Archive for June, 2014

Post birthday ponderings & a blast from the past

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2014 by krautscientist

Happy Birthday
Last Saturday marked my 33rd birthday, and among other fleeting moments of introspection befitting such an occasion, the date made me realise that I’ve been in the business of messing around with little plastic men for about 20 years now — which seems pretty unreal, to tell you the truth. But instead of getting all sentimental and contemplative on you, let me take this opportunity to present you with a “blast from the past”, as it were, granting you a look at my very first army for Warhammer 40k — an army that, in many ways, started it all.

Before we do that, though, take a moment to marvel at the birthday image shown above which Annie sent me, totally making my day in the process: Not only did she put most of her Blood Bowl models to work on wishing me a happy birthday, but the picture also hints at some finished (or near finished) models for her new Piratz team — very awesome, and definitely something to look forward to! So, once again, thanks so much for the amazing surprise! 🙂

 

So yeah, back to the past. Before we take a look at this venerable project of mine, let me give you a little background, okay?

It was October 1998, and a new edition of Warhammer 40k had just been released. 2nd edition had been straining to accomodate hobbyists growing armies for a while, but in the end the rather cumbersome ruleset that had originally been designed for skirmishes, above all else, finally gave out. 3rd edition, then, brought some thorough streamlining to the system, and even then, this turned to be a bit of a divisive direction.

Back then, though, I didn’t know anything about this: I had gotten into WFB a while earlier, raising my first tabletop army ever. But even then, I realised that 40k called out to me, maybe even more than WFB did: I had been in love with what little of the setting I had been able to grasp from the butchered German version of Space Crusade, and a weekend spent blazing through the wonderful books from the 2nd edition starter box sold me on the setting.

So the new edition arrived at a time where I was contemplating a closer look at the 40k universe anyway. I eagerly gobbled up all the information about this new version of 40k, discussed in detail on the pages of (German) WD 34. Possibly even more important than any rules changes was the giveaway miniature the issue came with: A brand new plastic Dark Eldar warrior, the first representative of a completely new faction for 40k, and also the model that would launch my very first 40k army, pictured below: The Kabal of the Black Sun.

Old Dark Eldar (1)
In all fairness, it’s a rather boring army in many ways, because, like so many other first armies, it was build on what I could afford to buy from my weekly allowance at the time. So the army was assembled piecemeal, whenever I could afford to drop a bit of pocket money into my growing collection of spiky, pointy eared Space pirates.

This clearly reflects in the somewhat lopsided army composition: Lots and lots of plastic warriors (because these were the easiest to get hold of and delivered quite a bit of modeling bang for the buck), a couple of metal models (bought one at a time, except for the squad of Wyches), a squad of jetbikes (a rather expensive combi-kit back then, so I had to save up in order to be able to buy it) and, lastly, a Raider (the biggest purchase in pure monetary terms, and also possibly the most disappointing: I really only bought this model because it seemed to be absolutely compulsory for running a Dark Eldar army, but I was never all that fond of it, and it shows in the shoddy paintjob).

Anyway, even then, this army wasn’t really collected as a fighting force supposed to win any games (which, fittingly, it didn’t), but rather as an ongoing attempt at creating something cool. And while pretty much all of the models are horribly outdated – especially when compared to their modern counterparts – and while I am fully conscious of the technical shortcomings of my painting (which was even worse back then, if you can believe it…), I still think there are quite a few things to be proud of in this army, so let us take a closer look at some of the squads and individual models:

First up, one of my warrior squads. This one was supposed to serve as some kind of honour squad for my Archon, if the situation demanded it:

Old Dark Eldar (15)
In hindsight, I do of course realise that the true Stars of the show in the 3rd edition release were the multipart plastic Space Marines — as evidenced by the fact that it took a whopping 15 years for the kit to be substantially redesigned, and even then, today’s Space Marines still follow the basic recipe laid down by the 1998 release. The Dark Eldar Kabalite warriors were merely the byproduct of this process, and while they did help to pave the way towards a future of wonderful plastic kits to come, their first incarnation was probably a bit lacklustre even back then: The sprue only held the bare minimun of parts, with only a single special weapon and not much extra bitz to speak of: If you wanted different special weapons or more interesting squad leaders, you had to buy additional (metal) models — or you had to get creative!

And that’s exactly why I’ll always be indebted to those venerable plastic Xenos: It was both because they looked so samey and because they were so easy to convert, that I discovered how immensely fun it was to kitbash and convert plastic miniatures — still my favourite hobby activity today!

I can say without any hyperbole that I really went to town on the unassuming Kabalite Warriors sprue, creating an endless stream of conversions from it: running Kabalite warriors, more impressive Sybarites — I even used it to build a squad of Mandraks, because there weren’t any official models available for them back then. I also discovered the joys of kitbashing! For instance, this guy is a conversion I was enormously proud of for a very long time:

Old Dark Eldar (16)
Not even brain surgery, really: I just cut off the blades from a couple of Dark Eldar weapons and glued them to an old Craftworld Eldar power fist (that old CC weapons sprue was the best!), creating a very sinister and Dark Eldar-ish bladed gauntlet:

Old Dark Eldar (18)
This seemed like such an enormously fiddly conversion back then, but it filled me with a nearly unprecedented sense of achievement. And it also taught me something else: That converting each and every model in a given army in order to make each model special was a very worthy endeavour indeed! So where I had mostly been content to assemble the models by the book for my Warriors of Chaos army, the Dark Eldar taught me to be more adventurous, to try and push the envelope on my hobby projects!

