Archive for the Inq28 Category

Grimdark video games?!

Posted in 40k, Inq28, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings, Totally worth it with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 26, 2017 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, something a bit different today — I hope you’ll appreciate the variety, even if it means a lack of new painted models. So what is this about?

It’s very common for hobbyists to talk about their inspiration: Whether it comes down to creating conversions or narratives, most of us will inevitably build on influences and concepts from many different sources, such as film, art, literature or personal experiences from RPG groups. To wit, the entire 40k universe itself is based on so many different influences, and has grown into a massive, unwieldy, eclectic and brilliant mixture of a thousand references, ranging from 80s pop culture to every SciFi and gothic cliché ever.

Today’s post, therefore, will deal with yet another possible source of inspiration when it comes to get a feeling for the kind of narrative that would work in the 40k universe, and the kind of characters that would populate such a narrative. And while I draw lots of my own hobby inspiration from the aforementioned media (with sources as diverse as David Lynch’s Dune adaptation, Mervyn Peake’s Titus Groan & Gormenghast and Charles Dickens as some of my favourite influences), today I would like to talk about another possible influence: the wonderful world of video games.

Now some of you may remember that I am a huge video game nerd. It’s a medium that I have been endlessly fascinated with for a very long time now, and it continues to interest aesthetically, narratively and professionally .

I could wax poetical on the many fascinating, obscure or downright grotesque features that turn digital games into such a riveting subject for me, but that’s not really the focus of this blog. So let us rather focus on a couple of games that have influenced my hobby life by inspiring characters, narratives or just a general style in my own hobby work.

Before we begin, however, a disclaimer of sorts: By no means is the following collection of titles and influences an exhaustive collection, nor is it intended to be. It’s also very possible that you know each and every one of those games, so the post could turn out to be old news to you. And finally, to be fair, this post has also been simmering away in the back of my head for quite a while now, so be warned that it may actually have moved away from actual 40k a bit, dealing – at least to some degree – more with games and game series that I find inspiring, period. That being said, if you enjoy 40k and Inquisitor and all that, and if you are interested in visually and/or narratively interesting videogames, the following titles might be worth a look. And who know: Just like me, you may even get an idea for an army, a conversion or an INQ28 retinue out of it. So let’s take a look:

 

I. Legacy of Kain series

It seems weird to me that the Legacy of Kain series seems to have become almost a bit obscure by today’s standards, when it used to be a rather common household name in video game circles – and even a veritable system seller – during the late 90s and early 2000s.

The series’ development history is rather complicated and convoluted, with different developers and teams adding their own perspective to the series, and acclaimed video game writer Amy Hennig (possibly best known for her role on Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series these days) ending up with the task of somehow binding it all together into a semi-coherent overarching narrative.

Fascinating as those tribulations are, however, I don’t even want to get into the details here. Suffice it to say that the series started with Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain (basically “The Legend of Zelda” with vampires), which was followed by Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver (basically “Tomb Raider” with Vampires). The series deals with the vampire Kain and his rise (and fall) in the gothic world of Nosgoth, and it introduced both a pretty interesting cast of characters as well as a very distinct look and feel. Just check out Soul Reaver’s intro movie:

One of the series major narrative arcs deals with the conflict between the – seemingly completely amoral – vampire overlord Kain and his fallen former lieutenant Raziel, turned into a twisted wraith at Kain’s behest and now out for revenge — although things turn out to be much more complicated than that, as the series’ narrative is just about as convoluted as its development history. It can be a bit overdesigned and wordy in places, but it’s well worth checking out for yourself!

So why does the series appear on my list? There’s the very grimdark setting, for one: Nosgoth is a very dark and gothic place, where everything’s gone to hell in a handbasket because the man destined to be the world’s saviour refused the ultimate sacrifice – his own life – electing instead to become a depraved, immortal vampire emperor, ruling a failing empire. If that isn’t grimdark, I don’t know what is.

But there’s more: Kain’s dealings with his vampire lieutenants and their ultimate fates remind me a lot of of 40k’s Daemon Primarchs and Traitor Legions: There’s a gravitas and a sense of lost grace here that should seem very familiar to anyone who likes 30k and 40k. There’s also a fair share of purple prose (and some truly excellent voice acting) to be had, so if you want to get a feeling of what a Chaos Space Marine might feel like after millennia of corruption and simmering regret, the Legacy of Kain series provides some very good inspiration on that account!

After several unsuccessful attempts at reviving the series in recent years, it’s unlikely we’ll ever see another entry. The games available so far still tell a (fairly) complete tale of hybris, revenge and redemption, however, and are well worth your time, provided you are prepared to deal with a bit of technical clunkiness (in the earlier games in particular). The entire series, minus the first Blood Omen, is still available via GOG.com, among others. The games cost about 5,00 Euros a pop, and if the series’ premise interests you, I recommend you just snatch them all up: I played nearly all of them back to back, a couple of years ago, and it really helps to get a grip on the rather complicated storyline. You can also read up on the games on Nosgothic Realm, an incredibly expansive fansite.

II. Primal

Like Legacy of Kain, Primal used to be a fairly high profile release back when it first came out in 2003. A Playstation 2 exclusive developed by Sony’s own Cambridge studio, Primal was a fairly ambitious project with incredible production values for the time. Not all that many people seem to remember it these days, which is a shame, especially since it has some rather interesting connections to Games Workshop — but we’ll be getting there in a minute…

The game’s basic premise seems clichéd enough: Perky goth chic Jen is nearly killed by a daemon who just happened to infiltrate a gig of her boyfriend’s Nu-Metal band (I swear I am not making this up!). With Jen’s boyfriend abducted, she finds herself transported to the fantasy dimension of Oblivion, which consists of four realms. The forces of order and chaos, respectively, seek to establish control over these realms, and Abaddon, Lord of chaos, has come dangerously close to toppling the precarious balance of power.

So it falls to Jen, accompanied by adorable gargoyle helper Scree, to travel to the four realms, learn how to transform into different demon forms and re-establish the balance between chaos and order.

Mechnically speaking, Primal is one of those third person action adventure the early 2000s were so very fond of (think Tomb Raider with less climbing and more character interaction). If that doesn’t sound like much to write home about, it’s important to point out that Primal’s production values, its narrative and its pretty excellent cast take the whole affair into some rather interesting directions, so it’s far more interesting than its rather cookie-cutter premise would led you to believe.

There’s yet another reason why Primal would be interesting for every discerning fan of GW’s various IPs: Travelling the game’s world, you cannot shake a general feeling of …familiarity. Take the game’s four realms, serving as its massive levels, and their respective inhabitants: There’s Solum and the Ferai (totally not slightly more lawful-neutral Khorne-worshipping Beastmen), Aquis and the Undine (totally not victims to some kind of slightly Nurglite plague), Aetha and the Wraith (totally not Slaaneshi vampires) and, finally, Volca and the Djinn (totally not worshippers of Tzeentch). The latter, in particular, seem rather GW-ish in design — to the point where the Djinn would make for excellent Tzeentchian champions or daemon princes, as you can see in this video (starting at 11:40, in case YouTube’s timecode widget refuses to work):

Those similarities are far from coincidental, however, as Primal’s lead artist was none other than Mark Gibbons, one of GW’s most prolific artists and illustrators during the early to mid-90s. You know, the guy who did pieces like this:

Artwork by Mark Gibbons

His touch is very noticeable, and there is more than a little vintage GW in the character designs and artwork as well as the art design in the game proper:

What’s more, while the four realms and their inhabitants clearly recall GW’s chaotic factions, the whole idea of of four discreet realms in the game also somewhat recalls the realms that now appear in Age of Sigmar, even though AoS didn’t come around until fairly recently.

An emulated version of Primal is still available on the PlayStation Store (both for the Playstation 3 and 4), and it’s very much worth the price of admission: It may be trying a bit too hard to be edgy and grownup for today’s standards. and it may not be great literature, but the main characters’ banter makes them genuinely endearing, and the production values are still great, even from a modern perspective. And if nothing else, it’s a fascinating example of Mark Gibbons creating something that should feel more than a little familiar for longtime hobbyists, albeit in a different medium and for a different employer.

