Archive for birthday

Five years!

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

eternal-hunt-5th-anniversary-6
And that’s not nearly all, because those are only the models I have managed to paint so far (or the ones that came pre-painted, as it were). As it happens, I still have some wonderful donations from fellow hobbyists to look forward to on my painting desk:

eternal-hunt-5th-anniversary-7

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

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

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

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

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

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

Angron illustration by Dariiy

Angron illustration by Dariiy

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

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

 

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

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

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Orkheim Ultraz: Don’t feed the troll, pt. 2

Posted in Blood Bowl, Conversions, paintjob with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 16, 2016 by krautscientist

It’s been a rather long while since I have last talked about the Orkheim Ultraz, my Orc & Goblin team for Blood Bowl. And as luck would have it, I now have a new model to show, right around the same time that GW is putting their redesigned Blood Bowl starter box up for super-secret sneak-peek pre-order 😉

This is no clever strategy on my part, however, but rather a bit of a happy accident, because I have wanted  to get today’s model painted up for ages — ever since I picked it up in a secondhand deal, back when my dear FLGS was still alive and kicking (*sniff*). I am referring to this guy:

Lucky purchase (2)
Most of my Orc Blood Bowl team was assembled using leftover models and bitz from an old WFB greenskin army project that never quite materialised. But while that gave me enough parts for most of the boyz, I needed a suitable model to serve as a big guy in the team. And I was fortunate enough to find the model you see above in the deal bin at my FLGS one day. The model was originally a part of the “Battle for Skull-Pass” starter set for Warhammer Fantasy:

skullpass-boxed-set

Made of only two parts, it’s a pretty cool (if slightly dated) example of the time when GW started to do really clever things with their snap-fit starter box models. At the same time, the troll also struck me as a brilliant base model for a Blood Bowl player: The pose is already perfect, and it only took a few orc armour plates to mock up some reasonably convincing football armour for him.

So anyway, to make a long story short: I’ve had this guy for years now, and when I recently sat down with my good friend Annie for a painting session, it was actually a matter of honour to finally complete the model (keep in mind that Annie was the one who got me involved in Blood Bowl in the first place).

I did some research online to decide on a general approach for painting the troll, but when the time came to actually get started, I surprised myself by going for a pretty spontaneous, fairly loose painting recipe. This made for a very entertaining painting session with lots of impromptu experimentation. At the same time, I also tried my best to both make the troll look suitably toadish and swamp-ish while also trying to maintain some visual coherency, in order to tie the model together with the rest of the team.

So here’s what I came up with:

blood-bowl-troll-2
blood-bowl-troll-1
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blood-bowl-troll-4
I am really happy with the finished model, and it’s a great feeling to have finally completed this particular piece. And even though the troll’s a fairly old model at this point, I still think he holds up rather well, to be honest. Here’s a comparison picture showing the troll next to one of my Black Orc Blockers and one of my Orc Blitzers:

orkheim-ultraz-2016-4
The photo shows the progression of skin tones and model sizes between the various team members, from the standard orcs to the bigger (and ever so slightly darker-skinned) Black Orcs. And there’s the troll, of course, serving as the biggest model in the team. Granted, he could be bigger, but I think the model has loads of character and makes for a perfect addition to my Orkheim Ultraz.

While the models are quite different in size and bulk, the dented and scratched red armour still manages to pull them together into a visually coherent theme. In fact, I really like the look of the finished team. So here are the Orkheim Ultraz in their 2016 incarnation:

orkheim-ultraz-2016-6
Back when I first started painting the army, some of the concepts and designs from the Blood Bowl video games really helped in developing the look for my team. And I think there’s a clear resemblance between my models and the look of the greenskins from the current Blood Bowl game — even if GW’s new models are arguably even closer to this particular look:

pc-blood-bowl-orc-team

Oh, and here’s the Orkheim Ultraz with their star-player, based on one of GW’s clamshell characters for WFB/Age of Sigmar:

orkheim-ultraz-2016-5

It is with a certain feeling of bemusement that I realise that this team might actually be the closest thing to an actually finished hobby project I have – at least where the last decade or so is concerned. And even so, I have ideas (and bitz) for at least half a dozen additional models knocking about, from two more Black Orc Blockers to some fans and a “Kit Git”. We’ll see…

