INQ28: Kitbashing in the time of Corona

For all the sad and awful things that are currently going on in the world, I have found the Corona-mandated downtime as strangely conductive to my creativity when it comes to kitbashing and converting, in spite of everything. So today, I have a monster of a post to share with you, with quite a few new INQ28 conversions that I am pretty proud of. I you would step this way, please…;)

 

Let’s begin with the model that seems to have kicked things off: Earlier this year, the Brothers Wier (of “Between the Bolter And Me” fame kicked a challenge with the subject of using the new AoS Ossiarch Bonereaper models to create some creepy, rather more skeletal Eldar to channel the somewhat gigeresque origins of the Eldar race during the Rogue Trader days of yore:

Illustration by Tony Hough

What’s more, the brothers were also awesome enough to send me one of the models from the Mortek Guard kit to use for the challenge.

But in spite of that generosity, it still took me quite a while to get started on my contribution…

One reason for this, on top of my usual laziness, was that the bar was immediately set incredibly high, for instance by this this very cool and creepy Eldar model built by Adam Wier himself…

Model converted by Adam Wier

or by Larsonic Miniatures’ absolutely incredible Haemonculus.

But seeing how the Coronavirus-downtime had at least provided me with some extra hobby time, I felt that I might just as well finally try to get this show on the road. I still had some leftover Yvraine parts, back from when I first converted the Countess Mandelholtz, and definitely wanted to put them to good use, along with some Dark Eldar knick knacks I still had in my bitzbox.

Even so, the first half of the conversion process was an exercise in frustration, with things just refusing to come together — except for my own fingers, that is, because I certainly managed to glue them together more than once. The model itself didn’t really seem to work, though: For instance, I all but ruined Yvraine’s head in an attempt to go for a really creepy, biomechanical look (think the Alien from the first Species film, minus the gratuitous nudity).

But I soldiered through, and it was actually late at night when I finally felt that I might be on to something:

I think getting the legs and torso to line up properly was what ultimately sealed the deal — after that, it was mostly a question of going with what felt right. And before long, I had this model:

And believe it or not, most of what you see is actually the Mortek Guard model the Wier Brothers originally sent me. I merely spliced in a few Eldar parts from various sources:

  • Yvraine’s feet and hairpiece
  • a Dark Eldar helmet (chosen for its stylised, statuesque features) and one-and-a-half Dark Eldar arms
  • an old (late-90s) Dark Eldar Kabalite warrior’s abdomen (yes, really πŸ˜‰ )
  • a severed elven/Aeldarii head (I think it originally came from a Wood Elf, although I am not sure)

I even ended up with a couple of spare Bonereaper bitz to squirrel away for future projects — YAY! πŸ˜‰

Anyway, the conversion was still rather messy at this point, and needed a few tweaks and some cleanup. Here’s what the finished conversion looks like:






I am actually really happy with this guy (?) at the moment, but that’s probably because the project seemed like such a trainwreck before it finally all started to come together.

There’s zero background in place for the model, but I do like how ambiguous it seems: Is it some new kind of Exarch? A wraithbone construct? Some sinister kind of Drukhari warrior? Or a pre-fall revenant? Fellow hobbyist BeardGoblin even pointed out that the model resembles an Avatar of Khaine — in fact, it could even work as an Epic-/Adeptus Titanicus-scaled Avatar, minus the severed head.

In any case, I think I’ve come up with a working contribution for the challenge — speaking of which, though, you should definitely check out all of the other excellent contributions: Go read up on them over here, at “Between the Bolter and Me” — and many thanks again to the Wier Brothers for sending over that model and for allowing me to be a part of this event!

 

Getting this particular conversion to work also felt like the floodgates had been opened, in a sense, and I emerged from this project quite motivated and with an appetite for something a little more …adventurous. So what happened next?

