Back when the then-new Codex Chaos Space Marines was released, all the way back in 2012, it contained a couple of new HQ specialist types for the army that had previously been limited to particular legions: Both the (Word Bearers’) Dark Apostles and the (Iron Warriors’) War(p)smiths were now available to every Traitor Legion and renegade chapter.
While the choice proved unpopular among some hobbyists, who feared that this was a sign of further weakening the identity of the various legions, I quickly thought about the interesting challenge of building dedicated interpretations of those character archetypes for my World Eaters.
Possibly the most involved project in this vein was the creation of my very own Warpsmith, Huntmaster Deracin:
Now as you know, I have been working on a small Horus Heresy project for a while now, exploring the history of the 4th assault company during the Heresy. And one of the most entertaining parts of this “gaiden project” has been to reverse-engineer younger versions of my 40k characters. Of course it’s a difficult balance to maintain: Not every character could realistically have survived ten millennia of the Long War — in fact, even the idea of single individuals surviving through the Great Crusade, the entire Heresy and even well beyond is patently ludicrous, when you look at it. But it’s 30k/40k we are talking about here, so a little lack of realism doesn’t hurt 😉 Even so, there have to be some differences between both incarnations of the company across both settings for the whole business to at least allow some suspension of disbelief.
But Deracin was always one of the prime candidates to be included in the “younger” version of the 4th assault company: He is one of the pretty well-developed characters in my army’s background, and I also thought that building a younger version of him might be fun.
My original plan was to take a look at the “official” Forgeworld Legion Techmarines in Mk. III and Mk. IV armour, respectively. But those merely served as a first inspiration, and the real challenge was to build a model that didn’t just look like any old Techmarine, but actually resembled Deracin’s fairly baroque 40k form. After a bit of experimentation, here’s what I came up with:
The use of some chaos warrior legs (from the chaos chariot, as it were) proved to be the crucial, if unconventional, choice here, because they really hint at Deracin’s 40k getup (mostly because both pairs of legs come from the same part of GW’s catalogue). The nonstandard shape of the legs also hints at possible augmentations underneath all of the armour, something that is very much a part of Deracin’s character: You really cannot be sure how much of his organic body is actually left underneath it all. But he’s enough of a technological prodigy to eschew the usual, bulky Astartes bionics for something more cotoured and elegant, at least for the most part.
Beyond this key decision, I tried to incorporate design elements that looked like less extreme versions of Deracin’s 40k equipment, such as the chainaxe/hammer combo, the shoulder mounted gun and the servo-harness. My original conversion notes on the model can be found in this post, if anyone’s interested.
But anyway, here’s the unpainted conversion next to the “older” version of Deracin:
In order to finally get the model painted, I included it in my recent vow for the “Loyalty & Treachery III” event over at The Bolter & Chainsword. And while I was still motivated from my recent success of having painted my 30k World Eaters Contemptor, I got to work. Here are the results:
the Keeper of the Forge, 4th assault company Techmarine, XII Legio Astartes
“To think we lost a brilliant mind like that! But how should we have known? A jewel like that man’s mind, hidden amid the midden heap that was his legion. A genius fallen among the butchers. Even as we fight his daemonic creations today, we can only wonder about the marvels he could have brought to our Imperium.
There are those who look at the Istvaan Atrocity or the Siege of Terra, and who count the dead and the debt Imperium paid in flesh and blood during those dark times. But the true tally of the Heresy is measured not in bodies, but in minds forever lost to our cause, and therein lies the true tragedy.”
Archmagos Veneratus Sacharia Hyle, The Age of Scouring, M31
“Aye, Nove Shendak cost me half of my body. But in the end, those injuries were what let me keep all of my wits, and for that I will always remember that blasted hellscape with a certain …fondness.”
During the time of the Great Crusade, when the XIIth Astartes Legion was still known as the War Hounds, brother Deracin was a brilliant and ferocious warrior who could be found at the forefront of every battle. This zeal cost him dearly when he sustained horrific injuries during the Nove Shendak campaign, requiring extensive augmentic reconstruction work to be saved. Worse still than the lost limbs was the heavy nerve damage Deracin incurred, damage that necessiated complex cranial implants to keep him combat-worthy. A lesser man might have been interred into the sarcophagus of a dreadnought due to such injuries, but Deracin trained relentlessly to overcome his injuries and push the artificial parts of his body to the limit, trying to prove to his brethren that his “reconstruction” hadn’t dulled his edge one bit.
All of this should be for naught, however, once the legion had been reunited with its Primarch and renamed the “World Eaters”: Angron ordered his Apothecaries and Techmarines to outfit the whole legion with the Butcher’s Nails, implants patterned after those he had received as a gladiator on the world of Nuceria.
The nails implanted into the Primarch’s skull were artifacts from the Dark Age of Technology, and the Techmarines’ dabbling in archaeotech was far from an exact science, producing all kinds of unforeseen incidents. As a consequence, the implants Deracin had received earlier to mend his injuries interfered with the nails, preventing him from utilising his full potential on the battlefield. For Angron, a legionnaire that couldn’t unlock the nails’ full power could only be considered a failure. So Deracin found himself relegated to the rear guard in more and more battles, sidelined and tasked with petty battle logistics and mundane assignments, and growing ever more frustrated.
It was Lord Captain Lorimar who discovered that, deprived of a chance to prove himself in battle, Deracin had begun to apply himself to the maintenance of the legions’ wargear and weaponry, demonstrating a brilliant grasp of technology and an intuitive understanding of even the most complex mechanisms. So Lorimar requested Deracin for his company and let him be trained as a Techmarine. And it was then that brother Deracin found his true calling:
He may have been a brilliant fighter, but as a Techmarine, Deracin became a marvel. His brilliant, analytical mind allowed him to construct mechanisms on par with the most advanced work of the Mechanicus. His work earned him the envy of numerous Techmarines from different companies and, indeed, other Legiones Astartes. In time, even Angron himself began to display a sort of grudging respect for the son he had despised. And through fateful irony, the implants that prevented Deracin from tapping into the Butcher’s Nails’ full potential actually kept his brilliant mind intact, even as the rest of the legion descended into frenzy and insanity.
40k Deracin is quite a beast, in his massive and baroque armour — and let’s not forget that rather monstrous servo-harness! So, like I said, the three goals here were to a) build a model that would look reasonably like it was the same guy cool.png hint at some of the design cues of the 40k version and c) still read as a 30k Techmarine. Looking at it now, I think I’ve done a reasonably good job on the model!
Deracin is the first character with a finished model for both incarnations of the 4th assault company — but he is far from the last! That being said, I am still really happy with created a first proof-of-concept model! 🙂
Let’s wind up this post with the obligatory family portrait: