Studies in Mk. III — my first experiments with the models from “The Burning of Prospero”

Before we begin, let me give you fair warning — there are lots of unpainted plastic ahead!
But with the contents of The Burning of Prospero box now at my disposal, I liked the idea of sharing my initial experiments on the new kits with you — and it somehow turned into a sprawling kitbashing post somewhere along the way. What’s more, it occurs to me that I haven’t actually shown you some of my recent 30k World Eaters conversions yet, so let’s start with those (don’t worry, we’ll be getting to the new Mk. III models before long ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

First up is a conversion I am actually really happy with, and it began as another attempt of building a Heresy era version of one of my 40k Chaos Lords. This time, it was Huntmaster Bardolf’s turn:

Huntmaster Bardolf new
He was one of the first more involved conversions I did after getting back into the hobby a couple of years back, and while the conversion does show its age a bit, I am still enormously fond of this guy, mostly because he was my go-to Chaos Lord in all those smallish 500 and 750 points games when I re-learned 40k. As a consequence, his various victories and losses really turned him into a character rather than a mere playing piece, and helped me to figure out what I wanted Khorne’s Eternal Hunt to feel like. So I thought it would be fun to build a younger, uncorrupted version of Bardolf, from his time as a fresh-faced veteran sergeant during the Heresy.

The idea here was to take several elements from the 40k model (the pose, the weapons, and a couple of bitz) and incorporate them into the 30k version as well, while still making him seem like a more restrained 30k character (and also a sergeant and not yet a powerful commander type). So here’s what I came up with:

Sergeant Bardolf WIP (1)

Sergeant Bardolf WIP (2)
And since even the World Eaters still occasionally used slightly more conservative Astartes warfare tactics back then, I also made sure to add a standard bolter in addition to the axes

Sergeant Bardolf WIP (3)
There’s also a peculiar pleasure in adding enough gear to the individual Astartes to make them look believable — something that doesn’t seem to be as much of a concern in 40k (at least not for Khorne Berzerkers), but lends itself really well to the more regimented feel of the Heresy era legions.

Anyway, I am pretty happy with the finished model, and here’s a comparison shot showing Bardolf now and then:

Bardolf then and now WIP

I think this pair really gives a rather nice idea of what ten millennia of service to the Ruinous Powers will do to you ๐Ÿ˜‰ At the same time, it’s recongnisably the same guy, wouldn’t you agree?

While I really like the conversion, however, it also left me with the upper half of the BaC Kurtha Sedd model — and to be honest, the stock model didn’t do much for me. I did want to build a chaplain for my 30k World Eaters, however, mostly because I rememberedย  Poom’s amazing chaplain model and wanted to steal some cues from it.ย  My first attempt involved using the Kurtha Sedd torso swapping in a pair of plastic Mk. IV legs and using the same helmet (from the limited edition Interrogator Chaplain from Dark Vengeance) and Rampager weapon (as an alternate crozius) as Poom. So here’s my first take on the chaplain:

30k World Eaters Chaplain WIP (3)
I also tried to add a few touches of my own here and there. For instance, I really liked Fabricator General’s take on the World Eaters’ chaplains serving as “Chain Dogs”, the grim overseers of the fighting pits, and I tried to make my chaplain reflect that concept.

So I was already really happy with my Chaplain conversion, but I still had to make two small tweaks: Something about his very clean left wrist and forearm kept bothering me, so I ever-so-carefully cut off the hand, shaved off a slice of the forearm and spliced in one of the shackles from the AoS Bloodreavers that I have been using as decoration on many of my 30k World Eaters.

I also exchanged the legs for a pair of legs from the new plastic Mk. III Marines, and while I liked the previous setup well enough, I’d argue the new legs give him even more of a grim presence.

Meet Chaplain Karrim Krieger, Chain Dog of the 4th assault company, overseeing the fighting pits and ensuring the bonds of brotherhood between the brethren of the legion remain strong:

So this is where we finally get to the actual Mk. III related shenanigans: I had already used one pair of legs so far, but I wanted to build my first proper Mk. III Marine. Iron armour has always been one of my favourite armour marks, if not the favourite, both for its bulk and medieval look and for how decidedly different it looks from standard 40k power armour.

So I started messing around with the new bitz and thought they might be appropiate for building a guy wielding a big gun:

At this point, the model was still almost completely stock Mk. III. My one tweak was to add an Ork shoota’s barrel to the heavy bolter, making the weapon look far more brutal and massive.

