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Episode 40k: A New Coat of Paint

Posted in Conversions, paintjob, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2018 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, something rather different today — but first, to get you all in the right mood:

Episode 40K
A NEW COAT OF PAINT

Somewhere in Germany. Having rediscovered an old action figure thought long lost, a hobbyist by the name of KRAUTSCIENTIST embarks upon a fun tribute project.

Will he be able to return colour to one of the galaxy’s pre-eminent bounty hunters, the scoundel known as BOBA FETT?

As the release of a new Star Wars film looms near, KRAUTSCIENTIST touches brush to model….

 

Well, that should tell you most of what you need to now about today’s post. I’ll be heading out to watch Solo: A Star Wars Story later this week, and I thought the release of a new Star Wars film would be the perfect occasion to actually finally tackle that aforementioned tribute project — so what is this about?

Let me prefrace this by saying that I used to be a massive Star Wars fan during my childhood and early teens: I saw the old trilogy (Episodes IV to VII) on TV around the age of ten, and together with the – mostly excellent – Star Wars video games released by Lucas Arts all through the 90s, the series became one of my great nerd passions during those years (to the point where I can still quote entire TIE Fighter cutscenes by heart, ridiculous as that may be). I was a diehard fan (albeit one who was always rooting for the Galactic Empire). The (first) cinematic re-release of the touched up first trilogy came out shortly before I finished school, then the following prequel trilogy wasn’t really all that great — I don’t hate it as viciously as many people, but it did feel as though I had outgrown Star Wars a bit at that point. Which, with the benefit of hindsight, actually put me in a perfect place to see the new films, as I went into them without any big preconceptions or expectations, and so far, I have been having a blast with all of them — let’s hope the trend continues with Solo. But anyway, the thing to remember here is that I used to love Star Wars with a burning passion for quite a few years.

The other important thing is to understand that Star Wars action figures used to be a bit of a holy grail for me during my childhood: My first contact with Star Wars happened when the films were broadcast in German television for the first time (I believe) during the late 80s — in any case, it was enough of an occasion for some new merchandise to be released (mainly books and a neat book-audiobook combo for children), yet the original action figures had long disappeared from the shelves by then. This may be hard to imagine nowadays, with myriads of Star Wars action figures in all shapes and sizes freely available — but back then, if you actually wanted some Star Wars action in your life, you either had to get creative and proxy stuff with the action figures you had (I even went so far as to paint a certain MotU figure glossy black to create a poor standin for Darth Vader at one point) , or you had to be extremely lucky and find some of the original figures during yard sales and the like.

That exact thing gappened to me one day when I actually struck a rich ore of used Star Wars action figures at a local flea market, and I must have bought at least a dozen or so. My only regret was that the Darth Vader figure was already gone by the time I showed up: A childhood friend had actually managed to snap it up earlier in the day, and I would end up buying it from him for a whopping 20 Deutsche Marks — made even worse by the fact that the figure was actually pretty terrible, even in its complete form,…

yet the one I bought from my friend didn’t even have the terrible cape OR the shitty lightsaber. Oh well…

Some of Kenner’s old Star Wars action figures were much cooler, though. For instance, Kenner also released an action figure of everybody’s favourite bounty hunter,Boba Fett, and while it was functionally very simple and didn’t feature any bells and whistles, it’s also a surprisingly cool figure, given the time in which it was produced: Something I have always liked about Boba Fett’s outfit is how strangely workmanlike it seems, with the scuffed armour and the little pouches on the legs with tools sticking out of them: Like there’s just a guy underneath it all, albeit one who must have had a rather colourful life. Boba Fett really seems like the epitome of the “used universe” design philosophy Star Wars brought to the SciFi genre, and the 1979 action figure does a surprisingly good job of channeling most of that appeal. Here’s what it’s supposed to look like:

I think they actually did a pretty great job with the outfit (it even has the little pouches on the shins). In fact, according to Toyworth.com, Boba Fett was indeed one of the best selling Star Wars action figures. The same article also answered one of my big childhood questions, incidentally — I always thought that bright red rocket in his bag looked suspiciously like something that might actually be launched via a hidden switch, but it was permanently attached to the figure and always seemed to have been — well, turns out there is more to that particular story:

Boba Fett was the first new mail-away action figure created for The Empire Strikes Back; although advertised as having a rocket-firing backpack, safety concerns led Kenner to sell his rocket attached. A few early samples of this toy is considered “a rare and precious commodity”, and one of the rocket-firing prototypes sold at auction for $16,000 in 2003.

Anyway, the picture above shows you how Boba Fett would have looked in his ideal form.

Now he was also among the figures I picked up back in the day. Here’s what mine looked like, however:

I don’t even blame the poor guy: At this point, he has gone through several pairs of hands and probably survived several childhoods and all kinds of weird adventures — and at a biblical age for an action figure, as a stamp on the plastic shows: Designed in 1979, this figure is very probably older than me!

But while the actual wear and tear on the figure’s official paintjob actually recalled Boba Fett’s scuffed in-universe look, I came up with the idea of giving the figure a new coat of paint, as a fun little experiment. I had wanted to do this for quite a while, but when I finally came upon dear Boba again last week, I knew I needed to make it happen.

The first thing I had to do was to at least try to get rid of some of the more egregious mold lines — it’s a relatively cheaply made action figure, after all, with all that entails. I couldn’t get rid of them all without damaging the underlying detail – a particularly pesky mold line running straight down the helmet proved all but completely resitant to my efforts – but I did my best. I also shaved off the  date stamp and the made in Honkong sign. Then the entire figure was scrubbed down and given an undercoat of Army Painter’s uniform grey, which seemed ideal because it already matched Boba Fett’s “official” overalls fairly closely on colour.

Speaking of the official colours,  I did quite a bit of research before actually starting to paint. And little did I know that Boba Fett’s costume is not only one of the most complicated outfits of the original Star Wars trilogy, it’s also one of the more disputed ones, with many different variants and discussions concerning it various details and minutiae. To wit, the costume is even noticeably different between both of Boba Fett’s canonical appearances:

Left: The Empire Strikes Back, right: The Return of the Jedi

Plus there was also the fact that, allowing for the fact that they were basically producing a rather cheap action figure, Kenner’s designers also played loose with the design, simplifying quite a few of its elements.

In the end, I dug up as many production photos, fan art and merchandise pictures as I could find and tried to aim for a stable composite between all of the established versions, trying for a look that isn’t obsessively faithful to any one source, but tries to be authentic nonetheless.

Among many other sources, this picture of Hot Toys’ Sixth Scale Figure turned out to be the most consistently useful reference material:

This was my first experience repanting an action figure, although I understand repaints like that are a bit of a thing in certain circles. One thing I can tell you is that I could really get used to the bigger, far more forgiving scale 😉

So, without further ado, here’s my repainted Boba Fett:

The back is the part where the action figure diverges the most from the actual movie costume, greatly simplifying the complexity and shape of the jet pack. I just played it by ear and tried to come up with a solution that was at least reasonably close to the official sources.

The scuffed and worn look was achieved via a mix of washes, sponge weathering and scratch marks that were actually painted on by hand. I also tried my hand at recreating – or at least approximating – some of the markings that appear on the armour:

The emblem on the ride side of the chest was a bit of a cop-out, as I just used a small decal from the Imperial Knight decal sheet. To make up for that lack of fidelity, however, I did the best I could to freehand the Mandalorian skull symbol on both shoulder pads (incidentally, I discovered that the symbo shows a stylised Mythosaur skull — sheesh, that sounds stupid, even for Star Wars 😉 ).

One thing I am crazy happy with is the markings I freehanded onto the left side of the helmet:

So here’s a comparison showing you the figure before and after my ministrations:

And just for fun, here’s my repainted Boba next to the  – rather lovely – Disney Infinity version (I couldn’t tell you anything about the actual video game, I just swooped in to snatch two or three of the figures once they ended up in the bargain bin):

I can safely say that this has been a rather enjoyable little gaiden project: While I don’t have any immediate plans of doing something like this again, I did have a blast repainting this guy!

Oh, and I would be remiss not to mention that this isn’t actually the first time Boba Fett has managed to sneak into my hobby life. Because there’s this guy, The Mandalorian:

The model was started as a fun experiment after I had seen several Boba Fett kitbashes online — plus I realised that one of the old Khorne Berzerker helmets already had the perfect Mandalorian look 😉 After building the model, I actually turned it into a member of Inquisitor Antrecht’s INQ28 warband, and even came up with a tongue in cheek background vignette for the character.

