Archive for the state of the hunt Category

The State of the Hunt, Week 29/2018: Hot weather and heavy armour

Posted in 40k, Blood Bowl, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, Orcs & Goblins, state of the hunt, Totally worth it, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 16, 2018 by krautscientist

A bit of a transitional post for today, as I don’t have any completed models to share with you at the moment — that’s what I get for touting my own productivity in my previous post, I suppose πŸ˜‰

But anyway, both the warm weather and various other distractions have kept me from painting anything lately. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been doing any hobby-related work, though: At least I have some WIP impressions to share with you! πŸ™‚

I. The Long Watch:

So far, my Primaris-based true scale Deathwatch killteam numbers four completed members, as you will probably remember:

Thanks to several bitz drops, I have been able to start work on the next two members of the team. First up, I wanted to include a Watch-Brother from the Castigators, a fourteenth founding Ultramarines successor, and Commissar Molotov’s own DIY chapter — given Mol’s role as the doyen of the INQ28 movement, I felt this would be a nice little shout out to him πŸ˜‰

So far, my Deathwatch conversions have been an attempt to convey the character of the Marines’ respective chapters through the actual conversion, and I did have a rather nifty idea for the Castigator, if I do say so myself: Seeing how the chapter icon prominently features a hand holding a whip, and given the fact that the Deathwatch seem to be all about crazy weapons nowadays, I thought it would be cool to get a little creative with the model’s equipment πŸ˜‰

Take a look:

The model is based on one of the Primaris Lieutenants from the Dark Imperium boxed set that I was able to snap up on ebay — the pose was quite perfect for what I had in mind, and it was really easy to replace the model’s power sword with the whip from the Necromunda Escher sprue — it’s a good thing we actually get two of those whips in the Necromunda boxed set πŸ˜‰

I wasn’t quite sure at first whether or not the whip look would work, but I do think the Marine wears it rather well: The bigger scale makes the weapon look a bit more plausible, and the model’s dynamic stance definitely matches the weapon.

Apart from the weapon swap, I only really added a bit of additional gear to the model’s belt and swapped in a Deathwatch backpack and shoulder pad (replacing the stock shoulder pad did take a bit of careful sawing, though, as the pauldron and arm were one bit). I also really wanted to have one member of the squad wear an Mk. VII helmet, for that classic mid-to-late 90s Space Marine look, and I still had a vintage metal Deathwatch head in my bitzbox, so that seemed like the perfect option to go with.

Commissar Molotov also kindly offered to send over a custom Castigators shoulder pad, although I am pretty much committed to freehanding the chapter icon onto the right pauldron — how much harder than an actual lion head can it possibly be, right? Plus it would save me the hassle of having to saw through another Space Marine arm πŸ˜‰ I would really like Molotov to name this fellow, though!

That’s not all, though: Thanks to a supply drop from fellow hobbyist Augustus b’Raass, I received yet another Primaris Marine, which allowed me to start yet another Watch-Brother, a Lamenter this time around. It felt like my kill team still needed someone with a massive gun, so I decided that the role would fall to the Lamenter. After doing a bit of research on the matter, I bought the model for Rodricus Grytt (from Kill Team Cassius), because it would give me both the weapon, backpack and Deathwatch shoulder pad I needed in one go.

So the biggest part of the conversion was to make Rodricus’ arms fit the Primaris body — something that actually turned out to be surprisingly easy, with just a bit of tweaking:


I did have to carefully cut off the right upper arm from both the “donor” model and the Primaris Marine, though, in order to make it all work together — I only really had to do this because I wanted to be able to replace the stock Primaris shoulder pad, however.

