Archive for sorcerer

#HeroQuest2019: A Christmas Carol…of Undead Sorcery

Posted in Conversions, heroquest, old stuff, paintjob, Pointless ramblings, Totally worth it with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 24, 2019 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, so here is my Christmas post for this year, and right in time for the festivities, no less. And I have prepared something for you that is at least a little heartwarming, as is only right and proper for this season.

Furthermore, one of my first hobby activities this year has been to return to the very beginnings of my life as a hobbyist and paint some old HeroQuest models, so it seems only fitting that one of the year’s last posts should also deal with the very same game — so what is this about?

Speaking of HeroQuest, you may have seen how my biggest ongoing hobby project this year was to paint an entire HeroQuest set, and for once I actually managed to go through with it. Ye Olde Inn, a forum dedicated to all things HeroQuest, became an indispensable part of this project, so when the forum ran its annual “Ye Olde Inn Christmas Exchange”, it was clear to me that I really wanted to participate, both as a small way of giving something back to the community, but also because I like events like this, where everyone builds a model and sends it off to somebody else.

So I really wanted to do something cool for the exchange! And this ambition doubled when I learned that my model would go to fellow hobbyist Weltenlaeufer whom I was happy to advise on painting his own HeroQuest models throughout the year. Now he had told me multiple times that he really liked my models, and flattery will, of course, get you anywhere with me 😉

But on a more serious note, this meant that there was a fairly good chance that he would like having a model built and painted by me in his collection — but I really wanted to give it my all and not just paint any old standard model (although “standard models” can be rather lovely when painted really well, as we will see later in this post).

Anyway, I reflected for a bit on what kind of model would be cool enough for this endeavour, and I settled on the closest thing the basic HeroQuest game system has to an arch-villain: The Witch Lord, as seen here painted by the great Les Edwards.

Illustration by Les Edwards

As I have already outlined before, I instantly fell in love with that illustration when I first saw it — enough so, in fact, that I used it as an inspiration when I finally built my own version of the Witch Lord earlier this year:

“So yeah, how about sending Weltenlaeufer a Witch Lord? That would certainly be cool!” But how would I go about building another one?

Fortunately enough, as outlined in my original Witch Lord post, I had come up with a plan for a plastic Witch Lord conversion as my original approach before later using an old Citadel metal model for the actual conversion. But I still felt that this recipe could work really well for the task I was facing now. The approach would look similar in nature to this renegade psyker I built a few years ago:

The basic combination of bitz at the heart of this approach – combining the legs of an Empire flagellant with a Skaven Stormvermin torso – makes for a slightly stooped and subtly sinister body that works for all kinds of villainous sorcerer types, Witch Lords included. But even though the basic idea was sound, it still took me a rather long while before I finally came up with a basic setup that worked:

Taking Les Edward’s illustration as my main point of reference once again, I tried to go for a model that would hit enough of the artwork’s visual cues to read as the Witch Lord, even if it didn’t reproduce every element from the artwork. I still tried to make it a rather close fit, though, and bitz from about ten different kits went into making the model look right, including a Skeleton warrior head, a ghoul hand, some Empire Knight feet and a Bloodletter mandible. By lucky chance, I tried the horns I got as a leftover piece from when I shaved horns off the new vanilla CSM helmets to replace them with Khornate helmet crests a while back , and they really made the helmet work so much better.

Here’s the model just a bit later, glued together and with the necessary tweaks in place:

Up to this point, however, I still wasn’t entirely sure whether or not I was on to something. That changed after undercoating, though, when all the disparate parts really turned into something that looked reasonably closely like a HeroQuest model:

When painting my new Witch Lord conversion, I tried to basically recreate my earlier paintjob, with just a few minor tweaks here and there, and went for the classic triad of basecoats,…


…and higlights.

I spent quite a bit of time on that last part, obviously, to make sure the model would really work as a centre piece character.

So here’s my finished plastic Witch Lord:

I was really very happy with the outcome, as this felt like a worthy contribution to the Christmas exchange. And I do think the model holds up when placed next to my original Witch Lord model. Take a look:

I would be hard-pressed to decide which of these I like better. True, my original model is quite a bit flashier, on account of using a different base model, but the new version is actually much closer to the kind of model you would actually find in a HeroQuest set from back in the day (it is also, it has to be said, much easier to recreate for someone who wants to build their own Witch Lord, which is useful).

