Archive for fluff

Deracin — the early years

Posted in 30k, Conversions, Fluff, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 1, 2017 by krautscientist

Back when the then-new Codex Chaos Space Marines was released, all the way back in 2012, it contained a couple of new HQ specialist types for the army that had previously been limited to particular legions: Both the (Word Bearers’) Dark Apostles and the (Iron Warriors’) War(p)smiths were now available to every Traitor Legion and renegade chapter.

While the choice proved unpopular among some hobbyists, who feared that this was a sign of further weakening the identity of the various legions, I quickly thought about the interesting challenge of building dedicated interpretations of those character archetypes for my World Eaters.

Possibly the most involved project in this vein was the creation of my very own Warpsmith, Huntmaster Deracin:

Huntmaster Deracin (11)
Coming up with a suitably impressive, suitably tech-y and suitably Khornate Warpsmith was a pretty interesting endeavour — you can discover the original project here and here.

Now as you know, I have been working on a small Horus Heresy project for a while now, exploring the history of the 4th assault company during the Heresy. And one of the most entertaining parts of this “gaiden project” has been to reverse-engineer younger versions of my 40k characters. Of course it’s a difficult balance to maintain: Not every character could realistically have survived ten millennia of the Long War — in fact, even the idea of single individuals surviving through the Great Crusade, the entire Heresy and even well beyond is patently ludicrous, when you look at it. But it’s 30k/40k we are talking about here, so a little lack of realism doesn’t hurt 😉 Even so, there have to be some differences between both incarnations of the company across both settings for the whole business to at least allow some suspension of disbelief.

But Deracin was always one of the prime candidates to be included in the “younger” version of the 4th assault company: He is one of the pretty well-developed characters in my army’s background, and I also thought that building a younger version of him might be fun.

My original plan was to take a look at the “official” Forgeworld Legion Techmarines in Mk. III and Mk. IV armour, respectively. But those merely served as a first inspiration, and the real challenge was to build a model that didn’t just look like any old Techmarine, but actually resembled Deracin’s fairly baroque 40k form. After a bit of experimentation, here’s what I came up with:

Techmarine Deracin 30k WIP (4)

The use of some chaos warrior legs (from the chaos chariot, as it were) proved to be the crucial, if unconventional, choice here, because they really hint at Deracin’s 40k getup (mostly because both pairs of legs come from the same part of GW’s catalogue). The nonstandard shape of the legs also hints at possible augmentations underneath all of the armour, something that is very much a part of Deracin’s character: You really cannot be sure how much of his organic body is actually left underneath it all. But he’s enough of a technological prodigy to eschew the usual, bulky Astartes bionics for something more cotoured and elegant, at least for the most part.

Beyond this key decision, I tried to incorporate design elements that looked like less extreme versions of Deracin’s 40k equipment, such as the chainaxe/hammer combo, the shoulder mounted gun and the servo-harness. My original conversion notes on the model can be found in this post, if anyone’s interested.

But anyway, here’s the unpainted conversion next to the “older” version of Deracin:

Deracin comparison

In order to finally get the model painted, I included it in my recent vow for the “Loyalty & Treachery III” event over at The Bolter & Chainsword. And while I was still motivated from my recent success of having painted my 30k World Eaters Contemptor, I got to work. Here are the results:

 

Deracin

the Keeper of the Forge, 4th assault company Techmarine, XII Legio Astartes

“To think we lost a brilliant mind like that! But how should we have known? A jewel like that man’s mind, hidden amid the midden heap that was his legion. A genius fallen among the butchers. Even as we fight his daemonic creations today, we can only wonder about the marvels he could have brought to our Imperium.

There are those who look at the Istvaan Atrocity or the Siege of Terra, and who count the dead and the debt Imperium paid in flesh and blood during those dark times. But the true tally of the Heresy is measured not in bodies, but in minds forever lost to our cause, and therein lies the true tragedy.”

Archmagos Veneratus Sacharia Hyle, The Age of Scouring, M31

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“Aye, Nove Shendak cost me half of my body. But in the end, those injuries were what let me keep all of my wits, and for that I will always remember that blasted hellscape with a certain …fondness.”

Techmarine Deracin

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During the time of the Great Crusade, when the XIIth Astartes Legion was still known as the War Hounds, brother Deracin was a brilliant and ferocious warrior who could be found at the forefront of every battle. This zeal cost him dearly when he sustained horrific injuries during the Nove Shendak campaign, requiring extensive augmentic reconstruction work to be saved. Worse still than the lost limbs was the heavy nerve damage Deracin incurred, damage that necessiated complex cranial implants to keep him combat-worthy. A lesser man might have been interred into the sarcophagus of a dreadnought due to such injuries, but Deracin trained relentlessly to overcome his injuries and push the artificial parts of his body to the limit, trying to prove to his brethren that his “reconstruction” hadn’t dulled his edge one bit.