III. Dishonored series

This next entry is a far more recent series: If you are even slightly into video games right now, chances are you’ve heard of the Dishonored series. It is also one of my current favourites. And it feels a lot like an Inquisitor campaign every now and then, but maybe that’s just me 😉

Dishonored is set in the Empire of the Isles, a setting that invokes Great Britain (in the first game) and its colonies (in the second game) during the early 19th/early 20th century, albeit with a twist: Much of the Empire’s culture seems oddly familiar, but Dishonored’s world also presents a strange and intriguing clash of fantasy, (steampunk) technology and magic. What’s more, there’s a very particular look and feel to the whole affair, ranging from the – almost painterly -realism of its character design (call me crazy, but there’s more than a bit of New Objectivity to be found in the games’ art design) to the general bleak atmosphere of the world, with decadent nobles scheming and vying for power, as disinfranchised smallfolk suffer under their cruelty. Dishonored’s world is very dark, but also quite fascinating. It poses some interesting moral questions and goes to some rather interesting places with them. The way in which the games explore the morality of nonlethal solutions to many of its problems is just one very poignant example.

From a gameplay perspective, the Dishonored games can be visceral, combat-focused revenge fantasies or elegant stealth games — or anything in between, really, purely based on your preferred way of playing. What’s so mechanically great about the games is how they accomodate your playstyle and choices and make the world adapt accordingly in many interesting ways. Like I said, it’s one of my favourite game series at the moment 😉

As for the series’ position on this list, Dishonored can also feel very Inqusitor/INQ28 at times. It would be easy to imagine Dishonored’s Empire of the Isles as a civilised world within the Imperium of Man, and as the setting for an INQ28 campaign. For instance, whenever I read Apologist’s incredibly cool world building for his “Death of a Rubricist” setting, Dishonored is one of the things I feel acutely remembered of. Plans within schemes are very much at the heart of the series, and if you are into Inquisitor and its particular way of storytelling and world building, you’ll take lots of inspiration away from Dishonored — in fact, the world building alone is basically worth the price of admission!

Dishonored 2_20161120161254

The series consists of two main games (Dishonored and Dishonored 2) and one major spin-off campaign for each of the main games. Dishonored gets “The Knife of Dunwall” as a nearly game-sized DLC, whereas Dishonored 2’s spin-off campaign, “The Death of the Outsider” was recently released as a standalone title. All of the games are available on PC, Playstation 3/4 or Xbox 360/One, and I would very much recommend to check out the entire series, starting with the first title. If you’re even a bit like me, you’ll want to explore every nook and cranny of this truly breathtakingly realised world!

And while we are talking about Dishonored, let’s not forget about…

III.b …the Thief Series

Because I would be remiss not to mention the Thief series, which seems like Dishonored’s spiritual prequel (and a highly acclaimed stealth series in its own right). Thief only makes this particular list by association, it’s true, but the main reason for that is that its world is a fair bit more medieval (and thus less 40k) than Dishonored’s. Even so, fans of INQ28 and/or Mordheim in particular will doubtlessly find a lot to like about Thief’s dark, steampunk-ish world. Just to give you an idea, when I read the description of Queen Mab during the opening chapters of Dan Abnett’s novel Pariah (the first and, alas, to date only entry in the Eisenhorn vs. Ravenor series), I felt instantly reminded of The City from the Thief series.

IV. Resonance of Fate

A strange entry, this one, mostly because Resonance of Fate is a JRPG, with all the baggage and strangeness that entails: Now Japanese role playing games clearly aren’t for everybody, as they tend to have a particular tone and feel, one that is often informed by the peculiarities of Japanese pop culture. Personally speaking, I have a long personal history of playing JRPGs, however, going all the way back to the 8- and 16-bit days, so I can usually stomach, or even appreciate, the weirdness inherent to the genre.

Resonance of Fate is, on the face of it, very Japanese in many ways: It’s an eclectic combination of fantasy, cyberpunk, turn-based battles fought with guns (and almost ridiculous amounts of acrobatics) and classic JRPG tropes. What makes the game a definite candidate for this particular list, however, is its peculiar setting, Basel:

Basel is a multileveld city built around a massive central elevator. It was orginially constructed as a combined retreat for humanity and an atmospheric cleaning device, but it grew and became more complicated and essentially turned into a massive, sprawling city over the  centuries — a veritable Hive city by any other name.


And while Basel may look strange and far different from the hive cities of 40k, the game really does an excellent job of depicting a society that has developed around the basic challenge of living within a massive machine: Towns and villages are wedged into Basel’s open spaces, with giant cogs ticking away in the background. The strata of older cultures and settlements are clearly visible in many places, and most people have clearly forgotten the massive facility’s original use, content to eke out a living among its unknowable mechanisms. The rest of the setting confirms to this basic conceit: Instead of dragons and orcs, you get to fight modern bandits and runaway biological experiments.

Which is all a rather roundabout way of saying that, in spite of its copious amounts of JRPG tropes, Resonance of Fate can almost feel like a Japanese take on Necromunda. Which, in turn, can make it fascinating to check out for a fan of GW’s various 40k-related settings.

When all is said and done, however, Resonance of Fate is still a very Japanese game indeed, with all the tropes and quirkiness that entails. If you can stomach the occasional weirdness (the odd jokes, the dressup meta game, the weird gender stereotypes and the sometimes awkward pacing and dialogue), it’s a fascinating, quirky little game. The following video shows some of the gameplay, and I had an especially strong Necromunda moment starting at 6:26, with the heroes passing through the artifacts of prior civilisations while making their way from Basel’s highest level, the Chandelier, to the lower residential areas:

The fact remains that Resonance of Fate can be a bit of an acquired taste — even moreso, arguably, than mainstream JRPGs like Final Fantasy. You may want to take a look at the game’s prologue below to find out whether the general tone and style is for you:

V. Basically anything by Yasumi Matsuno

Yasumi Matsuno is a fascinating director and author because he stands for a very particular kind of RPG world and storytelling. Instead of fairy tale romps that end with the heroes defeating a mustache twirling demon lord to save the world, Matsuno’s games (and game worlds) are invariably steeped in realpolitik: They always deal with the politics going on in the background, the shady deals and painful sacrifices that keep kingdoms and empires going while creating tragedies for the protagonists. Unlike most roleplaying games, Matsuno’s titles usually don’t put you in the shoes of the idealistic hero saving the world due to sheer spunk and virtue: You just do your best while history – and politics – march on relentlessly in the background. And even if you should end up saving the world, don’t expect anyone’s thanks for it! Chances are, you’ll go down in history as a dangerous heretic…

There are also numerous shout outs to real world history: Tactics Ogre is basically a medieval fantasy version of the Yugoslav Wars. Final Fantasy Tactics (very much Tactics Ogre’s spiritual sequel) is basically the War of the Roses with dragons and Chocobos (it is also one of the finest strategy RPGs ever devised by man).

While all of Matsuno’s games are very much worth checking out, I want to point you towards some titles in particular, starting with Vagrant Story: a strange and darkly beautiful game that is one of my all-time favourites, and maybe Matsuno’s definitive piece of work:

Vagrant Story is a take on Western RPG and dungeon crawler conventions with a fascinating story about different factions trying to get their hands on the dark magics resting within the lost city of Leà Monde.


You’re cast in the role of one Ashley Riot, basically a medieval special ops soldier. Your goal is to infiltrate the lost city, rescue the hostages taken by a religious cult and prevent its members from claiming the city’s dark power for their own. You soon find out that things are far more complicated, however, and that there are more parties interested in Leà Monde and its legacy.

Vagrant Story is known for several things: Its incredible art design. Its dark and mature storytelling. Its punishing take on western roleplaying and dungeon crawling conventions. And, certainly not least of all, its acclaimed English translation by Alexander O. Smith, among others, adding an extra layer to an already incredibly elegant narrative.

I don’t even want to tell you too much about Vagrant Story, because it has to be experienced firsthand. It’s a punishing and darkly mysterious experience. If you enjoy deep, ambiguous tales and thought-provoking narratives, you should check it out. It’s quite a ride, indeed, and it can be had for a song on the PlaystationStore.

One of Yasumi Matsuno’s biggest mainstream games, set in the same world as Final Fantasy Tactics and Vagrant Story, is Final Fantasy XII, a mainline entry in the colossally successful Final Fantasy series.

Like Matsuno’s other games, FF XII is a triumphant exercise in world building, with a setting that seems like it could actually exist somewhere and wouldn’t wink out of existence the moment you switch off your console. Once again, there’s also a lot of background politics at play here, with history’s gears very much in motion while your band of heroes is gallivanting around the world of Ivalice.

