Archive for chaos space marines

State of the Hunt, Week 14/2019: Another chaotic interlude…

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, state of the hunt, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 2, 2019 by krautscientist

So, something unrelated to my #HeroQuest2019 project for today’s update — don’t worry, though, work on my HeroQuest models continues apace! However, with all of those incredible new Chaos Space Marine models hitting the shelves, I felt the need for just a wee little bit of chaotic kitbashing — indeed the irony of all of those models finally arriving just when I happen to have taken a bit of a hiatus from 40k has not escaped me…

For now I have mostly resisted the lure of the new kits — or of the Shadowspear boxed set, for that matter: While I basically love everything I have seen so far, I can simply not justify dropping over a hundred Euros on yet another box that would remain unpainted for the foreseeable future. But I do have my ways, and so a recent bitz delivery has provided me with the raw material for some smaller experiments. So let us take a look, shall we…?

 

I. The Host

Let’s start with what’s probably the least impressive offering for today, albeit one that I am nevertheless pretty happy with: Ever since first laying eyes on those rogue psykers that came with Blackstone Fortress, I have felt the need to use one of them to create a Daemonhost (most likely for use in INQ28): There’s just something about the chains and weighing down the psyker’s floating body that really recalls the Daemonhost aesthetics originally introduced by the 54mm version of Inquisitor — plus I have been saving that perfect Daemonhost head (originally from the Hellstriders of Slaanesh) for such a conversion. So anyway, here’s what I have made:

As you can see, it’s a pretty straightforward conversion: I have mostly just replaced one of the arms and the head, and have also shaved off most of the openly chaotic decoration. I still think the changes have nicely tweaked the general look and feel of the model — just a few purity seals and imperial doodads, and this poor wretched soul is ready for grueling servitude in an inquisitorial retinue (probably of the Ordo Malleus flavour, come to think of it).

This was, however, merely the warmup:

 

II. Don’t look a gift Dread in the mouth…

The second model I would like to share with you has been a long time coming: Back when I visited fellow hobbyist Augustus b’Raass in Amsterdam in 2017, he was generous enough to present me not only with a pile of conversion bitz, but also with one of the old Forgeworld World Eaters Dreadnoughts:


Now I have a fond personal history with those FW Dreadnoughts, because they were my first proper contact with Forgeworld to begin with: Back when I saw those, I remember being utterly blown away with the sheer quality of the sculpts — and there was one for each Traitor Legion, mind you! And all of this at a time where the Traitor Legions didn’t exactly get all that much love from GW proper.

Alas, I never purchased one of the Dreads, and when they went OOP a while ago, I was quietly furious at myself at passing the opportunity to have the World Eaters one in my collection — an oversight that Augustus remedied by way of his wonderful gift.

But I am nothing if not a hobby butterfly, so it took me ages to finally start working on the Dreadnought — I was also missing some proper arms for him, in my defense. But when Augustus recently sent me a wonderful squad of World Eaters, he also included a chaos Dread CC arm in the package, and I definitely got the message: I would have to get the hell off my arse and build that Dreadnought, at long last!

So only one bitz delivery later, I had everything I needed for the model:

So here’s a look at the initial mockup of the Dreadnought:

Most work went into turning that squeaky clean Venerable Dreadnought lascannon arm into a suitably chaotic version that matches the general look of the model. Here’s a closer look at the – mostly finished – gun arm:


I chose the Lascannon, mostly for the visual balance created by those longer barrels. When it came to making it look suitably chaotic, I worked from Forgeworld’s “official” design, trying to match several of the visual cues present in the sculpt, while also putting a small personal spin on things here and there. So here’s a look at Forgeworld’s version:

And here’s the – mostly finished – Lascannon arm I came up with:

There’s also an additional cool little special effect in place here: I decided to base his gun arm on one of the weapons from the Venerable Dreadnought kit in order to be able to keep the arm modular, so that it will accept alternate guns and can make use of the additional weapons I already built back when I converted my first Venerable Dreadnought.

Beyond the arm, I only added one or two bitz to the rest of the model, not wanting to overpower what I think is a brilliant sculpt overall. So here’s a look at the completely built model, already in the intended pose, leaning into its next shot:


Only some cleanup and the base design left, and then I hope I can finally do this guy justice. Wish me luck! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

III. Step into my parlour…

So is that all? Welll, when I said that I had resisted the lure of Shadowspear so far, I may not have been entirely honest with you…

So there’s also this:


As some of you may have already realised, those are the sprues for the Chaos Venom Crawler, the daemon engine included with the Shadowspear boxed set:


I simply had to get my hands on one of those, as there is just so much about the model that I love: It’s a freaking monster spider from hell, for one. I also love how it has all those shared visual cues with various daemon engines: You’ll find little touches from the juggernauts, the Heldrake or the Forgefiend/Maulerfiend all over the creature’s jagged carapace. I love how lithe and deadly it looks (where some of those older daemon engines were a bit clunky). Anyway, I needed one to play around with a bit, so there.

For all my love of the model, however, there was one area that I thoroughly disliked: The head. It was just a bit too weird for my taste (and not the good kind of weird, at that). And it definitely lacked that certain (Khornate) je-ne-sais-quoi. But I felt I had just the idea for that…


A head from the Blood-Slaughterer Impaler, carefully cut down to fit into the carapace. Of course with the first attempt, I was still trying to find my feet, getting the placement right while still keeping that spiked crest in place, just in case I didn’t want to commit to this solution.

It quickly became clear to me that this was the way to go, however, and that getting the head to look right would mostly consist of shaving down the neck portion until it fit just so. So I did just that, and the reszlts ended up looking better and better:


In case anyone was wondering about the scale of the model, by the way: Here’s a comparison picture with the Venom Crawler next to a Myphitic Blighthauler:

I can only commend whoever planned out the way this model should be assembled for an excellent job! It goes together like a dream, and the legs can be easily left off to have an easier time during the painting stage — excellent craftsmanship, this one! At the same time, the finished model looks far more delicate and complex than the relatively few parts would suggest. As for my replacement head, I kept shaving, millimetre by millimetre…

And after a few more sessions, I think I have the perfect setup:

Of course the seam between both parts still needs a bit of cleanup, some additional cabling etc. — but I think the head works really well like that. In case anybody else is considering a headswap on this beast, let me just say that a Armiger head would be a perfect fit (and the cyclopean one makes for an excellent, sinister Dark Mechanicum look) — just sayin’ ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

IV. A shout out in closing…

While you may actually have seen this elsewhere, just to be on the safe side: The first issue of 28 MAGAZINE, a free digital mag dealing with the wonderful world of INQ28 (and AoS28, for that matter) has been out for a while now, and you should definitely check it out and immediately download it here. It is the most extraordinary thing.

So that’s it for today’s update. If you have any thoughts about my small chaotic projects, I would of course be delighted to hear them! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Suddenly…Berzerkers!

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 11, 2019 by krautscientist

Stop the press, everyone! While it’s only February, I already know that one of my favourite 2019 hobby moments has already happened. So what is this about?

We are probably all familiar with very spontaneous events that just come completely out of the blue, right?

Nah, not quite like that…

Well, just the other day, I returned home to find a suspicious package from the Netherlands waiting for me. It was from my buddy Augustus b’Raass, who had vaguely mentioned planning to send over what he dubbed a “care-package”, so that had to be it — “Cool, a bitz drop!”, I thought. Those are always a nice surprise!

