Archive for the Traitor Guard Category

The 2016 Eternal Hunt Awards, pt. 2: The Industry

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings, Traitor Guard, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 21, 2017 by krautscientist

Awards

Okay everyone, forgive me for dropping off the radar for a bit there, but work has been pretty crazy for the last couple of weeks, and my free time has mostly been dedicated to the wonderful world of digital entertainment for quite a while (as an aside, if you like this blog, you should probably check out Dishonored 2 and Last Guardian, if you haven’t already).

Anyway, if you’ll indulge me, I would still like to get the Eternal Hunt Awards gig done and dusted before properly starting into a new hobby year — and it’ not as though I already have a whole lot of new stuff to show, either, so it’s finally time to continue this year’s…erm or rather: last year’s Eternal Hunt Awards.

For today’s installment, let’s take a look at the stuff GW released in 2016: I am going to outline the best and worst parts of the 2016 catalogue of releases. What were the highest and lowest points? And what else was cool …or curiously missing from the releases? Read on to find out!

 

I. Best releases

After a pretty strong 2015, 2016 was yet another spectacular year when it comes to GW’s releases — and if there’s one thing that was extremely surprising to me, it’s how many of GW’s 2017 releases seemed to bring to life stuff many hobbyists, myself included, have been dreaming of for years (often to the amusement of others, who dubbed things like updated Genestealer Cults or models for Daemon-Primarchs completely unlikely). So there πŸ˜‰

This, along with a massive change in GW’s outward communication, might just be a hint at something bigger, a bit of a policy change, if you will. And whether or not you agree with all of the stuff GW has been doing over the last twelve months, I think we can all agree that it’s been a rather fascinating ride πŸ˜‰

But even in a spectacular year, there were some things that stood out, so allow me to share my favourite 2016 kits and models:

 

1. The Burning of Prospero

burning-of-prospero-release-1Betrayal at Calth (the game, not the unfortunate event) was one of the great unexpected surprises of 2015, and another HH era boxed set in 2016 serves as clear proof that plastic Horus Heresy is very much a thing now!

And what a boxed set it is: The Burning of Prospero contains a somewhat more eclectic collection of models than Betrayal at Calth, but it arguably refines some of the latter’s contents: Regarding the vanilla angle, we got pretty excellent plastic Mk. III Tactical Marines, making my favourite Heresy era armour mark available in a material I am much more comfortable with. Excellent!

burning-of-prospero-release-11
The real surprise, however, was the inclusion of a squad of plastic Custodian Guard and plastic Sisters of Silence, respectively — for those models to have been revealed would certainly have made enough of a splash, but for them to be included in a boxed set, and in plastic, no less —Β  frankly, my mind was blown!

burning-of-prospero-release-13
It helps that the models are mostly excellent, of course.

If you want to start a plastic Horus Heresy army, you’ll probably find Betrayal at Calth a bit more flexible and useful than The Burning of Prospero. But Prospero is like a slightly strange distant cousin: A bit less dependable, certainly, yet also rather eclectic and eccentric — and all the more fascinating for it!

See my detailed review of the boxed set here.

 

2. Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower

Silver Tower Release (1)

I have gone on record saying that, while I don’t actively dislike the Age of Sigmar setting, I still have a hard time getting a feeling for the new world and its idiosyncrasies. Much of this might have something to do with trying to see WFB in Age of Sigmar, which is probably the wrong approach altogether, as the new setting strieves to be very much its own thing.

So it was a good thing when yet another excellent boxed set tried to present a different, more intimate, look at the world of Age of Sigmar, and I have to say that Silver Tower pushed all of my HeroQuest nostalgia buttons:

The idea to create this as a self-contained boardgame in the vein of the classic HeroQuest was a brilliant approach, because it makes you care about little snippets of the world before trying to make you care about the entire (still rather vaguely defined) setting. We also get a look at the different “good” factions (The Golden Dudes (TM), Duardim, Aelf and what have you), and presenting them condensed into a single hero character each works great to give us an idea of the respective faction’s identity. To wit, the Stormcast Eternal hero included in the set is probably one of the best Sigmarine models so far:

Silver Tower Release (15)He also defines the look and feel of the faction more concisely than the entire slew of golden dudes we have been getting.

And, once again, I am getting such a HeroQuest vibe from the Sigmarite Priest and Darkoath Chieftain:

Silver Tower Release (22)

Silver Tower Release (25)
The bad guys are no slouches either, with an excellent new version of the Gaunt Summoner and a warlock ogre — or should that be ogre warlock? Anyway, characters like the Ogroid Thaumaturge are the kind of thing that differentiates the new setting from the old, and it’s great to finally get to know them!

Silver Tower Release (3)Possibly the biggest achievement of Silver Tower is how it makes me like the Tzeentchian aesthetic – something that’s usually not exactly my cup of tea – by simply applying it to fantastic models, such as the aforementioned sorcerers, the Kairic Acolytes or the simply stunning Tzaangors — and the latter are even a shout out to the golden Oldhammer days!

Silver Tower Release (10)You know what? In a perfect world GW would have used a self-contained boardgame like Silver Tower to introduce us to the setting in the first place! A tighter, more focused experience might have made us care far more about the new setting. There are many reasons why such an approach would probably have been madness (they needed to replace a wargame, after all). But the fact still stands: I find myself caring more about Silver Tower than about almost the entire Age of Sigmar catalogue so far (Khornate models notwithstanding, for obvious reasons).

Plus you get a model of a fish on legs. That is all.

Silver Tower Release (14)Anyway, the boxed set stands as a rather charming introduction to the setting, and like I said, it manages to pull at my HeroQuest heartstrings, plus the models are pretty amazing as well. Which makes Silver Tower one of my favourite releases of 2016. ‘Nuff said.

 

3. Genestealer Cults

genestealer-cults-release-19

Genestealer Cults are easily one of my favourite parts of the 40k setting — and arguably the one thing that not only makes Tyranids interesting, but also removes them a bit from their very obvious main inspiration. And over the years, I’ve gone back time and time again to that one page from the 2nd edition rulebook showing some genestealer hybrids, wondering why GW had left this fascinating little part of the lore fall by the wayside. At the same time, it seemed very unlikely that we would ever see a new version of the Genestealer Cults.

And yet here we are, with the Genestealer Cults now an official sub-faction of their own — and with some seriously brilliant models, no less! Everything started with yet another fantastic boxed set – Deathwatch: Overkill – and the absolutely brilliant new hybrid models contained within it.

Deathwatch Overkill release (31)

So GW actually revisited one of the favourite retro-factions of my youth, but they also managed to bring it into the modern age with some cutting edge kits: The hybrids stand tall, with both the excellent snap fit models from the boxed set and with a dedicated multipart plastic kit of their own, providing us with a tool to not only build an excellent Genestealer Cult, but to also use the new parts in all kinds of INQ28 and Necromunda-related shenanigans:

genestealer-cults-release-21There’s just so much about those models that hints at the more “civilian”, for lack of a better word, side of 40k, the side we keep seeing in Dan Abnett’s Inquisitor novels: These guys are creepy Xenos soldiers, yes, but they are wearing miner’s garb and wielding repurposed tools and rather pedestrian weapons, making for a wonderfully workmanlike, low-level look that provides something visually new and appealing (and, again, also makes for exquisite INQ28 kitbashing).

genestealer-cults-release-23
There are also some rather beautifully subtle touches about the whole design: Call me crazy, but the ribbed structure of the miner’s armour reminds me not only of the actual Xenomorph in Alien, but also of the industrial design defining the look and feel of Ridley Scott’s classic series.

And we even get a more civilian 40k vehicle in the Goliath Truck/Rock Grinder, a wonderfully utilitarian looking workhorse that should be right up your alley, whether you’re trying to provide a sweet ride for your cult or searching for a vehicle for your pitslave gang:

genestealer-cults-release-28
With the Genestealer Cults, GW has revisited one of the most interesting ideas from the vintage 40k lore and brought it into the 21st century with a bang — what a wonderful surprise!

My first observations about the cool hybrid models that were released as part of the Deathwatch:Overkill set can be found here.

 

4. Thousand Sons

thousand-sons-release-18

The new Thousand Sons, arriving at the tail end of 2016, were great for a number of reasons: For me as a chaos player, seeing these guys being given a proper modern age plastic treatment was really a bit of a dream come true — and it’s all even better if you consider the new Thousand Sons as a possible precedent for what could be a full new set of cult legion models! I am definitely keeping my fingers crossed on this account.

But even beyond the forces dedicated to a single chaos god, the new Thousand Sons also serve as a bit of a template for a new, modernised CSM design, showing us some tweaked proportions and definitely a much improved level of detail — nowhere is that more obvious than when looking at the new Rubric Marines:

thousand-sons-release-19

And frankly, that would already have been enough to turn the Thousand Sons into one of my favourite 2016 released, but there were two more bombshells buried within this particular release.

