Archive for December, 2014

The 2014 Eternal Hunt Awards, pt. 1: The Hobbyists

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , on December 31, 2014 by krautscientist

Awards

Alright, everyone, it is that time of year again! So on the last day of 2014, let us commence a look back at the year and talk about this year’s Eternal Hunt Awards! And what better way to start than to talk about 2014’s outstanding archievements by fellow hobbyists, right?

 

Hobby blog of the year

Interestingly enough, choosing winners for this category really becomes harder and harder as we go along, mostly because most of last year’s winners just keep on producing outstanding content (yes, Jeff Vader, I am looking at you — among others 😉 ). That said, in the interest of keeping things fresh. I’ve limited my choice to blogs that have not yet been among the winners. So, with that out of the way, whose blog was the most awesome this year? Let’s find out!

 

1st place: Le blog dĂŠ Kouzes

Blogdekouzes_banner

Confession time: My French has become horribly rusty over the last few years, which is really a shame. But every once in a while, something makes me want to brush up on the language, and this year’s winner is very much a reason to learn French:

The four Kouzes provide a relentless stream of quality content, ranging from extremely helpful tutorials to absolutely breathtaking army projects. And every once in a while, they’ll run competitions that invariably draw the most talented hobbyists from the French speaking hobby community (and well beyond).

Meanwhile, their own projects really remain the star of the show here: Be it Morbäck’s absolutely stunning Plaguebones (or his equally wonderful Gretchin Army), ThĂŠo’agonie’s unbelievably creepy Dark Eldar or what have you: These guys are so insanely talented that I always feel the need to read through their every post — albeit at a glacially slow pace, more often than not 😉

So whether or not you know any French, make sure to head over to this fantastic blog as soon as possible — if all else fails, there’s always Google Translate, you know 😉

 

2nd place: thenickeninja’s blog

Nickeninja_banner
There are many things to love about the blog of swedish hobbyist thenickeninja, but let me just point out two of them: His absolutely amazing work for Blood Bowl – just check out his gorgeous Voodorcs – and his stunning underhive terrain — the latter one may just be the best tabletop terrain in existence, period.

Looking at these terrain projects always leaves me equal parts inspired and dejected at the fact that I’ll never be able to come up with something nearly as ingenious as this.

So definitely check out thenickeninja’s blog at your earliest convenience — I promise you’ll hunger for Necromunda and INQ28 afterwards, and that’s always a good thing!

 

3rd place: Between the Bolter and Me

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Another confession: I am as guilty as anyone at regularly falling victim to the “pretty picture syndrome”, scrolling past carefully written paragraphs of excellent text in order to get at the delicious pictures of models. This is a terrible habit, to be sure, and it is therefore all the more astounding that this year’s third place has managed to capture me with a combination of things to look at and things to read through. time and time again:

The Brothers Wier maintain an excellent balance between showcasing cool conversions and kitbashes, providing helpful tutorials and taking detailed and insightful looks at new releases as well as certain developments in this hobby of ours. Their articles never disappoint and manage to be rewarding — with or without any pictures. A very well put together blog, and another hearty recommendation — make sure to check out Between the Bolter And Me!

 

Best models of the year

The level of quality when it comes to hobbyists’ creations is really quite off the charts by now — it’s almost unbelievable how many quality projects, logs, blogs and galleries can be found online! But even in this Golden Age of creativity, there are some that rise above the crowd. So let me present you some of the best pieces of 2014:

 

Red Corsairs by Kari Hernesniemi

Red Corsairs by Kari Hernesniemi

Red Corsairs by Kari Hernesniemi

Kari and Okki, the Spiky Rat Pack, are common household names whenever I talk about my favourite blogs and hobbyists — and for a good reason, because their creations just tend to blow me away. This year, Kari does it yet again with some wonderful, true scale Red Corsairs that are a perfect embodiment of what Chaos Space Marines should be.

Truth be told, the Red Corsairs have often felt a little gimmicky to me – a strange mĂŠsalliance of traitors lacking the flair of the “true” Traitor Legions. Well, no longer, because Kari’s wonderful models are Blanchian and pirate-y and utterly badass at the same time, showing a chapter that has managed to become as corrupted in a mere century when others needed ten millennia for the same feat. Those models are just perfect — amazing job!

Check out Kari’s post about his Red Corsairs here.

Red Corsair by Kari Hernesniemi

Red Corsair by Kari Hernesniemi

 

Inquisitor De Lorme by Steifer

Inquisitor De Lorme by Steifer

Inquisitor De Lorme by Steifer

A simply wonderful piece, marrying Blanchian design sensibilities with a dash of the Venetian Carnival: De Lorme is just pitch perfect in execution, a character that is equal parts majestic and ostentatious on the one hand, and sinister and more than a little deranged on the other. The whole achievement becomes even more stunning when you consider that Steifer sculpted huge parts of the model from scratch — all in all, this may just be my favourite Inquisitor this year!

Read more about Inquisitor De Lorme on Steifer’s blog here: The model is further enriched by seeing all the thought and care that went into its creation!

Inquisitor De Lorme by Steifer

Inquisitor De Lorme by Steifer

 

Death Cult Assassin by MonkeyBallistic

Death Cult Assassin by MomkeyBallistic

Death Cult Assassin by MomkeyBallistic

The sheer elegance and perfection of this model leaves me almost speechless — suffice to say that this may just be the definite Death Cultist model, period. Based on a Witch Elf, this model is a perfectly realised interpretation of the archetype created by such characters as Severina and Sevora Devout (of INQ54 fame) — yet it even manages to improve upon those models: absolutely marvelous work!

Check out MonkeyBallistic’s blog here.
Mounted Champion of Nurgle by PDH

Nurglite Campion by PDH

Nurglite Campion by PDH

Hugely talented hobbyist and all around great guy PDH absolutely delivers once again with a Champion of Nurgle on his daemonic steed, perfectly nailing down the diseased, festering look we would expect of a chosen of the grandfather — while totally blowing the official Magghot Lords out of the water at the same time! Seriously, GW should just have cast this model and be done with it, if you ask me!

Peter’s paintjob on this piece is also truly something to behold — especially the way he managed to capture the look and texture of a slug on the daemonic steed’s body. Is it any wonder this bad boy made it into a recent issue of Warhammer:Visions?

What finally elevates this amazing piece to legendary status is that the template for it was created by employing the highly arcane and eclectic random tables in the old Realm of Chaos books. Thumbs up, Peter: job’s a good ‘un 😉

Check out PDH’s excellent RoC log here.

