Archive for June, 2016

ETL V: Ex-ter-min-ate!

Posted in 40k, Conversions, paintjob, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2016 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, after last week’s rather unpleasant events, let us return to this blog’s main subject, as I show you the next finished model for Khorne’s Eternal Hunt.

Having spent most of last Thursday and Friday watching the news of Brexit hollow-eyed and with a constant sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, I decided I might as well try to transform my sadness into something more productive and started working on my converted Kastelan:

Khornate Kastelan WIP (4)
Now this model was originally built shortly after the release of the Kastelan Robots, in an attempt to transform into one of them into a particularly Khornate battle engine — and I believe I have definitely succeeded in that regard. And after sitting on a shelf for quite some time, the model was now ready for some paint, in time for the ETL event over at The Bolter & Chainsword.

The model is basically as tall and wide as a Contemptor, as you can see in this picture:

World Eaters Contemptor 30k scale comparison

So I included it in my ETL vow as a Counts-As-Contemptor — and indeed, that is also the role the model will likely be filling if it should ever see the tabletop.

But before that, I had to get the thing painted. I took off all of the chaotic armour plates for this, in order to give me access to the model’s body, and interestingly enough, this made the model look almost like a standard Kastelan for most of the painting process:

Khornate Kastelan PIP (1)
But fortunately, as the armour plates came back on one by one,…

Khornate Kastelan PIP(2)
Khornate Kastelan PIP(3)
…the model started looking increasingly chaotic again 😉

From a technical perspective, I decided to work over a coat of Leadbelcher spray paint, and as it turned out, not only did this make for a really good base for the red I added on later, but it also made sure that all the internal workings of the machine could simply be left metallic, which makes for a pretty convincing look. It would have been really difficult to get back into all those little nooks and crannies with a brush, so the silver undercoat turned out to be a very good call!

This strategy, combined with a motivation fueled by a particularly mixture of sadness and madness saw me complete the model in record time. Take a look at the finished Khornate Kastelan conversion:

Khornate Kastelan conversion (1)
Khornate Kastelan conversion (2)
Khornate Kastelan conversion (3)
Khornate Kastelan conversion (4)
Khornate Kastelan conversion (5)

Thanks to a bitz drop from fellow hobbyist Helega, I was able to add a cool wrist-mounted gun to the Kastelan’s right forearm, courtesy of one of Pertuarbo’s guns: I will admit that the thought of using it on the model felt frivolous for maybe half a minute, but it did solve two problems at once (adding some bulk to that hand and wrist and finding a way to feature an integrated weapon in spite of the hammer), so I decided to go for it.

Khornate Kastelan conversion (6)
Khornate Kastelan conversion (7)
As you can see, I also added some decals to the model, in order to underline its nature as a machine even more. In fact, I couldn’t help myself and had to add a really ancient decal from the early 90s’ plastic Khorne Berzerkers:

Khornate Kastelan conversion (9)
Let me tell you, that decal sheet still holds some of the best Khornate decal designs, even today!

And here’s a closeup of the model’s entirely humourless face:

Khornate Kastelan conversion (10)

All in all, I am really rather happy with the finished model. And not only does this mean one less unpainted model, but it also marks the completion of my first ETL vow:

ETL V First Completed Vow
Together with my Skulltaker conversion and Lord Dumah, the 4th assault company’s Apothecary, that’s a cool additional 500 points for Khorne’s Eternal Hunt!

But wait, there’s one last thing: I am still looking for a snappy name for this new combat automaton! And although I have already received quite a few cool suggestions on various forums, I would really love to hear your ideas as well!
I’ll be needing both the pattern designation for the machine as well as the name of this particular model, so I’d love to hear your suggestions! Please refrain from going Age of Sigmar levels of cheesy on me, though 😉

Khornate Kastelan conversion (11)

And of course it goes without saying that I would also love to hear any feedback you may have! As always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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People of Albyon — the Imperium of Man needs you!

Posted in Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , on June 23, 2016 by krautscientist

PSA-UK

Hey everyone, I am actually dipping my toes into something very different today, and I have gone back and forth a few times on whether or not I should be posting this at all, but it is something that I feel really strongly about, so I guess I’ll just have to take the plunge. Rest assured that we’ll be dealing with little plastic men again, come the next post. Anyway, what is this about?

Today, on the 23rd of June, the United Kingdom is running its referendum about whether to leave the European Union or remain one of its members. And I’ll be up front with you: The prospect of the country leaving the EU fills me with a lingering sense of sadness that has only grown stronger over the last days and weeks.

There are many reasons for this, but most of it has something to do with the fact that I am endlessly fascinated with the UK, its culture, history – and let’s not forget about its popular culture, either: Many of my favourite bands, authors, films, tabletop games or novels are of British origin. I was raised on the humour of Monty Python, and I loved the dystopian novels of the early 20th century (and, once again, of mostly British origin) during my early adulthood. I fell in love with the various settings of Games Workshop which are a very British take on the apocalyptic (and also, on a deeper level, a very British kind of satire). And for this reason, and countless reasons like it, I’ve always seen the UK as a dear member of the family, and one that I am especially fond of.

Dear British readers of this blog: I cannot and will not tell you what does and doesn’t work in your country. I will not tell you what to do, either, as I understand there are good reasons for either choice (although I’ll be perfectly open about clearly favouring one of them). I am also not going to defend the frequent ridiculousness of EU bureaucracy, because there’s a lot to dislike about that part of the union. What I would like to tell you, however, is that this is not all the EU represents:

These last few years of blogging and interacting with the international hobby scene have been a blast for me, and they have also shown to me – more than anything before, possibly – how incredibly valuable it is to be able to talk openly and peacefully about a common subject to people from different countries and wildly different cultural backgrounds. To be able to be in contact – and on friendly terms with – at least a dozen hobbyists scattered all across the globe has been ( and continues to be) an incredibly empowering feeling, even if we may merely be talking about little plastic figurines more often than not. There I was a short while ago, for instance, once again exchanging friendly e-mails with fellow hobbyist (and all around great guy) PDH: We are both of the same age. A mere hundred years ago, we would have shot each other on sight in the trenches of the Great War. And now we are talking about playing war by pushing plastic figures – that’s a hell of an improvement in my book.

