Archive for imperial knight

Feet on the ground! Painting my Chaos Knight, pt. 4

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 30, 2015 by krautscientist

So, what about that Chaos Knight I’ve been working on for quite a while now? While recent events have slowed down work on the model a bit, I do have a fresh update for you that should give you a pretty good idea as to what the finished model is going to look like, so strap yourselves in!

When we last encountered the Knight, the entire top carapace was still only undercoated black, so this was the next area I needed to tackle. Thankfully, I had purchased a Citadel L Base Brush from my FLGS, which made it far easier to produce an even coat of red on this huge area. Here’s what the Knight looked like with the carapace painted red and the first details picked out:

Chaos Knight PIP (111)

While I realise that not everyone will like the armour plates painted entirely in red, this was very much my plan from the beginning — and, like I said, if it had been my call, the fabled “Red Period” at GW would never have ended ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’ll still need to add some further detail work, but I’ve already finished the top hatch. Here’s a closer look:

Chaos Knight PIP (113)
And while I was at it, I also had some fun with the interior:

Chaos Knight PIP (114)
Hey there, Baron Harrowthorne! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Speaking of which, seeing FW’s recently released Knight Scion has made me pretty happy, seeing how I seem to have come pretty close to the “official” version of a Knight pilot with my own, kitbashed version — at least when it comes to the position and the controls for the Knight:

FW Knight ScionOh, and another detail: Those of you paying close attention may have spotted a suspicious model in that picture of the Knight above. This little guy here:

Chibi-Knight WIP (19)
This is a small “Gaiden Project” dubbed the “Chibi-Knight” — a roughly Epic-scaled version of my Chaos Knight, inspired by fellow German hobbyist Paule’s excellent thread about kitbashing Epic Titans. Coming up with a model to match the bigger version fairly closely has been a lot of fun, and I think I’ve done a reasonably good job of it, wouldn’t you agree? Anyway, expect to see more of this little guy at some point ๐Ÿ˜‰

And that’s where I stopped working on the Knight for a while when, well…real life happened. But this past week, I’ve felt the need to do something creative and fun, so I’ve come up with this:

Chaos Knight base (1)
Chaos Knight base (2)
Chaos Knight base (3)

As you will probably have guessed, this will be the base for my Chaos Knight. As it happens, I’ve been going back and forth regarding what to put on the base: On the one hand, it’s really easy to make bases of this size look tacky by overcluttering them. But the Knight deserved a suitable base. And yet. And still…

In the end, I realised that there are few things more emblematic of the crumbling Imperium of Man than a toppled and destroyed Astartes statue — plus the piece from the Honoured Imperium kit was a pretty nice fit scale-wise! So I went with that, and I am pretty pleased with the general direction, if I do say so myself.

So here’s the – still unfinished (!) – Knight, provisionally placed on top of it:

Chaos Knight PIP (117)
Chaos Knight PIP (121)
Chaos Knight PIP (119)
Chaos Knight PIP (122)
And a closer look at the way the model and base interact:

Chaos Knight PIP (118)
Chaos Knight PIP (118b)
While the base is suitably impressive for a model of this size, I think it does a pretty good job of not drawing a way too much attention from the true star of the show. If anything, it may actually be a tad too monochromatic, as pointed out by my buddy Biohazard. Yet I don’t want to screw up both the painting I have so far and the fact that it matches the bases of my World Eaters — any ideas?

Oh, and there’s one last thing I did: I finished the banner dangling between the Knight’s legs, using some decals to create a suitable design. The front received a World Eaters legion badge in red:

Chaos Knight PIP (125)
Chaos Knight PIP (127)
As simple as this design looks, it was a veritable nightmare to get right! I started with a decal from the FW World Eaters decal sheet, but it needed lots of decal softener and several coats of varnish to finally conform to the banner’s surface. And even then, what had been a rich, ox-blood red on the decal sheet turned into a prety off-putting shade of pink against the dark background, so I ended up painting over the decal several times, coloring in the legion badge, so to speak, with my brush.

Fortunately enough, the rear was far less of a hassle — in fact, designing some of the battle honours won by the Knight during its long years of service was actually quite a bit of fun! Take a look:

Chaos Knight PIP (129)

So, here’s the Knight as it stands right now:

Chaos Knight PIP (124)
Chaos Knight PIP (126)
Chaos Knight PIP (130)
Chaos Knight PIP (128)

When all is said and done, I am very happy with the way this guy is turning out, even though there’s still quite a bit of detail work left to do. Roughly speaking, I’d place the entire model at about two thirds done right now, although most of the stuff left to do is fairly minor detail work. But the Knight is shaping up to be quite the centre piece, wouldn’t you agree?

Chaos Knight PIP (131)

As always, let me know what you think! And, of course, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Chaos Knight PIP (132)

 

Getting dressed… Painting my Chaos Knight, pt. 3

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 12, 2015 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, another Knight-related update today. The original plan was to post a review of the recent Stormcast Eternals release today, but I spent yesterday in Frankfurt, visiting a pretty cool exhibition about the intertwined histories of film and videogames at the Deutsches Filmmuseum — the museum also had some pretty cool stuff apart from that particular exhibition. Such as this:

Xenomorph (2)
Xenomorph (1)
Aaanyway, this left me with very little time for expansive writeups on the old blog, so you will have to content yourselves with some more incremental progress on my Chaos Knight — I realise that this style of updates may not be all that spectacular, but bear with me here: For one, this is easily the biggest and most complex single project of my hobby life so far, so I may be forgiven for taking it slowly (and also for documenting my progress rather meticulously). This also allows me to showcase some details that I am especially proud of, as it happens — so I hope you’re not yet bored of the model yet ๐Ÿ˜‰

When we last saw the Chaos Knight, I was hard at work on its daemon-faced breastplate. And indeed, here’s the model with a more complete version of that breastplate already mounted in place:

Chaos Knight PIP (84)
I wasn’t sure at first about whether or not to paint the eyes, but in the end I think the effect works rather nicely without being to cartoony. The teeth will need some additional highlighting, though.

