On the road to Heresy…?
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:
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:
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:
And, of course, the Lord Captain himself:
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:
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:
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 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:
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):
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:
The weapon became a combined axe/hammer affair, slightly resembling Deracin’s later “staff of office”:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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!