And that, to me, is what’s at the heart of the EU. Not the economic bargaining. Not the endless bickering. Not the hunting for privilege. But the concept of lasting peace on the continent that renders the idea of ever waging war against one another again patently ridiculous. Is peace only possible through the EU? Definitely not. But it’s the idea at the centre of the whole thing. And it’s an idea worth fighting for more than any other. And to fight, you have to be there.

Dear British readers, please consider this as you make your choice today: The Imperium of Man may be corrupt and defective and over-inflated and leaking in a thousand ways and in a thousand places – all the more reason why it needs you!

Thank you for reading and Godspeed!

24th June update: Alright, I have just spent most of yesterday night and virtually all of this morning watching BBC News, and I am not going to lie to you: The result leaves me feeling oddly heartbroken. I keep seeing talking heads giddy with excitement at the “great opportunity” this supposedly represents for the UK, and while I am just not seeing it, I certainly hope it’s true, if only for the sake of Great Britain. Or maybe I am just missing a vital part of the puzzle here? Anyway, this feels like a truly awful day: An already complicated world just got a whole lot more complicated. Good thing I’ll be returning to talking about cutting up little plastic men shortly, as talking about politics just seems too damn depressing right now…

On a – slightly – more upbeat note, thank you very much for all the thoughtful, well-considered and sympathetic comments that have at least managed to soften the blow a bit! If nothing else, let us do our best to make sure this doesn’t divide our respective countries any more than it already has.

An Orc is an Ork is an…Orruk?! A look at the Ironjawz release

Posted in Conversions, Orcs & Goblins, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 16, 2016 by krautscientist

Oh my, it seems like I am really lagging behind with those reviews and in-depth explorations of GW’s recent releases. Sorry for that! In my defense, however, it just takes a certain dedication (not to mention motivation) to sit down and do detailed writeups about new models, particularly when it would probably more instantly-gratifying to build new stuff! 😉

Then again, there are just some thoughts about GW’s recent offerings that I would like to share, so I hope you’ll indulge me, even when the models I’ll be talking about have been with us for a while.

Ironjawz Release (1)

So for today, let us talk about the Ironjawz, GW’s first Age of Sigmar foray into the greenskin faction: In the interest of full disclosure, let me just preface this post by saying that I have loved GW’s greenskins ever since I got into this hobby: I loved the greenskin models in HeroQuest, even though there were basically only two designs. I loved the greenskin armies back when fantasy armies were still predominantly made from pewter models (so I bought the pretty expensive army book as a lad, only to realise that an army really wasn’t an option, given the limits of my monthly allowance). I loved the fact that GW included an Orc starter army in the 6th edition box and wanted to start an army — it didn’t really happen. But I still like GW’s greenskin designs to this day, whether they appear in 40k or AoS — I even created a kitbashed Blood Bowl team from plastic GW greenskins. So yeah, I am a fan, and have been for quite a while.

For me, GW’s greenskins have always managed to straddle the line between legitimately scary and darkly humorous. I am aware of the fact that some hobbyists, particularly in the Oldhammer scene, prefer the slightly more lighthearted take of the yesteryear to the heavily muscled and more intimidating modern Orcs (or “Orruks”, for that matter), but I like the modern look well enough, and I think having the greenskins be both funny and scary at the same time actually adds to their character.

So this release was interesting for me, both due to my general affection for the greenskins, but also because I was curious about how GW would bring the greenskins over into the Age of Sigmar setting: So far, AoS has mostly seemed like an escalation of vintage Warhammer designs to me: Like a redesigned Warhammer by way of videogame tropes, Masters of the Universe and particularly cheesy heavy metal album cover art — and this doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing, mind you!

The problem is that Age of Sigmar doesn’t really seem to have found its own voice yet, mostly due to the seeming lack of depth to its lore and setting: So far, it has mostly seemed like “Warhammer turned up to eleven”. This is a problem that should arguably diminish with each army and faction getting more fleshed out, so looking at the way GW has chosen to revisit one of its most iconic factions should be interesting. And, to address the elephant in the room, how much will the new greenkins resemble something out of World of Warcraft?

This is a really obvious question, of course: A wealth of anecdotal evidence suggests that Warcraft was basically born out of heaps of inspiration taken from GW’s greenskin designs. Some rumours even say that the whole Warcraft franchise might been intended as a GW-licensed Warhammer game at some point. Whether or not that’s true, there’s more than a little overlap between both universes, and now GW redesigns its own Orcs, with a feature length Warcraft film just around the corner — interesting times, indeed!

With those thoughts firmly wedged into the back of our collective head, let’s take a look at each of the new kits in turn:

 

Godrakk, the Fist of Gork

Ironjawz Release (18)
Every new release needs that huge centrepiece model, and the Ironjawz are no exception. They do get quite a beast of a model, though, and one that is, at once, pretty different from the Orc warlords on huge beasts we have seen so far and also fits right in. Allow me to explain:

For the last couple of releases (and, for that matter, editions), Orc warlords would invariably be riding on some kind of ambiguously serpentine reptilian — mostly a Wyvern. During the early 90s, those creatures shared the same precarious posing and general “S-shape” as all of GW’s dragons, and I imagine the similar design outline was mostly due to the problems of producing a huge metal model that wasn’t just a solid lump of pewter while still looking like some kind of dragon.

