Archive for Inquisimunda

State of the Hunt, week 26/2020: Tributes in plastic and more digital Dreams

Posted in 40k, Inq28, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2020 by krautscientist

Time for another update, lest this blog fall into complete disuse. Be warned, though: Today’s post is a bit of a stitched-together chimera of different things. But hey, better than no new content whatsoever, eh? So step this way, please. I have some things to show you:

I. A few tributes in model form

While I didn’t have the time to work on any new models, I do have some pieces from earlier this year that I have not yet featured here on the blog, so this seems like a perfect opportunity to finally give them their day in the limelight!

First up is a conversion I am really happy with. By way of introduction, let me reiterate that my buddy DexterKong and me are basically sharing (and co-developing) the same 40k adventurescape, our little corner of the 41st millennium, so to speak: the Velsen Sector.

On top of being fun, this basically serves as a very handy resource, because the background we have (and continue to) come up with really serves as an extra layer of texture that informs our conversions and character ideas. Now a couple of years ago, Dexter came up with a character that I have been jealous of ever since. One Inquisitor Uraccen Falx, of the Ordo Xenos:

Inquisitor Falx by DexterKong

Dexter imagined Falx as a bit of a crackpot and a conspiracy-theorist — to be fair, he came up with a character at a time where conspiracy-theorists weren’t as much of a dangerous real-world political influence as they are today. But the idea of an Inquisitor who was basically a huge paranoiac, expecting vile xenos conspiracies behind everyone and everything truly appealed, and I think you can really see that kind of background in the model: Falx is an old, drawn, perpetually exhausted fanatic who will not allow himself to rest, lest “they” finally get to him.

In case you are interested, you can find out more about Falx here and here. For today, suffice it to say that this was one of those models that I always regretted not having come up with myself — until I realised a while ago that I could at least do the next-best thing and build a version of Falx for my own collection.

So that’s what I did:

For the most part, this was very much a case of trying to “colour inside the lines”, so to speak, trying to match Dexter’s original model. I diverged from the original design in one or two small ways (choosing a different tilting plate as well as a – very fitting – shoulder mounted AdMech gun. I also used a different sidearm, mostly because I didn’t have any of those ancient Eldar pistols left ๐Ÿ˜‰ , but I think it’s still recognisably the same guy. The one really brilliant part of the original model that I didn’t quite manage to capture was Falx’s scrawny neck, making him look like a tired turtle, poking out from inside its shell. But oh well, I am still pretty happy with the finished model (and with having a version of Falx in my collection now).

DexterKong’s version of Falx also uses multiple servo-skulls made from xenos-trophies, to show his ultimate disdain for those vile creatures. So while I was at it, I also built Falx a little friend:


The next thing I want to share with you happens to be yet another tribute — albeit to a video game this time around:

Early this year, I blazed through the adventure game “Primordia”, which I simply cannot praise highly enough: It’s a wonderful little graphic adventure with lots of style which is both fantastically grimdark and, at least in places, rather funny. It also resembles the look of a classic franco-belgian SciFi comic series, which was what drew me to it in the first place. Just take a look at this, and you’ll see what I mean:

Oh, and if you play it with your eyes half-closed, you may be forgiven for thinking it’s basically “Adeptus Mechanicus Forgeworld – the videogame” ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyway, the game’s protagonist is a robot named “Horatio Nullbuilt”:

And I liked the game so much that I thought it might be a cool little project to built a model resembling him:



The conversion isn’t quite finished yet. Plus it only really makes sense if you know the game — otherwise it’ll just look like a slightly dodgy, off-brand AdMech conversion to you. But I’ve already had a laugh building this guy so far — especially when it came to recreating his trusty little plasma-torch ๐Ÿ˜‰

Of course I also made a kitbash to represent his loyal sidekick, Crispin Horatiobuilt, a small spherical robot with a chip on his (nonexistent) shoulder:

Here’s a piece of artwork showing both of them as they appear in the game:

To be fair, I did “40k-i-fy” both of them a bit, but I think they are still pretty recognisable.

It may be some time before I actually paint those two, but I’ll be going for a colour scheme closely resembling their appearance in the game. In the meantime, I really recommend you check out Primordia, if you haven’t already. It’s very pretty – in a highly anachronistic way – and rather grimdark, too.

And while we are on the subject of video games…

 

II. Meanwhile, in the world of Dreams:

I am not going to lie to you: Most of my hobby right now is still spent messing around with Dreams, Mediamolecule’s incredibly accessible game engine.

For starters, since my previous post on the matter, I have made lots of small and larger tweaks to my game “Islands”, including adding a final, secret level and a second unlockable ending. Here’s the trailer for the game again, for those who missed it last time around:

I was also lucky enough to be able to coax fellow hobbyist and blogger Azazel into giving the game a try ๐Ÿ˜‰ If you want to follow suit, I’d be honoured:

The game is listed here.ย Unfortunately, in order to actually get to play it, you still need access to both a PS4 and a copy of Dreams.

