Archive for February, 2014

Eternal Hunt: Year Two

Posted in old stuff, paintjob, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , on February 26, 2014 by krautscientist

yeartwo

Oh my, Eternal Hunt is actually two years old now — and has been for a week, to tell you the truth: I just missed posting this last week, although I have to say that showing you a new model just seemed more important than celebrating myself 😉

Seriously, though: Who would have thought that this blog would actually survive for two years? That I would manage to publish 195 posts (this one included), 94 of them during this last year? That the blog would manage to attract about 183,000 views and a sizeable crowd of followers? Not me, that much is for certain!

Not to bore you with numbers, but I am really proud of the fact that the number of views has actually tripled, compared with last year, and that attracting 10,000 views a month, something that seemed like a one-off success last year, has now become an almost regular occurence — nuts!

Indeed, I could go on all day about how awesome this blog is, of course, but I would only be tooting my own whistle and reiterate huge swathes of my look back at 2013, and you can just as well read that part yourself, if you are that way inclined.

For now, let me take this opportunity to say thank you to all of you reading my pointless ramblings week for week! Being able to post my stuff here and in my various threads and getting feedback has become and integral part of my hobby experience, and one that I wouldn’t want to miss. I am especially thankful to those of you following this blog or commenting (regularly), because it’s the discussion with fellow hobbyists that has made my hobby life what it is today and has given me many cool ideas for my various ongoing projects.

Chief among these is my beloved World Eaters army for 40k, Khorne’s Eternal Hunt, which continues to be a project that gets my creative juices flowing:

WE_Army08
If you have looked at this blog before, you should already know these guys. And if you don’t, well, what are you waiting for: Go read up on them! 😉

Beyond this army, there are many bigger and smaller projects, from various smaller armies (like my Traitor Guard or kitbashed Custodes) to my INQ28 models and all kinds of stuff in between, my productivity has certainly profited a lot from getting in contact with many talented hobbyists and from getting your feedback here and on my various threads. So this is certainly something I would like to continue!

At the same time, I also realise that making time for blogging can become a bit of a challenge from time to time: There are times when RL issues take over (and rightly so: this is a hobby, after all) and getting some new content up in time seems like a slog. At the end of last year, for instance, I really needed to take a break after a couple of pretty stressful months, and blogging wasn’t exactly my foremost interest.

But then the strangest thing happened: Through a number of smaller projects, I rediscovered my motivation (as well as parts of my painting modjo), and some recent developments in the hobby have also managed to pique my interest. So while I cannot promise you that there won’t be times when I take small breaks every now and then, cutting back on the number of posts when necessary, I can safely say that this blog is something that I want to keep working on!

So, to dispense with the self-referential stuff, do I have something for you to look at? You bet! 😉

Last year, I celebrated my blog’s birthday by showing you a real blast from the past, namely my very first 40k (or rather, Space Crusade) models. This year, let’s do something slightly similar: To begin with, here’s what might be one of my very first models altogether. A partially painted HeroQuest barbarian. Behold it and weep:

HQ Barbarian old
Yeah, I really didn’t know what I was doing, did I? My only excuse is that I realised it even back then and stopped painting, never finishing the model. This was a stain upon my honour as a hobbyist, of course, so a while ago, I went back to finish the job: The thick coat of piggy pink was (mostly) stripped away and I gave the model a second try. Here’s the result:

HQ Barbarian
Granted, the model was too thickly covered in the dregs of that dreadful pink to be completely salvaged, but I am still reasonably happy with the result. What’s more, I still have a second, completely unpainted, Barbarian, so there is still hope.

In any case, painting that old model gave me an appetite for working on even more HeroQuest models, and so I tried to speedpaint some of them, trying to finish each model in no more than an hour. So here’s an Orc I painted sometime during the mid to late 90s:

HeroQuest Orc (2)
And here’s a similar model, painted fairly recently:

HQ Orc
You all know how it goes, though: Once you get started, it’s hard to stop, so I then painted a Goblin:

HQ Goblin
I realised that these models are actually quite a lot of fun to paint, and if you’re trying to keep each paintjob below the hour mark, it’s a short and sweet romp for each model, and the results are still pretty convincing, don’t you think?

HQ Greenskins
Before I knew it, I had moved on to the undead, painting a skeleton…

HQ Skeleton
…a zombie…

HQ Zombie
…and a mummy in relatively short order:

HQ Mummy
The mummy was especially interesting, because the model was basecoated using GW Rakarth Flesh and then merely painted by using different washes for the bandages and skin and slight drybrushing afterwards.

Revisiting those old models has really given me a new appreciation for their design: They are almost unbelievably characterful, especially given their age and single-piece nature. And there’s that hugely nostalgic feeling, of course, related with HeroQuest being my (and many hobbyists’) entry to the hobby — I am pretty sure there’s a sizeable Totally Worth It article in there somewhere….

HQ Undead
For now, painting these has mainly been a fun exercise, but the models are also a look at what may or may not become a full-blown project. Don’t hold your breath, but like many hobbyists, I would love to own a completely painted HeroQuest set, and seeing how I still have a mostly complete boxed set in my possession, it seems like an actual possibility. And even the missing parts didn’t end up being a problem — fellow hobbyist Alexander was actually awesome enough to send me the HeroQuest Chaos Sorcerer model (possibly the coolest model in the box, and, invariably, the first one to be lost) — yet another example of the amazing things that happen when you start blogging.

Which nicely leads us back to the beginning: Maintaining this blog as a part of my hobby life has become a very interesting and enriching experience, and I hope you’ll all stick around for the coming twelve months! As always, feel free to contribute feedback, criticism or any idea you might want to share! I would love to hear from you! On a semi-serious note, I am also accepting bitz donations, of course (doesn’t hurt to try, you know… 😉 ).