A couple of years ago, I was lucky enough to be able to snap up the female vampires from the WFB/AoS Coven Throne. If you ask me, those are some of GW’s coolest models (and still some of their best female sculpts), and I have cannibalised them for several projects over the years (to build, just to name the most important examples, Mistress Elisha Gorgo, Countess Mandelholtz, Redactor Orlant’s masked bodyguard and the pilot for my second Knight Armiger). This all left me with – most – of the body of the main vampiress (only missing her head and parts of her arms) as well as the cushions that normally go behind her on the Coven Throne. And whenever I came upon those parts while burrowing through my bitzbox, I would always have this vague idea to one day turn her into a cool, very Blanchesque figure in a floating comfy chair.

Well, desperate times call for desperate measure, so I decided that it was finally time to go for it:

When I started this conversion, I did not yet know whether I wanted her to be an eccentric noble or a crime lord (or both) or some kind of conspirator — for starters, it was just fun to delve into the Blanchitsu look to create her. The model was missing its head, and I decided to actually turn that into a virtue, using a creepy resin skull (sent to me by my buddy Biohazard a couple of years ago) and some GS cables to give her a suitably grimdark mask. An eyelens from a set of Cadian binoculars was used to add an augmetic eye piece to the mask.

The cushion bit was far to nice to discard, and I loved the idea of having her float on some kind of antigrav chair. So I created a suitably impressive throne for her:

As you can see, I added another cushion (made from GS) to elevate her to the right height and make for a smooth fit. I then used what I believe are mostly Sentinel bitz to tech-up her chair a bit (with some Chimera flamers repurposed as antigrav suspensors).

Here’s the grimdark mamzel, with her chair suitably built up:

This only really left me with one area to deal with: Her feet. Ideally, there would have been some kind of footrest for her, but when I tried to cobble something together, I realised that an element like that would obscure most of the lower front of the chair, defeating the exercise of having a floating chair to begin with.

In the end, the solution was rather simple: As I still had the flowing skirts from the other two vampires, I simply shaved down one of them to fit the mamzel. So here’s the finished conversion:


I also have a slightly firmer idea about her background now: I’ll be calling her “Lady Bloodbriar”, and she’s the head of a crime/underworld syndicate of the same name that has become very powerful indeed behind the scenes of the Velsen Sector. Her real identity remains a secret, and she prefers to keep it that way — although, I actually do have a pretty good idea who she really is, underneath the mask. That’ll be a story for a different time, though…

Still feeling very happy with the conversion, I took a long hard look at it and decided that what Lady Bloodbriar really needed was…a pudgy little cherub whose funtion was basically that of an ambulatory fan:




Now the idea of using Nurglings to create cherubim wasn’t mine — it’s a clever approach I first saw on Jeff Vader’s Convertorum. It did serve me really well here, though! The little skull face was actually designed to match Lady Bloodbriar’s mask. Oh, and I added some tiny augmetic plugs to the Nurgling’s body here and there, to hint at the fact that this is an automaton of some sophistication!

And yes, I am quite aware of the fact that actual cherubim models are now freely available as part of the new Sisters of Battle kits — but the plan here was to focus on only using parts from the old bitzbox. And that was even before GW stopped taking any orders, too!

Anyway, my original plan was to actually have him on the chair as well (on one of the cushions behind her), but I am pretty sure that this would have overcluttered the model — plus I do rather like the idea of the little guy hurrying behind the floating throne, trying his best to keep up..

And seeing how I had basically lost my marbles at this point, I couldn’t help thinking about yet another cherub for her, loosely inspired by a detail appearing in a piece of John Blanche artwork from the second edition 40k rulebook:

Illustration by John Blanche

In it, a cherub is wearing the cutest little pseudo-napoleonic uniform:

And seeing how I still had a head wearing a bicorn (sent to me by fellow hobbyist Drone21c, if I remember correctly), I knew I just had to try and channel that effect:

He is carrying a little hourglass, as if to say: “This is all the time you get to plead your case with the mistress…”

The little guy with the hat will be named “Nullsum” (thanks to a brilliant suggestion from fellow hobbyist A_Tempest_Sinister), and his buddy will be called “Aerial” (in an attempt at a similar pun πŸ˜‰ ).