Nurglite Campion by PDH

Nurglite Campion by PDH

 

Nurglite Maulerfiend by Morbäck

Nurglite Maulerfiend by Morbäck

Nurglite Maulerfiend by Morbäck

Ah, there I was just mouthing off about not being all too fond of the new magghot models, and along comes Morbäck and shuts me right up with his absolutely stellar magghot-based Maulerfiend conversion: an excellent creation that is being copied in Nurglite armies around the globe as we speak 😉

I have already stated my love for Morbäck’s Plaguebones earlier in this article, and I am all too happy to reiterate this point: This army is definitely and unmistakably Nurglite at first glance, yet quite unlike every other Nurgle army out there. And it really has it all: The brilliant kitbashes as well as the flawless (and especially disgusting) paintjobs. Morbäck’s Maulerfiend really serves as an avatar of the whole army project in a nutshell, and so it definitely belongs on this list!

Check out Morbäck’s excellent Plaguebones here.

 

Honorary mention: skrundle87 and John Stiening

This list just wouldn’t be complete without a shoutout to skrundle87’s and John Stiening’s excellent Imperial Knight models. While both models couldn’t be any more different from one another, they were truly invaluable to me when I converted my own Imperial Knight earlier this year:

Skrundle’s Daemon Knight provided me with so many excellent ideas to …erm borrow, and it stands as one of the best chaotic Knight conversions I have seen so far.

Daemon Knight by skrundle87

Daemon Knight by skrundle87

And John’s absolutely stunning Knight interiors provided the kick in the behind I needed to step up my game and create a cockpit for my own Knight instead of just glueing that carapace shut. The rest of the model is absolutely fabulous as well, of course!

Imperial Knight by John Stiening

Imperial Knight by John Stiening

So a huge thank you to both of you guys! I can only recommend visiting skrundle’s and John’s respective blogs and be amazed!

 

But wait, there’s more!

There’s so much more to tell you, but precious little time left tonight. So let’s take some time off, celebrating the advent of the new year, and I’ll be seeing you soon with the next installment of the 2014 Eternal Hunt Awards, talking about my favourite armies and hobbyists of 2014. Until then, party on!

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

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Merry Christmas from Skalathrax!

Posted in Pointless ramblings, World Eaters with tags , , , on December 24, 2014 by krautscientist

seasons_greetingsA very merry Christmas to all the readers of this blog, to all commenters and to all my hobby buddies out there! I hope you’re having a great time with your families, friends and loved ones! Don’t forget to sneak in some hobby time, though! 😉

Oh, and don’t forget: I’ll be seeing you soon for this year’s Eternal Hunt Awards, so stay tuned!

Waste not, want not — a look at the 2014 Blood Angels release

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , on December 22, 2014 by krautscientist

Right, before Christmas is finally upon us next week, let’s fit in one last review for this year, shall we?

Linked together with the Tyranid release by way of the Shield of Baal:Deathstorm boxed set, we get another round of Blood Angels models before the year is out. Now the Blood Angels are one of the chapters that have already seen a rather substantial (and very good) dedicated release at an earlier point, providing us, among other things, with rather gorgeous kits for the Death Company and Sanguinary Guard, respectively, plus a very versatile Dreadnought kit. The new release, therefore, serves to nicely round out the Blood Angels’ catalogue — but does it stack up to the quality of the earlier release? Let’s find out! And let us also look at all the delightful conversion options — for the last time this year! 😉

Blood Angels release 2014 (1)
The first thing that quickly becomes obvious with this release is that the various new kits make pretty heavy use of existing resources, such as the Tactical Marine kit, the Sternguard and even the Space Hulk BA Terminators, recombining and changing around elements from either to create some new toys for our Blood Angels. This “recycling” of existing assets is neither difficult to spot, nor – I would argue – such a big secret to begin with. And it doesn’t have to be a bad thing either. But while GW have been content to release slightly touched up single characters so far, this is one of the first time this happens on such a scale — with both good and bad consequences, but we’ll be getting to that in a minute. Let’s take a closer look at each of the kits in turn:

 

Blood Angels Sanguinary Priest

Blood Angels release 2014 (4)
Alright, this is an interesting piece, both because it’s the most original (as in “freshly sculpted”) part of this release and because it’s also the first time that we get a plastic version of the Blood Angels’ very own brand of priests/apothecaries. So what do we have here?

The model clearly takes some cues from the vintage Brother Corbulo, with certain elements (such as the face and the skull chalice) clearly resembling that character. At the same time, the design of the armour clearly calls back to the Sanguinary Guard (and, by extension, to the vintage models for Commander Dante and Captain Tycho). The addition of flowing robes (an element mostly seen on Dark Angels models so far) provides a nice and individual touch to the model, and the many trinkets dangling from his armour serve as a great reminder of his status.

One thing I really love about the model is the highly ostentatious chain sword — such a beautiful, yet menacing weapon! And though it’s hard to make out in the official pictures, the face is also a bit more interesting than your standard, unhelmeted Blood Angels head (more on those later…).

A look at the sprue reveals that it should really be easy enough to swap in all kinds of Marine parts for smaller or bigger conversions. And using the arms, the backpack or the head on different models should also be really easy:

Blood Angels release 2014 (5)
Space Marines seem to make for pretty good clamshell characters, since the way their armour goes together makes the resulting model stay pretty versatile, in spite of being single pose.

All in all, this guy is basically one of the high points of the release for me — and definitely the most interesting of the new kits from a converter’s perspective! Very nice!

 

Blood Angels Librarian in Terminator armour

Blood Angels release 2014 (2)
This model clearly takes some cues from the Librarian that came with Space Hulk (the double headed psy-axe is a dead giveaway), although I like the new model’s dynamic pose better than the really statuesque Space Hulk Librarian. The model also seems to resemble GW’s older metal/Finecast Terminator Librarian — to the point that it was initially pretty hard to decide whether this was a new model or a kitbash when the first, fuzzy pictures of this release emerged.

And again, this is an excellent character, continuing the trend of strong clamshell plastic characters for the Space Marines! It should also be reasonably easy to convert this guy with an influx of external bitz, and for all the same reasons I mentioned above:

Blood Angels release 2014 (3)
I only have two minor gripes with the model: One, the position of the head seems ever so slightly strange, even though it makes sense in context. But the way the model goes together means that the head is basically locked at that precise angle, unless you invest more time and create a more involved conversion.

By the same token, I realise that this guy is part of the Blood Angels release, but wouldn’t a generic Librarian have made more sense? Sure, the two or three BA icons should be easy enough to get rid of, but this makes it all the more strange that GW didn’t just release this guy as a vanilla model — he would have been quite a bit more useful that way…

All in all, it’s a pretty strong model, though.

