Archive for old models

Post birthday ponderings & a blast from the past

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2014 by krautscientist

Happy Birthday
Last Saturday marked my 33rd birthday, and among other fleeting moments of introspection befitting such an occasion, the date made me realise that I’ve been in the business of messing around with little plastic men for about 20 years now — which seems pretty unreal, to tell you the truth. But instead of getting all sentimental and contemplative on you, let me take this opportunity to present you with a “blast from the past”, as it were, granting you a look at my very first army for Warhammer 40k — an army that, in many ways, started it all.

Before we do that, though, take a moment to marvel at the birthday image shown above which Annie sent me, totally making my day in the process: Not only did she put most of her Blood Bowl models to work on wishing me a happy birthday, but the picture also hints at some finished (or near finished) models for her new Piratz team — very awesome, and definitely something to look forward to! So, once again, thanks so much for the amazing surprise! 🙂

 

So yeah, back to the past. Before we take a look at this venerable project of mine, let me give you a little background, okay?

It was October 1998, and a new edition of Warhammer 40k had just been released. 2nd edition had been straining to accomodate hobbyists growing armies for a while, but in the end the rather cumbersome ruleset that had originally been designed for skirmishes, above all else, finally gave out. 3rd edition, then, brought some thorough streamlining to the system, and even then, this turned to be a bit of a divisive direction.

Back then, though, I didn’t know anything about this: I had gotten into WFB a while earlier, raising my first tabletop army ever. But even then, I realised that 40k called out to me, maybe even more than WFB did: I had been in love with what little of the setting I had been able to grasp from the butchered German version of Space Crusade, and a weekend spent blazing through the wonderful books from the 2nd edition starter box sold me on the setting.

So the new edition arrived at a time where I was contemplating a closer look at the 40k universe anyway. I eagerly gobbled up all the information about this new version of 40k, discussed in detail on the pages of (German) WD 34. Possibly even more important than any rules changes was the giveaway miniature the issue came with: A brand new plastic Dark Eldar warrior, the first representative of a completely new faction for 40k, and also the model that would launch my very first 40k army, pictured below: The Kabal of the Black Sun.

Old Dark Eldar (1)
In all fairness, it’s a rather boring army in many ways, because, like so many other first armies, it was build on what I could afford to buy from my weekly allowance at the time. So the army was assembled piecemeal, whenever I could afford to drop a bit of pocket money into my growing collection of spiky, pointy eared Space pirates.

This clearly reflects in the somewhat lopsided army composition: Lots and lots of plastic warriors (because these were the easiest to get hold of and delivered quite a bit of modeling bang for the buck), a couple of metal models (bought one at a time, except for the squad of Wyches), a squad of jetbikes (a rather expensive combi-kit back then, so I had to save up in order to be able to buy it) and, lastly, a Raider (the biggest purchase in pure monetary terms, and also possibly the most disappointing: I really only bought this model because it seemed to be absolutely compulsory for running a Dark Eldar army, but I was never all that fond of it, and it shows in the shoddy paintjob).

Anyway, even then, this army wasn’t really collected as a fighting force supposed to win any games (which, fittingly, it didn’t), but rather as an ongoing attempt at creating something cool. And while pretty much all of the models are horribly outdated – especially when compared to their modern counterparts – and while I am fully conscious of the technical shortcomings of my painting (which was even worse back then, if you can believe it…), I still think there are quite a few things to be proud of in this army, so let us take a closer look at some of the squads and individual models:

First up, one of my warrior squads. This one was supposed to serve as some kind of honour squad for my Archon, if the situation demanded it:

Old Dark Eldar (15)
In hindsight, I do of course realise that the true Stars of the show in the 3rd edition release were the multipart plastic Space Marines — as evidenced by the fact that it took a whopping 15 years for the kit to be substantially redesigned, and even then, today’s Space Marines still follow the basic recipe laid down by the 1998 release. The Dark Eldar Kabalite warriors were merely the byproduct of this process, and while they did help to pave the way towards a future of wonderful plastic kits to come, their first incarnation was probably a bit lacklustre even back then: The sprue only held the bare minimun of parts, with only a single special weapon and not much extra bitz to speak of: If you wanted different special weapons or more interesting squad leaders, you had to buy additional (metal) models — or you had to get creative!

