The Hateful Eight

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, paintjob, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 18, 2020 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, today marks a bit of a special occasion in a – so far – otherwise thoroughly unproductive hobby year, because I can actually announce the completion of a project — at least in a way, that is… So what is this about?

Back in May of 2019, I finally caved and bought some of the – then brand new – updated Chaos Space Marine models. I didn’t want to update my entire World Eaters army, but the new kits were just too cool to resist, so I came up with the idea to limit myself to a Kill Team sized project, tentatively named “The Hateful Eight”, a squad of new World Eaters, where every model would be heavily converted and customised to match, as closely as possible, my ideal version of what a World Eater should look like in the year 2020 . I also wanted to paint them to the best of my ability — or at least, using a heavily tweaked recipe.

It has taken me over a year, but I have finally managed to complete eight World Eaters for this project. So please meet “The Hateful Eight”:

It’s a bit pathetic, really, to have taken more than twelve months to come up with this squad, considering other people have used the Covid19-induced downtime to chew through dozens or even hundreds of models. But if nothing else, this squad comes closer than any of my previous attempts to encapsulating what I think World Eaters should look like — or rather, what my World Eaters should look like. And in that respect, at least, this definitely feels like a triumph!

At the same time, I have also used this project to come up with some models that serve as shout outs and tributes to particular pieces of artwork or to classic World Eaters models, which also turns this project into a bit of a historic showcase. So let’s take a look at the members of the Hateful Eight in turn, before we finish with the latest member and some more group shots, alright? Step this way:

 

This was the model that started it all, and it wasn’t really inspired by any classic source. The model was rather a test for how the new CSM kits could be used to build convincing World Eaters, plus it also served as a proper opportunity to try out my new and tweaked colour scheme. I am still pretty happy with the finished model — that tusked helmet, in particular, is really cool, and the added bunny ears actually make it look even more badass, wouldn’t you agree?

Another model that wasn’t really inspired by a piece of artwork or an existing archetype. Then again, this guy was actually “salvaged”, so to speak, both from the pile of shame and the earlier incarnation of my World Eaters — in fact, the model was originally converted allll the way back in 2013 (!), back when Dark Vengeance was released and blew us all away with its (then) revolutionary CSM models!

Which makes me all the happier that this guy’s story has at least come to a happy conclusion! Plus the model has also provided me with the perfect opportunity to finally experiment with some variety in skin tones for the members of the 4th assault company, something I’ll definitely be repeating on some of the future models!


The third model uses one of the excellent Blood Warriors from the First Edition Age of Sigmar starter box. The model is actually one of my favourite models in the squad and comes very close to my idea of a quintessential 40k World Eater: massive, clad in vicious, baroque armour, and full of the wrath of Khorne. Oh, and the model also very much serves as a shout out to some of the rather excellent, mid-90s Khorne Berzerker champions, like this one:

Those were actually some of my very first World Eaters models (after getting into this whole mess with a box of plastic berzerkers that had just been released back then — can you imagine that?). Those metal berzerkers and champions were pretty tough to get hold of back then, at least if you didn’t live close to a GW store, and I actually bought the gentleman you see above during a trip to Cologne back in 1999 or 2000 or so. Ah…good times… 😉

This next model was very much intended as a shout out, too, as it was an attempt to channel one of the most iconic pieces of World Eaters art, courtesy of Mark Gibbons:

Artwork by Mark Gibbons

A shout out must also go to my fellow hobbyist ElDuderino, who supplied the excellent, spliced-together helmet that seemed just perfect for this conversion. In his honour, this particular World Eater will henceforth be known as “Brother Orsca of Skandia” 😉

The next member of the Hateful Eight is another holdover from my “old” World Eaters (and another conversion based on one of the Dark Vengeance Chosen). At the same time, however, this model was actually inspired by a very cool piece of artwork courtesy of Diego Gisbert Llorens:

illustration by Diego Gisbert Llorens

Next up, a model that wasn’t really inspired by any source, but rather served as an attempt to explore one of the main archetypes defining the World Eaters as a legion: its gladiatorial traditions.

