Archive for chaos space marines

In the Shadow of Great Wings, pt. 1

Posted in 30k, Chaos, Conversions, Custodes, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2017 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, sorry for the lack of updates, but I’ve been crazy busy these last couple of weeks! That being said, I do have something new to share with you today, a new conversion of an established character that I hope you will appreciate — some of you may already be suspecting who it is we are talking about, based on the title of this post, but anyway: Here goes:

When I shared my 30k Khârn conversion with you recently, several fellow hobbyists here and on the forums suggested I should actually also create a model for Argel Tal of the Word Bearers, Crimson Lord of the Gal Vorbak and ostensibly Khârn’s BFF during the events of Aaron Demsbki-Bowden’s “Betrayer”.

Now for those of you not following the Horus Heresy novels, Argel Tal and his brethren are arguably the first-ever Chaos Space Marines: Sent by Lorgar into the Eye of Terror itself, they become possessed by Daemons of the warp and, from that point onwards, are able to transform into hideous yet powerful semi-daemonic creatures during combat — pretty much proto-Possessed Chaos Space Marines, if you will. Their story is told in ADB’s novel “The First Heretic”, and the Gal Vorbak have also been immortalised by receiving their own dedicated Forgeworld models that match the descriptions appearing in the novel rather closely:

Argel Tal makes a return in “Betrayer”, serving as one of the novel’s main characters. And, like I said, he bonds rather closely with the World Eaters’ 8th Captain, creating what may be the Horus Heresy’s grimdark version of a buddy-cop scenario 😉

So creating an Argel Tal model to accompany my version of Khârn seems like a pretty cool idea, right? Even so, I was pretty reluctant.

Argel Tal just seemed very hard to get right, especially given his part-daemonic nature: When I did some research on Argel Tal conversions, most models I discovered were either based on Forgeworld’s Gal Vorbak models shown above (the guy in the front row seems like a dead-ringer for Argel Tal as he is described in “The First Heretic”) or on a mixture of plastic Possessed and Raptor bits. But neither approach really quite clicked for me: On the one hand, I didn’t really want to have to buy a set of Gal Vorbak models, cheap bastard that I am 😉 And the Gal Vorbak models are also a fair bit taller than standard Astartes, while I wanted the two models to work together, which would be easier with models of a similar size.

The combination of Possessed and Raptor parts, on the other hand, seemed promising, but the main pitfall I saw was to end up with a model that just looked like any old CSM Raptor, when Argel Tal is such a cool character and deserves a conversion with a certain originality and presence.

So I was just about content with leaving the character well alone, but then my buddy DexterKong joined the chorus of those clamouring for an Argel Tal conversion — and I could never really turn down a conversion challenge from Dexter, so over the course of an afternoon, a couple of ideas actually coagulated into a model (which we’ll be taking a look at in a minute).

For inspiration, I mostly worked from the description of Argel Tal given in “Betrayer”: With his daemonic possession having been underway for quite a while by the events of the novel, Argel Tal’s “combat form” seems to have developed into a slightly more stable version. He has also gained a pair of wings, which feature rather prominently in the scenes he appears in. And he is wielding a pair of Custodian weapons: a sword and a freaking Guardian Spear. I was pretty sure this last part would pose quite a challenge, especially given the plastic Custodes’ increased size and bulk.

I also used two pieces of artwork that came really close to how I imagined Argel Tal. One is this fantastic piece of art courtesy of slaine69:

Argel Tal by slaine69

This illustration does a rather fantastic job of showing Argel Tal in all his daemonic glory, while also including enough visual cues that point towards his Astartes roots, such as the corrupted Mk. IV armour and helmet.

The other piece of art I felt drawn to was the possessed Chaos Space Marine from the cover of GW’s Black Legion supplement:

Granted, the armour is definitely the wrong colour. But this guy is really close to how I imagine Argel Tal, plus this general look also seemed to be attainable by using the right set of bitz.

So with these pointers in mind, I created the following:




So, a couple of conversion notes on the model:

  • I tried to choose armour parts for Argel Tal that seemed suitably chaotic and warped while also recalling the Mk. IV armour the character wears during the events of Betrayer. The Chaos Raptor kit came in handy here, allowing for armour that really matched both criteria.
  • When it came to creating the wings, the obvious solution would have been to make use of the winged backpack from the Possessed kit:


But to be perfectly honest, I really don’t like that bit: It seems so very symmetrical and cartoony. And the wings are also a fair bit too small to lift a creature of Astartes size. Fortunately enough, I found a set of leftover Vargheist wings in my bitzbox, and they were carefully grafted to the organic looking backpack of Dark Vengeance’s Kranon model. I am really rather happy with the result!