And that’s exactly why I’ll always be indebted to those venerable plastic Xenos: It was both because they looked so samey and because they were so easy to convert, that I discovered how immensely fun it was to kitbash and convert plastic miniatures — still my favourite hobby activity today!

I can say without any hyperbole that I really went to town on the unassuming Kabalite Warriors sprue, creating an endless stream of conversions from it: running Kabalite warriors, more impressive Sybarites — I even used it to build a squad of Mandraks, because there weren’t any official models available for them back then. I also discovered the joys of kitbashing! For instance, this guy is a conversion I was enormously proud of for a very long time:

Old Dark Eldar (16)
Not even brain surgery, really: I just cut off the blades from a couple of Dark Eldar weapons and glued them to an old Craftworld Eldar power fist (that old CC weapons sprue was the best!), creating a very sinister and Dark Eldar-ish bladed gauntlet:

Old Dark Eldar (18)
This seemed like such an enormously fiddly conversion back then, but it filled me with a nearly unprecedented sense of achievement. And it also taught me something else: That converting each and every model in a given army in order to make each model special was a very worthy endeavour indeed! So where I had mostly been content to assemble the models by the book for my Warriors of Chaos army, the Dark Eldar taught me to be more adventurous, to try and push the envelope on my hobby projects!

But even I arrived at a point where I had burned myself out on the plastic Dark Eldar warriors and started to look for other resources. My eyes fell on the – then brand new – Eldar Guardians, and so I built a huge squad of kitbashed, bigger and meaner Kabalite warriors:

Old Dark Eldar (12)
Old Dark Eldar (11)

Old Dark Eldar (10)

Old Dark Eldar (9)
Again, none of these conversions are all that spectacular. But they surely felt that way back then — with detailed multipart plastic kits available for the first time!

Here’s the Sybarite for the squad of “Not Guardians”:

Old Dark Eldar (8)
Old Dark Eldar (7)
To tell you the truth, even in spite of all its obvious failings, I am still rather happy with the model’s slightly sinister elegance, even now.

Let me take this chance to address the paintjobs for a minute here: As you can see, I chose a very simple approach for my Dark Eldar: They were undercoated in black, then the armour plates were simply coated in gloss varnish, giving the models a slightly insectile look. The details were painted in gold and silver. Turquoise served as a spot colour (a habit I still keep up today ;-)) And while such a bare bones approach to painting might no longer fly today, I still think that this army made me realise that simple, striking colour schemes are the way to go. Sure, none of the models are anything to write home about from a painting perspective, but they still manage to look rather coherent and striking as a collection. At least until you get closer to them… Also take note of the classic 90s basing recipe: Goblin Green and green flock FTW! 😉

But back to the models themselves: My experience with these plactic kits even made me slightly more adventurous when it came to filling up the lack of official Dark Eldar models with my own creations. For instance, I added a Dark Eldar bit to an old Dark Elf plastic Sorceress in order to create a subcommander for my Dark Eldar:

Old Dark Eldar (14)

And while we’re on the subject of army commanders: The – rather limited – collection of (metal) characters and specialists was, of course, the other thing that defined the Dark Eldar back then. These models created some much needed variety and also seemed so cool in those days. Not all of them have managed to age all that gracefully, but I suppose that’s a given. Anyway, let us take a closer look at that side of my army:

Old Dark Eldar (5)
Old Dark Eldar (6)
First up, my Archon. I used GW’s stock Archon model which is very much a product of its time, of course, with huge shoulder pads and an almost ridiculous headdress (and I am still not sure whether I like the flayed face…), but I think it’s also a pretty apt representation of the Dark Eldar’s essence: The model is spiky and undeniably evil, but it also has this sinister, slightly depraved elegance. It’s also important to remember that this particular niche didn’t exist in 40k back then (because the Slaaneshi Chaos Space Marine models were far too bulky and out there to truly register as elegant). Plus I do have a soft spot for this guy!

