Archive for kitbash

Raud the Hunter

Posted in 30k, Conversions, Fluff, paintjob, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2018 by krautscientist

Whoa, seems like the numbers of views went through the roof after my last post — which is a slightly bittersweet experience for me: I love the fact that so many people seem to take an interest in my pick of fantastic hobby projects from last year, and all those artists certainly deserve the attention! At the same time, there’s no way I can replicate that kinf of interest with my own meagre work — oh well… 😉

Even so, in-between parts two and three of the Eternal Hunt Awards, allow me to sneak in one of my own models, if only because I am so very happy with the first model I have managed to complete this year — and also the first model I have painted in quite a while! So what is this about?

In 2017, I had such a blast painting a converted World Eaters Contemptor as my first model of the year, so I thought I’d just try to catch that spark again with…more of the same. So I decided to paint this guy, whom some of you may remember from back in August, I believe:




So yeah, I had to convert yet another Betrayal at Calth plastic Contemptor: In fact, the model actually started in several places:

  • When Augustus b’Raass was nice enough to magnetise my first Contemptor’s gun arm, I realised it would actually be cool to have another model for that extra weapon as well.
  • Then I got a good deal for just the body of the BaC plastic Contemptor, and I really rather like that model as conversion fodder: True enough, the stock model is so awkward — and painfully vanilla. But the fact that it’s so underwhelming is what makes it so fascinating to me: I just want to bring out the cooler model hidden within, so to speak 😉

It helps that it’s really easy to improve the model, by the way: Even if you want to keep things really simple, like me, without using any GS, splicing in Sentinel upper legs or what have you, the plastic Contemptor is easy to improve via just two or three small cuts:

 

1. Carefully cutting the body apart at the waist allows for a more interesting pose (plus you could even magnetise that joint to allow the torso to swivel permanently.

2. The really invaluable step, however, is to cleanly separate either of the legs (or both) from the pelvis area with a clean cut, then reattach them at a different angle to either make the pose more open and less pidgeon toed (as I’ve done on my first Contemptor) or approximate a walking/running position (as I’ve done on the second model).

3. And that’s not even getting into the extra posability (and customisability) you get by carefully cutting off the weapons immediately beneath the shoulder.

  • The third major factor in the creation of the model was that I still had a kitbashed Dreadnought arm in my bitzbox:


Now originally this arm was built allll the way back in 2014, originally to be used on one of my 40k Dreadnoughts. I wanted a miniature version of the “Ursus Claws”, the harpoon systems the World Eaters use on their warships, and my version was inspired both by a very similar conversion courtesy of fellow hobbyist sheep and Forgeworld’s Blood Slaughterer Impaler.

Now for one reason or another, I never got around to painting this arm — which was really all for the best, since it arguably works much better on the taller Contemptor than on the boxy Castraferrum Dreadnought.

So the model really came together rather quickly back in August — but then, as is often the case with my projects, it took me some time to actually sit down and paint it. But I really wanted to see this guy finished, so when my good friend Annie invited me over for one of our semi-regular hobby sessions, I made it a point to actually get a good start on the Contemptor.

So here’s what he looked like after getting all the base colours and decals in place:


And this was the model at the end of the painting session, shortly before I packed up for the night:



At this point, there was still quite a bit of detail work left to be done, but I was well underway to actually finishing a model again, and that motivational surge really povided me with the incentive to actually see the project through to its conclusion 😉

In addition to the model, I also needed a suitably impressive base, of course. And there was one effect I definitely wanted to incorporate: A fallen Astartes, trying his best to reach a melta charge — an effect I’ve seen on many Heresy armies, especially on one of Mr. Poom’s fantastic World Eaters Contemptors.

This idea came with its own set of challenges, however: It quickly became clear to me that while it’s super cool for the base to contain a fallen Astartes like that, I really needed to keep the guy’s visual footprint small enough so as not to overshadow the main attraction — when all is said and done, the poor fella’s base decoration, after all, and nothing more.

So I used one of the resin Marines I had left from the base of Forgeworld’s Angron model, cut the poor guy in half and pushed him down really low onto the base: In fact, I imagine him as having been buried under rubble from an explosion or something similar, not directly as a victim of the Contemptor:




One thing that doesn’t really come across in the pictures is that there’s a bigger piece of rubble where his legs should be, pushing him down and/or pinning him in place. I hoped this would work much better once the base had been painted.

The rest of the base was built up using plastic parts from one of GW’s 40k basing sets, Vallejo’s Sandy Paste and some varied rubble and cork chaff from my collection. Since the plastic parts were woefully smooth, I once again stippled on some Liquid GS to create some much-needed surface texture:

The paintjob was once again intended to make the entire base look suitably dusty and grimy — like a perfect little slice of a Horus Heresy warzone. It’s funny, but I think the one area where I’ve improved most through my work on Horus Heresy models is the basing of models 😉

 

So before the model was completed, all that I needed to do was to come up with a small background piece for this latest Contemptor. Now it has become a bit of a tradition for me to immortalise fellow hobbyists who have contributed to my hobby life in a meaningful ways by naming models after them (such as “PeeDee” the Monkey, for instance. And come to think of it, Augustus b’Raass alone gets about three shout outs in my 40k World Eaters army), and I decided to do the same this time, using a part of the Contemptor’s name and a tiny bit of his background as a bit of a shout out to fellow hobbyist BubblesMcBub, who really did me a good turn last year by letting me have most of the Death Guard modes from the Dark Imperium boxed set — cheers, mate: This one’s for you! 🙂

 

So here, without further ado, is the finished Contemptor:

Kelok Raud

“The Hunter”
Contemptor, XII Legion Astartes

Long before his interment into a hallowed Ironform, or even before his transformation into an Astartes, Kelok Raud was already a consummate hunter, slaying the monstrous rad-beasts that stalked the West-Yropan flatlands. After his induction into the XII Legion, this predilection for hunting fearsome game saw Raud gravitate towards the role of a heavy assault specialist, and many were the beasts and tech-horrors he brought down during the Great Crusade, before finally falling under the claws of a towering xenos beast.

Before the last spark of life left his shattered body, however, the Techmarines of the 4th assault company interred him into a Contemptor ironform, as his prowess in battle had long made him eligible for a service beyond death.

Bestriding the battlefield clad in layered Adamantium of ancient Mechanicus ingenuity, Kelok Raud has now returned to the hunt once more, this time as a true avatar of war. His breastplate proudly proclaims his motto „Venatio Supra Omnia – The Hunt Above All Else“ in High Gothic lettering, and where he used to hunt mutant beasts with spear and lance, he is now armed with a Dreadnought-sized version of that most vicious of World Eaters weapon systems, the monstrous Ursus Claw harpoon.

 






Here’s a closer look at the base:



The last picture shows off the piece of rubble pinning the Ultramarine down a bit better. I really rather like the “mini-narrative” created by the base: The fallen Ultramarine gives it one last shot at destroying the enemy – as Ultramarines are wont to do, because “only in death does duty end” and all that – while the Contemptor has bigger fish to fry and is already looking for his next prey — he’s kitted out for tank hunting, after all.

