Archive for Inquisimunda

INQ28: This girl is on fire

Posted in 40k, Conversions, paintjob, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2018 by krautscientist

Yet more INQ28 content this week, as I have finally managed to complete one of my longest running projects: The retinue of Inquisitor Erasmus Gotthardt.

Now Gotthardt himself is one of my oldest INQ28 models at this point, as are some of his retainers: The models were built back in 2011, and from a much smaller bitzbox, I might add. I have been working on the warband ever since, adding a character here and tweaking a paintjob there. But for the most part, the retinue has been finished since 2016 — except for one last elusive model.

And to be perfectly honest, I have been putting off this one paintjob for a long time, mostly because I didn’t know whether or not I could do the model justice. But thanks to the various community challenges from fellow hobbyists Azazel and Alex, I have been blazing through quite a few neglected models lately, so I thought I would use this surge of motivation to finally face my fears, so to speak.

But what is this dreaded missing model I keep referring to? Well, this lass here, Elisha Gorgo:

The model was actually built all the way back in 2013, if you can believe it, when I was lucky enough to get my hands on the female vampires from the Coven Throne kit and really wanted to use them to create some characters for INQ28. I still think those are some of the best female models GW has ever released, even if the “vampiresses in period dresses” shtick might not be for anyone 😉

Anyway, I chose my favourite model from the trio to build a member for Inquisitor Gotthardt’s retinue. Unfortunately, the vampires had already been assembled by the previous owner, and due to the very delicate, slender sculpts, there was only so much I could do to convert them — which somewhat explains Elisha’s seemingly tranced-out pose 😉

I thought this actually worked well for a psyker, though, so that was what she would become. I spent ages looking for the right pair of legs, finally coming across some High Elf archer legs that worked really well (although not everyone was a fan of the “harem pants” look when I originally posted her on the various forums). I also exchanged her clawlike hands for gloved hands from the Dreamforge Games Eisenkern Stormtroopers that looked much less cronelike. But really, it was a rather straightforward kitbash. The prospect of having to paint the model was the difficult part: I really didn’t want to mess up, mostly because I wouldn’t be able to get another shot at working with these bitz without having to purchase an entire Coven Throne.

And even with my fresh committment to finishing the model, I was still nervous enough about this paintjob to actually mock up the intended colour scheme beforehand in Photoshop, something I don’t think I have ever done before:

We usually don’t get to see much blue in Inquisitor warbands, and I wanted to change that. I also really like turquoise as a spot colour, so that informed my colour choices as well.

The actual painting process mainly consisted of trying to match the mockup as closely as possible while doing my best not to ruin the face 😉

Which turned out to be a bit of a challenge: I found out that I really don’t have the brush control and technical finesse to sail through a delicate paintjob like this. But here’s what I came up with after a while:

I actually do wish I had managed to pull off a neater paintjob on her face. That being said, I did manage to bring it back from the brink after almost considering it ruined, so I think I should probably be reasonably happy.

Something that doesn’t really come across in the photos is how both the corsage as well as the pants have a slight metallic sheen, in order to hint at different materials and fabrics used for her dress: I simply mixed some Leadbelcher into the paint for those areas. Apart from that, her entire dress has been painted in different mixes of black, white and Vallejo’s Milenario Turquoise.

At this point, I was basically prepared to call the model finished — to tell you the truth, I was actually still terrified of ruining it 😉

But at the same time, I couldn’t stop thinking about how a subtle blue OSL effect on the palms of her hands could be used to both hint at her channeling her powers and also explain her pose a bit better. But the hands were very small, and I didn’t really want it to end up looking tacky. In the end, I buckled up and just did it, though. I’ll let you be the judges of whether or not I succeeded:


Elisha Gorgo

born Countess Elisha Haxta di Colasante Mordina-Gorgo

Elisha Gorgo is the eldest daughter of the influential Imperial House Mordina-Gorgo. The girl started displaying psykana powers at a very young age. Under normal circumstances, this would have meant a dreary and possibly short life aboard one of the Blackships, but her influential father used every ounce of his authority to keep her “affliction” a secret. Due to her powers, she has been sequestered away from other people for most of her life and has grown up very shy and demure as a consequence.

Her secret was only uncovered when Inquisitor Gotthardt visited her homeworld as part of an investigation. And, for an undisclosed reason, he chose to make her a member of his retinue, arguably saving her from the far more dire fate that might have awaited her, had she encountered one of his more hardline colleagues.

When all is said and done, I am pretty happy with the way Elisha has turned out: Painting a model after such a long time always means you have to compromise — to settle on one definite way the model will look over all the possibilities you have been pondering in the back of your head. All technical gripes notwithstanding, I do think she makes for a rather stunnig addition to Inquisitor Gotthardt’s warband — because let’s not forget that the retinue is now actually finished. Take a look:



Inquisitor Erasmus Gotthardt and retinue
Ordo Hereticus Velsen

Once again, let us take a look at all of the warband’s members in turn:

Inquisitor Erasmus Gotthardt, an Inquisitor of the Ordo Hereticus Velsen in uneasy pursuit of his former friend, Inquisitor Lazarus Antrecht.

Cpt. Esteban Revas, former Regimental Champion of the 126th Haaruthian Dragoons, publicly dishonoured for an honourable deed.

Trooper Salvador ‘Sal’ Koltz, also formerly of the 126th Haaruthian Dragoons. An unashamedly lowbrow, yet surprisingly resourceful, individual. Bound by a debt of gratitude, he serves as personal retainer to Esteban Revas.

Iskander Gagarin, flamboyant Rogue Trader and merchant-prince. Claims to be a scion of one of the very first families to have sailed out into the Great Void Sea, even predating the Age of Unification.

PeeDee the Monkey, a priceless cyber-familiar and exotic pet to Iskander Gagarin.

Elisha Gorgo, of House Mordina-Gorgo, an imperial debutante, possessing strange psykana powers.

Father Endric Harlan, a Schola Progenium Drill-Abbot and survivor of the Quelling of St. Berthold, a highly classified Inquisitorial operation.

Remus Ingram, a former member of the Riftyr Hiveguard turned inquisitorial investigator, and Balzepho, his cyber-mastiff.


Looking back at my three “big” finished retinues so far – Inquisitor Antrecht and his freakshow, Inquisitor Arslan and his sinister Ordo Hereticus operatives, and now Inquisitor Gotthardt and his retainers – it’s fun to see the different design approaches at play: Antrecht and retinue were a way to explore radicalism and the way rogue Inquisitors are driven towards more and more monstrous and inhuman allies. Inquisitor Arslan’s retinue was, in many ways, an exercise in cohesion, with all of the members sharing a very similar colour palette and overall visual aesthetic. Now Gotthardt and his crew take yet another approach:

Like Arslan, Gotthardt is a puritan, but he is also less extreme in his views: Think Eisenhorn in his earlier years, and you’re not far off the mark. And unlike Arslan’s warband, Gotthardt’s followers are a pretty colourful bunch. As I’ve said before, the warband makes use of many of the classic character archetypes from the Inquisitor rulebook, taking direct inspiration from actual 54mm models or artwork from the book in more than one case. I think of the retinue as just the colourful collection of individuals an enterprising Inquisitor would meet during his work and turn into a highly individual group of followers.

Again, each of this groups embodies a different aspect of the Inquisition: Antrecht and his crew embody radicalism that borders on the heretical. Arslan’s warband is full-on fire and brimstone and Inquisitorial ostentatiousness. Gotthardt’s team has a swashbuckling, picaresque feel by comparison — more Dan Abnett than John Blanche, for once.

Interestingly enough, this is probably also the retinue with the biggest amount of backstory so far, mostly because the whole project has basically taken on a life of its own over the years:  PeeDee the Monkey joined the group when PDH sent me that little powder monkey that just seemed ideal as a pet for a flamboyant trader like Iskander Gagarin. Trooper Koltz only came into being because Esteban Revas just looked like the kind of noble fop who would have a manservant lugging around his smoking utensils — but both characters actually grew into something way more interesting and fleshed out. Just take a look at Esteban’s backstory, in case you are interested.

