Archive for skulltaker

ETL V: Daemon Days

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 2, 2016 by krautscientist

So in spite of rather sad recent events, I did manage to get some hobby time in — but then I did have an incentive, too! Once again, The Bolter & Chainsword is running its annual “E Tenebrae Lux” event, and once again, I have decided to join in on the fun — once more on the side of chaos, of course. Unlike last year, however, I fully intend to complete my vow this time around, and I can already happily announce that I have managed to make some headway! But we’ll be getting there in an minute.

One reason for failing to complete the models I had pledged last year was because I was simply too ambitious, including my Chaos Knight in the deal and then failing miserably to deliver. Granted, Gilgamesh did see completion eventually, so it all ended well enough, but I wanted to take it a bit more slowly this time around. So I went through my collection of unpainted chaos models and chose an ensemble of miniatures that would present a realistic challenge — but equally important was to choose some models that I really, really wanted to finally see finished! So here’s what I came up with for my first vow:

EL 2016 1st vow (1)
From left ro right, a counts-as Skulltaker that was converted when the Skullreapers/Wrathmongers were released, a converted Kastelan Robot now pledged to Khorne’s Eternal Hunt, and finally: Lord Dumah, the 4th assault company’s Apothecary. This last model had already been a part of my failed 2015 vow, and I have already made several attempts at painting it — so many, in fact, that I was just about prepared to consider the model jinxed for a while there. So he would definitely have to be a part of this year’s vow, if only in order to finally break the spell ๐Ÿ˜‰

Before I started in earnest, however, I needed something fun and easy to get me in the mood: It has been quite some time since I painted my last World Eaters, so something to ease me back into the flow of things.

Fortunately enough, an idle half-hour’s work provided just the thing: I came acorr the huge icon of Khorne that originally belonged to the Bloodsecrator model from the Age of Sigmar starter box. But while the piece was brilliantly designed, it was also freakishly huge and certainly too big to be lugged around by a mere footlslogger… but then I started thinking about turning it into an optional banner to be mounted on my Chaos Knight, Gilgamesh, and then things just started falling into place. And I ended up with this:

Gilgamesh with banner (5)
Gilgamesh with banner (1)
Gilgamesh with banner (4)
Gilgamesh with banner (2)

As you can see, the icon’s size is indeed pretty much ideal for a Chaos Knight! And I was lucky enough to find a leftover piece from an old model truck kit (I am really getting quite some mileage out of those old leftovers, come to think of it!) that neatly fit into the hole at the center of the Knight’s carapace. Painting the icon itself was a quick and fun affair, because I could really make the most of the brilliantly executed bone texture:
Gilgamesh with banner (3)
It was mostly a matter of basecoating, then washing with brown wash, and then appyling two quick sets of selective drybrushing. That first coat of paint was a bit of a slog though, as it was pretty hard to get the paint into all those nooks and crannies.

Anyway, I am pretty happy with the result, especially since this was mostly just a fun little gaiden project ๐Ÿ˜‰ Possibly my favourite part is how the icon neatly slots neatly into that hole in the middle of the top carapace without any need for glue or magnets. So I can add the banner or take it off again at will — maybe it could even work as some kind of extra equipment?! Whatever, I imagine Baron Harrowthorne just has the Sacristans mount it in place whenever he is feeling especially Khornate… ๐Ÿ˜‰

So with this small appetiser out of the way, I turned my attention to the first proper ETL model. I chose the Skulltaker conversion as the first model to work on:

Counts as Skulltaker WIP (1)
There was a reason for this, too: Ever since I first watched Duncan Rhodes’ very interesting two-part video series about painting the plastic Bloodthirster, I have wanted to try that recipe on a model of my own. And the Skulltaker conversion seemed like the perfect occasion to give it a try, both because I wanted the model’s skin to resemble that of Duncan’s Bloodthirster, and because I needed a model to serve as a “test run” to see if the recipe might work on my own Bloodthirster as well at some point in the indeterminate future.

So I faithfully reproduced almost the entire first video on my own model (albeit using far smaller brushes, for obvious reasons ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), and after a short while, I had this:

Skulltaker PIP (1)
The skin was mostly painted with several passes of drybrushing using different shades of red, rounding things off with a coat of the Bloodletter glaze and the application of some final highlights on the most prominent parts. I really loved the result and felt like I was definitely on to something here!

