Archive for Pre-Heresy

Lord of the XII Legion – A Triptych, pt. 6

Posted in 30k, Conversions, Fluff, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2017 by krautscientist

Wait, what? We’re back to this guy again?

Indeed, another post focused on the XIIth Primarch, Angron Thal’Kr, The Conqueror, The Red Angel. So what’s up today?

You all know that building different versions of Angron was a pretty big part of my 2016 hobby life: I built and painted a version of Angron in his daemonic form, something I wouldn’t even have thought myself capable of a few years ago:

But I also went back to Angron’s past, converting a version of him inspired by this piece of artwork, probably showing the Primarch during his pitfighting days on Nuceria:

Butcher's Nails cover artwork
It turned out that one of the AoS Slaughterpriests of Khorne makes for a pretty convincing Angron, with a couple of tweaks:

angron-thalkr-lord-of-the-red-sands-11
So there was only one last planned model: The “official” Forgeworld Angron very kindly sent to me by Adam Wier. So just get that one painted and we’re done, eh?


Yes, well. It all ended up being a bit more complicated than that…

Here’s what happened: When White Dwarf was relaunched as a monthly magazine, the first issue came with a free Slaughterpriest — incidentally, the design I hadn’t used for my Angron conversion. And at the same time, I had also picked up the same version a bit earlier, when my beloved FLGS went under (still sore, you know).

So I ended up with a spare Slaughterpriest. And I started thinking. What if I were to build…just one more…?!

So yeah πŸ˜‰

In order to come up with a model that wouldn’t just be a retread of the versions I already had, I thought it would be fun to base this next Angron on the pre-Forgeworld era artwork, such as the iconic illustration of Angron created by the late, great Wayne England for the Horus Heres Trading Card Game:

Angron by Wayne England

And, of course, on the similarly iconic illustration by John Blanche:

Angron by John Blanche

In the era before Angron actually had a dedicated Forgeworld model, there were a couple of elements that appeared in almost every piece of artwork. Most of these were later incorporated into Simon Egan’s model, but some fell by the wayside. Such as the two-handed axe with the ornamental wing and the three spikes crowing Angron’s collar. And of course there’s a certain, stylised and angular charm to Wayne England’s piece of artwork above that would be fun to reproduce.

So I started messing around with a couple of bitz, and I’ve actually already shown you the first attempt at this new model a while ago:


But while this guy already looked pretty cool, he didn’t actually read as Angron all that much — at least not in a way that moved beyond what was already present on the other versions in my possession. And since the model just didn’t come together for one reason or another, I just set him aside for a while.

Until I found myself playing around with some of the new plastic Custodian bitz last week, and suddenly it seemed like I might have the solution on my hands! So after some rigurous cutting, here’s what I ended up with:


Whoa, much better, wouldn’t you agree? Replacing the entire torso with that of a Custodian might seem like a rather radical approach, but it instantly moved the model a lot closer to the artwork that inspired it! And I was able to keep the versions of the previous version that already worked well enough — such as the arms and legs. And, of course, that brilliantly sculpted Slaughterpriest face (that just happens to instantly turn into Angron as soon as you add some cabling).

However, I wasn’t quite there yet: The Khorne icon on Angron’s belt buckle needed to be replaced, for fairly obvious reasons, and I also made some minor tweaks to the pose. Which led to this:




A Custodian tasset served as a pretty good replacement for the Khorne symbol and also recalled the aquila symbol appearing in the aertwork.

Almost there! I did feel the model needed a bit more presence at this point to really read as a Primarch, though. And the collar around Angron’s head wasn’t quite as prominent as in the artwork — it just turned out that fitting all that cabling in there made the entire ensemble a bit less striking than I had hoped:


Good thing, then, that the next addition was really a bit of a happy accident: I always knew that he’d be getting some kind of cape, so I fooled around with a couple of different options. And the solution arrived from the unlikeliest of places, i.e. the cape that comes with the Chaos Terminator Lord kit. With a bit of cutting and fitting, it ended up working very well, plus the cape also gave me the chance of incorporating those three spikes that are another staple of Angron in the classic artwork:





The cape also adds the right sense of bulk: I already liked the model well enough before, but it now has the massive, overmuscled look that sells it as a Primarch, if you ask me. Granted, some fine tuning may yet be in order, but I think I’m on the right track!

Time for a comparison with the other versions of (pre-ascension) Angron in my collection:



Regarding the size of the model, it must be noted that FW’s Angron is still quite a bit taller — he only doesn’t look like it because he’s posed at a very low crouch. But even so, I think the three of them look fairly good together.

So I only made one last addition to the model. Here’s what the latest version of Angron looks like right now:



I’ve added two leather straps to either side of Angron’s chest, in order to add an element resembling the straps appearing in Wayne England’s illustration. They also happen to camouflage the slightly hokey joints where the arms meet the torso. And, once again, they add some more oomph to the model and its stature.

The model is pretty much finished at this point, except for a finishing touch or two: I want Angron to be holding the same tangle of viscera he has in the artwork in his open left hand. And there needs to be something underneath the Primarch’s right foot. Incidentally, this also ties into the question of where my newest version of the XIIth Primarch fits into the timeline:

I see this version of Angron as a depiction of him about halfway through the Great Crusade, shortly before or during the event known as The Night of the Wolf (an event where the XII and VI Legions actually came to blows over Angron’s order of outfitting his legion with the Butcher’s Nails, thereby turning the legionaries into bloodthirsty madmen): There’s a throwaway line in Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s Betrayer about the first and greatest of Angron’s two-handed axes, Widowmaker, being broken and discarded at the end of that battle, so it would be fun to imagine my new version of Angron in that context.

Which is why there’ll probably be a suitably mangled Space Wolf underneath his foot — at least the XIII Legion is off the hook, for once… πŸ˜‰

One last interesting detail about the model is how the shoulder pads (from MaxMini, I believe) were originally used as a mere stopgap solution, but I really rather like the way they look: They have a certain gladiatorial flair, plus the pteryges on the sides basically perfectly match the ones in the Wayne England illustration. And what’s more: Through sheeer coincidence (or maybe through intervention from the powers of the warp, who knows…) all three converted version of Angron I have built so far have ended up with shoulder pads that were originally sent to me by Augustus b’Raass as part of a bitz drop — that in itself would be enough reason to stick with those shoulder pads, wouldn’t you agree?

 

Anyway, I am pretty happy that the model has finally come together like that! And just when I thought I finally had all the Angrons I needed, I stumble upon this little gem the other day and almost find myself reaching for my AoS starter box sprues…damn!

Anyway, I would love to hear your feedback! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Lord of the XII Legion – A Triptych, pt. 5

Posted in Conversions, Fluff, paintjob, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 20, 2016 by krautscientist

And so, after a short interlude, we are actually back to Angron: Today I actually intend to deliver on the “Triptych” part of this mini-series, as I show you my completed conversion of Angron in full-on gladiator mode, based on one of the plastic Slaughterpriest models. I already showed you the conversion in the very fist post of this series:

Angron WIP (23)

Interestingly enough, the other version of the Slaughterpriest – the one that was recently included as a pretty awesome giveaway with the first issue of the new White Dwarf – seems to be more more popular at the moment, and it would make for a pretty cool base model for an Angron conversion as well — but the original Slaughterpriest has that wonderfully angry face which made me think of Angron in the first place πŸ˜‰

As a matter of fact, when I fist discussed this conversion, I completely forgot to mention another model that had been a huge inspiration for this project: PDH’s brilliantly disturbing “Pursser-Sin”, a true scale Emperor’s Children Marine he built for his excellent Slaneeshi INQ28 warband:

Pursser-Sin by PDH

Pursser-Sin by PDH

Peter just has an excellent eye for original conversions, and this one really made me consider using the Slaughterpriest as a Primarch model for the first time — of course there’s also the fact that his turning a Khornate model into a Slaneeshi dog is the biggest possible heresy, so I hope my Angron conversion balances this out a bit… πŸ˜‰

But anyway, I was really itching to get my plastic Angron painted, so I jumped right in: The first step was to block out all the different basecoat colours:

30k-angron-conversion-pip-1
I decided to use the same recipe for bronze armour between this model and my Daemon-Primarch version of Angron, to create a bit of visual continuity between both models, so I used the exact same steps to paint the various parts of the armour.

