The Knight Is Young

If you’re a follower of 40k, and especially if you’ve sworn your soul to the dark powers, you’ve almost certainly noticed that last weekend saw the release of a new kit and codex covering the wrathful and rapacious Knights of Chaos. Like the Space Marines long before them these once noble and hale warriors of the Imperium have been twisted and corrupted into monstrous servants of the thirsting gods.


I’ve yet to get a proper chance to read through the new codex, or pour over the new kit as much as I’d like, but it goes without saying that this release grabbed me by the throat from the very beginning.

Most of us I think assumed that this kind of release would never come or, perhaps more accurately, wouldn’t appear for many years yet. On the other hand there really isn’t any reason to be surprised. To a casual observer (without the benefit of any statistics to back this claim) it often seemed that the popularity of the original Knight kit was almost as high amongst Chaos fans as it was amongst those sworn to the Corpse-Emperor. Indeed the first words on everyone’s lips when the model was first revealed seemed to be “how can I create a Chaos version of that?”

Chaos Knight 2

In a lot of ways this is democracy for Titans, or at least Titan ownership. My vision for my Chaos army has always been a massive horde not dissimilar to an army of fantasy barbarians, the traitor marines surrounded by swarms of twisted cultists and mutants, whilst amongst them daemon engines and hellbrutes come stomping out of the murk like monstrous beasts. Greatest of all would be the Titans, looming over the advancing masses like the terrible gods themselves.

However, truth be told, the chances of me ever owning a Titan are next to nonexistent. If, by some strike of fortune or considerable hard-work and careful budgeting, I was able to afford one I’d almost certainly choose to spend the money on something else instead. Either that would be something else for the hobby (there’s always so many awesome things I’m interested in – and they all add up!) or, more likely, just the demands of everything else I want out of life. After all, having a Titan is nice, but having a home, good food, clothes, books and other creature comforts is altogether nicer. And even if I did acquire the necessary wealth, and the will to spend it on a Titan rather than something else, I’d still have to paint the damn thing – which looks like a lifetime of work in and of itself. Just look at how long it’s taken me to paint a single knight for instance (more on that below)…

However, whilst Titans may be beyond the grasp of almost all of us, a Knight is a little more affordable. It’s still pricey, there’s no getting around that fact, but it’s a lot closer to the realms of the possible. In the UK they may come in at almost £100 currently, a sharp kick to the wallet by anyone’s standards, but a Warlord is more than ten times as expensive. At that price a Titan simply ceases to be appealing, but a Knight – now there’s a proposition I can get my teeth into.

Crazy Knight

Let’s not beat about the bush here, the new kit is gorgeous. If you like big angry robots who’ve been corrupted by hellish powers then this is sure to appeal. It builds either the Knight Rampager, a true close-combat monster (and co-incidentally, also a communications device handy for contacting a sheep) or the slightly more restrained Desecrator, which prefers to stand back and shoot you a few times before tearing you to bits with a claw the size of a small house. Add to that the ability to mix-and-match bits with loyalist Knights and a whole world of conversion opportunities opens up – and if you want an army of these bad boys those are skills you’re going to want to call upon. After all, whilst the Rampager and Desecrator are things of beauty in and of themselves, there are other options laid out in the codex for which the kits are rather less ready to lay waste to the Imperium the moment they leave the box.

In an element of the new codex which to a modern fan must seem quite shocking, the majority of the entries have no official miniature to represent them. When I first got into 40K and Warhammer this was standard practice and in the Specialist Games like Necromunda and Blood Bowl it still is to an extent, but in the core range it’s long since been weeded out. GW have been firm; they are not in the business of making rules that are not accompanied by suitable models. Of course in this instance they find themselves between a rock and a hard place. Imagine the discontent amongst those who had carried a torch for Chaos Knights all these years were they do be told that their lovingly converted army could no longer take to the gaming table under the current rules. Thus the Chaos Knights range sits in a liminal space with most of the options borrowed from the loyalist cousins. One could just paint on a few chaos stars and have done with it but we’re encouraged to push the boundaries, to explore creatively, to kitbash and convert. How long, I find myself wondering, will this situation be allowed to stand? How long before official kits are produced for the War Dogs (Armigers) and their ilk?

Something which would have been nice to see alongside this release was a new version of the Chaos upgrade sprue. Naturally the best conversions and kitbashes of other classes of Knight (that’s everything in the range apart from the Rampager and Desecrator) will be those where the person responsible simply lets loose and allows their creativity free-reign. Unfortunately there’s always a risk that such enthusiasm will also produce rather shonky results. In GW’s own previews Armigers etc were shown decorated with the old Chaos upgrade sprue but it’s really showing its age now, the chunky, low detail components sticking out like a sore thumb amid the smooth lines of the new kits.