To be perfectly honest, however, the model is precisely the kind of pop-cultural shout out I said I was wary of in my previous post, because – at the end of the day – this guy is still clearly Boba Fett 😉 Building and painting the model was still great fun, however, and I think I did a reasonably good job with the much smaller bitzbox I had back then.

So yeah, so much for a post that has been a bit of a blast from the past. I hope you enjoyed the change of topic — and if not, don’t fret: We’ll be back in familiar waters from now on. Of course I’d love to hear what you think about my Boba Fett homage(s), so feel free to leave a comment!

As always thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Oh, and may the Force be with you! 😉

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INQ28: Worker #9

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 23, 2018 by krautscientist

Yet another INQ28-related project this week — but one that could easily do double duty for games of Necromunda as well: It’s killer robot time! 🙂

Back when the Kastelan Robots were first released, I bought them pretty much right away, because I was fascinated with the conversion potential inherent in the kit. The first Kastelan was immediately entered into the service of the ruinous powers and became a counts-as Contemptor for my World Eaters:

As for the second Kastelan, my plans were more vague. The original idea was to turn him into a part of my small Iron Warriors killteam, channelling some of the old Jes Goodwin sketches for the Colossus, the same pattern of robot originally used in Perturabo’s Iron Circle bodyguard (at least in the older fluff, before Forgeworld tweaked the different robot designs and designations a bit):

I felt that it would be reasonably easy to approximate the design from the sketch with a couple of bitz, so I quickly got to work on an early prototype, splicing in a new head and experimenting with a couple of different setups:


Unfortunately, things ground to a halt partway through the building process, and the model ended up half-finished. This is what the poor Kastelan looked like for the better part of two years.

And that could have been the end of the poor robot, until I started working on my Road Crew project and came to the realisation that some kind of massive killer robot would be a really cool addition to that particular gang of malcontents from the underhive!

So I took another long look at the build I had so far and tried to figure out which direction I wanted to take the model into. For one, I took many cues from Jeff Vader’s Actaeon Heavy Assault Servitor:

Model built and painted by Jeff Vader

It should go without saying that borrowing ideas from a hobbyist as supremely talented as Johan is never a bad idea 😉 But where his servitor looked deliberately put together and well kept (that’s the Inquisition’s deep pockets for you), I knew I wanted something more ragtag and improvised, as befits a machine from the underhive. I also wanted to keep the robot’s original function slightly ambiguous, so it wouldn’t be perfectly obvious when it had originally been constructed and what had been its original function. So it shouldn’t surprise you that the ABC/Hammerstein robot from both the Judge Dredd comics and film became another important inspiration for my conversion:

But even so, hammering out the exact look I wanted turned out to be complicated. Which is when WarbossKurgan’s beat-up Kastelans turned up and provided that last bit of inspiration I needed to finally finish the build some time last year:



As you can see, there’s a clear resemblance with Jeff Vader’s aforementioned servitor. I really wanted to add a strong sense of cobbled-together repairwork and later additions to the robot’s original form, though, so I added all kinds of rough armour plates. Asymmetry also became an important part of the conversion, with one of the robot’s arms spindly and skeletal, while the gun arm ended up looking rather massive (to the point that it could even have been taken from a different machine). I also added part of an old barrel as an improvised shoulder pad, in order to achieve that particular underhive je ne sais quoi 😉 Oh, and I happened to find the perfect head — from an old OOP World Eaters Dreadnought given to me by Augustus b’Raass last year. Not only did it fit perfectly, but it also had a suitably brutal, uncaring look for a massive robot (there’s also a bit of Maximilian there, wouldn’t you agree? 😉 ) Speaking of other robots from fiction that inspired this model, let’s not forget Fallout 3’s Liberty Prime and Road to Jove’s Ceathair, who were also on my mind while making the last tweaks on the model.

Anyway, the finished conversion sat on my desk for quite a while, but with my recent committment to finally making a dent in my huge backlog of unpainted INQ28 models, I took it along to one of my regular painting sessions with my friend Annie.

When it came to painting the model, I knew I wanted to go with the same strong yellow I had been using for the rest of the Road Crew so far. My original plan was to undercoat the model silver, then crudely dab on Yriel Yellow, to show how the members of the gang had repainted the robot to fit their livery. After giving the matter some thought, that solution didn’t seem quite practical enough, however, so I borrowed a can of Averland Sunset from Annie. In the end, this made the painting process much easier, so I was able get most of the base colours sorted out in one evening of painting:




Like I said before, I really wanted to add some abiguity to the robot’s appearance: Is he some kind of heavy duty servitor? Or an ancient warmachine? Or something different altogether? The yellow colour hints at a rather more industrial use, but then I also carefully chose some decals that could be seen as military symbols, capaign badges and stuff like that. There’s also the stenciled #9 on the left side of the robot’s torso that would end up hinting at its eventual name.

With all of the main colours and the first pass of washes in place, the next important part was to make the model look suitably dirty, grimy and run down, so I added several passes of sponge weathering, dirt and grime. This was a fun step, but it was also important to know when to stop. Here’s what the model looked like after the weathering steps:




For the crude, additional armour plates, I actually followed my original plan and undercoated them silver, then crudely repainted them yellow, to make it look as though the Road Crew’s members had tried to match the robot’s original paintwork. I also added a tiny drop of Tamiya Clear Red to the robot’s breastplate — I wonder if anyone can guess the reason for that?!

Anyway, time to show you the finished model:

=][=

Worker #9


I also designed a base for the model, of course. I tried to match the muddy, rusty underhive look I had chosen for the rest of the Road Crew.

This is such a small detail, but I am actually pretty happy with the faded symbol on the rusty tank I made by combining a couple of old Space Marine decals:

So here’s the entire Road Crew so far, complete with its newest member:

If I have one small regret about the model, it’s that I realised too late that Averland Sunset was a bit different in tone from the Yriel Yellow I had used on the rest of the Road Crew models. Ultimately, however, it’s something I can live with — using yellow spray paint made the experience of painting the big guy much more enjoyable, and the difference in colour could easily be explained away as the robot’s original colour simply being slightly different from the yellow used by the Road Crew.

Anyway, I am pretty happy with having finished another long neglected model! And probably the best surprise is that, what with GW recently having dropped a hint about something called an “Ambot”,…

…there might actually be a chance of a suitable ruleset to use Worker #9 on a gaming table one day 😉

Oh, by the way, just in case you were wondering why I decided to name the robot “Worker #9”, it was actually a shout out to a half-remembered character from Final Fantasy Tactics, another ancient robot with an ambiguous original function:

I only found out the robot’s actual name was Worker 8 when I tried to dig up a picture for this post. Oh well…

It’s still a weirdly appropriate choice of name, though, seeing how the Road Crew itself was named after a throwaway line from the – incredibly entertaining – game Psychonauts.

So yeah, it seems like, after a couple of years, I was finally able to finish both of those Kastelans:

Plus it’s also cool how much mileage I seem to be getting out of that old Forgeworld Dreadnought head 😉

Even though Worker #9 and Raud the Hunter are pretty different in concept and function, the head feels like a perfect match for both of them, wouldn’t you agree?

So that’s it for today’s update. It goes without saying that I would love to hear any feedback you might have! I realise that people seem to be growing more and more used lately to just clicking the Like button and moving on. And while I appreciate your Likes as well, they really aren’t all that motivating, to be honest. So if you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment! 🙂

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

Lord of the XII Legion – A Triptych, pt. 7

Posted in 30k, Conversions, Fluff, paintjob, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2017 by krautscientist

The Night of the Wolf

Lhorke never saw who fired the first shot. In the decades to come, the World Eaters claimed it came from the Wolves‘ lines, and the Wolves claimed the same of the XII Legion. He had his suspicions, but what was hindsight in the face of catastrophe? Without either primarch giving an order, two Legions fought.

The Night of the Wolf, they’d called it in the years since. Imperial archives referred to it as the Ghenna Scouring, omitting the moment the World Eaters and Space Wolves drew blood. A source of pride for both Legions, and a source of secret shame. Both claimed victory. Both feared they’d actually lost.

Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Betrayer

 

So I really wanted to complete my most recent converted version of the XII Legion Primarch as soon as possible — and as part of the Loyalty And Treachery III event over at The Bolter & Chainsword, no less, which left me with a fairly tight deadline. But then the model was already pretty much finished, wasn’t it? Here’s where we left off last time:

But I wasn’t perfectly happy yet and thought the model needed some final tweaks before it could be painted. So I gave it another round of conversion touchups:


A rather simple addition was the tangle of viscera Angron is holding in the Wayne England artwork that inspired the conversion: It was simply created with two Skaven tails and a bit of stringy glue.

However, there remained another, more substantial addition to complete, and no, don’t worry about the tinfoil on his shoulders: The XII Primarch wasn’t about to get some super tacky coloured hairtips. Rather, I used the tinfoil as a base to build up his cape with some extra GS on top of it:


I wanted Angron’s cape to have a bit more volume and look less like a tacked-on bit, so GS really was the way to go here. At the same time, I really wanted to keep the cape and body as separate parts during the painting progress. So the little trick I came up with was to carefully push some tinfoil down onto the model’s shoulders. Since the foil can be bent to conform to a certain shape, there’s really no need to glue it to the model or attach it otherwise, provided you are careful enough. Yet it will also “insulate” the surface of the model against bonding with the GS added on top, making it easy to take the sub-assemblies apart again. Granted, it would have been even easier had I attached it to something solid. The pauldron’s weren’t glued in yet, however, and so the whole thing turned a bit more finicky than it needed to be. But it worked rather nicely for getting the structure of the cape in place!

As for building up the actual fur on top of the cape, Capt. Jack’s fur tutorial was really invaluable! I tried to adapt it as best I could to my inferior skills. And where that failed, I used an old toothbrush to create some extra texture. Which led to this result:





To show you what’s happened under the hood, so to speak, here’s another look at the GS’ed shoulder area:


And here you can see how the body and cape were still separate pieces at this point, making for much easier and more exact painting:


So just one last step before everything was ready for painting: I had to build the right base for Angron. Now I believe I already mentioned earlier how a sentence from Betrayer provided me with the right context for the model:

In those early years, Angron carried his first axe, the precursor to all others. He called it Widowmaker. It would break this day, never to be used again.

This sentence appears in the description of the event called “The Night of the Wolf” — and everything just fell into place: Why not imagine that my converted model, still wielding the iconic, two-handed axe with the wing-motif from the Wayne England illustration, represented Angron during that fateful night at the tail end of the Ghenna compliance?

Which meant that I needed a fallen Space Wolf — also the owner of that lenght of gut Angron’s clutching in his left fist, incidentally…

A short while later, I had come up with a fitting base:


So with everything in place, it was time to get some paint on the model, and this made me slightly nervous: Not only did I want the model to end up as cool as possible, but this version of Angron was also supposed to serve as a “test run” for when I finally paint the Forgeworld Angron Adam Wier sent me. So I did some research on possible recipes, especially for Angron’s armour. And while I initially thought about merely copying GW’s “official” Custodes colour scheme, I eventually decided on something more bronze and brass than gold, because it just seemed more appropriate for the character (and visibly distanced him from the Emperor’s closest servants who all wear gold). In the end, I discovered ApatheticFish’s painting tutorial and followed it to the best of my ability, and it really clicked for me!

So here are a couple of pictures illustrating the painting process:

First up, Angron with his armour mostly painted, but without his pauldrons:


This picture is interesting because it shows how wonky the model seems without the shoulder pad. It also reveals  the ugly truth of what I had to do to make everything fit together — I am just glad that the pauldrons neatly covered the whole mess up when they were back in place:


In order to add some structural stability to the whole assembly, I painted the base next (then attached the model to it):



Alas poor Hjortulf, we barely knew ye… (trying my hand at the Space Wolves’ Heresy era colours was kinda fun, though!)

So here’s the model with the cape and some detail work left to sort out:



And while the model’s back would end up being almost completely covered by the cape, I did of course completely paint it. Here’s a photo serving as proof that I didn’t skimp on my homework:


So just one final push, and the model would be finished! Fortunately enough, I had a scheduled painting session together with my good friend Annie coming up anyway, so I used this as the perfect opportunity to add a lot of small tweaks and finishing touches and complete Angron’s cape.

And so let’s look at the finished model. Keep in mind that this was the piece of artwork that inspired the conversion in the first place. A fantastic piece by the late, great Wayne England:

Angron by Wayne England

Incidentally, I only found this zoomed-out, higher quality version of the picture when the conversion had already been finished: So there are skulls in that tangle of gore in Angron’s fist — who woulda thunk, huh? 😉

Anyway, without any further ado, here’s the XII Primarch:


Angron

The Conqueror, Primarch of the XII Legion

„I am loyal, the same as you. I am told to bathe my Legion in the blood of innocents and sinners alike, and I do it, because it’s all that’s left for me in this life. I do these things, and I enjoy them, not because we are moral, or right – or loving souls seeking to enlighten a dark universe – but because all I feel are the Butcher’s Nails hammered into my brain. I serve because of this ‚mutilation‘. Without it? Well, perhaps I might be a more moral man, like you claim to be. A virtuos man, eh? Perhaps I might ascend the steps of our father’s palace and take the slaving bastard’s head.“

The Primarch Angron to his brother, Leman Russ
from Aaron-Dembski-Bowden’s Betrayer








Okay, guys: Now I do realise that I might have a tendency to be a bit too much in love with my own work, but I have to admit that I am really, really happy with this model! Are there things I could have done better? You bet! The fur on the cape is probably not as good as it could have been. Using a flesh shade for the shadows on the armour didn’t work out quite as well as I had hoped.

But all in all, he really reads as a believable version of Angron to me, and that makes me very happy, indeed! I am also rather pleased with the way his armour has turned out, and if I have one actual regret right now, it’s that the metal looks a bit too flat and monochromatic in the photos, because it works so well in real life — seriously, this guy sparkles from a couple of feet away 😉 I shall endeavour to take some better pictures that actually show off the armour a bit better.

For now, another detail shot at how the Butcher’s Nails, the armour and the partially sculpted cape come together:


And what makes this even sweeter is that the completion of Angron also marks the completion of my vow for the aforementioned “Loyalty and Treachery III” event. I have managed to complete four models I am really pleased with and really nailed down the look I want for my 30k World Eaters:

In addition to Angron, find my detailed thoughts on the rest of the models in the following posts:

And when looking at the bigger picture, I have also come one step closer to completing my fourth (and likely final) incarnation of the XII Primarch. Here are my two converted, Slaughterpriest-based versions of Angron:


So this means two down, one to go:

And finally, Angron among his sons (the meagre extents of my 30k collection so far):

I would love to hear any feedback you might have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Lord of the XII Legion – A Triptych, pt. 6

Posted in 30k, Conversions, Fluff, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2017 by krautscientist

Wait, what? We’re back to this guy again?

Indeed, another post focused on the XIIth Primarch, Angron Thal’Kr, The Conqueror, The Red Angel. So what’s up today?

You all know that building different versions of Angron was a pretty big part of my 2016 hobby life: I built and painted a version of Angron in his daemonic form, something I wouldn’t even have thought myself capable of a few years ago:

But I also went back to Angron’s past, converting a version of him inspired by this piece of artwork, probably showing the Primarch during his pitfighting days on Nuceria:

Butcher's Nails cover artwork
It turned out that one of the AoS Slaughterpriests of Khorne makes for a pretty convincing Angron, with a couple of tweaks:

angron-thalkr-lord-of-the-red-sands-11
So there was only one last planned model: The “official” Forgeworld Angron very kindly sent to me by Adam Wier. So just get that one painted and we’re done, eh?


Yes, well. It all ended up being a bit more complicated than that…

Here’s what happened: When White Dwarf was relaunched as a monthly magazine, the first issue came with a free Slaughterpriest — incidentally, the design I hadn’t used for my Angron conversion. And at the same time, I had also picked up the same version a bit earlier, when my beloved FLGS went under (still sore, you know).

So I ended up with a spare Slaughterpriest. And I started thinking. What if I were to build…just one more…?!

So yeah 😉

In order to come up with a model that wouldn’t just be a retread of the versions I already had, I thought it would be fun to base this next Angron on the pre-Forgeworld era artwork, such as the iconic illustration of Angron created by the late, great Wayne England for the Horus Heres Trading Card Game:

Angron by Wayne England

And, of course, on the similarly iconic illustration by John Blanche:

Angron by John Blanche

In the era before Angron actually had a dedicated Forgeworld model, there were a couple of elements that appeared in almost every piece of artwork. Most of these were later incorporated into Simon Egan’s model, but some fell by the wayside. Such as the two-handed axe with the ornamental wing and the three spikes crowing Angron’s collar. And of course there’s a certain, stylised and angular charm to Wayne England’s piece of artwork above that would be fun to reproduce.

