Archive for ordo xenos

INQ28: Hear Me Roar!

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 18, 2018 by krautscientist

More Deathwatch for today, as I have been plugging away at my Primaris based true scale killteam for another week. Allow me to share the results with you:

First up, there’s the Celestial Lions Astartes I have already shared with you in WIP form. Like I said, my main influence for choosing the chapter was the African influence (although the fact that the Lions are a chapter from a later founding also helped a bit). However, I also discovered that the chapter and the Inquisition have a bit of a troubled history, as outlined in my previous post — to the point where Inquisitorial operatives seem to be actively hunting for the chapter. Ouch! So would a Celestial Lion actually be part of an – Inquisition-sponsored – Deathwatch killteam?

Fortunately enough, I realised that I am in the clear on that front: The chapter’s trouble with the Inquisition only really starts in 948 M41, whereas my INQ28 narratives are set some 200 years before that, so everyone can still be BFFs in my headcanon ๐Ÿ˜‰ That being said, I did decide to include a shout out to the chapter’s eventual fate, as per Aramis K’s excellent suggestion of featuring the notorious “Ork Snipers” that wipe out a part of the Celestial Lions during the 3rd War for Armageddon, in some way.

But back to the actual model: This was the Celestial Lion in his first draft version:

As you can see, it’s a very straightforward conversion, mostly based on a Primaris Reiver. I liked the idea of including a stealthier Astartes wearing sleeker armour, and the “Easy To Build” Reiver bodies were really perfect for that. The most involved parts were to add a lion bit (from an old WFB Empire cannon) as a belt buckle and to kitbash another Deathwatch sensor array for the backpack (using a shoulder-mounted lamp from a Genestealer Hybrid and – once again – some auspex aerials).

Then fellow hobbyist euansmith helpfully suggested to maybe turn the model’s head a bit, in order to make it look more sneaky and agile. I complied with his idea, and – sure enough – it made a world of difference!

When it came to painting the model, I actually broke with my usual routine and decided to start with the one part I thought would make or break the model — the right shoulder pad. Because I realised with some nervousness that I would actually have to freehand the Celestial Lions chapter badge, as there are no readily available decals for it (and my idea of maybe using a similar decal as a base went nowhere either). Azrael’s quite excellent Primaris Celestial Lions here (that were also completed for a very personal reason, it must be said) use some very cool shapeways chapter badges, but I didn’t really go through the hassle of ordering bitz like that — so I decided this was the time to buckle up and force myself to do something I had shied away from in the past. Freehand designs.

So here’s the design I chose as my main reference material (inverted, of course, because it would go on the right pauldron):

And here’s what I came up with, using my smallest brush, a drop of Vallejo Airbrush Flow Improver, and reserves of patience I really didn’t know I had:

Of course I didn’t see the huge splodge of wash towards the lower rim of the pauldron until I was looking at it blown up by several hundred percent on a screen — the area has been cleaned up since. Oh, and ‘Aren’ is the name of the battle-brother in question, by the way.

Anyway, I was incredibly happy with the finished freehand — and I can safely say that this has to be one of the most extravagant pieces of detail work I have painted in the last couple of years. I realise that this must be fairly basic bread and butter stuff for talented painters, but to me, it certainly felt like a rather big adventure ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyway, after getting the freehand right, the rest of the paintjob almost seemed trivial. That being said, I also discovered a fairly nice and simple recipe for black skin: GW Doombull Brown makes for a very good base colour, and already looks very natural after a wash of Ogryn Flesh (or Reikland Fleshshade). I only followed it up with some very subtle highlights, and ended up with a skin tone I really liked, as you can see yourself on the finished model:

 

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Rudisha Aren
Brother of the Deathwatch
Celestial Lions Astartes Chapter





Here’s a closer look at the left shoulder pad, now finally in its intended place:


Seriously, though, did I mention how happy I am with that freehand…? ๐Ÿ˜‰


As for the base, if you look closely, you can make out the barrel of a – suspiciously Imperial – sniper rifle, but there’s also part of an Ork jaw — Ork snipers, anyone? ๐Ÿ˜‰


Granted, this is a bit of a tongue in cheek joke about the chapter’s eventual fate, but it still matches the overall basing theme without lookig too out of place. So that’s the next finished member of Killteam Ulrach for you:

 

Speaking of Ulrach, while I was working on Brother Aren, I decided to give the Iron Hand that last round of tweaks as well — and the full photo treatment, of course, playing cards, keys and all ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Vorlik Ulrach
Brother of the Deathwatch
Iron Hands Astartes Chapter








You already know this guy from last week, of course, and most of the finishing touches are pretty subtle. But it’s nice to have all the models finished and photographed in the same style like that ๐Ÿ˜‰

Oh, and since someone over at the Ammobunker asked how I had achieved the glowing blue effect on some of the members of the killteam, I thought it would make sense to feature my recipe over here as well — if, indeed, you can even call it a recipe, as it’s almost trivially easy. The one thing I would really recommend, however, is to get some Vallejo Magic Blue: While there may be a similar GW colour, I have yet to see another blue that pops quite as nicely as Magic Blue. So for this recipe, you’ll need the blue and any kind of white. And some water. Here’s what you do:

  1. Paint the center of the area you want to glow (the lens, the gem, the button — whatever it is) with pure Magic Blue
  2. Thin down your Magic Blue with water so it becomes semi-translucent. Then glaze the area around the part you have just painted with it, building up the actual glow — you can do this in several steps to get it right. With larger areas, the effect should grow more solid towards the center, obviously.
  3. Go back to the (undiluted) Magic Blue and keep adding more white to it, and create smaller and smaller highlights at the center of the effect. The last stage should basically be almost pure white. DONE!

The blue higlight on the axe head (as well as the soft glow around it) are a perfect example of the effect in question.

 

So here’s an updated look at Killteam Ulrach:

I think these guys really work rather well as a group — and you can almost guess at the different characters and combat roles just by looking at the models, wouldn’t you agree? In hindsight, maybe the models are almost a little too vibrant, in a style slightly reminiscent of 2nd edition 40k, but then it’s an almost perverse pleasure to find out how visually striking I can make a squad wearing predominantly black armour ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now any future additions to the team will have to wait for a bit, as I have depleted my supplies of Deathwatch parts and Primaris Marines, respectively. That being said, fellow hobbyist Augustus b’Raass is awesome enough to send me another Primaris, and I have just picked up the Rodricus Grytt model on ebay. Combining both will allow me to build a stoic, fatalist brother of the Lamenters wielding a massive frag cannon — it’ll take a while before I can start the conversion, so take a look at aย  – really primitive – mockup of my planned conversion:

Beyond what you see in the mockup, I will be going for a heavset look with some slightly archaic, Mk. III-ish touches here and there. It’ll be an interesting balance to maintain, as I don’t want the model to clash with the Deathwatch’s sleek Black Ops look, but I’, confident l’ll be able come up with something.

And as it happens, I also have a pretty cool idea for the Castigator — although I’ll need to get my hands on this particular Primaris Sergeant from Dark Imperium first, in order to make it work…

Until then, however, I am pretty happy with Killteam Ulrach as is — and as these guys are very much ready to rock, I hope Azrael will count them as another entry for this month’sย “June-Unit” community challenge!

So that’s it for today’s update. I would love to hear any feedback you might have, so please leave a comment! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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There’s no ‘I’ in ‘Killteam’ — oh wait, there is!

