Archive for August, 2019

The Master of the Hunt — Reborn! (pt. 1)

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 25, 2019 by krautscientist

Another chaotic WIP post of sorts this week, although this is actually my way of sharing something that I have already teased in my previous post — so what is this about?

As some long-time readers of this blog may or may not remember, a  couple of years ago, I made this guy:

Lord Captain Lorimar, the Master of the Hunt, commander of “Khorne’s Eternal Hunt”, the remnants of the World Eaters’ 4th assault company. Easily one of my my most involved conversion projects, if only it took me so long to get the model right:

I have talked – at length – about what went into creating this guy and about what a huge project it was for me to nail down the exact look I wanted for a character of whom I had a pretty good idea in the back of my head. And while I don’t want to reiterate the entire journey of creating the model (just follow the link above and read up on the whole story, in case you’re interested), building Lorimar was a very iterative process with many starts and stops. The process also resulted in what I thought back then would be a definitive version of the Master of the Hunt.

But then this guy happened:

And I just couldn’t stop wondering — what if…?

It was always clear that the update Abaddon would be a monster of a model — and he is! But I am a converter and kitbasher by nature, so I wanted to have a go at doing something with the building blocks provided by the new model –the sheer challenge appealed to me: Would it be possible to create a model that didn’t immediately read as Abaddon? There was also the fact that I still had some spares of the most important bitz I had used to create the original Lorimar model, namely the head (from the priest riding atop the WFB/AoS warshrine of chaos), sword (from the WFB/AoS Chaos Lord on Manticore) and axe (from one of the Dark Vengeance CSM Chosen). These bitz were originally intended for building a version of Lorimar riding a juggernaut of Khorne. But I just couldn’t stop thinking about a conversion involving them and the new Abaddon model…

For a while, I was able to dissuade myself from taking on this project because I figured the new Abaddon model was simply too big — that it wouldn’t really be compatible with the particular bitz I would need to actually sell it as Lorimar. However, a trip to the local Warhammer store disabused me of that notion, as I was able to see firsthand that the new Abaddon, while indeed much taller than your average CSM model, is actually perfectly compatible with just about any existing chaotic weapon, head or what have you. So what was I to do? I left the store with a brand new Abaddon model and got to work…

Now, to make my task even more complicated, whatever model I would come up with would have to match both my 40k version as well as my (yet unpainted) mid-to-late Horus Heresy version of Lorimar:

So I started with a few early mockup steps, and it was surprisingly easy to come up with something already resembling the “Lorimar pose”:

The main objective here was to make the model read as Lorimar, obviously. But, like I said, with a model as iconic as Abaddon, the obvious pitfall would be for the conversion to end up reading as “Sure, that’s Abaddon with a slightly different head”. My approach was therefore to keep as many of the cool parts as I could while also changing around some major stuff, in order to sell the model as its own thing.

The biggest stylistic choice I made towards this end was to “turn the model around”, as it were, that is to have it face into a different direction, thereby matching the pose on my earlier Lorimar models — ironically enough, I have had to do the exact same thing with the 30k version of Lorimar 😉

After that, it was mostly a matter of getting some of the visual cues from the earlier versions in place — here’s a couple of pictures from when my mockup was quite a bit further along:



Some of the elements from my earlier Lorimar models were easy to recreate, such as the face, weapons, general pose — and those Bloodletter faces on the shin armour 😉

At the same time, it quickly became obvious that I would need to switch around a few things: The Khornate helmet crest I had used on my older Lorimar version, for instance, wouldn’t work, because there was simply less space to work with, so I had to swap in a different crest (shaved off a Wrathmonger/Skullreaper helmet). The (Skullcrusher) shoulder pads wouldn’t work either this time around: Since I knew I wanted to use the brilliant, tattered cape that came with the Abaddon model, I was pretty much stuck with the “official” left shoulder pad, seeing how the cape was sculpted to perfectly conform to the shape of the pauldron underneath. So I had to go with something different on the right shoulder as well and ended up using a shoulder pad from Forgeworld’s Lord Zhufor model — which had the added advantage of sporting some rather lovely World Eaters iconography!