  • The head was probably the one instance where I actually consciously deviated from canon: In the books, Argel Tal’s daemonic form is described as wearing a warped version of an Mk. IV helmet, with the faceplate actually cracked into a daemonic maw. And right enough, the Raptor/Warp Talon kit actually features several helmets that clearly look like corrupted Mk. IV helmets. But whenever I tried adding one of them to the model, it ended up looking like just another standard Raptor. I then wanted to add Kranon’s horns to the helmet to make it look less vanilla. And gut instinct made me carefully dig out Kranon’s entire head from its original torso and add it to the conversion. And I really think it works rather nicely: It’s not an Mk. IV helmet, certainly, but it does have the daemonic maw. It’s also not a head you see all that often, so it does make the character look more original and “special”, in a way.
  • And finally, the weapons: Having the character wield both a sword and a Guardian Spear would have looked ridiculous enough before the new plastic Custodes were released, but given the size and bulk of the new models (and their weapons), it basically seemed unfeasible. So I decided to arm Argel Tal with a Guardian Spear, as it seemed like the more iconic weapon of the two. I did replace the original haft with a Chaos Knight’s spear, however, to bring out the spear-like qualities of the weapon a bit more.

However, I also wanted to feature the sword in some shape or form, seeing how the way Argel Tal came by it seemed so significant to me. So I decided on a slightly more subtle way of including the sword — by actually making it a part of Argel Tal’s base:






That sword sticking out from the fallen Astartes at Argel Tal’s feet? That may or may not be his sword: I imagine Argel Tal as a highly dynamic fighter, zipping across the battlefield like a whirlwind of destruction, so maybe this is him coming back to pick up his sword after fighting elsewhere? Moreover, if both Khârn and Argel Tal are placed next to each other, they seem to be interacting rather nicely as a mini-diorama of sorts:


And a small narrative suggests itself: Maybe Argel Tal was occupied elsewhere on the battlefield, saw an Ultramarine sneaking up on Khârn, threw his sword and is now swooping down to take it back — and assist his BFF while he’s at it?

Anyway, all things considered, and given my earlier reservations about tackling this particular character in the first place, I am pretty happy with the finished conversion — of course now I’ll have to do a “human” version as well, to show Argel Tal when he’s off the battlefield (or when the gloves have not yet come off…).

Bonus model:

All the time spent messing around with Guardian Spears really gave me a desire for building my first new plastic Custodian. And after going through “The First Heretic” again for conversion cues, memories of Aquillon were still pretty fresh on my mind, so…




Anyway, so much for today’s update. I would love to hear any feedback you might have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

The State of the Hunt, Week 14/2017: Kill! Maim! Convert!

Posted in 30k, 40k, Chaos, Conversions, state of the hunt, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 7, 2017 by krautscientist

An entire week has gone by in a blur, thanks to the two conferences I visisted last week, and so I find myself without any significant new hobby content to share with you — bugger! 😉

That’s really not so bad, however, as it provides me with the perfect excuse to highlight a conversion I’ve created fairly recently and talk about it in more detail. Some of you may remember this guy who made an appearance in one of my previous posts:


I asked you whether anyone had a suggestion who this was supposed to be — and, indeed, there was no fooling you guys: The model was my early mockup of Khârn, the World Eaters’ Eight Captain and everybody’s favourite raving lunatic, during his younger years — but why not just use the official 30k Forgeworld model and be done with it?

Well, because converting is more fun, of course. But that’s not the only reason: I have written rather extensively about my thoughts of the various interpretations of Kharn, both in artwork and in model form (here and here, if you want to go read up on it).

The short version would be that, in spite of some seriously cool little touches, like the more gladiatorial armour, I do have my gripes with the Forgeworld rendition of Khârn:

Khârn the Bloody, by Edgar Skomorowski

I think the pose looks less like running and more like falling forward. Switching the axe and pistol arms around compared to the 40k model seems like a slightly strange decision (sure, Astartes are probably ambidextrous, but it still flies in the face of visual continuity, especially now that the new plastic 40k version has the same setuo as the classic metal model). Probably the part I was the least happy with, however, was Khârn’s face:

Getting a look of the various Horus Heresy characters’ faces through Forgeworld’s models is a pretty cool feature, if you ask me, but I do think they messed up in this case: Khârn’s face is expressly stated to be strangely unscarred in several parts of the lore, so the twisted, mangled face on the model, while expertly sculpted, doesn’t really read as Khârn to me. Moreover, the interesting thing about Khârn, at least in the novels, is how he is a complete and utter monster when gripped by the influence of the Butcher’s Nails, but retains a lot of nobility and clarity when off the battlefield, and the grimace shown above really doesn’t transport that duality for me.