The skin recipe is based on Rakarth Flesh as a basecoat — as are all my recipes for human skin. Since the model represents Angron in fairly healthy shape, however, I decided to make his skin look a bit healthier than the tone I usually use on my chaotic models. So I tweaked the recipe a bit, using the following steps:

  • GW Rakarth Flesh was used for the basecoat.
  • the entire skin area was then washed liberally with GW Ogryn Flesh (I loaded up on that wash while it was still available, although I imagine GW Reikland Fleshshade would have worked just as well).
  • the skin was then given a thin coat of GW Cadian Fleshtone for a slightly healthier look

At this point I already had a reasonably convincing flesh tone. However, I went one step further and used a mix of GW Carroburg Crimson and GW Druchii Violet to create shadows and distressed looking skin in select areas, especially around Angron’s cranial implants, around the metallic spine and on his “Triumph Rope” chest scar, giving these areas some extra pop.

Here’s the model with most of the paintjob already in place:

30k-angron-conversion-pip-6
I was definitely getting somewhere, but I wasn’t perfectly happy yet. So I decided to set the model aside for a moment and work on the base instead for a change of pace.

Since the model is supposed to represent Angron either uring his days as a gladiator on his “homeworld” Nuceria or during a sparring match in the Conqueror’s fighting pits, I really wanted the base to have the texture of a sany arena floor. In order to get the texture just right, I decided to try something new and picked up a pot of Vallejo’s Sandy Paste:

vallejo-sandy-paste
Going for a completely unfamiliar tool like this was a bit of a gamble, of course, but fortunately enough, the paste was extremely easy to work with: After getting an idea of what I was up against from this helpful YouTube tutorial, I was able to add it to the base and create the right texture using an old hobby knife. I also decided to add two discarded pieces of gladiatorial equipment half-buried in the sand. A shield from the WFB Vampire Counts Skeletons and a gladiator helmet from MaxMini that Augustus b’Raass had sent me a while ago provided the perfect pieces for the look I wanted. A part of the helmet was carefully shaved off to create a half-buried look. Both bitz were pressed into the still soft paste. Here’s what the base looked like after this step:

30k-angron-conversion-pip-2
30k-angron-conversion-pip-3
I also carefully pressed the model into the paste while everything was still drying, in order to create believable indentations in the sand around his left foot and the pile of skulls his right foot is resting on. Then the base was painted and the mostly finished model was glued to it before I tackled the finishing touches.

To be perfectly honest, there was a stretch during the painting where I wasn’t quite sure whether or not everything was really coming together. In the end, however, a couple of factors really pulled the various parts of the paintjob together:

  • I added some rather subtle blood spatter to Angron’s axes, his armour and to his chest and legs, making it look as though he had just messily vanquished a foe (or ten…). This really added that extra bit of realism to the model that I needed.
  • Once Angron had been glued to the base, his feet and the bottom of his loincloth were carefully drybrushed with the same sandy colour I had used for the base, and once again, this added some realism to the model and made it look more grounded.
  • And finally, the model really started looking like Angron once the trademark facial tattoos were in place: I even painted the markings around his eyes, even though I had been slightly nervous about that area beforehand.

So without further ado, here’s the second part of my Triptych about the Lord of the XII Legion:

 

Angron Thal’Kr, Lord of the Red Sands

angron-thalkr-lord-of-the-red-sands-11
“Come and die, dogs of Desh’ea! I am Angron of the pits, born in blood, raised in the dark, and I will die free!
Come, watch me fight one last time! Is that not what you want? Is that not what you always wanted?
Come closer, you dog-blooded cowards!”

Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Betrayer

angron-thalkr-lord-of-the-red-sands-1
angron-thalkr-lord-of-the-red-sands-2
angron-thalkr-lord-of-the-red-sands-3
angron-thalkr-lord-of-the-red-sands-4
angron-thalkr-lord-of-the-red-sands-5
angron-thalkr-lord-of-the-red-sands-6
angron-thalkr-lord-of-the-red-sands-7
Like I said on my previous post on the matter, the metallic spine doesn’t appear in the official fluff, of course, but is rather a feature of the Slaughterpriest model. But I really liked the disturbingly crude nature of it and thought it would perfectly match the brutally invasive style of the cranial implants Angron had received on Nuceria, so I decided to keep it. The same element also appears on my Daemon-Primarch version of Angron. Oh, and I made sure to make the skin on either side look suitably bruised and inflamed…

angron-thalkr-lord-of-the-red-sands-8
angron-thalkr-lord-of-the-red-sands-9
angron-thalkr-lord-of-the-red-sands-10
All in all, I am really vey happy with the finished model, and I do think the guy really reads as Angron now! To wit, here’s another look at that cover artwork of “Butcher’s Nails” that served as an important piece for reference during the painting process:

Butcher's Nails cover artwork
And here’s a closer look at the model’s face, an area that I am pretty happy with:

angron-thalkr-lord-of-the-red-sands-12
To allow you to accurately gauge the model’s bulk and size, here are some comparison pictures showing Angron next to…

…one of his power-armoured sons:

angron-thalkr-lord-of-the-red-sands-15
Forgeworld’s official Angron model, the still-to-be-painted third and final part of my Triptych πŸ˜‰

angron-thalkr-lord-of-the-red-sands-14

…and finally, the three 30k World Eaters I have managed to paint so far:

angron-thalkr-lord-of-the-red-sands-13
So yeah, I am pretty happy with how the second part of this project has turned out! Two down, one to go — well, one and a half, really, because there’s also the rest of Daemon-Primarch Angron’s base left to finish, of course…

Before I wind up this post, allow me to point you in the direction of two related projects from fellow hobbyists. In both cases, I only discovered these models while I was already working on my own, but they are still fantastic alternate interpretations of the same character and archetype — and both happen to be based on the same Slaughterpriest model as well!

First up, there’s Calle’s Angron, a version that is pretty similar in approach to my own, but even more visceral:

Angron conversion by Calle

Angron conversion by Calle

Calle shared his model in the comments to one of my previous posts, but since I really love his take on Angron, I felt it definitely deserved a proper shout out!

And then there’s Reg, whose Daemon-Primarch Angron was instrumental for my own version. Now wouldn’t you know it, he seems to be at least one step ahead of me yet again, building not only another fantastic rendition of the big man himself, but also an entire gang of Angron’s Nucerian gladiator buddies as well. Nuts!

Angron and his gladiators by Reg

Angron and his gladiators by Reg

These are just incredible — I can’t even…
Now if Reg would pnly answer to the PM I wrote to him on Dakka…
Anyway, I am a huge, huge fan of these!

And so another post on the Lord of the XII Legion comes to a close. In closing, I have one final image to share with you, an impression of how Angron might have looked in the arena of Desh’ea. 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!

lord-of-the-red-sands-2

More 30k World Eaters — and a recipe for bloodshed

Posted in Conversions, paintjob, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 26, 2016 by krautscientist

Having already teased some additional painted 30k World Eaters in my last post, I think it’s only proper to take a closer look at these models today. Some of you may remember that my first 30k test model ended up quite alright, but also that I didn’t find the process of painting white armour all that enjoyable.

Well, no more. Because I have actually manage to tweak my recipe for 30k World Eaters so as to be far less time consuming and nerve-wracking. Which made my second test model far more enjoyable to paint than the first one! So without further ado, here’s the model:

2nd 30k World Eater (1)
“To the prim and proper XIIIth or the bleeding heart XVIIIth, the thought of Astartes killing Astartes is anathema.
But we have been doing this for decades, night after night, in the cages and on the hot dust.
The only difference is that there is no longer any need to hold back.”

Legionary Sarn, Eigar Veteran Tactical squad, 4th assault company, XII Legion Astartes

 

2nd 30k World Eater (2)

2nd 30k World Eater (3)

2nd 30k World Eater (4)

2nd 30k World Eater (5)

2nd 30k World Eater (7)

Regarding the parts I chose for the model, I spliced in some CSM arms and a Khorne berzerker torso. While the finished model seems like a fairly standard marine at first glance, it retains a certain sense of brutality that works well for the World Eaters, I think. Using CSM arms on the Betrayal at Calth plastics also allows for slightly more interesting poses. And the spiked and barbed CSM weapons are an excellent fit for World Eaters weaponry, without looking too chaotic — in fact, maybe this is Sarum pattern equipment, provided by the Forgeworld of the same name that the World Eaters liberated during the latter stages of the Great Crusade…?

