Archive for deathwatch

State of the Hunt, Week 37/2018: A time to build…

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, Uncategorized, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 10, 2018 by krautscientist

After another week or so without any hobby time to speak of, I was finally able to make some time for cutting up little plastic men last weekend, and all the kitbashes I have wanted to do for a while – and couldn’t – seemed to just keep bubbling to the surface, so to speak πŸ˜‰ So for today, allow me to share what is currently on my desk:

I. Iron Man

Back in April, when I picked up the AdMech part of the Forgebane boxed set fairly cheaply — and mostly in an attempt to get my hands on the Armiger Warglaives (in order to, eventually, do stuff like this and this). This also had the side effect of giving me another set of Skitarii Rangers/Vanguard, and also another Tech-Priest Dominus. And after a while, I started to experiment with parts from the latter, in an attempt to make yet another high-ranking member of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Here’s what I came up with:

As you can see, the two main ideas here were to turn around the lower body (for a fairly different look, interestingly enough) and to swap in some Kataphron bitz. Both of these ideas weren’t exactly new, but at least it felt as though I might be on to something. The model still seemed a bit too unbalanced, however, and maybe too much like a ship plowing through the waves πŸ˜‰

But last week I finally had the time to make some serious tweaks to the Tech-Priest and try to work out all of the various kinks. Take a look:



I tried to make him look a bit more grounded in his pose and composition. Plus I had wanted to use that alternate Magos Dominus head with the mitre for quite a while now — and I think it works really well with the more upright pose, compared to the standard Dominus. The top of the staff/axe has also been replaced, mostly to add yet another way to distinguish the new model from my older, mostly uncoverted Tech-Priest Dominus:

I really like how the models share at least half of their parts, yet still look fairly different πŸ˜‰

In fact, I have made even more tweaks to the model, adding a piece of parchment and coming up with a slightly better setup for that secondary set of arms:

And I think the model is really starting to come together. Some people on the forums pointed out how they thought the new axe blade wasn’t a good fit, but I respectfully disagree with that notion: If anything, that blade always seemed like a poor match for a Space Marine weapon to me, because the blade has this slightly weird look. At the same time, it does seem more at home with the weird arcane tech of the Adeptus Mechanicus to me, plus that censer bit at the center fits the priestly nature of the AdMech pretty well, if you ask me — but this is totally a question of personal preference, of course.

II. Shark Attack

Since it felt so good to be able to get in some hobby time again, I built yet another model, the – provisionally – last member for my true scale Deathwatch killteam, a member of the Carcharodons:

Where the rest of the killteam is Primaris-based (for that look somewhere between classic Mk. VII and the more hi-tech looking Mk. VIII [?!] Deatwatch armour), I wanted this guy to be wearing a suit of bulky, archaic armour, as a shout out to the chapter’s history of long isolation and drifting through the farthest reaches of known space with next to no contact with the rest of the Imperium, so I used parts from one of the plastic Tartaros Terminators, spliced together (rather cleverly, if I do say so myself) with Primaris parts. To give credit where credit is due, however, some of Doghouse’s seminal truescale conversion work was very much on my mind when building the model.

The original idea was to come up with an approximation of Mk. V armour, but I really ended up going for a more general pre-heresy look, to show how the armour might have been repaired and patched up with different parts over time. So touches from several different armour marks are now present, from the Mk. III backpack to the slightly Mk. V-ish legs, leading to a generally archaic look.

I also wanted to convey the feeling that this guy is very much used to wading into the fray of melee, swinging his weapons and making a huge mess as teeth and claws are shattering against his massive warplate. All in all, I am pretty happy with the kitbash so far, with one caveat: In spite of my best efforts, he’s a tad shorter than the Primaris-based models, something that I’ll hopefully be able to distract from with some deft basing πŸ˜‰

In addition to the guy’s size, there are two small touches that I am not perfectly happy with yet: One, the left shoulder pad is only a placeholder until I manage to source yet another one of those spiffy “new” Deathwatch pads πŸ˜‰ Two, everybody seems to be hating that shark jaw codpiece, so I might have to reconsider that element — it’s actually a bit frustrating, really:Β  because it seems like the perfect part to add some chapter-specific decoration, yet the placement is very much the problem: My original plan was to use it on the Marine’s collar, but it seems that would overclutter the head area quite a bit. If anyone has a smart idea, I would love to hear it!

III. Going feral

And finally, another kitbash I have wanted to do for quite a while: A feral worlder based on the AoS Darkoath Chieftain:

It occured to me a while ago that we don’t get to see nearly enough feral worlders in Inquisitorial retinues (I was also heavily influenced by all the sweet “tech-barbarians” appearing in Horizon Zero Dawn, admittedly), and the chieftain just seemed like the perfect base model — there’s a fair bit of a SlΓ‘ine vibe about the model, and that really made me want to work with it:

 

When it came to the actual conversion, the stock model was so detailed and delicate that I had to pay attention to carefully bring it into the 40k setting without going overboard, so I limited myself to adding a slightly futuristic touch here and there, via weapons, ammunition or wargear. As a nice side effect, this strategy also allowed me to exchange my least favourite part of the stock model as well – the slightly weird blade of the sword – and replace it with a nice, vicious chainsword courtesy of the CSM Raptors πŸ˜‰

Seeing how tall this guy is, I think he would make a good follower for the – equally imposing – Inquisitrix Elianu, especially since she looks like she might have come from a warrior culture of some sort herself:


I think the various tokens and trophies scattered around the model also lend themselves well to a bit of a Daemonhunter vibe — I also chose the left hand gripping a severed Tzaangor head for the same reason, as it just seemed to hint at an affiliation with the Inquisitional Ordo dealing with the more daemonic servants of the ruinous powers. There’s also a tech-barbarian style character in John French’s latest book for the Horusian Wars series who was on my mind when I converted the model.

 

So yeah, that’s it for today. Any feedback you may have is welcome, as usual. And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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The State of the Hunt, Week 35/2018: Back in the green — at least for a bit…

Posted in 40k, Blood Bowl, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob, state of the hunt, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 29, 2018 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, my every working hour last week was given to working for an international youth and media participation project with people from all over Europe in my hometown, and while it was all an incredible blast, it left me with very little sleep and, arguably worse – literally no hobby time to speak of. On a more positive note, however, I had squirreled away a bit of new content for a rainy day, so to speak, so I do have something new to share with you all:

Remember the little Goblin Nurse my friend Annie gave me for my birthday?

Well, I actually managed to get some paint on the little guy a while ago. Take a look:



Seeing how there’s a bit of a vintage Kev Adams look to the model, I decided for a couple of slighty retro painting touches, such as the purplish lower lip and the extra gnarled look for the skin. I am actually really happy with the model, and it gave me a bit of an appetite to do a bit more Blood Bowl related stuff.

