Who let the cogs out ?

Pun courtesy of a Bolter and Chainsword topic.

Yeah, less than a year since the last post !

There is one problem with having fiddled with 3D printing and 3D design : it’s hard to refrain from customizing everything in your hobby. This is especially true when you see some good ideas in the design of miniatures but always think “brilliant, except this”. So in this post I’ll show the “this” in the case of my Adeptus Mechanicus army for 40K. And yes, the separation between Skitarii and Cult Mechanicus, while understandable in terms of marketing or even in game, is a bit too large for me. So as usual, since I’m such a fast painter and not a hobby butterfly, I’ll try to field a custom vision of the army. The detachment system of 40K allows this, the only issue is the point costs that add up quite rapidly.

Thanks to old novels and lack of description in the time, I always figured the Skitarii as tech guard, a more exotic variant of the imperial guard with improved equipment or rare items/vehicles. In my vision, the Skitarii as GW released them represent rather the elite troops of the lot, and the Cult the “HQ” parts, with priests, robots and custom servitors the Magos takes personally to the field. As such, I’d like to build my army with :

An Imperial Guard detachment, cheap and with some troops to represent the “regular” warriors of the forge worlds. It’s only my personnal view, but I envisionn them as more independant (human ?) that the cold description Skitarii had in their codex. More like troops not yet granted general augmentations to ascend to the Skitarii ranks.
A Skitarii detachment, representing the elite troops, full of exotic tech and augmentation, more fanatized and with the beginning of a pseudo-gestalt mind, as described in the novels including AdMech these last years. Nothing special here, maybe some conversion for fun but the models are quite nice by themselves.
A Cult Mechanicus detachment, representing the aristocracy of the group, with the Magos, his creations (Kataphrons), his prized technologies (robots) and allies (electro-priests).

At the moment, it’s mainly the Cult Mechanicus faction that was both exhilarating and disappointing, model-wise. The Dominus is good but a bit too particular. The design studio of Games has tried to infuse the spirit of Blanche drawings in recent releases, but even if Tech priests don’t really care of human form and only look for improving themselves, I’ll have to convert one with a more anthropomorphic silhouette for the sake of having my own HQ.
The Kataphrons were also a disappointment, but only because of the two variants being too similar to me. The differences are the weapons, and some additional plates on the torso and the tracks.
The Kastelan are nice, but as a lot of people the goofy head, while nice for a Buck Rogers universe, don’t fit with our grim dark millenium. Also, the gun arms are a bit too simple to me, even if the whole streamlined effect of the model is OK with me. The datasmith is gorgeous though.
The models I’m more disappointed with are the electro priests, I don’t buy the techno-WFB-flagellants design, the tesla-steampunk gauntlets and collar of the corpuscarii. Just personal taste here.

So, first work on this army (and this post) is the revamp of these details to make the army fit my vision. Here are my musing with the Cult Mechanicus part.

Kataphrons Destroyers : I really like the armoured look of the Kataphrons Breachers, with sturdy tracks and armour plates all over the mini and bulky weapons. Therefore I wanted to make the destroyers more distinguishable. Since the latter are more weapon platforms than assault beasts. I went for legged servitors then, this hull allowing bracing, adjustment for firing big guns. I did tie the look of the legs with the Onager to blend my conversion with the rest of the army. Not much work from there, the parts are ordered and shall arrive soon for a test fit and check the encumbrance and proportions of the thing. If fits, I’ll amend the design to allow some poseability of the legs. And maybe change the “shield” plate on the lower leg, I kinda rushed this part.

Kastelan : As I wrote before, the two points that bugged me were the head and the gun arms, the head because of the visor and the gun arms that just looked like “a bier barrel with a gun at the point”. And another oversized sickle clip, that doesn’t fit for me (same as the plastic grey knight with their huge clip instead of the boxy one of the metallic models). So here are my test models for these two parts :

Nothing fancy here, just simple mods and lines.

Electro priests : The whole boys band flagellants design didn’t work for me. These guys are priests, not just crazed lowly manufactorum workers. Of course they are fanatical and all, but the term “priest” for the Admech always evokes me high or medium echelons. A priest is not an adept. So, I’m thinking of using the genestealer neophytes torsos to replace the bare torso of the vanilla model. It looks rubbery (kinda works with the notion of electricity, isolation and such) and removes the flagellant picture.
Concerning the Fulgurite, the bare arms holding the staff with gloves work for me to make them badass/close combat guys. And keeps with the idea of electoos and more fleshy look of these priests.

