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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!

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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.

The campaign trail

Posted in Battle report, Chaos, Fluff, Pointless ramblings, Uncategorized, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 30, 2012 by krautscientist

Right in time for the release of the Crusade of Fire book, I noticed quite a few people mouthing off on the forums how campaigns and narrative gaming were basically a waste of time. Now while I may not have years and years of gaming experience under my belt, I feel I would still like to present the other side to that argument.

Instead of talking about GW’s new campaign book, though, let’s rather take a general look at what narrative gaming can do for you:

One of the criticisms leveled at narrative gaming in general and campaigns in particular tends to be that both can end up feeling rather gimmicky: After all, all the special rules and setpieces can make for a rather unbalanced gaming experience, right? But does it really take all those special rules in the first place in order to have a narrative experience? Case in point: The small campaign I have been running for quite a while now with cousin Andy and a couple of his buddies:

Haestia Primaris’ Mardias subcontinent – the stage for our campaign

The campaign is set on the world of Haestia Primaris, in the Segmentum Pacificus. The planet has been isolated from much of the rest of the Imperium of Man by the warp storm Maluriel for some fifty years, and it has taken all the power of the authorities to keep the planetary population in line in the face of adversity. Now the storm is over, but what should be a joyous occasion for the people of Haestia Primaris takes a turn for the worse as several sinister forces arrive to lay claim to the undefended world.

This was all the background we needed for having all kinds of battles involving our different armies, although I decided to add some smaller narrative hooks, in case anyone wanted them: The Craftworld Eldar are trying to retrieve an ancient artifact of their race from Haestia Primaris (known to them as Y’lanth’Ine, a former jewel in the crown of their galaxy spanning empire). The Dark Eldar originally desired nothing more than to prey on the planetary population, but find themselves forced into an uneasy alliance with their Craftworld kin when the warriors of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt try to capture the artifact as a worthy prey and tribute to their god. And during all of this, dark things walk the jungles of Candolfus: Is a Daemon invasion inevitable?

We devised a fairly simple set of campaign rules, based on moves on a hex grid. Occupying certain grids bestows smaller buffs to the controlling army. Whenever two (or more) players try to occupy the same grid, there’s a battle. Pretty simple, really. We have also been using the experience system for campaigns from the 5th edition rulebook so far, to show how certain units tend to get stronger over time.

our campaign map halfway through turn three. The green arrows mark games that have yet to be played.

Indeed, the setup doesn’t seem all that sophisticated. But that actually works in our favour: Running a campaign with many players and maintaining a tightly paced narrative may be fantastic, but it is also an enormous challenge. As soon as more than two people are involved, things tend to get complicated rather quickly. And so many a campaign have been running for years and years, without any conclusion in sight. Frustrating, right?

Not necessarily: Our own campaign has been tottering on for more than a year now, with only half a dozen games played so far. But since we are taking a very laidback approach to the whole thing, it’s not that much of a problem. Indeed, we are trying to leave out all the stressful parts (micromanaging the participants’ schedules, writing angry e-mails back and forth,…) and just run the odd game every once in a while. Whenever we do play, however, the game can easily be slotted into the running campaign. After all, the campaign is there as a tool for making games more enjoyable, not as something that should stress us out more than a regular day job.

The games themselves can be as standard or elaborate as we want them to be. But due to the background, all kinds of narrative hooks start presenting themselves, even during the most pedestrian battles. For instance, when three of us were coincidentally vying for control of the same hex, we devised a battle where a coalition of Eldar and Dark Eldar would defend a priceless Eldar artifact against the World Eaters’ fourth assault company (the battle report can be found here).

The forces of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt and a mixed Eldar force, duking it out at the Y’lanth’Ine basin

When that game ended in a draw (due to a pretty stupid tactical oversight on my part), the next game was all about the angry Chaos Lord Charun trying to get his revenge on the Xenos filth. When I lost that game, it made me think about how this outcome would affect the officer in charge, and once again, the narrative continued

All of this not only provided more context for our games, but also transformed some of my models from mere playing pieces into veritable characters: I don’t think I would never have come up with such elaborate backstories for Huntmasters Bardolf and Charun and for their simmering rivalry, if not for the campaign.

Huntmaster Bardolf. He and his fellow officer Charun have really come into their own as characters.

