Archive for the Pointless ramblings Category

Coming full circle?! A closer look at Kill Team: Rogue Trader

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 17, 2018 by krautscientist

As some of my readers have already pointed out, I no longer do many reviews these days. But I will gladly make an exception for Kill Team: Rogue Trader, one of the most delightful hobby surprises to come out of 2018 so far:

Kill Team: Rogue Trader is remarkable in several ways: For one, it’s a look at a part of the 40k universe that has appeared in background lore every now and then, but – apart from some Inquisitor models – has never been explored in depth in model form. There’s also the fact that this actually feels like an attempt to take the – already fairly promising – killteam concept into a more narrative and, dare I say it, inquisitorial direction. And at the same time, it also feels like coming full circle, in that both the subject matter and scope of the boxed set seems like a modernised look at the old Rogue Trader, as in: the first version of Warhammer 40k.

 

Enough reasons, then, to give this release a closer look. And it goes without saying that I will be focusing on the models that come with the set, looking at their strengths and shortcomings as well as thinking about possible uses for them in the wider hobby and the odd conversion opportunity. So here we go. Just like old times, eh? πŸ˜‰

I. The Elucidian Starstriders

To get this right out of the way, I am simply in love with this kill team: GW’s sculptors have done an amazing job at making the team look like the actual household of a Rogue Trader, with an actual background story and some really interesting characters. That alone makes this part of the release a triumph!

I also really appreciate how not only are there strong shared design elements between the models (the baroque armour, the stylised heraldic animal crests for different ranks and functions), but the design also manages to both fit the 40k universe and expand its visual language (with a decidedly baroque influence versus the classic “gothic” approach), making it clear that Rogue Traders are a force unto themselves.


Rogue Trader Elucia Vhane

So, let us start with the actual Rogue Trader, Elucia Vhane: For the most part, this is a lovely and eclectic figure befitting the status of a Rogue Trader. Moreover, since most of the depictions of Rogue Traders so far have invariably shown dudes in some kind of 19th century-ish military uniform, I think we’ll have to give GW some extra kudos for going with a female Rogue Trader!

The detail on the model is rather lovely: The filigreed armour and ruffles are a great touch, as is the slightly old timey aquila clasp on her right shoulder.

My one gripe with the model is how her face is mostly covered by a veil: I get how this was probably supposed to show the eclecticism of Rogue Traders and also add an air of mystery, because you cannot help but wonder how Elucia looks under the veil: a woman kept young and beautiful by rejuvenat treatments? A hideous crone? Something altogether more mysterious? I can also really imagine the veil working great in one of John Blanche’s concept sketches.

The thing is, however, that it fares less well in actual model form. As it stands, the part of the model that should be its absolute focus point ends up looking, well, rather uninteresting. And given the fact that GW’s catalogue absolutely lacks interesting and characterful female faces, this choice seems like an even more egregious copout. Personally speaking, I think a half-veiled face, some kind of stylised porcelain mask (or, even better yet, half-mask) would have been a better solution here, and obviously made for an even more interesting character — therefore, the face is definitely the one thing I would personally convert.


Knosso Prond

Elucia Vhane’s personal assass…erm “bodyguard” has to be one of my top three models from this release: You can never go wrong with a poised, stylised pose with a sword, and Knosso illustrates this very well. I also love how there’s such a clear asian influence to her design – particularly evident on her sword and facemask – but it’s an influence that gets reflected through the general 40k look and feel, and the result is really lovely, if you ask me. That mask and hairdo, in particular, are just great touches! One of the high points, certainly!


Sanistasia Minst

Yet another female character (which is great), and also an exploration of a character archetype we haven’t seen all that often: the medic. The model does an awesome job of straddling the line between a clean, clinical look very fitting for a medicae, and the more ostentatious and baroque elements that are a part of the household’s visual language. I especially like how her equipment (the helmet, shoulder pad and gloves, in particular) seem functional and ostentatious at the same time.

Oh, and that Nurgling is a nice touch, obviously, creating a cool little shout out, both to the background of the game and to the Gellerpox Infected.


Larsen van der Grauss

The Starstriders’ resident tech-priest, Larsen has a very cool and weird design with a strong silhouette. There’s enough weird equipment and tech-y elements to keep us guessing how everything works. I especially like the head!
Funnily enough, the model doesn’t even look all that AdMech at first glance, but it’s cool to see the Tech-Priest look extended a bit, particularly for a member of the Adeptus Mechanicus who has been embedded with a different faction for a longer time.

The look and angle of the left arm seem like a shout out to the old 2nd edition characters that were fairly flat and needed to be all about silhouette — slightly anachronistic in these more modern times, but it actually seems like a conscious choice here, given the many shout outs to older lore and concepts.

Β 

Elucia also comes with her own household guard, which I think deserves extra compliments because these are a part of any given warband or retinue we normally don’t get to see — the actual soldiers doing the dirty work πŸ˜‰

Stromian Grell

A burly man with a massive gatling gun — what’s not to like, right? Very iconic pose. Almost reminds me of one of the old Warzone Imperial (or Capitol) models, although in a good way. The boat cap is a lovely touch. I also love how his almost modern SciFi look gets tampered by the baroque influences, such as the filigree on the armour (and even on the weapon). The scarred forearms are also a cool little touch and a nice bit of visual storytelling that hints at an eventful life.

Also, kudos for actually going with a non-caucasian skin colour, ‘Eavy Metal Team! πŸ™‚

Voidmaster Nitsch

Another very 2nd edition pose — and frankly, it’s amost a bit too much with the two guns. At the same time, I really love the clean lines of the model. And possibly my favourite part is how Nitsch foregoes the usual “pants in boots” look for some actual suit pants and a far more suave setup — very interesting, and also a rather interesting resource for converting INQ28 characters and Imperial civilians…

He also looks like an officer, a gentleman, but also a hard-as-nails veteran.

Nitsch’s Squad

Nitsch’s small squad ofs Voidsmen is actually one of my favourite parts of this release. Even though they are fairly uniform, the different poses and weapons (as well as the fact that their actual uniforms are really cool) still make them a great visual addition to the kill team. Even better, there’s yet another female character in there, and for once she doesn’t suffer from the endemic boob armour problem (and is arguably the coolest of the bunch). These three really bring the household vibe to life!

