Lord of the Pit

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.Β  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!

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23 Responses to “Lord of the Pit”

  1. looking sweet. with a full squad they will be amazing.

  2. Wow! He’s a great conversion! Simple, but brutally effective!

    …I think, I have to steal this idea… πŸ˜‰

  3. I like the model a lot and he fits the bill , it’s clear! Brutal, massive and the other thing it has to be!!

    But I have a minor problem with the GS work on the belly… a little too rough in my humble opinion and with clear taint painted on it make it more visible!! That said I’m not sure I could have done something cleaner myself, I have great difficulties with GS!!

    Welcome back to your Khornate addiction!!

    Keep up!

    Keb

  4. Seelensupergau Says:

    He looks beefy, skilled and a little noble. All I can wish for a bararian warrior like him. The contrast between his skin and the armor really catches me, and, dear god, this axe was one hell of a choice. I’m not that Khorne-Fan, to be honest, but your Eternal Hunt is one of the best projects I’ve seen so far. Thanks for being such an inspiration =)

  5. Fantastic work!

  6. This has Got to be one of my favourites of your world eaters!
    Great stuff!

  7. Now that is a Khorne Champion. So brutal and so barbaric.

    Krauty Baby for this Khorne should be elevating you to daemonhood.

    • Cheers, Peter! I really appreciate it, especially coming from a master such as you πŸ˜‰

      No daemonhood for me, though: You tend to lose all your wargear while ascending, and losing my bitzbox would really suck πŸ˜‰

      • Eternal life (hunt)…Bitzbox, Eternal life … Bitzbox… humm nah I keep up my bitz, you fools !! πŸ˜‰

      • Yeah, right on! Just think about it: What would you actually do with all that eternal life once your bitz box had been taken? πŸ˜€

  8. @ Kraut: Well ….I suppose that with eternity before you, you could… just gather the more fantastic pile of bitz never seen!!!

    Keb.

  9. Hi Kraut,

    Lovely model πŸ™‚
    I really like the way he looks – so potent, and passive aggressive πŸ™‚

    Love the skin too, can you give a hint / guide as to how you get that tone ?

    /J

    • Hey mate! Glad to see you’re still alive and kicking!v πŸ˜‰

      The skin’s really easy to paint, actually: I start with a basecoat of GW Rakarth Flesh, then was liberally with GW Ogryn Flesh. Afterwards, highlights are done on the most important areas of focus (i.e. the face) using the original Rakarth Flesh. You can also use Purple and/or Red Washes in some of the recesses to create distressed skin, bruising etc.

      Hope this helps! Now go update your blog! πŸ˜‰

  10. […] about a year later. Then a third one last autumn. And then I recently unveiled my model for Vorl Dustwalker, the champion to lead this gladiator […]

  11. […] you’re interested, check out the full story of the gladiatorii here, here and […]

  12. […] Or, basically the most straightforward option: Make the model a bit less daemonic and use it as a World Eaters arena champion — not unlike my own conversion for Vorl Dustwalker. […]

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