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 am summoned. The Emperor speaks to me. It is the preacher’s breath that forms the sounds, his vox-horns that cast them into the incense-heavy air of the chapel, but he speaks with the Emperor’s voice and it is His words that call me to war. No longer can I remain here whilst His realm is attacked by the heretic hordes without. No more can I contain my spite for the xenos that dare to walk amongst His stars. I have requested permission to leave the place of my labours and take up the lasgun. I embrace the duty of war.
We are all that is left now. Three harsh days on the surface of the Moons, three days weathering the storm cast against us, the armoured giants, the hereteks and their foul trees, the shrapnel storm that gutted our ship before we even reached the surface, the remorseless killing that came after. Of the thousands that left Sarkis IV at my side we may be the last. We seek others to join with, to band together until, perhaps, we have the numbers to strike back, and die with glory. I know the ghost of Colonel Idris is driving me onwards. We shall not fail our Emperor.
Work continues on my contribution to the Iron Sleet Invitational with a second soldier joining the squad. For those new to the Invitational the talented crew at Iron Sleet have called upon hobbyists everywhere to submit five models by the 1st of December to act both as a seed of inspiration for their own work and to involve as many people as possible in the crusade to retake the Thorn Moons (which itself follows on from the Pilgrymage event featured at Warhammer World and in White Dwarf). Needless to say the opportunity to get involved in such a global event (currently involving at least a hundred other hobbyists) was too good to pass up.
Following the feedback I received last week I also returned to the Company Commander, adding battle damage to his chainsword and the squad designation to his shoulderpad.
In my opinion the best thing about events like this is the chance to share inspiration and ideas with other hobbyists. With that in mind, and given that I’m aiming to make these as good as possible, I’m keen to get your feedback so if you have any thoughts at all now’s your chance to share them.
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.
Many of you will know the feeling of stumbling across a miniature you were once proud of but which you hadn’t seen for ages; the mixture of fondness for a well loved piece, joy at its rediscovery, pride in the way that your skills have improved and faint embarrassment that it’s not quite as good as you once thought. Indeed it was with exactly this mingling of emotions that I found myself looking at these next two models whilst sorting through boxes of old stuff (read; junk) at my parents’ house.
This battle-preacher has reappeared at quite a fortuitous moment, representing as he does another of my past forays into the world of the Imperial Guard. He may be very much a product of his time (my painting standards have come on I’m pleased to see – and why did I once insist on painting every rivet red?) but my idea of the Imperial Guard hasn’t changed radically. I still see them as medieval by necessity, a lack of resources rather than cultural affections giving the majority a ragged appearance. Like the murderous medic I showed earlier in the week I may well return to this model in the future as I think he’d fit in nicely with an Inquisitorial retinue. As it stands my Chapel retinue is far too esoteric for him but perhaps a more traditional Inquisitorial warband will come together in the future?
In the meantime here’s the “Hammer of the Emperor” gathered for battle – my complete collection of Imperial Guard models so far (plus a skullcrab from HeresyOfUs) standing ready to strike fear into the hearts of Ork warbosses and Chaos lords everywhere.
Whilst the preacher has a promising career ahead of him (following a few improvements) I’m not sure the same can be said of this killer robot. Finding him was a bit of a trip down memory lane for me – he’s one of my earliest conversions and clearly very much the product of a hobbyist whose imagination outstrips his skills by a considerable margin. I think I was aiming for “deranged mechanical killer” and instead ended up with “cute, and perhaps a little worried”.
So with these two rescued from life in storage it’s time to turn my attention to the future of my Imperial Guard endeavours, specifically the kind of men that the Imperium would send to do battle on the Thorn Moons as part of the Iron Sleet Invitational.
The road from Terra is long however and the journey only just begun…
For various reasons I’ve had the Imperial Guard on the brain recently. It started out as a recurrence of my long-running, but never fully realised, ambition to tackle the Guard as I see them, the under-equipped, under-valued troops of the Imperial war engine who survive, or more usually don’t, thanks only to their grim determination. The Iron Sleet Invitational, focussed around the Imperial Guard, threw oil onto that particular flame and boosted the whole thing to new heights so expect to see the fruits of that particular labour soon.
This chap isn’t part of that per-se, but rather a remnant of a previous exploration of my ideas on this front who never saw completion. So, whilst I think about the question of what it means to be a solider in the 41st Millennium, I allow myself to tidy him. He’s sketchy but for the moment that’s what he is – a sketch that links to my ideas for this yet to be realised project. Pretentious? Perhaps a little, but there you have it. In time I’ll return to him and tidy up the looser paintwork of my younger years but for now I just wanted to use him as a way of progressing my ideas before tackling newer projects (a claim which is both a woeful excuse and only makes me sound even more pretentious, surely the worst of both worlds, but again with my time very stretched at the moment, this is how things stand).
I’m rather fond of the way he’s pointing – there’s something malevolent about it, as though he’s picking his next victim more than conducting triage, which given the production-line treatment of those wounded in the Imperium’s wars may very well be what it feels like.
Should any of my inquisitorial agents require surgery this man is ready to assist. Should I ever get round to building my long planned Imperial Guard regiment, he’s ready to enlist as a medic. In the meantime; the Doctor is in!
Animals have no choice beyond survival but man does have choice and he must use his unique gifts now to play the role for which he has truly evolved, as responsible custodian of the last wild places, not merely their exploiter. We can never escape the inherent responsibility our genius bestows upon us. We must learn to love and conserve what is inspiring and beautiful, not only what is economically profitable… To love in the universal sense is not the refuge-seeking philosophy of the romantic. It is the necessary ethic of our own survival.
-Mike Tomkies, Golden Eagle Years
The second Ostium Guide, husband to the first, is now completed. Let those who dare to brave the Chapel first follow in their footsteps through the haunted depths of the Albino Woods.
Life in the forest may be harsh, for there are witches and revenants, strange beasts and wood ghasts all abroad. Rain and chill may sap a body of its strength, and what is left of a life reliant on physical prowess when that power is broken by time or sickness? Yet there is still culture to be found amongst the people of the forest, still music and laughter, still joy and the capturing of passion in art. Those who dwell beneath the stark white boughs do not do so as guttering candles, battling against the gale. Instead the forces that might snuff them breathe life and delight into them, energising brief lives spent far from the misery of Imperial toil and servitude in the great hives.
Just a week to go now before the disparate warbands brave the Chapel itself. For those not yet in the know (where have you been?!) the Chapel is a narrative driven game bringing together a plucky band of hobbyists and bloggers, all put together by Mark of HeresyOfUs. Sadly, real life being what it is, I won’t be able to make it but fear not, this isn’t the end of the road for Inquisitor Morix and his grim faced agents of the Ordo Mors. Mark has already hinted that the Chapel will call once more to those caught in its web and though Morix may have found himself diverted upon the road he knows that the path of his destiny leads straight into the archotech heart of that strangest of worlds. The will of the Imperium will not be denied.