Archive for November, 2015

On the road to Heresy…?

Posted in Conversions, Pointless ramblings, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 26, 2015 by krautscientist

After taking an in depth look at the Betrayal at Calth boxed set in my last post, allow me to share more of my current 30k experiments with you today — be warned, though, there’ll be quite a bit of unpainted plastic ahead 😉

One thing before we begin, though: While I am currently having lots of fun working with the Betrayal at Calth models, don’t expect a playable Horus Heresy army anytime soon, alright? If anything, I think it’s more realistic for now to consider something more at the Killteam level, or maybe even below that. Because the most interesting part of this release for me is how it offers a practical (and all plastic) way for me to explore an earlier incarnation of the World Eaters’ 4th assault company.

This isn’t even the first glimpse in that particular direction, either. Last year, I purchased some Heresy-era models AgnostosTheos had built to depict 30k versions of some of my 40k characters:

Pre Heresy (4)

So far, we have Brother Marax, turned into a Dreadnought after being mortally wounded by Captain Lorimar’s own hand during the Battle of Skalathrax:

Pre Heresy (7)

And Brother Khoron, a long standing confidant to the Lord Captain, also interred into a new ironform after succumbing to his wounds after the Heresy:

Pre Heresy (8)
And, of course, the Lord Captain himself:

Lorimar then and now
In this particular case, the model hadn’t even been built and painted to represent Lorimar, but suitably in-character, so adding some suitable weapons and the right kind of base really made the resemblance rather obvious.

So these characters already exist, and while it remains to be seen whether or not they can be made into a part of whatever it is I am doing with the Betrayal at Calth models, the fact remains that re-imagining some defining characters as their younger (MUCH younger) selves should be quite a bit of fun. The catch is that I’ll have to resisit the temptation of building a 30k version for each and every character, as that just wouldn’t be plausible: Many of the current officers of the 4th were possibly some rank and file Astartes during the Heresy at best. If they were even around at all! So the challenge will be to carefully choose who was around ten millennia ago and work from there.

It also made sense to think about building some specialists to complement the standard tactical Marines that come with Betrayal at Calth. So the first character I started playing around with was Brother Dumah, Apothecary and Primus Medicae to the 4th assault company:

World Eaters Apothecary (7)
The conversion above is the 40k version of the character. I based Dumah on two models from the Dark Vengeance box (a CSM Chosen and a Ravenwing bike sergeant, respectively) and tried to go for a suitably mysterious look while also making it clear that this guy was an Apothecary. Incidentally, he is also my counts as version of Fabius Bile, if I should ever feel like including that character in my army list.

I have a bit of backstory for Dumah in the back of my head: He worked under First Apothecary Fabrikus, yet grew distant from his mentor when Fabrikus’ tastes developed more towards brutal psycho-surgery and torture. Instead, Dumah experimented on the possibilities of mitigating the dibilitating effects of the Butcher’s Nails on the World Eaters while trying to retain their advantages. Alas, a series of unfortunate events (of which more at a later point) during the outbreak of the Horus Heresy rendered his task considerably more complicated.

Anyway, I knew that Dumah had already been around at the time of the Heresy, and I liked the idea of building an Apothecary for my 30k Killteam/collection/whatever. So here’s what I came up with, the 30k version of Apothecary Dumah:

World Eaters Apothecary Dumah 30k WIP (1)
World Eaters Apothecary Dumah 30k WIP (2)
It’s a model I am pretty happy with because it manages to read as both an Apothecary as well as a warrior. I think the resemblance to the 40k version of the character is also fairly reasonable, as I’ve made some very conscious design choices to achieve that effect: A very similar head was used, along with a Black Templar tabard. The weapon was designed to look like a less daemonic version of Dumah’s 40k weapon. And there was also a happy little accident: Both versions of the character are wearing an amulet 😉

At the same time, some minor compromises were unavoidable: I would have preferred a left-handed Narthecium gauntlet, for one, yet the one I found in my bitzbox (from the fairly new Sanguinary Priest) was just too nice to ignore. It was also too delicate to be thoroughly cut apart, which is why Dumah’s Narthecium must have switched hands over the last ten millennia — it’s also why his Apothecary pauldron is, strictly speaking, on the wrong side.

All in all, however, I was pretty happy with this first experiment! So why not go for something legitimately challenging next, eh? 😉

Huntmaster Deracin (11)
Huntmaster Deracin remains one of my favourite conversions (and also one of my favourite characters in Khorne’s Eternal Hunt). He is also a rather extensive kitbash and easily the tallest infantry model in the army — so how to come up with a reasonable 30k version of this guy…?

The backstory for Deracin is that he suffered massive combat injuries during the Nove Shendak campaign and had to be extensively reconstructed with augmetics. This is easily visible on the 40k version, as the model is rather massive. It was clear that the 30k version couldn’t be quite as imposing yet, but I did I want to show that he’s already started on his way to becoming the hulking Warpsmith he will be one day. So I tried to build a less “escalated” version of both his armour and his equipment, with the added challenge of having the resulting model also look like a Techmarine:

Techmarine Deracin 30k WIP (1)
Using the same head worked as an anchor for the character, making sure he would at least be somewhat recognisable. The Techmarine pauldrons and Mk. 5 torso made for a suitably tech-y look. And the legs from the WFB Chaos Chariot I found in my bitubox were a godsend, serving as both a way to increase the model’s stature as well as a fairly recognisable precursor of the nonstandard power armour Deracin has taken to wearing during the 41st millennium.