Regarding the details, I chose some bitz with teardrop symbols to match the Lamenters’ inconography. As for the helmet, I have a funny story to go with that one: Having tried, half a dozen times, and unsuccessfully, no less, to sell Commissar Molotov on this particular helmet for his true scale Lamenters Watch-Brother, I realised that the only way I was going to ever see this helmet used in that capacity was to build my own Lamenter — so here we are πŸ˜‰

In order to add to the bulky look created by the helmet and massive weapon, I also added some additional armour plates to the model’s hip, although they are not all that visible in the above picture — trust me, though: They are there πŸ˜‰

As for the pose, I would have preferred something a little more grounded and stable, but I only had the one Primaris Marine to work with, so I did the best I could. Given his pose, the Marine obviously isn’t in the process of firing his weapon, but rather seems to be lugging it from point a to point b. So what do you guys think: Does he work better looking straight ahead like this:

Or looking off to the side, like this:



I also tried having him look towards the barrel of his gun, but the model ended up looking very unbalanced that way, plus it would also obscure a lot of the detail on the faceplate. Anyway, would love to hear your feedback on this!

In any case, many thanks to Augustus b’Raass, of course, for sending over the model for the conversion! Cheers, buddy! πŸ™‚

 

II. Golden Girl

Ever since the recent release of Age of Sigmar’s 2nd edition’s starter box and the accompanying models, everyone and their mother have been going crazy over the new Nighthaunt models (and some hobbyists, like the ever-inspirational Jeff Vader, are already having a field day with the, admittedly very nice, skeleton-ghost thingies).

However, nobody’s been talking about what must be the entire release’s single coolest model: The female Stormcast Eternal coming with the Easy To Build Easy To Build Stormcast Sequitors:

Seriously, I love this model! It’s almost perfect, really: The pose, the very cool face, the clean lines. I don’t care much for the weird mace head, but that’s Stormcast Eternal weapon design for you. Anyway, I knew right off the bat that I wanted to turn this lady into an Inquisitrix — my first Inquisitrix, actually, something I have wanted to do for a long time, ever since seeing PDH’s brilliant take on Naeve Blacktalon.

So here’s what I have so far:

 

Like I said, I really love this model, which is why I have decided to keep the conversion fairly subtle for now: I merely replaced that weird He-Man-style weapon with something a little more 40k (a thunder hammer from the plastic Mk. III Marines with an eagle head from the Imperial Knight Questor) added a holstered pistol at the hip and an Inquisitorial rosette and replaced the design on the shield with an Ordo Malleus-style heraldic device (quite a bit of work, that last one):

I am actually a bit reluctant to add too many more gubbins to her: Much of the model’s coolness comes from its very clean lines, mostly created by juxtaposition of the static pose and the flowing robes, and I don’t want to ruin that by overcluttering her. A bit of extra gear on her belt, maybe, but don’t expect me to go crazy on the grimdark bitz. In the end, I am pretty confident she’ll look perfectly at home in the middle of an Inquisitorial warband.

If there is one problem with the model, it’s that this girl is tall — almost freakishly so, and even moreso when using the elevated base the model actually came with — a veritable plinth, that one. She is just as tall as a Primaris Marine, and that’s not counting the base.

So the first thing I did was to drop the base and go with something a bit less vertical — the very cool readymade base that came with the Primaris Marine Augustus send me seems like an excellent standin for now. As for her actual height, I guess I’ll be able to get away with it because she’s an Inquisitrix: The Inquisition definitely has the kind of crazy tech at its disposal that could allow for all kinds of body augmentation. It would arguably be more of a problem if I wanted to turn her into, say, a Sister of Battle, for instance.

 

III. This is going to sting a little…

There’s also another addition to my Blood Bowl team, as my friend Annie gave me a very cool model for my birthday. This delightful little Kromlech goblin nurse, who will be the Orkheim Ultraz’ medic from now on:

Expect to see this little guy painted sooner rather than later! And a heartfelt thank you to Annie for – another – lovely contribution to my team! πŸ™‚

 

IV. In closing…

Before I wind up this post, I want to elaborate about one of the aforementioned distractions that have kept me from painting. Some long time readers may remember that I am a bit of a video game fiend, so it’s probably not too surprising to learn that one thing keeping me from painting at the moment is…a video game:

I have been slightly addicted to playing Hollow Knight for the last couple of days, and I only really bring this up because I am fairly confident that quite a few readers of this blog might enjoy the game just as much as I do: It’s a 2017 indie action adventure that has been receiving quite a bit of hype recently, after being released for the Nintendo Switch. I bought the PC version last weekend and have been unable to tear myself away from it ever since. For those of you a bit familiar with videogames, it’s as though Dark Souls had been reimagined as a sidescrolling Metroidvania…with bugs (the animals, mind you, not the technical gaffes). It’s highly addictive, incredibly atmospheric, and also very cute and very creepy at the same time. If that sounds like it might be your thing, check out the game here.

 

So yeah, that’s it for today! Let’s hope I’ll be able to get something finished again before long — I’ll definitely keep you guys posted! πŸ˜‰

Until then, please feel free to let me know what you think about these WIPs! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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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™‚

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

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

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

I. The Interrogator

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

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

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

=][=
Interrogator Klien Inson
Ordo Scriptorum


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

 




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

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

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


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

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

From left to right,

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

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

II. The Crone

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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






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


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

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

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

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




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




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




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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

I. Head count

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

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

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

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

II. New supply lines

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

III. Meanwhile, across the tabletop:

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

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

IV. To Arms!


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

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

 

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

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

The State of the Hunt, Week 51/2017: Gosh, is it that time of year already?

Posted in 30k, 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings, state of the hunt, Totally worth it, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 18, 2017 by krautscientist

Well would you believe it: Christmas has managed to sneak up on me again! With so much to do and so little time left this year, the one thing I definitely want to achieve is to publish another round of my annual Eternal Hunt Awards, and I am currently gathering material for that and preparing the posts — wish me luck πŸ˜‰

Until then, allow me to address some assorted news straight from my messy hobby lab:

 

I. More grimdark games…

I would like to start with an addendum to my recent post about grimdark video games, mostly because I forgot to include two particularly striking examples on my list

The first is an incredibly 40k-ish moment in a game that is otherwise just about the least grimdark game you could possibly imagine:

Final Fantasy IX is, for the uninitiated among you, a callback to the series’ earlier, more innocent days, with lots of cutesy characters, talking animals, super-deformed character design and an all around cuteness that has held up remarkably well over the years. However, the game also features the regency of Lindblum, an industrious and advanced city state that basically looks like a hive:


Lindblum is a multi level city scape that seems like the love child of Victorian era London and Fritz Lang’s Metropolis…appearing in a Disney film — but then that’s Japanese JRPG eclecticism for you πŸ˜‰

Seriously, though: Given Final Fantasy IX’s endearing overall design, it should be no surprise that we are dealing with a rather cutesy version of a hive here — no gang wars or underhive mutants to be found. There’s a pretty spiffy theatre district, though:

Back when the game was first released, Lindblum was one of the most stunning locales ever to be featured in a roleplaying game. And its design is still lovely many years later — with the added bonus of actually giving us a decent impression of what a bustling hive city might actually look like…minus the Moogles and talking animal people, that is:

The other addition to my list of grimdark games is a baffling oversight, in retrospect, because it has to be the mostΒ  incredibly 40k/INQ28 game ever to not bear the actual license:

A postapocalyptic adventure game, Dark Earth is set centuries after a big cataclysm has managed to wipe out modern civilisation. The dust and grime from the earth-shattering cataclysm have managed to permanently clog the atmosphere, casting the whole planet into darkness. The sole remains of civilisation cluster around so-called “Stallites”, city states construced around areas where light is still available by scientific or natural means. It probably won’t surprise you at this point that those stallites share more than a passing resemblance with 40k’s hive cities, even though they are slightly more medieval than your average 40k hive.