For instance, while I was at it, I also added a couple of tweaks to the Blood Bowl balls I had finished earlier, adding some patches in a different leather colour as well as an Orkish decal or two, just so the squig ball doesn’t entirely steal the show:

And I also built some markers and reroll tokens for my team. I could probably just have picked up the “modern” versions from ebay, but I wanted to get a bit create with some of my old greenskin bitz. So here’s what I came up with:

Painting these tokens should be quite a bit of fun, so I have already prepared them for for whenever Annie and I have our next shared painting session πŸ˜‰

All of this was great fun to make and paint, as Blood Bowl related things tend to be. I also have one more, mostly unrelated, thing to share with you for today, though:

When Azazel unveilded his idea for a “Technical August” community challenge, that is a challenge focused around techniques that one has not yet mastered, I had such lofty ideals: I wanted to finish the next two members for my true scale Deathwatch Killteam…

…namely these two guys, a Castigator and a Lamenter:

And just to make sure things would be properly “technical”, I decided to go for an effect I really haven’t mastered AT ALL: Freehand painting. I was going to freehand both of their chapter icons — yay, go me! πŸ˜‰

Alas, that was basically as far as it went: I did manage to finish those left shoulder pads, freehands and all…

…but the models still look just like that, and seeing how there’s no way I’ll be finishing them before the end of August, this will have to be my meagre contribution to Azazel’s hobby challenge this month: two shoulder pads 😦

So yeah, that’s it for today! 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! πŸ™‚

 

The State of the Hunt, Week 29/2018: Hot weather and heavy armour

Posted in 40k, Blood Bowl, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, Orcs & Goblins, state of the hunt, Totally worth it, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 16, 2018 by krautscientist

A bit of a transitional post for today, as I don’t have any completed models to share with you at the moment — that’s what I get for touting my own productivity in my previous post, I suppose πŸ˜‰

But anyway, both the warm weather and various other distractions have kept me from painting anything lately. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been doing any hobby-related work, though: At least I have some WIP impressions to share with you! πŸ™‚

I. The Long Watch:

So far, my Primaris-based true scale Deathwatch killteam numbers four completed members, as you will probably remember:

Thanks to several bitz drops, I have been able to start work on the next two members of the team. First up, I wanted to include a Watch-Brother from the Castigators, a fourteenth founding Ultramarines successor, and Commissar Molotov’s own DIY chapter — given Mol’s role as the doyen of the INQ28 movement, I felt this would be a nice little shout out to him πŸ˜‰

So far, my Deathwatch conversions have been an attempt to convey the character of the Marines’ respective chapters through the actual conversion, and I did have a rather nifty idea for the Castigator, if I do say so myself: Seeing how the chapter icon prominently features a hand holding a whip, and given the fact that the Deathwatch seem to be all about crazy weapons nowadays, I thought it would be cool to get a little creative with the model’s equipment πŸ˜‰

Take a look:

The model is based on one of the Primaris Lieutenants from the Dark Imperium boxed set that I was able to snap up on ebay — the pose was quite perfect for what I had in mind, and it was really easy to replace the model’s power sword with the whip from the Necromunda Escher sprue — it’s a good thing we actually get two of those whips in the Necromunda boxed set πŸ˜‰

I wasn’t quite sure at first whether or not the whip look would work, but I do think the Marine wears it rather well: The bigger scale makes the weapon look a bit more plausible, and the model’s dynamic stance definitely matches the weapon.

Apart from the weapon swap, I only really added a bit of additional gear to the model’s belt and swapped in a Deathwatch backpack and shoulder pad (replacing the stock shoulder pad did take a bit of careful sawing, though, as the pauldron and arm were one bit). I also really wanted to have one member of the squad wear an Mk. VII helmet, for that classic mid-to-late 90s Space Marine look, and I still had a vintage metal Deathwatch head in my bitzbox, so that seemed like the perfect option to go with.

Commissar Molotov also kindly offered to send over a custom Castigators shoulder pad, although I am pretty much committed to freehanding the chapter icon onto the right pauldron — how much harder than an actual lion head can it possibly be, right? Plus it would save me the hassle of having to saw through another Space Marine arm πŸ˜‰ I would really like Molotov to name this fellow, though!

That’s not all, though: Thanks to a supply drop from fellow hobbyist Augustus b’Raass, I received yet another Primaris Marine, which allowed me to start yet another Watch-Brother, a Lamenter this time around. It felt like my kill team still needed someone with a massive gun, so I decided that the role would fall to the Lamenter. After doing a bit of research on the matter, I bought the model for Rodricus Grytt (from Kill Team Cassius), because it would give me both the weapon, backpack and Deathwatch shoulder pad I needed in one go.

So the biggest part of the conversion was to make Rodricus’ arms fit the Primaris body — something that actually turned out to be surprisingly easy, with just a bit of tweaking:


I did have to carefully cut off the right upper arm from both the “donor” model and the Primaris Marine, though, in order to make it all work together — I only really had to do this because I wanted to be able to replace the stock Primaris shoulder pad, however.

Regarding the details, I chose some bitz with teardrop symbols to match the Lamenters’ inconography. As for the helmet, I have a funny story to go with that one: Having tried, half a dozen times, and unsuccessfully, no less, to sell Commissar Molotov on this particular helmet for his true scale Lamenters Watch-Brother, I realised that the only way I was going to ever see this helmet used in that capacity was to build my own Lamenter — so here we are πŸ˜‰

In order to add to the bulky look created by the helmet and massive weapon, I also added some additional armour plates to the model’s hip, although they are not all that visible in the above picture — trust me, though: They are there πŸ˜‰

As for the pose, I would have preferred something a little more grounded and stable, but I only had the one Primaris Marine to work with, so I did the best I could. Given his pose, the Marine obviously isn’t in the process of firing his weapon, but rather seems to be lugging it from point a to point b. So what do you guys think: Does he work better looking straight ahead like this:

Or looking off to the side, like this:



I also tried having him look towards the barrel of his gun, but the model ended up looking very unbalanced that way, plus it would also obscure a lot of the detail on the faceplate. Anyway, would love to hear your feedback on this!

In any case, many thanks to Augustus b’Raass, of course, for sending over the model for the conversion! Cheers, buddy! πŸ™‚

 

II. Golden Girl

Ever since the recent release of Age of Sigmar’s 2nd edition’s starter box and the accompanying models, everyone and their mother have been going crazy over the new Nighthaunt models (and some hobbyists, like the ever-inspirational Jeff Vader, are already having a field day with the, admittedly very nice, skeleton-ghost thingies).

However, nobody’s been talking about what must be the entire release’s single coolest model: The female Stormcast Eternal coming with the Easy To Build Easy To Build Stormcast Sequitors:

Seriously, I love this model! It’s almost perfect, really: The pose, the very cool face, the clean lines. I don’t care much for the weird mace head, but that’s Stormcast Eternal weapon design for you. Anyway, I knew right off the bat that I wanted to turn this lady into an Inquisitrix — my first Inquisitrix, actually, something I have wanted to do for a long time, ever since seeing PDH’s brilliant take on Naeve Blacktalon.