At the same time, I did my best to create a subtle connection between both models: They both use an identical palette and the weird avian skull on their respective staffs is also just the same. And they both – hopefully – match the piece of artwork that inspired them to begin with:

The new Witch Lord also looks pretty convincing next to some actual HeroQuest models, if you ask me:

So that was my model for Weltenlaeufer’s HeroQuest conversion done and dusted, right? Not quite, because I wasn’t finished yet:

I also wanted to make sure the packaging matched the style of the model, and seeing how the Witch Lord emerges his tomb, as represented by the little sarcophagus that comes in the HeroQuest set,…

I thought it would be really cool to incorporate this element in my package as well, so I used “Keramin”, a plaster like material that dries really fast and hard, in order to make a quick copy of the lid:

Talk about happy accidents: The casting process was actually not quite perfect, leading to some bubbles that marred the face of the reclining figure. But they actually ended up making the face look even more gaunt and undead, which was of course ideal in this case:

So I painted the copied lid up in suitably stony colours…

…and used it to add that certain je-ne-sais-quoi to Weltenlaeufer’s package, so upon opening it, he would find this:

A recreation of the Witch Lord’s tomb, to be opened by an intrepid (or foolish) adventurer to unleash an ancient horror upon the Old World…

Mission accomplished, at long last! So I packed it all up and sent it off to Poland towards the end of November, then spent a frantic week or so wondering whether the postal service would somehow manage to mess this up. They didn’t, however, so not only did my little Witch Lord arrive in time, but Weltenlaeufer also ended up really liking the model, by the looks of it:

Yay! 🙂

Even better, actually: As if on cue, Weltenlaeufer had recently picked up a brand new set of brilliant tabletop catacombs from Dwarven Forge.

Here’s my, pardon his plastic Witch Lord surveying his new domain:

By the way, you can check out more of Weltenlaeufer’s very cool ongoing HeroQuest related work on his thread here.

So all’s well that ends well, right? Hah, we’re still not at the end! Because not only did I send off a model, I also received one in return: Last week, I received a package from fellow forumite Anderas, and out came this gnarly little gentleman here:

A wonderfully painted Orc — far neater than anything I have ever painted myself! This goes to show how my aversion to “standard models” was entirely misguided. The delightful little git has also managed to get his hands on a chaos warrior sword, it seems, and seems to be handling it very delicately, given that one protective glove 😉

What’s probably the nicest bit here, however, is that the model also features some rather lovely painted on cobblestones:

Anyway, thanks a lot Anderas, and indeed all the fellow forumites from Ye Olde Inn, who have made this little event such a heartwarming affair! I urge you to check out the rest of the contributions — some very creative riffs on HeroQuest models can be found in the event thread.

And, of course, thank you to my readers and commenters! I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and hope you’ll be having a great holiday season!

I’ll be back later this month – if all goes well – with this year’s installment of the Eternal Hunt Awards, whatever that may look like. Until then, I would, of course, love to hear any thoughts you might have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

#HeroQuest2019: The Forces of Chaos

Posted in Chaos, heroquest, old stuff, paintjob with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 20, 2019 by krautscientist

In a way, all of the greenskins and undead I have painted for my #HeroQuest2019 project so far have mostly been a preparation for the models I want to share with you in today’s post — because even back when I got my first HeroQuest set, I immediately fell in love with the chaos models above all others: This was basically my very first contact with GW’s approach to the forces of chaos, but even back then, the faceless, armoured menace of the HeroQuest chaos warriors deeply appealed to me — and with long lasting consequences, arguably, because I am still a fan of heavily armoured, spiky chaos models to this very day!

So I wanted to do the chaos warrior models justice, but I was also slightly nervous about coming up with the right recipe for them. And there was also another problem, one that becomes obvious when you take a look at the chaos warriors appearing in this picture:

Yes, two of them had already been painted previously — and quite horribly so, to be honest: The first model was caked in an absolutely atrocious paintjob that mostly consisted of a thick coat of Blood Red, slathered over an even thicker undercoat of the old white GW primer. Even with several scrubbing sessions, I wasn’t able to completely strip off the paint, so I feared he would never exactly be a beauty again:

Case in point, there was even a weird lump on his left shoulder that didn’t match the look of the other chaos warriors, and only after some prying with a hobby knife did I discover that it was an ancient lump of superglue… Oh well… 😉

