Archive for 30k

Secutor Hamund of the World Eaters

Posted in 30k, Conversions, Fluff, paintjob, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2017 by krautscientist

I’ll be spending the second half of the week at two conferences, so you beautiful readers will have to cotent yourselves with something (relatively) short and sweet this week. Never fear, however, as I do have a new finished model to share with you.

A couple of years ago, I would routinely sit down and create a new World Eaters conversion several times a week. It was just a neat way of widening my conversion horizons, and the World Eaters look and feel really clicked with me — and still does, at that.

However, I’ve ended up with a rather huge pile of converted models that way over the years, and while some have been painted in the interim, and some have been tweaked on and off for years at this point, there were also some candidates that just ended up lurking about on my desktop and in my cupboard of shame. Like this guy here:


Originally built as a Chosen champion of some kind, he was cool enough, but in the end he just didn’t come together as a character, so into the great plastic men Limbo he went 😉

Until I happened upon him during my first, hesitant Horus Heresy experiments, when he finally seemed like a pretty cool addition to my embryonic 30k World Eaters project. There were just so many things that made him eligible for a place in my fledgling 30k collection: His armour wasn’t too ornate, but rather had a workmanlike and cobbled-together look that really suits a 30k World Eater. He also had that larger than life look that is ideal for a 30k commander. So I made some further tweaks to the model and turned him into this:



As for the actual conversion, most of the model consists of a plain old vanilla Chaos Space Marine. I cut the legs apart and reposed them in order to make the pose more interesting and add some height to the model. Both arms came from a Finecast Champion of Khorne, still available from GW, albeit called an “Exalted Deathbringer” these days.

Several people gave me grief over the way the model is holding its shield, correctly pointing out that shields, or at least tower shields, normally don’t work that way. To that I say: Fair enough. I could make things easy for myself here and point out that the blame actually lies with GW’s sculptors. But to be perfectly honest, I rather like the shield arm, and I decided I would use the paintjob to show how this guy uses his shield more as a weapon than as an item of defense.

The part that really finished the model was a head from the Space Wolves Terminators, purchased on a whim when I was hunting around for interesting Astartes faces. I think it really turns the model into a character, and it’s also slightly less monstrous than something you would expect in a Khornate 40k army — it just works far better for a Heresy era offcier, if you ask me.

So yeah, he found a new – and, arguably, far more fitting, home with my 30k World Eaters. But that still didn’t mean he saw any paint. I did really want to see him finished, though, so I just took the opportunity and wedged him into my already existing vow for the “Loyalty and Treachery III” event over at The Bolter & Chainsword. And that certainly did the trick. Take a look:

 

Secutor Hamund

“The Mournful”, IVth assault company Delegatus, XII Legio Astartes


“You ask if this is what I wanted for myself, remembrancer? If this is what I dreamed of?
Who could ever dream of a life such as the one we lead and crave to do as we do?
No, I did not wish for this life. But it was this or the fleshmarket at Kalekka, and a choice like that is no choice at all.”

Secutor Hamund

So let’s take a closer look at Hamund, shall we?








So, a couple of notes on the model: I mainly stuck to my established World Eaters painting recipe. The most interesting area was the shield, because I wanted to make it look really grisly — and I also wanted to hint at the fact that Hamund probably uses it to give opponents a good beating or even slice open a jugular vein here and there, if push comes to shove. So making it look suitably battered and gruesome was a fun challenge alright!

However, to be perfectly honest with you, painting Hamund turned out to be a rather massive slog, all in all, both because the conversion was pretty messy, using some very beat-up parts, and because the arms came an fairly early Finecast model (i.e. lots of bubbles and warping). With those factors in mind, I am pretty happy with the finished model: His patched-together suit of mongrel-plate really gives him a suitably World Eater-ly look, and the smaller Khornate symbols scattered over the model could be seen as the War God’s influence slowly beginning to manifest during the latter stages of the Heresy.

As for his background, Hamund is one of Captain Lorimar’s “Secutorii”, an officer serving as  a go-between between the Praetor and the officers at squad level. There are two more Secutorii in the 4th assault company (as of yet), Eigar and Khoron. Here are the three of them, when Hamund was still unpainted:


These guys are basically what company captains would be to a 40k Space Marine Chapter, I suppose, with Lorimar more like a modern-day Chapter Master, due to the sheer size of the Heresy era Legiones Astartes. Anyway, finishing the entire triumvirate at some point will be fun. And longtime readers of this blog should already know Khoron. Just sayin’…

For now, however, I am pretty happy with finally having finished Hamund! So here’s another round of family photos, to celebrate the occasion 😉

Hamund with some of the Legionaries under his command:


And, once more, my slowly growing 30k World Eaters collection — slow and steady wins the race, eh? 😉


So yeah, feel free to let me hear any feedback you might have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

The State of the Hunt, Week 12/2017

Posted in 30k, 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, state of the hunt, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2017 by krautscientist

I was simply swamped in work last week, so I had to miss an update — sorry for that! However, I’ve been far from idle on the hobby front, and possibly the most crucial hobby-related thing to happen last week were a couple of job-related trips to Hanover which provided me with the perfect opportunity for making some much needed purchases at a local FLGS:


With my supplies thus replenished, I think I’ll soon be able to start painting my recent Angron kitbash (hence all of the metallic colours). I also finally picked up a box of the Aos Blood Warriors, mainly for conversion fodder, really. And indeed, one of the fantastic helmets from the kit finally served as the perfect choice for Lorimar’s second in command, First Hunter Alrik Skarn:




This guy was originally my first really involved conversion after getting back into the hobby after a long hiatus (more than a year before I even started this blog, actually): I converted him during the first days of 2011, and have kept tinkering on him time and time again in the years since. But at long last, he now has just about the perfect helmet, so I think I can finally consider this conversion finished — phew! 😉

And while the Blood Warriors are basically the perfect conversion resource for creating elaborate Khornate conversions for 40k, my next attempt at putting the various bits to good use actually involved creating a very early mockup for a 30k World Eater — go figure! 😉


Does anyone have an idea who this might be. I’ll give you a hint: He’s not really a member of Lorimar’s 4th assault company, but rather a bit of a “guest star”, so to speak…

Speaking of which, work on my 30k World Eaters continues apace. For instance, I have finally built the vexillarius for my first squad of tactical veterans.  I’ve wanted to build this model for a while now, but the backpack-mounted vexilla design didn’t do much for me. Then I happened upon Augustus b’Raass’ excellent assault squad Vexillarius here, and fell in love: I really like the way the standard recalls influences from ancient Roman Legions, which certainly seems fitting for the Legiones Astartes. At the same time, there is also something slightly totemic about the design, which fits the increasingly brutal nature of the World Eaters. So I took influences from this piece to build my vexillarius, trying to put my own spin on things. Take a look:




Unlike Augustus, I was actually too cheap to use the Custodian banner pole, so I improvised my own version with the bits I had. The shield itself will end up bearing a heraldic device (a legion badge, for instance). That way I’ll be able to use the same basic design for each vexilla, should I end up building multiple squads, while also having a chance of customising each one into an individual totem, if you will. This is a great fit for the kind of look I am after for my World Eaters: One that is not nearly as uniform as your standard Heresy era legion army, with warplate cobbled together from different marks and trophies that show the World Eaters’ beginning descent. At the same time, however, the more regimented, uniform roots are still visible.

