Archive for raptors

Mark of the Daemon pt. 2 — plus some odds and ends

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 13, 2013 by krautscientist

Another week, and here I am, still happily pottering away in the small amount of hobby time I have. Let’s take a look:

First up, my kitbashed Daemon Prince. While reactions over here were pretty sparse, unfortunately, the forums provided more feedback this time around: I was happy to find out that the model was far better recieved than I had anticipated, plus I did get some extremely useful criticism out of the deal as well! So I ended up spending some more time on this guy, trying to take the various suggestions on board and further improve the model.

DexterKong, among others, remarked that he felt the original, more crouched pose was a better fit for the bestial, animalistic feel of the model. Dexter said that,

(…)in my mind I keep seeing this guy bounding forward on all fours.  In most of my visions of him, his front “paws” are on the ground, and his rear legs are kicked back in the air as he savagely runs at a target, like a wolf or a wild boar.  On the off-chance the limbs are not all attached, I would experiment with lowering his chest and head toward the ground, and go for more a quadrupedal pose.

Now while the original pose didn’t work for me (because it made the prince look like he was trying to hold on to the base for dear life), I certainly wanted to channel the look Dexter was talking about. So I slightly changed the pose of the left arm and made sure the model was posed closer to the ground. Here’s the result:

Daemon Prince WIP (18)
I am pretty happy with the pose and think that this is really the best of both worlds: The left arm is still held away from the body in a more open pose, but now it somehow looks less like the Daemon Prince is giving one of his underlings a paternal pat on the back and more like he’s mid-swing while tearing something apart.

Some people on the German forums pointed out that the model’s back seemed to feel a little empty, making it look too much like the monstrous mount it originated as. So I used a leftover Crypt Horror back piece to add some suitably gross vertebrae to the Daemon Prince’s back:

Daemon Prince WIP (17)
Since this picture was taken, some GS and Liquid GS have been used to blend in the new additions with the surrounding area, and the effect is pretty convincing. The picture also clearly shows the lumps of modelling putty used to fix the model in its more crouched pose — this will obviously have to be achieved by the design of the base on the finished model…

Daemon Prince WIP (16)
Speaking of which, the piece of wall on the base is really just a placeholder for now! Myfavourite approach would be to have the DP clutching the fallen window piece from the Honoured Imperium kit in its claw, although I’m not sure whether I should purchase that kit just for the one element. It’s a fantastic kit, though, so I am at least a little tempted…

All in all, I am hugely thankful for the constructive criticism I have received regarding this model,  because I think it has really managed to improve the Daemon Prince:

Daemon Prince WIP (15)
But the Daemon Prince is not the only model on my desk: Having to wait for the various coats of (Liquid) GS to dry left me with some time to kill, which I used to revisit and touch up some older models.

The first of these I tackled were some additional, kitbashed Raptors (called “Harriers” in my army). You might remember the first bunch of those I built and painted, back before the new plastic Raptor kit had even been released. Well, my Raptors were still missing some Meltagunners, so I whipped some up. I also built another champion for good measure, while I was at it 😉

Refurbished Harriers WIP (1)
All three models are based on some leftover Khorne Berzerker bodies I picked up as part of an ebay auction a while ago. Most of these were in a pretty rough condition, but I swore to myself that I would find a way to use them. So with an influx of fresh bitz, I believe I may have managed to rescue them from the rubbish heap. Let’s take a closer look:

Refurbished Harriers WIP (2)
The first model is a fairly simple kitbash, just adding some new arms, a new head and weapon as well as a dash of chainmail to the existing berzerker body. I imagine all of these will look far less rough around the edges, once they are completely undercoated. I also added a MaxMini jump pack, since my other Raptor models so far are using the same bit.

