Archive for keeper of the forge

Keeper of the Forge, pt. 2

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, paintjob, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 13, 2013 by krautscientist

I’ll be on the road for most of the day tomorrow, so this week’s update goes up a little early: Last time, we took a look at my attempts at converting a suitable model for Huntmaster Deracin, the 4th assault company’s Warpsmith. With the rather complex conversion sorted out, it was now time to paint the model. I’ll happily admit that the task seemed rather daunting: It is a rather huge model, for one. And there was also the fact that I really don’t enjoy painting the backpack on regular Chaos Space Marines — so what was I to do with Deracin’s extremely complex servo-harness?

At the very least, keeping the model in several sub-assemblies turned out to be a very good decision. That way, I could work on one part of the model after another, assembling the model piece by piece, whenever a sub-assembly was completed. Naturally, I started with the head and body.

During all of this, I stuck with my tried and true recipe for painting World Eaters. Here’s the body with the base colours and the first pass of washes in place:

Huntmaster Deracin PIP (2)
Huntmaster Deracin PIP (1)
As you can see, the armour still looked rather raspberry-ish, but a thin coat of Blood Red quickly changed that. Here’s the body pretty much finished and already stuck to the completed base:

Huntmaster Deracin PIP (4)
Huntmaster Deracin PIP (3)
The arms were next, and I tackled each of them in turn. Due to the fact that I had not yet permanently attached them to the rest of the model, it was easy enough to pick out even the fine detail (like the display of the auspex in Deracin’s right hand). The shoulder pads were also painted separately to ensure that everything would fit together before adding any glue. When both the arms and shoulder pads were done, everything was assembled and the (unpainted) backpack was dryfitted to the rest of the model to make sure it all worked out. When that was taken care of, the arms and shoulder pads could finally be glued to the body:

Huntmaster Deracin PIP (8)
Huntmaster Deracin PIP (7)
Huntmaster Deracin PIP (11)
Huntmaster Deracin PIP (10)
Fortunately enough, everything fit together rather well, so the assembly only took some minimal tweaking.

And then came the servo-harness…

Due to the complexity of this element, it was practically a model of its own. It was painted in one, frantic session, and I used quite a lot of black wash to make the metal parts look suitably used and well-oiled. Here’s the mostly finished backpack:

Huntmaster Deracin PIP (14)
As you can see, I basically stuck to using red, silver and bronze as the three main colours here as well. The one departure from the usual recipe was that I added some light blue effects to the reactor on the back of the harness, and on the energy conduits leading to the different arms. As a matter of fact, that little detail was one of the reasons I had chosen the GK backpack in the first place.

With both the model and servo-harness almost completely painted, I took a deep breath and finally attached the harness to the model’s back. This took some doing, and the funny thing is that the backpack is attached to the model’s shoulderpads rather than to its actual back. It took some fumbling and frantic repositioning for everything to not only work out but stay in place.

In the end, everything worked out, though! Some final detail work was added at this stage: A fine accent of Mithril Silver was added to the metal parts. The flamer’s and meltagun’s muzzles were painted with a mix of Army Painter Strong Tone Ink and Vallejo Smoke Ink, to make them look dark and soot-stained.  And I tidied up the last rough edges.

And with that, Huntmaster Deracin was complete. Take a look:

Huntmaster Deracin (1)
Huntmaster Deracin (2)
Huntmaster Deracin (3)
As you can see, I chose a spot of turquoise for the axe’s casing. That colour appears as a spot colour across my whole army, so I used it here for some visual continuity.

Huntmaster Deracin (4)
Huntmaster Deracin (5)
The view from the back nicely shows the light blue reactor core, and the power conduits leading away from it.

Huntmaster Deracin (7)
Huntmaster Deracin (8)
I am really, really happy with how Deracin turned out! He may have been just about the most involved kitbashed character I have completed so far, but the paintjob really turned out as well as I had hoped. I also like that he is quite bulky, similar to the “official” Warpsmith model — I think his imposing frame rather nicely represents the 2+ armour save granted to Warpsmiths due to their “Fleshmetal”. Let me also take this opportunity to point out that the model is almost ridiculously WYSIWYG, at least when you compare it to my usual standard: The only liberties I took with the model were using a combi-melta, chosen for its cool look, and a chainaxe instead of a power axe. Apart from that, though, the model is a very faithful representation of the Warpsmith ruleset.