It’s a rather interesting subversion of many of Final Fantasy’s classic tropes, as well as a fascinating look at what Matsuno can get up to with a bigger budget — at least partially so, as he had to drop out of the project late into its development. The game is still quite something, though! It’s still widely available on Playstation consoles, with a remastered version (“Final Fantay XII – The Zodiac Age”) released earlier this year.

FINAL FANTASY Ⅻ THE ZODIAC AGE_20170814193800

As for its influence on my 40k hobby, among many other things, let’s just say that I am still looking for a way of creating a 40k-compatible way of incorporating Final Fantasy XII’s Judges into my INQ28 setting…

 

Matsuno’s obvious love for the classic western pen & paper RPG finally came full circle with Crimson Shroud, released in 2012 as a fairly obscure download-only title for the Nintendo 3DS (at least in the west):

In many ways, Crimson Shroud mirrors many of Vagrant Story’s story beats (and much of its general look and feel): A small group of adventurers infiltrates the ruins of a palace in search of the eponymous artifact. There they encounter not only many vicious creatures, but also a dark and tragic story going back centuries. The narrative is both concise and nuanced, especially for a smaller digital release like this.

What makes Crimson Shroud truly captivating, however, are the lenghts to which the game actually emulates classic pen & paper roleplaying — to the point where you throw virtual dice to determine the outcome of most actions in the game and all the characters and monsters are displayed as actual miniatures mounted on their own small bases and placed within diorama-like backgrounds, making the whole thing seem like an actual tabletop roleplaying session.


If that sounds weird, it certainly is, and it’s not exactly easy to pick up and play. But everything that’s fascinating about a Matsuno game – such as the nuanced storytelling and excellent world building – also make an appearance here, creating a sublime narrative experience almost on par with Vagrant Story. Plus the game is a fascinating love letter to western tabletop gaming, as seen through a distinctly Japanese lense.

 

Honorary mention: Incubation

Okay, let’s treat this last game as a bit of an out of competition entry, but I still need to mention Incubation: Released in 1997 as part of the – then pretty successful (at least in Germany) – Battle Isle series, Incubation basically worked as the first really cool squad-based Space Marine game without even being a GW-licensed title.

Incubation probably seems incredibly primitive by modern standards, but back then, it felt like a revelation: I remember loving GW and 40k even back then and hoping they would end up making a game based on their IPs that didn’t suck — but it actually never came to that, at least not back then. But a German developer made a game about vanilla SciFi-troopers (totally not Space Marines) fighting against a slightly weird alien race (totally not the Tyranids), and after playing it, I kept asking myself why GW couldn’t have come up with that kind of game — or at least given the license to these guys…

Funnily enough, Incubation is actually still available as part of the Battle Isle Platinum Pack, but I couldn’t really tell you whether or not it has aged all that gracefully. I will affirm though that it felt like an excellent Space Marine game long before GW themselves got their act together on that front, and that’s enough to be included in this list!

 

So yeah, so much for my – entirely subjective and woefully incomplete – list of video games that have fed into my hobby over the years. I would love to hear your feedback, both on the nature of this post as well as on the actual choices I have made: Was this an interesting subject, in spite of only dealing with the actual hobby in a slightly roundabout way? And did I miss any games that should be included on this list? You are very welcome to contribute your own favourites!

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

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The State of the Hunt, Week 35/2017: Do the robot!

Posted in 30k, 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, state of the hunt, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 31, 2017 by krautscientist

I know I should really be painting some stuff for a change, but relatively little hobby time I have at the moment somehow invariably ends up going towards indulging flights of fancy — hey, at the very least, you get to look at some new kitbashes, alright? 😉

Ever since I built my first Dreadnought, back in 2010 or thereabouts, I have always loved the slightly bigger scale and particular clunkiness afforded by this particular unit type, so I find myself going back to building Dreadnoughts and killer robots on a fairly regular scale — go figure! Today, I have no less than three walking deathmobile projects to share with you, so strap yourselves in:

I. The Blight That Walks…

First up is yet another addition to my alarmingly growing (or should that be mushrooming…?!) Death Guard project. In all fairness, though: It was always clear that a Dreadnought would have to enter the equation at some point, wasn’t it? 😉

The thriftiest option seemed to be to go for the Dark Vengeance Helbrute as a base model — well, that and I really like that particular model: Painting my original DV Helbrute for my World Eaters was great fun, in spite of its mutated look not gelling all that well with the overall look and feel of my army. But that same fleshy hideousness of course perfectly matches the general Death Guard vibe, if you ask me 😉

So here’s what I have so far:




I erm…borrowed a couple of ideas from the recent work of fellow hobbyists, like GuitaRasmus and Marius Perdo, among others, yet I also tried to put my own spin on things. It’s still a fairly economical conversion, however, because I think the Dark Vengeance Helbrute doesn’t really need too much work to read as a Nurglite model.

Now the belly obviously needs some cleanup and smoothing over, but the general look is there. Incidentally, the above pictures are in greyscale because I actually used a mix of GS and Milliput that ended up making for a vile, pistachio-ice cream colour Oh, I also my tried and true tin-foil trick again, putting a piece of the stuff between the plastic and GS while sculpting, so both parts are easy enough to separate when everything has dried, while still remaining form fitting. So the belly remains a separate piece, which should be super handy for assembly reasons:


Still a bit of detail work left to do as well, although I suspect I’ll be playing it fairly safe with this guy. Going all out on the pantjob should be fun, though 😉

II. Underhive Heavy Metal

Back when the first plastic AdMech kits were released, the Kastelan Robots were one of my first purchases. One of them was turned into a counts-as Contemptor for my 40k World Eaters:


The other one was was saved for future use, although my idea of what to do with the model actually went through several revisions: The original plan was to turn him into a Colossus-pattern robot for my small Iron Warriors project, but that plan never really quite got off the ground, and it finally went under for good when Forgeworld ended up producing actual models to represent the Iron Circle.

Later I realised it would be cool to turn the model into some kind of patched up, ancient servitor/former war machine as another colourful addition to my Pit Slave/Underhive project, The Road Crew:

But while I really liked that idea, it never really materialised either, apart from some early kitbashing. But then two things happened. One, I got my hands on one of the old Forgeworld World Eaters Dreadnoughts, courtesy of my buddy Augustus b’Raass, and the head of the machine just turned out to be perfect for this project. Two, I saw what fellow hobbyist WarbossKurgan did with his rather beat-up Kastelans, and that provided the inspiration I needed to wade back into the fray. So here’s what I have now:



As you can see, I have gone for a really ragtag appearance so far, with many tacked on armour plates and strange bits and bobs that suggest all kinds of field repairs — only fitting for the underhive, really. The rounded, 50s retro-futuristic SciFi look is still there, but it’s covered by layers and layers of later additions or replacements: In fact, I really love the idea of making the machine’s origins even more ambiguous: Is it a refurbished heavy duty servitor? An AdMech construct or an ancient warmachine? Or could it be even older…?

There were also several pieces of inspiration for the model: There’s quite a bit of Mad Max and Fallout going on there, but probably the biggest influence was the ABC Warrior Robot, possibly the best thing about the old Judge Dredd film:


And while we are on the subject of influences, using part of a barrel as one of the model’s shoulder pads is actually a bit of a shout out to The Road to Jove, Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s and David Sondered’s graphic novel project:

This also ties into something else I was actually pushing for: A general look of asymmetry: the pauldrons are one example of this, but there are also the arms: The gun arm is massive and beefy, the other one is strangely skeletal, probably due to having been replaced or repaired at some point.

Anyway, after getting nowhere with this model for ages, I am actually pretty happy with the progress I have made. The next step will be to add more details, like cabling and a bit more battle damage. And then, painting the model should be rather enjoyable. I think I’ll be going for a mix of darkened, oily metal and the Road Crew’s trademark, heavily weathered yellow armour I also want to pick a collection of decals that may or may not hint at the machine’s past — in any case, it should make the model even more interesting! And it’ll make for a cool addition to the project:

III. Immortal Hunter

And finally, yet another model: This one was actually built earlier than the other two, but I don’t think I’ve shared it with you yet.