So here’s what I have so far:

 

Like I said, I really love this model, which is why I have decided to keep the conversion fairly subtle for now: I merely replaced that weird He-Man-style weapon with something a little more 40k (a thunder hammer from the plastic Mk. III Marines with an eagle head from the Imperial Knight Questor) added a holstered pistol at the hip and an Inquisitorial rosette and replaced the design on the shield with an Ordo Malleus-style heraldic device (quite a bit of work, that last one):

I am actually a bit reluctant to add too many more gubbins to her: Much of the model’s coolness comes from its very clean lines, mostly created by juxtaposition of the static pose and the flowing robes, and I don’t want to ruin that by overcluttering her. A bit of extra gear on her belt, maybe, but don’t expect me to go crazy on the grimdark bitz. In the end, I am pretty confident she’ll look perfectly at home in the middle of an Inquisitorial warband.

If there is one problem with the model, it’s that this girl is tall — almost freakishly so, and even moreso when using the elevated base the model actually came with — a veritable plinth, that one. She is just as tall as a Primaris Marine, and that’s not counting the base.

So the first thing I did was to drop the base and go with something a bit less vertical — the very cool readymade base that came with the Primaris Marine Augustus send me seems like an excellent standin for now. As for her actual height, I guess I’ll be able to get away with it because she’s an Inquisitrix: The Inquisition definitely has the kind of crazy tech at its disposal that could allow for all kinds of body augmentation. It would arguably be more of a problem if I wanted to turn her into, say, a Sister of Battle, for instance.

 

III. This is going to sting a little…

There’s also another addition to my Blood Bowl team, as my friend Annie gave me a very cool model for my birthday. This delightful little Kromlech goblin nurse, who will be the Orkheim Ultraz’ medic from now on:

Expect to see this little guy painted sooner rather than later! And a heartfelt thank you to Annie for – another – lovely contribution to my team! πŸ™‚

 

IV. In closing…

Before I wind up this post, I want to elaborate about one of the aforementioned distractions that have kept me from painting. Some long time readers may remember that I am a bit of a video game fiend, so it’s probably not too surprising to learn that one thing keeping me from painting at the moment is…a video game:

I have been slightly addicted to playing Hollow Knight for the last couple of days, and I only really bring this up because I am fairly confident that quite a few readers of this blog might enjoy the game just as much as I do: It’s a 2017 indie action adventure that has been receiving quite a bit of hype recently, after being released for the Nintendo Switch. I bought the PC version last weekend and have been unable to tear myself away from it ever since. For those of you a bit familiar with videogames, it’s as though Dark Souls had been reimagined as a sidescrolling Metroidvania…with bugs (the animals, mind you, not the technical gaffes). It’s highly addictive, incredibly atmospheric, and also very cute and very creepy at the same time. If that sounds like it might be your thing, check out the game here.

 

So yeah, that’s it for today! Let’s hope I’ll be able to get something finished again before long — I’ll definitely keep you guys posted! πŸ˜‰

Until then, please feel free to let me know what you think about these WIPs! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

INQ28: Hear Me Roar!

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 18, 2018 by krautscientist

More Deathwatch for today, as I have been plugging away at my Primaris based true scale killteam for another week. Allow me to share the results with you:

First up, there’s the Celestial Lions Astartes I have already shared with you in WIP form. Like I said, my main influence for choosing the chapter was the African influence (although the fact that the Lions are a chapter from a later founding also helped a bit). However, I also discovered that the chapter and the Inquisition have a bit of a troubled history, as outlined in my previous post — to the point where Inquisitorial operatives seem to be actively hunting for the chapter. Ouch! So would a Celestial Lion actually be part of an – Inquisition-sponsored – Deathwatch killteam?

Fortunately enough, I realised that I am in the clear on that front: The chapter’s trouble with the Inquisition only really starts in 948 M41, whereas my INQ28 narratives are set some 200 years before that, so everyone can still be BFFs in my headcanon πŸ˜‰ That being said, I did decide to include a shout out to the chapter’s eventual fate, as per Aramis K’s excellent suggestion of featuring the notorious “Ork Snipers” that wipe out a part of the Celestial Lions during the 3rd War for Armageddon, in some way.

But back to the actual model: This was the Celestial Lion in his first draft version:

As you can see, it’s a very straightforward conversion, mostly based on a Primaris Reiver. I liked the idea of including a stealthier Astartes wearing sleeker armour, and the “Easy To Build” Reiver bodies were really perfect for that. The most involved parts were to add a lion bit (from an old WFB Empire cannon) as a belt buckle and to kitbash another Deathwatch sensor array for the backpack (using a shoulder-mounted lamp from a Genestealer Hybrid and – once again – some auspex aerials).

Then fellow hobbyist euansmith helpfully suggested to maybe turn the model’s head a bit, in order to make it look more sneaky and agile. I complied with his idea, and – sure enough – it made a world of difference!

When it came to painting the model, I actually broke with my usual routine and decided to start with the one part I thought would make or break the model — the right shoulder pad. Because I realised with some nervousness that I would actually have to freehand the Celestial Lions chapter badge, as there are no readily available decals for it (and my idea of maybe using a similar decal as a base went nowhere either). Azrael’s quite excellent Primaris Celestial Lions here (that were also completed for a very personal reason, it must be said) use some very cool shapeways chapter badges, but I didn’t really go through the hassle of ordering bitz like that — so I decided this was the time to buckle up and force myself to do something I had shied away from in the past. Freehand designs.

So here’s the design I chose as my main reference material (inverted, of course, because it would go on the right pauldron):

And here’s what I came up with, using my smallest brush, a drop of Vallejo Airbrush Flow Improver, and reserves of patience I really didn’t know I had:

Of course I didn’t see the huge splodge of wash towards the lower rim of the pauldron until I was looking at it blown up by several hundred percent on a screen — the area has been cleaned up since. Oh, and ‘Aren’ is the name of the battle-brother in question, by the way.

