1,000 Sons

What Am I Going To Do With All Of These Sons!?

There are literally 1,000 of them.

I can't decide if I want to paint them like Thousand Sons.  Here's my debacle -- GW has officially pronounced that other chapters have created rubric marines.  I acquired the new Ahriman model for 18 dollars.  But I have red marines.  Ambiguously red kinda/sorta Word Bearers marines.  Therefore, I intend to simply run the Rubrics (with Ahriman occasionally) as a Thousand Sons detachment that is only Thousand Sons in name.  The sticking point is Ahriman, because I feel lame for having my cake and eating it too.  On the other hand, the Thousand Sons did originally wear red...

Not bad for 55% off.

I didn't even intend to acquire a mono-tzeentch army.  It just kind of happened via trades and bargain bin acquisitions.  They're not flashy new plastic rubric marines and whatnot.  They're old mono-posed metal marines combined with some paint-stripped multi-part plastic and metal rubrics of the previous mark.  Several of them required a little TLC to make field-able again.  I'm not sure what paint the previous owner used on one batch of them, because not even denatured alcohol could completely get the paint off.

Serviceable as an Aspiring Sorceror, right?

Here's the real clever bit though.  Everybody loves the new and expanded weapon options for the rubric squads.  In particular, which 40k player do you know that doesn't appreciate a nice mini gun equivalent?  But how does one represent a Soulreaper Cannon without hunting down those overpriced bits that are probably a little too large on my elderly rubric marines?  I think you'll agree that my FW rotor cannons work pretty darn well!  They're just the right size from the looks of it.

"Soulreaper Cannons"

I also ordered a baggy of warpflamers (which are in far greater abundance than the soulreaper cannons out in the wild) for a song.  Once again, David came to the rescue by gifting me some Blood Angels hand flamers to use as a basis for warpflame pistols.

Don't judge my "warpflame pistols".  It's not like Chaos is
in to "standard issue".

...besides, I've got actual warp flamers.
How many are appropriate in a squad do you think?

There, that's all sorted!  Now I've got all of these rubric marines, but who will lead them?  I managed to convert one sorceror using a combination of left over rubric bits, marine with missile launcher arm, tzeentch aspiring champion head and an old chaos marine sword that I think you'll agree is a pretty believable aspiring sorcerer conversion.

Next up, David was generous enough (after buying Burning of Prospero and then suddenly winning a second copy!) to gift me with the 30k version of Ahriman.  There's aspiring sorceror number 3 sorted.

Two Ahrimans in one army.  Even though he's the 30k
version I intend to convert him a bit.

With all of my acquired rubric marines and parts and 3 sorcerers, I magically have 27 models to use as squads of rubric marines.  A multiple of 9, hmm...perhaps this was fated to happen.  After perusing my models that I own, I have the following to make up a Tzeentch themed contingent:

