Archive for cult mechanicus

Back to AdMech — at least for a while…

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 22, 2015 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, I only have some new kitbashes for todays’s update, seeing how I am currently swamped with work — and both my plans for the Age of Sigmar starter box minis as well as the paintjob for my “Stormcast Inquisitor” will still take some time to gestate into something tangible. In the meantime, I have returned to my various AdMech plastic kits for a spell of converting, and I realised once again that the Mechanicus models may just be some of the most visually arresting 40k kits currently available!

So I put in some more work on my growing INQ28 Mechanicus warband, which will basically fulfill two goals: One, I want to explore the Adeptus Mechanicus in its different shapes and sizes with this warband, creating a rather eclectic and eccentric collection of models — just as eclectic and eccentric as the Adeptus Mechanicus itself, that is. Two, since I don’t want to assemble an entire army of these guys, this warband will serve as a “best of collection”, so to speak, allowing me to have fun with the AdMech kits I like most.

Speaking of which, my dear cousin Andy recently gave me a box of Sicarian Ruststalkers as a slightly belated birthday present, which was awesome! The kit is chock-full of amazing little bitz — and it has provided me with the material for several conversions. So let me show you what I am currently working on:

First up is the leader of the warband, a slightly tweaked Tech-Priest Domius serving as an Archmagos Veneratus for the Velsian branch of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Now the stock model is so beautiful that I didn’t want to change anything major, but the huge weapon on the Magos’ right side seemed a little OTT for an INQ28 character, which is why I already tried replacing it with an alternate lower arm earlier:

AdMech kitbashes WIP (3)
But while the idea seemed sound enough, the look just wasn’t there. Enter the wonderfully creepy chord claws from the Sicarian Ruststalkers kit, one of which provided the perfect alternate hand for the Magos. Take a look:

Archmagos Veneratus WIP (2)
Archmagos Veneratus WIP (3)
Archmagos Veneratus WIP (4)
I am really happy with the result — this is such a minor conversion, really, but that creepy metallic claw just complements the rest of the model rather well, don’t you agree? Plus it still makes for an impressive enough weapons, without looking as OTT as one of the “deathrays” that come with the model ๐Ÿ˜‰

While we are on the subject of Sicarian Ruststalkers, these are easily some of my favourite GW models right now: There’s just something about them that perfectly encapsulates the idea of a lithe, sinister cyborg assassin, which I love immensely. So I might be forgiven for actually assembling two of the models from the kit mostly unchanged:

Sicarian Ruststalker WIP (1)
Sicarian Ruststalker WIP (2)
I only added a small halo taken from a servo-skull to this first guy, which I think rather fits the model. This guy is one of the feared Clockwork Assassins, used as a terror weapon by the Machine Lords of Korhold against their enemies.

I also built the Princeps, once again without any major conversion, save for a different chord claw (to give him a creepy “come hither” pose):

Magos Militant WIP (1)
Magos Militant WIP (2)
I already mentioned in my review of the Skitarii release how this model didn’t look so much like a unit champ to me, but rather like a more warlike Tech-Priest: All the telltale signs are there — the flowing robes, the cowl, the face full of tubes ๐Ÿ˜‰ So I am seeing this guy as some kind of “Magos Militant”, overseeing the performance of the Skitarii on the front line or counseling the sector command when it comes to military questions. I actually considered swapping in some of the more esoteric pieces of equipment from the Sicarian Infiltrators, such as the servo-skull and “grimdark notebook”, but truth be told, I would rather use those bitz on a different model altogether, and the Princeps just has a visual balance that I love — hence a mostly unconverted model, for a change.

Interestingly enough, fellow hobbyist Plus Four pointed out that there’s a precedent for a very similar character in the novel “Priests of Mars”:

As far as the Tech-Magos is concerned you need look no further than Magos Hirimau Dahan from Priests of Mars who is described as having a “muscular body of plastic hued flesh…regular pair of arms…with augmenting energy blades…..a second pair of arms…tipped with a forked weapon….purple lightning arced between the bladed tines”. This would suggest that a combat oriented Secutor Magos looks nothing like the archetypal GW Magos!

So yeah, these guys may be hardly converted at all, but I am still pretty happy with them. And that’s what counts, right?

I did create two slightly more involved pieces, however, even if the first one was basically stolen from somebody else ๐Ÿ˜‰

A while ago, curnow made an excellent Skitarii conversion resembling a Japanese Ashigaru foot-soldier. I loved the idea so much that I simply had to borrow his recipe and make a very similar model, since it seemed like the perfect addition to my collection. I made some small changes to his formula, but the resulting model still owes an enormous debt of inspiration to his. Take a look:

Skitarii Sniper WIP (6)
Skitarii Sniper WIP (3)
Skitarii Sniper WIP (4)
Skitarii Sniper WIP (5)
I am really happy with the model, even if I am feeling slighly guilty for borrowing curnow’s excellent idea ๐Ÿ˜‰ Several people over at The Ammobunker have taken issue with the length of the rifle, and while they raise some excellent points, I think I’ll keep it this way: I really want it to look as cumbersome as possible: Not only does it provide a fairly unique silhouette, but it’s also a nice sign of the AdMech’s eccentricities. I also think it really adds something to the Ashigaru look mentioned above. Plus it differentiates this guy from the other, slightly sniper-esque Skitarius I have built for the warband:

