Archive for Astra Militarum

INQ28: Unfinished business

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Fluff, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob, Pointless ramblings, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2019 by krautscientist

Back to the shadowy world in between the cracks for today’s update, as we make the aquaintance of more citizens of the Velsen Sector, DexterKong’s and my personal INQ28 sandbox.

2018 was very much an INQ28 year for me in that I managed to, more or less, finish five different retinues for my Inquisitor collection. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for 2019 so far, but there’s still some time left this year, eh? So let’s head back to the world of shadowy dealings in service of the Ordos for a bit:

In spite of my painting progress last year, my INQ28 backlog is still on the wrong side of hilarious, so I didn’t exactly have to search for something to paint. I chose one of my long-neglected warband projects: the retinue of one Inquisitor Titus Alvar, of the Ordo Xenos Velsen:

Inquisitor Titus Alvar, of the Ordo Xenos

House Alvar has been one of the more influential noble houses for centuries. As a scion of the house, Titus Alvar grew up in luxury and power, the intricacies of the Imperial courts with their waxing and waning support for one house or another a game he quickly mastered. Maybe the search for new and more immediate thrills was what made him enter that perilous region of space known as “The Veil of Impurity” time and time again, and tales of his exploration of ancient ruins, of treasures discovered and adventures survived, made him the talk of the courts he had left behind. As a matter of fact, one of his expeditions into the treacherous cluster of stars resulted in a standoff with Inquisitrix Cimbria Carscallen. Under normal circumstances, someone running afoul of the Ordo Xenos would have been executed without second thought, yet Carscallen must have seen something in Alvar that made her reconsider. And so, Titus Alvar, noble, adventurer, became an Interrogator in the Emperor’s Holy Ordos of the Inquisition and, in time, an Inquisitor in his own right.

Though the years of doing the Emperor’s work may have somewhat mellowed his once flamboyant lifestyle, Titus Alvar very much remains a socialite and a political animal. His standing as a member of an influential noble house makes him a common guest at social functions all over the sector, and the tales of his exploits have led some of his peers to suspect that he is a glory hound, first and foremost.

In truth, Titus Alvar is, above all else, a pragmatist: The trappings of nobility are as much of a useful tool to him as the artifacts he has recovered on countless expeditions or the retainers, some of them quite exotic, that comprise his warband. Meanwhile, some of Alvar’s colleagues have grown suspicious of the Inquisitor’s continued expeditions to the Veil of Impurity and some of the alliances he may have forged there…

 

Back when I originally came up with the plan for Alvar and his retainers, I had this idea for an Ordo Xenos Inquisitor who was also a bit of a socialite, and an adventurer — closer in outlook to a Rogue Trader in many ways. So I wanted his retinue to be somewhat colourful and picaresque again, not unlike the charming collection of archetypes appearing in the original Inquisitor rulebook. Going back to the pages of that veritable tome, I realised that my collection was still missing the alien mercenary archetype — and it woud also also very much in character for a socialite like Alvar to have an “exotic” retainer like this in his warband, even though it might make the more puritan members of the Ordo Xenos foam at the mouth…

So that was where T’L’Kess the Kroot Pathfinder was born a couple of years ago:

T’L’kess lost his entire kindred in an atrocity committed by a T’au commander to prove a point (it’s a long story). In any case, there’s no love lost between him and his former “employers”(in fact, this is one of the angles that interest me most about the T’au empire: the contrast between their propaganda and narrative of a peaceful empire of many species and the possible cracks and ugly sides such an empire might have, such as aggressive expansionism, speciesism — you name it). T’L’Kess has realised that his last chance to keep his bloodline alive might be to travel the stars in order to find members of the kindred who left the planet prior to the genocide. During his travels, he meets Inquisitor Alvar and ends up working for him as a scout and pathfinder.

I have always been intrigued by the Kroot and have wanted to turn one of the models into a bit more of an individual for a long time — imagine my annoyance, then, when Dayhak Grekh from Blackstone Fortress turned out to be a much better realisation of a very similar character idea…

Ah well, my model was built years ago with the bitz I had back then. And in any case: All the more reason to finally get some paint on the character, right? 😉

When painting the model, my two main sources of inspiration where my buddy DexterKong’s Kroot character Ortok (basically one of the best Kroot conversions I have seen so far) and Foxtail’s paintjob for the Dayhak Grekh model from Blackstone Fortress.

Anyway, here’s the finished model for T’L’Kess






The white part on the left side of his head is actually the T’au version of a comms system. I tried to make the skin around it look scarred to hint at the fact that it was inplanted without much care for his thoughts on the matter — or for his good looks 😉 I wanted to hint at the bad blood between him and his former comrades in arms, and also at the fact that the covenant between the T’au and the other species from their empire can sometimes be less benign than what is usually suggested in the background…


Most of the characters for the warband were actually converted back in 2013, if you can believe it. With T’L’Kess finished, I actually had three finished members for Inqusitor Alvar’s retinue:

There’s the Inquisitor himself (in the middle), T’L’Kess the Kroot and an as-of-yet unnamed sanctioned psyker, formerly of the Astra Militarum, but cast out by his regiment when an encounter with a Xenos artifact led to some psionic friendly fire…

And here’s the rest of the retinue as it looked at that point:

In addition to the aforementioned characters, there’s Professor Abelard Marbray, renowned Xeno-Archaeologist from the Bastold Imperial Akademy and his personal research assistant, a member of the reclusive “Ashers”, an ethnic group facing a lot of prejudice throughout the Velsen Sector. Another Astra Militarum veteran and heavy weapons specialist for when things get ugly. Millerna Acheron, voidship captain and Alvar’s Interrogator. Not pictured: Shiv Korlund, a former hive ganger (based on one of the old Escher metal models).

With the Kroot model painted, I actually wanted to keep going, so I chose to work on the heavy weapons specialist next:

I like the big gun and the “tough as nails” look and imagine this is the kind of guy Alvar makes use of when negotiations turn sour and diplomacy is no longer an option. The original idea for him – way before then new version of Necromunda was released, mind you – was that he could maybe look like a former hive ganger (similar to the gangers from House Goliath) that had ended up joining the Astra Militarum at some point. And I still see him that way, basically: An Astra Militarum veteran and former memer of a working gang (with an extra emphasis placed on the word “gang”) from an Imperial factory world. His clothes and equipment were therefore painted to look as though he were wearing a mix a mish-mash of his former regimental colours, his working gear from the manufactoria of his homeworld and a couple of Inquisitiorial emblems here and there. I have also taken extra care to make his armour and leather apron look scuffy and well used, as you would expect from a working man like this. Take a look at the finished model:





For the icon on his shoulder, I combined two decals: An AdMech cog symbol and a small Astra Militarum emblem. This seemed like a fitting symbol for a regiment hailing from a factory world.




Oh, and adding those little symbols and markings to the grenades on his backpack was such a frivolous yet enjoyable little detail…

In my background ideas for the warband, he also has a bit of a war buddies thing going on with T’L’Kess the Kroot (whom he calls “Birdman”), in spite of everything:

So that’s two new members for Inquisitor Alvar’s retinue, and two long neglected models to cross off my list. Yay! 🙂

But wait, there’s more: Seeing how I was on a bit of a roll here, I decided to dig out another long-neglected model of mine that I think deserves some sort of closure. This gentleman here:

This is Lord Sebastianus Danver Balzepho Vlachen, one of the Velsen Sector’s big movers and shakers — and also a bit of a hero of the people. At the same time, he also has a darker side to him, and is ruthlessly ambitious. As grand-nephew and heir apparent to the ailing sector governor, he seeks to succeed his great-uncle as sector lord, and he is every bit as ruthless and ambitious as you would expect of somebody so far up in the Imperial nobility. At the same time, his connections to the Velsian Astra Militarum and supposed battlefield heroics have endeared him to both the military’s top brass and the common people. But again, there’s often a less respectable side to his character: For instance, he wears his scars with pride, having both a bit of a dueling history and a reputation as a grizzled veteran, but the truth is that the nastiest scar on his face actually came about due to a confrontation with one Cpt. Esteban Revas of the 126th Haaruthian Dragoons (read the full story here):

Anyway, Lord Sebastianus was one of those conversions I was really, really happy with. But he still ended up in a box, partially painted, and has stayed thus for years. Enough, I say! So here’s a PIP-shot of the mostly finished model:


It’s a really great feeling to be able to finally cross some of those old chestnuts off my list of unpainted stuff. And it’s fun to be back in the world of INQ28 for a spell! 🙂

Of course I would love to hear your thoughts on the models, so feel free to leave a comment! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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Six Years!