One of my favourite 30k models I have done so far is my plastic World Eaters Contemptor, Vaako the Immortal:


Now when I visited Augustus b’Raass in Amsterdam, he was awesome enough to magnetise Vaako’s weapon options for me. But that left me with two useable weapon arms, and when I recently managed to get a pretty good deal on the plastic Contemptor body, I thought about putting those weapons to good use — and then I just love cutting up that terrible, clunky monopose kit. I’m just weird like that. 😉

I also wanted to find out whether the aforementioned head from the OOP Forgeworld World Eaters Dread  would work on a Contemptor. So I made another 30k Contemptor for my World Eaters. Again, this guy is still missing some detail, but I am already pretty happy with the general setup.




The left arm is a smaller version of the Ursus Claw harpoons the World Eaters would mount onto their void ships and the Titans of the Legio Audax:


It was originally built quite a while ago (drawing some inspiration from a similar conversion by fellow hobbyist sheep) as an additional CC option for my 40k Dreadnoughts/Helbrutes, but it arguably works even better on the taller Contemptor. Together with the multimelta, it suggests that this Contemptor’s specialty is actually hunting for heavier prey, such as enemy warmachines or Dreadnoughts…

Here’s the recipe for the Ursus Claw arm, in case anyone’s interested: The basic arm is the CC arm from the Blood Angels Librarian Dreadnought, I mostly merely replaced the actual weapon
Now the harpoon itself was made from an old axle bit from an ancient model truck kit — although it would be really easy to find a suitable replacement for that bit
the spike is an element that appears on many of GW’s terrain kits and was cut off from a small wall section
the light grey part right underneath the tip was a piece of a Chaos vehicle bulldozer bit shaved down to make a connection bit between the tip and the haft of the weapon
the barrel for the chain consists of two Chaos Marauder Horsemen shields, a roll of chain from an Ogre Kingdoms kit and a piece of chain, once again from an Ogre Kingdoms kit, I believe — sorry for not being more precise, but I got those bitz from an Ogre Kingdoms joblot I bought via ebay.

So yeah, that makes three massive killer-robot-cyborg dudes. What can I say — building those things is just so much fun 😉

Of course I would love to hear any feedback you might have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

The State of the Hunt, Week 33/2017: Idle hands…

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, state of the hunt, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2017 by krautscientist

So I find myself in a bit of a motivational slump at the moment, trying to work up the motivation to actually paint some of my recently completed Death Guard models, especially my biker lord, since he’s my pledge for the August Arena event over at The Bolter & Chainsword. But while I remain committed to that plan, I just couldn’t seem to get started, and the fact that I’ve been distracted by other stuff – including other hobbies – recently, didn’t really help.

At the same time, cutting up little plastic men is never really all that far from my mind, so when I received a rather nice bitz drop from fellow hobbyist Aasfresser, my interest was piqued:


Among the bitz were some early 90s plastic berzerkers (say what you will about them, as far as monpopose models from the early 90s go, I think they’re pretty great!) and a plastic CSM from around the same time — I’ve never even owned one of the latter before, and while the model hasn’t aged all that gracefully, I do think those were pretty much ahead for the curve for their time, especially when compared to the pretty atrocious 2nd edition plastic Space Marines.

There were also all kinds of chaotic bitz and bobs — but it might surprise you to learn that something altogether different caught my eye and gave me an idea…

 

I. A thing in a jar

As I discovered to my delight, Aasfresser had also included one of those creepy embryonic rats that come with the Skaven Stormfiends kit. Having one of those things in my hands made me remember my half-buried thoughts about a possible conversion project, and then things just started falling into place: I recalled a certain John Blanche sketch from the 4th edition 40k rulebook, Aasfresser told me about his own plans for those via PM and ‘doesn’t that new 40k objectives kit contain a pretty cool incubation tank…?’

Anyway, here’s what I had when I came to 😉


As you can see, I basically added that incubation tank from the Sector Imperialis Objectives to the undercarriage of a Kataphron Destroyer, and I think it works pretty well. A word of warning to those of you who are considering a purchase of the objectives kit, however: While it contains many excellent parts, the cast seems to be plagued with the same gooey texture and loss of detail we have already seen on some of the basing kits. The components are still serviceable, but they are not as sharp and crisp as the stuff you get when you purchase a 40k squad (or AoS unit).

Those problems notwithstanding, the combined parts made a rather convincing new home for that creepy little embryo: I love the idea of the Adeptus Mechanicus keeping strange and creepy experiments inside incubation tanks and vats and maybe taking them along for expeditions and battles to field-test them. Or maybe this is a particularly degenerate member of the Adeptus itself?

In any case, I did my best to make the small creature inside the tank as creepy as I could: All signs of its ratty progeny (the face and tail) were carefully shaved away, and a new face was spliced in. I also added some more cabling and some injectors and vials for that extra bit of AdMech madness. Here’s a closer look:



Given the enlarged brain, I thought it would be cool to go for a face with the eyes and mouth sewn shut, so I used one of the trophy heads from the Plaguebearer kit. Yeah, pretty unhinged — I know 😉

Now the back of the tank is fully detailed as well, with a pretty nifty array of cogitator banks, so I wanted to have some kind of Magos or tech thrall on there, monitoring the vital signs, collecting readings and stuff like that. Now my original plan was to have the operator as an actual, separate individual, but comments from fellow hobbyists over at the B&C made me reconsider — and realise that there’s actually nothing more AdMech than having a hardwired servitor on there for just that one purpose, is there?

So here’s a mockup for the operator/servitor:



And here’s a view from the front, without the tank in the way 😉



The servitor itself looks pretty faceless, but that’s arguably the point of such a creature, right? 😉

All in all, I think the model is really starting to come together — and the cradle for the servitor also goes some way towards making the whole ensemble look more believable as an actual AdMech machine.

So the model should be a pretty cool addition to the small AdMech freakshow I have already built and painted for my INQ28 collection:

II. Primaris premiere

Sawing through all of those Kataphron Destroyer bitz also led to another conversion: I recently purchased a box of three snapfit Primaris Marines, so I could experiment on the new Space Marine models at some point. Say what you will about the way the bigger Marines have been shoehorned into the setting (personally, I hate it!), but the models are pretty cool and provide the perfect go-to template for building true scale Astartes for use in INQ28, among other things. So I returned to yet another conversion I had been planning for a while — although having the Primaris Marines to work from certainly made this project quite a bit easier!




As you can probably tell from looking at the model, this is supposed to be an Iron Hands (Tech-) Marine. I carefully sawed away most of the Primaris torso front and replaced it with a Kataphron Destroyer breastplate. The bionic left arm also came from the Kataphron Destroyers. The backpack and head are from the Deathwatch:Overkill Iron Hands character, and the bionic left hand and axe are from a Master of the Forge.

For the right arm, I tried just tacking on the stock arm, but this highlighted the fact that the new, elongated bolters don’t really work all that well when held in one hand — the arm just seemed ever so slightly unbalanced to me. So I carefully reposed the arm from aforementioned Deathwatch:Overkill model, and I think it works far better:




Funnnily enough, the new gun isn’t really that much shorter, but it still looks quite a bit more balanced, wouldn’t you agree? It probably has something to do with the front of the weapon having a stockier build and looking less “elongated”, for lack of a better word. Plus the cabling also adds a bit of extra visual “counterweight”, as it were.

So that’s it for this week: Nothing groundbreaking, but a couple of – hopefully interesting – kitbashes. As usual, I would love to hear your feedback! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

The Amsterdam Files

Posted in 30k, 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob, Pointless ramblings, Traitor Guard, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2017 by krautscientist

Hey everyone,

it’s my birthday today, and what better way to celebrate than to share with you the tale of what may be my favourite birthday present his year, even though it wasn’t even planned as one. Let me give fair warning in advance, though: This is going to be one hell of a wordy, rambling post, even though there should be lots of shiny things to look at. So anyway, what is this about?

Ever since I got back into this hobby and started blogging about my little plastic men, crazy awesome things have started to happen: People started sending me stuff ranging from bitz to entire models. I’ve been a part of some seriously awesome joint hobby projects with fellow hobbyists. And I’ve had lots and lots of contact with people from many corners of Holy Terra. Even against this background, however, my recent trip to Amsterdam, to meet up with fellow hobbyist Augustus b’Raass, turned out to be an absolute high point!