Anyway, enough rambling — I am just happy to have finished this long running project!
Oh, and since the completion of Elisha’s paintjob actually finishes the retinue, I think I’ll be counting this as yet another completion for Azazel’s Squad:March! challenge 🙂

And with that, we have come to the end of the road, at least for today.

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


INQ28: The Lion of Velsen

Posted in 40k, Conversions, paintjob, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2018 by krautscientist

Another week of fire and brimstone Ordo Hereticus Madness — I sincerely hope you aren’t fed up yet! But I am really on a roll right now, blazing through model after model, which is more than a bit uncommon for me. I also know how fickle motivation can be, so I’ll just let myself be swept along by the tide for as long as it lasts 😉

Anyway, last week I shared more models for Inquisitor Arslan’s warband with you, and those completions left me with only two models to go before the warband would actually be finished. This seemed like an excellent goal to work towards for my participation in Azazel’s Squad:March! challenge as well, so I got to work. And, indeed, I do have some new models for you again. So let’s take a peek:

I. A blade from the Shadows

One of the last two missing models was this death cult assassin I converted a while ago:

The character was very much inspired by Severina and Sevora Devout (as well as the accompanying miniatures) from back when the original 54mm Inquisitor was released:

Granted, the concept of female assassins clad in latex bodygloves may not feel quite as fresh and risqué in 2018 as it did back in 2001 (or rather, than its inclusion in an Inquisition-themed game seemed back then). Even so, I have been working my way through basically all of the old character types from the awesome Inquisitor rulebook, trying to put my own spin on things, so I couldn’t shy away from this archetype, could I? I also still think there’s something pretty entertaining about taking a concept that is so ridiculously pulp-SciFi in many ways and finding a grimdark angle for it.

The conversion itself was fairly straightforward, especially since the model is really mostly a repurposed Dark Eldar Wych, from back when I briefly considered getting back into Dark Eldar after the beautiful new plastic models had been released. I added some small tweaks, such as the purity seal, to make the model a bit more Imperial.

The most important part for turning the wych into an inquisitorial operative, however, was the gas mask from a Dark Vengeance cultist: Plus the slightly weird look of the mask as well as the creepy layout of the eye lenses was intended to hint at the fact that she may have been augmented underneath the mask or to just suggest a certain kind of eerie wrongness that seemed fitting for the character.

When it came to painting the assassin, I basically used the same palette I had set down for the rest of the warband. Fortunately enough, it was really similar to the colours of GW’s official death cult assassins, so I could take some inspiration from those:

And of course I also tried to make the paintjob call back to John Blanche’s illustrations from the Inquisitor Sketchbook as well:

Illustration by John Blanche

So here’s the finished model: A still unnamed assassin from the Order of the Blade Unsheathed:

The only thing about the paintjob that proved a bit difficult was the mask: I knew I didn’t simply want to keep it black, so I tried red first, but that just didn’t work. So after trying numerous highlighting and tweaking stages, I just went for an off-white/cream colour that still stays within the palette I had set for the warband, while also turning the face into enough of a focus point, I hope.

Incidentally, the assassin still needs a name, so if anyone can come up with something suitably medieval and slightly sinister, let me know! 🙂

II. The Lion of Velsen

Happy as I am with the finished assassin, she is really just a prelude to today’s main course: Inquisitor Nabreus Arslan himself.

Now it must be said – again – that Inquisitor Arslan is a model that I have been coming back to again and again for several years now. He started back in 2011 or so as an attempt at creating a no-nonsense puritan Ordo Hereticus or Ordo Malleus Inquisitor. My bitz box was still far smaller in those days, but I did the best with the tools I had. The model started out looking quite different from the modern incarnation, though:

Most of the elements were already there, but the model didn’t quite click yet. Then I came across this model over on DakkaDakka, and realised that the hooded Dark Angels veterans head would be much better for an Inquisitor:

Do you know who created this guy? Please let me know!

And from then on, the model took shape, growing far closer to its current incarnation:

After even more nipping and tucking the conversion was basically finished back in 2014 — which is already a ridiculously long time for a model of this size. But even then, I kept returning to the model, adding a tweak here and changing a detail there, keeping the poor guy unpainted, while his retinue (likewise unpainted) kept growing. Until I finally committed to painting this version of the model earlier this month:

As an aside, looking at the finished conversion also made me realise that Arslan resembles the Inquisitor from the last edition of Codex: Inquisition rather closely, wouldn’t you agree?

It’s a rather cool illustration — unfortunately, the model it was obviously based is really rather awkward and hasn’t aged all that gracefully:

So maybe I would be able to improve on this basic template with my model for Arslan…?

One thing that was clear to me from the start was that I wanted the entire warband to hinge on Arslan and his interrogator, the Lady Chastity. Now the latter was already finished, and my idea was to simply inverse one key colour for Arslan’s colour scheme. So where Chastity wears red armour with black cloth over it, I wanted to paint Arslan’s armour black, with red cloth.

So with those ideas in my head, I took Arslan along for one of the frequent painting sesssions hosted by my good friend Annie. Those sessions are awesome, and I usually walk away with some kind of breakthrough on one of my current painting projects.

So here’s Inquisitor Arslan after a short while, with just the base colours in place:

And this is what he looked like when we packed up for the night:

While I was already reasonable happy at this point, one thing about the model just confounded me: The red left shoulder pad just didn’t work. This felt especially weird as it looks quite lovely in the picture above, doesn’t it? Yet for some reason, in real life, it kept drawing the view away from more important parts of the model, and I kept glancing back at it, so in the end, I decided to repaint it black. Apart from that, it was mainly smooth sailing the rest of the way.

So let’s take a look at the finished model:


Inquisitor Nabreus Arslan
Ordo Hereticus Velsen

I don’t want to sound too full of myself here, but I am incredibly happy with the finished model! Especially given Arslan’s rather troubled history 😉

However, I did end up losing some sleep over some key visual decisions:

Probably the scariest thing was to paint Arslan’s sword: Its sheer size clearly turns it into an important part of the model, and I realised during the painting process that, by limiting the entire warband to a colour palette of mostly black, white, red and gold, I had actually deprieved myself of the option to just paint the sword a stunning blue — it simply wouldn’t have gelled with the rest of the warband, but more importantly, it wouldn’t have led to the sinister look I wanted. I also realised that a simple metal sword wouldn’t cut it this time around, so I did a bit of research, taking lots of inspiration from fellow hobbyists like Alex Marsh, Jeff Vader and Midnight Runner, among others. Then I took a deep breath and tried to create my own effect for the blade, adapted from their work:

In the end, I am pretty happy with the finished effect, seeing how I managed to make the sword look both blisteringly hot and quite sinister 😉 But painting it was so far out of my comfort zone that it wasn’t even funny 😉

True to Arslan’s history as “that model that I was never really able to finish”, I did end up making one last unexpected tweak: I actually swapped in a new shield!

Now I originally had the shield with the stylised “Knight vs. Daemon” battle scene from the Nemesis Dreadknight kit on there, but my colour choices for the model meant that I had boxed myself in regarding the shield: The warrior on the shield would obviously have to represent Arslan himself, so I would have needed to paint him in black. That would have left only gold and red for the daemon, with red being the obvious choice. That, in turn, would have left me with a golden shield, which wouldn’t exactly have matched the rest of the model all that well. Anyway, to make a long story short, I decided to try a different shield and create the inconography on it from scratch (or rather, via decals):

The idea here was to go for a medieval-style seal that would fit Arslan’s very medieval overall look. I also thought that this design might be his actual Inquisitorial seal, the one he uses to sign Exterminatus orders, and other jolly missives like that 😉
The “A” stands for “Arslan”, and the “V” for “Velsen”, the name of the sector. The whole thing was also ever so slightly influenced by designs like the Chi Rho.

Oh, and based on Inquisitor Mikhailovich’s comment, I also tweaked the position of the shield a bit, so it might actually be attached to Arslan’s arm in an at least slightly believable way 😉

Here’s a picture of Arslan and Chastity, showing off the aforementioned fact that they use an identical palette, and their colour scheme is very similar, save for one key colour that has been reversed between the two models:


III. A project finally finished

And would you believe it: With that, the warband is actually finished. After several years of hemming and hawing. I actually cannot quite believe it. But here it is. Take a look:

In fact, I have used this occasion to go back and take pictures of all the warband members once again, so meet the crew:

Inquisitor Nabreus Arslan, a powerful Witch Hunter of the Ordo Hereticus, known among the devout as “The Lion of Velsen”.