Plus the squad also features what must be the boxed set’s best model bar none: Aximillion the cyber-mutt:

 

Seriously, I just love this guy! The attentive pose and armour plates matching his handlers are just so cool. How I would have loved to have access to this model, back when I wanted to build a cyber-mastiff for my INQ28 collection! Granted, I found a different solution. But it’s still awesome to have an “official” GW model to fill the function!

 

II. The Gellerpox Infected

On the other side of the aisle, we get one of the weirdest and eclectic collections of mutants, monsters and creepy-crawlies I have ever seen in a GW boxed set. The Gellerpox Infected don’t seem so much like an actual killteam, but rather like a “toolkit” for a GM to populate a setting with monsters and opponents for the party to fight. Like the collections of monsters you would see in, say HeroQuest or Space Crusade.

So let us take a look at all of those creatures in turn:

Vulgrar Thrice-Cursed

The leader of the Gellerpox Infected, Vulgrar is huge and brilliantly detailed — the latter really was to be expected, given GW’s standard for plastic models these days. The model is a rather disturbing amalgamation of distressed flesh and crude bionics. While the Nurglite touches are subtle, I still like them: The three heads,Β  the pockmarked skin – they hint at the source of the Gellerpox plague without turning the model overwhelmingly Nurglite, which is pretty cool.

Those heads are particularly excellent and seem like they would just look fantastic on a wide variety of conversions. At the same time, the burning furnace, complete with flames licking out if it…may be a bit much πŸ˜‰

In spite of many very cool design elements, I am still not in love with the model. I cannot quite put my finger on what’s the problem here, but it still feels like all the really cool individual components come together into a model that is somehow less than the sum of its parts. Is Vulgrar a terrifically detailed monstrosity? Without a doubt. But he’s not a showstopper or standout piece in a boxed set, like, say, the Dark Vengeance Helbrute used to be. My two cents πŸ˜‰


Nightmare Hulks

Now these big guys obviously add a lot of visual oomph to the Gellerpox Infected. And I really love how they were designed with archetypal nightmare monsters in mind: the monster from the deep, the cannibalistic abomination, the relentless engine of destruction — I think we can all agree that these are some brilliantly disgusting abominations πŸ˜‰


Gnasher-Screamer


Now this guy actually looks like a John Blance sketch come to life, which I think was the whole point. Giant Butcher-like brutes are always great fun, and Gnasher-Screamer hits all the right notes on this accord: He has the butcher’s apron, the giant cleaver, and also the unhinged, inbred redneck look to pull it all off. Like something from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, only turned up to eleven and refracted through the particular breed of body horror supplied by the ruinous powers.

If I had to find something to criticise, it would be that the model is maybe a tad too stylised for its own good: The fact that it looks like the 3d version of a drawing is both a blessing and a curse in that respect. But still, Gnasher-Screamer is a brilliant monstrosity, and that’s obviously enough! πŸ˜‰


Big Spike

In some ways, this guy is actually my favourite Nightmare Hulk: There’s just something about the juxtaposition of a grotesquely overmuscled arm with a withered and decayed limb on the other side that works every time. Now replacing the withered right arm with some weird fly-body may be seen as slightly too gimmicky by some, but I just love the sheer grotesqueness of it.

At the same time, I also have a gripe about the model: the face. It just seems weirdly pedestrian and normal to me, and the goggles (ostensibly the remains of the creature’s formal life) actually make it worse. I think Big Spike would work much better with some kind of weird breathing apparatus strapped to his face (the obvious insectile connotations would also work really well with that little fly buddy growing out of this right shoulder).


The Writher

Ah, yes: You’ve got to have one chaos monster with tentacles, right? πŸ˜‰

Now this guy reminded me of an old WD article where the sculptors discussed how tentacles were such a difficult element of sculpting because they could make a model look weak and also because they would also often recall some kind of deep sea creature, which seemed a bit ridiculous in the 40k setting. Interestingly enough, the designers seem to actually have embraced the deep sea look on the Writher, as his tentacles and pseudopods resemble nothing so much as the limbs of a giant octopus.

In all fairness, it actually works in the model’s favour: The tentacles, weird distended flesh and hideous shoulder area actually reminded me a bit of the – brilliantly scary – creatures in the (deep sea) videogame SOMA (*shiver*), plus there’s arguably a deep sea angle to the warp that seems like it might be fun to explore.

I also really like the way the Writher’s features are covered by a crude saccloth hood that leaves some parts of his countenance up to our imagination while also still showing us a fair share of disgusting stuff πŸ˜‰

pose seems a bit more unbalanced than the rest of the hulks, especially with the massive belly — although I suspect they were going for a bloated corpse look, in keeping with the deep sea angle. The scared face of a victim peaking from the Writher’s abdomen is just a little silly, though… And maybe the sculptors have taken the deep sea angle a tad too far, what with the harpoon sticking from the model’s left shoulder? πŸ˜‰


The Vox-Shamblers

Now these guys are hands down my least favourite part of the boxed set. Poxwalkers? Pirates? Plague Bearers? They seem a bit like the unfocused kitbashes some people come up with when they really want to go crazy and chaotic for the first time, just throwing everything and the kitchen sink together. The weirdly Necron-like skull masks don’t really help either. I’d say the Poxwalkers actually work better as mutated crewmen than these guys…

I appreciate wanting to go more interesting than mere shambling zombie archetypes, but these guys just seem to have too many things going on at the same time. On the other hand, while they may not be my cup of tea, maybe they are also intended as a shout out to the general weirdness that was all over the vintage Rogue Trader and its models from the 80s — that weird mohawk on the middle guy, for instance, seems like evidence for this.

When all is said and done, however, these are pretty much the low point of the release for me, if only because, when compared with the very well realised characters that are part of the Elucidan Starstriders, they just seem a little thin and generically monstrous.

