Monday, December 10, 2007

Big Beasts of Chaos

For the last week or so, I've been working on converting two large models for my Mortal Chaos Army, both to add a little more punch, and take advantage of two recently-released fantastic model kits.

A Monumental Task
The first is a mutant monstrousity, a giant mutated to a level which would make the great scheamer Tzeentch proud.

The conversion primarily involved the following:
  • Bitz from the giant boxed set
  • Leftover spawn bitz
  • A few random Chaos bitz
  • A little green stuff
For starters, I assembled him as a pretty standard chaos giant. The primary differences involved the giants feet and head. For the feet, I used one of the "chaos" hooved feet and a single normal giant foot. For me, Chaos is supposed to be exactly that, Chaotic, and mutations shouldn't be conveniently symetrical.  For the head, I figured two were better than one. This part of the conversion took very little work, as the two heads fit onto the neck rather well. I only needed to shave the inside surface of each head a little so they fit together better.

Next, I decided to pull out the ever-so-useful spawn bits. Ever since starting my Chaos army, this kit has been invaluable, providing not only 2 extremely-cool-looking chaos spawn, but a near bottomless bag of mutations. First I added a tentacle to one side of the giant's torso, and a thin taloned-arm to the other (once again, symmetry = BAD). The image below also shows the flamer mouth I blended into the giants stomach using green stuff.

I also added several arachnid/ insectoid arms down his spine. On this model, the green stuff was used primarily to smooth transitions and make the various components fit together better. The only true sculpting I did was the exposed spine, because according to GW, nothing says chaos mutation like seeing someone's spine bursting from their back.  

Lastly, for the random chaos bitz, in addition to the flamer mouth on his stomach, I used several marauder/warrior shields for his arm guards, replacing the empire-themed shields included in the giant kit.

Fighting Fire with Napalm
With the recent release of the new High Elf army book, a large number of High Elf players are taking to the Warhammer tabletop with one or more of the new dragons.  As I am unable to field either Matthew McConaughey or Dennis Quaid in my Chaos army to combat these terrors (bonus points if you know the movie references), I decided to take advantage of the phenominal new plastic kit and convert myself a two-headed chaos dragon.

First, for the easy parts of the conversion. Using a hobby knife, I carefully trimmed away the High Elf themed-patterns on the dragon's armor, including all the various gems and flames/stars. The bare armor plates were plane yet jagged enough to pass for a chaos army.

Next, I converted the base, gluing on lots of spare chaos banners, shields, helmets, skulls, and weapons to make it resemble a herdstone with trophies piled at its base. 

The most difficult part of the conversion involved giving the dragon two tails and heads. Tails were the simpler of the two. I trimmed a roughly 45 degree chuck of plastic away from one side of the base of each tail. This allowed me to glue them together and have them fit correctly to the rear of the dragon's body. 

The hardest part were the twin heads. The dragon kit includes two heads, but only a single neck (which is actually part of the torso portion of the model). Additionally, one of the heads includes a little too much High Elf-themed armor to effectively make use of it for this conversion. 

The solution was inspired by the Galruch model, where the two heads are formed by the dragon's head and neck splitting down the middle as it is twisted by mutation. The first step was to cut the dragon's neck away from this body at the saddle. This took some careful hobby knife/saw work. I then attached a half of the unarmored dragon head to each neck piece, and attached the various spines/fins/horns to each head. Once again these were chosen to specifically make the two halves of the head look different and asymetric. 

Once the glue was dried, I trimmed the base of each neck so that when I glued them back to the dragon's body, they would aim in two different directions (one down and to the right, one up and to the left). This took several stages of trimming and test fitting to get right. I then was faced with the problem of filling the gap in each half of the head/neck. This was my first truly serious attempt at green-stuff sculpting. I first created a ribbed tube down the length of the neck to represent an esophegous (and conveniently fill up most of the empty space in the model). I then attached cris-crossing strips of green-stuff, teasing out the ends to look like stretched muscles, tendons and skin. As I was happy with how this turned out, to really try and push myself, I made an attempt at sculpting half of the dragon's brain in one of the two heads. 

For the rider, I used mostly the high elf dragon rider model with a few extra chaos bits. The body is a combination of the elf armored torso and mage legs, giving a half-warrior, half-wizard feel which matched my Tzeentch theme without using pieces which looked too "High-Elfy". The book and weapon arm are again from the original kit, but I replaced the axe head from the weapon arm with a flail of skills from marauder bitz. Lastly I added the head from the Tzeentch Disc rider, which was approximately the same scale as the high elf rider, and a cape from the marauder kit.

In the end, he's still weedier than most chaos models, but it won't be too noticeable when mounted on the back of the massive dragon. 

Up next, the first steps of painting this army.