Anyway, I was incredibly happy with the finished freehand — and I can safely say that this has to be one of the most extravagant pieces of detail work I have painted in the last couple of years. I realise that this must be fairly basic bread and butter stuff for talented painters, but to me, it certainly felt like a rather big adventure πŸ˜‰

Anyway, after getting the freehand right, the rest of the paintjob almost seemed trivial. That being said, I also discovered a fairly nice and simple recipe for black skin: GW Doombull Brown makes for a very good base colour, and already looks very natural after a wash of Ogryn Flesh (or Reikland Fleshshade). I only followed it up with some very subtle highlights, and ended up with a skin tone I really liked, as you can see yourself on the finished model:

 

=][=

Rudisha Aren
Brother of the Deathwatch
Celestial Lions Astartes Chapter





Here’s a closer look at the left shoulder pad, now finally in its intended place:


Seriously, though, did I mention how happy I am with that freehand…? πŸ˜‰


As for the base, if you look closely, you can make out the barrel of a – suspiciously Imperial – sniper rifle, but there’s also part of an Ork jaw — Ork snipers, anyone? πŸ˜‰


Granted, this is a bit of a tongue in cheek joke about the chapter’s eventual fate, but it still matches the overall basing theme without lookig too out of place. So that’s the next finished member of Killteam Ulrach for you:

 

Speaking of Ulrach, while I was working on Brother Aren, I decided to give the Iron Hand that last round of tweaks as well — and the full photo treatment, of course, playing cards, keys and all πŸ˜‰

=][=

Vorlik Ulrach
Brother of the Deathwatch
Iron Hands Astartes Chapter








You already know this guy from last week, of course, and most of the finishing touches are pretty subtle. But it’s nice to have all the models finished and photographed in the same style like that πŸ˜‰

Oh, and since someone over at the Ammobunker asked how I had achieved the glowing blue effect on some of the members of the killteam, I thought it would make sense to feature my recipe over here as well — if, indeed, you can even call it a recipe, as it’s almost trivially easy. The one thing I would really recommend, however, is to get some Vallejo Magic Blue: While there may be a similar GW colour, I have yet to see another blue that pops quite as nicely as Magic Blue. So for this recipe, you’ll need the blue and any kind of white. And some water. Here’s what you do:

  1. Paint the center of the area you want to glow (the lens, the gem, the button — whatever it is) with pure Magic Blue
  2. Thin down your Magic Blue with water so it becomes semi-translucent. Then glaze the area around the part you have just painted with it, building up the actual glow — you can do this in several steps to get it right. With larger areas, the effect should grow more solid towards the center, obviously.
  3. Go back to the (undiluted) Magic Blue and keep adding more white to it, and create smaller and smaller highlights at the center of the effect. The last stage should basically be almost pure white. DONE!

The blue higlight on the axe head (as well as the soft glow around it) are a perfect example of the effect in question.

 

So here’s an updated look at Killteam Ulrach:

I think these guys really work rather well as a group — and you can almost guess at the different characters and combat roles just by looking at the models, wouldn’t you agree? In hindsight, maybe the models are almost a little too vibrant, in a style slightly reminiscent of 2nd edition 40k, but then it’s an almost perverse pleasure to find out how visually striking I can make a squad wearing predominantly black armour πŸ˜‰

Now any future additions to the team will have to wait for a bit, as I have depleted my supplies of Deathwatch parts and Primaris Marines, respectively. That being said, fellow hobbyist Augustus b’Raass is awesome enough to send me another Primaris, and I have just picked up the Rodricus Grytt model on ebay. Combining both will allow me to build a stoic, fatalist brother of the Lamenters wielding a massive frag cannon — it’ll take a while before I can start the conversion, so take a look at aΒ  – really primitive – mockup of my planned conversion:

Beyond what you see in the mockup, I will be going for a heavset look with some slightly archaic, Mk. III-ish touches here and there. It’ll be an interesting balance to maintain, as I don’t want the model to clash with the Deathwatch’s sleek Black Ops look, but I’, confident l’ll be able come up with something.

And as it happens, I also have a pretty cool idea for the Castigator — although I’ll need to get my hands on this particular Primaris Sergeant from Dark Imperium first, in order to make it work…

Until then, however, I am pretty happy with Killteam Ulrach as is — and as these guys are very much ready to rock, I hope Azrael will count them as another entry for this month’sΒ “June-Unit” community challenge!

So that’s it for today’s update. I would love to hear any feedback you might have, so please leave a comment! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

There’s no ‘I’ in ‘Killteam’ — oh wait, there is!

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 11, 2018 by krautscientist

For this week’s update, let’s return to the wonderful world of true scale Astartes for a bit: While I am not exactly a fan of how their lore seems to have been wedged sideways into the 40k background, there’s little doubt that the release of the Primaris Space Marines has provided us with an excellent way of building decently proportioned true scale models for INQ28 without having to spend ages on getting the basic build right. For instance, I had lots of fun building and painting the most archetypal, 2nd edition-style Space Marine I could come up with a while ago, Brother Arcturus Diomedes of the Ultramarines:

Back when the Primaris Marines were released, I picked up the box with three “Easy To Build” Primaris with the plan of eventually turning them into more Deatwatch Marines and end up with small a true scale killteam for my INQ28 collection — even if an entire squad of Astartes would be complete overkill in an actual game. The project just seemed too interesting to get hung up on the practicalities — well, that and true scale Deathwatch Marines have been a bit of a hobby horse for Commissar Molotov, one of the godfathers of INQ28, so working on my own killteam would also be a nice tribute to his own work.

However, progress with the actual assembly of the killteam’s members turned out to be slower than expected for two particular reasons: One, it did take quite some time for me to choose which chapters to go with for the members of the squad. In theory, their chapter identity is only really shown on their left shoulder pad, admittedly, but I really wanted to include various callbacks to their chapter of origin on the rest of the models as well. And while it felt tempting to just go with all the classic First Founding chapters, it would also have been a bit lazy — there are 1,000 chapters in the galaxy, after all. How likely would it be, then, that any given killteam should only feature members from the original Space Marine legions/chapters?

The other difficulty came in the form of the seriously weird poses on some of the snapfit Primaris — I only have myself to blame for that, however, as I could simply have purchased the “proper” multi-part kit.

Anyway, the first additional member for the killteam was converted fairly quickly last year: A Watch-Brother hailing the Iron Hands (and possibly the Killteam’s squad leader):


We’ll be seeing this guy again in a little bit…

And then the rest of the team just somehow refused to come together for the aforementioned reasons — until I had an idea recently: How about going with a Crimson Fist as one of the next members? And how about building him as an homage to this particular piece of artwork by Karl Kopinski:

Artwork by Karl Kopinski

Building models to resemble artwork has become a bit of a sub-hobby of mine lately, and so the task quickly drew me in. And I made this guy:




Granted, I had to simplify some parts of the illustration – mostly due to the fact that, funnily enough, even the Primaris’ bigger scale does not allow for all the detail present in the art – and I also made some minor adaptations, allowing for the fact that my version is intended as a member of the Deatwatch, but I am pretty happy with the kitbash — if nothing else, it definitely does mitigate the stock model’s super weird pose.

The conversion is also a bit of a lesson in thriftiness, as the model uses leftover parts from a plastic chaplain Cassius I picked up a while ago to build a (30k) Word Bearers chaplain. That project left me with Cassius’ left arm and right (Deathwatch) shoulder pad, and ultimately both the shoulder pad and his left hand (complete with snazzy Deathwatch bolt pistol) were grafted onto my Crimson Fist.

I also didn’t have any proper Deathwatch backpacks left, so I had to kitbash one using a regular Space Marine backpack, a sensor array from a Terminator torso front and some small aerials painstakingly shaved off a Space Marines auspex.

