Archive for March, 2014

Et tu, Brute? A look at the chaos mini-release and a surprise model!

Posted in Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2014 by krautscientist

So, before those rumoured Imperial Guar…erm Astra Militarum models hit in the near future, let me just take this opportunity to talk a bit about the recent the “mini-release” for chaos players: Hopes had been high for multiple new kits (among them a Chosen/Havoc combi-kit) or a supplement dealing with the original traitor legions. The bad news is: That’s not what we got. But at least we did get some love from GW in the form of the Crimson Slaughter supplement and a new kit. So let’s take a look at these new toys, shall we?

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The rules in the new supplement seem to be reasonably solid, at least that’s what I hear on the forums.  People also laud the production values of the book, and I have to say that the art does seem quite inspired and is almost motivation enough for me to go and pick it up, just for the heck of it:
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At the same time, you’ve got to wonder: There has been quite a bit of nerd rage regarding the fact that the latest chaos supplement doesn’t deal with any of the major traitor legions, but rather focuses on a fairly new warband that had only been introduced into the background with the release of Dark Vengeance. Several commenters pointed out that this was likely done in an attempt to give newcomers to the hobby a “clean slate” warband that wasn’t so heavily bogged down in all of the background lore — but while this seems like a sensible explanation at first glance, I’m not sure I buy it: Warhammer 40k has always been about the 10,000 years worth of background lore, after all. And what better way to get people into the hobby up to their noses than to motivate them to read up on all the stuff that has happened to “their” legion over the last ten millennia?

Whatever the reason, it seems obvious that GW’s reluctance to publish legion specific rules is actually not an oversight but a conscious decision, at least for now: It feels like they are just not prepared to open that can of worms just yet, which is a bit of a shame, of course. I’ll still keep my fingers crossed for the legions to get a fitting treatment in the future, and I can only hope that this is all some kind of a bigger plan (and a bigger design plan, at that, not just some business tomfoolery).

Such considerations notwithstanding, there were two really positive aspects to come out of this mini-release: One is the fact that the studio CSM army seems to have  been switched from Black Legion to Crimson Slaughter, with images of models in the latter warband’s colours now also adorning all of the new boxes. And boy is it a gorgeous colour scheme! I’ll let slide the fact that the Crimson Slaughter has successfully managed to steal what should by rights be the official World Eaters colours: Red and bronze/gold always look great together, and turquoise is just the perfect spot colour for that particular combo (*cough* not that some of us hadn’t already realised that *cough*).

The other positive thing about this release is the new, multipart Helbrute kit. Let’s take a closer look:

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For all these past years, ever since the early 2000s really, chaos players have been clamouring for a new Dreadnought kit. Then Dark Vengeance came around, introducing us to the concept of the Helbrute, an Astartes Dreadnought warped and corrupted by the ruinous powers into something halfway between a daemon and a machine. Now, with the release of the multipart Helbrute, we have come full circle: The kit we had been waiting for so long is finally available. And quite a kit it is!

Before we take a closer look, though, let’s get the main problem out of the way first: In order to enjoy this kit, you have to be comfortable with the idea of the stock chaos Dread being much more warped and mutated – more “fleshy”, as it were – than before. If you don’t like that overall approach, well, you’re out of luck — this model just won’t be for you.

Here’s the thing, though: I myself am not a huge fan of overly mutated models. There are very few mutations appearing across my World Eaters army (both for aesthetic preference and fluff reasons). Still, both the Dark Vengeance Helbrute and the new multipart model have managed to win me over, because they just look amazing! They are evil and chaotic, exuding malice and horror in equal measure, so how could I not love them? What’s more, put them to a “regular” Dreadnought, and you’ll see that, in spite of all their mutations, they closely match the proportions and design of a standard Dreadnought underneath all of that fleshmetal: You can almost imagine how these creatures (d)evolved into the monstrosities they are now, and that is just great visual storytelling, period.

And even if you hate that look and approach with a passion, there are many alternative options: All of the loyalist Dreadnoughts are quite easy to convert into suitably chaotic models (as I myself have proven. Twice.). There are also the – still amazing – Forgeworld Chaos Dreads, if you prefer a more conservative design approach. So what I am saying here is that the new kit basically only adds more options instead of taking them away: Everyone can still get the Dreadn…erm Helbrute they like.

