Keeper of the Forge, pt. 2
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
All in all, Deracin really looks like a World Eater. But he is also clearly an engineer and Warpsmith to his company:
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?
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!