AdMech Riflemen WIP

Speaking of which, this will probably turn out to be quite a band of characters (as per my original mission statement), incorporating such colourful individuals as a “typical” Magos in the warbend, complete with cog-axe and everything, a wraithlike Magos Genetor without a lower body, a burly Magos Explorator, a slack-jawed Magos Xenobiologis with hideous metallic claws, a weird, pseudo-Japanese sniper, a gladiator-esque Clockwork Assassin with a stylised halo, and yeah, a lithe and deadly Tech-Priest on stilts. So what else is new in the 41st millennium? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here’s the unpainted part of the warband so far:

AdMech kitbashes WIP (26)

Before today’s post ends, there’s one last kitbash I would like to share with you: It came about rather organically as an attempt to make a slightly more involved conversion using the Sicarian Ruststalker kit. Plus I also realised that the servo-skull that came with the Tech-Priest Dominus looked far too evil and sinister to be denied a body ๐Ÿ˜‰ Check this guy out:

Cyborg Assassin WIP (1)
Cyborg Assassin WIP (2)
Cyborg Assassin WIP (3)
He’s not quite done yet, possibly, but I like where the model is going. I kept thinking “Cyborg Eversor” while making him, for some reason…

 

So that’s it for today! I would love to hear any feedback you might have in the comments section! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Toll the great bell thrice — my first experiments with the new AdMech kits

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Fluff, Inquisitor, paintjob, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 1, 2015 by krautscientist

In ancient times, men built wonders, laid claim to the stars and sought to better themselves for the good of all. But we are much wiser now.
“Speculations On Pre-Imperial History”

Given my gushing and rather wordy reviews of the Skitarii and Cult Mechanicus releases, you may have wondered why I haven’t actually boarded the AdMech train yet, at least when it comes to conversion and painting projects. The reasons for this are simple: I only wanted to start showing my own AdMech models once I had managed to come up with something that doesn’t feel like a cheap knock-off of Jeff Vader’s fantastic recent projects, for one. The other reason is that working with some of these kits requires quite a bit of planning beforehand: The Skitarii Vanguard/Rangers, for instance, are wonderfully sculpted models, yet their construction means that any and all conversion projects involving the kit require some thought. The same goes for the Kastelan robots: While the models themselves are spectacularly versatile, it behooves the converter to know where he’s going with these models before getting out the modeling knife ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyway, to make a long story short, I have finally arrived at the point where I am comfortable with showing you some of my AdMech conversions. So allow me to share some of the things I am currently working on:

 

1. “Wir sind die Roboter”

I have gone on record stating that the Kastelan robots are possibly one of the most promising parts of the recent Cult Mechanicus release — and indeed, they were the first kit from that release I actually picked up. I started messing around with the kit with the vague plan of building one or two walkers for my World Eaters and/or Iron Warriors Killteam — to give credit where credit is due, TJ Atwell’s idea to use the kit in order to build a plastic Contemptor was what originally led me down this road.

After giving the matter a bit of thought, I decided that I didn’t want to build a straight-up Contemptor: Doing so would have required a fair bit of sculpting and/or plasticard work, for starters, and there was also the fact that the more humanoid look of the robots appealed to me. So my plan was to embrace the basic look of the models and see whether I could make them seem more baroque and chaotic.

The first step towards this end was to find out how to replace the heads. While I don’t hate the blank 50s SciFi robot heads, it didn’t seem like the right choice for a Chaos walker. Nehekare’s very helpful thread over at The Bolter & Chainsword really helped me out, though, because it showed me that the options for alternate heads I had been considering would work really well. And so a short while later, I had these early mockups:

The Twins
As you can see, it’s really easy to replace the stock heads. The “head” and faceplates from the Defiler kit work really well, as does the head from the Tomb Kings Necrosphinx (seen on the right). In both cases, a plate from a CSM Rhino turret hatch was glued inside the Kastelan’s chest cavity, with the head added on top.

The next goal I had was to go for a slightly more involved pose than what you see on the stock Kastelans. Because the kit is really amazingly versatile when it comes to posing the legs: I don’t understand why GW doesn’t make a bigger fuss about this particular feature, but once you cut off the little nubs that lock the legs into a certain position, the world’s your oyster. As you can see, I have gone for a running pose, and it was really easy to achieve! I also added some early bitz in order to transform my Kastelan robot into a Khornate killing machine, as you can see:

WE_Kastelan WIP
Fortunately enough, there were a couple of very happy coincidences that helped me with this conversion:

  • the hammer-wielding hand from the Nemesis Dreadknight turned out to be a pretty perfect fit for the Kastelan. What’s more, the hammer head I still had left from the Bloodthirster kit provided the perfect replacement for the stock hammer head, so I ended up with a suitably Khornate weapon!
  • I realised that one of the breastplates from the Bloodthirster kit was a pretty good fit for the Kastelan torso, so I cut it to size and bent it around the torso, in order to make it fit more snugly.
  • I was able to use various armour plates from the Skullreaper/Wrathmonger kit to make the rest of the Kastelan’s body look more baroque and fittingly chaotic and to get rid of some of the rounded, clean aesthetic of the stock model.

All of this quickly led to my first finished Kastelan. Here’s the model I ended up with:

WE_Kastelan WIP (22)
WE_Kastelan WIP (19)
WE_Kastelan WIP (20)
WE_Kastelan WIP (21)
As you can see, I snuckin a few additional touches along the way: Some GS was used to fill in the various recesses on the head. and to extend the middle section a bit, in order to make the model slightly less tubby (an excellent suggestion by Bruticus, that last bit!). The arms were slightly extended as well, mostly by attaching the hands at a lower point.

