Archive for Inquisimunda

INQ28: Unfinished business, pt. 3

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Fluff, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob, Pointless ramblings, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2019 by krautscientist

At the risk of boring you all to tears – those of you who still bother reading this, anyway – I am still hard at work on my Ordo Xenos warband, and it feels like I am on a bit of a roll with these guys. Don’t worry, though: There’s an end in sight. To wit, here’s where we left off last time: The remaining unpainted members of Inquisitor Alvar’s retinue:

Given the fun I recently had painting Professor Abelard Marbray, I thought his planned research assistant would be a good next model to take on:


This entire model basically began with the realisation that Marbray would totally be the type for bringing along some kind of assistant, and I wanted to create a model that both looked like a researcher while also seeming at least reasonably able to look after itself. The conversion is pretty simple, actually, mostly combining WFB Empire bitz and parts from different Cadian sprues.

During the painting process, the research assistant turned out to be one of the models that end up looking awfully bland once the main colours have been blocked in:


Fortunately enough, things started to look up pretty quickly after the washing stage. So I now have another finished model. Meet Researcher Tancred, everyone:



The objective here was to have him match the Professor himself, as they are (or were) both members of the Bastold Imperial Akademy, so I used a similar palette: At the same time, I also wanted to subtly hint at a bit of a possible military past, hence the subtle IG elements.


All in all, I think I have managed to create a pretty workmanlike, slightly downtrodden look that I think really works for the character: He’s definitely the guy for the odd jobs, not yet having climbed to quite the same lofty academic heights as the professor himself, but Tancred’s still nobody’s fool, and he knows how to pull his weight.


I also wanted to include a couple of characterful little touches. For instance, Tancred is busy looking at some kind of map, so I decided to carefully draw on some kind of floor plan (possibly of an ancient ruin or something):


I think Researcher Tancred and Professor Marbray work pretty well together. Take a look:


At this point, I felt I had earned myself a little fun, and there are few things as entertaining as working on a creepy Adeptus Mechanicus character, so I chose the Magos Xenobiologis as the next model to work on.

This character began in two different places: He seemed like an interesting counterpoint to Professor Marbray, for one, looking at the same subject matter (Xenos) from a different angle. The idea also provided me with the perfect excuse to work on a brilliantly creepy model I have had in my collection for quite a while now:

The Magos Xenobiologis is a subtly converted Forgeworld model (originally a Tech-Servitor that comes with Inquisitor Solomon Lok). I only really made one change to the stock model, replacing the tangle of cables and dataspikes emerging from his left sleeve with a pretty creepy metallic claw — this guy just loves to take apart Xenos and find out what makes ’em tick 😉 The fact that his robes recall both a lab coat as well as a butcher’s apron really support that impression…

Another, fairly recent, addition was a servo-skull that started as a fairly spontaneous little converting exercise, yet seemed like a pretty fitting addition to this model:


When it came to painting the model, I stuck to the classic approach and went for red robes, silver and bronze metallics and pallid skin. That said, I tried to achieve a somewhat grungy look to support the already pretty creepy sculpt — the Magos is often at work in the field, and I wanted the paintjob to reflect that.

So here’s Magos Xenobiologis Harland Leitz, on permanent secondment to Inquisitor Alvar’s retinue:



the different angle reveals the servo-skulls pretty disturbing syringe…



I am actually really happy with this model: He’s a creepy bugger, and the paintjob really supports that impression, if you ask me:


So there we are: Two more members for Inquisitor Alvar’s little club. The Inquisition dropship must be getting a little crowded just about now 😉

That being said, I love the idea of Inquisitors having a rather large team of retainers and choosing a suitable “away team” from this talent pool whenever the need arises.

So, looking at the picture at the top of this post, that leaves only the squat engineer and female hive ganger — so let’s see when I’ll be able to get those finished…

Oh, and seeing how today’s models were actually finished this last weekend, I hope Azazel won’t mind my handing them in as yet another contribution to his Squaddie September ’19 challenge.

In addition, I would, of course, love to hear your thoughts on the models, so please leave a comment!

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

INQ28: Unfinished business, pt. 2

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Fluff, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob, Pointless ramblings, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2019 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, time for another update: I still have to spent way too much time on hospital visits, but I nevertheless thank you guys for all the well-wishes! It really means a lot!

If nothing else, I have managed to be a bit more productive in hobby terms, mostly thanks to another painting session at my friend Annie’s place.

So what do I have for you today? — More finished members for my Ordo Xenos warband, as it happens.

And that’s a good thing, really, because this particular retinue is one of my oldest INQ28-related hobby projects, and it’s always a great feeling to be able to cross some long-neglected models off my list of unpainted stuff!

Inquisitor Alvar’s warband was actually originally started in 2013, with several of the models also first conceived back then.

In hindsight, the warband almost seems like a primitive precursor to the colourful group of adventurers that would end up in the Blackstone Fortress boxed se:

— overtaken by GW’s own release schedule, now that is one for the news 😉

But anyway, all the more reason to finally show this project some love! So I’ve managed to add two more finished members to the warband, and I have also taken some new photos of all the characters so far, so let’s start by going through the members of Inquisitor Alvar’s retinue:

First up, the Inquisitor himself: Titus Alvar of the Ordo Xenos Velsen — Inquisitor, socialite, adventurer:


There’s an as-of-yet unnamed sanctioned psyker who is also a member of Alvar’s warband. My vague backstory for him is that Alvar picked him up while he was under Inquisitorial audit for some psionic “friendly fire” caused by the presence of a Xenos artifact.



Next up,  Zekariah “Foreman” Lunn, Inquisitorial operative and veteran of the Eisenberg Factory Guard:



And T’L’Kess, Kroot tracker and scout, and possibly the last survivor of his kindred:


So much for the members of Alvar’s retinue so far, but what about the new blood? Well, let’s take a look!