Blood Angels Tactical Squad

Blood Angels release 2014 (6)
Okay, here’s where the “recycling” process I mentioned above hits full swing, because the Blood Angels Tactical Squad is basically a mashup of the recent “vanilla” tactical kit, the Sternguard kit and some Death Company and Sanguinary Guard bitz thrown in for flavour. It’s easy enough to spot a multitude of familiar bitz, so this is really pretty obvious.

Among the new parts are a few pretty nice head variants, by the look of it. I really like the helmet of the Marine on the right, for example:

Blood Angels release 2014 (10)Interestingly enough, the “BA-ification” really falls flat on some of the parts. For instance, the rebreather head was possibly one of the coolest bitz from the tactical kit, but looks pretty silly with an added BA hairdo added on top:

Blood Angels release 2014 (9)
In fact, can I just say that I am really not a big fan of the one Blood Angels hairstyle we get? Seriously, I see what they were going for, but that kind of hairstyle just ends up looking pretty daft when combined with a Marine’s somewhat exaggerated features — and it’s the only type of hair we get for our Blood Angels, for crying out loud. Instead of making them look like classical statures, they just seem like pampered children with that stupid hair — but maybe that’s just me.

Beyond such nitpicking, however, I think this is a rock-solid kit. Does it bring something new to the table? No, because it’s mostly a mashup of pre-existing assets. But that is actually its strong suit: It gives Blood Angels players an updated troop box with all the recent weapon options and some nice bitz thrown in for flavour and decoration. Certainly a nonessential purchase if you already have 3,000 points of Marines knocking about, but a very useful resource for starting a new army!

So, great for (new) BA players, everyone else may pass.

 

Blood Angels Assault Terminators

Blood Angels release 2014 (15)
As with the “vanilla” Assault Terminators, these guys come in two flavours and can be armed with either twin lightning claws or thunder hammers and storm shields. Let’s look at both variants in turn:

Blood Angels release 2014 (12)
I am a huge fan of Lightning Claws, but the LC Termies get the short end of the stick, if you ask me: Maybe I’ve just never realised this before, but loyalist lightning claws seem to have a way of jutting out of their gauntlets at a slightly strange angle, taking away some of the dynamism. This is especially obvious on the more dynamically posed models:

Blood Angels release 2014 (14)Just look at the model on the left: It looks like the claws should really be curved inwards, in order to better underline the model’s composition, but there they are, straight and clunky — has this been as noticeable on the generic assault Terminators as well, I wonder?

The Terminators with thunder hammer fare far better, at least in my opinion:

Blood Angels release 2014 (15)
There’s just something wonderfully massive and threatening about Terminators armed with the old hammer/shield combo. Plus I really like the champion, with his added armour plates and robe:

Blood Angels release 2014 (11)
Both variants profit from beautifully detailed armour and lots and lots of BA trinkets that really make them look like the chapter’s elite first company. It’s also very obvious that huge parts of this kit have been heavily inspired by (and reused from) the Space Hulk Terminators — just look at the small armour plates on the thunder hammer sergeant, for example. But that in itself is really a good thing, because it allows players to field Terminators that are visually on par with the truly excellent Space Hulk models without having to pay over-inflated ebay prices for the original models.

There is one substantial problem however: You pay for this opportunity by way of a serious reduction in modeling flexibility! A look at the sprue reveals that the bodies are constructed pretty much like those of snap-fit Terminators: Each Terminator’s legs and torso are one piece, with the chestplate and head also fused together. The arms and shoulder pads are separate parts — but the fact remains that these Terminators are a huge step back from the versatility we know!

Granted, if you like to build your models by the book, this shouldn’t even be such a big problem to begin with, but if you’re an avid converter and kitbasher, like me, this seems somewhat worrying, because we end up with a multi part kit that is severely less flexible than some of the kits we know and love. If this is only limited to one kit, it becomes a bit of a non-issue, since you are free to get the regular, more flexible Terminators. But one has to wonder what ramifications this may have for future releases…

 

Bonus Content: First Captain Karlaen

Blood Angels release 2014 (18)
During my release of the Tyranid second wave, I threw in a look at the Spawn of Cryptus, seeing how Shield of Baal: Deathstorm was basically released back to back with the new kits. So let’s do the same for the Blood Angels character from the same kit, Captain Karlaen.

At first glance, what we have here is a massive Blood Angels Captain wearing suitably ornate Terminator armour, purposefully striding forward — so far so good, right?

The problem is that Karlaen suffers from exactly the same problem as the Spawn af Cryptus, although it’s even more pronounced here:
Where the Spawn of Cryptus was a more or less straightforward “remix” of the Space Hulk Broodlord (with most of the strengths of the original model being kept intact),  Karlaen tries something a little more adventurous in that the model seemingly attempts to incorporate elements from two different sources. Just compare the picture above with this…

Blood Angels release 2014 (20)…and this:

Blood Angels release 2014 (19)
It looks like the model for Karlaen is a hybrid between these two Space Hulk models — and the bad news is: It’s decidedly less interesting and imposing than either of them. Now this wouldn’t be much of a problem if Karlaen were any old Termie, but he is supposed to be the Blood Angels’ first captain — their most accomplished warrior and commander,  second only to Lord Commander Dante — and he ends up looking like an okay-ish kitbash made from two superior Space Hulk models. And again with the stupid hair — sorry GW, not nearly good enough!

 

Conversion options:

It goes without saying that this release has really been tailored towards Blood Angels players first and foremost, with the amount of BA iconograpgy present really making conversions and kitbashes  beyond Blood Angels and their successor chapters slightly more complicated. That said, I still have a few simple ideas for conversions using the new kits.

  • The most obvious point is that many bitz from this release should make very nice additions to BA players’ bitzbox, allowing them to introduce even more flavour and ornamentation into their armies — and that’s always a good thing!
  • By the same token, some of the bitz should be equally useful in other Space Marine armies — I am especially thinking of stuff like heads, armour plates or cool weapons. Come to think of it, some of those swords should look pretty cool on INQ28 characters as well.
  • It should be easy enough to convert the Terminator Librarian to represent a Librarian from a different chapter — just shave off some of the iconography and you’re there. But then again, that’s why the model should have come in vanilla flavour in the first place 😉
  • The ostentatiousness of BA armour makes these kits a really good source for bitz when it comes to something as eccentric as, say, kitbashing a Legio Custodes army: So far, I’ve made ample use of BA bitz for that project, and I imagine some of the new bitz will come in handy as well, sooner or later.
  • Finally, the Sanguinary Priest has to be the most interesting part of this release when it comes to conversions: He could be used as a great base for a suitably impressive BA character — or even for a plastic Mephisto conversion? And I think he would make a pretty awesome Inquisitor with a bit of work — in fact, I’ve recently purchased the model in pursuit of exactly such a conversion, so watch this space… 😉

 

All in all, this is certainly a solid  release, even if it’s mostly useful for BA players. Where most of the other releases this year tried to bring something new to the table, this release wave for the Blood Angels mainly focuses on refining and rounding out the existing catalogue — which is an equally viable approach, I might add! But the models are looking great and the amount of bitz we can get out of the new kits should be a pretty big help to those with BA and BA successor armies.