Here’s to the next year! Thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

oldskool

Shorty got axe – a look at the new Dwarfs

Posted in Conversions, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , on February 21, 2014 by krautscientist

A word in advance: When GW changed their magazine publications, part of the collateral damage also extended to my regular look at the new releases: Until this month, I always wrote up a comprehensive look at the releases for the new “flavour of the month” army at the beginning of that month. With the releases now arriving in weekly spurts, that approach no longer works, obviously. But instead of doing a partial review each week, thereby cluttering up my posting schedule with additional posts, I have decided to stick with my usual approach, only that the comprehensive review will now be posted towards the end of the month. While also less stressful for me, I hope that this works for those of you actually reading my pointless ramblings on the new plastic crack 😉

So, without further ado, let’s cut to the chase: GW’s mags may have changed, but we still get a huge update for one particular army, and this time it’s the Dwarfs’ turn (actually, I was really hesitant to write dwarfs instead of dwarves, until I learned that even Tolkien himself wasn’t all that pleased with the latter way of spelling the plural, so yeah…):

Dwarf Release (1)
The Dwarfs are one of the archetypal fantasy races, along with Elves and Orcs, so everyone interested in fantasy generally has a picture of them in his mind: heavily armoured, bearded warriors armed with heavy axes or hammers. And, indeed, GW’s own treatment of this particular fantasy race has always been patterned after this archetypal look, broadly speaking. Still, I guess we all know what we expect when we hear the word “Dwarf”. So what do we get? And does it look like we all think dwarfs (or dwarves, or dwarrow) should? Let’s take a closer look:

 

Belegar Ironhammer

Dwarf Release (2)
Isn’t this guy actually a bit tall for a dwarf? Anyway, the model has all the hallmarks of both a dwarf and an ostentatious WFB commander model: Beard, check. Hammer, check. Enormous, massively impractical back banner, check. It’s fair to say that Belegar makes for a nice enough centre piece model for any dwarf army!

I do have two minor gripes with the model, though: The first one is the Oathstone, which seems like a slightly dull manner of making the model taller: Personally, I would have preferred a rocky outcrop or something similar. But in all fairness, not only is this purely a matter of personal preference, but the Oathstone is also completely optional, making this a non-issue.

The bigger problem is the model’s face: In my opinion, the face is a point of focus on every model, but especially so for dwarfish characters: Whether you want to go for the “grizzled veteran” look or are trying to take a more humourous approach, the face is a major point in selling a dwarf as a character.
In this case, however, the helmet design actually obsures the face, especially the eyes, leading to a slightly bland look. Now this wouldn’t be all that bad for a rank and file model, but on an army commander, it seems slightly unfortunate. Again, just my personal taste, of course, but I would have liked a more expressive face…

 

Dragon Slayer

Dwarf Release (3)

…which really leads us to this guy: You actually couldn’t get much more expressive than the Dragon Slayer model: The pose is amazingly dynamic, and the stylised dragon head seems like a great way to both add to the model’s dynamism and height and make the character interact with his base in a meaningful way: The slayer really looks like he’s in the middle of throwing himself at a huge enemy, which is basically the perfect look for the character!

At first glance, the face seems a little unwholesome…

Dwarf Release (4)
…but then you remember that this guy has quite likely lost most of his marbles by now, so the pinched, not quite sane expression really works, after all. My one nitpick is that the hair seems a little hokey, because those three-piece hairstyles never ever work. That’s only a fairly minor concern, though: The model looks great and is both iconic and fun — certainly one of the high points of the release for me!

 

Grimm Burloksson

Dwarf Release (5)
Ah, yes, now we’re getting to the steampunk part: Master Engineer Grimm Burloksson surely looks tech-savvy enough, with all the crazy steampunk equipment of his! He also seems like a guy who can really hold a grudge, judging by his facial expression — another really characterful sculpt, even though there is so little actual face visible underneath that huge beard.

As for the various equipment options, the Cog Axe is far more interesting from a visual standpoint than the pointy hand:

Dwarf Release (6)
I also really love the rifle, but the great thing is that you really get to choose which option you prefer with this kit, because Grimm seems quite modular, especially for a one-pose plastic model:

Dwarf Release (7)
Of course this means that, regardless of which options you choose, you also get some bitz out of the deal, which is always a plus. And even though I think that the back mounted furnace may be a bit much, once again, there’s no one stopping you from leaving it off or converting it into something more suitable. In fact, this kind of modularity is something that also extends to the third plastic character:

 

Dwarf Runelord

Dwarf Release (10)
A generic HQ this time, but once again a pretty modular one: The kit gives you enough parts to build your Runelord with several different equipment options and one of two different heads (with the remaining bitz once again a sweet addition to your bitzbox!)

Dwarf Release (8)
The book and hammer combo has a classic quality, for some reason, while the ornate armour really makes it clear that this guy is not you average rank and file dwarf. Personally, speaking, though, I like the tongs gripping a blazing rune even more, both because it’s such a cool and iconic idea, but also because it could be a really cool element to paint!

Dwarf Release (9)
It’s a good thing we get two heads to choose from, though, because it seems like the dwarfen [sic!] faces seem to be a bit hit and miss this time around:

Dwarf Release (11)
The left one seems slightly…strange for some reason, with a fairly angular beard and piggy little eyes. Luckily, the second one is quite a bit better, and once again, it’s easy enough to choose your favourite combination:

Dwarf Release (12)
This versatility and modularity in plastic characters is certainly something I would love to see much more of! All in all, the Runelord is a pretty competently designed model. Good job!

 

Gyrobomber/Gyrocopter

Dwarf Release (13)
Ah, now we are getting to the really quirky stuff! Both the Gyrobomber and Gyrocopter are just unabashedly goofy, and really all the better for it. Of course, a flying machine that seems quite early 20th century-ish may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for me it’s just a part of what makes the WFB universe so eclectic and recognisable!

The bomber is quite a monster, and I am certainly not going to argue for or against its realism. Could it actually stay in the air? Who cares! The bumblebee shouldn’t be able to fly either, after all…

Dwarf Release (15)
In all fairness, the rotor design does take a little getting used to:

Dwarf Release (14)
The design is quite effective, though, in that it instantly reads as both a bomber and a dwarfish war machine. There are also some really nice touches, such as the pilot looking like a dwarf version of an WWI biplane pilot (only missing the trailing shawl) and the impressive cluster of bombs:

Dwarf Release (16)
The kit can also be assembled as a Gyrocopter:

Dwarf Release (17)

This flying machine looks like it uses a shortened version of the bomber’s chasssis, making the whole thing look even quirkier, if you ask me: There’s just something about its bublebee-ish proportions that you simply have to love! Using the kit to build a Gyrocopter should also give you lots and lots of leftover bitz, by the look of it.