  • HQ
    • 1 Tzeentchian daemon prince
    • 1 "Could be anything" daemon prince
    • 1 Chaos Sorceror in Terminator armour
    • Ahriman
    • 1 Gaunt Summoner
      • Who I feel makes an amazing stand-in for The Changeling
    • 1 Ogroid Thaumaturge who is a convincing "on foot" Daemon Prince
    • Assorted Silver Tower Kairic Acolytes
      • Which I feel make pretty cool Heralds of Tzeentch
  • Troops
    • 27 Rubric Marines (with 3 aspiring sorcerors to go around) with a combination of potential warp flamers and soulreaper cannons
    • 10 Pink Horrors of Tzeentch (shout out to Joe for the old daemons battleforce box)
      • 2 "pink horrors" serving as Iridescent Horrors (because they're bigger) from the Warhammer Quest: The Silver Tower box, 4 blue horrors and 4 stands of brimstone horrors.
      • This gives me enough horrors to split them up in to two squads of 1 Iridescent, 5 pink, 2 blue and 2 brimstones for a total of 10 per unit, or combine them in to one large squad.
    • 20 Chaos Cultists with autoguns/heavy stubbers
    • 20 Chaos Cultists with autopistols/flamers
  • Elites
    • 3 Flamers of Tzeentch
    • 3 Helbrutes, 2 of which have magnetized arms
  • Fast Attack
    • 15 Screamers of Tzeentch.
      • They don't seem particularly cost efficient in 8th for what they do, but I acquired them in trade for 4 classic eldar warlocks that I picked up as a potential bargaining chip for trades...this is what I got.
      • My reasoning was twofold: trade off the warlocks to prevent myself from starting an Eldar army and build out my available daemons, which could see improvements in the forthcoming daemon codex!
    • 5 Chaos Spawn
  • Heavy Support
    • 1 Land Raider
      • although it's sporting Word Bearers FW doors ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
    • 1 Predator Annihilator
      • liquidated from a local guy's Space Wolves army that I need to "chaos-up" a bit
    • 1 Defiler
      • shout out to Andrew for gifting me this fellow
    • 1 Forgefiend
  • Flyers
    • 1 Heldrake
  • Dedicated Transports
    • 2 Rhinos
It burnssss ussss!

I might be forgetting a unit or two.  I dont' have any Tzaangors (other than the 6(?) from Silver Tower), which don't feel necessary, but I like them.  Minimum unit size is 10, sadly.

As you can see, this is enough stuff that calling it the "beginnings" of a Tzeentch army seems silly.  I'm well past that point already.  The thing is, I just kind of acquired most of this stuff through trades or on the cheap over time.  I believe it amounts to about 3,000ish points in Matched Play.

What paint did they use one some of these!?
This is AFTER stripping...

It's worth mentioning that some of these models also serve in my non-aligned "main" chaos army as well as components of a similar and unintended Death Guard force.  Hence the painting conundrum.  For example, I don't want to own more than 2ish Chaos Rhinos.  It seems silly.  I intend to find a neutral, ambiguous paint scheme for my rhinos so that I can use them in my mono-Nurgle or mono-Tzeentch armies and still make sense within the paint scheme of my larger Word Bearers army.

Almost all of these models that weren't acquired 2nd hand were either cost-effective as part of a starter box, battleforce, or completely free due to trades or whatever.  The parts I purchased for the rubrics were simply because I realised what else I had!  The only thing that I legitimately paid top dollar for was the Forgefiend.  Even the Heldrake was a sneaky acquisition (although still not assembled) when I realized that there would an influx in them available online due to Stormcloud Attack.

Five bucks and a lot of paint stripping/cleaning later...

Ultimately, this stuff was all still a pretty good chunk of change, but an equivalent force would cost substantially more.  You also have to take in to account all of the time I spent stripping paint, replacing broken parts, sourcing parts, shipping (although there tends to be a decent amount of free shipping on eBay if you're patient to wait for it).  The cost of entry in to 40k can be daunting, but there are ways to soften the blow.

...Now if only had them all built and playable.

Perhaps I should write an article on how I spun some daemons I acquired from a bargain bin in to an entire 3,000+ point Tyranid army.

Let me know what you think!


A Green Light At the End of the Tunnel?


I've been working on Orks for 40k on and off for 23 years at time of writing.  My brother convinced me to split the 2nd edition 40k boxed set 50/50 and immediately exclaimed "I call Space Marines!".  Orks were never my first pick, because I, like many others, were drawn to the weird high fantasy space opera of power-armored knights plying the stars amidst a ruined empire.

A horde-style army is a serious and monetary commitment, and as a kid with limited finances, Orks were a difficult contingent to stick to.  I tried my hand at scratch building and converting to stretch the spare parts in my kits to the maximum and save money.  This resulted in some rather regrettable models from time to time, but at some point I hit a baseline level of quality and consistency that has stayed fairly "modern" that I'm happy with.

