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The Amsterdam Files

Posted in 30k, 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob, Pointless ramblings, Traitor Guard, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2017 by krautscientist

Hey everyone,

it’s my birthday today, and what better way to celebrate than to share with you the tale of what may be my favourite birthday present his year, even though it wasn’t even planned as one. Let me give fair warning in advance, though: This is going to be one hell of a wordy, rambling post, even though there should be lots of shiny things to look at. So anyway, what is this about?

Ever since I got back into this hobby and started blogging about my little plastic men, crazy awesome things have started to happen: People started sending me stuff ranging from bitz to entire models. I’ve been a part of some seriously awesome joint hobby projects with fellow hobbyists. And I’ve had lots and lots of contact with people from many corners of Holy Terra. Even against this background, however, my recent trip to Amsterdam, to meet up with fellow hobbyist Augustus b’Raass, turned out to be an absolute high point!

Now Augustus and me originally “met” over at The Bolter & Chainsword where we both belong to the regulars. The first longer conversation we actually had occured when Augustus had put a dismembered female corpse on one of his  Night Lords Contemptors, and I was the person to argue that this was actually pretty poor taste. Doesn’t exactly sound like the most promising setup for an inter-personal relationship, right? And yet, it did kick off a fairly continuous stream of mutual comments, posts and PMs that ended with us both realising that we actually had a lot of things in common, even beyond the shared infatuation with little plastic people. Which is actually kind of a big deal, if you think about is: Hobby forums are excellent places, and I love them dearly for the communication opportunities they provide, but you only really get to see a very thin slice of every fellow hobbyist, as it were: There’s no telling whether the guy you keep sharing conversion advice with is actually someone you’d get along with in everyday life.

And it’s actually great that way, because it allows a shared space where people can just come together and talk about a topic they feel passionate about, without having to defend their cultural or political views or their dubious choices in clothing. Even so, to find somebody who seemed like they would be legitimately interesting beyond the hobby was an excellent turn of events, and so when Augustus was kind enough to purchase a copy of Index Apocrypha: Chaos for me when the book had gone OOP, I joked that I would pay him back by coming to Amsterdam and buying him a couple of beers. So yeah, I did go to Amsterdam, and I did indeed buy him a couple of beers, but that’s not nearly all that happened last weekend. So, allow me to share a recap of an amazing trip:

I. Talking Shop

Now as some of you may already know, Augustus is an incredibly talented painter and converter in his own right, so it was always clear we would be talking about lots of hobby related stuff. We actually spend about two hours alone in front of his shelves and shelves of gorgeous miniatures, with me picking up model after model and feeling like a kid at the candy store. What’s more, I even slept in the same room for the weekend, so whenever I woke up, my gaze would fall on those fantastic models — I actually tried to figure out a way to sneak at least some of those gorgeous World Eaters into my overnight bag…

Models built and painted by Augustus b’Raass

…but that would obviously have been extremely rude. In addition to those models looking absolutely lovely, however, they are also magnetised, pinned, drilled and what have you to the umpteenth degree — and those are all things I never really do with my models, as I am just happy to get them finished and be done with it 😉 But seeing the craftsmanship that had gone into assembling the models made me realise that Augustus was the perfect person to talk to about a couple of projects and concerns.

For instance, you probably remember this guy from the previous post, right?


Now Augustus and I talked about him and about how the pose was not yet quite there, and so I made some additional tweaks to the pose based on that conversation. This also provided the perfect opportunity for Augustus to teach me how to use a proper hobby saw instead of just wedging a cheap-o knife in there and wiggling it around. Anyway, here’s what the model looks like now:



I actually think the pose is quite a bit more natural now in how his legs and arms interact — as an added bonus, he even seems to be dragging his right leg, which is definitely fitting for a Plague Marine. The one small setback is that sawing through the torso to get the arms and shoulder pads off damaged some detail, so I might have to do a bit of cleanup there, but oh well.

Secondly, Augustus was kind enough to magnetise my World Eaters Contemptor’s right arm for me, as you can see in the picture below:


So now, in addition to looking like this,…



…he can also rock a sweet multimelta. Like this:



I am not a big fan of the 30k multimelta design, but having the whole thing as a magnetised alternative now really provided me with the incentive of making it look a bit more vicious and spiky, and I think I have suceeded with that.

And finally, while I basically managed to get most of the models I had brought over there without a hitch, my Forgeworld Angron was snapped off his base. Augustus suggested pinning him, and I asked him whether he could slightly tweak the angle of the model on the base, because I felt that Angron was facing downwards a bit too much. So here’s the tweaked angle, and I am much happier with the model now — and he’s far easier to take pictures of now as well:





I’ll have to build up some debris around the right foot, where the pin is visible right now, but that shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

And it goes without saying that we also sat down and traded a lot of bitz: I had brought a bunch of stuff I thought Augustus might like, and in return, I came home with this crazy pile of awesomness:


The star of the show is obviously the Forgeworld World Eaters Dreadnought, as that is one of those models I have always wanted to own, but I didn’t pick him up before he went OOP — and now I have one! Woohoo! 🙂

All it all, it was brilliant to talk shop with someone who not only has such a fantastic collection (in order to erm…borrow ideas by the boatload), but whose techniques and approaches also differ in certain areas: Augustus is super-structured and super-efficient, whereas I can be a huge fan of sloppy, messy Leeroy Jenkins-style tactics when it comes to painting and converting. Seeing someone else’s process was really quite eye-opening in many ways!

II. The Pretty Pictures

It wasn’t all theoretical, though, as I had also brought a pile of my miniatures for a joint photo opportunity, so we took my models, Augustus’ wonderful Imperial Fists and his equally lovely terrain and tried to achieve a look as close as possible to something you might see in an official GW publication, pitching the warriors of the World Eaters’ 4th assault company against the defenders of Terra during the siege of the Throneworld:



Hmm, with the Eighth Captain in the picture like that, I doubt that Librarian has too much of a career ahead of him… 😉





One of the coolest setups we did was to pitch Augustus’ Imperial Fists commander, Franz Landa, against one of the 4th assault company’s Praetors: Secutor Hamund, the Mournful, very much a deathseeker, and seen here during what may have been his final battle:





Creating setups like that was really a ton of fun, and I love how the pictures have turned out! My World Eaters, on the other hand, had to take a bit of a rest after the demanding photo shoot (next to one of Augustus’ wonderful Contemptors):


While we still had that sweet setup out, however, I snatched the opportunity to take some pictures that showcased my models, selfish git that I am 😉

Here are my 30k World Eaters, led by their Primarch:



Next up, my squad of Traitor Elites from my Traitor Guard force, “Urash’s Marauders”:


And, since I had also brought some models from the wonderful world of INQ28, Inquisitor Erasmus Gotthardt, of the Ordo Hereticus Velsen and his retinue…


…and the “Road Crew”, my current project of creating a merry band of Pitslaves, mutants and ne’er do-wells from the Hiveworld of St. Sabasto’s Reach:



And here’s one really sweet shot to top off this part of the post: My true scale Astartes, Praetor Janus Auriga of the Golden Legion, going toe to toe with Augustus’ absolutely lovely retro Bloodthirster — seriously, pictures don’t do that guy justice!

III. The All-important Rest

As fun as the whole hobby part of my trip was – and believe me, it was TONS of fun – what really turned the whole event into such a fantastic experience was being fed, pampered and taken around town by Augustus, who was just about the best host you could probably imagine: He had bought a wonderful collection of local and Belgian beers (And we drank. Them. All) and just made sure all around that I was as comfortable as I could be. We also ended up talking about a thousand different subjects – including, but certainly not limited to, the hobby – and I had a blast. Augustus also took me on a trip around town, and we invariably ended up the the local GW store. A huge shout out to the extremely friendly crowd over at GW Amsterdam South, by the way, from Dennis (the store manager who surprised my by being perfectly fluent in German and was an all around nice guy) to Rowdy (who actually came up to me to tell me he was following my work and was a bit of a fan — you made me feel like a freaking rock star, mate!): The hours just seemed to fly, and I loved every second of it.

While at the GW store, I was also able to take a couple of pictures of Augustus‘ spectacular rendition of Aaron Demsbki-Bowden’s First Claw:

First Claw by Augustus b’Raass (1)

Seriously, those guys are something else: It’s perfectly justified that they still draw lots of comments from the crowd at the store: You wouldn’t believe how amazing those guys are when seen firsthand. Let me just throw in additional pictures of my favourite three…

models built and converted by Augustus b’Raass

From left to right, Uzas (easily my favourite character from the Night Lords Trilogy), Talos and Mercutian (the model is just perfect in every way, wouldn’t you agree?).

And their three brethren that are just as awesome — I just happen to be in love with the three up top even more 😉

models built and converted by Augustus b’Raass

From left to right, Xarl (I’ve never seen a more intimidating glare in my life!), Variel the Flayer and Cyrion.

