Blood for the Blood Test

My doctor and I are coming at the tremors issue from significantly different angles. He wants to be reassuring, he sees it as no big deal, and repeats that it’s almost definitely nothing serious. This is great! But it’s in this moment I realise I’ve not been worrying about Something Serious. I’ve been worrying about it being just annoying enough to throw me off doing any fine detail painting on toy soldiers.

So we had a chat. A nurse harvested some of my blood for their bloodmantic rituals, which I’m absolutely certain are a thing.

I still have the tremor, but I’ve noticed that cutting down from 10-15 cups of tea and coffee a day– to about 2-3– have lessened it a fair bit, and getting more than three hours of sleep a night is helping, too. It’s still there, and it’s still not going to give me any joy with stuff like Kharadron belt buckles, but at least Space Marine eye lenses aren’t out of the realm of possibility now.

I also finally caught the flu that’s been going around since December. I’d even specifically avoided Ross and Dr, Mark for a few weeks when they’d had it, so I wouldn’t get struck down with the seasonal plague. Then we took my five-year-old kid Shakes (the irony of his nickname with my tremors is not lost on me, and I enjoy it deeply) to a couple of other kids’ birthday parties over the weekend, and BAM, he brought home the Black Death.

I ended up missing Part II of the Siege of Terra HH meeting, and the Horus Heresy Weekender. Admittedly, as much as that sucked, I was more concerned at the time with the weird sharp green crystals forming in my eyes and feeling like I was blinking through glass chunks. That was a delight, let me tell you. My eyes watered for three whole days. It was quite a thing.

When I could see again, I tried a few ways to make the Kharadron Overlords a little more classically dwarven. Here’s one of the crude hackjobs I came up with:

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Honestly, the more I look at it, the less I like it– and I wasn’t exactly thrilled with it to begin with. As cool as it is to have beards back, as well as a more dwarven helmet, weapon, and armour bit, it stops being a Kharadron Overlord at that point. This was a pretty annoying surprise, but it makes sense: the army’s aesthetic is so intimately tied up in the details, like their faceplates with their goatee-style beards instead of the full classic dwarf bushy deal, and the fact the Arkanauts aren’t soldiers, so their axes double as practical hatchet/spanner combos for airship repairs, and their swords are pirate-style cutlasses. Adding classic dwarven elements shifts their theme in two directions at once, in a pretty ungainly way.

In the end, I think this ends up being a merge of two things that detracts from both of them. A little like if you put a Bretonnian helmet on a Space Marine or something. You can explain it. You can get away with it. But it is what it is, and the eye trips up on it, even if the brain can explain why it’s possible and/or cool.

In other news, I wanted to get something done, so I looked around for some models I could paint with mostly inks. Here’s a WIP in shitty lighting of the current guy on the go.

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A Blood Warrior in my attempt at a more realistic colour scheme, in keeping with the ‘classic tabletop fantasy’ vibe of our board’s colour palette. Even this simple fellow took me absolutely ages with the tremor, but he was significantly faster (and came out a lot better) than the sky-stunties I’d been trying to paint over the last 2 weeks.

Happily enough, there’s already a Bloodbound warband with this scheme, called the Iron Horde, which is both entirely awesome and tickles the WarCraft player in me, too.

I’m not thinking of abandoning the Kharadon Overlords just yet, but at the same time it was great to actually get something done at last and not hate it. Army-wise, in some ways Khorne in both guises– mortal and daemon– represents a lot of what I disliked about the original launch of Age of Sigmar, with the Bloodadjective Bloodnoun names, and the absence of any real lore and context. Obviously if you’ve been paying even cursory attention lately, Age of Sigmar is changing hugely for the better in that regard, but I wonder how much love Khorne will get going forward; they’ve already been done, so to speak.

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Just in case you wanted a list of why I’m hesitant to pull the trigger and commit, I have a list:

  1. As much as I love the Slaine comics and the Conan novels, those characters are defined in a lot of ways by the other characters around them, or their often-overlooked cunning and intelligence. Model variety is important to me, and pretty much 99% of the Khorne models are Warhammer: Age of Very Ripped Dudes. The new game being Age of Very Ripped Dudes was, for well over a year, one of the main reasons I missed the Old World so much. As great as the initial Stormcast and Khorne models were, there’s only so much you can do with the beach volleyball scene in Top Gun.
  2. I’ve always played extremely defensive armies, usually with a great deal of shooting and magic. Khorne are staggeringly and completely aggressive, with no shooting at all, and zero magic.
  3. My favourite Khorne unit would be Khorngors, which still don’t exist in model form. Boo.

