A giant has fallen from grace.
The gigantic Chaos Champion strode into the small town. His eyes shone like burning coals inside his helmet, smoke billowed from his super heated armor. His blood red cloak billowing in the wind behind him. The soldiers attacked him, trying to protect their town and its people, they were slaughtered one and all, their attacks no more than flea bites to this titan of ancient times. As the battle grew, so the giant’s armor turned hotter and hotter, he was burning inside like a furnace. In places his armor turned red hot, embers spilled from the cracks and every little assembly and join of his armor. As he drew near to the houses they caught fire, within minutes the entire town was ablaze! The town had met Uther the Emberking, eternal champion of chaos and nothing can stand in his way!
I got this big Stormcast eternal; Bastian Carthalos from Games Workshop and thought “what an awesome miniature!” He was bigger than all the rest and looked incredible. As I often do, I wanted to do something different with him, why not turn him 180 degrees and make a chaos champion out of him? I don’t make many stormcasts, but chaos is much more my game and it is always a fun challenge to turn a figure into something completely opposite to what it was made for in the first place.
I decided to do a little tutorial on the conversion and my painting of him.
At some point along the painting of this miniature I got the idea to make him furnace-like with red glow and dripping embers like my old chaos warrior Uther the Emberking. Thus formed in my head the idea of Uther being immortal and having lived and grown for eternity, being completely consumed by Chaos and just burning inside his armor like a furnace. Having now done that for millenia. So here comes my Age of Sigmar reimagining of my old Oldhammer Chaos Warrior Uther the Emberking, who in the distant past helped Fritz von Stumpf attack the village of Plattenhafen. My original Emberking was part of the army I made for Oldhammer in the North, I don’t think I wrote anything about him back then. If you’re interested, you can read more about Oldhammer in the North here.
So let’s get started!
Assembly and conversion
At first I just assembled the Bastian figure from the box, until I needed to make changes to him. In this way I kind of constructed a framework for my conversion. It was also important to me that one could see that it was this figure that had been changed and not something comletely scratch built.
Now, when the basic structure of the figure had been assembled, I could start the corruption of Chaos! I would start to deface the sigmarite symbols on his armor; maybe he had scavenged the armor from a big stormcast or maybe in another story arc, he would have started out as a purehearted Stormcast Eternal, fallen from grace and turned to Chaos… In any case, I like to make it in a way where you can see traces of former loyalty, which has been forsaken. In my opinion this is a much more powerful image of Chaos; someone who has betrayed everything he came from, rather than some big and brutish northman grown up in a violent society, that worships dark gods…
I used my Proxxon Micromot, I.e. a small rotary tool, to grind of most of the lightning bolts and whatever else there was of Sigmarite symbols on his cloak and armor. Once these were ground off, I flooded the areas with thin polystyrene cement to melt the plastic and create a unique texture, like it has decayed or been eaten by acid. Or maybe gnawed upon by a daemon…
While the glue was drying I took a long and good look in my bits box, to round up some good chaos bits to continue this build. As this fella is crazy big, I found that most chaos bits, like shields from Chaos warriors for instance were too small and looked ridiculous in comparison. So I went for Varanguard bits! They are not only newer and more detailed than the older ones, they are also bigger. The Varanguard are a lot bigger than ordinary Chaos knights, so their scale fit this big boy a lot better. Remind me to make a champion for chaos knights out of a varanguard some day.
It was quite easy to make the Varanguard bits fit and only a minimum of adjustments was needed. Except for the right hand, that holds the axe, I needed to do some resculpting there.
I made a neck of Green stuff too, so everything fit. Varanguard head, shield and right hand with an axe. I added a small skull on a chain, I think it is from the old Chaos Marauder horsemen sprue.
Some sand, soil, Juweela bricks and static grass on the base and this beast of a Chaos Champion was ready for some color!
Painting the big boy
After my usual zenithal base coat he was ready for paint… sort of. You see I had a bit of an accident.
I sprayed him from above with GW Wraithbone, but it was the last of the spraycan and it came out in great splashes, so the surface got quite a rough look. I thought that maybe I should repaint it with my airbrush to get the smooth transition that spray normaly gives you. Especially the cloak looked terrible, but then I thought hey why not go with it, this is after all a terrible Chaos character, perhaps I can use this to make a new kind of texture to the paint job… In the end it turned out to be a happy accident.
To start the painting, I painted him GW Contrast Wyldwood in the upper parts and right after, I painted him GW Contrast Black Templar on the rest of the armor, letting the two mix wet in wet. I had thinned them a little with Contrast medium. While this paint was still wet, I smeared on some more Contrast medium in the upper areas, making it even lighter. Here the texture of the failed spray paint will shine through and actually create a nice roughness on the armor itself. The scroll and skulls got a bit of GW Contrast Skeleton Horde and I painted the base with thinned down Vallejo Model Color Burnt Umber and Dark Sea Grey. The bricks on the base got some P3 Umbral Umber.
