Berzerker (R)evolution

After last week saw me complete a World Eaters Dreadnought, today another member of the XII legion muscles his way to the front of the queue — so what is this about?

The recent Chaos Space Marines release has been a bit of a bittersweet affair for me. Sweet, of course, because the models are obviously brilliant, and such a long overdue reworking of some rather ancient kits. At the same time, however, the added size of the new CSM makes a rather big part of my World Eaters look pretty runtish. There’s also the fact that I don’t see myself revamping the entire army anytime soon — or, in fact, ever: I’m not sure I still have it in me to build and paint huge 40k armies, as I am much more interested in smaller, bite-sized challenges like INQ28 retinues or single pieces that appeal to me. And yet I did of course want to get in on some sweet chaotic action — so what was I to do?

The best possible approach was to start by purchasing some new plastic crack, of course, so I hot myself a box of vanilla Chaos Space Marines and Havocs each (I just couldn’t resist the massive, brutal look of the Havocs, even if rules don’t even interest me all that much at this point). And I began some preliminary experimentation.

Now as many of you will already know from firsthand experience, the new CSM are noticeably taller than the older models, and that makes quite a few of my chaos models look rather weird next to the new guys. Unfortunately, this includes a fair bit of my still unpainted stuff. So the first order of the day was to find out which of my more recent (unpainted) chaos models were still salvageable. In order to find out, I quickly poster-tacked together one of the new models to serve as a point of reference:

Keep this guy in mind — we’ll be seeing more of him shortly…

This guy was mostly built straight out of the box — although, as you can see, I couldn’t help adding a Caedere Remissum helmet crest, even at this early hour — more on that particular design decision later…

Using the new guy as a point of reference, I was lucky enough to find some models that might still work.

There’s my WIP Iron Warriors kill team, for starters:

Now this project was started before Kill Team was even a thing (again), so I mostly played it by ear back then, and built models that appealed to me from a visual standpoint. At the same time, I did try to go beyond the look of vanilla CSM with this project, so most of the models (except for the one tester lurking in the back whom you may safely ignore) were mostly based on Chose models from the Dark Vengeance boxed set. And while the models are still a bit shorter than the new CSM, they don’t look too out of place. Two Iron Warriors remain unpainted, but have already been built, as you can see, and after that, I think I’ll be adding a heavy weapons specialist (built from one of the new kits), add a few suitably IW-themed cultists and call it a day. The finished team should hopefully still work well enough. And KiIl Team, with its smaller model count and potential larger focus on individual characters (and models) appeals more to me than standard 40k at this point.

But where does that leave my World Eaters?

Well, the good news is that I found some guys that should still work rather well in this new, upscaled world. Take a look:

Once again, most of these conversions were heavily based on the Dark Vengeance Chosen, so they still work fairly well (even though they are just a tad shorter than the new models):

I also think that coming up with a really cool World Eaters Kill Team (code name “The Hateful Eight”) should be a very rewarding project in and of itself. If that prompts me to keep building and painting World Eaters for 40k proper afterwards, so much the better. But for now, I want to explore the new kits and use them to build some of the best World Eaters I can come up with — at least that’s the plan.

That being said, the new kits turn this into an interesting challenge, because many well established conversion recipes may not work anymore due to the slightly changed scale (many stock arms, for instance, just seem too short on the new models. As do the chaos marauder arms I have used many times to create the classic “bare arm” World Eaters look). So my first little project was to find out how to make the new vanilla CSM look more like World Eaters, so I started to mess around with a couple of bitz:

The good news is that most older helmets and shoulder pads should still work fairly well — this includes some of the older FW shoulder pads (as seen here with the pauldrons from the berzerker conversion kits. They torso pieces from the same kit, however, are right out).

But I also wanted to do something slightly more involved for my first test model, and after looking for a while at a Blood Warrior chest piece, I got a bit more creative:

Some of the new breastplates are still a bit bland, to be honest, so I decided to splice in some Khornate goodness: I carefully cut through the torso front just above the abdomen as seen in the picture above.

The Blood Warrior breastplate (seen on the left) fit with just the slightest fraction of shaving. However, there was a huge gap underneath it that, while not directly visible when looking at the model from the front, still made it obvious that the torso was hollow. So I used a bit of GS to create a small lip, like this:

Then the Blood Warriors breastplate was simply glued on. The GS plugged the gap, and the new torso works really well, what with the cabling on the abdominal section and everything:

Granted, the whole assembly seemed a little less convincing when seen from the side:

But most of this should end up being covered by the arms anyhow — I merely added some GS to create a straight surface for the arms to attach to.