As for the various details, I really wanted to keep one of the stock model’s “Contemptor-esque” fists, yet I added a weapon muzzle inside the palm, to hint at some kind of integrated flamethrower. And the empty eye sockets of the Necrosphinx skull were filled with proper optical lenses — I hope these will end up looking pretty stunning when painted in bright blue.

And finally, I’ve made a simple press mold of the Bloodthirster’s hoof print and tried to duplicate the Khornate rune on the Kastelan’s left sole:

WE_Kastelan WIP (23)
This element will require some cleanup work, but I think it should look pretty cool in the end.

All in all, I am really pretty happy with the way the model has turned out: This guy should be a pretty excellent addition to my menagerie of chaotic walkers, as he towers over a regular Dreadnought — Alpha Helbrute, anyone?

As for the other Kastelan, I am still committed to turning him into a member of my Iron Warriors Killteam, and a recent conversion by Jeff Vader, attempting to bring the Kastelan more in line with Jes Goodwin’s vintage drawings for the Colossus robot, have provided me with all the inspiration I need. Watch this space…

2. The Adeptus Mechanicus Velsen

It’s not all about the chaotic side of things, however! I have been a fan of the Adeptus Mechanicus for a rather long time, so it would be heresy to merely use the new kits for chaotic conversions. Because of that, I have also been working on a small collection of actual Mechanicus models. Here’s the first early family portrait of what may or may not become a dedicated AdMech warband for the wonderful world of INQ28:

AdMech kitbashes WIP (24)

Like I said, I am not sure yet whether this will become an actual warband. Maybe the models will end up in various INQ28 warbands. That said, I really like the idea of a warband representing a gathering of high-ranking Magi from the Velsen Sector’s resident Forgeworld of Korhold and a few of their Skitarii bodyguards. One image from the 40k lore that really speaks to me is the idea of a small team of Tech Priests where each of the Magi looks quite distinct (and rather inhuman), and the one thing where I think the AdMech releases have let us down a little is how they haven’t actually given us all that many actual Tech Priests. So that was what I wanted to rectify. Let’s take a closer look at the models I’ve come up with:

AdMech kitbashes WIP (4)
Something simple for starters: I picked up this Forgeworld servitor a while ago, because I think he makes for an excellent Tech-Priest (I want him to be a Magos Xenobiologis). I switched his original left hand with a creepy claw from the Datasmith model, and while it’s a very small detail, I really like the change: In spite of his slack face, he looks rather keen to dissect come Xenos, doesn’t he?
Maybe I should remove the Inquisitorial symbol on his breastplate, but I am also partial to the idea that he has been closely working with an Inquisitor for so long as to almost be seen as a traitor by his fellow Tech-Priests? Anyway, we will see…

Magos Explorator WIP
Next up, the Datasmith from the Kastelan kit. Now I already pointed out in my review how much this guy reminds me both of the artwork for Delphan Gruss and of a piece of artwork depicting a Magos Explorator, so that’s what he will be used as: The model’s bulk and extensive weaponry really fit the life of a Magos Explorator, dedicated to rediscover lost knowledge in long forgotten (and dangerous) places.

I actually didn’t convert the model beyond an attempt at uncluttering it a bit: I got rid of the smaller servo-arm on the chest as well as the cable connecting the chest apparatus to the head. Both elements seemed a bit too clunky for my taste, and I like the cleaner silhouette created by these alterations. A lovely model all in all — painting him should be a treat!

I also simply had to pick up the Tech-Priest Dominus, because I simply love the model. I have started assembling it, and this is what it looks like right now:

AdMech kitbashes WIP (2)
I’ve only made two very small changes so far: I clipped off the proboscis-like piece of tech dangling from the Tech-Priest’s facemask, because I like it better that way. And I am considering swapping out his right weapon arm with a kitbashed forearm with a converted Necron hand, because the gun option seems rather OTT for an INQ28 character. What do you think, should I keep the arm I have or go back to one of the guns after all?

AdMech kitbashes WIP (3)
The Tech-Priests will also be accompanied by their bodyguard, so I have started working on a couple of Skitarii models. Here’s the first test model:

AdMech kitbashes WIP (10)
To be perfectly honest, the recipe for this guy was stolen wholesale from one of Dave Taylor’s Skitarii. I am normally opposed to lifting entire conversions from fellow hobbyists like this, but what can I say? Dave’s model was just perfect, and I wanted a guy like that in my own AdMech warband…

So, nothing all that interesting yet, eh? Well, I tried to be a bit more adventurous with my first two kitbashed Tech-Priest models:

First up, I wanted to try whether I could come up with a Tech-Priest mostly based on Skitarii parts. In order to achieve the robed look I consider compulsory for Magi of the Adeptus Mechanicus, I used a slightly shaved-down Empire Wizard set of legs I still had in the old bitzbox. Here’s the result:

AdMech kitbashes WIP (21)
AdMech kitbashes WIP (22)
As you can see, the conversion is fairly straightforward, although I did want to make sure the model read as something more than just any old Skitarius. Which is why I built a custom axe from a Dark Vengeance cultist axe, the condensator unit from the arc pistol, an Empire flagellant staff and some cabling.

The pistol, on the other hand, was a weapon I had originally converted for Brynn Yulner. After shortening the barrel a bit, it ended up looking pretty cool on the Tech-Priest — like an archeotech raygun of sorts (think Marvin the Martian ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), with all of the weapon’s mechanisms completely internalised and hidden beneath a curved casing. Something not often seen in the 40k setting!

