic models and their different takes on the game. After all, when I next talk about Legion and his/its/their friends, I would love to be able to point you towards all kinds of interesting blog posts, so let’s just be patient for a while. It’ll be worth it!

The downside, obviously, is that some of you might find today’s post somewhat pedestrian. But, heck, regular 40k business has to continue as well: I can’t just be building snazzy high concept stuff for games involving John Blanche himself every day, you know?

So, cut to Khorne’s Eternal Hunt: You may remember that I was working on a squad of traitorous Space Wolves to serve as regular Chaos Space Marines in my force of World Eaters. Just to refresh your memory, these were the first test models I cobbled together from some – very rough – bitz:

Khorne Wolves Test Models (6)
And this is the first of those I painted as a tester:

Khorne Wolves test model X (2)
As some people have pointed out here and on the forums, the problem is that the model looks a little too much like a member of the 13th company just having a slightly bad day. So while I liked the overall look and paint recipe well enough, it was clear to me that the main challenge would be to achieve a look that, while still obviously showing the wolves’ loyalist heritage, also made it perfectly clear that they had turned and now served another master.

The most effective way to achieve this was by carefully considering which bitz to use. So I dove headfirst into my bitzbox — and also received quite a nice bitz drop courtesy of fellow hobbyist Gerner (cheers, mate!). Both factors allowed me to work on some more models for my Blood Wolves, and I believe you’ll find these to be somewhat less conventional than the initial test models. Let’s take a look:

Blood Wolves WIP (2)
Blood Wolves WIP (1)
This first model is actually one of the test models shown above, only slightly reworked: I wasn’t perfectly happy with the model, so I added a different head and right arm. The whole model was also undercoated with Army Painter’s Uniform Grey, in order to better blend together the different (partly painted) bits I used.

And here’s the third test model from the picture posted above:

Blood Wolves WIP (9)
Blood Wolves WIP (8)
While I was already happy enough with the menacing look and overall pose, I still made some small changes: The shoulder pads were exchanged for SW pads to make the loyalist origins of the model more obvious. The head was replaced with a similar but slightly more chaotic looking head from the Raptor kit (to which I added a wolf totem from one of the SW helmets). Again, the model was undercoated grey. I must say I am really pleased with this guy! He has a menacing, predatory look about him that rather fits a fallen Space Wolf…

There were also two models I had originally built as World Eaters. Yet due to the fact that I had used some SW parts in their construction, they had just the right look for my squad of Khornate wolves, so I just chose to repurpose them:

Blood Wolves WIP (4)
Blood Wolves WIP (3)
In my opnion, this first model is a pretty good blend of SW design and a clearly Khornate touch. As you can see, I used the huge axe from the SW terminator kit: A memento of the Marine’s original chapter as well as a fitting weapon for a servant of Khorne! An energy generator (without the power coils) from the Battle for Maccrage boxed set was used as some kind of toppled Imperial icon for the model to stand on. I really like the badass look of this guy!

The other model was designed to be channelling a very classic 90s pose:

Blood Wolves WIP (7)
I just couldn’t help myself… 😉

And finally, I built some new models from the bitz I had assembled. First of all, an icon bearer for the squad:

Blood Wolves WIP (5)

Blood Wolves WIP (6)
The model uses one of my favourite heads from the WFB Marauder Horsemen. While this guy could still be mistaken for a loyalist, I imagine the icon itself will change that, once it is finished. I’ll be using a huge, trophy-like banner from the WFB Minotaur kit. I love the static but powerful stance oj this guy!

And finally, I needed a worthy squad leader, of course! Another great head from the Marauder Horsemen and some bitz from the Skullcrusher kit did the trick. Take a look:

Blood Wolves WIP (10)
Blood Wolves WIP (11)
Easily my favourite model in the squad so far, this guy really maintains a delicate balance between a SW/barbarian look and a couple of clearly chaotic attributes.

