Archive for blast from the past

The State of the Hunt, Week 7/2017

Posted in 40k, Blood Bowl, Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, Inq28, Inquisitor, state of the hunt, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2017 by krautscientist

As it turns out, last week’s decision to force myself to actually sit down and paint something was really for the best: Not only did it result in a model I am really, really happy with — I’ve also managed to keep the creative spark alive until now. So even though I am currently suffering from a rather nasty case of the flu, I have still finished some more hobby related stuff. So let’s take about some of the recent developments today:

 

I. A Chaotic Tome

One of the more frustrating parts of the 2016 Christmas season was my attempt to get hold of a) the Traitor Legions Codex Supplement, b) Canoness Veridyan and c) the Index Chaotica book. The Canoness, in particular, sold out about three or four times, and once the model was finally back in stock, the Index Chaotica was gone for good — or at least that’s what it looked like then.

index-chaotica-1
Enter fellow hobbyist Augustus b’Raass (whose fantastic work you might want to check out here, by the way): Auggs was nice enough to swing by the Amsterdam GW store, pick up a spare copy of the book and send it my way — that was really awesome and yet another proof that this hobby of ours is full of wonderfully generous and thoughtful people!

As for the book itself, while I am writing this, it seems to be back in stock, so is it worth it? I’d say so, yes. The cynic in me wants to poke fun at the fact that it’s basically a – ever so slightly haphazard – collection of pre-published content, but then the stuff from Realm of Chaos, for instance, is only really available in the original books, and you’ll be paying through the nose if you want to obtain one of those. Plus the vintage chaos content is simply that good: sinister, evil, spiky and occasionally darkly humorous. And some of the classic artwork is still spectacular.

For instance, I was elated to find within the book a wonderfully vibrant reproduction of Geoff Taylor’s iconic World Eaters illustration. In spite of being decidedly old skool, it has also managed to age incredibly well, if you ask me:

index-chaotica-2
There’s also this WFB-chaos centric piece from the same artist that actually almost seems like a companion piece of the World Eaters picture:

index-chaotica-3
I still remember when this image appeared on the box of the Chaotic paints set (Tentacle Pink FTW!), and I was spellbound and tried to figure out what I was actually seeing — the lumbering war machine in the back was especially fascinating, as it subtly hinted at a WFB/40k connection. From a modern standpoint, I’d say it’s actually a depiction of a Lord of War, a Khornate daemon engine from Epic 40k that eventually grew into the modern Lord of Skulls. It also serves as living proof of how much more awesome GW artwork was when it didn’t limit itself to picturing available models — but that’s a subject for another time.

Speaking of Khorne, the Khornate content alone is basically worth the price of admission and should provide me with lots and lots of new ideas. And while the internet will provide you with lots and lots of fuzzy scans of vintage GW artwork, there are still some surprises to be had here, among them an elusive Jes Goodwin sketch for a dedicated heavy support World Eater:

index-chaotica-4
Actually, Jes Goodwin’s design sketches are yet another reason to pick up the book: I cannot help marveling at the quality of his concepts for the four cult legions and the original 2nd edition CSM special characters –incredible stuff!
Oh, and let me just state for the record that the book obviously wouldn’t have been complete without the wonderful berzerker on the right courtesy of Mark Gibbons! 🙂

So anyway, I’ve spent some very enjoyable weeks going back and forth through the book and immersing myself in the rich background for the chaos powers. I am ever so thankful to Augustus b’Raass for getting me a copy, and I suppose I’ll have to come up with something special in order to make it up to him — cheers, buddy! 🙂

 

II. A Merry Band of Misfits

I didn’t merely spend my time browsing through iconic chaos content from the yesteryear, though: Some of you might remember this little project here from last year: The Road Crew:

the-road-crew-2016
Now this little warband project was basically started as a fun diversion (and as a way to channel some of the influences from the Mad Max universe), but before I realised it, it had already started to take on a life of its own, coagulating into a little retinue.

The basic idea here was to start with some of the pit slave tropes introduced by Necromunda, but move beyond those character archetypes to include mutants, gunmen or even former Imperial adepts and shape them into a gang of malcontents that have disappeared between the cracks of the 41st millennium.

Now if you take a look at the image above, you’ll realise that there are already quite a few beefy warrior types — but this outfit still needed some brains. That’s why I built this guy last year:

Doc WIP (5)
Where the more gladiatorial types are muscular and crudely augmented, I wanted a gaunt and more delicate look for the brainy guy, and a combination of AdMech parts led to an outcome that was pretty close to my vision. The interesting task was to make a model that is so different from a structural standpoint look like it still belonged with the group. I tried to achieve that via a suitably strong paintjob, and here’s the result of that little endeavour:

solon-antonov-1
solon-antonov-2
solon-antonov-3
solon-antonov-6
solon-antonov-4
This is Solon Antonov, nicknamed “The Doktor”, formerly a low to mid-tier member of the Adeptus Mechanicus who stationed on St. Sabasto’s Reach to select suitable slaves to undergo augmetic modification and be transported off-world, to spend the rest of their sad lives toiling away in one of the mines or forges of the Velsian Adeptus Mechanicus. But, surprising enough for a man mostly made from metal by this point, Antonov discovered he still had a heart after all, and absconded with a group of slaves. Ever since, he has been the brains behind the “Road Crew”, tasked both with planning their activities and with the “maintenance” of its various members.

As you can see, I used the exact same colours on Antonov and the gladiators, with the scratched and damaged yellow armour serving as the element that really pulls the models together. I was actually happy enough with the outcome that I started to work on the next model right away. This little guy here:

Twist Witch Doctor (1)
I thought a mutant witch doctor type would nicely expand the character of the warband beyond a mere gang of pitslaves, even if this guy may initally seem a bit far out. Anyway, he’s still a little rough around the edges and needs some finishing touches, but here are some photos of the nearly finished model:

twist-witch-doctor-1
twist-witch-doctor-2
twist-witch-doctor-3
twist-witch-doctor-4
All in all, this project is a lot of fun, because it allows for some very organic kitbashing and painting. It’s also a nice vehicle for telling a somewhat more intimate story: These guys aren’t part of the fight for the Emperor’s soul, they just want to get by. That being said, it’s kinda interesting to explore the contrast between their humanity and their somewhat distressed, grotesque outer appearances.

So here’s the entire gang so far. Meet the Road Crew:

the-road-crew-early-2017-2
From left to right: Crusher Vexx, Tiny (the Road Crew’s battle captain), Doktor Antonov, Grimspyke, Chopper and the PIP twist witch doctor (if anyone has a cool idea for a name, I’d love to hear it).

So what’s in store for the Road Crew? I think there’ll be one or two additional members, and a suitable ramshackle ride for them — I already have a plan on that account. Keep your eyes peeled! 😉

 

III. A Squig-shaped Surprise

And last but definitely not least, imagine my surprise when I visited my friend Annie last week for one of our semi-regular painting sessions, only to present me with two wonderfully characterful squig-shaped dice for my Blood Bowl team, the Orkheim Ultraz:

squig-shaped-counters
These lovely little models can be picked up at Comixininos, and they should make for excellent turn/reroll counters for my team! And I really love how Annie painted them to perfectly match the colours of the Orkheim Ultraz:

orkheim-ultraz-early-2017
Thanks so much for the amazing gift, Annie! 🙂

By the way, we’ll be taking a closer look at one of Annie’s Blood Bowl teams in the near future, if only to show you her fairly different approach as well as her balls-to-the-wall crazy and creative ideas for the team. You should definitely look forward to that!
So yeah, as you can see, I am finally back into the swing of things! And I would love to hear any feedback you might have — just drop me a comment or two! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

The State of the Hunt — Week 37

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob, Pointless ramblings, state of the hunt, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 14, 2016 by krautscientist

Hey everyone,

I think I’ll be turning “State of the Hunt” into a semi-regular feature to show you smaller stuff I am currently working on and to discuss various subjects that maybe wouldn’t warrant a post of their own but are still important to me. So today let’s look at a collection of Khornate Miscellany:

 

I. A Champion Reborn…

What else could be the first item of interest for today, if not the release of the new plastic version of Khârn the Betrayer? There have been rumours about new versions of the iconic Chaos characters for a rather long time now, and now here’s Khârn, hopefully ushering in a slew of releases (one can always dream…):

plastic-kharn-the-betrayer-release-1Now before we take a look at the new model, allow me to mention that I have written at lenght about Khârn and his various incarnations in the art, the lore and in model form, so you may consider the following thoughts a late addendum to the respective post from 2014.

