Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Tyranid Broodlord Genestealer Patriarch Conversion - Nyarlathotep

I can't say no to a commission that involves creating a horrible monster. Ostensibly, this one was meant to be a big Tyranid beastie: either a Broodlord or a patriarch for a Genestealer brood that had taken a decidedly Eldrict turn somewhere along the way.

However it could just as easily be any kind of horrible chaos demon.

Usually clients allow me a lot of freedom when developing the design for the beasties they ask me to build for them. This client, however, was pretty exacting about keeping the design very close to the source material, which was this Yugioh card for Lovecraft fan favorite: NYARLATHOTEP!



To say I was thrilled by the challenge would be an understatement. Not only did I get to give flesh to an ancient horror, I got to do it in the service of the Hive Mind!

Though I was pretty sold on the concept art, the client and I agreed that his Broodlord would benefit form some recognizable mods to its Tyranid ancestry.

Using Broodlord arms seemed an obvious choice as the rending claws on them are so nice while still being close to the claws in the art work. To cram a little more Broodlord on there, I also repurposed the model's tail to act as the top of Nyarlathotep's head, and I was able to convince him to let me include some Broodlord brains as part of the head as a not to the creature's potent psychic abilities.

And that was it. Aside from the horrible toothy mass all over the broodlord's body, everything else I made from scratch, using armatures and Apoxie Green (a combination of Greenstuff and Apoxie Sculpt).

Now, I'm supposed to be some kind of sculptor, so sculpting from scratch might seem obvious, but this is still hard. However, I took this as an opportunity to further flex my scratchbuilding muscles, electing to make most of the model from scratch with the occasional pre-existing bit thrown in. So I started it all off with an armature:

As I note in my How to Sculpt Armatures video tutorial, which features this particular model, I was experimenting with floral wire for this armature. I can's say enough good things about this material. It has this wondrous combination of rigidity and flexibility that is very hard to describe. When you want it to flex, it flexes easily. When you want it to be strong, it's pretty strong. It's some kind of wundermaterial, and I'm pretty sure it's standard in any craft store. Notice I'm using the thicker gauge stuff here.

Next up, I bulked up the armature with some aluminum foil, the best medium for fleshing things out and shaping it.

Then came a layer of apoxie green (1-part kneadatite epoxy putty and 1-part apoxie sculpt) to get in the detail. If you're wondering how I achieved that texture, it's all about sweet, sweet silicone brushes/shapers!

Then I started adding hideous mouths! I'd been really intrigued by the mouths in one of the new squig riders kit, so this dude received a lot of those.

Then I added his head. The client wanted exactly what was on the card, but I talked him around to letting me include some bits from the actual Broodlord/Patriarch to make the link to that model. The donated bits included the brain here, and the tail from the broodlord / patriarch, which I repurposed as the end of this guy's head. The mouth there is one of my favourites, stolen from Hydra: a pink horror mouth flipped upside down, as I made good use of on my mandrake and Cronos parasite engine conversions.

Then I added a bit more bulk and some more horrible squig mouths (I think I may have cut these up to rematch top teeth with different bottom teeth).

Then the boy needed some actual arms. Once again, I turned to the actual broodlord / genestealer patriarch arms as they have such lovely claws. You can see that bit on his right arm. However, for his left arm, I wanted to preserve the twisted, atrophied claw from the source art, so I made that one from a collection of different claw bits I had.

I added some more toothy maws, donated from a zombie dragon and a Tyranid Carnifex head as I've always got tons of those kicking around. If you're feeling like a hero, you don't need these bits at all and should just watch my How to Sculpt Teeth video with special guest sculptor Hydra!

I, however, am not always a hero. I am LAZY. So I used the bits.

Next up, I bulked him up still a bit more, starting to get him closer to the final shape depicted in the reference art. I also cleaned up his head to make it resemble the card a little more closely.

And, though it wasn't depicted on the card really, what good is a hideous, cephalopod monstrosity without THE PROPER AMOUNT OF SUCTION?

Then all that was left was a little more bulking up, and VEE-WA-LAH! The monstrosity was complete!

When creating horrible, eldritch daemons, it's always a good sign when your finished creation makes you vaguely uncomfortable. That was definitely the case with the last horrible monstrosity I made in the form of the Silent Hill Amnion Talos conversion I attempted. And I must say it's also the case with ol Nyarlathotep here. This dude definitely gives me the HEEBIE JEEBIES!

