Thursday, January 29, 2015

Finished - Thousand Sons Helbrute Epic Post

 As part of the Cult Troops project, I am trying to complete groups of unit sin each of the styles of the 4 Chaos Gods. I have already completed a Dreadnought/Helbrute dedicated to Khorne and began to turn my thoughts to the other powers. Nurgle, was fairly obvious as it needed to be a mas of boils and puss much like the Daemon Prince of Nurgle. Knowing this was beyond my skills to sculpt, I sent a Helbrute kit off to a buddy of mine that is better with green stuff. 

That is two down. I have no idea what I am going to do for the Slaanesh Helbrute but I did have a tickle of what to do for a Thousand Sons/Tzeentch Helbrute. I wanted to borrow from the fluff of the Thousand Sons in that, thanks to the Rubric of Ahriman, many of the Thousand Sons Legionaries are spirits trapped in their armor. That is pretty close to what a Dreadnought is already. 

Assembly and Conversions

I had a metal Chaos Dreadnought that I had gotten in a trade on Bartertown that, if I did not use it for this, would probably never get used ever. I had some left over and extra bits from the Helbrute kit that I decided to incorporate them into this kit. 

Yes, I paid good money for the real Helbrute kit rather than Dark Vengeance one. Why? The bits man. The extra weapons and decorative bits could be spread across several kits. They are incredibly detailed. To sculpt them would be out of my league and to buy the bits individually would be too expensive. I really got all my money worth out of this kit. 

I also had some Comtemptor Dreadnought feet that (again) if I did not use here, I did not foresee another chance to use them. Rather than use the metal legs, I swapped them out with some plastic Space Marine Dreadnought legs that were extra. I did not like the stumpy and awkward look of the metal legs. To replace the lower leg shields, I used arm guards from the Helbrute kit. 

I wanted the Helbrute to be standing on a vanquished Dreadnought mostly because I have 4 spare mental Dread front plates. If I don't use them for basing material, they are just going to sit in my bits box. I had to dig out the middle of the base to sink the metal piece into it. All too often when people put extra bits on the base, they just lay it on top of the base which looks fake and lazy. After it was sunk in there, I weathered it with my new diamond saw bits. 

I then drilled out the base for some pins. Because of the hodgepodge nature of the feet and legs, I was going to need to pin from the base, through the feet and into the legs to secure it. I had to eyeball the angles to make sure that I was going in the right direction. I was off a little in my estimations and that made for a slightly awkward pose. 

The last major conversion I made was to reuse a Helbrute middle section to elevate the mini a little. Also, I used this in another effort to clean out my bits box. If I didn't use this now, then that would leave only Slaanesh Helbrute to use that bit. I have mixed feelings on how it changes the stature of the model. On one hand the extra height makes this Dread the same level as a Contemptor and that is pretty awesome. However, it made the legs look awkward and stumpy if you look at the model head on. Ultimately, it was necessary to give the model some extra lift to make room for the lower leg plates. 

via CMoN
I added some little extras to customize this Helbrute and really make it scream Tzeentch if not precisely Thousand Sons. There are Tzeentch symbols over the codpiece and back. I knew immediately when I saw the Helbrute kit that I wanted to use one of the sarcophagus front pieces for a Thousand Sons Helbrute. The horns on the sides were evocative of the weird helmets that the Thousand sons wear. To make the front piece look like it belonged there, I had to trim the hoses off the side and smooth it out. After that, it fit like a dream. I also threw some gargoyles on the smokestacks because why not. 

I was going to add in some Thousand Sons decals but could not find a place to apply them that did not look forced and fake looking. I opted to go for clear blue and clear lines. 

I also added in some forward-facing horns on the chest like Magnus the Red has in some depictions. I sawed them off of the Tzeentch symbol that went on his back and clumsily glued them to the chest plate. While I like how it turned out, anytime the model falls over it breaks the horns. If I was going to do this again, I would have secured the horns better or perhaps angled them differently. 

