Archive for wargaming on a budget

Khorne Wolves: first test model painted

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2013 by krautscientist

Some time ago, I showed you some test models for a small squad of traitorous Space Wolves. I had put off painting the first test model until now, since I wanted to use a dark grey undercoat on them, and I had to wait for my FLGS to get its next shipment of Army Painter spray cans.

But lo and behold, when I swung by the store last week to spent yet more money on plastic crack, a can of Army Painter Uniform Grey was already waiting for me, so I could finally start to experiment with the paint recipe for my Khorne Wolves.

I wanted them to still look fairly close to the original Space Wolves’ colour scheme, yet with parts of their armour picked out in red and bronze to serve as subtle clues as to their new allegiance. I also wanted the armour to be more of a dark grey, as opposed to the bluish grey of GW’s loyalist Wolves paint scheme.

Anyway, I chose this model for my experiments:

Khorne Wolves Test Models (1)
I think we can all agree that, for this guy, any coat of paint would be a huge improvement 😉

So the first step was to get the model undercoated. I had never worked with Army Painter spray cans before, and had only recently read a horror story about someone ruining a couple of models using them, so I was really careful. My worries were unfounded, however, since It turned out that the paint worked almost like GW’s undercoat, only in a different colour. So this is what the model looked like after undercoating:

Khorne Wolves test model PIP (1)
Surprise, surprise: It turned out that Uniform Grey wasn’t nearly as dark as I had hoped. In fact,  it looked pretty much exactly like unpainted GW plastic. Here’s a comparison shot with an unpainted Marine leg for reference:

Khorne Wolves test model PIP (2)
With the grey much lighter than anticipated, I felt tempted to call this a failure altogether, abandon the project and return to painting more Blood Bowl Orcs, but I persevered. After all, no telling what the rest of the paintjob might yet achieve, right?

So I picked out the details in different colours: GW Mephiston Red for the shoulderpads and parts of the armour, Vallejo Tinny Tin for the armour trim and decorations, GW Boltgun Metal for the weapons, flex fitting, cables etc. and GW Snakebite Leather for the teeth and bones. Here’s what the model looked like after this step:

Khorne Wolves test model PIP (3)
So my first lesson with using grey undercoat: The model will look even worse with just the base colours blocked out than when I use Chaos Black. Not exactly a reassuring observation, to be sure…
I knew better than to stop now, however much I would have liked to throw away my brush in frustration. I was reasonably sure applying some washes would save the day once again…

So here’s the same model after a healthy dose of GW Agrax Earthshade and GW Nuln Oil, respectively:

Khorne Wolves test model PIP (4)
Definitely better, if only because there is much more depth to the model now. The armour came out looking slightly worn and dirty, but I guess I like the effect well enough. I then added GW Bleached Bone to the areas of bone, GW Dwarf Bronze to the edges of the armour trim, and I painted the model’s eye lenses a piercing blue:

Khorne Wolves test model PIP (5)

At this point, I thought the model looked okay, but still quite a bit lighter than I would have liked. I was afraid this guy didn’t read as a traitorous wolf, but rather as a member of the 13th company at best. Would I have to rethink my whole approach?

I still kept plugging away at him, finishing the details, painting the backpack and adding a chaos star decal to his left shoulder pad. So here’s the finished model, photographed this time without the garish flash 😉

Khorne Wolves test model X (2)
Khorne Wolves test model X (1)
Khorne Wolves test model X (3)
So what would I call the result of this exercise? Slightly inconclusive, to tell you the truth. While the grey armour is quite a bit lighter than I would have preferred, I have to admit the model has grown on me. But the question remains: Does he look chaotic enough?

Would love to hear your thoughts on this! C&C always welcome! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Totally worth it: 40k 2nd edition Codex Imperialis and rulebooks

Posted in 40k, Fluff, old stuff, Pointless ramblings, Totally worth it with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 13, 2013 by krautscientist

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It’s time to take a look at another true classic of my personal hobby life, and today’s contender will most likely have played a role in many people’s formative hobby years. This time on Totally worth it: The Warhammer 40,000 2nd edition Codex Imperialis and rulebooks.

