Archive for January, 2019

Review: Dave Taylor’s “Armies & Legions & Hordes”

Posted in Conversions, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2019 by krautscientist

Those of you who have read my hobby recap for 2018 might remember the fact that I backed two hobby related Kickstarter projects last year, one of them Dave Taylor’s book “Armies & Legions & Hordes”. If you have been in this hobby for a bit, chances are you’ll be familiar with some of Dave ’s work. The former GW employee has been responsible for a stunning number of rather spectacular army projects over the years – off the top of my head, his completely kitbashed Legio Custodes army, back from the days when absolutely no Custodes models were available, are probably the project that has stayed with me for the longest time. But anyway, and you may consider this a disclaimer of sorts for the review that is to follow: I have been a fan of Dave’s work for years, so his name alone was enough to entice me to follow his Kickstarter campaign that would result in a book about the building and painting of wargaming armies, warbands or collections. The fact that I am also one of the backers of the book also means that I paid for my own review copy, so there’s that, too.

I was really happy when the book arrived about a fortnight ago, and I dug right in. Having spent quite some time with the book and having gone carefully through its contents for several times, I thought I would share my thoughts and observations:

Before we begin, let me mention that I bought the physical book, because having a showcase of Dave’s best work in print was basically the main draw here. A digital edition of “Armies & Legions & Hordes” is also available both in PDF and epub formats, as far as I am aware, but I won’t be able to talk about those.

The Kickstarter edition comes with a rather lovely (and very solid) cardboard protection sleeve

“Armies & Legions & Hordes” is a book about the collection and completion of tabletop wargaming armies and similar projects, and as such it serves as a fairly comprehensive collection of advice on every aspect that goes into the realisation of such projects, from the first spark of inspiration to the actual process of planning, building and painting the army and its models. Dave’s articles on those various steps of a project take us through each of the stages in turn, which makes for helpful and concise reading.

Granted, you will have seen some of this advice before, but it’s great how concisely and comprehensively Dave has collected it in one place here. One thing that I found especially noteworthy  – mostly because it never seems to appear in the articles on army building and painting I have read so far – are real-life factors everybody is familiar with, such as keeping an eye on the actual financial aspects of realising a new army project, taking the weather into account or making sure the people around you are onboard with your devoting a sizeable chunk of your time to The next big hobby project. All of this may seem obvious, but it’s great how Dave keeps stressing the fact that army building and painting doesn’t happen in a vacuum or in some kind of ivory tower of artistic endeavour, but has to be factored into everyday life – and everyday life, in turn, has to be factored into the process of army painting.

The book addresses every step of the army building process in turn.

Another great feature is that Dave actually illustrates the advice he gives with actual examples from the army projects he has worked on, warts and all. It’s all well and good to read GW’s tutorials, but seeing them illustrated with the same ‘Eavy Metal studio armies over and over tends to lessen the impact of the lessons a bit. Dave’s projects, on the other hand, are all beautiful and stunning armies, but they seem “achievable” in the sense that they very much result from his planning and his approach to painting great looking models in a timely fashion.

I would be remiss not to mention the fact that Dave has also enlisted the help of several guest authors (such as veritable army painting machine Mordian7th, for instance) who further explore specific parts of the army building and painting projects. All of this works together very well, and the clean, pleasant layout makes for a great read. Be aware, however, that this is NOT a book of step-by-step painting tutorials: While you’ll definitely be able to pick up a fair amount of neat tricks of the trade here and there, the focus is definitely on the planning, logistics and overall execution of the army building process rather than the step-by-step painting process on each and every model.

So the in-depth advice on how to build and paint armies is one big part of the book. The other, equally important, part – and the one that actually made me purchase the book in the first place – are several in-depth and richly illustrated features on Dave’s various armies and warbands. There’s a healthy chunk of GW models on display here (and if, like Dave, you are a fan of Dan Abnett’s Gaunt’s Ghosts series, the book is basically a must buy, simply because so many armies and characters from the books, such as the Ghosts themselves, the Blood Pact, the Volpone Bluebloods or the Genswick Rifles, make an appearance).

Dave’s Genswick Rifles are one of the armie inspired by the works of Dan Abnett

At the same time, there are also quite a few features on non-GW armies, ranging from Dark Ages to historical tabletop games such as Bolt Action or Flames of War. Of particular note is an article on assembling a warband for the postapocalyptic game system “This Is Not A Test” and scrounging around for models across several product lines and manufacturers.


The non-GW content makes for a nice bit of variety – and for a broader perspective on our hobby. Make no mistake, though, GW-related armies certainly form the biggest part of these features, so your mileage may vary as to how that influences your interest in the book.