I even like the idea that the little scene could actually play out either way: Could the Ultramarine prove to be Raud’s undoing because of his unbroken will to fight? Maybe, but then it rather fits his character. Plus I think there’s still a pretty fair chance the Contemptor’s next step will squish the Marine’s head like a ripe melon…

Now like I said, the guns were actually magnetised by Augustus b’Raass, so while I am totally ignorant when it comes to magnetising stuff, it was easy enough to add something readily magnetic to the Contemptor’s right shoulder. So now I get to do fun stuff like swapping in a new gun…

…or changing the angle of the gun:

One thing I am really, really proud of, even if it’s not perfect, is the freehand lettering adorning the scrollwork on Raud’s breastplate: I went with the aforementioned “Venatio Supra Omnia” which I think is fairly okay-ish Latin — hey, who cares, it’s High Gothic anyway, isn’t it? 😉

In any case, this feels like the first freehand of that kind I have tried in virtually forever, so I think you guys can cut me some slack 😉

So yeah, that’s the finished model! And here are “the twins”:

To be honest, I am enormously pleased with these two, especially since they use the exact same base model and still look suitably different.

So to wind things up, here’s a snapshot of my entire 30k World Eaters collection so far:


Certainly not an army yet — but we may be getting there, one model at a time 😉

I would love to hear any feedback you might have on the new Contemptor. And, as always, tanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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The 2017 Eternal Hunt Awards, pt. 2: The Hobbyists

Posted in 30k, 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings, Traitor Guard with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 18, 2018 by krautscientist

Awards

Welcome back, everyone: It’s a new year, and here we are — later than I had originally planned, I must admit. Sorry for the delay, but I just had to spend the entire holiday season sleeping, eating and near-obsessively hunting robot dinosaurs. I actually also managed to paint my very first model of the new year, but that’s a story for another time. For today, we still have a part of my annual Eternal Hunt Awards to get out of the way, even if it’s no longer 2017. That being said, I am confident you beautiful readers will always appreciate the chance to discover a couple of amazing hobby projects, right?

Because that’s what we’ll be dealing with today: The best work from fellow hobbyists from the last twelve months, according to yours truly. Now the level of quality many hobbyists manage to achieve these days keeps going through the roof all the time, with more and more stunning creations appearing online every year, but here’s my little selection of particularly noteworthy projects and blogs from last year, so please enjoy!

One small disclaimer, however, before we begin:
It goes without saying that all the photos you’ll be seeing in this post show other people’s work, and I cannot claim credit for any of the stuff depicted — apart from the small but delightful task of collecting it all together here and giving those fantastic hobbyists a much deserved shout out 😉

 

I. Projects of note:

Let’s start with the hobby projects that blew me away in 2017, be they single models or army projects. Having spent a sizeable chunk of my online hobby time with the vibrant and lively community at The Bolter & Chainsword, it occurs to me in hindsight that my selection may be leaning a bit heavily on the Space Marine side of things this year, but I hope you’ll still appreciate the following, wonderful projects. So, in no particular order and without further ado:

Nemac Vradon’s First Claw:

Back in 2016, Augustus b’Raass built what I would consider the definitive true scale representation of First Claw, that merry band of rascals (read: insane murderers) devised by Aaron Dembski-Bowden for his Night Lords Trilogy:

First Claw by Augustus b’Raass (1)

I was lucky enough to see these guys in person on my visit to Amsterdam last summer, and they are just breathtaking: Perfect little representations of the different characters from the book, with lots of little tweaks that bring the models to life and amazing paintjobs to boot. The bigger scale gives them a real presence and also adds some – much needed – space for all of those extra bitz and trinkets.

So imagine my surprise when Nemac Vradon actually came up with an equally brilliant rendition of the same group of characters, albeit in regular 28mm scale this time, without the benefit of all that extra space:


Now building models to represent actual characters from the lore can be a fun – but also an incredibly challenging – proposition. Even moreso when everyone who has read the Night Lords novels probably has an idea about what Talos and his brothers should look like. Nemac Vradon has done an absolutely fantastic job of capturing the essence of the different characters, though, making them instantly recognisable. Nowhere is that more evident than on Talos, First Claw’s absolute poster boy:

Nemac has come up with a truly excellent model here, with all the cues that sell the piece as a representation of the character: With the Mk. V armour, deathmask, relic Blood Angels blade and the rune on the forehead, this guy clearly reads as Talos!

Similar care has been taken with each of the members of First Claw, with a careful selection of bitz and effective poses that manage to embody the essence of each character, while none of the models end up looking cluttered or overly-busy.




Surprisingly enough, while Talos may be First Claw’s most prominent member, he is not, in my opinion, the best part of Nemac Vradon’s interpretation of First Claw: That particular honour has to go in equal parts to Uzas and Xarl.

Now Uzas may strike you as a bit of an obvious choice – after all, he’s basically my favourite character from the books in the first place: A follower of Khorne, Uzas is a typical ADB character in that he may seem one-note by definition, yet is shown to possess surprising – and fairly tragic – depths. So my love for the character is always on my mind when looking at the model. That being said, the conversion is simply a study in elegance and unity of effect: Once again, all the cues that sell the character are there, while the strong pose and effective paintjob make for a model where everything’s in ist right place.

Xarl, on the other hand, is a very different beast:

Highly dynamic and quite ostentatious (in his ceremonial Chyropteran helmet), he immediately draws the eye. And once again, the particular composition of parts just makes for a perfect model. To wit, Nemac Vradon even managed to get away with using one of the – normally terrible – winged helmets from the old NL conversion kit.

The whole squad really stands as a triumph of both creating excellent representations of the actual characters as well as a collection of models with a perfect unity of effect. So while Augustus b’Raass has managed to come up with the definitive version of First Claw at true scale, Nemac Vradon can now claim the same award for the “smaller 28mm scale”. Splendid work!

Check out Nemac Vradon’s version of First Claw, along with the rest of his excellent Night Lords here.

 

Dark Ven’s Night Lords

And while we are on the subject of Night Lords, let’s not forget DarkVen: A longtime collector of the 8th legion, he has returned to his army in 2017 with some rather stunning new additions. Now the most impressive thing about Dark Ven’s Night Lords has to be how he combines kitbashing with kick-ass sculpting to create models that are both highly intricate conversions and yet perfectly at home next to stock GW models. His Night Lords army is a fantastic and incredibly customised collection of models: Just take the warband’s current leader, the enigmatic Warpsmith Tarantula: You could spent ages poring over those photos, trying to figure out which parts are stock (very few) and which have been expertly (re-)sculpted (nearly all of them).


Because, if anything, DarkVen‘s extrapolations of GW’s designs create models that sometimes seem like the perfect missing link between various official models: Take his brilliantly converted and customised Night Lords Dreadnought, for instance, that would seem equally at home next to both the old 2nd edition metal CSM Dread and the more recent plastic models:

Extra kudos for the different weapon options – I love stuff like that!

The incredible amount of customisation is evident in each and every unit in DarkVen’s Night Lords army. Here are his Atramentar:


At first glance, they merely look like some really well done Chaos Terminators, but there’s so much more there: Underneath all the spikes and blades, there’s still a hint at something more honourable, at the elite Astartes formation they used to be, and DarkVen does an excellent job of communicating this idea through the models.

Also, once again, I dare you to take a closer look and actually find out precisely how customised those guys are, especially the amount of scultping and additional detailing that has gone into their armour!

Or his Raptors: Those models perfectly combine officially established visual cues with DarkVen’s own take on GW’s archetypes, channeling both the new plastic Raptors and the “bird of prey” style of the older metal/Finecast Raptors – while also throwing in a generous helping of Predator creepiness:




The fact that DarkVen further supplements most of his more recent conversions with fantastic and elaborate concept art is just the icing on the cake!