2nd_ed_Codex_Imperialis

My first contact with 40k didn’t happen by way of the rules or the background. It happened by getting glimpses of the miniatures. Ever since getting into the hobby through of HeroQuest and its futuristic counterpart, Space Crusade, I had been in love with GW’s two major settings — although I didn’t even realise back then that those two universes were actually part of a greater whole (and an IP of the same corporate entity): While HeroQuest seemed to me like a hodgepodge of all kinds of Tolkienesque high fantasy tropes (which, in all fairness, it was), Space Crusade looked like a simple remix of HeroQuest…IN SPACE! I already mentioned in passing how the horribly butchered background in the German version of the game did a fantastic job of making sure no one had a chance to realise that it was basically set in the 40k universe (or, indeed, that there was such a thing as a 40k universe).

So it took my good buddy Phil to actually bring me up to speed: He had gotten himself a copy of the then-new 2nd edition 40k starter box, and it was by seeing the models arrayed on the gaming table in his bedroom as well as by getting short glimpses of the rulebooks accompanying the game that I got my first basic impressions of the 40k universe.

Make no mistake, though: Back then, I saw 40k as a mostly straightforward Sci-Fi setting, only with orcs and dwarves and chaos involved. So I will never forget the Saturday morning I spent rolled up in bed, reading through the 40k sourcebooks I had borrowed from Phil to get a grip on the bigger picture behind the game. The experience blew my (much younger) mind, since the setting was actually nothing like I had imagined it:

Where I had expected the usual Sci-Fi tropes of technological progress and towers of glass and marble and the like, I learned of a galaxy in steady decline instead: All the great times had already passed, all the good things already happened, and the whole Imperium of Man was still trying to get to grips with the fallout from an event 10,000 years in the past: The Horus Heresy.

I was shocked by how dark the whole background was. And I couldn’t help but laugh at the audacity of it all at the same time: A universe 40,000 years into the future (just try to actually imagine that for a second, instead of just skimming over it and moving on!). Battleships looking like cathedrals. The Emperor of Mankind sitting on a throne that was nothing more than a glorified life support, trapping a last spark of life in what was, for all intents and purposes, a withered corpse. The brightly coloured, clean-cut Space Marines I had witnessed on the tabletop the result of half-remembered genetic experiments, likely to malfunction and create horrible results as often as not. The “Space Ogres” and “Space Dwarves” were actually mutated humans that had adapted to their new homes in space – the whole thing just couldn’t have been any more over the top and sinister and quirky — but somehow it still worked. And it rocked! Hard!

One of the reasons for that may have been the fact that all the background was accompanied by some of the most disturbing and brilliantly rendered art ever, such as these iconic John Blanche pieces:

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2nd_ed_books (3)

Even though GW’s two main universes may have been a mashup of all kinds of well-established tropes and influences to begin with, 40k succeeded at finding its very own voice: Something between classic Tolkienesque fantasy and the disturbing visuals of the David Lynch version of Dune. Looking back at it now, the Orks and dwarves and chaos warriors using machine guns weren’t even the most interesting thing about the setting in the first place. They were just a point of entry. What I found much more compelling was the Imperium’s neo-Luddite approach towards technology, the promise of technological progress (so omnipresent in the Sci-Fi genre) fractured and broken and twisted into something else. A galaxy-wide Imperium, able to perform technological miracles by today’s standards, but still seeming strangely antiquated and dystopian, like a blend of 1984’s Oceania, Brave New World’s sinister view towards genetics and Victorian design sensibilities — there was nothing quite like it, and I guess there still isn’t.

2nd_ed_books (4)
After reading these books, I was immediately hooked. It would take years for me to get around to the actual gaming, and even longer to purchase my first own starter box for 40k, but ever since reading through the 2nd edition Codex Imperialis, I have found 40k to be by far the most original and interesting setting in GW’s catalogue.

But the Codex Imperialis wasn’t the only book in the 2nd edition starter box, so let’s take a closer look at each of them in turn:

2nd_ed_books (1)

 

Codex Imperalis

I already described most of what I found fascinating about the book, so let’s just mention some interesting details here: The whole book is full of small pieces of additional background, story vignettes or simply “soundbites” from the grimdark future of the 41st millennium. Most of these were written by veteran author Bill King, supposedly, and he did a fantastic job of it: Though pieces of the background may have changed (or disappeared altogether), it’s often the single lines, the quotes out of context, that really breathe life into the scenario.