One, a redesigned Ahriman:

thousand-sons-release-8

Out of all the four or so classic, archetypal characters GW decided to revisit in 2016, Ahriman is arguably the best by far: He keeps pretty much everything that was awesome about the original model and adds an amount of three-dimensionality and dynamism that are hallmarks of GW’s modern plastic design. He’s also actually closer to Jes Goodwin’s original design sketch than the vintage model, and that is certainly saying something! While the original Ahriman is still a classic, the new version is a worthy successor. Well played, GW!

And of course, there’s the pink elephant in the room: Magnus the Red, the first (discounting those rather embarrassing Epic 40k versions) Daemon-Primarch model released by GW:

thousand-sons-release-3

And while the model itself is certainly nice enough, I cannot help actually feeling more excited by what Magnus actually represents: That GW is now willing to explore Daemon-Primarchs in model form. Now this might yet all go horribly wrong, with ulta-cheesy fluff and a WFB End Times-level brouhaha for the entire setting. But right here and now, having a plastic model of a Daemon-Primarch that so excellently draws from all the depictions of the character in the classic artwork certainly feels like a rather exciting moment!

I know that chaos players carry a – not entirely undeserved – reputation for constantly bitching about getting the short end of the stick. But at the same time, it’s also true that GW has fumbled the ball more than once when adding to the Chaos Space Marine faction. But the new Thousand Sons show that GW still knows how do to chaos right, and just imagining that we could be getting more of this at some point in the future gives me goosebumps — just imagine the possibilities…

You can find my thoughts on the entire release here.

 

 

5. Canoness Veryidian

veryidian

This last item on the list is particularly close to my heart, as the Canoness Veryidian model was an even bigger surprise to me than Daemon-Primarch Magnus!

You see, if somebody asked me what 40k was all about, I would point them to two particular pieces of artwork by the venerable John Blance. And one of those two pieces of art would be this, invariably:

Adepta_Sororitas_by_John_Blanche

It’s really all there: 40k’s particular blend of religious iconography, grimdark dystopian sci-fi and medieval madness. The glitzy, 80s fantasy style warrior woman with the crazy hairdo. And the influences from classic painters like Bosch, Breughel, Rembrandt et. al. It’s 40k in a perfectly formed nutshell.

And to get an almost picture perfect model representing that character, courtesy of Martin Footit, was a very particular delight, and one I wouldn’t have expected in a million years.

A sizeable chunk of my Christmas holiday was spent trying to get my hands on one of the elusive Canoness Veryidian models, and when I finally succeeded, it felt like a true triumph indeed! What a wonderful surprise! I hope I’ll be able to do the model justice with my paintjob!

 

6. Honorary mention: Seeing Artemis again…

For the sake of the comparison, both models are displayed at the same size, when they are really anything but...

Featured in a boxed set that was somewhat more pedestrian than some of the more spectacular sets released this year, but even so: Seeing Artemis released in a 28mm version was definitely a nice surprise!

 

II. Worst releases/biggest disappointment

The quality of GW’s 2016 output was pretty astounding, overall, but there were some kits that somehow fell short of the mark. Don’t ge me wrong, none of the following models were completely terrible. But in the light of so many great releases, some designs were a bit of a letdown for me, and they arguably feel all the more disappointing for all the brilliant stuff released by GW last year — so here’s what I didn’t like:

1. Wulfen

plastic-wulfen-1
Out of all the new kits released in 2016, there is really only one kit that came dangerously close to actually qualify as “bad” in my personal opinion — the new plastic Wulfen models.

Now to cut GW’s designers some slack, designing Space Marine werevolves that actually look cool and suitably believable cannot be a simple task. And to be fair, the kit definitely looks like they gave it their all, trying to incorporate as many cool touches as possible.

But in the end, it all just collapses in on itself, because the groundwork was never sound to begin with. Much of this has something to do with the Wulfen anatomy: Now the original Wulfen models certainly had their own share of problems, but one thing the classic models did really well was to convey a sense of chaotic devolution, their armour being cracked and broken away in different places by the terrible changes in their physiology:

classic-wulfen-models

At the same time, they certainly didn’t take any big chances with the overall anatomy, basically keeping a standard human setup.

By comparison, the new Wulfen look far animalistic, but also like a strangely stable – if hairy – genotype, with every model sharing the same general build. But shouldn’t the transformation into a Wulfen be somewhat more haphazard and unstable? In fact, the longer I think about it, the more this drives me up the wall: They are even wearing contoured armour that seems to have been carefully adapted to their new build. Who in the world is making that stuff for the heavily muated Wulfen, along with the backpack-mounted pistols and custom wargear? Another Wulfen? A Wulfen scientist, if you will? Or are they fortunate enough to have kept a few sane fellows around?

Instead of looking like feral, yet tragic, creatures tortured by the changes wrought upon their bodies by unstable genetics, the new Wulfen look more like a World of Warcraft character class. And there’s also the fact that the faces remind me of the Wolf Man, for the most part:

the-wolf-man

And let’s not even get in the squad leader’s awkward, overdesigned jumping pose…

What we end up with is a collection of pretty amazing conversion parts — but the completed models somehow become less than the sum of their parts. And what really amazes me that I have yet to see the new Wulfen assembled or painted in a way that makes them work. So even while the designers probably had their cards stacked against them from the beginning – SciFi werewolves seems like just about the most thankless imaginable archetype – I am sad to say that the Wulfen are my personal GW low point from last year.

2. GW basing sets

40k-basing-set-2

The idea itself was brilliant: GW putting out some bases and bitz-based basing sets on their own is long overdue. So I was really happy when the new bases for 40k were announced.

I picked up the Sector Imperialis Large Base Kit, because it seemed like the most immediately useful addition to my bitzbox, and I was really looking forward to having some dedicated basing bitz at my disposal.

The problem was that the quality of the cast was absolutely abysmal, with very soft detail and a general clunkiness to the cast that would have been slightly embarrassing in the mid-90s, but simply seems baffling from a modern standpoint. Here’s a company that can put out the most delicate plastic models imaginable to man, and the cast of their basing kits seems more appropriate for a cheap aftermarket knock-off?

I’ve heard rumours that the first batch of those basing kits was produced in China — but seriously, that excuse doesn’t cut it for me: They were still on sale at a GW store, for the same premium price as the rest of their kits.

To make a long story short, will I be able to still put those bitz to good use? You bet. But seeing a kit I had really been looking forward to deliver such a poor experience was still one of the low points of my hobby year.

3. Ulrik the Slayer…Unmasked!

ulrik-the-slayer
In his original incarnation, Ulrik was a rather iconic model, sinister and somewhat mysterious with his wolf skull helmet. Now, more than two decades later, he has finally decided to show us his face, and wouldn’t you know it: He looks just like generic bearded Space Wolf guy no. 101′ — what a letdown!

Now I couldn’t even tell you what it was I expected — maybe the helmet should just have stayed on, is all I am saying. It’s even more of a shame when the rest of the model is really pretty awesome!

4. New Eldrad Ulthran

Eldrad comparison

GW released new plastic versions of several of the most iconic 40k characters last year, and in my opinion, Eldrad was the one to get the short end of the stick. Now the new versions definitely isn’t a terrible model — far from it. But where, say, the aforementioned new Ahriman basically takes all that was great about the original model and tweaks the formula to perfection, the new Eldrad loses (or, at the very least, seriously waters down) the iconic composition that made the original such a classic. Face it guys: This isn’t Elrad. It’s just some warlock guy trying his darnedest to seem as cool as the big man πŸ˜‰

III. Still on the fence about…

  • Losing Warhammer: Visions: Now don’t get me wrong: I really rather like the new monthly White Dwarf format. In fact, the weekly White Dwarf was a travesty: far too expensive and far too thin on content. And the new mag, at least judging by the first couple of issues, seems to be a return for form in som many ways. Can I be perfectly honest with you, though: I was one of the few people to actually like Warhammer: Visions. I loved looking at pages after pages of glorious armies and models, especially if those were the creations of fellow hobbyisty and featured many personal touches and conversions. Now the new White Dwarf might be a great overall hobby magazine yet again, but the army features, for instance, just cannot compare to the ones in Warhammer: Visions.
    I realise that most people saw visions as a redundant coffee table book, but I find myself kinda missing the format. Is that weird…?
  • No plastic Sisters yet agai….WAIT! Whoa, does this mean we might be getting new Sisters of Battle? In plastic? Oh, pretty please…? Seriously, though: It’s. About. Damn. Time!

