Archive for servo-skull

INQ28: More Grimdark Librarians of the 41st Millennium

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Fluff, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 28, 2018 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, after last week’s “blast from the past” diversion of repainting an old Star Wars action figure, let’s return to my Ordo Scriptorum retinue once again for this week. Allow me to share the latest completed inquisitorial operatives with you:

While most work on Inquisitor Orlant’s retinue is being spent on actually finishing models that have been built years ago, in an effort to make a dent in my painting backlog, the warband also keeps taking on new members as it develops. Take a look:

I. Screaming into the void

Let’s start with a very recent addition to the project: When most of the characters for Inquisitor Orlant’s retinue had already been hammered out, and while I was making good progress on the project, PDH, whose thoughts on the nature of the Ordo Scriptorum had originally inspired the project to begin with, pointed out to me that Orlant still needed his own astropath: One of Peter’s ideas for an organisation dealing so heavily in secrets lost and rediscovered knowledge was that every Inquisitor of the Ordo would have their own astropath, to better relay whatever secrets they had discovered to their superiors in the most direct fashion imaginable in the 41st millennium. And while the idea of having to come up with a totally new model to represent an astropath had me slightly wary for about five minutes, I also realised that this would provide me with yet another chance to channel inspiration I had drawn from Wayne England’s artwork.

I instantly recalled his illustrations for the various psyker disciplines (originally printed in the Dark Heresy rulebook and recently reused both for the 8th edition 40k rulebook and a Warhammer Community post). One in particular, seemed pretty ideal as a starting point for an astropath. This one here:

Illustration by Wayne England

My original plan was to use the Dark Eldar Medusae model as a base for the conversion, seeing how it already seemed so close to the artwork in many ways:

And while this would have worked pretty well, I discovered that the model had gone out of production. So instead of going on a wild goose chase in an attempt to procure it, I decided to force myself to actually use the bitz I already had at my disposal to come up with my own astropath conversion.

So here’s my interpretation. It’s not a perfect fit, but I think you’ll be able to see a certain resemblance:





Fortunately enough, I still had a pair of legs from the plastic Necromancer — they even came with a book worn at the hip, which was a fun little coincidence. A torso piece from the Genestealer Hybrids provided both the astronaut look that seemed rather fitting for an astropath, but also a slightly eerie, ever so subtly Gigeresque quality that matched the somewhat sinister general vibe of the warband.

And the Empire flagellant head with an almost picture perfect representation of the hairstyle appearing in the artwork, was a bit of a godsend, of course — that being said, the process of adding a Greenstuff bandage across the astropath’s eyes actually had me on the verge of a screaming fit, as the material just wouldn’t stick to the darn face. I am really glad I managed to pull it off in the end ๐Ÿ˜‰

Possibly the most involved part of the conversion was to build a suitable staff: It was spliced together from the haft of a Dark Eldar Hellion glaive and a couple of imperial bitz.

Oh, and here’s an angle matching the artwork that inspired the conversion a bit more closely:

Again, I’ll admit that my astropath isn’t really a perfect reproduction of the artwork, but rather takes some pointers from the illustration.

When It came to painting the model, my Ordo Scriptorum recipe was well established enough at this point to turn the paintjob into a pretty straightforward affair — I did discover that those Genestealer hybrid torso pieces look absolutely terrific when painted in glossy black, incidentally ๐Ÿ˜‰

One area where I had to compromise a bit was the bandage across the model’s eyes: My original plan had been to try and add some lettering to it, but I quickly realised that there was just not enogh space there to come up with something that wouldn’t turn into a jumbled mess of squiggles, so I decided to leave the bandage bare. I also went for a slightly darker colour to create a better contrast against the pale face. In the end, I think it was a sensible choice that makes the model less similar to the art, but arguably makes it work better in and of itself.

Anyway, here’s the finished model:

=][=

Ordo Scriptorum Astropath

 


All Inquisitors of the Ordo Scriptorum are assigned an astropath at the same time they receive their Inquisitorial Rosette. This agreement and gift from the Adeptus Astra Telepathica goes back to the beginning of the Ordo Scriptorum, when they were a breakaway sect of the Ordo Hereticus. The need for such a fine tool has proven its worth countless times, for having direct access to telepathic communication has saved many lives. In the eyes of the Ordo Scriptorum, the sooner mistakes are exposed to the relevant authorities to rectify the better.