While at the GW store, I also met a super-nice fellow named Tom who may just be the best painter I have ever spoken to. While he was all shy about it and kept insisting that he had basically tried to merely follow the work of David Soper, his Orruk Warlord was really a bit of a relevation to me:

Orruk Warlord by Tom

You see, high level painting has never done much for me, because it just seemed so abstract and far removed from where I was standing. Seeing a model painted at that standard from up close, however, made me realise that there were layers and layers of detail there that I couldn’t even take in all at once. Like, I’ve never even liked that Orruk warlord all that much, especially that idiotic skull on his shoulder pad, right? And then Tom goes and does something like this:

Orruk Warlord by Tom

I mean, just look at that bone! JUST LOOK AT IT!

Tom was also nice enough to send me some really good pictures of the model for you to enjoy, so here you go:

Orruk Warlord by Tom

 

Orruk Warlord by Tom

So yeah, lots and lots of super-friendly people — but then, that’s the Netherlands for you. It’s a fascinating country for me, as a German, because in so many ways, it’s like Germany, only not: There are tons of things that are so incredibly familiar, but are just slightly “off” — and I mean off in an entirely good way: You feel at home enough to be at ease, but it’s also different enough to be utterly refreshing. Which is basically the ideal mix for someone who is as much of a scaredy cat as me 😉 Almost being able to get what people are saying is also quite a thing, I can tell you 😉

So Augustus also took me around town, including the famous Red Light District, so I could take a look at Amsterdam’s seedy underbelly, except it’s really not all that seedy, and it certainly has the added benefit of having a rather lovely canal running through the middle of it:


We ended up at a super cool retro-arcade bar where we kept drinking yet more local beer – Zatte, which actually translates to “drunk” I believe — there’s actually a lot to be said for a country that names its beers for the intended effect – and playing a bazillion games of Jenga, friendly banter with the folks from the adjoining table and crazy, made-up rules included. Let me tell you, it seems like people who know how to convert tiny plastic soldiers can be real Jenga fiends:


And then it was back home, with the crazy guy on the ferry playing songs like “Last Christmas” or “My Heart Will Go On” at full volume on his phone actually being a fellow countryman of mine — leave it to a German to set the mood, eh?

Anyway, if all of this may sound kind of over-enthused, that’s simply because I had such a blast! And I would like to imagine that Augustus felt the same way, in spite of having a compulsively talkative German to take care of. Just look at us eggheads:


I mean he does seem a bit…ambiguous about the whole situation 😉

Disclaimer: Which reminds me: Let me just state in no unclear terms that, in contrast to what you may or may not hear from other sources, I was, like, super-handy with the lock on the rented bike, and Augustus didn’t need to help me with it at all. Not even once. And that, as far as I am concerned, is the end of the matter.

Erm, anyways, here’s the big man himself again, albeit in model form: Meet Augustus b’Raass, warlord of Augustus’ World Eaters army:



So, Auggs, buddy: Ja, wie sage ich das jetzt, I really cannot thank you enough! For being an awesome host and a brilliant tour guide! For going through the risk of just having some guy from the internet over for an entire weekend. For the conversations and the laughs and, of course, the beer! And for starting out as a cool hobby buddy that has now become an actual friend! Cheers, mate!

And to all of the beautiful readers of this blog, if you have managed to hang on until now, thanks for reading! And, as always, stay tuned for more!

In hindsight, we should have set them up as though they were shaking hands — that would have been such a sweet capstone for the post…

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The 2016 Eternal Hunt Awards, pt. 2: The Industry

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings, Traitor Guard, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 21, 2017 by krautscientist

Awards

Okay everyone, forgive me for dropping off the radar for a bit there, but work has been pretty crazy for the last couple of weeks, and my free time has mostly been dedicated to the wonderful world of digital entertainment for quite a while (as an aside, if you like this blog, you should probably check out Dishonored 2 and Last Guardian, if you haven’t already).

Anyway, if you’ll indulge me, I would still like to get the Eternal Hunt Awards gig done and dusted before properly starting into a new hobby year — and it’ not as though I already have a whole lot of new stuff to show, either, so it’s finally time to continue this year’s…erm or rather: last year’s Eternal Hunt Awards.

For today’s installment, let’s take a look at the stuff GW released in 2016: I am going to outline the best and worst parts of the 2016 catalogue of releases. What were the highest and lowest points? And what else was cool …or curiously missing from the releases? Read on to find out!

 

I. Best releases

After a pretty strong 2015, 2016 was yet another spectacular year when it comes to GW’s releases — and if there’s one thing that was extremely surprising to me, it’s how many of GW’s 2017 releases seemed to bring to life stuff many hobbyists, myself included, have been dreaming of for years (often to the amusement of others, who dubbed things like updated Genestealer Cults or models for Daemon-Primarchs completely unlikely). So there 😉

This, along with a massive change in GW’s outward communication, might just be a hint at something bigger, a bit of a policy change, if you will. And whether or not you agree with all of the stuff GW has been doing over the last twelve months, I think we can all agree that it’s been a rather fascinating ride 😉

But even in a spectacular year, there were some things that stood out, so allow me to share my favourite 2016 kits and models:

 

1. The Burning of Prospero

burning-of-prospero-release-1Betrayal at Calth (the game, not the unfortunate event) was one of the great unexpected surprises of 2015, and another HH era boxed set in 2016 serves as clear proof that plastic Horus Heresy is very much a thing now!

And what a boxed set it is: The Burning of Prospero contains a somewhat more eclectic collection of models than Betrayal at Calth, but it arguably refines some of the latter’s contents: Regarding the vanilla angle, we got pretty excellent plastic Mk. III Tactical Marines, making my favourite Heresy era armour mark available in a material I am much more comfortable with. Excellent!

burning-of-prospero-release-11
The real surprise, however, was the inclusion of a squad of plastic Custodian Guard and plastic Sisters of Silence, respectively — for those models to have been revealed would certainly have made enough of a splash, but for them to be included in a boxed set, and in plastic, no less —  frankly, my mind was blown!

burning-of-prospero-release-13
It helps that the models are mostly excellent, of course.

If you want to start a plastic Horus Heresy army, you’ll probably find Betrayal at Calth a bit more flexible and useful than The Burning of Prospero. But Prospero is like a slightly strange distant cousin: A bit less dependable, certainly, yet also rather eclectic and eccentric — and all the more fascinating for it!

See my detailed review of the boxed set here.

 

2. Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower

Silver Tower Release (1)

I have gone on record saying that, while I don’t actively dislike the Age of Sigmar setting, I still have a hard time getting a feeling for the new world and its idiosyncrasies. Much of this might have something to do with trying to see WFB in Age of Sigmar, which is probably the wrong approach altogether, as the new setting strieves to be very much its own thing.

So it was a good thing when yet another excellent boxed set tried to present a different, more intimate, look at the world of Age of Sigmar, and I have to say that Silver Tower pushed all of my HeroQuest nostalgia buttons:

The idea to create this as a self-contained boardgame in the vein of the classic HeroQuest was a brilliant approach, because it makes you care about little snippets of the world before trying to make you care about the entire (still rather vaguely defined) setting. We also get a look at the different “good” factions (The Golden Dudes (TM), Duardim, Aelf and what have you), and presenting them condensed into a single hero character each works great to give us an idea of the respective faction’s identity. To wit, the Stormcast Eternal hero included in the set is probably one of the best Sigmarine models so far:

Silver Tower Release (15)He also defines the look and feel of the faction more concisely than the entire slew of golden dudes we have been getting.

And, once again, I am getting such a HeroQuest vibe from the Sigmarite Priest and Darkoath Chieftain:

Silver Tower Release (22)

Silver Tower Release (25)
The bad guys are no slouches either, with an excellent new version of the Gaunt Summoner and a warlock ogre — or should that be ogre warlock? Anyway, characters like the Ogroid Thaumaturge are the kind of thing that differentiates the new setting from the old, and it’s great to finally get to know them!

Silver Tower Release (3)Possibly the biggest achievement of Silver Tower is how it makes me like the Tzeentchian aesthetic – something that’s usually not exactly my cup of tea – by simply applying it to fantastic models, such as the aforementioned sorcerers, the Kairic Acolytes or the simply stunning Tzaangors — and the latter are even a shout out to the golden Oldhammer days!

Silver Tower Release (10)You know what? In a perfect world GW would have used a self-contained boardgame like Silver Tower to introduce us to the setting in the first place! A tighter, more focused experience might have made us care far more about the new setting. There are many reasons why such an approach would probably have been madness (they needed to replace a wargame, after all). But the fact still stands: I find myself caring more about Silver Tower than about almost the entire Age of Sigmar catalogue so far (Khornate models notwithstanding, for obvious reasons).

Plus you get a model of a fish on legs. That is all.

Silver Tower Release (14)Anyway, the boxed set stands as a rather charming introduction to the setting, and like I said, it manages to pull at my HeroQuest heartstrings, plus the models are pretty amazing as well. Which makes Silver Tower one of my favourite releases of 2016. ‘Nuff said.