Mediamolecule will be hosting a digital event called DreamsCom’20 event next week and, brilliantly enough, have called for digital exhibition booths for the event. I loved the creative challenge, plus my game can frankly use all the publicity it can get, so I used the booth template very helpfully provided by the developers and made my very own exhibition space:

It’s weird and wonderful stuff like this – in addition to the sheer creative joy that is at the heart of Dreams and its community – that I believe is what makes me spent such an obscene amount of time on it at the moment.

To wit, on top of designing a complete game, I have also come up with my very first animated short (made for the “Tiny Worlds Community Jam”), called “The Bug Ronin – Search for the Light Within”:

In this case, I have uploaded the film on YouTube, so feel free to check it out here:

And I have also sculpted a male head (as part of the sculpting masterclass that is part of Dreams’ tutorials), resulting in this finished piece:

Frankly, this seems to me like something created by somebody far more talented than me (especially if you compare it to my previous attempts at sculpting a face). This time around, I have gone for a character design slightly influenced by the style of the “Dishonored” games.

Anyway, the point I am trying to make here is this: I have created all of this using the same suite of tools. And none of it would have seemed remotely possible to me before!

To be fair, none of this has anything to do with 40k or INQ28, so many of you probably won’t really care that much. However, I am, in fact, already thinking about how this new skillset I have been acquiring might be turned towards the 40k side of my hobby time — in fact, I would love to start by creating some digital sculptures for some of my characters — Redactor Orlant and the Countess Mandelholtz, in particular, immediately caught my eye…

For now, fellow Dreamer Alex Markov is already creating some highly impressive 40k content in Dreams:

So yeah, so much for my little heads up regarding my current projects. It goes without saying that I would love to hear any thoughts and feedback you might have!

As always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more! And please stay safe and healthy!

Thorn Wishes Talon!

Posted in 40k, Inq28, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 25, 2020 by krautscientist

For today, I would like to delve deeper into something from my previous post, namely my attempt at sculpting a 3D CGI version of Inquisitor Gregor Eisenhorn’s face. I do of course realise that this moves somewhat beyond the usual content featured on this blog, but I hope that some of you, at least, will still find this interesting.

As I have already told you, I am having a blast playing around with DreamsMediaMolecule’s weird and wonderful game development engine on the PS4 – recently, and I can tell you that I am legitmately – if maybe irrationally – excited about this stuff, mostly because it feels like actually learning some completely new skills.

Anyway, here’s where we left off last time:


A reasonably complete sculpt of an old guy with some metal stuck to his face — hopefully well on his way to being recognisable as the Gregor Eisenhorn we all know and love ๐Ÿ˜‰ Before we move on, however, I think I should maybe give you a bit more context. Remember how I said in my last post that this was only my second attempt at 3D/CGI modeling? Well, here’s the first attempt, created a few days before I started on the Eisenhorn project:


To be fair, this first attempt leaned into a rather more cartoony style from the get-go, but it’s still really weird, isn’t it? It was also only marginally improved by adding some hair…

Anyway, I think this should show you how it has been a bit of a steep learning curve for me ๐Ÿ˜‰

While I was reasonably happy with my first attempt for a while, I quickly started feeling unsatisfied with it: The cartoony nature really just seemed like a bit of an excuse for coming up with a fairly hokey sculpt, the longer I thought about it. So I decided that my next project would go for a somewhat more realistic angle.

Why Eisenhorn, though? I think the idea appealed to me for several reasons: The sculpt would be quite a challenge, while also allowing me to explore several different elements (such as creating human features as well as augmetic, metallic implants) at the same time. I also really wanted to do something hobby related in this new medium, to be honest — and I had this half-formed plan of not stopping with the sculpt, but of creating something like a little vignette, a little slice of the 40k universe, so to speak.

Dreams is the first program I have ever used to create something in 3D, so I cannot tell you how it compares to other software. I would venture a guess that its main feature – the fact that everything is basically assembled by building up geometric shapes (mostly … ) and blending them together – is probably the same for most 3D modeling software. That being said, it does have its quirks and idiosyncrasies — such as the fact that you are doing it all holding a controller (and frantically so, in many cases). This sometimes seems to make things a bit harder than they need to be, and yet the challenge created by this also somewhat appeals to the lifelong gamer in me, to be honest ๐Ÿ˜‰

One thing that really takes some getting used to is to get things placed in exactly the right spot — and while I made good use of Dreams’ options for displaying grids and mirroring working steps, the early phase of creating the sculpt was really slow, careful and deliberate going:


As you can see, I carefully built up the features by adding more shapes (mostly spheroids). If you have the blending effect turned up on your various shapes, this actually does feel a bit like actual sculpting, because of the way the piece starts to deform rather organically when you add new shapes. So I slowly worked my way towards something resembling an actual face:


“Digging out” the eye sockets was really a crucial moment, and I let out a really, really deep breath when I finally got that part just right:


With the basic assembly out of the way, my first milestone for the project was to create a first, “clean” version of the face before actually improving and detailing it further:


This is very much my baseline face sculpt that I could probably return to for other projects, if needed (I have a half-baked idea making a copy and tweaking it to have broader, more Astartes-like features, just as a proof of concept).

