Archive for April, 2014

Butcher’s Boy

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 30, 2014 by krautscientist

A warning in advance: I realise that today’s update quickly degenerates into rambling. Bear with me, though, there’ll be new stuff to look at partway down the page 😉 So what is this about?

While I virtually lack any sort of impulse control when it comes to buying new plastic crack, the one area where I have thus far exhibited an almost shocking amount of restraint is buying from Forgeworld: Sure, I’ll purchase some heads, shoulder pads and smaller doodads every now and then, but with the exception of Lord Zhufor, still possibly the best World Eaters model ever released, I haven’t bought any complete Forgeworld kits yet.

There’s a number of reasons for this, but lack of sculpting quality certainly isn’t a part of it: I love many of FW’s models as much as the next guy — if anything, the amount of detail alone is usually intimidating enough to prevent me from purchasing any models, for fear of being unable to do them justice with my painting.

Then there’s the fact that it sometimes seems to me like Forgeworld models are the easy, albeit expensive, way out of pretty much any modeling conundrum: Want a super awesome model? Just use a stock piece from Forgeworld! Want to own Marines in Pre Heresy armour — gee, Forgeworld is releasing an entire line of models for you!

Where Forgeworld models used to be a supremely rare sight, being used to add the most sublime amount of awesome to an army, it has all become a bit of a battle of materiel  nowadays, where some people just add  Forgeworld stuff to their armies until they suddenly become awesome by sheer resin saturation. And, by a strange twist of faith, armies making heavy use of FW models actually often end up looking more samey than the “standard” GW armies of old. Does that sound bitter?

Maybe, but here’s the thing: I think that having to work around the shortcomings of kits and the gaps in GW’s catalogue can sometimes be the best catalysts for creativity. And, for instance, before Forgeworld released more Horus Heresy Space Marines than you could ever shake a stick at, coming up with kitbashes and conversions to approximate your own version of Pre Heresy armour marks was huge fun.

 

Anyway, all of this is my rather roundabout way of explaining why my various projects use fairly little Forgeworld stuff. That said, there has to be an exception to the rule, of course, and when I first saw early pictures of Forgeworld’s World Eaters Red Butchers, it was instantly clear to me that some of these might find their way into my collection at some point:

I really love the way their Cataphractii armour is encrusted with stylised depictions of the World Eaters’ legion badge, for one.  At the same time, the brutal, spiky design of their armour is a nice fit for post heresy World Eaters as well. So when I recently had the chance of picking up some of the models as part of a bitz order, I jumped at the opportunity and purchased two Red Butcher bodies for experimentation purposes.

From my hands on experience as well as a bit of research, I have to say that these models are a bit of a mixed bag, their really cool overall design notwithstanding: The Red Butchers’  bodies are  single piece, with only the arms coming as separate parts. While this obviously makes them fairly easy to put together, it also severely limits their flexibility. Plus some of the poses seem a bit wonky — just check out the guy on the right, for instance.

What’s more, when prototypes for the Red Butchers were first shown at UK Games Day 2013, the models sported a set of individual, bare heads. While some of these may have seemed a little hokey, they perfectly communicated the sheer rage of these guys and worked really well with some of the poses. Alas, the finished models ditched most of these individual head sculpts, instead opting to use the same helmet for all the models in the squad except the champion, who retains one of the bare heads from the earlier versions. Now while I like the helmeted head well enough, this decision is rather hard to understand, because it really makes the finished models less cool than the prototypes. And while getting rid of the helmeted heads should still be possible with a bit of work – as the supremely talented poom has done on some of his Red Butchers , but the operation seems needlessly complicated, with a very real risk of ruining a rather expensive models in the process.

But even in their hobbled state, I still think the models still have lots of promise, and are a great addition to the World Eaters catalogue. And since I have honestly never seen them painted in the World Eaters’ post heresy colours yet (and FW’s own paintjob is, well, atrocious), it was clear to me that these guys would be drafted into my 40k World Eaters force.

Since I had only purchased the bodies, I needed to add some bitz in order to finish the models, and my first test model turned into a bit of a lucky coincidence right off the bat: I had picked up a two-handed weapon from the Deathwing Terminator kit as part of the same bitz order, and I realised that it worked pretty well with one of the Red Butchers. Here’s my test model:

Raas the Butcher WIP (2)
Raas the Butcher WIP (1)
Raas the Butcher WIP (3)
As you can see, I took some additional steps to make the additions to the model seem suitably chaotic: I added some Daemon Prince armour plates as shoulder pads, slightly converted the two handed weapon and added some Warp Talon “toenails” to the model’s gauntlets . To give credit where credit is due,exchanging the halberd’s blade happened courtesy of a pretty sweet model by AMaximus, while the clever use of  the toenails was originally an equally awesome idea of my fellow German hobbyist Lucutus.

Since chains seem to be a recurring visual motif for the Red Butchers, I also added some chainy bitz to the arms holding the halberd as well. I also glued a brass etched Khorne rune to the model’s Cataphractii armour.

The pose was also slightly inspired by this screenshot I found online:

Raas_inspiration_DOW2

While painting this guy, I subjected myself to the challenge of trying to finish the model in 3 hours, as part of a small, friendly challenge between several like-minded hobbyists. So I tried to be fast.

Here’s the model at shortly before the two hour mark…

Raas the Butcher PIP (1)
…and, a while later, after precisely three hours:

Raas the Butcher PIP (2)
Not bad, but clearly not finished either. Just to give you an idea, Jeff Vader managed to completely paint an absolutely amazing Plague Bearer in the same amount of time. Nuts!

But while I had sort of failed the three hours challenge, the work I had managed to accomplish during those hours went a long way towards getting the model painted, so it was all good. I ended up putting in another hour or two, and here is the finished model. I give you Raas the Butcher:

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As you can see, some of the additional touches really sell the model, at least in my opinion: The planet at the centre of the stylised legion badge on the model’s helmet was picked up in turquoise for that additional bit of pop. And I even added some blood to the halberd’s blade, because the Butcher really seems like that kinda guy:

Raas the Butcher (17)
A similarly bloodspattered Space Marine helmet and a skull were added as decoration to the model’s base:

Raas the Butcher (16)
Painting a whole Forgeworld model for the first time certainly has certainly been an interesting experience as well, although it made me realise that not only do I dislike converting resin models, but I am also not all that fond of painting them: The Forgeworld resin provides all those tiny nooks and crannies on the model that I remember (with dread!) from my past experiences with metal models, and all that scrubbing and soaking beforehand, in order to get rid of the mold release agent covering the model head to toe, also isn’t that much fun. So while I can see myself painting the odd FW model every now and then, assembling an entire army of models made from this material seems like a bit of a nightmare to me, to be honest…

Oh, and one more thing: While I am rather pleased with the finished model, it does look slightly puny when stood next to one of my plastic models in Terminator armour. Justs sayin’…

Raas the Butcher (15)
I’m happy enough with the result, though: One down, one to go! I suppose the second Red Butcher I purchased will end up looking more or less like this:

Second Red Butcher WIP (3)
Second Red Butcher WIP (2)
Second Red Butcher WIP (1)
I might just replace the right arm with an arm holding an axe or sword, though. Hmmm….

On a semi-related note, I realised that some of the Red Butchers’ design elements, especially the torso and helmet, are quite reminiscent of that old metal Terminator Lord I picked up used a while ago:

Metal Terminator Lord (1)
The resemblance is really quite uncanny, don’t you think? So maybe these guys will end up hanging out together in the end? In any case, it’s especially delicious to find visual consistency where you hadn’t even expected it, so yeah…
Oh, one more thing, by the way: My finished test model, Raas the Butcher, was named for fellow hobbyist Augustus B’Raass. This is a small thank you to him, both for providing lots of inspiration with his kick-ass Night Lords army (seriously, what is it whith all the amazing NL armies lately?) and for indulging me when I instigated a rather egg-headed (but nevertheless pretty fascinating, at least to me) discussion on his thread lately.