But even I arrived at a point where I had burned myself out on the plastic Dark Eldar warriors and started to look for other resources. My eyes fell on the – then brand new – Eldar Guardians, and so I built a huge squad of kitbashed, bigger and meaner Kabalite warriors:

Old Dark Eldar (12)
Old Dark Eldar (11)

Old Dark Eldar (10)

Old Dark Eldar (9)
Again, none of these conversions are all that spectacular. But they surely felt that way back then — with detailed multipart plastic kits available for the first time!

Here’s the Sybarite for the squad of “Not Guardians”:

Old Dark Eldar (8)
Old Dark Eldar (7)
To tell you the truth, even in spite of all its obvious failings, I am still rather happy with the model’s slightly sinister elegance, even now.

Let me take this chance to address the paintjobs for a minute here: As you can see, I chose a very simple approach for my Dark Eldar: They were undercoated in black, then the armour plates were simply coated in gloss varnish, giving the models a slightly insectile look. The details were painted in gold and silver. Turquoise served as a spot colour (a habit I still keep up today ;-)) And while such a bare bones approach to painting might no longer fly today, I still think that this army made me realise that simple, striking colour schemes are the way to go. Sure, none of the models are anything to write home about from a painting perspective, but they still manage to look rather coherent and striking as a collection. At least until you get closer to them… Also take note of the classic 90s basing recipe: Goblin Green and green flock FTW! 😉

But back to the models themselves: My experience with these plactic kits even made me slightly more adventurous when it came to filling up the lack of official Dark Eldar models with my own creations. For instance, I added a Dark Eldar bit to an old Dark Elf plastic Sorceress in order to create a subcommander for my Dark Eldar:

Old Dark Eldar (14)

And while we’re on the subject of army commanders: The – rather limited – collection of (metal) characters and specialists was, of course, the other thing that defined the Dark Eldar back then. These models created some much needed variety and also seemed so cool in those days. Not all of them have managed to age all that gracefully, but I suppose that’s a given. Anyway, let us take a closer look at that side of my army:

Old Dark Eldar (5)
Old Dark Eldar (6)
First up, my Archon. I used GW’s stock Archon model which is very much a product of its time, of course, with huge shoulder pads and an almost ridiculous headdress (and I am still not sure whether I like the flayed face…), but I think it’s also a pretty apt representation of the Dark Eldar’s essence: The model is spiky and undeniably evil, but it also has this sinister, slightly depraved elegance. It’s also important to remember that this particular niche didn’t exist in 40k back then (because the Slaaneshi Chaos Space Marine models were far too bulky and out there to truly register as elegant). Plus I do have a soft spot for this guy!

The lances glued to the model’s back were originally intended as a trophy rack. I would have added a new trophy for each defeated enemy. A neat concept, but, alas, it never came to that: I never defeated a single enemy, for one. And looking back now, it was probably for the best, because the quality of the bitz back then would probably have made the trophy rack look absolutely hideous!

There’s also this model, a Sybarite for the Kabalite warriors:

Old Dark Eldar (13)
And, to be honest with you, this may be one of my favourite tabletop models ever, and one that I still love. Sure, it looks to big and bulky when stood next to the regular Kabalite Warriors. Sure, the thickness of the various blades and the model’s claws harken back to a different period of casting. And yes, the pose is a bit clichéd. But it’s still an all-time favourite of mine, because it perfectly embodies what the Dark Eldar are about. It’s really a shame that this guy looks even bulkier when placed to the new (2010) Dark Eldar, because he would be an essential addition to any pointy eared army, otherwise. Oh yes, for the record: I am none to happy with the crappy blending on the claw 😉

Of all the models in the old Dark Eldar catalogue, I think it’s the Haemonculi that have best managed to hold up by modern standards. In fact, if I were to start a Dark Eldar army today, I would seriously consider using them as “regular” Haemonculi, with the floating, multi-limbed new Haemonculi only used as elders or army commanders. Anyway, take a look:

Old Dark Eldar (2)
First up, the older version of Urien Rakarth. I am still reasonably happy with my paintjob — especially so since the model was actually repainted at one point to bring it more in line with my Kabal’s colour scheme.

And here’s his colleague, a regular Haemonculus (insofar as the term “regular” can be applied to these guys):

Old Dark Eldar (4)
This model was also pretty much the first instance of really stepping outside my comfort zone during painting. It may not look like much now, but painting the face by highlighting the prominent areas in ever more delicate layers of paint really showed me that there might be more to painting than just doing the bare minimum. Sure, I could probably do much better today, but it still started here.

Old Dark Eldar (3)

I actually own the third unique Haemonculus sculpt as well, although I haven’t painted the model yet. Perhaps I should, though, because these guys would probably work equally well in a radical INQ28 retinue…

All in all, the Haemonculi were one of the most original and new concepts about the Dark Eldar back when they were released, and it’s cool to see that these models still hold up — at least in my opinion.

Another model that I am still rather fond of is the older incarnation of Lelith Hesperax:

Old Dark Eldar (21)
Old Dark Eldar (19)
Old Dark Eldar (20)
Sure, there is much to be said for the much more restrained, modern version of the model, but I cannot help feeling fond of the sci-fi dominatrix look of the old model. Plus this model holds a special place in my heart for the challenge it presented painting-wise: Getting the contrast between the spiky armour and the softer, organic shapes of the unarmoured parts just so was quite a challenge for someone only used to painting bulky Chaos Warriors — and probably especially difficult for any lad still mired in the late afterpains of puberty 😉

Alas, her accompanying retinue of Wyches has not fared quite as well:

Old Dark Eldar (22)
Again, the are just a little too 90s, with their unbelievably big hair and clunky, retro-futuristic musical performer design — especially when compared to their gorgeous modern incarnation. They are still good fun, of course, but in a slightly corny way. Still, these guys and girls make me scratch my head in wonder at how I managed to paint all those tiny pupils back then — this seems to be one of the things I have actually managed to unlearn since those simpler days…maybe it’s the onset of middle age?

