Archive for inquisitor

INQ28: Nobody expects the Velsian Inquisition

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

models built and painted by Victoria Lamb

 

models built and painted by Victoria Lamb

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

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


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

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




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

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


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

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

 

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




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

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

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

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





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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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



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

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


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


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

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

 

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

 

Inquisitor Antrecht and his retinue:



Inquisitor Gotthardt and his retinue:


Servants of the Emperor:

The Magi of Korhold:


It goes without saying that I would love to hear any feedback you might have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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The State of the Hunt, Week 51/2017: Gosh, is it that time of year already?

Posted in 30k, 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings, state of the hunt, Totally worth it, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 18, 2017 by krautscientist

Well would you believe it: Christmas has managed to sneak up on me again! With so much to do and so little time left this year, the one thing I definitely want to achieve is to publish another round of my annual Eternal Hunt Awards, and I am currently gathering material for that and preparing the posts — wish me luck πŸ˜‰

Until then, allow me to address some assorted news straight from my messy hobby lab:

 

I. More grimdark games…

I would like to start with an addendum to my recent post about grimdark video games, mostly because I forgot to include two particularly striking examples on my list

The first is an incredibly 40k-ish moment in a game that is otherwise just about the least grimdark game you could possibly imagine:

Final Fantasy IX is, for the uninitiated among you, a callback to the series’ earlier, more innocent days, with lots of cutesy characters, talking animals, super-deformed character design and an all around cuteness that has held up remarkably well over the years. However, the game also features the regency of Lindblum, an industrious and advanced city state that basically looks like a hive:


Lindblum is a multi level city scape that seems like the love child of Victorian era London and Fritz Lang’s Metropolis…appearing in a Disney film — but then that’s Japanese JRPG eclecticism for you πŸ˜‰

Seriously, though: Given Final Fantasy IX’s endearing overall design, it should be no surprise that we are dealing with a rather cutesy version of a hive here — no gang wars or underhive mutants to be found. There’s a pretty spiffy theatre district, though:

Back when the game was first released, Lindblum was one of the most stunning locales ever to be featured in a roleplaying game. And its design is still lovely many years later — with the added bonus of actually giving us a decent impression of what a bustling hive city might actually look like…minus the Moogles and talking animal people, that is:

The other addition to my list of grimdark games is a baffling oversight, in retrospect, because it has to be the mostΒ  incredibly 40k/INQ28 game ever to not bear the actual license:

A postapocalyptic adventure game, Dark Earth is set centuries after a big cataclysm has managed to wipe out modern civilisation. The dust and grime from the earth-shattering cataclysm have managed to permanently clog the atmosphere, casting the whole planet into darkness. The sole remains of civilisation cluster around so-called “Stallites”, city states construced around areas where light is still available by scientific or natural means. It probably won’t surprise you at this point that those stallites share more than a passing resemblance with 40k’s hive cities, even though they are slightly more medieval than your average 40k hive.


The society presented by the game is fascinating, though — and oh so INQ28 in style: With everything within the city geared towards maintaining the life-preserving light, society has adapted and stratified accordingly, with a solar priest class and a warrior caste – the Flame Guardians – at the top of society. Dark Earth puts you in the shoes of Arkhan, member of the Flame Guardians, who gets infected with a creeping corruption while fending off an attempt on the high pristess’ life. With his body slowly beginning to mutate and reshape into a creature of darkness, Arkhan embarks on a frantic quest to uncover a treacherous plot that might threaten the entire stallite before his time is up. Cast from his upper class surroundings, he must discover the seedier parts of the city — a veritable underhive full of malcontents, paupers and cultists.


Sounds like an Inquisitor campaign, doesn’t it? Indeed, the game’s scenario seems incredibly 40k in hindsight, if on a slightly more feudalistic level. There’s also a very distinctive look and feel to the game world: If you are into French graphic novels, you’ll find a lot to like here, as the game’s developer, Kalisto, is a French studio and certainly knows how to imbue their setting with the right style. The idea of Arkhan slowly transforming into a deformed monster also adds an intriguing, if slightly stressful, element to the game. All in all, I remember being quite taken with the game when I played it during the late 90s!

