Archive for December, 2013

The 2013 Eternal Hunts Awards, pt. 2: The Hobbyists

Posted in 40k, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , on December 31, 2013 by krautscientist

Awards

Here we are back again with the second part of the 2013 Eternal Hunt Awards. This time, let’s take a look at the hobbyists.

 

Hobby blog of the year

 

1st place: Officio Convertorum

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Though a fairly recent addition to the blogosphere, Jeff Vader’s Officio Convertorum has nevertheless managed to shoot straight to the top. There’s more than enough reason for that, though, since during his first year of blogging, Jeff has barraged us with a relentless stream of excellent kitbashing, fantastic painting and very interesting background: The guy even managed to create a plausible and interesting fifth Chaos God, for crying out loud!

So a clear winner this year. Check out Jeff’s fantastic blog and prepare to be amazed!

 

2nd place: Gardens of Hecate

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Every once in a while, even in a hobby as multifaceted as ours, we may have the chance of stumbling upon something truly different and original. And the most original blog of 2013, at least in my book, has to be Gardens of Hecate. Strictly speaking, it deals with Malifaux, chronicling Ana Polanscak’s work on a fully customised warband, complete with accompanying scenery, markers, tokens and what have you. While that may seem like a daunting enough job, however, putting things so simply would entirely miss the point of why the blog is so great: Ana not only shows highly inspired kitbashes and conversions, ending up with models that may use GW bitz for ingredients, but end up looking very distinct and original; Gardens of Hecate is also an exploration of medieval imagery with a slightly apocalyptic bend. It’s hard to put into words, although the closest possible description would be that those models look like what Hieronymus Bosch would be up to today, if he were alive and into tabletop gaming.

Trying to describe it doesn’t do it justice, though: You’ll have to take a look for yourself. Like me, you’ll probably come away from it with the impression that this is an extraordinary source of inspiration, and that there’s really nothing quite like it.

 

3rd place: Opus Maius

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Now you see it, now you don’t: As of this writing, Opus Maius is not accessible. This is due to the fact that Neil101 likes to take the blog offline every now and then, presumably to force himself to do more actual hobby work instead of just blogging about it. Whenever Opus Maius does return, though, fading in and out of realspace like a  Space Hulk, the blog manages to find a very distinct voice and never ceases to inspire: You see, Neil is the genius behind hobby projects like the fabled Arrke game board, and while showcases of his work are certainly one great part of the blog, his writeups of the games taking place in this strange and demented world are just as impressive and inspiring. So keep your eyes peeled for whenever Opus Maius returns from the Empyrean, because you can be sure we’ll be in for a treat!

 

Hobbyist of the year

Like last year, this is a tough call to make. But then, there are those hobbyists who manage to make the hobby into something special not only for themselves, but for others as well. And the three people on my personal awards list this year certainly managed that admirably. Here they are:

 

1st place: PDH
Those who have had any form of contact with Peter know that he’s not only a highly talented converter and painter in his own right, but also a tremendously nice guy. Both should be enough to win him any price, certainly, but he landed at the top of this list for another reason:

in 2013, Peter was the guy to make wonderful things happen: He came up with the utterly brilliant “Secret Yggdrassillium Pilgrimage”, involving hobbyists from several different countries and making the day truly special for his fellow players, among them John Blanche. He helped Commissar Molotov with this year’s Inqvitational and took a big stake in the INQ28 community. He sent me bitz, got me involved in fantastic hobby projects and offered supremely helpful criticism and feeback whenever I asked him. Here’s to you, Peter! A first place well earned!

 

2nd place: Jeff Vader (of Officio Convertorum)
Jeff is certainly winning big in this year’s Eternal Hunts Awards, but to be fair, his contribution to the hobby was simply amazing: His Inquisitorial models sent the INQ28 boards abuzz, his blogs is a daily must-read for me, he invented a new chaos god. And he produced pieces that make me want to push the envelope on my own hobby projects. So thanks, Jeff, for the boundless inspiration you provided in 2013! And I really hate you for being such a fantastic painter, you know?

 

3rd place: Natfka (of Faeit 212)
I suppose you all know Faeit 212 as the go-to site when it comes to tabletop rumours. I also suppose you all go there for your daily hit of rumours and leaks — and if you don’t, well, you definitely should: It’s an enormously helpful and interesting site, but this last year has made me realise it might actually be run by one of the nicest guys imaginable: Even while Blogger took Faeit 212 down due to a copyrights claim on GW’s part, even while having to deal with the fallout from that and trying his best to keep the project alive, Natfka never got angry but always stayed productive, positive and eminently likeable. That mindset also clearly comes across in his posts: Natfka doesn’t like to bicker, he likes to see the positives, the potential. Does that make him a fanboy? No, certainly not. It makes him someone whose site  always like to visit and whose tireless service to the community I find admirable. My hat’s off to you, sir!

 

Best models of the year:

There were so many amazing models this year that pointing out favourites at all seems pretty unfair. Still, some pieces were so astounding and inspiring that I want to share them with you — in no particular order, mind you, because I really couldn’t be expected to choose any one of these over another. So here are my favourite models of 2013:

 

Decimator conversion by Chris Harman

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While many models I see online make me want to borrow ideas and replicate effects I like, it is not often that a conversion has me run out to grab the models to attempt the same thing near instantly. Chris Harman’s excellent Decimator, kitbashed mainly from a GK Nemesis Dreadknight, was the exception to the rule, though, and possibly the single most inspirational piece I saw this year.

People had attempted making the Dreadknight into a chaos walker before, but Chris’ model was really the first one that really worked for me — which is why I shamelessly pilfered the idea and built my own Wargrinder in a fairly similar pattern: It turns out imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, after all…

My only gripe with this model is that, unfortunately, so far there are only tantalising glimpses at a partly painted model:

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But what we can see so far gives rise to the hope that the finished piece will be just as amazing as the conversion. Fantastic job, Chris!

 

Bull God by TJ Atwell

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TJ Atwell, of Dark Future Games, is certainly no stranger to amazing conversions. And it seems like he’s on a roll with a recent army project of his, the “Army of the Apocalypse”, a combined force of Necrons and Daemons. Sound whacky? Well, trust TJ to prove that the ally rules can be used to come up with fantastic and original army concepts: He’s been cranking out brilliantly disturbing daemon engines like crazy for these last months, one of them cooler than the next!