 

We all know the rest of the original story, of course: The Dark Eldar went through a pretty rough patch, being kept at arms length by GW for a very long amount of time. It took until an – admittedly spectacular – relaunch in 2010 to finally update the army, and even though that relaunch was one of the factors getting me back into the hobby after a longer hiatus, it didn’t see me return to the army: Although I did try to continue where I had left off, I realised that my heart was no longer in it, despite the amazing new models. So I turned to the forces of chaos instead, my other great hobby love. And you know the rest (or can at least read up on it on this blog in case you don’t).

In the larger scheme of things, however, this army is still immensely important for my personal hobby life, not only because it was my first 40k army, but mostly because it managed to teach me so many important lessons that are still helpful today. Granted, many of my growing pains of my hobbyist are clearly evident in the models themselves. But the army was instrumental as a means of departing from the slavish adherence to the pretty pictures on the boxes in many ways, and for that alone, it marks an important step in my personal hobby history.

 

So yeah, the things you think about in the aftermath of your birthday, right? 😉
Anyway, I hope this little blast from the past has been as enjoyable for you as collecting my thoughts on the matter has been for me! It goes without saying that I would love to hear any feedback you might have!

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

Inquisitor 28: Navigator household warband WIP

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Fluff, Inq28, Inquisitor, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 25, 2014 by krautscientist

In one of my recent posts, I promised you an INQ28 update rather soon, and today I intend to make good on that promise! 🙂

I already mentioned in a prior post how much I love weirdingway’s Navigator models. In fact, I feel his models make up one of the most creative and interesting 40k/INQ28  projects around at the moment, and one that has been a deep well of inspiration ever since I first came across it.

Now I already kitbashed a Navigator fairly recently, a model that I am pretty happy with:

Navigator (2)
Building this model was a fun kitbashing experiment as well as an attempt to get my current obsession with weirdingway’s models out of my system – at least a little bit. But ultimately, the Navigator bug had hit me so badly that it became clear to me that I needed to add a couple of additional models in order to make up the Navigator’s personal retinue.

Unlike weirdingway, however, I am not trying to expand this into an army project, so I tried my darnedest to stay focused and only build a handful of additional models. The other big challenge was to make the models more than just cheap knock-offs of weirdingways’s characters — I’ll be honest with you: There was a very real temptation to just copy his awesome kitbashes and be done with it 😉

I went a bit against my own laziness, however, and now I think I may have come up with a couple of models that share the eclecticism of weirdingway’s retinue, but put a slightly different spin on things.

 

The background for my Navigatorial House, named House DeVries, is that it is the oldest and most influential Navigator house of the Velsen Sector. The house is unbelievably rich and very much at the height of its political power, which has made its members increasingly haughty and eccentric. At the same time, their genetic makeup of the house has gotten more and more “particular” over the millennia, so that some of the members of the house can never hope to be able to walk among regular humans, while even those who act as representatives of the house will show minor but noticeable signs of deformity (like my Navigator above).

In keeping with the status of House DeVries, I wanted the Navigator’s retainers to be both eclectic and ostentatious enough to look the part. So I grabbed my bitzbox and got to work.

So far I have:

A regular of the DeVries household guard:

House DeVries Household Guard WIP (3)
This model was based on an WFB Empire Musketeer given to me by PDH. I really liked the model, so I wanted to use it as part of my Navigator retinue — I’ll happily go on record stating that I love using Empire bitz on 40k models! Even the puffy sleeves! Especially the puffy sleeves! Not due to laziness, mind you (though I am pretty lazy, actually), but because, in my idea of the 40k universe, there are lots of puffy sleeves, powdered wigs and strange, anachronistic elements.

In this case, that approach produced a model heavily inspired by a formation like the Pontifical Swiss Guard, which was pretty much what I was going for. In order to prevent the model from looking too fantasy, I added a head and backpack from the Tempestus Scions kit. And even though I really wanted to keep his weapon, I did add the muzzle of a Cadian Lasgun — maybe the weapon is a priceless Longlas? Or maybe it has been expertly crafted to resemble the ancient weapons from Old Terra’s history, due to the whims of the Navigators?

In any case, while this guy might need a tad more work, I already like where he is going!

I also built an an officer of the DeVries household guard, or possibly even its guard captain, based on a Tempestus Scion:

House DeVries Guard Captain WIP (3)
Once again, the Swiss Guard vibe is clearly palpable, isn’t it? The slightly baroque breastplate is really a good match for this particular look. I also wanted to gives the guard officer’s weapons a slightly impractical, very ceremonial look, so he is armed with a very ostentatious (and rather bulky) chainsword and a tower shield that originally came from the Bretonnian Men-at-Arms:

House DeVries Guard Captain WIP (4)
The decoration on the shield consists of an aquila (shaved off a Centurion shoulder pad I used for my Obliterator — waste not, want not and all that) and a parchment from a Marine kit. I also added a feather I had left from converting the Navigator, because I thought it would make for a nice bit of visual consistency to have feathers appear as decoration on several models in the retinue!

