Thursday, June 26, 2014

My very first Obliterator...

Hey everyone, KrautScientist here. Today I would like to talk about a model that seems to have been ages in the making: I recently managed to finally complete the very first Obliterator model for my World Eaters. Now why did it take me so long? After all, it could have been as easy as picking up a box of Oblitz from my FLGS, assembling them and slapping on some paint, right? Where's the problem?

Yes, well. I have a bit of a complicated history when it comes to Obliterators. Allow me to elaborate.

First up, the easy stuff: I really don't like GW's stock Obliterator models all that much. While I appreciate their size and bulk, they are just too fleshy and mutated for my taste. This is partly due to my general dislike for too OTT mutations in Chaos Space Marine armies, but the GW models also seem a bit poorly planned in this respect, making them look like bigger Terminators covered in meat wastes.

So it became clear to me very early that if I wanted Obliterators in my army, I would need to convert them from something. And indeed, I started a first attempt at creating my own custom Obliterators back when the Centurion kit was released, building three models that I am still reasonably happy with. These:

You may remember these models from an earlier post of mine. Their creation has also been chronicled here and here. So this must surely have been the breakthrough in my seemingly eternal pursuit of a cool Obliterator model, right?

Well, apart from my egregious lack of painting discipline, another reason prevented me from getting these models painted: Fate intervened, and I happened to discover a recipe for building custom Obliterators that I liked even better!

Thamier’s wonderful Balefire Legion has been a constant source of inspiration. But what really blew me away more than anything else was his approach to sculpting and kitbashing his own, completely customised Obliterators (whose creation you can witness starting here)!

Maybe the best part about these is that while they are perfectly in line with the look and feel of GW’s other chaos models (almost moreso than the official Obliterators, in fact), they forego the fleshy, mutated look in favour of something more mechanical and imposing. Take a look:

Model built and painted by thamier

I was really blown away by the sheer awesomness of these models, but alas I could only gaze at them from afar and hope that one day I might be able to come up with something just as cool.

And then the greatest thing happened: While Thamier had only sculpted these awesome bitz for use in his own army, I was actually lucky enough to get my hands on some of them as part of a bitz swap between the two of us. This is a really exciting opportunity, of course, so it goes without saying that I immediately started assembling my very own “Thamier pattern” Obliterator.

Now Thamier had warned me in advance that the castings weren’t of the best quality, and that the parts would require some work. And indeed, there was quite a bit of flash to be scraped off. But all in all, the parts really cleaned up rather nicely. Here’s a look at the cleaned and prepared parts for the Obliterator:

custom Obliterator parts sculpted by thamier

As you can see, a full set consists of a torso (in two halves, in fact), a pelvis, two thighs, two (rather massive) lower legs and two feet. The parts were cast from Thamier’s original master model, as far as I am aware, and considering the pieces have been entirely sculpted from scratch, the amount of detail is rather nice. Of course these are not as crisp and cutting edge as a factory-made GW kit, but I am in fact even more impressed with the sculpting that went into these after having made some first hand experiences with the parts: Not only do they take all the right design cues from GW’s own chaos models, but they also come with amazing little touches like the profile on the Obliterator’s armoured boot:

custom Obliterator parts sculpted by thamier

That is true dedication, ladies and gentlemen ;)

Like I said, scraping off the flash wasn’t a big problem, and even a bit of rough texture or damage here and there actually work towards the effect that these guys are ancient veterans of the Long War, so no problem there.

Here’s my first, very early Obliterator mockup:

As you can see, the model was already rather massive at this point. And while the overall shape and construction may recall Tactical Dreadnought Armour, there are several visual shout outs to the new Helbrute design, like the armour panels to the side of the head, the slightly more elaborate armour trim and, of course, the pelvis area that looks very similar to that of the Helbrute.

I used a Warp Talon head as a placeholder, which should show you that the sculpted torso will accept pretty much any (Chaos) Space Marine or Chaos Warrior head without a hitch.

Working from there, I had to get a bit creative, because – unlike Thamier – I cannot sculpt for toffee. So where Thamier sculpted his own upper arms and shoulder pads, I defaulted back to my usual approach and solution to any hobby problem — glorious kitbashing! ;)

In this case, though, the task of actually finding suitable arms that scaled correctly with the rest of the body almost drove me crazy: While natural looking proportions are not exactly a priority for a hulking monster like this, many arm setups that seemed promising ended up looking too short and undermining the sense of threat given off by the model.

In the end, the solution was found in the most unlikely of places: I was messing around with the magma cutter bitz from the fiend kit when I realised that these could actually work as arms for the Obliterator! So I combined them with some Chaos Terminator fists and a couple of leftover Centurion weapons (it’s a good thing you get LOTS of leftover weapons with the Centurion kit), and my Obliterator started to come together. Take a look:

As you can plainly see, I took a lot of inspiration from Thamier’s painted model shown further up in this post, but then I thought it looked really awesome and wanted to replicate some of that coolness ;)

For the shoulder pads, I chose Centurion pads. I also added some Ogre armour plates to the hips to bulk out the model’s middle a bit. As an added benefit, these will also create some visual consistency if I ever want to use this big guy alongside my converted Centurions, as they are using the same armour plates for decoration.

I also realised that the model needed something to clearly show its allegiance to Khorne, but regular bunny ears were right out due to a lack of space around the collar. So I improvised, using an icon of Khorne instead (an idea stolen from the ever inspirational Wayde Pryce).

