Archive for August, 2013

Engine of destruction, pt. 2

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2013 by krautscientist

Right, I promised you that you wouldn’t have to wait long for the next update on my Dreadknight/Decimator conversion, so here goes. Let me begin by admitting that I’m a little disappointed by the lack of reactions to the painted model so far: That really doesn’t bode well for the publich opinion on this guy, I suppose. Let’s just hope people are holding back all their constructive feedback for the finished model…

Anyway, back to the matter at hand! Here’s where we left off last time:

Wargrinder PIP (5)
Time to get this bad boy some arms, right? Unfortunately, I didn’t take any PIP photos of the arms, as I painted them in one, frantic session, eager to finally see the model completely assembled and painted! Once again, the arms were detailed enough to almost be counted as models in their own right, yet the slightly bigger size made painting them a fairly pleasant affair.

I also made a list of all the little details that I had yet to paint and used the time it took for the paint on the arms to dry to get all the fiddly detail and additional accents out of the way.

When all the different sub-assemblies had been completed, the time had come to carefully glue everything together. While maybe I should have gone out to pick up some really strong superglue before putting everything together, I really couldn’t wait until the next day when I had finished all the components at about ten in the evening. So I used a couple of items to stabilise the position of the arms, while the model was resting on my keyboard, no less – yes, talk about patience and professionalism…  😉

Wargrinder PIP (17)
But after leaving the model to dry overnight, everything was stable enough, and the model itself was finally completed.

So now it’s finally time to take a look at the assembled model. Meet the Wargrinder, ladies and gentlemen:

Wargrinder (10)
Wargrinder (9)
Wargrinder (8)
Wargrinder (7)
Wargrinder (6)
Wargrinder (5)
Wargrinder (4)
Wargrinder (3)
Wargrinder (2)
Wargrinder (1)
Quite a beast, don’t you think? The arms do a pretty good job of making it look even less than a stock Dreadknight and more like a daemon engine. And as you can see, some final detail was added during the assembly process: Two Ogre gut plates were once again used to represent the World Eaters’ legion badge. And two semi-circular trophy racks from the chaos vehicle sprue provide some additional chaos flair while also bulking out the model’s silhouette some more.

Let’s take a look at a couple of details:

Wargrinder (13)
Like I said before, I realise that the head probably isn’t for anybody. But I am rather happy with the way it turned out: The model looks like an emotionless, relentless killing machine, and that’s exactly the look I wanted to achieve. And even if you don’t like the head, it should really be easy to find a suitable replacement, in case somebody is planning a similar conversion.

I also used one of my beloved, simple OSL effects on the weapon arm’s plasma coils:

Wargrinder (14)
The huge coils are really an open invitation to painters to go for an effect like that, and even though I kept it all rather simple, the finished arm makes for a nice eyecatcher.

Wargrinder (17)
Another look at the model’s back: The exhaust pipes were given a pass of Vallejo Smoke Ink to make them look even more dark and grimy. I am also very much in love with that brass etched symbol of Khorne sponsored by PDH!

 

To tell you the truth, all in all, I probably couldn’t be any happier with the model: The different head (while clearly a case of love it or hate it) makes it different enough from Chris’ conversion so as not to seem like a retread of the same idea. And the paintjob really ties together the different parts, making them look like they were meant to be used in that way. Painting this guy also was a real blast!

I am still not 100% done, though: The base still needs to be built and painted — and it goes without saying that a model as imposing as this deserves a suitably impressive base to go with it. Fortunately, I already have an idea, although it may take some time for me to get around to actually completing it.

Until then, I would love to hear your opinion on the model, so feel free to drop me a line or two in the comments section! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Wargrinder (16)

Advertisements

Engine of destruction, pt. 1

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 28, 2013 by krautscientist

So, time to revisit that mysterious model from the fuzzy teaser shot, I think. Some of you may already have recognised the model in question, and to tell you the truth, ever since I built my converted Dreadknight / counts as Decimator (inspired by Chris’ fantastic conversion over at A Host of Word Bearers), I’ve been itching to get this big boy painted. While painting the model seemed like a rather daunting task at first, painting my various Chaos Dreadnoughts has taught me that models at a slightly bigger scale can be real fun to paint, if only because the actual painting can be less fiddly due to the increased size.

In any case, there was really only one way to find out…

So, how did it go? Just to remind you, here’s where we left off last time:

kitbashed Decimator WIP (9)
Before breaking out the paints, I used the last possible opportunity to add some final bitz: A chaos smoke launcher was cut in half, with both halves added to the cowling behind the model’s head. A chain with dangling skulls was also added to the reactor on the model’s back.

The next step was to break down the model into the different sub assemblies and get everything undercoated in chaos black. Thankfully, this was pretty fast work. Here’s most of the model undercoated and tacked together (again):

Wargrinder PIP (1)
I then started painting the different sub assemblies, starting with the legs. Fortunately enough, my predicition proved correct: Painting the model turned out to be quite a lot of fun!

While larger models take much more paint to be completed, you can also cover much more ground and work with larger brushes, without having to worry about all the small nooks and crannies — at least at first…

So a short while later, the legs were basically finished:

Wargrinder PIP (2)
At this point, I really liked where this was going and I was basically hooked. So I pressed on, painting the torso next…

Wargrinder PIP (3)
As you can see, the amount of cables and metal doodads on the torso front meant that I could use a healthy dose of washes to make the metal look suitably dark and oily. I was also happy to finally see the head painted (but we’ll take a closer look at that in a minute). The last parts for the torso to be painted were the armour plates for the model’s chest. I quickly finished these, then tacked together what I had so far:

Wargrinder PIP (11)
Wargrinder PIP (10)
Wargrinder PIP (9)
Wargrinder PIP (8)
Wargrinder PIP (7)
Wargrinder PIP (6)
I am actually pretty pleased with the WIP model so far. The paintjob already does a fairly good job of blending together the different parts used in the conversion.