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 11, 2018 by krautscientist

For this week’s update, let’s return to the wonderful world of true scale Astartes for a bit: While I am not exactly a fan of how their lore seems to have been wedged sideways into the 40k background, there’s little doubt that the release of the Primaris Space Marines has provided us with an excellent way of building decently proportioned true scale models for INQ28 without having to spend ages on getting the basic build right. For instance, I had lots of fun building and painting the most archetypal, 2nd edition-style Space Marine I could come up with a while ago, Brother Arcturus Diomedes of the Ultramarines:

Back when the Primaris Marines were released, I picked up the box with three “Easy To Build” Primaris with the plan of eventually turning them into more Deatwatch Marines and end up with small a true scale killteam for my INQ28 collection — even if an entire squad of Astartes would be complete overkill in an actual game. The project just seemed too interesting to get hung up on the practicalities — well, that and true scale Deathwatch Marines have been a bit of a hobby horse for Commissar Molotov, one of the godfathers of INQ28, so working on my own killteam would also be a nice tribute to his own work.

However, progress with the actual assembly of the killteam’s members turned out to be slower than expected for two particular reasons: One, it did take quite some time for me to choose which chapters to go with for the members of the squad. In theory, their chapter identity is only really shown on their left shoulder pad, admittedly, but I really wanted to include various callbacks to their chapter of origin on the rest of the models as well. And while it felt tempting to just go with all the classic First Founding chapters, it would also have been a bit lazy — there are 1,000 chapters in the galaxy, after all. How likely would it be, then, that any given killteam should only feature members from the original Space Marine legions/chapters?

The other difficulty came in the form of the seriously weird poses on some of the snapfit Primaris — I only have myself to blame for that, however, as I could simply have purchased the “proper” multi-part kit.

Anyway, the first additional member for the killteam was converted fairly quickly last year: A Watch-Brother hailing the Iron Hands (and possibly the Killteam’s squad leader):


We’ll be seeing this guy again in a little bit…

And then the rest of the team just somehow refused to come together for the aforementioned reasons — until I had an idea recently: How about going with a Crimson Fist as one of the next members? And how about building him as an homage to this particular piece of artwork by Karl Kopinski:

Artwork by Karl Kopinski

Building models to resemble artwork has become a bit of a sub-hobby of mine lately, and so the task quickly drew me in. And I made this guy:




Granted, I had to simplify some parts of the illustration – mostly due to the fact that, funnily enough, even the Primaris’ bigger scale does not allow for all the detail present in the art – and I also made some minor adaptations, allowing for the fact that my version is intended as a member of the Deatwatch, but I am pretty happy with the kitbash — if nothing else, it definitely does mitigate the stock model’s super weird pose.

The conversion is also a bit of a lesson in thriftiness, as the model uses leftover parts from a plastic chaplain Cassius I picked up a while ago to build a (30k) Word Bearers chaplain. That project left me with Cassius’ left arm and right (Deathwatch) shoulder pad, and ultimately both the shoulder pad and his left hand (complete with snazzy Deathwatch bolt pistol) were grafted onto my Crimson Fist.

I also didn’t have any proper Deathwatch backpacks left, so I had to kitbash one using a regular Space Marine backpack, a sensor array from a Terminator torso front and some small aerials painstakingly shaved off a Space Marines auspex.

So that left me with three members for the killteam, at least:

And I was also really in love with the Crimson Fist conversion, so I decided to paint him right away.

One thing that I decided fairly early during the painting process was that I wanted to use a different skin tone this time around, due to the fact that the Crimson Fists seem to have a distinct Latin American/Hispanic element in their background. So I decided to forego my usual recipe for baseline (caucasian) Astartes skin and go for something slightly different. And in a flight of fancy, I decided to use some very old GW Bronzed Flesh paint that must be more than 20 years old at this point:

And it still worked just fine, too! Most importantly, though, it made for a slightly different skin tone, which seemed like a good way to introduce some much needed ethnic diversity and also underline the fact that all members of the killteam hail from different chapters and, by extension, different planets as well.


As you can see, my Staedtler pigment liner really came in handy once again, and I really went to town on all the little pieces of parchment ๐Ÿ˜‰ The bottles of Microsol and Microset I picked up in Amsterdam last year, also ended up being supremely helpful when it came to making that Crimson Fists decal conform to the shoulder pad’s curved surface.

As for the armour, I followed the same approach I had developed for Brother Diomedes: Cover up any sub-par edge highlighting with sponged-on scratches and damage — fortunately enough, the resulting look really fits the Deathwatch rather nicely, if I do say so myself ๐Ÿ˜‰

So after another round of fine tuning, and after completing the base, the killteam’s next member was finished:

 

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Vargo Diaz
Brother of the Deathwatch
Crimson Fists Astartes Chapter






As you can see, he does have one …erm crimson fist, at least.ย  I did consider painting the power fist red as well, but then the arm would have ended up being predominantly not-silver, when a silver arm is such an integral part of the Deathwatch livery, so limited the use of red to the right hand.

There’s also another little element I wanted to include: In the original Inquisitor rulebook, the 54mm model for Brother Artemis (basically the forefather to all Deathwatch Marines) had those little rectangles on his bolter designed as displays/buttons for the different kinds of ammunition stored in the weapon:

so I thought it might be fun to include this in a bit of a shout out to the classic model and its paintjob. So I put some Roman numerals on the panels: The right side side has ‘I’ and ‘II’, as shown above, the other one has ‘III’ and ‘IV’:



When it came to basing Brother Diaz, I went for the same basic look I had already used on my first Deathwatch Marine. I included an ork skull this time around, however — I think it’s an entertaining little meta touch to feature an alien skull from the respective chapter’s nemesis Xenos race, so Tyranids for Ultramarines, Orks for Crimson Fists and a Necron head for the Iron Hand. Speaking of which…

There was still this guy:



And, still feeling motivated after my quick completion of Brother Diaz, I decided to paint him as well. After all, I am still very happy with the conversion, based on combining a snapfit Primaris with quite a few parts from Ennox Sorrlock, from Deathwatch:Overkill…

…as well as a new breastplate and left arm courtesy of the Kataphron Destroyers.

Anyway, I quickly got to work and dressed the Iron Hand in the same kind of scuffed black armour as his peers:



In this case, the paintjob also had the added benefit of tying together the various parts of the slightly more eclectic conversion.

According to the underlying basing theme, I also constructed a base, featuring a half-buried Necron skull and spine this time around:

Remembering the (brilliant) alternate history Dornian Heresy and the various more or less obvious parallels and connections between the Necrons and Iron Hands, I decided to mirror the blue glow I used on the Iron Hand in the eye of the Necron skull — it seemed like a nice tongue in cheek meta joke ๐Ÿ˜‰

The model’s arms and backpack were painted separately, for the most part — although I couldn’t really help myself, as usual, and had to glue everything together, even while the last few painting steps were still happening:



Putting the finishing touches on the model turned out to be quite a bit of fun, however, so I already have the (mostly) finished model to share with you:

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Vorlik Ulrach
Brother of the Deathwatch
Iron Hands Astartes Chapter






I really like the model, and I think his armoured bulk works really well now that he’s been painted — both for an Iron Hand and for the leader of a Deathwatch killteam!

And there’s more, as I have already started assembling yet another possible member for the team, provisionally from the Celestial Lions, wearing a suit of Recon armour:


Yeah, I know: Technically speaking, the model is basically a Primaris Reiver. But after seeing a particularly nice Reiver-based Deathwatch Marine converted and painted by Jeff Vader, I realised that the stripped-down, sleeker armour matches the “Special Ops” look of the Deathwatch rather nicely — I also think it makes sense for the killteam to have a recon expert.

