Archive for WIP

INQ28: Hear Me Roar!

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 18, 2018 by krautscientist

More Deathwatch for today, as I have been plugging away at my Primaris based true scale killteam for another week. Allow me to share the results with you:

First up, there’s the Celestial Lions Astartes I have already shared with you in WIP form. Like I said, my main influence for choosing the chapter was the African influence (although the fact that the Lions are a chapter from a later founding also helped a bit). However, I also discovered that the chapter and the Inquisition have a bit of a troubled history, as outlined in my previous post — to the point where Inquisitorial operatives seem to be actively hunting for the chapter. Ouch! So would a Celestial Lion actually be part of an – Inquisition-sponsored – Deathwatch killteam?

Fortunately enough, I realised that I am in the clear on that front: The chapter’s trouble with the Inquisition only really starts in 948 M41, whereas my INQ28 narratives are set some 200 years before that, so everyone can still be BFFs in my headcanon 😉 That being said, I did decide to include a shout out to the chapter’s eventual fate, as per Aramis K’s excellent suggestion of featuring the notorious “Ork Snipers” that wipe out a part of the Celestial Lions during the 3rd War for Armageddon, in some way.

But back to the actual model: This was the Celestial Lion in his first draft version:

As you can see, it’s a very straightforward conversion, mostly based on a Primaris Reiver. I liked the idea of including a stealthier Astartes wearing sleeker armour, and the “Easy To Build” Reiver bodies were really perfect for that. The most involved parts were to add a lion bit (from an old WFB Empire cannon) as a belt buckle and to kitbash another Deathwatch sensor array for the backpack (using a shoulder-mounted lamp from a Genestealer Hybrid and – once again – some auspex aerials).

Then fellow hobbyist euansmith helpfully suggested to maybe turn the model’s head a bit, in order to make it look more sneaky and agile. I complied with his idea, and – sure enough – it made a world of difference!

When it came to painting the model, I actually broke with my usual routine and decided to start with the one part I thought would make or break the model — the right shoulder pad. Because I realised with some nervousness that I would actually have to freehand the Celestial Lions chapter badge, as there are no readily available decals for it (and my idea of maybe using a similar decal as a base went nowhere either). Azrael’s quite excellent Primaris Celestial Lions here (that were also completed for a very personal reason, it must be said) use some very cool shapeways chapter badges, but I didn’t really go through the hassle of ordering bitz like that — so I decided this was the time to buckle up and force myself to do something I had shied away from in the past. Freehand designs.

So here’s the design I chose as my main reference material (inverted, of course, because it would go on the right pauldron):

And here’s what I came up with, using my smallest brush, a drop of Vallejo Airbrush Flow Improver, and reserves of patience I really didn’t know I had:

Of course I didn’t see the huge splodge of wash towards the lower rim of the pauldron until I was looking at it blown up by several hundred percent on a screen — the area has been cleaned up since. Oh, and ‘Aren’ is the name of the battle-brother in question, by the way.

Anyway, I was incredibly happy with the finished freehand — and I can safely say that this has to be one of the most extravagant pieces of detail work I have painted in the last couple of years. I realise that this must be fairly basic bread and butter stuff for talented painters, but to me, it certainly felt like a rather big adventure 😉

Anyway, after getting the freehand right, the rest of the paintjob almost seemed trivial. That being said, I also discovered a fairly nice and simple recipe for black skin: GW Doombull Brown makes for a very good base colour, and already looks very natural after a wash of Ogryn Flesh (or Reikland Fleshshade). I only followed it up with some very subtle highlights, and ended up with a skin tone I really liked, as you can see yourself on the finished model:

 

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Rudisha Aren
Brother of the Deathwatch
Celestial Lions Astartes Chapter





Here’s a closer look at the left shoulder pad, now finally in its intended place:


Seriously, though, did I mention how happy I am with that freehand…? 😉


As for the base, if you look closely, you can make out the barrel of a – suspiciously Imperial – sniper rifle, but there’s also part of an Ork jaw — Ork snipers, anyone? 😉


Granted, this is a bit of a tongue in cheek joke about the chapter’s eventual fate, but it still matches the overall basing theme without lookig too out of place. So that’s the next finished member of Killteam Ulrach for you:

 

Speaking of Ulrach, while I was working on Brother Aren, I decided to give the Iron Hand that last round of tweaks as well — and the full photo treatment, of course, playing cards, keys and all 😉

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Vorlik Ulrach
Brother of the Deathwatch
Iron Hands Astartes Chapter








You already know this guy from last week, of course, and most of the finishing touches are pretty subtle. But it’s nice to have all the models finished and photographed in the same style like that 😉

Oh, and since someone over at the Ammobunker asked how I had achieved the glowing blue effect on some of the members of the killteam, I thought it would make sense to feature my recipe over here as well — if, indeed, you can even call it a recipe, as it’s almost trivially easy. The one thing I would really recommend, however, is to get some Vallejo Magic Blue: While there may be a similar GW colour, I have yet to see another blue that pops quite as nicely as Magic Blue. So for this recipe, you’ll need the blue and any kind of white. And some water. Here’s what you do:

  1. Paint the center of the area you want to glow (the lens, the gem, the button — whatever it is) with pure Magic Blue
  2. Thin down your Magic Blue with water so it becomes semi-translucent. Then glaze the area around the part you have just painted with it, building up the actual glow — you can do this in several steps to get it right. With larger areas, the effect should grow more solid towards the center, obviously.
  3. Go back to the (undiluted) Magic Blue and keep adding more white to it, and create smaller and smaller highlights at the center of the effect. The last stage should basically be almost pure white. DONE!

The blue higlight on the axe head (as well as the soft glow around it) are a perfect example of the effect in question.

 

So here’s an updated look at Killteam Ulrach:

I think these guys really work rather well as a group — and you can almost guess at the different characters and combat roles just by looking at the models, wouldn’t you agree? In hindsight, maybe the models are almost a little too vibrant, in a style slightly reminiscent of 2nd edition 40k, but then it’s an almost perverse pleasure to find out how visually striking I can make a squad wearing predominantly black armour 😉

Now any future additions to the team will have to wait for a bit, as I have depleted my supplies of Deathwatch parts and Primaris Marines, respectively. That being said, fellow hobbyist Augustus b’Raass is awesome enough to send me another Primaris, and I have just picked up the Rodricus Grytt model on ebay. Combining both will allow me to build a stoic, fatalist brother of the Lamenters wielding a massive frag cannon — it’ll take a while before I can start the conversion, so take a look at a  – really primitive – mockup of my planned conversion:

Beyond what you see in the mockup, I will be going for a heavset look with some slightly archaic, Mk. III-ish touches here and there. It’ll be an interesting balance to maintain, as I don’t want the model to clash with the Deathwatch’s sleek Black Ops look, but I’, confident l’ll be able come up with something.

And as it happens, I also have a pretty cool idea for the Castigator — although I’ll need to get my hands on this particular Primaris Sergeant from Dark Imperium first, in order to make it work…

Until then, however, I am pretty happy with Killteam Ulrach as is — and as these guys are very much ready to rock, I hope Azrael will count them as another entry for this month’s “June-Unit” community challenge!

So that’s it for today’s update. I would love to hear any feedback you might have, so please leave a comment! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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There’s no ‘I’ in ‘Killteam’ — oh wait, there is!

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 11, 2018 by krautscientist

For this week’s update, let’s return to the wonderful world of true scale Astartes for a bit: While I am not exactly a fan of how their lore seems to have been wedged sideways into the 40k background, there’s little doubt that the release of the Primaris Space Marines has provided us with an excellent way of building decently proportioned true scale models for INQ28 without having to spend ages on getting the basic build right. For instance, I had lots of fun building and painting the most archetypal, 2nd edition-style Space Marine I could come up with a while ago, Brother Arcturus Diomedes of the Ultramarines:

Back when the Primaris Marines were released, I picked up the box with three “Easy To Build” Primaris with the plan of eventually turning them into more Deatwatch Marines and end up with small a true scale killteam for my INQ28 collection — even if an entire squad of Astartes would be complete overkill in an actual game. The project just seemed too interesting to get hung up on the practicalities — well, that and true scale Deathwatch Marines have been a bit of a hobby horse for Commissar Molotov, one of the godfathers of INQ28, so working on my own killteam would also be a nice tribute to his own work.

However, progress with the actual assembly of the killteam’s members turned out to be slower than expected for two particular reasons: One, it did take quite some time for me to choose which chapters to go with for the members of the squad. In theory, their chapter identity is only really shown on their left shoulder pad, admittedly, but I really wanted to include various callbacks to their chapter of origin on the rest of the models as well. And while it felt tempting to just go with all the classic First Founding chapters, it would also have been a bit lazy — there are 1,000 chapters in the galaxy, after all. How likely would it be, then, that any given killteam should only feature members from the original Space Marine legions/chapters?