So that left me with three members for the killteam, at least:

And I was also really in love with the Crimson Fist conversion, so I decided to paint him right away.

One thing that I decided fairly early during the painting process was that I wanted to use a different skin tone this time around, due to the fact that the Crimson Fists seem to have a distinct Latin American/Hispanic element in their background. So I decided to forego my usual recipe for baseline (caucasian) Astartes skin and go for something slightly different. And in a flight of fancy, I decided to use some very old GW Bronzed Flesh paint that must be more than 20 years old at this point:

And it still worked just fine, too! Most importantly, though, it made for a slightly different skin tone, which seemed like a good way to introduce some much needed ethnic diversity and also underline the fact that all members of the killteam hail from different chapters and, by extension, different planets as well.


As you can see, my Staedtler pigment liner really came in handy once again, and I really went to town on all the little pieces of parchment πŸ˜‰ The bottles of Microsol and Microset I picked up in Amsterdam last year, also ended up being supremely helpful when it came to making that Crimson Fists decal conform to the shoulder pad’s curved surface.

As for the armour, I followed the same approach I had developed for Brother Diomedes: Cover up any sub-par edge highlighting with sponged-on scratches and damage — fortunately enough, the resulting look really fits the Deathwatch rather nicely, if I do say so myself πŸ˜‰

So after another round of fine tuning, and after completing the base, the killteam’s next member was finished:

 

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Vargo Diaz
Brother of the Deathwatch
Crimson Fists Astartes Chapter






As you can see, he does have one …erm crimson fist, at least.Β  I did consider painting the power fist red as well, but then the arm would have ended up being predominantly not-silver, when a silver arm is such an integral part of the Deathwatch livery, so limited the use of red to the right hand.

There’s also another little element I wanted to include: In the original Inquisitor rulebook, the 54mm model for Brother Artemis (basically the forefather to all Deathwatch Marines) had those little rectangles on his bolter designed as displays/buttons for the different kinds of ammunition stored in the weapon:

so I thought it might be fun to include this in a bit of a shout out to the classic model and its paintjob. So I put some Roman numerals on the panels: The right side side has ‘I’ and ‘II’, as shown above, the other one has ‘III’ and ‘IV’:



When it came to basing Brother Diaz, I went for the same basic look I had already used on my first Deathwatch Marine. I included an ork skull this time around, however — I think it’s an entertaining little meta touch to feature an alien skull from the respective chapter’s nemesis Xenos race, so Tyranids for Ultramarines, Orks for Crimson Fists and a Necron head for the Iron Hand. Speaking of which…

There was still this guy:



And, still feeling motivated after my quick completion of Brother Diaz, I decided to paint him as well. After all, I am still very happy with the conversion, based on combining a snapfit Primaris with quite a few parts from Ennox Sorrlock, from Deathwatch:Overkill…

…as well as a new breastplate and left arm courtesy of the Kataphron Destroyers.

Anyway, I quickly got to work and dressed the Iron Hand in the same kind of scuffed black armour as his peers:



In this case, the paintjob also had the added benefit of tying together the various parts of the slightly more eclectic conversion.

According to the underlying basing theme, I also constructed a base, featuring a half-buried Necron skull and spine this time around:

Remembering the (brilliant) alternate history Dornian Heresy and the various more or less obvious parallels and connections between the Necrons and Iron Hands, I decided to mirror the blue glow I used on the Iron Hand in the eye of the Necron skull — it seemed like a nice tongue in cheek meta joke πŸ˜‰

The model’s arms and backpack were painted separately, for the most part — although I couldn’t really help myself, as usual, and had to glue everything together, even while the last few painting steps were still happening:



Putting the finishing touches on the model turned out to be quite a bit of fun, however, so I already have the (mostly) finished model to share with you:

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Vorlik Ulrach
Brother of the Deathwatch
Iron Hands Astartes Chapter






I really like the model, and I think his armoured bulk works really well now that he’s been painted — both for an Iron Hand and for the leader of a Deathwatch killteam!

And there’s more, as I have already started assembling yet another possible member for the team, provisionally from the Celestial Lions, wearing a suit of Recon armour:


Yeah, I know: Technically speaking, the model is basically a Primaris Reiver. But after seeing a particularly nice Reiver-based Deathwatch Marine converted and painted by Jeff Vader, I realised that the stripped-down, sleeker armour matches the “Special Ops” look of the Deathwatch rather nicely — I also think it makes sense for the killteam to have a recon expert.

As for his chapter, I chose the Celestial Lions mostly because they have a bit of an African influence, and I had originally picked up that particular head for its decidedly non-caucasian feature — once again, in an attempt to make my collection of models a bit more ethnically diverse than your usual gang of bald, white Astartes. That being said, I realised too late that the Lions have a bit of a history with the Inquisition — oh well, I’ll find some kind of explanation for it, I am sure — in fact, fellow hobbyist Aramis K brilliantly suggested over at The Bolter & Chainsword that this member of the Celestial Lions might be a specialist for hunting down “Ork Snipers”… πŸ˜‰

Going forward, there are a few chapters I would definitely like to feature: Right now, I have plans for three more members for the killteam: A Carcharodon, a Lamenter and one of Commissar Molotov’s own Castigators, as an additional shout out πŸ˜‰

But that’s a story for a future post. For now, here’s what Killteam Ulrach looks like right now:

And seeing how I am actually working towards the completion of a squad here, I think these guys make for a fairly cool contribution to Azazel’s current “June-Unit” community challenge as well! πŸ˜‰

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

INQ28: Suffer Not The Alien to Live

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2018 by krautscientist

Back when the Primaris Marines were first released, I got myself a single snapfit model from the Dark Imperium boxed set to take a firsthand look at the scale and experiment a bit. Those early experiments were both interesting and educational — but of course I at least wanted to get a finished model out of it all. So after a bit of thought, I came to the conclusion that it might be fun to make my first modern Primaris Marine into the most archetypal Space Marine I could possibly come up with.

It was also clear to me that the model would become a part of my INQ28 collection, so I thought about what kind of Astartes would make sense. I already had two members of the Golden Legion, my DIY chapter (the finished model for Praetor Janus Auriga and a converted Chapter Master), so I wanted to try something different. And then it hit me — why not turn this guy into a Deathwatch Marine?

Now the 2016 Deathwatch craze left me mostly cold back when it happened, but there were still several reasons for going with a Watch-Brother: Tying Space Marines into Inquisitor can be a slightly delicate proposition, but the Deathwatch, with its direct Ordo Xenos affiliation, would at least provide a decent excuse. I also fondly reflected on Commissar Molotov’s work, that is his original Deathwatch Marine (created many years ago) as well as the kick-ass Deathwatch killteam he has been working on for years.