Dark Earth was originally planned as a series, and it’s readily obvious how much world building the folks at Kalisto did for the game and the planned sequels. Alas, it was not to be: A sequel for the Playstation 2 was cancelled without much fanfare. In an interesting twist of fate, however, it seems the world of Dark Earth did actually spawn a pretty successful (tabletop) roleplaying setting in its native France — and deservedly so, because the setting and general ideas behind Dark Earth were pretty fantastic!

Unfortunately, the game is not currently available on Steam or GoG (there’s a petition, though). You can – and should –Β  read up on the game in more detail over at Hardcoregaming101 (a highly recommended resource, by the way!), and there’s also a trailer giving you an impression of the overall style (and the badly aged CGI) here:

 

 

II. Digging in for Christmas

One of the best hobby moments of 2017 was when BubblesMcBub, whom I met during my visit to Amsterdam, sent me almost the entire Death Guard part of the Dark Imperium boxed set. In return, I promised him a couple of conversions, and I have been terribly neglectful about honouring that particular promise, due to a combination of laziness and RL reasons.

It goes without saying, however, that I remain committed to honouring our agreement, so the first model I have built for Bubbles shall make its way to the Netherlands, along with some odds and ends, later this week — and hopefully even in time for Christmas. But what kind of model are we talking about?

For starters, Bubbles wanted an officer for his Iron Warriors, and he told me he would like to see a Khornate Iron warrior to boot. No sweat, right? The one complication was that Bubbles’ Iron Warriors have a much cleaner, 30k-inspired look than the very baroque CSM I usually build, so I tried to dial back my usual style a bit.

So my task was to…

  • come up with a suitably imposing officer/champion
  • incorporating some classically Khornate attributes
  • at the same time, I still wanted him to clearly read as an Iron Warrior, so he needed to look suitably no-nonsense and slightly techy as well.
  • keeping the model clean enough to work with the rest of Bubbles’ army.

So without much further ado, here’s the model I built:





Personally speaking, I think I’ve hit a pretty good middle ground between “obviously Khornate” and “still fairly professionally Iron Warrior-sy”. And more importantly, BubblesMcBub seems to be happy with the model as well, which is what matters! So hang in there for a few days longer, mate! I’ll be swinging by the post office ASAP πŸ˜‰

 

III. What else is new?

In other news, I am also gearing up for some long-overdue hobby time over the holidays: I’ve picked up the wonderful new Necromunda boxed set and am currently salivating over those lovely gang sprues. Nothing has been built yet — although some Goliath bitz have already made their way into my 30k World Eaters collection. Anyway, expect to hear from my firsthand experiments with the new sprues soon-ish.

And even though my painting output hasn’t been all that incredible this year – at least where mere numbers are concerned – I think I might have one more model in me for 2017. This guy:



I am still rather happy with the conversion, and the model should also make for an excellent capstone for 2017 — seeing how the very first model I painted this year was another converted plastic Contemptor, Vaako the Immortal, a model I am still enormously proud of:

So yeah, let’s hope this all works out! If all goes according to plan, the first post of this year’s Eternal Hunt Awards should go live later this week — keep your fingers crossed for me πŸ˜‰ And I’ll make sure to put in some painting, in between all the sleeping and the eating. What about you guys, though? Any last minute chores or hobby commitments? As always, I’d be happy to hear from you in the comments!

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

Grimdark video games?!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

I. Legacy of Kain series

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

II. Primal

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

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

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

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

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

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

Artwork by Mark Gibbons

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

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

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

III. Dishonored series

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

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

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

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

Dishonored 2_20161120161254

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

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

III.b …the Thief Series

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

IV. Resonance of Fate

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

V. Basically anything by Yasumi Matsuno

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

FINAL FANTASY β…« THE ZODIAC AGE_20170814193800

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

 

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

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

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


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

 

Honorary mention: Incubation

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

 

I. A thing in a jar

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

Anyway, here’s what I had when I came to πŸ˜‰


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

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

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



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

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

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



And here’s a view from the front, without the tank in the way πŸ˜‰



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

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

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

II. Primaris premiere

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




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

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




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

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

The Amsterdam Files

Posted in 30k, 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob, Pointless ramblings, Traitor Guard, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2017 by krautscientist

Hey everyone,

it’s my birthday today, and what better way to celebrate than to share with you the tale of what may be my favourite birthday present his year, even though it wasn’t even planned as one. Let me give fair warning in advance, though: This is going to be one hell of a wordy, rambling post, even though there should be lots of shiny things to look at. So anyway, what is this about?