Speaking of fans, however, let’s not forget the amazing Fan-Troll Annie created for my birthday two years ago:

Fan Troll (12)

Anyway, while I didn’t really plan to return to this project right in time for the new Blood Bowl, building and painting some models for the Orkheim Ultraz always provides a nice occasion to return to the more humorous side of GW’s intellectual properties. Plus it feels good to channel the spirit of the WFB greenskin army I could never finish every now and then 😉

So that’s it for today. It goes without saying that I would love to hear any feedback you might have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

orkheim-ultraz-2016-3

3rd birthday and some tributes to the Hunt

Posted in Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 25, 2015 by krautscientist

yearthree

Oh my, Eternal Hunt has turned three! I think we can actually call this blog settled now, can’t we? 😉

Seriously, though: I am very happy to have managed three years of constant blogging about my various hobby projects, and I am also quite proud of the numbers: There have been 256 posts overall (62 of those in during my third year of blogging). What’s more, this blog has managed to attract about 360,000 views in total — and more than 175,000 of those views during my third year of blogging — just to put things into perspective: That’s only slightly less than the overall number of views on this blog in its first and second years together! All of this is really pretty amazing, given the fact that it’s just little ol’ me and my shoddily painted little plastic men here 😉

I am also really proud of having managed to attract 177 followers and receive visitors from as many as 138 counties! You guys rock, and I want to assure you that every single comment is really important for keeping me on track and for bolstering my (often fleeting) hobby motivation! So please keep reading and please keep participating! You guys are the only proof that I am not just talking to myself here, in my little bubble within the warp!

But I don’t just want to bombard you with numbers today, I would also like to promise you that I will keep updating this blog with my latest conversions, paintjobs and my thoughts about new model releases. There will be quite a bit of red and bronze, seeing how my World Eaters continue to be my most important hobby project:

Khorne's Eternal Hunt 2014 02
But there will also be more shadowy figures from the underhive. And blinged-out guys in golden armour (hopefully). And grennskins n football gear, I suppose?!

 

For now, by way of celebration, allow me to share two things that may not have been intended as birthday gifts for this blog in the first place, but that nevertheless please me very much. And either of these would not have come into existence without my venturing out into the wilds of the internet in order to chronicle my hobby endeavours 😉

 

I. A portrait of an angry man

First up, I believe I may have mentioned some time ago that I managed to win a small competition run by fellow hobbyist Greyall. For those who don’t know Greyall, he is known for producing extraordinarily detailed and awesome line artwork depicting (Chaos) Space Marines, so it won’t be a big surprise to you that I’ve craved such a piece of artwork showing one of my characters for quite a while.

So imagine my joy when Greyall liked my conversion for Lord Captain Lorimar well enough to render him in his trademark style! Allow me to share the result with you. Just to remind you, here’s my converted (but yet unpainted, alas) model for Lorimar:

Lord Captain Lorimar WIP (2)

And here’s Greyall’s take on the character, showing the Master of the Hunt during a duel with a warp-spawned monstrosity in service to Slaanesh:

Lord Captain Lorimar by Greyall

Lord Captain Lorimar by Greyall

What can I say? Finally having such an awesome piece of art depicting what may be the most important character from my favourite army project makes me so happy! A huge thank you to Greyall! And definitely make sure to head over to Greyall’s thread at The Bolter & Chainsword or to his DeviantArt page and check out his amazing work! Now the only thing left to do is to find someone to professionally colour this piece for me…

 

II. A hunter’s story

The second thing I would like to show you today is a bit of a cooperative project: Some time ago, Flint13 (also one of my hobbyists of the year 2014, in case you forgot) approached me with an idea for a fun hobby challenge: Flint wanted to build and paint a character from Khorne’s Eternal Hunt as a bit of a shout out to my army, and I was to compose an accompanying bit of fluff. Knowing that Flint usually doesn’t relish the prospect of doing 40k chaos, I was pretty honoured by this idea, and a short time later, she showed me this picture of the completed model:

The Hunter by Flint13 (1)

Model converted and painted by Flint13

Certainly a worthy addition to Khorne’s Eternal Hunt, wouldn’t you say? But what about this guy’s background? Well, let me share the story I came up with. Enjoy!

