Archive for the Pointless ramblings Category

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

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

Awards

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

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

So let’s get started:

I. My hobby projects

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Khorne’s Eternal Hunt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

 

2. The world of INQ28

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

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


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


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

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


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

Take a closer look at the warband here.

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


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

Meet Redactor Orlant and his shadowy operatives here.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Meet Kill Team Ulrach in more detail here.

 

3. On the Blood Bowl pitch

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

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

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

4. Having a bit of fun

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

II. Hobby moments of note

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

1. Learning new techniques

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

2. Kickstarter

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

3. A Tribute to Wayne England

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


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

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

4. Hugs for the Hug Throne!

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

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

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

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

 

III. Blogging

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

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

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

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

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

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

IV. Plans

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

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

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


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

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

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


Take a closer look at the model here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Awards

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

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

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

 

I. Projects of note:

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

 

Apologist’s Blood Angels / Nova Terra Interregnum project

Models built and painted by Apologist

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

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

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

Models built and painted by Apologist

 

Models built and painted by Apologist

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

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

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

Model built by Apologist

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

Models built and painted by Apologist

 

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

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

Models built and painted by Apologist

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

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

 

Ana Polanscaks’s first exploits in the 40k setting

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

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

Models built and painted by Ana Polanscak

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

Models built and painted by Ana Polanscak

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

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

Model built and painted by Ana Polanscak

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

Models built and painted by Ana Polanscak

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

Models built and painted by Ana Polanscak

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

Artwork by John Blanche

Here’s the stunning model:

Model built and painted by Ana Polanscak

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

Model built and painted by Ana Polanscak

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

Model built and painted by Ana Polanscak

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

Models built and painted by Ana Polanscak

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

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

 

Pandora’s BitzBox’s Khornate Knight:

Model built and painted by Pandora’s BitzBox

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

Model built and painted by Pandora’s BitzBox

Model built and painted by Pandora’s BitzBox

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

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

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

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

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

 

lindsay40k’s Traitor Legion drop pod

Model built and painted by lindsay40k

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

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

Model built and painted by lindsay40k

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

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

Model built and painted by lindsay40k

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

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

 

Talarion’s Armiger Warglaives

Models built and painted by Talarion

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

Model built and painted by Talarion

Model built and painted by Talarion

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

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

Model built and painted by Talarion

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

Model built and painted by Talarion

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

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

 

Capt. Jack’s Praetor Grune Thrael

Model built and painted by Capt. Jack

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

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

 

Augustus b’Raass’ Death Guard Warlord and Renegade Knights

Model built and painted by Augustus b’Raass

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

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

First up, the big one:

Model built and painted by Augustus b’Raass

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

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

Models built and painted by Augustus b’Raass

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

You can find Augustus’ sprawling Chaos WIP thread here.

 

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

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

Models built and painted by Jeff Vader

Models built and painted by PDH

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

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

 

DuskRaider’s Nurglite Knights,

Models built and painted by DuskRaider

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

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

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

Model built and painted by DuskRaider

Models built and painted by DuskRaider

Model built and painted by DuskRaider

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

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

Model built and painted by DuskRaider

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

Models built and painted by DuskRaider

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

Model built and painted by DuskRaider

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

 

Euansmith’s Enigma Engine Team

Models built and painted by euansmith

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

Find euansmith’s ongoing INQ28 thread here.

 

II. Blogs of note:

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

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

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

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

 

 

Azazel’s Bitz Box

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

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

Models built and painted by Azazel

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

Models built and painted by Azazel

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

Models built and painted by Azazel

…his converted Minotaurs Captain…

Model built and painted by Azazel

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

Model painted by Azazel

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

Azazel’s Bitz Box can be found here.

Not A Collector

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

Models built and painted by Not A Collector

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

Model built and painted by Not A Collector

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

Model built and painted by Not A Collector

 

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

The blog can be found here.

Krakendoomcool

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

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

Model built and painted by Krakendoomcool

Model built and painted by Krakendoomcool

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

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

Krakendoomcool can be found here.

Tales from the Aaronorium

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

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

I am also a huge fan of the mostly punny post titles, guys πŸ˜‰

Tales From the Aaronorium can be found here.

 

IV. The absolute best hobby project of 2018:

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

Lesotho 2-12

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

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

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




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

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

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


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

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

 

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

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

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

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™‚

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˜‰