Scratch Built Trukk

Yes, my army still contains models that were acquired from the old Gorkamorka boxed set, so they're hardly 100% current.  I have a mix of sizes in my army and I think they hide each other well.  There's enough uniformity in color scheme and basing style to tie the whole force together.

My old Warboss based on a metal Ogryn.  Just in
time for Chapter Approved to gift us with a Big Choppa relic!

All of those identical 2nd edition Goff Ork Boyz?  Every single one of them has been hacked apart and combined with more modern parts, using only the legs and chest as a conversion frame.  All 20 (it was 20, right?) have been re-purposed to bulk out my slugga boyz, shoota boyz or scratch build kommandoz at this point.  Some of them took a brief tour as stand-ins for Runtherds or other models.

Old Nazdred is now a Nob with Waaagh! Banner.
I felt bad pulling this guy apart...13 year old me
won enough in-store credit to purchase my old metal
stormboyz in a painting competition with him.

A couple months ago, I took a long, hard look at every single ork model that I owned and tried to plan what I could do with them.  With my 8th edition index in hand, I set about finalising my force -- completing conversions that I never got around to, assembling squads still on sprues, breaking apart models with outdated armaments, etc.  I even demolished one of my two Gorkamorka trukks and a scratch built Battlewagon (considering I was a teenager at the time, I got some pretty amazing feedback on this Battlewagon before the modern kit came out) to scratch build a larger trukk that matches the modern aesthetic.

I acquired 5 metal meganobz for 5 dollars from a used bin and modified
them with Nob parts from the Stormclaw box...

The start of this project was also the first time I used my new methodology of only feeling beholden to 30-60 minutes of hobby time per night.  Keeping it in small chunks that could be accomplished.  As a result, I have ~3,000+ points of Orks that are cleaned, assembled, based and primed.  I would say that approximately 80% of my army points-wise is completely painted.  After two months of short spurts of hobbying, all that remains is to paint them, but new distractions have arisen...

...The 5th meganob became a Big Mek with Kustom Force Field.
He also claimed Nazdreg's old Power Klaw.
Always wanted a weirdboy so I acquired this AoS
shaman for relatively cheap on eBay and gave him a slight
staff modification courtesy of the Mek Gunz kit.
My five deffkoptas from eBay came with no flying stands.
Five 40mm bases and some steel roofing nails later,
I have something far more durable.
This guy had a brief stint as a stand in Nob for a unit of
Slugga Boyz.  He's built from an old metal Evil Sunz Nob
some green stuff and some parts from a few ork kits.  I believe
the spanner head is from the Lootas/Burnaz kit.

Let me know what you think of these conversions.  Hopefully I'll get some photography of the rest of the force in the near future.


Chaos HQ Conversions

Chaos Lord on Juggernaut of Khorne

This was the last model that I finished prior to my daughter being born.  There he sat, ready for slaughter, unused for months on end until finally, my first game of 8th edition arrived.  In my desire to field nothing unpainted, the force that I played against my friend David's Imperial Guard wasn't particularly necessarily unbalanced, but it was definitely a 7th edition "one or two of every force organization chart" hodge-podge.  My Chaos Lord spent the entire game slowly chopping his way with a basic power axe (since there was no codex yet and no relics yet at the time) through a squad of bullgryns and a sentinel.  It was kind of disappointing, honestly.  This first game was definitely an eye opener to just how different 8th edition is.

Rules Shakeup

Flash forward a month or two, and the Chaos Codex hits and...no Juggernaut option?  I was left scratching my head until it was pointed out that I could still take the Index version, although it was a little confusing in regards to keywords, abilities, relics, etc.  Considering that hobby time has been at a premium lately, I was a little perturbed that I had just finished this model not too long ago only to see him benched in the codex immediately.  A recent FAQ has cleared up the interaction with the codex a bit, but I'm still curious what the future holds for the Khorne Lord on juggernaut.