Knight Faces

As it happens I have a couple of Armigers that I picked up at a bargain price when Forgebane was released. My plan was to add them to my Adeptus Mechanicus army (the one you didn’t know anything about because I’ve still never built any of it? Yeah, that’s the one…). Like the rest of the army they’ve been gathering dust but now I’m finding myself reappraising them and I’m strongly tempted to liberate them from the clutches of the machine god and swear their iron souls to the True Mechanicum instead. And, although money may prove to be the sticking factor here, I must confess that, although I wasn’t terribly impressed with the look of the Valiant/Castellan as a loyalist warmachine a Chaotic version could be a whole other kettle of fish. Most obvious of all we have the Rampager/Desecrator itself, which has grabbed my heart in it’s savage claw and refuses to let go (a feeling which, although hard on the wallet, is a lot more pleasant than it sounds at first).

However before I run off to buy myself a new Chaos Knight I really ought to do something about the one I already own…

I last worked on it back in 2015, since which time it’s life has been one of ups and downs, but mostly – if I’m honest – downs. Here’s how it looked last time we saw it, all those years ago when it was just a pair of legs…


And here are those same legs now. I decided to rework them a little, adjusting the pose into something more fearsome and aggressive.

Chaos Knight Wudugast ConvertOrDie (1)Chaos Knight Wudugast ConvertOrDie (2)

As you can see the armour panels have been removed, allowing me access all over the model to make the required adjustments. Whilst I was about it I gave all the metalwork a quick spray of leadbelcher to allow me to start again with a newer, nicer paintjob rather than trying to touch up and work over the older paintwork.

Chaos Knight Wudugast ConvertOrDie (3)

The main torso is assembled, including a suitably chaotic face looted from the warshrine (and idea which I may, I now realise, have borrowed from KrautScientist, the creator of one of my favourite Chaos Knight conversions). Again the metal parts have been sprayed with leadbelcher whilst the carapace (not yet glued in place) was sprayed with Army Painter Skeleton Bone. In many ways this proved to be a mistake, the coverage has turned out a little lumpy and “bubbly” – my error for trying out an untested paint on such an important and expensive model. Luckily, as far as the carapace goes at any rate, the damage is slight enough that I can cover it up with weathering. For a long time I planned to leave the carapace separate, so that it could be removed to reveal the inner workings of the knight, complete with pilot, engine and other chaotic gubbins. However at the moment I’m finding myself leaning away from this idea. Although it sounds in theory like an exciting mini-project to get my teeth into, and I’ve certainly enjoyed thinking through some of the possibilities I could explore with it, my concern is that the more extra challenges I add to the model overall the more likely it is that I’ll never get it finished at all. As there are already quite a number of issues and problems to overcome with this model adding more to the list when I don’t need to seems like making a rod for my own back.

Rather than just spray one panel of the kit (or better yet a suitable test model) with the untested Army Painter spray I decided to compound my foolishness by spraying both of the shoulderpads as well. This was where things went from “minor but fixable mistake” to “monumental fuck up” in short order. As an aside I’m not knocking the Army Painter spray, they seem to work well for some people, it’s just unfortunate that my only experience of them proved to be such a headache but I can’t pretend to have tested them exhaustively.

On one of the shoulder pads the result was pretty much perfect, a lovely smooth coat of bone coloured white that would have taken considerable time to paint, instead created in an instant. On the other shoulderpad however I found myself staring in horror at a gummy, lumpy mess of clogged details and fouled surfaces. Rather than step back and consider my options I panicked and doubled-down on the mistake. Surely another quick coat would smooth things out (two thin coats and all that right?). So I looked up into the clear, cloudless sky, shook the can like a terrier with a rat and fatefully sprayed the offending shouldpad again. I popped the piece to dry in the sunshine on a seat by the front door, stepped round the corner to get something from the shed… and the heavens opened…

Everyone knows that if you’re going to spray a model you do it in a well ventilated area, with nothing that can be caught by a dusting of paint (I once watched in horror as a colleague accidently sprayed the lenses of an expensive pair of binoculars with white paint – now there’s a screw-up for the ages). There’s really nowhere that fits that description better than the great outdoors, so long as any passing raindrops stay firmly up in the sky. A damp environment is death to a freshly sprayed model, a shower of rain is utterly cataclysmic. The most expensive model I’d ever bought, the product of careful saving up and planning, was now well and truly bollocksed.

Of course I knew, even then, that I was just being melodramatic, that a fix could be found and that as an experienced and enthusiastic hobbyist I was more than capable of finding one. Still the whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth and so I kept putting it off and working on other things rather than face up to the chore of trying fix it.