As for his chapter, I chose the Celestial Lions mostly because they have a bit of an African influence, and I had originally picked up that particular head for its decidedly non-caucasian feature — once again, in an attempt to make my collection of models a bit more ethnically diverse than your usual gang of bald, white Astartes. That being said, I realised too late that the Lions have a bit of a history with the Inquisition — oh well, I’ll find some kind of explanation for it, I am sure — in fact, fellow hobbyist Aramis K brilliantly suggested over at The Bolter & Chainsword that this member of the Celestial Lions might be a specialist for hunting down “Ork Snipers”… ๐Ÿ˜‰

Going forward, there are a few chapters I would definitely like to feature: Right now, I have plans for three more members for the killteam: A Carcharodon, a Lamenter and one of Commissar Molotov’s own Castigators, as an additional shout out ๐Ÿ˜‰

But that’s a story for a future post. For now, here’s what Killteam Ulrach looks like right now:

And seeing how I am actually working towards the completion of a squad here, I think these guys make for a fairly cool contribution to Azazel’s current “June-Unit” community challenge as well! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Once again, I would love to hear any thoughts you might have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

INQ28: Suffer Not The Alien to Live

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2018 by krautscientist

Back when the Primaris Marines were first released, I got myself a single snapfit model from the Dark Imperium boxed set to take a firsthand look at the scale and experiment a bit. Those early experiments were both interesting and educational — but of course I at least wanted to get a finished model out of it all. So after a bit of thought, I came to the conclusion that it might be fun to make my first modern Primaris Marine into the most archetypal Space Marine I could possibly come up with.

It was also clear to me that the model would become a part of my INQ28 collection, so I thought about what kind of Astartes would make sense. I already had two members of the Golden Legion, my DIY chapter (the finished model for Praetor Janus Auriga and a converted Chapter Master), so I wanted to try something different. And then it hit me — why not turn this guy into a Deathwatch Marine?

Now the 2016 Deathwatch craze left me mostly cold back when it happened, but there were still several reasons for going with a Watch-Brother: Tying Space Marines into Inquisitor can be a slightly delicate proposition, but the Deathwatch, with its direct Ordo Xenos affiliation, would at least provide a decent excuse. I also fondly reflected on Commissar Molotov’s work, that is his original Deathwatch Marine (created many years ago) as well as the kick-ass Deathwatch killteam he has been working on for years.

And finally, let’s not forget that one of the most iconic models of the 54mm Inquisitor range was a Deathwatch Marine as well:


That’s right, dear old Artemis! In fact, the model actually checked several boxes: He’s an Inquisitor character, he’s a member of the Deathwatch, and he also has that clean, 2nd edition inspired look that seems so archetypal of the Space Marines to me. His hairstyle alone instantly recalls this old chestnut here:

There’s a certain nostalgia about the Space Marines from those years, especially about the plastic models from the 2nd edition starter box, with each of the officers impeccably groomed like a news anchor. Unfortunately, the 2nd edition plastic Marine models haven’t really aged all that well, and the only time I’ve ever used one of those was for a rather depressing piece of terrain:

But I thought that it might be fun to channel this older look for a change, while also creating something that drew from the classic Artemis model at the same time. So I picked up some Deathwatch bitz and also had a scrounge through the old bitzbox. And after a while, I finally came up with a version I liked:


Everything I wanted to do was basically already there: the boltgun as the iconic weapon for a Space Marine. The 80s news anchor haircut. And a bit of bling that sells the model as a brother of the Deathwatch.

I still made some final tweaks before I was completely happy with the model, though: The original Primaris backpack was replaced with an actual Deathwatch backpack, I added a helmet clipped to the model’s belt and tweaked the arrangement of the various gear until I was happy — I actually love how the extra space that comes with the bigger Primaris scale allows for adding a more realistic amount of gear to the models without the Marines looking overcluttered!

Anyway, here’s the completed build I went with in the end:




I went with an Mk. IV helmet, both because I love the design and because I wanted to make it clear that, “in universe”, the model isn’t actually a Primaris Marine, but rather a regularly sized – if true scaled – Space Marine. As for the gun, after a bit of hemming and hawing, I ended up not replacing the bolt rifle with an actual Deathwatch bolter, mostly because I really liked the way it looked on the model. It’s also arguably hi-tech enough to serve as a suitable standin for the kind of weapons used by the Deathwatch, even if it’s not quite the genuine article. Apart from that, I tried to incorporate all the gear that would make sense: The Marine has a boltgun, a helmet, a combat knife, several grenades, and even some alternate ammunition (for those especially pesky aliens, you know? ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

And while it would only affect his right shoulder pad, I also needed to decide which chapter of origin to go with. I thought back to my original mission statement: the most archetypal classic Astartes imaginable — and what could be more archetypal than the Ultramarines?

To be perfectly honest with you, I also felt like I needed to cut the XIII Legion some slack after draping so many dead or dying Ultramarines across the bases of my 30k World Eaters ๐Ÿ˜‰

When it came to the actual paintjob, the black armour was a concern, obviously: Use dark grey as a base colour, and the armour wouldn’t end up looking black. Use pure black and it would look as though I’d forgotten to paint that area. In the end, I mostly played it by ear and combined edge highlighting with a bit of sponge weathering — carefully and selectively sponging on some Leadbelcher added visual texture to the armour and also had the added benefit of drawing the eye away from my sloppy line work ๐Ÿ˜‰

During the painting process, Jeff Vader’s Deathwatch Marines were an invaluable source: There’s one older pre-primaris model and one guy converted from one of the new models. and I kept looking at these for reference while painting. Now I’ll never be ableย to paint like Jeff Vader – not by a long shot – but having the inspiration there was a huge help, indeed!

Speaking of Jeff Vader, I also nicked another idea from him: A while ago, he mentioned that he was using an ultra thin pigment liner for some of the symbols and freehands on his models, and after unsuccessfully experimenting with several pens, I ended up getting the one he had recommended, a Staedtler 0,05 mm pigment liner:

The tip is so thin that it’s really easy to add rather elaborate designs to your models. The ink is also waterproof — although I found that it’s really easy to rub off with your fingers, so I added a layer of thinned sepia glaze on top to seal the ink.

As my first proper experiment with this new tool, I carefully drew an Inquisition symbol onto the model’s right kneepad and also added the tri-barred ][ around the skull on the tilt plate. The pigment liner is also an awesome tool for adding fine script to purity seals!

Anyway, here’s what the mostly finished model looked like at this point:



When it came to basing the model, I decided to go with something pretty simple that would fit the lion’s share of my INQ28 collection (i.e. brownish and slightly underhive-y). I also wanted to include some Xenos related touches. Now for an Ultramarine, what would be more appropriate than some Tyranid remains, right? Good thing the new Citadel Skulls kit features lots and lots of beautiful gaunt skulls, among others — I may not be all that interested in Tyranids as a faction (the creepy awesomeness of Genestealer Cults notwithstanding), but I do love those gaunt skulls! The tip of a Termagaunt weapon was also added to the base to represent something glistening and Gigeresque.

So, without further ado, here’s the finished Watch-Brother:

 

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Arcturus Diomedes

Brother of the Deathwatch
originally of the Ultramarines







This was my first experience with painting a Primaris, and I have to agree with the prevailing opinion I’ve seen online: These guys are pretty fun to paint! I am also really chuffed with how the model has turned out!

Here he is next to my first truescale Marine, Praetor Janus Auriga of the Golden Legion:


As you can see, Janus is a fair bit bulkier and also slightly taller — in all fairness, I had little to work from in pre-Primaris times, so the model was really a bit of a proof of concept. He still holds up rather well, though, if I do say so myself — I’ll just need to go with the old “tall, even for an Astartes” clichรฉ. Plus, in any case, Brother Diomedes certainly reads as a true scale Astartes when placed next to a model of “regular” human size:

As for how Diomedes ties into the Velsen Sector’s background and my overarching INQ28 narrative(s), that remains to be seen: I’ll happily admit that this was a case where I simply wanted to build and paint a character for the pure joy of it, then ask questions later. I am fairly certain he’ll end up as a member of a small Killteam, however — in fact, a second member from the Iron Hands, possibly even the killteam’s leader, has already been built a while ago:


There are also ideas regarding a Xenos-cultย (“The Children of Imago”) knocking around in the back of my head, so it stands to reason that Arcturus and his buddies may have to defend Velsen against the abomination of the alien at some point. And since fellow hobbyist PDH is currently working on some rather beautiful Deathwatch Marines as well, it looks as though I’ll have enough ideas to “borrow” for the foreseeable future ๐Ÿ˜‰

For now, however, I am really happy with the finished model. I rarely ever paint loyalist Space Marines, but when I do, I want to make each and every one of them count! ๐Ÿ™‚

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

Bringing a boltgun to a masked-ball — a closer look at Death Masque

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2016 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, it has been quite some time since the last review here on the blog, because for what is probably the first time in my hobby life, I am productive enough to keep showing you finished models instead of talking about releases. Go me! ๐Ÿ˜‰

At the same time, however, the backlog of released stuff I want to talk about keeps building up, so the recent release of Death Masque seemed like a good excuse to dip my toes into this particular pool again (I also want to discuss Silver Tower in more detail one of these days, probably as the last hobbyist in the world, but that will have to wait until I finally get my act together and write the rather comprehensive post I know the game deserves).

