Archive for the 30k Category

Lord of the XII Legion – the Killing Ground

Posted in 30k, 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 21, 2019 by krautscientist

So there I was, after last week’s post, with my aquila lander for Azazel’s terrain challenge all primed and ready to go — and then something just jumped the queue. It’s still a terrain project, however, after a fashion. And I am confident it’ll make another fitting entry for the community challenge. So what is this about?

A bit more than two years ago, I converted and painted a model that still stands as one of my proudest hobby achievements: My interpretation of Angron, Primarch of the World Eaters, in his ascended form as a Daemon-Primarch of Khorne:


I am still extremely proud of the model, which inspired several blog posts and was, itself, part of an even bigger project to build models to represent Angron at different moments in his violent life.

Anyway, you can find out more about the process of creating Daemon-Primarch Angron here. The truth of the matter, however, was that more than two years later, the model still wasn’t completely finished.

You see, back when I built the base for my Daemon-Primarch version of Angron, it was planned as a modular display base, based on the shattered Imperial aquila terrain piece from the Honoured Imperium kit.

The actual base for Angron himself was, carefully and painstakingly, sawn out of the original terrain piece:


At the same time, I added two more Ultramarines to the bigger part of the display, in order to create a small mini-diorama of the XII Legion Primarch slashing through the remains of an Ultramarines squad. Something like this:


Alas, that modular piece was never finished, as I kept telling myself I would just quickly paint it up at a later point — I should really have listened to my buddy Augustus b’Raass who told me that I should not put it off for too long, lest I end up taking years to finish it. Which is precisely what happened…

But when I took a look at the unpainted base last week, I felt the need to finally finish it and give Angron his proper display — if nothing else, I wanted to have the model completely finished before GW decides to release an official model for Angron in his 40k form…

With both the actual terrain and two Ultramarines models left to complete, this was actually a pretty substantial hobby endeavour, but I surprised myself by actually making fairly quick work of it.

First up were the actual aquila base and the kneeling Ultramarine who is lining up a last shot at the Primarch:



I went for the same scratched and scuffed armour look I had aready used on the unlucky bisected officer held in Angron’s right fist, to create the impression the scene was set during a grueling battle. Due to the slightly 30k-styled Armour of the Ultramarines, this could be set either in the 30k timeframe (at the very end of the Shadow Crusade, upon Angron’s “ascension”) or during any of the following millennia, up to “current-day” 40k.

The Ultramarine standard to the right of the Marine actually mirrors an identical piece appearing on the base of my Forgeworld Angron:


The most complicated part of the paintjob was, ironically enough, to match the colour of the right side of the aquila to that appearing on the smaller part of it that makes up Daemon-Angron’s base, something that would, of course, have been trivially easy, had I painted it all in one go…


As you can see, that left only the fallen Marine in the middle (actually one of the Marine’s from the stock base of Forgeworld’s Angron), and I quickly painted that last model over the weekend.

Of course I made sure to create a suitable bloodstain on the ground, before gluing down the model:

So without further ado, here’s the finished display base, showing a charging Lord of the XII Legion and the courageous, if ill-fated, last stand of an Ultramarines squad:



Here’s a view from the unlucky survivor’s perspective…


I really feel I am giving the Ultramarines a fair shake here, in spite of everything: That last guy looks dead set not to abandon his position and to fight to his last, which seems very much in character for the legion. I feel this also prevents the dead smurfs from just feeling like gratuitous splatter effects. And after all, it’s Angron we are talking about here — there was always going to be blood, right? 😉


And of course the whole ensemble is still modular, allowing me to use Angron on his own, smaller base:


Here are some additional detail shots showing off various parts of the finished piece:







It feels great to finally have finished the complete piece – and also the last part of my little collection, or “Massacre”, of Angrons! The modular display bases for Forgeworld’s Horus Heresy characters were an inspiration for this, and now it definitely seems like a FW base turned up to eleven.

Now for that aquila lander… 😉

Anyway, that’s it for today. I would, of course, love to hear your thoughts about the finished piece, so please leave a comment! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

“And they shall know fear…”

The 2018 Eternal Hunt Awards, pt. 2: A look back at my hobby year

Posted in 30k, 40k, Blood Bowl, Chaos, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, Orcs & Goblins, Pointless ramblings, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2019 by krautscientist

Awards

First of all, happy new year again, and welcome to the second installment of the 2018 Eternal Hunt Awards, in which I will be taking a look back at my personal hobby year — as everybody else on the internet seems to be doing this week 😉

Still, I hope you will indulge me — if nothing else, 2018 was a pretty successful hobby year for me, and I am rather proud of my output. There were also some hobby moments of note that I would like to share with you. And no recap would be complete without a couple of ideas – and, indeed, resolutions, for the new year, so there’s that, too.

So let’s get started:

I. My hobby projects

Twelve months ago, I looked at the stuff I had managed to paint in 2017, and while I was pretty happy with the quality with my output, the quantity left a lot to be desired, with only twelve completed models:


So one of my goals for 2018 was definitely to get more stuff painted, with an added sub-goal of trying to make a dent in my back catalogue of neglected, woefully unpainted models. And looking at my 2018 hobby results today, I can say that the mission has been accomplished. Here are all the models I have managed to paint in 2018:

That’s 52 models, all in all, one for each week of the year — although, to be perfectly honest, my output was heavily front-loaded 😉

Now I do of course realise that this is not an award winning number by any stretch of the imagination — so many hobbyists I follow have managed to paint upwards of 200 models last year, while fellow hobbyist Azazel, almost insultingly, manages to finish my yearly amount of painted models every other month (!), but I am still very pleased with the above tableau of finished pieces.

What’s more, about half of those models are indeed pieces that had been sitting unpainted (if not unloved!) in my cupboard of shame — for years, in many cases!

By the same token, 2018’s big hobby lesson was that to keep painting on a constant basis leads to it actually feeling much less like a chore: Before, I would often find myself looking forward to having the actual finished models, while dreading the way towards that goal. These days, however, I realise that I am looking forward to the actual painting process, to be able to try new stuff, more and more often — not nearly often enough, mind you, but it’s a start! 🙂

Thanks for this development must go to Azazel, again, for his wonderfully inclusive monthly hobby challenges that have truly become a pillar of the community — the fact that they get mentioned as a positive influence on dozens of blogs should be more than enough proof of that fact, and funnily enough, the January challenge has me looking forward to crossing another unfinished item off my inventory list. So cheers for that, mate!

The other big incentive to keep painting were my regular painting sessions with my good friend Annie: It’s so much easier to keep beavering away at frustrating detail work while sitting across from someone who is doing the same, being able to share friendly quips, hobby advice or ideas — and then eating huge piles of Greek takeaway food. So many thanks to Annie as well! 🙂

So, let’s take a closer look at my biggest 2018 hobby projects in turn:

1. Khorne’s Eternal Hunt

Here’s the one possible piece of bad news: I have definitely given my longest running hobby endeavour short shrift this past year, at least from a numbers perspective: only three new models for Khorne’s Eternal Hunt, my World Eaters, in their various incarnations. If nothing else, however, I am still really happy with those three models, though:

In fact, the very first model I painted in January 2018 was a – pretty cool – additon to my (30k) World Eaters, Raud the Hunter, a Legion Contemptor with a chip on his shoulder:

I am still really happy with the model, which is already the second World Eaters Contemptor I have converted from the somewhat bland Betrayal at Calth plastic Contemptor. Raud was supposed to serve as a bridgehead for many painted 30k World Eaters in 2018 — which somehow never came to pass. But we’ll just have to postpone the invasion to 2019 then, eh? 😉

In any case, you can read more about Raud in this post.

The next model for my World Eaters was also basically my crowning achievement of 2018: The Hound, a renegade Armiger Warglaive, complete with converted cockpit and pilot, completed during the summer as a contribution for the annual ETL event over at The Bolter & Chainsword:

I have loved the Armiger models at first sight, and corrupting one to the service of the ruinous powers was a lot of fun — as was the somewhat fiddly process of wedging a cockpit and pilot into that deceptively small torso 😉 In the end, however, it was all worth it, as I am really proud of the finished model, and it also won me the “Badge of the Artificer”, a B&C forum achievement I had been coveting for years:

In case you are interested, you can read up on the Hound in this post and its follow-ups.

And while we are on the matter of (Not-so) Imperial Knights, I also used the release of the Adeptus Titanicus-scaled Questoris Knights to build yet another “Chibi-Knight”, a smaller version of my Traitor Knight, Gilgamesh, the Warrior King:


And if you’ve been paying attention so far, it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that I felt the absolute urge to somehow build a cockpit and pilot for this model as well:

To discover more (occasionally tiny) details about this projects, check out my posts on Chibi-Gilgamesh 2.0 here, here and here.

 

2. The world of INQ28

While the World Eaters did not get all that much attention from me last year, I had all the more time to devote to INQ28 characters and retinues, managing to complete no fewer than five warbands, three of which were painted from start to finish. This makes the “INQ28 class of 2018” look rather impressive, if I do say so myself:

Moreover, here’s where my plan to finish long neglected models truly came to fruition. For instance, I finally managed to paint a model that I had been putting off for years for fear of ruining it: Mamzel Elisha Gorgo, an Imperial débutante and psyker in the employ of Inquisitor Gotthardt of the Ordo Hereticus:


And indeed, finally painting the model also served as a capstone to Inquisitor Gotthardt’s entire retinue, which is now finally finished, after years of procrastination:


This is actually one of my oldest INQ28 projects, with many of the models originating in a time where both my bitz box and conversion prowess were much smaller than they are today, yet I still remain enormously fond of the somewhat swashbuckling, picaresque charm of the warband (and of my resourcefulness at channeling so many of the archetypes from the old Inquisitor rulebook with the bitz available at that time).

Another long-neglected project was the retinue of Inquisitor Nabreus Arslan of the Ordo Hereticus Velsen:


The warband started off as a bit of a reception camp for various older models, some of them still from GW’s metal days, and yet everything came together rather nicely as a pretty unified-looking Hereticus warband: I blazed through all of these models back in February and March, and going full fire and brimstone on them was a lot of fun!

Take a closer look at the warband here.

Hot on the heels of Arslan and his operatives came yet another Inquisitorial retinue, namely that of Redactor Orlant of the Ordo Scriptorum:


Orlant started out as a tribute both to fellow hobbyist PDH’s ideas for the Ordo Scriptorum as well as to a particular piece of art by the late, great Wayne England — in fact, the (almost) finished retinue features no less than three distinct shout outs to art by Mr. England. It was also heavily driven by inspiration taken from fellow hobbyists PDH’s and Johannus’ work and from Chris Wraight’s fantastic exploration of Terra, “Vaults of Terra – the Carrion Throne”. Anyway, it’s a warband I am stupidly happy with, and even though it’s still technically missing one final member, the fact remains that I was able to mainly finish the project this year.

Meet Redactor Orlant and his shadowy operatives here.

Moving from the agents of the Ordos to the somewhat more unsavory corners of the 40k galaxy: I managed to paint a few more models for my gang of underhive malcontents, the Road Crew.

First up, Worker #9, ancient automaton and walking engine of death extraordinaire:


Now this guy had been neglected for a long time, so finally turning him into a wonderfully ramshackle killer robot from the past – and in beautiful scuffed yellow, no less – did feel so very rewarding! More info on Worker #9 can be found here, by the way.