The next step was to try and give the Marine that certain World Eater-ly je ne sais quoi. Now the temptation is rather big with these models to just go completely chaotic on them, adding spikes and trophies to every surface, but I am trying to deliberately keep them away from full-on 40k baroqueness, in order to show that the worship of chaos is only just beginning to creep in here and there, but the 30k World Eaters are still pretty different from their 40k incarnation at this point. With that in mind, I just made some small tweaks to the model:

I think the Anvilus backpack has a nice way of making the model look even more archaic, plus it also provides an element of improvisation to the armour, which I think is a great fit for World Eaters: Given their style of warfare, I think the legion should really be full of mix’n’match armour that has been patched together from everything that could be scavenged off the battlefield.

The next model I built further explored this angle, mainly staying with Mk. III parts, but swapping in a CSM torso piece:

The one serious shortcoming of the new models is that, once again, we have to make do without dedicated CC weapon arms (the few that come with the squad’s sergeant notwithstanding), so I texperimented with getting around that limitation. My impression is that the Mk. III Marines are both harder and easier to turn into models armed with CC weapons than their Mk. IV brethren. Harder because it’s not as easy to just swap in alternate plastic arms — due to the bulk of the armour, you’ll lose the iconic Mk. III look. On the other hand, the segmented armour plates make it quite a bit easier to carefully cut the arms apart and repose them (like I did with a pair of bolter arms on the guy above).

And finally, I went a little more adventurous and built this guy:

As you can see, he is wearing far more hybridised armour than his predecessors, which once again ties back to the kind of mongrel armour I’d imagine most of the World Eaters to be wearing partway through the heresy. Now I realise that many World Eaters players feel that those old berzerker arms are the bane of our existence, but the clunky look just really suits the whole Heresy-era World Eaters look and feel for me. It’s not an effect I’ll be using on every other model, but I do think this guy really reads as a World Eater.

All in all, I am pretty happy with my Mk. III experiments so far, yet I also think that there is still much fun to be had with the new parts!

As a nice added bonus, these new models round out what will be my first tactical veteran squad, squad Bardolf. Here’s a look at the squad so far:

So that means one model left to go for the squad, and the vexillarius, no less — I am still debating with myself over whether to go with the fairly low key, backpack-mounted vexilla that comes with the kit or go for a slightly more involved banner. The latter seems like a better fit for the World Eaters, but I am also planning a dedicated company standard bearer for the future, and I don’t want the squad vexillarii to overshadow that guy. Then again, I grew up with 2nd edition 40k where the guy with the banner mounted on his backpack was always the sergeant. Argh, choices… ๐Ÿ˜‰



And as a lucky coincidence, I also managed to finish yet another model that had been in construction for quite a while: The leftover Mk. III backpack from the heavy weapons guy was used on this World Eaters Praetor:

The model is based on an Ivanus Enkomi body Augustus b’Raass sent me a while ago. I realise I must have shown the model to you before, but now I am finally happy with the setup: The new backpack provides precisely the dash of Heresy-era tech the model was still missing.

This guy will be one of Lorimar’s Secutorii, a cadre of officers serving as a link between the Captain and the individual squad leaders:


To make a long story short, I imagine those 30k World Eaters will be one of my big hobby projects in 2017. However, I still refuse to refer to the project as an actual army — yet…

And finally, before I wind up this post, something that doesn’t have anything to do with my World Eaters but very much factors into my experiments with the new Prospero plastics: Some of you may remember that I kitbashed a whole squad of those girls, back when there were no models available. And I wanted to experiment a bit with the new, “official” models vis-ร -vis my own attempts from a couple of years ago. Here’s an initial comparison picture:

The model on the left is the squadleader from my kitbashed Sisters of Silence. I am still pretty happy with the model, to be honest, even in the face of the new kit. On the right is one of the new, official models — and I think they share enough visual cues to keep the older model viable.

Even so, I wanted to experiment with this a bit more, so in an attempt to blur the edges between the two approaches, I used some leftover bits from the new Sisters (a head and a shoulder pad, to be precise) on another one of my kitbashed models to create something like a “missing link”:

I rather like the result and think this avenue of kitbashing definitely warrants some further experimentation — here’s a comparison picture showing all three models so far:

So yeah, the TL;DR version of this would be: It’s quite a lot of fun to mess around with those kits from The Burning of Prospero right now, even if I am taking it slow for now. Feel free to let me hear any feedback you might have!