The other difficulty came in the form of the seriously weird poses on some of the snapfit Primaris — I only have myself to blame for that, however, as I could simply have purchased the “proper” multi-part kit.

Anyway, the first additional member for the killteam was converted fairly quickly last year: A Watch-Brother hailing the Iron Hands (and possibly the Killteam’s squad leader):


We’ll be seeing this guy again in a little bit…

And then the rest of the team just somehow refused to come together for the aforementioned reasons — until I had an idea recently: How about going with a Crimson Fist as one of the next members? And how about building him as an homage to this particular piece of artwork by Karl Kopinski:

Artwork by Karl Kopinski

Building models to resemble artwork has become a bit of a sub-hobby of mine lately, and so the task quickly drew me in. And I made this guy:




Granted, I had to simplify some parts of the illustration – mostly due to the fact that, funnily enough, even the Primaris’ bigger scale does not allow for all the detail present in the art – and I also made some minor adaptations, allowing for the fact that my version is intended as a member of the Deatwatch, but I am pretty happy with the kitbash — if nothing else, it definitely does mitigate the stock model’s super weird pose.

The conversion is also a bit of a lesson in thriftiness, as the model uses leftover parts from a plastic chaplain Cassius I picked up a while ago to build a (30k) Word Bearers chaplain. That project left me with Cassius’ left arm and right (Deathwatch) shoulder pad, and ultimately both the shoulder pad and his left hand (complete with snazzy Deathwatch bolt pistol) were grafted onto my Crimson Fist.

I also didn’t have any proper Deathwatch backpacks left, so I had to kitbash one using a regular Space Marine backpack, a sensor array from a Terminator torso front and some small aerials painstakingly shaved off a Space Marines auspex.

So that left me with three members for the killteam, at least:

And I was also really in love with the Crimson Fist conversion, so I decided to paint him right away.

One thing that I decided fairly early during the painting process was that I wanted to use a different skin tone this time around, due to the fact that the Crimson Fists seem to have a distinct Latin American/Hispanic element in their background. So I decided to forego my usual recipe for baseline (caucasian) Astartes skin and go for something slightly different. And in a flight of fancy, I decided to use some very old GW Bronzed Flesh paint that must be more than 20 years old at this point:

And it still worked just fine, too! Most importantly, though, it made for a slightly different skin tone, which seemed like a good way to introduce some much needed ethnic diversity and also underline the fact that all members of the killteam hail from different chapters and, by extension, different planets as well.


As you can see, my Staedtler pigment liner really came in handy once again, and I really went to town on all the little pieces of parchment 😉 The bottles of Microsol and Microset I picked up in Amsterdam last year, also ended up being supremely helpful when it came to making that Crimson Fists decal conform to the shoulder pad’s curved surface.

As for the armour, I followed the same approach I had developed for Brother Diomedes: Cover up any sub-par edge highlighting with sponged-on scratches and damage — fortunately enough, the resulting look really fits the Deathwatch rather nicely, if I do say so myself 😉

So after another round of fine tuning, and after completing the base, the killteam’s next member was finished:

 

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Vargo Diaz
Brother of the Deathwatch
Crimson Fists Astartes Chapter






As you can see, he does have one …erm crimson fist, at least.  I did consider painting the power fist red as well, but then the arm would have ended up being predominantly not-silver, when a silver arm is such an integral part of the Deathwatch livery, so limited the use of red to the right hand.

There’s also another little element I wanted to include: In the original Inquisitor rulebook, the 54mm model for Brother Artemis (basically the forefather to all Deathwatch Marines) had those little rectangles on his bolter designed as displays/buttons for the different kinds of ammunition stored in the weapon:

so I thought it might be fun to include this in a bit of a shout out to the classic model and its paintjob. So I put some Roman numerals on the panels: The right side side has ‘I’ and ‘II’, as shown above, the other one has ‘III’ and ‘IV’:



When it came to basing Brother Diaz, I went for the same basic look I had already used on my first Deathwatch Marine. I included an ork skull this time around, however — I think it’s an entertaining little meta touch to feature an alien skull from the respective chapter’s nemesis Xenos race, so Tyranids for Ultramarines, Orks for Crimson Fists and a Necron head for the Iron Hand. Speaking of which…

There was still this guy:



And, still feeling motivated after my quick completion of Brother Diaz, I decided to paint him as well. After all, I am still very happy with the conversion, based on combining a snapfit Primaris with quite a few parts from Ennox Sorrlock, from Deathwatch:Overkill…

…as well as a new breastplate and left arm courtesy of the Kataphron Destroyers.

Anyway, I quickly got to work and dressed the Iron Hand in the same kind of scuffed black armour as his peers:



In this case, the paintjob also had the added benefit of tying together the various parts of the slightly more eclectic conversion.

According to the underlying basing theme, I also constructed a base, featuring a half-buried Necron skull and spine this time around:

Remembering the (brilliant) alternate history Dornian Heresy and the various more or less obvious parallels and connections between the Necrons and Iron Hands, I decided to mirror the blue glow I used on the Iron Hand in the eye of the Necron skull — it seemed like a nice tongue in cheek meta joke 😉

The model’s arms and backpack were painted separately, for the most part — although I couldn’t really help myself, as usual, and had to glue everything together, even while the last few painting steps were still happening:



Putting the finishing touches on the model turned out to be quite a bit of fun, however, so I already have the (mostly) finished model to share with you:

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Vorlik Ulrach
Brother of the Deathwatch
Iron Hands Astartes Chapter






I really like the model, and I think his armoured bulk works really well now that he’s been painted — both for an Iron Hand and for the leader of a Deathwatch killteam!

And there’s more, as I have already started assembling yet another possible member for the team, provisionally from the Celestial Lions, wearing a suit of Recon armour:


Yeah, I know: Technically speaking, the model is basically a Primaris Reiver. But after seeing a particularly nice Reiver-based Deathwatch Marine converted and painted by Jeff Vader, I realised that the stripped-down, sleeker armour matches the “Special Ops” look of the Deathwatch rather nicely — I also think it makes sense for the killteam to have a recon expert.

As for his chapter, I chose the Celestial Lions mostly because they have a bit of an African influence, and I had originally picked up that particular head for its decidedly non-caucasian feature — once again, in an attempt to make my collection of models a bit more ethnically diverse than your usual gang of bald, white Astartes. That being said, I realised too late that the Lions have a bit of a history with the Inquisition — oh well, I’ll find some kind of explanation for it, I am sure — in fact, fellow hobbyist Aramis K brilliantly suggested over at The Bolter & Chainsword that this member of the Celestial Lions might be a specialist for hunting down “Ork Snipers”… 😉

Going forward, there are a few chapters I would definitely like to feature: Right now, I have plans for three more members for the killteam: A Carcharodon, a Lamenter and one of Commissar Molotov’s own Castigators, as an additional shout out 😉

But that’s a story for a future post. For now, here’s what Killteam Ulrach looks like right now:

And seeing how I am actually working towards the completion of a squad here, I think these guys make for a fairly cool contribution to Azazel’s current “June-Unit” community challenge as well! 😉

Once again, I would love to hear any thoughts you might have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

A Child for the Warrior King, pt.1

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 7, 2018 by krautscientist

Most of my recent hobby time has been spent working on characters for my INQ28 collection — and rightly so, because I have been having a blast powering through all of those neglected models that have sat in the cupboard of shame for ages.

But the ruinous powers demand observance every once in a while, so to prove that my allegiance still lies firmly with the pantheon, let me show you something related to my other big ongoing hobby project – Khorne’s Eternal Hunt – again. So what is this about?

Long time readers of this blog might remember this guy: Gilgamesh, the Warrior King:

Building and painting an allied Renegade Knight for my World Eaters easily remains one of my most complex and involved hobby projects so far — and one that, incidentally, even got me mentioned on the GW page.

In fact, if you want to read up on Gilgamesh, a comprehensive collection of posts on the project can be found if you follow the link above this picture.