Oh, and the Codex Imperialis also contains what may be the best piece of World Eaters related art of all time:

2nd_ed_books (5)
Vintage Mark Gibbons FTW! 😉

 

The Rulebook

Well, I’ve told you often enough that rules are usually a bit of a blind spot for me. What’s more, my actual memories of the 2nd edition rules are as hazy as they are ambiguous: I only ever played one game using them (or rather: a pared down version of the rules that our young minds were able to deal with), and my memories of that game, against Phil, once again, are a bit of a mixed bag: I remember one of his Space Marines picking out my powerful models with a rocket launcher with effortless ease, while my own special weapon spectacularly misfired, wiping out even more of my guys (I got to play Orks, by the way, and that was definitely the short end of the stick in those days). Actually, at one point, my Dreadnought exploded and we had to chart its trajectory by some arcane means as the burning carcass made a few last jumps around the battlefield …killing yet more of my own models. Actually, that’s the main memory I have of the 2nd edition rules: Stuff blowing up in my face. And using strange mathematics and rather clunky mechanisms to precisely calculate how badly I had managed to mess up.

To be fair though, not only was it all a bit too complex for my younger self, but 40k was also still very much tied to the Rogue Trader days back then: The game was basically still a skirmisher in many ways, its system becoming more and more idiosyncratic and clunky as army sizes and unit complexities grew.

But the magic wasn’t in the somewhat obfuscating rules for me (not unlike today, come to think of it): I was drawn in by the dark and quirky setting, by the artwork and by what remains, to my mind, one of the most iconic colour sections of all time:

2nd_ed_books (7)
I cannot tell you how many of our school breaks we spent poring over those pictures, marveling at the fantastic models and their equally fantastic paintjobs — little did we know that both better sculpts and better painting would be available one day. Still: Good times!

 

Warhammer 40,000: Wargear

Having an own book for weapons and pieces of equipment may seem quite luxurious today, but 2nd edition 40k pulled it off in style: The wargear compendium features detailed descriptions of each weapon, both in relation to its background in the fluff and its actual rules on the table. Most weapons also got an accompanying piece of artwork, which is definitely a nice touch! Still, filling a whole book with this stuff was (and still is) pure madness, of course. But even so, it’s nice to be able to find out what sound a Meltagun makes (answer: pretty much none at all, except for an unimpressive hissing, it’s the target blowing up that makes the sound) or to marvel at the fact that, back then, pretty much every alien race in the galaxy was using trusty Lasguns and Bolters along with the Imperium’s finest.

Like the other books, this one also featured little vignettes of background, among them a fascinating short story about one Brother Captain Karlsen (of the Thousand Sons traitor legion), exploring what it must be like to have lived for ten millennia and the havocs such a lengthy lifetime would wreak upon even a superhuman mind. Fun fact: Brother Captain Karlsen actually appeared in the 6th edition rulebook! What a nice shout out!

2nd_ed_books (8)

 

Warhammer 40,000: Army Lists:

To tell you the truth, I never actually got a look at this. The book, also known as “The Black Codex”, as far as I know, supposedly contained army lists for the different factions in 40k along with the point costs, which probably made it super important back then and highly superfluous now. Moving on…

 

War for Armageddon Scenario Book

A thin black and white book containing some beginner missions designed to get people into the game, set against the background of the Second War for Armageddon. It’s mostly the usual beginner scenario fare, so let me point out the most interesting fact about the book (to me at least): It features one of my favourite depictions of the Emperor of Mankind during the days of the Great Crusade:

2nd_ed_books (9)
I really love this piece, clunky Space Marine design notwithstanding, since it shows the Emperor as more of a fighting man among his troops and less of a demigod in totally blinged out armour, pointing his huge sword everywhere. It also looks like the Emperor actually isn’t twice as tall as his Space Marines, which makes much more sense than some of the more recent depictions, in my opinion.

Anyway, when Phil sold me the remains of his 40k starter box some time during the early 2000s, it was missing the Codex Imperialis as well as the “Black Codex”. While the latter did not seem like too much of a loss, I had such fond memories of the former that I got a replacement for the former off ebay for a song, and I still think it was a great, maybe even an essential, purchase.

In fact, if you ever get the chance to pick these up for a good price, go for it! Some of the background may have been retconned, some of the artwork may be quirky, the rules are no longer viable, but the books are, of course, still totally worth it. And at least in my case, this is where the magic started!

 

Do you have your own memories of the 2nd edition books (or indeed of the game proper)? If so, I’d be happy to hear them in the comments section!