And finally, let’s not forget that one of the most iconic models of the 54mm Inquisitor range was a Deathwatch Marine as well:


That’s right, dear old Artemis! In fact, the model actually checked several boxes: He’s an Inquisitor character, he’s a member of the Deathwatch, and he also has that clean, 2nd edition inspired look that seems so archetypal of the Space Marines to me. His hairstyle alone instantly recalls this old chestnut here:

There’s a certain nostalgia about the Space Marines from those years, especially about the plastic models from the 2nd edition starter box, with each of the officers impeccably groomed like a news anchor. Unfortunately, the 2nd edition plastic Marine models haven’t really aged all that well, and the only time I’ve ever used one of those was for a rather depressing piece of terrain:

But I thought that it might be fun to channel this older look for a change, while also creating something that drew from the classic Artemis model at the same time. So I picked up some Deathwatch bitz and also had a scrounge through the old bitzbox. And after a while, I finally came up with a version I liked:


Everything I wanted to do was basically already there: the boltgun as the iconic weapon for a Space Marine. The 80s news anchor haircut. And a bit of bling that sells the model as a brother of the Deathwatch.

I still made some final tweaks before I was completely happy with the model, though: The original Primaris backpack was replaced with an actual Deathwatch backpack, I added a helmet clipped to the model’s belt and tweaked the arrangement of the various gear until I was happy — I actually love how the extra space that comes with the bigger Primaris scale allows for adding a more realistic amount of gear to the models without the Marines looking overcluttered!

Anyway, here’s the completed build I went with in the end:




I went with an Mk. IV helmet, both because I love the design and because I wanted to make it clear that, “in universe”, the model isn’t actually a Primaris Marine, but rather a regularly sized – if true scaled – Space Marine. As for the gun, after a bit of hemming and hawing, I ended up not replacing the bolt rifle with an actual Deathwatch bolter, mostly because I really liked the way it looked on the model. It’s also arguably hi-tech enough to serve as a suitable standin for the kind of weapons used by the Deathwatch, even if it’s not quite the genuine article. Apart from that, I tried to incorporate all the gear that would make sense: The Marine has a boltgun, a helmet, a combat knife, several grenades, and even some alternate ammunition (for those especially pesky aliens, you know? πŸ˜‰ ).

And while it would only affect his right shoulder pad, I also needed to decide which chapter of origin to go with. I thought back to my original mission statement: the most archetypal classic Astartes imaginable — and what could be more archetypal than the Ultramarines?

To be perfectly honest with you, I also felt like I needed to cut the XIII Legion some slack after draping so many dead or dying Ultramarines across the bases of my 30k World Eaters πŸ˜‰

When it came to the actual paintjob, the black armour was a concern, obviously: Use dark grey as a base colour, and the armour wouldn’t end up looking black. Use pure black and it would look as though I’d forgotten to paint that area. In the end, I mostly played it by ear and combined edge highlighting with a bit of sponge weathering — carefully and selectively sponging on some Leadbelcher added visual texture to the armour and also had the added benefit of drawing the eye away from my sloppy line work πŸ˜‰

During the painting process, Jeff Vader’s Deathwatch Marines were an invaluable source: There’s one older pre-primaris model and one guy converted from one of the new models. and I kept looking at these for reference while painting. Now I’ll never be ableΒ to paint like Jeff Vader – not by a long shot – but having the inspiration there was a huge help, indeed!

Speaking of Jeff Vader, I also nicked another idea from him: A while ago, he mentioned that he was using an ultra thin pigment liner for some of the symbols and freehands on his models, and after unsuccessfully experimenting with several pens, I ended up getting the one he had recommended, a Staedtler 0,05 mm pigment liner:

The tip is so thin that it’s really easy to add rather elaborate designs to your models. The ink is also waterproof — although I found that it’s really easy to rub off with your fingers, so I added a layer of thinned sepia glaze on top to seal the ink.

As my first proper experiment with this new tool, I carefully drew an Inquisition symbol onto the model’s right kneepad and also added the tri-barred ][ around the skull on the tilt plate. The pigment liner is also an awesome tool for adding fine script to purity seals!

Anyway, here’s what the mostly finished model looked like at this point:



When it came to basing the model, I decided to go with something pretty simple that would fit the lion’s share of my INQ28 collection (i.e. brownish and slightly underhive-y). I also wanted to include some Xenos related touches. Now for an Ultramarine, what would be more appropriate than some Tyranid remains, right? Good thing the new Citadel Skulls kit features lots and lots of beautiful gaunt skulls, among others — I may not be all that interested in Tyranids as a faction (the creepy awesomeness of Genestealer Cults notwithstanding), but I do love those gaunt skulls! The tip of a Termagaunt weapon was also added to the base to represent something glistening and Gigeresque.

So, without further ado, here’s the finished Watch-Brother:

 

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Arcturus Diomedes

Brother of the Deathwatch
originally of the Ultramarines







This was my first experience with painting a Primaris, and I have to agree with the prevailing opinion I’ve seen online: These guys are pretty fun to paint! I am also really chuffed with how the model has turned out!

Here he is next to my first truescale Marine, Praetor Janus Auriga of the Golden Legion:


As you can see, Janus is a fair bit bulkier and also slightly taller — in all fairness, I had little to work from in pre-Primaris times, so the model was really a bit of a proof of concept. He still holds up rather well, though, if I do say so myself — I’ll just need to go with the old “tall, even for an Astartes” clichΓ©. Plus, in any case, Brother Diomedes certainly reads as a true scale Astartes when placed next to a model of “regular” human size:

As for how Diomedes ties into the Velsen Sector’s background and my overarching INQ28 narrative(s), that remains to be seen: I’ll happily admit that this was a case where I simply wanted to build and paint a character for the pure joy of it, then ask questions later. I am fairly certain he’ll end up as a member of a small Killteam, however — in fact, a second member from the Iron Hands, possibly even the killteam’s leader, has already been built a while ago:


There are also ideas regarding a Xenos-cultΒ (“The Children of Imago”) knocking around in the back of my head, so it stands to reason that Arcturus and his buddies may have to defend Velsen against the abomination of the alien at some point. And since fellow hobbyist PDH is currently working on some rather beautiful Deathwatch Marines as well, it looks as though I’ll have enough ideas to “borrow” for the foreseeable future πŸ˜‰

For now, however, I am really happy with the finished model. I rarely ever paint loyalist Space Marines, but when I do, I want to make each and every one of them count! πŸ™‚

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

Bringing a boltgun to a masked-ball — a closer look at Death Masque

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2016 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, it has been quite some time since the last review here on the blog, because for what is probably the first time in my hobby life, I am productive enough to keep showing you finished models instead of talking about releases. Go me! πŸ˜‰

At the same time, however, the backlog of released stuff I want to talk about keeps building up, so the recent release of Death Masque seemed like a good excuse to dip my toes into this particular pool again (I also want to discuss Silver Tower in more detail one of these days, probably as the last hobbyist in the world, but that will have to wait until I finally get my act together and write the rather comprehensive post I know the game deserves).