So as I’ve said in the aforementioned post, I really consider the original Khârn the Betrayer a model for the ages (but then that’s Jes Goodwin for you). I would also argue that the old model has managed to age far more gracefully than most special characters from 2nd edition. For instance, while Abaddon just looks rather puny next to the much bigger modern models in Terminator armour, Khârn still seems imposing, even twenty+ years later. He’s also a thoroughly iconic piece, debuting (or at least refining) so many of the visual elements that define the look of the World Eaters and the Khorne Berzerkers in particular to this day: the chains, the skull motifs, the bare arm. And, of course, the iconic crested helmet.

Now updating such an iconic model is not without its dangers, and when a new plastic version of Eldrad Ulthran was recently released, I felt it lacked the original model’s iconic quality. So what about Khârn then?

plastic-kharn-the-betrayer-release-5
When we look at both versions side by side, I think the one thing we can all agree on is that the new version still definitely reads as Khârn — and that alone is no small feat! In my opinion, the best decision of the new model was to basically stick to the classic design of the helmet and only make very minor tweaks to it. Back when I converted my own true scale version of Khârn, I quickly found out that no model will look like Khârn unless that particular helmet design enters the equation, and by the same token, Khârn’s helmet is the one helmet that isn’t easy to kitbash by using available bits. So basically leaving the helmet alone was a fantastic – and ultimately crucial – design decision, in my opinion!

All of the other classic elements are there as well: The bare right arm (after Forgeworld’s Khârn version switched the axe to the other arm, it’s interesting to see how GW chose to stick with the layout of the 90s version), the chains wrapped around it, the various skull motifs adorning the armour, and countless other little touches. All of this sells the model as Khârn without a doubt!

Of course things only really get interesting when one considers the parts that have been changed when compared to the original model: First of all, Khârn seems to have bulked up quite a bit, to account for about two decades of scale creep. And he wears it really well, as a look at some additional angles reveals:

plastic-kharn-the-betrayer-release-1
plastic-kharn-the-betrayer-release-2
Another really cool part is how GW has managed to bring the armour in line with the very baroque look of the Dark Vengeance Chosen or the plastic Raptors/Warp Talons without resorting to adding any wanton mutations: I think this basically works as the perfect template for new chaos models: Give us more jagged and baroque looking armour that clearly differs from the smooth contours of loyalist Astartes armour, but focus the gribbly stuff on optional bits and upgrades. That way, everyone would be happy, right? 😉

Anyway, the redesign achieves the trick of making the new Khârn look right at home next to both vintage and modern chaos models, which is great, and arguably my favourite part about the model!

Then there’s the pose, of course: Where Khârn’s pose used to be very static (and powerful), he is now running forward like mad — which, admittedly, is a pretty great fit for the character. Now to be perfectly honest with you, I wouldn’t have minded a static pose on the new Khârn, but then most people seem to have taken issue with it, and the new running pose also creates a nice resemblance with Forgeworld’s Khârn model, albeit mirrored:

plastic-kharn-the-betrayer-release-6
Of course the problem with highly dynamic running poses is that the model in question might end up looking as though it were tripping over its own feet, and the new Khârn is getting a bit of flak over possibly tripping over those dangling skulls — but seriously, I am not really seeing it. In my opinion, the running pose is more believable than the slightly awkward pose of Forgeworld’s version. And if you take a look at the 360 degrees view of the new model over at the GW website, there’s a depth and three-dimensionality to the model now that is hard not to admire.

So do I love everything about the model? No, I do have my gripes, of course. So let’s take a look at the bad parts:

plastic-kharn-the-betrayer-release-1
Those weighed down chains dangling from Khârn’s left wrist are easily my least favourite part of the model: They just seem too clunky and kill the flow of the model. I think I would have gone with something a bit more subtle, and my first tweak to the model would be to take off those chains or pare them back a bit.

It also seems to me that the ripped muscles on Khârn’s bare arm look slightly too angular and sculptural, although that could always come down to the paintjob. I will say, however, that the pose is maybe slightly too stylised for its own good, with Khârn looking more like the statue of a running guy that an actual running guy, if that makes any sense.

And my third gripe with the model is the design of Gorechild, Khârn’s axe:

plastic-kharn-the-betrayer-release-2
Considered on its own, it’s a very cool and vicious looking Khornate axe — and look, they’ve even redesigned the teeth to more closely resemble the Mica-Dragon teeth from the lore. So the design is pretty cool, but by changing it, the entire sense of visual continuity goes out of the window. Because one thing I have always loved is that, regardless of whether you were looking at Forgeworld’s Angron, Forgeworld’s 30k Khârn or the 40k Khârn model, they were all definitely wielding the same axe, and that sense of continuity is now lost. Now you could argue that the axe had probably undergone some warping and mutation over the 10,000 years of the Long War, but after so much work on the sculptor’s part has gone into ensuring that the axe looks exactly the same on all three models, this change almost seems like an oversight now, and while the axe itself looks cool enough, that really, really bothers me (because I’m an obsessive weirdo like that 😉 ).

I have one very minor gripe: The backpack seems strangely narrow to me, but I’ll reserve judgement until I have seen the model firsthand.

Interestingly enough, a closer look at the sprue reveals that the model might actually be pretty conversion-friendly:

plastic-kharn-the-betrayer-release-3
For one, it should be pretty easy to return the new model to a more static standing pose, should you want to: Just some careful cutting and maybe a set of DV Chosen legs, and Bob’s your uncle! Those bothersome chains should be easy enough to leave off or tweak as well, seeing how they come as a separate part. And I guess one could even replace Gorechild’s blade, if one were that way inclined.
The fact that the plasma pistol arm, axe and backpack could easily be used as conversion bits is a definite plus as well!

So, what’s the final verdict?

All in all, I am pretty happy with the new Khârn! Where the plastic version of Eldrad failed to capture the coolness and iconic nature of the original model, it feels like Khârn is definitely a step into the right direction! While I do have a couple of minor complaints about the model, the new version also brings enough to the table to be a strong model in its own right. Maybe it’s not quite as timeless a classic as the original Khârn, but that also seems impossible to ascertain right now, especially given the fact that I’ve grown up with the original 2nd edition model. Anyway, I like this guy! Where Eldrad was a bit of a disappointment, Khârn is – at the very least – a modest success.

At the same time,  I still think my custom, true scale Khârn from 2014 manages to hold up:

true-scale-kharn-the-betrayer-conversion
At the same time, I can pretty much guarantee that I’ll also be purchasing the new version: I think it’s a pretty awesome new interpretation of an iconic character, and the parts I don’t like about the model should be easy enough to tweak. I’ll keep you posted 😉

plastic-kharn-the-betrayer-release-4

 

II. Travelers from afar…

My hobby life has been massively improved by other people’s generosity for a rather long time now, and I’ve been fortunate enough to receive two more incredible additions for my collection from fellow hobbyists recently.

First came BrotherJim, who recently completed a rather stunning Nurglite CSM force as part of the ETL V event: I provided some feedback to him, and he actually built me a model and sent it over to me by way of thanks — how awesome is that? Now the really cool thing about BrotherJim’s conversions is how much they are inspired by Adrian Smith’s rather iconic art from the 3.5 Codex Chaos Space Marines, and how BrotherJim is pretty much the first person to have managed to give his models the same, massive, lumbering look. This leads to a very distinctive style, and I was really happy the day one of his creations arrived allll the way from Australia to bolster the forces of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt:

Conversion by BrotherJim

Conversion by BrotherJim

Note the amount of gear and the imposing backpack, both trademarks of BrotherJim’s style. Now I was really happy with the model, but wanted to make one small alteration – a different head – mostly because that particular berzerker head already appears on more than one model in my army, and I felt this guy deserved something more original. So I spliced together a suitably ornate helmet, and here’s the new Huntmaster soon to be part of the 4th assault company:

Model converted by BrotherJim

Model converted by BrotherJim

 

Model converted by BrotherJim

Model converted by BrotherJim

 

Model converted by BrotherJim

Model converted by BrotherJim

 

Model converted by BrotherJim

Model converted by BrotherJim

 

Model converted by BrotherJim

Model converted by BrotherJim

Just get a load of the amount of weapons on this guy! 🙂

Anyway, thanks again to BrotherJim for this amazing gift! And make sure to check out his excellent work on a growing chaos collection here.