And somehow it never quite worked out: There was just some kind of visual disconnect between the burly, heavyset Orcs and those serpentine mounts. Which makes me like the new orcish — pardon, “Orruk-ish” riding beast, called the “Maw-Krusha” looks far more massive and imposing, as this just seems a far better match for the rest of the catalogue!

At the same time, it’s great how the Maw-Krusha manages to incorporate elements of various creatures that have been part of Greenskin armies for a long time: It even resembles the old wyvern to some degree, yet manages to replace the slightly awkward, serpentine look with something more fitting. The overall body shape and scaled hide also manages to recall the plastic River Trolls, which makes for an extra bit of visual consistency.

The kit provides two different heads for the Maw-Krusha: The one intended for “Bigteef” is masked and muzzled and features some slightly strange cloth drapings — I originally thought this was supposed to be some kind of enemy banner being devoured by the creature, which would have been pretty cool, but it really seems to be a decorative element. Oh well…
The alternative, unhelmenetd head, on the other side, may just be one of my favourite monster heads ever produced by GW:

Ironjawz Release (22)
It’s suitably monstrous, sure. Yet it also has that “crocodilian inquisitiveness”, for lack of a better word: You can definitely imagine the creature staring curiously at something before some neural switch at the centre of its tiny, tiny brain goes from “0” to “1” and it just goes crazy — just watch any documentary about crocodiles or alligators, and you’ll know exactly what I mean. Anyway, the head just captures that expression perfectly, while also adding some subtle humour to the whole deal — which is, once again, a great fit for the greenskin faction!

In addition to the huge creatire, we also get an equally impressive Orruk warlord on top, of course. One option would be to use the kit to build Gordrakk himself:

Ironjawz Release (23)
And he really looks the part: From the massive armour to the impressive twin axes, this guy really looks like he means business! I also really like his screaming, one-eyed face:

Ironjawz Release (20)Greenskin models are often sold by the quality of their faces, really, and this one has a lot of character. Jolly good show! The necklace with the dwarven beard and the back banner may be a tad much, but that’s not really a big problem, seeing how it should be easy enough to just leave those parts off, or replace them with some alternate bitz.

Speaking of which, the kit also provides alternate parts to build a generic Ironjawz warlord, and it’s certainly nice to have the extra options!

Ironjawz Release (19)
However, the idea of pairing a massive spear/halberd/thing with a monstrous knife/sword/thing (held in a reverse grip, no less), seems kind of nonsensical to me, even for an Orruk warlord (and believe me, as a World Eaters player, I am no stranger to modeling audacious weapon combinations). The alternate face is also slightly less interesting than Gordrakk’s ugly mug, unfortunately:

Ironjawz Release (21)
Then again, the iconic iron jaw bit and different back banner are interesting enough alternatives. All in all, though, it’s clear that Gordrakk was the focus of this model. And, in any case, there’s only so much leeway and customisation that the kit will allow, due to the specific poses of both the Maw-Krusha and its rider, so building three of these that look totally different would be quite a task indeed!

But all in all, the kit certainly provides a massive and impressive and thoroughly orky – or should that be “orruk-y” – centrepiece model for any greenskin force, and I really like the audacity of this guy. Very cool!

 

Orruk Megaboss

Ironjawz Release (3)

In addition to the massive warlord on Maw-Krusha, we also get a generic warlord on foot, and the easy way of looking at it would be to say that this is basically the Maw-Krusha rider without a Maw-Krusha 😉

But seriously, what’s great about this model, right out of the gate, is that it marks the concept of huge Orcs (or, again, “Orruks”) finally arriving in the GW’s fantasy setting: In 40k, the idea of Ork warlords being far bigger and more massive than their followers has long been a staple of both the lore and the actual models, yet in the world of WFB, orcish generals weren’t that much more imposing than their soldiers — and it’s great to finally see that remedied with this model.

I really like the look of the massive, crude armour. It seems a bit more extreme than the greenskin armour we have seen in WFB, but it’s still well within the parameters of GW’s established design without seeming as stylised as something you’d see in, say, WoW. Even so, a certain “escalation” is clearly obvious in the design. But it makes for a nice enough looking model.

My one substantial complaint about this model is that it would arguably have needed alternative weapons more urgently than the Maw-Krusha rider, seeing how this guy is meant to represent your generic Orruk warlord. Granted, it should be easy enough to swap in some weapons from some of the other kits, but it still seems like a bit of an oversight.

On a slightly less serious note, don’t get me started on those skulls,…

Ironjawz Release (4)

Aw, screw it, I just can’t help myself, so here goes: The obvious thing first: The model’s whole silhouette and look is really dominated by that huge saurian skull strapped to its right shoulder, and it’s an element that not everybody will be keen on. I have to admit that I would probably carefully cut it off myself, and replace it with something slightly less ostentatious.

The real headache begins once you start thinking about where that skull came from, however: It looks like the remains of some kind of Lizardma…ehhh Seraphon creature, doesn’t it? But aren’t the Seraphon ghostly creatures now? So how do they leave any skulls in the first place?

Sure, this could be the remains of any huge predator from any of the new realms, and not really a Seraphon skull. But what’s that on the Megaboss’s other shoulder? A Bloodletter skull? But aren’t Bloodletters daemons? Then how do they leave skulls in the first place…? Like I said, it’s best not to even start thinking about it — how can an Orruk Megaboss make creatures without bones leave bones? Because he’s just that awesome! ‘Nuff said! 😉

Ironjawz Release (2)
Semantics aside, however, it’s a nice enough model and certainly one of the release’s most interesting pieces of conversion fodder. One or two parts of the model may be a bit too cartoony for my taste, but those should be easy enough to get rid of, so this guy gets a pass.