As for the kit itself, what strikes me as the best part is the amount of customisability: You get all of the available weapon options plus a huge amount of bitz to make the Helbrute look like an individual or represent his allegiance to a specific chaos legion or warband. It goes without saying that the weapon options follow the mutated look of the main body. In some cases, they are still fairly conservative (the Autocannon or Lascannon would be good examples). Some other weapons are a bit more out there:

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They even managed to make the power scourge, possibly the most awkward looking equipment option on the old metal model, look legitimately cool:

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Personally speaking, the rocket launcher is just a bit much, though: I love the model and all, but the idea of fired rockets leaving fleshy sockets like pulled teeth is just taking the body horror angle a bit too far for my liking, thank you very much:

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A personal favourite of mine would be the option of arming the Helbrute with twin power fists, because there’s nothing saying brutal, insane killing machine than those huge fists:

CSM_release_2014 (5)Even beyond the different weapons, I really love the additional options for customisation: You get a whopping six heads and three horned crests for the sarcophagus, for instance. Sure, this guy is more expensive than the loyalist dread, but he is also quite a bit more exciting from a visual standpoint, plus you basically get all the weapons option in one place instead of them being spaced out over several kit.

Also, whether or not you like the basic look, you’ve got to admit that there’s a nice bit of visual consistency between the different daemon engine kits: There are little touches that tie them all together and make them look like parts of the same overall faction. Nice!

In comparison with the DV Helbrute, GW seem to have taken the hobbyists’ feedback onboard: The two main points of contention about that model were the somewhat uninspired back (less detailed than would have been preferrable, probably due to production conditions for a snap fit model?!) and the strangely organic feet: By comparison, the new Helbrute has some additional armour plating on his back, recalling the design of both loyalist Dreadnoughts and the FW chaos Dreads. The feet have been also been redesigned, now looking far more like standard Dreanought feet.

 

So, are there any problems with the model? For one, I think that the pose could have been a bit less static, but that’s always a problem with a multipart kit that has to balance awesomness and flexibility. Still, if you want this guy to be more dynamic, you’ll have to put in a bit of work (and when you do, the rather organic nature of the model when compared to standard Dreads means some GS sculpting may be in order).

The biggest problem seems to be that, at least for those into the background of the setting, the new Helbrute may not be a good fit for some of the traitor legions: Sure, he should work like a charm for at least four of the three “cult legions” (Emperor’s Children, Death Guard and, of course, World Eaters) as well as for two of the undivided legions (Black Legion and Word Bearers). But after that, it might get a little iffy: While I could see the Night Lords using a mutated Helbrute like this as a terror weapon (as well as an instrument of torture for one of their own), I think the model doesn’t work quite that well for, say, the Iron Warriors: I think you’d be better of converting an Ironclad Dreadnought (or go with the FW option). In the case of the Thousand Sons, the mutated look matches Tzeentch’s penchant for twisting and warping his followers, but clashes somewhat with the legion’s background. And I think the model just doesn’t work for the Alpha Legion, at least not when you keep the most recent fluff in mind. But then again, there are alternatives for those cases (see above).

A small, if insubstantial, disappointment is the fact that, unlike the heads in the Venerable Dreadnought kit, the leftover Helbrute heads will not work on regular Chaos Space Marines, as is evident from this photo, kindly provided by fellow hobbyist Daemonclaw:

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They might arguably work in Terminator armour, but only with a fair bit of cutting. Just imagine if we were to get a helmet like the one on the left for our Khorne berzerkers one day…

Then there’s the whole dataslates business: The new Helbrute dataslate supposedly adds some quite viable ways to use the new model — or, indeed multiple models. But, as has been the case for prior dataslate releases, it’s the downloadable content discussion over again. And while I do see digital publications as a viable avenue of income for GW, I still don’t see why they could not have put these rules into the same issue of WD featuring the new model: Wouldn’t that be precisely the kind of content that would make people pick up the mag, after all?

And there’s one final problem: Maybe it’s just due to a couple of crude comments over at Throne of Skulls, but don’t you agree that there’s one particular element about the new Helbrute’s design that seems a little…suggestive?

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I mean, look, maybe it’s just me, but…don’t those dangling eyes look a bit like, you know,…

…ah, never mind 😉

It’s a great model, though, fair and square: Great job, GW!

 

So, I also promised you a surprise model in the title, so let’s make good on that promise: After longingly looking at pictures of the new Helbrute kit in WD Weekly, I surprised myself by not running out to buy the kit right away, but rather grabbing that unpainted DV Helbrute I still had sitting on my desk and finally starting to paint that instead — and it’s about time, too, seeing how it’s been quite a while

While the model remains an amazing piece, I can safely say now that it’s certainly not a lot of fun to paint: It took what felt like ages, but then the model finally started to come together, and it’s mostly finished at last. Take a look:

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As you can see, in another case of fairly atypical behaviour, I left the model mostly unconverted, but then I really like the model a lot as is. I just got rid of the stubby melta arm — the one truly bad piece of design on an otherwise amazing sculpt, if you ask me.

