Archive for WIP

The State of the Hunt, Week 12/2017

Posted in 30k, 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, state of the hunt, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2017 by krautscientist

I was simply swamped in work last week, so I had to miss an update — sorry for that! However, I’ve been far from idle on the hobby front, and possibly the most crucial hobby-related thing to happen last week were a couple of job-related trips to Hanover which provided me with the perfect opportunity for making some much needed purchases at a local FLGS:


With my supplies thus replenished, I think I’ll soon be able to start painting my recent Angron kitbash (hence all of the metallic colours). I also finally picked up a box of the Aos Blood Warriors, mainly for conversion fodder, really. And indeed, one of the fantastic helmets from the kit finally served as the perfect choice for Lorimar’s second in command, First Hunter Alrik Skarn:




This guy was originally my first really involved conversion after getting back into the hobby after a long hiatus (more than a year before I even started this blog, actually): I converted him during the first days of 2011, and have kept tinkering on him time and time again in the years since. But at long last, he now has just about the perfect helmet, so I think I can finally consider this conversion finished — phew! πŸ˜‰

And while the Blood Warriors are basically the perfect conversion resource for creating elaborate Khornate conversions for 40k, my next attempt at putting the various bits to good use actually involved creating a very early mockup for a 30k World Eater — go figure! πŸ˜‰


Does anyone have an idea who this might be. I’ll give you a hint: He’s not really a member of Lorimar’s 4th assault company, but rather a bit of a “guest star”, so to speak…

Speaking of which, work on my 30k World Eaters continues apace. For instance, I have finally built the vexillarius for my first squad of tactical veterans. Β I’ve wanted to build this model for a while now, but the backpack-mounted vexilla design didn’t do much for me. Then I happened upon Augustus b’Raass’ excellent assault squad Vexillarius here, and fell in love: I really like the way the standard recalls influences from ancient Roman Legions, which certainly seems fitting for the Legiones Astartes. At the same time, there is also something slightly totemic about the design, which fits the increasingly brutal nature of the World Eaters. So I took influences from this piece to build my vexillarius, trying to put my own spin on things. Take a look:




Unlike Augustus, I was actually too cheap to use the Custodian banner pole, so I improvised my own version with the bits I had. The shield itself will end up bearing a heraldic device (a legion badge, for instance). That way I’ll be able to use the same basic design for each vexilla, should I end up building multiple squads, while also having a chance of customising each one into an individual totem, if you will. This is a great fit for the kind of look I am after for my World Eaters: One that is not nearly as uniform as your standard Heresy era legion army, with warplate cobbled together from different marks and trophies that show the World Eaters’ beginning descent. At the same time, however, the more regimented, uniform roots are still visible.

Another thing I really wanted to incorporate was a head with a skull cap, something I’ve seen on Duncan Rhodes’ Sons of Horus in White Dwarf a couple of years ago, as well as in Apologist’s Iron Warriors: I think it works really well with Mk. 3 armour, making it look like the armour is so ancient that you actually have to wear the cap as some kind of additional conduit and protection layer underneath the atual helmet. Please ignore the Inquisitorial =][= on the model’s forehead, btw — it still needs to be filled in with GS.

I have also managed to finally put some paint on the next member of the squad, the Astartes bearing a massive and brutal looking autogun:



Now the first draft version of the model still had a standard Mk. 3 helmet, but then I saw Nemac Vradon’s fantastic conversion of Uzas (of First Claw fame) using one of the FW World Eaters helmet to great effect, and so I allowed myself a small indulgence and ordered a single head from a bitz-seller to give my model that little bit of extra oomph.

The model also features a shout out to one of my favourite 30k World Eaters armies: Mr. Poom’s World Eaters occasionally feature weapon casings in the Iron Warriors-styled hazard stripe design, and I included a variant of the design on the backup chainsword mag-locked to the legionary’s armour:




So yeah, it might be slow work – in keeping with my general laziness – but my small collection of 30k World Eaters keeps expanding one model at a time — not too long now, and I might actually end up with a full squad! Shocking, I know… πŸ˜‰


So here’s one small news item before I am off. I particularly like this one, however, because it was such a happy coincidence: During a recent visit to an artistic school, I was able to rescue a little something from the trash bin: the remains of an art project:


Call me crazy, but I think the broken parts of this face could make for some rather cool 40k terrain pieces with a bit of work. Monuments of that size are definitely a thing in the Imperium, and if I paint it in colours matching my 30k World Eaters, I’ll end up with terrain pieces that should work in 40k but would also make for pretty cool looking terrain for an Armatura-themed display board…just sayin’ πŸ˜‰

Until then, however, it goes without saying that I would love to hear any feedback you might have. And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

The State of the Hunt, Week 7/2017

Posted in 40k, Blood Bowl, Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, Inq28, Inquisitor, state of the hunt, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2017 by krautscientist

As it turns out, last week’s decision to force myself to actually sit down and paint something was really for the best: Not only did it result in a model I am really, really happy with — I’ve also managed to keep the creative spark alive until now. So even though I am currently suffering from a rather nasty case of the flu, I have still finished some more hobby related stuff. So let’s take about some of the recent developments today:

 

I. A Chaotic Tome

One of the more frustrating parts of the 2016 Christmas season was my attempt to get hold of a) the Traitor Legions Codex Supplement, b) Canoness Veridyan and c) the Index Chaotica book. The Canoness, in particular, sold out about three or four times, and once the model was finally back in stock, the Index Chaotica was gone for good — or at least that’s what it looked like then.

index-chaotica-1
Enter fellow hobbyist Augustus b’Raass (whose fantastic work you might want to check out here, by the way): Auggs was nice enough to swing by the Amsterdam GW store, pick up a spare copy of the book and send it my way — that was really awesome and yet another proof that this hobby of ours is full of wonderfully generous and thoughtful people!

As for the book itself, while I am writing this, it seems to be back in stock, so is it worth it? I’d say so, yes. The cynic in me wants to poke fun at the fact that it’s basically a – ever so slightly haphazard – collection of pre-published content, but then the stuff from Realm of Chaos, for instance, is only really available in the original books, and you’ll be paying through the nose if you want to obtain one of those. Plus the vintage chaos content is simply that good: sinister, evil, spiky and occasionally darkly humorous. And some of the classic artwork is still spectacular.

For instance, I was elated to find within the book a wonderfully vibrant reproduction of Geoff Taylor’s iconic World Eaters illustration. In spite of being decidedly old skool, it has also managed to age incredibly well, if you ask me:

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There’s also this WFB-chaos centric piece from the same artist that actually almost seems like a companion piece of the World Eaters picture:

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I still remember when this image appeared on the box of the Chaotic paints set (Tentacle Pink FTW!), and I was spellbound and tried to figure out what I was actually seeing — the lumbering war machine in the back was especially fascinating, as it subtly hinted at a WFB/40k connection. From a modern standpoint, I’d say it’s actually a depiction of a Lord of War, a Khornate daemon engine from Epic 40k that eventually grew into the modern Lord of Skulls. It also serves as living proof of how much more awesome GW artwork was when it didn’t limit itself to picturing available models — but that’s a subject for another time.

Speaking of Khorne, the Khornate content alone is basically worth the price of admission and should provide me with lots and lots of new ideas. And while the internet will provide you with lots and lots of fuzzy scans of vintage GW artwork, there are still some surprises to be had here, among them an elusive Jes Goodwin sketch for a dedicated heavy support World Eater:

index-chaotica-4
Actually, Jes Goodwin’s design sketches are yet another reason to pick up the book: I cannot help marveling at the quality of his concepts for the four cult legions and the original 2nd edition CSM special characters –incredible stuff!
Oh, and let me just state for the record that the book obviously wouldn’t have been complete without the wonderful berzerker on the right courtesy of Mark Gibbons! πŸ™‚

So anyway, I’ve spent some very enjoyable weeks going back and forth through the book and immersing myself in the rich background for the chaos powers. I am ever so thankful to Augustus b’Raass for getting me a copy, and I suppose I’ll have to come up with something special in order to make it up to him — cheers, buddy! πŸ™‚

 

II. A Merry Band of Misfits

I didn’t merely spend my time browsing through iconic chaos content from the yesteryear, though: Some of you might remember this little project here from last year: The Road Crew:

the-road-crew-2016
Now this little warband project was basically started as a fun diversion (and as a way to channel some of the influences from the Mad Max universe), but before I realised it, it had already started to take on a life of its own, coagulating into a little retinue.

The basic idea here was to start with some of the pit slave tropes introduced by Necromunda, but move beyond those character archetypes to include mutants, gunmen or even former Imperial adepts and shape them into a gang of malcontents that have disappeared between the cracks of the 41st millennium.