 

The Gellerpox Infected come with a pretty vast array of slightly Nurglite critters:

Eyestinger Swarms

At first glance, these models reminded me of the old plastic swarms for 6th edition WFB, obviously with much superior sculpting. They also serve as a shout out to the various flies and daemonic insects that are parts of many of the new Deathguard models, which establishes a nice bit of visual consistency. I also like the fact that we get four original designs — personally speaking, the swarm of tiny flies erupting from a ribcage seems the goofiest to me, if only because


Cursemites


I really like these because there’s something chitinous and disgusting about them. They seem like a nightmare fusion of chestbursters and bluebottle flies, and they still manage to be adorable in that weird, Nurglite sense — especially the little guy seemingly puking his guts out…


Glitchlings

Somebody must have told the Nurglings to keep their masks on, so nobody would recognise them… Seriously, though, like all Nurglings these are good fun, and the resemblance between their masks and those of the vox-shamblers is a neat idea, at least in theory. At the same time, they also come dangerously close to feeling a bit too gimmicky — especially the Two-Bad-style guy…


Sludge-Grubs

Another type of critter, and another set of four unique sculpts, which is nice. There’s a lot of disgusting detail here, as well as some visual shout outs to various Nurgle models. When all is said and done, the grubs are fun, but nothing to write home about.

And I think that may just be my main criticism when it comes to the Gellerpox Infected: That they lack the amount of character and coherence present in the Elucidian Starstriders. They don’t really feel so much like an actual kill team, but rather like a collection of monsters the GM can sick on the player. Now I realise that this probably isn’t any kind of viable criticism at all, because that’s probably exactly what these guys were supposed to be. But while the Gellerpox infected work great as a collection of monsters and creepy-crawlies, they also lack any real characters. Even the Nightmare Hulks seem more like Scooby Doo Monsters of the Week than anything.

At the same time, I think we also need to consider the angle that the whole box seems like a shout out to the vintage Rogue Trader — and to the craziness of those days. So it seems perfectly appropriate when some of the creatures reflect some of those vintage sensibilities.Β  Besides, every chaos player should be happy with this toolkit of monsters and mutants to work with. It’s maybe just that, seeing how the Starstriders work as such a well realised and coherent groups, the mutants fall a little flat in comparison.

III. The Rest

On top of the two kill teams, the boxed set also provides us with some smaller terrain pieces and, I imagine, objectives. These all seem to be beautifully detailed and look like a great match for the new terrain kits. I appreciate the inclusion of consoles and pilot seats, because these could really be useful for all kinds of projects. And I like how the small livepods channel design elements both from the escape pod that’s a part of the 40k objectives set, as well as the larger Space Marine drop pods.

IV. The opportunities

 

Elucidian Starstriders

I think it should be really easy to see how these could be incredible useful for both INQ28 retinues or custom Rogue Trader warbands. Just to outline a few ideas:

  • Elucia works great both as a Rogue Trader or, with some tweaks, as an Inquisitrix. In any case, I would probably replace her face with something a bit more interesting (read: less veiled). Come to think of it, she would also make for a pretty cool commanding officer for a rather baroque and eclectic regiment of the Astra Militarum.
  • Knosso Prond, Sanistaria Minst, Larsen van der Grauss and Stromian Grell would also be perfect for all kinds of Inquisitorial warbands, even without any conversions. They would also work great as specialists for, say, an Astra Militarum army.
  • Voidmaster Nitsch is interesting because his elegant getup turns him into prime material for converting a number of characters: He could be an Interrogator, obviously. Or some kind of Imperial agent. Or a chastener of the Adeptus Arbites. But he would also make a great base model for an Imperial noble or a high-ranking operative of a trading cartel or other Imperial organisation — in fact, I have an idea for an operative for the Mandelholtz Banking House that I think Nitsch would be the perfect base model for…
  • The Voidsmen would make for fantastic Imperial Navy Armsmen, a squad of Hive Cops (or even Arbites), Inquisitorial troopers or a Navigator’s household guard — in fact, we can probably expect to see these guys a lot in the future — trust me on this.

One thing I realise looking at the models is that, since they are so well realised as a coherent group, I almost feel reluctant to think about ways to convert them or cut them up, bar the small tweak here and there. I think that is very much a testament to the quality of the job GW’s sculptors have done on this kill team!

Gellerpox Infected:

  • The Nightmare Hulks would make for perfect chaos spawn, far surpassing the official kit (which really hasn’t aged well).
  • Even though they are all supposed to be – subtly – nurglite, it wouldn’t be much work to turn some of them to the service of the other gods: The Gnasher-Screamer already looks like a servant of Khorne. The Writher’s tentacle look or Big Spike’s claw would work equally well for a Slaaneshi force or warband, given a couple of tweaks.
  • By the same token, Vulgrar Thrice-Cursed, with his crude augmetics, would also be a perfect construct for a Dark Mechanicus-themed force or warband.
  • The Vox-Shamblers are so close in design to both the Plague Bearers and the Poxwalkers that they could work as champions/heralds for either. At the same time, they seem like a perfect template for Necromunda mutants, Scavies or similar, downtrodden creatures.
  • The rest of the various critters would be a cool addition for every Nurgle army, of course, where they could be used both as swarms of vile creatures and to accessorise special characters and champions.
  • At the same time, they would also work really well as hazards, enemies or obstacles in games of Necromunda, as they perfectly recall some of the various critters and hazards from the old Necromunda tables πŸ˜‰

All in all, this boxed set is a fantastic way to experience both kill team as well as the particular eclecticism of 40k as a background! The Elucian Starstriders are a wonderful achievement, and I applaud GW for creating them! The Gellerpox Infected are a fun and versatile menagerie of monsters to be used in various ways (and settings). And even if I would have preferred another kill team as well realised as the Starstriders, the box as a whole is still a wonderful little surprise. And best of all, it also recalls the vintage Rogue Trader and its inherent weirdness in all the right ways for that extra nostalgia bonus — after several decades of releases, it does seem like GW has, in a way, come full-circle with this release!