Here’s a mockup of the entire body:

Now I was really pleased with myself at this point about how clever a conversion I had created. However, I only realised after completing this particular conversion that to replace the breastplate like that would have been even easier on some of the other bodies from the kit, because those already have the breastplates and abdominal section separated from the get-go. Oh well, we live and learn… πŸ˜‰

Anyway, a short while later, I had my first World Eaters test model made with the new CSM kit:

I think there’s something so malevolent about this guy’s pose — like a predator stalking its prey…

Of course I decided that I would need to get this chap painted right away, so I adapted the colour scheme I had used for my recent Chaos Dreadnought for use on the smaller model and used quite a bit of time to make sure to get the paintjob just right…

Once again, brighter reds and oranges were used both for edge higlights, but also to create scratches and scuff marks, in order to make the armour look pitted and ancient, and to suggest a texture to the whole warplate.

Oh, I also included a shout-out to Wade Pryce’s World Eaters, one of my biggest inspirations when I got back into the hobby: The stylised legion badge was very much inspired by the way Wade used to paint the World Eaters symbol.

Anyway, to make a long story short, allow me to share my first finished World Eaters test model created using the new CSM kit, fully painted and based:

I did decide to include a bit of blood on the chainsword, using Tamiya Clear Red to create the effect:

And here’s another peak at that legion badge inspired by Wade Pryce’s old models:

And here’s a pretty nice shot (if I do say so myself) of the new World Eater next to Argus the Brazen:

Now as for the evolution of my berzerker painting scheme and, indeed, my Khorne berzerkers, I have prepared a little comparison shot to show you the evolution, as it were:

On the left is one of the first Khorne Berzerkers I painted back in 1998 or so, back when the plastic kit was released. These guys still saw use in my modern army, mostly because I was too lazy to replace them. Next in line is the first World Eater I painted when getting back into the hobby after a longer hiatus, in 2010, but using a slightly tweaked recipe. The third guy was an experiment on replacing the – by then OOP – Blood Red with Mephiston Red, but back then I wasn’t quite happy with the effect. And there’s my brand new little guy — maybe this time I have finally managed to nail the recipe? What do you guys think?

I also took a couple of scale comparison pictures, just to illustrate my earlier point about the new kit making most of the classic catalogue look rather tiny.Β  The difference is not equally pronounced between all CSM: For instance, the DV Chosen are just a tad shorter than the new CSM, but it’s not too obvious. Old CSM models, however, just look really awkward next to the new guys, at least if untweaked. Take a look:

Almost a little painful to look at, isn’t it? πŸ˜‰ The new Marine just seems much taller — and indeed he is. Now here’s a comparison with an old model that was nevertheless aΒ  slightly more involved kitbash:

This comparison is interesting because it shows off both the evolution of my painting recipe, as well as the fact that the legs from the new kit are quite a bit longer, the torso is broader, and the backpack no longer dominated the entire model as much. It’s especially obvious when looking at the back of the models:

Next up, another round of comparisons with some taller models:

For starters, here’s my new World Eater next to Brother Arcturus Diomedes, based on a Primaris marine:

As you can see, the new CSM are not quite as tall as Primaris Marines, but they are closed (and could be used as true scale models opposite Primaris in a pinch).

And here’s a comparison with one of the wonderful converted World Eaters my buddy Augustus b’Raass sent me earlier this year:

Augustus’ model was created using older part, but it’s heavily converted and built to be taller than a standard CSM, so you barely notice the difference in height. So that’s the good news for those hobbyists with highly customised and converted chaos armies, I suppose — your guys still look good, in spite of the scale creep πŸ˜‰

Also, don’t get me wrong: Ultimately I would say the new scale is for the best — it finally gives the Chaos Space Marines the stature they deserve, because unlike their loyalist counterparts, they have skipped one or two rounds of scale creep. By the same token, however, the change is so significant that it presents a couple of challenges to chaos players now, but those can definitely be overcome. In fact, I would say that to figure out how best to use the new kits and how to work around the changes in scale seems like just the kind of creative challenge that should delight chaos players all over the world!

For now, I am pretty happy with my first test model, and I am actually looking forward to painting a couple of World Eaters again — who would have expected that, eh? Anyway, I would be happy to hear your thoughts on the new model, of course, so please leave a comment! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more! πŸ™‚

34 Responses to “Berzerker (R)evolution”

  1. eternal hunt fan 4 eva Says:

    oh god yes, the berzerker reboot we’ve been waiting for!

  2. Looks great and a really helpful round up/comparison of the new kit. Where did you get the head from, I don’t recognise it. The paint job looks great as well BTW!