Ever since I got back into this hobby and started blogging about my little plastic men, crazy awesome things have started to happen: People started sending me stuff ranging from bitz to entire models. I’ve been a part of some seriously awesome joint hobby projects with fellow hobbyists. And I’ve had lots and lots of contact with people from many corners of Holy Terra. Even against this background, however, my recent trip to Amsterdam, to meet up with fellow hobbyist Augustus b’Raass, turned out to be an absolute high point!

Now Augustus and me originally “met” over at The Bolter & Chainsword where we both belong to the regulars. The first longer conversation we actually had occured when Augustus had put a dismembered female corpse on one of hisΒ  Night Lords Contemptors, and I was the person to argue that this was actually pretty poor taste. Doesn’t exactly sound like the most promising setup for an inter-personal relationship, right? And yet, it did kick off a fairly continuous stream of mutual comments, posts and PMs that ended with us both realising that we actually had a lot of things in common, even beyond the shared infatuation with little plastic people. Which is actually kind of a big deal, if you think about is: Hobby forums are excellent places, and I love them dearly for the communication opportunities they provide, but you only really get to see a very thin slice of every fellow hobbyist, as it were: There’s no telling whether the guy you keep sharing conversion advice with is actually someone you’d get along with in everyday life.

And it’s actually great that way, because it allows a shared space where people can just come together and talk about a topic they feel passionate about, without having to defend their cultural or political views or their dubious choices in clothing. Even so, to find somebody who seemed like they would be legitimately interesting beyond the hobby was an excellent turn of events, and so when Augustus was kind enough to purchase a copy of Index Apocrypha: Chaos for me when the book had gone OOP, I joked that I would pay him back by coming to Amsterdam and buying him a couple of beers. So yeah, I did go to Amsterdam, and I did indeed buy him a couple of beers, but that’s not nearly all that happened last weekend. So, allow me to share a recap of an amazing trip:

I. Talking Shop

Now as some of you may already know, Augustus is an incredibly talented painter and converter in his own right, so it was always clear we would be talking about lots of hobby related stuff. We actually spend about two hours alone in front of his shelves and shelves of gorgeous miniatures, with me picking up model after model and feeling like a kid at the candy store. What’s more, I even slept in the same room for the weekend, so whenever I woke up, my gaze would fall on those fantastic models — I actually tried to figure out a way to sneak at least some of those gorgeous World Eaters into my overnight bag…

Models built and painted by Augustus b’Raass

…but that would obviously have been extremely rude. In addition to those models looking absolutely lovely, however, they are also magnetised, pinned, drilled and what have you to the umpteenth degree — and those are all things I never really do with my models, as I am just happy to get them finished and be done with it πŸ˜‰ But seeing the craftsmanship that had gone into assembling the models made me realise that Augustus was the perfect person to talk to about a couple of projects and concerns.

For instance, you probably remember this guy from the previous post, right?


Now Augustus and I talked about him and about how the pose was not yet quite there, and so I made some additional tweaks to the pose based on that conversation. This also provided the perfect opportunity for Augustus to teach me how to use a proper hobby saw instead of just wedging a cheap-o knife in there and wiggling it around. Anyway, here’s what the model looks like now:



I actually think the pose is quite a bit more natural now in how his legs and arms interact — as an added bonus, he even seems to be dragging his right leg, which is definitely fitting for a Plague Marine. The one small setback is that sawing through the torso to get the arms and shoulder pads off damaged some detail, so I might have to do a bit of cleanup there, but oh well.

Secondly, Augustus was kind enough to magnetise my World Eaters Contemptor’s right arm for me, as you can see in the picture below:


So now, in addition to looking like this,…



…he can also rock a sweet multimelta. Like this:



I am not a big fan of the 30k multimelta design, but having the whole thing as a magnetised alternative now really provided me with the incentive of making it look a bit more vicious and spiky, and I think I have suceeded with that.