All in all, I really love this guy: He has such an “implacable man” vibe going. Plus the head really gives him a slightly sinister aspect, doesn’t it? He may be dressed like a fop, but there is actually no doubt that he could hold his own in a fight…
I also built a Majordomo for House DeVries. The idea for this model developed when I thought about the function of the actual Navigators in the organisation of the house and realised it would be cool if the members of the house were so rich and powerful and in their own little bubble that dealing with everyday matters was completely beneath them. So they would need a servant to coordinate their household and keep their little empire running. And while this servant would not be a trueborn Navigator himself, he would wield some of the authority and power of House DeVries, making him rather powerful and important to everyone other than his masters. So I set out to build a suitably ostentatious model for such a character. Take a look:

House DeVries Majordomo WIP (8)
House DeVries Majordomo WIP (9)

The model’s a rather easy kitbash making use of Cadian parts, an Empire Knight’s breastplate and a particularly great head from the WFB Empire Battle Wizard kit: While I think the kit is full of missed opportunities – especially when it comes to the bodies – some of the bitz are simply amazing — this head among them. As you can see, the Majordomo carries a tome of treasured secrets — maybe the travel routes through the warp jealously guarded by House DeVries? Or maybe the genealogic charts of the house?

House DeVries Majordomo WIP (6)
You may also have noticed the withered claw clutching the book, and there’s a story behind that: In my imagination, while only “pure blooded” children of Navigators will become functional Navigators themselves, I like the idea that the members of House DeVries are known for their voracious “appetites”, really “sowing their wild oats”, so to speak. Now my idea is that House DeVries tends to use the many, many bastards produced by members of the house as household guards, retainers, menials and what have you. Now what if the Majordomo is not pureblooded enough to have been born a Navigator, but very much pureblooded enough to share in some of the deformities of the more exalted members of the house?

In order to represent the fact that he is wielding a portion of his masters’ influence, the Majordomo carries a staff of office crowned by a stylised warp eye:

House DeVries Majordomo WIP (7)
The staff was constructed by combining a Sanguinary Guard axe haft, a part of the Chaos Terminator Sorcerer’s staff and a piece of Space Marine bling on top 😉 Oh, and to give credit where credit is due: The use and placement of the purity seals on this model was very much inspired by MonkeyBallistic’s wonderful 30k Imperial Navy Captain. Thanks for the inspiration, mate!

In fact, after building a couple of retainers for him, even the original Navigator didn’t escape my attention, and so I added a ring to his right hand:

Navigator (6)
I really like how the ring serves as a representation of House DeVries’s wealth and creates an interesting visual counterpoint to the somewhat misshapen claw of a hand…

So here’s a look at the entire retinue so far:

House DeVries retinue WIP (2)
Coming up with these models has been brilliant fun so far! And while the fact that I have taken lots of inspiration from weirdingway should be very obvious, I still hope that I was able to put my own spin on things!

Let me know what you think! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Big guns never tire, pt. 4

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, paintjob, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 23, 2014 by krautscientist

Since my birthday will be coming up later this week, let’s just start celebrating now with an out of turn extra post on Monday. Huzzah! Plus I really want to show you the finished Obliterator, so we all win 😉

Anyway, since the last update, I finally added the shoulder pads to the model, added quite a few additional painting touches – not all of them really all that noticeable, unfortunately – and completed the model’s base.

So, with everything in its right place, I now call this model finished. Take a look:

Hadrak Firebringer (1)
Hadrak Firebringer (2)
Hadrak Firebringer (3)
Hadrak Firebringer (4)
Hadrak Firebringer (5)
Hadrak Firebringer (6)
Hadrak Firebringer (7)
Hadrak Firebringer (8)
As you can see, I also added some “last minute bitz”, since some fellow hobbyists suggested that the model needed some kind of loincloth or tabard. A normal loincloth was out, though, because I did want to keep at least parts of the pelvis area visible, not as a strange kind of fixation on Obliterator junk, mind you, but rather because the fact that the pelvis is designed to strongly resemble that of the new Helbrute is a really cool touch. So, in the end, I went for a rather cool bone trophy from the WFB Vampire Counts Skeletons.

I also added some small plates to the shoulders to cover up the slightly awkward area where the arms meet the torso. And finally, let me show you a closer look at the model’s back, both for the brilliantly gruesome spine emerging from the Obliterator’s armour and for the additions I made there:

Hadrak Firebringer (13)
It felt like the rathe huge, empty area to the left and right of the spine needed some additional detailing, so I added two chains from the WFB Chaos Chariot kit, making them look like they were being used in order to hold the Obliterator’s armour plates in place.

All in all, I am really extremely happy with this model! I think the custom and standard GW parts are blended together much better than I had anticipated, without looking hastily slapped together. The model is also rather massive and not quite as covered in random fleshy bitz as the stock GW models.

I really couldn’t be any happier with this guy, to tell you the truth, and I am really extremely thankful to thamier for providing the awesome custom Obliterator bitz that went into the model’s creation! And thanks as well to all those who provided helpful suggestions and criticism during the model’s completion! In fact, my only fear is that I will now be unable to return to any non-thamier-pattern Obliterator models or conversions…

Hadrak Firebringer (9)
Hadrak Firebringer (11)

Oh, and of course I also produced a suitable little background vignette for the model. Take a look:

Hadrak Firebringer (10)
Hadrak Firebringer

He appeared in a flash of light, immense even in his crouched position. With the noise of grinding metal, he rose to his full height, the hoarfrost of void teleportation trickling off his armour.

The battlefield lay ahead of him as an endless grey expanse. One by one, his brothers appeared. He could feel their spirits through mind link, feel their hunger. The sizzle of the nails, surgically changed in nature, yet not in intensity, a constant buzz that would soon grow into an all-consuming fire.
Before him, countless red target markers flared into life and gave him purpose. The hunt began.

Advance!

