Archive for the Uncategorized Category

Year’s End/Coming Soon…

Posted in Pointless ramblings, Uncategorized with tags on December 31, 2015 by krautscientist

Hey everyone,

my original plan was to publish the first part of the annual Eternal Hunt Awards today, but I am not quite ready yet, and I really want to make this small series of posts the best it can possibly be every year, so you’ll have to bear with me for a bit here. In all honesty, I am entirely to blame for this situation, since I was just too darn lazy and spent the Christmas holiday catching up on a couple of videogames that I didn’t have time for earlier this year (on a mostly unrelated note, Batman: Arkham Knight is indeed every bit as good as I expected).

Anyway, this leaves me with – mostly – empty hands for today, for which I apologise. Please be patient for a little while, and I’ll be right back with part one of my 2015 recap — and to prove that I haven’t been lazy all the time, here’s a picture of some more 30k World Eaters I painted during the last couple of days:

30k World Eaters test models (3)
In fact, here’s another small teaser picture showing you the models I have managed to finish this year — rest assured that we will be taking a closer look at my hobby ouput for 2015 in one of the next posts.

2015 models
But, like I said, that will have to wait for a bit. Until then, let me take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy new year! Wherever you may be in the world, give 2015 an appropriate sendoff and have a terrific 2016 — preferredly with many little plastic men in it 😉

So yeah, here’s to the new year! There’ll be more soon, so stay tuned!

Until then, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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“Don’t call me Firefist!”

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, Uncategorized, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 19, 2015 by krautscientist

A rather late post this week, for which I apologise, but I do have something new to show you! Let’s keep talking about the World Eaters for now, although we’ll be moving back towards the 40k time frame for a bit — you didn’t really think I’d forget my favourite guys in red and brass, just because I painted my first Heresy Era model, did you? 😉

A while ago, I showed you a conversion intended to represent Lheorvine Ukris, my favourite character from Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s The Talon of Horus. The entire book is amazing, taking Abaddon into a very interesting direction and actually showing the former first Captain of the Sons of Horus and later Warmaster of Chaos as the capable and charismatic leader we have been told about so often in the fluff.

Anyway, Lheorvine Ukris is a World Eater (which explains my sympathy), but he is also one of the coolest characters in the book, believably combining a fair amount of comic relief with some deeper character traits, such as the inner conflict between his need for brotherhood and loyalty and the madness brought on by the Butcher’s Nails (an overarching theme also present in ADB’s World Eaters-centred novel Betrayer). There’s also a surprising and slightly tragic twist to his backstory — how is it that ABD’s Khornate characters are always so surprisingly compelling? The same was also true for Uzas in the Night Lords Omnibus, come to think of it…

So, anyway, here’s the conversion I made for Lheor:

Lheorvine Ukris WIP (1)
Lheorvine Ukris WIP (3)
The legs of a Dark Vengeance Chosen and a Forgeworld torso (both kindly provided by Commissar Molotov earlier this year) formed the base of the conversion. I wanted the model to look bulky and menacing, and the recipe seemed to do the trick. In addition to that, I used a head from the AoS Wrathmongers, some beastman arms and, of course, a CSM heavy bolter, as well as some bitz and bobs.

The model was inspired both by Lheor’s description in the story as well as this piece of artwork, included with the limited edition of the novel:

Lheor_artwork
Some parts of the model are very close recreations of the art (the bare arms, the entire heavy bolter and some smaller details like the chain links dangling from the right pauldron), while with other areas, I aimed more for a general similarity in design and chose the bitz I liked best. The two areas where I actively departed from the artwork are the hands (my Lheor has the bare arms, but wears armoured gauntlets for a reason that will make sense to everyone who has read the book) and the breastplate (Lheorvine wears a loyalist’s winged skull motif both in the art and the book, yet I was too much in love with the archaic look of the Mk 3 breastplate Molotov sent me, plus the lightning emblem could also be seen as a callback to the plate’s loyalist origin).

When it came to painting the model, it was clear from the beginning that Lheorvine wouldn’t appear in my army as a canon character: By the time of the 41st millennium, he no longer wears the XII Legion colours, but has become a Black Legionnaire and member of the Ezhekarion. So I was free to treat the model as a “special guest star”, so to speak, which liberated me from having to adhere too closely to my usual recipe.

Which was really for the best, as my tried and true World Eaters recipe unfortunately relies one some OOP colours — which made Lheorvine the perfect guinea pig for experimenting with a new possible approach to painting World Eaters armour.

I am happy enough with the result, although there’s a certain looseness to the paintjob that wasn’t planned. That said, it suits the character rather nicely, I think. Anyway, without any further ado, here’s the model:

 

Lheorvine Ukris, “Firefist”
XII Legion warrior, born of Nuvir’s Landing. Leader of the Fifteen Fangs warband, and commander of the warship Jaws of the White Hound

Lheorvine Ukris (1)
“When Lheor’s boarding party arrived, they entered without ceremony or order. A pack of warriors among soldiers, walking without formation. Helms crested with stylised crowns wrought in the War God’s symbol regarded the chamber. Their brass-edged battle plate was the colour of blood on iron, showing the resealed cracks of endless repair and mismatched scavenging.
None of them made any pretense of sweeping the area with their bolters. Most didn’t even carry standard bolters; they held chainaxes in their hands, chained to their wrists, or carried massive rotor cannons slung over their shoulders (…)
Their leader carried a heavy bolter with the practiced grace of one born to the burden. This, he tossed in the gravity-less air to one of his underlings, and gestured for his men to remain by the southward entrance.
Before the war, he had been Centurion Lheorvine Ukris of the XII Legion’s 50th Heavy Support Company. I hadn’t known him then. Our association came in the years of dwelling within the Empire of the Eye.”

Aaron Dembski-Bowden, “The Talon of Horus”

Lheorvine Ukris (2)
Lheorvine Ukris (3)
Lheorvine Ukris (4)
Lheorvine Ukris (5)
Lheorvine Ukris (6)
Lheorvine Ukris (7)
Lheorvine Ukris (8)
So yeah, that’s my version of Lheorvine Ukris. You may have noticed that I swapped in a different right pauldron (kindly donated by Augustus b’Raass, by the way), as I really liked the even more archaic look. Oh, and I added a kill mark decal on the back of the heavy bolter,  since there is a throwaway line in Abaddon:Chosen of Chaos, mentioning how Lheor has taken to scratching kill marks on his armour in later years, so I thought this might be a nice shout out to that habit 😉

Oh, and before I forget, Lheor is really rather massive, by the way! Here’s a comparison picture with my recent 30k Legionary:

Lheorvine Ukris (10)
In closing, I would be remiss not to mention that I am not the only one who has built a model for Lheor: Both Flint13 and InsanePsychopath have created wonderful versions of the character — in fact, their models really sparked my own project, in a way. Anyway, I guess this goes to show that Aaron Dembski-Bowden has really managed to touch a nerve with this character, right?

So here’s to Lheor, one of the coolest World Eaters ever. Such a shame he had to become one of Abaddon’s lackeys (just kidding) 😉

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!

