Archive for nurgle

A Child for the Warrior King, pt.6 — and a small interlude

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 15, 2018 by krautscientist

My hobby work has not been all that exciting recently: The combination of a decided lack of feedback here on the blog and a prolongued downtime over at The Bolter & Chainsword has worked as a bit of a dampener to my hobby motivation. But I have a new update to share with you all, dealing with my second converted Armiger once again. And as a special treat, I’ll also sneak in a small bonus-review somewhere along the way, so keep your eyes peeled 😉

But first things first: My second Renegade Armiger was already mostly finished in my previous post, but it still needed that final bit of attention, especially when it came to finishing the chaotic decoration: The most important part was to add spikes and skull trophies to the top carapace. At the same time, I also grafted some small teeth, carefully shaved off the little vanes that come with the CSM Raptors, to the pauldrons and leg armour, for that certain chaotic je ne sais quoi.

So here’s the result:


Those added elements really do a pretty great job of pulling all of the parts of the model together from a visual standpoint, plus they also serve as a parallel to my other Armiger Warglaive.

So the model is basically ready for paint now. Take a look:


Oh, and after adding the final layer of detailing, I also straightened out the cockpit and pilot, making a few final tweaks and additons here and there. So here’s the completed build for the Huntress inside her cockpit:


As you can see, the way the Huntress controls the machine actually matches the setup I used for the first Armiger. This time around, however, I actually made sure to make the alignment of the machine’s head match that of the pilot (it’s only a small thing, but since I used the standard Armiger head this time around, at least beneath the extra bitz, it was easy enough to keep the head poseable):


I am actually really happy with the conversion, plus I think the two Armiger really work rather well together. Several people on the forum pointed out how the machines seemes like two pack mates, ready to bring an opposing Knight (or even Titan?!) down, and how the new Armiger actually seemed a touch more feral than the first model. Since that’s the impression I was really going for, I am rather happy to have achieved that dynamic with the two models:

Incidentally, I also made a small tweak to the Hound, adding some Blood Warrior decorations to his pauldrons. See if you can spot them in the picture above 😉

 

Bonus review: Canis Rex

So, while we are on the subject of (Imperial) Knights, allow me to sneak in some thoughts on one of GW’s fairly recent releases thtat I have wanted to share for a while: I am talking about Canis Rex here:

The release of Canis Rex was interesting for a number of reasons: It marks the third revision of the Imperial Knight kit in almost as many years, for one: Each subsequent release has added new parts and options, and this latest kit is no exception, providing us with all the weapon options released so far, along with a new weapon, the las-impulsor, that can be used to assemble the model as a Knight-Preceptor. So far, so good. At the same time, Canis Rex is also a veritable named character, so the model comes with original parts to turn a generic Knight into Canis Rex with its unique heraldry. Last but not least, there’s also the fact that the kit provides us with the bitz for a fully designed cockpit – something that the GW-Knights have lacked so far – and for the pilot, Sir Hekhtur the Chainbreaker.

Now my love for the Imperial Knight per se is well documented, and I still consider the model a landmark release and one of GW’s finest modern kits. All the original kit’s strenghts remain, obviously, and we actually get some new toys to play around with. So let us take a closer look:

Let’s start with the new weapon: Where most of the Knight weapons we have seen so far have a rather more brutal, archaic look, this new gun hews closer to a more experimental, “Martian Deathray” look, which is nice. On a related note, looking at the silhouette of the weapon, I cannot help but realise how you could probably kitbash a similar weapon using the side panels from a 40k life pod (from either the 40k objectives kit or the new Kill Team: Rogue Trader boxed set), if you need the weapon but don’t want to buy the new kit.
Whether or not you like the las-impulsor, though: The kit also seems to contain every other Knight weapon released so far, so the world is really your oyster here.

When it comes to Canis Rex’s unique armour plates (and heraldic elements), those bitz are nice, if a bit vanilla: The facemask strikes me as ever so slightly too generically medieval, but that’s purely a matter of personal choice. On the other hand, the combination of a wolf/dog head and a chain on the tilt plate and banner make me wonder whether those bitz might be useful in a 30k World Eaters/War Hounds project…

What I really like about the inclusion of those bitz is how GW actually embraces the idea of having those Knights be true individuals — something that has always played a big role in the background, but it’s still nice to actually see that philosophy now realised in model form. If anything, coming up with your own background, heraldry and backstory for your noble is something to be encouraged.

So far, the additions to the kit are nice but not exactly massively exciting.This all changes with the third big addition to the kit, however, and easily the biggest draw of the model, if you ask me: The inclusion of both a fully detailed cockpit and a pilot:


Seeing how the nobles piloting the Knights were already being played up as important and powerful individuals in the background, I actually find it baffling that it has taken GW so long to represent them in model form. If anything, I feel Imperial Knights should have been themed around their pilots from the get-go. But anyway, now we finally get our pilot model, and both in a walking and a sitting form, which is nice:


I like how the model’s armour/pilot suit neatly straddles the line between baroque(medieval and functional — it arguably works better with the general 40k aesthetics than Forgeworld’s almost too sleek and futuristic looking Knight pilot. At the same time, it’s also nice how some design elements (see the arrows on the armour plates, for instance) are shared between the Knight and its pilot.

Now while the pilot is supposed to be Sir Hekhtur the Chainbreaker, it’s easy to see how a simple headswap would be enough to turn him into an original (male) knight pilot. Creating a female noble from those bitz would still be possible, albeit with a bit more conversion work — and maybe the inclusion of some of the slightly narrower Genestealer Hybrid body parts.

When it comes to the actual cockpit, I really love how GW’s sculptors have managed to squeeze lots and lots of detail into a pretty tight area (believe me, I know): The design looks great and channels visual cues from both Forgeworld’s Knights and various Titans:

If I have one criticism, it’s that I think the controls are almost a bit too modern and “Space Marine-y” and should maybe have looked a bit more archaic – like the kind of tech you see in Forgeworld’s Titan cockpits – but the design still works very well, and the option to build it so it can even be looked at with the top carapace closed and the hatch open is an awesome little touch:

 

For me, and other hobbyists as weird as me, coming up with a way of building the interior of a Knight has been one of the most interesting parts of working with the model. So seeing an “official”, readymade version now is a slightly bittersweet moment: On the one hand, it’s great that GW has finally stepped up and provided us with the building blocks for a Knight interior. At the same time, however, this also takes away some of the adventure, for lack of a better word, and challenge of scratchbuilding and kitbashing an area like this — oh well, at least we still have the Armiger interiors to think about 😉

On a related note, and if you’ll excuse a bit of boasting, I have to say that I am really rather happy with the way I managed to come up with something pretty similar to GW’s “official” look for the pilot and cockpit years ago, back when I built my own Knight:



So for those who do not own any Imperial Knights yet, you guys are in luck: You are now able to pick up the definitive version of an already fantastic kit and end up with lots and lots of beautiful options to play around with. If, like me, you were among the early adopters of the Imperial Knight, you might be forgiven for feeling a bit left out (and for being expected to buy yet another 100+ Euros kit). The third revision of the kit in as many years. Because much as I like this newest revision to the kit (and much as I liked the previous revision), I cannot help asking myself whether those weapon options and cockpit bitz could have been part of the model from the beginning — the pilot and cockpit, in particular, seem like parts of the sculpt that must have been considered from the beginning…

 

Call of Chaos 2018:

Before I wind up this post, let me quickly address the current Call of Chaos event over at The Bolter & Chainsword: With the forum back up and running, fortunately enough, I think I’ll just have a go at joining in the event again this year. Here are the models I think I’ll be pledging as my Call of Chaos vow:


Including the second Armiger is a bit of a no-brainer, obviously, as I really want to have the happy family finished before the year is out 😉 In addition, I want to get some paint on two Nurglite characters that have been sitting on my desk for ages:

First up, a Nurglite Lord on bike that was built over a year ago (originally for another forum painting event last year):

Still pretty happy with this guy — you certainly wouldn’t think he started out as a Ravenwing biker from Dark Vengeance, would you? 😉

And there’s this conversion of Maxime Pastourel’s Lord of Contagion model from the Dark Imperium boxed set:

his guy should be fun to paint, with all the gribbly areas of distressed skin and gooey intestines 😉

 

So anyway, that’s it for today’s update. It goes without saying that I would love to hear any feedback you might have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more! 🙂

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

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

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

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

I. The Blight That Walks…

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

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

So here’s what I have so far:




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

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


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

II. Underhive Heavy Metal

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


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

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

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



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

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


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

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

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

III. Immortal Hunter

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

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


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

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




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


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

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

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

Of course I would love to hear any feedback you might have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

The State of the Hunt, Week 31/2017: The Nurgle train has no brakes…

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, state of the hunt, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 1, 2017 by krautscientist

After the fairly copious amount of praise I had for the new Death Guard models last week, it probably won’t be too much of a surprise that I am still happily cutting my way through the chaotic part of the Dark Imperium boxed set at the moment. So a closer look at the Primaris Marines – along with some of their implications for the 40k setting – will have to wait for a bit, while I share a couple of projects I am currently working on. It’s probably for the best, however, as we are currently seeing even more Primaris kits being released, and I would very much like to take those into account as well. Well, that and doing Nurgle kitbashes is just too much fun at the moment 😉

Speaking of which:

I. The kitbashing continues

I am slowly working my way through the Dark Imperium Death Guard models BubblesMcBub sent me, mostly focusing on the Plague Marines for now. There’s not too much to see there, however: I already said in my earlier post that I doubt I’ll be changing too much about them, as I am simply a huge fan of Maxime Pastourel’s sculpts on these guys! So my work on them is mostly limited to taking of a detail here and there to ever so slightly reduce the clutter. It goes without saying, however, that this has the added benefit of giving me some extra bitz to sprinkle among the rest of my conversions 😉

The one exception is the Plague Champion, because I am really not a fan of his molten face and have wanted to replace it ever since I first saw the model. After giving it a bit of thought, the solution I came up with was to make a press mold of the very same mummified head that’s dangling from the champion’s backpack by a chain, and carefully work it into the cowl the model wears. I’ve also slightly touched up the breathing tube that originally formed most of the model’s face, making it look like several tubes and hoses are feeding into his head now, and have maybe even been sewn to his face. Eww…

Anyway, here’s the model:


In all fairness, the new face is just as disfigured as the old one, but I still prefer it because you can actually make out at least some of the features — plus it actually uses a face sculpted by Morbäck as well now, so there’s that too 😉 To be honest, I’ll probably have to paint the model before I know whether or not it was all worth it, but oh well 😉

In the meantime, I have also managed to get my hands on the three “easy to build” snapfit Plague Marines and just had to start working on them as well. Let me tell you though, these should carry a “hard to convert”  label, at least if you are trying to do something a bit more involved: I felt acutely reminded of the rigid monopose Plague Marines of the early 90s. But they probably weren’t designed to be cut apart in the first place, so the fault is entirely mine — there must be something wrong with me, actually doing most of the conversion work on models that weren’t envisioned as conversion fodder to begin with…

Anyway, my plan was to actually convert a second Blight Launcher Marine, in addition to the one that comes with the kit anyway, and I already showed you the converted Blight Launcher in my last post:

So I grafted it onto the champion from the easy to build kit and made a couple of additional tweaks. Here’s the mostly finished model:


But boy did the model fight me every step of the way: The stock pose is just so weird, and I ended up carefully sawing off the entire upper body in order to tweak it a bit. As you can see, I have also slightly redesigned the blight launcher, splicing in the upper section of a Sternguard heavy flamer to bring it even closer to the “official” design. I also added some tiny strips of chainmail, thanks to a very helpful suggestion by fellow hobbyist Aasfresser, in order to make the right arm and shoulder match the design on the other side:


The backpack with the plasma gun is just a placeholder, of course, as a blight launcher and plasma weapon on the same model would be a bit too much 😉

As for the actual Blight Launcher wielding Plague Marine, he has been tacked together for now. The one change I made was to his faceplate, as I didn’t really like the way the tube directly fed into his helmet, so I spliced in a rebreather:


So here are the two tweaked snapfit Plague Marines:


While I was at it, I also slapped the very creepy leftover power fist on my Blightbringer-based Plague Champion:

II. A recipe for rot

Now I have used several recipes for followers of Nurgle over the years, but none of those really ended up coming together precisely the way I wanted to. For instance, while I am pretty happy with the overall look and feel of my squad of retro Plague Marines,…


…the recipe was not quite what I wanted to use for the new batch of models. So some experimentation was in order.

So for my first test model, I used an undercoat of GW Mournfang Brown spraypaint (which performed quite well):


For the actual paintjob, I ended up giving a paint splatter recipe from one of the recent issues of White Dwarf a try — with a couple of small tweaks.  Here’s how my first test model turned out:




Pretty cool, but not quite there yet, either. The green, for instance, was a bit darker than I had planned — mostly on account of my choosing the wrong shade for it, to be fair.

So I painted another test model, and I think I got it right this time around:



Now we’re talking! This is actually very close to what I have wanted my Plague Marines to look like for ages, and the green on the armour is just right! I ended up with the following steps for the armour plates:

  • basecoat with GW Deathworld Forest
  • wash with GW Ogryn Flesh (or, failing that, Reikland Fleshshade)
  • highlight with GW Ogryn Camo
  • DONE!

As for the skin, I went with one of my tried and true recipes for distressed skin, based on a basecoat of GW Rakarth Flesh with a healthy wash of GW Ogryn Flesh followed by a slightly more focused use of GW Druchii Violet and GW Carroburg Crimson on top.

So out of all the various recipes I’ve tried for followers of Nurgle over the years, this one is really my favourite so far:


So expect to see more of this approach as this project takes shape! 😉

 

III. The Blight That Rides

Last, but definitely not least, I’ve been challenged by BubblesMcBub, whom I met at the Amsterdam GW store and who was nice enough to provide me with all of the Nurglite goodness, to build a mounted character in a mutual challenge for the August Arena 2017 over at the Bolter & Chainsword — an event, I must add, by none other than my mate Augustus b’Raass, in a funny twist of fate. Now I have to be honest: At first I hated the idea of having to build a mounted character, but after giving it a bit of thought, and seeing how I am on a bit of a Nurgle trip at the moment, I thought it might be fun to build a Nurglite Chaos Lord on a bike. So I made a first, very early mockup:


The idea here was to build the model entirely from leftovers from my bitzbox, so I grabbed an old Deathwing bike from the Dark Vengeance box and a couple of Chosen and Blightking bitz. In fact, I pretty much stuck to the recipe I used for my kitbashed Plague Marines a short while ago, just with a bike thrown into the mix.

Fairly happy with the early mockup, I started to build the model in earnest, replacing the crude poster tac mockup with actual GS: I greenstuffed in a hideous, fat belly in order to blend the lower and upper parts of the body together — and, of course, to make the model look suitably Nurglite. I also added some rolls of fat around the neck and below the helmet. And the Chosen axe was changed to a Plague Sword.  I also started transforming the bike into something far less loyalist. Here’s what I ended up with:


I actually love the way his fat belly is wedged behind the bike’s fuel tank/midsection 😉


An array of tanks and pipes was added to the back of the bike, with its various tubes and pipes feeding both into the bike itself and into the Lord on top of it: I love the idea that a) he probably isn’t even able to get off that bike anymore and b) there’s some vital fluid in that tank that gets pumped into both the bike and the rider, effectively turning them into one creepy organism and sustaining the twisted Astartes:


On a related note, let me also share a small anecdote: I’ve also recently finished an Imperial Fists commander on bike, intended as a small present for Augustus b’Raass, and for entirely subconscious reasons, the Nurgle biker Lord ultimately became something resembling a dark reflection of the loyalist model:

Anyway, back to the model at hand: With most of the heavy lifting out of the way, I was free to keep detailing and tweaking the model. This meant lots of detail work on the bike (both to create rust holes and to add some Nurglite touches).

One thing I realised fairly early was that having to paint this guy as one solid piece would be a nightmare, so I used a trick that already served me so well on one of my Angron conversions and put a piece of tinfoil between the upper and lower body before I started sculpting. Which has resulted in both parts fitting together perfectly, while also remaining separate, so I’ll be able to take him apart as needed for painting:


This also made it far easier to add details and tweaks to the bike. So here’s a better look at it, pipes tubes and icky trophies included:



This step also involved some additional sculpting on the driver, including filling gaps and adding more disgusting details, such as semi-fleshy cables running around and into his torso (visible as darker green parts in the following picture):


And, like I said, it will be really easy to disassemble the model for painting:


The last thing I did, once again thanks to some very cool suggestions over at The Bolter & Chainsword, was to add a small passenger to the back of the bike:


The Nurgling from the Noxious Blightbringer’s backpack has found a new home with the “Blightrider” (hur hur) — and the little guy is obviously having the time of his life 😉

Anyway, here’s the finished conversion, ready for painting:




The deadline for completing the model is September 1st, so expect to see some paint on him fairly soon. That being said, I am still trying to come up with some cool ideas for a suitably impressive base (and, in fact, for a cool basing scheme for all of my new Nurgle models), so if you have any ideas, I would love to hear them!

On a related note, BubblesMcBub’s contribution to the challenge will be a pretty cool Iron Warriors Lord on a lizard, which you can (and should) check out here.

 

Anyway, as you can see, I am basically having a blast with the Grandfather’s followers right now 😉
Would love to hear your feddback! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Dark Imperium — a closer look at the Death Guard models

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2017 by krautscientist


Hey everyone: Once again, sorry for the lack of updates. I returned from my recent trip to Amsterdam full of new hobby ideas — it’s just the sitting down and writing about it part where I seem to falter. It has also been getting harder and harder to get feedback on my posts recently, which makes it all the more tempting to actually build and paint stuff instead of blogging about it…

Be that as it may, here’s another post at long last. And while today’s update started out as a regular (if very late) review of models that come with the Dark Imperium boxed set, it has warped and mutated into something slightly different for a number of reasons: I realised early that I would need to divide my look at the box in two parts, for one. For talking about the Primaris Space Marines will invariably mean taking a look at their implications for the overall setting, both from a modeling and storytelling perspective. And seeing the additional kits they have been receiving recently, that would make for a pretty sizeable post in and of itself.

At the same time, there’s also the fact that I have been bitten by the Nurgle bug on account of the new Death Guard models, and have started to play around with the new sprues. So for today, let us take a closer look at the chaotic side of the Dark Imperium release: The New Death Guard models, designed by Maxime Pastourel and Aly Morrison:


By now, it’s no longer a secret that Maxime Pastourel, aka Morbäck, is not only one of GW’s sculptors, but also one of the people behind one of the best hobby blogs on the internet, and also the owner of what’s probably the best Nurgle army in existence, the Plaguebones. The army was even featured recently on the Warhammer Community page, yet I would argue that you should really head over to Maxime’s own blog for the bigger picture.

Anyway, back when the first teasers of the new Death Guard models surfaced, I literally made a little squee of delight when I discovered more and more telltale elements of Maxime’s Nurgle conversions both in the artwork and the actual models: I was basically only waiting for him to finally make some Death Guard models, and now they are finally here. And I am more than happy with the outcome! What’s more, I’ve managed to get my hand on most of the Dark Imperium Death Guard models, courtesy of fellow hobbyist BubblesMcBub (cheers, mate!). So let’s take a look at the models and at what I have done so far with some of them.

Oh, and once again, the review over at Convert Or Die should make for some excellent complementary reading — just pointing this out before we get going 😉

 

Lord of Contagion


What a beast! I probably have this semi-conscious shortlist of what a Nurglite warlord should be in the back of my head, and this guy really ticks all of the boxes for me: Massive? Check! Clad in ancient, pitted Terminator armour? Check. Intestines squelching out of the collapsed parts in the armour? Check! Wielding a massive, vicious close combat weapon? Check, check and check!

It’s really cool how close the Lord of Contagion comes to basically embodying the archetypal warlord of Nurgle — to wit, it’s probably no coincidence that he resembles this iconic piece of artwork, courtesy of Adrian Smith, so much:


By the same token, the Lord of Contagion shows one of the main tenets of the new models’ design: a pronounced medieval influence that is clearly visible on most, if not all, of the new Death Guard models (and, in all fairness, has always played a huge part in GW’s approach to Nurgle). At the same time, the fact that the model is clearly wearing corrupted Terminator armour firmly roots it in the 40k setting — an important balance to get right, but Maxime has really managed to nail it here.

There’s also a fair bit of Typhus in there — in fact, seeing this massive guy, I cannot even begin to imagine how impressive the Death Guard’s First Captain might end up looking, if he gets a redesign, that is.

Speaking of which, it would be really easy to turn the Lord of Contagion into a Typhus conversion: It looks like the head comes as a separate part, so using the head from one the stock Typhus models (or converting something similar) would go a long way towards making this guy look like Typhus. The blade of the weapon should be easy to enough with a suitably impressive scythe as well — although I find myself balking at the mere idea of getting rid of that magnificent axe blade…

Speaking about that axe, it’s obvious how it was inspired by the massive axe from Maxime’s incredible Lord of Skulls conversion, and I was really happy to see it make a return on an “official” GW model! 😉

Oh, and I just love those poor little Nurglings being squashed by the Lord’s left food: It’s a neat touch that provides the suitable amount of Nurglite humour without beeing too on-the-nose about it.

My one possible nitpick is the back mounted icon, as it can seem a bit overwhelming. But having seen the model firsthand, it works fantastically well as an ensemble, so consider this a very minor complaint.

All in all, this guy is a fantastic centre piece model for any Death Guard army — or, indeed, any 40k collection, period. Brilliant work!

 

Malignant Plaguecaster

Now this guy was a slightly tougher sell for me, mostly because it took me quite a while to even make sense of the model when first seeing it. If nothing else, it’s clearly obvious that we are dealing with a Nurglite Sorcerer here. And indeed, upon closer examination, the Malignant Plaguecaster shares quite a few visual elements with Forgeworld’s older Death Guard Sorcerer:

And yet, it’s precisely by comparing the Plaguecaster to Forgeworld’s model that we can see the problems: Forgeworld’s take is fairly down-to-earth — almost pedestrian, really. And yet it works so well because the pose is sound and powerful. Whereas the Malignant Plaguecaster is hampered by the way his very pose seems strangely unbalanced. The fact that there’s so much going on with the model – a veritable flurry of shapes and curves – doesn’t help either.

Beyond this main aspect, my other two points of contention are the model’s face and staff: Now the the creepy cherub face is an interesting idea — however, I have to say it doesn’t quite come together for me, and is one of the element’s I would change about the model.

And why is the staff so short and silly — it almost looks like a toy. Why couldn’t it have been a scythe — or at the very least, a good bit longer?

On the other hand, one thing I really like, is something you only see when taking a closer look: The ragged shroud pinned to the Plaguecaster’s backpack:


Now this obviously looks like a deathshroud — but it also recalls an insectile wing, wouldn’t you agree? In fact, taking a closer look at the model’s copious mutations, there’s a very cool sense of something dreadful and insectile just waiting to break from the sorcerer’s body any moment now, while also being barely contained by his still almost-human outer shell. What a cool and creepy concept, indeed! It’s just a shame that so much of it gets lost amidst the flurry of different shapes and clashing design elements…

My own approach for the model, therefore, was to keep the sense of something twisting and gestating just underneath the Plaguecaster’s skin, while cutting back on the clutter. I also changed the face and staff, while I was at it:


The face has been covered up with a Cadian rebreather (the hood even has a small indentation in exactly the right spot, which was an awesome coincidence). The staff was turned into something less toylike by splicing in some parts from the bell that came with the Putrid Blightking kit. And I do think the right arm works better at a different angle, giving the model a slightly more grounded pose. As for the right hand, I experimented with the option of giving him some kind of casting hand, but in the end it seemed like he needed some visual counterweight, so to speak, to balance out the staff, and the clunky plasma pistol from the Noxious Blightbringer just did the job rather nicely.

Here’s the Plaguecaster next to my (earlier) sorcerer conversion:


I actually like him much better now, mostly because the slightly streamlined version should be easier to make sense of. I also hope I’ve managed to keep all the cool parts. All things considered, I love this guy’s inclusion in the Dark Imperium box, because where the Lord of Contagion is a perfect model right out of the box, the Malignant Plaguecaster is a delightful little puzzle to be solved by converters, and I had quite a bit of fun, making some tweaks to him!

 

Noxious Blightbringer:


This guy presents an interesting new character archetype halfway between a sorcerer and a standard bearer, and it seems like the model tries to capture this somewhat new and adventurous concept by having a bit of fun with the established visual language: All of the hallmarks are there, but some get turned up to elevene — such as the bell dangling from the massive, jutting horn growing out of the Blightbringer’s backpack.

It’s also obvious that the Blightbringer leans rather heavily on the medieval parts of the design — or even moreso than the rest of the models, that is. And in fact, this goes a long way to giving this guy his own identity: Between the slightly WFB-styled helmet and the tabard/smock covering the front of the armour, there is something rather darkly medieval and apocalyptic about this guy. Even better then, that he is wearing a clearly identifiable – and mostly standard – suit of Mk. III armour underneath it all!

If I have one piece of criticism, it’s that – once again – there’s almost too much going on with this guy, especially with the massive number of censers dangling from his armour and backpack

All in all, however, it’s a cool and fun little character model, and an interesting exploration of how far the medieval angle can be pushed. I also love the little Nurgling hanging from his shoulder pad 😉

As for conversion options, the model also makes for an excellent Plague Champion (or even Nurglite warlord) with just a minimum of conversion work, as I found out myself: Due to an ebay mixup, I found myself in the possession of an extra Blightbringer model, and having cannibalised it for bitz, I wanted to do something cool with remaining pieces, so here’s what I did:




It was easy enough to carefully cut away the head (while keeping it intact for use on a future project). The weapons were replaced, and I also got rid of some of the censers — while moving one to a different location on the backpack to create a “chain cape” look of sorts:


On a related note, the leftover bell from that same Blightbringer’s backpack turned out to be just the missing piece I needed to breathe some new life into a slightly strange conversion I originally built all the way back when the Putrid Blightkings were released, using some Blightking bitz and an old AOBR plastic Terminator. The model ended up in a strange place between a regular Plague Marine and a Terminator in the end. Pretty cool, but also slightly confusing. Now with the very real scale creep of the new Death Guard models, and with the help of the last leftover parts of my extra Blightbringer, I was able to turn this guy into something that nicely fits the theme of the models I have built so far. An alternate Blightbringer, if you will:




 

Foetid Bloatdrone:


The Foetid Bloatdrone fills the obvious Dreadnought/Helbrute slot for the Death Guard force contained in Dark Imperium, and it’s certainly interesting to see something that’s almost a Dreadnought, only not.

Of course the Bloatdrone channels some of Forgeworld’s own Blight Drone model:


But while I could never quite bring myself to like the Blightdrone, I actually think the Bloatdrone is really cool — maybe it’s the fact that it’s actually closer in design to the rest of GW’s (plastic) chaos catalogue. Maybe it’s because the Bloatdrone almost seems like a missing link between the Blightdrone and a Dreadnought. Anyway, I really like it, with all its nice Nurglite touches (such as the single eye, the arrangement of the thrusters in an obvious nod to Nurgle’s own symbol, and the “garden syringe” look of the weapons. Oh, and the beautifully disgusting, fleshy back, of course:


It’s also really cool that the Death Guard get their first original vehicle/warmachine beyond the stuff we already know. Now the Helbrute was a bit of a standout model in the Dark Vengeance boxed set, and the Bloatdrone mostly continues this trend, giving us a cool model that should be fun to play around with.

Speaking of which, I think converters should find lots of useful conversion fodder on this model: The thrusters whould work rather beautifully on a Nurglite Daemon Prince, while the main body and faceplate could probably be kitbashed into some rather cool Helbrute and/or fiend variants. We’ll see…

 

Plague Marines


Definitely the high-point of the release for me! I really love how these guys breathe some new life into one of GW’s most interesting chaos archetypes. There’s just so much going on here at the same time — and in a good way. To wit:

  • the models have many iconic elements that go back to Jes Goodwin’s seminal Plague Marine from the early 90s and, by extension, his original design sketches from the same time:Take a look: the Pickelhaube-styled helmet, the bloated breastplate, the pipes — all accounted for. By the same token, you can find many more classic touches on the models, such as the backpacks basically recalling classic second edition chaos backpacks. I love continuity porn like that! 😉
  • Once again, there’s a distinctly medieval feel about these guys: You’ve got chainmail, decayed wood, and all of those bells…
  • there are some subtle trencher and WW1 touches, even beyond the spiked helmet, such as some of the Blight grenades being designed like German stick grenades. A very fitting and grimdark touch!
  • At the same time, and in spite of all those different visual touches, I love how all of the models are wearing clearly identifiable Mk. III plate!
  • The models also have a great sense of grim determination, which is very fitting for the Death Guard. Yes, they are decayed, shambling monstrosities. But they are also the galaxy’s most resilient footslogging Astartes troops, and they have been for more than ten millennia!
  • And last, but very definitely not least, Morbäck has succeeded at splicing in some very iconic, yet also completely fitting, elements of his own Plaguebone conversions:The guy in the bottom left is basically a Plaguebone (and also one of the best models of the bunch). The cyclopean head on the Marine with the plasma gun is a dead ringer for the converted head on Morbäck’s Lord of Skulls — the list goes on and on!

What’s even better, however, is that each of them is a character! While two of the models share almost the same body, they still end up looking suitably different that we get a squad where every model is an individual exploring slightly different visual archetypes, while the models still make up a coherent squad. That’s just lovely!

So, is there anything I don’t like? Once again, and this is basically spitballing of the highest order, but maybe some of the models are just a tad too busy and stylised for their own good. I’d feel tempted to maybe take of a chain here and a dangling detail there, just to improve the overall flow of the models and de-clutter them a bit. The champion is also arguably the weakest of the bunch, because he just moves too far away from the Plague Marine archetype and looks more like a sorcerer to me (that being said, on the other hand that means he would make for a sweet alternate Plaguecaster) . And the molten face doesn’t quite do it for me, personally speaking.

As a squad in a starter kit, however, these are an improvement over the – already fairly spectacular – Dark Vengeance Chosen. And they also finally provide us with some excellent Plague Marine models once again, when previous iterations were just constantly getting worse, diluting the fantastic concepts of the early models further and further and relying on mushy sculpting and gooey, nondescript mutations.

When it comes to converting these guys, like I said, I don’t think I’ll be making any massive changes to them, as I mostly like them exactly the way they are. Maybe I’ll take off a detail here or change something small there, but nothing too involved, so as not to mess with the models’ inherent character. However, if you should find yourself with two sets of Plague Marines, cutting them up for extra variety should provide lots and lots of fun: Like the Dark Vengeance Chosen that came before, the new Plague Marines seem like challenging, yet all the more promising conversion material — and that’s without even considering the very real prospect of a multipart kit in the (hopefully not too distant) future.

One thing I found really surprising when working with the actual models, however, was how big they actually are: They seem to be using standard plastic Mk. III armour as a template, but it has been scaled up quite a bit, making the models about 1.5 times the size of standard Mk. III models. So my kitbashed Plague Marines do seem ever so slightly stunted next to the new official models:


For the record, I think they still work pretty well — if you don’t look too closely 😉

However, the real surprise came when I compared the new Plague Marine with one of the Putrid Blightking-based models I converted a while ago: The latter were originally conceived as true-scalish and ended up being about the size of standard Terminators. But now…


…it turns out they would actually work very well as standard Plague Marines: Sure, they are slightly more bloated and a bit more medieval, but that can be explained away as a bit of variation between squads. Seems I have five more Plague Marines now 😉

In fact, Impact1 has found out that the Plague Marines can be turned into rather fantastic Death Guard Terminators with a bit of work, on account of their impressive size.

One last thing that should be mentioned about the new Plague Marines is that there’s also the additional set of three snapfit models:


Now I love the fact that these are actually three more original sculpts! At the same time, their poses are noticeably more rigid and betray their snapfit origins. Still, these should make a nice addition to the seven guys from the Dark Imperium box, and they are already making their way to me as of this writing.

If I have one major complaint, it’s the fact that we actually have to get these models to get our hands on the Blight Launcher, seemingly the Death Guard’s new signature weapon. As it happens, I am actually planning to convert another of the three to wield a Blight Launcher, and I already have the weapon mostly prepared:


Really not brain surgery, this one: Just combine a plastic Mk. IV or Mk. III Heavy Bolter with the barrel from a Cadian grenade launcher, throw on some Nurgly bitz as needed — DONE. I cannot even claim being the first to come up with this idea, either: Credit must go to Satarin, among others.

Let me also point out that DuskRaider has made an excellent conversion for Forgeworld’s Necrosius (their aforementioned Death Guard Sorcerer) using the snapfit champion.

 

Poxwalkers

Now these were the other part of the new Death Guard release that I didn’t immediately fall in love with: The models just seemed too goofy and over the top to me at first. However, I’ve really grown fond of them over the last couple of weeks, so hear me out:

One reason I like them is because the amount of detail on the models is just insane, with their boils, mutations and disgusting textures rendered in a way that is almost sublime — seriously, you have to see the plastics firsthand to realise how sharp and wonderfully gross the detail on these guys is!

There’s also the fact that so much of their inherent weirdness – the strange angles of their limbs and their manic grins, for instance – gets explained really well, for once, in their background: Those are all symptoms of the disease they are suffering from, and it’s seemingly slowly turns them into something resembling nothing so much as Nurgle’s own Plaguebearers — in fact, this is an excellent callback to established background, were victims of Nurgle’s Rot originally slowly turned into Plaguebearers as well!


In another fairly cool touch, the Poxwalkers pick up on something that was already fairly excellent about the plastic Chaos cultists that came with Dark Vengeance: We get to see some remains of civilian life in the Imperium, as the tattered remains of the Poxwalkers’ clothing show their former station in life: There are miner’s suits and uniforms as well as hazmat suits — or even something that might be a medicae coat. There’s something very fitting (and disturbing) about the thought that people might have been infected while trying to fight an outbreak of the disease — or, even more sinister, while trying to engineer biological weapons? After all, this is the grimdarkness of the far future we are talking about here… 😉

A propos of nothing, let me just point out that the guy wielding what looks like a pipe wrench is actually a perfect model!

So by and large, the Poxwalkers have really managed to win me over — or should that be: get me infected? But still, some of the models are still a bit too out there, though, with features that seem a bit too exaggerated and details that are just one bridge too far. Therefore, my own approach with these models will be to prune back some of those OTT touches while keeping the models’ overall strangeness in place.

I’ve already attempted this with the Poxwalker wearing a torn hazmat suit. Here’s the result:




Now this may not seem like a huge change, but I am far more happy with the model now: Here’s what I did:

1. The oxygen tank messing up the model’s silhouette was cut off and reattached to the model’s back.

2. The hand holding the plague knife was rotated, so it looks less weird

3. On the other hand, the left arm and head were tweaked to actually make them look weirder: The disease is what mutates these guys and locks their joints at strange angles, right? Now in my imagination, the Poxwalkers’ movements should be full of weird twitching and spastic cramps — like something out of Jacob’s Ladder or Silent Hill. Which is why I carefully bent the arm to look even more unnatural. And I significantly changed the angle of the head to make it look like it too was subject to the strange cramps and spasms of the body.

As with the Plague Marines, there’s also a second, snap-fit kit of Poxwalkers available:


Yet for the most part, there’s nothing about these models that the guys in the starter kit don’t alreeady do better. The fat guy is interesting, mostly because that angle hasn’t really been explored in the first batch of Poxwalkers, and I really wish the guy with the goggles and rebreather had been included on the Dark Imperium sprues. But apart from that, these guys are really nothing to write home about.

 

So, all in all, I am really very happy with the Death Guard part from the Dark Imperium starter box! The Plague Marines, in particular, are a true return to form after years and years of fairly sub-par models from GW. As a starter army, these actually seem like a refined, even more interesting (if also less versatile) version of Dark Vengeance’s CSM starter force. In any case, it goes without saying that they are terrific value for the model and have really given me quite an appetite for all kinds of Nurglite shenanigans — and I am really looking forward to finally seeing the rumoured multipart kits and *gasp* the Plague Terminators! Fantastic work, gentlemen!


So what’s your take on the new Death Guard models? Are you feeling as enthusiastic about them as I am or do you have any gripes? Are there any cool conversions or additional thoughts you would like to share? I would be happy to hear from you in the comments section!

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

The State of the Hunt, Week 25/2017: The Grandfather’s Embrace

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, state of the hunt, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 22, 2017 by krautscientist

Guys, guys, have you heard? There’s a new edition of Warhammer 40k, apparently 😉

Seriously, though: A detailed look at the new starter box, Dark Imperium, will be forthcoming shortly (at least that’s what I hope). It has been a while since my last detailed writeup about a new release, but I suppose the gravity of the situation definitely warrants a sizeable post. For now, let me just share one small teaser with you, namely a project that was inspired by the new release. So, what is this about?

While I may have some conflicted thoughts about some parts of Dark Imperium (*cough* Primaris fluff *cough*), one definite high-point for me are the new Plague Marines, sculpted by none other than Maxime Pastourel – aka Morbäck, of Le Blog dé Kouzes fame:


Possibly my favourite part about the models is how they manage to combine elements from the very first classic Death Guard concepts (courtesy of Jes Goodwin) with recognisable, albeit corrupted, Mk. III plate as well as some wonderfully sublime touches from Morbäck’s own Plaguebones — quite possibly the greatest Nurglite army currently in existence.

To make a long story short, after seeing the models, I wanted to get my hands on them ASAP — but then that tiny bit of rationality left in my head kicked in, and a small voice reminded me that, with several boxed sets still languishing unpainted in my cupboard of shame, I really could not quite justify getting yet another boxed set right now. And yet, I knew I had to do something to scratch that Nurgle itch, so to speak.

By lucky chance, I happened upon and TURBULENCE’s really excellent Nurgle kitbashes, using older parts to almost perfectly match the new look. So I had a look through the old bitzbox in order to find a remedy to cure me of the Nurgle bug.

When I found some leftover bitz from the Putrid Blightkings kit and a small pile of horribly battered Dark Vengeance Chosen bits and pieces (left from when I converted a couple of Iron Warriors), a plan started to form in the back of my head. And a short while later, I had this guy:




To be perfectly honest, this is, at its core, actually one messy and loose conversion, if ever there was one: I shaved down the upper part of a Dark Vengeance Chosen torso to make room for the belly, then shaved down the torso front from a Putrid Blightking to create said belly, then mashed it all together with a huge blob of GS and attached it to a set of plastic Mk. III legs. Then a modeling tool was used to loosely define rolls of fat and flabby flesh. In the end, it’s really a happy accident that the model itself calls for the kind of gooey mutations that the GS seemed to provide automatically 😉

At the same, the added height and bulk should also make the model look suitably tall and bloated when placed to one of Morbäck’s “official” Plague Marines. Speaking of which, a pair of Mk. III legs was used to make the model resemble Morbäck’s Plague Marines even more. In order to make the leg armour look suitably distressed and rotten, I carefully cut in some wedge shaped holes and scratches with a hobby knife here and there to make some of the armour plates look slightly dented and uneven. And I used the bog standard GW hand drill (the one I usually use for drilling out bolter barrels) to create small clusters of holes on the armour plates.

With this successful first proof of concept out of the way, I felt a little more adventurous when building a second model:





The basic recipe is the same: A beat-up Chosen torso (and shoulder pads) combined with a set of Mk. III legs, a couple of Blightking bitz and a copious amount of greenstuff. That being said, I really think the various components have come together rather beautifully on this model, lending it quite a bit of presence. Of particular note are the warped Gal Vorbak claw and the helmet (repurposed from an Age of Sigmar Bloodstoker model, with a Skitarii rebreather conveniently spliced in), especially the fact that the jaw motif gets repeated on both parts (this was actually more of a happy accident, though 😉 ).

With the second model completed, I had just enough battered DV Chosen and Blightking parts left to make one last model. This time, I decided to go for a very classic 2nd edition inspired look:




The model is arguably slightly more awkward than its predecessors, but then you should have seen the shape some of those leftover parts were in — the torso seemed just about useless, so I am pretty happy I managed to make a model out of it all in the end. The guy could still use some last tweaks and touch ups, but he’s definitely getting there! What’s more, this is the one model in my collection where that icky, tentacled Chosen backpack really works perfectly, wouldn’t you agree?

So here are my three “Morbäck-pattern” Plague Marines:


Coming up with these guys has really been a blast — and except for the legs, they were all made from nothing but leftovers, so they didn’t cost a penny to make. I am actually pretty pleased with myself for resisting the urge to buy new shiny stuff — for once 😉

There’s also one last model that fits in really well with the new guys: This Nurglite Sorcerer that I converted a while ago. He happens to follow a fairly similar recipe, however, so he should work well enough with the rest of the group:


As for painting these new models, it’ll be interesting to figure out a slightly tweaked recipe for them! I definitely want them to look slightly different from my squad of (mostly) retro Plague Marines here:


Pleased as I still am with those guys, however, they didn’t end up in quite the paint scheme I had in mind. With the new models, So I think I’ll be going with something closer to GW’s “official” paint scheme that was used for the Dark Millennium Plague Marines. Maybe a mix of that colour scheme with the one used by Morbäck for one of the models he sculpted.

On second thought, I am almost happy now to have left the Blightking-based Plague Marines I converted quite a while ago unpainted for all this time, as I’ll now be getting another chance (and an added incentive) to complete them as a Killteam, and with a new paintjob, no less!


Any thoughts of painting will have to wait, however: For one, the sweltering heat has returned this week and keeps holding the blasted plains of Jhermani in an iron grip. I’ll also be travelling to Amsterdam this weekend to visit fellow hobbyist Augustus b’Raass for a weekend of hobby goodness and sightseeing, which should be awesome!

So that’s it for this week. I would love to hear any thoughts and feedback you might have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!