Deracin is also very tall. Here’s a scale shot with both a regular World Eater and a Terminator Lord:

Huntmaster Deracin (14)
And here is Deracin, next to my converted Dark Apostle:

Huntmaster Deracin (13)
Even though both models use the same legs, I still think I managed to make them look remarkably different!

All in all, Deracin really looks like a World Eater. But he is also clearly an engineer and Warpsmith to his company:

Huntmaster Deracin (11)
So, did I do this just to build a semi-useful selection from the HQ section of the codex? Of course not! While it’s nice to have the option of fielding a Warpsmith now, and while I get a bit of a kick out of already having built several custom models for selections from the book, this was really all about creating a character. So who is this Huntmaster Deracin? Let’s get to know him a bit better, shall we?


Huntmaster Deracin (10)
Huntmaster Deracin, Keeper of the Forge

During the time of the Great Crusade, when the XIIth Astartes Legion was still known as the War Hounds, brother Deracin was a brilliant and ferocious warrior who could be found at the forefront of every battle. This zeal cost him dearly when he sustained horrific injuries during the Nove Shendak campaign, requiring extensive augmentic reconstruction work to be saved. Worse still than the lost limbs was the heavy nerve damage Deracin incurred, damage that necessiated complex cranial implants to keep him combat-worthy. A lesser man might have been interred into the sarcophagus of a dreadnought due to such injuries, but Deracin trained relentlessly to overcome his injuries and push the artificial parts of his body to the limit, trying to prove to his brethren that his “reconstruction” hadn’t dulled his edge one bit.

All of this should be for naught, however, once the legion had been reunited with its Primarch and renamed the “World Eaters”: Angron ordered his Apothecaries and Techmarines to outfit the whole legion with the Butcher’s Nails, implants patterned after those he had received as a gladiator on the world of Nyceria.

The nails implanted into the Primarch’s skull were artifacts from the Dark Age of Technology, and the Techmarines’ dabbling in archaeotech was far from an exact science, producing all kinds of unforeseen incidents. As a consequence, the implants Deracin had received earlier to mend his injuries interfered with the nails, preventing him from utilising his full potential on the battlefield. For Angron, a legionnaire that couldn’t unlock the nails’ full power could only be considered a failure. So Deracin found himself relegated to the rear guard in more and more battles, sidelined and tasked with petty battle logistics and mundane assignments, and growing ever more frustrated.

It was Lord Captain Lorimar who discovered that, deprived of a chance to prove himself in battle, Deracin had begun to apply himself to the maintenance of the legions’ wargear and weaponry, demonstrating a brilliant grasp of technology and an intuitive understanding of even the most complex mechanisms. So Lorimar requested Deracin for his company and let him be trained as a Techmarine. And it was then that brother Deracin found his true calling:

He may have been a brilliant fighter, but as a Techmarine, Deracin became a marvel. His brilliant, analytical mind allowed him to construct mechanisms on par with the most advanced work of the Mechanicus. His work earned him the envy of numerous Techmarines from different companies and, indeed, other Legiones Astartes. In time, even Angron himself began to display a sort of grudging respect for the son he had despised. And through fateful irony, the implants that prevented Deracin from tapping into the Butcher’s Nails’ full potential actually kept his brilliant mind intact, even as the rest of the legion descended into frenzy and insanity.

Ever since the Horus Heresy, during the millennia of the Long War, Deracin’s knowledge has grown far beyond the petty boundaries of Imperial orthodoxy: He has learned to forge flesh and steel, and to imbue his creations with the raw powers of the warp through the incantations and pacts of daemoncraft. The towering daemon engines deployed by the 4th assault company are a chilling testament to his skill. The Great Forge aboard the company’s capital ship never sleeps, and Deracin is its undisputed master. And during his long life, he has retained two features nearly unheard of among the members of the XIIth legion: A surgically analytical mind as well as a wry sense of humour.

On the battlefield, Deracin is a giant even among Astartes: His augmented frame towers above even his tallest brethren. Encased in a baroque suit of artificer armour of his own design and equipped with all kinds of arcane weapons and warp-infused tools, the Keeper of the Forge is every bit the warrior he was during the days of the Great Crusade.


So, what do you think? Was I successful in my attempt to build a worthy warpsmith? I would love to hear your feedback in the comments section!

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

Huntmaster Deracin (12)

Keeper of the Forge, pt. 1

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 9, 2013 by krautscientist

“Aye, Nove Shendak cost me half of my body. But in the end, those injuries were what let me keep all of my wits, and for that I will always remember that blasted hellscape with a certain …fondness.”

