Archive for kharn the betrayer

The State of the Hunt, Week 14/2017: Kill! Maim! Convert!

Posted in 30k, 40k, Chaos, Conversions, state of the hunt, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 7, 2017 by krautscientist

An entire week has gone by in a blur, thanks to the two conferences I visisted last week, and so I find myself without any significant new hobby content to share with you — bugger! 😉

That’s really not so bad, however, as it provides me with the perfect excuse to highlight a conversion I’ve created fairly recently and talk about it in more detail. Some of you may remember this guy who made an appearance in one of my previous posts:

I asked you whether anyone had a suggestion who this was supposed to be — and, indeed, there was no fooling you guys: The model was my early mockup of Khârn, the World Eaters’ Eight Captain and everybody’s favourite raving lunatic, during his younger years — but why not just use the official 30k Forgeworld model and be done with it?

Well, because converting is more fun, of course. But that’s not the only reason: I have written rather extensively about my thoughts of the various interpretations of Kharn, both in artwork and in model form (here and here, if you want to go read up on it).

The short version would be that, in spite of some seriously cool little touches, like the more gladiatorial armour, I do have my gripes with the Forgeworld rendition of Khârn:

Khârn the Bloody, by Edgar Skomorowski

I think the pose looks less like running and more like falling forward. Switching the axe and pistol arms around compared to the 40k model seems like a slightly strange decision (sure, Astartes are probably ambidextrous, but it still flies in the face of visual continuity, especially now that the new plastic 40k version has the same setuo as the classic metal model). Probably the part I was the least happy with, however, was Khârn’s face:

Getting a look of the various Horus Heresy characters’ faces through Forgeworld’s models is a pretty cool feature, if you ask me, but I do think they messed up in this case: Khârn’s face is expressly stated to be strangely unscarred in several parts of the lore, so the twisted, mangled face on the model, while expertly sculpted, doesn’t really read as Khârn to me. Moreover, the interesting thing about Khârn, at least in the novels, is how he is a complete and utter monster when gripped by the influence of the Butcher’s Nails, but retains a lot of nobility and clarity when off the battlefield, and the grimace shown above really doesn’t transport that duality for me.

So there was really not other way: I needed to come up with my own version of the Eight Captain. And while Khârn isn’t a regular member of the World Eaters 4th assault company, my personal army, I liked the idea of having him available as a “special guest star”, so to speak — and in any case, this seemed like a cool little hobby project.

So my mission statement at the outset was as follows:

  • Create a model that looks like a suitably impressive rendition of the Eight Captain and is also true to my personal thoughts on what Khârn should look like.
  • Incorporate several shout outs to the different, “official” versions of the character, because continuity is fun! 😉

And that’s what I tried when creating the early mockup you saw above. But while the basic premise seemed sound, I realised that the model definitely needed more work. So here’s what Khârn looks like right now, after cleaning up the conversion and making quite a few tweaks. I think he is just about finished right now, and ready for paint:

A couple of conversion notes, if I may:

  • the AoS Blood Warrior breastplate was chosen in order to convey a bigger sense of bulk and to add a bit of gladiatorial flair to the armour, similar to the look of the Forgeworld model
  • As you can see, I actually switched his weapons around, which arguably brings him much closer to both the classic and new 40k incarnations of the character.
  • This also gave me the opportunity to swap in a wonderfully clunky CSM plasma pistol — I realise that 30k plasma pistols have this “Martian Deathray” look, but I prefer a weapon that looks like it could actually be used to clobber an opponent over the head — plus it’s, once again, closer to classic 40k Khârn’s pistol.
  • the face was a bit of a lucky discovery: It’s from the new plastic vanguard kit, and while it’s still angry enough, it’s also unscarred and less deformed than that of the Forgeworld version. Plus I think the mohawk really suits Khârn 😉
  • The press-molded detail on his backpack was actually added to evoke the legion symbol and is a direct shout out to a similar element that appears on the Forgeworld version. The specific mark of backpack was chosen for the same reason (it’s actually a vintage 2nd edition backpack, though, so you basically cannot go any more archaic than that 😉 ).
  • The skull-face belt buckle (from an AoS Exalted Deathbringer) was originally chosen because it resembled the belt buckle on the classic 40k Khârn, but I ended up keeping the actual loincloth as well, because it nicely complemented the somewhat static pose: I liked the idea of capturing the Eight Captain during one of his – increasingly rare – lucid moments. There’s also the fact that his pose is ever so slightly reminiscent of the classic 40k model, and I really like that touch.


In fact, when it comes to the pose and overall look of the model, fellow hobbyist k0hnahrik put it far more succinctly than I could have:

As for the tabard, I actually think it fits perfect. I think it adds to the ‘angry yet in control’ look. As if he’s a worshipper of khorne but hasn’t completely lost his mind yet, like he can still assess a battlefield strategically and still wear cosmetic items(the tabard) that set him apart from the rest of the infantry – he’s still above them, he’s not another screaming angry face in the crowd yet. Not to mention – the motion on the tabard adds perfectly to the motion of the model – he’s just finished off an enemy, now he’s swirling around and quickly assessing the battlefield for a moment, identifying his next target, thinking like a commander – then he’s off and charging again.


All in all, I have taken some liberties with the model, of course: The breastplate lacks the “air intake” that is a recurring element of all three “official” Khârn models. When all was said and one, I didn’t want to mess up the smooth lines of the breastplate, though. There’s also the fact that my version’s armour has been cobbled together from several marks, whereas the Forgeworld Khârn is clearly armoured in a customised Mk. IV suit. I really wanted to push the idea of a suit of “mongrel plate”, though, as I think the World Eaters are probably scavenging whatever they can and repairing and creating their armour with all the parts they can get their hands one, given their massive casualities due to their specific way of waging war.

