You’ll be pleased to hear that over the weekend I managed to paint up quite the horde of Orks as part of the Orktober painting challenge. Naturally you might assume, based on that provocative opening statement, that I’m going to show you some painted greenskins today – but you’d be dead wrong about that. You see, several months ago I swore an oath; to paint something for my Adeptus Mechanicus army every month of 2021 and I shall hold to that, come rain, shine or even hordes of Orks.
This month I’ve tackled another specialist tech-priest, and a model almost as fiddly as last month’s Tech-Priest Manipulus, the Cybernetica Datasmith. The Adeptus Mechanicus have always had an uneasy relationship with artificial intelligence. On the one hand armies of robots would be great, seeing as they’re durable, remorseless and wonderfully easy to mass-produce. They don’t have families waiting for them back home, they don’t need to be fed or paid and you don’t have to worry about them returning from war injured or traumatised. On the other hand, as anyone who has seen films like the Terminator can attest they do have the troubling habit of going rogue and removing problem elements (up to and including the entire human race). In the backstory of Warhammer 40k humanity tried having armies of robots and the battered survivors swore never to do it again. Nowadays the Adeptus Mechanicus keeps a very tight leash indeed on their robots and the men who hold those leashes are the Cybernetica Datasmiths. All this does have a downside of course, if the Datasmith happens to die – always a risk when you’re on a battlefield – the robots under his command will continue to follow their last instructions, at which point you’d better stand well back until they run out of batteries – however long that takes. Still better than letting the damn things think for themselves though!
Ready to march alongside my Datasmith I have a pair of mighty Kastelan Robots but they’ll have to wait until Orctober is over. I do plan to add them to the army by the end of the year though.
Time to add a tech-priest to my growing army of Martians and my eye fell upon that most bulbous of the Omnissiah’s servants, the Tech-Priest Manipulus. He’s a funny looking little dude and quite complex to paint, which proved a struggle at first but in the end turned into quite an enjoyable challenge.
Like the squad of electro-priests I painted over the last few months these rotund little fellows are keen to remove the “motive force” that you are so casually squandering just by being alive and put it to better use in powering the great works of the Omnissiah. I decided to emphasise the fact that he’s a pretty unhealthy individual to be around, and give a nod to the toxic and irradiated nature of the planet Mars in the 41st Millennium, by adding a sign to his base that reads “biohazard” (which I realise isn’t easy to make out in these pictures).
I’m planning to tackle a whole bunch of Orks next month (‘cos it’s Orktober right!) but I’ll be sure to find time to add at least one new recruit to the Omnissiah’s legions as well, and once again it’s looking likely to be a tech-priest, this time one who likes to hang out with a couple of big robotic pals…
Oh oh… Hobby time has been stripped down to a bare minimum this month and those few hours I did manage to claw back from work I ended up spending kitbashing Redemptionists for Necromunda. All well and good but those are not the red-robed fanatics I was supposed to be looking at! Now, with the minutes and seconds that make up July slipping rapidly through my fingers I’d better make good on my promise to add something to my Adeptus Mechanicus army every month of 2021.
Back in June, when I was full of misplaced confidence, I reckoned I’d get three Electro Priests painted – enough to complete the squad. Time has made a fool of me on that score, but I did manage sneak in an hour or two and get this guy finished.
Whew – a close call there! Next month I’ll get the other two done (and this time I mean it!).
Did you think that those Electro Priests were going to be the only additions to the Adeptus Mechanicus this month? Well so did I! However Games Workshop recently released a new codex for the faction, and alongside it a new Skitarii Marshal miniature. These are the senior officers of the Skitarii, veterans charged with commanding the legions whilst the priests are busy thinking holy thoughts about the wonderful machines of old. With my first squad of Skitarii rangers now fully painted and more waiting for attention I decided to treat myself – and to break with tradition and paint him straight away rather than leaving him half done for months or years first!
It’s also almost the end of June (where does the time go?) which mean we must be due for a look at the progress I’ve made with this army since the start of the year. First of all here’s a look at everything I’d painted by the end of 2020.
Not very impressive is it, especially as two of those models are loaned from Blackstone Fortress. By now however things are looking a bit more imposing (click on the picture to see a bigger version).
Tremble hereteks! Naturally I’ve got a lot more planned for the second half of 2021 so let’s see how that legion looks in another 6 months.