Consequently, I have started to conceive my models with at least one eye firmly on their background at all times, creating a collection of characters worthy of a millennia-old Traitor legion. And using them in consecutive games has made me think what their interactions with one another may look like when they are off the battlefield. And you really start growing fond of your little guys, too: For example, I’ll never forget how Skull Champion Bruul lobbed a grenade at an Eldar tank, blowing the damned thing sky high in the process — truly a moment worth remembering!

And that’s really just the tip of the iceberg: Playing narratively will also give you all kinds of cool ideas along the way: At one point I decided to build a custom objective marker for each army I defeat during the campaign. While this makes for a fun hobby project, it’s also a great way of injecting more character into your army and of interacting with other players.

Custom objective markers: a fun way to honour (or ridicule) your opponent

Or you could start to convert your squads to reflect their triumphs, adding trophies or killmarks to the models. Or give some more character to your squad leaders and generals. Granted, you should probably do that anyway, but it feels more satisfying if those additions are actually the consequence of something that happened during a game (or a string of games, for that matter).

All of this is not exactly rocket science, of course: It is certainly possible to have far more involved, narrative campaigns than ours, or more spectacular setpieces for single games. But even a small, laidback campaign is far more rewarding than basically just rolling dice all day to see who ends up with more sixes.

All in all, narrative gaming gives your games a sense of context and consequence. It offers all kinds of cool hobby opportunities. And it can be as simple or as elaborate as you want it to be. So what are you waiting for?

Do you have any remarks on narrative gaming and campaigns you’d like to share? I’d be glad to hear them in the comments section!

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

My first tank ever, pt. 2

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Traitor Guard, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on October 5, 2012 by krautscientist

When we last laid eyes upon My first tank ever, I had managed to complete the conversion and undercoat the whole model with GW Chaos Black.

So there was no way around it: I had to start painting this thing. The largest paintbrush available to me (not a tank brush, mind!) in hand, I sat down and got to work:

Following a recipe I had found by sheer chance while browsing through old issues of WD, the tracks were basecoated in dark bronze (Vallejo Tinny Tin in this case, although you can rest assured that this wasn’t the colour used in GW’s original recipe…) and then drybrushed with GW Boltgun Metal. The result is rather nice in my opinion, and it’s definitely a very quick way of painting tracks without any washes involved!

I then used exactly the same base colours I use on my traitor soldiers: The tank’s chassis was painted with GW Adeptus Battlegrey, and I added GW Mechrite Red on the front third of the chassis. All metal parts were painted with GW Boltgun Metal. The skulls were basecoated with GW Dheneb Stone. Here’s what the model looked like at this point:


Before applying any washes or detailing whatsoever, I added a couple of decals. Doing this at this particular point was key, since it meant that I would be able to “age” and “weather” the decals along with the rest of the tank, making them look far more realistic:


A couple of heretic runes went on the right flank of the tank, while the fuel tank got a nice little warning sign.

I also added some kill marks on the tank’s other flank. Looking back on it now, five seems a little measly, doesn’t it? 😉

All the decals were treated with Vallejo Decal Medium, then Vallejo Decal Fix, and finally varnished with Vallejo Matte Varnish. It worked like a charm, making the decals look like they were really part of the tank.

While everything was drying, I began work on the tank commander, laying down base colours virtually identical to the rest of the tank.


I then used a mixture of washing and highlighting to further define the model. Of course I took extra care when working on the face. After the tank commander had been completed, he was glued into the hatch:


The head, in case you were wondering, was made by RSJake and can be bought in his webstore. It was, once again, kindly sponsored by Doombreed, and I thought it was just the perfect choice for a traitorous tank commander (going by the head, I highly recommend RSJake’s stuff: the detail and sculpt are both very nice!).

Anyway, with the tank commander completed, I more or less repeated the process on the rest of the tank: Wash everything liberally with GW Agrax Earthshade, then add Red Gore to the red parts of the chassis. Of course I also painted on some chaos iconography. I wanted it to look like it had been crudely dabbed on by the traitors. And so, after a short while, the tank’s main chassis was finished:




As you can see above, I also added small OSL effects to the chaos icon and sensor array at the front. Nothing too fancy, I just wanted to make those areas pop a little.

The next part I had been looking forward to: I basecoated the large blast shield protecting the loading plattform in the back. I had added a stylised daemon face from a WFB terrain kit which I painted and highlighted in bronze colours. The shield itself was painted GW Mechrite Red and then layered with GW Red Gore, just like the other red parts of the model.

