ETL V: Thirsting for paint

With another – fairly big – model recently finished, my motivation to actually get stuff painted still showed no signs of dying down: a feeling that was both unfamiliar and rather exhilarating, to be honest.

And so I decided to finally go all-out and vow the big guy as my third (and possibly final) ETL vow. Which big guy, you ask? This big guy:

ETL V Bloodthirster WIP
The model was assembled quite a while ago, and in all fairness, both the Skulltaker conversion and the bestial Daemon Prince were test runs for this piece, above all else. Everything built up to this, so I felt it was finally time to get some paint on this bad boy.

What’s more, owning and painting a Bloodthirster seems like a special thing for me, because when I received my very first issues of White Dwarf a long time ago, along with the 5th edition starter box of Warhammer Fantasy Battles, one of the issues had a feature on the – then brand new – metal Bloodthirster:

Classic Bloodthirster
And I instantly fell in love. This model felt like a revelation, like the ultimate goal to be attained in this hobby. I just couldn’t get over how cool it was. It also seemed completely out of my league…

And yet I did pick up one of those metal Bloodthirsters, after all, as part of a job lot I purchased from ebay a couple of years ago. I even started to clean and assemble it, but there was no longer any fire in it, somehow. Some parts of the model have arguably aged rather poorly, and I just couldn’t seem to get back the warm and fuzzy feelings from seeing that first Bloodthirster.

Until the new Bloodthirster was released, and I was in love: While the alternate builds did have some visual shortcomings, the Bloodthirster of Unfettered Fury seemed like the perfect update for the old model, and it finally gave me the opportunity to make this old hobby dream of mine a reality!

So I hit the ground running and make some excellent progress with the skin in a very short amount of time:

ETL V Bloodthirster PIP (3)
ETL V Bloodthirster PIP (1)
I realise I must probably sound like a broken record at this point, but Duncan Rhodes’ painting tutorial saved the day once again: It had already worked really well on the two previous models, but it waseven more fantastic when used on the model it was actually intended for! What I ended up with was a brilliant amount of depth and variation to the skin — and mostly by drybrushing on different hues of red, no less!

At this point I felt the need to reward myself for painting the entire skin in a single day, so I indulged myself and finished the face:

ETL V Bloodthirster PIP (2)
With the skin finished, the next task was to carefully block out all the leather straps, piercings and various ornaments covering the Bloodthirster’s body. But I was happy enough with the way the skin had turned out that my motivation carried me all through this slightly tedious task:

ETL V Bloodthirster PIP (5)
ETL V Bloodthirster PIP (4)
ETL V Bloodthirster PIP (6)
I also finished the wings, and even though I decided on a fairly minimalist approach, they still turned out to be a lot of work: The entire membrane area had to be painted black once again, before I could drybrush the wings with a lighter grey, and getting the black paint into all of those nooks and crannies was quite an exercise in frustration 😉

Up until this point, I had followed Duncan Rhodes’ tutorial to the letter, but I decided to go for a slightly different approach when painting the metals and armour plates, mostly because I wanted them to look similar to both the bronze areas on the rest of my Khornate army and the armour plates on my recently finished Skulltaker conversion:

Calvarax the Exalted, counts as Skulltaker (3)
So I went with black armour plates and bronze trim on my Bloodthirster as well. However, something unexpected happened at this point: I had originally planned to add the full set of available armour plates to the Bloodthirster: the breastplate, two vambraces, two armour plates on the upper thighs and one skull-shaped shoulder pad. However, while test-fitting the armour, I realised that it ended up covering much of the red skin, and especially some of the areas that I was particularly happy with!

So in the end I decided to lose some of the armour plates — which is probably a first for me, but there you have it 😉

ETL V Bloodthirster PIP (16)
This left only the whip to be painted, and unfortunately, this turned out to be a drag quite on par with painting the wings: all those damned little spikes… Anyway, there was obviously no stopping me at this point, so I soldiered on and ended up with this:

ETL V Bloodthirster PIP (22)
ETL V Bloodthirster PIP (24)
Not bad, not bad at all! Now you may have noticed that the whip is missing that flaming eight-pointed star — I carefully cut that off and shaved the remaining whip down into a point, as the ornament just seemed a bit much to me, and I preferred the “classic” look of the whip tapering down into a point.

So the last thing on my list was to come up with a suitable base, and it was clear that a model of this stature deserved something a bit more involved. The base also needed to accomplish several things at the same time: I wanted to create a bit of an elevation for the Bloodthirster to jump off from, and I really wanted to feature some big symbol of the Imperiums’s shattered might. So let’s just take a look at the finished model, shall we?

I give you…

Ghor’Lash’Kharganath, the Gorelord, the Ever-Wrathful, Chosen Hunter of Khorne

Bloodthirster Ghor'Lash'Kharganath (1)
Bloodthirster Ghor'Lash'Kharganath (2)
Bloodthirster Ghor'Lash'Kharganath (3)
Bloodthirster Ghor'Lash'Kharganath (5)
Bloodthirster Ghor'Lash'Kharganath (6)
Bloodthirster Ghor'Lash'Kharganath (7)
Quite a beast, indeed! I am especially happy with how he resembles Mark Gibbons’ incredibly iconic piece of Bloodthirster art:

Artwork by Mark Gibbons

Artwork by Mark Gibbons

Let’s take a closer look at the base I’ve built for the model:

Bloodthirster Ghor'Lash'Kharganath (8)
The elevation at one end of the base was created by glueing three bases on top of each other, with the bases getting smaller towards the top, creating a layered incline. This was then covered up with GS, and I added cork, sand and ballast on top. Since the Bloodthirster attaches to the base at one very tiny point, it was important to make that connection rock solid, and the surface of a plastic base was sure to bond well with the Bloodthirster’s hoof.