But then I was instantly blown away when I opened the package and out came an entire squad of expertly converted, beautifully painted World Eaters Khorne Berzerkers:

Now these used to belong to Augustus’ World Eaters army, a brilliant collection of models that I was lucky to see from up close during my visit to Amsterdam in 2017:

In fact, they were the first proof of concept squad of World Eaters he built when starting his Khornate army. Going back through his posts from that time over at The Bolter & Chainsword made me realise that I posted lots of feedback and advice on this very squad — and loved every second of it. And now they were standing on the tabletop before me — NUTS!

I didn’t find an invoice either, so I guess Augustus really wants me to just have these — what an incredible gift! And almost in time for this blog’s seventh birthday, no less! Come to think of it, it’s actually not the first time for stunning World Eaters models to arrive just in time for Eternal Hunt’s anniversary…

Fortunately enough, most of the models had survived their voyage unscathed: I had to re-attach some lost heads and backpacks, but most of the models didn’t look any worse for wear.

Unfortunately, one of the guys had lost his two-handed chainsword…


I guess it must have been confiscated at the border ๐Ÿ˜‰

As a true follower of Khorne, however, I always have a well stocked collection of vicious, spiky weapons, so the damage was easily repaired:

The dynamism of the models is actually one of their strongest parts: Augustus has done a fantastic job of making them look like raging monsters running full tilt at their enemy — and he has actually turned a fault into a virtue, as I remember him complaining that he only had running Mk. III legs to work with…

Indeed, the models are mostly made from Mk. III armour parts, World Eaters conversion bits and chainaxes (all from Forgeworld), as well as some Skullcrusher and diverse chaos bitz thrown into the mix — in fact, there are so many little tweaks and conversions that just the process of (re)discovering them all made for a pretty enjoyable afternoon! All of this makes for a truly stunning squad:


Or rather, even more, if you want to be exact about it: At ten models, with two icons and two suitable berzerker champions, there are two squads of five berzerkers to be had here:


Each squad also features its own, custom icon bearer:


The guy on the right is just stunning, isn’t he?

And while it’s hard to call favourites, with models this good, I have an especially soft spot for Arekh Haar (left) and the other probable berzerker champion — in fact, the latter may even be my absolute favourite, because his pose is just brilliant (and serves as a fantastic counterpoint for the rest of the running madmen in the squad):

So what can I say? I was blown away by this turn of events, and I am just really, really grateful! Augustus, buddy, thank you so much! Those guys will be getting a place of honour in my collection and, should it ever come to it, the 4th assault company’s battle line!

So that’s it for this week! As I’ve mentioned, next week will mark the blog’s seventh anniversary, so make sure to tune in — I have something pretty cool to share with you!

Until then, I would love to hear your thoughts on these new members of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt! You should also make sure to check out Augustus’ brilliant, ongoing hobby thread here! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more! ๐Ÿ™‚

A Child for the Warrior King, pt.3: The Hound

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 30, 2018 by krautscientist

With the ETL VI deadline fast approaching, this last week was mostly given over to the task of completing my Renegade Armiger Warglaive, and I would very much like to share my progress on this project with you today! It wasn’t all smooth sailing, either, because Germany has been in the iron grip of a heat wave for quite a while now, with temperatures solidly in the mid-30s Celsius degrees for most of last week — certainly not unheard of in other parts of the world, but not something we are all that used to in my particular neck of the woods…

But I soldiered on regardless, so let’s take a look at what I have to show for my perseverance:

Here’s where we left off last time:

The biggest task at this point was to paint the bigger amour plates for the legs as well as the top carapace. In order to save myself some time, I decided to use GW’s Mephiston Red spray as an undercoat for the armour plates. But while it did end up laying down a nice, even coat of red, the red was also fairly flat and chalky — so I did end up re-painting all the red areas anyway…

In the end, it probably did save me some time, after all, but it was certainly not a game changer on par with, say, the Leadbelcher spray.

Anyway, I tackled the armour plates one after another, picking out the various details and blocking in the different colours. The biggest piece of work was the top carapace, of course, so that’s where I started. Here it is, with most of the detail already blocked in:

As you can see, I also added some decals during this stage: These days, I never save the decals until everything else has been painted, because that will invariable make them look tacked on, almost like an afterthought. By applying them sooner, they can be weathered and damaged along with the rest of the model, as needed, in order to actually make them look more realistic. Now in this case, this only really involved a subtle pass of sepia wash to make them look just a bit more natural, but it’s a habit I have picked up. Besides, none of them were in the way of the eventual highlighting, so that helped, too ๐Ÿ˜‰


Some of the decals were actually chosen to tie the model into the lore of my World Eaters army: The paw print hints at Gilgamesh’s honorary membership in the Legio Audax, the “Ember Wolves” (while the Titan Legio is an actual part of the background, as of “Betrayer”, I did make up Gilgamesh’s membership in it as part of my own head canon).

Meanwhile, the numerals on the right pauldron stand for the XII Legion’s IVth company — mirroring a similar marking on Gilgamesh’s right shoulder guard:


So here’s what the carapace looked like at this stage:


And here it is, a short while later, with all of the missing detail painted and a pretty serious (at least for my standard) amount of highlighting in place:

The rest of the armour plates were given the same treatment, and while none of this is any award winning stuff, the subtly higlighted red ended up looking quite a bit deeper than the armour on Gilgamesh, while still fitting the overall look: While the Armiger should still look like it belongs, it also shows off how I have grown as a painter over the last couple of years, and I like that, to be honest ๐Ÿ˜‰

So anyway, here’s the Armiger in its almost finished state:

At this point, I made a To Do list for myself listing all the small cleanup work and small tweaks I still needed to do before the model would be finished. I also made an eleventh hour decision to diverge from the original conversion, as the original plan had been to add some marauder shields on top of the Armiger’s pauldrons, for an even more baroque, chaotic look. Like so:

But when I added them to the pauldrons, I just couldn’t shake the feeling that the model actually worked better without them, so after hemming and hawing and asking for feedback over at the forums, I eventually decided to leave them off — something about them just didn’t quite click with me, while the model did seem complete enough without them.

So at this point it was mainly a matter of checking all of the boxes on my To Do list, one after another.

One area of notice was the detailing of the cockpit and reactor section, and I am pretty happy with how that area came out. Take a look:


For the cockpit displays, I chose an approach I had seen on a Knight by fellow hobbyist Noigrim — I really liked the idea of approaching enemies being visible as red dots on the radar ๐Ÿ˜‰

And here’s a closer look at the reactor section:

This is how the whole assembly looks when seen from the side, by the way:

From a conversion perspective, this is probably the most involved customisation on the entire model, but I do think it has been worth it.

The other big thing to take care of was the base. Here’s the completed build I came up with:


Gilgamesh’s base uses several pieces of broken imperial statuary (courtesy of GW’s “Honoured Imperium” terrain kit), and I thought it would be cool to match that look, albeit on a slightly smaller scale. So the base was built around a shattered statue’s broken sword (once again, a very apt metaphor for the failing Imperium of Man, and all that), and I used different kinds of slate, sand and cork to build up a suitable amount of rubble and texture around it all. The main floor texture was, once again, created using Vallejo’s Sandy Paste.

I also did a preliminary dry fitting to find out wether the model would fit neatly onto the base:

And after that, it was off to the painting desk for one last time. Here’s the finished base, completed a short while later:

As you can see, some skulls and broken Ultramarines armour pieces were also added to the base, if only to tie the model into the 28mm scale a bit better (and make for smaller areas of visual interest).

And with that, my Renegade Armiger was finished. So let’s take a look at the model, shall we?