So there was really not other way: I needed to come up with my own version of the Eight Captain. And while Khârn isn’t a regular member of the World Eaters 4th assault company, my personal army, I liked the idea of having him available as a “special guest star”, so to speak — and in any case, this seemed like a cool little hobby project.

So my mission statement at the outset was as follows:

  • Create a model that looks like a suitably impressive rendition of the Eight Captain and is also true to my personal thoughts on what Khârn should look like.
  • Incorporate several shout outs to the different, “official” versions of the character, because continuity is fun! 😉

And that’s what I tried when creating the early mockup you saw above. But while the basic premise seemed sound, I realised that the model definitely needed more work. So here’s what Khârn looks like right now, after cleaning up the conversion and making quite a few tweaks. I think he is just about finished right now, and ready for paint:




A couple of conversion notes, if I may:

  • the AoS Blood Warrior breastplate was chosen in order to convey a bigger sense of bulk and to add a bit of gladiatorial flair to the armour, similar to the look of the Forgeworld model
  • As you can see, I actually switched his weapons around, which arguably brings him much closer to both the classic and new 40k incarnations of the character.
  • This also gave me the opportunity to swap in a wonderfully clunky CSM plasma pistol — I realise that 30k plasma pistols have this “Martian Deathray” look, but I prefer a weapon that looks like it could actually be used to clobber an opponent over the head — plus it’s, once again, closer to classic 40k Khârn’s pistol.
  • the face was a bit of a lucky discovery: It’s from the new plastic vanguard kit, and while it’s still angry enough, it’s also unscarred and less deformed than that of the Forgeworld version. Plus I think the mohawk really suits Khârn 😉
  • The press-molded detail on his backpack was actually added to evoke the legion symbol and is a direct shout out to a similar element that appears on the Forgeworld version. The specific mark of backpack was chosen for the same reason (it’s actually a vintage 2nd edition backpack, though, so you basically cannot go any more archaic than that 😉 ).
  • The skull-face belt buckle (from an AoS Exalted Deathbringer) was originally chosen because it resembled the belt buckle on the classic 40k Khârn, but I ended up keeping the actual loincloth as well, because it nicely complemented the somewhat static pose: I liked the idea of capturing the Eight Captain during one of his – increasingly rare – lucid moments. There’s also the fact that his pose is ever so slightly reminiscent of the classic 40k model, and I really like that touch.

 

In fact, when it comes to the pose and overall look of the model, fellow hobbyist k0hnahrik put it far more succinctly than I could have:

As for the tabard, I actually think it fits perfect. I think it adds to the ‘angry yet in control’ look. As if he’s a worshipper of khorne but hasn’t completely lost his mind yet, like he can still assess a battlefield strategically and still wear cosmetic items(the tabard) that set him apart from the rest of the infantry – he’s still above them, he’s not another screaming angry face in the crowd yet. Not to mention – the motion on the tabard adds perfectly to the motion of the model – he’s just finished off an enemy, now he’s swirling around and quickly assessing the battlefield for a moment, identifying his next target, thinking like a commander – then he’s off and charging again.

 

All in all, I have taken some liberties with the model, of course: The breastplate lacks the “air intake” that is a recurring element of all three “official” Khârn models. When all was said and one, I didn’t want to mess up the smooth lines of the breastplate, though. There’s also the fact that my version’s armour has been cobbled together from several marks, whereas the Forgeworld Khârn is clearly armoured in a customised Mk. IV suit. I really wanted to push the idea of a suit of “mongrel plate”, though, as I think the World Eaters are probably scavenging whatever they can and repairing and creating their armour with all the parts they can get their hands one, given their massive casualities due to their specific way of waging war.

And when all is said and done, the main objective here was to come up with a model that reads as Khârn to me, and that mission, at least, has been accomplished 😉

So how does my version of Khârn check out next to some other models? Here’s a comparison picture showing my 30k Khârn next to a standard 30k World Eater and to the – rather massive – new plastic 40k version of the character:


As you can see, he’s about as tall as a standard Marine (the guy on the left appears taller because there’s quite a bit of basing material underneath his feet), yet at the same time, the combination of the Mk. III legs and the beefed out torso give him a slightly more massive look, which I think really fits the character and serves as a hint at the even more massive, imposing figure Khârn will have grown into, probably thanks to the war god’s influence, by the 41st millennium.