Oh, and maybe my favourite part of the conversion is how I replaced the original foot with a Skitarii foot. Not very flashy, but a nice detail, don’t you think? ๐Ÿ˜‰

I also made some changes to the backpack in an attempt to make it look less like standard Skitarii issue:

AdMech kitbashes WIP (23)
I added a lantern, simply because I thought it might look pretty eerie and cool when painted with subtle blue glow. Speaking of which, I decided that I wanted this model to become my first test model for a possible AdMech painting recipe, so I started painting it right away. And here’s the painted model as it looked only a short while later:

AdMech Tech-Priest (1)
AdMech Tech-Priest (3)
I would have been happy enough with the model, but Jeff Vader suggested adding some kind of decorative trim in the cog style typical of the Adeptus Mechanicus. And while I couldn’t possibly have freehanded anything convincing, the Skitarii decal sheet had just the design I needed. So I added it and it really adds something to the model, if you ask me.

Here’s the finished Tech-Priest, Magos Zoltan Phract:

Magos Zoltan Phract (2)
Magos Zoltan Phract (1)
Magos Zoltan Phract (3)
Magos Zoltan Phract (4)

Magos Zoltan Phract (5)
Zoltan Phract is a Tech-Priest of the Velsian Adeptus Mechanicus, whose recent accomplishments have made him a rising star within this secretive order, in spite of his relative youth. His rise to prominence began during his tenure as representative of the Adeptus Mechanicus in the directorate controlling the ore-rich mining world of Silon Minoris. When the mutant workers of the world raised up their arms in protest against their life of slavery, it was Magos Phract’s decisive and, some would say, chillingly efficient chain of countermeasures that ended the workers’ revolt and insured the mines didn’t suffer from a noticeable decrease in productivity.

 

All in all, I was really very happy with this first test model, because it looked like I had found a good recipe for my AdMech models. But Phract ended up looking very much like the archetypal Tech-Priest: A slender, robed figure — yet still fairly human, at least with regard to his anatomy. I also wanted to explore the more deranged side of the Adeptus Mechanicus, however, so the next Tech-Priest I built was a floating Magos Genetor without a lower body, and I went for a creepier look this time around:

Magos Genetor WIP (4)
Magos Genetor WIP (5)
Magos Genetor WIP (6)
Magos Genetor WIP (3)
My favourite part about the model is that it was basically converted using nothing but leftovers: The head is the face from the plastic Commisar model with lots of added cabling from various kits. The upper body came from the Skaven Stormvermin, while the arms are from the Skitarii and Tech-Priest Dominus kits. And the cloak is a piece of cloth from the WFB Vampire Counts Coven Throne. All in all, these bitz made for a fairly creepy and original character, don’t you think?

In-universe, I imagine the lack of a lower body means that he can easily connect himself to the massive machine that makes up the centre piece of his surgical theatre via the cabling dangling from his torso. And when he decides to venture out of his lab, a set of antigrav stabilisers keep him floating,ย  his hanging robes working as an attempt at passing as a halfway-human figure when he has to deal with regular, unaugmented persons.

I was really happy with the conversion and started painting the model right away. Since Magos Phract had turned out so well, I basically used the exact same approach. So here’s the finished model:

Genetor Grendel (1)
Genetor Grendel (2)
A mix of Ecclesiarchy and Skitarii decals was used to add some holy AdMech scripture to the parchment dangling from the Genetor’s back:

Genetor Grendel (4)
Genetor Grendel (5)

Genetor Grendel (3)
“There are those within our order who consider my fascination with the organic a waste of time or even misguided. To those I reply: There can be no question as to the superiority of the divine machine over the frailties of the flesh. Yet it is only by considering the flawed, organic machines willed into being by this universe, that we may find the tools necessary to mend that which was created broken.”

Genetor Karras Grendel, Discourses on the Merits of the Organic

 

Grendel is a model I am really happy with, because he comes so close to the archetypal picture of a mad scientist in the back of my head: There are several more or less conscious inspirations for him (such as the villain from City of Lost Children, for instance), but when all is said and done, he seems fairly human at first and becomes pereptually less so the closer you look at him. What can I say, I really achieved the look I wanted on this model ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

And finally, one last AdMech work in progress before we tune out for this week:

Did you ever have that feeling where you just want to build something cool, and you start aimlessly messing around with some bitz, but then things kinda get out of hand, and next thing you know, you’ve build a biomechanic monstrosity? Yeah, well, what can I say. This kinda happened:

Chimeric Servitor WIP (3)

So, whatever is the deal with this thing? All I can say is that the general plan was to build a huge, monstrous combat servitor of some sort. Maybe working on Genetor Grendel made me consider a more radical, disgusting approach, but there you have it. I had picked up the Blood Island rat ogred ages ago, with some half-formed ideas for converting them into Dark Eldar Grotesques or big mutants, but I never got around to using them. When the new AdMech models came out, I actually realised that they share some common ground with the rat ogres (those metallic tanks on the model’s back are fairly close to the tanks the Tech-Priest Dominus has, for example), so I thought I’d give them another look. The other thing that inspired this conversion was an illustration from the Inquisitor rulebook, where some monstrous, heavily augmented servitors can just be glimpsed through the fog.

Anyway, in spite of these ideas, the model really came together quite organically: I wanted to replace the lower legs with sharp augmetic stilts (originally Heldrake claws), and the expressionless facemask (from the Blood Angels Librarian Dreadnought) just seemed more interesting than yet another monstrous face. In fact, Neil101 pointed out that the mask gives the model a golem-like quality, which I like quite a bit!