Another thing I really wanted to incorporate was a head with a skull cap, something I’ve seen on Duncan Rhodes’ Sons of Horus in White Dwarf a couple of years ago, as well as in Apologist’s Iron Warriors: I think it works really well with Mk. 3 armour, making it look like the armour is so ancient that you actually have to wear the cap as some kind of additional conduit and protection layer underneath the atual helmet. Please ignore the Inquisitorial =][= on the model’s forehead, btw — it still needs to be filled in with GS.

I have also managed to finally put some paint on the next member of the squad, the Astartes bearing a massive and brutal looking autogun:



Now the first draft version of the model still had a standard Mk. 3 helmet, but then I saw Nemac Vradon’s fantastic conversion of Uzas (of First Claw fame) using one of the FW World Eaters helmet to great effect, and so I allowed myself a small indulgence and ordered a single head from a bitz-seller to give my model that little bit of extra oomph.

The model also features a shout out to one of my favourite 30k World Eaters armies: Mr. Poom’s World Eaters occasionally feature weapon casings in the Iron Warriors-styled hazard stripe design, and I included a variant of the design on the backup chainsword mag-locked to the legionary’s armour:




So yeah, it might be slow work – in keeping with my general laziness – but my small collection of 30k World Eaters keeps expanding one model at a time — not too long now, and I might actually end up with a full squad! Shocking, I know… 😉


So here’s one small news item before I am off. I particularly like this one, however, because it was such a happy coincidence: During a recent visit to an artistic school, I was able to rescue a little something from the trash bin: the remains of an art project:


Call me crazy, but I think the broken parts of this face could make for some rather cool 40k terrain pieces with a bit of work. Monuments of that size are definitely a thing in the Imperium, and if I paint it in colours matching my 30k World Eaters, I’ll end up with terrain pieces that should work in 40k but would also make for pretty cool looking terrain for an Armatura-themed display board…just sayin’ 😉

Until then, however, 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!

Lord of the XII Legion – A Triptych, pt. 6

Posted in 30k, Conversions, Fluff, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2017 by krautscientist

Wait, what? We’re back to this guy again?

Indeed, another post focused on the XIIth Primarch, Angron Thal’Kr, The Conqueror, The Red Angel. So what’s up today?

You all know that building different versions of Angron was a pretty big part of my 2016 hobby life: I built and painted a version of Angron in his daemonic form, something I wouldn’t even have thought myself capable of a few years ago:

But I also went back to Angron’s past, converting a version of him inspired by this piece of artwork, probably showing the Primarch during his pitfighting days on Nuceria:

Butcher's Nails cover artwork
It turned out that one of the AoS Slaughterpriests of Khorne makes for a pretty convincing Angron, with a couple of tweaks:

angron-thalkr-lord-of-the-red-sands-11
So there was only one last planned model: The “official” Forgeworld Angron very kindly sent to me by Adam Wier. So just get that one painted and we’re done, eh?


Yes, well. It all ended up being a bit more complicated than that…

Here’s what happened: When White Dwarf was relaunched as a monthly magazine, the first issue came with a free Slaughterpriest — incidentally, the design I hadn’t used for my Angron conversion. And at the same time, I had also picked up the same version a bit earlier, when my beloved FLGS went under (still sore, you know).

So I ended up with a spare Slaughterpriest. And I started thinking. What if I were to build…just one more…?!

So yeah 😉

In order to come up with a model that wouldn’t just be a retread of the versions I already had, I thought it would be fun to base this next Angron on the pre-Forgeworld era artwork, such as the iconic illustration of Angron created by the late, great Wayne England for the Horus Heres Trading Card Game:

Angron by Wayne England

And, of course, on the similarly iconic illustration by John Blanche:

Angron by John Blanche

In the era before Angron actually had a dedicated Forgeworld model, there were a couple of elements that appeared in almost every piece of artwork. Most of these were later incorporated into Simon Egan’s model, but some fell by the wayside. Such as the two-handed axe with the ornamental wing and the three spikes crowing Angron’s collar. And of course there’s a certain, stylised and angular charm to Wayne England’s piece of artwork above that would be fun to reproduce.

So I started messing around with a couple of bitz, and I’ve actually already shown you the first attempt at this new model a while ago:


But while this guy already looked pretty cool, he didn’t actually read as Angron all that much — at least not in a way that moved beyond what was already present on the other versions in my possession. And since the model just didn’t come together for one reason or another, I just set him aside for a while.

Until I found myself playing around with some of the new plastic Custodian bitz last week, and suddenly it seemed like I might have the solution on my hands! So after some rigurous cutting, here’s what I ended up with:


Whoa, much better, wouldn’t you agree? Replacing the entire torso with that of a Custodian might seem like a rather radical approach, but it instantly moved the model a lot closer to the artwork that inspired it! And I was able to keep the versions of the previous version that already worked well enough — such as the arms and legs. And, of course, that brilliantly sculpted Slaughterpriest face (that just happens to instantly turn into Angron as soon as you add some cabling).

However, I wasn’t quite there yet: The Khorne icon on Angron’s belt buckle needed to be replaced, for fairly obvious reasons, and I also made some minor tweaks to the pose. Which led to this:




A Custodian tasset served as a pretty good replacement for the Khorne symbol and also recalled the aquila symbol appearing in the aertwork.

Almost there! I did feel the model needed a bit more presence at this point to really read as a Primarch, though. And the collar around Angron’s head wasn’t quite as prominent as in the artwork — it just turned out that fitting all that cabling in there made the entire ensemble a bit less striking than I had hoped:


Good thing, then, that the next addition was really a bit of a happy accident: I always knew that he’d be getting some kind of cape, so I fooled around with a couple of different options. And the solution arrived from the unlikeliest of places, i.e. the cape that comes with the Chaos Terminator Lord kit. With a bit of cutting and fitting, it ended up working very well, plus the cape also gave me the chance of incorporating those three spikes that are another staple of Angron in the classic artwork:





The cape also adds the right sense of bulk: I already liked the model well enough before, but it now has the massive, overmuscled look that sells it as a Primarch, if you ask me. Granted, some fine tuning may yet be in order, but I think I’m on the right track!

Time for a comparison with the other versions of (pre-ascension) Angron in my collection:



Regarding the size of the model, it must be noted that FW’s Angron is still quite a bit taller — he only doesn’t look like it because he’s posed at a very low crouch. But even so, I think the three of them look fairly good together.

So I only made one last addition to the model. Here’s what the latest version of Angron looks like right now:



I’ve added two leather straps to either side of Angron’s chest, in order to add an element resembling the straps appearing in Wayne England’s illustration. They also happen to camouflage the slightly hokey joints where the arms meet the torso. And, once again, they add some more oomph to the model and its stature.

The model is pretty much finished at this point, except for a finishing touch or two: I want Angron to be holding the same tangle of viscera he has in the artwork in his open left hand. And there needs to be something underneath the Primarch’s right foot. Incidentally, this also ties into the question of where my newest version of the XIIth Primarch fits into the timeline:

I see this version of Angron as a depiction of him about halfway through the Great Crusade, shortly before or during the event known as The Night of the Wolf (an event where the XII and VI Legions actually came to blows over Angron’s order of outfitting his legion with the Butcher’s Nails, thereby turning the legionaries into bloodthirsty madmen): There’s a throwaway line in Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s Betrayer about the first and greatest of Angron’s two-handed axes, Widowmaker, being broken and discarded at the end of that battle, so it would be fun to imagine my new version of Angron in that context.