Now if you take a look at the image above, you’ll realise that there are already quite a few beefy warrior types — but this outfit still needed some brains. That’s why I built this guy last year:

Doc WIP (5)
Where the more gladiatorial types are muscular and crudely augmented, I wanted a gaunt and more delicate look for the brainy guy, and a combination of AdMech parts led to an outcome that was pretty close to my vision. The interesting task was to make a model that is so different from a structural standpoint look like it still belonged with the group. I tried to achieve that via a suitably strong paintjob, and here’s the result of that little endeavour:

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This is Solon Antonov, nicknamed “The Doktor”, formerly a low to mid-tier member of the Adeptus Mechanicus who stationed on St. Sabasto’s Reach to select suitable slaves to undergo augmetic modification and be transported off-world, to spend the rest of their sad lives toiling away in one of the mines or forges of the Velsian Adeptus Mechanicus. But, surprising enough for a man mostly made from metal by this point, Antonov discovered he still had a heart after all, and absconded with a group of slaves. Ever since, he has been the brains behind the “Road Crew”, tasked both with planning their activities and with the “maintenance” of its various members.

As you can see, I used the exact same colours on Antonov and the gladiators, with the scratched and damaged yellow armour serving as the element that really pulls the models together. I was actually happy enough with the outcome that I started to work on the next model right away. This little guy here:

Twist Witch Doctor (1)
I thought a mutant witch doctor type would nicely expand the character of the warband beyond a mere gang of pitslaves, even if this guy may initally seem a bit far out. Anyway, he’s still a little rough around the edges and needs some finishing touches, but here are some photos of the nearly finished model:

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All in all, this project is a lot of fun, because it allows for some very organic kitbashing and painting. It’s also a nice vehicle for telling a somewhat more intimate story: These guys aren’t part of the fight for the Emperor’s soul, they just want to get by. That being said, it’s kinda interesting to explore the contrast between their humanity and their somewhat distressed, grotesque outer appearances.

So here’s the entire gang so far. Meet the Road Crew:

the-road-crew-early-2017-2
From left to right: Crusher Vexx, Tiny (the Road Crew’s battle captain), Doktor Antonov, Grimspyke, Chopper and the PIP twist witch doctor (if anyone has a cool idea for a name, I’d love to hear it).

So what’s in store for the Road Crew? I think there’ll be one or two additional members, and a suitable ramshackle ride for them — I already have a plan on that account. Keep your eyes peeled! πŸ˜‰

 

III. A Squig-shaped Surprise

And last but definitely not least, imagine my surprise when I visited my friend Annie last week for one of our semi-regular painting sessions, only to present me with two wonderfully characterful squig-shaped dice for my Blood Bowl team, the Orkheim Ultraz:

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These lovely little models can be picked up at Comixininos, and they should make for excellent turn/reroll counters for my team! And I really love how Annie painted them to perfectly match the colours of the Orkheim Ultraz:

orkheim-ultraz-early-2017
Thanks so much for the amazing gift, Annie! πŸ™‚

By the way, we’ll be taking a closer look at one of Annie’s Blood Bowl teams in the near future, if only to show you her fairly different approach as well as her balls-to-the-wall crazy and creative ideas for the team. You should definitely look forward to that!
So yeah, as you can see, I am finally back into the swing of things! And I would love to hear any feedback you might have — just drop me a comment or two! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

The 2016 Eternal Hunt Awards, pt. 2: The Industry

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings, Traitor Guard, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 21, 2017 by krautscientist

Awards

Okay everyone, forgive me for dropping off the radar for a bit there, but work has been pretty crazy for the last couple of weeks, and my free time has mostly been dedicated to the wonderful world of digital entertainment for quite a while (as an aside, if you like this blog, you should probably check out Dishonored 2 and Last Guardian, if you haven’t already).

Anyway, if you’ll indulge me, I would still like to get the Eternal Hunt Awards gig done and dusted before properly starting into a new hobby year — and it’ not as though I already have a whole lot of new stuff to show, either, so it’s finally time to continue this year’s…erm or rather: last year’s Eternal Hunt Awards.

For today’s installment, let’s take a look at the stuff GW released in 2016: I am going to outline the best and worst parts of the 2016 catalogue of releases. What were the highest and lowest points? And what else was cool …or curiously missing from the releases? Read on to find out!

 

I. Best releases

After a pretty strong 2015, 2016 was yet another spectacular year when it comes to GW’s releases — and if there’s one thing that was extremely surprising to me, it’s how many of GW’s 2017 releases seemed to bring to life stuff many hobbyists, myself included, have been dreaming of for years (often to the amusement of others, who dubbed things like updated Genestealer Cults or models for Daemon-Primarchs completely unlikely). So there πŸ˜‰

This, along with a massive change in GW’s outward communication, might just be a hint at something bigger, a bit of a policy change, if you will. And whether or not you agree with all of the stuff GW has been doing over the last twelve months, I think we can all agree that it’s been a rather fascinating ride πŸ˜‰

But even in a spectacular year, there were some things that stood out, so allow me to share my favourite 2016 kits and models:

 

1. The Burning of Prospero

burning-of-prospero-release-1Betrayal at Calth (the game, not the unfortunate event) was one of the great unexpected surprises of 2015, and another HH era boxed set in 2016 serves as clear proof that plastic Horus Heresy is very much a thing now!

And what a boxed set it is: The Burning of Prospero contains a somewhat more eclectic collection of models than Betrayal at Calth, but it arguably refines some of the latter’s contents: Regarding the vanilla angle, we got pretty excellent plastic Mk. III Tactical Marines, making my favourite Heresy era armour mark available in a material I am much more comfortable with. Excellent!

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The real surprise, however, was the inclusion of a squad of plastic Custodian Guard and plastic Sisters of Silence, respectively — for those models to have been revealed would certainly have made enough of a splash, but for them to be included in a boxed set, and in plastic, no less —Β  frankly, my mind was blown!

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It helps that the models are mostly excellent, of course.

If you want to start a plastic Horus Heresy army, you’ll probably find Betrayal at Calth a bit more flexible and useful than The Burning of Prospero. But Prospero is like a slightly strange distant cousin: A bit less dependable, certainly, yet also rather eclectic and eccentric — and all the more fascinating for it!

See my detailed review of the boxed set here.

 

2. Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower

Silver Tower Release (1)

I have gone on record saying that, while I don’t actively dislike the Age of Sigmar setting, I still have a hard time getting a feeling for the new world and its idiosyncrasies. Much of this might have something to do with trying to see WFB in Age of Sigmar, which is probably the wrong approach altogether, as the new setting strieves to be very much its own thing.

So it was a good thing when yet another excellent boxed set tried to present a different, more intimate, look at the world of Age of Sigmar, and I have to say that Silver Tower pushed all of my HeroQuest nostalgia buttons:

The idea to create this as a self-contained boardgame in the vein of the classic HeroQuest was a brilliant approach, because it makes you care about little snippets of the world before trying to make you care about the entire (still rather vaguely defined) setting. We also get a look at the different “good” factions (The Golden Dudes (TM), Duardim, Aelf and what have you), and presenting them condensed into a single hero character each works great to give us an idea of the respective faction’s identity. To wit, the Stormcast Eternal hero included in the set is probably one of the best Sigmarine models so far:

Silver Tower Release (15)He also defines the look and feel of the faction more concisely than the entire slew of golden dudes we have been getting.

And, once again, I am getting such a HeroQuest vibe from the Sigmarite Priest and Darkoath Chieftain:

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The bad guys are no slouches either, with an excellent new version of the Gaunt Summoner and a warlock ogre — or should that be ogre warlock? Anyway, characters like the Ogroid Thaumaturge are the kind of thing that differentiates the new setting from the old, and it’s great to finally get to know them!

Silver Tower Release (3)Possibly the biggest achievement of Silver Tower is how it makes me like the Tzeentchian aesthetic – something that’s usually not exactly my cup of tea – by simply applying it to fantastic models, such as the aforementioned sorcerers, the Kairic Acolytes or the simply stunning Tzaangors — and the latter are even a shout out to the golden Oldhammer days!

Silver Tower Release (10)You know what? In a perfect world GW would have used a self-contained boardgame like Silver Tower to introduce us to the setting in the first place! A tighter, more focused experience might have made us care far more about the new setting. There are many reasons why such an approach would probably have been madness (they needed to replace a wargame, after all). But the fact still stands: I find myself caring more about Silver Tower than about almost the entire Age of Sigmar catalogue so far (Khornate models notwithstanding, for obvious reasons).

Plus you get a model of a fish on legs. That is all.

Silver Tower Release (14)Anyway, the boxed set stands as a rather charming introduction to the setting, and like I said, it manages to pull at my HeroQuest heartstrings, plus the models are pretty amazing as well. Which makes Silver Tower one of my favourite releases of 2016. ‘Nuff said.

 

3. Genestealer Cults

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Genestealer Cults are easily one of my favourite parts of the 40k setting — and arguably the one thing that not only makes Tyranids interesting, but also removes them a bit from their very obvious main inspiration. And over the years, I’ve gone back time and time again to that one page from the 2nd edition rulebook showing some genestealer hybrids, wondering why GW had left this fascinating little part of the lore fall by the wayside. At the same time, it seemed very unlikely that we would ever see a new version of the Genestealer Cults.

And yet here we are, with the Genestealer Cults now an official sub-faction of their own — and with some seriously brilliant models, no less! Everything started with yet another fantastic boxed set – Deathwatch: Overkill – and the absolutely brilliant new hybrid models contained within it.