I also used the same kind of backpack that appears on the 40k version, adding a small servo-arm (a very clever trick that I stole from Peculiar Quest):

Techmarine Deracin 30k WIP (2)
With the basic construction out of the way, all that remained was to come up with earlier, slightly less imposing versions of Deracin’s two-handed weapon and servo-harness. So here’s the mostly finished conversion:

Techmarine Deracin 30k WIP (4)

Techmarine Deracin 30k WIP (6)

The weapon became a combined axe/hammer affair, slightly resembling Deracin’s later “staff of office”:

Techmarine Deracin 30k WIP (5)
All in all, I am really happy with this model, because I feel it manages to accomplish three things: It looks like a Techmarine, albeit an unconventionally warlike one. It looks like an earlier version of 40k Deracin. And in spite of its departures from standard Space Marine design, it also resembles an Astartes enough to fit into a Killteam/army, don’t you think?

In any case, here’s a picture with both versions of the character, for comparison purposes:

Deracin comparison

So these two are my first attempts at building 30k versions of my 40k characters. But this project will also be about some new models and characters, of course. You’ve already seen my WIP Contemptor:

World Eaters Contemptor 30k WIP (5)
More details on how I’ve tweaked the pose can be found in my last post. I’ll…

I also built a first test model from the tactical Marine sprues that come in the box. The tactical models are very focused on Bolters, and they also have a very clean, regimented look — which is very nice and all, make no mistake! But since I wanted my models to represent World Eaters during the time of the Heresy (circa Shadow Crusade), I tried to break up the standard armour with some elements befitting a true World Eater. So here’s my test model:

Secutor Sergeant WIP (1)
Secutor Sergeant WIP (2)
The bare head and spiked collar are from the Bloodreavers that came with the Age of Sigmar starter box. In fact, that’s a cross-pollination that might warrant another look: Fellow hobbyist kizzdougs has suggested using Bloodreaver parts to build some plastic Rampagers, and it’s a concept that intrigues me.

I also spliced in a bare arm from an old Chaos Marauder and a suitably gladiatorial sword from a Beastman Ungor. And the suitably spiked and brutal bolt pistol came from the bog standard Chaos Space Marines. Oh, and let’s not forget the skull trophy, courtesy of the Empire flagellants 😉

I imagine not every tactical Marine I built will turn out looking as feral as this, but it’ll be interesting to choose the right balance of bitz to show that these guys still function as Astartes while slowly being turned into something more (or less, depending on your point of view) by their Butcher’s Nails implants.

The same also goes for the Cataphractii Terminators. Here’s my first, very early Cataphractii test:

WE Cataphractii WIP (1)
I really think the Age of Sigmar Bloodsecrator head is perfect for a World Eater! On a related note, it’s really easy to convert the Cataphractii gorgets so they will accept different heads: Just shave away some plastic, and you are no longer limited to the “half-heads” that come with the stock kit.

I am still very much figuring out the most effective way to build my Cataphractii — while very cool, the stock models are even more vanilla than the Mk IV tactical Marines, in a way, and also quite a bit more restrictive in their posing than 40k Terminators, so the main challenge will be to have them look suitably aggressive and World Eater-ly without being over the top. So here’s another attempt:

WE Cataphractii WIP (5)
WE Cataphractii WIP (6)
The good ol’ “bellowing at the sky in rage” pose is a true classic, of course, but maybe the “I’m coming at you bro” approach works even better? 😉

One element I am also experimenting with is the use of topknots on the Cataphractii, as they were a huge part of the original Cataphractii artwork of yore — in fact, one of the first Cataphractii to be drawn by John Blanche, no less, was even a World Eater:

Cataphractii illustration by John Blanche

Cataphractii illustration by John Blanche

I rather regret that particular element being mostly lost somewhere along the way. For me, those topknots were cool precisely because they seemed so at odds with the tank-like look of the armour, adding some much needed barbarism to it.

So, anyway, here’s a comparison shot of my Cataphractii and a (converted) Chaos Lord with twin LC:

WE Cataphractii WIP (7)
And maybe, just maybe, some leftover parts from the Cataphractii sprue will provide me with the weapon to finally finish that one Red Butcher turned 40k Chaos Lord?

Red Butcher WIP (10)
We’ll see… 😉

Anyway, so far for my first experiments with the new plastic Horus Heresy kits. As always, I would love to hear your feedback! Expect to see more of this particular project as it develops!

Until then, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

30k World Eaters kitbashes WIP

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Betrayal at Calth or: How to engineer the perfect gateway drug

Posted in Conversions, Pointless ramblings, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 18, 2015 by krautscientist

It was only a question of time.

Seriously, it’s always easier to say such things in hindsight, but ever since the Horus Heresy has become a massively successful commercial juggernaut, it was pretty obvious that GW proper would get in on the business eventually. And now they have. With a starter box that basically seems like a license to print money. Well played, GW!

Betrayal at Calth release (2)
So let’s take a closer look at Betrayal at Calth today and discuss the models contained in the box, first and foremost. And I’ll also be sharing my first hands on experiences with one of the models — but I am getting ahead of myself 😉

 

It’s clear that the box is, above all else, a gateway into Forgeworld’s Horus Heresy setting: The timeframe and design of the models make this plain enough, but there’s also a number of smaller telltale signs: The layout of the rulebook accompanying the game mirrors that of FW’s publications. The box artwork is closer in design and colour choice to Black Library’s HH novel covers. The box itself is noticeably sturdier and more luxurious than even GW’s other boxed games — all of this seems to be saying: “We are entering big boy territory now.” 😉

The set provides us with two small Space Marine forces to play the actual game with or, possibly the more interesting and also more realistic option, one combined, decently-sized (if less than ideal) Horus Heresy starter force. By the same token, the one thing that goes for all models contained in the box is the complete absence of legion insignia or more individual design cues: All of these guys are generic to the point of blandness. But, of course, that is their greatest strength as well as their greatest failure. While the lack of legion specific details and multipart nature of the models make the box contents seem a little bland, this choice is also what makes the models so very tempting for each and every Space Marine player out there: These are not exciting display pieces, but rather an amazing toolkit to start a new army or add to your existing collection, even if it comes at the price of a thoroughly vanilla look 😉 In fact, one could say that this box follows the exact opposite approach when compared with Age of Sigmar: Where the latter provides very individual and rather exciting (yet also rather limited) snapfit models, Betrayal at Calth’s models may be less exciting in and of themselves, yet are far more versatile.