The society presented by the game is fascinating, though — and oh so INQ28 in style: With everything within the city geared towards maintaining the life-preserving light, society has adapted and stratified accordingly, with a solar priest class and a warrior caste – the Flame Guardians – at the top of society. Dark Earth puts you in the shoes of Arkhan, member of the Flame Guardians, who gets infected with a creeping corruption while fending off an attempt on the high pristess’ life. With his body slowly beginning to mutate and reshape into a creature of darkness, Arkhan embarks on a frantic quest to uncover a treacherous plot that might threaten the entire stallite before his time is up. Cast from his upper class surroundings, he must discover the seedier parts of the city — a veritable underhive full of malcontents, paupers and cultists.


Sounds like an Inquisitor campaign, doesn’t it? Indeed, the game’s scenario seems incredibly 40k in hindsight, if on a slightly more feudalistic level. There’s also a very distinctive look and feel to the game world: If you are into French graphic novels, you’ll find a lot to like here, as the game’s developer, Kalisto, is a French studio and certainly knows how to imbue their setting with the right style. The idea of Arkhan slowly transforming into a deformed monster also adds an intriguing, if slightly stressful, element to the game. All in all, I remember being quite taken with the game when I played it during the late 90s!

Dark Earth was originally planned as a series, and it’s readily obvious how much world building the folks at Kalisto did for the game and the planned sequels. Alas, it was not to be: A sequel for the Playstation 2 was cancelled without much fanfare. In an interesting twist of fate, however, it seems the world of Dark Earth did actually spawn a pretty successful (tabletop) roleplaying setting in its native France — and deservedly so, because the setting and general ideas behind Dark Earth were pretty fantastic!

Unfortunately, the game is not currently available on Steam or GoG (there’s a petition, though). You can – and should –Β  read up on the game in more detail over at Hardcoregaming101 (a highly recommended resource, by the way!), and there’s also a trailer giving you an impression of the overall style (and the badly aged CGI) here:

 

 

II. Digging in for Christmas

One of the best hobby moments of 2017 was when BubblesMcBub, whom I met during my visit to Amsterdam, sent me almost the entire Death Guard part of the Dark Imperium boxed set. In return, I promised him a couple of conversions, and I have been terribly neglectful about honouring that particular promise, due to a combination of laziness and RL reasons.

It goes without saying, however, that I remain committed to honouring our agreement, so the first model I have built for Bubbles shall make its way to the Netherlands, along with some odds and ends, later this week — and hopefully even in time for Christmas. But what kind of model are we talking about?

For starters, Bubbles wanted an officer for his Iron Warriors, and he told me he would like to see a Khornate Iron warrior to boot. No sweat, right? The one complication was that Bubbles’ Iron Warriors have a much cleaner, 30k-inspired look than the very baroque CSM I usually build, so I tried to dial back my usual style a bit.

So my task was to…

  • come up with a suitably imposing officer/champion
  • incorporating some classically Khornate attributes
  • at the same time, I still wanted him to clearly read as an Iron Warrior, so he needed to look suitably no-nonsense and slightly techy as well.
  • keeping the model clean enough to work with the rest of Bubbles’ army.

So without much further ado, here’s the model I built:





Personally speaking, I think I’ve hit a pretty good middle ground between “obviously Khornate” and “still fairly professionally Iron Warrior-sy”. And more importantly, BubblesMcBub seems to be happy with the model as well, which is what matters! So hang in there for a few days longer, mate! I’ll be swinging by the post office ASAP πŸ˜‰

 

III. What else is new?

In other news, I am also gearing up for some long-overdue hobby time over the holidays: I’ve picked up the wonderful new Necromunda boxed set and am currently salivating over those lovely gang sprues. Nothing has been built yet — although some Goliath bitz have already made their way into my 30k World Eaters collection. Anyway, expect to hear from my firsthand experiments with the new sprues soon-ish.