Deathwatch Overkill release (31)

So GW actually revisited one of the favourite retro-factions of my youth, but they also managed to bring it into the modern age with some cutting edge kits: The hybrids stand tall, with both the excellent snap fit models from the boxed set and with a dedicated multipart plastic kit of their own, providing us with a tool to not only build an excellent Genestealer Cult, but to also use the new parts in all kinds of INQ28 and Necromunda-related shenanigans:

genestealer-cults-release-21There’s just so much about those models that hints at the more “civilian”, for lack of a better word, side of 40k, the side we keep seeing in Dan Abnett’s Inquisitor novels: These guys are creepy Xenos soldiers, yes, but they are wearing miner’s garb and wielding repurposed tools and rather pedestrian weapons, making for a wonderfully workmanlike, low-level look that provides something visually new and appealing (and, again, also makes for exquisite INQ28 kitbashing).

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There are also some rather beautifully subtle touches about the whole design: Call me crazy, but the ribbed structure of the miner’s armour reminds me not only of the actual Xenomorph in Alien, but also of the industrial design defining the look and feel of Ridley Scott’s classic series.

And we even get a more civilian 40k vehicle in the Goliath Truck/Rock Grinder, a wonderfully utilitarian looking workhorse that should be right up your alley, whether you’re trying to provide a sweet ride for your cult or searching for a vehicle for your pitslave gang:

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With the Genestealer Cults, GW has revisited one of the most interesting ideas from the vintage 40k lore and brought it into the 21st century with a bang — what a wonderful surprise!

My first observations about the cool hybrid models that were released as part of the Deathwatch:Overkill set can be found here.

 

4. Thousand Sons

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The new Thousand Sons, arriving at the tail end of 2016, were great for a number of reasons: For me as a chaos player, seeing these guys being given a proper modern age plastic treatment was really a bit of a dream come true — and it’s all even better if you consider the new Thousand Sons as a possible precedent for what could be a full new set of cult legion models! I am definitely keeping my fingers crossed on this account.

But even beyond the forces dedicated to a single chaos god, the new Thousand Sons also serve as a bit of a template for a new, modernised CSM design, showing us some tweaked proportions and definitely a much improved level of detail — nowhere is that more obvious than when looking at the new Rubric Marines:

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And frankly, that would already have been enough to turn the Thousand Sons into one of my favourite 2016 released, but there were two more bombshells buried within this particular release.

One, a redesigned Ahriman:

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Out of all the four or so classic, archetypal characters GW decided to revisit in 2016, Ahriman is arguably the best by far: He keeps pretty much everything that was awesome about the original model and adds an amount of three-dimensionality and dynamism that are hallmarks of GW’s modern plastic design. He’s also actually closer to Jes Goodwin’s original design sketch than the vintage model, and that is certainly saying something! While the original Ahriman is still a classic, the new version is a worthy successor. Well played, GW!

And of course, there’s the pink elephant in the room: Magnus the Red, the first (discounting those rather embarrassing Epic 40k versions) Daemon-Primarch model released by GW:

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And while the model itself is certainly nice enough, I cannot help actually feeling more excited by what Magnus actually represents: That GW is now willing to explore Daemon-Primarchs in model form. Now this might yet all go horribly wrong, with ulta-cheesy fluff and a WFB End Times-level brouhaha for the entire setting. But right here and now, having a plastic model of a Daemon-Primarch that so excellently draws from all the depictions of the character in the classic artwork certainly feels like a rather exciting moment!

I know that chaos players carry a – not entirely undeserved – reputation for constantly bitching about getting the short end of the stick. But at the same time, it’s also true that GW has fumbled the ball more than once when adding to the Chaos Space Marine faction. But the new Thousand Sons show that GW still knows how do to chaos right, and just imagining that we could be getting more of this at some point in the future gives me goosebumps — just imagine the possibilities…

You can find my thoughts on the entire release here.

 

 

5. Canoness Veryidian

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This last item on the list is particularly close to my heart, as the Canoness Veryidian model was an even bigger surprise to me than Daemon-Primarch Magnus!

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 this, invariably:

Adepta_Sororitas_by_John_Blanche

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.

A sizeable chunk of my Christmas holiday was spent trying to get my hands on one of the elusive Canoness Veryidian models, and when I finally succeeded, it felt like a true triumph indeed! What a wonderful surprise! I hope I’ll be able to do the model justice with my paintjob!

 

6. Honorary mention: Seeing Artemis again…

For the sake of the comparison, both models are displayed at the same size, when they are really anything but...

Featured in a boxed set that was somewhat more pedestrian than some of the more spectacular sets released this year, but even so: Seeing Artemis released in a 28mm version was definitely a nice surprise!

 

II. Worst releases/biggest disappointment

The quality of GW’s 2016 output was pretty astounding, overall, but there were some kits that somehow fell short of the mark. Don’t ge me wrong, none of the following models were completely terrible. But in the light of so many great releases, some designs were a bit of a letdown for me, and they arguably feel all the more disappointing for all the brilliant stuff released by GW last year — so here’s what I didn’t like:

1. Wulfen

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Out of all the new kits released in 2016, there is really only one kit that came dangerously close to actually qualify as “bad” in my personal opinion — the new plastic Wulfen models.

Now to cut GW’s designers some slack, designing Space Marine werevolves that actually look cool and suitably believable cannot be a simple task. And to be fair, the kit definitely looks like they gave it their all, trying to incorporate as many cool touches as possible.

But in the end, it all just collapses in on itself, because the groundwork was never sound to begin with. Much of this has something to do with the Wulfen anatomy: Now the original Wulfen models certainly had their own share of problems, but one thing the classic models did really well was to convey a sense of chaotic devolution, their armour being cracked and broken away in different places by the terrible changes in their physiology:

classic-wulfen-models

At the same time, they certainly didn’t take any big chances with the overall anatomy, basically keeping a standard human setup.

By comparison, the new Wulfen look far animalistic, but also like a strangely stable – if hairy – genotype, with every model sharing the same general build. But shouldn’t the transformation into a Wulfen be somewhat more haphazard and unstable? In fact, the longer I think about it, the more this drives me up the wall: They are even wearing contoured armour that seems to have been carefully adapted to their new build. Who in the world is making that stuff for the heavily muated Wulfen, along with the backpack-mounted pistols and custom wargear? Another Wulfen? A Wulfen scientist, if you will? Or are they fortunate enough to have kept a few sane fellows around?

Instead of looking like feral, yet tragic, creatures tortured by the changes wrought upon their bodies by unstable genetics, the new Wulfen look more like a World of Warcraft character class. And there’s also the fact that the faces remind me of the Wolf Man, for the most part:

the-wolf-man

And let’s not even get in the squad leader’s awkward, overdesigned jumping pose…

What we end up with is a collection of pretty amazing conversion parts — but the completed models somehow become less than the sum of their parts. And what really amazes me that I have yet to see the new Wulfen assembled or painted in a way that makes them work. So even while the designers probably had their cards stacked against them from the beginning – SciFi werewolves seems like just about the most thankless imaginable archetype – I am sad to say that the Wulfen are my personal GW low point from last year.

2. GW basing sets

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The idea itself was brilliant: GW putting out some bases and bitz-based basing sets on their own is long overdue. So I was really happy when the new bases for 40k were announced.

I picked up the Sector Imperialis Large Base Kit, because it seemed like the most immediately useful addition to my bitzbox, and I was really looking forward to having some dedicated basing bitz at my disposal.

The problem was that the quality of the cast was absolutely abysmal, with very soft detail and a general clunkiness to the cast that would have been slightly embarrassing in the mid-90s, but simply seems baffling from a modern standpoint. Here’s a company that can put out the most delicate plastic models imaginable to man, and the cast of their basing kits seems more appropriate for a cheap aftermarket knock-off?

I’ve heard rumours that the first batch of those basing kits was produced in China — but seriously, that excuse doesn’t cut it for me: They were still on sale at a GW store, for the same premium price as the rest of their kits.

To make a long story short, will I be able to still put those bitz to good use? You bet. But seeing a kit I had really been looking forward to deliver such a poor experience was still one of the low points of my hobby year.

3. Ulrik the Slayer…Unmasked!

ulrik-the-slayer
In his original incarnation, Ulrik was a rather iconic model, sinister and somewhat mysterious with his wolf skull helmet. Now, more than two decades later, he has finally decided to show us his face, and wouldn’t you know it: He looks just like generic bearded Space Wolf guy no. 101′ — what a letdown!

Now I couldn’t even tell you what it was I expected — maybe the helmet should just have stayed on, is all I am saying. It’s even more of a shame when the rest of the model is really pretty awesome!