So I started messing around with a couple of bitz, and I’ve actually already shown you the first attempt at this new model a while ago:


But while this guy already looked pretty cool, he didn’t actually read as Angron all that much — at least not in a way that moved beyond what was already present on the other versions in my possession. And since the model just didn’t come together for one reason or another, I just set him aside for a while.

Until I found myself playing around with some of the new plastic Custodian bitz last week, and suddenly it seemed like I might have the solution on my hands! So after some rigurous cutting, here’s what I ended up with:


Whoa, much better, wouldn’t you agree? Replacing the entire torso with that of a Custodian might seem like a rather radical approach, but it instantly moved the model a lot closer to the artwork that inspired it! And I was able to keep the versions of the previous version that already worked well enough — such as the arms and legs. And, of course, that brilliantly sculpted Slaughterpriest face (that just happens to instantly turn into Angron as soon as you add some cabling).

However, I wasn’t quite there yet: The Khorne icon on Angron’s belt buckle needed to be replaced, for fairly obvious reasons, and I also made some minor tweaks to the pose. Which led to this:




A Custodian tasset served as a pretty good replacement for the Khorne symbol and also recalled the aquila symbol appearing in the aertwork.

Almost there! I did feel the model needed a bit more presence at this point to really read as a Primarch, though. And the collar around Angron’s head wasn’t quite as prominent as in the artwork — it just turned out that fitting all that cabling in there made the entire ensemble a bit less striking than I had hoped:


Good thing, then, that the next addition was really a bit of a happy accident: I always knew that he’d be getting some kind of cape, so I fooled around with a couple of different options. And the solution arrived from the unlikeliest of places, i.e. the cape that comes with the Chaos Terminator Lord kit. With a bit of cutting and fitting, it ended up working very well, plus the cape also gave me the chance of incorporating those three spikes that are another staple of Angron in the classic artwork:





The cape also adds the right sense of bulk: I already liked the model well enough before, but it now has the massive, overmuscled look that sells it as a Primarch, if you ask me. Granted, some fine tuning may yet be in order, but I think I’m on the right track!

Time for a comparison with the other versions of (pre-ascension) Angron in my collection:



Regarding the size of the model, it must be noted that FW’s Angron is still quite a bit taller — he only doesn’t look like it because he’s posed at a very low crouch. But even so, I think the three of them look fairly good together.

So I only made one last addition to the model. Here’s what the latest version of Angron looks like right now:



I’ve added two leather straps to either side of Angron’s chest, in order to add an element resembling the straps appearing in Wayne England’s illustration. They also happen to camouflage the slightly hokey joints where the arms meet the torso. And, once again, they add some more oomph to the model and its stature.

The model is pretty much finished at this point, except for a finishing touch or two: I want Angron to be holding the same tangle of viscera he has in the artwork in his open left hand. And there needs to be something underneath the Primarch’s right foot. Incidentally, this also ties into the question of where my newest version of the XIIth Primarch fits into the timeline:

I see this version of Angron as a depiction of him about halfway through the Great Crusade, shortly before or during the event known as The Night of the Wolf (an event where the XII and VI Legions actually came to blows over Angron’s order of outfitting his legion with the Butcher’s Nails, thereby turning the legionaries into bloodthirsty madmen): There’s a throwaway line in Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s Betrayer about the first and greatest of Angron’s two-handed axes, Widowmaker, being broken and discarded at the end of that battle, so it would be fun to imagine my new version of Angron in that context.

Which is why there’ll probably be a suitably mangled Space Wolf underneath his foot — at least the XIII Legion is off the hook, for once… 😉

One last interesting detail about the model is how the shoulder pads (from MaxMini, I believe) were originally used as a mere stopgap solution, but I really rather like the way they look: They have a certain gladiatorial flair, plus the pteryges on the sides basically perfectly match the ones in the Wayne England illustration. And what’s more: Through sheeer coincidence (or maybe through intervention from the powers of the warp, who knows…) all three converted version of Angron I have built so far have ended up with shoulder pads that were originally sent to me by Augustus b’Raass as part of a bitz drop — that in itself would be enough reason to stick with those shoulder pads, wouldn’t you agree?

 

Anyway, I am pretty happy that the model has finally come together like that! And just when I thought I finally had all the Angrons I needed, I stumble upon this little gem the other day and almost find myself reaching for my AoS starter box sprues…damn!

Anyway, I would love to hear your feedback! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Lord of the XII Legion – A Triptych, pt. 5

Posted in Conversions, Fluff, paintjob, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 20, 2016 by krautscientist

And so, after a short interlude, we are actually back to Angron: Today I actually intend to deliver on the “Triptych” part of this mini-series, as I show you my completed conversion of Angron in full-on gladiator mode, based on one of the plastic Slaughterpriest models. I already showed you the conversion in the very fist post of this series:

Angron WIP (23)

Interestingly enough, the other version of the Slaughterpriest – the one that was recently included as a pretty awesome giveaway with the first issue of the new White Dwarf – seems to be more more popular at the moment, and it would make for a pretty cool base model for an Angron conversion as well — but the original Slaughterpriest has that wonderfully angry face which made me think of Angron in the first place 😉

As a matter of fact, when I fist discussed this conversion, I completely forgot to mention another model that had been a huge inspiration for this project: PDH’s brilliantly disturbing “Pursser-Sin”, a true scale Emperor’s Children Marine he built for his excellent Slaneeshi INQ28 warband:

Pursser-Sin by PDH

Pursser-Sin by PDH

Peter just has an excellent eye for original conversions, and this one really made me consider using the Slaughterpriest as a Primarch model for the first time — of course there’s also the fact that his turning a Khornate model into a Slaneeshi dog is the biggest possible heresy, so I hope my Angron conversion balances this out a bit… 😉

But anyway, I was really itching to get my plastic Angron painted, so I jumped right in: The first step was to block out all the different basecoat colours:

30k-angron-conversion-pip-1
I decided to use the same recipe for bronze armour between this model and my Daemon-Primarch version of Angron, to create a bit of visual continuity between both models, so I used the exact same steps to paint the various parts of the armour.

The skin recipe is based on Rakarth Flesh as a basecoat — as are all my recipes for human skin. Since the model represents Angron in fairly healthy shape, however, I decided to make his skin look a bit healthier than the tone I usually use on my chaotic models. So I tweaked the recipe a bit, using the following steps:

  • GW Rakarth Flesh was used for the basecoat.
  • the entire skin area was then washed liberally with GW Ogryn Flesh (I loaded up on that wash while it was still available, although I imagine GW Reikland Fleshshade would have worked just as well).
  • the skin was then given a thin coat of GW Cadian Fleshtone for a slightly healthier look

At this point I already had a reasonably convincing flesh tone. However, I went one step further and used a mix of GW Carroburg Crimson and GW Druchii Violet to create shadows and distressed looking skin in select areas, especially around Angron’s cranial implants, around the metallic spine and on his “Triumph Rope” chest scar, giving these areas some extra pop.

Here’s the model with most of the paintjob already in place:

30k-angron-conversion-pip-6
I was definitely getting somewhere, but I wasn’t perfectly happy yet. So I decided to set the model aside for a moment and work on the base instead for a change of pace.

Since the model is supposed to represent Angron either uring his days as a gladiator on his “homeworld” Nuceria or during a sparring match in the Conqueror’s fighting pits, I really wanted the base to have the texture of a sany arena floor. In order to get the texture just right, I decided to try something new and picked up a pot of Vallejo’s Sandy Paste:

vallejo-sandy-paste
Going for a completely unfamiliar tool like this was a bit of a gamble, of course, but fortunately enough, the paste was extremely easy to work with: After getting an idea of what I was up against from this helpful YouTube tutorial, I was able to add it to the base and create the right texture using an old hobby knife. I also decided to add two discarded pieces of gladiatorial equipment half-buried in the sand. A shield from the WFB Vampire Counts Skeletons and a gladiator helmet from MaxMini that Augustus b’Raass had sent me a while ago provided the perfect pieces for the look I wanted. A part of the helmet was carefully shaved off to create a half-buried look. Both bitz were pressed into the still soft paste. Here’s what the base looked like after this step:

30k-angron-conversion-pip-2
30k-angron-conversion-pip-3
I also carefully pressed the model into the paste while everything was still drying, in order to create believable indentations in the sand around his left foot and the pile of skulls his right foot is resting on. Then the base was painted and the mostly finished model was glued to it before I tackled the finishing touches.