In any case, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

The future is green!

Posted in Conversions, old stuff, Orcs & Goblins, paintjob, Pointless ramblings, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2013 by krautscientist

…well, at least in part. But I am getting ahead of myself. Let me start with a small excurse (as I am wont to do). A word of warning, though: This will be a pretty wordy post, as we take another trip down memory lane…

Anyway, let us talk og Orcs, shall we? My sympathy for Orcs and Goblins even predates my knowledge of Tolkien and his books by a couple of years. Indeed, possibly my first exposure to the concept of the Orc per se were this guy and his kin:

HeroQuest Orc (2)

painted by me during the early 90s

While that approach may seem a little backwards, GW’s concept of what an Orc should look like (along with 80’s fantasy art of mostly British origin) had shaped my view of Orcs and Goblins long before I ever read the Hobbit for the first time. Consequently, when I did read the Hobbit, it was absolutely clear to me that the Orcs and Goblins appearing thoughout the story had to be very similar in appearance to the greenskinned creatures populating the labyrinths of HeroQuest.

Another huge influence in my relationship with the greenskins came when Warcraft and Warcraft II were released: Instead of going for a goofy, idiotic and mostly bumbling race of imbeciles, Blizzard’s Orcs where a proud and fierce warrior race, cunning and powerful, if a little lacking in subtlety. But still, Blizzard’s designers were obviously influenced by both Tolkien and GW, so the image of the greenskinned brute with tusk like teeth was further embellished. During all of this, my love of Orcs and Goblins made me get the 5th edition WFB army book for them, but back in those days, starting a greenskin army was prohibitively expensive, with most models only being available in metal. So I only ever got a few of the models, like these classic Brian Nelson Orcs:

Old Orcs (1)

again, one of my older paintjobs: first painted sometime during the late 90s, then slightly touched up in 2000

Old Orcs (3)

When the 6th edition of WFB came around in 2000, the starter box contained lots of brand-new plastic Orcs, and I decided that this was the perfect time to finally start my own army of Orcs & Goblins. Having just finished school back then, I can remember myself during my compulsory term of community service, walking up and down the corridors of the hospital I was working at, with potential colour schemes for my new greenskin army constantly at the back of my head. I was in love with GW’s Orcs and Goblins, and how could I not have been? From a design perspective, the greenskins have been among GW’s finest offerings for a long time now. And they are one of the only factions always managing to blend the legitimately scary with the darkly humorous.

So I started building and painting, and my first models made me hungry for more. Take a look:

Old Orcs (8)
Old Orcs (10)
Old Orcs (12)
Old Orcs (7)

These were all painted during late 2000 and early 2001, when I was hellbent on starting a greenskin army. Alas, it amounted to nothing: The model count needed for a whole army was what defeated my ambitions in the end. So the models went to my cupboard of shame, there to moulder for eternity. I have loved the new greenskin releases over the years, and they always made me feel slightly nostalgic, but I never felt tempted to actually pick up and finish the army: I couldn’t do it when WFB was still much smaller in scope, so I doubt I’d be able to do it now. So it was always with feelings of guilt that I remembered the greenskins resting in my cupboard, and I always took the time to lovingly sift through the different sprues, whenever I had to nick a couple of Orc parts for some INQ28 project or other.

So why all of this preamble? Well, a short time ago, a colleague told me that she and her husband were quite strongly into playing Blood Bowl. And through her constant gentle niggling, I began to think about actually starting a small BB Orc Team myself, just for the heck of it — after all, I probably had enough plastic Orcs to spare.
And while browsing through my collection of plastic Orc and Goblin bitz, the idea for two pretty different hobby projects was born…

 

I. The Orkheim Ultraz

Like I said, I am going to build and paint an Orcish Blood Bowl team in order to be able to give the game a spin. I have absolutely zero experience playing either football, rugby or Blood Bowl, but I am reasonably sure my colleague will at least be able to help me out with the latter. As I quickly found out, the different Orc plastic kits lend themselves very well to converting Blood Bowl models, and so, after a relatively short while, I had a couple of players tacked together:

BB_Blitzers_WIP (1)
BB_Blitzers_WIP (3)
BB_Linemen_WIP (4)
BB_Linemen_WIP (3)
BB_Linemen_WIP (2)
BB_Linemen_WIP (1)
BB_Throwers_WIP (1)

The Ultraz' star thrower, clearly recognisable by his classic pose...