Though he was meant to be Broodlord or Genestealer Patriarch size, he wound up closer to Hive Tyrant size, which is kind of a pattern for me. To give a better indication of just how massive he is, here are some comparison models from my Dark Eldar Haemonculus Coven, my Genestealer Cult of the Omega Strain, and that one effing space marine I painted.

Here he is with a proper sized Genestealer Patriarch who has overcome his hunch (note: The Master is taller than normal has he's standing on the dias of his Osseous Throne)

And here he is next to my original Tyranid Exocrine conversion.

In the end, I was really happy with how the Nyarlathotep Broodlord / Genestealer Patriarch conversion turned out, and I was really glad that my client gave me the chance to create this monster!

How do you feel about the tentacled horror?

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Old Strains: Genoproject and the Genestealer Hybrids

Or, "How I once converted a Eldar Genestealer and Ork Genestealer"
What feels like a thousand years ago, the revised plastic Genestealer kit released to much fanfare. However, that fanfare was pretty negative as this was the early days of the Internet, and the advance photo of the new plastic Genestealer that leaked was taken from the front, the with crumby, potato phone camera pointed right up its nose!

Thus began Stealergate: the controversy of the entire 40k community panning the new genestealer models before they were even released for having giant nostrils, and Jes Goodwin swearing off the online community for them having prejudged a model they hadn't even seen yet.

So, when the new plastic Genestealers finally released in the Battle for Macragge they did so under a bit of a pall. However, there was a group of us Tyranid hobbyist who couldn't be dissuaded by net negativity. We appointed ourselves Goodwin's Army, and we decided that we would embark on a project to show what the plastic Genestealer was really capable of!

Or at least I think that's how we started. Regardless, the Genoproject was born!
What happened next is that we all set to work trying to imagine what Genestealers would look like if they were grown from different 40K races (since your run-of-the-mill Genestealers are all produced from human stock). If an Eldar were infected with the Genestealer parasite, what would that look like? And an Ork? A Tau or a Kroot?

You get the idea.

The phenomenally talented artist Warren Beattie got us started with some sketches:

First up, his concepts for an Eldar Genestealer:

Then, for an Ork Genesetealer

Here is a mix of the two, trending into Xenomorph territory

And I believe this was meant to be a Tau Genestealer, but we decided that would probably be a dead end mutation :P
Warren even took a run of his own at kitbashing and sculpting one of his sketches for the Ork Genestealer:

...which are pretty damn fine and makes me wish that Warren was as prolific with sculpting and kitbashing Tyranids as he was at drawing them back in the day.

Anyway, informed by equal parts Warren's sketches and my own musings for how Ork or Eldar DNA would influence the Genestealer parasite/virus, I sculpted and bashed out my own take on both an Eldar and Ork Genestealer.

However, I had no photos of them. In fact, until recently, I had actually forgotten I'd even made these models!

When I remembered them only recently, I went digging through all my old model photos to try and find record of them, I came up empty! What's more, since I had created them in...I think the photo timestamps say 2005?...they hadn't been preserved anywhere on the Internet other that, and when that fell to the spambots, the photos fell with it!

What's more, I had sent the model themselves to Marco in Germany so that he could properly photograph them for, and he'd never sent them back.

So I found myself in this weird place where I knew I had created these models, but I had absolutely no living record of them!

...Until I realized that, buried in one of my 40k folders, I had a complete photo backup of from soon after Marco had lost the domain rights. And, luckily, the models were in there!

So, here you are: my original concepts for a Eldar Genestealer and Ork Genestealer hybrids--likely the only record these things ever existed since who knows what Marco's done with the originals at this point.

Of the two, the Ork is my definite favourite, and you can see that he has the prototype for the Strain-inspired Genestealer Kiss tongue that I later explored on my Genestealer Patriarch model. I still remember fighting with Warren over his lantern jaw. Warren maintained that the Genestealer virus would clearly correct that particularly dead-end genetic abnormality, but I was dead set on the fact that a Ork Genestealer needed a lantern jaw!

It's weird to look back on these things now and to be surprised by what I managed with greenstuff fifteen years ago. I maintain that, had I kept at it consistently back then, and not let my hobby languish for long years, I'd likely be even better at it now!

Oh well. The past is passed. However, I'm still glad that I was able to resuscitate this particular kernel of history to live on here on the blog.

Let me know what you think of them, and whether you think I should take another run at newer versions of them >:)