The Lady Chastity, a former Sister of Battle from the Order of the Martyred Blade, now serving as Arslan’s Interrogator.

Inquisitorial Operative Tybalt Renner, a veteran of the Saarthen Draugr, and an operative specialising in infiltration and stealth missions.

Brother Goderich the Pure, a member of the Church of Redemption, serving Arslan as a vicious, albeit utterly loyal, attack dog.

Father Ravion Ishmael, a veteran of the Astra Militarum turned intinerant priest of the Imperial Cult, currently serving as personal confessor to Inquisitor Arslan.

A mysterious, mute assassin from the Order of the Blade Unsheathed.

The Angel of Penance, a cyber-familiar cast in the shape of an avenging angel in order to strike terror into the hearts of heretics and instill fearful respect in the devout.

Horatio, a servo-skull.


It’s slightly weird – but also very fulfilling – to realise that I’ve had most of this retinue for years now, and now I’ve finally manage to finish the models in very short order. Oh, and this also means I’ve managed to complete my first, proper committment for the Squad:March! challenge! Yay! 🙂

Speaking of which: Many thanks must go to fellow hobbyists Azazel and Alex: I couldn’t really have done it without you, guys, as your hobby challenges finally provided me with the incentive to actually get this project on the road, at long last!

As for my next plans, I want to ride this wave of inspiration out yet a bit longer, so I think I’ll be staying in the INQ28 world for a while yet: There’s one last model for Inquisitor Gotthardt’s retinue I need to get finished (another project that has been going on for ages). Then I think I’d like to paint a truescale Deathwatch Marine conversion. And then there’s an Ordo Scriptorum retinue I am really proud of that I hope to get started on while my motivation still lasts.

Until then, I would truly love to hear your thoughts on Inquisitor Arslan and his retainers! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

INQ28: I see fire

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 5, 2018 by krautscientist

So, with the festivities out of the way, I find myself quite motivated to keep painting stuff, which, given my usual laziness, is a bit of a surprise. It looks like the hobby challenges issued by Azazel and others are having quite a beneficial effect on my completion schedule, though. So after the “Neglected Model/Fembruary” challenge finally prompted me to paint a model I had wanted to finish for years at long last, I thought I might just take a peek at the next challenge. And Azazel didn’t disappoint: His current Squad:March! challenge once again provides the perfect incentive to keep working on my Ordo Hereticus warband and actually finish it until the end of the month — after leaving the models unpainted for years, this basically amounts to a record attempt for me 😉

Anyway, what do I have?

First up, two callbacks to my previous post: Inquisitorial Operative Tybalt Renner now finally has his base:

I made things than they needed to be by not building, undercoating and then painting the base along with the rest of the model: Like most old metal models, Tybalt still has the metal tag that connects both feet and slots into the base. Now I could have carefully sawed it off, of course, but I was actually glad for the added stability. So I carefully textured and painted the base around the already painted model, which is hardly an ideal approach…

Oh well, at least I think he really ties into the rest of the warband rather beautifully now.

I have also added the last finishing touches to the Imperial Missionary (actually a Brian Nelson sculpt, by the way: Eric Wier very helpfully cleared that up for me — cheers, mate!):

That’s not all, however, as I also have some new models to show you, though: One of the parts that are really iconic of the Inquisition (and, by extension, of the entire setting) for me are the many servo-skulls, cherubim and familiars appearing in the artwork. They really embody the quirkiness and gothic horror of the 40k universe, and at the same time, they recall painters like Hieronymus Bosch, among others. This is especially true of most pieces of art depicting the Ordo Hereticus, with many familiars and creepy little creatures flitting hither and yon in the background.

Unfortunately, we don’t get nearly enough cherubs and familiars in actual model form, and the ones that are (or were) available can be a bit of a mixed bag. I knew I wanted Inquisitor Arslan’s retinue to have some grimdark familiars in it, though, so I had to get creative.

Hence these guys:

The servo-skull was actually inspired by a small illustration from the old Codex Witch Hunters:

This little guy actually appears in many pieces of Ordo Hereticus related artwork, so I felt I needed him – or at least a similar model – for my own collection.

It was an easy enough conversion to get right — which is probably why I had already built the servo-skull quite a while ago:

A resin skull (sent to me by fellow hobbyist Biohazard) was combined with one of the firy headdresses from the Empire Flagellants kit. The dangling scroll came from a vehicle kit, I believe. Or maybe the old Ravenwing sprue?! Anyway, because the model was so light, creating the illusion of it floating was easily accomplished by gluing it to a plastic beam from an old Tamiya kit.

As for the paintjob, there were two main things to get right: The flames, for which I used the same approach that had already worked like a charm on my Redeptionist. Many thanks must go, once again, to Tales of Painters’ amazing tutorial for painting flames). The other effect I really wanted to nail was the scripture on the dangling parchment. So I used the – still pretty amazing – Ordo Hereticus/Sisters of Battle decal sheet to puzzle together something suitably convincing.

So here’s the finished model again:

Of course the servo-skull comes with its own dedicated promethium supply to keep that fire going 😉

The little Angel of Death familiar, on the other hand, came about as the consequence of wanting to do something with some bitz from the Coven Throne I got via ebay (in an attempt to get my hands on the female vampires that come with the kit). Anyway, I thought a floating skeleton with a scythe seemed suitably menacing for a Hereticus warband 😉

Once again, the conversion itself was fairly straightforward: The upper body was combined with the cabling from a Tempestus Scion servo-skull, and some wings from the Blood Angels’ Sanguinary Guard were added to the model’s back. I even wedged in a small exhaust port between the wings, to hint at some kind of propulsion system. Oh, and I exchanged the standard skull head for an actual servo-skull, to make the model look slightly more tech-y.

I went for a fairly no-frills paintjob, adding some gold to the wings for a slightly more luxurious, sculptural look:

So with these models painted, I already have a rather nifty looking group of Ordo Hereticus operatives, if I do say so myself:

There are only two members of the retinue left to finish at this point:

A female Death Cult Assassin:

And the big man himself, Inquisitor Nabreus Arslan:

I already have a big painting session scheduled for tomorrow, and I think I am going to have a go at Arslan — if only to prevent myself from making yet another dozen tweaks to the model. Wish me luck! 🙂

On a partially related note, even before painting the most recent models, I realised that I have accumulated over 50 INQ28 models at this point — another small anniversary of sorts:

Anyway, I would, of course, love to hear your feedback! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

INQ28: Nobody expects the Velsian Inquisition

Posted in Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 20, 2018 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, time for another update at long last: I realise that, technically speaking, I am still short one final instalment of the 2017 Eternal Hunt Awards, but it’s already late February, and the prospect of still needing to finish that writeup has felt like a millstone around my neck for weeks now, keeping me from actually posting any new content — which is a shame, because the most wonderful thing happened: I actually managed to paint something new! Yay! We’ll be getting to that in a minute… 😉

Anyway, I am still committed to posting something about some landmark releases and about where we go from here, as I do have quite a few thoughts about the state of 40k, the Specialist Games, the Primaris Marines and what have you, but I am putting it off for now, in favour of actually getting something posted. Deal? 😉

So there I was, basking in the usual hobby slump, when several things happened at the same time. One, I purchased Chris Wraight’s “The Carrion Throne – Vaults of Terra” and blazed through it in two days:

If you are into INQ28 (or Inquisitor in general, for that matter), I cannot recommend the book enough: It has shady inquisitorial dealings galore, it features the Legio Custodes (technically a bit of a spoiler, but there’s that very blatant cover artwork, so yeah…) and it’s set on Holy Terra itself — if those three points don’t sell you on the novel, I don’t know what will. Anyway, it’s a great read!