At the same time, the set is exciting not only for its contents, but for how it represents GW’s willingness to explore well-loved but underutilised parts of the lore and background. At this point, even Inquisitorial retinues and releases for them probably wouldn’t be out of the question. And even if this should be a one-shot, it’s a wonderful way to explore the grimdarkness of the far future beyond the well-trod paths of massive battles and twenty different flavours of SPESS MEHREENZ πŸ˜‰

So what’s your take on this release? Do you agree with me or do you find fault with my points? And what are your ideas for the models from this boxed set? I would love to hear from you in the comments section! πŸ™‚

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

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The State of the Hunt, Week 33/2018: The Ordos are recruiting…

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings, state of the hunt, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 16, 2018 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, I am pretty busy at the moment, but I do have some new models for you to look at — just a couple of INQ28 kitbashes for today, however — that will have to suffice πŸ˜‰ So what is this about?

The first pair of models I want to share with you has actually been around for a while, but I don’t think I have posted them over here yet: Last year, fellow hobbyist BubblesMcBub was amazingly generous enough to let me have most of the Death Guard models from the Dark Imperium boxed set, and as a way of paying him back for that great kindness, I promised to convert some models for him. I already sent him a converted Iron Warriors champ late last year…

…but Bubbles also wanted meΒ  to build him an Ordo Xenos Inquisitor.

Now it did take me a while to do this, both because I wanted to come up with something cool, but also because I couldn’t quite decide which general approach I wanted to go with: A massive, towering monodominant Inquisitor of the “Suffer Not The Alien To Live!” school of thought? Or a rather more subtle, sneaky and shadowy Inquisitor who is not above using the odd Xenos artifact himself? Both are pretty cool angles, and I realised in the end that the only right way was to actually build both πŸ˜‰

So here are the Inquisitors I converted for Bubbles:

 

First up, the hulking monodominant Inquisitor:

Now this guy is actually a refurbished model of sorts: He began his existence as a champion for my old, kitbashed Legio Custodes army, but with official Custodes models now available, he wasn’t likely to be used for his intended role anytime soon. I rather liked the kitbash, however, which is why I made some changes to him (adding a different sidearm, backpack and shoulder pad) to make him look even less Space Marine-y. And I think that, after a final round of minor cleanups, he should work as a fine puritan Inquisitor for Bubbles’ collection.

The second guy, on the other hand, was built completely from the ground up, and represents the more subdued (and maybe ever so slightly radical) side of the Ordo Xenos. Take a look:

The Inquisitor uses a Genestealer Hybrid body, because I felt the retro-futuristic spaceman vibe of the suit fits the Ordo Xenos rather nicely (it is also heavily reminiscent of the kind of industrial design you see in the Alien films, which is another great match. I gave the Inquisitor an AdMech sword, because its very sleek, modernist look seemed like a good fit. And he’s also wielding a Harlequin’s kiss, to show how he’s definitely not above making use of Xenos artifacts.

I also have to admit that I may have taken a teeny tiny bit of inspiration from DexterKong’s excellent Inquisitor Falx, one of my favourite models of his.

So these two guy will soon be a part of BubblesMcBub’s part of the 40k galaxy, and I hope he likes them — once I finally manage to send them off to him, at long last, that is. Sorry, mate! I know I’m terrible! πŸ™‚

 

So, with those two guys finally documented over here on the blog, I also have a current kitbash to share with you. Now you may remember my kitbash for Inquisitrix Elianu, of the Ordo Malleus, from recently:

The Inquisitrix was based on the Easy To Build Stormcast Sequitors — in fact, I only really bought that kit to get my hands on this one model. But I still had those other Sequitors, so I thought it was time for another INQ28 conversion based on the kit. So I made a Crusader for Inquisitrix Elianu’s retinue:



As you can see, it’s a rather simple conversion from a structural standpoint, although it did require some detail work when it came to picking out the right bitz to take the model into the 41st millennium — and to replace some of the more overtly AoS inconography.

One bit that I really think makes the conversion is the head, a leftover head from the Datasmith that comes with the Kastelan Robots. Nothing says 40k like a face full of cables, isn’t that right? πŸ˜‰

I also went through several weapon variants and surprised myself by using the Custodes sword blade in the end — I actually really don’t like those clunky swords when they are used as swords, but as some kind of weird tech-spear-glaive thing, it really works rather well with the Crusader feel, wouldn’t you agree? Prompted by fellow hobbyist Naryn, I even included a small trigger mechanism close to the model’s right hand, to show how the integrated boltgun might be fired.

One thing I did think long and hard about was whether or not to replace the model’s shoulder pads with something a bit less Stormcast Eternal-ish, but the pauldrons seemed like such an integral part of the lines that define the model that I decided to leave them like that, as everything I would have come up with wouldn’t have looked better in the end.

All things considered, I am also rather fond of him right now, to be honest — I think it has something to do with the fact that I only really purchased the box for the female Sequitor, and the other two models were basically chaff. To see one of them transformed into something useful and cool does feel pretty cool! πŸ™‚

 

Here he is, along with his mistress, Inquisitrix Elianu:

So that’s it for today! Please feel free to let me know what you think! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more! πŸ™‚

2018 Round-Up: The first six months

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

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

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

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

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

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

First up, Inquisitor Arslan’s Ordo Hereticus warband:

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

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

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

 

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Renegade Knight Armiger, for one:


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

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

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

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

Grimdark Espionage Action

Posted in 40k, Conversions, paintjob, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 25, 2018 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, something a little bit different for today: Since I am currently waiting for the bitz intended for my next Deathwatch Marine, I thought it was time for a fun little distraction, and fondly remembering my Boba Fett repaint from a while back, I decided to delve back into the wider nerd culture for a bit — so what is this about?

This particular project was actually the result of several circumstances coming together to form the perfect storm: When I recently worked on the Celestial Lions Astartes for my Dethwatch Killteam, I noticed how much all the pouches and webbing on the Reiver armour reminded me of the gear worn by Solid Snake, one of the protagonists of the Metal Gear series. And then Adam Wier, of Between The Bolter And Me, presented his own, very cool Metal Gear-inspired model just the other day, and that really sealed the deal for me: I wanted to build and paint my own model inspired by the Metal Gear series.