After seeing how well the Kastelan power fist worked on the servitor, I changed the other hand to a Kastelan fist as well, only I used one of the guns this time around. I also added some cabling and cleaned up some details, and here’s what my “Chimeric Servitor” looks like right now:

Chimeric Servitor WIP (8)
Chimeric Servitor WIP (9)
Chimeric Servitor WIP (10)

As you can see, the model has had another augmetic leg grafted on — I thought this was a cool way of making the servitor look even more disturbing and less human. The kind of thing you only come up with in the middle of a kitbashing spree, eh…? ๐Ÿ˜‰
Anyway, so much for my first few conversions involving the new AdMech kits! I hope you like some of these — I think I can safely say that we’ll be seeing more of this particular project in the near future. Until then, feel free to let me know any feedback you might have. And in closing, let me share another picture of Genetor Grendel and Magos Phract — in a a way, these guys are pretty much on the opposite ends on the craziness spectrum, but I just love them both.

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

Genetor Grendel and Magos Phract

Toll the great bell twice – a look at the Cult Mechanicus release

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 10, 2015 by krautscientist

The AdMech madness continues, with another sub-faction of creepy machine men and another slew of new plastic kits — after years and years of yearning for AdMech models to make an appearance, with nothing but a lone Enginseer model to tide us over, this is certainly a great time for veteran hobbyists who grew up loving John Blanche’s and Jes Goodwin’s brilliantly creepy AdMech artwork!

Cult Mechanicus Release (1)So while the recent Skitarii release provided us with Mars’ endless legions of machine soldiers, we now get a look at the “men” (for lak of a better word) behind the machines with the Cult Mechanicus — and yet more creepy man/machine fusions make an appearance So let us take a closer look at the new kits and think about all the wonderful conversion projects we could use them for… Follow me to my workshop…;)

 

Tech-Priest Dominus

Cult Mechanicus Release (2)
I was slightly disappointed when the Skitarii release didn’t feature an actual Tech-Priest, which made seeing this guy all the sweeter. Seriously, what a fantastic interpretation of a venerable Magos (and imposing battle commander of the Adeptus Mechanicus, no less)! I am in love with this guy!

But all in good order: The model certainly ticks all the right boxes for me: It’s hunched-over, clad in the tattered robes of the priesthood of Mars, heavily augmented (to the point where only one mostly organic hand remains) and just brilliantly creepy all around. What irony that my attempt at building the most disturbing and out-there AdMech model I could possibly come up with now basically gets overtaken by the Cult Mechanicus standard HQ — oh well… ๐Ÿ˜‰

My favourite part about the model is probably how it seems almost impossible to guess what the Tech-Priest would actually look like underneath those robes: He seems like a stooped, but ultimately humanoid figure at first glance, yet those insectile legs hint at something very creepy and inhuman. There’s a palpable Warmahordes Cryx influence to the whole design, yet also enough of the established 40k AdMech look to firmly bring it into the 41st millennium.

The model is also quite a bit bigger than I had expected, making it tower over most infantry models –maybe that is the one tiny piece of criticism I have: The Tech-Priest Dominus might just be a tad too imposing ๐Ÿ˜‰ A smaller, more frail figure at the centre of all that cyborg firepower could have been an equally interesting idea.

But the design remains fantastic! I was also pleasantly surprised by the inclusion of a second head and some additional weapons options!

Cult Mechanicus Release (4)While I slightly prefer the traditional AdMech cowl, the alternate head gives the model a much more priestly look, which is especially obvious on this alternate paintjob:

Cult Mechanicus Release (3)All the options are looking great, and it’s certainly nice to have the option of changing things around a bit when building multiple Domini.

Speaking of which, a closer look at the sprue(s) reveals that this is easily one of the most complex clamshell characters so far:

Cult Mechanicus Release (7)
Cult Mechanicus Release (6)
The good news, however, is that while the model seems pretty complicated, it goes together very well — you can even leave off the arms for easier painting without a hitch and glue them on later. In fact, maybe converting this guy wouldn’t even be quite as complicated as I had initially suspected…

All in all, the Tech-Priest Dominus is an absolutely fantastic model that embodies much of what I have always loved about the Adeptus Mechanicus. It is also a great army commander, easily measuring up to the various, hulking characters and creatures commanding the other armies of the 41st millennium. A definite high point of this release for me, and one of the models I have already purchased myself. Excellent!

Cult Mechanicus Release (8)

 

Adeptus Mechanicus Kastelan Robots

Cult Mechanicus Release (9)
And here, ladies and gentlemen, is the new kit everybody loves to hate ๐Ÿ˜‰ But seriously, we often see kits that are a bit divisive, and the Kastelan Robots certainly fill this role for the Cult Mechanicus release, mostly because they are so different from what we are used to:

The idea behind these robots seems to be that they are relicts from the Dark Age of Technology, merely salvaged and repurposed by the Adeptus Mechanicus. Which is why their look is so very unlike most other 40k warmachines: They have a rounded, slightly minimalist retro 50s SciFi look that seems more at home in Fallout than 40k, at least initially. It is this look, I suppose, that has earned them the scorn of quite a few commenters online.