I came away from the book with a huge appetite for actually making something INQ28-related. And then I stumbled upon the community challenges issued by fellow hobbyists Azazel and Alex: Azazel proposed to use February to finish some long neglected models and Alex upped the ante by suggesting to actually turn this into a “Fembruary” challenge, that is to focus on building and painting female models. Both sounded intriguing, and after a bit of reflection, I realised I had a model that would tick both boxes AND allow me to complete another INQ28 character:

You see, back in 2014, PDH sent me a heavily damaged Adepta Sororitas Seraphim model, missing its head and feet. And after some deliberation, I used the poor dear to create an interrogator for the retinue of one Inquisitor Nabreus Arslan, of the Ordo Hereticus Velsen:

I was – and still am – rather in love with the idea of a hulking monodominant Inquisitor being complemented by a slender, very self-assured female Interrogator like that, and I loved the gunslinger look the model had. So with a replacement head (from the Wood Elves Glade Guard, I believe) and some replacement feet (from the 3rd edition plastic Dark Eldar Kabalite Warriors), this dame was ready to rock — I even had a brilliant plan for her paintjob, based, among other sources, on Victoria Lamb’s seminal Hereticus warband:

models built and painted by Victoria Lamb


models built and painted by Victoria Lamb

But then I never painted her, for some reason. I think I had this very clear idea what I wanted her to look like and was really nervous about messing up the execution. What’s more, it felt like the entire retinue, completely built and assembled at this point, hinged on my success with this particular model. So I set her aside, to pick her up and sigh theatrically every now and then, and that was that.

With the current challenges, howeve, I really felt she was the perfect model to participate in both Alex’ and Azazel’s challenges — time to get her finished at long last! So I took a deep breath and got to work:

I am not going to lie to you, I was completely right to be afraid of this paintjob: The old metal model was full of strange nooks and crannies and had some weird issues, and that softly detailed Wood Elf face almost drove me mad. At the same time, the painting felt more freeform and painterly than I was strictly comfortable with, especially since I went with a somewhat experimental way of painting the armour, using an almost impressionistic approach to create depth.

The contoured armour was really great for that strategy, however. So, in the end, I was really happy with the outcome, as the finished model finally sat on the table before me. Take a look at Interrogator Chastity of the Ordo Hereticus:

The idea here was to go with a very classic Ordo Hereticus approach of red, black and gold: I wanted the model to look slightly sinister, but also regal, with the ostentatiousness of those perfectly assured in their righteousness. At the same time, I also used a scheme that inverted the colour scheme for the Order of Our Martyred Lady, the posterboy…erm “postergirl” Adepta Sororitas colours. I see Chastity as a former Sister of Battle turned Interrogator, and I liked the idea that her look still echoed her former position.

Here she is. next to an older, kitbashed Sister of Battle I made, Sister Euphrati Eisen of the Order of the Martyred Blade — maybe her former sister in the order…?

Anyway, I am really happy with finally having tackled this model, and I am also rather pleased with the paintjob! I consider Chastity a fitting contribution for the Fembruary challenge, and I hope you’ll agree with me! 🙂

She still needs a last name, by the way, so feel free to send some suitably grimdark and/or phonetically pleasant suggestions my way!


Just as I had suspected, finally finishing the model had the same effect as freeing up a clogged pipe, so I felt myself immediately drawn to the next model for the retinue. I chose this kitbash of a redemtpionist I created last year:

It’s a fairly straightforward conversion using parts from the Dark Vengeance cultists and some IG flamer arms. The kitbash basically just came together after I had browsed through some old Necromunda illustrations, some cover artwork for the old Redeemer comics in particular. Funnily enough, this guy was built before a re-released Necromunda was even a thing, but now that we have the updated game, he could probably do double-duty in both settings 😉

In any case, though, a redemptionist surely seemed like an appropriate henchman for a traditional fire-and-brimstone Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor.

When painting the model, I wanted to stay within the same colour palette I had used on the Interrogator, albeit with a dustier, grubbier aspect: After all, this guy is a zealot, so I tried to communicate that fact by making him look suitably grimy and disheveled:

Meet Brother Goderich the Pure, of the Church of Redemption:

For the most part, I tried to go with a very classic redemptionist colour scheme. There are some touches I am pretty happy with, though: The hazard-striped eviscerator works as a callback to the classic Necromunda look. The pilot flame was a spontaneous idea that came to me in a moment of inspiration, and it’s a detail that I am now stupidly happy with 🙂 It also has the added benefit of providing a bit of a visual flourish to that rather boring flamer nozzle.

One thing I am really not sure about is whether or not I should add some Imperial/Inquisitorial decals to his shoulder pads (in white): Would that improve the model, or would it detract from it? I would be happy to hear your feedback on that!


So I already have two finished models for the warband — not bad, given the fact that I didn’t really touch this project for a long, long time, right?  

Anyway, between these two models, I have basically nailed down the palette I want to use for the warband, so expect the other members to use different combinations and permutations of the recipes I used on Chastity and Goderich.

Speaking of the next models for the warband, what’s in the pipeline?

Dear old Inquisitor Arslan himself also has a bit of a checkered history, as I built him ages ago and then kept coming back to him again and again, making a tweak here, adding a bit there — but, once again, never actually finishing the damn model — there may be a pattern emerging here…

I decided to make one final tweak to the model, giving him a small promethium tank feeding his hand flamer, complete with a hose running from his hip to his fist:

I was actually wondering whether he might look even cooler with Custodian shoulder pads…?! PDH convinced me to just let it rest already and consider the model finished, after half a decade… So yeah, expect to see him with some paint on soon-ish.

Next up on the painting desk is another operative, though: This old Van Saar model I received in a bitz swap a while ago

I’ve always felt that, with his bulky stillsuit and aiming pose, he’d make for a great Inquisitorial operative: Now in another shout out to DexterKong’s and my shared INQ28 setting, the Velsen sector, I wanted him to be a veteran of the Saarthen Draughr, a regiment invented by Dexter. Back when Dexter came up with the Draughr and tried to nail down a look for them, we went back and forth a while about the kind of helmets used by the regiment: Dexter wanted them to be somewhat sinister, but not Traitor Guard-sinister, so we settled on Necron heads as a base, seeing how they had this smooth, prefab look. For his proof-of-concept model for the Draught, Dexter grafted a rebreather onto a Necron head. Anyway, since I wanted my inquisitorial operative to be a veteran of the regiment, I spliced together a similar helmet and added it to the model’s belt:

This is such a minuscule detail, really, and it’s hard to explain why I am feeling so pleased with myself over this idea, but I just like that bit of continuity that hints at a larger background and at the amount of worldbuilding Dexter and I have put into our shared setting.

I have a painting session with my good friend Annie scheduled for tomorrow, and I’ll be bringing the Draughr Veteran along, so he should be the next finished model for Inquisitor Arslan’s retinue — wish me luck 😉


One last thing to nicely round out this post: Because I was still very much in an INQ28 state of mind after all of this, I grabbed some of my (semi-finished) retinues and my deck of Dark Millennium playing cards and had a bit of fun. No new models here, just a fun little diversion:


Inquisitor Antrecht and his retinue:

Inquisitor Gotthardt and his retinue:

Servants of the Emperor:

The Magi of Korhold:

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!

Grimdark video games?!

Posted in 40k, Inq28, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings, Totally worth it with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 26, 2017 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, something a bit different today — I hope you’ll appreciate the variety, even if it means a lack of new painted models. So what is this about?

It’s very common for hobbyists to talk about their inspiration: Whether it comes down to creating conversions or narratives, most of us will inevitably build on influences and concepts from many different sources, such as film, art, literature or personal experiences from RPG groups. To wit, the entire 40k universe itself is based on so many different influences, and has grown into a massive, unwieldy, eclectic and brilliant mixture of a thousand references, ranging from 80s pop culture to every SciFi and gothic cliché ever.

Today’s post, therefore, will deal with yet another possible source of inspiration when it comes to get a feeling for the kind of narrative that would work in the 40k universe, and the kind of characters that would populate such a narrative. And while I draw lots of my own hobby inspiration from the aforementioned media (with sources as diverse as David Lynch’s Dune adaptation, Mervyn Peake’s Titus Groan & Gormenghast and Charles Dickens as some of my favourite influences), today I would like to talk about another possible influence: the wonderful world of video games.

Now some of you may remember that I am a huge video game nerd. It’s a medium that I have been endlessly fascinated with for a very long time now, and it continues to interest aesthetically, narratively and professionally .