The army features are fantastic, however, and what’s especially lovely about them is that they feature lots of juicy photos, accompanied by very insightful commentary about what went into converting and painting the respective armies. This part alone is, in my opinion, well worth the price of admission, as the army features almost serve as a collection of Dave Taylor’s best work. At the same time, it is here where my only two points of criticism come into play:

Dave’s classic Custodes army. I would have loved to see more of these guys!

The first issue is Dave’s Custodes army, the aforementioned tour de fource of kitbashing an entire army, back when no official models were available back in the early 2000s. I was really looking forward to seeing it featured in detail, and learning – during the book’s production process – that the featured Custodes army would actually be Dave’s “reprise” from last year, utilising all of the new GW and Forgeworld models, was a bit disappointing: Make no mistake, the resulting army is looking great – it just doesn’t share the same sense of wild creativity the kitbashed Custodes had. That being said, the original army still gets about one and a half pages of presence in the book, so that’s mostly alright with me – still, I actually feel the inclusion of the original army would have made the book even better, as it would also have served as a great best practice approach to building armies that are very faithful to a setting’s lore while also working around the fact that no official models exist (yet).

The second issue lies with some of the photography: Most of the pictures in the book are really excellent, but there is a bit of a problem with the two-page spreads that show off the featured armies as a whole: Now these shots are all really well staged, with great terrain and composition – however, they are a little fuzzy, making it hard to pick out single models and conversions:

This is certainly not a dealbreaker for me, but it does seem a bit unfortunate. It has to be said, however, that Dave Is very much aware of the problem and is already working on a solution – for the early adopters, this will likely mean that they receive access to Dave’s original, high res pictures in a digital format, which sounds like a sensible solution.

This also touches upon another factor that I think is important here: During the entire planning and production process of the book, Dave was always very upfront with the state of development, provided regular feedback on the state of the book, and the finished product was delivered mostly on schedule, with the exception of a small delay that it seems was basically out of Dave’s hands, though. So I would back another Dave Taylor Kickstarter anytime, because this one definitely delivered on everything that was promised.

Dave’s Blood Pact, easily one of the coolest Chaos Renegade armies in existence

Verdict:

Dave Taylor has managed to collect a rather comprehensive set of advice on army building and painting, has topped it up with lots of drop-dead gorgeous army features and has added great production values to the mix: This book will look great alongside your official GW publications as welll as hardcover army, rule or sourcebooks. It’s a wonderfully comprehensive package, and a swell addition to any hobbyist’s collection, so I am more than happy with my investment and happily consider “Armies & Legions & Hordes” totally worth it!

In short:

Pros

  • very insightful and concise articles on planning, building and painting tabletop armies make for great and helpful reading
  • excellent in-depth army features that also have quite a bit of variety
  • very nice, clean layout
  • excellent paper and printing quality, great production values
  • basically serves as a lovely “Dave Taylor – Collected works

Cons

  • slightly fuzzy army photos
  • could have used more content about Dave’s classic Custodes army

 

Buy this, if…

  • you love looking at fantastic tabletop armies
  • you are a Gaunt’s Ghosts fan
  • you are planning a bigger tabletop wargaming project and could use some help with your process
  • are a fan of Dave Taylor’s work

Don’t buy this, if…

  • You are mainly after learning new painting techniques
  • pictures of tabletop armies bore you
  • you dislike GW armies and settings

For those who have missed the Kickstarter campaign, you can get the book here, for instance.

So much for my thoughts on Dave Taylor’s “Armies & Legions & Hordes”. I hope you’ve found this review helpful! Please feel free to let me know what you think in the comments! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Lord of the XII Legion – the Killing Ground

Posted in 30k, 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 21, 2019 by krautscientist

So there I was, after last week’s post, with my aquila lander for Azazel’s terrain challenge all primed and ready to go — and then something just jumped the queue. It’s still a terrain project, however, after a fashion. And I am confident it’ll make another fitting entry for the community challenge. So what is this about?

A bit more than two years ago, I converted and painted a model that still stands as one of my proudest hobby achievements: My interpretation of Angron, Primarch of the World Eaters, in his ascended form as a Daemon-Primarch of Khorne:


I am still extremely proud of the model, which inspired several blog posts and was, itself, part of an even bigger project to build models to represent Angron at different moments in his violent life.

Anyway, you can find out more about the process of creating Daemon-Primarch Angron here. The truth of the matter, however, was that more than two years later, the model still wasn’t completely finished.

You see, back when I built the base for my Daemon-Primarch version of Angron, it was planned as a modular display base, based on the shattered Imperial aquila terrain piece from the Honoured Imperium kit.