For the second half of the paintjob, I decided to deviate from Duncan’s tutorial: With the model’s skin looking fairly different from the red appearing in my World Eaters army, I decided I wanted to use the armour and weapon to create a bit of visual consistency, so I painted those areas using the same recipes for brass and daemon weapons that you can also see on my World Eaters. So only a short while later, the model looked like this:

Skulltaker PIP (4)

I was actually really happy with the result, and all that was left at this point was to add some finishing touches and to provide the models with a suitable base, so that’s what I did. Now under normal circumstances, Iย  I am not a big fan of skull bases, but it did feel appropriate to use one, just this once ๐Ÿ˜‰

So here’s my first completed model for this year’s ETL, base and all: Calvarax the Exalted, my counts as Skulltaker (actually my first daemon of Khorne, strangely enough…):

Calvarax the Exalted, counts as Skulltaker (1)
Calvarax the Exalted, counts as Skulltaker (4)
Calvarax the Exalted, counts as Skulltaker (6)
Calvarax the Exalted, counts as Skulltaker (7)
Calvarax the Exalted, counts as Skulltaker (8)
Calvarax the Exalted, counts as Skulltaker (9)
Calvarax the Exalted, counts as Skulltaker (10)
Calvarax the Exalted, counts as Skulltaker (11)
Calvarax the Exalted, counts as Skulltaker (12)
Calvarax the Exalted, counts as Skulltaker (13)

And here’s a closer look at the (admittedly somewhat tacky) skull base:

Calvarax the Exalted, counts as Skulltaker (14)
Like I said, one thing that was important to me was that, although there would be a clear (and intentional) difference between the colours used on the daemon and the colours used on my World Eaters, the model would also feature enough visual touches to read as an ally to Khorne’s Eternal Hunt. And I think the sword and bronze part of the armour do a pretty good job with achieving that. Take a look:

Lorimar & Calvarax

I am really very happy with the model, to be honest! It may not look like it, but I really moved beyond my comfort zone with this piece, especially when it comes to the recipe for the skin! By the same token, I can only recommend you check out Duncan Rhodes’ video tutorials linked above, as it really provides a teriffic and very well-explained approach to painting Khornate daemons!

And with that, my first model for ETL V has been completed. Next up, that blasted Apothecary that I couldn’t seem to finish yet ๐Ÿ˜‰

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

Calvarax the Exalted, counts as Skulltaker (3)

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There will be blood — a hands on with the Bloodthirster and Skullreaper kits

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Pointless ramblings, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2015 by krautscientist

In my last post, I promised you an account of my first practical experiences with the new Bloodthirster and Skullreaper/Wrathmonger kits, and today’s post will deal with just this subject. So you may look forward to quite a bit of kitbashing. Huzzah! ๐Ÿ˜‰

But all in good order: Before we do anything else, there’s something that I absolutely need to share with you guys. It would probably be far more modest and professional not to talk about it at all, but I am just too much of a blabbermouth — sorry! ๐Ÿ˜‰

So yeah, here’s what happened over at Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s blog a while ago:

YES!

I was chuffed to bits, as you can probably imagine! Unbelievable! I just couldn’t stop grinning afterwards!

But enough about my ego: I promised you Khornate WIPs, and you shall have them. So allow me to show you what’s been happily bubbling away in the depths of my kitbashing laboratory for the last days and weeks. One last warning, though: Beware ye, who enter here: There be lots of unpainted grey plastic ahead!

 

I. Bloodthirster

I bought my own Bloodthirster on the day of the release, although I hadn’t even planned to: I just couldn’t resist when seeing the box at my FLGS, and seeing how there was still one of the kits available for purchase, I jumped right in. So far, building this model has been a lot of fun, since it continues the trend of well-planned huge kits begun with the Imperial Knight. But let’s take a look at some pictures, shall we?

Bloodthirster Impressions (1)
This is my Bloodthirster after an hour or so. Now I did take it fairly slow, even though it may not look like it: Like I said, it’s a wonderfully engineered kit, and it went together extremely well, for the most part.