Death Masque release (1)
Anyway, here we are with a new boxed game, and it’s centered around the Deathwatch once more. Which is pretty cool, because the Deathwatch has always been a bit of a red-haired stepchild, at least when it comes to the Inquisitorial Ordos’ Chambers Militant: The Ordo Malleus’ Grey Knights have now enjoyed full faction status for years, and the Sisters of Battle, allied by ancient decree to the Ordo Hereticus…well, let’s not get into the whole drama and tragic release history surrounding them right now — suffice to say that they at least did form a complete army at one point.

The Deathwatch, on the other hand, was always restricted to a couple of conversion bitz, so if you wanted to run a Deathwatch killteam or, god forbid, an entire army, some OOP metal conversion bitz and a couple of plastic shoulder pads were all the material at your disposal.

All of this has changed with Deathwatch:Overkill, which provided us with some pretty excellent characters that already defined a general outline of what the modern Deathwatch could look like. And now we get another boxed game — this time chock-full of actual multi part kits and delicious conversion fodder! We also get a Deathwatch Codex to boot, but as my perspective is chiefly that of a converter, let’s focus on the models and discuss their strenghts and flaws as well as possible conversion ideas:

 

Team Xenos

The Xenos are definitely getting the short end of the stick in this box — at least in terms of new sculpts: All of the models (except one, but we’ll be getting to that in a minute) are the plastic Harlequin kits that were released a while back. They are still pretty cool, of course, but there’s really no need to talk about those models again — all my thoughts on the plastic Harlequin models can be found here, in case you’re interested.

But like I said, there’s one notable exception. This guy:

 

Eldrad Ulthran, Farseer of Ulthwรฉ

Death Masque release (2)
Well, quite a surprise, this one! I don’t think many people were expecting a plastic version of this classic 2nd edition character, seeing how Eldrad seemed to have died a typical Disney villain death at the tail end of the Eye of Terror campaign all those years ago, but mostly because the original Jes Goodwin sculpt is certainly one of the most iconic 40k models:

Death Masque release (3)
Confession time: I consider this one of the best 40k models ever, period. Easily one of my top five if one considers the whole 40k catalogue, and certainly one of the models you should show somebody if you were trying to explain to them what 40k is. Sure, the model is slightly two-dimensional, being very much a product of its time, but the amount of detailing, strong triangular composition and perfect pose make this model one for the ages, in my opinion. And now they have chosen to update this piece. Ho hum…

GW’s respect for the original Eldrad model shows in that they basically chose to keep almost every part of the original model: The staff and sword are virtually identical, as are most of the clothes and various doodads dangling from Eldrad’s belt and arms. The helm is also really similar, although I really hate the fact that Eldrad now sports one of those silly “pharao beards” that have been the bane of every Farseer design for quite a while now.

The pose is also very similar to the original, but while adding a bit of depth to the original sculpt, it also ends up looking ever so slightly less iconic. Now maybe this is just nostalgia getting the better of me, but for some reason the new Eldrad, for all his excellent detail, doesn’t seem to be quite as tightly composed as the original piece:

Eldrad comparison
While some will certainly welcome the slightly airier pose and sense of depth and motion to the model, but I just cannot get over how brilliant the original is. Nothing is better proof of this than the fact that the new Eldrad instantly becomes far inferior if you drop the sword arm and use the alternate, “casting” hand for him:

Death Masque release (4)
Of course it’s a huge boon that the new model is plastic, so it lends itself to converting much better than the old metal model, allowing for using it as the base as a customised Farseer conversion (or for smaller tweaks like, for instance, getting rid of that beard…):

Death Masque release (5)
When all is said and done, it’s a very nice and fitting model when taken on its own merits. When compared to its legendary predecessor, however, I have to admit that it doesn’t quite hold up: If I were to build the new plastic Eldrad, I would do my darnedest to make him look as much as the original metal model as possible by tweaking the pose (and by GETTING RID OF THAT BEARD!), and I think that says al lot about which version is the superior one…

I wonder what this means for the (rumoured) plastic update of Khรขrn the Betrayer…?

 

Team Deathwatch

It takes no rocket scientist to figure out that the Deathwatch are the more appealing faction in this particular set, mostly because there’s more original content for them. But even so, the Deathwatch side of things also makes heavy use of pre-existing kits: It looks like you basically get one Vanguard and Venerable Dreadnought kit and then the new Deathwatch Veteran sprue to build five Veterans and use the remaining bitz to spice up the other models to your heart’s content. Regarding the base kits, all of them are excellent kits, whether you’re starting a new Astartes force or adding to an existing one. Some detailed thoughts of on the Vanguard kit can be found here.

But yeah, beyond those kits, there’s the new Deathwatch Veteran sprue — and quite a sprue it is:

Death Masque release (9)
Looks like we are getting lots of weapons and decoration, but also a dedicated set of bodies and legs, which is very nice! And here’s what the bitz from the sprue will look like when used to create a squad of Deathwatch Veterans:

Death Masque release (10)
The inclusion of already establised visual elements,ย such as the Inquisition symbols, shoulder pads covered in scripture and special bolters, was a given, of course. What I really like, however, is how the main point of this new sprue seems to be to give the Deathwatch its own visual identity: Deathwatch Marines basically used to be standard Marines with a special bolter and one slightly more interesting shoulder pad. The new parts, however, really create a new look for them:

Death Masque release (12)
Their armour has a more streamlined and modern look to it (is that an Mk8 breastplate, I wonder?), which befits an Inquisitorial special force. If anything they have a sleek “Spec Ops” looks that is rendered even stronger by their armour being black.

It’s very interesting to see how they differ from their obvious counterparts, the Grey Knights: The Grey Knights look like, well, Knights: very ornamental and medieval. The Deathwatch, on the other hand, look like a particularly bad-ass black ops team from your favourite 90s military shooter, thrown into a blender and turned up to eleven — which also happens to make them look far more believably like an Inquisitorial sub-organisation now!

In addition to the sleek new armour designs, the sprue also seems to be featuring some of the Ordo Xenos’ more…esoteric gear, such as the sword on the squad leader:

Death Masque release (11)
Seems like we’ve been stealing some tech from the Necrons, eh? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Now while this particular weapon seems a bit hit or miss to me, I still think it’s neat that some of the equipment seems to be both more esoteric and seemingly inspired by Xenos tech.

For those of you who want boisterous and ostentatious instead of sneaky and subdued, however, the good news is that the new Deathwatch bitz seem to allow for that option as well:

Death Masque release (13)
Ah, what would we be without huge hammers and crazily ornate boarding shields, eh? They are looking awesome, though!

But whatever happened to the handle on this poor fellow’s hammer…?

Death Masque release (14)There’s also a collection of shoulder pads bearing quite a plethora of different chapter symbols on the sprue, which should really help to make any given Deathwatch force look like it has actually been assembled from Astartes hailing from many different chapters. And the fact that we don’t just get yet more heraldic elements of the “big” chapters like the Ultramarines, Dark Angels or Blood Angels, but rather a collection of more obscure iconography, is both a great shout out to the wider 40k lore and a great modeling opportunity!

