Archive for September, 2019

INQ28: Unfinished business, pt. 2

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Fluff, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob, Pointless ramblings, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2019 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, time for another update: I still have to spent way too much time on hospital visits, but I nevertheless thank you guys for all the well-wishes! It really means a lot!

If nothing else, I have managed to be a bit more productive in hobby terms, mostly thanks to another painting session at my friend Annie’s place.

So what do I have for you today? — More finished members for my Ordo Xenos warband, as it happens.

And that’s a good thing, really, because this particular retinue is one of my oldest INQ28-related hobby projects, and it’s always a great feeling to be able to cross some long-neglected models off my list of unpainted stuff!

Inquisitor Alvar’s warband was actually originally started in 2013, with several of the models also first conceived back then.

In hindsight, the warband almost seems like a primitive precursor to the colourful group of adventurers that would end up in the Blackstone Fortress boxed se:

— overtaken by GW’s own release schedule, now that is one for the news 😉

But anyway, all the more reason to finally show this project some love! So I’ve managed to add two more finished members to the warband, and I have also taken some new photos of all the characters so far, so let’s start by going through the members of Inquisitor Alvar’s retinue:

First up, the Inquisitor himself: Titus Alvar of the Ordo Xenos Velsen — Inquisitor, socialite, adventurer:


There’s an as-of-yet unnamed sanctioned psyker who is also a member of Alvar’s warband. My vague backstory for him is that Alvar picked him up while he was under Inquisitorial audit for some psionic “friendly fire” caused by the presence of a Xenos artifact.



Next up,  Zekariah “Foreman” Lunn, Inquisitorial operative and veteran of the Eisenberg Factory Guard:



And T’L’Kess, Kroot tracker and scout, and possibly the last survivor of his kindred:


So much for the members of Alvar’s retinue so far, but what about the new blood? Well, let’s take a look!

First up is Inquisitor Alvar’s interrogator, Mamzel Millerna Acheron:

Now this is actually not a GW model, but actually Reaper Miniatures’ “Sasha Dubois, Time Chaser”, from the Chronoscope line of models. I will say, however, that it almost looks like a missing GW sculpt from the late 90s or early aughts, with maybe a dash of Chris Fitzpatrick, especially in the face. Anyway, I mostly picked up this model a couple of years ago because I liked the sculpt so much — but I quickly realised that she would go really well with the rest of Alvar’s warband, and she even mirrors some of the visual cues that appear on the Inquisitor. To wit, one of the most popular paintjobs of the model to be found online even uses a colour palette that is somewhat similar to my recipe for Alvar:

In any case, this was defnitely one of the paintjobs I kept putting off for years for fear of messing up. At the same time, I didn’t want the model to perfectly match Alvar’s look, but rather to complement it. Here’s what I came up with:

Seeing how several details appear on both Alvar and Millerna (such as the epaulettes, coat, the goggles on the forehead,…), turning the models of echoes of each other to a degree, I thought I could get away with a blue-ish/turquoise coat. I also see Millerna as the scion of a voidfaring family, so a slightly naval look did seem appropriate (and worked well with the golden elements on her coat as well).

I also took the liberty to not paint her with a bare-midriff, as that seemed a bit too gratuitous and risqué for a professional Inquisitorial operative. Instead, I tried to achive the look of combat fatigues or an armoured bodyglove, which I think is a far better match for a character like this. I am really very happy with the finished model, if I do say so myself!

Here’s a group picture of Inquisitor Alvar and his interrogator, and I’d say they work very well together:

With one tough challenge behind me, I was feeling cocky enough to start painting one of the first conversions created for the retinue, and a rather involved one at that. Professor Abelard Marbray, renowned Xeno-archeologist of the Bastold Imperial Akademy:


To quote myself from back when I originally came up with the character:

“It also stands to reason that an Inquisitor exploring Xenos ruins would have need of a specialist in the field of archaeology. And indeed, while painting the model for Inquisitor Alvar, inspiration struck and made me want to convert one of the most underappreciated WFB plastic characters, the Empire Master Engineer — at least, it’s the only model that’s ALWAYS available at the FLGS and never sells out. And to be honest, it used to be the one model I couldn’t see myself using for anything. But it just seemed perfect for this:”

Using the – now OOP, ironically enough – Empire Master Engineer did make for a somewhat quirky model, but that was really just the look I wanted, even back then: Equal parts nutty professor and mad scientist, and also the look of an old gentleman academic going on a grand adventure in what he considers his best possible gear for the great outdoors.