The one to rule them all, though, is TJ’s fantastic Bull God, to be used as a Daemon Prince, Maulerfiend or Greater Daemon. The whole conversion is so flawless that I wish I had come up with something like that. And the paintjob is equally impressive, combining TJ’s highly effective recipe for distressed flesh with bright yellows and blues (recurring spot colours in this particular army). Simply a marvelous piece!

 

Questing Knight by Jeff Vader

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It seems like all INQ28 aficionados are drawn towards building true scale marines at one point, and Jeff Vader is no exception. While many of those models don’t end up all that impressive, though, Jeff’s Questing Knight is an astonishing model: Like all of Jeff’s models, this is a delicious kitbash (making exceptionally great use of what may just be the coolest Space Marine head ever), and the lush paintjob shows off some of the hallmarks of Jeff’s work: the gritty realism evident in the paintjob itself, the amazing freehand symbols and patterns and the highly expressive face. Job’s a good ‘un, Jeff!

Take a closer look at the model here.

 

Arco Evisorators by Kari Hernesniemi

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Kari’s Stryderre was already my personal star of the show at the “Secret Yggdrassillium Pilgrimage”, so I was really happy to see him build yet more of these disturbing, emaciated killers. He has since spun off the concept into a whole warband of so-called Arco Evisorators, and each of the models is a treat! Case in point, it’s certainly an honour to be commissioned by no other than John Blanche himself to build a warband of these brilliantly horrible guys, but in Kari’s case, the honour is well-deserved! Discover all of the models here.

Another glimpse at the Arco Evisorators in action. The sinister lady in the background is a converted Femme Militant model by John Blanche.

Another glimpse at the Arco Evisorators in action. The sinister lady in the background is a converted Femme Militant model by John Blanche.

 

Honorary mention for best effect on a model: Ms. Binky by Rednekkboss

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One of the most disappointing moments in our hobby is when a finished model (or an effect we were really trying to get right) doesn’t work out. And one of the things that I’ve witnessed going wrong more often than not over the years was people painting huge eyeballs on some of their models. So for all those who have struggled to get it right, prepare to be amazed by Rednekkboss’s model for Ms. Binky, a daemon engine that is equal parts disgusting and adorable. The huge eyeball which makes up the main point of focus for the model could have gone so very horribly wrong. But Rednekkboss really, really nailed it:

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How can something be so cute and so disgusting at the same time, I ask you?
The astonishing step by step documentation to the effect can be found here.

 

Best armies/warbands of the year

And where there are single models, there are also armies and warbands. Again, I witnessed too many great hobby projects to count this year, but some just take the cake. Let me share my favourites with you:

1st place: Brother Heinrich’s Night Lords

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I cannot possibly say enough good things about Brother Heinrich’s Night Lords 15th company: It’s a fantastic hobby project, above all else. The fluff accompanying the models is equally impressive. But maybe my favourite thing about the army is how much thought is given to each and every model, making it seem like these guys are really veterans of the Long War. Brother Heinrich’s work has made me think about building Chaos Space Marine armies in a new way while also featuring some of the snazziest conversions around. It’s a beautiful army, and like I told you recently, I myself make an appearance as well 😉

So if you’re one of the few people reading this blog who have not yet checked out Brother Heinrich’s brilliant NL army, do yourself a favour and go take a look.

 

2nd place: migsula’s Legion army

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A true labour of love, this one: Migs has been hard at work on this army for quite a while now, and it shows: Each model has been expertly customised and converted, the narrative oozes from every pore of this hobby endeavour. Then there’s the fact that the entire army was painted to look like it was operating under a pale moon, which is an astonishing feat in itself. And lastly, you really get three armies for one here: Is it a Grey Knights army? Or an IG army (with some Inquisition sprinkled on top)? Or indeed a Chaos Space Marine army, given the fact that these guys are all Alpha Legion Operatives (and let’s not even get into the AL’s true loyalties…)? As you can see, the narrative comes creeping in, even when you simply want to decide what kind of army this is in the first place. Astounding work, migs!

Discover the army here.

 

3rd place: Dave Taylor’s Adeptus Mechanicus army

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The Adeptus Mechanicus has always been a fascinating, if disturbing, part of 40k lore for me. And rarely has it been captured so well as in Dave Taylor’s AdMech army. We all know that Dave is an expert at building characterful armies, of course, but even so, this one’s special. Words really don’t do it justice…

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…so you had best take a look at the project here.

 

Honorary mention: Inquisitor Klein and retinue by Drone 21c

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INQ28 has become really popular during this last year, and rightly so. And while the increase in interest has also lead to an increase in awesome warbands and retinues, every now and then there’s something even cooler than the rest. Drone 21c’s retinue for Inquisitor Klein is such a case: It may just be the perfect blend of modern painting techniques and retro flourishes from the good old days of Rogue Trader and 2nd edition. The retinue also works as a perfect embodiment of the eclectic styles and cultures prevalent in the 40k universe, evident in the uniforms and outfits alone. Plus those models simply look so lush in that photo that you’d like to eat them! Check them out here.

 

So, with this deluge of fantastic hobby inspiration, I think it’s the perfect moment to wish you all a happy new year! Keep your eyes peeled for the third and final installment of the 2013 Eternal Hunt Awards, where I’ll be speaking about my own hobby year. And, of course, let me hear your feedback in the comments!

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

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The 2013 Eternal Hunts Awards, pt. 1: The Industry

Posted in 40k, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , on December 28, 2013 by krautscientist

Awards

Hey everyone, update time 😉

While the first week of my longer vacation was mainly spent sleeping, eating and playing up all the videogames I didn’t have time for during those last  stressful weeks and months, I do of course hope that you all had a very merry Christmas! Now with the end of the year fast approaching, it’s time again for a retrospective on the releases, hobby developments and outstanding hobby achievements of this past year. So I welcome you to the second annual Eternal Hunt Awards!