All of this should be for naught, however, once the legion had been reunited with its Primarch and renamed the “World Eaters”: Angron ordered his Apothecaries and Techmarines to outfit the whole legion with the Butcher’s Nails, implants patterned after those he had received as a gladiator on the world of Nuceria.

The nails implanted into the Primarch’s skull were artifacts from the Dark Age of Technology, and the Techmarines’ dabbling in archaeotech was far from an exact science, producing all kinds of unforeseen incidents. As a consequence, the implants Deracin had received earlier to mend his injuries interfered with the nails, preventing him from utilising his full potential on the battlefield. For Angron, a legionnaire that couldn’t unlock the nails’ full power could only be considered a failure. So Deracin found himself relegated to the rear guard in more and more battles, sidelined and tasked with petty battle logistics and mundane assignments, and growing ever more frustrated.

It was Lord Captain Lorimar who discovered that, deprived of a chance to prove himself in battle, Deracin had begun to apply himself to the maintenance of the legions’ wargear and weaponry, demonstrating a brilliant grasp of technology and an intuitive understanding of even the most complex mechanisms. So Lorimar requested Deracin for his company and let him be trained as a Techmarine. And it was then that brother Deracin found his true calling:

He may have been a brilliant fighter, but as a Techmarine, Deracin became a marvel. His brilliant, analytical mind allowed him to construct mechanisms on par with the most advanced work of the Mechanicus. His work earned him the envy of numerous Techmarines from different companies and, indeed, other Legiones Astartes. In time, even Angron himself began to display a sort of grudging respect for the son he had despised. And through fateful irony, the implants that prevented Deracin from tapping into the Butcher’s Nails’ full potential actually kept his brilliant mind intact, even as the rest of the legion descended into frenzy and insanity.

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So this is my interpretation of a younger Deracin. And here’s a comparison shot showing both versions of the character:

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40k Deracin is quite a beast, in his massive and baroque armour — and let’s not forget that rather monstrous servo-harness! So, like I said, the three goals here were to a) build a model that would look reasonably like it was the same guy cool.png hint at some of the design cues of the 40k version and c) still read as a 30k Techmarine. Looking at it now, I think I’ve done a reasonably good job on the model!

Deracin is the first character with a finished model for both incarnations of the 4th assault company — but he is far from the last! That being said, I am still really happy with created a first proof-of-concept model! 🙂

Let’s wind up this post with the obligatory family portrait:

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I’d love to hear your feedback on the model! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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The State of the Hunt, Week 7/2017

Posted in 40k, Blood Bowl, Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, Inq28, Inquisitor, state of the hunt, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2017 by krautscientist

As it turns out, last week’s decision to force myself to actually sit down and paint something was really for the best: Not only did it result in a model I am really, really happy with — I’ve also managed to keep the creative spark alive until now. So even though I am currently suffering from a rather nasty case of the flu, I have still finished some more hobby related stuff. So let’s take about some of the recent developments today:

 

I. A Chaotic Tome

One of the more frustrating parts of the 2016 Christmas season was my attempt to get hold of a) the Traitor Legions Codex Supplement, b) Canoness Veridyan and c) the Index Chaotica book. The Canoness, in particular, sold out about three or four times, and once the model was finally back in stock, the Index Chaotica was gone for good — or at least that’s what it looked like then.

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Enter fellow hobbyist Augustus b’Raass (whose fantastic work you might want to check out here, by the way): Auggs was nice enough to swing by the Amsterdam GW store, pick up a spare copy of the book and send it my way — that was really awesome and yet another proof that this hobby of ours is full of wonderfully generous and thoughtful people!

As for the book itself, while I am writing this, it seems to be back in stock, so is it worth it? I’d say so, yes. The cynic in me wants to poke fun at the fact that it’s basically a – ever so slightly haphazard – collection of pre-published content, but then the stuff from Realm of Chaos, for instance, is only really available in the original books, and you’ll be paying through the nose if you want to obtain one of those. Plus the vintage chaos content is simply that good: sinister, evil, spiky and occasionally darkly humorous. And some of the classic artwork is still spectacular.