Next I painted the cloak GW Contrast Fleshtearer Red. Here the weird texture of the spray shone through a lot, but I liked it. It gets kind of a leather feel. At this point all but the metals were blocked in. I can now work on all these colors in concert and then do the metals affterwards. In this way I can tie everything together without worrying about destroying the lustre of the metals or drybrushing metals accidentally on things that are not supposed to be metallic. In the end of this paint job you will see how I tie the metals in with the rest, using glazes.
My next step was to drybrush the whole thing with a bone color. Exactly what color you use for this is not important, it just has to be a warm creamy off-white. This time I used a mix of VMA Pale Sand and a little bit of VMA Yellow Ochre. Remember to drybrush the base as well.
The base got a heavy wash of thinned down black, thinned down Aerocolor Permanent Green and thinned down P3 Bloodstone. Smear the black all over the base and then add the green and brown wet in wet, so everything runs together randomly. I let some of this wash stain his feet and legs.
On the above picture, I have also added some deeper shadows with GW Agrax Earth Shade and Nuln Oil.
Once the washes on the base was dry, I repeated the drybrushing and the three washes on the base. This is important in order to create depth and variety on the base. You can repeat this step several times if you want to, to create a more subtle and natural effect, but at least repeat it once.
The first metals blocked in.
I used GW Leadbelcher for the iron parts and VMA Brass for the gold parts, just blocking them in. Then I washed the metals with GW Agrax Earth Shade. While I had the Agrax out, I also deepened some shadows further and gave the decayed parts, that I had ground down a helping of the wash for a discoloured and rotten appearance.
I highlighted the axe with a layer of Leadbelcher, followed by a mix of Leadbelcher and Vallejo Model Air Silver. Above you can see how I placed the highlights to imitate the way that light plays over the metallic surface. The gold bits got a little highlight with VMC Brass.
To make these highlights both more complex and smoother, I glaze them with thinned down black and a little brown. Then I apply the highlights again.
The metals highlighted, a little rust added to the axe and a lot of pure white super highlights.
A little silver highlighting on all the metals to make them shine.
Then I made a lot of small pure white highlights all over the figure, to make it shine and everything pop with more definition. Think about how the vollumes react to direct light. Just add tiny dots and lines in select areas and along edges.
Note the blackened and decayed part of the cloak, right there in the corner. I did that by first applying Agrax Earth Shade, which I blended to make it fade, followed by Nuln Oil in the same way. Lastly it got a little of the white highlight too.
I use Vallejo Model Wash Dark Rust for a little rust on the axe and at the parts of the armor that I defaced and made to look decayed. This is followed by the lighter Vallejo Model Wash Rust all flowed into the erecesses where water would collect and build up corrosion.
At this point the figure is basically done, I can keep refining it and pick out more details, but it is not important. What I need now is to tie things a little bit more together and to add the effect of embers within the armor, to tell the story.
The axe got some Athonian Camoshade in the mid tones. This I also applied in select spots on the rest of the figure; like in the shadows of the skulls and the scrolls. Also here and there on the armor. This helps tie it all together and it also puts more life into the metal in that it reflects some of the color of the surroundings. A little brown glaze too on the axe and of course a little black. Finally another highlight of pure silver. Dont forget to make a couple of dots in the darker places, it helps convey the feeling that it shines.
Avove you can see some spots of white paint on the coals in the brazier thing on the base. This is in preparation to paint it as glowing coals. Befitting the Emberking!
To make this glowing effect of the Emberking, I first painted some white dots like you saw on the coals of the brazier on the base. These I also painted at the eyes and in the deepest parts of the joints of the armor where I wanted him to glow the most. Then I built up the effect with glazes of red fluorescent paint. I used Wicked Color Red Fluor for this. such fluorescent paints are transparent and actually meant to go on a white surface, so by painting white first on select spots you can control the intensity of the light. I also added glazes of Vallejo Orange Fluo to the effect for a slightly warmer tone and variation. After the glazes, I painted some undilluted Red Fluor in the most intense parts (where I had painted white first). Some more dots of white, followed by more red and orange glaze and I was done.
For the last and finishing step on this giant of a Chaos Warrior, I broke out my airbrush and sprayed a glaze of Aerocolor Permanent green all over the base, armor and axe. You have to dial the pressure down to control this. By adding this green to everything not red, I not only tie the elements together elegantly, but I also intensify the red by this complimentary contrast.
For eternity Uther the Emberking was striding across the land wreaking havoc wherever he went. Cities would burn and entire nations were toppled by his armies of daemons, crazed warriors and beastmen. He had quite forgotten where he came from originally, he just had a vague memory of once having been a man like those he slaughtered and burned now! Totally consumed by Chaos he would be burning forever inside his armor! Was this Hell? he could not tell, but at least he would bring Hell to all those mortals that stood in his way!
We all know that these miniatures have experienced some scale creep. Chaos Warriors are quite a bit larger now than they were in the eighties where my old Uther miniature came from, I think it is from 1988 or there abouts. But this Bastian Carthalos figure is a giant even among the big Stormcast eternals, so the difference between my two Emberking minniatures is absolutely stunning!
I hope this can serve as inspiration for your own Chaos conversions and thank you for reading.