Archive for house mandelholtz

State of the Hunt, Week 37/2019: Murders & Acquisitions

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Fluff, Inq28, Inquisitor, state of the hunt, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 14, 2019 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, I have been slow to update the blog — September arrived and saw both my parents in the hospital (and for different reasons, at that), so this has been a really tiring couple of weeks. The situation is also still ongoing, unfortunately enough — so please keep your fingers crossed for me!

It should be no surprise, then, that the overall situation has had a bit of a negative impact on my hobby mojo and productivity. So I only have a smaller update for you this week, and one mainly dealing with WIP models again. Anyway, what is this about?

For today’s – brief – update, I want to revisit one of my INQ28 projects that fits squarely into my recent attempt to explore some of the political figures populating the Velsen Sector, such as my recently painted conversion for Lord Sebastianus Danver Balzepho Vlachen, heir-apparent to the ailing sector governor:


Anyway, characters like this are a part of what Dan Abnett refers to as “domestic Warhammer 40,000” — the world one degree removed from the endless battlefields of the 41st millennium — or maybe not…

But anyway, one of these “domestic Warhammer 40,000” projects of mine is a retinue representing the “Mandelholtz House of Imperial Finance”, one of the Velsen Sector’s mahor political players. To quote myself from last year:

The inspiration for this came from Joe Abercrombie’s First Law series (and from his other books set in the same universe), where the banking house of Valint & Balk has a finger in each and every pie, and happens to be one of the most insidious influences present in the entire setting, always playing both sides, so the bank always wins. Which strikes me as both very grimdark and also, unfortunately enough, rather realistic.

So I came up with House Mandelholtz, or “The Mandelholtz House of Imperial Finance”, to quote its full title, Velsen’s own banking house. I see them as one of the sector’s big movers and shakers, and like any good evil banking house from history’s great dark hall of fame, they get to throw around their weight a lot. If you’ve seen the series Taboo and remember the way the East India Company gets protrayed in that series, THAT’S what I want House Mandelholtz to feel like.

Anyway, the Mandelholtz board of directors is a shadowy assembly, and very few people in the sector actually know who holds a stake in the house’s businesses. Which lends itself rather beautifully to all kinds of Inquisitorial dabblings and should work great as a storytelling device.

I have quite a few ideas to flesh out my concept for House Mandelholtz — and of course that includes having the faction represented on the tabletop by some kind of retinue or warband. I actually finished the most important conversion for the project some time last year: The model to represent the Countess Mandelholtz herself:

The Countess was only one of the characters I envisioned for the project, however: Another was one Azaleas Vile, one of the house’s most high-ranking operatives.

He is a banker, to be sure, but the countess also entrusts him with some of the most delicate tasks as well as some of the most hideous acts to be committed under the house’s orders, with the ultimate goal of furthering House Mandelholtz’s aims. So I needed a model that would look as though the character were quite at home in the boardrooms AND the ballrooms of Velsen, yet would also be able to hold his own in the underhive as well. I also didn’t want Azaleas Vile to look like just any other grimdark fighting type — quite a challenge I had set for myself…

The actual conversion began when Kill Team: Rogue Trader was first released, or rather, when I first saw the model for Voidmaster Nitsch:

I really liked the erect pose and poise of the character, but more than anything, I was intrigued by one particular detail: Unlike just about every other model in the 40k catalogue, Nitsch is wearing some rather “civilian” pants: no boots and combat trousers, no robes, but rather something you would see in a rather more domestic setting — I knew that he would be perfect as a starting point for my Azaleas Vile conversion.

So when I was recently able to pick up the Voidmaster Nitsch model for a good price, I knew the time had come to finally get to work:

I really wanted to swap in a different head, obviously. I had envisioned Azaleas as at least reasonably handsome, and I picked up a couple of Empire Greatswords bits, mostly in order to get my hands on the particular head I wanted to use for the conversion — pictured next to the base model in the photo above.