 

The Hound

Enkidu Lance
attached to the XII Legion’s 4th assault company

 








And a couple of detail shots, of course:

First up, the Armiger with its carapace removed and a closer look at the pilot:

The plan was to make the pilot look similar to Gilgamesh’s pilot, the Baron Harrowthorne:

At the same time, I wanted it to be fairly obvious that the Hound is below the Baron in rank, so his uniform is just a bit plainer. I think the finished look works pretty well:

The top carapace will – obviously – stay removable, if only because it allows me to show off the custom cockpit and pilot every once in a while ๐Ÿ˜‰ In fact, the entire model retains a certain amount of modularity:


This should provide a nice extra bit of flexibility once the second Armiger (codenamed “The Huntress”) has been completed! Incidentally, the harpoon arm I shared with you in my previous post will actually serve as the Huntress’ stock armament…

Here’s a side view that gives you a better idea of the detail work on the undercarriage:

The amount of detail on the Armiger’s skeleton owes a lot to the “JeffTibbetts school of Knight painting”, as it were ๐Ÿ˜‰

Another area of the model I want to showcase is the banner between the Armiger’s legs:


While loyalist Armigers appear a lot less draped in personal heraldry than their Imperial Knight masters, I wanted to invoke the impression that Armiger pilots may serve their lords for far longer in the Great Eye, so it seemed appropriate to include a banner showing the pilot’s battle honours: It shows both the World Eaters’ legion badge as well as the War Hounds’ old symbol — probably a shout out to the Hound’s epithet.

At the same time, I also wanted to make the banner look more rugged than the banner on the bigger Knight, so I painted it as some kind of roughly tanned hide. I used the approach outlined in Brandon’s tutorial here, with a couple of minor tweaks, and am pretty happy with the finished effect.

Oh, and I also finally managed to take a picture of the face that shows of the Armiger’s glowing eye:

The missing optical sensor on the right side was originally a consequence of a slight miscast of the face, but I think it gives the model an even more sinister and chaotic look, so it actually works in its favour, wouldn’t you agree? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Oh, and here’s a picture of the Armiger and my Renegade Knight Titan, Gilgamesh, “The Warrior King” — “Father and Son”, so to speak:

In fact, I discovered that my older Wargrinder conversion could actually work as an Armiger fairly well, at least from a scale perspective:

And with that, I have managed to finish both my entry for this year’s ETL event as well as my contribution to Azazel’s “Jewel of July” challenge. Pretty nifty, eh? ๐Ÿ˜‰ To be honest, I am immensely pleased with the finished model — I actually put this off as long as I could, and I really had to force myself to start painting, but I couldn’t be any happier with the result. That being said, this has been a pretty involved project, so I think I’ll allow myself a bit of rest and mostly focus on small fry for a bit ๐Ÿ˜‰

But anyway, so far for my first Renegade Armiger Warglaive. It goes without saying that I would love to hear your feedback on the model, so leave me a comment! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

The State of the Hunt, Week 51/2017: Gosh, is it that time of year already?

Posted in 30k, 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings, state of the hunt, Totally worth it, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 18, 2017 by krautscientist

Well would you believe it: Christmas has managed to sneak up on me again! With so much to do and so little time left this year, the one thing I definitely want to achieve is to publish another round of my annual Eternal Hunt Awards, and I am currently gathering material for that and preparing the posts — wish me luck ๐Ÿ˜‰

Until then, allow me to address some assorted news straight from my messy hobby lab:

 

I. More grimdark games…

I would like to start with an addendum to my recent post about grimdark video games, mostly because I forgot to include two particularly striking examples on my list

The first is an incredibly 40k-ish moment in a game that is otherwise just about the least grimdark game you could possibly imagine:

Final Fantasy IX is, for the uninitiated among you, a callback to the series’ earlier, more innocent days, with lots of cutesy characters, talking animals, super-deformed character design and an all around cuteness that has held up remarkably well over the years. However, the game also features the regency of Lindblum, an industrious and advanced city state that basically looks like a hive:


Lindblum is a multi level city scape that seems like the love child of Victorian era London and Fritz Lang’s Metropolis…appearing in a Disney film — but then that’s Japanese JRPG eclecticism for you ๐Ÿ˜‰

Seriously, though: Given Final Fantasy IX’s endearing overall design, it should be no surprise that we are dealing with a rather cutesy version of a hive here — no gang wars or underhive mutants to be found. There’s a pretty spiffy theatre district, though:

Back when the game was first released, Lindblum was one of the most stunning locales ever to be featured in a roleplaying game. And its design is still lovely many years later — with the added bonus of actually giving us a decent impression of what a bustling hive city might actually look like…minus the Moogles and talking animal people, that is:

The other addition to my list of grimdark games is a baffling oversight, in retrospect, because it has to be the mostย  incredibly 40k/INQ28 game ever to not bear the actual license:

A postapocalyptic adventure game, Dark Earth is set centuries after a big cataclysm has managed to wipe out modern civilisation. The dust and grime from the earth-shattering cataclysm have managed to permanently clog the atmosphere, casting the whole planet into darkness. The sole remains of civilisation cluster around so-called “Stallites”, city states construced around areas where light is still available by scientific or natural means. It probably won’t surprise you at this point that those stallites share more than a passing resemblance with 40k’s hive cities, even though they are slightly more medieval than your average 40k hive.


The society presented by the game is fascinating, though — and oh so INQ28 in style: With everything within the city geared towards maintaining the life-preserving light, society has adapted and stratified accordingly, with a solar priest class and a warrior caste – the Flame Guardians – at the top of society. Dark Earth puts you in the shoes of Arkhan, member of the Flame Guardians, who gets infected with a creeping corruption while fending off an attempt on the high pristess’ life. With his body slowly beginning to mutate and reshape into a creature of darkness, Arkhan embarks on a frantic quest to uncover a treacherous plot that might threaten the entire stallite before his time is up. Cast from his upper class surroundings, he must discover the seedier parts of the city — a veritable underhive full of malcontents, paupers and cultists.


Sounds like an Inquisitor campaign, doesn’t it? Indeed, the game’s scenario seems incredibly 40k in hindsight, if on a slightly more feudalistic level. There’s also a very distinctive look and feel to the game world: If you are into French graphic novels, you’ll find a lot to like here, as the game’s developer, Kalisto, is a French studio and certainly knows how to imbue their setting with the right style. The idea of Arkhan slowly transforming into a deformed monster also adds an intriguing, if slightly stressful, element to the game. All in all, I remember being quite taken with the game when I played it during the late 90s!

Dark Earth was originally planned as a series, and it’s readily obvious how much world building the folks at Kalisto did for the game and the planned sequels. Alas, it was not to be: A sequel for the Playstation 2 was cancelled without much fanfare. In an interesting twist of fate, however, it seems the world of Dark Earth did actually spawn a pretty successful (tabletop) roleplaying setting in its native France — and deservedly so, because the setting and general ideas behind Dark Earth were pretty fantastic!

Unfortunately, the game is not currently available on Steam or GoG (there’s a petition, though). You can – and should –ย  read up on the game in more detail over at Hardcoregaming101 (a highly recommended resource, by the way!), and there’s also a trailer giving you an impression of the overall style (and the badly aged CGI) here:

 

 

II. Digging in for Christmas

One of the best hobby moments of 2017 was when BubblesMcBub, whom I met during my visit to Amsterdam, sent me almost the entire Death Guard part of the Dark Imperium boxed set. In return, I promised him a couple of conversions, and I have been terribly neglectful about honouring that particular promise, due to a combination of laziness and RL reasons.

It goes without saying, however, that I remain committed to honouring our agreement, so the first model I have built for Bubbles shall make its way to the Netherlands, along with some odds and ends, later this week — and hopefully even in time for Christmas. But what kind of model are we talking about?