As for painting the model, the main change to my original recipe was to use GW Corax White spraypaint for the white undercoat instead of having to paint it all on by brush. This really cut down on the time it took me to complete the model, plus it also reduced the number of somewhat iffy areas that needed further touchups. What’s more, having an easier time with the basic paintjob gave me the liberty to experiment with some additional effects.

The first of those was the blood: It was clear of course that blood would have to enter the picture at some point, so I chose this model as a test piece for that as well, trying to create an effect that would subtly enhance the model without overpowering it. I actually used a tootbrush to flick small amounts of Tamiya Clear Red at the model, in order to create realistic patterns. Then I went back and added some more blood to select areas of the model, such as the chainblade and the knee. I think it’s fun to apply the blood in a very deliberate manner, rather than just slathering it on. That way, figuring out how the blood may actually have gotten there in the first place turns into an interesting bit of meta-narrative — did this guy knee his opponent in the face, for instance? πŸ˜‰

I also added another decal to the right shoulder pad: A “XII” numeral (actually a cut-down XIII from the Betrayal at Calth decal sheet):

2nd 30k World Eater (8)

And I included the pauldron of a fallen Armaturan Evocatus on the model’s base, trampled underfoot during the battle, maybe?

2nd 30k World Eater (6)

All in all, I am really rather happy with the World Eaters recipe I have come up with! It’s fairly effective and pretty fast to pull off, especially if, like me, you don’t like having to paint multiple thin layers of a base colour but enjoy the aspects of weathering and adding “special effects” far more.

30k legion badge

In fact, allow me to share my recipe — maybe those of you thinking about a 30k World Eaters project of their own will find this helpful.
So here’s a step by step tutorial for the white armour:

What you will need:

  • GW Corax White spraypaint
  • a white of your choice (I use Vallejo Dead White, but GW Ceramite White will work just the same)
  • GW Lahmian Medium (!)
  • a black and brown wash of your choice. I use Army Painter Strong Tone and Dark Tone, respectively, but GW Agrax Earthshade and GW Nuln Oil should also do the job.
  • a suitable dark brown/dark grey/green-brown colour for the sponge weathering. I use the OOP GW Charadon Granite (which is wonderful). However, any very dark grey/black/dark brown should work similarly well.

Oh, and one more piece of advice: You’ll make your life quite a bit easier if you leave the backpack and shoulder pads off and paint them separately. In fact, I even use a different undercoat for them (Chaos Black for the pauldrons and Chaos Black followed by Leadbelcher for the backpack). You can also leave off the head in order to be able to get into all the little nooks and crannies. However, all the following steps apply to both the head and body of the model.

So here we go:

Step 1: Spraypaint the entire model using GW Corax White. You get to decide how white you want your model to be during this step. For a slightly grey-ish off white, use the spraypaint sparingly. For a cleaner white, use a thicker coat of paint (or multiple passes of spraying). Make sure not to lay the colour on too thickly, though. This is what your model will look like afterwards:

Pre Heresy World Eaters white tutorial (1)
Step 2: After everything has dried, check to see whether there are any areas that remain unpainted. If so, this is the moment to use some slightly diluted white to clean them up a bit. As soon as that is finished, you should give the entire model a drybrushing with the same white, in order to build up a bit of contrast on the raised parts of the armour. It goes without saying that this will be more effective if you went for a slightly thinner undercoat beforehand.

Step 3: Now’s the time to block in all the different colours that aren’t white, i.e. the metallics, skin, trophies, pieces of cloth, pouches etc. This recipe won’t focus on my colour choices for this part, although I might do a more detailed tutorial in the future. Anyway, this is what the model will look like after this step:

Pre Heresy World Eaters white tutorial (2)
If you think it looks pretty terrible, you’re absolutely right. Don’t fret, as that’ll change in a minute πŸ˜‰

One important thing, though: This is also the moment where you apply all the decals you want to go onto the armour, as we’ll need to weather them along with the armour to make them look realistic. So if you want to use any of those red World Eaters decals from Forgeworld, apply them now! After they are well dry, add a coat of matt varnish on top to seal them , just for hood measure.
This is also the last opportunity to clean up the white: Any errors that you don’t correct now will have to be covered up by the weathering later, so take another look at the areas that might require a bit of cleanup now!

Step 4: Here’s where it gets interesting: Mix a glaze using Lahmian Medium and your brown and black washes on your palette. No need for an exact recipe, although the Lahmian Medium should account for about 60-70% of the mixture, with the rest made up of the black and brown. You’ll also want slightly more black than brown for a World Eater, (while mixing in a lot more brown and little to no black would give you a pretty nice glaze for a Death Guard legionnaire, incidentally). Once you have mixed the colours together, quickly and generously paint them onto the white armour, and do it in one go, so as not to produce any ugly borders. The glaze will shade the armour without drying on the even surfaces in a splotchy way (as a mere wash would), while also giving the whole armour a slightly muddy and off-white quality. Here’s what the model will look like after this step:

Pre Heresy World Eaters white tutorial (3)
The picture is rather misleading in that it was taken late in the evening, in less than ideal lighting. I just wanted to keep painting instead of waiting for better light, so the photo isn’t as good as it should be. The white is just as bright as the white in the following picture, if not brighter, it just doesn’t appear that way.

Step 5: We’re almost there. Now give the model some time to dry (!) before you tackle the next step. When everything is nice and dry, you put some Charadon Granite (or your alternate dark brown/dark grey) onto your palette and use a small piece of blister sponge to dip into it. Then you should sponge off most of the colour back onto the palette or onto a piece of kitchen towel. When there’s just a bit of colour left, use the sponge to carefully add weathering to the surfaces of the armour. This is not an exact science, so you need to experiment a bit. You can also build up the effect in several layers. The sponge weathering will end up looking very organic, which is great, plus it’s really useful for covering up errors and ugly areas. Just keep in mind that you will also have to use the effect on the blue parts of the armour (i.e. the shoulder pads and backpack), so they won’t stick out later by being too clean.

Anyway, I added multiple layers of spomge weathering until I was happy. And here’s the mostly finished model:

Pre Heresy World Eaters white tutorial (4)
As you can see, the shoulder pad and backpack are already back in place. You can do this as soon as you no longer need access to every part of the armour. I also added a selective edge highlight to some raised parts of the armour, such as the helmet’s faceplate, the elbows, the armour plate covering the model’s stomach etc. Oh, and I brushed some Steel Legion Drab over the model’s feet and greaves, in order to create a visual connection with the base. Of course you’ll have to adjust this part, depending on the colour scheme you have chosen for your basing.

As for the blood, like I said above, I use Tamiya Clear Red (although I keep hearing good things about GW Blood for the Blood God as well, and it may be easier to source), flicking it at the armour with the help of a toothbrush and then adding some of the paint to select areas. When touching up the gore, you should mix in some brown and/or black wash, so you’ll get slightly different hues and saturations that will make the blood look more believable.

Oh, and let me speak about the blue parts as well: When I painted my first 30k World Eater, I didn’t have any suitable blue, so I just used Vallejo Magic Blue with a drop of black, mostly as a stopgap solution. However, I really like the colour that resulted from this, so I’ve decided to keep the recipe for the rest of my models.

Anyway, so much for the tutorial. Aftersome final touchups and a completed base, here’s what the model looks like now:

3rd 30k World Eater (1)

“You think we take our opponents’ skulls to mock them, Evocatus? Hah, quite the opposite!
Even in death, your eyes will be allowed to glimpse the battlefield once more — what greater honour could be bestowed upon a true warrior?”

Legionary Molax of the Triarii, XII Legion Astartes. Seconded to the 4th assault company following the Battle of Armatura.

3rd 30k World Eater (2)
3rd 30k World Eater (3)
3rd 30k World Eater (4)

Regarding the conversion itself, I wanted to experiment with a more gladiatorial look, which I believe turned out pretty convincing. I also spliced in some actual Khorne Berzerker parts to create the kind of “mongrel” plate that should have been a pretty regular occurence in the XII legion, considering its rather heads-on approach to warfare and the amount of losses taken during the outbreak of the Heresy and the subsequent Shadow War.