The next step was to add more details, such as wrinkels and scars, in order to make the face look more realistic. Which gave me this finished sculpt:


And here’s a detail look at the face, showing you the added detail I talked about. Due to the way sculpting works in Dreams, those wrinkles were actually “sculpted” onto the underlying face, using a tiny sphere as a brush, so to speak, then using it to create tiny depressions in the skin, instead of applying a “painted” texture map:


Now I do of course realise that this face isn’t photo-realistic in any sense of the word, and that it still has a somewhat stylised look. On top of that, there are also all kinds of minor anatomic problems (don’t get me started on those ears, for instance). But when all is said and done, I would argue that the face at least looks fairly believable, if nothing else.

I wasn’t even done, however, because I still wanted to legitimately turn this into Gregor Eisenhorn.

Throughout the whole project, my main point of reference was this classic piece of artwork, still pretty much my favourite depiction of the venerable Inquisitor:

The artwork originally appeared on the back of the Inquisitor rulebook, and I just love the amount of character in detail in it (so much so, in fact, that I also used it as a model for one of my, slightly dodgy, digital painting attempts earlier this year).

Anyway, the artwork really provided me with lots of extra detail to tweak my sculpt, especially when it comes to facial scarring and the way those implants are integrated into Eisenhorn’s skull.

Before we move on, I would be remiss not to mention that there actually already is a CGI version of old Eisenhorn, namely this interpretation from Pixel Hero Games’ “Eisenhorn: Xenos” videogame:

But while I like that interpretation well enough, it also seemed a bit too, I don’t know, beefy for me? I wanted some proper old man features on Gregor (hence the larger ears and somewhat wizened look on my own sculpt).

Which leads us right back to the beginning: Here’s Eisenhorn’s face again, now with the first augmetic additions. As you can see in the bottom left, I also modeled a couple of tubes and connection ports that I would copy and place all over the head in order to recreate Eisenhorn’s implants.

Once those augmetics were in place, I used more sculpted shapes to blend them into the rest of the head and make the skin around them look irritated and lumpy. Once again, everything you see basically consists of geometric shapes (more spheres, in this case) that have been blended together. The picture below also shows you Dreams’ UI and toolbar for the sculpting mode:

One reason why sculpting Eisenhorn’s head was such a useful learning experience was that the sculpt actually combines very different textures: Eisenhorn’s skin was going to be matte and soft-looking while I wanted his various implants to have a hard, metallic look. This was achieved by giving both areas different finishes. The blue-ish colour of the metal is actually the reflected background colour!


It was always clear to me that I would eventually use Eisenhorn’s head in some kind of staged scene, and once I had the finished face, I moved right on to that. In order for his head to seem even more believable, I quickly threw together a mockup for his iconic high collar (by simply using a cylinder shape and cutting a part out of it):

I then tried an early mockup of the intended scene, with Eisenhorn in a suitably (grim)dark locale, with a servo-skull hovering over his shoulder. Here’s an early impression of that test build:

As you can see, the lighting instantly changes the entire atmosphere. Here’s a picture from when I was zeroing in on the exact kind of lighting conditions I wanted. The servo-skull also looks more refined — although it was merely “jury-rigged” by adding some of my augmetic gubbinz to a readymade skull from MediaMolecule’s gallery of useable objects):

But while I liked the general look of the piece, the messy collar was really starting to bother me at this point, so back to the drawing board I went: I tried a slightly more involved attempt, and while the result still isn’t a perfect recreation of Eisenhorn’s look, I liked it much better:



I also used this opportunity to add a few additional flourishes, while I was at it, such as veins showing beneath the skin and a few tweaks to his augmetic implants, including some glowing lights:


And then it was back to assembling my little scene. Here you see the entire stage, so to speak, with all of the controls in view and the studio lighting turned on to make it easier to tweak the scene:


The little purple shapes surrounding the model are cameras that I placed by hand, because I wanted to end up with a short scene of the camera moving around Eisenhorn, in order to show off the fact that this was actually a fully realised 3D scene.

As for the surrounding scene, I have to point out that I only really created the character bust, while everything else came from fellow Dreamers’ assets — in fact, one really great thing about Dreams is that, while you can of course build everything by yourself, there’s always a huge library of wonderful building blocks at your fingertips.

Anyway, here’s the same scene with the lighting effects “turned on”, as it were:


Quite a difference, wouldn’t you agree?