Lheorvine Ukris (9)

The more things change… — a look at the Khorne Bloodbound release

Posted in Chaos, Conversions, Uncategorized, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2015 by krautscientist

It has been a while since I last posted a review focusing on a new GW release, and I intend to change that today. Considering current RL circumstances, I hope you’ll bear with me when I choose something fairly close to my heart to get back into the swing of things. So let’s talk about the new Khorne Bloodbound kits today:

Khorne Bloodbound release (1)
Followers of the blood god really can’t complain: With every WFB or AoS chaos release, we have received a substantial addition to our toy box. I am quite aware that many non-Khornate chaos fans are rolling their eyes by now, seeing how Khorne seems to be getting all the love. And indeed, Khorne seems to be GW’s preferred fallback position whenever a new chaos release rolls around. For Age of Sigmar, this means that the Bloodbound have not only been elevated to a proper sub-faction, but they have also been the focus of the first wave of new chaos kits released for the revamped system. And while the Stormcast Eternals seem like GW’s attempt at radically re-envisioning the Empire by way of the Space Marines, the new Khorne kits hew far closer to the “traditional” chaos look. So, what do we get? Let’s take a look at each of the new kits in turn and also consider some of the possible conversion options. So sharpen your axe and step this way, please 😉

 

Skarbrand

Khorne Bloodbound release (4)
Well, this was certainly a pleasant surprise, seeing how Skarbrand has been on hobbyists’ short list to finally receive a proper model for quite a while now. So here he is — can the model live up to all the expectations?

It’s quite obvious that the Skarbrand kit allows GW to get some more mileage out of those Bloodthirster designs they must have done prior to the release of the new plastic kit, as there is an overall similarity in design between Skarbrand and the stock Bloodthirsters (both share the spiky butt cheeks, for one 😉 ). On the other hand, the new model deviates from the prior kit in several ways: There’s the very different pose, of course, making Skarbrand look like he’s taking a moment to bellow in rage at the enemy. In fact, the pose is really rather excellent and one of my favourite parts about the model: While it does maintain some forward momentum, it really adds some presence to the character. And it also works rather beautifully with the twin axes wielded by Skarbrand.

Khorne Bloodbound release (5)

The other very noticeable thing about the model, and one of the aspects that define the character, is the pair of tattered, torn wings. And I think GW’s designers have done a rather nice job on this particular part of the model:

Khorne Bloodbound release (7)
Keeping most of the bones intact and limiting the damage to the wing membranes was a pretty good move, if you ask me: The design avoids the lopsided look you see on many Skarbrand conversions. Andwhile the wings still have a vestigial, damaged look to them, they do add some presence to the model. I also like the idea of having spiked chains between the bones: Is that some kind of additional torture, one has to wonder, or Skarbrand’s own attempt at making his damaged wings more presentable…?

The model also has some rather heavy scarring on the right side of the face. Let’s not get into the metaphysics of this too much (do daemons have bones in the first place? Aren’t they just warp energies given form…?), and rather focus on the actual design: While I like the broken horns, the flayed face may just be a bit much. Then again, I love how the ‘Eavy Metal team chose to paint the right eye as white and – possibly – blind:

Khorne Bloodbound release (9)
And there’s the beard, of course. I’ll be honest with you: I am not a fan. But it should be easy enough to just leave it off or use it as a braid of hair on virtually any big model, so I’ll let it slide.

Khorne Bloodbound release (11)
The twin axes are very nice and daemonic in design — the organic aspect really fits for a Greater Daemon, and I also like how they are far shorter and more hatchet-like than the axes the stock Bloodthirster gets. And while they are pretty ornate, they still seem workmanlike enough to work, from a visual standpoint. They also rather beautifully complement Skarbrand’s pose, as mentioned above.

And one more thing that differentiates Skarbrand from the stock Bloodthirster: a (mostly) custom set of armour plates, giving us yet another set of options for our Bloodthirsters’ wardrobes 😉

Khorne Bloodbound release (10)The armour looks great, too — I’ll even forgive that one skull playfully wedged into the eye socket of a skull ornament, there 😉 Anyway, the slightly more ornate look seems fitting for a daemon that used to be one of Khorne’s most exalted champions.

Seen on its own, the model is really cool and makes for a fitting centre piece for every Khornate army — the fact that it doubles as both an AoS and a 40k release is a nice bonus, of course.

Things really get interesting, however, when taking a closer look at the Skarbrand sprue: In additon to the actual parts needed to build Skarbrand, you also get a fair bit of stock Bloodthirster parts in the box:

Khorne Bloodbound release (14)
Khorne Bloodbound release (13)
For the record, you get the alternate pair of legs, two alternate heads and most of the weapons of the stock ‘Thirster. The undamaged wings, alternate armour pieces, third head and two-handed axe seem to be unaccounted for, though.

In any case, this should allow you to build either Skarbrand or your own, custom Bloodthirster, with additional parts from the stock kit multiplying the options even further, right? Well, yes and no: While you can make some changes to Skarbrand and use some of Skarbrand’s parts on your stock Bloodthirster, the kits are unfortunately not 100% compatible. Fellow hobbyist Khorga informs me that the running legs, for instance, are not really compatible with Skarbrand’s custom armour, while the amour plates from the stock kit, in turn, don’t fit together too well with Skarbrand’s standing legs. At the same time, depending on which pair of arms you use, the shape of the wing sockets on the model’s back will change accordingly, so not every set of arms will work with both sets of wings. While this shouldn’t present accomplished converters with any unsolvable problems, it would still have been nice to have all the parts compatible with one another — or even to have a kit that will make Skarbrand and all of the three stock ‘Thirster variants? Granted, that may have been to much wishlisting. But with today’s kits being so meticulously planned, it seems like having all the parts fit together wouldn’t have been that much more complicated for the designers.

Another piece of criticism frequently leveled at Skarbrand (as well as the stock Bloodthirsters, for that matter) is the models’ size: Quite a few hobbyists feel that these beasts should be quite a bit bigger. I am honestly not as bothered by the size issue, though: I think GW’s designers have managed to imbue both Skarbrand and his brethren with a sense of presence and brutality that makes them look as though they could go toe to toe with an Imperial Knight and still come out on top. If there is one size issue that bothers me, it’s that Skarbrand used to be the most powerful of Khorne’s Bloodthirsters, yet he’s about half the size of this guy…? Talk about a pint-sized powerhouse, right there! 😉

Khorne Bloodbound release (12)But that’s not really a major concern, and in spite of such minor quibbles, what we have here is a rather stunning model, and possibly the star of this release. Would I have enjoyed a huge multi-optional kit for Skarbrand and each of the ‘Thirster variants? You bet! But this is what we get, and it’s still pretty great, if you ask me.

 

Exalted Deathbringer

Khorne Bloodbound release (15)
Whoa, that’s a pretty big guy, isn’t he? One of the new Khornate characters is quite interesting in how the model seems to blur the line between mortal and immortal servant of Khorne: He’s not quite a daemon yet, but also no longer purely mortal either. At the same time, the overall look of the model did remind me of a souped-up version of the priest from the warshrine kit.

Anyway, I like the model well enough, mostly for the excellent detail work adorning both the armour and the bare skin of the piece. I also really like that bestial face!

Khorne Bloodbound release (21)
If I have one gripe, the weapons seem a tad too gimmicky for my taste: That axe is just a bit too cumbersome, maybe, and definitely an acquired taste, for one. And it really wouldn’t make any sense to have skull trophies dangling from there, would it…?

Beyond that, the only thing that really doesn’t sit well with me is that topknot — in fact, the quickest way to make the model look much cooler would be to either significantly shorten the topknot…

Khorne Bloodbound release (17)
…or lose it altogether:

Khorne Bloodbound release (18)
In fact, without a topknot, the model looks like an even more grimdark version of Darkness from the seminal fantasy flick Legend. I wonder if that was intentional…?

A look at the sprue reveals that the model is versatile enough to allow for at least some customisation:

Khorne Bloodbound release (22)
Want to make your Deathbringer look less daemonic and more human? Just drop the stock head and swap in something more marauder-y. Need the claw or the axe for a different model? The world’s your oyster! And by the same token, it should also be possible to swap in an alternate set of weapons for use on the Deathbringer. The fairly open pose of the model should make converting it very easy.

All in all, I rather like this guy. He may not be super-original, but he does explore GW’s usual chaos look from a slightly new angle by blending mortal and daemonic characteristics. Plus the model’s versatility is really nice. Probably my favourite of the new Khornate plastic characters!