And here are all three test models I have painted so far:

30k World Eaters test models (3)
One thing you can see in the picture is how the ratio between the black and brown washes will slightly influence the colour of the armour: If you look closely, you’ll see that Molax is slightly more brownish than the other two. This is because I used slightly more brown wash when mixing the glaze for his armour. The other two models use less brown and more black, leading to a somewhat colder look.

Another thing that’s evident in the picture is how the models are quite a bit less uniform than the stock Betrayal of Calth tactical Marines. I really wanted my World Eaters to have a slightly more ragtag appearance, as this just seems appropriate for the legion. As I keep adding new models, I think some of them will look quite different, with the spectrum ranging from fairly standard Mk IV Marines to guys in far less standardised gear, yet I hope to include some visual touches that pull it all together, creating a feeling of visual coherency while also allowing for quite a bit of variation at the same time.

Speaking of which, here are the two 30k models I am currently working on:

Plasma Gunner and Triarius WIP (2)
Plasma Gunner and Triarius WIP (3)
The model on the right further explores the Triarii archetype, while the guy on the left is a pretty standard plasma gunner. Like I said, these may seem rather different when compared like this, but I do think they’ll work together rather nicely in the finished squad. And there’s always the option of spinning off the Triarii into their own squad somewhere along the way, of course.

In this particular case, the main challenge was to make the guy with the plasma gun look suitably massive and menacing and not like “that boring model with the gun”. I think I was fairly successful with that, though.

And there’s also another model that I am fairly excited about. This guy:

WE Praetor 30k WIP (2)
WE Praetor 30k WIP (1)
The model was originally built as an officer for my 40k World Eaters, but it seems as though he might make an even better officer for my small 30k project, even if he’s a bit more openly Khornate than the other guys so far — personally, I think that all bets were really off for the World Eaters after Armatura and Nuceria, so I imagine some Khornate elements will have begun to sneak into the legion by then — after all, they were definitely present shortly after the Heresy, according to KhΓ’rn: Eater of Worlds.

 

Anyway so much for the status of my little 30k project. Again, don’t expect this to grow into a fully-fledged Horus Heresy army any time soon! That being said, this project is a great way of exploring an earlier incarnation of my 40k World Eaters and of using ideas that I’ve always found cool but couldn’t make work on the 40k setting. So it’s definitely a win/win situation for now πŸ˜‰

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

Meanwhile, back at Isstvan…

Posted in Conversions, paintjob, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2015 by krautscientist

30k legion badge02

Painting the models for my AdMech warband left me in a fairly productive mood, and before my motivation had any chance of dying down again, I took the opportunity to paint my first 30k World Eaters test model. This turned out to be quite an educational experience. But we’ll be getting to that.

Let me start by sharing my research first — I actually love doing research for projects, and it has become a sizeable part of the hobby for me. Before I tackle a particularly challenging or interesting project, I will spend quite some time digging through a mountain of material, ranging from threads I like to random Google image search results.

I also did this in order to figure out what kind of look I wanted for my Pre-Heresy World Eaters. In fact, I’ve been squirreling away inspirational images of 30k World Eaters for quite a while now – just in case πŸ˜‰ But when all was said and done, three main sources of inspiration remained:

1. Mr. Poom’s World Eaters

World Eaters by Mr. Poom
Mr. Poom’s version of the 8th assault company is very possibly the coolest 30k World Eaters army in existence right now, so it shouldn’t surprise you that I chose his models as one of my main inspirations. I really wanted to emulate the particular shade of off-white he uses for the armour. Beyond that, I think that Mr. Poom’s style is far more exact and meticulous than my own, so I would need to find a way of covering up some of my inevitable mistakes — weathering and battle damage were the obvious answers!

2. Triarii by kizzdougs

World Eater by kizzdougs
There isn’t a more beautifully weathered and battle-damaged World Eater than the one shown above, painted by kizzdougs. Now kizzdougs paints some of the most amazing 30k models around, yet what’s the most fascinating is how he can do both the ultra-exact, clean and stunningly highlighted look of his Emperor’s Children as well as the thoroughly beaten-up, weathered look of the XII or IV legions. His Triarii legionary serves as a stunning example of this and became another important inspiration. However, I wanted a slightly less weathered look for my own World Eater.

3. World Eaters by James Karch

World Eater by James Karch
James Karch is the owner of another absolutely stunning World Eaters army (also beautifully documented as Army of the Month in Warhammer:Visions #4, still one of my favourite spreads ever from that magazine). And his army served as the kind of missing link I needed: It has the off-white of Mr. Poom’s World Eaters, but also a weathered look similar to kizzdougs’ model. So this army became the third vital piece to complete the triptych.

With the elements I liked and wanted to emulate firmly in my mind, I started painting. And while the white armour turned out to be a bit of a challenge, I also discovered that battle damage and weathering is a great tool for covering up any slipups πŸ˜‰ Anyway, after a short while (and a bit of a nervous breakdown somewhere near the halfway mark), my first 30k test model was finished. Take a look:

 

30k World Eater (1)
“I will never forget the day the legion ships came to my world. The whispered benedictions, forbidden even then, that accompanied them.Β  And those of us who aspired to a place among their ranks: Noble Hergan. Soulful Krizti. Brave Sharlen.
How they laughed at me, the baseborn butcher’s boy.

And when those of the legion came to walk among us, clad in armour of white and blue, they were glorious and terrible, and we caught a first glimpse of the consequences our choice might have.

They passed over noble Hergan and soulful Krizti, and killed brave Sharlen when he dared to talk back to them, then laughed over his broken body in voices that were deep and cruel.

And they chose me, the baseborn butcher’s boy.

Because for all its perceived flaws, the twelfth had learned even back then what others would only find out later
(and many too late):

That the Emperor’s Crusade had little need of thinkers and poets, philosophers or noblemen.
It needed butchers.”

Legionary Shadrak, Eigar Veteran Tactical squad, 4th assault company, XII Legion Astartes

 

30k World Eater (2)
30k World Eater (4)
30k World Eater (5)
30k World Eater (6)

All in all, I am really rather happy with my first effort. Not everything may have gone 100% according to plan, but the finished model clearly has the look I wanted. It was also nice to be able to use those red World Eaters decals the way originally intended by Forgeworld (although the decals’ uneven performance remains a minor concern).

Oh, here’s a closer look at the right shoulder pad, by the way:

30k World Eater (8)
In the end, the tactical markings from the Betrayal at Calth decal sheet turned out to be far easier to apply to the shoulder pad than the ones from the World Eaters decal sheet. I added a small WE legion badge on top, in order to denote veteran status.

So, all in all, here’s what I have learned while painting the model:

  • white an be just as unenjoyable to paint as red — out of the frying pan and into the fire, I guess πŸ˜‰
  • That said, I will try a different recipe for my white next time around: The model was painted over a black (and silver) basecoat, because that recipe had worked so well on my AdMech models, with different colours blocked in later. It didn’t work so well with white. And the approach was rather backwards to begin with, so I’ll consider actually using a white undercoat on my nect 30k World Eater.
  • Lahmian Medium turned into an indispensable tool when it came to shading the armour: I mixed it with a bit of black and brown wash for a shade that was just heavy enough, but not so heavy as to ruin the white.
  • I tried sponge weathering for the first time, and while there’s quite a bit of room for improvement, it’s a really fun and rather effective technique.
  • I still have to get used to the new Space Marine bases, as they seem freakishly big to me. Every model seems like a Terminator now, simply by virtue of a bigger base πŸ˜‰ I think I really like the effect for a Killteam or warband but would find it a bit distracting on an entire army…

So much for my first 30k World Eater. It’s been fun! And, of course, I’d love to hear any feedback you might have!

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

30k World Eater (7)

On the road to Heresy…?

Posted in Conversions, Pointless ramblings, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 26, 2015 by krautscientist

After taking an in depth look at the Betrayal at Calth boxed set in my last post, allow me to share more of my current 30k experiments with you today — be warned, though, there’ll be quite a bit of unpainted plastic ahead πŸ˜‰

One thing before we begin, though: While I am currently having lots of fun working with the Betrayal at Calth models, don’t expect a playable Horus Heresy army anytime soon, alright? If anything, I think it’s more realistic for now to consider something more at the Killteam level, or maybe even below that. Because the most interesting part of this release for me is how it offers a practical (and all plastic) way for me to explore an earlier incarnation of the World Eaters’ 4th assault company.

