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…
Cast your collective minds back to November and you may recall that hobbyist extraordinaire and soon-to-be bits producer HeresyOfUs was kind enough to send me some of his prototype Daemonic Femmes for me to turn my converting obsession upon. The first model to emerge from the seething pit of my imagination was this Slaaneshi gladiator and part time Daemonic Herald.
Fast forward a month or so to today and here she is, fully painted and ready to show Khornate berserkers and Dark Eldar alike who really rules the arenas!
Huge thanks to HeresyOfUs once again – expect to see more twisted creations based on his Femmes coming soon…
If you haven’t already been to check out the blog Heresy of Us then it really is about time you did. Chock full of the kind of grubby, Blanchesque madness that makes 40k great its host takes things up a notch by combining the traditional kitbashing and greenstuff with bespoke components brought to life by the modern wizardry of 3d-printing. Best of all, for those of us less technologically gifted, there is Black Earth.As producers of additional components for converters go Black Earth is a company so new it’s positively embryonic but given the depths of creativity on show at Heresy of Us expectations are already running high. In time it’s planned for the project to grow into a webstore providing a range of bases and other bits for convertors looking to add a unique spin to their models. One of the first creations to be unveiled have been a set of prototype Demonic Femes (see the image below which shows the figure looking disturbingly like a serial killer’s victim in its unassembled state).Obviously these are perfect for those who’re looking to convert daemonettes which nod more towards Slaanesh’s aspect as a god of twisted sexuality than the comparatively family friendly models of GW’s recent past. With their outsize, balloon-like breasts and near skeletal thinness they take many of the tropes associated with modern ideas of beauty and stretch them to breaking point. This is where the very worst of body image problems takes us. It works because it isn’t trying to be sexy. If anything its disturbing. Too often those who try to ‘adult-up’ Slaanesh end up with a clumsy attempt at soft-core pornography (and regardless of how exciting one might find the latest plastic kit, or a rediscovered oldhammer classic – if you’re aroused by your toy soldiers you probably have a problem. Sorry it had to be me that told you…). These however circumnavigate such silliness and go straight for being disquieting. Placed firmly in the badlands of the uncanny valley they flaunt their sexual aspects in a way that could never be actually sexy and pricks uncomfortably at our mental programing. Of course depending on how adventurous one wishes to be there’s no need to stick to Slaanesh with a brainstorming session raising ideas that ranged from arco-flagellants and dark eldar to beastwomen and wood elf wardancers. What’s more I’m able to put one of these ideas into practice as Mark, the man behind Heresy of Us, was kind enough to send me one to review.
I knew straight away I didn’t want to just add her to the ranks of my much neglected daemonettes where she would have stood out like a sore thumb (being for one thing a little on the tall side compared to the GW plastics) and which would have failed to do justice to what is after all an almost unique prototype model. Instead I decided to create a daemonic champion, thus giving myself the opportunity to let my hair down and create something suitably strange and ghastly. The result is this Slaaneshi gladiator. Who says the champions of Khorne should rule the fighting pits?
As with any conversion feedback is greatly appreciated. I also strongly advise you to swing by Heresy of Us and take a look at some of the other weird and wonderful creations on show there. At the moment they’re running a promotion to give away some of their new skull stacks (and as everyone who loves the Warhammer universes knows you can never have too many skulls). All you have to do is click this link to find their contact details (and get a look at those skulls) then drop them an email and ask nicely and they’ll send you a stack of skulls absolutely free. Best to get on with it though as I’m led to understand that they’ve only got so many to give away and when they’re gone they’re gone. All they ask in return is that you send in a picture of what you use your skulls for, so what are you waiting for – they’re free!