And when all is said and done, the main objective here was to come up with a model that reads as Khârn to me, and that mission, at least, has been accomplished 😉

So how does my version of Khârn check out next to some other models? Here’s a comparison picture showing my 30k Khârn next to a standard 30k World Eater and to the – rather massive – new plastic 40k version of the character:

As you can see, he’s about as tall as a standard Marine (the guy on the left appears taller because there’s quite a bit of basing material underneath his feet), yet at the same time, the combination of the Mk. III legs and the beefed out torso give him a slightly more massive look, which I think really fits the character and serves as a hint at the even more massive, imposing figure Khârn will have grown into, probably thanks to the war god’s influence, by the 41st millennium.

As a fun detail, the press-molded symbol on his backpack actually prompted me to add the same detail to 40k Khârn, both as a piece of continuity, but also because that empty armour plate on the back of the backpack really bothered me, and this seemed like the perfect solution:

I already said that I really wanted my own 30k Khârn to be like a bit of a missing link between the other versions, and I think this part of the project has been a success: If you look closely, you’ll see several elements on the model that point to the different incarnations of the character, both in 40k and in 30k:

Oh, and while we are at it, here’s a picture showing every version of Khârn currently in my possession, including the true scale-ish custom Khârn I created back in 2014:

Come to think of it, this seems like the perfect opportunity to give that particular model a bit of extra airtime, because I am still pretty pleased with it, and I think it managed to hold up, even when compared to the new “official” 40k Khârn:

A closer look at the model can be found here, in case you are interested.

So, all in all, I am pretty happy with how this project has been going so far, and I am looking forward to slapping some paint on Khârn — but what about you? Do you think this is a successful interpretation of the character? And do you have any last minute suggestions? I would love to hear any thoughts you might have!

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

The State of the Hunt — Week 37

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob, Pointless ramblings, state of the hunt, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 14, 2016 by krautscientist

Hey everyone,

I think I’ll be turning “State of the Hunt” into a semi-regular feature to show you smaller stuff I am currently working on and to discuss various subjects that maybe wouldn’t warrant a post of their own but are still important to me. So today let’s look at a collection of Khornate Miscellany:


I. A Champion Reborn…

What else could be the first item of interest for today, if not the release of the new plastic version of Khârn the Betrayer? There have been rumours about new versions of the iconic Chaos characters for a rather long time now, and now here’s Khârn, hopefully ushering in a slew of releases (one can always dream…):

plastic-kharn-the-betrayer-release-1Now before we take a look at the new model, allow me to mention that I have written at lenght about Khârn and his various incarnations in the art, the lore and in model form, so you may consider the following thoughts a late addendum to the respective post from 2014.

So as I’ve said in the aforementioned post, I really consider the original Khârn the Betrayer a model for the ages (but then that’s Jes Goodwin for you). I would also argue that the old model has managed to age far more gracefully than most special characters from 2nd edition. For instance, while Abaddon just looks rather puny next to the much bigger modern models in Terminator armour, Khârn still seems imposing, even twenty+ years later. He’s also a thoroughly iconic piece, debuting (or at least refining) so many of the visual elements that define the look of the World Eaters and the Khorne Berzerkers in particular to this day: the chains, the skull motifs, the bare arm. And, of course, the iconic crested helmet.

Now updating such an iconic model is not without its dangers, and when a new plastic version of Eldrad Ulthran was recently released, I felt it lacked the original model’s iconic quality. So what about Khârn then?

When we look at both versions side by side, I think the one thing we can all agree on is that the new version still definitely reads as Khârn — and that alone is no small feat! In my opinion, the best decision of the new model was to basically stick to the classic design of the helmet and only make very minor tweaks to it. Back when I converted my own true scale version of Khârn, I quickly found out that no model will look like Khârn unless that particular helmet design enters the equation, and by the same token, Khârn’s helmet is the one helmet that isn’t easy to kitbash by using available bits. So basically leaving the helmet alone was a fantastic – and ultimately crucial – design decision, in my opinion!

All of the other classic elements are there as well: The bare right arm (after Forgeworld’s Khârn version switched the axe to the other arm, it’s interesting to see how GW chose to stick with the layout of the 90s version), the chains wrapped around it, the various skull motifs adorning the armour, and countless other little touches. All of this sells the model as Khârn without a doubt!

Of course things only really get interesting when one considers the parts that have been changed when compared to the original model: First of all, Khârn seems to have bulked up quite a bit, to account for about two decades of scale creep. And he wears it really well, as a look at some additional angles reveals:

Another really cool part is how GW has managed to bring the armour in line with the very baroque look of the Dark Vengeance Chosen or the plastic Raptors/Warp Talons without resorting to adding any wanton mutations: I think this basically works as the perfect template for new chaos models: Give us more jagged and baroque looking armour that clearly differs from the smooth contours of loyalist Astartes armour, but focus the gribbly stuff on optional bits and upgrades. That way, everyone would be happy, right? 😉

Anyway, the redesign achieves the trick of making the new Khârn look right at home next to both vintage and modern chaos models, which is great, and arguably my favourite part about the model!

Then there’s the pose, of course: Where Khârn’s pose used to be very static (and powerful), he is now running forward like mad — which, admittedly, is a pretty great fit for the character. Now to be perfectly honest with you, I wouldn’t have minded a static pose on the new Khârn, but then most people seem to have taken issue with it, and the new running pose also creates a nice resemblance with Forgeworld’s Khârn model, albeit mirrored:

Of course the problem with highly dynamic running poses is that the model in question might end up looking as though it were tripping over its own feet, and the new Khârn is getting a bit of flak over possibly tripping over those dangling skulls — but seriously, I am not really seeing it. In my opinion, the running pose is more believable than the slightly awkward pose of Forgeworld’s version. And if you take a look at the 360 degrees view of the new model over at the GW website, there’s a depth and three-dimensionality to the model now that is hard not to admire.

So do I love everything about the model? No, I do have my gripes, of course. So let’s take a look at the bad parts:

Those weighed down chains dangling from Khârn’s left wrist are easily my least favourite part of the model: They just seem too clunky and kill the flow of the model. I think I would have gone with something a bit more subtle, and my first tweak to the model would be to take off those chains or pare them back a bit.