This isn’t even the first glimpse in that particular direction, either. Last year, I purchased some Heresy-era models AgnostosTheos had built to depict 30k versions of some of my 40k characters:

Pre Heresy (4)

So far, we have Brother Marax, turned into a Dreadnought after being mortally wounded by Captain Lorimar’s own hand during the Battle of Skalathrax:

Pre Heresy (7)

And Brother Khoron, a long standing confidant to the Lord Captain, also interred into a new ironform after succumbing to his wounds after the Heresy:

Pre Heresy (8)
And, of course, the Lord Captain himself:

Lorimar then and now
In this particular case, the model hadn’t even been built and painted to represent Lorimar, but suitably in-character, so adding some suitable weapons and the right kind of base really made the resemblance rather obvious.

So these characters already exist, and while it remains to be seen whether or not they can be made into a part of whatever it is I am doing with the Betrayal at Calth models, the fact remains that re-imagining some defining characters as their younger (MUCH younger) selves should be quite a bit of fun. The catch is that I’ll have to resisit the temptation of building a 30k version for each and every character, as that just wouldn’t be plausible: Many of the current officers of the 4th were possibly some rank and file Astartes during the Heresy at best. If they were even around at all! So the challenge will be to carefully choose who was around ten millennia ago and work from there.

It also made sense to think about building some specialists to complement the standard tactical Marines that come with Betrayal at Calth. So the first character I started playing around with was Brother Dumah, Apothecary and Primus Medicae to the 4th assault company:

World Eaters Apothecary (7)
The conversion above is the 40k version of the character. I based Dumah on two models from the Dark Vengeance box (a CSM Chosen and a Ravenwing bike sergeant, respectively) and tried to go for a suitably mysterious look while also making it clear that this guy was an Apothecary. Incidentally, he is also my counts as version of Fabius Bile, if I should ever feel like including that character in my army list.

I have a bit of backstory for Dumah in the back of my head: He worked under First Apothecary Fabrikus, yet grew distant from his mentor when Fabrikus’ tastes developed more towards brutal psycho-surgery and torture. Instead, Dumah experimented on the possibilities of mitigating the dibilitating effects of the Butcher’s Nails on the World Eaters while trying to retain their advantages. Alas, a series of unfortunate events (of which more at a later point) during the outbreak of the Horus Heresy rendered his task considerably more complicated.

Anyway, I knew that Dumah had already been around at the time of the Heresy, and I liked the idea of building an Apothecary for my 30k Killteam/collection/whatever. So here’s what I came up with, the 30k version of Apothecary Dumah:

World Eaters Apothecary Dumah 30k WIP (1)
World Eaters Apothecary Dumah 30k WIP (2)
It’s a model I am pretty happy with because it manages to read as both an Apothecary as well as a warrior. I think the resemblance to the 40k version of the character is also fairly reasonable, as I’ve made some very conscious design choices to achieve that effect: A very similar head was used, along with a Black Templar tabard. The weapon was designed to look like a less daemonic version of Dumah’s 40k weapon. And there was also a happy little accident: Both versions of the character are wearing an amulet πŸ˜‰

At the same time, some minor compromises were unavoidable: I would have preferred a left-handed Narthecium gauntlet, for one, yet the one I found in my bitzbox (from the fairly new Sanguinary Priest) was just too nice to ignore. It was also too delicate to be thoroughly cut apart, which is why Dumah’s Narthecium must have switched hands over the last ten millennia — it’s also why his Apothecary pauldron is, strictly speaking, on the wrong side.

All in all, however, I was pretty happy with this first experiment! So why not go for something legitimately challenging next, eh? πŸ˜‰

Huntmaster Deracin (11)
Huntmaster Deracin remains one of my favourite conversions (and also one of my favourite characters in Khorne’s Eternal Hunt). He is also a rather extensive kitbash and easily the tallest infantry model in the army — so how to come up with a reasonable 30k version of this guy…?

The backstory for Deracin is that he suffered massive combat injuries during the Nove Shendak campaign and had to be extensively reconstructed with augmetics. This is easily visible on the 40k version, as the model is rather massive. It was clear that the 30k version couldn’t be quite as imposing yet, but I did I want to show that he’s already started on his way to becoming the hulking Warpsmith he will be one day. So I tried to build a less “escalated” version of both his armour and his equipment, with the added challenge of having the resulting model also look like a Techmarine:

Techmarine Deracin 30k WIP (1)
Using the same head worked as an anchor for the character, making sure he would at least be somewhat recognisable. The Techmarine pauldrons and Mk. 5 torso made for a suitably tech-y look. And the legs from the WFB Chaos Chariot I found in my bitubox were a godsend, serving as both a way to increase the model’s stature as well as a fairly recognisable precursor of the nonstandard power armour Deracin has taken to wearing during the 41st millennium.

I also used the same kind of backpack that appears on the 40k version, adding a small servo-arm (a very clever trick that I stole from Peculiar Quest):

Techmarine Deracin 30k WIP (2)
With the basic construction out of the way, all that remained was to come up with earlier, slightly less imposing versions of Deracin’s two-handed weapon and servo-harness. So here’s the mostly finished conversion:

Techmarine Deracin 30k WIP (4)

Techmarine Deracin 30k WIP (6)

The weapon became a combined axe/hammer affair, slightly resembling Deracin’s later “staff of office”:

Techmarine Deracin 30k WIP (5)
All in all, I am really happy with this model, because I feel it manages to accomplish three things: It looks like a Techmarine, albeit an unconventionally warlike one. It looks like an earlier version of 40k Deracin. And in spite of its departures from standard Space Marine design, it also resembles an Astartes enough to fit into a Killteam/army, don’t you think?

In any case, here’s a picture with both versions of the character, for comparison purposes:

Deracin comparison

So these two are my first attempts at building 30k versions of my 40k characters. But this project will also be about some new models and characters, of course. You’ve already seen my WIP Contemptor:

World Eaters Contemptor 30k WIP (5)
More details on how I’ve tweaked the pose can be found in my last post. I’ll…

I also built a first test model from the tactical Marine sprues that come in the box. The tactical models are very focused on Bolters, and they also have a very clean, regimented look — which is very nice and all, make no mistake! But since I wanted my models to represent World Eaters during the time of the Heresy (circa Shadow Crusade), I tried to break up the standard armour with some elements befitting a true World Eater. So here’s my test model:

Secutor Sergeant WIP (1)
Secutor Sergeant WIP (2)
The bare head and spiked collar are from the Bloodreavers that came with the Age of Sigmar starter box. In fact, that’s a cross-pollination that might warrant another look: Fellow hobbyist kizzdougs has suggested using Bloodreaver parts to build some plastic Rampagers, and it’s a concept that intrigues me.

I also spliced in a bare arm from an old Chaos Marauder and a suitably gladiatorial sword from a Beastman Ungor. And the suitably spiked and brutal bolt pistol came from the bog standard Chaos Space Marines. Oh, and let’s not forget the skull trophy, courtesy of the Empire flagellants πŸ˜‰

I imagine not every tactical Marine I built will turn out looking as feral as this, but it’ll be interesting to choose the right balance of bitz to show that these guys still function as Astartes while slowly being turned into something more (or less, depending on your point of view) by their Butcher’s Nails implants.

The same also goes for the Cataphractii Terminators. Here’s my first, very early Cataphractii test:

WE Cataphractii WIP (1)
I really think the Age of Sigmar Bloodsecrator head is perfect for a World Eater! On a related note, it’s really easy to convert the Cataphractii gorgets so they will accept different heads: Just shave away some plastic, and you are no longer limited to the “half-heads” that come with the stock kit.

I am still very much figuring out the most effective way to build my Cataphractii — while very cool, the stock models are even more vanilla than the Mk IV tactical Marines, in a way, and also quite a bit more restrictive in their posing than 40k Terminators, so the main challenge will be to have them look suitably aggressive and World Eater-ly without being over the top. So here’s another attempt:

WE Cataphractii WIP (5)
WE Cataphractii WIP (6)
The good ol’ “bellowing at the sky in rage” pose is a true classic, of course, but maybe the “I’m coming at you bro” approach works even better? πŸ˜‰

One element I am also experimenting with is the use of topknots on the Cataphractii, as they were a huge part of the original Cataphractii artwork of yore — in fact, one of the first Cataphractii to be drawn by John Blanche, no less, was even a World Eater:

Cataphractii illustration by John Blanche

Cataphractii illustration by John Blanche

I rather regret that particular element being mostly lost somewhere along the way. For me, those topknots were cool precisely because they seemed so at odds with the tank-like look of the armour, adding some much needed barbarism to it.