 

Slaughterpriest

Khorne Bloodbound release (23)Hmm, now this is an interesting case… Let’s not get into the fact that this guy doesn’t really all that much like a priest to begin with —
because you might argue that Khorne is not a deity to be worshipped at a temple or church, but rather through the act of war itself. What instantly struck me about the model is that it does look fairly different from what we are used to — in fact, it doesn’t even really look like a GW model, does it? My immediate reaction was that it seemed like a piece from a different manufacturer (Rackham comes to mind, or the designs you would see in Dark Age.

Sure, it does have enough Khorne symbols and skulls on it to convince us that it does indeed belong. But there are parts of it that really recall several other manufacturers: a certain lankiness when it comes to the model’s proportions, the design of the face…

Khorne Bloodbound release (24)
In fact, I really rather like the face, to be honest. And the fact that the model doesn’t immediately read as standard GW fare doesn’t have to be a problem in and of itself, of course! I just cannot shake the feeling that this guy doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of the family…

Beyond that, it’s certainly a cool looking model! Once again, the detailing is amazing all around:

Khorne Bloodbound release (25)
There’s a dubious design decision or two, though: Why have those horns emerge from the model’s spine? Why have them at all, if you don’t want them on the head? Wouldn’t that be really impractical (and rather uncomfortable as well)?

Anyway, a closer look at the sprue shows that the model might be slightly less flexible when it comes to conversions, but much of that has to do with the specific pose and the two-handed weapon, of course:

Khorne Bloodbound release (26)All in all, I have to admit that I haven’t yet made up my mind regarding this guy: He does stick out a bit, yet there’s also something interesting about the model’s different style that I find rather intriguing. Hmm…

 

 

Skullgrinder

Khorne Bloodbound release (27)
Ah, here we are, back in far safer territory. As a matter of fact, it’s actually rather surprising that it took GW as long as this to make the connection between Khorne and some blacksmith, forge god archetypes. But here we are at last: The Blood God’s very own sinister blacksmith. Huzzah! 🙂

Where the Slaughterpriest almost seemed like a non-GW model, the Skullgrinder looks oddly familiar. But then, it has so many hallmarks of GW’s Khornate design: the bunny eared helmet (with a lovely, somewhat perplexed, expression, if you asked me). The heavy armour. The dangling skulls and icons.

Khorne Bloodbound release (28)
And of course, the weapon on a chain, something that seems to be becoming a defining characteristic of many Khornate models for AoS:

Khorne Bloodbound release (29)
I certainly hope he’s not using that thing for any actual smithing, though — not only should it make for a rather uneven performance, but it also seems like it would wreak havoc on any matters of occupational safety… 😉

Yet once again, there’s something bothering me, although I cannot quite put my finger on it. Maybe the model just seems like a slightly formulaic treatment of the subject matter — like they mostly wanted to tick off a box here. “Murderous Blacksmith archetype? Yep, got that one. Moving on.”

Once again, the rather complicated pose means that you’ll have to plan ahead a bit when converting the Skullgrinder. At the same time, some of the bitz (the weapon and head, in particular) are interesting enough, so I think we should expect to see them on other models before long.

Khorne Bloodbound release (31)
This guy is a Khornate model alright, but he also seems like the least interesting out of the three. Is it just me? Or would it indeed have been possible to do more with the blacksmith archetype — speaking of which: While not call this guy Warsmith or Wrathsmith or something that doesn’t involve the word “skull” for once? Oh well… 😉

 

 

Bloodreavers

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Now these are the Marauders we have wanted for at least a couple of years, wouldn’t you agree? I think it’s consensus that the vintage plastic Marauder kit has adged pretty badly by now (although some of the bitz are still rather useful, make no mistake!), while the more recent kits like the Marauder Horsemen hinted at much more pleasing chaotic barbarians. And now we get the Bloodreavers, and I really have to say I like them a lot!

Khorne Bloodbound release (33)
These guys are bullish and warlike and just seem very fittingly brutal and tribal for the job! They also look dangerous enough to hld their own against the more heavily armoured followers of chaos, visually.

Bloodreavers were one of the unit types that came in the Age of Sigmar boxed set, so it’s interesting to see inhowfar these multipart models move beyond the snapfit pieces from that box. And I think the Bloodreavers do a rather good job in this respect, staying true to the overall design while adding some interesting new touches, such as the two-handed weapons and the bigger amount of bare heads:

Khorne Bloodbound release (34)

In fact, some of those heads are especially nice and flavourful (and would work brilliantly on World Eaters, if you ask me). At the same time, I also like the very stripped-down, brutal looking helmets.

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At their best, these guys are just as menacing as you would want your mad, bloodthirsty barbarians to be. And without any of the Barbie doll anatomy (especially where the shoulders are concerned) that plagued the old Marauder kit. Some of the models are just brilliant:

Khorne Bloodbound release (38)
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The kit is not without its awkward parts, though. Some of the poses do seem a bit static and unnatural. Like the guy in the bottom left here:

Khorne Bloodbound release (35)Or that strange, double-sided dagger wielded by the champion. Whoever thought that looked cool?

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All in all, however, I really like these guys! They manage to move beyond the starter box Bloodreavers, presenting some interesting new options and some pretty wicked sculpts. And you get twenty of them in the kit, so what’s not to like?

 

Blood Warriors

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Here’s the other unit type featured in the AoS starter box, also rendered as a multipart plastic kit. And while I don’t want to get ahead of myself, I would argue that these models don’t fare quite as well as the Bloodreavers. Let’s take a closer look:

Khorne Bloodbound release (43)

Okay, first things first: Like the models that came with the AoS starter books, the multipart Blood Warriors make for some heavily armoured, quite sinister and very Khornate infantry — so far so good! The detail work is, once again, excellent, with every armour beautifully detailed and adorned with suitably Khornate elements. The amount of different heads is truly staggering, with a pretty big collection of Khornate helmets, as well as some bare variants:

Khorne Bloodbound release (45)

I especially like the bitz used to make up both the unit champion and standard bearer: The champ is such a characterful model, don’t you think?

Khorne Bloodbound release (50)I would never have expected to ever get fed up with axes — but I would have appreciated a sword or two in the kit, if only for some visual variety. Sure, all of the models have the option of equipping the new gorefists or a pair of axes, but a sword or two would have been nice. Speaking of which, the special weapons option here seems to be the, strangely Klingon-like, “Goreglaive” — which tries a bit too hard to be awesome for my taste…

Khorne Bloodbound release (51)That is a particularly lovely helmet, though!

The models generally try to approximate the design outline set down by the snapfit models from the starter kit, with the different helmet designs and optional bare arms the only visual elements to distinguish them. They do seem slightly less …sophisticated, for lack of a better word, than the starter box models, though. Granted, a pre-posed model will have a pretty good chance of looking more dramatic and impressive than a model built from a multipart kit, but it’s fairly noticeable here. There are also some strangely awkward elements about the kit: The aforementioned “Klingon axe”, some of the bare arms or the strange way the chains on the icon bearer’s standard interact with gravity…

In spite of these concerns, the kit remains very versatile and interesting — especially from a kitbasher’s perspective. This seems like the new, comprehensive toolkit for building heavily armoured Khorne dudes, and it should also provide you with many, many bitz to accessorise your World Eaters, Khorne berzerkers, Khornate Chaos Space Marines, Chaos Knights, regular WoC or what have you.

And still, while the kit is pretty cool, it somehow seems less interesting to me than the Bloodreavers — and it certainly brings fewer new elements to the table when compared with the Blood Warriors contained in the starter box. Still, I suppose this will turn into a more or less compulsory purchase for each Khorne player at some point.

 

Conversion ideas

So much for the different kits — but what about the conversion potential? I think it’s pretty obvious that these new kits will mostly come in handy for chaos players, particularly for those running any kind of Khornate army and/or warband. So what are my first ideas after taking a closer look at the new kits?