I also added a little “special effect” on the model’s back, using Tamiya Clear Red:

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Not an ‘Eavy Metal grade paintjob, admittedly, but considering the amount of time I spent on this guy (and how long it took to finally get to the point where I wasn’t feeling like I was messing up horribly), I am really pretty happy with the outcome so far:

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The face definitely remains my favourite part of the model:

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So horrible and so amazing at the same time!

As of this writing, I still need to do some final touchups on the model, add some final highlights etc. But I hope you’ll agree that it’s coming together.
Here’s the new Helbrute with his future “colleagues”, Marax the Fallen and Khoron the Undying:

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Of course this leaves me just one Helbrute short of that most elusive and devastating of formations: The Barbershop Helquartet of Dooom! 😉

 

In comparison with the new multipart kit, the DV Helbrute does of course lack a bit of flexibility as well as a whole lot of weapons options. Then there’s the fact of the slightly redesigned back and feet on the new model. However, at least in my opinion, the DV Helbrute isn’t necessarily the inferior model: The pose is excellent and dynamic, whereas the new model looks quite static (provided you’re not going with the two power fists). The face on the DV Helbrute is also quite excellent, and slightly better than the bare faces included with the multipart kit, at least in my opinion. And while it was designed as a single pose model, using it for rather extensive and exciting conversions is absolutely possible! For inspirations about how to truly make this model sing, look no further than the work of Daemonclaw or Biohazard — the latter’s particularly great Helbrute is a model I am truly envious of! Plus you can get the DV Helbrute for a song on ebay, which makes sure that this version remains a very viable option, especially for converters. And just imagine what one could achieve with one of the new multipart kits and a DV Helbrute: All that leftover bitz would be amazing for making two standout models at an onlslightly bigger cost.

 

So, in closing, while the lack of additional kits or any legion-specific supplement is of course a bit of a disappointment, the new Helbrute kit is amazing enough to tide me over until the true next chaos release comes rolling around. Will I get one at some point? Quite possibly so, yes. I am not exactly looking forward to painting another of these fleshy behemoths, though: The more mechanic, angular Dreadnoughts are far easier to paint and make for far more pleasant work.

Let’s not think of any further Helbrutes just yet: For now, I am really happy that I finally managed to paint one of my favourite pieces from the Dark Vengeance boxed set!

As always, I’d love to hear any feedback you might have. And, of course, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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More gladiators entering the arena…

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2014 by krautscientist

I have been making some serious progress on my squad of gladiatorial World Eaters which means more World Eaters for you to look at. This squad comes together really fast, both because these guys are a lot of fun to convert and paint and there’s an ongoing stream of really helpful feedback from fellow hobbyists. So let’s take a look at the latest additions to the squad, shall we?

First of all, I revisited one of the gladiators I showed you in my last post: Leave it to fellow World Eaters players to sort out your conversion problems for you: Biohazard suggested some simple changes to my Carnifex gladiator that instantly made the pose 100% better and improved the model quite a bit:

Before:

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After:

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Just by tweaking it ever so slightly, I managed to make the model’s pose look quite a bit more plausible, don’t you think? Thanks for the amazing tip, buddy!

I also finally painted the Retiarius. Here’s the finished model:

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Seeing the photos up close now, there may be one or two areas that could do with a slight touch up, but I am generally happy with the model: There’s a very nice sense of movement, which, I think, really fits this particular gladiator’s fighting style.

Here he is together with his “opposite”, the Secutor:

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The next thing I did was to build another gladiator from the ground up: One of the classic gladiator types I found pretty interesting was the Bestiarius, used to fight against wild beasts. Now for my own gladiator squad, I wanted to adapt this concept as some kind of beastmaster, taming all kinds of feral creatures and siccing them on his opponents. As a matter of fact, this gladiator also provided an excellent chance to revisit an older idea of mine:

Quite a while ago, I built a modular base for two chaos hounds and a beast handler. The base itself was a fairly simple affair:

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Now the idea was that the models could be slotted into the larger base to form kind of a mini-diorama, while also staying useable as single models. I did finish the base and hounds, but the beast handler didn’t happen, for one reason or another:

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So what better way to finally make use of these already completed assets than to incorporate them into my plans for the Bestiarius, right? So I threw together a quick WIP model of the gladiator:

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My original idea was for him to hold the two hounds by chain leashes, so I used a suitable gauntlet and planned on converting it to be holding two chains:

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But in addition to being a rather fiddly conversion to get right, I realised that this would mean that the gladiator himself would only ever look good when slotted into the larger base. On his own, he would be holding two chains strangely suspended in thin air, ending in nothing. That didn’t work!

Fortunately, my bitzbox didn’t leave me stranded, and some fellow hobbyists provided a couple of awesome suggestions via the forums. In the end, I decided to replace the leashes with a whip: This element would communicate the beastmaster concept just as well, plus it would make the model more flexible. And so, little by little, the Bestiarius took shape. Here’s the finished model before painting:

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As you can see, I added a couple of additional bitz to make the model a bit more interesting. Most of these parts were also chosen in order to make the model look slightly feral, in keeping with its profession, so to speak.