Two things before we begin: One, in the interest of full disclosure: I picked up one of the boxes at launch. It seemed a bit frivolous, given my current situation, but I’ve been disciplined enough in my spending recently that I felt I deserved a treat 😉 This is even more significant, however, in how GW makes me eat my earlier words: I’ve gone on record stating that I wasn’t interested in starting a 30k project, and here I am getting Betrayal at Calth on day one — mission accomplished, GW 😉

Two, in addition to my following review, let me also recommend Wudugast’s very interesting look at Betrayal at Calth, which raises some excellent points and makes for a very good companion piece to my post, I think. Anyway, here goes:

 

Legion Veteran Squad

Betrayal at Calth release (7)
One of the multipart kits to come out of this box provides us with a whopping thirty (!) tactical Marines wearing Mk 4 armour, which is quite something! Now while I would have loved some variety when it comes to armour marks, it’s pretty clear that GW wanted to test the waters with these, so the fact that all the tactical Marines share the same basic design doesn’t come as a surprise and seems like a sound business decision. Mk 4 seems like a pretty good call, too, because it’s probably the most popular (and, arguably, one of the most iconic) Heresy era armour types. It’s a cool design overall, although one that has been somewhat hampered by dodgy proportions: Forgeworld’s Mk 4 models were pretty cool alright, but the models seemed a little off sometimes, with a lankiness and unevenness that was clearly noticeable. The plastic Mk 4 Marines share none of this dodginess: These models are perfectly and evenly proportioned and perfectly scaled against the already available 40k Marines — in fact, the Legion Veteran squad could (and, in many cases, probably will) serve as a perfect alternate tactical squad for 40k.

Betrayal at Calth release (8)

The level of detail on the sprues is absolutely excellent — as was to be expected, given GW’s recent level of quality when it comes to sharpness and detail. The amount of bitz and weapon options is also rather stunning, as the kit not only provides us with all the weapon options for a tactical squad, but also adds swords, pouches and holsters for each of the Marines, as well as bitz for the sergeant, vexillarius and what have you. So far, so good!

I also really like that GW’s designers have gone for the FW approach to Mk 4 armour, with a helmet design that is cooler than the “doglike” plastic Mk 4 helmets seen so far. In fact, my favourite part is that we even get Mk 4 helmets with vertical slits on the facemask, probably my favourite variant. And yes, we are firmly in Space Marine nerd territory here, thank you very much 😉

Unfortunately, while we lose the somewhat dodgy proportions, we also gain the classic, slightly crouched 40k Marine pose so emblematic of GW’s plastic Astartes: While FW’s Mk 4 Astartes sometimes seemed a little strangely proportioned, their poses were a bit more varied and they didn’t look like they urgently needed to go to the bathroom.

My other gripe with the sprues is that, while these will work for every legion, the fact that only standard bolter arms are included makes it a bit complicated to turn them into members of the less uniform legions like the World Eaters or Space Wolves: If you want your tac Marines to have a very regimented, orderly look, you’ll be in heaven. If you favour a more feral, individualistic approach, you’ll need to engage in some serious kitbashing.

Betrayal at Calth release (9)
All in all, these sprues are pretty great, although yet another Space Marine tactical kit might not feel like something to get super-excited about. Then again, these form a very decent backbone for any plastic-based HH army, or they give you the bitz to sprinkle some Heresy era goodness across your entire 40k army, and as such these should become very popular with 30k and 40k players alike.

 

Legion Cataphractii

Betrayal at Calth release (11)
Okay, these guys were a bit of a surprise: A tactical kit seemed like a bit of a no-brainer for plastic 30k, but I certainly wouldn’t have expected Cataphractii Terminators right out the gate. But here we are: An entire squad of heresy era Terminators. And what’s more, they even get the complete multipart treatment — that was unexpected!

The Cataphractii are probably more interesting from a visual standpoint in how much they differ from the 40k Terminators: They sport a very distinct Heresy era look that isn’t all that easy to emulate with plastic bitz either (not that I didn’t try, of course). So again, these are very interesting as an alternative for both the resin Cataphractii as well as the standard 40k Terminators.

Betrayal at Calth release (12)

Once again, the amount of detail and weapon options is quite excellent: We even get enough lightning claws for the entire squad, for instance, or to squirrel away for later use. In fact, it’s particularly cool to have the iconic Heresy era LC design available in plastic.

One thing I think I’ll need to get used to is that the torso pieces are designed in such a way that only “half-heads” are used, although it might be possible to change this with some minor conversion work. – excellent: amount of weapon options, extra weapons.

My one legitimate concern about the kit is that, for all the weapon options, we don’t get any options for CC weapons like power swords, chainaxes or power mauls. While GW’s designers probably had to stop somewhere, I guess I would have preferred those instead of both power fists and chainfists, if only because World Eaters Cataphractii look so sexy with their chainaxes 😉 As it stands, however, we only get one measly power sword for the sergeant. Boo hiss! 😉

Betrayal at Calth release (13)
But again, having access to plastic Cataphractii is a rather unexpected turn of events, and the fact that these are a multipart kit with lots and lots of options is a rather nice surprise. While the tac Marines might be more universally useful, these guys are one of my favourite parts of the box!

 

 

Legion Contemptor Dreadnought

Betrayal at Calth release (15)
Okay, I am not going to lie to you: The prospect of actually having access to a plastic Contemptor was basically one of the main reasons I purchased a copy of Betrayal at Calth. Yet in an interesting turn of events, the plastic Contemptor is the best part and the worst part of the release at the same time. Confused yet? Allow me to elaborate:

The amount of detail is very nice, and it’s great that we actually get the relict variant. All of this is even nicer given the fact that this is almost a snapfit model, at least when it comes to the simplicity of construction:  The Contemptor is very easy to put together (only slightly more complicated than the AOBR Dread, actually). And it seems to be just as tall as an actual FW Contemptor. And we even get a choice of ranged weapons — all of this is quite excellent!