While I usually like my wargaming serious, these flying machines are just adorable: Yes, they are quirky and goofy and not at all realistic. But they are also totally awesome, and a perfect embodiment of the inherent eclecticism (and even silliness) of the WFB universe, and you’ve got to love them for that!

When it comes to the new infantry kits, the Dwarfs actually yet more combi-kits, making this whole release quite versatile. Let’s take a closer look at the foot sloggers:

 

Hammerers/Longbeards

Dwarf Release (18)
The first combi-kit gives us two varieties of heavily armoured dwards with imposing weapons: The Hammerers really look like they mean business, and I like the correspondence between their two-handed war hammers and the anvil-inspired helmet design! Their armour is also fairly ostentatious and ornate, making them look like the elites they probably are!

Dwarf Release (19)
The Longbeards manage to look even more blinged-out, probably due to their highly ornate axes and helmets and the odd stylised shield popping up. Again, the detail on these is awesome, and they look like the living legends the fluff makes them out to be.

I will be honest with you, though: While I quite like the design of both kits, I somehow cannot shake off the feeling that they look subtly different from the older dwarf kits. And I don’t just mean different as in newer, more recent: The overall design approach seems to have slightly readjusted, and my first impulse was to think that these, while awesome, don’t look like GW models — is that weird?

Granted, the feeling gradually wore off after some time, and I couldn’t really quite explain to you what gave me the impression. But the new armour design seems quite different in places — which, of course, doesn’t have to be a bad thing!

 

Ironbreakers / Irondrakes

Dwarf Release (20)
Another infantry combi-kit, and just like the Hammerers/Longbeards, these guys also seem excellently detailed, with lots and lots of neat little touches. The Ironbreakers also get quite a few equipment options, from hammers and axes to twin pistols:

Dwarf Release (21)
Yeah, that’s the ticket! The picture above serves to illustrate two things, though (apart from the blue armour looking beautiful): One, the bare head’s pinched features once again seem a bit off, underlining the impression that the designers either really nailed the faces or ended up with some pretty …original material, for lack of a better word. The other thing is that this model once again illustrates how the armour design seems quite different from the older models: Look at the legs and feet, for example.

The alternate assembly will give you a kit of Squat…erm Dwarf Irondrakes, wielding what is, for all intents and purposes, flamethrowers:

Dwarf Release (22)
These may actually be the most heavily armoured dwarfs so far, with even their beards appearing as stylised, metal parts of their protective helmets. I really like how the dragon motif is repeated across several pieces of their equipment:

Dwarf Release (24)
And man, those drake guns are awesome: If you’re going to have a steampunk flamethrower, you might as well go the whole hog and make it look like a stylised dragon. And the Trollhammer Torpedo pictured below doesn’t only look awesome, it also wins the award for the best weapon name ever!

Dwarf Release (25)
The different heads used in the combi-kit are once again very interesting, with the Ironbreakers quite heavily armoured, but their natural beards still visible. The Irondrakes, meanwhile, seem to subscribe to the “safety first!” rule, with their protective gear incorporating stylised, metal beards:

Dwarf Release (23)
Another expertly designed kit, and the Irondrakes add yet more steampunk-quirkiness to the army, which is a plus in my book!

My main question for all of the new infantry kits is this, however: How will any of these look next to the older models? Compare the new Longbeards

Dwarf Release (19)
to this…
Dwarf Release (27)
Granted, these are different unit types, and the extra detail in the new kits is certainly a result of better technology being available today. But the difference seems more fundamental, somehow, and it’ll be interesting to see whether these will still read as one army on the tabletop — it seems like I’ll have to wait for Warhammer: Visions 80+ pages of dwarf pictures for my answer, though… 😉

 

Conversion options

When it comes to the question of using the new stuff for non-dwarfish projects, that really seems like a bit of a toughie: The models and bitz are usually very recognisable as dwarfish in origin, from the shape of the blades to the dwarfish runes everywhere. Sure, some of the steampunk-y bitz might be useable in various 40k armies, and the dragon-themed accessories from the Irondrakes kit might be an interesting addition to a Salamanders or Black Dragons Space Marine army. But by and large, all of the new stuff seems very dwarfish and rather difficult to adapt to other armies.

The truly interesting approach, then, might be to use the kits and bitz for dwarf projects with a twist: Could it be possible to use some of the new infantry kits as a base for a Chaos Dwarf army? Sure, none of them look especially chaos-y at first glance, but the Irondrakes could become really sinister with some added spikes and horns. And experimenting with the new plastic kits might be quite a bit cheaper than going for FW Chaos Dwarfs…

The real elephant in the room lies in the options for 40k, though: If you’ve ever wanted to build a Squat army, this release should give you lots of useful toys: The Irondrakes and Ironbreakers would need nothing more than some back packs and slightly modernised weapons to fit the 40k look, and Grimm Burloksson even has what looks like a bionic eye, for crying out loud! I think the new kits would make it really easy to build an all-plastic Squat force used as a counts-as Space Marine army of your choice. Just imagine the Gyrocopter/Gyrobomber kit used in conjunction with Storm Talon parts — wouldn’t that be a kitbashing extravaganza?

Granted, the result would be a blast from the past, but if retro is your thing, and you’ve waited for the Squats to make a reappearance, this might just be your best bet!

All in all, I’m going to call this a pretty strong release for dwarf players! Granted, all the armoured dwarfs can get a bit long in the tooth, and the new design paradigm might need some getting used to, but the versatility and modularity of the new kits is really nice! And the sheer quirkiness of a kit like the Gyrocopter almost tempts me into getting one for fun…

Seriously, though: My WFB days are over, and even if I were to return, I wouldn’t choose dwarfs as my army. But the models are still beautiful and just on the right side of humourous, and the release feels comprehensive and creative enough to be interesting nevertheless. And certainly more inspired than the Tyranids’ bread and butter update last month — but that’s just my opinion.