4. New Eldrad Ulthran

Eldrad comparison

GW released new plastic versions of several of the most iconic 40k characters last year, and in my opinion, Eldrad was the one to get the short end of the stick. Now the new versions definitely isn’t a terrible model — far from it. But where, say, the aforementioned new Ahriman basically takes all that was great about the original model and tweaks the formula to perfection, the new Eldrad loses (or, at the very least, seriously waters down) the iconic composition that made the original such a classic. Face it guys: This isn’t Elrad. It’s just some warlock guy trying his darnedest to seem as cool as the big man πŸ˜‰

III. Still on the fence about…

  • Losing Warhammer: Visions: Now don’t get me wrong: I really rather like the new monthly White Dwarf format. In fact, the weekly White Dwarf was a travesty: far too expensive and far too thin on content. And the new mag, at least judging by the first couple of issues, seems to be a return for form in som many ways. Can I be perfectly honest with you, though: I was one of the few people to actually like Warhammer: Visions. I loved looking at pages after pages of glorious armies and models, especially if those were the creations of fellow hobbyisty and featured many personal touches and conversions. Now the new White Dwarf might be a great overall hobby magazine yet again, but the army features, for instance, just cannot compare to the ones in Warhammer: Visions.
    I realise that most people saw visions as a redundant coffee table book, but I find myself kinda missing the format. Is that weird…?
  • No plastic Sisters yet agai….WAIT! Whoa, does this mean we might be getting new Sisters of Battle? In plastic? Oh, pretty please…? Seriously, though: It’s. About. Damn. Time!

 

IV. Also pretty cool

  • New plastic Blood Bowl: I really love how GW has given the classic game more than just a new coat of paint, and if this is any precedent for the new Specialist Games, I am really optimistic about the future!
  • The new attitude: I also really love GW’s new approach to communicating with their cuctomers and with hobbyist: That they are back to actively using social media. That they are actually acting proactively in the whole rumours business instead of merely reacting to all those leaked materials online. That they are posting supremely helpful (looking at you again Duncan Rhodes) as well as genuinely funny video material. Now all of this seems like common sense, really, but let’s not forget that some of us hobbyists can be a fanbase that not even a mother could love. Anyway, good work, guys and girls! Do carry on! πŸ™‚

 

All in all, it’s been a teriffic year for GW, and I am certainly looking forward to the next batch of releases? So much for 2016, then, at least where the industry is concerned. Next up is the third and final installment of the 2016 Eternal Hunt Awards, taking a look at my favourite models from fellow hobbyists all over the blogosphere — arriving soon, hopefully, here on the blog.

Until then, feel free to let me know your feedback: Do you agree (or disagree) with my assessment of last year’s releases? What were your favourite parts, and which models did you hate? Did I forget anything important? I am looking forward to your comments!

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

The 2016 Eternal Hunt Awards, pt. 1: A look back at my hobby year

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings, Traitor Guard, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 23, 2016 by krautscientist

Awards

Yes, it’s that time of year again: Welcome everyone to the 2016 Eternal Hunts Awards, where I take a look at this past hobby year and talk about the best releases, the most inspiring work from fellow hobbyists and about my own hobby year — in fact, just to shake things up a bit – and also because this will be the least complicated part of this year’s series – let’s start with a little retrospective of my hobby work. So here are my favourite personal achievements and hobby moments from the last twelve months:

 

I. My hobby projects

I think we can all agree that 2016 has been a spectacularly awful year in many, many ways. At the same time, it has also been a really successful year for me in hobby terms — go figure! Maybe one reason for this is that focusing on hobby related activities was one of the things that helped me stay sane during a time of great personal upheaval and insecurity: Escapism isn’t always a good thing, but being able to focus on something different for a couple of hours every now and then will do wonders for your peace of mind! And I find that, due to the handicraft angle of the hobby, converting and painting little plastic men feels decidedly less frivolous than, say, playing videogames for hours on end πŸ˜‰

So anyway, in spite of everything, I managed to come up with some new models that I am really rather happy with. And with some thirty completed models compared to 2015’s 25, I even managed to outdo myself!

class-of-2016-2

So, in keeping with well-established tradition, allow me to walk you through my 2016 completions and highlight some of the models and projects I am especially happy with:

 

1. Khorne’s Eternal Hunt

2016 was another strong year for my longest-running army project, so let’s focus on my World Eaters for a moment. Here’s what Khorne’s Eternal Hunt looked like in late 2015:

army shot 01 big colour

And here’s an updated army picture from the summer of 2016:

Khorne's Eternal Hunt 2016 (2) big
And while this may not look like a huge evolution – with the notable exception of the towering Chaos Knight loitering around in the back row – I wasn’t nearly done with painting Khornate models at that point.

But even back then, the army already looked rathe impressive, if I do say so myself, and there are many parts of this project I am still rather happy with. Especially the various characters I have completed for my World Eaters:

Masters of the Hunt 2016 (2)
Even so, the latter half of the year saw some sizeable additions to the army, though, and the main reason for this was the existence of the superbly-run and highly motivational community events over at The Bolter & Chainsword: Both the E Tenebrae Lux V and the Call of Chaos IX really managed to light a fire under me, prompting me to complete two hefty vows.

Here are the models I pledged during this year’s ETL:

ETL V All Vows (2)

And here’s the – slightly less impressive – vow I completed earlier this month during the Call of Chaos:

finished-call-2016-11
It helps that the community over at the B&C is wonderfully lively and constructive, and without the support and feedback from fellow hobbyists over there, I doubt I would have completed as many models.

Just to single out some of my favourite parts from those events, I did manage to finish the last missing model for my squad of traitorous Tempestus Scions which is now one of my favourite squads from my collection:

Traitor Elite full squad (4)
I also included an Iron Warriors Apothecary I had converted last year in one of my vows:

apothecary-phastos-of-the-iron-warriors-5
And this guy then provided the perfect occasion to get back to my small Iron Warriors killteam, a side project that I am hopefully going to devote even more time to in the new year:

iron-warriors-killteam-wip-5
Since this year’s Call of Chaos event was Tzeentch-themed, I also created a model to represent Iskandar Khayon from Aaaron Dembski-Bowden’s wonderful novel “The Talon of Horus”:

iskandar-khayon-3
So I now have two of the novel’s main characters in model form:

iskandar-khayon-and-lheorvine-ukris
And next year’s Call is going to be Slaanesh-themed — sounds like a perfect excuse to build Telemachon Lyras and complete the set πŸ˜‰

And finally, despite having been a faithful follower of chaos for almost almost two decades at this point, this year saw me complete my very first daemon models — in a series of escalating steps that would lead to completing one of the new plastic Bloodthirsters…

Bloodthirster Ghor'Lash'Kharganath (4)
…and then moving on to what is possibly my finest work to date:

 

2. The Lord of the XII Legion

It was clear to me that 2015’s Gilgamesh would be a tough act to follow. But when I found myself in possession of an extra Bloodthirster kit earlier this year,Β  an idea began to form in the back of my head. An idea that would eventually lead to the creation of my very own version of Angron in his form as a Daemon-Primarch:

Daemon-Primarch Angron (16)
Daemon-Primarch Angron (31)
Daemon-Primarch Angron (21)
Daemon-Primarch Angron (15)
And I am just incredibly proud of this model: From a technical standpoint, it’s very probably my best paintjob to date, and it’s also very close to how I imagine the XII Primarch in his daemonic form. Now that Daemon-Primarchs are actually a thing in 40k, I have no doubt that an eventual “official” version of Angron will surpass and invalidate my interpretation — but I cannot help it, I am still incredibly pleased with the big guy!

Read more about the model’s inception here.

Daemon-Primarch Angron (23)
The Red Angel
Speaking of Angron, I built another version of him, to represent him during his days as a gladiator on Nuceria, and it’s another model I am really happy with:

angron-thalkr-lord-of-the-red-sands-11

Let me also mention that I couldn’t really have created either version of Angron without drawing some massive inspiration from the work of fellow hobbyists, chief among them Reg with his dozen or so of incredible Angron conversions πŸ˜‰

So all in all, those models make for quite a nice collection of vicious, daemonic killers. Here’s the Khornate part of my 2016 output:

class-of-2016-world-eaters
A fair few of these models are daemons, so the pieces you see below may or may not become the start of a dedicated daemonic detachment:

class-of-2016-daemons
In fact, I realise in hindsight that monstrous daemons make up a sizeable part of my 2016 output –but come, on: Given the current state of the world, I might be forgiven for the subconscious need to keep painting red-skinned devils, wouldn’t you agree? πŸ˜‰

In closing, here are all of the chaotic footsloggers (minus the two big guys) again:

class-of-2016-chaos-2

 

 

3. The world of INQ28

While my INQ28-related work this year didn’t quite match my 2015 output, I am nevertheless fairly happy with the new additions to my collection. Strangely enough, everything started with…a dog:

Cyber-Mastiff (3)

A Cyber-Mastiff conversion based on a Malifaux model. I am still rather happy with the mutt πŸ˜‰

But anyway, here’s the entire “INQ28 Class of 2016”:

class-of-2016-inq28
The achievement I am probably the most happy with was to finally paint some models that had been knocking about in my cupboard of shame for ages, and this lead to a nearly 100% finished retinue for Inquisitor Erasmus Gotthardt of the Ord Hereticus Velsen:

inquisitor-gotthardt-and-retinue-early-2016-8
Now I have a huge soft spot for this warband, mostly because it’s made up of my attempt at putting a spin one most of the classic character archetypes from the Inquisitor rulebook (the Rogue Trader, the Security Agent, the Drill Abbot,…). As a consequence, the retinue has a very colourful, swashbuckling look that I like. Most of Gotthardt’s operatives were built years ago – and with a much smaller bitzbox, at that – but I do think they still hold up for the most part. So just one last member for the warband – a female psyker – and then the project will finally be completed at long last!

