Archive for the Custodes Category

In the Shadow of Great Wings, pt. 1

Posted in 30k, Chaos, Conversions, Custodes, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2017 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, sorry for the lack of updates, but I’ve been crazy busy these last couple of weeks! That being said, I do have something new to share with you today, a new conversion of an established character that I hope you will appreciate — some of you may already be suspecting who it is we are talking about, based on the title of this post, but anyway: Here goes:

When I shared my 30k Khรขrn conversion with you recently, several fellow hobbyists here and on the forums suggested I should actually also create a model for Argel Tal of the Word Bearers, Crimson Lord of the Gal Vorbak and ostensibly Khรขrn’s BFF during the events of Aaron Demsbki-Bowden’s “Betrayer”.

Now for those of you not following the Horus Heresy novels, Argel Tal and his brethren are arguably the first-ever Chaos Space Marines: Sent by Lorgar into the Eye of Terror itself, they become possessed by Daemons of the warp and, from that point onwards, are able to transform into hideous yet powerful semi-daemonic creatures during combat — pretty much proto-Possessed Chaos Space Marines, if you will. Their story is told in ADB’s novel “The First Heretic”, and the Gal Vorbak have also been immortalised by receiving their own dedicated Forgeworld models that match the descriptions appearing in the novel rather closely:

Argel Tal makes a return in “Betrayer”, serving as one of the novel’s main characters. And, like I said, he bonds rather closely with the World Eaters’ 8th Captain, creating what may be the Horus Heresy’s grimdark version of a buddy-cop scenario ๐Ÿ˜‰

So creating an Argel Tal model to accompany my version of Khรขrn seems like a pretty cool idea, right? Even so, I was pretty reluctant.

Argel Tal just seemed very hard to get right, especially given his part-daemonic nature: When I did some research on Argel Tal conversions, most models I discovered were either based on Forgeworld’s Gal Vorbak models shown above (the guy in the front row seems like a dead-ringer for Argel Tal as he is described in “The First Heretic”) or on a mixture of plastic Possessed and Raptor bits. But neither approach really quite clicked for me: On the one hand, I didn’t really want to have to buy a set of Gal Vorbak models, cheap bastard that I am ๐Ÿ˜‰ And the Gal Vorbak models are also a fair bit taller than standard Astartes, while I wanted the two models to work together, which would be easier with models of a similar size.

The combination of Possessed and Raptor parts, on the other hand, seemed promising, but the main pitfall I saw was to end up with a model that just looked like any old CSM Raptor, when Argel Tal is such a cool character and deserves a conversion with a certain originality and presence.

So I was just about content with leaving the character well alone, but then my buddy DexterKong joined the chorus of those clamouring for an Argel Tal conversion — and I could never really turn down a conversion challenge from Dexter, so over the course of an afternoon, a couple of ideas actually coagulated into a model (which we’ll be taking a look at in a minute).

For inspiration, I mostly worked from the description of Argel Tal given in “Betrayer”: With his daemonic possession having been underway for quite a while by the events of the novel, Argel Tal’s “combat form” seems to have developed into a slightly more stable version. He has also gained a pair of wings, which feature rather prominently in the scenes he appears in. And he is wielding a pair of Custodian weapons: a sword and a freaking Guardian Spear. I was pretty sure this last part would pose quite a challenge, especially given the plastic Custodes’ increased size and bulk.

I also used two pieces of artwork that came really close to how I imagined Argel Tal. One is this fantastic piece of art courtesy of slaine69:

Argel Tal by slaine69

This illustration does a rather fantastic job of showing Argel Tal in all his daemonic glory, while also including enough visual cues that point towards his Astartes roots, such as the corrupted Mk. IV armour and helmet.

The other piece of art I felt drawn to was the possessed Chaos Space Marine from the cover of GW’s Black Legion supplement:

Granted, the armour is definitely the wrong colour. But this guy is really close to how I imagine Argel Tal, plus this general look also seemed to be attainable by using the right set of bitz.

So with these pointers in mind, I created the following:




So, a couple of conversion notes on the model:

  • I tried to choose armour parts for Argel Tal that seemed suitably chaotic and warped while also recalling the Mk. IV armour the character wears during the events of Betrayer. The Chaos Raptor kit came in handy here, allowing for armour that really matched both criteria.
  • When it came to creating the wings, the obvious solution would have been to make use of the winged backpack from the Possessed kit:


But to be perfectly honest, I really don’t like that bit: It seems so very symmetrical and cartoony. And the wings are also a fair bit too small to lift a creature of Astartes size. Fortunately enough, I found a set of leftover Vargheist wings in my bitzbox, and they were carefully grafted to the organic looking backpack of Dark Vengeance’s Kranon model. I am really rather happy with the result!

  • The head was probably the one instance where I actually consciously deviated from canon: In the books, Argel Tal’s daemonic form is described as wearing a warped version of an Mk. IV helmet, with the faceplate actually cracked into a daemonic maw. And right enough, the Raptor/Warp Talon kit actually features several helmets that clearly look like corrupted Mk. IV helmets. But whenever I tried adding one of them to the model, it ended up looking like just another standard Raptor. I then wanted to add Kranon’s horns to the helmet to make it look less vanilla. And gut instinct made me carefully dig out Kranon’s entire head from its original torso and add it to the conversion. And I really think it works rather nicely: It’s not an Mk. IV helmet, certainly, but it does have the daemonic maw. It’s also not a head you see all that often, so it does make the character look more original and “special”, in a way.
  • And finally, the weapons: Having the character wield both a sword and a Guardian Spear would have looked ridiculous enough before the new plastic Custodes were released, but given the size and bulk of the new models (and their weapons), it basically seemed unfeasible. So I decided to arm Argel Tal with a Guardian Spear, as it seemed like the more iconic weapon of the two. I did replace the original haft with a Chaos Knight’s spear, however, to bring out the spear-like qualities of the weapon a bit more.

However, I also wanted to feature the sword in some shape or form, seeing how the way Argel Tal came by it seemed so significant to me. So I decided on a slightly more subtle way of including the sword — by actually making it a part of Argel Tal’s base:






That sword sticking out from the fallen Astartes at Argel Tal’s feet? That may or may not be his sword: I imagine Argel Tal as a highly dynamic fighter, zipping across the battlefield like a whirlwind of destruction, so maybe this is him coming back to pick up his sword after fighting elsewhere? Moreover, if both Khรขrn and Argel Tal are placed next to each other, they seem to be interacting rather nicely as a mini-diorama of sorts:


And a small narrative suggests itself: Maybe Argel Tal was occupied elsewhere on the battlefield, saw an Ultramarine sneaking up on Khรขrn, threw his sword and is now swooping down to take it back — and assist his BFF while he’s at it?

Anyway, all things considered, and given my earlier reservations about tackling this particular character in the first place, I am pretty happy with the finished conversion — of course now I’ll have to do a “human” version as well, to show Argel Tal when he’s off the battlefield (or when the gloves have not yet come off…).

Bonus model:

All the time spent messing around with Guardian Spears really gave me a desire for building my first new plastic Custodian. And after going through “The First Heretic” again for conversion cues, memories of Aquillon were still pretty fresh on my mind, so…




Anyway, so much for today’s update. I would love to hear any feedback you might have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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Get out of my head, dammit! A closer look at The Burning of Prospero

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Custodes, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 26, 2016 by krautscientist

First of all, forgive me for being phenomenally lazy over the last two weeks, dear readers — or rather, I wasn’t really being lazy but rather focusing my attention elsewhere (on the job, as it stands — YAY!). But it’s now time to return to the world of blogging, and what better occasion than to address the very obvious elephant in the room: GW’s second Horus Heresy boxed kit, The Burning of Prospero:

burning-of-prospero-release-1Prospero has been dangled in front of Horus Heresy aficionados’ noses for quite a while now, and now GW performs a fearsome one-two-punch, turning the occasion into its own boxed set with dedicated rules — and lots and lots of delicious new little plastic men. Interestingly enough, the box seems to be continuing some of Betrayal at Calth’s most successful parts (i.e. giving us Horus Heresy Astartes in multi-part plastic) while also shaking up the formula in other respects (making the HQ models far less generic and adding shiny stuff like the Custodian Guard and the Sisters of Silence). So anyway, it has been a while since the last review, so let’s relish this occasion and use it as an excuse to take a closer look at the models as well as the possible conversion opportunities!