Thanks for taking it all in stride, mate! 😉

Anyway, here’s the model’s background:

Raas the Butcher (2)
Raas the Butcher

The warrior known as Raas the Butcher is one of the 4th assault company’s oldest veterans and serves in Lord Captain Lorimar’s personal guard, known as Lorimar’s Fist. Even among this band of ruthless killers, his thirst for blood excels, and his penchant for tearing his opponents limb from limb is well known and feared by those who have to stand against him: Watching Raas charging the enemy with surprising speed, a blood curdling howl on his lips, is terrifying to behold, and usually the last sight his victims are afforded before his mighty war halberd effortlessly shears through their armour and flesh. His bloodlust is so great that he spends most battles completely lost to the nails, as much of a danger to his friends as to his enemies. Chains decorate his ancient suit of modified Cataphractii armour as if to bind him, but it is clear that the Lord Captain’s abyssal growl is the only thing that will bring this wild hound to heel…

I’d love to hear any feedback you might have in the comments section! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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You’re in the army now – a look at the Astra Militarum release

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , on April 23, 2014 by krautscientist

With the first leaked pictures of the coming Wood Elves release already making the round, I am confident we can consider the Imperial Guard …erm Astra Militarum release completed for now. So what better time to take a fairly comprehensive look at the new kits and the various conversion opportunities they bring, right?

Astra Militarum Release (0)
As per my usual approach, this post will focus on the models to the near exclusion of all rules-related stuff. However, let me make one small exception, because the release of the Codex Astra Militarum seems to introduce a rather dubious element: It looks like, as of this book, GW will be using universal naming conventions for all of the various units, even across several languages. What this means is that the English unit names will be used, even in a rulebook that has otherwise been fully translated into German, French, Spanish or what have you. Now this shouldn’t be such a big thing, right? After all, games between 40k aficionados are already a gobbledygook of different languages anyway, so what’s the big difference? Besides, there are certainly sensible reasons for this decision: There will be no disconnect between the translated hardcopy rulebooks and the digital supplements only released in English, for instance. And yet. And still…

I realise that this need only concern non-native speakers of English to begin with, and then a blog written in English may not be the perfect venue for a criticism like this. But GW have always gone through quite some trouble to produce fully translated books in the past. Sure, the Blood Angels were always the Blood Angels, the Leman Russ was always the Leman Russ. But this new approach just leads to books that seem awkward chimerics, lost somewhere in limbo between the original English and the different language version. It reads terribly, to tell you the truth, and while it may make lots of sense, both from a business and rules perspective, this development actually makes me consider getting all my 40k related books in English from now on — I’d rather have the whole book in English than being served snippets of it at every turn. And I don’t suffer horrible prose style.

Anyway, excuse the minor rant: Moving on to the models now!

 

Officio Prefectus Commissar

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I think I am not the only person happy about a commissar model being available in plastic at long last, and the Ordo Prefectus Commissar is definitely a fine specimen to boot: Suitably grizzled and gnarly, this guy looks every part the discipliary officer one might have expected. One interesting thing about the model is that its pose is more dynamic than what we are used to from past commissar models. This dynamism leads to a rather striking silhouette, though:

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The face is another really strong point, looking suitably lined and pinched for a veteran commissar! In fact, the one thing I am not completely sold on is the saber: It seems a bit too clunky for once, and there’s also the fact that the blade tapering to a point as much as it does seems slightly wrong, for some reason: I think I would have preferred a more slender saber in the style of the DKOK commissars.

A closer look at the sprue for the model, however, reveals that not only should it be possible to replace the saber without a hitch, but further modifications to the modelt by way of using a different head or change the equipment in the right hand should be really easy, too:

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This makes the commissar model even more useful: Having a plastic commissar is already pretty cool in and of itself, but being able to use him for all kinds of INQ28 kitbashes makes the purchase of the model even more tempting, the slightly inflated price tag notwithstanding. Definitely one of the high points of the release for me!

 

Hydra/Wyvern

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I have never made much of a secret of my general lack of interest in tanks, so it may not surprise you that the Hydra/Wyvern kit didn’t exactly set my heart aflutter. Based on the same undercarriage as the trusty Chimera, these tanks are not exactly visually exciting, at least if you’re not a tank nut.

For tanks like this, the one thing that usually interests me are the little touches used to individualise the vehicle, and I am happy to see that GW have included a suitable crew of gunners for once:

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If anything, this is where the character of the piece comes from, if you ask me! On a semi-related note, I always thought it was a shame that the Basilisk loading crew was only available as a set of semi-obscure, OOP metal bitz.

Where the Hydra is mainly used for AA duties, as it seems, you can also assemble the tank as a Wyvern and use it for anti-infantry work:

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Again, what can I say? Another chimera-based tank? I certainly won’t go wild over this. I will say that the gunner models and various cogitator arrays that come with the kit might be fairly interesting for a variety of conversions, even though the overall model leaves me rather cold. Sorry!

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Taurox Prime/Taurox

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Quite the opposite for this vehicle though, but I am getting ahead of myself. A better place to start would be to point out that this is obviously that one divisive kit that every self-respecting GW release needs! Already, the Taurox has emerged as the one kit that many, many people love to hate, probably due to its somewhat unconventional design…

…which, in all honesty, really isn’t just as preposterous as many people seem to believe, pointing to several real-world sources, ranging from some rather gimmicky German WWII vehicles or armoured transports used by the English Army during the 70s and 80s to the modern MRAP. As a matter of fact, those influences make for a nice bit of realism that become all the more striking when combined with the hallmark heraldic and baroque elements of the 40k universe! The seeming clash between these elements enhances the model for me instead of ruining it.

If anything, the model instantly becomes less interesting when you leave off the extra bling and use it to create a standard Taurox:

 

Astra Militarum Release (12)But that’s just my opinion, of course. If nothing else, however, the Taurox provides a much needed breath of fresh air in a setting where nearly all of the tanks seem to be based on the same two or three basic kits. I’ll admit I’ve been waiting for a kit like this for ages, in order to be able to build a slightly more interesting vehicle for my Traitor Guard, and the Taurox perfectly fits the bill. Again, this is clearly a matter of personal preference, but I really like the design!

Beyond questions of personal taste, I think we can all agree that the production values are ridiculously high, with lots and lots of customisation options and even an entirely sculpted interior:

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I am really looking forward to what all the crazy converters and kitbashers will do with this kit! Commissar Molotov recently pointed me towards an amazingly thorough thread outlining lots and lots of possible Taurox conversions, so even if you don’t like the model out of the box, there’s nothing stopping you from modifying it to your heart’s content, but more on that later!

All in all, this is one of the more exciting parts of the release for me!

 

Tempestus Scions

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Now these are definitely the stars of the show for me! Which, in all fairness, shouldn’t be much of a surprise considering my rather extensive recent experimenation with the kit. Still, let me explain why I love these guys so much:

One thing that always baffled me was how much of the potential coolness of the Imperial Guard went mostly unused: When I was still a newcomer to 40k, the Guard mainly seemed to be a mashup of pretty much every histrocial military force: Red Army (Valhallans), Germans (DKOK), American Troops during the Vietnam War (Catachans),… the list goes on and on. Then there were some slightly more futuristic elements thrown in (the Cadians would be a good example). And the tanks were mostly based on various WWI and WWII designs.

And while I can see the appeal of an army like that, it was only when the more colourful regiments began to emerge that the Guard really came into its own for me: I love the idea of thousands of years of military history mashed together, but why should it run along the lines delineated by the 20th century? Why not more hi-tech soldiers in overblown 19th century garb (like the brilliantly eclectic Vostroyans)?  Why not more WWI Trenchers with noticeable medieval influences (I am looking at you, Aexe Cardinal)? The more Gaunt’s Ghosts novels I read, the more it felt like the actual models on offer were failing to address the possible coolness of regiments hailing from a million worlds.

Now the Scions are finally fulfilling at least a part of that promise: They are clearly hi-tech soldiers, but with a very noticeable baroque, maybe even medieval feel:

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There are design cues from many different centuries in their armour and equipment, which not only makes for stunning models but also perfectly channels the look and feel of the 40k universe.