 

Hunters

Flames were already billowing from the ramshackle habs as the Hunter strode into the settlement. He turned his horned helm this way and that, surveying the destruction and slaughter surrounding him. What remained of the poor wretches who had eked out a meagre living here in the freezing wastelands of a backwater world at the fringes of Imperial space spoke of violent, careless slaughter, but there was something more underneath it: A frantic need the Hunter understood but found distasteful.
He paced around the main square of the settlement, his warrior’s mind piecing together the events: the desperate but eventually futile struggle. The bloodletting. And what seemed to be the pursuit of a few settlers that had somehow managed to escape the slaughter. The Hunter examined the tracks leading through the outer parts of the settlement and into the wilderness beyond, already being covered up by the falling snow, here where the heat of the flames was not as intense.

The Hunter cocked his head, listening and sniffing. Again, his head turned this way and that, as he tried to find a trace of his prey. Suddenly, he paused. And if someone had been very close by, they might have noticed a telltale glint of bared teeth behind his helmet’s mouth slit: a feral, hungry thing of a smile. But nobody was there to see. All that remained in the settlement was death. His ancient warplate thrumming, the Hunter set off towards the east. Towards his prey.

***

The thrill of the hunt started to recede, and already Iriralar Nightclaw was feeling a flutter of disappointment. He had spent hours artfully stalking his prey, slowly separating each of the Mon’Keigh’ from the group, then taking them down one by one. If he had just wanted to kill them, it would have been a quick task, but Iriralar had wanted to wring every possible drop of pleasure from this particular hunt, and he had succeeded in that. Nevertheless, with the game so very nearly over, he couldn’t help feeling a nagging sense of regret.
He looked at the poor wretch scrambling away from him now on hands and knees, leaving crimson traces in the snow. Still so desperate to get away. Iriralar almost had to smile in recognition of his prey’s perseverance. Alas, all good things must come to an end.
Slowly, ever so slowly, Iriralar drew his blades, the curved steel only giving the faintest whisper as it slid from its twin sheaths. The Mon’Keigh stared at him in utter horror and despair, but still kept crawling away from him. Iriralar bared sharp, pearly white teeth in a predator’s smile:
“So then, shall we dance?”

When it was over – and it was over far too soon – Iriralar stepped back from what remained of his prey. It was not much, and even that would soon be lost under a blanket of snow. Iriralar slowly breathed in the sweet scent of a dying soul. He would have to return to his raiding party soon.
Going after a pack of Mon’Keigh cattle on his own was an indulgence, surely, but nobody would dare reprimand the Lord Archon’s own son for such behavior. Iriralar smiled to himself…
…and froze.

There was something close by. Iriralar could smell it. Surely, none of his prey could have eluded him? He focused and inhaled. Indeed, it was a Mon’Keigh. But there was something more: The creature’s animal stink was compounded by the acrid tang of a metabolism retuned, a body crudely reshaped into something else…and there was something underneath all of that, something even more sublime… Iriralar smiled to himself. Maybe this hunt was not over after all…

***

The hunt had been going on for hours now, and Iriralar’s earlier exhilaration at the prospect of worthy prey had begun to turn into a nagging sense of irritation. It felt like his quarry was leading him around in circles, but there seemed to be little point in it: He kept his distance, yet always stayed in sight. There was something decidedly off about this situation, and Iriralar craved some kind of resolution

He had at first thought the Mon’Keigh to belong to one of the primitive warrior orders that had pledged themselves to the carrion god. But not this one – just a few short glances at his ancient power armour were proof that the Astartes served one of the lords of the warp: the Blood God. Which made this game of cat and mouse all the more irritating and strange.
Suddenly, the towering form came to a halt, standing at the center of a clearing Iriralar was sure they had passed before.  With a hum of servo motors, the Mon’Keigh turned to face Iriralar.

The towering figure seemed like a heathen idol dreamt up by a madman: The bulky Astartes armour was jagged and baroque, with talismans and trophies dangling from its shoulder pads. Across the Mon’Keigh’s chest was a bandolier of skulls that clacked softly with every move. And though encrusted with hoarfrost, the arterial red and brass of the armour was clearly visible beneath.