With the big guy serving as a bit of a trailblazer, I also completed some slightly less massive members for the Road Crew. Meet Sawtooth, Cirque and Sarge:

Together, those four models basically round out the crew for now. They do make for a rather distinguished little group, if you don’t mind me saying so:

At the same time, the project is open-ended enough that new models can (and will) always be added to the Road Crew as needed — and as inspiration strikes me. I still have an unpainted ride for them, for one, and both the crazy new Ork vehicles as well as those new Genestealer bikes seem like such a natural eventual addition to a Mad Max style Road Warrior warband. Just sayin’… 😉

And finally, I also explored fairly new territory in painting an entire warband/kill team of loyalist Space Marines. This is Kill Team Ulrach of the Deathwatch:

As I have said before, this project was very much inspired by PDH’s and Jeff Vader’s respective Deathwatch kill teams, and it was a lot of fun to be able to explore various Space Marine chapters and their individual visual identities while also to trying to keep it all nice and straightforward under the Deathwatch’s unifying colour scheme. Now loyalist Space Marines may seem like the least original thing to be painting in this hobby of ours, but the truth is that the project made me truly leave my comfort zone, experimenting with line highlighting, different skin tones and freehanding — plus it also gave me a rather big appreciation of the Primaris models (I still abhor the fluff, though…).

Meet Kill Team Ulrach in more detail here.

 

3. On the Blood Bowl pitch

Ever since Annie succeeded at roping me into creating a Blood Bowl team, working on some new Blood Bowl models has always served as a nice way of exploring a somewhat silly and whimsical side of our hobby — plus it’s always a fun thing to be working on during our joint hobby sessions.

Which is why I finally gave my Orkheim Ultraz some much needed attention in 2018, adding a dozen new models to the team:

Not all of these are players, however: As you can see in the photo, there’s a nice collection of Blood Bowl markers and tokens, a Goblin Nurse plus some of Maxime Pastourel’s brilliant Orc balls and a pair of Goblin players — actually the last two models I painted in 2018!

4. Having a bit of fun

And while we are on the topic of just having some fun every now and then, there are a couple of projects that I tacked just for the heck of it. Everything started back in February, when I painted Trooper Gibbson Rikkert of the 5th Arcadian Rifles:

A veritable old chest nut, this one, given to me quite a while ago by fellow hobbyist Drone21c. The time had come to paint him, retro base and all.

And if you thought it couldn’t get any more retro, I can prove you wrong with the next exhibit, an entertaining project that consisted of repainting a 1979 Boba Fett action figure:

Staying with pop culture icons for a second, I also made an attempt to bring my favourite infiltrations expert into the 41st millennium:

Those three projects were completed on a whim, and I had a blast doing each of them, simple as that 😉

 

So that’s my output for 2018. I cannot help but feel a little proud of myself when I look at the colourful gang below. They are only 52 models, but I am happy with each and every one of them.

 

II. Hobby moments of note

2018 was, again, not completely about painting models, of course. And while it was a somewhat more hermetic year, defined by painting sessions rather than visits abroad or crazy international shenanigans, there were still some moments that I would like to share with you:

1. Learning new techniques

Learning new techniques is always great in our hobby — and should probably come with the territory, come to think of it. Even so, I feel I really pushed myself this year, experimenting with freehanding, exploring different skin tones, mixing my own snow or using a Staedtler micropen to create “quasi-freehand” designs and symbols (an idea courtesy of Jeff Vader, by the way): Those are all small technical tricks and tweaks, but it felt good to be able to add them to my toolbox!

2. Kickstarter

So far, I have been fairly conservative when it came to joining hobby-related Kickstarters, but in 2018, there were two projects that made me take the plunge:

First came Dave Taylor’s Kickstarter for his book “Armies & Legions & Hordes”:

Most of you will probably recognise Dave’s name – and if you don’t, you should definitely check out his blog right away! Dave’s various army projects have been an invaluable fountain of inspiration over the years, so when I found out he was crowdfunding a book about realising army projects, chipping in was basically a no-brainer. My only regret is that the book didn’t arrive in time for Christmas. But it should be here soon, and I am waiting with bated breath — expect a detailed review as soon as I get my hands on my copy of the book!

My second Kickstarter contribution was to the campaign for a boardgame version of Horizon Zero Dawn, basically my favourite video game of 2017:


To be perfectly honest, I really mostly wanted the (Kickstarter-exclusive) model for Aloy, the game’s heroine:

But the campaign basically went through the roof, which will provide me with a whopping hundred or so models — I’ll probably believe it when I see it — but keep your fingers crossed for me, okay? 😉

Also, if you are into gaming at all, make sure to check out Horizon Zero Dawn — seriouly!

3. A Tribute to Wayne England

Now this certainly wasn’t the result of a meticulous plan or anything, but it does make me feel pleased that a part of my hobby output functions as a direct tribute to one of my favourite GW artists of the yesteryear, Mr. Wayne England:


As I’ve said above, three models in Inquisitor Orlant’s retinue are basically direct reproductions of Wayne England’s art (the good Inquisitor among them). It only occured to me later on that the artwork I had based my paintjob of Trooper Gibbson Rikkert was also originally done by Wayne England. And the flying Ordo Hereticus servo-skull carries more than a hint of the angular, hyper-stylised and grimdark Wayne England illustrations from the 90s, such as his crest for the Redemptionist Cult.

For me, John Blanche and Wayne England are basically the alpha and the omega of 40k art (with Jes Goodwin placed right between them as the genius who would always turn their art into beautiful miniature concepts and, more often than not, actual miniatures), so to have them both immortalised now in my collection really pleases me a great deal!

4. Hugs for the Hug Throne!

Another very pleasing project, and also one of my last projects of 2018, to boot: When fellow hobbyist PDH became a father last fall, it was clear to me that I wanted to send him a little surprise for his son, and while it took me until shortly before Christmas to follow through with it, I would like to imagine that I managed to pull it off in style.

You see, I chose to send over a teddy bear. Not exactly winning high marks for originality here, I know. But I wanted to send something typically German, and Steiff is Germany’s oldest toy manufactory (ranging back into the 19th century), and their teddy bears are about as traditionally German as they come. That being said, and given PDH’s and my shared hobby, I felt the bear needed a little…accessory:

And thus was born Beriax the Comforter, who shall deliver HUGS FOR THE HUG THRONE!

The best part, however, was that the package actually managed to make it there in time for Christmas. Peter informed me he had to confiscate the chainaxe, however — it’s probably for the best… 😉

 

III. Blogging

First of all, the most obvious fact, Eternal Hunt turned six early last year (and will be seven soon), and it’s always astonishing to see how this little blog I started once upon a day is still around — and maybe even thrieving…?

This is at least true from a content perspective: After a less active year of blogging in 2017 – with a mere 25 posts – I tried my best to return to a more regular schedule and more content in 2018, and it worked: Of course more painted models also meant more content to post, and so I ended the year with 40 posts all in all, which was a bit of a return to form.

At the same time, it has become more and more difficult to generate interest in my content, unfortunately: In spite of more content, 2018 was actually the blog’s weakest year since 2014, at least where views are concerned. If you take a look at the statistics, you can clearly see that, allowing for some ups and downs here and there, the views for Eternal Hunt have been in steady decline:

I don’t really want to keep beating a dead horse here, but I am also not going to lie to you: This is pretty frustrating. Like every blogger, I derive much of my motivation to continue blogging from people actually taking an interest, from engaging with my work. And it just gets more and more difficult to achieve just that. On the one hand, it’s clear that this is just part of an overarching trend, with hobby related communication seemingly shifting more and more to Instagram, Facebook or Twitter while forums and blogs suffer a steady decline: If I look at some of my favourite forums online, it’s really rather shocking how slow and quiet things have become, with even some of the hobbyists that used to be mainstays of the community seemingly having departed for good, towards the supposedly greener pastures of Instagram. Fortunately enough, at least the Bolter & Chainsword remains a pretty lively online community, but I definitely fear for some of my other long time haunts…

And while I wasn’t going to join Instagram back in 2017, witnessing Facebook’s actions as a company throughout the year 2018 has only made me more reluctant to give their platforms and services any presence in my private life: I really do not want to support them, even if this very obviously means to be left behind as a part of the hobby scene — at least that’s how it can seem from time to time.

On the other hand, this also means that I am all the more thankful to those of you who still drop by here, who still comment and who still care! Please continue doing that, as it is the very thing that’s keeping this blog – and other places like it – alive. By the same token, I will also endeavour to comment more on other people’s work online. It’s something that sometimes requires a bit of an effort, and it’s all too easy to grow complacent. I know all this from my own experience, which is why I appreciate your comments all the more!

IV. Plans

So what’s in store for 2019, then? While I don’t want to tie myself down or back myself into a corner with too ambitious or detailed plans and schedules, there are of course a couple of things I would like to achieve in the new year:

I’ll definitely need to get some more World Eaters painted, lest the Blood God grow impatient with me. I think I’ll be focusing on my 30k World Eaters for now, though, both because there’s enough unpainted stuff there for me to tackle, but also because I think the small collection of 30k models I have managed to complete so far actually looks pretty cool:

And even though he’s not a World Eater, this plan also extends to my models for Argel Tal that I wanted to paint in 2018 but didn’t: You’ll be painted in the shadow of great wings, buddy 😉


There’s also this duel diorama that I originally build for a challenge at the local Warhammer store, then abandonded, feeling somewhat dejected and disillusioned when the – absolutely awesome – store manager was abruptly let go by GW seemingly without any kind of reason: I really didn’t have an appetite for working on the piece for a good long while, but it’s still a pretty cool diorama, in spite of everything, so onto the 2019 pile it goes:

As for the 40k incarnation of my World Eaters, I think I’ll be waiting for GW to make a move with the legion in the 40k setting: Right now, the World Eaters are in a bit of a limbo, with one of the oldest available plastic kits for their main troop type, and while there have been rumours about all of the cult legions eventually getting the Death Guard treatment, there’s nothing solid to work with as of yet. I want to see what GW is planning for the legion before jumping back in, to be honest.

There’s one certain addition for Khorne’s Eternal Hunt, though: My second converted Armiger Warglaive, and its pilot, the Huntress:


Take a closer look at the model here.

As you’ve maybe seen in my previous post, I have also started working on some Nurglite models recently, so expect to see some more Keepers of the Eternal Garden as well in 2019:

And there’ll be more INQ28 models, obviously — maybe once again with a focus on getting some neglected models and warbands. Believe it or not, there must be about half a dozen unfinished warband projects in my cupboard of shame, so it would be really nice to be able to cross some more off my list of unpainted stuff. Plus there are some pretty cool and creepy characters I would just love to see painted, such as Countess Mandelholtz here:

And thanks to the wonderful marvel of blogging, chances are you’ll be able to check out how it all develops. If you keep reading this stuff. If you keep commenting. I would very much like to invite you to accompany me on this crazy hobby voyage for another year!

Until then, I would love to hear your thoughts on my recap of 2018 and on my plans for 2019, of course!

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

The 2018 Eternal Hunt Awards, pt. 1: The Hobbyists

Posted in 30k, 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings, Traitor Guard with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 24, 2018 by krautscientist

Awards

So here we are again, at year’s end, right before Christmas, and in tune with the overal festive mood, I think we should look at some fantastic hobby projects as part of this year’s first instalment of the Eternal Hunt Awards. Yay!