On a related note, I realise that the use of a head from an 80s’ toy was a point of contention for some. So my hope was that the paintjob would go a ways towards making it look like an actual part of the model. Take a look:

Wargrinder PIP (12)
While I am pretty sure that this particular choice of head will never make everybody happy, I am pretty pleased with the result: I don’t think it looks that much like an action figure any more. As you can see, I also added a simple blending effect on the models visor, trying to ride the cylon motif for all that it’s worth 😉

A brass etched symbol of Khorne (kindly sponsored by PDH — cheers, mate!) was added to the armour plate on the model’s shoulders:

Wargrinder PIP (14)
You may say that it looks like it’s the wrong way around: a result of the plate originally being positioned slightly differently. In any case, it fits much better this way around anyway, so there is little to be done.

Again, I am really pretty happy with the model so far, even though it’s not yet complete: The next step, obviously, is to paint the model’s arms. And, of course, a suitably impressive base will have to be designed and painted at some point. Expect the next update pretty soon, though, because I am rather stoked for finishing this model.

Until then, feel free to let me know what you think in the comments! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Wargrinder PIP (15)

Happiness is a pile of bitz…

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Pointless ramblings, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2013 by krautscientist

Let me use today’s post for a spell of pointless rambling. Bear with me though, there might be something worthwile hidden along the way 😉

Anyway, last week I bought a huge pile of Ogre Kingdoms bitz from fellow hobbyist Kar Tharog. When I got home from work yesterday, the parcel had arrived, and so I spent most of the evening with my very individual kind of R&R: sorting a huge pile of bitz into many smaller piles 😉

While doing that, I realised that buying “surprise piles” of bitz may be one of the most delicious hobby activities for me, but more on that in a minute. You may ask yourself why I went for Ogre bitz in the first place.

While I am very unlikely to start an Ogre Kingdoms army (or any WFB army, for that matter) anytime soon, I have had my eyes on bitz from the various Ogre Kingdoms kits for quite a while now. Visually speaking, the Ogres are heavily based on a culture of hunters, for one. That means that the kits usually come with lots of trophies like skulls, hides, etc. — a perfect fit for Khorne’s Eternal Hunt.

Then there’s the fact that the recurring symbol of the Great Maw is fairly similar to the World Eaters’ legion badge: For instance, I am already using a certain Ogre Kingdoms gut plate as a legion symbol for my army. The newer bitz continue this trend, featuring stylised jaws and maws — once again, perfect for my World Eaters.

And even beyond the scope of my main army, Ogre Kingdoms models have a darkly funny and eclectic bend, which may not help with my World Eaters, but is sure to yield some really cool and interesting bitz.

So that was basically my reasoning behind this purchase, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed when I opened the parcel yesterday. Here’s a look at what I got out of the deal:

Ogre Bitz (1)
This is what I would call the really interesting part of the bitz haul: All the “regular” Ogre bull parts (heads, arms, weapons, accessories) have already been neatly sorted away. They will come in handy, too, but they are certainly not the meat of the purchase. So what you see above is the part that really sealed the deal for me, because I would have had to pick up some really expensive (and ultimately useless) kits in order to get my hands on some of this stuff.

Ogre Bitz (2)
So let me point out a couple of highlights. First up, I was thrilled to find an entire Stonehorn head among the bitz:

Ogre Bitz (3)
I had originally planned to simply use the skull-like “faceplate” as decoration on one of the army’s vehicles, a daemon engine or something similar. Yet that head is so brilliantly angry and detailed that I will probably hold on to it for a while yet: Maybe it could be used on a kitbashed Greater Daemon or something similar? One can always dream…

As a matter of fact, there was a complete Thundertusk head as well — two bitz I would never have gotten hold of normally.

I also got some really nice Mournfang cavalry weapons:

Ogre Bitz (4)
I 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 (and, once again, the World Eaters’ symbol).

I was also fortunate enough to receive this brilliant head:

Ogre Bitz (6)
Normally a part of a dead Imperial soldier kept as a “snack” by the Ogres, the head is just perfect for a twisted servant of the dark gods, don’t you think? Expect this part to make an appearance in my small Traitor Guard detachment (or my INQ28 collection) at some point…

I have already started playing around with some of the bitz. Here’s an early prototype: A World Eaters Terminator using a particularly cool Ogre gut plate as a pauldron:

Ogre Bitz (5)
So, did I post this just to gloat? No way! What I really want to talk about is that this kind of purchase is usually one of the high points of the hobby for me. Strange, huh?

I guess it’s the fact that there’s a certain thrill of the hunt, if you will: Taking a look at the – often fuzzy – photos online. Deciding if you’ll get enough useful bitz out of the deal, then ultimately taking the plunge. Waiting impatiently for the parcel to arrive, the immediately tearing it open and sifting through the contents and thinking of new conversions — sometimes coming up with ideas you would never have considered when buying your bitz the “conventional” way. Don’t get me wrong: Methodically hunting for a certain bit via ebay or one of the bitz sites can be pretty gratifiying as well. But “buying in bulk” like this just feels great every now and then!

Granted, it’s something we usually cannot indulge in too often: You have to be lucky to find a pile of bitz that warrants the purchase. You have to balance “wild card” purchases like this against more sensible additions to your army. But for a fanatical kitbasher like myself, digging through a huge pile of plastic crack and dreaming up some new conversions is really as good as it gets!

Oh, and by the way, I wasn’t disappointed on the “darkly funny and eclectic” front either: There where lots of grisly (but rather funny) trophies, some Ogre snacks (like steaks and plucked chickens) and lots and lots of very strange stuff — I am very confident that most of this will be useful in the end, though: If not for my World Eaters, then in one of my other hobby projects. The Orkheim Ultraz and my planned Mordheim Orc warband can always use some more silliness 😉

So yeah, taking a plunge and getting a huge pile of random bitz like this was really fun! What about you? Do you agree, or do you prefer your purchase of new bitz to me more restrained and, shall we say, surgical in nature? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

In any case, have a great weekend! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Something old, something new

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 21, 2013 by krautscientist

Work on my World Eaters continues, as I am feeling rather inspired at the moment, and I know myself well enough to make the most of that particular spell of inspiration while it lasts 😉

So let me show you yet more servants of the Blood God, among them long standing members of the 4th assault company as well as some more recent editions.