But wait, there’s more: When I came home yesterday, the cutest little package had arrived from the UK. Inside I found this wonderfully sinister and bloodied champion of the War God built and painted by none other than spectacularly talented Terrain-Overlord extraordinaire Neil101 of Opus Maius’ fame:

Model built and painted by Neil101

Model built and painted by Neil101

 

Model built and painted by Neil101

Model built and painted by Neil101

 

Model built and painted by Neil101

Model built and painted by Neil101

Now I was already aware that Neil had built this model for me a while ago, but the fact that he also chose to paint it in his trademark style was a wonderful surprise indeed! The result is something far more painterly and visceral than anything I could have come up with, and I am really in love with this guy right now. And that wasn’t all, because accompanying the Khornate champion came a wonderfully macabre “Bucket o’ Blood” (followers of Khorne never leave home without it!):

Model built and painted by Neil101

Model built and painted by Neil101

As is usually the case with Neil’s work, there’s a wonderfully macabre and demented nature to the whole affair, calling to mind both the infamous Yggdrassilliumme as well as the kind of characters you would see in the golden days of Realm of Chaos. And while I am already hard at work figuring out a suitable angle for this guy as a part of the Velsen Sector (he’ll be a member of the so-called “Duelists”, an insidious Khornate lodge operating in the sector), Neil was also kind enough to provide his own little vignette of background:

Models built and painted by Neil101

Models built and painted by Neil101

 

Coal black eyes kindled the embers of hate, as the headsman daubed his breastplate with the aged ichor of his enemies. His skull face plate chafed at the nape of his neck, the fitting too tight for comfort.

So much he had given, but the Blood God’s bucket had a hole. Never enough, always more.

The unsaturated hunger for power, for glory, always gnawed at his soul. Like the itch of his helm, the one he couldn’t scratch…reminding him that his work was never done. His bucket never full.

 

Anyway, thanks to Neil for the fantastic model! Job’s a good ‘un, mate! 🙂

 

III. Twenty years of bloodshed…

I myself have not been idle either, even though I felt I needed something small and fun to unwind after my recent, rather massive Daemon-Primarch-related shenanigans…

But the right opportunity did present itself, fortunately enough! Back when I showed you this OOP mid-90s Bloodletter…

Old Skool Bloodletter (2)
…fellow hobbyist AMaximus offered to send over some old metal Bloodletters of his own. Now the models he offered me were a slightly never incarnation, released around the turn of the century (teehee), between the mid-90s design you see above and the modern plastic Bloodletters. I had never been a huge fan of those particular models, feeling they didn’t really bring anything new to the table, but there’s always time for a little fun, so Andrew and I worked out a small bitz swap, and I got my hands on another Bloodletter version.

My eye was instantly drawn to one of the models that was missing his two-handed axe, and I decided to paint him right away and add a small tweak or two while I was at it. So here’s the mostly finished model (still missing its base):

bloodletters-wip-9
bloodletters-wip-8
Like I said, the standard armament for this model would have been a two-handed axe, but I decided to replace it with one of the modern plastic Hellblades (once again, I might add). And I actually think the model is improved by the change! I also had to replace the left hand, and a severed head seemed like a logical choice. It has been pointed out to me – and correctly so – that the head seems to be the victim of some wonky physics, but I think we can just consider this a match for the stock model’s inherent clunkiness and move on, eh? 😉

Seriously, though, this guy has really grown on me! This particular incarnation of the Bloodletters turned out to be a bit of an evolutionary dead end, and from a time of occasionally strange and slightly uneven releases on GW’s part, no less, but I think the model works pretty well with my established daemon recipe in place 😉

And while I was at it, I also painted one of the modern plastic Bloodletters in the exact same way:

bloodletters-wip-4
bloodletters-wip-3
And, once again, I am pretty happy with the result — take note that this model still makes used of the slightly tweaked skin recipe taken from Duncan Rhodes’ Bloodthirster tutorial!

Ultimately, the guy above will be joined by a full unit of Bloodletters. Until then, I have a nice little comparison of Bloodletter models from the last twenty years:

bloodletters-wip-6
I should probably paint one of the spindly, serpentine first edition Bloodletters to complete the set, but I really don’t like that particular version of the daemon, so this is not really a priority project at the moment. If someone wants to get rid of an old Bloodletter, though, I am always open to suggestions… 😉

On a related note, AMaximus was also awesome enough to include a pretty old vintage Bloodthirster head in his bitz drop:

vintage-bloodthirster-head-2
vintage-bloodthirster-head-1
Now what am I going to do with this lovely face…?

 

IV. Out of the woods, at last…

Now this last subject has nothing whatsoever to do with cutting up little plastic men, but I am still very happy to inform you guys that my time as an unemployed slacker is finally at an end: Starting October, I will finally have gainful employment once more! Yeehaw!

Now it’ll only be for a limited amount of time so far, but it sure feels good to be back in business! And while this could mean less hobby time in the immediate future, my sigh of relief when I learned the news could still have extinguished a raging bonfire. Work for the Work god! 😉

 

So anyway, so much for this latest news roundup. 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!

Interlude: State of the Hunt

Posted in 40k, Chaos, old stuff, paintjob, Pointless ramblings, state of the hunt, Totally worth it, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 29, 2016 by krautscientist

After a couple of weeks of frantic, ETL-related activity, this last week has been a bit of a cooldown period for me, which leaves me with the opportunity to share some World Eaters-related miscellany with you. So what’s on the menu today?

 

I. A really good read

A while ago, I was approached by Adam Jones aka Ratboy. Adam runs a monthly hobby fanzine called “The Golden D6”, pulling together a digest of hobby related content from various blogs and websites and turning it all into a rather bespoke online magazine featuring the kind of quality hobby content that we all remember from the WD issues of the yesteryear.

To my shame, however, I didn’t know anything of this at first, so when Adam asked me whether I would be okay with The Golden D6 doing a feature of my World Eaters, there was a bit of back and forth between the two of us, and with Adam trying his utmost to cater to my various whims and fancies, we arrived at a rather expansive (and pretty nifty, if I do say so myself) photo feature of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt that now makes up the tail section of The Golden D6’s issue 5:

D6 Screenshot

Beyond this army feature, the issue is full of reviews, battle reports and tutorials and makes for a very pleasant read indeed! Adam’s passion for this project shows both in his personal dealings with me and in the mag’s quality, and I am happy to have been a part of this issue! I also urge you to head over to The Golden D6 website and check out an issue or two: The asking price of $ 5,95 per issue certainly seems fair for the quality content that is on show, and a passionate hobbyist like Adam surely deserves a buck or two for engaging in this kind of endeavour!

D6 Screenshot 02
Full disclosure: As a contributor to the mag, I was given free access to issue 5. I still consider it a good deal, however, especially if you are interested in the varied style of hobby content that made old skool White Dwarf such a success!

You can purchase the various issues of the mag here.

II. An old skool daemon…and a taste of things to come…?!

And while we are on the matter of old skool White Dwarf, back when I first got into Warhammer, it was the time of the Realm of Chaos army box and a slew of related models, especially a new generation of greater and lesser Daemons. I’ve already talked at lenght about my love for the – then brand new – metal Bloodthirster here, but there were also the Bloodletters of course. And so when I needed a model to test yet another iteration of my recipe for red daemon skin earlier this week, I came across this guy here, languishing in my bitz box:

Old Skool Bloodletter WIP (2)
Old Skool Bloodletter WIP (1)
An old, mid-90s metal Bloodletter (one of the pre-predecessors of the modern plastics). I received this guy as part of a bitz drop a while ago, courtesy of fellow hobbyist Sagal (cheers, buddy! 😉 ).