Which is why there’ll probably be a suitably mangled Space Wolf underneath his foot — at least the XIII Legion is off the hook, for once… 😉

One last interesting detail about the model is how the shoulder pads (from MaxMini, I believe) were originally used as a mere stopgap solution, but I really rather like the way they look: They have a certain gladiatorial flair, plus the pteryges on the sides basically perfectly match the ones in the Wayne England illustration. And what’s more: Through sheeer coincidence (or maybe through intervention from the powers of the warp, who knows…) all three converted version of Angron I have built so far have ended up with shoulder pads that were originally sent to me by Augustus b’Raass as part of a bitz drop — that in itself would be enough reason to stick with those shoulder pads, wouldn’t you agree?

 

Anyway, I am pretty happy that the model has finally come together like that! And just when I thought I finally had all the Angrons I needed, I stumble upon this little gem the other day and almost find myself reaching for my AoS starter box sprues…damn!

Anyway, I would love to hear your feedback! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Deracin — the early years

Posted in 30k, Conversions, Fluff, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 1, 2017 by krautscientist

Back when the then-new Codex Chaos Space Marines was released, all the way back in 2012, it contained a couple of new HQ specialist types for the army that had previously been limited to particular legions: Both the (Word Bearers’) Dark Apostles and the (Iron Warriors’) War(p)smiths were now available to every Traitor Legion and renegade chapter.

While the choice proved unpopular among some hobbyists, who feared that this was a sign of further weakening the identity of the various legions, I quickly thought about the interesting challenge of building dedicated interpretations of those character archetypes for my World Eaters.

Possibly the most involved project in this vein was the creation of my very own Warpsmith, Huntmaster Deracin:

Huntmaster Deracin (11)
Coming up with a suitably impressive, suitably tech-y and suitably Khornate Warpsmith was a pretty interesting endeavour — you can discover the original project here and here.

Now as you know, I have been working on a small Horus Heresy project for a while now, exploring the history of the 4th assault company during the Heresy. And one of the most entertaining parts of this “gaiden project” has been to reverse-engineer younger versions of my 40k characters. Of course it’s a difficult balance to maintain: Not every character could realistically have survived ten millennia of the Long War — in fact, even the idea of single individuals surviving through the Great Crusade, the entire Heresy and even well beyond is patently ludicrous, when you look at it. But it’s 30k/40k we are talking about here, so a little lack of realism doesn’t hurt 😉 Even so, there have to be some differences between both incarnations of the company across both settings for the whole business to at least allow some suspension of disbelief.

But Deracin was always one of the prime candidates to be included in the “younger” version of the 4th assault company: He is one of the pretty well-developed characters in my army’s background, and I also thought that building a younger version of him might be fun.

My original plan was to take a look at the “official” Forgeworld Legion Techmarines in Mk. III and Mk. IV armour, respectively. But those merely served as a first inspiration, and the real challenge was to build a model that didn’t just look like any old Techmarine, but actually resembled Deracin’s fairly baroque 40k form. After a bit of experimentation, here’s what I came up with:

Techmarine Deracin 30k WIP (4)

The use of some chaos warrior legs (from the chaos chariot, as it were) proved to be the crucial, if unconventional, choice here, because they really hint at Deracin’s 40k getup (mostly because both pairs of legs come from the same part of GW’s catalogue). The nonstandard shape of the legs also hints at possible augmentations underneath all of the armour, something that is very much a part of Deracin’s character: You really cannot be sure how much of his organic body is actually left underneath it all. But he’s enough of a technological prodigy to eschew the usual, bulky Astartes bionics for something more cotoured and elegant, at least for the most part.

Beyond this key decision, I tried to incorporate design elements that looked like less extreme versions of Deracin’s 40k equipment, such as the chainaxe/hammer combo, the shoulder mounted gun and the servo-harness. My original conversion notes on the model can be found in this post, if anyone’s interested.

But anyway, here’s the unpainted conversion next to the “older” version of Deracin:

Deracin comparison

In order to finally get the model painted, I included it in my recent vow for the “Loyalty & Treachery III” event over at The Bolter & Chainsword. And while I was still motivated from my recent success of having painted my 30k World Eaters Contemptor, I got to work. Here are the results:

 

Deracin

the Keeper of the Forge, 4th assault company Techmarine, XII Legio Astartes

“To think we lost a brilliant mind like that! But how should we have known? A jewel like that man’s mind, hidden amid the midden heap that was his legion. A genius fallen among the butchers. Even as we fight his daemonic creations today, we can only wonder about the marvels he could have brought to our Imperium.

There are those who look at the Istvaan Atrocity or the Siege of Terra, and who count the dead and the debt Imperium paid in flesh and blood during those dark times. But the true tally of the Heresy is measured not in bodies, but in minds forever lost to our cause, and therein lies the true tragedy.”

Archmagos Veneratus Sacharia Hyle, The Age of Scouring, M31

30k-deracin-1
30k-deracin-2

“Aye, Nove Shendak cost me half of my body. But in the end, those injuries were what let me keep all of my wits, and for that I will always remember that blasted hellscape with a certain …fondness.”

Techmarine Deracin

30k-deracin-3
30k-deracin-4
30k-deracin-5
During the time of the Great Crusade, when the XIIth Astartes Legion was still known as the War Hounds, brother Deracin was a brilliant and ferocious warrior who could be found at the forefront of every battle. This zeal cost him dearly when he sustained horrific injuries during the Nove Shendak campaign, requiring extensive augmentic reconstruction work to be saved. Worse still than the lost limbs was the heavy nerve damage Deracin incurred, damage that necessiated complex cranial implants to keep him combat-worthy. A lesser man might have been interred into the sarcophagus of a dreadnought due to such injuries, but Deracin trained relentlessly to overcome his injuries and push the artificial parts of his body to the limit, trying to prove to his brethren that his “reconstruction” hadn’t dulled his edge one bit.

All of this should be for naught, however, once the legion had been reunited with its Primarch and renamed the “World Eaters”: Angron ordered his Apothecaries and Techmarines to outfit the whole legion with the Butcher’s Nails, implants patterned after those he had received as a gladiator on the world of Nuceria.

The nails implanted into the Primarch’s skull were artifacts from the Dark Age of Technology, and the Techmarines’ dabbling in archaeotech was far from an exact science, producing all kinds of unforeseen incidents. As a consequence, the implants Deracin had received earlier to mend his injuries interfered with the nails, preventing him from utilising his full potential on the battlefield. For Angron, a legionnaire that couldn’t unlock the nails’ full power could only be considered a failure. So Deracin found himself relegated to the rear guard in more and more battles, sidelined and tasked with petty battle logistics and mundane assignments, and growing ever more frustrated.

It was Lord Captain Lorimar who discovered that, deprived of a chance to prove himself in battle, Deracin had begun to apply himself to the maintenance of the legions’ wargear and weaponry, demonstrating a brilliant grasp of technology and an intuitive understanding of even the most complex mechanisms. So Lorimar requested Deracin for his company and let him be trained as a Techmarine. And it was then that brother Deracin found his true calling:

He may have been a brilliant fighter, but as a Techmarine, Deracin became a marvel. His brilliant, analytical mind allowed him to construct mechanisms on par with the most advanced work of the Mechanicus. His work earned him the envy of numerous Techmarines from different companies and, indeed, other Legiones Astartes. In time, even Angron himself began to display a sort of grudging respect for the son he had despised. And through fateful irony, the implants that prevented Deracin from tapping into the Butcher’s Nails’ full potential actually kept his brilliant mind intact, even as the rest of the legion descended into frenzy and insanity.