Skarbrand

  • The most othe obvious conversion use for the kit would be to make a more interesting, customised Bloodthirster — while keeping in mind the aforementioned difficulties when combining Skarbrand and stock Bloodthirster bitz. Even so, with a sharp knife, some GS and a slightly adventurous spirit, the two available Bloodthirster kits should provide converters with quite a few options to make a really unique greater daemon of Khorne.
  • Speaking of which: I think Skarbrand would also make a very nice base model for a conversion of Angron in his incarnation as a Daemon Primarch: The pose is really fitting for the character, and I think the more ornate armour should also work like a charm. In fact, I really don’t understand why we haven’t yet seen any Angron conversions based on the new Bloodthirster kits — maybe it’s time to change that…?!
  • Whichever option you choose, the kit will also provide some nice additional bitz for your Daemon Prince or Chaos Lord. Since you get quite a few of the stock Bloodthirster bitz as part of the deal, there’s nothing stopping you from, say, making your Daemon Prince look more Khornate. And some of the weapons might look good on a daemon engine or even on a Chaos Knight — in fact, most of the ideas I’ve outlined in my review of the stock Bloodthirster kit also apply to Skarbrand!

Exalted Deathbringer

  • I think the model would make for a rather nice alternate Herald of Khorne — especially in a 40k daemon army, where the danger of confusing the model for something else wouldn’t be as big. But the rather daemonic look of this guy, in addition to his bulk, would really make him look the part!
  • Or he could become a mutant overlord — either for your LatD force with a Khornate twist or for an INQ28 chaos warband. Speaking of the latter options, he would also make for a great chaotic high priest with a few touchups.
  • Or, basically the most straightforward option: Make the model a bit less daemonic and use it as a World Eaters arena champion — not unlike my own conversion for Vorl Dustwalker.

Slaughterpriest

  • I somehow get the feeling that this guy might end up as one of the chief suspects when it comes to converting a kit from the new release. I don’t even have all that many ideas about him yet, seeing how I yet need to make up my mind about him, but I think there will be quite a few conversions of the Slaughterpriest in the future, mark my words. Here, let me share my very first idea from just a second ago: What about thinking of that hideous spine painted in metal? That would give him a distinct “Mean Machine” vibe. Now just slap on a monstrous power claw, and you are already half way towards a very sinister looking pitslave champion. Just a though…

Bloodreavers

These guys should be very versatile conversion fodder. Just off the top of my head…

  • …they could be used as some very beefy and intimidating chaos cultists, obviously. Just slap on some autopistols, and you’re golden 😉
  • these would be brilliant as pitslaves! Just shave off the Khorne icons and add some heavy duty power tools and augmetics to them — done. They have the bulk. They have the scars. The rest shouldn’t be much work.
  • And while we are leaning towards the more loyalist (or at least, slightly less chaotic) side of things: Don’t you think these guys would make for some pretty convincing gland war veterans? I mean they certainly look like they have been beefed up via unsavory means. I mean, they could possibly be used to build any kind of barbarian IG troopers hailing from a feudal world, but I think they would be excellent as gland war veterans à la Inquisitor’s Sergeant Stone.
  • With a bit of conversion work, especially where the legs are concerned, these could be used to build some excellent, bare-chested, gladiatorial World Eaters — in fact, had these guys been available at the time, they would probably have been the perfect base models for my own Gladiatorii.
  • And finally, the bitz from the kit would work wonderfully on both Pre and post-Heresy World Eaters: I think the faces really have the kind of personality you want on your blood-crazed madmen. Some of the brutal looking helmets might also be pretty cool on World Eaters officers. And a bare arm here and there would also make for a cool eyecatcher. If I ever get a box of these (and I will, eventually), expect to see the leftover bitz used in this way 😉

Blood Warriors

As I’ve said before, I think these guys will become one of the new go-to kits when it comes to building Khornate models.

  • They could be used as Khornate Chaos Space Marines and/or World Eaters with a bit of work (or barely any conversion work, depending on how adventurous you’re feeling). Face it, slaughter-brothers and -sisters: This is the closest we will ever come to a new plastic Khorne berzerker kit 😉
  • And basically all of the bitz will certainly be in high demand for (Khornate) chaos armies all over the place: Expect to see all the extra heads and weapons on AoS Chaos Warriors and Chaos Knights, 40k Chaos Space Marines, Chaos Lords or Khorne Berzerkers.

 

So, what about this release on the whole? I have to say that I basically have two reactions to this release:

As a World Eaters fan (and a hobbyist still hopelessly in love with the Khornate design, even after all these years), I consider this a rock-solid release that provides lots and lots of new toys and several very interesting new toolkits. I now have more options than ever, and it won’t surprise you to hear that my hands are already itching when I look at some of those delicious bitz.

As a hobbyist in general, I cannot help but be a bit less impressed. Sure, all of this is high-quality work, but it also hardly treads any new ground. Which is why I can perfectly understand why some people are growing fed up with the seeming deluge of Khornate kits.

So, what to make of it all?

It seems very obvious that the Bloodbound are GW’s attempt at creating a faction that “plays it safe”, relatively speaking: These models could be used just as well in vintage WFB, and the design of the new kits is close enough to the older Khornate kits released over the last couple of years — and maye this was really a conscious decision, taken not so much from laziness, but rather from the attempt at providing something people are familiar with? Think about it: Yes the Stormcast Eternals are very similar to Space Marines in some respect, but they are also a fairly radical change of direction for GW’s fantasy setting. Maybe they did want to be the other faction included in the starter (and expanded upon in the following release) to be closer to something fans of vintage WFB could relate to?

In any case, if you are a fan of Khorne, you’re in luck: You have so many new toys now, and most of them are pretty cool. Some are even rather awesome! If, however, you find Khorne uninteresting and boring, these kits will do little to change your mind.

 

What’s your take on the Khorne Bloodbound? Do you love ’em or hate ’em? Is there anything you would like to share, or a conversion idea I didn’t think of? I’d be happy to hear from you in the comments section!

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

300,000 views — and so much to do!

Posted in Chaos, Pointless ramblings, Uncategorized, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , on November 6, 2014 by krautscientist

300000views

Hey everyone, even though I am crazy busy this week, I just wanted to let you know that last week, my dear blog, Eternal Hunt, finally reached 300,000 views last week. While that number may still not qualify as all that impressive, I am still rather proud of this achievement — who would have expected that amount of traffic back when I started this blog with a measly post back in 2012? Certainly not me!

I mean, seriously, 300,000 views: Even after subtracting all the times I’ve hit F5 myself, that’s still quite a lot. And it’s not only the number that I am proud of, but also the amount of great hobby moments that are inextricably linked with this blog!

So to all those who keep reading this stuff, who comment, who follow this blog, who keep sending me bitz and suffer my atrociously punny post titles: Thank you so much! You rock!

And I’m not even the only one who’s happy: Here’s what the members of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt did to celebrate when I told them the news:

The Red Tide 02

Happy hunting, guys! You’ve earned it! Looks like a orbital bombardment may be in order…

So, like I said, I am really busy at the moment, and I regret not having time for a beefier update — but don’t fret, more substantial content is on the way: I am currently preparing a thorough writeup about the ins and outs of the End Times Nurgle release that will go up next week, at the latest. And it goes without saying that I have been tirelessly cutting up little plastic men, so expect some news on that front as well.

Until then, though, thank you so much for frequenting my little corner of the interwebz! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Inquisitor 28: Kitbashing spree pt. 1 – With Fire and Sword

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 14, 2014 by krautscientist

Ever since I’ve managed to complete my World Eaters Lord on juggernaut, I have been in the clutches of a veritable, INQ28 related kitbashing spree, building model after model — let’s just hope I’ll manage to get some of these painted at some point! 😉

Anyway, over the next couple of posts, I would like to show you the models I have come up with during this pleasant burst of inspiration. As usual, many of these have been hammered into completion through the very helpful feedback of fellow hobbyists on the forums I frequent, so a heartfelt thank you to anyone who helped me sorting out the smaller kinks on these pieces.