Here’s the Bestiarius, preliminarily slotted into the bigger base:

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The fact that the bigger base and hounds were already finished provided just the right motivation to get the gladiator painted as soon as possible. So a short while later, the Bestiarius was mostly finished as well:

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Again, I might go back and add some last highlights, but I think you already get a pretty good impression from these pictures. Here he is, complete with his hounds:

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I am pretty happy with both the new model and the ensemble. And choosing the whip instead of the chains means the gladiator is far more flexible (and could be used for different beasts as well…).

I do of course realise that he doesn’t have any rules per se, but this was mainly a fun project, and I am quite pleased with the result!

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Here are the two newly painted  models together:

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I actually managed to paint both of these in one day, with is almost spectacularly productive when compared to my usual standard… 😉

And finally, since coming up with new gladiators was such a blast, I went and built another one: This time, I wanted to adapt the concept of the Cestus for my squad, a gladiator fighting with his fists (pretty much a precursor to modern boxers).

Getting this right once again took some doing, because while the whole gladiator squad may not be all that plausible to begin with, a warrior merely using his fists as a weapon on the battlefields of the 41st millennium just seems completely out there. My initial idea was to produce something like this…

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…but that just looked far too stupid. Fortunately enough, some of the clawed gauntlets from the Raptor/Warp Talon kit had just the gladiatorial look I was going for:

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It’s still not exactly a prudent weapons choice, but it works better than just the twin power fists, don’t you think? And who doesn’t love a little Wolverine every now and then (Snikt, anyone?)? The one thing I am not perfectly sure about, however, is whether to use the head as is or add a crest to it:

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There’s arguments for both options, really: The bare helmet looks brutal and no-nonsense like, which is a nice fit for the character. The helmet with crest seems more arrogant and flamboyant, which seems rather fitting for a warrior thinking he can cut it on the field of battle using nothing but some clawed gauntlets.

I think I’ll just have to think about it for a while. It’s only a minor detail, to be sure, but it’s a pretty tough aesthetic decision — I know, I know: first world problems, and all that…

In any case, as you can see, the gladiator squad is coming along rather nicely. As of today, there are seven painted models in the squad. Here they are, assembled for a family portrait:

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That leaves me with the Carnifex and Cestus to paint. And after that? I’m not sure, actually: My original plan was to stop at eight, but these guys are serious fun to come up with, so don’t be surprised if I decide to add yet another model or two…

For now, though, I am pretty happy with how the squad is coming along. And all mostly thanks some really kick ass suggestions by fellow hobbyists. Thanks a lot, people!

It goes without saying that I’d be interested to hear any comments you might have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

So yeah, about that Knight Titan…

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, Pointless ramblings, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 16, 2014 by krautscientist

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First of all, let me apologise for posting an incomplete version of this post a couple of hours ago — I didn’t pay attention and messed up. However, what better incentive to finally finish that post, right? So here goes:

I surely took my own sweet time to finally get around to talking about this kit! But while the internet was already abuzz with all kinds of unboxing videos, sprue diagrams and what have you, I did want to take it a bit slower, carefully looking at the kit and waiting for the first builds and conversions to appear. But when it comes to Imperial Knights, some pretty sweet content has begun to appear online over the last few days, so I guess the time is right!

I’ll gladly admit that my jaw pretty much hit the floor when I first saw the Imperial Knight: Once again, as they did with the Lord of Skulls, GW have taken a model from the days of Epic (or, indeed, Adeptus Titannicus) and brought it over to the 28mm scale — and what  model it is!

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I have gone on record stating that the 40k universe feels really unique to me. Sure, there’s a number of possible inspirations for the setting, but no other IP mixes medieval, renaissance and futuristic elements with quite so much aplomb! The Imperial Knight is a perfect example of that in that it is clearly both a futuristic walker and a wildly eclectic, medieval looking machine. It also really does look like a knight!

The model also clearly improves on the older versions of the model, keeping hallmarks of GW’s classic titans (the spindly arms carrying comparatively huge weapons, the hunched over look with the head emerging from the chest,…) while bringing it all in line with the more recent design.

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I can still remember one of the first pieces of 4ok artwork I saw while browsing through the instruction manual for Space Crusade: It was a battle scene focusing on what must have been a Knight Titan, with Space Marines scurrying antlike between its legs. I can remember my wonder at that piece of artwork, specifically at the strangely medieval banners and heraldic elements adorning the huge robot-thing. Looking at the new Knight recalls that moment and provides the best possible kind of nostalgia: I remember the older Knight models not as they actually looked but as they should have looked.