So far, the squad seems very focused on combat at close quarters. However, I still have enough bitz for another six models, and most of those will be wielding a trusty Boltgun. But I think the new models are already far more recognisable as chaos followers. I really like their massive and grizzled look. Take a look at the squad so far:

Blood Wolves WIP (12)
What I like about these models is that including a squad of fallen Space Wolves with some actual background seems far preferable to just building World Eaters wielding Bolters, just for the sake of WYSIWYG.

So what do you think? Are those new models a step in the right direction? I’d be happy to hear from you in the comments section!

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

Blood Wolves WIP (14)

Meanwhile, aboard the Arrke…

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Fluff, Inq28, paintjob, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 13, 2013 by krautscientist

I’ve stated before that interacting with other hobbyists in general and blogging in particular can offer many exciting hobby opportunities. Today, I would like to show you one particular project that only happened because of the exchange between various bloggers and hobbyists. It’s also one of the most exciting hobby opportunities I have ever had, but all in good time. Now, what is this about?

If you frequent the same, dark corners of the 40k blogosphere as me, you may have heard of the Arrke and the Yggdrasillium Pilgrimage (unnervingly, never to be spelled quite the same way twice 😉 ) — and if you haven’t, let me give you the gist of it: Some time ago, a group of players including, among others, PDH, Neil101, Fulgrim and none other than John Blanche himself, started playing a series of games set on the “Arrke”, a huge, derelict fusion of countless vessels drifting through space. This huge space hulk is home to many demented and strange people and creatures, yet it is also so ancient and so enormous that most of its denizens have forgotten that they are actually living on a spacefaring vessel in the first place: What remains of their original respective cultures and backgrounds has become as warped as their bodies and minds, and the ship itself has become a world unto itself, encompassing both a strange and unforgiving ecosystem as well as a sinister and unique society. The initial idea for this vessel came from John Blanche, and all of the events play out on the breathtaking “Yggdrasilium” table built by Neil101. I’d love to link you to Neil’s blog to give you a chance to learn more about this fantastic adventurescape, but alas, he has decided to delete it. You still can (and definitely should) check out his Dakka thread on the subject, though, along with Fulgrim’s blog and PDH’s thread, describing the gang of chaos misfits he built for the games aboard the Arrke.

Anyway, I learned of these games and the strange world they were set in through the various threads and blogs linked above, and I was fascinated by the whole project: These guys were basically using tweaked Necromunda rules for their games, yet they had come up with something entirely unique on both the narrative and modelling/painting side of things. So I gobbled up all that I could learn about the Arrke and its denizens and kept marveling at the sinister brilliance of it all.

Now, imagine my surprise when PDH contacted my with a very special proposal: He suggested that a couple of hobbyists (PDH himself, Tears of Envy, Migsula, Jakob Rune Nielsen, First Points of Aries, Kari and Mikko from Spiky Rat Pack and me) should each build and paint a character to be used in the next game set aboard the Arrke. We could come up with whatever character we wanted, provided it fit into the setting. And all of the models would be given to John Blanche as a gift after the game.

I think it’s quite obvious by now why an offer like that would have me very ecxited indeed.

Anyway, I was really honoured that PDH would include me in this, and I was quick to accept. The next days were spent pondering what kind of model I wanted to contribute. And I quickly realised that I wanted to do some kind of Adeptus Mechanicus character, or, at least, creature. And, given the background, the character would have to be really creepy and sinister. That was quite a challenge, because members of the Machine Cult can be scary enough on their best days, but I was gunning for something even more disturbing…

So I asked myself: Why would a priest of the Ommissiah board the Arrke in the first place? And what could go wrong if he did? Drawing inspiration from all kinds of sources, ranging from everything ever done by David Lynch to videogames like System Shock 2 and Bioshock and to the decidedly lowbrow, yet horribly visceral horror film Virus, I came up with the concept of a band of Adeptus Mechanicus explorators, boarding the Arrke in search of lost technology and being transformed into something …else.

And thus, Legion was born.