 

We’ll start with what you might call a long running project of mine: The very last squad of models I built before abandoning the hobby for a while during the mid-2000s was a squad of kitbashed possessed Chaos Space Marines. Back then, there where no stock models to represent Possessed, so I made my own, using a box of berzerkers, some parts from the old chaos mutations sprue and some Ork bitz. And, as a matter of fact, not only where the resulting models some of the first models I painted after getting back into the hobby, but they were also the absolute first models to appear on this blog, right after I started it.

I use them as The Lost Brethren, those members of the 4th assault company too far gone and too mutated to be used as anything more than a Kamikaze unit.

Anyway, almost three years ago, the one new model I built for the squad was an icon bearer – both to bring the squad up to eight members and because every squad in my army always gets an icon bearer model, regardless of the rules and any possible uses in the game. Anyway, after several years, I finally got around to painting the icon bearer:

The Lost Brethren (9)
The Lost Brethren (10)
This guy probably isn’t much to write home about, since he was built in late 2010, when my bitzbox was still far smaller than it is today. He shares his squadmates’ muscular arms (I actually used an Orc spear arm for the icon). Still, after almost a decade, not only did the squad finally receive its icon bearer, it also finally numbers eight members. Yay!

Having finished this model makes me rather happy, because I can now consider this particular squad finished — and after such a long time to boot!

Come to think of it, I think it’s actually time to replace to earlier, fuzzy earlier photos of the squad with some new images. Take a look:

The Lost Brethren (1)
The Lost Brethren (2)
The Lost Brethren (3)
The Lost Brethren (5)
The Lost Brethren (6)
The Lost Brethren (7)
And, of course, the unit’s champ, Huntmaster Kharduun (actually the model that brought me back to my World Eaters, and the first conversion I did in ages, back in 2010):

Kharduun the Hunter (4)

Granted, these are older paintjobs and maybe not 100% representative of my painting standard today, but I still like the models and think they look pretty good together as a squad:

The Lost Brethren (11)
The Lost Brethren (13)
The one thing left to do is to touch up the bases at some point. Oh well, I guess I’ll eventually get around to it sometime during the next ten years…

 

I also managed to pick up an older Chaos Lord in Terminator armour from fellow hobbyist Carnak:

Metal Terminator Lord (3)
Metal Terminator Lord (1)
Metal Terminator Lord (2)

The model was originally released alongside the Cities of Death supplement and the Medusa V summer campaign, if I recall correctly. As a matter of fact, it was even used to represent Abaddon’s right hand man, Chaos Sorcerer Ygethmor the Deceiver, during a WD battle report — a rather dubious (and downright lazy) choice, if you ask me: This guy is no sorcerer, he’s a warrior! A true veteran of the Long War!

In fact, that’s precisely the reason why this is one of my favourite GW chaos models ever! I love how massive and imposing the model looks and how it manages to exude an air of quiet menace. My favourite parts of the model have to be the tabard (an element I would like to see used far more often on Chaos Terminators) and the dangling skull trophies, making this guy an excellent servant of Khorne as well!

Another great thing about the model is that it comes with several weapon options, featuring one long range weapon and CC option for each hand:

Metal Terminator Lord (4)
From left to right: a power sword, a weapon probably supposed to be a Kai Bolter (from the 3.5 edition book’s wargear section), a power claw and a combi-melta. All of the options look great, although I suppose I’ll go with the combination of sword and claw you can see above — from a visual standpoint, it’s just the coolest option by far, in my opinion!

The model’s only shortcoming is that it seems just a little short when compared to the (more recent) plastic Terminators. But the problem is nowhere as egregious as with Abaddon the Despoiler, and this guy still clearly reads as a Terminator, even if seen next to some of the newer models.

As a matter of fact, I’ve been wanting to add this model to my force for quite some time, and being able to pick it up for a song was quite a nice coincidence. I guess that this guy will remain largely unconverted, too — I just like the stock model that much!

 

And finally…oh, wait, we’re just receiving an important transmission: It seems like one of our enterprising pict-drones has made it to the bowels of the 4th assault company’s great forge. Here’s the final image it managed to transmit before being destroyed:

Wargrinder_Teaser (1)
Now what on earth could this be. Any ideas? 😉

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

Keeper of the Forge, pt. 2

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, paintjob, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 13, 2013 by krautscientist

I’ll be on the road for most of the day tomorrow, so this week’s update goes up a little early: Last time, we took a look at my attempts at converting a suitable model for Huntmaster Deracin, the 4th assault company’s Warpsmith. With the rather complex conversion sorted out, it was now time to paint the model. I’ll happily admit that the task seemed rather daunting: It is a rather huge model, for one. And there was also the fact that I really don’t enjoy painting the backpack on regular Chaos Space Marines — so what was I to do with Deracin’s extremely complex servo-harness?

At the very least, keeping the model in several sub-assemblies turned out to be a very good decision. That way, I could work on one part of the model after another, assembling the model piece by piece, whenever a sub-assembly was completed. Naturally, I started with the head and body.

During all of this, I stuck with my tried and true recipe for painting World Eaters. Here’s the body with the base colours and the first pass of washes in place:

Huntmaster Deracin PIP (2)
Huntmaster Deracin PIP (1)
As you can see, the armour still looked rather raspberry-ish, but a thin coat of Blood Red quickly changed that. Here’s the body pretty much finished and already stuck to the completed base:

Huntmaster Deracin PIP (4)
Huntmaster Deracin PIP (3)
The arms were next, and I tackled each of them in turn. Due to the fact that I had not yet permanently attached them to the rest of the model, it was easy enough to pick out even the fine detail (like the display of the auspex in Deracin’s right hand). The shoulder pads were also painted separately to ensure that everything would fit together before adding any glue. When both the arms and shoulder pads were done, everything was assembled and the (unpainted) backpack was dryfitted to the rest of the model to make sure it all worked out. When that was taken care of, the arms and shoulder pads could finally be glued to the body:

Huntmaster Deracin PIP (8)
Huntmaster Deracin PIP (7)
Huntmaster Deracin PIP (11)
Huntmaster Deracin PIP (10)
Fortunately enough, everything fit together rather well, so the assembly only took some minimal tweaking.