After a bit of messing around, I realised I would have to get rid of the arms and replace them: They seemed just a tad too combat-oriented, and I wanted a model that seemed a bit more subdued and not as openly aggressive.

So here’s what I came up with. Meet Azaleas Vile, everyone:


While I re-used Voidmaster Nitsch’s right shoulder pad – for a dash of grimdark couture – I also made sure to make the other shoulder look suitably sharp, like something you might see on a tailored suit.


The briefcase (originally a from a Tempestus Scion medic) was a spur-of-the-moment idea that I am so proud of in hindsight — he is a banker, after all!

If anything, the model is actually still slightly too military-looking for my taste, but I still think the conversion is a fair compromise between how you would see Azaleas Vile in a boardroom and the getup he would choose for a nasty wetwork operation downhive…

 

After finishing the conversion for Azaleas, the dear countess herself didn’t escape my scrutiny either, so I made another tweak to her model as well: When I originally built the countess, I gave her a lumpy, hideos crypt ghoul back to hint at the fact that rejuvenat treatments had taken her as far as possible:

But while I liked the element in principle, that lumpy back with its bristles still seemed a bit too on-the-nose on the finished model.
Now among a couple of WFB Empire Greatsword bitz I had picked up was a ridiculously huge feather that seemed like the perfect bit to glitz up the countess a bit:





The feather covers up at least some of the mess (while also leaving just enough visible to keep the overall effect suitably disturbing). It also makes her outfit even more outlandish, which I love — I believe 40k court outfits should be completely over the top!


So yeah, House Mandelholtz is slowly taking shape! Here’s an early mockup of what an eventual House Mandelholtz warband, including Azaleas Vile, the Countess Mandelholtz herself, and some of the house’s scribes, might look like:

In fact, I have already started experimenting with a possible recipe for some kind of household guard for House Mandelholtz, but haven’t managed to find the right angle yet: Would such operatives be extremely effective special ops soldiers? In that case, something based on the Van Saar gangers from Necromunda might be the right approach. At the same time, I also like the idea of a household guard that is a bit more ceremonial and ostentatious — think the Swiss Guard, only in the 41st millennium. So I have begun playing around with some of the Empire Greatswords bodies and some Skitarii parts for some kind of “Neo-Prussian” palace guard look:

But that’s not quite it, either — not least of all because the model does look a bit runtish, doesn’t it? Anyway, if anybody has an idea for a fitting and cool looking recipe for House Mandelholtz’ household guard, I would be happy to hear i!

And it goes without saying that, in any case, I would love to hear your thoughts on these models! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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The State of the Hunt, Week 18/2018: Bad Bank

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Fluff, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob, Pointless ramblings, state of the hunt, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 30, 2018 by krautscientist

A bit of a an “in-between” post for this week, as I have both a finished model and a rather elaborate conversion to share with you. Once again, both of these have been taken straight out of the Velsen Sector, the little slice of the INQ28 setting DexterKong and I have created for ourselves. So let’s take a look, shall we?

I. The Interrogator

First up, my younger version of PDH’s Inquisitor Klien Inson still needed a suitable base. I tried to channel the same “abandoned” library look I had already gone with for Inquisitor Orlant. I also experimented with some kitchen tissue paper, trying to create torn pages and parchment, something I would like to take even further on some of the future models for this retinue:

Another little touch – that didn’t work out quite as well as intended – was to feature the (Pilgrym?!) symbol that appears on the base of Peter’s model on one of the torn pages at Inson’s feet as a further shout out — oh well, you cannot win them all, I guess 😉

I am still rather pleased with the completed model, however — what a fun little project this was! So here’s PDH’s Klien Inson during his (slightly) younger days:

=][=
Interrogator Klien Inson
Ordo Scriptorum


Klien Inson is an agent of the Ordo Scriptorum Terra and currently serves as interrogator to Inquisitor Tiberias Orlant. Originally a member of the Dalthan Ordo Xenos, Inson was crippled during a campaign against the Orks at Sword Point. After Inson’s body had been fixed, he resigned from the Ordo Xenos and travelled the pilgrim routes to Terra. It was here that he came before the Ordo Scriptorum and retrained under the watchful eye of Inquistor Stiber Gorst. His work as an agent of the Ordo Scriptorum has led him into the service of Redactor Orlant.