His command remained unspoken, issued only via mind link, yet the hulking shapes of his brothers began to move as one. They advanced across the grey plain, slow but relentless, sending a hail of fire towards the enemy lines. He was dimly aware of figures running past them: the
fleshkin. But they were unimportant, insubstantial almost. More a nuisance than anything, making the task of calculating trajectories and fire corridors more difficult than it needed to be.

A blast from his Lascannon caught an enemy tank, making the vehicle explode in an enormous fire ball. First blood to them. The nails rewarded him with a wash of adrenaline, and beyond that, he could feel  the dark joy of his brothers, shared through the bond that connected them.
The enemy returned fire, but the pinpricks merely burned new scorch marks into his ancient, pitted armour. He and his brothers shared a moment of derisive amusement. Then they returned fire, and watched another score of target markers flicker out of existence. The nails drove them onwards, promising a reward that never came. But it did not matter. All that mattered was fire and heat and destruction and death.

It was over too soon. It always was.

A figure appeared before him, laughably small to his eyes. Yet he could make out the red and bronze armour. The badge of the XIIth legion. His legion. The figure addressed him, looking up at him through a snarling Sarum pattern helmet:

“I salute you hunter!  You have hunted well, but your work here is done. Deactivate your weapons and await extraction.”

A targeting marker appeared over the legionary, flaring from green to red and back to green. One impulse, one tiny movement was all it would take to give the nails their due. He could feel his brothers’ anticipation and the nails knifing into the meat of his mind. Red and green. Red and green.

“I repeat. Deactivate your weapons.”


With a mind impulse, he powered down his weapons and disengaged the targeting lock. The nails pulsed hot in his mind, punishing his hesitation with a white hot lance of pain. And beyond that, he could also feel something from his brothers – disappointment? Disapproval? He focused on the fleshkin before him, seeing the legionary as if for the first time. It seemed as if the he allowed himself to relax now. Was that relief?


“Compliance”, he growled at last.

 

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

Big guns never tire, pt. 3

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 20, 2014 by krautscientist

Maybe this should actually rather be part 2.5 of this mini-series, but I am pretty hard at work on the converted Obliterator at the moment, and I thought it would be cool to just show you the model’s current status:

Here’s the – mostly finished – body:

Thamier_pattern_Obliterator_PIP (1)
Thamier_pattern_Obliterator_PIP (2)
I was initially slightly apprehensive about the slightly rubbery texture of the resin thamier used for casting the parts, as I feared the material might be problematic to paint. It turned out that my worries were entirely unfounded, though — in fact I was pleasantly surprised with painting thamier’s custom parts: They accepted the colour without a hitch and were really almost as easy to paint as stock GW parts.

In any case, I was happy enough with the result to immediately start working on the arms as well, so here’s the model as it looks like right now, with both arms attached:

Thamier_pattern_Obliterator_PIP (5)
Thamier_pattern_Obliterator_PIP (4)
Thamier_pattern_Obliterator_PIP (6)
The model’s still missing its shoulder pads, base and a ton of finishing touches, of course, but I am enormously pleased with it so far. So I thought I’d just share my progress. Expect to see the finished Obliterator rather soon 😉

Anyway, let me know what you think! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Big guns never tire, pt. 2

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 18, 2014 by krautscientist

Another upate on my World Eaters related projects today, because the last weekend has been spent happily kitbashing away at various evil, spiky and bloodthirsty things 😉

First up, an update on the big guy: Since I first posted my WIP “Thamier pattern” Obliterator, I have spent some more time working on the model, cleaning up the conversion and preparing the model for painting:

Here’s what the Obliterator looked like before:

Thamier_pattern_Obliterator_WIP (12)
Since this picture was taken, I have added another round of spiky bitz, worked a bit on the right foot in order to make it look more natural and plugged all remaining holes and crevices with GS. So here’s the model, pretty much ready for a last bubble bath and then some paint:

Thamier_pattern_Obliterator_WIP (18)
Thamier_pattern_Obliterator_WIP (19)
Thamier_pattern_Obliterator_WIP (20)
Thamier_pattern_Obliterator_WIP (21)
Thamier_pattern_Obliterator_WIP (22)
Thamier_pattern_Obliterator_WIP (23)
I also realised that the model needed something to clearly show its allegiance to Khorne, but regular bunny ears were right out due to a lack of space around the collar. So I improvised, using an icon of Khorne instead (an idea stolen from the ever inspirational Wayde Pryce). I also tried yet another head, although I might actually like this one the best so far: It just has a subtly feral quality that I think really fits the bill.

All in all, I am really pleased with this conversion, and I hope that the paintjob will turn the model into a truly awesome piece — now to work up the motivation to actually get painting…

 

The big guy was not my only project, though: Working on that Helbrute rocket launcher also gave me the motivation to try something I had been thinking about for quite a while: Building an Ursus Claw for my Chaos Helbrute(s).

For those not in the know, an Ursus Claw is a weapons system typical of the World Eaters Legion: It is effectively a harpoon that can be fired at an opponent (preferredly a retreating one), in order to impale him, possibly already creating critical damage, and then reel him back in for the finale. The World Eaters used this weapon system both on their flagship, the Conqueror and on the allied Titans of the Legio Audax, so I thought arming a World Eaters Dreadnought with one of those systems probably wasn’t all that unrealistic. More on the Ursus Claw here, in case you are interested.

Now when I started planning this conversion, I looked around for inspiration and found this image, nestled away deep within my inspiration folder. Unfortunately, the original source has been lost, and I have been unable to retrieve it, so if you recognise your work, definitely let me know!

