Ben takes the next turn in the hotseat as a lovely conversion of a Warlord caught our eye. We talk inspiration, conversion, and dedication as we cover The Bloody Rose today.
TOC: It's rare to see a Warlord Titan converted due to the complexity and expense of the kit, but another one has graced TOC. This one also bears a well-done bit of weathering and freehand paint work. What inspired you to do such a lovely Titan?
Ben: I've wanted something giant and Chaos for a while now, bigger than a Warhound, and I wasn't a big enough fan of how the Reaver looks overall. At least not enough yet to invest the time and money to buy and paint one - but with those two kits I love the Chaos details on them to bits. Forge World took too long for me to release a Chaos version of the Warlord, and there was always a little doubt they'd do it at all. The ideas for this guy filled my head so much that I took the plunge. I took heavy inspiration from the Chaos Titan on the back cover of the Warlord book and cut my conversion teeth on a Chaos Knight that was, itself, heavily inspired by the Gal Vorbak possessed and Mhara Gal dreadnought.
TOC: A strong theme with the Word Bearers is evident in your work so far. Your Legio name is also unique. What's the story behind how this has unfolded?
Ben: I wanted a scheme that tied in to the colors of my current Chaos armies, which are predominantly Khornate and Word Bearers. None of the traitor Titan Legios were red, and the closest thing I found to what I wanted was this from a Titanicus preview event, which unfortunately has no real details attached. It may even turn out to be a loyalist scheme. Creating a new Legio and attached Forge World I drew from a medical diagnosis I had early in 2017.
It turns out I have Angioid streaks, or cracks in a membrane in the back of my eyes (which I replicated from photo reference on to those silver cracks in the heraldry shields). I searched out and found/created a medical term for that: Oculorrhexis, Ruptured Eye if my bad Latin is right.
I'm also a fan of how purple was an extremely rare color back in ancient history. It was produced largely by Carthage, so I incorporated a little bit of Tyrian Purple into the otherwise red scheme, painting the line designs on the head from a Phonecian Grimacing Mask. I named the Forge World after the Carthaginian city Meninx which was "second only to Tyre in the production of Tyrian Purple" which also happens to be Latin for Membrane, which ties back to the name of the Legio: Oculorrhexis.
TOC: You're big on history and story. Have any of the Black Library publications played a role in your Titan?
Ben: The First Heretic and Betrayer were heavy inspirations for my Titan and my army in general. The journey of the first Gal Vorbak, with Argel Tal, into the Eye (of Terror) especially; how entirely reasonable men can become monsters. I like to think a Word Bearer Chaplain, perhaps with the aid of a Davinite serpent lodge priest, influenced the Titan crews of my Legio and the attached Mechanicum of my Forge World into venturing into the Eye on their own pilgrimage, maybe to find the true Omnissiah.
After having their Titans tainted in a similar but early fashion to most Chaos warmachines in 40k they participate in the Shadow Crusade alongside the Word Bearers and World Eaters, destroying the 50 Worlds of Ultramar assigned to a different fleet from that of the Primarchs.
TOC: Will we get to see this play out over time in your Walks? And do you have a favorite Titan literature piece?
Ben: Absolutely, I plan on having many battles with him where he will accrue even more details! At the risk of sounding pretentious he is a massive canvas to which I will never stop adding.
My favorite Titan literature piece is the graphic novel series Titan by Dan Abnett, specifically the final book where the crew is trapped in the warp and must find Imperius Dictatio.
TOC: Have you been able to have any battles with your Titan yet? If so, has it lived up to the stories you've read?
Ben: I’ve had two battles so far, both 8th edition 40k using points post-chapter approved. The first he battled and won against a Reaver, but then suffered from two psykers debuffing him (reaffirming my Khornate hatred for psykers,) allowing flighty Eldar knights and Titans to ultimately take him down. He evaporated Necrons and a C'tan shard with the explosion.
The second battle he was made a centerpiece of the game with a zone mortalis fight (with entry points at his feet) occurring to take control of him, reminiscent of the story from the Titan graphic novel. I was proud of the damage he dealt in that battle, taking down swathes of troops and a knight in one shot...even though it was allies of mine he was killing. The Imperial scum had seized control! This battle absolutely lived up to the stories.
TOC: What do you hope to get out of Titan ownership?
Ben: Just like what Gimzod said in Deff Skwadron about the Grimlug: something for "Strikin' FEAR, TERROR an' DEEP an' ABIDIN' ENVY into the hearts of 'is enemies."
TOC: And what do you hope to contribute to it?
Ben: Inspiration for other Chaos Titan owners, prospective or otherwise, over what can be done to these beasts to make them your own.
TOC: What drew you into joining TOC?
Ben: My research for building and painting the Titan always lead me back to your TOC blog. The tutorials for building and making banners, painting, all the inspiring completed work on display. This, along with the testimonials over what others went through in building and painting their Titans.
TOC: And now you have the chance to add to that font of knowledge. Currently Titan owners await updated rules for the Skitarii and the release of Adeptus Titanicus. What are you most excited about for the future of Titans?
Ben: I'm most excited for the upcoming Adeptus Titanicus release. With enhanced fluff and details about Titan legions, their banners, hierarchy, additional Legios. It may explain what some of those symbols on the Titan transfer sheet from Forge World mean that I could never work out. Last, but not least, fielding my Warlord in a smaller scale alongside a full maniple! If you had asked me a year ago I would've said a Chaos Warlord, but then I went and made my own.
TOC: What you've done with yours is quite impressive. How did you achieve that conversion work?
Ben: My best friend though it all was my Dremel, allowing me to shave off the Imperial symbols. Absolutely do this outside. Resin dust is not good to inhale or layer the inside of a room in. I followed this by filling in any ugly divots I made into the smooth plates with brownstuff sanded down and with Vallejo plastic putty or liquid greenstuff around the edges. I used a scribing tool to restore the panel lines that were underneath the symbols, and then plasticarded the same depth of the armor trim for arrows. Lots and lots of arrows, some with rivets on them made with a rubber. These arrows were possibly the most time-consuming part of the conversion.
After this came more details to follow the look of the Chaos Titan in that artwork and to match the look of current Chaos Titans. Tubes of brownstuff were shaped down into an almost welded, almost organically grown look of points. Spikes on the trim of the shoulders supported with pin armatures, a crown of massive spikes above the head made with brownstuff tubes supported by wire armatures carved to resemble teeth. Originally I wanted to name the Titan a pseudo-latin version of "The King of Slaves" or "The Enslaved King.” If Forge World does release a Chaos Warlord and I'm insane enough to do this all over again that'll probably be its name. Finally, I added a fleshy eye the color of violet over the chest.
TOC: You've done a great job. Will there be any other Titans to follow?
Ben: Not yet, not since the Chaos Warhound was mysteriously taken off the Forge World webstore. I have two Khornate warmachines, a Brass Scorpion, and a Kytan engine waiting to be built. Then there's a Knight Porphyrion waiting to be built and heavily converted. During this build my backlog only grew.
TOC: And the final, and most fun question. Any challenges, shoutouts, or words of wisdom?
Ben: Shoutout to the HandsomeBioz slack crew and my LFGS Geekhouse Albany! And DON'T INHALE RESIN DUST!
TOC: Very fine advice. Thank you for your time, it was a pleasure.