Archive for October, 2013

Pointy is the new evil – the Dark Elves’ second wave

Posted in Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , on October 31, 2013 by krautscientist

Here we are, one month later, with something we haven’t seen in a while: a second release wave for an army! Seems like GW weren’t messing around when they announced they wanted to reinvent the entire Dark Elves’ line of models.

This month’s release brings another slew of combi-kits and a new plastic character. So let’s take it all in stride and, most of all, let’s take a closer look! Here goes:

 

Dark Riders/Doomfire Warlocks

Dark Elves release (23)
This – quite moderately priced – kit is truly brimming with options, starting with the fact that you get two unit types out of it. The first of these are the Dark Riders, outriders quickly zooming ahead of the army and causing all kinds of mischief for the enemy. GW’s designers actually underlined their function as a fast and highly mobile selection by having them posed astride their mounts like jockeys at a horse race, which is a pretty nice touch if you ask me.

Overall, I really like the design of these riders as cloaked, shadowy soldiers. And the different bitz you get with the kit let you build fairly different versions of the same models:

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My favourite detail has to be that you get three different sets of heads and are free to either have each of your riders follow the same style or happily mix and match. While the helmetless heads suffer from some rather eclectic hairstyles, I really like the heads with helmets and cowls:


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The helmets are, once again, a callback to classic Dark Elf design sensibilities, while the cowls may be my favourite option. Great job!

All in all, this is a rock solid representation of the Dark Riders, and it’s quite nice to finally have them available in plastic. I do have one small gripe about the kit, but we’ll be getting to that in a minute.

The other option is to assemble the kit as Doomfire Warlocks

Dark Elves release (26)…and, in all honesty, they should have gone the whole hog here and called these guys Doomfire Warlocks of DOOOM! Just kidding 😉

These guys are male sorcerers damned to a horrible fate by the Witch King: Their souls are forfeit to Slaanesh, should they not find suitable sacrifices to keep the Dark Prince at bay. And once again, the very different nature of the models compared to the Dark Riders clearly comes across, even though they are using the same base models.

Where the latter are shadowy, cowled and cloaked figures, the Doomfire Warlocks very much look like the damned souls that they are: With bare upper bodies and their hair streaming behind them, these have an eerie, spectral quality.

For some reason, the faces on these models are highly reminiscent of Chris Fitzpatrick’s work on the older Dark Elf models, which seems like a bit of an odd choice when most of the release is obviously hell-bent on doing away with this look altogether…

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I do like the slightly twisted faces, though, since they make the models look unlike everything else in the army. My one problem with these is that the hair does look a little hokey — and really not all that much like hair to begin with. But this may have been intentional in the first place.

The horses are now far more twisted and demonic looking than before, ostensibly to make them look like the sinister influence of both the Dark Elves’ black magic and Naggaroth itself have influenced their bloodline:

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The twisted, lipless heads are quite scary! And while the new look might fit the darker nature of the Dark Elves when compared to their goodie two shoes brethren, herein lies my main gripe with the kit:

Dark Elves release (28)
Take a look at the horse in the picture above. Now I might be wrong about this, but doesn’t it seem like those legs are far too spindly and sticklike to actually look realistic? And slightly too long as well? Now it is important to notice that we here at Eternal Hunt are certainly not sticklers when it comes to realism, but in this case, the model seems to lack anatomical plausibility, which is a very different problem.

This actually goes for both variants of the kit, since they are using the same horses. Granted, this will probably not be too much of an issue when the regiment is properly lined up, but it is my main point of contention with the kit.

 

Scourgerunner Chariot / Cold-One Chariot

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In an interesting subversion of expectations, the Dark Elf chariot design is quite different from that of the High Elves: With a mono-wheel and the general design supposed to resemble nothing so much as the prow of a ship, the chariot carves out a very distinct design for itself.

My one problem with this decision is that, even though I acknowledge the intended effect, the chariot doesn’t look like it could actually go all that fast:

Dark Elves release (33)The chariot itself comes in two possible flavours: The Scourgerunner Chariot is being piloted by a Beastmaster crew, and the design of the models really makes them look the part, with the Beastmasters wearing the hides of wild beasts and resembling the handlers that come with the Hydra kit:

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The High Beastmaster is easily identifiable by his ostentatious cloak and and the facial scars that probably come with the territory in his line of work:

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This guy is probably my favourite part about the kit, and I could easily imagine him being used as a special character or even a Dark Eldar Archon with an adventurous streak…

The other option is to use the kit to build a Cold-One Chariot:

Dark Elves release (34)
Now Cold Ones win absolute best everything all the time in my book, simply by virtue of being a more badass version of the already awesome, real-life Velociraptor or Deinonychus. I have always loved the Cold Ones, and their latest incarnation is simply brilliant, so it stands to reason that this chariot would be pretty cool as well, right? Unfortunately, though, beyond the awesome reptilian members of the crew, the warriors steering the chariot are pretty standard fare. And even more of those topknots. Yeesh…

All in all, it’s really a nice enough kit though. I have to admit that I am not perfectly sold on the mono-wheel look, but that’s just me. As with any chariot (combi-)kit, the fact that it comes with many cool bitz should make it useful even beyond its original function.

 

Executioners/Black Guard

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Now here’s a high point about this release! Some of the Dark Elves’ most elite units are finally available as a plastic kit. Even better, you can build both unit types using this combi-kit!

Looking at the Black Guard first, it’s plain to see that these are, once again, a very nice callback to the 4th edition models, although some design cues of the last edition clearly remain. The design actually takes cues from the best elements of both versions, with the Black Guard looking heavily armoured and suitably pointy and spiky. Like more badass versions of last month’s Dark Elf warriors, these have all the discipline and elegance that you would expect from an elven regiment, yet also clearly come agross as evil and sinister — mission accomplished, I guess!

I really love the sinister look created by the helmets, although the champion head is certainly a matter of personal preference:

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What is it with all of those topknots? Is there something innately evil about that kind of hairstyle?

Anyway, the Black Guard are looking excellent, period!

Since this is also a combi-kit, it’s possible to build a regiment of Black Guard or Executioners:

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While using the same bodies, the Executioners get different weapons, different heads and, in a nice touch of variety, are holding their swords in both hands. The skull masks show a nice, elven take on the recurring WFB motif of skulls (and also double as a stylised symbol of Khaine).

It goes without saying that the kit also comes with some brilliantly morbid details, such as a severed High-Elf head:

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My favourite part about the kit has got to be how nothing more than a change of heads and weapons is needed to thoroughly change the silhouette of the same base model:

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Definitely one of my favourite kits from the new Dark Elf catalogue!