For those of you not in the know, Metal Gear is a series of stealth-based games — and also one of the founding fathers of modern stealth games, really, at least were video game consoles are concerned. The games always feature a hard bitten veteran codenamed Snake (who is also the game’s protagonist in most cases, although it’s not always the same man). The task is usually to inflitrate some kind of rogue nation or military installation, fight against a special unit consisting of a collection of veritable carnival freaks, then deal with a walking nuclear tank – the eponymous Metal Gear – in order to avoid nuclear war. There are lots of highly entertaining (and often challenging) stealth sequences, and just before you get to fight any kind of boss, everything screeches to a halt while you and your opponent wax poetical about war, peace, love on the battlefield and the intricacies of nuclear deterrence for a solid twenty minutes. Yeah, it’s that kind of series…

Even so, or probably because of it, the Metal Gear series is one of my favourite videogame series. I love it because of everything – and in spite of everything – that makes it great and terrible: its brilliantly weird, Japanese take on western action films, its sometimes hamhanded storytelling. Its brilliantly quirky characters. If you haven’t played the series, and you have even the slightest appetite for Japanese video game quirkiness, I suggest you give it a spin. And if you’re already aware of Metal Gear, well, I think you’ll get an extra chuckle or two out of the rest of this post πŸ˜‰

Anyway, the first Metal Gear Solid was a massive blockbuster (and arguably a system seller) back on the first Playstation, and it still has a safe place in my heart, so I wanted to build a model based on Solid Snake, protagonist of the first couple of games. Here’s what I came up with:

On the face of it, it’s a really simple kitbash, merely using one of the Easy to Build Primaris Reivers and a handful of bitz: The Reiver armour is already suspiciously similar to a bulkier version of Solid Snake’s sneaking suit anyway, so I only added an extra pouch here and there and shaved off any parts that were too 40k — like purity seals. I also tweaked the gun a bit, to make it resemble the iconic SOCOM pistol wielded by Snake in the games.

As for the general look and pose of the model, I used some artwork by Yoji Shinkawa, the Metal Gear series’ art director, as reference material:

Illustration by Yoji Shinkawa

Of course the Primaris proportions are a bit wonky when compared to the sketch — where Solid Snake is fairly slender, the Primaris based version looks a bit more chunky. Which is why I decided to leave the backpack off, so as not to make him even more massibe. Even so, I think the combination of the pose, pistol silhouette and flapping bandana make the model instantly recognisable.

Speaking of the bandana, the most involved part of the conversion was actually to transform a fairly standard Space Marine head (from the old Dark Angels Veterans, I believe) into a suitable representation of Snake, complete with bandana and Snake’s glorious mullet haircut. I achieved the former by using a paper place mat (having already made some very good experiences with the material while designing the bases for my Ordo Scriptorum warband). The latter was sculpted with a bit of GS.

Here’s the reference material I used, the actual in-game model of Solid Snake from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty:

And here’s a look at the tweaked head, warts and all:

When it came to painting the model It was clear to me from the start that the head was what would make or break the model, and funnily enough, painting it instantly transformed it into Snake’s face. Take a look:

As for the rest of the model, I once again needed some reference material, since Yoji Shinkawa’s sketches are fantastic for setting the mood or creating a strong impression of a character, but they are also a bit too abstract to be used as something to base a colour scheme on. Once again, I decided to base my paintjob on Solid Snake as he appears in the first game (and its subsequent remake, “The Twin Snakes”), mostly because the Reiver armour matched that particular getup pretty well:

Here’s a look at a PIP version with most of the main colours in place:



It’s a fairly monochromatic colour scheme, certainly — not something I would have chosen for one of my “regular” INQ28 characters, but in this case, it was all about matching the official material. That’s also why I ultimately decided against adding any symbols or freehands: My original plan had been to add the logo of FOXHOUND, Solid Snake’s unit, on one of the pauldrons, in place of a chapter icon, so to speak, but it felt like a colourful area like that would actually have detracted from the rest of the model and the overall look and feel.

When it came to basing the model, I discovered that the new Sector Mechanicus bases were just the perfect choice: While they might be ever so slightly too bland for 40k proper, they seemed like a perfect recreation of the kind of military base surroundings Snake usually finds himself in. I went for a pretty simple, gunmetal look, with some suitable decals applied before the weathering for an extra layer of detail. Here’s the painted base:

And while this project was intended as a mere fun distraction, or a gaiden project, to remain true to the subject, I decided I might as well use it to teach myself a new technique. Now Metal Gear Solid is set in a military base in Alaska, and parts of the game actually play out during a snowstorm, so I thought it might be fun to include some snow on the base — which meant I had to experiment with making my own model snow — definitely a first for me!

I was lucky enough to be able to fall back on one of Ron Saikowski’s incredibly helpful hobby articles from the fabulous From The Warp blog, and chose the easiest recipe from the post: Just mix PVA glue with Sodium Bicarbonate (baking soda) and just a drop of water. And while it took a couple of minutes to get the mixture just right, I ended up with a substance that didn’t just look like snow but almost behaved like the genuine article as well, caking and piling up like actual, miniature snow — how delightful πŸ˜‰

Here’s the same base with the snow applied on top:

I was even able to tease out some singular “flakes” and add smaller clumps of the stuff to Snake’s left leg, to tie him into the base a bit better — seriously, all of this basically took about five minutes and ended up looking so convincing that I was pretty much blown away!

But anyway, without further ado, here’s my – slightly 40k-inspired – version of FOXHOUND special operative Solid Snake. Age hasn’t slowed him down one bit:





I actually cannot stop grinning when I look at the model. It’s a weird little piece, to be sure, but I also think he turned out pretty well, dodgy proportions and all πŸ˜‰

A closer look at Snake’s face:



And, finally, another look at the model on its base:

Man, that was fun! And while I have zero plans to build any more MGS-related homages, I quickly realised that coming up with 40k versions of classic MGS trope can be a seriously entertaining thought experiment: Fellow hobbyist Bjorn Firewalker mentioned the brilliant idea an Imperial Knight serving as the eponymous Metal Gear! A Sicarian Ruststalker would make for an excellent AdMech-style Grey Fox. And it does, of course, make complete sense that Snake would be a Space Marine from a particularly cursed founding (referred to only as the “Pueri Terribili”).