  3. Excellent conversion mate, and the newer paint recipe is a big improvement to my eye. I think the scale difference is just something to accept if you can – otherwise, it’s a big old project to upgrade everything!

    • Cheers, Alex! Glad to hear you like the new red recipe! And the bigger scale may be a challenge, but the finished models also end up looking rather brilliant, so it’s all for the best πŸ™‚

  4. Inquisitor Mikhailovich Says:

    Ok, I’m gonna be honest: I know the focus here is your new Berserker, but I’m completely caught up by your Iron Warriors Killteam. Iron Warriors were the first faction I fell in love with when starting Warhammer (I know, you’d never think it with my current pious, Inquisitorial nature), and I ultimately dropped Chaos like a hot potato because none of the kits felt even vaguely close to what I wanted from my Iron Hands (or even my later Emperor’s Children). I don’t remember if I’ve gushed about this Killteam before, but you hit all the nails square on the head.

    I’m a little jealous. As a dedicated Inquisitorial collector… That means something.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks a lot, mate! And don’t worry, I am still rather fond of that Iron Warriors Killteam myself: Back when I started it, I had this very clear picture of what I wanted Iron Warriors to look like: massive, blunt, brutal, uncompromising and malevolent, and a slightly weird juxtaposition of archaic armour and some hints at sophisticated technology. And the stock models back then really didn’t offer any of that, except maybe for the IW conversion kit, so I had to get creative πŸ™‚ Anyway, glad you like them!

      • Inquisitor Mikhailovich Says:

        I’m just angry that you’re making me want to get back into Chaos xD I might just end up bitz shopping and making myself replicas of each member of your killteam haha

  5. Bearded Berzerker Says:

    Good to see you get back to 40k Stuff! πŸ˜‰

    Actually had a very simillar idea and will probably make my future Zerkers out of the Chaos Marines (instead of the Bloodwarriors)

    For Arms, you could maybe also splice some Blood Warriors Arms? I think at least the upper Arms are bare and they could work with a bit of work on the CSM Torso-Half.

    • Thanks a lot, Beared Berzerker! πŸ™‚

      See, Blood Warrior arms are a bit of a problem, because while their design still fits brilliantly, they are actually slightly too short to look right on the new models — although you could get away with just using one of them here and there. I think my approach will be to carefully cut off the lower arms and splice them together with the new CSM arms (or some suitably scaled bare arms).

  6. The newest berzerker version is top notch! Not that the ‘ancient’ ones aren’t πŸ˜‰ But the striking and natural pose, the seamless conversion and your lovely paintjob set a new level compared to the others. The red and the blue eyes work really well together. And the tone of the bronzen parts is superb. I also like the black stylised legion badge a lot.

    As always a nice written article and a pleasure to follow your work week by week! Can’t wait to see ‘The Hateful Eight’ completed. By the way, this is such a badass name for a Berzerk-Kill Team πŸ™‚

    Best regards!

  7. That new-age Berserker looks amazing, mate!

    good stuff!

  8. I like the new model. I think the chest conversion is well done. I would not have known it was a conversion had I not been told. That’s the mark of solid work.

    Part skill in executing it and part in choosing the right bit to fit the look and idea of the model. I don’t kill myself worrying about what can’t be seen in the end either. Makes converting go way faster.

    As for the color scheme, I’m in no position to judge. It looks good, but I don’t know that much about World Eaters or what color they “should” be and I’m not sure that matters if you like the way they come out. I’m doing Word Bearers and have no idea what color they should be.

    Lastly, I like the larger scale models. Seeing them next to the old ones stings a little bit. In my mind, the Chaos guys should be taller than Marines after having been alive for all this time in the warp.

    • Cheers for the comment, Ron! Seeing you doing Word Bearers was such a sweet surprise, and if not for your truly frantic pace, I would already have commented πŸ˜‰

      I actually learned from you that converting ultimately comes down to choosing the parts that get the job done and hit enough visual cues to truly “sell” the model — and this guy is very much an evocation of that ethos, I’d say πŸ˜‰

      As for the colour scheme, aw, you know, you can never go wrong with red and brass for Khorne — and neither for World Eaters, for that matter… πŸ˜‰

      I agree about the scale, but then the new CSM basically *are* taller than their loyalist counterparts (and almost as tall as Primaris). That being said, the “true-true-scale” guys you are currently working on are, of course, delightful!

  9. This updated recipe for the color gives me the feeling the model is much more ancient, thus giving me the idea of it being more dangerous, I really like it!
    I was a fair bit disappointed this huge wave of CSM release didn’t include new berzerkers, but GW cannot make miracles, they are releasing so many models for the whole range… and it is actually good to see how you can turn it out to be an incentive to creation through kit- bashing and modeling, great job!