It also seems to me that the ripped muscles on Khârn’s bare arm look slightly too angular and sculptural, although that could always come down to the paintjob. I will say, however, that the pose is maybe slightly too stylised for its own good, with Khârn looking more like the statue of a running guy that an actual running guy, if that makes any sense.

And my third gripe with the model is the design of Gorechild, Khârn’s axe:

Considered on its own, it’s a very cool and vicious looking Khornate axe — and look, they’ve even redesigned the teeth to more closely resemble the Mica-Dragon teeth from the lore. So the design is pretty cool, but by changing it, the entire sense of visual continuity goes out of the window. Because one thing I have always loved is that, regardless of whether you were looking at Forgeworld’s Angron, Forgeworld’s 30k Khârn or the 40k Khârn model, they were all definitely wielding the same axe, and that sense of continuity is now lost. Now you could argue that the axe had probably undergone some warping and mutation over the 10,000 years of the Long War, but after so much work on the sculptor’s part has gone into ensuring that the axe looks exactly the same on all three models, this change almost seems like an oversight now, and while the axe itself looks cool enough, that really, really bothers me (because I’m an obsessive weirdo like that 😉 ).

I have one very minor gripe: The backpack seems strangely narrow to me, but I’ll reserve judgement until I have seen the model firsthand.

Interestingly enough, a closer look at the sprue reveals that the model might actually be pretty conversion-friendly:

For one, it should be pretty easy to return the new model to a more static standing pose, should you want to: Just some careful cutting and maybe a set of DV Chosen legs, and Bob’s your uncle! Those bothersome chains should be easy enough to leave off or tweak as well, seeing how they come as a separate part. And I guess one could even replace Gorechild’s blade, if one were that way inclined.
The fact that the plasma pistol arm, axe and backpack could easily be used as conversion bits is a definite plus as well!

So, what’s the final verdict?

All in all, I am pretty happy with the new Khârn! Where the plastic version of Eldrad failed to capture the coolness and iconic nature of the original model, it feels like Khârn is definitely a step into the right direction! While I do have a couple of minor complaints about the model, the new version also brings enough to the table to be a strong model in its own right. Maybe it’s not quite as timeless a classic as the original Khârn, but that also seems impossible to ascertain right now, especially given the fact that I’ve grown up with the original 2nd edition model. Anyway, I like this guy! Where Eldrad was a bit of a disappointment, Khârn is – at the very least – a modest success.

At the same time,  I still think my custom, true scale Khârn from 2014 manages to hold up:

At the same time, I can pretty much guarantee that I’ll also be purchasing the new version: I think it’s a pretty awesome new interpretation of an iconic character, and the parts I don’t like about the model should be easy enough to tweak. I’ll keep you posted 😉



II. Travelers from afar…

My hobby life has been massively improved by other people’s generosity for a rather long time now, and I’ve been fortunate enough to receive two more incredible additions for my collection from fellow hobbyists recently.

First came BrotherJim, who recently completed a rather stunning Nurglite CSM force as part of the ETL V event: I provided some feedback to him, and he actually built me a model and sent it over to me by way of thanks — how awesome is that? Now the really cool thing about BrotherJim’s conversions is how much they are inspired by Adrian Smith’s rather iconic art from the 3.5 Codex Chaos Space Marines, and how BrotherJim is pretty much the first person to have managed to give his models the same, massive, lumbering look. This leads to a very distinctive style, and I was really happy the day one of his creations arrived allll the way from Australia to bolster the forces of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt:

Conversion by BrotherJim

Conversion by BrotherJim

Note the amount of gear and the imposing backpack, both trademarks of BrotherJim’s style. Now I was really happy with the model, but wanted to make one small alteration – a different head – mostly because that particular berzerker head already appears on more than one model in my army, and I felt this guy deserved something more original. So I spliced together a suitably ornate helmet, and here’s the new Huntmaster soon to be part of the 4th assault company:

Model converted by BrotherJim

Model converted by BrotherJim


Model converted by BrotherJim

Model converted by BrotherJim


Model converted by BrotherJim

Model converted by BrotherJim


Model converted by BrotherJim

Model converted by BrotherJim


Model converted by BrotherJim

Model converted by BrotherJim

Just get a load of the amount of weapons on this guy! 🙂

Anyway, thanks again to BrotherJim for this amazing gift! And make sure to check out his excellent work on a growing chaos collection here.

But wait, there’s more: When I came home yesterday, the cutest little package had arrived from the UK. Inside I found this wonderfully sinister and bloodied champion of the War God built and painted by none other than spectacularly talented Terrain-Overlord extraordinaire Neil101 of Opus Maius’ fame:

Model built and painted by Neil101

Model built and painted by Neil101


Model built and painted by Neil101

Model built and painted by Neil101


Model built and painted by Neil101

Model built and painted by Neil101

Now I was already aware that Neil had built this model for me a while ago, but the fact that he also chose to paint it in his trademark style was a wonderful surprise indeed! The result is something far more painterly and visceral than anything I could have come up with, and I am really in love with this guy right now. And that wasn’t all, because accompanying the Khornate champion came a wonderfully macabre “Bucket o’ Blood” (followers of Khorne never leave home without it!):

Model built and painted by Neil101

Model built and painted by Neil101

As is usually the case with Neil’s work, there’s a wonderfully macabre and demented nature to the whole affair, calling to mind both the infamous Yggdrassilliumme as well as the kind of characters you would see in the golden days of Realm of Chaos. And while I am already hard at work figuring out a suitable angle for this guy as a part of the Velsen Sector (he’ll be a member of the so-called “Duelists”, an insidious Khornate lodge operating in the sector), Neil was also kind enough to provide his own little vignette of background:

Models built and painted by Neil101

Models built and painted by Neil101


Coal black eyes kindled the embers of hate, as the headsman daubed his breastplate with the aged ichor of his enemies. His skull face plate chafed at the nape of his neck, the fitting too tight for comfort.

So much he had given, but the Blood God’s bucket had a hole. Never enough, always more.