For instance, I was elated to find within the book a wonderfully vibrant reproduction of Geoff Taylor’s iconic World Eaters illustration. In spite of being decidedly old skool, it has also managed to age incredibly well, if you ask me:

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There’s also this WFB-chaos centric piece from the same artist that actually almost seems like a companion piece of the World Eaters picture:

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I still remember when this image appeared on the box of the Chaotic paints set (Tentacle Pink FTW!), and I was spellbound and tried to figure out what I was actually seeing — the lumbering war machine in the back was especially fascinating, as it subtly hinted at a WFB/40k connection. From a modern standpoint, I’d say it’s actually a depiction of a Lord of War, a Khornate daemon engine from Epic 40k that eventually grew into the modern Lord of Skulls. It also serves as living proof of how much more awesome GW artwork was when it didn’t limit itself to picturing available models — but that’s a subject for another time.

Speaking of Khorne, the Khornate content alone is basically worth the price of admission and should provide me with lots and lots of new ideas. And while the internet will provide you with lots and lots of fuzzy scans of vintage GW artwork, there are still some surprises to be had here, among them an elusive Jes Goodwin sketch for a dedicated heavy support World Eater:

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Actually, Jes Goodwin’s design sketches are yet another reason to pick up the book: I cannot help marveling at the quality of his concepts for the four cult legions and the original 2nd edition CSM special characters –incredible stuff!
Oh, and let me just state for the record that the book obviously wouldn’t have been complete without the wonderful berzerker on the right courtesy of Mark Gibbons! 🙂

So anyway, I’ve spent some very enjoyable weeks going back and forth through the book and immersing myself in the rich background for the chaos powers. I am ever so thankful to Augustus b’Raass for getting me a copy, and I suppose I’ll have to come up with something special in order to make it up to him — cheers, buddy! 🙂

 

II. A Merry Band of Misfits

I didn’t merely spend my time browsing through iconic chaos content from the yesteryear, though: Some of you might remember this little project here from last year: The Road Crew:

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Now this little warband project was basically started as a fun diversion (and as a way to channel some of the influences from the Mad Max universe), but before I realised it, it had already started to take on a life of its own, coagulating into a little retinue.

The basic idea here was to start with some of the pit slave tropes introduced by Necromunda, but move beyond those character archetypes to include mutants, gunmen or even former Imperial adepts and shape them into a gang of malcontents that have disappeared between the cracks of the 41st millennium.

Now if you take a look at the image above, you’ll realise that there are already quite a few beefy warrior types — but this outfit still needed some brains. That’s why I built this guy last year:

Doc WIP (5)
Where the more gladiatorial types are muscular and crudely augmented, I wanted a gaunt and more delicate look for the brainy guy, and a combination of AdMech parts led to an outcome that was pretty close to my vision. The interesting task was to make a model that is so different from a structural standpoint look like it still belonged with the group. I tried to achieve that via a suitably strong paintjob, and here’s the result of that little endeavour:

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This is Solon Antonov, nicknamed “The Doktor”, formerly a low to mid-tier member of the Adeptus Mechanicus who stationed on St. Sabasto’s Reach to select suitable slaves to undergo augmetic modification and be transported off-world, to spend the rest of their sad lives toiling away in one of the mines or forges of the Velsian Adeptus Mechanicus. But, surprising enough for a man mostly made from metal by this point, Antonov discovered he still had a heart after all, and absconded with a group of slaves. Ever since, he has been the brains behind the “Road Crew”, tasked both with planning their activities and with the “maintenance” of its various members.

As you can see, I used the exact same colours on Antonov and the gladiators, with the scratched and damaged yellow armour serving as the element that really pulls the models together. I was actually happy enough with the outcome that I started to work on the next model right away. This little guy here:

Twist Witch Doctor (1)
I thought a mutant witch doctor type would nicely expand the character of the warband beyond a mere gang of pitslaves, even if this guy may initally seem a bit far out. Anyway, he’s still a little rough around the edges and needs some finishing touches, but here are some photos of the nearly finished model:

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All in all, this project is a lot of fun, because it allows for some very organic kitbashing and painting. It’s also a nice vehicle for telling a somewhat more intimate story: These guys aren’t part of the fight for the Emperor’s soul, they just want to get by. That being said, it’s kinda interesting to explore the contrast between their humanity and their somewhat distressed, grotesque outer appearances.

So here’s the entire gang so far. Meet the Road Crew:

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From left to right: Crusher Vexx, Tiny (the Road Crew’s battle captain), Doktor Antonov, Grimspyke, Chopper and the PIP twist witch doctor (if anyone has a cool idea for a name, I’d love to hear it).