The massive, archaic armour was supposed to hint at the fact that this legionary used to belong to the “Triarii”, the World Eaters’ famous boarding troops. I also really wanted to include a squad member with an Mk. III helmet, for an even more archaic look. The ball and chain weapon was added to evoke the “meteor hammer”, another weapon choice that has its roots in the legion’s gladiatorial traditions.

Next up, the provisional squad leader, and definitely one of my favourite members of the Hateful Eight:

This model basically started out as an attempt to do something with the somewhat hokey “twin axe” bit that came with the Age of Sigmar Blood Warriors. The result is a character that embodies yet another core archetype of the World Eaters legion — that of the executioner or headsman. In fact, it has repeatedly been pointed out to me that this model could really work as a Master of Executions, and while that wasn’t the original plan, I definitely agree that the look is there.

Which leads us to the last member of the Hateful Eight, and also the last model to be completed. This icon bearer from my previous post:

It has been ridiculously hot around here for the last ten days or so, but I finally buckled up and finished that model.

What you see above is an almost finished paintjob. It was at this point that I was feeling a little adventurous, plus I also had a cool little fluff idea for that icon: You see how each and every part of that thing seems to be barbed and serrated, right? And it stands to reason that the icon itself could be wielded as a weapon in its own right. But what if that icon is actually a minor daemonic artifact and not only wants to draw the blood of enemies, but also of the warrior carrying it into battle? What if being chosen by the artifact to be its bearer is, at best, a mixed blessing, and you actually have to be careful not to become the artifact’s victim? Anyway, with those ideas in mind, I grabbed the bottle of blood effect…

Here’s the finished icon bearer:





I was a bit nervous about that icon, to be honest, but I really think it works! While I used quite a bit of blood on it, I was careful to vary the tone and glossiness a bit, to suggest that the wicked thing is covered in layers of blood, some of them older than others. I also made sure to paint some blood onto the icon bearer’s hand — like I said, the artifact, like the War God himself, does not care whence the blood flows:

Interestingly enough, this also provides a reason for the bare right hand (which was really just a coincidental choice) and the length of chain (that was included to repeat an element that appeared on the classic model that inspired this guy).

Speaking of inspiration, here’s a comparison picture with the new icon bearer and the classic metal model that served as the main inspiration for the model, because this was basically an attempt to recreate the classic design (albeit horizontally flipped 😉 ):

So yeah, it has only taken more than a year, but now, the Hateful Eight are finally ready to march to war and reap skulls for Khorne. Take a look:


Incidentally, because the project so far has been focused mostly on the converting and painting angle, most of these World Eaters still lack a name. So I would be happy for you, my readers, to suggest some names for the members of the Hateful Eight!

I must give fair warning, though: My eventual selection will be purely based on my personal taste.

That being said, I would love to hear any suggestions, so if you want to name one of these gentlemen, let’s hear your ideas!

Oh, and here’s a photo of the eight models alongside “Euron Hearteater”, who could probably be considered a honorary member of the squad by now, on account of finally seeing some paint during the same period of time 😉

One thing I might still have to tweak is the number of skulls present on the models: Right now, there are 35 skulls across the entire squad. Plus, y’know, the eight that are still attached to their respective necks, at least for now… And I would like to bring that number up to 40, for fairly obvious reasons — then again, the composition of the squad could still change, so maybe I’ll a bit.

Because you didn’t really think this project was over, did you…? 😉

While I may have the first eight in the bag, there’s an entire batch of possible aspirants for a second squad. Take a look:

So maybe we’ll end up with “The Hateful Sixteen”, after all?! If all goes well, these two gentlemen should be next on the painting table:

For now, though, I am really happy that I have managed to complete this first tentative squad before GW actually releases new Khorne berzerkers/World Eaters models. I’ll also be a bit cheeky here and consider this my entry for Azazel’s (extended!) “Jewel of July” event, if for no other reason than the fact that having managed to finally paint and convert this squad certainly feels like a personal hobby jewel to me — oh, and I also wanted to finally participate in one of Azazel’s community challenges again, so there’s that, too 😉

I would also love to hear any thoughts and feedback you may have, so please leave a comment!

