Blackstone Fortress: Obsidius Mallex

With many of the rank-and-file Blackstone Fortress baddies now complete it’s time to turn my attention to the big boss himself; Obsidius Mallex. Lord of the Chaos forces present in the fortress and the architect behind their villainous schemes, Mallex is an imposing presence in the game. Even though we never encountered him when we played I think we were all faintly terrified that he might put in an appearance and wreak terrible havoc on our beleaguered band of explorers, who already had to contend with all of the other hostile creatures present and our often shaky grasp of the rules.

When it came to painting him I stalled for a little while trying to decide whether to go with the colour scheme of my Beasts of Ruin Chaos Marine army or paint him in the black and gold of the Black Legion. in the end, despite using the former scheme for the games’ other Chaos Space Marines, I decided that the latter option was the way to go. After all, I didn’t want him to represent just any old generic Chaos Lord (something for which the model is now also available) but Obsidius Mallex himself. To me he isn’t “just” a chaos lord in the same way that Janus Draik isn’t just a rogue trader. Plus I wanted to practice painting the Black Legion colour scheme before I tackled what remains for me the best miniature released this year, Abaddon the Despoiler. And anyway – just look at that face! There’s no denying he’s a son of Horus!

Chaos Lord Warhammer 40k Wudugast (2)Chaos Lord Warhammer 40k Wudugast (3)Chaos Lord Warhammer 40k Wudugast (4)Chaos Lord Warhammer 40k Wudugast (5)Chaos Lord Warhammer 40k Wudugast (6)

As for why two of the Beasts would be fighting under the command of a Black Legion lord my reasoning is that my Beasts of Ruin are allied with Abaddon’s legion and some were fighting alongside Mallex when his ship was snatched from the triumph at the Cadian Gate and swallowed up by the Blackstone Fortress. I suspect that Chaos Marines often move from one warband to another in this way, and they would eventually adopt the Black Legion colours, unless of course they manage to rejoin their old warband in the meantime. At some point I’d like to paint a few more Black Legion marines to accompany Abaddon (when I finally pluck up the courage to tackle painting the true Warmaster himself!).

Chaos Lord Warhammer 40k Wudugast (1)

With Mallex done that’s the main cast of villains out of the way apart from the ranks of the traitor guard. Until now I’ve been content to leave these and draw upon the collection I’d already painted for my old Chaos army. Now however their moment has arrived so expect to see the dregs of the Great Eye putting in an appearance soon.

16 responses to “Blackstone Fortress: Obsidius Mallex

  • Falchus

    Such a cool model, and you’ve really done him justice. Imposing and sinister, as befits a warlord of the Black Legion.
    I’d be interested to hear your views on his design. Do you like the techno-organic growths? I’m in two minds myself, as although they show the corruption of Chaos, they don’t seem to serve a purpose per se.
    I always envisioned Chaos Astartes as clad in baroque armour, with mutations that reflect their character. A lord would be imposing, perhaps with grand horns, or an imposing visage. The bloodthirsty may develop talons, or fuse to their weapons. The suspicious extra eyes, the gluttonous a ravening maw, etc etc.

    • Wudugast

      First of all; thank you! 😀

      Secondly, I too was in two minds about the organic growths. I even wonder if the ‘eavy Metal painter liked them all that much, on the studio model they’re very toned down and blended into armour (so much so that I hadn’t noticed how far they extended until I started working on him). For myself I decided that rather than try to hide them I’d play them up, steering into the skid as it were. Whether or not that was a good idea is a matter for personal taste but I’m happy enough with the outcome.

      Regarding their usefulness (or lack thereof!) I imagine they’re a sign that the armour is becoming ever more alive and organic, and bonding with its wearer. What exact function they perform is open ended, I thought they might be the guts or arteries of the living armour but who knows? For me I quite like the idea that the “gifts” bestowed by the gods are often entirely useless, many of them actually hamper the warrior that receives them and even the best are a double-edged sword that may grant them great power in one area but leaves them weakened in another.

      If you’ll excuse me nerding out a little, the background I came up with for my original chaos lord (who desperately needs a new model now I think of it!) was that he betrayed his oaths to the Imperium, led many of his brothers in revolt, made a pyre out of his chapter world, sparked a huge war in the name of the Chaos Gods and in return for his efforts they gifted him with a tentacle for an arm (which on the whole made him weaker than he was before). As a result he scorns those who worship the gods and believes that Chaos is a tool and a weapon, but nothing more than that. Rather than chop off the arm and replace it with a bionic he keeps it as a reminder never to bow to any masters. The arm meanwhile has a sentience of its own and retains an unbending loyalty to the gods that created it, so it often tries to betray him, lead him into situations whereby he is forced to do the whims of daemons or sometimes even tries to attack him directly. Sounds slightly silly written down like that but it’s got a lot of narrative hooks in there that I’ve enjoyed exploring.