And then came the servo-harness…

Due to the complexity of this element, it was practically a model of its own. It was painted in one, frantic session, and I used quite a lot of black wash to make the metal parts look suitably used and well-oiled. Here’s the mostly finished backpack:

Huntmaster Deracin PIP (14)
As you can see, I basically stuck to using red, silver and bronze as the three main colours here as well. The one departure from the usual recipe was that I added some light blue effects to the reactor on the back of the harness, and on the energy conduits leading to the different arms. As a matter of fact, that little detail was one of the reasons I had chosen the GK backpack in the first place.

With both the model and servo-harness almost completely painted, I took a deep breath and finally attached the harness to the model’s back. This took some doing, and the funny thing is that the backpack is attached to the model’s shoulderpads rather than to its actual back. It took some fumbling and frantic repositioning for everything to not only work out but stay in place.

In the end, everything worked out, though! Some final detail work was added at this stage: A fine accent of Mithril Silver was added to the metal parts. The flamer’s and meltagun’s muzzles were painted with a mix of Army Painter Strong Tone Ink and Vallejo Smoke Ink, to make them look dark and soot-stained.  And I tidied up the last rough edges.

And with that, Huntmaster Deracin was complete. Take a look:

Huntmaster Deracin (1)
Huntmaster Deracin (2)
Huntmaster Deracin (3)
As you can see, I chose a spot of turquoise for the axe’s casing. That colour appears as a spot colour across my whole army, so I used it here for some visual continuity.

Huntmaster Deracin (4)
Huntmaster Deracin (5)
The view from the back nicely shows the light blue reactor core, and the power conduits leading away from it.

Huntmaster Deracin (7)
Huntmaster Deracin (8)
I am really, really happy with how Deracin turned out! He may have been just about the most involved kitbashed character I have completed so far, but the paintjob really turned out as well as I had hoped. I also like that he is quite bulky, similar to the “official” Warpsmith model — I think his imposing frame rather nicely represents the 2+ armour save granted to Warpsmiths due to their “Fleshmetal”. Let me also take this opportunity to point out that the model is almost ridiculously WYSIWYG, at least when you compare it to my usual standard: The only liberties I took with the model were using a combi-melta, chosen for its cool look, and a chainaxe instead of a power axe. Apart from that, though, the model is a very faithful representation of the Warpsmith ruleset.

Deracin is also very tall. Here’s a scale shot with both a regular World Eater and a Terminator Lord:

Huntmaster Deracin (14)
And here is Deracin, next to my converted Dark Apostle:

Huntmaster Deracin (13)
Even though both models use the same legs, I still think I managed to make them look remarkably different!

All in all, Deracin really looks like a World Eater. But he is also clearly an engineer and Warpsmith to his company:

Huntmaster Deracin (11)
So, did I do this just to build a semi-useful selection from the HQ section of the codex? Of course not! While it’s nice to have the option of fielding a Warpsmith now, and while I get a bit of a kick out of already having built several custom models for selections from the book, this was really all about creating a character. So who is this Huntmaster Deracin? Let’s get to know him a bit better, shall we?

 

Huntmaster Deracin (10)
Huntmaster Deracin, Keeper of the Forge

During the time of the Great Crusade, when the XIIth Astartes Legion was still known as the War Hounds, brother Deracin was a brilliant and ferocious warrior who could be found at the forefront of every battle. This zeal cost him dearly when he sustained horrific injuries during the Nove Shendak campaign, requiring extensive augmentic reconstruction work to be saved. Worse still than the lost limbs was the heavy nerve damage Deracin incurred, damage that necessiated complex cranial implants to keep him combat-worthy. A lesser man might have been interred into the sarcophagus of a dreadnought due to such injuries, but Deracin trained relentlessly to overcome his injuries and push the artificial parts of his body to the limit, trying to prove to his brethren that his “reconstruction” hadn’t dulled his edge one bit.

All of this should be for naught, however, once the legion had been reunited with its Primarch and renamed the “World Eaters”: Angron ordered his Apothecaries and Techmarines to outfit the whole legion with the Butcher’s Nails, implants patterned after those he had received as a gladiator on the world of Nyceria.

The nails implanted into the Primarch’s skull were artifacts from the Dark Age of Technology, and the Techmarines’ dabbling in archaeotech was far from an exact science, producing all kinds of unforeseen incidents. As a consequence, the implants Deracin had received earlier to mend his injuries interfered with the nails, preventing him from utilising his full potential on the battlefield. For Angron, a legionnaire that couldn’t unlock the nails’ full power could only be considered a failure. So Deracin found himself relegated to the rear guard in more and more battles, sidelined and tasked with petty battle logistics and mundane assignments, and growing ever more frustrated.

It was Lord Captain Lorimar who discovered that, deprived of a chance to prove himself in battle, Deracin had begun to apply himself to the maintenance of the legions’ wargear and weaponry, demonstrating a brilliant grasp of technology and an intuitive understanding of even the most complex mechanisms. So Lorimar requested Deracin for his company and let him be trained as a Techmarine. And it was then that brother Deracin found his true calling:

He may have been a brilliant fighter, but as a Techmarine, Deracin became a marvel. His brilliant, analytical mind allowed him to construct mechanisms on par with the most advanced work of the Mechanicus. His work earned him the envy of numerous Techmarines from different companies and, indeed, other Legiones Astartes. In time, even Angron himself began to display a sort of grudging respect for the son he had despised. And through fateful irony, the implants that prevented Deracin from tapping into the Butcher’s Nails’ full potential actually kept his brilliant mind intact, even as the rest of the legion descended into frenzy and insanity.

