“With unnerving regularity, Cypher will arrive at some critical flashpoint, his presence kicking off a violent chain of events time and again.”
From Dataslate Cypher – Lord of the Fallen
Now if the quote above is true then where better for Cypher to show up than alongside my Beasts of Ruin? As much as the patronage of all four chaos gods it makes me feel than Kell and his warriors are set upon the path of greatness, not merely a band of renegades in a provincial sector but villains of real importance whose actions might change history. Indeed adding Cypher to the force feels like a validation of the threat they pose to the galaxy, a rubber stamp of their martial strength.
Of course, what happens when the secretive and single-minded Dark Angels turn up and start encroaching on the vendetta of my equally bitter and enigmatic Hawkmoths remains to be seen…I mentioned a couple of months ago that I wanted to add Cypher to the Beasts of Ruin. As it turned out the miniature then came together very quickly. I used a Dark Angels veteran model as the basis for the conversion but cut it in half at the waist, turning the torso just a fraction to make the pose more dynamic. I added a pair of suitable guns and a sword from the Empire Greatswords kit and the hooded desperado was complete.
Interestingly I note that Cypher is always depicted as wearing green armour, both on the studio miniature and in the official artwork. However if he is one of the Fallen – and thus a renegade from before the Dark Angels changed their colours following the Horus Heresy – it should be black. I don’t know if this is an error made by the Games Workshop team, a deliberate hint regarding his identity or if it is explained somewhere in the background (if you know or have a good theory then do please post a comment and let me know). Whatever the truth is I hedged my bets and decided to paint his armour black.
A few weeks ago I said I’d been inspired by the release of the new Helbrute kit to return to my old Chaos Dreadnaught (as they were called back when he was built) and give him a touch of paint to bring him up to a standard matching the rest of the collection.
Here’s the original version, pre-restoration. If I’m honest my enthusiasm waned whilst I was working on this the first time and it was a real struggle to get him finished to a stage where I was content to put him on the shelf.
And here he is post-restoration. Hopefully you’ll agree he’s a rustier, nastier beast, and the failed attempts at greenstuff on the knee have been swept aside.
Something that jumps out from both the new Helbrute kit and the Dark Vengeance version is the face. As soon as you look at them you know that beneath all that hulking flesh and iron is a human being, albeit a superhuman twisted and tormented by their incarceration within the warp. Back when I made this miniature however these weren’t available. Converting a Chaos Dreadnaught from its loyalist counterpart often meant simply creating a standard Dreadnaught with spikes all over it. Inspiration came in the form of the Fantasy Chaos Knights shield which I used to make the monster’s face. Rather than a space marine, I reasoned, this Dreadnaught was piloted by a daemon which had been lured into the machine and caged there.
Working on him again got me quite inspired about Helbrutes, so much so that I’ve finally assembled my Dark Vengeance Helbrute as well. Of course as soon as I’d done this it became spectacularly obvious that both miniatures share the same pose, my conversion crushing a fallen Imperial icon with his left foot and firing with the gun on his right arm. All I can say is “I thought of it first”.
The image above was included to illustrate my point – my apologies to anyone else who saw Helbrute’s line-dancing; the horror and trauma was not intended.
This is another of my favourite models in the collection, although I reckon it’s also one of the most disturbing. To me it captures the kill-or-be-killed lifestyle that a Chaos Marine must endure. Whilst daemons are lured and imprisoned within many of their war machines this one appears to have outwitted it’s would be captors, killing the previous owner of this armour and crawling inside like a hermit crab into a shell.