And even though my painting output hasn’t been all that incredible this year – at least where mere numbers are concerned – I think I might have one more model in me for 2017. This guy:



I am still rather happy with the conversion, and the model should also make for an excellent capstone for 2017 — seeing how the very first model I painted this year was another converted plastic Contemptor, Vaako the Immortal, a model I am still enormously proud of:

So yeah, let’s hope this all works out! If all goes according to plan, the first post of this year’s Eternal Hunt Awards should go live later this week — keep your fingers crossed for me πŸ˜‰ And I’ll make sure to put in some painting, in between all the sleeping and the eating. What about you guys, though? Any last minute chores or hobby commitments? As always, I’d be happy to hear from you in the comments!

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

The State of the Hunt, Week 43/2017: I Aten’t Dead

Posted in 40k, Blood Bowl, Conversions, Orcs & Goblins, Pointless ramblings, state of the hunt, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2017 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, it’s been quite a while since my last update, for which I apologise. There’s been a lot of RL related business keeping me occupied, plus I have also been in a bit of a hobby slump for quite a while now, unfortunately. Oh, and did I mention I’ve also managed to catch the mother of all colds yet? Because that happened as well, during my annual seaside vacation a fortnight ago:


As always, sitting by the seaside and relaxing was rather lovely, indeed. Unfortunately, though, it also happened to be pretty rainy and cold this year, so the minor cold I had already brought along to my vacation flared up again with a vengeance, turning my head into something that felt very much like a Nurglite blight grenade — very fitting, considering I had brought the recent copy of WD with me to take a closer look at the new Death Guard models (full review forthcoming). And I am still dealing with the fallout of that, as the Grandfather keeps lavishing his gifts on me…

Anyway, for these reasons, I haven’t been doing all that much hobby related stuff recently. However, I did want to post an update to demonstrate the blog is still going, and I also actually do have something new to show you, even if it’s nothing earth-shattering. So what is this about?

 

My friend Annie hasn’t given up on wanting to teach me how to play Blood Bowl quite yet, so she recently made another attempt at slowly walking me through the rules of the game — this time, with the help of the Blood Bowl II videogame on PS4, which actually helped on several levels: One, I am a huge videogame fiend, so wrapping something in a digital game will usually make it easier to get me interested. Two, it was good to be eased into the game via a slowly building tutorial campaign: It’s a format I am fairly familiar and comfortable with, and it happens to parse out the information slowly enough for my mangled World Eaters mind to hold on to πŸ˜‰

I’m not going to lie to you, though: It was still slow going. But I do feel like I actually have a far better grasp of the game’s interlocking mechanisms and systems now and can actually make some simple, albeit tactically sound, decisions. Go me, right? πŸ˜‰

Playing the game was also pretty great for yet another reason, though: It was really cool to see it all in motion and to get an actual idea of what a game of Blood Bowl would actually look like in-universe. There’s a great sense of physicality (and brutality) to the animations, and seeing it all play out like that really gave me an appetite to go and build some more Blood Bowl models…

Now of course the obvious way would have been to just go and get some of the new, shiny Blood Bowl models, but then I am really fond of my already existing team, the Orkheim Ultraz, mostly kitbashed from leftovers before a re-released Blood Bowl boxed set was even a thing:


I also think those guys are a nice enough match for the look of the Ork Teams in the Blood Bowl videogames, to be honest.


So I went back to them in an effort to add some more team members to the Ultraz and sticking to using what was already in my bitzbox instead of rushing out to buy yet more plastic crack. So here’s what I came up with:

First up, the appearance of the goblin referee kinda inspired me to come up with a goblin model of my own. I mean just look at this delightfully evil looking little guy:


So I dug through my bitzbox to find some spare goblin bitz I could use to build a gobbo to accompany my two Night Goblin players:


Here’s my WIP attempt:



The old multipart goblin plastic kits are among GW’s earliest multipart regiment kits from the late 90s, but they still work like a charm for building Blood Bowl models. Plus some of that armour really looks like old timey football and rugby gear, which is a great coincidence! I would love to build another goblin like this, but alas, I find myself lacking a single torso piece to make it happen. Oh well…

 

I also built another thrower for my team. Now my first thrower was already assembled in a suitably heroic (and archetypal) pose:


So I knew I needes something slightly different this time around. So the new guy is actually throwing a squig now…


…because, let’s face it, sometimes an orc jus’ gots to throw one o’ them squigs πŸ˜‰


The thrower itself was mainly made from leftover WFB and 40k orc boy parts, with most of the conversion work focused on splicing together a suitable arm and hand to hold the squig. The squig itself is a part of a goblin character from the old “Battle for Skull Pass” WFB starter set.