 

Black Ark Fleetmaster

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And here’s my other favourite: Yet another plastic character (which is always great), and one that truly embodies some archetypal qualities of the Dark Elves: The Fleetmaster looks vicious and arrogant. The trophies of bone and skin and his spiky leg prosthesis give him a slightly feral quality, yet there’s also a sinister kind of elegance. Granted, the hair may be a bit over the top, but there’s nothing stopping you from changing it according to your preferences.

I also love the fact that the naval commanders of the Dark Elves haven’t been explored too thoroughly so far – one special character notwithstanding – so the Fleetmaster gives us an interesting glimpse at this side of Dark Elf culture.

Converting the model will need some thought, as with all the single pose plastic characters, yet I am confident that this model would make a great base for all kinds of Dark Elf, Dark Eldar or even Eldar commanders.

 

Conversion options

Possibly the most interesting part for me about this whole release: What can the enterprising hobbyist use all these new toys for? And what could be done to transform them into something else?

As with last month’s release, these kits will probably be most useful from a conversion perspective to Eldar and Dark Eldar players: The Black Guard and Executioners could be transformed into very menacing looking Trueborn for a Dark Eldar force (or pretty sinister Guardians for an allied Eldar detachment). The Executioners‘ skull masks would doubtlessly look great on Harlequins and/or Wyches. And if you can find a way of kitbashing Reaper Launchers, those Executioners themselve could become brilliant Dark Reapers, in my opinion.

The Dark Rider/Doomfire Warlock kit could also be used in interesting ways: What about transforming those Dark Riders into slightly sinister Exodites? Their cowled heads could also be really useful for basically any pointy-eared army in both 40k and WFB. And those Doomfire Warlock bodies would be pretty cool as daemonhosts. Or they could be used as a way of kitbashing plastic Mandraks — just sayin’…

The chariot mostly seems interesting for its crew members: Those beastmasters would make great beastmasters (DUH!) in a Dark Eldar army, while the High Beastmaster would be an excellent base for an Archon or special character conversion. Some of the chariot bitz could also be used to decorate Dark Eldar vehicles (or to make Eldar tanks and jetbikes look suitably sinister in an allied detachment…).

And then, there’s the Fleetmaster: With the Dark Eldar styling themselves pirate kinds and sinister freebooters, he would make for a fantastic Archon to lead a pirate force. Or a corsair-styled Eldar army. Or you could use him as a counts as Duke Sliscus — he exudes just the right blend of menace and decadence for that role…

 

While this month’s part of the Dark Elf release seems slightly less exciting to me than last month’s kits, it’s still an impressive release. Last month, I asked myself whether this redesign was on par with the reinvention of the Dark Eldar in 2010. With two months’ worth of beautiful models now in our hands, I have to say that the completely revamped he Dark Elves are now one of the most stunning armies in WFB from a visual standpoint. If I were to return to WFB (not likely…), they would probably be one of my preferred army choices.

But even beyond the confines of WFB, the new kits should provide converters and kitbashers with some very interesting material. And I, for one, am very much looking forward to seeing all the brilliant Dark Eldar conversions that will come out of this release! Why is it that GW always seem to reserve their best work for evil, pointy elves, I wonder?

On a mostly unrelated note, isn’t it weird how much we’ve grown accustomed to a new army coming out every month? This release gives us a bunch of awesome new toys to play with, yet I cannot help feeling an – admittedly very faint – feeling of disappointment that this is “merely” a second wave of an army that was already released. So while so many hobbyists like to criticise GW for just about everything, the breakneck speed of quality releases is really astounding, and it’s almost shocking to see how quickly we have adapted to it…

 

But what do you think? Are you happy with the new Dark Elves? Have you already started an army of them, just to get your hands on these beautiful kits? Or do you think that they could have been even better? I’d be happy to hear your thoughts in the comments section!

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

Third time’s the charm

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 23, 2013 by krautscientist

Another week, and I am still happily slicing and shaving my way through the Centurion kit in an attempt to build a squad of three counts as Obliterators for my World Eaters. I do of course realise that you have been seeing quite a bit of this particular endeavour, but in all fairness, it has been a rather complex conversion project to pull off.

So, today I will show you a look at both the updated models you already know as well as the third and final member of my “Behemoths”

First up, I have finally managed to find a solution for the last thing I wanted to add to my Behemoth models: the clawed feet. After having experimented with numerous options to add some claws to the Centurion feet without having the whole thing end up looking ridiculous, I tried using the claws from Warp Talon feet. And while this element was mainly an attempt to make the models look less loyalist and more brutal, seeing how those talons make the feet look better proportioned as well for some reason really was a nice surprise! So it goes without saying that I picked up that element for the rest of the squad as well.

Here are the two models you already know, complete with clawed feet and all:

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These are pretty much 100% finished at this point, and I hope I’ll get around to painting one of them soon.

But, like I already said above, I couldn’t help myself and had to start working on the third model. Here are some WIP impressions:

Behemoths WIP (48)
The body came together fairly easily: The Centurions are a rather complex kit, but after putting together two or three of them, you basically know the drill — hence the title of this post! 😉 Once again, I added some additional armour plates and some sinister detail in order to make the model look like a member of the traitor legions.

I also added some chest-mounted plasma pistols at the suggestion of fellow hobbyist meade over at Dakka:

Behemoths WIP (49)
“Plasma nipples”, he called them. Some people… 😉

The next step was to sort out the arms, and I once again tried to use two different weapons in order to represent the Behemoth’s versatile armament:

Behemoths WIP (52)
A stock lascannon from the Centurion kit ended up on the left arm — and might have to be decorated with some suitably chaotic bitz. The right arm wields a Plasma cannon (converted from the Dark Vengeance Plasma gunner’s weapon and a couple of bitz).

Behemoths WIP (53)
Since the weapon couldn’t be made to use the same points of attachment as the stock Centurion weapons, I had to improvise slightly. This was also the one instance where I needed to build my own cabling instead of relying on the stock parts that came with the Centurions, and it was more work than it had any right to be. This is also why the cables turn into a horrible, spiky Talos spine somewhere along the way:

Behemoths WIP (54)

All in all, though, I am really rather happy with how these conversions have turned out: At long last, I have a squad of Obliterators that actually fits the overall theme of my army. That said, I really don’t see myself getting another box of these: The kit is great and building these models has been an interesting experience, but the Centurions as a kit are just slightly too complex for wanting to build lots and lots of them.

The next step, obviously, will be to paint up a first test model for the squad. I also really want to see one of these guys painted at last, so let’s hope I’ll be able to give you an update on the progress soon. Until then, you’re always welcome share any feedback or criticism you might have!

