Archive for cousin andy

Holiday conversions

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2013 by krautscientist

Even though I have been phenomenally lazy for the last two weeks, I still managed to sit down after Christmas to finish a couple of models I had been working on for ages. I also managed to get some more work done on Lord Captain Lorimar, although that will warrant a post of its own.

Today, let’s look at some more chaos models in Terminator armour: I realise you might be getting tired of these, but they are just so much fun to build 😉

First up, a Chaos Lord in Terminator armour wielding a pair of lightning claws: This guy is the beginning of a small, dedicated LC unit:

LC Lord WIP (2)
LC Lord WIP (1)
LC Lord WIP (3)
As you can see, the Chaos Termie Lord kit once again formed the base for the conversion (although the torso front came from the regular Chaos Terminators). I added a pair of SW Lightning claws, since I liked the extra sharp look of the claws. The head and right shoulderpad came from the FW World Eaters Terminators, while the Khornate bunny ears were cut off a WFB Finecast champion of Khorne. It seems like a very easy kitbash, but it took me ages to get the pose on this guy right.

The second model I managed to complete has already appeared in some of my fluff: It’s Brother Hokar, Master of the Guard. Here’s a brief decription from a piece of background I wrote:

“(…)Khoron laughed. The sound recalled sheets of metal grinding against each other. A strange sound for a Dreadnought. Khoron took a step forward and Bardolf could see fresh damage on his armoured form. “Oh, I have been here for a while. As a matter of fact, I was quite honoured to accompany our brother Charun on his latest …sortie.”

“And quite a sortie it was”, came a new voice. Bardolf turned around to face the new arrival. It belonged to Hokar, Lorimar’s Master of the Guard. His Terminator armour was exquisitely crafted,  forming a cowl in the shape of a snarling skull that cast a shadow over his pale features. His expression was utterly inscrutable. Nothing new there.

“I salute you, hunter”, Bardolf addressed him, “I thought you were campaigning in the Diammar sector.”

Hokar’s eyes were like shards of volcanic glass. “Indeed I was. But your inability to keep our brother Charun in check managed to end my hunt somewhat…prematurely. Or did you think our Lord Lorimar brought the majority of the company here for a spot of hiking?”

To be fair, I had already begun building the model when I wrote this. But in case you wondered what Hokar looked like, here he is:

Hokar WIP (2)
Hokar WIP (4)
The idea of using the great Chaos Knight pauldrons as a sort of cowl was lifted from Lamby’s excellent “Legion of Thorns” thread over at Dakka. I think it really adds character to a Terminator! I  also had the idea of arming him in a rather unconventional way by giving him a spear and shield. I wanted this to reflect the World Eaters’ gladiatorial traditions: I imagine that gladiators in the grimdark of the far future would be trained to use different weapon configurations (pretty much like the gladiators in ancient Rome), so I thought it would be interesting to explore different loadouts for no other reason than to give some additional character to the individual models. I can imagine a bodyguard for Lorimar where every member is wielding a highly individual combination of weapons — wouldn’t that be cool?

Anyway, as you can see, the model’s legs came from a SW Terminator. I felt the trophy pelt was a nice callback to the 4th assault company’s role as a hunting party. I used some bits from the Skullcrusher kit to make the armour on the legs look slightly more chaotic.

Hokar WIP (1)
Hokar also uses a shield from the Skullcrusher kit. Many people are skeptical of shields on Khorne models, but I felt that, as Master of the Guard, Hokar should really be equipped for defense as well as offense. Plus everyone who has seen the fantastically corny Spartacus series knows shields can be used in fairly creative ways…

While I was building my umpteenth Chaos Terminator, Cousin Andy also joined in on the fun and built this model:

I have no idea what this guy will end up as, and neither does Andy, I think. But the model was still cool enough that I wanted to feature it in this post. It was built using different (Dark) Eldar bits and a flaming skull from the WFB Empire wizard kit.

So I did at least spent some of my holdiday for hobby related-activities. More new stuff soon!

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

The campaign trail

Posted in Battle report, Chaos, Fluff, Pointless ramblings, Uncategorized, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 30, 2012 by krautscientist

Right in time for the release of the Crusade of Fire book, I noticed quite a few people mouthing off on the forums how campaigns and narrative gaming were basically a waste of time. Now while I may not have years and years of gaming experience under my belt, I feel I would still like to present the other side to that argument.