Also, I think I’ll be giving Nullsum a little sword:

It just makes for an even more “heraldic” look, for lack of a better word…

So I had the Lady Bloodbriar herself, and her two cherubim — but that wasn’t nearly enough, and I was basically neck-deep into this project at this point, when I came upon an incredible blog post at Meandering Shade that made me realise that there’s something really interesting you can also do with a cable maker — quite an eye opener! So I simply had to build a majordomo for Lady Bloodbriar. Meet Master Corvinus Icter:

As you can see, he is currently occupied with contemplating the contents of a dataslate while his mistress talks to a supplicant, and probably interjecting pointed questions and remarks (“What were your credentials again?” “These numbers don’t seem to add up…”)

The conversion itself mostly consists of bitz from the WFB Empire Greatswords /AoS Freeguild Greatswords, with just a shaved-down Skitarii coat as well as a Delaque head and dataslate spliced in for flavour — and there’s that glorious hairdo, of course, basically created by cutting apart a GS cable and carefully applying its parts to a substructure also made from GS. It’s unbelievable how easy this was — although it might still need a bit of cleanup here and there.

I have one more conversion for you for today’s update — because a powerful mover and schemer like Lady Bloodbriar obviously also needs some muscle to serve as a personal bodyguard. After giving it a bit of thought, I dismissed the idea of including some kind of heavily muscled ganger, but rather went for a bit of a “palace guard”-style character, and with a highly stylised and idealised look, to match the amount of ostentation evident in the rest of the models. Now the Custodes and Stormcast Eternals basically have the market for statuesque, hulking warriors cornered between them, so I had to get a bit creative to come up with something that didn’t look too similar to them, while also invoking some visual cues from either — after all, it seems obvious that, in-universe, both the Custodes and Astartes would be revered as some kind of godlike ideal by citizens of the Imperium, and that the most influential among them would pattern their own household guards after those legendary warriors to some degree.

Anyway, here’s WIP for “the Sentinel”:


This conversion was all about creating a massive, statuesque and idealised warrior that wasn’t to look like a Space Marine. I tried to achieve this by using some slightly unconventional bitz — the base model was a Blood Warrior of Khorne, for instance. I am also rather happy with the spliced-together facemask and with the use of a Kharadron Overlords spear as a pretty exotic looking weapon.

Of course the Sentinel didn’t escape a round of tweaks, either πŸ˜‰

I added a shield because I wanted to support the statuesque look even more — plus it also seemed like a fitting choice for a guard. The grisly skull trophy was exchanged for something a little more fitting (I use the winged sword device as a symbol for St. Sabasto, the “Sword Saint”, even though it’s originally a DA symbol, obviously πŸ˜‰

So here’s the group, pretty much as it stands right now:

I am really having a blast with this project — in fact, to be quite honest with you, I had feared that I might have “lost my touch”, so to speak, since the level of quality all around seems to have soared, while some of the stuff I have been working on just felt trite and derivative. But with these latest models (and some of my latest World Eaters), I think I am in a pretty good place once again. I am not saying that none of this has been done before – and, indeed, I have been taking inspiration from fellow hobbyists like Jeff Vader, EdT and others left and right – but these latest models do feel like a – much-needed – breath of fresh air to me!

Oh, and I have even sketched out some inconography for Lady Bloodbriar’s crime syndicate (“The Bloodbriar Syndicate”? or “Cabal”? Or “Cartel?” Does anybody know any more cool, 40k-like words for a crime ring?):

I like the idea that most members of the organisation wear this kind of symbol — or a variation thereof: It could appear as tiny, inconspicuous tattoos or brands on the upper echelons of the organisation, whereas low level brutes would be covered in briar tattoos.

Anyway, if anyone’s still reading: That’s it for today’s update. I would, of course, love to hear any thoughts and suggestions you might have!

As always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more — and please stay safe and healthy during these challenging times!

