Today’s post is very much dedicated to Heresy of Us, a blog and now store which I’m sure will be familiar to many readers – and if it isn’t then get yourself over there and take a look at Mark’s work.
First up we have a pace which I feel as though I’ve been working on since God was a boy, although it may well have been even longer. Back around the time he first launched Heresy Of Us Mark was kind enough to send out some skull stacks to a number of blogs and I was lucky enough to receive one. Of course having been suitably thrilled to accept it I then entirely failed to get anything done with it. Over time my efforts to look for a suitably impressive use for it translated into it gathering dust on the painting table, hardly a deserving fate for such a cool little gift. At long last however it’s time has come and I’ve finally got it painted up and decorated with a few extra skulls, spikes and a suitable base to turn it into a little Underhive wayshrine. Perhaps it’s a place for Imperial pilgrims to pause and pray on their journeys or perhaps it’s something a little darker, the leavings of sacrificial victims from blood rites conducted in the name of unspeakable gods…
Alongside it I also painted up these three verminous creatures, also created by Mark. I love the idea of the dank corners of the Imperium being living landscapes, with their own wildlife and civilians keeping their heads down and going about their lives whilst gangers and Inquisitors fight their battles overhead. In time I plan to gather a whole collection of people and creatures who live in the filthy, liminal cracks, and these distinctly 41st Millennium rats are just the beginning.
Indeed, I’m starting to build up quite a menagerie of Heresy of Us beasties so the populating of the Underhive is well underway!
Speaking of the Underhive I have two badly behaved ladies almost ready to join the Escher gang so I’ll try to get them finished, photographed and uploaded by the end of the week.
Last year Mark of HeresyOfUS sent out a number of these cool looking skull stacks to hobby blogs for review. Naturally I wanted to do something suitably exciting with it, and as a piece it lends itself naturally to being used as an objective marker. However despite being a strong believer in the importance of thematic objective markers the fact that I almost never actually play games meant I never quite got around to it. Enter the one game I do play from time to time; Necromunda. In the Underhive the Chaos Cults construct dark shrines at which to conduct their maddening rituals, and which can drive the unwary quite insane if they stumble upon them.
Naturally the Necromundan authorities regard this as both disturbingly heretical behaviour and a waste of perfectly good skulls which could otherwise be ground up to make corpse-starch, but hopefully you’ll be a little more forgiving.
Anyone interested in Mark’s wonderfully strange take on the grim darkness should take a look at his online store. He’s also recently created a game, in collaboration with Alex of Leadballoony, and right now they’re running a competition with a giant bio-mechanical skullspider as the prize. The game is free and, if you win the competition, so is the spider – and what more does anyone need to tempt them!
Remember the skullcrab from Black Edge I painted way back in June? It’s just a cracking little model, packed with character – what could better encapsulate the essence of 40k than a tiny robot-spider made from someone’s skull (presumably someone with quite a big head mind you)? Alas, for various reasons, the other two skullcrabs have sat untouched ever since. Inspired by the skullbirds however I realised it was time to expand my collection of skull-headed fauna and finally get them painted.
A group shot of the three finished skulls together. Checking the Black Edge store I notice that the skullcrabs aren’t currently available – although I’m hopeful that Mark (of HeresyOfUs – and the man behind Black Edge) is working on them, alongside his various other twisted and brilliant creations.
As the Imperial forces advance a scuttling wave of skullcrabs travels ahead of them.
Whilst I had skulls on the brain (surely a normal state of affairs) I nabbed this servo-skull for a quick repaint as well.
You really can’t have too many cherubs, servo-skulls and other skull-faced cyber-creatures in 40k so I’ll try to build some more in the near(-ish) future – watch this space!
I know it’s been a while since I’ve shown anything of my Chapel warband (insert appropriate excuses about the busyness of real life here) but that doesn’t mean I’ve been idle. Indeed my determination to bring my best work to the project has seen me putting in many hours tinkering away with the various members of Inquistior Morix’s retinue – but has also meant that whenever work and life have piled on the pressure I’ve been content to turn my attention to more straightforward projects, rather than burdening myself with an additional suite of challenges. Plus, as the initial Chapel game has been and gone, there’s no particular hurry to get them finished, no looming deadline encouraging me to put in long nocturnal hours with brush in hand when I’m already putting in long diurnal (mostly) hours at work. That said there’s plans for a return to the Chapel and as ever the Imperium may be slow to respond but with xenos, witches and unquiet spirits alike abroad in the Emperor’s domain the arrival of Inquisitorial sanction remains inevitable.
Last time I showed pictures of Morix (back in July dare I admit it) I noted that the “skellie-bird”, his cyber-familiar which had been perched on his fist in the earliest WIPs had flown off somewhere but would be returning “shortly”. Who knew then that “shortly” would turn out to be such a long time away? Not I that’s for sure. However I’m pleased to announce that he’s back at last, perched where he belongs, and undoubtedly chattering secrets into his master’s ear.
However he doesn’t need to sit there permanently. After all his role is to be a spy and a scout and to do that he must be able to flit away, leaving his master looking as though he’s punching someone whilst looking the other way and shouting.
Where then does the skellie-bird go when he’s not at Morix’s side? Naturally he needed a perch from which he can spy out the route ahead or listen in on the whispered conversations of those who believe themselves free from the pitiless gaze of the Inquisition. Inspired by pictures of the Albino Woods board I put together this warped, bio-mechanical tree.
Without wishing to over promise and under deliver I’m planning to show some pictures of the rest of Morix’s retinue before the end of the week – in the meantime any thoughts or feedback you have on the bid and his perch are much appreciated.
I recently received this wonderful picture from Mark at HeresyOfUs (also posted on his blog alongside a selection of equally atmospheric images) and couldn’t resist the opportunity to show it to you all. It features the two Ostium Guides I made earlier in the year, wending their way through the depths of the Albino Woods during the recent Chapel game. Seeing models I created transposed into the landscape in which I imagined them brings the whole project to life and was simply too inspiring to let pass without comment.
When I create a model I’m not making a playing piece but a character, a denizen of the 41st Millennium, the Old World, the Mortal Realms or wherever. Each model should be a snapshot of a person or creature, living their life. I imagine the environment that would exist around them, the place they would live, the setting and situation that makes them who they are. Thus to actually see my Ostium Guides walking through the Albino Woods as though they had stepped straight out of the image I had imagined before I even started cobbling together bits, was a profoundly moving experience. This was the picture I had in my head before I began and now it comes full circle and not only do I get to see it with my eyes rather than just my mind, but I also get to show it to other people. Of course some of you will be nodding in agreement at this point and some will be scratching your heads and wondering about my sanity, although the latter is probably business as usual.
For anyone out there who’s yet to take a look at HeresyOfUs I strongly recommend you head over there, particularly if you’re drawn to the gothic darkness of 40k.
As for those of you still wondering what’s become of Inquisitor Morix and the rest of my Chapel retinue fear not, work is still in progress. I know I’ve been saying that for a while but hopefully you’ll find it’s been worth the wait.
I’ve been a bit in love with the skull-crabs from Black Earth ever since they were first revealed, even more so since Mark was kind enough to send me some. It’s odd then that it’s taken me so long to actually paint one of them but hey, I bet you’re not perfect either!
So I got a couple of little parcels in the post today. One of them was full of the bits I need for a very special upcoming project, whilst the other contained this mysterious message…