Death Masque release (1)
Anyway, here we are with a new boxed game, and it’s centered around the Deathwatch once more. Which is pretty cool, because the Deathwatch has always been a bit of a red-haired stepchild, at least when it comes to the Inquisitorial Ordos’ Chambers Militant: The Ordo Malleus’ Grey Knights have now enjoyed full faction status for years, and the Sisters of Battle, allied by ancient decree to the Ordo Hereticus…well, let’s not get into the whole drama and tragic release history surrounding them right now — suffice to say that they at least did form a complete army at one point.

The Deathwatch, on the other hand, was always restricted to a couple of conversion bitz, so if you wanted to run a Deathwatch killteam or, god forbid, an entire army, some OOP metal conversion bitz and a couple of plastic shoulder pads were all the material at your disposal.

All of this has changed with Deathwatch:Overkill, which provided us with some pretty excellent characters that already defined a general outline of what the modern Deathwatch could look like. And now we get another boxed game — this time chock-full of actual multi part kits and delicious conversion fodder! We also get a Deathwatch Codex to boot, but as my perspective is chiefly that of a converter, let’s focus on the models and discuss their strenghts and flaws as well as possible conversion ideas:

 

Team Xenos

The Xenos are definitely getting the short end of the stick in this box — at least in terms of new sculpts: All of the models (except one, but we’ll be getting to that in a minute) are the plastic Harlequin kits that were released a while back. They are still pretty cool, of course, but there’s really no need to talk about those models again — all my thoughts on the plastic Harlequin models can be found here, in case you’re interested.

But like I said, there’s one notable exception. This guy:

 

Eldrad Ulthran, Farseer of UlthwΓ©

Death Masque release (2)
Well, quite a surprise, this one! I don’t think many people were expecting a plastic version of this classic 2nd edition character, seeing how Eldrad seemed to have died a typical Disney villain death at the tail end of the Eye of Terror campaign all those years ago, but mostly because the original Jes Goodwin sculpt is certainly one of the most iconic 40k models:

Death Masque release (3)
Confession time: I consider this one of the best 40k models ever, period. Easily one of my top five if one considers the whole 40k catalogue, and certainly one of the models you should show somebody if you were trying to explain to them what 40k is. Sure, the model is slightly two-dimensional, being very much a product of its time, but the amount of detailing, strong triangular composition and perfect pose make this model one for the ages, in my opinion. And now they have chosen to update this piece. Ho hum…

GW’s respect for the original Eldrad model shows in that they basically chose to keep almost every part of the original model: The staff and sword are virtually identical, as are most of the clothes and various doodads dangling from Eldrad’s belt and arms. The helm is also really similar, although I really hate the fact that Eldrad now sports one of those silly “pharao beards” that have been the bane of every Farseer design for quite a while now.

The pose is also very similar to the original, but while adding a bit of depth to the original sculpt, it also ends up looking ever so slightly less iconic. Now maybe this is just nostalgia getting the better of me, but for some reason the new Eldrad, for all his excellent detail, doesn’t seem to be quite as tightly composed as the original piece:

Eldrad comparison
While some will certainly welcome the slightly airier pose and sense of depth and motion to the model, but I just cannot get over how brilliant the original is. Nothing is better proof of this than the fact that the new Eldrad instantly becomes far inferior if you drop the sword arm and use the alternate, “casting” hand for him:

Death Masque release (4)
Of course it’s a huge boon that the new model is plastic, so it lends itself to converting much better than the old metal model, allowing for using it as the base as a customised Farseer conversion (or for smaller tweaks like, for instance, getting rid of that beard…):

Death Masque release (5)
When all is said and done, it’s a very nice and fitting model when taken on its own merits. When compared to its legendary predecessor, however, I have to admit that it doesn’t quite hold up: If I were to build the new plastic Eldrad, I would do my darnedest to make him look as much as the original metal model as possible by tweaking the pose (and by GETTING RID OF THAT BEARD!), and I think that says al lot about which version is the superior one…

I wonder what this means for the (rumoured) plastic update of KhΓ’rn the Betrayer…?

 

Team Deathwatch

It takes no rocket scientist to figure out that the Deathwatch are the more appealing faction in this particular set, mostly because there’s more original content for them. But even so, the Deathwatch side of things also makes heavy use of pre-existing kits: It looks like you basically get one Vanguard and Venerable Dreadnought kit and then the new Deathwatch Veteran sprue to build five Veterans and use the remaining bitz to spice up the other models to your heart’s content. Regarding the base kits, all of them are excellent kits, whether you’re starting a new Astartes force or adding to an existing one. Some detailed thoughts of on the Vanguard kit can be found here.

But yeah, beyond those kits, there’s the new Deathwatch Veteran sprue — and quite a sprue it is:

Death Masque release (9)
Looks like we are getting lots of weapons and decoration, but also a dedicated set of bodies and legs, which is very nice! And here’s what the bitz from the sprue will look like when used to create a squad of Deathwatch Veterans:

Death Masque release (10)
The inclusion of already establised visual elements,Β such as the Inquisition symbols, shoulder pads covered in scripture and special bolters, was a given, of course. What I really like, however, is how the main point of this new sprue seems to be to give the Deathwatch its own visual identity: Deathwatch Marines basically used to be standard Marines with a special bolter and one slightly more interesting shoulder pad. The new parts, however, really create a new look for them:

Death Masque release (12)
Their armour has a more streamlined and modern look to it (is that an Mk8 breastplate, I wonder?), which befits an Inquisitorial special force. If anything they have a sleek “Spec Ops” looks that is rendered even stronger by their armour being black.

It’s very interesting to see how they differ from their obvious counterparts, the Grey Knights: The Grey Knights look like, well, Knights: very ornamental and medieval. The Deathwatch, on the other hand, look like a particularly bad-ass black ops team from your favourite 90s military shooter, thrown into a blender and turned up to eleven — which also happens to make them look far more believably like an Inquisitorial sub-organisation now!

In addition to the sleek new armour designs, the sprue also seems to be featuring some of the Ordo Xenos’ more…esoteric gear, such as the sword on the squad leader:

Death Masque release (11)
Seems like we’ve been stealing some tech from the Necrons, eh? πŸ˜‰ Now while this particular weapon seems a bit hit or miss to me, I still think it’s neat that some of the equipment seems to be both more esoteric and seemingly inspired by Xenos tech.

For those of you who want boisterous and ostentatious instead of sneaky and subdued, however, the good news is that the new Deathwatch bitz seem to allow for that option as well:

Death Masque release (13)
Ah, what would we be without huge hammers and crazily ornate boarding shields, eh? They are looking awesome, though!

But whatever happened to the handle on this poor fellow’s hammer…?