And finally, while I basically managed to get most of the models I had brought over there without a hitch, my Forgeworld Angron was snapped off his base. Augustus suggested pinning him, and I asked him whether he could slightly tweak the angle of the model on the base, because I felt that Angron was facing downwards a bit too much. So here’s the tweaked angle, and I am much happier with the model now — and he’s far easier to take pictures of now as well:





I’ll have to build up some debris around the right foot, where the pin is visible right now, but that shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

And it goes without saying that we also sat down and traded a lot of bitz: I had brought a bunch of stuff I thought Augustus might like, and in return, I came home with this crazy pile of awesomness:


The star of the show is obviously the Forgeworld World Eaters Dreadnought, as that is one of those models I have always wanted to own, but I didn’t pick him up before he went OOP — and now I have one! Woohoo! πŸ™‚

All it all, it was brilliant to talk shop with someone who not only has such a fantastic collection (in order to erm…borrow ideas by the boatload), but whose techniques and approaches also differ in certain areas: Augustus is super-structured and super-efficient, whereas I can be a huge fan of sloppy, messy Leeroy Jenkins-style tactics when it comes to painting and converting. Seeing someone else’s process was really quite eye-opening in many ways!

II. The Pretty Pictures

It wasn’t all theoretical, though, as I had also brought a pile of my miniatures for a joint photo opportunity, so we took my models, Augustus’ wonderful Imperial Fists and his equally lovely terrain and tried to achieve a look as close as possible to something you might see in an official GW publication, pitching the warriors of the World Eaters’ 4th assault company against the defenders of Terra during the siege of the Throneworld:



Hmm, with the Eighth Captain in the picture like that, I doubt that Librarian has too much of a career ahead of him… πŸ˜‰





One of the coolest setups we did was to pitch Augustus’ Imperial Fists commander, Franz Landa, against one of the 4th assault company’s Praetors: Secutor Hamund, the Mournful, very much a deathseeker, and seen here during what may have been his final battle:





Creating setups like that was really a ton of fun, and I love how the pictures have turned out! My World Eaters, on the other hand, had to take a bit of a rest after the demanding photo shoot (next to one of Augustus’ wonderful Contemptors):


While we still had that sweet setup out, however, I snatched the opportunity to take some pictures that showcased my models, selfish git that I am πŸ˜‰

Here are my 30k World Eaters, led by their Primarch:



Next up, my squad of Traitor Elites from my Traitor Guard force, “Urash’s Marauders”:


And, since I had also brought some models from the wonderful world of INQ28, Inquisitor Erasmus Gotthardt, of the Ordo Hereticus Velsen and his retinue…


…and the “Road Crew”, my current project of creating a merry band of Pitslaves, mutants and ne’er do-wells from the Hiveworld of St. Sabasto’s Reach:



And here’s one really sweet shot to top off this part of the post: My true scale Astartes, Praetor Janus Auriga of the Golden Legion, going toe to toe with Augustus’ absolutely lovely retro Bloodthirster — seriously, pictures don’t do that guy justice!

III. The All-important Rest

As fun as the whole hobby part of my trip was – and believe me, it was TONS of fun – what really turned the whole event into such a fantastic experience was being fed, pampered and taken around town by Augustus, who was just about the best host you could probably imagine: He had bought a wonderful collection of local and Belgian beers (And we drank. Them. All) and just made sure all around that I was as comfortable as I could be. We also ended up talking about a thousand different subjects – including, but certainly not limited to, the hobby – and I had a blast. Augustus also took me on a trip around town, and we invariably ended up the the local GW store. A huge shout out to the extremely friendly crowd over at GW Amsterdam South, by the way, from Dennis (the store manager who surprised my by being perfectly fluent in German and was an all around nice guy) to Rowdy (who actually came up to me to tell me he was following my work and was a bit of a fan — you made me feel like a freaking rock star, mate!): The hours just seemed to fly, and I loved every second of it.

While at the GW store, I was also able to take a couple of pictures of Augustus‘ spectacular rendition of Aaron Demsbki-Bowden’s First Claw:

First Claw by Augustus b’Raass (1)

Seriously, those guys are something else: It’s perfectly justified that they still draw lots of comments from the crowd at the store: You wouldn’t believe how amazing those guys are when seen firsthand. Let me just throw in additional pictures of my favourite three…

models built and converted by Augustus b’Raass

From left to right, Uzas (easily my favourite character from the Night Lords Trilogy), Talos and Mercutian (the model is just perfect in every way, wouldn’t you agree?).

And their three brethren that are just as awesome — I just happen to be in love with the three up top even more πŸ˜‰

models built and converted by Augustus b’Raass

From left to right, Xarl (I’ve never seen a more intimidating glare in my life!), Variel the Flayer and Cyrion.