Ever since the Horus Heresy, during the millennia of the Long War, Deracin’s knowledge has grown far beyond the petty boundaries of Imperial orthodoxy: He has learned to forge flesh and steel, and to imbue his creations with the raw powers of the warp through the incantations and pacts of daemoncraft. The towering daemon engines deployed by the 4th assault company are a chilling testament to his skill. The Great Forge aboard the company’s capital ship never sleeps, and Deracin is its undisputed master. And during his long life, he has retained two features nearly unheard of among the members of the XIIth legion: A surgically analytical mind as well as a wry sense of humour.

On the battlefield, Deracin is a giant even among Astartes: His augmented frame towers above even his tallest brethren. Encased in a baroque suit of artificer armour of his own design and equipped with all kinds of arcane weapons and warp-infused tools, the Keeper of the Forge is every bit the warrior he was during the days of the Great Crusade.

 

So, what do you think? Was I successful in my attempt to build a worthy warpsmith? I would love to hear your feedback in the comments section!

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

Huntmaster Deracin (12)

Keeper of the Forge, pt. 1

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 9, 2013 by krautscientist

“Aye, Nove Shendak cost me half of my body. But in the end, those injuries were what let me keep all of my wits, and for that I will always remember that blasted hellscape with a certain …fondness.”

Huntmaster Deracin

 

If you’ve been following this blog for a while (or have at least taken a peek at the Dramatis Personae tab for my World Eaters), you’ll realise that I try to come with characters rather than mere playing pieces. Hence my addiction to building Chaos Lords, I suppose: Instead of building one model with magnetisable arms for maximum flexibility, I’ll just as likely build one separate model for each equipment choice, doing my best to transform each of them into a character in his own right. After all, some of these guys have been around for about ten millennia — they deserve a little characterisation, don’t you think?

By the same token, ideas for characters will often spring from something I see online or from a piece of fluff I come up with: For instance, long before the option to use a Warpsmith was introduced by the sixth edition Codex, I had the idea of a techmarine for the 4th assault company, who would construct and maintain much of the company’s wargear and who was likely also the driving force behind most of the warmachines and daemon engines deployed by Khorne’s Eternal Hunt. And while there was no obvious way to field such a character back then (except as a regular chaos lord), I was sure that building a model to represent him would turn out to be a challenging and rewarding hobby endeavour somewhere along the way. So the character started to appear in the background I wrote for the army, mentioned in conversations between characters or actually making an appearance himself. And that was the birth of Huntmaster Deracin, Keeper of the Forge.

I kept toying around with several ideas about how best to represent Deracin on the table: I considered converting a loyal Techmarine, but while I love the model’s design, I didn’t really want to go through the trouble of cutting apart a metal model. Then I planned to base the character on the model for Huron Blackheart, since Huron’s extensive bionic implants seemed to be a nice fit for a techmarine. But none of these ideas ever quite got off the ground.

Then the new codex arrived, and with it not only an army list entry for an “evil tech,arine”, but also a dedicated Finecast Warpsmith model.

Again, I made several attempts at building a model to represent Deracin, yet in the end the results always fell short of what I had envisioned. I also considered just using the Finecast model, do a headswap and call it a day, but that didn’t feel like a true solution either: I wasn’t really sure how straight I could possibly hope to get that axe handle on a Finecast model, for one. And it also seemed like a bit of a cheap cop out, in any case.

My attempts at kitbashing didn’t really work out either, because they usually ended up looking too much like a regular Chaos Space Marine. I realised that the servo harness the model would need to wear would always look funny and overwhelming on a standard sized model. So I would need to build a rather imposing body as well as kitbash a servo-harness and then pay extra attention in order to make the overall effect work out — quite a challenge!

But all setbacks notwithstanding, I decided that I absolutely wanted to kitbash a model representing Deracin that would

  • look suitably like a World Eater,
  • look suitably like a Techmarine/Warpsmith,
  • would be all plastic.

The breakthrough came when I started messing around with some parts from my bitzbox, among them a body from the Skullcrusher kit. I realised that the torso was quite a bit bigger than that of a Chaos Space Marine, so it could probably work for my plan. I only needed a pair of legs to go with it, but they couldn’t be Terminator legs, since Warpsmiths wear “regular” power armour. Then I recalled the WFB plastic Chaos Lord I had already used on my custom Dark Apostle, and I suspected I might be able to put the legs from that kit to good use…

I also gathered all the cables and tech-y bitz I would need to kitbash a servo-harness for Deracin. Quite a daunting task, really, but after seeing that I had some Necron limbs in my bitzbox, I just went for it.

So with the basic parts for the conversion decided and acquired, I built a very early mockup of the body:

Huntmaster Deracin WIP (1)
As you can see, this particular combination of legs and torso already made sure that Deracin would be quite an imposing fellow (the WIP Terminator on the right is another one of my ongoing conversion projects, and was only included for scale). I also tried a head with extensive bionic implants from the GK Terminators, and really liked the result. And some wayward armour plate (probably from the Dark Elf dragon kit, although I am not perfectly sure) was used as some kind of codpiece, both to emulate the heavily armoured look of the Warpsmith model and to make the legs look more different from those of my Dark Apostle.