Granted, these guys have a couple of glaring issues that are pretty hard to ignore by today’s standards, among them a certain anatomical wonkiness and that general clunkiness that is a hallmark of many vintage GW modelsfrom the 90s. I remember them looking truly excellent as a ranked regiment (for WFB), though: like a wall of red muscle and spiky swords. And they were a hell of an improvement over the goofy first Bloodletter incarnation, with the comically serpentine body and the lanky arms *shudder*. In fact, one could say that the current plastics are a successful attempt at taking the idea of the first Bloodletters and actually making it work.

Anyway, in spite of all their shortcomings, the slightly clunky mid-90s metal Bloodletters will always have a place in my heart, and painting one for fun should be a nice little throwback to those inncoent times! I did allow myself one small tweak to the model, however, and replaced the Bloodletter’s sword with a modern plastic Hellblade: The original sword had been snipped off when I received the model, and while I still have the bit, I still decided to replace it, as the old swords are arguably the models’ weakest point (well, that and the anatomically dubious bare asses…).

When it came to painting the model, I once again used the recipe from GW’s Bloodthirster video tutorial as a basic template. However, I made one small change to the recipe, replacing Khorne Red with Mephiston Red. The model was a blast to paint — it almost painted itself, so to speak, so here’s the finished Bloodletter:

Old Skool Bloodletter (1)
Old Skool Bloodletter (2)
Old Skool Bloodletter (3)
Old Skool Bloodletter (4)
Old Skool Bloodletter (5)
I am really happy with the result — and also rather surprised at the impact the the use Mephiston Red has had on the skin tone: The red is quite deep and luxurious, but also a bit brighter and it has more pop than the red I have used on my Bloodthirster and Skulltaker. Here’s a comparison picture that shows the difference really well:

Old Skool Bloodletter (6)
With the exception of a single colour, these models share the exact same palette. And look how much of a difference that one colour makes regarding their respective skin tones!

Anyway, this tweaked red skin recipe will be used on a pretty big upcoming project of mine — but that is a story for another day 😉

Until then, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Eternal Hunt is four – drawing from the distant past…

Posted in Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 16, 2016 by krautscientist

yearfour

Eternal Hunt turns four this week, and while I am still going through a bit of a rocky patch in my personal life, this does like a pretty cool achievement to me: Who would have expected this blog to keep running for such a relatively long time, back when I posted my first dodgy photos of some World Eaters back in 2012? Not me, I can tell you — especially since blogging tends to get more and more work the longer you keep at it, at least if you’re trying to put some actual effort into it 😉

But here we are, four years later, with exactly 305 posts (including this one), about 590,000 views and 255 followers from all around the world — what a wonderful development!

A heartfelt thank you to all the readers, commenters, referrers and people who keep sending me little pieces of plastic from halfway across the globe! In fact, as if to prove the incredible amount of generosity fellow hobbyists have been showing me over the last couple of years, I received a package from PDH only today, containing – incredibly enough – his version of Lord Zhufor the Impaler!

Lord Zhufor by PDH (1)
Lord Zhufor by PDH (2)
I recall Peter painting this guy in another life, when he was still a follower of the one true chaos god 😉 But actually seeing the model before me on my desktop as I am writing this just makes me grin like a madman.

And here’s Zhufor hobnobbing with his new BFF:

Zhufor and Lorimar
Those two guys are doubtlessly sharing the best skulltaking tricks from ten millennia of warfare…

Anyway, this is an incredibly gift – thank you so much, Peter! – and it’s also one of many examples for the good things that have happened to me hobby-wise ever since I started up this blog: Having you join me on this Eternal Hunt has really made the hobby so much better for me. And I remain committed to keeping this blog going as long as I can — in fact, I’ve had a rather successful hobby year in 2015, in spite of everything, so let’s hope it’ll be the same way this year!

 

Now, in addition to all the self-congratulatory babble, I would like once again to use this birthday post to give you a look at a veritable blast from the past in the form of some exclusive material from my earlier hobby years: I recently came upon a folder with lots and lots of drawings, half-baked background texts and ideas for grand sweeping narratives that never really went anywhere from my teenage years, and I thought it might be fun to share some of the artwork with you, at least.

Just to put this into perspective, I used to do a ton of drawing during my youth, from cartoons and caricatures to the stuff you’re about to see. And while I was certainly no Johan Egerkrans, for instance, I do think my fineliner pen and me had a couple of pretty good years 😉 It seems strange – and slightly inappropriate – to show you my somewhat dodgy sketches back to back with a celebration of Wayne England’s wonderful work — and yet, maybe it’s really rather fitting, because it’s proof of how important artwork and illustrations were for me when getting into this common hobby of ours. So let’s take a peek, shall we?

A couple of pointers, however, before we begin:

  • Most of this stuff is about twenty years old at this point, some of it even older. So be gentle with me, okay? 😉
  • What strikes me is how utterly derivative some of this work is — or let’s rather say: how heavily it draws from the seminal influences of the time, ranging from Joe Dever’s Lone Wolf books to videogames and, of course, GW’s various offerings. You’ll find a wild mish-mash of all those influences, so I guess looking at those cobbled together drawings gives you a pretty neat psychological study of my formative hobby years, I suppose…
  • back then, I didn’t yet have a grasp of the intricacies of the Warhammer background, as my only real GW publications back then were the booklets from HeroQuest and the Advanced HeroQuest sourcebook. This is why you’ll see lots of symbols from the Warhammer background, especially the Skaven symbol for some reason, crop up in entirely inappropriate places…

 

So with that out of the way, here we go, just step into the time machine with me:

It’s the early 90s, and totally high on a mixture of Choose your own adventure books, HeroQuest and classical pen and paper RPGs like D&D and the German blockbuster “Das Schwarze Auge”, my younger self decides to come up with a roleplaying campaign. While some of the details escape me now, I remember the campaign was about infiltrating the keep of a powerful undead warlord (yeah, I know, shockingly original material…), and since it would ultimately have played out as some kind of pen & paper RPG, it was clear to me that I would need lots and lots of flavour material to really set the stage for the adventure.

I had always loved the way Gary Chalk’s small illustrations were used in the Lone Wolf books, so I just stole them wholesale for my own story and sprinkled them throughout my – thoroughly unoriginal – background section.

Blatantly stolen from Gary Chalk
I also had a number of maps ready for use, including the arch villain’s retreat:

Dungeon Floorplan
Those of you familiar with D&D will probably recognise many of the map symbols from there.

In addition to copying artwork I liked left and right (I remember carefully tracing several characters from a huge illustration by Chris Achilleos, for example), I at least tried to come up with some concepts of my own. For instance, my idea was for the story to use a number of pre-defined player characters, and some of the sketches for those remain. Here’s the character I liked most back then:

early 90s PC

I really had a bit of a thing for mysterious, cowled characters in those years, as you can see. And the “Schwarze Auge” rulebook provided me with an abundance of armour designs I could copy in my own drawings. In hindsight, the most original thing about this guy are probably the bold colours of his outfit — quite a fashion statement, if I do say so myself… 😉

There’s also this wizard who may or may not have become another possible PC:

early 90s Wizard
And while it’s easy enough to see the numerous shortcomings in those drawings in hindsight, I am still enormously fond of them, warts and all, because they really show what kind of stuff influenced me back then and how I tried to disassemble the parts I liked and put them together again while trying to put a personal spin on them — something not at all unlike the conversion work I love so much these days, come to think of it…

Ultimately, my bold RPG venture never amounted to anything much. It’s probably safe to say that I had bitten off more than I could chew.

That didn’t stop me from trying again several years later, during the mid-to-late 90s: This time around, evene more influences had been added to the melting pot, among them Tad Williams’ Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy as well as Blizzard’s Warcraft 2 (yes, children, there were actually games set in that universe before WoW. They were pretty great).

Anyway, once again I drew it all together in my adolescent mind and created a scenario that drew from each of these sources. I even started to write my own fantasy novel – provisionally named “Ydgard” – to provide the setting with the necessary sense of depth (I still have the ancient .txt document for the first third or so of that novel, although I shudder at the prospect of ever having to look at it again — maybe for the blog’s 5th birthday).