On a semi-related note, wouldn’t you agree with me that the model just looks so much better with red armour…?

Ironjawz Release (6)

 

Orruk Weirdnob Shaman

Ironjawz Release (14)
Shamans and magicians have always been a thoroughly weird part of greenskin society — it’s even part of their name there, see? – and so this guy’s slightly spastic look and pose are a great fit! He really looks as though he were being controlled by powers beyond his control (or by far too much fungus beer, but yeah…), and the model does a great job of communicating that feeling. Maybe the best part of the shaman is the priceless look on his face:

Ironjawz Release (15)
On the other hand, there are two parts of the model I really don’t like. One is the pair of horns or tusks awkwardly bound to the shaman’s head. A quick look at the sprue reveals that this part should, once again, be easy enough to get rid of, though.

My least favourite part is that smoke effect emerging from the top of the staff: It just seems silly – as sculpted smoke and magical effects are wont to do – and I’d get rid of it in a heartbeat. Kudos to the ‘Eavy Metal Team, though, for managing to paint it exactly like something from the cover of a 70s prog-rock album! 😉

Anyway, all in all, it’s a nice enough model, and having a plastic Shaman/Weirdboy available should be very useful for both AoS and 40k players alike.

 

Orruk Warchanter

Ironjawz Release (7)
This is probably my least favourite part of this release: The concept of a drummer/chanter/shaman type character seems pretty tired and unoriginal at the best of times. What makes matters even worse, however, is that, while the other models from the release manage to carefully flirt with the cartoony, videogamey Warcraft look, this guy just embraces it as hard as he can and ends up looking like some kind of WoW reject: The armour, those clunky bones — my immediate feeling was that this wasn’t a GW model at all, but a model produced by some other, smaller company during the late 90s. He just seems overly cartoony and bland to me.

The model’s only saving grace is, once again, the face: It’s really rather lovely:

Ironjawz Release (9)
But all things considered, it’s not enough to excuse the clunky, unoriginal rest of the miniatured. The Warchanter is easily the weakest part of this release, in my opinion, as the model seems more like an afterthought.

 

Orruk Brutes

Ironjawz Release (24)At first galnce, this basically seems like the fantasy version of 40k’s Ork Nobz kit. And just like that kit, this box allows us to build five rather massive …Orruks that are armoed to the teeth — so far, so good!

The bulky models in their massive, crude armour should be quite a sight on the tabletop, and I really like the juxtaposition of the heavily muscled bodies and the jagged, primitive armour plates:

Ironjawz Release (27)These guys really seem tough as nails, and they manage to fit the new Age of Sigmar aesthetic while also fitting in with older greenskin models, which is certainly not mean feat! I also like the wealth of options provided in the kit, at least according to a closer look at the various sprues!

If I have one gripe with the Brutes, it’s that some of the weapon designs just seem a bit too much: That massive, two-handed cleaver? The strange crab-claw? Those look more like toys than weapons, really — like the designers were trying just a bit too hard to make those weapons “uber-awesome”:

Ironjawz Release (28)
Maybe the problem is that these guys are just a bit too serious: They seem to be trying just as hard as GW’s sculptors 😉

All in all, however, the kit itself seems to provide a lot of options and a wealth of extra bitz, so it still stands as one of the best parts of the release, in my opinion.

 

Orruk Goregruntaz

Ironjawz Release (31)
This kit seems like an interesting addition, mostly because the plastic Orc Boarboyz are one of the more recent greenskin kits — and arguably one of the coolest. And now we are already seeing yet another escalation of the concept in the shape of even bigger and more heavily armoured Ironjawz Boarboyz — or rather, “Goregruntaz” (*sigh*).

The overall concept of a more heavily armoured greenskin cavalry is pretty cool in and of itself, though, and so are the riders: In fact, they are possibly my favourite part of the kit for a somewhat strange reason: Call me crazy, but their armour seems strangely reminiscent of the vintage Horus Heresy Cataphractii design , complete with the topknot sadly missing from FW’s Cataphractii. The jagged spears are, once again, ever so slightly over the top, but it’s less obvious here than with some of the more outlandish brute weapons. What’s more, the kit also seems to be packed to the brim with excellent bitz and faces. I mean, just check out that guy with the eyepatch. That has to be one of the coolest greenskin faces around:

Ironjawz Release (35)

The kit’s bigges weakness, on the other hand, are the boars, unfortunately: GW already had the perfect boars with their plastic Boarboy models, but it seems like they needed to turn this design up to eleven for the Goregruntaz, and they weren’t entirely successful with that. Some parts of the boars are quite cool (the armour matching the riders, for instance), but then you get to those enormous, far too large heads with those teribbly clunky beards and OTT dagger teeth, and you just cannot unsee that part.

Granted, the problem is less prominent on some heads. The armoured one is looking quite okay:

Ironjawz Release (36)
But the one with the wide open maw is easily the worst offender: It just seems clunky and, once again, overly cartoony to me:

Ironjawz Release (33)

Which brings me back to one of my main points of cricticsm about quite a few AoS kits, really: In order to make them ever more extreme and ultra-awesome, some of the restrain that makes a truly outstanding model is lost. If anything, those models need to be somewhat less extreme and over the top! I would argue that the Goregruntaz would have profited from a slightly more restrained design — or maybe even from reusing the existing boars with some additional armour plates?

As it stands, the kit is hurt by the somewhat silly design of the mounts and doesn’t provide the more awesome version of the Boarboyz it was probably iintended as.