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The other really great thing about the kit is the amount of equipment options and bitz you get: Whether you want to assemble a brilliantly ostentatious command squad or just some – only slightly less impressive – “standard” Stormtroopers, it’s all there in the kit:

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And finally, as I myself have tried to prove, the kit is also brilliantly versatile, because the barqoue design makes sure that these guys will be useful for all kinds of conversions:

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They can become your elite Imperial soldiers, sure. But it’s also easy enough to imagine them as AdMech Skitarii with a bit of work. Or they could be your faceless Traitor Guard elites. The kit really allows for all these different options with only a minimum of modification.

 

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In short, it has taken GW ages to finally release a plastic Stormtrooper kit, but the result is definitely worth the wait!

 

Ogryns/Bullgryns/Nork Dedogg

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These guys are the other slightly divisive kit to come out of this release, with many people already hating them with a passion. In all fairness, running against a kit like the Tempestus Scions seems like a pretty dire prospect on the best of days, but are the new Ogryns really that bad? Let’s take a closer look:

One really amazing feature of the kit is that it can actually be assembled in four different variants, and that alone deserves a round of applause. So let’s address each of those variants in turn, shall we? First up, the bread and butter option: The kit will give you three bog standard Ogryns:

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I think these are getting some flak due to the somewhat …nonplussed facial expressions on some of the heads. But let’s not forget that Ogryns aren’t exactly rocket scientists. So maybe the faces are a pretty good fit, after all? The good thing is that, even if you don’t like the Ogryn heads, you can always use some of the extra heads that come with the kit, but more on that in a minute. For now, let me just point out that I really like the screaming head with the aquila brand on its brow!

Beyond that, these guys look more or less like you would expect standard Ogryns to look: There are the sleeveless shirts, the crude armour plates and the robust (and somewhat improbable) Ogryn gun. Certainly not the most exciting models in the world, but a great replacement both for the old metal/Finecast Ogryns and for the option of having to work with those extremely static WFB Ogre bulls!

Oh, one thing I really love is how these guys are using gasoline cans as canteens — what a brilliant little touch! 😉

There’s also the option of assembling your Ogryns as Bullgryns, heavily armoured giants protecting the less robust part of your army. And these can, in turn, be armed in two different ways. The first option is to equip them with a combination of grenadier gauntlets and slab shields:

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The armoured bodies themselves look rather cool, and I really like the tank treads used as some kind of heavy duty loincloth! The slab shields have some rather nice touches (for instance, the spikes at the bottom to ram them into the ground, and the fact that the three shields in the squads were designed to look like they interlock to form a makeshift defense line). My problem with them, however, is that they look slightly too busy with the Imperial iconography, the sculpted chevrons and all the additional lines: There’s just too much going on, from a visual perspective. I would have preferred a more restrained approach, something similar to the elements of the Aegis Defense Line, for example.

The grenadier fists may be my least favourite part of the kit, because while the idea itself may be awesome, they just look goofy: Maybe they should have been designed to look less hi-tech? Maybe shoulder-mounted panzerfausts would have been cooler? Whatever it is, that element just doesn’t work for me. So in my opinion, this loadout would need some work to make it look really cool.

The one part of the Bullgryns I love unecquivocally, however, are the heads. Well, maybe apart from the bearded one…

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“I say! Apparently, they are letting all kinds of riff raff join the fighting these days, old boy!”

…but even that has a kind of corny charm. Maybe the beard’s an attempt at emulating the finesse and elegance of a high-ranking officer by the slightly more refined Ogryn squad leader ?

The gas mask  heads are absolutely amazing, though, especially the one with the goggles:

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Not only are these your readily apparant solution if you don’t like the standard Ogryn heads, but they would also work great for a DKOK or Steel Legion sinpired force! Or for traitor Ogryns — there’s just something sinister about those gas masks, you know…

As for the Bullgryns themselves, I much prefer the second equipment option for them: battle mauls and suppression shields:

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These seem far less awkward and actually nicely complement the Bullgryns’ lumbering poses. Again, I think it would be really fun to transform these into a squad of hulking traitor berserkers! But then, I have some very fond memories of building traitor Ogryns, so I might be biased…

The final option would be to assemble one of your Ogryns as the special character Nork Dedogg, trusty Ogryn bodyguard extraordinaire:

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And, like the whole kit, this guy is just one more case of love it or hate it.

Let’s start with the good part: He really looks like an elite Ogryn, which was probably the whole point. There’s also an inherent goofiness about the model that certainly was a deliberate choice on the designers’ part, but much of the goofiness has been stripped away from the Imperial Guard over the last years, leaving this guy a little stranded, so to speak.

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My main gripe with the model from a design perspective is that his armour, intended as an updgraded version of the Bullgryn equipment, looks quite unlike every other armour in the IG catalogue: The decorative trim actually makes it resemble chaos armour more than anything else. Plus that goofy vox skull with the commissar cap needs to go, in my opinion.

That said, I cannot help looking at Norg from a chaos player’s perspective, and see him as great conversion fodder for a traitor ogryn: The armour would need precious little work to suitably chaos-i-fy it, and just imagine a gas mask or crudely implanted vox grill instead of that cigar-smoking grin. Very promising!

In any case, I really love the fact that the option to build a special character from extra bitz included in a kit has now made it to 40k as well! I’m all for more plastic characters, and having them as some kind of bonus in a regular kit really rocks!

All in all, there are some slightly goofy elements in the Ogryn/Bullgryn kit, but maybe that’s at least partially due to the fact that Ogryns are in fact rather goofy in and of themselves. That said, I think it’s also a kit with lots of promise — and maybe the models would actually look much cooler with less colourful, grittier paintjobs?

 

Conversion opportunities

While some of the new kits are already really awesome as they are, the possible conversion options are probably the best part of this whole release for me, so let me share a couple of observations and ideas:

The Tempestus Scions really take the cake here, because they are just amazing, both as a kit and as a toolbox for all kinds of conversions. My own experiments have shown that it’s very easy to use scion bitz for all kinds of craziness, be it to build specialists from more colourful Guard regiments or,  indeed, elite soldiers for your Traitor Guard. Another excellent example for the kit’s versatility would be Jeff Vader’s wonderful Primaris Psyker that just uses a couple of bitz from the Tempestus Scions to make a wonderfully characterful miniature. And don’t even get me started on all the possible uses for INQ28 related conversions: Those scions could be Inquisitorial Stormtroopers, or the bitz could be used to accessorise your Inquisitorial agents, or even your Inquisitors. The scions could even be turned into Arbites, with a bit of work. And whatever approach you choose,  the remaining extra bitz will prove helpful for a myriad of conversion projects.

For me, the Tempestus Scions are easily one of the best kits GW have released in a while, and if you’re at all interested in INQ28 conversions or kitbashes, they are pretty much a compulsory purchase. The fact that they are pretty reasonably priced – considering the amount of stuff you get in the kit – helps, of course!

And while many people online already love to hate the Taurox, the same goes for that kit: I can easily see the Taurox being transformed into a transport for Ogryns (just make it look more like a mobile cage than a mere APC), a civilian or industrial vehicle for games of INQ28 or Necromunda, a traitor APC heavily reminiscent of Dave Taylor’s amazing Blood Pact lorries and half-tracks or even something as exotic as a modern Genestealer limo. The thread I linked above is basically just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the possible conversions, and seeing all the crazy vehicles coming out of this kit will be a very special treat — trust me! As for my own detachment of Traitor Guard, I can easily see myself picking up a Taurox kit: The prospect of building and painting it certainly excites me far more than any old Chimera ever could!

Then there’s the Commissar — another really nice model to serve as conversion fodder: PDH already pointed out some time ago that this guy would be a great base model for a fairly easy Rogue Trader conversion, and I am sure the model would fare just as well as any kind of high-ranking officer or even as an Inquisitor (preferrably one with ties to the Ordo Militum).