So what’s in store for the Road Crew? I think there’ll be one or two additional members, and a suitable ramshackle ride for them — I already have a plan on that account. Keep your eyes peeled! 😉

 

III. A Squig-shaped Surprise

And last but definitely not least, imagine my surprise when I visited my friend Annie last week for one of our semi-regular painting sessions, only to present me with two wonderfully characterful squig-shaped dice for my Blood Bowl team, the Orkheim Ultraz:

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These lovely little models can be picked up at Comixininos, and they should make for excellent turn/reroll counters for my team! And I really love how Annie painted them to perfectly match the colours of the Orkheim Ultraz:

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Thanks so much for the amazing gift, Annie! 🙂

By the way, we’ll be taking a closer look at one of Annie’s Blood Bowl teams in the near future, if only to show you her fairly different approach as well as her balls-to-the-wall crazy and creative ideas for the team. You should definitely look forward to that!
So yeah, as you can see, I am finally back into the swing of things! And I would love to hear any feedback you might have — just drop me a comment or two! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Ancient Vaako of the World Eaters

Posted in 30k, Conversions, Fluff, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2017 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, surprise: I am not dead! 😉 I’ve gone through a bit of a rocky patch – from a purely hobby-related perspective – however, with a combination of work and other personal interests taking up most of my time, and very little hobby mojo left to speak of. So I haven’t really done much hobby related stuff since before Christmas, and that involves participating in forum discussions, writing blog posts or even personal, hobby-related correspondence.

Anyway, I decided that it was high time I broke this personal hobby-dreadlock, so here we are with a fresh post. Now some of you may be wondering where that third and final part of my Eternal Hunt Awards went: I remain committed to doing a writeup of my favourite 2016 projects from other hobbyists  – if you still want to read it, that is – but for now, it felt like the best way to actually get back into the swing of things was to just sit down and finish a model.

So let’s talk about my first 2017 model — fortunately enough, it’s a piece that I have wanted to finish for a long time now: All the way back at the tail end of 2015, when Betrayal at Calth had just been released, I immediately started to cut up the somewhat generic Contemptor that came with the box, turning it first into this:

World Eaters Contemptor 30k early WIP (1)

And then into this:

World Eaters Contemptor 30k WIP (9)
My plan for the model was to make it a bit more interesting by taking cues from Forgeworld’s World Eaters Dreadnought while also putting my own spin on things. For those interested in the subject, more conversion notes can be found in my original post here. And since I was really happy with the finished conversion, I really wanted to do this guy justice with a suitably good paintjob.

So when The Bolter & Chainsword started yet another forum-wide hobby event earlier this year, I knew it was time to get off my arse and finish this bad boy. So he became a part of my vow for the “Loyalty & Treachery III” event, along with two other models that I hope to paint soon-ish:

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But the Contemptor was definitely first in line. I usually really enjoy painting Dreadnoughts, you see, so I hoped this guy would be fun to paint as well!

The first task was to carefully think about which undercoats to use. In the end, I used two different colours to undercoat the model (white for the legs and breastplate, silver for the arms and torso). This made for a good start, because I ended up with parts of the model in colours that were already closed to the finished effect. So I carefully picked out all the details in the correct colours and also added the characteristic blue on the shoulder pads, knee pads and the reactor section. Here’s what the model looked like after this step:

world-eaters-contemptor-pip

Then I washed and highlighted some of the detail, such as the chain dangling from the Contemptor’s breastplate, the bronze parts etc. A look at the finished World Eater next to the Contemptor perfectly shows the difference between the squeaky clean white of the PIP Contemptor and the finished, grimy and dirty white on the legionary — but before tackling the white areas, there was something to take care of first:

I had decided to make use of quite a few Forgeworld World Eaters decals, and in order for the whole ensemble to look suitably believable, the decals had to be applied at this early stage, to be weathered and dirtied up later, along with the rest of the white armour. Here’s the Contemptor with nearly all decals in place:

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Better, but still far too clean, wouldn’t you agree? As an aside, I was really happy to be able to pull off that huge crossed chain decal on the leg armour.

In order to get the right, battle worn look, I used the same approach I had come up with for the rest of my 30k World Eaters so far: All of the white armour plates were washed with Army Painter Dark Tone, heavily diluted with GW Lahmian Medium. This shades the white parts and adds a grimy, dusty look to the armour. Afterwards, I used a small piece of blister foam and some GW Charadon Granite to add small patches of sponge weathering, adding to the dirty and unkempt look. By adding all of this on top of the decals, they ended up looking like a believable part of the model and not like an afterthought. Here’s the Contemptor after this step:

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And while the model was already looking quite alright by this point, I decided to add some further tweaks: GW Leadbelcher was carefully sponged onto the blue armour plates, for instance, to create a scratched look. I also added suitable amounts of grime and soot around the Contemptor’s reactor section:

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You might also have noticed the inclusion of a big “IV” decal on the model’s chest plate: The original plan was to have one of the red XII decals from the World Eaters decal sheet there, but that didn’t work out at all, as the red decal didn’t really read against the brass background. So I decided on a white numeral that stands for the Contemptor’s affiliation with the 4th assault company — I suppose there are enough XII decals scattered across the model to make it obvious which legion this guy belongs to 😉