And here, without further ado, is my little scene showing my interpretation of Inquisitor Gregor Eisenhorn:




I am actually crazy happy with this outcome, even if there’s still much room for improvement, to be sure! Oh, and there’s even a short video, to show you how this stuff is even properly 3D, and everything:

Many thanks must go to my fellow Dreamers magister95, ZIIQ, Lucki_Lady, PulsarFlux, shredderweats, oreo123456789109, thebiv, BonMotGuy_ and Lobselvith_Black for their excellent assets! :)for their fantastic assets — like I said, I only really created the head and shoulders, the rest of the scene came from the work of those very talented people. Oh, and by the same token, if you are on Dreams as well, feel free to peruse my head sculpts for your own projects! They are called “Lined patrician face version 1” and “Lined patrician face version 2” — in fact, as of this writing, one fellow user has already used dear old Gregor’s head as the villain in a recreated Power Ranger scene, of all things ๐Ÿ˜‰

So anyway, that’s it for today’s – slightly different – update. While the subject might have been beyond my usual content today, I would nevertheless love to hear any thoughts you might have, so feel free to leave a comment!

As always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more โ€” and please stay safe and healthy during these challenging times!

INQ28: Kitbashing in the time of Corona, pt. 2

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Fluff, Inq28, Inquisitor, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 17, 2020 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, it’s time for another update — and yet, I’ve had virtually no hobby time, for reasons that shall become obvious further down in this post.

It’s a good thing, then, that I still have enough bits and bobs from my desktop to share with you, even if I’ve been sitting on some of this stuff for a while now — what better way to clean house, as it were, eh? So let’s take a look:

I’ll start with a small update on one of the projects from my previous post: Remember the beginnings of my Bloodbriar Cartel?

Looking at the models, I realised that I wanted another bodyguard for the retinue. Now building another sentinel would have been quite tempting, especially on the account of this awesome idea of fellow hobbyist euansmith:

The entire gaggle are looking sumptuous. Looking at the Guard with the shield, I was struck by the idea that, if you make a second one that was Left Handed, they could stand behind important people, with their two shields forming a pair of wings to make their VIP look even more important. The mask on the guard is really cool.

But then I quickly realised that my heavy case of hobby butterfly syndrome probably wouldn’t allow me to build – much less paint – another identical model. Plus I also felt that the bulky Sentinel should be balanced out by a very different, slim and lithe bodyguard. So I came up with this kitbash:




Maddeningly enough, the differently coloured plastic on the upper half of the head makes the whole thing look like a bad Photoshop job in those pictures — you’ll have to take my word that the whole head assembly works better in real life. But I didn’t want to “cheat” by showing a grayscale picture, electing to rather show you the initial kitbash, warts and all.

I also have to admit that I am not quite happy with the second bodyguard yet, and there are definitely quite a few kinks to deal with: To name just one issue, maybe that Bonereaper sword is too massive, but then again, I think I’ll be keeping it because I like the idea of an “exotic” weapon like that without any clear chaos or xenos influences — it looks like the kind of weapon you would see in a powerful crime syndicate (plus all the other swords in my collection are just as big).

One thing I think already works pretty well is the pose: I wanted the bodyguard to look self-assured and at rest, so I really had to go to town on those jumpy Wych legs. The slowly advancing stance looks like that of a ballet dancer, though, which is just what I wanted.

 

Next, more or less ร  propos of nowhere, came a conversion that felt like I simply had to get it out of my system. A bounty hunter, possibly with a bit of a Xenos influence:




The were several design influences at play here: The image of Japanese Ronin (very obviously), Princess Leia’s bounty hunter disguise in Return of the Jedi, as well as character designs you would see in Franco-Belgian graphic novels, such as “Valรฉrien”. Plus the original idea was also lifted from a model I saw on Reddit ๐Ÿ˜‰

The conversion itself was a pretty straightforward one, mostly based on a Necromunda Delaque:

  • indeed, the body, right arm and gun on the back are all from the new Necromunda Delaques
  • the left arm is from the Dark Eldar Kabalite Warriors (or Wyches)
  • the sword came from the AdMech Sicarian Ruststalkers
  • the head, hat and shoulder pad are all leftover Tau…erm “T’au” bitz from my bitzbox: The hat is either from the gun drones or from the Krisis suits – I’d say Krisis suits, though, as the discs that made up the drone bodies are even bigger in diameter. The shoulder pad is from the XV25 Stealth Suits, if I am not mistaken. And the head is just some small sensor array bit (probably from the Krisis suits as well, but I really don’t know) with a couple of extra gubbinz (including a new eye lens) added on to bulk it out just a little and make it look more tech-y. I just wanted a head that seemed very un-imperial and also not at all like a classic facemask.

Here’s another look at the model now with an extra grenade on the model’s belt (for improved visual balance):

Possibly my favourite part of this conversion is that it seems to turn the somewhat awkward pose of this particular Delaque body into an actual strenght: If you ask me, the model really does look like some kind of itinerant Dark SciFi Samurai leisurely strolling through the underhive ๐Ÿ˜‰

In fact, this latest model seems like the perfect opportunity to also share another Delaque-based conversion that I have been sitting on for a while: A mysterious figure, inspired by a yet another conversion I saw online (on Pinterest, I think?!)