The unsaturated hunger for power, for glory, always gnawed at his soul. Like the itch of his helm, the one he couldn’t scratch…reminding him that his work was never done. His bucket never full.


Anyway, thanks to Neil for the fantastic model! Job’s a good ‘un, mate! 🙂


III. Twenty years of bloodshed…

I myself have not been idle either, even though I felt I needed something small and fun to unwind after my recent, rather massive Daemon-Primarch-related shenanigans…

But the right opportunity did present itself, fortunately enough! Back when I showed you this OOP mid-90s Bloodletter…

Old Skool Bloodletter (2)
…fellow hobbyist AMaximus offered to send over some old metal Bloodletters of his own. Now the models he offered me were a slightly never incarnation, released around the turn of the century (teehee), between the mid-90s design you see above and the modern plastic Bloodletters. I had never been a huge fan of those particular models, feeling they didn’t really bring anything new to the table, but there’s always time for a little fun, so Andrew and I worked out a small bitz swap, and I got my hands on another Bloodletter version.

My eye was instantly drawn to one of the models that was missing his two-handed axe, and I decided to paint him right away and add a small tweak or two while I was at it. So here’s the mostly finished model (still missing its base):

Like I said, the standard armament for this model would have been a two-handed axe, but I decided to replace it with one of the modern plastic Hellblades (once again, I might add). And I actually think the model is improved by the change! I also had to replace the left hand, and a severed head seemed like a logical choice. It has been pointed out to me – and correctly so – that the head seems to be the victim of some wonky physics, but I think we can just consider this a match for the stock model’s inherent clunkiness and move on, eh? 😉

Seriously, though, this guy has really grown on me! This particular incarnation of the Bloodletters turned out to be a bit of an evolutionary dead end, and from a time of occasionally strange and slightly uneven releases on GW’s part, no less, but I think the model works pretty well with my established daemon recipe in place 😉

And while I was at it, I also painted one of the modern plastic Bloodletters in the exact same way:

And, once again, I am pretty happy with the result — take note that this model still makes used of the slightly tweaked skin recipe taken from Duncan Rhodes’ Bloodthirster tutorial!

Ultimately, the guy above will be joined by a full unit of Bloodletters. Until then, I have a nice little comparison of Bloodletter models from the last twenty years:

I should probably paint one of the spindly, serpentine first edition Bloodletters to complete the set, but I really don’t like that particular version of the daemon, so this is not really a priority project at the moment. If someone wants to get rid of an old Bloodletter, though, I am always open to suggestions… 😉

On a related note, AMaximus was also awesome enough to include a pretty old vintage Bloodthirster head in his bitz drop:

Now what am I going to do with this lovely face…?


IV. Out of the woods, at last…

Now this last subject has nothing whatsoever to do with cutting up little plastic men, but I am still very happy to inform you guys that my time as an unemployed slacker is finally at an end: Starting October, I will finally have gainful employment once more! Yeehaw!

Now it’ll only be for a limited amount of time so far, but it sure feels good to be back in business! And while this could mean less hobby time in the immediate future, my sigh of relief when I learned the news could still have extinguished a raging bonfire. Work for the Work god! 😉


So anyway, so much for this latest news roundup. 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!

Merry Christmas from Skalathrax!

Posted in Pointless ramblings, World Eaters with tags , , , on December 24, 2014 by krautscientist

seasons_greetingsA very merry Christmas to all the readers of this blog, to all commenters and to all my hobby buddies out there! I hope you’re having a great time with your families, friends and loved ones! Don’t forget to sneak in some hobby time, though! 😉

Oh, and don’t forget: I’ll be seeing you soon for this year’s Eternal Hunt Awards, so stay tuned!

On Khârn the Betrayer

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, paintjob, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 12, 2014 by krautscientist

What a funny coincidence: I’ve just finished working on a rather involved conversion to represent everyone’s favourite teamkiller, Khârn the Betrayer, and now there are suddenly rumours floating around about some kind of release surrounding the character as part of GW’s Advent Calendar — what’s up with that?

So while the holiday season rapdily approaches, why not take a closer look at everyone’s favourite man in red, right? Allow me to walk you through a ridiculously wordy post about Khârn the Betrayer, ladies and gentlemen (don’t worry, there’ll be pictures somewhere down the line 😉 ):

The Character

When it comes down to fluff, Khârn is a rather interesting case: Back when the character was introduced (along with the release of the 2nd edition Chaos Codex), there wasn’t much to go on beyond his background in the book — and even that painted a picture of a somewhat…imbalanced individual.

Beyond that, there was only William King’s seminal short story “The Wrath of Khârn”, which was published both in Inferno! and WD back in the day. But it quickly became obvious that Khârn’s basic approach of being ALWAYS ANGRY ALL THE TIME didn’t exactly turn him into a narrative goldmine: He was frankly a bit of a one trick pony when it came to his character, even though some swear that Khârn harboured some hidden qualities.

The HH series has made Khârn quite a bit more interesting, because it has managed to add more facets to his character: During battle, he loses his mind with the best of them, being entirely at the control of his Butcher’s Nails implants. But what makes Khârn interesting is that he seems like a reasonable and calm person off the battlefield, even serving as a voice of reason to his Primarch in the role of equerry. What’s more, by the time the Heresy rolls around, some very visible cracks have begun to show in the XII legion’s foundations, both in regards to Angron’s continuing mental and physical  degradation and the growing toll of the Nails on his legionaries.

WARNING: Spoilers for Betrayer follow!

In Betrayer, Khârn seems very aware of both problems, yet he remains loyal to his Primarch and is one of the cornerstones of the legion’s nobility and brotherhood — easily the most important thing to him, it seems, both when it comes to his dealings with his brethren and his blood brother, Argel Tal of the Word Bearers. It’s especially striking, then, how the death of the latter seemingly sends Khârn on the first steps of his development into the utterly bloodthirsty and psychotic character we know from the 40k universe: There’s a battle scene at the tail end of Betrayer that shows a different Khârn to the one we have encountered before — an utterly indifferent killing machine. And for now, we can only guess at the implications of Angron’s “ascension”, both for the legion in general and Khârn in particular — we do know what he has become 10,000 years later, though…

End Spoilers

In any case, it’ll be interesting to see what the writers at GW and BL have in store for Khârn — but I, for one, hope that it’ll be more along the lines of Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s rather nuanced treament of the character, and less like the one-note soundbites we have grown accustomed to from Khârn’s 40k background.

