The Devil is in the detail… Painting my Chaos Knight, pt. 2

Having managed to bring my Chaos Knight back from the brink after the undercoating mishap, it was finally time to get to work on some of the detail I hoped would make the model into something truly special. So today I would like to show you some of the detail work on the model — some of these areas seemed like very daunting tasks beforehand, but have ended up really well, if I do say so myself.

Anyway, after lots and lots of weathering and trying to make the metallic areas actually look like metal, it was good tor return to something rather different. I already showed you some progress on both the pilot and the cockpit in my last post, and so I got in some more work on those two areas. So here’s the finished Baron Augustus Melchia Harrowthorne in his cockpit.

Chaos Knight PIP (54)
This guy is basically at the heart of this whole project, as thinking of a backstory for a traitorous Knight pilot was what provoked my building a Chaos Knight in the first place. Which is why it feels really good to finally see him in his place of honour like that! 🙂

I actually spent quite a bit of time coming up with just the right look for the Baron, as I tried to figure out just what kind of pilot I wanted (and how I wanted him to interact with his machine). There are many different kinds of Imperial Knight cockpits out there, and I am very willing to accept any kind of pilot interface as long as the artist in question really, really nails it. For instance, my understanding is that control of a Knight is heavily based on some kind of neural interfacing, where you actually control the machine with your thoughts, right? But I also love the idea of some kind of mechanic control, and when it’s well realised, I think it really adds something to the model. Take Jeromgb’s absolutely fantastic cockpit here: It’s very retro, almost WWI in a way, and the pilot is much more “hands on” than my own take on the matter, yet it’s perfectly executed and absolutely believable, and it really sells the concept of a pilot doing his darnedest to stay one step ahead of his opponent.

By the same token, if you look at Forgeworld’s Titan Princeps models, they all seem to have some physical controls as well as neural interfaces — and I think it really makes sense for a setting as eclectic and retro-futuristic as 40k to fall back on a mix of both ways. What’s more, given the fact that the Knight Households are such a very ancient remnant of pre-Imperial times, with each machine a millennia-old artifact, I think it’s totally conceivable that there are as many types of interface as there are Knight worlds.

As for my own model, I wanted Harrowthorne to have some kind of physical control, but I also wanted him to look very dignified and noble, which is why I heavily based him on the Princeps from FW’s Warhound Titan. As for the actual points of interface on my model, Harrowthorne is rather extensively augmented, as you can see: In addition to that, there’s some cabling on the back of his head, and his throne has several parts that look like ports for a possible interface, so I imagine him to be plugged into those. All in all, I really think he looks like quite the character, and I am very happy with him:

Baron Harrowthorne PIP (6)
Fun fact: Harrowthorne’s paintjob was actually heavily inspired by the Dark Jedi Jerec, villain of the first Jedi Knight videogame…

Baron Harrowthorne PIP (8)

Here’s another picture of the Knight’s interior: You can see both the cockpit and the engine compartment in their basically finished forms. Since all of this was basically scratchbuilt and kitbashed, it remains among my favourite parts of the model — and it’s pretty cool that the solution I came up with ended up fairly similar to the “official” Knight interiors produced by Forgeworld (even moreso because I actually came up with mine before Forgeworld’s version was even available!):

Chaos Knight PIP (62)

The above picture also shows how I have gone for a little “special effect” with the flames emerging from the additional baroque outlets on the Knight’s back: My idea was that these would function as some kind of extra vent, allowing the machine to vent excessive warp power or what have you (don’t overthink this bit, I only wanted it to look cool 😉 ). Anyway, my original plan was to paint the flames in a slightly more supernatural blue, but I was afraid the effect would end up looking too unnatural and toylike. So I went with a slightly more naturalistic approach — and I was fortunate enough to find an absolutely excellent tutorial for painting flames over at Tale of Painters, which allowed me to finish the whole area in very short order, even though I’d never attempted painting natural looking flames before! The tutorial also provided a sweet tip for using a glaze made from Mephiston Red and Lahmian Medium to create an effect resembling glowing coals around the flames — just what I needed, as it makes the area surrounding the flames look interesting without diverting too much attention towards it.