But there’s more: Just add an Ork power claw and he could become a pretty cool Commissar Yarrick stand in. Or replace his bionic arm and face and turn him into a plastic model for Ibram Gaunt. Long story short, I imagine this model will be extremely popular with converters in general and INQ28 aficionados in particular, and I certainly intend to pick one up at some point.

And even the Ogryns are quite interesting from a conversion standpoint: Like I said earlier, turning these into a squad of sinister, crudely augmented and/or mutated traitor ogryns or big mutants should be quite a bit of fun! Indeed, if I didn’t already own an entire squad of converted traitor ogryns, I am pretts sure I would already have picked up a box of the new guys.

In fact, and this is just brilliant if you ask me, this release is just as interesting for Traitor Guard players at it is for actual Guard players: Until now, building suitably impressive traitors and renegades (without falling back on Forgeworld’s – admittedly wonderful – Vraksian Renegade Militia) was always a bit of a challenge. The new kits should make this quite a bit easier and more interesting, and I applaud GW for that!

 

So what about the release as a whole? It probably won’t surprise you that I’ll call this a strong release. The Tempestus Scions alone would probably be enough to carry the day here, but I love how nearly all of the new kits (the slightly underwhelming Chimera-based tanks notwithstanding) seem to have multiple possible uses and allow for lots and lots of neat conversions. The release has certainly re-invigorated my interest in the Traitor Guard side of my chaos army, so don’t be surprised if you see some projects towards that effect in the future!

So what about you? Are you as happy with the potential conversion projects as I am, or were you underwhelmed by the new Astra Militarum release? Are you already planning a couple of conversions yourself, perchance? I’d be happy to hear any ideas and impressions you might have in the comments section.

Now, if you’ll excuse me: I still need to wring the last possible drops of conversion fun from that Tempestus Scion kit 😉

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

Of trenchers and traitors…

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 17, 2014 by krautscientist

I am trying my best not to overdo it, but I still find myself playing around with those Tempestus Scions. And after doing all those experiments about different heads and whatnot, I think it’s time I finally show you some (mostly) finished models, right? So let’s take a look. But before we look at the stuff that’s actually close to finished,…

 

1. By request

…several people suggested I show them a couple of additional headswaps, and how could I refuse? I’ll be keeping this short and to the point, though 😉

First up, in case you wondered what the scion heads looked like on bog standard Cadians:

new head swaps (1)
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They are actually a perfect fit: You need to shave down the neck portion, though — which I failed to do for the above pictures, hence the slightly hokey proportions. But from a scale perspective, I think you’ll agree that it should work. And while I was at it, I also tried an Eisenkern Stormtrooper head on a Cadian body…

new head swaps (2)
…and it instantly created that wonderful Jin-Roh look. Even more cutting involved in this case, though, because the neck portion on those Eisenkern heads is huge.

Oh, and while we’re at it, here’s the Eisenkern head on a regular Tempestus Scion, for the sake of completeness:

new head swaps (4)
This may actually be one of my favourite combinations so far! Unfortunately, the fact that the Eisenkern heads only come as part of the larger kit and that you only get just enough heads, this kind of conversion is hardly economical. But if you should find yourself in the possession of some leftover Eisenkern heads, it’s definitely a very interesting option!

2. Straight from the trenches…

After my last round of experiments, I pulled together several of my earlier ideas in order to create a new model: The running cultist legs, Tempestus Scion bitz and Bretonnian head-kitbash were combined to create a soldier with a very distinct WWI trencher vibe. Take a look:

Trencher (9)
Trencher (10)
Trencher (11)
Trencher (12)
Trencher (13)
Trencher (14)
Trencher (15)
Additional bitz are a backpack with an entrenching tool (a bit of a no brainer, really) and a trench knife (one of the daggers from the Tempestus Scions). My experiments in creating a bayonet for the rifle fell flat: While it was easy enough to attach a blade to the rifle, the barrel ended up looking way too long, thereby throwing off the model’s whole composition. However, I believe that the dagger, worn to be quickly available during combat, works well enough as a replacement.

To tell you the truth, I am stupidly happy with this guy, since he is both suitably grimdark and reminiscent of actual trenchers as well as those Warzone minis I keep going on about. I hope to be able to paint him sooner rather than later — a suitable base, complete with duckboards and a muddy surface, has already been built.

Once again, let me show you some possible, different heads for the model, in case you’re going for a different, maybe even more medieval feel:

While the head I used on the model was spliced together from a Bretonnian helmet and a Tempestus Scion head, the heads from the Bretonnian Men-at-arms can also be used on their own:

Trencher (18)
Trencher (17)
I actually think those work just as well, and would basically be ideal if you were after building, say, a Genswick IG force.

I also tried the head with mask and beret from the scion kit…

Trencher (19)
…and it looks just as awesome as it did when used on the Eisenkern Stormtrooper I posted earlier. I have a sneaking suspicion that this head will always look awesome, no matter the model you use it on.

And finally, another really cool option would be to use an Eisenkern head:

Trencher (16)

 

3. Meanwhile, back in the Archenemy camp…

During all those head swaps, though, let’s not forget the intended use for my first batch of Tempestus Scions: I want to turn them into a squad of elite soldiers for Urash’s Marauders. So, any progress on that? You bet!
Here’s my first, basically finished, traitor soldier:

Traitor Elite (8)
As you can see, I have kept the conversion fairly straightforward: The imperial iconography has been shaved off and a couple of chaos-y bitz have been added, a horned helmet from the Marauder Horsemen chief among them. While not everyone might like the horned look, that helmet instantly says elite Traitor Guard to me, plus I believe the paintjob will go a long way towards suitably blending together the different parts.

No follower of chaos would be complete without a CC weapon, of course, and I think I may just have found a great use for all those slightly tacky swords that come with the Khorne Berzerker kit:

Traitor Elite (7)
Every World Eaters player should have dozens of these lying around, but I think they actually work rather nicely, strapped to the traitor’s backpack like that: The sword is just ornate enough to suggest that it may have a ritual significance beyond its use as a backup weapon.

I have begun working on a second traitor and have also made a first mockup of the squad’s champion (or should that be Damogaur?):

Traitor Elite (12)
Traitor Elite (11)
In this case, the scion chainsword was replaced with a suitably chaotic sabre from the Dark Vengeance cultist champion. The head with the grotesk came from the same model. And while a laspistol may not be the most exciting equipment for a squadleader, I chose the arm for its pose, at least for now. One of the two small shortcomings of the Tempestus Scions, in my opinion, are the sometimes freakishly long arms, so choosing a combination that looks right takes some doing (on a semi-related note, those cables connecting the rifles and backpacks are the other element I don’t like: Getting all those parts lined up just so without gluing the model together outright is very fiddly business…).

Anyway, this guy isn’t finished yet, but I think the model will already give you a pretty good idea of where this is going. Here are the three WIP models for the squad together:

Traitor Elite (13)
That’s not all, however: Since the scion kit contains so many bitz, there are enough leftovers to use on different models as well. As I told you in my previous post, I will be using some of these bitz to build some more traitor elites, mostly based on some Vraksian Renegade Militia torsos.

You already know the voxcaster guy:

Traitor Elite (9)
I added some armour plates I shaved off the trencher model to bring him more in line with the scion-based models.

And I also found out that the rifle arms work fairly well on those Vraksian torsos:

Traitor Elite (15)
Traitor Elite (14)
By combining these bitz, the model looks a bit like a missing link between a Tempestus Scion and one of my regular traitors, which could signify the encroaching influence of chaos, I suppose?

A third model uses the plasma gunner arms from the scions for now. Here are the three traitors together:

Traitor Elite (16)
I also built another champion/squadleader model that I am really happy with. Take a look:

Traitor Elite (17)
Traitor Elite (18)
Traitor Elite (19)
The torso came from the Vraksian Enforcers, while the legs are from a WFB chaos charioteer: Both bits were leftovers of earlier conversions, so it was really nice to finally put them to good use! The arms are from the Tempestus Scions, although the weapons and hands were replaced (with a Space Marine Scout pistol and chaos warrior sword, respectively). The head came from a Dark Vengeance plastic cultist. And I also added some additional pouches and gear:

Traitor Elite (20)
This model takes quite a bit of inspiration from PDH’s traitor soldiers which range among my favourite renegade models. I am really happy with how this model has turned out, because it really fits my idea of Traitor Guard to a t!