First up is Inquisitor Alvar’s interrogator, Mamzel Millerna Acheron:

Now this is actually not a GW model, but actually Reaper Miniatures’ “Sasha Dubois, Time Chaser”, from the Chronoscope line of models. I will say, however, that it almost looks like a missing GW sculpt from the late 90s or early aughts, with maybe a dash of Chris Fitzpatrick, especially in the face. Anyway, I mostly picked up this model a couple of years ago because I liked the sculpt so much — but I quickly realised that she would go really well with the rest of Alvar’s warband, and she even mirrors some of the visual cues that appear on the Inquisitor. To wit, one of the most popular paintjobs of the model to be found online even uses a colour palette that is somewhat similar to my recipe for Alvar:

In any case, this was defnitely one of the paintjobs I kept putting off for years for fear of messing up. At the same time, I didn’t want the model to perfectly match Alvar’s look, but rather to complement it. Here’s what I came up with:

Seeing how several details appear on both Alvar and Millerna (such as the epaulettes, coat, the goggles on the forehead,…), turning the models of echoes of each other to a degree, I thought I could get away with a blue-ish/turquoise coat. I also see Millerna as the scion of a voidfaring family, so a slightly naval look did seem appropriate (and worked well with the golden elements on her coat as well).

I also took the liberty to not paint her with a bare-midriff, as that seemed a bit too gratuitous and risqué for a professional Inquisitorial operative. Instead, I tried to achive the look of combat fatigues or an armoured bodyglove, which I think is a far better match for a character like this. I am really very happy with the finished model, if I do say so myself!

Here’s a group picture of Inquisitor Alvar and his interrogator, and I’d say they work very well together:

With one tough challenge behind me, I was feeling cocky enough to start painting one of the first conversions created for the retinue, and a rather involved one at that. Professor Abelard Marbray, renowned Xeno-archeologist of the Bastold Imperial Akademy:


To quote myself from back when I originally came up with the character:

“It also stands to reason that an Inquisitor exploring Xenos ruins would have need of a specialist in the field of archaeology. And indeed, while painting the model for Inquisitor Alvar, inspiration struck and made me want to convert one of the most underappreciated WFB plastic characters, the Empire Master Engineer — at least, it’s the only model that’s ALWAYS available at the FLGS and never sells out. And to be honest, it used to be the one model I couldn’t see myself using for anything. But it just seemed perfect for this:”

Using the – now OOP, ironically enough – Empire Master Engineer did make for a somewhat quirky model, but that was really just the look I wanted, even back then: Equal parts nutty professor and mad scientist, and also the look of an old gentleman academic going on a grand adventure in what he considers his best possible gear for the great outdoors.

It’s also a rather cluttered and busy model with lots and lots of detail to paint, so to finish the professor did take a while. But here he is, ready to travel out into the sea of stars — FOR SCIENCE!


That bulky, voxcaster-based thing on his back is supposed to be some kind of portable cogitator, by the way, allowing him to file and cross-reference his findings even while working in the field. I imagine it even makes an old-fashioned “ding” sound when finishing with a calculation 😉



I built the professor to be contemplating a rusty, dirty Necron skull, as you can see, unsure whether this is an artifact of a Xenos culture or actual part of an alien. There’s even a patch of bright silver where his fingers have wiped away some of the dust and grime of the ages (although you probably have to take a close look to see it):


This was another paintjob that I had been putting off for a long time — and to finally have completed these two characters really does feel like quite an achievement — silly, I know 😉

In any case, this brings Inquisitor Alvar’s merry band of rogues and adventurers quite a bit closer to its completion. Here’s the entire retinue so far:

As for future additions, there are actually four more possible members for the warband. Take a look:

From left to right, there’s a Magos Xenobiologis of the Adeptus Mechanicus, now on permanent secondment to the Ordos, Professor Marbray’s research assistant, a Squat/Demiurg (or whatever you want to call them — I thought it would be a fun model to throw in) and Shiv Korlund, a female hive ganger, represented by one of Jes Goodwin’s vintage Escher models.

Looking at the retinue now that it’s starting to come together for good, I realise that the warband definitely owes a debt of inspiration to the Inquisitorial retinue fellow hobbyist Lamby is currently working on (and, to be exact, has been for a while). This wasn’t really a conscious decision on my part, but I cannot help feeling some of my models echo the design cues you can see in Lamby’s work, and there are subtle similarities here and there that must be due to my following his warband taking place over a similar number of years. So cheers, mate! And great to see you working on your stuff again!

I am also happy to finally be able to contribute something to one of Azazel’s community challenges again, as my attempts to finally finish Inquisitor Alvar’s warband should definitely qualify as a part of his Squaddie September ’19 challenge.

As is usually the case, I would love to hear your thoughts on the models, so please leave a comment! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

 

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

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





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


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

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

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

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

INQ28: Unfinished business

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Fluff, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob, Pointless ramblings, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2019 by krautscientist

Back to the shadowy world in between the cracks for today’s update, as we make the aquaintance of more citizens of the Velsen Sector, DexterKong’s and my personal INQ28 sandbox.

2018 was very much an INQ28 year for me in that I managed to, more or less, finish five different retinues for my Inquisitor collection. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for 2019 so far, but there’s still some time left this year, eh? So let’s head back to the world of shadowy dealings in service of the Ordos for a bit:

In spite of my painting progress last year, my INQ28 backlog is still on the wrong side of hilarious, so I didn’t exactly have to search for something to paint. I chose one of my long-neglected warband projects: the retinue of one Inquisitor Titus Alvar, of the Ordo Xenos Velsen:

Inquisitor Titus Alvar, of the Ordo Xenos

House Alvar has been one of the more influential noble houses for centuries. As a scion of the house, Titus Alvar grew up in luxury and power, the intricacies of the Imperial courts with their waxing and waning support for one house or another a game he quickly mastered. Maybe the search for new and more immediate thrills was what made him enter that perilous region of space known as “The Veil of Impurity” time and time again, and tales of his exploration of ancient ruins, of treasures discovered and adventures survived, made him the talk of the courts he had left behind. As a matter of fact, one of his expeditions into the treacherous cluster of stars resulted in a standoff with Inquisitrix Cimbria Carscallen. Under normal circumstances, someone running afoul of the Ordo Xenos would have been executed without second thought, yet Carscallen must have seen something in Alvar that made her reconsider. And so, Titus Alvar, noble, adventurer, became an Interrogator in the Emperor’s Holy Ordos of the Inquisition and, in time, an Inquisitor in his own right.

Though the years of doing the Emperor’s work may have somewhat mellowed his once flamboyant lifestyle, Titus Alvar very much remains a socialite and a political animal. His standing as a member of an influential noble house makes him a common guest at social functions all over the sector, and the tales of his exploits have led some of his peers to suspect that he is a glory hound, first and foremost.

