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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!

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Five years!

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

eternal-hunt-5th-anniversary-2
Now these are the finished models that were given to me by fellow hobbyists in one form or another.

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

eternal-hunt-5th-anniversary-3
The massive Obliterators were built thanks to some wonderful custom parts that I received from fellow hobbyist Thamier. BrotherJim sent me an excellent converted Khornate champion in his trademark style from Australia. Sagal and AMaximus provided me with some vintage Bloodletters. And the centre piece is definitely PDH’s wonderfully painted Lord Zhufor that he sent over as a surprise – and just in time for the blog’s 2016 birthday! And while I bought those Heresy era World Eaters from fellow German hobbyist AgnostosTheos when he sold off his collection, they came about as the result of a little joint hobby project — and ultimately served as a sort of blueprint for my own exploits into the world of 30k.

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

eternal-hunt-5th-anniversary-5
Neil101 let me have that wonderfully sinister Khornate Champion (and …erm his bucket), while the legendary Ron Saikowski and Drone21c from Australia, respectively, sent me some stunning models based on classic John Blanche artwork. The little powder monkey was originally part of a bitz drop from PDH — and after being turned into a small augmetic familiar, he was named “PeeDee the Monkey” in Peter’s honour 😉 Oh, and let’s not forget that cyber-mastiff, converted from a Malifaux model I won in a raffle over at MiniatureTim’s blog.

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

eternal-hunt-5th-anniversary-6
And that’s not nearly all, because those are only the models I have managed to paint so far (or the ones that came pre-painted, as it were). As it happens, I still have some wonderful donations from fellow hobbyists to look forward to on my painting desk:

eternal-hunt-5th-anniversary-7

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

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

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

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

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

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

Angron illustration by Dariiy

Angron illustration by Dariiy

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

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

 

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

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

Interlude: State of the Hunt

Posted in 40k, Chaos, old stuff, paintjob, Pointless ramblings, state of the hunt, Totally worth it, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 29, 2016 by krautscientist

After a couple of weeks of frantic, ETL-related activity, this last week has been a bit of a cooldown period for me, which leaves me with the opportunity to share some World Eaters-related miscellany with you. So what’s on the menu today?

 

I. A really good read

A while ago, I was approached by Adam Jones aka Ratboy. Adam runs a monthly hobby fanzine called “The Golden D6”, pulling together a digest of hobby related content from various blogs and websites and turning it all into a rather bespoke online magazine featuring the kind of quality hobby content that we all remember from the WD issues of the yesteryear.

To my shame, however, I didn’t know anything of this at first, so when Adam asked me whether I would be okay with The Golden D6 doing a feature of my World Eaters, there was a bit of back and forth between the two of us, and with Adam trying his utmost to cater to my various whims and fancies, we arrived at a rather expansive (and pretty nifty, if I do say so myself) photo feature of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt that now makes up the tail section of The Golden D6’s issue 5:

D6 Screenshot

Beyond this army feature, the issue is full of reviews, battle reports and tutorials and makes for a very pleasant read indeed! Adam’s passion for this project shows both in his personal dealings with me and in the mag’s quality, and I am happy to have been a part of this issue! I also urge you to head over to The Golden D6 website and check out an issue or two: The asking price of $ 5,95 per issue certainly seems fair for the quality content that is on show, and a passionate hobbyist like Adam surely deserves a buck or two for engaging in this kind of endeavour!

D6 Screenshot 02
Full disclosure: As a contributor to the mag, I was given free access to issue 5. I still consider it a good deal, however, especially if you are interested in the varied style of hobby content that made old skool White Dwarf such a success!

You can purchase the various issues of the mag here.

II. An old skool daemon…and a taste of things to come…?!

And while we are on the matter of old skool White Dwarf, back when I first got into Warhammer, it was the time of the Realm of Chaos army box and a slew of related models, especially a new generation of greater and lesser Daemons. I’ve already talked at lenght about my love for the – then brand new – metal Bloodthirster here, but there were also the Bloodletters of course. And so when I needed a model to test yet another iteration of my recipe for red daemon skin earlier this week, I came across this guy here, languishing in my bitz box:

Old Skool Bloodletter WIP (2)
Old Skool Bloodletter WIP (1)
An old, mid-90s metal Bloodletter (one of the pre-predecessors of the modern plastics). I received this guy as part of a bitz drop a while ago, courtesy of fellow hobbyist Sagal (cheers, buddy! 😉 ).

Granted, these guys have a couple of glaring issues that are pretty hard to ignore by today’s standards, among them a certain anatomical wonkiness and that general clunkiness that is a hallmark of many vintage GW modelsfrom the 90s. I remember them looking truly excellent as a ranked regiment (for WFB), though: like a wall of red muscle and spiky swords. And they were a hell of an improvement over the goofy first Bloodletter incarnation, with the comically serpentine body and the lanky arms *shudder*. In fact, one could say that the current plastics are a successful attempt at taking the idea of the first Bloodletters and actually making it work.

Anyway, in spite of all their shortcomings, the slightly clunky mid-90s metal Bloodletters will always have a place in my heart, and painting one for fun should be a nice little throwback to those inncoent times! I did allow myself one small tweak to the model, however, and replaced the Bloodletter’s sword with a modern plastic Hellblade: The original sword had been snipped off when I received the model, and while I still have the bit, I still decided to replace it, as the old swords are arguably the models’ weakest point (well, that and the anatomically dubious bare asses…).

When it came to painting the model, I once again used the recipe from GW’s Bloodthirster video tutorial as a basic template. However, I made one small change to the recipe, replacing Khorne Red with Mephiston Red. The model was a blast to paint — it almost painted itself, so to speak, so here’s the finished Bloodletter:

Old Skool Bloodletter (1)
Old Skool Bloodletter (2)
Old Skool Bloodletter (3)
Old Skool Bloodletter (4)
Old Skool Bloodletter (5)
I am really happy with the result — and also rather surprised at the impact the the use Mephiston Red has had on the skin tone: The red is quite deep and luxurious, but also a bit brighter and it has more pop than the red I have used on my Bloodthirster and Skulltaker. Here’s a comparison picture that shows the difference really well:

Old Skool Bloodletter (6)
With the exception of a single colour, these models share the exact same palette. And look how much of a difference that one colour makes regarding their respective skin tones!

Anyway, this tweaked red skin recipe will be used on a pretty big upcoming project of mine — but that is a story for another day 😉

Until then, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

The 2015 Eternal Hunt Awards, pt. 3: A look back at my hobby year

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 18, 2016 by krautscientist

Awards

Welcome everyone to this third and final installment of the 2015 Eternal Hunt Awards. After the last post’s lofty heights, we are back to my own measly models — I hope the contrast won’t be too jarring! 😉

But then, it wouldn’t be the Eternal Hunt Awards without a good look at my own hobby year — and besides, I am far too vain to omit this part. So allow me to share some of the models that I am particularly proud of as well as some of my favourite hobby moments from the last year.

I. My hobby projects

Some of you may already know that, from a personal perspective, 2015 turned into a pretty awful year for me just around the halfway mark. In spite of this, strangely enough, it was also a pretty successful hobby year. Go figure!

You wouldn’t know it from the sheer numbers, though, as I only managed to complete about 25 models, all in all. That’s quite a bit less than my 2014 turnout, at first glance, and really doesn’t sound like a whole lot of new stuff, right?