On the other hand, the model is generic to the point of blandness (which, I’ll admit, was probably the point: You are supposed to be able to use this for every legion, after all). This is easily remedied by adding some bitz. But they did choose the least interesting pose on the planet for some reason — I especially dislike the slightly inwards turned legs that make the Contemptor look like Paris Hilton  posing on a red carpet. Seriously, I get why they went for a neutral pose, but it surely could have been slightly more interesting…?

So what to make of the model? It’s one of the most exciting parts of the boxed game in that it’s fantastic to have access to a plastic Contemptor. Yet it will take a bit of work to truly make it shine and to get rid of some of the blandness — but we’ll be getting there in a minute 😉

 

Captain Streloc Aetheon / Legion Praetor wearing Cataphractii armour

Betrayal at Calth release (17)
The actual army commanders are often my favourite part of every starter box, and Captain Aetheon (who, of course can also be used as a generic Astartes Praetor wearing Cataphractii armour) is certainly a rather imposing model: Both the bulk and the ostentatiousness of his armour make him a rather nice centre piece. I also like the inclusion of a cape!

The model is not entirely without its problems, however: First of all, while the pose is alright, the Captain seems to be giving it his all in order to look along the barrel of his combi-bolter. He seems to be mirroring one of Forgeworld’s Legion Praetors to some degree, but the pose does seem a bit forced to me, and less natural than that of the resin model. I also prefer the cc weapon on the Forgeworld Praetor, as a chainfist seems like a rather unheroic weapon for such a centre piece character — in a box geared towards universal usefulness, this seems like the strangest possible place to go for individual characteristics… It seems like a relic blade of some sort would have been a cooler option. Maybe it’s the fact that the confined nature of the Underground Wars at Calth would make a chainfist the more sound option…?

Betrayal at Calth release (16)
All in all, however, I rather like the captain. He’s quite a beast, and more interesting to look at than GW’s plastic Terminator Captain for 40k. I think the model will not only make for an excellent Praetor, but also for a great Chaptermaster in 40k. Nice job!

 

Kurtha Sedd / Legion Chaplain

Betrayal at Calth release (19)
We also get a praetor variant in regular power armour — a chaplain to be exact (although it would certainly be easy enough to turn him into something else). First things first, this model doesn’t really look like a Word Bearers chaplain to me: This is probably the one model hurt most by the decision to have the contents of the box look as generic as they do, because while this guy may make for a decent Chaplain for just about every legion, he just seems too clean and uncluttered for a Word Bearer

I also really hate the top of that crozius, because it’s too clunky by far and looks like the designer ran out of ideas at the last possible moment.

Apart from that, the model also has some elements that I really like: The decoration of the armour is very nice, especially given the fact that all the other suits of Mk 4 armour in the set remain woefully unadorned. I also like the advancing pose and the cape. And it’s nice that the model should be flexible enough to allow for head and weapon swaps without a hitch, in spite of being a snapfit assembly.

Betrayal at Calth release (18)All in all, it’s a pretty nice character model, although I think Captain Aetheon comes out slightly on top. But that’s just a matter of personal taste.

 

So, those are the models we get in the box — quite a boatload, I must say! And judging by these pictures from the Games Workshop website, they make for a rather impressive combined starter army:

Betrayal at Calth release (20)
Interestingly enough, the pictures also show that Kurtha Sedd works far better as an Ultramarine, while Aetheon looks great in Word Bearers colours, as pointed out in Wudugast’s aforementioned review of the models.

Betrayal at Calth release (21)
Another very interesting factor is how buying Forgeworld’s resin versions of the box contents would be much, much more expensive, making Betrayal at Calth terrific value for the money, in any case. And that’s before you consider that there’s also an actual game to be had here (although you will forgive me for not dwelling on this fact — other people do rules far better than me 😉 ).

One last thing I’d like to mention is that I really like the dedicated decal sheet that comes in the box. Sure, it’s pretty tiny, but I like how it seems to have been made with the actual contents of the box in mind, instead of just providing a very stripped down version of a bigger decal sheet. And all those “XIIIs” will be really easy to turn into “XIIs” with a sharp knife 😉

 

Conversion ideas:

Well, to address the elephant in the room, first and foremost: This is, of course, a box for those hobbyists who already enjoy Space Marines. If you don’t find Astartes all that compelling to begin with, chances are this box is not going to change your mind. For those who do have a modicum of love for GW’s posterboy transhuman killing machines, though, it’s clear that the box provides an enormously versatile toolkit: While the models themselves may not be as exciting and individual as, say, some of the stuff in the Age of Sigmar starter box, the fact that most of the kits are multipart makes this a very interesting purchase, both for 30k and 40k Space Marine aficionados. In fact, the true beauty of this box is that it’ll make both 30k and 40k players happy, allowing you to either start a Horus Heresy force or add some Heresy bling to your 40k Astartes. The lack of unique decoration on the models also makes them equally attractive for all legions and/or successor chapters (with a few possible exceptions, as I’ve said before).

While my own burgeoining Heresy project will be featured in more detail at a later date, let’s focus on one particular model for today. Because I really couldn’t help myself and had to start working on the Contemptor right away:

Like I said, there are a number of problems with the stock model that I felt I needed to address: I wanted to make the pose a bit more interesting, for one. And I really didn’t like the very bland stock head. Oh, and I wanted the model to be recognisable as a World Eater, of course — I hope his doesn’t come as a huge shock to you guys 😉

So here’s my own Contemptor after a few initial changes:

World Eaters Contemptor 30k early WIP (1)
My initial idea was to tweak the pose with some careful cuts. So I cut the model apart at the waist, in order to allow for more articulation. I also added two elements for a suitably World Eater-ly look: an ogre gut plate doubling as the legion badge as well as a skull and chain ensemble from the Age of Sigmar Bloodsecrator model. And I used a shaved-down Defiler facemask as an alternate head.