Now Augustus and me originally “met” over at The Bolter & Chainsword where we both belong to the regulars. The first longer conversation we actually had occured when Augustus had put a dismembered female corpse on one of his  Night Lords Contemptors, and I was the person to argue that this was actually pretty poor taste. Doesn’t exactly sound like the most promising setup for an inter-personal relationship, right? And yet, it did kick off a fairly continuous stream of mutual comments, posts and PMs that ended with us both realising that we actually had a lot of things in common, even beyond the shared infatuation with little plastic people. Which is actually kind of a big deal, if you think about is: Hobby forums are excellent places, and I love them dearly for the communication opportunities they provide, but you only really get to see a very thin slice of every fellow hobbyist, as it were: There’s no telling whether the guy you keep sharing conversion advice with is actually someone you’d get along with in everyday life.

And it’s actually great that way, because it allows a shared space where people can just come together and talk about a topic they feel passionate about, without having to defend their cultural or political views or their dubious choices in clothing. Even so, to find somebody who seemed like they would be legitimately interesting beyond the hobby was an excellent turn of events, and so when Augustus was kind enough to purchase a copy of Index Apocrypha: Chaos for me when the book had gone OOP, I joked that I would pay him back by coming to Amsterdam and buying him a couple of beers. So yeah, I did go to Amsterdam, and I did indeed buy him a couple of beers, but that’s not nearly all that happened last weekend. So, allow me to share a recap of an amazing trip:

I. Talking Shop

Now as some of you may already know, Augustus is an incredibly talented painter and converter in his own right, so it was always clear we would be talking about lots of hobby related stuff. We actually spend about two hours alone in front of his shelves and shelves of gorgeous miniatures, with me picking up model after model and feeling like a kid at the candy store. What’s more, I even slept in the same room for the weekend, so whenever I woke up, my gaze would fall on those fantastic models — I actually tried to figure out a way to sneak at least some of those gorgeous World Eaters into my overnight bag…

Models built and painted by Augustus b’Raass

…but that would obviously have been extremely rude. In addition to those models looking absolutely lovely, however, they are also magnetised, pinned, drilled and what have you to the umpteenth degree — and those are all things I never really do with my models, as I am just happy to get them finished and be done with it 😉 But seeing the craftsmanship that had gone into assembling the models made me realise that Augustus was the perfect person to talk to about a couple of projects and concerns.

For instance, you probably remember this guy from the previous post, right?


Now Augustus and I talked about him and about how the pose was not yet quite there, and so I made some additional tweaks to the pose based on that conversation. This also provided the perfect opportunity for Augustus to teach me how to use a proper hobby saw instead of just wedging a cheap-o knife in there and wiggling it around. Anyway, here’s what the model looks like now:



I actually think the pose is quite a bit more natural now in how his legs and arms interact — as an added bonus, he even seems to be dragging his right leg, which is definitely fitting for a Plague Marine. The one small setback is that sawing through the torso to get the arms and shoulder pads off damaged some detail, so I might have to do a bit of cleanup there, but oh well.

Secondly, Augustus was kind enough to magnetise my World Eaters Contemptor’s right arm for me, as you can see in the picture below:


So now, in addition to looking like this,…



…he can also rock a sweet multimelta. Like this:



I am not a big fan of the 30k multimelta design, but having the whole thing as a magnetised alternative now really provided me with the incentive of making it look a bit more vicious and spiky, and I think I have suceeded with that.

And finally, while I basically managed to get most of the models I had brought over there without a hitch, my Forgeworld Angron was snapped off his base. Augustus suggested pinning him, and I asked him whether he could slightly tweak the angle of the model on the base, because I felt that Angron was facing downwards a bit too much. So here’s the tweaked angle, and I am much happier with the model now — and he’s far easier to take pictures of now as well:





I’ll have to build up some debris around the right foot, where the pin is visible right now, but that shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

And it goes without saying that we also sat down and traded a lot of bitz: I had brought a bunch of stuff I thought Augustus might like, and in return, I came home with this crazy pile of awesomness:


The star of the show is obviously the Forgeworld World Eaters Dreadnought, as that is one of those models I have always wanted to own, but I didn’t pick him up before he went OOP — and now I have one! Woohoo! 🙂

All it all, it was brilliant to talk shop with someone who not only has such a fantastic collection (in order to erm…borrow ideas by the boatload), but whose techniques and approaches also differ in certain areas: Augustus is super-structured and super-efficient, whereas I can be a huge fan of sloppy, messy Leeroy Jenkins-style tactics when it comes to painting and converting. Seeing someone else’s process was really quite eye-opening in many ways!

II. The Pretty Pictures

It wasn’t all theoretical, though, as I had also brought a pile of my miniatures for a joint photo opportunity, so we took my models, Augustus’ wonderful Imperial Fists and his equally lovely terrain and tried to achieve a look as close as possible to something you might see in an official GW publication, pitching the warriors of the World Eaters’ 4th assault company against the defenders of Terra during the siege of the Throneworld:



Hmm, with the Eighth Captain in the picture like that, I doubt that Librarian has too much of a career ahead of him… 😉





One of the coolest setups we did was to pitch Augustus’ Imperial Fists commander, Franz Landa, against one of the 4th assault company’s Praetors: Secutor Hamund, the Mournful, very much a deathseeker, and seen here during what may have been his final battle:





Creating setups like that was really a ton of fun, and I love how the pictures have turned out! My World Eaters, on the other hand, had to take a bit of a rest after the demanding photo shoot (next to one of Augustus’ wonderful Contemptors):


While we still had that sweet setup out, however, I snatched the opportunity to take some pictures that showcased my models, selfish git that I am 😉

Here are my 30k World Eaters, led by their Primarch:



Next up, my squad of Traitor Elites from my Traitor Guard force, “Urash’s Marauders”:


And, since I had also brought some models from the wonderful world of INQ28, Inquisitor Erasmus Gotthardt, of the Ordo Hereticus Velsen and his retinue…


…and the “Road Crew”, my current project of creating a merry band of Pitslaves, mutants and ne’er do-wells from the Hiveworld of St. Sabasto’s Reach:



And here’s one really sweet shot to top off this part of the post: My true scale Astartes, Praetor Janus Auriga of the Golden Legion, going toe to toe with Augustus’ absolutely lovely retro Bloodthirster — seriously, pictures don’t do that guy justice!

III. The All-important Rest

As fun as the whole hobby part of my trip was – and believe me, it was TONS of fun – what really turned the whole event into such a fantastic experience was being fed, pampered and taken around town by Augustus, who was just about the best host you could probably imagine: He had bought a wonderful collection of local and Belgian beers (And we drank. Them. All) and just made sure all around that I was as comfortable as I could be. We also ended up talking about a thousand different subjects – including, but certainly not limited to, the hobby – and I had a blast. Augustus also took me on a trip around town, and we invariably ended up the the local GW store. A huge shout out to the extremely friendly crowd over at GW Amsterdam South, by the way, from Dennis (the store manager who surprised my by being perfectly fluent in German and was an all around nice guy) to Rowdy (who actually came up to me to tell me he was following my work and was a bit of a fan — you made me feel like a freaking rock star, mate!): The hours just seemed to fly, and I loved every second of it.

While at the GW store, I was also able to take a couple of pictures of Augustus‘ spectacular rendition of Aaron Demsbki-Bowden’s First Claw:

First Claw by Augustus b’Raass (1)

Seriously, those guys are something else: It’s perfectly justified that they still draw lots of comments from the crowd at the store: You wouldn’t believe how amazing those guys are when seen firsthand. Let me just throw in additional pictures of my favourite three…

models built and converted by Augustus b’Raass

From left to right, Uzas (easily my favourite character from the Night Lords Trilogy), Talos and Mercutian (the model is just perfect in every way, wouldn’t you agree?).

And their three brethren that are just as awesome — I just happen to be in love with the three up top even more 😉

models built and converted by Augustus b’Raass

From left to right, Xarl (I’ve never seen a more intimidating glare in my life!), Variel the Flayer and Cyrion.

While at the GW store, I also met a super-nice fellow named Tom who may just be the best painter I have ever spoken to. While he was all shy about it and kept insisting that he had basically tried to merely follow the work of David Soper, his Orruk Warlord was really a bit of a relevation to me:

Orruk Warlord by Tom

You see, high level painting has never done much for me, because it just seemed so abstract and far removed from where I was standing. Seeing a model painted at that standard from up close, however, made me realise that there were layers and layers of detail there that I couldn’t even take in all at once. Like, I’ve never even liked that Orruk warlord all that much, especially that idiotic skull on his shoulder pad, right? And then Tom goes and does something like this:

Orruk Warlord by Tom

I mean, just look at that bone! JUST LOOK AT IT!