Before we begin, however, allow me to point you towards Wudugast’s article regarding The Burning of Prospero as a possible companion piece to this post. I’ve only skimmed his post so far, mostly for fear of ending up stealing some of his ideas and observations, but it seems like he raises some excellent points, and I know I am already looking forward to reading the whole thing, once my own post has gone up ๐Ÿ˜‰

So let us start with the two HQ models that come in the box: Once again, we get one commander for each side. Now while Betrayal at Calth chose the route of actually naming the characters and giving them background while keeping the models themselves generic to the point of blandness, The Burning of Prospero goes the exact opposite way and opens up with one of the 30k and 40k universes’ big names:

 

Ahzek Ahriman, Chief-Librarian of the Thousand Sons

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Now that was quite a surprise, wasn’t it? Ahriman’s definitely the first major 30k character to be given a plastic incarnation, and I think Maxime Pastourel (aka Morbรคck) has done a wonderful job with the model: The armour and detailing are very close representations of several pieces of Horus Heresy artwork, giving you the idea that, yes, this is definitely Ahriman! The blank faceplate is a bit of an acquired taste, but in all fairness, it has been part of the art for quite a while now, so it’s definitely an accurate representation. The engravings and symbols on Ahriman’s armour speaks of the Thousand Sons’ dabblings in sorcery while not overcluttering the model. And I really love how the flowing robes lend motion and dynamism to what is otherwise a rather static pose.

Of course with an important character like this, it’s also important to compare the 30k and 40k versions — and at first glance, there is very little resemblance between Maxime’s 30k Ahriman and Jes Goodwin’s classic 40k Ahriman:

40k_ahrimanHowever, upon closer examination, it’s interesting to see how several elements of the 30k model do seem like a shout out to Jes Goodwin’s model: Maxime himself explains in the current issue of WD how the curved crest behin Ahriman’s head was included to mirror the horns curving from the 40k version’s helmet — and a similar thing can be said about his Heka staff, as the curve of its blade seems to subtly echo the curvature of the horns atop 40k Ahriman’s staff.ย  The stole around Ahriman’s neck also mirrors a similar item on 40k Ahriman, and it’s fun how the wind seems to be blowing in the opposite direction on both models, respectively ๐Ÿ˜‰

Beyond those visual connections, it’s also fun to compare what is different about the models, however, as there seems to be quite a bit of visual storytelling there: 30k Ahriman is all clean lines and lofty ideals, while 40k Ahriman seems like the quintessential, crooked and corrupt Chaos Sorcerer (much as he himself would probably deny any such notions). Looking at both models beautifully illustrates how far the character has fallen! It’ll be interesting to see whether a possible new 40k version of Ahriman manages to keep the same sense of narrative…

So yeah, I think this guy is pretty great! Anything else? I think that fallen Space Wolf on the base is a rather beautiful touch. And that might just be the best casting hand we have seen so far from GW — job’s a good ‘un!

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Geigor Fell-Hand of the Space Wolves

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Ahriman’s direct opponent for the game is Geigor Fell-Hand of the Space Wolves, and while he’s a beautiful model in his own right, I don’t think he can quite keep up with his Thousand Sons counterpart. First of all, it would have seemed more plausible from a story perspective to include Othere Wyrdmake, seeing how he’s both an already established character AND Ahriman’s nemesis of sorts. But I imagine that would have messed with the game’s premise (sorcery vs. good, honest close combat), so we get a CC monster instead ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now there are many things I like about the model: The artificer armour is definitely a thing of beauty! The shoulder pads are particularly noteworthy, in my opinion: The left one looks deliciously customised while the right one actually shows a Rogue Trader-era style legion badge — brilliant!

In spite of the model’s strong parts, I do have two gripes about Geigor: One, I think the model is too “Space Viking” by a long shot, especially since the Horus Heresy novels (Prospero Burns, in particular) have been doing such a good job so far of selling the wolves as something more interesting than mere generic viking types. And now here comes Geigor, in full Space-Viking regalia — poor guy must not have gotten the memo…

In fairness, I think this problem could be solved in part by making a few minor tweaks and ommissions: That back banner needs to go, if you ask me, and the claw seems a bit over-designed to me.

In fact, that’s my second gripe: I get how the designers wanted this guy to read as a close combat monster, but the combination of a massive lightning claw and a combat knife just seems off to me, somehow, especially in combination with the slightly wonky poses of the arms. I think a pair of claws or a massive sword and knife would have been excellent options, respectively, but the setup we are getting here just seems like a bit of a compromise. I remember that this guy was rumoured to be Bjorn the Fell-Handed, back when the first rumours of the boxed set surfaced, and his equipment would have made lots of sense in that light. But it seems like GW chickened out and turned him into yet another super-important character that we have never heard about — and in that case, a different combination of weapons would have worked better, if you ask me.

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Don’t get me wrong, though: Geigor’s still a beautiful model that should work well both in 30k and 40k armies. He’s just not as good as Ahriman ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Tartaros Terminators

burning-of-prospero-release-7Getting a full squad of plastic multi-part Cataphractii out of the deal was one of the most pleasant surprises about Betrayal at Calth — and now the new boxed set follows suit and gives us a squad of the other iconic heresy-era pattern of Terminator armour. And it seems like GW’s sculptors have once again done a good job of recreating the design in plastic, at least where the amount of detail is concerned.

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Now I have to admit I am not a big fan of the Tartaros pattern, but that’s just me. Even so, I cannot help wondering whether these are actually a bit clunkier and more angular than their resin cousins. In any case, I do think the models end up looking a bit silly if the shoulder pads are placed too low, however. Just check out this guy:

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Beyond those observations, it looks like the kit comes with just as much customisation as the Cataphractii — and we even get some choom out of the deal! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I also like the extra detail on the sergeant’s armour, which is something I would have loved to see on the Cataphractii as well!

All in all, this is another rock solid plastic rendition of heresy armour, and I imagine many people will be really happy with these guys! My lack of appreciation for the general design of the armour means I am not perfectly sold — but I do think the plastic Tartaros Terminators provide some excellent conversion fodder. But we’ll be getting to that in a minute…

 

Tactical Marines in Mk. III “Iron” armour

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Where the regular Astartes are concerned, the inclusion of plastic Mk. III armour is actually the most exciting part of the boxed set for me! Iron armour is possibly my favourite heresy era armour mark — even moreso than Mk. IV. There’s just something about the very archaic look of the armour and the added mass that’s immensely appealing to me for some reason — maybe it’s the fact that the heavyset Mk. III armour captures the massive, archaic feeling of the classic Wayne England Horus Heresy artwork like nothing else?

Anyway, these guys look great as a squad, and it’s cool that they are getting the whole tactical squad treatment (with all the options that entails) once more. Granted, though: If you are not into Space Marines, then this is just the umpteenth tactical squad — but then I guess you wouldn’t exactly be this boxed set’s chief target demographic, either ๐Ÿ˜‰

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While the basic options and additional weapons are just like what we got with the Betrayal at Calth Mk. IV Marines, there are some additional tweaks that I appreciate: The models come with yet another bolter design (the Phobos pattern) that’s arguably a great fit for the archaic armour and makes for greater visual variety. And we get some chain swords for the Marines to wear at their hips, whoch is nice — and arguably a bit cooler than the somewhat bland combat knives. Maybe next time, we can get some actual chain sword arms, though? Thank you very much! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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The armour design itself seems to have been tweaked ever so slightly during its transition to plastic: The back of the backpack seems to have streamlined a bit, for once. There have been some tweaks to the helmet design. The shape seems ever so slightly different, especially towards the back of the helmet. And the main difference is that the eyes – formerly just eye holes, really – have been turned into actual helmet lenses that can be painted. This definitely makes sense, but the look it creates needs some getting used to.

burning-of-prospero-release-12On the other hands, GW sweetens the deal by giving us several subtly different helmet designs, which is definitely appreciated.