And here’s a – slightly tweaked – comparison picture showing the artwork and the actual model side by side:

II. MOAR SKULLZ!

You are probably all familiar with the old Warhammer adage of “When in doubt, use MOAR SKULLZ!”, and as it turned out, Inquisitor Orlant’s warband also needed at least one additonal skull ๐Ÿ˜‰

Seriously, though, while looking at the warband and comparing it to the one that had come before, Inquisitor Arslan’s retinue, I realised that Arslan’s merry gang featured two pretty cool servo-skulls/familiars, while such a model was missing from my Ordo Scriptorum team. But servo-skulls are a cool and quintessental part of 40k, and also a sensible wargear choice for an Inquisitor, and I also happened to still have the servo-skull from the Deathwatch:Overkill boxed set in my bitzbox, so I decided to add him to the warband:

I didn’t really change anything about the skull, as it already had that slightly sinister, yet elegant vibe that I think fits the Ordo Scriptorum rather well. I did make sure the servo-skull’s trailing cables interacted with some torn book pages on the base, however.

So here’s the finished servo-skull:

Certainly not a major player in the warband, but good fun and easy to finish. Moving on ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

III. Masked Bodyguard

Now where the astropath and servo-skull are recent additions to Inquisitor Orlant’s warband, the next model in line had been sitting on top of my pile of unpainted models for a rather long time. We are talking about this lady here:

I originally started working on the modelย  back in 2013 as an homage to Bruticus’ brilliant Prima Carnifexa Absoluta:

Model built and painted by Bruticus

Model built and painted by Bruticus

 

Bruticus had originally envisioned his character as a member of a sun cult, venerating the Emperor of Manking in his sun aspect. and I loved both the concept and its execution so much that I wanted to build a model similar to Bruticus’ character.

I originally started with a Blood Angels Sanguinary Guard helmet, a torso from a Coven Throne Vampire and some Dark Eldar Wych parts. To be perfectly honest, however, the inital build rather lacked direction, moving from a very Dark Eldar-eque model…

…to something that seemed more like some kind of gladiator:

The one element that remained firmly in place was the concept behind the head: I always knew I wanted to splice together a Sanguinary Guard helmet (chosen for its obvious sun motif) with the lower half of a female Wych head. The initial conversion lacked a lot of finesse, however:

Thanks to some very helpful feedback from the Ammobunker’s INQ28 board back in the day, I realised that the face might have been a good idea, but it needed far more work. So I cut it all apart again, shaved some tiny amounts of plastic, carefully sanded down the mask’s features to be less masculine, very carefully glued it all together again, and ended up with this:


In the end, some WFB Empire arms were what finally made the model come together, turning it into its final incarnation as a masked bodyguard:

When it came to actually making the character a part of Orlant’s retinue, the feedback was generally unfavourable: Most commenters argued that the rather elegant carnival getup didn’t really mesh well with a warband mostly occupied with exploring sunken libraries and dusty archives.

But while that assessment definitely had some merit, I have always felt that there is also another angle to Orlant’s warband and his character, a slightly elegant and debonair look that is present in some elements of the retinue, and in some of its members: the colour of Orlant’s robes, that snazzy scaled cloak worn by his Interrogator or even the deadly elegance of the Clockwork Assassin.

To me, the masked bodyguard was another chance to explore this secondary angle to the warband, and I also like the idea that Inquisitors will attract a motley crew of operatives during their work, and not each of their henchmen – and -women – may be suited to the same kind of task. So if Orlant wants to hit an underground bibliocathedra, he might bring the creepy bureaucultist to help him deal with the place’s ancient filing system, but during a social function, he would definitely need somewhat more presentable retainers. Towards this end, the masked operative might seem like a misfit, but she also presents an interesting glimpse of the versatility present in an Inquisitor’s retinue.

Painting should have been as easy as applying my tried and true recipe again — however, one thing that happened during the painting process was that I decided that I wanted to use a darker skin tone for the character. I was actually rather frustrated when I realised that I would always default to caucasian skin tones when painting, and seeing how I had wanted to try my hand at something different for quite a while, this character seemed like a good occasion to break away from old habits. There was also the fact that the bodyguard and Alizebeth Selandrine shared a similar look, due to both making use of Dark Eldar Wych parts, so going for different skin tones also had the added benefit of making sure the characters would look suitably different from one another.

Anyway, here’s what I came up with:

I am actually really happy with how the skin colour adds a completely different dynamic to the entire figure! There’s also the fact that combining the Venetian carnical getup with dark skin also makes for exactly the kind of eclecticism that seems so quintessentially 40k to me.

Those sheathed blades/throwing knives on the model’s back were a bit of an eleventh hour addition, by the way — they were originally part of the Yvraine model I used to build Countess Mandelholtz, and seemed like the perfect addition to Orlant’s bodyguard.