Such silliness aside, the model is actually too blatant an homage to actually work as a character in proper 40k lore, of course. I already have Inquisitorial Operative Tybalt Renner as a more subtle shout out to the Snake archetype for that:

All the more reason, however, to just cut loose this time and have a little fun with a blatant homage to a video game character πŸ˜‰

On a related note, this article wouldn’t be complete without a shout out to Tale of War’s absolutely incredible “Snaker – the Last Soldier” model:

Unfortunately, the model is no longer available – for fairly obvious reasons, I suppose – and I missed my chance to pick one up — oh well, at least now I have my own – slightly dodgy – version of Snake, at least.

I also got a bit of a chuckle out of staging a classic Metal Gear Solid scene like this…

…with my new model. Take a look:

Anyway, that’s it for today! I would love to hear any feedback you might have about my version of Solid Snake! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more! πŸ™‚

“METAL…GEAR?!”

Episode 40k: A New Coat of Paint

Posted in Conversions, paintjob, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2018 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, something rather different today — but first, to get you all in the right mood:

Episode 40K
A NEW COAT OF PAINT

Somewhere in Germany. Having rediscovered an old action figure thought long lost, a hobbyist by the name of KRAUTSCIENTIST embarks upon a fun tribute project.

Will he be able to return colour to one of the galaxy’s pre-eminent bounty hunters, the scoundel known as BOBA FETT?

As the release of a new Star Wars film looms near, KRAUTSCIENTIST touches brush to model….

 

Well, that should tell you most of what you need to now about today’s post. I’ll be heading out to watch Solo: A Star Wars Story later this week, and I thought the release of a new Star Wars film would be the perfect occasion to actually finally tackle that aforementioned tribute project — so what is this about?

Let me prefrace this by saying that I used to be a massive Star Wars fan during my childhood and early teens: I saw the old trilogy (Episodes IV to VII) on TV around the age of ten, and together with the – mostly excellent – Star Wars video games released by Lucas Arts all through the 90s, the series became one of my great nerd passions during those years (to the point where I can still quote entire TIE Fighter cutscenes by heart, ridiculous as that may be). I was a diehard fan (albeit one who was always rooting for the Galactic Empire). The (first) cinematic re-release of the touched up first trilogy came out shortly before I finished school, then the following prequel trilogy wasn’t really all that great — I don’t hate it as viciously as many people, but it did feel as though I had outgrown Star Wars a bit at that point. Which, with the benefit of hindsight, actually put me in a perfect place to see the new films, as I went into them without any big preconceptions or expectations, and so far, I have been having a blast with all of them — let’s hope the trend continues with Solo. But anyway, the thing to remember here is that I used to love Star Wars with a burning passion for quite a few years.

The other important thing is to understand that Star Wars action figures used to be a bit of a holy grail for me during my childhood: My first contact with Star Wars happened when the films were broadcast in German television for the first time (I believe) during the late 80s — in any case, it was enough of an occasion for some new merchandise to be released (mainly books and a neat book-audiobook combo for children), yet the original action figures had long disappeared from the shelves by then. This may be hard to imagine nowadays, with myriads of Star Wars action figures in all shapes and sizes freely available — but back then, if you actually wanted some Star Wars action in your life, you either had to get creative and proxy stuff with the action figures you had (I even went so far as to paint a certain MotU figure glossy black to create a poor standin for Darth Vader at one point) , or you had to be extremely lucky and find some of the original figures during yard sales and the like.

That exact thing gappened to me one day when I actually struck a rich ore of used Star Wars action figures at a local flea market, and I must have bought at least a dozen or so. My only regret was that the Darth Vader figure was already gone by the time I showed up: A childhood friend had actually managed to snap it up earlier in the day, and I would end up buying it from him for a whopping 20 Deutsche Marks — made even worse by the fact that the figure was actually pretty terrible, even in its complete form,…

yet the one I bought from my friend didn’t even have the terrible cape OR the shitty lightsaber. Oh well…

Some of Kenner’s old Star Wars action figures were much cooler, though. For instance, Kenner also released an action figure of everybody’s favourite bounty hunter,Boba Fett, and while it was functionally very simple and didn’t feature any bells and whistles, it’s also a surprisingly cool figure, given the time in which it was produced: Something I have always liked about Boba Fett’s outfit is how strangely workmanlike it seems, with the scuffed armour and the little pouches on the legs with tools sticking out of them: Like there’s just a guy underneath it all, albeit one who must have had a rather colourful life. Boba Fett really seems like the epitome of the “used universe” design philosophy Star Wars brought to the SciFi genre, and the 1979 action figure does a surprisingly good job of channeling most of that appeal. Here’s what it’s supposed to look like:

I think they actually did a pretty great job with the outfit (it even has the little pouches on the shins). In fact, according to Toyworth.com, Boba Fett was indeed one of the best selling Star Wars action figures. The same article also answered one of my big childhood questions, incidentally — I always thought that bright red rocket in his bag looked suspiciously like something that might actually be launched via a hidden switch, but it was permanently attached to the figure and always seemed to have been — well, turns out there is more to that particular story:

Boba Fett was the first new mail-away action figure created for The Empire Strikes Back; although advertised as having a rocket-firing backpack, safety concerns led Kenner to sell his rocket attached. A few early samples of this toy is considered “a rare and precious commodity”, and one of the rocket-firing prototypes sold at auction for $16,000 in 2003.

Anyway, the picture above shows you how Boba Fett would have looked in his ideal form.

Now he was also among the figures I picked up back in the day. Here’s what mine looked like, however:

I don’t even blame the poor guy: At this point, he has gone through several pairs of hands and probably survived several childhoods and all kinds of weird adventures — and at a biblical age for an action figure, as a stamp on the plastic shows: Designed in 1979, this figure is very probably older than me!

But while the actual wear and tear on the figure’s official paintjob actually recalled Boba Fett’s scuffed in-universe look, I came up with the idea of giving the figure a new coat of paint, as a fun little experiment. I had wanted to do this for quite a while, but when I finally came upon dear Boba again last week, I knew I needed to make it happen.

The first thing I had to do was to at least try to get rid of some of the more egregious mold lines — it’s a relatively cheaply made action figure, after all, with all that entails. I couldn’t get rid of them all without damaging the underlying detail – a particularly pesky mold line running straight down the helmet proved all but completely resitant to my efforts – but I did my best. I also shaved off theΒ  date stamp and the made in Honkong sign. Then the entire figure was scrubbed down and given an undercoat of Army Painter’s uniform grey, which seemed ideal because it already matched Boba Fett’s “official” overalls fairly closely on colour.