But I wasn’t quite happy yet, so I also worked a bit on the Kheres arm: Cut between the pauldron and the elbow, and not only can you repose the arm, but this would also be the perfect position for inserting a magnet, I guess. And I wasn’t quite done with the legs, either: I wanted to get rid of the pidgeon-toed look, so I cut the right leg from the pelvis area and glued it back on at a slightly different angle:

World Eaters Contemptor 30k WIP (1)

It’s a fairly subtle tweak, to be sure, but I think it makes for a far less awkward pose. As for the general idea of reposing the legs, it’s easy enough to separate the legs from the pelvis, and this allows for some essential conversion options, allowing you to get rid of that pidgeon-toed stance. Everything that involves making the legs bend at the knee, however, seems very complicated and hardly worth the trouble: I suppose it might be possible, but you’ll lose either the upper legs or the kneedpads (or both). One possible way would be to carefully cut out the lower legs and use (40k) Dreadnought legs to rebuild the upper legs — they are virtually indistinguishable.

I did go back to change the head at this point, though: I had originally chosen the Defiler mask for its  slightly more brutal and original look. But while I was fairly happy with the cleverness of my conversion, the size of the head also made the model look a bit clunkier than it should, as was pointed out to me by several fellow hobbyists. So I did try a different head in the end, going for one of the Cataphractii helmets that came in the same box:

World Eaters Contemptor 30k WIP (5)
World Eaters Contemptor 30k WIP (6)
World Eaters Contemptor 30k WIP (7)
And I have to admit that I do prefer this version, after all: Granted, it’s a bit smaller than a Contemptor head, but it does make for a sleaker, more agile look, don’t you think? Plus it makes the model resemble the “official” FW World Eaters Contemptor.

World Eaters Contemptor 30k WIP (8)
I’ll still be adding some touches to the model before painting, although I’ll try not to go overboard with the detailing, as some of those smooth surfaces will provide a great occasion to use the more interesting, larger decals from the FW decal sheet. Because I really want to paint this guy in the Heresy-era World Eaters colours after all. I was torn between 30k and 40k for a while there, but decided to make the Contemptor a 30k model because I basically already own a counts-as Contemptor for 40k:

World Eaters Contemptor 30k scale comparison
Remember the guy on the right? In case anyone was wondering, the above picture shows that converted Kastelan robots will actually work rather nicely as stand-in Contemptors, at least from a scale perspective! So I guess I’ll be using the conversion made earlier this year as a Contemptor in games of 40k, while the actual Contemptor joins my eventual 30k project — of which more later, like I said 😉

 

So, what’s the final verdict? I think we have to hand it to GW: Betrayal at Calth will be flying off the shelves. The models in the box are extremely interesting to Space Marine players in 30 and 40k, for one. But there’s also the fact that the box seems to have been designed to whittle down the defenses of those who had yet managed to resist getting in on the Heresy business.

Case in point, I really didn’t want to start a Heresy era army (or warband), save for my Custodes (and those were born from a somewhat different desire). The cost of Forgeworld’s models seemed prohibitive, and the prospect of having to work with that much resin wasn’t very appealing to me. Betrayal at Calth entirely bypasses both concerns, and here I am, joining the fray. I’m feeling a bit like Pavlov’s dog, to be honest… 😉

It is an excellent starter box, though, in spite of its blandness (arguably because of it). It capitalises on GW’s most successful properties, which seems sensible from a business standpoint. It also contains nothing but Space Marines, which may rightfully be a bit of a turnoff for many of you. I am pretty sure the people at GW did the maths beforehand, though…

In any case, it’ll be interesting to see where we go from here: Will Betrayal at Calth merely function as some kind of gateway drug to get people into the 30k setting, while the main bulk of the models will still be sold by FW? Or will GW add to their Horus Heresy plastic kits over time? Will we be getting additional armour marks in plastic? Has that decision even been taken yet? And how does it all work together with the recent announcement of a new Specialist Games devision? Interesting times, indeed!

What is already obvious is how they have set themselves up in a very clever position: Both the Legion Veterans as well as the Cataphractii can (and probably will) be released as their own multipart kits without any further need for additional design or production capacities. And the characters would be easy to release as clamshell characters. So whatever happens, I am pretty sure that Betrayal at Calth will earn back its development cost, even if it remains a standalone piece. Speaking of which, I think the approach of making one-off games to include along with the models seems like a cool idea, and I would actually love GW/FW to do more along those lines and really bring back Adeptus Titanicus, Epic, Necromunda or even Inquisitor. But that will be a story for another day.

Let me wind up this review by mentioning one tiny thing I really liked about the box: The sides of the lower part actually feature the different painted models:

BaC box nostalgia

I got such a huge HeroQuest vibe from that, and maybe it’s the kind of detail that shows what we can expect from the new FW Specialist Games division? Or maybe it’s just wishful thinking…

 

So, what do you make of it all? Are you happy with Betrayal at Calth, or do you merely see this as another money grab? Or both? What do you think about the models? And will you be getting into there Heresy after all? I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section!