Concerning the Corpuscarii, I’ll try another idea on top of just a torso swap. These are described as having the generosity of illuminating the galaxy. With lots of lightning bolts in your face, so that you understand the Motive Force. The notion of forcing a gift on people believing in something different does rings more radical to me, more fanatical than the fulgurite that I feel are more in the “you don’t deserve your electricity so we take it back” rhetoric. I had this idea of the corpuscarii looking for more change of their body to achieve their goals and thought of them ritualistically replace their arms with lightning projectors to wholly embrace their cause/be closer to the Omnimessiah/etc.
I’ll wait to see how this works and if it doesn’t make them look like servitors. Maybe I’ll try to put some of the coils of the regular gauntlets on the arms …

I’m waiting for some parts to look if everything can fit correctly, because fast image montage can be misleading in proportions.

So, that’s all for the moment, I’ll post picts when I have tested all these things.

Heavy Hauling for the Knights of Titan

Well, well … Already 20 days of bloging without any update … So much for regularity ^^.

Today, a short article about Warhammer 40000. Already … Six months ago ?!, my sweetheart braved the bugs of the GW website and bought some of those shiny little plastic thingies we all love. After a deadful duel with the checkout routine and a fearful last stand against the delivery adress form (yes, the website was particularly vindictive this day), the reinforcements went to the Warp of the french post office. On the day of christmas, my true love gave to me, 1 box of dice (with a scatter dice that only seldomly scatters), and a brand new Stormraven gunship.

“What a nice kit” I told myself. “Hell, he looks ridiculous with the engine far behind the cell” answered my sneering mind. I went to and fro on the internet to look at some conversion people made for inspiration, and I found this on the “blog des Kouzes” :

A picture of the main source of inspiration, directly from the German Games Day 2010. Thanks to the blog des Kouzes for the picture.

A picture of the main source of inspiration, directly from the German Games Day 2010. Thanks to the blog des Kouzes for the picture.

OK, it looks like a mini-thunderhawk, but I find that it takes the general lines of the TH but keeps the specifics of the Stormraven (position of engines and the tilt of the wings). And what had to happen finally happened, I bought a second kit of Stormraven …

To sum it up, the details that ruin the vanilla mini are mainly due to the Disbelief Factor. Basically, this is the point of no return, beyond which something fictional goes from plausible to ludicrous. The small thing that ruins a lot of effort. The excessive excess. In this case, for me it is :
– The size of the hold, way too small. I’m not an afficionado of true scale, but here the border between game-manageable size and little wheelbarrow is crossed.
– The position of the engines, too ankward for me. I know that we are in total fiction and that the flying-bricks of the Space Marines would never be able to fly, but here I only see it do looping after looping when the pilot kicks the engines.
– The position of the Huricane Bolters, which fire in the forward hull or if they don’t have a huge blind spot in the forward arc.
– The big, glass turret. Here it’s just a personnal feeling, It breaks the line of the machine. Well, it’ll be stored for use on a Razorback :).

The nice conversion from the Games Day did appeal to me, because it solved the problem of the hold and engines, and made it look more like a Mini-Hawk and kept some specifics of the Stormraven. Well, the big gun (of dooming death) just screamed “THUNDERHAWK” and I didn’t like the Razorback turrets for the Huricane Bolters, but it’s a start. After the buying of one more hull kit via bitz stores on Ebay, here is comes the first try :

The hesitation about the hull assembly ...

The hesitation about the hull assembly …

Now it’s more beefy, at this stage I still hesitated on where to put the second floor : keep the line of the aft section, or like here and more to the fore ? In the end, I kept the first option. One stabilizer later, it gives this :

Hull assembled. Blessed be thee, Machine !

Hull assembled. Blessed be thee, Machine !

Yes, I'm boasting. I used this Grey Knight Forgeworld Rhino Door I bought on impulse several years ago ...

Yes, I’m boasting. I used this Grey Knight Forgeworld Rhino Door I bought on impulse several years ago …

Concerning the wings and the engines, the version of the Games Day Conversion was to my mood, so it’s a copy/paste here. Some work to cut two sets of wings, pinning, gluing and savage rookie greenstuffing gives this :

The enlenghted wing. What an astounishing skill with green stuff !

The enlenghted wing. What an astounishing skill with green stuff !

And a last minute finding : the Dark Angels Dark Talon has beautiful batteries of underwing Huricane bolters. And here they go.

The armament of the bird. Did the designer had something to compensate ? :)

The armament of the bird. Did the designer had something to compensate ? 🙂

So here I am, with something WISIWYG (bolters & missiles) that I like. I can imagine it breaking, all weapons blazing to clean the drop zone. It has a small look of the Clone Gunships of the Star Wars ugly trilogy (that is the episodes I, II and III).

And here is the shell of the hull.

And here is the shell of the hull.

There is still work on it, and in particular the holes to cover. I now have to find a practical system to magnet or pinn the wings, because this beast doesn’t fit in the display, and will be a nightmare to transport if I just glue them in place.