The champion originally started out as an additional icon bearer, but I was just never all that happy with the icon, so I remade him as a champion (because you can never have enough champions, right?):

Refurbished Harriers WIP (3)
A Warp Talon claw nicely complemented his pose, so I used it instead of his original arm. The helmet is also a slightly more involved kitbash — a cookie goes to you if you manage to spot where the original helmet came from…

And finally, the third Raptor with another Meltagun:

Refurbished Harriers WIP (6)
For this guy, I was feeling a little more adventurous, so I borrowed an idea I had seen on somebody else’s thread (GuitaRasmus’s, I believe) to build a more interesting looking weapon for him.

Once I manage to get those painted – whenever that will be – I will have quite a few Raptors at my disposal. And I really like those guys, because they seem so right for a World Eaters army. Also, there is a special kind of joy in revisiting existing models after a while to give them a little extra flair and further improve them.

As a matter of fact, you might remember my post about going back to older models to spice them up, going the extra mile, as it were. Biohazard’s World Eaters bikers were what originally inspired me to write that post (and work on my squad of bikers back then), and now Brother Heinrich’s fantastic Night Lords bikers made me pick up the same squad yet again in order to add even more detail 😉

Hounds squad WIP
Nothing big, though: I just added a couple of trophies and small weapons here and there, to make it look like these guys were used to living in the saddle. I also spent some time cleaning up the conversion work, drilling out all the barrels and exhaust pipes, etc. I only have the – slightly fuzzy – group picture right now, but I hope I’ll get around to showing you some better pictures (and maybe even more bikes) at some point in the future.
So yeah, as you can probably see, today’s post is not so much about breaking new developments as it is about incrementally doing small things that make your army better and better. Not as flashy as some huge centrepiece model, I’ll admit, but both approaches are important for an army, and both can be fun!

I am always interested in your feedback, so let me hear what you think in the comments section!

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

Raptor Review

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 28, 2012 by krautscientist

I may have mentioned before that I quite like jump infantry: For us World Eaters players, Raptors are always a great way of adding a dash of flexibility to an otherwise very predictable army. So I built and painted my first squad of World Eaters jump infantry long before the release of the new Codex. You may remember these guys:

Granted, here may be other units in the list that are more viable in the fast assault role (*cough* bikes *cough*), but I simply love the concept of World Eaters equipped with jump packs rushing into the thick of battle with wild abandon. So it is probably no surprise that a box of the new plastic Raptors/Warp Talons was one of my day one purchases, along with the new Codex. Today’s post will be all about those guys.

The kit has been out for a while now, so I will spare you the unboxing video and sprue diagrams. Both are easily found elsewhere on the net. Indeed, let me point you towards Screwed Up Dice‘s very nice, two part review of the kit for all the necessary information. Still, late as my own “review” of sorts may be, I thought it would be nice to collect my thoughts on the models while working on my first new squad of jump infantry, pointing out the good and the bad as I go.


“It’s plastic!

Working with GW’s excellent and highly versatile plastic kits is always a joy, and that is why the mere fact that Raptors are now available as a plastic kit counts as a huge advantage in my book: No more pinning, no more models falling over because they are precariously balanced on their bases. And lots and lots of customisability — provided you know how to use a knife, that is. I have painted quite a few metal miniatures in my time, and I like the amount of detail GW’s designers are able to cram into some of those Finecast models (QA problems notwithstanding), but plastic is where it’s at for me!

Of course this also means that the kit is fully compatible with the rest of the (Chaos) Space Marine range, although not all combinations will end up looking great. Still, with a bit of mixing and matching, you’ll be able to customise your jump infantry and make them fit the rest of your force visually (more on this point in a minute)


“It looks nice!”

The sculpt on these guys is pretty great, but that’s almost a given with GW’s more recent kits. What I really like though is the slightly readjusted overall look of the models: The last Raptor sculpt – along with the fluff – had them positioned as a bit an external force to all Traitor Legions, a cult onto themselves, which meant that the models had a very distinct look. And while more individuality is mostly a good thing, not everyone was happy with their Raptors looking so different from the rest of their force: Even when painted in the colours of a specific legion, they never quite looked like they belonged.