If there’s one negative point to be mentioned here, it’s that DarkVen’s Night Lords currently lie dormant once more. However, you still can (and definitely should) check out the current status of his project here:

BrotherCaptainArkhan’s Black One Hundred

Can you remember how hip it used to be to hate the Ultramarines? In all fairness, GW’s poster boy Space Marine legion/chapter has appeared in official material so often and has been so idolised by many official authors, that it’s rather easy to be fed up with them, especially when they are written like they can do no wrong. And with the introduction of the Primaris Marines and the return of Roboute Guiliman, the XIII Primarch, to the stage of the 41st millennium, there are probably yet more Ultramarines with their heroic feats waiting for us in the wings.

What then if I were to tell you that one of the most riveting Horus Heresy project in existence at the moment dealt with the XIII legion in a way that you haven’t seen before and that turns Ultramarines into something genuinely fascinating?

Enter BrotherCaptainArkhan’s Black One Hundred: A Censuria company of Ultramarines, that is to say: Those members of the legion whose failures, sins or merely oversights have damned them to the fate of serving in an entire company of rejects, expected merely to fight and die without making too much noise, lest their legion remember how embarrassing they are.

Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? Well, BCA takes this already promising premise and runs with it, coming up with an ongoing project log where every new update is spectacular, be it a new model, a new piece of background lore, or merely his musings about the ideas and motifs that go into his army.

It helps that the actual models are killer, of course: The Black One Hundred are about the dustiest, grimiest and most downtrodden Ultramarines you are ever going to see, but BrotherCaptainArkhan shows us that there can be something forlornly beautiful about armour this dented and scratched. And that Ultramarines Blue goes very well with black, indeed!


If I had to pick a favourite from this particular collection, I would choose the Black One Hundred’s (former) commanding officer, Brother-Captain Ludvic Augustus:


Now as far as I am aware, Augustus’ personal story arc has already run its course, but he remains my favourite piece of BrotherCaptainArkhan’s work, and arguably the perfect embodiment of the Black One Hundred: a perfect blend of a powerful Ultramarine and a down-to-earth, workhorse soldier that would rather not be remembered by history.

The quality evident in the special characters really extends all the way down, though, as even the various objective markers are little works of art (as well as tributes to the Ultramarines’ unbending spirit, in spite of everything):

Hard as that may be to believe, however, the – truly stunning – models are just part of the charm here: The storytelling at play, the fluff and soundbites, are equally riveting. These guys are members of a Censuria company, and it’s clear that they will never be able to make up for their past wrongdoings. Even their own Primarch would prefer them to be forgotten in silence. And in spite of everything, they are still Ultramarines. They fight. They endure. Only in death does duty end. And BrotherCaptainArkhan does such a fantastic job of telling their story!

Probably the biggest compliment I can offer is that, were BrotherCaptainArkhan to write a BL novel focusing on his Censuria company, I’d buy and read it right away, without a moment’s hesitation.

There are many Horus Heresy projects these days, as everybody and their cousin (yours truly included) seems to want a piece of that sweet Heresy goodness. The Black One Hundred, however, stand tall above the rest as probably one of the best Horus Heresy projects in existence right now, and as a constant inspiration: When I work on my own 30k World Eaters, I constantly try to capture the merest fraction of depth and gravitas of the Black One Hundred. That is how awesome they are.

Check out BrotherCaptainArkhan’s landmark project here.

Malcharion’s Space Sharks


A couple of years ago, the Carcharodons used to be all the rage: Reintroduced to the 40k background by Forgeworld as part of their treatment of the Badab War, these mysterious and brutal Space Marines from the farthest reaches of the galaxy captured many a hobbyist’s imagination and launched dozens of army projects. It also made an entire generation of hobbyists learn about Tamiya Clear Red, back before Blood for the Blood God had been developed 😉

Because most people were content to just paint their Space Sharks flat grey, slap lots and lots of glossy blood effect on there and call it a day. Even Forgeworld’s own painters only paid occasional service to the idea of the Carcharodon’s use of tribal markings and intricate designs.

Not so with Malcharion’s Carcharadons, however, who breathe new life into the chapter’s identity in the most spectacular way:


Malchy’s fantastic paintjobs are one reason for this, particularly his brilliant use of highly intricate, quasi-Polynesian tribal designs. They turn every model into a piece of art without overwhelming the pieces. This is particularly evident on the Dreadnoughts that look like walking totems or shrines, while also seeming every bit as deadly and combat-worthy as you would expect of a Space Marine Dreadnought:


What’s more, while his Carcharodons certainly use a copious amount of blood effect, the combination of blood spatter and the intricate armour markings makes for a fascinating juxtaposition that adds a layer of depth to a chapter that often merely gets characterised as “really violent and mysterious grey dudes that also have this shark thing going on”.

The conversion and kitbashing on display are also truly something to behold. Just take this kitbashed master of the forge, featuring what has to be the best use of a Lizardman/Seraphon claw bit I have ever seen:


Or Malcharion’s version of Company Master Tyberos, “The Red Wake”:


Now this version is actually very different from Forgeworld’s official model, but the character is still instantly recognisable. And he has all the menace of a great white shark, without feeling silly because of it.

Speaking of which, those glittering black eyes really give me the creeps every time I look at the model:


Malcharion also routinely makes excellent use of dedicated legion bitz (and models) from Forgeworld, particularly from the World Eaters catalogue, to make his Carcharodons look even more vicious. Case in point, his Terminators (based on the World Eaters Red Butchers):


And, arguably even more spectacular, this Carcharodon officer based on the Heresy era model for Kharn:


It’s a testament to Malchy’s skill, however, that those models not only work perfectly within the framework of his army, but you wouldn’t really recognise them as World Eaters any longer: They are perfect Space Sharks now, aren’t they?

And while this moves beyond the scope of his Carcharodons, allow me to point out that Malcharion also works on models for the chapter’s Primoginetor legion, the Raven Guard, and he manages to turn even this least interesting of Space Marine legions (at least in my opinion) into something truly breathtaking:

Malchy’s complete project log can be found here.

Daouide’s Kalista

Le blog dé Kouzes is another regular name in my list of perennial favourites, so it shouldn’t surprise you that those wonderful and crazy Frenchmen make another appearance in this year’s Eternal Hunt Awards. By the same token, Daouide’s Emperor’s Children are the epitome of „Slaanesh done right“, so there’s yet another reason for this particular choice.

The above model takes the cake, however: Kalista, a championess of Slaanesh, and easily one of the most stunning models to have come out of 2017. Now any idea of building female Space Marines (or something similar) has been a bit of a hot button issue for a long time, with everyone who tries to work with this basic promise in acute danger of being laughed out of town. At the same time, having a championess of Slaanesh actually seems like such a wonderfully „Realms-of-Chaos“-style thing to do, doesn’t it? And just look at Kalista – isn’t she drop dead gorgeous?

Daouide’s wonderful conversion work, brilliant sculpting and sublime painting work together to create something utterly stunning here. Even better, though, Kalista is actually based on the Stormcast Eternal model Naeve Blacktalon:

Incredible, wouldn’t you agree?

In addition to painting her to match the rest of his EC army, Daouide also built and painted a custom warband for Kalista, and her retinue is certainly no slouch either:

Even in such a fantastic collection of models, however, Kalista stands out – and in spite of being a follower of Slaanesh, she isn’t even all that overtly sexualised. Incredible work!

One last observation: In addition to being such a stunning model, Kalista also really reminds me of the official art for Telemachon Lyras, of The Talon of Horus fame, and makes me wonder whether a fantastic model for Telemachon might not be built from the exact same source model.