 




And here’s another comparison shot with both finished models:

I am pretty happy with how my version of Inson takes some colour cues from Peter’s model as well as adopting some elements from Redactor Orlant’s colour scheme:

So that’s three members for my Ordo Scriptorum warband so far,…


…although, as I’ve said before, both the interrogator and bureaucultist weren’t even planned beforehand — that’s serendipity for you 😉

That being said, and as some of you might remember, there are some additional warband members that have already been converted:

From left to right,

  • Alizebeth Selandrine, a voidborn former Mechanicus vassal who can perform noospheric dives (read: a grimdark hacker),
  • a member of the Guild of Parchment Scroteners, a cult given over to the ritualistic destruction of Imperial paperwork
  • a Clockwork Assassin, a deadly automaton gifted to Orlant by the Velsian Adeptus Mechanicus
  • a female duelist with a pretty massive Venetian Carnival vibe
  • barely visible in the back row, an autoquill servitor

I think either Selandrine or the Clockwork Assassin might be next on the painting table.

II. The Crone

Now for today’s main course, as I’ll be sharing a conversion with you that I am rather excited about — and one that I didn’t even expect to be able to work on so soon. The model will also be serving as yet another entry for Azazel’s Assembly April community challenge, incidentally — so, what is this about?

Back when DexterKong and me came up with the Velsen Sector as an asventuredscape, I realised that I wanted a banking House as one of the political players in the sector. The inspiration for this came from Joe Abercrombie’s First Law series (and from his other books set in the same universe), where the banking house of Valint & Balk has a finger in each and every pie, and happens to be one of the most insidious influences present in the entire setting, always playing both sides, so the bank always wins.Which strikes me as both very grimdark and also, unfortunately enough, rather realistic.

So I came up with House Mandelholtz, or “The Mandelholtz House of Imperial Finance”, to quote its full title, Velsen’s own banking house. I see them as one of the sector’s big movers and shakers, and like any good evil banking house from history’s great dark hall of fame, they get to throw around their weight a lot. If you’ve seen the series Taboo and remember the way the East India Company gets protrayed in that series, THAT’S what I want House Mandelholtz to feel like.

Anyway, the Mandelholtz board of directors is a shadowy assembly, and very few people in the sector actually know who holds a stake in the house’s businesses. Which lends itself rather beautifully to all kinds of Inquisitorial dabblings and should work great as a storytelling device.

But a faceless entity isn’t that compelling a player for a miniature-based game setting, so I did want one identifiable character to serve as a chairman or speaker of the board for House Mandelholtz, and I realised pretty quickly that I wanted this character to be female. Dexter and me kept exchanging ideas on the matter, and he basically suggested to base the character on a grimdark version of Maggie Smith in her role in Downton Abbey:


Which seemed like a pretty brilliant idea to me. There was only one problem: I kept drawing blanks when it came to figuring out how to actually build a model for her — especially given the lack of proper female modeling options in GW’s catalogue. So the idea went back on the shelf.

However, when the Triumvirate of Ynnead was released, I knew I had found the base model for my conversion — Yvraine:

I’ll admit this probably doesn’t seem like the most obvious solution to my problem, seeing how the model is so clearly Eldar – or, indeed, Aeldarii – in many ways. The dress with the enormous trailing train, however, was exactly the part I needed for my conversion.