Here’s a look at the finished model:

=][=

Masked Bodyguard


While much of Tiberias Orlant’s work is spent in dusty archieves and long lost bibliocathedra, the tasks of an Inquisitor are manifold, and often make it necessary to move through all layers of Imperial society. For those cases where interaction with the upper strata of the Velsen Sector is necessary, Orlant has cultivated the cover identity of a wealthy and elegant collector of the obscure, with eclectic interests and very deep pockets. Always at his side in the spires and courts of Velsen is a mysterious, masked bodyguard, whose athletic poise and fluid grace betray her utter deadliness.



While working on the model, I realised that I actually tried to channel the look and feel of two particularly cool characters of colour from videogames I have recently enjoyed: Vanasha (from Horizon Zero Dawn)…

and Billie Lurk (from the Dishonored series):

When all is said and done, I am pretty pleased with the finished model! And, as an added benefit, she very much counts as another model for Azazel’sย  “Neglected Model May” challenge, — so that makes four models for the challenge! What’s more, I am confident that next month’s challenge, focusing on units, should give me the incentive to finish the warband’s final member, the jolly chap on the right here:

That one last model is really all that’s still missing for Inquisitor Orlant’s retinue to be finished: The warband certainly has a rather nice and rounded out look by now, if I do say so myself:

So that’s it for this week’s update! I would love to hear any thoughts you might have about today’s models, or about the state of the warband as a whole! Please let me hear your thoughts in the comments!

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

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INQ28: I see fire

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 5, 2018 by krautscientist

So, with the festivities out of the way, I find myself quite motivated to keep painting stuff, which, given my usual laziness, is a bit of a surprise. It looks like the hobby challenges issued by Azazel and others are having quite a beneficial effect on my completion schedule, though. So after the “Neglected Model/Fembruary” challenge finally prompted me to paint a model I had wanted to finish for years at long last, I thought I might just take a peek at the next challenge. And Azazel didn’t disappoint: His current Squad:March! challenge once again provides the perfect incentive to keep working on my Ordo Hereticus warband and actually finish it until the end of the month — after leaving the models unpainted for years, this basically amounts to a record attempt for me ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyway, what do I have?

First up, two callbacks to my previous post: Inquisitorial Operative Tybalt Renner now finally has his base:



I made things than they needed to be by not building, undercoating and then painting the base along with the rest of the model: Like most old metal models, Tybalt still has the metal tag that connects both feet and slots into the base. Now I could have carefully sawed it off, of course, but I was actually glad for the added stability. So I carefully textured and painted the base around the already painted model, which is hardly an ideal approach…

Oh well, at least I think he really ties into the rest of the warband rather beautifully now.

I have also added the last finishing touches to the Imperial Missionary (actually a Brian Nelson sculpt, by the way: Eric Wier very helpfully cleared that up for me — cheers, mate!):


That’s not all, however, as I also have some new models to show you, though: One of the parts that are really iconic of the Inquisition (and, by extension, of the entire setting) for me are the many servo-skulls, cherubim and familiars appearing in the artwork. They really embody the quirkiness and gothic horror of the 40k universe, and at the same time, they recall painters like Hieronymus Bosch, among others. This is especially true of most pieces of art depicting the Ordo Hereticus, with many familiars and creepy little creatures flitting hither and yon in the background.

Unfortunately, we don’t get nearly enough cherubs and familiars in actual model form, and the ones that are (or were) available can be a bit of a mixed bag. I knew I wanted Inquisitor Arslan’s retinue to have some grimdark familiars in it, though, so I had to get creative.

Hence these guys:

The servo-skull was actually inspired by a small illustration from the old Codex Witch Hunters:

This little guy actually appears in many pieces of Ordo Hereticus related artwork, so I felt I needed him – or at least a similar model – for my own collection.

It was an easy enough conversion to get right — which is probably why I had already built the servo-skull quite a while ago:


A resin skull (sent to me by fellow hobbyist Biohazard) was combined with one of the firy headdresses from the Empire Flagellants kit. The dangling scroll came from a vehicle kit, I believe. Or maybe the old Ravenwing sprue?! Anyway, because the model was so light, creating the illusion of it floating was easily accomplished by gluing it to a plastic beam from an old Tamiya kit.

As for the paintjob, there were two main things to get right: The flames, for which I used the same approach that had already worked like a charm on my Redeptionist. Many thanks must go, once again, to Tales of Painters’ amazing tutorial for painting flames). The other effect I really wanted to nail was the scripture on the dangling parchment. So I used the – still pretty amazing – Ordo Hereticus/Sisters of Battle decal sheet to puzzle together something suitably convincing.