This conversion is even more straightforward, simply swapping in a blank Dark Eldar helmet and relying on Delaque bitz otherwise. When I saw this idea, I instantly loved it! It creates such a mysterious, sinister look! Just what I needed for a character codenamed “The Architect”, a mysterious agent of the Neo-Thorian radical splinter-faction known as “The Fragmentarians”, a recurring shadowy power within the Velsen sector…

I wanted the character to look like a secretive player from behind the curtain, so to speak, preferring to be subtle about their influence. Even so, the Architect is not above stepping in and doing some red work, hence the inclusion of the stiletto…

As an added bonus, this model was also the perfect excuse for finally realising a long-standing plan of mine and build a conversion resembling “The Alchemist”, the super-creepy villain of the 2001 film “Vidocq”:

In case you are not familiar with the film, it’s a bit zany and scatterbrained in that special way only French (fantasy) films are, but the production design is really awesome, and the villain is just incredibly creepy — fun fact, back in the day, scenes from the film were used in the music video for a song that appeared on the film’s OST, and I was mesmerised by the Alchemist’s appearance in the video, but didn’t have any idea that those scenes came from an actual film. Years later, I walked by a DVD bargain bin and saw the cover artwork (just the Alchemist’s “face”, as shown above), and basically bought the DVD based on that alone.

It also seems like I am getting quite a bit of mileage out of that Delaque kit, although I have yet to build an actual Delaque… ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Next up, a bit of a terrain – or basing – experiment: When my friend Annie recently placed a large order at Greenstuffworld, I took the opportunity to order one of Greenstuffworld’s textured rolling pins (the temple one) that can be used to create rather intricate designs on bases. So I decided to finally give that a try as well.

The tool is actually rolled through fresh GS, as though you were trying to make cookies. It took a couple of tries to get it reasonably right, but here’s the blank base with the freshly created design on top:


Here’s what it looked like with the undercoat in place:

And here’s the finished base:



Regarding the paintjob, it would have been easy enough to pick up some of the details in a different colour (gold, for example), but for my initial attempt, I didn’t want to draw too much attention away from the model that was to be placed on top of that base.Anyway, while there’s still quite a bit of room for improvement, I’d say it’s a solid first attempt.

My main reason for going with this design in the first place was that I was looking for a less underhive-y look — instead I wanted something to suggest the courts and halls of power, so to speak, of the Velsen sector. Which is why the first finished base in this style was given to my conversion for Lord Sebastianus Danver Balzepho Vlachen, nephew to the Lord Sector:


Funnily enough, the “temple” design might just as well be called the “INQ28” design — there’s a smattering of quasi-40k-esque symbols present in the design, including a small “28” plaque, for crying out loud ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

And that’s about it for today’s collection of odds and ends — oh, wait! I have one more thing to share with you all:

You see, the reason why I haven’t managed to get any hobbying done lately is that I have been sinking virtually all of my free time into MediaMolecule’s “Dreams”, basically a game/machinima/3D sculpting/… toolkit for the Playstation 4. I don’t want to gush, especially since I am helplessly in love with the game/program right now, but it’s definitely one of the most remarkable pieces of software I have seen in a long time (fun fact, I bought this and the Final Fantasy VII Remake for the Easter holiday. I have yet to touch the Final Fantasy game…). Plus it’s a blast to play around in!

And I do actually have something hobby related to show for myself, because – in an attempt to get more familiar with Dreams’ 3D sculpting tools – I set out to create a model of Inquisitor Gregor Eisenhorn’s head:



This project is still very much work in progress, but it’s also only my second attempt at digitally sculpting a head in 3D — and without a lick of prior modeling experience, to boot. Anyway, if you’ll excuse me: I think I may have to add a few more tubes and augmetic gubbinz to dear old Gregor’s mug ๐Ÿ˜‰

In any case, I would love to hear any thoughts you might have on my current projects! Please leave a comment!

As always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more — and please stay safe and healthy during these challenging times!

INQ28: Kitbashing in the time of Corona

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Fluff, Inq28, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 1, 2020 by krautscientist

For all the sad and awful things that are currently going on in the world, I have found the Corona-mandated downtime as strangely conductive to my creativity when it comes to kitbashing and converting, in spite of everything. So today, I have a monster of a post to share with you, with quite a few new INQ28 conversions that I am pretty proud of. I you would step this way, please…;)

 

Let’s begin with the model that seems to have kicked things off: Earlier this year, the Brothers Wier (of “Between the Bolter And Me” fame kicked a challenge with the subject of using the new AoS Ossiarch Bonereaper models to create some creepy, rather more skeletal Eldar to channel the somewhat gigeresque origins of the Eldar race during the Rogue Trader days of yore:

Illustration by Tony Hough

What’s more, the brothers were also awesome enough to send me one of the models from the Mortek Guard kit to use for the challenge.