I quickly added the lower jaw as well:

Chaos Knight PIP (87)
Once again, the area will need some more work — in fact, most of the armoured areas that are looking pretty much finished in the pictures are anything but: I’ll still need to add decals, further detail, some grime and maybe a little weathering. Anyway, this is what the Knight looked like at this point:

Chaos Knight PIP (88)
And lest we forget, a quick look at the Baron in his cockpit ๐Ÿ˜‰

Chaos Knight PIP (85)
While the top carapace has only been undercoated, I think the picture shows rather nicely how the design of the cockpit and pilot works rather nicely, even when only glimpsed through the open top hatch (in any case, I’ll be leaving the carapace detachable, though).

This was also the point where I had to start working on the more complicated parts of the Knight’s armour: The pauldrons were especially daunting to me, mostly because I had planned adding a World Eaters decal to one of them. Let’s take a closer look at how that went in a minute. Before that, here’s a look at the Knight with its mostly finished faceplate in place:

Chaos Knight PIP (89)
And, once again, the entire model so far:

Chaos Knight PIP (92)
Chaos Knight PIP (91)
Chaos Knight PIP (95)
I think by now we can really see this guy coming together, wouldn’t you agree? One armour plate at a time…

As for the pauldrons, I am really happy that they are mostly finished now. Here’s the left one, complete with a big icon of Khorne and some additional totems and trophies:

Chaos Knight PIP (97)
Paintig this part was a bit fiddly because all the small trinkets had already been glued in place beforehand, but it wasn’t that much of a problem. I really like the look and feel of the design — it seems chaotic without being overly warped or mutated. The chains are also a callback to the World Eaters gladiatorial tendencies. And the pauldron actually mirrors the design of the shin armour on the same side.

The true star of the show is the right pauldron, though — complete with a World Eaters icon and numbers for the legion and company the Knight has been attached to:

Chaos Knight PIP (94)
I had been planning to use a Forgeworld decal (kindly provided by Mr. poom, no less) for a long time, although the process turned out to be just the nightmare I had anticipated: Making a decal conform to a curved surface can be tiring enough at the best of times, but I found out that it was even more of a hassle here, in spite of copious amounts of decal softener. Which makes me all the more happy to have pulled it off like this — save for a few tiny irregularities, it ended up looking fairly convincing, don’t you think? I also added some weathering on top in order to represent places where the paint had been slightly damaged and nicked.

Once again, the right pauldron shares similarities with the corresponding shin armour — especially since both use the same spikes (which, in turn, are a callback to the studded parts of Heresy-era Astartes armour).

So here’s the entire model:

Chaos Knight PIP (100)
Next stop: the carapace. And boy what a job that will be! Wish me luck! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyway, so much for the progress on my Chaos Knight. If you have any feedback or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you!

Before I tune out for today, allow me to share something very cool with you: Fellow hobbyist Bloodygoodtime sent me a wonderful little sketch of Lord Captain Lorimar. Take a look:

illustration by Bloodygoodtime

illustration by Bloodygoodtime

I almost laughed myself off my chair when I first saw it, because it’s just perfect: badass and adorable at the same time, and it really captures the very essence of the character for me — in fact, it makes me wonder whether the Eternal Hunt wouldn’t make for an excellent Saturday morning cartoon… Anyway, a huge thank you, mate! You rock!

And, of course, to everyone else: Thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

The Devil is in the detail… Painting my Chaos Knight, pt. 2

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 5, 2015 by krautscientist

Having managed to bring my Chaos Knight back from the brink after the undercoating mishap, it was finally time to get to work on some of the detail I hoped would make the model into something truly special. So today I would like to show you some of the detail work on the model — some of these areas seemed like very daunting tasks beforehand, but have ended up really well, if I do say so myself.

Anyway, after lots and lots of weathering and trying to make the metallic areas actually look like metal, it was good tor return to something rather different. I already showed you some progress on both the pilot and the cockpit in my last post, and so I got in some more work on those two areas. So here’s the finished Baron Augustus Melchia Harrowthorne in his cockpit.

Chaos Knight PIP (54)
This guy is basically at the heart of this whole project, as thinking of a backstory for a traitorous Knight pilot was what provoked my building a Chaos Knight in the first place. Which is why it feels really good to finally see him in his place of honour like that! ๐Ÿ™‚

I actually spent quite a bit of time coming up with just the right look for the Baron, as I tried to figure out just what kind of pilot I wanted (and how I wanted him to interact with his machine). There are many different kinds of Imperial Knight cockpits out there, and I am very willing to accept any kind of pilot interface as long as the artist in question really, really nails it. For instance, my understanding is that control of a Knight is heavily based on some kind of neural interfacing, where you actually control the machine with your thoughts, right? But I also love the idea of some kind of mechanic control, and when it’s well realised, I think it really adds something to the model. Take Jeromgb’s absolutely fantastic cockpit here: It’s very retro, almost WWI in a way, and the pilot is much more “hands on” than my own take on the matter, yet it’s perfectly executed and absolutely believable, and it really sells the concept of a pilot doing his darnedest to stay one step ahead of his opponent.