But why bring Gilgamesh up yet again? Don’t I have anything new to show you? The reason is that I immediately had to think of the Warrior King when the Forgebane boxed set was released fairly recently:

Arguably the star of the set are the two smaller knights – Armiger Warglaives – that come with it. They are intended as smaller men-at-arms to escort and protect the bigger Imperial Knights, and in that function, they make for a rather exciting addition to the severely limited options of an Imperial Knight player (Forgeworld variants notwithstanding). The models are also rather lovely, which made me feel that I would need at least one of those Armigers in my collection at some point…

But I decided to hold off on yet another boxed set purchase — until a recent visit to Berlin not only provided me with the opportunity to visit the massive temple of hobby goodness that is Battlefield Berlin, but also presented the chance of getting the AdMech half of the Forgebane set for a pretty good price — and I caved in, of course, taking all of those lovely sprues home and poring over them. The fact that the other AdMech models from the set are also rather lovely did, of course, help 😉

But back to the Armigers, because it was clear to me that I would have to turn them to the service of the ruinous powers: They would become servants of the Warrior King, accompanying him in battle, scouting ahead and softening up his enemies.

Meanwhile, with fellow hobbyists extraordinaire Biohazard and Jeff Tibbetts (of Queen Bee fame) already on the game as well, I knew I needed to give it my best shot to come up with something suitably cool 😉

 

So where to start? In a slightly weird parallel to my approach when originally building Gilgamesh, I actually focused on a slightly unexpected question that nevertheless fascinated me: How to add a pilot to the Armiger Warglaive interior?

Then again, I am in love with the thoughts of these machines actually being defined, to some degree, by the pilots that ride them to battle, and seeing how adding a pilot and a cockpit to the model remains one of my favourite parts of my Imperial Knight project, it probably shouldn’t surprise you to learn that I was feeling just the same way this time around.

That being said, the Armiger is a fair bit smaller than the Imperial Knight, making for an even bigger exercise in managing real estate inside that torso. The good news was that fellow hobbyist Biohazard had already come up with a supremely clean and elegant solution for building a cockpit for the Armiger, using Sentinel and Storm Talon cockpit bitz. The bad news was that I didn’t have access to any of the bitz he used, so I had to cobble something together with the bitz I had.

So here’s what I have to show for my efforts:


As I had already expected, lack of space was even more of a problem this time around. I managed to get it all weged in there somehow, but it was a close thing. From a structural perspective, the Armiger cockpit basically mirrors my build for the bigger Knight’s cockpit, albeit in a slightly stripped down fashion. Here’s a side view, showing you the basic setup, warts and all:

Admittedly, it all looks pretty messy, but once both side walls are in place, all the rough bits of the conversion actually get covered up rather nicely. And while I initially regretted not even building an actual seat underneath the pilot, it turned out the entire area’s not even visible anyway, after everything has been assembled — in fact, it’s such a tight fit that I even had to file the side of the pilot’s right arm flat in order for him to fit flushly into the cockpit.

As for the bitz I used, the part used to represent the engine was a bit of a surprise discovery: It’s a part from the vox relay that comes with the Sector Imperialis Objectives kit. All it needed was a bit of shaving down, and it fit like a charm, and even provided a bit of a headrest. The pilot was mainly assembled around a sentinel pilot body — the torso seemed too pedestrian for me, so I cut it off and replaced it with a Vraksian Renegade Militia torso that had the added benefit of looking a bit like a flight jacket, which seemed like an excellent fit for a pilot 😉 I used some Cadian arms and spliced together a head from a Skitarii Vanguard helmet and an Empire flagellant head (for that slightly unhinged look I thought matched a follower of chaos). My overall aim was to come up with a pilot that resembles Barron Harrowthorne, Gilgamesh’s pilot, to a certain degree, while also looking like his subordinate:

I think the finished pilot works rather well in that respect — I regretted not actually having built a seat underneath him at first, but it turned out you don’t really see anything except for the actual pilot once the whole cockpit is assembled:

In fact, I even had to file the side of the pilot’s right arm flat in order for him to fit into the cockpit 😉 Oh, before I forget, the controls for the Armiger are actually a shaved down console from a Space Marine Rhino interior panel:

So with the pilot out of the way, I only had the entire rest of the model left to build, right? 😉

I started by simply working on the Armiger’s basic assembly. It’s astonishing how much the Armiger works like a smaller Imperial Knight, from a structural perspective, with the whole assembly process eerily familiar, yet slightly simplified. So in addition to actually getting the model’s basic structure built, I was also able to start throwing bitz at the model to see what would stick:

I quickly discovered that some vambraces from the plastic Bloodthirster made for almost perfect leg armour, both because they were a perfect fit and because they provided some instant Khornification 😉 In fact, decorating the Armiger is quite a bit easier than working with the Imperial Knight, as far more Dreadnought (or even infantry) bitz are rendered viable for the conversion by the slightly smaller scale.

As a fun surprise, the head from the FW World Eaters Dreadnought Augustus b’Raass gave me last year (and that is rapidly turning into one of my favourite 40k bitz, see here and here) worked rather nicely here as well, although there were several alternatives I also wanted to look at (the simplest option seems to be to just use Defiler face masks on top of the stock Armiger head).

I also decided to add a “mini-banner” between the legs as an opportunity to include some personal heraldry and battle honours. Granted, Armigers are only men-at-arms, but I still think it’s a nice touch for a machine that has probably been serving the ruinours powers for a couple of centuries, at the very least.

During further experimentation, I actually found an even better head for my first renegade Armiger — the one from Forgeworld’s Blood-Slaughterer Impaler:


I think the head adds an istant “Khornate Daemon Engine” feel to the model, plus it’s also a really cool bit in its own right.

The next thing was to figure out what to do with the weapon arms. After giving it a bit of thought, I decided that I would choose a fairly conservative approach for the first round of weapon arms, then try some more adventurous options (like another Ursus Claw, maybe?!) for the second Armiger — just as Talarion has done with his truly stunning Armiger Warglaives.

That being said, I realised that the extosplasma cannons from the Forgefiend kit were a pretty good match for the thermic lance from a scale perspective, so I wanted to try and use one of those for the gun arm.

Here’s my first mockup for the weapon arms:

A chain weapon is a no-brainer for a Khornate Knight, so I decided to keep it. At the same time, I did want to make the weapon look quite a bit more vicious, so I added a spiky bit that also has the added benefit of making the sword look less stubby 😉 Since the chainblade completely lacks a cover, I had to come up with a solution that seems at least slightly plausible from a mechanical standpoint. And while the entire element was added purely based on its visual impact, fellow hobbyist TURBULENCE actually came up with a really cool explanation for its presence: Maybe the spike hammers down into an armored vehicle and keeps it in place as the chainblade keeps grinding into the hull?

For the gun arm, it turned out the Forgefiend plasma cannon was really easy to graft to the Armiger’s upper arm by simply cutting a matching hole into the upper side of the gun — it even retains the full mobility and poseability of a stock Armiger arm!

While the weapon is surprisingly close in proportion to the Armiger’s stock thermic lance, it is just a little bit clunkier — I do think the pose helps mitigate the added mass, though.

So with both the basic assembly as well as the weapons taken care of, all that was really left was the final round of cleanup and detailing. It was tempting to go overboard with decoration, but when all is said and done, this is just a man-at-arms for Gilgamesh and his pilot, the Baron Harrowthorne, so it was important to both make the machine look suitably chaotic, but to also know when to stop adding detail before the model ended up looking more ostentatious than the bigger Knight. Keeping that in mind, here’s the finished look I settled on, some minor cleanup work notwithstanding:



It’s not that easy to make out in the pictures, but I’ve added teeth to all the armour plates, mirroring a design element you see often on the more recent chaos plastic kits. I also tried to replicate the battle damage you see on the Bloodthirster vambraces on the upper leg armour, to tie both elements together.

Oh, and while I was at it, I changed the one element that I really don’t like about the stock Armiger: Those weird twin coils/stabilisers/whatever on the back of the legs. I think it works much better like this:


What’s really great about the kit is that, as has been the case with the bigger Imperial Knight, it’s possible to keep the top carapace plate detachable, so we can still get a good look at the pilot and cockpit:

In fact, such a setup is actually preferrable, because it also allows access to the arms. So whatever crazy weapons options I come up with for the second Armiger could theoretically also be swapped in on the first model — I really like added flexibility like that!

So that’s it — my first Renegade Armiger Warglaive. To be honest, it took me quite some time to find the right approach for the model, and I am all the happier for it with the finished conversion! This model was originally planned as yet another entry for Azazel’s Assembly April challenge, but then I ran a bit too late to make it, and I am actually glad to have taken some extra time to get it just right — maybe I’m at least in time for this year’s ETL event over at The Bolter & Chainsword…?!