The actual base for Angron himself was, carefully and painstakingly, sawn out of the original terrain piece:


At the same time, I added two more Ultramarines to the bigger part of the display, in order to create a small mini-diorama of the XII Legion Primarch slashing through the remains of an Ultramarines squad. Something like this:


Alas, that modular piece was never finished, as I kept telling myself I would just quickly paint it up at a later point — I should really have listened to my buddy Augustus b’Raass who told me that I should not put it off for too long, lest I end up taking years to finish it. Which is precisely what happened…

But when I took a look at the unpainted base last week, I felt the need to finally finish it and give Angron his proper display — if nothing else, I wanted to have the model completely finished before GW decides to release an official model for Angron in his 40k form…

With both the actual terrain and two Ultramarines models left to complete, this was actually a pretty substantial hobby endeavour, but I surprised myself by actually making fairly quick work of it.

First up were the actual aquila base and the kneeling Ultramarine who is lining up a last shot at the Primarch:



I went for the same scratched and scuffed armour look I had aready used on the unlucky bisected officer held in Angron’s right fist, to create the impression the scene was set during a grueling battle. Due to the slightly 30k-styled Armour of the Ultramarines, this could be set either in the 30k timeframe (at the very end of the Shadow Crusade, upon Angron’s “ascension”) or during any of the following millennia, up to “current-day” 40k.

The Ultramarine standard to the right of the Marine actually mirrors an identical piece appearing on the base of my Forgeworld Angron:


The most complicated part of the paintjob was, ironically enough, to match the colour of the right side of the aquila to that appearing on the smaller part of it that makes up Daemon-Angron’s base, something that would, of course, have been trivially easy, had I painted it all in one go…


As you can see, that left only the fallen Marine in the middle (actually one of the Marine’s from the stock base of Forgeworld’s Angron), and I quickly painted that last model over the weekend.

Of course I made sure to create a suitable bloodstain on the ground, before gluing down the model:

So without further ado, here’s the finished display base, showing a charging Lord of the XII Legion and the courageous, if ill-fated, last stand of an Ultramarines squad:



Here’s a view from the unlucky survivor’s perspective…


I really feel I am giving the Ultramarines a fair shake here, in spite of everything: That last guy looks dead set not to abandon his position and to fight to his last, which seems very much in character for the legion. I feel this also prevents the dead smurfs from just feeling like gratuitous splatter effects. And after all, it’s Angron we are talking about here — there was always going to be blood, right? 😉


And of course the whole ensemble is still modular, allowing me to use Angron on his own, smaller base:


Here are some additional detail shots showing off various parts of the finished piece:







It feels great to finally have finished the complete piece – and also the last part of my little collection, or “Massacre”, of Angrons! The modular display bases for Forgeworld’s Horus Heresy characters were an inspiration for this, and now it definitely seems like a FW base turned up to eleven.

Now for that aquila lander… 😉

Anyway, that’s it for today. I would, of course, love to hear your thoughts about the finished piece, so please leave a comment! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

“And they shall know fear…”

State of the Hunt, Week 03/2019: Everything but the kitchen sink…

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings, state of the hunt, Terrain, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 15, 2019 by krautscientist

So here we are, with the old year firmly behind us. I have to admit that I am currently still at the stage, fairly early in the year, where I keep throwing around ideas and messing with different projects until something sticks and I find just the thing to re-start my proper creative process. So for now, I have decided to mess around with some neglected models, seeing how getting long neglected stuff painted was such a successful part of 2018. So let’s take a look at my laboratory:

I. Crash and burn

Here’s the first thing I am currently working on, a contribution for the monthly hobby challenge over at Azazel’s blog, Terrain is the name of the game this time around, which provided me with the perfect reason to tackle something I have wanted to do for ages: Finally getting some paint on the crashed aquila lander from the old Battle for Maccrage boxed set:

I’ve had those pieces for ages, courtesy of my cousin Andy, and as you can see, some of them have been subjected to a prior, mostly unsuccessful attempt at painting them — seriously, what was I thinking?

Now for the second attempt, I’ve made some small tweaks to the piece with the cockpit:

Something that has always bothered me about this otherwise cool terrain piece is its complete hollowness, so I knew I needed to add in a pilot as well as the suggestion of a cockpit, so I whipped something up with a couple of leftover bitz:


It’s not that easy to make sense of what the pilot looks like right now, but I took a lot of inspiration from the pilot morbäck built for his fantastic “Scarabée Intrépide” conversion a couple of years back — I didn’t sweat the details, though, knowing that only a part of the pilot would really be visible inside the finished cockpit. Oh, and while I was at it, I also glued in some bitz to suggest cockpit controls — I’ll show off the whole assembly once the model has been painted!