Iriralar had learned the Mon’ Keigh language, not out of a fascination with their culture, but for a far more practical reason: He enjoyed being able to understand his prey’s last whimpered words.  He had thus become very familiar with the intricacies of the Mon’Keigh’s blunt and primitive emotions, and it was for this reason that he was able to hear a smile in the Astartes’ voice when he called out to Iriralar: “Time to end this, don’t you think?”
As if to accompany his words, he slowly drew his weapons: a huge axe and an ancient, baroque chainblade. He gunned the chainblade’s trigger, as if to check its function, and the axe’s head flared up in a blue white power field. Iriralar thought he could make out the glint of a smile underneath the warrior’s horned helmet, but before he could be sure, the massive Astartes threw himself at Iriralar with astonishing speed. Iriralar’s blades hissed from their sheats, and the dance was on.

Fast though he might have been, the Mon’Keigh was too slow for Iriralar: It was almost too easy to avoid his swings and sidestep his towering form. At the same time, however, his thick warplate deflected most of Iriralar’s probing slashes, so he would need to wait for an opening, for an exposed joint or a bared throat. But he was patient enough – his earlier irritation had been replaced with a feeling of rapture that made his blood run hot.

On and on, the dance went, the snow underneath slowly turning into a slippery trap. Iriralar noticed the first telltale signs of fatigue in his enemy, the strain of having to keep up with a much faster opponent. His lips peeled back from his white teeth in an amused smile: Time to end this.

The huge Mon’Keigh attacked. Too slow. Always too slow. Iriralar almost laughed out loud as he ghosted out of the way and saw his enemy stumble forward due to his momentum, opening up an opportunity to strike. This was it. Iriralar saw his stumbling enemy as though in slow motion as he jumped forward. He would end the Mon’Keigh beast. So close now. Just a hearbeat until the kill.
The moment his feet touched the ground, there was a sharp, metallic sound. Then pain, unbearable pain. Iriralar’s eyes snapped to the ground, seeing the ugly, serrated metal jaws that had lain hidden underneath the thick blanket of snow. That had closed with a whip crack when he had disturbed the trap, punching through his legs, tearing flesh and breaking bone. With a cry of anguish, Iriralar crumpled to the floor in a graceless slump.
He felt the rush of the combat stims that took the white hot edge off the pain, and he tried to get up, to get away. But the jagged metal teeth would not let go, pinning him to the ground. Over his own panting breath, Iriralar could hear a low chuckle, as the towering form of the Mon’Keigh approached him:

“It is an old trick, I will give you that. But one that does not produce any heat or scanner readings. All it requires is a bit of preparation.”

Iriralar frantically tried to reach his fallen blades, but it was impossible. He could not get away either. The strain made the blood pump from his legs at an alarming rate, and he could feel the spike of pain even through the haze induced by the combat drugs. The Mon’Keigh slowly circled him, seeming amused by the situation. He pointed to the scrimshawed bone trinkets adorning Iriralar’s armour:
“I see you enjoy taking trophies”, he growled, “In that, we are not so different, you and I.”
Irialar spat a gob of bloody phlegm at the Astartes and bared his teeth in a rictus grin: “Do you expect me to be afraid, filthy Mon’Keigh? There is nothing you could possibly do to me that would scare me.”

Once more, Iriralar could hear the smile in the Mon’Keigh’s words: “Ah, but that is where you are wrong. You see, a good hunter learns all there is to learn about his prey, is that not right? And I have had a very long time to learn…”

With that he pulled something from a pouch at his belt and held it out. A glint of metal was visible as the small object fell from his hand, dangling by a fine silver thread. A jewel, it seemed. Iriralar focused on the gem, in spite of the pain, in spite of the danger. It seemed important somehow. He focused and felt his blood run cold:
Dangling from the Astartes’ fist was a spirit stone.

“So, then. Shall we begin?”

***

When it was over, the Hunter stepped away from his prey. He had learned much, more than he had anticipated. It had been a successful hunt.