So, what do you think of the new dwarfs? Were you as charmed by the bumblebee-copter? Did you feel the same about the different design? Do you have any crazy conversion ideas for the new kits? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

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

Inquisitor 28: Decius Freeman, twist bounty hunter

Posted in 40k, Fluff, Inq28, paintjob with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 19, 2014 by krautscientist

It’s been quite a while since I was last able to show you a finished INQ28 model, but now my – mostly – rediscovered painting motivation has allowed me to finally put the finishing touches of another character for this particular side of the hobby.

In fact, the model I would like to show you today really shouldn’t be a stranger, at least not to regular readers of this fine blog: It’s a model I already showed you twice: Once as an unpainted WIP and once during the later painting stages.

The original plan, as I might have mentioned before, was to build a model inspired by the original Quovandius artwork from the Inquisitor rulebook:

Quovandius artwork from the original Inquisitor rulebook. Image owned by GW, obviously.

Quovandius artwork from the original Inquisitor rulebook. Image owned by GW, obviously.

While the actual 54mm model for Quovandius is faithful to the artwork in many ways, the model itself ends up looking somewhat pitiful and sickly, while the guy pictured in the artwork above seems like he really means business. I also really wanted to incorporate the shotgun used as a crutch, since that has to be one of my favourite parts of the artwork!

Anyway, using an old Ork boy as a base model, here’s the model I came up with:

Twist Bountyhunter (1)
Not a perfect match, surely, but you should still be able to recognise where the inspiration came from, I believe. And, true to the artwork, this twist really looks like one mean mother, if I do say so myself.

And while painting him may have taken ages – he had been mostly finished for a long time, but I only went back for the finishing touches now – the model is now finally finished, and I am also quite pleased with the result. Take a look:

Twist Tracker (1)
Twist Tracker (2)
Twist Tracker (3)
Twist Tracker (4)
Twist Tracker (5)
You might think I am crazy, but making the loincloth look more vibrant on the finished model may have been my best decision while painting. I also gave some extra care to parts of his equipment, like his knife, to make them look well used but deadly:

Twist Tracker (6)
And finally, the model’s face received an extra layer of highlights, making the scars and seams slightly more noticeable. I really think he’s a bit of a character, to tell you the truth:

Twist Tracker (7)
All in all, the model looks scarred and malformed, but this twist is also clearly his own man: You may find him horrifying, but you certainly wouldn’t pity him like you do pity the awkward and sickly looking Quovandius, right? Even though he has a bad leg…

But what about the model’s backstory? How did he end up even more ugly than your average twist? And why does he look so angry? As is my usual approach, finishing the model also entailed coming up with a bit of background for it…

Twist Tracker (2)
Decius Freeman, twist bounty hunter

“Say, you ever heard of Decius Freeman?”

“Nah, couldn’t say I have. Wait, you mean that twist revolutiory riling up them workers on Silon Minor? The one sold out his fellow conspirators in the end, trying to save his hide before the cartels brought in the heavy hitters?”

“That’s the one, although that’s not the way I hear it told. Ask the right people, and they’ll say he was actually the one being sold out, only that, once that rebellion had been quelled and the dust had settled, no one was that all intent on finding out the truth of it.”

“What’s it to you, though? You turnin’ into some kind of historical expert on the matter of the twist freedom movement, or what?”

“Feth, I was getting to that, right? So, just the other day, a twist hunter came by the Virgo, down in sector eleven. One big fether, I tell you. Ugly too. All muscle and scars and gristle, and with a gammy leg. And I gak you not, he was using a mean looking shotgun as a crutch.”

“So?”

“Said he was looking for Reuban Nonus. Said the two of them go way back. That he owed him. Only thing is, he got that look in that one good eye of his when he said it, made you feel like old Reuban wouldn’t be all too pleased to be paid back what he was owed, if you get my meaning.”

“And did you tell him?”

“Me? Throne, no. I reckon if someone needs to find me, they ought to know where to look. And if they have to ask others for my location, well, maybe I don’t want to see them all that badly. That twist didn’t get a word out of me, and he was putting on his best scowl too, by the look of it. Told me to come find him if I remembered. Told me he goes by the name of Decius.”

“But you didn’t remember anything?”

“Nah, course not. But you know how it goes in the hollows: Some Asher down on his luck musta told him where to find his old friend, because next thing you know, Old Reuban’s floating face down in one of them culture tanks, down at the hydroponics.”

“Gak! I hadn’t heard that! Say, didn’t Reuban used to work on Silon hisself?”

“That he did. Never did want to talk about his time in the mines, though. I figured it must have been terrible on that world during the riots.”

“And you think that twist did him in? The one with the gammy leg?”

“I’d bet my last cred on it. And you know what? If there are any more guys in the sector being owed by that Decius fellow, they had best keep out of sight. Throne, all that talking is giving me a sore throat. You still drinkin’ that?”

 

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

Lord of the Pit

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, paintjob, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2014 by krautscientist

Some of you may already have wondered whether my recent focus on Plague Marines, apart from earning me Nurgle’s blessing by way of the flu, had made me forget about the 4th assault company altogether. Far from it! In fact, thoughts of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt have been slowly coagulating at the back of my head, and the recent rumours of possible new plastic kits to be released for Chaos Space Marines have only added to that pile of half-formed ideas. What’s more, I could never abandon this army, especially not in favour of followers of weak and inferior gods. Anyway, it’s time for another servant of Khorne to grace this blog! So, for now, let me show you a project that actually started quite a long while ago, but that only finally came to fruition in the last weeks:

Back in late 2012, I watched The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey – as, no doubt, many of you did. And one of the most interesting things about the film, at least in my opinion, was Azog. His character design had been kept a closely-guarded secret just up to the release of the model, and so he became one of the visually more surpising elements of the film, and one that really inspired me: There was something about that pale, overmuscled creature and the sheer audacity of going into battle stripped to the waist that really made me think of the World Eaters’ gladiatorial leanings — and as a matter of fact, I had already begun exploring that angle with my first gladiator models:

Gladiator (21)

But what if I were to take that idea even further? What about a model straddling the line between those gladiatorial World Eaters and Azog? The idea fascinated me, to be honest! And the model resulting from such a project would be the perfect character to lead a squad of gladiators in battle.

