The State of the Hunt, Week 14/2017: Kill! Maim! Convert!
An entire week has gone by in a blur, thanks to the two conferences I visisted last week, and so I find myself without any significant new hobby content to share with you — bugger! 😉
That’s really not so bad, however, as it provides me with the perfect excuse to highlight a conversion I’ve created fairly recently and talk about it in more detail. Some of you may remember this guy who made an appearance in one of my previous posts:
I asked you whether anyone had a suggestion who this was supposed to be — and, indeed, there was no fooling you guys: The model was my early mockup of Khârn, the World Eaters’ Eight Captain and everybody’s favourite raving lunatic, during his younger years — but why not just use the official 30k Forgeworld model and be done with it?
Well, because converting is more fun, of course. But that’s not the only reason: I have written rather extensively about my thoughts of the various interpretations of Kharn, both in artwork and in model form (here and here, if you want to go read up on it).
The short version would be that, in spite of some seriously cool little touches, like the more gladiatorial armour, I do have my gripes with the Forgeworld rendition of Khârn:
I think the pose looks less like running and more like falling forward. Switching the axe and pistol arms around compared to the 40k model seems like a slightly strange decision (sure, Astartes are probably ambidextrous, but it still flies in the face of visual continuity, especially now that the new plastic 40k version has the same setuo as the classic metal model). Probably the part I was the least happy with, however, was Khârn’s face:
Getting a look of the various Horus Heresy characters’ faces through Forgeworld’s models is a pretty cool feature, if you ask me, but I do think they messed up in this case: Khârn’s face is expressly stated to be strangely unscarred in several parts of the lore, so the twisted, mangled face on the model, while expertly sculpted, doesn’t really read as Khârn to me. Moreover, the interesting thing about Khârn, at least in the novels, is how he is a complete and utter monster when gripped by the influence of the Butcher’s Nails, but retains a lot of nobility and clarity when off the battlefield, and the grimace shown above really doesn’t transport that duality for me.
So there was really not other way: I needed to come up with my own version of the Eight Captain. And while Khârn isn’t a regular member of the World Eaters 4th assault company, my personal army, I liked the idea of having him available as a “special guest star”, so to speak — and in any case, this seemed like a cool little hobby project.
So my mission statement at the outset was as follows:
- Create a model that looks like a suitably impressive rendition of the Eight Captain and is also true to my personal thoughts on what Khârn should look like.
- Incorporate several shout outs to the different, “official” versions of the character, because continuity is fun! 😉
And that’s what I tried when creating the early mockup you saw above. But while the basic premise seemed sound, I realised that the model definitely needed more work. So here’s what Khârn looks like right now, after cleaning up the conversion and making quite a few tweaks. I think he is just about finished right now, and ready for paint:
- the AoS Blood Warrior breastplate was chosen in order to convey a bigger sense of bulk and to add a bit of gladiatorial flair to the armour, similar to the look of the Forgeworld model
- As you can see, I actually switched his weapons around, which arguably brings him much closer to both the classic and new 40k incarnations of the character.
- This also gave me the opportunity to swap in a wonderfully clunky CSM plasma pistol — I realise that 30k plasma pistols have this “Martian Deathray” look, but I prefer a weapon that looks like it could actually be used to clobber an opponent over the head — plus it’s, once again, closer to classic 40k Khârn’s pistol.
- the face was a bit of a lucky discovery: It’s from the new plastic vanguard kit, and while it’s still angry enough, it’s also unscarred and less deformed than that of the Forgeworld version. Plus I think the mohawk really suits Khârn 😉
- The press-molded detail on his backpack was actually added to evoke the legion symbol and is a direct shout out to a similar element that appears on the Forgeworld version. The specific mark of backpack was chosen for the same reason (it’s actually a vintage 2nd edition backpack, though, so you basically cannot go any more archaic than that 😉 ).
- The skull-face belt buckle (from an AoS Exalted Deathbringer) was originally chosen because it resembled the belt buckle on the classic 40k Khârn, but I ended up keeping the actual loincloth as well, because it nicely complemented the somewhat static pose: I liked the idea of capturing the Eight Captain during one of his – increasingly rare – lucid moments. There’s also the fact that his pose is ever so slightly reminiscent of the classic 40k model, and I really like that touch.
In fact, when it comes to the pose and overall look of the model, fellow hobbyist k0hnahrik put it far more succinctly than I could have:
As for the tabard, I actually think it fits perfect. I think it adds to the ‘angry yet in control’ look. As if he’s a worshipper of khorne but hasn’t completely lost his mind yet, like he can still assess a battlefield strategically and still wear cosmetic items(the tabard) that set him apart from the rest of the infantry – he’s still above them, he’s not another screaming angry face in the crowd yet. Not to mention – the motion on the tabard adds perfectly to the motion of the model – he’s just finished off an enemy, now he’s swirling around and quickly assessing the battlefield for a moment, identifying his next target, thinking like a commander – then he’s off and charging again.
All in all, I have taken some liberties with the model, of course: The breastplate lacks the “air intake” that is a recurring element of all three “official” Khârn models. When all was said and one, I didn’t want to mess up the smooth lines of the breastplate, though. There’s also the fact that my version’s armour has been cobbled together from several marks, whereas the Forgeworld Khârn is clearly armoured in a customised Mk. IV suit. I really wanted to push the idea of a suit of “mongrel plate”, though, as I think the World Eaters are probably scavenging whatever they can and repairing and creating their armour with all the parts they can get their hands one, given their massive casualities due to their specific way of waging war.
And when all is said and done, the main objective here was to come up with a model that reads as Khârn to me, and that mission, at least, has been accomplished 😉
So how does my version of Khârn check out next to some other models? Here’s a comparison picture showing my 30k Khârn next to a standard 30k World Eater and to the – rather massive – new plastic 40k version of the character:
As you can see, he’s about as tall as a standard Marine (the guy on the left appears taller because there’s quite a bit of basing material underneath his feet), yet at the same time, the combination of the Mk. III legs and the beefed out torso give him a slightly more massive look, which I think really fits the character and serves as a hint at the even more massive, imposing figure Khârn will have grown into, probably thanks to the war god’s influence, by the 41st millennium.
As a fun detail, the press-molded symbol on his backpack actually prompted me to add the same detail to 40k Khârn, both as a piece of continuity, but also because that empty armour plate on the back of the backpack really bothered me, and this seemed like the perfect solution:
I already said that I really wanted my own 30k Khârn to be like a bit of a missing link between the other versions, and I think this part of the project has been a success: If you look closely, you’ll see several elements on the model that point to the different incarnations of the character, both in 40k and in 30k:
Come to think of it, this seems like the perfect opportunity to give that particular model a bit of extra airtime, because I am still pretty pleased with it, and I think it managed to hold up, even when compared to the new “official” 40k Khârn:
A closer look at the model can be found here, in case you are interested.
So, all in all, I am pretty happy with how this project has been going so far, and I am looking forward to slapping some paint on Khârn — but what about you? Do you think this is a successful interpretation of the character? And do you have any last minute suggestions? I would love to hear any thoughts you might have!
And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!