Monthly Archives: September 2014

Destroy All

Dear Games Workshop – if you’d like to earn the lasting support of Chaos fans everywhere there’s one kit we really need. Not the often rumoured Chosen kit (although I wouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth), or a Cultists boxset (although as we’re talking I’d buy at least 12). Not even decent Noise Marines in plastic (mind you, that would be amazing – all the other cult troops are pretty solid, or can be converted easily enough, but poor old Slaanesh is distinctly lacking). Oh and a new Bloodthirster that doesn’t look quite as lumpen as the current one would be rather nice. However I’m getting sidetracked. What I’d really like to see (arrogantly speaking for my fellow worshippers of the Ruinous Powers as well) are some decent Obliterators. Because – let’s be honest here, we’re all grownups – the current ones are fairly shit.

There are some great conversions out there but, unfortunately, most of them rely on greater skill as a sculptor or scratch-builder than I posses. The problem I’ve had (and I’m sure I’m not alone) is that finding a suitable proxy isn’t easy. No matter how many guns you load them up with a Chaos Terminator still looks like a Chaos Terminator (albeit one which may now be suffering from the same Swiss-army-knife arms that blight the official model). Alternatively a lot of conversions go towards a ‘gun-spawn’ vibe – which can look cool or disastrous with equal ease, and isn’t what I’m looking for either.

Although I like the idea of Obliterators as hulking, warping flesh-metal monsters the current models don’t really convey that. This isn’t really a criticism of the designer as something constantly flowing and twisting is harder to capture in a miniature than in – for example – a painting, text or on film. I imagine that for the average Imperial Guardsman an Obliterator would be quite hard to look at, the sheer nauseating strangeness of it, combined with the heat haze from weapons and the ripples of warp-energy venting from its body. The current miniatures, on the other hand, are hard to look at for quite different reasons (…ooh, low blow…). As I’ve said the best conversions in this ‘flesh-metal’ style were all produced by individuals whose skill at sculpting with greenstuff far outstrips my own. More attainable were those conversions in a ‘dark-mechanicum’ style, Obliterators who clearly took their power from a mechanical source, albeit one still arising in the Warp.

At the moment my favourite contender for the award of “Best Obliterator Proxy” goes to the official Obliterator itself (albeit with some fairly significant conversion) although these ones based on the new Undead Morghasts are extremely impressive. The only other real contender comes in the form of the Space Marine Centurions (40k era Centurions that is, not Crusade era – an important distinction for servants of the Ruinous Powers who, having been immersed in the Eye for ten millennia may still want to party like it’s M.31 – I know I often do).

I know the Centurions have been regularly attacked from all corners of the Internet but I’ll step into the firing line and defend them. Not only do they look cracking as they are but, as many people have already demonstrated, with just a little conversion, they make great stand in Chaos Obliterators.

In terms of the fiction there isn’t really any reason why the Chaos Marines shouldn’t have access to Centurion armour anyway (although weighing in briefly on the debate about whether it should be available in the Codex – I’d rather see cool new Chaos units than re-designs of loyalist stuff. If you want Chaos Centurions, and I do, then convert the miniatures, convert the rules if necessary, and off you go). Any chapters who fell to Chaos after the rediscovery of the Centurian suits following the Age of Apostasy would simply have taken it with them when they went rogue whilst the fallen Legions of the Heresy era would undoubtedly go about capturing themselves some post-haste. Of course, having acquired them they wouldn’t bother with any of that superstitious mumbo-jumbo about not tinkering with them. Once they’d finished making adjustments, allowing daemons to posses the weapons and so on, the result wouldn’t be too far removed from an Obliterator.

With this in mind I took a stab at converting my own Obliterator based on a Centurion. Here’s a look at my first attempt.obliterator_v1_1_

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Before I’d even finished him I’d decided I wasn’t terribly happy with him. I gave him a week or so on the shelf with the rest of the collection and he hadn’t grown on me at all (in fact I was getting less and less satisfied – not a good sign). I was once given a great piece of hobby advice by a friend who told me “A miniature is only finished when you say it is. If you change your mind pick it up again. The police won’t come round to your house and take you away just because you thought it was done and changed your mind”. (As a side note his blog is well worth a look). With this pearl of wisdom in mind I picked him up for a second look.

Leaving the shoulder pads off was, I think, a mistake – reducing his bulk a bit too much, the head – which should have added a human touch to the monster – looked insufficiently chaotic, and in general there was a lack of the spikes, mutation and savagery that marks out a follower of the dark gods. Instead of looking like an Obliterator he came across as a Centurion belonging to one of the more barbaric loyalist chapters. Time for a re-think.

Incidentally, one thing I think was a good move – although I can’t claim I did it that well – was to greenstuff over the mounts for the (much mocked) ‘nipple guns’. Even as a fan of the original model I find these a little odd. Unless you’re a follower of Slaanesh of course. Then firing bullets out of your tits is fairly normal.

Anyway, here’s the results of round two.

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From an aesthetic (and I stress aesthetic, rather than rules or fiction) point of view the Obliterator and its cousin the Mutilator should bridge the gap between Chaos Terminators and Helbrutes. Indeed, in many ways the evolution of the Helbrute from old Chaos Dreadnaught, has taken away from some of the character of the Obliterator. The Chaos Dreadnaught was always primarily a mechanical walker, a machine, whilst the Helbrute represents a fusion of meat and metal not dissimilar to that described for the Obliterator. Thus the image of a gun-wielding bipedal monster with a tortured human face at its core is now best conveyed by a (highly customisable) Helbrute than by a lumpen, bloated Space Marine caricature with a bitz-box gun-explosion for hands.