For starters, Bubbles wanted an officer for his Iron Warriors, and he told me he would like to see a Khornate Iron warrior to boot. No sweat, right? The one complication was that Bubbles’ Iron Warriors have a much cleaner, 30k-inspired look than the very baroque CSM I usually build, so I tried to dial back my usual style a bit.

So my task was to…

  • come up with a suitably imposing officer/champion
  • incorporating some classically Khornate attributes
  • at the same time, I still wanted him to clearly read as an Iron Warrior, so he needed to look suitably no-nonsense and slightly techy as well.
  • keeping the model clean enough to work with the rest of Bubbles’ army.

So without much further ado, here’s the model I built:





Personally speaking, I think I’ve hit a pretty good middle ground between “obviously Khornate” and “still fairly professionally Iron Warrior-sy”. And more importantly, BubblesMcBub seems to be happy with the model as well, which is what matters! So hang in there for a few days longer, mate! I’ll be swinging by the post office ASAP ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

III. What else is new?

In other news, I am also gearing up for some long-overdue hobby time over the holidays: I’ve picked up the wonderful new Necromunda boxed set and am currently salivating over those lovely gang sprues. Nothing has been built yet — although some Goliath bitz have already made their way into my 30k World Eaters collection. Anyway, expect to hear from my firsthand experiments with the new sprues soon-ish.

And even though my painting output hasn’t been all that incredible this year – at least where mere numbers are concerned – I think I might have one more model in me for 2017. This guy:



I am still rather happy with the conversion, and the model should also make for an excellent capstone for 2017 — seeing how the very first model I painted this year was another converted plastic Contemptor, Vaako the Immortal, a model I am still enormously proud of:

So yeah, let’s hope this all works out! If all goes according to plan, the first post of this year’s Eternal Hunt Awards should go live later this week — keep your fingers crossed for me ๐Ÿ˜‰ And I’ll make sure to put in some painting, in between all the sleeping and the eating. What about you guys, though? Any last minute chores or hobby commitments? As always, I’d be happy to hear from you in the comments!

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

The State of the Hunt, Week 35/2017: Do the robot!

Posted in 30k, 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, state of the hunt, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 31, 2017 by krautscientist

I know I should really be painting some stuff for a change, but relatively little hobby time I have at the moment somehow invariably ends up going towards indulging flights of fancy — hey, at the very least, you get to look at some new kitbashes, alright? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Ever since I built my first Dreadnought, back in 2010 or thereabouts, I have always loved the slightly bigger scale and particular clunkiness afforded by this particular unit type, so I find myself going back to building Dreadnoughts and killer robots on a fairly regular scale — go figure! Today, I have no less than three walking deathmobile projects to share with you, so strap yourselves in:

I. The Blight That Walks…

First up is yet another addition to my alarmingly growing (or should that be mushrooming…?!) Death Guard project. In all fairness, though: It was always clear that a Dreadnought would have to enter the equation at some point, wasn’t it? ๐Ÿ˜‰

The thriftiest option seemed to be to go for the Dark Vengeance Helbrute as a base model — well, that and I really like that particular model: Painting my original DV Helbrute for my World Eaters was great fun, in spite of its mutated look not gelling all that well with the overall look and feel of my army. But that same fleshy hideousness of course perfectly matches the general Death Guard vibe, if you ask me ๐Ÿ˜‰

So here’s what I have so far:




I erm…borrowed a couple of ideas from the recent work of fellow hobbyists, like GuitaRasmus and Marius Perdo, among others, yet I also tried to put my own spin on things. It’s still a fairly economical conversion, however, because I think the Dark Vengeance Helbrute doesn’t really need too much work to read as a Nurglite model.

Now the belly obviously needs some cleanup and smoothing over, but the general look is there. Incidentally, the above pictures are in greyscale because I actually used a mix of GS and Milliput that ended up making for a vile, pistachio-ice cream colour Oh, I also my tried and true tin-foil trick again, putting a piece of the stuff between the plastic and GS while sculpting, so both parts are easy enough to separate when everything has dried, while still remaining form fitting. So the belly remains a separate piece, which should be super handy for assembly reasons:


Still a bit of detail work left to do as well, although I suspect I’ll be playing it fairly safe with this guy. Going all out on the pantjob should be fun, though ๐Ÿ˜‰

II. Underhive Heavy Metal

Back when the first plastic AdMech kits were released, the Kastelan Robots were one of my first purchases. One of them was turned into a counts-as Contemptor for my 40k World Eaters:


The other one was was saved for future use, although my idea of what to do with the model actually went through several revisions: The original plan was to turn him into a Colossus-pattern robot for my small Iron Warriors project, but that plan never really quite got off the ground, and it finally went under for good when Forgeworld ended up producing actual models to represent the Iron Circle.

Later I realised it would be cool to turn the model into some kind of patched up, ancient servitor/former war machine as another colourful addition to my Pit Slave/Underhive project, The Road Crew:

But while I really liked that idea, it never really materialised either, apart from some early kitbashing. But then two things happened. One, I got my hands on one of the old Forgeworld World Eaters Dreadnoughts, courtesy of my buddy Augustus b’Raass, and the head of the machine just turned out to be perfect for this project. Two, I saw what fellow hobbyist WarbossKurgan did with his rather beat-up Kastelans, and that provided the inspiration I needed to wade back into the fray. So here’s what I have now:



As you can see, I have gone for a really ragtag appearance so far, with many tacked on armour plates and strange bits and bobs that suggest all kinds of field repairs — only fitting for the underhive, really. The rounded, 50s retro-futuristic SciFi look is still there, but it’s covered by layers and layers of later additions or replacements: In fact, I really love the idea of making the machine’s origins even more ambiguous: Is it a refurbished heavy duty servitor? An AdMech construct or an ancient warmachine? Or could it be even older…?

There were also several pieces of inspiration for the model: There’s quite a bit of Mad Max and Fallout going on there, but probably the biggest influence was the ABC Warrior Robot, possibly the best thing about the old Judge Dredd film:


And while we are on the subject of influences, using part of a barrel as one of the model’s shoulder pads is actually a bit of a shout out to The Road to Jove, Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s and David Sondered’s graphic novel project:

This also ties into something else I was actually pushing for: A general look of asymmetry: the pauldrons are one example of this, but there are also the arms: The gun arm is massive and beefy, the other one is strangely skeletal, probably due to having been replaced or repaired at some point.

Anyway, after getting nowhere with this model for ages, I am actually pretty happy with the progress I have made. The next step will be to add more details, like cabling and a bit more battle damage. And then, painting the model should be rather enjoyable. I think I’ll be going for a mix of darkened, oily metal and the Road Crew’s trademark, heavily weathered yellow armour I also want to pick a collection of decals that may or may not hint at the machine’s past — in any case, it should make the model even more interesting! And it’ll make for a cool addition to the project:

III. Immortal Hunter

And finally, yet another model: This one was actually built earlier than the other two, but I don’t think I’ve shared it with you yet.

One of my favourite 30k models I have done so far is my plastic World Eaters Contemptor, Vaako the Immortal:


Now when I visited Augustus b’Raass in Amsterdam, he was awesome enough to magnetise Vaako’s weapon options for me. But that left me with two useable weapon arms, and when I recently managed to get a pretty good deal on the plastic Contemptor body, I thought about putting those weapons to good use — and then I just love cutting up that terrible, clunky monopose kit. I’m just weird like that. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I also wanted to find out whether the aforementioned head from the OOP Forgeworld World Eaters Dreadย  would work on a Contemptor. So I made another 30k Contemptor for my World Eaters. Again, this guy is still missing some detail, but I am already pretty happy with the general setup.