During the conversion process, I kept comparing the new model to the other versions, to make sure it would seem like a natural progression of those designs and still end up similar to both Lorimar’s 30k and previous 40k incarnations:

The breastplate turned into one of the model’s most involved parts: My previous versions of Lorimar are wearing a bandolier of skulls across their breastplates, and that was an element I very much wanted to keep, both because it ties perfectly into the World Eaters’ background lore — but also because skulls strapped to the breastplate are awesome, period. So I made a quick mockup of what this might look like:



And even though this was a really early mockup, it didn’t quite click — in fact, someone over at The Bolter & Chainsword even called the design the “skull tits” — Tsk, tsk 😉

In the end, I decided on something quite a bit more complicated and spliced together an entire original, incorporating elements from Abaddon’s stock breastplate (which is brilliant) as well as a couple of skulls from the Citadel skulls kit as well as one particular skull with a Khornate rune from an AoS Slaugherpriest. Take a look:

I started by gluing on the centre skull (without the mandible, by the way. That was added later.). Then I carefully cut the lower two cables away from the stock bit that normally goes on top of Abaddon’s breastplate and carefully glued them on in the right way (making sure they were positioned correctly by making sure they lined up with the cables on the back of his torso). Then I added the right skull (and shortened/shaved away the cable underneath as needed), and then the upper right cable (again, I made sure to line it up with the cable bit on the back piece of the torso). Then I repeated the previous step with the skull and upper cable on the left side.

All of this required lots of dry-fitting and waiting for things to dry. Finicky though this part of the conversion may have been, however, I am really happy to have gone with something a little more complicated in the end: The finished design is one of my favourite parts of the model now.

So here’s the model, with most of the “heavy lifting” already done and dusted:




The next step was to try and attach Abaddon’s cape:




Surprisingly enough, everything fit together rather nicely, with just a few required tweaks on the right shoulder (because I had used a different shoulder pad there).

One thing I am almost perversely proud of is that the model is still ridiculously modular at this point, which I hope should make the painting process somewhat easier:


The tweaks and changes to the model kept getting more and more minuscule at this point, which is always a pretty clear sign that the conversion is basically finished at this point. I still used the opportunity to feature some of the visual cues from the older 40k Lorimar, though, such as the small tilting plates on his shoulders:



So here’s a comparison with the new conversion and my previous 40k Lorimar which I think shows how both really read as the same character — even though the new guy is monstrously tall 😉


And here’s the new 40k Lorimar next to his younger, slightly more idealistic Horus Heresy era counterpart: I think there’s quite a resemblance here as well!


Ironically enough, the conversion is also really close to one of my main inspirations back when I originally built Lorimar:

image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

All that is left now, before I can call the conversion finished, is to figure out the final setup of some minor bitz and bobs, such as the collection of bitz used on Lorimar’s tabard:


All in all, however, I couldn’t have been more pleased with the way this conversion has developed so far: I will admit that I was a little afraid that I might have lost my touch, because converting the new CSM didn’t come to me quite as easily as it used to. But working on this conversion has been an absolute joy so far — in all fairness, I actually think the new Abaddon should be the new go-to model for building massive chaos lords. It’ll be interesting to see how much mileage (and variety) we’ll all manage to wring from the sculpt! If anything, I am slightly surprised by how few people seem to have used the model for conversion projects so far. At the very least, I love the fact that fellow hobbyist Gederas has used some of my ideas on his own Abaddon-based Chaos Lord, Khadon Drachstur, but has managed to come up with a very original looking World Eaters lord!

 

So yeah, that’s it for today’s update. It goes without saying that I would love to hear your thoughst on my new Lorimar version, so feel free to leave a comment! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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State of the Hunt, Week 32/2019: Chaotic exploration

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, state of the hunt, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 10, 2019 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, Real Life (TM) has been a veritable rollercoaster lately, so I haven’t been as productive on the hobby front as I would have liked. If anything, however, that’s actually a plus because it frees up some space to share a couple of chaotic kitbashes I have been creating by putting the “new” (granted, they have been around for a while at this point) Chaos Space Marine kits through their paces. Take a look:

 

I. The Blightwood grows…

The first model I would like to share with you today isn’t even such a huge project, but rather an example of using some óf the new bitz to spruce up existing conversions. Enter exhibit A, a kitbashed Foul Blightspawn I created earlier this year.