So I wanted to tell another sweeping fantasy story, but I was a little more clever about it this time around, basing it on the – rock solid – foundation of the Advanced HeroQuest rules: My idea was to take a part of the background I had come up with and run Advanced HeroQuest games in that setting to tell the whole story as seen from the worm’s eye-view, so to speak. If I remember correctly, I even managed to run some of those games with both my dad and my best friend at the time, and they were really fun. Then I went and wrote up “novelised” versions of those games to make up a part of the greater background story. Fun times! 😉

Now what’s interesting about this whole endeavour is that I decided to accompany it with lots and lots of drawings. I came up with all kinds of stuff, including flags for the various provinces of the evil overlord’s realm (heavily inspired by the various clan symbols from Warcraft 2):

Evil Nations

Oh my, it just occurs to me that the blade of that halberd at the top was actually influenced by one of my all time favourite illustrations by John Blanche:

"Fight to the Finish: Law Against Chaos" by John Blanche

“Fight to the Finish: Law Against Chaos” by John Blanche

But anyway, what really made the drawings rather interesting this time around is how many of them were actually based actual models.

For instance, I had all those different greenskin models from various (GW) games, and I decided to use them as different ranks and enemy types. And then I drew up some art based on the actual models in order to create a kind of bestiary for the background section of my scenario. Take a look:

gobbos01
First up, the goblins: From left to right, we have the humble footslogging gobbo (based on the goblins from Battle Masters), a goblin rifleman (based on a Space Crusade model) and finally a wolf rider (once again inspired by the corresponding Battle Masters) model.

The drawings from the various types of Orcs followed the exact same approach:

Orcs02
On the left, you can see a bog standard Orc resembling one of the classic HeroQuest Orcs. The guy on the right was, once again, based on a model from Battle Masters (I am actually still rather happy with that drawing, apart from a few minor minor quibbles).

The rest of the Orc ranks were firmly based on the GW Warhammer plastic models of the time:

Orcs01

The two guys on the left are basically the plastic Orcs that could be bought in small boxes of ten. Those models seem so rough and silly nowadays, but back then, the discovery of plastic models depticting Orc archers really blew my mind. The big guy on the right was my drawing of a Black Orc, from the same series of one-pose, single piece plastic kits.

I think it’s really rather entertaining how those sketches capture an entire generation of Citadel plastic greenskins, wouldn’t you agree? 😉

As a matter of fact, these drawings really had their day in the limelight some time in 1998, when my good friend Phil and I actually used them to illustrate a school presentation about the various races appearing in Tolkien’s Hobbit — since we were reading the book during English classes in the eleventh grade. That was really a triumph, to be able to use some of my fantasy drawings to actually scoop a high grade 😉

While we are on the matter of illustrations copied from GW plastic models, here’s another example:

Warrior of Chaos

A Chaos Warrior heavily inspired by these guys:

My first chaos army (15)
Take note of the completely nonsensical use of the Skaven rune on the warriors, breastplate, though…

GW wasn’t the only source I was happily stealing inspiration from, however. Just take this demon lord…

Demon Lord (totally not Diablo)
…and compare his face to the cover illustration for the – then brand new – Diablo. Yeah…

In spite of the derivative nature of my work, however, I did occasionally have my moments. I still rather like this – original – drawing of a Minotaur, for instance (except for that pesky Skaven rune that has once again managed to sneak into the picture…):

Minotaur
This wizard is another one of my favourite drawings from that time, and I think the illustration has managed to age fairly gracefully:

90s Wizard

Once again, however, the heraldry is all over the place, with a (WFB greenskin) Bad Moon making an appearance alongside the symbol for Mutant Chronicles’ Brotherhood. Oh well…

And to round things out, here’s a pretty detailed, yet anatomically rather wonky dwarf warrior for you:

90s Dwarf

At least this guy doesn’t feature any Skaven symbols for a change…

And once again, while I can easily see the many hokey parts in each of these illustrations, I was probably at the top of my game back then, at least when it came to drawing fantasy pieces.

Soon after, I properly got into Warhammer Fantasy Battles (and finally learned the meaning behind all of those runes and symbols — no more misplaced Skaven runes). And for some reason, the drawing of characters more or less fell by the wayside — maybe because I could now actually build them? I think it also had to do with my dabbling in designing stuff digitally and using layout software: Having to draw it all out on paper started to feel pretty old-fashioned — what can I say? I was young and foolish.

This must have been around 1999/2000, and while I would still occasionally sketch some fantasy creature or other – like these two sketches made to kill some time, if I recall correctly,…

Late 90s Dragon sketches (1)

Late 90s Dragon sketches (2)
…you can basically tell that my heart was no longer really in it at this point. Those dragons are just idle scribblings without any greater narrative (or, for that matter, a corresponding Citadel model) to inspire them.

But those were fun times, and they paved the way for my hobby activities today: Maybe the derivative quality of my drawings explains why I have so much fun converting models, because, in a way, it’s just the same approach in a different medium: I take all kinds of elements that I like and reorganise them into something new that embodies the qualities and characteristics I enjoy about the background.

Looking at those drawings, I also feel that maybe I shouldn’t have given up drawing, even if I wasn’t a genius or anything: These days, I can still pick up a pen and make a fairly brave attempt every once in a while, but I no longer feels as natural, nor does it come to me as easily as it used to, making rendering my ideas on paper quite a challenge more often than not. If anything, it feels like a muscle I haven’t exercised in years, and I suppose that’s a very apt comparison. That said, I can still occasionally pull it off with a bit of work, as I discovered when a friend working in employe recruitment commissioned me for a spot of graphic recording a couple of months ago.

 

But anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip down memory lane — or you’ve at least gotten a chuckle out of some of those crude drawings of mine. In any case, thanks once again for taking an interest! It goes without saying that I’d love to hear any feedback you might have. And here’s to the next year of Eternal Hunting, eh? 😉

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

Wayne England – In Memoriam

Posted in 40k, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 10, 2016 by krautscientist

It’s only February, but 2016 certainly hasn’t been pulling its punches so far, with some spectacularly talented people sadly departed from this planet these last few weeks. Unfortunately, Wayne England is now among those departed, and I was very sad to learn yesterday that he had passed away, because he has been an all time favourite among GW’s artists for me: His very stylised, angular illustrations of heavily armoured – and mostly very evil – guys were one of the most effective gateway drugs for getting me in this hobby and played a big part when permanently roping me into assembling and painting little spiky plastic men. In fact, Wayne England’s work was probably just about as important for getting me into the hobby as the iconic illustrations by John Blanche, especially during my younger years, when the latter’s work sometimes just seemed a bit too trippy for me to grasp 😉

By the same token, some of GW’s publications – and indeed some stages of my own hobby life – will always be inextricably tied to Wayne England’s artwork, so in honour of this great artist, allow me to reminisce for a bit:

 

Army Book Realm of Chaos and the Champions of Chaos Supplement

These were the first chaos army books I ever owned, and I can still remember poring over Wyne England’s tableaus of jagged chaotic weaponry and armour in search of possible conversion ideas as a lad:

Wayne England artwork (18)

And his cover for the Champions of Chaos supplement was probably even more iconic (and also served as the cover for my first ever issue of White Dwarf, incidentally):

Wayne England artwork (17)

This bad boy really embodied everything that I loved about the hordes of chaos back then: He’s heavily armoured, faceless, spiky and utterly menacing – what’s not to love?

 

3rd edition Codex Chaos Space Marines cover

My first CSM Codex  — and the one iteration of the book that I think most chaos players would rather like to forget: This Codex was one of the first to follow GW’s somewhat questionable idea of radically reducing the Codices in scope (in order to be able to produce more of them at a faster rate). Alas, it didn’t end well, as the resulting books ended up feeling rather thin in more ways than one. But something that still stays with me is the warped, iron-toothed champion of the ruinous powers to adorn the book’s cover, once again courtesy of Wayne England:

Wayne England artwork (8)

In a way, this illustration actually serves as a perfect companion piece to the aforementioned cover of “Champions of Chaos”, with both pictures creating perfect avatars of the WFB and 40k sides of chaos, respectively.