So here’s the finished model again:



Of course the servo-skull comes with its own dedicated promethium supply to keep that fire going ๐Ÿ˜‰


The little Angel of Death familiar, on the other hand, came about as the consequence of wanting to do something with some bitz from the Coven Throne I got via ebay (in an attempt to get my hands on the female vampires that come with the kit). Anyway, I thought a floating skeleton with a scythe seemed suitably menacing for a Hereticus warband ๐Ÿ˜‰


Once again, the conversion itself was fairly straightforward: The upper body was combined with the cabling from a Tempestus Scion servo-skull, and some wings from the Blood Angels’ Sanguinary Guard were added to the model’s back. I even wedged in a small exhaust port between the wings, to hint at some kind of propulsion system. Oh, and I exchanged the standard skull head for an actual servo-skull, to make the model look slightly more tech-y.

I went for a fairly no-frills paintjob, adding some gold to the wings for a slightly more luxurious, sculptural look:


So with these models painted, I already have a rather nifty looking group of Ordo Hereticus operatives, if I do say so myself:

There are only two members of the retinue left to finish at this point:

A female Death Cult Assassin:

And the big man himself, Inquisitor Nabreus Arslan:


I already have a big painting session scheduled for tomorrow, and I think I am going to have a go at Arslan — if only to prevent myself from making yet another dozen tweaks to the model. Wish me luck! ๐Ÿ™‚

On a partially related note, even before painting the most recent models, I realised that I have accumulated over 50 INQ28 models at this point — another small anniversary of sorts:


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

Inquisitor 28: Kitbashing spree pt. 3 โ€“ The Gothic and the Eldritch

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 28, 2014 by krautscientist

Welcome, dear readers, to the third part of my INQ28-related kitbashing showcase! I have yet more Inquisitorial agents and ne’er-do-wells to show you today, but where the first and second installment of this mini-series dealt with more ostentatious, “in your face” style servants of the God Emperor, today sees a return to the somewhat more shadowy and quirky parts of the 40k universe. Let’s take a look:

1. Xenobiology

First up something rather simple: Some time ago, I picked up one of the servitors accompanying FW’s Hector Rex model from a fellow hobbyist for a really great price. Rather than using it as a servitor, however, I believe I’ll make this guy into a Magos Xenobiologis:

Magos Xenobiologis WIP
I really like the look of the model, both because it’s rake thin, which makes for a rather unique visual footprint, and because it’s really close to my archetypal idea of a Magos of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Like I said, I believe this guy will become a Magos Xenobiologis, maybe to join Inquisitor Alvar’s retinue. The one thing I have done so far (apart from scrubbing the mold release agent off the model, mind you) was to cut off the tangle of cables serving as the model’s left hand. It will be replaced by a fairly regular hand — or maybe by that DV cultist champ hand with the blade tipped fingers? Anyway, this guy is not very far along yet, but I really love the base model!

 

II. Familiar faces

As evidenced by the retainers I recently built for Brother-Sergeant Auriga, I have developed a bit of a soft spot for servants, retainers and familiars — the kind of characters you always see loitering around in the background of the GW artwork, but that usually aren’t all that well represented in model form. Well, what better setting than INQ28 to do these unsung characters any justice?

First up, a small conversion that is really close to my heart: A while ago, fellow hobbyist and all around great guy PDH let me have a wonderful little powder monkey from one of the WFB Empire kits. The monkey is pretty much perfect in and of itself, and so the minuscule changes I made to the model were only intended to bring it more in line with the 40k setting.

I added some very subtle touches to turn the little guy into an augmeticised familiar, either for my Rogue Trader, Iskander Gagarin, or for a particularly eccentric AdMech priest (maybe even the WIP Magos pictured above)? In any case, here’s the model:

PeeDee the Monkey WIP (1)
Since the model’s so tiny, the conversion had to be rather subtle: I gave the monkey a tiny bionic eye and replaced the tail with a cable from a servo-skull, in order to make it look like it could be used to interface with machines. I would have replaced the barrel held by the monkey with a servo-skull for an even more grimdark look, but the very real danger of losing that perfectly sculpted little paw was enough to scare me off ๐Ÿ˜‰

I also needed to make the monkey familiar a little taller, and I used this opportunity to add even more of a 40k-feel to him by putting him on top of a techy bit (actually pilfered from an old model truck kit):