30k-deracin-6
So this is my interpretation of a younger Deracin. And here’s a comparison shot showing both versions of the character:

deracin-then-and-now-2
deracin-then-and-now-3
40k Deracin is quite a beast, in his massive and baroque armour — and let’s not forget that rather monstrous servo-harness! So, like I said, the three goals here were to a) build a model that would look reasonably like it was the same guy cool.png hint at some of the design cues of the 40k version and c) still read as a 30k Techmarine. Looking at it now, I think I’ve done a reasonably good job on the model!

Deracin is the first character with a finished model for both incarnations of the 4th assault company — but he is far from the last! That being said, I am still really happy with created a first proof-of-concept model! 🙂

Let’s wind up this post with the obligatory family portrait:

30k-world-eaters-and-techmarine-2
I’d love to hear your feedback on the model! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Five years!

Posted in 30k, 40k, Blood Bowl, Chaos, Conversions, Inq28, Pointless ramblings, state of the hunt, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 21, 2017 by krautscientist

yearfive
Now would you believe it: Another anniversary snuck up on me while I wasn’t looking: As of this week, Eternal Hunt is actually five years old! That means five years of screaming into the void — quite an achievement, wouldn’t you say? 😉

But seriously, I am actually really proud of having managed to keep this blog going for so long. Now I realise that some people may consider posts like this to be self-congratulatory. But in a hobby where maintaining focus and motivation is so very important, it feels like a little self-congratulation every once in a while doesn’t hurt, so if you’ll indulge me…?

 

Speaking of the raw numbers, five years of Eternal Hunt means 345 posts, all in all, and around 829,000 views. There have been 311,000 visitors to this blog and I have managed to attract 320 followers to date. Given the fact that the blog is a mere hobby project, those are some numbers to be reasonably proud of — I really do want to hit a million views, though! 😉

 

Anyway, in previous years, I have always used the blog’s anniversary to showcase some of my earlies hobby efforts, but five years of constant blogging have managed to pretty much bleed me dry on that front: I have shared my somewhat embarrassing first Space Crusade models as well as an incredibly bad paintjob for the classic HeroQuest barbarian, the first model I have ever attempted to paint back in the day. I also showed you my first WFB and 40k armies, respectively, as well as my attempt at creating a Mordheim chaos warband back when Mordheim wasn’t even really officially a thing yet. And I even let you take a look at the highly deriative fantasy artwork I cobbled together during my late teens. So there’s really not much more of my past embarrassments for you to entertain yourselves with 😉

So let’s do something different this year: Let’s not focus on my models, for a change, but rather on some of the fantastic pieces I have been given by fellow hobbyists.

You see, this blog has enabled me to not only talk about my personal hobby experiences, but also to get in touch with some extremely talented artists and creators, some of them venerable hobby legends. And while that’s already cool enough in and of itself, I was also lucky enough to have been sent some truly wonderful models over the years: Some of them completely painted, some to be painted by be. Some were already assembled, others came in parts. But they all added something unique and interesting to my collection of models, and some of them even made me approach a particular project or a part of my collection from a new angle.

Plus all of those models also make for a pretty eclectic group when collected. Take a look:

eternal-hunt-5th-anniversary-2
Now these are the finished models that were given to me by fellow hobbyists in one form or another.

Given the focus of my blog, it shouldn’s surprise you that the XII legion (and their daemonic allies) feature heavily:

eternal-hunt-5th-anniversary-3
The massive Obliterators were built thanks to some wonderful custom parts that I received from fellow hobbyist Thamier. BrotherJim sent me an excellent converted Khornate champion in his trademark style from Australia. Sagal and AMaximus provided me with some vintage Bloodletters. And the centre piece is definitely PDH’s wonderfully painted Lord Zhufor that he sent over as a surprise – and just in time for the blog’s 2016 birthday! And while I bought those Heresy era World Eaters from fellow German hobbyist AgnostosTheos when he sold off his collection, they came about as the result of a little joint hobby project — and ultimately served as a sort of blueprint for my own exploits into the world of 30k.

And there’s the wonderful world of INQ28, of course: This is the category where I have received some particularly grimdark and Blanchian pieces:

eternal-hunt-5th-anniversary-5
Neil101 let me have that wonderfully sinister Khornate Champion (and …erm his bucket), while the legendary Ron Saikowski and Drone21c from Australia, respectively, sent me some stunning models based on classic John Blanche artwork. The little powder monkey was originally part of a bitz drop from PDH — and after being turned into a small augmetic familiar, he was named “PeeDee the Monkey” in Peter’s honour 😉 Oh, and let’s not forget that cyber-mastiff, converted from a Malifaux model I won in a raffle over at MiniatureTim’s blog.

And then there are my friend Annie’s wonderful additions to my Blood Bowl team, of course:

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And that’s not nearly all, because those are only the models I have managed to paint so far (or the ones that came pre-painted, as it were). As it happens, I still have some wonderful donations from fellow hobbyists to look forward to on my painting desk:

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Among those are Malthus Dire, a Khornate Chaos Lord, courtesy of Commissar Molotov. A grimdark belle sculpted by Steifer. A really, really old Imperial Guard Trooper, once again kindly sent over by Drone21c. The Space Wolves model given to me by the owner of my (now sadly defunct) FLGS. And a freaking Forgeworld Primarch, sent my way by Adam Wier of Between The Bolter And Me — the latter in particular forms a stunning addition to my collection, and I’ll make sure to do him justice!

And that’s still not all either, because I haven’t even talked about the various bitz drops and the constant exchange of ideas between me and other hobbyists — the list goes on and on.

In short, both my collection of models as well as my entire hobby have been enriched by generous gifts and creative ideas from fellow hobbyists from all across the world. And getting in touch with them has only been possible via sharing my work as well as my ideas online, and by commenting on their work and learning from them in turn. And this entire process continues to be an extremely rewarding and, occasionally, humbling experience!

So whether you are one of the brilliant people who have sent me models or bitz over the years or you are a follower, reader or even frequent commenter on this blog, thank you! From the bottom of my heart! Because your contributions keep this blog running, and your influences have really broadened my hobby horizon!

In closing, allow me to share just one further example for the amazing way this whole blogging business leads to more and more surprises:

While browsing for inspirational artwork of Angron, the XII Legion Primarch, I recently came upon this illustration of Angron created by artist Dariiy:

Angron illustration by Dariiy

Angron illustration by Dariiy

Now I did notice certain similarities to my own conversion of Daemon-Primarch Angron, so I sent Dariiy a message enquiring about whether or not that was a coincidence — and imagine how happy and surprised I was when she wrote back that the illustration, done by her as a birthday gift for a friend, mostly used design cues from Alex Boyd’s iconic artwork of Angron in his Daemonic form — and, indeed, from my model version of the character. Now that’s the awesome and crazy stuff this hobby of ours can lead to: An illustration resembling a model you’ve built on the wall of somebody in a totally different country and shared with the rest of the world via social media. Incredible stuff, wouldn’t you agree?

Make sure to check out Dariiy’s tumblr, by the way, as there’s some pretty cool work on diplay over there!