Death Masque release (14)There’s also a collection of shoulder pads bearing quite a plethora of different chapter symbols on the sprue, which should really help to make any given Deathwatch force look like it has actually been assembled from Astartes hailing from many different chapters. And the fact that we don’t just get yet more heraldic elements of the “big” chapters like the Ultramarines, Dark Angels or Blood Angels, but rather a collection of more obscure iconography, is both a great shout out to the wider 40k lore and a great modeling opportunity!

And finally, the bitz on the sprue can also be used to convert Dreadnoughts into a Deathwatch variant:

Death Masque release (15)All in all, the new sprue seems like a deliciously versatile new toy, and I can see it becoming really popular, both with 40k players and the INQ28 crowd alike! For instance, Commissar Molotov, being both the Godfather of INQ28 and quite the Deathwatch fiend, will probably find much to like about the new sprue πŸ˜‰

 

Watch-Captain Artemis

Death Masque release (6)
Well, this was another really excellent surprise: Whom do we get as the Deathwatch commander but a veteran of 54mm Inquisitor? For those of you who haven’t been into this hobby for years and years, Artemis will merely seem like a cool enough Deathwatch model. But if you remember the old 54mm Inquisitor line of models, you will also remember Artemis, arguably one of the most spectacular models at the bigger scale. And just check out this comparison to see how closely the new model matches the earlier incarnation:

For the sake of the comparison, both models are displayed at the same size, when they are really anything but...

For the sake of the comparison, both models are displayed at the same size, when they are really anything but…

It’s really crazy how GW’s sculptors have managed to incorporate almost all of the visual elements from the 54mm Artemis! Especially if you consider that one of the huge draws of the original Inquisitor models was how 28mm plastic couldn’t hope to capture the same amount of detail — I think it’s a testament to the quality of GW’s modern plastics that almost all of the detail has been retained at about half the size!

There are some smaller differences: Artemis seems to have done rather well for himself since we last saw him , earning the right to wear a snazzy cape. His Deathwatch boltgun has also been exchanged with an actual combi-weapon, and both his sword and his backpack have received some additional bling. I kinda miss the Crux Terminatus necklace, though, as it provided a nice extra bit of dynamism to the model. And I think I’d add a purity seal to the front of his left shoulder pad, just for old times’ sake πŸ˜‰

The main difference is in the face, if you ask me: Where 54mm Artemis’ face is classically handsome (in the way many retro Space Marines used to be), the 28mm models have noticeably broader features — whether this is merely due to technical factors or an actual attempt at giving him the broader, heavier features that seem to be a trademark of Space Marines in some of the literature, I cannot say. Personally, I prefer the 54mm face, not because of the additional detail, but because the callback to the older, more handsome Marines appeals to me in an entirely nostalgic way. Curiously enough, the bare head that came with the old Dark Angels veteran sprue really resembles 54mm Artemis, though, so if you want to change that part, that’s the face I’d recommend — in fact, there’s a fantastic older 28mm Artemis conversion by Siamtiger that happens to be using the head in question.

Death Masque release (7)
But that’s obviously nitpicking: Artemis’ new incarnation is a brilliant call-back to a classic miniature and also a fantastic looking centrepiece for a Deathwatch army in its own right — very nice!

 

Conversion options:

It goes without saying that I won’t be discussing the general conversion options for the older kits contained in the boxed kit, for obvious reasons, although my thoughts on possible conversions may be found in the aforementioned reviews of the respective kits linked above.

So this leaves us with the two special characters and the new Deathwatch sprue to discuss:

Eldrad could obviously become a building template for your own custom Farseer with just a few cuts and a bit of kitbashing. The prospect isn’t hugely exciting, certainly, mostly because we already have a generic clamshell Farseer who can fill that role, although it’s nice to have the option. Seeing how his breastplate (with most of the Eldaresque decoration) seems to be a separate piece, it should be possible to use the model as the base for a non-Eldar robed character, such as an Inquisitor, Imperial Psyker, Chaos demagogue or what have you. And of course it goes without saying that his sword and staff would also be cool conversion bitz for any Eldar players.

But really, when all is said and done, there’s no doubt that this model should probably be used to build Eldrad, above all else. So the most appealing conversion options here would be to make minor tweaks to make him resemble his classic incarnation even more closely (rotating the head counter-clockwise by a few degrees, and OFF WITH THAT BEARD!).

Artemis should be easy enough to tweak as well with some careful cutting — but once again, I find myself strangely reluctant to even think about using the model for a conversion. It’s such a cool shout out to the 54mm model, and using it for anything else would just lose that — and there’s really no shortage of Space Marine bitz to use, so we might as well leave this guy in one piece, eh? Just this once πŸ˜‰

Come to think of it, the one tweak I think would improve the model would be to slightly rotate its head so as to mirror the 54mm version’s pose even more closely.

So with the two special characters best left untouched, for the most part, the Deathwatch sprue is obviously the true star of the show here, and rumours have it that GW really intends to package it with a huge number of Space Marine kits to give the Deathwatch a real push. And why shouldn’t they? The designers have been building up the compatibility of the various Space Marine kits literally for decades now, and towards this end, releasing a sprue that will allow you to turn virtually every Space Marine kit into a Deathwatch kit is a pretty shrewd move!

There’s also the fact that the sprue seems far more comprehensive than the Dark Angels and Black Templars sprues that were its distant predecessors (and those weren’t half bad either): If you carefully divide the contents of the sprue between your squads, you’ll get quite a bit of mileage out of those bitz!

Possibly the best part of the sprue, however, is that it really plays to the appeal of the Deathwatch: The great thing about them is that they allow you to build a Killteam or force that is very much centered around the individual models, as they all hail from different chapters. So if you want to test some ideas for a DIY chapter or build a model belonging to one of the more obscure chapters, building a model for your Deathwatch project will allow you to do just that without having to commit to an entire squad or army.

And we finally get a distinctive look for the Deathwatch — one that goes beyond the concept of standard tac Marines with black armour and a silver left arm. True enough, these are still Space Marines, but even if they lack the plethora of kits the Grey Knights have nowadays, at least they now have their own visual identity!

The flexibility of the sprue means that it should also become quite popular with converters: Whether you are looking to add a killteam (or a single Deathwatch veteran) to your army or want some suitably original and esoteric equipment for your chapter masters or Inquisitors, there should be something for you on this sprue. Even if you are going for true scale Deathwatch (because true INQ28 aficionados will only ever settle for true scale Astartes), you’ll be thankful for the Terminator-sized Deathwatch shoulder pads.

 

All in all, Death Masque seems like a cool boxed set that basically combines several of GW’s most successful recent ideas: If you look at the kits in the box, that’s some pretty major bang for the buck. The game functions as a standalone entity, drawing in new people and working as yet another gateway drug, so to speak. The redesigned Deathwatch will pluck at the heartstrings of veteran players and hobbyists. And the special characters provide that extra bit of sugar sprinkled on top — well played, GW!

So what’s your take on the new models and conversion bitz? I would love to hear your opinion, so feel free to drop me a comment! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!