For those of of wondering about the size of the model, here he is, next to a standard Space Marine:

Bloodthirster Impressions (2)
The Bloodthirster could always have been bigger, of course, but I am rather happy with the model’s size and bulk. There’s also a very handy scale conversion pic here, for those of you who want to know how the model measures up next to the other Bloodthirster models released so far.

One interesting thing is that nobody forces you to build your Bloodthirster all armoured up: Here’s what he looks like with all the armour plates removed:

Bloodthirster Impressions (4)
In fact, Noctus Cornix’ Bloodthirster conversion (which I already recommended you check out in my last post) goes for a mostly unarmoured look, and it works like a charm!

The only armour you will positively need is that belly plate, since he’ll have a pretty big hole in his torso, otherwise.

Oh, and I know you all want to know about the size of that axe, so here’s another scale comparison for you:

Bloodthirster Impressions (6)
Pretty big, huh? I added some measurements, for those of you who are planning a conversion involving the axe:

axe_measurements
So, what’s in the kit beyond that? First and foremost, you’ll get the option to build either of the three advertised variants, of course. You also get to mix and match between them to a certain degree. I suppose it should even be possible to create new weapons setups (twin axes, for example) with a bit of cutting and gluing. Now when it comes to extra bitz, here’s a a quick overwiev of my observations so far:

  • You get an additional set of arms (for the two handed axe) plus an additional left arm, depending on whether you go with the whip or that – very ridiculous – meteor hammer.
  • There’s an alternate breastplate, loincloth and belly plate. You can mix and match between different setups with these.
  • You get three complete heads (except for a tongue bit that is shared between two of the designs). The leftover heads are slightly larger than those in the plastic Daemon Prince kit, so they might even be usable on your DP conversions.
  • There’s a bunch of chains and talismans of Khorne that you can use on the wings or be used on different models
  • you get two axe heads for the one-handed axe.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the bitz:

Bloodthirster Impressions (5)
I. The optional skull shoulder pad is interesting in that it would possibly work as a facemask on a daemon engine or *gasp* even an Imperial Knight conversion (it works fairly well on an Imperial Knight head — I checked ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

II. If – like me – you think that flame pillar is a stupid way to elevate the model on the base, you’ll get it as a leftover bit that might make a cool objective marker or something similar…

III. Here’s the alternate armour set you get: Those belly plates work pretty well as bespoke pauldrons for Chaos Terminators. And the breastplate could be used for an Imperial Knight, with a tiny bit of bending.

IV. The chains and talismans for the wings — I think I’ll rather be using these on a couple of different models, as the Bloodthirster seems cluttered enough for my taste ๐Ÿ˜‰

In closing, let me point out two more interesting bitz:

First up, the chaos icon used on the Bloodthirster’s whip:

Bloodthirster Impressions (3)
I think this would make for an excellent squad standard or a back-banner. I also decided not to use it on my Bloodthirster, because I preferred a whip without a bulky object on its end, but the part is still very cool on its own. More on this in a minute!

There’s also the Rogue Trader-era styled bone crown:

Bloodthirster Impressions (7)
As you can see, it comes as a separate bit, so you could also use it on your DPs, juggernauts or even on a Terminator lord (it almost looks like the top of a Terminator torso front anway…).

So, what about my own Bloodthirster, then?

The model is still in its building stage, and I have settled on the axe/whip combo now, because it’s just so brilliantly iconic that I couldn’t resist it. Here’s what the model currently looks like:

Bloodthirster Impressions (10)
Bloodthirster Impressions (8)
I’ve glued the model to the fantasy base for now, so I can have it upright. A couple of observations:

  • As you can see, this guy is fairly massive, even without his wings. I really like that!
  • After much deliberation, I chose the asymmetrical axe head: While the other axe is beautifully designed, it just looks slightly wrong to me, held at that particular angle — more like the ‘Thirster is presenting it to the audience. The asymmetrical version doesn’t have that problem, at least not to the same degree, and looks like he is actually preparing for a swing, so it was definitely the way to go for me.
  • You wouldn’t believe how much messing around it took to sort out that whip arm — the instructions are slightly ambiguous, with pictures that aren’t all that helpful, so getting the whip into a position where it both cleared the floor and didn’t interfere with the head did take some doing. In all fairness, however, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem if you use something to elevate the model a bit on its base. As you can see, I also left off the chaos star, shaving down the whip so it tapers down into a pointy end instead — this seems more natural and plausible to me, plus I got to keep that burning chaos star for something else ๐Ÿ˜‰