The general direction of the release does outline one thing that does have possible ramifications for the future that are both good and a little worrying:

In the age of digital sculpting, it is obviously possible to re-use assets and, what’s more, to recombine them with other kits in order to quickly generate custom kits for different chapters — and that is certainly a great option, because it opens up the possibility for all kinds of conversions and customisations: We are already pretty close to having dedicated troop boxes for most of the first founding legions, but this becomes even more interesting when you think about Traitor Legions, Eldar Craftworlds or what have you.

On the other hand, a possible pitfall of such a way of design seems to be the threat of kits that are far less flexible: The clamshell characters are an example of this, albeit not an egregious one — it’s still fairly easy to use them for kitbashing and converting. At the same time, however, the multi part Space Marine kits have always been among the most flexible and versatile kits produced by GW, and seeing a Terminator kit that gets rid of a substantial chunk of flexibility like that does seem a little worrying — at least to a passionate kitbasher like me…

It’ll be interesting to see where we go from here, to say the least!

 

So, what’s your take on the new models? And do you have any conversion ideas of your own to share? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section!

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

On Khârn the Betrayer

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

What a funny coincidence: I’ve just finished working on a rather involved conversion to represent everyone’s favourite teamkiller, Khârn the Betrayer, and now there are suddenly rumours floating around about some kind of release surrounding the character as part of GW’s Advent Calendar — what’s up with that?

So while the holiday season rapdily approaches, why not take a closer look at everyone’s favourite man in red, right? Allow me to walk you through a ridiculously wordy post about Khârn the Betrayer, ladies and gentlemen (don’t worry, there’ll be pictures somewhere down the line 😉 ):

The Character

When it comes down to fluff, Khârn is a rather interesting case: Back when the character was introduced (along with the release of the 2nd edition Chaos Codex), there wasn’t much to go on beyond his background in the book — and even that painted a picture of a somewhat…imbalanced individual.

Beyond that, there was only William King’s seminal short story “The Wrath of Khârn”, which was published both in Inferno! and WD back in the day. But it quickly became obvious that Khârn’s basic approach of being ALWAYS ANGRY ALL THE TIME didn’t exactly turn him into a narrative goldmine: He was frankly a bit of a one trick pony when it came to his character, even though some swear that Khârn harboured some hidden qualities.

The HH series has made Khârn quite a bit more interesting, because it has managed to add more facets to his character: During battle, he loses his mind with the best of them, being entirely at the control of his Butcher’s Nails implants. But what makes Khârn interesting is that he seems like a reasonable and calm person off the battlefield, even serving as a voice of reason to his Primarch in the role of equerry. What’s more, by the time the Heresy rolls around, some very visible cracks have begun to show in the XII legion’s foundations, both in regards to Angron’s continuing mental and physical  degradation and the growing toll of the Nails on his legionaries.

WARNING: Spoilers for Betrayer follow!

In Betrayer, Khârn seems very aware of both problems, yet he remains loyal to his Primarch and is one of the cornerstones of the legion’s nobility and brotherhood — easily the most important thing to him, it seems, both when it comes to his dealings with his brethren and his blood brother, Argel Tal of the Word Bearers. It’s especially striking, then, how the death of the latter seemingly sends Khârn on the first steps of his development into the utterly bloodthirsty and psychotic character we know from the 40k universe: There’s a battle scene at the tail end of Betrayer that shows a different Khârn to the one we have encountered before — an utterly indifferent killing machine. And for now, we can only guess at the implications of Angron’s “ascension”, both for the legion in general and Khârn in particular — we do know what he has become 10,000 years later, though…

End Spoilers

In any case, it’ll be interesting to see what the writers at GW and BL have in store for Khârn — but I, for one, hope that it’ll be more along the lines of Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s rather nuanced treament of the character, and less like the one-note soundbites we have grown accustomed to from Khârn’s 40k background.

The Art

It’s really impossible to discuss any part of the 30k/40k lore without considering the accompanying artwork — the art is arguably just as important for the setting as the models and the baclground narration, especially since it often provides the designers with the actual inspiration for the design of new models or the redesign of existing characters.

So let’s take a look at some of the artwork depicting Khârn the Betrayer over the years — interestingly enough, the artwork for the character has a track record that can seem just as spotty as his narrative background.

But let’s cut to the chase: One of the first pieces of artwork I ever saw – and still one of the best images depicting Khârn, if you ask me – is this piece, created by Kev Walker:

Kharn the Betrayer art (4)
This illustration really has it all! It was used to accompany William King’s aforementioned “The Wrath of Khârn” in WD, and I still love it just as much as I did back when I first saw it — the one element that does seem slightly distracting is the collection of piercings on Khârn’s left bicep — such a slightly kinky touch would somehow seem more fitting on a follower of Slaanesh. But then, the accompanying story nicely toys with that scenario, so maybe that was the whole point?

When it comes to classic Khârn, one really need not look any further than Jes Goodwin’s own concept sketches for the character:

Kharn the Betrayer art (8)
I think one can safely suspect that this is the oldest piece of art depicting Khârn, and it is also the one that is the most faithful to the actual miniature — for very obvious reasons… It also remains one of the best drawings of Khârn, along with the one by Kev Walker, in my opinion, but then that’s Jes Goodwin for you…

Interestingly enough, some of the other artwork depiciting Khârn doesn’t fare quite as well: For instance, Adrian Smith is easily one of my favourite artists when it comes to depicting (Chaos) Space Marines, but his treatment of Khârn is not up to his usual standard, if you ask me:

Kharn the Betrayer art (14)

Sure, there’s a lot to like about the piece, but the entire left arm and the axe just fall apart completely when you look at them too closely — the perspective of that part is just sooo wonkey, don’t you think? And for some strange reason, Khârn suddenly seems to have both arms uncovered in this piece.