By the same token, if you look at Forgeworld’s Titan Princeps models, they all seem to have some physical controls as well as neural interfaces — and I think it really makes sense for a setting as eclectic and retro-futuristic as 40k to fall back on a mix of both ways. What’s more, given the fact that the Knight Households are such a very ancient remnant of pre-Imperial times, with each machine a millennia-old artifact, I think it’s totally conceivable that there are as many types of interface as there are Knight worlds.

As for my own model, I wanted Harrowthorne to have some kind of physical control, but I also wanted him to look very dignified and noble, which is why I heavily based him on the Princeps from FW’s Warhound Titan. As for the actual points of interface on my model, Harrowthorne is rather extensively augmented, as you can see: In addition to that, there’s some cabling on the back of his head, and his throne has several parts that look like ports for a possible interface, so I imagine him to be plugged into those. All in all, I really think he looks like quite the character, and I am very happy with him:

Baron Harrowthorne PIP (6)
Fun fact: Harrowthorne’s paintjob was actually heavily inspired by the Dark Jedi Jerec, villain of the first Jedi Knight videogame…

Baron Harrowthorne PIP (8)

Here’s another picture of the Knight’s interior: You can see both the cockpit and the engine compartment in their basically finished forms. Since all of this was basically scratchbuilt and kitbashed, it remains among my favourite parts of the model — and it’s pretty cool that the solution I came up with ended up fairly similar to the “official” Knight interiors produced by Forgeworld (even moreso because I actually came up with mine before Forgeworld’s version was even available!):

Chaos Knight PIP (62)

The above picture also shows how I have gone for a little “special effect” with the flames emerging from the additional baroque outlets on the Knight’s back: My idea was that these would function as some kind of extra vent, allowing the machine to vent excessive warp power or what have you (don’t overthink this bit, I only wanted it to look cool ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). Anyway, my original plan was to paint the flames in a slightly more supernatural blue, but I was afraid the effect would end up looking too unnatural and toylike. So I went with a slightly more naturalistic approach — and I was fortunate enough to find an absolutely excellent tutorial for painting flames over at Tale of Painters, which allowed me to finish the whole area in very short order, even though I’d never attempted painting natural looking flames before! The tutorial also provided a sweet tip for using a glaze made from Mephiston Red and Lahmian Medium to create an effect resembling glowing coals around the flames — just what I needed, as it makes the area surrounding the flames look interesting without diverting too much attention towards it.

Still inspired by the success of my first-time flame painting, I then tackled the one area I was really rather afraid of: The monitors and displays inside the cockpit. Since the cockpit had already been permanently assembled at this point, I had set myself up for a rather fiddly task. But while the challenge turned out to be just as fiddly as I had expected, I am really rather happy with the result:

Chaos Knight PIP (67)
I’m certainly not great with freehanding, but I am still pretty happy with the suggested data streams on those tiny monitors. I also used the aforementioned Mephiston Red glaze to give some of the buttons a glowing look:

Chaos Knight PIP (66)
And, once again, here’s the Baron inside the now finished cockpit:

Chaos Knight PIP (68)

Chaos Knight PIP (69)
Fellow hobbyist The Hydra pointed out that it would have been really funny to have one of the monitors display a game of Pong! Dang, what a missed opportunity! ๐Ÿ˜‰

But seriously, I am really, really happy with the finished cockpit!

So the Knight’s skeleton is bascially finished at this point: I tidied up the last few rough spots and added some leftover Heldrake armour plates on the arms. Here’s what I ended up with:

Chaos Knight PIP (71)

Chaos Knight PIP (70)
Chaos Knight PIP (72)

Chaos Knight PIP (73)
Chaos Knight PIP (74)
Chaos Knight PIP (75)
Chaos Knight PIP (76)

Chaos Knight PIP (77)

Chaos Knight PIP (78)

On a related note, let me take a moment to address Forgeworld’s “official” Chaos Knight kit: It was actually interesting to see this being released recently, after it had already made a sneaky appearance in the new Warhammer: World displays… ๐Ÿ˜‰

Forgeworld Chaos Knight (1)
Forgeworld Chaos Knight (2)
But to be perfectly honest, I am almost a little underwhelmed by the model. Sure, it clearly reads as a Chaos Knight. But doesn’t the design seem like they phoned it in a bit, at least compared with Forgeworld’s regular output? It seems very generically chaotic to me, especially with the warped armour and teeth around the head. And some touches are pretty close to my own version, as it happens: Just take a look at the chaos star on the back of the cannon, the spikes on the chainsword and the reactor section…

Forgeworld Chaos Knight (3)

I think when all is said and done, this should work as a pretty serviceable basic template for a Chaos Knight, although it might need some additional conversion and kitbashing to really bring it to the next level. However, if I need to further convert the model anyway, I might as well make it an all plastic conversion in the first place and circumvent the issue of potentiall having to deal with ill-fitting resin parts, right? Or one could go for the Kytan Daemon Engine of Khorne, which seems like the more interesting project, at least for a follower of Khorne like yours truly… ๐Ÿ˜‰

It’s a nice enough kit, surely, but I am actually rather relieved that it’s not that much more awesome than my own conversion — at least that’s how I feel about it. This means I can happily finish my own model without feeling like I missed out on an even cooler version. And one advantage of the release is that we know have semi-official Chaos Knight rules! Yay!