Instead of talking about GW’s new campaign book, though, let’s rather take a general look at what narrative gaming can do for you:

One of the criticisms leveled at narrative gaming in general and campaigns in particular tends to be that both can end up feeling rather gimmicky: After all, all the special rules and setpieces can make for a rather unbalanced gaming experience, right? But does it really take all those special rules in the first place in order to have a narrative experience? Case in point: The small campaign I have been running for quite a while now with cousin Andy and a couple of his buddies:

Haestia Primaris’ Mardias subcontinent – the stage for our campaign

The campaign is set on the world of Haestia Primaris, in the Segmentum Pacificus. The planet has been isolated from much of the rest of the Imperium of Man by the warp storm Maluriel for some fifty years, and it has taken all the power of the authorities to keep the planetary population in line in the face of adversity. Now the storm is over, but what should be a joyous occasion for the people of Haestia Primaris takes a turn for the worse as several sinister forces arrive to lay claim to the undefended world.

This was all the background we needed for having all kinds of battles involving our different armies, although I decided to add some smaller narrative hooks, in case anyone wanted them: The Craftworld Eldar are trying to retrieve an ancient artifact of their race from Haestia Primaris (known to them as Y’lanth’Ine, a former jewel in the crown of their galaxy spanning empire). The Dark Eldar originally desired nothing more than to prey on the planetary population, but find themselves forced into an uneasy alliance with their Craftworld kin when the warriors of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt try to capture the artifact as a worthy prey and tribute to their god. And during all of this, dark things walk the jungles of Candolfus: Is a Daemon invasion inevitable?

We devised a fairly simple set of campaign rules, based on moves on a hex grid. Occupying certain grids bestows smaller buffs to the controlling army. Whenever two (or more) players try to occupy the same grid, there’s a battle. Pretty simple, really. We have also been using the experience system for campaigns from the 5th edition rulebook so far, to show how certain units tend to get stronger over time.

our campaign map halfway through turn three. The green arrows mark games that have yet to be played.

Indeed, the setup doesn’t seem all that sophisticated. But that actually works in our favour: Running a campaign with many players and maintaining a tightly paced narrative may be fantastic, but it is also an enormous challenge. As soon as more than two people are involved, things tend to get complicated rather quickly. And so many a campaign have been running for years and years, without any conclusion in sight. Frustrating, right?

Not necessarily: Our own campaign has been tottering on for more than a year now, with only half a dozen games played so far. But since we are taking a very laidback approach to the whole thing, it’s not that much of a problem. Indeed, we are trying to leave out all the stressful parts (micromanaging the participants’ schedules, writing angry e-mails back and forth,…) and just run the odd game every once in a while. Whenever we do play, however, the game can easily be slotted into the running campaign. After all, the campaign is there as a tool for making games more enjoyable, not as something that should stress us out more than a regular day job.

The games themselves can be as standard or elaborate as we want them to be. But due to the background, all kinds of narrative hooks start presenting themselves, even during the most pedestrian battles. For instance, when three of us were coincidentally vying for control of the same hex, we devised a battle where a coalition of Eldar and Dark Eldar would defend a priceless Eldar artifact against the World Eaters’ fourth assault company (the battle report can be found here).

The forces of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt and a mixed Eldar force, duking it out at the Y’lanth’Ine basin

When that game ended in a draw (due to a pretty stupid tactical oversight on my part), the next game was all about the angry Chaos Lord Charun trying to get his revenge on the Xenos filth. When I lost that game, it made me think about how this outcome would affect the officer in charge, and once again, the narrative continued

All of this not only provided more context for our games, but also transformed some of my models from mere playing pieces into veritable characters: I don’t think I would never have come up with such elaborate backstories for Huntmasters Bardolf and Charun and for their simmering rivalry, if not for the campaign.

Huntmaster Bardolf. He and his fellow officer Charun have really come into their own as characters.

Consequently, I have started to conceive my models with at least one eye firmly on their background at all times, creating a collection of characters worthy of a millennia-old Traitor legion. And using them in consecutive games has made me think what their interactions with one another may look like when they are off the battlefield. And you really start growing fond of your little guys, too: For example, I’ll never forget how Skull Champion Bruul lobbed a grenade at an Eldar tank, blowing the damned thing sky high in the process — truly a moment worth remembering!

