“I was the first to stand upon the walls of the Imperial Palace. I was the last to be borne away from Terra, my body broken by the slaying of one million of the Emperor’s lackeys through the breach at Lions Gate. None shall ever surpass my count”
Kharn the Betrayer in Laurie Goulding’s The Weakness of Others.
Of all the old character models for the champions of chaos, Kharn is probably the one which still holds up best to a modern observer. Whilst some of his colleagues have started to show their age Kharn remains an undisputed classic, still as awesome today as he was when he was first released 10,000 years ago. It’s one of those models I’ve always wanted to paint but never got around to so when I spotted one going for a song on ebay I knew the time had come.
Obviously he’d been through a bit of a battering; his head and backpack had both broken off, one arm was missing and his daft-looking tassels have been removed (seriously why does he appear to have bunches? Who thought the Khornate-cheerleader look was a good idea?). Anyone who knows the background of the character however knows that Kharn has been close to death before, and come back from it stronger and angrier than ever before.
Apart from simply rebuilding and rebasing him the main thing he needed was a new arm and a plasma pistol. I chose to avoid anything too chaotic and mutated as this has never been Kharn’s aesthetic, sticking instead to blunt simplicity. Here he is reassembled and ready for undercoating.
When it came to painting him I had no choice but to use the red and brass colours of the post-heresy World Eaters. Indeed, much though I love my usual dirty white scheme it was a refreshing change to tackle something a bit more vibrant. I also couldn’t resist adding a blood-splattered helm to the base painted in the colours of the loyalist World Eaters. Of course it makes no narrative sense at all – a 41st Millennium Kharn stepping over the head of a brother he killed ten thousand years ago, but who cares – it looks cool, it adds to his story, and his tragedy, and anything can be explained in the Warp! Perhaps this model captures something of Kharn’s troubled sleep, for surely when the Nails’ do not bite deep he still dreams of Isstvan.
When I started this project (and I’ll admit it’s progressed at a particularly glacial rate) I never imagined that I’d be finishing it mere days after GW previewed a new version of the character – this time based on the pose of Forge World’s Heresy-era Kharn. As it stands I’m slightly uncertain of my feelings about the new model but that may be simply because I’m such a fan of its predecessor. With luck though this is just the first in a reimagining of the Chaos space marine characters, many of which are in serious need of a reworking (Abaddon, mate, what happened to you? Surely the company which can give us two librarians in terminator armour in the space of a few months could spring to a resculpt of its most fearsome villain?).
At the moment the internet is rife with rumours of war, much of it suggesting that Games Workshop plans to advance the 40k timeline towards the inevitable doom of man. Personally I dread such a suggestion but I cling to the hope that such an ‘End Times’ style event would sweep away much of the character of 40k (not to mention to iconic Space Marines) and GW seem to be shaking off the era of pigheadedness that might have seen them slaughter the golden goose. However even if all this apocalyptic doom-mongering proves true and I soon find myself turning into an old crusty ranting about the good old days before the Space Wolves became fleet-based renegades and Cadia was still a place, at least we might get some new Chaos models out of it, and that should be enough to keep me happy. In the meantime I’m not done spilling blood in Khorne’s name – not even close in fact…