And that’s about it for the day. Blood for the Blood God!

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

State of the Hunt, week 32/2020: Not dead yet…

Posted in 30k, 40k, Blood Bowl, Chaos, Pointless ramblings, state of the hunt, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 8, 2020 by krautscientist

Oh my, it’s certainly time for another update! I must apologise for the lack of content over here: It seems like, unlike everybody else in the hobby scene, I didn’t use the Covid19-related downtime to paint 10,000 points of tabletop models — in fact, I haven’t even managed to paint more than a handful of models this year, to be honest. And while I would love to blame current events, world politics or any other kind of external force, the more likely explanation is a mix of my eternal laziness and several distractions.

But once again, my good friend Annie provided me with the motivation to get back to the painting table — albeit for a different reason than usual…

I. All good things…

Earlier this month, Annie left the blasted plains of northwestern Jhermani for one of the big Hive Cities further north. Which is great for her, but actually a massive catastrophe for my personal hobby productivity, because our joint painting and converting sessions were always a shining beacon of “finally getting stuff done”. Under no circumstances does this mean, however, that we won’t be having any painting sessions in the future — quite the opposite, I hope. The logistics will just be slightly more complicated. But that remains a problem for another day.

For now, I wanted to create something nice and topical for Annie to wish her well on her way, so I picked up a brush (for the first time in months, I might add), and made her this:






“Guten Flug” means “Have a good flight” in German, in case anyone was wondering (because y’know, that gobbo seems to be a pilot and everything…). The model itself is a Blood Bowl event model Annie gave to me a few years ago, so it seemed like the perfect choice for this occasion. The plinth was made from a piece of Zebrano wood I got from my uncle (who uses different types of wood to create his own knife handles). I’d say it all makes for a nice little ensemble — and the piece should fit right in with all of the nifty Blood Bowl stuff in the showcases at Annie’s new place.

So all the best, and don’t think you’ll be safe from me ‘oop north 😉

II. Supply drop from the lowlands:

Another shout out must go to my buddy Augustus b’Raass who sent me a lovely bitz drop earlier this year — what a delight!


To my great regret, I have yet to figure out what to do with most of those lovely bitz — but thinking about that is already half of the fun, and also seems like the perfect activity for lazy summer afternoons in the sweltering heat…

At least I have already started messing around with some of the stuff Augustus has sent me: Some of the heads from the Necromunda Corpsegrinder Cult seemed just perfect for some of my models, after all.

For instance, one of the bare Corpsegrinder faces seemed like the ideal piece to add some extra oomph to this 30k World Eater in Cataphractii armour I converted back when “Betrayal at Calth” was released:



The angry expression in combination with the tubes and augmetic plugs seem just perfect for a World Eater, yet the lack of mutations led to me using it one a 30k model, rather than a 40k one.

But fear not, my 40k World Eaters were also able to claim a skull, so to speak: One of the slightly more elaborate, horned Corpsgrinder masks ended up on the rocket launcher wielding World Eater I converted a while ago:


I kept tweaking this model for what feels like ages, swapping in head after head, but now I think I may finally have found the right part to complete the conversion.What do you think?

Oh, and speaking of World Eaters, I have finally started to paint the next member for my “Hateful Eight” project, the icon bearer based on one of the classic metal World Eaters from the 90s. I shared the conversion with you in a previous post:


Having painted the little goblin pilot shown above, I didn’t want to lapse back into utter laziness again, and seeing how I already had the red paint pot before me, I got to work…

This reminds me that I’ll have to share my current World Eaters recipe one of these days — in case anyone’s interested, that is!

Anyway, this is what the model looks like right now:


Still some work left to be done, but I think I am on the right track!