In any case, check out Kalista in more detail here.

II. Blogs of note:

In this day and age, thoughtful blogging seems to be turning into a dying art, especially given the prevalence of endless picture streams on places like Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest — god, I’m sounding like a cantankerous old man, am I not? 😉

But the fact remains that, while social media are becoming ever more integral to the online component of our hobby, social networks don’t really lend themselves well to the “longform”content I appreciate. So to me at least, dedicated, well maintained blogs are more precious than ever, and discovering particularly fascinating specimens remains one of the biggest joys in our hobby. Here’s my pick of the litter for 2017:

Lead Plague:

Now Lead Plague is one of those blogs that I cannot believe I didn’t discover much, much earlier, as the very original style of Asslessman’s work is truly something to behold. Maybe the most interesting thing about the blog is how perfectly it mixes both vintage sensibilities and modern design techniques: Now the whole “Oldhammer” movement has been quite a thing for a couple of years now, and at its best, Oldhammer seems to be about celebrating the creative – and often crazy – vintage creations of early GW (and other companies from the same time), and I can totally subscribe to that! Unfortunately, though, at its worst, Oldhammer can occasionally devolve into basically disparaging everything GW did after 1995, and those parts of the movement are really rather tiresome.

And entirely unneccessary, as it turns out, as so much of the content on Lead Plague perfectly bridges the gap between Oldhammer and “modern” GW models. It helps that Asslessman really pulls it off in style, of course, creating highly original conversions with often surprising and original colour schemes:


And while those models are perfectly “modern” in so many ways, they also happen to recall the ‘Eavy Metal sections of vintage GW publications from around the 2nd edition of Warhammer 40k, which is really the best of both worlds, isn’t it?

The blog is also full of fantastic warbands and projects. One of my favourites  is the “Shadow Legion”, a band of traitors and heretics that makes excellent use of some of GW’s more recent plastic kits:


Seriously, aren’t those menacing masked soldiers just perfect for all kinds of chaos and INQ28-related shenanigans?


Again, all of this looks perfectly at home in “modern” 40k. At other times, things get downright Oldhammer-y, as with this vintage Brat Gang, inspired by Confrontation, the semi-official predecessor to Necromunda:


Funnily enough, given the shout out Brat Gangs get in the new Necromunda material, these guys may soon have a home in “modern” GW again 😉

Or take a look at some of the rather excellent oldhammer-ish models appearing in this inquisitorial retinue:


Asslessman shows that this really doesn’t have to be an either/or choice, that it’s possible for a hobbyist to draw from decades of excellent content and turn it all into the kind of custom projects they want — and pull it all together with excellent painting, no less! And of course all of us, whether we are Oldhammerers or not, just love the grimdark:

Anyway, Lead Plague is a fantastic blog and, in spite of its many retro-trappings, a real breath of fresh air! Oh, and it also wins an extra award for best header image! 🙂

The blog can be found here.

 

Wilhelminiatures:

Helge Wilhelm Dahl, of Wilhelminiatures, has been on my radar for quite some time now, but his blog has really managed to kick into overdrive this last year: There’s such a breadth of projects and ideas on display there now, in addition to a particular style of painting and modeling that’s just a joy to behold: There’s more than a bit of Blanchian influence, yet Wilhelminiatures‘ models are also wholly original and immediately recognisable.

Just to give you an idea of the variety on display on the blog:

Already on my shortlist last year, here’s a wondefully creepy and creative Genestealer cult that really pushes the envelope when it comes to adding interesting and disturbing archetypes (and genotypes) to GW’s “official” treatment of Genestealer cults:


There would be so much to say about this particular warband, but I’ll restrain myself and just point out that incredibly creepy babyface walker:


Or there’s the project of making the Silver Tower characters and archetypes more interesting and, arguably, more vintage GW. This endeavour ranges from a number of small tweaks to particular models…


…to rather impressive conversions and rebuilds. And everything is tied together by a wonderful, limited palette.


Or let’s not forget Wilhelminiatures’ wonderfully crazy apocalyptic warband taking cues from 40k, Necromunda and the latest Mad Max film at the same time:



And did I mention the blog also happens to feature some of the best 30k World Eaters around as well? Stupendous!


Given a collection this eclectic and wonderfully weird, it’s hard to pick favourites. If pressed to do so, however, there’s two models I would choose. One, the seashell-based monstrosity that reminded me so much of some very early and weird creature concepts from the video game Bioshock:




Seriously, though: I have no words for how creepy that thing is!

Arguably the best model, however, is this guy here:


A wonderfully weird retro-futuristic Knight on his grimdark steed: Very characterful, very Rogue Trader, very grimdark — and very, very Wilhelminiatures!

Make sure to check out this fantastic blog here.

 

Prometian Painting:

Confession time, I would never have given a single thought to creating an army based on “Hakanor’s Reavers”, a throwaway warband mentioned in an earlier version of the Chaos Space Marines Codex as a possible inspiration for your own colour schemes and/or warbands:


This made me feel like a fool when discovering Alex Marsh’s work – first on Flickr and then on his blog, Prometian Painting, however, because Alex has managed to create a truly spectacular army using the colours of Hakanor’s Reavers:

One thing that quickly becomes evident is that Alex’ Chaos Space Marine army has that one quality that I love above all else: It is chock-full of brilliant kitbashes and conversions. Like this massive Chaos Lord converted using the freebie Slaughterpriest from the White Dwarf relaunch:


Or this Chaos Sorcerer who gives Forgeworld’s conceptually similar event-only model a run for its money:

Now looking at Alex’s fantastic models is also a bit of a bittersweet experience for me, because Alex freely admits to taking quite a bit of inspiration from some of my own models, which is indredibly flattering, of course. The bittersweet part comes from seeing that some of his takes on my models actually improve on my work 😉


Seems like the best thing I can do, considering the circumstances, is to just steal back a whole bag of ideas from Alex in turn — his Chosen, in particular, would be a delightful idea to steal:


They are just so wonderfully massive and menacing:

And there’s much more inspiration to be had here, as Alex doesn’t limit himself to the Chaos Space Marine part of his army: His collection now features dedicated “sub-armies” in the form of Traitor Guard and Chaos Daemons. The Traitor Guard detachment makes excellent use of Forgeworld’s Vraksian Renegade Militia, while also featuring enough common features with Hakanor’s Reavers to tie both forces together visually:



Once again, though, there are some lovely visual flourishes showing off Alex’ talent for creating cool conversions. Such as this traitor commander who is equal parts haughty officer and monstrous servant of chaos:


And let’s not forget the Daemon side of the collection, either! Because Alex’s sprawling chaos collection actually features an entire third army composed of Khorne’s neverborn servants:


As you will already have noticed, one of the most striking features of Alex’ armies is how they use the leitmotif of heat to draw the eye and pull the different parts of the force together: His painting perfectly conveys the feeling of blistering heat, be it in the form of warp-based fire breaking through the Astartes’ armour or via lava on the bases casting a red haze on the models. His daemons really turn this up to eleven, though, looking like their very bodies consist of molten metal and living flame:


In short, this is one of the best chaos armies I have seen in 2017, and a project that’s always a joy to follow!

The blog can be found here.

 

III. Honorary mentions:

Augustus b’Raass’ retro Bloodthirsters:

For a time, back when I properly got into WFB and 40k, Trish Carden’s – then brand new – metal Bloodthirster was my favourite model of all time. And even though time has not been all that kind to the sculpt, Augustus b’Raass’ beautiful modern paintjob for the classic Bloodthirster has made me realise that I still love the model, in spite of the massive hands and the general clunkiness.