Anyway, the lander’s complete “hollowness” also leads to the rear of the piece ending in a massive hole. Of course I had to close that off as well, both to make it look less awkward overall and to camouflage the fact that there’s no fully realised interior, nor a full cockpit, as I merely built the parts that you can see from the outside. So I added in a hatch (from an old model truck kit) and tied it into the rest of the design with a few bitz:

While the whole ensemble looks pretty improvised when you look behind the curtain, so to speak,…

…the rear hatch has the added benefit of covering it all up, so when the terrain piece sits on a flat surface, you only really see the elements you are supposed to see.

Everything has already been undercoated, which ties it all together rather nicely:




Now to get it all painted in time for the challenge! I’ll be taking quite a few cues from Ian Wilson’s absolutely fantastic “re-assembled” Aquila lander here, among other sources. Wish me luck! 🙂

 

II. Big time!

And while I was already hard at work breathing some life into ancient projects, I came across another straggler from my cupboard of shame: A couple of years ago, I dug this out of a box of odds and ends over at my FLGS:


In case anyone’s wondering, this is half of one of the old 54mm Inquisitor models that GW released alongside the original game back in the late 90s. The character in question was Delphan Gruss, a Magos explorator of the Adeptus Mechanicus, basically the only AdMech model readily available back then, long before the AdMech became a playable 40k faction. Here’s the complete stock model:


As you can see, the parts I had were in a pretty sorry state (caked in the thick remains of a prior paintjob, and glued together with hell’s own superglue), and the model was also missing its legs. The problem with 54mm models is, obviously, that in order to replace missing parts, you either need a supply of 54mm bitz, or you need to get creative. In my case, I chose a solution in-between those two options, but the model still didn’t go anywhere for years. But after seeing PowerHungryMonkey’s recent Tech-Marine conversion, I somehow felt drawn back to the old model, and have managed to give him legs (and a pretty impressive gun to boot). Take a look:




Did anyone recognise those “new” legs? They actually came from the somewhat infamous vintage Nagash model, often seen as one of GW’s worst models of all time:


I have to admit, however, that I have a bit of a soft spot for the model: Nagash was actually the first big multipart metal model I ever bought from GW, and also the first model at that scale I have ever painted — and for a while there, I thought both the sculpt as well as my paintjob were absolutely rad! I blame my love for Masters of the Universe as a kid — those who grew up oving Skeletor as a villain had no choice but to like a character with a skull face.

And back when I got those Delphan Gruss bitz, I rediscovered the different parts of poor old Nagash in my bitzbox and thought the legs might work — as an added bonus, a conversion using Nagash as a base did indeed appear in the original rulebook…

Another fun fact: I’ve been keeping off this particular project for so long that I have actually managed to obtain a complete, boxed as new Delphan Gruss in the interim — all the more reason, however, to make sure this model looks suitably different from the stock model, eh?

I rather like the more subdued pose, to be honest. Oh, and the backpack is just the strangest amalgamation of bitz, to create something that looks suitably tech-y and AdMech, and at the right scale, no less: Underneath it all is actually a Space Marine plasma gun backpack (from the plasma gunner that came with Dark Vengeance), while the weapon system was simply made by combining half a Heldrake foot and one of the smaller gun arms from the Kataphron kit. And I added some suitable bits and bobs, such as an omnispex array from the Centurions, some cabling, stuff like that.

Even if thi should stay a one-off 54mm project, painting the Magos should still be a rather interesting experience — plus I am pretty sure I’ll get quite some mileage out of that modern AdMech decal sheet 😉

III. Daemonic desktop infestation imminent!

Waiiit, you didn’t think we’d bypass the ruinous powers, did you? No way! Because while I was wildly fluttering around in “crazy hobby butterfly mode”, something unwholesome from the warp has started to “manifest” on my desktop…



Still very early days, admittedly, but this should be interesting as well…

 

So as you can see, I am just trying different things before committing to the next bigger project. So keep watching this place to see those three projects – plus half a dozen others, I’d imagine – take shape. Or not. Anyway, I would love to hear your thoughts on these current “sketches”, so feel free to leave a comment!