 

3rd edition Warhammer 40k rulebook
This book ‘s background section has often been called one of the darkest versions of the 40k universe, and this is at least true when looking at the very dark, brooding black and white artwork appearing throughout the book. Wayne England created a couple of extraordinarily dark pieces, giving us, among other things, some very grimdark interpretations of the three monkeys,…

Wayne England artwork (20)

Wayne England artwork (19)

…a brilliantly creepy illustration presumably showing a Dark Eldar Haemonculus that had me marveling at how monstrous these guys seemed…

Wayne England artwork (21)

…a splash page perfectly capturing the Astartes’ duality between noble and righteous warriors and creepily inhuman weapons of mass destruction:

Wayne England artwork (22)

….and finally what may still be my favourite piece of Dark Eldar art, even after all these years:

Wayne England artwork (11)

 

2nd edition Codex Chaos

Actually published earlier than at least the two previous entries on this list, of course, but I didn’t own the book until well into the 2000s. It remains one of my favourite GW books ever, as you may remember. Of course I was delighted to discover some very cool Wayne England artwork in this book as well. Such as one of my all time favourite World Eaters:

Wayne England artwork (23)

I actually think Wayne England may also have been responsible for the original version of the various traitor legion symbols published in this book – at the very least, they seem to show quite a few hallmarks of his style. I still love these symbols and the amount of detail that has gone into them – Forgeworld’s treatment of the traitor legion heraldry notwithstanding, these older versions blow all of the newer interpretations out of the water, if you ask me.

 

And all of this is really merely scratching the surface: How can I not mention the excellent illustrations for Kharn the Betrayer or Angron from the Horus Heresy trading card game, along with more excellent work from the same source (In fact, his work for the setting really managed to give the Heresy an epic and mythical quality, something that seems to be missing from the more codified, cleaner artwork of recent years)? Or the beautifully forlorn voidborn? Or the seminal Sons of Sekh art? In fact, let me just share just a few of my favourite pieces by Wayne England that appeared beyond the books mentioned above:

In short, Wayne England’s work has always been emblematic of GW’s style during some of my formative hobby years, especially when it came to portraying the forces of chaos. I remember reading about him participating in the Oldhammer scene a fair bit recently, and while that scene’s old school sensibilities don’t always fully agree with me, I was still very happy to see him make an appearance there. He also created a brilliant illustration for morbäck, depicting the latter’s Chaos Lord Korthalis a while ago. It’s an excellent piece of art with all the strengths of his vintage GW artwork, and Maxime must be incredibly happy to have received it – even moreso in the light of recent events.
Wayne England’s artwork still speaks to me many years later, and his trademark style added a layer of visual identity to GW’s publications that is sadly lacking from the newer books – and has been for quite a while.

My heart goes out to his family. And thank you, Mr. England, for all the wonderfully spiky evil guys! And all the best to you, wherever you may be now!

400,000 views — and the evolution of a Zombie…

Posted in old stuff, paintjob, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , on April 28, 2015 by krautscientist

400000views
Hey everyone, just a quick post to let you know that Eternal Hunt has actually managed to hit the 400,000 total views mark earlier this week, which I think is pretty cool! So, once again, thanks to all of you who keep reading, following, sharing and commenting! It really means a lot to me!

In order to provide you with something appropriate to the occasion, I burrowed down deep and actually managed to dig out what may be the absolute first model I’ve ever painted. Check it out:

Zombie (1)
A trusty HeroQuest Zombie, as you can see, and I think it’s fair to say that I didn’t really know what I was doing. I distinctly remember wanting to approximate the look of the painted example on the game box, with its dead, blueish skin and faded red jacket. But I went for neon blue and bright red which didn’t help. Plus there’s also the fact that I had very obvious difficulties in the field of brush control, as you can plainly see…

Zombie (2)
I must have realised that even back then, which is probably why the poor blighter never got finished. All of this happened circa 1992, when actually painting the miniatures that came with a boxed game seemed like a strange and novel concept, and my first experiences in this field certainly scared me away for a couple of years.

Until 1994, that is, when I started taking an interest in the painting of miniatures again. And as it happens, I have yet another HeroQuest Zombie to show for it. So here’s exhibit B:

Zombie (3)
Not bad, not bad at all — I certainly had a much better idea of what a tabletop Zombie should look like this time, and I also went the whole hog and actually finished the model. And while the paintjob is hardly brilliant, it also isn’t massively embarrassing, either.

Zombie (4)
My one big mistake, in hindsight, was to use some pretty horrible, glossy enamel paints. But I was definitely getting there (I believe I painted my first model using GW paints pretty soon afterwards — it was the chaos warlock from the HeroQuest box). Oh, and for the record: I still think those faded blood stains on the blade of the cleaver are kind of cool 😉

Which brings us to the present — or to 2014, to be exact: I speedpainted a couple of HeroQuest models last year, as a bit of quick fun, and the Zombie model was one of them. Take a look:

Zombie (5)
Granted, it’s not competition level painting by any stretch of the imagination, but then I hardly spent an hour on the model. And I think it’s a fairly accurate representation of my current painting standard. What’s interesting about the model is that it’s actually really close to the look I had wanted to achieve on that first Zombie: dead, mouldering flesh and faded, threadbare clothes. Anyway, I am pretty happy with this guy.

Zombie (6)
I also think those HeroQuest models have aged teriffically well, in spite of everything — they are single piece and rather limited, but their very distinc silhouettes and general design still manage to hold up. The Zombie, for one, is still one of my favourite tabletop Zombie models!

So there we have it: Twenty plus years of my personal painting career in one comparison picture:

Zombie Evolution (3)
I may not be a brilliant painter, but I still seem to have come a rather long way, after all 😉

So, once again, thanks for reading this blog and providing me with some motivation to produce new conversions and paint a model every now and then. There’ll be a more substantial update – with an actual, finished model – later this week. Scout’s honour!

Until then, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

On Khârn the Betrayer

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, paintjob, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 12, 2014 by krautscientist

What a funny coincidence: I’ve just finished working on a rather involved conversion to represent everyone’s favourite teamkiller, Khârn the Betrayer, and now there are suddenly rumours floating around about some kind of release surrounding the character as part of GW’s Advent Calendar — what’s up with that?

So while the holiday season rapdily approaches, why not take a closer look at everyone’s favourite man in red, right? Allow me to walk you through a ridiculously wordy post about Khârn the Betrayer, ladies and gentlemen (don’t worry, there’ll be pictures somewhere down the line 😉 ):

The Character

When it comes down to fluff, Khârn is a rather interesting case: Back when the character was introduced (along with the release of the 2nd edition Chaos Codex), there wasn’t much to go on beyond his background in the book — and even that painted a picture of a somewhat…imbalanced individual.

Beyond that, there was only William King’s seminal short story “The Wrath of Khârn”, which was published both in Inferno! and WD back in the day. But it quickly became obvious that Khârn’s basic approach of being ALWAYS ANGRY ALL THE TIME didn’t exactly turn him into a narrative goldmine: He was frankly a bit of a one trick pony when it came to his character, even though some swear that Khârn harboured some hidden qualities.

The HH series has made Khârn quite a bit more interesting, because it has managed to add more facets to his character: During battle, he loses his mind with the best of them, being entirely at the control of his Butcher’s Nails implants. But what makes Khârn interesting is that he seems like a reasonable and calm person off the battlefield, even serving as a voice of reason to his Primarch in the role of equerry. What’s more, by the time the Heresy rolls around, some very visible cracks have begun to show in the XII legion’s foundations, both in regards to Angron’s continuing mental and physical  degradation and the growing toll of the Nails on his legionaries.

WARNING: Spoilers for Betrayer follow!

In Betrayer, Khârn seems very aware of both problems, yet he remains loyal to his Primarch and is one of the cornerstones of the legion’s nobility and brotherhood — easily the most important thing to him, it seems, both when it comes to his dealings with his brethren and his blood brother, Argel Tal of the Word Bearers. It’s especially striking, then, how the death of the latter seemingly sends Khârn on the first steps of his development into the utterly bloodthirsty and psychotic character we know from the 40k universe: There’s a battle scene at the tail end of Betrayer that shows a different Khârn to the one we have encountered before — an utterly indifferent killing machine. And for now, we can only guess at the implications of Angron’s “ascension”, both for the legion in general and Khârn in particular — we do know what he has become 10,000 years later, though…

End Spoilers

In any case, it’ll be interesting to see what the writers at GW and BL have in store for Khârn — but I, for one, hope that it’ll be more along the lines of Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s rather nuanced treament of the character, and less like the one-note soundbites we have grown accustomed to from Khârn’s 40k background.