All in all, I am pretty happy with this WIP: The thrower is similar enough to his buddy to make both of the read as members of the same character class, while they are also different enough to read as characters.

 

And last but not least, I also wanted some additional heavy hitters: One of the only things I actually bought for my Blood Bowl team was a box of Black Orcs, so I wanted to make some more Black Orc blockers as well. The first two I built and painted are pretty cool, if I do say so myself, but they are also looking a bit cookie-cutter: They are basically standard Black Orcs with their weapons snipped off:


One thing that struck me when playing Blood Bowl II, however, was how massive and slab-like Black Orcs seem in the game: You really get the impression from watching them that there’s not much they couldn’t happily slap around all day:


So for my next two blockers, I wanted to add some variety (in order to suitably differentiate them from the already existing models) and also make them look dead ‘ard. So I went for a mix of suitably interesting bitz and spliced in some ogre fists and additional armour plates here and there. Take a look:


The first guy’s pose is basically identical to one of the finished model’s, but I think the added bulk and spiky fist make him look just different enough to be interesting. I also used an Ork Nob head (and steel jaw) for that extra bit of character.

The second Black Orc I built turned into an even more involved conversion, as I really wanted his pose to go beyond what the two basic body layouts for Black Orcs can do. It ended with some serious tweaking to his right arm — and with replacing his legs with those of an 40k Ork Nob:


I am really happy with this guy, to be honest: He’s rather massive and very close to that implacable look and feel I loved about the Black Orcs in the videogame.


So yeah, here are the new additions to the Orkheim Ultraz’ team roster:


Painting these guys should be enjoyable enough — I think I’ll be saving them for Annie’s and my next joint hobby session πŸ˜‰

 

So there, nothing too spectacular for now, but I’m still at work. And it goes without saying that I would love to hear any feedback you might have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

The State of the Hunt, Week 37/2017: Finally, paint!

Posted in 40k, Chaos, paintjob, state of the hunt, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 11, 2017 by krautscientist

Oh boy, I finally have something painted to share with you! Now, in all fairness, the model featuring in today’s update was actually painted a while back, andΒ  I merely took my sweet time to finally put the finishing touches to it, but it’s a project that is very close to my heart, indeed. So what is this about?

Juan Diaz’ model for Be’lakor, the Dark Master, is basically one of GW’s definitive Daemon Prince models (the other one would be the classic Chaos Space Marine Daemon Prince — also sculpted by Juan Diaz, as it happens). The more recent plastic version closely mirrors many design cues of those classic models, but for all its options, it really doesn’t come close to capturing what made them so cool. Be’lakor, in particular, is a model I have always wanted in my collection, but it somehow never quite happened.


Interestingly enough, it turned out my friend Annie had an old metal Be’lakor, originally bought to be used as a coach for her chaos Blood Bowl team, in her cupboard of shame — and when I learned of that fact, a couple of years ago, my quest to get my hands on that model began: I repeatedly tried to sweet-talk her into letting me have it, mostly because I liked the idea of owning a metal version of the model. Now most of the kinks of Finecast seem to be have been (literally, in some cases) straightened out, but I still preferred the more reliable, for lack of a better word, properties of metal.

But Annie wouldn’t be convinced, so I ultimately abandoned my devious scheme — I did still mention being interested in that model every so often, though…

Still, it was a very sweet surprise when Annie gave me her Be’lakor for my birthday back in June: I was really happy to finally have gotten my hands on the model, and I made her a promise to honour the gift by giving the model a cool paintjob.