The next step was to add the arms. I already knew I wanted to have Deracin hold a huge axe or wrench in one hand, both as his primary CC weapon as well as a sign of office. Instead of cocking a puny bolt pistol in the other hand, though, I though Deracin should be holding something that cemented his function as a mechanic of war. By lucky coincidence, I still had a right hand holding a rather impressive looking auspex. Deracin’s arms were built by using arms from the Chaos Knight and Skullcrusher kits:

Huntmaster Deracin WIP (4)
Huntmaster Deracin WIP (6)

I realised that the main challenge on this project would be to make sure that the different parts of the body and the additional appendages from the servo-harness wouldn’t get into each other’s way, so I started to experiment with the servo harness at this point. Looking at the bitz available to me, it became clear that the servo-arms would end up looking more like those of a loyal techmarine and less like the Warpsmith’s mechadendrites. I chose Necron limbs for the basic construction, and a GK Interceptor backpack was picked both for the nicely sculpted reactor on its back, but also for the rods emerging from it: These would be used as points of attachment for the different servo-arms. Here’s a look at a very early mockup of the harness:

Huntmaster Deracin WIP (8)
The weapon was spliced together from the Chaos Terminator Lord’s staff, an old, OOP plastic chaos halberd and some additional bitz. Some teeth from a chainsword were carefully shaved off and glued to the axe, making the weapon look like an especially ostentatious chainaxe — this guy is a World Eater, after all! I also added a gargoyle head from the chaos vehicle sprue to make it look like the weapon could perhaps also be used as a tool. Here’s a mockup of the finished weapon:

Huntmaster Deracin WIP (9)
As you can see, this first incarnation of the staff still had a rather huge mace head added on top. I rather liked the effect, but an artist I respect very much told me that this feature actually drew attention away from the model’s face. This was a problem, of course, so it was with a heavy heart that I got rid of this visual element.

It took quite a while to get the model’s pose right, by the way, especially since nothing was permanently attached at this point: For most of the construction phase, the model was basically held together with lots of modelling putty and goodwill…

The best moment was when I had finally worked out a solution for all the different elements, so I could start to carefully glue certain parts together. The torso and lower body were already glued together at this point, while the servo-harness was painstakingly assembled arm by arm and piece by piece.

i knew that I would need a flamer and meltagun, since they are part of the warpsmith’s profile. For the other two servo-arms, I chose some suitably brutal looking implements. After many, many revisions, the servo-harness was finished. Take a look:

Huntmaster Deracin WIP (10)
The flamer (bottom right) came from the new Raptor kit, while the meltagun (top left) is actually a combi-melta from the command tank sprue. I simply liked the chaos decorations and dangling ammunition so much that I chose to use the piece, even if it wasn’t strictly WYSIWYG. For the remaining arms, I went with a sentinel chainsaw and a vicious looking claw (constructed from one of the Heldrake’s “chicken feet”). The arms themselves were constructed from Necron arms and legs, combined with additional cabling and a few bitz from different sources. This might actually have been the most fiddly conversion job ever, and it was made even more nerve-wracking due to my enormous lack of patience 😉

The one part of my original plan I had to abandon was to add some “smokestacks”, like the ones on the stock Warpsmith model, to the back of the harness. This would have been a cool detail, but the backpack was already busy enough as it was, and to tell you the truth, there actually wasn’t any space I could have comfortably put them.

So I called the servo-harness completed at this point and dryfitted the model with it:

Huntmaster Deracin WIP (11)
I was already reasonably pleased with the outcome. But then fellow hobbyist Igandris over at Dakka pointed out that Deracin’s chainmail-armoured backside was a little distracting, and he was right with that 😉
So I used an earlier idea in order to fix that particular problem and added some dandgling chains to the backpack as some kind of cape. This was also a nice way to put a World Eaters spin on the cables ususally dangling from a Techmarine’s/Warpsmith’s backpack, due to the importance of chains in the XIIth legion’s inconography.

So after lots and lots of fiddling with small plastic parts, the model was finally completed. Here’s a look at the finished conversion:

Huntmaster Deracin WIP (13)
Huntmaster Deracin WIP (12)
Huntmaster Deracin WIP (14)

I was really happy with the model so far, although the prospect of having to paint Deracin at some point made me just a little afraid. I decided the best course of action was to face my fears and get him painted as soon as possible (because the alternative would probably have been to never work up the courage to begin painting in the first place). So the model was carefully taken apart, and the different sub-assemblies were carefully cleaned to get rid of all the modelling putty and any grime that may have built up. Here’s a picture of the different parts of the model, laid out to dry and awaiting undercoating:

Huntmaster Deracin WIP (15)I also built a base for Deracin at this point. And I finally undercoated all the parts of the model with GW Chaos Black spraypaint. There was no stopping now…

So, in the next update, look forward to getting a look at the finished model! Until then, let me know what you think in the comments section. And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Look, Ma! Dinosaurs! The new Lizardmen

Posted in Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , on August 7, 2013 by krautscientist

This month brings a new release for the World of Warhammer Fantasy Battles in the form of new Lizardmen models. And even though my WFB days are well behind me, I’ll still happily take a look at the new models, talk about what I like and don’t like and scrutinise any conversion potential this release might have – maybe even for the world of 40k. So, once, let us take a closer look at the new release.

Before we do that, though, it’s time for me to come clean. So let me start with two confessions:

One, I used to be a huge Dinosaur nut for most of my childhood and even quite a ways into my teens. I was very proud of being able to identify and name a huge number of prehistoric lizards big and small in what was an endless stream of garbled (and probably mostly incorrectly pronounced) Greek and Latin. So Lizardmen should be right up my alley, right?

Yes, well. That’s actually confession number two: I’ve always felt the denizens of Lustria to be a rather awkward fit for the world of Warhammer Fantasy Battles. Allow me to elaborate:

Regarding most of the WFB armies, their basic design ideas can be summed up in a single sentence for me: The Empire is “Hieronymus Bosch meets Monty Python’s Quest for the Holy Grail. Bretonnia is “Medieval France plus Arthurian Legend plus the ugliest sides of feudalism, all rolled into one and turned up to eleven”. Warriors of Chaos are “spiky vikings who worship evil gods (and sometimes have tentacles)”, and so on. I think you get the idea…

Lizardmen, then, would be “Fantasy dinosaurs who are also aztec wizards”. And I think we can all agree that this already sounds fairly funky and not all that easy to pull off. The other problem for me is that these guys…well, they’re lizards. And it’s really not that easy to imbue lizards with lots of character. I can imagine most of WFB’s factions off the battlefields: I can imagine the bustling, clockpunk hellholes that are the cities of the Empire. I can imagine the fierce tribal culture of the northern chaos wastes. It’s easy to get an idea of the grim, and probably darkly humurous, interactions of the greenskins.