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

Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s Betrayer – a review of sorts

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Fluff, Pointless ramblings, Totally worth it, Uncategorized, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 16, 2013 by krautscientist

And now, as they say on Monty Python’s Flying Circus, for something completely different…

Today I’d like to talk about Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s novel Betrayer, which I finally managed to read this last weekend. Seeing how I am a really big fan of the World Eaters, you could certainly say that I took my sweet time for getting around to reading the book, right? Well, there’s a reason for that — several reasons in fact. Allow me to elaborate:

Betrayer_cover

For starters, I have to admit that I am not perfectly sure how to feel about the whole Horus Heresy business. And by that I don’t mean the actual (fictional) event, but the business part: It’s easy to see how the HH franchise has turned into a huge business opportunity for GW and its subsidiaries Black Library and Forgeworld: On the modelling and gaming side of the hobby, FW’s release of Horus Heresy themed models and rules has been a dream come true for countless hobbyists. And the accompanying series of tie-in fiction seems to have opened up the 40k (or rather, 30k) universe to a readership beyond the diehard fans, at least if the sales based awards heaped upon the series are to be believed.

Now everyone’s allowed to have their profit, of course, but you may agree with me when I say that the prospects of huge amounts of money to be made are never the best thing to boost narrative integrity: There are countless instances in literature, film and videogames where the monetary success of a franchise served to replace any semblance of telling a great story with what us mere mortals refer to milking the cow (well, I refer to it as that, anyway).  Therefore, I am reasonably sure that I am not going to burst your bubble when I state that a series of tie-in fiction might not be the perfect place to look for literary greatness. But even then, there’s actually decent storytelling and there is money grabbing. I also harbour the subtle fear that there might come a day when every single hour of every single day of the Horus Heresy is firmly documented within its own novel — just like each and every creature in the Mos Eisley cantina now has a rather detailed CV available in the Star Wars Expanded Universe (go ahead, do some research — I dare you!)

And, in all fairness, my first foray into the literary side of the Heresy (the short story collection “Tales of Heresy”) didn’t leave me exactly optimistic, since I found some of the stories to be pretty horrible, some merely tolerable (among them a Dan Abnett story, which was really a disappointment for me) and only two truly good: Graham McNeill’s haunting “The Last Church” and Matthew Farrer’s seminal “After Desh’ea” — the first story to ever make the World Eaters’ Primarch Angron actually read as an interesting character.

So it was with some trepidation that I approached the first real BL book to flesh out my favourite legion: I have gone on record stating that the prospect of new material for “my” legion always fills me with equal amounts of anticipation and dread: While I love to get more input on the World Eaters, the rather hamhanded current background for them leaves me wishing as often as not that GW would just leave them alone. So when I learned that Aaron Dembski-Bowden would be writing the novel, I wasn’t exactly sure how to feel about it: On the one hand, I would have perferred Mathew Farrer, the one guy so far who seemed to have understood the legion’s narrative potential, to get another shot at writing these guys. On the other hand, ADB’s credentials and the quotes he posted on his (higly recommended) blog made me cautiously optimistic. But I was still feeling a little scared — does that make sense? In all fairness, I also didn’t want to read the digital version, since I am a printed on paper kind of guy. Anyway, hence the delay.

 

Betrayer tells a surprisingly momentous tale (interesting for a series that often seems content to over-embroider minor plot points to the point of ridiculousness) that ends with what may truly be called a bang. Without spoiling the plot for you, let’s just say that the end of the model does have enormous ramifications for the future of the XIIth Astartes Legion. Before that, though, the World Eaters get lots and lots of opportunities of rampaging across Imperial worlds, among them the Ultramarines’ war world of Armatura and Nuceria, the Primarch Angron’s own homeworld.

For a book dealing with a legion that is mostly about frenzy and senseless butchery, the plot is also uncannily character and dialogue driven. It’s all for the best, though, because in my opinion, ADB is just very good at writing Space Marine characters: He manages to combine their supernatural powers and majesty with a believable amount of humanity and of course just the right blend of gravitas and theatrics. The interactions between the different Primarchs are just as good, with the fabled demigods truly feeling like a race apart but remaining relatable nevertheless. The Word Bearers’ primarch Lorgar stands out as a inscrutable character, sincere and utterly manipulative at the same time, impossible as that may seem.

The book’s greatest feat, however, is how it treats Angron. You should think that a guy who is “always angry all the time” and whose name is, for crying out loud, ANGRON would not exactly turn out to be a narrative goldmine, but Matthew Farrer already disproved that notion in “After Desh’ea”. I had hoped that ABD would take the look and feel of that story and run with it, and indeed he did: His Angron is a tragic, damned figure, scarred in body and soul and utterly beyond redemption. So far, nothing new.

But ABD’s characterisation truly excels at making Angron believable and, dare I say it, sympathetic in his background and his pain, while also making it clear that the Primarch is monstrous. It’s a very delicate balance to maintain, but it works: You cannot help feeling sorry for the broken Primarch, but you could also never really like him. He has the best possible reasons to be this way, but he is also irredeemable.

A similar high point, then, is the relationship between the Primarch and his gene-sons: There has been a discussion over at Throne of Skulls whether or not the World Eaters hate their Primarch, and I would argue that the truth of the matter, at least according to Betrayer, is far more ingenious and believable than that: It’s clear that the World Eaters are very aware that the Butcher’s Nails implants that they let themselves be outfitted with in order to feel true kinship with their Primarch have irrevocably damaged the legion: Kharn and several other characters show feelings of resentment and melancholia at the realisation that their legion can never be as inspirational or cultured as most of the other legions due to the bite of the nails. And who would be to blame for that other than Angron, right?

Yet at the same time, it’s obvious that the World Eaters take fierce pride in their brotherhood and martial honour. They have eagerly cobbled together their own warrior culture from the snippets of lore brought back by Angron and those traditions from their legionaries’ myriad homeworlds, and while they clearly acknowledge that it’s not a shining example of human endeavour, it’s the only kind of culture they have, so they cling to it fiercely. And this culture does of course encompasses Angron and his past at Nuceria.

Then there’s the fact that they do, in fact, feel pity for Angron — a notion that would probably send the Primarch flying into a rage, ironically enough. They share his feeling that he never had a chance to begin with, and what little glory was his to claim was taken away during the battle of Desh’ea.

And finally, even though Angron’s condition is perpetually deteriorating, there are moments of brotherhood and kinship between him an his sons: The book describes how he shares in his sons’ rituals and battles, how he drinks and laughs with them like few other Primarchs do, even though there is a gulf of conflicting emotions between them.

