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Posted 15/05/2019

Kill Team: Johan Egerkrans’ Deathwatch

With all the Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team excitement that has been building in anticipation of Elites hitting the shelves this weekend (though you can still pre-order it right now!), we’ve got another treat for you today. More specifically, we’re showcasing the incredible Deathwatch kill team of Johan Egerkrans. Over to Johan to tell us all about his miniatures:

Hi! I’m Johan Egerkrans (AKA Jeff Vader). I’m primarily an illustrator and writer, but also a long-time Warhammer fan with a penchant for converting and painting in what is now commonly known as the ‘Blanchitsu’ style.* As someone who has a hard time maintaining the focus to do an entire army for Warhammer 40,000, I was really excited when Kill Team came out. The low model count means I can spend a lot of time converting and painting each character, so it suits me perfectly.

I soon decided to go for a Deathwatch kill team, based around a Space Marine Chapter of my own devising called the Metatron (named after a high-ranking angelic being). The Metatron Chapter and the Ordo Xenos have extremely close ties and most of their campaigns are undertaken in close collaboration with the Inquisition. Metatron Space Marines are highly independent and are often seen operating on their own, as advisors to the Astra Militarum, or as valued members of senior Inquisitorial retinues. Furthermore, all of the Chapter’s  Veterans have served in the Deathwatch, and many of them are granted the right to wear the black livery even when they rejoin the Metatron. This means you sometimes get entire Deathwatch squads comprised solely by Metatron Space Marines – which suits me as it gives the squad a bit more visual coherence. The dark red shoulder pads are all the same colour and tie the models together.

The kill team is battle-worthy now, clocking in at around 80-90 points. I will make a few more Deathwatch Veterans, though, to have some options when fielding them – namely a Sniper specialist and a Gunner with the Heavy specialism. At the time of writing the squad consists of:

  • Sergeant Dukas – the fearless Leader, armed with a power sword and bolter
  • Battle-brother Komeda – the Combat Specialist, armed with a power sword and bolter
  • Battle-brother Zimmer – the squad Zealot and trainee Chaplain, armed with a heavy thunder hammer
  • Battle-brothers Desplat and Silvestri – both armed with Deathwatch shotguns

Readers with an interest in music may note that I nicked the names of my characters from famous classical and film score composers. I find it’s a lot easier to come up with good names if you stick to a particular theme – it could be characters from a particular author’s books, mythological names (Dark Angels names, for instance, are often borrowed from biblical texts) or something slightly less serious like naming your skaven characters after different makes of cheese…

The models are all based on Primaris Space Marines – both Reivers and Intercessors – with Deathwatch arms and backpacks, as the kits go together really well. They’re all fielded as regular Deathwatch Veterans – I just use the Primaris bodies to give them a suitably intimidating scale, and the mix between different armour types gives each model a distinctive silhouette which helps make the models stand out as characters.

I have a rather unusual painting style so it’s hard to describe my method – there’s a lot of going back and forth, mixing techniques and happy (as well as not-so-happy) accidents involved. But basically I undercoat the model black and then give it a semi-zenithal highlight of Administratum Grey. This provides a quick shading of sorts, as if the light was coming from above the miniature. When that is dry, a Nuln Oil wash follows before the panels are painted black, leaving the rim grey as a highlight. I then do proper edge highlights with Administratum Grey.

To top it off, I give the armour a light glaze of Guilliman Blue to give it a cooler tone. The dark reds are a mix of Khorne Red and Rhinox Hide, shaded with Agrax Earthshade and highlighted with Khorne Red. The off-white is Rakarth Flesh, shaded with Athonian Camoshade and highlighted with Pallid Wych Flesh. It’s a bit less straightforward than that, of course, as I apply the various washes by stippling and sponging to provide texture, but that’s more or less how I do it.

Thanks, Johan! If you want to create your own Deathwatch kill team, simply grab the aptly named Deathwatch Kill Team set, as well as a Deathwatch Watch Master if you want a suitably awesome Commander to lead them. And be sure to pre-order Kill Team: Elites now or pick it up in-store this weekend to find out what else you can add to your xenos-hunting specialists.

* Named for the colourful painting style of Warhammer art legend, John Blanche.

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