EDIT: The mystery has been solved: The picture below came from fellow hobbyist sheep. Check out his amazing Khornate models on his blog. Thanks a lot, sheep, for coming forward!

conversion by sheep

conversion by sheep

The picture actually provided a perfect starting point for my conversion: The psy-weapon CC arm from the Furioso Dreadnought kit. And since Marax the Fallen had been converted from that very kit, I still happened to have the arm in my bitzbox.

The second piece of inspiration came from Forgeworld’s Blood Slaughterer Impaler, because that model is, for all intents and purposes, armed with an Ursus Claw as well. Take a look:

image by Forgeworld

image by Forgeworld

The weapon gave me a pretty good idea for building the chain winch that makes for the truly nasty part of the weapon, allowing the harpoon to be reeled back in.

So with those two ideas in my head and a couple of bitz on my table, I got to work.

And here’s my own WIP Ursus Claw, already provisionally mounted on my model for Marax the Fallen:

Ursus Claw WIP (7)

Ursus Claw WIP (3)

Ursus Claw WIP (4)
As you can see, the arm is pretty much the stock bit, whereas the harpoon mechanism is a combination of the two sources cited above. I fortunately had a perfect chain winch bit from some Ogre Kingdoms kit in my bitzbox, and it was ideal for this conversion. The chain came from another Ogre kit. The housing for the winch is a shaved down part of a Predator Lascannon turret weapon. And, to make things suitably chaotic and to tie in the weapon with the look and feel of my army, the housing was decorated using two Chaos Marauder shields.

Here’s the weapon arm on its own:

Ursus Claw WIP (8)
One thing I kept going back and forth on is the actual harpoon, because I wasn’t sure whether it needed to be more ostentatious and/or claw like, like the one on the Blood Slaughterer. In the end, though, I decided that a more clawlike appearance would mean that it would be harder to actually recognise the weapon as a harpoon constructed to be launched at the enemy, so I stuck with the simpler design — what do you think?

Ursus Claw WIP (5)
Anyway, once this Ursus Claw and the kitbashed rocket launcher arm are painted, I will have a pretty exhaustive collection of Dreadnought/Helbrute weapons — as a matter of fact, I built this last arm mostly for fun anyway, rather than for added tactical flexibility. Still, I think it’ a fairly cool option for featuring an element from the World Eaters’ recent fluff in my army!

 

And finally, one last model to show you: A rather simple kitbash at that, but one I am still rather happy with.

When I picked up my brand new Dark Vengeance boxed set, back when 6th edition hit, I realised the nose of the Chosen champ had been flattened a bit by the sprue of stuff lying above it in the box. So I have wanted to “repair” the model for a long time now. So during an idle hour, I carefully cut off the head and replaced it with one from the FW Space Marine Praetor. I also replaced the maul with a sword, while I was at it. Tale a look:

Chosen Champ WIP
Both the head and maul were kept intact as much as possible during the cutting, and both will be used on further conversions. As it happens, the head was used on the kitbashed INQ28 Navigator I showed you recently. I think the flattened nose could be explained away as yet another manifestation of the Navigator’s physcial deformity.

Fellow hobbyist dantay_XV pointed out that the model’s calm stare and raised sword worked together quite well, making it look like he was just about to swing the sword forward and give his warriors the command to unleash hell. That was exactly the intended effect, as a matter of fact, and I think that this model will eventually be the Huntmaster in command of the 4th assault company’s Havocs (Teeth of Khorne, in the old fluff), so the pose works doubly well, if you ask me.

 

So yeah, so much for the World Eaters side of things. As always, let me know what you think — and look forward to some more INQ28 madness pretty soon.

And, of course, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Big guns never tire

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 13, 2014 by krautscientist

Good news, everyone: Since the stifling heat has let up a bit, I am back to my usual state of semi-productivity 😉 Anyway, I promised you a more substantial update in my last post, and you shall have it!

I mentioned that a couple of fellow hobbyists have recently sent me some pretty nifty stuff, and today’s update will deal with the first of the projects to come out of this latest supply drop.

First up, PDH provided me with an absolutely massive package of bitz and left me truly staggered by so much generosity! Ungrateful git that I am, I only have a fairly meagre first project to show for it yet: I finally started building the last Dreadnought/Helbrute weapon still missing from my collection, transforming a stock Dreadnought rocket launcer Peter had sent me into its suitably chaotic counterpart:

Rocket Launcher WIP (1)

Rocket Launcher WIP (2)
Certainly nothing mind blowing, but rather a nice and simple bit of kitbashing that eased me back into the regular flow of things — still, having an entire set of fully exchangeable weapons for my Chaos Helbrutes will feel enormously pleasing once it has finally been accomplished 😉

 

But the rocket launcher is not really the star of the show today. That role falls to the second model I would like to show you. So, what is this about?

You may remember that my attempt at coming up with some Obliterators that didn’t look like Chaos Terminators covered in meat wastes turned into a rather protracted conversion project (chronicled, for instance, here and here). I ended up with three custom Obliterators that I was reasonably happy with. These:

Behemoths WIP (47)
Behemoths WIP (52)

Some of you may already have been wondering why I hadn’t yet managed to get these painted. The reason, apart from my egregious lack of painting discipline, is that fate intervened and I discovered a recipe for building Obliterators that I liked even better:

Thamier’s wonderful Balefire Legion has been a constant source of inspiration. But what really blew me away more than anything else was his approach to sculpting and kitbashing his own, completely customised Obliterators (whose creation you can witness starting here)!

Maybe the best part about these is that while they are perfectly in line with the look and feel of GW’s other chaos models (almost moreso than the official Obliterators, in fact), they forego the fleshy, mutated look in favour of something more mechanical and imposing. Take a look:

Obliterator built and painted by Thamier

Obliterator built and painted by Thamier

I was really blown away by the sheer awesomness of these models, but alas I could only gaze at them from afar and hope that one day I might be able to come up with something just as cool.