Here’s my initial concept for the character:

 

The creature known to the denizens of the Arrke as “Legion” is what remains of an enterprising group of Explorator Magi, sent out by the Tech Priests of Mars. The Magi were sure that the ancient vessel would house an unfathomable cache of lost technology and miracles from the Dark Age of Technology. They were right in this, yet the price for such knowledge would turn out to be far greater than they had envisioned.

A team of explorators, accompanied by their Skitarii retinue, came aboard the Arrke and began a quest to uncover the ancient ship’s technological secrets. Initially, the Magi were pleased, for there were many secrets uncovered, and much was learned. They were already considering themselves heroes of their order and imagining their triumphant return to Mars with their many discoveries in tow. Alas, it was not to be.

For the Arrke does not take kindly to strangers, and so the explorators found themselves beset on all sides by the vessel’s strange and demented denizens as well as by environmental hazards and the powers of the Warp. With their Skitarii bodyguard all but wiped out, and some of the Magi themselves succumbing to the hostile environment, the Tech Priests did the only logical thing: They pooled their resources, in order to protect the valuable technological knowledge they had acquired: Whenever one of them was critically wounded, his working remains would be integrated into another Magos’ brain and body, thus protecting the knowledge and strenghtening the survivors. The remaining Magi thus became walking treasure troves of knowledge. But something went wrong.

Maybe it was the taint of the Warp, maybe it was the desperate nature of the Tech Priests’ struggle, but their fusion turned out to be flawed and incomplete. Corruption slowly seeped into their neural engrams, and what would normally have been a standard procedure for the disciples of the Mechanicum slowly turned into a nightmare.

The resulting creature is a horrifying amalgamation of the explorators’ bodies and minds, malformed and insane, its mind fractured into countless shards, its body misshapen and terrifying, yet utterly deadly. Legion now eternally prowls the deepest reaches of the Arrke in its half-remembered quest to find a way back to the red star. But even though a wealth of technological information and scientific marvels still lies protected within the creature’s twisted shell and mind, one shudders to imagine what would happen if the erstwhile explorators would somehow manage to escape their eternal prison and be let loose upon the galaxy…

 

With this basic idea outlined, I thought about what I wanted Legion to look like. Like I said, tech priests are scary enough in any case, so I tried to come up with an even more strange and corrupted look exploring the fusion of organic and machine parts, with a generous helping of body horror ladeled on top. Here’s a – very early and horribly rough – sketch of Legion:

Legion_sketch
As you might be able to tell, I wanted to use the plastic Cairn Wraith as the base for this conversion, even at this early stage. Several people have used the model to great effect to convert disturbing AdMech characters, so I thought this was a good base. I would then add all kinds of technical bitz as well as two very creepy “tendrils”, secondary creatures serving as additional parts of Legion. All of the creature’s different components would have sinuous, serpentine bodies, the better to move and wiggle through the Arrke’s dark nooks and crannies.

Obviously, the first step was to get the plastic Cairn Wraith, so of course that was where everything started:

Legion WIP (1)
I just used the Cairn Wraith’s cloak, discarding the scythe, inner body, face and base. I used a 40k servo skull as a replacement head, and the remains of a lasher tendril from the Forgefiend kit served as the base of Legion’s serpentine body. In the picture above, you can see the first basic build, attached to a Terminator base with a lump of putty.

I then added more and more technical bitz and doodads to the main body, making it look more and more like something that had originally begun its existence as a tech priest. Here’s the finished main body:

Legion WIP (2)
Legion WIP (3)
Legion WIP (4)
Legion WIP (5)
The most obvious addition was that of a GK Psy-gun on the model’s back, both to give it some potential oomph on the table and to create a strange, malproportioned look. I also added a ghoul hand to give the model a clawlike, organic left hand, and a vestigial arm from the Dark Eldar Talos/Cronos kit for a wicked looking scalpel-like right hand. To represent the “neural network” created by several Magi being fused together within Legion’s body, I added an additional servo skull beneath the first one, as well as two more “regular” skulls. I imagine the actual body beneath the cloak to be a horrible cluster of skulls plugged into each other with cables, serving as what is, for all intents and purposes, the 40k version of a Local Area Network.