And finally, the bitz on the sprue can also be used to convert Dreadnoughts into a Deathwatch variant:

Death Masque release (15)All in all, the new sprue seems like a deliciously versatile new toy, and I can see it becoming really popular, both with 40k players and the INQ28 crowd alike! For instance, Commissar Molotov, being both the Godfather of INQ28 and quite the Deathwatch fiend, will probably find much to like about the new sprue ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Watch-Captain Artemis

Death Masque release (6)
Well, this was another really excellent surprise: Whom do we get as the Deathwatch commander but a veteran of 54mm Inquisitor? For those of you who haven’t been into this hobby for years and years, Artemis will merely seem like a cool enough Deathwatch model. But if you remember the old 54mm Inquisitor line of models, you will also remember Artemis, arguably one of the most spectacular models at the bigger scale. And just check out this comparison to see how closely the new model matches the earlier incarnation:

For the sake of the comparison, both models are displayed at the same size, when they are really anything but...

For the sake of the comparison, both models are displayed at the same size, when they are really anything but…

It’s really crazy how GW’s sculptors have managed to incorporate almost all of the visual elements from the 54mm Artemis! Especially if you consider that one of the huge draws of the original Inquisitor models was how 28mm plastic couldn’t hope to capture the same amount of detail — I think it’s a testament to the quality of GW’s modern plastics that almost all of the detail has been retained at about half the size!

There are some smaller differences: Artemis seems to have done rather well for himself since we last saw him , earning the right to wear a snazzy cape. His Deathwatch boltgun has also been exchanged with an actual combi-weapon, and both his sword and his backpack have received some additional bling. I kinda miss the Crux Terminatus necklace, though, as it provided a nice extra bit of dynamism to the model. And I think I’d add a purity seal to the front of his left shoulder pad, just for old times’ sake ๐Ÿ˜‰

The main difference is in the face, if you ask me: Where 54mm Artemis’ face is classically handsome (in the way many retro Space Marines used to be), the 28mm models have noticeably broader features — whether this is merely due to technical factors or an actual attempt at giving him the broader, heavier features that seem to be a trademark of Space Marines in some of the literature, I cannot say. Personally, I prefer the 54mm face, not because of the additional detail, but because the callback to the older, more handsome Marines appeals to me in an entirely nostalgic way. Curiously enough, the bare head that came with the old Dark Angels veteran sprue really resembles 54mm Artemis, though, so if you want to change that part, that’s the face I’d recommend — in fact, there’s a fantastic older 28mm Artemis conversion by Siamtiger that happens to be using the head in question.

Death Masque release (7)
But that’s obviously nitpicking: Artemis’ new incarnation is a brilliant call-back to a classic miniature and also a fantastic looking centrepiece for a Deathwatch army in its own right — very nice!

 

Conversion options:

It goes without saying that I won’t be discussing the general conversion options for the older kits contained in the boxed kit, for obvious reasons, although my thoughts on possible conversions may be found in the aforementioned reviews of the respective kits linked above.

So this leaves us with the two special characters and the new Deathwatch sprue to discuss:

Eldrad could obviously become a building template for your own custom Farseer with just a few cuts and a bit of kitbashing. The prospect isn’t hugely exciting, certainly, mostly because we already have a generic clamshell Farseer who can fill that role, although it’s nice to have the option. Seeing how his breastplate (with most of the Eldaresque decoration) seems to be a separate piece, it should be possible to use the model as the base for a non-Eldar robed character, such as an Inquisitor, Imperial Psyker, Chaos demagogue or what have you. And of course it goes without saying that his sword and staff would also be cool conversion bitz for any Eldar players.

But really, when all is said and done, there’s no doubt that this model should probably be used to build Eldrad, above all else. So the most appealing conversion options here would be to make minor tweaks to make him resemble his classic incarnation even more closely (rotating the head counter-clockwise by a few degrees, and OFF WITH THAT BEARD!).

Artemis should be easy enough to tweak as well with some careful cutting — but once again, I find myself strangely reluctant to even think about using the model for a conversion. It’s such a cool shout out to the 54mm model, and using it for anything else would just lose that — and there’s really no shortage of Space Marine bitz to use, so we might as well leave this guy in one piece, eh? Just this once ๐Ÿ˜‰

Come to think of it, the one tweak I think would improve the model would be to slightly rotate its head so as to mirror the 54mm version’s pose even more closely.

So with the two special characters best left untouched, for the most part, the Deathwatch sprue is obviously the true star of the show here, and rumours have it that GW really intends to package it with a huge number of Space Marine kits to give the Deathwatch a real push. And why shouldn’t they? The designers have been building up the compatibility of the various Space Marine kits literally for decades now, and towards this end, releasing a sprue that will allow you to turn virtually every Space Marine kit into a Deathwatch kit is a pretty shrewd move!

There’s also the fact that the sprue seems far more comprehensive than the Dark Angels and Black Templars sprues that were its distant predecessors (and those weren’t half bad either): If you carefully divide the contents of the sprue between your squads, you’ll get quite a bit of mileage out of those bitz!

Possibly the best part of the sprue, however, is that it really plays to the appeal of the Deathwatch: The great thing about them is that they allow you to build a Killteam or force that is very much centered around the individual models, as they all hail from different chapters. So if you want to test some ideas for a DIY chapter or build a model belonging to one of the more obscure chapters, building a model for your Deathwatch project will allow you to do just that without having to commit to an entire squad or army.

And we finally get a distinctive look for the Deathwatch — one that goes beyond the concept of standard tac Marines with black armour and a silver left arm. True enough, these are still Space Marines, but even if they lack the plethora of kits the Grey Knights have nowadays, at least they now have their own visual identity!

The flexibility of the sprue means that it should also become quite popular with converters: Whether you are looking to add a killteam (or a single Deathwatch veteran) to your army or want some suitably original and esoteric equipment for your chapter masters or Inquisitors, there should be something for you on this sprue. Even if you are going for true scale Deathwatch (because true INQ28 aficionados will only ever settle for true scale Astartes), you’ll be thankful for the Terminator-sized Deathwatch shoulder pads.

 

All in all, Death Masque seems like a cool boxed set that basically combines several of GW’s most successful recent ideas: If you look at the kits in the box, that’s some pretty major bang for the buck. The game functions as a standalone entity, drawing in new people and working as yet another gateway drug, so to speak. The redesigned Deathwatch will pluck at the heartstrings of veteran players and hobbyists. And the special characters provide that extra bit of sugar sprinkled on top — well played, GW!

So what’s your take on the new models and conversion bitz? I would love to hear your opinion, so feel free to drop me a comment! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Loving the alien

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 20, 2013 by krautscientist

Those of you who have been following this blog for a while may already have asked themselves: What about all that INQ28 jazz? Any news? And indeed, it was with a bit of a shock that I realised how long it has been since I last showed you some servants of the Ordos.

Well, fear not, because I’ve recently begun to get some more work in on my various INQ28 retinues. Some of the following models may already be known to those who also frequent my forum threads, but that’s really all the more reason to post them here as well. Plus I could really use the relaxing effects of painting an INQ28 character or two at the moment, so there may be a couple of updates soon (I hope!).

Anyway, today I would mainly like to focus on the retinue of Inquisitor Titus Alvar, a member of the Ordo Xenos.

Inquisitor Titus Alvar (1)
Alvar himself is a rather dapper fellow, and also an Imperial noble, so I thought he would merit a rather colourful collection of retainers. I picture Alvar as a bit of an adventurer, always taking expeditions to uncharted regions of Space in search of some Xenos artifact or other, so his warband should incorporate some muscle as well as some brains, with a dash of the exotic for flavour. Let’s take a look:

The first member of Alvar’s retinue is this veteran of the Imperial Guard I built quite a while ago:

Guard Veteran WIP (1)
I like the big gun and the “tough as nails” look and imagine this is the kind of guy Alvar makes use of when negotiations turn sour and diplomacy is no longer an option.