 

All the more incentive to keep plugging away on my own Chaos Knight. And I have already made pretty good headway regarding the armour plates. Let me show you a final sneak peek or two of what is to come:

The Knight with its leg armour in varying stages of completion:

Chaos Knight PIP (79)
And here’s a first look at the PIP belly plate:

Chaos Knight PIP (80)
Oh, and there’s one thing you guys can help me with: I want to add a decal to the Knight that represents the Machine’s honorary membership in the Legio Audax (The “Ember Wolves”), the Titan Legion that fought alongside the World Eaters during the Heresy. So I was looking at a suitably wolf-y decal in order to represent that affiliation: At first I wanted to use one of the War Hounds decals, but those definitely show a dog, not a wolf. So which of the following do you think would work best for the intended effect (As for placement, I’m thinking one of the kneecaps)?

Possible Audax decals
As it happens, some hobbyists have suggested some very cool – and slightly less common – SW decals to represent the Legio: The flame wolf (playing on the whole “Ember Wolves” thing):

Flame WolfOr these very cool, slightly more feral looking symbols that I hadn’t even seen before:

Possible Audax decals (2)
Are these even available as decals? And if so, if anyone has some of these left, (especially the more hirsute looking wolf heads dead centre and in the bottom row), feel free to send them my way! ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

So yeah, I think you could really say I am having a blast with this big boy right now, even though painting the model is turning out to be a ton of work. So stay tuned, there should be more shortly ๐Ÿ˜‰

If you have any feedback or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you, of course. And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Knight in fuzzy armour? Painting my Chaos Knight, pt. 1

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 29, 2015 by krautscientist

Oh boy, where to start…? It’s been a rather eventful couple of days, from a hobby perspective, and I have been through a veritable rollercoaster of emotions. So what happened?

Everything started when I finally decided to paint my converted Chaos Knight: This has been one of my biggest hobby projects so far, and so it has taken me a little over a year to work up the courage to paint him — well, that and I pledged him as part of my vow for the ETL IV event over at The Bolter & Chainsword, with the deadline later this week.

So, anyway, I was finally prepared to get this big boy painted, right? Just so you remember, this is what the finished conversion looked like (the entire project so far has been chronicled here and here, for your edification):

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh WIP (1)
The situation was already less than optimal, though: All kinds of work related shenanigans had left me with precious little time for painting my vowed models — and also happened to kill much of my hobby drive, at least when it came to painting. So with under a week left to complete my vow, I still tried to make this happen. So I grabbed the model as well as a can of Chaos Black and Leadbelcher each and headed outside to undercoat the model.

The black undercoat worked like a charm. Then came the silver. Now some of you may remember that I even used a dedicated test model to make sure the Leadbelcher spray worked as intended (in fact, that test model then spawned an entire gaiden project of its own). So I was pretty sure everything would work out just fine. So after both the black and silver had gone on, the model ended up looking like this:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (3)
Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (1)
Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (2)
Seems nice enough, doesn’t it? Only when I picked up the model afterwards, I realised that, due to an unforeseen (and inexplicable) undercoating mishap, the whole model now sported a very gritty, almost sandpapery texture (you can just about make out the effect in some of the pictures). The only part of the model that escaped this problem was Baron Harrowthorne himself (undercoated five minutes prior, using exactly the same spray can, to add insult to injury):

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (4)

As you can probably imagine, my first reaction was sheer panic: It seemed like I had just managed to ruin a 100+ Euros model, and one I have spent many hours converting, at that. But after thinking things through, I realised that I didn’t just want to give up quite so fast: If there was any way to save this model after all, I wanted to find it!

So I started experimenting: The first thing I did was to take a tootbrush to the entire model in an attempt to take of some of the worst grit — before that, handling the model would leave some silvery pigments on my hands every time! With some of the texture brushed of, the resulting look wasn’t all that bad, really: The silver had a pretty nice gunmetal look,ย  and while that certainly hadn’t been planned, I was confident that I would be able to work with it. So I started washing the entire model with Army Painter Dark Tone and hoped for the best.

However, it turned out that whatever had happened had also messed up the way the undercoat reacted to other paints: The most imminent consequence was that it took a lot of wash to actually darken the silver to a point I was happy with. And I was also pretty apprehensive about how well other colours would work on top of this rather funky undercoat.

Here’s what the model looked like with the black wash and some first red and bronze parts blocked in:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (5)
A closer look at the head reveals the sandpapery effect:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (6)
Fortunately enough, it turned out that it was easy enough to add other paints on top of the undercoat:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (7)

And, like I said, it took *a lot* of wash to suitably darken the undercoat: Compare the main body with the chaotic heat outlets (yet unwashed) in this picture:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (9)
But while I was still worried about whether or not I would manage to salvage the model, it did start to look a little better with the first details in red and bronze:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (10)
So I did the only thing I could and continued painting. One thing that put at least some of my worries to rest was that all the Knight’s armour plates wouldn’t have the same problem, so even if the skeleton retains some of the gritty texture, adding the armour plates on top will make it somewhat less noticeable.