But in spite of that generosity, it still took me quite a while to get started on my contribution…

One reason for this, on top of my usual laziness, was that the bar was immediately set incredibly high, for instance by this this very cool and creepy Eldar model built by Adam Wier himself…

Model converted by Adam Wier

or by Larsonic Miniatures’ absolutely incredible Haemonculus.

But seeing how the Coronavirus-downtime had at least provided me with some extra hobby time, I felt that I might just as well finally try to get this show on the road. I still had some leftover Yvraine parts, back from when I first converted the Countess Mandelholtz, and definitely wanted to put them to good use, along with some Dark Eldar knick knacks I still had in my bitzbox.

Even so, the first half of the conversion process was an exercise in frustration, with things just refusing to come together — except for my own fingers, that is, because I certainly managed to glue them together more than once. The model itself didn’t really seem to work, though: For instance, I all but ruined Yvraine’s head in an attempt to go for a really creepy, biomechanical look (think the Alien from the first Species film, minus the gratuitous nudity).

But I soldiered through, and it was actually late at night when I finally felt that I might be on to something:

I think getting the legs and torso to line up properly was what ultimately sealed the deal — after that, it was mostly a question of going with what felt right. And before long, I had this model:

And believe it or not, most of what you see is actually the Mortek Guard model the Wier Brothers originally sent me. I merely spliced in a few Eldar parts from various sources:

  • Yvraine’s feet and hairpiece
  • a Dark Eldar helmet (chosen for its stylised, statuesque features) and one-and-a-half Dark Eldar arms
  • an old (late-90s) Dark Eldar Kabalite warrior’s abdomen (yes, really ๐Ÿ˜‰ )
  • a severed elven/Aeldarii head (I think it originally came from a Wood Elf, although I am not sure)

I even ended up with a couple of spare Bonereaper bitz to squirrel away for future projects — YAY! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyway, the conversion was still rather messy at this point, and needed a few tweaks and some cleanup. Here’s what the finished conversion looks like:






I am actually really happy with this guy (?) at the moment, but that’s probably because the project seemed like such a trainwreck before it finally all started to come together.

There’s zero background in place for the model, but I do like how ambiguous it seems: Is it some new kind of Exarch? A wraithbone construct? Some sinister kind of Drukhari warrior? Or a pre-fall revenant? Fellow hobbyist BeardGoblin even pointed out that the model resembles an Avatar of Khaine — in fact, it could even work as an Epic-/Adeptus Titanicus-scaled Avatar, minus the severed head.

In any case, I think I’ve come up with a working contribution for the challenge — speaking of which, though, you should definitely check out all of the other excellent contributions: Go read up on them over here, at “Between the Bolter and Me” — and many thanks again to the Wier Brothers for sending over that model and for allowing me to be a part of this event!

 

Getting this particular conversion to work also felt like the floodgates had been opened, in a sense, and I emerged from this project quite motivated and with an appetite for something a little more …adventurous. So what happened next?

A couple of years ago, I was lucky enough to be able to snap up the female vampires from the WFB/AoS Coven Throne. If you ask me, those are some of GW’s coolest models (and still some of their best female sculpts), and I have cannibalised them for several projects over the years (to build, just to name the most important examples, Mistress Elisha Gorgo, Countess Mandelholtz, Redactor Orlant’s masked bodyguard and the pilot for my second Knight Armiger). This all left me with – most – of the body of the main vampiress (only missing her head and parts of her arms) as well as the cushions that normally go behind her on the Coven Throne. And whenever I came upon those parts while burrowing through my bitzbox, I would always have this vague idea to one day turn her into a cool, very Blanchesque figure in a floating comfy chair.

Well, desperate times call for desperate measure, so I decided that it was finally time to go for it:

When I started this conversion, I did not yet know whether I wanted her to be an eccentric noble or a crime lord (or both) or some kind of conspirator — for starters, it was just fun to delve into the Blanchitsu look to create her. The model was missing its head, and I decided to actually turn that into a virtue, using a creepy resin skull (sent to me by my buddy Biohazard a couple of years ago) and some GS cables to give her a suitably grimdark mask. An eyelens from a set of Cadian binoculars was used to add an augmetic eye piece to the mask.

The cushion bit was far to nice to discard, and I loved the idea of having her float on some kind of antigrav chair. So I created a suitably impressive throne for her:

As you can see, I added another cushion (made from GS) to elevate her to the right height and make for a smooth fit. I then used what I believe are mostly Sentinel bitz to tech-up her chair a bit (with some Chimera flamers repurposed as antigrav suspensors).

Here’s the grimdark mamzel, with her chair suitably built up:

This only really left me with one area to deal with: Her feet. Ideally, there would have been some kind of footrest for her, but when I tried to cobble something together, I realised that an element like that would obscure most of the lower front of the chair, defeating the exercise of having a floating chair to begin with.