The lances glued to the model’s back were originally intended as a trophy rack. I would have added a new trophy for each defeated enemy. A neat concept, but, alas, it never came to that: I never defeated a single enemy, for one. And looking back now, it was probably for the best, because the quality of the bitz back then would probably have made the trophy rack look absolutely hideous!

There’s also this model, a Sybarite for the Kabalite warriors:

Old Dark Eldar (13)
And, to be honest with you, this may be one of my favourite tabletop models ever, and one that I still love. Sure, it looks to big and bulky when stood next to the regular Kabalite Warriors. Sure, the thickness of the various blades and the model’s claws harken back to a different period of casting. And yes, the pose is a bit clichéd. But it’s still an all-time favourite of mine, because it perfectly embodies what the Dark Eldar are about. It’s really a shame that this guy looks even bulkier when placed to the new (2010) Dark Eldar, because he would be an essential addition to any pointy eared army, otherwise. Oh yes, for the record: I am none to happy with the crappy blending on the claw 😉

Of all the models in the old Dark Eldar catalogue, I think it’s the Haemonculi that have best managed to hold up by modern standards. In fact, if I were to start a Dark Eldar army today, I would seriously consider using them as “regular” Haemonculi, with the floating, multi-limbed new Haemonculi only used as elders or army commanders. Anyway, take a look:

Old Dark Eldar (2)
First up, the older version of Urien Rakarth. I am still reasonably happy with my paintjob — especially so since the model was actually repainted at one point to bring it more in line with my Kabal’s colour scheme.

And here’s his colleague, a regular Haemonculus (insofar as the term “regular” can be applied to these guys):

Old Dark Eldar (4)
This model was also pretty much the first instance of really stepping outside my comfort zone during painting. It may not look like much now, but painting the face by highlighting the prominent areas in ever more delicate layers of paint really showed me that there might be more to painting than just doing the bare minimum. Sure, I could probably do much better today, but it still started here.

Old Dark Eldar (3)

I actually own the third unique Haemonculus sculpt as well, although I haven’t painted the model yet. Perhaps I should, though, because these guys would probably work equally well in a radical INQ28 retinue…

All in all, the Haemonculi were one of the most original and new concepts about the Dark Eldar back when they were released, and it’s cool to see that these models still hold up — at least in my opinion.

Another model that I am still rather fond of is the older incarnation of Lelith Hesperax:

Old Dark Eldar (21)
Old Dark Eldar (19)
Old Dark Eldar (20)
Sure, there is much to be said for the much more restrained, modern version of the model, but I cannot help feeling fond of the sci-fi dominatrix look of the old model. Plus this model holds a special place in my heart for the challenge it presented painting-wise: Getting the contrast between the spiky armour and the softer, organic shapes of the unarmoured parts just so was quite a challenge for someone only used to painting bulky Chaos Warriors — and probably especially difficult for any lad still mired in the late afterpains of puberty 😉

Alas, her accompanying retinue of Wyches has not fared quite as well:

Old Dark Eldar (22)
Again, the are just a little too 90s, with their unbelievably big hair and clunky, retro-futuristic musical performer design — especially when compared to their gorgeous modern incarnation. They are still good fun, of course, but in a slightly corny way. Still, these guys and girls make me scratch my head in wonder at how I managed to paint all those tiny pupils back then — this seems to be one of the things I have actually managed to unlearn since those simpler days…maybe it’s the onset of middle age?

 

We all know the rest of the original story, of course: The Dark Eldar went through a pretty rough patch, being kept at arms length by GW for a very long amount of time. It took until an – admittedly spectacular – relaunch in 2010 to finally update the army, and even though that relaunch was one of the factors getting me back into the hobby after a longer hiatus, it didn’t see me return to the army: Although I did try to continue where I had left off, I realised that my heart was no longer in it, despite the amazing new models. So I turned to the forces of chaos instead, my other great hobby love. And you know the rest (or can at least read up on it on this blog in case you don’t).