Even with all those reservations, the idea of something so completely new to my playstyle is pretty tempting, and my brain keeps coming back to some ideas I’ve been having for a possible Chaos warband. I really like the idea of a recently-defeated warlord, losing his god’s blessings as he gets older and weaker, knowing he needs one last bloody crusade to make his claim for eternal glory.

Maybe with a few converted Chaos Chariots, one possibly with the new Darkoath Warqueen as a driver…

And a Skull Cannon, but driven by Blood Warriors instead of Bloodletters.

And maybe with a small regiment of Varanguard, who have been ordered to watch over the remnants of this once-grand horde. Guiding them, if possible, into a more useful state– or riding away and letting them die if they remain useless after their great defeat.

We’ll see. For now, I’m just glad to be getting something done.

One more thing probably worth mentioning, in case anyone believes in signs and omens. I joined a bunch of AoS Facebook groups over the last few weeks, and check out the member count right when I clicked Join on this one:

888

Well, now.

25 thoughts on “Blood for the Blood Test

  1. 10-15 cups of tea….that seems almost as excessive as my old coffee habit. 400 – 600mg of caffeine and the daily recommended intake is… 200 – 400mg depending on who you listen to.

    Does that count as hardcore British?

    Hope all goes well with your Blood Rituals by proxy. Always hard to be in the public eye and living these bits of life.

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    1. Yeah, I think I’d be less inclined to be this open if it was more serious. Although there’s a lot to be said for speaking out about this stuff and owning it, but if it turns out I’ve got mega-cholera or something, I may quietly power down a little on the honesty.

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  2. I think there maybe have to be a chat in what forces we are taking, as we are both taking Khorne!!.

    I have a clever way around this with abit of tweaking…

    I’ll pm you my thoughts.

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    1. I’m not worried about army overlap in the group, exactly, especially not with Chaos– the fuckers fight each other all the time, anyway. But I’ve been barely present in the FB group for the last couple of weeks with flu and other fun jazz, so I need to catch up. I’ll check it out!

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  3. So, it would seem that, both regarding your medical issue and in your hobby life, it ultimately comes down to blood, eh? 😉

    Seriously, though: Best of luck with the blood test, of course!

    As for the matter of going Bloodbound, I have to preface this by saying that I am a) heavily biased, because my soul has been sold to Khorne for ages and b) I would love to see you doing a Khornate warband. That being said, I definitely get what you’re saying about the Bloodbound seeming a bit one-note so far.

    I really love the idea of an ailing and struggling warlord, however: That opens up the way for all kinds of cool ideas and stories, and while it’s his last chance, that could also make him even more dangerous. There’s an excellent story in one of the old (no, ancient) WFB anthologies from way back when, “The Laughter of Dark Gods”, where the protagonist pursues this Chaos warlord whom he has seen as his nemesis for his whole life, and when he catches up to the warband, the old warband has been toppled and is just a sad, broken creature. You should definitely check out the story, because it fits your idea so well.

    As for making the warband a bit more interesting, why not play around with the Bloodreavers a bit? Add some characters that are more (or less) than just ripped dudes? To make the warband look more like an actual tribe that is maybe slowly growing disenchanted with its leader. Maybe the Varanguard actually belong to another tribe or (*gasp*) even follow another god, as an extra “screw you!” from Archaon addressed to the leader of your warband. As for Khornegors, why not make them yourself? That would be a cool conversion project, and certainly an additional way of making the army your own. And there are quite a few kits that would produce excellent, monstrous beastmen — the Skullreapers, for instance, would look fantastic with Beastman heads and a bit of sculpted fur (or static grass repurposed as fur). I also want to point you towards Julian Bayliss’ Chaos Marauders, as it feels like you’re going fór that exact look and feel.

    Regarding your actual model, I think it might profit from a focused application of Blood for the Blood God (see, I said it would come down to blood 😉 ). Nothing OTT, just a sprinke here and there, to show he’s been around the blog, so to speak 😉

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    1. I’m kind of honoured and reassured by the fact you comment here, KS. You’re one of my absolute fave converters, and that’s not a very long list at all. Your insight is wicked-valuable, for obvious reasons.