30 Responses to “INQ28: Kitbashing in the time of Corona”

  1. Jeff Vader Says:

    Wow! Love these conversions!

    That napoleonic cherub is just the best.

    Minor nitpick would be that the wires at the back are a bit unnecessary. Apart from that it’s brilliantly realised model.

    • Thanks a lot, mate! And cheers for the idea of using Nurglings for cherubim in the first place! πŸ™‚

      As for the cables, can they *ever* be unnecesssary on a 40k conversion? πŸ˜‰ Seriously, though: I did want to hint at some kind of mechanical inner workings (maybe even underneath that dashing bicorn), and besides I have been addicted to adding cables to each and every model I convert at the moment, so yeah…

  2. xyzdude0 Says:

    Oh man I love, love Lady Briar and her entourage! You just inspired me to go and start my own Blanche style project as well as finally purchase a green stuff cable maker. I was thinking maybe give her some sort of battle servitor with a cannon and a scribe covered in auto quills? Can’t wait to see how your project progresses! Any ideas those for a chaos cultist Blanche style project you would be willing to share?

    • Cheers for the kind words! Also, those are some solid ideas! As for your question, let me just say that the female champ from the pretty recent Blackstone Fortress chaos cultists (the one with the fanged/horned mask) is basically a model version of a character JB had been drawing for ages at this point, so maybe she’s be a good point to start? There are also the pictures from the GW 40k playing card set that JB did the artwork for, those can provide lots of kitbashing ideas, and there was even a challenge on Instagram a while ago to re-create the card-images in model form. And finally, don’t forget the fact that what really makes the models look like a John Blanche piece is more in the somewhat loose, painterly paintjob, and less in the actual kitbashing. Anyway, hope this helps! πŸ™‚

  3. Inquisitor Mikhailovich Says:

    Lady Bloodbriar and her entourage are awesome. My one hypothetical gripe is with the Sentinel, because he feels almost too ‘roided out to mesh with the other characters in an immediate capacity – Bloodbriar seems like the kind of person to surround herself with only the most beautiful of people, and have characters like the Sentinel be more downstream. To draw reference to a model you’ve done previously, I feel like Esteban Revas would be more like the kind of character that Lady Bloodbriar would have in her immediate entourage, but maybe with even more pomp and circumstance.

    Of course, that’s just a personal opinion, and whichever way you do decide to take this entourage, you’ve realized the characters really well! Keep up the good work

    • Thanks a lot for the comment — ironically enough, your reasoning was the precisely the reason why I chose to build the sentinel the way I did: I originally wanted to use a ‘roided-out Goliath-style ganger (because this the Bloodbriar Cartel is, after all, an underworld affair), but then I thought that the Lady would probably demand that even her most hulking bodyguards must at least be prettily armoured and dressed up, so as not to offend her aesthetic sensibilities πŸ˜‰ That being said, I am currently working on another bodyguard to act as a visual counterpoint to the sentinel’s bulk.

  4. Mojo-jojo Says:

    Wow! I’ve been following your blog for the better part of two years now and this post is definitely in the top 3, maybe the top of quality of your conversions. That retinue is amazing. And great to see you pick up the Weir challenge. That is a great Eldar model. A pleasure to read this update. Keep safe!

    • Thanks a lot, Mojo-jojo! Yeah, there was an ease to building these latest models that makes them feel like a pretty successful project. Glad to hear you like them too!

  5. What a fantastic group. The juices are flowing now. Lovely idea to have the crimelord floating decadently on the chair. The cherubs are great. The sentinel makes for a fantastic bit of muscle, inching towards thunder warrior territory. Love the spear weapon. Really is unique bunch that convey the story of the group. Fantastic stuff!

  6. Awesome work all round mate – Lady Bloodbriar @ co are superb, but I love the whole concept for the Eldar… I’ll have to look at that whole range again!

    • Cheers, Alex! The Bonereapers have lots of quirky, pretty awkward models, but they are certainly promising as building blocks for all kinds of conversion projects.