The Ultraz’ star thrower, clearly recognisable by his classic pose…

A Night Goblin, taking a moment to enjoy the crowd's adoration...

A Night Goblin, taking a moment to enjoy the crowd’s adoration…

...and his rather surly colleague...

…and his rather surly colleague…

All of these were built from leftovers and parts from my bitzbox. I used my usual yellow putty to not only tack the models together but also to show how I wanted them to be placed on the finished base — crucial in most cases, as you can see. Looking at all the Orcs above, trying their darnedest to catch that stupid ball, I think you’ll agree that there’s quite a potential for humor in these models, and that’s what I am going for: I want these to be darkly humorous and slightly goofy.

I also repurposed the members of an old WFB Orc command group to serve as members of the team’s fan club:

Fans WIP (1)

Fans WIP (3)

And a Gnoblar from the Ogre kit was used to serve as the team’s kit man — or “Kit Git”, as it were 😉

Kit Git
I even caved in and finally got the box of Black Orcs I had craved for such a long time. Some of these will be used as blockers in my Blood Bowl Team, and once again, the design of the models made sure that they are looking right at home on a football…erm pardon, Blood Bowl pitch, with only very little conversion work required:

BB_Black_Orcs_WIP (1)

The rest of the Black Orcs, however, will be used in the second hobby project I was talking about. Before we take a look at that, though, here’s the whole team so far:

Orkheim Ultraz Team WIP (4)

 

II. Orcish Gang for Mordheim

Yet another specialist system, huh? Bring it on! While I hope to develop this gang of models back to back with the Blood Bowl team, the project could not be more different in nature. Where I want the BB team to be funny and goofy, these guys will be dark and brutal, imposing and very gothic: I want to channel not only the slightly demented aesthetic of Mordheim itself, but also the dark fantasy tropes present in Blanchian artwork from the late 80s and early 90s — effectively, Tolkien by way of Brueghel and Bosch. This will be quite a daunting task though, so even if I shouldn’t be able to live up to my mission statement, I will at least strive to create a really brutal looking band of Orcs (and, possibly, Goblins). They will have lots and lots of weapons, lots of kit and strange detail, and several models will be based on Black Orcs to begin with, to make them look even more formidable and ferocious. I will probably completely ignore the Mordheim equipment tables and just go with what looks awesome.

And, after all this time, this project will give me the chance of actually using some of the Orcs I built all these years ago for WFB. Rest assured, however, that only the most imposing models will make the cut:

Mordheim Orc Gang WIP (1)

And even those will probably end up looking like the runts of the litter. Anyway, I also built a first actual test model for the gang, using a mix of Orc and Black Orc parts:

Mordheim Orc Gang WIP (3)

Mordheim Orc Gang WIP (2)

This guy is still missing lots and lots of bitz and strange, gothic doodads, but I think you get the picture.

I cannot even be sure whether these guys will ever end up seeing the gaming table at all — after all, this is just a hobby project trying to express both my love for greenskins as well as my admiration for a certain flavour of dark fantasy artwork. Maybe my buddy Frankie will do me the favour of playing a game of Mordheim against me one of those days, though.

 

In any case, by choosing two hobby projects that are limited, if not in scope then at least in model count, I can finally build some great Orc and Goblin models: A goal that was somehow always lost while frantically trying to finish enough models to make up an army. I am really looking forward to this!

I don’t have a clear deadline for either of these projects: The BB team will probably be assembled and painted rather soon, seeing how I want to try my hand at the game. I can easily see the Mordheim gang taking quite a while to complete, since it’s by far the more ambitious project of the two. For now, I have a pile of bitz and Brian’s fantastic recipe for Orc skin. Let’s see where that will take me…

Oh, and for those of you visiting this blog for my World Eaters, Custodes or INQ28 models — don’t fret! A part of the future may indeed be green, but equally sizeable chunks will remain red and bronze, golden or …shadowy and secretive — yes, I realise that those last two aren’t colours 😉

Anyway, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

On my desk: Lone wolf and cubs

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, Pointless ramblings, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2013 by krautscientist

To be honest with you, I’ve been in a bit of a motivational slump lately. Maybe it’s just the remains of my holiday laziness rearing its ugly head again, maybe it’s the murky weather outside, but I find myself with very little inclination to paint anything at the moment. However, this is not a case of complete hobby burnout: I love trawling the forums and looking at stuff. It’s only when it comes to the projects sitting unfinished on my desktop that I fall short.