III. Visiting some Islands…

Wait, you didn’t think we’d make it through this post without a mention of my current infatuation with Media molecule’s “Dreams”, did you? Seriously, though: Just a short heads-up, because I have been plonking away at my game, “Islands”, and making small tweaks and updates based on user feedback. So regardless of whether or not the game is actually any good, it’s at least getting better and better 😉

I have also created another trailer for the game that I think gives you a pretty good idea of what it looks like. Check this out:

If you happen to have access to both a PlayStation 4 and a copy of Dreams, I would be delighted if you were to check out my game. It can be found here.

 

Anf that’s it for today. I certainly hope this update finds you all well! If you have any thoughts or feedback, I would, of course, love to hear them!

As always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more! And please stay safe and healthy!

State of the Hunt, week 26/2020: Tributes in plastic and more digital Dreams

Posted in 40k, Inq28, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2020 by krautscientist

Time for another update, lest this blog fall into complete disuse. Be warned, though: Today’s post is a bit of a stitched-together chimera of different things. But hey, better than no new content whatsoever, eh? So step this way, please. I have some things to show you:

I. A few tributes in model form

While I didn’t have the time to work on any new models, I do have some pieces from earlier this year that I have not yet featured here on the blog, so this seems like a perfect opportunity to finally give them their day in the limelight!

First up is a conversion I am really happy with. By way of introduction, let me reiterate that my buddy DexterKong and me are basically sharing (and co-developing) the same 40k adventurescape, our little corner of the 41st millennium, so to speak: the Velsen Sector.

On top of being fun, this basically serves as a very handy resource, because the background we have (and continue to) come up with really serves as an extra layer of texture that informs our conversions and character ideas. Now a couple of years ago, Dexter came up with a character that I have been jealous of ever since. One Inquisitor Uraccen Falx, of the Ordo Xenos:

Inquisitor Falx by DexterKong

Dexter imagined Falx as a bit of a crackpot and a conspiracy-theorist — to be fair, he came up with a character at a time where conspiracy-theorists weren’t as much of a dangerous real-world political influence as they are today. But the idea of an Inquisitor who was basically a huge paranoiac, expecting vile xenos conspiracies behind everyone and everything truly appealed, and I think you can really see that kind of background in the model: Falx is an old, drawn, perpetually exhausted fanatic who will not allow himself to rest, lest “they” finally get to him.

In case you are interested, you can find out more about Falx here and here. For today, suffice it to say that this was one of those models that I always regretted not having come up with myself — until I realised a while ago that I could at least do the next-best thing and build a version of Falx for my own collection.

So that’s what I did:

For the most part, this was very much a case of trying to “colour inside the lines”, so to speak, trying to match Dexter’s original model. I diverged from the original design in one or two small ways (choosing a different tilting plate as well as a – very fitting – shoulder mounted AdMech gun. I also used a different sidearm, mostly because I didn’t have any of those ancient Eldar pistols left 😉 , but I think it’s still recognisably the same guy. The one really brilliant part of the original model that I didn’t quite manage to capture was Falx’s scrawny neck, making him look like a tired turtle, poking out from inside its shell. But oh well, I am still pretty happy with the finished model (and with having a version of Falx in my collection now).

DexterKong’s version of Falx also uses multiple servo-skulls made from xenos-trophies, to show his ultimate disdain for those vile creatures. So while I was at it, I also built Falx a little friend:


The next thing I want to share with you happens to be yet another tribute — albeit to a video game this time around:

Early this year, I blazed through the adventure game “Primordia”, which I simply cannot praise highly enough: It’s a wonderful little graphic adventure with lots of style which is both fantastically grimdark and, at least in places, rather funny. It also resembles the look of a classic franco-belgian SciFi comic series, which was what drew me to it in the first place. Just take a look at this, and you’ll see what I mean:

Oh, and if you play it with your eyes half-closed, you may be forgiven for thinking it’s basically “Adeptus Mechanicus Forgeworld – the videogame” 😉

Anyway, the game’s protagonist is a robot named “Horatio Nullbuilt”:

And I liked the game so much that I thought it might be a cool little project to built a model resembling him:



The conversion isn’t quite finished yet. Plus it only really makes sense if you know the game — otherwise it’ll just look like a slightly dodgy, off-brand AdMech conversion to you. But I’ve already had a laugh building this guy so far — especially when it came to recreating his trusty little plasma-torch 😉

Of course I also made a kitbash to represent his loyal sidekick, Crispin Horatiobuilt, a small spherical robot with a chip on his (nonexistent) shoulder:

Here’s a piece of artwork showing both of them as they appear in the game:

To be fair, I did “40k-i-fy” both of them a bit, but I think they are still pretty recognisable.