And that’s really just the tip of the iceberg: Playing narratively will also give you all kinds of cool ideas along the way: At one point I decided to build a custom objective marker for each army I defeat during the campaign. While this makes for a fun hobby project, it’s also a great way of injecting more character into your army and of interacting with other players.

Custom objective markers: a fun way to honour (or ridicule) your opponent

Or you could start to convert your squads to reflect their triumphs, adding trophies or killmarks to the models. Or give some more character to your squad leaders and generals. Granted, you should probably do that anyway, but it feels more satisfying if those additions are actually the consequence of something that happened during a game (or a string of games, for that matter).

All of this is not exactly rocket science, of course: It is certainly possible to have far more involved, narrative campaigns than ours, or more spectacular setpieces for single games. But even a small, laidback campaign is far more rewarding than basically just rolling dice all day to see who ends up with more sixes.

All in all, narrative gaming gives your games a sense of context and consequence. It offers all kinds of cool hobby opportunities. And it can be as simple or as elaborate as you want it to be. So what are you waiting for?

Do you have any remarks on narrative gaming and campaigns you’d like to share? I’d be glad to hear them in the comments section!

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

Andy’s Antics: Chaos rising…

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 21, 2012 by krautscientist

I usually use this blog to brag about things I have built and painted myself, but today I want to take the opportunity to show you the work of somebody else:

I believe I have already mentioned my dear cousin Andy from time to time: Not only is he the owner of the biggest collection of bitz I know (which has proven to be quite the advantage for some of my more involved kitbashes), but also quite an accomplished converter, as I already demonstrated some time ago. His Dark Eldar army is full of great and unconventional conversions, and I imagine it will be a sight to behold one day, provided he ever manages to paint it 😉

But while he may be a backstabbing, pointy-eared  torture-freak at heart, Andy couldn’t help but feel a certain fascination with the new Codex: Chaos Space Marines. So all of a sudden, some CSM models cropped up on his desktop. And now he’s seriously looking at assembling a small chaos army. Today’s post will be about the first results of that plan.

It has to be said that building a chaos army will probably be rendered quite a bit easier for him due to the fact that he had already started collecting a small LNTD force at one point. While a full army never quite materialised, he’ll be able to use most of those models in his second attempt. He also told me he wanted to try to build this army mostly from leftover bitz, with very few new purchases involved. And since I know that Andy is usually at his best when he’s kitbashing leftovers, I am happily along for the ride 😉

Anyway, let’s take a look at what he has got so far. Most of these models are still PIP, but I think you’ll still be getting a pretty good idea of where this is going:

First up, one of the test models for his new paintjob: A Plague Marine of Nurgle.

Andy devised a very simple recipe for the basic armour colour: Overbrush a black undercoat with GW Gretchin Green, then drybrush that with GW Dheneb Stone. The resulting colour looks slightly green and instantly reads as Death Guard, if you ask me. The armour trim was blocked out in rusty metal, and some additional rust was painted into the deeper recesses, using thinned down GW Vermin Brown.

Then there’s Andy’s idea for using slightly converted WFB Knights of Chaos as CSM Bikes:

While some of the detail could still profit from a bit of additional attention, I think you’ll agree that the overall colour scheme is pretty effective already. And the very medieval look of the horses is a rather nice fit for a Nurglite army, if you ask me.

One of the first models Andy built for the new army was the Terminator below. I love this guy for the fact that he was built using nothing but leftover bitz. Take a look:

Andy used an AOBR Terminator as a base, adding all kinds of chaos and Ogre Kingdoms bitz on top. I also really like the subtle but powerful pose, one of Andy’s areas of expertise: You really get the feeling that this guy, with his crude weapons, is all kinds of bad news…

Cousin Andy is currently converting some Possessed from a heap of leftover bitz I donated to his cause. He also took a discarded Possessed model of mine and upped the “body horror factor” a couple of notches by making him eyeless:

Knowing his usual conversion work, I imagine the finished squad will end up looking rather disturbing — in a good way!