While at the GW store, I also met a super-nice fellow named Tom who may just be the best painter I have ever spoken to. While he was all shy about it and kept insisting that he had basically tried to merely follow the work of David Soper, his Orruk Warlord was really a bit of a relevation to me:

Orruk Warlord by Tom

You see, high level painting has never done much for me, because it just seemed so abstract and far removed from where I was standing. Seeing a model painted at that standard from up close, however, made me realise that there were layers and layers of detail there that I couldn’t even take in all at once. Like, I’ve never even liked that Orruk warlord all that much, especially that idiotic skull on his shoulder pad, right? And then Tom goes and does something like this:

Orruk Warlord by Tom

I mean, just look at that bone! JUST LOOK AT IT!

Tom was also nice enough to send me some really good pictures of the model for you to enjoy, so here you go:

Orruk Warlord by Tom

 

Orruk Warlord by Tom

So yeah, lots and lots of super-friendly people — but then, that’s the Netherlands for you. It’s a fascinating country for me, as a German, because in so many ways, it’s like Germany, only not: There are tons of things that are so incredibly familiar, but are just slightly “off” — and I mean off in an entirely good way: You feel at home enough to be at ease, but it’s also different enough to be utterly refreshing. Which is basically the ideal mix for someone who is as much of a scaredy cat as me πŸ˜‰ Almost being able to get what people are saying is also quite a thing, I can tell you πŸ˜‰

So Augustus also took me around town, including the famous Red Light District, so I could take a look at Amsterdam’s seedy underbelly, except it’s really not all that seedy, and it certainly has the added benefit of having a rather lovely canal running through the middle of it:


We ended up at a super cool retro-arcade bar where we kept drinking yet more local beer – Zatte, which actually translates to “drunk” I believe — there’s actually a lot to be said for a country that names its beers for the intended effect – and playing a bazillion games of Jenga, friendly banter with the folks from the adjoining table and crazy, made-up rules included. Let me tell you, it seems like people who know how to convert tiny plastic soldiers can be real Jenga fiends:


And then it was back home, with the crazy guy on the ferry playing songs like “Last Christmas” or “My Heart Will Go On” at full volume on his phone actually being a fellow countryman of mine — leave it to a German to set the mood, eh?

Anyway, if all of this may sound kind of over-enthused, that’s simply because I had such a blast! And I would like to imagine that Augustus felt the same way, in spite of having a compulsively talkative German to take care of. Just look at us eggheads:


I mean he does seem a bit…ambiguous about the whole situation πŸ˜‰

Disclaimer: Which reminds me: Let me just state in no unclear terms that, in contrast to what you may or may not hear from other sources, I was, like, super-handy with the lock on the rented bike, and Augustus didn’t need to help me with it at all. Not even once. And that, as far as I am concerned, is the end of the matter.

Erm, anyways, here’s the big man himself again, albeit in model form: Meet Augustus b’Raass, warlord of Augustus’ World Eaters army:



So, Auggs, buddy: Ja, wie sage ich das jetzt, I really cannot thank you enough! For being an awesome host and a brilliant tour guide! For going through the risk of just having some guy from the internet over for an entire weekend. For the conversations and the laughs and, of course, the beer! And for starting out as a cool hobby buddy that has now become an actual friend! Cheers, mate!

And to all of the beautiful readers of this blog, if you have managed to hang on until now, thanks for reading! And, as always, stay tuned for more!

In hindsight, we should have set them up as though they were shaking hands — that would have been such a sweet capstone for the post…

Five years!

Posted in 30k, 40k, Blood Bowl, Chaos, Conversions, Inq28, Pointless ramblings, state of the hunt, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 21, 2017 by krautscientist

yearfive
Now would you believe it: Another anniversary snuck up on me while I wasn’t looking: As of this week, Eternal Hunt is actually five years old! That means five years of screaming into the void — quite an achievement, wouldn’t you say? πŸ˜‰

But seriously, I am actually really proud of having managed to keep this blog going for so long. Now I realise that some people may consider posts like this to be self-congratulatory. But in a hobby where maintaining focus and motivation is so very important, it feels like a little self-congratulation every once in a while doesn’t hurt, so if you’ll indulge me…?