What’s more, most of the even more recent pieces really don’t capture the essence of the character for me, be it because it looks like Khârn is wearing an armoured bodysuit…

Kharn the Betrayer art (12)
…or because they make him look like a clueless idiot when fighting against loyalists:

Kharn the Betrayer art (3)
At least the art from Khârn’s latest codex entry is pretty competent, if a little uninspired:

Kharn the Betrayer art (2)
Do yourself a favour and don’t look at the pictured of his wargear that are part of his Dataslate, though: While the art itself works well enough, the added explanations for his wargear’s various features read like the worst kind of fan fiction imaginable…

And what of Heresy era Khârn? Interestingly enough, once again, the oldest piece of artwork may just be the best:

Kharn the Betrayer art (11)
Wayne England’s iconic piece of art from the original HH trading card game may no longer be an accurate representation of the recent fluff (the legion colours have ended up noticeably different in the interim, for one), but it’s still one of those classic images I hold dear  — but then, I’ve always had a thing for Wayne England’s chaos artwork, so that may have something to do with it as well.

At the same time, the updated depiction of heresy era Khârn in the Black Library publications is also pretty cool:

Kharn the Betrayer art (7)
There’s just something menacing and implacable about the above piece that I really like! It also seems like this was either designed to more or less accurately depict FW’s Khârn model or even serve as a design template for it? But we’ll be getting to the models in a second…

Before we talk about Khârn in miniature form, allow me to bring up two pieces of fanmade artwork that I really like.

First up, heresy era Khârn, as rendered in Greyall’s trademark style:

Khârn the Bloody by Greyall

Khârn the Bloody by Greyall

As per Greyall’s usual standard, the piece is incredibly detailed and ornate — you just have to love that axe design, don’t you?

The other illustration I would like to show you is this fantastic piece by slaine69, showing Khârn at Amartura:

Khârn at Armatura by slaine69

Khârn at Armatura by slaine69

This probably couldn’t be any more different in style and direction from Greyall’s piece, but I love it just as much: slaine69 is an insanely talented artist, and what I like about this – slightly unconventional – depiction of Khârn is how it manages to humanise him as a character and bring his berserk tendencies to the fore at the same moment — excellent stuff!

 

The models

So we have looked at the art — but what about the actual models? Do they do the character justice? And what about the hobbyists’ take on Khârn? Let’s find out!

As far as official releases are concerned, there have been two models for Khârn so far:

The first one is Jes Goodwin’s original 40k version of the character:

Khârn the Betrayer by Jes Goodwin

Khârn the Betrayer by Jes Goodwin

The model is still available from GW today, and in my opinion, it’s not only a true classic, but it also still holds up beautifully. The model was released along with Abbadon, Ahriman and Fabius Bile, back when the 2nd edition Codex Chaos hit, and he has arguably managed to age pretty gracefully. I realise that the model has been getting some flak over the years for its rather static pose, but come on, people: This guy has so many elements that became iconic and seminal for the whole look of the World Eaters: The baroque and pitted power armour, the bunny-eared helmet (that is almost impossible to replace or approximate by mere kitbashing or converting), the chains — and, of course, the bare arm, which may be a more common sight in (Chaos) Marine armies today, but was something quite original back then.

I remember first seeing Khârn among a collection of models and thinking: “I wonder what this guy’s story is!” — the model just has a way of drawing you in! As it happens, Jes Goodwin is possibly responsible for the two most iconic World Eaters models: Khârn is one of them, and the other one is the iconic 1991 metal World Eater — and if I have one complaint, it’s that the best World Eaters models were released over twenty years ago, with precious little having happened in the interim (Forgeworld notwithstanding). Anyway, what can I say: I am still a huge fan of this guy!

There’s also the much more recent FW model for heresy era Khârn by Edgar Skomorowski:

Khârn the Bloody, by Edgar Skomorowski

Khârn the Bloody, by Edgar Skomorowski

The model seems to have been designed with the main criticism against the Jes Goodwin version firmly in mind, because this guy is *very* dynamic — almost overly so, in fact, but we’ll be getting to that. The armour design is really cool, adding a gladiatorial flair to Khârn’s wargear that is a great fit for his legion’s background. The crested centurion helmet is also a great touch — although I would argue that the original helmet’s faceplate seems slightly more balanced.

In spite of all the good aspects, I am not a huge fan of the model, to be honest: The running pose seems slightly oddly balanced to me, making it look like Khârn is almost falling forward — this has always been a problem with running models, however, and maybe it was actually an intentional choice, in order to illustrate his uncontrolled rage? I also think the choice to extend the unarmoured/partially armoured look to his other arm as well somewhat lessens the visual punch of this element. And I really hate the model’s bare head: It may be a cool enough face, certainly, but it’s not Khârn’s face:

Forgeworld Heresy era Kharn detail
Such things always come down to personal choice, of course, but it is stated outright in the background that Khârn’s face is actually unscarred. The integration of the Butcher’s Nails also seems a bit random — but in any case, the head is an optional bit, so it’s not like you have to use it. All in all, I think it’s a nice, if slightly underwhelming, model.

It goes without saying that many, many hobbyists have come up with their own versions of the character, kitbashing or converting their own model to represent Khârn. Some of these improve on the existing models quite a bit, so I would like to share with you my favourites — and the interpretations I have drawn inspiration from for my own conversion. I’ll be limiting myself to those models who represent a substantial change to the stock models, by the way, although it has to be said that merely reposing the existing models can lead to rather stunning results as well. Anyway, here goes!

Let’s start with different versions of (Pre) Heresy Khârn:

Pre Heresy Khârn by Sebastien Lavigne

Pre Heresy Khârn by Sebastien Lavigne

This – Golden Demon winning – version of 30k Khârn by Sebastien Lavigne remains one of my favourite versions of the character: I just love the dynamism of the model, as well as the added legion standard! The model becomes even more impressive when you consider the fact that, back in 2008, the Horus Heresy wasn’t the massively detailed and codified setting it is today. In spite of that Sebastien still managed to create a tiny slice of the setting without much to work from, and the result still manages to hold up today. Marvelous!

There’s also the ever-inspirational Mr. Poom, who is responsible for the other two heresy era Khârns I would like to share with you:

Heresy era Kharn by poom first version
This piece was clearly inspired by Wayne England’s art shown further in this post, and I simply love how closely the model represents the illustration (and how it dares to deviate from it in all the right places). I am aware that Mr. Poom is no longer all that fond of the model, but it does remain one of my favourites.

His more recent version of the character uses the Forgeworld version as a base:

Khârn the Bloody by Mr. Poom

Khârn the Bloody by Mr. Poom

The horsehair crest brings the model more in line with the character’s depiction in Betrayer, which is a nice touch. And Mr. Poom’s paintjob is as gorgeous as ever — I still prefer his earlier version of the character, to be perfectly honest, but out of all the FW Khârns, this one is probably my favourite!