Well, that day may have come, because – while Thamier only made these awesome bitz for use in his own army – I was actually lucky enough to get my hands on some of them as part of a bitz swap between the two of us. This is a really exciting opportunity, of course, so it goes without saying that I immediately started assembling my very own “Thamier pattern” Obliterator.

Now Thamier had warned me in advance that the castings weren’t of the best quality, and that the parts would require some work. And indeed, there was quite a bit of flash to be scraped off. But all in all, the parts really cleaned up rather nicely. Here’s a look at the cleaned and prepared parts for the Obliterator:

custom Obliterator parts sculpted by Thamier

custom Obliterator parts sculpted by Thamier

As you can see, a full set consists of a torso (in two halves, in fact), a pelvis, two thighs, two (rather massive) lower legs and two feet. The parts were cast from Thamier’s original master model, as far as I am aware, and considering the pieces have been entirely sculpted from scratch, the amount of detail is rather nice. Of course these are not as crisp and cutting edge as a factory-made GW kit, but I am in fact even more impressed with the sculpting that went into these after having made some first hand experiences with the parts: Not only do they take all the right design cues from GW’s own chaos models, but they also come with amazing little touches like the profile on the Obliterator’s armoured boot:

custom Obliterator parts sculpted by Thamier

custom Obliterator parts sculpted by Thamier

That is true dedication, ladies and gentlemen 😉

Like I said, scraping off the flash wasn’t a big problem, and even a bit of rough texture or damage here and there actually work towards the effect that these guys are ancient veterans of the Long War, so no problem there.

Here’s my first mockup of the whole model:

Thamier_pattern_Obliterator_WIP (3)
Thamier_pattern_Obliterator_WIP (4)
As you can see, the model is really rather massive, which makes it clear that this guy is not just any standard chaos Terminator. And while the overall shape and construction may recall Tactical Dreadnought Armour, there are several visual shout outs to the new Helbrute design, like the armour panels to the side of the head, the slightly more elaborate armour trim and, of course, the pelvis area that looks very similar to that of the Helbrute.

I used a Warp Talon head as a placeholder, which should show you that the sculpted torso will accept pretty much any (Chaos) Space Marine or Chaos Warrior head without a hitch. The comparison should also give you a rather good idea of the model’s rather impressive size and bulk!

Working from there, I had to get a bit creative, because – unlike Thamier – I cannot sculpt for toffee. So where Thamier sculpted his own upper arms and shoulder pads, I defaulted back to my usual approach and solution to any hobby problem — glorious kitbashing! 😉

In this case, though, the task of actually finding suitable arms that scaled correctly with the rest of the body almost drove me crazy: While natural looking proportions are not exactly a priority for a hulking monster like this, many arm setups that seemed promising ended up looking too short and undermining the sense of threat given off by the model.

In the end, the solution was found in the most unlikely of places: I was messing around with the magma cutter bitz from the fiend kit when I realised that these could actually work as arms for the Obliterator! So I combined them with some Chaos Terminator fists and a couple of leftover Centurion weapons (it’s a good thing you get LOTS of leftover weapons with the Centurion kit), and my Obliterator really took shape. Take a look:

Thamier_pattern-Obliterator_WIP (5)
As you can plainly see, I took a lot of inspiration from Thamier’s painted model shown further up in this post, but then I thought it looked really awesome and wanted to replicate some of that coolness 😉

For the shoulder pads, I chose Centurion pads, as you can see. I also added some Ogre armour plates to the hips to bulk out the model’s middle a bit. As an added benefit, these will also create some visual consistency if I ever want to use this big guy alongside my converted Centurions, as they are using the same armour plates for decoration.

I still needed to bulk out the upper arms, since they were looking a little scrawny. Plus the clean and loyalist shoulder pads needed some chaotic love as well. So I added another round of bitz, and here’s where the model stands at the moment:

Thamier_pattern_Obliterator_WIP (12)
Thamier_pattern_Obliterator_WIP (17)
Thamier_pattern_Obliterator_WIP (16)
Thamier_pattern_Obliterator_WIP (15)
Thamier_pattern_Obliterator_WIP (14)
Thamier_pattern_Obliterator_WIP (13)
While some additional cleanup along with a spiky bit here and there may be required, I am really rather happy with this guy! I think the design works really well as a less-mutated but really impressive and utterly chaotic Obliterator! And I am also reasonably pleased with the solution I came up with for the arms!

One thing I need to point out again is that this guy is absolutely MASSIVE, with much more bulk than a regular Terminator. In fact, like I said, he’s the perfect missing link between Terminators and Helbrutes, not only in design but also in height and bulk.

Provided the temperature outside stays agreeable enough, I hope to be able to paint his guy rather soon. Afterwards, I’ll have to consider which way to go with my overall strategy for the Obliterators: Will this veritable beast be used as a “unit champion” of sorts, leading the other, Centurion-based Obliterators into battle? Or will I become so addicted to the Thamier-pattern that any other kind of Obliterator just seems like a cheap travesty to me?

 

For now, I’ll just try to build the biggest, baddest Obliterator imaginable. Thanks so much to Thamier for letting me have some of those bitz to mess around with! And if any of you have any suggestions or criticism about this guy, let me know!

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

Thamier_pattern_Obliterator_WIP (12)

Monkey Wrench

Posted in 40k, Blood Bowl, Conversions, Inquisitor, paintjob, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 11, 2014 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, just a smallish update for today: Even though the combination of a couple of days off and a massive bitz drop (courtesy of several fellow hobbyists) should have provided the perfect circumstances for a rather productive building and painting spree, the exceptionally warm weather has managed to throw a monkey wrench into the works, so to speak: It’s so warm outside that my modelling putty isn’t holding together at all (or too well, in places), my paint is drying on the brush, and even typing this already makes me break a sweat. Awesome, huh?

