Archive for July, 2019

INQ28: Unfinished business

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Fluff, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob, Pointless ramblings, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2019 by krautscientist

Back to the shadowy world in between the cracks for today’s update, as we make the aquaintance of more citizens of the Velsen Sector, DexterKong’s and my personal INQ28 sandbox.

2018 was very much an INQ28 year for me in that I managed to, more or less, finish five different retinues for my Inquisitor collection. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for 2019 so far, but there’s still some time left this year, eh? So let’s head back to the world of shadowy dealings in service of the Ordos for a bit:

In spite of my painting progress last year, my INQ28 backlog is still on the wrong side of hilarious, so I didn’t exactly have to search for something to paint. I chose one of my long-neglected warband projects: the retinue of one Inquisitor Titus Alvar, of the Ordo Xenos Velsen:

Inquisitor Titus Alvar, of the Ordo Xenos

House Alvar has been one of the more influential noble houses for centuries. As a scion of the house, Titus Alvar grew up in luxury and power, the intricacies of the Imperial courts with their waxing and waning support for one house or another a game he quickly mastered. Maybe the search for new and more immediate thrills was what made him enter that perilous region of space known as “The Veil of Impurity” time and time again, and tales of his exploration of ancient ruins, of treasures discovered and adventures survived, made him the talk of the courts he had left behind. As a matter of fact, one of his expeditions into the treacherous cluster of stars resulted in a standoff with Inquisitrix Cimbria Carscallen. Under normal circumstances, someone running afoul of the Ordo Xenos would have been executed without second thought, yet Carscallen must have seen something in Alvar that made her reconsider. And so, Titus Alvar, noble, adventurer, became an Interrogator in the Emperor’s Holy Ordos of the Inquisition and, in time, an Inquisitor in his own right.

Though the years of doing the Emperor’s work may have somewhat mellowed his once flamboyant lifestyle, Titus Alvar very much remains a socialite and a political animal. His standing as a member of an influential noble house makes him a common guest at social functions all over the sector, and the tales of his exploits have led some of his peers to suspect that he is a glory hound, first and foremost.

In truth, Titus Alvar is, above all else, a pragmatist: The trappings of nobility are as much of a useful tool to him as the artifacts he has recovered on countless expeditions or the retainers, some of them quite exotic, that comprise his warband. Meanwhile, some of Alvar’s colleagues have grown suspicious of the Inquisitor’s continued expeditions to the Veil of Impurity and some of the alliances he may have forged there…

 

Back when I originally came up with the plan for Alvar and his retainers, I had this idea for an Ordo Xenos Inquisitor who was also a bit of a socialite, and an adventurer — closer in outlook to a Rogue Trader in many ways. So I wanted his retinue to be somewhat colourful and picaresque again, not unlike the charming collection of archetypes appearing in the original Inquisitor rulebook. Going back to the pages of that veritable tome, I realised that my collection was still missing the alien mercenary archetype — and it woud also also very much in character for a socialite like Alvar to have an “exotic” retainer like this in his warband, even though it might make the more puritan members of the Ordo Xenos foam at the mouth…

So that was where T’L’Kess the Kroot Pathfinder was born a couple of years ago:

T’L’kess lost his entire kindred in an atrocity committed by a T’au commander to prove a point (it’s a long story). In any case, there’s no love lost between him and his former “employers”(in fact, this is one of the angles that interest me most about the T’au empire: the contrast between their propaganda and narrative of a peaceful empire of many species and the possible cracks and ugly sides such an empire might have, such as aggressive expansionism, speciesism — you name it). T’L’Kess has realised that his last chance to keep his bloodline alive might be to travel the stars in order to find members of the kindred who left the planet prior to the genocide. During his travels, he meets Inquisitor Alvar and ends up working for him as a scout and pathfinder.

I have always been intrigued by the Kroot and have wanted to turn one of the models into a bit more of an individual for a long time — imagine my annoyance, then, when Dayhak Grekh from Blackstone Fortress turned out to be a much better realisation of a very similar character idea…

Ah well, my model was built years ago with the bitz I had back then. And in any case: All the more reason to finally get some paint on the character, right? 😉

When painting the model, my two main sources of inspiration where my buddy DexterKong’s Kroot character Ortok (basically one of the best Kroot conversions I have seen so far) and Foxtail’s paintjob for the Dayhak Grekh model from Blackstone Fortress.