Picking up the entire boxed set just to get my hands on the model seemed a bit extreme, even for my standards. But then fate intervened, and I was able to snap up an Yvraine model from ebay for a pretty okay price (much, much less than a Triumvirate of Ynnead would have cost me, in any case), and when the model arrived in the post, I got to work right away.

Unfortunately, the model was in a really rough condition. Just take a look at the base Yvraine came on, and you can probably guess what I was looking at here:


That’s right, the previous owner used LOTS of glue to assemble the model. At the same time, the different parts had been put together really poorly, and mould lines abounded — but then that’s where the low price tag came from, obviously. And if nothing else, the model’s deplorable condition actually made it easier to start cutting because there was simply so much less left to lose 😉

So I carefully sawed through all the glue and did my best to separate the parts once again. And when I was finished with that part, I got creative. Here’s what I came up with as a first version of the character. Meet Countess Mandelholtz, version 1.0:






“Grimdark Maggie Smith” remained my basic design outline, although – as you can plainly see – the character grew a bit more grotesque during the conversion process: I wanted to make her look like rejuvenat treatments had really taken her as far as possible, but had also taken their toll on her physiology. So a healthy dose of Gary Oldman’s portrayal of Count Dracula was thrown into the mix:


Speaking of vampires, many of the bitz I used to replace Yvraine’s upper body actually came from vampire and undead kits, such as the lower arms and hair (Coven Throne vampires), the ugly, bent back (Crypt Ghouls) or the face (clamshell Necromancer). In fact, carefully cutting the hair off a Coven Throne vampiress’ head and grafting it to the Necromancer face was probably the fiddliest part of the conversion.

Beyond that, the main focus was on making her look much less eldar-like and more Imperial — hence the emblem covering the front of her dress, the small reactor in the back and the frilly sleeves.

But while I was already pretty happy with the model, I also felt it needed some more work. The biggest tweak I made was to change the shoulders in an attempt at making them slightly narrower — the poor countess was looking too much like an ugly guy in drag before 😉

At the same time, I didn’t even want to add too much to the model, so as not to overclutter her: So here’s my finished conversion of Countess Mandelholtz, of the Mandelholtz House of Imperial Finance:




This was really all about the fine tuning. I added some vials (from the Dark Eldar Wracks) to the Countess’ hunched back, trying to keep the effect noticeable but subtle:




I also carefully added some cabling here and there, in order to at least hint at some kind of physical augmentation:




Oh, and I replaced the bottom of her cane with something a little more interesting and ornate.

Of course there was the temptation to go farther still, adding weird insectile limbs emerging from beneath her skirts (like the legs you see on the AdMech Tech-Priest Dominus, for instance), but in the end I decided to keep her more human, both to suitably differentiate her from the sheer weirdness of the AdMech models and because it’s arguably more fun to make the observer wonder what her body looks like underneath her stately dress: Personally speaking, I mostly imagine some kind of augmetic brace or some kind of walking frame — but, like I said, it’s more fun not to actually take that decision and keep people guessing 😉

Apart from that, it seems like she would really have personal retainers for all kinds of menial tasks, such as carrying ledgers and petitions — this seems like such a cool angle for adding some further members of House Mandelholtz. But then, such a warband, if it ever materialises at all, should still be quite a ways off. Countess Mandelholtz, however, seemed like such a promising and influential character for the entire Velsen Sector setting that I simply had to nail down the idea in model form.

All in all, I am very happy with the model so far! Painting the Countess will be one heck of a challenge, though — looks like I’ll have to research some colour schemes for period dresses 😉

Oh, I almost forgot one nifty bonus: Getting the Yvraine model means that I also get to keep the magic Eldar cat, of course 😉 The Gyrinx should work really well as a pet/familiar for another character — in fact, placing it next to my classic Jes Goodwin Runeseer already creates something that closely resembles the piece of art that introduced us to the Gyrinx in the first place. Take a look:


But anyway, so much for today’s update. I would love to hear any feedback you might have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more! 🙂