Traitor Elite (22)
And here are all the “Vraksian bases” traitors so far: Keep in mind that these were all basically made from leftovers from my bitzbox:

Traitor Elite (21)
What I especially like about these models is that they could arguably be used alongside the scion-based traitors in one large squad – granted, there’s a bit of variation, but that’s chaos for you – but they could also be the beginnings of a second squad of traitor elites.

So yeah, after all the headswapping businesss, I hope I’ve managed to convince you that some actual models will be coming out of this in the end! I would love to hear your feedback on any of these!

Have a happy Easter, everyone! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Aren’t you a little tall for a stormtrooper? A first hands on with the Tempestus Scions and more…

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings, Traitor Guard, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2014 by krautscientist

Stormtrooper kitbashing (1)
Don’t worry, a detailed look at the whole Astra Militarum release is still forthcoming in the near future, but seeing how everyone (myself included) seems to be all over the new Tempestus Scions at the moment, let us put the cart before the horse for once, so to speak, and allow me to share my first hands on experiences with the kit. We’ll also take a look at options for building Stormtroopers for your IG (or Traitor Guard) force in general, and I dear it’ll be a rather wordy post, all things considered. I am also fairly confident you’ll get a few ideas out of the deal, though, so bear with me here!

Let me start by saying that the Tempestus Scions are an amazing kit, regarding both the quality of the sculpt and the amount of bitz and options you get. I have been asking myself for a long time why so few of the actual IG models (the fantastically eclectic Vostroyans notwithstanding) actually channel the anachronistic design elements that permeate the rest of the 40k universe, but with the Tempestus Scions, the combination of high tech and baroque, sometimes even medieval, elements is finally available in model form. I won’t get into this part any further, since it will probably play a pretty big role in my upcoming review of the Astra Militarum release. Suffice it to say for now  that I am all for more ostentatiousness and baroqueness in the IG catalogue!

Beyond the exciting design, though, the kit also provides an extremely versatile and extensive toolbox for building five excellent models. And the kit is full of opportunities right though the gate, enabling you to build elite soldiers for your Guard regiment as well as Inquisitorial Stormtroopers of any stripe and even Traitor Guard — because the decorative armour trim adorning all the Scions’ armour plates make it really easy to turn these guys to chaos.

Indeed, my current plan is to turn at least four of the models into the beginnings of a squad of elite soldiers for my detachment of Traitor Guard,  although I will probably use one model and some of the amazing Tempestor Prime bitz to buy an Inquisitor/Imperial Noble/senior IG officer/whatever…

That’s a plan for the near future, however. For now, let’s do some experiments in order to explore the kit in more detail!

 

I. Initial kitbashing

Taking inspiration from Jeff Vader’s recent experimentation with different head swaps on the Tempestus Scions, I did something similar, collecting various heads from my bitzbox and trying them on my first Scion test model, in order to see how they would change the overall look and feel of the model. Now don’t get me wrong, the whopping seventeen heads that come with the kit are just as amazing as the rest of the parts. But I still wanted to see how a mere head swap might turn one of the models into very different characters.

I filed my findings into several different categories. Just click for bigger pictures, by the way:


Experiment I: Inquisitorial types

Stormtrooper kitbashing (2)

I wanted to explore several options for creating shadowy and/or hi-tech-y Stormtroopers. My first experiment was to use a leftover head from Inquisitor Coteaz I still had lying around, and not only was it a great fit, but the resulting model is quite similar to the Sergeant of the Kasrkin models, don’t you think? I am seriously considering using that head for my Scion-based Inquisitor.

I also tried two robed DA heads, and while Marine heads tend to be a bit clunky when used on non-marine bodies, these might actually work (although it would be necessary to shave down the neck portion, which I didn’t do for my experiments). The sergeant from Jeff Vader’s wonderful squad of Tempestus Scions uses one of these heads as well, by the way, so you don’t need to rely on my word alone!
Oh, and I also like the faceless SpecOps look of the fourth head (a Valkyrie pilot head, I guess? Just bought it via ebay some time ago).


Experiment II: Medieval types

Stormtrooper kitbashing (3)
There’s quite a bit of overlap with the Inquisitorial types on these, although I wanted to see how to make the Scions look even more archaic and medieval. I mostly used Bretonnian heads during this attempt.

I actually really like the Brodie-helmet like look of models on the left! These might look great for a fire-and-brimstone Hereticus retinue (or in a particularly medieval IG regiment). The helmets do interfere with the antenna and sensor array on the shoulders, however, so some cutting might be in oder if you want to take this route. The knight helmet was mainly a joke, as was the shaved down berzerker helmet on the right (just the thing if you’re going for the old “Boba Fett” look, though).


Experiment III: IG veterans

Stormtrooper kitbashing (4)
I think that using various heads from the IG, WFB Empire or even Space Marine catalogues could be a great options of making the Scions look less like freshly-pressed parade ground soldiers and more like hard-boiled veterans from some of the more colourful regiments of the Astra Militarum.

I particularly like the one with the wolf scout head on the far right 😉


Experiments IV and V: Traitors and Renegades

Ahhh, now we’re talking: I tried various chaotic heads in order to make the Scion model look like a Traitor Guard soldier: Like I said, the trim on their body armour makes them equally viable for chaos, if you ask me. I did already shave off some of the beautiful IG iconography, too. Anyway, here’s my first set of traitor experiments:

Stormtrooper kitbashing (5)
As you can see, slightly shaved down WFB chaos warrior helmets will work, as will heads from the plastic cultists.

I tried even more heads, though:

Stormtrooper kitbashing (6)
I really liked one of Jeff Vader’s experiments, where he used a head from the WFB Marauder Horsemen, and indeed, those heads work brilliantly on the Scion bodies: They are instantly recognisable as chaotic, but they still seem orderly enough so as not to damage the elite soldier look. My absolute favourite has to be the head from the Dark Vengeance cultist champ, though: While it may look slightly goofy on virtually any other model, here it instantly transforms a Scion into a warrior of the Blood Pact – BAM!

I didn’t limit myself to trying different heads, however, I also did a couple of smaller experiments involving different body parts:

For those of you who might be thinking of using the scions as a base for (Dark) AdMech Skitarii conversions, the following pictures might be helpful as well:

You can combine the scion torsos with flagellant legs:

Stormtrooper kitbashing (7)
Stormtrooper kitbashing (8)
For the real Skitarii look, you would probably need to replace the bare feet with something suitably tech-y and bulky (Necron feet, perhaps?). And you’d need to either add a cowl sculpted from GS or use the AdMech-styled cultist head.

As an alternative for making Skitarii (or, indeed, trenchcoat scions), you could use the legs from that very cultist:

Stormtrooper kitbashing (9)
Stormtrooper kitbashing (10)
While the legs may seem to be a bit on the thin side, the trenchcoat idea is nevertheless pretty interesting, because you end up with something only one step away from one of my favourite pieces of IG artwork by none other than the great Jes Goodwin.