      1. With the one-notedness of the Bloodbound (or the Blades of Khorne in general) I think the way around it is to embrace a strong army background that elevates the concept of angry meatheads (which I think I can do; I try to do it when I write about World Eaters, f’rex); and the right conversions (which I probably can’t do– I’m a Space Marine kitbasher, not a green-stuffer or a pose-changer, etc. and my bitz box isn’t all that large right now.)

      So it could go either way. I’m getting more and more tempted, and I won’t lie, having you comment is pretty inspiring in that regard.

      2. I paint sloooowwwwly (even more so, now) so Bloodreavers are a unit I’m very scared of touching. Those are some awesome ideas, though.

      3. Static grass as fur! Holy balls, that’s awesome. I appreciate any Khorngor insight, since I doubt they’re up for release any time soon. I’d likely just use Bloodreaver rules for them.

      4. There’ll definitely be some weathering and some BftBG on these gents.

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      1. Glad to be of help! 🙂

        I guess the cool, understated way of replying would be to go “Well, you’re one of my favourite BL authors, so that’s a nice fit, then!” But holy cow! Can I quote you with that? Because you’ve seriously just made my day! Or my week, really! 😉

        1. I find that Khorne instantly gets about 100% more interesting if you give his followers some kind of underlying desperation or regret or what have you — which is probably why you write about the World Eaters the way you do. Anyway, imagining a powerful warband where the rot sets in, so to speak, and whose lord might only have one last chance at greatness is a powerful idea, and it also harkens back to the excellent 80s WFB novels where you could have something like a cowardly champion of Khorne or a weird group of people living in the chaos wastes and led by a dwarf with a chaos champion’s sword stuck inside him (he finally died to the gruesome wound once the sword was removed, years later). It’s a more nuanced view of chaos, and less Masters of the Universe than Age of Sigmar used to be in its infancy (although, make no mistake, Masters of the Universe is a killer setting, if you can stomach all the silliness).

        As for possible kitbashes, I’d start with small and effective stuff: Swap in a head here and there. Add a Khornate icon. You can always expand from there. As for the problem of a too small bitzbox, give me a holler, and I’ll gladly send some Khornate bitz your way! 😉

        2. One recipe that has served me very well when working on mortal followers of chaos is to use Rakarth Flesh as a base for their skin, then liberally wash that with Ogryn Flesh (or Reikland Fleshshade), then add some subtle highlights with the original Rakarth Flesh and add some Leviathan Purple/Carroburg Crimson into the deeper recesses of the skin. Makes for a great, unhealthy skin tone that looks just right on chaotic guys. Plus it makes painting models with big amounts of bare skin much less scary.

        3. Like I said, the Khorngors could be created by using some Gors, adding some Khornate touches and making a suitably impressive champion for them by building a Skullreaper with a Gor head. Maybe replace some of their horns with Bloodletter horns. Simple stuff like that, that will allow you to slowly build up your confidence as a converter.

        4. Awesome! 🙂

        Sorry for the wall of text! 😉

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Unsolicited Advice: Try redbush tea (NOT Tetley’s; it’s shite) as an alternative to regular tea. It can be drunk with or without milk, so makes a passable tea substitute once you get over the disappointment of it not being, well, tea. I have retained my 10-15 mugs a day habit, but with only one proper tea, savoured in the morning. Good luck. Lovely models.

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  5. I do like the Kharadron model you’ve kit bashed, its got some potential for character building for Skirmish. 🙂

    I’d recommend carrying on painting the Kharadron model a little bit at a time, and see if the finished outcome is desirable or not. For example I was unsure when painting my MKIII Black Templars Sword Brethren, but once they were finished, I was convinced that I did the right choice by carrying on till the end.

    AoS lore seems to be pulling away from Khorne now, and more into Nurgle and Tzeentch territory, especially Tzeentch mostly. I think Khorne followers were used early on to represent the post Age of Chaos as raiders and pillagers. However, Tzeentch seems to have a bigger presence currently in lore wise, as civilisation is returning to the mortal realms, ready for Tzeentch to pull the strings of fate and deception.

    I think the days of heavy Khorne focus is going away, in terms of current lore and model releases. But that’s my opinion anyway, I could be wrong. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank god I’m not the only one that likes it! 🙂 I think it would be a cool idea (not stealing the idea of Aaron’s kitbash) to make a bounty hunter Kharadron Overlord.

        (Question is, does it mine underground as good as it’s Dispossessed kindred?)