The next step was to build Legion’s secondary tendrils. Once again, I used leftover lasher tendril pieces for a serpentine lower body. The rest of the tendrils was built from different Zombie and undead parts, more vestigial Talos arms, a couple of cables and some Greenstuff.

Here’s a very early mockup of the first tendril:

Legion WIP (7)
While the look was there, I wanted the tendrils to be far more disturbing and horrible. So I tried my best to make the tendrils look even more malformed and disgusting. Here’s the same tendril, some time later:

Legion WIP (13)
Legion WIP (12)
Legion WIP (11)
I wanted Legion to look like its transformation and evolution had not been a well-planned process but had rather happened spontaneously and chaotically. So this tendril looks like the body of a Magos has been crudely grafted onto the serpentine body, with only one arm remaining. Greenstuff was used to create a crude seam between the organic and machine parts.

I wanted the other tendril to look more combative, so I added an additional arm, with two of the creature’s arms tipped in cruel claws and blades:

Legion WIP (8)
Legion WIP (9)
Legion WIP (10)
Crude bionic eyes were added to a flagellant head to make the face look inhuman and threatening. I also added a cable from a servo skull as some kind of horrible, proboscis-like tongue.

When it came to actually painting the model, I wanted to achieve a striking contrast between distressed flesh and cold, oily metal. I began with the tendrils, picking out the major areas in different colours:

Legion WIP (19)
Legion WIP (18)
Legion WIP (17)
Legion WIP (16)
Legion WIP (15)
A combination of different washes (mostly Ogryn Flesh, Leviathan Purple and Baal Red) was used to make the skin look bruised and sickly. The metal parts were heavily washed with GW Nuln Oil to give them a dark, oily look.

Legion’s main body was painted in a similar way, although I decided to paint his cloak a striking red, in order to make him more recognisable as a former member of the Mechanicum. I had originally planned to make the red look bleached out and dirty, but seeing the cloak after painting it with GW Mephiston Red, I realised that this kind of spot colour was just what I wanted:

Legion WIP (23)
Some washes were used in the recesses of the cloak, though, to at least make it look suitably dirty and grimy. As you can see, I also added a striking blue to the different bionic eyes to create a point of focus.

And in the picture below, you can see the additional skulls in Legion’s stomach region quite well:

Legion WIP (24)
I’ll be honest with you: It took ages until I was finally satisfied with the different parts of the model. But a challenge like this doesn’t happen every day, so I absolutely wanted to give it my best shot.

When all of Legion’s components were finally finished, I still had to build and paint a base and decide how the different parts of the model should be attached to it. In my initial drawing, I had planned for all tendrils to emerge from under the red cloak. But not only did that seem pretty hard to get right, but I also realised that it would potentially be far more creepy to have several tendrils emerge from the same hole in the ground, making it look like the three aspects of Legion were maybe just tendrils of a much larger creature…

One interesting option would have been to have the different parts of Legion on different bases. That would also have allowed for some pretty interesting rules options. In the end though, due to the time allotted for the project,  I chose to rather go for one really cool base instead of three okayish ones. But if there had been more time (and if I hadn’t been so damn lazy), I might have put the different tendrils on multiple bases.