That’s not the only warband I have managed to complete, though: I also finished two retainers for my true scale Astartes, Praetor Janus Auriga, creating a “mini-warband”, if you will:

Praetor Janus Auriga and retainers (3)
This project was simply an excellent way of exploring the more ostentatious, medieval side of the Adeptus Astartes. Plus the retainers make Auriga look even more massive and monstrous, providing a great visual framing device for the character. Coming up with a concept for a chapter serf was also great fun!

And finally, I came up with the beginnings for a slightly Mad Max-inspired group of misfits dubbed “The Road Crew”:

the-road-crew-2016
These guys have been brilliant fun to work on so far, and I hope I’ll be able to tound out the group in 2017!

 

4. Blood Bowl

A completion that is very close to my hear, this one: After quite a bit of procrastrination, I finally completed the first big guy for my kitbashed Blood Bowl team, the Orkheim Ultraz:

blood-bowl-troll-1
It was simply great fun to make sure the troll fits the overall look of the team while also adding his own visual touches to the larger project:

orkheim-ultraz-2016-4
And the model really manages to make the team look and feel complete — even if there’s a really good chance we’ll be seeing more models for it in the future!

orkheim-ultraz-2016-2

So yeah, all things considered, thats quite an eclectic collection of new models, and one that I am really rather proud of:

class-of-2016-1

 

II. My favourite hobby moments

There were also some really awesomeΒ  hobby moments that didn’t involve building and painting new models, so let’s take a look at those as well:

For instance, I was really happy when Gilgamesh, my Chaos-Knight, made GW’s Webstore blog as an example of a converted Renegade Knight back in April:

Gilgamesh on GW blog 01
Alas, thanks to GW’s recent decision to fold their daily blog into a new (and admittedly rather cool) community site, my moment of triumph was short-lived. But at least I have the screenshots for proof πŸ˜‰

Being approached by Adam Jones to contribute to his excellent hobby mag, The Golden D6, was also fantastic! Thanks to Adam, some of my work appeared in three issues of the mag:

An army feature focusing on Khorne’s Eternal Hunt in issue #5…

D6 Screenshot
…and a two-part series on how to glitz up your miniature photography, published in issues #6 and #7:

d6-deimos
This particular feature even earned me a rather glowing endorsement from Natfka over at Faeit212, as an added bonus:

faeit-212
And finally, my dear Lord Captain Lorimar even made the cover for The Golden D6′s issue #7:

d6-issue-7-cover
Anyway, if Adam’ll have me, I’d love to do some more contributions for the mag in 2017!

And last, but definitely not least, I would be remiss not to mention the fact that some of the best new additions to my collection happened courtesy ofΒ  enormously generous people who sent me conversions, bitz or even entire painted models:

class-of-2016-gifts-donations
Just to name some particularly wonderful examples off the top of my head…

  • a wonderfully painted Lord Zhufor sent to me by PDH,
  • an excellent converted Khornate Chaos Lord provided by BrotherJim
  • vintage Bloodletters kindly sent to me by Sagal and AMaximus
  • the base model for the Cyber-Mastiff conversion, courtesy of a Malifaux box that Miniature Tim sent me
  • a brilliantly moody Khornate cultist (and his bucket) gifted to me by Neil101:
Models built and painted by Neil101

Models built and painted by Neil101

And those are just the painted models! Let’s not forget Helega sending me one amazing bitz drop after the other, or the incredibly generous Adam Wier (of Between the Bolter And Me fame), who actually let me have a nearly complete Forgeworld Angron:

Forgeworld Angron WIP (1)
Thank you all so much, guys! You’re really turning this hobby into something even cooler for me, and I am really, really happy about that! πŸ™‚

III. Bad news

In spite of feeling fairly happy with my hobby output this year and having my share of awesome hobby moments, I also have to say that it wasn’t all peaches and cream: For one, there were some rather sad developments: 2016 saw my beloved FLGS, Frabusel, closing its doors for good, which still sucks (and which has also rendered the procurement of hobby supplies somewhat more complicated). And I was really sad to learn of the passing of hobby and fantasy legends such as Joe Dever or the late, great Wayne England.

There’s also one instance where I really regret failing a hobby goal I had set for myself: Earlier this year, fellow hobbyists extraordinaire Jeff Vader, Nordic and Alexander were awesome enough to invite me to participate in a Path of Glory event. I felt really honoured and started to build a Khornate warband for the project, but in the end a combination of being too preoccupied with my RL situation and simply not devoting nearly enough time to the project resulted in my failing to participate, which I really regret. It would have been great fun to hang out with those gentlemen, surely, and failing to live up to their expectations (and my own) felt like a huge missed opportunity — I hope I’ll be getting another chance to complete my small warband of Khornate misfits – or an altogether different warband for another event.

khornate-warband-ks-7

*Sigh*, it just wasn’t meant to be…

IV. Plans

So what’s in the card for 2017? Now I usually try not to make any grand promises, because I know how much my output will be tied to inspiration — or to my considerable laziness πŸ˜‰

That being said, there’s a couple of things that I would like to focus on next year. Two projects stand out above all others:

First up, and somewhat to my chagrin, my collection of 30k World Eaters is looking more and more like an actual army:

30k World Eaters 4th assault company WIP (2)
And while I won’t make any promises as to the eventual scope of this project, I will be focusing on finishing some of those guys in 2017 — if only to finally paint that sweet Angron model Adam Wier sent me πŸ˜‰

If nothing else, gladiatorial Angron already seems right at home next to his Heresy era sons:

angron-thalkr-lord-of-the-red-sands-13

When it comes to INQ28, I would really love to start painting my Ordo Scriptorum warband representing Redactor Orlanth and his operatives:

Inquisitor Orlanth and Parchment Scrotener WIP
Even in its WIP stage, the warband already features some of my best INQ28 conversions, and I also do have some rather interesting ideas about what I want the retinue to look like when painted, so giving this project my best try should be fun!

I am not deluding myself, however: It’s just as likely that the next crazy GW release throws me way of course and gets me totally sidetracked — speaking of which, we’ll be taking a closer look at all the pretty things GW provided for us this year. And, of course, the Eternal Hunt Awards wouldn’t be complete without a showcase of the most inspiring work created by my fellow hobbyists.

 

But all of this will have to wait until after Christmas. Until then, let me wish you all a very Merry Christmas and say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who sent me models, bitz or other hobby materials or commented on this blog! I really appreciate it!

And of course I would love to hear any comments or feedback you might have about my 2016 output, so let me hear those comments!

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

Studies in Mk. III — my first experiments with the models from “The Burning of Prospero”

Posted in Chaos, Conversions, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 23, 2016 by krautscientist

Before we begin, let me give you fair warning — there are lots of unpainted plastic ahead!
But with the contents of The Burning of Prospero box now at my disposal, I liked the idea of sharing my initial experiments on the new kits with you — and it somehow turned into a sprawling kitbashing post somewhere along the way. What’s more, it occurs to me that I haven’t actually shown you some of my recent 30k World Eaters conversions yet, so let’s start with those (don’t worry, we’ll be getting to the new Mk. III models before long πŸ˜‰ ).

First up is a conversion I am actually really happy with, and it began as another attempt of building a Heresy era version of one of my 40k Chaos Lords. This time, it was Huntmaster Bardolf’s turn:

Huntmaster Bardolf new
He was one of the first more involved conversions I did after getting back into the hobby a couple of years back, and while the conversion does show its age a bit, I am still enormously fond of this guy, mostly because he was my go-to Chaos Lord in all those smallish 500 and 750 points games when I re-learned 40k. As a consequence, his various victories and losses really turned him into a character rather than a mere playing piece, and helped me to figure out what I wanted Khorne’s Eternal Hunt to feel like. So I thought it would be fun to build a younger, uncorrupted version of Bardolf, from his time as a fresh-faced veteran sergeant during the Heresy.

The idea here was to take several elements from the 40k model (the pose, the weapons, and a couple of bitz) and incorporate them into the 30k version as well, while still making him seem like a more restrained 30k character (and also a sergeant and not yet a powerful commander type). So here’s what I came up with:

Sergeant Bardolf WIP (1)

Sergeant Bardolf WIP (2)
And since even the World Eaters still occasionally used slightly more conservative Astartes warfare tactics back then, I also made sure to add a standard bolter in addition to the axes

Sergeant Bardolf WIP (3)
There’s also a peculiar pleasure in adding enough gear to the individual Astartes to make them look believable — something that doesn’t seem to be as much of a concern in 40k (at least not for Khorne Berzerkers), but lends itself really well to the more regimented feel of the Heresy era legions.