My original idea for the model was to a) make the most of a leftover extra Malignant Plaguecaster model that I had cannibalised for bitz and use the remains to build yet another Death Guard character and b) get rid of some of the parts of the stock Foul Blightspawn that I really didn’t like, such as the massive pump sutured into the model’s flesh and the weird garden hose-style weapon.

So the original model was already working pretty well for the most part, but it was also still lacking something — and to make things worse, before the new CSM models were released, I didn’t have any correctly scaled CSM parts to tweak it a bit more.

But a headswap, courtesy of the new vanilla CSM kit gave me this:







I didn’t really like the CSM head with the one “googly” eye (normally intended for the squad’s heavy weapons expert), but it works really well for a follower of Nurgle. I spliced together a breathing apparatus as well, while I was at it, and opened up the pose a bit.

I am still rather fond of the core idea of the conversion – using an Escher chem thrower to make a slightly more conventional version of the Blightspawn’s stock weapon – although I think I also did a reasonably good job splicing together one of those WW I-style Blight grenades from a couple of bitz:

I also saw an extremely clever idea over at ssspectre’s blog that I had to steal right away: He used a turbine from a Raptor jump pack to create this kind of weird, bulky engine/pump on the back of a Nurglite model, and I did the same on my Blightspawn conversion, adding a bit of bulk and weirdness to the backpack.

In fact, I even made one more tweak after taking the photos above, adding some semi-organic cabling to the backpack that I carefully clipped off one of the new Havoc rocket launchers and backpacks.

And, just for fun, a comparison shot with my (slightly converted) Plaguecaster and the new Blightspawn — both use the same base model:

After using some smaller bitz and bobs from the new CSM kits like that, I felt the need to get a little more creative. So that’s what I did:

 

II. Iron Within…

This next model is a slightly bolder project, and also makes even more use of the new CSM kits: I had an idea for a Warpsmith-like Iron Warriors character, eventually to be used in my Iron Warriors Killteam I suppose. So I made this guy:

The body intended for the heavy bolter wielding marine from the vanilla CSM kit made for a nice start, providing a suitably bulky, archaically armoured body with a stoic pose. The arms and shoulder pads also came from the vanilla CSM — for the most part. I did feel the need to include a somewhat more impressive weapon for a Warpsmith of the IV Legion, so I spliced together the left arm using an (Age of Sigmar) Varanguard hammer and a forearm and haft from the Chaos Lord on Manticore (since I needed a left hand holding a weapon for this conversion). The backpack started out as a backpack from the new Havoc kit: I really liked the reactor look it had going on! I simply shaved away some of the cabling, added a loader arm (from a Havoc missile launcher backpack) that should work just as well, if not better, as a proper servo-arm, and also added some tech-y bitz – including the heavily augmetic head – from the Adeptus Mechanicus Kataphron kit.

I think the model proves how even the vanilla CSM kit,with just a few bitz from other kits sprinkled on top, can be used to produce rather imposing characters and commanders!

 

IV. The Hateful Eight cont’d

All roads lead before Khorne’s throne, however, so those earlier kitbashes were merely an appetiser before the inevitable main course. Which is a roundabout way of telling you that I have been slowly tweaking away on what may (should) eventually become that World Eaters kill team I have already told you about — “The Hateful Eight” (or ten or sixteen or whatever…). Here’s a look at my short list of future kill team members, so to speak:


Now you’ve seen many of these before in some shape or form, for which I apologise. Also, half of them are repurposed older models, but I think they are still cool enough to warrant a modern paintjob:

I’ve been making tweaks to them, exchanging a weapon here or adding some grenades and Khornate doodads there. I am particularly fond of this guy, made by combining a Blood Warrior from the Age of Sigmar 1st edition starter box and the lower half of the CSM Vrash Tattersoul champion model:

There’s also a couple of “new guys”, however: Fresh conversions that rely on the new kit in some shape or form:

On 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 Warrior:


I always knew I would want a model wearing a clunky Heresy-era helmet to accompany its baroque armour, and this is that model 😉

Fot the next two models, I thought it might be fun to try and channel some of the most iconic (or interesting) pieces of World Eaters artwork and build models inspired by the art. First up I chose this very cool concept for the “Teeth of Khorne”, the World Eaters’ dedicated heavy weapons specialists, created by Jes Goodwin during the early 90s, I would imagine:

Artwork by Jes Goodwin

I realised that many elements of the new havocs strongly resembled this piece of art to begin with, so I tried to come up with something similar.