 

IV. Also pretty cool

  • New plastic Blood Bowl: I really love how GW has given the classic game more than just a new coat of paint, and if this is any precedent for the new Specialist Games, I am really optimistic about the future!
  • The new attitude: I also really love GW’s new approach to communicating with their cuctomers and with hobbyist: That they are back to actively using social media. That they are actually acting proactively in the whole rumours business instead of merely reacting to all those leaked materials online. That they are posting supremely helpful (looking at you again Duncan Rhodes) as well as genuinely funny video material. Now all of this seems like common sense, really, but let’s not forget that some of us hobbyists can be a fanbase that not even a mother could love. Anyway, good work, guys and girls! Do carry on! πŸ™‚

 

All in all, it’s been a teriffic year for GW, and I am certainly looking forward to the next batch of releases? So much for 2016, then, at least where the industry is concerned. Next up is the third and final installment of the 2016 Eternal Hunt Awards, taking a look at my favourite models from fellow hobbyists all over the blogosphere — arriving soon, hopefully, here on the blog.

Until then, feel free to let me know your feedback: Do you agree (or disagree) with my assessment of last year’s releases? What were your favourite parts, and which models did you hate? Did I forget anything important? I am looking forward to your comments!

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

The 2016 Eternal Hunt Awards, pt. 1: A look back at my hobby year

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings, Traitor Guard, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 23, 2016 by krautscientist

Awards

Yes, it’s that time of year again: Welcome everyone to the 2016 Eternal Hunts Awards, where I take a look at this past hobby year and talk about the best releases, the most inspiring work from fellow hobbyists and about my own hobby year — in fact, just to shake things up a bit – and also because this will be the least complicated part of this year’s series – let’s start with a little retrospective of my hobby work. So here are my favourite personal achievements and hobby moments from the last twelve months:

 

I. My hobby projects

I think we can all agree that 2016 has been a spectacularly awful year in many, many ways. At the same time, it has also been a really successful year for me in hobby terms — go figure! Maybe one reason for this is that focusing on hobby related activities was one of the things that helped me stay sane during a time of great personal upheaval and insecurity: Escapism isn’t always a good thing, but being able to focus on something different for a couple of hours every now and then will do wonders for your peace of mind! And I find that, due to the handicraft angle of the hobby, converting and painting little plastic men feels decidedly less frivolous than, say, playing videogames for hours on end πŸ˜‰

So anyway, in spite of everything, I managed to come up with some new models that I am really rather happy with. And with some thirty completed models compared to 2015’s 25, I even managed to outdo myself!

class-of-2016-2

So, in keeping with well-established tradition, allow me to walk you through my 2016 completions and highlight some of the models and projects I am especially happy with:

 

1. Khorne’s Eternal Hunt

2016 was another strong year for my longest-running army project, so let’s focus on my World Eaters for a moment. Here’s what Khorne’s Eternal Hunt looked like in late 2015:

army shot 01 big colour

And here’s an updated army picture from the summer of 2016:

Khorne's Eternal Hunt 2016 (2) big
And while this may not look like a huge evolution – with the notable exception of the towering Chaos Knight loitering around in the back row – I wasn’t nearly done with painting Khornate models at that point.

But even back then, the army already looked rathe impressive, if I do say so myself, and there are many parts of this project I am still rather happy with. Especially the various characters I have completed for my World Eaters:

Masters of the Hunt 2016 (2)
Even so, the latter half of the year saw some sizeable additions to the army, though, and the main reason for this was the existence of the superbly-run and highly motivational community events over at The Bolter & Chainsword: Both the E Tenebrae Lux V and the Call of Chaos IX really managed to light a fire under me, prompting me to complete two hefty vows.

Here are the models I pledged during this year’s ETL:

ETL V All Vows (2)

And here’s the – slightly less impressive – vow I completed earlier this month during the Call of Chaos:

finished-call-2016-11
It helps that the community over at the B&C is wonderfully lively and constructive, and without the support and feedback from fellow hobbyists over there, I doubt I would have completed as many models.

Just to single out some of my favourite parts from those events, I did manage to finish the last missing model for my squad of traitorous Tempestus Scions which is now one of my favourite squads from my collection:

Traitor Elite full squad (4)
I also included an Iron Warriors Apothecary I had converted last year in one of my vows:

apothecary-phastos-of-the-iron-warriors-5
And this guy then provided the perfect occasion to get back to my small Iron Warriors killteam, a side project that I am hopefully going to devote even more time to in the new year:

iron-warriors-killteam-wip-5
Since this year’s Call of Chaos event was Tzeentch-themed, I also created a model to represent Iskandar Khayon from Aaaron Dembski-Bowden’s wonderful novel “The Talon of Horus”:

iskandar-khayon-3
So I now have two of the novel’s main characters in model form:

iskandar-khayon-and-lheorvine-ukris
And next year’s Call is going to be Slaanesh-themed — sounds like a perfect excuse to build Telemachon Lyras and complete the set πŸ˜‰

And finally, despite having been a faithful follower of chaos for almost almost two decades at this point, this year saw me complete my very first daemon models — in a series of escalating steps that would lead to completing one of the new plastic Bloodthirsters…

Bloodthirster Ghor'Lash'Kharganath (4)
…and then moving on to what is possibly my finest work to date:

 

2. The Lord of the XII Legion

It was clear to me that 2015’s Gilgamesh would be a tough act to follow. But when I found myself in possession of an extra Bloodthirster kit earlier this year,Β  an idea began to form in the back of my head. An idea that would eventually lead to the creation of my very own version of Angron in his form as a Daemon-Primarch:

Daemon-Primarch Angron (16)
Daemon-Primarch Angron (31)
Daemon-Primarch Angron (21)
Daemon-Primarch Angron (15)
And I am just incredibly proud of this model: From a technical standpoint, it’s very probably my best paintjob to date, and it’s also very close to how I imagine the XII Primarch in his daemonic form. Now that Daemon-Primarchs are actually a thing in 40k, I have no doubt that an eventual “official” version of Angron will surpass and invalidate my interpretation — but I cannot help it, I am still incredibly pleased with the big guy!

Read more about the model’s inception here.

Daemon-Primarch Angron (23)
The Red Angel
Speaking of Angron, I built another version of him, to represent him during his days as a gladiator on Nuceria, and it’s another model I am really happy with:

angron-thalkr-lord-of-the-red-sands-11

Let me also mention that I couldn’t really have created either version of Angron without drawing some massive inspiration from the work of fellow hobbyists, chief among them Reg with his dozen or so of incredible Angron conversions πŸ˜‰

So all in all, those models make for quite a nice collection of vicious, daemonic killers. Here’s the Khornate part of my 2016 output:

class-of-2016-world-eaters
A fair few of these models are daemons, so the pieces you see below may or may not become the start of a dedicated daemonic detachment:

class-of-2016-daemons
In fact, I realise in hindsight that monstrous daemons make up a sizeable part of my 2016 output –but come, on: Given the current state of the world, I might be forgiven for the subconscious need to keep painting red-skinned devils, wouldn’t you agree? πŸ˜‰

In closing, here are all of the chaotic footsloggers (minus the two big guys) again:

class-of-2016-chaos-2

 

 

3. The world of INQ28

While my INQ28-related work this year didn’t quite match my 2015 output, I am nevertheless fairly happy with the new additions to my collection. Strangely enough, everything started with…a dog:

Cyber-Mastiff (3)

A Cyber-Mastiff conversion based on a Malifaux model. I am still rather happy with the mutt πŸ˜‰

But anyway, here’s the entire “INQ28 Class of 2016”:

class-of-2016-inq28
The achievement I am probably the most happy with was to finally paint some models that had been knocking about in my cupboard of shame for ages, and this lead to a nearly 100% finished retinue for Inquisitor Erasmus Gotthardt of the Ord Hereticus Velsen:

inquisitor-gotthardt-and-retinue-early-2016-8
Now I have a huge soft spot for this warband, mostly because it’s made up of my attempt at putting a spin one most of the classic character archetypes from the Inquisitor rulebook (the Rogue Trader, the Security Agent, the Drill Abbot,…). As a consequence, the retinue has a very colourful, swashbuckling look that I like. Most of Gotthardt’s operatives were built years ago – and with a much smaller bitzbox, at that – but I do think they still hold up for the most part. So just one last member for the warband – a female psyker – and then the project will finally be completed at long last!

That’s not the only warband I have managed to complete, though: I also finished two retainers for my true scale Astartes, Praetor Janus Auriga, creating a “mini-warband”, if you will:

Praetor Janus Auriga and retainers (3)
This project was simply an excellent way of exploring the more ostentatious, medieval side of the Adeptus Astartes. Plus the retainers make Auriga look even more massive and monstrous, providing a great visual framing device for the character. Coming up with a concept for a chapter serf was also great fun!

And finally, I came up with the beginnings for a slightly Mad Max-inspired group of misfits dubbed “The Road Crew”:

the-road-crew-2016
These guys have been brilliant fun to work on so far, and I hope I’ll be able to tound out the group in 2017!