It may be some time before I actually paint those two, but I’ll be going for a colour scheme closely resembling their appearance in the game. In the meantime, I really recommend you check out Primordia, if you haven’t already. It’s very pretty – in a highly anachronistic way – and rather grimdark, too.

And while we are on the subject of video games…

 

II. Meanwhile, in the world of Dreams:

I am not going to lie to you: Most of my hobby right now is still spent messing around with Dreams, Mediamolecule’s incredibly accessible game engine.

For starters, since my previous post on the matter, I have made lots of small and larger tweaks to my game “Islands”, including adding a final, secret level and a second unlockable ending. Here’s the trailer for the game again, for those who missed it last time around:

I was also lucky enough to be able to coax fellow hobbyist and blogger Azazel into giving the game a try 😉 If you want to follow suit, I’d be honoured:

The game is listed here. Unfortunately, in order to actually get to play it, you still need access to both a PS4 and a copy of Dreams.

Mediamolecule will be hosting a digital event called DreamsCom’20 event next week and, brilliantly enough, have called for digital exhibition booths for the event. I loved the creative challenge, plus my game can frankly use all the publicity it can get, so I used the booth template very helpfully provided by the developers and made my very own exhibition space:

It’s weird and wonderful stuff like this – in addition to the sheer creative joy that is at the heart of Dreams and its community – that I believe is what makes me spent such an obscene amount of time on it at the moment.

To wit, on top of designing a complete game, I have also come up with my very first animated short (made for the “Tiny Worlds Community Jam”), called “The Bug Ronin – Search for the Light Within”:

In this case, I have uploaded the film on YouTube, so feel free to check it out here:

And I have also sculpted a male head (as part of the sculpting masterclass that is part of Dreams’ tutorials), resulting in this finished piece:

Frankly, this seems to me like something created by somebody far more talented than me (especially if you compare it to my previous attempts at sculpting a face). This time around, I have gone for a character design slightly influenced by the style of the “Dishonored” games.

Anyway, the point I am trying to make here is this: I have created all of this using the same suite of tools. And none of it would have seemed remotely possible to me before!

To be fair, none of this has anything to do with 40k or INQ28, so many of you probably won’t really care that much. However, I am, in fact, already thinking about how this new skillset I have been acquiring might be turned towards the 40k side of my hobby time — in fact, I would love to start by creating some digital sculptures for some of my characters — Redactor Orlant and the Countess Mandelholtz, in particular, immediately caught my eye…

For now, fellow Dreamer Alex Markov is already creating some highly impressive 40k content in Dreams:

So yeah, so much for my little heads up regarding my current projects. It goes without saying that I would love to hear any thoughts and feedback you might have!

As always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more! And please stay safe and healthy!

State of the Hunt, week 22/2020: Dreaming of Islands

Posted in Pointless ramblings, WIP with tags , , , , , , on May 26, 2020 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, seeing how the blog has been quiet for longer than usual, I thought it would be a good idea to give you a bit of an update on what´s been happening over on my end:

I am still alive and kicking, obviously. The truth is simply that I have recently been dropping pretty much all of my hobby time (as well as quite a bit of my non-hobby time, alarmingly enough) into a completely different creative endeavour. You could call it a lifelong dream, really.

Because, deep down, I have always wanted to be…a LUMBERJACK!