The new armour design seems like a bit of a return to the original 3rd edition Raptors in that it is distinct enough to differentiate them from other unit types, but should also work rather well with different colour schemes, those of the original Traitor Legions included. So for those who want it, the individuality is still there, while the rest of us are free to build jump infantry that resembles the rest of our force.

There’s also all kinds of nice detail: The Raptor helmets recall corrupted, older marks of power armour (MK IV and VI, especially), and the CC weapons are some of the greatest Chaos Space Marine weapons currently availabe (those chainswords are off the hook!). I also really like the rather economical design of the jump pack, but then, I’ve always been a fan of the Pre-Heresy jet engine design 😉

As an aside: While, as a follower of Khorne, I loathe all Slaneeshi dogs with a passion, those shoulder pads and helmets with the speaker-like design should work really well for kitbashing Noise Marines.


“You get some neat extra bitz…”

It’s great to see that the kit comes with a full set of weapon options for the Raptors: No more scrounging around for extra Meltaguns or having to use the same old weapon bit over and over. All of the weapons are very nicely detailed and have a distinct chaos look. The same goes for the Warp Talon claws (which could also be used as Lightning claws on regular infantry champions, Chosen etc.). And the fact that it’s a combi-kit means that you’ll get quite a few leftover bitz: Depending on which unit type you decide to build, you get a full set of Raptor weapons and heads or Warp Talon claws and heads for your bitzbox. Nice.



“…but maybe not enough!”

Here’s the thing about those bitz though: I was a little disappointed at the relatively small selection of heads. While I understand that the kit has to be quite economically designed to carry enough bitz for both unit types, I am just a fan of extra heads and shoulderpads: just five heads and one set of shoulder pads per model? Come on, GW! Admittedly, this may just be nitpicking on my part, but still…


“A little restrictive…”

Here’s a piece of more substantial criticism then: I feel that some of the poses on these models aren’t all that well conceived. You probably won’t notice this when building Raptors, but for the Warp Talons it’s actually fairly challenging to have them look as dynamic and individual as you would like. I discovered this when I tried to go against the grain and build models that looked a little different from the ones on the box: While it’s possible, you’ll quickly discover that certain combinations just don’t work out, leaving you with a limited number of options. Granted, if you just want to get your models on the table, you probably won’t see this as much of a problem. But as someone who is very much into kitbashing and converting, I cannot help but feel that these models don’t lend themselves to conversion all that much. And while I like the fact that the models’ legs are attached in rather dynamic ways to small piles of rubble and battlefield debris, the designs can quickly become repetitive once you are building squads that are bigger than five models.

I realise that this may not even be valid criticism for some: The models look great and are easy to put together. What’s not to like, right? But I somehow feel that this kit seems to actively confound converters, and I’m not sure I like that 😉


“Some smaller design flaws”

Again, this is only a matter of personal taste, but I think that the design for the Warp Talon parts is slightly weaker in some respects: Most of the heads look really clunky and slightly out of scale. And while it’s nice to get a full set of sharp talons for the models’ feet, you’ll need to do some cutting on these to make sure they look natural, instead of jutting out at an improbable 90 degrees angle.


So what’s the bottom line?

All in all, I am prepared to call this kit a success, in spite of some nitpicks. It’s is expertly designed and lets you build some great looking models for your chaos army. The accomplished converter will be able to work around the small problems, and you’ll be able to make those Raptors and Warp Talons look like they are actually a part of your Traitor Legion or Renegade Chapter!

That’s what I set out to do as well: I decided to assemble the squad as Warp Talons, if only because I already have quite a few Raptors in my army. Not feeling particularly keen on the devolved, daemonic nature of the Warp Talons (it is a cool concept, but it doesn’t fit my personal fluff all that well), I wanted to build a squad of World Eaters melee specialists with jump packs. Here’s a look at my models:

This was one of the models where the basic pose of the legs combined with the Warp Talon arms seems a little goofy. It took some dryfitting and thinking to sort things out. Ultimately, I am rather pleased with the model, though. In this particular instance, the feet needed a little work (I cut off a part of the soles) to make surethat the angle at which the talons connect to the feet looks natural.