I could wax poetical on the many fascinating, obscure or downright grotesque features that turn digital games into such a riveting subject for me, but that’s not really the focus of this blog. So let us rather focus on a couple of games that have influenced my hobby life by inspiring characters, narratives or just a general style in my own hobby work.

Before we begin, however, a disclaimer of sorts: By no means is the following collection of titles and influences an exhaustive collection, nor is it intended to be. It’s also very possible that you know each and every one of those games, so the post could turn out to be old news to you. And finally, to be fair, this post has also been simmering away in the back of my head for quite a while now, so be warned that it may actually have moved away from actual 40k a bit, dealing – at least to some degree – more with games and game series that I find inspiring, period. That being said, if you enjoy 40k and Inquisitor and all that, and if you are interested in visually and/or narratively interesting videogames, the following titles might be worth a look. And who know: Just like me, you may even get an idea for an army, a conversion or an INQ28 retinue out of it. So let’s take a look:


I. Legacy of Kain series

It seems weird to me that the Legacy of Kain series seems to have become almost a bit obscure by today’s standards, when it used to be a rather common household name in video game circles – and even a veritable system seller – during the late 90s and early 2000s.

The series’ development history is rather complicated and convoluted, with different developers and teams adding their own perspective to the series, and acclaimed video game writer Amy Hennig (possibly best known for her role on Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series these days) ending up with the task of somehow binding it all together into a semi-coherent overarching narrative.

Fascinating as those tribulations are, however, I don’t even want to get into the details here. Suffice it to say that the series started with Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain (basically “The Legend of Zelda” with vampires), which was followed by Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver (basically “Tomb Raider” with Vampires). The series deals with the vampire Kain and his rise (and fall) in the gothic world of Nosgoth, and it introduced both a pretty interesting cast of characters as well as a very distinct look and feel. Just check out Soul Reaver’s intro movie:

One of the series major narrative arcs deals with the conflict between the – seemingly completely amoral – vampire overlord Kain and his fallen former lieutenant Raziel, turned into a twisted wraith at Kain’s behest and now out for revenge — although things turn out to be much more complicated than that, as the series’ narrative is just about as convoluted as its development history. It can be a bit overdesigned and wordy in places, but it’s well worth checking out for yourself!

So why does the series appear on my list? There’s the very grimdark setting, for one: Nosgoth is a very dark and gothic place, where everything’s gone to hell in a handbasket because the man destined to be the world’s saviour refused the ultimate sacrifice – his own life – electing instead to become a depraved, immortal vampire emperor, ruling a failing empire. If that isn’t grimdark, I don’t know what is.

But there’s more: Kain’s dealings with his vampire lieutenants and their ultimate fates remind me a lot of of 40k’s Daemon Primarchs and Traitor Legions: There’s a gravitas and a sense of lost grace here that should seem very familiar to anyone who likes 30k and 40k. There’s also a fair share of purple prose (and some truly excellent voice acting) to be had, so if you want to get a feeling of what a Chaos Space Marine might feel like after millennia of corruption and simmering regret, the Legacy of Kain series provides some very good inspiration on that account!

After several unsuccessful attempts at reviving the series in recent years, it’s unlikely we’ll ever see another entry. The games available so far still tell a (fairly) complete tale of hybris, revenge and redemption, however, and are well worth your time, provided you are prepared to deal with a bit of technical clunkiness (in the earlier games in particular). The entire series, minus the first Blood Omen, is still available via, among others. The games cost about 5,00 Euros a pop, and if the series’ premise interests you, I recommend you just snatch them all up: I played nearly all of them back to back, a couple of years ago, and it really helps to get a grip on the rather complicated storyline. You can also read up on the games on Nosgothic Realm, an incredibly expansive fansite.

II. Primal

Like Legacy of Kain, Primal used to be a fairly high profile release back when it first came out in 2003. A Playstation 2 exclusive developed by Sony’s own Cambridge studio, Primal was a fairly ambitious project with incredible production values for the time. Not all that many people seem to remember it these days, which is a shame, especially since it has some rather interesting connections to Games Workshop — but we’ll be getting there in a minute…

The game’s basic premise seems clichéd enough: Perky goth chic Jen is nearly killed by a daemon who just happened to infiltrate a gig of her boyfriend’s Nu-Metal band (I swear I am not making this up!). With Jen’s boyfriend abducted, she finds herself transported to the fantasy dimension of Oblivion, which consists of four realms. The forces of order and chaos, respectively, seek to establish control over these realms, and Abaddon, Lord of chaos, has come dangerously close to toppling the precarious balance of power.

So it falls to Jen, accompanied by adorable gargoyle helper Scree, to travel to the four realms, learn how to transform into different demon forms and re-establish the balance between chaos and order.

Mechnically speaking, Primal is one of those third person action adventure the early 2000s were so very fond of (think Tomb Raider with less climbing and more character interaction). If that doesn’t sound like much to write home about, it’s important to point out that Primal’s production values, its narrative and its pretty excellent cast take the whole affair into some rather interesting directions, so it’s far more interesting than its rather cookie-cutter premise would led you to believe.

There’s yet another reason why Primal would be interesting for every discerning fan of GW’s various IPs: Travelling the game’s world, you cannot shake a general feeling of …familiarity. Take the game’s four realms, serving as its massive levels, and their respective inhabitants: There’s Solum and the Ferai (totally not slightly more lawful-neutral Khorne-worshipping Beastmen), Aquis and the Undine (totally not victims to some kind of slightly Nurglite plague), Aetha and the Wraith (totally not Slaaneshi vampires) and, finally, Volca and the Djinn (totally not worshippers of Tzeentch). The latter, in particular, seem rather GW-ish in design — to the point where the Djinn would make for excellent Tzeentchian champions or daemon princes, as you can see in this video (starting at 11:40, in case YouTube’s timecode widget refuses to work):

Those similarities are far from coincidental, however, as Primal’s lead artist was none other than Mark Gibbons, one of GW’s most prolific artists and illustrators during the early to mid-90s. You know, the guy who did pieces like this:

Artwork by Mark Gibbons

His touch is very noticeable, and there is more than a little vintage GW in the character designs and artwork as well as the art design in the game proper:

What’s more, while the four realms and their inhabitants clearly recall GW’s chaotic factions, the whole idea of of four discreet realms in the game also somewhat recalls the realms that now appear in Age of Sigmar, even though AoS didn’t come around until fairly recently.

An emulated version of Primal is still available on the PlayStation Store (both for the Playstation 3 and 4), and it’s very much worth the price of admission: It may be trying a bit too hard to be edgy and grownup for today’s standards. and it may not be great literature, but the main characters’ banter makes them genuinely endearing, and the production values are still great, even from a modern perspective. And if nothing else, it’s a fascinating example of Mark Gibbons creating something that should feel more than a little familiar for longtime hobbyists, albeit in a different medium and for a different employer.

III. Dishonored series

This next entry is a far more recent series: If you are even slightly into video games right now, chances are you’ve heard of the Dishonored series. It is also one of my current favourites. And it feels a lot like an Inquisitor campaign every now and then, but maybe that’s just me 😉

Dishonored is set in the Empire of the Isles, a setting that invokes Great Britain (in the first game) and its colonies (in the second game) during the early 19th/early 20th century, albeit with a twist: Much of the Empire’s culture seems oddly familiar, but Dishonored’s world also presents a strange and intriguing clash of fantasy, (steampunk) technology and magic. What’s more, there’s a very particular look and feel to the whole affair, ranging from the – almost painterly -realism of its character design (call me crazy, but there’s more than a bit of New Objectivity to be found in the games’ art design) to the general bleak atmosphere of the world, with decadent nobles scheming and vying for power, as disinfranchised smallfolk suffer under their cruelty. Dishonored’s world is very dark, but also quite fascinating. It poses some interesting moral questions and goes to some rather interesting places with them. The way in which the games explore the morality of nonlethal solutions to many of its problems is just one very poignant example.