For the most part, this is really just a stock havoc. I replaced the head with a shaved-down Blood Warrior helmet and tweaked the backpack a bit. Also, since I didn’t have a plasma cannon, I was unable to perfectly replicate the art and had to choose a replacement — a missile launcher seemed suitably brutal and straightforward for a World Eater, though… 😉

And then there’s this guy:

Any ideas about the inspiration for this one…?

That’s right, it’s a model built to resemble this iconic piece of art by Mark Gibbons (supposedly showing Khargos Bloodspitter, of all people):

My idea for this conversion was born when I realised that both the straighter legs and the power fist included in the CSM kit would allow me to build something pretty similar to the artwork — but while the above mockup worked as a proof of concept, the conversion needed a lot more work! So here’s what the finished conversion looks like:

Some parts of the conversion are actually a departure from the artwork, albeit a conscious one: The first helmet I used is arguably closer to the artwork, for instance, but the one on the finished conversion (provided as part of a bitz drop by fellow hobbyist ElDuderino, by the way), exudes just the kind of brooding menace that the model needed.

Funnily enough, the model also serves as a pretty neat shout out to some really old World Eaters models, thanks to the static pose:

And here’s the new guy, next to my test World Eater from earlier this year:

So, as you can see, I am actually back to converting World Eaters again — at least for a bit. And I am not even finished, either. Here’s a small teaser of things to come…

V. Burning Man

For now, however, let us wind up this post with a bit of background: I prepared a little background vignette for the counts-as Huron Blackheart model I shared with you a while ago. Take a look:

„The burning never stops.“

This is the sentence he remembers above all else, because it has come to encapsulate his entire existence. While the memory of an Astartes is eidetic in nature, his long life has become a number of disjointed, fragmented moments, with entire decades mostly unaccounted for. But one thing remains. One thing binds everything together and defines him. One sentence neatly summarises it all.

“The burning never stops.”

He remembers how the sentence from weapons instruction returned to him, at the very moment that he saw the phosphex charge go off. The bridge was a pandemonium of blood and death, but everything was frozen into place for just one instant. He saw everything in incredible detail. The battered VII Legion Breacher team that, against all odds, had made it to the bridge in an attempt to bring down a leviathan from within. The mangled face of the Fist throwing the phosphex grenade at him. The eyes already staring into infinity, waiting for a death that would come in mere seconds. The explosions of the weaponry discharged by the other surviving breachers. The chainblades of his brothers falling in slow motion, trying to bring down the enemy. But slow, far too slow. And the green white fire of the phosphex charge, enveloping him at last, and flooding his every fibre with liquid agony, just seconds before the main viewport burst into a million armourglass shards, opening the bridge to the void.

He remembers Terra. The Throneworld twisting below him, above him, behind a curtain of voidships on fire, as he tumbled into blackness. The cold void that was the only thing that could have extinguished the flames that were swallowing him. But even when the fires went out…

…the burning never stopped.

He remembers coming to in a red haze. The sounds of the Apothecarion. The klaxons and warning beeps. The mirrors above the surgical slab showing him a lump of molten, misshapen flesh that he did not recognise. And Deracin’s half-augmetic face floating above him, like a hint of things to come. The Forgemaster locked eyes with him and smiled. And he knew that he would not be allowed to die.

He was rebuilt. Into a strange amalgamation of oh so little flesh and bone, iron and pain. Oh so much pain. He became a construct. Like the gholam of old Terra. And through it all, the pain of an unquenchable fire kept coursing through him, racing along nerve clusters that should have been cauterised beyond any function. Along iron bones that shouldn’t have been able to feel, but did. It has been thus ever since: His every waking moment is pure agony. Inhale. Pain. Exhale. Pain. The nails are but pinpricks to him. He is, eternally, on fire.