 

Orruk ‘Ardboyz

Ironjawz Release (38)

Right, these obviously aren’t new, they are merely the “old” Black Orcs with a new name. I’d still like to discuss them in this review for two reasons: One, it’s interesting to see how these originally formed the most heavily armoured, badass Orcs and are now relegated to the position of fairly standard footsoldiers — this nicely shows the kind of escalation we are dealing with, in a way. The other aspect that stands out to me is that, surprisingly enough, they still manage to hold up fairly well, all things considered! I think they would need some leftover trophies and extra skulls to bring them in line visually with the newer kits, but that shouldn’t really require that much work, so the kit still seems to work fairly well!

Ironjawz Release (39)

 

Conversion ideas:

Let’s get the obvious things out of the way first: One, even if you have little love for Age of Sigmar and stick to the older rules, many of these models should still work in your army from a visual standpoint, as they are still recognisably GW greenskins. So there’s nothing stopping you from using those Ironjawz models to build, say, a particularly vicious looking Black Orc army — in fact, I like that idea a lot, come to think of it…

The other overarching idea for these kits is that it has never been so easy to create a really awesome Feral Ork army for 40k: Seriously, many of the new kits should be really easy o 40k-i-fy with a chainblade here and an exhaust pipe there, and I can easily imagine a fantastic looking Feral Ork force based on these new kits!

Beyond these broad approaches, let me also share a couple of more specific – if rather rough – ideas:

Gordrakk on Maw-Krusha

I think that Maw-Krusha would also work as a huge Squig (or even a small Squiggoth, maybe?) Anyway, wouldn’t it be fun to use this monster as some kind of Feral Ork attack beast? Or an alternate trukk? Or just mount some crazy contraption on its back and use it as artillery or a war machine or what have you? The possibilities are really endless here! 🙂

Orruk Megaboss

Now this guy is possibly the most versatile and useful kmodel for converters. Possile uses for the model include…

  • using him as an Ork Warboss in mega armour: Seriously, he’s huge and intimidating, and tech-ing up that armour should be lots  of fun! Just add a mean-looking circular saw or a claw and a huge shoota and you’re golden!
  • while we’re at it, why not go the extra mile and turn him into a plastic Ghazghkull? In fact, just check out this incredible WIP conversion by JeffyP to see how well this works!
  • on a similar note, I imagine the model would also work well as a basis for a huge and hideous mutant warlord for all our LNTD players and/or INQ28 aficionados! Sure, you would need to get rid of some of the more obviously orky elements, but the armour definitely looks crude and nondescript enough to work for some kind of big mutant!
  • speaking of INQ28, why not use this model as a “true scale” Ork as a worthy opponent for all those true scale Marines floating around? Or as a suitable end-boss for your Ordo Xenos Inquisitors to fight against?

Orruk Weirdnob Shaman

This one’s obvious: the model provides an excellent plastic Weirdboy for 40k, with as much or as little conversion work as you like involved 😉

Orruk Warchanter

Maybe, just maybe, if one were to get rid of those stupid bones and some of those surplus horns, I think he could make for an intersting gladiatorial type — he does have a suitable “Are you not entertained?” pose, after all. Yeah, on second thought, maybe that would be the best possible use for this model: Use him to convert a particularly huge and ugly pitfighter for INQ28 or Necromunda (Bull Gorg anyone?).

Orruk Brutes

These would be great as Ork Nobz — or even Meganobz, for that matter. I think they more original looking armour could make them look cooler than the stock Meganobz, especially if you take the time to add some suitably brutal weapons and augmetics to them. Once again, by the same token, the model could also become mutant overlords, provided you swap in some less orky weapons and heads.

Orruk Goregruntaz
You know what? I just cannot get that Cataphractii resemblance I mentioned out of my head. Therefore, what I would really love to see is a kitbash using those Goregrunta riders to make a squad of Ork Cataphractii, complete with orkish versions of classic Cataphractii weapons and corrupted Astartes iconography. I think that woul be an amazing project — and arguably a fun way of bringing Orks into the 30k timeframe?! If anyone does this (or discovers somebody else doing this), please feel free to send me a link! 😉

 

All in all, I am fairly happy with the release: There are a few missteps here and there, but what we have here, at the end of the day, are greenskin models that are still recognisably GW greenskins. Now this may not seem like a huge achievement, but I beg to differ: I think there was actually a pretty big danger of these guys basically ending up as Warcraft models. There’s a clear tendency visible in the models created for Age of Sigmar so far to feature designs that are slightly more videogame-y in nature than GW’s classic fantasy models. I am not saying that GW’s sculptors are consciously aiming for WoW as a design template (which would be fairly ironic, giving the somewhat intertwined past of Warhammer and Warcraft), but there is a certain visual “escalation”, for lack of a better word. And maybe the greenskins were in danger more than some of the other factions because Warcraft provides this large cultural influence — or maybe I am just imagining it All, who knows?

What I am getting at, however, is this: The new Ironjawz models still clearly read as greenskin models in the Brian Nelson school of design. They are still their own thing. And I am beginning to see what GW may be going for with the look they are trying to establish for Age of Sigmar, a design eking out a niche for itself between the established visuals of vintage Warhammer on the one hand and the more cartoony visuals you might expect of a videogame like Warcraft. It’s a delicate balance to maintain, certainly, and they may not be getting it right all of the time, but I can repect it for what it is now, instead of just considering it a mere Warhammer-knock-off. Does that make any sense?

Anyway, whether or not you appreciate Age of Sigmar as a setting or a game: If, like me, you enjoy GW’s greenskin designs, then you should find something to like about this release. And you can always get rid of the parts you don’t like with a trusty hobby knife 😉

 

So what is your take on the Ironjawz? Do you love them or hate them? Or something in-between? And is there a cool conversion idea that I missed? Feel free to let me hear your opinion in the comments section?