Nah, but seriously: As some of you may remember, video games have always been another big hobby of mine (why choose one nerdy pasttime when you can have ALL of them, eh?) And one thing I have always wanted to do was to make a real video game myself. But while there are many tools available for doing that today (ranging from the stupendously easy to grasp text adventure tool Twine to game-engine behemoth Unity), the scope of what I was able to create had previously always been limited by my inability (and/or unwillingness) to properly get into programming. So it looked like my dream would have to remain just that. And then „Dreams“ happened.

I have already talked about Media Molecule‘s mind-boggling game engine/machinima Studio/3D modeling software cornucopia in my previous post about creating a character bust of Gregor Eisenhorn, but that didn‘t really seem to elicit that much of a response. For today, suffice it to say that Dreams, with its very intuitive interface, has enabled me to create something I would have considered impossible before.

So, TL;DR: This blog has been quiet because I have been spending all of my recent hobby time on creating a video game.

If you come here mainly for the modeling, painting and 40k content, which I suspect goes for pretty much all of you, then rest assured that this isn‘t a permanent state of affairs: I will definitely be back to cutting up little plastic men (and women. And everything in between and beyond) sooner rather than later — not least of all because my buddy Augustus b‘Raass sent me an amazing little supply drop recently — anyway, don‘t fret: I‘ll be back in a bit!

Now, if anyone‘s still reading, or if some of you are maybe interested in finding out more about that game I was talking about, I would be happy to share a few details:

The game is called „Islands“, and it‘s an exploration-centered third person adventure/platformer with a slightly cinematic bent. You are playing as a mysterious wanderer on their quest to travel the eponymous islands. My main inspirations were thatgamecompany‘s Journey, Team Ico‘s/Fumito Ueda‘s games (Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, The Last Guardian) and Us Two Games‘ Momument Valley series (from a visual design standpoint). And while Islands is very obviously not nearly as good or polished as any of those titles, if you like any or all of the aforementioned games, well, my little project may just be for you… Just be advised that it has absolutely NOTHING whatsoever to do with the grimdark world of the 41st millennium 😉

So anyway, sorry for rambling away. But while I don‘t want to sound overly dramatic, it‘s no hyperbole to say that this feels like one of the most thrilling creative endeavours I have tackled yet. Sure, the game is pretty dodgy in a hundred places, and probably quite derivative to boot — but it‘s my baby, for what it‘s worth… 😉

So if, by any chance, you should find yourself in the possession of both a PlayStation 4 and a copy of Dreams (because both things are needed to get to access my project, unfortunately), then I cordially invite you to check out Islands — in fact, that would make me very happy indeed! Its title in the Dreamiverse is „Islands Prototype“, and here‘s a thumbnail that should help you identify the right game:

Oh, it‘s also listed here..

You could also leave some feedback, of course, which would make me even happier still 😉

In closing, I will be leaving you with a few impressions of the game. While Dreams also works as a fantastic repository of already available assets, I have decided to up the ante for this project and create all of my own graphic assets, so as to max out my learning curve. So everything you see in those pictures has been completely „scratchbuilt“, as we would say in tabletop hobbyist parlance 😉

Anyway, on to the pretty pictures:

Update, May 28th: I had to spend an hour in the car, waiting, earlier today, so I threw together a quick trailer for the game as well:

As always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more! And please stay safe and healthy!

Thorn Wishes Talon!

Posted in 40k, Inq28, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 25, 2020 by krautscientist

For today, I would like to delve deeper into something from my previous post, namely my attempt at sculpting a 3D CGI version of Inquisitor Gregor Eisenhorn’s face. I do of course realise that this moves somewhat beyond the usual content featured on this blog, but I hope that some of you, at least, will still find this interesting.

As I have already told you, I am having a blast playing around with DreamsMediaMolecule’s weird and wonderful game development engine on the PS4 – recently, and I can tell you that I am legitmately – if maybe irrationally – excited about this stuff, mostly because it feels like actually learning some completely new skills.