The second member of his retinue was also completed a while ago:

INQ28_Kroot (1)
Kroot Pathfinder T’l’kess lost his entire kindred in an atrocity committed by a Tau officer (it’s a long story). He realised that his last chance to keep his bloodline alive might be to travel the stars in order to find members of the brood who left the planet prior to the genocide. During his travels, he met Inquisitor Alvar whom he now serves as a scout and pathfinder.

I imagine this character as a very dignified and honourable individual, a bit of a “noble savage”, if you will. It is also very much in character for a socialite like Alvar to have an “exotic” retainer like this in his warband, even though it might make the more puritan members of the Ordo Xenos foam at the mouth…

It also stands to reason that an Inquisitor exploring Xenos ruins would have need of a specialist in the field of archaeology. And indeed, while painting the model for Inquisitor Alvar, inspiration struck and made me want to convert one of the most underappreciated WFB plastic characters, the Empire Master Engineer — at least, it’s the only model that’s ALWAYS available at the FLGS and never sells out. And to be honest, it used to be the one model I couldn’t see myself using for anything. But it just seemed perfect for this:

The Professor WIP (9)

The Professor WIP (10)
The Professor WIP (11)
Professor Abelard Marbray, of the Bastold Imperial Akademy, formerly one of the sector’s pre-eminent specialists on Xeno-archaelogy. That was before his scientific theories on the warp affinities of certain Xenos were shot down by Inquisitor Alvar at a social function, which rendered him the laughingstock of his colleagues. Alvar visited him afterwards, revealing that all of this had been a conscious move to discredit the Professor, since his theories had been too close to the truth for the Ordo Xenos’ comfort. The Professor was outraged at this, yet when Alvar offered him to join him – not to attain academic merits, but to learn the actual scientific truth – he eventually accepted.

As you can see, the model is a fairly straightforward conversion, with a couple of techy bitz and doodads added. Oh, and of course I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have the the professor holding and contemplating a Necron skull:

The Professor WIP (8)
After posting my model for Professor Marbray on the forums, fellow forumite (and actual archaeologist) Llamehead rightly pointed out that the model didn’t really carry all that much gear for excavations, considering his profession. So my options were to either clutter the model with yet more bitz, or construct an assistant for him to do the heavy lifting (or rather, digging). And even though I wanted to resist the urge to build yet another retainer for one of my Inquisitor’s retainers, I couldn’t help it. So I dived into my bitzbox and made an early mockup of a xeno-archaeologist in training:

Marbray's lil' helper WIP (4)
Marbray's lil' helper WIP (2)
Marbray's lil' helper WIP (5)
In my imagination, this guy is a devout student of Professor Marbray and is thrilled by the chance to do the dirty work for his idol. I wanted him to look like he was checking something on a map in his left hand, while his right is holding a trusty old Laspistol. Oh, and I also added a guard backpack to him, as you can see, so he at least has a shovel ๐Ÿ˜‰

The rather frightened looking head from the Celestial Hurricanum kit seemed to be a perfect fit for him, plus it also creates a visual connection with Inquisitor Alvar, which I like. The model still needs some additional detail work, of course, but I think it already works reasonably well.

To round out Alvar’s scientific staff, I recently good a really good deal on the FW Tech Serrvitor for Inquisitor Solomon Lok who should make a pretty great Magos Xenobiologis with a bit of work…

A dandy like Alvar should also have some female members in his warband, of course. Finding suitable models across GW’s catalogue can be quite a bit of a challenge, however, so I had to improvise:

First up, I picked up Reaper’s Sasha Dubois model:

Tin for the tin god (1)
I normally stick to GW models, by and large, but in this case, I made an exception: I have loved this particular sculpt for a long time, plus I think she makes an excellent addition for an INQ28 warband. Granted, she may look slightly “stripperiffic” with that bared midriff, but it should be easy enough to paint that area as covered by a bodyglove. Here’s a link to a very nice, painted version of the model.

My plan for now is to call her Millerna Acheron and use her as an Interrogator for Inquisitor Alvar: It suits his character to have an attractive woman around as his assistant. At the same time, he’s shrewd enough to consciously give the impression that he just chose her as a pretty face to accompany him.

I also bought a box of Necromunda Esher gangers before GW sold out all their Specialist System models, and one of them will probably be added to Inquisitor Alvar’s retinue as some hired muscle:

Tin for the tin god (3)
Shiv Korlund is probably an ex-hive ganger and gunslinger and could be Alvar’s operative for whenever he has dealings in the underhive of a particular world. I also imagine she might have a rather interesting “kiss kiss slap” relationship with the guard veteran…

So those are the members of Inquisitor Alvar’s retinue so far: I think it’s a rather interesting cast of characters, and it will be fun to further flesh them out. It’s also remarkable how things just started falling into place once I had begun to work on the warband! Of course I’d like to hear any suggestions you might have!

Those were not the only INQ28 models I have been working on, though: Some of you might remember the WIP Sun Cultist I posted a while ago:

Sun cultist WIP (1)
The model is based on a Dark Eldar Wych and a couple of different bitz. Getting this character to work turned out to be quite a task! However, I have recently managed to complete the basic build of the model:

Sun Cultist (18)
Sun Cultist (19)
I now see her more as a bodyguard than a cultist, to be honest: I believe her ostentatious quasi-renaissance outfit makes her look like the trained personal guard of a powerful spirelord, with her movements like those of a dancer: elegant but deadly. The model will yet need some more work, and I’ll need to find a warband for her as well, but I am now feeling really happy with the overall look of the model for the first time.

The last model I want to show you today is still very rough around the edges. It is also merely a fun little project, inspired by a brilliant little conversion I discovered on one of the German forums. I give you the TAU SAMURAI:

Tau samurai early WIP (2)
Tau samurai early WIP (1)
Granted, I am certainly not the first person to notice the distinctly japanese look about the new Tau models. Still, building a mockup for a Tau samurai has been a lot of fun so far, even if the model will need quite a bit more work — and I’ll admit it’s a slightly goofy idea, of course…

 

All in all, building some new INQ28 models – or combining existing models into a warband – is always a breath of fresh air. I hope I’ll be able to get some of these characters painted some time in the next weeks — let’s keep our fingers crossed! Oh, and let me know whatever feedback you might have, of course!

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

Inquisitor Titus Alvar, Ordo Xenos

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 22, 2013 by krautscientist

I already mentioned in my latest Desktop Roundup post that I had continued working on my model for Inquisitor Alvar, of the Ordo Xenos. And after spending quite some time to make this model look just the way I wanted it, I can finally show you the finished model today.

But before I do that, let’s take a look at the model’s evolution:
Everything started with my desire to convert the trenchcoat wearing cultist champion from Dark Vengeance into an Inquisitor — as a matter of fact, my original plan was to build a second version of Inquisitor Antrecht.

So that’s what I tried to do when Biohazard was kind enough to let me have his DV cultist champ. But it didn’t work as well as I had anticipated, so my plan B was to transform the model into an Ordo Xenos Inquisitor, seeing how this was the one major Ordo I had not yet built a member of.

This was the original mockup for the model:

Cultists2INQ28 (9)
The most involved part of the conversion was to replace the cultist’s bare arms with uniformed arms from several Cadian kits, and it quickly became obvious that some GS work would be necessary at the seams. What’s more, the cultist’s bare and branded chest needed to be covered as well. While working on the model, I had the idea for an Inquisitor who was also a bit of a snappy dresser. That’s why I went for a “tie” when building the early version above. I also added a dwarven pistol that, while a bit on the big side, really looks like a reliable piece of equipment (especially when dealing with those vile Xenos…).