Much as I love the design of the armour, however, my earlier criticism from the Betrayal at Calth release applies once more: Why not include some CC weapon arms (which would have made even more sense given the “physical power vs. sorcery” vibe of the whole game) and leave those to FW upgrade kits? I would have loved to finally see some close combat arms on a wider scale, especially with a kit that is otherwise so big on options and customisability.

Apart from this one piece of criticism, however, the Mk. III Marines are one of my favourite parts of the boxed set, and I can hardly wait to get my hands on them!

 

Custodian Guard & Sisters of Silence

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Right, if you had told me one year ago that we would be seeing plastic Custodes and Sisters of Silence in an upcoming Horus Heresy boxed set, I would probably have laughed long and hard and called you a wishlister of the highest order. And yet, here they are. Of course their inclusion makes sense from a background perspective — seriously, though: I would rather have expected them to be releaed as resin models.

Of course the recently released Deathwatch Watch Captain served as a fair warning, what with wielding a Guardian Spear and all — I was actually going to suggest using him as the base for a Custodes conversion. Clever, GW, very clever ๐Ÿ˜‰

The Custodes in particular have long been a bit of a holy grail for many hobbyists (myself included), and the attempt to recreate them in model for has spawned many awesome armies — with Dave Taylor’s seminal Custodes army being first among them, of course. All the more reason, then, to take a close look at the models:

 

Custodian Guard

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“Oh, right, now I understand: That’s what GW kept doing all those golden Age of Sigmar dudes for: They were merely test runs for the inception of plastic Custodes…” ๐Ÿ˜‰

And, funnily enough, just when we thought we couldn’t stand any more huge golden dudes, GW gives us plastic Custodians — I wonder whether or not the irony behind it all was intended ๐Ÿ˜‰

In spite of never appearing in model form so far, the Custodes have a fairly well-documented history, with quite a few depictions in the Horus Heresy art. Many of the most iconic illustrations featuring the Emperor’s bodyguard were part of the Horus Heresy trading card game and subsequently appeared in the collected Horus Heresy artbooks. Such as this piece:

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I think it’s really astonishing how much of the visual splendour of the Custodian armour appearing in the image above has been faithfully reproduced on the actual models, from the iconic helmet design to the small details of the armour:

burning-of-prospero-release-15I also really like how the armour seems decidedly unlike standard Astartes power armour, thanks to its very different lines, integrated backpack/reactor etc.

What’s more, you may not like those massively clunky bolt-pistol swords, internet, but if nothing else, there’s a precedent for them in the classic HH artwork, and they are just as clunky there:

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The shout outs to the artwork don’t stop there, however: In his aforementioned post, Wudugast points out how much the bare head included with the kit resembles the various depictions of Constantin Valdor, Captain-General of the Legio Custodes:

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All of this makes it seem like GW’s designers have really gone above and beyond in the attempt to do these guys justice and make them resemble the classic artwork as much as possible.

Even so, I will say that – beyond the sheer surprise of these guys being featured as part of a boxed set, and in plastic, no less – I did have to warm to the Custodes models for a number of reasons:

First up, they seemed so big and clunky to me: Sure, so many of the elements from the classic artwork have been expertly reproduced in model form, including the contoured armour that separates them from regular Astartes, but they still felt so massive to me at first glance, when some of the old artwork rather suggested something more lithe and elegant:

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Of course John Blanche’s style is always rather open to interpretation, and the actual models usually end up looking fairly different, but there are also different pieces of art that have the Custodians look powerful, but in a rather elegant way. Just check out the guys on the far right in the picture below:

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The actual models seem incredibly massive, however. Especially so in certain configurations:

burning-of-prospero-release-16At the same time, I have come to like the bigger scale when compared to regular Astartes: Sure, it seems a bit strange at first, but the Custodians really should be between an Astartes and a Primarch in size — just imagine how stupid they would look surrounding the Emperor otherwise ๐Ÿ˜‰

Still, the added mass takes some getting used to. But even as I write this, I can feel myself liking the models more and more. So I don’t think it’s much of an issue.

The other gripe I have doesn’t seem quite as substantial, admittedly, but it just keeps bothering me: Why are the Custodes models lacking any kind of robes or capes? This feels like a pretty baffling design choice on GW’s part, because if you look at the various pieces of artwork above, the crimson robes and capes seem as emblematic of the Custodes as their Guardian spears and their iconic helmets. Yet they are completely missing on the models, not even showing up on the Shield-Captain.

Now I do realise that this probably has something to do with technical issues and/or the way the models are assembled — but come on, these models are so spectacularly detailed, and you have gone out of your way to feature elements from the artwork. So how hard could it have been to add some (optional) capes on the sprue?

To add insult to injury, the Custodian appearing on the pictures of FW’s new antigrav tank even sports an added cape:

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Looks like I’ll have to source some plastic capes, then — any suggestions? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Of course having Custodes available in plastic also carries a bit of a bittersweet taste for me: After all, I happily kitbashed together a small Custodes army a couple of years ago, and I think I had a pretty good recipe as well:

Custodes (2b)
Custodian Squad (2)

Custodes army Teaser Shot
And these guys have now obviously been rendered rather irrelevant by the new models — bugger! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I really only have myself to blame, though, as my last models for the army were painted back in 2013 — I should have been faster!

All in all, these guys have grown on me quite a bit — and to actually see them as what looks like a multi-part plastic kit still seems kind of unreal to me. What’s more, the amount of detail on the various parts of the kit is really rather outstanding, and I imagine playing around with the bitz should be quite a bit of fun. Sure, the swords are too big (even if they are accurate), but at least we get a full set of Guardian Spears, so that’s not much of a problem. It really is a shame about those missing capes, though…

 

Sisters of Silence

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Where the Custodes depart from the artwork in some rather surprising ways, the Sisters of Silence seem like a perfect representation of the various pieces of artwork from the Horus Heresy artbooks: The design of the armour, the iconic weapon and facemasks, and the weapons wielded by the various squads in the artwork: all accounted for.

In addition to this, it’s always a treat to see some additional female models, and the Sisters of Silence are an especially welcome breath of fresh air in between all those bulky killing machines in the boxed set!

Another thing I really like about the models is that they feature all of the weapon loadouts we have seen in the art so far, allowing for swords as well as bolters, which is a very nice option to have (and also adds even more possible conversion parts).

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Oh, and that Sister Superior ist just a stunning model — it’s going to take all of my (almost nonexistent) willpower to resist the temptation to convert her into an Inquisitrix…

Incidentally, a squad of kitbashed Sisters of Silence were part of my Custodes project as well, although I’d argue they are still close enough to the new models to actually still work once painted:

SoS (15)

Do I see any negative points about the Sisters? I think some of the hair looks ever so slightly unnatural — but that’s not a huge problem and should be easy enough to sort out. In closing, let me just state the obvious, though: If GW can do these, they can do plastic Sisters of Battle. Just sayin’…

 

conversion options:

So much for the models, but what about possible conversions? I think the boxed set provides us with lots and lots of promising bitz and opportunities. Let me just outline some initial ideas for you:


Ahriman

I think the model could easily be turned into your own, customised Thousand Sons Librarian or even Praetor, for that matter: Just a head and/or an arm swap, and you are there. By the same token, he would work really well as a Chaos Space Marine Sorcerer in 40k: His armour is just ornate enough to work, and adding some spikes, trophies and chaotic symbols as well as a suitably chaotic staff and head shouldn’t be a huge challenge.