His buddy, on the other hand, seemed like he would be less of a problem, because old his paintjob was a lot thinner — it consisted of hard to remove scale model acrylics, though, so even after stripping, there was still some black on him:

…So these two were the models I started with. Here’s another look at them, next to an old plastic WFB/Talisman chaos warrior whom I may use to represent the named chaos warriors that appear in some of the quests. Since he already looks like a slightly upgraded version of the HeroQuest models anyway, this seems like a pretty sound approach (as an aside, I still have an entire squad of those old plastic warriors that forms a part of my very first WFB chaos army):

So it was clear that I would start with the more damaged of the two chaos warriors as my guinea pig, because there was simply a lot less left to lose with that – already pretty rough – model. But still, the question remained: What recipe was I to use for my HeroQuest chaos warriors?

My first point of reference was to take a look at the classic Mike McVey paintjob from back in the day:

But it didn’t take me long to realise that this approach wouldn’t work for me: I am no Mike McVey, for one, and wasn’t sure I would be able to reproduce all of the tiny patterns and detail you can see in the model above — and I also have to admit that the finished look seemed just a bit too trippy and artistic to me — I was looking for something a little more down to earth for my own models.

Another approach that I had seen fellow hobbyists use was to paint each of the four chaos warriors as a follower of one of the four chaos gods, respectively. This seemed like such a cool idea, and I really thought about it for quite a while. In the end, however, I really wanted the four models to work as a massive, unified block of inhuman, armoured malice, and having them in all colours of the rainbow would have worked against that intended effect.

So I went back to the other obvious reference material: The chaos warrior monster card included in the game itself:

Now this seemed quite a bit closer to home — and it would also have the added benefit of perfectly matching GW’s classic “Red Period” for chaos models.

So here’s how my first test model turned out:

GW’s modern red hues look great when layered on top of one another, so they also worked like a charm when highlighting the armour. I was basically able to use a variant of Duncan Rhodes’ Bloodthirster recipe (which I also used to paint my own Bloodthirster and Daemon Primarch Angron conversion, respectively.)

The sculpt itself helped a lot, as well — in fact, it feels like those old HeroQuest chaos warriors were basically invented to teach people how to edge-highlight armour plates. Granted, the results are still not quite as tidy and clean as I would have liked, but I was still really happy with the finished piece — and all on a model that had seemed like a total loss beforehand, no less! 🙂

So I quickly painted the second chaos warrior in line, the one that had previously been painted black all over:

Things got even easier afterwards, because the remaining two chaos warriors were still pristine and didn’t require any salvage operations. So it didn’t take me long to finish the entire set of four chaos warriors:

So with the success of finishing the chaos warriors still fresh on my mind, I turned to the model I actually feared the most: The Chaos Warlock:

Don’t worry, we’ll be getting to this guy in a furture post…

The Gargoyle may be the showiest, biggest and most complex monster in the HeroQuest box, but I think I like the Chaos Warlock even better — again, I blame being a huge fan of Skeletor during my childhood. But even from a modern perspective, I think it’s one of the most interesting models in the box, and one that hasn’t really been superseded by flashier, subsequent Warhammer releases. There’s also the iconic pose — anyway, to make a long story short, I think the Warlock is the coolest model in the entire HeroQuest box, period.

Unfortunately, he was also always and, invariably, the first model to be lost for good. I have actually managed to lose two of those over the years — I distinctly remember painting one of them about about 25 years ago, it was even the first model I ever used actual Citadel Paints on, incidentally. But it’s nowhere to be found today, probably lost at the bottom of a moving box in the attic or basement…

So I was really lucky when, back in 2013, fellow hobbyist (and grimdark impresario) Alexander Winberg was awesome enough to send me an extra chaos warlock — and after the model had been part of my to-do pile for more than five years, I felt it was finally time to get it painted at long last, nervous though I was about the prospect…

Once again, I first looked at the classic McVey paintjob:

And even after doing quite a bit of research, this was where I ended back up — it’s just the most inconic way of painting this model, and the one that seems to work best (unless you are going for a direct copy of Filmation Skeletor’s look):

So for once, I would try to approximate a McVey paintjob directly — no small feat, certainly…

Another point of reference that helped immensely during the painting process was RemyT’s warlock (his are probably the best-painted HeroQuest models in existence), and his version actually used the plastic model, and not the metal pre-production prototype, which definitely helped.