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    1. The days of Khorne’s focus are definitely going away for now, yeah. I don’t like that hackjobbed dwarf much, really (or the similar fellows I tried) so I’m not going to paint him. In the eternal balance between slow painting, writing deadlines, and taking time to experiment, there’s got to be a limit on “I’ll just try this…”. And devoting a week or so to a mini I don’t even like is soaring dangerously in the wrong direction.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think the Stormcast Eternals have taken Khorne’s place with the amount of focus they’ve been getting lately (although to be fair they’re the main narrative drive for AoS).

        It would be nice if we had more focus on the Skaven society in AoS, and some Dark Elves. I miss the days when the Dark Elves would raid villages for fresh work force. Also some context on Skaven lore on society, I mean, is there even a council of the Thirteen still?

        Fair point, I can understand your reasons. I wish you the best of luck for your AoS series! 🙂

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  6. Dear lord stop drinking that much caffeine lol. You’re insane, though perhaps a little insanity helps in your line of work..

    I hope you keep going with the Kharadon, that one you did looks ace. I actually love the helmet swap and considering doing the same my self.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “I really like the idea of a recently-defeated warlord, losing his god’s blessings as he gets older and weaker, knowing he needs one last bloody crusade to make his claim for eternal glory.”

    Oh hell yes to that army theme. I instantly thought of ‘old’ king conan sitting on his throne, waiting for his final, hopefully glorious battle.

    http://cdn1us.denofgeek.com/sites/denofgeekus/files/styles/main_wide/public/6/97//the-legend-of-conan.jpg?itok=F8R1Hh0X

    A thoughtful, slightly over the hill and wise khorne lord would be a sea of change compared to how they are normally depicted. Combine that background with your colour scheme and I reckon you got a winner right there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! You totally get what I was going for. And the Aspiring Deathbringer with the Ultimate Murder Spear, painted as an old guy, would be all kinds of awesome.

      He’d not make a great general though, so I’m not sure what to do there. I get the feeling a Juggerlord or Mighty Lord is the way to go in that regard. The concept still works, obviously– I was thinking it might be worth highlighting that most of the tribal leaders are ageing now, and this is their collective last shot on the Path to Glory.

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  8. ADB – do Khorne. That warband idea for an aging champion is amazing. You wouldn’t even need to work that hard at it – try head-swapping some Space Wolf bare heads onto Bloodcrushers (ripped juggernaut dudes) and Blood Warriors (ripped armored infantry dudes). Painted with greying hair vs. the studio ginger colour, they’d be perfect aging berzerkers. You’ve got a far better story arc for your warband there than the Kharadron, which you seem to still be finding your way with motivation-wise. Plus, of the four of you, three are in the Order faction (Stormcast / Sylvaneth / Kharadron). Some balance Chaos-wise could be more thematically interesting.

    With the most fondness for someone I’ve never personally met (though I’ve spent countless hours in the worlds and novels you’ve built – does that count?), you’ve got to just start making stuff and slapping paint onto models if you’re going to get anywhere and not quit halfway (but you already know that – you’ve said as much about your hobby record in the intro to this blog).

    Reading your blog has reminded me (painfully) of my closest Warhammer buddy – the most talented modeller and hobbyist I know, when he gets his shit together to actually build something. The guy who once sculpted from scratch a picture-perfect replica of a THE Adrian Smith Emperor’s Children Noise Marine, who hasn’t then produced another finished model in about 8 years. It’s not because he’s out of the hobby – instead, every day we have shades of the same, endless, fruitless conversation searching for “the army”:

    Him: “IRON HANDS / FISTS / SYLVANETH / HARLEQUINS / DEATH GUARD”
    Me: “Yes – excellent idea. Go for it. Whatever tickles your hobby itch.”
    Him: “I’ll buy some models next week, I’ve got this wicked conversion idea”

    Him: “What’s better… World Eaters or Grey Knights? I haven’t found something that really expresses ME”

    Every time he starts a project, I cross my fingers and hope, pray that THIS is the one, he’ll follow through on his disciplined regime, this time he’ll have painted models on a board and not field an army of empty bases because he’s waiting on the FW order for the parts he needs to make his killer conversion of X. Then, every time, the same conversation slowly resurfaces: “What plays better… and what about the fluff..?”

    This is like that. Watching the hobby train slowly derail in slow motion as we lapse into old patterns. Stick with it ADB. Focus!

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