To be perfectly honest, there was a stretch during the painting where I wasn’t quite sure whether or not everything was really coming together. In the end, however, a couple of factors really pulled the various parts of the paintjob together:

  • I added some rather subtle blood spatter to Angron’s axes, his armour and to his chest and legs, making it look as though he had just messily vanquished a foe (or ten…). This really added that extra bit of realism to the model that I needed.
  • Once Angron had been glued to the base, his feet and the bottom of his loincloth were carefully drybrushed with the same sandy colour I had used for the base, and once again, this added some realism to the model and made it look more grounded.
  • And finally, the model really started looking like Angron once the trademark facial tattoos were in place: I even painted the markings around his eyes, even though I had been slightly nervous about that area beforehand.

So without further ado, here’s the second part of my Triptych about the Lord of the XII Legion:

 

Angron Thal’Kr, Lord of the Red Sands

angron-thalkr-lord-of-the-red-sands-11
“Come and die, dogs of Desh’ea! I am Angron of the pits, born in blood, raised in the dark, and I will die free!
Come, watch me fight one last time! Is that not what you want? Is that not what you always wanted?
Come closer, you dog-blooded cowards!”

Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Betrayer

angron-thalkr-lord-of-the-red-sands-1
angron-thalkr-lord-of-the-red-sands-2
angron-thalkr-lord-of-the-red-sands-3
angron-thalkr-lord-of-the-red-sands-4
angron-thalkr-lord-of-the-red-sands-5
angron-thalkr-lord-of-the-red-sands-6
angron-thalkr-lord-of-the-red-sands-7
Like I said on my previous post on the matter, the metallic spine doesn’t appear in the official fluff, of course, but is rather a feature of the Slaughterpriest model. But I really liked the disturbingly crude nature of it and thought it would perfectly match the brutally invasive style of the cranial implants Angron had received on Nuceria, so I decided to keep it. The same element also appears on my Daemon-Primarch version of Angron. Oh, and I made sure to make the skin on either side look suitably bruised and inflamed…

angron-thalkr-lord-of-the-red-sands-8
angron-thalkr-lord-of-the-red-sands-9
angron-thalkr-lord-of-the-red-sands-10
All in all, I am really vey happy with the finished model, and I do think the guy really reads as Angron now! To wit, here’s another look at that cover artwork of “Butcher’s Nails” that served as an important piece for reference during the painting process:

Butcher's Nails cover artwork
And here’s a closer look at the model’s face, an area that I am pretty happy with:

angron-thalkr-lord-of-the-red-sands-12
To allow you to accurately gauge the model’s bulk and size, here are some comparison pictures showing Angron next to…

…one of his power-armoured sons:

angron-thalkr-lord-of-the-red-sands-15
Forgeworld’s official Angron model, the still-to-be-painted third and final part of my Triptych 😉

angron-thalkr-lord-of-the-red-sands-14

…and finally, the three 30k World Eaters I have managed to paint so far:

angron-thalkr-lord-of-the-red-sands-13
So yeah, I am pretty happy with how the second part of this project has turned out! Two down, one to go — well, one and a half, really, because there’s also the rest of Daemon-Primarch Angron’s base left to finish, of course…

Before I wind up this post, allow me to point you in the direction of two related projects from fellow hobbyists. In both cases, I only discovered these models while I was already working on my own, but they are still fantastic alternate interpretations of the same character and archetype — and both happen to be based on the same Slaughterpriest model as well!

First up, there’s Calle’s Angron, a version that is pretty similar in approach to my own, but even more visceral:

Angron conversion by Calle

Angron conversion by Calle

Calle shared his model in the comments to one of my previous posts, but since I really love his take on Angron, I felt it definitely deserved a proper shout out!

And then there’s Reg, whose Daemon-Primarch Angron was instrumental for my own version. Now wouldn’t you know it, he seems to be at least one step ahead of me yet again, building not only another fantastic rendition of the big man himself, but also an entire gang of Angron’s Nucerian gladiator buddies as well. Nuts!

Angron and his gladiators by Reg

Angron and his gladiators by Reg

These are just incredible — I can’t even…
Now if Reg would pnly answer to the PM I wrote to him on Dakka…
Anyway, I am a huge, huge fan of these!

And so another post on the Lord of the XII Legion comes to a close. In closing, I have one final image to share with you, an impression of how Angron might have looked in the arena of Desh’ea. It goes without saying that I would love to hear any feedback you might have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

lord-of-the-red-sands-2

Lord of the XII Legion – A Triptych, pt. 2

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, Pointless ramblings, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 24, 2016 by krautscientist

Prologue

So here we are with part two of this mini-series centered around Angron, the Lord of the XII Legion, and today I would like to focus on my interpretation of Angron in his post-ascension form as a Daemon-Primarch (a project already teased in my last post). Now it may seem counter-intuitive to deal with this last and (canonically) latest version of Angron first, but I have long stopped wondering about when and how inspiration strikes, electing instead to just go with the flow. And in this particular case, there was ample inspiration to be had, indeed — but we’ll be getting to that in a minute!

Let me start by telling you that this particular project has been long in the making. It actually started over a year ago, when I received a second plastic Bloodthirster as a gift. Back then, my first Bloodthirster (bought immediately upon the new kit’s release) had already been assembled, and I didn’t really want to merely build another one. But I also didn’t want to just put the kit away into my cupboard of shame, so my mind started wandering…would it actually be possible to build a version of Daemon-Primarch Angron using this kit…?

Following my usual approach, I started by doing lots of research. And a huge part of this progress was to check out what had come before. Like this guy:

Angron by Wade Pryce

Angron by Wade Pryce

Wade Pryce’s Angron conversion, based on the old metal Bloodthirster. Now for those of you who don’t know Wade’s army, it’s easily one of the most spectacular 40k World Eaters armies of all time, and one that played a huge part for creating the concept of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt, when I got back into the hobby. And true to the quality of his World Eaters, Wade served as a trailblazer once again with his Angron conversion, being just about the first hobbyist with the actual audacity to tackle such a project.

Now while the model may seem a bit dated, given the ever escalating quality of models we have been seeing over the last years, it still remains important in that it serves as a proof of concept that Daemon-Primarch Angron is possible in model form — to wit, Wade’s model basically served as GW’s quasi-official 40k Angron for quite a while, even being featured on their homepage until fairly recently.

Speaking of official models, there was that hokey Epic 40k model of Angron, of course:

image source: SOLegends

image source: SOLegends

But seriously, it didn’t feel like I could take lots of inspiration from this guy, right? Keep this particular model in mind, however, as we’ll be encountering him in the unlikeliest place before this is over…

I. Research and main inspiration

But anyway, GW wouldn’t be a big help here, at least not when it came to models. So I turned to the hobbyists, and while Daemon-Primarch Angron certainly isn’t a super-popular subject for converters so far, there are some conversions of him floating around. Among this, some seemed especially noteworthy to me due to their quality: VonKessler’s truly monstrous Angron was quite stunning, as was Rumplemaster’s Angron. I am also a fan of this version of Angron in Daemon-Primarch form by Renaes, while we are on the subject — but while all three versions are very cool and rather inspiring, they all use very different base models from the Bloodthirster I had chosen as my starting point.

And then there was Reg, French hobbyist extraordinaire, who, I was flabbergasted to find out, is responsible for more than a dozen different Angron conversions (don’t believe me? Go check up on him — I’ll be waiting). But what’s more, his Angron conversions are among the best interpretations of the character you can find online. And when I recently saw this latest Angron from Reg on CMON, based on the Bloodthirster, no less, I was simply blown away:

Bloodthirster-based Angron conversion by Reg

Bloodthirster-based Angron conversion by Reg

Seriously, this is probably the best Daemon-Primarch Angron I have seen so far, and really, really close to my own interpretation of the character! A part of me actually hated Reg for having come up with this before me — where was the point in even starting my own project now? But then I calmed myself and started to think and plan and throw around bitz, and while I would be using this as one of my main inspirations and …erm “borrow” quite a few ideas from it, there were also some things that I wanted to do slightly differently. Plus I wanted to incorporate some different sources as well.