So what about the 40k versions of the character?

Khârn the Betrayer by kitbasher

Khârn the Betrayer by kitbasher

Wow, this Khârn conversion by kitbasher may just be the perfect Khârn model! It’s also a rare case of a model actually improving on the artwork it has been based on: The model clearly takes lots of inspiration from the Adrian Smith illustration further up in this post, but it works out all the kinks of the piece, creating something better in the process — perfect!

Then there’s this Khârn by Lil’Loser Studio:

Khârn the Betrayer by Lil'Loser Studios

Khârn the Betrayer by Lil’Loser Studios

The model uses parts from both official Khârn models, combining them to great effect and creating an excellent model!

AMaximus, who, it has to be said, is one of my main inspirations for World Eaters conversions and kitbashes, chose a similar approach, coming up with this awesome Khârn:

Khârn the Betrayer by AMaximus

Khârn the Betrayer by AMaximus

I can hardly wait for him to slap some paint on this model!

I also really like this very clean and seamless conversion by mf_Greg:

Khârn the Betrayer by mf_Greg

Khârn the Betrayer by mf_Greg

The excellent paintjob helps, of course 😉

The Vanus Temple is responsible for two stunning versions of the character: First up, his earlier conversion, based on a WFB champion of Khorne:

Khârn the Betrayer by the Vanus Temple

Khârn the Betrayer by the Vanus Temple

This one became popular enough that multiple models have been produced as commission pieces, if I recall correctly.

Khârn the Betrayer by the Vanus Temple

Khârn the Betrayer by the Vanus Temple

A more recent version by the same artist uses the FW Khârn model and creates an equally stunning piece:

Khârn the Betrayer by the Vanus Temple

Khârn the Betrayer by the Vanus Temple

And finally, some guys who really know how to go for shock and awe tactics:

An unbelievably huge (and spiky) Khârn by Rumplemaster:

Khârn the Betrayer by Rumplemaster

Khârn the Betrayer by Rumplemaster

And two equally huge models by Machinator…

Khârn the Betrayer by Machinator

Khârn the Betrayer by Machinator

…and Reanimator, respectively:

Khârn the Betrayer by Reanimator

Khârn the Betrayer by Reanimator

I’ve taken quite a bit of inspiration from these last two for my own, updated Khârn the Betrayer, as you’ll be seeing in a minute.

And there’s this utterly unbelievable, mostly sculpted from scratch, Khârn by Master of the Forge:

Khârn the Betrayer by Master of the Forge

Khârn the Betrayer by Master of the Forge

I could never imagine creating a model like this, which just makes it even more impressive — the greatest true scale Khârn in existence? Very likely…

All of these last models are massive — as befits the Blood God’s most exalted champion. But there’s one last piece that approaches the issue from a wholly different angle. Just check out this model by WilhelMiniatures:

Khârn by Wilhelminiatures

Khârn by Wilhelminiatures

 

Khârn by WilhelMiniatures

Khârn by WilhelMiniatures

Wow, just…wow!

My own approach

All of these illustrations and models were floating around my head, when the theme for the 15th Painting/Converting contest over at ThroneofSkulls.com was announced: Build a better character, that is: improve on one of the Khornate characters from either 40k or WFB. It was clear to me that I wanted to build an updated Khârn, and I tried to incorporate as many awesome ideas from my various sources of inspiration as I could. It took me some time to hammer out a build, but this was what I ended up with:

Kharn the Betrayer (3)

Kharn the Betrayer (2)

Kharn the Betrayer (1)
Kharn the Betrayer (4)
My main goal was to make Khârn bigger. Plus I wanted to try and use mostly plastic parts, since it’s the material I am most comfortable with. Both led to the decision of basing the model on the legs from my beloved plastic Terminator Lord kit, combined with the upper body from a WFB Skullcrusher. Beyond that, I tried to incorporate as many visual elements of the original Jes Goodwin model as I could.

I have learned from the great Ron Saikowski that the important part in trying to make a model resemble a piece of art (or an earlier version of the miniature) is to try and get some of the key parts right: Those will make the model look believable, and close enough to its source that you can afford a little leeway with the smaller details.

On my own model, the parts I definitely wanted to keep were the bare left arm, the huge axe, the chains and the general design of the armour and helmet. Some of the detail was easy enough to recreate with plastic bitz: The big air outlet on Khârn’s chest was originally a part of an IG voxcaster, but it now looks reasonably close to the original. The chains were reasonably easy to approximate by using some of the spiked chains from the Skullcrusher kit. And in a bit of a happy coincidence, one of the axes from the FW Cataphractii Terminators looked reasonably similar to Jes Goodwin’s original design for Gorechild, while also fitting the slightly bigger scale of my model.

Other details were a bit harder to get right: I spent quite some time looking for a suitable bare arm, finally settling on an arm from the WFB Warhshrine of Chaos priest. Getting the arm into a working position did take some time, however, and even then, it ended up ever so slightly anatomically dubious — I’ll have to live with that, I suppose.

I also realised that there was no getting around using the original head and backpack: The backpack with its skulls was just too iconic (interestingly enough, the backpack I did end up using wasn’t the one from Khârn, though, but a virtually identical one from an old 90s metal Chaos Lord). And the helmet turned out to be the element that really sold the model as Khârn, instead of just some true scale berzerker — fortunately enough, fellow hobbyist Belphoebe was kind enough to provide me with a leftover Khârn head — thanks, mate!

I do realise that there are some deviations from the original model, and I did take some shortcuts during the truescaling process — but I hope the paintjob manages to pull everything together into a cohesive whole. So, without much further ado, here’s my painted model for Khârn the Betrayer:

Kharn the Betrayer redux (1)

Kharn the Betrayer redux (2)

Kharn the Betrayer redux (3)

Kharn the Betrayer redux (4)

Kharn the Betrayer redux (5)

Kharn the Betrayer redux (6)
Of course I also tried to come up with a suitably impressive base for the model, in order to support the model’s size and pose:

Kharn the Betrayer redux (7)
Granted, the pose is just as static as the one on Jes Goodwin’s original model — but, like I said: I am a fan! 😉 Plus I think that Khârn lends himself really well to the whole “bellowing at the sky in rage” thing…

Kharn the Betrayer redux (8)
Kharn the Betrayer redux (9)

Oh, and here’s a scale comparison picture, by the way, showing the new model next to my orginal, stock Khârn from way back when:

Kharn the Betrayer redux (10)
All in all, in spite of a hundred small things that could probably be better, I have to say that I am really rather happy with my new version of the character — I think Jes Goodwin’s version is still really awesome, so making Khârn bigger and more intimidating was really the best possible route, if you ask me.