As a fun detail, the press-molded symbol on his backpack actually prompted me to add the same detail to 40k Khârn, both as a piece of continuity, but also because that empty armour plate on the back of the backpack really bothered me, and this seemed like the perfect solution:


I already said that I really wanted my own 30k Khârn to be like a bit of a missing link between the other versions, and I think this part of the project has been a success: If you look closely, you’ll see several elements on the model that point to the different incarnations of the character, both in 40k and in 30k:


Oh, and while we are at it, here’s a picture showing every version of Khârn currently in my possession, including the true scale-ish custom Khârn I created back in 2014:


Come to think of it, this seems like the perfect opportunity to give that particular model a bit of extra airtime, because I am still pretty pleased with it, and I think it managed to hold up, even when compared to the new “official” 40k Khârn:




A closer look at the model can be found here, in case you are interested.

So, all in all, I am pretty happy with how this project has been going so far, and I am looking forward to slapping some paint on Khârn — but what about you? Do you think this is a successful interpretation of the character? And do you have any last minute suggestions? I would love to hear any thoughts you might have!

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

Five years!

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

eternal-hunt-5th-anniversary-7

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

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

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

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

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

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

Angron illustration by Dariiy

Angron illustration by Dariiy

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

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

 

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

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

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:

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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:

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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!

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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:

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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!

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

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

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

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

thousand-sons-release-1
I may have mentioned before that I usually find Tzeentch the hardest chaos god to like, mostly due to the whole wanton mutation angle: The daemonic servants of Tzeentch are often too abstract for my taste, and the often heavily mutated mortal servants also tend to leave me cold — what can I say, I am a Khorne “heavy armour and no nonsense” kind of guy through and through 😉

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

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

 

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

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

So here we go:

 

Magnus the Red, Daemon-Primarch of the Thousand Sons

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

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

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

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

illustration by Wayne England

illustration by Wayne England

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

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

thousand-sons-release-4
As is always the case, however, it’s the small things that make or break even a huge model like this, and GW has certainly put in the required work:

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

thousand-sons-release-5
Personally, I prefer the masked face, both for its mysterious and regal qualities and because it’s not quite as gnarled as the other two.

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

thousand-sons-release-6

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

There’s also an incredible amount of detail on Magnus’s armour, and all of those embellishments don’t merely serve as decoration: It seems like there’s a real depth of symbolism here, with layers and layers of callbacks to the lore – or, indeed, to real world culture – for us to figure out. Wudugast has done a fantastic job of pointing out many of these elements in his aforementioned post, and it would be remiss of me to steal his work here, so make sure to give it a look.
thousand-sons-release-7
I wonder why his right hand is so freakishly big, though. Is there some explanation for this in the lore? Or is that just his literal Red Right Hand? (Badum-Tish! 🙂 )

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

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

 

Ahriman

thousand-sons-release-8
After Eldrad Ulthran and Khârn the Betrayer, Ahriman is the third classic 2nd edition Jes Goodwin model to be given a redesign, and it should be obvious that these models are the ones to be nervous about, given the originals’ iconic quality.

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

thousand-sons-release-16

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

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

thousand-sons-release-15

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

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

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

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

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

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

thousand-sons-release-12

 

Thousand Sons Exalted Sorcerers

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

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

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

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

thousand-sons-release-34b
In fact, the backpacks are probably one of the best parts of the kit, making the best possible use of Egyptian and Tzeentchian elements to create a unique silhouette for each of the sorcerers — this is an excellent touch that we need to see more of, especially because, for the most part, CSM backpacks only used to be a bit of an afterthought so far.

I also rather love the avian feet on this guy:

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

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

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

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

 

Thousand Sons Rubric Marines

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

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

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

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

And the new guys really fit the bill:

thousand-sons-release-22
Seriously, I just love them! The strongest part of the cult legions’ design was always in strong silhouettes and clear visual cues. And the new Rubric Marines absolutely deliver on that, clearly reading as Chaos Space Marines, followers of Tzeentch and Thousand Sons at the same time. The helmet designs are just beautiful, and the flowing lines of the armour trim really takes the classic CSM design to the next level. The added tassets are an excellent little touch. I also love how the new Rubric Marines have their own dedicated backpack designs!