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 26, 2018 by krautscientist


As of last week, Eternal Hunt is actually six years old. Huzzah! 🙂

Six years of blogging — that’s actually a fairly long period of time, isn’t it? It’s longer, for instance, than I have ever managed to hold down a single job (Pro career tip: Remember kids, never go for the nonprofit sector). Anyway, it does feel like an achievement, and I am really happy to have kept at it for so long!

On the one hand, there are the numbers: The blog hit the mark of one million views back in December, and I’ve had 391,000 visitors and accumulated 371 followers (cheers, people! You rock!). But that’s only half of the story, really, as beyond the numbers, this blog has really been an instrumental part of my hobby for a long time now: Looking back on the last couple of years’ worth of content on this blog, as well as the models produced alongside it, I realise there are many hobby related things I would never have achieved, had I not started this blog. And it goes without saying that your feedback has been an invaluable part of that as well, so thank you very much, dear readers!

It is true, blogging has become harder over the years: It’s no longer quite as easy for me to churn out post after post, and I am sometimes forced to take breaks in my posting schedule, for one reason or another. There’s also the fact that social media and platforms like Facebook and Instagram seem to be far more en vogue at the moment than classic blogs or forums — as I may have mentioned before, I am not really a fan of this particular development, but that doesn’t change anything about the fact that social media are having a very obvious (and rarely positive) impact on the amount of interest single blogs can generate.

Even so, I’ll keep doing my best to keep this place in business! And you can all help me by reading my ramblings, looking at the (hopefully) pretty pictures and letting me know what you think every now and then, alright? Do we have a deal? I surely hope so, because it’s also very obvious to me your feedback is a very important fuel to keep my hobby motivation going.

 

Anyway, what kind of anniversary would this be without any new content to celebrate the occasion, right? When I realised this date was coming up, I knew I needed something to immortalise the moment. Now under normal circumstances, I would have shown you some of my oldest (and ugliest) models from all the way in the back of the cupboard of shame, and we would all have a laugh at my expense, but you already know all of my early failures, so what was I to do? I did want to share something to us all a warm and fuzzy retro feeling, though — and then I realised I had just the thing:

Back in 2014, fellow hobbyist Drone21c was awesome enough to send me an ancient plastic Imperial Guardsman from the Rogue Trader era.


Now those were wild and adventurous days, back when the Imperial Guard was far different from its modern incarnation. Illustrations and models from the time show an army precariously balanced halfway between Spanish Conquistadors IN SPACE! and a classic, clean SciFi-look:


And what better way to do that old chestnut above justice than to tap into that crazy Oldhammer era, right? So that’s what I set out to do.

Anyway, a retro project like this deserved the right approach as well as the right reference material, so I chose to work from vintage publications, taking this depiction of a soldier in the 5th Arcadian regiment as my main inspiration:


For the most part, I tried to faithfully reproduce the paintjob seen in the illustration — with two small caveats: One, I didn’t have access to any old skool decals, so I had to make to do with a mix of modern symbols and – very basic – freehanding, going for a reasonable approximation of the vintage look. Two, some of the elements from the illustration actually worked less well on an actual model — such as more symbols on the helmet actually throwing off the colour balance. So I made some adjustments based on what did and didn’t work. That being said, and with no further ado, I give you (in honour of Drone21c) and to celebrate Eternal Hunt’s sixth birthday:

 

Trooper Gibbson Rikkert of the 5th Arcadian Rifles



I truly had a blast painting this guy! Trying to reproduce the elements of the drawing was a fun challenge, and I tried the best I could to make something that could have appeared in an old issue of WD from back in the day. The biggest amount of time was given over to trying to reproduce the various unit markings and symbols.

For instance, I spent quite a bit of time getting the platoon marking on the left side of his chest just so — only to realise that it would be mostly covered up by the lasgun. It’s still visible from an angled view, though:


In hindsight, given the subject of today’s post, I realise it would have made far more sense to have him belong to the Sixth Arcadian Rifles. Oh well…

Of course the model also needed a base, and I did my best to make it resemble the designs we would see in old issues of WD (with a few modern touches here and there, though). Fun fact: It was completely clear to me that a suitably retro-looking base would definitely need some bright green static grass, and I actually still have most of the bag of GW static grass I bought at the Cologne GW store while on a trip about twenty years ago — so the grass is actually genuinely retro 😉

When it came to painting base rim, I went back and forth over which colour to go with a couple of times, only to realise that there was really only one possible answer to that particular question…

Matching the hue of the old Goblin Green took some doing, though 😉

 

In spite of the anniversary, its not merely fun and games over here at Eternal Hunt, however, and work on my recently begun Ordo Hereticus retinue continues apace. As I’ve already stated in my previous post, next in line to be painted was the OOP Van Saar turned Inquisitorial Operative:


While the Interrogator and Redemptionist are very obviously and loudly Ordo Hereticus, I chose a slightly more subdued approach this time around: My reasoning was that even a proud and righteous Witch Hunter might have a use for a slightly more covert operative every now and then, and by its very look and feel, the model struck me as a likely candidate for all kinds of black ops and sneaking missions — I am not going to lie, I was also thinking of a grimdark version of Venom Snake/Big Boss from Metal Gear Solid V a fair bit, so there’s that, too.

So, meet Inquisitorial operative Tybalt Renner, formerly of the Saarthen Draugr:



The key visual element here is the matte grey stillsuit juxtaposed with glossy black armour plates. I did add the suggestion of woodgrain to the casing of Renner’s longlas, both to hint at the fact that it’s a keepsake weapon and to recall the medieval look that is so common for the Ordo Hereticus.

I also wanted to feature the red that is so prominent elsewhere in the warband, so I added the red lenses, the red field on his left shoulder (with the “S” as a callback to Renner’s former regiment, the Saarthen Draugr) and half an Inquisitorial symbol in red on his facemask:



At first I wasn’t sure whether I liked the outcome, but I have grown rather fond of the model: I think the slightly more lowkey appearance really works for the model. He still needs a proper base, though.

Oh, and since the Saarthen Draugr are a regiment DexterKong came up with for our shared Velsen sector, here’s one of Dexter’s actual Draugr soldiers (still in PIP form) for comparison:

Saarthen Draugr WIP by DexterKong

I like how the models look different enough to show that Renner’s position is now different from his former life as a soldier in the Draugr, yet they also share enough similar visual cues to hint at a common origin.

While I was still suitably inspired, I decided to keep chipping away at the retinue. So I am already hard at work on the next model for the warband, an itinerant Missionary based on one of the old GW metal missionaries:


The model came into my possession years ago, as part of a job lot. I made some slight tweaks — the chainsword was missing, and I replaced it with a trusty autopistol. And the book standard was great, but didn’t tell the story I wanted, so I replaced it with a slightly more angular Inquisition symbol/reliquary.

Here’s the painted model so far:


It’s a fantastic sculpt, full of character and still very much at home next to current models. Does anyone have an idea who sculpted this guy? I am tempted to say Jes Goodwin — there’s an amount of detail and care in the sculpt that just screams Goodwin to me. The backpack, with all the stowed equipment, for one, is a tiny piece of art in itself:


Most of the paintjob is already in place, and the missionary just needs some finishing touches before he can join the ranks of Inquisitor Arslan’s retinue for good — speaking of which, here’s a look at the current state of the warband:


So, as you can see, Eternal Hunt is well on its way into a busy seventh year. Let’s make it a successful one — I cannot do it without your help, tough, so please let me know what you think! And as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Inquisitor 28: Cpt. Esteban Revas of the 126th Haaruthian Dragoons

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Fluff, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 23, 2015 by krautscientist

Right, I promised you some actual new content, and today I intend to make good on that promise. And even if careful readers of this blog may already have glimpsed the model I am going to show you today in an earlier post, it’s still a character who deserves a closer look, both because he’s one of the first characters I have ever devised for INQ28 and because he has a rather expansive backstory by this point — I don’t know, maybe there’s just something about this guy that speaks to me? So who are we talking about, you ask. Well, the title says it all: Let’s get to know Esteban Revas, former Regimental Champion of the 126th Haaruthian Dragoons.