The kit is also full of amazing details: The heraldic plate on the right shoulder, the banner between the legs or the hatch leading to the cockpit, all of these are great little touches. The chainsword is a bit of a no-brainer, because it’s so iconic of the GW titans, but the weapons for the other arm are really nice as well.

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The different faceplates have got to me my favourite elements, however: It actually took me a while to realise that all of them use the same basic head construction and merely function as masks, but they are all great: From suitably knightly to creepily skeletal, there is much to like about the designs — even using the bare head without any masks on top is a cool option, leading to a suitably inhuman AdMech look:

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The model is also really interesting in the way it uses heraldic elements: Much has been said about the various decal sheets for the Knight, but while I am feeling mostly apathetic about decals in the first place, the Imperial Knight is a stunning example of what can be achieved once the decals are basically turned up to eleven:

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On the other hand, I was surprised to see that the Knight also works with relatively simple colour schemes. In fact, one of my favourite Knights so far has one of the simplest colour schemes:

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Already, people all over the internet are coming up with visually stunning Imperial Knights, and it will be fun to see what can be done with the model over the coming weeks and months.

One last thing that I love about the Imperial Knight is not so much the model itself but the lore surrounding it: The Imperial Knights are, at the same time, a perfect embodiment of the 40k universe and yet also avatars of something even more archaic and medieval: The whole culture surrounding them is really interesting, and the concept of knight world and knightly households is not only very interesting but also hasn’t been done to death — a much needed breath of fresh air, so to speak!

There are also the possible myteries surrounding those huge warmachines: How does the Throne Mechanicum work? What does the cockpit of a Knight look like? Is it your classic mech cockpit with lots of screens and HUDs? Is it a steampunk extravaganza, complete with analogue gauges, brass piping and an upholstered pilot chair? Could it be more like an amniotic tank, with the pilot floating suspended in liquid (the top hatch does have something sinister, doesn’t it?)? It’s fun to imagine all kinds of stories about the Knight, and to explore the parts you cannot see as well — is it any wonder that there are enterprising hobbyists endeavouring to fill the gaps, so to speak? And to great effect, I might add!

While we are on the subject of other hobbyists, let me point you towards several really useful resources for all your Imperial Knight discussion needs:

  • First, a supremely useful series of posts on Tale of Painters, discussing the kit and its various properties (one and two)
  • Then you should definitely check out JeffTibbet’s thread over at The Bolter and Chainsword, where Jeff builds a Knight from the ground up with an enviable amount of perfectionism and attention to detail — highly recommended!
  • For those who want to delve into the history of Imperial Knights and their models, this thread should be an awesome resource as well.

 

So, isn’t there anything bad about the kit?

As much as I love the model – and love it unequivocally, I might add – I once again feel that I am not exactly comfortable with the direction of the game as a whole: Sure, the Knight is amazing, and everybody and their cousin want one. It stands to reason that it should be given workable rules, because what use is a toy we don’t get to play with, right? But entire Knight armies consisting of multiple of these beasts? What role does that leave for the average infantryman?

I do of course realise that I sound a bit like a broken record here, but I think it needs to be pointed out that we are now basically playing with action figures, scale wise. This is both good and bad: Good because we get to use stuff that only ever had a place in Epic before, and this is very much like our children’s dreams come true, right? Bad because there’s this constant danger that any game below the Apocalypse level could end up more or less devalued.

Then there’s the fact that we should also consider alterntives to the Imperial Knight: I already mentioned Dreamforge Games‘ excellent models at an earlier date, and they are certainly first on my list of possible alternatives for a Knight model:

Leviathan Crusader by  Dreamforge Games

Leviathan Crusader by Dreamforge Games

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Leviathan Mortis by Dreamforge Games

The great thing about the DFG models is their almost ridiculously high amount of articulation, poseability and cutomisability: You can basically get these guys to look any way you want, and this is certainly the one area where the GW model falls a little flat. There’s also the fact that the Leviathans are available in loyalist and chaotic flavours, as evident from the images above. Plus they certainly provide some amazing value for the money. Strong contenders for the Imperial Knight, surely?

The one problem seems to be their size: There’s a pretty helpful side-by-side comparison of the Knight Titan and 15 mm Leviathan Crusader here on YouTube. The gist of it is that the 15mm is about 2 inches shorter than the Knight, while the bigger 28mm version is about two inches taller. So either will not be the same height as the “official” Knight kit. That’s certainly not the only important consideration here, but it does make a difference. Meanwhile, the bigger, 28mm Crusader would certainly make for a brilliant alternative to a Warhound Titan.

And you know what: You can call me crazy, but maybe we wouldn’t even have the Imperial Knight today if it hadn’t been for the Dreamforge Games models meeting with such positive feedback last year.