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

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

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

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

thousand-sons-classic-sorcerer
What can I say: I just love that guy 😉

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

 

Thousand Sons Scarab Occult Terminators

thousand-sons-release-26
Oh wow, dedicated traitor legion Terminators — yet another pleasant surprise! Even better, though, is that the Scarab Occult Terminators look completely unlike vanilla CSM Terminators and yet perfectly read as Thousand Sons. Make no mistake, I am really fond of the classic CSM Terminator look, spikes and tusks and all. But for the Thousand Sons, something more elegant and less barbaric seems far more appropriate.

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

thousand-sons-release-28

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

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

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

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

 

Tzaangors

thousand-sons-release-38

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

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

Silver Tower Release (10)
On the other hand, there’s a real benefit to the multipart nature of the new kit that goes beyond the usual flexibility offered by plastic kits: It looks like kits that cross over between 40k and Age of Sigmar are now officially a thing again (even beyond the Chaos Daemon line of models, that is), as a closer inspection of the sprues reveals an extra sprue that can only be considered a dedicated 40k weapons sprue, when the other sprue seemingly has the more medieval looking weapons intended for AoS.

thousand-sons-release-43
All things considered, these guys are maybe the weakest parts of the release for me. But I think we can let it slide, both because we didn’t even expect 40k Tzaangors in the first place, and because the proper Thousand Sons models make for a pretty robust competition. When all is said and done, it’s still a nice kit that provides Tzeentch players with some interesting new option!

 

Conversion options

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

The State of the Hunt — Week 45

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, Pointless ramblings, state of the hunt, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 8, 2016 by krautscientist

So, like I said, I was at a conference last week, visiting the PLAY 16 festival at Hamburg and spending a couple of days in the city. I think I have mentioned previously that, in addition to being addicted to cutting up little plastic men, I am also a huge videogame nerd, and the subject also happens to factor into my professional background of working in the field of media literacy. So allow me to begin this week’s post with some comparatively off-topic rambling:

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PLAY is a festival dedicated to the artistic, creative and educational purposes and potentials of videogames, and this year’s subject was “Let’s get physical!”, so the various events, workshops and presentations dealt with the representation of bodies in games, ranging from the design of characters, archetypes and player avatars to the interactions between the game world and the player’s actual body, be it in the form of motion contol or even virtual and augmented reality. The festival was fascinating and fun, and certainly not short on highlights: For instance, I had the opportunity to try out Triangular Pixels’ VR game “Unseen Diplomacy”, which was a truly stunning experience — I hadn’t expected VR to be so, well, immersive at this comparatively early point!

Another highlight was the fact that the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg (MKG) is currently running a huge exhibition on the history of videogames, with many, many playable classics from 30+ years of gaming culture (I was appalled at how badly I was doing when playing OutRun on an actual vintage arcade cabinet). In addition to the actual games, the exhibition also features lots of concept artwork from modern classics like Shadow of the Colossus or Ico:

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I was particularly delighted when I discovered a whole wall of brilliant concept art from DoubleFine’s Psychonauts, a personal favourite of mine:

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So if you live anywhere near Hamburg or should find yourself visiting the city in the near future (or until the end of April 2017), and if you’re even the slightest bit interested in videogame culture, you should definitely check out the Game Masters exhibition! It’s very educational, but also great fun! Plus the museum also has many more exhibitions for you to discover, of course. I was sadly unable to check out the exhibits on Art Nouveau due to time constraints, for instance, so I might have to plan another visit soon…

Let me wind up this part of the post by showing you the room that housed the last workshop I participated in before travelling back home. This room is also located at the MKG and was once the cafeteria of German news magazine Der Spiegel:

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It also provided the perfect photo opportunity for getting material that should make for suitably psychedelic desktop backgrounds:

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Anyway, before we veer completely off course, rest assured that I did of course do something hobby related as well while I was in Hamburg: It goes without saying that I took the opportunity to drop by one of the local GW stores. Now what really impressed me was the level of painting on display at the store, courtesy of the staff and some regulars, so I snapped inspirational pictures left and right:

 

DISCLAIMER: This should be fairly obvious, really, but none of the following stuff is mine, and I don’t claim any kind of credit for it! If you should recognise one of your models and would like to be mentioned, just give me a holler and I’d be glad to edit your name into the post!

Anyway, my first port of call was this very awesome Khornate Daemon army painted by one of the store’s regulars:

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Possibly my favourite conversion was the Bloodslaughterer-based Soulgrinder:

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And while it wasn’t part of the same army, I also really love this slightly converted Maulerfiend:

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My favourite parts are the Bloodletters leading it to battle by a chain and that delicious brass recipe!