Until then, however, I would love to hear your thoughts on the model! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

INQ28: The Office – grimdark edition

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2018 by krautscientist

So there I was, carefully warning you all that I might have to dial back my output a bit, and yet I have two new models to share with you today — strange, isn’t it? 😉

The truth is that finishing my Ordo Scriptorum Inquisitor really led to yet another surge of inspiration, as I kept trawling the internet for more Wayne England illustrations from around the same time period. Unfortunately, his work seems to be much less well documented than, say, John Blanche’s, and many images were only available via that abominable hellpit called Pinterest.

But then several readers helpfully pointed me towards the original Dark Heresy rulebook as a possible source of Wayne England art from what I am beginning to think of as the “teal period”, which provided me with more reference material. I kept going back to his image in particular:


It seems to portray an underhive ganger of some sort, and I really liked the style of the character. So much so, in fact, that I spontaneously started to create yet another conversion based on a Wayne England illustration:


When all is said and done, it’s a pretty straightforward kitbash, mainly using parts from the Dark Vengeance chaos cultists: In fact, the entire conversion really took off to begin with once I realised the creepy cultist head with its mouth stapled shut resembled the head of the ganger in the artwork.

Beyond that, it was mostly about trying to get the subtle things right: the way the cultist is holding the gun in two hands was the key part, and I was lucky enough to still have an ancient Gorkamorka shoota that almost perfectly matched the design of the stub gun in the artwork. I also wanted to include the weirdly-glamrock fur collar, so I used the upper half of a Chaos Marauder cape as a starting point and sculpted some rough GS fur around it to suitably blend it in.

I also decide to depart from the artwork in one specific way: Much as I love the piece, the angle of the head makes it clear that the ganger is aiming (and firing) downwards, which is something I did not neccessarily want to reproduce on my model, mostly because it would look kind of silly when the model’s standing on the floor and not in an elevated position. So I tweaked the angle of the head a bit to make it look more as though the ganger were standing wit the gun at rest. I actually think the angle I have chosen makes the guy seem slightly more sinister, but that’s a matter of personal preference, of course.

Anyway, here’s what the finished conversion looked like:



Since my recent work on Redactor Orlant was what had originally inspired this model, I decided that I wanted to turn the ganger into a member of the Inquisitor’s retinue, so I needed to find an angle for him to work within the framework of the Ordo Scriptorum — which is when I remembered the archetype of the “Bureaucultist”:

Bureacultists are former members of the Administratum whose archive or bibliocathedra has been sealed off or forgotten. They keep doing their job of accumulating and organising data, yet without the rest of the Imperium taking any notice, they grow more and more isolated and feral as years, decades or even centuries pass.

Now just to give credit where credit is due, the Bureaucultist idea wasn’t really mine, originally, but rather came from the excellent fan-made Dark Magenta article on Holy Terra as an adventurescape.

To quote Robey Jenkins, from issue #1 of Dark Magenta:

The bureaucultist is a strange evolution of humanity. Having entered the condition of civilization and passed
through it into a new barbarism, the bureaucult is devoted only to policies, procedures and the unthinking guardianship
of information. (…)

Bureaucultists crop up in the massive, sprawling administrations of the Imperium all across the galaxy. Although
their approach to information is fundamentally primitive, their attention to detail is legendary and they will fight
obsessively to protect what is theirs, so many an Inquisitor makes use of such creatures within his staff to help
manage an extensive library or private archive.

When PDH originally came up with the concept for his Ordo Scriptorum warband, he adapted the concept and made “Indentured Bureaucultists” into a part of the Ordo. Wrote PDH:

Bureaucultist slave labour of the Ordo Scriptorum. These workers are indentured by the threat of redaction and the deletion of generations worth of bilbliocatherdra, data vaults and knowledge. While these repositories are often worthless to the Imperium, the threat binds the cultists to the Ordo Scriptorum, making for the most loyal of slaves.

There’s something incredibly grimdark about the thought of clerks and librarians going feral after their archives and bibliocathedra have been sealed off or forgotten, isn’t there? Just think about the former librarians and scribes devolving into a tribal society, forming gangs and fighting for their respective “section” of the archive, maybe for resources like electricity, memory units, clean paper or dry shelf space, with their former calling slowly turning into half-forgotten memories and office rules permutating into quasi-religion. Plus such a bureaucultist could be a useful follower for an Ordo Scriptorum Inquisitor, serving as a guide for forgotten and abandoned archives, remembering the ancient file sytems and cogitator protocols…

So while the ganger in Wayne England’s illustration above probably wasn’t planned with the bureaucultist angle in mind, I still thought it might be a cool idea to use the converted character as a bureaucultist. There are even some touches that might point to the idea of a librarian gone feral (such as the servo-skull banner pole — a trophy or a legitimate way of storing data, even after all this time…?).

Here’s a picture with Redactor Orlant for comparison. It also shows you the bureaucultist conversion in all its different colours, warts and all:


The model was painted to match Orlant’s colour palette. However, I went for a slightly grubbier, dirtier version of the colour scheme this time around, making the bureaucultist look like a bit of a slightly twisted mirror version of the Inquisitor:





Here’s another side by side with both models:


And of course I couldn’t help myself and had to mock up a comparison with the model, the artwork that inspired it, and some tweaked colour settings:


So that’s yet another model based on the work of Wayne England — and it probably won’t surprise you at this point to learn that I could easily see myself taking even more inspiration from his body of work. For instance, PDH pointed out to me that Orlant’s retinue could really use an astropath, and I realised that the illustrations for the Pyromancy and Telekinetics psyker disciplines, respectively, would provide the perfect template for an Ordo Scriptorum Astropath:

 

Speaking of PDH, though, Peter is actually responsible for yet another addition to Redactor Orlant’s warband: Seeing how I’ve been taking so much inspiration from his own Ordo Scriptorum warband, and given the fact that we agreed ages ago that Peter’s Inquisitor, Klien Inson, had been Redactor Orlant’s interrogator at one point, I really couldn’t resist trying to build a younger version of Inson. Thanks to direct feedback from PDH, I think I’ve come up with a pretty cool younger version of his original model. Take a look:


On the left is Peter’s original model for Inquisitor Inson, on the right is my take on Inson as an interrogator. Here’s a closer look at the conversion:





I wanted to create a really strong resemblance while also clearly communicating the fact that my version actually shows Inson as a (slightly) younger man. At the same time, I also tried to add some cues that pointed back at Orlant (such as the collar, that is actually virtually identical to the one used on Orlant, while also looking like a less exalted version of older Inson’s “jaws collar”, or the Inquisitorial symbol added to the model’s breastplate).

What’s really funny is that my very first version of Inson actually did even more with this particular concept: On the one hand, it featured a less ornate version of the bolt pistol older Inson has, as yet another shout out to Peter’s model. On the other hand, I thought that adding an organic left leg would be a great way of showing how quite a bit of time had passed between both versions of the model:


But then PDH informed me that his background character featured pretty specific information about where and when Inson had lost his leg, and was already rocking an augmetic replacement by the time he became an Interrogator in the Ordo Scriptorum. By the same token, his bolt pistol was confiscated by the Arbites when he first set foot on Terra, and was only given back to him after he obtained his full Inquisitorial rosette.

I wanted to honour Peter’s background for his character, so I grit my teeth and replaced the leg and pistol. Peter suggested using a Skitarii leg — as for why it’s sleeker and more sophisticated than the version on older Inson, I’ll leave PDH to work that one out 😉 My take is that it maybe needed to be replaced by a more comprehensive prosthesis after further injury or that the original augmetic ultimately didn’t take. According to Peter’s background for the character, Inson also seems to have a bit of a thing for self-flagellation, so maybe that might have something to do with it as well…

Ultimately, I am very thankful to Peter for the feedback, however, even if it meant more work: The finished conversion has a more polished look due to his feedback, and I really wanted to paint it right away. So here’s a look at the – mostly – finished younger Klien Inson:




While the aim was not to perfectly match PDH’s paintjob for the older version of Inson, I did take care to take some cues from his model (such as the general dark look and the metallic scales on the cape) and go for a similar overall look and feel. Here’s a side by side comparison with both PDH’s and my treatment of the character:


While my version of Inson is a bit younger, Peter’s background for Inson characterises him as a pretty conflicted individual even at this earlier point in his career, plus there’s also the physical trauma he incurred during his work as an Ordo Xenos Inquisitor, so I went for a somewhat drawn, unhealthy look for the face, which I think has worked out pretty well.