The good news is that, in this particular case, you, my dear readers, can have your cake and eat it too: While I might be endeavouring to build a chaos knight using the Imperial Knight kit at some point in the near future, fellow hobbyist Chris Harman has the Dreamforge Games angle covered — and knowing his conversions so far, we’ll definitely be in for a treat!
So, before I wind up this rambling post, let me take a look at some of the conversions that have begun to crop up all over the blogosphere. It probably won’t astound you that my main interest lies in seeing the Imperial Knight suitably desecrated and brought into the service of the ruinous powers — rules and allie matrices be damned! Fortunately enough, some fellow chaos worshippers have already done some truly spectacular work:

  • First up, Insane Psychopath’s conversion, making heavy use of a WFB warshrine of chaos — and to great effect, I might add!
  • Then there’s the ever-inspirational GuitaRasmus, with a more twisted vision. That head is just amazing, isn’t it?
  • Another – fairly straightforward but still absolutely awesome – conversion comes from greg0985: I thought the skull mask was a no-brainer for a chaos knight conversion, but this model seriously made me reconsider that…
  • And finally, there is this beauty, courtesy of Troy, that left me almost speechless: Troy also made good use of the warshrine bitz, but the red and gold really sold me on what clearly seems to be a Khornate Knight.

And there’s that most elusive and expensive of kitbashes: Combining the Lord of Skulls and Imperial Knight kits to make a truly enormous Khornate walker — many are theorising about such a conversion at the moment, but none have tried it so far. Maybe it’s the price tag? At 200 Euros, such a conversion certainly wouldn’t come cheap. Maybe it’s the fact that the kitbash would leave you with two leftover halves without much use for either — although some have pointed out that a Knight upper body and Lord of Skulls undercarriage could be combined in order to build a Kaban Machine. Anyway, sooner or later, somebody will take the plunge…

 

The Lord of Skulls was admittedly a bit of an acquired taste: While it stayed true to its roots in several old Epic models and nicely managed to transport them to the 2st century, it was too goofy for some and was thus derisively called the “Skulldozer”. The Imperial Knight tries the same, but with vastly more success and to near unanimous excitement. And rightly so: From a design perspective, it’s an amazing model. It has set the hobby scene abuzz with a thousand possibilities, and there’s no small amount of anticipation: Whatever may be next?

For now, let’s be happy with the Imperial Knight we got. It’s a stunning piece. Great job, GW!

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

Old Rot

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

Today, let me show you something that provides a bit of colour contrast in between all the red and bronze: Parallel to working on a squad of gladiatorial World Eaters, I’ve also been painting some more followers of Nurgle. And this time around, we are talking about some models that have been in my collection for quite some time!

Since we last saw my growing squad of Plague Marines, I’ve added two more models. And even though I have precious little love left for metal models at this point, the Dave Andrews Plague Marines from the late 90s still range among my favourite chaos models for a number of reasons:

First, they are quite iconic: With their gas masks and “Pickelhauben”, they have a decided WW1 Trencher feel — quite fitting for warriors who fight surrounded by virulent gases and noxious fumes (albeit in a slightly inverted way: One could almost imagine that the Plague Marines are actually wearing their protective gear in order to keep the fresh air out). Their helmet design also nicely combines historical sources with the “mono-horn” typical of Nurgle.

Then there’s the fact that the detail on these guys is very nice: The damage to their armour seems believable and not overstated. All of them are modelled with a trusty plague knife at their side. And there are delicious visual cues, such as desiccated heads (serving as plague grenades), small Nurgle icons worn on chains, leaking (and poorly patched up) pipes or all kinds of vile pocks and fungal growth marking the armour.

All these qualities notwithstanding, I am a little ashamed to say that the metal Plague Marines I own have mostly been mouldering away, pun intended, in my bitzbox, ever since I purchased them sometime during the late 90s/early 2000s.

That turned out to be a good thing, though, because my recent foray into the wonderful world of corrosion and decay made sure that I could finally do justice to these models — in my small way, at least.

I left these completely unconverted, both because I hate cutting apart metal models, but also because I think the models are pretty much perfect as is. My only concession to modern design was to outfit them with some new arms and bolters, instead of the old plastic versions from the 90s (clown hands, anyone?).

So, without any further ado, here are the finished models:

Plague Marines (25)
Plague Marines (26)
Plague Marines (27)
Plague Marines (28)The first model seemed to be built for a very classic pose, so I just added two arms holding a bolter. I really like the model’s subtly implacable look! Painting-wise, the Plague Marine was given the same treatment as the rest of my Plague Marines, with lots of rust and corrosion (and a fair amount of Nurgle’s Rot leaking out of the armour joints and vents).