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

14 Responses to “Studies in Mk. III — my first experiments with the models from “The Burning of Prospero””

  1. As always, your conversions and kitbashing are simply top-notch! Really dig how much personality you get out of each of the builds – keep up the fantastic work!

  2. More minis, more skulls for the blood god. It’s always a pleasure to see what you’re doing with vanilla minis. I guess we’ll soon see some perverted custodes with “guardian chainspears” in white armour splashed with blood (Oh yes please Krauty ! I need custodes for my army so, until know, I haven’t any to convert, so do it buddy !). Both Bardolf, Chaplain and Praetor are some awesome models and your sisters are exactly what I expected : the true incarnation of John’s early concept arts… As always, excellent work my friend. But be aware, the Emperor is looking at you….

  3. A lot of great stuff going on here! I like the World Eaters stuff the most, so that’s what I’ll talk about (by the time I finish and get to the other stuff I’ll be too hungry to continue typing).

    Bardolf is easily my favorite 40k-to-30k adaptation I’ve seen yet. You have done such a great job incorporating like elements between the two versions, that the narrative really writes itself as you look at him. More so than any before-and-after pic I’ve seen in this genre, the story of how he got from one look to the other makes sense. It’s also really cool to note how his 30k incarnation is very soldierly and stoic, where his 40k version has the bearings of an arrogant warrior-king. At some point, this guy got it into his head that he was hot shit.

    The Chain Dog Chaplain is something really special! Not only is your model lovely, but seeing Greyall’s art again has warmed something in me that I thought was going to be dormant for quite a bit longer. So, if I start blowing up your inbox in the next few weeks or so about a particular project, don’t roll your eyes and play innocent with ME. If I have any criticism of the model, I would say that his Crozius could be a bit more OTT. Sure, the Greyall art is perhaps a bit too far in that direction, but what I am seeing now reads a bit more like “royal scepter” than “mace”. Perhaps adding some more spikes to it, or having some chains dangling from it, converting it into a flail of sorts? That would be a cool way to echo his chain theme. I totally get why you chose that particular bit for the mace head, I just think it needs a bit more to be suitably brutal.

    Your heavy weapons guy looks great! Perfectly simple swap with the weapons barrel. If I were to add anything, maybe he could use a bit of extra armor plates on his left arm, since I imagine he would take quite a bit of incoming fire on that side while blazing away with that cannon of his?

    Your veteran squad is shaping up nicely. I love how each model has his own character and role. Unfortunately, you don’t see a lot of that in 30k projects. People tend to embrace the bigger, more mass-produced nature of the Great Crusade and have squads of carbon copies rather than individuals with their own unique personality disorders. Any plans on building some sort of veteran/rank visual cues into your paint scheme? Red dags, hand prints, or any other kind of markings? I think the hand prints could be a very cool element to introduce…


    • Cheers, Dexter! I think the mid-heresy setting allows for the introduction of slightly more character to 30k armies, and I really think it’s for the best: I can see the appeal of the clean, regimented look, but it’s just not for me — and neither, I would argue, for the brothers of the XII legion ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Will e-mail you ASAP, although I am up to my eyes in gakky things to do right now. Please hold the line for a little longer…

  4. That Chain Dog Chaplain…Wow! Yourself, PDH & Jeff Vader are masters of the subtle conversion. Whilst others produce stunningly involved conversions, with tons of green stuff work (The Ex Profundis guys spring to mind), you seem to have the genius of being able to choose the perfect parts needed to bring even the lowliest rank and file to life. Can’t wait to see that Veteran squad painted, it’s going to be epic!

    • Thanks a lot, man! Being mentioned in the same sentence as Peter and Johan is high praise indeed, as those two guys are probably just about my biggest inspirations, from a purely stylistic perspective!

  5. I’m pretty sure shields are wielded the other way around. Other than that I love all of this!

    • Cheers, Tony! The easy excuse would be that GW designed that shield arm that way, so the blame lies with them. I have to admit I rather like the look, however, and have this image in my head of using the sharpened bottom rim of the shield like an additional blade — probably a dirty gladiator trick he picked up in the pits ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. […] the first draft version of the model still had a standard Mk. 3 helmet, but then I saw Nemac Vradon’s fantastic […]

  7. […] Before that, let my just point out that there wasn’t just a previous 40k version of the character to take into account when building this new version — because I also built a 30k version of Bardolf a while ago: […]

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