One last early kitbashing idea: I just had to try and combine one of the masked Scion heads with the helmet of a Bretonnian Man-at-arms, again creating something resembling a futuristic Brodie helmet/gas mask combo:

Stormtrooper kitbashing (11)
The resulting model basically looks like a more detailed, more baroque GW version of one of my beloved Warzone 2nd edition starter minis:

Stormtrooper kitbashing (12)

Might be a useful idea for IG as well as Inquisitorial Stormtroopers or Traitor Guard, though…

2. Playing around with Tempestus Scion bitz

Interestingly enough, the first mostly finished model to come out of my purchase of the Tempestus Scions wasn’t even a Tempestus Scion: I used the voxcaster bitz from the new kit to salvage a FW Vraksian Militia torso I had seriously damaged during another conversion, and thanks to the new bitz, I was able to build a traitor soldier with voxcaster:

Stormtrooper kitbashing (13)
Stormtrooper kitbashing (14)
Even though he uses Chaos Marauder legs and a FW torso, he should still work well enough as a squad member for my chaos elites. He looks good enough next to my test model, at least:

Stormtrooper kitbashing (15)
On a semi-related note, the idea of this guy making prank calls during battle really cracks me up: I imagine nothing will mess with your battle logistics like someone calling in the middle of an offensive demanding to speak to Commissar I.P. Freely…  🙂

Anyway, back to the traitors: As it happens, I have some Vraksian torsos lying around (courtesy of fellow hobbyist PDH) and I think I will use more Marauder legs and a couple of bitz from the Scion kit to transform them into further models for the elite squad:

Stormtrooper kitbashing (17)
Again, they should work well enough from a scale perspective:

Stormtrooper kitbashing (16)
So, not only are the Tempestus Scions themselves great for different conversions, but the amount of extra bitz will also be really useful in converting even more models, both for my Traitor Guard and, I imagine, the odd INQ28 model. On a related note, make sure to check out little brother’s scion conversions over at his Ammobunker thread: His models are a great proof of concept for how easy it is to make the Tempestus Scions into traitors with just a minor influx of bitz! And Adam Wier has some very interesting ideas about slightly modifying the stock models as well.

I imagine that the coming weeks will bring a cornucopia of inspiring Scion conversions, so you actually might want to leave your sprues untouched for now… 😉

 

3. Alternatives

So, once again, I am really happy with the Tempestus Scions and the conversion and kitbashing options they provide. But my love for the kit notwithstanding, let me discuss yet another source for possible Stormtroopers. As you will see, this is clearly not a case of favouring one kit (or manufacturer) over the other, but rather an attempt at outlining several, partly interlocking approaches for building just the Stormtroopers and elite soldiers you need:

Quite some time ago, I participated in a Kickstarter to make some of Mark Mondragon’s designs available in glorious plastic. The kits coming out of this Kickstarter, namely the different plastic Titans and the Eisenkern Stormtroopers, were one of my favourite hobby releases in 2013, as some may recall. And it’s the latter of the two I would like to talk about:

Eternal Hunts Awards 2013 (3)
The Eisenkern Stromtroopers provide an alternate set of models for your Imperial Guard. Granted, these are not GW models, so you won’t be able to use them in any GW events or GW stores, but the models are still definitely nice enough to showcase them here! As a matter of fact, I was already feeling bad for not making the time to talk about them in more detail earlier, but now it turns out that the opportunity to discuss them back to back with the new Tempestus Scions is just the perfect way of taking a closer look at the kit. So let’s look at both kits, shall we:

Stormtrooper kitbashing (18)

On their own, the Eisenkern Stormtroopers provide a kit for making very cool looking elite soldiers with a very distinct WWII vibe. Incidentally, the background of the Eisenkern faction basically has them as “Germans IN SPACE!” (and the name certainly is a dead giveaway…). My personal reason for supporting their creation in plastic was that they really reminded me of the Wolf Brigade in Jin-Roh, but those designs were of course based on historical German uniforms again, so it’s a bit of a circular argument.

Anyway, the kit comes with so many options for customisation that it’s almost ridiculous, and these options are further multiplied if you decide to purchase an additional set of conversion and equipment bitz, giving you lots and lots of different weapons, heads, hands and various gear. Therefore, the humble test model pictured above is really just the tip of the iceberg.

Here’s a scale comparison with the Tempestus Scions:

Stormtrooper kitbashing (19)
Stormtrooper kitbashing (20)
Stormtrooper kitbashing (21)
As you can see, both models are more or less of the same height: The Eisenkern Stormtrooper is ever so slightly taller, yet less bulky than the Tempestus Scion. From a structural perspective, there are quite a few parallels, though, ranging from the body armour and rebreather helmets to the power plant-like section on the model’s back.

The overall look is still ever so slightly different, though: Where the Tempestus Scions are full-out baroque and grimdark, the Eisenkern models are more hi-tech, albeit with a clear retro element.

But let’s look at some more scale pictures, this time with a “regular” IG model, a cultist and an Astartes as additional parts of the comparison:

Stormtrooper kitbashing (22)
Stormtrooper kitbashing (23)
As you can see, both Stormtrooper models nicely fit into the gap between “regular” humans and Astartes: While both are basically just as tall as a regular Marine, the added bulkiness still nicely separates the Astartes from the unaugmented models.

One obvious problem with the Eisenkern models lies in the slightly more realistic (and less “heroic”) proportions when compared to GW kits. While this certainly isn’t a shortcoming per se, it can become a bit of a problem when trying to combine the Eisenkern models with GW bitz.

For instance, where the Tempestus Scion bodies will happily accept even Marine heads with a bit of cutting, even fairly slender heads like the wolf scout head pictured below will look slightly too clunky on an Eisenkern Trooper:

Stormtrooper kitbashing (24)
That said, some heads work better than others: I have collected some cases where the GW heads worked reasonably well below:

Stormtrooper kitbashing (25)

Stormtrooper kitbashing (26)

Stormtrooper kitbashing (27)
In any case, the important thing to keep in mind here is that these parts certainly weren’t designed to be mixed, so the fact that it still works out in some cases should be treated more like a bonus — but more on that in a minute.

The main problem from a design perspective is that the Eisenkern Stormtroopers are far less useful for “classic” chaos than the Tempestus Scions, because the smooth lines are not nearly baroque and archaic enough for your average traitor guard, whereas the extra decoration on the Scions makes them very chaos-y right out of the box. The common Eisenkern Stormtrooper fares less well when combined with chaos bitz.

Stormtrooper kitbashing (28)
But, again, this is obviously not really a fault of the kit itself: It wasn’t even designed to allow for shenanigans like that.

The big surprise, then, is that the Eisenkern Stormtroopers work amazingly well with the Tempestus Scion heads:

Stormtrooper kitbashing (29)
The beret heads from the Scions are perfect for Eisenkern officers — and actually much better than the somewhat generic bare heads that come with the Eisenkern kit (one of the few failings of an otherwise brilliant kit, I might add).

The same goes for the helmeted Scion heads:

Stormtrooper kitbashing (30)
And finally, the beret head with gas mask, one of the coolest heads in the kit anyway, is pretty much the perfect officer head for an Eisenkern Stormtrooper. Take a look:

Stormtrooper kitbashing (31)
Stormtrooper kitbashing (32)
Quite a nice reward for the adventurous kitbasher, don’t you think? Plus this information might be interesting both for those who are contemplating a purchase of the Eisenkern Stormtroopers as well as those who already own the kit and want to tie it in with their IG army: Just get some Tempestus Scion heads, and you’re golden 😉

Another interesting fact: Female Eisenkern models will eventually be available, filling a  gap GW’s catalogue has mostly refused to address so far: Here’s a regular Eisenkern trooper next to Kickstarter exclusive model Ada:

Stormtrooper kitbashing (33)
So which one should you choose?

I’ll be honest with you, I couldn’t even tell you which kit is the better one, because a) both are awesome and b) which is better for you depends on what you are looking for: Both kits are great and, in their respective ways, provide great value for the money. The best possible approach would be to ask yourself what kind of Stormtrooper you are looking for and make your decision from there (or, of course, to just buy a box of each):

Do you want your Stormtroopers visually in line with the eclectic, sometimes outlandish and anachronistic 40k universe? Do you love the little medieval and renaissance touches and are looking for colourful models that channel this particular part of the setting? Then the Tempestus Scions are your thing.

Do you want slightly more futuristic, tactical looking troopers without too many baroque design elements but a noticeable retro feel and tons and tons of options (you can actually use the accessory sprue to build models conversing in SWAT-like sign language, for crying out loud!)? Great, the Eisenkern Stormtroopers are the kit for you.