In truth, Titus Alvar is, above all else, a pragmatist: The trappings of nobility are as much of a useful tool to him as the artifacts he has recovered on countless expeditions or the retainers, some of them quite exotic, that comprise his warband. Meanwhile, some of Alvar’s colleagues have grown suspicious of the Inquisitor’s continued expeditions to the Veil of Impurity and some of the alliances he may have forged there…

 

Back when I originally came up with the plan for Alvar and his retainers, I had this idea for an Ordo Xenos Inquisitor who was also a bit of a socialite, and an adventurer — closer in outlook to a Rogue Trader in many ways. So I wanted his retinue to be somewhat colourful and picaresque again, not unlike the charming collection of archetypes appearing in the original Inquisitor rulebook. Going back to the pages of that veritable tome, I realised that my collection was still missing the alien mercenary archetype — and it woud also also very much in character for a socialite like Alvar to have an “exotic” retainer like this in his warband, even though it might make the more puritan members of the Ordo Xenos foam at the mouth…

So that was where T’L’Kess the Kroot Pathfinder was born a couple of years ago:

T’L’kess lost his entire kindred in an atrocity committed by a T’au commander to prove a point (it’s a long story). In any case, there’s no love lost between him and his former “employers”(in fact, this is one of the angles that interest me most about the T’au empire: the contrast between their propaganda and narrative of a peaceful empire of many species and the possible cracks and ugly sides such an empire might have, such as aggressive expansionism, speciesism — you name it). T’L’Kess has realised that his last chance to keep his bloodline alive might be to travel the stars in order to find members of the kindred who left the planet prior to the genocide. During his travels, he meets Inquisitor Alvar and ends up working for him as a scout and pathfinder.

I have always been intrigued by the Kroot and have wanted to turn one of the models into a bit more of an individual for a long time — imagine my annoyance, then, when Dayhak Grekh from Blackstone Fortress turned out to be a much better realisation of a very similar character idea…

Ah well, my model was built years ago with the bitz I had back then. And in any case: All the more reason to finally get some paint on the character, right? 😉

When painting the model, my two main sources of inspiration where my buddy DexterKong’s Kroot character Ortok (basically one of the best Kroot conversions I have seen so far) and Foxtail’s paintjob for the Dayhak Grekh model from Blackstone Fortress.

Anyway, here’s the finished model for T’L’Kess






The white part on the left side of his head is actually the T’au version of a comms system. I tried to make the skin around it look scarred to hint at the fact that it was inplanted without much care for his thoughts on the matter — or for his good looks 😉 I wanted to hint at the bad blood between him and his former comrades in arms, and also at the fact that the covenant between the T’au and the other species from their empire can sometimes be less benign than what is usually suggested in the background…


Most of the characters for the warband were actually converted back in 2013, if you can believe it. With T’L’Kess finished, I actually had three finished members for Inqusitor Alvar’s retinue:

There’s the Inquisitor himself (in the middle), T’L’Kess the Kroot and an as-of-yet unnamed sanctioned psyker, formerly of the Astra Militarum, but cast out by his regiment when an encounter with a Xenos artifact led to some psionic friendly fire…

And here’s the rest of the retinue as it looked at that point:

In addition to the aforementioned characters, there’s Professor Abelard Marbray, renowned Xeno-Archaeologist from the Bastold Imperial Akademy and his personal research assistant, a member of the reclusive “Ashers”, an ethnic group facing a lot of prejudice throughout the Velsen Sector. Another Astra Militarum veteran and heavy weapons specialist for when things get ugly. Millerna Acheron, voidship captain and Alvar’s Interrogator. Not pictured: Shiv Korlund, a former hive ganger (based on one of the old Escher metal models).

With the Kroot model painted, I actually wanted to keep going, so I chose to work on the heavy weapons specialist next:

I like the big gun and the “tough as nails” look and imagine this is the kind of guy Alvar makes use of when negotiations turn sour and diplomacy is no longer an option. The original idea for him – way before then new version of Necromunda was released, mind you – was that he could maybe look like a former hive ganger (similar to the gangers from House Goliath) that had ended up joining the Astra Militarum at some point. And I still see him that way, basically: An Astra Militarum veteran and former memer of a working gang (with an extra emphasis placed on the word “gang”) from an Imperial factory world. His clothes and equipment were therefore painted to look as though he were wearing a mix a mish-mash of his former regimental colours, his working gear from the manufactoria of his homeworld and a couple of Inquisitiorial emblems here and there. I have also taken extra care to make his armour and leather apron look scuffy and well used, as you would expect from a working man like this. Take a look at the finished model:





For the icon on his shoulder, I combined two decals: An AdMech cog symbol and a small Astra Militarum emblem. This seemed like a fitting symbol for a regiment hailing from a factory world.




Oh, and adding those little symbols and markings to the grenades on his backpack was such a frivolous yet enjoyable little detail…

In my background ideas for the warband, he also has a bit of a war buddies thing going on with T’L’Kess the Kroot (whom he calls “Birdman”), in spite of everything:

So that’s two new members for Inquisitor Alvar’s retinue, and two long neglected models to cross off my list. Yay! 🙂

But wait, there’s more: Seeing how I was on a bit of a roll here, I decided to dig out another long-neglected model of mine that I think deserves some sort of closure. This gentleman here:

This is Lord Sebastianus Danver Balzepho Vlachen, one of the Velsen Sector’s big movers and shakers — and also a bit of a hero of the people. At the same time, he also has a darker side to him, and is ruthlessly ambitious. As grand-nephew and heir apparent to the ailing sector governor, he seeks to succeed his great-uncle as sector lord, and he is every bit as ruthless and ambitious as you would expect of somebody so far up in the Imperial nobility. At the same time, his connections to the Velsian Astra Militarum and supposed battlefield heroics have endeared him to both the military’s top brass and the common people. But again, there’s often a less respectable side to his character: For instance, he wears his scars with pride, having both a bit of a dueling history and a reputation as a grizzled veteran, but the truth is that the nastiest scar on his face actually came about due to a confrontation with one Cpt. Esteban Revas of the 126th Haaruthian Dragoons (read the full story here):

Anyway, Lord Sebastianus was one of those conversions I was really, really happy with. But he still ended up in a box, partially painted, and has stayed thus for years. Enough, I say! So here’s a PIP-shot of the mostly finished model:


It’s a really great feeling to be able to finally cross some of those old chestnuts off my list of unpainted stuff. And it’s fun to be back in the world of INQ28 for a spell! 🙂

Of course I would love to hear your thoughts on the models, so feel free to leave a comment! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

INQ28: Kill Team Ulrach, Move Out!

