Sunday, April 1, 2012

Xeno Scum: Build Your Own

At long last - one of my greatest creations and modeling achievements, the Meat Devils of Kabal sDm. Grotesques are the pinnacle of battlefield creations brought to us by the great Haemonculi of the Dark Eldar. Massive pissed off brutes capable of huge amounts of destruction. Better yet, they are just damn scary, and can take almost any punishment lobbed their way.

They don't do a lot besides get pissed off and scare things, but that is really their not so secret beauty - to stare at your opponent and not die. As I was very unhappy with the Games Workshop model, I broke down and built my own. Mostly the decision came down to the dollars and work involved to field a unit worthy of the sDm Kabal. All categories where the GW version was greatly lacking. A single model finecast kit, with only one pose, was a horrendous possibility to me. The cost of that single figure plus the work needed to uniquely model the unit slowly forced me in this direction, to my great amazement and satisfaction.

Part of that decision matrix was the HUGE pile of tyranid models and bits of all types that I acquired throughout last year at great prices. These venomthorpes were literally in blister packs until I sat down to start the dirty work of creating Dark Eldar Grotesques from scratch.

 The legs come from pewter lictors. At this stage I spent a good deal of time not so carefully cutting, tearing, and ripping the raw tyanid material into somewhat desirable shapes. One of the main problems I had with the GW model was its finished profile, just was not big enough and scary enough to by MY Meat Devils.

After the haphazard ripping and tearing, there had to be a great deal of much gentler carving, filing, and drilling. Because of the desired profile and the obvious building materials, these were going to be some precariously heavy models, probably very top heavy. The construction at every stage would need great care.

Normally I would have pre-built and painted the bases for the most part but it was more important to have GREAT contact between the model and the base, plus the build up on the base itself would help construction efforts, so the guys were glued straight to the base and mesh floor and sand added as construction progressed.

 I chopped up an old hanger to use literally as the Grotesque's backbone. It drops into the legs more than 1/4 of an inch and inserts into the upper body at least 1/2 inch. After the hole was drilled I filled each with greenstuff, then inserted the wire.

I let the bottom cure overnight before doing the same to the top. I was able to bend each wire during this process to make sure the models center of gravity was set well onto the base. Each of the creatures has a unique position and pose. 

After the marriage of top and bottom, each model was left with a wire-thin torso. I covered this section in a thin coat of greenstuff and a small bead of the same to cover the seam between each upper and lower portion and the torsos. Once I was finished building each model, I would come back and  use several more thin layers of greenstuff, and scuplt midsections for each.

Nearly every bit beyond the basic construction comes from 1 talos/cronos kit.  I figured I would need these parts even if I used GW Grotesques as the base for mine. All of this was a major part of the cost/work equation, as I am sure I would have done very similar work for 4-5 times the cost if I had gone with the GW models.

Every single tiny bit from this stage forward is drilled and pinned into place with piano wire, and later reinforced/sculpted with thin layers of greenstuff. It would have been nearly impossible to successfully complete the models otherwise, and being so heavy and massive, definitely required anyways.

The Liquidfier, "Krang" has upper arms crafted from some type of tyranids. Everything else comes from the talos kit. Besides pinning each bit to the pewter upperbody, anything that could have been pinned, was. The liquidfier was the most complex, it literally has a skeleton of piano wire holding it together.

The piano wire was very usefull, being tiny and strong for starters, but it also allowed me to bend and shape the parts together as I went. Of course almost every joint was later sculpted over with greenstuff. 

The most time consuming part was the greenstuff sculpting of all the tiny joints etc. After the torsos were crafted, a good portion of the model was covered in thin layers of liquid greenstuff to really hide any leftover handiwork. 

The gang completed: Krang, Shredder, Bebop, and Rocksteady. Ready for some pissed off meat devil stare at the opponent and not die action. 

The 4th Haemonculus, crafted in the same manner from a finecast wrack, leftover talos bits, and a little bit of Warmachine hottie. 

 I have been rewarded greatly for my efforts here with plenty of scaryness and a shitload of murder.

 Thanks everyone, and may the Murder be with you!


  1. Excellent! Pure evil genius muahahahaha.... These look great truly the work of a master haemonculus. I have had had great success with mine on the battlefield over and over again. Great work on the conversions, paintjobs turned out great.