It’s also a rather cluttered and busy model with lots and lots of detail to paint, so to finish the professor did take a while. But here he is, ready to travel out into the sea of stars — FOR SCIENCE!


That bulky, voxcaster-based thing on his back is supposed to be some kind of portable cogitator, by the way, allowing him to file and cross-reference his findings even while working in the field. I imagine it even makes an old-fashioned “ding” sound when finishing with a calculation 😉



I built the professor to be contemplating a rusty, dirty Necron skull, as you can see, unsure whether this is an artifact of a Xenos culture or actual part of an alien. There’s even a patch of bright silver where his fingers have wiped away some of the dust and grime of the ages (although you probably have to take a close look to see it):


This was another paintjob that I had been putting off for a long time — and to finally have completed these two characters really does feel like quite an achievement — silly, I know 😉

In any case, this brings Inquisitor Alvar’s merry band of rogues and adventurers quite a bit closer to its completion. Here’s the entire retinue so far:

As for future additions, there are actually four more possible members for the warband. Take a look:

From left to right, there’s a Magos Xenobiologis of the Adeptus Mechanicus, now on permanent secondment to the Ordos, Professor Marbray’s research assistant, a Squat/Demiurg (or whatever you want to call them — I thought it would be a fun model to throw in) and Shiv Korlund, a female hive ganger, represented by one of Jes Goodwin’s vintage Escher models.

Looking at the retinue now that it’s starting to come together for good, I realise that the warband definitely owes a debt of inspiration to the Inquisitorial retinue fellow hobbyist Lamby is currently working on (and, to be exact, has been for a while). This wasn’t really a conscious decision on my part, but I cannot help feeling some of my models echo the design cues you can see in Lamby’s work, and there are subtle similarities here and there that must be due to my following his warband taking place over a similar number of years. So cheers, mate! And great to see you working on your stuff again!

I am also happy to finally be able to contribute something to one of Azazel’s community challenges again, as my attempts to finally finish Inquisitor Alvar’s warband should definitely qualify as a part of his Squaddie September ’19 challenge.

As is usually the case, I would love to hear your thoughts on the models, so please leave a comment! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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State of the Hunt, Week 37/2019: Murders & Acquisitions

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Fluff, Inq28, Inquisitor, state of the hunt, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 14, 2019 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, I have been slow to update the blog — September arrived and saw both my parents in the hospital (and for different reasons, at that), so this has been a really tiring couple of weeks. The situation is also still ongoing, unfortunately enough — so please keep your fingers crossed for me!

It should be no surprise, then, that the overall situation has had a bit of a negative impact on my hobby mojo and productivity. So I only have a smaller update for you this week, and one mainly dealing with WIP models again. Anyway, what is this about?

For today’s – brief – update, I want to revisit one of my INQ28 projects that fits squarely into my recent attempt to explore some of the political figures populating the Velsen Sector, such as my recently painted conversion for Lord Sebastianus Danver Balzepho Vlachen, heir-apparent to the ailing sector governor:


Anyway, characters like this are a part of what Dan Abnett refers to as “domestic Warhammer 40,000” — the world one degree removed from the endless battlefields of the 41st millennium — or maybe not…

But anyway, one of these “domestic Warhammer 40,000” projects of mine is a retinue representing the “Mandelholtz House of Imperial Finance”, one of the Velsen Sector’s mahor political players. To quote myself from last year:

The inspiration for this came from Joe Abercrombie’s First Law series (and from his other books set in the same universe), where the banking house of Valint & Balk has a finger in each and every pie, and happens to be one of the most insidious influences present in the entire setting, always playing both sides, so the bank always wins. Which strikes me as both very grimdark and also, unfortunately enough, rather realistic.

So I came up with House Mandelholtz, or “The Mandelholtz House of Imperial Finance”, to quote its full title, Velsen’s own banking house. I see them as one of the sector’s big movers and shakers, and like any good evil banking house from history’s great dark hall of fame, they get to throw around their weight a lot. If you’ve seen the series Taboo and remember the way the East India Company gets protrayed in that series, THAT’S what I want House Mandelholtz to feel like.