In the larger scheme of things, however, this army is still immensely important for my personal hobby life, not only because it was my first 40k army, but mostly because it managed to teach me so many important lessons that are still helpful today. Granted, many of my growing pains of my hobbyist are clearly evident in the models themselves. But the army was instrumental as a means of departing from the slavish adherence to the pretty pictures on the boxes in many ways, and for that alone, it marks an important step in my personal hobby history.

 

So yeah, the things you think about in the aftermath of your birthday, right? 😉
Anyway, I hope this little blast from the past has been as enjoyable for you as collecting my thoughts on the matter has been for me! 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!

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Eternal Hunt: Year Two

Posted in old stuff, paintjob, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , on February 26, 2014 by krautscientist

yeartwo

Oh my, Eternal Hunt is actually two years old now — and has been for a week, to tell you the truth: I just missed posting this last week, although I have to say that showing you a new model just seemed more important than celebrating myself 😉

Seriously, though: Who would have thought that this blog would actually survive for two years? That I would manage to publish 195 posts (this one included), 94 of them during this last year? That the blog would manage to attract about 183,000 views and a sizeable crowd of followers? Not me, that much is for certain!

Not to bore you with numbers, but I am really proud of the fact that the number of views has actually tripled, compared with last year, and that attracting 10,000 views a month, something that seemed like a one-off success last year, has now become an almost regular occurence — nuts!

Indeed, I could go on all day about how awesome this blog is, of course, but I would only be tooting my own whistle and reiterate huge swathes of my look back at 2013, and you can just as well read that part yourself, if you are that way inclined.

For now, let me take this opportunity to say thank you to all of you reading my pointless ramblings week for week! Being able to post my stuff here and in my various threads and getting feedback has become and integral part of my hobby experience, and one that I wouldn’t want to miss. I am especially thankful to those of you following this blog or commenting (regularly), because it’s the discussion with fellow hobbyists that has made my hobby life what it is today and has given me many cool ideas for my various ongoing projects.

Chief among these is my beloved World Eaters army for 40k, Khorne’s Eternal Hunt, which continues to be a project that gets my creative juices flowing:

WE_Army08
If you have looked at this blog before, you should already know these guys. And if you don’t, well, what are you waiting for: Go read up on them! 😉

Beyond this army, there are many bigger and smaller projects, from various smaller armies (like my Traitor Guard or kitbashed Custodes) to my INQ28 models and all kinds of stuff in between, my productivity has certainly profited a lot from getting in contact with many talented hobbyists and from getting your feedback here and on my various threads. So this is certainly something I would like to continue!

At the same time, I also realise that making time for blogging can become a bit of a challenge from time to time: There are times when RL issues take over (and rightly so: this is a hobby, after all) and getting some new content up in time seems like a slog. At the end of last year, for instance, I really needed to take a break after a couple of pretty stressful months, and blogging wasn’t exactly my foremost interest.

But then the strangest thing happened: Through a number of smaller projects, I rediscovered my motivation (as well as parts of my painting modjo), and some recent developments in the hobby have also managed to pique my interest. So while I cannot promise you that there won’t be times when I take small breaks every now and then, cutting back on the number of posts when necessary, I can safely say that this blog is something that I want to keep working on!

So, to dispense with the self-referential stuff, do I have something for you to look at? You bet! 😉

Last year, I celebrated my blog’s birthday by showing you a real blast from the past, namely my very first 40k (or rather, Space Crusade) models. This year, let’s do something slightly similar: To begin with, here’s what might be one of my very first models altogether. A partially painted HeroQuest barbarian. Behold it and weep:

HQ Barbarian old
Yeah, I really didn’t know what I was doing, did I? My only excuse is that I realised it even back then and stopped painting, never finishing the model. This was a stain upon my honour as a hobbyist, of course, so a while ago, I went back to finish the job: The thick coat of piggy pink was (mostly) stripped away and I gave the model a second try. Here’s the result:

HQ Barbarian
Granted, the model was too thickly covered in the dregs of that dreadful pink to be completely salvaged, but I am still reasonably happy with the result. What’s more, I still have a second, completely unpainted, Barbarian, so there is still hope.