Most of the assembly work has been completed at this point: Only the wings remain, and they seem like a fairly straightforward affair. All in all, the model really went together very well for such a huge piece, with well-planned seams making the model look organic and natural — well, as natural as a daemonic killing machine the size of a house could ever realistically look, at least…

That’s not all though: At the same time, I have also been using some leftover bitz on some other projects:

Since I knew I wasn’t going to use the meteor hammer weapon, no matter what, I used the chain from it to add a final, gladiatorial dash to one of my Daemon Princes:

World Eaters Daemon Prince (34)
World Eaters Daemon Prince (32)
World Eaters Daemon Prince (33)
Some leftover icons of Khorne (and two runes from the vambrace of a leftover Bloodthirster arm) were used to add some extra oomph to his armour and make him look more Khornate. The main attraction is his weapon, though: Both hookswords are now joined by a length of daemonic chain, courtesy of the Bloodthirster’s meteor hammer:

World Eaters Daemon Prince (30)
World Eaters Daemon Prince (29)
I think this pushes the gladiatorial look even further, which I really like! And while we are at it, here’s a scale comparison picture with the WIP Bloodthirster and the Daemon Prince:

Bloodthirster Impressions (9)
I also promised you that I would be using that flaming chaos star for a conversion, right? Well, I did:

Dark Apostle Belzas Azalon (3)
As you can see, it makes for a teriffic Crozius Maul for my Word Bearers Dark Apostle, Belzas Azalon (I also touched up the right shoulder pad, while I was at it).

So in addition to the Bloodthirster itself, the kit has already provided me with a way to make two models considerably cooler — very nice! ๐Ÿ˜‰

II: Skullreapers/Wrathmongers

I have also started experimenting with the Wrathmonger/Skullreaper kit.

First up, take a look at this scale comparison between a (slightly modified) Chosen model and a Wrathmonger:

Wrathmongers_first_impressions (1)
While the Wrathmonger may be slightly taller, the scale is still pretty similar — so similar, in fact, that parts from the Chosen will fit the new models without much of a hitch. It’s also important to stress that the guy on the right doesn’t even qualify as an early WIP — I just tacked together some bitz, in order to show you the scale.

I also find it interesting that some of the – almost comically brutish – Skullreaper heads work much better when used on “regular” CSM models. Take a look:

Wrathmongers_first_impressions (2)
Much better, don’t you think? I’ve merely shaved off those stupid “cheek horns”, but now the head makes for a very fitting World Eaters berzerker!

Oh, and one thing that really excites me is that you basically get twice as many torso pieces as you need: One set for the Skullreapers and one for the Wrathmongers. And each of those pieces has its own breastplate, which can be used as intended or cut apart to use on your other WoC/CSM models — all in all, this kit provides an enormous pile of leftover bitz for conversions, which makes it a pretty good purchase, if you are not totally disgusted by the look of these guys.

I also decided to follow my idea above, playing around with a combination of Skullreaper/Wrathmonger parts and Dark Vengeance Chosen. Let’s start with something boring: The same Wrathmonger pictured above, now with a tacked on Chosen arm:

Wrathmongers_first_impressions (3)
Everything’s just tacked together for now, in order to show you how well those Chosen arms work with the models.

And here’s something more involved: A mix of Wrathmonger/Skullreaper and Chosen parts:

Wrathmongers_first_impressions (4)
Wrathmongers_first_impressions (5)
Once again, all the parts have only been tacked together with modeling putty for now, but there’s something suitably gladiatorial and feral about this guy that I like. I also think the model serves as proof that those leftover Wrathmonger chests can really be put to good use!