But allow me to raise several points about this design, possibly in its defense:

One, unconventional as this direction may seem, it is not new — not even for 40k. Just compare this Kastelan:

Cult Mechanicus Release (10)…to the Rogue Trader era incarnation of a robot of the same name that can be seen in the lower right here:

Rogue Trader era Legio Cybernetica robots
As has been the case with several parts of the Mechanicus releases, these models provide yet another callback to established parts of the lore from way back when, which is something I like very much (on a mostly unrelated note, doesn’t the model in the top left slot really remind you of Forgeworld’s Vorax battle automata…?). I think it’s great how GW seems to be carefully redesigning and updating certain concepts and visual elements that have been in existence for a long time for the AdMech factions — it seems very fitting, considering the background of the army.

The other thing I find interesting is how the Kastelan shares quite a few visual cues with both the Contemptor and the Mechanicum Thallax: It’s easy to imagine how both machines may have been attempts by the Mechanicum of old to reverse-engineer or evolve the Kastelan template they had salvaged from the clutches of Old Night — a very nice bit of visual storytelling for those who are into such things!

The third thing is that the design unequivocally marks the Kastelan as a robot, rather than a cyborg: The domed heads with their empty visors – an element disliked by some – clearly evokes an unthinking, unfeeling machine. It also seems like an invitation to painters to get creative (I wonder why nobody has tried a Fallout-style effect in green yet ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

Whether or not you like the design of these, one thing that certainly seems like a thoroughly underadvertised feature is the models’ sheer poseability. Now let’s take a look at the second robot. Out of the box, the pose may seem a bit underwhelming:

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You know what, though? You can basically pose this guy any way you like! The legs, in particular, are every bit as flexible as those of a Contemptor: You simply cut off the nubs that lock them into place, and different poses (even running or walking) are really easy to achieve.

If there is one real shortcoming to the kit, it’s the lack of options: While the model’s pose may be unbelievably flexible, there are actually only very few ways of equipping these guys: the – delightfully Contemptor-esque – power fists or the slightly goofy gauntlets with integrated guns (reminding me of the equally goofy Batman villain KGBeast, for some reason). And while the shoulder mounted weapons are a pretty clever shout out to the model’s earlier incarnation, they do seem like a bit of an afterthought, from a visual standpoint.

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And there’s a personal gripe of mine: The arms are just too short. It’s easy to see that this was a deliberate choice on the designers’ part, but it just seems slightly strange that the Kastelan would probably have difficulties hitting anything with its power fists.

But wait, it’s not all about the robots! In addition to the two Kastelan models, we also get a Datasmith as part of the deal!

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I really love this guy for a number of reasons: He’s instantly recognisable as a Tech-Priest, for one, but there are also several interesting things about him: He’s more massive and imposing than your average, hunched over Magos. He’s pretty heavily armed. And while he has the robes, his heavily augmented head remains uncovered, giving him a rather distinct look. And you’ve got to respect the amount of thought that must have gone into the array of servo-arms designed to slot his datacards into the Kastelan robots on the fly.

But what is possibly my favourite thing about the Datasmith is how the model seems like a reunion with a long-lost friend. Come on, guys, doesn’t he remind you of someone…?

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That’s right: The model is strikingly similar to the artwork depicting Magos Delphan Gruss from the Inquisitor rulebook:

Delphan Gruss
And there’s just as much of a resemblance to this Magos Explorator from one of Fantasy Flight’s publications (possibly influenced by Gruss in turn, but yeah):

Magos Explorator

Which makes the Datasmith model yet another wonderful callback to several older Mechanicus concepts. Man, I just love that kind of meta stuff ๐Ÿ˜‰

It helps that the model itself is, once more, beautifully detailed, with lots and lots of tech-y gubbinz to feast your eyes on. And we get yet another optional head for the bitzbox:

Cult Mechanicus Release (14)All in all, this is probably the most interesting kit from this release, at least for me. Because, when all is said and done, what you get are two easily Dreadnought-sized, highly customisable models that will be immensely useful for a lot of conversion projects plus a very distinct, Space Marine sized Tech-Priest — and all at a fairly reasonable price point, no less. I think it won’t be a big surprise for you to hear that this was the first kit from this release I actually picked up ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Adeptus Mechanicus Kataphron Battle Servitors

Cult Mechanicus Release (21)While the Kastelan Robots didn’t meet unanimous enthusiasm within the 40k crowd, I think we can safely say that this is a kit that many hobbyists have been waiting for, seeing how Praetorian servitors with track units for lower bodies have been a long-established part of AdMech lore. Personally speaking, the concept has never resonated all that strongly with me, but that’s probably just a matter of personal taste — so yeah, here we go: tracked servitors. Good job, GW!

Seriously, though: The designers certainly delivered on the concept, providing us with yet another spectactularly detailed multi-kit that allows us to build one of two kinds of Kataphron servitors. Let’s look at each of them in turn:Cult Mechanicus Release (22)First up, the Kataphron Destroyers, which basically work as mobile weapon platforms: While both variants of the kit use the same general template of a humanoid torso grafted to a track unit, the design seems to work slightly less well on the Destroyers, because the models seem less human, due to the spindly arms and crude augmentations. I am pretty sure that this effect is entirely deliberate, although the resulting model just seems a tad ill-proportioned to me.

The constituent parts of the models are great, though, with excellently designed weapons that are both instantly recognisable as well as slightly more sophisticated and “tech-y” than their IG or Marine counterparts:

Cult Mechanicus Release (24)The torso pieces also deserve some credit, because they are beautifully sinister: I just love the combination of organic heads with huge, clunky bionics:

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All in all, however, this particular setup doesn’t really agree with me: It just looks slightly too haphazard and hokey for my taste.