Kharn the Betrayer redux (11)
I won’t lie to you: I hope my version holds up to some of the excellent conversions I’ve shown you in today’s post — and I can only say thank you to all the hobbyists whose work on Khârn has inspired me to tackle my own conversion! Thanks for letting me …borrow a few ideas from your excellent models, chaps!

So, whatever may be in store for our favourite, red-armoured lunatic this Christmas, I hope you’ve found this post inspiring! And I would love to hear any feedback you might have in the comments section!

So go convert some World Eaters now, and always remember: Khorne cares not from whence the blood flows, only that it flows!
As always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Kharn the Betrayer redux (12)

Original of the species? A look at the Tyranid second wave

Posted in 40k, Conversions with tags , , , , , , on December 5, 2014 by krautscientist

Actually the first army to be overhauled in 2014, the Tyranids have received a second wave of releases. Because nothing says Christmas quite as succinctly as a boatload of vicious, slimy alien dinosaurs, right? 😉 So let us take a look at this latest bunch of kits and talk about the ups, the downs, the ins and the outs — and, as always, let’s also consider the conversion options.

One thing that seems noticeable right off the bat is how each of the three new kits serves as a multi-kit, allowing for two distinct kinds of assembly, thereby multiplying the different types of creatures you can get out of this release. It might be argued that Tyranids lend themselves to this treatment particularly well, but in any case, this is really a nice bit of synergy! But are the kits themselves any good? Let’s find out?
Toxicrene/Maleceptor

Tyranid Release 2014 (1)
First up, another big creature: The first kit in line will produce two kinds of hulking beasts, and the first of those is the Toxicrene, obviously the oversized lovechild of a Lictor and a Carnifex. Now even after having taken some time to grow familar with the creature, it still feels slightly awkward to me for some reason — I think it has something to do with the combination of the massive body and those many thin tentacles?

Speaking of which, the Toxicrene unfortunately shares one of my main points of criticism with the Haruspex kit: Once again, the tentacles on both sides of the model seem strangely symmetrical.

Tyranid Release 2014 (2)
Now while this may have something to do with visual balance, you still have to ask yourselves: What are the odds…?

One of my other gripes has been addressed, though: The creature’s head isn’t yet another tired rehash of the Carnifex look, but rather a tentacled abomination closer to the Lictor or Yrmgarl Genestealer:

Tyranid Release 2014 (3)
It’s an interesting concept, to be sure, although I cannot help feeling that the Cthulhu effect loses some of its effectiveness at this size.

I really like the foreclaw resting on the downed Terminator, though:

Tyranid Release 2014 (6)
All in all, I am not quite sure what to make of this creature: It somehow seems like the designers were cycling through a collection of the various Tyranid design elements and at random and came up with a rather peculiar combination, then said “Oh, what the heck?” and sent the result off to be produced. There are some cool touches to the model, but it does seem strange and ungainly, and I may just have to call it one of the less successful big Tyranid creatures.

But there’s also the option of assembling the model as a Maleceptor:

Tyranid Release 2014 (8)
I like this guy quite a bit better than the Toxicrene for some reason — maybe it’s due to the fact that I really have a thing for eyeless heads on Tyranid models?!

Anyway, once again, the model seems like a recombination of existing visual elements — and actual Tyranid creatures: The Maleceptor resembles nothing so much as a missing link between a Carnifex and Zoanthrope, if you ask me, and it seems like that is a pretty apt description of its battlefield role as well.

Like I said, the head is really my favourite part of the model, because it’s so sinister and Gigeresque:

Tyranid Release 2014 (11)
The bits of Tyranid brain matter are also a pretty nice touch, of course. Then there’s the fact that the model does have a rather striking silhouette if seen from the side.

But some of the awkwardness remains, to be honest: The Maleceptor may look quite a bit better than the Toxicrene, but once again, the whole kit has the slight feel of a randomly generated creature with some odd elements sticking out at awkward angles. A big creature like this should possibly be the high point of a release — but that’s not the case here, at least not for me…

 

Sporocyst/Tyrannocite

Tyranid Release 2014 (12)
Okay, this is where it gets more interesting! First things first: Both the Tyrannocite and Sporocyst variants of the kit are proof that an alien creature can be truly disgusting and disturbing even without any kind of head or face — kudos for that, GW!

As for the actual variants of the kit, let’s start with the Tyrannocite: This thing is basically a Space Marine drop pod by way of the Hive Mind’s hyper-evolution, and it perfectly embodies that look:

Tyranid Release 2014 (16)
I think it only really takes one look at this thing to instinctively understand that this is a drop pod, and that’s quite an achievement on the sculptors’ part! The thing is also brilliantly hideous, with tentacles and chitinous armour in all the right (or should that be: wonderfully wrong) places. And of course there’s that hideous lamprey mouth on top:

Tyranid Release 2014 (18)
The option to assemble the outer “limbs” of the Tyrannocyte in various poses is a nice bonus as well:

Tyranid Release 2014 (17)I am usually not at all excited in transport vehicles since, let’s face it, they tend to be some of the more boring kits (Rhino, anyone?). But the Tyrannocyte easily wins the award for the most exciting transport vehicle in quite a while! I really like this thing!

As with the other kits in this release, there’s also a second variant of the kit that will give you the Sporocyst and Mucolid Spore:

Tyranid Release 2014 (13)The Sporocyst mostly looks like a Tyrannocyte that has become a little more familiar with its surroundings. Most that was cool and disgusting about the Tyrannocyte remains, so this thing is looking pretty cool as well! I really like those “questing” tentacles at the bottom!

The really interesting part is the Mucolid Spore, though:

Tyranid Release 2014 (15)
First of all, the creature looks as though its lower body was made from the same parts that also form the lower parts of the Tyrannocyte — that is some nifty sprue engineering right there! But the spore itself is also very cool, with its hideous, fleshy head and lazily dangling tendrils:

Tyranid Release 2014 (14)
By all means, this should have been a pretty dull part of the release, but it ends up as one of the best parts for me! Certainly more interesting than the Toxicrene/Maleceptor, at least! And I also think that this kit will give you quite a bit of bang for the buck when it comes to the conversion options — but we’ll be getting to that…

 

Zoanthropes/Venomthropes

Tyranid Release 2014 (19)
Yet another multi-kit, and one that gives us two reasonably different squads to boot. First up, the Zoanthropes:

I’ll have to admit right up front that I haven’t been a huge fan of the last two incarnations of the Zoanthrope. Call me crazy, but I somehow preferred the old 2nd edition version that was basically an upgrade for a Tyranid warrior. The modern version with its huge cranium and atrophied, vestigial body seemed like a nice idea, but the sculpt itself just wasn’t quite there — especially in the case of the more recent version, where the creature’s tail was balancing awkwardly on some Tyranid growth emerging from the floor (compare Adam Wier’s very insightful look at the various Zoanthrope models)

However, with this third and latest iteration of the concept, GW have finally managed to sell me on the design: Not only have they strengthened the neck portion to make it more believable…

Tyranid Release 2014 (22)
…but the whole creature looks more balanced now. And I particularly like the added option for building a Neurothrope, both because it perfectly channels the look of the Doom of Malan’tai and because the resulting model looks like one creepy, hideous beast in his own right:

Tyranid Release 2014 (20)
Just look at that disgusting extra spine. Ewwww:

Tyranid Release 2014 (21)
I also think that the Neurothrope provides perfect villain material — I mean he/it just looks like an evil alien pupeteer, right?