 

So anyway, thank you all, once again — here’s to the next five years, eh? 😉

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

Ancient Vaako of the World Eaters

Posted in 30k, Conversions, Fluff, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2017 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, surprise: I am not dead! 😉 I’ve gone through a bit of a rocky patch – from a purely hobby-related perspective – however, with a combination of work and other personal interests taking up most of my time, and very little hobby mojo left to speak of. So I haven’t really done much hobby related stuff since before Christmas, and that involves participating in forum discussions, writing blog posts or even personal, hobby-related correspondence.

Anyway, I decided that it was high time I broke this personal hobby-dreadlock, so here we are with a fresh post. Now some of you may be wondering where that third and final part of my Eternal Hunt Awards went: I remain committed to doing a writeup of my favourite 2016 projects from other hobbyists  – if you still want to read it, that is – but for now, it felt like the best way to actually get back into the swing of things was to just sit down and finish a model.

So let’s talk about my first 2017 model — fortunately enough, it’s a piece that I have wanted to finish for a long time now: All the way back at the tail end of 2015, when Betrayal at Calth had just been released, I immediately started to cut up the somewhat generic Contemptor that came with the box, turning it first into this:

World Eaters Contemptor 30k early WIP (1)

And then into this:

World Eaters Contemptor 30k WIP (9)
My plan for the model was to make it a bit more interesting by taking cues from Forgeworld’s World Eaters Dreadnought while also putting my own spin on things. For those interested in the subject, more conversion notes can be found in my original post here. And since I was really happy with the finished conversion, I really wanted to do this guy justice with a suitably good paintjob.

So when The Bolter & Chainsword started yet another forum-wide hobby event earlier this year, I knew it was time to get off my arse and finish this bad boy. So he became a part of my vow for the “Loyalty & Treachery III” event, along with two other models that I hope to paint soon-ish:

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But the Contemptor was definitely first in line. I usually really enjoy painting Dreadnoughts, you see, so I hoped this guy would be fun to paint as well!

The first task was to carefully think about which undercoats to use. In the end, I used two different colours to undercoat the model (white for the legs and breastplate, silver for the arms and torso). This made for a good start, because I ended up with parts of the model in colours that were already closed to the finished effect. So I carefully picked out all the details in the correct colours and also added the characteristic blue on the shoulder pads, knee pads and the reactor section. Here’s what the model looked like after this step:

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Then I washed and highlighted some of the detail, such as the chain dangling from the Contemptor’s breastplate, the bronze parts etc. A look at the finished World Eater next to the Contemptor perfectly shows the difference between the squeaky clean white of the PIP Contemptor and the finished, grimy and dirty white on the legionary — but before tackling the white areas, there was something to take care of first:

I had decided to make use of quite a few Forgeworld World Eaters decals, and in order for the whole ensemble to look suitably believable, the decals had to be applied at this early stage, to be weathered and dirtied up later, along with the rest of the white armour. Here’s the Contemptor with nearly all decals in place:

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Better, but still far too clean, wouldn’t you agree? As an aside, I was really happy to be able to pull off that huge crossed chain decal on the leg armour.

In order to get the right, battle worn look, I used the same approach I had come up with for the rest of my 30k World Eaters so far: All of the white armour plates were washed with Army Painter Dark Tone, heavily diluted with GW Lahmian Medium. This shades the white parts and adds a grimy, dusty look to the armour. Afterwards, I used a small piece of blister foam and some GW Charadon Granite to add small patches of sponge weathering, adding to the dirty and unkempt look. By adding all of this on top of the decals, they ended up looking like a believable part of the model and not like an afterthought. Here’s the Contemptor after this step:

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And while the model was already looking quite alright by this point, I decided to add some further tweaks: GW Leadbelcher was carefully sponged onto the blue armour plates, for instance, to create a scratched look. I also added suitable amounts of grime and soot around the Contemptor’s reactor section:

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You might also have noticed the inclusion of a big “IV” decal on the model’s chest plate: The original plan was to have one of the red XII decals from the World Eaters decal sheet there, but that didn’t work out at all, as the red decal didn’t really read against the brass background. So I decided on a white numeral that stands for the Contemptor’s affiliation with the 4th assault company — I suppose there are enough XII decals scattered across the model to make it obvious which legion this guy belongs to 😉

In the meantime, I also created a base to match the model. For this project, I used some granite slabs from the 40k basing kit for big models. But while the parts worked well enough, they also soffered from very, very soft detailing — my pet peeve with the kit, as you’ll probably remember. I brushed on some Liquid GS to create additional texture:

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The paintjob was meant to evoke a dusty battlefield, like the crumbling avenues and plazas of Armatura, the Ultramarines’ war-world. So of course I had to add a fallen member of the XIII legion as well 😉

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Now just for the record: I don’t harbour any particular hate for the Ultramarines, but my 30k World Eaters are based on the legion circa during the Shadow Crusade (so from Isstvan to Nuceria) with a possible focus on the battles of Armatura and Nuceria. And the XIII Legion were the World Eaters’ main opponent during that campaign. Plus there’s an excellent showdown between Guilliman and Angron at Nuceria that shows how they are basically polar opposites in many ways, so it seems like a nice fit.

At this point, only some minor touchups were neccessary to finish the model. So let’s take a look at the finished Contemptor, alright?

 

Ancient Vaako

the Immortal, the Cerberite, honoured veteran of the XII Legion Astartes

In his dreams, he is still at Cerberus Station, its steel corridors and rock catacombs bathed in amber warning lights, the ropes of blood and viscera on every surface like the studies of a mad artist. The renegades have taken a terrible toll in blood, and he can see the corpses of station personnel, fallen inmates and the remains of servitors, strewn like ragdolls across the floors and makeshift barricades. And between them, in far smaller numbers, yet still shockingly common, the bodies of his brothers, the grey blue ceramite shards of their armour like cracked eggshells. All is quiet, strangely enough, yet the air is heavy with the scent of bad deaths.

When he rounds the next corner, he finds himself face to face with one of the monsters, squatting atop a pile of broken bodies. It is dying from a thousand cuts already, but just too stubborn to realise it yet. Its armour is cracked and scarred, but he still recognises it as an earlier, cruder version of his own warplate. Even then, he senses in his bones that their kinship goes farther still.

Up close, its animal stink and the sharp tang of its chemical secretions are almost overwhelming: the cancerous odour of a biological experiment slowly breaking down into its composite parts.

They quietly observe each other for a moment then, and in its rheumy eyes, he sees the ending of an age — but there is more there: infinite sadness. A sense of betrayal. The broken spirit of a once proud warrior, now merely a tool discarded by its own creator.

+++

He awakens underwater, his lungs filled with icy liquid. As usual, it takes a moment for him to remember where he is. And what he has become. While jagged Nagrakali runes dance before his eyes, his gaze turns downward to the men a merciless conqueror king has crudely reshaped into his brothers. He wonders why they have come. Why they will not let him sleep and dream of betrayal the colour of blood and amber light. And then they begin to speak, and speak for a long time, and while their words weave a tapestry depicting a world gone mad, he remembers the spiteful, sad gaze of a discarded, broken toy and realises, with grim certainty, that it is all happening again.

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A Terran veteran from the days when the XII legion was still named the War Hounds, Brahim Vaako is one of the oldest members of the 4th assault company. His status as a honoured ancient of the company made his support crucial when Captain Lorimar succeeded the company’s former commander, Lord Valna, whom he had slain in the fighting pits.