All of this is much harder for the Lizardmen. They are the servants of the Ancients, yes. But that’s the problem right there: They are tools. They were bred for their tasks. The different breeds are well designed and thought out, make no mistake. But they don’t really offer much by way of character — at least that’s my take. Your mileage may vary, of course.

Oh, and don’t get me started on all those punny names…

At the very least, though, a well-painted Lizardmen army will make quite an impression on the table: Its vibrant colours and mix of lizards and dinosaurs big and small does have a certain je ne sais quoi. So what about the new models then?

 

Carnosaur / Troglodon / Kroq-Gar on Grymloq

Lizardman release (2)

The biggest new kit gives us a huge, reptilian predator that can be assembled in several ways. The first option is to build a Saurus Oldblood riding a Carnosaur, as pictured above. While the Carnosaur’s last incarnation looked a bit too much like an 80s/90s action figure, if you ask me, the new design is really great: Instead of looking like a slightly hokey Tyrannosaur with longer arms, the creature now takes design cues from more evolved, sleek and deadly carnivores like the Allosaur. The sickle claws even make it seem like there’s more than a little Deinonychus in there somewhere…
Meanwhile, the shortened jaws seem almost mammalian, making the Carnosaur look even more dangerous.

Lizardman release (3)
The fact that the pose is very dynamic and that the model looks like its anatomy would actually work in real life, helps of course. I also really love that black/white/orange paintjob, by the way!

So the mount is a succes. But what about the rider? In fact, the standard Oldblood head included in the kit is a real favourite of mine: That guy looks like he really means business!

Lizardman release (4)
The second possible way of assembling this kit is to build the special character Kroq-Gar (…) on his ride Grymloq (oh boy!). All the necessary parts are included, which is really a brilliant idea that I would like to see far more often (and in 40k as well as WFB)! The resulting model looks like this:

Lizardman release (1)
While the Carnosaur remains mostly unchanged, the rider gets a spiffy artifact gauntlet. While this weapon was already present in the charcter’s last incarnation, I really like the rather more statuesque redesign of the weapon: It looks like it really wasn’t necessarily designed to be worn by a Saurus in the first place, which I think is a nice touch, especially with regard to the Lizardmen’s backstory.

The other huge option is to build a Troglodon, an eerie, troglodytic lizard ridden by a skink:

Lizardman release (6)
This version of the model throws even more real-life influences into the mix, with the head recalling that of a Baryonyx or a crocodile, if I am not mistaken, and some Spinosaur thrown in as well for good measure. While the change mainly amounts to a headswap (and a tail swap, to boot), the result is quite stunning: The model looks quite distinctive, even more so if painted in the pale, slightly translucent skin tones befitting a cave dweller.

The skink rider, meanwhile, is nothing to write home about — but that’s probably a matter of personal taste: I always tend to think skinks are a little bland, and they don’t really register as characters for me (even though they seem to be far stronger individuals than the rather dense Sauri, in the background at least).

Lastly, this kit offers you an additional Saurus Oldblood on foot under certain conditions,…

Lizardman release (5)
…but for some reason, this guy feels like a bit of an afterhought — nothing that canot be fixed with a couple of bitz, though.

All in all, I think this kit is great! Sure, at 65 Euros, it isn’t exactly a steal, but seeing all the extra bitz and options you get out of it, I still consider it a good amount of bang for the buck!

 

Bastiladon

Lizardman release (8)
This big boy is a dead ringer for the good old Styracosaur. A very nice design, if you ask me, and a great and distinctive addition to the Lizardmen’s huge warbeasts.

The kit comes with two different weapons arrays for the Bastiladon’s back: The first one, called the Solar Engine, is pretty much what you would expect from an Aztec inspired precursor culture like the lizardmen. The fact that the crystals are solid plastic is slightly disappointing, but there would really have been no easy way around it, so I’ll let it slide. As it stands, this will be an interesting task for accomplished painters (not unlike the whole Lizardmen catalogue, as  a matter of fact).

The fact that the activation panel on the back of the engine has room for five fingers, but the skink only has four, is a nice touch. It may not really be a poignant embodiment of the Lizardmen’s tragic history, as suggested by the PR-speak in WD, but it’s a neat idea!

Lizardman release (9)

There’s also the option of building a Troglodon that carries the Arc of Sotek

Lizardman release (10)
…and it’s a little silly, really. Whoever would think of a warmachine like this? The Ancients? Some skink shamans high on Mezkal? However, it’s so silly that it almost works in a zany, Indiana Jones-esque way. Moving on…

 

Terradon / Ripperdactyl Riders

Lizardman release (11)

The old Terradon models were pretty awkward in many ways, so it’s great to see GW chose to address this. And with a multi-kit, no less! For the Terradons, I love the choice of making them look similar to a Pteranodon, not only differentiating them from the other option in the kit, but channelling what has to be one of my favourite dinosaurs ever. My one gripe with the terradons themselves is that their toes, holding the Drop Rocks are so short as to look almost nonexistent, making it look as though the rocks were bolted directly to the creature’s legs. Apart from that, though, I love the design, and even the skink riders with their dynamic poses and more athletic builds are really nice!  Oh, and in case you were wondering, those little guys attack by hurling “fireleeches” at the enemy:

Lizardman release (12)
Because why the hell not? I believe this might actually be due to a translation error in the Ancient’s great plan: The passage in question said something about “hurling balls of flame”, but there was a crack in the tablet or a translation error by some inexperienced skink scribe or something to that effect, and now the poor guys are stuck with hurling burning leeches. Or GW’s design studio just wanted to test the boundaries of what they could get away with. Your choice!

The other kind of unit to be built from the kit is a flock of Ripperdactyl riders:

Lizardman release (13)
The piranha-styled underbite on the Ripperdactyls makes them look like really angry, evil birds. I am not 100% sold on this design element, to tell you the truth, but seeing how the kit is all plastic, it should be reasonably easy to get rid of if you wanted to:

Lizardman release (14)
And finally, the kit lets you build the special character Tiktaq’to (I swear I am not making this up!), which is a nice additional option, once again!