When it came to the one base I did want to build, I wanted it to blend into Neil’s fantastic Yggdrasillium board as well as possible, making it look like Legion was emerging from the very surroundings, not so much a character but rather an environmental hazard. I wanted to create some kind of opening or pipe for Legion to emerge from, so I built a basic construction from a Predator turret hatch and plasticard pieces I cut from an old phone card. Then I heavily coated the construction in wood glue to close all the gaps and create a bulgy, warped surface. And I added modelling sand and small pieces of cork on top to create dirt and gravel. Then the whole thing was undercoated black. Here’s a test fit of Legion’s body parts on the undercoated base:

Legion WIP (25)
When painting the base, I let myself be inspired by PDH’s fantastic scenic bases, trying to make it as rusty and grimy as I possibly could. I painted the whole construction a dark green, with the dirt and gravel picked out in brown. The whole base was then liberally washed in GW Agrax Earthshade. Then I used thinned down GW Vermin Brown as a wash, creating a rust effect. And finally, The edges were picked out in GW Boltgun metal to show scratches and nicks in the colour, with the metal appearing beneath. Here’s the finished base:

Legion WIP (27)
I also added some Tamiya Clear Red to one side of the grate, making it look like Legion had dragged some unfortunate victim to its doom…

Legion WIP (28)
Oh, and I used a hazard stripe decal from the CSMs decal sheet, suitably aging and weathering it along the way:

Legion WIP (26)
And so it finally came to attaching all the parts of Legion to the base. Finding a configuration that worked took some doing, but in the end, I succeeded. So without further ado, I give you Legion:

Legion (16)
Legion (21)
Legion (22)

Legion (25)
Legion (27)
Legion (20)

Legion (19)

Legion (18)

Legion (24)
Legion (28)

Probably the biggest part of the adventure was actually sending Legion to England. But the postal service didn’t let me down for once, so everything went well. Now, looking back on the model after having spent so long working on it and obsessing over every detail, I am not really sure how to feel about it. I am happy with the model, without a doubt, but will it hold up when stood alongside models from enormously talented artists such as PDH, JRN and the Spiky Rats? Don’t get me wrong, I am really happy with how Legion turned out, but all the small imperfections are also driving me up the wall at the same time 😉
Maybe it’s just the fact that I will actually have to let some very talented people take a firsthand look at this piece — so no hiding behind fuzzy photos this time! And, of course, I hope John Blanche himself will like the model. Oh well, there’s no crying over spilt milk, I guess…

In any case, what really surprises me is how close the finished model is to my inital sketch. I am also amazed by how much I found myself thinking about Legion as a character…or at least, as a creature: I have a very vivid (and actually quite unpleasant) image of Legion in my mind: a creepy and sinister figure, perpetually surrounded by disturbing whispers and bursts of corrupted code language as the remains of the integrated Magi are communicating and argueing, with some of them almost perfectly sane while others are completely mad, full of rage, or just spouting untintellegible gibberish (I don’t know if any of you are into videogames, but if you are, picture the different cores of GlaDOS in Portal, or the different voices of the dark goddess Xel’ lothat in Eternal Darkness, turned up to eleven, and you’re not too far off the mark).

One of the personalities could be ceaselessly reciting the Mechanicus main tenets. Another might still be sane enough to broadcast intelligible Imperial/Mechanicus distress signals (System Shock 2, anyone?). Still another might be constantly reciting all kinds of disturbing Madness Mantras  (“We are many. We are one. We are many. We are one…” or  “Make whole that which was shattered. Make whole that which was shattered. Make whole…”). Also, PDH came up with this disturbing image of some of the denizens of the Arrke hacking into some random cable or mechanical bit during their exploration of the ship, then hearing bellowed binary screams and see the cable retracting, only to be faced with one of Legion’s “tendril creatures”.

Then there’s also that idea I briefly outlined above: Maybe those three tendrils aren’t really the whole creature, but only points of interface with the outside world, not unlike the lure of an Anglerfish. Maybe they connect back to the lair of the actual creature: a subterranean cavern filled with cogitators and technical equipment, much like a dragon’s hoard. The real Legion resides within this cavern: a vast, entropic and incomprehensible creature…

So, in any case, I think the concept of Legion is really just as disturbing and creepy as I wanted it to be. Whether the actual model lives up to it is not for me to decide, yet of one thing I am sure: Legion makes for a fitting new denizen for the mysterious Arrke…

So, to wind this up, let me give you one more picture of Legion, along with a broken little nursery rhyme that I came up with — written in true Yggdrassilliumme style 😉

Oh, and should you wish to use Legion (or something like Legion) in your games of Necromunda, number cruncher and all around great guy PDH has you covered with some rules he cooked up:

Legion (26)

In the bowels of the shippe
Dwells a being most unkynde
Knowledge wyll from metal strippe
Passage to the red starr fynde.