The left arm is a smaller version of the Ursus Claw harpoons the World Eaters would mount onto their void ships and the Titans of the Legio Audax:


It was originally built quite a while ago (drawing some inspiration from a similar conversion by fellow hobbyist sheep) as an additional CC option for my 40k Dreadnoughts/Helbrutes, but it arguably works even better on the taller Contemptor. Together with the multimelta, it suggests that this Contemptor’s specialty is actually hunting for heavier prey, such as enemy warmachines or Dreadnoughts…

Here’s the recipe for the Ursus Claw arm, in case anyone’s interested: The basic arm is the CC arm from the Blood Angels Librarian Dreadnought, I mostly merely replaced the actual weapon
Now the harpoon itself was made from an old axle bit from an ancient model truck kit — although it would be really easy to find a suitable replacement for that bit
the spike is an element that appears on many of GW’s terrain kits and was cut off from a small wall section
the light grey part right underneath the tip was a piece of a Chaos vehicle bulldozer bit shaved down to make a connection bit between the tip and the haft of the weapon
the barrel for the chain consists of two Chaos Marauder Horsemen shields, a roll of chain from an Ogre Kingdoms kit and a piece of chain, once again from an Ogre Kingdoms kit, I believe — sorry for not being more precise, but I got those bitz from an Ogre Kingdoms joblot I bought via ebay.

So yeah, that makes three massive killer-robot-cyborg dudes. What can I say — building those things is just so much fun ๐Ÿ˜‰

Of course 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 31/2017: The Nurgle train has no brakes…

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, state of the hunt, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 1, 2017 by krautscientist

After the fairly copious amount of praise I had for the new Death Guard models last week, it probably won’t be too much of a surprise that I am still happily cutting my way through the chaotic part of the Dark Imperium boxed set at the moment. So a closer look at the Primaris Marines – along with some of their implications for the 40k setting – will have to wait for a bit, while I share a couple of projects I am currently working on. It’s probably for the best, however, as we are currently seeing even more Primaris kits being released, and I would very much like to take those into account as well. Well, that and doing Nurgle kitbashes is just too much fun at the moment ๐Ÿ˜‰

Speaking of which:

I. The kitbashing continues

I am slowly working my way through the Dark Imperium Death Guard models BubblesMcBub sent me, mostly focusing on the Plague Marines for now. There’s not too much to see there, however: I already said in my earlier post that I doubt I’ll be changing too much about them, as I am simply a huge fan of Maxime Pastourel’s sculpts on these guys! So my work on them is mostly limited to taking of a detail here and there to ever so slightly reduce the clutter. It goes without saying, however, that this has the added benefit of giving me some extra bitz to sprinkle among the rest of my conversions ๐Ÿ˜‰

The one exception is the Plague Champion, because I am really not a fan of his molten face and have wanted to replace it ever since I first saw the model. After giving it a bit of thought, the solution I came up with was to make a press mold of the very same mummified head that’s dangling from the champion’s backpack by a chain, and carefully work it into the cowl the model wears. I’ve also slightly touched up the breathing tube that originally formed most of the model’s face, making it look like several tubes and hoses are feeding into his head now, and have maybe even been sewn to his face. Eww…

Anyway, here’s the model:


In all fairness, the new face is just as disfigured as the old one, but I still prefer it because you can actually make out at least some of the features — plus it actually uses a face sculpted by Morbรคck as well now, so there’s that too ๐Ÿ˜‰ To be honest, I’ll probably have to paint the model before I know whether or not it was all worth it, but oh well ๐Ÿ˜‰

In the meantime, I have also managed to get my hands on the three “easy to build” snapfit Plague Marines and just had to start working on them as well. Let me tell you though, these should carry a “hard to convert”ย  label, at least if you are trying to do something a bit more involved: I felt acutely reminded of the rigid monopose Plague Marines of the early 90s. But they probably weren’t designed to be cut apart in the first place, so the fault is entirely mine — there must be something wrong with me, actually doing most of the conversion work on models that weren’t envisioned as conversion fodder to begin with…

Anyway, my plan was to actually convert a second Blight Launcher Marine, in addition to the one that comes with the kit anyway, and I already showed you the converted Blight Launcher in my last post:

So I grafted it onto the champion from the easy to build kit and made a couple of additional tweaks. Here’s the mostly finished model:


But boy did the model fight me every step of the way: The stock pose is just so weird, and I ended up carefully sawing off the entire upper body in order to tweak it a bit. As you can see, I have also slightly redesigned the blight launcher, splicing in the upper section of a Sternguard heavy flamer to bring it even closer to the “official” design. I also added some tiny strips of chainmail, thanks to a very helpful suggestion by fellow hobbyist Aasfresser, in order to make the right arm and shoulder match the design on the other side:


The backpack with the plasma gun is just a placeholder, of course, as a blight launcher and plasma weapon on the same model would be a bit too much ๐Ÿ˜‰

As for the actual Blight Launcher wielding Plague Marine, he has been tacked together for now. The one change I made was to his faceplate, as I didn’t really like the way the tube directly fed into his helmet, so I spliced in a rebreather:


So here are the two tweaked snapfit Plague Marines:


While I was at it, I also slapped the very creepy leftover power fist on my Blightbringer-based Plague Champion:

II. A recipe for rot

Now I have used several recipes for followers of Nurgle over the years, but none of those really ended up coming together precisely the way I wanted to. For instance, while I am pretty happy with the overall look and feel of my squad of retro Plague Marines,…


…the recipe was not quite what I wanted to use for the new batch of models. So some experimentation was in order.

So for my first test model, I used an undercoat of GW Mournfang Brown spraypaint (which performed quite well):


For the actual paintjob, I ended up giving a paint splatter recipe from one of the recent issues of White Dwarf a try — with a couple of small tweaks.ย  Here’s how my first test model turned out:




Pretty cool, but not quite there yet, either. The green, for instance, was a bit darker than I had planned — mostly on account of my choosing the wrong shade for it, to be fair.

So I painted another test model, and I think I got it right this time around:



Now we’re talking! This is actually very close to what I have wanted my Plague Marines to look like for ages, and the green on the armour is just right! I ended up with the following steps for the armour plates:

  • basecoat with GW Deathworld Forest
  • wash with GW Ogryn Flesh (or, failing that, Reikland Fleshshade)
  • highlight with GW Ogryn Camo
  • DONE!

As for the skin, I went with one of my tried and true recipes for distressed skin, based on a basecoat of GW Rakarth Flesh with a healthy wash of GW Ogryn Flesh followed by a slightly more focused use of GW Druchii Violet and GW Carroburg Crimson on top.

So out of all the various recipes I’ve tried for followers of Nurgle over the years, this one is really my favourite so far:


So expect to see more of this approach as this project takes shape! ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

III. The Blight That Rides

Last, but definitely not least, I’ve been challenged by BubblesMcBub, whom I met at the Amsterdam GW store and who was nice enough to provide me with all of the Nurglite goodness, to build a mounted character in a mutual challenge for the August Arena 2017 over at the Bolter & Chainsword — an event, I must add, by none other than my mate Augustus b’Raass, in a funny twist of fate. Now I have to be honest: At first I hated the idea of having to build a mounted character, but after giving it a bit of thought, and seeing how I am on a bit of a Nurgle trip at the moment, I thought it might be fun to build a Nurglite Chaos Lord on a bike. So I made a first, very early mockup:


The idea here was to build the model entirely from leftovers from my bitzbox, so I grabbed an old Deathwing bike from the Dark Vengeance box and a couple of Chosen and Blightking bitz. In fact, I pretty much stuck to the recipe I used for my kitbashed Plague Marines a short while ago, just with a bike thrown into the mix.