Recently however I realised I really ought to man up and stop hiding from it so I set to work greenstuffing over the damage, adding some more chaotic elements and generally doing what I could to repair it and create the impression of corruption acquired over millennia of war rather than a few moments of carelessness. There’s still a little more to do on this front but here it is now, heading back in the right direction after a long and shameful period of abandonment.

Chaos Knight Wudugast ConvertOrDie (4)

Lastly we have the Knights head. I’m particularly proud of this, the sweeping tasks really make it look especially fearsome and primeval in my opinion.

Chaos Knight Wudugast ConvertOrDie (5)Chaos Knight Wudugast ConvertOrDie (6)

Put it all together with a few lumps of bluetac and a whispered prayer that it doesn’t collapse until I’ve taken a photo or two and it looks like this. Obviously quite a lot to still needs to be painted and some parts still need to be assembled but he’s on his way again at last.

Chaos Knight Wudugast ConvertOrDie (7)Chaos Knight Wudugast ConvertOrDie (8)

The right arm is entirely standard at the moment but I’d like to make a few tweaks to add some chaotic flavour. Likewise the left shoulder pad (not shown) which survived the destruction which consumed it’s brother now needs a little corruption of its own. The armour panels on the legs need to be reattached and the base has hardly been started. The biggest job of all is the left arm, which looks as though it will need to be sculpted in part, probably my most ambitious use of green stuff yet and potentially almost a project in its own right. Still with chaos on the rise at the moment I’m feeling very enthused about this project for the first time since that disastrous moment back in 2015. Indeed I’m feeling the urge to resurrect my entire chaos army and its time there was a knight at the heart of that – or who knows perhaps even more than one…



24 responses to “The Knight Is Young

  • Alex

    Oh man, it sounds like this knight will have had a torturous birth by the time it is ready to lay waste to the forces of the Corpse-God… Just as it should be I suppose 😉
    Hang in there mate – this is going to be awesome!

    • theimperfectmodeller

      Great post mate, l really enjoyed the write up. Sounds like you have gained some motivation for this one and I am really looking forward to your continued progress which promises to be fantastic. If I can offer one small bit of advice? Life is far to short, get a lone and buy the Titan you know you really want to do, it will be awesome! No one will see you go hungry or kicked on the streets. 😉

      • Wudugast

        Very wise words. Plus, even if I am the other tramps will doubtless be impressed when they see my lovingly painted titan! 😀 I do completely agree though, life is to be enjoyed. If you just swap the word “Titan” in your advice for “every other project that even fleetingly catches my attention” then I’m well on my way!

        Thank you – yeah, I’m feeling enthused about this one again at long last. Hopefully I’ll have more to show for him soon.

    • Wudugast

      Thank you! Yeah it’s true, I’ve started leafing through the new codex and it sounds like years of betrayal and torment are needed to break the spirit of a noble knight pilot and turn them into a monster raging against the Imperium. In my case it just took a couple of minutes standing in the rain swearing but the effect has been much the same!

      Hopefully I’ve decided at last to stop being a quitter and get back to work on my ignoble steed – the Corpse God’s empire isn’t going to burn itself after all!

  • patmcf

    Brilliant mate ,bloody amazing ,what a lot of work !

  • Alexis West

    As someone else who’s had disaster strike while working on a Knight-class Model, you def have my sympathies. That said, from a modeling PoV, one of the greatest things about Chaos is that any but the most colossal amounts of damage can be turned to good use.

    Depending on which Knights you’re talking about, their turn to Chaos was not necessarily long after that of the Chaos Space Marines. Many Knightly Houses were sworn to one of the Traitor Legions, or Legios, or Forge Worlds that sided with the Dark Mechanicum, and held to those oaths over their more general loyalty to the Imperium. Some, like House Devine may well have had some minor degree of Warp taint even before the Great Crusade.

    I’m kind of curious if the Codex will have a bit saying “These patterns of Knight can be built from the Knight Warden (or whichever) kit”. A good upgrade sprue would be pretty awesome, too, tho.

    • Wudugast

      Oof! Yeah, it’s gutting when something like that happens to any model, but always so much worse when it’s something big and expensive like a knight. What model was it that you had trouble with? Even at the time I thought “this would be so much worse if I’d been building an Imperial knight rather than a renegade”. If things had become any worse I would have dedicated him to Nurgle!

      Yeah, as with every faction there are many paths to Chaos. I’ve been enjoying reading about House Herpetrax, they’ve never been allied to the Imperium and weren’t rediscovered during the Great Crusade. They were encountered only recently by Rogue Trader Cherris Draik (and ancestor of Janus perhaps) by which time they’d already thrown in their lot with the Dark Gods.