Still inspired by the success of my first-time flame painting, I then tackled the one area I was really rather afraid of: The monitors and displays inside the cockpit. Since the cockpit had already been permanently assembled at this point, I had set myself up for a rather fiddly task. But while the challenge turned out to be just as fiddly as I had expected, I am really rather happy with the result:

Chaos Knight PIP (67)
I’m certainly not great with freehanding, but I am still pretty happy with the suggested data streams on those tiny monitors. I also used the aforementioned Mephiston Red glaze to give some of the buttons a glowing look:

Chaos Knight PIP (66)
And, once again, here’s the Baron inside the now finished cockpit:

Chaos Knight PIP (68)

Chaos Knight PIP (69)
Fellow hobbyist The Hydra pointed out that it would have been really funny to have one of the monitors display a game of Pong! Dang, what a missed opportunity! 😉

But seriously, I am really, really happy with the finished cockpit!

So the Knight’s skeleton is bascially finished at this point: I tidied up the last few rough spots and added some leftover Heldrake armour plates on the arms. Here’s what I ended up with:

Chaos Knight PIP (71)

Chaos Knight PIP (70)
Chaos Knight PIP (72)

Chaos Knight PIP (73)
Chaos Knight PIP (74)
Chaos Knight PIP (75)
Chaos Knight PIP (76)

Chaos Knight PIP (77)

Chaos Knight PIP (78)

On a related note, let me take a moment to address Forgeworld’s “official” Chaos Knight kit: It was actually interesting to see this being released recently, after it had already made a sneaky appearance in the new Warhammer: World displays… 😉

Forgeworld Chaos Knight (1)
Forgeworld Chaos Knight (2)
But to be perfectly honest, I am almost a little underwhelmed by the model. Sure, it clearly reads as a Chaos Knight. But doesn’t the design seem like they phoned it in a bit, at least compared with Forgeworld’s regular output? It seems very generically chaotic to me, especially with the warped armour and teeth around the head. And some touches are pretty close to my own version, as it happens: Just take a look at the chaos star on the back of the cannon, the spikes on the chainsword and the reactor section…

Forgeworld Chaos Knight (3)

I think when all is said and done, this should work as a pretty serviceable basic template for a Chaos Knight, although it might need some additional conversion and kitbashing to really bring it to the next level. However, if I need to further convert the model anyway, I might as well make it an all plastic conversion in the first place and circumvent the issue of potentiall having to deal with ill-fitting resin parts, right? Or one could go for the Kytan Daemon Engine of Khorne, which seems like the more interesting project, at least for a follower of Khorne like yours truly… 😉

It’s a nice enough kit, surely, but I am actually rather relieved that it’s not that much more awesome than my own conversion — at least that’s how I feel about it. This means I can happily finish my own model without feeling like I missed out on an even cooler version. And one advantage of the release is that we know have semi-official Chaos Knight rules! Yay!


All the more incentive to keep plugging away on my own Chaos Knight. And I have already made pretty good headway regarding the armour plates. Let me show you a final sneak peek or two of what is to come:

The Knight with its leg armour in varying stages of completion:

Chaos Knight PIP (79)
And here’s a first look at the PIP belly plate:

Chaos Knight PIP (80)
Oh, and there’s one thing you guys can help me with: I want to add a decal to the Knight that represents the Machine’s honorary membership in the Legio Audax (The “Ember Wolves”), the Titan Legion that fought alongside the World Eaters during the Heresy. So I was looking at a suitably wolf-y decal in order to represent that affiliation: At first I wanted to use one of the War Hounds decals, but those definitely show a dog, not a wolf. So which of the following do you think would work best for the intended effect (As for placement, I’m thinking one of the kneecaps)?