Alas, the different parts didn’t yet gel as well as I had hoped. Several people suggested using a different head and replacing the sword, and there was very little love for the tie I had used. I tried several heads as well as a different type of tie, and the model changed to this:

Xenos Inquisitor WIP
But that didn’t feel right, either: I didn’t necessarily want yet another venerable old-timer!

The turning point came when I received a fantastic head from the Celestial Hurricanum kit courtesy of my fellow hobbyist Gerner, and when DexterKong convinced me that I should give the original tie another chance. That’s when Inquisitor Alvar finally begun to take shape in earnest:

Xenos Inquisitor WIP (3)
The new arms were blended into the rest of the torso using GS. Inspired by Bruticus’ Inquisitor Tsengir, I also replaced the sword with a Dark Elf sabre, resulting in a weaponย  with a rather subtle Xenos look. And I started to build up a waistcoat on the character’s torso using GS.

When the time came to paint the model, I went back to my original idea of the Inquisitor being a bit of a fashion victim and socialite. Because of that, I went for a less shadowy and secretive look, instead opting for some bold colour choices:

Inquisitor Alvar PIP (4)
Alvar’s coat was painted in a rich, dark red, with dark grey lining. I realise that the reverse colour scheme would have been the more obvious choice for an Inquisitor, but I am actually rather pleased with this particluar choice. His clothes under the coat were painted in various shades of dark grey to make them look subtly expensive (and prevent the model from ending up looking too busy), and I used bronze as a colour to pick out some details.

DexterKong pointed out that the googles and bronze details gave the Inquisitor a certain steampunkish vibe, and I took that on board when building a base for the model:

Inquisitor Alvar base (1)
The base was constructed by combining a piece of plasticard (cut from an old telephone card), a gear (from a very old alarm clock), a bit of brass grating (from the 40k basing set) and some cork chaff. I also covered the plastic card in plastic glue and kept picking at it to give it a slightly pocked, warped surface texture.

Then the whole base was spraypainted, first with GW Chaos Black, then with brown paint from the DIY superstore:

Inquisitor Alvar base (2)
And then it was painted using my usual recipe for rusty metal: Stipple on rust with a lighter shade of brown, wash with GW Agrax Earthshade, add more rust, then add GW Boltgun metal to create the areas where the original metal is showing through. Here’s the finished base:

Inquisitor Alvar base (3)
Inquisitor Alvar was then glued to the base, and I added some final touches to the model: Some areas were tidied up, the hem of his coat and his boots were lightly drybrushed with GW Graveyard Earth to show where grime and dirt had begun to collect, and I also added a simple gem effect to his tie. And with that, the model was finished:

Inquisitor Titus Alvar (1)
Inquisitor Titus Alvar (3)
Inquisitor Titus Alvar (4)
Inquisitor Titus Alvar (5)
Here are a couple of detail shots of the model on its base:

Inquisitor Titus Alvar (8)
Inquisitor Titus Alvar (6)
And a look at Alvar’s “lantern jaw of justice”:

Inquisitor Titus Alvar (12)
All in all, I am fairly happy with how the model turned out: I like the aristocratic quality about him, yet his equipment and the googles on his brow show that, as a member of the Ordo Xenos, he also is an accomplished fighter and possibly quite a bit of a scientist as well. All in all, the main point of critique leveraged against the earlier iterations of the character was that he didn’t look all that much like an Inquisitor. I think the finished model puts that problem to rest: At least, he very much seems like an Inquisitor to me ๐Ÿ˜‰

The last thing to do was to write a short background vignette for the character, outlining the ideas and concepts that had led to the model’s creation:

Inquisitor Titus Alvar (2)
Inquisitor Titus Alvar, of the Ordo Xenos

House Alvar has been one of the more influential noble houses for centuries. As a scion of the house, Titus Alvar grew up in luxury and power, the intricacies of the Imperial courts with their waxing and waning support for one house or another a game he quickly mastered. Maybe the search for new and more immediate thrills was what made him enter that perilous region of space known as “The Veil of Impurity” time and time again, and tales of his exploration of ancient ruins, of treasures discovered and adventures survived, made him the talk of the courts he had left behind. As a matter of fact, one of his expeditions into the treacherous cluster of stars resulted in a standoff with Inquisitrix Cimbria Carscallen. Under normal circumstances, someone running afoul of the Ordo Xenos would have been executed without second thought, yet Carscallen must have seen something in Alvar that made her reconsider. And so, Titus Alvar, noble, adventurer, became an Interrogator in the Emperor’s Holy Ordos of the Inquisition and, in time, an Inquisitor in his own right.

Though the years of doing the Emperor’s work may have somewhat mellowed his once flamboyant lifestyle, Titus Alvar very much remains a socialite and a political animal. His standing as a member of an influential noble house makes him a common guest at social functions all over the sector, and the tales of his exploits have led some of his peers to suspect that he is a glory hound, first and foremost.

In truth, Titus Alvar is, above all else, a pragmatist: The trappings of nobility are as much of a useful tool to him as the artifacts he has recovered on countless expeditions or the retainers, some of them quite exotic, that comprise his warband. Meanwhile, some of Alvar’s colleagues have grown suspicious of the Inquisitor’s continued expeditions to the Veil of Impurity and some of the alliances he may have forged there…

 

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

INQ28 Desktop Roundup III: Equal opportunities

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Fluff, Inq28, Inquisitor, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2013 by krautscientist

Today, let’s take another look at my desk, where a rather eclectic collection of INQ28 characters is currently being built. Apart from the usual mix of fanatics, mutants and Inquisitorial operatives, it is my very great pleasure to actually be able to add some female characters to my various retinues. But all in good time! Let us take a look at all the different retinues in characters:

 

1.) Inquisitor Gotthardt’s retinue

Even though only the good Inquisitor himself has been painted so far, Gotthardt’s retinue is pretty far along from a composition standpoint: With Rogue Trader Iskander Gagarin, former Guard officer Esteban Revas as well as a Drill Abbot and retired Arbites Judge (which will both need some additional background), the warband already comprised an interesting collection of archetypes and narrative hooks. But then, inspiration struck yet again and made me build two more members for the warband:

Trooper Koltz

First up, looking at Cpt. Esteban Revas’ military background and upbringing, I thought it would be interesting for him to have a retainer of his own: One Trooper Salvador “Sal” Koltz, sworn to serve the Revas family because his life was saved by Esteban’s late father. I imagine Koltz as both a experienced veteran and a sly and deceptively clever person, always hiding his smarts behind a veneer of lower class joviality. Here’s a WIP shot of the model:

Trooper Koltz WIP (1)
In addition to being Revas’ personal retainer, Koltz also serves as his master’s “packing mule”, so I gave him all kinds of baggage to lug around — I imagine him to be carrying all kinds of stuff, ranging from sensible military grade equipment to Revas’ personal smoking utensils, shoeshine, etc.

Trooper Koltz WIP (2)
It was actually a delicate balance to maintain, since adding any more stuff would have made the model look over-encumbered and silly. Anyway, I am quite pleased with Koltz. The only thing I might change is to exchange his head with one from the WFB Empire free company. Apart from that, though, he really looks the part!