I really love this guy, to tell you the truth. Oh, and since Peter was awesome enough to give this wonderful model to me in the first place, what better way to thank him than to name the character after him, right? So, henceforth, this little guy will be called “PeeDee” by way of thanks ๐Ÿ˜‰

PeeDee the Monkey WIP (2)
The other familiar I built was a really fast and dirty kitbash that I completed one evening after work when I needed to do something creative in order to relax: I decided to build a servo-skull heavily inspired by the type of extra-grimdark skulls that appear in the Witch Hunter artwork. Take a look:

Grimdark Servo Skull WIP (1)
Again, a really easy conversion: I just added the top of a Empire flagellant’s head to a resin skull and blended in the seams with a bit of GS. Then a parchment was added, making it look like the skull was carrying around Imperial liturgies. And finally, some cables were used to provide a suitably tech-y look (and a certain sense of movement) to the whole affair. The whole thing didn’t take longer than rougly half an hour, but it was a fun little exercise to take my mind off things.

Grimdark Servo Skull WIP (2)

III. A charioteer to the stars

Last but definitely not least, a combination of different circumstances led me to build yet another, slightly more involved model: Maybe everything started when I first laid eyes on weirdingway’s absolutely spectacular Navigators and their household guard. I then read up on the Navigators’ background over at the Warhammer 40k Wiki, where I was also confronted with a particularly evocative piece of artwork done by none other than John Blanche himself:

artwork by John Blanche, Copyright: Games Workshop

artwork by John Blanche, Copyright: Games Workshop

I really love this piece because it perfectly combines some of the most interesting characteristics of the Navigators: The fact that they are shadowy and secretive, but with a certain flair and ostentatiousness. The subtle mutations and deformity created by millennia of incestuous intermarrying between the same cluster of houses. And the strange combination of hi-tech and mysticism that is so typical of the 40k setting. Anyway, all of these circumstances together really made me want to build a Navigator of my own!

There was also the fact that FW’s new event only model is a Navigator, providing a further motivation to come up with my own version in glorious plastic. So I merrily kitbashed away. Here’s the result:

Navigator (1)

Navigator (5)

Navigator (3)
Navigator (4)
As you can see, a WFB Empire Battle Wizard formed the base for the conversion, and the same kit did indeed provide most of the bitz I needed. The two things I wanted to push the most, from a visual perspective, were the Navigator’s ostentatiousness and his possible physical deformity (the exact degree of which is rather hard to ascertain, due to his billowing robes).

For the former effect, I took a page out of Forgeworld’s book for the model, giving the Navigator a rather flamboyant feather collar instead of one made of fox tails. The staff from the wizard kit is also the perfect sign of office for a powerful representative of an ancient Navigator house.

In order to achieve the latter effect, I had to be rather crafty, since the model’s robed body left me precious few options to hint at mutations, but a careful selection of bitz helped in giving the impression that the Navigator was somewhat …twisted. Chief among these bitz was the head from the Dark Vengeance Chosen champ — actually the bit that inspired the whole conversion in the first place! The model’s nose had already been slightly damaged and flattened during transport when I opened the box for the first time, and so I ultimately decided to replace the head. The third eye wasn’t all that fitting for a servant of Khorne anyway, but just the right thing to build a Navigator! And the slightly misshaped nose could be explained away as yet another manifestation of the poor chap`s rather limited gene pool. Beyond that, I added several additional subtle hints at physical deformity to the model — can you spot them all? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Navigator (2)
This guy will be used as a high-ranking representative of House DeVries, the Velsen sector’s pre-eminent navigator house. I also cannot help seeing this character as a bit of an evil guy: Not a clear-cut villain or a follower of chaos, mind you, but a schemer and slightly depraved individual. Here’s a short quote that came to my head – unbidden – while I was working on the model:

“I am aware, my lord, that my kind disgust you. I need not look into your soul to see your revulsion, for it is written all over your face. You shiver at our nature, and at our perceived unwholesomness. But oh, my lord, if you could only see us how we really look, in the realms behind the veil…” (insert malicious chuckling here)

Another thing I would like to do is to add a couple of retainers to him, representing members of his personal household guards. These will be ruthlessly inspired by weirdingway’s amazing rag tag Navigatorial retainers, so take a look at his thread (wait, you should do that anyway!) and you’ll know what to expect.

 

So yeah, so much for my recent fit of kitbashing inspiration. I hope this mini-series has been interesting enough for you to follow — now I’ll have to work up the motivation to break out the paints, lest all of these models end up in my cupboard of shame. Let’s keep our fingers crossed, shall we? ๐Ÿ˜‰

In any case, I’d be happy to hear any feedback or criticism you might have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!