…And with the addition of this last character Squad Abholos is complete. What interests me about him is that he reads instantly as a Chaos Marine, yet he uses almost no parts from that particular kit (just the head and one shoulderpad). Does this lend weight to all those who’re crying out for a new Chaos Marines kit or does it simply demonstrate that with a little creativity (something we who serve the dark gods have in spades) we can do just fine without? Certainly it surprised me to realise that there are as many Dark Eldar bits in the model as there are Chaos Marine.
Anyway, here he is:
With the completion of the final model in the squad this also seems like a good opportunity to look back over what I’ve created over the years. Squad Abholos is one of the oldest elements of my Chaos collection, begun right back at the very beginning (circa five years ago now I think?) which means the squad is actually something of a barometer for the whole collection. Some of them show their age pretty well, some of them show ideas that I explored and then discarded and some of them, sadly, now look a little ropy. In their entirety however we have a bullish twenty-man strong horde of marauders, ready to storm the nearest Imperial sector and deal with any pesky loyalists they might find.
Here’s the squad’s aspiring champion Abholos the Corpse-eater – an unreservedly unpleasant chap and a very early conversion that I’m still ridiculously proud of even now.Another very early model. Not entirely sure about the Catachan head on this one and the whole shoulderpad/weapon slung like a handbag situation is probably something I wouldn’t do nowadays but the nostalgia factor saves him.This one meanwhile is one of the newest models in the squad. I’ve always enjoyed an element of rampant mutation amongst my chaos army (and if you didn’t know that before you saw this model you certainly do now).
This standard-bearer also dates back to the very beginning of the army – a time when colour-schemes were rather more garish than they are now yet also – according to this photo anyway – lacking in highlights. They are there in real life I swear!This one came out of the Assault on Black Reach boxset and, as you can probably spot by looking at his armour, is another from the early days. He’s holding that bolter a little awkwardly but then he has a tentacle for an arm – what do you expect!My ability to paint rusty armour has also come on in leaps and bounds……as the transition between these two models (painted at least a couple of years apart I think) serves to demonstrate.The arrival of the Chaos Forsaken boxset for Warhammer proved to be an absolute goldmine for Chaos fans of all stripes although I’ll admit enthusiasm rather got the better of me here. Perhaps a little more care at the planning stage would have smoothed out some of the odd elements on this model but I was young, care-free and impatient and, like the Dark Gods themselves, flung mutations around willy-nilly. Never mind – I still think the organic eye in his chest is rather clever, albeit hardly the best example of greenstuff sculpting in the world (or even on this blog).When I came to working on this one I must have calmed down a little, perhaps because I was using one of my favourite heads from the Forsaken kit. Is this one pointing at a map drawn on the floor? Threatening a dying Imperial Guardsman? Stabbing a Dreadnaught in the toe? Who knows?This one is another fairly traditional chaos marine – but for the tentacles that emerge from his back. I imagine them thrashing around him as he fights, a sure sign both of the favour of the gods and of his inevitable consumption by Chaos. Then there’s this model – very much a minimalist in comparison to some of his wildly mutated squad mates, but a bit of a personal favourite nonetheless.
When I came to this one it struck me how much my painting style has moved on. As he’s a bit of a favourite I decided to do a bit of work on him to bring him into line with the others. Here’s how he used to look.
And here’s how he’s looking now. Hopefully you’ll agree its an improvement.
I get the feeling that his mutation has only just manifested, his hand and arm melting and reforming in an agony of transformation. As the pain settles and his superhuman metabolism floods his system with restorative chemicals, he holds his new claw aloft to inspect it and finds it worthy. Or perhaps, as I originally intended, he’s just gesturing at some loyalist marines. ‘Come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough!’
Again, my style has changed over time, becoming much cleaner as I’ve perfected my technique for white armour (and as the number of views on this blog have gone up and I’ve started to think ‘I can’t show that yet!’ more often). Needless to say this isn’t something I’d really noticed until now, looking so closely at each model, but perhaps I’ll go back to some of the other older ones and give them a freshen up much like I did with the Orks last year.Loved the way these two mutations (released years apart) echoed one another – a nice little bit of visual consistency in the Chaos range in spite of all the improvements over the years.
This chap suffers from a fleshy manikin that’s grown out of his back and now does all the thinking for him. He was also the first model to come out of a little experiment I started which aimed to use the random attribute table from the seminal Slaves to Darkness, a project which also led us to…
…this beast-faced individual…
…and this chap (who may look normal from here but most assuredly isn’t…)And lastly there’s this chap, another comparative newcomer, this time lugging a heavy bolter. He looks like a bit of a thug to me. He probably is.And here’s the whole happy family all together.Of course my brain is still bursting with ideas and frankly what good is a squad of Chaos Marines if they don’t have another squad to develop a bitter rivalry with? I know better than to try and predict my next project but I’d be highly surprised if 2016 doesn’t contain a few more Chaos Marines. In the meantime hopefully you enjoyed this little retrospective and if you have any feedback or constructive abuse you’d like to lay at my door then the comments box below, as always, is the place for you.