Anyway, for today, let’s forego the shadowy side of the Inquisitor universe in favour of some more ostentatious servants of the Emperor:

 

I. A pair of colleagues

Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor WIP (15)
One thing I did was to touch up a pair of Inquisitors that I had already built a rather long time ago. Upon closer inspection, it seems I have never shared them here on the blog, so that alone should be enough reason to talk about them 😉 So let’s take a closer look:

The first of the two was built to be instantly recognisable as a psyker: By choosing bitz of psionic equipment like a warding staff and psychic hood and by trying to look him tall and gaunt, I believe succeeded at communicating that idea. Take a look:

Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor WIP (5)
Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor WIP (6)
Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor WIP (7)
As you can see, the kitbash itself is fairly straightforward, with an upper body mostly made from GK plastic parts combined with the robed legs of the WFB Chaos Sorcerer. But while I had originally used GK shoulder pads on this guy, PDH rightly pointed out that those made him look a tad too much like an Astartes, so I replaced them with some Chaos Marauder shoulder pads for a less “Marine-y” look. This also had the coincidental side effect of making the model look quite a bit like a piece of artwork in the Inquisitor rulebook, but this wasn’t planned.

In order to further obscure the GK origins, I improvised a nonstandard “power plant” for the model’s back, combining the lower half of a GK backpack with some tanks from a Vraksian Renegade Militia soldier:

Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor WIP (9)
The other Inquisitor was designed to be pretty much the polar opposite of the psyker: I wanted a bulky, ostentatious, very physical type, inspired by characters like Witch Hunter Tyrus or Inquisitor Coteaz:

Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor WIP (10)
Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor WIP (11)
Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor WIP (12)
Again, a couple of Marine and GK bitz are very much at the centre of this conversion. So I tried once more to prevent the model from looking too much like an Astartes by combining the Marine bitz with stuff from different sources: The legs came from the WFB chaos warriors, and I added a couple of additional armour plates (the shoulder pad based on a radar array was inspired by a similar conversion in the old Codex Witch Hunters, by the way). And I added a half cape over the model’s shoulder, making use of possibly the last part I had left over from the Chaos Lord on Manticore rider bitz 😉

Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor WIP (13)
All in all, this guy is a real beefcake, but back then, it was a lot of fun to build an Inquisitor who wasn’t a gaunt, shadowy figure for once.

While I have not yet decided which Ordo these two will belong to (I suppose it’ll be a neck and neck between Malleus and Hereticus), I definitely think they have some chemistry together: There’s certainly a bit of a “brains and brawn” thing going on, don’t you think?

Maybe, these two work together as a team, hunting down rogue Inquisitors and Heretics. It might also be  interesting to have them be far more divided than is apparent at first glance: Maybe the bombastic, monodominant Witch Hunter secretly detests his colleague for his reliance on the powers of the warp? Maybe the Psyker has discovered he has a taste for the more radical rituals and pratices? Maybe they are the estranged former pupils of a common master, now brought back into an uneasy alliance by circumstances beyond their control? In any case, there could be some delicious friction between the two…

 

II. A Sister of Battle

The next model I want to show you today came together surprisingly quickly and was a ton of fun to convert. But I am getting ahead of myself! Let me start by telling you that I have a huge soft spot for the Adepta Sororitas and think it’s a crying shame that GW have shown them so little attention over the last years. For me, the Sisters of Battle are one of the most eclectic and quirky elements of 40k, and one of the things that really sells the setting as something different and interesting. The Sisters are iconic and recognisable and – rather surprisingly, both for GW and wargaming in general – not a highly sexualised depiction of female characters (let’s just forget the Sisters Repentia for now, because they clearly aren’t all that sexy, unless you are that way inclined…). Maybe that’s why the Sisters aren’t selling enough models to warrant a substantial new release?

Anyway, long story short, I have wanted to build a Sister of Battle for my INQ28 collection for quite a while now, and after having converted a small squad of Sisters of Silence for my Custodes, I was reasonably confident that it could be done, and could be done in plastic, no less. So a short time ago, I picked up a leftover Dark Eldar Kabalite Warrior and a couple of bitz and built this model:

Sister Kitbash (5)
Sister Kitbash (7)
Sister Kitbash (8)
I am really happy with the model, to tell you the truth, even though I clearly recognise that it’s not without its faults: For the head, I had to fall back on the one plastic Sororita head available (from the Sisters of Battle vehicle conversion kit, I believe), resulting in a head that might be ever so slightly too big for the body. The backpack may be a bit too bulky as well, although I am actually rather proud of the actual build for that part.

All in all, even though it may be a slightly flawed model, I am enormously fond of it, if only because it was entirely built from plastic parts, without any actual sculpting involved. And I hope that a classic Sisters of Battle paintjob will go the rest of the way towards selling the model.

Sister Kitbash (6)

III. An Angel of Death

And, last but definitely not least, let me show you my latest conversion (and a model I am immensely proud of):

I imagine most of you will have heard about a certain trend of “truescaling” or “art scaling” Space Marines. Not to delve too deeply into this discussion, but the main argument behind this movement is that the scale of the actual Space Marine models doesn’t fit the depiction of Marines in the art and written background published by GW: While the Marines in the art and fluff come across as veritable titans, much taller and wider than any mere man, an actual Marine on the table will often literally see eye to eye with any Cadian or Chaos Cultist.

So quite a few hobbyists are going the “true scale” route, converting and/or resculpting their Marines to be closer to the depictions in the background. And while I am perfectly happy with the scale of Marine models in my regular 40k army (for practicality reasons, if for nothing else), the wonderful world of Inquisitor provided the perfect excuse for building at least one true scale Astartes.

You see, one of the things the original 54mm Inquisitor models truly excelled at was to communicate the fact that people come in all shapes and sizes: While most infantry models for 40k will usually be scaled to equal size, the 54mm Inquisitor models represented a wide range of heights and builds — and Brother Artemis, the Space Marine model released for Inquisitor, was definitely the tallest and most imposing guy in the catalogue.

And with the focus on making individual models look as good as possible in INQ28, I think we should also try to incorporate that variety in heigth and build into the smaller scale, even though it means more work. And while there’s admittedly not that much use for a Space Marine in INQ28, I still wanted to build one, both due to the challenge involved and because such a character would fit into the background for my little slice of the galaxy.

Now actually building the model turned out to be a veritable odyssey: Everything started when I saw Commissar Molotov’s Deathwatch Marine many moons ago:

Deathwatch Astartes by Commissar Molotov

Deathwatch Marine converted by Commissar Molotov and painted by ElDiablo

Molotov himself may no longer be all that fond of this model, but ut really served as a trailblazer for me in that it convinced me that building and painting a truescale Marine would be a very worth hobby endeavour! And indeed, I started kitbashing right away (back in 2011), coming up with this:

Truescale early WIP 01
But while it may have been a valiant first effort, the model didn’t convince me, even back then: The proportions were a bit off, the legs were clearly Terminator legs, and I feared I would have to get my feet wet using GS to sort out the build of the model. So this first test model was scrapped, and I put the project on the back burner, there to simmer for a while…

And simmer it did: Whenever I saw my fellow hobbyists come up with amazing truescale Marines of their own, their work would prove to be both inspiring and intimidating to me: Inspiring because it gave me the motivation to take another shot at my own model, intimidating because all those models always seemed so much cooler than what I could come up with.

