Monday, February 27, 2012

Vampire Counts

My plan for February was mostly successful. I finished some models for both of my Warmachine armies. I didn't get to the Varghulf, but he's on my workstation ready to go, and I still need to paint the Wight Kings.

I've recently taken on some commission work, so finishing that is going to take my focus for the next couple of weeks. In the mean time, I've added a few more images to the Vampire Counts gallery, and this week I'll discuss my vampire conversions:

The Von Koss Vampires

These days the Vampire Counts rules are more relaxed, allowing players to mix and match their vampires' special abilities, but when the army was initially released, vampires were required to adhere to one of several bloodline themes, and their in-game rules reflected the traits of that particular order, be it martial prowess, magical affinity, courtly guile, or bestial fury.

Blood Dragon vampires excel in combat, and for a while they were the only vampires that had access to generic armor. In an army where the death of the general spells certain doom, survivability is key. (They also had some of the better looking models in the range!)

One of the things I love about Warhammer is the richness of the world. Yet while its history is so storied, things are left open allowing one to build their own castles in GW's sandbox. When creating my army's story, I drew on the established lore: In the lands of the Empire, the vampire Walach von Harken overthrew the Knightly Order of the Blood Dragons. These once noble Imperial knights were transformed into vampires and wights, and Walach reigned secretly over the undead Order for decades, which is where my story begins.

Seth Von Koss

Seth von Koss was a man of the empire, a knight of the Order of the Blood Dragon. Once transformed into a servant of darkness, he fought at Walach's side for years. When the horrible truth about the Blood Dragons was discovered and the Empire's Templar Knights finally razed the Blood Keep, Seth was among the many to escape into the surrounding countryside. Although the Order had fallen, it was not extinguished, and Seth remains one of many surviving vampires who still fight to this day in the name of the Blood Dragon.

Seth's model uses Archaon, Lord of the End Times as its core. The mounted version was the first one I had assembled and the zombie dragon mount  (see it in the gallery)  and foot version came later.

The spiky bits and chaos star were removed from the steed and I used putty to achieve the fiery mane and tail. Seth's head is from the old Blood Dragon on Winged Nightmare, and his sword is modeled from Mephiston's force sword (40K, Blood Angels) with the bat-crossguard of Manfred von Carstein's weapon. The shield is a Chaos Knight's shield with the iconography filed away, decorated with a skeleton shield icon and Warmaster bat wings. Due to the size of the massive steed and all that cape, I had to mount him atop a scenic base to get him to fit in a unit of black knights.

For the zombie dragon mount I cut the legs away from Archaeon's horse and combined them with Malekith's saddle and a bit of sculpting to fit him atop the dragon.

The foot version of Seth von Koss uses the 2004 Games Day exclusive Archaeon. The only real challenge there was fitting him on a 20mm base. I had to cut away the stones and resculpt the feet. I've also made two attendant skeletons to use as placeholders for the models I need to remove when fitting him in a unit.

Dimitri Von Koss

When Seth von Koss fled the ruins of Blood Keep, he sought out his younger brother Dimitri. The two had not seen each other in decades, and truth be told, Dimitri believed his brother to be long dead, killed in service to the Empire. So when Seth showed up at Dimitri's door it was at first a joyous reunion. But Seth could not hide what he was for long and, although horrified, Dimitri could not turn his brother away. This was his undoing, and eventually Seth cursed his brother with vampirism.

To build Dimitri I used the bat-winged vampire as the core model. The legs, basing and weapon are all stock. The armored breastplate is from the new plastic skeleton regiment with its damaged parts resculpted and more putty work to hide the joins. The head came from an old Blood Dragon Vampire and the wings on the helmet belonged to the bat-wing vampire's familiar. The upper portion of Dimitri's raised arm is metal, and the hand was taken from a Corpse Cart zombie with extra armor sculpted on top.

Here's a look at my original version of Dimitri. The figure includes parts from the old Krell model and the Red Duke.

Marduk "The Wolf" Von Koss

Marduk is the cousin of Dimitri and Seth von Koss. Whereas Seth gained his vampirism directly from the blood of Harkon, Marduk was turned by Dimitri. Being so many generations removed from the source bloodline, the vampirism has had a maddening effect. Marduk has become a brutal, nearly feral killer, barely able to be controlled by his brothers.

Marduk's core model is an ancient metal skeleton (Skeleton Warrior with Axe #6, to be precise). His head is from a metal ghoul, and the wolf pelt was created using parts cut from the Space Wolf accessory sprue and modeling putty to fill out the fur.

My first version of Marduk was mounted, and I would commonly run him in a unit of dire wolves, hence his name. This old model uses a plastic skeleton steed with Empire horse barding fit overtop. The rider is based on the Red Duke, equipped with a double-handed axe and shield.

Von Koss and The Legion of the Infernal Skull

Seth worked to restore his former knightly regiments, and among the Hellfire Knights are some of the original wights that had served him during the days of Walach's reign. Under Seth's tutelage, Dimitri's fighting prowess was honed, and the two brought slaughter upon the lands of the Empire.

As their army grew they were drawn to the necromancer Nieman Kimmel and his legion of undeath. They found themselves slaves to Kimmel's power and served him for years in the Legion of the Infernal Skull. But the necromancer's dark magic eventually failed, allowing Seth the opportunity to wrest control for himself, and now the von Koss vampires lead the mighty undead warhost.

These characters form the core persona of my army, and I rarely use any of the printed special characters, favoring my own creations over the pre-made ones.

Dimitri and Marduk's older models have been retired from the game table. Seth is the first character to get multiple models allowing me to field him with different options, but I also have mounted versions of one of my necromancers and the wight king battle standard bearer in the works. I'll talk about those once they're finished, but for now it's back to my workstation.

'Til next time!

1 comment:

  1. These look really nice, especially in seeing the development over 13 years!


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