Like I said, Esteban is actually one of my first INQ28 conversions, built way back when (in 2012, to be precise), when I was still rather new to the War for the Emperor’s Soul — and my bitzbox was substantially less well-stocked: I used the bitz I had on hand for the conversion, resulting in a model that is mainly composed from Cadian parts and bitz from the WFB Empire army that I never got around to building:

Cpt. Esteban Revas WIP (2)
In spite of this, however, I think the model still holds up: I wanted Esteban to look like a proud, even arrogant, officer from a decidedly renaissance-styled guard regiment, and I think it shows: There’s an air of pride and honour about him, despite the somewhat foppish getup.

I only returned to the model once, adding a Blood Angels dagger to serve as a main gauche for Esteban:

Cpt. Esteban Revas WIP (4)
I had envisioned the character as a masterful fencer, so it only felt right that he should be able to switch between several styles, including one that uses a longer and shorter blade at the same time. Apart from that, though, the model remained unchanged.

And then it languished in my cupboard of shame for ages. Until earlier this year, when I decided to finally paint the poor fellow, as a part of my new year’s resolution to make some progress on my piles of unpainted INQ28 conversions.

The actual paintjob was heavily inspired by Chris Peach’s wonderful guard regiment (seeing how the overall look is very similar to Esteban’s), and I only slightly tweaked the recipe here and there. And so, finally, Esteban Revas was completed:

Esteban Revas (5)
Esteban Revas (6)
Esteban Revas (7)
Esteban Revas (8)
Esteban Revas (9)
Esteban Revas (10)

I tried to achieve a paintjob that complements the character’s somewhat baroque equipment — hence the glossy black armour and gold trim. As you can see, I made one last minute change to the model and replaced the purity seal on Esteban’s shoulder. The original one just ended up looking too clunky and drawing away attention from the face, as was helpfully pointed out by DexterKong.

Like I said, one interesting thing about this character is that Esteban has a rather expansive backstory: For some reason that I cannot quite explain, I ended up writing up a rather expansive origin story for him that I would like to share with you (as it happens, I can
actually see myself expanding upon this at some point, reworking it into an actual short story. We will see.):

 

Esteban Revas painting (2)
Cpt. Esteban Revas, former Regimental Champion of the 126th Haaruthian Dragoons

Esteban Revas was born the second son to Haaruthian noble and famous war hero Bestrald Salazar Revas (first through the breach at Aisenfeld!). With his brother Ramon inheriting the vast family holdings, it was obvious that Esteban’s career lay with the military. He quickly had to learn, however, that this life pursuit would always be overshadowed by the exploits of a father he had scarcely known and whose only legacy to him, apart from a pair of enormous footsteps to fill, was the service of one Trooper Salvador “Sal” Koltz, a crafty and unexpectedly cunning individual, having sworn his life to serving the Revas family after being saved on the battlefield by Bestrald Revas.

Esteban served diligently in the Haaruthian military, making Captain rank in the 126th Haaruthian Dragoons before his 30th birthday and earning his fair share of recommendations and orders of merit. However, he could never quite shake off the feeling that he wasn’t living up to the Revas family name.

As is the norm with Haaruthian aristocrats, Esteban lived by a code of honour and chivalry that, though romantic, was often thoroughly at odds with the grim realities of the battlefield. So while the upper echelons of the Haaruthian Dragoons would pride themselves on being chivalrous and gentlemanly, the rank and file would quickly find out that honour and sportsmanship held very little value in trenches and on battlefields across the sector. To Esteban’s merit, and maybe through regular contact with his rather down to earth retainer Koltz, he saw the problems of the clashing philosophies of warfare, and while imbued with a certain arrogance and pompousness, wouldn’t tolerate unfairness and wanton wasting of lives by fellow officers. However, this led his superiors to suspect that “Bestrald’s boy” might be too soft for the soldier’s life, and Esteban found himself relegated to more and more pedestrian assignments, which enforced his feeling of failing the family name.

His one escape from this feeling was to seek out an area of expertise that would not fall under the long shadow cast by his late father, so he took up Haaruthian fencing, dedicating himself to becoming a swordsman without compare. His performance in the various contests held both on his homeworld and between different guard regiments earned him the praise of his superiors and the rank of “Regimental Champion”.

It was in this capacity that Revas was called back to Haaruthia along with his regiment when the world was hosting the Festival of the Sword Saint: The aim of this event, held every ten years in honour of the Imperial martyr Sabasto, was to select the best swordsman of the entire sector.

Esteban trained for the festival like he had never trained for anything in his life, seeing this as his one chance at eclipsing his father’s glory and thus finally proving worthy of the family name. And his efforts were even magnified when it became known that Lord Sebastianus Danver Balzepho Vlachen, the sector governor’s own grand-nephew would be attending the festival: The man’s enthusiasm for swordplay was well known, and Esteban hoped that he would maybe even be able to suitably impress him to be offered a position in his personal retinue. That would give him a chance to finally gain advancement and prove his worth.

Esteban was overjoyed when he was among those selected to serve as liaison officers for Lord Vlachen’s retinue, hoping to earn his ear and sympathies even before the actual festival began. Those hopes were rebuked, though, when Esteban’s superior told him that he was not to serve the lord himself, but rather Inquisitor Erasmus Gotthardt, travelling with the retinue. Esteban had heard whispers of the man, of course: Gotthardt had been suspected of being an accomplice in the attack on a fellow Inquisitor, but the Inquisitorial Conclave at Pervatia Secundus had exonerated him. Still, even beyond the Ordos, a shadow of doubt remained. Esteban felt like he had been passed over yet again.

His first meeting with Inquisitor Gotthardt did little to put his mind at rest: Gotthardt seemed like a frail and broken man, still weak from his questioning at the hands of his fellow Inquisitors. Still, Esteban was determined to perform admirably in his service as a guide and liaison to the Inquisitor, even though he was barely able to mask his disappointment.

Over the next days, though, Esteban had little time to lament his misfortune, for as a Regimental Champion, he was himself a participant in the festival, trying to excel for the honour of his regiment. The rest of his time was filled with answering all kinds of questions from Inquisitor Gotthardt, whose frail appearance couldn’t conceal a razor sharp mind.

Esteban’s performance in the contest was flawless: Where his superiors might have been able to stall his advance in the regiment, they were powerless against his brilliance with a pair of fencing irons: Though the festival had attracted noted swordsmen from all over the sector, one enemy after another was defeated by Esteban’s superior swordsmanship. And even Lord Vlachen had begun to notice the young captain winning such honour for both his regiment and his homeworld.

The presence of such a high dignitary was not a coincidence, of course: Haaruthia’s noble houses had long been trying to elevate their world within the sector, and they hoped to be able to interest Lord Vlachen in Haaruthia’s young ruler, archduchess Cyrine di Cristofalo Civatte. If they were able to arrange a marriage, Haaruthia’s ruling family would finally have ties to the Imperial house governing the sector, elevating the world’s importance above that of its rivals. So the Haaruthian aristocrats made sure that Lord Vlachen and the archduchess met each other at as many social functions as possible, and the fact that a Haaruthian had managed to become such a likely candidate to win the contest was an additional boon to the plan.

The final day of the competition came, and the fight between Esteban and his last remaining rival, a master swordsman from the Alcain system, drew a massive crowd. Many nobles from all around the sector were in attendance, as were the archduchess and Lord Vlachen. It was in front of this crowd that Esteban managed to best his opponent, winning the contest and becoming, for all intents and purposes, the best fencer in the whole sector.

Esteban was beyond himself with joy. He had managed to become the pride of both his homeworld and regiment, and he nearly burst with pride as Lord Vlachen himself toasted his victory during the lavish celebrations. In fact, the sector governor’s relative suggested a friendly sparring between Esteban and himself, wanting to “sample the best Haaruthia had to offer”. It seemed like Esteban was at long last given the recognition he had craved for such a long time. Only Inquisitor Gotthardt seemed taciturn and sullen, which Esteban saw as petty jealousy on the old man’s part.

In any case, Esteban was determined to perform at his absolute best during the sparring match with Lord Vlachen: The latter seemed like a man of honour, and Esteban was reasonably certain Lord Vlachen was testing him, trying to ascertain whether Esteban was worthy of his time.