The Art

It’s really impossible to discuss any part of the 30k/40k lore without considering the accompanying artwork — the art is arguably just as important for the setting as the models and the baclground narration, especially since it often provides the designers with the actual inspiration for the design of new models or the redesign of existing characters.

So let’s take a look at some of the artwork depicting Khârn the Betrayer over the years — interestingly enough, the artwork for the character has a track record that can seem just as spotty as his narrative background.

But let’s cut to the chase: One of the first pieces of artwork I ever saw – and still one of the best images depicting Khârn, if you ask me – is this piece, created by Kev Walker:

Kharn the Betrayer art (4)
This illustration really has it all! It was used to accompany William King’s aforementioned “The Wrath of Khârn” in WD, and I still love it just as much as I did back when I first saw it — the one element that does seem slightly distracting is the collection of piercings on Khârn’s left bicep — such a slightly kinky touch would somehow seem more fitting on a follower of Slaanesh. But then, the accompanying story nicely toys with that scenario, so maybe that was the whole point?

When it comes to classic Khârn, one really need not look any further than Jes Goodwin’s own concept sketches for the character:

Kharn the Betrayer art (8)
I think one can safely suspect that this is the oldest piece of art depicting Khârn, and it is also the one that is the most faithful to the actual miniature — for very obvious reasons… It also remains one of the best drawings of Khârn, along with the one by Kev Walker, in my opinion, but then that’s Jes Goodwin for you…

Interestingly enough, some of the other artwork depiciting Khârn doesn’t fare quite as well: For instance, Adrian Smith is easily one of my favourite artists when it comes to depicting (Chaos) Space Marines, but his treatment of Khârn is not up to his usual standard, if you ask me:

Kharn the Betrayer art (14)

Sure, there’s a lot to like about the piece, but the entire left arm and the axe just fall apart completely when you look at them too closely — the perspective of that part is just sooo wonkey, don’t you think? And for some strange reason, Khârn suddenly seems to have both arms uncovered in this piece.

What’s more, most of the even more recent pieces really don’t capture the essence of the character for me, be it because it looks like Khârn is wearing an armoured bodysuit…

Kharn the Betrayer art (12)
…or because they make him look like a clueless idiot when fighting against loyalists:

Kharn the Betrayer art (3)
At least the art from Khârn’s latest codex entry is pretty competent, if a little uninspired:

Kharn the Betrayer art (2)
Do yourself a favour and don’t look at the pictured of his wargear that are part of his Dataslate, though: While the art itself works well enough, the added explanations for his wargear’s various features read like the worst kind of fan fiction imaginable…

And what of Heresy era Khârn? Interestingly enough, once again, the oldest piece of artwork may just be the best:

Kharn the Betrayer art (11)
Wayne England’s iconic piece of art from the original HH trading card game may no longer be an accurate representation of the recent fluff (the legion colours have ended up noticeably different in the interim, for one), but it’s still one of those classic images I hold dear  — but then, I’ve always had a thing for Wayne England’s chaos artwork, so that may have something to do with it as well.

At the same time, the updated depiction of heresy era Khârn in the Black Library publications is also pretty cool:

Kharn the Betrayer art (7)
There’s just something menacing and implacable about the above piece that I really like! It also seems like this was either designed to more or less accurately depict FW’s Khârn model or even serve as a design template for it? But we’ll be getting to the models in a second…

Before we talk about Khârn in miniature form, allow me to bring up two pieces of fanmade artwork that I really like.

First up, heresy era Khârn, as rendered in Greyall’s trademark style:

Khârn the Bloody by Greyall

Khârn the Bloody by Greyall

As per Greyall’s usual standard, the piece is incredibly detailed and ornate — you just have to love that axe design, don’t you?

The other illustration I would like to show you is this fantastic piece by slaine69, showing Khârn at Amartura:

Khârn at Armatura by slaine69

Khârn at Armatura by slaine69

This probably couldn’t be any more different in style and direction from Greyall’s piece, but I love it just as much: slaine69 is an insanely talented artist, and what I like about this – slightly unconventional – depiction of Khârn is how it manages to humanise him as a character and bring his berserk tendencies to the fore at the same moment — excellent stuff!


The models

So we have looked at the art — but what about the actual models? Do they do the character justice? And what about the hobbyists’ take on Khârn? Let’s find out!

As far as official releases are concerned, there have been two models for Khârn so far:

The first one is Jes Goodwin’s original 40k version of the character:

Khârn the Betrayer by Jes Goodwin

Khârn the Betrayer by Jes Goodwin

The model is still available from GW today, and in my opinion, it’s not only a true classic, but it also still holds up beautifully. The model was released along with Abbadon, Ahriman and Fabius Bile, back when the 2nd edition Codex Chaos hit, and he has arguably managed to age pretty gracefully. I realise that the model has been getting some flak over the years for its rather static pose, but come on, people: This guy has so many elements that became iconic and seminal for the whole look of the World Eaters: The baroque and pitted power armour, the bunny-eared helmet (that is almost impossible to replace or approximate by mere kitbashing or converting), the chains — and, of course, the bare arm, which may be a more common sight in (Chaos) Marine armies today, but was something quite original back then.

I remember first seeing Khârn among a collection of models and thinking: “I wonder what this guy’s story is!” — the model just has a way of drawing you in! As it happens, Jes Goodwin is possibly responsible for the two most iconic World Eaters models: Khârn is one of them, and the other one is the iconic 1991 metal World Eater — and if I have one complaint, it’s that the best World Eaters models were released over twenty years ago, with precious little having happened in the interim (Forgeworld notwithstanding). Anyway, what can I say: I am still a huge fan of this guy!