At the same time, it was also clear that the younger Inson had to match the colour palette of his master, Inquisitor Orlant, to some degree, so I tried to stay within the parameters I had set for myself and use a similar palette once again:


He still needs a base, of course — and I have a pretty cool idea for another small nod to Peter’s model…

For now, however, this means two more additions to Redactor Orlant’s warband — with neither of them originally a part of the picture, but that’s how these things go sometimes…

Here’s a look at the warband so far:


Oh, and I am also counting these two conversions as entries for Azazel’s “Assembly April” challenge, even though they weren’t planned at all 😉

So that’s it for today’s update. I would really love to hear your feedback on the new characters and the warband so far, though, so feel free to drop me a comment! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more! 🙂

INQ28: I see fire

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

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

Anyway, what do I have?

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



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

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

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


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

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

Hence these guys:

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

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

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


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

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

So here’s the finished model again:



Of course the servo-skull comes with its own dedicated promethium supply to keep that fire going 😉


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


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

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


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

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

A female Death Cult Assassin:

And the big man himself, Inquisitor Nabreus Arslan:


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

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


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

Six Years!

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 26, 2018 by krautscientist


As of last week, Eternal Hunt is actually six years old. Huzzah! 🙂

Six years of blogging — that’s actually a fairly long period of time, isn’t it? It’s longer, for instance, than I have ever managed to hold down a single job (Pro career tip: Remember kids, never go for the nonprofit sector). Anyway, it does feel like an achievement, and I am really happy to have kept at it for so long!

On the one hand, there are the numbers: The blog hit the mark of one million views back in December, and I’ve had 391,000 visitors and accumulated 371 followers (cheers, people! You rock!). But that’s only half of the story, really, as beyond the numbers, this blog has really been an instrumental part of my hobby for a long time now: Looking back on the last couple of years’ worth of content on this blog, as well as the models produced alongside it, I realise there are many hobby related things I would never have achieved, had I not started this blog. And it goes without saying that your feedback has been an invaluable part of that as well, so thank you very much, dear readers!

It is true, blogging has become harder over the years: It’s no longer quite as easy for me to churn out post after post, and I am sometimes forced to take breaks in my posting schedule, for one reason or another. There’s also the fact that social media and platforms like Facebook and Instagram seem to be far more en vogue at the moment than classic blogs or forums — as I may have mentioned before, I am not really a fan of this particular development, but that doesn’t change anything about the fact that social media are having a very obvious (and rarely positive) impact on the amount of interest single blogs can generate.

Even so, I’ll keep doing my best to keep this place in business! And you can all help me by reading my ramblings, looking at the (hopefully) pretty pictures and letting me know what you think every now and then, alright? Do we have a deal? I surely hope so, because it’s also very obvious to me your feedback is a very important fuel to keep my hobby motivation going.

 

Anyway, what kind of anniversary would this be without any new content to celebrate the occasion, right? When I realised this date was coming up, I knew I needed something to immortalise the moment. Now under normal circumstances, I would have shown you some of my oldest (and ugliest) models from all the way in the back of the cupboard of shame, and we would all have a laugh at my expense, but you already know all of my early failures, so what was I to do? I did want to share something to us all a warm and fuzzy retro feeling, though — and then I realised I had just the thing:

Back in 2014, fellow hobbyist Drone21c was awesome enough to send me an ancient plastic Imperial Guardsman from the Rogue Trader era.


Now those were wild and adventurous days, back when the Imperial Guard was far different from its modern incarnation. Illustrations and models from the time show an army precariously balanced halfway between Spanish Conquistadors IN SPACE! and a classic, clean SciFi-look:


And what better way to do that old chestnut above justice than to tap into that crazy Oldhammer era, right? So that’s what I set out to do.

Anyway, a retro project like this deserved the right approach as well as the right reference material, so I chose to work from vintage publications, taking this depiction of a soldier in the 5th Arcadian regiment as my main inspiration:


For the most part, I tried to faithfully reproduce the paintjob seen in the illustration — with two small caveats: One, I didn’t have access to any old skool decals, so I had to make to do with a mix of modern symbols and – very basic – freehanding, going for a reasonable approximation of the vintage look. Two, some of the elements from the illustration actually worked less well on an actual model — such as more symbols on the helmet actually throwing off the colour balance. So I made some adjustments based on what did and didn’t work. That being said, and with no further ado, I give you (in honour of Drone21c) and to celebrate Eternal Hunt’s sixth birthday:

 

Trooper Gibbson Rikkert of the 5th Arcadian Rifles



I truly had a blast painting this guy! Trying to reproduce the elements of the drawing was a fun challenge, and I tried the best I could to make something that could have appeared in an old issue of WD from back in the day. The biggest amount of time was given over to trying to reproduce the various unit markings and symbols.

For instance, I spent quite a bit of time getting the platoon marking on the left side of his chest just so — only to realise that it would be mostly covered up by the lasgun. It’s still visible from an angled view, though:


In hindsight, given the subject of today’s post, I realise it would have made far more sense to have him belong to the Sixth Arcadian Rifles. Oh well…

Of course the model also needed a base, and I did my best to make it resemble the designs we would see in old issues of WD (with a few modern touches here and there, though). Fun fact: It was completely clear to me that a suitably retro-looking base would definitely need some bright green static grass, and I actually still have most of the bag of GW static grass I bought at the Cologne GW store while on a trip about twenty years ago — so the grass is actually genuinely retro 😉

When it came to painting base rim, I went back and forth over which colour to go with a couple of times, only to realise that there was really only one possible answer to that particular question…

Matching the hue of the old Goblin Green took some doing, though 😉

 

In spite of the anniversary, its not merely fun and games over here at Eternal Hunt, however, and work on my recently begun Ordo Hereticus retinue continues apace. As I’ve already stated in my previous post, next in line to be painted was the OOP Van Saar turned Inquisitorial Operative:


While the Interrogator and Redemptionist are very obviously and loudly Ordo Hereticus, I chose a slightly more subdued approach this time around: My reasoning was that even a proud and righteous Witch Hunter might have a use for a slightly more covert operative every now and then, and by its very look and feel, the model struck me as a likely candidate for all kinds of black ops and sneaking missions — I am not going to lie, I was also thinking of a grimdark version of Venom Snake/Big Boss from Metal Gear Solid V a fair bit, so there’s that, too.

So, meet Inquisitorial operative Tybalt Renner, formerly of the Saarthen Draugr:



The key visual element here is the matte grey stillsuit juxtaposed with glossy black armour plates. I did add the suggestion of woodgrain to the casing of Renner’s longlas, both to hint at the fact that it’s a keepsake weapon and to recall the medieval look that is so common for the Ordo Hereticus.

I also wanted to feature the red that is so prominent elsewhere in the warband, so I added the red lenses, the red field on his left shoulder (with the “S” as a callback to Renner’s former regiment, the Saarthen Draugr) and half an Inquisitorial symbol in red on his facemask:



At first I wasn’t sure whether I liked the outcome, but I have grown rather fond of the model: I think the slightly more lowkey appearance really works for the model. He still needs a proper base, though.

Oh, and since the Saarthen Draugr are a regiment DexterKong came up with for our shared Velsen sector, here’s one of Dexter’s actual Draugr soldiers (still in PIP form) for comparison:

Saarthen Draugr WIP by DexterKong

I like how the models look different enough to show that Renner’s position is now different from his former life as a soldier in the Draugr, yet they also share enough similar visual cues to hint at a common origin.

While I was still suitably inspired, I decided to keep chipping away at the retinue. So I am already hard at work on the next model for the warband, an itinerant Missionary based on one of the old GW metal missionaries:


The model came into my possession years ago, as part of a job lot. I made some slight tweaks — the chainsword was missing, and I replaced it with a trusty autopistol. And the book standard was great, but didn’t tell the story I wanted, so I replaced it with a slightly more angular Inquisition symbol/reliquary.

Here’s the painted model so far:


It’s a fantastic sculpt, full of character and still very much at home next to current models. Does anyone have an idea who sculpted this guy? I am tempted to say Jes Goodwin — there’s an amount of detail and care in the sculpt that just screams Goodwin to me. The backpack, with all the stowed equipment, for one, is a tiny piece of art in itself:


Most of the paintjob is already in place, and the missionary just needs some finishing touches before he can join the ranks of Inquisitor Arslan’s retinue for good — speaking of which, here’s a look at the current state of the warband:


So, as you can see, Eternal Hunt is well on its way into a busy seventh year. Let’s make it a successful one — I cannot do it without your help, tough, so please let me know what you think! And as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

The 2017 Eternal Hunt Awards, pt. 2: The Hobbyists

Posted in 30k, 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings, Traitor Guard with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 18, 2018 by krautscientist

Awards

Welcome back, everyone: It’s a new year, and here we are — later than I had originally planned, I must admit. Sorry for the delay, but I just had to spend the entire holiday season sleeping, eating and near-obsessively hunting robot dinosaurs. I actually also managed to paint my very first model of the new year, but that’s a story for another time. For today, we still have a part of my annual Eternal Hunt Awards to get out of the way, even if it’s no longer 2017. That being said, I am confident you beautiful readers will always appreciate the chance to discover a couple of amazing hobby projects, right?