 

3. Genestealer Cults

genestealer-cults-release-19

Genestealer Cults are easily one of my favourite parts of the 40k setting — and arguably the one thing that not only makes Tyranids interesting, but also removes them a bit from their very obvious main inspiration. And over the years, I’ve gone back time and time again to that one page from the 2nd edition rulebook showing some genestealer hybrids, wondering why GW had left this fascinating little part of the lore fall by the wayside. At the same time, it seemed very unlikely that we would ever see a new version of the Genestealer Cults.

And yet here we are, with the Genestealer Cults now an official sub-faction of their own — and with some seriously brilliant models, no less! Everything started with yet another fantastic boxed set – Deathwatch: Overkill – and the absolutely brilliant new hybrid models contained within it.

Deathwatch Overkill release (31)

So GW actually revisited one of the favourite retro-factions of my youth, but they also managed to bring it into the modern age with some cutting edge kits: The hybrids stand tall, with both the excellent snap fit models from the boxed set and with a dedicated multipart plastic kit of their own, providing us with a tool to not only build an excellent Genestealer Cult, but to also use the new parts in all kinds of INQ28 and Necromunda-related shenanigans:

genestealer-cults-release-21There’s just so much about those models that hints at the more “civilian”, for lack of a better word, side of 40k, the side we keep seeing in Dan Abnett’s Inquisitor novels: These guys are creepy Xenos soldiers, yes, but they are wearing miner’s garb and wielding repurposed tools and rather pedestrian weapons, making for a wonderfully workmanlike, low-level look that provides something visually new and appealing (and, again, also makes for exquisite INQ28 kitbashing).

genestealer-cults-release-23
There are also some rather beautifully subtle touches about the whole design: Call me crazy, but the ribbed structure of the miner’s armour reminds me not only of the actual Xenomorph in Alien, but also of the industrial design defining the look and feel of Ridley Scott’s classic series.

And we even get a more civilian 40k vehicle in the Goliath Truck/Rock Grinder, a wonderfully utilitarian looking workhorse that should be right up your alley, whether you’re trying to provide a sweet ride for your cult or searching for a vehicle for your pitslave gang:

genestealer-cults-release-28
With the Genestealer Cults, GW has revisited one of the most interesting ideas from the vintage 40k lore and brought it into the 21st century with a bang — what a wonderful surprise!

My first observations about the cool hybrid models that were released as part of the Deathwatch:Overkill set can be found here.

 

4. Thousand Sons

thousand-sons-release-18

The new Thousand Sons, arriving at the tail end of 2016, were great for a number of reasons: For me as a chaos player, seeing these guys being given a proper modern age plastic treatment was really a bit of a dream come true — and it’s all even better if you consider the new Thousand Sons as a possible precedent for what could be a full new set of cult legion models! I am definitely keeping my fingers crossed on this account.

But even beyond the forces dedicated to a single chaos god, the new Thousand Sons also serve as a bit of a template for a new, modernised CSM design, showing us some tweaked proportions and definitely a much improved level of detail — nowhere is that more obvious than when looking at the new Rubric Marines:

thousand-sons-release-19

And frankly, that would already have been enough to turn the Thousand Sons into one of my favourite 2016 released, but there were two more bombshells buried within this particular release.

One, a redesigned Ahriman:

thousand-sons-release-8

Out of all the four or so classic, archetypal characters GW decided to revisit in 2016, Ahriman is arguably the best by far: He keeps pretty much everything that was awesome about the original model and adds an amount of three-dimensionality and dynamism that are hallmarks of GW’s modern plastic design. He’s also actually closer to Jes Goodwin’s original design sketch than the vintage model, and that is certainly saying something! While the original Ahriman is still a classic, the new version is a worthy successor. Well played, GW!

And of course, there’s the pink elephant in the room: Magnus the Red, the first (discounting those rather embarrassing Epic 40k versions) Daemon-Primarch model released by GW:

thousand-sons-release-3

And while the model itself is certainly nice enough, I cannot help actually feeling more excited by what Magnus actually represents: That GW is now willing to explore Daemon-Primarchs in model form. Now this might yet all go horribly wrong, with ulta-cheesy fluff and a WFB End Times-level brouhaha for the entire setting. But right here and now, having a plastic model of a Daemon-Primarch that so excellently draws from all the depictions of the character in the classic artwork certainly feels like a rather exciting moment!

I know that chaos players carry a – not entirely undeserved – reputation for constantly bitching about getting the short end of the stick. But at the same time, it’s also true that GW has fumbled the ball more than once when adding to the Chaos Space Marine faction. But the new Thousand Sons show that GW still knows how do to chaos right, and just imagining that we could be getting more of this at some point in the future gives me goosebumps — just imagine the possibilities…

You can find my thoughts on the entire release here.

 

 

5. Canoness Veryidian

veryidian

This last item on the list is particularly close to my heart, as the Canoness Veryidian model was an even bigger surprise to me than Daemon-Primarch Magnus!

You see, if somebody asked me what 40k was all about, I would point them to two particular pieces of artwork by the venerable John Blance. And one of those two pieces of art would be this, invariably:

Adepta_Sororitas_by_John_Blanche

It’s really all there: 40k’s particular blend of religious iconography, grimdark dystopian sci-fi and medieval madness. The glitzy, 80s fantasy style warrior woman with the crazy hairdo. And the influences from classic painters like Bosch, Breughel, Rembrandt et. al. It’s 40k in a perfectly formed nutshell.

And to get an almost picture perfect model representing that character, courtesy of Martin Footit, was a very particular delight, and one I wouldn’t have expected in a million years.

A sizeable chunk of my Christmas holiday was spent trying to get my hands on one of the elusive Canoness Veryidian models, and when I finally succeeded, it felt like a true triumph indeed! What a wonderful surprise! I hope I’ll be able to do the model justice with my paintjob!

 

6. Honorary mention: Seeing Artemis again…

For the sake of the comparison, both models are displayed at the same size, when they are really anything but...

Featured in a boxed set that was somewhat more pedestrian than some of the more spectacular sets released this year, but even so: Seeing Artemis released in a 28mm version was definitely a nice surprise!

 

II. Worst releases/biggest disappointment

The quality of GW’s 2016 output was pretty astounding, overall, but there were some kits that somehow fell short of the mark. Don’t ge me wrong, none of the following models were completely terrible. But in the light of so many great releases, some designs were a bit of a letdown for me, and they arguably feel all the more disappointing for all the brilliant stuff released by GW last year — so here’s what I didn’t like:

1. Wulfen

plastic-wulfen-1
Out of all the new kits released in 2016, there is really only one kit that came dangerously close to actually qualify as “bad” in my personal opinion — the new plastic Wulfen models.

Now to cut GW’s designers some slack, designing Space Marine werevolves that actually look cool and suitably believable cannot be a simple task. And to be fair, the kit definitely looks like they gave it their all, trying to incorporate as many cool touches as possible.

But in the end, it all just collapses in on itself, because the groundwork was never sound to begin with. Much of this has something to do with the Wulfen anatomy: Now the original Wulfen models certainly had their own share of problems, but one thing the classic models did really well was to convey a sense of chaotic devolution, their armour being cracked and broken away in different places by the terrible changes in their physiology:

classic-wulfen-models

At the same time, they certainly didn’t take any big chances with the overall anatomy, basically keeping a standard human setup.

By comparison, the new Wulfen look far animalistic, but also like a strangely stable – if hairy – genotype, with every model sharing the same general build. But shouldn’t the transformation into a Wulfen be somewhat more haphazard and unstable? In fact, the longer I think about it, the more this drives me up the wall: They are even wearing contoured armour that seems to have been carefully adapted to their new build. Who in the world is making that stuff for the heavily muated Wulfen, along with the backpack-mounted pistols and custom wargear? Another Wulfen? A Wulfen scientist, if you will? Or are they fortunate enough to have kept a few sane fellows around?

Instead of looking like feral, yet tragic, creatures tortured by the changes wrought upon their bodies by unstable genetics, the new Wulfen look more like a World of Warcraft character class. And there’s also the fact that the faces remind me of the Wolf Man, for the most part:

the-wolf-man

And let’s not even get in the squad leader’s awkward, overdesigned jumping pose…

What we end up with is a collection of pretty amazing conversion parts — but the completed models somehow become less than the sum of their parts. And what really amazes me that I have yet to see the new Wulfen assembled or painted in a way that makes them work. So even while the designers probably had their cards stacked against them from the beginning – SciFi werewolves seems like just about the most thankless imaginable archetype – I am sad to say that the Wulfen are my personal GW low point from last year.

2. GW basing sets

40k-basing-set-2

The idea itself was brilliant: GW putting out some bases and bitz-based basing sets on their own is long overdue. So I was really happy when the new bases for 40k were announced.

I picked up the Sector Imperialis Large Base Kit, because it seemed like the most immediately useful addition to my bitzbox, and I was really looking forward to having some dedicated basing bitz at my disposal.