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems that the overall level of painting and converting in this hobby of ours just keeps going through the roof: Some of the stuff appearing online these days is really quite unbelievable, which turns choosing a selection of the year’s best hobby content into both a herculean effort and a task that may be ultimately doomed to failure: After all, I am very aware that for every great project I have managed to witness, I have probably overlooked half a dozen equally inspiring endeavours. So this selection is, more than ever, just my little slice of the hobby universe. That being said, the following projects really blew me away this year, so please give them all a big hand, and let’s get started:

One small disclaimer, before we begin:
It goes without saying that all the photos you’ll be seeing in this post show other people’s work, and I cannot claim credit for any of the stuff depicted — apart from the small but delightful task of collecting it all together here and giving those fantastic hobbyists a much deserved shout out 😉

 

I. Projects of note:

So, first of all, here are the hobby projects that blew me away in 2018, regardless of whether they were about single models, squads or armies. In hindsight, it occurs to me that converted Imperial Knights make up a rather big part of this year’s selection, but then my love for the artform of converting Questoris Knights is well documented 😉 So without further ado, and in no particular order, here are my favourite hobby projects from 2018:

 

Apologist’s Blood Angels / Nova Terra Interregnum project

Models built and painted by Apologist

Apologist is no stranger to my best of lists, as I am a big fan of his particular blend of really well conceived background material and top-notch modeling and painting, visible in every single blog post over at Death of a Rubricist. His “Alien Wars/Nova Terra Interregnum” project, however, really tugged at my heartstrings, because it is, at the same time, a look at a little explored part of the 40k lore (namely the aforementioned Nova Terra Interregnum, when the Imperium of Man was split in twain for the second time after the Heresy), but it’s also a tribute to a bygone era of hobbying, namely the times of 2nd edition 40k: Apologist has based the project around recreating a Blood Angels army based on this vintage collection here:

And, unbelievably enough, he is going through that army pretty much squad by squad, using modern bitz (and Primaris Marines) to create a modern day (true scale) recreation of those vintage models, while closely keeping the old aesthetics in place. To wit, just look at the old tactical squads from the 2nd edition days:

And here are Apologist’s interpretations of those same squads, built with all the parts and technical prowess at his disposal in 2018:

Models built and painted by Apologist

 

Models built and painted by Apologist

This approach doesn’t simply make for some stunning models, it also leads to a certain kind of vintage look and feel, something that is no longer Horus Heresy styled and not yet modern 40k: Something so very close to the general look of Space Marine armies from back when I got into the hobby — nostalgia plays a very big part in this project, obviously 😉

But any fond personal feelings for a bygone era of 40k notwithstanding, there’s also the fact that Apologist’s conversions and paintjobs are simply wonderful. Possibly my favourite part of his Blood Angels project is a company Captain based on this old piece of art from the yesteryear:

And by combining various parts, Apologist has come up with a rather wonderful “modern” version of the character…

Model built by Apologist

…that looks even better when painted. I can even forgive the need to paint him in non-metallic metal 😉

Models built and painted by Apologist

 

I would be remiss not to mention that the Alien Wars project has also turned into something of a community project, with other hobbyists chipping in with their own exploration of the galaxy during the Nova Terra Interregnum. At the heart of it all, however, lies Apologist’s hobby ethos and his dedication to detail – factors that make each of his hobby projects into something truly special.

As an aside, I also want to give a shout out to his Officio Monstrosa, a brilliant Horus Heresy-themed Iron Warriors force Apologist also managed to finish this year:

Models built and painted by Apologist

So anyway, if Space Marines are of any interest to you, you should definitely check out those projects. If not, rest assured that Apologist’s INQ28 are also rather fantastic — plus I’ve heard there are some retro-styled Eldar on the way… 😉

Check out Apologist’s retro-styled Blood Angels here.

 

Ana Polanscaks’s first exploits in the 40k setting

Ana Polanscak, of The Gardens of Hecate, is another household name in my yearly writeups — and for good reason, because her models are stunningly original, beautiful creations. What’s more, Ana uses bits and parts from GW and other manufacturers to basically come up with her own universe of stories and models — and following that approach over several years has been fascinating, indeed!

At the same time, I was elated to see Ana making her first steps into 40k lore this year, and the results were – unsurprisingly – stunning. So let me point you towards two of Ana’s 2018 projects:

Models built and painted by Ana Polanscak

First up are the “Nekroderma”, Ana’s approach to creating some Necrons that are truly creepy. Everything started with these two guys:

Models built and painted by Ana Polanscak

I think those models actually look like relics of a past war, and actually remind me more of the rumoured “Men of Iron” than of alien robots. The use of an AdMech mask on the left model is a brilliant touch, and yet I also love the inclusion of a human skull. A really fantastic approach to what can feel like a pretty bland 40k race.

That was only the start, however, as Ana’s version of a Necron Immortal explored yet another angle, making the machine seem disturbingly diseased and malformed:

Model built and painted by Ana Polanscak

I felt reminded of the highly disturbing creatures from the – supremely scary – video game SOMA when seeing this guy. He also serves as proof that you can actually return some classic, body horror undead tropes to alien robots, and the result simply works.

Models built and painted by Ana Polanscak

I really hope Ana makes some time to further explore the Nekroderma, because hers may just be the best Necron models I have seen so far. The models are also a showcase of Ana’s particular aesthetic approach to the hobby applied to 40k — something I would love to see more of next year!

Models built and painted by Ana Polanscak

That’s not nearly all, however, because – to my absolute delight – Ana has also started to assemble an INQ28 warband based on the Blanchitsu-style. Her Inquisitor, for instance, is a wonderful recreation of this particular piece of artwork by John Blanche:

Artwork by John Blanche

Here’s the stunning model:

Model built and painted by Ana Polanscak

The Inquisitrix’s first retainer is, likewise, based on a piece of JB art, namely one of his concept sketches for the Astra Militarum Vostroyans. And here’s Ana’s mode based on that sketch:

Model built and painted by Ana Polanscak

The third and – so far – final member of the retinue is a wonderfully medieval looking, converted Grey Knight, not directly based on any artwork, as far as I can tell, but still perfectly at home in the “Blanchitsu-verse”:

Model built and painted by Ana Polanscak

Just three models so far, but they already make for a rather stunning retinue, wouldn’t you agree?

Models built and painted by Ana Polanscak

So yeah, I think you can see where I am coming from when I say that we absolutely need more 40k models from Gardens of Hecate in 2019! 🙂

Check out Ana’s blog, The Gardens of Hecate,here.

 

Pandora’s BitzBox’s Khornate Knight:

Model built and painted by Pandora’s BitzBox

A relative newcomer both to blogging and to the community over at The Bolter & Chainsword, Pandora’s BitzBox has nevertheless managed to hit it out of the park with an utterly brilliant conversion of a renegade Khornate Knight — now renegade Knight and Khorne already ticks all the requisite boxes for me, obviously, but seriously: Just look at the thing:

Model built and painted by Pandora’s BitzBox

Model built and painted by Pandora’s BitzBox

The running pose is so well realised and would already be something to behold on an otherwise unconverted model. PBB didn’t stop there, however, and created all kinds of chaotic trappings and decorations encrusting every part of the Knight’s carapace. Plus some rather disturbing chaotic alterations, such as a daemonic face and neck basically…erupting from the Knight’s mechanic shell:

…and, talking about erupting, the Knight’s pilot also seems to be rather looking forward to a good battle:

The model is absolutely incredible and easily one of the best hobby projects I have seen this year! It shouldn’t surprise you that the model garnered a fair amount of attention over at The B&C, with many hobbyists offering ideas. PBB did a magnificent job bringing it all together into a fantastic model that, believe it or not, will be given away as a Christmas present. Seriously, I would never ever give away a model like that!

But anyway, I was really happy to be along for the ride when PBB built this bad boy! One of the greatest models of 2018, folks!

There’s a long and wonderfully detailed writeup about the whole project over here.

 

lindsay40k’s Traitor Legion drop pod

Model built and painted by lindsay40k

When some new Tyranid models were released back in 2014, I remember seeing the Sporocyst/Tyrannocite and feeling reminded of a more organic looking Space Marine drop pod. And maybe, just maybe I entertained the idea of using that thing as some kind of chaotic Dreadclaw for a split-second. But it just didn’t seem doable…

So imagine my surprise when lindsay40k proved it could be done – and done really well – earlier this year:

Model built and painted by lindsay40k

I’ll also admit that seeing her mutated drop pod was a bit of a gut punch, because the model is so very disturbing and disgusting: The paintwork on the fleshy parts is really quite something, and the entire thing just looks utterly vile and daemonic — in a good way, of course. But seriously, just imagine that thing hurtling towards your planet. It’s horrifying, even before it has managed to disgorge its freight.

And maybe the most disturbing part: Look at that little CSM face right at the centre of that horrible lamprey mouth:

Model built and painted by lindsay40k

Every once in a while, you see a model that is just so out-there and audacious that you have to applaud its creator. And this year, lindsay40k’s drop pod definitely takes the cake! Outstandingly, weirdly, chaotic! Fantastic work!

Coverage of the drop pod begins here, but the rest of lindsay’s threat is also quite something, so make sure to check it out as well!

 

Talarion’s Armiger Warglaives

Models built and painted by Talarion

Talarion’s blog, “Würfelwiese”, is one of those blogs that don’t get nearlythe amount of attention they deserve, in spite of featuring unfailingly wonderful content. Case in point, his wonderful converted Armiger Warglaives from earlier this year. Now the Armiger is definitely one of my favourite 2018 GW models, and I had a lot of fun coming up with my own conversion ideas, but while I was still hard at work, Talarion already had this guy to share with the world:

Model built and painted by Talarion

Model built and painted by Talarion

The first model is mostly stock, but Talarion used the helmet of a LEGO toy (of all things) to replace the standard facemask — and to great effect, I might add! The scuffed, turquoise armour plates and rusty metals are also rather lovely! Truly a standout piece!

So Talarion just went and built another one — and got far more creative with the weapons this time around, creating a custom gun arm that works really well,…

Model built and painted by Talarion

…as well as a lance weapon that served as incedibly useful reference material when I converted an Ursus Claw arm for my second Contemptor:

Model built and painted by Talarion

Everyone and their cousin worked on some Armiger Warglaives this year, but Talarion’s models were easily some of the best. And they are only the tip of the iceberg, as his blog has lots of gorgeous models like that, so make sure to check it out!

Find Talarion’s absolutely wonderful Knights Armiger here and here.

 

Capt. Jack’s Praetor Grune Thrael

Model built and painted by Capt. Jack

Capt. Jack’s Horus Heresy Death Guard project is quite fascinating in that it explores the legion between their clean-cut (if slightly muddy) loyalist days and their utter damnation and corruption during the 40k timescale. His legionnaires still look recoginsably like Legion Space Marines, but the rot has already subtly set in, capturing a fascinating moment at the start of the Death Guard’s fall to the ruinous powers, yet long before its swollen, diseased 40k incarnation. His Praetor, Grune Thrael, forms the absolute zenith of this project so far, serving as a perfect little one-man vignette of the entire project: He’s a towering, impressive Space Marine commander, and yet the model already shows the first signs of corruption (such as the bloated breastplate, the verdigris,…). And yet, there’s still nobility there — the wonderfully chosen sword even made me recall Nathaniel Garro for a moment. Everything comes together into one of the best Space Marine models I have seen this year!

Find Capt. Jack’s ongoing Death Guard thread here.