 

4. Blood Bowl

A completion that is very close to my hear, this one: After quite a bit of procrastrination, I finally completed the first big guy for my kitbashed Blood Bowl team, the Orkheim Ultraz:

blood-bowl-troll-1
It was simply great fun to make sure the troll fits the overall look of the team while also adding his own visual touches to the larger project:

orkheim-ultraz-2016-4
And the model really manages to make the team look and feel complete — even if there’s a really good chance we’ll be seeing more models for it in the future!

orkheim-ultraz-2016-2

So yeah, all things considered, thats quite an eclectic collection of new models, and one that I am really rather proud of:

class-of-2016-1

 

II. My favourite hobby moments

There were also some really awesomeΒ  hobby moments that didn’t involve building and painting new models, so let’s take a look at those as well:

For instance, I was really happy when Gilgamesh, my Chaos-Knight, made GW’s Webstore blog as an example of a converted Renegade Knight back in April:

Gilgamesh on GW blog 01
Alas, thanks to GW’s recent decision to fold their daily blog into a new (and admittedly rather cool) community site, my moment of triumph was short-lived. But at least I have the screenshots for proof πŸ˜‰

Being approached by Adam Jones to contribute to his excellent hobby mag, The Golden D6, was also fantastic! Thanks to Adam, some of my work appeared in three issues of the mag:

An army feature focusing on Khorne’s Eternal Hunt in issue #5…

D6 Screenshot
…and a two-part series on how to glitz up your miniature photography, published in issues #6 and #7:

d6-deimos
This particular feature even earned me a rather glowing endorsement from Natfka over at Faeit212, as an added bonus:

faeit-212
And finally, my dear Lord Captain Lorimar even made the cover for The Golden D6′s issue #7:

d6-issue-7-cover
Anyway, if Adam’ll have me, I’d love to do some more contributions for the mag in 2017!

And last, but definitely not least, I would be remiss not to mention the fact that some of the best new additions to my collection happened courtesy ofΒ  enormously generous people who sent me conversions, bitz or even entire painted models:

class-of-2016-gifts-donations
Just to name some particularly wonderful examples off the top of my head…

  • a wonderfully painted Lord Zhufor sent to me by PDH,
  • an excellent converted Khornate Chaos Lord provided by BrotherJim
  • vintage Bloodletters kindly sent to me by Sagal and AMaximus
  • the base model for the Cyber-Mastiff conversion, courtesy of a Malifaux box that Miniature Tim sent me
  • a brilliantly moody Khornate cultist (and his bucket) gifted to me by Neil101:
Models built and painted by Neil101

Models built and painted by Neil101

And those are just the painted models! Let’s not forget Helega sending me one amazing bitz drop after the other, or the incredibly generous Adam Wier (of Between the Bolter And Me fame), who actually let me have a nearly complete Forgeworld Angron:

Forgeworld Angron WIP (1)
Thank you all so much, guys! You’re really turning this hobby into something even cooler for me, and I am really, really happy about that! πŸ™‚

III. Bad news

In spite of feeling fairly happy with my hobby output this year and having my share of awesome hobby moments, I also have to say that it wasn’t all peaches and cream: For one, there were some rather sad developments: 2016 saw my beloved FLGS, Frabusel, closing its doors for good, which still sucks (and which has also rendered the procurement of hobby supplies somewhat more complicated). And I was really sad to learn of the passing of hobby and fantasy legends such as Joe Dever or the late, great Wayne England.

There’s also one instance where I really regret failing a hobby goal I had set for myself: Earlier this year, fellow hobbyists extraordinaire Jeff Vader, Nordic and Alexander were awesome enough to invite me to participate in a Path of Glory event. I felt really honoured and started to build a Khornate warband for the project, but in the end a combination of being too preoccupied with my RL situation and simply not devoting nearly enough time to the project resulted in my failing to participate, which I really regret. It would have been great fun to hang out with those gentlemen, surely, and failing to live up to their expectations (and my own) felt like a huge missed opportunity — I hope I’ll be getting another chance to complete my small warband of Khornate misfits – or an altogether different warband for another event.

khornate-warband-ks-7

*Sigh*, it just wasn’t meant to be…

IV. Plans

So what’s in the card for 2017? Now I usually try not to make any grand promises, because I know how much my output will be tied to inspiration — or to my considerable laziness πŸ˜‰

That being said, there’s a couple of things that I would like to focus on next year. Two projects stand out above all others:

First up, and somewhat to my chagrin, my collection of 30k World Eaters is looking more and more like an actual army:

30k World Eaters 4th assault company WIP (2)
And while I won’t make any promises as to the eventual scope of this project, I will be focusing on finishing some of those guys in 2017 — if only to finally paint that sweet Angron model Adam Wier sent me πŸ˜‰

If nothing else, gladiatorial Angron already seems right at home next to his Heresy era sons:

angron-thalkr-lord-of-the-red-sands-13

When it comes to INQ28, I would really love to start painting my Ordo Scriptorum warband representing Redactor Orlanth and his operatives:

Inquisitor Orlanth and Parchment Scrotener WIP
Even in its WIP stage, the warband already features some of my best INQ28 conversions, and I also do have some rather interesting ideas about what I want the retinue to look like when painted, so giving this project my best try should be fun!

I am not deluding myself, however: It’s just as likely that the next crazy GW release throws me way of course and gets me totally sidetracked — speaking of which, we’ll be taking a closer look at all the pretty things GW provided for us this year. And, of course, the Eternal Hunt Awards wouldn’t be complete without a showcase of the most inspiring work created by my fellow hobbyists.

 

But all of this will have to wait until after Christmas. Until then, let me wish you all a very Merry Christmas and say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who sent me models, bitz or other hobby materials or commented on this blog! I really appreciate it!

And of course I would love to hear any comments or feedback you might have about my 2016 output, so let me hear those comments!

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

ETL V: Go out with a bang!

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, Traitor Guard, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 21, 2016 by krautscientist

Alright, one more post about the ETL, and then we’re off to…well, whatever’s next, really πŸ˜‰

With three finished vows under my belt, I was basically prepared to call it a day, but I couldn’t help noticing that the amount of points I had pledged was still below the 1,000 points mark — by 70 points, to be exact.

Now I didn’t harbour any ambitions to contribute a huge amount of points to the ETL, as there are some other people who have that particular corner covered much better than I ever could. But somehow I did want to read the 1,000 points mark — and as it happens, I realised that I had one last model on my unpainted pile that perfectly fit the bill:

Some of you may remember my first “Thamier-pattern” Obliterator, based on some excellent, custom parts provided courtesy of my fellow hobbyist Thamier (hence the name). Those parts allowed me to finally come up with an excellent Obliterator design that fit my army as well as the outline of what an Obliterator should look like:

Hadrak Firebringer (8)
Back when Thamier sent me those bitz, he was awesome enough to include enough parts for two Obliterators. But I only ever managed to finish one of them and just couldn’t seem to settle on a final configuration for the second one.

For some reason, however, this changed after finishing my Bloodthirster recently — something must have been shaken loose in the back of my head, and suddenly I knew exactly how to build this guy, easy as that. A short while later, I had the finished conversion in my hands:

2nd Thamier pattern Obliterator WIP (5)
2nd Thamier pattern Obliterator WIP (4)
2nd Thamier pattern Obliterator WIP (6)
And as luck would have it, a single Obliterator can count as a squad and is worth exactly 70 points — just the amount I was still missing! So I decided to finish my contribution in this event by making a fourth and (final) vow. I was really looking forward to finally owning two finished Obliterators of this size and design!

2nd Thamier pattern Obliterator WIP (3)
Besides, it was just a single model, right? So what could possibly go wrong?

Unfortunately, the last couple of days have been the hottest days of the year so far in northwestern Germany, with temperatures of more than 30 degrees Celsius outside. Hardly the perfect weather to be painting miniatures — quite the opposite, actually!

