Having painted up most of the baddies from the Blackstone Fortress, and enough of the heroes for a crew of adventurers, my attention has turned to the traitor guardsmen who make up a large part of the Chaos forces in the game. Until now we’ve been reliant on raiding my existing collection of traitor guard to represent these turncoats but the models from the Blackstone Fortress set really are impressive and I’ve been looking forward to getting to work on them properly. Each squad contains seven guardsmen and, with three already painted and shown previously, I decided to start by tackling four more to round out the first group.
First up, two guardsmen armed with the ubiquitous lasgun.
Of course, when you really need to show that you mean business, and the dark gods are watching but need some light to see by, you can’t go wrong with a flamer.
Lastly we have the squad’s champion, this sergeant who has embraced his new creed with dark fervour.
And there we have it, a whole squad ready for action and another step closer to getting the original Blackstone Fortress boxset completed.
Working on these I’m struck, once again, by the degree to which they outshine the old loyalist Cadians. Looking at them, and the gorgeous new Sisters of Battle range, we can only hope that some new regiments will be emerging to fight in the Emperor’s name in the near-ish future. Of course, I’m also still hoping for a full lost-and-the-damned/traitor guard range at some stage too.
It’s mid November, the nights are increasing cold and dark and the days aren’t much better. We’re reaching the time of year when staying indoors and playing Blackstone Fortress is very appealing. Time to get a wiggle on with painting the rest of the box then. Breaking myself in gently (on the grounds that batch painting traitor guardsmen isn’t that much of a break from batch painting orks) I decided to tackle one of the new heroes, the crusader Gotfred de Montbard.
He’s quite a strange looking character, clearly a knight but seen through the lens of the 41st Millennium, and that very oddness was one of the main things that attracted me to him. I’ll admit that I was also drawn to him in part because I thought he’d be fairly straightforward to paint, after all he’s mostly just armour and cloak right? Well, it turns out he’s not quite as simple as that, there’s enough to him to keep him interesting but not so much that I ran out of time and energy to make a start on those traitor guardsmen. Before I get back to working on them however here he is next to his new friends and colleagues who’ll be joining him in exploring the dark corridors of the fortress.
Not too shabby I reckon – heretics beware! Of course, now I need to bash on and actually paint said heretics…
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!
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!).
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.
Floating eerily over the battlefield the Rogue Psykers are another of my favourite models from the Blackstone fortress set. I was a big fan of Forge World’s Rogue Psyker, although perhaps foolishly I never saved up the money and bought one, and as a result was rather disappointed when it was removed from the range last year. For those who don’t know what I’m on about here’s a reminder.
Thankfully he’s now back, although sadly without his tortured victim, joining the Necromunda range as Bounty Hunter Thaetos 23-2. My initial disappointment at the loss of the Forge World psyker however was very much ameliorated by the arrival of Blackstone Fortress and the two Rogue Psykers within, very much the spiritual successors of the aforementioned model, with the added advantages of being produced in a lighter and more flexible material.
Driven insane by the warp-spawned powers crowding their minds and at constant risk of being possessed by daemons, yet equally unwilling to be dragged away onto a Black Ship and used to keep the Emperor alive in a tortuous soul-flaying process, these two gents have instead offered their cruelty and megalomaniacal hatred of mankind to the chaos gods with predictably evil results.
As I was painting them it struck me that one or other would make a fine witch for my nascent Necromunda chaos cult gang (the one that I’m painting at a downright glacial pace!) and, as a witch can be accompanied by a familiar, I dug around in the bits box for something suitable to accompany them into the Underhive. Given the amount of toxic industrial runoff in every body of water on the hive world a mutant fish seemed perfect – and even the most learned of the helots would struggle to recognise the sigil of the god trapping them ever further in damnation…
With these done it’s time to turn my attention to the biggest, baddest villain to haunt the halls of the Blackstone Fortress, Obsidius Mallex himself. Despite my long affiliation with Chaos and my deep and abiding respect for Abaddon (the true Warmaster) this is my first attempt at painting a member of the Black Legion so it’ll be interesting to see how I get on.
With the Negavolt Cultists out of the way the next step for my Blackstone Fortress project was to turn my attention to the fearsome beastmen. In Games Workshop’s fantasy universes, beastmen are uniformly savage and chaotic – indeed the name “beast man” derives from “best man” and refers to their hedonistic, untamed nature combined with their tendency to consume alcohol in quantity and instigate shenanigans. In the 41st Millennium beastmen enjoy a greater range of personalities and many are loyal to the Imperium, serving in Imperial Guard regiments and even appearing as one of Necromunda’s most famous faces. Despite this they are generally abused, looked down upon and used as cannon fodder with the result that many choose to throw in their lot with the servants of the Ruinous Powers, who also tend to abuse them, look down upon them and use them as cannon fodder. The models from Blackstone Fortress, it should be noted, fall firmly into the latter camp.
Being crude and hairy myself I’ve always had a soft spot for these rowdy creatures and often planned, usually without much actual progress, to model some of my own during the long years in which they vanished from 40k almost entirely. Thus finding them in the Blackstone Fortress set was a real thrill and I’ve been looking forward to tackling them ever since.
It took me a while to get the colours right on these but I’m definitely pleased with the outcome. What more they’ve left me so enthused about all things bestial that I’ve already started working on some more, this time destined to rampage around the Mortal Realms instead. All being well I’ll have them ready to show you all soon.
Despite getting that Ogryn painted the other day I sense a real danger of my Blackstone Fortress project starting to stall so I’ve been reapplying myself to the task over the last few nights. As I can lay the blame for the slow down firmly at the feet of the Negavolt Cultists (a set of models which regular readers will know I’ve been grousing about for some time) I decided that the best way to get back on track was to face my fears and get them finished.
There’s actually a lot to love about them; they are unusual models, subtle and cleverly designed and our first sighting of the Dark Mechanicum in plastic – surely a boon to any servant of Chaos. However they are also a real challenge to paint, as though the whole model was made up of nothing but nooks and crannies into which one has to find a way to insert one’s brush (stop giggling at the back!). That, combined with their pale and sickly skin – never my forte – turned them into a bit of a headache and I kept finding excuses to put them off and paint other things instead. No more however! Our brave explorers shall face the depths of the fortress and when they do they shall find bondage clad luddites with optical dreadlocks waiting for them.
…And of course this allows me the minor thrill of crossing off the Negavolt Cultists from my, by now slightly battered, “to do” list.
Although there’s still quite a lot left to cover there we now have pretty much everything we need to play a game (assuming that we only use the same four heroes and that we recruit traitor guardsmen from the ranks I made previously for 40k). The biggest things missing from the basic game now (leaving aside the expansions) are the beastmen and the rogue psykers so that’s where my attention will be focused next.