Huntmaster Deracin


If you’ve been following this blog for a while (or have at least taken a peek at the Dramatis Personae tab for my World Eaters), you’ll realise that I try to come with characters rather than mere playing pieces. Hence my addiction to building Chaos Lords, I suppose: Instead of building one model with magnetisable arms for maximum flexibility, I’ll just as likely build one separate model for each equipment choice, doing my best to transform each of them into a character in his own right. After all, some of these guys have been around for about ten millennia — they deserve a little characterisation, don’t you think?

By the same token, ideas for characters will often spring from something I see online or from a piece of fluff I come up with: For instance, long before the option to use a Warpsmith was introduced by the sixth edition Codex, I had the idea of a techmarine for the 4th assault company, who would construct and maintain much of the company’s wargear and who was likely also the driving force behind most of the warmachines and daemon engines deployed by Khorne’s Eternal Hunt. And while there was no obvious way to field such a character back then (except as a regular chaos lord), I was sure that building a model to represent him would turn out to be a challenging and rewarding hobby endeavour somewhere along the way. So the character started to appear in the background I wrote for the army, mentioned in conversations between characters or actually making an appearance himself. And that was the birth of Huntmaster Deracin, Keeper of the Forge.

I kept toying around with several ideas about how best to represent Deracin on the table: I considered converting a loyal Techmarine, but while I love the model’s design, I didn’t really want to go through the trouble of cutting apart a metal model. Then I planned to base the character on the model for Huron Blackheart, since Huron’s extensive bionic implants seemed to be a nice fit for a techmarine. But none of these ideas ever quite got off the ground.

Then the new codex arrived, and with it not only an army list entry for an “evil tech,arine”, but also a dedicated Finecast Warpsmith model.

Again, I made several attempts at building a model to represent Deracin, yet in the end the results always fell short of what I had envisioned. I also considered just using the Finecast model, do a headswap and call it a day, but that didn’t feel like a true solution either: I wasn’t really sure how straight I could possibly hope to get that axe handle on a Finecast model, for one. And it also seemed like a bit of a cheap cop out, in any case.

My attempts at kitbashing didn’t really work out either, because they usually ended up looking too much like a regular Chaos Space Marine. I realised that the servo harness the model would need to wear would always look funny and overwhelming on a standard sized model. So I would need to build a rather imposing body as well as kitbash a servo-harness and then pay extra attention in order to make the overall effect work out — quite a challenge!

But all setbacks notwithstanding, I decided that I absolutely wanted to kitbash a model representing Deracin that would

  • look suitably like a World Eater,
  • look suitably like a Techmarine/Warpsmith,
  • would be all plastic.

The breakthrough came when I started messing around with some parts from my bitzbox, among them a body from the Skullcrusher kit. I realised that the torso was quite a bit bigger than that of a Chaos Space Marine, so it could probably work for my plan. I only needed a pair of legs to go with it, but they couldn’t be Terminator legs, since Warpsmiths wear “regular” power armour. Then I recalled the WFB plastic Chaos Lord I had already used on my custom Dark Apostle, and I suspected I might be able to put the legs from that kit to good use…

I also gathered all the cables and tech-y bitz I would need to kitbash a servo-harness for Deracin. Quite a daunting task, really, but after seeing that I had some Necron limbs in my bitzbox, I just went for it.

So with the basic parts for the conversion decided and acquired, I built a very early mockup of the body:

Huntmaster Deracin WIP (1)
As you can see, this particular combination of legs and torso already made sure that Deracin would be quite an imposing fellow (the WIP Terminator on the right is another one of my ongoing conversion projects, and was only included for scale). I also tried a head with extensive bionic implants from the GK Terminators, and really liked the result. And some wayward armour plate (probably from the Dark Elf dragon kit, although I am not perfectly sure) was used as some kind of codpiece, both to emulate the heavily armoured look of the Warpsmith model and to make the legs look more different from those of my Dark Apostle.