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

ETL V: The doctor is in…

Posted in 40k, Chaos, paintjob, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 9, 2016 by krautscientist

With my first model for this year’s ETL successfully finished, I found myself quite motivated to continue! Next in line was a model that I had actually attempted to finish several times — enough times, to be honest, that I was almost prepared to consider the model itself jinxed 😉 The model in question is the converted Apothecary/Chaos Lord I built for Khorne’s Eternal Hunt almost two years ago:

World Eaters Apothecary (7)
It’s a fairly involved conversion, combining parts from no less than four models from the Dark Vengeance boxed set: The torso of a Ravenwing Biker sergeant and the legs of a CSM Chosen were spliced together to form the Apothecary’s body, with arms from a different Chosen and the censers from the backpack of the limited edition Interrogator Chaplain added for good measure. Anyway, all in all, I think it’s a pretty elegant conversion, if I do say so myself, and one that reads both as a World Eater and an Apothecary — plus it should really make for a rather convincing Counts As version of Fabius Bile as well 😉

In the interest of full disclosure, this isn’t even the first version of Apothecary Dumah I’ve built: He is one of my older characters, and a first model for Dumah was built all the way back in 2010/2011:

Berserker Surgeon (1)
As you can see, the original version really played the whole Grim Reaper-angle to the hilt, but when the time came to paint the model, the whole concept just seemed a bit too on the nose for my taste, so I rather built a new version put more focus on a detached, slightly sinister feeling, instead of merely going for the Skeletor look 😉

Anyway, back to actually getting the new model painted: This was actually made quite a bit more complicated by the fact that I would also have to come up with a slightly tweaked recipe for the red parts of the armour: So far, my World Eaters colour scheme has always been heavily based on GW’s old Blood Red colour, but with this particular shade now OOP (and no direct replacement readily available), I would need to find a new approach to painting red. After messing around with some of the new red colours, I found a recipe that gave me a fairly convincing shade of red (albeit one that looked slightly different from the red on my older models). Take  a look:

Apothecary Dumah PIP
Under the given circumstances, I am really rather happy with the result. The red still retains a certain vibrancy – in fact, it’s actually even brighter than the old version – while also seeming suitably gritty for a follower of Khorne. And I also made sure that the rest of the paintjob, particularly the bronze areas and detail work, matched the rest of my army to create a sense of visual coherency in spite of the slightly different red.

One “special effect” I really wanted to add to the model was to paint the various vials on his belt and inside the massive syringe adorning his Narthecium gauntlet as though there were liquid sloshing around inside of them — this has been a favourite effect of mine ever since JeffTibbetts’ included  a similar effect on his Imperial Knight’s chainsword arm.  Anyway, I was fortunate enough to come up with a fairly effective result, especially given the tiny size of those vials. Take a look:

Apothecary Dumah PIP (6)
Since I basically had to “reverse-engineer” Jeff’s original effect, I thought you might like to read a mini-tutorial for painting this kind of liquid-filled vials on your own models. So here goes:

 

Mini-tutorial: Painting glass vials containing liquids

Disclaimer: There’s probably a thousand ways to do this, and may approaches that are ultimately better than mine, but it’s a quick and simple recipe that has worked rather well for me so far. And like I said, thanks must go to JeffTibbetts, as it was only after seeing the aforementioned effect used on his “Queen Bee” that I began to wonder how to achieve something similar myself.

I’ll be using a turquoise colour scheme for this, both because it’s a recurring spot colour in my army and because it produces a result that resembles liquid-filled glass vials reasonably well. This should really work with any number of different colours, though. The three colours I use are Vallejo’s Halcon Millenario Turquoise, black and white (any brand will do for these last two, obviously). And now for the actual steps. I made a diagram for you:

liquid vials 02
Step 1: Mix your main colour (turquoise in this case) with a drop of black to take away some of the pop. Then paint the entire vial using this colour. Adding the black is optional, although in my case the stock turquoise was *very* bright and stunning, so I needed to take the edge off a bit 😉

Step 2: Add more black to the mix and paint the lower third or so of the vial in this darker colour. If you are doing this while the paint is still moist, you may even be able to pull off a bit of wet-blending here.

Step 3: Use your original main colour and paint the area immediately below the upper third of the vial with this. What you want here is a gradient moving from the original turquoise to the much darker mix at the bottom. Again, if you are fast enough, the efffect will look all the more convincing. But if the vial is very small,the effect will work even without any wet-blending involved, so feel free to take your time.

Step 4: Add a drop of white to the turquoise and paint a thin line at the top of the layer from step 4. This is our “waterline”, so to speak.

Step 5: Add even more white to the mix (until there’s only a hint of turquoise in there) and use it to paint thin vertical lines along the vial to suggest light reflecting off the glass. Don’t overdo it! One or two thin lines are enough. They also need to be really thin, lest they end up covering all the paintwork underneath.

That’s it — you can now add a generous layer of gloss varnish to make the vials look even more like glass.

One last piece of advice: The above recipe is intended for vials that are perfectly straight. If you know in advance that your vial will be held at an angle, make sure to align the waterline accordingly: Unless there’s a lot of speed (and/or centrifugal force) involved, the waterline should still be parallel to the ground, even when the vial itself is not! Like on these vials that appear on the arm of my Chaos Knight:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (23)
Anyway, adding smaller tweaks like this was really what helped me to transform this model into something special, although I am also reasonably happy with the tweaked red recipe I managed to come up with. So without further ado, here’s the finished Apothecary Dumah:

Apothecary Dumah, Chooser of the Slain (1)
Apothecary Dumah, Chooser of the Slain (2)
Apothecary Dumah, Chooser of the Slain (3)
Apothecary Dumah, Chooser of the Slain (4)
Apothecary Dumah, Chooser of the Slain (6)
Unfortunately, the lighting in the pictures eats up quite a few of the subtler red higlights, making the armour look flatter than it actually is — you’ll just have to give me the benefit of the doubt here 😉 Beyond such small technical issues, however, I really think he’s quite the character! And finally finishing him after such a long time (and after several attempts, no less) does feel pretty good!