      I’m surprised I’ve not see much mention of House Devine in the codex yet. Should be a few useful bits in the Warcry Splintered Fang for making Devine pilots, acolytes, house troops and so on.

      Yes, there is a paragraph saying exactly that (page 52). “Chaos Knights are built on the chassis of Imperial Knights, and to build some variants of Chaos Knights you will need Imperial Knights kits. To build a War Dog you will need either the Armiger Helverins or Armiger Warglaives kit…” and so on. The Despoiler is based on the Warden, the Tyrant is based on the Castellan/Valiant.

      • Alexis West

        It was a Kytan of Khorne. I did manage to rescue it, tho:

        Cool that they’re covering at least the concept of never-Imperial Houses as well. I’ve heard from others that Devine gets only a few mentions, which I, for one, find a shame.

        Cool. I more or less expected them to have a bit like that, but since, as you say, this is the first time since they’ve adopted that policy that they’ve put out Rules without a named kit for them.

      • Wudugast

        Oh man, that fallen Kytan was tragic to behold! Well done for turning it around though – and shows it can be done, I just need to knuckle down and focus.

        I’m in two minds about the lack of Devine – on the one hand they seem like an obvious choice to include, on the other hand we’re already familiar with them so it’s nice to see some new houses that we didn’t (or at least I didn’t) already know about. It certainly seems weird that there aren’t rules for Devine when they’re bound to be a popular choice, having starred in a Horus Heresy novel, and I’m sure there are some awesome conversions just waiting to be made by mixing chaos knights with the new Slaaneshi kits.
        Plus it’s not the biggest codex around, it’s only 72 pages compared to 120 for the genestealer cultists and a nicely chunky 176 for Chaos Marines (you can tell which two I had to hand as I was writing!). I’m sure they could have snuck a bit more content in there for Devine if they’d put their backs into it.

      • Alexis West

        Yeah, it was a rough time, hobby-wise.

        But the argument for leaving them out because we’re already familiar with them, to me, seems like it would be more or less comparable to leaving the Ultramarines with just a couple of sentences in the SM Codex, since they have loads of novels.

        Wow, that’s tiny. Even the Custodes and Harlequins got longer Dexes than that. Imperial Knights got 124.

      • Wudugast

        Yeah, my only real criticism of the codex so far (keeping in mind that I’m still trying to find the time to give it a proper read) is that it’s so short. The ultramarine argument is well made, I really can’t disagree there. More people will want to play as Devine than as some new House they’ve only just heard of (I personally rejected the Crimson Slaughter in favour of the Word Bearers on exactly these grounds).

  • Pete S/ SP

    Really like how that is looking.



  • Azazel

    That’s looking frickin’ awesome, mate!
    In “way too late to be useful hints”, I’ve had really good luck using a swim in metholated spirits for removing messed up paint, including sprays.
    In any case, I’m looking forward to seeing updates as this Chaos Knight project continues to evolve.

  • imperialrebelork

    This is epic man. I’m well impressed. Love this post but I’m only half way through and will read the second half tomorrow and comment again. So excited for this. 🤘🏼

  • imperialrebelork

    It took me a bit longer than expected to get back but blimey mate I bloody love this post and what you’ve done with the model. I’d really like to see a pilot, especially of your own making. There’s something quite cool about opening up a big model to see a little model inside haha. Like a kinder surprise haha. I’ve considered trying to open up a dreadnought so the driver/controller inside could be seen. Good save on the shoulder pad too mate. I also like the new positioning of the legs and that head with tusks is a real stand out. PS I just emailed you a question. 👍🏼

    • Wudugast

      See, originally I wanted to be able to open the hatch and see the pilot inside, or open up the whole upper carapace and reveal the pilot, the engine and all the mutated horror within. Now I’m inclined to just get him built and then, when I crack and get one of the new ones, put a pilot in there instead. Otherwise it’ll be another five years before I finish the damn thing!

      Oh man, you’ve just reminded me of those kinder surprise toys I used to collect back in the ’90s. Had 9 of the 10 turtles in the end, but never got to eat enough chocolate to find the last one. Used to put a big sheet of green cloth over boxes to make hills and set them up on it like they were all living on an island – probably a forerunner of my love of miniatures now I think about it.

      That idea re the dreadnaught is awesome, surprised I’ve not seen it done before actually. One to hunt for later I reckon.

      Just emailed you back! 😀

  • Chaos Knight – If You Want To Get A Head | Convert or Die

    […] (a story I’ve told enough times by now that regular readers will be sick of hearing about it, look back here for the whole sorry tale if you missed it). This second shoulderpad will be much plainer than the […]

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