The problem was that the quality of the cast was absolutely abysmal, with very soft detail and a general clunkiness to the cast that would have been slightly embarrassing in the mid-90s, but simply seems baffling from a modern standpoint. Here’s a company that can put out the most delicate plastic models imaginable to man, and the cast of their basing kits seems more appropriate for a cheap aftermarket knock-off?

I’ve heard rumours that the first batch of those basing kits was produced in China — but seriously, that excuse doesn’t cut it for me: They were still on sale at a GW store, for the same premium price as the rest of their kits.

To make a long story short, will I be able to still put those bitz to good use? You bet. But seeing a kit I had really been looking forward to deliver such a poor experience was still one of the low points of my hobby year.

3. Ulrik the Slayer…Unmasked!

ulrik-the-slayer
In his original incarnation, Ulrik was a rather iconic model, sinister and somewhat mysterious with his wolf skull helmet. Now, more than two decades later, he has finally decided to show us his face, and wouldn’t you know it: He looks just like generic bearded Space Wolf guy no. 101′ — what a letdown!

Now I couldn’t even tell you what it was I expected — maybe the helmet should just have stayed on, is all I am saying. It’s even more of a shame when the rest of the model is really pretty awesome!

4. New Eldrad Ulthran

Eldrad comparison

GW released new plastic versions of several of the most iconic 40k characters last year, and in my opinion, Eldrad was the one to get the short end of the stick. Now the new versions definitely isn’t a terrible model — far from it. But where, say, the aforementioned new Ahriman basically takes all that was great about the original model and tweaks the formula to perfection, the new Eldrad loses (or, at the very least, seriously waters down) the iconic composition that made the original such a classic. Face it guys: This isn’t Elrad. It’s just some warlock guy trying his darnedest to seem as cool as the big man 😉

III. Still on the fence about…

  • Losing Warhammer: Visions: Now don’t get me wrong: I really rather like the new monthly White Dwarf format. In fact, the weekly White Dwarf was a travesty: far too expensive and far too thin on content. And the new mag, at least judging by the first couple of issues, seems to be a return for form in som many ways. Can I be perfectly honest with you, though: I was one of the few people to actually like Warhammer: Visions. I loved looking at pages after pages of glorious armies and models, especially if those were the creations of fellow hobbyisty and featured many personal touches and conversions. Now the new White Dwarf might be a great overall hobby magazine yet again, but the army features, for instance, just cannot compare to the ones in Warhammer: Visions.
    I realise that most people saw visions as a redundant coffee table book, but I find myself kinda missing the format. Is that weird…?
  • No plastic Sisters yet agai….WAIT! Whoa, does this mean we might be getting new Sisters of Battle? In plastic? Oh, pretty please…? Seriously, though: It’s. About. Damn. Time!

 

IV. Also pretty cool

  • New plastic Blood Bowl: I really love how GW has given the classic game more than just a new coat of paint, and if this is any precedent for the new Specialist Games, I am really optimistic about the future!
  • The new attitude: I also really love GW’s new approach to communicating with their cuctomers and with hobbyist: That they are back to actively using social media. That they are actually acting proactively in the whole rumours business instead of merely reacting to all those leaked materials online. That they are posting supremely helpful (looking at you again Duncan Rhodes) as well as genuinely funny video material. Now all of this seems like common sense, really, but let’s not forget that some of us hobbyists can be a fanbase that not even a mother could love. Anyway, good work, guys and girls! Do carry on! 🙂

 

All in all, it’s been a teriffic year for GW, and I am certainly looking forward to the next batch of releases? So much for 2016, then, at least where the industry is concerned. Next up is the third and final installment of the 2016 Eternal Hunt Awards, taking a look at my favourite models from fellow hobbyists all over the blogosphere — arriving soon, hopefully, here on the blog.

Until then, feel free to let me know your feedback: Do you agree (or disagree) with my assessment of last year’s releases? What were your favourite parts, and which models did you hate? Did I forget anything important? I am looking forward to your comments!

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

The 2016 Eternal Hunt Awards, pt. 1: A look back at my hobby year

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings, Traitor Guard, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 23, 2016 by krautscientist

Awards

Yes, it’s that time of year again: Welcome everyone to the 2016 Eternal Hunts Awards, where I take a look at this past hobby year and talk about the best releases, the most inspiring work from fellow hobbyists and about my own hobby year — in fact, just to shake things up a bit – and also because this will be the least complicated part of this year’s series – let’s start with a little retrospective of my hobby work. So here are my favourite personal achievements and hobby moments from the last twelve months:

 

I. My hobby projects

I think we can all agree that 2016 has been a spectacularly awful year in many, many ways. At the same time, it has also been a really successful year for me in hobby terms — go figure! Maybe one reason for this is that focusing on hobby related activities was one of the things that helped me stay sane during a time of great personal upheaval and insecurity: Escapism isn’t always a good thing, but being able to focus on something different for a couple of hours every now and then will do wonders for your peace of mind! And I find that, due to the handicraft angle of the hobby, converting and painting little plastic men feels decidedly less frivolous than, say, playing videogames for hours on end 😉

So anyway, in spite of everything, I managed to come up with some new models that I am really rather happy with. And with some thirty completed models compared to 2015’s 25, I even managed to outdo myself!

class-of-2016-2

So, in keeping with well-established tradition, allow me to walk you through my 2016 completions and highlight some of the models and projects I am especially happy with:

 

1. Khorne’s Eternal Hunt

2016 was another strong year for my longest-running army project, so let’s focus on my World Eaters for a moment. Here’s what Khorne’s Eternal Hunt looked like in late 2015:

army shot 01 big colour

And here’s an updated army picture from the summer of 2016:

Khorne's Eternal Hunt 2016 (2) big
And while this may not look like a huge evolution – with the notable exception of the towering Chaos Knight loitering around in the back row – I wasn’t nearly done with painting Khornate models at that point.

But even back then, the army already looked rathe impressive, if I do say so myself, and there are many parts of this project I am still rather happy with. Especially the various characters I have completed for my World Eaters:

Masters of the Hunt 2016 (2)
Even so, the latter half of the year saw some sizeable additions to the army, though, and the main reason for this was the existence of the superbly-run and highly motivational community events over at The Bolter & Chainsword: Both the E Tenebrae Lux V and the Call of Chaos IX really managed to light a fire under me, prompting me to complete two hefty vows.

Here are the models I pledged during this year’s ETL:

ETL V All Vows (2)

And here’s the – slightly less impressive – vow I completed earlier this month during the Call of Chaos:

finished-call-2016-11
It helps that the community over at the B&C is wonderfully lively and constructive, and without the support and feedback from fellow hobbyists over there, I doubt I would have completed as many models.

Just to single out some of my favourite parts from those events, I did manage to finish the last missing model for my squad of traitorous Tempestus Scions which is now one of my favourite squads from my collection:

Traitor Elite full squad (4)
I also included an Iron Warriors Apothecary I had converted last year in one of my vows:

apothecary-phastos-of-the-iron-warriors-5
And this guy then provided the perfect occasion to get back to my small Iron Warriors killteam, a side project that I am hopefully going to devote even more time to in the new year:

iron-warriors-killteam-wip-5
Since this year’s Call of Chaos event was Tzeentch-themed, I also created a model to represent Iskandar Khayon from Aaaron Dembski-Bowden’s wonderful novel “The Talon of Horus”:

iskandar-khayon-3
So I now have two of the novel’s main characters in model form:

iskandar-khayon-and-lheorvine-ukris
And next year’s Call is going to be Slaanesh-themed — sounds like a perfect excuse to build Telemachon Lyras and complete the set 😉

And finally, despite having been a faithful follower of chaos for almost almost two decades at this point, this year saw me complete my very first daemon models — in a series of escalating steps that would lead to completing one of the new plastic Bloodthirsters…

Bloodthirster Ghor'Lash'Kharganath (4)
…and then moving on to what is possibly my finest work to date:

 

2. The Lord of the XII Legion

It was clear to me that 2015’s Gilgamesh would be a tough act to follow. But when I found myself in possession of an extra Bloodthirster kit earlier this year,  an idea began to form in the back of my head. An idea that would eventually lead to the creation of my very own version of Angron in his form as a Daemon-Primarch:

Daemon-Primarch Angron (16)
Daemon-Primarch Angron (31)
Daemon-Primarch Angron (21)
Daemon-Primarch Angron (15)
And I am just incredibly proud of this model: From a technical standpoint, it’s very probably my best paintjob to date, and it’s also very close to how I imagine the XII Primarch in his daemonic form. Now that Daemon-Primarchs are actually a thing in 40k, I have no doubt that an eventual “official” version of Angron will surpass and invalidate my interpretation — but I cannot help it, I am still incredibly pleased with the big guy!

Read more about the model’s inception here.