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (11)
I also felt that I might just as well try and make the effect work to my advantage — after all, the rather blunt gunmetal look worked pretty well in some places, making the metallic parts look like the heavily worn chassis of a machine that has been in service for a long time. The bad news was that other areas ended up looking more toylike because of the undercoat. This was especially noticeable on the arms, for instance:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (13)
So I spent a lot of time covering various parts of the model with different washes to add some depth to the metal and to create areas where grime and oil would have built up over the millennia. Jeff Tibbetts’ wonderful thread really became a lifesaver for me, because not only has Jeff gone for a fairly similar look for the metallics on his Knight, the Queen-Bee, but his thread is also chock-full of fantastic advice for weathering a model of this size. So I stole what I could from his thread and tried to simplify some of his especially cool recipes for use on my own Knight — and it started to work: The judicious use of washes and drybrushing slowly added more and more depth to the model and helped making the problems far less obvious:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (16)
Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (17)
I also needed a little quick fun to keep me going, so I actually finished the head a little early:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (33)

The engine compartment was also starting to look as oily and grimy as it should:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (18)

So after about a week of frantic painting, here’s what I have right now:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (19)
Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (20)
Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (21)
Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (22)
Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (34)
Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (25)
Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (26)

It’s actually slightly frustrating that all of the photos are looking so similar, when the model in front of me looks so much better than it did before — but the camera just eats up some of the more subtle touches. I guess it cannot be helped.

Anyway, I think the “skeleton” is actually nearing completion: All the red and bronze areas have been finished, and I’ve done a ton of weathering on just about every metallic surface: I’ve added some rather subtle verdigris to some of the bronze parts, but most of the time has clearly been spent working on the silver, using a combination of GW Typhus Corrosion, Vallejo’s Smoky Ink and various GW washes to create the aforementioned buildup of grime.

So here’s a couple of closeups for you:

The engine compartment, now with added verdigris:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (27)
The various weathering effects really work together rather nicely now (I tried not to go overboard with the verdigris effect, because I didn’t want the model to look to “colourful” because of it). Plus I’ve also taken quite some time to make the leg pistons look fairly realistic, as per JeffTibbetts’ wonderful tutorials:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (28)
Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (29)
Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (30)
Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (31)
And finally, what may be my favourite detail at the moment: I painted the small vials on the sword arm so they looked like liquid was sloshing around inside them – something I borrowed from JeffTibbetts yet again! It really make sense though that those vials would contain some liquid lubricating the chain of the big sword or something like that:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (23)
And a closeup:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (24)
Not GD level painting, certainly, but I am stupidly happy about having managed to pull this off. I may lack Jeff’s patience, attention to detail and dedication, but some of his ideas were fortunately easy enough to adapt to my own, rather slapdash painting style ๐Ÿ˜‰

And before I wind up this post, let me show you the latest addition to the model: The Knight’s mostly completed pilot, Baron Harrowthorne:

Baron Harrowthorne PIP (1)
Baron Harrowthorne PIP (2)
Baron Harrowthorne PIP (3)
So, like I said, it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster: At first, I was convinced that I had ruined the model and was just about ready to just throw it away. But looking at it now, I think I may just have managed to turn this ship around. The problems created by the fuzzy undercoat are not nearly as noticeable now, and I am actually legitimately excited to continue painting this model! It may take longer than I had originally planned, but I think I’m getting there.

If you have any feedback and suggestions, I’d be happy to hear them. As for the eventual fate of my Chaos Knight, I’ll keep you posted ๐Ÿ˜‰

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

EDIT: Jeff Tibbetts has thankfully reminded me that everything to do with his spectacular Knight project can also be found on his blog, which I would recommend you subscribe to ASAP. Thanks for reminding me, mate!

Grimdark Miscellany — a look at GW’s recent mini-releases

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 12, 2015 by krautscientist

With the Admech Skitarii behind us and the Cult Mechanicus just arriving on our doorstep, let us take a moment to examine GW’s releases for the period between the Machine Soldiers and their masters: The last month has seen multiple releases for different armies, and for the sake of simplicity, we’ll look at them all in one go. It goes without saying, of course, that we will be focusing on the models and on the various conversion opportunities arising from them, as is tried and true tradition here at Eternal Hunt.

I. Eldar mini-release: Rounding out the catalogue

Eldar (1)While we were still reeling from the sheer brilliance of the Skitarii release, GW surprised us with some kits to round out hobbyists’ Eldar collections, along with the new Codex: Craftworlds. I won’t comment too much on GW’s hyperactive, almost erratic, release schedule when it comes to new army books, although you’ve got to wonder where this book actually stands in relation to the actual Eldar Codex…? Anyway, let’s take a look at the models, shall we?

 

Eldar Windriders

Eldar (17)Oh my, here they are at long last: Those redesigned jetbikes Eldar players have been anticipating for what seems like a century. The old models were long overdue a facelift, to be sure, and this is it, bringing the Eldar jetbikes in line with their younger cousins, the Dark Eldar Reaver jetbikes and Harlequin Skyweavers. And while the kit seems like a competent and much awaited addition to the Eldar catalogue, it’s pretty hard to get to excited about these models at this point. I mean, Jes Goodwin’s prototype for new Eldar jetbikes has been out there for years, and after the Reaver jetbikes and Skyweavers respectively pioneered and refined the new look, these “vanilla” jetbikes almost feel like an afterthought. In fact, it feels like these should have been released years ago, which would have given them more of a day in the limelight.

Eldar (19)But let’s not get too negative here: They are here, after all, and I doubt any Eldar player will be too disappointed with the new look — even though it’s hardly surprising at this point.

One thing I’d like to point out is that I really like this particular paintjob:

Eldar (21)Anyway, this is a solid kit that should have been released much sooner. It seems like a pretty basic part of the Eldar’s catalogue, which makes it all the more baffling that there have been three (!) non-Craftworld Eldar jetbike variants released before GW ever got around to redoing these.