Before I could do that, there were some very minor repairs to take care of, however: Annie had cut off the model’s sword, due to her plan of using it as a Blood Bowl coach, so that area needed some cleanup. Ultimately, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because it allowed me to replace Be’lakor’s somewhat Slaaneshi looking sword with the Hellblade from a herald of Khorne. While I was at it, I added some more, pretty subtle, Khornate touches, because I really wanted to turn the model into a servant of the War God, for obvious reasons. I had to take care not to mess with the model’s silhouette and purity of design to much, however, so I kept it fairly low key.

And then it was already time for painting, and what better venue to start this endeavour than one of Annie’s and my regular hobby sessions?

I knew that Be’lakor would look absolutely terrific in red, so I started by applying the same red skin recipe that had already served me really well on my Daemon-Primarch version of Angron and some other daemon models. Here’s the model after the first step of the recipe, a healthy drybrush with Mephiston Red:

Since most of the model’s surface is bare skin, it didn’t take long at all to get it mostly finished. Here’s Be’lakor just a short while later:


With most of the hard work out of the way, I was free to lavish some extra care on areas that I wanted to have some pop, such as the sword (painted in my usual, turquoise daemon weapon paintjob), the face or the chaos star on the model’s chest, highlighted to look almost like molten metal:


Most of this happened over the space of one evening, while Annie was sitting opposite me, cleaning about a dozen metal Slann models for yet another Blood Bowl team. Only some minor touches remained for the next day.

However, a bit of a setback happened when I knocked the almost finished model off my desk, thereby shattering it into almost all of its different parts. For a moment there, I was frustrated enough to just toss it all into a box and never look at the mess again, but that wouldn’t have been exactly fair to Annie, would it? So I grit my teeth and put it all back together.

In the end, repairing the damage turned out to be mercifully easy. So all that remained was to build a base for Be’lakor.

I ended up following an approach by my buddy Augustus b’Raass, building up a small mound for Be’lakor to stand on with Milliput, pressing some small stones into the putty when it was still soft. Then the whole thing was covered in a generous layer of Vallejo’s Sandy Earth Paste (I cannot recommend that stuff enough, by the way!), and then I selectively added some patches of my usual basing mix of tiny pieces of slate, cork chaff and modeling sand. So here’s what the base looked like before painting:


Of course the really important thing was to make sure again and again that the model would sit flush atop the base, so I checked and double-checked that by carefully putting Be’lakor on there in between all the different detailing steps:


As you can see, I decided to give Be’lakor a relatively big base, in spite of the model’s relatively small size. I made this choice both for gaming reasons (at least in theory…) and because I thought a larger base would make for a better canvas for the excellent sculpt, giving it the space it needed.

So I quickly painted the base last weekend, and so I finally ended up with a finished model. Take a look:






I am pretty happy with the outcome: Not only does the model look really cool in red, if you ask me, but Be’lakor also definitely works as a Khornate Daemon Prince: He basically looks like a massive modern Bloodletter anyway:


So while I can now use him as Be’lakor, I feel tempted to give him a new name and backstory: In fact, I have this half-formed concept in the back of my head about a daemonic legion created both to support and haunt the World Eaters’ 4th assault company: As I’ve said many times, Lorimar and his followers remain wary of the daemonic, as they fear giving in to the blessings of the pantheon too much will turn them into the same raving madmen as the rest of their legion. But what if Khorne keeps wanting to tempt – and punish – them and has created a daemonic legion for that exact purpose: One daemon born for every broken promise and forsaken oath, a constant reminder of the company’s inevitable doom…? Wouldn’t you agree that my new “Khornate Be’lakor” would be the perfect leader for such a Brazen Legion?

In any case, he fits in well enough with the small daemonic posse I already have…


But that’s a story for another day. For now, I am just really happy to finally have this guy in my collection — and very thankful to Annie for putting him there! So please let me know what you think in the comments! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!