      I very much agree with you on your idea of how chaos marines would look (particularly those, such as Chaos Lords, who are veterans and have endured long exposure to the warp). The difference in appearance between one Chaos Lord and another would be far greater than that between, for example, one loyalist Chapter Master and another. In the case of the Chapter Masters the primary difference would be which mark of armour they’re wearing, further personalised by which weapons they’ve chosen, chapter icons and other bling, and which head (from the billion or so options GW now produces) that you chose to use. Two Chapter Masters might then meet and say “Ah, I see you also like Cataphractii plate and thunder hammers” and the miniatures which represent them would look fairly similar, albeit in different heraldry. Whereas any Chaos Lord should look entirely different to any other Chaos Lord, being the product of their personalities and choices reflected back by the Warp and physically twisting them into new forms. If GW wanted to be “completist” about it, half a dozen models (with swappable weapons) would provide for every kind of Chapter Master – whereas a few hundred different Chaos Lord models would still only represent a tiny minority of the Chaos Lords active in the galaxy.
      Thus in my opinion rather than trying to make a generic Chaos Lord kit GW should produce something extremely modular which can then be used as the basis for any number of conversions, kitbashes and so on. In the absence of this I think Mallex works pretty well as a generic Chaos Lord, however although it’s a nice model in and of itself it wouldn’t be the easiest to kitbash and convert without being fairly experienced so as the basis for the kind of individualised Chaos Lords I envision he’s not a great starting point.

      Have you read the Black Legion books by Aaron Dembski-Bowden by the way? Highly recommend them if you’ve not. He describes the effects of the Warp on the mutations of the Chaos Marines in a way that ties very closely to what you’ve described (and does so more concisely and entertainingly than I feel I’ve managed!).

      • Falchus

        What an interesting backstory for your Chaos Lord, with lots of potential narrative depth:

        -Reward shows Chaos deems his offering unworthy
        -Offering was worthy, but reward was never guaranteed to be helpful
        -Reward’s actions/betrayals reflect the ever changing nature of Chaos
        -Reward was exactly what the Lord needed to make him more effective, and avoid complacency

        I have read the Black Legion novels, and completely agree that they contain loads of inspiration for modelling truly individual Chaos characters.

        I also like the idea of the modular Chaos Lord kit, like the old Space Marine Captain box set. Making it compatible with the huge range of bits would really be a hobbyist dream. Maybe one day, eh?

        Look forward to what you tackle next!

  • Pete S/ SP

    Wonderful work- you have given him a look of intense determination.



  • Alexis West

    Badass! Speaking to the discussion above, the techno-organic fusion between Chaos Marines and their weapons and armour has always been an aspect of their fluff that I loved. It really came out great here. The tale of your Chaos Lord reminds me a bit of the Angel story arc where Lindsey got a hand transplant that retained some connection to its previous owner, who could sometimes control it to one degree or another.

    • Wudugast

      Well I’m glad you thought of the Angel story rather than the Red Dwarf episode with Rimmer getting strangled by his own arm! :-p (And yes, I still need to watch Buffy, I’m not forgetting your glowing recommendation, have even managed to get a borrow of some of the series, just haven’t actually sat down and watched them yet…)

      And yes, completely agree on that aspect of the Chaos background being one of the best – I love the idea that the mutations we see aren’t simply some kind of “warp-gunk” twisting the marines but a side effect of their own obsessions and personalities.

      Glad you like the big lad, I’m happy with how he turned out so I’ll need to pluck up my courage and take a stab at Abaddon soon.

      • Alexis West

        Yeah, the arc on Angel was better than Rimmer’s. Lindsey kept using it to justify stuff like hitting his superiors. “Not my fault. Evil hand. You’re the ones who gave it to me.” 😀

  • Rotten Djar

    Great job! I like so much this model. Initially I bought it to complete my Death Guard army, but later I discovered that thunder hammer is not allowed in the Codex, so I’ve decided to create a CSM army. Could you recommend me Night Lords or Black Legion?

    • Wudugast

      Thank you – it’s a really cool model isn’t it? 🙂

      Night Lords or Black Legion? Good question! Those are actually my two favourite legions – if I started a new chaos space marine army it would be the Black Legion (partly because I love the novels) but the Night Lords would be a close second. Take note – I don’t know much about the rules, certainly not enough to really advise you, but I really like the background and the way they look. This is the first time I’ve painted a model in the Black Legion colour scheme but I found it was pretty straightforward. A nice thing about it is that it’s a fairly neutral scheme so they’d fit in alongside pretty much any other chaos marines you paint in the future. The Black Legion also work with all the other chaos forces so they’d ally nicely with your Death Guard if you wanted – you could even use your plague marines as part of both armies. The Night Lords on the other hand don’t even get along with each other – although I could still imagine plenty of reasons why they’d fight alongside the Death Guard if you wanted them to. I’d say the Night Lords are harder to paint well but if you’re up for a challenge then it’s a chance to create a more unusual force – I don’t think as many people paint Night Lords as Black Legion. I’ve also seen a really amazing conversion – can’t think where or by who now unfortunately – of this very model turned into a Night Lord using the head from the Knight of Shrouds.

      Hope that helps, remember so long as you’re fighting for chaos you’re doing the right thing 😀

      • Rotten Djar

        Thank you for your comment. It’s a pleasure to receive an answer like yours. I don’t play competitive games, only for fun and for the pleasure of painting, so i’ll speak with the pantheon to advise me on this.

  • Alex

    Nicely done mate – he’s a beast of a mini, and you’ve painted him beautifully!

  • Azazel

    He’s certainly come up very nicely. I seem to leave comments like this all the damn time, but it really does make me want to bust my own one out and get cracking on it, but – as always – too much other stuff to finish first, especially isnce he looks like he’ll need some extra TLC as it’s such a great figure and I want to do justice to it, as you’ve done here! I am keen on getting my beastmans out for next month’s Squad challenge though! (again, thanks to you!)

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