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

The 2018 Eternal Hunt Awards, pt. 2: A look back at my hobby year

Posted in 30k, 40k, Blood Bowl, Chaos, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, Orcs & Goblins, Pointless ramblings, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2019 by krautscientist

Awards

First of all, happy new year again, and welcome to the second installment of the 2018 Eternal Hunt Awards, in which I will be taking a look back at my personal hobby year — as everybody else on the internet seems to be doing this week 😉

Still, I hope you will indulge me — if nothing else, 2018 was a pretty successful hobby year for me, and I am rather proud of my output. There were also some hobby moments of note that I would like to share with you. And no recap would be complete without a couple of ideas – and, indeed, resolutions, for the new year, so there’s that, too.

So let’s get started:

I. My hobby projects

Twelve months ago, I looked at the stuff I had managed to paint in 2017, and while I was pretty happy with the quality with my output, the quantity left a lot to be desired, with only twelve completed models:


So one of my goals for 2018 was definitely to get more stuff painted, with an added sub-goal of trying to make a dent in my back catalogue of neglected, woefully unpainted models. And looking at my 2018 hobby results today, I can say that the mission has been accomplished. Here are all the models I have managed to paint in 2018:

That’s 52 models, all in all, one for each week of the year — although, to be perfectly honest, my output was heavily front-loaded 😉

Now I do of course realise that this is not an award winning number by any stretch of the imagination — so many hobbyists I follow have managed to paint upwards of 200 models last year, while fellow hobbyist Azazel, almost insultingly, manages to finish my yearly amount of painted models every other month (!), but I am still very pleased with the above tableau of finished pieces.

What’s more, about half of those models are indeed pieces that had been sitting unpainted (if not unloved!) in my cupboard of shame — for years, in many cases!

By the same token, 2018’s big hobby lesson was that to keep painting on a constant basis leads to it actually feeling much less like a chore: Before, I would often find myself looking forward to having the actual finished models, while dreading the way towards that goal. These days, however, I realise that I am looking forward to the actual painting process, to be able to try new stuff, more and more often — not nearly often enough, mind you, but it’s a start! 🙂

Thanks for this development must go to Azazel, again, for his wonderfully inclusive monthly hobby challenges that have truly become a pillar of the community — the fact that they get mentioned as a positive influence on dozens of blogs should be more than enough proof of that fact, and funnily enough, the January challenge has me looking forward to crossing another unfinished item off my inventory list. So cheers for that, mate!

The other big incentive to keep painting were my regular painting sessions with my good friend Annie: It’s so much easier to keep beavering away at frustrating detail work while sitting across from someone who is doing the same, being able to share friendly quips, hobby advice or ideas — and then eating huge piles of Greek takeaway food. So many thanks to Annie as well! 🙂

So, let’s take a closer look at my biggest 2018 hobby projects in turn:

1. Khorne’s Eternal Hunt

Here’s the one possible piece of bad news: I have definitely given my longest running hobby endeavour short shrift this past year, at least from a numbers perspective: only three new models for Khorne’s Eternal Hunt, my World Eaters, in their various incarnations. If nothing else, however, I am still really happy with those three models, though:

In fact, the very first model I painted in January 2018 was a – pretty cool – additon to my (30k) World Eaters, Raud the Hunter, a Legion Contemptor with a chip on his shoulder:

I am still really happy with the model, which is already the second World Eaters Contemptor I have converted from the somewhat bland Betrayal at Calth plastic Contemptor. Raud was supposed to serve as a bridgehead for many painted 30k World Eaters in 2018 — which somehow never came to pass. But we’ll just have to postpone the invasion to 2019 then, eh? 😉

In any case, you can read more about Raud in this post.

The next model for my World Eaters was also basically my crowning achievement of 2018: The Hound, a renegade Armiger Warglaive, complete with converted cockpit and pilot, completed during the summer as a contribution for the annual ETL event over at The Bolter & Chainsword:

I have loved the Armiger models at first sight, and corrupting one to the service of the ruinous powers was a lot of fun — as was the somewhat fiddly process of wedging a cockpit and pilot into that deceptively small torso 😉 In the end, however, it was all worth it, as I am really proud of the finished model, and it also won me the “Badge of the Artificer”, a B&C forum achievement I had been coveting for years:

In case you are interested, you can read up on the Hound in this post and its follow-ups.

And while we are on the matter of (Not-so) Imperial Knights, I also used the release of the Adeptus Titanicus-scaled Questoris Knights to build yet another “Chibi-Knight”, a smaller version of my Traitor Knight, Gilgamesh, the Warrior King:


And if you’ve been paying attention so far, it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that I felt the absolute urge to somehow build a cockpit and pilot for this model as well:

To discover more (occasionally tiny) details about this projects, check out my posts on Chibi-Gilgamesh 2.0 here, here and here.