The next step towards transforming these half-baked ideas into an actual model was coming across kevinholcomb’s Angron conversion on CMoN. He had used the upper body of Hasslefree Miniatures’ “Wolf” barbarian model to great effect in order to come up with a model very similar to the look I was trying to achieve. So while ordering stuff via a big German hobby retailer some time ago, I picked up one of these as well, just in case:

Gladiator Lord WIP (3)
I really love this sculpt, because while the model has the ‘roided-out look expected of an Astartes, there is also a certain nobility, even dignity, in both the pose and the face (on a mostly unrelated note, I found out by sheer coincidence that the model looks amazingly similar to this particular picture of Nathan Jones).

But I still needed to find a suitable lower body for the model, and experimenting with various Terminator legs didn’t amount to much. So the project seemd to be on indefinite hold…

…until it picked up steam again when I purchased a rather beat-up, incomplete metal Abaddon as part of a bigger ebay auction:

Gladiator Lord WIP (1)
As you can see, even after I had stripped the paint off it, the model remained pretty rough in places, and there was also the fact that the Abaddon model looks rather puny when placed next to more recent Terminators. So the model was basically surplus to requirements — until I put it next to the Hasslefree barbarian:

Gladiator Lord WIP (2)
Dear old Abby might no longer cut it as a model in tactical dreadnought armour, but what if I were to use the legs as part of my Azog-inspired conversion to represent power armoured legs for a giant of an Astartes instead? Things just fell into place at this point…

One thing bothered me, though: Both models were made from metal, and I am certainly not a fan of conversions involving all-metal models. But this time, there seemed to be no easy way around that, so I started sawing. The first part was to slowly disassemble poor Abaddon piece by piece, so as not to damage any of the parts I wanted too heavily:

The so-called Warmaster of Chaos -- armless once more...

The so-called Warmaster of Chaos — armless once more…

Then I cut off the barbarian’s legs model, unfortunately taking off part of his lower stomach as well. Both halves were then pinned together using a piece of paperclip:

Gladiator Lord WIP (5)
As you can see, both parts of the model had been slightly damaged during the sawing, so a touchup with liquid GS would be in order. Before that, though, I greenstuffed a stomach section to fill the gap between upper and lower body. Then I used some more GS to sculpt a Triumph Rope scar for the torso.  And this obviously wouldn’t be one of my conversions without some additional plastic bitz stuck on. Here’s the finished conversion before painting:

Gladiator Lord WIP (6)
I added a double-headed battle axe to the model — the bit, originally from the Marauder Horsemen kit, had been lounging in my bitzbox for quite a while, and this seemed to be the perfect opportunity to finally make good use of it! I also added a CSM shoulder pad and a Marauder shield to the left arm, both because I liked the asymmetrical look and because it was a nice way of making the guy look at least slightly more plausible. Most of the damage to the model was also repaired using Liquid GS.

When it came to painting the model, I really stuck to my usual formula, content in the knowledge that the contrast between the bare torso and armoured legs would make for an interesting effect. This being the first World Eaters model I painted in quite a while, the paintjob turned out slightly rough around the edges, but I didn’t mind too much.

So here he is, ladies and gentlemen:

Vorl Dustwalker (5)
Vorl Dustwalker (1)
Vorl Dustwalker (3)
Vorl Dustwalker (4)
Being my first (and quite likely my last) conversion involving metal models like this, I do of course realise that the model could look smoother. I am not to bothered with that, however, because I think that the overall effect still comes across rather nicely.

But who is this half-dressed giant of a man? As usual, figuring out a background for the model was the last stage of the project:

Vorl Dustwalker (2)
Vorl Dustwalker, Lord of the Pit

Some members of the War Hounds Astartes Legion may have loathed the brutal, gladiatorial style of warfare introduced by the Primarch Angron, but Vorl Dustwalker was not one of them. Even before the legion’s reunion with its Primarch, he had already established himself as a master of the fighting style that would become a trademark of the legion in later years. On the War Hounds’ vassal world of Bodt, Vorl was one of the Astartes tasked with training the legionaries in combat at close quarters. And many mighty champions of the World Eaters still hold in their hearts a feeling of shame at being brought low by him during sparring matches, the acrid taste of Bodt’s volcanic soil still etched into their memory as a reminder of their failure.

After gladiatorial fighting had become one of the mainstays of the World Eaters’ cobbled-together warrior culture, Vorl became known as the Dustwalker, a legend in the fighting pits, almost on par with mighty Delvarus, the legion’s uncontested champion on the Hot Dust.

How the Dustwalker came to be a member of Lorimar’s 4th assault company after the madness at Skalathrax is difficult to ascertain. But ever since, he has been serving as a combat instructor and an insurmountable contestant in the fighting pits nestled in the bowels of the company’s capital ship.

Vorl Dustwalker is not often seen outside the pits, for ordinary fights tend to be beneath his notice. Once the Dustwalker’s interest is piqued by a battle or an adversary, however, he may take to the field, accompanied by a coterie of his most talented gladiators. Their only partly armoured bodies and comparatively primitive weapons are both a mockery of their opponents and a testament to their skill, and Vorl is the first among these capricious warriors.

Vorl Dustwalker (6)
As always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

When the rot sets in for real…

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 12, 2014 by krautscientist

Hey everyone,

there I was, happily rediscovering the joy of painting while finishing one Plague Marine after the other, easy as you please. I should have known that Nurgle would visit his gifts on me sooner rather than later, but I was too enraptured by all the decay and rot.

Possibly as a consequence, I’ve been hit with a major case of the flu — that’s what I get, I suppose 😉 So, long story short, I cannot show you the post I originally wanted to show you because I didn’t manage to finish it. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that I can fill the update slot with yet another Plague Marine I painted, so you do get something new to look at, after all!