There are many, many cool truescale projects out there, so naming favourites seems a bit unfair, but let me at least mention the models that proved the most inspiring (and/or intimidating) to me: Jeff Vader came up with a wonderful series of truescale Marines, but I couldn’t get his recipe to work for me, much as I tried. The Strike Force Helmawr project proved tantalising, showing not one but many, many true scale models (and convincing me I could never pull it off). Bruticus’s amazing Sun Titan Space Marine made me salivate at the mouth and gnash my teeth at the same time, because the model and backstory were fairly close to what I had been planning for my own model (on a related note, the model is made even better by the wonderfully grimdark background provided here and here). And there was always migsula with his outstanding Alpha Legionaries, of course, but I knew right away that I myself could not hope to aspire to something as lofty as that 😉

Meanwhile, I made another attempt at building my own truescale Marine:

Truescale early WIP 02
But while the model did feel like an improvement over the first version, the look I wanted still wasn’t there. Would I be forever unable to come up with a suitable Astartes for my INQ28 collection?

What finally pushed me over the edge to try it yet again were Jeff Vader’s Deathwatch Marine (using a GK Terminator torso instead of that of a regular Marine, something I hadn’t even considered before) and Ukos’s really nice and clean truescale model (also using plastic Terminator parts). So, last weekend, I gave it yet another try, and this time I persevered:

Brother_Sergeant_Auriga
In hindsight, it’s truly baffling how quickly the model’s body came together after all that prior deliberation. The main challenge was to get the proportions to look plausible enough, but I think I have finally managed to make it work! As for the parts used, the legs came from a FW Tartaros Terminator (I’d probably always recommend these over regular Terminator legs, because their design means that they won’t need any additional greenstuffing to look accurate), while the torso and arms are from the Grey Knight piloting the Nemesis Dreadknight. I also added shoulder pads from the Sternguard kit and a particularly arrogant looking head from the Vanguard kit. Oh, and the cap of a felt pen provided the plasticard collar I needed to make the armour work — another good piece of advice for lazy people like me 😉

After the main build had been sorted out, it came to making the armour look less utilitarian and more ostentatious and baroque. I quickly found out that I couldn’t add nearly as much bitz and bobs as I would have liked, and I really had to reign myself in so as not too overclutter the model’s silhouette! Anyway, here’s the model with added gear and decoration:

Brother_Sergeant_Auriga04
In addition to providing a bit of extra bling, some pouches and grenades were used to bulk out the hips and help create the illusion of “correct” proportions.

The final step was to add weapons to the model, and I clearly knew I wanted this guy to be wielding a sword and a pistol of some sort. And while I had several options for either, in the end it turned out that many of the possible weapons weren’t useable because they would have looked like mere toys in the hands of this huge model — a very real complication with truescale models!

In the end I settled on a FW plasma pistol and a Grey Knight power sword. And with that, the conversion was completed. I give you Brother Sergeant Janus Auriga, of the Golden Legion Astartes Chapter:

Brother Sergeant Auriga (7)
Brother Sergeant Auriga (6)
Brother Sergeant Auriga (5)
Brother Sergeant Auriga (4)
Brother Sergeant Auriga (3)
Brother Sergeant Auriga (2)
And, of course, no post about a true scale Marine would be complete with a scale comparison shot showing the model next to one of its “regular” counterparts. Take a look:

Brother Sergeant Auriga (8)
Quite a beast, don’t you think? 🙂

I won’t lied to you: I am super happy with the finished model, especially since it has taken me such a long time to come up with a true scale Astartes of my own! Since I don’t plan on building any more TS Marines, I knew that I should give it my all on this guy — and I did 😉

Brother Sergeant Auriga (1)

So yeah, those are the first results of my recent INQ28 kitbashing spree. As usual, I would love to hear any feedback, suggestions or criticism you might have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, Uncategorized, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 22, 2013 by krautscientist

There I was, thinking that my holiday vacation would give me more time for hobby-related stuff, but so far all the Christmas preparations have rendered this hope null and void — out of the frying pan and into the fire, so to speak.

Fear not, though, because I am in the priviledged position of letting other hobbyists do my work for me. For today’s update, I’d like to show you glimpses at two highly inpirational hobby projects that double as crowning hobby moments of awesome for me – but we’ll get to that in a minute…

 

1. “Mini Me”

You may already have heard of Brother Heinrich’s amazing Night Lords thread over at The Bolter and Chainsword, and I already mentioned that Heinrich was awesome enough to immortalise various hobbyists as models in his army (I chose to repay the favour by turning him into one of my Brazen Hunters). Anyway, Brother Heinrich has been hard at work for the last few weeks, and so I can now proudly present a miniature version of me serving in the Night Lords’ 15th company under the nom de guerre of Brother Berias. Check this out:

Night Lord weapon teams by Brother Heinrich (1)

Models built and painted by Brother Heinrich

I am the guy on the right, rocking that awesome custom Reaper Autocannon. On the left you can see the Night Lords avatar of fellow hobbyist Dragonkin Arenis, now my partner in bloodshed for the millennia to come.

models built and painted by Brother Heinrich

models built and painted by Brother Heinrich

Not only do I love the weapon and choice of helmet, but my favourite part may be the half-deathmask Brother Heinrich painted onto the model’s helmet. Take a look:

models built and painted by Brother Heinrich

models built and painted by Brother Heinrich

Together with three other weapon teams, these guys will be used as counts-as Obliterators in Heinrich’s army — a perfect way of representing that particular choice, if you ask me! Here’s the merry little band of rascals:

Night Lord weapon teams by Brother Heinrich (4)
And while the models are amazing enough on their own, 1000Heathens also did a killer job on the accompanying piece of background he wrote. So be sure to check it out, along with the rest of this stunning force, over at Heinrich’s B&C thread. And, of course, a huge thank you for Brother Heinrich for this fantastic opportunity!

 

2. Images from a past life

Now this second thing is just as awesome, and for slightly similar reasons. Fellow German hobbyist AgnostosTheos has been building and painting one of the most impressive Pre-Heresy World Eaters armies on the net. And while I myself have no ambition to start a pre-heresy Astartes army (or rather, yet another one next to my kitbashed Custodes), I couldn’t help but wonder what “30k” versions of the characters making up Khorne’s Eternal Hunt would look like. So I approached AgnostosTheos and asked him whether he was game for a small experiment: Would he be interested in building some 30k versions of my characters for his army? Being an all around nice guy, he agreed.

And now imagine my happiness when he just posted the first two characters just the other day. So let me show you both of these characters, with their background as well as their 30k and 40k versions, respectively. Here we go:

Brother Marax by AgnostosTheos (1)

model built and painted by AgnostosTheos

Brother Marax the Fallen

When Lorimar ascended to the rank of captain of the 4th assault company, brother Marax stood at his side. Likewise, during the years of the Great Crusade, he proved to be a loyal retainer, time and time again.

But after Marax had undergone the psychosurgical treatments introduced to the legion by its primarch Angron, he began to change. The occasions when Marax would succumb to frenzy and insatiable bloodlust on the field of battle grew ever more frequent. But the negative effects of this development were ignored, for Marax had become an insurmountable warrior. While the World Eaters grew more and more fervent in their worship of Khorne, Marax was one of those who welcomed the bloody rituals. During all this time, Lorimar kept his brother under close scrutiny, for he feared what Marax might become. Though he was a force of nature on the battlefield, his frenzy made him more and more difficult to control.

The Skalathrax campaign, during which the legion tore itself apart in a single night, marked the decisive point in the tale of Marax.  After Kharn the Betrayer had begun the senseless slaughter, Lorimar had to use all of his authority to keep at least his company together as an organised force. But amidst the chaos of blood and flame, he was opposed by Marax. The once loyal battle brother considered Lorimar’s refusal of bloody slaughter to be treason and threw himself at his captain, filled with daemonic rage.