Fairly happy with the early mockup, I started to build the model in earnest, replacing the crude poster tac mockup with actual GS: I greenstuffed in a hideous, fat belly in order to blend the lower and upper parts of the body together — and, of course, to make the model look suitably Nurglite. I also added some rolls of fat around the neck and below the helmet. And the Chosen axe was changed to a Plague Sword.ย  I also started transforming the bike into something far less loyalist. Here’s what I ended up with:


I actually love the way his fat belly is wedged behind the bike’s fuel tank/midsection ๐Ÿ˜‰


An array of tanks and pipes was added to the back of the bike, with its various tubes and pipes feeding both into the bike itself and into the Lord on top of it: I love the idea that a) he probably isn’t even able to get off that bike anymore and b) there’s some vital fluid in that tank that gets pumped into both the bike and the rider, effectively turning them into one creepy organism and sustaining the twisted Astartes:


On a related note, let me also share a small anecdote: I’ve also recently finished an Imperial Fists commander on bike, intended as a small present for Augustus b’Raass, and for entirely subconscious reasons, the Nurgle biker Lord ultimately became something resembling a dark reflection of the loyalist model:

Anyway, back to the model at hand: With most of the heavy lifting out of the way, I was free to keep detailing and tweaking the model. This meant lots of detail work on the bike (both to create rust holes and to add some Nurglite touches).

One thing I realised fairly early was that having to paint this guy as one solid piece would be a nightmare, so I used a trick that already served me so well on one of my Angron conversions and put a piece of tinfoil between the upper and lower body before I started sculpting. Which has resulted in both parts fitting together perfectly, while also remaining separate, so I’ll be able to take him apart as needed for painting:


This also made it far easier to add details and tweaks to the bike. So here’s a better look at it,ย pipes tubes and icky trophies included:



This step also involved some additional sculpting on the driver, including filling gaps and adding more disgusting details, such as semi-fleshy cables running around and into his torso (visible as darker green parts in the following picture):


And, like I said, it will be really easy to disassemble the model for painting:


The last thing I did, once again thanks to some very cool suggestions over at The Bolter & Chainsword, was to add a small passenger to the back of the bike:


The Nurgling from the Noxious Blightbringer’s backpack has found a new home with the “Blightrider” (hur hur) — and the little guy is obviously having the time of his life ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyway, here’s the finished conversion, ready for painting:




The deadline for completing the model is September 1st, so expect to see some paint on him fairly soon. That being said, I am still trying to come up with some cool ideas for a suitably impressive base (and, in fact, for a cool basing scheme for all of my new Nurgle models), so if you have any ideas, I would love to hear them!

On a related note, BubblesMcBub’s contribution to the challenge will be a pretty cool Iron Warriors Lord on a lizard, which you can (and should) check out here.

 

Anyway, as you can see, I am basically having a blast with the Grandfather’s followers right now ๐Ÿ˜‰
Would love to hear your feddback! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Dark Imperium — a closer look at the Death Guard models

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2017 by krautscientist


Hey everyone: Once again, sorry for the lack of updates. I returned from my recent trip to Amsterdam full of new hobby ideas — it’s just the sitting down and writing about it part where I seem to falter. It has also been getting harder and harder to get feedback on my posts recently, which makes it all the more tempting to actually build and paint stuff instead of blogging about it…

Be that as it may, here’s another post at long last. And while today’s update started out as a regular (if very late) review of models that come with the Dark Imperium boxed set, it has warped and mutated into something slightly different for a number of reasons: I realised early that I would need to divide my look at the box in two parts, for one. For talking about the Primaris Space Marines will invariably mean taking a look at their implications for the overall setting, both from a modeling and storytelling perspective. And seeing the additional kits they have been receiving recently, that would make for a pretty sizeable post in and of itself.

At the same time, there’s also the fact that I have been bitten by the Nurgle bug on account of the new Death Guard models, and have started to play around with the new sprues. So for today, let us take a closer look at the chaotic side of the Dark Imperium release: The New Death Guard models, designed by Maxime Pastourel and Aly Morrison:


By now, it’s no longer a secret that Maxime Pastourel, aka Morbรคck, is not only one of GW’s sculptors, but also one of the people behind one of the best hobby blogs on the internet, and also the owner of what’s probably the best Nurgle army in existence, the Plaguebones. The army was even featured recently on the Warhammer Community page, yet I would argue that you should really head over to Maxime’s own blog for the bigger picture.

Anyway, back when the first teasers of the new Death Guard models surfaced, I literally made a little squee of delight when I discovered more and more telltale elements of Maxime’s Nurgle conversions both in the artwork and the actual models: I was basically only waiting for him to finally make some Death Guard models, and now they are finally here. And I am more than happy with the outcome! What’s more, I’ve managed to get my hand on most of the Dark Imperium Death Guard models, courtesy of fellow hobbyist BubblesMcBub (cheers, mate!). So let’s take a look at the models and at what I have done so far with some of them.

Oh, and once again, the review over at Convert Or Die should make for some excellent complementary reading — just pointing this out before we get going ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Lord of Contagion


What a beast! I probably have this semi-conscious shortlist of what a Nurglite warlord should be in the back of my head, and this guy really ticks all of the boxes for me: Massive? Check! Clad in ancient, pitted Terminator armour? Check. Intestines squelching out of the collapsed parts in the armour? Check! Wielding a massive, vicious close combat weapon? Check, check and check!

It’s really cool how close the Lord of Contagion comes to basically embodying the archetypal warlord of Nurgle — to wit, it’s probably no coincidence that he resemblesย this iconic piece of artwork, courtesy of Adrian Smith, so much:


By the same token, the Lord of Contagion shows one of the main tenets of the new models’ design: a pronounced medieval influence that is clearly visible on most, if not all, of the new Death Guard models (and, in all fairness, has always played a huge part in GW’s approach to Nurgle). At the same time, the fact that the model is clearly wearing corrupted Terminator armour firmly roots it in the 40k setting — an important balance to get right, but Maxime has really managed to nail it here.

There’s also a fair bit of Typhus in there — in fact, seeing this massive guy, I cannot even begin to imagine how impressive the Death Guard’s First Captain might end up looking, if he gets a redesign, that is.

Speaking of which, it would be really easy to turn the Lord of Contagion into a Typhus conversion: It looks like the head comes as a separate part, so using the head from one the stock Typhus models (or converting something similar) would go a long way towards making this guy look like Typhus. The blade of the weapon should be easy to enough with a suitably impressive scythe as well — although I find myself balking at the mere idea of getting rid of that magnificent axe blade…

Speaking about that axe, it’s obvious how it was inspired by the massive axe from Maxime’s incredible Lord of Skulls conversion, and I was really happy to see it make a return on an “official” GW model! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Oh, and I just love those poor little Nurglings being squashed by the Lord’s left food: It’s a neat touch that provides the suitable amount of Nurglite humour without beeing too on-the-nose about it.

My one possible nitpick is the back mounted icon, as it can seem a bit overwhelming. But having seen the model firsthand, it works fantastically well as an ensemble, so consider this a very minor complaint.

All in all, this guy is a fantastic centre piece model for any Death Guard army — or, indeed, any 40k collection, period. Brilliant work!