Well, fortunately, it’s not all bad: I’ve soldiered on regardless, so you can expect a more substantial look at my current projects in the near future. For now, let me just share two models I have recently painted:

First up, speaking of monkey wrenches reminds me of monkey, and maybe you’ll recall this little guy:

PeeDee the Monkey WIP (1)
I already told you that PeeDee, named for none other than PDH, would be next on the painting table — and indeed he was! Here’s the finished model for you:

PeeDee (1)
PeeDee (2)
PeeDee (3)
Even though it’s a very small model, I still took my time painting it, and I think it was well worth the effort. Since PeeDee is the favourite pet of Rogue Trader Iskander Gagarin, I felt that bright and vibrant colours were the right choice for his little uniform — Rogue Traders do like to show off, after all 😉

The thing I am really pleased with is PeeDee’s face, though, complete with a pupil in his right eye. This may have been the first and only well executed pupil I have painted for about a decade, so I am really stupidly happy with it — and good thing I gave PeeDee a bionic left eye, because otherwise I would have had to paint two eyes and make sure the pupils were correctly lined up. And, as we all know, that way madness lies…

All in all, though PeeDee’s only a familiar on par with a servo-skull or psyber-eagle, I couldn’t be any happier with the paintjob — and painting this little guy was a blast, too!

And it goes without saying that, even though PeeDee may be small, he certainly isn’t too small for a few lines of background 😉

PeeDee (5)
PeeDee the Monkey

Many Rogue Traders like to flaunt their wealth, dressing in the finest clothes and carrying priceless artifacts. Iskander Gagarin is no exception to this rule, always cutting a dashing figure in his sharply cut uniforms and rare furs, armed with weapons that are either highly exotic or priceless family heirlooms. However, one of Gagarin’s favourite trophies is a living being: A small, excessively augmeticised monkey going by the name of PeeDee. This small creature is a highly complex familiar, possessed of an uncanny intelligence and capable of completing complex tasks that would baffle any servitor. Usually dressed in the same vibrant colours as his master, PeeDee isa sign of the Rogue Trader’s wealth and taste, but also a highly useful retainer in his own right. Indeeed, creating a familiar of such complexity is a task for the brightest minds amongs the Genetors and Magi Biologis of the Adeptus Mechanicus. And, as a matter of fact,  it is rumoured that Gagarin won his favourite pet during a protracted game of Regicide against a particularly eccentric member of that secretive order…

 

So yeah, so much for PeeDee the Monkey! Like I said, I am really happy with the finished model, and I hope that PDH, as his namesake, likes him as well 😉 After all, he was the one to give me the model in the first place. Thanks again, mate!

The other model I would like to show you today is a bit of a departure from my usual projects: Some of you might remember my various forays into the world of Blood Bowl, prompted by my colleague Annie (whose wonderful Lustria Team I also featured on this blog).

Anyway, Annie has been hard at work on a truly stunning new team, full of clever conversions and great models, for a while now. The team will be pirate-themed, and I certainly hope that I’ll be able to share it with you, once it is finished.

Now when Annie’s birthday recently came up, it was absolutely clear to me that I would have to build a model for her team, codenamed the Piratz, so I gathered up all the slightly pirate-y bitz I had and tried to come up with something. Unfortunately, I had already scoured my bitzbox for anything looking like it might fit a pirate team earlier in order to provide her with a small bitz collection. As a consequence, I really had to make ends meet this time around, but in the end I came up with this model, intended to serve as a cheerleader for the Piratz:

Piratz Cheerleader (1)
Nothing too fancy, as you’ll agree: Some WFB Empire bitz gave me the right base to work from, and adding a Marauder head, a peg leg and some suitable weapons were enough to come up with a fairly convincing pirate. While painting the model, I tried to channel all the fond memories I had of the Pirates of the Carribean films 😉

Anyway, I only had two evenings to build and paint this model, so I was a bit pressed for time. In the end, though, I managed to finish the model in time. Take a look:

Piratz Cheerleader (2)
I used a fairly limited palette of colours, making sure the model looked unkempt enough to read as a pirate. Still, going for lighter and more vibrant colours was a nice bit of contrast when compared to my usual, darker painting style.

I wanted the flag carried by the pirate to do double duty as both a variation of the venerable Jolly Roger and also work as a banner supporting the team. So here’s what I came up with:

Piratz Cheerleader (3)
Piratz Cheerleader (6)
While the motto on the front of the flag needed to be freehanded, one of my chaos decal sheets luckily provided me with a suitable skull! As you can see, I also built a suitable base for the model, in line with the bases Annie is building for her team. Let’s take a closer look at that part of the model:

Piratz Cheerleader (8)
What would a true pirate be without a drink, right? 😉

One thing that is a bit of a recurring visual motif in Annie’s team is that each model features a rat — hence the name Piratz, I suppose. Anyway, it was clear that I would have to do the same, so I used one of the venerable old HeroQuest rats for that role. Take a look at the rat in its hidey hole:

Piratz Cheerleader (7)
Definitely not award-winning stuff, but Annie was still very happy with her new cheerleader. And I can already imagine this jolly guy waving that flag of his and singing bawdy songs as my own Orkheim Ultraz are pounded into the ground by the Piratz. We shall see…

So yeah, that’s it for today. Let it not be said that the head totally killed my productivity 😉 And like I said, stay tuned for some serious WIP action very soon! 🙂

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