From a gameplay perspective, the Dishonored games can be visceral, combat-focused revenge fantasies or elegant stealth games — or anything in between, really, purely based on your preferred way of playing. What’s so mechanically great about the games is how they accomodate your playstyle and choices and make the world adapt accordingly in many interesting ways. Like I said, it’s one of my favourite game series at the moment 😉

As for the series’ position on this list, Dishonored can also feel very Inqusitor/INQ28 at times. It would be easy to imagine Dishonored’s Empire of the Isles as a civilised world within the Imperium of Man, and as the setting for an INQ28 campaign. For instance, whenever I read Apologist’s incredibly cool world building for his “Death of a Rubricist” setting, Dishonored is one of the things I feel acutely remembered of. Plans within schemes are very much at the heart of the series, and if you are into Inquisitor and its particular way of storytelling and world building, you’ll take lots of inspiration away from Dishonored — in fact, the world building alone is basically worth the price of admission!

Dishonored 2_20161120161254

The series consists of two main games (Dishonored and Dishonored 2) and one major spin-off campaign for each of the main games. Dishonored gets “The Knife of Dunwall” as a nearly game-sized DLC, whereas Dishonored 2’s spin-off campaign, “The Death of the Outsider” was recently released as a standalone title. All of the games are available on PC, Playstation 3/4 or Xbox 360/One, and I would very much recommend to check out the entire series, starting with the first title. If you’re even a bit like me, you’ll want to explore every nook and cranny of this truly breathtakingly realised world!

And while we are talking about Dishonored, let’s not forget about…

III.b …the Thief Series

Because I would be remiss not to mention the Thief series, which seems like Dishonored’s spiritual prequel (and a highly acclaimed stealth series in its own right). Thief only makes this particular list by association, it’s true, but the main reason for that is that its world is a fair bit more medieval (and thus less 40k) than Dishonored’s. Even so, fans of INQ28 and/or Mordheim in particular will doubtlessly find a lot to like about Thief’s dark, steampunk-ish world. Just to give you an idea, when I read the description of Queen Mab during the opening chapters of Dan Abnett’s novel Pariah (the first and, alas, to date only entry in the Eisenhorn vs. Ravenor series), I felt instantly reminded of The City from the Thief series.

IV. Resonance of Fate

A strange entry, this one, mostly because Resonance of Fate is a JRPG, with all the baggage and strangeness that entails: Now Japanese role playing games clearly aren’t for everybody, as they tend to have a particular tone and feel, one that is often informed by the peculiarities of Japanese pop culture. Personally speaking, I have a long personal history of playing JRPGs, however, going all the way back to the 8- and 16-bit days, so I can usually stomach, or even appreciate, the weirdness inherent to the genre.

Resonance of Fate is, on the face of it, very Japanese in many ways: It’s an eclectic combination of fantasy, cyberpunk, turn-based battles fought with guns (and almost ridiculous amounts of acrobatics) and classic JRPG tropes. What makes the game a definite candidate for this particular list, however, is its peculiar setting, Basel:

Basel is a multileveld city built around a massive central elevator. It was orginially constructed as a combined retreat for humanity and an atmospheric cleaning device, but it grew and became more complicated and essentially turned into a massive, sprawling city over the  centuries — a veritable Hive city by any other name.

And while Basel may look strange and far different from the hive cities of 40k, the game really does an excellent job of depicting a society that has developed around the basic challenge of living within a massive machine: Towns and villages are wedged into Basel’s open spaces, with giant cogs ticking away in the background. The strata of older cultures and settlements are clearly visible in many places, and most people have clearly forgotten the massive facility’s original use, content to eke out a living among its unknowable mechanisms. The rest of the setting confirms to this basic conceit: Instead of dragons and orcs, you get to fight modern bandits and runaway biological experiments.

Which is all a rather roundabout way of saying that, in spite of its copious amounts of JRPG tropes, Resonance of Fate can almost feel like a Japanese take on Necromunda. Which, in turn, can make it fascinating to check out for a fan of GW’s various 40k-related settings.

When all is said and done, however, Resonance of Fate is still a very Japanese game indeed, with all the tropes and quirkiness that entails. If you can stomach the occasional weirdness (the odd jokes, the dressup meta game, the weird gender stereotypes and the sometimes awkward pacing and dialogue), it’s a fascinating, quirky little game. The following video shows some of the gameplay, and I had an especially strong Necromunda moment starting at 6:26, with the heroes passing through the artifacts of prior civilisations while making their way from Basel’s highest level, the Chandelier, to the lower residential areas:

The fact remains that Resonance of Fate can be a bit of an acquired taste — even moreso, arguably, than mainstream JRPGs like Final Fantasy. You may want to take a look at the game’s prologue below to find out whether the general tone and style is for you:

V. Basically anything by Yasumi Matsuno

Yasumi Matsuno is a fascinating director and author because he stands for a very particular kind of RPG world and storytelling. Instead of fairy tale romps that end with the heroes defeating a mustache twirling demon lord to save the world, Matsuno’s games (and game worlds) are invariably steeped in realpolitik: They always deal with the politics going on in the background, the shady deals and painful sacrifices that keep kingdoms and empires going while creating tragedies for the protagonists. Unlike most roleplaying games, Matsuno’s titles usually don’t put you in the shoes of the idealistic hero saving the world due to sheer spunk and virtue: You just do your best while history – and politics – march on relentlessly in the background. And even if you should end up saving the world, don’t expect anyone’s thanks for it! Chances are, you’ll go down in history as a dangerous heretic…

There are also numerous shout outs to real world history: Tactics Ogre is basically a medieval fantasy version of the Yugoslav Wars. Final Fantasy Tactics (very much Tactics Ogre’s spiritual sequel) is basically the War of the Roses with dragons and Chocobos (it is also one of the finest strategy RPGs ever devised by man).

While all of Matsuno’s games are very much worth checking out, I want to point you towards some titles in particular, starting with Vagrant Story: a strange and darkly beautiful game that is one of my all-time favourites, and maybe Matsuno’s definitive piece of work:

Vagrant Story is a take on Western RPG and dungeon crawler conventions with a fascinating story about different factions trying to get their hands on the dark magics resting within the lost city of Leà Monde.

You’re cast in the role of one Ashley Riot, basically a medieval special ops soldier. Your goal is to infiltrate the lost city, rescue the hostages taken by a religious cult and prevent its members from claiming the city’s dark power for their own. You soon find out that things are far more complicated, however, and that there are more parties interested in Leà Monde and its legacy.

Vagrant Story is known for several things: Its incredible art design. Its dark and mature storytelling. Its punishing take on western roleplaying and dungeon crawling conventions. And, certainly not least of all, its acclaimed English translation by Alexander O. Smith, among others, adding an extra layer to an already incredibly elegant narrative.

I don’t even want to tell you too much about Vagrant Story, because it has to be experienced firsthand. It’s a punishing and darkly mysterious experience. If you enjoy deep, ambiguous tales and thought-provoking narratives, you should check it out. It’s quite a ride, indeed, and it can be had for a song on the PlaystationStore.

One of Yasumi Matsuno’s biggest mainstream games, set in the same world as Final Fantasy Tactics and Vagrant Story, is Final Fantasy XII, a mainline entry in the colossally successful Final Fantasy series.

Like Matsuno’s other games, FF XII is a triumphant exercise in world building, with a setting that seems like it could actually exist somewhere and wouldn’t wink out of existence the moment you switch off your console. Once again, there’s also a lot of background politics at play here, with history’s gears very much in motion while your band of heroes is gallivanting around the world of Ivalice.

It’s a rather interesting subversion of many of Final Fantasy’s classic tropes, as well as a fascinating look at what Matsuno can get up to with a bigger budget — at least partially so, as he had to drop out of the project late into its development. The game is still quite something, though! It’s still widely available on Playstation consoles, with a remastered version (“Final Fantay XII – The Zodiac Age”) released earlier this year.


As for its influence on my 40k hobby, among many other things, let’s just say that I am still looking for a way of creating a 40k-compatible way of incorporating Final Fantasy XII’s Judges into my INQ28 setting…


Matsuno’s obvious love for the classic western pen & paper RPG finally came full circle with Crimson Shroud, released in 2012 as a fairly obscure download-only title for the Nintendo 3DS (at least in the west):

In many ways, Crimson Shroud mirrors many of Vagrant Story’s story beats (and much of its general look and feel): A small group of adventurers infiltrates the ruins of a palace in search of the eponymous artifact. There they encounter not only many vicious creatures, but also a dark and tragic story going back centuries. The narrative is both concise and nuanced, especially for a smaller digital release like this.