 

Eldar Farseer Skyrunner/Warlock Skyrunner

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With new jetbikes now finally available, releasing a Farseer/Warlock on jetbike along with the new bikes seems like a pretty logical option. So what we have here is a clamshell character that finally frees us from the need to convert out own jetbike characters. The model’s pretty much exactly what it says on the tin, with optional bitz for both the Farseer and Warlock.

The Farseer is very close in design to the fairly recent clamshell Farseer, which is a nice bit of visual consistency (although I personally prefer my Farseers without the slightly silly “pharao beard”, thank you very much): The model looks pretty cool atop its jetbike, although the legs do seem a little clunky, or is that just me?

Eldar (5)Anyway, the model clearly puts the excellent Eldar aesthetic to very good use, and the extra detailing on the jetbike itself is also pretty cool.

The Warlock is actually my pick of the litter here, mostly because I am really in love with the classic 90s Warlock helmet design, and it’s great to finally have that particular helmet type available as a plastic piece:

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I also really like the Hagun Zar — and what is certainly great about the kit is that the bitz you don’t use will be very useful for building yet another Farseer or Warlock on foot!

Eldar (11)So it’s a pretty cool model, and at a fairly solid price point (at least for GW’s recent standard), considering you get both the jetbike and the rider in the clampack. But not unlike the jetbikes, this guy feels like he should have been released before. He’s a solid reimagining of some of Jes Goodwin’s classic Farseers and Warlocks, and all on a jetbike, no less. But the model feels fairly safe and unexciting. A solid, middle of the road, bread and butter character model.

 

Eldar Autarch

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And finally, another clamshell character brings up the rear of this mini-release. I’ll have to call the Autarch the best part of the bunch, both because he’s a mostly original sculpt and because there are some parts of the model that I really like — particularly the feather motif present both in the model’s wings (DUH!) and helmet. I also love the flow of the cape!

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Both the helmet and sword are great pieces, lending the model the kind of elegance and majesty you would expect of an Eldar warlord. I do have two nitpicks about the model, however:

One, the landing pose is a bit of an acquired taste, as it can give the model a somewhat “undecided” look, if that makes any sense. It’s excuseable here, seeing how the model is so clearly built around the whole wing and feather motif, but it’s certainly not for everybody. Two, what I really liked about the older Autarch models is that they gave you quite a few equipment options, allowing you to add touches of several warrior aspects to your particular Autarch. This clamshell character, however, is pretty short on options, basically allowing for one build, and one build alone.

To be fair, a look at the sprue reveals that it should be every easy to basically splice in any Eldar weapon or bit you desire…

Eldar (16)…but it still feels like a bit of a missed opportunity.

In spite of this, however, this is a very pretty model, and a suitable centre piece for an Eldar army, no doubt about that.

 

So what about the release as a whole? A bit disappointing, to be honest. Now I do of course realise that GW probably didn’t plan this as a huge release to blow us away, but they have really upped the ante when it comes to hobbyists’ expectations, and this just seems like giving us some kits that should have been released before. Which is why these are mostly interesting for Craftworld Eldar players, who will certainly find a lot to like about having yet more plastic options at their fingertips. For the rest of us, however, this seems like a bit of a middling effort. All of the kits are solid, no doubt about it, but they just seem to lack that special spark. To quote a point I made in my review of the Harlequins a while back:

It seems like GW mainly put the Eldar catalgoueโ€™s visual strengths (and Jes Goodwinโ€™s excellent designs) to good use here, reaping the fruit of earlier design (..). Thereโ€™s nothing wrong with it (…) but itโ€™s not exactly high-hanging fruit, either.

That’s how I felt about the Harlequins, and they certainly had their share of original ideas. The new Eldar kits, however, are mostly carried by excellent design decisions Jes Goodwin made about two decades ago. That doesn’t make them any worse, but these kits just don’t match up to some of the crazy stuff we’ve seen recently. Sorry ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

 

II. Assassinorum: Execution Force: Buy one, get four free

Hmm, now here’s where it gets a bit more interesting, both because GW decided to bring back some very classic archetypes and because they did it in a way we haven’t seen yet:

Execution Force (1)Assassinorum: Execution Force is a standalone game that also happens to contain four new plastic Assassins, one for each of the major temples of the Officio Assassinorum. The game doesn’t seem to be nearly as complex or self-sustaining as, say, Space Hulk, but then its models are completely compatible with 40k proper: In additon to the Assassins, we get one Chaos Terminator Lord, three snapfit Chaos Space Marines and fifteen DV Chaos Cultists — quite a way to move that old stock, GW ๐Ÿ˜‰

To be fair, it seems like pretty good value for the money: The Chaos Termie Lord is one of my favourite multipart kits, somewhat clunky design notwithstanding, the chaos cultists are brilliant and versatile conversion fodder (although they can be had for a song on ebay and similar places), and let’s just forget about those pushfit CSM. I’ll just say that, if I had an entire warehouse full of them, I’d want to get rid of them too ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyway, if you can use all (or most) of the models, this is certainly a good deal! If you’re just in it for the Assassins, though, it seems a little iffy. I’ll be honest with you: I am really torn between considering this a clever case of cross-promotion and a bit of a dick move, especially since we don’t know with any certainty whether or not we’ll ever see those Assassins as a separate release.

Better to take a look at the Assassin models, then, and quite some models they are!

Each of these are fairly close representations of the earlier metal designs, with some subtle changes here and there. Let’s take a look at each of them in turn:

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The Vindicare Assassin seems to get the most flak online for his static pose, but I kinda like him. I may be the only person feeling that way, but neither of the older versions had a pose that I found satisfying. This guy, however, comes down slap bang in the middle between the two metal versions, and he just works for me. I think the static pose is a good way of showing that this is the long range guy. I also like the (optional) ruin on his base. Not a spectacular model at first glance, but he does have a quiet confidence to him that I really like!