His wrath and pain almost seem like a separate entity. When he does battle, and his every cell is burning agony, he can almost see something take shape from the corner of his eyes. Something rough and bloody that is glowing in its own inner malevolence. It is growing all the time. There will come a time when he will finally meet it face to face, this thing he keeps feeding with his pain and with the pain of others.

He keeps losing time. Battles often turn into disjointed shards of perception for him. When he sees glimpses of that strange spectre that seems to shadow him, inexplicable things happen, and he is merely a spectator in his own body: His flesh turns into liquid flame, and he becomes capable of feats that should be beyond his patchwork body. He awakens to arcs of warp fire cascading from his axe and augmetic fist. He comes to in a world of cinders and flaking ash, with his enemies’ lifeblood running down his chin in rivulets. He sees the wariness in his brothers’ eyes, and to see such emotion play across their ravaged features would make him smile, if that expression were not lost to him.

And through it all,
The burning never stops.

 

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

#HeroQuest2019: Game on!

Posted in Battle report, Conversions, heroquest, Pointless ramblings, Totally worth it with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 1, 2019 by krautscientist

My quest to completely assemble and paint my vintage HeroQuest set has taken over much of my hobby time this year, as some of you may have noticed, but last week, the time had finally come to give the finished game set an actual spin.

Now for those of you who are not that much into HeroQuest – or who don’t even remember the days of yore when the game was first released – this may all seem a bit eggheaded and not all that interesting, for which I apologise. It has to be said, however, in terms of my personal hobby voyage, for lack of a better word, that this has really been a moment thirty years in the making, and that to be able to play a game of HeroQuest (with the full rules, no less) with a fully painted set that I have managed to complete myself does feel like a rather huge achievement.

Anyway, without further preamble, let’s get into the meat of this post: Annie and T. were awesome enough to join me for this special game night (cheers for that, guys!), and we decided to play a one-off game (at least for now), using the first quest from the second edition Quest book called “The Trial”

The quest is actually not entirely unproblematic as a starting point, because it’s much tougher than “The Labyrinth”, the beginners’ quest from the 1st edition of the quest book. While “The Labyrinth” features nothing tougher than a bunch of greenskins, “The Trial” pulls out all the stops and features just about every monster within the HeroQuest box, the dreaded Gargoyle included. However, this also makes it the perfect showcase game for HeroQuest, as it uses all of the monsters (and of the furniture) — what better way to make the most of my completely painted set, eh?

So I made some very small tweaks to the quest (including a house rule for searching rooms and added wandering monsters) and we were off: Annie and T. chose to play two heroes each, with Annie taking control of Tonriel Silkspinner (the Elf) and Braband the Fierce (The Barbarian), whereas T. would play Thorin (the Dwarf, obviously 😉 ) and Garo von Stein (the Wizard).

These four brave adventurers would boldly enter the catacombs of Verag the Gargoyle, slaying vile creatures and discovering priceless treasures along the way…

But we are getting ahead of ourselves, so let’s start at the beginning: Our journey started, as every journey does, with a first step:

The plot quickly thickened, however, as the heroes ventured out from their starting room, encountering the dungeon’s first denizens:

And they kept getting in more trouble by opening additional doors — just as planned 😉

Even at this early point, a streak of bad dice rolls already reared its ugly head, so the fights against the first couple of greenskins turned out to be more troublesome than expected. Little did the heroes know, however, of the monstrous legions arrayed against them:

For now, both the exploration and the fighting continued — and the first treasure chest was uncovered!


Braband the Fierce added another bead to his string of disappointments, however, when he discovered the chest he had fought so hard to reach turned out to be empty.

Thorin, on the other hand, needed some alone time and took a walk around the centre room of the dungeon.

…before coming to Tonriel’s assistance, since the elf had managed to disturb some more denizens of the dungeon.

Exploration moved to the upper left corner of the board — very much the home of a couple of undead horrors and of one of the quest’s “minibosses”, as it were.