So, anyway, here’s a comparison shot of my Cataphractii and a (converted) Chaos Lord with twin LC:

WE Cataphractii WIP (7)
And maybe, just maybe, some leftover parts from the Cataphractii sprue will provide me with the weapon to finally finish that one Red Butcher turned 40k Chaos Lord?

Red Butcher WIP (10)
We’ll see… πŸ˜‰

Anyway, so far for my first experiments with the new plastic Horus Heresy kits. As always, I would love to hear your feedback! Expect to see more of this particular project as it develops!

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

30k World Eaters kitbashes WIP

Betrayal at Calth or: How to engineer the perfect gateway drug

Posted in Conversions, Pointless ramblings, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 18, 2015 by krautscientist

It was only a question of time.

Seriously, it’s always easier to say such things in hindsight, but ever since the Horus Heresy has become a massively successful commercial juggernaut, it was pretty obvious that GW proper would get in on the business eventually. And now they have. With a starter box that basically seems like a license to print money. Well played, GW!

Betrayal at Calth release (2)
So let’s take a closer look at Betrayal at Calth today and discuss the models contained in the box, first and foremost. And I’ll also be sharing my first hands on experiences with one of the models — but I am getting ahead of myself πŸ˜‰

 

It’s clear that the box is, above all else, a gateway into Forgeworld’s Horus Heresy setting: The timeframe and design of the models make this plain enough, but there’s also a number of smaller telltale signs: The layout of the rulebook accompanying the game mirrors that of FW’s publications. The box artwork is closer in design and colour choice to Black Library’s HH novel covers. The box itself is noticeably sturdier and more luxurious than even GW’s other boxed games — all of this seems to be saying: “We are entering big boy territory now.” πŸ˜‰

The set provides us with two small Space Marine forces to play the actual game with or, possibly the more interesting and also more realistic option, one combined, decently-sized (if less than ideal) Horus Heresy starter force. By the same token, the one thing that goes for all models contained in the box is the complete absence of legion insignia or more individual design cues: All of these guys are generic to the point of blandness. But, of course, that is their greatest strength as well as their greatest failure. While the lack of legion specific details and multipart nature of the models make the box contents seem a little bland, this choice is also what makes the models so very tempting for each and every Space Marine player out there: These are not exciting display pieces, but rather an amazing toolkit to start a new army or add to your existing collection, even if it comes at the price of a thoroughly vanilla look πŸ˜‰ In fact, one could say that this box follows the exact opposite approach when compared with Age of Sigmar: Where the latter provides very individual and rather exciting (yet also rather limited) snapfit models, Betrayal at Calth’s models may be less exciting in and of themselves, yet are far more versatile.

Two things before we begin: One, in the interest of full disclosure: I picked up one of the boxes at launch. It seemed a bit frivolous, given my current situation, but I’ve been disciplined enough in my spending recently that I felt I deserved a treat πŸ˜‰ This is even more significant, however, in how GW makes me eat my earlier words: I’ve gone on record stating that I wasn’t interested in starting a 30k project, and here I am getting Betrayal at Calth on day one — mission accomplished, GW πŸ˜‰

Two, in addition to my following review, let me also recommend Wudugast’s very interesting look at Betrayal at Calth, which raises some excellent points and makes for a very good companion piece to my post, I think. Anyway, here goes:

 

Legion Veteran Squad

Betrayal at Calth release (7)
One of the multipart kits to come out of this box provides us with a whopping thirty (!) tactical Marines wearing Mk 4 armour, which is quite something! Now while I would have loved some variety when it comes to armour marks, it’s pretty clear that GW wanted to test the waters with these, so the fact that all the tactical Marines share the same basic design doesn’t come as a surprise and seems like a sound business decision. Mk 4 seems like a pretty good call, too, because it’s probably the most popular (and, arguably, one of the most iconic) Heresy era armour types. It’s a cool design overall, although one that has been somewhat hampered by dodgy proportions: Forgeworld’s Mk 4 models were pretty cool alright, but the models seemed a little off sometimes, with a lankiness and unevenness that was clearly noticeable. The plastic Mk 4 Marines share none of this dodginess: These models are perfectly and evenly proportioned and perfectly scaled against the already available 40k Marines — in fact, the Legion Veteran squad could (and, in many cases, probably will) serve as a perfect alternate tactical squad for 40k.

Betrayal at Calth release (8)

The level of detail on the sprues is absolutely excellent — as was to be expected, given GW’s recent level of quality when it comes to sharpness and detail. The amount of bitz and weapon options is also rather stunning, as the kit not only provides us with all the weapon options for a tactical squad, but also adds swords, pouches and holsters for each of the Marines, as well as bitz for the sergeant, vexillarius and what have you. So far, so good!

I also really like that GW’s designers have gone for the FW approach to Mk 4 armour, with a helmet design that is cooler than the “doglike” plastic Mk 4 helmets seen so far. In fact, my favourite part is that we even get Mk 4 helmets with vertical slits on the facemask, probably my favourite variant. And yes, we are firmly in Space Marine nerd territory here, thank you very much πŸ˜‰

Unfortunately, while we lose the somewhat dodgy proportions, we also gain the classic, slightly crouched 40k Marine pose so emblematic of GW’s plastic Astartes: While FW’s Mk 4 Astartes sometimes seemed a little strangely proportioned, their poses were a bit more varied and they didn’t look like they urgently needed to go to the bathroom.

My other gripe with the sprues is that, while these will work for every legion, the fact that only standard bolter arms are included makes it a bit complicated to turn them into members of the less uniform legions like the World Eaters or Space Wolves: If you want your tac Marines to have a very regimented, orderly look, you’ll be in heaven. If you favour a more feral, individualistic approach, you’ll need to engage in some serious kitbashing.

Betrayal at Calth release (9)
All in all, these sprues are pretty great, although yet another Space Marine tactical kit might not feel like something to get super-excited about. Then again, these form a very decent backbone for any plastic-based HH army, or they give you the bitz to sprinkle some Heresy era goodness across your entire 40k army, and as such these should become very popular with 30k and 40k players alike.

 

Legion Cataphractii

Betrayal at Calth release (11)
Okay, these guys were a bit of a surprise: A tactical kit seemed like a bit of a no-brainer for plastic 30k, but I certainly wouldn’t have expected Cataphractii Terminators right out the gate. But here we are: An entire squad of heresy era Terminators. And what’s more, they even get the complete multipart treatment — that was unexpected!

The Cataphractii are probably more interesting from a visual standpoint in how much they differ from the 40k Terminators: They sport a very distinct Heresy era look that isn’t all that easy to emulate with plastic bitz either (not that I didn’t try, of course). So again, these are very interesting as an alternative for both the resin Cataphractii as well as the standard 40k Terminators.

Betrayal at Calth release (12)

Once again, the amount of detail and weapon options is quite excellent: We even get enough lightning claws for the entire squad, for instance, or to squirrel away for later use. In fact, it’s particularly cool to have the iconic Heresy era LC design available in plastic.

One thing I think I’ll need to get used to is that the torso pieces are designed in such a way that only “half-heads” are used, although it might be possible to change this with some minor conversion work. – excellent: amount of weapon options, extra weapons.

My one legitimate concern about the kit is that, for all the weapon options, we don’t get any options for CC weapons like power swords, chainaxes or power mauls. While GW’s designers probably had to stop somewhere, I guess I would have preferred those instead of both power fists and chainfists, if only because World Eaters Cataphractii look so sexy with their chainaxes πŸ˜‰ As it stands, however, we only get one measly power sword for the sergeant. Boo hiss! πŸ˜‰

Betrayal at Calth release (13)
But again, having access to plastic Cataphractii is a rather unexpected turn of events, and the fact that these are a multipart kit with lots and lots of options is a rather nice surprise. While the tac Marines might be more universally useful, these guys are one of my favourite parts of the box!