This time, the model in question was kitbashed in late 2010, so it was high time I slapped some colour on this guy. Here he is:

Crackle Plague Marine (34)
Crackle Plague Marine (30)
Crackle Plague Marine (31)
Crackle Plague Marine (32)
Crackle Plague Marine (33)
And a closeup of his lovely face 😉

Crackle Plague Marine (28)
Here are the three finished Plague Marines together:

Crackle Plague Marine (36)
Crackle or no crackle, painting these guys has really been a blast so far, so I am considering adding some more models to the squad: I have two of the 90s metal Plague Marines, plus that old icon bearer from the same time. Giving those models the updated painting treatment would bring the squad up to seven — Nurgle’s sacred number, conveniently enough 😉

But that’s a smaller project for the future! For now, let me crawl back to my bed and try to shake off the visitations of Papa Nurgle. And, of course, let me know what you think!

We’ll be returning to the regular content soon. Until then, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Crackle Plague Marine (35)

WD Weekly and Warhammer: Visions — is it really that bad?

Posted in Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , on February 7, 2014 by krautscientist

Oh boy, what a week!

Even before my own respective copies of White Dwarf Weekly and Warhammer: Visions arrived in the mail last Saturday, I could already learn online that this was supposedly yet another catastrophy of epic proportions: The internet was already awash with reviews by Friday evening, and none of them were positive. And a sinking feeling was slowly growing in the pit of my stomach — was this the truth? Would the new magazines, especially Warhammer: Visions, really be as awful as everyone said?

Now, after spending the last weekend looking through both publications, then taking a few days to collect my thoughts on the matter, I have to say that the answer is not that simple, at least not for me. Allow me to elaborate:

Visions_review (1)

Before we take a look at the magazines proper, let me first say that the decision to split a running publication into two offshoots, if you will, all against the background of an economy where print publications are closed down rather than newly established, is still baffling to me. It would also be interesting to learn whether all of this was really part of a well-considered long term plan, or rather a more or less spontaneous endeavour (although I doubt magazines at that scope can truly be manufactured “spontaneously”). What I do understand, at least, is the fact that the return to a weekly release schedule necessitates an adjustment in the accompanying publications: If you want to be the one showcasing your own releases, you need a weekly publication alongside them, period. But to produce larger editorial content beyond the actual release info for a weekly publication can be a rather daunting task. So you split your existing magazine down the middle, right?

At least, that’s what it seems like at first glance: White Dwarf Weekly is basically a WD with all the fat trimmed off, while Visions is basically the remaining fat, to put it very briefly. But let’s take a closer look and allow me to tell you what I think about the new publications:

 

White Dwarf Weekly

What I liked:
Well, the mag is bascially identical to the first half of the “regular” White Dwarf we’ve been seeing for a little over two years now, and I have gone on record stating that I rather like the format. You still get a visually fairly comprehensive coverage on the new model releases, along with glimpses at new BL stuff as well. There’s also a stripped-down collection of editorial content, from Jervis Johnson’s usual column to articles on assembling and painting the new models. Nothing new so far, and if you’ve been comfortable with the latest format of WD, you’ll know what to expect.

The inclusion of rules for new models is also a really nice touch, and a return to earlier incarnations of the mag, albeit only a small one: It remains to be seen if this feature will only be used to tide people over until they get the expanded rules for a new character or unit with their army book (released in the same month, no less) or if GW will use this platform to actually release new rules that will not appear anywhere else — at least not for quite a while. For now, this could really go both ways, but it definitely has some potential for the future development of WD Weekly.

What I hated:
Here’s the thing, though: The fact that WD Weekly lacks virtually all the showcase elements of the latest monthly WD issues means that this basically feels like the first 20 pages torn out of a regular WD. And while the section depicting the new releases is thorough enough, this is really content that I can find for free on GW’s own website. The lack of kitbashes and custom armies to go back to and pore over really eats into the mag’s staying power, if you ask me: I read through it in about half an hour and only went back once to take a closer look for this review.

Verdict:
While most bloggers and commenters saw WD Weekly as the winner in this particular race, it was clearly the opposite for me: Dropping many of the showcase features leads to a magazine shorn of everything I personally find interesting. There’s the information on new releases, sure. But, like I said,  I can find plentiful information (and better pictures) of that stuff online, even on GW’s own website. The prospect of having new rules introduced through this publication alongside new kits is possibly the most interesting thing about WD Weekly, and I might get those issues dealing with kits and rules that interest me. But by and large, and especially at 3,20 Euros a pop, I think I’ll pass on this more often than not.

 

Warhammer: Visions

What I liked:
Warhammer: Visions is definitely a fascinating product because it seems so experimental in many ways: I am not all that sure that there is a noticeable market for a wargaming coffeee table book like that, to be honest, and it remains to be seen whether it will find its feet in the future or just turn out to be a way for GW to fulfill existing subscriptions before being unceremoniously canned.

That said, it really felt like some of the carry-over categories from WD really work much better in the new format:

Visions_review (3)
The “Army of the Month” feature, for one, gets quite an expansion (at 14 pages), which is great: I’ve always loved looking at well-conceived armies, even if I don’t play that particular faction or system, and 14 pages are enough space to really showcase the intricacies and little details. In the latest issues of WD, the Army of the Month feature was always too short for my taste, and the new format really works for me!

And while I can get tired of looking at GD winners for too long, there are some rather nice pieces in this issue’s showcase section, and even quite a bit of stuff I hadn’t seen before, such as Will Hahn’s amazing Nurgle Daemon Prince:

Visions_review (4)
Sure, you can always argue about the choice of content here, but such matters usually come down to personal taste. What I do like is that the section gets enough room to really showcase some of the more interesting detail, and it doesn’t overstay its welcome, either.

It’s also great to see that Blanchitsu and Kitbash make a return, although either of these could (and should) be expanded in the future, especially the former: I do realise that not everyone shares John Blanche’s taste in miniatures and design. Neither is everyone a fan of INQ28. But Blanchitsu represents a wholly unique voice in this hobby of hours, and INQ28 is the embodiment of “anything goes” in design terms: You can play any character you want. The model representing your character can be as restrained or as crazy as you want. You can experiment with kitbashing, painting or what have you. Towards this end, if you’re going for a mag that should showcase the versatility of GW’s models, Blanchitsu is basically your ace in the hole!