The next step was to get the model painted. Due to the size and complexity of the Obliterator, I worked in sub assemblies, finishing one part of the model after the next and only glueing them together as soon as they were more or less done. Here are some WIP pictures from about halfway through the painting process:

To be perfectly honest, I was initially slightly apprehensive about the rubbery texture of the resin Thamier had used for casting the parts, as I feared the material might be slightly problematic to paint. It turned out that my worries were entirely unfounded, though — in fact I was pleasantly surprised with painting Thamier’s custom parts: They accepted the colour without a hitch and were really almost as easy to paint as stock GW parts.So painting this big boy turned out to be very smooth sailing, and I was able to complete the remaining parts of the model in very short order.

Here's the completed "Thamier pattern" Obliterator:

As you can see, I also added some “last minute bitz”, since some fellow hobbyists suggested that the model needed some kind of loincloth or tabard. A normal loincloth was out, though, because I did want to keep at least parts of the pelvis area visible. In the end, I went for a rather cool bone trophy from the WFB Vampire Counts Skeletons.

I also added some small plates to the shoulders to cover up the slightly awkward area where the arms meet the torso.

And finally, let me show you a closer look at the model’s back, both for the brilliantly gruesome spine emerging from the Obliterator’s armour and for the additions I made there:

It felt like the rathe huge, empty area to the left and right of the spine needed some additional detailing, so I added two chains from the WFB Chaos Chariot kit, making them look like they were being used in order to hold the Obliterator’s armour plates in place.

All in all, I am really extremely happy with this model! The custom and stock parts are blended together much better than I had anticipated, without looking hastily slapped together. The model is also rather massive and not quite as covered in random fleshy bitz as the stock GW models. Here's a scale comparison that shows how the Obliterator really forms the "missing link" between Terminator and Helbrute:

I really couldn’t be any happier with this guy, to tell you the truth, and I am really extremely thankful to Thamier for providing the awesome custom Obliterator bitz that went into the model’s creation! It may have taken ages to finally come up with an Obliterator model I am happy with, but it was definitely worth it!
In fact, my only fear is that I will now be unable to return to any non-Thamier-pattern Obliterator models or conversions…

Oh, and of course I also produced a suitable little background vignette for the model, as per my usual routine. Take a look:

Hadrak Firebringer

He appeared in a flash of light, immense even in his crouched position. With the noise of grinding metal, he rose to his full height, the hoarfrost of void teleportation trickling off his armour.
The battlefield lay ahead of him as an endless grey expanse. One by one, his brothers appeared. He could feel their spirits through mind link, feel their hunger. The sizzle of the nails, surgically changed in nature, yet not in intensity, a constant buzz that would soon grow into an all-consuming fire.
Before him, countless red target markers flared into life and gave him purpose. The hunt began.


His command remained unspoken, issued only via mind link, yet the hulking shapes of his brothers began to move as one. They advanced across the grey plain, slow but relentless, sending a hail of fire towards the enemy lines. He was dimly aware of figures running past them: the
fleshkin. But they were unimportant, insubstantial almost. More a nuisance than anything, making the task of calculating trajectories and fire corridors more difficult than it needed to be.

A blast from his Lascannon caught an enemy tank, making the vehicle explode in an enormous fire ball. First blood to them. The nails rewarded him with a wash of adrenaline, and beyond that, he could feel  the dark joy of his brothers, shared through the bond that connected them.

The enemy returned fire, but the pinpricks merely burned new scorch marks into his ancient, pitted armour. He and his brothers shared a moment of derisive amusement. Then they returned fire, and watched another score of target markers flicker out of existence. The nails drove them onwards, promising a reward that never came. But it did not matter. All that mattered was fire and heat and destruction and death.

It was over too soon. It always was.

A figure appeared before him, laughably small to his eyes. Yet he could make out the red and bronze armour. The badge of the XIIth legion. His legion. The figure addressed him, looking up at him through a snarling Sarum pattern helmet:

“I salute you hunter!  You have hunted well, but your work here is done. Deactivate your weapons and await extraction.”

A targeting marker appeared over the legionary, flaring from green to red and back to green. One impulse, one tiny movement was all it would take to give the nails their due. He could feel his brothers’ anticipation and the nails knifing into the meat of his mind. Red and green. Red and green.

“I repeat. Deactivate your weapons.”

With a mind impulse, he powered down his weapons and disengaged the targeting lock. The nails pulsed hot in his mind, punishing his hesitation with a white hot lance of pain. And beyond that, he could also feel something from his brothers – disappointment? Disapproval? He focused on the
fleshkin before him, seeing the legionary as if for the first time. It seemed as if the he allowed himself to relax now. Was that relief?

“Compliance”, he growled at last.

So yeah, so much for my completed Obliterator. I would be happy to hear any and all feedback or questions you might have regarding the model! Make sure to check out thamier's awesome Balefire Legion! And you are also always welcome to check out more of my work here on my blog.

This has been KrautScientist. Thanks for tuning in!


  1. Great progression. Great back story. Was a pleasure to watch this guy come together. Thanks for sharing it all!

  2. Seeing this move from concept to reality, then breathed into life with an excellent excerpt to match has been great and is a testament to your dedication to your vision.

  3. Thanks a lot, guys! I really appreciate the kind words! :)