 

 

Legion Contemptor Dreadnought

Betrayal at Calth release (15)
Okay, I am not going to lie to you: The prospect of actually having access to a plastic Contemptor was basically one of the main reasons I purchased a copy of Betrayal at Calth. Yet in an interesting turn of events, the plastic Contemptor is the best part and the worst part of the release at the same time. Confused yet? Allow me to elaborate:

The amount of detail is very nice, and it’s great that we actually get the relict variant. All of this is even nicer given the fact that this is almost a snapfit model, at least when it comes to the simplicity of construction:Β  The Contemptor is very easy to put together (only slightly more complicated than the AOBR Dread, actually). And it seems to be just as tall as an actual FW Contemptor. And we even get a choice of ranged weapons — all of this is quite excellent!

On the other hand, the model is generic to the point of blandness (which, I’ll admit, was probably the point: You are supposed to be able to use this for every legion, after all). This is easily remedied by adding some bitz. But they did choose the least interesting pose on the planet for some reason — I especially dislike the slightly inwards turned legs that make the Contemptor look like Paris HiltonΒ  posing on a red carpet. Seriously, I get why they went for a neutral pose, but it surely could have been slightly more interesting…?

So what to make of the model? It’s one of the most exciting parts of the boxed game in that it’s fantastic to have access to a plastic Contemptor. Yet it will take a bit of work to truly make it shine and to get rid of some of the blandness — but we’ll be getting there in a minute πŸ˜‰

 

Captain Streloc Aetheon / Legion Praetor wearing Cataphractii armour

Betrayal at Calth release (17)
The actual army commanders are often my favourite part of every starter box, and Captain Aetheon (who, of course can also be used as a generic Astartes Praetor wearing Cataphractii armour) is certainly a rather imposing model: Both the bulk and the ostentatiousness of his armour make him a rather nice centre piece. I also like the inclusion of a cape!

The model is not entirely without its problems, however: First of all, while the pose is alright, the Captain seems to be giving it his all in order to look along the barrel of his combi-bolter. He seems to be mirroring one of Forgeworld’s Legion Praetors to some degree, but the pose does seem a bit forced to me, and less natural than that of the resin model. I also prefer the cc weapon on the Forgeworld Praetor, as a chainfist seems like a rather unheroic weapon for such a centre piece character — in a box geared towards universal usefulness, this seems like the strangest possible place to go for individual characteristics… It seems like a relic blade of some sort would have been a cooler option. Maybe it’s the fact that the confined nature of the Underground Wars at Calth would make a chainfist the more sound option…?

Betrayal at Calth release (16)
All in all, however, I rather like the captain. He’s quite a beast, and more interesting to look at than GW’s plastic Terminator Captain for 40k. I think the model will not only make for an excellent Praetor, but also for a great Chaptermaster in 40k. Nice job!

 

Kurtha Sedd / Legion Chaplain

Betrayal at Calth release (19)
We also get a praetor variant in regular power armour — a chaplain to be exact (although it would certainly be easy enough to turn him into something else). First things first, this model doesn’t really look like a Word Bearers chaplain to me: This is probably the one model hurt most by the decision to have the contents of the box look as generic as they do, because while this guy may make for a decent Chaplain for just about every legion, he just seems too clean and uncluttered for a Word Bearer

I also really hate the top of that crozius, because it’s too clunky by far and looks like the designer ran out of ideas at the last possible moment.

Apart from that, the model also has some elements that I really like: The decoration of the armour is very nice, especially given the fact that all the other suits of Mk 4 armour in the set remain woefully unadorned. I also like the advancing pose and the cape. And it’s nice that the model should be flexible enough to allow for head and weapon swaps without a hitch, in spite of being a snapfit assembly.

Betrayal at Calth release (18)All in all, it’s a pretty nice character model, although I think Captain Aetheon comes out slightly on top. But that’s just a matter of personal taste.

 

So, those are the models we get in the box — quite a boatload, I must say! And judging by these pictures from the Games Workshop website, they make for a rather impressive combined starter army:

Betrayal at Calth release (20)
Interestingly enough, the pictures also show that Kurtha Sedd works far better as an Ultramarine, while Aetheon looks great in Word Bearers colours, as pointed out in Wudugast’s aforementioned review of the models.

Betrayal at Calth release (21)
Another very interesting factor is how buying Forgeworld’s resin versions of the box contents would be much, much more expensive, making Betrayal at Calth terrific value for the money, in any case. And that’s before you consider that there’s also an actual game to be had here (although you will forgive me for not dwelling on this fact — other people do rules far better than me πŸ˜‰ ).

One last thing I’d like to mention is that I really like the dedicated decal sheet that comes in the box. Sure, it’s pretty tiny, but I like how it seems to have been made with the actual contents of the box in mind, instead of just providing a very stripped down version of a bigger decal sheet. And all those “XIIIs” will be really easy to turn into “XIIs” with a sharp knife πŸ˜‰

 

Conversion ideas:

Well, to address the elephant in the room, first and foremost: This is, of course, a box for those hobbyists who already enjoy Space Marines. If you don’t find Astartes all that compelling to begin with, chances are this box is not going to change your mind. For those who do have a modicum of love for GW’s posterboy transhuman killing machines, though, it’s clear that the box provides an enormously versatile toolkit: While the models themselves may not be as exciting and individual as, say, some of the stuff in the Age of Sigmar starter box, the fact that most of the kits are multipart makes this a very interesting purchase, both for 30k and 40k Space Marine aficionados. In fact, the true beauty of this box is that it’ll make both 30k and 40k players happy, allowing you to either start a Horus Heresy force or add some Heresy bling to your 40k Astartes. The lack of unique decoration on the models also makes them equally attractive for all legions and/or successor chapters (with a few possible exceptions, as I’ve said before).

While my own burgeoining Heresy project will be featured in more detail at a later date, let’s focus on one particular model for today. Because I really couldn’t help myself and had to start working on the Contemptor right away:

Like I said, there are a number of problems with the stock model that I felt I needed to address: I wanted to make the pose a bit more interesting, for one. And I really didn’t like the very bland stock head. Oh, and I wanted the model to be recognisable as a World Eater, of course — I hope his doesn’t come as a huge shock to you guys πŸ˜‰

So here’s my own Contemptor after a few initial changes:

World Eaters Contemptor 30k early WIP (1)
My initial idea was to tweak the pose with some careful cuts. So I cut the model apart at the waist, in order to allow for more articulation. I also added two elements for a suitably World Eater-ly look: an ogre gut plate doubling as the legion badge as well as a skull and chain ensemble from the Age of Sigmar Bloodsecrator model. And I used a shaved-down Defiler facemask as an alternate head.

But I wasn’t quite happy yet, so I also worked a bit on the Kheres arm: Cut between the pauldron and the elbow, and not only can you repose the arm, but this would also be the perfect position for inserting a magnet, I guess. And I wasn’t quite done with the legs, either: I wanted to get rid of the pidgeon-toed look, so I cut the right leg from the pelvis area and glued it back on at a slightly different angle:

World Eaters Contemptor 30k WIP (1)

It’s a fairly subtle tweak, to be sure, but I think it makes for a far less awkward pose. As for the general idea of reposing the legs, it’s easy enough to separate the legs from the pelvis, and this allows for some essential conversion options, allowing you to get rid of that pidgeon-toed stance. Everything that involves making the legs bend at the knee, however, seems very complicated and hardly worth the trouble: I suppose it might be possible, but you’ll lose either the upper legs or the kneedpads (or both). One possible way would be to carefully cut out the lower legs and use (40k) Dreadnought legs to rebuild the upper legs — they are virtually indistinguishable.

I did go back to change the head at this point, though: I had originally chosen the Defiler mask for itsΒ  slightly more brutal and original look. But while I was fairly happy with the cleverness of my conversion, the size of the head also made the model look a bit clunkier than it should, as was pointed out to me by several fellow hobbyists. So I did try a different head in the end, going for one of the Cataphractii helmets that came in the same box:

World Eaters Contemptor 30k WIP (5)
World Eaters Contemptor 30k WIP (6)
World Eaters Contemptor 30k WIP (7)
And I have to admit that I do prefer this version, after all: Granted, it’s a bit smaller than a Contemptor head, but it does make for a sleaker, more agile look, don’t you think? Plus it makes the model resemble the “official” FW World Eaters Contemptor.