The second major inspiration for my own Angron conversion was what I believe is the only official atrwork to date depicting Daemon Primarch Angron, a piece by Alex Boyd (who was obviously channelling his inner John Blanche when painting this piece):

Daemon Primarch Angron by Alex Boyd

Daemon Primarch Angron by Alex Boyd

I understand this artwork originally appeared in the Visions of Heresy artbooks, but I first saw it back when it appeared in White Dwarf, accompanying some rules for using Angron in games of Apocalypse.

I think it goes without saying that Reg seems to have taken quite a few cues from this piece of art (as did Rumplemaster). And both have come up with models that are looking wildly different from one another while also both being reasonable interpretations of the art. Because what’s really rather amazing about the illustration is that the style is loose and painterly enough to be up to interpretation to a certain degree.

I also really, really love how the art features callbacks to Angron’s human form, as depicted by John Blanche and Wayne England (see my previous post): The three-spiked crest above Angron’s head, the curved shoulder pads and the axe are all elements drawn from those earlier pieces of artwork. The axe, in particular, seems like a daemonic version of the huge two-handed axe appearing in the earlier Horus Heresy artwork, decorative wing ornament and all. What a brilliant sense of continuity!

So I chose this illustration as my second main influence when building and painting my own Angron. But there was one more source that became a major influence:

MINOR SPOILERS for “The Emperor’s Gift” follow!

The description of post-ascension Angron that appeared in Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s “The Emperor’s Gift”

„And there it was. Behind the diseased humidity and stench of fresh blood: a shadow that stained the horde’s core. It rose from the wreckage of a temple, spreading monstrous wings to the sky.

One of my brothers breathed the words +Throne of the Emperor.+ It may have even been me.
Bone and ceramite armoured its sweating flesh in equal measure, while its skin was a scorched and cracked display of inhuman red meat, strained by pulsing veins of black iron. A thrashing mane of dreadlocked cables rose from the back of its malformed head in a daemonic crest. Some became brass chains ending in bound skulls. Others were connected to the creature’s ornate bronze-scale armour.“
(…)
It turned its eyes to us. The skeletal landscape of its face turned with a slowness I could only describe as bestial, but it most definitely saw us. The coal pits of its eyes steamed as blood bubbled and boiled in the thing’s swollen tear ducts. Slowly – still so very slowly – its jaws opened to reveal a quivering tongue the colour of spoiled meat, with pinkish saliva roping and stretching between rows of sharkish teeth.“

END SPOILERS

So these were my main sources when planning the conversion. And they provided me with many ideas and cool influences, turning this into a very enjoyable, if challenging, conversion.

II. Getting started

After assembling all the ideas and bitz I needed, I started by putting together the plastic Bloodthirster’s body. I had already done this once with my first Bloodthirster, so this part was easy work. I knew that I wanted to change the look of the model as much as possible, however, and the main area of interest to sell the conversion as Angron would be the head. So that’s where I started the proper conversion — with a very early, slightly ridiculous looking mockup made from poster tack:

Daemon Primarch Angron very early mockup (3)

Daemon Primarch Angron very early mockup (2)
Daemon Primarch Angron very early mockup (1)
Based on the various descriptions and depictions of Daemon-Primarch Angron, I decided that the standard “human” Bloodthirster face would work perfectly as a base for the conversion. However, I wanted to make two substantial changes to it: One, open the jaws far wider than on the stock model, for that extra bit of madness and body horror. And two, elongating the neck protion quite a bit, both to change the silhouette of the model and to make room for the mutated cables and tendrils representing Angron’s “Butcher’s Nails” implants.

Early during this step, I decided to lose the smaller horns and ears on the stock face, because I really wanted to make the head look different than the standard Bloodthirster face. I also wanted to draw more attention to the sculpted area of the head, but this also meant I would have to come up with some decent sculpting, which seemed like a pretty daunting task. But I didn’t really have a choice in the matter, so I started by using some GS to build up the basic shape of the head and neck:

DPA early WIP (4)
DPA early WIP (3)
DPA early WIP (2)
DPA early WIP (1)
Admittedly, the model didn’t look like much at this point, and I was briefly afraid of having ruined a pretty expensive kit. But when I tentatively posted these early WIPs on various forums, people immediately recognised the model as a WIP Angron and seemed very enthusiastic — phew! 😉

Another part of “The Emperor’s Gift” refers to Angron’s “saurian head”, and I liked the idea that an elongated head gave him a bit of a reptilian look without completely superseding the human origins of the character.

The next part of the conversion was to build up several parts of the model at the same time: More and more cables were added to the head, some of them GW bitz (all the cables from the Space Marine Centurions really came in handy here), while others were sculpted from GS using a fine-tooth comb and lots of patience (thanks to a neat tip from fellow hobbyist Mechanist). At the same time, I also added the various planned armour plates to Angron’s body. Here’s what the model looked like a short while later:

Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (1)
My original plan was to use the Ogre Bull gut plates resembling the World Eaters’ legion badge as kneepads (to emulate the kneepads of Forgeworld’s Angron model), but then I realised that the gut plate also worked really well in its intended function, providing a piece of armour that fit very well while also differentiating the model further from the stock Bloodthirster.

As for the spiked crest you can see above Angron’s head, that is a shout out to several pieces of artwork, as there was always a three-spiked crest above Angron’s head in the older artwork, both in his mortal and immortal incarnation. However, Simon Egan’s Angron model has slightly redesigned this element into a World Eaters symbol framed by what seems curiously like a chaos star. Therefore, I felt that would be cool to hint at the updated design, and so I used a part from the WFB warshrine of chaos as a crest.

Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (5)
The shoulder pads were a part that confounded me for quite a while, and I also felt that this was the part where many Angron conversion, even the truly excellent ones, faltered, trying to add pauldrons made from GS that ended up looking slightly too gooey and awkward.

After much consideration, I discovered some chaos shields from Maxmini.eu which Augustus b’Raass had sent me a while ago in my bitzbox, and they really seemed like an excellent compromise, recalling the pauldrons in the art while also fitting the Bloodthirster model surprisingly well (and featuring the same amount of detail as the rest of the armour plates):

Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (2)
The most involved part of the conversion was to keep adding more and more cables to the head, and this also took far more patience than I normally have. But I forced myself to work in several sessions and kept adding more and more detail to build up the head. You may notice the cables’ different textures. This was a conscious choice, as I wanted to capture the feeling of various cables at various stages of “transformation”, for lack of a better word: There are the more slender, clearly metallic cables, slightly thicker cables that already have a distinctly organic look (and somewhat more gooey texture) and, finally, fleshy tendrils that no longer really look like cables at all. I wanted this ensemble to look like the nails had actually become a part of Angron’s very being upon his ascension, and I planned to underline this even further during the painting stage.

Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (3)
So with the model’s body finally taking shape, this was also the right moment to think about the weapon I wanted Angron to wield. Canonically, Daemon-Primarch Angron is armed with the Black Blade, a massive daemonsword forged for him during the Heresy by Vel Kheredar, at the behest of Lorgar.

Coming up with a suitable blade would have been a rather neat challenge (I considered Nagash’s sword for a while, or the sword from the Nemesis Dreadknight), but the longer I thought about it, the more I realised that I really wanted to incorporate that huge axe that appears both in the early Horus Heresy artwork and in Alex Boyd’s illustration.

I knew from looking at Reg’s model that this could work really well, using one of the Bloodthirster axes. However, I diverged from his design by using the big, two-handed axe rather than one of the smaller ones. Here’s the finished, slightly tweaked axe:

Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (6)
The haft was shortened and straightened a bit to make the axe seem slightly less unwieldy (I also thought the crooked haft did look slightly silly). And I definitely needed that huge wing ornament on the axe head — I took inspiration from Reg’s model here, using a wing from a Dark Vengeance Ravenwing bike and gluing it to the axe.