The second model seems to have been designed with a more open pose in mind, so I obliged by arming it with a chainsword/bolter combo. Here’s the finished model:

Plague Marines (24)
Plague Marines (23)
And what do you know, when I had almost given up hope, a nice and subtle crackle effect began to develop on the right shoulder pad, courtesy of all the Agrellan Earth I used in the paint for the armour:

Plague Marines (22)
Plague Marines (21)
I also really like the pocks, dappled all over the model’s left greave. Such a fun little detail:

Plague Marines (19)
All in all, these guys were a blast to paint. Plus they have really managed to age ridiculously well: They perfectly embody all that a Plague Marine should be, in my opinion, with their only shortcoming being that they are slightly on the small side when stood next to more recent models, but that could well be explained in-universe as their bodies slowly collapsing from rot. The best thing about them is how they are quite sinister without being overly twisted or mutated. In fact, part of the body horror for these guys comes from wandering what’s beneath the armour (instead of being able to see it outright). It seems like Forgeworld’s recently released Death Guard conversion kits are, in no small part, an attempt to create uncorrupted Pre-Heresy versions of these models’ design. The later metal model from the 2000s seem a little lacklustre, by comparison — I wish I had bought more of those older models while I still had the chance, because they are all great!

So, where does that leave us in regard to the overall squad? Let’s take a look:

Plague Marines (30)
I am really quite pleased with these guys, even though I have little to no plan to use them in Khorne’s Eternal Hunt. There’s still the 90s metal icon bearer – now stripped of his former paintjob – left to paint. And then? Maybe I’ll just spin these guys off into a small Nurglite killteam? After all, I already have a suitably decayed Terminator Lord to lead them:

Nurgle Terminator (13)
I have half a mind to throw in a decayed Traitor Guard soldier or two. And a plague zombie. And maybe some hulking mutant creature? Shoot, there I go again…

For now, though, painting these guys has proven to be a lot of fun. And I love the fact that I have finally managed to finish some models that have been part of my collection for ages. Go me! 😉

Plague Marines (31)
Let me know what you think! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Blood and Sand

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, paintjob, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 5, 2014 by krautscientist

“The Emperor, for all his supposed faults, understood war had come full circle. In his Imperial wisdom, he’d bred soldiers to win those ancient wars that would be fought again in the future”

Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Betrayer

 

Today I would like to talk about a project that has managed to more or less take on a life of its own lately, and has become a rather interesting facet of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt. So what is this about, and why that quote?

Those of you following this blog for some time may remember that, every now and then, I will build models channelling the gladiatorial origins of the World Eaters: Everything started in 2012 with a first test model, then a second gladiator, resembling a particular, very angry video game character, followed 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 squad:

Vorl Dustwalker (6)
That last model, along with the growing squad, received some pretty positive comments on the various boards and forums I frequent, along with some pretty nifty suggestions and ideas for future gladiators: I had always seen ancient Roman gladiator types as a vague inspiration, of course. But I hadn’t delved too deeply into historical sources, fearing that the results would be too Roman and not World Eater-ly enough. But with the various suggestions by fellow hobbyists came a renewed interest in the classical side of things, so I checked out various Roman gladiator types and reflected on how to best adapt them to the world of 40k.

I do of course realise that the whole concept is a bit silly: Partially unarmoured warriors fighting with rather primitive weapons are probably not all the rage on the battlefields of the 41st millennium. But still, exploring this particular side of the World Eaters’ cobbled-together warrior culture was far too interesting and rewarding an option to ignore: It’s fun to imagine a band of World Eaters that endeavours to mimic the Primarch Angron even more closely than the rest of the legion, fighting like the gladiators of ancient times. And when I discovered the quote prefacing this article while reading Betrayer, everything started falling into place.

So, through the input of my fellow hobbyists and a strange chain of coincidences, the gladiator squad became a very interesting hobby project rather than an idle distraction. For the last days and weeks, I have tried to come up with new members for the squad, with each of them fighting in his own way, with a unique set of weapons. Some of the models I will show you today (and those that are yet to come) will be patterned after classical gladiators, while others will be less historically recognisable, but just as gladiatorial, I hope. Anyway, let’s take a look at where the squad is headed at the moment:

These two were the next two models in line to be painted:

World Eaters Gladiators (3)
On the left, you see a guy I already built some time ago. Like all of the gladiators so far, he was kitbashed from a mix of Khorne berzerker, (Chaos) Space Marine, Beastman and Chaos Marauder parts. Those bitz allowed me to achieve the partially armoured and slightly feral look I wanted. In this case, the model received a chain glaive, a fitting weapon for a follower of Khorne (even though the more recent fluff seems to have transformed it into a traditional weapon of the VIII legion).

