Hell Is Empty… And All The Devils Are Here

…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:chaos-marine-convert-or-die-23

chaos-marine-convert-or-die-24

chaos-marine-convert-or-die-25With 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.chaos-marine-convert-or-die-30Another 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.chaos-marine-convert-or-die-17This 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).

convert-or-die-snake-marine-chaos-1This 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!chaos-marine-convert-or-die-3This 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!chaos-marine-convert-or-die-26My ability to paint rusty armour has also come on in leaps and bounds…chaos-space-marine-convert-or-die-4…as the transition between these two models (painted at least a couple of years apart I think) serves to demonstrate.chaos-marine-convert-or-die-22The 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).chaos-marine-convert-or-die-1When 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. chaos-space-marine-convert-or-die-7Is this one pointing at a map drawn on the floor? Threatening a dying Imperial Guardsman? Stabbing a Dreadnaught in the toe? Who knows?chaos-marine-convert-or-die-28This 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. chaos-marine-convert-or-die-19Then 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.chaos-marine-convert-or-die-14

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.
chaos-marine-convert-or-die-13

chaos-marine-convert-or-die-12I 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.chaos-space-marine-convert-or-die-2Loved 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.chaos-marine-convert-or-die-6

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…chaos-space-marine-evil-packpack-convert-or-die-1

…this beast-faced individual…chaos-marine-convert-or-die-9

…and this chap (who may look normal from here but most assuredly isn’t…)chaos-space-marine-convert-or-die-1And 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.chaos-marines-convert-or-die-chaos-1And here’s the whole happy family all together.chaos-marines-convert-or-die-chaos-3Of 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.

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19 responses to “Hell Is Empty… And All The Devils Are Here

  • bigbossredskullz

    What a magnificent sight mate, truly the Dark Gods must bless you with smoking dice 😀

  • Matt

    Hey I’ve got to ask how do u paint the armour it’s been bugging me as I’ve tried copying it for my own chaos army which are chaos space wolves. Thanks in advance

    P.s I’ve been reading ur blog now for the best part of two years and u keep inspiring e to convert my own army’s.

    • Wudugast

      Cheers! Do you have somewhere you post pictures of your models (blog/forum thread/etc)? I’m always interested to see what other people are doing 🙂

      As for how I paint my chaos marines, I’ll admit it’s a slightly disorganised process – I have a tendency to make things up as I go, experiment on the fly and so on. However here’s a rough step by step for painting the armour. Start with a couple of thin layers of ushabti bone (over a black base coat). Give it a wash with agrax earthshade (sometimes I’ll thin the ushabti bone with agrax earthshade and apply this on the shadowed area). Then use screaming skull to highlight the darker areas. On the brighter areas/bits I want to stand out more (e.g. helms, shoulderpads) I’ll add a layer of screaming skull then highlight with white (drybrushing where I can because I’m lazy and it’s easy!). Having taken quite a while to get my head around the GW washes and how they work I’m now quite a fan, I’ve picked up most of them and will often wash part of the model with one or more of them at the same time as the agrax earthshade (allowing each to dry before I do the next of course). Which colours I use depends on how I want that part to look (stained by rust/gore/muck/oil/magic/mutated flesh etc).

      Hope that helps and good luck with your fallen wolves!

  • imperialrebelork

    These are all so good mate. I know I’ve said it before but I love the colour scheme. It’s so dirty, rotten, putrid and soooo much more. I really like the standard bearer. The mutations are brilliant! My chaos Warband is made up of all sorts, not just Chaos bitz in other words. To me this makes sense because a lot of them, most of them were, back in the day, space marines. I’ve saved all the pix to refer back to for inspiration. I hope that’s ok? Keep up the good work mate. What’s next for you?

    • Wudugast

      Cheers! Yes, it’s always fine to save pics of my work for inspiration – you should see the folders and folders of inspiration pics I’ve saved over the years (some of your own work is in there).
      As for what’s next – what’s the smallest, friendliest, happiest and most generous creature to be found in 40k? After that I dunno, maybe some more traitor guard?

      • imperialrebelork

        OH wow!! My stuff??? I would not have thought or expected that sir! A very umm surprised thank you from me. I’m really enjoying traitor guard. I find that there are no real limitations with how you can make them. With mine I like to try and include some clue or hint to their former lives. I look forward to seeing all your work in 2016 mate.

      • Wudugast

        You have some great ideas mate – keep it up 🙂

  • Alex

    Cracking round-up mate, and what a squad! I can’t tell you how much joy I get from seeing this lot together – the continuity over the years is apparent, though your skills have clearly improved. With a big squad like this, sometimes the dodgy ones can lower the overall standard… in this case they just enrich the whole, and allow the brilliant ones to shine even brighter. Stunning work dude, my hat is off to you.

    • Wudugast

      Cheers – what a compliment! I was a little worried that the older ones might bring down the look of the finished squad but (and I’m glad your ‘second opinion’ chimes with this) I think the end result has come together nicely 🙂

  • Marcelo Nunes

    Great squad!! now, what you need is a dark mechanicvs inspired squad

  • bonecruncha

    Oops… I missed that one. My bad.

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  • krautscientist

    While some of the individual models may be ever so slightly too mutated for my taste, the entire squad is still a massive achievement — that group shot is just excellent, mate! Fantastic job!

    • Wudugast

      Cheers! If I’m honest, some of the models in this squad are a little bit too mutated for my tastes too now. Tastes change and working on a single squad for five years is bound to lead to situations where one’s aims and one’s skills have advanced away from the original idea. Certainly if I was to sit down and start working on some new chaos marines today they’d be more restrained than a lot of these but I’m still pleased with all of them – even the ones which I now see as flawed represent moments of evolution. Of course by the time I do sit down to work on some more I may have changed my mind again and start churching out eight-armed monstrosities – who knows!

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