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Fluff, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 28, 2018 by krautscientist

Having completed two more members for my Deathwatch kill team last week, I was only one model away from finishing the project: Last in line was this gentleman here, a Watch-Brother from the Carcharodons Astra I converted earlier this year:

When it came to painting the model, my first port of call was to take another close look at Malcharion’s brilliant Space Sharks with their very prominent tribal trappings (incidentally, I offered Malchy the opportunity to name my Carcharodon, and he kindly provided the character with a name):

Caracharodon Reiver by Malcharion

I wanted to include some of those tribal swirls and decorations, but to a slightly lesser degree. I am not half the painter Malchy is, for one, and I also wanted to keep at least a bit of the rather austere look created by the mostly black armour. I also liked the rather blunt Space Shark painted by Tarvick:

Carcharodon by Tarvick

 

Tarvick’s model also provided me with the perfect approach for painting the model’s skin tone, because I actually spent quite some time thinking about the kind of colour I wanted to achieve. In the lore, Carcharadons are described as having greyish skin, but I decided against simply using grey, mostly because it’s such an uninteresting approach, really — you lose all the small ways of creating a pale, yet still alive, kind of look. So I went for a very pale skin tone (which shows really well when comparing the model to the rest of the kill team, which I’ll be getting to in a minute), with livid scars as a visual contrast.

Here’s a look at a mostly painted model at the end of my first big painting session:

As you can see, I did try to include some of those tribal symbols on the model. Both Malchy’s models and the Carcharodon artwork produced by Forgeworld served as inspiration for this element:

And I also had to freehand the chapter badge, once again. I worked from the most recent incarnation of the Carcharodons’ symbol, as provided, once again, by Forgeworld:

Here’s what I came up with:

When this last photo was taken, the model was already mostly finished. So with the last paintjob for the kill team all but out of the way, all that was left to do was to build and paint some bases for the last three models. I did this all in one go.


I used the design approach established with the previous members of the kill team: For each Marine, there is also a Xenos skull on their base. The Castigator received a T’au skull (as a tongue-in-cheek shout-out to Commissar Molotov’s semi-insistance on keeping T’au characters out of his Dalthus Sector adventurescape). Brother Mikahel Zephon’s base was decorated with a Vespid head, both because I wanted a bit of variety across the squand and because it was a pretty nice bit. And Brother Komoharai Tetangi’s base saw the addition of a massive jawbone, to hint at the incredible kind of xenos horrors he might have fought in the outer dark beyond the known galaxy.

I also used the opportunity to add the last tweaks and cleanup work to the models’ respective paintjobs. And then the last three members of the kill team were finished at last. So here are some proper detail pictures of the three models. First up, meet Brother Trythus Anteas of the Castigators:







Commissar Molotov ended up providing me with the inspiration for the character’s name, by the way — just as intended 😉

Next up, Brother Mikahel Zephon of the Lamenters:





In this case, the model’s name is a shout out to my fellow hobbyist and good buddy Augustus b’Raass, who donated the Primaris Marine used for the conversion. Cheers again, buddy! 🙂

And finally, Brother Komoharai Tetangi of the Carcharodons Astra:









Since Brother Tetangi’s armour is almost completely different from the kind of armour worn by the rest of the kill team (and intentionally so, I might add: I wanted him to reflect the chapter’s reliance on the ancient wargear that originated from the time before their “exile”), I had to experiment a bit to fit in all the features I had used on the rest of the kill team — such as the red right knee and =][= symbol. I am really rather happy with the outcome, though! I also had to base Brother Tetangi a bit higher, seeing how he is noticeably shorter than his watch-brothers. Fortunately enough, the difference in height is quite a bit less noticeable now!

And with that, Kill Team Ulrach was finally finished! So without further ado, let’s meet the team!

 

=][=

Kill Team Ulrach

Not bad for a problem that actually began as wanting to paint a single, quintessentially loyalist Astartes back in spring, wouldn’t you agree? I think I may have gotten any itch I might have had to paint loyal Space Marines out of my system forever… 😉

That being said, at the same time I do like the idea of maybe returning to this project at a later date, adding a comms specialist or a medic: Because even though the project was begun before the new kill team rules were even a thing (and even then, mostly as a modeling and painting endeavour), some of the models would fit the Kill Team specialist roles rather nicely, I believe: Brother Anteas could be a Zealot, Brother Diomedes would make for a pretty good Sniper. Zephon is definitely a Heavy, whereas Brother Aren looks every part the Scout. And there are Brother Tetangi as a Comat-specialist and Brother Ulrach as a Leader, obviously.

By the same token, there are also one or two chapters that I might like to explore. Maybe. At a later point…

For now, however, I am calling this kill team finished! So in order to celebrate the occasion, let’s meet each of the members of Kill Team Ulrach in turn. Here we go:

 

Watch-Sergeant Vorlik Ulrach
of the Iron Hands

A grizzled veteran of the Iron Hands, Vorlik Ulrach has been the commander of Kill Team Ulrach for quite some time now. His coldly logical approach to problem solving and ability to remain clinically calm even under extreme duress has seen the kill team succeed against overwhelming odds more than once.

Brother Trythus Anteas
of the Castigators

Second in command of the killteam, Brother Anteas could not be more different in nature from the watch-sergeant: Zealous and aggressive where Ulrach is coldly logical, Anteas is a grimly menacing presence, even to his oath-brothers.

 

Brother Arcturus Diomedes
of the Ultramarines
“Stalwart Diomedes”

One of the younger members of Kill Team Ulrach, Brother Diomedes is nonetheless an exemplar of all the quintessential Astartes traits — as should be expected of an Ultramarine. He is also the kill team’s most talented marksman.

 

Brother Vargo Diaz
of the Crimson Fists
“The Orkslayer”


Having fought against the barbaric greenskins numerous times, Brother Diaz has become a specialist at fighting at close quarters, the better to counter the fighting style of those brutal Xenos: The Orks have learned to fear the mighty swings of his artificer powerfist.