And finally, a preview of Andy’s next “Counts as” bike, after the basic colour has been laid down:

All in all, I feel cousin Andy is off to a promising start! Although I cannot help but feel like all of this will become much less enjoyable once I find myself on the wrong side of his Death Guard’s Bolters…

Anyway, building more followers of Nurgle should give him ample opportunity for spectacular and distusting conversions galore! And I suppose that the Plague Ogryns I originally converted and (in one case) painted for Andy’s LNTD army will eventually find their way into this army as well. Here’s a quick reminder for you:

I, for one, am pretty interested in seeing where this is going!  More on this as it develops.

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

A patient revisited

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, Traitor Guard with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 4, 2012 by krautscientist

Back when I got back into the hobby in late 2010, my dear cousin Andy was in a bit of a fix: He really liked the Dark Eldar, but a new Codex had recently been released, along with spectacular new models. “How is that bad?”, I hear you asking. Well, along with the nice new rules and models came lots and lots of bandwagon players, enjoying the new “flavour of the month army”, and that wasn’t for Andy, who, generally speaking, enjoys making his hobby life harder for himself than it strictly needs to be. So he set aside his Dark Eldar and turned his attention to the only army list even less supported by GW than the old DE had been: The Lost and the Damned.

Soon Andy had begun collecting a small combined force of Deathguard Marines, traitors and mutants. He also bought a box of Ogres to serve as big mutants, and as with all things Nurgle, they would have to be converted to look suitably gross and disease-ridden. That’s where I came in. I had cooked up a couple of ideas for Plague Ogryns in the back of my head, and so I asked Andy if I could convert them for him. He agreed, netting me the opportunity of trying my hand at Greenstuff for the first time ever.

A short while later, my first Plague Ogryn was finished. Here it is:

Be gentle, people, it’s my first GS work 😉

As you can see, I tried to make this guy look a bit like a large Plague Bearer, giving him a single eye and horn. I also took a rather primitive stab at modelling entrails, as per SvartMetall’s fantastic tutorial. And before anyone brings this up: Yes, I am quite aware that a creature lacking virtually all of its abdominal muscles would have a pretty hard time moving at all, least of all walking upright. Chill out, Biology majors! We’re strictly talking Rule of Cool here. And the Ogre already had that gaping hole in his belly, so what was I to do?

Anyway, I was reasonably pleased with my first GS work and built two more Plague Ogryns, implementing most of the ideas I had wanted to try. And so cousin Andy ended up with a suitably Nurge-y set of models. All’s well that ends well, right?

Alas, it was not to be: Andy found out the LNTD army list didn’t do much for him, and so after the bandwagon players had moved on (to the Grey Knights, IIRC), he rejoined the ranks of the sinister and depraved Space Elves, amongst which he may still be found to this day. Meanwhile, the Plague Ogryns I had so lovingly crafted, went to his cupboard of shame, there to moulder in obscurity until the end of days — what a fitting fate for the servants of Nurgle!

Until I recently visited cousin Andy and got it into my head to paint up one of those guys for the sheer heck of it. Fortunately for me, Andy let me have my way once again, and so I got to work. I got the model in the state you saw above, with only a quick drybrush of green laid down as a basic skin colour. Working from there, I painted him up in one afternoon. Here he is, in all his pestilential glory:

As you can see, I kept the green skin, but added a couple of additional hues to the mix. I also tried to paint the metal parts of the model to look rusty and worn. And finally, this model marked not only my first attempts at GS work, but also my first use of the legendary Tamiya Clear Red: I used it to paint the Ogryn’s belly wound in a suitably wet and gory manner, then stippled it onto the various sores and boils I had modelled onto the skin as well to make them look like they were weeping some kind of bloody ichor. My overall goal was to have the model look as disgusting as I could possibly make it. I’ll let you decide whether I succeeded.

It is true that Nurgle models are always great fun to convert and paint! In addition, painting this model also proved to be a great test run for my own big mutants/Ogryn berserkers (who are also be based on WFB Ogres, but are looking pretty different, as you’ll see shortly). So thanks to cousin Andy for giving me this opportunity!

And, as always, thanks to you for looking! Stay tuned for more!