The biggest surprise was to discover something that I first considered to be a cool recreation of an iconic – and rather well-known – piece from the internet, but which almost certainly turned out to be the genuine article upon closer inspection:

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And because you can never have enough Inquisitor-scaled Astartes, there was also this beautiful 54mm Librarian (cheers to Inquisitor Mikhailovich for correcting that oversight!), based on the same vintage Captain Artemis:

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So yeah, brilliant stuff all around!

Of course I couldn’t leave the store without making a sizeable purchase. So yeah, this happened:

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The good folks at the store were nice enough to reserve their last copy of The Burning of Prospero for me, so there goes my next hobby year, I suppose 😉

Seriously, though, I am pretty sure I’ll be talking about the contents of the box in more detail sooner rather than later. For now, suffice it to say that I am actually awestruck by the quality of the casts: GW’s plastic models have been rather spectacular for quite a while now, but it really seems as though each boxed set sets a new benchmark for crispness of detail. Very nice! You can also find my thoughts on the models contained in the boxed set here, should you have missed them.

 

Speaking of which, I actually kitbashed one particular model as a kind of preparation for the release of The Burning of Prospero, incidentally:

As you may already have noticed, I really enjoy building 30k versions of my 40k World Eaters characters. Now back when it didn’t look like I would ever create any 30k models of my own, fellow German hobbyist AgnostosTheos created a 30k (pre-interment) version of one of my characters, Khoron the Undying:

Pre Heresy (8)

In the 41st millennium, Khoron has been a Dreadnought for several millennia, yet he has also been an invaluable adviser to Lord Captain Lorimar since before the Heresy, as he was already a veteran of the 4th company even before Lorimar won his captaincy in the fighting pits.

Khoron actually already has quite a bit of backstory – at least somewhere in the back of my head – so I do have a pretty specific idea of what I want his model to look like. With that said. there’s a lot I still love about AgnostosTheos’ version (especially the lined face he chose, making Khoron look like a grizzled veteran), but it’s obvious the model doesn’t fit my World Eaters colour scheme, so instead of painting over AT’s paintjob, I thought this would be a good occasion to build an updated 30k version of Khoron. Now I see him as a hard-as-nails veteran of the legion, so I chose an archaic suit of armour for him — plus I had already heard rumours of the new boxed set at that time, so it seemed like a cool idea to give Mk. III a try:

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The model was created by combining World Eaters’ and Iron Hands’ parts (I loved the chainmail loincloth on the IH legs, so I just had to use them). The weapons have also swapped hands when compared with AT’s version, in order for the model to mimic Khoron’s eventual Dreadnought ironform. The model has only been tacked together for now, and I think Khoron will be needing some additional gear here and there, but by and large, I am already pretty happy with the new version. So here’s Khoron next to the previous version of the character:

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

The State of the Hunt — Week 44

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, paintjob, state of the hunt, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 1, 2016 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, I’ll be at a conferece for most of the week, so this week’s post is basically a recap of things I am currently working on. Hopefully you’ll still appreciate the glimpse at my chaotic workshop 😉

I. Iron and mud

So first up, a small update regarding my ongoing work on my Call of Chaos vow: I already showed you a mostly completed Iron Warriors Apothecary directly after my recent vacation, but back then the model still needed a suitable base. And while I realise I have been taking my sweet time with this, I really wanted to make the base suitably interesting — I’ll let you be the judges as to whether or not I have suceeded with this.

So, without further ado, I give you Apothecary Phastos of the Iron Warriors:

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Like I said, I wanted to include a little “special effect” on the base, both to support the model’s narrative and because I had pledged this guy as a “trophied” model for The Iron Without, a small Iron Warriors centered sub-event over at The Bolter & Chainsword’s Chaos forum.  So I placed a fallen Imperial Fist at Phastos’s feet, trampled into the mud underfoot:

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What’s more, if you look really closely, you can see a telltale hole punched into the flex fitting covering the Astartes’ throat:

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It’s where Phastos has just used his Narthecium gauntlet to extract his fallen loyalist cousin’s geneseed. After all, the Iron Warriors have been known to use other legions’ geneseed to create new legionaries — in fact, this little nugget of lore is the reason for having an apothecary as one of the character archetypes feature in my Killteam in the first place!