Execution Force (3)Oh my, the Callidus Assassin is a bit too dynamic for her own good! While the basic design is very cool (and very close to the original metal models), the combination of the pose and the pillar on the base is just a bit too much. Which is why I think the model needs some tweaking: A different base and a slightly less hokey pose (check out Heretek in Extremis’ wonderful conversion — it gets rid of all the problematic areas, thereby improving the model a lot).

Execution Force (5)The Eversor Assassin seems to be everybody’s darling, and rightly so: The model is absolutely fantastic, and it’s hard to believe that the above picture actually shows an 28mm model and not an action figure — the detail is just something else, and every part of the classic Eversor equipment is perfectly rendered on this piece. Wonderful!

Two remarks, though: The ‘Eavy Metal paintjob seems to be letting the model down a bit, if you ask me: Those red areas make the character look a bit too cartoony — and you don’t want to make this guy look any more like a comic book character than he already does. The other thing is that many people seem to dislike that piece of architecture on his base, although there’s a very simple solution to that problem — just don’t use it! I think it’s great to give his pose a Matrix-like quality, because this guy is basically The Matrix turned up to eleven…thousand, right? “WRYYY!”, anyone? ๐Ÿ˜‰

So yeah, the Eversor is certainly my favourite of the bunch, and the one I would definitely pick up, if he were to be released by himself.

Execution Force (4)Oh, man, so much win and so much fail in one model! But all in good order: The Culexus Assassin has been made up as being one of the creepiest beings in the 41st millennium — and if you’re playing in the same ballpark as giant alien dinosaurs, transhuman killing machines and, well, Eversor Assassins, that is really saying something.

What I love about the model is how the subtly sinister pose really makes the assassin all the more menacing. The slightly organic, almost gigeresque design of the helmet is also there — but whatever happened to the stylised skull face? Before, it seemed like the uncaring mask of death, now this guy seems like he’s basically in it for the EVULZ. Maybe the mask would look better with a different paintjob, but man, they really dropped the ball here. The good news is that there seems to be an alternate face (which is basically blank), so even if you’re not going to use that, splicing in a really sinister skull face should be easy enough.

This guy would be on par with the Eversor, if not for the face. Oh well…

So yeah, I guess there cannot be any doubt that the Assassins are the stars of the show here:

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And all nitpicks notwithstanding, these are fantastic plastic renditions of the traditional designs! As for possible conversions, I think the modes could probably work rather nicely as base models for more specialised Inquisitorial operatives, as making them more (or even less) human should be as easy as exchanging a couple of bits: The standard Assassin bodysuit would work just as well for all kinds of agents and operatives. But seeing how these guys will probably stay a pretty rare commodity (at least for a while), maybe conversions to make them look closer to your personal interpretation of the various assassin temples are probably the better option, instead of just carving up the models ๐Ÿ˜‰ Personally speaking, I’d probably keep the Eversor and Vindicare as they are — both are pretty perfect, and I even like the added bonus masonry on the bases ๐Ÿ˜‰ The Callidus would profit from some toning down, as per Heretek in Extremis’ approach. And I would definitely add a different skeletal face (maybe one of the Cairn Wraith heads or from the Dark Elf Executioners?!) to the Culexus.

I won’t be picking up Assassinorum: Execution Force, however. I thought about it long and hard, but I think I’ll just take my chances and wait for a separate clamshell release. That day may never come, and even if it comes, getting these plus the twenty other models would probably have been a good deal, but I am just not feeling like purchasing another boxed game right now, in spite of the stellar Eversor sculpt…

 

III. Imperial Knight Release — Hey, wait a second: Where’s my gatling gun and rocket launcher?

Oh my, that was a pretty short half-life period for that Imperial Knight Codex, eh? Just a year later, we are getting a revised version of the book, complete with a new set of Knights to field in our armies.

2015 Imperial Knight Release (1)The book is accompanied by a new and updated Imperial Knight kit, which gives us more options than before in order to be able to build those new Knight variants. The first thing to note is that GW chose to basically use the existing Imperial Knight kit as a standard template for the various Knight types, instead of designing additional modern versions of the existing Epic and Adeptus Titanicus designs. And while I don’t harbor any special, nostalgic feelings for those goofy old metal models, it still seems like a bit of a missed opportunity, especially with some hobbyists using their plastic Knights to build versions that are very true to the old models, albeit more imposing and much cooler — I’ll just link Dave Taylor’s Knight Warden here as one particularly cool example. But then, it seems like Forgeworld have the market for alternate Knight designs well cornered, so the decision to stick with one basic template was probably a very conscious one.

The good news is that the basic template is amazing (and easily one of my favourite GW models ever), so what we are getting is a more rounded-out version of an already amazing kit. So let’s take a look at the new Knight variants and the new equipment options we get:

Knight Crusader

2015 Imperial Knight Release (2)First uo, the shooties Knight version imaginable: In addition with the familar cannon, the Knight Crusader comes with a massive gatling cannon as well as what looks like a carapace-mounted AA gun. The latter element just seems wonderfully workmanlike and recalls WW II scale-models, doesn’t it?

2015 Imperial Knight Release (3)The chain gun is also pretty cool, although I felt immediately reminded of Heresy and Heroes’ Slaaneshi Knight conversion. But a gatling gun remains a gatling gun, I suppose.