Speaking of the official colours,Β  I did quite a bit of research before actually starting to paint. And little did I know that Boba Fett’s costume is not only one of the most complicated outfits of the original Star Wars trilogy, it’s also one of the more disputed ones, with many different variants and discussions concerning it various details and minutiae. To wit, the costume is even noticeably different between both of Boba Fett’s canonical appearances:

Left: The Empire Strikes Back, right: The Return of the Jedi

Plus there was also the fact that, allowing for the fact that they were basically producing a rather cheap action figure, Kenner’s designers also played loose with the design, simplifying quite a few of its elements.

In the end, I dug up as many production photos, fan art and merchandise pictures as I could find and tried to aim for a stable composite between all of the established versions, trying for a look that isn’t obsessively faithful to any one source, but tries to be authentic nonetheless.

Among many other sources, this picture of Hot Toys’ Sixth Scale Figure turned out to be the most consistently useful reference material:

This was my first experience repanting an action figure, although I understand repaints like that are a bit of a thing in certain circles. One thing I can tell you is that I could really get used to the bigger, far more forgiving scale πŸ˜‰

So, without further ado, here’s my repainted Boba Fett:

The back is the part where the action figure diverges the most from the actual movie costume, greatly simplifying the complexity and shape of the jet pack. I just played it by ear and tried to come up with a solution that was at least reasonably close to the official sources.

The scuffed and worn look was achieved via a mix of washes, sponge weathering and scratch marks that were actually painted on by hand. I also tried my hand at recreating – or at least approximating – some of the markings that appear on the armour:

The emblem on the ride side of the chest was a bit of a cop-out, as I just used a small decal from the Imperial Knight decal sheet. To make up for that lack of fidelity, however, I did the best I could to freehand the Mandalorian skull symbol on both shoulder pads (incidentally, I discovered that the symbo shows a stylised Mythosaur skull — sheesh, that sounds stupid, even for Star Wars πŸ˜‰ ).

One thing I am crazy happy with is the markings I freehanded onto the left side of the helmet:

So here’s a comparison showing you the figure before and after my ministrations:

And just for fun, here’s my repainted Boba next to theΒ  – rather lovely – Disney Infinity version (I couldn’t tell you anything about the actual video game, I just swooped in to snatch two or three of the figures once they ended up in the bargain bin):

I can safely say that this has been a rather enjoyable little gaiden project: While I don’t have any immediate plans of doing something like this again, I did have a blast repainting this guy!

Oh, and I would be remiss not to mention that this isn’t actually the first time Boba Fett has managed to sneak into my hobby life. Because there’s this guy, The Mandalorian:

The model was started as a fun experiment after I had seen several Boba Fett kitbashes online — plus I realised that one of the old Khorne Berzerker helmets already had the perfect Mandalorian look πŸ˜‰ After building the model, I actually turned it into a member of Inquisitor Antrecht’s INQ28 warband, and even came up with a tongue in cheek background vignette for the character.

To be perfectly honest, however, the model is precisely the kind of pop-cultural shout out I said I was wary of in my previous post, because – at the end of the day – this guy is still clearly Boba Fett πŸ˜‰ Building and painting the model was still great fun, however, and I think I did a reasonably good job with the much smaller bitzbox I had back then.

So yeah, so much for a post that has been a bit of a blast from the past. I hope you enjoyed the change of topic — and if not, don’t fret: We’ll be back in familiar waters from now on. Of course I’d love to hear what you think about my Boba Fett homage(s), so feel free to leave a comment!

As always thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Oh, and may the Force be with you! πŸ˜‰

The State of the Hunt, Week 18/2018: Bad Bank

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

A bit of a an “in-between” post for this week, as I have both a finished model and a rather elaborate conversion to share with you. Once again, both of these have been taken straight out of the Velsen Sector, the little slice of the INQ28 setting DexterKong and I have created for ourselves. So let’s take a look, shall we?

I. The Interrogator

First up, my younger version of PDH’s Inquisitor Klien Inson still needed a suitable base. I tried to channel the same “abandoned” library look I had already gone with for Inquisitor Orlant. I also experimented with some kitchen tissue paper, trying to create torn pages and parchment, something I would like to take even further on some of the future models for this retinue:

Another little touch – that didn’t work out quite as well as intended – was to feature the (Pilgrym?!) symbol that appears on the base of Peter’s model on one of the torn pages at Inson’s feet as a further shout out — oh well, you cannot win them all, I guess πŸ˜‰

I am still rather pleased with the completed model, however — what a fun little project this was! So here’s PDH’s Klien Inson during his (slightly) younger days:

=][=
Interrogator Klien Inson
Ordo Scriptorum


Klien Inson is an agent of the Ordo Scriptorum Terra and currently serves as interrogator to Inquisitor Tiberias Orlant. Originally a member of the Dalthan Ordo Xenos, Inson was crippled during a campaign against the Orks at Sword Point. After Inson’s body had been fixed, he resigned from the Ordo Xenos and travelled the pilgrim routes to Terra. It was here that he came before the Ordo Scriptorum and retrained under the watchful eye of Inquistor Stiber Gorst. His work as an agent of the Ordo Scriptorum has led him into the service of Redactor Orlant.

 




And here’s another comparison shot with both finished models:

I am pretty happy with how my version of Inson takes some colour cues from Peter’s model as well as adopting some elements from Redactor Orlant’s colour scheme:

So that’s three members for my Ordo Scriptorum warband so far,…


…although, as I’ve said before, both the interrogator and bureaucultist weren’t even planned beforehand — that’s serendipity for you πŸ˜‰

That being said, and as some of you might remember, there are some additional warband members that have already been converted:

From left to right,

  • Alizebeth Selandrine, a voidborn former Mechanicus vassal who can perform noospheric dives (read: a grimdark hacker),
  • a member of the Guild of Parchment Scroteners, a cult given over to the ritualistic destruction of Imperial paperwork
  • a Clockwork Assassin, a deadly automaton gifted to Orlant by the Velsian Adeptus Mechanicus
  • a female duelist with a pretty massive Venetian Carnival vibe
  • barely visible in the back row, an autoquill servitor

I think either Selandrine or the Clockwork Assassin might be next on the painting table.