If anything, Augustus’ photo above actually sells the model short, since the vibrancy of his paintjob model is absolutely breathtaking, as I can attest to from firsthand experience. In fact, the stunning amount of pop present in the paintjob is arguably a bit easier to see in this picture I took of the model:


In addition to painting a stock Retro-Thirster, Augustus also used a second vintage model to splice in some bitz from the modern plastic Bloodthirster and create a model that combines modern and retro in the best possible way:


So these two guys definitely deserve a shout out here! Fantastic work, buddy!

You can find Augustus’ ongoing WIP thread featuring all of his various hobby projects, over here.

Jeff Vader’s Primaris Reivers


It somehow feels as though this wouldn’t be a proper best of the year post without at least namedropping the ever illustrious Johan Egerkrans aka Jeff Vader, and while Johan’s hobby output last year didn’t quite match his frantic pace in previous years, he still managed to knock it out of the park again and again. Case in point, and particularly noteworthy: The Primaris Reivers from his DIY Chapter, bearing all the hallmarks of his incredibly gorgeous painting style as well as selling me on a slightly dubious new unit type. Congratulations, mate! Nobody does it quite like you!

Jeff Vader keeps blogging over here.

 

IV. The absolute best hobby project of 2017:

Wait, you didn’t think we were finished yet, did you? As it happens, I’ve actually saved the best for last this time around, so allow me to share my absolutely favourite hobby project from last year:

Neil101’s Adepta Sororitas diorama

Some of you may remember my absolute elation when this lass was released late in 2016:

To quote myself for a moment here:

You see, if somebody asked me what 40k was all about, I would point them to two particular pieces of artwork by the venerable John Blance. And one of those two pieces of art would be [the cover of the old Adepta Sororitas Codex], invariably.

It’s really all there: 40k’s particular blend of religious iconography, grimdark dystopian sci-fi and medieval madness. The glitzy, 80s fantasy style warrior woman with the crazy hairdo. And the influences from classic painters like Bosch, Breughel, Rembrandt et. al. It’s 40k in a perfectly formed nutshell.

And to get an almost picture perfect model representing that character, courtesy of Martin Footit, was a very particular delight, and one I wouldn’t have expected in a million years.

So I spent ages trying to get hold of a Canoness Veryidian model (it’s still sitting in its box, unpainted. That’s irony of fate for you), and one of my half-formed plans for the model was that, maybe, just maybe, I could try and recreate some of the characters from the background of that artwork and have them, along with the Canoness, as some kind of mini-diorama, you know?

Yeah, so…then I saw that Neil101 had done this:

I cannot even begin to put words to the sheer awesomness of this diorama: Neil has really gone above and beyond to create the closest possible representation of the art in actual miniature form — and without any cheap tricks like messing around with the scale or stuff like that, either. It’s an incredible piece that you could possible spend hours examining more closely to get an idea of all the details and genius little touches. Canoness Veryidian remains at the heart of the piece, of course, but it’s truly stunning what an incredible amount of work Neil had dedicated to the attempt of featuring all the crazy and demented characters loitering around in the background of the original illustration:

It goes without saying that seeing Neil’s work has put my own aspirations of doing something similar to rest — I mean, what’s the point, right? 😉

What’s more, since this is a fully fledged 360 degrees diorama, it basically looks great from every angle, lending itself perfectly to the creation of moody impressions of the grimdark future:


Speaking of which, I thought it would actually be fun to create some montages of Neil’s photos, trying to bring them even closer to the original art, so I played around with Photoshop and Pixlr a bit and send these over to Neil quite a while ago:



Looking at the pictures again now, I still cannot get over how awesome this project is: It epitomises the kind of no-holds-barred, crazy inventive hobby projects Neil101 has become known – and rightly revered – for.

So yeah, Neil, mate, you win “best absolute everything” this year — congrats! 😉

After a prolonged hiatus, Neil101 has once again set up shop on the interwebz: Find his new blog, Distopus, over here.

 

So here we are, with another year of incredible hobby endeavours behind us. I hope you enjoyed this show of stunning talent and will take lots of inspiration (and new reading suggestions) away from this! If anything, and I am saying this to myself as much as to my readers, let’s not be discouraged by the breathtaking display of talent, but let’s rather try to be re-invigorated for our own hobby endeavours, eh? So here’s to the next twelve months of cutting up and painting little plastic men and women!

So there may just be one last instalment of the 2017 Eternal Hunt Awards, taking a look at last year’s best (and worst) releases and at their implications for the way forward. Keep your fingers crossed for me not to get sidetracked too much, and it may happen sooner rather than later 😉

Until then, I’d love to hear your thoughts about my collection of inspiring content from fellow hobbyists! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

The 2017 Eternal Hunt Awards, pt. 1: A look back at my hobby year

Posted in 30k, 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings, Traitor Guard, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 24, 2017 by krautscientist

Awards

Once again, welcome everyone to the 2017 Eternal Hunts Awards, my blog’s annual feature to analyse the past year’s great – and not so great – hobby moments, pick my favourite (and least favourite) models from GW’s slew of releases and single out some of the most spectacular hobby work I’ve seen online. So let’s snap to it, shall we? 😉

For today’s installment, let’s start once again with a recap of my hobby year and my personal projects. While the numbers really aren’t all that spectacular this year, I still hope I have a few cool things to reminisce about — so let’s take a look:

 

I. My hobby projects

I think it’s no hyperbole to say that 2017 was yet another firestorm of a year, especially with regard to politics and RL events. It has also been a pretty busy and draining year for me personally — and my hobby output clearly reflects this: I started strong, back in January, but the stream of finished new models then diminished into a trickle over the year. So at year’s end, here I stand with but twelve painted models to my name (with another one currently on the painting desk):

Doesn’t really sound all that impressive now, does it? The bright side is that I am actually really happy with every single model that I have managed to paint this year, and that has to count for something, right? 😉 I would also argue that some of the models were really rather intricate challenges and, in one case, a definite step outside my comfort zone. So let’s take a closer look at some of the more remarkable completions.

 

1. Khorne’s Eternal Hunt


This probably won’t surprise you, but my longest running army project, the World Eaters’ 4th assault company, once again made for the lion’s share of my hobby output — albeit in a slightly different way from before. This year, I decided to focus on exploring the Horus Heresy era incarnation of Lorimar and his merry band of butchers, and tried to actually get some of the models I had build last year painted, while also adding a new conversion here and there. And this small collection of models is finally starting to look pretty appealing, if you ask me:

One project in particular stands out with regard to my 30k World Eaters: As some of you will probably still remember, two of my favourite achievements from last year were two versions of Angron I managed to build and paint: One representing the XII Primarch during his days as a gladiator, the other an interpretation of his latter years (and millennia) as a Daemon Primarch.

Even with those two versions of the Primarch finished, however, there was still the official Forgeworld model that Adam Wier (of Between the Bolter And Me ), sent to me, incredibly enough:

Forgeworld Angron WIP (1)

Now I do of course realise that painting Forgeworld Primarch models probably isn’t all that special any more — but it definitely was for me, seeing as I had never worked with an official Primarch model before. Plus this was pretty much my favourite Primarch as well as an incredible gift from Adam — so I really wanted to do Angron justice. And I do believe I’ve managed to pull it off:


What’s more, I created yet another version of Angron, based around an iconic illustration by Wayne England and built from the freebie Slaughterpriest that came with the first copy of the relaunched White Dwarf:


Trying to create a model to fit the classic piece of artwork was a really cool challenge and provided yet another chance to explore the Primarch’s troubled – and bloody – background. You can read up on what went into the model’s creation here, in case you are interested.