Let’s kick it off with a look at the industry. Let me tell you what I did and didn’t like this year, and for what reasons:

Best release of 2013:

1st place: Khorne Lord of Skulls

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Now I do of course realise that this may be a controversial choice, but the longer I thought about it, the clearer it became to me that this model deserves the top spot in my personal list. Is it because I am a huge Khorne fanboy? That’s certainly a part of it, yes. But there’s more: For one, I can still recall the moment I first laid eyes on this model when pictures were leaked over on Dakka. I actually sat there with my mouth open for a while, and that doesn’t happen all that often. I was stunned — and not the bad kind of stunned where you’re just preparing to emit and earth-shattering groan.

While tons and tons of scorn may have been heaped upon this model online, I love it, pure and simple. It embodies the kind of models we dreamed of during our childhood and teenage years, but that could never have been possibly produced. Heck, GW even had to introduce a dedicated scale – Epic 40,000 – to feature battles between models at that scale. And looking back on those models now, we would never have guessed that it would one day be possible to add huge walkers, tanks and all kinds of superheavies to our forces at 28mm. Then Forgeworld came, and provided you were willing (and able) to sell a kidney, you could use Titans and Greater Daemons that really deserved the name. And then, a relatively short time ago, GW proper actually started to produce plastic kits at that scale. And here we are now, with a kind of model we could only imagine in our wildest dreams when we were children, available in glorious plastic. GW have taken my childish dreams and given them form. Is the resulting model realistic? Certainly not. Is it too OTT and corny? Quite possibly. But face it, guys and girls, this hobby of ours is certainly not the most grown up pasttime in the first place.

So while it may be a corny, ridiculous model in certain respects, and while I am not even sure I like the fact that the game has to get bigger all the time to accomodate stuff like this (more on that below), and while I am pretty sure that I’ll never get one for myself, there was one perfect moment in 2013 when my mouth hung agape in amazement at the coolness of a model. And if that model doesn’t deserve the top spot on this list, then nothing does.

Read my detailed opinion of the model here.

2nd place: Dreamforge Games releases

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Mark Mondragon certainly deserves a place high on his list for his amazing models. Be it the amazing Eisenkern Stormtroopers pictured above or the two variants of huge walker, the Leviathan Crusader and Leviathan Mortis, these models are certainly giving GW a run for their money. The Stormtroopers may be slightly more futuristic than 40k players are used to, but they have that retro, faux-WWI/II aesthetic I enjoyed so much about the old Warzone models, and that alone was reason enough to pick them up. The sprues abound with extra bitz and conversion options, and I am more than a little ashamed to say that I have yet to complete my first test models — it’s certainly not due to any lack of quality!

The walkers are equally impressive, with lots and lots of options for customisation, and they even come in “good” and “evil” flavour, for those of us wanting to induct them into their 40k forces:

Leviathan Crusader by  Dreamforge Games

Leviathan Crusader by Dreamforge Games

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Leviathan Mortis by Dreamforge Games

Dreamforge Games‘ releases deserve this spot on the list for another reason, though, even if the quality of the models would normally already be enough: These kits were made possible by a Kickstarter that spectacularly exceeded its original goal. It is only the one Kickstarter I have ever backed so far. And my first experience with this medium could not have any better: Mark Mondragon worked tirelessly to let the backers know which decisions had been taken and why and how far the products were along. He posted regular updates and went out of his way to accomodate backers’ wishes, even squeezing some additional bitz onto the sprues when it turned out there was some capacity left. If GW ever want to improve their communications with their customers, they could certainly do worse than take a look at how Mark approached these things.

So head over to Dreamforge Games’ website and check out their models. Chances are, you’ll be amazed — just as I was.

3rd place: Redesigned Dark Elves

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GW’s designers always seem to be at their best when designing spointy, evil, elf people. Another case in point: This year’s complete revamp of the Dark Elves. And they are glorious! The redesign certainly puts them on par with their 40k cousins, the Dark Eldar, and that alone is no mean feat! Will I get a Dark Elf army and return to the Old World? No, certainly not. But just looking at these new kits already provides enough eye candy to tide me over until the next amazing chaos release…

Read my two-part review here and here.

Honorary mention: Betrayer

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World Eaters players had precious little to go on when it came to their legion’s background and identity. The Horus Heresy releases from FW and Black Library did alleviate that problem, especially with the excellent short story “After Desh’ea” by Matthew Farrer. But the one book to really flesh out the legion was Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s Betrayer, and I cannot recomment it highly enough. Read my review here, in case you are interested.

II. Worst release/biggest disappointment of 2013

Well, good news first: As far as I am concerned, when it comes to the models GW have released this year, there really haven’t been all that many slipups from a design perspective. Sure, a couple of models were hit or miss, like some designs for the new WoC models, while others were just downright awkward (yes, I am looking at you, Loremaster of Hoeth). But all in all, not only did GW manage to keep up a relentless pace with their release schedule, the overall quality of the different releases also ranged from solid (High Elves) to mostly really cool (Space Marines) and even to  outstanding (Dark Elves). So instead of focusing on particularly bad models, of which there were precious few, let me instead address my biggest disappointments:

No Inquisitor-based Skirmish game

Well, it was certainly to good to be true: For quite a while there, the forums and rumour sites were awash with whisperings of an Inquisition-themed skirmish game at the 28mm scale. A codified version of INQ28/Inquisimunda, if you will. Unfortunately, nothing came of it. The good new, obviously, is that we still do have INQ28, Inquisimunda and the original 54mm Inquisitor, so the lack of new rules certainly doesn’t hurt all that much. Still, seeing the Inquisition being given the Dark Vengeance or Space Hulk treatment, complete with a unique collection of delicious plastic models would have been totally awesome – oh well, one can always dream…

Inquisition Codex

Instead of a skirmish game, we did get a digital codex to better use and represent the forces of the Inquisition in games of 40k. While the idea itself is great (and hints at the more obscure factions of the Inquisition in the new codex are a nice bit of fanservice), the overall book seems to be a rather slipshod effort, by the look of it. Which could become a problem if this digital release were to be used by GW to gauge the interest in the Inquisition: This codex could have been a great way of getting people who mainly focus on INQ28 these days “reacquainted” with 40k proper. That doesn’t really seem to have worked all that well, though. And if the codex leaves most of the people interested in the Inquisition cold, what hope is there of future Inquisition releases? Seems like a bit of a vicious cycle…

No love for the sisters

The Sisters of Battle, or Adepta Sororitas of late (can anybody explain to me why it’s not “Adeptus Sororitas”, like in the German version btw? Surely the fact that it’s composed of women doesn’t make the order itself feminine…), also got the short stick — again. Sure, waiting for plastic sisters seems a bit of a running gag at this point, but still…

I realise that all three things on this list effectively tie back into the same problem: GW just cannot seem their act together when it comes to the various factions of the Inquisition, their military arms and supporting organisations. Which is really mind-boggling, if you ask me, because they already really nailed it before. Twice.