 

Brother Rudisha Aren
of the Celestial Lions

A master tracker and proud warrior. Dressed in a suit of slimmed down tactical insertion armour, Brother Aren is the kill team’s infiltration specialist.

 

Brother Komoharai Tetangi
of the Carcharodons Astra
“The Quiet”

A mysterious, deathly pale Astartes clad in a suit of ancient mongrel plate. Taciturn, save for the curtest replies, uttered in an ancient dialect of High-Gothic, Brother Tetangi transforms into a whirlwind of destruction once the battle is joined.

 

Brother Mikahel Zephon
of the Lamenters
“The Doomsayer”

Brother Zephon is given to the kind of dark brooding that is so often observed in those of his bloodline. In him, this trait manifests as a grim resignedness to what he considers an inescapable fate, turning him into a relentless warrior with little regard for personal safety.

 

So yeah, that’s Kill Team Ulrach — I am actually pretty proud of the finished project, if I do say so myself! A few last observations, if I may:

Fellow hobbyist euansmith pointed out over at the Ammobunker that the squad actually looks pretty colourful for seven guys wearing black armour — and in hindsight, I realise he is correct, of course: They really are rather colourful in that slightly retro-ish, 2nd edition 40k way. Not much of a surprise, really, when the model that kicked off the whole project (the Ultramarine) was very much inspired by the original 54mm Brother Artemis and his classic paintjob:

Speaking of colourful, though, another objective for this project was to explore the kill team members’ respective chapters and backgrounds, and that extended both to typical weapons and decorations as well as different ethnicities. Not only does this make sense from a lore standpoint, but I also really wanted to force myself to step away from just using the same pale caucasian skin tone on every 40k model. So I used this project to experiment with a couple of different skin tones, which was fun and also arguably adds an extra layer of visual complexity to the squad:

Another way to differentiate between the models was the inclusion of their respective chapter heraldries, and I am proud to say that I didn’t skimp on this particular element, trying my best to reproduce the various chapter badges as well as I could:


Two of the shoulder pads simply use a decal. One has sculpted detail. Three designs have been freehanded. And finally, Brother Zephon’s shoulder pad uses a combination of all three approaches 😉

In closing, I also want to give a shout out to fellow hobbyists Commissar Molotov, PDH and Jeff Vader: The Deathwatch has been one of Commissar Molotov’s big long running hobby addictions, it seems, and it has been very educational to watch him use it as a vehicle to explore loyalist Space Marines in their full breadth. PDH and Jeff Vader, meanwhile, have been working on their own respective Deathwatch kill teams this year, and being inspired by their fantastic work – and nicking a bit of inspiration every now and then – has been instrumental in getting Kill Team Ulrach off the ground. So cheers, gentlemen!

So that’s it for today — it goes without saying that I would love to hear any feedback you may have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

State of the Hunt, Week 47/2018: Back on watch duty

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 19, 2018 by krautscientist

Having been in a bit of a painting slump recently (after a more than productive first half of the year), I was happy to discover that my recent completion of the “Chibi Knight 2.0” project seems to have returned at least a healthy part of my hobby mojo. So I didn’t lose any time and returned to yet another project that has kept me occupied this year: my true scale, Primaris-based Deathwatch killteam for my INQ28 collection.

It has been a while since the last finished member of the team, to be honest: Here’s where we left off in the summer:


In order to make up some lost time, I decided to have a go at painting the next two members of the killteam back to back. These guys, originally converted a while ago:


On the left is a member of the Castigators, while the Astartes on the right is a Lamenter — in fact, I already started painting them back in August, that is I painstakingly created their respective right shoulder pads, complete with freehand designs. A technique that still makes me nervous, I must say:

Compared with that really fiddly stuff, the rest of the paintjobs was business as usual, really, so I finally got to work.

First in line was the Castigator, a member of Commissar Molotov’s own DIY chapter, included in my killteam as a little shout out to one of the “founding fathers” of the INQ28 movement, as it were:

Incidentally, I had the idea of actually having the model wield a massive whip fairly early on, inspired by some of the artwork from Commissar Molotov’s aforementioned background thread:

When it came to the actual paintjob, I stuck to my established Deathwatch recipe of scratched black armour and a slightly 2nd edition-ish combination of bright reds and golds, and was able to mostly finish the paintjob in an afternoon:

And, a short time later and in much better lighting:






Something I really like about the conversion in hindsight is the helmet: It’s one of the old metal Deathwatch helmets that I simply used both because I wanted to have at least one relatively clean-cut Mk. VII-ish Marine in the kill team, and also because it seemed like a nice shout out to the older Deathwatch parts. I realised during painting that the features of the facemask were a bit sharper and more menacing than your average plastic Mk. VII helmet, which I think really works for the character.


He’s still missing his base and a name — I have actually reached out to Commissar Molotov in order to ask him whether he would like to name the character. It only seems proper, what with the Castigators being his chapter and everything…

While I was waiting for his reply, I began working on the second model, a Lamenter named Brother Mikhael Zephon (the first name’s a shout out to fellow hobbyist Augustus b’Raass, who was kind enough to donate the Primaris model required for the conversion):

This model was an interesting case in that it was the second member of the killteam to be wearing a helmet and because the massive weapon would shake up my usual Deathwatch approach a bit. Here are some impressions from early during my painting session:

I started with the helmet. The teardrop jewels on the right side of the visor had me slightly nervous, but I was able to come up with a pretty nice result thanks to an excellent painting tutorial over at the Tale of Painters blog.


Now the rather massive frag cannon was a big part of the paintjob, and in order to get it right, I used both GW’s own paintjobs as well as PDH’s Iron Knights Deathwatch operative here as reference material:

Deathwatch operative by PDH

Here’s a shot of the model with the frag cannon already in place (taken, once again, very late in the evening and in fairly poorly lighting conditions):

And here’s what the model looks like right now:


The one area that still requires quite a few finishing touches is his backpack:

But I am already working on it, trying to add the last tweaks and finishing touches to the actual model.

For now, here are the – mostly finished – Castigator and Lamenter:


I am quite happy with the way these are turning out — the Castigator, in particular, has quite a bit of presence, wouldn’t you say? And while I was a bit nervous about that huge gun and equally massive backpack on the Lamenter, everything seems to be coming together rather nicely, if I do say so myself.