This leaves me with three different incarnations of Angron during his mortal life, and I do think there’s a nice sense of character progression throughout this mini-collection:


In addition to the Primarch, I also applied myself to the creation of a model representing his equerry, Eighth Captain Khârn. The official Forgeworld version of the character didn’t quite click with me, for a number of reasons, so I endeavoured to make my own version:


Beyond Primarchs and equerries, however, I didn’t forget the rank and file: One model I am still particularly happy with is Ancient Vaako, my very first Contemptor — and actually the first model I painted in 2017:


What pleases me most about Vaako is that the model is a conversion of the somewhat awkward plastic Contemptor from the Betrayal at Calth boxed set — a conversion that I would still consider a pretty big success. So much so, in fact, that my second Contemptor uses the exact same base model 😉

Come to think of it, I actually did paint one model for the 40k version of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt: My very red version of Be’lakor:


The model was another excellent gift, this time courtesy of my good friend Annie. I really consider Be’lakor a model for the ages, so I am really happy to have him in my collection — painting him was a blast, too! Thanks again to Annie, for another brilliant contribution to my collection!

2. The world of INQ28

I have to admit that I once again gave short shrift to the INQ28 angle of the hobby this year — although not for lack of trying. I did manage to work on one of my more freeform projects, however, painting two more models for my downhive band of malcontents, the Road Crew — they are growing into a rather eclectic little group, if I do say so myself:

These guys really are such a fun diversion, so expect to see more of them in 2018 — especially since they seem to tie perfectly into many Necromunda-related shenanigans 😉

 

 

 II. My favourite hobby moments

Of course it wasn’t all about painting models, and 2017, in particular, was marked by some particularly awesome moments:

Probably the absolute high point, bar none, was my visit to Amsterdam in the summer, where I got to spent a fantastic weekend with fellow hobbyist – and great guy – Augustus b’Raass:

We talked shop, tasted a broad selection of tasty local beers, put some of our respective models against each other for a pretty cool photoshoot and spent some time polishing each other’s bald heads to a mirror sheen — actually, just one of the above items was made up by me 😉



Oh, and let’s not forget mentioning that I got so see Auggie’s brilliant version of ADB’s First Claw from up close:

First Claw by Augustus b’Raass (1)

Now going to the Netherlands isn’t exactly a monumental trip for a German, but it was still a big deal for me, mostly because I previously only really “knew” Augustus from our exchanges via The Bolter & Chainsword, plus I am also a bit of a scaredy cat, really. I really had a blast during the weekend, though, and Augustus was such a gracious host, as well as an excellent conversationalist — I actually couldn’t be any happier to have taken the plunge! Many thanks once again to Augustus for this excellent trip – definitely one of the best moments of 2017 for me – and I sincerely hope we’ll be hearing from each again sooner rather than later, buddy! 🙂

You can read up on the trip – and take a look at many more nifty photos – over here.

My second-favourite hobby moment of 2017 actually ties right back to my visit to Amsterdam: While visiting the GW store there, I met Rowdy/BubblesMcBub, who not only made my day by basically me treating like a rock star, but was also incredibly generous enough to let me have almost the entire Death Guard half of the Dark Imperium boxed set, which really blew me away! Now it actually took me until Christmas to actually start and repay Bubbles for his kindness, but a first supply drop is hopefully making its way to the Netherlands as I am writing this (also see my previous post on the matter). Anyway, thanks again for your generosity, mate!

There were even more cool moments, though: I loved it when I discovered that Dariiy had created an illustration based on my conversion of Daemon Primarch Angron for a friend of hers:

Angron illustration by Dariiy

I couldn’t even tell you what makes me happier: Looking at that illustration or knowing that somebody actually has that up on their wall somewhere, and that my model played a part in that 😉

I would also be remiss not to mention my continued correspondence – and exchange of hobby ideas, with DexterKong, something that has become instrumental in building the world that informs practically all of my INQ28 models. The same also goes for all the other hobbyists I am in semi-regular contact with – PDH, Neil101, Inquisitor Mikhailovich,… — the only problem is that I regularly take forever to answer to each and every e-mail…

Oh, and one final high point for this year arrived just in time for Christmas, with Eternal Hunt finally achieving one million views! Yay!

III. Blogging

In fact, this neatly leads into talking about the state of this blog – and the state of my blogging – for a bit: In addition to finally ammassing the magical million views, Eternal Hunt also turned five this year, which was pretty awesome:


Looking back made me realise that this blog not only serves as a motivating factor to actually get things done, but it has also grown into a platform for getting in contact with other hobbyists from around the world and form a social network, if you will, that not only provides me with fantastic input and feedback, but has also led to my collection being enriched by fantastic pieces of work from fellow hobbyists, which is really a rather humbling experience, when you think about it:

And, according to a fun discovery while browsing my WordPress statistics, I also seem to have some readers in pretty high places…


Seriously, though: I would really love to know whether those hits were accidental or there’s really a 40k fan in the Vatican…

At the same time, and in spite of all the positive news, I am also painfully aware that 2017 has been my least active blogging year so far, with only 25 posts versus the previous year’s 44. The reasons for that are mostly personal, and RL-based, but the fact remains that the blog has been far less busy this year and, probably as a consequence, has been losing views and readers. Now I know that one really shouldn’t look at the numbers so much, but the numbers for this year actually going down for the first time in this blog’s life is still ever so slightly depressing — in fact, it feels as though it gets harder and harder to get people to actually engage with content, even in the case of more sizeable, rather well thought-out posts, which is probably also a consequence of so many hobbyists rather gravitating towards social media like Facebook or Instagram for their chance to look at pretty pictures.

Personally speaking, I find this prospect hardly encouraging, as those platforms don’t really seem to encourage actual conversations, more often than not. So if I can make one small wish for Christmas, it’s that people not only continue to frequent this blog and comment on its content – although that would be really awesome – but also to not forget the blogosphere and the classic forums. They may not be the modern, new-fangled way of doing things, but I have to admit that I find myself feeling critical of big social networks more and more, for reasons well beyond this shared hobby of ours.

IV. Plans

Whatever happens next year, I am pretty confident that cutting up and painting little plastic men – and writing about it – will be a part of it. So with the knowledge that I am easy to distract and horribly lazy, what’s in store for 2018?

The Horus Heresy era World Eaters will be one of the most important projects in 2018, without a doubt: There are already lots of pretty nifty conversions I want to see painted! If I had to pick out one thing from this project that I really want to paint next year,…it actually wouldn’t be a World Eater, but a Word Bearer:


Both DexterKong and InquisitorMikhailovich dared me to build a model for Argel Tal, leader of the Gal’Vorbak, and after some initial misgivings, I actually built two models — one for his “mortal” version, and one for when he puts on his game face. Painting both while trying to create a sense of continuity between them should be challenging but fun — the models will also make for a pretty cool companion piece for my Khârn conversion. So expect to see these guys finished some time next year!