But even if you come down on either side of this argument, the other kit would still be an awesome purchase. And, owning both kits, I am perfecly sure that I am going to have lots of fun with both types of models.

In the end, it’s really all about being aware of all the options, and that’s what this post is about too: Describing more options for you. In any case, you way want to check out the Dreamforge Games website — chances are, you’ll find something to like there. At the same time, I cannot recomment the Tempestus Scions enough: They are an amazing kit and quite reasonably priced for GW’s standards.

 

Ultimately, the choice is yours. And I really hope that this post has given you food for though and ideas for possible conversions or kitbashes instead of confusing you. If you have any thoughts or questions about either of the kits (or about my first rough conversion attempts), I’d be happy to hear them in the comments section.

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

A brute with a name…

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Fluff, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 12, 2014 by krautscientist

Hey everyone,

just a teeny tiny update today: You may remember how I recently lamented my inability to come up with a suitable justification for the totally twisted and mutated Dark Vengeance Helbrute joining up with the rather “pristine” (insofar as that word can be applied to followers of Khorne) warriors of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt.

Well, fortunately, many of you came to the rescue and offered ideas, suggestions and snippets of fluff. That input really provided me with lots of great ideas for the Helbrute’s background, so I had everything I needed to come up with a suitable piece of writing channelling the elements I liked the most. Many thanks to everyone who contributed one or several ideas to this process, especially to monkeytroll, Llamahead and DexterKong!

Here goes:

Helbrute (4)

Khorlen the Lost

Ever since the Skalathrax campaign, the warriors of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt have been trying to keep the inevitable descent into madness that has claimed most of their legion at bay, instead clinging to their fierce martial pride. However, Lord Captain Lorimar’s retreat from Skalathrax earned him no small number of opponents amid the ranks of his own legion. One such enemy, Karakar the Exalted, considered Lorimar and his company cravens and hypocrites, unworthy of Khorne’s blessings and ignorant of the true nature of chaos: Karakar was furious about the Eternal Hunt looking down upon daemonhood and the gifts of the Warp, and he vowed he would educate the fourth assault company about the true meaning of chaos.

In late M39, Karakar and his warband fell upon the Fourth in a series of rapid assaults. During the initial phase of the fight, Huntmaster Khorlen, then a senior officer in the company, and his retinue were captured on the daemon world of Skabrea. Lorimar himself led an attack into the heart of the enemy stronghold, in order to rescue his battle brother and put Karakar to the sword.

When they reached the innermost sanctum of the fortress, the warriors of the fourth discovered a chilling scene: Karakar had wanted to punish the Eternal Hunt for their selfish pride, and for clinging to their long-obsolete past, so he had undertaken a sinister ritual to call the forces of the warp into the vessel provided by Huntmaster Khorlen’s body. He had paid dearly, however, as Khorlen – his body twisted and wracked with the raw powers of chaos – had broken his chains and slain everyone present in the ritual chamber. There his brothers found him, crippled and bloodied, his form twisted beyond reason, but yet imbued with a sinister resilience through the powers of the warp. And against all odds, Khorlen remained completely sane, and aware of the horrible changes that had been wrought upon him.

Lorimar and his warriors were at a loss: Had Khorlen’s mind been shattered by the ritual, it would have been easy enough to put him out of his misery. But their brother was still sane, and begged them to allow him to continue fighting. So a compromise was reached: Khorlen’s twisted remains were interred into a dreanought ironform, in an attempt to keep him combat worthy.

But the ritual had been so powerful that even the internment did not protect Khorlen against the forces of the warp: His ironform began to change and mutate, turning Khorlen into a hulking beast of steel and fleshmetal. Yet at the heart of the hellish contraption, the proud spirit of Huntmaster Khorlen still remained, untainted and unbroken.

Khorlen spends most of his days hidden deep within the great forge aboard the Aeternus Venator, his condition closely monitored by Huntmaster Deracin. Only in times of battle is he released to walk among his brothers once more, seeking a worthy death in battle as long as he is still himself...

 

Have a great weekend, everyone! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Celebrating 200,000 views — with a small present for myself

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Pointless ramblings, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 9, 2014 by krautscientist

200000views
This week, Eternal Hunt hit the 200,000 views mark, less than nine months after attaing 100,000 views. Now this is certainly not world record material, but I am still immensely proud that a blog describing my pottering away at my various hobby projects has managed to attract so many visitors! So thanks to all those who have taken an interest so far, especially those of you who regularly comment or are even following this blog! You guys often provide me with the motivation I need to tackle the next project on my list, plus you provide some nifty ideas every so often. Cheers for that! 😉

As for this blog’s high points over the last nine months, my retrospect of Year Two is still fairly recent, so I’ll just point  towards it for all the dates and facts. What’s far more interesting, though, is how I decided to celebrate this event:

Because what better way to celebrate than to get a nice present for myself, as a reward for all the hard work, right? Relax, though: There’ll be something interesting for you as well. So what is this about?

Some of you may remember when I posted about fellow hobbyist AgnostosTheos building 30k versions of two of my World Eaters characters a while back. This was pretty cool, because his World Eaters army is easily one of my favourite Heresy-era representations of my chosen legion.

Now imagine my dismay when AT recently announced that he would be selling his amazing collection of World Eaters — what terrible news! I, for one, would have loved to see further additions to this force, and maybe even some more 30k versions of characters from Khorne’s Eternal Hunt.

However, and I almost feel guilty for admitting it, this also provided me with the chance as well as the obligation to purchase the 30k versions that already existed.

Now I normally have pretty strict rules when it comes to buying painted models or commissioning people: I don’t usually do it, period.

I have various reasons for this: I don’t want to let other people do the work that actually constitutes a sizeable part of the hobby for me, reluctant as I sometimes am to take up a paintbrush. I also have the creeping suspicion that once I start to commission people like the Spiky Rat Pack, for instance, to build and paint some of their amazing models for me, I’ll never stop until all my money’s gone.

And there’s also the fact that it’s really an all or nothing choice: Either you only buy single pieces and end up with them looking markedly different from the rest of your army, or you commission an entire army, pay through your teeth and actually have no hobby activities left to do yourself — apart from the playing, admittedly, but that has never been the greatest draw for me.

So, to make a long story short: While I usually lack any impulse control when it comes to buying little plastic men, I have so far managed not to buy fully painted ones, at least.

I made an exception this time, however, because the thought of somebody else owing AT’s Heresy-era versions of “my” characters was pretty much unbearable to me.
And due to the fact that I have zero interest in assembling a 30k World Eaters force, it seemed a safe enough endeavour to buy a couple of AgnostosTheos’s models without running the risk of becoming addicted to yet another army. So I made him an offer that he could have – but didn’t – refuse and purchased four models, all in all, along with some supremely useful resin bitz and an almost complete sheet of World Eaters decals. While the latter two will become very useful for my work on Khorne’s Eternal Hunt, it goes without saying that the painted models were definitely the stars of the show. Here are three of them:

Pre Heresy (6)
From left to right, we have a model representing Marax the Fallen in the days before his internment into a Dreadnought, a World Eaters officer based on the WFB plastic Chaos Lord, and Khoron the Undying, once again before being interred into an ironform. Let’s take a closer look:

First up, Marax the Fallen, in both his 30k and 40k incarnations:

Pre Heresy (7)
The twin lightning claws on both models make for a pretty clear recurring element, and the blood spatters all over 30k Marax’s armour and face show that this warrior was dangerously unhinged, even before becoming a dreadnought.

Then there’s Khoron the Undying in both versions:

Pre Heresy (8)

Although blood spattered, Marax seems less feral and uncontrollable than his brother. His patrician features are also a nice and subtle way of representing his function as a figure of respect among the warriors of the 4th assault company. In the 41st millenium, this face has forever been replaced with the brazen skull mask of a dreadnought, however.