Shortly before the fight, Esteban’s superior requested his presence. Esteban suspected that it was merely to wish him luck, but he was wrong. The superior made it perfectly clear that Esteban was to lose the match. Haaruthia’s future was at stake here, and the petty ambitions of one man could not be allowed to stand in the way of Haaruthia’s manifest destiny. In order for a possible match between Lord Vlachen and the archduchess to remain an option, the lord was not to be slighted by losing a sparring match against a mere soldier.

Esteban’s insides turned to ice. But he was a soldier, so he obeyed.

The fight came, and Esteban quickly found out that losing convincingly could be just as difficult a task as winning: Lord Vlachen may have been a powerful noble, but he was an average fencer at best. But Esteban did as he was told, losing the match to the nobles’ polite applause.

Then, with the battle already decided, Lord Vlachen contemptuously gave Esteban a deep cut on his cheek, using the sharp point of his dueling irons. Turning away from his bleeding opponent and facing the crowd, Lord Vlachen announced that he was disappointed that even Haaruthia’s best fencer was not able to best him, claiming the title of the best swordsman in the whole sector should, by all rights, be his. The Haaruthian nobles were only too happy to oblige.

For the rest of the night, Esteban was left to nurse his wound as well as his wounded pride, while the nobility was quick to congratulate Lord Vlachen on his victory and his newly acquired trophy. Then, as the small hours of the morning drew near, Vlachen and the archduchess rose. In a bid to woo the powerful noble, Haaruthia’s young ruler had invited him to a tour of the palace gardens by night. Vlachen accepted, and requested none other than Esteban to guard the both of them, along with Vlachen’s personal bodyguard. This was to be Esteban’s “consolation prize”. Again, he obeyed.

After strolling through the gardens for a while, Vlachen and the archduchess retired to one of the luxurious parlors to have a conversation in private, ordering Vlachen’s bodyguard and Esteban to stand guard outside. Esteban was feeling ridiculed and uneasy in equal measures, but what was he to do?

After a while, a female scream came from within the parlor, making Esteban draw his weapons and run inside to protect the archduchess. Only for a split second did he wonder why Vlachen’s own bodyguard seemed largely unfazed, even amused, by the situation.

Inside the parlor, Esteban witnessed Lord Vlachen forcing himself upon the young archduchess. Lady Cyrine was trying her best to fight him off, but this only seemed to make him even more aroused. Esteban knew about the nobility’s plan to offer up the archduchess to Vlachen in a bid for more power and influence, yet when he now looked at Cyrine, he saw nothing but a frightened child. So he demanded that Vlachen step away from the archduchess and be arrested for his crimes against House Civatte. But the powerful noble only laughed, leering at Esteban that, after all, he had promised to sample the best Haaruthia had to offer.

When Esteban remained steadfast, Vlachen ordered his bodyguard to take care of the matter, and the man drew his own weapon, engaging Esteban in a fencing duel to the death. Vlachen’s bodyguard was a masterful fencer in his own right, but in the end, he was no match for the regimental champion of the 126th Haaruthian Dragoons: Esteban killed the man and tried again to apprehend Vlachen. The noble was furious by now, proclaiming that he would succeed where his subordinate had failed. After all, he had already beaten Esteban once. Drawing his sword, Vlachen flew at him in a blind rage.

But Vlachen wouldn’t have been able to best Esteban during the contest, had the fight been on equal footing, and he learned so now to his detriment: Only a few flurries of attacks and ripostes, then Esteban sliced Vlachen’s face open with a well-placed attack. Howling with pain, the lord collapsed, surrendering his weapon, while Esteban tried to console the shaken archduchess.

But then, the palace guards arrived, alerted by the commotion. Vlachen ordered them to arrest Esteban, who he said was a dangerous traitor that had killed his trusted servant and friend, and had also attempted to assassinate the archduchess. Only by Vlachen’s intervention had the worst been averted, but his bravery had seen him grievously wounded by the traitor’s hand. Esteban was immediately seized and taken into custody.

After a night of questioning and thorough beatings, Esteban’s superior arrived to present him with a rundown of the situation. The case seemed simple enough: His ambition and pride spurned by losing to Vlachen, Esteban had tried to get his revenge on the noble. He had also tried to hurt or even kill the archduchess, seeing her as the reason his personal ambitions had been shattered. He was sure to be found guilty, and death by firing squad was the obvious outcome.

Esteban professed his innocence, pointing out the archduchess would be able to vouch for the purity of his motives. His superior coldly claimed that the archduchess would do no such thing: Once again, Haaruthia’s fate was at stake. One man’s life was a small price to pay. With that, he left Esteban. Then the interrogations resumed.

After a day and a night, the questioners suddenly let up, and the door to his cell opened, admitting none other than Inquisitor Gotthardt. The Inquisitor claimed that, as a member of the Ordo Hereticus, he was claiming jurisdiction over Esteban’s case on the grounds that there might be a heretical background. Though Esteban’s superior protested, Gotthardt told him in no uncertain terms that his authority in this was absolute and had best not be questioned.

When they were alone, Gotthardt asked Esteban to present his own side of the story. Esteban told him about the events that had transpired, and Gotthardt seemed thoughtful. Then he left.

The next day, Esteban was visited by his brother Ramon. Once again, he professed his innocence, but his brother only told him that he had brought an irrevocable stain to their family’s proud name. He also informed him that, as far as he was concerned, he no longer had a brother. Then he too left.

Esteban was shattered. His whole life had been spent striving to do the honourable thing and thereby doing justice to his family name. But now, he had damned both himself and his family by doing what was right. And nobody was prepared to acknowledge the truth. Esteban was just about ready to face the execution detail, and that is what he told Inquisitor Gotthardt when the old man returned to his cell.

Gotthardt had other plans. He told Esteban that Lord Vlachen had already left the planet, furious and never to return. Haaruthia’s nobles were in an uproar, most of them crying for blood. Esteban’s blood. However, Gotthardt had also talked in private with the archduchess, and Lady Cyrine had corroborated Esteban’s version of events, if only unofficially. In any case, there would be no way to rehabilitate Esteban, for Haaruthia’s ruling class had simply chosen not to acknowledge the truth. He would lose his rank, his title and his name would be struck from the regimental records. And he would die by firing squad. Or he could join Inquisitor Gotthardt, to become a member of his retinue.

Esteban laughed at the idea: Everything he had ever cared for was lost to him now. Why take the coward’s way out just to save his life? If that was his only option to survive, he would rather die. This was his choice, if he had any say in the matter.

Gotthardt agreed that the choice was ultimately his. However, Esteban had learned that there was a distinction between doing what was accepted and doing what was right. He had taken a decision, and that decision now made him eligible for service in Gotthardt’s retinue. The old man told Esteban that he was not offering him a stay of his death warrant. He was offering him a chance to do the Emperor’s work. He also informed him that one Trooper Koltz had tried, repeatedly and in danger of being executed himself, to intervene on Esteban’s behalf. Then he left Esteban once more, to give him time to think.

Shortly afterwards, Inquisitor Erasmus Gotthardt of the Ordo Hereticus and his retainers left Haaruthia for destinations unknown.

To date, there is no mention of a soldier called Esteban Revas in the regimental records of the 126th Haaruthian Dragoons. Lord Ramon Gaius Belsazar of House Revas has repeatedly distanced himself from the actions of his late brother who was, by all accounts, a notorious felon at best and maybe even a dangerous heretic.

The last remaining trace Esteban has left on his homeworld Haaruthia is the boarding list in the memory engrams of a servitor doing service in the hangars of the Asuncion spaceport, noting that Inquisitor Gotthardt’s retinue numbered exactly two persons more when he left Haaruthia than when he had arrived.

 

Every story needs a good villain, and you may already have noticed Lord Sebastianus Danver Balzepho Vlachen in the story snippet above. Not only is this powerful noble Esteban’s personal nemesis, but he is also growing into one of the Velsen sector’s chief political players, trying to ultimately succeed his ailing great-uncle as sector lord. Of course I needed a model to represent this man as well, and as it happens, Lord Sebastianus basically build himself:

Sebastianus Danver Balzepho Vlachen WIP (5)
Sebastianus Danver Balzepho Vlachen WIP (6)

The conversion was born out of the need to do something cool with that huge Tempestus Scion overcoat. And by lucky chances I discovered that the coat looked very cool in combination with a pair of Dreamforge Games’ Eisenkern Stormtrooper legs, producing exactly the kind of stature and pose I needed for one of the most powerful nobles in the Velsen sector. Beyond that, only some small additional touches were needed: The heavily scarred face still shows the wound Lord Vlachen incurred in his fight against Esteban, and the laurel wreath seemed like a perfect symbol of the man’s grasp for power over the whole sector.