All of this leads to a model that seems much more geared towards long range firefights, and I like how it really shows in the model’s silhouette. Very cool!

Next up is the Knight Gallant, and I really love how GW’s version of the model seems to be full of anticipation:

"Ho hum, ho hum, what am I going to crush next?"

“Ho hum, ho hum, what am I going to crush next?”

But seriously, what we are getting here is a massive power fist, seemingly with fully articulated fingers, which is very cool! As a matter of fact, there have been many power fist conversions for Imperial Knights so far, using everything from a plastic spoon to a Dreamforge Games Titan fist as a base, so I guess many Imperial Knight players will really love the inclusion of this weapon! The fact that it should be easy enough to repose the fingers as needed is also very cool!

the other addition is a carapace mounted rocket launcher — aha, so that’s what that hole was for! I really love how this element recalls the Reaver Titans’s rocket launcher, creating a strong bit of visual coherency between the two models!

And finally, the Knight Warden: No longer the turtle-shelled machine of the yesteryear, but rather a remix of the Crusader and Gallant, with three of the new weapons added to the Imperial Knight chassis:

2015 Imperial Knight Release (7)
2015 Imperial Knight Release (8)
The model is looking amazing, and surprisingly close to some of the bigger Titan classes. Who would have thought that all it takes are some weapons that are more similar to those of the Warhound and Reaver Titan?

So, what we basically get out of the new kit are five new bigger weapons (the gatling gun, the fist, the carapace mounted gun and two rocket launcher variants) and a couple of alternative secondary weapons. But that’s not all: There are also three new faceplates:

2015 Imperial Knight Release (11)Interestingly enough, the top and bottom left options really remind me of the classic Epic Warhound Titan — which is kinda ironic, seeing how Forgeworld is currently hard at work phasing out the old design in favour of something farm more Imperial Knight-like. Both are quite cool, however, with the top one making for an almost doglike muzzle, while the one on the lower left somehow seems rather gladiatorial to me. The half mask in the bottom right seems a bit like the odd one out here, mostly because it reuses one of the existing designs, but that may just be a matter of preference. Together with the existing three masks, these provide quite a collection to make your Knight individual — and that’s before you start splicing together various masks into new designs!

So all of those additions are very cool and give Knight owners quite a few new options to play around with. So all’s well with the world, right?

Yes, well…

Now, don’t get me wrong: The Imperial Knight released last year was an utterly fantastic kit then — and it very much remains so now, even without the new options. The revised Imperial Knight provides a more rounded-out version of that brilliant kit, which is great. I am really happy with the Imperial Knight I purchased, scout’s honour…
…and yet, I cannot quite shake the feeling that the kit should have been as comprehensive as this from the start: All the signs where there to see: The kit looked far more modular than it was (back then). Now we see the options for modifying the model beyond the initial weapons options were there all along, and while I don’t want to sound like an entitled neckbeard, maybe the release of both a new Codex and a revised kit after such a short amount of time is an indicator that the version we get now should have been the original release.

Again, I’m not mad. I am happy with my Knight model, and I will probably find a way to build the additional weapon options that I like. But making people buy yet another Knight just to get some additional weapons seems like a bit of a ripoff, in spite of the fantastic kit. Maybe there should be an option to purchase the extra sprue on its own, you know, for those of us who already bought five of those Knights? Pretty please…?

Let’s not kid ourselves, though: It’s probably not going to happen. So what to do?

Short of hitting ebay or swapping for the weapons we need, I think there are a couple of ways to kitbash proxies for the new weapons: The fist has already been done several times — and done well, at that: You can use a plastic spoon as the housing and make the fingers from leftover sprue. You can work with plasticard. Or you could purchase one of those Dreamforge Games weapons, seeing how they can be purchases separately.

The wonderful carapace mounted AA gun would be easy enough to build with several available cannons: A leftover quad gun from the Aegis Defense Line would work, or a gun from an Imperial tank? Or maybe even the trusty old Reaper Autocannon that comes with the Defiler kit?

The gatling cannon is probably the least problematic one to kitbash: Just use one of the Hades Autocannons from the Forgefiend kit, and you’re there (as Heresy and Heroes’ model linked above shows).

And the rocket launcher? Seeing how there are two in each of the new kits, it should be possible to get your hands on one. And if not, there’s always plasticard…

All in all, I feel a bit torn here: The new Imperial Knight kit seems amazing — even better than its already spectacular predeccessor. But I don’t see myself shelling out another 100+ Euros for some additional weapon options, and a single Imperial Knight is more than enough to keep me occupied converting and paint-wise, thank you very much…

 

So, anyway, what to make of it all? It goes without saying that the April release cannot be compared to a huge “flavour of the month” release, because it’s simply too scattershot for that — and intendedly so. As it stands, the release does provide some pretty nice service for Eldar players Imperial Knight players and people who have been yearning for new Assassin models. Conversion options seem a bit thin on the ground this time, mostly because two of the mini-releases seem like add-ons, more than anything else, and the Assassin models are just too rare right now to just cut them up with impunity.

But that’s not all: Yes, this may be a collection of three mini-releases, but wedged in between the absolutely spectacular Skitarii release and the highly anticipated Cult Mechanicus, the April release just seems a little lacklustre — could it be that GW’s frantic pace when it comes to releasing new stuff has also changed our expectations? Maybe potpourris like this just don’t cut it any longer, because we are so used to spectacular new products at this point…?

Anyway, what do you think about the new Eldar, Knights and Assassinorum:Execution Force? Any thoughts you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section!

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