Well, the good news is that among those 25 models are some pieces that I am especially proud of — indeed, some of them are models that I have wanted to paint for years. And I also tackled at least one hobby project in 2015 that really moved beyond anything I had tried up to that point. But all in good order:

 

1. Khorne’s Eternal Hunt

2015 was very much a World Eaters year for me, with Khorne’s Eternal Hunt once again being one of the most important projects over the last twelve months and seeing quite a few additions.

You may remember this picture from about the same time last year, showing a pretty big part of my army:

Khorne's Eternal Hunt 2014 02
But since 2015 saw me adding quite a few models to the force, a proper new army picture was in order. So I trooped out the entire army for a photo shoot back in spring. Here’s Khorne’s Eternal Hunt in its current incarnation:

army shot 01 big colour

The army currently stands at about 4,000 points, give or take. Not a massive Apocalypse force, by any means, but still the culmination of several years of work — and still my favourite hobby project!

So let’s take a closer look at some of the new conscripts, shall we?

The year started strong, due to my participation in the 2014 Call of Chaos over at The Bolter & Chainsword. I really gave it my all and managed to paint four pretty cool models for the event:

Call of Chaos vow 2014 (2)

The truescaled version of Kharn had already been completed in late 2014. The Maulerfiend kept fighting me every step of the way, true to form, earning the name Gorespite in the process. Converting yet another Dreadnought/Helbrute was, once again, quite a bit of fun. And then there’s this gentleman, my last model of 2014 and my first model of 2015 (completed between the years, so to speak): The Doomwall, a converted Chaos Lord wearing a suit of Mk I-ish Terminator armour:

The Doomwall (6)

I am still immensely pleased with this guy, mostly because I think I’ve really managed to bring the Mk I armour into the 21st century, visually, while also making it look suitably chaotic.  There’s also a sense of bulk and menace to the model that I really like.

Read more about the Doomwall here.

 

The true star of the show when it comes to Chaos Lords was this guy, however: Lord Captain Baltus Lorimar, supreme commander of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt:

Master of the Hunt 02
Since Lorimar is such an important character in my army’s narrative, it has literally taken me ages to finish him: The model was converted all the way back in 2012 (and after much deliberation and several attempts, no less), but it was only this last year that I finally worked up the courage to paint it — something for which I have to thank my buddy Biohazard, as we engaged in a mutual challenge to finally finish our respective army generals.

Anyway, having worked on the model over such a long time, it was really liberating to finally complete it. And I also think Lorimar makes for a worthy Master of the Hunt. Here’s the Lord Captain among his personal retinue of Chaos Terminators, Lorimar’s Fist:

Lord Captain Lorimar and retinue (2)

What’s more, since Lorimar is such an important character for the 4th assault company, I even made sure to have both a 40k and a Horus Heresy era version of him in my collection:

Lorimar then and now

The 30k version was mostly built and painted by AgnostosTheos — I did add the hands and weapons, though, transforming the model into a fairly plausible representation of a younger Captain Lorimar.

And finally, to top things off, two different hobbyists provided me with some excellent artwork of Lorimar. I love both pieces to bits, be it Greyall’s brilliant illustration of the Lord Captain tearing a Daemon Prince(ss?) of Slaanesh to pieces…

Lord Captain Lorimar by Greyall

Lord Captain Lorimar by Greyall

…or Bloodygoodtime’s wonderfully charming sketch of a slightly more cartoony, yet suitably brooding, Lorimar:

illustration by Bloodygoodtime

illustration by Bloodygoodtime

I realise, of course, that Lorimar is essentially just one slightly bigger Chaos Terminator — but he was one of the most important projects of 2015 for me, and finally having finished the model and being able to place him amidst his followers feels great!

Read more about my work on the model here and here.

 

And while we are on the matter of World Eaters characters, here’s another little guy in red I added to my army as a special guest star, if you will: My own version of Aaron Dembski Bowden’s excellent Lheorvine Ukris, easily my favourite character from The Talon of Horus:

Lheorvine Ukris (9)

Coming up with a model to fit both the description in the book and a certain piece of artwork was quite a bit of fun — and let’s face it, Lheor’s just so awesome that I needed him in my World Eaters army, if only as a cameo 😉

Read more about the model here.

 

2. The Warrior King

While this project was also completed as part of my World Eaters army, strictly speaking, it was still monumental enough for me to deserve its own sub-section:

One of my hobby resolutions for 2015 was to paint the Chaos Knight I converted last year. And it is with quite a bit of pride that I can call this particular mission accomplished. Meet Gilgamesh, the Warrior King:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh, the Warrior King (12)
In all fairness, if you are a regular reader of this blog, there’s no way you haven’t seen this model before. But I hope you’ll forgive the repetition, because Gilgamesh is really far beyond anything I’ve ever done before, so I am really immensely pleased with having finished him.

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh, the Warrior King (13)
Chaos Knight Gilgamesh, the Warrior King (4)

There are many parts of the model I am really proud of, but possibly the biggest achievement was the inclusion of an entirely kitbashed cockpit in order to house the Knight’s pilot, Baron Augustus Melchiah Harrowthorne:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh, the Warrior King (22)
I think it’s an addition that really sells the model for me, because it just adds so much character. In fact, inspired by JeffTibbetts’ groundbreaking work on his Queen Bee, I also tried to hint at a deeper narrative behind this ancient warmachine wherever I could, adding things like battle honours, campaign badges or the bloody handprints adorning the Knight’s shin armour — a detail based on a very nifty idea originally supplied by fellow hobbyist dantay_xv.

Possibly my favourite part about this project has to be how it all worked out in spite of a near-catastrophic undercoating mishap right at the beginning — and there I was fearing I had managed to ruin an extensively converted model worth more than 100 Euros for a moment…

Oh, and let’s not forget that the project also increased my, already considerable, admiration for GW’s Imperial Knight kit: It’s so beautifully engineered and well-explained and goes together so woderfully that I shouldn’t really have been so afraid of the task beforehand!

In fact, this whole project was such a blast that I returned to the Warrior King later in the year and created an Epic-scaled version of the Knight, just for the heck of it:

Chibi-Knight Gilgamesh (1)

Now I can hardly wait for a re-released version of Adeptus Titanicus, so my “Chibi-Knight” can reap skulls for the skull throne 😉

Anyway, in case you’re interested, feel free to read up about the Warrior King and his smaller brother.

 

3. “Iron Within, Iron Without!”

This small project gets a special mention because it transformed from a mere test into something legitimately fun and engaging.

Everything started when I decided to use an Iron Warriors Warsmith I had converted ages ago as a test piece for trying out the Leadbelcher spraypaint I wanted to use on my Chaos Knight (short version: The spraypaint is pretty awesome, unless you use it in too hot weater and from too far away). Here’s the model that came out of that test, Warsmith Greimolt Sturm:

Warsmith Greimolt Sturm 01
While the model was merely intended as a test piece, I liked the result enough to start converting some more Iron Warriors to accompany their Warsmith. Thanks to some Dark Vengeance Chosen models kindly provided by Commissar Molotov, I came up with a small gang of Iron Warriors that explore the various archetypes present in the legion, from an Apothecary harvesting geneseed from fallen loyalists to a Breacher batting aside all opposition with his massive shield. So far, only three models have been completed, but this killteam is a fun project that I definitely want to return to at some point in 2016!

Iron Within

Check out my work on the Killteam here and here.