 

Augustus b’Raass’ Death Guard Warlord and Renegade Knights

Model built and painted by Augustus b’Raass

And while we are on the subject of Death Guard Praetors, there’s a far more bloated and corrupted specimen I would like to bring t your attention: The gentleman above was converted by my buddy Augustus b’Raass for his rather impressive 2018 Death Guard project, and just as Grune Thrael above perfectly embodies the Legion during the latter stages of the Heresy, Augustus’ Death Guard warlord perfectly represents the corrupted, diseased Death Guard of the 40k universe — plus it’s a rare case of the “bellowing at the heavens” pose really done right. Oh, and did you realise this guy is actually based on the Dark Imperium Lord of Contagion, so he is massive as well. Extra kudos for the sneaky use of an old berzerker chainsword 😉

That’s not Augustus’s only appearance on this list, however, as he has managed to knock it out of the park with his brand new Renegade Knights:

First up, the big one:

Model built and painted by Augustus b’Raass

Like all of Augustus’ projects, both the conversion and the paintjob are quite wonderful. In spite of my misgivings about his use of the (pretty phoned-in) Forgeworld renegade Knight parts, Augustus has really managed to tweak those stock materials enough for the Knight to look rather wonderful. Another thing that I love about the model is how it combines a very chaotic look with a rather heraldic colour scheme that still recalls the Knight’s loyalist origins — in fact, I think the excellent use of colour and heraldry may be what actually mitigates the gooey look of the Forgeworld armour plates.

On top of the big Knight, Augustus has already finished a coterie of two Armiger Helverins that are just as delightful:

Models built and painted by Augustus b’Raass

And more models are on the way. Even better, though, all of Augustus’ Knights feature fully realised interiors and pilots — just head over to his thread to discover those beautiful models in more detail!

You can find Augustus’ sprawling Chaos WIP thread here.

 

Jeff Vader’s and PDH’s Primaris-based true scale Deathwatch Killteams

I have given a shout out to these before, but seeing how they have been instrumental in getting my own Kill Team Ulrach off the ground, it’s only proper to include them here as well: Both Jeff Vader and PDH have been hard at work on their respective true scale Deathwatch kill teams this year, and both warbands are something to behold:

Models built and painted by Jeff Vader

Models built and painted by PDH

As a matter of fact, I love these even more when directly juxtaposed, because each artist’s personal style shines through so clearly

You can find Johan’s and Peter’s kill teams here and here, respectively.

 

DuskRaider’s Nurglite Knights,

Models built and painted by DuskRaider

DuskRaider created, among other things, an entire collection of corrupted House Makkabius Knights (shown above) for his sprawling Nurglite collection this year. And each of those Knights is not only a wonderful hobby achievement, but a detailed exploration of a particular, disgusting boddy horror trope — what’s not to love, right?

I love how each of the Knights explores a different aspects of Nurgle’s gifts, as some of the recent kits do, without ever becoming too gimmicky or caricaturesque, and you should really discover those wonderfully virulent models on your own, so let me just focus on one model in partiuclar…

… the one with a freaking tree growing out of its shoulder…

Model built and painted by DuskRaider

Models built and painted by DuskRaider

Model built and painted by DuskRaider

There was a lot of skepticism over at The Bolter & Chainsword when DuskRaider posted his original WIP of this conversion, and there was a time when even DuskRaider himself didn’t seem quite convinced any longer. But he managed to persevere, and the finished model, Irae Throni, is – literally – a towering achievement. .

What really sells the model to me, on top of the excellent conversion work, are those bright colours that appear on and around the feculent gnarlmaw that has been expertly grafted to Irae Throni’s carapace: Those bright colours recall descriptions of Nurgle’s Garden itself (and may also have given me the missing piece of creativity I needed for my own Death Guard project, namely on my basing scheme) — I only hope that when the time comes, I’ll be as courageous about the use of bright colours as DuskRaider has been!

Model built and painted by DuskRaider

See if you can spot the remains of Irae Throni’s pilot, hidden amidst all the vegetation…

Models built and painted by DuskRaider

One last point that I love about DuskRaider’s House Makkabius Knights — and this goes for all of them: In spite of all those grotesque growths and icky special effects, they still retain a – suitably distressed, but recognisable – version of the original house iconography:

Model built and painted by DuskRaider

DuskRaider’s ongoing 40k Nurgle thread can be found here.

 

Euansmith’s Enigma Engine Team

Models built and painted by euansmith

Euansmith is one of the household names of the Ammobunker’s INQ28 forum — always quick with an encouraging comment or some really helpful feedback. But euan also comes up with some of the coolest concepts for warbands and retinues from time to time, often with a popcultural influence or a unique angle. Cue exhibit A, his recently completed “Enigma Engine Team” — definitely an expertly built and painted – and delightfully eclectic – INQ28 group, even if (like me) you are too dense to immediately get where the very obvious inspiration came from… 😉

Find euansmith’s ongoing INQ28 thread here.

 

II. Blogs of note:

There’s no denying it: The blogs and forums are in a bad way. Twelve months ago, the blogosphere already felt the encroaching power of Instagram and Facebook, but it feels like this influence has only grown in the meantime. Which, at least in my opinion, makes it all the more important when people manage to maintain a blogging presence beyond the big social networks. Plus there’s also the fact that I just enjoy what I would call the “longform style of blogging”.

Fortunately enough, there were lots of excellent blogs still around in 2018, and some were actually started up this year! So before I point you towards my new recommendations, allow me a moment for a bit of an appeal:

Whenever you read blogs or browse through threads you like and that inspire you: PLEASE COMMENT! Please engage with the stuff you see on those blogs, threads and forums. Don’t just lurk, don’t just click “Like” — please get involved!

With that out of the way, here’s my pick of the litter for 2017:

 

 

Azazel’s Bitz Box

Azazel really has to come first here: His monthly challenges have been one of my main painting incentives this year. Just by way of his monthly challenges, he has managed to start up a veritable community of hobbyists, give lots of shout outs to fellow hobbyists and bloggers and provided me with lots of new blogs and projects to discover, and that alone would be enough reason for Azazel’s Bitz Box to appear on this list!

On top of being a pillar of the community like that, Azazel is also an incredibly talented hobbyist in his own right, however. For one, his monthly completions are often a wonderful potpourri of colourful and highly different models:

Models built and painted by Azazel

He’s also almost insultingly productive. To wit, here are Azazel’s completions for about the first half of 2018:

Models built and painted by Azazel

In fact, with such an amazing output, it’s hard to actually choose a favourite. It’s probably a toss-up between his Flesh Tearers’ assault squad…

Models built and painted by Azazel

…his converted Minotaurs Captain…

Model built and painted by Azazel

…or his absolutely fabulous paintjob on a Sabretooth Tiger from the Conan Kickstarter:

Model painted by Azazel

Anyway, both for his community building efforts as well as his fantastic original content, Azazel definitely deserves prime billing on this list.

Azazel’s Bitz Box can be found here.

Not A Collector

One of my main objectives with featuring blogs as part of these awards, on top of pointing you towards some truly spectacular hobby content, is to give a shout out to hobbyists who I think deserve far more attention. And “Not A Collector” definitely deserves far more attention – and comments!!! – than it is currently getting.

Models built and painted by Not A Collector

The blog is mostly focused on 30k, and Fredrik does have some absolutely delightful 30k World Eaters, for starters, which is already enough to get me excited, obviously:

Model built and painted by Not A Collector

But beyond that, there are so many cool models and conversions to be found over there, such as his extremely involved Mechanicus Thanatar conversion, for instance:

Model built and painted by Not A Collector

 

So if you are at all interested in the Horus Heresy, make sure to check out Not A Collector at your earliest convenience!

The blog can be found here.

Krakendoomcool

A very young blog, still, but one that has been quite a bit of fun to follow: Everything started with Krakendoomcool’s fantastic project to build and paint models for all twelve Wolf Lords:

A project very much after my own heart, as I love building characters! So the blog had me hooked right there. Just as a small shout out, Krakendoomcool’s interpretation of Engil Krakendoom was particularly cool and clever (he’s looking up, as he is a famed slayer of towering monsters):

Model built and painted by Krakendoomcool

Model built and painted by Krakendoomcool

Spiralling outwards from this first project, the blog has just been growing more interesting and versatile. PBB’s aforementioned, wonderful Khornate Knight also makes a full appearance!

And it’s just fun to follow those guys as they keep challenging themselves to try new stuff and master new techniques, so make sure to check it out.

Krakendoomcool can be found here.

Tales from the Aaronorium

I’ll admit I mostly checked out Tales From the Aaronorium at first because it happened to chronicle the endeavours of one Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s hobby group. But I quickly discovered the other guys, TheActualColin, Ross and Thegrimdocness, were no slouches either 😉

The blog is a very cool look into the activities of a group of passionate hobbyists, with the occasional surprise like these very cool rules ideas for RPG, INQ28-style actions in Necromunda, or stuff like Ross’s spectacular Voidnauts:

I am also a huge fan of the mostly punny post titles, guys 😉

Tales From the Aaronorium can be found here.

 

IV. The absolute best hobby project of 2018:

Like last year, there has been another hobby project to rule them all, one that managed to stand taller than the rest, in spite of the insane general level of quality. So here’s what I consider to be 2018’s absolutely best hobby project:

Lesotho 2-12

Some of you will already have seen this project featured in the last two issues of White Dwarf with two rather expansive pictorials — and rightly so, because the entirety of the Lesotho 2-12 project is just drop-dead gorgeous, in spite of all the grime and disease.

Envisioned as a collaborative project of many hobbyists (among them such luminaries and all time favourites as Bruticus, weirdingway, WilhelMiniatures and, of course, John Blanche), the project tells the story of several warbands trying to do their thing on a space station infested by Nurglite diseases due to all kinds of biological tampering.

As is usually the case for projects like this, all the participants came up with their own warband for the game, and simply discovering those gorgeous models is already a joy in itself. Just take a look at some of the models that appeared in the game:




That’s only a part of what makes Lesotho 2-12 so great, however, because many joint hobby projects and big games like this have wonderful warbands participating in them. Even with the best projects, however, all of those various warbands and artists can seem like a whirlwind of – sometimes clashing – design approaches, leading to a bit of a sensory overload, if you will.

Not so here, because it seems as though every single warband as well as the terrain on show have been conceived for this one occasion, with a strong underlying design language, leading to a Unity of Effect rarely seen in collaborative projects like this.

All in all, certainly one of the most focused and spectacular hobby projects of 2018 – and one I will be taking lots of inspiration from on an upcoming Nurgle project of mine – but if it took any further arguments, models that serve as shout outs to Pyramid Head and Nemesis, names that should be dreadfully familiar to any video game aficionado that grew up during the 90s and early aughts:


I rest my case. Lesotho 2-12 is 2018’s best hobby project.

Check out the detailed picture spreads on the project in WD issues from November and December 2018. Some very cool posts on the project can also be found here.

 

So here we are, giddy with anticipation for the Christmas festivities, and humbled by the sheer amount of talent on display, I certainly hope I was able to help you discover some projects to check out, artists to follow and blogs to subscribe to (and comment on!!). Like every year, let’s not be discouraged by the stunning talent collected in this post, but rather take this as an inspiration for our own hobby endeavours next year.

Speaking of which, hopefully I’ll be back with the next post before the end of the year. Until then, I would love to hear your thoughts about this year’s selection — did I miss anything important?

As always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more! And let me wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

2018 Round-Up: The first six months

Posted in 30k, 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, Orcs & Goblins, paintjob, Pointless ramblings, state of the hunt, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 2, 2018 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, a bit of a retrospective for today, as it was my birthday last week, and we also already have the first half of 2018 behind us — what better occasion to take a look the first half of my hobby year, right?