Beyond the aspect of adding to the model’s narrative, the base was also a chance of trying my hand at a new technique for the first time, because the Imperial Fist was created using a mold and some GS. Now I certainly don’t want to go crazy about copying huge amounts of stuff, but I thought it might be an interesting tool to make certain effects easier to achieve, and having a “standard” fallen Astartes template would have been pretty useful, plus I wanted the profile of the fallen Marine to be pretty flat without having to shave down 5mm of plastic. So here’s a quick comparison shot showing the “master” for the fallen Marine, the mold I made and the finished base:

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Unfortunately, the experiment was only partially a success, because the GS Marine ended up slightly warped and with softer details than I would have liked. Granted, my pathologic lack of patience might have had something to do with it as well. Anyway, I thought the poor guy was still good enough for a base — I had to pull off all kinds of tricks, however, to suggest depth where none existed.

All in all, I really like the finished model, though: It immediately reads as an Iron Warrior, and the cold and implacable feel of the model is arguably underlined even further by the tiny amount of bare skin visible on Phastos’ face. Plus I like the sinister implications of an Iron Warriors’ Apothecary harvesting the geneseed of the legion’s fallen enemies…

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So regarding my Call of Chaos vow, this means two down, three to go 😉
I didn’t stop there, however, but made some time to rebase the other two power armoured Iron Warriors I had built and painted last year:

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I briefly considered leaving the guy on the left on his original base, seeing how he was just an early tester and will never be anything more, but in the end, it was only one more base, and I did go through the trouble of touching up the hazard stripes and decals on him when I painted the first “new” Iron Warriors last year, so it would have felt kinda wishy-washy to stop there 😉

The champ really profits from the added breathing space, though:

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The whole business of rebasing these guys also led to the discovery of a very effective and quick recipe for duing muddy bases: Just cover the base in Vallejo’s Sandy Paste for a cery convincing surface texture, spraypaint with Chaos Black (once the paste has dried), cover with an even coat of Vallejo Charred Brown (or any suitably brackish colour you like, really) and finish the base by coating it in gloss varnish — done!

While I was at it, I also snapped some new pictures of Warsmith Greimolt Sturm:

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So yeah, that’s the whole (albeit small) IV Legion collection I own so far:

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II. What’s in a name…?

Some of you probably still remember the models I painted for the ETL V event earlier this year: Among those models was a converted Kastelan Robot turned into an engine of destruction by the 4th assault company’s Master of the Forge, Lord Deracin.

However, back when I painted the model, I did not yet have a detailed idea about its possible background, and the poor guy didn’t even have a name. Thanks to the suggestions of my readers, however, this sad state of affairs is now at an end: Thanks to the suggestion of Llamahead, the converted Kastelan henceforth belongs to the “Confractura-pattern”. Now my Latin has grown a bit rusty, but I understand Confractura means “Breach” — which seems like a rather apt designation, given the fact that the robot is wielding a massive hammer 😉

But wait, there’s more: Thanks to an exchange of ideas, the machine also has an excellent little background vignette telling its story, courtesy of fellow hobbyist Inquisitor Mikhailovich (cheers, buddy!). Enjoy:

Khornate Kastelan conversion (11)
Brazenskull, “The Crimson Destroyer”, Confractura-pattern battle Automaton

Monger had been proud of the weapon.

The fact that the task of restoring such an ancient and powerful relic had been entrusted to him was, in his mind, a higher honour than even his elevation to the Deathwatch had been. If anything exceeded his elation at receiving the task, it had been his pride at his success.

Monger knew that becoming an Astartes, for all the honour it represented, was to be denied many of the emotions experienced by mortal humans, and yet when the machine finally woke from its eons long slumber for the first time, when it took its first halting steps after millennia of inaction, his joy was not entirely unlike what a proud parent might feel. And when its updated combat protocols first outclassed those of the combat servitors he tested it against, his was not only the pride of a tutor, but also the terrifying satisfaction that only an engineer of death could feel.

When it took to the battlefield for the first time, he felt a mix of all those emotions, as the child of his mind shredded Tyranic opponents for the first time on the plains of Ter’notha. On Veldictus it proved its worth when it routed the Cleansers of Ladon renegade Astartes in less than three days, tirelessly and furiously forcing them into retreat. When it finally fell against the monstrous World Eaters and could not be recovered, it had been mourned as a brother.

Now, however, the Tech-Marine felt an odd mixture of pride and, utter disgust. His machine had survived, exactly as he had planned it to. He recognised its reactions, its movements and attacks, even if its outer form had been terribly warped: Something had corrupted its noble adamantine shell. Like the Prodigal Son of legend, it had turned against its father.