I gave this guy a FW berzerker helmet, since it added to the viciousness of the model’s look. Plus I wanted these guys to be clearly recognisable as World Eaters.

This second guy is the other model that took a while to get right: Although the legs are pretty cool this time, the arms are designed to be pretty close to the body, which makes for pretty restrictive posing. While I would have preferred a more open pose for the arms, the finished model shows the combination that, in my opinion, worked best under the circumstances.

I expect the fine detail on the model’s torso and left arm to be a challenge to paint, though, due to the fact that there is very little room between the torso and left gauntlet. But oh well…

Again, I used a Khornate helmet — this time, it’s one of from the plastic berzerker kit.

The next two models are where I just gave up and built them “as intended” 😉

In this case, the legs and arms work very well together, creating a relaxed but quite menacing pose (not unlike the Chaos Lord with jump pack, by the way). Compared to the ‘Eavy Metal model, I changed the alignment of the torso and arms a bit, though, to make the pose just a tiny bit more interesting. And I added yet another berzerker head. I realise that many are quite tired of these, but I think in this case the head works rather nicely!

Then there’s this guy, who is basically a perfect emulation of the unit champ built by the ‘Eavy Metal team:

What can I say? I just liked the pose and the head a lot! 😉

And finally, probably my favourite model in the whole squad:

It took some time to sort the pose out, but it was well worth it in my opinion. The model looks quite threatening and dynamic at the same time. Yet what really sells this guy is the addition of yet another Khornate FW head: This guy looks soooo angry…

And here’s the whole squad together:

I have not yet decided whether to use the “blade vanes” that attach to the jump packs. While those may seem a little silly at first glance, they could be rather useful in giving the models a more unique silhouette. Hmmm….

Also, it’s basically anyone’s guess when I’ll actually get around to painting these… 😉

Anything else? Oh, yes, the jump packs on these guys are quite a bit smaller than you would expect! Here’s a comparison shot with one of my kitbashed Raptors (using a MaxMini jump pack):

As you can see, the MaxMini pack looks pretty clunky by comparison, while the new model’s silhouette is far less bulky than you would have suspected.

So, one last question remains: Raptors of Warp Talons?

While the answer to that question will ultimately depend on what is the more sensible choice in the context of your army, let me look at things from a modelling perspective:

The Raptors you can build from this kit will work great out of the box, with very little extra work required. You get lots of options, and the squad can be made to look like a external cult or like your own Traitor Legion’s dedicated jump infantry. They’ll also look good alongside your older models, even though they may be a bit more detailed.

The Warp Talons suffer from their rather restrictive poses and will need more work and maybe an influx of external bitz to truly make them shine. Still, their rather distinct silhouette and overall look make them visually interesting, and those clawed gaunzlets are really great. They are also a great modelling option for Night Lords, in my opinion.

In any case, quite a nice kit that gives you a lot of options. The smaller drawbacks shouldn’t keep you from giving this kit a try!

Do you have any thoughts on the kit or my first test models? I’d be glad to hear them in the comments section!

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

Terror from the skies

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 25, 2012 by krautscientist

In an earlier post, you already made the aquaintance of Lord Charun, Master of the Harriers. This time, it’s time to look at his subordinates, the 4th assault company’s  corps of jump infantry, known as “Harriers” in my fluff and “Raptors” in the Codex.

You know what? I really love Raptors! While some argue that they have been nerfed in the current Codex and while no one can really know what they will work like in the new book, they are one of my favourite units for several reasons.