While the World Eaters were tearing each other apart, Lorimar and Marax were locked in a fight for life and death of their own.
Marax was an unfathomably powerful warrior, and his anger transformed him into a whirlwind of destruction, but in the end, it was his rage that spelt his doom: He fell for a feint and was almost cut in two by Lorimar’s axe. The battle was decided.

Even with death drawing near, Marax still tried to reach his foe. When he breathed his last, Lorimar, towering over his shattered body, promised him this: He would receive a grave that was worthy of a true warrior. And he would be feared for eternity.

Apothecary Dumah had to employ every mystery of his art to trap the last spark of life within the shattered form of Marax. But he was successful: Marax was interred into the sarcophagus of a dreadnought and thus sentenced to an eternity of war – truly a worthy grave for a warrior.

Being trapped inside the dreadnought for millennia has irrevocably shattered Marax’s mind, and all that might have been left of the once proud warrior has been drowned in a sea of bloodlust and insanity. When the 4th assault company is not at war, his eternal grave is secured within a stasis field, which is only deactivated once the battle begins. On the battlefield, he rushes forward like a wild beast, tearing apart enemies and war machines alike with crackling lightning claws, howling with rage and hatred. And it is not easy to decide who fears Marax more: Those who have to face him in battle or the warriors of the 4th assault company themselves, to whom he has become an undying reminder of what will befall them, should they give in to the curse of blood frenzy.
Marax the Fallen

So, meet the 30k version of Brother Marax: By the look of the model, Marax is already well on his way to becoming and unstoppable madman by this point. And isn’t it heartening to see how he has stuck with his trademark weapons for over 10,000 years? Awww….

Brother Marax by AgnostosTheos (2)

model built and painted by AgnostosTheos

And here’s the second character in his “youth”. Take a look:

Brother Khoron by Agnostos Theos (1)

model built and painted by AgnostosTheos

Brother Khoron the Undying, Keeper of Trophies

In a way, Khoron the Undying was old already when the World Eaters legion was still young. Having been a warrior from a very early age, he was already a battle-hardened veteran, forged in the fires of the Unification Wars, when Lorimar ascended to command of the 4th assault company. Brother Khoron had seen battle and he had the scars to prove it. He served unter Lorimar’s command, but he was a trusted friend of the young Captain, full of experience and wisdom and gifted with a deep understanding of what it was that bound the legionaries together as brothers. He stood with Lorimar during his search for an identity for the legion. And he stood with him when the Captain decided to follow his Primarch to Terra to depose the false Emperor. For many years, he was a tower of strength for the company and came to be respectfully called “older brother” by the legionaries.

Shortly after the Skalathrax campaign had sundered the legion, Khoron was mortally wounded during a hunt. The man who had survived a thousand battles was powerless in the end, as the alien powers of a Xenos weapon tore his body apart. With his dying breath, he implored Lorimar to let him continue fighting, accepting the dangers of being entombed within the sarcophagus of a Dreadnought. Lorimar was hesitant, for he had witnessed the effects of such incarceration on the Fallen, but in the end he granted his old friend’s wish.

And thus the “older brother” became the being known as the Undying. For the last millennia, his colossal frame has continued to be a sight of inspiration to his brothers. Where Marax the Fallen is a warning of the damnation awaiting the company, the Undying symbolises a way of keeping this grisly fate at bay. It is only at the most chaotic moments of battle that he will succumb to rage and frenzy, and each time this happens, his brothers hope that he will come to eventually. And they fear the day when their older brother’s mind will finally cave in on itself.

When not in battle, Khoron the Undying serves as a master of rites to the company, residing in the Hall of Hunters aboard the company’s capital ship, Aeternus Venator. There he guards the trophies and weapons assembled by the Warriors of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt and presides over the ceremonies held by the legionaries since the times of the Great Crusade.

Khoron Chainsaw (6)
I love how the face used by AgnostosTheos captures Khoron as an older, more grizzled veteran, even during the days of the Heresy. And the skull on his chestplate could even be seen as a shoutout to his later countenance…

model built and painted by AgnostosTheos

model built and painted by AgnostosTheos

Anyway, this is clearly a fantastic chance of getting a glimpse at the past lives of the legionaries in the 4th assault company. And AgnostosTheos‘ paintjobs and conversions are more than worthy representations for the characters — in fact, his versions are more than giving me a run for my money 😉

Will we see more glimpses at this unremembered empire, I wonder? What would Lord Captain Lorimar have looked like at that time? Hmm…

In any case, many thanks to AgnostosTheos for this lovely and unexpected Christmas present! Be sure to check out his WIP thread as well as his awesome Flickr gallery!
So yeah, two awesome examples of me somehow managing to wiggle my way into other people’s hobby endeavours 😉
So, in closing, I wish you all a very happy Christmas, and be sure to check back in the coming days, when we’ll be taking a look at this year’s installment of the annual Eternal Hunt Awards!

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

Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s Betrayer – a review of sorts

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Fluff, Pointless ramblings, Totally worth it, Uncategorized, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 16, 2013 by krautscientist

And now, as they say on Monty Python’s Flying Circus, for something completely different…

Today I’d like to talk about Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s novel Betrayer, which I finally managed to read this last weekend. Seeing how I am a really big fan of the World Eaters, you could certainly say that I took my sweet time for getting around to reading the book, right? Well, there’s a reason for that — several reasons in fact. Allow me to elaborate:

Betrayer_cover

For starters, I have to admit that I am not perfectly sure how to feel about the whole Horus Heresy business. And by that I don’t mean the actual (fictional) event, but the business part: It’s easy to see how the HH franchise has turned into a huge business opportunity for GW and its subsidiaries Black Library and Forgeworld: On the modelling and gaming side of the hobby, FW’s release of Horus Heresy themed models and rules has been a dream come true for countless hobbyists. And the accompanying series of tie-in fiction seems to have opened up the 40k (or rather, 30k) universe to a readership beyond the diehard fans, at least if the sales based awards heaped upon the series are to be believed.

Now everyone’s allowed to have their profit, of course, but you may agree with me when I say that the prospects of huge amounts of money to be made are never the best thing to boost narrative integrity: There are countless instances in literature, film and videogames where the monetary success of a franchise served to replace any semblance of telling a great story with what us mere mortals refer to milking the cow (well, I refer to it as that, anyway).  Therefore, I am reasonably sure that I am not going to burst your bubble when I state that a series of tie-in fiction might not be the perfect place to look for literary greatness. But even then, there’s actually decent storytelling and there is money grabbing. I also harbour the subtle fear that there might come a day when every single hour of every single day of the Horus Heresy is firmly documented within its own novel — just like each and every creature in the Mos Eisley cantina now has a rather detailed CV available in the Star Wars Expanded Universe (go ahead, do some research — I dare you!)

And, in all fairness, my first foray into the literary side of the Heresy (the short story collection “Tales of Heresy”) didn’t leave me exactly optimistic, since I found some of the stories to be pretty horrible, some merely tolerable (among them a Dan Abnett story, which was really a disappointment for me) and only two truly good: Graham McNeill’s haunting “The Last Church” and Matthew Farrer’s seminal “After Desh’ea” — the first story to ever make the World Eaters’ Primarch Angron actually read as an interesting character.

So it was with some trepidation that I approached the first real BL book to flesh out my favourite legion: I have gone on record stating that the prospect of new material for “my” legion always fills me with equal amounts of anticipation and dread: While I love to get more input on the World Eaters, the rather hamhanded current background for them leaves me wishing as often as not that GW would just leave them alone. So when I learned that Aaron Dembski-Bowden would be writing the novel, I wasn’t exactly sure how to feel about it: On the one hand, I would have perferred Mathew Farrer, the one guy so far who seemed to have understood the legion’s narrative potential, to get another shot at writing these guys. On the other hand, ADB’s credentials and the quotes he posted on his (higly recommended) blog made me cautiously optimistic. But I was still feeling a little scared — does that make sense? In all fairness, I also didn’t want to read the digital version, since I am a printed on paper kind of guy. Anyway, hence the delay.