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

The Warrior King Reloaded — one last look…

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, paintjob, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 4, 2015 by krautscientist

At the risk of boring you all to tears, today I would like to take one last look at what is probably my big hobby project of 2015: my customised Chaos Knight Titan. Don’t fret, though: There’s actually still something new left to say about the model, so you won’t merely have to look at the same pictures yet again 😉

In fact, with a project of this size, it’s probably not even a surprise that I ended up with some loose ends to tie up, even after finishing the model proper. So here’s a couple of small concerns left to address:

 

I. It’s getting hot in here…

The first thing I still wanted to do was to paint the alternate weapons option for the model. Even though I only purchased the original (2014) version of the Imperial Knight kit, that still provided me with two different long range weapons. And why I clearly favour one of them from a visual standpoint, I still  left the gun barrels exchangeable, so all I needed to do was to get some paint on the Thermal Cannon muzzle in order to make my Knight useable as either a Paladin or Errant. Take a look:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh, the Warrior King (39)
Chaos Knight Gilgamesh, the Warrior King (34)
Chaos Knight Gilgamesh, the Warrior King (33)
To be fair, though, it’s a fairly lazy version of this particular conversion, because it doesn’t extend to the tanks on the side of the weapons and is limited to the actual barrel of the gun:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh, the Warrior King (36)
While I did want to have the extra option, I far prefer the long-barrelled weapon, and it’s also very much a visual part of my Chaos Knight, so I went the easy route for once. I did some minor conversion work, however, in order to bring the look of the thermal cannon in line with the warlike, spiky look of the rest of the model — and that juggernaut armour plate makes for an instant Khornate look, wouldn’t you agree?

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh, the Warrior King (38)
Nothing’s really magnetised (yet): The long-barrelled weapon is neatly kept in place by the model’s construction while the Thermal Cannon has to be helped along with a bit of modeling putty. I’ve already put the structure for magnetisation in place, however, so all that’s left to add are some actual magnets — I suppose I’ll be getting there at some point 😉

 

II. Stories of the Warrior King

It should come as no surprise that a monstrous warmachine like Gilgamesh has a lot of history behind it — ten millennia of service alongside Khorne’s Eternal Hunt will do that. What did come as a surprise, though, is that I didn’t even need to come up with all of the background material myself: While the model was still very much WIP, fellow hobbyist and blogger Inqmikaelovich sent me a rather excellent little story vignette kindly starring Gilgamesh in a support role. Allow me to share it with you:

 

Freeze frame.

A well trimmed grey beard fills the picture. It covers scars; errata in its patterns tell stories of hundreds of years of combat. It is about an inch and a half long and is the color of a cloudy sky.

Scroll up.

Between the beard and a similar mustache lies a mouth. It is smiling, a smile devoid of tension or stress. It is the smile of a man who has seen his fate, and, despite how dark a fate it is, finds peace in knowing it. With all uncertainty removed, his path is now clear.

Scroll up.

Above the mouth is a nose. It is perfect for the man’s face; neither too long nor too short, not too wide nor too thin. It is a noble nose, betraying a sense of humanity and sophistication.

Zoom out.

The full face is in the picture now. It is completed by well groomed hair and eyebrows, the same color as the beard. The man’s eyes are devoid of any emotion save peace of mind. They are a stormy blue, and seem too kind to belong with the war scarred beard.

Zoom out. Resume play at one thousandth speed.

The man is in a chair, hands gripping controls and the eyes fixed on an archaic HUD. An intimidating, impossibly loud roar fills the small chamber, and yet he does not flinch. There is now a sense of motion, as if he were falling forward, the tip of the beard lifting from his chest.

Zoom out. Pan 90 degrees left.

The function of the controls is now obvious; the last remaining suit of Knight Titan armour of House Tetsonar fills the frame. It is coated in black camouflage and Kill Markings, and is charging. An immense power sword, underslung on a massive mechanical fist, is swinging forward, and a deafening scream matches the roar as a massive plasma cannon powers to life.

Zoom out.

The roar’s source is now visible; an opposing Knight is counter-charging. The titanic duel fills the frame. It is painted red and brass, and dozens of bloody handprints adorn its adamantine greaves. Spiked chains are dangling from its form and its right arm that ends in an enormous cannon, its muzzle wrought in the shape of a snarling daemon. The other arm bears a chainblade of impossible proportions, hefting it above the machine’s head; it is the source of half the roar. The other half issues from the machine itself. In the distance, Imperial Aircraft are exiting a massive fortress, the last lifting off as the Knights are in mid-charge. The thousands of red and brass infantry at the giants’ feet turn, knowing their quarry gone, to the last Imperial Warrior standing – the Knight.

Pan 180 degrees right.

Our hero is bringing his blade around for a killing strike, one that will skewer his opponent, but it misses its mark. The enemy’s chainsword is swinging downward, ready to smash the hallowed Knight’s armour in. The last Valkyrie clears the walls of the fortress and begins to exit the atmosphere.

Resume at full speed.

As the Loyal Knight’s sword harmlessly scrapes yet another deep groove into the baroque armour of the Chaos Knight, the latter’s chainblade crashes down with irresistible force. The curved carapace of the Tetsonar Knight caves in, metal screeching on metal. A golden aura surrounds the god machine – a teleport is imminent. The archenemy titan rears its head and roars all the louder, angry at its prey being so cruelly snatched from its grasp.

A new scene, a massive hangar bay in orbit.

The last Valkyrie is docking a hangar over. Our hero appears, but all is not well – the giant crumples to the floor. Medical personnel and Tech Adepts swarm the titan, and the pilot is recovered. His smile still perseveres, but his eyes are closed. His beard is equal parts red and grey now, the crimson flecks telling one last tale. A tale of a stand, a tale of a fall.

A year has passed.

The Knight stands tall once more, its armoured form restored, new heraldic colours proud
and flawless: resplendent and rechristened, armed with new and far more fearsome weaponry, it’s original weapons joined by a fearsome shoulder mounted titankiller array, and a new name on it’s hallowed heraldic shield – Mercy’s Revenge. Before it stands an Inquisitor, an honoured servant of the God Emperor, with a servo-skull hovering above his shoulder. There is something familiar in the curve of its features, the geometry of its brow. The skull hovers silently, devoid of flesh and life, but ready to serve evermore. A younger man stands next to the Inquisitor, silent in contemplation.The Inquisitor’s voice is hardly a whisper.

“She is your ward now, my boy.”

 

Very cool, eh? It goes without saying that not only was I really flattered by this but I also wanted to reply in kind. So here’s another small story for you, depicting the same event, albeit from a different point of view. For some extra fun, I tried to stay fairly true to Inqmikaelovich’s piece and mimic the narrative structure rather closely. Check it out:

Baron Harrowthorne try04bFreeze frame.