Thanks to BubblesMcBub, I also have the beginnings of a small 40k Death Guard army project in my possession, and I am pretty happy with the test models I have painted so far:


So there’s going to be some Death Guard in my future as well. Incidentally, I only just finished a Death Guard conversion that I am rather happy with:

Remember Maxime Pastourel’s excellent Lord of Contagion model from the Dark Imperium boxed set? I truly love that model! I treated myself to two of those, via bitz swap: One to leave completely unaltered, the other one I wanted to convert. My initial idea was that making the model into a representation of Typhus would be a nifty idea.

But then the massive Death Guard release dropped and gave us not only a new model for Typhus, but two different sets of DG terminators — which pretty much seemed to defeat the exercise of converting the Lord of Contagion. Moreover, the conversion just didn’t come together, with the model seemingly fighting me every step of the day. So back into the box it went.

But I came across those bitz earlier this week, and gave it another go. And I think I may finally be on to something. Take a look:



Beyond standard 40k, I also really want to focus on the INQ28 and specialist angle next year. And alas, one thing I never really got around to in 2017 was to get some paint on Redactor Orlanth and his operatives:

Inquisitor Orlanth and Parchment Scrotener WIP
Which is really a shame, because that retinue contains some of my best INQ28 conversions, if you ask me…oh well, I’ll just have to postpone this project to 2018 😉

Alongside more work on the Road Crew, of course: I already told you that those guys would be getting some more attention next year, and the next applicants for the merry little group are already lined up:


Of course there’s also the fact that the Road Crew perfectly fits into the new Necromunda, and I am also rather looking forward to taking those new gang sprues for a spin, so yeah…

For the immediate future, however, I would mainly love to make some time for painting over the holidays, so wish me luck with that! 🙂

 

If all goes according to plan, the next installment of the 2017 Eternal Hunt Awards should arrive before the new year, with the third and final episode following some time in (hopefully early) January: After all, we still have to take a look at both GW’s 2017 releases and the best work from fellow hobbyists around the world, right?

But for now, let me wish you all a very Merry Christmas and say thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who sent me bitz, models, e-mails, ideas, read this blog or commented! You guys are what keeps the Eternal Hunt going! Please keep it up! 😉

As for readers and commenters, it goes without saying that I would love to hear any comments or feedback you might have about my 2017 output, so feel free to sneak in a quick line before mass or after opening your Christmas presents 😉

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

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 😉

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 😉

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 most  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 –  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 😉

 

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 😉 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!

The State of the Hunt, Week 43/2017: I Aten’t Dead

Posted in 40k, Blood Bowl, Conversions, Orcs & Goblins, Pointless ramblings, state of the hunt, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2017 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, it’s been quite a while since my last update, for which I apologise. There’s been a lot of RL related business keeping me occupied, plus I have also been in a bit of a hobby slump for quite a while now, unfortunately. Oh, and did I mention I’ve also managed to catch the mother of all colds yet? Because that happened as well, during my annual seaside vacation a fortnight ago:


As always, sitting by the seaside and relaxing was rather lovely, indeed. Unfortunately, though, it also happened to be pretty rainy and cold this year, so the minor cold I had already brought along to my vacation flared up again with a vengeance, turning my head into something that felt very much like a Nurglite blight grenade — very fitting, considering I had brought the recent copy of WD with me to take a closer look at the new Death Guard models (full review forthcoming). And I am still dealing with the fallout of that, as the Grandfather keeps lavishing his gifts on me…

Anyway, for these reasons, I haven’t been doing all that much hobby related stuff recently. However, I did want to post an update to demonstrate the blog is still going, and I also actually do have something new to show you, even if it’s nothing earth-shattering. So what is this about?

 

My friend Annie hasn’t given up on wanting to teach me how to play Blood Bowl quite yet, so she recently made another attempt at slowly walking me through the rules of the game — this time, with the help of the Blood Bowl II videogame on PS4, which actually helped on several levels: One, I am a huge videogame fiend, so wrapping something in a digital game will usually make it easier to get me interested. Two, it was good to be eased into the game via a slowly building tutorial campaign: It’s a format I am fairly familiar and comfortable with, and it happens to parse out the information slowly enough for my mangled World Eaters mind to hold on to 😉

I’m not going to lie to you, though: It was still slow going. But I do feel like I actually have a far better grasp of the game’s interlocking mechanisms and systems now and can actually make some simple, albeit tactically sound, decisions. Go me, right? 😉

Playing the game was also pretty great for yet another reason, though: It was really cool to see it all in motion and to get an actual idea of what a game of Blood Bowl would actually look like in-universe. There’s a great sense of physicality (and brutality) to the animations, and seeing it all play out like that really gave me an appetite to go and build some more Blood Bowl models…

Now of course the obvious way would have been to just go and get some of the new, shiny Blood Bowl models, but then I am really fond of my already existing team, the Orkheim Ultraz, mostly kitbashed from leftovers before a re-released Blood Bowl boxed set was even a thing:


I also think those guys are a nice enough match for the look of the Ork Teams in the Blood Bowl videogames, to be honest.


So I went back to them in an effort to add some more team members to the Ultraz and sticking to using what was already in my bitzbox instead of rushing out to buy yet more plastic crack. So here’s what I came up with:

First up, the appearance of the goblin referee kinda inspired me to come up with a goblin model of my own. I mean just look at this delightfully evil looking little guy:


So I dug through my bitzbox to find some spare goblin bitz I could use to build a gobbo to accompany my two Night Goblin players:


Here’s my WIP attempt:



The old multipart goblin plastic kits are among GW’s earliest multipart regiment kits from the late 90s, but they still work like a charm for building Blood Bowl models. Plus some of that armour really looks like old timey football and rugby gear, which is a great coincidence! I would love to build another goblin like this, but alas, I find myself lacking a single torso piece to make it happen. Oh well…

 

I also built another thrower for my team. Now my first thrower was already assembled in a suitably heroic (and archetypal) pose:


So I knew I needes something slightly different this time around. So the new guy is actually throwing a squig now…


…because, let’s face it, sometimes an orc jus’ gots to throw one o’ them squigs 😉


The thrower itself was mainly made from leftover WFB and 40k orc boy parts, with most of the conversion work focused on splicing together a suitable arm and hand to hold the squig. The squig itself is a part of a goblin character from the old “Battle for Skull Pass” WFB starter set.

All in all, I am pretty happy with this WIP: The thrower is similar enough to his buddy to make both of the read as members of the same character class, while they are also different enough to read as characters.

 

And last but not least, I also wanted some additional heavy hitters: One of the only things I actually bought for my Blood Bowl team was a box of Black Orcs, so I wanted to make some more Black Orc blockers as well. The first two I built and painted are pretty cool, if I do say so myself, but they are also looking a bit cookie-cutter: They are basically standard Black Orcs with their weapons snipped off:


One thing that struck me when playing Blood Bowl II, however, was how massive and slab-like Black Orcs seem in the game: You really get the impression from watching them that there’s not much they couldn’t happily slap around all day:


So for my next two blockers, I wanted to add some variety (in order to suitably differentiate them from the already existing models) and also make them look dead ‘ard. So I went for a mix of suitably interesting bitz and spliced in some ogre fists and additional armour plates here and there. Take a look:


The first guy’s pose is basically identical to one of the finished model’s, but I think the added bulk and spiky fist make him look just different enough to be interesting. I also used an Ork Nob head (and steel jaw) for that extra bit of character.

The second Black Orc I built turned into an even more involved conversion, as I really wanted his pose to go beyond what the two basic body layouts for Black Orcs can do. It ended with some serious tweaking to his right arm — and with replacing his legs with those of an 40k Ork Nob:


I am really happy with this guy, to be honest: He’s rather massive and very close to that implacable look and feel I loved about the Black Orcs in the videogame.