Anyway, here’s the finished model for T’L’Kess






The white part on the left side of his head is actually the T’au version of a comms system. I tried to make the skin around it look scarred to hint at the fact that it was inplanted without much care for his thoughts on the matter — or for his good looks 😉 I wanted to hint at the bad blood between him and his former comrades in arms, and also at the fact that the covenant between the T’au and the other species from their empire can sometimes be less benign than what is usually suggested in the background…


Most of the characters for the warband were actually converted back in 2013, if you can believe it. With T’L’Kess finished, I actually had three finished members for Inqusitor Alvar’s retinue:

There’s the Inquisitor himself (in the middle), T’L’Kess the Kroot and an as-of-yet unnamed sanctioned psyker, formerly of the Astra Militarum, but cast out by his regiment when an encounter with a Xenos artifact led to some psionic friendly fire…

And here’s the rest of the retinue as it looked at that point:

In addition to the aforementioned characters, there’s Professor Abelard Marbray, renowned Xeno-Archaeologist from the Bastold Imperial Akademy and his personal research assistant, a member of the reclusive “Ashers”, an ethnic group facing a lot of prejudice throughout the Velsen Sector. Another Astra Militarum veteran and heavy weapons specialist for when things get ugly. Millerna Acheron, voidship captain and Alvar’s Interrogator. Not pictured: Shiv Korlund, a former hive ganger (based on one of the old Escher metal models).

With the Kroot model painted, I actually wanted to keep going, so I chose to work on the heavy weapons specialist next:

I like the big gun and the “tough as nails” look and imagine this is the kind of guy Alvar makes use of when negotiations turn sour and diplomacy is no longer an option. The original idea for him – way before then new version of Necromunda was released, mind you – was that he could maybe look like a former hive ganger (similar to the gangers from House Goliath) that had ended up joining the Astra Militarum at some point. And I still see him that way, basically: An Astra Militarum veteran and former memer of a working gang (with an extra emphasis placed on the word “gang”) from an Imperial factory world. His clothes and equipment were therefore painted to look as though he were wearing a mix a mish-mash of his former regimental colours, his working gear from the manufactoria of his homeworld and a couple of Inquisitiorial emblems here and there. I have also taken extra care to make his armour and leather apron look scuffy and well used, as you would expect from a working man like this. Take a look at the finished model:





For the icon on his shoulder, I combined two decals: An AdMech cog symbol and a small Astra Militarum emblem. This seemed like a fitting symbol for a regiment hailing from a factory world.




Oh, and adding those little symbols and markings to the grenades on his backpack was such a frivolous yet enjoyable little detail…

In my background ideas for the warband, he also has a bit of a war buddies thing going on with T’L’Kess the Kroot (whom he calls “Birdman”), in spite of everything:

So that’s two new members for Inquisitor Alvar’s retinue, and two long neglected models to cross off my list. Yay! 🙂

But wait, there’s more: Seeing how I was on a bit of a roll here, I decided to dig out another long-neglected model of mine that I think deserves some sort of closure. This gentleman here:

This is Lord Sebastianus Danver Balzepho Vlachen, one of the Velsen Sector’s big movers and shakers — and also a bit of a hero of the people. At the same time, he also has a darker side to him, and is ruthlessly ambitious. As grand-nephew and heir apparent to the ailing sector governor, he seeks to succeed his great-uncle as sector lord, and he is every bit as ruthless and ambitious as you would expect of somebody so far up in the Imperial nobility. At the same time, his connections to the Velsian Astra Militarum and supposed battlefield heroics have endeared him to both the military’s top brass and the common people. But again, there’s often a less respectable side to his character: For instance, he wears his scars with pride, having both a bit of a dueling history and a reputation as a grizzled veteran, but the truth is that the nastiest scar on his face actually came about due to a confrontation with one Cpt. Esteban Revas of the 126th Haaruthian Dragoons (read the full story here):

Anyway, Lord Sebastianus was one of those conversions I was really, really happy with. But he still ended up in a box, partially painted, and has stayed thus for years. Enough, I say! So here’s a PIP-shot of the mostly finished model:


It’s a really great feeling to be able to finally cross some of those old chestnuts off my list of unpainted stuff. And it’s fun to be back in the world of INQ28 for a spell! 🙂

Of course I would love to hear your thoughts on the models, so feel free to leave a comment! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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Half the man he used to be…

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 15, 2019 by krautscientist

Back to the 41st millennium and the adventures of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt this week, as I get to cross another long neglected model off my list. I am referring to this gentleman here:


If you should think the model looks familiar, there are two reasons for that: On the one hand, like so many models from my collection, this guy was actually built a couple of years ago, so if you are a regular reader, chances are, you’ve run into him before.

On the other hand, he was built to actually resemble a well-known character: The model began its life as an entry for one of the frequent competitions on the – now-sadly-defunct, *sigh* – Throneofskulls forum, if I recall correctly. The objective back then was to re-imagine a non-Khornate named character as a Khornate version, and I chose Huron Blackheart, inspired by a very impressive conversion by my buddy DexterKong.

Just to remind you, here’s what stock-Huron looks like:

And here’s a closer look at my version:


It’s a fairly straightforward conversion, based on one of the Chosen models from the Dark Vengeance starter box that used to be all the rage back in the day: The Chosen body already resembled the stock Huron model a fair deal, and I liked the idea that a Khornate version of the character would be in a running pose for that extra bit of aggression.

The conversion mainly became a matter of trying to cram in most (or all) of Huron’s classic visual elements: The monstrous power-fist/-claw/flamer hybrid, the promethium tank on his back and, of course, the mangled half-augmetic face (courtesy of that one half-augmetic plastic Space Marine head everyone knows and loves). And I had to add a suitable amount of Khornate touches, hence the small icons and Khornate back banner (itself a take on the iron halo/chaos icon that adorns stock-Huron’s backpack).

I was really happy with the conversion back when I originally created it, and I still rather like it now (in fact, I was delighted to discover recently that my counts-as conversion actually managed to inspire fellow hobbyist TheChirurgeon’s own Huron kitbash). So when this year’s E Tenebrae Lux event came around over at The Bolter & Chainsword, it seemed like the perfect occasion to finally get the model painted and use it as my first vow for the event.

Since the conversion was already finished, I didn’t really have much to do before I could start painting. I only added a little pressure gauge on the back of his tank, to make the whole assembly look a bit more interesting and break up the large, plain area that is the promethium tank:

And then I vowed the model as my first contribution for the ETL event. Only it was quickly pointed out to me by fellow hobbyists Captain Semper and Atia that, technically speaking, the model was still missing a little something to represent Huron’s “Hamadrya”, his pet familiar (the ungainly thing squatting on its own base up there in the photo of the stock model, in case you were wondering).

My proper plan of action would have been to use a model from the AoS Spirit Hosts, maybe with a Bloodletter head, but I didn’t want to have to pick up a box of them, so I had to get creative. But I was not without inspiration, so I quickly tacked something together using nothing but leftover bitz:


The head is still a fairly standard Bloodletter head, whereas the spine came from the vivisected Genestealer that’s part of the 40k battlefield objective markers. My idea was for the “Almost-Hamadrya” to look like a daemonic spirit, some kind of Khornate familiar or even a half-formed Khornate Daemon, and I think the basic setup already worked pretty well. It did require a bit of additional cleanup, of course:



Now I did experiment with some shaved-down Bloodletter shoulders and arms, because I thought it might look cool to suggest the daemon only being half-formed, but it ended up looking like not much of anything at all. And just the head and spine makes it look malevolent and somewhat creepy — like a grimdark version Kaa the snake 😉

Ironically enough, it was this model that I actually ended up painting first.


To support the impression that this is not just a standard Bloodletter (or rather, half of a standard Bloodletter), but rather something unwholesome and half-formed, I went for an even more limited palette than the one I normally use on Khornate daemons: a mix of glossly blood and glowing ectoplasmic flesh, as the daemonic spirit is glowing with an inner malevolence…

Not bad for something that I had to come up with on the quick, if I do say so myself.

So with this complication taken care of, finally getting the counts-as Huron model painted should have been quick work, right?

Unfortunately, something happened that almost knocked all motivation to ever finish the model right out of me:

I took it along to a painting session at my friend Annie’s house, and when I arrived there, I realised his backpack was missing. Now I was transporting my models in an open crate (which I admit may be a less than optimal approach), so I figured the backpack must have fallen to the bottom of that, or been left behind in my car trunk. But it wasn’t: I searched everywhere at least for times, but no dice — the backpack didn’t turn up again. I also didn’t find it at home. So there was just one last option that gave me a sinking feeling in my stomach: I must have lost it somewhere at the side of the road when I parked my car and carried my stuff to Annie’s house, but since it was dark when we packed up for the night, there was no way to look right away, and she didn’t find anything either when she looked the next day.

And that really killed all of my motivation when it came to working on the model: I realised I would have to rebuild a backpack, but I didn’t have the exact same bitz, and even if I could come up with a replacement solution, it would always seem inferior to me than the original. Then, about a week later, I had half an hour of unexpected time, and I thought: Screw it, I am going to take one last look near where my car was parked that night. And just when I was about to abandon the stupid backpack for good, I saw something shiny near the curbstone — and there was the backpack, slightly damaged and bent out of shape (I suspect a car might even have driven over it at some point), but still salvageable — still, all’s well that ends well, I suppose. But this little episode really made me fall out of love with the model for a while there, and made the painting process less enjoyable than it should have been.

But I soldiered on and finished the job. Starting with the base colours and the first round of washes,…


…then moving on to all of those lovely little touches that actually make the process of painting enjoyable:

On a related note, that Vallejo Magic Blue has yet to let me down 😉

So without further ado, here’s the finished model:




Here’s a detail shot to show you how the promethium tank on his back actually connects to his flamer:


That felt like such a clever bit of converting to me, back when I originally converted the model (and was also one of the reasons why I hated the idea of losing the backpack so much). Oh well…

And here’s a closer look at his axe:

Although it’s virtually impossible to see in 99.9% of all frontal shots of the model, the axe head was actually exchanged with something a little more original: the jagged axe that came with the WFB/AoS Chaos Warshrine kit.


And here is “Not-Huron”, side by side with his “Not-Hamadrya”:

And here’s the stock GW model again:

Anyway, I think he should read as a Huron counts as fairly easily, even though I have horizontally flipped the character 😉

Oh, incidentally, the character still needs a name! So far, I only have a semi-solid idea for a background story for the character being caught in a phosphex blast during the void battles above Terra during the Heresy, having to cast himself out into the void to extinguish the phosphex flames, then being retrieved and rebuilt by his brothers. Only the sensation of the phosphex burning through his flesh never stops, but lingers as some kind of perpetual phantom pain making his every living moment a crescendo of agony. Yeah, really uplifting stuff, that… 😉

His familar, then, is really an embodiment of his pain and rage: His agony is so palpable that it almost seems like a being of its own, a spectre that can sometimes almost be glimpsed next to him, coalescing into something that is almost solid.

Fellow hobbyist AHorriblePerson smartly suggested “Euron Hearteater” as a possible name, and it’s definitely a strong contender — still, if any of you have a cool idea, I would love to hear it!

Here’s the new model next to the World Eaters Dread and new berzerker test model I painted earlier this year:

That makes for three models painted in my tweaked recipe already, and they are starting to look pretty cool together, if I do say so myself. Being based on the Chosen models from Dark Vengeance, the model still matches the modernised CSM look — even if it’s technically just a tad shorter than the new vanilla Chaos Space Marines. They still look pretty cool together, though. And maybe adding a couple of models would be fun. In fact, the unpainted guy on the right may be a taste of things to come…

Who knows, there may just be another chaos-themed post or two waiting in the wings — just sayin’…

For now, however, I am pretty happy to have finished another long-neglected model. Plus I also think the model’s enough of a centrepiece to count as a contribution in Azazel’s Jewel of July ’19 community challenge — even though it would also be a very obvious contender for one of his frequent “Neglected models” challenges, having sat unpainted in my cupboard of shame for more than three years… 😉

I would, of course, love to hear your thoughts on the model, so please leave a comment! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

#HeroQuest2019: A small relapse…

Posted in Conversions, heroquest, old stuff, Orcs & Goblins, paintjob with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 8, 2019 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, I am currently working on lots of neat projects that I hope I’ll be able to share with you soon. But for today, let us return to my #HeroQuest2019 project, as I find myself drawn back to the world of adventures in a world of high fantasy fairly frequently.

The reason for this is twofold: One the one hand, this has been such an enjoyable project that I just want to keep adding things to it. On the other hand, finishing a HeroQuest model rarely takes longer than an hour or so, so it’s always a fun romp that usually ends in success. And, with the main game system taken care of, I am now free to fill out some blank areas on the map and go above and beyond what’s required for the base game. Plus I may actually have a proper game of HeroQuest coming up later this month, so I had best get my stuff in order until then 😉

One very enjoyable option for HeroQuest aficionados is to come up with custom models for characters or monsters that appear in the quests but don’t have dedicated models. I’ve already created several custom models like that, and it has been a lot of fun:

But once you take your first step down this road, there’s a real temptation not to stop before every character has their own dedicated model, and so I keep looking at the HeroQuest quest book for new inspiration. Case in point, “The Trial” from the second edition quest book has a more powerful mummy in it that is described as the corpse of a legendary warrior. And I knew I had an old Tomb Kings skeleton head in my bitzbox that might work rather well for glitzing up a standard mummy…

I started with an (already horribly painted) stock mummy model that was in pretty rough shape — hence I had no qualms about cutting it up 😉

And I used some plastic bits to turn it into a mummy champion, so to speak:


Now the bitz I used for this conversion are all a bit more modern than the actual HQ models, but I still think the vintage look is retained. It’s also a really simple conversion, mostly based on swapping in a skeleton head and hand from the old Tomb Kings skeleton warriors, as well as an ancient skeleton hand with sword.

