June 30, 2024

The Red Butchers

The Red Butchers, the mad World Eater Cataphractii Elites are perhaps my favourite unit in the army list, ever reliable and always a proper battlefield terror element! I have had the official Forge World models painted up but felt for a long time I wasn't quite happy with the cast or the paintjob - with the spring's No Retreat preparations underway it was finally time for an upgrade.

With the conversions I wanted to emphasize the weight of the armour mark as well as some of the late war cultural vibes creeping into the heraldry of the plate. The idea of "facelessness" as a part of the concept of implacable murderers felt scary and the shiny black domes behind protective grills suited the Void Assault theme as well. I decided to build a few models without gloves, somehow makes the overall feel even more brutal (coming to kill you with their bare hands)!

I thought about making the squad's armour completely blood-soaked going all out with splatter, but finally settled on the basic battlefield chipping and grime. This is the Red Butchers right before they bite deep into the enemy formation, still a bit disoriented from their teleportation, combat drugs flowing and the Nails screaming in their cranium.

When I had a couple of the mandatory wysiwyg twin axes modelled, I had the chance to add some variety with differing wargear conversions - usually this is filed under the "rule of cool" as long as there's no danger of confusing your opponent. It's also more interesting to your own hobby not having to produce copies of the exactly same model just in different poses. Random gear fits the late war Heresy feel, and is a cool way to personalize squad members. Each of the regular Butchers has two shoulder pad markings - the Legion symbol and a personal icon (a chain, an axe, a buzzsaw blade or a set of spikes).

I often try to have some elevated bases within the squad for added "display dynamics", the assembled unit is more fluent to view and photograph when the models in front don't block the view to the back ranks. The essential conversion parts are from the Necromunda Corpse Grinder Cult, random selection of 40K Terminator arms, 3D-printed legs and green stuff sculpted details.

The Terminator Ogryn serves as a stand-in replacement for one the Red Butchers. This kind of "unit fillers" are often super fun to put together as creative one-offs and are a great way to develop the narrative of the unit or an entire force. In the later stages of the Horus Heresy the World Eaters would have turned to abhuman population for new recruits, mustering fierce fighters from many of their conquered cultures. This Ogryn had served as a towering training contestant for Legion's Rampagers and later earned the honour of receiving the Butcher's Nails implantation. Now he serves as an Inductii of the 308th Void Assault, attached to the Red Butchers division.

The conversion is a kitbash of many GW products, with Necromunda Servitor Ogryn, Contemptor Dreadnought torso armour and Blackstone Fortress Ogryn head as the core essentials. I liked how the armour made him appear a bit like a regular Cataphract and sits in the squad quite well, with exposed parts and mechanical bits giving that improvised and battlefield-repaired flavour.

The conversion was surprisingly straightforward with the Contemptor parts locking on the Ogryn frame almost without any actual fitting. Some tinkering was done with the mechanical features, cultural detailing and the slightly larger shoulder pads to match the unit's Cataphractii silhouette. This is where I really appreciate 3D printing being able to play with the scale of things a bit.

I'd imagine him being a rather tragic character swallowed by the madness of the galactic civil war, with the World Eaters providing a sense of purpose to the poor creature's violent existence.

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