So what we have here is this hugely complex (and beautifully written) mix of resentment, love, hatred, disappointment and what have you. I think this is as true to life as fiction dealing with transhuman supersoldiers can possibly be, precisely because it echoes real life: You might feel resentment or embarrassment or even hatred for one of your close relatives, but they will always remain your family, and there’s no escaping that fact.

Below this main storyline, I also loved how ADB managed to partly flesh out the fleet and Titan legions — actually my least favourite parts of the whole background so far: By creating interesting and noble characters (like the Conqueror’s flag-captain Serrin or the Legio Audax personnel) and by injecting both organisations with a healthy dose of WWI air warfare chivalry (with officers complimenting their opponents on shrewd maneuvres and elegant tactics), he succeeds at actually giving the non-Astartes characters a voice of their own, without their parts of the novel ever feeling boring or unnecessary.

And for all those who are understandably sceptical of GW’s focus on Space Marines, feeling they are all just reskins of the same basic design template, it should be interesting to see how the author manages to give a different feel to the Legiones Astartes: From the fierce brotherhood (and battlefield frenzy) of the World Eaters to the priestly nobility (and insane zeal) of the Word Bearers, you get the impression that the Legiones Astartes are very different from each other indeed, if only written well. Even the Ultramarines, serving mainly to be beaten up very badly, get a few moments in the spotlight, and we are afforded glimpses at their warrior culture that make them look more interesting than they have any right to be (their battlefield commanders issuing orders in High Gothic is a great little touch).

In fact, ADB’s writing of characters always seems to be at its best where it deals with duality: Lorgar’s inscrutable motives, Angron’s position between a tragic hero and a monster, the legions’ duality or even the surprising depth of minor characters.

And, beyond all that, the book is of course a goldmine for little bitz and pieces of lore, from the World Eaters’ battle traditions and gladiatorial bouts to their affected bastard language of Nagrakali: These guys may fall to frenzy and bloodlust when on the battlefield, but for what may the first time ever, you can actually imagine them off the battlefield as well — no mean feat!

 

So, are there any negatives?

For one, this is, after all, only one book in a series. This means that most of the plot will only make sense to you if you do at least have an idea of the overarching narrative: If you’ve never heard about the Word Bearers’ machinations, about what happened on Calth or about the Thousand Sons’ being torn apart by the Space Wolves, you’ll be left scratching your head more than once. And even if you have a relatively good grasp of the bigger events, some references and allusions might still go over your head. That’s not really the author’s fault, though — if anything, I feel dread at the prospect of now having to read other HH novels written by less talented people…

Nevertheless, if you are simply looking for a great SciFi novel to pass the time, this might not be it: Too much stuff will be lost on you, and there are probably enough self-contained storylines of similar quality that are easier to get into. And it goes without saying that the book will prove utterly impenetrable to those without any knowledge of the attached GW universe.
If, however, you have a general idea of the overarching HH storyline – not necessarily from reading other HH novels, but from a mix of reading the different (Chaos) Space Marine codizes over the years and doing a bit of scrounging around for background at places like the Lexicanum or the Warhammer 40k Wiki – you’re good to go: That was my preparation going into this novel, and I belive it was enough.

For every World Eaters player, Betrayer is, of course, a must buy, for the amount of background lore alone. But there’s a great story beyond all that, and the book is truly great as tie-in fiction, and still very good on its own terms: I, for one, will probably pick up more of ABD’s novels (I am told his Night Lords stuff is the shitz) and look forward to his Black Legion series — or maybe some more World Eaters stuff?

 

But what does it all mean for Khorne’s Eternal Hunt? I’ll be honest with you: I did of course fear that parts (or most) of my own fluff would be ivalidated by this novel. But not only does ABD himself address the fact that several versions of events exist in the background (in a surprisingly clever throwaway scene), but he also succeeds at creating a canvas for your own fluff rather than enforcing his own view of things (as some authors have been known to do…). So while small readjustments to my own background may be in order, I relish the chance to make the 4th assault company even more interesting and colourful. In fact, there might be a separate post in that somewhere 😉

 

What about you, though: Have you read the book? How do you feel about it? And was this review helpful to you? Please feel free to share whatever thoughts you might have in the comments section!

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

P.S. Oh yeah, before I forget; In case you didn’t gather as much from my rambling above, this book is also totally worth it.

A heretical interlude…

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, old stuff, Pointless ramblings, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , on October 11, 2013 by krautscientist

After spending so much time on my converted Centurions/counts as Obliterators, I wanted to build something smaller and less involved for a change. So today’s post will deal with a model I completed just for fun and on the side. But why is that even interesting?

Well, you see, for this small gaiden project, I returned to an abandoned army project of mine: When I returned to the hobby in late 2010 after a longer hiatus, my original plan had been to use the (then) brand new Dark Eldar models to build some kick ass additions to the Dark Eldar army I built during the 90s. But then I found out that kitbashing Chaos Space Marines was simply more fun (at least for me). So I returned to the clutches of chaos and endeavoured to build a Word Bearers army, the Piercing Gaze Chapter. I had a fairly complete background in place, and so I began the project in the same way I always begin my projects: By building lots and lots of characters.

In this case, I built several Dark Apostles, because I really loved the idea of daemonic preachers leading a force of superhumans into battle. Among the several models I built during this time was also my model for Dark Apostle Gemnon, built, in fact, on Christmas Eve 2010:

Gemnon_old
One of the first models I built after my hobby hiatus, Gemnon was created by combining some leftover bitz from my first Khorne Berzerkers with some old WFB chaos parts and stuff from the brand new box of Chaos Space Marines cousin Andy had just given me as a christmas present back then. I didn’t even have a suitable head in my bitzbox to represent a Dark Apostle, so I went with a Tzeentchian head, which doesn’t really send the right message, visually. Still, I rather liked the model.

My Word Bearers army, however, didn’t quite get off the ground: Looking back now I can see that this was both due to a lack of suitable bitz (never start a Word Bearers project without lots and lots of books and purity seals) and a lack of vision: I thought the Word Bearers were cool, but I didn’t have an overarching theme in mind for the army, which proved to be my undoing in the end. So, long story short, I ended up playing around with my old World Eaters model which instantly reawakened my love for the followers of the Blood God. And what had originally been planned as a mere sub-faction in my Word Bearers project quickly took over, becoming my main army and the entity you might know as Khorne’s Eternal Hunt. And so on, and so forth — you know the rest…

Dark Apostle Gemnon and his buddies kept mouldering away in my cupboard of shame, and at some point there was even a small accident that broke the model apart at the hip. So he ended up spending his days in a miserable little pile of bitz on my desk.