Daemon-Primarch Angron (23)
The Red Angel
Speaking of Angron, I built another version of him, to represent him during his days as a gladiator on Nuceria, and it’s another model I am really happy with:

angron-thalkr-lord-of-the-red-sands-11

Let me also mention that I couldn’t really have created either version of Angron without drawing some massive inspiration from the work of fellow hobbyists, chief among them Reg with his dozen or so of incredible Angron conversions 😉

So all in all, those models make for quite a nice collection of vicious, daemonic killers. Here’s the Khornate part of my 2016 output:

class-of-2016-world-eaters
A fair few of these models are daemons, so the pieces you see below may or may not become the start of a dedicated daemonic detachment:

class-of-2016-daemons
In fact, I realise in hindsight that monstrous daemons make up a sizeable part of my 2016 output –but come, on: Given the current state of the world, I might be forgiven for the subconscious need to keep painting red-skinned devils, wouldn’t you agree? 😉

In closing, here are all of the chaotic footsloggers (minus the two big guys) again:

class-of-2016-chaos-2

 

 

3. The world of INQ28

While my INQ28-related work this year didn’t quite match my 2015 output, I am nevertheless fairly happy with the new additions to my collection. Strangely enough, everything started with…a dog:

Cyber-Mastiff (3)

A Cyber-Mastiff conversion based on a Malifaux model. I am still rather happy with the mutt 😉

But anyway, here’s the entire “INQ28 Class of 2016”:

class-of-2016-inq28
The achievement I am probably the most happy with was to finally paint some models that had been knocking about in my cupboard of shame for ages, and this lead to a nearly 100% finished retinue for Inquisitor Erasmus Gotthardt of the Ord Hereticus Velsen:

inquisitor-gotthardt-and-retinue-early-2016-8
Now I have a huge soft spot for this warband, mostly because it’s made up of my attempt at putting a spin one most of the classic character archetypes from the Inquisitor rulebook (the Rogue Trader, the Security Agent, the Drill Abbot,…). As a consequence, the retinue has a very colourful, swashbuckling look that I like. Most of Gotthardt’s operatives were built years ago – and with a much smaller bitzbox, at that – but I do think they still hold up for the most part. So just one last member for the warband – a female psyker – and then the project will finally be completed at long last!

That’s not the only warband I have managed to complete, though: I also finished two retainers for my true scale Astartes, Praetor Janus Auriga, creating a “mini-warband”, if you will:

Praetor Janus Auriga and retainers (3)
This project was simply an excellent way of exploring the more ostentatious, medieval side of the Adeptus Astartes. Plus the retainers make Auriga look even more massive and monstrous, providing a great visual framing device for the character. Coming up with a concept for a chapter serf was also great fun!

And finally, I came up with the beginnings for a slightly Mad Max-inspired group of misfits dubbed “The Road Crew”:

the-road-crew-2016
These guys have been brilliant fun to work on so far, and I hope I’ll be able to tound out the group in 2017!

 

4. Blood Bowl

A completion that is very close to my hear, this one: After quite a bit of procrastrination, I finally completed the first big guy for my kitbashed Blood Bowl team, the Orkheim Ultraz:

blood-bowl-troll-1
It was simply great fun to make sure the troll fits the overall look of the team while also adding his own visual touches to the larger project:

orkheim-ultraz-2016-4
And the model really manages to make the team look and feel complete — even if there’s a really good chance we’ll be seeing more models for it in the future!

orkheim-ultraz-2016-2

So yeah, all things considered, thats quite an eclectic collection of new models, and one that I am really rather proud of:

class-of-2016-1

 

II. My favourite hobby moments

There were also some really awesome  hobby moments that didn’t involve building and painting new models, so let’s take a look at those as well:

For instance, I was really happy when Gilgamesh, my Chaos-Knight, made GW’s Webstore blog as an example of a converted Renegade Knight back in April:

Gilgamesh on GW blog 01
Alas, thanks to GW’s recent decision to fold their daily blog into a new (and admittedly rather cool) community site, my moment of triumph was short-lived. But at least I have the screenshots for proof 😉

Being approached by Adam Jones to contribute to his excellent hobby mag, The Golden D6, was also fantastic! Thanks to Adam, some of my work appeared in three issues of the mag:

An army feature focusing on Khorne’s Eternal Hunt in issue #5…

D6 Screenshot
…and a two-part series on how to glitz up your miniature photography, published in issues #6 and #7:

d6-deimos
This particular feature even earned me a rather glowing endorsement from Natfka over at Faeit212, as an added bonus:

faeit-212
And finally, my dear Lord Captain Lorimar even made the cover for The Golden D6′s issue #7:

d6-issue-7-cover
Anyway, if Adam’ll have me, I’d love to do some more contributions for the mag in 2017!

And last, but definitely not least, I would be remiss not to mention the fact that some of the best new additions to my collection happened courtesy of  enormously generous people who sent me conversions, bitz or even entire painted models:

class-of-2016-gifts-donations
Just to name some particularly wonderful examples off the top of my head…

  • a wonderfully painted Lord Zhufor sent to me by PDH,
  • an excellent converted Khornate Chaos Lord provided by BrotherJim
  • vintage Bloodletters kindly sent to me by Sagal and AMaximus
  • the base model for the Cyber-Mastiff conversion, courtesy of a Malifaux box that Miniature Tim sent me
  • a brilliantly moody Khornate cultist (and his bucket) gifted to me by Neil101:
Models built and painted by Neil101

Models built and painted by Neil101

And those are just the painted models! Let’s not forget Helega sending me one amazing bitz drop after the other, or the incredibly generous Adam Wier (of Between the Bolter And Me fame), who actually let me have a nearly complete Forgeworld Angron:

Forgeworld Angron WIP (1)
Thank you all so much, guys! You’re really turning this hobby into something even cooler for me, and I am really, really happy about that! 🙂

III. Bad news

In spite of feeling fairly happy with my hobby output this year and having my share of awesome hobby moments, I also have to say that it wasn’t all peaches and cream: For one, there were some rather sad developments: 2016 saw my beloved FLGS, Frabusel, closing its doors for good, which still sucks (and which has also rendered the procurement of hobby supplies somewhat more complicated). And I was really sad to learn of the passing of hobby and fantasy legends such as Joe Dever or the late, great Wayne England.

There’s also one instance where I really regret failing a hobby goal I had set for myself: Earlier this year, fellow hobbyists extraordinaire Jeff Vader, Nordic and Alexander were awesome enough to invite me to participate in a Path of Glory event. I felt really honoured and started to build a Khornate warband for the project, but in the end a combination of being too preoccupied with my RL situation and simply not devoting nearly enough time to the project resulted in my failing to participate, which I really regret. It would have been great fun to hang out with those gentlemen, surely, and failing to live up to their expectations (and my own) felt like a huge missed opportunity — I hope I’ll be getting another chance to complete my small warband of Khornate misfits – or an altogether different warband for another event.

khornate-warband-ks-7

*Sigh*, it just wasn’t meant to be…

IV. Plans

So what’s in the card for 2017? Now I usually try not to make any grand promises, because I know how much my output will be tied to inspiration — or to my considerable laziness 😉

That being said, there’s a couple of things that I would like to focus on next year. Two projects stand out above all others:

First up, and somewhat to my chagrin, my collection of 30k World Eaters is looking more and more like an actual army:

30k World Eaters 4th assault company WIP (2)
And while I won’t make any promises as to the eventual scope of this project, I will be focusing on finishing some of those guys in 2017 — if only to finally paint that sweet Angron model Adam Wier sent me 😉

If nothing else, gladiatorial Angron already seems right at home next to his Heresy era sons:

angron-thalkr-lord-of-the-red-sands-13

When it comes to INQ28, I would really love to start painting my Ordo Scriptorum warband representing Redactor Orlanth and his operatives:

Inquisitor Orlanth and Parchment Scrotener WIP
Even in its WIP stage, the warband already features some of my best INQ28 conversions, and I also do have some rather interesting ideas about what I want the retinue to look like when painted, so giving this project my best try should be fun!

I am not deluding myself, however: It’s just as likely that the next crazy GW release throws me way of course and gets me totally sidetracked — speaking of which, we’ll be taking a closer look at all the pretty things GW provided for us this year. And, of course, the Eternal Hunt Awards wouldn’t be complete without a showcase of the most inspiring work created by my fellow hobbyists.

 

But all of this will have to wait until after Christmas. Until then, let me wish you all a very Merry Christmas and say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who sent me models, bitz or other hobby materials or commented on this blog! I really appreciate it!

And of course I would love to hear any comments or feedback you might have about my 2016 output, so let me hear those comments!

And finally, 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!

The 2015 Eternal Hunt Awards, pt. 3: A look back at my hobby year

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 18, 2016 by krautscientist

Awards

Welcome everyone to this third and final installment of the 2015 Eternal Hunt Awards. After the last post’s lofty heights, we are back to my own measly models — I hope the contrast won’t be too jarring! 😉

But then, it wouldn’t be the Eternal Hunt Awards without a good look at my own hobby year — and besides, I am far too vain to omit this part. So allow me to share some of the models that I am particularly proud of as well as some of my favourite hobby moments from the last year.