The fun with these conversions is that the aim is not only to convert something that looks cool, but, more importantly, a model that seems plausible within the framework of the vintage HeroQuest look.

Anyway, there was that wonderful moment when the undercoat pulled all of the disparate parts together:

And here’s the finished mummy champion:


The finished model does betray the fact that the mummy I used was in a pretty rough state — working from a “clean” stock model would arguably have led to an even better result. But I am still pretty happy with the model.

One thing that doesn’t photograph too well, unfortunately, but works really well when seen up close, is the glowing eyes and mouth areas:

The glow that’s only suggested in the photo is really arresting when looking at the model from up close.

And here’s a comparison shot with the champion and a standard mummy:

Yup, definitely the embalmed corpse of a powerful warrior, and not just your standard, run-of-the-mill mummy. Yessir 😉

Come to think of it, the Return of the Witch Lord expansion has a quest with four special undead monsters called the “Spirit Riders”, and this recipe would probably work really well for them, too. Now if I can just cobble together enough old Tomb King heads… 😉

 

The second model I want to share with you today works in a similar way: It’s also a stock HeroQuest model, slightly converted to represent a special character. In this case, it’s a model to count as Grak, the son of the Orc warlord Ulag, defeated by the heroes during an early quest:

As you can see, the conversion is based on a standard HQ Orc: I wanted him to look less like a warlord like his father. In the quest book, Grak kidnaps the heroes after they have slain (or “captured”, if you own the German edition of HeroQuest) his father. Now maybe his kidnapping of the heroes is not only an act to avenge his father, but also to prove how he can become the next Orc warlord. His one bid for power that he must not mess up. But while he may be formidable in a fight, I also wanted him to look like a bit of a doofus 😉

The conversion itself was really simple: I merely spliced in some plastic Orc and Goblin bitz. The most important part was Grak’s silly little hood, created by shaving down an old Night Goblin head. Truth be told, the entire Idea was mostly nicked from Luegisdorf’s very nice HeroQuest collection over here, to give credit where credit is due.

Converting Grak was quick work, and so was painting him: I went from blocking in the main colours…

…to an almost finished model in just about an hour:

Again, I really love how knocking out a HeroQuest character or two serves as a nice and easy little palate cleanser every now and then! Anyway, here’s the finished model for Grak, completely painted and varnished:



And here he is next to his dear old father Ulag, both ready to be slain by an enterprising group of heroes

And one last model for today: I really wanted to figure out proper colour schemes for the Men-at-Arms that come with both HeroQuest (at least with the Advanced Quest version) and Advanced HeroQuest:

Seeing how the twelve Men-at-Arms from HeroQuest are the one thing in the box I have yet to paint, I thought it would be smart to start with one of them — and boy oh boy was that less fun than expected:

Don’t get me wrong, I am rather happy with the finished look: It’s renaissanc-y enough to match the model’s design, and also clean and bright enough for HeroQuest’s particular high fantasy flavour (even though those guys are very obviously proto-Empire State Troops).

The way to get to the finished model was less than enjoyable, mostly due to the face: Now the detailing on the face was fairly soft to begin with (with the eyes more suggested than actually sculpted), and the fact that the models have a massive mold line running down the centre of their faces didn’t exactly help. I didn’t end up with much in the way of facial features, so I basically had to paint on a face with the brush. It took quite some doing, and the guy certainly isn’t a natural beauty, but at least he has a face now:


I also realised the guy wouldn’t really qualify as a proper test model without the different weapon alternatives, so I quickly painted those as well:

The Scout:


The Halberdier:

The Swordsman:

The Crossbowman:


So yeah, one down, eleven to go 😉 Anyway, I want to keep most of the colour scheme for all of the other Men-at-Arms, with the helmet plume as a way of distinguishing different players’ mercenaries.

So that’s it for today. Dealing with those vintage models is always a wonderful fresh breath of air for me, but that may just be nostalgia. But no, those models are rather lovely in their simplicity and unabashed high fantasy look and feel. Good times! 🙂

It goes without saying that I would love to hear your thoughts on the latest models! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!