So here’s a mockup of Angron holding the weapon:

Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (7)
Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (8)
Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (9)
And as you can see in the pictures, there’s also a little something in Angron’s right hand: This is perhaps the second rather substantial difference from Reg’s amazing version: I really wanted to do something with the empty hand, and it seemed like the perfect chance to incorporate another shout out to Alex Boyd’s illustration: The artwork shows Angron gripping an unlucky Astartes, probably an Ultramarine, in his off-hand, so I chose to create a similar effect on my own model. A Grey Knight would have been an interesting alternative, but I ultimately chose an Ultramarine, both as a callback to the art and because using a Grey Knight would have “dated” the model:

You see, Angron was one of the first Primarchs to ascend to daemonhood, during the Mid-Heresy. Yet at the same time, it stands to reason that his appearance as a Daemon-Primarch would still be roughly the same several millennia later. So using an Ultramarine here would ultimately allow me to use the model both for 30k and 40k (as a piece linking together the two versions of my World Eaters, if you will), which I thought was a pretty nifty bonus!

Towards this end, I tried to make the Ultramarine’s armour look like it could have originated during the Heresy, mainly using Mk IV components:

Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (24)
I do realise that gory trophies like these can be a bit of a divisive feature, but I chose to cut the Ultamarine apart at the waist, showing how Angron must have torn his opponent in half moments earlier. I think having an entire Astartes dangling from his fist would have ended up looking rather awkward, so the legs will appear on the base. I tried to keep the splatter factor pretty low though, avoiding lots of dangling innards and limiting myself to a barely visible spine and one coiled rope of entrails:

Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (25)
My take is that the Marine is still alive, by the way, if only just barely — “Only in death…”, and all that: I reckon this guy has one last swing left in him, not that it’ll do him any good. This is also the reason while he is still facing towards Angron:

Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (26)

So with both hands completed, it was time to attach the wings and add the final details before the conversion was ready for paint:

The most important part to tidy up was the head, although I found I didn’t even want to add lots and lots of additional cables, as I was really rather happy with the way it looked. In addition to the cables, some small chains and several skulls (both from the Empire Flagellant kit) were nestled in between all the cabling and fleshy tendrils, in keeping with both the art and ADB’s description. As for the face itself, the two final additions were some gruesome spikes on each cheek and some studs carefully added to the forehead, both as a way of approximating similar elements appearing in the artwork:

Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (34)
And there was one last “special effect” that I wanted to add to the model: Because I had made such a lot of changes to the model’s head, there was no way to use the crest of fur that normally runs down the stock Bloodthirster’s head. So I used this area to add another detail differentiating my Angron conversion from the stock ‘Thirster, while also serving as a shout out to my plastic Angron conversion.

As you might remember, my plastic Angron kept the exposed spine from the Slaughterpriest model:

Angron WIP (21)

Now I thought it would be a cool, if somewhat grisly, in-joke to use the same element on my Daemon-Primarch Angron, so I used the big spine from the AoS Bloodsecrator of Khorne and some GS to create this:

Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (35)
And with those final additions, the conversion was finished. Let’s take a look at how the model looked before painting:

Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (36)
Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (37)
Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (38)
Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (39)
Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (40)
Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (42)
Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (44)
Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (47)

Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (48)
Here’s a comparison picture showing Angron next to my Bloodthirster: Considering the fact that it’s basically the same model, I do think I’ve done a reasonable job of making the conversion look different:

Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (49)
All in all, I am really extremely happy with the conversion: While it’s very obvious that I have taken a fair bit of inspiration from Reg’s Angron conversion, I also think that I’ve made enough tweaks on the formula for my model to be able to stand on its own. At the same time, I also feel the model is a pretty fair, if not 100% picture-perfect, representation of Alex Boyd’s artwork, even if I’ve had to switch hands on my model, for the sake of practicality:

Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (45)
I am particularly happy with the face and head:

Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (46)
Yup, looks like Daemon-Primarch Angron to me 😉

Now, do you still remember that silly Epic 40k version of Angron shown at the beginning of this post? Now what if I tell you that my buddy Biohazard is currently working on his own version of Daemon-Primarch Angron (because the both of us seem to be having a bit of an Angron conversion arms race going on at the moment), and his version is actually based on that Epic 40k model?

It is also completely awesome:

Daemon-Primarch Angron conversion by Biohazard

Daemon-Primarch Angron conversion by Biohazard

As you can see, Biohazard’s even arming Angron with the proper Black Blade, having made a fantastic kitbash utilising the Nemesis Dreadknight’s sword. I love the fact how we’ve chosen to build the same character and use the same stock model, yet our respective interpretations should end up looking wildly different! Keep track of Biohazard’s brilliant conversion work here.

As for my own version, there was one last test to pass: We are all prepared to cut a conversion some slack while it’s still in different shades of grey and green, but the truly magic moment comes when it’s all brought together by the same colour — or not. So it was with some nervousness that I spraypainted the entire model black:

Daemon Primarch Angron PIP (2)
Daemon Primarch Angron PIP (4)
And yet with only the black undercoat in place, I think it’s already obvious how the different parts of the head (and, by extension, the conversion) merge together fairly seamlessly, wouldn’t you agree?

Once again, the armour plates were being kept seperate during the painting process, in order to make painting easier and avoid hard to reach nooks and crannies:

Daemon Primarch Angron PIP (1)

Right, time to get this bad boy painted, eh? 😉

So stay tuned for the next part of this series, when I’ll be walking you through the painting process. Until then, I’d really love to hear your feedback on the conversion so far and my working process for this project! And a heartfelt thank you to all those who have provided the necessary inspiration – or bitz – for this particular project!

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

Lord of the XII Legion – A Triptych, pt. 1

Posted in Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, Pointless ramblings, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 20, 2016 by krautscientist

Prologue

I have been thinking a lot about Angron lately.

I’ve explained before how I think Matthew Farrer’s “After Desh’ea” and Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s “Betrayer” have managed to turn a bad comic book villain into a much more rounded, tragic character, and I still stand by that sentiment: Even in a series of tie-in fiction, Angron has become a strong and interesting character. He’s the most monstrous of the Primarchs. And, in some ways, also the most human. He is a tragic villain. And also utterly irredeemable. All he ever wanted was freedom. From the high-riders. From the Emperor. And he ended up being one of the first of his brothers to ascend to a life of eternal service. That’s quite a development, from generic angry guy bit-part (“Angry Ron”, indeed) to a much more interesting key player in the Horus Heresy.

There’s also the fact that Angron has been depicted in some rather excellent artwork over the years. I suppose everything must have started with John Blanche’s depiction of the World Eaters’ Primarch:

Angron by John Blanche

Angron by John Blanche

John’s trademark style goes for shock and awe tactics here, showing us Angron as a hulking barbarian warlord, if anything. Even after all these years, this still seems like an apt interpretation of the character, and it’s quite fascinating to see how most of the elements from this drawing seem to have found their way into subsequent depictions (and even the official model!).

Then there’s this piece by the late, great Wayne England, one of the wonderful illustrations that used to define the look of the Horus Heresy prior to Forgeworld:

Angron by Wayne England

Angron by Wayne England

What I really love about this piece is how it plays with the character’s duality: The barbarian warlord is still there, but Angron seems more regal and composed than the JB version. And yet, there’s that strand of viscera dangling from his fist: Even as a powerful Imperial warlord, this man remains a dangerous beast, indeed.

And there’s the far more recent, official piece of artwork from Forgeworld, of course, depicting what is effectively a picture-perfect representation of Simon Egan’s Angron:

Angron Forgeworld artwork
It’s another very cool piece of artwork — although those axes seem awfully small, come to think of it.

And finally. two more pieces of art that define Angron as a character for me, both from brilliantly talented artist slaine69:

Angron sketch by slaine69

Angron sketch by slaine69

This first one actually had me gasping out loud when I first saw it: What we see here is a much more monstrous, almost grotesque, take on Angron — and yet it almost perfectly matches the description of the Primarch appearing in Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s stories: After more than a century of warfare, Angron looks like a scarred and disfigured stature of a legendary hero — this is exactly how I imagine Angron during the Nuceria campaign and shortly before his ascension to daemonhood!

The other piece is more moody in nature, but arguably even more effective:

"Portrait of an angry guy" by slaine69

“Portrait of an angry guy” by slaine69

The quality of the writing and artwork slowly made me realise that, as a dedicated World Eater, I would need some model version of Angron at some point. And the growing feeling of wanting to do the Lord of the XII Legion justice in model form, in turn, led to the start of this project: But if I wanted an Angron model, what was I to do?

I. Do it yourself…

Of course getting the (fantastic) official Forgeworld model would have been the most obvious solution — but for some reason that seemed, too easy and too complicated at the same time: I didn’t want to go through the process of having to order the model, really, plus I am not a big fan of resin. And if I was to build Angron, I wanted it to be a conversion project.