So much for Esteban’s enemies, but what of his friend? I already mentioned that Esteban has become a member of Inquisitor Gotthardt’s retinue — in fact, the old man secretly considers Esteban Interrogator material, in spite of the former’s youth and arrogance. Anyway, I have been slowly working away on Gotthardt’s retinue. Here are the members I have finished so far:

Inquisitor Gotthardt's retinue (1)
The retinue has quite a few additional members, however, among them such characters as Rogue Trader Iskander Gagarin, noble-turned-psyker Elisha Gorgo or Esteban’s own retainer, Trooper “Sal” Koltz. It will probably take me a while to work through all of these characters, but this year has already seen me paint two of them, so all may not be lost 😉

And finally, one last thing I want to share with you today: My good buddy (and fellow inventor of the Velsen Sector) DexterKong has provided me with an awesome present: A “remembrancer sketch” of Esteban Revas, so to speak:

illustration by DexterKong

illustration by DexterKong

 

I think Dexter has done an excellent job, capturing both Esteban’s nobility and arrogance, with a hint of sadness thrown in the mix for good measure. Thank you, buddy! I really appreciate it!

So yeah, one down, another fourty unpainted characters to go 😉 Anyway, I hope you enjoyed today’s meeting with Esteban Revas! As always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Inquisitor 28: Long time no see…

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 3, 2014 by krautscientist

Right, let me start by apologising for missing an update last week. Truth be told, I am just a bit burned out on blogging at the moment, sometimes struggling to come up with a post I consider up to my quality standards — whatever those may be 😉 While I could probably merrily kitbash new models all day, it’s sometimes a challenge to actually sit down and write about them as well, but at the same time, I feel I want the posts on this blog to at least have a certain substance to them. Maybe I just need my own Remembrancer to chronicle my hobby work?

Anyway, to make a long story short: Don’t fret if the updating schedule gets a little scattershot for a while — I don’t want this to feel like work, but rather like a fun activity, and if missing a weekly update or two is what it takes to prevent this blog from turning into yet another deadline I have to meet, then that’s the way it’s got to be.

So, with that out of the way, let’s move on to more interesting topics, because I do in fact have something new to show you:

It’s been quite a while since I last posted anything related to the world of INQ28, so I think it’s high time I changed that. So let me share the progress on some of my INQ28 projects with you today.

 

I. Finally — paint!

Let’s start with something we haven’t seen in a while: Some actually painted models — yay! 😉

First up, a model I already posted on this blog a while ago: A servitor/savant model that will be used as a painter in my planned mini-diorama of an Imperial Lord Militant having his portrait painted. See the original story here.

Savant01
Savant02
Savant03
Savant04
As you can see, the base model in this case was an older GW Savant model — which is easily one of my favourite Inquisitorial models. Unfortunately, the model’s face suffered from a rather serious miscast that I had to repair by adding a bionic eye. However, since the model came pre-undercoated, I only learned precisely how damaged the face was during painting. I did my best to return some of the lost detail through the deft appliance of washes and highlights, but there was only so much I could do.

One thing I am really happy with is the writing on the parchment: This was achieved by carefully applying a decal from the (very nice) Sisters of Battle decal sheet.

Oh, and the model’s base was left completely bare for now, seeing how the model will ultimately become a part of the aforementioned mini-diorama, so before I do anything with the base, I will first need to work out a recipe for the diorama’s “floor”.

The other model I managed to paint is a Sanctioned Psyker that I started working on a rather long time ago. For some reason, the model took me ages to paint, but it’s finally finished now:

Sanctioned Psyker (2)
Sanctioned Psyker (3)
Sanctioned Psyker (6)
Not award winning material, certainly, but I am rather fond of this guy, to be honest: I wanted him to look like a professional soldier, and I think it worked. No transhuman demi-god in baroque armour for once, just a guy doing his job — while the entire rest of his regiment hates him for being an abomination, no less 😉

While I don’t yet have a perfectly worked out background for this character, the rusty and dilapidated stuff on his base shows that he will most likely end up in Inquisitor Alvar’s retinue: My current idea is that the Sanctioned Psyker assisted Alvar during a mission to investigate a Xenos artifact, and seeing a) how much the man was subjected to the disgust and fear of his fellow Guardsmen and b) how much of an asset he could be, Alvar decided to requisition him for his retinue.

 

II. A man and his bird

Next up, an idea I copied from a fellow hobbyist’s thread: I used a leftover eagle from Inquisitor Coteaz to build a familiar/objective marker. A simple but rather effective idea:

Aquila familiar
Following hot on the eagle’s heels is just the guy who would be using an ostentatious familar like this: An Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor I’ve already posted on this thread several times. Even though the model was basically finished last time, I just kept coming back to it for another round of detailing:

Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor WIP (15)
Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor WIP (14)
It has taken several touchups to get to this point, but with the last bitz in place, the model now finally has the presence and ostentatiousness I was going for. You may call me silly, but I think the flowing purity seals (mostly taken from the Imperial Knight kit) and new belt buckle (from the Space Marine Centurions) really make a world of difference.

Oh, and since Michael LeBaron requested a parts breakdown for this particular conversion, here it is:

  • head: Dark Angels Ravenwing sprue (old)
  • torso: Space Marines command squad torso with an Inquisitorial symbol shaved off Inquisitor Coteaz’ codpiece (no, really!) added on top
  • left arm: Sanguinary Guard arm with an IG flamer muzzle. The shoulder pad came from the WFB Chaos Knights
  • right arm: a regular CSM arm with the Grey Knight Terminator Justicar’s sword. The pauldron is a radar dish from the Space Marine vehicle sprue, IIRC
  • legs: WFB Warriors of Chaos, with lots and lots of purity seals added on top. Like I said, most came from the Imperial Knight kit, while the belt buckle came from the Centurions
  • odds and ends: part of a tabard from the WFB Chaos Lord on Manticore was used as a half cape across the model’s back. The shield came from the GK Nemesis Dreadknight.

Hope this helps! 🙂

 

III. Femmes militantes

I am sure many INQ28 aficionados will agree with me that coming up with female members for Inquisitorial retinues can be a bit of a challenge, partly due to GW’s somewhat spotty record when it comes to female models. That said, making sure that there is a certain gender diversity in my warbands has become a fun little challenge, and I am happy to be able to present you WIPs for two more Femmes Militantes, if I may just borrow the name of  a particularly great and eclectic series of designs by John Blanche 😉

First up, here’s someone who would fight right into the retinue of such an imposing servant of the Ordo Hereticus: A female operative that could be used as a Crusader type or even an Interrogator:

Ordo Hereticus Operative WIP (3)
Ordo Hereticus Operative WIP (1)
Ordo Hereticus Operative WIP (2)
The model is based on a – severely damaged – Sister of Battle PDH let me have as part of a rather impressive bitz drop (come to think of it, this is already the second time Peter gave me a model missing its lower legs — maybe there’s a story behind that… 😉 ). I provided the lady with some new feet (courtesy of a Dark Eldar model) and a new head (from the Wood Elves Glade Guard). I think she would really work as an associate of the Hereticus Inquisitor above. And I have a feeling that she would look really dashing in crimson armour — we will see…

And, last but definitely not least, a little project made possible by a donation: A while ago, fellow hobbyist Steifer let me have two of his very nice female sculpts for experimentation purposes (that did sound pretty weird, come to think of it…):

magda_legion

So far, this is what I have come up with for the first of them:

Female Operative WIP (5)
Female Operative WIP (1)
Female Operative WIP (2)
Female Operative WIP (3)
Female Operative WIP (4)
As you can see, I have given the – very nice – base model some arms and a head of hair. I actually took a stab at sculpting the hair myself, thanks to some gentle nudging from DexterKong. While it’s far from a spectacular effort, I am reasonably happy with the result:

Female Operative WIP (6)

As for the model’s background, I see her as a professional assassin specialised on working from within Imperial high society — like a grimdark Femme Nikita, if you will 😉 The model is still WIP at the moment, of course, but I think I may be on to something here!

 

So, as you can see, I am not dead — and neither are my INQ28 projects! As always, I’d be happy to hear any feedback and suggestions you might have! Thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

You’re in the army now – a look at the Astra Militarum release

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , on April 23, 2014 by krautscientist

With the first leaked pictures of the coming Wood Elves release already making the round, I am confident we can consider the Imperial Guard …erm Astra Militarum release completed for now. So what better time to take a fairly comprehensive look at the new kits and the various conversion opportunities they bring, right?

Astra Militarum Release (0)
As per my usual approach, this post will focus on the models to the near exclusion of all rules-related stuff. However, let me make one small exception, because the release of the Codex Astra Militarum seems to introduce a rather dubious element: It looks like, as of this book, GW will be using universal naming conventions for all of the various units, even across several languages. What this means is that the English unit names will be used, even in a rulebook that has otherwise been fully translated into German, French, Spanish or what have you. Now this shouldn’t be such a big thing, right? After all, games between 40k aficionados are already a gobbledygook of different languages anyway, so what’s the big difference? Besides, there are certainly sensible reasons for this decision: There will be no disconnect between the translated hardcopy rulebooks and the digital supplements only released in English, for instance. And yet. And still…

I realise that this need only concern non-native speakers of English to begin with, and then a blog written in English may not be the perfect venue for a criticism like this. But GW have always gone through quite some trouble to produce fully translated books in the past. Sure, the Blood Angels were always the Blood Angels, the Leman Russ was always the Leman Russ. But this new approach just leads to books that seem awkward chimerics, lost somewhere in limbo between the original English and the different language version. It reads terribly, to tell you the truth, and while it may make lots of sense, both from a business and rules perspective, this development actually makes me consider getting all my 40k related books in English from now on — I’d rather have the whole book in English than being served snippets of it at every turn. And I don’t suffer horrible prose style.

Anyway, excuse the minor rant: Moving on to the models now!

 

Officio Prefectus Commissar

Astra Militarum Release (2)
I think I am not the only person happy about a commissar model being available in plastic at long last, and the Ordo Prefectus Commissar is definitely a fine specimen to boot: Suitably grizzled and gnarly, this guy looks every part the discipliary officer one might have expected. One interesting thing about the model is that its pose is more dynamic than what we are used to from past commissar models. This dynamism leads to a rather striking silhouette, though:

Astra Militarum Release (3)
The face is another really strong point, looking suitably lined and pinched for a veteran commissar! In fact, the one thing I am not completely sold on is the saber: It seems a bit too clunky for once, and there’s also the fact that the blade tapering to a point as much as it does seems slightly wrong, for some reason: I think I would have preferred a more slender saber in the style of the DKOK commissars.

A closer look at the sprue for the model, however, reveals that not only should it be possible to replace the saber without a hitch, but further modifications to the modelt by way of using a different head or change the equipment in the right hand should be really easy, too:

Astra Militarum Release (4)
This makes the commissar model even more useful: Having a plastic commissar is already pretty cool in and of itself, but being able to use him for all kinds of INQ28 kitbashes makes the purchase of the model even more tempting, the slightly inflated price tag notwithstanding. Definitely one of the high points of the release for me!

 

Hydra/Wyvern

Astra Militarum Release (5)
I have never made much of a secret of my general lack of interest in tanks, so it may not surprise you that the Hydra/Wyvern kit didn’t exactly set my heart aflutter. Based on the same undercarriage as the trusty Chimera, these tanks are not exactly visually exciting, at least if you’re not a tank nut.

For tanks like this, the one thing that usually interests me are the little touches used to individualise the vehicle, and I am happy to see that GW have included a suitable crew of gunners for once:

Astra Militarum Release (6)
If anything, this is where the character of the piece comes from, if you ask me! On a semi-related note, I always thought it was a shame that the Basilisk loading crew was only available as a set of semi-obscure, OOP metal bitz.

Where the Hydra is mainly used for AA duties, as it seems, you can also assemble the tank as a Wyvern and use it for anti-infantry work:

Astra Militarum Release (7)
Again, what can I say? Another chimera-based tank? I certainly won’t go wild over this. I will say that the gunner models and various cogitator arrays that come with the kit might be fairly interesting for a variety of conversions, even though the overall model leaves me rather cold. Sorry!

Astra Militarum Release (8)

 

 

Taurox Prime/Taurox

Astra Militarum Release (9)
Quite the opposite for this vehicle though, but I am getting ahead of myself. A better place to start would be to point out that this is obviously that one divisive kit that every self-respecting GW release needs! Already, the Taurox has emerged as the one kit that many, many people love to hate, probably due to its somewhat unconventional design…

…which, in all honesty, really isn’t just as preposterous as many people seem to believe, pointing to several real-world sources, ranging from some rather gimmicky German WWII vehicles or armoured transports used by the English Army during the 70s and 80s to the modern MRAP. As a matter of fact, those influences make for a nice bit of realism that become all the more striking when combined with the hallmark heraldic and baroque elements of the 40k universe! The seeming clash between these elements enhances the model for me instead of ruining it.

If anything, the model instantly becomes less interesting when you leave off the extra bling and use it to create a standard Taurox:

 

Astra Militarum Release (12)But that’s just my opinion, of course. If nothing else, however, the Taurox provides a much needed breath of fresh air in a setting where nearly all of the tanks seem to be based on the same two or three basic kits. I’ll admit I’ve been waiting for a kit like this for ages, in order to be able to build a slightly more interesting vehicle for my Traitor Guard, and the Taurox perfectly fits the bill. Again, this is clearly a matter of personal preference, but I really like the design!

Beyond questions of personal taste, I think we can all agree that the production values are ridiculously high, with lots and lots of customisation options and even an entirely sculpted interior:

Astra Militarum Release (11)
I am really looking forward to what all the crazy converters and kitbashers will do with this kit! Commissar Molotov recently pointed me towards an amazingly thorough thread outlining lots and lots of possible Taurox conversions, so even if you don’t like the model out of the box, there’s nothing stopping you from modifying it to your heart’s content, but more on that later!

All in all, this is one of the more exciting parts of the release for me!

 

Tempestus Scions

Astra Militarum Release (22)
Now these are definitely the stars of the show for me! Which, in all fairness, shouldn’t be much of a surprise considering my rather extensive recent experimenation with the kit. Still, let me explain why I love these guys so much:

One thing that always baffled me was how much of the potential coolness of the Imperial Guard went mostly unused: When I was still a newcomer to 40k, the Guard mainly seemed to be a mashup of pretty much every histrocial military force: Red Army (Valhallans), Germans (DKOK), American Troops during the Vietnam War (Catachans),… the list goes on and on. Then there were some slightly more futuristic elements thrown in (the Cadians would be a good example). And the tanks were mostly based on various WWI and WWII designs.

And while I can see the appeal of an army like that, it was only when the more colourful regiments began to emerge that the Guard really came into its own for me: I love the idea of thousands of years of military history mashed together, but why should it run along the lines delineated by the 20th century? Why not more hi-tech soldiers in overblown 19th century garb (like the brilliantly eclectic Vostroyans)?  Why not more WWI Trenchers with noticeable medieval influences (I am looking at you, Aexe Cardinal)? The more Gaunt’s Ghosts novels I read, the more it felt like the actual models on offer were failing to address the possible coolness of regiments hailing from a million worlds.

Now the Scions are finally fulfilling at least a part of that promise: They are clearly hi-tech soldiers, but with a very noticeable baroque, maybe even medieval feel:

Astra Militarum Release (23)
There are design cues from many different centuries in their armour and equipment, which not only makes for stunning models but also perfectly channels the look and feel of the 40k universe.

Astra Militarum Release (24)
The other really great thing about the kit is the amount of equipment options and bitz you get: Whether you want to assemble a brilliantly ostentatious command squad or just some – only slightly less impressive – “standard” Stormtroopers, it’s all there in the kit:

Astra Militarum Release (26)
And finally, as I myself have tried to prove, the kit is also brilliantly versatile, because the barqoue design makes sure that these guys will be useful for all kinds of conversions:

Astra Militarum Release (27)
They can become your elite Imperial soldiers, sure. But it’s also easy enough to imagine them as AdMech Skitarii with a bit of work. Or they could be your faceless Traitor Guard elites. The kit really allows for all these different options with only a minimum of modification.