 

2. The world of INQ28

While the World Eaters did not get all that much attention from me last year, I had all the more time to devote to INQ28 characters and retinues, managing to complete no fewer than five warbands, three of which were painted from start to finish. This makes the “INQ28 class of 2018” look rather impressive, if I do say so myself:

Moreover, here’s where my plan to finish long neglected models truly came to fruition. For instance, I finally managed to paint a model that I had been putting off for years for fear of ruining it: Mamzel Elisha Gorgo, an Imperial débutante and psyker in the employ of Inquisitor Gotthardt of the Ordo Hereticus:


And indeed, finally painting the model also served as a capstone to Inquisitor Gotthardt’s entire retinue, which is now finally finished, after years of procrastination:


This is actually one of my oldest INQ28 projects, with many of the models originating in a time where both my bitz box and conversion prowess were much smaller than they are today, yet I still remain enormously fond of the somewhat swashbuckling, picaresque charm of the warband (and of my resourcefulness at channeling so many of the archetypes from the old Inquisitor rulebook with the bitz available at that time).

Another long-neglected project was the retinue of Inquisitor Nabreus Arslan of the Ordo Hereticus Velsen:


The warband started off as a bit of a reception camp for various older models, some of them still from GW’s metal days, and yet everything came together rather nicely as a pretty unified-looking Hereticus warband: I blazed through all of these models back in February and March, and going full fire and brimstone on them was a lot of fun!

Take a closer look at the warband here.

Hot on the heels of Arslan and his operatives came yet another Inquisitorial retinue, namely that of Redactor Orlant of the Ordo Scriptorum:


Orlant started out as a tribute both to fellow hobbyist PDH’s ideas for the Ordo Scriptorum as well as to a particular piece of art by the late, great Wayne England — in fact, the (almost) finished retinue features no less than three distinct shout outs to art by Mr. England. It was also heavily driven by inspiration taken from fellow hobbyists PDH’s and Johannus’ work and from Chris Wraight’s fantastic exploration of Terra, “Vaults of Terra – the Carrion Throne”. Anyway, it’s a warband I am stupidly happy with, and even though it’s still technically missing one final member, the fact remains that I was able to mainly finish the project this year.

Meet Redactor Orlant and his shadowy operatives here.

Moving from the agents of the Ordos to the somewhat more unsavory corners of the 40k galaxy: I managed to paint a few more models for my gang of underhive malcontents, the Road Crew.

First up, Worker #9, ancient automaton and walking engine of death extraordinaire:


Now this guy had been neglected for a long time, so finally turning him into a wonderfully ramshackle killer robot from the past – and in beautiful scuffed yellow, no less – did feel so very rewarding! More info on Worker #9 can be found here, by the way.

With the big guy serving as a bit of a trailblazer, I also completed some slightly less massive members for the Road Crew. Meet Sawtooth, Cirque and Sarge:

Together, those four models basically round out the crew for now. They do make for a rather distinguished little group, if you don’t mind me saying so:

At the same time, the project is open-ended enough that new models can (and will) always be added to the Road Crew as needed — and as inspiration strikes me. I still have an unpainted ride for them, for one, and both the crazy new Ork vehicles as well as those new Genestealer bikes seem like such a natural eventual addition to a Mad Max style Road Warrior warband. Just sayin’… 😉

And finally, I also explored fairly new territory in painting an entire warband/kill team of loyalist Space Marines. This is Kill Team Ulrach of the Deathwatch:

As I have said before, this project was very much inspired by PDH’s and Jeff Vader’s respective Deathwatch kill teams, and it was a lot of fun to be able to explore various Space Marine chapters and their individual visual identities while also to trying to keep it all nice and straightforward under the Deathwatch’s unifying colour scheme. Now loyalist Space Marines may seem like the least original thing to be painting in this hobby of ours, but the truth is that the project made me truly leave my comfort zone, experimenting with line highlighting, different skin tones and freehanding — plus it also gave me a rather big appreciation of the Primaris models (I still abhor the fluff, though…).

Meet Kill Team Ulrach in more detail here.

 

3. On the Blood Bowl pitch

Ever since Annie succeeded at roping me into creating a Blood Bowl team, working on some new Blood Bowl models has always served as a nice way of exploring a somewhat silly and whimsical side of our hobby — plus it’s always a fun thing to be working on during our joint hobby sessions.

Which is why I finally gave my Orkheim Ultraz some much needed attention in 2018, adding a dozen new models to the team:

Not all of these are players, however: As you can see in the photo, there’s a nice collection of Blood Bowl markers and tokens, a Goblin Nurse plus some of Maxime Pastourel’s brilliant Orc balls and a pair of Goblin players — actually the last two models I painted in 2018!