In the meantime, I also created a base to match the model. For this project, I used some granite slabs from the 40k basing kit for big models. But while the parts worked well enough, they also soffered from very, very soft detailing — my pet peeve with the kit, as you’ll probably remember. I brushed on some Liquid GS to create additional texture:

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The paintjob was meant to evoke a dusty battlefield, like the crumbling avenues and plazas of Armatura, the Ultramarines’ war-world. So of course I had to add a fallen member of the XIII legion as well 😉

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Now just for the record: I don’t harbour any particular hate for the Ultramarines, but my 30k World Eaters are based on the legion circa during the Shadow Crusade (so from Isstvan to Nuceria) with a possible focus on the battles of Armatura and Nuceria. And the XIII Legion were the World Eaters’ main opponent during that campaign. Plus there’s an excellent showdown between Guilliman and Angron at Nuceria that shows how they are basically polar opposites in many ways, so it seems like a nice fit.

At this point, only some minor touchups were neccessary to finish the model. So let’s take a look at the finished Contemptor, alright?

 

Ancient Vaako

the Immortal, the Cerberite, honoured veteran of the XII Legion Astartes

In his dreams, he is still at Cerberus Station, its steel corridors and rock catacombs bathed in amber warning lights, the ropes of blood and viscera on every surface like the studies of a mad artist. The renegades have taken a terrible toll in blood, and he can see the corpses of station personnel, fallen inmates and the remains of servitors, strewn like ragdolls across the floors and makeshift barricades. And between them, in far smaller numbers, yet still shockingly common, the bodies of his brothers, the grey blue ceramite shards of their armour like cracked eggshells. All is quiet, strangely enough, yet the air is heavy with the scent of bad deaths.

When he rounds the next corner, he finds himself face to face with one of the monsters, squatting atop a pile of broken bodies. It is dying from a thousand cuts already, but just too stubborn to realise it yet. Its armour is cracked and scarred, but he still recognises it as an earlier, cruder version of his own warplate. Even then, he senses in his bones that their kinship goes farther still.

Up close, its animal stink and the sharp tang of its chemical secretions are almost overwhelming: the cancerous odour of a biological experiment slowly breaking down into its composite parts.

They quietly observe each other for a moment then, and in its rheumy eyes, he sees the ending of an age — but there is more there: infinite sadness. A sense of betrayal. The broken spirit of a once proud warrior, now merely a tool discarded by its own creator.

+++

He awakens underwater, his lungs filled with icy liquid. As usual, it takes a moment for him to remember where he is. And what he has become. While jagged Nagrakali runes dance before his eyes, his gaze turns downward to the men a merciless conqueror king has crudely reshaped into his brothers. He wonders why they have come. Why they will not let him sleep and dream of betrayal the colour of blood and amber light. And then they begin to speak, and speak for a long time, and while their words weave a tapestry depicting a world gone mad, he remembers the spiteful, sad gaze of a discarded, broken toy and realises, with grim certainty, that it is all happening again.

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A Terran veteran from the days when the XII legion was still named the War Hounds, Brahim Vaako is one of the oldest members of the 4th assault company. His status as a honoured ancient of the company made his support crucial when Captain Lorimar succeeded the company’s former commander, Lord Valna, whom he had slain in the fighting pits.

Unlike many Terran-born veterans of the World Eaters, he has never felt any resentment towards the Primarch Angron and the changes the latter had wrought upon the legion: During the quelling of the Cerberus Insurrection, the campaign in which Vaako would first distinguish himself, he saw  the last Thunder Warriors die, and their fate and the World Eaters‘ role in their demise planted the seed for a growing disillusionment with the Emperor and the Imperial Truth in him, long before the Horus Heresy ever broke out.

So here’s the finished model, and let’s not mince words: I am incredibly happy with how the model has come out! So let’s take a closer look at him:

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As you can see, I also added some blood – par for the course for a World Eater, really – and it was once again pretty much the hardest part of the project, because it’s just so easy to overdo an effect like that. The fist was a no-brainer, of course. Regarding the legs, my rationale was that any fallen enemy at the Contemptor’s feet could only ever hope to reach as high as the Dread’s shins — and would likely make a terrible mess down there while expiring 😉

Also, there may or may not be suggestions of bloody handprints in that bloody mess. At the same time, the effect also provided me with a good way to add some detail to those barren inner sides of the legs.