The next step was to add the arms. I already knew I wanted to have Deracin hold a huge axe or wrench in one hand, both as his primary CC weapon as well as a sign of office. Instead of cocking a puny bolt pistol in the other hand, though, I though Deracin should be holding something that cemented his function as a mechanic of war. By lucky coincidence, I still had a right hand holding a rather impressive looking auspex. Deracin’s arms were built by using arms from the Chaos Knight and Skullcrusher kits:

Huntmaster Deracin WIP (4)
Huntmaster Deracin WIP (6)

I realised that the main challenge on this project would be to make sure that the different parts of the body and the additional appendages from the servo-harness wouldn’t get into each other’s way, so I started to experiment with the servo harness at this point. Looking at the bitz available to me, it became clear that the servo-arms would end up looking more like those of a loyal techmarine and less like the Warpsmith’s mechadendrites. I chose Necron limbs for the basic construction, and a GK Interceptor backpack was picked both for the nicely sculpted reactor on its back, but also for the rods emerging from it: These would be used as points of attachment for the different servo-arms. Here’s a look at a very early mockup of the harness:

Huntmaster Deracin WIP (8)
The weapon was spliced together from the Chaos Terminator Lord’s staff, an old, OOP plastic chaos halberd and some additional bitz. Some teeth from a chainsword were carefully shaved off and glued to the axe, making the weapon look like an especially ostentatious chainaxe — this guy is a World Eater, after all! I also added a gargoyle head from the chaos vehicle sprue to make it look like the weapon could perhaps also be used as a tool. Here’s a mockup of the finished weapon:

Huntmaster Deracin WIP (9)
As you can see, this first incarnation of the staff still had a rather huge mace head added on top. I rather liked the effect, but an artist I respect very much told me that this feature actually drew attention away from the model’s face. This was a problem, of course, so it was with a heavy heart that I got rid of this visual element.

It took quite a while to get the model’s pose right, by the way, especially since nothing was permanently attached at this point: For most of the construction phase, the model was basically held together with lots of modelling putty and goodwill…

The best moment was when I had finally worked out a solution for all the different elements, so I could start to carefully glue certain parts together. The torso and lower body were already glued together at this point, while the servo-harness was painstakingly assembled arm by arm and piece by piece.

i knew that I would need a flamer and meltagun, since they are part of the warpsmith’s profile. For the other two servo-arms, I chose some suitably brutal looking implements. After many, many revisions, the servo-harness was finished. Take a look:

Huntmaster Deracin WIP (10)
The flamer (bottom right) came from the new Raptor kit, while the meltagun (top left) is actually a combi-melta from the command tank sprue. I simply liked the chaos decorations and dangling ammunition so much that I chose to use the piece, even if it wasn’t strictly WYSIWYG. For the remaining arms, I went with a sentinel chainsaw and a vicious looking claw (constructed from one of the Heldrake’s “chicken feet”). The arms themselves were constructed from Necron arms and legs, combined with additional cabling and a few bitz from different sources. This might actually have been the most fiddly conversion job ever, and it was made even more nerve-wracking due to my enormous lack of patience 😉

The one part of my original plan I had to abandon was to add some “smokestacks”, like the ones on the stock Warpsmith model, to the back of the harness. This would have been a cool detail, but the backpack was already busy enough as it was, and to tell you the truth, there actually wasn’t any space I could have comfortably put them.

So I called the servo-harness completed at this point and dryfitted the model with it:

Huntmaster Deracin WIP (11)
I was already reasonably pleased with the outcome. But then fellow hobbyist Igandris over at Dakka pointed out that Deracin’s chainmail-armoured backside was a little distracting, and he was right with that 😉
So I used an earlier idea in order to fix that particular problem and added some dandgling chains to the backpack as some kind of cape. This was also a nice way to put a World Eaters spin on the cables ususally dangling from a Techmarine’s/Warpsmith’s backpack, due to the importance of chains in the XIIth legion’s inconography.

So after lots and lots of fiddling with small plastic parts, the model was finally completed. Here’s a look at the finished conversion:

Huntmaster Deracin WIP (13)
Huntmaster Deracin WIP (12)
Huntmaster Deracin WIP (14)

I was really happy with the model so far, although the prospect of having to paint Deracin at some point made me just a little afraid. I decided the best course of action was to face my fears and get him painted as soon as possible (because the alternative would probably have been to never work up the courage to begin painting in the first place). So the model was carefully taken apart, and the different sub-assemblies were carefully cleaned to get rid of all the modelling putty and any grime that may have built up. Here’s a picture of the different parts of the model, laid out to dry and awaiting undercoating:

Huntmaster Deracin WIP (15)I also built a base for Deracin at this point. And I finally undercoated all the parts of the model with GW Chaos Black spraypaint. There was no stopping now…

So, in the next update, look forward to getting a look at the finished model! Until then, let me know what you think in the comments section. And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!