Anyway, the Mandelholtz board of directors is a shadowy assembly, and very few people in the sector actually know who holds a stake in the house’s businesses. Which lends itself rather beautifully to all kinds of Inquisitorial dabblings and should work great as a storytelling device.

I have quite a few ideas to flesh out my concept for House Mandelholtz — and of course that includes having the faction represented on the tabletop by some kind of retinue or warband. I actually finished the most important conversion for the project some time last year: The model to represent the Countess Mandelholtz herself:

The Countess was only one of the characters I envisioned for the project, however: Another was one Azaleas Vile, one of the house’s most high-ranking operatives.

He is a banker, to be sure, but the countess also entrusts him with some of the most delicate tasks as well as some of the most hideous acts to be committed under the house’s orders, with the ultimate goal of furthering House Mandelholtz’s aims. So I needed a model that would look as though the character were quite at home in the boardrooms AND the ballrooms of Velsen, yet would also be able to hold his own in the underhive as well. I also didn’t want Azaleas Vile to look like just any other grimdark fighting type — quite a challenge I had set for myself…

The actual conversion began when Kill Team: Rogue Trader was first released, or rather, when I first saw the model for Voidmaster Nitsch:

I really liked the erect pose and poise of the character, but more than anything, I was intrigued by one particular detail: Unlike just about every other model in the 40k catalogue, Nitsch is wearing some rather “civilian” pants: no boots and combat trousers, no robes, but rather something you would see in a rather more domestic setting — I knew that he would be perfect as a starting point for my Azaleas Vile conversion.

So when I was recently able to pick up the Voidmaster Nitsch model for a good price, I knew the time had come to finally get to work:

I really wanted to swap in a different head, obviously. I had envisioned Azaleas as at least reasonably handsome, and I picked up a couple of Empire Greatswords bits, mostly in order to get my hands on the particular head I wanted to use for the conversion — pictured next to the base model in the photo above.

After a bit of messing around, I realised I would have to get rid of the arms and replace them: They seemed just a tad too combat-oriented, and I wanted a model that seemed a bit more subdued and not as openly aggressive.

So here’s what I came up with. Meet Azaleas Vile, everyone:


While I re-used Voidmaster Nitsch’s right shoulder pad – for a dash of grimdark couture – I also made sure to make the other shoulder look suitably sharp, like something you might see on a tailored suit.


The briefcase (originally a from a Tempestus Scion medic) was a spur-of-the-moment idea that I am so proud of in hindsight — he is a banker, after all!

If anything, the model is actually still slightly too military-looking for my taste, but I still think the conversion is a fair compromise between how you would see Azaleas Vile in a boardroom and the getup he would choose for a nasty wetwork operation downhive…

 

After finishing the conversion for Azaleas, the dear countess herself didn’t escape my scrutiny either, so I made another tweak to her model as well: When I originally built the countess, I gave her a lumpy, hideos crypt ghoul back to hint at the fact that rejuvenat treatments had taken her as far as possible:

But while I liked the element in principle, that lumpy back with its bristles still seemed a bit too on-the-nose on the finished model.
Now among a couple of WFB Empire Greatsword bitz I had picked up was a ridiculously huge feather that seemed like the perfect bit to glitz up the countess a bit:





The feather covers up at least some of the mess (while also leaving just enough visible to keep the overall effect suitably disturbing). It also makes her outfit even more outlandish, which I love — I believe 40k court outfits should be completely over the top!


So yeah, House Mandelholtz is slowly taking shape! Here’s an early mockup of what an eventual House Mandelholtz warband, including Azaleas Vile, the Countess Mandelholtz herself, and some of the house’s scribes, might look like:

In fact, I have already started experimenting with a possible recipe for some kind of household guard for House Mandelholtz, but haven’t managed to find the right angle yet: Would such operatives be extremely effective special ops soldiers? In that case, something based on the Van Saar gangers from Necromunda might be the right approach. At the same time, I also like the idea of a household guard that is a bit more ceremonial and ostentatious — think the Swiss Guard, only in the 41st millennium. So I have begun playing around with some of the Empire Greatswords bodies and some Skitarii parts for some kind of “Neo-Prussian” palace guard look:

But that’s not quite it, either — not least of all because the model does look a bit runtish, doesn’t it? Anyway, if anybody has an idea for a fitting and cool looking recipe for House Mandelholtz’ household guard, I would be happy to hear i!

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