But even while I am certainly not about to start a Word Bearers army, whenever my gaze returned to that pile of bitz, I felt that I owed this little guy another chance. So when I was looking for a small project to serve as a distraction between building all those lumbering Behemoths, I felt that Gemnon would have his day in the limelight. So I gathered a handful of bitz and got to work.

The Tzeentchian head needed to go, obviously, and I also wanted to reflect the fact that some pretty cool bitz have been released since I built the original model, so I needed to update the model a bit. And finally, I decided that, instead of yet another Dark Apostle, I would rebuild Gemnon as a Coryphaeus, a military commander of the Word Bearers Legion that serves as the Dark Apostle’s right hand man.

So after a bit of work, Gemnon was reborn as Coryphaeus of the Piercing Gaze Chapter:

Coryphaeus Gemnon (1)
Coryphaeus Gemnon (3)
It only took some additional bitz, really: The bare head from the WFB Warriors of Chaos is one of my favourite sculpts anyway, and it’s certainly perfect for a Word Bearer, bellowing dark catechisms at the top of his voice during battle. I also thought the power sword from the new Raptor kit made a pretty awesome weapon for a war captain, and while I was at it, I also replaced the original left hand and weapon for a plasma pistol from the same kit.

The (Night Goblin) emblem on the chest represents the symbol of the Piercing Gaze chapter, by the way, and would have been a recurring visual motif in my Word Bearers force.

Oh, and the ridiculously over the top backpack is a very conscious callback to the brilliant Wayne England artwork of yore: He would always portray his Chaos Space Marines with extremely ornate backpacks, so I wanted to approximate that look:

Coryphaeus Gemnon (4)
All in all, building this model was a fun little project, and it also put my guilty feelings regarding this character to rest. And who knows, maybe the Piercing Gaze Chapter under his Dark Apostle Belzas Azalon will yet make a triumphant return? It’s definitely not a priority at the moment, though.

Anyway, thanks for listening to my rambling! And let me know what you think in the comments section!

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

Coryphaeus Gemnon (2)

Another day, another Behemoth

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

I am still working on my Centurion-based Obliterators — in all fairness, I did warn you beforehand that this would likely turn out to be a rather extensive project 😉

The good news is that, after having figured out a basic recipe for turning the stock Centurions into suitable Obliterators, the second model went together quite a bit faster than the first: I already roughly knew beforehand which elements I was going to use to make the model look more chaotic, so assembling the legs and torso was reasonably easy work this time:

Behemoths WIP (33)
As you can see, I kept several of the elements that had worked on the test model, using the tried and tested bunny ears as well as the additional horn on the forehead. I also used some more armour plates cut from Ogre fists for a more archaic look, although I positioned them slightly differently this time around. The bandolier of skulls was replaced with a beastman trophy skull, and instead of a chain tabard I used a loincloth (again from the Chaos Lord in Terminator armour, though). Since this mode had a more dynamic pose, I tried to match the loincloth to the forwards movement of the legs.

I also stole Biohazard’s very cool idea for chest mounted flamers, even though it’s not all that easy to make out in the photograph above.

Here’s a photo of the model’s early build together with my first Behemoth:

Behemoths WIP (34)
Once again, the next step was to add the arms and weapons. My original plan was to arm the model with a Lascannon on the left and a heavy flamer on the right arm. A suitable lascannon came with the Centurion parts, so I was at liberty to spend more time kitbashing a custom heavy flamer from a siege drill housing and a Terminator heavy flamer:

Behemoths WIP (36)
This also made me realise that the siege drill housings can basically be turned into any weapon you desire by just adding some new barrels and some additional bits. At the very least, my flamer above (complete with added meltagun on top) turned out reasonably convincing, don’t you think?

Unfortunately, though, when added to the actual model, it ended up looking far too cumbersome, even for the impressive frame of a Centurion/Behemoth. We live and learn…

So a change of plans was in order: The Lascannon originally intended for the left arm was moved to the right instead, and the left arm received a converted assault cannon (built by combining a Centurion heavy bolter anda gun barrel from a Heldrake’s weapon, no less).

Here’s the model with both arms:

Behemoths WIP (42)
As a matter of fact, I am tempted to call the changed weapons a lucky coincidence, since the assault cannon really works rather well with the pose of the left arm. As you can see, I also added some more bitz (and the beastman skull received another horn; the mono-horn look was far too Slaaneshi for my taste). So while the model may still be a little rough around the edges, I am prepared to call the basic setup a success.

I also experimented with yet another Ogre fist from the Mournfang Cavalry kit:

Behemoths WIP (43)
I really like the result so far!

While I was at it, I also took another photo of the first test model:

Behemoths WIP (41)
With two of the conversions now mostly finished, I think these will make for rather convincing Obliterators: At the very least, they’ll be a much better match for the rest of my army than the fleshy, bloated stock models! And they do look pretty badass together!

Behemoths WIP (40)
Putting quite a bit of time into working with the Centurion kit has also had the nice side effect of discovering the great conversions done by other people! Though the Centurions don’t seem to be all that popular at the moment, people like Dave Taylor, migsula, Biohazard or candleshoes are really putting the kit through its moves! I did a more detailed writeup about the cool conversions I have discovered so far over on Dark Future Gaming, and you are very welcome to check it out, in case you are interested!

And of course, I am always interested in hearing your opinion, so let me know what you think of this newest WIP model!

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

A recipe for destruction…

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 4, 2013 by krautscientist

Even while I was spending time salivating over the new Dark Elves, work on my Centurion conversions continued unabated, of course. Since I last showed you my “Behemoth” test model last week, I undertook a continuous process of trial and error to figure out the best basic template for turning a Centurion into a counts as Obliterator for Khorne’s Eternal Hunt.

Just to remind you, here’s where we left off last time:

Behemoths WIP (14)
The ogre armour plates on the upper legs were a winner, so they stayed. But most of all, the time had come to build an actual left arm for the model. Since I wanted to represent the Obliterators’ ability of using different weapons each turn, I decided to give each of my Behemoths two main weapons. In this case, I chose a Multimelta to complement the Autocannon on the right arm. I also tried a number of additional bitz on the model in order to settle on a final look:

Behemoths WIP (16)
Behemoths WIP (17)
Behemoths WIP (18)
Behemoths WIP (19)
The multimelta was built by adding some melta barrels to one of the siege drill weapons from the kit. I also added a flamer in the intended spot, although that ended up looking slightly over the top… As you can see, I also experimented with some additional bitz: The marauder shield was replaced with a chain tabard, and a blade/horn from the Mournfang Cavalry was added to the model’s helmet — while I liked the look that resulted from that, the blade did seem a little clunky, though.