However, I realised that losing momentum was the biggest danger for me, so I soldiered through the paintjob. And I managed to finish the Obliterator yesterday. Take a look:

2nd Thamier pattern Obliterator (5)
2nd Thamier pattern Obliterator (6)
2nd Thamier pattern Obliterator (11)
2nd Thamier pattern Obliterator (9)
2nd Thamier pattern Obliterator (7)
And here’s a closer look at the weapon arms, spliced together from many, many different bits and kits:

2nd Thamier pattern Obliterator (8)

2nd Thamier pattern Obliterator (10)
Now it has been pointed out to me by Thousand Eyes and Augustus b’Raass that the armour trim needs some cleanup work here and there — particularly on the leg greaves! And I happily agree — painting this guy in the sweltering heat – and in a slightly darkened room, no less – certainly didn’t do the exactness of my paintjob any favours. But I think those problems should be easy enough to solve with some minor touchups when it’s a bit colder, and I am still reasonably happy with this guy: Now I have two massive juggernauts that can lay down quite a bit of fire between them. YAY! πŸ˜‰

Thamier pattern Obliterators (1)
And with the points of all the models I have managed to finish not at exactly 1,000 points, I think this is also the perfect moment to consider my contribution to this year’s ETL concluded: I’ve already done three vows more than I had originally planned, and while it has been a blast, I think it’s important to end things on a high note. I also don’t want to fail again, like last year! πŸ˜‰

But even so, I couldn’t be any happier with my performance: Granted, 1,000 points isn’t all that much when compared to the amounts of stuff some of the crazier contributors have come up with, but then I think I have really managed to complete some rather cool models — some of this stuff is arguably my finest work to date:

ETL V All Vows (3)
Another thing that pleases me immensely is that each model is one I have wanted to get painted for quite a while.

And while waiting for the opportunity to purchase some new Chaos Black spray halfway through the event, I actually made the most of the downtime and painted two “bonus models” (that had already been undercoated earlier), in order to keep my momentum going.

The first of those was a berzerker that I had already considered beyond saving earlier: I originally wanted to use the model as a test piece for the Mephiston Red spray paint, back when it was released. So I undercoated it with the – then brand new – spray paint, hoping that the paint would become a mainstay of my World Eaters recipe:

New red test model 01

Unfortunately, the stuff performed rather terribly, and I ended up with a test model that was a slog to paint. Everything still looked pretty nice until after spraying, with a nice red undercoat across the whole model. But when I began to pick out the details in different colours, I realised that the undercoat had a somewhat strange, sandpapery texture that made the colours on top behave strangely, turning the whole painting progress into an exercise in frustration:

new red test model 02

Now this is about as far as I got with the model:

new red test model 03

But when the colour actually started rubbing off in places, revealing the bright red undercoat, I basically abandoned the whole project as a failure — and the half-finished model kept sitting on a sideboard, daring me to finish it at some point.

And that moment had finally come! So I thought “What the heck?” and gave the model another try: I repainted the armour with my new red recipe and persevered, because I really rather like this particular conversion and didn’t want to abandon it completely, and here’s what I ended up with:

Salvaged Berzerker (1)
Salvaged Berzerker (2)

Now this is hardly my best work – and it couldn’t be either, given the damage done by the original undercoat – but this guy is at least presentable enough now to take his place amongst the rank and file, and I am pretty happy that I’ve managed to finish the paintjob, after all!

Dumah & Salvaged Berzerker

The other additional model I painted is one that I am really happy with: An icon bearer for my Traitor Guard that I had wanted to finish for quite a while:

Traitor Elite Icon Bearer PIP (1)
Traitor Elite Icon Bearer PIP (3)
As you can see on the – mostly painted – model shown above, the conversion was based on another Tempestus Scions model. The head from one of the Dark Vengeance cultists champions creates a very palpable Blood Pact vibe (which was quite intentional), while the use of some WFB Skaven bitz creates a pretty cool, almost asian influence.

The icon was painted to resemble flayed human skin, and it goes without saying that it needed a suitably gruesome design added on top. So I broke out the Tamiya Clear Red and ended up with this:

Traitor Elite Icon Bearer (1)
Traitor Elite Icon Bearer (2)
Traitor Elite Icon Bearer (3)
Traitor Elite Icon Bearer (4)
Nothing says Traitor Guard quite as clearly as a crude heretical symbol daubed on in blood, wouldn’t you agree? πŸ˜‰

What’s really cool is how this model finally rounds out my first squad of Traitor Elites, arguably creating one of the best squads in my entire collection:

Traitor Elite full squad (4)
So when I include those two “bonus models”, that actually brings the number of models I have managed to complete during this year’s ETL up to…eight. How auspicious, indeed! I certainly hope Khorne is pleased…

ETL V All Vows (1)
So yeah, I am really happy with the outcome!

But wait, there’s more: In addition to the stuff I managed to complete myself, there’s also the fact that fellow hobbyist Augustus b’Raass chose to honour me by naming an absolutely brilliant World Eaters Contemptor for his growing Khorne Daemonkin force after me.

Meet Ancient Ka’Ruat of the World Eaters’ 59th assault echelon, ladies and gentlemen:

model converted and painted by Augustus b'Raass

model converted and painted by Augustus b’Raass

 

model converted and painted by Augustus b'Raass

model converted and painted by Augustus b’Raass

What an utterly fantastic surprise! And quite an honour, too! Make sure to check out Auggie’s ongoing WIP thread over at The Bolter & Chainsword, by the way: That guy is on fire!

All things considered, this has been a really enjoyable – and successful – ETL for me! Best of luck to those hobbyists who are still working on their vows and/or are planning to finish even more models for the glory of chaos! I’ll be watching your amazing work from the sidelines while offering snide comments every now and then πŸ˜‰

It goes without saying that I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback, so feel free to drop me a comment! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

ETL V All Vows (2)

Elite Traitors

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, Traitor Guard with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 26, 2014 by krautscientist

Due to all the Nurgly fun, I totally forgot that I actually have some new painted models to share with you — can you believe that? These have been finished for a while now, and if you are frequenting one of my various threads on the forums, you may already have seen them. But still, let’s take a closer look:

The models in question are the elite soldiers for my Traitor Guard detachment, Urash’s Marauders, that I started working on alll the way back in April, when the Tempestus Scions were released. I used a combination of bitz from that kit, the Vraksian Renegade Militia and a couple of other sources…

Traitor Elite (15)

I am actually really happy with the way these guys have turned out! So allow me to walk you through the different members of the squad and take a closer look.

Here’s the first painted model:

Traitor Elite (05)
Traitor Elite (17)
As you can see, this is basically a Tempestus Scion with some tastefully applied spiky bitz πŸ˜‰ This was my first actual test model for an elite traitor Stormtrooper, and I think it works: The horned helmet may not be to everyone’s taste, but I think the guy really looks like a tough as nails elite trooper in the archenemy forces.

As for the colour scheme, I knew I wanted to use the same general colours as in the rest of my Traitor Guard detachment: Mainly dark grey, crimson and brass (with silver and brown for the medals and leather parts, respectively). All of my traitors are wearing dark grey fatigues in one form or another, so I repeated that here. In order to show that these guys are the cream of the crop, however, and far more heavily armoured than the rank and file troops, I chose to expand the use of red, painting all the armour plates with it. The result is a colour scheme that still looks like it belongs to my Traitor Guard but provides some contrast for these guys.

Next up, a Plasma Gunner:

Traitor Elite (10)
Traitor Elite (14)
Traitor Elite (13)
Traitor Elite (12)
Traitor Elite (11)
The model only uses a right arm from the Tempestus Scion kit. The rest of the bitz came from the Vraksian Renegade militia, the Chaos Marauders and Space Marine Scouts, respectively. Oh, and I used a Skaven speartip in order to create a suitably nasty looking sword. My plan is for the models in the squad to use different combinations of bitz from the same four or five kits, with certain elements (such as the paintjob, the use of scion shoulder pads etc.) creating a feeeling of cohesion, even if the models themselves are looking slightly different.

So, not much to say about the guy with the plasma gun, except for the fact that I LOVE painting blue plasma coils and will go out of my way to give as many of those as possible to my models, even if I am not even a huge fan of plasma weapons in games. Oh well…

Now here’s where it gets more interesting: The next model is the squad’s voxcaster guy:

Traitor Elite (06)
Traitor Elite (07)
Traitor Elite (08)
The model basically started out as an attempt to salvage a Vraksian torso (minus the head) that I had left from a different conversion. When messing around with a couple of bitz, I realised that the model would make a reasonably cool radio operator, so that became his role. What I really love about the model is the way it seems to clutch the speaker unit close to its cowled head: You can easily imagine this guy screaming into that mouthpiece at the top of his lungs — or whispering menacingly:

“Can you hear the voices too?”

But then, maybe he’s just making prank calls to the enemy headquarters, demanding to one Commissar I.P.Freely?! πŸ˜‰

One last detail I really like about the model is how its entire head has basically been painted in the same base colour. The contrast between his mask and skin was created by careful application of different washes:

Traitor Elite (09)

And finally, the model I am the most happy with (and easily one of the best models I have painted in quite a while): The squad leader:

Traitor Elite (03)
As I’ve said before, the conversion itself was an attempt at channeling the excellence of PDH’s traitor soldiers (because those are just about the best Traitor Guard conversions in existence, along with Dave Taylor’s Blood Pact). I think I was reasonably successful in my endeavour, and I am really happy with the conversion! Those who remember the model’s unpainted incarnation, however, may notice that I’ve made some last minute changes to the model:

The chaos warrior sword the model wielded in its earlier incarnation was replaced with a nasty, curved Goblin sword for example: I think a vicious, slightly primitive weapon is just a far better fit for a traitor officer. I also added a bundle of Imperial dog tags on the officer’s belt, which makes for a nice bit of visual storytelling, if you ask me.