Tom was also nice enough to send me some really good pictures of the model for you to enjoy, so here you go:

Orruk Warlord by Tom

 

Orruk Warlord by Tom

So yeah, lots and lots of super-friendly people — but then, that’s the Netherlands for you. It’s a fascinating country for me, as a German, because in so many ways, it’s like Germany, only not: There are tons of things that are so incredibly familiar, but are just slightly “off” — and I mean off in an entirely good way: You feel at home enough to be at ease, but it’s also different enough to be utterly refreshing. Which is basically the ideal mix for someone who is as much of a scaredy cat as me 😉 Almost being able to get what people are saying is also quite a thing, I can tell you 😉

So Augustus also took me around town, including the famous Red Light District, so I could take a look at Amsterdam’s seedy underbelly, except it’s really not all that seedy, and it certainly has the added benefit of having a rather lovely canal running through the middle of it:


We ended up at a super cool retro-arcade bar where we kept drinking yet more local beer – Zatte, which actually translates to “drunk” I believe — there’s actually a lot to be said for a country that names its beers for the intended effect – and playing a bazillion games of Jenga, friendly banter with the folks from the adjoining table and crazy, made-up rules included. Let me tell you, it seems like people who know how to convert tiny plastic soldiers can be real Jenga fiends:


And then it was back home, with the crazy guy on the ferry playing songs like “Last Christmas” or “My Heart Will Go On” at full volume on his phone actually being a fellow countryman of mine — leave it to a German to set the mood, eh?

Anyway, if all of this may sound kind of over-enthused, that’s simply because I had such a blast! And I would like to imagine that Augustus felt the same way, in spite of having a compulsively talkative German to take care of. Just look at us eggheads:


I mean he does seem a bit…ambiguous about the whole situation 😉

Disclaimer: Which reminds me: Let me just state in no unclear terms that, in contrast to what you may or may not hear from other sources, I was, like, super-handy with the lock on the rented bike, and Augustus didn’t need to help me with it at all. Not even once. And that, as far as I am concerned, is the end of the matter.

Erm, anyways, here’s the big man himself again, albeit in model form: Meet Augustus b’Raass, warlord of Augustus’ World Eaters army:



So, Auggs, buddy: Ja, wie sage ich das jetzt, I really cannot thank you enough! For being an awesome host and a brilliant tour guide! For going through the risk of just having some guy from the internet over for an entire weekend. For the conversations and the laughs and, of course, the beer! And for starting out as a cool hobby buddy that has now become an actual friend! Cheers, mate!

And to all of the beautiful readers of this blog, if you have managed to hang on until now, thanks for reading! And, as always, stay tuned for more!

In hindsight, we should have set them up as though they were shaking hands — that would have been such a sweet capstone for the post…

The State of the Hunt, Week 22/2017: Too hot for painting…

Posted in 30k, 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, state of the hunt, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 1, 2017 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, as the title should already have told you, the last few days have been crazy hot over here, on the blasted plains of northwestern Jhermani, so getting anything painted was completely out of the question. Actually, so was just about anything else, really. But I did at least make some time for a spot of kitbashing, and have some results to share with you:

 

I. In the Shadow of Great Wings, pt. 1.5

You’ll probably still remember my recent conversion of Argel Tal’s daemonic form, a model I am still fairly pleased with, if I do say so myself:


But even while I was putting the finishing touches of Argel Tal’s daemonic version, it was already clear to me that I would eventually have to build another version of the character in his “normal” transhuman form, for whenever the daemonic essence of Raum hasn’t come out to play. It just wouldn’t have seemed like a complete project otherwise 😉

But my original plan was to actually put the alternate Argel Tal version off until some point in the indeterminate future (that’s where hobby projects go to die, in case you were wondering). Alas, it was not to be: I just had an innocent look at the descriptions of Argel Tal in The First Heretic and Betrayer, just for research purposes, you know — and before I knew it, I was halfway through the building process…

So here’s what I have so far:



Once again, a couple of conversion notes:

  • the armour was basically a no-brainer, as Argel Tal is described as wearing a suit of Mk. IV plate, so I mainly used plastic Mk. IV parts, with the notable exception of the breastplate (which is the same Raptor torso I also used for daemonic Argel Tal) and the arms (Mk. III arms, actually, chosen for looking a bit more ornate — only befitting an Astartes captain).
  • the Guardian Spear makes a return here, for obvious reasons. Once again, I chose to change the weapon’s haft, making it look more like a spear — actually, I basically had to go back and recreate the version daemonic Argel Tal is wielding, just for the sake of continuity 😉
  • the cape seemed like a nice way of giving the model some extra bulk and presence and make it read as an officer. It originally came from a half-complete Ivanus Enkomi model fellow hobbyist Augustus b’Raass sent me a while ago.
  • And finally, the head. Now I realise that this could be a divisive choice for some people, but I decided to go with the bare head from the Space Wolves character conversion sprue. Call me crazy, but I’ve somehow always imagined Argel Tal as having long-ish hair. And that particular head really came closest to the mental image of the character I’ve had in the back of my head ever since reading Betrayer. But if you find yourself hating this particular head, don’t fret: Like Kharn, Argel Tal will have an optional helmeted head as well:


Incidentally, there are actually very few conversions of non-daemonic Argel Tal conversions to be found, so I didn’t have much to work from. The one pretty cool depiction I found, however, was this piece of artwork courtesy of Noldonfinve:

artwork by Noldofinve

The piece even received ADB’s official blessing, so I thought it would be cool to take some visual cues from it when building my own version, and I think that worked out pretty well, wouldn’t you agree?

In closing, here’s how the more human Arge l Tal looks next to his buddy in crime:

 


And here’s a comparison showing both versions of the character:

Now all that remains is to actually get these two painted — this whole project has already spun off into enough of a distraction as it is… 😉

 

2. On The Road Again…

In other news, remember the Road Crew?

I realised when taking a look at a couple of my recent posts that it has been a rather long time since I’ve done anything INQ28 related, but that fantastic Sector Mechanicus terrain released recently, alongside Shadow War Armageddon has given me a taste to delve back into the depths of the underhives, and what better way to do that than to keep adding to my fun little band of misfits pictured above?

Now to remind you, the basic idea behind these guys is that they are a colourful collection of former gladiators, former pit slaves, mutants and other undesirables establishing their own little domain in the depths of the world of St. Sabasto’s Reach, a pretty sinister planet, even for 40k standards:

 

St. Sabasto’s Reach

An extremely rich hive world grown fat and depraved through slave trade and the exploitation of its mutant lower class.

The world originally earned its name when the Imperial Saint Sabasto rested here after his great victory on the fields of Belzifer, before engaging in the last stage of his holy crusade for the defense of Velsen against the forces of the Arch-enemy. While Sabasto’s crusade army was still magnificent at this point, it had also suffered heavy losses (a fact, it is argued by some contemporary Velsian historians, that contributed to Sabasto’s eventual defeat within the Veil of Impurity).

When the Saint contemplated the price in blood paid for the reclamation of Velsen, he decreed that the entire world of St. Sabasto’s Reach would be given to the orphans of the slain and that the Imperium would see to it that the children of martyrs would never need to go hungry. This spurred the planetary populace into religious fervor, and countless orphanages and scholae were opened in the saint’s name, earning the world bynames like “The Planet of Orphans” or “The Orphans’ Cradle”.

However, with a slow decline in piety and a general economic recession, many of the world’s orphanages have had to close over the centuries, while others have turned to a far darker trade, giving the world’s epithet a new, sinister meaning. It is true that Imperial organisations like the Schola Progenium, the Ecclesiarchy and even the Inquisition still maintain a presence on St. Sabasto’s Reach and recruit from the ranks of the homeless orphans, choosing the most talented or devout to serve in their respective organisations. And in the deeper levels of the world’s hives, missions and orphanages still offer a real, if meagre, chance for survival to this day. Yet that is only one face of St. Sabasto’s Reach. For at the same time, the world has also become the biggest fleshmarket in the entire Velsen Sector, providing human resources in a very literal sense, from mutant workers to household servants. Moreover, it is rumoured that there exists a slave for every kind of service in the almshouses and slave pits of St. Sabasto’s Reach, and the masters of the world have long prided themselves on being able to cater to every taste and desire, no matter how “eccentric” it may be.