I. My hobby projects

Some of you may already know that, from a personal perspective, 2015 turned into a pretty awful year for me just around the halfway mark. In spite of this, strangely enough, it was also a pretty successful hobby year. Go figure!

You wouldn’t know it from the sheer numbers, though, as I only managed to complete about 25 models, all in all. That’s quite a bit less than my 2014 turnout, at first glance, and really doesn’t sound like a whole lot of new stuff, right?

Well, the good news is that among those 25 models are some pieces that I am especially proud of — indeed, some of them are models that I have wanted to paint for years. And I also tackled at least one hobby project in 2015 that really moved beyond anything I had tried up to that point. But all in good order:

 

1. Khorne’s Eternal Hunt

2015 was very much a World Eaters year for me, with Khorne’s Eternal Hunt once again being one of the most important projects over the last twelve months and seeing quite a few additions.

You may remember this picture from about the same time last year, showing a pretty big part of my army:

Khorne's Eternal Hunt 2014 02
But since 2015 saw me adding quite a few models to the force, a proper new army picture was in order. So I trooped out the entire army for a photo shoot back in spring. Here’s Khorne’s Eternal Hunt in its current incarnation:

army shot 01 big colour

The army currently stands at about 4,000 points, give or take. Not a massive Apocalypse force, by any means, but still the culmination of several years of work — and still my favourite hobby project!

So let’s take a closer look at some of the new conscripts, shall we?

The year started strong, due to my participation in the 2014 Call of Chaos over at The Bolter & Chainsword. I really gave it my all and managed to paint four pretty cool models for the event:

Call of Chaos vow 2014 (2)

The truescaled version of Kharn had already been completed in late 2014. The Maulerfiend kept fighting me every step of the way, true to form, earning the name Gorespite in the process. Converting yet another Dreadnought/Helbrute was, once again, quite a bit of fun. And then there’s this gentleman, my last model of 2014 and my first model of 2015 (completed between the years, so to speak): The Doomwall, a converted Chaos Lord wearing a suit of Mk I-ish Terminator armour:

The Doomwall (6)

I am still immensely pleased with this guy, mostly because I think I’ve really managed to bring the Mk I armour into the 21st century, visually, while also making it look suitably chaotic.  There’s also a sense of bulk and menace to the model that I really like.

Read more about the Doomwall here.

 

The true star of the show when it comes to Chaos Lords was this guy, however: Lord Captain Baltus Lorimar, supreme commander of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt:

Master of the Hunt 02
Since Lorimar is such an important character in my army’s narrative, it has literally taken me ages to finish him: The model was converted all the way back in 2012 (and after much deliberation and several attempts, no less), but it was only this last year that I finally worked up the courage to paint it — something for which I have to thank my buddy Biohazard, as we engaged in a mutual challenge to finally finish our respective army generals.

Anyway, having worked on the model over such a long time, it was really liberating to finally complete it. And I also think Lorimar makes for a worthy Master of the Hunt. Here’s the Lord Captain among his personal retinue of Chaos Terminators, Lorimar’s Fist:

Lord Captain Lorimar and retinue (2)

What’s more, since Lorimar is such an important character for the 4th assault company, I even made sure to have both a 40k and a Horus Heresy era version of him in my collection:

Lorimar then and now

The 30k version was mostly built and painted by AgnostosTheos — I did add the hands and weapons, though, transforming the model into a fairly plausible representation of a younger Captain Lorimar.

And finally, to top things off, two different hobbyists provided me with some excellent artwork of Lorimar. I love both pieces to bits, be it Greyall’s brilliant illustration of the Lord Captain tearing a Daemon Prince(ss?) of Slaanesh to pieces…

Lord Captain Lorimar by Greyall

Lord Captain Lorimar by Greyall

…or Bloodygoodtime’s wonderfully charming sketch of a slightly more cartoony, yet suitably brooding, Lorimar:

illustration by Bloodygoodtime

illustration by Bloodygoodtime

I realise, of course, that Lorimar is essentially just one slightly bigger Chaos Terminator — but he was one of the most important projects of 2015 for me, and finally having finished the model and being able to place him amidst his followers feels great!

Read more about my work on the model here and here.

 

And while we are on the matter of World Eaters characters, here’s another little guy in red I added to my army as a special guest star, if you will: My own version of Aaron Dembski Bowden’s excellent Lheorvine Ukris, easily my favourite character from The Talon of Horus:

Lheorvine Ukris (9)

Coming up with a model to fit both the description in the book and a certain piece of artwork was quite a bit of fun — and let’s face it, Lheor’s just so awesome that I needed him in my World Eaters army, if only as a cameo 😉

Read more about the model here.

 

2. The Warrior King

While this project was also completed as part of my World Eaters army, strictly speaking, it was still monumental enough for me to deserve its own sub-section:

One of my hobby resolutions for 2015 was to paint the Chaos Knight I converted last year. And it is with quite a bit of pride that I can call this particular mission accomplished. Meet Gilgamesh, the Warrior King:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh, the Warrior King (12)
In all fairness, if you are a regular reader of this blog, there’s no way you haven’t seen this model before. But I hope you’ll forgive the repetition, because Gilgamesh is really far beyond anything I’ve ever done before, so I am really immensely pleased with having finished him.

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh, the Warrior King (13)
Chaos Knight Gilgamesh, the Warrior King (4)

There are many parts of the model I am really proud of, but possibly the biggest achievement was the inclusion of an entirely kitbashed cockpit in order to house the Knight’s pilot, Baron Augustus Melchiah Harrowthorne:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh, the Warrior King (22)
I think it’s an addition that really sells the model for me, because it just adds so much character. In fact, inspired by JeffTibbetts’ groundbreaking work on his Queen Bee, I also tried to hint at a deeper narrative behind this ancient warmachine wherever I could, adding things like battle honours, campaign badges or the bloody handprints adorning the Knight’s shin armour — a detail based on a very nifty idea originally supplied by fellow hobbyist dantay_xv.

Possibly my favourite part about this project has to be how it all worked out in spite of a near-catastrophic undercoating mishap right at the beginning — and there I was fearing I had managed to ruin an extensively converted model worth more than 100 Euros for a moment…

Oh, and let’s not forget that the project also increased my, already considerable, admiration for GW’s Imperial Knight kit: It’s so beautifully engineered and well-explained and goes together so woderfully that I shouldn’t really have been so afraid of the task beforehand!

In fact, this whole project was such a blast that I returned to the Warrior King later in the year and created an Epic-scaled version of the Knight, just for the heck of it:

Chibi-Knight Gilgamesh (1)

Now I can hardly wait for a re-released version of Adeptus Titanicus, so my “Chibi-Knight” can reap skulls for the skull throne 😉

Anyway, in case you’re interested, feel free to read up about the Warrior King and his smaller brother.

 

3. “Iron Within, Iron Without!”

This small project gets a special mention because it transformed from a mere test into something legitimately fun and engaging.

Everything started when I decided to use an Iron Warriors Warsmith I had converted ages ago as a test piece for trying out the Leadbelcher spraypaint I wanted to use on my Chaos Knight (short version: The spraypaint is pretty awesome, unless you use it in too hot weater and from too far away). Here’s the model that came out of that test, Warsmith Greimolt Sturm:

Warsmith Greimolt Sturm 01
While the model was merely intended as a test piece, I liked the result enough to start converting some more Iron Warriors to accompany their Warsmith. Thanks to some Dark Vengeance Chosen models kindly provided by Commissar Molotov, I came up with a small gang of Iron Warriors that explore the various archetypes present in the legion, from an Apothecary harvesting geneseed from fallen loyalists to a Breacher batting aside all opposition with his massive shield. So far, only three models have been completed, but this killteam is a fun project that I definitely want to return to at some point in 2016!

Iron Within

Check out my work on the Killteam here and here.

 

4. On the road to Heresy…?

I was never all that interested in starting my own Horus Heresy themed project, both because the thought of having to work with that much resin seemed very unappealing to me and because I found the prospect of having to paint the World Eaters’ Heresy era colour scheme fairly daunting.

However, with the release of Betrayal at Calth, the first point became moot, and I wanted to at least see for myself whether or not that blue and white heraldry would be as hard to paint as I had feared. So I did paint my first Heresy era World Eaters, after all. And I must say that I am really pleased with the result so far:

30k World Eaters test models (3)

In fact, the painting turned out to be a ton of fun, especially when it came to sponge-weathering and using a glaze to create the dirty, off-white armour — the experience was almost liberating, to tell you the truth!