Here’s a look at the entire killteam so far:

Once the Lamenter and Castigator have been finished, that leaves me with only the – already converted – Carcharodon as the last prospective member of killteam Ulrach, so this is a project that I might actually be able to wrap up this year 😉

Until then, any feedback you may have is welcome, so please drop me a comment! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Coming full circle?! A closer look at Kill Team: Rogue Trader

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 17, 2018 by krautscientist

As some of my readers have already pointed out, I no longer do many reviews these days. But I will gladly make an exception for Kill Team: Rogue Trader, one of the most delightful hobby surprises to come out of 2018 so far:

Kill Team: Rogue Trader is remarkable in several ways: For one, it’s a look at a part of the 40k universe that has appeared in background lore every now and then, but – apart from some Inquisitor models – has never been explored in depth in model form. There’s also the fact that this actually feels like an attempt to take the – already fairly promising – killteam concept into a more narrative and, dare I say it, inquisitorial direction. And at the same time, it also feels like coming full circle, in that both the subject matter and scope of the boxed set seems like a modernised look at the old Rogue Trader, as in: the first version of Warhammer 40k.

 

Enough reasons, then, to give this release a closer look. And it goes without saying that I will be focusing on the models that come with the set, looking at their strengths and shortcomings as well as thinking about possible uses for them in the wider hobby and the odd conversion opportunity. So here we go. Just like old times, eh? 😉

I. The Elucidian Starstriders

To get this right out of the way, I am simply in love with this kill team: GW’s sculptors have done an amazing job at making the team look like the actual household of a Rogue Trader, with an actual background story and some really interesting characters. That alone makes this part of the release a triumph!

I also really appreciate how not only are there strong shared design elements between the models (the baroque armour, the stylised heraldic animal crests for different ranks and functions), but the design also manages to both fit the 40k universe and expand its visual language (with a decidedly baroque influence versus the classic “gothic” approach), making it clear that Rogue Traders are a force unto themselves.


Rogue Trader Elucia Vhane

So, let us start with the actual Rogue Trader, Elucia Vhane: For the most part, this is a lovely and eclectic figure befitting the status of a Rogue Trader. Moreover, since most of the depictions of Rogue Traders so far have invariably shown dudes in some kind of 19th century-ish military uniform, I think we’ll have to give GW some extra kudos for going with a female Rogue Trader!

The detail on the model is rather lovely: The filigreed armour and ruffles are a great touch, as is the slightly old timey aquila clasp on her right shoulder.

My one gripe with the model is how her face is mostly covered by a veil: I get how this was probably supposed to show the eclecticism of Rogue Traders and also add an air of mystery, because you cannot help but wonder how Elucia looks under the veil: a woman kept young and beautiful by rejuvenat treatments? A hideous crone? Something altogether more mysterious? I can also really imagine the veil working great in one of John Blanche’s concept sketches.

The thing is, however, that it fares less well in actual model form. As it stands, the part of the model that should be its absolute focus point ends up looking, well, rather uninteresting. And given the fact that GW’s catalogue absolutely lacks interesting and characterful female faces, this choice seems like an even more egregious copout. Personally speaking, I think a half-veiled face, some kind of stylised porcelain mask (or, even better yet, half-mask) would have been a better solution here, and obviously made for an even more interesting character — therefore, the face is definitely the one thing I would personally convert.


Knosso Prond

Elucia Vhane’s personal assass…erm “bodyguard” has to be one of my top three models from this release: You can never go wrong with a poised, stylised pose with a sword, and Knosso illustrates this very well. I also love how there’s such a clear asian influence to her design – particularly evident on her sword and facemask – but it’s an influence that gets reflected through the general 40k look and feel, and the result is really lovely, if you ask me. That mask and hairdo, in particular, are just great touches! One of the high points, certainly!


Sanistasia Minst

Yet another female character (which is great), and also an exploration of a character archetype we haven’t seen all that often: the medic. The model does an awesome job of straddling the line between a clean, clinical look very fitting for a medicae, and the more ostentatious and baroque elements that are a part of the household’s visual language. I especially like how her equipment (the helmet, shoulder pad and gloves, in particular) seem functional and ostentatious at the same time.

Oh, and that Nurgling is a nice touch, obviously, creating a cool little shout out, both to the background of the game and to the Gellerpox Infected.


Larsen van der Grauss

The Starstriders’ resident tech-priest, Larsen has a very cool and weird design with a strong silhouette. There’s enough weird equipment and tech-y elements to keep us guessing how everything works. I especially like the head!
Funnily enough, the model doesn’t even look all that AdMech at first glance, but it’s cool to see the Tech-Priest look extended a bit, particularly for a member of the Adeptus Mechanicus who has been embedded with a different faction for a longer time.

The look and angle of the left arm seem like a shout out to the old 2nd edition characters that were fairly flat and needed to be all about silhouette — slightly anachronistic in these more modern times, but it actually seems like a conscious choice here, given the many shout outs to older lore and concepts.

 

Elucia also comes with her own household guard, which I think deserves extra compliments because these are a part of any given warband or retinue we normally don’t get to see — the actual soldiers doing the dirty work 😉

Stromian Grell

A burly man with a massive gatling gun — what’s not to like, right? Very iconic pose. Almost reminds me of one of the old Warzone Imperial (or Capitol) models, although in a good way. The boat cap is a lovely touch. I also love how his almost modern SciFi look gets tampered by the baroque influences, such as the filigree on the armour (and even on the weapon). The scarred forearms are also a cool little touch and a nice bit of visual storytelling that hints at an eventful life.

Also, kudos for actually going with a non-caucasian skin colour, ‘Eavy Metal Team! 🙂

Voidmaster Nitsch

Another very 2nd edition pose — and frankly, it’s amost a bit too much with the two guns. At the same time, I really love the clean lines of the model. And possibly my favourite part is how Nitsch foregoes the usual “pants in boots” look for some actual suit pants and a far more suave setup — very interesting, and also a rather interesting resource for converting INQ28 characters and Imperial civilians…

He also looks like an officer, a gentleman, but also a hard-as-nails veteran.