Legion, Legion, he is many.
Legion, Legion, they are one.

Legion

M WS BS S T W I A Ld
4 3 3 4 4 2 4 D3 10

Weapons – Laser Blaster, Mechanical Claws

Short Long Short Long Strength Damage Save Mod Ammo
0-8 8-24 +1 3 1 3+ Sustained Fire Dice


Special:
Binary Scream (Fear),  Immune to Psychology, Never Pinned 

Fractured Psyche: At the beginning of each turn, roll on the following table to determine Legion’s actions

1-2: Flesh is weak. Purge the organic! – 50/50 chance of shooting or charging.
3-4: Obtain knowledge – Will move towards the nearest mechanical object/terrain and then spend the turn examining it.
5-6: To the red starr! – Will move as quickly as possible in a random direction. If Legion comes into contact with a model, it will count as charging but will break off from combat at the end of the turn, continuing to get away.

 

So yeah, I realise that was quite a post! I understand the game in question has already taken place earlier today, so there’ll be some quite a bit more information soon, I guess. Look forward to learning more about Legion in action, as well as about the fantastic entries from all the other hobbyists involved.

Until then, I’d be happy to hear any feedback you might have on Legion, so drop me a line or two in the comments section!

And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Orkheim Ultraz: The big bruisers…

Posted in Conversions, Orcs & Goblins, paintjob with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 10, 2013 by krautscientist

While most of my Blood Bowl players are indeed “refurbished” 40k and WFB Orcs, I actually went and picked up a new box of Black Orcs in order to build some Blockers for the Orkheim Ultraz. Not only will the contents of that box come in handy for my Orcish warband for Mordheim as well, but I also wanted my Black Orcs to look suitably impressive and heavily armoured.

Fortunately enough, the plastic Black Orcs are perfect recreations of those cool late 90s metal models I loved so much when I was still playing WFB, and they also work really well as Blood Bowl models with only some minor adjustments: When building them, I cut off their weapons to just leave the armoured gauntlets. Apart from that, it was all smooth sailing. So here are my first two completed Black Orc Blockers:

Blockers

As you can see, the heavy armour instantly differentiates them from both the Linemen and the Blitzers. I used pretty much the same paint recipe for their armour, though, to make sure they fit the overall look of the team. Let’s check out the models in more detail:

Blocker 02 (1)
Blocker 02 (3)
Blocker 02 (5)
Blocker 02 (7)
The first guy uses a helmeted head. And I only cut off his weapons’ blades, leaving the hilts looking like crude knuckledusters. As you can see, some of the armour plates were picked out in black for some added variety. Apart from that, though, I stuck to my usual recipe. I also added some Gorkamorka decals in yellow, once again.

And here’s the second model:

Blocker 01 (1)
Blocker 01 (2)
Blocker 01 (3)
Blocker 01 (4)
Easily one of my favourite models in the team so far: The pose and screaming face really tell you that it is ON now 😉 Plus the bare face really adds some personality to the model. I painted the mouth and tongue in a mix of red and purple and washed the mouth cavity with GW Leviathan Purple for some added depth.

 

For many people, the most important thing about Black Orcs is their skin colour. And while I wanted my own Blockers to look slightly different from my players, I didn’t want to use a completely different recipe for their skin. For one, my approach so far had produced a skin colour I really liked. And I also don’t like Black Orcs that have a completely different skin colour from the regular Orcs surrounding them.