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obliterator-chaos-convert-or-die-2Am I pleased with the results? Yes and No. He certainly looks suitable chaotic and violent, but on the other hand he still doesn’t really match my idea of an Obliterator. Perhaps I’ll keep trying to think of new ways to make decent looking Obliterators (and Mutilators for that matter) and instead transform this guy into the leader of a squad of Chaos worshipping Centurions.

At the very least though, this is a man who has dedicated himself to war, setting aside all other interests and fixing his thoughts exclusively on the prosecution of battles (even beyond what would be normal for a Space Marine). Whatever his past or present state, this – in combination with his allegiance to Chaos – mean he is firmly set on the path to becoming an Obliterator.

Anyway, as usual if you have any ideas, suggestions, hints, tips or thoughts I’d love to hear them. Cheers!


Meet The New Boss

The campaign to ‘fix up’ my rather worn out looking Orks continues apace. Having sorted out those grots the next thing on my to-do list were some Runt Herds to keep them out of mischief and lead/push them into battle.
This first Runt Herd was built without any conversion and to my eye does a grand job of capturing what it is to be an “irascible, infirm and often incontinent old warrior” (as the Fantasy Orcs and Goblins army book puts it).
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ork-runt-herd-convert-or-die-2Now frankly, this guy doesn’t look like he’d share bossing his grots around with anyone else. However the rules (which I admit I rarely pay much attention to) call for one Runt Herd for every ten gretchin. Plus I reckon he’d need some backup, otherwise these little rascals are going to give him the run-around. I also rather liked the old fiction that described how Odd Boys (Painboys, Runt Herds and Meks) like to get together and talk shop, in spite of their radically different fields. Each would then go back to his work feeling like he’s learned something useful. Chatting to his Painboy and Mek mates my Runt Herd would have come to the conclusion that, rather than allow another Ork to help him with his grots, he’d ‘promote’ one of his more ambitious and useful charges by wiring him permanently into a miniature version of a killa kan.
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gretchin-convert-or-die-6Here he is lording it over his smaller charges, all of which are undoubtedly lining up to take him down a peg or two as soon as the boss’s back is turned.
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Incidentally by building this Runt Herd I didn’t need the one that came in the box so I turned him into this Mek (more on him here).
ork-mek-boy-convert-or-die-1This also left me with a number of spare parts, including this squig which I rescued from the bits box and turned into a nasty, yapping squig hound. Not really brain surgery here, I just carefully cut away the runt-herd’s hand and replaced it with some extra hair in the crest, using part of a Boy’s topknot cut to shape. To cover up the damage where the harness had to be cut away I sculpted a ragged ear, presumably scarred by the bite of a rival in a high-octane squig fight.
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squig-convert-or-die-5As always, thanks for reading and feel free to put any praise or abuse in the comments box below.


Weedy Little Gits

From one of the biggest, toughest Orks around to the smallest; my Gretchin. Undervalued, underfed and, more often than not, under foot they’re known simply as the ‘Orrible Grots.
Lately my painting desk has been home to all kinds of Chaos which I’ll try to show over the next few weeks (including a Helbrute, cultists, converted Obliterator and this Chaos Knight). However, partly inspired by the excellent Ork collection of Viktor Svard shown in this month’s Warhammer Visions* there’s been a bit of a swing back towards the greenskins. I’m still chipping away at the boys (who knew I had so many of them?) but, in an effort to avoid too much of a production line situation arising I changed gear a little by taking on this swarm of grots.
*Still not convinced by the magazine overall though…gretchin-convert-or-die-18

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gretchin-convert-or-die-21Feeble and incompetent they may be but I’ve always loved the little grots that scurry alongside the Orks. They’re the source of a great deal of the slapstick silliness that stops the Orks from being entirely brutish and unpleasant. We all secretly know that, in the universe of 40k, no matter how much martial strength the Imperium brings to bear, how vast the devouring Hive Fleets become, how grand the designs of Abaddon or Ghazghkull, how many Necrons wake, the end will come when some cheeky gretchin unplugs the Golden Throne whilst trying to electrocute his mate for a laugh.gretchin-convert-or-die-20

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gretchin-convert-or-die-23Experimented a bit with the bases on some of these. Rather pleased with the results.

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gretchin-convert-or-die-22And here’s some ammo runts. You can never have too much dakka after all, and no self-respecting Ork is going to carry it himself when there’s a grot could lug it around for him.gretchin-convert-or-die-19

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Heavy Metal Hero

Back in June when I reviewed the new plastic Meganobs I said that the first Warhammer 40k miniature I ever painted was one of the old metal Meganobs but I couldn’t find him to upload a picture. Well, rummaging around at the back of the shelf, where older and less well painted/converted miniatures are slowly pushed back to linger in dusty shame, I spotted him. And you know what? I still love him. My painting may have improved a little since then, and the new Meganobs may be bigger and meaner than their elderly (and heavy) metal counterparts but he’s still as tough and angry as ever.meganob-convert-or-die-1I admit I was a little torn between leaving him alone as a sort of historic artefact and touching his paint up a little so that he was no longer left behind by the march of progress. In the end I compromised. Somewhere along the line he must have come off worst in a fight (unthinkable I know) – the stick bomb launcher on his arm had fallen off and his metal gob was shaking around like a loose tooth so he needed some kind of TLC. As I was doing this anyway I decided to put him on a new base as well.

Anyway, here he is, ready to show those plastic whipper-snappers a thing or two.

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Best Foot Forwards

This could be the start of something big…
Knight LegChaos KnightBlame it on reading Mechanicum.