Possible Audax decals
As it happens, some hobbyists have suggested some very cool – and slightly less common – SW decals to represent the Legio: The flame wolf (playing on the whole “Ember Wolves” thing):

Flame WolfOr these very cool, slightly more feral looking symbols that I hadn’t even seen before:

Possible Audax decals (2)
Are these even available as decals? And if so, if anyone has some of these left, (especially the more hirsute looking wolf heads dead centre and in the bottom row), feel free to send them my way! 😉


So yeah, I think you could really say I am having a blast with this big boy right now, even though painting the model is turning out to be a ton of work. So stay tuned, there should be more shortly 😉

If you have any feedback or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you, of course. And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

27 Responses to “The Devil is in the detail… Painting my Chaos Knight, pt. 2”

  1. Excellent work Kraut! Two things, first of all you did a dashing job on the monitors and I like the more serious lack of a pong game approach haha. Second I normally am not a fan of flame textures but I think you totally nailed it well done man! I definitely like the flaming wolf decal the best, otherwise a Wolf Skull would be my vote. That bottom left decal looks more like a cat to me ha

    • Thanks a lot, Eli! I am really happy with the flames, even moreso since it’s an effect I hadn’t tried before! Very good point about that pint praw, btw: It would be a cool option because it resembles the World Eaters’ practice of honouring exemplar service with bloody handprints, but you’re right: It does look like a cat’s 😉

  2. Awesome work!

    As for the emblem, I would take just the wolf skull from the bottom right decal, and overlay that on a freehanded flame-burst eight pointed star.

  3. Oh man, he’s really coming together beautifully. Your version puts the ForgeWorld version to shame. As you said, they totally phoned it in, where you put real thought and effort into yours. I mean, that shield with all the daemon smiley faces, they look like what the art in a box of Ghostbusters cereal would look like.
    Can I also say that I am really impressed by how well the belly plate is turning out so far? I don’t know how much further you have to go on it, but you’ve produced this scratch effect on the “third eye” that is so realistic and similar to what old worn brass actually looks like that I’m a little jealous. How did you do it?

    • Yeah, that shield is just so bad, isn’t it? Although, to be fair, they do include a blank version as well, so it’s not like you have to use it.

      That bronze is just my bog standard recipe (Tinny Tin, then Army Painter Strong Tone, then a drybrush with GW Dwarf Bronze), but it seems to work especially well on the daemon face. I am actually feeling guilty, though, because you like the effect on the third eye so much, and now I just painted it over with a blue OSL effect –Ouch! 😉

  4. greggles Says:

    The face on the pilot is amazing. Spectacular job! It’s a shame he will be hidden most of the time!

    Love how the model is coming along, but seriously impressed on the dudes face!

  5. Thanks for mentioning that you don’t care for the FW Knight much. I thought I was the only one. I think you nailed it when you said they phoned it in. It’s just… Expected. I love Chaos when it’s bizarre, strange, challenging, etc. You know, like, Chaotic.

    As mentioned on B & C, this project is awesome and I’m really enjoying watching it come together.

  6. Jeff Vader Says:

    The Baron himself is such a cool model – you’ve really captured a sense of malevolent arrogance with him. Also the detailing in the cockpit is top notch! Very nice freehand work.

    I’m quite fond of the look of the knight with the black carapace. I hope you keep it fairly dark in the final version – it caps off the model rather nicely!

    • Cheers, Johan! I am really fond of the Baron myself, and very proud you like him so much!

      As for the carapace,…yeahhh, sorry to disappoint you, but I also won’t lie either: It’s going to be *very* red once I am done with it…

  7. Squigsquasher Says:

    Wow! That’s looking pretty incredible! The Knight’s metallic skull is especially terrifying.

  8. InqMikaelovich Says:

    I am so jealous…

  9. InqMikaelovich Says:

    In addition, is it just me, or do the side plates of the chainsword on the Forgeworld Knight look rather like the siding on Tau rifles…?

    • Cheers, mate! And while I see what you mean about those plates, they are not all that different from the ones on the standard Knight chainsword, addmitedly — maybe the extra blade added to the sword throws the composition off so it seems more noticeable…?!

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