World Eaters Contemptor 30k WIP (8)
I’ll still be adding some touches to the model before painting, although I’ll try not to go overboard with the detailing, as some of those smooth surfaces will provide a great occasion to use the more interesting, larger decals from the FW decal sheet. Because I really want to paint this guy in the Heresy-era World Eaters colours after all. I was torn between 30k and 40k for a while there, but decided to make the Contemptor a 30k model because I basically already own a counts-as Contemptor for 40k:

World Eaters Contemptor 30k scale comparison
Remember the guy on the right? In case anyone was wondering, the above picture shows that converted Kastelan robots will actually work rather nicely as stand-in Contemptors, at least from a scale perspective! So I guess I’ll be using the conversion made earlier this year as a Contemptor in games of 40k, while the actual Contemptor joins my eventual 30k project — of which more later, like I said πŸ˜‰

 

So, what’s the final verdict? I think we have to hand it to GW: Betrayal at Calth will be flying off the shelves. The models in the box are extremely interesting to Space Marine players in 30 and 40k, for one. But there’s also the fact that the box seems to have been designed to whittle down the defenses of those who had yet managed to resist getting in on the Heresy business.

Case in point, I really didn’t want to start a Heresy era army (or warband), save for my Custodes (and those were born from a somewhat different desire). The cost of Forgeworld’s models seemed prohibitive, and the prospect of having to work with that much resin wasn’t very appealing to me. Betrayal at Calth entirely bypasses both concerns, and here I am, joining the fray. I’m feeling a bit like Pavlov’s dog, to be honest… πŸ˜‰

It is an excellent starter box, though, in spite of its blandness (arguably because of it). It capitalises on GW’s most successful properties, which seems sensible from a business standpoint. It also contains nothing but Space Marines, which may rightfully be a bit of a turnoff for many of you. I am pretty sure the people at GW did the maths beforehand, though…

In any case, it’ll be interesting to see where we go from here: Will Betrayal at Calth merely function as some kind of gateway drug to get people into the 30k setting, while the main bulk of the models will still be sold by FW? Or will GW add to their Horus Heresy plastic kits over time? Will we be getting additional armour marks in plastic? Has that decision even been taken yet? And how does it all work together with the recent announcement of a new Specialist Games devision? Interesting times, indeed!

What is already obvious is how they have set themselves up in a very clever position: Both the Legion Veterans as well as the Cataphractii can (and probably will) be released as their own multipart kits without any further need for additional design or production capacities. And the characters would be easy to release as clamshell characters. So whatever happens, I am pretty sure that Betrayal at Calth will earn back its development cost, even if it remains a standalone piece. Speaking of which, I think the approach of making one-off games to include along with the models seems like a cool idea, and I would actually love GW/FW to do more along those lines and really bring back Adeptus Titanicus, Epic, Necromunda or even Inquisitor. But that will be a story for another day.

Let me wind up this review by mentioning one tiny thing I really liked about the box: The sides of the lower part actually feature the different painted models:

BaC box nostalgia

I got such a huge HeroQuest vibe from that, and maybe it’s the kind of detail that shows what we can expect from the new FW Specialist Games division? Or maybe it’s just wishful thinking…

 

So, what do you make of it all? Are you happy with Betrayal at Calth, or do you merely see this as another money grab? Or both? What do you think about the models? And will you be getting into there Heresy after all? I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section!

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

Celebrating 200,000 views — with a small present for myself

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Pointless ramblings, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 9, 2014 by krautscientist

200000views
This week, Eternal Hunt hit the 200,000 views mark, less than nine months after attaing 100,000 views. Now this is certainly not world record material, but I am still immensely proud that a blog describing my pottering away at my various hobby projects has managed to attract so many visitors! So thanks to all those who have taken an interest so far, especially those of you who regularly comment or are even following this blog! You guys often provide me with the motivation I need to tackle the next project on my list, plus you provide some nifty ideas every so often. Cheers for that! πŸ˜‰

As for this blog’s high points over the last nine months, my retrospect of Year Two is still fairly recent, so I’ll just pointΒ  towards it for all the dates and facts. What’s far more interesting, though, is how I decided to celebrate this event:

Because what better way to celebrate than to get a nice present for myself, as a reward for all the hard work, right? Relax, though: There’ll be something interesting for you as well. So what is this about?

Some of you may remember when I posted about fellow hobbyist AgnostosTheos building 30k versions of two of my World Eaters characters a while back. This was pretty cool, because his World Eaters army is easily one of my favourite Heresy-era representations of my chosen legion.

Now imagine my dismay when AT recently announced that he would be selling his amazing collection of World Eaters — what terrible news! I, for one, would have loved to see further additions to this force, and maybe even some more 30k versions of characters from Khorne’s Eternal Hunt.

However, and I almost feel guilty for admitting it, this also provided me with the chance as well as the obligation to purchase the 30k versions that already existed.

Now I normally have pretty strict rules when it comes to buying painted models or commissioning people: I don’t usually do it, period.

I have various reasons for this: I don’t want to let other people do the work that actually constitutes a sizeable part of the hobby for me, reluctant as I sometimes am to take up a paintbrush. I also have the creeping suspicion that once I start to commission people like the Spiky Rat Pack, for instance, to build and paint some of their amazing models for me, I’ll never stop until all my money’s gone.

And there’s also the fact that it’s really an all or nothing choice: Either you only buy single pieces and end up with them looking markedly different from the rest of your army, or you commission an entire army, pay through your teeth and actually have no hobby activities left to do yourself — apart from the playing, admittedly, but that has never been the greatest draw for me.

So, to make a long story short: While I usually lack any impulse control when it comes to buying little plastic men, I have so far managed not to buy fully painted ones, at least.

I made an exception this time, however, because the thought of somebody else owing AT’s Heresy-era versions of “my” characters was pretty much unbearable to me.
And due to the fact that I have zero interest in assembling a 30k World Eaters force, it seemed a safe enough endeavour to buy a couple of AgnostosTheos’s models without running the risk of becoming addicted to yet another army. So I made him an offer that he could have – but didn’t – refuse and purchased four models, all in all, along with some supremely useful resin bitz and an almost complete sheet of World Eaters decals. While the latter two will become very useful for my work on Khorne’s Eternal Hunt, it goes without saying that the painted models were definitely the stars of the show. Here are three of them:

Pre Heresy (6)
From left to right, we have a model representing Marax the Fallen in the days before his internment into a Dreadnought, a World Eaters officer based on the WFB plastic Chaos Lord, and Khoron the Undying, once again before being interred into an ironform. Let’s take a closer look:

First up, Marax the Fallen, in both his 30k and 40k incarnations:

Pre Heresy (7)
The twin lightning claws on both models make for a pretty clear recurring element, and the blood spatters all over 30k Marax’s armour and face show that this warrior was dangerously unhinged, even before becoming a dreadnought.

Then there’s Khoron the Undying in both versions:

Pre Heresy (8)

Although blood spattered, Marax seems less feral and uncontrollable than his brother. His patrician features are also a nice and subtle way of representing his function as a figure of respect among the warriors of the 4th assault company. In the 41st millenium, this face has forever been replaced with the brazen skull mask of a dreadnought, however.

Actually having these guys in my hands to display them alongside each other is a really awesome feeling, you know πŸ˜‰

And then there’s the unnamed World Eaters officer: While the model wasn’t based on any of my characters, the fact that it uses the same base model as my own Dark Apostle makes it fun to imagine that it might represent a younger Huntmaster Stian Gul:

Pre Heresy (3)
Plus the model was actually a steal, so what choice did I have? My favourite part has got to be the way AT used etched brass parts to add World Eaters iconograpgy to the medieval looking armour.

There is actually one more model I purchased from AgnostosTheos, although one I am not prepared to show you just yet. It will also need some final touches to complete it. As a little teaser, let me just show you the weapons I intend to use for this mysterious warrior:

weapons
Maybe that should give some of you a clue as to the character this model will represent…

 

All in all, not only was this a great occasion to add some texture to my force, but it also serves as a very suitable celebration for my blog reaching 200,000 views. I really couldn’t be any happier with these guys:

Pre Heresy (4)
While we’re on the subject, though, be sure to check out AgnostosTheos’s WIP thread and Flickr gallery: Though the various models may have found new homes, they remain one of the coolest 30k World Eaters armies, and those links allow you to check them out in their entirety — highly rec0mmended!

So a very warm thank you to AgnostosTheos for letting me have these models for a quite reasonable price! And thanks to you for reading this and taking an interest! To the next 200,000!

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