Traitor Elite (02)
Oh, and I also added a slightly shaved down chaos warrior helmet to the belt. A beautiful little touch I picked up from one of PDH’s wonderful models — the idea was just too good, so I had to nab it:

Traitor Elite (17)
This model was actually the first member of the squad I painted. And I really only started on the rest of the models because I was so happy with him: In a way, he perfectly embodies what I think Traitor Guard should look like, and if I were to completely re-do Urash’s Marauders today, I suppose he would become my template for the entire project.

At four models, the squad isn’t all that big at the moment, but I am confident that will change soon: Another “Chaos Scion” has already been built and is ready for painting. And I will definitely have to add a suitably imposing icon bearer to the squad. For now, though, I’ll happily consider these first four guys a successful forage into the world of elite traitors πŸ˜‰

I’d love to hear any feedback you might have in the comments section! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Traitor Elite (16)

Grimdark in technicolor

Posted in 40k, Blood Bowl, Chaos, Conversions, Inq28, Orcs & Goblins, Traitor Guard, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 15, 2014 by krautscientist

One very important part of sharing your hobby projects online is learning how to take good pictures of them — and indeed, many, many articles have been published on the subject. As for my own pictures, I am usually reasonably pleased with them — they may not be perfect, but they usually show a pretty “truthful” version of my models πŸ˜‰

However, there are more ways of showcasing models than just posting “regular” photos: We have all seen excellent pictures where hobbyists have tried to use various filters and effects in order to add another dimension to their work — granted, there are also those cases where Photoshop becomes a quick fix to camouflaging shoddy paintjobs. But those are usually in the minority. I, for one, am often awestruck by the quality of retouched photos online, and I think they are an interesting additional option to breathe life into your creations — unfortunately, my own attempts in this respect haven’t been all that successful so far: While I am reasonably handy with Photoshop, I have somehow never managed to end up with the kind of retouched image that actually looks awesome and brings my models to life.

This changed however, when, at the recommendation of my fellow hobbyist Talarion, I checked out Autodesk’s Pixlr last weekend: Pixlr is a very streamlined and easy to use piece of software that helps you add effects, borders and various filters to your photos. And while the amount of functions is pretty limited, the software is great fun to mess around with and, what’s even more important, it’s exceptionally great at what it does!

So, being a pretty huge Web 2.0 villain myself, I couldn’t help experimenting with some of my hobby photos. It has been great fun so far, and today I’d like to share some of the results with you:

Kill!Maim!Burn!

Kill!Maim!Burn!

Well, this one was to be expected, wasn’t it? It won’t surprise you that messing around with some army photos of my World Eaters was one of the first things I did, and I used some flames and a couple of additional effects to create a pretty archetypal, Khornate image.

And once I had started on the World Eaters, it goes without saying that I also had to give one of my favourite models another spin as well:

Engine of Destruction

Engine of Destruction

And why limit myself to Khorne? Giving some of my Nurglite models another layer of grime and neglect turned out to be great fun as well:

Nurgle's Children

Nurgle’s Children

The next stage of my experiments was to actually try and bring out a new quality in certain models and images. One of the first pictures I chose for this was a standoff between one of my Helbrutes/Dreadnoughts, Marax the Fallen, and a downed Space Marine (built as a special objective marker to accompany Marax).

Heroic Last Stand

Heroic Last Stand

The original photo of the scene was nothing to write home about, but it certainly seems rather dramatic now, don’t you think?…

The same goes for this scene of a charging Huntmaster Isgarad:

Isgarad attacks

Isgarad attacks

The original photo was pretty terrible, but with the help of some filters, it became a rather more interesting battlefield impression.

Next up, another Helbrute: Khorlen the Lost:

Lost Soul

Lost Soul

I liked the result so much that I had another go at this model, focusing on its wonderfully creepy face and thereby creating aΒ  more portrait-like image:

And I must scream

And I must scream

This is maybe one of my favourite pictures, because it really embodies the horror about being interred into a corrupted sarcophagus. This picture also led to further explore the portrait approach, trying to explore the essence of specific characters (or creatures):

Instrument of Wrath

Instrument of Wrath

 

Scarred Hunter

Scarred Hunter

And of course, I did not only deal with my World Eaters, but also tried to create some images showing my various INQ28 characters plying their shadowy trade. First among them, of course, was Inquisitor Antrecht:

Inquisitor Anrecht in the field

Inquisitor Anrecht in the field

The picture showing him and his retinue against the background of a homemade terrain piece was nice enough before, but now it really clicks with me, for some reason.

Some of you may remember the model for Inquisitor Zuul I converted and painted for the 2013 Inqvitational. The old boy remains one of my favourite pieces of work, and so he warranted his own, touched up picture:

Servant of the Emperor

Servant of the Emperor

And while I did not participate in the Inqvitational myself, I really love the picture of Zuul being apprehended by some of his more puritan colleagues that Marco Skoll took on the day of the game, so I messed around with that as well:

Game's up

Game’s up

Like I said, the original photo was kindly provided by Marco Skoll.

And I’ll never tire of showing off my model for Legion, of course:

We are many, we are one

We are many, we are one

The original photo, taken by Fulgrim, was already a favourite of mine, but I think this touched up version really does an even better job of capturing this unspeakable horror stalking the depths of the Arrke.
In stark contrast to Legion’s creepiness, I also made a more lighthearted piece: It was really fun to make a photo of my Blood Bowl Team, the Orkheim Ultraz, look like the boyz were actually part of a vintage TV broadcast:

Orkheim Ultraz on TV

Orkheim Ultraz on TV

And, last but definitely not least, this rather moody shot of an Imperial monument:

Know fear

Know fear

In this case, the original picture was actually pretty terrible, but I simply love the touched up version!

All in all, this was really a great way to discover new aspects about some of my models and bring out a new visual narrative in some pieces. Call me crazy, but working on these pictures and coming up with titles for them really made me think about several of my projects in slightly different ways. And, if nothing else, messing around with the software was just a lot of fun πŸ˜‰

So, in case you want to try something similar, I would recommend you check out Pixlr yourself. And, of course, I would like to hear any feedback you might have!

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

Aren’t you a little tall for a stormtrooper? A first hands on with the Tempestus Scions and more…

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings, Traitor Guard, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2014 by krautscientist

Stormtrooper kitbashing (1)
Don’t worry, a detailed look at the whole Astra Militarum release is still forthcoming in the near future, but seeing how everyone (myself included) seems to be all over the new Tempestus Scions at the moment, let us put the cart before the horse for once, so to speak, and allow me to share my first hands on experiences with the kit. We’ll also take a look at options for building Stormtroopers for your IG (or Traitor Guard) force in general, and I dear it’ll be a rather wordy post, all things considered. I am also fairly confident you’ll get a few ideas out of the deal, though, so bear with me here!

Let me start by saying that the Tempestus Scions are an amazing kit, regarding both the quality of the sculpt and the amount of bitz and options you get. I have been asking myself for a long time why so few of the actual IG models (the fantastically eclectic Vostroyans notwithstanding) actually channel the anachronistic design elements that permeate the rest of the 40k universe, but with the Tempestus Scions, the combination of high tech and baroque, sometimes even medieval, elements is finally available in model form. I won’t get into this part any further, since it will probably play a pretty big role in my upcoming review of the Astra Militarum release. Suffice it to say for nowΒ  that I am all for more ostentatiousness and baroqueness in the IG catalogue!

Beyond the exciting design, though, the kit also provides an extremely versatile and extensive toolbox for building five excellent models. And the kit is full of opportunities right though the gate, enabling you to build elite soldiers for your Guard regiment as well as Inquisitorial Stormtroopers of any stripe and even Traitor Guard — because the decorative armour trim adorning all the Scions’ armour plates make it really easy to turn these guys to chaos.

Indeed, my current plan is to turn at least four of the models into the beginnings of a squad of elite soldiers for my detachment of Traitor Guard,Β  although I will probably use one model and some of the amazing Tempestor Prime bitz to buy an Inquisitor/Imperial Noble/senior IG officer/whatever…

That’s a plan for the near future, however. For now, let’s do some experiments in order to explore the kit in more detail!

 

I. Initial kitbashing

Taking inspiration from Jeff Vader’s recent experimentation with different head swaps on the Tempestus Scions, I did something similar, collecting various heads from my bitzbox and trying them on my first Scion test model, in order to see how they would change the overall look and feel of the model. Now don’t get me wrong, the whopping seventeen heads that come with the kit are just as amazing as the rest of the parts. But I still wanted to see how a mere head swap might turn one of the models into very different characters.