  7. Well it’s all just fantastic! Love the Lady Bloodbriar and her retinue they just ooze Blanchian vibes! Great work and stay safe too πŸ™‚

  8. Stunning work! Loving the baroque nature of the whole group, and there’s so much character to each figure. Looking forward to seeing them painted.

  9. RookCorvus Says:

    Kraut, you never do seem to stop laboring away at the forges of your imagination.

    That Eldar kitbash is stellar. Gigeresque is spot-on to describe that look. Really nails the concept of wraithbone armor for me. I’ll be interested to see it painted up and based- especially since that spear is lower than the base itself!

    And the Bloodbriar Coterie… wow! The lady reeks of the kind of sophistication that can be immediately fatal. Incredible work on her; especially keeping her looking plausibly svelte despite the grav-throne. The cherubim are also clever, and cute in the requisite twisted fashion.

    That majordomo is amazing! The wig came out brilliantly, and that face drips disdain. I can’t tell if I prefer the image of that being his flesh and blood face, or an elegant mask.

    I’m going to disagree with another commenter and say I love the bodyguard. Functional, with enough elegance overlaid to keep him presentable. The wing as a shield is a lovely touch.

    I actually think that a mirrored version would really help sell the concept. After all, what powerful villain doesn’t want a matched pair of underlings? Just look at Lex Luthor with his bodyguards, Hope and Mercy.

    • Thanks for the kind words, RookCorvus! And some great observations!

      The Eldar will, of course, be based atop some kind of hill or rock — or maybe a mound of skulls/fallen enemies/… The objective here is very much to elevate the model so the spear clears the floor. That being said, I think this should also make for a nice way to support the one-off “special project” nature of the sculpt.

      That’s the majordomo’s face, alright: A humorless and drawn face, mayhap, but a face nonetheless πŸ˜‰

      Regarding the bodyguard, euansmith pointed out over at the Ammobunker how a dignitary/cartel member walking between two of those sentinels would look as though they were winged themselves, on account of the sentinels’ shields. Which would be awesome, but I also realise that I am too scatterbrained to build (and paint) two identical models, so it’ll probably have to be relegated to some kind of background text πŸ˜‰

  10. […] A blog about KrautScientist's wargaming exploits « INQ28: Kitbashing in the time of Corona […]

  11. See – this is what I mean by my comments being very repetitive when I see your amazing creations! What else can I say that I didn’t type a couple of hours ago?

  12. I was just doing some clean-up of my blog feed and catching up on things I’d missed in the last few weeks and finally came across this.

    “Thought you’d lost your touch”!?!
    I am always excited and inspired by the conversions you do, you have a real skill at breathing life and character into your conversions.

    Absolutely love all of these. That is a wonderful use for the sitting vampire, works so well. The Nurgling Cherubim are fun and grotesque. Love the Sentinel and that opulence/arrogance of the mistress to have her guards emulate the look of Astartes.

    Really happy the wig idea was useful to you, the Major-domo looks fantastic. I’ve been wondering about what projects I might be able to use that on again in future.

    The pandemic/lock-down seems to have had the reverse effect on me unfortunately. My hobby production has slipped by the wayside, spending more time doing things around the house and entertaining the kids. Just in the middle of a big reorganisation of my hobby room, hopefully that’ll spur me on once I’m done with it.

    The Brothers Wier sent me one of the Bonereapers too, it’s just sat here on my desk with a half-dozen or so incomplete conversions. I really want to get back to it.

    Anyway, don’t want to end on a gripe… I WILL be getting back to hobby work when I’ve got the room organised. Thanks for the awesome inspiring hobby work you do, take care.

    • Haha, so glad to hear you like the conversions — seeing those posts over at your blog really lit a fire under me when I was experimenting with that tentacle maker πŸ˜‰

      Here’s hoping you’ll be getting in some hobbying of yourself in the near future! Best wishes!

  13. […] posts corona and here talk about the Bloodbriar Syndicate, one of my more recent warband projects, still very […]

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