I spotted something the other day which I probably should have noticed earlier; that I managed to add something to my Adeptus Mechanicus project in January, February and March of this year. Seems a pity not to add something in April too then doesn’t it? In fact I’ve started so I might as well commit – I hereby challenge myself to add something to the legions of Mars every month of 2021. It’s a trick that worked nicely for my Skaven army, building the momentum that turned a mountain of grey plastic into a swarm of fully painted vermin, so now I’ll apply it to the armies of the machine god as well.
First things first let’s do something about the squad of Skitarii rangers who still stand at a paltry four members even after all this time.
With these three ready to serve the legions of Mars I think my next move should be to add three more for a full squad of ten. Let’s see if that can be done by the end of May then.
Of course these models also fit very neatly into the “Paint the Crap You Already Own” challenge being run by Ann’s Immaterium. You can read all about the challenge here, or just get Batman to sum it up for you…
As we’re now almost at the end of the month and time for getting anything else painted is short I’ve taken the liberty of assuming I won’t get anything else finished (chance, as they say, would be a fine thing) so here’s a round-up groupshot of everything I painted for the challenge.
Not sure what I’ll tackle next but I’ve got a feeling that some worshippers of the machine god might just be among them…
Released as part of the Kill Team: Rogue Trader set Larsen van der Grauss is a Lectro-Maester of Adeptus Mechanicus, which means he’s a prospector charged with seeking out new sources of power for the forge worlds. There’s something wonderfully retro sci-fi about him, an aesthetic which runs through a lot of the Adeptus Mechanicus range but which really comes to the fore here. He’s also been sitting around unfinished since September of 2018 so he’ll be another submission to the Neglected But Not Forgotten challenge being run by Ann’s Immaterium.
A close up reveals not only the flaws in my painting but also freehand on the screen of his high-tech handheld gizmo (which I’m secretly rather proud of).
I’d love to see another boxset similar to Kill Team: Rogue Trader someday. Games Workshop have done some excellent sets recently but most of them have been made up of models that were already available, spiced up with a few extras which were given an early release through the boxset. The Rogue Trader set however explored entirely new ground, without any of it needing to develop into a fully released faction (not that I’d have minded if it had). The only comparable example I can think of in recent years (outside of Specialist Games of course) has been the Warhammer Quest games. Between them Blackstone Fortress and Kill Team: Rogue Trader really expanded a lot of the otherwise unexplored corners of the 40k universe and I certainly wouldn’t be averse to seeing more sets like this in the future.
This is one of the first models I planned to tackle for Fembruary and so it makes sense, in the topsy-turvy way I go about my hobbying, that she’s one of the very last to be completed. Back when Lady Olynder, the Mortarch of Grief, was first released I worried that she’d be a difficult creature to paint and commented that I felt like I was the only person on earth who didn’t really like her. To be honest there were plenty of moments whilst actually painting her which didn’t help to change my mind. Much like the Khinerai I painted earlier in the month the whole model is prone to moving around every time a brush touches it and despite my attempts to anchor her a bit more solidly both she and her handmaidens pushed my patience to the limit at times.
That said however I still enjoyed painting her a great deal, even if she did make me grind my teeth and swear more than usual, and I’m happy with the end result so all’s well that ends well. Rather than paint her as the Queen of the Nighthaunt I used her as the basis from which to convert a tech-priestess for my nascent Adeptus Mechanicus collection.
With a conversion of this type there’s always a temptation to keep adding things but to me the simplicity of the original Lady Olynder is one of its great strengths and I wanted to strike a balance between maintaining that whilst adding just enough to tie her into a futuristic rather than fantasy setting and make it clear that here we have a representative of the Martian priesthood rather than an ambulatory bedsheet. For those who’re unfamiliar with the base model I used here’s the studio version from Games Workshop as a comparison.
As well as the Princess herself I had a lot of fun with the two little handmaidens. Strange though it may be to say I think there’s something quite cute about these two, and they offered an opportunity to play up the technological aspects without detracting from the simplicity of the core figure.
Finally here we have her, ready to command the soldiers of the Red Planet in their unending search for lost technology.
And there we have it, another model that could so easily have been left unfinished get’s pushed over the finish line for Fembruary. That’s not all either, tomorrow – once I’ve added a few finishing touches – we’ll see another agent of House Escher.