The Art

It’s really impossible to discuss any part of the 30k/40k lore without considering the accompanying artwork — the art is arguably just as important for the setting as the models and the baclground narration, especially since it often provides the designers with the actual inspiration for the design of new models or the redesign of existing characters.

So let’s take a look at some of the artwork depicting Khârn the Betrayer over the years — interestingly enough, the artwork for the character has a track record that can seem just as spotty as his narrative background.

But let’s cut to the chase: One of the first pieces of artwork I ever saw – and still one of the best images depicting Khârn, if you ask me – is this piece, created by Kev Walker:

Kharn the Betrayer art (4)
This illustration really has it all! It was used to accompany William King’s aforementioned “The Wrath of Khârn” in WD, and I still love it just as much as I did back when I first saw it — the one element that does seem slightly distracting is the collection of piercings on Khârn’s left bicep — such a slightly kinky touch would somehow seem more fitting on a follower of Slaanesh. But then, the accompanying story nicely toys with that scenario, so maybe that was the whole point?

When it comes to classic Khârn, one really need not look any further than Jes Goodwin’s own concept sketches for the character:

Kharn the Betrayer art (8)
I think one can safely suspect that this is the oldest piece of art depicting Khârn, and it is also the one that is the most faithful to the actual miniature — for very obvious reasons… It also remains one of the best drawings of Khârn, along with the one by Kev Walker, in my opinion, but then that’s Jes Goodwin for you…

Interestingly enough, some of the other artwork depiciting Khârn doesn’t fare quite as well: For instance, Adrian Smith is easily one of my favourite artists when it comes to depicting (Chaos) Space Marines, but his treatment of Khârn is not up to his usual standard, if you ask me:

Kharn the Betrayer art (14)

Sure, there’s a lot to like about the piece, but the entire left arm and the axe just fall apart completely when you look at them too closely — the perspective of that part is just sooo wonkey, don’t you think? And for some strange reason, Khârn suddenly seems to have both arms uncovered in this piece.

What’s more, most of the even more recent pieces really don’t capture the essence of the character for me, be it because it looks like Khârn is wearing an armoured bodysuit…

Kharn the Betrayer art (12)
…or because they make him look like a clueless idiot when fighting against loyalists:

Kharn the Betrayer art (3)
At least the art from Khârn’s latest codex entry is pretty competent, if a little uninspired:

Kharn the Betrayer art (2)
Do yourself a favour and don’t look at the pictured of his wargear that are part of his Dataslate, though: While the art itself works well enough, the added explanations for his wargear’s various features read like the worst kind of fan fiction imaginable…

And what of Heresy era Khârn? Interestingly enough, once again, the oldest piece of artwork may just be the best:

Kharn the Betrayer art (11)
Wayne England’s iconic piece of art from the original HH trading card game may no longer be an accurate representation of the recent fluff (the legion colours have ended up noticeably different in the interim, for one), but it’s still one of those classic images I hold dear  — but then, I’ve always had a thing for Wayne England’s chaos artwork, so that may have something to do with it as well.

At the same time, the updated depiction of heresy era Khârn in the Black Library publications is also pretty cool:

Kharn the Betrayer art (7)
There’s just something menacing and implacable about the above piece that I really like! It also seems like this was either designed to more or less accurately depict FW’s Khârn model or even serve as a design template for it? But we’ll be getting to the models in a second…

Before we talk about Khârn in miniature form, allow me to bring up two pieces of fanmade artwork that I really like.

First up, heresy era Khârn, as rendered in Greyall’s trademark style:

Khârn the Bloody by Greyall

Khârn the Bloody by Greyall

As per Greyall’s usual standard, the piece is incredibly detailed and ornate — you just have to love that axe design, don’t you?

The other illustration I would like to show you is this fantastic piece by slaine69, showing Khârn at Amartura:

Khârn at Armatura by slaine69

Khârn at Armatura by slaine69

This probably couldn’t be any more different in style and direction from Greyall’s piece, but I love it just as much: slaine69 is an insanely talented artist, and what I like about this – slightly unconventional – depiction of Khârn is how it manages to humanise him as a character and bring his berserk tendencies to the fore at the same moment — excellent stuff!

 

The models

So we have looked at the art — but what about the actual models? Do they do the character justice? And what about the hobbyists’ take on Khârn? Let’s find out!

As far as official releases are concerned, there have been two models for Khârn so far:

The first one is Jes Goodwin’s original 40k version of the character:

Khârn the Betrayer by Jes Goodwin

Khârn the Betrayer by Jes Goodwin

The model is still available from GW today, and in my opinion, it’s not only a true classic, but it also still holds up beautifully. The model was released along with Abbadon, Ahriman and Fabius Bile, back when the 2nd edition Codex Chaos hit, and he has arguably managed to age pretty gracefully. I realise that the model has been getting some flak over the years for its rather static pose, but come on, people: This guy has so many elements that became iconic and seminal for the whole look of the World Eaters: The baroque and pitted power armour, the bunny-eared helmet (that is almost impossible to replace or approximate by mere kitbashing or converting), the chains — and, of course, the bare arm, which may be a more common sight in (Chaos) Marine armies today, but was something quite original back then.

I remember first seeing Khârn among a collection of models and thinking: “I wonder what this guy’s story is!” — the model just has a way of drawing you in! As it happens, Jes Goodwin is possibly responsible for the two most iconic World Eaters models: Khârn is one of them, and the other one is the iconic 1991 metal World Eater — and if I have one complaint, it’s that the best World Eaters models were released over twenty years ago, with precious little having happened in the interim (Forgeworld notwithstanding). Anyway, what can I say: I am still a huge fan of this guy!

There’s also the much more recent FW model for heresy era Khârn by Edgar Skomorowski:

Khârn the Bloody, by Edgar Skomorowski

Khârn the Bloody, by Edgar Skomorowski

The model seems to have been designed with the main criticism against the Jes Goodwin version firmly in mind, because this guy is *very* dynamic — almost overly so, in fact, but we’ll be getting to that. The armour design is really cool, adding a gladiatorial flair to Khârn’s wargear that is a great fit for his legion’s background. The crested centurion helmet is also a great touch — although I would argue that the original helmet’s faceplate seems slightly more balanced.

In spite of all the good aspects, I am not a huge fan of the model, to be honest: The running pose seems slightly oddly balanced to me, making it look like Khârn is almost falling forward — this has always been a problem with running models, however, and maybe it was actually an intentional choice, in order to illustrate his uncontrolled rage? I also think the choice to extend the unarmoured/partially armoured look to his other arm as well somewhat lessens the visual punch of this element. And I really hate the model’s bare head: It may be a cool enough face, certainly, but it’s not Khârn’s face:

Forgeworld Heresy era Kharn detail
Such things always come down to personal choice, of course, but it is stated outright in the background that Khârn’s face is actually unscarred. The integration of the Butcher’s Nails also seems a bit random — but in any case, the head is an optional bit, so it’s not like you have to use it. All in all, I think it’s a nice, if slightly underwhelming, model.

It goes without saying that many, many hobbyists have come up with their own versions of the character, kitbashing or converting their own model to represent Khârn. Some of these improve on the existing models quite a bit, so I would like to share with you my favourites — and the interpretations I have drawn inspiration from for my own conversion. I’ll be limiting myself to those models who represent a substantial change to the stock models, by the way, although it has to be said that merely reposing the existing models can lead to rather stunning results as well. Anyway, here goes!

Let’s start with different versions of (Pre) Heresy Khârn:

Pre Heresy Khârn by Sebastien Lavigne

Pre Heresy Khârn by Sebastien Lavigne

This – Golden Demon winning – version of 30k Khârn by Sebastien Lavigne remains one of my favourite versions of the character: I just love the dynamism of the model, as well as the added legion standard! The model becomes even more impressive when you consider the fact that, back in 2008, the Horus Heresy wasn’t the massively detailed and codified setting it is today. In spite of that Sebastien still managed to create a tiny slice of the setting without much to work from, and the result still manages to hold up today. Marvelous!

