Well, so much for frequent updates in the new year. Ah well, better late than never, right?
While I have finished writing up the vast majority of my collection by now, a side effect of it taking so long to do is that in the numerous months between me taking the photos of my army and finishing writing about them, I’ve built and painted more. I am still blogging slightly faster than I’m painting, so we should hopefully fully catch up eventually and I can start doing project logs and the like, we’ve still got a few more to get through.
Fortunately, some of them are among my best creations. This, for example, is my Renegade Imperial Knight, Loyal Kovus.
I’ve got to say, I’m quite happy with this one. I’d been intimidated about the idea of working on a Knight for a long time – possibly even more so than I was by the prospect of building and painting my Kytan, but when a friend and I decided to go halves on the Imperial Knight: Renegade box (while being strongly encouraged by a Games Workshop staff member), I decided to give it a shot. I think it came out rather well. 🙂
We’ll go over the finished product in a bit more depth later in this post, but let’s start at the beginning – this was fortunately a project where I actually remembered to take progress pictures of the conversion (mainly because it took weeks to put together), so I can actually show off some of the creative process, for once.
I started by scrounging the internet for inspiration. Renegade Knights are one of those dream projects for a Chaos converter, in my opinion – there’s a strong base model for you to work with, precedent of the end goal existing in both the fiction, art and the game, but no rules on what what you do to realise the concept. Games Workshop put out an understandably quite conservative design when they released the box set, but some hobbyists and bloggers have taken the idea of a corrupted Imperial Knight much, much further (I wish I had the sources for these gorgeous images, but these were just I pulled off a google image search. You can likely find the original artists and their pages by doing the same).
As has become almost tradition by this point, Krautscientist’s work formed a sizeable chunk of my inspiration palette. The relatively subtle tweaks to the silhouette and style of the original model, while still keeping it distinctly Chaotic nicely matched what I wanted to do with my own.
What really inspired me, however, was the idea of doing as he did and building a cockpit and a pilot. I’m already someone who’s firmly in the ‘paint the insides of your rhinos’ camp, but the idea of making a pilot and command throne for this titanic model was an even more exciting project. It would also by one of my first steps into full kitbashing, as there was no original cockpit to add to or tweak – just an empty cavity inside the knight to fill with gubbins, controls and dials.
For quite some time, I researched what I could use as the basis of a pilot. I was loathe to get Forgeworld’s admittedly gorgeous pilot piece, mainly due to cost, but eventually I found a base model that would work nicely – the gunner of the Taurox. After getting my hands on one (fortunately I had plans for the rest of the bits, more on that later), I played around with a few other bits and pieces, and came up with this as a starting point.
The pieces went together surprisingly nicely – the floor of the cockpit came from a Chaos Biker, and the back wall was an upside-down head cavity from the Imperial Knight itself (fortunately I had a spare from when I bought some Knight bits for my Bloodthirster’s base). The pilot’s pose isn’t that dynamic, admittedly – one viewer on facebook pointed out that he looks more like a desk jockey at a typewriter than a Knight pilot, but it was a good start. I was particularly happy with the small detail of the up and down buttons on the seat – I like to think that the seat moves up to help the pilot get out when the Knight’s immobile.
The next step was to figure out how to actually get this cockpit suspended in the centre of the Knight. I had a few bits of drop pod left over from my Dreadclaw, which worked nicely for hiding the seams between the plasticard panels I used to build a back wall and reactor cover, and one of the drop pod control panels also served nicely for making a bank of displays and dials. Green stuff tentacles were added to plug the pilot in, and to again, hide any shoddy seams or conversion work. Here’s how the Knight looked at this stage:
At this point I put work on the cockpit to one side – it would gain more tentacles/cables later to hide the ugly walls, along with a few more Chaotic adornments – and started work on the arms. I wanted the knight to be able to field most of its options (when you buy a £100 model, it’s worth getting as much out of it as you can), so I set to work on Chaos-ifying each of its guns and its chainsword.
I didn’t really go overboard with the mutations and spikes at this stage, deliberately keeping the silhouette and general aesthetic similar to the default model. I did decide after mulling it over for a bit to leave the ammo component off the battle/thermal cannon part and instead stick a brass etching over it, saving me the trouble of magnetising that part.
For its left arm, however, I had something a bit more special in mind. As long-term readers are probably aware, I have a bit of a thing for Ultramarine corpses (it’s not as weird as it sounds), and I really wanted to do something with the Knight that emphasised its sheer size and power, and – by proxy – how little of a damn it gave about mere concrete-armoured supersoldiers. I also quite liked the idea of giving it the thunderstrike gauntlet, as the idea of a Knight throwing tanks and monsters around like an angry toddler tickled me. So, after toying around with blu tac and some spare marine bits, I came up with this:
To my delight, Heldrake claws were a perfect fit in the knuckle sockets on the gauntlet, adding an additional subtle Chaotic flair to the model. There was more to do, however – I’d always quite liked the idea and aesthetic of Huron Blackheart and his flamer/power fist weapon. This piece of art in particular was somewhat inspiring:
A few bits of wire, a couple of paperclips and a ton of model railway clump foliage and glue, and this happened:
I admit, this didn’t turn out perfectly. Quite a few people have questioned how the Ultarmarine can be on fire that much, suggesting that it’s not obvious that the flames are coming from the gauntlet and engulfing the marine. Arguably if you need to explain visual storytelling for it to make sense, it doesn’t work, which is a bit of a shame. If anyone has any critique on how I could have better realised this idea, I’d be very grateful.