 

4. On the road to Heresy…?

I was never all that interested in starting my own Horus Heresy themed project, both because the thought of having to work with that much resin seemed very unappealing to me and because I found the prospect of having to paint the World Eaters’ Heresy era colour scheme fairly daunting.

However, with the release of Betrayal at Calth, the first point became moot, and I wanted to at least see for myself whether or not that blue and white heraldry would be as hard to paint as I had feared. So I did paint my first Heresy era World Eaters, after all. And I must say that I am really pleased with the result so far:

30k World Eaters test models (3)

In fact, the painting turned out to be a ton of fun, especially when it came to sponge-weathering and using a glaze to create the dirty, off-white armour — the experience was almost liberating, to tell you the truth!

So there will be more Heresy era World Eaters, that much is already decided. Don’t expect a full-blown army anytime soon – or at all – though: While this should be a great way to explore an earlier iteration of my favourite 40k army, it will be a rather deliberate process, favouring characters over massed ranks. A killteam seems like a sensible place to start, there will obviously be some of the characters I have already built. And that tweaked Contemptor I have already shared here on the blog. Beyond that, it’s all up in the air. If it all spins off into an army project at some point, that’s great. I wouldn’tcount on it, though, so please don’t hold your breath! 😉

For now, I am pleasantly surprised that painting the WE Heresy scheme has turned out to be such a cakewalk: I knew that if I were to do any Heresy models, it would have to be World Eaters after all, but the fear of pulling off that white scheme really scared me off. And now I have stumbled upon a recipe that makes it all so easy and pleasant — and I’ll be sharing it with you shortly. Scout’s honour! 😉

Oh, and as if I needed any more justification to further pursue this particular project, the post showcasing my first test model actually attracted exactly 888 views:

BftBG

It seems that Khorne approves…

 

So yeah, so much for the Traitor Legions. Expect to see more of these guys in 2016 🙂

Traitor Legions Class of 2015 (3)

 

 

5. The world of INQ28

Another of my resolutions for 2015 was to complete more models for INQ28, having finished a measly four characters in 2014:

INQ28 class of 2014
And while I still didn’t complete a deluge of characters by any stretch of the imagination, I think we can still call this endeavour a success as well. Take a look at the “Class of 2015”, so to speak:

Inquisitor Class of 2015 (3)

12 new models for my INQ28 collection, all in all. Although I have to admit that I didn’t build and paint all of the models in the picture: The Astropath model was kindly donated to me by the legendary Ron Saikowski — and subsequently named “Skorin Saikov” in his honour:

Model converted and painted by Ron Saikowski

Model converted and painted by Ron Saikowski

What I especially love about the model is how it’s a rather cunning recreation of one of John Blanche’s illustrations:

Insignium p1-10:-

Interestingly enough, there was actually another model similarly based on a piece of JB art and very kindly given to me by Drone21c. Meet the Arch-Deaconne:

The Arch Deaconne
This time around, at least the paintjob is mine 😉 In any case, I think it’s utterly stunning that people not only create those wonderfully Blanchian models, but also send them to me. Nuts!

Anyway, so I did manage to put out more models. But I’ll also consider the project a success because I actually completed some of my best INQ28 work so far, if I do say so myself, such as my very first true scale Astartes, Praetor Janus Auriga of the Golden Legion:

Praetor Janus Auriga (13)

Or Sister Euphrati Eisen of the Order of the Martyred Sword:

Sister Euphrati Eisen (10)
There’s Interrogator Brynn Yulner, who started out as an okay conversion, but only really came into his own once I swapped his legs for a set of Tempestus Scion legs at the eleventh hour:

Interrogator Brynn Yulner (2)
I am also rather happy with the paintjob, to be honest.

I also began building and painting an AdMech-centred warband that has been a lot of fun to work on so far:

Adeptus Mechanicus Magi and Chimeric Servitor (2).

I painted one of Jes Goodwin’s classic Eldar Warlocks which was quite a bit of fun and a very nice change of pace:

Eldar Warlock (1)
Eldar Warlock (4)
Seeing how the model features some lovely retro touches (such as the fur collar), I also endeavoured to paint it in a slightly Oldhammer-ly way (I am especially pleased with the leopard/ermine pattern on the fur, if I do say so myself).

And finally, one model I am particularly fond of is my tough-as-nails Hive Cop Remus Ingram, finally finished this last year:

Remus Ingram (1)
This is actually one of my oldest INQ28 conversions, which makes me even happier that I have finally managed to paint him — I still like that base model enormously, by the way, and I also think the conversion is pretty clever, albeit not all that complex 😉

Tell you what, here’s actually a bit of a call-forward to 2016: I’ve wanted to give Remus a Cyber-Mastiff for quite a while now, although I never had a suitable model. Yet when I won the Malifaux Relic Hunters box in Miniature Tim’s raffle last year, the dog included in that kit provided an excellent base model for that plan. And so my first INQ28 model this year – and indeed my first model for 2016 – turns out to be…a dog. Huh.

Cyber-Mastiff (1)
Cyber-Mastiff (2)
I didn’t convert the model too heavily, both because I rather like the stoic nature of the base model and because I wanted it to still be relatable to as a dog, and not as a vat-grown, ‘roided-out monster: I merely added some cabling running along the back, a small electrical coil and some AdMech gauges on the collar and a bionic eye to show that some augmetics had been put in place. All in all, I am really rather happy with the outcome. As several people have remarked, the bionic eye makes the pup look rather sophisticated 😉

Cyber-Mastiff (3)
I also think the two work together rather nicely, even if the dog is quite a beast:

Remus Ingram and Cyber-Mastiff (2)

Anyway, INQ28 is really my other big passion in this hobby, and I am really happy to have been more productive at it in 2015. I think I’ll try to keep it up in 2016 as well! 😉

Inquisitor Class of 2015 (2)

 

 

II. My favourite hobby moments

Once again, in addition to finishing some models I am really immensely proud of, the interactions with other hobbyists, bloggers and forumites were probably the best part of my 2015 hobby life: From people like Ron Saikowski and Drone21c sending me their Blanche-inspired models to Miniature Tim being awesome enough to not only give away a huge box of stuff as part of a raffle, but to also send it halfway across the world to my doorstep, it has been – once again – a year of humbling generosity and general awesomness.

In a time where everyday politics seem to be defined once again by petty nationalism and disconcerting “The boat is full!” propaganda, it’s a nice counterpoint to be in contact with people all around the globe who are being so supportive and generous. Just take my growing list of “bitz-buddies”: bitzbuddies2015

Or Augustus b’Raass sending my Khornate merch — where does he get that stuff?

Merch for the Merch God
Or the story of the Vaettir:

The Vaettir in his new home
Or any number of additional smaller and bigger moments of cameraderie that have become so central to this hobby for me. Granted, we live in complicated times, and one cannot simply equate sending little pieces of plastic around the world to very pressing political issues. But I do know that this kind of international comradeship has really made me appreciate the avenues of communication open to us today as well as the value of peace between nations — gah, I’m being all sappy and overly-grandiose. Sorry for that! 😉

Oh, you know what was also awesome? That one time Aaron Dembski-Bowden called my work “breathtaking” on his blog. Seriously, that really happened. Look:

YES!
Yeah, that was pretty amazing…

III. Blogging

Blogging on a regular basis is hard work, as any blogger will tell you. And yet, I persevered, in spite of everything: I published 51 posts in 2015 and attracted 224,401 views from over 90,000 visitors. What’s more, I also managed to reach the mark of 500,000 views overall, which I think is pretty cool!