There’s also the ever-inspirational Mr. Poom, who is responsible for the other two heresy era Khârns I would like to share with you:

Heresy era Kharn by poom first version
This piece was clearly inspired by Wayne England’s art shown further in this post, and I simply love how closely the model represents the illustration (and how it dares to deviate from it in all the right places). I am aware that Mr. Poom is no longer all that fond of the model, but it does remain one of my favourites.

His more recent version of the character uses the Forgeworld version as a base:

Khârn the Bloody by Mr. Poom

Khârn the Bloody by Mr. Poom

The horsehair crest brings the model more in line with the character’s depiction in Betrayer, which is a nice touch. And Mr. Poom’s paintjob is as gorgeous as ever — I still prefer his earlier version of the character, to be perfectly honest, but out of all the FW Khârns, this one is probably my favourite!

So what about the 40k versions of the character?

Khârn the Betrayer by kitbasher

Khârn the Betrayer by kitbasher

Wow, this Khârn conversion by kitbasher may just be the perfect Khârn model! It’s also a rare case of a model actually improving on the artwork it has been based on: The model clearly takes lots of inspiration from the Adrian Smith illustration further up in this post, but it works out all the kinks of the piece, creating something better in the process — perfect!

Then there’s this Khârn by Lil’Loser Studio:

Khârn the Betrayer by Lil'Loser Studios

Khârn the Betrayer by Lil’Loser Studios

The model uses parts from both official Khârn models, combining them to great effect and creating an excellent model!

AMaximus, who, it has to be said, is one of my main inspirations for World Eaters conversions and kitbashes, chose a similar approach, coming up with this awesome Khârn:

Khârn the Betrayer by AMaximus

Khârn the Betrayer by AMaximus

I can hardly wait for him to slap some paint on this model!

I also really like this very clean and seamless conversion by mf_Greg:

Khârn the Betrayer by mf_Greg

Khârn the Betrayer by mf_Greg

The excellent paintjob helps, of course 😉

The Vanus Temple is responsible for two stunning versions of the character: First up, his earlier conversion, based on a WFB champion of Khorne:

Khârn the Betrayer by the Vanus Temple

Khârn the Betrayer by the Vanus Temple

This one became popular enough that multiple models have been produced as commission pieces, if I recall correctly.

Khârn the Betrayer by the Vanus Temple

Khârn the Betrayer by the Vanus Temple

A more recent version by the same artist uses the FW Khârn model and creates an equally stunning piece:

Khârn the Betrayer by the Vanus Temple

Khârn the Betrayer by the Vanus Temple

And finally, some guys who really know how to go for shock and awe tactics:

An unbelievably huge (and spiky) Khârn by Rumplemaster:

Khârn the Betrayer by Rumplemaster

Khârn the Betrayer by Rumplemaster

And two equally huge models by Machinator…

Khârn the Betrayer by Machinator

Khârn the Betrayer by Machinator

…and Reanimator, respectively:

Khârn the Betrayer by Reanimator

Khârn the Betrayer by Reanimator

I’ve taken quite a bit of inspiration from these last two for my own, updated Khârn the Betrayer, as you’ll be seeing in a minute.

And there’s this utterly unbelievable, mostly sculpted from scratch, Khârn by Master of the Forge:

Khârn the Betrayer by Master of the Forge

Khârn the Betrayer by Master of the Forge

I could never imagine creating a model like this, which just makes it even more impressive — the greatest true scale Khârn in existence? Very likely…

All of these last models are massive — as befits the Blood God’s most exalted champion. But there’s one last piece that approaches the issue from a wholly different angle. Just check out this model by WilhelMiniatures:

Khârn by Wilhelminiatures

Khârn by Wilhelminiatures

 

Khârn by WilhelMiniatures

Khârn by WilhelMiniatures

Wow, just…wow!

My own approach

All of these illustrations and models were floating around my head, when the theme for the 15th Painting/Converting contest over at ThroneofSkulls.com was announced: Build a better character, that is: improve on one of the Khornate characters from either 40k or WFB. It was clear to me that I wanted to build an updated Khârn, and I tried to incorporate as many awesome ideas from my various sources of inspiration as I could. It took me some time to hammer out a build, but this was what I ended up with:

Kharn the Betrayer (3)

Kharn the Betrayer (2)

Kharn the Betrayer (1)
Kharn the Betrayer (4)
My main goal was to make Khârn bigger. Plus I wanted to try and use mostly plastic parts, since it’s the material I am most comfortable with. Both led to the decision of basing the model on the legs from my beloved plastic Terminator Lord kit, combined with the upper body from a WFB Skullcrusher. Beyond that, I tried to incorporate as many visual elements of the original Jes Goodwin model as I could.

I have learned from the great Ron Saikowski that the important part in trying to make a model resemble a piece of art (or an earlier version of the miniature) is to try and get some of the key parts right: Those will make the model look believable, and close enough to its source that you can afford a little leeway with the smaller details.

On my own model, the parts I definitely wanted to keep were the bare left arm, the huge axe, the chains and the general design of the armour and helmet. Some of the detail was easy enough to recreate with plastic bitz: The big air outlet on Khârn’s chest was originally a part of an IG voxcaster, but it now looks reasonably close to the original. The chains were reasonably easy to approximate by using some of the spiked chains from the Skullcrusher kit. And in a bit of a happy coincidence, one of the axes from the FW Cataphractii Terminators looked reasonably similar to Jes Goodwin’s original design for Gorechild, while also fitting the slightly bigger scale of my model.

Other details were a bit harder to get right: I spent quite some time looking for a suitable bare arm, finally settling on an arm from the WFB Warhshrine of Chaos priest. Getting the arm into a working position did take some time, however, and even then, it ended up ever so slightly anatomically dubious — I’ll have to live with that, I suppose.

I also realised that there was no getting around using the original head and backpack: The backpack with its skulls was just too iconic (interestingly enough, the backpack I did end up using wasn’t the one from Khârn, though, but a virtually identical one from an old 90s metal Chaos Lord). And the helmet turned out to be the element that really sold the model as Khârn, instead of just some true scale berzerker — fortunately enough, fellow hobbyist Belphoebe was kind enough to provide me with a leftover Khârn head — thanks, mate!

I do realise that there are some deviations from the original model, and I did take some shortcuts during the truescaling process — but I hope the paintjob manages to pull everything together into a cohesive whole. So, without much further ado, here’s my painted model for Khârn the Betrayer:

Kharn the Betrayer redux (1)

Kharn the Betrayer redux (2)

Kharn the Betrayer redux (3)

Kharn the Betrayer redux (4)

Kharn the Betrayer redux (5)

Kharn the Betrayer redux (6)
Of course I also tried to come up with a suitably impressive base for the model, in order to support the model’s size and pose:

Kharn the Betrayer redux (7)
Granted, the pose is just as static as the one on Jes Goodwin’s original model — but, like I said: I am a fan! 😉 Plus I think that Khârn lends himself really well to the whole “bellowing at the sky in rage” thing…

Kharn the Betrayer redux (8)
Kharn the Betrayer redux (9)

Oh, and here’s a scale comparison picture, by the way, showing the new model next to my orginal, stock Khârn from way back when:

Kharn the Betrayer redux (10)
All in all, in spite of a hundred small things that could probably be better, I have to say that I am really rather happy with my new version of the character — I think Jes Goodwin’s version is still really awesome, so making Khârn bigger and more intimidating was really the best possible route, if you ask me.

Kharn the Betrayer redux (11)
I won’t lie to you: I hope my version holds up to some of the excellent conversions I’ve shown you in today’s post — and I can only say thank you to all the hobbyists whose work on Khârn has inspired me to tackle my own conversion! Thanks for letting me …borrow a few ideas from your excellent models, chaps!

So, whatever may be in store for our favourite, red-armoured lunatic this Christmas, I hope you’ve found this post inspiring! And I would love to hear any feedback you might have in the comments section!

So go convert some World Eaters now, and always remember: Khorne cares not from whence the blood flows, only that it flows!
As always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Kharn the Betrayer redux (12)