He opened a vox channel and said but a single word:

“Hokar”
“Acknowledged”, came the Huntmaster’s reply. His spireborn sneer of a voice managed to make a single word sound haughty, even over the temperamental vox. The arrogant high-rider bastard.
“Scouting complete. The Eldar pirates have moved on the main settlements. They do not suspect our presence and should be blind to anything but their current…entertainment.”
“Numbers?”
“Only a raiding party about a hundred strong. It seems they did not expect much resistance. In that, they were wrong.”
“And the Archon?”
“He is with them. He has led us a merry dance, but now the hunt is nearly at an end.”
“Maybe. Did you get visual confirmation?”
“Of course. What do you take me for?”
Hokar did not miss a beat: “What I take you for right now, hunter, is a soldier two hundred clicks off his mark, which I am certain you have a perfectly valid reason for. What, pray tell, have you been doing down there?”
“Tying up some loose ends. But fear not, I am on my way.” Again, anybody near enough to witness this exchange might have seen that telltale glint of teeth that gave away the Hunter’s smile as he terminated the vox link.
And maybe, just maybe, such a person would also have noticed  a small gem now dangling from the Hunter’s belt. A strange touch of beauty on the legionary’s jagged and pitted armour, the stone was now  imbued with a fire that rendered it even more beautiful. But nobody was there to witness this, so it went unnoticed.

The Hunter set out towards the west, where new prey waited.

 

Flint seemed to be happy enough with this little vignette — in fact, she even changed the model to incorporate an element of the story. Take a close look:

The Hunter by Flint13 (2)

Model converted and painted by Flint13

So thanks to Flint13 for building and painting such a worthy new recruit for the 4th assault company! And for making me get off my arse and write a suitable piece of background!

 

And, of course, thanks to you all! I am always happy to hear any feedback you might have — just drop me a comment! And stick around for year four, alright? 😉

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

Orkheim Ultraz: Don’t feed the troll…

Posted in Blood Bowl, Conversions, paintjob with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 4, 2014 by krautscientist

I certainly don’t want to seem self-absorbed, but there is one more piece of fallout, so to speak, from my recent birthday to deal with, and it’s brilliant enough that I wanted to share it with you:

You may remember that I built a pirate cheerleader for Annie’s new Blood Bowl team, the Piratz, a while back:

Piratz Cheerleader (3)
Well, it’s fair to say that she has now returned the favour, seriously upping the ante in the process. Here’s what I found when I unwrapped the birthday present I received from my colleagues earlier this week:

Fan Troll (12)
A huge troll that is seemingly the Orkheim Ultraz’ biggest fan! While I’ll admit I did have a hunch that Annie would be preparing some kind of model as a surprise, I was seriously blown away by this big guy! Seeing that huge troll in the colours of my Blood Bowl team was just an amazing surprise! Perfect!

It was only when Annie sent me some WIP pictures, however, that I realised how substantial her modifications to the base model (a Willy Miniatures’ Underworld Troll, by the way) had been. The conversion work involved, among other things, the cutting off and reattaching of fingers, limbs and what have you, and the accompanying sculpting work. Just take a look at these WIP images of the model:

Fan Troll (2)
Fan Troll (3)
Fan Troll (4)
Fan Troll (5)
I have told you time and time again how much I hate having to make bigger conversions using metal models, so Annie’s handiness with a saw never fails to amaze me. It’s almost a little unfair that the conversion seems so seamless on the finished model, because it’s almost impossible to imagine how much work must have gone into it.

Speaking of which, let’s take a closer look at the finished troll, because there are so many great things about it: The flag (complete with “grim” glyph, no less) and hat in Orkheim Ultraz colours, for one:

Fan Troll (10)
Fan Troll (11)

Fan Troll (14)
I also love how the model recalls the venerable GW metal stone trolls from my earlier years in the hobby! And there’s the fact that the troll seems to echo some of the characteristics of the pirate cheerleader pictured above, such as the flag and a barrel appearing as part of the model.

Regarding that last part, it goes without saying that no true fan of the Orkheim Ultraz would ever head to the stadium without a generous supply of fungus beer on their person:

Fan Troll (15)
Annie even ran a straw from the cask into the troll’s mouth, so he can have a drink even while cheering on the team (or bashing in a couple of skulls, if push comes to shove):

Fan Troll (16)
What an awesome little touch! And, judging by the colour of the troll’s nose, the drink hasn’t failed to work its magics on the big guy — I think the fans of the opposing team may just be in for a world of hurt after the game…

Fan Troll (17)
It should be obvious that I am extremely happy with this latest addition to my collection! What a wonderful birthday present! Let’s just hope that Annie will be able to put in some work regarding herown  Piratz team soon, because I would love to show you the finished models sooner rather than later!