In any case, painting that old model gave me an appetite for working on even more HeroQuest models, and so I tried to speedpaint some of them, trying to finish each model in no more than an hour. So here’s an Orc I painted sometime during the mid to late 90s:

HeroQuest Orc (2)
And here’s a similar model, painted fairly recently:

HQ Orc
You all know how it goes, though: Once you get started, it’s hard to stop, so I then painted a Goblin:

HQ Goblin
I realised that these models are actually quite a lot of fun to paint, and if you’re trying to keep each paintjob below the hour mark, it’s a short and sweet romp for each model, and the results are still pretty convincing, don’t you think?

HQ Greenskins
Before I knew it, I had moved on to the undead, painting a skeleton…

HQ Skeleton
…a zombie…

HQ Zombie
…and a mummy in relatively short order:

HQ Mummy
The mummy was especially interesting, because the model was basecoated using GW Rakarth Flesh and then merely painted by using different washes for the bandages and skin and slight drybrushing afterwards.

Revisiting those old models has really given me a new appreciation for their design: They are almost unbelievably characterful, especially given their age and single-piece nature. And there’s that hugely nostalgic feeling, of course, related with HeroQuest being my (and many hobbyists’) entry to the hobby — I am pretty sure there’s a sizeable Totally Worth It article in there somewhere….

HQ Undead
For now, painting these has mainly been a fun exercise, but the models are also a look at what may or may not become a full-blown project. Don’t hold your breath, but like many hobbyists, I would love to own a completely painted HeroQuest set, and seeing how I still have a mostly complete boxed set in my possession, it seems like an actual possibility. And even the missing parts didn’t end up being a problem — fellow hobbyist Alexander was actually awesome enough to send me the HeroQuest Chaos Sorcerer model (possibly the coolest model in the box, and, invariably, the first one to be lost) — yet another example of the amazing things that happen when you start blogging.

Which nicely leads us back to the beginning: Maintaining this blog as a part of my hobby life has become a very interesting and enriching experience, and I hope you’ll all stick around for the coming twelve months! As always, feel free to contribute feedback, criticism or any idea you might want to share! I would love to hear from you! On a semi-serious note, I am also accepting bitz donations, of course (doesn’t hurt to try, you know… 😉 ).

Here’s to the next year! Thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

oldskool

Eternal Hunt: Year One

Posted in 40k, old stuff, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , on February 27, 2013 by krautscientist

yearone
Well, it pleases me to announce that “Eternal Hunt” is one year old! And what a ride it has been:  When I started this blog in late February of 2012, it was mainly to have a place for posting about my various hobby activities and to establish contacts with other hobbyists. Now, one year later, I guess we can call both missions accomplished:

During one year of blogging, I managed to crank out 115 posts on this blog, with a pretty regular ratio of two updates per week. The blog racked up an overall 61,000 views, which I am immensely proud of, considering I am by no means a celebrity or hobby legend. The overall views even eclipsed the 10,000 mark once, with 10,219 views for the month of January, 2013 — but that is a feat I probably won’t be able to repeat for quite some time…

What’s even more important, though: More and more people are commenting on my stuff and providing me with food for thought and additional ideas. And of course, this serves as a constant encouragement to step up my game. So here’s a very heartfelt thank you to all the readers, followers and commenters, both here and on my various threads on the forums!

Getting feedback from you guys or just seeing that anybody reads this stuff at all has helped me pull through more than one motivational slump! And getting to talk to talented hobbyists like Biohazard, PDH, Ron Saikowski, Commissar Molotov, the Spiky Rat Pack, HOTPanda, DexterKong, Mordian7th and many more by way of this blog and my forum activities has been a real blast and maybe the best blogging experience of all, so thanks to you guys as well!