II. The Crone

Now for today’s main course, as I’ll be sharing a conversion with you that I am rather excited about — and one that I didn’t even expect to be able to work on so soon. The model will also be serving as yet another entry for Azazel’s Assembly April community challenge, incidentally — so, what is this about?

Back when DexterKong and me came up with the Velsen Sector as an asventuredscape, I realised that I wanted a banking House as one of the political players in the sector. The inspiration for this came from Joe Abercrombie’s First Law series (and from his other books set in the same universe), where the banking house of Valint & Balk has a finger in each and every pie, and happens to be one of the most insidious influences present in the entire setting, always playing both sides, so the bank always wins.Which strikes me as both very grimdark and also, unfortunately enough, rather realistic.

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

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

But a faceless entity isn’t that compelling a player for a miniature-based game setting, so I did want one identifiable character to serve as a chairman or speaker of the board for House Mandelholtz, and I realised pretty quickly that I wanted this character to be female. Dexter and me kept exchanging ideas on the matter, and he basically suggested to base the character on a grimdark version of Maggie Smith in her role in Downton Abbey:


Which seemed like a pretty brilliant idea to me. There was only one problem: I kept drawing blanks when it came to figuring out how to actually build a model for her — especially given the lack of proper female modeling options in GW’s catalogue. So the idea went back on the shelf.

However, when the Triumvirate of Ynnead was released, I knew I had found the base model for my conversion — Yvraine:

I’ll admit this probably doesn’t seem like the most obvious solution to my problem, seeing how the model is so clearly Eldar – or, indeed, Aeldarii – in many ways. The dress with the enormous trailing train, however, was exactly the part I needed for my conversion.

Picking up the entire boxed set just to get my hands on the model seemed a bit extreme, even for my standards. But then fate intervened, and I was able to snap up an Yvraine model from ebay for a pretty okay price (much, much less than a Triumvirate of Ynnead would have cost me, in any case), and when the model arrived in the post, I got to work right away.

Unfortunately, the model was in a really rough condition. Just take a look at the base Yvraine came on, and you can probably guess what I was looking at here:


That’s right, the previous owner used LOTS of glue to assemble the model. At the same time, the different parts had been put together really poorly, and mould lines abounded — but then that’s where the low price tag came from, obviously. And if nothing else, the model’s deplorable condition actually made it easier to start cutting because there was simply so much less left to lose πŸ˜‰

So I carefully sawed through all the glue and did my best to separate the parts once again. And when I was finished with that part, I got creative. Here’s what I came up with as a first version of the character. Meet Countess Mandelholtz, version 1.0:






“Grimdark Maggie Smith” remained my basic design outline, although – as you can plainly see – the character grew a bit more grotesque during the conversion process: I wanted to make her look like rejuvenat treatments had really taken her as far as possible, but had also taken their toll on her physiology. So a healthy dose of Gary Oldman’s portrayal of Count Dracula was thrown into the mix:


Speaking of vampires, many of the bitz I used to replace Yvraine’s upper body actually came from vampire and undead kits, such as the lower arms and hair (Coven Throne vampires), the ugly, bent back (Crypt Ghouls) or the face (clamshell Necromancer). In fact, carefully cutting the hair off a Coven Throne vampiress’ head and grafting it to the Necromancer face was probably the fiddliest part of the conversion.

Beyond that, the main focus was on making her look much less eldar-like and more Imperial — hence the emblem covering the front of her dress, the small reactor in the back and the frilly sleeves.

But while I was already pretty happy with the model, I also felt it needed some more work. The biggest tweak I made was to change the shoulders in an attempt at making them slightly narrower — the poor countess was looking too much like an ugly guy in drag before πŸ˜‰

At the same time, I didn’t even want to add too much to the model, so as not to overclutter her: So here’s my finished conversion of Countess Mandelholtz, of the Mandelholtz House of Imperial Finance:




This was really all about the fine tuning. I added some vials (from the Dark Eldar Wracks) to the Countess’ hunched back, trying to keep the effect noticeable but subtle:




I also carefully added some cabling here and there, in order to at least hint at some kind of physical augmentation:




Oh, and I replaced the bottom of her cane with something a little more interesting and ornate.

Of course there was the temptation to go farther still, adding weird insectile limbs emerging from beneath her skirts (like the legs you see on the AdMech Tech-Priest Dominus, for instance), but in the end I decided to keep her more human, both to suitably differentiate her from the sheer weirdness of the AdMech models and because it’s arguably more fun to make the observer wonder what her body looks like underneath her stately dress: Personally speaking, I mostly imagine some kind of augmetic brace or some kind of walking frame — but, like I said, it’s more fun not to actually take that decision and keep people guessing πŸ˜‰

Apart from that, it seems like she would really have personal retainers for all kinds of menial tasks, such as carrying ledgers and petitions — this seems like such a cool angle for adding some further members of House Mandelholtz. But then, such a warband, if it ever materialises at all, should still be quite a ways off. Countess Mandelholtz, however, seemed like such a promising and influential character for the entire Velsen Sector setting that I simply had to nail down the idea in model form.

All in all, I am very happy with the model so far! Painting the Countess will be one heck of a challenge, though — looks like I’ll have to research some colour schemes for period dresses πŸ˜‰

Oh, I almost forgot one nifty bonus: Getting the Yvraine model means that I also get to keep the magic Eldar cat, of course πŸ˜‰ The Gyrinx should work really well as a pet/familiar for another character — in fact, placing it next to my classic Jes Goodwin Runeseer already creates something that closely resembles the piece of art that introduced us to the Gyrinx in the first place. Take a look:


But 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! πŸ™‚

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

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

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

I. Head count

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

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

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

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

II. New supply lines

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

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

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


Expect him to join my 30k World Eaters before long… πŸ˜‰

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

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


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

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

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

III. Meanwhile, across the tabletop:

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

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

IV. To Arms!


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

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

 

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

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