Regarding the symbol of the failing Imperium of Man I wanted, I think the shattered shield really fits the bill, wouldn’t you agree? 😉

Bloodthirster Ghor'Lash'Kharganath (12)
In a bit of an in-joke, the bease also features another helmet from the Golden Legion, my DIY Astartes Chapter created for INQ28:

Bloodthirster Ghor'Lash'Kharganath (9)
And finally, I really liked the idea of the earth itself reacting to the daemon’s malign presence where his ironshod hooves touched the ground — hence the bloody bone spikes jutting from the rock. And in the middle of it all, the Bloodthirster is ascending from a pit of boiling blood on a pillar of fire:

Bloodthirster Ghor'Lash'Kharganath (10)
Bloodthirster Ghor'Lash'Kharganath (11)
The flames were painted with the help of Garfy’s excellent tutorial here. It’s an effect that is surprisingly easy and incredibly satisfying to pull off!

And here’s a closeup of the axe blade, another area that I am really happy with:

Bloodthirster Ghor'Lash'Kharganath (13)
Lots of Army Painter Dark Tone and Vallejo Smokey Ink were used to darken down the blade and make it look suitably sinister and tarnished, and I am really happy with the finished effect!

And with that, my first Bloodthirster was finished. I am not going to mince words here: I am incredibly happy with the model! From a purely technical standpoint, this is very probably my finest paintjob to date. And when I look back at my hobby life and remember salivating over that classic metal Bloodthirster all those years back, it also feels like things have really come full circle, in a way: Owning and painting a Bloodthirster felt like a true pinnacle of the hobby back then. And here I am now, with the, arguably much superior, successor model finally painted to the best of my ability. Go me! 😉

Plus this also means a third finished ETL vow. Very nice!

So yeah, that’s it for my brand new Bloodthirster! I would love to hear your feedback, of course, so drop me a comment or two! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Bloodthirster Ghor'Lash'Kharganath (4)

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28 Responses to “ETL V: Thirsting for paint”

  1. Looks ace. Glad you put the effort into the base. How you thought about painting up the other army pieces and seeing how they would look?

    • Cheers, mate! 🙂

      The problem with the additional armour, especially with the shoulder pad, was that it covered up so much of the skin. I really didn’t like that effect, and I am reasonably sure that painting them and putting them on would end up giving me the same feeling. Well, that and the fact that I might have another model coming up that will make use of most of the armour plates, so it’s also a way of creating a certain visual variety.

  2. Inquisitor Mikhailovich Says:

    Absolutely stunning. *Repeats mantras of abstinence from Chaos models.*

    My one thought is that the lack of upper upper body armour makes the model look ever so slightly bottom heavy, which I think adding the single shoulder pad you mentioned would probably remedy. However, that’s a matter of personal taste, so I wouldn’t fret too much if you disagree.

    • Inquisitor Mikhailovich Says:

      Update: The word I was looking for was not “bottom heavy” but rather “corseted.”

    • Thanks, mate! See my reply to Thousand Eyes RE: the armour plates. As for abstaining from painting chaos models: A Bloodthirster may be a bit much indeed, but I can safely say from my own recent experience that painting a single herald using the same recipe is just as satisfying — and much less costly 😉

      • Inquisitor Mikhailovich Says:

        I would more likely than not end up with Iron Warriors were the Inquisition not so strict. I’m not so much one for the Daemons, to be honest.

  3. Oh wow, you nailed that beautifully mate – what a model! Be proud dude, be very proud.

  4. Fantastic work mate. I think I saw that WD issue too and can relate to feeling it was so unattainable at the time. I’ve seen the model Pop up here and there from time to time and have always liked it. One day it will be mine. Again, great work. You clearly work very well with reds.

  5. Andrew Anderson Says:

    As I said before. Those reds are great. I am glad you decided to leave some armor off in order to show it off. Fantastic work!

  6. Looks excellent. Very good skintones and the base is nicely staged. I also like the leathery black you achieved on the wings.

  7. Gosh!

    This is incredible work. Congratulations on completing such a long term dream model and in such fantastic splendour. It really does look amazing!

  8. I keep looking at the paintjob on that axe and it’s just gorgeous. How did you do all the little scratches where you can see the shiny metal coming through the grime?

    • Quite simple, really: After covering the blad ein lots of wash (as described in the post), I went back with Mithril Silver and a detail brush and carefully edge higlighted the blade and painted on those scratches. All you need is a steady hand 😉

  9. greggles Says:

    The shattered shield on the base is just brilliant. Love it! Paintjob (as usual) is superb and top notch. Love the pose and the work on the face most of all!

  10. Been away for a bit so just saw this… fantastic work, particulary the skin and the axe blade.

    What comes next? hard to top a bloodthirster…

  11. […] A blog about KrautScientist's wargaming exploits « ETL V: Thirsting for paint […]

  12. […] already talked at lenght about my love for the – then brand new – metal Bloodthirster here, but there were also the Bloodletters of course. And so when I needed a model to test yet another […]

  13. […] started over a year ago, when I received a second plastic Bloodthirster as a gift. Back then, my first Bloodthirster (bought immediately upon the new kit’s release) had already been assembled, and I […]

  14. […] as a test-run for the Bestial Daemon Prince, who, in turn, served as a bit of a test-run for the Bloodthirster. And once I knew I could paint a Bloodthirster to a high enough standard, I felt that painting […]

  15. […] the biggest challenge was that I had already basically given it my all with the base for my Bloodthirster model, pulling out all the stops and ending up with something pretty […]

  16. […] And finally, despite having been a faithful follower of chaos for almost almost two decades at this point, this year saw me complete my very first daemon models — in a series of escalating steps that would lead to completing one of the new plastic Bloodthirsters… […]

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