Nitsch’s Squad

Nitsch’s small squad ofs Voidsmen is actually one of my favourite parts of this release. Even though they are fairly uniform, the different poses and weapons (as well as the fact that their actual uniforms are really cool) still make them a great visual addition to the kill team. Even better, there’s yet another female character in there, and for once she doesn’t suffer from the endemic boob armour problem (and is arguably the coolest of the bunch). These three really bring the household vibe to life!

Plus the squad also features what must be the boxed set’s best model bar none: Aximillion the cyber-mutt:

 

Seriously, I just love this guy! The attentive pose and armour plates matching his handlers are just so cool. How I would have loved to have access to this model, back when I wanted to build a cyber-mastiff for my INQ28 collection! Granted, I found a different solution. But it’s still awesome to have an “official” GW model to fill the function!

 

II. The Gellerpox Infected

On the other side of the aisle, we get one of the weirdest and eclectic collections of mutants, monsters and creepy-crawlies I have ever seen in a GW boxed set. The Gellerpox Infected don’t seem so much like an actual killteam, but rather like a “toolkit” for a GM to populate a setting with monsters and opponents for the party to fight. Like the collections of monsters you would see in, say HeroQuest or Space Crusade.

So let us take a look at all of those creatures in turn:

Vulgrar Thrice-Cursed

The leader of the Gellerpox Infected, Vulgrar is huge and brilliantly detailed — the latter really was to be expected, given GW’s standard for plastic models these days. The model is a rather disturbing amalgamation of distressed flesh and crude bionics. While the Nurglite touches are subtle, I still like them: The three heads,  the pockmarked skin – they hint at the source of the Gellerpox plague without turning the model overwhelmingly Nurglite, which is pretty cool.

Those heads are particularly excellent and seem like they would just look fantastic on a wide variety of conversions. At the same time, the burning furnace, complete with flames licking out if it…may be a bit much 😉

In spite of many very cool design elements, I am still not in love with the model. I cannot quite put my finger on what’s the problem here, but it still feels like all the really cool individual components come together into a model that is somehow less than the sum of its parts. Is Vulgrar a terrifically detailed monstrosity? Without a doubt. But he’s not a showstopper or standout piece in a boxed set, like, say, the Dark Vengeance Helbrute used to be. My two cents 😉


Nightmare Hulks

Now these big guys obviously add a lot of visual oomph to the Gellerpox Infected. And I really love how they were designed with archetypal nightmare monsters in mind: the monster from the deep, the cannibalistic abomination, the relentless engine of destruction — I think we can all agree that these are some brilliantly disgusting abominations 😉


Gnasher-Screamer


Now this guy actually looks like a John Blance sketch come to life, which I think was the whole point. Giant Butcher-like brutes are always great fun, and Gnasher-Screamer hits all the right notes on this accord: He has the butcher’s apron, the giant cleaver, and also the unhinged, inbred redneck look to pull it all off. Like something from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, only turned up to eleven and refracted through the particular breed of body horror supplied by the ruinous powers.

If I had to find something to criticise, it would be that the model is maybe a tad too stylised for its own good: The fact that it looks like the 3d version of a drawing is both a blessing and a curse in that respect. But still, Gnasher-Screamer is a brilliant monstrosity, and that’s obviously enough! 😉


Big Spike

In some ways, this guy is actually my favourite Nightmare Hulk: There’s just something about the juxtaposition of a grotesquely overmuscled arm with a withered and decayed limb on the other side that works every time. Now replacing the withered right arm with some weird fly-body may be seen as slightly too gimmicky by some, but I just love the sheer grotesqueness of it.

At the same time, I also have a gripe about the model: the face. It just seems weirdly pedestrian and normal to me, and the goggles (ostensibly the remains of the creature’s formal life) actually make it worse. I think Big Spike would work much better with some kind of weird breathing apparatus strapped to his face (the obvious insectile connotations would also work really well with that little fly buddy growing out of this right shoulder).


The Writher

Ah, yes: You’ve got to have one chaos monster with tentacles, right? 😉

Now this guy reminded me of an old WD article where the sculptors discussed how tentacles were such a difficult element of sculpting because they could make a model look weak and also because they would also often recall some kind of deep sea creature, which seemed a bit ridiculous in the 40k setting. Interestingly enough, the designers seem to actually have embraced the deep sea look on the Writher, as his tentacles and pseudopods resemble nothing so much as the limbs of a giant octopus.

In all fairness, it actually works in the model’s favour: The tentacles, weird distended flesh and hideous shoulder area actually reminded me a bit of the – brilliantly scary – creatures in the (deep sea) videogame SOMA (*shiver*), plus there’s arguably a deep sea angle to the warp that seems like it might be fun to explore.

I also really like the way the Writher’s features are covered by a crude saccloth hood that leaves some parts of his countenance up to our imagination while also still showing us a fair share of disgusting stuff 😉

pose seems a bit more unbalanced than the rest of the hulks, especially with the massive belly — although I suspect they were going for a bloated corpse look, in keeping with the deep sea angle. The scared face of a victim peaking from the Writher’s abdomen is just a little silly, though… And maybe the sculptors have taken the deep sea angle a tad too far, what with the harpoon sticking from the model’s left shoulder? 😉


The Vox-Shamblers

Now these guys are hands down my least favourite part of the boxed set. Poxwalkers? Pirates? Plague Bearers? They seem a bit like the unfocused kitbashes some people come up with when they really want to go crazy and chaotic for the first time, just throwing everything and the kitchen sink together. The weirdly Necron-like skull masks don’t really help either. I’d say the Poxwalkers actually work better as mutated crewmen than these guys…

I appreciate wanting to go more interesting than mere shambling zombie archetypes, but these guys just seem to have too many things going on at the same time. On the other hand, while they may not be my cup of tea, maybe they are also intended as a shout out to the general weirdness that was all over the vintage Rogue Trader and its models from the 80s — that weird mohawk on the middle guy, for instance, seems like evidence for this.

When all is said and done, however, these are pretty much the low point of the release for me, if only because, when compared with the very well realised characters that are part of the Elucidan Starstriders, they just seem a little thin and generically monstrous.