Geigor Fell-Hand
Like Ahriman, it should be easy enough to turn him into a custom Praetor with a new head, new arms or what have you. It’s also important to point out that the thing I consider the model’s biggest weakness (his over-the-top Space Wolfiness) is what makes him a great fit for a 40k Space Wolves army.
Given the amount of detail on his armour, I think it would be pretty difficult to convert him into a member of another legion. However, I might eventually try to turn him into a member of my Traitor Wolves. We’ll see…

Tartaros Terminators

I am pretty sure we can look forward to all kinds of crazy kitbashing involving these guys, especially if it comes to recombining existing parts to create new (or customised) marks of Terminator armour.
Possibly the most interesting thing about the models, however, is how they provide excellent parts for true-scale conversions! My first true-scale Marine, Praetor Janus Auriga, uses Tartaros legs, and they work really well for true-scale Marines because there are few visual cues that actually make them read as Terminator legs, making for very uncomplicated conversions. By the same token, I have seen some very convincing true-scale conversions making use of Tartaros torso pieces, so I definitely think that true-scalers across the blogosphere will appreciate these new toys. For instance, I can hardly wait for Apologist to get his hands on these guys… ๐Ÿ˜‰

Mk III Marines

It’s easy to imagine how versatile a tool these will become for Space Marine players — after all, they should work great in both 30k and 40k, and it’s easy enough to mix and match with all of those plastic parts now available. This is great because it allows for extra flavour in your Space Marine army, regardless of which legion you are playing. It also means that you can now create a plastic Horus Heresy Astartes army without having to rely on a single armour mark for most of the models. What’s more, mixing different parts will lead to a more improvised, ragtag appearance that would be a great fit for specific legions (yes, World Eaters, I am looking at you! ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

I also love the fact that the Mk. III Marines would arguably work really well for Chaos Space Marines as well: The added detail and mass make them look just archaic and sinister enough, and some legions immediately come to mind —ย  such as the Death Guard, Iron Warriors or World Eaters.

Man, I really want to get started on those guys…

Custodian Guard

Well, these would be great fรญf you wanted to build a suitably massive Inquisitor, of course, but I am pretty certain that we are going to start seeing actual Custodians appear in INQ28 and Necromunda games, especially if they happen to be set on Terra ๐Ÿ˜‰
Beyond that, I am already considering using leftover Custodian parts to turn some of those Sigmarines into yet more Custodians — this should be interesting! And finally, those very same leftover parts should make for excellent conversion fodder for Space Marines and Inquisitorial retinues alike — those shields alone are almost worth it! Invictarii, Breachers or Honour Guard, anyone…?

Sisters of Silence

I predict a bright future for the Sisters of Silence models, especially among converters and the INQ28 crowd: Additional female models are always a much-appreciated resource, and it looks like the new sisters could be the legitimate heirs to the female Dark Eldar Kabalite Warriors and Wyches when it comes to building female assassins, death cultists and Inquisitorial operatives. Beyond that, like I said, the Sister Superior looks like she would make a teriffic base model for an Inquisitrix. And if you have already given up hope that GW will ever release plastic Sisters of Battle, then these girls might be your final way out ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

So what’s the final verdict? Back when Betrayal af Calth was realised, my main criticism was the generic look of the models: I realised that this choice arguably ensured that the box would have a wide appeal to more people, but the lack of character still felt like a problem, especially with regard to the HQ models. The Burning of Prospero addresses this criticism, giving us squads that are once again generic enough so as to be useful to everyone, while imbuing the HQ characters with a lot of character. And then they added some of the most eagerly awaited Horus Heresy troop types on top of it all in a move that seems to have been plucked from the big all time wish-list in the back of my head — well played, GW, well played indeed!

With regard to the Horus Heresy setting at large, I think the writing’s definitely on the wall now: GW seemingly wants to move the Astartes squads to plastic and leave the special upgrade kits and characters to Forgeworld. At the same time, we have now seen the first important character in plastic, and we have proof that the Daemon-Primarchs (or at least one of them) will be produced as plastic kits. So I think we can expect a sizeable part of the future Horus Heresy output to be produced by GW proper (and in plastic) at this point, and I applaud that choice. I realise that not everyone is quite as enthusiastic as me about this change, since many hobbyists seem to fear a sellout of the setting (to that I say: No shit, Sherlock ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) or a decline in quality. But if the boxed sets are anything to go by, I do not think there’s that much to fear.

If anything, it’ll be interesting to see what comes next: Additional armour marks in plastic? More named characters as clamshell versions? And let’s not forget the Custodes and Sisters of Silence: I feel myself being drawn back to that one massive piece of classic artwork time and time again:

legio-custodes-artwork-6

This hints at additional troop types, such as Terminators and jetbikes, to name just a few. And with the models we have now so clearly inspired by classic artwork, the obvious question is: What if this is just the beginning…?

Wishlisting aside, though: What we have here is another very tempting Horus Heresy starter box. And how does the new box compare to Betrayal at Calth? I think that, between the two, Betrayal at Calth is still arguably the better “starter kit”: The contents are a bit less exciting, but also slightly more useful. That being said, the new box still seems like a more refined sequel: If Betrayal of Calth was the teriffic proof of concept, The Burning of Prospero is GW’s piรจce de rรฉsistance — at least for now…

 

So what’s your take on the new boxed set? What do you like or hate about the new models? And do you have any conversion ideas you would like to share? I would love to hear from you in the comments section!

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

Age of Sigmar: Fun with freebies

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Custodes, Inq28, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 15, 2015 by krautscientist

While the ruinstorm of nerd rage is still going strong elsewhere on the internet, I am slowly coming to grips with the implications of the recent Age of Sigmar release — maybe my terribly wordy post on the matter did function as some kind of therapy, after all? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyway, I picked up my own copy of the game yesterday. A first look at the sprues reveals that the amount of detail on the models is really off the charts. At the same time, formulating a plan for all of these models will take some time — I am basically committed to converting quite a few, if not all, of them at this point, but I will have to think carefully before the knife comes out.

In the meantime, let’s deal with something related: Everyone and their cousin have been messing around with the freebie Liberator that came with White Dwarf, and it has been a regular pasttime of mine for the last several days to google for awesome conversions involving the model. So I would like to share two things with you today: One, my favourite kitbashes and conversions involving the Liberator so far. There are many people happily cutting away at the little guy, yet some models manage to stand out regardless. Two, I would like to show you the conversion I have settled on myself, lest this post become totally dependant on other people’s excellent work.

But first, a showcase of my favourite Liberator conversions. It’s rather noticeable how most (if not all) of the conversions I’ve seen so far neatly fall into one of the following categories:

 

I. Marines

The obvious choice, really: These guys haven’t been nicknamed “Sigmarines” for nothing, right? It’s no surprise that Truescalers all around the globe are enthusiastically checking out the possible ways of using the Stormcast Eternals as material for building bigger Astartes — and there are already quite a few rather impressive examples for this approach!

Blood Angels (Terminator Librarian) by Jair Nunez (via Spikey Bits):

model converted by Jair Nunez

model converted by Jair Nunez

This model certainly goes for shock and awe tactics, transforming the Liberator into something that almost looks like a Primarch at first glance! There’s a lot to love about this model: The Liberators’ more form-fitting armour is a great fit for Blood Angels anyway, and Jair underlines this with a very effective use of BA bitz. I especially love the hammer, since doesn’t remotely look like the fairly clunky Liberator weapon even longer — even though its head has been kept 100% intact! I am not yet wholly sure how I feel about the slightly extended midsection, but such minor quibbles notwithstanding, this is certainly an excellent kitbash!

Space Marine by DogZombie:

model converted by DogZombie

model converted by DogZombie

While DogZombie hasn’t done much to change the basic makeup of the model, his kitbash still ends up quite convincing because there’s just something about the combination of that clearly Imperial sword, Sternguard face, power fist and servo-skull that instantly makes this guy read as a Space Marine. A fairly straightforward, yet very effective job!

Space Marine by Wilhelminiatures:

model converted by Wilhelminiatures

model converted by Wilhelminiatures

Easily the most iconic Liberator-based Astartes conversion I have seen so far! Wilhelm has gone for the good old bolter setup, and has really nailed the look, if you ask me: Those Mk. III arms just work so well, and the praetor head really makes the model look like a grizzled veteran. The conversion shows an admirable restraint and ends up quite lovely because of it — possibly my favourite “Sigmarine” Astartes so far!