 

Astra Militarum Release (29)
In short, it has taken GW ages to finally release a plastic Stormtrooper kit, but the result is definitely worth the wait!

 

Ogryns/Bullgryns/Nork Dedogg

Astra Militarum Release (14)
These guys are the other slightly divisive kit to come out of this release, with many people already hating them with a passion. In all fairness, running against a kit like the Tempestus Scions seems like a pretty dire prospect on the best of days, but are the new Ogryns really that bad? Let’s take a closer look:

One really amazing feature of the kit is that it can actually be assembled in four different variants, and that alone deserves a round of applause. So let’s address each of those variants in turn, shall we? First up, the bread and butter option: The kit will give you three bog standard Ogryns:

Astra Militarum Release (15)
I think these are getting some flak due to the somewhat …nonplussed facial expressions on some of the heads. But let’s not forget that Ogryns aren’t exactly rocket scientists. So maybe the faces are a pretty good fit, after all? The good thing is that, even if you don’t like the Ogryn heads, you can always use some of the extra heads that come with the kit, but more on that in a minute. For now, let me just point out that I really like the screaming head with the aquila brand on its brow!

Beyond that, these guys look more or less like you would expect standard Ogryns to look: There are the sleeveless shirts, the crude armour plates and the robust (and somewhat improbable) Ogryn gun. Certainly not the most exciting models in the world, but a great replacement both for the old metal/Finecast Ogryns and for the option of having to work with those extremely static WFB Ogre bulls!

Oh, one thing I really love is how these guys are using gasoline cans as canteens — what a brilliant little touch! 😉

There’s also the option of assembling your Ogryns as Bullgryns, heavily armoured giants protecting the less robust part of your army. And these can, in turn, be armed in two different ways. The first option is to equip them with a combination of grenadier gauntlets and slab shields:

Astra Militarum Release (16)
The armoured bodies themselves look rather cool, and I really like the tank treads used as some kind of heavy duty loincloth! The slab shields have some rather nice touches (for instance, the spikes at the bottom to ram them into the ground, and the fact that the three shields in the squads were designed to look like they interlock to form a makeshift defense line). My problem with them, however, is that they look slightly too busy with the Imperial iconography, the sculpted chevrons and all the additional lines: There’s just too much going on, from a visual perspective. I would have preferred a more restrained approach, something similar to the elements of the Aegis Defense Line, for example.

The grenadier fists may be my least favourite part of the kit, because while the idea itself may be awesome, they just look goofy: Maybe they should have been designed to look less hi-tech? Maybe shoulder-mounted panzerfausts would have been cooler? Whatever it is, that element just doesn’t work for me. So in my opinion, this loadout would need some work to make it look really cool.

The one part of the Bullgryns I love unecquivocally, however, are the heads. Well, maybe apart from the bearded one…

Astra Militarum Release (20)

“I say! Apparently, they are letting all kinds of riff raff join the fighting these days, old boy!”

…but even that has a kind of corny charm. Maybe the beard’s an attempt at emulating the finesse and elegance of a high-ranking officer by the slightly more refined Ogryn squad leader ?

The gas mask  heads are absolutely amazing, though, especially the one with the goggles:

Astra Militarum Release (18)
Not only are these your readily apparant solution if you don’t like the standard Ogryn heads, but they would also work great for a DKOK or Steel Legion sinpired force! Or for traitor Ogryns — there’s just something sinister about those gas masks, you know…

As for the Bullgryns themselves, I much prefer the second equipment option for them: battle mauls and suppression shields:

Astra Militarum Release (17)
These seem far less awkward and actually nicely complement the Bullgryns’ lumbering poses. Again, I think it would be really fun to transform these into a squad of hulking traitor berserkers! But then, I have some very fond memories of building traitor Ogryns, so I might be biased…

The final option would be to assemble one of your Ogryns as the special character Nork Dedogg, trusty Ogryn bodyguard extraordinaire:

Astra Militarum Release (19)
And, like the whole kit, this guy is just one more case of love it or hate it.

Let’s start with the good part: He really looks like an elite Ogryn, which was probably the whole point. There’s also an inherent goofiness about the model that certainly was a deliberate choice on the designers’ part, but much of the goofiness has been stripped away from the Imperial Guard over the last years, leaving this guy a little stranded, so to speak.

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My main gripe with the model from a design perspective is that his armour, intended as an updgraded version of the Bullgryn equipment, looks quite unlike every other armour in the IG catalogue: The decorative trim actually makes it resemble chaos armour more than anything else. Plus that goofy vox skull with the commissar cap needs to go, in my opinion.

That said, I cannot help looking at Norg from a chaos player’s perspective, and see him as great conversion fodder for a traitor ogryn: The armour would need precious little work to suitably chaos-i-fy it, and just imagine a gas mask or crudely implanted vox grill instead of that cigar-smoking grin. Very promising!

In any case, I really love the fact that the option to build a special character from extra bitz included in a kit has now made it to 40k as well! I’m all for more plastic characters, and having them as some kind of bonus in a regular kit really rocks!

All in all, there are some slightly goofy elements in the Ogryn/Bullgryn kit, but maybe that’s at least partially due to the fact that Ogryns are in fact rather goofy in and of themselves. That said, I think it’s also a kit with lots of promise — and maybe the models would actually look much cooler with less colourful, grittier paintjobs?

 

Conversion opportunities

While some of the new kits are already really awesome as they are, the possible conversion options are probably the best part of this whole release for me, so let me share a couple of observations and ideas:

The Tempestus Scions really take the cake here, because they are just amazing, both as a kit and as a toolbox for all kinds of conversions. My own experiments have shown that it’s very easy to use scion bitz for all kinds of craziness, be it to build specialists from more colourful Guard regiments or,  indeed, elite soldiers for your Traitor Guard. Another excellent example for the kit’s versatility would be Jeff Vader’s wonderful Primaris Psyker that just uses a couple of bitz from the Tempestus Scions to make a wonderfully characterful miniature. And don’t even get me started on all the possible uses for INQ28 related conversions: Those scions could be Inquisitorial Stormtroopers, or the bitz could be used to accessorise your Inquisitorial agents, or even your Inquisitors. The scions could even be turned into Arbites, with a bit of work. And whatever approach you choose,  the remaining extra bitz will prove helpful for a myriad of conversion projects.

For me, the Tempestus Scions are easily one of the best kits GW have released in a while, and if you’re at all interested in INQ28 conversions or kitbashes, they are pretty much a compulsory purchase. The fact that they are pretty reasonably priced – considering the amount of stuff you get in the kit – helps, of course!

And while many people online already love to hate the Taurox, the same goes for that kit: I can easily see the Taurox being transformed into a transport for Ogryns (just make it look more like a mobile cage than a mere APC), a civilian or industrial vehicle for games of INQ28 or Necromunda, a traitor APC heavily reminiscent of Dave Taylor’s amazing Blood Pact lorries and half-tracks or even something as exotic as a modern Genestealer limo. The thread I linked above is basically just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the possible conversions, and seeing all the crazy vehicles coming out of this kit will be a very special treat — trust me! As for my own detachment of Traitor Guard, I can easily see myself picking up a Taurox kit: The prospect of building and painting it certainly excites me far more than any old Chimera ever could!

Then there’s the Commissar — another really nice model to serve as conversion fodder: PDH already pointed out some time ago that this guy would be a great base model for a fairly easy Rogue Trader conversion, and I am sure the model would fare just as well as any kind of high-ranking officer or even as an Inquisitor (preferrably one with ties to the Ordo Militum).

But there’s more: Just add an Ork power claw and he could become a pretty cool Commissar Yarrick stand in. Or replace his bionic arm and face and turn him into a plastic model for Ibram Gaunt. Long story short, I imagine this model will be extremely popular with converters in general and INQ28 aficionados in particular, and I certainly intend to pick one up at some point.

And even the Ogryns are quite interesting from a conversion standpoint: Like I said earlier, turning these into a squad of sinister, crudely augmented and/or mutated traitor ogryns or big mutants should be quite a bit of fun! Indeed, if I didn’t already own an entire squad of converted traitor ogryns, I am pretts sure I would already have picked up a box of the new guys.