I filed my findings into several different categories. Just click for bigger pictures, by the way:


Experiment I: Inquisitorial types

Stormtrooper kitbashing (2)

I wanted to explore several options for creating shadowy and/or hi-tech-y Stormtroopers. My first experiment was to use a leftover head from Inquisitor Coteaz I still had lying around, and not only was it a great fit, but the resulting model is quite similar to the Sergeant of the Kasrkin models, don’t you think? I am seriously considering using that head for my Scion-based Inquisitor.

I also tried two robed DA heads, and while Marine heads tend to be a bit clunky when used on non-marine bodies, these might actually work (although it would be necessary to shave down the neck portion, which I didn’t do for my experiments). The sergeant from Jeff Vader’s wonderful squad of Tempestus Scions uses one of these heads as well, by the way, so you don’t need to rely on my word alone!
Oh, and I also like the faceless SpecOps look of the fourth head (a Valkyrie pilot head, I guess? Just bought it via ebay some time ago).


Experiment II: Medieval types

Stormtrooper kitbashing (3)
There’s quite a bit of overlap with the Inquisitorial types on these, although I wanted to see how to make the Scions look even more archaic and medieval. I mostly used Bretonnian heads during this attempt.

I actually really like the Brodie-helmet like look of models on the left! These might look great for a fire-and-brimstone Hereticus retinue (or in a particularly medieval IG regiment). The helmets do interfere with the antenna and sensor array on the shoulders, however, so some cutting might be in oder if you want to take this route. The knight helmet was mainly a joke, as was the shaved down berzerker helmet on the right (just the thing if you’re going for the old “Boba Fett” look, though).


Experiment III: IG veterans

Stormtrooper kitbashing (4)
I think that using various heads from the IG, WFB Empire or even Space Marine catalogues could be a great options of making the Scions look less like freshly-pressed parade ground soldiers and more like hard-boiled veterans from some of the more colourful regiments of the Astra Militarum.

I particularly like the one with the wolf scout head on the far right πŸ˜‰


Experiments IV and V: Traitors and Renegades

Ahhh, now we’re talking: I tried various chaotic heads in order to make the Scion model look like a Traitor Guard soldier: Like I said, the trim on their body armour makes them equally viable for chaos, if you ask me. I did already shave off some of the beautiful IG iconography, too. Anyway, here’s my first set of traitor experiments:

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As you can see, slightly shaved down WFB chaos warrior helmets will work, as will heads from the plastic cultists.

I tried even more heads, though:

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I really liked one of Jeff Vader’s experiments, where he used a head from the WFB Marauder Horsemen, and indeed, those heads work brilliantly on the Scion bodies: They are instantly recognisable as chaotic, but they still seem orderly enough so as not to damage the elite soldier look. My absolute favourite has to be the head from the Dark Vengeance cultist champ, though: While it may look slightly goofy on virtually any other model, here it instantly transforms a Scion into a warrior of the Blood Pact – BAM!

I didn’t limit myself to trying different heads, however, I also did a couple of smaller experiments involving different body parts:

For those of you who might be thinking of using the scions as a base for (Dark) AdMech Skitarii conversions, the following pictures might be helpful as well:

You can combine the scion torsos with flagellant legs:

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For the real Skitarii look, you would probably need to replace the bare feet with something suitably tech-y and bulky (Necron feet, perhaps?). And you’d need to either add a cowl sculpted from GS or use the AdMech-styled cultist head.

As an alternative for making Skitarii (or, indeed, trenchcoat scions), you could use the legs from that very cultist:

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While the legs may seem to be a bit on the thin side, the trenchcoat idea is nevertheless pretty interesting, because you end up with something only one step away from one of my favourite pieces of IG artwork by none other than the great Jes Goodwin.

One last early kitbashing idea: I just had to try and combine one of the masked Scion heads with the helmet of a Bretonnian Man-at-arms, again creating something resembling a futuristic Brodie helmet/gas mask combo:

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The resulting model basically looks like a more detailed, more baroque GW version of one of my beloved Warzone 2nd edition starter minis:

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Might be a useful idea for IG as well as Inquisitorial Stormtroopers or Traitor Guard, though…

2. Playing around with Tempestus Scion bitz

Interestingly enough, the first mostly finished model to come out of my purchase of the Tempestus Scions wasn’t even a Tempestus Scion: I used the voxcaster bitz from the new kit to salvage a FW Vraksian Militia torso I had seriously damaged during another conversion, and thanks to the new bitz, I was able to build a traitor soldier with voxcaster:

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Even though he uses Chaos Marauder legs and a FW torso, he should still work well enough as a squad member for my chaos elites. He looks good enough next to my test model, at least:

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On a semi-related note, the idea of this guy making prank calls during battle really cracks me up: I imagine nothing will mess with your battle logistics like someone calling in the middle of an offensive demanding to speak to Commissar I.P. Freely…Β  πŸ™‚

Anyway, back to the traitors: As it happens, I have some Vraksian torsos lying around (courtesy of fellow hobbyist PDH) and I think I will use more Marauder legs and a couple of bitz from the Scion kit to transform them into further models for the elite squad:

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Again, they should work well enough from a scale perspective:

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So, not only are the Tempestus Scions themselves great for different conversions, but the amount of extra bitz will also be really useful in converting even more models, both for my Traitor Guard and, I imagine, the odd INQ28 model. On a related note, make sure to check out little brother’s scion conversions over at his Ammobunker thread: His models are a great proof of concept for how easy it is to make the Tempestus Scions into traitors with just a minor influx of bitz! And Adam Wier has some very interesting ideas about slightly modifying the stock models as well.

I imagine that the coming weeks will bring a cornucopia of inspiring Scion conversions, so you actually might want to leave your sprues untouched for now… πŸ˜‰

 

3. Alternatives

So, once again, I am really happy with the Tempestus Scions and the conversion and kitbashing options they provide. But my love for the kit notwithstanding, let me discuss yet another source for possible Stormtroopers. As you will see, this is clearly not a case of favouring one kit (or manufacturer) over the other, but rather an attempt at outlining several, partly interlocking approaches for building just the Stormtroopers and elite soldiers you need:

Quite some time ago, I participated in a Kickstarter to make some of Mark Mondragon’s designs available in glorious plastic. The kits coming out of this Kickstarter, namely the different plastic Titans and the Eisenkern Stormtroopers, were one of my favourite hobby releases in 2013, as some may recall. And it’s the latter of the two I would like to talk about:

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The Eisenkern Stromtroopers provide an alternate set of models for your Imperial Guard. Granted, these are not GW models, so you won’t be able to use them in any GW events or GW stores, but the models are still definitely nice enough to showcase them here! As a matter of fact, I was already feeling bad for not making the time to talk about them in more detail earlier, but now it turns out that the opportunity to discuss them back to back with the new Tempestus Scions is just the perfect way of taking a closer look at the kit. So let’s look at both kits, shall we:

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On their own, the Eisenkern Stormtroopers provide a kit for making very cool looking elite soldiers with a very distinct WWII vibe. Incidentally, the background of the Eisenkern faction basically has them as “Germans IN SPACE!” (and the name certainly is a dead giveaway…). My personal reason for supporting their creation in plastic was that they really reminded me of the Wolf Brigade in Jin-Roh, but those designs were of course based on historical German uniforms again, so it’s a bit of a circular argument.

Anyway, the kit comes with so many options for customisation that it’s almost ridiculous, and these options are further multiplied if you decide to purchase an additional set of conversion and equipment bitz, giving you lots and lots of different weapons, heads, hands and various gear. Therefore, the humble test model pictured above is really just the tip of the iceberg.

Here’s a scale comparison with the Tempestus Scions:

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As you can see, both models are more or less of the same height: The Eisenkern Stormtrooper is ever so slightly taller, yet less bulky than the Tempestus Scion. From a structural perspective, there are quite a few parallels, though, ranging from the body armour and rebreather helmets to the power plant-like section on the model’s back.

The overall look is still ever so slightly different, though: Where the Tempestus Scions are full-out baroque and grimdark, the Eisenkern models are more hi-tech, albeit with a clear retro element.

But let’s look at some more scale pictures, this time with a “regular” IG model, a cultist and an Astartes as additional parts of the comparison:

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As you can see, both Stormtrooper models nicely fit into the gap between “regular” humans and Astartes: While both are basically just as tall as a regular Marine, the added bulkiness still nicely separates the Astartes from the unaugmented models.

One obvious problem with the Eisenkern models lies in the slightly more realistic (and less “heroic”) proportions when compared to GW kits. While this certainly isn’t a shortcoming per se, it can become a bit of a problem when trying to combine the Eisenkern models with GW bitz.