 

The Gellerpox Infected come with a pretty vast array of slightly Nurglite critters:

Eyestinger Swarms

At first glance, these models reminded me of the old plastic swarms for 6th edition WFB, obviously with much superior sculpting. They also serve as a shout out to the various flies and daemonic insects that are parts of many of the new Deathguard models, which establishes a nice bit of visual consistency. I also like the fact that we get four original designs — personally speaking, the swarm of tiny flies erupting from a ribcage seems the goofiest to me, if only because


Cursemites


I really like these because there’s something chitinous and disgusting about them. They seem like a nightmare fusion of chestbursters and bluebottle flies, and they still manage to be adorable in that weird, Nurglite sense — especially the little guy seemingly puking his guts out…


Glitchlings

Somebody must have told the Nurglings to keep their masks on, so nobody would recognise them… Seriously, though, like all Nurglings these are good fun, and the resemblance between their masks and those of the vox-shamblers is a neat idea, at least in theory. At the same time, they also come dangerously close to feeling a bit too gimmicky — especially the Two-Bad-style guy…


Sludge-Grubs

Another type of critter, and another set of four unique sculpts, which is nice. There’s a lot of disgusting detail here, as well as some visual shout outs to various Nurgle models. When all is said and done, the grubs are fun, but nothing to write home about.

And I think that may just be my main criticism when it comes to the Gellerpox Infected: That they lack the amount of character and coherence present in the Elucidian Starstriders. They don’t really feel so much like an actual kill team, but rather like a collection of monsters the GM can sick on the player. Now I realise that this probably isn’t any kind of viable criticism at all, because that’s probably exactly what these guys were supposed to be. But while the Gellerpox infected work great as a collection of monsters and creepy-crawlies, they also lack any real characters. Even the Nightmare Hulks seem more like Scooby Doo Monsters of the Week than anything.

At the same time, I think we also need to consider the angle that the whole box seems like a shout out to the vintage Rogue Trader — and to the craziness of those days. So it seems perfectly appropriate when some of the creatures reflect some of those vintage sensibilities.  Besides, every chaos player should be happy with this toolkit of monsters and mutants to work with. It’s maybe just that, seeing how the Starstriders work as such a well realised and coherent groups, the mutants fall a little flat in comparison.

III. The Rest

On top of the two kill teams, the boxed set also provides us with some smaller terrain pieces and, I imagine, objectives. These all seem to be beautifully detailed and look like a great match for the new terrain kits. I appreciate the inclusion of consoles and pilot seats, because these could really be useful for all kinds of projects. And I like how the small livepods channel design elements both from the escape pod that’s a part of the 40k objectives set, as well as the larger Space Marine drop pods.

IV. The opportunities

 

Elucidian Starstriders

I think it should be really easy to see how these could be incredible useful for both INQ28 retinues or custom Rogue Trader warbands. Just to outline a few ideas:

  • Elucia works great both as a Rogue Trader or, with some tweaks, as an Inquisitrix. In any case, I would probably replace her face with something a bit more interesting (read: less veiled). Come to think of it, she would also make for a pretty cool commanding officer for a rather baroque and eclectic regiment of the Astra Militarum.
  • Knosso Prond, Sanistaria Minst, Larsen van der Grauss and Stromian Grell would also be perfect for all kinds of Inquisitorial warbands, even without any conversions. They would also work great as specialists for, say, an Astra Militarum army.
  • Voidmaster Nitsch is interesting because his elegant getup turns him into prime material for converting a number of characters: He could be an Interrogator, obviously. Or some kind of Imperial agent. Or a chastener of the Adeptus Arbites. But he would also make a great base model for an Imperial noble or a high-ranking operative of a trading cartel or other Imperial organisation — in fact, I have an idea for an operative for the Mandelholtz Banking House that I think Nitsch would be the perfect base model for…
  • The Voidsmen would make for fantastic Imperial Navy Armsmen, a squad of Hive Cops (or even Arbites), Inquisitorial troopers or a Navigator’s household guard — in fact, we can probably expect to see these guys a lot in the future — trust me on this.

One thing I realise looking at the models is that, since they are so well realised as a coherent group, I almost feel reluctant to think about ways to convert them or cut them up, bar the small tweak here and there. I think that is very much a testament to the quality of the job GW’s sculptors have done on this kill team!

Gellerpox Infected:

  • The Nightmare Hulks would make for perfect chaos spawn, far surpassing the official kit (which really hasn’t aged well).
  • Even though they are all supposed to be – subtly – nurglite, it wouldn’t be much work to turn some of them to the service of the other gods: The Gnasher-Screamer already looks like a servant of Khorne. The Writher’s tentacle look or Big Spike’s claw would work equally well for a Slaaneshi force or warband, given a couple of tweaks.
  • By the same token, Vulgrar Thrice-Cursed, with his crude augmetics, would also be a perfect construct for a Dark Mechanicus-themed force or warband.
  • The Vox-Shamblers are so close in design to both the Plague Bearers and the Poxwalkers that they could work as champions/heralds for either. At the same time, they seem like a perfect template for Necromunda mutants, Scavies or similar, downtrodden creatures.
  • The rest of the various critters would be a cool addition for every Nurgle army, of course, where they could be used both as swarms of vile creatures and to accessorise special characters and champions.
  • At the same time, they would also work really well as hazards, enemies or obstacles in games of Necromunda, as they perfectly recall some of the various critters and hazards from the old Necromunda tables 😉

All in all, this boxed set is a fantastic way to experience both kill team as well as the particular eclecticism of 40k as a background! The Elucian Starstriders are a wonderful achievement, and I applaud GW for creating them! The Gellerpox Infected are a fun and versatile menagerie of monsters to be used in various ways (and settings). And even if I would have preferred another kill team as well realised as the Starstriders, the box as a whole is still a wonderful little surprise. And best of all, it also recalls the vintage Rogue Trader and its inherent weirdness in all the right ways for that extra nostalgia bonus — after several decades of releases, it does seem like GW has, in a way, come full-circle with this release!

At the same time, the set is exciting not only for its contents, but for how it represents GW’s willingness to explore well-loved but underutilised parts of the lore and background. At this point, even Inquisitorial retinues and releases for them probably wouldn’t be out of the question. And even if this should be a one-shot, it’s a wonderful way to explore the grimdarkness of the far future beyond the well-trod paths of massive battles and twenty different flavours of SPESS MEHREENZ 😉

So what’s your take on this release? Do you agree with me or do you find fault with my points? And what are your ideas for the models from this boxed set? I would love to hear from you in the comments section! 🙂

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