One thing I really spent a lot of time on was the use of matching decals to create both a feeling of belonging to the XII legion and a kind of personal heraldry for the character. For instance, the numeral “IV” stenciled onto his chest plate proudly proclaims his allegiance to the 4th assault company:

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Meanwhile, the row of three hound heads appearing on his torso is a reminder of his participation in the quelling of the Cerberus Insurrection, a campaign that also earned him the epithet “Cerberite”:

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Speaking of personal heraldry, the one thing that fell by the wayside during the painting stage, surprisingly enough, was the heraldic shield on Vaako’s left shoulder: I originally really liked the idea of having it there as a way of showing personal heraldry, but when I tacked it own, it turned out the shield really upset the model’s colour balance — so it had to go.

The base came together in a pretty experimental way — which makes me all the happier that it looks pretty much like I imagined it:

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And here’s Vaako together with his “squishier” little brothers:

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I think this little group serves as a pretty neat proof of concept of what I want my 30k World Eaters to look like! I think you can expect some more of these at some point in the not-too-distant future 😉

For now, though, I am really happy to have finally finished this model — and about possibly having my hobby mojo back for now. YAY! 🙂

Of course I would love to hear your feedback, so let me know what you think in the comments! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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The State of the Hunt — Week 44

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, paintjob, state of the hunt, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 1, 2016 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, I’ll be at a conferece for most of the week, so this week’s post is basically a recap of things I am currently working on. Hopefully you’ll still appreciate the glimpse at my chaotic workshop 😉

I. Iron and mud

So first up, a small update regarding my ongoing work on my Call of Chaos vow: I already showed you a mostly completed Iron Warriors Apothecary directly after my recent vacation, but back then the model still needed a suitable base. And while I realise I have been taking my sweet time with this, I really wanted to make the base suitably interesting — I’ll let you be the judges as to whether or not I have suceeded with this.

So, without further ado, I give you Apothecary Phastos of the Iron Warriors:

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Like I said, I wanted to include a little “special effect” on the base, both to support the model’s narrative and because I had pledged this guy as a “trophied” model for The Iron Without, a small Iron Warriors centered sub-event over at The Bolter & Chainsword’s Chaos forum.  So I placed a fallen Imperial Fist at Phastos’s feet, trampled into the mud underfoot:

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What’s more, if you look really closely, you can see a telltale hole punched into the flex fitting covering the Astartes’ throat:

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It’s where Phastos has just used his Narthecium gauntlet to extract his fallen loyalist cousin’s geneseed. After all, the Iron Warriors have been known to use other legions’ geneseed to create new legionaries — in fact, this little nugget of lore is the reason for having an apothecary as one of the character archetypes feature in my Killteam in the first place!

Beyond the aspect of adding to the model’s narrative, the base was also a chance of trying my hand at a new technique for the first time, because the Imperial Fist was created using a mold and some GS. Now I certainly don’t want to go crazy about copying huge amounts of stuff, but I thought it might be an interesting tool to make certain effects easier to achieve, and having a “standard” fallen Astartes template would have been pretty useful, plus I wanted the profile of the fallen Marine to be pretty flat without having to shave down 5mm of plastic. So here’s a quick comparison shot showing the “master” for the fallen Marine, the mold I made and the finished base:

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Unfortunately, the experiment was only partially a success, because the GS Marine ended up slightly warped and with softer details than I would have liked. Granted, my pathologic lack of patience might have had something to do with it as well. Anyway, I thought the poor guy was still good enough for a base — I had to pull off all kinds of tricks, however, to suggest depth where none existed.

All in all, I really like the finished model, though: It immediately reads as an Iron Warrior, and the cold and implacable feel of the model is arguably underlined even further by the tiny amount of bare skin visible on Phastos’ face. Plus I like the sinister implications of an Iron Warriors’ Apothecary harvesting the geneseed of the legion’s fallen enemies…

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So regarding my Call of Chaos vow, this means two down, three to go 😉
I didn’t stop there, however, but made some time to rebase the other two power armoured Iron Warriors I had built and painted last year:

rebased-iron-warriors
I briefly considered leaving the guy on the left on his original base, seeing how he was just an early tester and will never be anything more, but in the end, it was only one more base, and I did go through the trouble of touching up the hazard stripes and decals on him when I painted the first “new” Iron Warriors last year, so it would have felt kinda wishy-washy to stop there 😉

The champ really profits from the added breathing space, though:

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The whole business of rebasing these guys also led to the discovery of a very effective and quick recipe for duing muddy bases: Just cover the base in Vallejo’s Sandy Paste for a cery convincing surface texture, spraypaint with Chaos Black (once the paste has dried), cover with an even coat of Vallejo Charred Brown (or any suitably brackish colour you like, really) and finish the base by coating it in gloss varnish — done!