Anyway, here’s where we left off last time:


A reasonably complete sculpt of an old guy with some metal stuck to his face — hopefully well on his way to being recognisable as the Gregor Eisenhorn we all know and love 😉 Before we move on, however, I think I should maybe give you a bit more context. Remember how I said in my last post that this was only my second attempt at 3D/CGI modeling? Well, here’s the first attempt, created a few days before I started on the Eisenhorn project:


To be fair, this first attempt leaned into a rather more cartoony style from the get-go, but it’s still really weird, isn’t it? It was also only marginally improved by adding some hair…

Anyway, I think this should show you how it has been a bit of a steep learning curve for me 😉

While I was reasonably happy with my first attempt for a while, I quickly started feeling unsatisfied with it: The cartoony nature really just seemed like a bit of an excuse for coming up with a fairly hokey sculpt, the longer I thought about it. So I decided that my next project would go for a somewhat more realistic angle.

Why Eisenhorn, though? I think the idea appealed to me for several reasons: The sculpt would be quite a challenge, while also allowing me to explore several different elements (such as creating human features as well as augmetic, metallic implants) at the same time. I also really wanted to do something hobby related in this new medium, to be honest — and I had this half-formed plan of not stopping with the sculpt, but of creating something like a little vignette, a little slice of the 40k universe, so to speak.

Dreams is the first program I have ever used to create something in 3D, so I cannot tell you how it compares to other software. I would venture a guess that its main feature – the fact that everything is basically assembled by building up geometric shapes (mostly … ) and blending them together – is probably the same for most 3D modeling software. That being said, it does have its quirks and idiosyncrasies — such as the fact that you are doing it all holding a controller (and frantically so, in many cases). This sometimes seems to make things a bit harder than they need to be, and yet the challenge created by this also somewhat appeals to the lifelong gamer in me, to be honest 😉

One thing that really takes some getting used to is to get things placed in exactly the right spot — and while I made good use of Dreams’ options for displaying grids and mirroring working steps, the early phase of creating the sculpt was really slow, careful and deliberate going:


As you can see, I carefully built up the features by adding more shapes (mostly spheroids). If you have the blending effect turned up on your various shapes, this actually does feel a bit like actual sculpting, because of the way the piece starts to deform rather organically when you add new shapes. So I slowly worked my way towards something resembling an actual face:


“Digging out” the eye sockets was really a crucial moment, and I let out a really, really deep breath when I finally got that part just right:


With the basic assembly out of the way, my first milestone for the project was to create a first, “clean” version of the face before actually improving and detailing it further:


This is very much my baseline face sculpt that I could probably return to for other projects, if needed (I have a half-baked idea making a copy and tweaking it to have broader, more Astartes-like features, just as a proof of concept).

The next step was to add more details, such as wrinkels and scars, in order to make the face look more realistic. Which gave me this finished sculpt:


And here’s a detail look at the face, showing you the added detail I talked about. Due to the way sculpting works in Dreams, those wrinkles were actually “sculpted” onto the underlying face, using a tiny sphere as a brush, so to speak, then using it to create tiny depressions in the skin, instead of applying a “painted” texture map:


Now I do of course realise that this face isn’t photo-realistic in any sense of the word, and that it still has a somewhat stylised look. On top of that, there are also all kinds of minor anatomic problems (don’t get me started on those ears, for instance). But when all is said and done, I would argue that the face at least looks fairly believable, if nothing else.

I wasn’t even done, however, because I still wanted to legitimately turn this into Gregor Eisenhorn.

Throughout the whole project, my main point of reference was this classic piece of artwork, still pretty much my favourite depiction of the venerable Inquisitor:

The artwork originally appeared on the back of the Inquisitor rulebook, and I just love the amount of character in detail in it (so much so, in fact, that I also used it as a model for one of my, slightly dodgy, digital painting attempts earlier this year).

Anyway, the artwork really provided me with lots of extra detail to tweak my sculpt, especially when it comes to facial scarring and the way those implants are integrated into Eisenhorn’s skull.

Before we move on, I would be remiss not to mention that there actually already is a CGI version of old Eisenhorn, namely this interpretation from Pixel Hero Games’ “Eisenhorn: Xenos” videogame:

But while I like that interpretation well enough, it also seemed a bit too, I don’t know, beefy for me? I wanted some proper old man features on Gregor (hence the larger ears and somewhat wizened look on my own sculpt).