Another mainstay of the world’s culture, the countless circuses and fighting arenas, are also fueled by a constant influx of “material” from the slave pits. At one point, the world’s renowned Circus Imperialis served as a front for a cult of chaos worshippers and was purged by the hand of Inquisitor Antrecht. But even after this upheaval, the remaining slavelords and ringmasters of St. Sabasto’s Reach quickly regained their step, slightly realigning themselves in the resulting power struggle and carving out a new pecking order among themselves. Because the Inquisition’s issue was never with the slave trade itself, but with the presence of heretics, and so the House of Blossoms, the Angelflesh Lodge and countless other establishments like them continue to ply their dark trade to this day…

 

One thing I have wanted to do with this project is to combine a number of established Necromunda archetypes (the Pit slaves and Scavvies in particular) and add a twist of my own. There’s also a fair bit of Mad Max-vibe going on with the project, but I could not quite work out how to emphasise that particular angle when these guys are actually based in the dark, dirty and cramped underhive.

I’ve watched quite a few Let’s Play videos of Metro 2033 and Metro Last Light, by way of YouTuber ChristopherOdd, lately. Both games are set in a postapocalyptic near future where a (nuclear) Third World War has likely wiped out most of the human population on earth. Underneath the ruins of Moscow, the survivors of the apocalypse have turned the Metro tunnels into their new habitat, creating a makeshift civilisation in the cramped confines of what used to be the metropolis’ transportation system. Now I have a bit of a thing for postapocalyptic scenarios anyway, but after immersing myself in the scenario, it hit me: The whole concept of subway tunnels becoming living spaces and an entire ecosystem, if you will, seemed like the missing puzzle piece that would allow me to push the Mad Max angle on my Road Crew project a bit more: What if the lower reaches of the Hiveworld are crisscrossed by a network of transportation tunnels originally created – and mostly still used – to move the vast amounts of goods necessary to keep the world’s overly bloated population alive? St. Sabasto’s Reach has a huge population, even for a Hiveworld, because its most important goods are people, but all of these have to be fed, even if they are only in transit. So I imagine a network of massive, highway-like tunnels far beneath the ground, with smaller maintenance tunnels, substations and similar spaces in between the cracks spiderwebbing off from the main branches of the network. And maybe the Road Crew has taken to raiding some of the transports travelling along those massive subterranean highways: That would allow me to incorporate elements that are typically Mad Max, even vehicles. So with my creativity thus reinvigorated, I assembled some new recruits for the gang:

Now I am actually cheating a bit here, because both the guy with the chainsaw on the left and the guy with the gun on the right were originally built before I had even started thinking about the Road Crew. And yet, without a few minor tweaks, they became pretty cool new parts of the project — I actually love it when a project finally provides a new home to some stray conversions from years ago 😉

The guy in the middle is new, however, and I am pretty proud of him. Meet Cirque:

I don’t think I will ever tire of the particular look that a combination of Ork parts (with their somewhat grotesque, overmuscled appearance and clunky technology) and human sized components will give you — almost the perfect recipe for mutants, if you ask me.

And there’s the Road Crew’s ride, of course, a slightly touched up Gorkamorka Trukk that has become far too small for modern Orks, yet should work really well for my merry band of postapocalyptic ne’er do wells:

Now if only the heat would let up for a couple of days, I could maybe get some of the above painted — keep your fingers crossed for me 😉

Anyway, so much for today’s update. It goes without saying that I would love to hear any thoughts you might have!

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

Five years!

Posted in 30k, 40k, Blood Bowl, Chaos, Conversions, Inq28, Pointless ramblings, state of the hunt, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 21, 2017 by krautscientist

yearfive
Now would you believe it: Another anniversary snuck up on me while I wasn’t looking: As of this week, Eternal Hunt is actually five years old! That means five years of screaming into the void — quite an achievement, wouldn’t you say? 😉

But seriously, I am actually really proud of having managed to keep this blog going for so long. Now I realise that some people may consider posts like this to be self-congratulatory. But in a hobby where maintaining focus and motivation is so very important, it feels like a little self-congratulation every once in a while doesn’t hurt, so if you’ll indulge me…?

 

Speaking of the raw numbers, five years of Eternal Hunt means 345 posts, all in all, and around 829,000 views. There have been 311,000 visitors to this blog and I have managed to attract 320 followers to date. Given the fact that the blog is a mere hobby project, those are some numbers to be reasonably proud of — I really do want to hit a million views, though! 😉

 

Anyway, in previous years, I have always used the blog’s anniversary to showcase some of my earlies hobby efforts, but five years of constant blogging have managed to pretty much bleed me dry on that front: I have shared my somewhat embarrassing first Space Crusade models as well as an incredibly bad paintjob for the classic HeroQuest barbarian, the first model I have ever attempted to paint back in the day. I also showed you my first WFB and 40k armies, respectively, as well as my attempt at creating a Mordheim chaos warband back when Mordheim wasn’t even really officially a thing yet. And I even let you take a look at the highly deriative fantasy artwork I cobbled together during my late teens. So there’s really not much more of my past embarrassments for you to entertain yourselves with 😉

So let’s do something different this year: Let’s not focus on my models, for a change, but rather on some of the fantastic pieces I have been given by fellow hobbyists.

You see, this blog has enabled me to not only talk about my personal hobby experiences, but also to get in touch with some extremely talented artists and creators, some of them venerable hobby legends. And while that’s already cool enough in and of itself, I was also lucky enough to have been sent some truly wonderful models over the years: Some of them completely painted, some to be painted by be. Some were already assembled, others came in parts. But they all added something unique and interesting to my collection of models, and some of them even made me approach a particular project or a part of my collection from a new angle.

Plus all of those models also make for a pretty eclectic group when collected. Take a look:

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Now these are the finished models that were given to me by fellow hobbyists in one form or another.

Given the focus of my blog, it shouldn’s surprise you that the XII legion (and their daemonic allies) feature heavily:

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The massive Obliterators were built thanks to some wonderful custom parts that I received from fellow hobbyist Thamier. BrotherJim sent me an excellent converted Khornate champion in his trademark style from Australia. Sagal and AMaximus provided me with some vintage Bloodletters. And the centre piece is definitely PDH’s wonderfully painted Lord Zhufor that he sent over as a surprise – and just in time for the blog’s 2016 birthday! And while I bought those Heresy era World Eaters from fellow German hobbyist AgnostosTheos when he sold off his collection, they came about as the result of a little joint hobby project — and ultimately served as a sort of blueprint for my own exploits into the world of 30k.

And there’s the wonderful world of INQ28, of course: This is the category where I have received some particularly grimdark and Blanchian pieces:

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Neil101 let me have that wonderfully sinister Khornate Champion (and …erm his bucket), while the legendary Ron Saikowski and Drone21c from Australia, respectively, sent me some stunning models based on classic John Blanche artwork. The little powder monkey was originally part of a bitz drop from PDH — and after being turned into a small augmetic familiar, he was named “PeeDee the Monkey” in Peter’s honour 😉 Oh, and let’s not forget that cyber-mastiff, converted from a Malifaux model I won in a raffle over at MiniatureTim’s blog.

And then there are my friend Annie’s wonderful additions to my Blood Bowl team, of course:

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And that’s not nearly all, because those are only the models I have managed to paint so far (or the ones that came pre-painted, as it were). As it happens, I still have some wonderful donations from fellow hobbyists to look forward to on my painting desk:

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Among those are Malthus Dire, a Khornate Chaos Lord, courtesy of Commissar Molotov. A grimdark belle sculpted by Steifer. A really, really old Imperial Guard Trooper, once again kindly sent over by Drone21c. The Space Wolves model given to me by the owner of my (now sadly defunct) FLGS. And a freaking Forgeworld Primarch, sent my way by Adam Wier of Between The Bolter And Me — the latter in particular forms a stunning addition to my collection, and I’ll make sure to do him justice!

And that’s still not all either, because I haven’t even talked about the various bitz drops and the constant exchange of ideas between me and other hobbyists — the list goes on and on.

In short, both my collection of models as well as my entire hobby have been enriched by generous gifts and creative ideas from fellow hobbyists from all across the world. And getting in touch with them has only been possible via sharing my work as well as my ideas online, and by commenting on their work and learning from them in turn. And this entire process continues to be an extremely rewarding and, occasionally, humbling experience!