The various Ordos of the Inquisition as well as the Adepta Sororitas are easily among the 40k universe’s most iconic and recognisable features, yet they somehow seem to mess up whenever they get near one of these factions. It’s just a crying shame…

Honorary mention: Azhog

On second thought, there was one model that really, really disappointed me:

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Azhog was the star of the first Hobbit film for me. His hulking, malicious presence provided an excellent villain, even though he certainly isn’t the most well-rounded of characters. Then GW dropped the ball (or were possibly forced to drop the ball, due to some NDA nonsense) by not releasing an appropriate model for ages. And when the model finally was released, it somehow ended up far less impressive than I would have liked. I couldn’t even tell you precisely what’s wrong with the model, since it seems like a fairly accuate representation of the character design. But it doesn’t feel like that hulking, malicious brute I remember from the film.

III. Still on the fence about…

  • Digital supplements and codex releases: Maybe this is just me. Maybe I just like paper too much. But I have yet to decide what I think about all those digital releases. It’s complicated too: On the one hand, releasing digital supplements seems like an awesome way of not only keeping the codices and rulebooks updated but also of introducing new models and squads. And they even bring back some of that “Chapter Approved” flavour, with alternative army lists and scenarios. I am even okay with the fact that they all cost money — I’d rather pay for something than never get it at all. But like I said, I like books on paper. A lot. And it somehow seems wrong that the (more expensive) book becomes the lesser product. And some of those smaller supplements and background pieces do seem a little…unconventionally priced, if you ask me. All in all, it still seems like a bit of a two-edged sword at this point: If GW manage to use this additional channel of publication to release meaningful content and test the waters for future releases, that’s great. If they just wanted to find a way to introduce micropayments into the world of tabletop wargaming, that sucks. Big time. But like I said, maybe it’s just me…
  • 40k plastic clamshell characters: Last year, one of my favourite releases were GW’s plastic characters for WFB, released in a clamshell. And I wished for GW to introduce similar models for 40k, which they did. One year later, I have to say that I appreciate the effort! And some of those characters, like the Space Marine Librarian, are really awesome. But I don’t see why all of the 40k characters have to be more expensive than their WFB counterparts. Nice try, GW, but not quite there yet… 😉
  • The scale creep: Well, I’ve said it before: The fact that the games (and models) keep getting bigger and bigger all the time seems slightly discouraging to me, because it really runs counter to the idea of customising and individualising each of your models: With infantry squads only cannon fodder and superheavies the true stars of the show, the game somehow becomes less interesting for me. But this is strictly a personal preference, of course…

 

IV. Also pretty cool:

  • The Horus Heresy: I said last year that I am not perfectly sure whether or not to like FW’s focus on the Horus Heresy, and that still holds true — which has nothing to do with the – mostly excellent – models so far, but rather with the fear of a Star Wars-like state of affairs, where every minute of the Heresy will be accounted for at some point. My philosophical musings aside, though, the one thing I love unconditionally about the setting is how it has given rise to a couple of amazing and astonishing hobby projects that take a look at this very different period of Imperial history — just check out projects like Pooms’ Pre Heresy World Eaters , Agnostos Theos’ force from the same Legion or my favourite HH thread at the moment,  and you’ll see that there’s lots and lots of inspiration to be had, even if you have no plans of starting your own HH army.
  • The new White Dwarf: I’m going to go out on a limb here and confess I really like the “new” White Dwarf. By now, the novelty has worn off, and the shape of the mag has congealed into something more solid, and I have to tell you I like what I see. Sure, we can always go back and compare today’s WD with the 90s’ version. But if we judge the mag against itself, I think it’s really a good concept: I like the focus on the staff’s and hobbyists’ armies over ‘Eavy Metal pieces (even if the armies of the editorial staff seem to appear a little too often…). I like the look at kitbashes and conversions and the army showcases. I love Blanchitsu, obviously. Is it still a sales brochure? Undoubtedly. Is it more of a coffee-table book and less of a fanzine? Yes, possibly. But looking at it gives me new ideas and inspirations more often than not, and that is certainly nothing to scoff at.

 

So yeah, all in all, I think we can call this year an overall success. With a constant stream of new releases and some amazing products by different manufacturers, we have lots and lots of new toys to play with. As always, there’s always quite a bit of stuff to bicker about, but I suppose that par for the course at this point 😉

The hobby’s more than just the official releases, though: It’s really about the hobbyists. So in the next installment of the 2013 Eternal Hunt Awards, let’s take a closer look at this year’s oustanding hobby projects and talented artists. Until then, I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section!

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

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, Uncategorized, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 22, 2013 by krautscientist

There I was, thinking that my holiday vacation would give me more time for hobby-related stuff, but so far all the Christmas preparations have rendered this hope null and void — out of the frying pan and into the fire, so to speak.