 

Speaking of the raw numbers, five years of Eternal Hunt means 345 posts, all in all, and around 829,000 views.Β There have been 311,000 visitors to this blog and I have managed to attract 320 followers to date. Given the fact that the blog is a mere hobby project, those are some numbers to be reasonably proud of — I really do want to hit a million views, though! πŸ˜‰

 

Anyway, in previous years, I have always used the blog’s anniversary to showcase some of my earlies hobby efforts, but five years of constant blogging have managed to pretty much bleed me dry on that front: I have shared my somewhat embarrassing first Space Crusade models as well as an incredibly bad paintjob for the classic HeroQuest barbarian, the first model I have ever attempted to paint back in the day. I also showed you my first WFB and 40k armies, respectively, as well as my attempt at creating a Mordheim chaos warband back when Mordheim wasn’t even really officially a thing yet. And I even let you take a look at the highly deriative fantasy artwork I cobbled together during my late teens. So there’s really not much more of my past embarrassments for you to entertain yourselves with πŸ˜‰

So let’s do something different this year: Let’s not focus on my models, for a change, but rather on some of the fantastic pieces I have been given by fellow hobbyists.

You see, this blog has enabled me to not only talk about my personal hobby experiences, but also to get in touch with some extremely talented artists and creators, some of them venerable hobby legends. And while that’s already cool enough in and of itself, I was also lucky enough to have been sent some truly wonderful models over the years: Some of them completely painted, some to be painted by be. Some were already assembled, others came in parts. But they all added something unique and interesting to my collection of models, and some of them even made me approach a particular project or a part of my collection from a new angle.

Plus all of those models also make for a pretty eclectic group when collected. Take a look:

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Now these are the finished models that were given to me by fellow hobbyists in one form or another.

Given the focus of my blog, it shouldn’s surprise you that the XII legion (and their daemonic allies) feature heavily:

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The massive Obliterators were built thanks to some wonderful custom parts that I received from fellow hobbyist Thamier. BrotherJim sent me an excellent converted Khornate champion in his trademark style from Australia. Sagal and AMaximus provided me with some vintage Bloodletters. And the centre piece is definitely PDH’s wonderfully painted Lord Zhufor that he sent over as a surprise – and just in time for the blog’s 2016 birthday! And while I bought those Heresy era World Eaters from fellow German hobbyist AgnostosTheos when he sold off his collection, they came about as the result of a little joint hobby project — and ultimately served as a sort of blueprint for my own exploits into the world of 30k.

And there’s the wonderful world of INQ28, of course: This is the category where I have received some particularly grimdark and Blanchian pieces:

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Neil101 let me have that wonderfully sinister Khornate Champion (and …erm his bucket), while the legendary Ron Saikowski and Drone21c from Australia, respectively, sent me some stunning models based on classic John Blanche artwork. The little powder monkey was originally part of a bitz drop from PDH — and after being turned into a small augmetic familiar, he was named “PeeDee the Monkey” in Peter’s honour πŸ˜‰ Oh, and let’s not forget that cyber-mastiff, converted from a Malifaux model I won in a raffle over at MiniatureTim’s blog.

And then there are my friend Annie’s wonderful additions to my Blood Bowl team, of course:

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And that’s not nearly all, because those are only the models I have managed to paint so far (or the ones that came pre-painted, as it were). As it happens, I still have some wonderful donations from fellow hobbyists to look forward to on my painting desk:

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Among those are Malthus Dire, a Khornate Chaos Lord, courtesy of Commissar Molotov. A grimdark belle sculpted by Steifer. A really, really old Imperial Guard Trooper, once again kindly sent over by Drone21c. The Space Wolves model given to me by the owner of my (now sadly defunct) FLGS. And a freaking Forgeworld Primarch, sent my way by Adam Wier of Between The Bolter And Me — the latter in particular forms a stunning addition to my collection, and I’ll make sure to do him justice!

And that’s still not all either, because I haven’t even talked about the various bitz drops and the constant exchange of ideas between me and other hobbyists — the list goes on and on.

In short, both my collection of models as well as my entire hobby have been enriched by generous gifts and creative ideas from fellow hobbyists from all across the world. And getting in touch with them has only been possible via sharing my work as well as my ideas online, and by commenting on their work and learning from them in turn. And this entire process continues to be an extremely rewarding and, occasionally, humbling experience!