So there will be more Heresy era World Eaters, that much is already decided. Don’t expect a full-blown army anytime soon – or at all – though: While this should be a great way to explore an earlier iteration of my favourite 40k army, it will be a rather deliberate process, favouring characters over massed ranks. A killteam seems like a sensible place to start, there will obviously be some of the characters I have already built. And that tweaked Contemptor I have already shared here on the blog. Beyond that, it’s all up in the air. If it all spins off into an army project at some point, that’s great. I wouldn’tcount on it, though, so please don’t hold your breath! 😉

For now, I am pleasantly surprised that painting the WE Heresy scheme has turned out to be such a cakewalk: I knew that if I were to do any Heresy models, it would have to be World Eaters after all, but the fear of pulling off that white scheme really scared me off. And now I have stumbled upon a recipe that makes it all so easy and pleasant — and I’ll be sharing it with you shortly. Scout’s honour! 😉

Oh, and as if I needed any more justification to further pursue this particular project, the post showcasing my first test model actually attracted exactly 888 views:

BftBG

It seems that Khorne approves…

 

So yeah, so much for the Traitor Legions. Expect to see more of these guys in 2016 🙂

Traitor Legions Class of 2015 (3)

 

 

5. The world of INQ28

Another of my resolutions for 2015 was to complete more models for INQ28, having finished a measly four characters in 2014:

INQ28 class of 2014
And while I still didn’t complete a deluge of characters by any stretch of the imagination, I think we can still call this endeavour a success as well. Take a look at the “Class of 2015”, so to speak:

Inquisitor Class of 2015 (3)

12 new models for my INQ28 collection, all in all. Although I have to admit that I didn’t build and paint all of the models in the picture: The Astropath model was kindly donated to me by the legendary Ron Saikowski — and subsequently named “Skorin Saikov” in his honour:

Model converted and painted by Ron Saikowski

Model converted and painted by Ron Saikowski

What I especially love about the model is how it’s a rather cunning recreation of one of John Blanche’s illustrations:

Insignium p1-10:-

Interestingly enough, there was actually another model similarly based on a piece of JB art and very kindly given to me by Drone21c. Meet the Arch-Deaconne:

The Arch Deaconne
This time around, at least the paintjob is mine 😉 In any case, I think it’s utterly stunning that people not only create those wonderfully Blanchian models, but also send them to me. Nuts!

Anyway, so I did manage to put out more models. But I’ll also consider the project a success because I actually completed some of my best INQ28 work so far, if I do say so myself, such as my very first true scale Astartes, Praetor Janus Auriga of the Golden Legion:

Praetor Janus Auriga (13)

Or Sister Euphrati Eisen of the Order of the Martyred Sword:

Sister Euphrati Eisen (10)
There’s Interrogator Brynn Yulner, who started out as an okay conversion, but only really came into his own once I swapped his legs for a set of Tempestus Scion legs at the eleventh hour:

Interrogator Brynn Yulner (2)
I am also rather happy with the paintjob, to be honest.

I also began building and painting an AdMech-centred warband that has been a lot of fun to work on so far:

Adeptus Mechanicus Magi and Chimeric Servitor (2).

I painted one of Jes Goodwin’s classic Eldar Warlocks which was quite a bit of fun and a very nice change of pace:

Eldar Warlock (1)
Eldar Warlock (4)
Seeing how the model features some lovely retro touches (such as the fur collar), I also endeavoured to paint it in a slightly Oldhammer-ly way (I am especially pleased with the leopard/ermine pattern on the fur, if I do say so myself).

And finally, one model I am particularly fond of is my tough-as-nails Hive Cop Remus Ingram, finally finished this last year:

Remus Ingram (1)
This is actually one of my oldest INQ28 conversions, which makes me even happier that I have finally managed to paint him — I still like that base model enormously, by the way, and I also think the conversion is pretty clever, albeit not all that complex 😉

Tell you what, here’s actually a bit of a call-forward to 2016: I’ve wanted to give Remus a Cyber-Mastiff for quite a while now, although I never had a suitable model. Yet when I won the Malifaux Relic Hunters box in Miniature Tim’s raffle last year, the dog included in that kit provided an excellent base model for that plan. And so my first INQ28 model this year – and indeed my first model for 2016 – turns out to be…a dog. Huh.

Cyber-Mastiff (1)
Cyber-Mastiff (2)
I didn’t convert the model too heavily, both because I rather like the stoic nature of the base model and because I wanted it to still be relatable to as a dog, and not as a vat-grown, ‘roided-out monster: I merely added some cabling running along the back, a small electrical coil and some AdMech gauges on the collar and a bionic eye to show that some augmetics had been put in place. All in all, I am really rather happy with the outcome. As several people have remarked, the bionic eye makes the pup look rather sophisticated 😉

Cyber-Mastiff (3)
I also think the two work together rather nicely, even if the dog is quite a beast:

Remus Ingram and Cyber-Mastiff (2)

Anyway, INQ28 is really my other big passion in this hobby, and I am really happy to have been more productive at it in 2015. I think I’ll try to keep it up in 2016 as well! 😉

Inquisitor Class of 2015 (2)

 

 

II. My favourite hobby moments

Once again, in addition to finishing some models I am really immensely proud of, the interactions with other hobbyists, bloggers and forumites were probably the best part of my 2015 hobby life: From people like Ron Saikowski and Drone21c sending me their Blanche-inspired models to Miniature Tim being awesome enough to not only give away a huge box of stuff as part of a raffle, but to also send it halfway across the world to my doorstep, it has been – once again – a year of humbling generosity and general awesomness.

In a time where everyday politics seem to be defined once again by petty nationalism and disconcerting “The boat is full!” propaganda, it’s a nice counterpoint to be in contact with people all around the globe who are being so supportive and generous. Just take my growing list of “bitz-buddies”: bitzbuddies2015

Or Augustus b’Raass sending my Khornate merch — where does he get that stuff?

Merch for the Merch God
Or the story of the Vaettir:

The Vaettir in his new home
Or any number of additional smaller and bigger moments of cameraderie that have become so central to this hobby for me. Granted, we live in complicated times, and one cannot simply equate sending little pieces of plastic around the world to very pressing political issues. But I do know that this kind of international comradeship has really made me appreciate the avenues of communication open to us today as well as the value of peace between nations — gah, I’m being all sappy and overly-grandiose. Sorry for that! 😉

Oh, you know what was also awesome? That one time Aaron Dembski-Bowden called my work “breathtaking” on his blog. Seriously, that really happened. Look:

YES!
Yeah, that was pretty amazing…

III. Blogging

Blogging on a regular basis is hard work, as any blogger will tell you. And yet, I persevered, in spite of everything: I published 51 posts in 2015 and attracted 224,401 views from over 90,000 visitors. What’s more, I also managed to reach the mark of 500,000 views overall, which I think is pretty cool!

Oh, and I learned what happens when one of my posts – the one about the fun one can have with the freebie Liberator included with a copy of WD back in July, in this particular case – gets shared in the right Reddit-thread:

Reddit

 

So a very heartfelt thank you must also go to all you beautiful readers and commenters! Thanks for reading all of this pointless rambling! And thanks for getting in touch and participating in the discussion! I always love to hear any feedback you might have, so keep the comments coming, alright?

 

So yeah, so much for 2015. And what’s in the cards for 2016? I don’t know. A new job, hopefully! Some new blog posts, certainly. And one thing that I am pretty sure about is that there will be more little plastic men — the majority of them unpainted, I fear. But we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it 😉

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

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!

The 2014 Eternal Hunt Awards, pt. 4: A look back at my hobby year

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 20, 2015 by krautscientist

Awards

One last look backwards, at 2014, and then we’re off to a productive new year — at least that’s what I hope! But as our last installment in 2014’s Eternal Hunt Awards, allow me to walk you through my personal hobby year and present both the models as well as the events that were especially noteworthy for me:

 

I. My hobby projects

2014 was a pretty busy year, but I still tried to stay as productive as I could. I managed to paint about 40 models (which is only very slightly less than my 2013 result). Not a breathtaking amount of work, certainly, but then I am still happy enough with the stuff I actually did manage to paint. What gives me pause, however, is the fact that I doubtlessly kitbashed and converted many, many more models than I actually painted — I’ll have to keep working on that ratio, I guess…

But what do those 40 models mean if seen in the context of my various bigger and smaller projects? Allow me to elaborate:

1. Khorne’s Eternal Hunt

My World Eaters army certainly remains my most important project, and 2014 was very much a World Eaters year for me! The absolute majority of my newly completed models ended up in the 4th assault company.

All these new additions certainly call for some new army pictures in the near future! However, I suppose it’ll be quite some time before the weather allows me to set it all up outside and take some dapper new photos. Until then, I have this picture (taken this last December for the “We Are Legion!” contest over at Le blog dé Kouzes) showing a pretty big part of the army to tide you over:

Khorne's Eternal Hunt 2014 02
It’s not the entire army (it’s missing the twenty odd “old” berzerkers from before my hobby hiatus during the 2000s, for instance, and a couple of other models), but it’s a fairly accurate depiction of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt in its current incarnation.