Anyway, I am pretty happy with the finished model, and here’s a comparison shot showing Bardolf now and then:

Bardolf then and now WIP

I think this pair really gives a rather nice idea of what ten millennia of service to the Ruinous Powers will do to you πŸ˜‰ At the same time, it’s recongnisably the same guy, wouldn’t you agree?

While I really like the conversion, however, it also left me with the upper half of the BaC Kurtha Sedd model — and to be honest, the stock model didn’t do much for me. I did want to build a chaplain for my 30k World Eaters, however, mostly because I rememberedΒ  Poom’s amazing chaplain model and wanted to steal some cues from it.Β  My first attempt involved using the Kurtha Sedd torso swapping in a pair of plastic Mk. IV legs and using the same helmet (from the limited edition Interrogator Chaplain from Dark Vengeance) and Rampager weapon (as an alternate crozius) as Poom. So here’s my first take on the chaplain:

30k World Eaters Chaplain WIP (3)
I also tried to add a few touches of my own here and there. For instance, I really liked Fabricator General’s take on the World Eaters’ chaplains serving as “Chain Dogs”, the grim overseers of the fighting pits, and I tried to make my chaplain reflect that concept.

So I was already really happy with my Chaplain conversion, but I still had to make two small tweaks: Something about his very clean left wrist and forearm kept bothering me, so I ever-so-carefully cut off the hand, shaved off a slice of the forearm and spliced in one of the shackles from the AoS Bloodreavers that I have been using as decoration on many of my 30k World Eaters.

I also exchanged the legs for a pair of legs from the new plastic Mk. III Marines, and while I liked the previous setup well enough, I’d argue the new legs give him even more of a grim presence.

Meet Chaplain Karrim Krieger, Chain Dog of the 4th assault company, overseeing the fighting pits and ensuring the bonds of brotherhood between the brethren of the legion remain strong:

30k-world-eaters-chaplain-karrim-krieger-wip-5
30k-world-eaters-chaplain-karrim-krieger-wip-4
30k-world-eaters-chaplain-karrim-krieger-wip-3
So this is where we finally get to the actual Mk. III related shenanigans: I had already used one pair of legs so far, but I wanted to build my first proper Mk. III Marine. Iron armour has always been one of my favourite armour marks, if not the favourite, both for its bulk and medieval look and for how decidedly different it looks from standard 40k power armour.

So I started messing around with the new bitz and thought they might be appropiate for building a guy wielding a big gun:

30k-world-eaters-heavy-early-wip-2
30k-world-eaters-heavy-early-wip-1
At this point, the model was still almost completely stock Mk. III. My one tweak was to add an Ork shoota’s barrel to the heavy bolter, making the weapon look far more brutal and massive.

The next step was to try and give the Marine that certain World Eater-ly je ne sais quoi. Now the temptation is rather big with these models to just go completely chaotic on them, adding spikes and trophies to every surface, but I am trying to deliberately keep them away from full-on 40k baroqueness, in order to show that the worship of chaos is only just beginning to creep in here and there, but the 30k World Eaters are still pretty different from their 40k incarnation at this point. With that in mind, I just made some small tweaks to the model:

30k-world-eaters-autogunner-wip-1
30k-world-eaters-autogunner-wip-2
I think the Anvilus backpack has a nice way of making the model look even more archaic, plus it also provides an element of improvisation to the armour, which I think is a great fit for World Eaters: Given their style of warfare, I think the legion should really be full of mix’n’match armour that has been patched together from everything that could be scavenged off the battlefield.

The next model I built further explored this angle, mainly staying with Mk. III parts, but swapping in a CSM torso piece:

30k-world-eaters-in-mk-iii-armour-wip-1
30k-world-eaters-in-mk-iii-armour-wip-2
The one serious shortcoming of the new models is that, once again, we have to make do without dedicated CC weapon arms (the few that come with the squad’s sergeant notwithstanding), so I texperimented with getting around that limitation. My impression is that the Mk. III Marines are both harder and easier to turn into models armed with CC weapons than their Mk. IV brethren. Harder because it’s not as easy to just swap in alternate plastic arms — due to the bulk of the armour, you’ll lose the iconic Mk. III look. On the other hand, the segmented armour plates make it quite a bit easier to carefully cut the arms apart and repose them (like I did with a pair of bolter arms on the guy above).

And finally, I went a little more adventurous and built this guy:

30k-world-eaters-in-mk-iii-armour-wip-4
30k-world-eaters-in-mk-iii-armour-wip-5
As you can see, he is wearing far more hybridised armour than his predecessors, which once again ties back to the kind of mongrel armour I’d imagine most of the World Eaters to be wearing partway through the heresy. Now I realise that many World Eaters players feel that those old berzerker arms are the bane of our existence, but the clunky look just really suits the whole Heresy-era World Eaters look and feel for me. It’s not an effect I’ll be using on every other model, but I do think this guy really reads as a World Eater.

All in all, I am pretty happy with my Mk. III experiments so far, yet I also think that there is still much fun to be had with the new parts!

30k-world-eaters-in-mk-iii-armour-wip-3
As a nice added bonus, these new models round out what will be my first tactical veteran squad, squad Bardolf. Here’s a look at the squad so far:

tactical-veteran-squad-bardolf-wip-3
tactical-veteran-squad-bardolf-wip-4
So that means one model left to go for the squad, and the vexillarius, no less — I am still debating with myself over whether to go with the fairly low key, backpack-mounted vexilla that comes with the kit or go for a slightly more involved banner. The latter seems like a better fit for the World Eaters, but I am also planning a dedicated company standard bearer for the future, and I don’t want the squad vexillarii to overshadow that guy. Then again, I grew up with 2nd edition 40k where the guy with the banner mounted on his backpack was always the sergeant. Argh, choices… πŸ˜‰

 

 

And as a lucky coincidence, I also managed to finish yet another model that had been in construction for quite a while: The leftover Mk. III backpack from the heavy weapons guy was used on this World Eaters Praetor:

30k-world-eaters-secutor-wip-2
The model is based on an Ivanus Enkomi body Augustus b’Raass sent me a while ago. I realise I must have shown the model to you before, but now I am finally happy with the setup: The new backpack provides precisely the dash of Heresy-era tech the model was still missing.

30k-world-eaters-secutor-wip-1
This guy will be one of Lorimar’s Secutorii, a cadre of officers serving as a link between the Captain and the individual squad leaders:

world-eaters-4th-assault-company-secutorii-wip

To make a long story short, I imagine those 30k World Eaters will be one of my big hobby projects in 2017. However, I still refuse to refer to the project as an actual army — yet…

And finally, before I wind up this post, something that doesn’t have anything to do with my World Eaters but very much factors into my experiments with the new Prospero plastics: Some of you may remember that I kitbashed a whole squad of those girls, back when there were no models available. And I wanted to experiment a bit with the new, “official” models vis-Γ -vis my own attempts from a couple of years ago. Here’s an initial comparison picture:

sisters-of-silence-wip-4
The model on the left is the squadleader from my kitbashed Sisters of Silence. I am still pretty happy with the model, to be honest, even in the face of the new kit. On the right is one of the new, official models — and I think they share enough visual cues to keep the older model viable.

Even so, I wanted to experiment with this a bit more, so in an attempt to blur the edges between the two approaches, I used some leftover bits from the new Sisters (a head and a shoulder pad, to be precise) on another one of my kitbashed models to create something like a “missing link”:

sisters-of-silence-wip-2
sisters-of-silence-wip-1
sisters-of-silence-wip-3
I rather like the result and think this avenue of kitbashing definitely warrants some further experimentation — here’s a comparison picture showing all three models so far:

sisters-of-silence-wip-5
So yeah, the TL;DR version of this would be: It’s quite a lot of fun to mess around with those kits from The Burning of Prospero right now, even if I am taking it slow for now. Feel free to let me hear any feedback you might have!

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

The State of the Hunt — Week 45

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, Pointless ramblings, state of the hunt, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 8, 2016 by krautscientist

So, like I said, I was at a conference last week, visiting the PLAY 16 festival at Hamburg and spending a couple of days in the city. I think I have mentioned previously that, in addition to being addicted to cutting up little plastic men, I am also a huge videogame nerd, and the subject also happens to factor into my professional background of working in the field of media literacy. So allow me to begin this week’s post with some comparatively off-topic rambling:

hamburg-conference-impressions-1
PLAY is a festival dedicated to the artistic, creative and educational purposes and potentials of videogames, and this year’s subject was “Let’s get physical!”, so the various events, workshops and presentations dealt with the representation of bodies in games, ranging from the design of characters, archetypes and player avatars to the interactions between the game world and the player’s actual body, be it in the form of motion contol or even virtual and augmented reality. The festival was fascinating and fun, and certainly not short on highlights: For instance, I had the opportunity to try out Triangular Pixels’ VR game “Unseen Diplomacy”, which was a truly stunning experience — I hadn’t expected VR to be so, well, immersive at this comparatively early point!