The Conversion

To bring this friendly friend in on a budget, I patiently monitored eBay to acquire the cheapest "whole" juggernaut (with shipping in mind).  He wields a fancy power axe (or possible axe of blind fury upgrade) that I nabbed from one of the Dark Vengeance Chosen models.  The slighted chosen was gifted a shiny new power fist to compensate.  I had to do a little finagling with some pose-able Khorne berserker legs and some green stuff-ing that I'm kind of secretly disappointed in (fur is the simplest and laziest cop out to sculpt...but effective) to make him fit on the saddle.  I wanted him to have a fancy chest piece, so I tore apart my "counts as" Huron Blackheart that I wasn't sold on.

I painted his skin to be very pale and did some small blue veins all over his head with a fine detail brush and then washed and drybrushed his head to make them less prominent, but still visible.  I was happy with the effect.

The base was a leftover from the Daemon Prince conversion I was planning...

Tzeentch Daemon Prince

It seems doubly blasphemous to make a post with Tzeentch and Khorne at the same time AND feature a Tzeentch Daemon Prince that's based on a Khornate model.  I'm just blasphemous like that apparently.  I acquired a Khorgorath on eBay, which were cheap and in abundance at the time to use as the base, as I figured it was about the size of the Daemon Prince model.  It's a little meatier, but I'm okay with that.  I was able to acquire a pair of metal wings on the cheap as well.  This whole conversion cost me approximately 8 dollars all told, although the time spent on conversion work means I probably broke even.  There's something to be said for uniqueness, however.

I liked the wiggly tentacle fingers, which I found suitable for a bizarre amorphous spell-flinger.  I covered the Khorne markings on the chest with part of a Tzeetnch icon and the ever ubiquitous green stuff, although I tried to scullpt it in such a way to avoid it appearing less like fur and more like feathers.

Affixing the wings made it predictably unbalanced, but I came prepared with a hefty steel washer that I attached to the underside of its base.

The head is the most pronounced bird-like head from the Pink Horrors frame.  I can't wait to paint this guy up, but I've been trying to get forces field-able first and painted second.

Let me know what you think!


Chaos Spawn

Nice to meetcha!

I have 5 converted chaos spawn now, but the last 2 have yet to have been painted.  Pretty simple to figure out where the main body for the middle and right spawn came from (the Warhammer Fantasy Isle of Blood rat ogre duo).

The "Leader"

The middle one was based on another conversion I saw online, although I can't give credit as I've lost my bookmark.  It's fairly simple...just the addition of a chaos space marine head and a sculpted collar.  I added a bit of chain from a sprue and sculpted some fur around the neck.

The "Umber Hulk"

The chap on the right was the first one I made, and mostly because I was inspired to make it look similar to a D&D "Umber Hulk".  I think I've achieved that.  I acquired both of these Isle of Blood rat ogres rather cheaply on eBay.  When digging through a pile of Tyranid bits I had received from a friend, the Umber Hulk idea struck me immediately.  I believe it's a large Tyranid's adrenal gland combined with some sort of pincer bit that I'm not going to bother ID'ing while I'm getting whacked upside the head with a juice cup by an under-the-weather toddler.  A crown of spikes and some green stuff completed the head.

The Plague Hulk

Lastly, the guy on the left was probably the most ambitious.  I intended to give him one monstrously large claw and one excised stump that was agitated and bleeding.  The legs are actually from an old metal Slaanesh Keeper of Secrets I acquired as part of a trade.  I put rusted shackles around the sculpted ankles and tried my hand at making some elephantine feet.  The toe nails are simply carved bits of sprue.  I figured I needed to do something to hide the Slaaneshi high heels since I was going for a Nurgle theme.  The bloated and tumorous body is part of (I believe) a Tyrannofex or other large Tyranid creature's bio cannon.  The two chimneys on the right shoulder kind of reference the spore chimneys on Typhus and other Nurgle models and served to help with my theme.  The head is another bit from the Chaos Space Marines possessed frame.  An Ork Boy shoulder pad garnered me some real estate to put a bit of red on the model so that I could tie it in with my Word Bearers if necessary (like the other models in the squad).  The rest of the gaps were filled with green stuff and sculpted to hopefully hide the messy joins.