As is so often the case, all it took to knock me over the edge was the right piece of inspiration. And it came in the form of invivos’ plastic Angron conversion:

Angron conversion by invivos

Angron conversion by invivos

Now that conversion is just clever, wouldn’t you agree? It uses some fairly readily available components to create a model that definitely reads as Angron — I especially love the use of half a Space Marine shoulder pad to create Angron’s characteristic high collar!  What a neat little touch! If there’s one – very minor – problem with the conversion, it’s that it might just be a bit too small to represent a Primarch (at least by modern FW standards). But it’s still a wonderfully elegant little conversion — and it served as proof to me that a plastic version of Angron was possible!

And then, one day, I found myself at the Hanover GW store with an AoS Slaughterpriest of Khorne in my hand and a plan beginning to form in the back of my head. So I picked up the model and started with an early mockup:

Angron WIP (1)
The stock Slaughterpriest body and head were basically perfect for the project, and the model was tall enough to read as a Primarch. Even at this early stage, however, I realised I would have to make some tweaks: The Slaughterpriest arms were holding a two-handed axe, and I knew right away that I rather wanted my Angron to be wielding twin chainaxes, like his official incarnation. However, with the axe left off, the arms were in a rather awkward pose, plus they also ended up looking puny, so I replaced them with Ork boy arms. The chainaxes came from FWs Cataphractii models, and the shoulder pad I used in my mockup had been sent to me by Augustus b’Raass a while ago (it’s either from MaxMini or from PuppetsWar, I believe).

Angron WIP (3)
Now when it came to the model’s back, those horns growing from either side of the Saughterpriest’s spine definitely needed to go! I chose to keep the hideous, exposed spine, though, both because I rather liked its look and because it seemed like a suitably brutal surgical alteration (either performed by the ringmasters on Nuceria, or by the Imperium in order to allow Angron to interface with is armour):

Angron WIP (4)
Angron WIP (5)
And while this version was still fairly rough, it definitely felt like a huge step in the right direction!

The next obvious step was to add the thing that defines Angron like nothing else: His Butcher’s Nails implants:

Angron WIP (8)
Angron WIP (10)
Angron WIP (12)
This actually turned out to be really easy, mostly due to a lucky discovery: When I took a closer look at the Sicarian Ruststalkers princeps’ head, I realised that the cabling forming a “beard” of sorts would work perfectly as Butcher’s Nails with very little additional work:
Angron WIP (13)
While I was at it, I also carefully shaved off the Khornate rune from the armour — seeing how Angron never even realised he was the Blood God’s champion before his ascension to daemonhood, it just seemed more fitting this way:

Angron WIP (15)
And as you can see in this size comparison picture, my plastic conversion was really quite a bit taller than a standard power armoured Marine and even than a World Eater in Cataphractii armour:

Angron WIP (18)
So the final thing left to do was to replace the white modeling putty with solidly sculpted areas of greenstuff, in order to rebuild Angron’s back where needed, and add a detail or two. While I am not especially handy with GS, this turned out to be a fairly straightforward affair. So here’s the finished Angron conversion:

Angron WIP (20)
Angron WIP (19)
As you can see, I even managed to add Angron’s “Triumph Rope” scar, an element described in “After De’shea” and also prominently shown on the cover of “Butcher’s Nails.”

Here’s the finished back:

Angron WIP (21)
And let me just point out that I think the Slaughterpriest’s face is easily one of GW’s best face sculpts, with the set of the muscles beautifully supporting the look of boundless rage:

Angron WIP (22)

I even thought about a “GW-friendly” version of the model: If I should ever endeavour to send some pictures of the finished model to White Dwarf, for instance, I’ll have to replace the shoulder pad with a GW bit:

Angron WIP (27)
Angron WIP (28)
Which of the two pauldrons do you prefer?

But yeah, I am really happy with the finished model, because I think it’s instantly recognisable as the XII legion’s Primarch: I also like how it’s pretty abiguous whether the model represents Angron during his time as an arena champion on Nuceria or rather during a sparring match with his sons in the fighting pits aboard the Conqueror. Whichever might be the case, he seems just seconds away from the iconic pose appearing on the cover of “Butcher’s Nails”:

Butcher's Nails cover artwork
Angron WIP (31)
Now while I have decided to keep my Angron bare-chested, let me tell you that it should really be easy enough to build an armoured version using the same basic approach. For instance, the Stormcast Eternal breastplates are a pretty good fit for the model’s torso and also resemble the type of armour worn by Forgeworld’s Angron. Here’s a quick mockup:

Angron WIP (26)
As it happens, my buddy Biohazard is working on an absolutely spectacular armoured version of Angron based on the same Slaughterpriest model. Take a look:

Angron conversion by Biohazard

Angron conversion by Biohazard

So if you should ever find yourself wondering about how to start a plastic Angron conversion, I’d suggest taking a look at the Slaughterpriest — in fact, if you have access to both versions of the Slaughterpriest, you might be able to come up with an even better version. But anyway, I am really happy with my kitbashed Angron, and I am also looking forward to painting him, hopefully in the near future!

2. The Universe has a sense of humor…

…or so they say, because no sooner was my plastic Angron conversion finished than I was contacted by Adam Wier (of Between the Bolter And Me fame), who told me that he had an almost complete Forgeworld Angron that he would be willing to send over. And indeed, he was awesome enough to go through with it, so a short time later, thanks to Adam’s kindness, I found myself in the possession of the “official” model as well:

Forgeworld Angron WIP (1)
Forgeworld Angron WIP (2)
And what can I say: I am really happy with my converted Angron, but I also remain a fan of Simon Egan’s “official” version — I’d even go so far as to say that I believe Angron is still one of the best Primarch sculpts (in spite of also being the first Primarch to be released), mostly because the model takes visual cues from all the various depictions of the character and combines them into something that is, amazingly enough, a really good match for each piece of artwork while also being an excellent model in its own right!

And now one of those models was mine, and it even came perfectly cleaned up, probably due to Adam’s meticulousness 😉

So the first thing this allowed me to do was to actually make a comparison between my converted Angron and the official model:

Angron Twins (4)
Angron Twins (2)
And you know what? I think that, at least from a size perspective, my Slaughterpriest-based Angron holds up fairly well. Granted, he may be slightly smaller than Forgeworld-Angron (if the latter were to stand perfectly erect). But the model is also tall enough to read as a Primarch, if you ask me — plus he’s mostly out of his armour, so there’s that, too 😉

At the same time, it was also clear to me that I really wanted to paint both versions of the model now, perhaps creating snapshots from different moments in the Primarch’s life, so to speak.

I had one problem to solve however: While the model was almost complete, some parts were missing. Mostly minor stuff, really, but the one thing I would need to replace was the cloak. And it took me a while to think of a solution — but then I was saved by a bitz drop from fellow hobbyist Helega, and now my Forgeworld-Angron looks like this:

Forgeworld Angron WIP (3)
Forgeworld Angron WIP (4)
Forgeworld Angron WIP (5)
Forgeworld Angron WIP (6)
A slightly tweaked version of the chain cape from the WFB Chaos Lord on Manticore seems like a pretty ideal replacement for Angron’s standard cape — the conversion isn’t quite finished yet, but I do think I am on the right track.

So that’s two versions of the same character for me to paint, right? Seems like I have my work cut out for me. Wait a second, though, because we are still not quite done…

3. Things to come…

What you maybe don’t know yet is that, in addition to the two versions of Angron in “regular” (super-)human form, I have been planning for quite a while to also build and paint a version of the Primarch after his ascension to daemonhood. So that makes three Angrons, which is why this project has now officially become a triptych! My version of Angron’s daemonic form definitely deserves a post of its own, due to the sheer scope of the project, but allow me to share one teaser image with you, while we are here:

Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (46)
Trust me, you’ll be seeing *a lot* of this guy — and soon! 😉

 

So yeah, I think this is going to be a rather exciting project: Three versions of the Lord of the XII Legion, and I really want to do each of the models justice and paint them to the best of my abilities — wish me luck! During my last visit to the Hanover GW store, the manager even suggested making a diorama of the three finished versions and present it at the store as part of their “Armies on Parade” event in October — we will see…

Anyway, I would like to extend a heartfelt “thank you” to those amazing people who have made this project possible by providing inspiration, bitz or even entire freaking Forgeworld models (cheers, Adam!)!I’d love to hear your thoughts on the project so far!

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