In fact, and this is just brilliant if you ask me, this release is just as interesting for Traitor Guard players at it is for actual Guard players: Until now, building suitably impressive traitors and renegades (without falling back on Forgeworld’s – admittedly wonderful – Vraksian Renegade Militia) was always a bit of a challenge. The new kits should make this quite a bit easier and more interesting, and I applaud GW for that!

 

So what about the release as a whole? It probably won’t surprise you that I’ll call this a strong release. The Tempestus Scions alone would probably be enough to carry the day here, but I love how nearly all of the new kits (the slightly underwhelming Chimera-based tanks notwithstanding) seem to have multiple possible uses and allow for lots and lots of neat conversions. The release has certainly re-invigorated my interest in the Traitor Guard side of my chaos army, so don’t be surprised if you see some projects towards that effect in the future!

So what about you? Are you as happy with the potential conversion projects as I am, or were you underwhelmed by the new Astra Militarum release? Are you already planning a couple of conversions yourself, perchance? I’d be happy to hear any ideas and impressions you might have in the comments section.

Now, if you’ll excuse me: I still need to wring the last possible drops of conversion fun from that Tempestus Scion kit 😉

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

Of trenchers and traitors…

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 17, 2014 by krautscientist

I am trying my best not to overdo it, but I still find myself playing around with those Tempestus Scions. And after doing all those experiments about different heads and whatnot, I think it’s time I finally show you some (mostly) finished models, right? So let’s take a look. But before we look at the stuff that’s actually close to finished,…

 

1. By request

…several people suggested I show them a couple of additional headswaps, and how could I refuse? I’ll be keeping this short and to the point, though 😉

First up, in case you wondered what the scion heads looked like on bog standard Cadians:

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They are actually a perfect fit: You need to shave down the neck portion, though — which I failed to do for the above pictures, hence the slightly hokey proportions. But from a scale perspective, I think you’ll agree that it should work. And while I was at it, I also tried an Eisenkern Stormtrooper head on a Cadian body…

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…and it instantly created that wonderful Jin-Roh look. Even more cutting involved in this case, though, because the neck portion on those Eisenkern heads is huge.

Oh, and while we’re at it, here’s the Eisenkern head on a regular Tempestus Scion, for the sake of completeness:

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This may actually be one of my favourite combinations so far! Unfortunately, the fact that the Eisenkern heads only come as part of the larger kit and that you only get just enough heads, this kind of conversion is hardly economical. But if you should find yourself in the possession of some leftover Eisenkern heads, it’s definitely a very interesting option!

2. Straight from the trenches…

After my last round of experiments, I pulled together several of my earlier ideas in order to create a new model: The running cultist legs, Tempestus Scion bitz and Bretonnian head-kitbash were combined to create a soldier with a very distinct WWI trencher vibe. Take a look:

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Additional bitz are a backpack with an entrenching tool (a bit of a no brainer, really) and a trench knife (one of the daggers from the Tempestus Scions). My experiments in creating a bayonet for the rifle fell flat: While it was easy enough to attach a blade to the rifle, the barrel ended up looking way too long, thereby throwing off the model’s whole composition. However, I believe that the dagger, worn to be quickly available during combat, works well enough as a replacement.

To tell you the truth, I am stupidly happy with this guy, since he is both suitably grimdark and reminiscent of actual trenchers as well as those Warzone minis I keep going on about. I hope to be able to paint him sooner rather than later — a suitable base, complete with duckboards and a muddy surface, has already been built.

Once again, let me show you some possible, different heads for the model, in case you’re going for a different, maybe even more medieval feel:

While the head I used on the model was spliced together from a Bretonnian helmet and a Tempestus Scion head, the heads from the Bretonnian Men-at-arms can also be used on their own:

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I actually think those work just as well, and would basically be ideal if you were after building, say, a Genswick IG force.

I also tried the head with mask and beret from the scion kit…

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…and it looks just as awesome as it did when used on the Eisenkern Stormtrooper I posted earlier. I have a sneaking suspicion that this head will always look awesome, no matter the model you use it on.

And finally, another really cool option would be to use an Eisenkern head:

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3. Meanwhile, back in the Archenemy camp…

During all those head swaps, though, let’s not forget the intended use for my first batch of Tempestus Scions: I want to turn them into a squad of elite soldiers for Urash’s Marauders. So, any progress on that? You bet!
Here’s my first, basically finished, traitor soldier:

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As you can see, I have kept the conversion fairly straightforward: The imperial iconography has been shaved off and a couple of chaos-y bitz have been added, a horned helmet from the Marauder Horsemen chief among them. While not everyone might like the horned look, that helmet instantly says elite Traitor Guard to me, plus I believe the paintjob will go a long way towards suitably blending together the different parts.

No follower of chaos would be complete without a CC weapon, of course, and I think I may just have found a great use for all those slightly tacky swords that come with the Khorne Berzerker kit:

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Every World Eaters player should have dozens of these lying around, but I think they actually work rather nicely, strapped to the traitor’s backpack like that: The sword is just ornate enough to suggest that it may have a ritual significance beyond its use as a backup weapon.

I have begun working on a second traitor and have also made a first mockup of the squad’s champion (or should that be Damogaur?):

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In this case, the scion chainsword was replaced with a suitably chaotic sabre from the Dark Vengeance cultist champion. The head with the grotesk came from the same model. And while a laspistol may not be the most exciting equipment for a squadleader, I chose the arm for its pose, at least for now. One of the two small shortcomings of the Tempestus Scions, in my opinion, are the sometimes freakishly long arms, so choosing a combination that looks right takes some doing (on a semi-related note, those cables connecting the rifles and backpacks are the other element I don’t like: Getting all those parts lined up just so without gluing the model together outright is very fiddly business…).

Anyway, this guy isn’t finished yet, but I think the model will already give you a pretty good idea of where this is going. Here are the three WIP models for the squad together:

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That’s not all, however: Since the scion kit contains so many bitz, there are enough leftovers to use on different models as well. As I told you in my previous post, I will be using some of these bitz to build some more traitor elites, mostly based on some Vraksian Renegade Militia torsos.

You already know the voxcaster guy:

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I added some armour plates I shaved off the trencher model to bring him more in line with the scion-based models.

And I also found out that the rifle arms work fairly well on those Vraksian torsos:

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By combining these bitz, the model looks a bit like a missing link between a Tempestus Scion and one of my regular traitors, which could signify the encroaching influence of chaos, I suppose?

A third model uses the plasma gunner arms from the scions for now. Here are the three traitors together:

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I also built another champion/squadleader model that I am really happy with. Take a look:

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The torso came from the Vraksian Enforcers, while the legs are from a WFB chaos charioteer: Both bits were leftovers of earlier conversions, so it was really nice to finally put them to good use! The arms are from the Tempestus Scions, although the weapons and hands were replaced (with a Space Marine Scout pistol and chaos warrior sword, respectively). The head came from a Dark Vengeance plastic cultist. And I also added some additional pouches and gear:

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This model takes quite a bit of inspiration from PDH’s traitor soldiers which range among my favourite renegade models. I am really happy with how this model has turned out, because it really fits my idea of Traitor Guard to a t!

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And here are all the “Vraksian bases” traitors so far: Keep in mind that these were all basically made from leftovers from my bitzbox:

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What I especially like about these models is that they could arguably be used alongside the scion-based traitors in one large squad – granted, there’s a bit of variation, but that’s chaos for you – but they could also be the beginnings of a second squad of traitor elites.

So yeah, after all the headswapping businesss, I hope I’ve managed to convince you that some actual models will be coming out of this in the end! I would love to hear your feedback on any of these!

Have a happy Easter, everyone! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

I. Initial kitbashing

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

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


Experiment I: Inquisitorial types

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

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


Experiment II: Medieval types

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

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


Experiment III: IG veterans

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

I particularly like the one with the wolf scout head on the far right 😉


Experiments IV and V: Traitors and Renegades

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

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

I tried even more heads, though:

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

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

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

You can combine the scion torsos with flagellant legs:

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Playing around with Tempestus Scion bitz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

3. Alternatives

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s a scale comparison with the Tempestus Scions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The same goes for the helmeted Scion heads:

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

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

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

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So which one should you choose?

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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