 

Malignant Plaguecaster

Now this guy was a slightly tougher sell for me, mostly because it took me quite a while to even make sense of the model when first seeing it. If nothing else, it’s clearly obvious that we are dealing with a Nurglite Sorcerer here. And indeed, upon closer examination, the Malignant Plaguecaster shares quite a few visual elements with Forgeworld’s older Death Guard Sorcerer:

And yet, it’s precisely by comparing the Plaguecaster to Forgeworld’s model that we can see the problems: Forgeworld’s take is fairly down-to-earth — almost pedestrian, really. And yet it works so well because the pose is sound and powerful. Whereas the Malignant Plaguecaster is hampered by the way his very pose seems strangely unbalanced. The fact that there’s so much going on with the model – a veritable flurry of shapes and curves – doesn’t help either.

Beyond this main aspect, my other two points of contention are the model’s face and staff: Now the the creepy cherub face is an interesting idea — however, I have to say it doesn’t quite come together for me, and is one of the element’s I would change about the model.

And why is the staff so short and silly — it almost looks like a toy. Why couldn’t it have been a scythe — or at the very least, a good bit longer?

On the other hand, one thing I really like, is something you only see when taking a closer look: The ragged shroud pinned to the Plaguecaster’s backpack:


Now this obviously looks like a deathshroud — but it also recalls an insectile wing, wouldn’t you agree? In fact, taking a closer look at the model’s copious mutations, there’s a very cool sense of something dreadful and insectile just waiting to break from the sorcerer’s body any moment now, while also being barely contained by his still almost-human outer shell. What a cool and creepy concept, indeed! It’s just a shame that so much of it gets lost amidst the flurry of different shapes and clashing design elements…

My own approach for the model, therefore, was to keep the sense of something twisting and gestating just underneath the Plaguecaster’s skin, while cutting back on the clutter. I also changed the face and staff, while I was at it:


The face has been covered up with a Cadian rebreather (the hood even has a small indentation in exactly the right spot, which was an awesome coincidence). The staff was turned into something less toylike by splicing in some parts from the bell that came with the Putrid Blightking kit. And I do think the right arm works better at a different angle, giving the model a slightly more grounded pose. As for the right hand, I experimented with the option of giving him some kind of casting hand, but in the end it seemed like he needed some visual counterweight, so to speak, to balance out the staff, and the clunky plasma pistol from the Noxious Blightbringer just did the job rather nicely.

Here’s the Plaguecaster next to my (earlier) sorcerer conversion:


I actually like him much better now, mostly because the slightly streamlined version should be easier to make sense of. I also hope I’ve managed to keep all the cool parts. All things considered, I love this guy’s inclusion in the Dark Imperium box, because where the Lord of Contagion is a perfect model right out of the box, the Malignant Plaguecaster is a delightful little puzzle to be solved by converters, and I had quite a bit of fun, making some tweaks to him!

 

Noxious Blightbringer:


This guy presents an interesting new character archetype halfway between a sorcerer and a standard bearer, and it seems like the model tries to capture this somewhat new and adventurous concept by having a bit of fun with the established visual language: All of the hallmarks are there, but some get turned up to elevene — such as the bell dangling from the massive, jutting horn growing out of the Blightbringer’s backpack.

It’s also obvious that the Blightbringer leans rather heavily on the medieval parts of the design — or even moreso than the rest of the models, that is. And in fact, this goes a long way to giving this guy his own identity: Between the slightly WFB-styled helmet and the tabard/smock covering the front of the armour, there is something rather darkly medieval and apocalyptic about this guy. Even better then, that he is wearing a clearly identifiable – and mostly standard – suit of Mk. III armour underneath it all!

If I have one piece of criticism, it’s that – once again – there’s almost too much going on with this guy, especially with the massive number of censers dangling from his armour and backpack

All in all, however, it’s a cool and fun little character model, and an interesting exploration of how far the medieval angle can be pushed. I also love the little Nurgling hanging from his shoulder pad ๐Ÿ˜‰

As for conversion options, the model also makes for an excellent Plague Champion (or even Nurglite warlord) with just a minimum of conversion work, as I found out myself: Due to an ebay mixup, I found myself in the possession of an extra Blightbringer model, and having cannibalised it for bitz, I wanted to do something cool with remaining pieces, so here’s what I did:




It was easy enough to carefully cut away the head (while keeping it intact for use on a future project). The weapons were replaced, and I also got rid of some of the censers — while moving one to a different location on the backpack to create a “chain cape” look of sorts:


On a related note, the leftover bell from that same Blightbringer’s backpack turned out to be just the missing piece I needed to breathe some new life into a slightly strange conversion I originally built all the way back when the Putrid Blightkings were released, using some Blightking bitz and an old AOBR plastic Terminator. The model ended up in a strange place between a regular Plague Marine and a Terminator in the end. Pretty cool, but also slightly confusing. Now with the very real scale creep of the new Death Guard models, and with the help of the last leftover parts of my extra Blightbringer, I was able to turn this guy into something that nicely fits the theme of the models I have built so far. An alternate Blightbringer, if you will:




 

Foetid Bloatdrone:


The Foetid Bloatdrone fills the obvious Dreadnought/Helbrute slot for the Death Guard force contained in Dark Imperium, and it’s certainly interesting to see something that’s almost a Dreadnought, only not.

Of course the Bloatdrone channels some of Forgeworld’s own Blight Drone model:


But while I could never quite bring myself to like the Blightdrone, I actually think the Bloatdrone is really cool — maybe it’s the fact that it’s actually closer in design to the rest of GW’s (plastic) chaos catalogue. Maybe it’s because the Bloatdrone almost seems like a missing link between the Blightdrone and a Dreadnought. Anyway, I really like it, with all its nice Nurglite touches (such as the single eye, the arrangement of the thrusters in an obvious nod to Nurgle’s own symbol, and the “garden syringe” look of the weapons. Oh, and the beautifully disgusting, fleshy back, of course:


It’s also really cool that the Death Guard get their first original vehicle/warmachine beyond the stuff we already know. Now the Helbrute was a bit of a standout model in the Dark Vengeance boxed set, and the Bloatdrone mostly continues this trend, giving us a cool model that should be fun to play around with.

Speaking of which, I think converters should find lots of useful conversion fodder on this model: The thrusters whould work rather beautifully on a Nurglite Daemon Prince, while the main body and faceplate could probably be kitbashed into some rather cool Helbrute and/or fiend variants. We’ll see…

 

Plague Marines


Definitely the high-point of the release for me! I really love how these guys breathe some new life into one of GW’s most interesting chaos archetypes. There’s just so much going on here at the same time — and in a good way. To wit:

  • the models have many iconic elements that go back to Jes Goodwin’s seminal Plague Marine from the early 90s and, by extension, his original design sketches from the same time:Take a look: the Pickelhaube-styled helmet, the bloated breastplate, the pipes — all accounted for. By the same token, you can find many more classic touches on the models, such as the backpacks basically recalling classic second edition chaos backpacks. I love continuity porn like that! ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • Once again, there’s a distinctly medieval feel about these guys: You’ve got chainmail, decayed wood, and all of those bells…
  • there are some subtle trencher and WW1 touches, even beyond the spiked helmet, such as some of the Blight grenades being designed like German stick grenades. A very fitting and grimdark touch!
  • At the same time, and in spite of all those different visual touches, I love how all of the models are wearing clearly identifiable Mk. III plate!
  • The models also have a great sense of grim determination, which is very fitting for the Death Guard. Yes, they are decayed, shambling monstrosities. But they are also the galaxy’s most resilient footslogging Astartes troops, and they have been for more than ten millennia!
  • And last, but very definitely not least, Morbรคck has succeeded at splicing in some very iconic, yet also completely fitting, elements of his own Plaguebone conversions:The guy in the bottom left is basically a Plaguebone (and also one of the best models of the bunch). The cyclopean head on the Marine with the plasma gun is a dead ringer for the converted head on Morbรคck’s Lord of Skulls — the list goes on and on!