I knew that I wanted to have an all shooty Helbrute as soon as I made the all close combat Khorne Helbrute if only for contrast. That means that at least one powerfist would be swapped for a missile launcher. Knowing that, I glued that bit in place. I chose to use the Helbrute launcher because (since the kit is not very popular) you will not see it much and when else was I going to use this bit. My other option was to use a Havoc Launcher but that is dinky. 

In typical GW style, they give you two shoulder guards for the mini but lots of arms. Each weapon has a different mount onto the arm. There is no reason to do this other than to make it more difficult to magnetize. Not impossible, just annoying and difficult. With some magnets and green stuff I was able to put the Autocannon, Lascannon and Heavy Bolter weapons on the right arm. I did not smooth out the green stuff well enough and the wash makes it stand out if you really look at it. It is fine for my purposes. Not perfect but fine. 

I also disliked the Heavy Bolter arm option that comes with the kit so I sawed up some CSM HB and made a larger and more aggressive-looking weapon. Pretty easy and adds a little style to the mini. 

I picked red for the dead Dread because it would contrast with the blues in the Helbrute's armor and I know how to paint red very well. 


Gold was my simple light gold (Mournfang Brown, Shining Gold, Mythril Silver, Gryphonne Sepia, Mythril Silver). Silver metals were simple silver (Chainmail, Nuln Oil, Mythril Silver, Nuln Oil, Mythril silver, Rinse, Repeat). The bone was my standard bone (Bleached Bone, Gryphonne Sepia, Bleached Bone).

I went subtle on the yellow on the horns on the side of the sarchophagus. It was just Iyanden Darksun, Devlin Mud, touch up Iyanden Yellow, Gryphonne Sepia, Iyanden Darksun. I also did something similar on the yellow missiles. 

For the blues, I tried a couple of things. I wanted the Dread to tie into my Thousand Sons that are already done. I tried Mordian blue but it was not bright enough. I tried Ultramarine Blue but it was too chalky. I ended up using Royal Blue, blue and black washes with a final hard edge highlight of Royal Blue. There were not many hard edges so I think that the subtly of the blue armor came through. 


Helbrutes are some of the few units that can not take and Marks of Chaos (or whatever they are called now). I think that take a lot of the flavor out of them. It is weird that a World Eater and a Thousand Sons Helbrute would only differ in their wargear. To this end, I came up with a couple of different ways that a Thousand Sons Helbrute could work. 

Sorcerer Helbrute
Modeld after the Blood Angles Librarian Dreadnought, this would represent one of the Thousand Sons that had his psychic might amplified by the Rubric of Ahriman and was then subsequently sealed in a Helbrute. The unit would have to have a Psychic Pilot Mastery Level 1 (which would increase his base cost 30-50 points) and could be upgraded to lv2 for 25 points. He would also need a Force Weapon. 

Thousand Son Helbrute
The alternative would be a Thousand Son Legionnaire that was already in a Dreadnought carapace when Ahriman turned most of his brothers to dust. This unit is modeled after your basic Thousand Son Marine. An easy way to represent the Inferno Bolts is to give the Helbrute the soul blaze special rule to all of its shooting attacks. It is more difficult to represent the Aura of Dark Glory that gives a Marine a 4+ Invulnerable Save. The easy way would to be to just give the Helbrute an Invul Save. Other alternatives would be to give it Venerable but that would effectively be the same thing.

You have to give something up for those swanky benefits. The easiest way is to just make the upgrades costs points. You could also make the Helbrute Slow and Purposeful or require it to be within 12" of a sorcerer to fire at full effect. 


Estlabishing value for this mini is very difficult. To replace it on face value would start with getting my hands on a metal CSM Dread. Tehy run for $15 to $25 on eBay with an average of about $20. That seems low to me but that is reality. To replace all the bits I would pretty much need another Helbrute kit and they run $54 right now. Completely skipping the regular SM legs, the Contemptor feet and the metal face plate on the base, the replacement value is at $74. With all the time the conversions ate up, I value them at about $20. The paint job is solid and valued at $45. Total replacement value is about $140. No one is going to trade at that value unless this is precisely what they are looking for. I think the details and magnets will ad to that value but I don't see it going for over $100.

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