Elisha Gorgo

Finding decent bitz to build female characters is always a bit of a challenge, and especially so with GW’s range. The female models available are few and far between, and those that actually exist usually sport a very distinct look (Wood Elves, High Elves,…). So it was by a brilliant stroke of luck that I managed to pick up the three female vampires from the Vampire Counts Coven Throne during an ebay auction. Granted, these ladies also have a pretty special look, but not only does it match the strange and eclectic design of the 40k universe rather well, but I also think these models are among the best female models ever released by GW — unfortunately, the normal way of picking them up is to buy a kit that comes at 50 Euros a pop…

Anyway, thanks to the lucky coincidence outlined above, I found myself in the possession of the three models (along with some more very nice bitz from the same kit). So I immediately started to build the first female member for Inquisitor Gotthardt’s retinue: Elisha Gorgo…

Elisha Gorgo (4)
…or, actually, Countess Elisha Haxta di Colasante Mordina Gorgo. My rough background idea for her is that she is the daughter of a powerful Imperial noble. She started displaying psychic powers at a very young age. Normally, that would have meant a dreary and possibly short life aboard one of the Blackships, although her influential father pulled all kinds of strings in order to keep her “affliction” a secret. Due to her powers, she has been sequestered away from other people for most of her life and grew up very shy and demure as a consequence. Her secret was only uncovered when Inquisitor Gotthardt visited her homeworld as part of an investigation. And for some reason (which will need to be pretty good, I suppose), he chose to make her a member of his retinue.

While the warband can definitely use a psyker from a rules perspective, I mainly think that she could serve to introduce some interesting character dynamics into the retinue: Esteban Revas is feeling immensely protective of her for several reasons: They both come from a noble background. They both lost their standing and home. And there’s also the fact that she reminds him of Archduchess Cyrine, the young ruler of his homeworld. I could also see the Rogue Trader Iskander Gagarin constantly trying to woo her. In any case, she could be interesting from a narrative point of view.

Elisha Gorgo (3)

The model itself is a relatively easy kitbash, using my favourite upper body from the Coven Throne kit and combining it with some High Elf archer legs. I also replaced both hands with hands from the Dreamforge Games Eisenkern Stormtroopers (yes, really!), because the original hands were far too claw-like — befitting an ancient vampiress, but certainly not an Imperial debutante…

Anyway, the hands from the Stormtrooper kit (which is fantastic, by the way — I’ll absolutely need to do a detailed writeup on it, one of these days) were a perfect fit. All in all, I am really happy with how Elisha turned out, and I think she makes for a stunning addition to Inquisitor Gotthardt’s retinue!

With the addition of these two characters, I believe we can call Gotthardt’s warband completed from a conceptional standpoint. Here are all the models together:

Inquisitor Gotthardt and Retinue WIP
So all that remains now is for the characters to be painted (and receive their respective backgrounds).

 

2.) Inquisitor Fiegmund’s retinue

Where Gotthardt is fundamentally a rational and levelheaded Inquisitor, especially for a member of the Ordo Hereticus, the maimed Inquisitor Fiegmund is a man possessed and driven over the edge by his hatred for heretics in general and Inquisitor Antrecht in particular. His fragile mental state carries over to his warband, which comprises all kinds of highly dubious and sinister individuals: the Skull Collector, for one. There are also men who revel in the ability to vent their religious zeal and desire for violence while serving the Inquisitor, among them…

Practicals Pask and Gretsch

Practicals Pask & Gretsch

I begun work on these guys fairly recently, so they’ll still need some smoothing out. Pask and Gretsch are religious nutjobs who would be dead or behind bars if it weren’t for Fiegmund’s intervention: Pask is a former guardsmen whose religious zeal set him at odds with his fellow soldiers. Gretsch is just a madman and killer, selected by Fiegmund for his unquestioning loyalty and religious fervour. Both are pretty easy conversions of Dark Vengeance cultist models. But I think that, even at this early stage, both models already exude an air of gothic menace that’s a great match for Inquisitor Fiegmund’s retinue…

Death Cultist

Death Cult Assassin (7)
This bonnie lass is basically a Dark Eldar Wych, transformed into a Death Cultist through the addition of a couple of bitz. The head is a Dark Vengeance cultist head, and while it may seem slightly clunky, I imagine the mask hides some horrible bionic augmentations, so it still works. I also added a flintlock pistol and tilt plate for a more gothic, medieval feel — maybe the Fleur de Lys icon on her shoulderpad even hints towards her cult having served as a recruitment center for the Adepta Sororitas at one point?

Anyway, I am rather happy with the model: She almost manages to convey a certain Blanchian vibe, and what more could I ask?

 

3.) Inquisitor Alvar’s retinue

In addition to Gotthardt’s and Fiegmund’s warbands, there is also an Ordo Xenos warband to consider. First up, I put some more work into the conversion of my first Xenos Inquisitor, now named…

Inquisitor Titus Alvar

Xenos Inquisitor WIP (2)
The body of the Dark Vengeance cultist champ I had used as a base for the conversion was treated with GS to mask his heretical origins. I also replaced the original sword with a Dark Elf sabre: While it’s not too on-the-nose Eldar-ish, it still reads as a possible Xenos artifact. And I got my hands on one of my favourite heads ever (from the Empire Celestial Hurricanum kit), courtesy of my fellow hobbyist Gerner (cheers, mate!).

The addition of the head really transforms the model into a character, if you ask me:

Xenos Inquisitor WIP (3)

Expect a look at the finished model soon!

And here’s the Xenos warband so far: Inquisitor Alvar, accompanied by his trusted IG veteran and Kroot pathfinder:

Xenos warband WIP (1)
I also used some more female parts from the Coven Throne kits to start and assemble another member for Alvar’s retinue, a Sun Cultist:

Sun Cultist

I had had this idea for quite a while, but then I was inspired anew by Bruticus’ fantastic sun cultist character. I knew that I would really have to get my ass in gear to produce a model that would hold up to his fantastic conversion. Here’s my first inital mockup of the cultist:

Sun cultist WIP (1)
The legs and arms are from the Dark Eldar Wyches, while the torso once again came from one of the Coven Throne vampires. The mask was painstakingly spliced together from a Sanguinary Guard helmet and a Wych head — I even had to touch the head up after already considering it finished, since some of the guys over at the Ammobunker pointed out to me that the facial proportions were a little off. And they were right, damn them! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyway, here’s the finished head:

Sun cultist WIP (4)
I won’t go into too much detail about the process of getting this sorted out. Suffice to say you wouldn’t believe how fiddly a conversion it was…

The next step will be to figure out which arms and weapons to use on her. Either a more classical look…

Sun cultist WIP (2)
…or a cultist axe picking up the sun motif?

Sun cultist WIP (3)
In any case, I’ll take my time with this model. It would be horrible to hurry her along (and thereby messing up the conversion) after having spent such a long time on that masked face…

 

4.) Other Inquisitorial agents, mutants and shady characters

To wind this up, let me show you some additional models and mockups for various characters. I am usually doing several of these at once, which relaxes me. There’s little background in place for most of the following models, and most of them are very WIP — you have been warned…

Sanctioned Psyker

Sanctioned Psyker (2)
Again, a relatively simple kitbash. I tried to approximate the look of the sanctioned psyker models released by GW some time ago, only somewhat less unhinged. This guy looks like a military man and a professional to me, but there’s little background beyond that…

Sanctioned Psyker (1)

Mutant Bounty Hunter

I also started painting the twist Bounty Hunter I posted some time ago. Some details are still missing, but the model is mostly complete at this point:

Twist Tracker PIP (2)
Twist Tracker PIP (1)
Twist Tracker PIP (4)

Looks like one mean mother, doesn’t he? ๐Ÿ˜‰

I also salvaged an old Gorkamorka Orc by making him into yet another mutant which I’ll be calling “Old Vicehand” for now…

Old Vicehand (3)
And, finally, I bought the remains of a Necromunda starter box from ebay a while ago. And while the models were all there, they were mostly in a truly abysmal condition. I started rebuilding one of the Orlock gangers with a couple of new parts, and will probably make him into a Mad Max-like NPC ganger:

Hive Ganger WIP (2)
Hive Ganger WIP (1)
Certainly not fantastic yet, but he’ll be getting there in the end.

 

So yeah, as you can see, INQ28 always allows for many different and interesting characters from all walks of life to be worked on at the same time. I, for one, find this extremely relaxing and, indeed, stimulating from a creative point of view!

So, any suggestions for any of those characters? I’d love to hear any C&C you might have in the comments section! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!