4. Having a bit of fun

And while we are on the topic of just having some fun every now and then, there are a couple of projects that I tacked just for the heck of it. Everything started back in February, when I painted Trooper Gibbson Rikkert of the 5th Arcadian Rifles:

A veritable old chest nut, this one, given to me quite a while ago by fellow hobbyist Drone21c. The time had come to paint him, retro base and all.

And if you thought it couldn’t get any more retro, I can prove you wrong with the next exhibit, an entertaining project that consisted of repainting a 1979 Boba Fett action figure:

Staying with pop culture icons for a second, I also made an attempt to bring my favourite infiltrations expert into the 41st millennium:

Those three projects were completed on a whim, and I had a blast doing each of them, simple as that 😉

 

So that’s my output for 2018. I cannot help but feel a little proud of myself when I look at the colourful gang below. They are only 52 models, but I am happy with each and every one of them.

 

II. Hobby moments of note

2018 was, again, not completely about painting models, of course. And while it was a somewhat more hermetic year, defined by painting sessions rather than visits abroad or crazy international shenanigans, there were still some moments that I would like to share with you:

1. Learning new techniques

Learning new techniques is always great in our hobby — and should probably come with the territory, come to think of it. Even so, I feel I really pushed myself this year, experimenting with freehanding, exploring different skin tones, mixing my own snow or using a Staedtler micropen to create “quasi-freehand” designs and symbols (an idea courtesy of Jeff Vader, by the way): Those are all small technical tricks and tweaks, but it felt good to be able to add them to my toolbox!

2. Kickstarter

So far, I have been fairly conservative when it came to joining hobby-related Kickstarters, but in 2018, there were two projects that made me take the plunge:

First came Dave Taylor’s Kickstarter for his book “Armies & Legions & Hordes”:

Most of you will probably recognise Dave’s name – and if you don’t, you should definitely check out his blog right away! Dave’s various army projects have been an invaluable fountain of inspiration over the years, so when I found out he was crowdfunding a book about realising army projects, chipping in was basically a no-brainer. My only regret is that the book didn’t arrive in time for Christmas. But it should be here soon, and I am waiting with bated breath — expect a detailed review as soon as I get my hands on my copy of the book!

My second Kickstarter contribution was to the campaign for a boardgame version of Horizon Zero Dawn, basically my favourite video game of 2017:


To be perfectly honest, I really mostly wanted the (Kickstarter-exclusive) model for Aloy, the game’s heroine:

But the campaign basically went through the roof, which will provide me with a whopping hundred or so models — I’ll probably believe it when I see it — but keep your fingers crossed for me, okay? 😉

Also, if you are into gaming at all, make sure to check out Horizon Zero Dawn — seriouly!

3. A Tribute to Wayne England

Now this certainly wasn’t the result of a meticulous plan or anything, but it does make me feel pleased that a part of my hobby output functions as a direct tribute to one of my favourite GW artists of the yesteryear, Mr. Wayne England:


As I’ve said above, three models in Inquisitor Orlant’s retinue are basically direct reproductions of Wayne England’s art (the good Inquisitor among them). It only occured to me later on that the artwork I had based my paintjob of Trooper Gibbson Rikkert was also originally done by Wayne England. And the flying Ordo Hereticus servo-skull carries more than a hint of the angular, hyper-stylised and grimdark Wayne England illustrations from the 90s, such as his crest for the Redemptionist Cult.

For me, John Blanche and Wayne England are basically the alpha and the omega of 40k art (with Jes Goodwin placed right between them as the genius who would always turn their art into beautiful miniature concepts and, more often than not, actual miniatures), so to have them both immortalised now in my collection really pleases me a great deal!

4. Hugs for the Hug Throne!

Another very pleasing project, and also one of my last projects of 2018, to boot: When fellow hobbyist PDH became a father last fall, it was clear to me that I wanted to send him a little surprise for his son, and while it took me until shortly before Christmas to follow through with it, I would like to imagine that I managed to pull it off in style.

You see, I chose to send over a teddy bear. Not exactly winning high marks for originality here, I know. But I wanted to send something typically German, and Steiff is Germany’s oldest toy manufactory (ranging back into the 19th century), and their teddy bears are about as traditionally German as they come. That being said, and given PDH’s and my shared hobby, I felt the bear needed a little…accessory:

And thus was born Beriax the Comforter, who shall deliver HUGS FOR THE HUG THRONE!

The best part, however, was that the package actually managed to make it there in time for Christmas. Peter informed me he had to confiscate the chainaxe, however — it’s probably for the best… 😉

 

III. Blogging

First of all, the most obvious fact, Eternal Hunt turned six early last year (and will be seven soon), and it’s always astonishing to see how this little blog I started once upon a day is still around — and maybe even thrieving…?