Thunder Warrior from the Oldhammer Facebook Group (via Sepulchre of Heroes):

conversion from the Oldhammer Facebook group

conversion from the Oldhammer Facebook group

Some hobbyists have even gone further back in time, using the Liberator for conversions from the Pre-Heresy or even Unification era: This Thunder Warrior is an excellent proof of concept, showing the Stormcast Eternals provide great material for such a conversion. If anything, this works even better than the standard Astartes conversions, seeing how Thunder armour doesn’t neccessarily conform to the design templates established by the later armour marks. As this model shows, if you have ever wanted your own Thunder Warrior army, you now have the perfect base models at your fingertips — as it happens, Mikko from Iron Sleet seems to be planning an entire army of these guys. A project I am really looking forward to!

As an aside, I was unable to find out who originally built and painted this, so if you recognise your model (or know the creator), please give me a holler, and I will of course give credit where credit is due!

II. The Legio Custodes

While we are already in the 30k time period after discussing that Thunder Warrior, let’s addresst the other very popular idea involving the Stormcast Eternals: using them as base models for Custodes conversions. There’s a clear resemblance here – arguably an even bigger resemblance than the one with the Astartes, and fortunately enough, some excellent Custodes conversions have already turned up as well:

Constantin Valdor by Ryan Stevenson:

model created by Ryan Stevenson

model created by Ryan Stevenson

Who better to build first than the Legio Custodes’ Captain-General, Constantin Valdor? As you can see, the model is wonderfully chunky and impressive, while also seeming rather dynamic in spite of its bulk. I am still very happy with my own (Space Marine based) conversion for Valdor, but wow, that guy is just huge! I also really like the guardian spear! The only thing I am not quite sold on is the third party shield, but that’s just a matter of personal preference.

Custodian by Noctus Cornix:

Liberator conversion by Noctus Cornix
Ever the inspirational kitbasher, Noctus Cornix has knocked it out of the park once more with his Custodian conversion: The model may be less dynamic than the Constantin Valdor conversion shown above, but there’s something strong, yet contemplative in this guy’s pose that I really love. And the way Noctus has used that left hand from the Chaos Lord on Manticore kit is just beautiful. A lovely model all around!

III. Automata

As part of my recent Age of Sigmar review, I wonderedd whether or not the Stormcast Eternals could be turned into gilded automata, serving the Adeptus Mechanicus or representing relics from ages long forgotten — and I didn’t really have to wait long before some hobbyists endeavoured to find out:

AdMech Automaton by Nuclearhawke:

model converted by Nuclearhawke

model converted by Nuclearhawke

Nuclearhawke is currently working on an AdMech warband anyway (make sure to check out his Ammobunker thread linked above!), and so he has turned his Liberator into a wonderfully chunky, fairly gladiatorial combat servitor via an influx of Forgeworld AdMech bitz. I love how merely replacing a couple of key elements completely changes the look and feel of the model!

“Tick-Tock Man” by Leadballoony:

model converted by Leadballloony

model converted by Leadballloony

Interestingly, while Alex from Leadballoony has gone for a structurally similar approach (electing to replace some key features, while leaving an equal part of the model unaltered), he has come up with a completely different mechanical creature: His “Tick-Tock Man” is a relict from a bygone age, stalking the depths of the underhive. The baroque armour possibly speaks of pre-Imperial times, while the hideous mechanical claws and weapons (from the Kataphron kit, I believe) hint at the machine’s true, much more sinister function.

IV. There’s no school like the old school…

Of course there are also hobbyists who are not trying their darnedest to turn their freebie Liberator into a 40k model, but are perfectly content to use him as a character for WFB or Age of Sigmar. In fact, some of the best conversions seem to have come about this way.

Warrior of Chaos by Xander:

model converted by Xander

model converted by Xander

Xander’s straightforward, yet effective kitbash shows how easy it can be to turn the Stormcast Eternals into servants of the Dark Gods — Aren’t chaos players lovable little rascals, always trying to corrupt everything that gets released into gristle for their dark lords’ wars? You’ve gotta love ’em ๐Ÿ˜‰ Erm, anyway, what occurs to me is that the rounded armour and detailing makes the Liberators a pretty good fit for Tzeentch or Slaanesh (or whatever may have taken Slaanesh’s job, that is…).

Warrior of Chaos by smile:

model converted by smile

model converted by smile

Fellow German hobbyist smile was even more adventurous, using GS and some wonderfully oldskool OOP plastic bitz in order to make his warrior of chaos. I really love the no nonsense nature of this guy, and some of the detail (such as the belt buckle or the chain running across the chest) are really quite wonderful! Excellent job! In fact, smile started the thread linked above in order to entice people to post their own Liberator conversions — let’s hope people go for it, but so far, smile and me seem to be the only ones…

Undead Knight by Matthew Davies:

model converted by Matthew Davies

model converted by Matthew Davies

Another rather original idea, this one! Matthew’s skeleton knight ends up looking far more formidable and bulky than the undead you normally see, but I guess in a world where the toothless old men in pantaloons have been replaced with ironclad demi-gods, the undead will have to keep up as well, eh? Once again, the addition of some carefully considered bitz end up completely changing the model — very nice! Personally speaking, I would probably add some rust holes to the armour, but that’s just my two cents.

Franz Ascendant by Bishmeister (via Clan Khorvaak):

model created by Bishmeister

model created by Bishmeister

Okay, there’s really not much to say here except this model literally blew me away when I first saw it: The conversion is brilliant (recalling a fairly recent Golden Demon entry based on the plastic Nurgle Lord, if I am not mistaken), and the paintjob is just wonderfully lush and warm — and just check out that shield! Not only is this possibly my favourite Liberator conversion right now, but it’s also a perfect embodiment of the Empire now lost to us (sniff). But what a send-off! Brilliant!

Stormcast Eternal Liberator by Heaven’s Teeth:

model created by Heaven's Teeth

model created by Heaven’s Teeth

One final model, and a wonderfully sublime one, at that: Heaven’s Teeth didn’t perform any outlandish conversion work, but merely made some subtle touches, creating a small vignette of a proud demigod at rest. Coupled with a great paintjob and a wonderfully natural looking base, the result makes for a rather stunning piece — very nice!

V. My own Liberator conversion

Worry not, I won’t wind up this post without adding my own conversion to the pile. In fact, I started converting the model the day after picking up the issue of White Dwarf it came with.

While the idea of turning the model into a Custodian was fairly tempting, there was also the fact that I already own a fully converted (if not fully painted) Custodes army, so I was able to resist the call. The same was true for the idea of building a truescale Marine: Brother Auriga fills that role rather admirably right now, and while I won’t rule out building more true scale Marines in the future, I wanted to do something different with the freebie Liberator.

In the end, I decided to turn the model into a rather impressive Inquisitor — not outlandishly creative, admittedly, but also not something I have seen done a lot (yet). So I started messing around with some bitz and soon had this very early WIP:

Stormcast Inquisitor
It quickly became clear that the model’s size and armour would make it a good candidate for a fairly warlike Malleus or Hereticus Inquisitor, which is why I decided for a GK stormbolter on the Inquisitor’s off-hand. Beyond that, I mainly attempted to make the armour look more imperial by adding a bit or two. One thing that ended up feeling wrong, however, was the hammer: While it seemed like a fitting weapon for a member of the Ordo Malleus, at least, both the weapon’s design and angle looked slightly wrong for the type of character I was trying to create.

Then I saw Logan’s version of the Liberator, which was fairly similar and convinced me my own Inquisitor needed a sword as well:

model converted by Logan

model converted by Logan

This turned out to be slightly tricky, however, because the sole, loyalist-looking sword I still had in the old bitzbox was the GK sword with an impaled Plaguebearer head on its tip. So quite a bit of cutting and glueing was in order to replace the blade with that of an Empire Wizard’s sword and to reverse the grip of the hand on the sword.

Beyond the weapon swap, I also started seriously working on the armour in an attempt to make it look more Inquisitorial:

Stormcast Inquisitor WIP (1)
Stormcast Inquisitor WIP (2)
Stormcast Inquisitor WIP (3)
Stormcast Inquisitor WIP (4)
As you can see, I also added Skitarii backpack in order to create some kind of nonstandard power source for the Inquisitor’s armour.