Unlike many Terran-born veterans of the World Eaters, he has never felt any resentment towards the Primarch Angron and the changes the latter had wrought upon the legion: During the quelling of the Cerberus Insurrection, the campaign in which Vaako would first distinguish himself, he saw  the last Thunder Warriors die, and their fate and the World Eaters‘ role in their demise planted the seed for a growing disillusionment with the Emperor and the Imperial Truth in him, long before the Horus Heresy ever broke out.

So here’s the finished model, and let’s not mince words: I am incredibly happy with how the model has come out! So let’s take a closer look at him:

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As you can see, I also added some blood – par for the course for a World Eater, really – and it was once again pretty much the hardest part of the project, because it’s just so easy to overdo an effect like that. The fist was a no-brainer, of course. Regarding the legs, my rationale was that any fallen enemy at the Contemptor’s feet could only ever hope to reach as high as the Dread’s shins — and would likely make a terrible mess down there while expiring 😉

Also, there may or may not be suggestions of bloody handprints in that bloody mess. At the same time, the effect also provided me with a good way to add some detail to those barren inner sides of the legs.

One thing I really spent a lot of time on was the use of matching decals to create both a feeling of belonging to the XII legion and a kind of personal heraldry for the character. For instance, the numeral “IV” stenciled onto his chest plate proudly proclaims his allegiance to the 4th assault company:

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Meanwhile, the row of three hound heads appearing on his torso is a reminder of his participation in the quelling of the Cerberus Insurrection, a campaign that also earned him the epithet “Cerberite”:

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Speaking of personal heraldry, the one thing that fell by the wayside during the painting stage, surprisingly enough, was the heraldic shield on Vaako’s left shoulder: I originally really liked the idea of having it there as a way of showing personal heraldry, but when I tacked it own, it turned out the shield really upset the model’s colour balance — so it had to go.

The base came together in a pretty experimental way — which makes me all the happier that it looks pretty much like I imagined it:

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And here’s Vaako together with his “squishier” little brothers:

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I think this little group serves as a pretty neat proof of concept of what I want my 30k World Eaters to look like! I think you can expect some more of these at some point in the not-too-distant future 😉

For now, though, I am really happy to have finally finished this model — and about possibly having my hobby mojo back for now. YAY! 🙂

Of course I would love to hear your feedback, so let me know what you think in the comments! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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Change we can believe in — a closer look at the Thousand Sons release

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 7, 2016 by krautscientist

Oh my, it has really happened… The rumours seemed far too crazy at first, but now here we are with the first actual Daemon-Primarch and what could be the beginning of a complete (and much needed) design update for the entire CSM faction, especially when it comes to models for the cult legions (I am crossing my fingers so hard it hurts, as you can probably imagine).

That remains to be seen, though. For now let us focus on the new Thousand Sons, as that means we have enough on our plate as it is.

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I may have mentioned before that I usually find Tzeentch the hardest chaos god to like, mostly due to the whole wanton mutation angle: The daemonic servants of Tzeentch are often too abstract for my taste, and the often heavily mutated mortal servants also tend to leave me cold — what can I say, I am a Khorne “heavy armour and no nonsense” kind of guy through and through 😉

That being said, I have always liked the concept of the Thousand Sons very much, precisely because they put such a nice spin on the usual Tzeentchian approach: Ahriman’s Rubric was an attempt to stop the very mutating powers that usually plague servants of the Architect of Fate, and it ended up creating an army of unfeeling, disembodied combat automata — the exact opposite of what you would expect of a Tzeentchian host (and then again, the subversion is delicious, of course, this being Tzeentch we are talking about). Anyway, there’s something clever and interesting about the legion, and the Thousand Sons are also, arguably, one of the most tragic traitor legions, so there’s much to like there in concept. And now we finally see them as a fully fleshed out model release — I never thought I’d see the day!

I also think it’s a rather clever approach to release 30k and 40k Thousand Sons back to back like that, and once again, there’s delicious irony in the fact that both are released at the same time while 10 millennia have passed in the background between both incarnations of the legion. A clever bit of planning there — if it was planned in the first place, of course. But, again, it’s Tzeentch we are talking about here, so yeah…

 

Before this all gets a little bit too meta, however, let’s just focus on the models, take a look at all the different parts of the release and consider some of the possible conversion opportunities.

Before we begin, allow me to point out that, once again, there is something I would like to think of as an unofficial companion piece to this review over at Wudugast’s blog, and I recommend you check it out as well.

So here we go:

 

Magnus the Red, Daemon-Primarch of the Thousand Sons

thousand-sons-release-3So yeah, it seems like Daemon-Primarchs are now officially a thing in 40k. Good thing I already made one earlier this year 😉

But anyway, it’s obvious that this is a pretty exciting development, especially given the fact that our only look at the Daemon-Primarchs in model for so far were the respective Epic 40k versions — and the less said about them, the better…

If we look at the model at hand, I have to say that Magnus looks pretty much exactly the way I always envisioned him — well, except for the chicken feet, maybe 😉
But even an element as unexpected as the avian feet works pretty well for giving the model a Tzeentchian look without sacrificing any of Magnus’s impressive physicality.

It pleases me immensely that there is quite a lot of Wayne England’s interpretation of Daemon-Primarch Magnus in the model, because you just cannot go wrong with taking cues from Wayne England, if you ask me:

illustration by Wayne England

illustration by Wayne England

What’s more, all the changes made to Wayne England’s design certainly make sense: I already mentioned the avian feet above, and the inclusion of feathers on strategic points of the model (and the choice of replacing the classic daemon wings in the art with feathered wings) all enforce Magnus’ connection with classic Tzeentch imagery. These elements also make him look like a scintillating hellish bird of prey — rather fitting for Tzeentch’s favoured daemonic servant. One could argue that the finished model is almost too fabulous — but come on, which other Primarch would warrant a look as exalted as this, if not the lord of sorcerers? Well, Fulgrim perhaps, but we’ll be getting there, I suppose… 😉

The model is also pretty enormous, easily towering over even greater daemons (which probably doesn’t bode well for my Angron conversion. Bugger!):

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As is always the case, however, it’s the small things that make or break even a huge model like this, and GW has certainly put in the required work:

I really love the inclusion of three different heads, for one: The actual cyclopean face – for all its dorkiness – echoes the classic Epic model and the vintage depiction of Magus in the fluff. What’s more, the three different faces also mirror a particular scene in Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s Betrayer where Magus’ face seems to be jumping between different versions while you look at him — and I really, really love that little bit of lore represented in model form!

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Personally, I prefer the masked face, both for its mysterious and regal qualities and because it’s not quite as gnarled as the other two.

I also like the fact that we get the choice of arming him with either a glaive or a Kopesh. If you ask me, the sword seems like the more elegant solution, mostly because that huge ball of energy forming above the glaive’s blade doesn’t quite come together visually:

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I wonder if this “multiple choice” version of characters will happen more often in the future, as the classic approach is to have one version for a special character and no options whatsoever. Such are the liberties of plastic models, I suppose…

There’s also an incredible amount of detail on Magnus’s armour, and all of those embellishments don’t merely serve as decoration: It seems like there’s a real depth of symbolism here, with layers and layers of callbacks to the lore – or, indeed, to real world culture – for us to figure out. Wudugast has done a fantastic job of pointing out many of these elements in his aforementioned post, and it would be remiss of me to steal his work here, so make sure to give it a look.
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I wonder why his right hand is so freakishly big, though. Is there some explanation for this in the lore? Or is that just his literal Red Right Hand? (Badum-Tish! 🙂 )

Speaking of red, though, I have to say that the ‘Eavy Metal paintjob of the new model – while technically impeccable, of course – makes Magnus look a tad too pink for my taste. Fellow hobbyist Tzen is currently doing a paintjob in a darker red, and with feathers that almost look crystalline — I am really looking forward to the results! Check out his progress here.