There’s also the much more recent FW model for heresy era Khârn by Edgar Skomorowski:

Khârn the Bloody, by Edgar Skomorowski

Khârn the Bloody, by Edgar Skomorowski

The model seems to have been designed with the main criticism against the Jes Goodwin version firmly in mind, because this guy is *very* dynamic — almost overly so, in fact, but we’ll be getting to that. The armour design is really cool, adding a gladiatorial flair to Khârn’s wargear that is a great fit for his legion’s background. The crested centurion helmet is also a great touch — although I would argue that the original helmet’s faceplate seems slightly more balanced.

In spite of all the good aspects, I am not a huge fan of the model, to be honest: The running pose seems slightly oddly balanced to me, making it look like Khârn is almost falling forward — this has always been a problem with running models, however, and maybe it was actually an intentional choice, in order to illustrate his uncontrolled rage? I also think the choice to extend the unarmoured/partially armoured look to his other arm as well somewhat lessens the visual punch of this element. And I really hate the model’s bare head: It may be a cool enough face, certainly, but it’s not Khârn’s face:

Forgeworld Heresy era Kharn detail
Such things always come down to personal choice, of course, but it is stated outright in the background that Khârn’s face is actually unscarred. The integration of the Butcher’s Nails also seems a bit random — but in any case, the head is an optional bit, so it’s not like you have to use it. All in all, I think it’s a nice, if slightly underwhelming, model.

It goes without saying that many, many hobbyists have come up with their own versions of the character, kitbashing or converting their own model to represent Khârn. Some of these improve on the existing models quite a bit, so I would like to share with you my favourites — and the interpretations I have drawn inspiration from for my own conversion. I’ll be limiting myself to those models who represent a substantial change to the stock models, by the way, although it has to be said that merely reposing the existing models can lead to rather stunning results as well. Anyway, here goes!

Let’s start with different versions of (Pre) Heresy Khârn:

Pre Heresy Khârn by Sebastien Lavigne

Pre Heresy Khârn by Sebastien Lavigne

This – Golden Demon winning – version of 30k Khârn by Sebastien Lavigne remains one of my favourite versions of the character: I just love the dynamism of the model, as well as the added legion standard! The model becomes even more impressive when you consider the fact that, back in 2008, the Horus Heresy wasn’t the massively detailed and codified setting it is today. In spite of that Sebastien still managed to create a tiny slice of the setting without much to work from, and the result still manages to hold up today. Marvelous!

There’s also the ever-inspirational Mr. Poom, who is responsible for the other two heresy era Khârns I would like to share with you:

Heresy era Kharn by poom first version
This piece was clearly inspired by Wayne England’s art shown further in this post, and I simply love how closely the model represents the illustration (and how it dares to deviate from it in all the right places). I am aware that Mr. Poom is no longer all that fond of the model, but it does remain one of my favourites.

His more recent version of the character uses the Forgeworld version as a base:

Khârn the Bloody by Mr. Poom

Khârn the Bloody by Mr. Poom

The horsehair crest brings the model more in line with the character’s depiction in Betrayer, which is a nice touch. And Mr. Poom’s paintjob is as gorgeous as ever — I still prefer his earlier version of the character, to be perfectly honest, but out of all the FW Khârns, this one is probably my favourite!

So what about the 40k versions of the character?

Khârn the Betrayer by kitbasher

Khârn the Betrayer by kitbasher

Wow, this Khârn conversion by kitbasher may just be the perfect Khârn model! It’s also a rare case of a model actually improving on the artwork it has been based on: The model clearly takes lots of inspiration from the Adrian Smith illustration further up in this post, but it works out all the kinks of the piece, creating something better in the process — perfect!

Then there’s this Khârn by Lil’Loser Studio:

Khârn the Betrayer by Lil'Loser Studios

Khârn the Betrayer by Lil’Loser Studios

The model uses parts from both official Khârn models, combining them to great effect and creating an excellent model!

AMaximus, who, it has to be said, is one of my main inspirations for World Eaters conversions and kitbashes, chose a similar approach, coming up with this awesome Khârn:

Khârn the Betrayer by AMaximus

Khârn the Betrayer by AMaximus

I can hardly wait for him to slap some paint on this model!

I also really like this very clean and seamless conversion by mf_Greg:

Khârn the Betrayer by mf_Greg

Khârn the Betrayer by mf_Greg

The excellent paintjob helps, of course 😉

The Vanus Temple is responsible for two stunning versions of the character: First up, his earlier conversion, based on a WFB champion of Khorne:

Khârn the Betrayer by the Vanus Temple

Khârn the Betrayer by the Vanus Temple

This one became popular enough that multiple models have been produced as commission pieces, if I recall correctly.

Khârn the Betrayer by the Vanus Temple

Khârn the Betrayer by the Vanus Temple

A more recent version by the same artist uses the FW Khârn model and creates an equally stunning piece:

Khârn the Betrayer by the Vanus Temple

Khârn the Betrayer by the Vanus Temple

And finally, some guys who really know how to go for shock and awe tactics:

An unbelievably huge (and spiky) Khârn by Rumplemaster:

Khârn the Betrayer by Rumplemaster

Khârn the Betrayer by Rumplemaster

And two equally huge models by Machinator…

Khârn the Betrayer by Machinator

Khârn the Betrayer by Machinator

…and Reanimator, respectively:

Khârn the Betrayer by Reanimator

Khârn the Betrayer by Reanimator

I’ve taken quite a bit of inspiration from these last two for my own, updated Khârn the Betrayer, as you’ll be seeing in a minute.

And there’s this utterly unbelievable, mostly sculpted from scratch, Khârn by Master of the Forge:

Khârn the Betrayer by Master of the Forge

Khârn the Betrayer by Master of the Forge

I could never imagine creating a model like this, which just makes it even more impressive — the greatest true scale Khârn in existence? Very likely…

All of these last models are massive — as befits the Blood God’s most exalted champion. But there’s one last piece that approaches the issue from a wholly different angle. Just check out this model by WilhelMiniatures:

Khârn by Wilhelminiatures

Khârn by Wilhelminiatures


Khârn by WilhelMiniatures

Khârn by WilhelMiniatures

Wow, just…wow!