All in all, the redesign/upgrade of the Zoanthropes in plastic form is quite successful. Good job!

As has been the case with the Hive Guad/Tyrant Guard, however, there’s a price to pay: You get some and you lose some, as we can see when we proceed to the kit’s other variant, the Venomthrope:

Tyranid Release 2014 (23)
Now, to be fair, that creature was always a bit of an acquired taste. Here’s the original version:

Tyranid Release 2014 (26) Kind of like a Lictor who watched too much tentacle hentai, if you ask me (ugh, there you go, Google, another tag to add to my blog…).

Erm, anyway, the one thing the new Venomthropes have over the old model is that they look a bit more balanced in their composition:

Tyranid Release 2014 (24)
But at the same time, there’s just an inherent goofiness to the model that’s just hard to ignore. Sure, many Tyranid creatures straddle a very fine line between the disturbing and the downright silly (some more successfully than others), but the Venomthrope just seems off to me. And the fact that the faces just seem somewhat…dorky doesn’t help of course:

Tyranid Release 2014 (23b)
You know what: I think the original concept for the creature was pretty flawed, and maybe it shouldn’t have received a plastic upgrade in the first place but rather been quietly pushed in front of a bus while no one was looking. I, for one, would have preferred a plastic Lictor to these strange creatures…

All in all, the kit seems like a bit of a mixed bag: If you’re going for the Zoanthropes, it’s great. The Venomthropes, not so much. But no one’s forcing you to build them, I guess…

 

Bonus Content: The Spawn of Cryptus

Tyranid Release 2014 (27)Okay, this guy is actually only available as part of the (probably already sold out) Shield of Baal boxed kit, but while we are talking about new Tyranid models anyway, we might as well throw him in, right?

Now you certainly don’t have to be a brain surgeon to realise that the model is a slightly dolled-up Space Hulk Broodlord — that much is blantantly obvious. And since the Broodlord was absolutely fantastic, the Spawn of Cryptus also has quite a lot going for it.

Here’s the thing, though: I actually think the changes to the model aren’t necessarily for the better. Take a look at the Space Hulk Broodlord:

Space Hulk Broodlord
In many ways, this is the quintessential Tyranid/Genestealer model: Sure, the Giger influence is plain to see, but the design goes beyond that and created an original piece. I have read in WD back in the day that this Broodlord was expressly designed as a kind of “end boss” for Space Hulk — and that’s precisely what he looks like: A vicious end boss, lurking at the heart of the derelict spacecraft.

The Spawn of Cryptus makes some minor changes to the formula, and it feels to me like they actually detract from the original vision: the smaller pair of arms was wonderful on the Space Hulk version, but on the Spawn of Cryptus, its posing gives the creature an “Ohhh, what have we here?” kind of look that’s really hard to unsee once you’ve noticed it. I also think the tech-y base with the pile of skulls was a much better way of basing the creature than some lame organic growth — even though it may have been more clichĂŠd, of course.

All in all, the Spawn of Cryptus is still an amazing model and an excellent leader for the Tyranid detachment in Shield of Baal — but it does feel like a slightly inferior retread of an even better piece. In any case, however, it’s much better than the Blood Angels Captain that comes with the kit — that is one messy fusion of far superior Space Hulk models if ever there was one…

 

Conversion options

What I said in my last Tyranid review also holds true here: The anatomy of the Tyranids is very firmly defined by a set of design guidelines, which is very much a part of their appeal. But at the same time, those guidelines also make all the bitz very recognisably Tyranid. In spite of this, there may be some use for these new toys, even if you don’t have an actual Tyranid army:

  • I think the Mucolid Spore would make for an absolutely excellent alien creature that doesn’t neccessarily have to be Tyranid in nature: My instinctive reaction to the model was “Enslaver!”, for instance. In any case, such a creature would be a very interesting addition to every INQ28 (and even INQ54) collection, if you ask me.
  • By the same token, the rest of the Tyrannocyte/Sporocyst kit looks like it would be an interesting source for conversion material when it comes to building alien terrain and Gigeresque organic architecture — and maybe, just maybe, there’d be a use for some of these parts on Slaaneshi Daemon Princes and Greater Daemons as well?
  • Like I said earlier, the Neurothrope would work very well as the monster pulling the strings of a Xenos/Genestealer Cult — granted, it’s not a Genestealer Patriarch, but it does look like the hideous pupeteer behind an alien infestation and, as such, would make an excellent “boss monster” for INQ28 or Necromunda.
  • And while we’re talking of Genestealer cults, the Spawn of Cryptus would be just as great as the monster at the heart of a cult as the Space Hulk Broodlord, of course…
  • And finally, an idea that may seem a bit out there: The Maleceptor’s body could maybe be used as the base for a huge daemon beast/Maulerfiend, with quite a bit of work?! There’s something peculiar and almost statuesque in its profile that might warrant further exploration, if you’re feeling adventurous… 😉

 

Like the first 2014 Tyrandid wave, I’ll call this a fairly solid – if mostly unsurprising – release. The big creature is a bit of a disappointment, and the Venomthropes are, frankly, pretty terrible. On the other hand, we get what may be one of the most interesting transport vehicles in the entirety of 40k as well as a very viable and interesting redesign of the Zoanthrope. If seen together with the first wave release, this actually becomes quite a competent package of new kits — still no Genestealer Cult, though, what a crying shame…

But seriously, I am not a Tyranid fan, so that may explain my relative lack of enthusiams. On the whole, though, I think Tyranid players were treated pretty fairly in 2014. And some of the kits are even legitmately interesting beyond their army of origin.

But what do you think? Do you like the new kits or do you find them disappointing? Or do you have any additional conversion ideas to share? I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section?

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