The Kataphron Breachers, on the other hand, are far more to my liking, even though they are basically very similar to the Destroyers:

Cult Mechanicus Release (16)What really improves the models in my book is the addition of extra armour plates, which adds a more centauroid look to the entire model: The human torso seems less incidental and more integrated with the machine, which is definitely a plus! I also love the shoulder pads, high collars and the more imposing left arms: The Breachers are every bit as sinister and creepy as the Destroyers, yet they seem more balanced and have a much better flow:

Cult Mechanicus Release (18)Once again, the detailing on each part of the models is something to behold. And I just love those upper bodies with just the slightest bit of organic face peering out from all that armour. Brilliantly creepy!

Cult Mechanicus Release (20)Like I said, the whole concept of servitors with track units as their undercarriage has never really worked all that well for me, but I can still recognise these models as excellent iterations of that concept. What’s more, these should be really excellent conversion fodder for a variety of projects — but we’ll be getting to that ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Adeptus Mechanicus Electro-Priests

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When the first, fuzzy pictures of the two kinds of Electro Priests emerged, I wasn’t sold: In these washed out leaked pictures, they looked like crude kitbashes made from Dark Eldar Wracks and the robed legs from the old Dark Angels Veterans. Fortunately enough, the finished models have ended up looking far more convincing, and they also use another vintage character concept that I remember from my happy days of reading the 2nd edition Codex Imperialis. Yay!

It’s great how both variants of the kit work with some of the elements established in the lore so long ago: The burnt-out eyes and electoos, for exaple. The contrast between the bare upper bodies and robed legs also add a monkish look to the models — almost like the 40k, AdMech version of flagellants, which is a great idea and produces a squad with a very distinctive look amongst all the mechanoid monstrosities.

So far so good, but let’s take a closer look at the two kinds of Electro Priests we get:

First up, the Corpuscarii Electro Priests:

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I really love these guys for their decided Steampunk/Diesel Punk vibe. The main reason for this are the massive electric coils around their heads and hands, complete with fairly crude cabling and massive backpacks grafted to their spines:

Cult Mechanicus Release (30)This gives the impression of individuals very crudely reshaped into organic lightning rods: Their equipment is so cumbersome and eclectic that you’ve really got to love it! At the same time, the cluster of coils around their heads also works as a kind of halo, adding a nice twist to their monkish, priestly look and turning them into living angels of electricity, so to speak.

There’s something wonderful about the contrast between the organic, flowing lines of the bodies and the crude, invasive augmetics and cables, making these guys very interesting to look at. Very cool!

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The Fulgurite Electro Priests, on the other hand, seem somewhat less impressive to me. Yes, they retain most of the visual strenghts of the kit, but the two-handed weapons just don’t speak to me the way the Corpuscarii Electro Priests‘ crazy and cobbled-together looking equipment does:

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They are still pretty cool, make no mistake, but the weapons result in a kind of “SciFi-Shaolin” look that seems slightly less interesting than the Steampunk vibe the Corpuscarii have going on.

What I love about these models is how they bring something very new and distinct to the AdMech catalogue: I a collection of models that is mostly characterised by monstrous cyborgs or utterly inhuman machine soldiers, these guys make for a very interesting and grimdark contrast, which is great. I can also imagine they’ll be very popular with the converters. All in all, a very cool kit giving us one outstanding and one slightly less interesting, yet still fairly cool, type of infantry.

 

Conversion ideas:

I think the Cult Mechanicus kits will prove to be a real treasure trove for converters, and we are already seeing the first results online. So allow me to share a couple of ideas with you and point you towards some inspirational best practice examples:

First of all, it should be mentioned that all of these kits would be just as great for a Dark Mechanicus army, obviously. They are already pretty disturbing and sinister as it is, and I think it would be a lot of fun to take them even further via an influx of chaos, Dark Eldar and Skaven bitz. The Cult Mechanicus models are arguably even better suited to this fate than the Skitarii, seeing how many of them are more grimdark and less clean and stylised than the Skitarii kits.

The other big winners of this release are the INQ28 aficionados, once again. While it’s true that an enterprising INQ28 fan can use almost anything for a conversion project, it’s great to finally have so many options for building AdMech characters and their disturbing creations for our own warbands and retinues.

So, after this short prelude, let’s check out what might be in store for all the different kits:

Tech-Priest Dominus:
This model initially seems pretty complicated to convert, yet one need look no further thanย  Omegon’s excellent conversion of the model to see that it’s fairly easy to make an already rather disturbing stock model about 100% creepier! I think we can look forward to many people tackling conversions of this particular model, especially when it comes to INQ28. Beyond the confines of the Adeptus Mechanicus, I also think the Dominus would work really well as an alternate Chaos Lord or Warpsmith!

Kastelan Robots:
Probably the most interesting kit for converters — I am actually hard at work on these myself (and will share my conversions with you soon). The sheer flexibility of the models turns them into a perfect canvas for converters. Just to outline a few options…

  • as recently suggested by TJ Atwell, they could work really well as counts as Contemptors or as a possible base model for converting your own plastic Contemptor. These comparison shots – kindly provided by Kilofix – shows the models are reasonably close in size, so it would definitely work.
  • If you don’t feel up to the task of making a full-fledged Contemptor out of them, that’s fine too! Why not use them as alternate Dreadnoughts or Helbrutes (Alpha Brute, anyone…?) or something a little more exotic — such as Shibboleth’s fantastic Penitent Engines?
  • But maybe you need not even go that far: For those of you merely slightly unhappy with the design, particularly with the heads, it can be really easy to change the look of the models with a few small tweaks. Just check out Andreas Kentorp’s excellent Kastelan to see what can be achieved with just some small changes (and a gorgeous paintjob, of course).

