Hard to believe I’ve been posting this stuff for a whole year! And one year ago, when I got this blog off the ground, the first thing I posted was a kitbashed Autarch, Matthias. It took him close to a year to actually hit the tabletop, but when he did, he landed with a splash, and I wanted to give him his due in the form of an upgrade. Followers will recall my long-standing rivalry with XenonMage’s Tyranids in our ongoing Crusade campaign, and while I have yet to claim a single win against her, Matthias is one of the units who’s seemed to fare best against her bugs. Not only did I want to make an even more unique kitbash than the last one, I wanted to try and integrate the Tyranid-heavy nature of our campaign’s narrative. Enter: Hiro Dustwalker.
As soon as I saw the Hiro Dustwalker sculpt, I knew that this was what I wanted to be the base for Matthias’ next upgrade. The body armor, leg armor, and shield could all conceivably be Tyranid chitin that had been repurposed, and I could use spare Eldar bits that I had lying around to take care of the rest, and to get him to fit in nicely with the rest of my army. It worked for two reasons: I initially painted the chitin on XenonMage’s “starter” Tyranid set the same way that I painted the armor on my Dire Avengers, with the exception of gloss varnish, so Matthias fits right in with my Dire Avengers aesthetically – which also works great in our campaign from a narrative perspective.
To put this together, I got a hold of Hiro from QualityPrintsES and used pliers to clip off the head, spear-head, and spear-butt. Everything else is green stuff and bits. I used a shoulder and grundle pad from plastic Wraithguard along with a few spare Guardian grenade bits and vanes, and last but not least added a head from the War Walker kit and a Dire Avenger spear. And I’m pretty thrilled with the result! The basing Hiro came with also has what looks like a burrowing Ripper on the base, which also fits really thematically well. I kept the default base instead of the 32mm ones I used with Matthias’ predecessor just because I thought this fit better, and because (I think) 25mm is still the right foot-Autarch size, not that me and the folks I play with are usually concerned with such things.
This model came out a lot more stable than my last Autarch kitbash, with less in the way of trailing bits that can get caught on things. I think looking at each of them there are still things I like better about the old one, and other things I like better about the new one, but overall I think the new one still shows a lot of improvement and I’m excited to see him leading my Dire Avengers into the fray. Having the chitin colours fit in with that squad is a huge plus, for me. (And I swear, Vallejo Air Blue is magical stuff.)