While I was at it, I also snapped some new pictures of Warsmith Greimolt Sturm:

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So yeah, that’s the whole (albeit small) IV Legion collection I own so far:

iron-warriors-killteam-wip-5

II. What’s in a name…?

Some of you probably still remember the models I painted for the ETL V event earlier this year: Among those models was a converted Kastelan Robot turned into an engine of destruction by the 4th assault company’s Master of the Forge, Lord Deracin.

However, back when I painted the model, I did not yet have a detailed idea about its possible background, and the poor guy didn’t even have a name. Thanks to the suggestions of my readers, however, this sad state of affairs is now at an end: Thanks to the suggestion of Llamahead, the converted Kastelan henceforth belongs to the “Confractura-pattern”. Now my Latin has grown a bit rusty, but I understand Confractura means “Breach” — which seems like a rather apt designation, given the fact that the robot is wielding a massive hammer 😉

But wait, there’s more: Thanks to an exchange of ideas, the machine also has an excellent little background vignette telling its story, courtesy of fellow hobbyist Inquisitor Mikhailovich (cheers, buddy!). Enjoy:

Khornate Kastelan conversion (11)
Brazenskull, “The Crimson Destroyer”, Confractura-pattern battle Automaton

Monger had been proud of the weapon.

The fact that the task of restoring such an ancient and powerful relic had been entrusted to him was, in his mind, a higher honour than even his elevation to the Deathwatch had been. If anything exceeded his elation at receiving the task, it had been his pride at his success.

Monger knew that becoming an Astartes, for all the honour it represented, was to be denied many of the emotions experienced by mortal humans, and yet when the machine finally woke from its eons long slumber for the first time, when it took its first halting steps after millennia of inaction, his joy was not entirely unlike what a proud parent might feel. And when its updated combat protocols first outclassed those of the combat servitors he tested it against, his was not only the pride of a tutor, but also the terrifying satisfaction that only an engineer of death could feel.

When it took to the battlefield for the first time, he felt a mix of all those emotions, as the child of his mind shredded Tyranic opponents for the first time on the plains of Ter’notha. On Veldictus it proved its worth when it routed the Cleansers of Ladon renegade Astartes in less than three days, tirelessly and furiously forcing them into retreat. When it finally fell against the monstrous World Eaters and could not be recovered, it had been mourned as a brother.

Now, however, the Tech-Marine felt an odd mixture of pride and, utter disgust. His machine had survived, exactly as he had planned it to. He recognised its reactions, its movements and attacks, even if its outer form had been terribly warped: Something had corrupted its noble adamantine shell. Like the Prodigal Son of legend, it had turned against its father.

The Marine braced himself as the machine charged him, sheathing his weapons and slaving his Servo-Arms to his mostly biological ones for enhanced speed. He barked curt orders to the Marines behind him – Wrecker, Pyro, Bookworm, and Archangel – his usual fiery voice replaced with the cold, hard steel one would expect from an agent of the Omnissiah. They obediently fanned out, retreating ever so slightly.

Monger met his creation head on, clamping his mag-boot and bionic foot to the Necrontyr living metal beneath him. With flawless timing he clamped the rampaging machine’s powerfist in one Servo-Arm, its new and unrecognisable hammer arm in the other.

Like a giant contesting a god, he forced it to slow its charge.

He adjusted his grip so as to crush the smaller and more vulnerable wrist of its right hand, forcing it to drop the hammer.

“I would know how to bring you down better than anyone. Next time, don’t be so foolish as to attack me,” he spat, angrily, before calling into the Vox, “Wrecker! I need you and Archangel to coordinate a volley on the head, explosive shells, plasma discharge oh-point-six seconds ahead of frag cannon fire, three rounds, fourth with armour penetrating rounds. Pyro, disable the powerfist with your melta, Bookworm, try and knock out the leg servos. Fire!”

The squad’s weaponry was in motion before he’d even finished delivering the command.

The automaton’s head jerked to one side and Monger’s optics flared, trying desperately to make visual sense of the fireworks display happening less than two metres away. His right arm and slaved Servo-Arm slipped forward as the weapon they had clutched was expertly disintegrated from between its servo driven claws, and the machine fell to one knee, then both, held up by the one Servo-Arm that still gripped it.

Monger deactivated his direct control over the right Servo-Arm, returning it to a storage position, and drew his relic combi-melta. Without a word, he placed the barrel against the shattered remains of the machine’s featureless faceplate, and pulled the trigger, obliterating its entire head. Then he relinquished his grip entirely, letting the broken automaton fall to the ground.

He turned to his squad and silently gestured for them to move out before returning to the machine. He rolled it over onto its back and, pressing one hand to its chest, uttered a prayer, commending its machine spirits to the Omnissiah.