When talking about personal hobby output, I am actually really happy with 2018 so far! Some of you may remember that my entire output for 2017 consisted of these twelve models:

And while I still like each and every one of those models, twelve wasn’t exactly a number to be proud of, so I really wanted to finish more stuff this year. And by the look of it, this at least seems to have worked. Take a look at the models I have managed to finish over the first half of 2018:

That’s over thirty painted models — and quite a bit less unpainted plastic. I have to admit I am a bit proud of myself 😉

Special focus was given to making a dent in my – rather substantial – backlog of unpainted INQ28 models: I’ve been converting warband after warband for years now, so it was finally time to actually get some of them painted. So here’s what I have to show for my troubles:

First up, Inquisitor Arslan’s Ordo Hereticus warband:

This retinue took shape over several years, with some classic metal models finding their way into Arslan’s service. I am pretty happy that the team still managed to come together into a coherent – and very quintessentially Ordo Hereticus – collection.

Still motivated from my breakthrough with Arslan’s little band of misfits, I pushed onwards and (mostly) finished yet another Inquisitorial retinue: Redactor Orlant’s Ordo Scriptorum warband:

This project is particularly dear to me, both because it features my spin on fellow hobbyist PDH’s concept of the Ordo Scriptorum and because it features several homages and shout outs: Redactor Orlant himself, his astropath and the Bureacultist accompanying the warband were all directly inspired by pieces of artwork from the late Wayne England. Orlant’s interrogator is actually a shout out to PDH’s own Inquisitor Inson (it’s the same guy during his younger years). And I also snuck in a pretty blatant shout out to a pretty well-known literary character from fairly recent pop culture.

 

After a predominantly red and a predominantly blue warband, I next turned mit attention to a …predominantly yellow gang of models — weird how this strange colour dynamic only became obvious to me in hindsight…

Anyway, I also completed some models for my Road Crew, a relatively long-running project at this point, and basically managed to complete the warband — at least for now:

I’ve been a big fan of Dreadnought-sized models for a good long while now, so it was clear that I would also have to paint some new killer robots 😉 One is the scrap-robot Worker #9 you can see in the picture above, the other was a second Contemptor for my 30k World Eaters:


Both happen to use the same head — an OOP World Eaters Dreadnought head given to me by Augustus b’Raass when I visited him in Amsterdam last summer.

And the most recent warband I have been working on: Truescale Deathwatch Killteam based on Primaris Marines:

This is one of those projects that…just happened somehow, when the original plan was simply to build and paint one archetypal, 2nd edition influenced Space Marine. As you can see, four members have been finished so far, the bitz for a fifth member are currently on their way to me (at least that’s what I hope), and there could be two more members after that.

Apart from that, I also had a bit of fun with two slightly more humorous projects that served as shout outs to popular nerd culture — like my repaint of an old 80s Boba Fett action figure:

And my recent Primaris-based conversion of Solid Snake, one of the protagonists of the Metal Gear series:

And I am also really happy to have completed a couple of female characters for my INQ28 collection:

Granted, I’ll admit that these mostly fall into a similar design mold (on account of being mostly based on Dark Eldar Wyches), but at least it’s a start, right? 😉

So, as you can see, it has been a pretty successful hobby (half-)year so far. In additon to the finished models, I have also managed to learn a couple of new techniques, such as…

  • using a pigment liner to create some very fine detail (cheers again to Jeff Vader for providing the idea!)
  • painting black armour — well, or at least: cheating my way to something that actually looks like properly painted black armour
  • freehanding a chapter icon
  • creating my own model snow and applying it to a base (for which Ron Saikowski’s post over here was, once again, invaluable)
  • using non-caucasian skin tones

To give credit where credit is due, however, all that productivity didn’t just happen, but there were two circumstances, in particular, that have lit a fire under me, painting-wise: There are Azazazel’s frequent hobby challenges that have been a lot of fun to participate in — plus they also provide a lovely view at an entire community of hobbyists giving the respective challenges a go. The fact that Azazel himself is a highly prolific and very talented hobbyist does help, of course 😉

And I also have to give a shout out to my friend Annie: Our shared hobby sessions have become a fixture that keeps me painting and forces me to actually finish some stuff — while Annie herself is beavering away on spectacular, often Blood Bowl-related projects, like her Flying Dwarfsmen here:

Speaking of Blood Bowl, I won’t leave you today without sharing something new, however: Annie recently gave me some of the Ork balls from the new version of Blood Bowl. Now my own Ork team was cobbled together using bitz and bobs from old plastic WFB Orcs, so I didn’t really have any Blood Bowl balls, which is why I was very happy about this small gift. It also features what must be the best ball design of all times, but we’ll be getting to that in a minute. First, let’s take a look at the painted balls:

Now the two leather balls on the left are pretty standard fare, obviously, but that ball-squig just has to be one of my favourite models of all time. I decided to go for an archetypal squig-red instead of the more leathery official paintjob, and I am just in love with this little guy:

Whoever sculpted this delightful little creature, bless their heart, even made sure the squig was…erm…anatomically correct:

But seriously, isn’t that the best facial expression you have ever seen?

So here’s my team, the Orkheim Ultraz, with their brand new sports gear:

I still have a couple of unpainted team members sitting on my desk, so maybe this will be one of my next projects? After red, blue and yellow groups of models, respectively, green seems like the logical choice 😉

In fact, there’s more I would still like to paint this year, of course:

My Renegade Knight Armiger, for one:


I am still incredibly pleased with this conversion, and since I have pledged it for the yearly ETL event over at The Bolter & Chainsword, this will become my big hobby project for July — at least that’s what I hope. Keep your fingers crossed for me! 🙂

And while I will definitely need to give more attention to my 30k World Eaters again later this year, the one part of that collection I would really love to see finished this year are my converted versions of Argel Tal, both in human and daemonic form:

And while we are on the matter of wishes, I would really like to see more comments and interaction — here, but also on other blogs. In that respect, it feels like social media platforms have really done quite a number both on hobby forums and on individual blogs, with so many readers these days content to just fly by and leave a Like, if even that. Now don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate each and every reader and each and every Like, but what keeps little places like this going is to actually hear suggestions, questions or words of encouragements from their readers.

So please feel free to let me know what you think about my hobby output for 2018 so far! I would love to read your comment! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more! 🙂

The State of the Hunt, Week 15/2018: Coming up for air

Posted in 30k, 40k, Conversions, Fluff, Inq28, Pointless ramblings, state of the hunt, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 9, 2018 by krautscientist

From a hobby perspective, it has been quite a few weeks for me — with two finished INQ28 retinues and a couple of models on top of that. However, as I’ve said earlier, things might get a bit more hectic in the immediate future, so I cannot be sure whether or not I’ll be able to keep up this rather frantic pace. So what better time to take a step back, take a deep breath, and take a look at the things I have achieved so far? This also has the added benefit of providing me with the perfect chance to also share some current news with you. So here goes:

I. Head count

I’ve really had a blast this last couple of weeks, working through one neglected model after another and finally finishing some long running projects! One of my hobby resolutions for 2018 was to try and put some serious work into the INQ28 part of my collection, especially when it comes to finally adding paint to all those conversions that have accumulated in my cupboard of shame, and I do think I have rather managed to make good on that promise.

So here’s a round-up of the models I have painted so far this year:

That’s fifteen models less in the unpainted pile. Not a particularly impressive number in and of itself, certainly, and even less so when compared with the impressive output of, say, people like Azazel. But it still feels like quite an achievemen, nevertheless. Two more inquisitorial retinues – Inquisitor Arslan’s and Inquisitor Gotthardt’s – have been finished. I’ve painted a second 30k World Eaters Contemptor that I am still really happy with. My very first Primaris Marine has been painted. And I have finally managed to paint a RT era Imperial Guard trooper that had made its way all across the globe to reach me. Plus I have already been able to eclipse my 2017 painting output (twelve models), and we still have quite a bit of 2018 ahead of us, haven’t we? 😉

So yeah, I am pretty pleased with myself, to be honest. And still motivated to keep going, which is probably even more important. Oh, and for those of you with sharp eyes: Don’t worry, we’ll be talking about the big yellow gentleman in the back row in more detail before long… 😉

II. New supply lines

Long time readers may remember how dejected I was when my favourite FLGS had to close its doors back in 2016 (still a little sore *sniff*).For quite a while, the only way to replenish my hobby supplies – online purchases notwithstanding – was to carefully plan work-related trips to larger cities around the option to visit local GW or independent stores.

Great news, then, that I now find myself with access to new supply lines:

For one, I discovered a new local independent store (called “Chaosgames”) a while ago that not only has great service and provides easy access to Army Painter washes (a godsend!), but also happens to include occasional happy finds like this guy here:


Expect him to join my 30k World Eaters before long… 😉

What’s more, in an entirely unexpected move, a new GW store recently opened its doors in the neighboring city. I wasn’t even aware of that until my good friend Annie told me — what an awesome surprise!

My first scouting mission to the new store already took place a fortnight ago and included some friendly banter with the local store manager. I also discovered his absolutely fantastic Imperial Guard army in one of the display cases and took some photos right away:


The whole army has a “mining world” theme, with lots and lots of cool kitbashes and conversions that make every individual in the force look like the member of a grimdark mining corporation. A fantastic concept, and beautifully executed!

In another pleasant surprise, my own models, in turn, made it straight to the store’s Facebook page:

Now I’ll still be visiting local stores whenever I am on the road, of course — for instance, I make it a point to try and visit the fantastic “Fantasy-In” whenever I am in Hanover. But having access to some hobby-related stores in the immediate vincinity is such a relief — brilliant! 🙂

III. Meanwhile, across the tabletop:

While I keep referring to the frequent painting sessions with my friend Annie (that have become a key point in my painting process, it must be said!), I realise I haven’t really shared many of Annie’s projects with you — which is quite a shame, as she routinely manages to come up with some truly stunning stuff. Case in point, the “Flying Dwarfsmen”, her brand new dwarven team for Blood Bowl, planned, built and painted in an impressively short amount of time (and, as it happens, just in time for the recent “Dungeonbowl”):

Where GW’s stock dwarven team seems a bit too cartoony for its own good, Annie’s team actually uses the brilliant Kharadron Overlords models as alternative Blood Bowl players: The entire team has been carefully built around the Kharadron’s distinct steampunk look and feel, from the players to the incredible, scratchbuilt/kitbashed Deathroller (or the turn counters, or the bases, or…). Anyway, you can expect a much more detailed feature dealing with these guys as soon as I can get a closer look (and get the chance to take some quality photos of them)!

IV. To Arms!


I am pretty sure I am not the first person to tell you this, but the ever inspirational Dave Taylor is currently running a Kickstarter campaign for a book project called “Armies & Legions & Hordes”, focused on painting the kind of high class army projects Dave has become well known for. In addition to talking techniques, the book will also be featuring expansive looks at some of Dave’s own, seminal army projects, and with his AdMech army, his Blood Pact and his Genswick Rifles all up for a feature, the book’s already basically a no-brainer for me.

The Kickstarter has already attained its mark many times over, but there are still a couple of days on the clock, so you can (and probably should) check out the Kickstarter and chip in here.