All in all, I think Magnus is a really worthy first Daemon-Primarch, and I am really looking forward to seeing his brothers rendered in equally monstrous forms! At the same time, I cannot stop wondering whether was it really clever to release the Daemon-Primarch version before the regular FW Primarch version. I think there’s a very real danger of the “mortal” version ending up feeling slightly underwhelming now — oh well, I guess FW’s sculptors will just have to give it their best shot 😉

 

Ahriman

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After Eldrad Ulthran and Khârn the Betrayer, Ahriman is the third classic 2nd edition Jes Goodwin model to be given a redesign, and it should be obvious that these models are the ones to be nervous about, given the originals’ iconic quality.

The first thing to note, then, is that the model definitely reads as Ahriman, and in a bit of a surprise, the new version might actually be closer to Jes Goodwin’s original sketch than the classic version:

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Nearly all the iconic elements of Ahriman’s previous incarnation are accounted for: the horned helmet, the sorcerer’s staff topped with the same gazelle horns, the robes and high collar — even the pose is very close to the original! This is obviously the same guy, only in a slightly more modern version.

thousand-sons-release-11There are a couple of devations (or rather, evolutions) of the classic design, however: For one, the new model has much more depth and dynamism, whereas classic Ahriman is very much a product of his time: I remember a WD article where Jes Goodwin said that Ahriman was one of the first 40k models to get actual additional pieces for added depth instead of being single-piece. Now the new model continues this approach and adds lots of depth to the character, making him look dynamic and like he has some agency while basically standing still:

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At the same time, the model neatly keeps the original’s arrogant pose — the addition of a disc of Tzeentch arguably even enforces Ahriman’s haughtly look: He’s just too important and powerful to merely walk.

Now I’ve never been a huge fan of the whole disc idea, which is why I appreciate the fact that a) the disc is an optional part of the model and it’s just as feasible to just have Ahriman on a base like the original version and b) the designer went for a less creepy crawly approach, making the disc look more like an arcane machine, which is a great fit for Ahriman’s character! And there’s even a scarab symbol on top of the disc — a very nice touch!

In fact, it’s subtle touches like these that really sell the model as an evolution instead of a mere retread of the older model: For instance, the buffalo skulls dangling from the stole around Ahriman’s neck on the original model, have been exchanged for more delicate occult doodads, which seems like a much better fit for the character.

However, I do have some very minor quibbles with the model, even if all of these are plainly based on personal preference: That sorcerous flame in Ahriman’s left hand is a bit of an acquired taste for me — but can arguably look amazing when painted well. While I love the rest of the official paintjob, though, the flame just doesn’t work all that well in green and blue. Or maybe I just miss the hand holding the bolt pistol? For some strange reason. It’s a surprisingly iconic part of the original model for me.

On a related note, I find myself going back and forth over whether I like the original helmet better (I think I do — it has something to do with the precise proportions and angles of the faceplate).

But when all is said and done, Ahriman stands as possibly the best re-envisioning of a classic Jes Goodwin model to date. Much better than Eldrad and even with a bit of an edge over the new Khârn. And what’s simply beautiful is that – due to the new model being so similar to the classic version – the excellent mix of similarity and contrast between the 30k and 40k versions I described in my last review remains firmly in place:

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Thousand Sons Exalted Sorcerers

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I love building characters, so this is really the perfect kit for me, allowing for three highly individualised sorcerers with lots and lots of options. One thing that strikes me about the kit is how many mutated bits are featured, as this seems like a slight readjustment in the fluff to me — didn’t the Rubric of Ahriman stop the flesh change outright in those with enough sorcerous power? Then again, maybe the millennia in service to the god of change were just too much. Anyway, expect lots of mutations of the avian variety.

In all fairness, however, those bitz are fairly excellent, especially the plethora of staffs and heads we get out of this kit!

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There are also many charming little touches on those parts: The sorcerous hand using an ectoplasmic flame to reload a bolt pistol might be a bit much, but I do love the avian skulls on this guy’s stole seemingly snapping at the enemy:

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Also, can we just spend a moment in quiet contemplation at the beautiful way the cloth has been attached to the same sorcerer’s backpack:

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In fact, the backpacks are probably one of the best parts of the kit, making the best possible use of Egyptian and Tzeentchian elements to create a unique silhouette for each of the sorcerers — this is an excellent touch that we need to see more of, especially because, for the most part, CSM backpacks only used to be a bit of an afterthought so far.

I also rather love the avian feet on this guy:

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Upon closer inspection…what exactly is keeping him aloft, though? Is it sorcerous power or…erm, something altogether more nefarious?
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Nice as the three models featured on the product page are, however, I almost prefer the alternate builds that were showcased earlier, on GW’s new community site:

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Even when the sorcerers are more mutated than their ghostly brethren, they are arguably more disturbing when fitted with concealing helmets, leaving their exact nature ambiguous (I also really love the raptor-like look of the top left guy with that sweet Mk. VI variant helmet).

Maybe the biggest strength of this kit lies in how it gives you the freedom to build your sorcerers exactly how you like them best: As overly mutated, massively corrupted creatures of chaos. As masked and mostly unchanged, yet also subtly touched, master planners. Or as something in between.

Whatever you do, the models you end up with will look powerful and arcane, and there’ll be a really nice contrast between their warped, dynamic forms and their more regimented Rubricae brethren. This is easily one of the most tempting parts of the release for me, in spite of the odd moment of silliness 😉

 

Thousand Sons Rubric Marines

thousand-sons-release-19In a way, this was the one kit they just had to get right, even moreso than Magnus and Ahriman: The Rubricae are what defines the look of the Thousand Sons more than anything else, so they had to make this count. And if you ask me, boy did hit it out of the park with the new Rubric Marines!

I remember the first Thousand Son I ever saw, one of Jes Goodwin’s iconic set of models for the cult legions, appearing in the colour section from the 2nd edition rulebook:

jes-goodwin-cult-legionariesIt’s utterly astounding how – even decades later – those four guys still stand among the best models ever designed for the cult legions. And the Rubric Marine was just lovely, hinting at an arcane and mysterious legion through visual cues: You got an excellent idea of what the legion was about simply by looking at this model, without ever needing to read a single line of background.

During the 2000s, we saw a dedicated Thousand Sons conversion set, based on some of the design cues from that first proof-of-concept model. And while the conversion set was nice enough for its time, it never really lived up to the quality of Jes Goodwin’s original Thousand Son. Then several Space Wolves models tantalisingly featured the iconic helmet as a trophy – trampled underfoot, no less – and ever since I have been hoping for a true successor to that first Rubric Marines.

And the new guys really fit the bill:

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Seriously, I just love them! The strongest part of the cult legions’ design was always in strong silhouettes and clear visual cues. And the new Rubric Marines absolutely deliver on that, clearly reading as Chaos Space Marines, followers of Tzeentch and Thousand Sons at the same time. The helmet designs are just beautiful, and the flowing lines of the armour trim really takes the classic CSM design to the next level. The added tassets are an excellent little touch. I also love how the new Rubric Marines have their own dedicated backpack designs!