Fan Troll (13)
In closing, I can only offer another hearfelt “thank you!” for this amazing model! This guy will certainly be cheering the clumsy efforts of my team on from the sidelines during the next match — for all the good that might do 😉

So yeah, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Orkheim Ultraz Teaser_lores

Post birthday ponderings & a blast from the past

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2014 by krautscientist

Happy Birthday
Last Saturday marked my 33rd birthday, and among other fleeting moments of introspection befitting such an occasion, the date made me realise that I’ve been in the business of messing around with little plastic men for about 20 years now — which seems pretty unreal, to tell you the truth. But instead of getting all sentimental and contemplative on you, let me take this opportunity to present you with a “blast from the past”, as it were, granting you a look at my very first army for Warhammer 40k — an army that, in many ways, started it all.

Before we do that, though, take a moment to marvel at the birthday image shown above which Annie sent me, totally making my day in the process: Not only did she put most of her Blood Bowl models to work on wishing me a happy birthday, but the picture also hints at some finished (or near finished) models for her new Piratz team — very awesome, and definitely something to look forward to! So, once again, thanks so much for the amazing surprise! 🙂

 

So yeah, back to the past. Before we take a look at this venerable project of mine, let me give you a little background, okay?

It was October 1998, and a new edition of Warhammer 40k had just been released. 2nd edition had been straining to accomodate hobbyists growing armies for a while, but in the end the rather cumbersome ruleset that had originally been designed for skirmishes, above all else, finally gave out. 3rd edition, then, brought some thorough streamlining to the system, and even then, this turned to be a bit of a divisive direction.

Back then, though, I didn’t know anything about this: I had gotten into WFB a while earlier, raising my first tabletop army ever. But even then, I realised that 40k called out to me, maybe even more than WFB did: I had been in love with what little of the setting I had been able to grasp from the butchered German version of Space Crusade, and a weekend spent blazing through the wonderful books from the 2nd edition starter box sold me on the setting.

So the new edition arrived at a time where I was contemplating a closer look at the 40k universe anyway. I eagerly gobbled up all the information about this new version of 40k, discussed in detail on the pages of (German) WD 34. Possibly even more important than any rules changes was the giveaway miniature the issue came with: A brand new plastic Dark Eldar warrior, the first representative of a completely new faction for 40k, and also the model that would launch my very first 40k army, pictured below: The Kabal of the Black Sun.

Old Dark Eldar (1)
In all fairness, it’s a rather boring army in many ways, because, like so many other first armies, it was build on what I could afford to buy from my weekly allowance at the time. So the army was assembled piecemeal, whenever I could afford to drop a bit of pocket money into my growing collection of spiky, pointy eared Space pirates.

This clearly reflects in the somewhat lopsided army composition: Lots and lots of plastic warriors (because these were the easiest to get hold of and delivered quite a bit of modeling bang for the buck), a couple of metal models (bought one at a time, except for the squad of Wyches), a squad of jetbikes (a rather expensive combi-kit back then, so I had to save up in order to be able to buy it) and, lastly, a Raider (the biggest purchase in pure monetary terms, and also possibly the most disappointing: I really only bought this model because it seemed to be absolutely compulsory for running a Dark Eldar army, but I was never all that fond of it, and it shows in the shoddy paintjob).

Anyway, even then, this army wasn’t really collected as a fighting force supposed to win any games (which, fittingly, it didn’t), but rather as an ongoing attempt at creating something cool. And while pretty much all of the models are horribly outdated – especially when compared to their modern counterparts – and while I am fully conscious of the technical shortcomings of my painting (which was even worse back then, if you can believe it…), I still think there are quite a few things to be proud of in this army, so let us take a closer look at some of the squads and individual models:

First up, one of my warrior squads. This one was supposed to serve as some kind of honour squad for my Archon, if the situation demanded it:

Old Dark Eldar (15)
In hindsight, I do of course realise that the true Stars of the show in the 3rd edition release were the multipart plastic Space Marines — as evidenced by the fact that it took a whopping 15 years for the kit to be substantially redesigned, and even then, today’s Space Marines still follow the basic recipe laid down by the 1998 release. The Dark Eldar Kabalite warriors were merely the byproduct of this process, and while they did help to pave the way towards a future of wonderful plastic kits to come, their first incarnation was probably a bit lacklustre even back then: The sprue only held the bare minimun of parts, with only a single special weapon and not much extra bitz to speak of: If you wanted different special weapons or more interesting squad leaders, you had to buy additional (metal) models — or you had to get creative!