In the end, the solution was rather simple: As I still had the flowing skirts from the other two vampires, I simply shaved down one of them to fit the mamzel. So here’s the finished conversion:


I also have a slightly firmer idea about her background now: I’ll be calling her “Lady Bloodbriar”, and she’s the head of a crime/underworld syndicate of the same name that has become very powerful indeed behind the scenes of the Velsen Sector. Her real identity remains a secret, and she prefers to keep it that way — although, I actually do have a pretty good idea who she really is, underneath the mask. That’ll be a story for a different time, though…

Still feeling very happy with the conversion, I took a long hard look at it and decided that what Lady Bloodbriar really needed was…a pudgy little cherub whose funtion was basically that of an ambulatory fan:




Now the idea of using Nurglings to create cherubim wasn’t mine — it’s a clever approach I first saw on Jeff Vader’s Convertorum. It did serve me really well here, though! The little skull face was actually designed to match Lady Bloodbriar’s mask. Oh, and I added some tiny augmetic plugs to the Nurgling’s body here and there, to hint at the fact that this is an automaton of some sophistication!

And yes, I am quite aware of the fact that actual cherubim models are now freely available as part of the new Sisters of Battle kits — but the plan here was to focus on only using parts from the old bitzbox. And that was even before GW stopped taking any orders, too!

Anyway, my original plan was to actually have him on the chair as well (on one of the cushions behind her), but I am pretty sure that this would have overcluttered the model — plus I do rather like the idea of the little guy hurrying behind the floating throne, trying his best to keep up..

And seeing how I had basically lost my marbles at this point, I couldn’t help thinking about yet another cherub for her, loosely inspired by a detail appearing in a piece of John Blanche artwork from the second edition 40k rulebook:

Illustration by John Blanche

In it, a cherub is wearing the cutest little pseudo-napoleonic uniform:

And seeing how I still had a head wearing a bicorn (sent to me by fellow hobbyist Drone21c, if I remember correctly), I knew I just had to try and channel that effect:

He is carrying a little hourglass, as if to say: “This is all the time you get to plead your case with the mistress…”

The little guy with the hat will be named “Nullsum” (thanks to a brilliant suggestion from fellow hobbyist A_Tempest_Sinister), and his buddy will be called “Aerial” (in an attempt at a similar pun ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

Also, I think I’ll be giving Nullsum a little sword:

It just makes for an even more “heraldic” look, for lack of a better word…

So I had the Lady Bloodbriar herself, and her two cherubim — but that wasn’t nearly enough, and I was basically neck-deep into this project at this point, when I came upon an incredible blog post at Meandering Shade that made me realise that there’s something really interesting you can also do with a cable maker — quite an eye opener! So I simply had to build a majordomo for Lady Bloodbriar. Meet Master Corvinus Icter:

As you can see, he is currently occupied with contemplating the contents of a dataslate while his mistress talks to a supplicant, and probably interjecting pointed questions and remarks (“What were your credentials again?” “These numbers don’t seem to add up…”)

The conversion itself mostly consists of bitz from the WFB Empire Greatswords /AoS Freeguild Greatswords, with just a shaved-down Skitarii coat as well as a Delaque head and dataslate spliced in for flavour — and there’s that glorious hairdo, of course, basically created by cutting apart a GS cable and carefully applying its parts to a substructure also made from GS. It’s unbelievable how easy this was — although it might still need a bit of cleanup here and there.

I have one more conversion for you for today’s update — because a powerful mover and schemer like Lady Bloodbriar obviously also needs some muscle to serve as a personal bodyguard. After giving it a bit of thought, I dismissed the idea of including some kind of heavily muscled ganger, but rather went for a bit of a “palace guard”-style character, and with a highly stylised and idealised look, to match the amount of ostentation evident in the rest of the models. Now the Custodes and Stormcast Eternals basically have the market for statuesque, hulking warriors cornered between them, so I had to get a bit creative to come up with something that didn’t look too similar to them, while also invoking some visual cues from either — after all, it seems obvious that, in-universe, both the Custodes and Astartes would be revered as some kind of godlike ideal by citizens of the Imperium, and that the most influential among them would pattern their own household guards after those legendary warriors to some degree.

Anyway, here’s WIP for “the Sentinel”:


This conversion was all about creating a massive, statuesque and idealised warrior that wasn’t to look like a Space Marine. I tried to achieve this by using some slightly unconventional bitz — the base model was a Blood Warrior of Khorne, for instance. I am also rather happy with the spliced-together facemask and with the use of a Kharadron Overlords spear as a pretty exotic looking weapon.