 

So yeah, so much for this week’s mixed views — and for the brief amount of respite: While I am writing this, I am already hard at work on two more Ordo Scriptorum characters, and there’s also Azazel’s current community challenge – “Assembly April” – with building, converting and kitbashing as its subject — I am pretty sure I won’t be able to resist that one…

So while things may have to slow down for a bit, I think you can expect another update very soon. Until then, please let me hear any feedback you might have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more! 🙂

Raud the Hunter

Posted in 30k, Conversions, Fluff, paintjob, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2018 by krautscientist

Whoa, seems like the numbers of views went through the roof after my last post — which is a slightly bittersweet experience for me: I love the fact that so many people seem to take an interest in my pick of fantastic hobby projects from last year, and all those artists certainly deserve the attention! At the same time, there’s no way I can replicate that kinf of interest with my own meagre work — oh well… 😉

Even so, in-between parts two and three of the Eternal Hunt Awards, allow me to sneak in one of my own models, if only because I am so very happy with the first model I have managed to complete this year — and also the first model I have painted in quite a while! So what is this about?

In 2017, I had such a blast painting a converted World Eaters Contemptor as my first model of the year, so I thought I’d just try to catch that spark again with…more of the same. So I decided to paint this guy, whom some of you may remember from back in August, I believe:




So yeah, I had to convert yet another Betrayal at Calth plastic Contemptor: In fact, the model actually started in several places:

  • When Augustus b’Raass was nice enough to magnetise my first Contemptor’s gun arm, I realised it would actually be cool to have another model for that extra weapon as well.
  • Then I got a good deal for just the body of the BaC plastic Contemptor, and I really rather like that model as conversion fodder: True enough, the stock model is so awkward — and painfully vanilla. But the fact that it’s so underwhelming is what makes it so fascinating to me: I just want to bring out the cooler model hidden within, so to speak 😉

It helps that it’s really easy to improve the model, by the way: Even if you want to keep things really simple, like me, without using any GS, splicing in Sentinel upper legs or what have you, the plastic Contemptor is easy to improve via just two or three small cuts:

 

1. Carefully cutting the body apart at the waist allows for a more interesting pose (plus you could even magnetise that joint to allow the torso to swivel permanently.

2. The really invaluable step, however, is to cleanly separate either of the legs (or both) from the pelvis area with a clean cut, then reattach them at a different angle to either make the pose more open and less pidgeon toed (as I’ve done on my first Contemptor) or approximate a walking/running position (as I’ve done on the second model).

3. And that’s not even getting into the extra posability (and customisability) you get by carefully cutting off the weapons immediately beneath the shoulder.

  • The third major factor in the creation of the model was that I still had a kitbashed Dreadnought arm in my bitzbox:


Now originally this arm was built allll the way back in 2014, originally to be used on one of my 40k Dreadnoughts. I wanted a miniature version of the “Ursus Claws”, the harpoon systems the World Eaters use on their warships, and my version was inspired both by a very similar conversion courtesy of fellow hobbyist sheep and Forgeworld’s Blood Slaughterer Impaler.

Now for one reason or another, I never got around to painting this arm — which was really all for the best, since it arguably works much better on the taller Contemptor than on the boxy Castraferrum Dreadnought.

So the model really came together rather quickly back in August — but then, as is often the case with my projects, it took me some time to actually sit down and paint it. But I really wanted to see this guy finished, so when my good friend Annie invited me over for one of our semi-regular hobby sessions, I made it a point to actually get a good start on the Contemptor.

So here’s what he looked like after getting all the base colours and decals in place:


And this was the model at the end of the painting session, shortly before I packed up for the night:



At this point, there was still quite a bit of detail work left to be done, but I was well underway to actually finishing a model again, and that motivational surge really povided me with the incentive to actually see the project through to its conclusion 😉

In addition to the model, I also needed a suitably impressive base, of course. And there was one effect I definitely wanted to incorporate: A fallen Astartes, trying his best to reach a melta charge — an effect I’ve seen on many Heresy armies, especially on one of Mr. Poom’s fantastic World Eaters Contemptors.

This idea came with its own set of challenges, however: It quickly became clear to me that while it’s super cool for the base to contain a fallen Astartes like that, I really needed to keep the guy’s visual footprint small enough so as not to overshadow the main attraction — when all is said and done, the poor fella’s base decoration, after all, and nothing more.

So I used one of the resin Marines I had left from the base of Forgeworld’s Angron model, cut the poor guy in half and pushed him down really low onto the base: In fact, I imagine him as having been buried under rubble from an explosion or something similar, not directly as a victim of the Contemptor:




One thing that doesn’t really come across in the pictures is that there’s a bigger piece of rubble where his legs should be, pushing him down and/or pinning him in place. I hoped this would work much better once the base had been painted.

The rest of the base was built up using plastic parts from one of GW’s 40k basing sets, Vallejo’s Sandy Paste and some varied rubble and cork chaff from my collection. Since the plastic parts were woefully smooth, I once again stippled on some Liquid GS to create some much-needed surface texture:

The paintjob was once again intended to make the entire base look suitably dusty and grimy — like a perfect little slice of a Horus Heresy warzone. It’s funny, but I think the one area where I’ve improved most through my work on Horus Heresy models is the basing of models 😉

 

So before the model was completed, all that I needed to do was to come up with a small background piece for this latest Contemptor. Now it has become a bit of a tradition for me to immortalise fellow hobbyists who have contributed to my hobby life in a meaningful ways by naming models after them (such as “PeeDee” the Monkey, for instance. And come to think of it, Augustus b’Raass alone gets about three shout outs in my 40k World Eaters army), and I decided to do the same this time, using a part of the Contemptor’s name and a tiny bit of his background as a bit of a shout out to fellow hobbyist BubblesMcBub, who really did me a good turn last year by letting me have most of the Death Guard modes from the Dark Imperium boxed set — cheers, mate: This one’s for you! 🙂

 

So here, without further ado, is the finished Contemptor:

Kelok Raud

“The Hunter”
Contemptor, XII Legion Astartes

Long before his interment into a hallowed Ironform, or even before his transformation into an Astartes, Kelok Raud was already a consummate hunter, slaying the monstrous rad-beasts that stalked the West-Yropan flatlands. After his induction into the XII Legion, this predilection for hunting fearsome game saw Raud gravitate towards the role of a heavy assault specialist, and many were the beasts and tech-horrors he brought down during the Great Crusade, before finally falling under the claws of a towering xenos beast.

Before the last spark of life left his shattered body, however, the Techmarines of the 4th assault company interred him into a Contemptor ironform, as his prowess in battle had long made him eligible for a service beyond death.

Bestriding the battlefield clad in layered Adamantium of ancient Mechanicus ingenuity, Kelok Raud has now returned to the hunt once more, this time as a true avatar of war. His breastplate proudly proclaims his motto „Venatio Supra Omnia – The Hunt Above All Else“ in High Gothic lettering, and where he used to hunt mutant beasts with spear and lance, he is now armed with a Dreadnought-sized version of that most vicious of World Eaters weapon systems, the monstrous Ursus Claw harpoon.

 






Here’s a closer look at the base:



The last picture shows off the piece of rubble pinning the Ultramarine down a bit better. I really rather like the “mini-narrative” created by the base: The fallen Ultramarine gives it one last shot at destroying the enemy – as Ultramarines are wont to do, because “only in death does duty end” and all that – while the Contemptor has bigger fish to fry and is already looking for his next prey — he’s kitted out for tank hunting, after all.

I even like the idea that the little scene could actually play out either way: Could the Ultramarine prove to be Raud’s undoing because of his unbroken will to fight? Maybe, but then it rather fits his character. Plus I think there’s still a pretty fair chance the Contemptor’s next step will squish the Marine’s head like a ripe melon…

Now like I said, the guns were actually magnetised by Augustus b’Raass, so while I am totally ignorant when it comes to magnetising stuff, it was easy enough to add something readily magnetic to the Contemptor’s right shoulder. So now I get to do fun stuff like swapping in a new gun…

…or changing the angle of the gun:

One thing I am really, really proud of, even if it’s not perfect, is the freehand lettering adorning the scrollwork on Raud’s breastplate: I went with the aforementioned “Venatio Supra Omnia” which I think is fairly okay-ish Latin — hey, who cares, it’s High Gothic anyway, isn’t it? 😉

In any case, this feels like the first freehand of that kind I have tried in virtually forever, so I think you guys can cut me some slack 😉

So yeah, that’s the finished model! And here are “the twins”:

To be honest, I am enormously pleased with these two, especially since they use the exact same base model and still look suitably different.

So to wind things up, here’s a snapshot of my entire 30k World Eaters collection so far:


Certainly not an army yet — but we may be getting there, one model at a time 😉

I would love to hear any feedback you might have on the new Contemptor. And, as always, tanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

The 2017 Eternal Hunt Awards, pt. 2: The Hobbyists

Posted in 30k, 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings, Traitor Guard with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 18, 2018 by krautscientist

Awards

Welcome back, everyone: It’s a new year, and here we are — later than I had originally planned, I must admit. Sorry for the delay, but I just had to spend the entire holiday season sleeping, eating and near-obsessively hunting robot dinosaurs. I actually also managed to paint my very first model of the new year, but that’s a story for another time. For today, we still have a part of my annual Eternal Hunt Awards to get out of the way, even if it’s no longer 2017. That being said, I am confident you beautiful readers will always appreciate the chance to discover a couple of amazing hobby projects, right?

Because that’s what we’ll be dealing with today: The best work from fellow hobbyists from the last twelve months, according to yours truly. Now the level of quality many hobbyists manage to achieve these days keeps going through the roof all the time, with more and more stunning creations appearing online every year, but here’s my little selection of particularly noteworthy projects and blogs from last year, so please enjoy!

One small disclaimer, however, before we begin:
It goes without saying that all the photos you’ll be seeing in this post show other people’s work, and I cannot claim credit for any of the stuff depicted — apart from the small but delightful task of collecting it all together here and giving those fantastic hobbyists a much deserved shout out 😉

 

I. Projects of note:

Let’s start with the hobby projects that blew me away in 2017, be they single models or army projects. Having spent a sizeable chunk of my online hobby time with the vibrant and lively community at The Bolter & Chainsword, it occurs to me in hindsight that my selection may be leaning a bit heavily on the Space Marine side of things this year, but I hope you’ll still appreciate the following, wonderful projects. So, in no particular order and without further ado:

Nemac Vradon’s First Claw:

Back in 2016, Augustus b’Raass built what I would consider the definitive true scale representation of First Claw, that merry band of rascals (read: insane murderers) devised by Aaron Dembski-Bowden for his Night Lords Trilogy:

First Claw by Augustus b’Raass (1)

I was lucky enough to see these guys in person on my visit to Amsterdam last summer, and they are just breathtaking: Perfect little representations of the different characters from the book, with lots of little tweaks that bring the models to life and amazing paintjobs to boot. The bigger scale gives them a real presence and also adds some – much needed – space for all of those extra bitz and trinkets.

So imagine my surprise when Nemac Vradon actually came up with an equally brilliant rendition of the same group of characters, albeit in regular 28mm scale this time, without the benefit of all that extra space:


Now building models to represent actual characters from the lore can be a fun – but also an incredibly challenging – proposition. Even moreso when everyone who has read the Night Lords novels probably has an idea about what Talos and his brothers should look like. Nemac Vradon has done an absolutely fantastic job of capturing the essence of the different characters, though, making them instantly recognisable. Nowhere is that more evident than on Talos, First Claw’s absolute poster boy:

Nemac has come up with a truly excellent model here, with all the cues that sell the piece as a representation of the character: With the Mk. V armour, deathmask, relic Blood Angels blade and the rune on the forehead, this guy clearly reads as Talos!