And that’s exactly why I’ll always be indebted to those venerable plastic Xenos: It was both because they looked so samey and because they were so easy to convert, that I discovered how immensely fun it was to kitbash and convert plastic miniatures — still my favourite hobby activity today!

I can say without any hyperbole that I really went to town on the unassuming Kabalite Warriors sprue, creating an endless stream of conversions from it: running Kabalite warriors, more impressive Sybarites — I even used it to build a squad of Mandraks, because there weren’t any official models available for them back then. I also discovered the joys of kitbashing! For instance, this guy is a conversion I was enormously proud of for a very long time:

Old Dark Eldar (16)
Not even brain surgery, really: I just cut off the blades from a couple of Dark Eldar weapons and glued them to an old Craftworld Eldar power fist (that old CC weapons sprue was the best!), creating a very sinister and Dark Eldar-ish bladed gauntlet:

Old Dark Eldar (18)
This seemed like such an enormously fiddly conversion back then, but it filled me with a nearly unprecedented sense of achievement. And it also taught me something else: That converting each and every model in a given army in order to make each model special was a very worthy endeavour indeed! So where I had mostly been content to assemble the models by the book for my Warriors of Chaos army, the Dark Eldar taught me to be more adventurous, to try and push the envelope on my hobby projects!

But even I arrived at a point where I had burned myself out on the plastic Dark Eldar warriors and started to look for other resources. My eyes fell on the – then brand new – Eldar Guardians, and so I built a huge squad of kitbashed, bigger and meaner Kabalite warriors:

Old Dark Eldar (12)
Old Dark Eldar (11)

Old Dark Eldar (10)

Old Dark Eldar (9)
Again, none of these conversions are all that spectacular. But they surely felt that way back then — with detailed multipart plastic kits available for the first time!

Here’s the Sybarite for the squad of “Not Guardians”:

Old Dark Eldar (8)
Old Dark Eldar (7)
To tell you the truth, even in spite of all its obvious failings, I am still rather happy with the model’s slightly sinister elegance, even now.

Let me take this chance to address the paintjobs for a minute here: As you can see, I chose a very simple approach for my Dark Eldar: They were undercoated in black, then the armour plates were simply coated in gloss varnish, giving the models a slightly insectile look. The details were painted in gold and silver. Turquoise served as a spot colour (a habit I still keep up today ;-)) And while such a bare bones approach to painting might no longer fly today, I still think that this army made me realise that simple, striking colour schemes are the way to go. Sure, none of the models are anything to write home about from a painting perspective, but they still manage to look rather coherent and striking as a collection. At least until you get closer to them… Also take note of the classic 90s basing recipe: Goblin Green and green flock FTW! 😉

But back to the models themselves: My experience with these plactic kits even made me slightly more adventurous when it came to filling up the lack of official Dark Eldar models with my own creations. For instance, I added a Dark Eldar bit to an old Dark Elf plastic Sorceress in order to create a subcommander for my Dark Eldar:

Old Dark Eldar (14)

And while we’re on the subject of army commanders: The – rather limited – collection of (metal) characters and specialists was, of course, the other thing that defined the Dark Eldar back then. These models created some much needed variety and also seemed so cool in those days. Not all of them have managed to age all that gracefully, but I suppose that’s a given. Anyway, let us take a closer look at that side of my army:

Old Dark Eldar (5)
Old Dark Eldar (6)
First up, my Archon. I used GW’s stock Archon model which is very much a product of its time, of course, with huge shoulder pads and an almost ridiculous headdress (and I am still not sure whether I like the flayed face…), but I think it’s also a pretty apt representation of the Dark Eldar’s essence: The model is spiky and undeniably evil, but it also has this sinister, slightly depraved elegance. It’s also important to remember that this particular niche didn’t exist in 40k back then (because the Slaaneshi Chaos Space Marine models were far too bulky and out there to truly register as elegant). Plus I do have a soft spot for this guy!

The lances glued to the model’s back were originally intended as a trophy rack. I would have added a new trophy for each defeated enemy. A neat concept, but, alas, it never came to that: I never defeated a single enemy, for one. And looking back now, it was probably for the best, because the quality of the bitz back then would probably have made the trophy rack look absolutely hideous!