Still, the result was far from bad, and with this particular stage out of the way, the Knight was well on its way to being fully built. I did make a start on painting at this stage, undercoating and painting the cockpit.
I also got the flames painted up, which was easily the messiest part of the paintjob. They do admittedly look a lot better in fiery orange and yellow than just plain white.
With that out of the way, I masked off the cockpit and started painting the skeleton of the Knight itself. I wanted this model to be a bridge between my grubby Renegade Guard and my relatively pristine Marines, so I went for the same ‘shitty metal’ look I’d used on the mortals’ bare metal wargear, shading heavily with Agrax Earthshade and adding splashes of Fuegan Orange to the mix, creating some really nice subtle variations in colour.
Next was the actual armour plates themselves. I knew I wanted the model to have one of the carapace weapons, but unfortunately in my friend and I’s splitting of the Renegade Box set (which comes with two full knights, but only one Warden upgrade sprue, I got the fist and he got the missile launcher. The autocannon array seemed a bit boring, so, like any good converter, I shrugged and made my own. Remember that Taurox I mentioned earlier?
I was really quite happy with how well the launcher came out. A bit of plasticard on the bottom and some conversion-fu to get the mounting to fit, and it came together perfectly. The space on the top was also perfect for adding some more Khorne brass etchings.
The rest of the armour conversion was relatively straightforward – a few chains here, a few spikes there, etc. I did shamelessly copy Krautscientist’s idea of putting Fantasy shields on the shins and shoulderplates, and also added a few rows of skulls on the carapace, which I thought was a nice touch. I was particularly proud of the helm, which – with the addition of some spare Bloodthirster horns – gives the whole model a nice bull-like, decidedly Khorneate appearance.
For the paint scheme, I again, wanted to go for something that represented the other parts of the army. I figured that the lava motif was best reserved for the Chaos Marines, and there was no flesh to Daemonify (that’s a word), but I did end up using a similar recipe for the blue-black armour panels to the Marines’ power armour. The red was picked because… well, I like red. I’d love to have a better, lore-spawned reason for the choice, but that’s really it. ^^
The bronze trim was a good choice, I feel. I did consider a bright silver or gold, but in hindsight really like the dull, worn look the bronze gives the model. The subtle hints of green in the recesses also complement the red nicely.
With the armour plates done, the final steps were to polish a few details, build a suitably lava-coated base to tie the model in to the collection, hit it with a varnish and take some pics of the finished monstrosity.
Immensely happy with the end result, to be honest. This model makes an outstanding centrepiece for my collection, and adds a fourth facet to my united Chaos force. All I need now is a couple more knights to make a household, a Titan or two for an allied legion, a fully converted Dark Mechanicum detachment,…
One’s hobby is never really done, is it? ^^
Anyhow – here are some more pictures of the Knight, showing off its other weapons (did I mention that I magnetised its weapons?) and some of the other choice details. Enjoy, and stay tuned for more!
Shoutouts and thanks
A couple more things to talk about if you’re still reading, by the way. First of all, thank you for looking at and – if you do – following my blog. Writing is its own reward, but having people look at and, even better, comment on my hobby is an incredible feeling that makes up a sizeable portion of what keeps me painting, converting and writing. So, as always, thank you.
While we’re talking about recognition, a huge thank you to Krautscientist for featuring me on his own blog. It would be no overstatement to say that The Eternal Hunt is one of my favourite blogs to follow, constantly full of insightful commentary on new releases, passionate and creative conversions and paintjobs, and a writing style that’s a genuine pleasure to read. To be mentioned, let alone praised as one of the best Chaos armies the writer’s seen in 2017 is overwhelming. I may have bounced around my flat for a couple of days after reading his post. So again – thank you, and here’s hoping our work continues to inspire each other.
Finally, a brief request for help. This bit is entirely unrelated to wargaming, painting or our hobby, so if you want to skip over this, feel free.
Anyway – my partner has recently started a GoFundMe campaign. To cut a long story short, she moved from Denmark to the UK to live with me about a year ago, but due to a disability cannot work, and can’t really get much in the way of benefits either. While my passion is painting toy soldiers and rolling dice, hers is digital art, and as a budding artist on the internet, commissioned works are her only source of income. Or they were until recently, when her aged drawing tablet finally gave up the ghost.
Now, I would be dishonest if I said she needed a new one, as my income just about covers us – a replacement tablet would be a luxury, not a life or death necessity. Nevertheless, without a new one she can’t really practice her hobby and passion, and with the amount we save per month, getting a new one is a financial blow to say the very least. So, if you’re feeling generous and over-moneyed, she and I would be much obliged if you gave her GoFundMe page a look.
That’s about it – if you’re still reading at this point, I commend your perseverance – this is probably my longest post yet. Thank you as always, and stay tuned for more!