So, apart from a rather big project (my contribution for the latest Painting/Modelling contest over at Throne of Skulls,  which I’ll probably be unveiling rather soon), my work at the moment is pretty limited. In any case, I feel that the one thing I can do to restore my hobby mojo is not to force it, but to do things that take my fancy in pursuit of that elusive power: inspiration. Today’s post, then, will deal with one of those spontaneous moments of inspiration:

I’ve been thinking about converting some Space Wolves that have fallen to Khorne for a while now. Not for gameplay reasons, mind you, I just like the thought of a squad of Wolves transformed into berserkers in the heat of battle, discovering the wrath of Khorne that lies within them. It’s not even clear whether I will use these on the tabletop. And if I do, they’ll likely be played as normal CSM (or Khrone berzerkers, for that matter).

In any case, I think that these will be a great way of getting a slightly different perspective on traitors. You see, the original traitor legions have been at this game for so long that they have fully renounced their loyalist origins. And while there may be all kinds of anger, resentment and bitterness among them, they can at least feel assured in the knowledge that their entire legion joined what they considered to be the “right side” during Heresy (except, maybe for the Alpha Legion, where things are slightly more complicated…). But what about a Space Wolf who has to come to terms with the fact that his rage and subsequent betrayal have estranged him from the rest of his chapter forever? There should be all kinds of tasty, chaotic emotions and self-hatred there to explore, from a narrative standpoint. This was the beginning of the story of one Joras Turnpelt and his fellow traitorous Space Wolves…

 

Joras’ Great Company fought against Khorne’s Eternal Hunt, and given both sides’ ferocity in combat, the fight was extremely hard and unforgiving. The company’s Wolf Lord and Joras (his second in command at the time) didn’t see eye to eye regarding how to proceed: The Lord knew the Space Wolves were in acute danger of losing the battle and wanted to consolidate their forces, maybe even order a tactical retreat, while Joras would hear none of it. Seething with adrenaline and beginning frenzy, he wanted to press on and obliterate the enemy, in direct defiance of his superior’s orders. During the fighting, Joras eventually flew into a berserker rage, slaying his own Wolf Lord, who was trying to intervene. This act of betrayal shattered the great company, with the brethren falling on themselves and the World Eaters at the same time. At the end, only a small band of warriors remained, defeated and encircled by the warriors of the 4th, shaken by their own actions and ready to be killed. But Lorimar let them live, feeling that Joras, in the depths of his rage, had found something dark and powerful. The Master of the Hunt was intrigued…

 

Anyway, so much for my preliminary background sketch. As for the modelling part, I built a couple of test models using some really badly painted SW bitz and some rather rough Khorne berzerker parts that I had picked up from different auctions, rescued from the depths of several bitzboxes and the like:

Khorne Wolves Test Models (1)
The first model combines SW and CSM parts in equal measure. The torso and arms came pre-assembled as well as pre-painted, so I only added some chaos shoulderpads and a CSM head.

Khorne Wolves Test Models (4)
This guy uses an old berzerker body, combined with SW arms and a SW head. For some reason, he looks rather menacing, if you ask me.

Khorne Wolves Test Models (5)
With the third model, I wanted to explore the more barbaric side of the Space Wolves, so I used a bare head as well as an unarmoured arm from the WFB Chaos Marauders.

And here’s the whole “squad” so far:

Khorne Wolves Test Models (6)
To be honest with you, I cannot help but shudder inwardly at their partly painted horribleness right now, but rest assured that this will be changed as soon as I ‘ve managed to pick up some of Army Painter’s Uniform Grey basecoat at the FLGS. All in all, I am considering dark grey with silver trim for most of the armour, with the shoulderpads and some of the detail picked out in red (the same red I use on my World Eaters, in fact), with added brass trim. That should make them look slightly reminiscent of the original SW palette, while also nicely tying them into the rest of my World Eaters force.

Like I said, there’s very little actual gameplay reason for these models. I would just like to explore the modelling and painting opportunities as well as the narrative potential. Weird, huh? The again, the fact that these are mainly built using old SW and Khorne Berzerker parts I picked up from the bottoms of different bitzboxes, makes this a fancy that is really rather easy to indulge right now.