My own approach

All of these illustrations and models were floating around my head, when the theme for the 15th Painting/Converting contest over at was announced: Build a better character, that is: improve on one of the Khornate characters from either 40k or WFB. It was clear to me that I wanted to build an updated Khârn, and I tried to incorporate as many awesome ideas from my various sources of inspiration as I could. It took me some time to hammer out a build, but this was what I ended up with:

Kharn the Betrayer (3)

Kharn the Betrayer (2)

Kharn the Betrayer (1)
Kharn the Betrayer (4)
My main goal was to make Khârn bigger. Plus I wanted to try and use mostly plastic parts, since it’s the material I am most comfortable with. Both led to the decision of basing the model on the legs from my beloved plastic Terminator Lord kit, combined with the upper body from a WFB Skullcrusher. Beyond that, I tried to incorporate as many visual elements of the original Jes Goodwin model as I could.

I have learned from the great Ron Saikowski that the important part in trying to make a model resemble a piece of art (or an earlier version of the miniature) is to try and get some of the key parts right: Those will make the model look believable, and close enough to its source that you can afford a little leeway with the smaller details.

On my own model, the parts I definitely wanted to keep were the bare left arm, the huge axe, the chains and the general design of the armour and helmet. Some of the detail was easy enough to recreate with plastic bitz: The big air outlet on Khârn’s chest was originally a part of an IG voxcaster, but it now looks reasonably close to the original. The chains were reasonably easy to approximate by using some of the spiked chains from the Skullcrusher kit. And in a bit of a happy coincidence, one of the axes from the FW Cataphractii Terminators looked reasonably similar to Jes Goodwin’s original design for Gorechild, while also fitting the slightly bigger scale of my model.

Other details were a bit harder to get right: I spent quite some time looking for a suitable bare arm, finally settling on an arm from the WFB Warhshrine of Chaos priest. Getting the arm into a working position did take some time, however, and even then, it ended up ever so slightly anatomically dubious — I’ll have to live with that, I suppose.

I also realised that there was no getting around using the original head and backpack: The backpack with its skulls was just too iconic (interestingly enough, the backpack I did end up using wasn’t the one from Khârn, though, but a virtually identical one from an old 90s metal Chaos Lord). And the helmet turned out to be the element that really sold the model as Khârn, instead of just some true scale berzerker — fortunately enough, fellow hobbyist Belphoebe was kind enough to provide me with a leftover Khârn head — thanks, mate!

I do realise that there are some deviations from the original model, and I did take some shortcuts during the truescaling process — but I hope the paintjob manages to pull everything together into a cohesive whole. So, without much further ado, here’s my painted model for Khârn the Betrayer:

Kharn the Betrayer redux (1)

Kharn the Betrayer redux (2)

Kharn the Betrayer redux (3)

Kharn the Betrayer redux (4)

Kharn the Betrayer redux (5)

Kharn the Betrayer redux (6)
Of course I also tried to come up with a suitably impressive base for the model, in order to support the model’s size and pose:

Kharn the Betrayer redux (7)
Granted, the pose is just as static as the one on Jes Goodwin’s original model — but, like I said: I am a fan! 😉 Plus I think that Khârn lends himself really well to the whole “bellowing at the sky in rage” thing…

Kharn the Betrayer redux (8)
Kharn the Betrayer redux (9)

Oh, and here’s a scale comparison picture, by the way, showing the new model next to my orginal, stock Khârn from way back when:

Kharn the Betrayer redux (10)
All in all, in spite of a hundred small things that could probably be better, I have to say that I am really rather happy with my new version of the character — I think Jes Goodwin’s version is still really awesome, so making Khârn bigger and more intimidating was really the best possible route, if you ask me.

Kharn the Betrayer redux (11)
I won’t lie to you: I hope my version holds up to some of the excellent conversions I’ve shown you in today’s post — and I can only say thank you to all the hobbyists whose work on Khârn has inspired me to tackle my own conversion! Thanks for letting me …borrow a few ideas from your excellent models, chaps!

So, whatever may be in store for our favourite, red-armoured lunatic this Christmas, I hope you’ve found this post inspiring! And I would love to hear any feedback you might have in the comments section!

So go convert some World Eaters now, and always remember: Khorne cares not from whence the blood flows, only that it flows!
As always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Kharn the Betrayer redux (12)

Heeding the call…

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 23, 2014 by krautscientist

Alright, everyone: There’s quite a bit going on at the moment, so let me give you a rundown of my current projects. Most of these are chaotic in nature — in more than one sense, I suppose 😉 Anyway, here goes:

1. The Call of Chaos

In a rather uncharacteristic move, I have decided to join the VIIth Call of Chaos over at The Bolter & Chainsword, vowing to paint four new units for my World Eaters before January 15th. I am using this occasion to force myself to finally get a couple of things that I really want to see finished painted, but make no mistake: I am such a huge hobby butterfly that participating in a vow like this is quite a challenge for me. There’s a very real danger of failing this thing, so if you have any fingers left, keep them crossed for me, okay?

Anyway, which models are part of my Call of Chaos vow, you ask? Well, let me walk you through them. The first two should already be known to you:

First up, I am finally going to complete the Forgefiend I built and undercoated what feels like ages ago:

Forgefiend WIP (3)
Since then, the poor thing has remained completely untouched, and it’s definitely time to change that!

The next model is a character I am really looking forward to seeing finished:

The Doomwall WIP (22)
“The Doomwall”, my World Eaters Terminator Lord in Mk 1-ish armour. I am still extremely happy with this conversion, and I hope I’ll be able to make the model look even cooler when painted!