The Datasmith accompanying the models also warrants a couple of sentences, since he seems like a brilliantly versatile model to me:

  • He can obviously be used as a very cool Tech-Priest character for INQ28. Seeing how similar he is to both Delphan Gruss and that FFG illustration shown further up in this post, I think I’ll make him into a Magos Explorator, for instance.
  • But it doesn’t stop there: The fact that he’s scaled very similarly to a Space Marine, he would make for a fantastic base model when converting a Tech Marine, Master of the Forge, Iron Hands Officer, Warpsmith, Iron Warriors Commander or what have you — some additional bitz and you’re there!
  • and there’s always the option of using him as an alternate Enginseer model in your Astra Militarum army.
  • Maybe he could even be converted into an Inquisitor of the Ordo Machinum…? Just sayin’…

Kataphron Battle Servitors:
Another kit that should lend itself really well to conversions, since each part of the model could be used for something different. Or you could just keep them mostly as they are and use them as alternate (Iron Hands) Centurions — or Obliterators for your CSM army, in case you still haven’t found an option for representing Obliterators that you are happy with.

As for some more involved conversion projects, what about…

  • using a Kataphron as a base model for an Iron Warriors Lord or even Daemon Prince?
  • using the upper bodies on top of Terminator legs? This should work pretty well, and you could end up with pretty brilliant true scale Iron Hands, Iron Warriors, bipedal Skitarii battle servitors, particularly imposing Necromunda Pitslaves or similarly augmented warriors.
  • The track units, on the other hand, could be used to kitbash your own plastic Rapier weapon batteries…
  • …or even Grot Tanks?!

 

Electro Priests
These should really come in handy for all kinds of 40k and INQ28 kitbashes, including but not limited to:

  • the Corpuscarii would work excellently as an alternate highly experimental psyker battle squad for the Astra Militarum: I can just imagine someone in the Imperium crazy enough to use implants and augmentations in order to make psykers easier to control and/or more powerful
  • one of these as a penitent psyker or augmented warrior in a radical Inquisitor’s retinue would probably look pretty cool!
  • the blind heads would be excellent for all kinds of psyker and Astropath conversions
  • the models could be used to convert members of a particular unhinged cult…
  • …and the options for chaos are basically endless: tainted psykers? Dark Mechanicus cultists? Kitbashes involving the gribbly bitz from the Dark Eldar wracks and/or gas mask heads from the snap fit cultists? The world’s your oyster here!

Oh, and one final thing: If you haven’t already done so, you should definitely check out John Blanche’s own, recent AdMech warband. Either via the brilliant photo feature in this month’s issue of Warhammer:Visions or by browsing through this thread over at the Ammobunker. John not only showcases the versatility of the new kits, but also ends up with a truly spectacular and unbelievably grimdark collection of models, as should be expected from one of the fathers of 40k!

 

So what about the release on the whole? While I am prepared to call this a very strong offering, I cannot help feeling the Skitarii may have been the slightly better release of the two. Sure, the Cult Mechanicus is more eclectic and disturbing, yet at the cost of some divisive design decisions. The Skitarii, on the other hand, played it a bit safer, yet ended up the more even, consistently great release. At least in my book.

However, such considerations are ultimately moot, of course, because these two releases should definitely be seen as one, overarching faction: After all, the division between the two sub-factions still seems pretty artificial to me. Maybe this is just the way GW would like us to think about armies from now on: as multiple, smaller sub-factions that can be freely allied to each other, rather than monolithic blocks?

If considered as a bigger whole, the combined Adeptus Mechanicus faction is certainly one of the most spectacular armies available right now, easily on par with the redesigned Dark Eldar. And that’s without talking about the extra options you get by adding the Forgeworld Mechanicum catalogue! Speaking of which, I actually prefer the plastic 40k models over Forgeworld’s offerings in this particular case: The kits are eclectic and versatile, and really cutting edge when it comes to the detail level and sculpt, whereas the Forgeworld Mechanicum models have mostly left me cold so far, with the exception of one or two kits.

Another thing that I really love about the whole Mechanicus faction is how the new models manage to serve as shout outs and callbacks to pieces of art and character concepts we have known for years – or, in some cases, decades – while managing to turn it all into one coherent army (or two coherent armies that can be allied, to be exact). This makes the Skitarii and Cult Mechanicus an enormous bit of fanservice towards long time fans of the grimdark 41st millennium — at least that’s what it feels like to me.

So is there nothing negative about the AdMech models? Well, one thing: Modeler and painter extraordinaire Jeff Vader recently leveled one particular criticism at this release, and it is one I share wholeheartedly: For all the brilliant new kits, GW didn’t nearly do enough with the Tech-Priests themselves: It would have been awesome to be able to build Magi of different shapes and sizes with all kinds of bizarre augmentations. As it stands, enterprising converters will still be able to make it happen via the bitz provided by the release, and it is certainly something I will attempt myself when I inevitable build an AdMech retinue for INQ28, but actually having this reflected in the release would have been the icing on the cake.

In spite of that, we have a spectacular new faction for 40k and some brilliant new kits to play around with, and it feels like it’s been worth the wait.

 

But what do you think? Are you happy with the Cult Mechanicus kits or were you looking for something else? And do you have any conversion ideas you would like to share? I’d be happy to hear from you in the comments section!

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