At this point, I was pretty happy with the model, but felt it needed a cape — both for the additional bulk and for the extra bit of ostentatiousness it provided — the Inquisitor just seems like that kind of guy to me ๐Ÿ˜‰

Once again, I had to improvise a bit, because the model’s size made finding a cape at the appropriate scale slightly tricky. Fortunately, I still had a cape from the Deathwing Knights/Deathwing Terminators that worked very well, after a bit of cutting:

Stormcast Inquisitor WIP (5)
The model was almost done at this point. DexterKong suggested adding a techy bit or two to the legs, seeing how the model was looking very medieval below the beltline. I chose a fairly restrained solution though, since I didn’t want to overclutter the model, adding a tech-y connection port and some cabling to the model’s legs.

And with that, my “Stormcast Inquisitor” conversion was completed:

Stormcast Inquisitor WIP (11)
Stormcast Inquisitor WIP (12)
Stormcast Inquisitor WIP (13)
Stormcast Inquisitor WIP (14)
I think he really looks like a Lord Inquisitor, Grandmaster of an Ordo or what have you. Commissar Molotov pointed out the model reminded him of an alternate take on Forgeworld’s Hector Rex — which really made me happy, seeing how Rex had become one of the main inspirations for the conversion somewhere along the way!

One thing that is a bit of a problem, however, is the model’s size: The Inquisitor is indeed taller than a standard Terminator. Here’s a scale comparison image:

Stormcast Inquisitor scale comparison
The image makes it clear that the Inquisitor would look plain ridiculous if placed next to a standard Marine. However, as you can see, there’s still a small difference in heigth and a more noticeable one in bulk between the Inquisitor and Brother Auriga, my true scale Marine. Which makes me thing that the model, while admittedly very tall, still ultimately works in the scale framework I have set for my INQ28 characters. I imagine the Inquisitor had undergone gene-therapy and heavy augmentation, in addition to wearing a suit of custom armour: His size and bulk evoke the picture of a human augmented to the very limits of the human frame, while still not quite on par with an Astartes.

The next big challenge will be to figure out a colour scheme for him: Golden armour would be the obvious – but maybe slightly boring – option. Cream-coloured armour with golden trim would be cool, but there may not be enough actual trim for this to work. Silver armour is out because I don’t want the model to be mistaken as a Grey Knight — a very real danger, given the fact that it uses GK weapons!

My current idea, after some input from DexterKong, is to actually attempt to paint the armour in a marble effect. I’ve already spent quite some time downloading suitable marble textures, and I think something along these lines could work really well:

marble texture mockup
I really want the Inquisitor to have a very luxurious feel, so the current idea is to combine the marble effect with golden armour trim and glossy red as an additional spot colour (on the model’s pauldrons and heraldic plate, for instance). Of course whether or not I’ll be able to pull if off painting-wise remains anyone’s guess… At the very least, Apologist’s recent tutorial for painting marble should really come in handy for this project…

Anyway, so much fun with a single freebie miniature — isn’t that just crazy? Just imagine what it’ll be like when I finally tuck into the rest of the Age of Sigmar box… ๐Ÿ˜‰

One thing I can safely say is that messing around with the Liberator models is quite a lot of fun. Sure, they are started box models and lack some of the flexibility we have come to love. But the way they are designed makes it very easy to convert them into any number of character archetypes — I think this post provides ample proof of that!
Have you converted your own Liberator yet? Or are there any excellent conversions you’ve seen online that you would like to point out? I’m always happy to hear from you in the comments section!

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

Kitbashes from opposite ends of 40k, pt. 2

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Custodes, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2014 by krautscientist

You might feel inclined to call my scheduling slightly scattershot – and you’d be right – but I already have an update to my last post, further eloborating on each of the respective conversion projects, and I simply want to share the results with you, so let’s take a look: ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

1. Custodes

Certainly the smallest of the updates, but even after showing you this Custodian in archaic power armour…

Squad Asklepian 31
…I just couldn’t stop myself from tweaking the kitbash even further. The photo above made me realise that the model’s waist seemed rather waspish, for one, so I tried bulking it out a little:

Squad Asklepian (34)
I used some leftover Terminator armour plates for this task, and I have to say I rather like the added bulk! And while I was added, I could not resist replacing the left shoulder pad with a studded one from the Sternguard kit, mirroring the studded leg armour on that side — in fact, I should probably have done this from the get go!

Squad Asklepian (35)
Just some small changes, admittedly, but they help me homing in on what I want the finished model to look like!

2. More Fallen Angels

I should have known before that converting my own version of Cypher wouldn’t be the actual end of this particular project. As a matter of fact, it only took a small remark from fellow hobbyist ghosty over on Dakka to provide me with the urge to kitbash some additional Fallen Angels — stupid hobby ADD!

Fortunately enough, I still did have quite a few DA bitz as well as some leftover Dark Angels from the Dark Vengeance boxed set lying around, so indulging my fancy was really easy enough ๐Ÿ˜‰

So I built two test models for a small squad (or Kill Team) of Fallen Angels. Take a look:

Fallen Angels (1)
This first model was built from the DA Sergeant that came with Dark Vengeance. I simply replaced his weapons and head and added some additional bitz and bobs.

The second model was mainly a kitbash from different Space Marine bitz with a chaos bit or two thrown into the mix:

Fallen Angels (3)
Fallen Angels (2)
One thing that was important to me was that these guys’ allegiance was supposed to be somewhat ambiguous. Yes, they are more ragged and more sinister than your average Dark Angel, but even if they are followers of chaos at this point, it’s out of necessity rather than conviction. That’s why I restrained myself when it came to adding chaotic and spiky bitz. They’ll also fit together nicely with my Cypher conversion, I believe.

I also started working on a Fallen in Terminator armour to accompany these guys. Once again, instead of going for straight out chaotic spikyness, I tried to achieve the brooding, sinister look you see in some of GW’s own artwork for Fallen Angels, with only some slightly heretical touches here and there…

Fallen Angels Terminator WIP (2)
Fallen Angels Terminator WIP (1)
Fallen Angels Terminator WIP (3)
Granted, the huge daemon sword is a bit of a giveaway, but again, I like the idea that this is a weapon that the Fallen picked up by necessity rather than inclination. I also have to admit that the helmet remains a bit of an experiment at this point — feel free to let me know what you think!

Here are all of my Fallen together:

Fallen Angels (5)

 

3.ย  World Eaters Daemon Prince

Some more work went into my World Eaters Daemon Prince, in order to tidy up the conversion a bit.

World Eaters Daemon Prince (6)
The main addition is a tangle of Butcher’s Nails implants on the model’s back:

World Eaters Daemon Prince (7)
I am pretty happy with how that turned out!

my original plan for the huge collar the Daemon Prince wore in the previous post was to place it around the model’s neck and have it rest atop the crest of cables — but that didn’t end up looking quite as cool as I had hoped. So I tried a slightly different approach, halving the collar and using it almost like a heretical version of the Space Marines’ Iron Halo:

World Eaters Daemon Prince (13)
World Eaters Daemon Prince (14)
One last thing I did was to try adding the wings from the Daemon Prince kit. I wasn’t even sure whether I wanted to add any wings to this guy, to be honest, but I at least wanted to find out how the model would look with them:

World Eaters Daemon Prince (16)

World Eaters Daemon Prince (17)
And to be perfectly honest with you, I really rather like the bulk and presence they add to the model — what do you think?

 

So yeah, those are the three kitbashing projects that have kept me occupied this weekend. I would love to hear any feedback you might have! Oh, and a warning in advance: The next update might be slightly late for work related reasons, so use this one to tide you over until then, alright? ๐Ÿ˜‰

In any case, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Kitbashes from opposite ends of 40k

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Custodes, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 14, 2014 by krautscientist

Kitbashing seems to be my most productive hobby activity at the moment: While converting plastic models has been my favourite part of the hobby for a long time, I seem to have worked myself into a bit of a kitbashing frenzy right now, using my work on various conversions as a means to relax. This might be a disappointment to those of you who would like to see some painted plastic on this blog, for a change — I can merely ask you to bear with me here: I will get around to doing some painting eventually, promise ๐Ÿ˜‰

In the meantime, I do have to show a number of new kitbashes to show you: Three wildly different projects from opposite ends of the Warhammer 40,000 universe, so to speak. Here we go:

 

1. Golden Boys

Granted, it has been some time since we last heard of my kitbashed Legio Custodes army — but the project is far from dead, I assure you! By way of proof, let me show you two (fairly) recent kitbashes I made for this project:

First of, a conversion I am extremely happy with: Meet Constantin Valdor, Chief-Custodian and Captain General of the Legio Custodes:

Constantin Valdor WIP (1)
Constantin Valdor WIP (2)
Constantin Valdor WIP (3)
Even though it’s only a Space Marine based kitbash, I believe most of the visual cues are there to make the model a reasonable approximation of the artwork for Valdor. While most conversions have him running forward, however, this one is clearly more static, resembling his appearance in this piece of artwork.