So whether you are one of the brilliant people who have sent me models or bitz over the years or you are a follower, reader or even frequent commenter on this blog, thank you! From the bottom of my heart! Because your contributions keep this blog running, and your influences have really broadened my hobby horizon!

In closing, allow me to share just one further example for the amazing way this whole blogging business leads to more and more surprises:

While browsing for inspirational artwork of Angron, the XII Legion Primarch, I recently came upon this illustration of Angron created by artist Dariiy:

Angron illustration by Dariiy

Angron illustration by Dariiy

Now I did notice certain similarities to my own conversion of Daemon-Primarch Angron, so I sent Dariiy a message enquiring about whether or not that was a coincidence — and imagine how happy and surprised I was when she wrote back that the illustration, done by her as a birthday gift for a friend, mostly used design cues from Alex Boyd’s iconic artwork of Angron in his Daemonic form — and, indeed, from my model version of the character. Now that’s the awesome and crazy stuff this hobby of ours can lead to: An illustration resembling a model you’ve built on the wall of somebody in a totally different country and shared with the rest of the world via social media. Incredible stuff, wouldn’t you agree?

Make sure to check out Dariiy’s tumblr, by the way, as there’s some pretty cool work on diplay over there!

 

So anyway, thank you all, once again — here’s to the next five years, eh? πŸ˜‰

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

The State of the Hunt, Week 7/2017

Posted in 40k, Blood Bowl, Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, Inq28, Inquisitor, state of the hunt, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2017 by krautscientist

As it turns out, last week’s decision to force myself to actually sit down and paint something was really for the best: Not only did it result in a model I am really, really happy with — I’ve also managed to keep the creative spark alive until now. So even though I am currently suffering from a rather nasty case of the flu, I have still finished some more hobby related stuff. So let’s take about some of the recent developments today:

 

I. A Chaotic Tome

One of the more frustrating parts of the 2016 Christmas season was my attempt to get hold of a) the Traitor Legions Codex Supplement, b) Canoness Veridyan and c) the Index Chaotica book. The Canoness, in particular, sold out about three or four times, and once the model was finally back in stock, the Index Chaotica was gone for good — or at least that’s what it looked like then.

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Enter fellow hobbyist Augustus b’Raass (whose fantastic work you might want to check out here, by the way): Auggs was nice enough to swing by the Amsterdam GW store, pick up a spare copy of the book and send it my way — that was really awesome and yet another proof that this hobby of ours is full of wonderfully generous and thoughtful people!

As for the book itself, while I am writing this, it seems to be back in stock, so is it worth it? I’d say so, yes. The cynic in me wants to poke fun at the fact that it’s basically a – ever so slightly haphazard – collection of pre-published content, but then the stuff from Realm of Chaos, for instance, is only really available in the original books, and you’ll be paying through the nose if you want to obtain one of those. Plus the vintage chaos content is simply that good: sinister, evil, spiky and occasionally darkly humorous. And some of the classic artwork is still spectacular.

For instance, I was elated to find within the book a wonderfully vibrant reproduction of Geoff Taylor’s iconic World Eaters illustration. In spite of being decidedly old skool, it has also managed to age incredibly well, if you ask me:

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There’s also this WFB-chaos centric piece from the same artist that actually almost seems like a companion piece of the World Eaters picture:

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I still remember when this image appeared on the box of the Chaotic paints set (Tentacle Pink FTW!), and I was spellbound and tried to figure out what I was actually seeing — the lumbering war machine in the back was especially fascinating, as it subtly hinted at a WFB/40k connection. From a modern standpoint, I’d say it’s actually a depiction of a Lord of War, a Khornate daemon engine from Epic 40k that eventually grew into the modern Lord of Skulls. It also serves as living proof of how much more awesome GW artwork was when it didn’t limit itself to picturing available models — but that’s a subject for another time.