This is at least true from a content perspective: After a less active year of blogging in 2017 – with a mere 25 posts – I tried my best to return to a more regular schedule and more content in 2018, and it worked: Of course more painted models also meant more content to post, and so I ended the year with 40 posts all in all, which was a bit of a return to form.

At the same time, it has become more and more difficult to generate interest in my content, unfortunately: In spite of more content, 2018 was actually the blog’s weakest year since 2014, at least where views are concerned. If you take a look at the statistics, you can clearly see that, allowing for some ups and downs here and there, the views for Eternal Hunt have been in steady decline:

I don’t really want to keep beating a dead horse here, but I am also not going to lie to you: This is pretty frustrating. Like every blogger, I derive much of my motivation to continue blogging from people actually taking an interest, from engaging with my work. And it just gets more and more difficult to achieve just that. On the one hand, it’s clear that this is just part of an overarching trend, with hobby related communication seemingly shifting more and more to Instagram, Facebook or Twitter while forums and blogs suffer a steady decline: If I look at some of my favourite forums online, it’s really rather shocking how slow and quiet things have become, with even some of the hobbyists that used to be mainstays of the community seemingly having departed for good, towards the supposedly greener pastures of Instagram. Fortunately enough, at least the Bolter & Chainsword remains a pretty lively online community, but I definitely fear for some of my other long time haunts…

And while I wasn’t going to join Instagram back in 2017, witnessing Facebook’s actions as a company throughout the year 2018 has only made me more reluctant to give their platforms and services any presence in my private life: I really do not want to support them, even if this very obviously means to be left behind as a part of the hobby scene — at least that’s how it can seem from time to time.

On the other hand, this also means that I am all the more thankful to those of you who still drop by here, who still comment and who still care! Please continue doing that, as it is the very thing that’s keeping this blog – and other places like it – alive. By the same token, I will also endeavour to comment more on other people’s work online. It’s something that sometimes requires a bit of an effort, and it’s all too easy to grow complacent. I know all this from my own experience, which is why I appreciate your comments all the more!

IV. Plans

So what’s in store for 2019, then? While I don’t want to tie myself down or back myself into a corner with too ambitious or detailed plans and schedules, there are of course a couple of things I would like to achieve in the new year:

I’ll definitely need to get some more World Eaters painted, lest the Blood God grow impatient with me. I think I’ll be focusing on my 30k World Eaters for now, though, both because there’s enough unpainted stuff there for me to tackle, but also because I think the small collection of 30k models I have managed to complete so far actually looks pretty cool:

And even though he’s not a World Eater, this plan also extends to my models for Argel Tal that I wanted to paint in 2018 but didn’t: You’ll be painted in the shadow of great wings, buddy 😉


There’s also this duel diorama that I originally build for a challenge at the local Warhammer store, then abandonded, feeling somewhat dejected and disillusioned when the – absolutely awesome – store manager was abruptly let go by GW seemingly without any kind of reason: I really didn’t have an appetite for working on the piece for a good long while, but it’s still a pretty cool diorama, in spite of everything, so onto the 2019 pile it goes:

As for the 40k incarnation of my World Eaters, I think I’ll be waiting for GW to make a move with the legion in the 40k setting: Right now, the World Eaters are in a bit of a limbo, with one of the oldest available plastic kits for their main troop type, and while there have been rumours about all of the cult legions eventually getting the Death Guard treatment, there’s nothing solid to work with as of yet. I want to see what GW is planning for the legion before jumping back in, to be honest.

There’s one certain addition for Khorne’s Eternal Hunt, though: My second converted Armiger Warglaive, and its pilot, the Huntress:


Take a closer look at the model here.

As you’ve maybe seen in my previous post, I have also started working on some Nurglite models recently, so expect to see some more Keepers of the Eternal Garden as well in 2019:

And there’ll be more INQ28 models, obviously — maybe once again with a focus on getting some neglected models and warbands. Believe it or not, there must be about half a dozen unfinished warband projects in my cupboard of shame, so it would be really nice to be able to cross some more off my list of unpainted stuff. Plus there are some pretty cool and creepy characters I would just love to see painted, such as Countess Mandelholtz here:

And thanks to the wonderful marvel of blogging, chances are you’ll be able to check out how it all develops. If you keep reading this stuff. If you keep commenting. I would very much like to invite you to accompany me on this crazy hobby voyage for another year!

Until then, I would love to hear your thoughts on my recap of 2018 and on my plans for 2019, of course!

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