Another highlight was the fact that the Museum fΓΌr Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg (MKG) is currently running a huge exhibition on the history of videogames, with many, many playable classics from 30+ years of gaming culture (I was appalled at how badly I was doing when playing OutRun on an actual vintage arcade cabinet). In addition to the actual games, the exhibition also features lots of concept artwork from modern classics like Shadow of the Colossus or Ico:

hamburg-conference-impressions-5

I was particularly delighted when I discovered a whole wall of brilliant concept art from DoubleFine’s Psychonauts, a personal favourite of mine:

hamburg-conference-impressions-3
hamburg-conference-impressions-4
So if you live anywhere near Hamburg or should find yourself visiting the city in the near future (or until the end of April 2017), and if you’re even the slightest bit interested in videogame culture, you should definitely check out the Game Masters exhibition! It’s very educational, but also great fun! Plus the museum also has many more exhibitions for you to discover, of course. I was sadly unable to check out the exhibits on Art Nouveau due to time constraints, for instance, so I might have to plan another visit soon…

Let me wind up this part of the post by showing you the room that housed the last workshop I participated in before travelling back home. This room is also located at the MKG and was once the cafeteria of German news magazine Der Spiegel:

hamburg-conference-impressions-6

It also provided the perfect photo opportunity for getting material that should make for suitably psychedelic desktop backgrounds:

hamburg-conference-impressions-7

Anyway, before we veer completely off course, rest assured that I did of course do something hobby related as well while I was in Hamburg: It goes without saying that I took the opportunity to drop by one of the local GW stores. Now what really impressed me was the level of painting on display at the store, courtesy of the staff and some regulars, so I snapped inspirational pictures left and right:

 

DISCLAIMER: This should be fairly obvious, really, but none of the following stuff is mine, and I don’t claim any kind of credit for it! If you should recognise one of your models and would like to be mentioned, just give me a holler and I’d be glad to edit your name into the post!

Anyway, my first port of call was this very awesome Khornate Daemon army painted by one of the store’s regulars:

inspirational-models-found-at-the-hamburg-gw-store-1

Possibly my favourite conversion was the Bloodslaughterer-based Soulgrinder:

inspirational-models-found-at-the-hamburg-gw-store-3
And while it wasn’t part of the same army, I also really love this slightly converted Maulerfiend:

inspirational-models-found-at-the-hamburg-gw-store-4
My favourite parts are the Bloodletters leading it to battle by a chain and that delicious brass recipe!

The biggest surprise was to discover something that I first considered to be a cool recreation of an iconic – and rather well-known – piece from the internet, but which almost certainly turned out to be the genuine article upon closer inspection:

inspirational-models-found-at-the-hamburg-gw-store-5
And because you can never have enough Inquisitor-scaled Astartes, there was also this beautiful 54mm Librarian (cheers to Inquisitor Mikhailovich for correcting that oversight!), based on the same vintage Captain Artemis:

inspirational-models-found-at-the-hamburg-gw-store-6
So yeah, brilliant stuff all around!

Of course I couldn’t leave the store without making a sizeable purchase. So yeah, this happened:

my-hamburg-haul
The good folks at the store were nice enough to reserve their last copy of The Burning of Prospero for me, so there goes my next hobby year, I suppose πŸ˜‰

Seriously, though, I am pretty sure I’ll be talking about the contents of the box in more detail sooner rather than later. For now, suffice it to say that I am actually awestruck by the quality of the casts: GW’s plastic models have been rather spectacular for quite a while now, but it really seems as though each boxed set sets a new benchmark for crispness of detail. Very nice! You can also find my thoughts on the models contained in the boxed set here, should you have missed them.

 

Speaking of which, I actually kitbashed one particular model as a kind of preparation for the release of The Burning of Prospero, incidentally:

As you may already have noticed, I really enjoy building 30k versions of my 40k World Eaters characters. Now back when it didn’t look like I would ever create any 30k models of my own, fellow German hobbyist AgnostosTheos created a 30k (pre-interment) version of one of my characters, Khoron the Undying:

Pre Heresy (8)

In the 41st millennium, Khoron has been a Dreadnought for several millennia, yet he has also been an invaluable adviser to Lord Captain Lorimar since before the Heresy, as he was already a veteran of the 4th company even before Lorimar won his captaincy in the fighting pits.

Khoron actually already has quite a bit of backstory – at least somewhere in the back of my head – so I do have a pretty specific idea of what I want his model to look like. With that said. there’s a lot I still love about AgnostosTheos’ version (especially the lined face he chose, making Khoron look like a grizzled veteran), but it’s obvious the model doesn’t fit my World Eaters colour scheme, so instead of painting over AT’s paintjob, I thought this would be a good occasion to build an updated 30k version of Khoron. Now I see him as a hard-as-nails veteran of the legion, so I chose an archaic suit of armour for him — plus I had already heard rumours of the new boxed set at that time, so it seemed like a cool idea to give Mk. III a try:

secutor-khoron-wip-1
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The model was created by combining World Eaters’ and Iron Hands’ parts (I loved the chainmail loincloth on the IH legs, so I just had to use them). The weapons have also swapped hands when compared with AT’s version, in order for the model to mimic Khoron’s eventual Dreadnought ironform. The model has only been tacked together for now, and I think Khoron will be needing some additional gear here and there, but by and large, I am already pretty happy with the new version. So here’s Khoron next to the previous version of the character:

secutor-khoron-wip-3

So yeah, that’s it for this week. It goes without saying that I would love to hear any thoughts you might have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Lord of the XII Legion – A Triptych, pt. 4

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, paintjob, Terrain, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 6, 2016 by krautscientist

Another look at Angron this week, as we finally put the big red daemon-monster on its own base. Don’t worry, it won’t be nearly as boring as you might think πŸ˜‰

“But wait! Wasn’t this supposed to be a triptych? Then why are we already on part four of this series?”, I hear you asking. Now I know how to count to three, of course — it’s just that the whole triptych idea refers to the three different forms of Angron I will be working on, while there can (and will) be many more posts than three. There, glad to have that out of the way πŸ˜‰

So anyway, here’s where we left off last time:

Daemon-Primarch Angron (1)
So far, so good, but Angron needed a proper base, indeed. And this is where things got a bit out of hand. Allow me to explain:

Possibly the biggest challenge was that I had already basically given it my all with the base for my Bloodthirster model, pulling out all the stops and ending up with something pretty ostentatious:

Bloodthirster Ghor'Lash'Kharganath (9)
At the same time, it was perfectly clear that I would need to come up with something even better for Angron, because…well, it’s ANGRON we are talking about here, right?

So I spent a lot of time thinking about this, and then it suddenly hit me: What if I were to base Angron on the big aquila terrain piece from the Honoured Imperium boxed set?

Honoured Imperium
I bought the kit a while ago – mostly for the Space Marine statue – so I still had the aquila piece. I also really liked the allegoric nature of the idea: What better way to base a Daemon-Primarch than on the shattered remains of the Imperium’s most iconic symbol?

The problem was the size of the aquila, because it was considerably larger than the oval base that came with the Bloodthirster kit. This would make gaming a whole lot more complicated, but that wasn’t really that much of a concern to me, mostly because I don’t exactly consider my Daemon-Primarch conversion a playing piece. However, the whole ensemble ended up looking and feeling a bit too clunky, so I wasn’t perfectly happy yet.

When I posted my idea on The Bolter & Chainsword, people were quick to suggest a modular display base resembling the ensembles released as part of Forgeworld’s Horus Heresy Character Series, such as the display base showing the duel between Garviel Loken and First Captain Abaddon:

Abaddon & LokenHaving the bigger part of the aquila as an optional addition that the actual gaming base could be slotted into? That actually sounded absolutely awesome! However, after taking a closer look at the aquila piece and trying to decide where to possibly make the cuts, I was just about prepared to discount the idea as unfeasible…

…and then my buddy Biohazard posted a few ideas about how to make it work after all, and down the rabbit hole I went, eagerly sawing through the thick plastic with my cheap-o hobby knife from the DIY superstore — at the cost of several blisters on my right hand, I might add. But here’s what I ended up with:

Angron's base WIP (1)
Angron's base WIP (2)
That’s the complete aquila, and yet you can already make out the line where I cut a smaller part from the ensemble. Now let’s take the two apart:

Angron's base WIP (4)
And as you can see, the entire left wing and the left head make up a piece that fits fairly neatly onto the stock oval base. Which gave me this basic shape for Angron’s base:

Angron's base WIP (5)
Angron's base WIP (6)
Not bad, not bad at all! Especially since the part still clearly read as a symbol of the Imperium of Man, even though the biggest part of the aquila was actually missing. The part I had cut out also seemed to fit the base almost perfectly, right?

But let’s take a look at another perspective:

Angron's base WIP (7)
Here you can see the huge hole left underneath the (hollow) aquila piece that I needed to fill up with something — and whatever that something would be, it was clear that I would need to pay attention to make sure both parts of the aquila would still line up correctly afterwards.

Even so, I was still energised by this small success. I also made a quick and dirty Photoshop mockup to get an idea about how Angron would fit on the finished base:

Angron's base WIP (8)
The basic idea was to have him charging towards the centre of the aquila — and, by extension, whatever would be added to the other side of the base.