What makes Crimson Shroud truly captivating, however, are the lenghts to which the game actually emulates classic pen & paper roleplaying — to the point where you throw virtual dice to determine the outcome of most actions in the game and all the characters and monsters are displayed as actual miniatures mounted on their own small bases and placed within diorama-like backgrounds, making the whole thing seem like an actual tabletop roleplaying session.

If that sounds weird, it certainly is, and it’s not exactly easy to pick up and play. But everything that’s fascinating about a Matsuno game – such as the nuanced storytelling and excellent world building – also make an appearance here, creating a sublime narrative experience almost on par with Vagrant Story. Plus the game is a fascinating love letter to western tabletop gaming, as seen through a distinctly Japanese lense.


Honorary mention: Incubation

Okay, let’s treat this last game as a bit of an out of competition entry, but I still need to mention Incubation: Released in 1997 as part of the – then pretty successful (at least in Germany) – Battle Isle series, Incubation basically worked as the first really cool squad-based Space Marine game without even being a GW-licensed title.

Incubation probably seems incredibly primitive by modern standards, but back then, it felt like a revelation: I remember loving GW and 40k even back then and hoping they would end up making a game based on their IPs that didn’t suck — but it actually never came to that, at least not back then. But a German developer made a game about vanilla SciFi-troopers (totally not Space Marines) fighting against a slightly weird alien race (totally not the Tyranids), and after playing it, I kept asking myself why GW couldn’t have come up with that kind of game — or at least given the license to these guys…

Funnily enough, Incubation is actually still available as part of the Battle Isle Platinum Pack, but I couldn’t really tell you whether or not it has aged all that gracefully. I will affirm though that it felt like an excellent Space Marine game long before GW themselves got their act together on that front, and that’s enough to be included in this list!


So yeah, so much for my – entirely subjective and woefully incomplete – list of video games that have fed into my hobby over the years. I would love to hear your feedback, both on the nature of this post as well as on the actual choices I have made: Was this an interesting subject, in spite of only dealing with the actual hobby in a slightly roundabout way? And did I miss any games that should be included on this list? You are very welcome to contribute your own favourites!

In any case, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

The State of the Hunt, Week 33/2017: Idle hands…

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, state of the hunt, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2017 by krautscientist

So I find myself in a bit of a motivational slump at the moment, trying to work up the motivation to actually paint some of my recently completed Death Guard models, especially my biker lord, since he’s my pledge for the August Arena event over at The Bolter & Chainsword. But while I remain committed to that plan, I just couldn’t seem to get started, and the fact that I’ve been distracted by other stuff – including other hobbies – recently, didn’t really help.

At the same time, cutting up little plastic men is never really all that far from my mind, so when I received a rather nice bitz drop from fellow hobbyist Aasfresser, my interest was piqued:

Among the bitz were some early 90s plastic berzerkers (say what you will about them, as far as monpopose models from the early 90s go, I think they’re pretty great!) and a plastic CSM from around the same time — I’ve never even owned one of the latter before, and while the model hasn’t aged all that gracefully, I do think those were pretty much ahead for the curve for their time, especially when compared to the pretty atrocious 2nd edition plastic Space Marines.

There were also all kinds of chaotic bitz and bobs — but it might surprise you to learn that something altogether different caught my eye and gave me an idea…


I. A thing in a jar

As I discovered to my delight, Aasfresser had also included one of those creepy embryonic rats that come with the Skaven Stormfiends kit. Having one of those things in my hands made me remember my half-buried thoughts about a possible conversion project, and then things just started falling into place: I recalled a certain John Blanche sketch from the 4th edition 40k rulebook, Aasfresser told me about his own plans for those via PM and ‘doesn’t that new 40k objectives kit contain a pretty cool incubation tank…?’

Anyway, here’s what I had when I came to 😉

As you can see, I basically added that incubation tank from the Sector Imperialis Objectives to the undercarriage of a Kataphron Destroyer, and I think it works pretty well. A word of warning to those of you who are considering a purchase of the objectives kit, however: While it contains many excellent parts, the cast seems to be plagued with the same gooey texture and loss of detail we have already seen on some of the basing kits. The components are still serviceable, but they are not as sharp and crisp as the stuff you get when you purchase a 40k squad (or AoS unit).

Those problems notwithstanding, the combined parts made a rather convincing new home for that creepy little embryo: I love the idea of the Adeptus Mechanicus keeping strange and creepy experiments inside incubation tanks and vats and maybe taking them along for expeditions and battles to field-test them. Or maybe this is a particularly degenerate member of the Adeptus itself?

In any case, I did my best to make the small creature inside the tank as creepy as I could: All signs of its ratty progeny (the face and tail) were carefully shaved away, and a new face was spliced in. I also added some more cabling and some injectors and vials for that extra bit of AdMech madness. Here’s a closer look:

Given the enlarged brain, I thought it would be cool to go for a face with the eyes and mouth sewn shut, so I used one of the trophy heads from the Plaguebearer kit. Yeah, pretty unhinged — I know 😉

Now the back of the tank is fully detailed as well, with a pretty nifty array of cogitator banks, so I wanted to have some kind of Magos or tech thrall on there, monitoring the vital signs, collecting readings and stuff like that. Now my original plan was to have the operator as an actual, separate individual, but comments from fellow hobbyists over at the B&C made me reconsider — and realise that there’s actually nothing more AdMech than having a hardwired servitor on there for just that one purpose, is there?

So here’s a mockup for the operator/servitor:

And here’s a view from the front, without the tank in the way 😉

The servitor itself looks pretty faceless, but that’s arguably the point of such a creature, right? 😉

All in all, I think the model is really starting to come together — and the cradle for the servitor also goes some way towards making the whole ensemble look more believable as an actual AdMech machine.

So the model should be a pretty cool addition to the small AdMech freakshow I have already built and painted for my INQ28 collection:

II. Primaris premiere

Sawing through all of those Kataphron Destroyer bitz also led to another conversion: I recently purchased a box of three snapfit Primaris Marines, so I could experiment on the new Space Marine models at some point. Say what you will about the way the bigger Marines have been shoehorned into the setting (personally, I hate it!), but the models are pretty cool and provide the perfect go-to template for building true scale Astartes for use in INQ28, among other things. So I returned to yet another conversion I had been planning for a while — although having the Primaris Marines to work from certainly made this project quite a bit easier!

As you can probably tell from looking at the model, this is supposed to be an Iron Hands (Tech-) Marine. I carefully sawed away most of the Primaris torso front and replaced it with a Kataphron Destroyer breastplate. The bionic left arm also came from the Kataphron Destroyers. The backpack and head are from the Deathwatch:Overkill Iron Hands character, and the bionic left hand and axe are from a Master of the Forge.

For the right arm, I tried just tacking on the stock arm, but this highlighted the fact that the new, elongated bolters don’t really work all that well when held in one hand — the arm just seemed ever so slightly unbalanced to me. So I carefully reposed the arm from aforementioned Deathwatch:Overkill model, and I think it works far better:

Funnnily enough, the new gun isn’t really that much shorter, but it still looks quite a bit more balanced, wouldn’t you agree? It probably has something to do with the front of the weapon having a stockier build and looking less “elongated”, for lack of a better word. Plus the cabling also adds a bit of extra visual “counterweight”, as it were.