I’ve had the character in the back of my head for quite a while, so it shouldn’t really surprise you that I’ve also come up with some background to match the model — or rather, the model was actually conceived to match the background in this case:

Apothecary Dumah, Chooser of the Slain (5)
Apothecary Dumah, Chooser of the Slain and Keeper of the Seed, Primus Medicae of the World Eaters’ 4th assault company

The presence of Lord Dumah could be one of the most important reasons for the ability of the 4th to still function as a fairly coherent fighting force, for it is due to his art that the company still has access to a way of replenishing its ranks instead of being left to slowly bleed out over the millennia: Apothecaries are a rare enough breed in the traitor legions, and especially so among the World Eaters, whose Apothecaries have succumbed to the bite of the nails for the most part, abandoning their former battlefield role in favour of bloodshed and insanity.

During the times of the Great Crusade, Dumah served directly under First Apothecary Fabrikus, and he was among those tasked with duplicating the archaic and little-understood neural implants Angron had been outfitted with on Nuceria. While working on the task of implanting an ever increasing part of the legion with those “Butcher’s Nails”, Dumah became aware of their debilitating nature and began in-depth research into the possibility of mitigating the negative effects of the implants.
Yet there was little tolerance for this kind of experimentation within the legion, as the Red Angel himself regarded any attempt at tampering with the function of the nails as a way of compromising their effectiveness and purity. So this line of research was quickly abandoned by all but a few Apothecaries, while the legion fell deeper and deeper into madness and bloodlust.

Ten millennia later, Dumah still serves as the 4th assault company’s Primus Medicae and has earned the epithet “Chooser of the Slain”, as his task is twofold: As a dark, Grim Reaper-like figure, he moves among the fallen and chooses which geneseed to harvest from fallen World Eaters and which to leave to rot, because it is too twisted and curdled by corruption to be safely used for implantation any longer. And he looks for those fallen enemies whose prowess in battle and martial honour have made them eligible for being inducted into the XII legion – either by being granted the kiss of the nails or, in very rare cases, a full conversion to an Astartes in the first place.

When off the battlefield, Dumah still continues his experiments with the aim of countering the nails’ degrading effects, and he feels that he is coming closer to a possible breakthrough with every generation of new implants and with every harvested progenoid. The only question is if there will still be enough of the company left to profit from his eventual success…

 

So here’s the comparison picture showing the different red recipes, like I promised:

World Eaters red recipe comparison

The Terminator Lord in the middle uses my original recipe, based on the now OOP Blood Red. The Lheorvine Ukris conversion on the right uses a somewhat more experimental version of the recipe I used for the Apothecary: It’s slightly closer to the original colour than the red on Dumah, admittedly, but it’s slightly more messy and less elegant as well, so I think I may ultimately be sticking to the new recipe, after all.

Anyway, here’s the finished recipe, for all those of you who may be looking for a similar outcome:

  • basecoat with Khorne Red
  • wash with Army Painter Strong Tone
  • add a layer of Mephiston Red
  • add some highlights with a 50:50 mix of Mephiston Red and Evil Sunz Scarlet
  • glaze with Bloodletter
  • selectively apply some Druchii Violet into the recesses
  • add some final highlights with almost pure Evil Sunz Scarlet

As for the ETL, my first two models re now officially finished. Yay!

Calvarax & Dumah
So that means two done, one to go, right? 😉

With another chief officer of the 4th assault company now finished, I also took some new photos of the various Huntmasters of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt, and sharing these with you seems like a great way to wind up this post!

So, first up, a picture taken against a black background, including all the individual characters’ names:

Masters of the Hunt 2016
And here’s another picture, taken against a brighter background, that arguably does a better job of capturing the colours as they look in real life:

Masters of the Hunt 2016 (2)

In a way, these picture really serves as a short visual history of my last five years in the hobby, as the first of these guys must have been built shortly after I got back into the hobby in late 2010/early 2011, while the most recent one (Dumah) was finally finished just now. Anyway, I am still very happy with this collection of blood-crazed murderers, as you can probably imagine! 😉

It goes without saying that I would love to hear any feedback you might have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

EDIT: As Archangel very helpfully pointed out in the comments, the fact that the pictures were no longer expandable by click was a problem, especially for the group shots. So I’ve gone back through the post, and now clicking on each picture should take you to a full size version of that image again — I am not even sure why WordPress changed this in the first place…

ETL V: Daemon Days

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 2, 2016 by krautscientist

So in spite of rather sad recent events, I did manage to get some hobby time in — but then I did have an incentive, too! Once again, The Bolter & Chainsword is running its annual “E Tenebrae Lux” event, and once again, I have decided to join in on the fun — once more on the side of chaos, of course. Unlike last year, however, I fully intend to complete my vow this time around, and I can already happily announce that I have managed to make some headway! But we’ll be getting there in an minute.