Oh, I also did a first mockup of Joras Turnpelt, of course:

Joras Turnpelt WIP (2)
Joras Turnpelt WIP (1)
As you can see, I did manage to find an alternate use for that doubleheaded axe I originally converted for my Lorimar model after all 😉
All in all, this guy was inspired by DRommel’s excellent “Ljotolf the Kinslayer” model, so I used the same head. I wanted Joras to look like he was about to be rushing forward, swinging his axe in wide arcs, which was rather easy to achieve with the walking/running SW Terminator legs I still had. I also gave him a single Lightning Claw, just for the heck of it (I really like the asymmetrical look achieved by this). He’ll probably need a couple of additional bitz, and I am considering adding a Chaos Hound’s head to his fur cloak, but the basic build of the model is pretty much complete as this point.

So let’s see where this small project takes me. And let’s wind up this post with a closer look at Joras and his start of darkness. Enjoy!

 

When Joras came to, he was kneeling at the center of a circle of traitor legionaries, disarmed and bleeding from a dozen wounds. He looked around, seeing his surviving brothers. Now that the frenzy had left them, their eyes had the glazed-over dullness of someone who has just escaped a nightmare, only to wake up to an even more horrifying reality. Joras understood them perfectly. He was feeling the same.

In front of him, the circle of red and bronze parted, and an enormous figure emerged: A hulking traitor wearing a baroque suit of Terminator armour, the surfaces of which were encrusted with heretical symbols of the Blood God. The Chaos Lord’s gaunt features were entirely without expression, his dark eyes bored into Joras’. This had to be the monster itself: Lorimar, master of the World Eaters’ warband known as Khorne’s Eternal Hunt.

Tapping reserves he hadn’t realised he possessed, Joras threw himself at the traitor, his fists his only weapons, a blood curdling howl on his lips. He didn’t even see Lorimar move, as he backhanded him across the face with his armoured gauntlet, sending Joras sprawling to the ground again, where he had to draw a few ragged breaths before looking back at his enemy.

“Fight me!”, Joras roared.
“There does not seem too much fight left in you, loyalist dog.” The traitor’s voice was impossibly deep, a dark growl that chilled Joras to the bone.

Joras got up again with a wordless below, rushing at the Chaos Lord once more. This time, Lorimar swiftly drew a long, wickedly serrated blade, burning in an evil glow. The daemon weapon’s point came to rest against Joras’ throat, pinning him where he stod. “Fight me!”, he howled with frustration. Lorimar made a grating noise in his throat. It took Joras a moment to realise it was a chuckle.

“Fight you? Look at yourself: You are weak, broken, defeated. There would be no honour in taking your skull now. Besides…”, Lorimar’s eyes were aflame with cold fire, “it seems you took your first prey in the eyes of our Lord Khorne. It would not be right to take your life, now that your path to true glory has but begun.”

“Do not mock me, monster!” Joras growled. “This is madness!”

Lorimar chuckled again: “Oh, to be sure. When you killed your lord and gave in to your anger, it was madness that lay hidden within you. When you tore through both my warriors and your own brethren, it was madness that made your heart race. You howled with frenzy, …brother wolf, and something deep within you howled back. Indeed, madness has transformed you. The change is quite …uncanny.”

“Kill me then.” Joras whispered, suddenly feeling very tired.

Again, Lorimar chuckled. Joras wanted to make him shut up. Tear out his heart like wild beast. Rip off his smirking head and hold it aloft, howling out his victory and then… Joras felt his rage subside. And a terrible, yawning feeling of horror fill his guts with ice. Lorimar seemed to understand his thoughts, and he locked gazes with Joras once more. His next words were almost gentle:

“Oh, I might kill you yet, brother wolf. But not here, and not now. For after all, we now serve the same master.”

 

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

Ruined buildings — quick & easy

Posted in 40k, DIY, Terrain with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 23, 2013 by krautscientist

Another quick and easy tutorial of sorts: This time we’ll deal with how to easily build a couple of ruined buildings in very short time.

Ruined buildings and crumbling hab-blocks are a staple of cityfight tables in particular and 40k terrain in general. It’s no surprise that GW has released lots and lots of easily assembled and nicely detailed cityfight ruins, and those kits are great! But sometimes you’ll want to fill up a lot of table space in a short amount of time, and maybe you also don’t want to spend a lot of money. And then, maybe you’re a bit like me and get a kick out of building terrain with readily and cheaply available materials? If you can subscribe to any (or all) of the conditions listed above, this post is definitely for you!