Here’s a comparison shot with one of my Terminators to show you how massive the Behemoth will be:

Behemoths WIP (20)

Some feedback over on Dakka and ToS helped me to further refine my recipe: Biohazard suggesed adding an additional armour plate on top of the chain tabard (which I did), and I also replaced the huge blade on the nose with a smaller horn:

Behemoths WIP (24)
I also added a trophy rack, which I am not really sure about: On the one hand, it makes the model look even more clunky, but on the other hand, if ever there was a squad of ponderous, clunky giants, it’s going to be this one, right?

In any case, and give or take a few bitz, I am fairly confident that I have managed to find the basic template for my Behemoths. Ladies and Gentlemen:

schematics_lores02
The Behemoth pattern heavy fire support suit

Even in an army as focused on combat at close quarters as the World Eaters‘ 4th assault company, there are those who hunt by different means. Those brothers of the company are called the Behemoths, and they are an enigma to even their brethren.

During the Great Crusade, the armies of the Legiones Astartes were faced with an ever increasing number of deadly adversaries. Often enough, wars were only to be won by attrition, and the head-on assaults led by the death seeking Primarch Angron were threatening to bleed the 12th Astartes legion dry before long. While Angron seemed oblivious or even indifferent towards such concerns, there were those among his officers who sought a more balanced kind of warfare, at least until the bite of their Butcher’s Nails consumed the remnants of their sanity.

It is said that, during this time, First Apothecary Fabrikus himself experimented on a number of battle brothers, trying to adapt their cranial implants to a different kind of fight. These warriors were outfitted with heavy combat suits, almost on par with the fabled Dreadnoughts. Their suits were equipped with a plethora of heavy weapons, and where the regular World Eaters would throw themselves at the enemy with wild abandon, the so-called Behemoth squads would hang back and lay down a barrage of heavy fire. For Fabrikus had changed the battle brothers’ minds yet again, hardwiring their implants to their weapons systems. The members of the Behemoth squads started to find grim joy in killing, just like the rest of their legion, but the greatest joy for them was to pick out enemies from afar, tearing through flesh and steel alike with bursts of laser fire and plasma, and seeing a red marker turning green in their targeting recticles.

The Behemoths remained a highly experimental unit that only saw limited use during the Crusade and subsequent Heresy: The weapons systems they were outfitted with proved too difficult to maintain during the arduous campaigns, and Angron would always favour a more hands-on approach. Only few of the valuable suits have endured over the millennia, and only those warbands of the XIIth Astartes legion who still count a Warpsmith or Dark Mechanicus ally among their numbers can hope to make any kind of use of this hallowed equipment. For most members of the World Eaters, the kind of warfare exemplified by the Behemoth squads remains forever beyond their reach, replaced by frenzy and costly head-on assaults. Yet within the ranks of the 4th assault company, some of the Behemoths have endured, and in Khorne’s Eternal Hunt, have become hunters in their own right.

These frightening giants still fill the role of heavy fire support, yet the long centuries and millennia have wrought havoc upon their minds: Growing ever more divorced from their humanity, Behemoths are more machine than man, gripped by a tranquil fury where their regular brethren are frenzied. They can only perceive life through their targeting systems, and each situation becomes an equation that can only be solved by heavy fire. They tend to see living beings as either targets or inconsequential elements, even referring to their battle brothers as “fleshkin”.

When away from the battlefield, the Behemoths are normally content to spent time in deep, deathlike sleep. They dream of worlds burning and planets shattering under a barrage of heavy fire, while the other members of the company take relief in the knowledge that their troubled brethren are not at large. Even in an army of frenzied killers, the Behemoths are perhaps the most inhuman of all, since for them life and death are the only variables at any given time, and death is always the preferable outcome…

 
So yeah, this will be my basic approach for the rest of the squad and the vibe I am going for. Here’s the basically finished test model for you:

Behemoths WIP (27)
Behemoths WIP (28)
Behemoths WIP (29)
Behemoths WIP (30)
After looking at Biohazard’s awesome Centurion conversion, my own model was extended slightly more at the waist, and I think the visible waist improves the overall proportions. I believe I won’t try to cram any more weapons onto the model, going with two main weapons for each member of the squad. Some chains and spikes may yet be added, and I’ll maybe rethink the use of the Marauder shield on the right hand: Another option would be to use some of the very cool Ogre fists that come with the Mournfang Cavalry:

Behemoths WIP (31)
Once again, the imagery of the Great Maw makes for very convincing World Eaters symbols, don’t you think? I only have very few of these, unfortunately, so I can only use them very sparingly.

I am also considering leaving off the hydraulic struts on the sides of the legs, because I really don’t like their look. The ones on back of the feet are great, though, because they look so similar to the Dreadknight (or, in my case, Wargrinder) legs. Oh, and on a related note, you should also check out Candleshoes’ “Contemptor Centurion” over at The Bolter and Chainsword: also a very awesome project, although it’s not the look I need for my own models.

In any case, I am looking forward to beginning work on the next model. The next Behemoth will be armed with an assault cannon and a heavy flamer, methinks. Or a Plasma cannnon? I’ll keep you posted 😉

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

Spiky pointy people – a look at the new Dark Elves

Posted in Conversions, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , on October 2, 2013 by krautscientist

Another month, another new release: This time, it’s the Dark Elves’ turn: The army reveives a complete design overhaul that rivals the redesign of their dark future counterpart, the Dark Eldar. So, once again, let’s take a look at this month’s release in order to figure out the good and the bad and to come up with some conversion ideas.

Dark Elves release (1)

You might be surprised to learn that I have always had a huge soft spot for the Dark Elves: Back in my WFB days (during the 90s), a box of metal Cold One Knights may actually have been the first GW models I ever purchased, and  I even bought the 4th edition army book and had some grand notion of building a Dark Elf army. Alas, the price of assembling such a force proved to be far too steep for my pocket money as a lad: Most models were also only available in metal. So, apart from a squad of Cold One Knights that I bought and painted piecemeal, and a small unit of plastic Dark Elf warriors, my plans of an army of Druchii never quite got off the ground: Instead, I turned to chaos, my one true tabletop love (and, coincidentally, the army with the most plastic kits available back then). But I still marveled at the background of the Dark Elves. But what did I find so interesting about them?

