Beasts of War

Today it’s time to check up on the progress of one of my conversion projects from earlier this year: It has been about six months since I posted my first test model for a squad of chaos spawn for my World Eaters. You may remember that I didn’t want my chaos spawn to look like the usual, creepy crawly monsters, but rather recongnisably like former Astartes. That was the birth of “The Forsaken”, those brothers of the World Eaters 4th assault company whose madness and physical corruption have led to their devolution into little more than raging beasts. The models were built using Vargheist/Crypt Horror bodies and Minotaur arms, with lots and lots of GS in between to add the necessary muscle mass to the models’ torsos.

Back when I first talked about the squad, I had already painted a first test model:

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Since these guys are former World Eaters legionaries, it makes a lot of sense that they should share the same colour recipe as my regular World Eaters, so the same colours were used while painting them. However, when compared to the rest of the army, they almost  use an “inverted” colour scheme in that most of the model is defined by the greyish, pale skin, with small pieces of red and bronze armour for contrast.

Anyway, I had two more models left to go, and I decided it was finally time to finish up this squad. Let’s take a look:

Building these was initally a bit of a challenge, since I tried to play it too safe after the first model: The other two bodies that come with the Crypt Horror/Vargheist kit are far more static than the first, and I didn’t really have an idea how to deal with that. So the squad wasn’t really going anywhere until I received feedback from several fellow hobbyists over on Dakka. Maybe the best suggestion came from my buddy Biohazard, who suggested that one of the models should look as if it were taking a moment in the heat of battle to bellow in rage at its next opponent. So that’s the look I tried to achieve with the second model in the squad:

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As you can see, quite a bit of GS was added to build up a set of suitably well-muscled shoulders for the model. While I was at it, I also added some Butcher’s Nails implants to the model’s head and a Triumph Rope scar to its chest and abdomen, to make it clear that this creature was once a noble member of the XIIth Astartes Legion.

So here’s the painted model, recently finished:

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The horrible, open back of the model (where I imagine the combined effects of the physiological changes necessary for becoming an Astartes and the raw forces of chaos have literally begun to tear the wretched creature’s body apart) was painted using Tamiya Clear Red to make it look like a sickening, glistening mess of raw meat. I seriously considered painting the spine in metal for a while, but in the end, decided against it.

Here’s a detail shot of that particular area:

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All in all, I couldn’t possibly be any more pleased with the model’s pose: This guy is looking really angry, and he perfectly embodies what the Forsaken are all about:

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I can almost picture the scene and hear the roar in the back of my head 😉

The third model in the squad has a more crouched position, almost like a huge ape. Here’s the conversion before undercoating:

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Once again, new shoulder muscles, a Triumph Rope and some Butcher’s Nails were added. Since I was running out of suitable Crypt Horror parts at this point, the model received a Vargheist’s hirsute back, giving it an even more beastly, feral look. I also added a crude weapon fist from the WFB Ogre bulls, since I thought the weapon was a nice callback to the World Eaters’ gladiatorial traditions.

Seeing how the model had such an apelike, crouched position, I thought it would be interesting to pose it above the remains of its latest opponent/meal, so I built and painted a fitting base:

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The basic construction uses the usual mix of cork, modelling sand and small pieces of slate. Between the rock outcrops where I eventually wanted to place the model, I added some bones to represent the remains of whatever unlucky creature(s) last had a run in with the Forsaken. A generous helping of Tamiya Clear Red was added to communicate the fact that this meeting had not taken place on amicable terms…

And here’s the finished model that went on top of the base:

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This guy’s pose took ages to get right, and even then, it remained the least exciting among the members of the squad. But seeing the model now, I feel rather pleased with the result: The Forsaken looks like it’s crouched atop a rock after its latest fight/meal, turning around to face its next foe.

Even though I am usually rather hesitant when it comes to adding blood effects – since it’s very easy to go over the top with the blood – in this case, I even smeared some Clear Red on the lower half of the Forsaken’s face: Maybe this guy has indeed recently eaten (*shudder*)…

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And with that, my initial squad of three chaos spawn was finished! I am really happy that I managed to come up with a couple of conversions that fit the overall look and feel of my army. Plus these guys are far less “creepy crawly” than the usual chaos spawn models. Instead of ending up as quivering mountains of flesh, the Forsaken have evolved into the perfect hunters, as befits their master Khorne…

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I also like the fact that I have managed to come up with some fairly unique models. While the Vargheist kit is not all that flexible (and the Crypt Horrors look fairly bare bones out of the box), it offers a fantastic base for conversions, if you’re willing to experiment. It’s strange that we don’t see more conversions involving these guys…

So, what do you think about the models? I’d be happy to hear from you in the comments section! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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12 Responses to “Beasts of War”

  1. Looking good. Nice work

  2. Steven Says:

    Awesome idea! I’m hoping to convert some grotesques out of the same models. Using them as spawn is a great idea, very thematic!

  3. I absolutely adore these. They’re gorgeous.

  4. Mr Scientist! These three are brilliant. Really liked the first one and the other two work just as well.

    Peter

  5. […] imagine these will be really useful if I ever decide to add some more Forsaken to the existing three models. Note how the blades also seem to be emulating the great maw motif […]

  6. I love your use of the vargheists and how you tied them into your World Eaters background. Your blog is a great source of 40K inspiration. Well done!

  7. […] its 2012 incarnation. I also tackled some pretty interesting projects, among them a squad of custom Chaos Spawn, some traitorous Space Wolves and my converted Heldrake, the […]

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