Of course the Sentinel didn’t escape a round of tweaks, either ๐Ÿ˜‰

I added a shield because I wanted to support the statuesque look even more — plus it also seemed like a fitting choice for a guard. The grisly skull trophy was exchanged for something a little more fitting (I use the winged sword device as a symbol for St. Sabasto, the “Sword Saint”, even though it’s originally a DA symbol, obviously ๐Ÿ˜‰

So here’s the group, pretty much as it stands right now:

I am really having a blast with this project — in fact, to be quite honest with you, I had feared that I might have “lost my touch”, so to speak, since the level of quality all around seems to have soared, while some of the stuff I have been working on just felt trite and derivative. But with these latest models (and some of my latest World Eaters), I think I am in a pretty good place once again. I am not saying that none of this has been done before – and, indeed, I have been taking inspiration from fellow hobbyists like Jeff Vader, EdT and others left and right – but these latest models do feel like a – much-needed – breath of fresh air to me!

Oh, and I have even sketched out some inconography for Lady Bloodbriar’s crime syndicate (“The Bloodbriar Syndicate”? or “Cabal”? Or “Cartel?” Does anybody know any more cool, 40k-like words for a crime ring?):

I like the idea that most members of the organisation wear this kind of symbol — or a variation thereof: It could appear as tiny, inconspicuous tattoos or brands on the upper echelons of the organisation, whereas low level brutes would be covered in briar tattoos.

Anyway, if anyone’s still reading: That’s it for today’s update. I would, of course, love to hear any thoughts and suggestions you might have!

As always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more — and please stay safe and healthy during these challenging times!

State of the Hunt, week 52/2019: Cleaning house…

Posted in 40k, Blood Bowl, Chaos, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob, state of the hunt, Terrain, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2019 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, it’s the last day of the year (at least on my side of the planet), and I sincerely hope you’ve all had a wonderful Christmas! While I will have to postpone my annual Eternal Hunt Awards for a couple of days, I still want to share an update with you, as I actually managed to get some painting done during the holiday!

Before we get to that, however, there’s one more thing I want to share with you: This wonderful Christmas card from the Brothers Wier over at Between the Bolter And Me that actually landed on my doorstep right in time for the festivities:

What a wonderful surprise indeed! Cheers guys, and another year of blogging and successful hobbying to you as well! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Now, as for the actual painting, it was of course really hard for me to break through my usual holiday lethargy, but I did want to do something creative and hobby related before the end of the year, so I looked for things that might be quick and fun to get me back into painting. The first thing I came up with was this small cogitator terminal, an objective that comes with the Necromunda starter set:

It looked like it might make for some quick painting fun, and indeed it did: I had a blast spongin on the rust and base colours, then spent a bit more time painting the displays and buttons. Just a delightful little appetizer to get me back into the swing of things!

Next up, I came upon this little guy whom I had wanted to get painted for ages:


This is a captured slayer that was originally part of the “Battle for Skull Pass” WFB starter set. It’s a weird little sculpt, something that almost looks like an afterthought to be added to the plastic sprues that came in the box. It’s a single piece with fairly few (and soft) details, but I still liked the quirky nature of the model and thought it would make for a cool little optional marker to add to my Orkheim Ultraz Blood Bowl team, so I quickly painted the little guy.

The main point here was to get a nice and bright orange colour for his impressive slayer hairdo, but I also tried to make it look like da boyz had given him a black eye during the brawl that must have led to his capture:




He makes for a nice addition to the smaller bitz and bobs I have painted as hangers-on for the Orkheim Ultraz over the year:

When the time came to decide which final model to paint this year, I was drawn back to Khorne’s Eternal Hunt, of course — no surprise there ๐Ÿ˜‰ To be fair, though, I already had a partially finished World Eater that needed completing, so that definitely helped. One of these gentlemen built (or, in some cases, refurbished) for my “Hateful Eight” World Eaters kill team project:

All of the models were built quite a while ago, and I have endeavoured to finally get some of them painted! The two guys on the right were finished back in October, so I next chose the second model from the left: an older conversion based on one of the Dark Vengeance Chosen models that was loosely based on this illustration by Diego Gisbert Llorens:

illustration by Diego Gisbert Llorens

I had already started the paintjob during one of my painting sessions at my friend Annie’s place, so it was mostly a matter of picking up where I had left off. So I made pretty good progress…

…before finally putting the finishing touches on the model yesterday. So here’s my final model for 2019. Blood for the Blood God!

Seeing how this guy has been part of my pile of shame for ages, it feels good to finally see him painted! And I think the finished model works rather well, too, if I do say so myself.




So that’s four World Eaters down for my “Hateful Eight” project (although somehow I doubt I’ll be able to stop at eight…):

But in any case, this was the final spurt of hobby productivity I have managed to wring from 2019. I hope you have all been able to get some hobbying done over the holiday season! I would love to hear any thoughts you may have (or learn about any hasty last minute painting you may have performed before year’s end), of course! And I wish you all a Happy New Year! See you on the other side, when I finally begin this year’s Eternal Hunt Awards series in a couple of days!

Until then, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!