For instance, where the Tempestus Scion bodies will happily accept even Marine heads with a bit of cutting, even fairly slender heads like the wolf scout head pictured below will look slightly too clunky on an Eisenkern Trooper:

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That said, some heads work better than others: I have collected some cases where the GW heads worked reasonably well below:

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In any case, the important thing to keep in mind here is that these parts certainly weren’t designed to be mixed, so the fact that it still works out in some cases should be treated more like a bonus — but more on that in a minute.

The main problem from a design perspective is that the Eisenkern Stormtroopers are far less useful for “classic” chaos than the Tempestus Scions, because the smooth lines are not nearly baroque and archaic enough for your average traitor guard, whereas the extra decoration on the Scions makes them very chaos-y right out of the box. The common Eisenkern Stormtrooper fares less well when combined with chaos bitz.

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But, again, this is obviously not really a fault of the kit itself: It wasn’t even designed to allow for shenanigans like that.

The big surprise, then, is that the Eisenkern Stormtroopers work amazingly well with the Tempestus Scion heads:

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The beret heads from the Scions are perfect for Eisenkern officers — and actually much better than the somewhat generic bare heads that come with the Eisenkern kit (one of the few failings of an otherwise brilliant kit, I might add).

The same goes for the helmeted Scion heads:

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And finally, the beret head with gas mask, one of the coolest heads in the kit anyway, is pretty much the perfect officer head for an Eisenkern Stormtrooper. Take a look:

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Quite a nice reward for the adventurous kitbasher, don’t you think? Plus this information might be interesting both for those who are contemplating a purchase of the Eisenkern Stormtroopers as well as those who already own the kit and want to tie it in with their IG army: Just get some Tempestus Scion heads, and you’re golden πŸ˜‰

Another interesting fact: Female Eisenkern models will eventually be available, filling aΒ  gap GW’s catalogue has mostly refused to address so far: Here’s a regular Eisenkern trooper next to Kickstarter exclusive model Ada:

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So which one should you choose?

I’ll be honest with you, I couldn’t even tell you which kit is the better one, because a) both are awesome and b) which is better for you depends on what you are looking for: Both kits are great and, in their respective ways, provide great value for the money. The best possible approach would be to ask yourself what kind of Stormtrooper you are looking for and make your decision from there (or, of course, to just buy a box of each):

Do you want your Stormtroopers visually in line with the eclectic, sometimes outlandish and anachronistic 40k universe? Do you love the little medieval and renaissance touches and are looking for colourful models that channel this particular part of the setting? Then the Tempestus Scions are your thing.

Do you want slightly more futuristic, tactical looking troopers without too many baroque design elements but a noticeable retro feel and tons and tons of options (you can actually use the accessory sprue to build models conversing in SWAT-like sign language, for crying out loud!)? Great, the Eisenkern Stormtroopers are the kit for you.

But even if you come down on either side of this argument, the other kit would still be an awesome purchase. And, owning both kits, I am perfecly sure that I am going to have lots of fun with both types of models.

In the end, it’s really all about being aware of all the options, and that’s what this post is about too: Describing more options for you. In any case, you way want to check out the Dreamforge Games website — chances are, you’ll find something to like there. At the same time, I cannot recomment the Tempestus Scions enough: They are an amazing kit and quite reasonably priced for GW’s standards.

 

Ultimately, the choice is yours. And I really hope that this post has given you food for though and ideas for possible conversions or kitbashes instead of confusing you. If you have any thoughts or questions about either of the kits (or about my first rough conversion attempts), I’d be happy to hear them in the comments section.

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

Parade ground: Urash’s Marauders

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, Traitor Guard with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2012 by krautscientist

Some time ago, I showcased all the World Eaters I had yet managed to paint on this blog. Today, I would like to do the same with my ever-growing detachment of Traitor Guard. This will serve two purposes: It will give me an excuse to show you all some pretty pictures, while it will also provide me with a way of collecting my thoughts on this army so far and to develop a couple of ideas about what’s next. If you are a regular reader, much of this will be familiar to you, but please bear with me πŸ˜‰

So let’s start off with a little family portrait. That’s my detachment of Traitor Guard so far:


Not bad for something that I only started to keep me amused from a conversion standpoint, don’t you think? Incidentally, the history of my Traitor Guard is full of strange coincidences: Back when I started them, there was basically no way to legally use them: The “Lost and the Damned” army list from Codex: Eye of Terror was, by that point, terribly outdated, and the 5th edition rules did not allow for allies. Granted, I could simply have used them as straight up Imperial Guard, but I didn’t want these guys to turn into a full scale second army, but rather into a force that could complement my World Eaters or be used in far smaller games. Still, I kept plugging away at them, and the army grew…


Everything started with this company/platoon command squad I built: One traitor for each of the combat roles. From left to right: Medic, standard bearer, commander, veteran with Plasmagun and veteran with Voxcaster. I also added a Rogue Psyker.


Next came my regular traitors, kitbashed from Cadians and WFB Chaos Marauders. Another squad of these has already been built, but I yet have to paint them.


Then, of course, my Traitor Ogryns: These guys were enormous fun to build and paint, and I think I managed to come up with quite a characterful unit there. Depending on the army list used, these could be played as regular Ogryns, Ogryn berserkers (from the Vrakisan Renegade Militia list), Big Mutants (from the old LNTD list) or possibly even as Chaos Spawn (when used in a CSM army).

I also built some characters for the army of course:


First up, Lord Urash, commander of the Marauders for now — until I come up with an even better model or he is usurped by one of his followers…


Then a champion with an obvious Nurglite bent, to be joined by a fittingly pestilent squad of traitors, one of these days…


A champion of Khorne, who makes a great traitor commander even now, but could end up leading a squad of beastmen or something similarily brutal at some point.


As you’ll recall, I also built a rogue Primaris Psyker, to add a little magical Oomph to the army. He could also do double duty as a champion of Tzeentch, to balance out the other two guys…


And finally, a renegade Lord Commissar, converted from a Dark Vengeance cultist leader — the opportunity was simply too good to pass up!

This army also marked my first foray into the wonderful (?) world of tanks: I built and painted a Basilisk that had been captured by the traitors:


Quite a challenge for me, although I am pretty happy with the result!

And so, that’s the current state of the army. All of the above assembled for a family portrait looks like this (click for a bigger picture):


Again, I am quite awestruck at the amount of models I managed to convert and paint, seeing how this was basically intended as a “just for fun” project! I also think the different parts of the army work together rather nicely, from a visual standpoint. The army is still pretty small, though: All that you can see above will add up to about 750 points tops. It’s also quite possibly a case of style over substance: I only included what I liked, so I have no idea how these guys would perform on the table.

But that’s beside the point: My Traitor Guard will probably mostly come in handy to bolster the ranks of my World Eaters and to add a little extra flavour in bigger games. And since several of the units could also conceivably be used as selections from Codex: Chaos Space Marines (traitors as cultists and Ogryns as Chaos Spawn, for example), it doesn’t matter that the army is as small as it is. After all, it’ll never become a classic IG gunline army, I can promise you that much…

You might have noticed that the Lord Commissar is conspicuously absent from the picture above: That’s because he has been busy assembling a little retinue of his own:


Of course the release of the new cultist models was really a godsend for my Traitor Guard: I chose to paint them all in matching colours. So even though they are looking like a rather ragtag bunch, they still read as a unified force and tie together with the rest of my Traitor Guard pretty well, as you can see.

So all in all, I feel that the time and money have been well spent on this little endeavour: I ended up with a force that was a blast to build and paint, plus I can use them in multiple ways, either as a part of my main 40k army, or on their own in smaller games. Some of the models could also make pretty convincing cameos in games of INQ28 or Necromunda (The Primaris Psyker and chaos cultists come to mind…).

So what’s on the horizon for Urash’s Marauders? I already told you that another squad of traitors is ready for painting. And I am currently working on the second squad of cultists from the Dark Vengeance box (expect some pictures of the conversions very soon…). That will give me about twenty more models to add to the force.

I also have a couple of leftover horses and riders from the WFB Marauder Horsemen in my bitzbox, so I may just end up building a squad of Rough Riders — to be perfectly honest, I am already dryfitting parts…

Beyond that, a squad of followers for the Nurgle champ could be interesting. Or some beastmen to be led by the Khorne guy. And what about Slaanesh? I may have to add another champion, to round things out. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll go and add a Valkyrie to the army one day. Not for the combat effectiveness, mind you: I just think that it’s a gorgeous model that would look great in my Traitor Guard colour scheme πŸ˜‰

Whatever will be next, though, the great part about this army is that it gives me lots of room for experimentation. And whenever I get tired of painting power armour (as every Marine player is wont to, from time to time), it’s always there to offer a nice change of pace.

If you want to know more about how this army was assembled, the different posts on Urash’s Marauders can be found here. I’d also love to hear your opinion on the army so far, so drop me comment!

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