The Dark Elves are truly an evil race, no surprises there. But where chaos as a faction is evil in an archetypal, almost incomprehensible way, the Dark Elves have this strong leitmotif of fallen glory. Champions of chaos only follow their own ambition and the twisted reasons of their dark gods, but the Dark Elves believe that it is their birthright to rule, a birthright denied them by their High Elf kin. It’s great fun to imagine the courts of Naggaroth, rife with perverted beauty and intrigue, a society turning on itself in the desperate struggle to maintain their power and majesty. And it’s also very interesting to have a force that looks every bit as elegant and disciplined as a High Elf army, only with a more spiky and sinister design and some seriously disturbing, even monstrous additions.

So, how does this translate to the new release? Those familiar with the 4th edition army book will immediately notice that the new models were very much inspired by the Dark Elf designs of the early to mid 90s: They look less like Dark Eldar with medieval equipment and more like sinister reflections of High Elves. I think the overall visual direction for these models is a fantastic blend of nostalgia and modern design trappings. But before I get ahead of myself, let’s take a look at the different kits:

 

Cauldron of Blood/Bloodwrack Shrine

Dark Elves release (2)

Let’s begin with a huge kit, and arguably the visually most impressive addition to the Dark Eldar catalogue: The Cauldron of Blood shares quite a few design cues with the Vampire Counts Coven Throne, if you ask me, so if you didn’t like that one, it seems you’re pretty much out of luck. If, like me, you found the Coven Throne to be a fantastically over the top, beautifully eclectic piece, chancec are you’ll find a lot to like about this model as well!

Of course, you could always argue that there’s a slightly silly concept at the heart of it all, with the basic frame of the cauldron making it look like the Witch Elves are bringing along their own set of stairs for their special show act. But even a cynic interpretation like that would be strangely fitting for the Dark Elves for whom evil and style always go hand in hand, don’t you think?

My favourite part of the model has got to be the imposing and immensely spiky statue of Khaine towering above the cauldron. This statue turns the model into a great centre piece for any Dark Elf army, plus it should make for a brilliantly sinister (plastic!!!) Avatar of Khaine for all you (Dark) Eldar players out there. Some work on the pose would probably be required, but that’s half the fun, isn’t it?

Whether you intend to use the statue as a standalone model in your 40k force or in its original function, though, it’s a brilliant element.

I also quite like both the actual cauldron and the statue bearing it on its back:

Dark Elves release (3)

The kit comes with several Witch Elves, all of them in suitably theatrical poses:

Dark Elves release (4)
The Death Hag would also make a great character model (both for WFB and for 40k…):

Dark Elves release (6)

And finally, the model for Crone Hellebron is another high point. This bonny lass really exemplifies what Dark Elves have always been about for me: spiky bitz, theatrical poses and extremely huge hair:

Dark Elves release (5)

I do of course realise that this may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but I love the design. Again, used on her own, she could make a great character for a Dark Elf army, a great Dracon for Dark Eldar Kabal or even a Slaaneshi cult leader for INQ28.

In addition to all of this, there’s also the option of assembling the kit as a Bloodwrack Shrine, which gets rid of the Khaine statue and replaces it with a mirror, used to keep a particularly pissed off Bloodwrack Medusa in check:

Dark Elves release (7)
Some may feel that the inclusion of a Medusa comes a bit out of the left field, but strange, serpent-bodied creatures have been a part of Dark Elf iconograpgy at least since the 4th edition army book, so it all works out.

While the basic construction remains the same between both variants, some of the additional bitz are really cool. Granted, that mirror will be a hell of a chore to paint if you want to pull of a convincing effect and don’t work for the ‘Eavy Metal team 😉

Dark Elves release (8)
But from the beautifully decorated back of the mirror to the alternate face masks for the witch elves, there’s a lot of variety if you assemble the kit this way. The ornaments on the back of the mirror are also an excellent example of the Dark Elves sinister but stylish culture.

The star of the show should be the Bloodwrack Medusa, of course, so let’s take a closer look at her:

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I love the pose! And this girl should be a real looker on the table, both if you use it as part of the shrine or as a standalone model. My favourite part has to be the clawed gauntlet:

Dark Elves release (10)

The face is a bit of a letdown, though: I would have loved the snake hair to billow around the face more, for one, and that facial expression makes her look like a dumbstruck idiot. I know GW can pull of much better female faces (as is evident with several models in this very release), so this one is a bit of a bummer. On a more positive notice, for all those who have been lamenting the decrease in bare breasts over the last years: Seems like you at least get one uncovered boob out of this kit. Yay! 😉

One last though: Wouldn’t the Bloodwrack Medusa be an interesting option for a plastic Fulgrim conversion? Just sayin’…

 

War Hydra/Kharybdiss

Dark Elves release (11)

Okay, I’ll be honest with you: The War Hydra is the absolute low point of this release for me: The pose seems slightly awkward (what on earth is happening with those hind legs?) and the heads are just plain terrible. It boggles the mind how GW’s designers have gone through three different versions of this creature without ever coming up with a cool looking model. And seeing the awesome monsters Trish Camden is designing for Forgeworld, it’s hard to come to grips with the silliness of this model.

In all fairness, one of the different paintjobs showcased in this month’s WD has the model look slightly less horrible, but there’s really no way of seeing beyond those silly snake heads… Anyway, I just want to put you through anymore of my ranting: The Hydra is my least favourite model coming from this month’s release, period.

That being said, the kit has another option, however: It can also be used to build the sea-dwelling Kharybdiss:

Dark Elves release (12)
Let’s just ignore the fact that the whole sea-dwelling thing doesn’t seem to make too much sense, given the fact that this monster will only ever be used on land in Dark Elf armies. And, to get this out of the way as well:  I may not be huge on classical education, but that particular spelling of Charybdis made me die a little inside. Plus did you guys do realise that the original Charybdis wasn’t a monster but a whirlpool, right? Scylla’s the one you want for the monster, people.

That aside, the Kharybdiss variant of assembling the kit does, strangely enough, solve much of what seems wrong about the hydra: The different heads make the creature look completely alien. And since you’re hard pressed to tell what this thing is supposed to be in the first place, the pose doesn’t really matter that much. Strange, I know, but for the, those heads make the model much better, precisely because they are so strange. The one thing I’m not keen on is that growth on the tip of the tail, but that should be easy enough to replace.

So, for me at least, the Kharybdiss is the definite way to go with this kit. It’s just strange enough to work, while the hydra is just silly.

Oh, and let’s not forget the beastmasters: On the one hand, both models are sporting what may be my least favourite elven hairstyle. Still, it’s nice that they got their own, distinct look, with clothes made from tanned monster hide and all.