A face fills the picture, half-lit from below, its sharp features hawkish, yet noble. The face of a military man, of a warrior, born and bred. A proud face, yet the set of its features  speaks not of haughty arrogance, but of a pride well deserved. The scars of many battles can be glimpsed in the half-gloom, lending the owner of the face an aspect of martyrdom. Hints of juvenat treatments are visible, but subtly so. This rejuvenation has not been applied for vanity, but for preservation. The eyes are closed, as if in deep contemplation.

Resume at one tenth speed.

The man’s eyes open, and everything is changed. Like words gaining an entirely different meaning in a different context, the face, too, is re-contextualised, yet in the most sinister way: These are eyes that have seen too much and gone too far. There is old pain there, and old hatred. And a cold fury that is truly chilling to behold. The corners of the man’s mouth turn down into a frown that is somehow more intimidating than any grimace of rage could be.

Zoom out.

The man is seated in a throne, surrounded by controls and arcane auspex arrays. The interior of a gunmetal cockpit trimmed  in brass. The cockpit of a warmachine, a Knight Titan. The pilot’s pose is relaxed, but not without focus. His economy of motion betrays an amount of experience and unity with his machine that is uncanny.

Zoom out. Pan 90 degrees right.

The pilot’s suit of Knight armour is now visible, and it is truly terrible to behold:  armoured in arterial red and darkened bronze, its form bedecked in spikes and chains, a walking altar to the War God.

The machine is known by many names: the Crimson Noble. The Warrior King.  The Twice-Consecrated.
Gilgamesh.
It is feared across the galaxy, and rightly so.

Like any Knight, it flies its honours proudly, its many marks of distinction. Yet their meaning is lost to Imperial history, with those who would understand their significance either mortal enemies of the Imperium of Man or long in the ground. They tell a tale, however, these marks and seals. As do the dozens of bloody handprints adorning the Knight’s adamantine greaves, placed there as an oath of moment by the legionaries of the Hunt.

Zoom out.

The Knight’s quarry comes into view now: A black-armoured loyalist Knight, covered in battle honours and kill markings that, likewise, speak of an eternity of war and honour. None of this matters, though, save for the icons of subservience to the Throne of Lies. They cancel out all honour. They are the reason the machine and his pilot have to be brought down
Gilgamesh’s war horn blares with the sound of a bellowing Titan of legend as he stands ready to face his foe. The loyalist Knight pulls back for a blow with its massive chain fist. A killing blow, this…

Resume at full speed.

…but sloppy, way too sloppy. The underslung chainblade merely scrapes yet another inconsequential groove into Gilgamesh’s armour, nothing but a minor concern for the Sacristans maintaining the giant warmachine. Yet the blow has unbalanced the loyalist Knight, and there’s nothing it can do to stop the massive reaper chainsword descending on its carapace with terrible force, caving in the curved armour plates and creating a torrent of sparks as metal screeches on metal. But then, a golden glow surrounds the maimed loyalist machine: A teleport device, a priceless treasure hidden within the ancient carapace. A final trump card. An escape. Man and machine roar as one, enraged at their denied kill. As the golden flash of light dies, only blackened pieces of scrap metal remain, sheared off by an imperfect teleportation. The enemy, however, is gone.

Within the half-light of his cockpit, Baron Augustus Melchiah Harrowthorne reclines, the pulse of adrenaline slowly abating, just like the machine spirit’s wrath. The anger is still there, however, like smouldering embers, ready to be fanned into a blazing flame yet anew, when the time comes. There will be other battles. The Long War is not over.

And neither is the Hunt.

 

III. Bwood for the Bwood God!

Another pretty major loose end regarding my Chaos Knight is the fun little gaiden project born from the model: I am talking about the “Chibi-Knight”, of course 😉

Chibi-Knight WIP (19)

This model was basically created on a whim, after I had discovered fellow hobbyist Paule’s very cool thread full of kitbashed Epic Titans. Now I don’t even have any fond memories of Epic 40k myself, as 40k proper always seemed more interesting to me. But here’s the thing: If GW ever were to release a Titan-based boxed game at the Epic scale or a redesigned Adeptus Titanicus, I guess I’d be first in line for picking it up. I love the concepts and designs behind Titans, but I cannot see myself ever putting together one of those massive resin models from Forgeworld. But a roughly Epic-scaled Titan game would be excellent for scratching that itch without having to saw through all that resin (as well as having to sell a kidney to be able to afford it all) 😉

Anyway, the Chibi-Knight turned out to be an unexpectedly enjoyable little hobby project, as I found myself digging through the old bitzbox in an attempt to match the model’s bigger cousin as closely as possible — within reason, of course.

I did have to make some compromises, as not every part of the model would have been easy enough to recreate at a smaller scale — and some elements simply wouldn’t have worked. But in the end, I used parts from about twenty different GW kits to make a model that I believe is a fairly close re-imagining of its bigger cousin. And it goes without saying that I also tried to mimic the bigger model’s paintjob as closely as possible on the Chibi-Knight.

So without further ado, let’s compare the two finished models, shall we?