One important thing, though: Once again, the stock Wrathmongers/Skullreapers are a bit taller than the DV Chosen:

Wrathmongers_first_impressions (6)

So the best approach would probably be to save the Wrathmongers/Skullreapers for unit champs, Chaos Lords etc. Or you could choose an approach similar to that of Wonkobaggins and use the Skullreapers as counts as chaos spawn and/or Red Butchers. Check out his first experiments with the kit here.

One last thing I did was to play around with the reverse-jointed set of legs for a while: I think it would make for an excellent start for building a plastic Herald of Khorne — or even a counts as Skulltaker! After a bit of messing around, here’s what I ended up with:

Plastic Skulltaker counts as WIP (1)
Plastic Skulltaker counts as WIP (2)
Plastic Skulltaker counts as WIP (3)
Plastic Skulltaker counts as WIP (4)

All in all, this has been a surprisingly easy conversion: Most of the model is simply a stock Skullreaper, with the arms and head replaced with Bloodletter (and Bloodcrusher) bits. The body already has the characteristic, pocked skin, so it looks like it belongs to a Bloodletter anyway. And the armour is jagged and organic enough to pass for daemonic, don’t you think? One thing I did was to graft on a Bloodletter neck, so I would have a more natural way of attaching the head.

I am still thinking about adding a cape like the one the original Skulltaker has: On the one hand, it seems like a fun challenge (and I do have an idea that might work), but on the other hand, I am really happy with the dynamic posing and striking silhouette the model has right now, and I fear an added cape would just overclutter the model…

And finally, in an act of nearly unprecedented heresy, at least for my own standards, I used some of the hip plates from the Skullreapers’ armour in order to make the armour of a true scaled Slaaneshi Marine I built at an earlier point look more, well, Slaaneshi:

Emperor's Child (3)
Emperor's Child (4)

So far for my first round of experiments with the Skullreaper/Wrathmonger kit. In any case, I’d like to point out that I am really going to take my time with these guys, so it will probably be a good long while before I complete all five models. Even so, I’ll be using some of the additional bitz from the kit for all kinds of projects, so you’ll be seeing a lot of stuff from this kit making an appearance in Khorne’s Eternal Hunt! ๐Ÿ˜‰

III. Generosity

In a move of nearly unbelievable generosity, Commissar Molotov recently sent me a huge pile of stuff, including a lot of leftover Dark Vengeance Chosen and Chosen parts. It’s his generosity that has made my experiments above possible, for which I am very thankful. But that’s not even all: Mol provided an amazing bitz drop with lots and lots of fantastic contents. For instance, he sent me this wonderful Kharn conversion: Malthus Dire, a champion of Khorne:

Model converted by Commissar Molotov

Model converted by Commissar Molotov

Mol informed me that this conversion is actually about ten years old! Which goes to show that good, clean conversion work never goes out of style. It also goes without saying that I’ll make sure to paint him up to the best of my abilities, in Mol’s honour!

I have also used yet another Chosen from the batch he sent me for a different conversion: Taking inspiration from DexterKong’s brilliant World Eaters counts as Huron Blackheart, I have created my own version of the character for Khorne’s Eternal Hunt. Now my version is certainly somewhat less impressive than Dexter’s, and it’s not a true scale model either, seeing how it needs to be scaled correctly to fit the rest of my army, but I am nevertheless very happy with it. Take a look:

Counts as Huron WIP (7)
Counts as Huron WIP (8)
Counts as Huron WIP (9)
As you can see, most of stock Huron’s characteristic elements are there — I even got a bit of a kick out of having the model in a pose similar to that of the stock model, albeit more dynamic. Oh, and let me just add that the axe was inspired by a similar (albeit much more elegant) weapon conversion done by Biohazard!

One thing I really like is how carefully shaving off the original head allowed me to keep some of the cabling from the stock head and make it look like they are feeding into the bionic side of the head:

Counts as Huron WIP (6)
The model’s pretty much finished at this point — although I am still considering whether or not to add some longer claws to the left fist…

 

So, as you can see, the great forges of the Blood God are running hot right now! I’d be happy to hear any feedback you might have about these models! Just drop me a comment and feel free to share suggestions or ideas of your own! And expect more Khornate madness soon ๐Ÿ˜‰

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