At present, I feel like the newest two members of the squad were a bit lazily crafted in comparison, but perhaps a lick of paint will change my mind.



Progress and setting goals

I haven't done much painting since I became a father.  In the months leading up to my child being born, I set the goal for myself to make some serious progress on my overwhelmingly large Chaos Space Marine army as I anticipated that my hobby time would be significantly diminished.  My goal was to clean/build/convert/base/prime/paint the first 1,000 points of my slowly evolving force.

The order of units created for this project had less to do with making a cohesive, playable force and more to do with finishing models that were heavily converted or done in sub assemblies by necessity.  Addressing models that (in my opinion) benefitted from sub assemblies would ultimately enable me to field a wider range of units, painted or otherwise in a more timely fashion.  I dislike playing unpainted models, and I'm sure I share that dislike with a lot of people, but I valued being ready and able to play when the rare opportunity arose.

I made it to approximately 850 points (in 7th edition points) before my little nurgling joined the family.  The unit that would have pushed me over the 1,000 point mark was a forgefiend that I had assembled and painted to about 1/3 finished.  I finished painting the forgefiend almost an entire year later in the colors of my main force, which I jokingly refer to as "ambiguous red".


A change in methodology

Perhaps I was just amusing myself because of being tossed in to working under an "Agile" methodology in software development at my place of employment unexpectedly, but at some point I realized that my 40k backlog was seeing very little progress.  If I couldn't finish something noticeable and massive in a single sitting, I tended to not even approach my hobby desk.  To address this, I attempted a change in method.  Instead, I would plan out small chunks of attainable goals that would take up no more than 30-60 minutes per night after my daughter went to bed.  This wasn't always attainable, and I found that I severely underestimated how long certain tasks would take to perform, but I'm starting to get a better handle on it.

For example, the progress on my 40k Orks recently saw me get the entire remainder of my force all the way up to the "primed" phase in the span of about 2 months of work.  Considering that there were a significant number of conversion tasks, customization and even scratch building, I'm very pleased.  I'll probably post something regarding the current state of my orks in the future.  Right now I'm writing up anything I have photography of already.  My hobby space is in a state of disarray for a number of reasons.

Flexibility and/or not being able to make up my mind

A pretty simple conversion based on a
Dark Vengeance Dark Angels tactical marine.

"Ambiguous red" is code for "allow me the flexibility to play as Word Bearers, Khorne Daemonkin, Crimson Slaughter, Renegades, etc.  Primarily intended as a Word Bearers force (although dissatisfied with the brightness of the red), I figured this would allow me more flexibility until I made up my mind.  So far there aren't any distinguishing markings on any of my red Chaos Marines.  Instead, I reasoned that they are one of many sub-groups of the Word Bearers led by one of their numerous demagogues with their own markings and heraldry.

Thoughts on the Word Bearers in 8th edition

The internet gaming community at large has essentially panned the Word Bearers faction rules as being horrible.  In the wake of 8th edition, my only hope was that it provided some sort of flexibility or discount for daemon summoning, and that daemon summoning was still useful.  To paraphrase some of the opinions I've read, summoning is okay if you have a wide range of models in your collection to choose from.  This enables you to pick and choose the appropriate unit to solve a situation at the cost of paying points for reserves.  The Word Bearers' actual trait simply allows them to re-roll failed morale tests like their Imperial counterparts.  Kind of boring, but not necessarily horrible.  The real meat of the daemon interaction comes via a stratagem.

I gave this a long, hard think about whether or not I cared, and I decided I don't.  I might choose to play my ambiguously red marines as another warband entirely or perhaps a subfaction of the Word Bearers that is distinct enough from their parent allegiance to mimic another rule.  Ultimately, I like how important the Word Bearers are to the back story of the state of the Imperium.  Because of this, I'll most likely plod ahead as planned.