But first, I needed to fill in those huge holes! Thankfully, my good friend Annie provided me with some Milliput for the task, and so when we met for a little hobby session recently, she kept painting away at her crazy-awesome pirate-themed Blood Bowl team (to be featured here on the blog in a future post, scout’s honour!), while I plugged all the holes in the base using Milliput, and added some structure by pressing some cork into the putty after it had begun to dry, stamping a rocky texture onto the surface.

Angron's base WIP (13)
Angron's base WIP (14)
As you can see in the above pictures, some additional detail work also took place during this step. My usual mix of cork, slate and sand was added to the empty parts of the base and sealed with PVA glue and plastic glue. The effect was also used to blend the seams between the different areas and materials together. I also added some skulls to the front of the base, both to make the area look more interesting and also because, well, Khorne! (DUH!). Two spiky poles were used to add even more of a chaos feel to the base.

Angron's base WIP (15)
Possibly the longest time was spent on the missing half of that poor Ultramarine officer clutched by Angron: I used a pair of plastic Mk IV legs and made quite a few tweaks to them to ensure that their position on the base seemed suitably natural and organic:

Angron's base WIP (17)
And with that, the basic setup of the base was more or less complete:

Angron's base WIP (18)
So all that was left before I could break out the paints was a final round of touchups and additional texture. Augustus b’Raass very helpfully suggested applying some Liquid GS to the stony parts of the aquila, in order to create a slightly more believably texture and make the whole thig look less like smooth plastic, so that’s what I did:

Angron's base WIP (19)
And I used some regular GS to tidy up all the rough parts of the Marine legs, filling gaps in the legs, adding flex fitting and a profile to the sole of the right foot and scultping all the gribbly bitz pouring out of the body…ewww!

Angron's base WIP (20)
Angron's base WIP (21)
Angron's base WIP (22)
Angron's base WIP (23)
And with those final details out of the way, Angron’s base was finally ready for painting!

Angron's base WIP (24)
So everything was covered with a nice and even Coat of Chaos Black spray,Β  which once again did wonders for pulling all of the different elements together:

Angron's base WIP (26)

Now at this point I spent a fair bit of time detailing the other, bigger side of the eventual display base, but I’ll be focusing on that part in a dedicated post. From a purely logical standpoint, it would surely have made much more sense to paint both parts of the base at the same time before adding Angron to the smaller part of the base, but seeing how this whole project had already expanded into something far more involved than I had usually planned, I knew I needed a milestone achievement somewhere in there and decided to focus on finishing Angron his “gaming base” first.

So for now, you’ll have to content yourselves with a teaser picture of the two parts of the aquila in all its basecoated glory:

Angron's base WIP (40)
I added a slightly more controlled spray of Army Painter Uniform Grey on top of the Chaos Black. Now at first glance it might seem as though we were back to square one (the unpainted plastic), but upon closer examination, the grey works really well with the Liquid GS-based texture to create a slightly sandy, stony look on the aquila parts. There’s also a slight shading effect on the areas that aren’t part of the shattered aquila, as a consequence of focusing the grey spray on the actual stone.

Angron's base WIP (43)
So from here on out, I basically used my usual recipe of painting the earth dark grey, then washing and drybrushing the entire thing to bring out lots of texture. I also painted the extra bits, such as the skulls, spiky poles and the legs of the fallen Ultramarine, of course. Here’s what it looked like after this step:

Angron's base WIP (46)
The legs also received some serious weathering to tie them together with the Astartes’ upper half: Charadon Granite was carefully sponged on with a bit of blister sponge, and metal scratches were created with a detail brush and some Leadbelcher. The best part about this kind of weathering is that you can keep repeating the various steps to achieve a more and more battered look, until you’re happy.

Angron's base WIP (44)
And then, finally, the blood came out πŸ˜‰

I will say that I am probably really, really careful with adding blood effects, especially for a World Eaters player: There’s almost no other effect that is so easy to overdo and that can ruin a model so thoroughly: With too much blood, every model ends up looking cartoony and overly-edgy in a “bad 90s’ video game” kind of way. Only very few models warrant massive amounts of blood, so when in doubt, less is more.

With that in mind, I thought about where the blood on the base would probably come from (hint: the Ultramarine’s maimed remains) and how the blood would behave, given the slightly angled surface. I also remembered that, according to the lore, Astartes blood starts to clot super-fast, so that was yet another reason to go easy on the gore. Then again, there was no getting around the fact that the guy had been torn in half. So with all these factors in mind, here’s the solution that I came up with:

Angron's base WIP (48)
Angron's base WIP (49)
Angron's base WIP (51)
Ultimately, I tried to use as much blood as was necessary and as little as I could get away with. I also mixed a tiny drop of black into the Tamiya Clear Red to create the centre of the various pools of blood, than added pure Clear Red on top and around the darker areas in order to add some depth and tonal variety to the puddles.

One part where I tried to achieve a fairly realistic look was the blood running along the crevices in the stone, with the aquila statue’s features basically acting like small drain channels:

Angron's base WIP (52)

I also think I’ve done a fairly good job of blending in my Milliput additions with the rest of the base:

Angron's base WIP (50)
Granted, the finish could probably have been even smoother, but let’s not forget that it all needed to line up with the other half of the base!

And finally, Auggie’s suggestion about creating extra stone texture with a thin layer of Liquid GS turned out to be golden, as the aquila really looks like it’s made of stone, rather than plastic, now πŸ˜‰

So all in all, I was really happy with the finished gaming base:

Angron's base WIP (53)
No more excuses, it was time for the Lord of the XII Legion to put his foot on the ground!

Now actually gluing Angron to the base was actually an exercise in frustration, seeing how the point of attachment between the model and its base was so small. And it definitely took a lot of super glue and swearing. But I persevered. And I triumphed. And thus I give you…

 

Angron, The Red Angel, Daemon-Primarch of the World Eaters and the Blod God’s Favoured Son

Daemon-Primarch Angron (16)
Daemon-Primarch Angron (22)
Daemon-Primarch Angron (29)
Daemon-Primarch Angron (26)
Daemon-Primarch Angron (21)
Daemon-Primarch Angron (30)
Daemon-Primarch Angron (31)
Now here’s a closer look at the base:

Daemon-Primarch Angron (32)
As you can see, I have added two more “special effects”: One is an additional spot of blood directly below the Ultramarine’s torso (for obvious reasons). The other effect is something I had never tried before, and I am rather happy with the outcome: I wanted the stone in the direct vincinity of Angron’s right foot (and the flames below it) to look as though it were heating up due to the Primarch’s daemonic presence. The effect was achieved by carefully building up several layers of Bloodletter glaze:

Daemon-Primarch Angron (25)
Daemon-Primarch Angron (27)
And with the model and base now combined, our brave little smurf finally gets reunited with his lower half. Well, after a fashion, at least…

Daemon-Primarch Angron (33)

Daemon-Primarch Angron (24)
I know I am probably boring you to tears by saying this, but I am still so incredibly happy with Angron’s head and face…

Daemon-Primarch Angron (18)
Daemon-Primarch Angron (20)
Here’s a comparison shot showing Angron next to my “regular” Bloodthirster model:

Daemon-Primarch Angron (17)
Both models’ skin tones actually differ far more in real life than is obvious from looking at the picture. However, I do think I’ve done a pretty good job of surpassing the base on the Bloodthirster and of making both models look pretty different, in spite of being built from the same stock model.

And here’s a hint of things to come…

Daemon-Primarch Angron (19)
For now, this has been an incredible ride! I think Angron is easily one of my best models – if not the best model – so far, and while this has project has certainly veered outside of my comfort zone more than once, it has been a blast! Thank you so much to everyone who provided ideas, suggestions and critical feedback! Thanks to those who provided bitz and materials for this project! And thanks to thosw responsible for my main inspirations, Reg’s fabulous, Bloodthirster-based Angron conversion, Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s hugely evocative descriptions of Daemon-Primarch Angron — and, of course, Alex Boyd’s illustration that probably served as the most important reference piece!

Speaking of which, here’s a little something that I made using Photoshop and Pixlr, to celebrate the occasion:

The Red Angel

“It turned its eyes to us. The skeletal landscape of its face turned with a slowness I could only describe as bestial, but it most definitely saw us. The coal pits of its eyes steamed as blood bubbled and boiled in the thing’s swollen tear ducts. Slowly – still so very slowly – its jaws opened to reveal a quivering tongue the colour of spoiled meat, with pinkish saliva roping and stretching between rows of sharkish teeth.β€œ

 

Aaron Dembski-Bowden, The Emperor’s Gift

 

And here’s Alex Boyd’s illustration again:

illustration by Alex Boyd

illustration by Alex Boyd

While my Angron is far from a perfect match (Reg and Rumplemaster score far higher marks on that account!), I do believe he looks like a plausible interpretation of the same character, wouldn’t you agree?

Anyway, I am super-proud of this guy! One down, two versions to go πŸ˜‰ Until then, however, I would love to hear any feedback you might have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Daemon-Primarch Angron (23)