Fear not, though, because I am in the priviledged position of letting other hobbyists do my work for me. For today’s update, I’d like to show you glimpses at two highly inpirational hobby projects that double as crowning hobby moments of awesome for me – but we’ll get to that in a minute…

 

1. “Mini Me”

You may already have heard of Brother Heinrich’s amazing Night Lords thread over at The Bolter and Chainsword, and I already mentioned that Heinrich was awesome enough to immortalise various hobbyists as models in his army (I chose to repay the favour by turning him into one of my Brazen Hunters). Anyway, Brother Heinrich has been hard at work for the last few weeks, and so I can now proudly present a miniature version of me serving in the Night Lords’ 15th company under the nom de guerre of Brother Berias. Check this out:

Night Lord weapon teams by Brother Heinrich (1)

Models built and painted by Brother Heinrich

I am the guy on the right, rocking that awesome custom Reaper Autocannon. On the left you can see the Night Lords avatar of fellow hobbyist Dragonkin Arenis, now my partner in bloodshed for the millennia to come.

models built and painted by Brother Heinrich

models built and painted by Brother Heinrich

Not only do I love the weapon and choice of helmet, but my favourite part may be the half-deathmask Brother Heinrich painted onto the model’s helmet. Take a look:

models built and painted by Brother Heinrich

models built and painted by Brother Heinrich

Together with three other weapon teams, these guys will be used as counts-as Obliterators in Heinrich’s army — a perfect way of representing that particular choice, if you ask me! Here’s the merry little band of rascals:

Night Lord weapon teams by Brother Heinrich (4)
And while the models are amazing enough on their own, 1000Heathens also did a killer job on the accompanying piece of background he wrote. So be sure to check it out, along with the rest of this stunning force, over at Heinrich’s B&C thread. And, of course, a huge thank you for Brother Heinrich for this fantastic opportunity!

 

2. Images from a past life

Now this second thing is just as awesome, and for slightly similar reasons. Fellow German hobbyist AgnostosTheos has been building and painting one of the most impressive Pre-Heresy World Eaters armies on the net. And while I myself have no ambition to start a pre-heresy Astartes army (or rather, yet another one next to my kitbashed Custodes), I couldn’t help but wonder what “30k” versions of the characters making up Khorne’s Eternal Hunt would look like. So I approached AgnostosTheos and asked him whether he was game for a small experiment: Would he be interested in building some 30k versions of my characters for his army? Being an all around nice guy, he agreed.

And now imagine my happiness when he just posted the first two characters just the other day. So let me show you both of these characters, with their background as well as their 30k and 40k versions, respectively. Here we go:

Brother Marax by AgnostosTheos (1)

model built and painted by AgnostosTheos

Brother Marax the Fallen

When Lorimar ascended to the rank of captain of the 4th assault company, brother Marax stood at his side. Likewise, during the years of the Great Crusade, he proved to be a loyal retainer, time and time again.

But after Marax had undergone the psychosurgical treatments introduced to the legion by its primarch Angron, he began to change. The occasions when Marax would succumb to frenzy and insatiable bloodlust on the field of battle grew ever more frequent. But the negative effects of this development were ignored, for Marax had become an insurmountable warrior. While the World Eaters grew more and more fervent in their worship of Khorne, Marax was one of those who welcomed the bloody rituals. During all this time, Lorimar kept his brother under close scrutiny, for he feared what Marax might become. Though he was a force of nature on the battlefield, his frenzy made him more and more difficult to control.

The Skalathrax campaign, during which the legion tore itself apart in a single night, marked the decisive point in the tale of Marax.  After Kharn the Betrayer had begun the senseless slaughter, Lorimar had to use all of his authority to keep at least his company together as an organised force. But amidst the chaos of blood and flame, he was opposed by Marax. The once loyal battle brother considered Lorimar’s refusal of bloody slaughter to be treason and threw himself at his captain, filled with daemonic rage.

While the World Eaters were tearing each other apart, Lorimar and Marax were locked in a fight for life and death of their own.
Marax was an unfathomably powerful warrior, and his anger transformed him into a whirlwind of destruction, but in the end, it was his rage that spelt his doom: He fell for a feint and was almost cut in two by Lorimar’s axe. The battle was decided.

Even with death drawing near, Marax still tried to reach his foe. When he breathed his last, Lorimar, towering over his shattered body, promised him this: He would receive a grave that was worthy of a true warrior. And he would be feared for eternity.

Apothecary Dumah had to employ every mystery of his art to trap the last spark of life within the shattered form of Marax. But he was successful: Marax was interred into the sarcophagus of a dreadnought and thus sentenced to an eternity of war – truly a worthy grave for a warrior.

Being trapped inside the dreadnought for millennia has irrevocably shattered Marax’s mind, and all that might have been left of the once proud warrior has been drowned in a sea of bloodlust and insanity. When the 4th assault company is not at war, his eternal grave is secured within a stasis field, which is only deactivated once the battle begins. On the battlefield, he rushes forward like a wild beast, tearing apart enemies and war machines alike with crackling lightning claws, howling with rage and hatred. And it is not easy to decide who fears Marax more: Those who have to face him in battle or the warriors of the 4th assault company themselves, to whom he has become an undying reminder of what will befall them, should they give in to the curse of blood frenzy.
Marax the Fallen

So, meet the 30k version of Brother Marax: By the look of the model, Marax is already well on his way to becoming and unstoppable madman by this point. And isn’t it heartening to see how he has stuck with his trademark weapons for over 10,000 years? Awww….

Brother Marax by AgnostosTheos (2)

model built and painted by AgnostosTheos

And here’s the second character in his “youth”. Take a look:

Brother Khoron by Agnostos Theos (1)

model built and painted by AgnostosTheos

Brother Khoron the Undying, Keeper of Trophies

In a way, Khoron the Undying was old already when the World Eaters legion was still young. Having been a warrior from a very early age, he was already a battle-hardened veteran, forged in the fires of the Unification Wars, when Lorimar ascended to command of the 4th assault company. Brother Khoron had seen battle and he had the scars to prove it. He served unter Lorimar’s command, but he was a trusted friend of the young Captain, full of experience and wisdom and gifted with a deep understanding of what it was that bound the legionaries together as brothers. He stood with Lorimar during his search for an identity for the legion. And he stood with him when the Captain decided to follow his Primarch to Terra to depose the false Emperor. For many years, he was a tower of strength for the company and came to be respectfully called “older brother” by the legionaries.

Shortly after the Skalathrax campaign had sundered the legion, Khoron was mortally wounded during a hunt. The man who had survived a thousand battles was powerless in the end, as the alien powers of a Xenos weapon tore his body apart. With his dying breath, he implored Lorimar to let him continue fighting, accepting the dangers of being entombed within the sarcophagus of a Dreadnought. Lorimar was hesitant, for he had witnessed the effects of such incarceration on the Fallen, but in the end he granted his old friend’s wish.