So yeah, here are the new additions to the Orkheim Ultraz’ team roster:


Painting these guys should be enjoyable enough — I think I’ll be saving them for Annie’s and my next joint hobby session 😉

 

So there, nothing too spectacular for now, but I’m still at work. And 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!

The State of the Hunt, Week 35/2017: Do the robot!

Posted in 30k, 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, state of the hunt, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 31, 2017 by krautscientist

I know I should really be painting some stuff for a change, but relatively little hobby time I have at the moment somehow invariably ends up going towards indulging flights of fancy — hey, at the very least, you get to look at some new kitbashes, alright? 😉

Ever since I built my first Dreadnought, back in 2010 or thereabouts, I have always loved the slightly bigger scale and particular clunkiness afforded by this particular unit type, so I find myself going back to building Dreadnoughts and killer robots on a fairly regular scale — go figure! Today, I have no less than three walking deathmobile projects to share with you, so strap yourselves in:

I. The Blight That Walks…

First up is yet another addition to my alarmingly growing (or should that be mushrooming…?!) Death Guard project. In all fairness, though: It was always clear that a Dreadnought would have to enter the equation at some point, wasn’t it? 😉

The thriftiest option seemed to be to go for the Dark Vengeance Helbrute as a base model — well, that and I really like that particular model: Painting my original DV Helbrute for my World Eaters was great fun, in spite of its mutated look not gelling all that well with the overall look and feel of my army. But that same fleshy hideousness of course perfectly matches the general Death Guard vibe, if you ask me 😉

So here’s what I have so far:




I erm…borrowed a couple of ideas from the recent work of fellow hobbyists, like GuitaRasmus and Marius Perdo, among others, yet I also tried to put my own spin on things. It’s still a fairly economical conversion, however, because I think the Dark Vengeance Helbrute doesn’t really need too much work to read as a Nurglite model.

Now the belly obviously needs some cleanup and smoothing over, but the general look is there. Incidentally, the above pictures are in greyscale because I actually used a mix of GS and Milliput that ended up making for a vile, pistachio-ice cream colour Oh, I also my tried and true tin-foil trick again, putting a piece of the stuff between the plastic and GS while sculpting, so both parts are easy enough to separate when everything has dried, while still remaining form fitting. So the belly remains a separate piece, which should be super handy for assembly reasons:


Still a bit of detail work left to do as well, although I suspect I’ll be playing it fairly safe with this guy. Going all out on the pantjob should be fun, though 😉

II. Underhive Heavy Metal

Back when the first plastic AdMech kits were released, the Kastelan Robots were one of my first purchases. One of them was turned into a counts-as Contemptor for my 40k World Eaters:


The other one was was saved for future use, although my idea of what to do with the model actually went through several revisions: The original plan was to turn him into a Colossus-pattern robot for my small Iron Warriors project, but that plan never really quite got off the ground, and it finally went under for good when Forgeworld ended up producing actual models to represent the Iron Circle.

Later I realised it would be cool to turn the model into some kind of patched up, ancient servitor/former war machine as another colourful addition to my Pit Slave/Underhive project, The Road Crew:

But while I really liked that idea, it never really materialised either, apart from some early kitbashing. But then two things happened. One, I got my hands on one of the old Forgeworld World Eaters Dreadnoughts, courtesy of my buddy Augustus b’Raass, and the head of the machine just turned out to be perfect for this project. Two, I saw what fellow hobbyist WarbossKurgan did with his rather beat-up Kastelans, and that provided the inspiration I needed to wade back into the fray. So here’s what I have now:



As you can see, I have gone for a really ragtag appearance so far, with many tacked on armour plates and strange bits and bobs that suggest all kinds of field repairs — only fitting for the underhive, really. The rounded, 50s retro-futuristic SciFi look is still there, but it’s covered by layers and layers of later additions or replacements: In fact, I really love the idea of making the machine’s origins even more ambiguous: Is it a refurbished heavy duty servitor? An AdMech construct or an ancient warmachine? Or could it be even older…?

There were also several pieces of inspiration for the model: There’s quite a bit of Mad Max and Fallout going on there, but probably the biggest influence was the ABC Warrior Robot, possibly the best thing about the old Judge Dredd film:


And while we are on the subject of influences, using part of a barrel as one of the model’s shoulder pads is actually a bit of a shout out to The Road to Jove, Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s and David Sondered’s graphic novel project:

This also ties into something else I was actually pushing for: A general look of asymmetry: the pauldrons are one example of this, but there are also the arms: The gun arm is massive and beefy, the other one is strangely skeletal, probably due to having been replaced or repaired at some point.

Anyway, after getting nowhere with this model for ages, I am actually pretty happy with the progress I have made. The next step will be to add more details, like cabling and a bit more battle damage. And then, painting the model should be rather enjoyable. I think I’ll be going for a mix of darkened, oily metal and the Road Crew’s trademark, heavily weathered yellow armour I also want to pick a collection of decals that may or may not hint at the machine’s past — in any case, it should make the model even more interesting! And it’ll make for a cool addition to the project:

III. Immortal Hunter

And finally, yet another model: This one was actually built earlier than the other two, but I don’t think I’ve shared it with you yet.

One of my favourite 30k models I have done so far is my plastic World Eaters Contemptor, Vaako the Immortal:


Now when I visited Augustus b’Raass in Amsterdam, he was awesome enough to magnetise Vaako’s weapon options for me. But that left me with two useable weapon arms, and when I recently managed to get a pretty good deal on the plastic Contemptor body, I thought about putting those weapons to good use — and then I just love cutting up that terrible, clunky monopose kit. I’m just weird like that. 😉

I also wanted to find out whether the aforementioned head from the OOP Forgeworld World Eaters Dread  would work on a Contemptor. So I made another 30k Contemptor for my World Eaters. Again, this guy is still missing some detail, but I am already pretty happy with the general setup.




The left arm is a smaller version of the Ursus Claw harpoons the World Eaters would mount onto their void ships and the Titans of the Legio Audax:


It was originally built quite a while ago (drawing some inspiration from a similar conversion by fellow hobbyist sheep) as an additional CC option for my 40k Dreadnoughts/Helbrutes, but it arguably works even better on the taller Contemptor. Together with the multimelta, it suggests that this Contemptor’s specialty is actually hunting for heavier prey, such as enemy warmachines or Dreadnoughts…

Here’s the recipe for the Ursus Claw arm, in case anyone’s interested: The basic arm is the CC arm from the Blood Angels Librarian Dreadnought, I mostly merely replaced the actual weapon
Now the harpoon itself was made from an old axle bit from an ancient model truck kit — although it would be really easy to find a suitable replacement for that bit
the spike is an element that appears on many of GW’s terrain kits and was cut off from a small wall section
the light grey part right underneath the tip was a piece of a Chaos vehicle bulldozer bit shaved down to make a connection bit between the tip and the haft of the weapon
the barrel for the chain consists of two Chaos Marauder Horsemen shields, a roll of chain from an Ogre Kingdoms kit and a piece of chain, once again from an Ogre Kingdoms kit, I believe — sorry for not being more precise, but I got those bitz from an Ogre Kingdoms joblot I bought via ebay.

So yeah, that makes three massive killer-robot-cyborg dudes. What can I say — building those things is just so much fun 😉

Of course I would love to hear any feedback you might have! And, as always, 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 😉


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 😉

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 😉



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

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!