And here are some 2014 additions to my World Eaters that I am especially happy with:

 

World Eaters Gladiators (67)
World Eaters Gladiatorii squad

This project started as a spontaneous kitbash and then grew into something bigger when I decided to convert a gladiatorial Khornate champion along with his coterie of grimdark gladiators. Though these would probably be counted as bog standard Khorne Berzerkers when used in a game, building a squad of distinctly gladiatorial World Eaters has been a great way to explore that particular part of the legion’s background — plus it was lots of fun to come up with different types of gladiators that call back to actual historical sources while also seeming believable in the 41st millennium.

If you’re interested, check out the full story of the gladiatorii here, here and here.

 

Valkar the Scarred (1)
Lord Valkar, the Scarred One

This was a model that I had wanted to complete for a long time, and as has been the case so often, the ongoing Painting and Converting Contest over at Throne of Skulls provided the perfect excuse to finally get my act together! I am really happy with both the resulting model and the fact that I now own one of the truly effective Khornate unit choices: A Chaos Lord on juggernaut — what could be more Khornate than that, right?

Check out Lord Valkar in more detail here.

 

Hadrak Firebringer (8)
Thamier-pattern Obliterator

This is a model I am especially happy with for several reasons: It marks the first Obliterator in my army, for one, because it took me so freaking long to finally settle on an interpretation of this unit type I was happy with. I was insanely fortunate enough to procure some wonderful, custom sculpted parts from fellow hobbyist thamier (whose “Balefire Legion” you should definitely check out ASAP) for this project, and the result is a model I am really proud of. And maybe the best thing is that I still have enough parts for a second Obliterator. Yay!

Find out what went into building this guy here.

 

Helbrute (2)
Brother Khorlen the Lost

Finishing this model was one of the rare instances where I actually managed to surprise myself: I had just seen the newly released multipart Helbrute (which I really liked a lot), but instead of buying it right away (my usual reflex), I rather painted the Dark Vengeance Helbrute I still had lying around ever since the boxed set was released. And boy am I happy about that decision in hindsight! The model was pretty challenging to paint, make no mistake, but finally managing to finish what may be my favourite Dark Vengeance model really felt good — and I am actually rather happy with the result, too!

Find out more about this one instance where I actually showed some discipline here.

Kharn the Betrayer redux (12)
And, of course, my re-imagined Kharn the Betrayer: This model was, once again, built for a contest over at Throne of Skulls, but at the same time, it also kicked off a sizeable painting project of mine that saw me paint more than 500 points for my World Eaters over the Christmas holiday — we’ll be talking about those models in more detail really soon, I promise you.

Learn more about Kharn the Betrayer and my interpretation of him here.

 

Chaos Knight WIP (79)
Chaos Knight Titan

Last and very definitely not least: My Chaos Knight conversion. Though this model yet remains unpainted, it is probably the one 2014 hobby project I am most happy with: Working at such a scale was a first for me, and I was really intimidated by the project, to be honest — so much so, in fact, that it took me several months to actually get started on the model.

In the end, however, I am more than happy with the result so far: The Imperial Knight is a wonderful kit in its own right, and I think that I have managed to make sure this conversion will be a suitable centre point for Khorne’s Eternal Hunt! I even built a full interior for the model — something I wouldn’t really have considered beforehand.

Chaos Knight WIP (80)

I hope that finally getting this big guy painted will turn into a successful hobby project of mine in 2015 — I am still working up the courage for it, to be honest…

Until then, why not check out my posts on the creation of my Chaos Knight Titan here and here?

 

2. The world of INQ28

The wonderful world of Inquisitor and the battle for the Emperor’s soul continues to be a fascinating subject and an endless source of inspiration to me. Even so, I am painfully aware that I have only managed to paint a measly four models for INQ28 in 2014:

INQ28 class of 2014
And while I am really rather happy with each of them – and do in fact think that they make for a wonderfully eclectic little group in the above picture – I really want to make sure to produce more finished pieces for INQ28 this year!

In fact, I have kitbashed lots and lots of characters I am really happy with so far, such as my first real true scale Marine, Brother Janus Auriga…

Brother Sergeant Auriga (1)

…among many others, so it looks like I have my work cut out for me — let’s see if I can manage to get this show on the road again!

 

3. Legio Custodes

Alas, my beloved Custodians received even less attention from me than my INQ28 models. However, I did at least manage to build some models that I am really happy with for this project: A rather convincing (if I do say so myself) version of Chief Custodian Constantin Valdor and a really badass looking Custodian in Pre-Heresy style Astartes battle plate:

Valdor and Custodian WIP
As with my INQ28 collection, I will endeavour to get more of these guys finished in 2015. After all, it’s only a matter of time until Forgeworld’s own Custodes are released, making my kitbashes entirely obsolete — at least in the eye of the public 😉

Find out more about my kitbashed Custodes here.

 

4. Urash’s Marauders

Traitor Elite (16)
And finally, my Traitor Guard. To be honest, it took me a while to get back to this project, but I did so with an addition that has thoroughly revitalised my interest in this army: After long deliberation and multiple test builds, I have finally come up with the beginnings of a squad of elite traitors, shown above, mostly based on GW’s excellent Tempestus Scions. And though it has taken me quite a while to get these guys finished, I am now really happy with them, especially with the unit champion:

Traitor Elite (03)
I think I’ve mentioned this before, but it really does bear repeating: This guy takes much inspiration from PDH’s excellent renegade troopers, and is also the first time that I have come (reasonably) close to reproducing the excellence of those models. In fact, the guy above may just be the Traitor Guard model I am most happy with to date, so expect to see more additions to Urash’s Marauders sooner rather than later.

Until then, read more about the squad here.

II. My favourite hobby moments

So much for my own hobby projects, but what else was cool? Once again, there were several moments in 2014 that really served as “milestones of awesome”, so to speak,  making my hobby year truly special:

First among those moments – and by a long shot – was being featured in Warhammer:Visions — in Blanchitsu, no less!

Blanchitsu
Seriously, this really took the cake! It also had me running around with a huge grin for at least a couple of days. And it is an achievement that I am pretty sure I won’t be able to reproduce anytime soon, which really makes it even more awesome. Being featured in this column along with extremely talented guys like PDH and Mikko Luoma was the icing on the cake, of course.

I have talked at length about Legion, the model that finally made the pages of Warhammer:Visions, and I promise I won’t put you through it all again — unless you want to, of course, in which case you can find the whole story here.

The various interactions with other hobbyists online were almost as good as my stint in Visions: The friendly and constructive way people in our hobby can interact via the power of the interwebz is one thing that never ceases to astound me, the other is the unending generosity of so many of my fellow hobbyists. Therefore, it’s really hard to pick that one favourite moment from among all the pleasant interactions I have had in 2014. Rather, it’s a collection of warm and fuzzy memories: being sent amazing bitz drops and unique models by PDH, Drone21c and Steifer, sharing friendly banter and thoughts about the hobby with Flint13, Augustus b’Raass and others over at The Bolter & Chainsword, trying my best to produce cool models for the contests at Throne of Skulls and getting my ass kicked time and time again by DexterKong, hammering out the backstory for a whole Imperial sector in cooperation with that same DexterKong, having hobbyists build models that share my name as a shout out (and trying to repay that particular kindness),…the list goes on and on.

Let me maybe show you one small thing to illustrate my point: Here’s a map showing you all the people I’ve done bitz swaps with so far. Without any money involved, I might add — just for the sake of helping each other out:

bitzbuddies

I think this is ample proof of the amount of generosity present in our hobby! Thank you all, guys and girls! You rock!

 

I was also really blown away when I received a very special gift for my birthday last year:

Fan Troll (13)
my colleague Annie converted and painted a wonderful fan troll for my Blood Bowl team, the “Orkheim Ultraz”, which really left me speechless. I know you are not supposed to feed the troll, but I really want to 😉 Thanks again, Annie — you’re awesome! 🙂

Read the whole story here.

And one last thing that I am really happy with: As I’ve mentioned above, I really managed to get my act together over the holidays, painting a pretty chunk of new World Eaters models for Khorne’s Eternal Hunt. This all happened as part of The Bolter & Chainsword’s 2014 Call of Chaos event, which not only gave me a deadline to meet, but also provided lots and lots of motivation via the friendly competition among board members. I’ll be showing off the completed models in more detail very soon — I hope you like red and bronze! 😉

 

III. Blogging

Providing a constant stream of content for this blog remained a fun – albeit challenging – endeavour during 2014: I managed 63 posts and attracted 170,000 views from 138 countries — numbers that may not be all that spectacular in the larger order of things but still feel pretty unreal to me, seeing how this is just my small, uninteresting corner of the internet 😉 I also managed to reach the mark of 300,000 views overall, which I think is pretty cool!

For those of you interested in this kind of stuff, here’s a link to the annual report WordPress has kindly provided.

 

All in all, it has been a busy year. A productive year. A fun year. Yet also a year full of unpainted plastic — but what else is new? Thank you all for joining me on this ride. This concludes our little retrospective, and we’ll be strictly focusing on new stuff from now on: Here’s to 2015!

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