And thus the “older brother” became the being known as the Undying. For the last millennia, his colossal frame has continued to be a sight of inspiration to his brothers. Where Marax the Fallen is a warning of the damnation awaiting the company, the Undying symbolises a way of keeping this grisly fate at bay. It is only at the most chaotic moments of battle that he will succumb to rage and frenzy, and each time this happens, his brothers hope that he will come to eventually. And they fear the day when their older brother’s mind will finally cave in on itself.

When not in battle, Khoron the Undying serves as a master of rites to the company, residing in the Hall of Hunters aboard the company’s capital ship, Aeternus Venator. There he guards the trophies and weapons assembled by the Warriors of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt and presides over the ceremonies held by the legionaries since the times of the Great Crusade.

Khoron Chainsaw (6)
I love how the face used by AgnostosTheos captures Khoron as an older, more grizzled veteran, even during the days of the Heresy. And the skull on his chestplate could even be seen as a shoutout to his later countenance…

model built and painted by AgnostosTheos

model built and painted by AgnostosTheos

Anyway, this is clearly a fantastic chance of getting a glimpse at the past lives of the legionaries in the 4th assault company. And AgnostosTheos‘ paintjobs and conversions are more than worthy representations for the characters — in fact, his versions are more than giving me a run for my money 😉

Will we see more glimpses at this unremembered empire, I wonder? What would Lord Captain Lorimar have looked like at that time? Hmm…

In any case, many thanks to AgnostosTheos for this lovely and unexpected Christmas present! Be sure to check out his WIP thread as well as his awesome Flickr gallery!
So yeah, two awesome examples of me somehow managing to wiggle my way into other people’s hobby endeavours 😉
So, in closing, I wish you all a very happy Christmas, and be sure to check back in the coming days, when we’ll be taking a look at this year’s installment of the annual Eternal Hunt Awards!

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

From the Warp – a blog sorely missed

Posted in 40k, Conversions, DIY, Pointless ramblings, Totally worth it with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 13, 2013 by krautscientist

Today I would like to talk about one of my favourite hobby blogs as well as one of my favourite hobby artists. So what is this about?

It has been almost exactly one year since Ron Saikowski last updated his blog, From the Warp, and told the community he was taking some time off from blogging. And even in a hobby scene as full of amazing hobby blogs as this, the absence of new content on FTW is still very keenly felt — at least by me.

FTWbanner

But why? And what was/is so great about FTW in the first place? Allow me to elaborate:

When I got back into the hobby in 2010 after a longer hiatus, I was amazed and cowed in equal parts by the quality of the hobby content that could be found online: While I had been away, it seemed like everyone and their cousin had become expert painters, wielding superior techniques and baffling creativity. The presence of such a treasure trove of hobby related content proved to be equally exciting and intimidating: How was I to get back into all this and hope to build an army that I could truly be proud of? In any case, it seemed like an even more daunting task than it had been during my teens.

And then I discovered FTW, and things started to fall into place.

You see, like many other hobby blogs on the internet, FTW is full of beautifully painted models and valuable hobby advice. But while I love many blogs and read them regularly, no other site has come close to FTW when it comes to actually helping hobbyists, to teach them new stuff and to encourage them to step outside their comfort zone. At the same time, if you are simply in it for the pretty pictures, FTW should be right up your alley: Ron’s style of gritty realism is one of the most effective and elegant approaches I have seen in our hobby. And I’ll just take the liberty to intersperse my ramblings in this post with pictures of some of my favourite models of his — it goes without saying that none of these were built and painted by me. I own none of this stuff. Credit must go to Ron Saikowski.

This Cataphractii Terminator showcases one of Ron's trademark conversion recipes, using cardboard-turned-into-plasticard to transform standard plastic terminators into Pre-Heresy individuals before FW ever released their own versions and before "Cataphractii" was even a word. Model built and painted by Ron Saikowski.

This Cataphractii Terminator showcases one of Ron’s trademark conversion recipes, using cardboard-turned-into-plasticard to transform standard plastic terminators into Pre-Heresy individuals before FW ever released their own versions and before “Cataphractii” was even a word.
Model built and painted by Ron Saikowski.

It’s hard to pick my favourite part of FTW, as a matter of fact: The stunningly effective, yet surprisingly simple, recipes for achieving certain painting effects? The clean and seamless conversion work? The useful reviews of hobby products (and the mention of possible alternatives) or the insightful commentary about the hobby at large? All of these were reasons for why FTW still seems like such a great blog.

A fantastic converted Astartes chaplain, based on the pose of GW's Gabriel Seth Model.  Model built by Ron Saikowski

A fantastic converted Astartes chaplain, based on the pose of GW’s Gabriel Seth model.
Model built by Ron Saikowski

But at the heart of it all lies Ron’s own approach to matters: When posting on his blog, he was always, in the truest sense of the word, a scholar and a gentlemen: always helpful and willing to explain every step of his work until everyone was content and carefully addressing comments and suggestions made by the readers. And while Ron’s work taught me countless neat things, his posts never seemed like he was trying to lecture people of convert them to the “right” way of doing things in our hobby.  In fact, there has probably never been a nicer, more pleasant blogger in our particular neck of the woods..uh webz 😉

Space Marine Commander on Pre-Heresy jetbike by Ron Saikowski

Ron’s stunningly effective Pre-Heresy jetbike conversion: I have used the same approach to build jetbikes for my small Custodes force.
Model built and painted by Ron Saikowski

Another great thing is that Ron’s recipes and techniques are so great precisely because they can be used by normal people. Now we all enjoy looking at some GD level painting from time to time, but when it comes to getting our armies painted, we are happy enough to find a recipe that works and stick with it. FTW has always been a perfect resource in this respect, featuring countless wonderful painting recipes without the need for twenty extra-thin layers of paint in order to build up a certain hue. No freehanding under a microscope with a paintbrush the width of a horse hair here, but rather a way of doing things that produces awesome results with a modicum of work.