Anyway, I had to cheat a bit here and there, suggesting detail instead of actually perfectly painting it, but I quickly felt like I was actually on to something:

The whole exercise actually gave me a whole new appreciation for Mike McVey’s and RemyT’s respective paintjobs, simply because they have managed to feature so much detail in so very little space. I did the best I could to replicate the look, but like I said, some of the more intricate patterns and effects are suggested, rather than cleanly painted (those tiny white triangles on the robe get less and less convincing the closer you look, for instance). I also left out some of the most delicate wrinkles and squiggles from the reference material, mostly because it felt like taking the model even further would have meant pushing my luck and risking a paintjob I was already really happy with…

That said, my paintjob basically shows off the maximum of detail I could safely pull off, within the limits of my abilities as a miniature painter. Like I said, I was really nervous about this particular model, and I would argue I have managed to do it justice, at least to the best of my abilities.

So here’s the finished piece:

In spite of not achieving the exact same level of detail visible on Mike McVey’s and Remy’s models, I am still really, really proud of the finished model, if I do say so myself: Finally having painted the warlock to this standard was one of the moments I was really looking forward to when I started this model!

So, in closing, let us take a look at “Team Chaos” as it stands right now:

And with that, we are done for today. I would love to hear what you think, of course, so feel free to leave a comment! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more! 🙂

Touched by the Warp…

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, Traitor Guard with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 19, 2012 by krautscientist

Some time ago, dear cousin Andy gave me the WFB Chaos Lord on Manticore for my birthday, which was quite an excellent present, since it’s one of those kits that I was always drawn to but would probably never have purchased myself. Because, no matter how you cut it, there’s not that much use for a Manticore in a 40k army in the first place. But while I am still figuring out a use for the beast in question (trust me, I have a couple of ideas…), the kit is very much worth it for the rider bits alone:

You see, the kit comes with enough parts to build two riders for the Manticore: one heavily armoured Chaos Lord and an equally imposing (and quite menacing) Chaos Sorcerer, both with several weapon and head options. While I immediately squirreled away the Chaos Lord for a conversion involving a juggernaut (which you’ll be seeing on this blog sooner rather than later, especially since lords on juggers are so very useful now), the sorcerer was somewhat less essential to me: As you may have gathered, Khorne isn’t too down with that whole psyker thing…

The obvious solution was to make the sorcerer into a member of my Traitor Guard. Already having built a Company Commander and Lord Commissar for my traitors, it was high time to add a traitorous Primaris Pskyer as well.

For this conversion, I took a page from OST’s sorcerer conversion that he did for his Iron Warriors. I was quite inspired by that model, and so I sat down to build my own chaotic Psyker. Take a look:

As you can see, the basic conversion is very similar to OST’s sorcerer, although I made a few small changes: First of all, I didn’t use the chain cloak on the model since I wanted to keep it for a World Eaters conversion (The new Horus Heresy book also tells us that chains do play quite a big role in the World Eaters’ iconography, so that decision turned out to be spot-on). I also wanted the sorcerer to look like he was just about to unleash the powers of the Warp, so I posed his left hand to reflect that. Most of the other parts are directly from the original kit, with only some bits and bobs added to “40k-ify” the model a bit.

The rock formation on the base came from the Chaos Lord in Terminator armour. I added half an old WFB skeleton for some additional flavour. I also wanted to make it look like the model was floating, so I used some deft gluing to create that illusion. Take a look:

When it came to painting the model, I made sure to have the colours fit the rest of my Traitor Guard. I also added the trademark crude chaos symbols to the model’s cloak. Overall, the paintjob is a bit cleaner and less ragtag though, in order to make the model look more dignified and regal.

I really think these bitz are some of the best GW has ever put out: Just look at that menacing facemask. Brilliant!

To show how the sorcerer is channeling the powers of the Warp, I added simple OSL effects to the runes all over his equipment as well as to the open palm of his left hand:

The hand was more of a spontaneous idea, but I think it really works.

As for the potential uses of this model, the most obvious role it could play would be that of a Primaris Psyker. However, given the model’s imposing frame, I think it could work reasonably well as a CSM Sorcerer as well. And finally, it may even serve double-duty as a cult leader in games of INQ28 as well: As a matter of fact, this guy looks so cool together with the Dark Vengeance cultists that I am considering adding on of the small, cog-like chaos icons worn by them to this model to tie them together even more.