A final thought: Maybe those Hydra heads could at least be used as Alpha Legion ornaments? I don’t know…

 

Dreadspears/Darkshards/Bleakswords

Dark Elves release (13)

Phew, they really know how to motivate the Naggaroth citizens to join the Dark Elf armed forces with those unit names alone, don’t they?
Anyway, these will bascially be the main troops for any Dark Elf army, so it’s clear that this is a pretty important kit.

And GW has really managed to deliver with these: From a visual standpoint, the models  are a definite callback to the older metal warriors, and for me at least, they are everything you could ask of Dark Elf soldiers: They are clearly identifiable as evil, pointy gitz, yet they retain the discipline and sinister elegance that defines the elves.

The one problem I have with these is that, from a converter’s point of view, you lose a lot of flexibility with this kit: All the bodies and heads are single piece, with only the hands and some doodads left as separate bitz. That means they don’t exactly lend themselves all that well to expansive conversions.

In all fairness, though, players will probably need a lot of these guys, so flexibility in posing them is really less important than ease of assembly (and the ability to rank them up without a hitch). And it’s great that they have all the equipment options in the box this time around, giving you three possible regiment types:

Dark Elves release (14)

And while I certainly don’t hate the older plastic warriors – they were pretty cool for their time – it’s good that the new warriors’ proportions are now finally in tune with the Black Ark Corsairs and Cold One Knights (although those hands still seem to be a bit on the big side, if you ask me…).

One small thing that bugs me, though: Why is it that helmetless Dark Elves always have to default back to one of two pretty horrible hairstyles?

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However, all in all, these are just what you would ask of your most important troop choice. Good job all around, GW!

 

Witch Elves/Sisters of Slaughter

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While the Dreadspears were the obligatory part, these girls are the freestyle performance, so to speak. And they are definitely the stars of the show for me for a number of reasons, but we’ll be getting to that in a minute.

First of all , these are also very much a callback to the 90s’ metal Witch Elves — the colour of the hair in the official ‘Eavy Metal paintjobs couldn’t be any more telling… The fact that these are plastic now means we get some much cooler poses, and these ladies really excel at dynamism!

And to address the elephant in the room: Yes, these models are clearly on the more stripperific side, but GW at least clearly resisted the temptation of making them too busty.  And in contrast with some of the recent High Elves (yes, I am looking at you, Sisters of Avelorn!), at least these gals really look feminine enough to actually pass for females!

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The alternate option for the kit is to assemble some Sisters of Slaughter, and this is where things really gets interesting:

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With their sinister facemasks and whips made from hair, these models are quite different from the Witch Elves while using the same bodies and poses. They would also make for excellent Wyches, Death Cultists or, indeed, Slaaneshi cultists, if you ask me. Or you could even kitbash them with some Daemonettes for very interesting results…

The one little thing I really don’t like about the kit is the awkward pose of the musician:

Dark Elves release (21)

Seems like she has to coordinate some rather complex actions there…

Apart from this one small gripe, this is clearly my favourite part of this release, and as soon as I had seen this kit, I was pretty sure that I would pick up one just for the heck of it.

And then I saw the price tag.

Wow. Just wow. 45 Euros for ten of those? No matter how many bitz you get, that is a bit of a ripoff. Sure, I can see how one of the big kits would cost that much. But ten – rather small – infantry models? I don’t want to keep ranting about GW’s prices, believe me, but it’s really a shame they took what is probably the most interesting kit of this whole release and priced it like that. I mean, that’s almost a hundred Euros for a decent sized regiment of these girls. And even for a huge plastic crack enthusiast such as myself, that seems a bit much…

 

Shadowblade

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And finally, the one new character so far — and the model’s plastic — yay! The standout parts of the model are the highly dynamic pose and the impressive cape flowing behind it. This last part is very obviously GD painter bait, if you ask me…
What’s really cool is that the way Shadowblade is posed on his base means that you’ll be able to almost pose him above his designated target — only a fun little detail, of course, but I still like it. My main gripe with the model is that it seems little devoid of personality, although I guess that is pretty much the whole point of the exercise in this case.

Let me also say that Dark Eldar players could be looking at a pretty cool base model for a counts as Kheradruakh here…

 

Conversion potential

Another thing this release excels at is the amount of conversion potential it brings:

First up, most of the new stuff will prove immensely useful to Dark Eldar players, obviously. The Death Hag or Crone Hellebron would make for awesome female Dark Eldar commanders. The Witch Elves are brilliant alternate Wyches. And the Sisters of Slaughter would be a very interesting and equally sinister way of representing Wyches in a Haemonculi Coven themed army. But all of this seems pretty obvious.

An even more interesting option would be to use parts from the Dreadspears and/or Witch Elves to build more sinister Eldar Guardians, either for use in an Ulthwé army, or in a mixed force of allied Eldar an Dark Eldar. And, like I said earlier, that Khaine statue would make for a fantastic, if sinister, Avatar.

All in all, for fans of the pointy eared armies, the options for creative kitbashing are really endless here.

But worshippers of chaos should also find a lot to like about this release: Many of the models would look great in a WFB or 40k army dedicated to Slaanesh: From the serpentine Bloodwrack Medusa to the daemon masked Sisters of Slaughter, there are all kinds of options (with the one for alternate cultists maybe the most interesting, if also most expensive one).

And finally, INQ28 aficionados should also take a close look at this release: They’ll find ample material for several varieties of cultists and some of the best female GW models to date — always a challenge for every fan of Inquisitor played at the 28mm scale!

 

As you will have gleaned from my enthusiasm for the models so far, I think that this is a very strong release with only very minor design slipups. My main point of contention isn’t even the horrible War Hydra model, but rather the pricing on the Witch Elves — it doesn’t even seem to fit the rest of the model range at all. Apart from that, though, it’s plain to see that the GW designers have poured lots of attention into this complete redesign.

So, the final question remains: Is this a redesign on par with the fabled 2010 relaunch of the Dark Eldar? It seems official now that the new Dark Elves will be released in two waves, and with leaked pictures of the next slew of kits already making their rounds all over the internet, I think it’s fair to say that, yes, this is a redesign every bit as involved as that of the Dark Eldar. I, for one, am very much looking forward to next month already! Will I begin a Dark Elf army now? No, I do have that much impulse control at least. But my dark and forbidden love for the Druchii will fester, and who can say what will happen?

 

So much for my take on the new models, but what do you think? Do you like the new designs as much as I do? Are you already contemplating all kinds of crazy conversions? Or do you feel completely differently about this release? I would love to hear from you in the comments!

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