Constantin Valdor WIP (4)

As you can see, most of the bitz for the conversion came from the Sternguard kit, which is basically your go-to source when it comes to building ostentatious looking Marine characters. The kit has also given me the chance to touch up a couple of earlier conversions, among them one of the Marines for my squad in various marks of power armour. Here’s the old version of the model in question:

Squad Asklepian 22
I think we can all agree that the legs on this guy were a little iffy. Fortunately, one of the beautiful leg pairs from the Sternguard kit allowed me to give this guy a bit more presence. Take a look:

Squad Asklepian 32
Squad Asklepian 31
The model now looks quite a bit more massive than before, which I think is a rather nice fit for the slightly clunky, archaic looking armour on the upper body.

So here are the two models together:

Squad Asklepian 33
My small Custodes project may be far from finished, but it’s a great little sandbox I can always return to in order to tinker away on a model or two for a while. It also helps me get the urge to build blinged-out loyalists out of my system, which is a great help when I need to stay focused on my more chaotic projects ๐Ÿ˜‰

2. Lord of the Fallen

Next up, a very recent kitbash: Last Sunday evening, I sat down and converted my own version of Cypher, apropos of nothing. I didn’t even need the model from a gameplay perspective, mind you: I just felt that Cypher had been a staple of the CSM background for so long that I needed to build my own version. Here it is:

Cypher WIP (1)
Cypher WIP (2)
Cypher WIP (3)
Cypher WIP (4)

As you can see, the conversion was based on the model for Interrogator Chaplain Seraphicus from the Dark Vengeance limited edition set I purchased back in 2012. It did feel kind of sacrilegious to cut apart a limited edition model like this, to be honest, but I figured it wouldn’t do any good to leave the model lying around for another two years — plus I will need those lovely smokestacks from Seraphicus’s backpack when I eventually convert the 4th assault company’s Apothecary, so that made the decision a bit easier ๐Ÿ˜‰ What’s more, fellow hobbyist and Skull-Championess Flint13 pointed out that desecrating an Interrogator Chaplain by converting him into the Dark Angels’ worst enemy was strangely fitting, in a way…

Beyond those considerations, the conversion is fairly straightforward from a structural perspective, which gave me the liberty of lavishing some extra work on a couple of small details: I originally considered having him in a more static pose, with the arms held down. But when it came to building the model, I just couldn’t resist spacing his arms as far apart as I did, making it look like he’s covering a huge area with his shots — it’s just the way I imagine him in the midst of battle, guns blazing, and it works for me. I also obsessed over which pistols to use for the conversion for quite a while (and I am really happy with my eventual choice). And I spent far more work on that backpack than I would care to admit…

Cypher WIP (5)

 

3.ย  A daemonic gladiator

And finally, as if to prove that I haven’t forgotten my World Eaters, a very early WIP I am currently working on:
I have gone on record saying that I am not a huge fan of the fairly underwhelming plastic Daemon Prince kit. In fact, I kitbashed my first own Daemon Prince at one point, partly out of a desire to avoid having to use the “official” model. But as karma would have it, I did still have a mostly complete Daemon Prince kit lying around, and I felt the urge to challenge myself with trying to come up with a version of the model that fits the gladiatorial look and feel of the World Eaters more closely, while trying to dial back some of the cartoon villain look. Here’s the result:

World Eaters Daemon Prince (4)
World Eaters Daemon Prince (3)
The model’s nowhere near finished, of course: What you see above was only started yesterday afternoon, but I think I may be on to something here…?

 

Anyway, so far for my current kitbashes — they really serve as a great way to relax for me, funnily enough, and as the one part of the hobby that I never seem to tire of.

So, let me know whatever feedback or suggestions you might have in the comments! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Legio Custodes – long time no see!

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Custodes, WIP with tags , , , , , , , on July 24, 2013 by krautscientist

So, with Khorne’s Eternal Hunt getting all kinds of love lately, some of you may be wondering whatever happened to my Legio Custodes army. And I am, in fact, painfully aware that I have been quite neglectful when it comes to those guys. However, the project’s far from abandoned! As a matter of fact, not only am I still working on the army, but I also have something new to show you today:

First up, you may remember the first two painted models for a squad of jump infantry I posted quite a while ago:

Jump Infantry (7)

Well, the squad obviously has more members, so these are probably the next Custodes models to be painted for the army:

Jump Infantry (10)
I couldn’t bear throwing away the beautiful GK flamer, so I used him on this member of the squad: A little flamer action never hurt anyone, after all. On second thought, hurting someone is very much the whole point in this case ๐Ÿ˜‰

Then there’s the standard bearer for the squad:

Jump Infantry (14)

I used a leftover part from the WFB Empire Knights, which makes an excellent standard for the squad. You’ll notice that the rest of the model also looks fairly ostentatious, as befits a member of the Legio Custodes:

Jump Infantry (15)
And finally, the squad leader:

Jump Infantry (12)
Using mostly Sanguinary Guard parts, this grizzled veteran looks like the hero he is. I added a CSM Plasma pistol as well as a company champion’s power sword to make the model’s equipment look especially ancient and well-crafted.

A Venerable Dreadnought’s shinguard was used as the squad leader’s left pauldron:

Jump Infantry (13)
The engravings are unfortunately the wrong way around, but there was really no easy way to fix this. I still like the overall effect, though.

While these models had been built for quite a while already, I have now cleaned and assembled their jump packs, so they are very much next in line for painting.

Jump Infantry (17)

I also built some more models for Squad Asklepian, a unit of Custodians wearing older marks of Astartes power armour. My goal was to have every armour pattern from Mk 1 to Mk 6 on display in the squad, while some additional models with suitably old and/or ostentatious looking armour were also drafted into the unit.

So here’s the model in Mk I “Thunder amour” I already showed you a while back:

Squad Asklepian 19
I am still really pleased with the model, if I do say so myself.

Then there’s the Dark Angels Plasma gunner from the Dark Vengeance boxed set: Since his helmet looked deliciously vintage, I gave him some new arms a while back and added him to Squad Asklepian. Since you last saw the model, I added some additional detail to it:

Squad Asklepian 20
A small lion figurine was added to the custodian’s chest, thereby creating a winged lion ornament. I also added the bottom of a purity seal, used almost like a loincloth in this case. As you can see, the model will end up as the squad’s standard bearer.

While some of the older armour variants were reasonably easy to approximate, the Mk II “Crusade” pattern had me stumped for quite a while: I’ll be honest with you, I even considered just getting a couple of Mk II bitz off ebay and be done with it. But then, I really wanted to kitbash these out of GW plastic parts. In the end, I did manage to build a model that at least looks reasonably close, though. Take a look:

Squad Asklepian 23
First of all, I just used the clunkiest bitz I could find for a more heavily armoured and less mobile look. The weapons (taken from the Khorne Berzerker sprue) also look suitably clunky and pre-heresy. The most important part of the conversion is the head, though: It originally came from the WFB Skullcrushers: I had shaved off the Khornate bunny ears to use them on another model, and coincidentally realised that the helmet could work as a Mk. II with a little bit of work. So the eyeslits were carefully converted to a single, cyclopean slit, and the “ears” from a regular Marine helmet were added to the sides.

Squad Asklepian 22
It may not be a totally accurate representation of the armour design, but I am still pretty happy with it. At least it manages to look pretty archaic, and this whole project was really never about perfect accuracy anyway, but rather about the joy of converting and kitbashing.

