Tag Archives: Kharn

Hate Eternal

“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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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Khorne With The Wind

So the Age of Sigmar rumbles on and, following on from the release of the God-Kings golden warriors – which proved a little bland to my taste after a while, we now see the opposition; the legions of the Blood God. Because I thought this merited talking about a little I decided to chap on and get a model painted so I’d have something of my own to show off as well.

Of course as my own worship of the Dark Gods is rooted firmly in the 41st Millennium this berserker wears power armour instead of leather and iron plate.

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I turned his bolt pistol into a net launcher as I reckon this would be a pretty handy weapon for a berserker to have. Khorne, after all, isn’t the type to deliberately handicap his warriors with too many rules. Perfection and precision is more Slaanesh’s department, Khorne – as we are reminded ad nauseam – cares only that the blood flows. Thus although snaring your opponent in a net is not the most honourable way to go about things if it helps you lay bigger and more impressive skulls at the foot of his throne then so be it. He also has a fairly low opinion of enemies who run away so the ability to snare some panicking troops and drag them into reach is likely to be interpreted approvingly. It also adds a little gladiatorial element which plays to one of Khorne’s key themes nicely.
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Yesterday we also saw the arrival of the Exalted Deathbringer and what a beast of a model it is. This is one of those models I loved from the moment I saw it and will undoubtedly pick up at some point (remind me of that in three years when it’s never put in an appearance here!).

Many commenters have said he’d make a fine Abaddon proxy but I have to say I don’t see it myself. The topknot and the talon are the only aspects which distinctly convey the character of the master of the Black Legion and whilst the former certainly works the latter is a little small to be the legendary Talon of Horus. That’s not to do it down – it certainly looks brutal enough as weapons go, but unless Horus tickled Sanguinius to death this isn’t what he used. Now that axe is another matter. If I was planning to use this model ‘as is’ in Warhammer or Age of Sigmar I’d be spitting bile right now. I know many miniatures companies – GW being one of several culprits – get a bit carried away when it comes to the weapons they arm their models with but this one is particularly silly. How’s he meant to lift that bad boy without putting his back out? And even a warrior of Khorne should consider that he’s hung his skulls in a particularly inconvenient place.

Exalted Deathbringer as painted by the clever dudes over at Games Workshop’s ‘eavy Metal team.

What if, however, we imagine the model as a basis for a Kharn conversion instead? Suddenly he makes more sense. The lower body is already distinctly similar to that of the Betrayer, the symbols of Khorne are already in place and the armour – or lack of it – is far more closely reminiscent of a berserker’s power armour than terminator armour. Best of all, that axe finally looks right. It may be ridiculously outsized for any normal human, or even a Space Marine, but it looks about right for a Primarch (for those not in the know Kharn’s axe Gorechild once belonged to his gene-father Angron). And let’s be honest here, Kharn would be mad enough to lug his father’s axe around even if it was that preposterously large (and tough enough to keep on reaping skulls with it).

On a more general note the toplessness of some of the new models is starting to make my life in the 41st Millennium tricky. Nurgle’s followers can bloat and burst through their armour and hardcases like Kharn can rock up to void-combat shirtless but if I want to take advantage of the Blood Reavers then soon half my army will be doing it, which may somewhat dilute the effect. Of course this may just be a sign of a Space Marine-centric world view – after all no-one’s ever bothered that the Catachans forgot to get dressed.

Anyway, as usual I’d be glad to hear your comments, both on my own Berserker and the new Deathbringer. Do you hate him? Have any crazy conversion ideas of your own? Planning to use him in old-school Warhammer – and if so as what? Speak your mind in the comments box below.