Our heroes yet remained oblivious to this fact, but they were at least smart enough to team up before advancing further (and Braband even got in a second, more successful, attempt at emptying a treasure chest of its contents):

There was a collective intake of breath around the table as the fell guardian of Fellmarg’s tomb arose from his long slumber…

…only to be instantly KO’ed by a well-placed Genie spell:

Strangely fitting for a mummy champion to be knocked out by a Genie, come to think of it… Anyway, it may have been a short guest appearance, but the creation of a custom model was still totally worth it 😉

Shortly afterwards, Braband and Tonriel were hard at work running into yet more trouble a couple of rooms further down. And thanks to a spectacularly unfortunate dice results, the lowly Orc pictured below turned out to be much more resilient than he should have been — once again, that is…

Here’s a look at my fortress of evil as seen from the players’ perspective…

And here’s a look at Annie’s side of the table: Her experience with RPG groups and deck-building games is clearly evident in the efficient way she organised her materials… (just compare it to the utter chaos behind my GM viewscreen…):

In any case, the heroes had learned their lesson, electing to form a neat conga line for their further exploration of the environment.

Returning to the centre of the catacombs for what seemed like this quest’s inevitable showdown…

But wait, had our heroes managed to overlook a room towards the bottom of the board? “Come hither, Braband!”, called Tonriel, “’tis probably just more greenskin vermin in this room!”

“Oh sh….!”

The two chaos warriors and Fimir were vanquished, but not without taking a toll on the heroes’ HP: In fact, things were looking pretty dire at this point, with all heroes down to their last couple of HP and all healing spells and potions already used up.

So it was at the worst possible moment that the foul Verag’s lair was revealed:

But our heroes were nothing if not unconventional in their problem solving: Garo von Stein jumped right into the fray, as you would expect from someone with only one defense dice and only three more hitpoints to his name.

His audacity paid off, however, as Verag was instantly slain by a well placed Ball of Flame — while some of the heroes actions were slightly eccentric (bordering on idiotic), I have to admit they really made the best possible use of their offensive spells against dangerous targets!

Unfortunately, his advance had put the Wizard into a bit of a fix:

But he managed to dodge a full round of attacks, right in time for Braband and Tonriel to show up as backup and provide him with a clear route for a strategic escape.

It was a close call, but in the end, our heroes prevailed:

In fact, Thorin the Dwarf even chose to celebrate the occasion by dancing on the table — a bit rich, really, considering his less than stellar combat performance…

But in spite of everything, the heroes were victorious! They did manage to win by the skin of their teeth, though: One more round of combat could have produced the first hero casualties. For this reason, the heroes didn’t perform any further searching in the rooms that were left, but chose to end the quest then and there.

In all fairness, however, they did manage to vanquish quite a few monsters along the way:

So yeah, that was my first HeroQuest game in a long time — and definitely the first game using a fully painted set. So how does it hold up?

We actually had a blast, but then we’ve all grown up with HeroQuest, seeing the game as a bit of a gateway drug into the hobby. So there’s at least some nostalgia involved. There were many legitimately great moments, though: the surgical obliteration of the quest’s two most dangerous creatures by magic, for instance. Or Thorin’s inability to score a single hit on a consecutive five or six rounds: T. just didn’t roll a single skull, to his mounting frustration. On the other hand, the same skill also made him defend lots of damage when it really counted, keeping him alive longer than should have been possible:

“If you are defending, that’s an excellent result. If you are trying to kill something, not so much…”

But the fact remains that the game worked really, really well, in spite of being 30 years old. Granted, it was ever so slightly clunky in places and lacked some of the quality of life features we are all used to from more modern games — both of these problems were ameliorated by the fact that we were still (re)learning the ropes while playing, however, and so we were happy enough to be able to grasp the rules in a speedy fashion: They are really straightforward and robust enough to let you dive right into the game!

Thanks must also go to Annie and T. for indulging me in this venture. We had great fun, and to be able to serve as the evil dungeon master using my own toys again was a lovely, nostalgic moment — one that I hope we’ll be able to repeat sooner rather than later.

But that is a story for another time! For now, everything goes back into the box:

Before we tune out for today, however, let me say that I would love to hear any thoughts, feedback – or, indeed, old HeroQuest war stories – that you may have! Please feel free to leave me a comment below!

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