The Marine braced himself as the machine charged him, sheathing his weapons and slaving his Servo-Arms to his mostly biological ones for enhanced speed. He barked curt orders to the Marines behind him – Wrecker, Pyro, Bookworm, and Archangel – his usual fiery voice replaced with the cold, hard steel one would expect from an agent of the Omnissiah. They obediently fanned out, retreating ever so slightly.

Monger met his creation head on, clamping his mag-boot and bionic foot to the Necrontyr living metal beneath him. With flawless timing he clamped the rampaging machine’s powerfist in one Servo-Arm, its new and unrecognisable hammer arm in the other.

Like a giant contesting a god, he forced it to slow its charge.

He adjusted his grip so as to crush the smaller and more vulnerable wrist of its right hand, forcing it to drop the hammer.

“I would know how to bring you down better than anyone. Next time, don’t be so foolish as to attack me,” he spat, angrily, before calling into the Vox, “Wrecker! I need you and Archangel to coordinate a volley on the head, explosive shells, plasma discharge oh-point-six seconds ahead of frag cannon fire, three rounds, fourth with armour penetrating rounds. Pyro, disable the powerfist with your melta, Bookworm, try and knock out the leg servos. Fire!”

The squad’s weaponry was in motion before he’d even finished delivering the command.

The automaton’s head jerked to one side and Monger’s optics flared, trying desperately to make visual sense of the fireworks display happening less than two metres away. His right arm and slaved Servo-Arm slipped forward as the weapon they had clutched was expertly disintegrated from between its servo driven claws, and the machine fell to one knee, then both, held up by the one Servo-Arm that still gripped it.

Monger deactivated his direct control over the right Servo-Arm, returning it to a storage position, and drew his relic combi-melta. Without a word, he placed the barrel against the shattered remains of the machine’s featureless faceplate, and pulled the trigger, obliterating its entire head. Then he relinquished his grip entirely, letting the broken automaton fall to the ground.

He turned to his squad and silently gestured for them to move out before returning to the machine. He rolled it over onto its back and, pressing one hand to its chest, uttered a prayer, commending its machine spirits to the Omnissiah.

Then, without another backwards glance, he followed his squad. There were wars to be fought, and this was no longer one of them.

 

***

Huntmaster Deracin dropped to one knee with a snarl of servo-joints and the clinking sound of chains, taking in the mechanical corpse of the Crimson Destroyer before him, as the robed Forge Adepts scurried around him, beginning to search the scrap metal for salvageable components.
This was the work of a Tech-Marine. The damage to the right arm showed marks that could only have been left by a Servo-Arm, so that much was obvious. The head and left arm had been shorn off cleanly, obviously by a melta weapon, and the small craters at the knees were evidence of precision bolter fire, no doubt.

What little remained of Deracin’s organic features drew into a smile, even as his augmetic eye surveyed the destruction, a cold and detached part of his mind already taking stock of the damage and plotting out the necessary repairs. The Loyalists were always so hasty to pronounce a machine dead. But no, this one’s hunt was far from over.

One of Deracin’s clawed servo-arms brought the automaton’s cracked faceplate in front of his face, and his smile turned into a wolfish grin. This is where he would start. The test runs so far had been promising, but the conversion process would only be truly completed once the machine was granted a new face, in honour of its new master. He would craft a new visage for it, one that would remind the Loyalists that he was not so easily bested.

A face in the image of death itself.

 

III. Ooops, I did it again…

Before I wind up this post, allow me to share one last sneak peek at the latest conversion I am working on: This last weekend, I felt the need to build something, and I still had that free Slaughterpriest from WD knocking about, so this happened:

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As some of you may already suspect, this will become yet another homemade version of Angron — whatever obsession with the Lord of the XII legion fellow hobbyist Reg is suffering from, I seem to have been infected with it as well!

Anyway, I am going for a model inspired by this piece of artwork from the late, great Wayne England:

Angron by Wayne England

Angron by Wayne England

Since I already have the stock Forgeworld model wielding Gorefather and Gorechild, it made sense to go for a version with the two-handed axe that appears so often in the classic artwork, such as the one shown above, but also in what is probably the oldes sketch showing Angron by none other than the legendary John Blanche:

Angron by John Blanche

Angron by John Blanche

The “winged” axe is also a part of my Daemon-Primarch version of Angron, as you will probably remember, so this should make for a nice visual shout out.

The model is still a very, very early WIP at this point, however, so it’ll be a while before we can consider this chap finished. But in any case, it seems like my series on building various incarnations of Angron will have to turn into a “quadtych”, after all — is that even a word…?

 

So yeah, I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s look at my desk! I would of course love to hear any feedback you may have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!