 

Betrayer tells a surprisingly momentous tale (interesting for a series that often seems content to over-embroider minor plot points to the point of ridiculousness) that ends with what may truly be called a bang. Without spoiling the plot for you, let’s just say that the end of the model does have enormous ramifications for the future of the XIIth Astartes Legion. Before that, though, the World Eaters get lots and lots of opportunities of rampaging across Imperial worlds, among them the Ultramarines’ war world of Armatura and Nuceria, the Primarch Angron’s own homeworld.

For a book dealing with a legion that is mostly about frenzy and senseless butchery, the plot is also uncannily character and dialogue driven. It’s all for the best, though, because in my opinion, ADB is just very good at writing Space Marine characters: He manages to combine their supernatural powers and majesty with a believable amount of humanity and of course just the right blend of gravitas and theatrics. The interactions between the different Primarchs are just as good, with the fabled demigods truly feeling like a race apart but remaining relatable nevertheless. The Word Bearers’ primarch Lorgar stands out as a inscrutable character, sincere and utterly manipulative at the same time, impossible as that may seem.

The book’s greatest feat, however, is how it treats Angron. You should think that a guy who is “always angry all the time” and whose name is, for crying out loud, ANGRON would not exactly turn out to be a narrative goldmine, but Matthew Farrer already disproved that notion in “After Desh’ea”. I had hoped that ABD would take the look and feel of that story and run with it, and indeed he did: His Angron is a tragic, damned figure, scarred in body and soul and utterly beyond redemption. So far, nothing new.

But ABD’s characterisation truly excels at making Angron believable and, dare I say it, sympathetic in his background and his pain, while also making it clear that the Primarch is monstrous. It’s a very delicate balance to maintain, but it works: You cannot help feeling sorry for the broken Primarch, but you could also never really like him. He has the best possible reasons to be this way, but he is also irredeemable.

A similar high point, then, is the relationship between the Primarch and his gene-sons: There has been a discussion over at Throne of Skulls whether or not the World Eaters hate their Primarch, and I would argue that the truth of the matter, at least according to Betrayer, is far more ingenious and believable than that: It’s clear that the World Eaters are very aware that the Butcher’s Nails implants that they let themselves be outfitted with in order to feel true kinship with their Primarch have irrevocably damaged the legion: Kharn and several other characters show feelings of resentment and melancholia at the realisation that their legion can never be as inspirational or cultured as most of the other legions due to the bite of the nails. And who would be to blame for that other than Angron, right?

Yet at the same time, it’s obvious that the World Eaters take fierce pride in their brotherhood and martial honour. They have eagerly cobbled together their own warrior culture from the snippets of lore brought back by Angron and those traditions from their legionaries’ myriad homeworlds, and while they clearly acknowledge that it’s not a shining example of human endeavour, it’s the only kind of culture they have, so they cling to it fiercely. And this culture does of course encompasses Angron and his past at Nuceria.

Then there’s the fact that they do, in fact, feel pity for Angron — a notion that would probably send the Primarch flying into a rage, ironically enough. They share his feeling that he never had a chance to begin with, and what little glory was his to claim was taken away during the battle of Desh’ea.

And finally, even though Angron’s condition is perpetually deteriorating, there are moments of brotherhood and kinship between him an his sons: The book describes how he shares in his sons’ rituals and battles, how he drinks and laughs with them like few other Primarchs do, even though there is a gulf of conflicting emotions between them.

So what we have here is this hugely complex (and beautifully written) mix of resentment, love, hatred, disappointment and what have you. I think this is as true to life as fiction dealing with transhuman supersoldiers can possibly be, precisely because it echoes real life: You might feel resentment or embarrassment or even hatred for one of your close relatives, but they will always remain your family, and there’s no escaping that fact.

Below this main storyline, I also loved how ADB managed to partly flesh out the fleet and Titan legions — actually my least favourite parts of the whole background so far: By creating interesting and noble characters (like the Conqueror’s flag-captain Serrin or the Legio Audax personnel) and by injecting both organisations with a healthy dose of WWI air warfare chivalry (with officers complimenting their opponents on shrewd maneuvres and elegant tactics), he succeeds at actually giving the non-Astartes characters a voice of their own, without their parts of the novel ever feeling boring or unnecessary.

And for all those who are understandably sceptical of GW’s focus on Space Marines, feeling they are all just reskins of the same basic design template, it should be interesting to see how the author manages to give a different feel to the Legiones Astartes: From the fierce brotherhood (and battlefield frenzy) of the World Eaters to the priestly nobility (and insane zeal) of the Word Bearers, you get the impression that the Legiones Astartes are very different from each other indeed, if only written well. Even the Ultramarines, serving mainly to be beaten up very badly, get a few moments in the spotlight, and we are afforded glimpses at their warrior culture that make them look more interesting than they have any right to be (their battlefield commanders issuing orders in High Gothic is a great little touch).

In fact, ADB’s writing of characters always seems to be at its best where it deals with duality: Lorgar’s inscrutable motives, Angron’s position between a tragic hero and a monster, the legions’ duality or even the surprising depth of minor characters.

And, beyond all that, the book is of course a goldmine for little bitz and pieces of lore, from the World Eaters’ battle traditions and gladiatorial bouts to their affected bastard language of Nagrakali: These guys may fall to frenzy and bloodlust when on the battlefield, but for what may the first time ever, you can actually imagine them off the battlefield as well — no mean feat!

 

So, are there any negatives?

For one, this is, after all, only one book in a series. This means that most of the plot will only make sense to you if you do at least have an idea of the overarching narrative: If you’ve never heard about the Word Bearers’ machinations, about what happened on Calth or about the Thousand Sons’ being torn apart by the Space Wolves, you’ll be left scratching your head more than once. And even if you have a relatively good grasp of the bigger events, some references and allusions might still go over your head. That’s not really the author’s fault, though — if anything, I feel dread at the prospect of now having to read other HH novels written by less talented people…

Nevertheless, if you are simply looking for a great SciFi novel to pass the time, this might not be it: Too much stuff will be lost on you, and there are probably enough self-contained storylines of similar quality that are easier to get into. And it goes without saying that the book will prove utterly impenetrable to those without any knowledge of the attached GW universe.
If, however, you have a general idea of the overarching HH storyline – not necessarily from reading other HH novels, but from a mix of reading the different (Chaos) Space Marine codizes over the years and doing a bit of scrounging around for background at places like the Lexicanum or the Warhammer 40k Wiki – you’re good to go: That was my preparation going into this novel, and I belive it was enough.

For every World Eaters player, Betrayer is, of course, a must buy, for the amount of background lore alone. But there’s a great story beyond all that, and the book is truly great as tie-in fiction, and still very good on its own terms: I, for one, will probably pick up more of ABD’s novels (I am told his Night Lords stuff is the shitz) and look forward to his Black Legion series — or maybe some more World Eaters stuff?

 

But what does it all mean for Khorne’s Eternal Hunt? I’ll be honest with you: I did of course fear that parts (or most) of my own fluff would be ivalidated by this novel. But not only does ABD himself address the fact that several versions of events exist in the background (in a surprisingly clever throwaway scene), but he also succeeds at creating a canvas for your own fluff rather than enforcing his own view of things (as some authors have been known to do…). So while small readjustments to my own background may be in order, I relish the chance to make the 4th assault company even more interesting and colourful. In fact, there might be a separate post in that somewhere 😉

 

What about you, though: Have you read the book? How do you feel about it? And was this review helpful to you? Please feel free to share whatever thoughts you might have in the comments section!

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

P.S. Oh yeah, before I forget; In case you didn’t gather as much from my rambling above, this book is also totally worth it.