Because that’s what we’ll be dealing with today: The best work from fellow hobbyists from the last twelve months, according to yours truly. Now the level of quality many hobbyists manage to achieve these days keeps going through the roof all the time, with more and more stunning creations appearing online every year, but here’s my little selection of particularly noteworthy projects and blogs from last year, so please enjoy!

One small disclaimer, however, before we begin:
It goes without saying that all the photos you’ll be seeing in this post show other people’s work, and I cannot claim credit for any of the stuff depicted — apart from the small but delightful task of collecting it all together here and giving those fantastic hobbyists a much deserved shout out 😉

 

I. Projects of note:

Let’s start with the hobby projects that blew me away in 2017, be they single models or army projects. Having spent a sizeable chunk of my online hobby time with the vibrant and lively community at The Bolter & Chainsword, it occurs to me in hindsight that my selection may be leaning a bit heavily on the Space Marine side of things this year, but I hope you’ll still appreciate the following, wonderful projects. So, in no particular order and without further ado:

Nemac Vradon’s First Claw:

Back in 2016, Augustus b’Raass built what I would consider the definitive true scale representation of First Claw, that merry band of rascals (read: insane murderers) devised by Aaron Dembski-Bowden for his Night Lords Trilogy:

First Claw by Augustus b’Raass (1)

I was lucky enough to see these guys in person on my visit to Amsterdam last summer, and they are just breathtaking: Perfect little representations of the different characters from the book, with lots of little tweaks that bring the models to life and amazing paintjobs to boot. The bigger scale gives them a real presence and also adds some – much needed – space for all of those extra bitz and trinkets.

So imagine my surprise when Nemac Vradon actually came up with an equally brilliant rendition of the same group of characters, albeit in regular 28mm scale this time, without the benefit of all that extra space:


Now building models to represent actual characters from the lore can be a fun – but also an incredibly challenging – proposition. Even moreso when everyone who has read the Night Lords novels probably has an idea about what Talos and his brothers should look like. Nemac Vradon has done an absolutely fantastic job of capturing the essence of the different characters, though, making them instantly recognisable. Nowhere is that more evident than on Talos, First Claw’s absolute poster boy:

Nemac has come up with a truly excellent model here, with all the cues that sell the piece as a representation of the character: With the Mk. V armour, deathmask, relic Blood Angels blade and the rune on the forehead, this guy clearly reads as Talos!

Similar care has been taken with each of the members of First Claw, with a careful selection of bitz and effective poses that manage to embody the essence of each character, while none of the models end up looking cluttered or overly-busy.




Surprisingly enough, while Talos may be First Claw’s most prominent member, he is not, in my opinion, the best part of Nemac Vradon’s interpretation of First Claw: That particular honour has to go in equal parts to Uzas and Xarl.

Now Uzas may strike you as a bit of an obvious choice – after all, he’s basically my favourite character from the books in the first place: A follower of Khorne, Uzas is a typical ADB character in that he may seem one-note by definition, yet is shown to possess surprising – and fairly tragic – depths. So my love for the character is always on my mind when looking at the model. That being said, the conversion is simply a study in elegance and unity of effect: Once again, all the cues that sell the character are there, while the strong pose and effective paintjob make for a model where everything’s in ist right place.

Xarl, on the other hand, is a very different beast:

Highly dynamic and quite ostentatious (in his ceremonial Chyropteran helmet), he immediately draws the eye. And once again, the particular composition of parts just makes for a perfect model. To wit, Nemac Vradon even managed to get away with using one of the – normally terrible – winged helmets from the old NL conversion kit.

The whole squad really stands as a triumph of both creating excellent representations of the actual characters as well as a collection of models with a perfect unity of effect. So while Augustus b’Raass has managed to come up with the definitive version of First Claw at true scale, Nemac Vradon can now claim the same award for the “smaller 28mm scale”. Splendid work!

Check out Nemac Vradon’s version of First Claw, along with the rest of his excellent Night Lords here.

 

Dark Ven’s Night Lords

And while we are on the subject of Night Lords, let’s not forget DarkVen: A longtime collector of the 8th legion, he has returned to his army in 2017 with some rather stunning new additions. Now the most impressive thing about Dark Ven’s Night Lords has to be how he combines kitbashing with kick-ass sculpting to create models that are both highly intricate conversions and yet perfectly at home next to stock GW models. His Night Lords army is a fantastic and incredibly customised collection of models: Just take the warband’s current leader, the enigmatic Warpsmith Tarantula: You could spent ages poring over those photos, trying to figure out which parts are stock (very few) and which have been expertly (re-)sculpted (nearly all of them).


Because, if anything, DarkVen‘s extrapolations of GW’s designs create models that sometimes seem like the perfect missing link between various official models: Take his brilliantly converted and customised Night Lords Dreadnought, for instance, that would seem equally at home next to both the old 2nd edition metal CSM Dread and the more recent plastic models:

Extra kudos for the different weapon options – I love stuff like that!

The incredible amount of customisation is evident in each and every unit in DarkVen’s Night Lords army. Here are his Atramentar:


At first glance, they merely look like some really well done Chaos Terminators, but there’s so much more there: Underneath all the spikes and blades, there’s still a hint at something more honourable, at the elite Astartes formation they used to be, and DarkVen does an excellent job of communicating this idea through the models.

Also, once again, I dare you to take a closer look and actually find out precisely how customised those guys are, especially the amount of scultping and additional detailing that has gone into their armour!

Or his Raptors: Those models perfectly combine officially established visual cues with DarkVen’s own take on GW’s archetypes, channeling both the new plastic Raptors and the “bird of prey” style of the older metal/Finecast Raptors – while also throwing in a generous helping of Predator creepiness:




The fact that DarkVen further supplements most of his more recent conversions with fantastic and elaborate concept art is just the icing on the cake!

If there’s one negative point to be mentioned here, it’s that DarkVen’s Night Lords currently lie dormant once more. However, you still can (and definitely should) check out the current status of his project here:

BrotherCaptainArkhan’s Black One Hundred

Can you remember how hip it used to be to hate the Ultramarines? In all fairness, GW’s poster boy Space Marine legion/chapter has appeared in official material so often and has been so idolised by many official authors, that it’s rather easy to be fed up with them, especially when they are written like they can do no wrong. And with the introduction of the Primaris Marines and the return of Roboute Guiliman, the XIII Primarch, to the stage of the 41st millennium, there are probably yet more Ultramarines with their heroic feats waiting for us in the wings.

What then if I were to tell you that one of the most riveting Horus Heresy project in existence at the moment dealt with the XIII legion in a way that you haven’t seen before and that turns Ultramarines into something genuinely fascinating?

Enter BrotherCaptainArkhan’s Black One Hundred: A Censuria company of Ultramarines, that is to say: Those members of the legion whose failures, sins or merely oversights have damned them to the fate of serving in an entire company of rejects, expected merely to fight and die without making too much noise, lest their legion remember how embarrassing they are.

Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? Well, BCA takes this already promising premise and runs with it, coming up with an ongoing project log where every new update is spectacular, be it a new model, a new piece of background lore, or merely his musings about the ideas and motifs that go into his army.

It helps that the actual models are killer, of course: The Black One Hundred are about the dustiest, grimiest and most downtrodden Ultramarines you are ever going to see, but BrotherCaptainArkhan shows us that there can be something forlornly beautiful about armour this dented and scratched. And that Ultramarines Blue goes very well with black, indeed!


If I had to pick a favourite from this particular collection, I would choose the Black One Hundred’s (former) commanding officer, Brother-Captain Ludvic Augustus:


Now as far as I am aware, Augustus’ personal story arc has already run its course, but he remains my favourite piece of BrotherCaptainArkhan’s work, and arguably the perfect embodiment of the Black One Hundred: a perfect blend of a powerful Ultramarine and a down-to-earth, workhorse soldier that would rather not be remembered by history.

The quality evident in the special characters really extends all the way down, though, as even the various objective markers are little works of art (as well as tributes to the Ultramarines’ unbending spirit, in spite of everything):

Hard as that may be to believe, however, the – truly stunning – models are just part of the charm here: The storytelling at play, the fluff and soundbites, are equally riveting. These guys are members of a Censuria company, and it’s clear that they will never be able to make up for their past wrongdoings. Even their own Primarch would prefer them to be forgotten in silence. And in spite of everything, they are still Ultramarines. They fight. They endure. Only in death does duty end. And BrotherCaptainArkhan does such a fantastic job of telling their story!

