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:
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:
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?
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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 😉
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?
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):
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 😉
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:
While the right was done using some bitz for a pretty close recreation of the bigger version:
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:
And I even managed to squeeze in a smaller version of the battle honours on the rear side of the banner as well:
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:
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 😉
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!