The blast shield pretty much became a “blank canvas” at this point, awaiting further decoration. Take a look:


We’ll get to that in a minute. First, let’s talk about the rest of the model, though: The main cannon and loading platform were very easy to finish: I just painted them silver and then added weathering by washing with GW Nuln Oil or stippling on patches of rust.

I glued all the sub-assemblies together at this point. This is what the model looked like:



As you can see, I added further chaos iconography to the blast shield. I also used yet another OSL effect on the eyes of the metal daemon face. It doesn’t make all that much sense from a technical standpoint, but I think it looks rather cool:




I was already pretty pleased with the tank, although there were some things still missing: I wanted to add some smaller patches of rust and neglect all over the tank’s surface, but I had waited until the model was completely assembled, lest the effect turn out uneven.

The loading platform in the back of the tank was also woefully empty:




So the next stage would be to add the final missing details and to convert and paint the models loading the tank’s main cannon.

Next time on My first tank ever: final details.
Until then, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Reasons why you should build your own terrain, pt. 2

Posted in 40k, DIY, Terrain, Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 4, 2012 by krautscientist

Last time, we talked about the fun to be had by building your own terrain. This time, we’ll look at the second argument for going DIY:

2.) Building your own terrain is cheap.

Well, perhaps that’s talking a bit too generally. Let’s rather say: Building your own terrain is as cheap as you want it to be. Let’s have a look at the piece of terrain pictured above: It’s another one of my earlier works and a true classic. It’s also fairly unimaginative, but come on: Space Marine monuments are a true staple of 40k gaming tables all over the world, right?

So, what did it cost me to build this? I used a bit of foamcore for the base, as well as the pillar’s plinth and capital. The floor tiles were made thin cardboard I got from a cereal box. The pillar itself was made from a cardboard roll that came with a pack of paper towels. The shell casings are small glass beads. The Space Marine on top (2nd ed. in the house, y’all!) and at the base came from my bitz box. Everything was basecoated with self-made texture paint and spraypainted with paint from the craft store. I then painted select parts with Citadel paints.

A first attempt at painting verdigris, courtesy of cousin Andy

Oh, the irony...

Looking at it now, those are some freaking HUGE shell casings...

The whole thing cannot have cost more than 2-3 Euros, bits excepted. Granted, it looks nowhere near as awesome or detailed as the stuff GW produces, but it’s quite alright for a testpiece. The great thing is that the cost will not go through the roof with greater projects: The most expensive part is probably the foamcore, and even that is fairly cheap. And many of the things you buy for your own terrain projects will last you for a long time, while other ingredients can be had for practically nothing (sand, cardboard, packaging materials of all shapes and sizes, interesting bits of styrofoam). To wit, I built a huge cathedral out of the same materials, and it probably cost me about 25 Euros tops. Here’s a teaser picture:

Rest assured that we'll be going over this in detail sooner or later...

So, even if your DIY terrain doesn’t look as spiffy as GW’s stuff, it’s far easier to get a lot of it ready for less money. And you can build stuff that would be atrociously expensive when using GW terrain. And that’s not even counting the option to mix your own stuff with parts from the GW kits.

Still, I said at the start that building your own terrain can be as cheap as you want it to be. This means that if you really want to go for it, you own projects can get pretty expensive too: Need special plants from the aquarium store? They usually carry a hefty price tag. Certain building materials can also be more expensive than foamcore and cardboard. So a part of the task is to keep a grip on the cost of your projects and to make the most of materials that come for free. But once you’ve started, that’s a big part of the fun!

In the next installment of this ongoing series, we will learn that terrain you built yourself is truly your own in more than one way. Until then, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Hello internet!

Posted in Uncategorized on February 19, 2012 by krautscientist

Welcome to Eternal Hunt! This blog will chronicle my exploits in the wonderful and addictive world of miniature wargaming. I’ll focus on my hobby projects for Warhammer 40k and Inquisitor 28 for now, although I can’t promise that I won’t be throwing in the odd post about basically everything that interests me.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering: My main focus will be the 4th assault company of the World Eaters traitor legion, also known as “Khorne’s Eternal Hunt”.

And let’s get one more thing out of the way: You probably won’t find any cutting edge tactics and undefeatable army lists on this blog. I like winning as much as the next guy, but my hobby focus is first and foremost on converting and kitbashing stuff that I think looks cool and then using it on the tabletop (and dreaming up corresponding little stories in the back of my head). That’s how I roll 😉

Stay tuned for more, I’ll be sure to keep the posts coming.