Probably the biggest compliment I can offer is that, were BrotherCaptainArkhan to write a BL novel focusing on his Censuria company, I’d buy and read it right away, without a moment’s hesitation.

There are many Horus Heresy projects these days, as everybody and their cousin (yours truly included) seems to want a piece of that sweet Heresy goodness. The Black One Hundred, however, stand tall above the rest as probably one of the best Horus Heresy projects in existence right now, and as a constant inspiration: When I work on my own 30k World Eaters, I constantly try to capture the merest fraction of depth and gravitas of the Black One Hundred. That is how awesome they are.

Check out BrotherCaptainArkhan’s landmark project here.

Malcharion’s Space Sharks


A couple of years ago, the Carcharodons used to be all the rage: Reintroduced to the 40k background by Forgeworld as part of their treatment of the Badab War, these mysterious and brutal Space Marines from the farthest reaches of the galaxy captured many a hobbyist’s imagination and launched dozens of army projects. It also made an entire generation of hobbyists learn about Tamiya Clear Red, back before Blood for the Blood God had been developed 😉

Because most people were content to just paint their Space Sharks flat grey, slap lots and lots of glossy blood effect on there and call it a day. Even Forgeworld’s own painters only paid occasional service to the idea of the Carcharodon’s use of tribal markings and intricate designs.

Not so with Malcharion’s Carcharadons, however, who breathe new life into the chapter’s identity in the most spectacular way:


Malchy’s fantastic paintjobs are one reason for this, particularly his brilliant use of highly intricate, quasi-Polynesian tribal designs. They turn every model into a piece of art without overwhelming the pieces. This is particularly evident on the Dreadnoughts that look like walking totems or shrines, while also seeming every bit as deadly and combat-worthy as you would expect of a Space Marine Dreadnought:


What’s more, while his Carcharodons certainly use a copious amount of blood effect, the combination of blood spatter and the intricate armour markings makes for a fascinating juxtaposition that adds a layer of depth to a chapter that often merely gets characterised as “really violent and mysterious grey dudes that also have this shark thing going on”.

The conversion and kitbashing on display are also truly something to behold. Just take this kitbashed master of the forge, featuring what has to be the best use of a Lizardman/Seraphon claw bit I have ever seen:


Or Malcharion’s version of Company Master Tyberos, “The Red Wake”:


Now this version is actually very different from Forgeworld’s official model, but the character is still instantly recognisable. And he has all the menace of a great white shark, without feeling silly because of it.

Speaking of which, those glittering black eyes really give me the creeps every time I look at the model:


Malcharion also routinely makes excellent use of dedicated legion bitz (and models) from Forgeworld, particularly from the World Eaters catalogue, to make his Carcharodons look even more vicious. Case in point, his Terminators (based on the World Eaters Red Butchers):


And, arguably even more spectacular, this Carcharodon officer based on the Heresy era model for Kharn:


It’s a testament to Malchy’s skill, however, that those models not only work perfectly within the framework of his army, but you wouldn’t really recognise them as World Eaters any longer: They are perfect Space Sharks now, aren’t they?

And while this moves beyond the scope of his Carcharodons, allow me to point out that Malcharion also works on models for the chapter’s Primoginetor legion, the Raven Guard, and he manages to turn even this least interesting of Space Marine legions (at least in my opinion) into something truly breathtaking:

Malchy’s complete project log can be found here.

Daouide’s Kalista

Le blog dé Kouzes is another regular name in my list of perennial favourites, so it shouldn’t surprise you that those wonderful and crazy Frenchmen make another appearance in this year’s Eternal Hunt Awards. By the same token, Daouide’s Emperor’s Children are the epitome of „Slaanesh done right“, so there’s yet another reason for this particular choice.

The above model takes the cake, however: Kalista, a championess of Slaanesh, and easily one of the most stunning models to have come out of 2017. Now any idea of building female Space Marines (or something similar) has been a bit of a hot button issue for a long time, with everyone who tries to work with this basic promise in acute danger of being laughed out of town. At the same time, having a championess of Slaanesh actually seems like such a wonderfully „Realms-of-Chaos“-style thing to do, doesn’t it? And just look at Kalista – isn’t she drop dead gorgeous?

Daouide’s wonderful conversion work, brilliant sculpting and sublime painting work together to create something utterly stunning here. Even better, though, Kalista is actually based on the Stormcast Eternal model Naeve Blacktalon:

Incredible, wouldn’t you agree?

In addition to painting her to match the rest of his EC army, Daouide also built and painted a custom warband for Kalista, and her retinue is certainly no slouch either:

Even in such a fantastic collection of models, however, Kalista stands out – and in spite of being a follower of Slaanesh, she isn’t even all that overtly sexualised. Incredible work!

One last observation: In addition to being such a stunning model, Kalista also really reminds me of the official art for Telemachon Lyras, of The Talon of Horus fame, and makes me wonder whether a fantastic model for Telemachon might not be built from the exact same source model.

In any case, check out Kalista in more detail here.

II. Blogs of note:

In this day and age, thoughtful blogging seems to be turning into a dying art, especially given the prevalence of endless picture streams on places like Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest — god, I’m sounding like a cantankerous old man, am I not? 😉

But the fact remains that, while social media are becoming ever more integral to the online component of our hobby, social networks don’t really lend themselves well to the “longform”content I appreciate. So to me at least, dedicated, well maintained blogs are more precious than ever, and discovering particularly fascinating specimens remains one of the biggest joys in our hobby. Here’s my pick of the litter for 2017:

Lead Plague:

Now Lead Plague is one of those blogs that I cannot believe I didn’t discover much, much earlier, as the very original style of Asslessman’s work is truly something to behold. Maybe the most interesting thing about the blog is how perfectly it mixes both vintage sensibilities and modern design techniques: Now the whole “Oldhammer” movement has been quite a thing for a couple of years now, and at its best, Oldhammer seems to be about celebrating the creative – and often crazy – vintage creations of early GW (and other companies from the same time), and I can totally subscribe to that! Unfortunately, though, at its worst, Oldhammer can occasionally devolve into basically disparaging everything GW did after 1995, and those parts of the movement are really rather tiresome.

And entirely unneccessary, as it turns out, as so much of the content on Lead Plague perfectly bridges the gap between Oldhammer and “modern” GW models. It helps that Asslessman really pulls it off in style, of course, creating highly original conversions with often surprising and original colour schemes:


And while those models are perfectly “modern” in so many ways, they also happen to recall the ‘Eavy Metal sections of vintage GW publications from around the 2nd edition of Warhammer 40k, which is really the best of both worlds, isn’t it?

The blog is also full of fantastic warbands and projects. One of my favourites  is the “Shadow Legion”, a band of traitors and heretics that makes excellent use of some of GW’s more recent plastic kits:


Seriously, aren’t those menacing masked soldiers just perfect for all kinds of chaos and INQ28-related shenanigans?


Again, all of this looks perfectly at home in “modern” 40k. At other times, things get downright Oldhammer-y, as with this vintage Brat Gang, inspired by Confrontation, the semi-official predecessor to Necromunda:


Funnily enough, given the shout out Brat Gangs get in the new Necromunda material, these guys may soon have a home in “modern” GW again 😉

Or take a look at some of the rather excellent oldhammer-ish models appearing in this inquisitorial retinue:


Asslessman shows that this really doesn’t have to be an either/or choice, that it’s possible for a hobbyist to draw from decades of excellent content and turn it all into the kind of custom projects they want — and pull it all together with excellent painting, no less! And of course all of us, whether we are Oldhammerers or not, just love the grimdark:

Anyway, Lead Plague is a fantastic blog and, in spite of its many retro-trappings, a real breath of fresh air! Oh, and it also wins an extra award for best header image! 🙂

The blog can be found here.

 

Wilhelminiatures:

Helge Wilhelm Dahl, of Wilhelminiatures, has been on my radar for quite some time now, but his blog has really managed to kick into overdrive this last year: There’s such a breadth of projects and ideas on display there now, in addition to a particular style of painting and modeling that’s just a joy to behold: There’s more than a bit of Blanchian influence, yet Wilhelminiatures‘ models are also wholly original and immediately recognisable.

Just to give you an idea of the variety on display on the blog:

Already on my shortlist last year, here’s a wondefully creepy and creative Genestealer cult that really pushes the envelope when it comes to adding interesting and disturbing archetypes (and genotypes) to GW’s “official” treatment of Genestealer cults:


There would be so much to say about this particular warband, but I’ll restrain myself and just point out that incredibly creepy babyface walker:


Or there’s the project of making the Silver Tower characters and archetypes more interesting and, arguably, more vintage GW. This endeavour ranges from a number of small tweaks to particular models…


…to rather impressive conversions and rebuilds. And everything is tied together by a wonderful, limited palette.