Converted Plague Marines

I worked rather hard on these.

I felt obligated to make seven.
When I started on the squad, 40k was a hobby that was done on a budget or not done at all.  I had decided I wanted to have a go at doing a proper Chaos Space Marines army, where everything had the look and feel that I liked.  That meant, for example, less spikes on my models and a mix of heresy-era armor and salvaged parts.  I figured this would give my force a rag-tag look -- a bunch of dyed-in-the-wool heretics that had been operating without Imperial support for millennia.  Their warbands aren't necessarily incapable of producing their own munitions, but driven to recruit and expand and rapidly absorb Imperial worlds.

I'll go back and fix his left eye some day, I promise.
I've always had a habit of playing "the good guys".  Initially, I had landed upon the Alpha Legion as my force of choice, but decided that despite my test model looked rather good for my skill level at the time, that Alpha Legion wasn't really challenging my decision to be the bad guys for once.  After having a blast immersing myself in some Horus Heresy novels and other resources, I decided to switch to the Word Bearers.

How did I land on these plague marines then?  Converting Nurgle models is often viewed as the easiest conversion one can do.  However, one runs the risk of doing a laughable job.  I was determined to do the best I could do.  My plague marines, I decided, would be solid.  They would be some of my best work in the hobby, and I would take my time.  It was a good project on a budget considering that I had a handful of broken imperial Space Marine parts from being in the hobby for several years.  Second hand models.  Bartered-for parts.  The occasional Chaos kit purchased at the largest discount I could find that I deemed to have the most useful conversion parts.  I started painting these lads with the same technique I had used as a starting point for my Word Bearers, but a happy accident led me to this color scheme.  I had originally intended to have several Pantheon-specific sub-cults within my Word Bearers offshoot warband.  I probably consider these guys allies at this point.

I was losing motivation when I made this guy.
 I was pleasantly surprised with how he turned out.
In the future, I intend to show some of my Word Bearers that started as Imperial marines.  Turns out they were quite tedious to convert themselves.  The process of scraping off Imperial eagles and smoothing out the armor plates was not only difficult work, but one slip and your attempt at saving money could end with a ruined model.  Careful knife work was the order of the day, but back to my plague marines.

Why scrape off and shave Imperial eagles when you can simply cover them up?  I somehow managed to convince myself that if I acquired the Dark Vengeance starter box at a discount, I could slowly but surely convert all of the Imperial models in to Chaos models and double my take.  Quite a bit of work that turned out to be.

I'm not the best miniature painter, but I certainly have my own style and technique that is neat and contrasty.  Watching modern painting tutorials on youtube has made me realize that I'm rather stuck in my ways.  I came up with this style on my own when I got in to the hobby 23 years ago.  There weren't a lot of guides back then.  Just White Dwarf as far as I knew, and back then, there were quite a few steps missing in their painting showcases.

These models are made using a combination of several generations of imperial space marines, chaos space marines, a few ork bits, some warhammer fantasy zombies, some "learning the ropes" sculpting and a variety of other little bits and bobs.

So what was the point I was trying to make?  Oh, right.  The Dark Imperium started set and the new Death Guard models.  I split the set with a friend and acquired the Death Guard models, and while I have a few qualms about them, I ultimately enjoy them quite a bit.  Now I'm at a crossroads.  Do I retire my tediously, lovingly converted plague marines?  They look nothing like the newer, modern Dark Imperium plague marines and look rather bizarre next to them.  Not to mention, plasma guns and bolters seems pretty bland compared to their overwhelming new options.  It seems like a shame considering the time and effort I put in to these guys.

I worked rather hard on these...

Ecto Cooler fan.
Rickety plasma gun?
No problem, my face comes pre-melted.

The "healthiest" member of the team.

Looks like he's having a blast all things considered.

Out of sludge? I came prepared.