So my solution to this particular problem was to repeat my usual recipe step for step, but mix in a drop of black for each step. That way, the skin of the Black Orcs ended up looking slightly darker and more desaturated. Take a look at this comparison image:

Orc skin comparison
As you can see, the regular Orc has a bit of a yellowish tinge to his skin, while the Black Orc’s skin is slightly darker and less vibrant. While some people may think it’s still too light, I am rather pleased with the outcome.

 

So with that, my first two Black Orc Blockers were finished. And there’s eight more where those two came from. While some of those models will be used for my Mordheim Orcs, I guess I’ll eventually paint two more Blockers for the Orkheim Ultraz.

But first things first: Only one more Lineman to go, and then my initial team roster will be finished. And then, my first ever Blood Bowl game! So expect an update on these guys pretty soon!

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

P.S. Oh, before I forget: This Friday’s update will be slightly delayed. I promise you it’ll be worth it, though…

Kings of the arena

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 5, 2013 by krautscientist

All the orky shenanigans notwithstanding, I do of course remain a devoted follower of both the blood god and the XIIth Astartes legion, and I have the conversions to prove it: Touching up my World Eaters bikes some time ago gave me the idea for an additional bike in the squad. Once again, I wanted to build a model channelling the legion’s gladiatorial traditions, serving not so much as a mobile weapons platform, but rather as a modernised version of one of the chariots you would expect to see in films about gladiators in ancient Rome.

I was pretty sure that the World Eaters would have found a way to adapt the regular Space Marine trike to their gladiatorial fighting style. So I mulled over the idea and talked to Biohazard, who, bless his heart, pointed me towards Big Jim’s fantastic Infernal Assault Bike conversion. That really got my creative juices flowing, so I got myself a trike and some bitz from my bitzbox and got to work. And here’s the result: The Veredus Pattern Assault Trike:

Veredus pattern attack trike WIP (3)
Veredus pattern attack trike WIP (4)
Veredus pattern attack trike WIP (5)
Quite an easy kitbash, really: The undercarriage came from the regular trike, although I had to use a plate from an Ork kit to close the huge hole that was created by leaving off the seated marine. A huge shield from the WFB Minotaurs was added to serve as front armour. Apart from that, I only used a couple of additional spikes and a horned skull (once again from the Minotaur kit) to make the whole vehicle look more chaotic.

Veredus pattern attack trike WIP (7)
Getting the two World Eaters assembled and posed took a little more doing: The driver was simple enough, but the gladiator standing in the sidecar was a little more complicated, since I wanted him to be gripping the front of the sidecar for support, while brandishing a chain weapon in his other hand.

I used an unarmoured arm from the WFB Chaos Marauders and combined it with the hand from a CSM biker to achieve the pose I wanted. I also gave the model a bare head from the Grey Knights kit to make it look even more like a World Eater — those cables make for really convincing Butcher’s Nails!

Veredus pattern attack trike WIP (8)

Getting the model into the right position without having it awkwardly bump into the rider was probably the most difficult part. Seeing how little room there actually was, I decided to use a Dark Vengeance Chosen backpack since it’s a little less bulky than the regular CSM backpacks.

Veredus pattern attack trike WIP (4)
The rider is a fairly straightforward build, with just an arm wielding a wicked looking axe added for some extra brutality (the arm came from the Skullcrusher kit). However, after having obsessed over the choice of head for quite some time, I went for something a little more unconventional, sawing through one of the old, early 90s plastic berzerkers Biohazard sent me. That was quite an intense bit of surgery, but I managed to keep the head perfectly intact — I really love the facemask on that helmet!

Veredus pattern attack trike WIP (6)
And with that, my attack trike was finished. I may attach an additional bit here and there, but the overall build is as complete as it is ever going to be. As for gameplay uses, I may just use this trike as a regular bike or – when I am feeling adventurous – as a counts as Chaos Lord riding a juggernaut 😉

Anway, I think the model is a really nice fit for both the World Eaters’ gladiatorial traditions and my own army’s background as a hunting party.

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

Veredus pattern attack trike WIP (1)