So that’s it for this week: Nothing groundbreaking, but a couple of – hopefully interesting – kitbashes. As usual, I would love to hear your feedback! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

The State of the Hunt, Week 22/2017: Too hot for painting…

Posted in 30k, 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, state of the hunt, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 1, 2017 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, as the title should already have told you, the last few days have been crazy hot over here, on the blasted plains of northwestern Jhermani, so getting anything painted was completely out of the question. Actually, so was just about anything else, really. But I did at least make some time for a spot of kitbashing, and have some results to share with you:


I. In the Shadow of Great Wings, pt. 1.5

You’ll probably still remember my recent conversion of Argel Tal’s daemonic form, a model I am still fairly pleased with, if I do say so myself:

But even while I was putting the finishing touches of Argel Tal’s daemonic version, it was already clear to me that I would eventually have to build another version of the character in his “normal” transhuman form, for whenever the daemonic essence of Raum hasn’t come out to play. It just wouldn’t have seemed like a complete project otherwise 😉

But my original plan was to actually put the alternate Argel Tal version off until some point in the indeterminate future (that’s where hobby projects go to die, in case you were wondering). Alas, it was not to be: I just had an innocent look at the descriptions of Argel Tal in The First Heretic and Betrayer, just for research purposes, you know — and before I knew it, I was halfway through the building process…

So here’s what I have so far:

Once again, a couple of conversion notes:

  • the armour was basically a no-brainer, as Argel Tal is described as wearing a suit of Mk. IV plate, so I mainly used plastic Mk. IV parts, with the notable exception of the breastplate (which is the same Raptor torso I also used for daemonic Argel Tal) and the arms (Mk. III arms, actually, chosen for looking a bit more ornate — only befitting an Astartes captain).
  • the Guardian Spear makes a return here, for obvious reasons. Once again, I chose to change the weapon’s haft, making it look more like a spear — actually, I basically had to go back and recreate the version daemonic Argel Tal is wielding, just for the sake of continuity 😉
  • the cape seemed like a nice way of giving the model some extra bulk and presence and make it read as an officer. It originally came from a half-complete Ivanus Enkomi model fellow hobbyist Augustus b’Raass sent me a while ago.
  • And finally, the head. Now I realise that this could be a divisive choice for some people, but I decided to go with the bare head from the Space Wolves character conversion sprue. Call me crazy, but I’ve somehow always imagined Argel Tal as having long-ish hair. And that particular head really came closest to the mental image of the character I’ve had in the back of my head ever since reading Betrayer. But if you find yourself hating this particular head, don’t fret: Like Kharn, Argel Tal will have an optional helmeted head as well:

Incidentally, there are actually very few conversions of non-daemonic Argel Tal conversions to be found, so I didn’t have much to work from. The one pretty cool depiction I found, however, was this piece of artwork courtesy of Noldonfinve:

artwork by Noldofinve

The piece even received ADB’s official blessing, so I thought it would be cool to take some visual cues from it when building my own version, and I think that worked out pretty well, wouldn’t you agree?

In closing, here’s how the more human Arge l Tal looks next to his buddy in crime:


And here’s a comparison showing both versions of the character:

Now all that remains is to actually get these two painted — this whole project has already spun off into enough of a distraction as it is… 😉


2. On The Road Again…

In other news, remember the Road Crew?

I realised when taking a look at a couple of my recent posts that it has been a rather long time since I’ve done anything INQ28 related, but that fantastic Sector Mechanicus terrain released recently, alongside Shadow War Armageddon has given me a taste to delve back into the depths of the underhives, and what better way to do that than to keep adding to my fun little band of misfits pictured above?

Now to remind you, the basic idea behind these guys is that they are a colourful collection of former gladiators, former pit slaves, mutants and other undesirables establishing their own little domain in the depths of the world of St. Sabasto’s Reach, a pretty sinister planet, even for 40k standards:


St. Sabasto’s Reach

An extremely rich hive world grown fat and depraved through slave trade and the exploitation of its mutant lower class.

The world originally earned its name when the Imperial Saint Sabasto rested here after his great victory on the fields of Belzifer, before engaging in the last stage of his holy crusade for the defense of Velsen against the forces of the Arch-enemy. While Sabasto’s crusade army was still magnificent at this point, it had also suffered heavy losses (a fact, it is argued by some contemporary Velsian historians, that contributed to Sabasto’s eventual defeat within the Veil of Impurity).

When the Saint contemplated the price in blood paid for the reclamation of Velsen, he decreed that the entire world of St. Sabasto’s Reach would be given to the orphans of the slain and that the Imperium would see to it that the children of martyrs would never need to go hungry. This spurred the planetary populace into religious fervor, and countless orphanages and scholae were opened in the saint’s name, earning the world bynames like “The Planet of Orphans” or “The Orphans’ Cradle”.

However, with a slow decline in piety and a general economic recession, many of the world’s orphanages have had to close over the centuries, while others have turned to a far darker trade, giving the world’s epithet a new, sinister meaning. It is true that Imperial organisations like the Schola Progenium, the Ecclesiarchy and even the Inquisition still maintain a presence on St. Sabasto’s Reach and recruit from the ranks of the homeless orphans, choosing the most talented or devout to serve in their respective organisations. And in the deeper levels of the world’s hives, missions and orphanages still offer a real, if meagre, chance for survival to this day. Yet that is only one face of St. Sabasto’s Reach. For at the same time, the world has also become the biggest fleshmarket in the entire Velsen Sector, providing human resources in a very literal sense, from mutant workers to household servants. Moreover, it is rumoured that there exists a slave for every kind of service in the almshouses and slave pits of St. Sabasto’s Reach, and the masters of the world have long prided themselves on being able to cater to every taste and desire, no matter how “eccentric” it may be.

Another mainstay of the world’s culture, the countless circuses and fighting arenas, are also fueled by a constant influx of “material” from the slave pits. At one point, the world’s renowned Circus Imperialis served as a front for a cult of chaos worshippers and was purged by the hand of Inquisitor Antrecht. But even after this upheaval, the remaining slavelords and ringmasters of St. Sabasto’s Reach quickly regained their step, slightly realigning themselves in the resulting power struggle and carving out a new pecking order among themselves. Because the Inquisition’s issue was never with the slave trade itself, but with the presence of heretics, and so the House of Blossoms, the Angelflesh Lodge and countless other establishments like them continue to ply their dark trade to this day…


One thing I have wanted to do with this project is to combine a number of established Necromunda archetypes (the Pit slaves and Scavvies in particular) and add a twist of my own. There’s also a fair bit of Mad Max-vibe going on with the project, but I could not quite work out how to emphasise that particular angle when these guys are actually based in the dark, dirty and cramped underhive.

I’ve watched quite a few Let’s Play videos of Metro 2033 and Metro Last Light, by way of YouTuber ChristopherOdd, lately. Both games are set in a postapocalyptic near future where a (nuclear) Third World War has likely wiped out most of the human population on earth. Underneath the ruins of Moscow, the survivors of the apocalypse have turned the Metro tunnels into their new habitat, creating a makeshift civilisation in the cramped confines of what used to be the metropolis’ transportation system. Now I have a bit of a thing for postapocalyptic scenarios anyway, but after immersing myself in the scenario, it hit me: The whole concept of subway tunnels becoming living spaces and an entire ecosystem, if you will, seemed like the missing puzzle piece that would allow me to push the Mad Max angle on my Road Crew project a bit more: What if the lower reaches of the Hiveworld are crisscrossed by a network of transportation tunnels originally created – and mostly still used – to move the vast amounts of goods necessary to keep the world’s overly bloated population alive? St. Sabasto’s Reach has a huge population, even for a Hiveworld, because its most important goods are people, but all of these have to be fed, even if they are only in transit. So I imagine a network of massive, highway-like tunnels far beneath the ground, with smaller maintenance tunnels, substations and similar spaces in between the cracks spiderwebbing off from the main branches of the network. And maybe the Road Crew has taken to raiding some of the transports travelling along those massive subterranean highways: That would allow me to incorporate elements that are typically Mad Max, even vehicles. So with my creativity thus reinvigorated, I assembled some new recruits for the gang:

Now I am actually cheating a bit here, because both the guy with the chainsaw on the left and the guy with the gun on the right were originally built before I had even started thinking about the Road Crew. And yet, without a few minor tweaks, they became pretty cool new parts of the project — I actually love it when a project finally provides a new home to some stray conversions from years ago 😉

The guy in the middle is new, however, and I am pretty proud of him. Meet Cirque:

I don’t think I will ever tire of the particular look that a combination of Ork parts (with their somewhat grotesque, overmuscled appearance and clunky technology) and human sized components will give you — almost the perfect recipe for mutants, if you ask me.

And there’s the Road Crew’s ride, of course, a slightly touched up Gorkamorka Trukk that has become far too small for modern Orks, yet should work really well for my merry band of postapocalyptic ne’er do wells:

Now if only the heat would let up for a couple of days, I could maybe get some of the above painted — keep your fingers crossed for me 😉

Anyway, so much for today’s update. It goes without saying that I would love to hear any thoughts you might have!

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