So whether you are one of the brilliant people who have sent me models or bitz over the years or you are a follower, reader or even frequent commenter on this blog, thank you! From the bottom of my heart! Because your contributions keep this blog running, and your influences have really broadened my hobby horizon!

In closing, allow me to share just one further example for the amazing way this whole blogging business leads to more and more surprises:

While browsing for inspirational artwork of Angron, the XII Legion Primarch, I recently came upon this illustration of Angron created by artist Dariiy:

Angron illustration by Dariiy

Angron illustration by Dariiy

Now I did notice certain similarities to my own conversion of Daemon-Primarch Angron, so I sent Dariiy a message enquiring about whether or not that was a coincidence — and imagine how happy and surprised I was when she wrote back that the illustration, done by her as a birthday gift for a friend, mostly used design cues from Alex Boyd’s iconic artwork of Angron in his Daemonic form — and, indeed, from my model version of the character. Now that’s the awesome and crazy stuff this hobby of ours can lead to: An illustration resembling a model you’ve built on the wall of somebody in a totally different country and shared with the rest of the world via social media. Incredible stuff, wouldn’t you agree?

Make sure to check out Dariiy’s tumblr, by the way, as there’s some pretty cool work on diplay over there!

 

So anyway, thank you all, once again — here’s to the next five years, eh? 😉

As always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

The State of the Hunt, Week 7/2017

Posted in 40k, Blood Bowl, Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, Inq28, Inquisitor, state of the hunt, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2017 by krautscientist

As it turns out, last week’s decision to force myself to actually sit down and paint something was really for the best: Not only did it result in a model I am really, really happy with — I’ve also managed to keep the creative spark alive until now. So even though I am currently suffering from a rather nasty case of the flu, I have still finished some more hobby related stuff. So let’s take about some of the recent developments today:

 

I. A Chaotic Tome

One of the more frustrating parts of the 2016 Christmas season was my attempt to get hold of a) the Traitor Legions Codex Supplement, b) Canoness Veridyan and c) the Index Chaotica book. The Canoness, in particular, sold out about three or four times, and once the model was finally back in stock, the Index Chaotica was gone for good — or at least that’s what it looked like then.

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Enter fellow hobbyist Augustus b’Raass (whose fantastic work you might want to check out here, by the way): Auggs was nice enough to swing by the Amsterdam GW store, pick up a spare copy of the book and send it my way — that was really awesome and yet another proof that this hobby of ours is full of wonderfully generous and thoughtful people!

As for the book itself, while I am writing this, it seems to be back in stock, so is it worth it? I’d say so, yes. The cynic in me wants to poke fun at the fact that it’s basically a – ever so slightly haphazard – collection of pre-published content, but then the stuff from Realm of Chaos, for instance, is only really available in the original books, and you’ll be paying through the nose if you want to obtain one of those. Plus the vintage chaos content is simply that good: sinister, evil, spiky and occasionally darkly humorous. And some of the classic artwork is still spectacular.

For instance, I was elated to find within the book a wonderfully vibrant reproduction of Geoff Taylor’s iconic World Eaters illustration. In spite of being decidedly old skool, it has also managed to age incredibly well, if you ask me:

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There’s also this WFB-chaos centric piece from the same artist that actually almost seems like a companion piece of the World Eaters picture:

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I still remember when this image appeared on the box of the Chaotic paints set (Tentacle Pink FTW!), and I was spellbound and tried to figure out what I was actually seeing — the lumbering war machine in the back was especially fascinating, as it subtly hinted at a WFB/40k connection. From a modern standpoint, I’d say it’s actually a depiction of a Lord of War, a Khornate daemon engine from Epic 40k that eventually grew into the modern Lord of Skulls. It also serves as living proof of how much more awesome GW artwork was when it didn’t limit itself to picturing available models — but that’s a subject for another time.

Speaking of Khorne, the Khornate content alone is basically worth the price of admission and should provide me with lots and lots of new ideas. And while the internet will provide you with lots and lots of fuzzy scans of vintage GW artwork, there are still some surprises to be had here, among them an elusive Jes Goodwin sketch for a dedicated heavy support World Eater:

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Actually, Jes Goodwin’s design sketches are yet another reason to pick up the book: I cannot help marveling at the quality of his concepts for the four cult legions and the original 2nd edition CSM special characters –incredible stuff!
Oh, and let me just state for the record that the book obviously wouldn’t have been complete without the wonderful berzerker on the right courtesy of Mark Gibbons! 🙂

So anyway, I’ve spent some very enjoyable weeks going back and forth through the book and immersing myself in the rich background for the chaos powers. I am ever so thankful to Augustus b’Raass for getting me a copy, and I suppose I’ll have to come up with something special in order to make it up to him — cheers, buddy! 🙂

 

II. A Merry Band of Misfits

I didn’t merely spend my time browsing through iconic chaos content from the yesteryear, though: Some of you might remember this little project here from last year: The Road Crew:

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Now this little warband project was basically started as a fun diversion (and as a way to channel some of the influences from the Mad Max universe), but before I realised it, it had already started to take on a life of its own, coagulating into a little retinue.

The basic idea here was to start with some of the pit slave tropes introduced by Necromunda, but move beyond those character archetypes to include mutants, gunmen or even former Imperial adepts and shape them into a gang of malcontents that have disappeared between the cracks of the 41st millennium.

Now if you take a look at the image above, you’ll realise that there are already quite a few beefy warrior types — but this outfit still needed some brains. That’s why I built this guy last year:

Doc WIP (5)
Where the more gladiatorial types are muscular and crudely augmented, I wanted a gaunt and more delicate look for the brainy guy, and a combination of AdMech parts led to an outcome that was pretty close to my vision. The interesting task was to make a model that is so different from a structural standpoint look like it still belonged with the group. I tried to achieve that via a suitably strong paintjob, and here’s the result of that little endeavour:

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This is Solon Antonov, nicknamed “The Doktor”, formerly a low to mid-tier member of the Adeptus Mechanicus who stationed on St. Sabasto’s Reach to select suitable slaves to undergo augmetic modification and be transported off-world, to spend the rest of their sad lives toiling away in one of the mines or forges of the Velsian Adeptus Mechanicus. But, surprising enough for a man mostly made from metal by this point, Antonov discovered he still had a heart after all, and absconded with a group of slaves. Ever since, he has been the brains behind the “Road Crew”, tasked both with planning their activities and with the “maintenance” of its various members.

As you can see, I used the exact same colours on Antonov and the gladiators, with the scratched and damaged yellow armour serving as the element that really pulls the models together. I was actually happy enough with the outcome that I started to work on the next model right away. This little guy here:

Twist Witch Doctor (1)
I thought a mutant witch doctor type would nicely expand the character of the warband beyond a mere gang of pitslaves, even if this guy may initally seem a bit far out. Anyway, he’s still a little rough around the edges and needs some finishing touches, but here are some photos of the nearly finished model:

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All in all, this project is a lot of fun, because it allows for some very organic kitbashing and painting. It’s also a nice vehicle for telling a somewhat more intimate story: These guys aren’t part of the fight for the Emperor’s soul, they just want to get by. That being said, it’s kinda interesting to explore the contrast between their humanity and their somewhat distressed, grotesque outer appearances.

So here’s the entire gang so far. Meet the Road Crew:

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From left to right: Crusher Vexx, Tiny (the Road Crew’s battle captain), Doktor Antonov, Grimspyke, Chopper and the PIP twist witch doctor (if anyone has a cool idea for a name, I’d love to hear it).

So what’s in store for the Road Crew? I think there’ll be one or two additional members, and a suitable ramshackle ride for them — I already have a plan on that account. Keep your eyes peeled! 😉

 

III. A Squig-shaped Surprise

And last but definitely not least, imagine my surprise when I visited my friend Annie last week for one of our semi-regular painting sessions, only to present me with two wonderfully characterful squig-shaped dice for my Blood Bowl team, the Orkheim Ultraz:

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These lovely little models can be picked up at Comixininos, and they should make for excellent turn/reroll counters for my team! And I really love how Annie painted them to perfectly match the colours of the Orkheim Ultraz:

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Thanks so much for the amazing gift, Annie! 🙂

By the way, we’ll be taking a closer look at one of Annie’s Blood Bowl teams in the near future, if only to show you her fairly different approach as well as her balls-to-the-wall crazy and creative ideas for the team. You should definitely look forward to that!
So yeah, as you can see, I am finally back into the swing of things! And I would love to hear any feedback you might have — just drop me a comment or two! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!