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh in two scales (1)

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh in two scales (3)
Chaos Knight Gilgamesh in two scales (4)
Chibi-Knight Gilgamesh (1)
So, let’s take a closer look at the Chibi-Knight all by itself (I’ve arranged the pictures just like those of the bigger version of Gilgamesh in the respective post, so if you want a real side by side comparison, feel free to check out those pictures as well):

Chibi-Knight Gilgamesh (4)
Chibi-Knight Gilgamesh (5)
Chibi-Knight Gilgamesh (6)
Chibi-Knight Gilgamesh (7)
Chibi-Knight Gilgamesh (8)
Chibi-Knight Gilgamesh (9)
Chibi-Knight Gilgamesh (10)
All in all, I think it’s a fairly close fit. However, I did have to make some small allowances due to the differences in scale: The legs and feet are a bit different, for one, although they were still quite a bit of work: As you can see, I used a pair of Raptor legs as the base, but then I cut off the feet and tried to make something as close as possible to the original Knight’s feet. A cookie goes to whoever guesses what the toes originally started out as 😉

I also made some concessions when building the torso: The carapace doesn’t quite look like the original, but it’s still close enough to be recognisable, I believe — as I have learned from the great Ron Saikowski, the most important part of a conversion like this is to get enough parts right that the elements that aren’t quite perfect will still work in the context of the whole model. So let’s take a closer look at the parts that did up looking rather close to the bigger version of the model:

One thing I am really happy with is the smaller version of the daemonic breastplate — it was really fortunate that the warshrine of chaos kit basically contained two very similar daemonic faces at wildly different scales 😉Chibi-Knight Gilgamesh (13)
Oh, and I definitely had to replicate the heraldic plate with the World Eaters legion badge on it, of course, (even if working with those FW decals almost drove me up the wall yet again=.

I also tried to closely recreate the designs on the pauldrons: The right one still has a World Eaters legion badge (albeit of a slightly different design), as well as a hint of the legion and company markings underneath:

Chibi-Knight Gilgamesh (12)
While the right was done using some bitz for a pretty close recreation of the bigger version:

Chibi-Knight Gilgamesh (14)
There is another World Eaters symbol on the leg banner, thanks to one of the really tiny decals from FW’s World Eaters decal sheet:

Chibi-Knight Gilgamesh (16)
And I even managed to squeeze in a smaller version of the battle honours on the rear side of the banner as well:

Chibi-Knight Gilgamesh (15)
One element that is slightly different from the original model is the base: It still features fallen Space Marine statuary, but instead of a crumbled statue, I decided to use the one legitimate Epic 40k model actually in my possession (kindly provided, once again, by Drone21c) and paint it up as a heavily verdigrised statue:

Chibi-Knight Gilgamesh (11)
I rather like this element, and it provides a hint as to the model’s actual scale. Plus when it came to building the bigger Knight’s base, this little statue was the most important influence that actually inspired me to use the Space Marine statue from the Honoured Imperium kit in the first place!

So yeah, that’s the little guy. I am really rather stupidly happy with the model, to tell you the truth, even if there’s not even a real use for it 😉

Chibi-Knight Gilgamesh (2)

 

IV. A bit of advice…

So, after spending so much time with my Knight(s), I thought I’d wind up this post by giving out some advice to those of you who might be contemplating an Imperial Knight project of their own — you should definitely go for it, by the way: It’s a fantastic kit, and working with it has been lots and lots of fun. Here are some small pointers to set you on your way!

Don’t be afraid!
I know I was really apprehensive about the whole idea of tackling such a big model at the start, and maybe so are you. Don’t be! Like I said, it’s a terrific kit, and it’s also perfectly explained and goes together like a dream. The model also breaks up rather beautifully into several sub-assemblies which is excellent both for the building and painting phase. And building and painting a Knight is an excellent, self-contained hobby project that will really be worth your while. So if you are at all interested in the Knights and their look and backstory, go for it!

Do some research!
At the same time, this is not a kit to be slapped together hastily for the game next week: Before you even start, you might want to do some research online to see Knights that might inspire you and to figure out what things you do and don’t like. Hobbyists online have been doing fantastic jobs with their own Knights, and the inspiration ranges from complete, brilliant models to small but essential tips for creating certain effects, assembling some fiddly parts or what have you. I myself have a folder of about 1 Gigabyte of Knight-related pictures, and that material has helped me so much with my own model. In fact, I am still collecting pictures for my inspirations folder, even though my Knight is already finished 😉

You should really add a cockpit and pilot to your model!
One of the most important things about Knights is how individual they are. But that amount of individuality doesn’t stop at the machine itself: What better way to customise your model than to add your own Cockpit and pilot as well — in fact, coming up with a pilot to match your Knight is not only fun, but also really rewarding, while just gluing that torso shut seems like a huge missed opportunity. So take my word for it: Build a cockpit and pilot! It will take some doing, but there are many cool examples out there, and few things made me feel as accomplished about my own Knight than this part!

Take your time!
This should go for all hobby projects, but it’s especially important here: You can only really mess up by being too fast and getting sloppy. But this huge, beautiful model deserves your attention, so TAKE YOUR TIME! Seriously, this is key! 🙂

The devil is in the details!
Again, this also applies to hobby projects in general, but there are so many details you can add to make your Knight even cooler. Take a page out of JeffTibbetts’ crazy perfectionism! It’ll teach you a whole new way of looking at the model, and suddenly adding more and more detail won’t be a chore anymore, it’ll be fun! Small things really go a long way, especially on such a big model!

Careful with the glue!
Don’t glue everything together right away, because you’ll make your life much harder. Instead, think about which portions of the Knight should be kept apart for the moment — or, indeed, altogether: For istance: Keep the armour plates and “skeleton” separate while painting, because this will make your life much easier. If you’re planning on adding a cockpit, make sure to keep one side of the torso unglued, for easier access to the Knight’s interior. Oh, and the top carapace will snap into place without any glue (and can be taken off later that way), so think before you break out the glue.

Build a Chibi-version!
Seriously, though, this isn’t a must. But I had so much fun with my own Chibi-Knight that I can only recommend you build one yourself 😉

 


V. In closing…

I almost forgot mentioning a very nice observation that fellow hobbyist Freytag93 brought up over on Dakka:

Also, I like the statue on the base. To me, the face echos the face of the baron (probably cause of the shared scar), giving a contrast to his fallen honor.

While the effect is completely coincidental, I really love this! Isn’t it great when people discover something about your models that you didn’t even put there in the first place — at least not consciously?

 

So anyway, that’s all folks. I hope you enjoyed yet another look at this project! It goes without saying that I’d love to hear any feedback you might have!

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

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh in two scales (2)