Needing a bit of a break from painting brightly colour Eschers I’ve turned my attention to the leader of my Chaos Cult gang, Skaverghast the Pit Dweller.
Originally conceived as a way of getting another gang up and running quickly and easily using models cannibalised from elsewhere in my collection my Chaos Cult rapidly degenerated into a morass of self-sabotage, over-ambitious targets and general mayhem. In this regard I suppose I was acting entirely in character for a Necromundan helot planning to smash the system armed with nothing but a poorly translated book of spells, a rusty knife and the advice of a whispering voice no one else can hear which assures me that everything will turn out just fine so long as I trust it. After all they too believe they’ve found an easy shortcut to success that soon mutates and grows (sometimes quite literally) into something they can’t control. Time to nip this heresy in the bud and get the gang ready to spread mayhem in the Underhive at last. With a chaos spawn on the loose and a witch borrowed from Blackstone Fortress what my cult really needed next was a leader, a demagogue who has stirred up the helots and convinced them to take up arms against the Imperium.
I’ve made several attempts at creating a suitable model to fill this role but until now I really haven’t been happy with any of them.
As is traditional he also needs a backstory to explain his origins and tie him into the evolving story of Ironhouse and the gang warfare threatening to overrun it (someone should call for the Enforcers…).
Skaverghast was born strong. Down in the deep pits beneath the roots of the hive, where light is as precious as water and the air flows as thick as soup, he came into the world bellowing and wrathful. The human tribes that dwell in those depths are a far cry from the Imperial citizens who live above them. Far from the Emperor’s glory they dwell in madness and degeneracy, gibbering idiot prayers into the inky chasms, mating with mutants to birth monstrosities, and feasting on the weakest of their kin. Had he been born in the manufactory levels above Skaverghast would have been carried straight to the pyre, so terrible were his mutations – his form and foulness an offence to the Emperor’s gaze. To the people of the pit he was holy, touched by the gods of the hungry shadows. They grovelled before the babe like beggars before a king.
As Skaverghast aged he ascended, climbing the crumbling stairs and muck-choked pipes that led up towards the light. As he went he carried the darkness with him. The Ratskin clans hated him as soon as they sensed him, recognising at once a cancer of the Hive Spirit and knowing that he would spread corruption within the blessed shadows. They sought to slay him and with each failure Skaverghast gorged and grew stronger.
Higher still and the crime queens of the Black Manufactoria recognised his strength and coveted it for their own ends. Taking him in they made him their overseer, and he reigned in terror over an army of slave-workers. Soon however even that was not enough. Skaverghast hungered to hunt again and the Queens desired a foothold in Hive Volatos, an opening from which they might reclaim their lost realms and rebuild their dynasties. So decided they dispatched their general, tasking him with gathering the lost, the hateful and the bitter, taking these broken shards and forging from them an army by which Ironhouse might be claimed.
Whilst I was about it I took the opportunity to repaint a couple more of my old cultists, bringing them to a modern standard and allowing myself to induct them into the cult.
As ever I’m keen to avoid any duplicate models making their way into the gang so that second cultist was a conversion. For comparison, here he is next to the original.
If I’m honest I probably have enough now to get my Chaos gang up and running but I still have a few other cultists either part-painted or in need to repainting so I’m not going to call this project done yet. However I’m determined not to allow it to drag on for months so I’ll aim to get the last few done ASAP, hopefully (all being well) in the next couple of weeks.