There are lots of useful materials when building your own ruined buildings: Cardboard, plywood, styrofoam and many others. Personally, I tend to go for foamcore, though, since it’s usually readily available and easy enough to handle. I usually work with foamcore of two different thicknesses: 2.5 mm and 4 mm. While the former is easier to cut, the latter is great for jobs that require more stability (outer walls, bases).

When I built my first ruined buildings, I prepared a very crude template that I simply drew on an A4 sheet of paper. This is pretty much what it looked like:

ruin_template
I used a 40k model for reference to get the proportions right. Since I needed some space to attach the template to the foamcore (using paperclips), the actual template is slightly smaller in size than A4. There also wasn’t enough space to add a full story at the top, as you can see. I found an easy way around that, though: Just cutting off half of the uppermost story, making it look like it had been partly destroyed. In addition to my rather crude sketch, there are also all kinds of great templates floating around the net, by the way. For a while, even GW offered a set of templates for hab-blocks, although I always found these a little off in scale. Anyway, it’s very easy to come up with a fitting template yourself or find one online.

After that, it’s really as easy as just cutting the foamcore to resemble the template. Be sure to use a very sharp exacto-knife for this, though, to make sure you get smooth edges when cutting: Foamcore tends to wear out blades pretty fast, so take care!

Once you have a finished wall, you can either just glue it together with other pieces of foamcore to make a building, or you can add some damage. If you cut the wall roughly in half, both halves can then be used to form different walls of the building, leading to a bombed-out look. Actually constructing buildings is really easy: Just glue your wall to a base (made of plywood or thicker foamcore), attach other pieces of foamcore at a 90 degrees angle, and you’re good! Foamcore is easy to glue together using wood- or PVA glue.

The great thing is how fast you’ll be able to build ruins this way. Let’s take a look at two buildings I built using just the one template you see above:






As you can see, you can achieve a very different look by just changing around the configuration of the walls. I also added in the remains of the buildings’ different floors, using leftover pieces of foamcore. Leftover sprue can be used to add broken and bent support beams. And you can use small stones, cork and slate to add some rubble to the corners of the building. The thing to keep in mind when adding rubble is that the building should still be useful in games, so it can make sense to actually use less rubble than would be realistic (given the damage on the building) for the simple reason that you may still want to be able to place a squad of models inside. Oh, and one small thing: Definitely take the time to add some windowsills, cut from leftover foamcore! It doesn’t take long, but that small detail really goes a long way towards making your ruined buildings look more realistic!

Granted, these buildings look far less detailed than the ones released by GW. But they’re very easy to build and come at very little extra cost. They can also really be as simple or as sophisticated as you want them to be. Here’s a more complex building I built with games of Necromunda or Inquisitor 28 in mind:




As you can see, I added a number of walkways as well as a central column. Still, the building was constructed using the exact same template as shown above.

You can also really go to town on these buildings, adding all kinds of propaganda posters, additional bitz and what have you.  You could conceivably even combine your foamcore parts with parts of the GW cityfight buildings to spice things up a bit!

In my case, I wanted these buildings to be quickly usable, so I basically just undercoated them with texture paint, sprayed them with cheap grey paint from the DIY superstore and they were ready to go on the table.

Seeing how easy it is to build these, you’ll quickly want to try your hand at building more sophisticated structures as well:

Foamcore_ruins (1)

Foamcore_ruins (2)
Foamcore_ruins (3)
Most of these were built about one and a half years ago, and I am actually a little embarrassed by how crude some of them are. I believe that I could probably do much better today. Still, the point in showing these to you is to demonstrate how your own imagination is really the only limit here. And you’ll quickly have a table full of terrain: Get together with some people at your FLGS or wargaming club, and you can easily churn out a table’s worth of cool stuff in a couple of afternoons! Here’s the cityfight terrain I managed to build over the span of one summer in 2011:

Foamcore_ruins (4)
I already explained at some length that there are many great reasons for building your own terrain! And today’s post demonstrates that it’s really quite easy to do so. So get building!

Any questions or remarks? Or any buildings or terrain projects of your own that you would like to show off? I’d be glad to hear from you in the comments section!

In any case, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!