While painting this guy, I stuck to my usual recipe. Here’s what I ended up with:

World Eaters Gladiators (14)
World Eaters Gladiators (15)
World Eaters Gladiators (16)
World Eaters Gladiators (17)
World Eaters Gladiators (18)
World Eaters Gladiators (19)
Once again, the model is wearing a tatoo reminiscent of Angron’s own warpaint:

World Eaters Gladiators (20)
I am calling this kind of gladiator a “Glaivex” for the chain glaive he wields. There wasn’t any similar gladiator in ancient Rome because glaives and halberds were apparently invented much later, but since it’s a weapon I definitely wanted to incorporate, I had to improvise. I still think he rather looks the part though:

World Eaters Gladiators (21)
The next member of the squad was patterned after the classical Secutor, a gladiator fighting with sword and shield and usually paired with a Retiarius. The Roman Secutor was armoured on one of his arms and had a special helmet, designed to repel the trident wielded by the Retiarius.

Transforming the historical design into something fitting the overall look and feel of my World Eaters did take some doing, but here’s the model I came up with:

World Eaters Gladiator 04 (2)
As you can see, the weapons and equipment were somewhat “de-romanised”, with a suitably chaotic sword and shield in place of the Roman Gladius and Scutum.

The helmet was a bit of a lucky find: It’s from the WFB Chaos Chariot, and while wasn’t all that fond of it to begin with, I really think it works in this case.

So here’s the painted model:

World Eaters Gladiators (6)
World Eaters Gladiators (6b)
World Eaters Gladiators (7)
World Eaters Gladiators (9)
World Eaters Gladiators (11)
World Eaters Gladiators (12)
World Eaters Gladiators (13)
I think this guy has a rather brooding, sinister presence, due to his pose as well  his “faceless” helmet. So while the model was made from a hodgepodge of bitz, it has really become a favourite of mine, to tell you the truth.

Here are both models, completely painted:

World Eaters Gladiators (31)
With these two new recruits, the squad is now playable (and already looks fairly nice as well):

World Eaters Gladiators (5)
So what do we have so far? From left to right: A Secutor, Dimachaerus (wielding two swords), Vorl Dustwalker with his huge war axe, another Dimachaerus (sword and axe, this time) and the Glaivex.

I am really happy with these, and yet I am already hard at work on the next additions for the squad. Some are even halfway presentable, no less:

First up, a Retiarius, to serve as a playfellow for the Secutor:

World Eaters Gladiators (28)
World Eaters Gladiators (25)
The Roman Retiarius is certainly one of the most iconic gladiators, wielding a net and trident. In my case, I used a leftover net from the Dark Eldar Wyches and one of the weapons from the WFB plastic Chaos Lord: It may not be a trident, but it looks suitably imposing and chaotic!

Again, getting this guy’s pose right took a bit of work, but I really couldn’t be any happier with the result! The model is basically finished at this point, and definitely next on the paint station!

But there’s more: Here’s a (slightly more WIP) model not patterned after a classical gladiator. I am calling this guy a “Carnifex”, after the latin word for executioner — rather than a huge alien-dinosaur, people 😉

World Eaters Gladiators (24)
World Eaters Gladiators (22)
World Eaters Gladiators (23)
Please ignore the blue grenades: a rather dubious colour choice taken by the previous owner…
Anyway, even though this guy will need some more sorting out, I think he already reads as a gladiator.

Here are the two next squad members together:

World Eaters Gladiators (29)

And even beyond those, there are some more gladiator types that might warrant further exploration: What about a Cestus, wielding dual power fists (or suitably spiky gauntlets)? Or a Bestiarius, complete with his trusty chaos hound? Or an Andabatae, with a completely closed helmet, blindly charging at the enemy like a wild bull? We’ll see…

Another important thing to note is that the gladiator theme is something that gets repeated throughout the army, even beyond this particular squad. The two visual leitmotifs for my World Eaters are that they are hunters (adorning themselves with trophies and pelts of their prey as well as acessories like war horns, skinning knives etc.) and that they are gladiators, wielding weapons and equipment that sometimes seem slightly gladiatorial. Brother Hokar would be an example of that:

Hokar WIP (2)
Or, indeed, Lord Captain Lorimar himself:

Lorimar WIP (10)
Or consider, if you will, the Veredus pattern Assault trike, a vehicle straight from the arena, if ever there was one:

Veredus pattern attack trike WIP (2)
For now, though, thinking about new models to add to my gladiator squad and getting them built and painted serves two objectives: It allows me to finish models that I am really happy with, and it gets me in the mood for building (and painting!) more World Eaters, and that’s always a good thing, right?

World Eaters Gladiators (4)

In closing, let me say that this project wouldn’t have become so much fun without the constant feedback from fellow hobbyists. So thanks to all those who have helped shape these models, and please keep those comments coming!

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

entertained