As with the rest of my Traitor Guard, there’s very little background in place at this point. However, the myterious and menacing nature of the model makes me think that this sorcerer may have been instrumental in the original regiment’s fall to the Ruinous Powers. Hmm….

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

The Ruinous Powers – Duplicity

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, paintjob with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2012 by krautscientist

I’ve been building and painting Chaos models for close to two decades now, and as far as I remember, I have never ever done a Tzeentch model. Is it because, as an ardent follower of Khorne, I despise the duplicitious and craven servants of the Lord of Change? Or is it the fact that the sheer amount of mutation and physical corruption among Tzeentch’s servants is putting me off? Or maybe I am just to dense for the intricacies of great Tzeentch’s schemes? Whatever may be the reason that I have never worked on a servant of Tzeentch, it is an oversight I intend to rectify. This time on “The Ruinous Powers”: Duplicity.

Thinking about what model I wanted to build to represent a champion of Tzeentch, I came across three possible archetypes: The soulless automata of the Rubric Marines, the favoured champion, twisted and mutated beyond measure and the mysterious and sinister sorcerer, embittered veteran of the fall of Prospero, unknowable in his designs and schemes, just as his lord. It is rather hard to imbue a Rubric Marine with any sense of character, and I dislike over-the-top mutations, so the choice really was a no brainer for me.

I wanted to build a model that clearly was a Chaos Space Marine, but still had a very distinct silhouette. And I also wanted to add all kinds of visual cues to the mystic exploits of the champion, symbolising his eternal pursuit of knowledge and magickal prowess. With those main considerations in mind, I built the model. Here it is:

I used the lower half and forearms of a WFB Sorcerer Lord to give the model a silhouette distinctly different from a regular Marine, while the torso and upper arms are regular (Chaos) Space Marine parts. The sorcerer’s left arm provided me with a great looking staff, while the right hand looked like the model was bout to cast its vile magicks. The WFB parts also made the model significantly taller and leaner, enforcing the look of a character whose mental faculties are far more important than his physical prowess.

To clearly show the champion’s affiliation, I used the “Tzeentchian” head and shoulder pad from the regular CSM kit as well as a pretty old metal shoulder pad bearing the Thousand Son’s legion badge that had mysteriously survived in the depths of my bitzbox.

And finally, I added all kinds of trinkets and artifacts to the model: Pouches, books and other doodads, indispensable in its arcane rituals, and a holstered pistol, as the most basic concession to physical warfare.

For the model’s paintjob, I wanted to deviate from my usual routine (rather dark and gritty) and use slightly more luxurious and vibrant tones. I went for the Thousand Son’s typical colours of blue and gold, with dark red chosen as a contrast colour. Here’s the model after I laid down the base colours and liberally washed pretty much everything with GW Devlan Mud to tie the different colours together:

After that, it was really just a question of careful highlighting. I wanted to make it look like the sorcerer was just about to unleash his powers, so I tried to paint a glowing effect on his “third eye”, the eyes of his staff, the runes in the spellbook and the Tzeentch symbol on his shoulder pad. Check it out:

Here’s a detail shot of the shoulder pad, so you can see the lighting effect (and the reeeally oldskool Thousand Sons legion badge on his right shoulder):

1993 in the house, yo! 😉

Anyway, the glowing parts really bring the model to life in my opinion. I decided to replicate the glowing effect on the base as well. Here’s the completed base:

I added a magic rock and a couple of cut-up Wood Elf Dryad twigs to the base to show some strange roots. It looks pretty ambiguous and is quite a nice fit for the mysterious nature of the model. Like I said, a glowing effect was added to the spirals carved into the stone.

And with that, the servant of Tzeentch was complete. Take a look at the finished model:

And another detail shot of the base:

I think the finished model really looks the part. And you really wonder what’s behind the helmet, don’t you? Maybe it’s best not to find out…

Anyway, with the modelling and painting out of the way, all that was left was to write a few lines of text. And with that, the champion of Tzeentch was brought to life:

Magister Suresh Asp, of the Thousand Sons Traitor Legion

On and on they come, the fools.
According to their leaders’ plans.
Oblivious t
o the hidden patterns:
Schemes within schemes, great Tzeentch’s design,
In which they all are naught but pawns

He laughs, except for when he wakes

From dreams of falling silver spires,
The taste of ashes in his mouth.
(No man can know their master’s plan)

And all is dust

That’s 50% done 😉 Tomorrow, you’ll see where the other half of that Sorcerer Lord went…

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