Speaking of Khorne, the Khornate content alone is basically worth the price of admission and should provide me with lots and lots of new ideas. And while the internet will provide you with lots and lots of fuzzy scans of vintage GW artwork, there are still some surprises to be had here, among them an elusive Jes Goodwin sketch for a dedicated heavy support World Eater:

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Actually, Jes Goodwin’s design sketches are yet another reason to pick up the book: I cannot help marveling at the quality of his concepts for the four cult legions and the original 2nd edition CSM special characters –incredible stuff!
Oh, and let me just state for the record that the book obviously wouldn’t have been complete without the wonderful berzerker on the right courtesy of Mark Gibbons! πŸ™‚

So anyway, I’ve spent some very enjoyable weeks going back and forth through the book and immersing myself in the rich background for the chaos powers. I am ever so thankful to Augustus b’Raass for getting me a copy, and I suppose I’ll have to come up with something special in order to make it up to him — cheers, buddy! πŸ™‚

 

II. A Merry Band of Misfits

I didn’t merely spend my time browsing through iconic chaos content from the yesteryear, though: Some of you might remember this little project here from last year: The Road Crew:

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Now this little warband project was basically started as a fun diversion (and as a way to channel some of the influences from the Mad Max universe), but before I realised it, it had already started to take on a life of its own, coagulating into a little retinue.

The basic idea here was to start with some of the pit slave tropes introduced by Necromunda, but move beyond those character archetypes to include mutants, gunmen or even former Imperial adepts and shape them into a gang of malcontents that have disappeared between the cracks of the 41st millennium.

Now if you take a look at the image above, you’ll realise that there are already quite a few beefy warrior types — but this outfit still needed some brains. That’s why I built this guy last year:

Doc WIP (5)
Where the more gladiatorial types are muscular and crudely augmented, I wanted a gaunt and more delicate look for the brainy guy, and a combination of AdMech parts led to an outcome that was pretty close to my vision. The interesting task was to make a model that is so different from a structural standpoint look like it still belonged with the group. I tried to achieve that via a suitably strong paintjob, and here’s the result of that little endeavour:

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This is Solon Antonov, nicknamed “The Doktor”, formerly a low to mid-tier member of the Adeptus Mechanicus who stationed on St. Sabasto’s Reach to select suitable slaves to undergo augmetic modification and be transported off-world, to spend the rest of their sad lives toiling away in one of the mines or forges of the Velsian Adeptus Mechanicus. But, surprising enough for a man mostly made from metal by this point, Antonov discovered he still had a heart after all, and absconded with a group of slaves. Ever since, he has been the brains behind the “Road Crew”, tasked both with planning their activities and with the “maintenance” of its various members.

As you can see, I used the exact same colours on Antonov and the gladiators, with the scratched and damaged yellow armour serving as the element that really pulls the models together. I was actually happy enough with the outcome that I started to work on the next model right away. This little guy here:

Twist Witch Doctor (1)
I thought a mutant witch doctor type would nicely expand the character of the warband beyond a mere gang of pitslaves, even if this guy may initally seem a bit far out. Anyway, he’s still a little rough around the edges and needs some finishing touches, but here are some photos of the nearly finished model:

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All in all, this project is a lot of fun, because it allows for some very organic kitbashing and painting. It’s also a nice vehicle for telling a somewhat more intimate story: These guys aren’t part of the fight for the Emperor’s soul, they just want to get by. That being said, it’s kinda interesting to explore the contrast between their humanity and their somewhat distressed, grotesque outer appearances.

So here’s the entire gang so far. Meet the Road Crew:

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From left to right: Crusher Vexx, Tiny (the Road Crew’s battle captain), Doktor Antonov, Grimspyke, Chopper and the PIP twist witch doctor (if anyone has a cool idea for a name, I’d love to hear it).

So what’s in store for the Road Crew? I think there’ll be one or two additional members, and a suitable ramshackle ride for them — I already have a plan on that account. Keep your eyes peeled! πŸ˜‰

 

III. A Squig-shaped Surprise

And last but definitely not least, imagine my surprise when I visited my friend Annie last week for one of our semi-regular painting sessions, only to present me with two wonderfully characterful squig-shaped dice for my Blood Bowl team, the Orkheim Ultraz:

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These lovely little models can be picked up at Comixininos, and they should make for excellent turn/reroll counters for my team! And I really love how Annie painted them to perfectly match the colours of the Orkheim Ultraz:

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Thanks so much for the amazing gift, Annie! πŸ™‚

By the way, we’ll be taking a closer look at one of Annie’s Blood Bowl teams in the near future, if only to show you her fairly different approach as well as her balls-to-the-wall crazy and creative ideas for the team. You should definitely look forward to that!
So yeah, as you can see, I am finally back into the swing of things! And I would love to hear any feedback you might have — just drop me a comment or two! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!