One reason for failing to complete the models I had pledged last year was because I was simply too ambitious, including my Chaos Knight in the deal and then failing miserably to deliver. Granted, Gilgamesh did see completion eventually, so it all ended well enough, but I wanted to take it a bit more slowly this time around. So I went through my collection of unpainted chaos models and chose an ensemble of miniatures that would present a realistic challenge — but equally important was to choose some models that I really, really wanted to finally see finished! So here’s what I came up with for my first vow:

EL 2016 1st vow (1)
From left ro right, a counts-as Skulltaker that was converted when the Skullreapers/Wrathmongers were released, a converted Kastelan Robot now pledged to Khorne’s Eternal Hunt, and finally: Lord Dumah, the 4th assault company’s Apothecary. This last model had already been a part of my failed 2015 vow, and I have already made several attempts at painting it — so many, in fact, that I was just about prepared to consider the model jinxed for a while there. So he would definitely have to be a part of this year’s vow, if only in order to finally break the spell 😉

Before I started in earnest, however, I needed something fun and easy to get me in the mood: It has been quite some time since I painted my last World Eaters, so something to ease me back into the flow of things.

Fortunately enough, an idle half-hour’s work provided just the thing: I came acorr the huge icon of Khorne that originally belonged to the Bloodsecrator model from the Age of Sigmar starter box. But while the piece was brilliantly designed, it was also freakishly huge and certainly too big to be lugged around by a mere footlslogger… but then I started thinking about turning it into an optional banner to be mounted on my Chaos Knight, Gilgamesh, and then things just started falling into place. And I ended up with this:

Gilgamesh with banner (5)
Gilgamesh with banner (1)
Gilgamesh with banner (4)
Gilgamesh with banner (2)

As you can see, the icon’s size is indeed pretty much ideal for a Chaos Knight! And I was lucky enough to find a leftover piece from an old model truck kit (I am really getting quite some mileage out of those old leftovers, come to think of it!) that neatly fit into the hole at the center of the Knight’s carapace. Painting the icon itself was a quick and fun affair, because I could really make the most of the brilliantly executed bone texture:
Gilgamesh with banner (3)
It was mostly a matter of basecoating, then washing with brown wash, and then appyling two quick sets of selective drybrushing. That first coat of paint was a bit of a slog though, as it was pretty hard to get the paint into all those nooks and crannies.

Anyway, I am pretty happy with the result, especially since this was mostly just a fun little gaiden project 😉 Possibly my favourite part is how the icon neatly slots neatly into that hole in the middle of the top carapace without any need for glue or magnets. So I can add the banner or take it off again at will — maybe it could even work as some kind of extra equipment?! Whatever, I imagine Baron Harrowthorne just has the Sacristans mount it in place whenever he is feeling especially Khornate… 😉

So with this small appetiser out of the way, I turned my attention to the first proper ETL model. I chose the Skulltaker conversion as the first model to work on:

Counts as Skulltaker WIP (1)
There was a reason for this, too: Ever since I first watched Duncan Rhodes’ very interesting two-part video series about painting the plastic Bloodthirster, I have wanted to try that recipe on a model of my own. And the Skulltaker conversion seemed like the perfect occasion to give it a try, both because I wanted the model’s skin to resemble that of Duncan’s Bloodthirster, and because I needed a model to serve as a “test run” to see if the recipe might work on my own Bloodthirster as well at some point in the indeterminate future.

So I faithfully reproduced almost the entire first video on my own model (albeit using far smaller brushes, for obvious reasons 😉 ), and after a short while, I had this:

Skulltaker PIP (1)
The skin was mostly painted with several passes of drybrushing using different shades of red, rounding things off with a coat of the Bloodletter glaze and the application of some final highlights on the most prominent parts. I really loved the result and felt like I was definitely on to something here!

For the second half of the paintjob, I decided to deviate from Duncan’s tutorial: With the model’s skin looking fairly different from the red appearing in my World Eaters army, I decided I wanted to use the armour and weapon to create a bit of visual consistency, so I painted those areas using the same recipes for brass and daemon weapons that you can also see on my World Eaters. So only a short while later, the model looked like this:

Skulltaker PIP (4)

I was actually really happy with the result, and all that was left at this point was to add some finishing touches and to provide the models with a suitable base, so that’s what I did. Now under normal circumstances, I  I am not a big fan of skull bases, but it did feel appropriate to use one, just this once 😉

So here’s my first completed model for this year’s ETL, base and all: Calvarax the Exalted, my counts as Skulltaker (actually my first daemon of Khorne, strangely enough…):

Calvarax the Exalted, counts as Skulltaker (1)
Calvarax the Exalted, counts as Skulltaker (4)
Calvarax the Exalted, counts as Skulltaker (6)
Calvarax the Exalted, counts as Skulltaker (7)
Calvarax the Exalted, counts as Skulltaker (8)
Calvarax the Exalted, counts as Skulltaker (9)
Calvarax the Exalted, counts as Skulltaker (10)
Calvarax the Exalted, counts as Skulltaker (11)
Calvarax the Exalted, counts as Skulltaker (12)
Calvarax the Exalted, counts as Skulltaker (13)

And here’s a closer look at the (admittedly somewhat tacky) skull base:

Calvarax the Exalted, counts as Skulltaker (14)
Like I said, one thing that was important to me was that, although there would be a clear (and intentional) difference between the colours used on the daemon and the colours used on my World Eaters, the model would also feature enough visual touches to read as an ally to Khorne’s Eternal Hunt. And I think the sword and bronze part of the armour do a pretty good job with achieving that. Take a look:

Lorimar & Calvarax

I am really very happy with the model, to be honest! It may not look like it, but I really moved beyond my comfort zone with this piece, especially when it comes to the recipe for the skin! By the same token, I can only recommend you check out Duncan Rhodes’ video tutorials linked above, as it really provides a teriffic and very well-explained approach to painting Khornate daemons!

And with that, my first model for ETL V has been completed. Next up, that blasted Apothecary that I couldn’t seem to finish yet 😉

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

Calvarax the Exalted, counts as Skulltaker (3)