But I am not limiting myself to models you already know for this challenge: I will also paint two model’s you haven’t seen yet:

First up is a Chaos Dreadnought/Helbrute that I recently converted, using the AOBR Dreadnought as a base. I wanted another Dread because I’ve built so many different interchangeable weapon arms for my existing Dreadnoughts that it only felt logical to have another model that could make use of them. Plus I really enjoy converting Dreadnoughts for some reason. Anyway, here’s the model:

Breacher Dread WIP (1)
Breacher Dread WIP (2)
Breacher Dread WIP (3)
It actually took me quite a while to wrap up this conversion, because the AOBR Dread is a rather limiting base model to use. I also couldn’t get too crazy with the pose, because the model needed to be flexible enough to be able to use all (or at least most) of the extra weapon arms I had built. I kept messing around with various parts, but the model just refused to come together — as it turned out, what I needed in order to finally make this Dread happen was an idea about him as a character: I needed to figure out what kind of guy he was.

In the end, I decided that he is a former Breacher Sergeant whose calling is still reflected in some elements of his ironform — the Mk. 3-ish helmet, the shield on his left arm recalling a stylised boarding shield and the melta, for example. And that was the spark of inspiration that made the whole thing happen.

One thing I am pretty happy with is the brutal looking siege claw on his left arm: The standard powerfist was just looking so boring, so I just tried adding some spiky bitz from the wheels of the WFB Chaos Chariot — and I think the result really works!

The final part of my Call of Chaos vow will be an old acquaintance, in a way. Take a look:

Kharn the Betrayer (3)
Kharn the Betrayer (2)
Kharn the Betrayer (1)
Kharn the Betrayer (4)
It should be pretty obvious who this is supposed to be, right? 😉 As it happens, the model was actually built for the latest Painting/Converting contest over at Throne of Skulls: The theme of the contest was to take one of the Khornate characters from among the 40k and WFB universes and build a better/updated/reimagined version of them — and what better character to choose for that than dear old Kharn the Betrayer?

Since this is going to be a piece for the contest, above all else, I took the liberty of truescaling Kharn a bit, and I think he wears it well 😉

Oh, the head was, once again, very kindly provided by my fellow hobbyist Belphoebe, by the way. Thanks a lot, mate!

So, like I said, I’ll be trying to get these painted until January 15th. I am slightly scared. Wish me luck, boys and girls! 😉

2. The art of chaos

And while we’re still on the matter of The Bolter & Chainsword, I am supremely happy to announce that I am one of the winners of a recent challenge by fellow hobbyist Greyall. If you don’t know his thread, you should check it out right away: Greyall does incredibly detailed and intricate drawings of (Chaos) Space Marine characters in black and white, and he held a little conversion challenge where all the board members could enter one of their converted models, and Greyall would draw a number of them. I entered my conversion for Lord Captain Lorimar…

Lorimar WIP (10)
…and guess what: I am one of the chosen few. I am so happy! Especially since the competition was absolutely amazing. Definitely make sure to head over there and check out those models! Anyway, I can hardly wait to see Lorimar rendered in Greyall’s trademark style — this will be SO awesome!

3. Creeping Rot

Like I said, I am a hobby butterfly of the first order, so I couldn’t resist opening yet another can of worms…literally: You’ll probably have seen GW’s recently released Putrid Blightkings. Well, one look at the models was enough to decide that I needed a box of these, and I finally picked them up late last week.

So far, I’ve only spent a bit of time with the models due to having been super buys last week, but allow me to share some initial observations:

  • the level of detail in this kit has to be seen to be believed! Seriously, those guys are every bit as spectacular as they looked in WD Weekly
  • the amount of bitz you get is equally impressive: Even after building five complete models, you should have lots and lots of leftovers for the rest of your Nurglite conversion needs: The amount of heads, rusty weapons and armour plates alone is staggering!
  • the kit is pretty flexible, and you’ll be getting quite a few very different looking models out of this one — however, the kit is not as flexible as many “classic” multi part plastic kits (most of the (Chaos) Space Marine range comes to mind), due to the way the models are put together. This is not a problem per se, but it does mean you’ll need to plan ahead in order to convert these guys…
  • …speaking of which: (Chaos) Terminator parts will work great on these, from a size perspective.

This last point is pretty important, I think, because many people planning to use these models in 40k seem to be unsure as to their actual size: I’ve seen speculations that the Blightkings are Ogre/Ogryn-sized, and I’ve snapped a quick comparison shot for you:

Blightkings WIP (1)
As you can see, these guys are definitely NOT Ogryn-sized. In fact, they are slightly smaller than Terminators. In my opinion, that makes them useful as stand-ins for Chaos Terminators (probably what I am going to do), true scale Death Guard Marines or something of the sort.

In fact, I have made a few – very early – attempts at “40k-i-fying” the Blightkings:

Blightkings WIP (4)

Blightkings WIP (3)
Nothing huge so far, just messing around with a few 40k parts and seeing what works. A more involved conversion was trying to add a breastplate to the one Blightking in the set that normally HAS to be assembled with a bare belly:

Blightkings WIP (5)
That did take quite a bit of cutting (and the model still needs some serious gap-filling).

But those are just a few brief initial impressions — I guess you may expect a more in-depth writeup about the ins and outs of this kit at some point in the near future 😉

4. Pretty pictures

To wind up this post, let me share one more thing with you: Since messing around with pictures of my models and some image editing software turned out to be so much fun (see my last post), I gave it another try and tackled some more involved photomontages.

First up, a picture of the Hellrazor in action:

I used both Pixlr and Photoshop to create this image, and while there may be a lot of stuff that can be improved, I am still reasonably happy with the outcome.

I also found this very interesting post over at Tyler Mengel’s blog and decided I needed to try something similar. So here’s a composite picture of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt having some fun on the plains of a conquered Hive World:

The Red Tide
Once again, both Pixlr and Photoshop were used in the creation of the image. I also found out that Pixlr is great for quickly obscuring rough areas noticeable seams between different parts of a composite picture.

Granted, I still have much to learn, but I definitely like where this is going!


Anyway, so much for my current chaotic projects. I’d love to hear any feedback you might have in the comments section! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!