What’s even better, however, is that each of them is a character! While two of the models share almost the same body, they still end up looking suitably different that we get a squad where every model is an individual exploring slightly different visual archetypes, while the models still make up a coherent squad. That’s just lovely!

So, is there anything I don’t like? Once again, and this is basically spitballing of the highest order, but maybe some of the models are just a tad too busy and stylised for their own good. I’d feel tempted to maybe take of a chain here and a dangling detail there, just to improve the overall flow of the models and de-clutter them a bit. The champion is also arguably the weakest of the bunch, because he just moves too far away from the Plague Marine archetype and looks more like a sorcerer to me (that being said, on the other hand that means he would make for a sweet alternate Plaguecaster) . And the molten face doesn’t quite do it for me, personally speaking.

As a squad in a starter kit, however, these are an improvement over the – already fairly spectacular – Dark Vengeance Chosen. And they also finally provide us with some excellent Plague Marine models once again, when previous iterations were just constantly getting worse, diluting the fantastic concepts of the early models further and further and relying on mushy sculpting and gooey, nondescript mutations.

When it comes to converting these guys, like I said, I don’t think I’ll be making any massive changes to them, as I mostly like them exactly the way they are. Maybe I’ll take off a detail here or change something small there, but nothing too involved, so as not to mess with the models’ inherent character. However, if you should find yourself with two sets of Plague Marines, cutting them up for extra variety should provide lots and lots of fun: Like the Dark Vengeance Chosen that came before, the new Plague Marines seem like challenging, yet all the more promising conversion material — and that’s without even considering the very real prospect of a multipart kit in the (hopefully not too distant) future.

One thing I found really surprising when working with the actual models, however, was how big they actually are: They seem to be using standard plastic Mk. III armour as a template, but it has been scaled up quite a bit, making the models about 1.5 times the size of standard Mk. III models. So my kitbashed Plague Marines do seem ever so slightly stunted next to the new official models:


For the record, I think they still work pretty well — if you don’t look too closely ๐Ÿ˜‰

However, the real surprise came when I compared the new Plague Marine with one of the Putrid Blightking-based models I converted a while ago: The latter were originally conceived as true-scalish and ended up being about the size of standard Terminators. But now…


…it turns out they would actually work very well as standard Plague Marines: Sure, they are slightly more bloated and a bit more medieval, but that can be explained away as a bit of variation between squads. Seems I have five more Plague Marines now ๐Ÿ˜‰

In fact, Impact1 has found out that the Plague Marines can be turned into rather fantastic Death Guard Terminators with a bit of work, on account of their impressive size.

One last thing that should be mentioned about the new Plague Marines is that there’s also the additional set of three snapfit models:


Now I love the fact that these are actually three more original sculpts! At the same time, their poses are noticeably more rigid and betray their snapfit origins. Still, these should make a nice addition to the seven guys from the Dark Imperium box, and they are already making their way to me as of this writing.

If I have one major complaint, it’s the fact that we actually have to get these models to get our hands on the Blight Launcher, seemingly the Death Guard’s new signature weapon. As it happens, I am actually planning to convert another of the three to wield a Blight Launcher, and I already have the weapon mostly prepared:


Really not brain surgery, this one: Just combine a plastic Mk. IV or Mk. III Heavy Bolter with the barrel from a Cadian grenade launcher, throw on some Nurgly bitz as needed — DONE. I cannot even claim being the first to come up with this idea, either: Credit must go to Satarin, among others.

Let me also point out that DuskRaider has made an excellent conversion for Forgeworld’s Necrosius (their aforementioned Death Guard Sorcerer) using the snapfit champion.

 

Poxwalkers

Now these were the other part of the new Death Guard release that I didn’t immediately fall in love with: The models just seemed too goofy and over the top to me at first. However, I’ve really grown fond of them over the last couple of weeks, so hear me out:

One reason I like them is because the amount of detail on the models is just insane, with their boils, mutations and disgusting textures rendered in a way that is almost sublime — seriously, you have to see the plastics firsthand to realise how sharp and wonderfully gross the detail on these guys is!

There’s also the fact that so much of their inherent weirdness – the strange angles of their limbs and their manic grins, for instance – gets explained really well, for once, in their background: Those are all symptoms of the disease they are suffering from, and it’s seemingly slowly turns them into something resembling nothing so much as Nurgle’s own Plaguebearers — in fact, this is an excellent callback to established background, were victims of Nurgle’s Rot originally slowly turned into Plaguebearers as well!


In another fairly cool touch, the Poxwalkers pick up on something that was already fairly excellent about the plastic Chaos cultists that came with Dark Vengeance: We get to see some remains of civilian life in the Imperium, as the tattered remains of the Poxwalkers’ clothing show their former station in life: There are miner’s suits and uniforms as well as hazmat suits — or even something that might be a medicae coat. There’s something very fitting (and disturbing) about the thought that people might have been infected while trying to fight an outbreak of the disease — or, even more sinister, while trying to engineer biological weapons? After all, this is the grimdarkness of the far future we are talking about here… ๐Ÿ˜‰

A propos of nothing, let me just point out that the guy wielding what looks like a pipe wrench is actually a perfect model!

So by and large, the Poxwalkers have really managed to win me over — or should that be: get me infected? But still, some of the models are still a bit too out there, though, with features that seem a bit too exaggerated and details that are just one bridge too far. Therefore, my own approach with these models will be to prune back some of those OTT touches while keeping the models’ overall strangeness in place.

I’ve already attempted this with the Poxwalker wearing a torn hazmat suit. Here’s the result:




Now this may not seem like a huge change, but I am far more happy with the model now: Here’s what I did:

1. The oxygen tank messing up the model’s silhouette was cut off and reattached to the model’s back.

2. The hand holding the plague knife was rotated, so it looks less weird

3. On the other hand, the left arm and head were tweaked to actually make them look weirder: The disease is what mutates these guys and locks their joints at strange angles, right? Now in my imagination, the Poxwalkers’ movements should be full of weird twitching and spastic cramps — like something out of Jacob’s Ladder or Silent Hill. Which is why I carefully bent the arm to look even more unnatural. And I significantly changed the angle of the head to make it look like it too was subject to the strange cramps and spasms of the body.

As with the Plague Marines, there’s also a second, snap-fit kit of Poxwalkers available:


Yet for the most part, there’s nothing about these models that the guys in the starter kit don’t alreeady do better. The fat guy is interesting, mostly because that angle hasn’t really been explored in the first batch of Poxwalkers, and I really wish the guy with the goggles and rebreather had been included on the Dark Imperium sprues. But apart from that, these guys are really nothing to write home about.

 

So, all in all, I am really very happy with the Death Guard part from the Dark Imperium starter box! The Plague Marines, in particular, are a true return to form after years and years of fairly sub-par models from GW. As a starter army, these actually seem like a refined, even more interesting (if also less versatile) version of Dark Vengeance’s CSM starter force. In any case, it goes without saying that they are terrific value for the model and have really given me quite an appetite for all kinds of Nurglite shenanigans — and I am really looking forward to finally seeing the rumoured multipart kits and *gasp* the Plague Terminators! Fantastic work, gentlemen!


So what’s your take on the new Death Guard models? Are you feeling as enthusiastic about them as I am or do you have any gripes? Are there any cool conversions or additional thoughts you would like to share? I would be happy to hear from you in the comments section!

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