The first reason is a tactical one: If you – like me – are playing a fairly conservative World Eaters army, a lot of your gameplan consists of getting squads of Berzerkers across the table as fast as possible without being shot to pieces first. Even if your squads are fully equipped with dedicated Rhinos (which they should be), this usually makes for a grueling advance throug enemy fire. And then there’s the whole disembarking affair once the squad has reached its destination. Raptors, on the other hand, add a lot of mobility and an element of unpredictability to your strategy: With a squad of Raptors or two, you can suddenly outflank your enemy. Or you could pick off his vehicles. Or take guerilla shots at his tarpit units. Or you could just rush into close combat faster than you could with your Berzerkers.

Raptors are also quite flexible: Take two Meltaguns in the squad to use them as tank hunters. Use two flamers to turn them into fairly competent infantry killers. If you add an icon of Khorne, they’ll even do an okay job in the following combat. I usually try to run at least one squad of Raptors at all times, just for the added mobility and tactical options. Even at their worst, they’re still a big distraction: Your enemy will often target them not  because they’re especially dangerous to him but because they might become so later on. That in turn will draw away fire from your Berzerker squads, improving their chances of reaching the enemy lines in one piece.

The other reason for liking Raptors is an aesthetic one: They fit very well with the feeling of an army focusing on assault. They make even more sense in a World Eaters army from a fluff standpoint. They also offer great conversion options, and that has always been good enough for me!

So when I built my Raptors, it was clear that I would not be using the GW ones. Why I like their design well enough, I wanted my own Raptors to look like members of the World Eaters. I also didn’t want to miss the opportunity of creating interesting models myself.

My Raptors were built by mixing parts from the Berzerker and Chaos Space Marine kits. For their jump packs, I chose Maxmini’s standard jump packs. Back when I built those models, those were hands down my favourite choice. Meanwhile, Maxmini themselves have released two more variants that are more detailed, and Forgeworld has also taken up releasing Pre-Heresy jump packs, but back then, the ones by Maxmini were really the best way to go. I still like them a lot too, even though they’re less detailed than the newer releases. I especially like the turbine look they have going on, especially since it closely mimics GW’s Pre-Heresy World Eaters art.

I also tried to make them more interesting by raising them higher on their bases, so even the models with more static poses would look different enough from regular Berzerkers. The effect was achieved by adding all kinds of leftover pieces from different vehicle sprues, especially leftover Rhino doors.

But enough talk! Here’s what I ended up with:

I wanted this guy to be very dynamic and I used his base to support that effect. The downside is that it is quite hard to take a photo of him that gives you a good idea of the model, but oh well… Here’s a couple of extra shots:

Next up, one of my special weapons guys. As you can see, this model uses a flamer. I quite like the relatively sleek silhouette of the model in contrast to his bulky jump pack. The helmet was spliced together from that of a Khorne Berzerker and a regular CSM helmet, by the way.

The next guy has a more static pose, but I still like him. The base gives him a little extra dynamism, in my opinion.

And here’s the squad’s Icon Bearer. All my squads have Icon Bearers, regardless of whether they can actually get an icon or not. It’s just something that I have kept from my Warhammer Fantasy days, as I think that it really adds flavour to the army. I also try never to use an icon design twice across my army.

By the way, here’s something I found out by pure chance: By clipping off the small chain from the chainaxe’s handle, the weapon now looks far heaviery, since the focus is on the axe head instead of the grip. It’s just a small thing, but I think it works rather nicely.

And finally, my second flamer guy. I tried to make him look a little less static than the other one: Just because you’re wielding a flamer doesn’t mean you don’t get to use a chainsword, you know.

And finally, here’s a little family portrait of the squad so far.

Take note that this is not the whole squad, though: All in all, there’s seven more models where these came from: Two regular Raptors who usually serve as ablative wounds, two champs (one with a Powerfist, one with twin Lightning claws), two guys with Meltaguns and another Icon Bearer. I will usually run these guys in one squad of eight (what else?) as either tank hunters or infantry killers or in two squads of six, with both serving one of either role respectively. Unfortunately, that means that I still have quite  a bit of painting ahead of me until I can call these guys finished…

So, what do you think?

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