Lizardman release (16)

While I can sympathise with the notion of giving special skink characters huge and ostentatious looking golden ceremonial masks, this has the slightly problematic effect of making them look even more devoid of personality, in my opinion. That sickle blade is looking wicked, though!

And let me just point out that the paintjob on the model is really stellar:

Lizardman release (17)

Just check out those wings! Marvelous work!

 

Tetto’eko

Lizardman release (20)
While it’s a refreshing idea to give us a skink priest on a throne instead of yet another Slann, I am not sold on this design. It may have something to do with my general apathy when it comes to skinks, but I suspect the actual problem lies somewhere between the slightly awkward pose (the cross-legged pose really isn’t working out — just check out that right foot), the staff looking completely unlike anything in the Lizardmen army (or, indeed, GW’s entire catalogue) or the slightly hokey feathers adorning the throne. It’s certainly easy enough what they were trying to do here, though, with Tetto’eko supposed to look like an ancient, wizened member of his race, but I actually think that an enterprising Lizarmen player could kitbash/scratchbuild a  suitable model without having to spend 40 Euros on the Finecast version…

This may be purely a matter of personal taste, but Tetto’eko is probably the weakest part of the release for me.

 

Gor-Rok

Lizardman release (19)

I love the idea of fielding what basically amounts to a giant, scarred albino crocodile that JUST WILL NOT DIE. Gor-Rok seems far more imposing than his regular Saurus kin, both due to his huge frame and to the heavy scarring all over his body. I am not perfectly sure about the position of the left arm, and the teeth/horns on that shield do look a little silly, but both elements should be easy enough to change. The question remains, as usual, why this had to be a Finecast model in the first place. In my opinion, Finecast should really be reserved for the remastered older models and for new releases that are really only possible in that particular material. Apart from that, though, I like this big guy!

 

Skink Priest

Lizardman release (18)

As per the usual routine, one of the new characters also gets a  plastic release. Again, this guy is a skink, so don’t expect any hymns of praise from me 😉 My problem with the model is that it’s facing some stiff competition from several of the brilliant WFB plastic characters, and this little guy really doesn’t hold up all that well, in my opinion. The model’s position on the remains of a ruin are a nice touch, but there are quite a few much more impressive models in the catalogue. Still, having access to a plastic skink priest is certainly a nice asset for Lizardmen players, so I won’t let my mixed feelings about skinks as characters stand in the way of that.

 

Conversion potential

Now, all these reptilian additions to the Lizardmen catalogue are certainly great news for the army. But what about the new kits’ conversion potential for other hobby projects? Continuing a trend started by the High Elves and continued by the Tau and Eldar, the Lizardmen are yet another faction with a very unique, somewhat eclectic look. That makes it slightly challenging to just use them in other armies. That said, using elements from the army (and the new kits) to individualise an Empire, Bretonnia, Dwarf or Greenskin army to show how it is currently on a tour exploring (and likely plundering) Lustria could be a pretty cool idea.

When it comes to the world of 40k, the new Lizardmen kits could be used to great effect on highly cutomised Eldar Exodite armies or even particularly colourful regiments of the Imperial Guard. For instance, fellow hobbyist wonkobaggins recently posted a really cool counts as Catachan Sentinel built by using a Tyrannosaur model — something similar could be done using the new Carnosaur! And since quite a few people are already using Cold Ones for their Rough Riders, why not go the whole way and add some Terradons/Ripperdactyls as well?

The Bastiladon could make a nice, smaller Squiggoth-variant for an Orc army, or a similar beast of burden in a Kroot-themed army, with a little conversion work, And the Troglodon head looks sufficiently eerie and otherwordly to be an interesting head choice for a (Tzeentchian) Daemon Prince, Greater Daemon or daemon engine. Several of the new beasts could also be used as enslaved creatures in a heavily converted, beastmaster-themed Dark Eldar army to represent the beasts captured and used in gladiatorial spectacles by the lanistas of Commoragh…

Finally, I could also see some of the kits used involved  in some serious kitbashing with a pile of Tyranid parts, but to be perfectly honest, that could almost be seen as doing a disservice to the beautiful new kits.

When it comes to the wonderful world of INQ28, some parts from the new kits could be used to build members of minor xenos races. like bounty hunters and mercenaries travelling the galaxy in search of employers. Jeff Vader’s excellent Glarrg the Brontoglorrg (well done indeed on the name, mate!) would be a sterling example of this.

 

So, what to make of it all? Will this release bring me back to WFB or my erstwhile passion for Dinosaurs? No, probably neither. In fact, I may probably completely pass on the new kits. That said, I am prepared to call this a really strong offering! Most of the designs are great, especially the bigger kits. I also love the amount of options present in some of the models, and the opportunities to build special characters from plastic kits, and this is clearly something I would love to see more of. Just imagine a Chaos Lord plastic kit containing the parts to build Abaddon (or a custom general for one of the four chaos gods). Or a Dark Eldar vehicle kit containg the parts to build Asdrubael Vect (like the old model, just all in plastic). Or a Greater Daemon kit allowing us to build characters like Skarbrand or M’Kachen. The options are endless, and one can always dream…

In any case, Lizardmen players receive some standout pieces for their army, and the designs are top notch! And while the prices are, once again, nothing to scoff at, I am tempted to forgive that when looking at the amount of options and customisability in most of these kits.

It also becomes clear, browsing through the new issue of WD, that these kits deserve to be painted with the utmost care: Some of the ‘Eavy Metal paintjobs on these are truly outstanding, and making your own Lizardmen army look as vibrant and characterful is certainly quite a challenge, even for accomplished painters.

 

So what do you think? Do you like the new models, or do they leave you cold(-blodded, hur hur)? And do they remind you of a childhood spent gazing at extinct lizards as well? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Oh, and just for the records: I still think dinosaurs are pretty cool!

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