Oh, and I learned what happens when one of my posts – the one about the fun one can have with the freebie Liberator included with a copy of WD back in July, in this particular case – gets shared in the right Reddit-thread:

Reddit

 

So a very heartfelt thank you must also go to all you beautiful readers and commenters! Thanks for reading all of this pointless rambling! And thanks for getting in touch and participating in the discussion! I always love to hear any feedback you might have, so keep the comments coming, alright?

 

So yeah, so much for 2015. And what’s in the cards for 2016? I don’t know. A new job, hopefully! Some new blog posts, certainly. And one thing that I am pretty sure about is that there will be more little plastic men — the majority of them unpainted, I fear. But we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it 😉

Until then, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

The 2015 Eternal Hunt Awards, pt. 2: The Hobbyists

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , on January 12, 2016 by krautscientist

Awards

2015 has been a frantic and pretty spectacular year for GW, but what about the hobbyists? In this second part of the 2015 Eternal Hunt Awards, allow me to share the best work I’ve seen from fellow hobbyists all around the world this last year. This will be quite a post, I am afraid, but you’ll walk away with quite a bit of inspiration and a new link or two for your blogroll — I guarantee it! 🙂

 

Hobby blog of the year

Before we get to the most impressive blogs and logs of the year, it goes without saying once again that many of the past entries from this category have managed to remain just as fantastic and inspiring as ever! However, in the interest of variety, I have once again decided to only feature blogs that haven’t appeared on the Eternal Hunt Awards yet. So with that out of the way, here are that blogs that blew me away in 2015:

 

Ed’s Heresy Kill-Teams

Custodes exiting the Webway by EdT

Not actually a blog in the classical sense, but rather an ongoing WIP thread over at The Bolter & Chainsword, EdT’s log is nevertheless my favourite 2015 hobby blog, as the amount of sheer inspiration contained in it stands a head above the rest of the competition: Ed originally started out building and painting small Heresy-themed warbands for various Astartes legions and Imperial factions that were perfect little slices of the background, exploring the Heresy in a way that was at once interesting and highly original. He ultimately graduated to creating even more involved projects like the absolutely stunning Custodes-themed diorama shown above and below, possibly my favourite piece of his work:

models built and painted by EdT

models built and painted by EdT

There are many more fantastic dioramas where that one came from, however, and most of them are even accompanied by some truly fantastic writing, such as the brilliant “Barque of Neter-Khertet” here:

models built and painted by EdT

models built and painted by EdT

You will really have to explore the thread yourself in order to see how cool it is, although let me point out two of my favourite parts about Ed’s work: One, his boundless creativity when it comes to creating perfect little slices of the 32nd millennium. Two, his growing ambition, as you can really see him growing as a hobbyist over the course of the thread. To wit, his latest project, featured in a thread of his own, is a Cerastus Knight Lancer designed through the lense of East-African cultural influences. Pretty ambitious, wouldn’t you agree?

For these reasons, EdT’s thread is easily my favourite hobby blog of 2015. Yet it is with a certain bitter-sweetness that I tell you this, for Ed has recently decided to quit the hobby after finishing his latest project. While I respect his decision, I still think that’s rather terrible news! On the other hand, I have no doubt that his creativity will lead him to success in whatever field he decides to apply himself to next. And in any case, his thread’s still there, though, so make sure to check it out and be blown away!

 

Ex Profundis

Ex Profundis Logo

There are few blogs with a style as utterly distinctive as Ex Profundis — which is even more stunning when you realise that the blog showcases the work of several people and a couple of recurring guest artists. Even so, there’s nary a blog to be found that presents an equally dark and compelling look at our favourite hobby. While also featuring some of the most kick-ass modeling and painting work in existence, no less.

Dark Mechanicus House Sinekai by Bruticus

Dark Mechanicus House Sinekai by Bruticus

From Bruticus’ wonderfully gritty and sinister INQ28 warbands to Meade’s brilliantly creepy Dark Mechanicus and mutant hordes, Ex Profundis shows us a very particular and dark side of our favourite setting that we don’t really get to see anywhere else — and that is definitely saying something!

Mutant by meade

Mutant by meade

 

Mutant by meade

Mutant by meade

 

Mutant by meade

Mutant by meade

 

Mutant by meade

Mutant by meade

The pervading style and unique voice of the various projects really make this blog into something special. And even better, in addition to the fantastic modeling and painting projects, those guys even have something worthwile to say about various artistic subjects ranging from the artwork of the standout Manga-series Berserk to a rather insightful post on the importance of skulls in WFB and 40k...

Oh, and GW should probably let Bruticus do some of the world building for Age of Sigmar — I think the setting would really profit from that… 😉

Anyway, a standout blog that you should definitely check out at your earliest convenience!

 

Death of a Rubricist

DOAR Banner
I have to confess that I am pretty late to this particular party, as many of you will probably already know Apologist’s excellent blog. After all, he owns what is probably the most impressive Ultramarines army around — and those guys are all true-scaled, natch!

Ultramarines by Apologist

Ultramarines by Apologist

Indeed, the army has seriously made me reconsider my stance on the XIII legion, as both the models as well as the amount of care Apologist puts into their construction and the narrative behind them really turns them into the awe-inspiring force we have always read about in GW’s materials. I would never have expected to be interested in the XIII legions armour markings, but Apologist’s posts on the matter unfailingly have me spellbound — NUTS!

True scale Ultramarine by Apologist

True scale Ultramarine by Apologist

To wit, Apologist has even managed to come up with a model of Roboute Guilliman that I think is actually cooler than Forgeworld’s official model — at least it’s closer to how I imagine the Lord of the XIIIth:

Rouboute Guilliman by Apologist

Rouboute Guilliman by Apologist

But it doesn’t stop there, as this amazing level of quality and dedication is typical of all of Apologist’s work, regardless of whether he creates more Ultramarines or some equally excellent true-scaled Iron Warriors,…

Iron Warriors by Apologist

Iron Warriors by Apologist

…or a growing collection of wonderfully dark and medieval INQ28 models centered around the eponymous Rubricist…

Rubricist by Apologist

Rubricist by Apologist

…or even the odd Xenos model:

Eldar Prince by Apologist

Eldar Prince by Apologist

Whatever part of the grimdark future Apologist puts his mind to, he produces outstanding work! And his accompanying story vignettes unfailingly cut to the heart of everything that is awesome about the Horus Heresy or 40k. A wonderful blog and an excellent discovery, even if I was kind of slow on the uptake on this particular occasion 😉

Anyway, go explore Death of a Rubricist by following this “inload” (see what I did there…?)!

 

Nicolas Grillet’s blog

Nico Grillet banner
A fairly recent addition to my blog roll, this one, yet Nico Grillet’s blog has still managed to shoot straight into the list of my favourites. He has managed to produce an utterly fantastic warband of AdMech Explorators, for one:

AdMech Explorator warband by Nicolas Grillet

AdMech Explorator warband by Nicolas Grillet

But that’s not nearly all, because Nicolas has also come up with a breathtaking, entirely scratchbuilt Underhive board for his Explorators to inhabit and …well, explore, I suppose 😉 The terrain is unbelievable in scope and quality, and on par with perennial favourites like Neil’s Yggdrassillium board or ThenickeNinja’s underhive terrain. Just take a look:

Underhive terrain by Nicolas Grillet

Underhive terrain by Nicolas Grillet

 

Underhive terrain by Nicolas Grillet

Underhive terrain by Nicolas Grillet

 

Underhive terrain by Nicolas Grillet

Underhive terrain by Nicolas Grillet

 

Underhive terrain by Nicolas Grillet

Underhive terrain by Nicolas Grillet

To top it all off, all of this modeling and painting goodness is merely one slice of Nicolas’ blog, because the guy is also a kick-ass illustrator. So make sure to head over there and take it all in in big, greedy gulps. Brilliant stuff!

Best models of the year

The quality of a lot of the stuff I am seeing online regularly manages to blow me away. Yet there are some models each year that manage to stand a head above the rest — not necessarily because they are flawlessly painted (although that certainly factors into the equation), but because they manage to perfectly embody a particular aspect of the background, and each and every detail is masterfully applied to support that effect. The level of quality when it comes to hobbyists’ creations is really quite off the charts by now — it’s almost unbelievable how many quality projects, logs, blogs and galleries can be found online! But even in this Golden Age of creativity, there are some that rise above the crowd. So let me present you some of the best pieces of 2014:

 

Queen Bee by Jeff Tibbetts

Queen Bee by Jeff Tibbetts

Queen Bee by Jeff Tibbetts

Well, there really cannot be any other model to open this section but the Queen Bee: I’ve heaped gushing praise on the model before, mostly because it was one of my most valuable inspirations when building and painting my own Knight, but it has to be said again: The Queen Bee may just be the best Imperial Knight model currently in existence, period.

The reason for this is that JeffTibbetts didn’t cut any corners when creating the model, but did rather do everything in his power to imbue the piece with a sense of underlying narrative: There’s a real history in the peeling layers of paint, the battle damage and the countless little details adorning various parts of the model — there’s even a little bird’s nest precariously balanced on one of the Queen Bee’s arms, for crying out loud!

This tendency continues with the actual paintjob, as Jeff has spent an unbelievable amount of work and care on replicating certain effects you would expect of an ancient and hallowed machine like this: The rust, the grit, the flaking paint — all of those brilliant little touches make the Queen Bee into a character rather than just a playing piece, and that is the biggest compliment I can probably think of.

Queen Bee by JeffTibbetts

Queen Bee by JeffTibbetts

In fact, let me single out just one particular detail, because it’s probably my favourite part of the model and because I had the honour of playing a small part in its inception: JeffTibbetts wanted to feature a sort of pinup on the Knight’s heraldic shield, as a shout out to the machine’s humble origins as little more than a glorified wood-clearing machine or construction engine during the Dark Age of Technology. Over an extended discussion over at The Bolter & Chainsword, we thought about how more than ten millennia of cultural and technological regression might influence such a pinup picture, turning it into something much more medieval and quasi-religious. And Jeff really knocked it out of the park with the finished design:

Queen Bee by JeffTibbetts

Queen Bee by JeffTibbetts

Possibly the best part is that the classic pinup pose is still there. But the design is steeped in the hallmarks of gothic madness and religious fervor we have come to expect of the 40k universe — utterly brilliant stuff!

In a moment of sheer brilliance, the Queen Bee’s excellence even managed to make it into an unlockable skin for the player’s Knight in Pixel Toys’ recent Knight-themed IOS game Freeblade, with a surprisingly faithful recreation of the model appearing in the game, as can be seen in this comparison shot made by Jeff and nicked from his own blog:

Queen Bee by JeffTibbetts (1)

And what do you know, they even featured my favourite part of the model in the game as well:

Queen Bee by JeffTibbetts (7)

JeffTibbetts’ Queen Bee stands as a towering triumph, as a proof what dedication to a model can produce — and how it can ultimately be rewarded in the coolest possible way. It’s a stunning piece, a fantastic inspiration to anyone building and painting an Imperial Knight of their own, and easily my favourite model of 2015.

Jeff’s work on the Queen Bee be has been extensively – and invaluably – chronicled over at his blog, so may sure to read up on it!

 

Lukas Kupferberg and Scarabée Intrépide by morbäck

models built and painted by morbäck

models built and painted by morbäck

Morbäck is easily one of my favourite hobbyists, both for his unbelievable conversions and his very distinctive style of painting. So it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that his models make an appearance in this post, right? Well, even so, this year’s offering ist really something else. But all in good order:

First Morbäck managed to create a single miniature that was simply gorgeous and just about perfect. I am talking about Lukas Kupferberg here:

Lukas Kupferberg by morbäck

Lukas Kupferberg by morbäck

Everything about this model is spectacular: The fantastic paintjob, the wonderfully inspired conversion — what really gets me going, however, is how Morbäck has skillfully used some Skitarii parts to make this guy look like a pilot: The Vanguard helmet just works perfectly, as do the backpack parts on the shoulders. All in all, the model looks so delicious that I’d like to eat it!

Amazing as Lukas Kupferberg may bee when seen on his own, however, the model was merely a prelude to an even bigger project: He was created to serve as a character in a scenario called “Burning Skies” that, as far as I’ve managed to understand it with my lousy French, basically consists of playing something akin to Aeronautica Imperialis at the 28mm scale — and with a much reduced cast of very characterful aircraft and pilots!

Towards this end, Morbäck also built an aircraft for Lukas to pilot. The Scarabée Intrépide. Just take a look. Words don’t do it justice:

Scarabée Intrépide by morbäck

Scarabée Intrépide by morbäck

After you’ve picked your jaw back off the floor and stopped asking yourself “How did he do it?”, you start noticing some of the brilliant detail:  Not only does the vehicle feature an excellent seated and helmeted version of Lukas Kupferberg in its cockpit…

Scarabée Intrépide by morbäck

Scarabée Intrépide by morbäck

…but it EVEN TRANSFORMS SLAVE ONE-STYLE, for crying out loud:

Scarabée Intrépide by morbäck

Scarabée Intrépide by morbäck

Again, I really don’t have any words for this…

None of Morbäck’s creations are never less than spectacular, but he has managed to outdo himself this time. Unbelievable stuff! I can’t even. 😉

Make sure to check out Morbäck’s excellent, more detailed posts on Lukas Kupferberg and the Scarabée Intrépide, respectively. And take a look at the other Kouzes’ fantastic work as well, while you’re over there! 😉

 

Empyrium Emulation Chamber by Cerebralerebus

Empyrium Emulation Chamber by Cerebralerebus

Empyrium Emulation Chamber by Cerebralerebus

2015 definitely was the Adeptus Mechanicus year. But even with AdMech now a playable faction and one of the most gorgeous 40k armies, let us not forget those hobbyists who blazed the trail with their own, scratchbuilt AdMech armies, long before it was cool.

Cerebralerebus is one of those hobbyists, and his deliciously yellow/orange AdMech army is truly spectacular. What’s even better, though, is that he returned to his army in 2015 and proved that his conversions easily hold up when compared with the “official” models. In fact, his brilliantly creepy “Empyrium Emulation Chamber” is precisely the kind of insane gadget that is yet missing from the official releases, if you ask me:

Empyrium Emulation Chamber by Cerebralerebus

Empyrium Emulation Chamber by Cerebralerebus

There are tons of clever little touches on the model: The way it seems to be floating. The way the tortured psyker souls in its main compartment seem to be floating. The Admech personnel guarding and controlling the machine. You can spend an hour just looking at all the intricate little touches and try to think about the function of this machine in the back of your head — whatever the chamber is supposed to do, it surely doesn’t look pleasant:

Empyrium Emulation Chamber by Cerebralerebus

Empyrium Emulation Chamber by Cerebralerebus

I won’t mince any words: Can we please get a kit for this thing as part of the next rumoured Adeptus Mechanicus update, GW? Thank you! 🙂

More on the Empyrium Emulation Chamber can be found here, along with the rest of Cerebralerebus’ absolutely stunning (and entirely converted and kitbashed) Admech army.

 

Einherjar the Eternal, Daemon Engine of Khorne, by Augustus b’Raass

model built and painted by Augustus b'Raass

model built and painted by Augustus b’Raass

It shouldn’t surprise you that this list always has to feature at least one massive, spiky Khornate model, and this year’s slot deservedly goes to Augustus b’Raass’ absolutely amazing Daemon Engine: I suppose the Lord of Skulls would have been far more popular with the crowd if it had looked a bit more like this 😉 Anyway, the model is massive and menacing, and the perfect centre piece for Augustus’ small (but hopefully still growing) detachment of World Eaters. Khorne is pleased, Brother-Slaughterer! 🙂

Check out Einherjar in more detail in Augustus’ showcase thread over at The Bolter & Chainsword.

 

Necrotic Rotstalker by Jeff Vader

Rotstalker by Jeff Vader

Rotstalker by Jeff Vader


Leave it to hobby prodigy, illustrator extraordinaire and all around great guy Johan Egerkrans to blow us away at the eleventh hour: In spite of taking a longer hiatus from building and painting little plastic men in 2015, Jeff exploded back onto the scene late in the year and effortlessly created one of the standout pieces of 2015: The Necrotic Rotstalker. The model is a perfect combination of the trailblazing work performed by Kari Hernesniemi on his “Stryderre” model in 2014, the creepiness of the Sicarian Ruststalkers and a healthy dose of Nurgle’s Rot (the visual approach, not the eponymous technical paint). I hate you so much, Jeff Vader, because you make it all look so very easy! 😉

Take a closer look at the Necrotic Rotstalker and his upcoming buddies here.

 

Inquisitor Lucanus Molnár by Adam Wier

Inquisitor Lucanus Molnar by Adam Wier

Inquisitor Lucanus Molnar by Adam Wier

Conversions of non-GW models for use in GW settings often don’t end too well — there’s just something about the look and feel of GW’s own products that can be a little tricky to approximate when working with base models from other manufacturers. In this regard, Adam Wier’s conversion for Inquisitor Molnár is an especially huge triumph, as the model looks right at home in the 41st millennium while seamless combining one of Dreamforge Games’ (excellent) Valkir Stormtroopers with a clever selection of actual GW bitz.

Beyond the elegance of the conversion, Inquisitor Molnár is a fantastic character in his own right: A hulking representative of the Ordo Machinum (the Ordo overseeing the Adeptus Mechanicus), and each and every part of the model comes together to create a stunning piece — even more stunning, actually, for the fact that it’s one of the first models Adam has painted in years. Quite a return to form, I must say!

Read up on the model and its creation here.

 

Inquisitor Eisenhorn by Nordic

Inquisitor Eisenhorn by Nordic

Inquisitor Eisenhorn by Nordic


Well, what is there to say? Everyone loves Gregor Eisenhorn, and Nordic has just managed to come up with just about the perfect 28mm respresentation of everybody’s favourite 54mm miniature. Incidentally, as we will be seeing in a minute, Nordic’s prowess at creating stunning INQ28 models based on character concepts from the Inquisitor rulebook and original set of 54mm releases has to be seen to be believed, but even amongst a brilliant collection, the Eisenhorn model stands out!

 

Army/warband of the year

And finally, to top off our annual collection of eye candy, let’s escalate things a bit and look at 2015’s best armies and warbands. This will be quite a treat. Trust me! 😉

 

First Claw by Augustus b’Raass

First Claw by Augustus b'Raass

First Claw by Augustus b’Raass

I have yet to meet a hobbyist that wasn’t instantly turned into Night Lords fanboy after reading Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s Night Lords trilogy. ADB’s novels always feature an impressive cast of rounded and compelling characters, but the “Certainly not friends/possibly actual enemies/still brothers in spite of everything” dynamic of First Claw has to be one of the high-points of his literary work. It’s no surprise that many people love Talos and his crew, and quite a few have come up with their own attempt at capturing First Claw in model form.

And to make a long story short, nobody has managed to nail it quite like Augustus b’Raass with his version of First Claw. Each of the squad members has been painstakingly and beautifully recreated, and each is a pretty much perfect representation of the character. Personally, I think I favour Uzas — but then he was my favourite in the novels as well 😉

Even Aaron Dembski-Bowden himself was blown away by Augustus’ models — and rightly so! Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I have to thumb through my copy of the Night Lords Omnibus again…

A closer look at First Claw and its various members can be found here, once again as part of Augustus’ showcase thread.

 

Inquisitor Machaius’ retinue by Nordic

Inquisitor Machaius' retinue by Nordic

Inquisitor Machaius’ retinue by Nordic

I already mentioned Nordic’s knack for building stunning INQ28 models based on sketches from the Inquisitor rulebook above, and Inquisitor Machaius and retinue are just the perfect example: Almost all of the models in the retinue are excellent representations of a piece of artwork from the book and/or a sketch from John Blanche’s Inquisitor sketchbook. And the resulting warband is simply amazing! In fact, Nordic’s entire INQ28 related output for 2015 has to be seen to be believed!

INQ28 year one collection by Nordic

INQ28 year one collection by Nordic

Likewise, Nordic’s thread over at the Ammobunker is full of massively inspiring work — which is why you’ll have to read through it all, I’m afraid. Trust me, though: It’s well worth it! 🙂

 

Nurglite warbands by Jeff Vader

Nurgle Warband by Jeff Vader

Nurgle Warband by Jeff Vader

In a way, these form the perfect bookends for 2015, do they not? One warband each to explore what the concept of Nurgle can be, both in the dark past and in the grimdark future. And without over-relying on any overly tired Nurgle tropes, natch! There’s also the fact that Jeff Vader is always at the top of his game when creating excellent and evocative plastic conversions. And I don’t even need to talk about those paintjobs — I’d probably sacrifice a small kitten to be able to paint like that (on second thought, no, I probably couldn’t do it, but I hope Jeff Vader will appreciate the sentiment 😉 ).

It’s a testament to the quality of hiw work that he can take a few months off from building little plastic men and still create some of the truly defining work of 2015. Amazing stuff, all around!

You’ll find more information on those stunning Nurglite models over at The Convertorum — but you already knew that, I wager. And if you weren’t, well, then what in the seven hells are you still doing here? 😉

Nurgle Warband by Jeff Vader

Nurgle Warband by Jeff Vader

 

Pitslave Gang by Bruticus

Pitslave Gang by Bruticus

Pitslave Gang by Bruticus

I already mentioned Ex Profundis’ distinctive style further up in this post, and Bruticus’ wonderful Pitslave Gang can serve as a wonderful example of it: He has created a wonderfully gritty, very visceral and utterly believable gang of models that is equal parts Mad Max and Necromunda, and all the better for it:

Pitslave Gang by Bruticus

Pitslave Gang by Bruticus

The variety of different kits that has gone into making this warband is truly staggering, but Bruticus pulls it all together into a cohesive whole, giving us both gangers that are very heavily inspired by classic post-apocalyptic tropes,…

Pitslave Gang by Bruticus

Pitslave Gang by Bruticus

 

Pitslave Gang by Bruticus

Pitslave Gang by Bruticus

…while also incorporating more heavily augmented cyborgs and brutes that look very different but seem perfectly at home in the collection:

Pitslave Gang by Bruticus

Pitslave Gang by Bruticus

 

Pitslave Gang by Bruticus

Pitslave Gang by Bruticus

All of this is achieved via one of Bruticus’ trademark fantastic paintjobs, combining a deceptively bright main colour with lots of dirt, grime, blood and oil and that delicious blue as a spot colour. Spectacular stuff!

And to add insult to injury, he has even built a wonderful vehicle to accompany his pit slaves:

Pitslave Gang by Bruticus

Pitslave Gang by Bruticus

Bruticus’ style is immediately recognisable, and there’s nobody who paints in quite the same way. And nowhere does his trademark style work better than on his gorgeous Pitslaves!

Check out Bruticus’ Pitslave warband in more detail here.

 

Heresy-era Emperor’s Children / Heresy-era Astartes by kizzdougs

The Sekhmet -Emperor's Children army by kizzdougs

The Sekhmet -Emperor’s Children army by kizzdougs

Kizzdougs has been an absolutely stunning painter for quite a long time, but he really blew me away time and time again in 2015 with his ongoing WIP thread over at The Bolter & Chainsword. For starters, it features his army of Heresy era Emperor’s Children – the Sekhmet – a gorgeous collection of models, and arguably the best III legion army around, including, for instance, what may just be the perfect Horus Heresy model:

model built and painted by kizzdougs

model built and painted by kizzdougs

Stunning as the army may be, however, that’s only the half of it:

In recent months, Kizzdougs has also begun building several test models to represent each of the (traitor) Astartes legions, relying more and more on the new Mk IV plastics from the Betrayal at Calth box. And not only are the results perfect little slices of the 32nd millennium come to life, as you can plainly see yourself,…

Heresy era Legionaries by kizzdougs

Heresy era Legionaries by kizzdougs

…but they also show how far some careful kitbashing and a brilliant paintjob will get quite some variation out of those – very vanilla – stock models and create wonderfully evocative pieces — it really shouldn’t surprise you that Kizzdougs’ World Eaters model shown below was one of my main design templates when starting to paint my own first 30k World Eaters. His example even made me try my hand at sponge-weathering, and I am really happy I did!

Heresy era legionaries by kizzdougs

Heresy era legionaries by kizzdougs

So, to make a long story short: If you are even the slightest bit interested in Astartes, make sure to visit Kizzdougs’ brilliant ongoing WIP thread over at The Bolter & Chainsword.

 

Honorary mention: Navigator House Merz-Itano by weirdingway

Navigator House Merz-Itano by weirdingway

Navigator House Merz-Itano by weirdingway

Now I’ve actually made it a part of the – pretty rickety rules – of this contest that no army will receive an award more than one time in a row. And yet, this section simply wouldn’t be complete without mentioning weirdingway’s wonderful Navigatorial house yet again: He may have won last year’s award which should exclude him from the competition, but his growing collection of wonderfully original and unconventional models is, simply put, the most exciting and inspiring 40k project in existence right now.

Weirdingway has an absolutely amazing ongoing thread over at The Ammobunker, and it’s even more brilliant now than it was last year, obviously. Check it out at your earliest convenience — you can thank me later! 😉

 

So yeah, this is it. Quite a ride, wouldn’t you agree? Anyway, congratulations to all the “winners”, and I believe all you beautiful readers will have a list of blogs to check out now that will see you through until the third and final part of the 2015 Eternal Hunt Awards, in which I will be taking a look at my personal hobby year.

Until then, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more! 🙂

Inquisitor 28: Back in business!

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 11, 2015 by krautscientist

You are probably aware of the fact that this will turn out to be a rather Khornate month, all things considered 😉 But all in good time: Before the realm of blood and brass inevitably engulfs us all, let me take the chance to address the wonderful world of INQ28 once more:

As you probably remember, one of my most important hobby-related new year’s resolutions was to be more productive when it comes to creating shadowy and/or eclectic INQ28 characters. And so far, I am happy to say that I have managed to keep this promise. So I’ll be showing you some new INQ28 characters and conversions in the very near future! Yay!

For starters, let’s focus on some of the things that have managed to renew my passion for actually finishing INQ28 models. While some of the work has been my own, I was also happy enough to receive some wonderful motivational help from fellow hobbyists. So let’s take a look:

 

I. A Traveler From the Warp…

One event that made me particularly happy last year was when Ron Saikowski got in touch with me late last autumn. For those of you who don’t know Ron (and shame on you, if you don’t!): He used to run an absolutely excellent hobby site called From the Warp, a very prolific resource for excellent hobby advice, and a site that was very important for me when I got back into the hobby in 2010, after a longer hiatus.

Ron unfortunately no longer updates the site — but it’s still there! And you should definitely check it out, if you haven’t already — it’s every bit as excellent as it was a couple of years ago! Anyway, I was still very happy to hear from him — even moreso because he had discovered my love letter to his hobby work. Anyway, to make a long story short, Ron is still in the hobby, and I think that alone is an excellent thing!

Things became really awesome, however, when we talked about an old model of Ron’s that I really love: An Imperial mystic he converted and painted. The model has a very grimdark, Blanchian look, which was probably the main reason why I liked it so much. Now imagine my surprise when Ron simply suggested sending it to me as a gift! And he did! Take a look:

Model converted and painted by Ron Saikowski

Model converted and painted by Ron Saikowski

 

Model converted and painted by Ron Saikowski

Model converted and painted by Ron Saikowski

 

Model converted and painted by Ron Saikowski

Model converted and painted by Ron Saikowski

A wonderfully evocative piece or work! And it’s now mine! MUHAHAHA…erm, sorry –got a bit carried away there. Anyway, I am really happy to have come into the possession of a great model like this, created by one of my favourite hobbyists, no less! What makes this even better, though, is that the model’s Blanchian feel is no coincidence: The character was actually based on a piece of artwork depicting an Astropath by none other than John Blanche. Take a look:

Insignium p1-10:-

Artwork by John Blanche

I think this actually further enriches an already great model! I also think that Ron has really managed to capture the mood of the original illustration. Oh, and for those of you who want to learn more about the model’s creation, I recommend you check out Ron’s original post on the matter here on From the Warp.

It goes without saying that I am really, really grateful to Ron for this amazing gift! The Astropath, named Skorin Saikov in Ron’s honour, will be a treasured part of my collection, and certainly an interesting character for all INQ28 related adventures in the Velsen Sector…

 

 

II. Presents from Down Under(hive)

Believe it or not: Ron wasn’t the only person to be so very generous, either: Fellow hobbyist Drone 21c, owner of one of the most beautiful and Blanchian Inquisitor warbands I have seen so far (make sure to check it out here), was also awesome enough to send me some wonderful stuff last autumn — all the way from Australia, no less!

Everything started with this handsome gentleman:

RT era IG soldier (1)
Yes, that’s right: A Rogue Trader era plastic Imperial Guardsmen. I discovered this model when Drone21c posted a wonderfully painted version of it on his blog, and I was shameless enough to ask whether he would send one over to me.

He actually sent two of them, if you can believe it! And I have to admit that I actually spread the love and gave one of the models to the owner of my FLGS: He’s a great guy and provides excellent service, and he is also a huge IG nut, so it felt like the right thing to do. That said, I made him promise he would paint the model, to be presented here on this blog, so we may look forward to seeing it at some point in the future.

But as if that wasn’t enough enough, Drone 21c also included some more amazing stuff: Some wonderfully converted and individualised heads for my conversion projects, some of which you can see here:

Heads converted by Drone 21c

Heads converted by Drone 21c

With the exception of the head on the right (which, I believe, is a Perry Miniatures bit), each of these heads has been expertly converted and customised with sculpted elements — if anything, I am actually scared of using them up for “standard” conversions (that said, I do have a cunning plan regarding the flagellant head with the dapper hairdo — watch this space).

And even that was not enough: No, Drone 21c also included a copy of a model he had sculpted himself, — possibly the star of the show:

model sculpted by Dorne 21c

model sculpted by Drone 21c

You can see better pictures of the original model over on his blog, but the amazing thing is that the model was very obviously based on an iconic John Blanche sketch from the 40k 2nd edition Codex Imperialis:

illustration by John Blanche

illustrazion by John Blanche

I finally started painting the model this past Sunday. Take a look:

Model sculpted by Drone 21c

Model sculpted by Drone 21c

 

Model sculpted by Drone 21c

Model sculpted by Drone 21c

 

Model sculpted by Drone 21c

Model sculpted by Drone 21c

 

Model sculpted by Drone 21c

Model sculpted by Drone 21c

The model was originally envisioned as some kind of Imperial dignitary (or even governor), but I think he’ll also make for an excellent High-officiant, Arch-Deacon or even Cardinal of the Velsen Ecclesiarchy, once he’s done.

Only now that I have painted the model can I appreciate all the fine detail that Drone 21c has managed to create, like the small aquila clasp on the model’s shoulder, the cabling on the back of the head or the lined face — the latter one is a particular achievement, if you ask me. Excellent stuff!

You will probably have noticed that the model doesn’t have a finished base yet. I think this could conceivably become a little project of its own, because I feel the model would look great with a lectern, a pulpit, or even riding atop some kind of walking servitor-shrine or hideous, vat grown monstrosity — we shall see…;)

In any case, thanks again to Drone21c for letting me have this amazing model! In fact, the most humbling thing about this entire affair is that I have yet to send something back over the great pond! But I have been collecting suitable bitz for the last months, and it won’t be long now until I can finally repay this kindness — if it can be repaid at all, that is!

 

III: An officer and a gentleman

And finally, yet another thing I want to share with you, but one that doesn’t owe anything to other people’s generosity (for once…). Still, this project really made me get my arse in gear on the INQ28 front. So, what is this about?

You may remember this Inquisitor/Interrogator I converted from the plastic commissar. I posted him quite a while ago…

Gunslinger Inq WIP (11)
But you know what? I actually wasn’t really happy with the guy before, there was just something off about him for some reason. He seemed kinda pompous and ineffectual, for lack of a better word: More like an NPC than an actual character. A foppish military type without much character to speak of.

Back when I built him, I tried a different pair of legs (from the Eisenkern Stormtroopers), which seemed promising…

Gunslinger Inq WIP (10)
…but wasn’t quite there, either. But a while ago, due to a spontaneous moment of inspiration, I tried replacing his original legs with a pair of legs from the Tempestus Scions, and I think this changes the overall look of the model rather drastically. Take a look:

Brynn Yulner WIP (1)
Brynn Yulner WIP (2)
I think he looks quite a bit more formidable and dynamic this way, wouldn’t you agree? Less like an arrogant officer type, and more like a desperado who knows his way around the underhive, even though he’s wearing such a dapper uniform.

The new legs really add some dynamism and agency to the model. And even though he may seem a bit squat now (mostly because he’s leaning into the shot), I think it’s far preferable to the previous version!

However, the new legs prompted some additional changes to the model: I may have spent a long time splicing together that Xenos pistol, but it really no longer suited the character all that well, as PDH rightly pointed out — funny how that will happen sometimes, isn’t it?

So I went for twin autopistols instead:

Brynn Yulner WIP (4)
Much better! But there was one last thing that bothered me, and Bruticus really nailed it: What’s the deal with that chain running from the model’s lapel to the pistol grip?

The longer I kept looking at it, the more nonsensical it seemed. So it had to go! I carefully cut it off and replaced it with an oath paper, affixed to the model’s lapel:

Brynn Yulner WIP (6)
Excellent! And with that, the model was basically ready for painting — at long last! 😉

I really didn’t want to mess this up, and I wanted to go for a mix of a military, regimented look, with a dash of ostentatiousness. Here’s what I came up with, after a while:

Interrogator Brynn Yulner (2)
Interrogator Brynn Yulner (1)
Interrogator Brynn Yulner (3)
It may not look like it, but this paintjob was actually quite a ways outside of my comfort zone: The colour of his coat, for instance was a bit of an experiment for me. That said, I am truly happy with how the model has turned out, and my success with this character has inspired me to go and paint some additional INQ28 models — just you wait and see!

Fairly atypically for me, however, I have not yet completely worked out the background for this model: The change in the conversion and subsequent painting happened so quickly that I basically let myself be carried along by the tide. However, the first ideas are slowly congealing into something resembling a character background:

I think the character should have a pronounced Imperial Guard background: Maybe he was a member of the prestigious Bastold Oathblades, until a momentous event cost him his arm and left eye? Maybe the same event also lead to him being requisitioned as a retainer (and ultimately, Interrogator) by one Inquisitor Marius Solland (we’ll be hearing from him in a future post). I think having an Inquisitor of the Ordo Militum, concerning itself with supervising the Imperium’s military, would be a nice change, after all the Malleus and Hereticus nutjobs 😉

And there are also the small touches on the model itself that could possibly tell small stories: Somebody over at the Ammobunker pointed out the very clunky bionics on the Interrogator’s face: But maybe there’s a story there? If you look closely, you can see that some cabling feeds from the bulky, optical implants into the power pack on the model’s back and into the bionic arm from there — maybe he consciously chose the somewhat clunky implant to gain a battlefield advantage?

Anyway, I am still very open to suggestions and ideas as to the character’s background, so feel free to share any ideas you might have! Only one thing is already set in stone: the character’s name. After some lenghty conversations with fellow hobbyist DexterKong, we came up with the name Brynn Yulner for this Interrogator — a cookie to anyone who gets the joke 😉

 

So yeah, as you can see, I am back in business when it comes to INQ28! I would love to hear any feedback you might have — rest assured that we will be seeing more shady characters around here very soon!

Until then, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

A short intermission — and a new mandatory blog to follow

Posted in 40k, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , on January 7, 2015 by krautscientist

PSA
A short announcement for those of you who may be waiting for the next installment of the Eternal Hunt Awards: I am currently hard at work painting a rather tall order of World Eaters (tall for me, at least) as part of my Call of Chaos vow, and time’s running short — so please sit tight for another few days, while I sort this out first: I promise I’ll at least have lots of neat new stuff to show you afterwards 😉

And fortunately enough, other people are picking up the slack: You may already have heard this elsewhere, but migsula (formerly of Legion of Plastic), Mikko Luoma and Kari Hernesniemi (formerly of the Spiky Rat Pack) have teamed up in a new endeavour and have started a blog that will probably knock your socks of, seeing how those three are some of the most talented people in the hobby. So head over there and subscribe right away — I am convinced that good things are coming our way 😉

— IRON SLEET —

 

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