Oh, and while updating this blog and trawling the other blogs and forums is sometimes quite a bit of work, I still managed to paint about 90 models since starting the blog – among them some bigger projects like my first tank ever or my converted Heldrake – and kitbashed and converted quite a few more, so I guess the blogging didn’t actually completely prevent me from doing actual hobby work, after all.

Now, before I get all sappy, what better way to celebrate this occasion than to descend into the deepest, darkest dungeons of my personal hobby history and show you something reeeally old? That’s right, my first 40k models ever!

Before we do that, though, you have to understand that those were very different times: The Internet, back then, was still mainly the domain of “The Haxorz” and those patient enough to be rooted through to a network of what ultimately amounted to crude excel spreadsheets by way of their actual telephone. So what I am trying to say here is that there was no way of getting inspiration and help from the forums, and even actual hobby materials were scarce to come by.

When my buddy Phil picked up 40k around the 8th or 9th grade, though, us proto-nerds knew he had something special on his hands. And I immediately recognised the resemblance of his 2nd edition starter box minis to those that had come with my treasured box of Space Crusade (which, until then, I had mostly regarded as a dolled-up version of HeroQuest…IN SPACE!).

Anyway, I remember the school breaks spent poring over the few precious colour pages in the middle of the 2nd edition rulebook, admiring the fantastic models and great paintjobs (pro tip: Some of them didn’t manage to hold up all that well…). And so, one day, after school, I sat down with the desire to paint my own Space Marines just as well.

I didn’t have much to work with, though, apart from the Space Crusade models as well as fleeting glimpses at the aforementioned colour pages and the painting guides that came with the 2nd edition starter box:

Yep, still have 'em...

Yep, still have ’em…

So here’s what I came up with:

First_40k_models (2)
Yeah, I know, not even close 😉 In any cases, this guy was probably my very first Space Marine ever. Of course I didn’t know anything about the 40k background (which went pretty much completely out of the window in the horribly bowdlerised German translation of Space Crusade anyway, but that’s a story for another time), so I just went with what I thought looked cool. That is why this guy is all over the place from a heraldic perspective and should also explain why, in addition to several crude freehands and effects that were clearly beyond my abilities (the checkerboard effect comes to mind), I also gave the model a crude version of the Dark Angels chapter badge:

First_40k_models (3)
For my next project, I wanted to try something different, and even then, we loved the Legion of the Damned. We knew next to nothing about those guys (because there was even less background for them than today, and even then, we really only had that one painted model in the painting guide to go by), but we still loved that black armour with the painted on bones and flames — which nerdy teenager wouldn’t? So here was my attempt at emulating those effects:

First_40k_models (5)
Note the bones painted onto the model’s right hand and forearm. And how cute, I even managed to paint a small skull on the left shinguard 😉
On the other hand, I couldn’t even begin to explain to you why I added that Ultramarines emblem on the right shinguard. Hmmm…

I even tried my hand at an officer,using a sergeant model from the Space Crusade box:

First_40k_models (1)
I still think the painted on goatee and scar through the right eye are nice touches. Oh, and there is yet another unexplained Ultamarines symbol. Oh well…

Of course I also tried my hand at the other side of the spectrum! Here’s my very first Space Ork for you:

First_40k_models (4)
Not much to say for this guy, apart from the fact that I am still childishly fond of the primitive camo pattern I painted on his pants…

 

Now what does this nostalgic and slightly embarrassing tangent tell us? Well, this is where it all started! Fast forward roughly twenty years (God, I feel old…) from those first models  to me starting my very first wargaming blog, which, in turn, is already one year old today. Huzzah!

So where do we go from here? Thanks again to anyone showing interest in this blog! I’ll keep the content coming (although I cannot promise you whether I’ll be able to keep my posting schedule locked at two updates per week forever), and I would love for you all to keep bombarding me with feedback, ideas and criticism!

Here’s to Eternal Hunt! And to you people! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!