Visions_review (8)
Visions_review (9)
Oh, and one last thing: Quite a few people online are arguing that the smaller format is a step back, but I tend to disagree here: I really found it rather pleasant, and it somehow makes the mag feel “special”, less like a catalogue and more like an artbook. Sure, this is really a matter of personal preference, but the argument that the decrease in size allows for less content seems like a bit of a non-issue to me: I don’t believe they would have changed much about the mag’s content had it been any bigger: Like it or not, the layout and content of the mag seem to have been a deliberate choice on GW’s part.

What I hated:
Well, first of all, there are two things that I didn’t actually hate, but that puzzled me nonetheless, the first one being the very small amount of text in the mag. At least for the showcase sections, I would be okay with this, though: I realise the age of finding sprawling fluff and background sections in WD is well behind us, and I realise that, these days, extensive reading is not what I want from GW’s monthly or weekly publications. I come for the eye candy and stay for a couple of insightful comments and snippets of text here and there. Don’t get me wrong,  I love my background as much as the next guy (or, indeed, moreso on most occasions). But there’s so much excellent background fluff available online that GW is no longer my main outlet for that kind of content anyway. So, by and large, I don’t care about the lack of text all that much, except for two cases:

One, I would love to read something about the conception of the new models, even if it’s just some small designer’s notes – I’ll be getting to that in more detail in a minute. Two, I think that, at this point, they should really drop the battle reports altogether: If they are not prepared to give us either background context or rules and tactics discussions, the report is ultimately hollow. To wit, the most interesting thing about this month’s battle report was the opprotunity to get a closer look at Matt Hudson’s CSM army, if you ask me.

Then there’s the one thing that I really hated, and that’s the amount of repetition in the issue: We get 70 or 80+ pages of Tyranid models and colour schemes we have already seen last month (or online). I realise that GW need to feature the “flavor of the month army” prominently, but why use the same models and images over and over? And why compile a sprawling book of excellently painted miniatures and then complement it with painting guides that are really basic and unsophisticated? GW are welcome to feature the army of the month as much as they like, but they should be prepared to make the content dealing with that army as exciting as possible (instead of using twenty closeups from the same sprawling battle scene).

Verdict:
All in all, I am disappointed with Visions, but only midly so: If done right, I believe that this could be the kind of hobby publication I would be really interested in. As it stands, though, the first issue (which should have been a real killer) seems like a bit of a missed opportunity. They should really have let rip with this first installment, in order to win skeptics over. They settled for “kinda okay-ish” though, which is very unfortunate. Still, I believe Visions could become something special if handled right (and I will share some ideas with you in the next paragraph, be prepared). Whether it can be economically successful is a wholly different question, of course. But out of the two mags on offer, Visions is the far more interesting one, at least in my opinion. The mag has been derisively called “Miniature Porn” by many commenters, but you know what: That’s actually its appeal! I don’t know about you, but ogling beautifully converted and painted miniatures has been one of the core features of the hobby for me ever since my childhood friends and me sat hunched around a 40k 2nd edition colour section during our school breaks, marveling at the quality of the miniatures on display.

 

As it stands, both premieres are slightly underwhelming, which, of course, is hardly ideal when you’re replacing a long running product with two new ones. But I don’t want to be all negative here, so let me share some ideas on how to improve future issues. Some of these may be realistic, some of them may be crazy. But hey, I am just a blogger, so don’t expect any realism from me, okay?

I’ll also be focusing on Visions here, because it simply seems like the more promising format. So here goes:

1. Get rid of the countless rehashes:

Instead of reusing stuff we already know over and over again, why not compile a spotlight article for the faction that gets the most releases of the month? Such an article could feature enough pictures of the studio army, but it could also encompass concept art, short blurbs by the designers or even images of classic models. All of this would show how that particular army has evolved over time, what it means to the designers or what its central characteristics are. I firmly believe this would generate more buzz for any given army than just featuring the same 50 models in ever-changing arrangements. Also, instead of only featuring the studio armies, why not tap into the limitless supply of fantastic images available: The last issues of monthly WD were really good about using hobbyists’ armies over studio armies, so why not continue that trend? Speaking of the Tyranids, for example, Jes Bickham’s own hive fleet has been featured to death, but now it’s missing from the one issue of Visions actually dealing with ‘Nids? What gives? And why do they only show Adrian Komarski’s amazing models – easily some of the best ‘Nids I’ve ever seen – on the homepage but neglect to feature them in the mag? Each of these armies could have replaced four pages of rehashed photography! In short, if you want to show us 80 pages of Tyranid models, go right ahead! Just make sure it’s the most exciting inspiring collection of Tyranids you can come up with! And add some conversions, while you’re at it!

2. There’s so little text that you should make it meaningful — or drop it altogether

Here’s an edgy idea for you: Why not present most of the short blurbs of text as in character flavour pieces and soundbites? For example, a sentence like this

“The Haruspex crushes victims with its claws before dragging them into its maw with its vile grasping tongue.”

could become something like this:

“I swear Commmissar Helsrich was still shouting the Emperor’s catechism while his bones were being crushed by that thing. I still remember his face as that hideous …tongue dragged him into the creature’s maw. And I believe I will until the day I die.”
Trooper Constan Heral, 115th Palthian Grenadiers

Sure, it’s a bit longer, but you know what: Just drop the French and German translations while you’re at it! I daresay I speak for my fellow Europeans when I say that we would be able to cope. When all the text in your publication fits onto an A4 sheet, there’s a fair chance that your audience will manage to understand it, even if it’s only presented in english.

3. More dialogue with the community

This goes for more than the new mags of course, but in a hobby with such an amazingly vibrant hobby scene, why not work with those hobbyists more? We’re not even talking about democracy, here — you still get to call the shots when it comes to the business side of things, GW. But give us some information, for crying out loud! Ask us for our opinion! Will you have to deal with the – sometimes overwhelming – negativity? You bet! But you’ll also find many, many hobbyists that are eager to engage in some kind of honest dialogue with you, and even if nothing else may come of it, your publications would be the better (and more interesting, and possibly commercially viable for it)!

 

If I am disappointed with the new mags, it’s mainly because they are less than they could have been, but that problem should be fixable. Of coure, I am in the comfortable position to have been given my subscription as a christmas gift, so I can sit here and watch the mag develop without having to burn any money on it. But it goes without saying that I would rather see it flourish than go under. And there may just be a very real danger of that. To quote a remarkable comment by fellow hobbyist Matt Charman I found over on Faeit 212 some time ago:

It vexes me – I’m terribly vexed!

Now I’m usually the first to defend GW (former staff etc) and to slate economically illiterate whining about their policies. One of the things I haven’t bashed people as much about is their curious revisionist history of WD (where they refer to some golden age where its hobby content was much better). Now I have WD going back to the 80s, and the content and quality has gone through waves. For examples, in 1998 it was bloody awful, in 2002 it was amazing, in 2006 it was terrible, in 2013 it was awesome. Different trends and styles have given it a see-sawing history of quality whatever haters say.

But the Visions thing bothers me a lot. Now, my expectation was for a mix of imagery, original stories and hobby articles – leaving the rules, release information and Codex/AB commentary for WD. Maybe I misunderstood, who knows. That’s not what bothers me.

What bothers me is that all of the pages displayed, we’re seeing studio armies or very polished GD winners. Intending no disrespect to the great talents of these painters, I don’t find that hugely inspiring. Technically competent, yes – but we’re seeing things we’re familiar with (for example Empire troops in Talabheim colours, Tyranids in Leviathan/Kraken colours and so on). If I were to to produce a primarily pictorial magazine in this format, I think I’d have got for the diversity angle and compiled images of hobbyist collections. I find that a fresh perspective is more inspiring than a familiar one, even if said fresh perspective isn’t executed to studio quality.

To give an example of what I mean, remember Blood in the Badlands? There was a lovely conversion where one of the chaps had created a Tzeentch lord’s disc out of the vortex fulcrum. That idea had never occurred to me before, and I still want to steal it!

But here we’re being shown things which we’re already familiar with from our Codices/Army Books – albeit photographed at different angles and in different combinations. I’m honestly not sure what they’re trying to achieve here. But sadly, and as much as I’m a supporter of GW, I can’t get to grips with the idea of it being worth £7 per month.

 

So yeah, GW, just make sure it’ll be worth it in the future, alright? We’re all willing to help here, if you only let us 😉

So, what’s your opinion? Did you love or hate the new mags? Do you have any ideas you would like to share? Let me know in the comments section!

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

Fun with Rot…, pt. 2

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 5, 2014 by krautscientist

My experiments trying to create a convincing crackle effect on Plague Marine armour using the new Citadel Technical Paint Agrellan Earth continue, as do my attempts to rediscover the joy of painting. One of these goals seems to be working out quite nicely, the other one…not so much. So, what are we looking at:

As you remember, I painted a first test model, trying to bring out a rather pronounced crackle effect on the models armour. It worked, but not as well as I would have liked:

Crackle Plague Marine (1)

So I figured I would try a slightly different approach for the next model in line: Paint Agrellan Earth – undiluted – on areas of the entirely unpainted model and hope for a more convincing crackle effect to set in, then add all the remaining paint on top, trying to preserve the effect as much as possible.

First I had to come up with another model to use as a guinea pig, though, so I kitbashed a Plague Marine, using some of the more decrepit bitz I had lying around. And then, I added Agrellan Earth on top. Here’s the effect, after a bit of waiting:

Crackle Plague Marine (12)
As you can see, the crackle effect was far more pronounced this time around. So far, so good, right?

In principle, yes. But it is rather hard to retain the effect through multiple layers of paint without covering it up. While it worked until after undercoating, the following layers of paint destroyed some of the subtler touches. I tried to counter that by adding a bit of Agrellan Earth on top again, but it performed just as unevenly as before:

Crackle Plague Marine (14)
Apart from that, I once again used several simple weathering effects (as well as a generous helping of Nurgle’s Rot) to make the model as disgusting and decayed as possible. Here’s the result:

Crackle Plague Marine (20)
Crackle Plague Marine (19)
Crackle Plague Marine (18)
Crackle Plague Marine (17)
Crackle Plague Marine (16)

Crackle Plague Marine (15)
From a crackle perspective, the effect is still not as pronounced as I would have liked. Nevertheless, I really like the overall look of the model — and Nurgle’s Rot once again performed admirably, as you can see, with green goo leaking from the model’s armour in many places. This guy may not have crackled as much as I had wanted him to, but he surely looks like a follower of Nurgle: As a matter of fact, I can almost see myself painting a small squad of Plague Marines, just for fun, crackle or not crackle.

Here are the two test models I have completed so far:

Plague Marines (1)
And a colour comparison with Nurglite champion Malchius Blight, completed as part of an earlier project:

Plague Marines (2)
As you can see, the colour is somewhat different, with Malchius much closer to the Nurgle Terminator Lord I build as a smaller side project:

Nurgle Terminator (13)
Nurgle Terminator (14)
You can learn more about this guys here and here.

Tell you what, seeing how this is turning into a bit of a Nurgle showcase, let’s throw in some of my really ancient Plague Marines from the 90s, complete with my vintage paintjobs, trying hard to emulate the “official” ‘Eavy Metal paintjobs from second edition 40k:

Retro Plague Marines
I still love that icon bearer model, by the way — maybe I should strip the paint from it and repaint it in the “modern” style?

Anyway, here’s one of those old guys with his “younger” brother:

Plague Marine comparison
I somehow can’t help feeling immensely fond of those simplistic early 90s plastics — at the very least, they have aged far better than their loyalist counterparts: Just take a look at the Space Marines that came with the 2nd edition starter box!

But wait, where does all of this leave us with regard to the crackle effect?

Well, I believe I will have to give a dedicated crackle medium a go next, maybe the one offered by Vallejo will do? I could also use Agrellan Earth and use washes and shades to do the actual colouring, as some of you suggested after my last post.

In any case, this experimentation has been quite a lot of fun so far, and definitely a much needed boost for my painting modjo!

As always, let me know what you think! Thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!