Ron's Alpha Legion recipe is an example of a fairly simple approach that still yields awesome results. Model bult and painted by Ron Saikowski

Ron’s Alpha Legion recipe is an example of a fairly simple approach that still yields awesome results.
Model bult and painted by Ron Saikowski

In fact, I’ll go out on a limb here and say that Ron remains one of my favourite painters for the reason that his pieces are perfectly realised: Poe described a thing called “Unity of effect”, arguing that all parts of a literary work should work towards the intended effect in an interlocking pattern. And this is very true of Ron’s paintjobs: While there may be painters who can pull of even more amazing stunts when it comes to blending, glazing, freehands or what have you, Ron’s models always look completely realised: All of the different colours and effects work together to create a model that looks like a perfect little slice of the 40k universe. Nothing detracts from the overall effect. The models seem like they could just step down from their bases and lay waste to your desktop. I cannot, for the life of me, think of a more successful way of painting!

The Novamarines' colour scheme always seemed pretty gimmicky to me. But given Ron's "unity of effect" approach, it is transformed into something that seems quite plausible. Model built and Painted by Ron Saikowski

The Novamarines’ colour scheme always seemed pretty gimmicky to me. But given Ron’s “unity of effect” approach, it is transformed into something that seems quite plausible.
Model built and Painted by Ron Saikowski

And while the blog is mostly about Space Marines, not only will non-Astartes players find much to like about the recipes and tutorials featured on FTW, but Ron is also sometimes at his best when he isn’t actually doing Marines. Take a look:

A fantastic DKOK model built using second party bitz. Model built and painted by Ron Saikowski

A fantastic DKOK model built using second party bitz.
Model built and painted by Ron Saikowski

A very successful attempt at kitbashing an Eversor Assassin from nothing but plastic parts: This guy inspired me to build my own "Operative Sigma". Model built and painted by Ron Saikowski

A very successful attempt at kitbashing an Eversor Assassin from nothing but plastic parts: This guy inspired me to build my own “Operative Sigma”.
Model built and painted by Ron Saikowski

A very evocative and "Blanchian" Imperial Mystic, unfortunately Ron's only foray into the wonderful world of INQ28. Model built and painted by Ron Saikowski

A very evocative and “Blanchian” Imperial Mystic, unfortunately Ron’s only foray into the wonderful world of INQ28.
Model built and painted by Ron Saikowski

If all of this reads like a gushing love letter to you, that’s because it it: To date, FTW remains one of my favourite hobby resources, and I think it’s a crying shame that it isn’t updated anymore. In fact, I still regularly check whether there are any new updates — just in case…

The good news, though, is that all of the existing amazing content is still there for you to check out and discover. Ron’s tutorials are still every bit as helpful as they were when he first posted them. And the models are still inspiring and beautiful, a testament to effective painting. In fact, I would argue that From the Warp is still one of the most important hobby resources for those active in the hobby or just getting into it, and a priceless treasure trove of hobby knowledge.

Oldies but goldies: Ron's own "Lustwing", an army of Emperor's Children Terminators. Just check out that awesome lord in pre heresy armour! Models built and painted by Ron Saikowski

Oldies but goldies: Ron’s own “Lustwing”, an army of Emperor’s Children Terminators. Just check out the scratchbuilt Pre-Heresy armour!
Models built and painted by Ron Saikowski

So, Ron, if you’re reading this: Thanks for all the amazing work! We owe you big time! And here’s hoping that you’ll eventually get back to updating your blog! And to you readers: FTW should really be part of your regular hobby diet, if only to check out all of the great ideas and tips. So head on over there right now and bookmark that page! And if you’ve been a regular reader of FTW before, well, you know what I am talking about anyway, right?

In closing, while most of the content on FTW is truly amazing, here are a couple of personal favourites of mine that I think you should check out:

Ron’s Pre-Heresy Jetbike conversion

Converting a skull helmet for chaplains or Dark Apostles

Ron’s very own “Lustwing”, a counts as Deathwing force consisting of Emperor’s Children Terminators.

Truly heartwarming: Ron’s Chaos Daemon based on a sketch by his daughter

How to make your Space Marine Captain stand out

His collection of advice on basing is still essential reading for every hobbyist, if you ask me.

So what’s your opinion on FTW? And has anyone been hearing from Ron, perchance? Let me know what you think in the comments!

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

A Dark Vengeance Chaplain painted by Ron: One of his most recent models, and possibly my favourite! Model painted by Ron Saikowski

A Dark Vengeance Chaplain painted by Ron: One of his most recent models, and possibly my favourite!
Model painted by Ron Saikowski

Here comes the cavalry!

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Pointless ramblings, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 4, 2013 by krautscientist

Right, I promised you a more substantial update for this week, and I fully intend to keep my promise! So what is this about?

World Eaters riding juggernauts of Khorne, often referred to as “Brazen Knights”, are a bit of an ongoing dream for those of us who have pledged themselves both to the Blood God and the XIIth Astartes Legion. Even the fact that no rules for using such a squad on the table are available doesn’t stop hobbyists all over the world from building their own version of this Khornate cavalry. As a matter of fact, I myself also built and painted a test piece some time ago:

Jugger Knight (7)
My original plan was to add a couple of models to form an entire squad, but for some reason the plan fell by the wayside for a while, and then GW went and released their spectacular Skullcrushers of Khorne for WFB.

And of course, it didn’t take me long to pick up the kit: After all, it’s chock-full of fantastic Khornate bits and bobs to squirrel away for conversion projects: If you want to add some extra flavour to your World Eaters army, that kit is the place to go! Plus you get three juggernauts and their riders on top — what’s not to love?

Well, here’s the problem: So far, I had mainly been using pieces from the kit to spice up some Chosen and Biker models as well as building special characters for my army, such as my custom Warpsmith, Huntmaster Deracin, or even the supreme commander of the fourth assault company, Lord Captain Lorimar. The actual centrepiece of the kit, the juggernauts and riders, sat mostly untouched in my bitzbox while I squandered all the beautiful little bitz on different models 😉

But no more, because this last weekend finally gave me some time to build three Brazen Knights! Of course I do realise that this leaves me with even more unpainted stuff in my backlog, but I simply cannot help it — kitbashing World Eaters is just so much fun!

