Slaves to Darkness – Chaos Warband WIP

I’ve decided to try a new approach with WIP photos – showing them after the models are completed. I quite like the impact that seeing a completed model for the first time has, without a long series of WIP spoilers.

The Mechanical Vermin Lord is made from a Forgeworld Knight Lancer, with a real rat skull for a head. The wood is sculpted from putty and press-moulded from the wreck of a boat on the Merwyrm kit’s base. The arms are entirely built from odd-and-ends, including most of a plagueclaw catapult and parts from a Chaos Dwarf Skullcracker.

I used lots of different chains and types of string to add texture. You may notice the base looks like a huge mess, this is from all the different products and materials I have used to add variety.

The Chaos Lord is based on Mortarion from Forgeworld. I have done horrible things to the kit as you can see. I use liquid green stuff to add a little bit of texture. The red paint is also textured – you could use Games Workshop basing paint. I don’t like how Games Workshop plastic kits are extremely smooth and I find the combination with Forgeworld parts very jarring – a bit of texture increases the fidelity of the plastics.

Mortarion has a bit of a strange pose and it was hard to get a powerful stance. I had to extensively resculpt his feet to disguise the Space Marine origins but otherwise his armour is suitably archaic. The sorceror is a really simple head and hand swap on an Orruk. Liquid greenstuff is used for texture, and crackle paint – the plastic would look too smooth otherwise in comparison with other models in the warband.

The knight is based on a classic Warhammer model of a Chaos Knight on a skull-faced horse. This model is based on a Varanguard (the only one with a pose I like) and the torso of a Gal Vorbak from Forgeworld. The weapon is from the Blight King set, they have great, mean-looking weapons if you fill in the holes.

These models are a combination of Chaos and Orruk parts, the two on the left use Orruk torsos and arms on the legs from Chaos Lords. All the helmets are Chaos helmets with the mouths filled in and the eyes drilled out. Greenstuff fur is used to cover over any joins!

The central model is the leader of the chosen, and the idea was that he is closer to daemonhood, with some of Malal’s insectile attributes. I wanted him to be a former champion of Slaanesh, and he has an arrogant pose. He is made from the Lots-O-Huggin’ Broodlord (now OOP). I get a perverse thrill from using models no-one else would consider. They have weapons from the Forgeworld Bladeslaves.

These are both made from Bladeslaves. The feet had to be resculpted and the belts covered up, but otherwise you can’t tell they wore power armour. I used Varanguard arms.

Simple conversions, mostly from the starter set Khorne. The leader was originally going to be the leader of the warband, but got demoted to leader of Marauders because he looked tiny next to the Chosen. I was OK with them having some Khorne symbols and added symbols from other gods – the idea is they have all been abandoned by their original patrons and have turned to Malal.

Greenstuff hair and beards takes a while. Lots of rolling very thin strips and then rolling them together into dreadlocks. I used various beastman parts because I think Chaos hordes should be a mix of mortal, beastmen and daemons.

The daemon prince is loosely based on Zodd from Berserk. I sculpted the head (starting with a Thundertusk head) and added some fur to the base model – a discontinued Greater Elemental of Beasts from Forgeworld (a gift from JB, thanks!). I used static grass and a home made electric applicator to create a more realistic (some may say cute) layer of fur on top of this.

12 Comments on “Slaves to Darkness – Chaos Warband WIP

  1. Thanks for taking the time to share these, it makes it even clearer how much care went into creating them. Your combination of different pieces is excellent, resulting in models that seem like they were meant to be. I am amazed you were able to make a Varanguard look good (they are so overwrought) and even the Huglord!

    I think this strategy of releasing a post about the WIP afterwards is a good one, allowing people to see the process, but not before they get to experience the full visual splendor of them completed.

  2. These are without a doubt my favorite of your work to date. There are so many wonderful 40k models that have been seamlessly re-purposed, truly excellent work. I agree with Eric’s statement about the WIP’s and your take on it as a whole. I think seeing the final piece first really impacts greater than seeing something come together slowly over time, a practice I sincerely plan to adopt myself. Really appreciate seeing these and your restraint at waiting until they were finished to share them. Keep up the excellent work.

  3. Holy crap, such extensive resculpts . I had no idea the gal vorbac and mortarion was in there._ testimony to your new vision. I had wondered what that deamon was based upon. The model i mean. I like your after wip work . It shows a huge restraint and a keen showmanship .

  4. Fantastic. I also didn’t recognize so many of the source models — particularly the Orrruk torsos. They work really well with the chaos legs.

    I’ll have to try the liquid green stuff trick (Neil does it too right?). I bought a bottle ages ago but I think it must have been bad because it was practically solid and not easily spreadable. It’s also fun seeing all the different materials on the rat-engine; the twine works so well.

    I love seeing WIPs, and think it works really well to save them for after the big reveal. The big problem with that approach is you can’t share any models if you never finish and paint them :)

    • Yeah I was please with the Orruk torsos, I think these are actually from Savage Orc boar boys that I had spare. They don’t have the crazy muscle definition of a lot of the AoS Sigmar stuff while still looking strong, and they are a bit taller which I think helps with proportion. 40k Ork arms have been my go-to bit since I started making plastic Goliaths years ago, they are just so well sculpted I think.

      I like liquid GS for a number of reasons, you can use it to unify bits and sculpted areas too. I’ve sculpted in grey, green and brown stuff on the same models and found I can’t tell what something looks like overall, so I use LGS to tie things together a bit – similar to how undercoating does.

  5. I would dream of making “conversions” like these when I was a kid. I discovered your website about a month ago and it feels like my mind has been unlocked. The way you mash miniatures together shows me how much I have been missing in my hobby. All I can say is thank you!

    • Thanks. I think your recent Blood Knights are great, exactly my sort of thing

  6. Just when i think you can’t possibly top the previous work, you go and raise the bar again! These WIP pics really do show the level of ingenuity you posses for finding the right pieces from a wide variety of kits and creating something completely original. Can’t believe that’s a real rat skull! God damn I’m feeling so inspired to get home and start raiding my bitz box right now! Incredible work!

    • Cheers. It’s a resin cast of a real rat skull as I was worried it would be too brittle to use the real thing.

  7. I’ve found your website just a few days ago and I think these are the best looking and coolest chaotic guys I’ve ever seen in my hobby career.
    You definetly nailed it with all and expecially with the bits you’ve used, I will try to do similar with the gal vorbak and the blade slaves.
    And the paint work is astonishing, I love the colours and the overall look of the warband, very dark and grim.

    I would like to ask you if you can share with us a little paint guide on how did you make the wonderful black color of the armor plates, it would be very useful and great!

    Your works are a great source of ispiration for me and I can’t wait to try to make something worthy of AoS28 soon!

    • Thanks!

      So the black is done by starting with a very dark purple and airbrushing a gradient up to a light grey. Then washing it all a few times with a mix of black paint, black wash and gloss varnish. Then chips are sponged on with a really bright silver, and the recesses are washed with brown pigment. I don’t go by paint names particularly, but any ought to work!

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