Not only has it been ages since my last update, for which I apologise, but it’s also THAT time of the year again — how did this happen…?
Seriously, though: Given the slew of current events (and the fact that the RL version of Nurgle’s Rot is, unfortunately, still very much on the prowl), it probably shouldn’t be a surprise that Christmas has once again managed to sneak up on me. But oh dear: Now I don’t have anything prepared for the occasion — what to do, what to do…?
Wait a second, though: Christmas is all about men in red with bags full of…er, shall we say “offerings”, right? Excellent, I can do that! The emotional side of Christmas is also about the fuzzy feeling of nostalgia, of remembering a time when everything was still much easier — so let’s check two boxes at the same time here:
For today’s update, allow me to share a recent project of mine that definitely deals with a man in red, and is also slightly nostalgic, if only because it revisits one of the very first characters I built and painted for my then-new incarnation of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt: One Huntmaster Bardolf:
Bardolf was originally created back in 2010, or thereabouts, fairly shortly after I got back into the hobby. From a modern standpoint, the model is a really dodgy conversion, but back then, it felt like a very important step: Bardolf was one of the first models where I really stepped beyond my comfort zone and seriously cut up a model (a plastic warrior of chaos, for the record) and put it back together in a way that seemed new and exciting to my less discerning self from back then. So even if the model looks all kinds of weird today, it still marks a pivotal moment in my personal hobby journey. I also have to admit that I still think that the pose works rather well to make the character seem relentless and unfazeable, like a true implacable men.
The other thing that’s interesting about Bardolf is that he has actually earned himself his own battle history, as he used to be my go-to Chaos Lord for small, 500 point-ish games. So he actually saw quite a bit of action on the table and led my World Eaters to victory a bunch of times during our short-lived campaign for the fate of Haestia Primaris, back in the day.
Which is why I have kept thinking about giving the character a re-imagined model at some point every once in a while — even moreso since I have begun to build some new, updated World Eaters since the end of 2019.
Now whenever I thought about a new model for Bardolf, Obsidius Mallex came up as a possible starting point:
But alas, I kept putting this off, and I didn’t really go for it until I saw fellow hobbyist Master Umbra really taking the Obsidius Mallex model through its paces over at The Bolter & Chainsword. This gave me quite an appetite to finally tackle my own conversion, so I quickly made a mockup and began to turn Mallex into Bardolf:
A fairly straightforward approach, as you can see: The most important part was to carefully dig out the head and breastplate with a hobby knife, then replace them with a suitably Khornate piece from the AoS Blood Warriors and an old bare berzerker head, respectively — I am aware of the fact that the latter, with its somewhat tacky fangs, is a bit of an acquired taste, but I still like the sculpt, with its grizzled features and the gruesome looking plugs and implants, plus I’ve come to think of it pretty much as Bardolf’s face, for better or worse. The head also comes from the now-ancient plastic berzerker kit that started this whole army to begin with, so it seemed like a nice tribute to the days of yore in that respect
The next step was to tidy up the conversion work and change the pose a bit, in order to get a bit closer to the original model:
Regarding the pose, the problem was that you can only do so much with Obsidius’s arms: I could not rotate the hands or forearms any further, both because it would have “broken” the model’s anatomy (if you take a closer look at the arms and the elbow armour, that severely limits how much I could tweak the pose). And you get even less leeway than usual, due to all of those tubes and cables sculpted onto the limbs, one of the main design elements about the stock Obsidius Mallex model. That being said, I don’t think the pose is all that bad, to be honest — he still looks like he’s relentlessy advancing, maybe even singling out his next opponent?
I also decided to keep most of the cabling, especially on the left leg, because I like how it makes the armour look ancient: Like it has been field-repaired a million times. This seems very fitting for a true veteran of the Long War!
After getting most of the basic elements in place, it was mostly a matter of tweaking the details: I had to re-sculpt some of the fur on one side of the breastplate, and I also wanted to change the design of Mallex’s stock shoulder pads:
As you can see, the left shoulder pad was converted to replace the Black Legion’s Eye of Horus design with what’s supposed to be a representation of the World Eaters’ legion badge. It may still look a little hokey right now, bit I am pretty confident that it should work rather well once it has been painted. I also decided to tweak the weird, lumpy shoulder pad design on the right side, and we’ll be taking a look at that in a second.
Before that, let my just point out that there wasn’t just a previous 40k version of the character to take into account when building this new version — because I also built a 30k version of Bardolf a while ago:
With traitor legionaries, I actually think it’s great fun to imagine them both before and after their fall, especially if they are important players in your armies and warbands. At the same time, as with my re-design of Lord Captain Lorimar, this also added the challenge of making sure the re-imagined model worked as a shout out both to the original 40k version as well as to the 30k interpretation.
Here’s a comparison picture with all three models:
While the 30k version has a slightly closer resemblance to the first 40k version, I think they do all read as basically the same guy: The new conversion makes him look like this ancient monster, swollen with the powers of chaos over ten millennia — at least that’s what it looks like to me.
Anyway, I think I am fast approaching the point where my new Bardolf conversion should be finished and ready for painting:
So yeah, about ten years later, I have re-imagined one of the first characters from “Khorne’s Eternal Hunt”, my World Eaters army — how’s that for a warm an fuzzy feeling of nostalgia!
Seriously, though, I hope you like the conversion, because that’s basically all I have for you today: In recent weeks, I’ve only really managed to squeeze in a couple of World Eaters kitbashes here and there:
But I think I’ll be addressing these gents in a future post. Don’t fret, though: In a few days, I’ll be returning with this year’s “Eternal Hunt Awards”, both in order to take a look at a few hobby projects that really stood out to me this year, and to give an account of my – pretty meagre – 2020 hobby achievements.
For now, however, all that remains is to wish you a very Merry Christmas – inasmuch as that is currently possible, that is. Please make yourselves comfortable at home, stay healthy (above all else!), and we’ll hopefully be seeing each other for some new content sooner rather than later!
Until then, please feel free to let me hear any thoughts and suggestions you might have. And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!