Lastly, I still had a Marine wielding a rocket launcher from the “Assault on Black Reach” boxed set knocking around, and seeing how his helmet had a nice, archaic look, I wanted to use him for squad Asklepian. However, turning his 40k rocket launcher into a 30k one proved to be quite a headscratcher. So the model mouldered in my bitzbox for a long time. I was almost tempted to just get one of FW’s rocket launcher arms, but once again, only using plastic GW parts was part of the self-imposed restrictions for this project, so I had to find another way.

And then, only recently, it hit me: I knew which GW plastic parts to use to make that weapon look like an older design. Here’s the finished model:

Squad Asklepian 25
Squad Asklepian 24
One of the good old Space Crusade weapons really helped me out here! Granted, it’s far from perfect, but I think it’s a pretty reasonable approximation of the “official” FW stuff, given the rules I had set for myself. As a matter of fact, I am very much in love with this clever (at least for my standard) little conversion at the moment!

Of course I also added a topknot and an additional wing ornament to tie the model in with the rest of the squad.

Squad Asklepian 26
So here are all four models together, ready to be painted:

Squad Asklepian 30
This brings the number of models in Squad Asklepian up to nine and means I only need to do a model in Mk IV “Maximus Armour” to complete the collection — fortunately, I already have all the plastic bitz I need for that last Custodian in the squad.

So, as you can see, the work on my Legio Custodes project continues! And I still want to get at least most of the army painted before Forgeworld release their own take on the Emperor’s bodyguard. Because once the “official” models are available, I am pretty sure no one will cast another glance at my own meagre efforts ๐Ÿ˜‰

Squad Asklepian 27
Anyway, any and all C&C are always welcome! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Some thoughts on the new Dark Angels models

Posted in 40k, Custodes, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , on January 18, 2013 by krautscientist

With the new Dark Angels release now available and with much of my Custodes force actually based on Dark Angels models in one form or another, I thought it would be fun to take a look at the new models from a personal perspective. Expect no brand new insights or tactica (if you want those, head on over to DFG. Those guys have got you covered), however, just a couple of opinions and ideas from someone who loves to discuss models and dream of kitbashes ๐Ÿ˜‰

So, let’s start with the Finecast characters, shall we?

 

New_DA_models (3)

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Belial

Well, not too much of a surprise there, really: He mostly looks like people expected him to, and also like most of the Belial conversions people did when there was no model around. In my opinion, Belial is quite a nice and ornate model, suitably imposing and baroque for a DA HQ model. It seems that many people don’t like the pose, but I think it’s really a pretty good idea to try a slightly straighter look for Terminator legs for a change. That said, if you really find the model horrible, overpriced, or just slightly underwhelming, nobody’s stopping you from just converting your own version using bits from the Deathwing Knights (as Mordian7th has beautifully demonstrated here).

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Asmodai

Another competent sculpt, to be sure. My main gripe with the model is that it doesn’t really feel like all that much of an improvement over the older version, which, in my opinion, still boasts one of the coolest skull masks ever:

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

In my opinion, they should rather have focused on a new model for Azrael, who is beginning to look a bit puny next to his blinged-out new brethren by now…

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Dark Angels standard bearer

Nothing to write home about: This guy looks reasonably similar to the older metal standard bearer, but sports a fully sculpted banner. While it’s a nice enough model, you could build your own version using nothing but plastic parts very easily, making this an absolutely non-essential purchase in my book.

 

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Ravenwing Command Squad

The first of the squad kits comes with enough optional parts to build either a Ravenwing Command Squad or a squad of Ravenwing Knights. The bikes follow the slightly updated look introduced by the bikes included in the Dark Vengeance starter box, yet they should still work alright alongside your older Ravenwing bikes.ย  Lots and lots of nice detail on these guys — as a matter of fact, they are almost a tad too busy for my taste. But maybe I am just miffed at GW for now using the rank “Huntmaster” for a DA unit champion. And there I thought I had come up with something truly original. Oh well…

On a related note, while he is certainly not a Huntmaster on par with those of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt, I really like the bare head on this guy:

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

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Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Deathwing Command Squad / Deathwing Knights

Definitely the cream of the crop for me, but first things first: The kit gives you enough parts to build either a Deathwing command squad consisting of five models, five regular Deathwing Terminators or a five man squad of Deathwing knights (we’ll get to those in a minute). Again, the models look nicely detailed, with lots of options. Many people seem to be complaining about the price of these. especially when looking at the other Terminator kits. However, that’s a bit like comparing apples and oranges, seeing how none of the other Terminator kits gives you enough extra parts to essentially build three different unit types. So while these guys are indeed a little pricey, you should be able to kitbash lots and lots of Deathwing Terminators by getting one box of these and a box of regular Termies or Black Reach Termies, even (once again, Mordian 7th’s post here shows what thrifty use of the new bits can achieve).

In fact, I have a totally different gripe with these: While the amount of detail is really nice (and I particularly like the two-handed halberd), some of the poses and proportions seem a little …off: The models with twin LC and the Plasmagun in the above picture are the worst offenders in this respect. I guess that’s the price for making the kit flexible enough to allow you to build these guys as well:

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

The Deathwing knights are definitely the stars of the show for me! While I admit that they are probably not to everyone’s taste, I rather like the knightly, monastic look to them (it also fits well with the established DA look). The most interesting thing about these models may be their use as something different than DA, though: I can easily see these being a great base for a particularly imposing Inquisitor or a kitbashed and heavily converted Deathshroud for your pre- or post-heresy Deathguard army (in case you don’t want to use the new FW models). And call me crazy, but I think this is a perfect weapon for a warlord of Nurgle, if ever there was one:

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

So while I have little use for most of the DA release, I can see myself picking up a box of these in the future. It’s definitely not a priority, but the kit should give me lots of nice stuff to play around with. One thing, though:

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

I realise that you guys are super-mysterious and all that, but seriously, get that hood out of your eyes, soldier! ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

And now for the vehicles:

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Land Speeder Vengeance

Well, let’s get this out of the way first:ย  I would love to be all edgy and unconventional here, but, like many other people, I am really not sold on this model. In fact, here’s what my first association was once I saw the model:

God, how I loved that film as a child...

God, how I loved that film as a child…

Yes, that’s right: Skeletor’s barge from the 80s Masters of the Universe film. Go figure.

Anyway, with its slightly iffy visual status between a landspeeder and a fully fledged flyer, this model just looks sooo clunky, doesn’t it? And I really don’t think that gun turret in front was such a good idea: What is that marine standing on? How did he get in there in the first place?

On the other hand, not unlike the WFB Warshrine of Chaos model, the kit should be chock full of fantastic conversion bitz (the pilots and gunners are quite lovely, for one). Still, really not sold on this one. Moving on…

 

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Dark Talon / Nephilim Fighter

Now we’re talking! Yet another combi-kit, this time a flyer. Most importantly, I think this is what a Space Marine flyer should look like (and what the Storm Talon should have been in the first place). The addition of Aquila shuttle-like wings add some much needed plausibility to the model. It also doesn’t look as squat and bumblebee-ish as the Storm Talon. The downside is the much higher price, which seems like a bit of a rip-off really. But there’s no way around it: If I ever were to build a Space Marine flyer, it would be based on this kit.

Strangely enough, all the archaic and statuesque elements added to the model to make the Dark Talon really don’t gel well with the overall look, in my opinion. While I am a big fan of the strangely archaic elements found in 40k, all those statues somehow look decidedly off against the otherwise uncluttered silhouette of the flyer. But that’s just me…

 

All in all, the new release does a good job in adding some interesting new models and units to the mix. The DA’s characteristic look is also further fleshed-out in a fitting way. There are a few minor slipups along the way, but my main concern are the rather hefty price tags carried by some of those kits – justified as they may be.
From a converter’s perspective, most of this is fortunately pretty non-essential: I’ll probably pick up a box of Deathwing Knights at some point, just for the heck of it. Apart from that, I’ll leave the new kits to the DA players. Still, they have been competently serviced, at the very least.

What do you think of the new DA models? Any gripes? Any plans for creative kitbashes and crazy conversions? I’d love to hear your opinion in the comments section!

In any case, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!