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I have to say I've never been into Chaos much, either in fantasy literature or Games Workshop's gaming worlds. I've always been one of those Lawful Good/palladin types when it came to that. But when I saw this mini at Gamesday Baltimore 2002 I knew I had to paint it... He was just too badass of a figure not to want in my collection. ;^)

I decided to make him my Warhammer 40K Large Figure entry at Gamesday Chicago 2003. I'm happy to say he took a Bronze in the category!!! See the official GW event coverage here.or the excellent coverage at the Stuff of Legends site. Please note that photography of this mini is difficult due to the lighting effect, so I've made the best effort I can to reproduce it here, as have the other people who photographed it officially and unofficially.

I'd seen him done up a zillion ways online, for as many chaos marine chapters, but I knew mine was going to be Khorne from the start - nothing goes as well with fire as red ;^) My other source of inspiration for this mini was the excellent Wayne Barlowe cover painting for 'A Plague of Demons' by Keith Laumer. An okay book, but a great cover! The alien wreathed in flames really struck a chord with me.

I originally wanted him standing in a wrecked vehicle, like the book, but I quickly realized it would be much too large to put on a reasonably-sized base. Since I didn't want to enter him in Battle Scene I went with a 50mm base with sculpted flames hinting at the devastation surrounding him. As you can tell I redid the flames after the initial reaction among my painting friends was less than enthusiastic (comparisons to ice cream and 'genetic goo' were thrown about :^(

As for the figure himself - to get the triumphant raging pose I wanted I had to convert all the limbs (lengthening and/or repositioning the arms was mandatory), as well as raising his head in a bellow of victory. The Axe of Khorne was scratch-built using a Dark Eldar vehicle wing and the 54mm chainsword of Malicant as the base components. Generous heapings of skulls and Marine helmets were sprinkled on the ground at his feet. ;^) Finally, to cement the allegance to Khorne, I sculpted a World Eater's symbol on his shoulder pad and a Khorne symbol on his chest. The chaos symbol on his right knee was replaced with a chaos terminator's skull shoulder pad.

These first three shots show off the lighting effect of the flames. This was rather a pain to do, but came out looking really nice in the end. In order to make it naturalistic I had to paint the flames as realistic as I could, so I used lots of internet ref pics as well as taking some shots of fire in my backyard (don't worry, nothing was damaged ;^). Look for a painting article on fire soon on my site.

The important thing was to get the darks right. Painting the lit areas was fairly easy, but making sure the back of the figure and the ruined wall section had enough definition (while still looking 'dark') was the problem. I solved this by cheating ;^) The wall and back have had some highlighting applied - dark red to the back of the demon and a variety of yellows, oranges and reds to the wall. Even though the wall was technically all in shadow, this 'trompe l'oeil' lighting worked out well.

These pics show some of the details of the mini. The base was a last-minute thing, and is a bit large, but all I could find locally. This worm's-eye view shows the lighting effect from underneath. The best part of the whole mini I think ;^) Close up of the axe. I originally wanted to sculpt a demon face onto it, like I did with the faces in the flames, but time ran out and I painted it on instead.

A couple of shots showing off the fire. The brass on the legs is again a little fake (should be darker), but the highlighting on it was necessary to bring out the details. Also, you can see the faux lighting on the back of the wall clearly - esp. on the left shot, showing the fake cast shadows of the leg and stone-work.

WE symbol was done on the shoulder pad swapped from the other side (with has less detail to remove ;^). Also, note the shot of Earth is North America - you can just make out a small red dot over Chicago ;^)
Just a face shot. The horns were done with lots of translucent ink washes to get a more naturalistic look.
The banner was intended to be a Dark Angels marine banner, looted and destroyed by the prince. Unfortunately this may have hurt me in judging as it confused the judges - they couldn't tell it clearly and felt it drew attention away from the main scene.
Just to give you a peek of the banner before it was ripped and darkened ;^) I went really basic and quick with the front and back, as I knew it wouldn't be very visible once distressed. Still, the original front didn't work 100% for me as he wound up looking like he was flanked by bunches of bananas, so I did a white wash over the feathers to lessen this.

All in a all, I'm pleased with the results, though there were a few areas I rushed for lack of time. I think I'll leave it as is, and maybe think about touch ups next year ;^) This project has already consumed 4-5 months in my spare time, and I need to work on other things!

I'd like to thank my Bay Area painter homies who helped me along the way with ideas and critiques (CJ, Finn, Matt, Myke and Jeff), as well as my ever-suffering wife Leah ;^)


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All images and text Copyright 2003Laszlo Jakusovszky