There’s also this model, a Sybarite for the Kabalite warriors:

Old Dark Eldar (13)
And, to be honest with you, this may be one of my favourite tabletop models ever, and one that I still love. Sure, it looks to big and bulky when stood next to the regular Kabalite Warriors. Sure, the thickness of the various blades and the model’s claws harken back to a different period of casting. And yes, the pose is a bit clichéd. But it’s still an all-time favourite of mine, because it perfectly embodies what the Dark Eldar are about. It’s really a shame that this guy looks even bulkier when placed to the new (2010) Dark Eldar, because he would be an essential addition to any pointy eared army, otherwise. Oh yes, for the record: I am none to happy with the crappy blending on the claw 😉

Of all the models in the old Dark Eldar catalogue, I think it’s the Haemonculi that have best managed to hold up by modern standards. In fact, if I were to start a Dark Eldar army today, I would seriously consider using them as “regular” Haemonculi, with the floating, multi-limbed new Haemonculi only used as elders or army commanders. Anyway, take a look:

Old Dark Eldar (2)
First up, the older version of Urien Rakarth. I am still reasonably happy with my paintjob — especially so since the model was actually repainted at one point to bring it more in line with my Kabal’s colour scheme.

And here’s his colleague, a regular Haemonculus (insofar as the term “regular” can be applied to these guys):

Old Dark Eldar (4)
This model was also pretty much the first instance of really stepping outside my comfort zone during painting. It may not look like much now, but painting the face by highlighting the prominent areas in ever more delicate layers of paint really showed me that there might be more to painting than just doing the bare minimum. Sure, I could probably do much better today, but it still started here.

Old Dark Eldar (3)

I actually own the third unique Haemonculus sculpt as well, although I haven’t painted the model yet. Perhaps I should, though, because these guys would probably work equally well in a radical INQ28 retinue…

All in all, the Haemonculi were one of the most original and new concepts about the Dark Eldar back when they were released, and it’s cool to see that these models still hold up — at least in my opinion.

Another model that I am still rather fond of is the older incarnation of Lelith Hesperax:

Old Dark Eldar (21)
Old Dark Eldar (19)
Old Dark Eldar (20)
Sure, there is much to be said for the much more restrained, modern version of the model, but I cannot help feeling fond of the sci-fi dominatrix look of the old model. Plus this model holds a special place in my heart for the challenge it presented painting-wise: Getting the contrast between the spiky armour and the softer, organic shapes of the unarmoured parts just so was quite a challenge for someone only used to painting bulky Chaos Warriors — and probably especially difficult for any lad still mired in the late afterpains of puberty 😉

Alas, her accompanying retinue of Wyches has not fared quite as well:

Old Dark Eldar (22)
Again, the are just a little too 90s, with their unbelievably big hair and clunky, retro-futuristic musical performer design — especially when compared to their gorgeous modern incarnation. They are still good fun, of course, but in a slightly corny way. Still, these guys and girls make me scratch my head in wonder at how I managed to paint all those tiny pupils back then — this seems to be one of the things I have actually managed to unlearn since those simpler days…maybe it’s the onset of middle age?

 

We all know the rest of the original story, of course: The Dark Eldar went through a pretty rough patch, being kept at arms length by GW for a very long amount of time. It took until an – admittedly spectacular – relaunch in 2010 to finally update the army, and even though that relaunch was one of the factors getting me back into the hobby after a longer hiatus, it didn’t see me return to the army: Although I did try to continue where I had left off, I realised that my heart was no longer in it, despite the amazing new models. So I turned to the forces of chaos instead, my other great hobby love. And you know the rest (or can at least read up on it on this blog in case you don’t).

In the larger scheme of things, however, this army is still immensely important for my personal hobby life, not only because it was my first 40k army, but mostly because it managed to teach me so many important lessons that are still helpful today. Granted, many of my growing pains of my hobbyist are clearly evident in the models themselves. But the army was instrumental as a means of departing from the slavish adherence to the pretty pictures on the boxes in many ways, and for that alone, it marks an important step in my personal hobby history.

 

So yeah, the things you think about in the aftermath of your birthday, right? 😉
Anyway, I hope this little blast from the past has been as enjoyable for you as collecting my thoughts on the matter has been for me! It goes without saying that I would love to hear any feedback you might have!

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