    • Cheers, raff! Yeah, that was exactly my intended look for the armour, and I am so glad it seems to have worked. As for the release of new berzerker models, trust me: Once I have finished my last model for this Killteam, they’ll be right around… o_O

  10. Fantastic! He looks amazing and so do his unpainted mates.

    One of the things I’ve always enjoyed about your take on the World Eaters is this focus on their (ever so slightly twisted) honour and strict martial values, and I feel like these latest ‘zerkers really drive that idea home more firmly than ever. There’s this great combination of knightly and priestly aesthetics, with a lot of hanging cloth and chainmail accessorizing that baroque armour, as well as really elaborate headpieces and talismans. It all really reinforces this idea that you’re dealing with a force of very disciplined guys who adhere to a strict & uncompromising religious creed that just happens to involve decapitating as many people as possible.

    Anyway, great work, I think the red looks wonderfully vibrant next to the very dark bronze trim and thanks for inspiring me to get back to the fiddly business of building my own chaos kill team.

    • Thanks a lot, ssspectre! If the model really still manages to embody that, I am glad indeed! I still remain committed to my particular take on the World Eaters, so expect to see some more brutal-yet-conflicted-kinda-honourable guys πŸ˜‰

  11. Damn, KS – your conversion and showcase of the other fine work in assembling plastic is once again both impressive, inspirational and a touch depressing, as the stuff you turn out as builds always looks so bloody amazing while mine feel like bog-standard in comparison. Mostly because they are, I guess!

    • Ah, well, I kinda felt the same when I saw your brilliantly painted Blood Warrior just the other day πŸ˜‰ Anyway, the kind words are much appreciated, as always!

  12. Mojo_jojo Says:

    That Berserker looks great! And here’s me thinking we have to wait till 2020 or later before we got be berserkers! Have you considered adding spacers to some of the older painted models? I’ve been toying with the idea of Marneus Calgarizing some of my old favorites, but it seems daunting.

    • Cheers for the comment, mate! I think I’ll just leave most of the old models the way they are, if only as a tribute to the older kits and models — and also because I am probably just too lazy to tweak them further πŸ˜‰ That being said, maybe, just maybe I’ll even come up with “modern” versions of a few select pieces? We shall see…

  13. […] A blog about KrautScientist's wargaming exploits « Berzerker (R)evolution […]

  14. Wow absolutely fantastic job! I would love to know more about your new WE color formula, it looks amazing! And is there any way you could show how you attached the Caedere Remissum helmet crest to the helmet so seamlessly! I have been experimenting with attaching Caedere Remissum to helmets, but everytime I find that I have to use greenstuff to fill gaps, and often the superglue (I use the gel kind) does not hold them well, even after the GW has cured. I would be very grateful for any advice and help you can give!

    • Cheers, Kralgor! The updated painting formular works as follows: Over an undercoat of Leadbelcher (at least for now. Weird, I know…), I paint all the red parts with Mephiston Red and the bronze parts with Vallejo Tinny Tin. Then the red parts get a wash of Gryphonne Sepia, and the brown parts are washed with Army Painter Strong Tone. The bronze parts are highlighted with Vallejo Bright Bronze, and the red parts receive scratches with Evil Sunz Scarlet, Wild Rider Red and Fire Dragon Bright, respectively.

      As for the helmet crests, there simply isn’t any quick and easy way to doing this: It merely requires practice and patience (and a bit of delicate cutting). My first attempts turned out horrible as well πŸ˜‰ That being said, you can make your life easier by choosing helmet crests that at least basically match the curvature of the helmet you are using. The other hint I can give you is to really make sure the bunny ears are aligned properly, then put the head away and leave well alone, until everything is dry.

      Anyway, hope this helps! πŸ™‚

  15. […] the new model next to the World Eaters Dread and new berzerker test model I painted earlier this […]

  16. […] the far right you can see my “test berzerker” from earlier this year. Then there’s this gentleman, converted from yet another AoS starter box Blood […]

  17. […] Back in May of 2019, I finally caved and bought some of the – then brand new – updated Chaos Space Marine models. I didn’t want to update my entire World Eaters army, but the new kits were just too cool to resist, so I came up with the idea to limit myself to a Kill Team sized project, tentatively named “The Hateful Eight”, a squad of new World Eaters, where every model would be heavily converted and customised to match, as closely as possible, my ideal version of what a World Eater should look like in the year 2020 . I also wanted to paint them to the best of my ability — or at least, using a heavily tweaked recipe. […]

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