 

So what did I want to achieve? The Skullcrushers are fantastic models in their own right, but I did want to make them look a little more 40k: The body and legs of the Skullcrushers are very archaic and medieval looking, but they are also fantastically detailed (and, to make matters worse, a bit bigger than your standard Marine parts). So I wouldn’t cut them up in the attempt to make them look more futuristic, but would rather try to incorporate elements that are fairly representative of Chaos Space Marines, such as chainswords, power weapons, backpacks and CSM shoulderpads.

I also didn’t want to use the – admittedly really cool – lances that came with the kit, because those would make the models look a little too static and encumbered for my taste. I went for less cumbersome weapons, and since there are no official rules for these guys anyway, I was free to do as I pleased, with the Rule of Cool as my only guideline.

And, my last objective: I wanted to make each of these guys look like a true champion: Winning the gift of a daemonic steed from the Blod God is certainly no mean feat! So each of the models would have to look the part, impressive enough to serve as a Chaos Lord in any lesser force.

Now while the models were taking shape, I had yet another idea: Fellow hobbyist Brother Heinrich has been offering people to name models in his (fantastic) Night Lords army for a while now. I myself have been thus immortalised as a heavy weapons specialist in the Night Lords’ 15th company (more on that soon, I guess). And while I was working on my Brazen Knights, or Brazen Hunters, as it were, I realised that I too wanted to take the opportunity to honour some fellow hobbyists who have enormously inspired me in the past.

Now choosing three people to be honoured in this way might seem a tad unfair — after all, there are many more people who have managed to inspire me and influence my hobby life over these last years, and each of them would be worthy of their own model. So for now, in order to keep things fair, I chose the three guys whose work has provided the most inspiration for my actual World Eaters army — after all, it makes sense that they should earn a place in the army they helped to shape, right?

Anyway, before I knew it, my three Brazen Hunters had been assembled. Of course they will need some more work and attention to detail here and there, but I am already pretty pleased with them. Let me introduce you:

 

Brother Hynnark:

Brazen Hunters WIP (1)
Brazen Hunters WIP (2)
Brazen Hunters WIP (3)
Brazen Hunters WIP (4)
Brazen Hunters WIP (5)
Brazen Hunters WIP (6)
Since I knew that one of the juggernaut bodies would be charging forward aggressively, I wanted a rider to match that look, swinging his sword in a wide arc and aggressively snarling at the oncoming enemy. I think the finished piece captures that look fairly convincingly!

The sword came from the Bloodletters of Khorne, since I think their sinister, serrated Hellblades make for a perfect weapon for any champion of Khorne. The arm holding the blade was slightly tweaked in such a way that it looked like Hynnark was swinging his sword at his opponents while plowing through them on the back of his daemonic mount.

When it came to choosing a face for this guy, the bare head of the GK Nemesis Dreadknight pilot came in handy, since the cabling on the head made for perfect Butcher’s Nails. The rim of the psychic hood was carefully shaved down to make it look like the cables were emerging from the champion’s very head. And finally, a very cool plastic power fist from the mid-90s was used on the model’s other hand. I only ever had one of these in my bitzbox, and I thought this was a worthy occasion to use it!

Brother Hynnark was named for fellow hobbyist Brother Heinrich, whose brilliant Night Lords army is not only a constant source of inspiration, but who has also made me look at the individuals in the army in a new way. Cheers, mate!

 

Next up, Brother Rask:

Brazen Hunters WIP (7)
Brazen Hunters WIP (8)
Brazen Hunters WIP (9)
Brazen Hunters WIP (10)
Brazen Hunters WIP (11)
Brazen Hunters WIP (12)
I knew I wanted to make use of the fantastic banner that came with the Blood Crushers, so Brother Rask became a favoured banner bearer of his god. To balance out the extra archaic element, I went for a chainsword in his left hand — the essential 40k weapon, if you ask me. The model also received a rebreather head as another piece of visual shorthand for the futuristic setting. I also like this particular head a lot, since it seems grizzled and scarred without being over the top.

The model was named for none other than the ever-inspirational GuitaRasmus, who owns some of the snazziest World Eaters on the interwebz and whose mindblowing kitbashes are a constant motivation for me to push the envelope on my own conversions instead of just settling for “good enough”.

 

And finally, a champion among champions, I give you Brother Garic the Hound:

Brazen Hunters WIP (13)
Brazen Hunters WIP (14)
Brazen Hunters WIP (15)
Brazen Hunters WIP (16)
Brazen Hunters WIP (17)
Brazen Hunters WIP (18)
I really went all out on this model, making it look like Garic was issuing a challenge to an opponent. A sword from the WFB Chaos Knights made for a suitably impressive weapon, while the left arm came from the Raptor/Warp Talon kit, featuring one of my favourite lightning claws in the entire set.

Maybe you’ll remember that shouting head with the mohawk from my look at the Centurion kit. Even then, I was sure that it was the perfect face for a World Eater, and I believe this model offers pretty good proof of that!

Garic is my favourite model in the squad, and who better to choose as his alter ego than my buddy Biohazard, whose boundless generosity in exchanging bitz as well as ideas have made many of my projects possible in the first place. And his kitbashes, particularly his amazing daemon engines, are truly something to behold as well! Here’s to you, buddy!

 

So cheers, guys! I hope you like your new function in Khorne’s Eternal Hunt! And I hope you like the models I chose for you! As for the names, I tried to find a middle ground between the design sensibilities of my army and either your true names or forum handles. If any of you should want to come up with a better name for “his” model, though, just shoot me a message! Likewise, if you have any suggestions regarding what to add to the models, let me know as well!

 

In any case, these guys do need some more detail work as well as a couple of additional bitz. And there will have to be a Chaos Lord on juggernaut to lead the squad, of course…

Oh, and I actually think I may continue to name models in the honour of fellow hobbyists! And with a long list of spectacularly talented and generally awesome people to work through – PDH, TJ Atwell, DexterKong, migusla or Kari, to name just a few – I imagine this army will keep expanding for a looong time 😉

 

So yeah, here are my three Brazen Hunters together, ready for a new day of hunting:

Brazen Hunters WIP (19)
So what do you think? Was I successful in coming up with some badass models? Are they 40k enough? I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section!

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