Actually having these guys in my hands to display them alongside each other is a really awesome feeling, you know 😉

And then there’s the unnamed World Eaters officer: While the model wasn’t based on any of my characters, the fact that it uses the same base model as my own Dark Apostle makes it fun to imagine that it might represent a younger Huntmaster Stian Gul:

Pre Heresy (3)
Plus the model was actually a steal, so what choice did I have? My favourite part has got to be the way AT used etched brass parts to add World Eaters iconograpgy to the medieval looking armour.

There is actually one more model I purchased from AgnostosTheos, although one I am not prepared to show you just yet. It will also need some final touches to complete it. As a little teaser, let me just show you the weapons I intend to use for this mysterious warrior:

weapons
Maybe that should give some of you a clue as to the character this model will represent…

 

All in all, not only was this a great occasion to add some texture to my force, but it also serves as a very suitable celebration for my blog reaching 200,000 views. I really couldn’t be any happier with these guys:

Pre Heresy (4)
While we’re on the subject, though, be sure to check out AgnostosTheos’s WIP thread and Flickr gallery: Though the various models may have found new homes, they remain one of the coolest 30k World Eaters armies, and those links allow you to check them out in their entirety — highly rec0mmended!

So a very warm thank you to AgnostosTheos for letting me have these models for a quite reasonable price! And thanks to you for reading this and taking an interest! To the next 200,000!

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

Hodgepodge

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, Pointless ramblings, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 2, 2014 by krautscientist

Work abounds this week, so in place of a larger, well-considered update, let me just hit you with a jumbled mess of disparate things, if it’s all the same to you 😉 Most of them are related to my World Eaters, though, if that is any consolation…

 

1. In search of a past…

Helbrute (4)

“No. No! Not the sarcophagus… Khorne damn you, you disloyal curs, just kill me! JUST KILL ME!”
– Khalos the Ravager, last words prior to Helbrute internment

I added some final touches to the Helbrute model you saw in my last update, but the changes are nearly invisible at this point, which is always a sure sign of the model being finished. And while I am pretty happy with how this big guy has turned out, there’s the problem of tieing him into my army’s background:

You see, I try to come up with a background for any squad or bigger model I use, and a Helbrute/Dreadnought is certainly big and impressive enough to warrant his own name and story, right? Well, therein lies the problem:
One of the defining factors of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt is that its members cling to their martial honour, in spite of suffering from the bite of the Butcher’s Nails and the steady degradation of their sanity over time. For them, apart from periods when they are “lost to the nails” during battle, the thought of permanently devolving into mindless beasts is the ultimate horror. And in order to slow down the inevitable decline of the company, those physically or psychologically corrupted beyond redemption are organised into separate suicide squads, to die in a last blaze of glory before their corruption spreads to their brethren.

Roughly the same goes for the company’s Ancients, of course: So the last two Dreadnoughts I built for my army exemplify opposite ends of this spectrum, with Khoron the Undying remaining mostly sane, in spite of his millennia of internment in an ironform (with the danger of finally succumbing still always present), while Marax the Fallen was already forever lost to the nails prior to being transformed, so for him the internment was an eternal punishment, and his function is to act as a reminder to his brothers what their fate will be if they permanently give in to madness and anger.

So far, so good, right? But now I have this third Dreadnought/Helbrute that is visibly mutated and corrupted and seems just as angry as Marax, if not moreso. So where does he come in? How do I explain him as a character? And what will be his name?

I agree that this is not really a huge problem, and I will certainly present the model proudly alongside all the others, even without any background or justification. But as someone for whom the background of an army is an inseparable part of the whole project, this does bug me — so in case you have any suggestions, I’d be happy to hear them!

 

2. Reborn in Blood

The most terrible fate (at least from a hobby perspective) recently befell fellow hobbyist Legatho: A fallen tree crashed into his garden shed during a hailstorm, where most of his various hobby materials were stored, and almost all of his models were lost in the deluge (check out his Ammobunker thread for the whole story, complete with cringe-inducing photos). Seeing the results of that catastrophe made me realise that I wanted to help, and so, a couple of other guys and me each sent Legatho some bitz in order to help him rebuild his bitzbox, Here’s the box of assorted stuff I sent on its way to France :

Legatho04
And then the most awesome thing happened: I had also included a converted World Eater in the package, a model that, for one reason or another, I had never bothered to paint: I just thought it might be a nice personal touch to send along something World Eater-ly, along with the other stuff.
Well, it turned out that this was the first model Legatho chose to paint following his personal hobby Armageddon. Take a look:

Legatho01
Legatho02
He also made some fitting additions to the model, like the Ogre gut plate and some additional skulls and chains. And I particularly like the spears on the base, since they closely echo the basing motif I used for my own model for Lord Captain Lorimar.

The best thing, though, is that Legatho included a small plaque on the base as a further shout out:

Legatho03
That one really made me smile! All in all, I really couldn’t be any happier with the outcome: I think Legatho really managed to do the model justice with his paintjob, plus it was great to be able to help out a fellow hobbyist! And I really love the thought that a “goodwill ambassador” from Khorne’s Eternal Hunt  now resides in France. Way to go, brother-slaughterer 😉

The best thing, however, is that Legatho seems very motivated to keep building and painting models, and I think that’s really admirable! I am not sure my own hobby mojo would have recovered from a hit like that, but there you have it! Anyway, helping out felt good anyway, but as you can see, I also got an awesome hobby moment out of it as well!

Oh, and while we’re at it, be sure to take a look at Legatho’s thread and blog and leave a comment or two. Somebody who rebounds from such a hobby catastrophe so easily certainly deserves some recognition, plus there are some really cool kitbashes on show — all the more precious for the knowledge that they have been permanently lost…

 

3. Some new recruits

It goes without saying that I haven’t been completely idle, either: After the tour de force of painting the Helbrute model in a rather short amount of time, however, I needed to take it slow and engaged in some kitbashing in order to relax. So let me show you some of my latest smaller conversion projects:

First up, there’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while: I’ve repeatedly been tossing around ideas for a squad of World Eaters Havocs (to represent the classic “Teeth of Khorne” and add some versatile firepower to my army). I found myself thinking about the squad members just armed with a regular bolter (and used as ablative wounds): I wanted to make them slightly more interesting, and when I sifted through my bitzbox in search of inspiration, I found myself looking at some WFB chaos warrior shields: What if I built the ablative wounds guys to resemble breacher marines, only post-heresy?

Anyway, I messed around a bit, and here’s what I came up with:

World Eaters Breacher (1)
World Eaters Breacher (2)
World Eaters Breacher (3)
Just a very early WIP, nothing’s glued together yet, but for some reason, I really like this guy — maybe this approach warrants some further exploration? In any case, I’ll hold off on this until it’s clear whether we are getting the rumoured new Havoc kit anytime soon or not. But it’s an interesting experiment nevertheless, don’t you think?

I also built yet another gladiator: I wanted to have at least one model in the squad wield a meteor hammer, a weapon appearing  in the recent World Eaters fluff and featured as an equipment option in Forgeworld’s World Eaters Rampager squad. Oh, and Imagine my surprise when I found out that it is also an actual chinese weapon!

Anyway, I wanted to kitbash a gladiator wielding a meteor hammer, so I tried to achieve a fairly close representation of both the FW look and the actual historical source. Here’s what I came up with:

World Eaters Gladiators (80)
Once again, the feedback on the forums proved invaluable, with fellow hobbyists El Diablo and MasterBuilder offering some extremely useful feedback on the model’s head and making me think about a way of making the meteor hammer even more accurate.

After a bit of additional cleanup work, here’s the finished build for the gladiator:

World Eaters Gladiators (94)
World Eaters Gladiators (92)
World Eaters Gladiators (93)
I am quite pleased with this guy, plus I think I managed to build a pretty close approximation of FW’s “official” meteor hammer! I did cave in, though, and used a FW resin head — it just looked too good.

Expect the remaining three gladiators to see some colours sooner rather than later 😉

 

So yeah, that’s pretty much it for today: Just some smaller projects for now, although I can assure you that bigger things are on the way! It goes without saying that I’d love to hear any feedback you might have!

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