Which leads us right back to the beginning: Here’s Eisenhorn’s face again, now with the first augmetic additions. As you can see in the bottom left, I also modeled a couple of tubes and connection ports that I would copy and place all over the head in order to recreate Eisenhorn’s implants.

Once those augmetics were in place, I used more sculpted shapes to blend them into the rest of the head and make the skin around them look irritated and lumpy. Once again, everything you see basically consists of geometric shapes (more spheres, in this case) that have been blended together. The picture below also shows you Dreams’ UI and toolbar for the sculpting mode:

One reason why sculpting Eisenhorn’s head was such a useful learning experience was that the sculpt actually combines very different textures: Eisenhorn’s skin was going to be matte and soft-looking while I wanted his various implants to have a hard, metallic look. This was achieved by giving both areas different finishes. The blue-ish colour of the metal is actually the reflected background colour!


It was always clear to me that I would eventually use Eisenhorn’s head in some kind of staged scene, and once I had the finished face, I moved right on to that. In order for his head to seem even more believable, I quickly threw together a mockup for his iconic high collar (by simply using a cylinder shape and cutting a part out of it):

I then tried an early mockup of the intended scene, with Eisenhorn in a suitably (grim)dark locale, with a servo-skull hovering over his shoulder. Here’s an early impression of that test build:

As you can see, the lighting instantly changes the entire atmosphere. Here’s a picture from when I was zeroing in on the exact kind of lighting conditions I wanted. The servo-skull also looks more refined — although it was merely “jury-rigged” by adding some of my augmetic gubbinz to a readymade skull from MediaMolecule’s gallery of useable objects):

But while I liked the general look of the piece, the messy collar was really starting to bother me at this point, so back to the drawing board I went: I tried a slightly more involved attempt, and while the result still isn’t a perfect recreation of Eisenhorn’s look, I liked it much better:



I also used this opportunity to add a few additional flourishes, while I was at it, such as veins showing beneath the skin and a few tweaks to his augmetic implants, including some glowing lights:


And then it was back to assembling my little scene. Here you see the entire stage, so to speak, with all of the controls in view and the studio lighting turned on to make it easier to tweak the scene:


The little purple shapes surrounding the model are cameras that I placed by hand, because I wanted to end up with a short scene of the camera moving around Eisenhorn, in order to show off the fact that this was actually a fully realised 3D scene.

As for the surrounding scene, I have to point out that I only really created the character bust, while everything else came from fellow Dreamers’ assets — in fact, one really great thing about Dreams is that, while you can of course build everything by yourself, there’s always a huge library of wonderful building blocks at your fingertips.

Anyway, here’s the same scene with the lighting effects “turned on”, as it were:


Quite a difference, wouldn’t you agree?

And here, without further ado, is my little scene showing my interpretation of Inquisitor Gregor Eisenhorn:




I am actually crazy happy with this outcome, even if there’s still much room for improvement, to be sure! Oh, and there’s even a short video, to show you how this stuff is even properly 3D, and everything:

Many thanks must go to my fellow Dreamers magister95, ZIIQ, Lucki_Lady, PulsarFlux, shredderweats, oreo123456789109, thebiv, BonMotGuy_ and Lobselvith_Black for their excellent assets! :)for their fantastic assets — like I said, I only really created the head and shoulders, the rest of the scene came from the work of those very talented people. Oh, and by the same token, if you are on Dreams as well, feel free to peruse my head sculpts for your own projects! They are called “Lined patrician face version 1” and “Lined patrician face version 2” — in fact, as of this writing, one fellow user has already used dear old Gregor’s head as the villain in a recreated Power Ranger scene, of all things 😉

So anyway, that’s it for today’s – slightly different – update. While the subject might have been beyond my usual content today, I would nevertheless love to hear any thoughts you might have, so feel free to leave a comment!

As always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more — and please stay safe and healthy during these challenging times!