Or let’s not forget Wilhelminiatures’ wonderfully crazy apocalyptic warband taking cues from 40k, Necromunda and the latest Mad Max film at the same time:



And did I mention the blog also happens to feature some of the best 30k World Eaters around as well? Stupendous!


Given a collection this eclectic and wonderfully weird, it’s hard to pick favourites. If pressed to do so, however, there’s two models I would choose. One, the seashell-based monstrosity that reminded me so much of some very early and weird creature concepts from the video game Bioshock:




Seriously, though: I have no words for how creepy that thing is!

Arguably the best model, however, is this guy here:


A wonderfully weird retro-futuristic Knight on his grimdark steed: Very characterful, very Rogue Trader, very grimdark — and very, very Wilhelminiatures!

Make sure to check out this fantastic blog here.

 

Prometian Painting:

Confession time, I would never have given a single thought to creating an army based on “Hakanor’s Reavers”, a throwaway warband mentioned in an earlier version of the Chaos Space Marines Codex as a possible inspiration for your own colour schemes and/or warbands:


This made me feel like a fool when discovering Alex Marsh’s work – first on Flickr and then on his blog, Prometian Painting, however, because Alex has managed to create a truly spectacular army using the colours of Hakanor’s Reavers:

One thing that quickly becomes evident is that Alex’ Chaos Space Marine army has that one quality that I love above all else: It is chock-full of brilliant kitbashes and conversions. Like this massive Chaos Lord converted using the freebie Slaughterpriest from the White Dwarf relaunch:


Or this Chaos Sorcerer who gives Forgeworld’s conceptually similar event-only model a run for its money:

Now looking at Alex’s fantastic models is also a bit of a bittersweet experience for me, because Alex freely admits to taking quite a bit of inspiration from some of my own models, which is indredibly flattering, of course. The bittersweet part comes from seeing that some of his takes on my models actually improve on my work 😉


Seems like the best thing I can do, considering the circumstances, is to just steal back a whole bag of ideas from Alex in turn — his Chosen, in particular, would be a delightful idea to steal:


They are just so wonderfully massive and menacing:

And there’s much more inspiration to be had here, as Alex doesn’t limit himself to the Chaos Space Marine part of his army: His collection now features dedicated “sub-armies” in the form of Traitor Guard and Chaos Daemons. The Traitor Guard detachment makes excellent use of Forgeworld’s Vraksian Renegade Militia, while also featuring enough common features with Hakanor’s Reavers to tie both forces together visually:



Once again, though, there are some lovely visual flourishes showing off Alex’ talent for creating cool conversions. Such as this traitor commander who is equal parts haughty officer and monstrous servant of chaos:


And let’s not forget the Daemon side of the collection, either! Because Alex’s sprawling chaos collection actually features an entire third army composed of Khorne’s neverborn servants:


As you will already have noticed, one of the most striking features of Alex’ armies is how they use the leitmotif of heat to draw the eye and pull the different parts of the force together: His painting perfectly conveys the feeling of blistering heat, be it in the form of warp-based fire breaking through the Astartes’ armour or via lava on the bases casting a red haze on the models. His daemons really turn this up to eleven, though, looking like their very bodies consist of molten metal and living flame:


In short, this is one of the best chaos armies I have seen in 2017, and a project that’s always a joy to follow!

The blog can be found here.

 

III. Honorary mentions:

Augustus b’Raass’ retro Bloodthirsters:

For a time, back when I properly got into WFB and 40k, Trish Carden’s – then brand new – metal Bloodthirster was my favourite model of all time. And even though time has not been all that kind to the sculpt, Augustus b’Raass’ beautiful modern paintjob for the classic Bloodthirster has made me realise that I still love the model, in spite of the massive hands and the general clunkiness.

If anything, Augustus’ photo above actually sells the model short, since the vibrancy of his paintjob model is absolutely breathtaking, as I can attest to from firsthand experience. In fact, the stunning amount of pop present in the paintjob is arguably a bit easier to see in this picture I took of the model:


In addition to painting a stock Retro-Thirster, Augustus also used a second vintage model to splice in some bitz from the modern plastic Bloodthirster and create a model that combines modern and retro in the best possible way:


So these two guys definitely deserve a shout out here! Fantastic work, buddy!

You can find Augustus’ ongoing WIP thread featuring all of his various hobby projects, over here.

Jeff Vader’s Primaris Reivers


It somehow feels as though this wouldn’t be a proper best of the year post without at least namedropping the ever illustrious Johan Egerkrans aka Jeff Vader, and while Johan’s hobby output last year didn’t quite match his frantic pace in previous years, he still managed to knock it out of the park again and again. Case in point, and particularly noteworthy: The Primaris Reivers from his DIY Chapter, bearing all the hallmarks of his incredibly gorgeous painting style as well as selling me on a slightly dubious new unit type. Congratulations, mate! Nobody does it quite like you!

Jeff Vader keeps blogging over here.

 

IV. The absolute best hobby project of 2017:

Wait, you didn’t think we were finished yet, did you? As it happens, I’ve actually saved the best for last this time around, so allow me to share my absolutely favourite hobby project from last year:

Neil101’s Adepta Sororitas diorama

Some of you may remember my absolute elation when this lass was released late in 2016:

To quote myself for a moment here:

You see, if somebody asked me what 40k was all about, I would point them to two particular pieces of artwork by the venerable John Blance. And one of those two pieces of art would be [the cover of the old Adepta Sororitas Codex], invariably.

It’s really all there: 40k’s particular blend of religious iconography, grimdark dystopian sci-fi and medieval madness. The glitzy, 80s fantasy style warrior woman with the crazy hairdo. And the influences from classic painters like Bosch, Breughel, Rembrandt et. al. It’s 40k in a perfectly formed nutshell.

And to get an almost picture perfect model representing that character, courtesy of Martin Footit, was a very particular delight, and one I wouldn’t have expected in a million years.

So I spent ages trying to get hold of a Canoness Veryidian model (it’s still sitting in its box, unpainted. That’s irony of fate for you), and one of my half-formed plans for the model was that, maybe, just maybe, I could try and recreate some of the characters from the background of that artwork and have them, along with the Canoness, as some kind of mini-diorama, you know?

Yeah, so…then I saw that Neil101 had done this:

I cannot even begin to put words to the sheer awesomness of this diorama: Neil has really gone above and beyond to create the closest possible representation of the art in actual miniature form — and without any cheap tricks like messing around with the scale or stuff like that, either. It’s an incredible piece that you could possible spend hours examining more closely to get an idea of all the details and genius little touches. Canoness Veryidian remains at the heart of the piece, of course, but it’s truly stunning what an incredible amount of work Neil had dedicated to the attempt of featuring all the crazy and demented characters loitering around in the background of the original illustration:

It goes without saying that seeing Neil’s work has put my own aspirations of doing something similar to rest — I mean, what’s the point, right? 😉

What’s more, since this is a fully fledged 360 degrees diorama, it basically looks great from every angle, lending itself perfectly to the creation of moody impressions of the grimdark future:


Speaking of which, I thought it would actually be fun to create some montages of Neil’s photos, trying to bring them even closer to the original art, so I played around with Photoshop and Pixlr a bit and send these over to Neil quite a while ago:



Looking at the pictures again now, I still cannot get over how awesome this project is: It epitomises the kind of no-holds-barred, crazy inventive hobby projects Neil101 has become known – and rightly revered – for.

So yeah, Neil, mate, you win “best absolute everything” this year — congrats! 😉

After a prolonged hiatus, Neil101 has once again set up shop on the interwebz: Find his new blog, Distopus, over here.

 

So here we are, with another year of incredible hobby endeavours behind us. I hope you enjoyed this show of stunning talent and will take lots of inspiration (and new reading suggestions) away from this! If anything, and I am saying this to myself as much as to my readers, let’s not be discouraged by the breathtaking display of talent, but let’s rather try to be re-invigorated for our own hobby endeavours, eh? So here’s to the next twelve months of cutting up and painting little plastic men and women!

So there may just be one last instalment of the 2017 Eternal Hunt Awards, taking a look at last year’s best (and worst) releases and at their implications for the way forward. Keep your fingers crossed for me not to get sidetracked too much, and it may happen sooner rather than later 😉

Until then, I’d love to hear your thoughts about my collection of inspiring content from fellow hobbyists! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!