As a  bonus for fans of the Horus Heresy, there’s a marked resemblance between the Rubricaes armour and Mk. IV power armour, which begs the question: Will we go back to certain armour types being associated with certain cult legions? I would really love to see bulky Mk. II Plague Marines and massive Mk. V World Eaters whose armour is covered in studs and bolts!

In addition to the beautifully redesigned bolter-wielding Rubricae, we also get some new weapon options, which certainly makes sense:thousand-sons-release-23
Well, those flamers certainly look Tzeentchian to me! 😉

Plus we also get the most arcane looking rotary cannon ever witnessed by Man:

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If I have one minor gripe about the kit, it’s merely the fact that the new sorcerer cannot quite match the excellent old one, a model only available as part the classic upgrade set:

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What can I say: I just love that guy 😉

But all things considered, this is a stellar new kit for the Rubric Marines, and arguably a cornerstone of this release. Excellent work!

 

Thousand Sons Scarab Occult Terminators

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Oh wow, dedicated traitor legion Terminators — yet another pleasant surprise! Even better, though, is that the Scarab Occult Terminators look completely unlike vanilla CSM Terminators and yet perfectly read as Thousand Sons. Make no mistake, I am really fond of the classic CSM Terminator look, spikes and tusks and all. But for the Thousand Sons, something more elegant and less barbaric seems far more appropriate.

By the same token, all the strengths of the new Rubric Marines are present on the Terminators as well, — in fact, there’s a palpable sense of visual coherency between the two kits, with many of the design elements (the Keltaran helmet crests, the flowing lines of the armour trim, the avian skulls and weapon designs) appearing across both kits, allowing you to field very different troop types that still look like they belong to the same traitor legion.

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thousand-sons-release-29And in another parallel to the Rubric Marines, the Scarab Occults’ Terminator armour also clearly resembles an established Heresy era armour mark, namely the Tartaros pattern. Again, this seems like a very interesting (and possibly promising) design decision that I hope will be used again on possible future traitor legion releases — it also really enforces the notion that the armour dates back to the actual Heresy era, which certainly makes sense, given the fact that the victims of Ahriman’s Rubric have been bodyless automata for millennia, with no need (or even ability) for changing their armour.

Let me also mention that the squad champion/sorcerer just exudes a sense of elegance and terrible dignity

thousand-sons-release-27Also, chain kopesh swords FTW! 😉

Between the Rubric Marines and Scarab Occult Terminators, it’s possible now to build a Thousand Sons army that is visually distinctive, with a strong identity for the legion. And that’s really a brilliant development for CSM players, even moreso considering the quality of the new sculpts!

 

Tzaangors

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The inclusion of these guys is certainly a bit of a surprise — although I guess all the signs were there to see back when plastic Tzaangors first appeared as part of the Silver Tower boxed set. Even so, it’s certainly nice to have dedicated Tzeentchian beastmen available now, mostly because the classic goatman look doesn’t really fit the Changer of the Ways all that well…

While its’s fairly obvious that the multipart Tzaangors share many common design traits with the Tzaangor models from Silver Tower, I would argue that the multipart models are not quite as good as the Silver Tower guys: The latter just seem to have the more iconic poses — which is easier to achieve with a monopose model, of course, but what can I say: Just look at those fantastic poses:

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On the other hand, there’s a real benefit to the multipart nature of the new kit that goes beyond the usual flexibility offered by plastic kits: It looks like kits that cross over between 40k and Age of Sigmar are now officially a thing again (even beyond the Chaos Daemon line of models, that is), as a closer inspection of the sprues reveals an extra sprue that can only be considered a dedicated 40k weapons sprue, when the other sprue seemingly has the more medieval looking weapons intended for AoS.

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All things considered, these guys are maybe the weakest parts of the release for me. But I think we can let it slide, both because we didn’t even expect 40k Tzaangors in the first place, and because the proper Thousand Sons models make for a pretty robust competition. When all is said and done, it’s still a nice kit that provides Tzeentch players with some interesting new option!

 

Conversion options

Oh man, the chaos community is going to have a field day with these new kits! And I, for one, can hardly wait for talented folks like Aasfresser, for instance, to put the new bitz through their paces! For now, let me just jot down some quick ideas for possible conversion projects involving the new models:

First up, the obvious idea: I think that many parts of this release would work brilliantly for 30k Thousand Sons as well!
To wit:

  • the Scarab Occult Terminators could be used as, well, 30k Scarab Occult Terminators with next to no need for further conversion. In fact, the kit almost seems like the first dedicated unit for a specific legion to appear in plastic and not as a FW upgrade set. I would like to see more of this, please! 😉
  • by the same token, it’s also possible to use parts from the Scarab Occult for 30k Thousand Sons Praetors and officers.
  • there’s also nothing stopping you from you from sprinkling some of those new Thousand Sons bitz on top of your 30k Thousand Sons, seeing how the legion grew more and more towards the arcane by its latter days as a loyalist legion, and how things like the iconic Keltaran crests had obviously taken root within the legion far before the present day of 40k (at least judging by their mention in “The Talon of Horus”, which is set not too long after the Heresy). The brilliant thing is that you bascially get to decide “how far gone” you want your Thousand Sons to be: Have they only started their descent? In that case, just add a staff or helmet from the new kits here and there. Do they already embrace the sorcerous powers more actively? Then you can use more and more 40k Thousand Sons bitz to create Marines that look more and more like sorcerers –and have begun to display physical changes.
  • expanding on that last part, mutation bitz from the Exalted Sorcerers could be used to depict 30k Thousand Sons in the throes of the flesh change.

I also think that all of those gorgeous helmets, mutation bitz and arcane doodads also allow for quite a bit of crossover between 40k and WFB/Age of Sigmar: So why not use some of those helmets and bitz to create a warriors of chaos warband that really looks Tzeentchian?

Back to 40k – and, arguably, INQ28: The Tzaangor weapons could be used to turn Khairic Cultists from Silver Tower into Tzeentchian cultists for the 40k setting. Or you could use the same weapons to give chaos cultists from Dark Vengeance that extra bit of Tzeentchian oomph.

And finally, why not use those Tzaangor bodies and heads to create your own, strangely avian xenos species for INQ28 — or your Tau army? Speaking of Tau, maybe those Tzaangor parts would also be promising if spliced together with Kroot bitz?!

 

All in all, this is a truly stellar release for CSM players, arguably made even better by the fact that it wasn’t really expected in the first place. Even if we don’t get any more modernised CSM models, it’s already a great addition to the armouries of chaos. Certainly more than I expected in every conceivable way!

I also love the fact that a chaos god other than Khorne or Nurgle is finally getting some love. I’ll never tire of Khornate and Nurglite kits, of course, but let’s just face it: It was really somebody else’s turn this time around 😉

At the same time, it won’t surprise you to learn that I really wish for more plastic cult troops (we *need* new Khorne Berzerkers! And Plague Marines!) and updated vanilla CSM. Let’s just dream for a moment: How awesome would it be if we could only get this amount of quality for the rest of the traitor legions — maybe only one kit each? We can always hope! And if nothing else, if the sheer quality of the new Thousand Sons is anything to go by, we may be in for quite a ride indeed!

 

So what’s your take on the new models? Are you as pleased as me or did you expect more? And are there any conversion ideas you would like to share? I’d be happy to hear from you in the comments!

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