Similar care has been taken with each of the members of First Claw, with a careful selection of bitz and effective poses that manage to embody the essence of each character, while none of the models end up looking cluttered or overly-busy.




Surprisingly enough, while Talos may be First Claw’s most prominent member, he is not, in my opinion, the best part of Nemac Vradon’s interpretation of First Claw: That particular honour has to go in equal parts to Uzas and Xarl.

Now Uzas may strike you as a bit of an obvious choice – after all, he’s basically my favourite character from the books in the first place: A follower of Khorne, Uzas is a typical ADB character in that he may seem one-note by definition, yet is shown to possess surprising – and fairly tragic – depths. So my love for the character is always on my mind when looking at the model. That being said, the conversion is simply a study in elegance and unity of effect: Once again, all the cues that sell the character are there, while the strong pose and effective paintjob make for a model where everything’s in ist right place.

Xarl, on the other hand, is a very different beast:

Highly dynamic and quite ostentatious (in his ceremonial Chyropteran helmet), he immediately draws the eye. And once again, the particular composition of parts just makes for a perfect model. To wit, Nemac Vradon even managed to get away with using one of the – normally terrible – winged helmets from the old NL conversion kit.

The whole squad really stands as a triumph of both creating excellent representations of the actual characters as well as a collection of models with a perfect unity of effect. So while Augustus b’Raass has managed to come up with the definitive version of First Claw at true scale, Nemac Vradon can now claim the same award for the “smaller 28mm scale”. Splendid work!

Check out Nemac Vradon’s version of First Claw, along with the rest of his excellent Night Lords here.

 

Dark Ven’s Night Lords

And while we are on the subject of Night Lords, let’s not forget DarkVen: A longtime collector of the 8th legion, he has returned to his army in 2017 with some rather stunning new additions. Now the most impressive thing about Dark Ven’s Night Lords has to be how he combines kitbashing with kick-ass sculpting to create models that are both highly intricate conversions and yet perfectly at home next to stock GW models. His Night Lords army is a fantastic and incredibly customised collection of models: Just take the warband’s current leader, the enigmatic Warpsmith Tarantula: You could spent ages poring over those photos, trying to figure out which parts are stock (very few) and which have been expertly (re-)sculpted (nearly all of them).


Because, if anything, DarkVen‘s extrapolations of GW’s designs create models that sometimes seem like the perfect missing link between various official models: Take his brilliantly converted and customised Night Lords Dreadnought, for instance, that would seem equally at home next to both the old 2nd edition metal CSM Dread and the more recent plastic models:

Extra kudos for the different weapon options – I love stuff like that!

The incredible amount of customisation is evident in each and every unit in DarkVen’s Night Lords army. Here are his Atramentar:


At first glance, they merely look like some really well done Chaos Terminators, but there’s so much more there: Underneath all the spikes and blades, there’s still a hint at something more honourable, at the elite Astartes formation they used to be, and DarkVen does an excellent job of communicating this idea through the models.

Also, once again, I dare you to take a closer look and actually find out precisely how customised those guys are, especially the amount of scultping and additional detailing that has gone into their armour!

Or his Raptors: Those models perfectly combine officially established visual cues with DarkVen’s own take on GW’s archetypes, channeling both the new plastic Raptors and the “bird of prey” style of the older metal/Finecast Raptors – while also throwing in a generous helping of Predator creepiness:




The fact that DarkVen further supplements most of his more recent conversions with fantastic and elaborate concept art is just the icing on the cake!

If there’s one negative point to be mentioned here, it’s that DarkVen’s Night Lords currently lie dormant once more. However, you still can (and definitely should) check out the current status of his project here:

BrotherCaptainArkhan’s Black One Hundred

Can you remember how hip it used to be to hate the Ultramarines? In all fairness, GW’s poster boy Space Marine legion/chapter has appeared in official material so often and has been so idolised by many official authors, that it’s rather easy to be fed up with them, especially when they are written like they can do no wrong. And with the introduction of the Primaris Marines and the return of Roboute Guiliman, the XIII Primarch, to the stage of the 41st millennium, there are probably yet more Ultramarines with their heroic feats waiting for us in the wings.

What then if I were to tell you that one of the most riveting Horus Heresy project in existence at the moment dealt with the XIII legion in a way that you haven’t seen before and that turns Ultramarines into something genuinely fascinating?

Enter BrotherCaptainArkhan’s Black One Hundred: A Censuria company of Ultramarines, that is to say: Those members of the legion whose failures, sins or merely oversights have damned them to the fate of serving in an entire company of rejects, expected merely to fight and die without making too much noise, lest their legion remember how embarrassing they are.

Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? Well, BCA takes this already promising premise and runs with it, coming up with an ongoing project log where every new update is spectacular, be it a new model, a new piece of background lore, or merely his musings about the ideas and motifs that go into his army.

It helps that the actual models are killer, of course: The Black One Hundred are about the dustiest, grimiest and most downtrodden Ultramarines you are ever going to see, but BrotherCaptainArkhan shows us that there can be something forlornly beautiful about armour this dented and scratched. And that Ultramarines Blue goes very well with black, indeed!


If I had to pick a favourite from this particular collection, I would choose the Black One Hundred’s (former) commanding officer, Brother-Captain Ludvic Augustus:


Now as far as I am aware, Augustus’ personal story arc has already run its course, but he remains my favourite piece of BrotherCaptainArkhan’s work, and arguably the perfect embodiment of the Black One Hundred: a perfect blend of a powerful Ultramarine and a down-to-earth, workhorse soldier that would rather not be remembered by history.

The quality evident in the special characters really extends all the way down, though, as even the various objective markers are little works of art (as well as tributes to the Ultramarines’ unbending spirit, in spite of everything):

Hard as that may be to believe, however, the – truly stunning – models are just part of the charm here: The storytelling at play, the fluff and soundbites, are equally riveting. These guys are members of a Censuria company, and it’s clear that they will never be able to make up for their past wrongdoings. Even their own Primarch would prefer them to be forgotten in silence. And in spite of everything, they are still Ultramarines. They fight. They endure. Only in death does duty end. And BrotherCaptainArkhan does such a fantastic job of telling their story!

Probably the biggest compliment I can offer is that, were BrotherCaptainArkhan to write a BL novel focusing on his Censuria company, I’d buy and read it right away, without a moment’s hesitation.

There are many Horus Heresy projects these days, as everybody and their cousin (yours truly included) seems to want a piece of that sweet Heresy goodness. The Black One Hundred, however, stand tall above the rest as probably one of the best Horus Heresy projects in existence right now, and as a constant inspiration: When I work on my own 30k World Eaters, I constantly try to capture the merest fraction of depth and gravitas of the Black One Hundred. That is how awesome they are.

Check out BrotherCaptainArkhan’s landmark project here.

Malcharion’s Space Sharks


A couple of years ago, the Carcharodons used to be all the rage: Reintroduced to the 40k background by Forgeworld as part of their treatment of the Badab War, these mysterious and brutal Space Marines from the farthest reaches of the galaxy captured many a hobbyist’s imagination and launched dozens of army projects. It also made an entire generation of hobbyists learn about Tamiya Clear Red, back before Blood for the Blood God had been developed 😉

Because most people were content to just paint their Space Sharks flat grey, slap lots and lots of glossy blood effect on there and call it a day. Even Forgeworld’s own painters only paid occasional service to the idea of the Carcharodon’s use of tribal markings and intricate designs.

Not so with Malcharion’s Carcharadons, however, who breathe new life into the chapter’s identity in the most spectacular way:


Malchy’s fantastic paintjobs are one reason for this, particularly his brilliant use of highly intricate, quasi-Polynesian tribal designs. They turn every model into a piece of art without overwhelming the pieces. This is particularly evident on the Dreadnoughts that look like walking totems or shrines, while also seeming every bit as deadly and combat-worthy as you would expect of a Space Marine Dreadnought:


What’s more, while his Carcharodons certainly use a copious amount of blood effect, the combination of blood spatter and the intricate armour markings makes for a fascinating juxtaposition that adds a layer of depth to a chapter that often merely gets characterised as “really violent and mysterious grey dudes that also have this shark thing going on”.

The conversion and kitbashing on display are also truly something to behold. Just take this kitbashed master of the forge, featuring what has to be the best use of a Lizardman/Seraphon claw bit I have ever seen:


Or Malcharion’s version of Company Master Tyberos, “The Red Wake”:


Now this version is actually very different from Forgeworld’s official model, but the character is still instantly recognisable. And he has all the menace of a great white shark, without feeling silly because of it.

Speaking of which, those glittering black eyes really give me the creeps every time I look at the model:


Malcharion also routinely makes excellent use of dedicated legion bitz (and models) from Forgeworld, particularly from the World Eaters catalogue, to make his Carcharodons look even more vicious. Case in point, his Terminators (based on the World Eaters Red Butchers):


And, arguably even more spectacular, this Carcharodon officer based on the Heresy era model for Kharn:


It’s a testament to Malchy’s skill, however, that those models not only work perfectly within the framework of his army, but you wouldn’t really recognise them as World Eaters any longer: They are perfect Space Sharks now, aren’t they?

And while this moves beyond the scope of his Carcharodons, allow me to point out that Malcharion also works on models for the chapter’s Primoginetor legion, the Raven Guard, and he manages to turn even this least interesting of Space Marine legions (at least in my opinion) into something truly breathtaking:

Malchy’s complete project log can be found here.

Daouide’s Kalista

Le blog dé Kouzes is another regular name in my list of perennial favourites, so it shouldn’t surprise you that those wonderful and crazy Frenchmen make another appearance in this year’s Eternal Hunt Awards. By the same token, Daouide’s Emperor’s Children are the epitome of „Slaanesh done right“, so there’s yet another reason for this particular choice.

The above model takes the cake, however: Kalista, a championess of Slaanesh, and easily one of the most stunning models to have come out of 2017. Now any idea of building female Space Marines (or something similar) has been a bit of a hot button issue for a long time, with everyone who tries to work with this basic promise in acute danger of being laughed out of town. At the same time, having a championess of Slaanesh actually seems like such a wonderfully „Realms-of-Chaos“-style thing to do, doesn’t it? And just look at Kalista – isn’t she drop dead gorgeous?

Daouide’s wonderful conversion work, brilliant sculpting and sublime painting work together to create something utterly stunning here. Even better, though, Kalista is actually based on the Stormcast Eternal model Naeve Blacktalon:

Incredible, wouldn’t you agree?

In addition to painting her to match the rest of his EC army, Daouide also built and painted a custom warband for Kalista, and her retinue is certainly no slouch either:

Even in such a fantastic collection of models, however, Kalista stands out – and in spite of being a follower of Slaanesh, she isn’t even all that overtly sexualised. Incredible work!

One last observation: In addition to being such a stunning model, Kalista also really reminds me of the official art for Telemachon Lyras, of The Talon of Horus fame, and makes me wonder whether a fantastic model for Telemachon might not be built from the exact same source model.

In any case, check out Kalista in more detail here.

II. Blogs of note:

In this day and age, thoughtful blogging seems to be turning into a dying art, especially given the prevalence of endless picture streams on places like Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest — god, I’m sounding like a cantankerous old man, am I not? 😉

But the fact remains that, while social media are becoming ever more integral to the online component of our hobby, social networks don’t really lend themselves well to the “longform”content I appreciate. So to me at least, dedicated, well maintained blogs are more precious than ever, and discovering particularly fascinating specimens remains one of the biggest joys in our hobby. Here’s my pick of the litter for 2017:

Lead Plague:

Now Lead Plague is one of those blogs that I cannot believe I didn’t discover much, much earlier, as the very original style of Asslessman’s work is truly something to behold. Maybe the most interesting thing about the blog is how perfectly it mixes both vintage sensibilities and modern design techniques: Now the whole “Oldhammer” movement has been quite a thing for a couple of years now, and at its best, Oldhammer seems to be about celebrating the creative – and often crazy – vintage creations of early GW (and other companies from the same time), and I can totally subscribe to that! Unfortunately, though, at its worst, Oldhammer can occasionally devolve into basically disparaging everything GW did after 1995, and those parts of the movement are really rather tiresome.