Power from pain

Posted in 40k, Conversions, paintjob with tags , , , , , , , on June 15, 2012 by krautscientist

I already showcased the Grotesques cousin Andy converted for his Dark Eldar army some time ago, although the photos were rather more grainy than I would have liked. So it was a nice coincidence that Andy recently took them along to the FLGS in order to paint the squad’s last model (instead of using them to utterly annihilate me for a change). I told you already that I love those models, so I jumped at the opportunity of taking a couple of new pictures to put on this blog. Let’s start off by taking a look at the newest member of Andy’s happy familiy of twisted monstrosities:

This one’s a pretty straight kitbash, basically taking nearly all of its parts from the WFB Minotaur kit. However, the addition of a Talos/Cronos faceplate instantly transforms the model into quite a convincing Grotesque, in my opinion. I also like the pose a lot.

Next up, the squad’s champion:

This guy is always the star of the show for me, using more parts from the Talos/Chronos kit to create a really disturbing monster. I think this model is a great example of why the Minotaurs make great Grotesques right along with the the Blood Island Rat Ogres and Crypt Fiends.

And finally, the squad’s third member.

I can’t keep from shivering when I look at those horrible, spiny tentacle things. Brrr…

I learned during our last game that these guys can be very bad news for armies focused on close quarters combat. So I think it’s great that now they also really look the part…

So, while we are on the topic of twisted abominations, let’s also take a look at one of my newest creations! Cousin Andy has been looking for a good recipe for building the Wracks to go along with his Grotesques and Haemonculi for quite some time now. Of course, he could just buy the official GW models, which are quite nice, but he doesn’t like Finecast all that much and would rather convert the models from something else. He’s funny like that, but then I like to imagine it’s me who got him infected with the whole conversion business, so I won’t judge him.

We spent some time bashing around a couple of ideas, and I tried to talk him into using my beloved WFB Crypt Ghoul kit in his conversion. He was not that easily convinced, however. Well, I couldn’t let it go, so I built him a Wrack model as a proof-of-concept:

This conversion is, once again, basically a simple kitbash. The legs are from the WFB Empire Flagellants (the upper body was clipped off at the waist). The torso and arms are from the Crypt Ghouls. The left hand and forearm are from the Dark Eldar Kabalite Warriors — although you could ostensibly use any Dark Eldar arm and weapon you like. I added a couple of vicious looking Kroot knives. Again, there are many grisly trophies and suitably sharp and wicked implements across the whole GW range to use here.
And finally, the head came from an old Dark Eldar jetbike pilot — a part that almost every Dark Eldar player in the world will probably consider all but completely useless. I shaved off the eyes to make it look more like some kind of alien gimp mask. I took this idea from a blog somewhere, though I cannot recall where (if you are reading this and it was originally your idea, just drop me a comment and I’ll be glad to add a link to your blog!).

The conversion took some cutting to make sure everything was a nice fit. I shortened the Ghoul neck to make it look less like a vulture’s and added a bit of GS to smooth out the gap between legs and torso, but apart from that, it was a fairly easy affair.

When painting the Wrack, I tried to adhere to cousin Andy’s colour scheme as closely as possible, using a mixture of bronze and red that is the trademark of his Dark Eldar army. The skin was the only departure from this, as I defaulted back to my tried and tested recipe for pale skin. I think it’s more plausible for Wracks to look less like suntanned bodybuilders and more like pale, sickly creatures of the dark.

Painting the model was a quick job: Using a fair amount of washing, it took me about 30-45 minutes, and I imagine it would be quite easy to further streamline the process and work on several models at once. Here’s the result:

I am rather pleased with how the model turned out. Now I am definitely not saying that this guy looks as good as the official models released by GW – those are fantastic! But if you don’t like to use Finecast models or are looking for a bit more variety in your squad (or are a conversion nut like me), this is a nice and easy alternative recipe. It’s also pretty cost-effective: Buying a box of flagellants and ghouls each costs less than buying two boxes of Finecast Wracks (42,75 € versus 52 €) and will give you the same number of models with lots and lots of leftover bits that may be squirrelled away for other projects. Granted, you’ll need some additional Dark Eldar bits, but most DE players should have those lying around anyway. The one setback is that you’ll end up with ten clipped-off flagellant torsos and ten pairs of ghoul legs, respectively. If only there was a way of combining those for yet another conversion. Hmmm…definitely some food for thought!

Anyway, so much for converting suitably gross abominations for your Circle army! C&C always very welcome!
As always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!