Then, without another backwards glance, he followed his squad. There were wars to be fought, and this was no longer one of them.

 

***

Huntmaster Deracin dropped to one knee with a snarl of servo-joints and the clinking sound of chains, taking in the mechanical corpse of the Crimson Destroyer before him, as the robed Forge Adepts scurried around him, beginning to search the scrap metal for salvageable components.
This was the work of a Tech-Marine. The damage to the right arm showed marks that could only have been left by a Servo-Arm, so that much was obvious. The head and left arm had been shorn off cleanly, obviously by a melta weapon, and the small craters at the knees were evidence of precision bolter fire, no doubt.

What little remained of Deracin’s organic features drew into a smile, even as his augmetic eye surveyed the destruction, a cold and detached part of his mind already taking stock of the damage and plotting out the necessary repairs. The Loyalists were always so hasty to pronounce a machine dead. But no, this one’s hunt was far from over.

One of Deracin’s clawed servo-arms brought the automaton’s cracked faceplate in front of his face, and his smile turned into a wolfish grin. This is where he would start. The test runs so far had been promising, but the conversion process would only be truly completed once the machine was granted a new face, in honour of its new master. He would craft a new visage for it, one that would remind the Loyalists that he was not so easily bested.

A face in the image of death itself.

 

III. Ooops, I did it again…

Before I wind up this post, allow me to share one last sneak peek at the latest conversion I am working on: This last weekend, I felt the need to build something, and I still had that free Slaughterpriest from WD knocking about, so this happened:

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As some of you may already suspect, this will become yet another homemade version of Angron — whatever obsession with the Lord of the XII legion fellow hobbyist Reg is suffering from, I seem to have been infected with it as well!

Anyway, I am going for a model inspired by this piece of artwork from the late, great Wayne England:

Angron by Wayne England

Angron by Wayne England

Since I already have the stock Forgeworld model wielding Gorefather and Gorechild, it made sense to go for a version with the two-handed axe that appears so often in the classic artwork, such as the one shown above, but also in what is probably the oldes sketch showing Angron by none other than the legendary John Blanche:

Angron by John Blanche

Angron by John Blanche

The “winged” axe is also a part of my Daemon-Primarch version of Angron, as you will probably remember, so this should make for a nice visual shout out.

The model is still a very, very early WIP at this point, however, so it’ll be a while before we can consider this chap finished. But in any case, it seems like my series on building various incarnations of Angron will have to turn into a “quadtych”, after all — is that even a word…?

 

So yeah, I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s look at my desk! I would of course love to hear any feedback you may have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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

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

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

Angron WIP (23)

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

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

Pursser-Sin by PDH

Pursser-Sin by PDH

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Angron Thal’Kr, Lord of the Red Sands

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

Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Betrayer

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

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

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

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

…one of his power-armoured sons:

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Forgeworld’s official Angron model, the still-to-be-painted third and final part of my Triptych 😉

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

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

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

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

Angron conversion by Calle

Angron conversion by Calle

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

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

Angron and his gladiators by Reg

Angron and his gladiators by Reg

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

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

lord-of-the-red-sands-2

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

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

Prologue

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

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

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

Angron by Wade Pryce

Angron by Wade Pryce

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

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

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

image source: SOLegends

image source: SOLegends

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

I. Research and main inspiration

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

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

Bloodthirster-based Angron conversion by Reg

Bloodthirster-based Angron conversion by Reg

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

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

Daemon Primarch Angron by Alex Boyd

Daemon Primarch Angron by Alex Boyd

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

END SPOILERS

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

II. Getting started

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

Daemon Primarch Angron very early mockup (3)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daemon Primarch Angron WIP (26)

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

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

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

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

Angron WIP (21)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is also completely awesome:

Daemon-Primarch Angron conversion by Biohazard

Daemon-Primarch Angron conversion by Biohazard

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

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

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

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

Daemon Primarch Angron PIP (1)

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

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

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

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

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

Prologue

I have been thinking a lot about Angron lately.

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

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

Angron by John Blanche

Angron by John Blanche

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

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

Angron by Wayne England

Angron by Wayne England

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

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

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

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

Angron sketch by slaine69

Angron sketch by slaine69

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

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

"Portrait of an angry guy" by slaine69

“Portrait of an angry guy” by slaine69

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

I. Do it yourself…

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

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

Angron conversion by invivos

Angron conversion by invivos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s the finished back:

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

Angron WIP (22)

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

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

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

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

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

Angron conversion by Biohazard

Angron conversion by Biohazard

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

2. The Universe has a sense of humor…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Things to come…

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

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

 

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

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

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