And entirely unneccessary, as it turns out, as so much of the content on Lead Plague perfectly bridges the gap between Oldhammer and “modern” GW models. It helps that Asslessman really pulls it off in style, of course, creating highly original conversions with often surprising and original colour schemes:


And while those models are perfectly “modern” in so many ways, they also happen to recall the ‘Eavy Metal sections of vintage GW publications from around the 2nd edition of Warhammer 40k, which is really the best of both worlds, isn’t it?

The blog is also full of fantastic warbands and projects. One of my favourites  is the “Shadow Legion”, a band of traitors and heretics that makes excellent use of some of GW’s more recent plastic kits:


Seriously, aren’t those menacing masked soldiers just perfect for all kinds of chaos and INQ28-related shenanigans?


Again, all of this looks perfectly at home in “modern” 40k. At other times, things get downright Oldhammer-y, as with this vintage Brat Gang, inspired by Confrontation, the semi-official predecessor to Necromunda:


Funnily enough, given the shout out Brat Gangs get in the new Necromunda material, these guys may soon have a home in “modern” GW again 😉

Or take a look at some of the rather excellent oldhammer-ish models appearing in this inquisitorial retinue:


Asslessman shows that this really doesn’t have to be an either/or choice, that it’s possible for a hobbyist to draw from decades of excellent content and turn it all into the kind of custom projects they want — and pull it all together with excellent painting, no less! And of course all of us, whether we are Oldhammerers or not, just love the grimdark:

Anyway, Lead Plague is a fantastic blog and, in spite of its many retro-trappings, a real breath of fresh air! Oh, and it also wins an extra award for best header image! 🙂

The blog can be found here.

 

Wilhelminiatures:

Helge Wilhelm Dahl, of Wilhelminiatures, has been on my radar for quite some time now, but his blog has really managed to kick into overdrive this last year: There’s such a breadth of projects and ideas on display there now, in addition to a particular style of painting and modeling that’s just a joy to behold: There’s more than a bit of Blanchian influence, yet Wilhelminiatures‘ models are also wholly original and immediately recognisable.

Just to give you an idea of the variety on display on the blog:

Already on my shortlist last year, here’s a wondefully creepy and creative Genestealer cult that really pushes the envelope when it comes to adding interesting and disturbing archetypes (and genotypes) to GW’s “official” treatment of Genestealer cults:


There would be so much to say about this particular warband, but I’ll restrain myself and just point out that incredibly creepy babyface walker:


Or there’s the project of making the Silver Tower characters and archetypes more interesting and, arguably, more vintage GW. This endeavour ranges from a number of small tweaks to particular models…


…to rather impressive conversions and rebuilds. And everything is tied together by a wonderful, limited palette.


Or let’s not forget Wilhelminiatures’ wonderfully crazy apocalyptic warband taking cues from 40k, Necromunda and the latest Mad Max film at the same time:



And did I mention the blog also happens to feature some of the best 30k World Eaters around as well? Stupendous!


Given a collection this eclectic and wonderfully weird, it’s hard to pick favourites. If pressed to do so, however, there’s two models I would choose. One, the seashell-based monstrosity that reminded me so much of some very early and weird creature concepts from the video game Bioshock:




Seriously, though: I have no words for how creepy that thing is!

Arguably the best model, however, is this guy here:


A wonderfully weird retro-futuristic Knight on his grimdark steed: Very characterful, very Rogue Trader, very grimdark — and very, very Wilhelminiatures!

Make sure to check out this fantastic blog here.

 

Prometian Painting:

Confession time, I would never have given a single thought to creating an army based on “Hakanor’s Reavers”, a throwaway warband mentioned in an earlier version of the Chaos Space Marines Codex as a possible inspiration for your own colour schemes and/or warbands:


This made me feel like a fool when discovering Alex Marsh’s work – first on Flickr and then on his blog, Prometian Painting, however, because Alex has managed to create a truly spectacular army using the colours of Hakanor’s Reavers:

One thing that quickly becomes evident is that Alex’ Chaos Space Marine army has that one quality that I love above all else: It is chock-full of brilliant kitbashes and conversions. Like this massive Chaos Lord converted using the freebie Slaughterpriest from the White Dwarf relaunch:


Or this Chaos Sorcerer who gives Forgeworld’s conceptually similar event-only model a run for its money:

Now looking at Alex’s fantastic models is also a bit of a bittersweet experience for me, because Alex freely admits to taking quite a bit of inspiration from some of my own models, which is indredibly flattering, of course. The bittersweet part comes from seeing that some of his takes on my models actually improve on my work 😉


Seems like the best thing I can do, considering the circumstances, is to just steal back a whole bag of ideas from Alex in turn — his Chosen, in particular, would be a delightful idea to steal:


They are just so wonderfully massive and menacing:

And there’s much more inspiration to be had here, as Alex doesn’t limit himself to the Chaos Space Marine part of his army: His collection now features dedicated “sub-armies” in the form of Traitor Guard and Chaos Daemons. The Traitor Guard detachment makes excellent use of Forgeworld’s Vraksian Renegade Militia, while also featuring enough common features with Hakanor’s Reavers to tie both forces together visually:



Once again, though, there are some lovely visual flourishes showing off Alex’ talent for creating cool conversions. Such as this traitor commander who is equal parts haughty officer and monstrous servant of chaos:


And let’s not forget the Daemon side of the collection, either! Because Alex’s sprawling chaos collection actually features an entire third army composed of Khorne’s neverborn servants:


As you will already have noticed, one of the most striking features of Alex’ armies is how they use the leitmotif of heat to draw the eye and pull the different parts of the force together: His painting perfectly conveys the feeling of blistering heat, be it in the form of warp-based fire breaking through the Astartes’ armour or via lava on the bases casting a red haze on the models. His daemons really turn this up to eleven, though, looking like their very bodies consist of molten metal and living flame:


In short, this is one of the best chaos armies I have seen in 2017, and a project that’s always a joy to follow!

The blog can be found here.

 

III. Honorary mentions:

Augustus b’Raass’ retro Bloodthirsters:

For a time, back when I properly got into WFB and 40k, Trish Carden’s – then brand new – metal Bloodthirster was my favourite model of all time. And even though time has not been all that kind to the sculpt, Augustus b’Raass’ beautiful modern paintjob for the classic Bloodthirster has made me realise that I still love the model, in spite of the massive hands and the general clunkiness.

If anything, Augustus’ photo above actually sells the model short, since the vibrancy of his paintjob model is absolutely breathtaking, as I can attest to from firsthand experience. In fact, the stunning amount of pop present in the paintjob is arguably a bit easier to see in this picture I took of the model:


In addition to painting a stock Retro-Thirster, Augustus also used a second vintage model to splice in some bitz from the modern plastic Bloodthirster and create a model that combines modern and retro in the best possible way:


So these two guys definitely deserve a shout out here! Fantastic work, buddy!

You can find Augustus’ ongoing WIP thread featuring all of his various hobby projects, over here.

Jeff Vader’s Primaris Reivers


It somehow feels as though this wouldn’t be a proper best of the year post without at least namedropping the ever illustrious Johan Egerkrans aka Jeff Vader, and while Johan’s hobby output last year didn’t quite match his frantic pace in previous years, he still managed to knock it out of the park again and again. Case in point, and particularly noteworthy: The Primaris Reivers from his DIY Chapter, bearing all the hallmarks of his incredibly gorgeous painting style as well as selling me on a slightly dubious new unit type. Congratulations, mate! Nobody does it quite like you!

Jeff Vader keeps blogging over here.

 

IV. The absolute best hobby project of 2017:

Wait, you didn’t think we were finished yet, did you? As it happens, I’ve actually saved the best for last this time around, so allow me to share my absolutely favourite hobby project from last year:

Neil101’s Adepta Sororitas diorama

Some of you may remember my absolute elation when this lass was released late in 2016:

To quote myself for a moment here:

You see, if somebody asked me what 40k was all about, I would point them to two particular pieces of artwork by the venerable John Blance. And one of those two pieces of art would be [the cover of the old Adepta Sororitas Codex], invariably.

It’s really all there: 40k’s particular blend of religious iconography, grimdark dystopian sci-fi and medieval madness. The glitzy, 80s fantasy style warrior woman with the crazy hairdo. And the influences from classic painters like Bosch, Breughel, Rembrandt et. al. It’s 40k in a perfectly formed nutshell.

And to get an almost picture perfect model representing that character, courtesy of Martin Footit, was a very particular delight, and one I wouldn’t have expected in a million years.

So I spent ages trying to get hold of a Canoness Veryidian model (it’s still sitting in its box, unpainted. That’s irony of fate for you), and one of my half-formed plans for the model was that, maybe, just maybe, I could try and recreate some of the characters from the background of that artwork and have them, along with the Canoness, as some kind of mini-diorama, you know?

Yeah, so…then I saw that Neil101 had done this:

I cannot even begin to put words to the sheer awesomness of this diorama: Neil has really gone above and beyond to create the closest possible representation of the art in actual miniature form — and without any cheap tricks like messing around with the scale or stuff like that, either. It’s an incredible piece that you could possible spend hours examining more closely to get an idea of all the details and genius little touches. Canoness Veryidian remains at the heart of the piece, of course, but it’s truly stunning what an incredible amount of work Neil had dedicated to the attempt of featuring all the crazy and demented characters loitering around in the background of the original illustration:

It goes without saying that seeing Neil’s work has put my own aspirations of doing something similar to rest — I mean, what’s the point, right? 😉

What’s more, since this is a fully fledged 360 degrees diorama, it basically looks great from every angle, lending itself perfectly to the creation of moody impressions of the grimdark future:


Speaking of which, I thought it would actually be fun to create some montages of Neil’s photos, trying to bring them even closer to the original art, so I played around with Photoshop and Pixlr a bit and send these over to Neil quite a while ago:



Looking at the pictures again now, I still cannot get over how awesome this project is: It epitomises the kind of no-holds-barred, crazy inventive hobby projects Neil101 has become known – and rightly revered – for.

So yeah, Neil, mate, you win “best absolute everything” this year — congrats! 😉

After a prolonged hiatus, Neil101 has once again set up shop on the interwebz: Find his new blog, Distopus, over here.

 

So here we are, with another year of incredible hobby endeavours behind us. I hope you enjoyed this show of stunning talent and will take lots of inspiration (and new reading suggestions) away from this! If anything, and I am saying this to myself as much as to my readers, let’s not be discouraged by the breathtaking display of talent, but let’s rather try to be re-invigorated for our own hobby endeavours, eh? So here’s to the next twelve months of cutting up and painting little plastic men and women!

So there may just be one last instalment of the 2017 Eternal Hunt Awards, taking a look at last year’s best (and worst) releases and at their implications for the way forward. Keep your fingers crossed for me not to get sidetracked too much, and it may happen sooner rather than later 😉

Until then, I’d love to hear your thoughts about my collection of inspiring content from fellow hobbyists! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!