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…
Another corrupted civilian of the Nestorian Infestation, an ecclesiarchical servitor-cherub twisted by the genestealers into a spiteful little imp.
I’ve always loved the little cyber-cherubs that appear in artwork buzzing over the heads of the Imperial forces and I’m hopeful that the recently announced Sisters of Battle re-release, currently due to emerge in 2019, will emphasise the gothic flourishes of the Adeptus Ministorum in the form of more cherubs and servo-skulls with which to decorate our models, rather than just being nuns in corsets. Who would have thought a decade ago that we’d have adeptus mechanicus, genestealer cultists and truescale space marines but the poor old sisters would still be stuck with kits that came off the ark?
Anyway, I digress. Here’s the nasty little guy in all his twisted glory.
Whilst we’re about it thank you to everyone who gave me feedback on the genestealer mother and baby I showed previously. After some deliberation I’ve stuck with the head I used originally but I have smoothed down and softened her features a little to make her look a little more female, whilst still remaining a filthy xenos. Here’s a quick shot showing her as she is currently, still part painted but well on her way towards completion.
There’s just her to finish off now to bring this project to completion, after that there are a few other irons in the fire waiting for attention so watch this space.
Something I was keen to emphasis with my Inquisitorial retinue for the Chapel is the “aloneness” of Inquisitor Morix. Here is a man who’s dedicated his life to rooting out heresy and specifically to working with the dead. Whilst many Inquisitorial warbands are made up of a cavalcade of crazy characters I felt that having too many friends and sidekicks along for the ride would reduce the sense of isolation I wanted to imbue him with. Of course he does have a few acolytes but I wanted to avoid creating a sense of community around him. Ultimately this isn’t the story of a group of friends fighting crime in the 41st Millennium, it’s the story of Inquisitor Morix and the others are very much just the supporting cast. Without him the group wouldn’t struggle onwards to complete his final mission, or return his body to Terra. They would simply scatter to pursue their own agendas.
As an aside I’ve often fancied putting together a retinue that leaned heavily on the traditional Inquisitorial tropes and my initial idea for this project was to make a group of Chapter-serfs tasked with the returning the body of the Space Marine they had served to be interred in the Chapel. Perhaps someday these projects will come together but in the meantime Morix is where the action is.
As yet I’m not certain which of the characters I’ve been making of the Chapel will actually make it into Morix’s retinue, but even so each has been pitched to avoid reducing the Inquisitor’s sense of isolation. The witch is a shunned, unsanctioned pysker – who may or may not be possessed already. The dwarf is a vat-bred creation who, despite being gifted with a razor sharp intelligence and a wealth of knowledge lacks any empathy or emotional range to avoid him questioning his lowly station or turning upon his rightful masters. The scout is a free agent, roaming alone ahead of the warband where his roguish behaviour and lax attitude to Inquisitorial protocol won’t get him into too much trouble with the boss. And yes, you’ve not seen him yet – but you will soon…
Of course, this is all very well but how to maintain the remoteness of Morix once I started on the rank and file of the warband? As the population of the warband grew it would be harder and harder to maintain the sense that Morix was in it alone. For a while I toyed with the idea of undead servitors but in the end the option I went for was to unleash the dogs.
I’ve always liked the idea of cyber-hounds but until GW gets around to making them (maybe if they add Arbites to Necromunda he said wishfully) the only option was to grab a set of gryph hounds and a load of greenstuff and make my own.
Do keep in mind that these are all WIPs at the moment. For instance I’m still working out exactly what’s going on with the cables on the pack alpha’s head.
I know that in theory one is never lonely with a dog but I can’t imagine Morix petting these beasts. This is not the relationship of friends, the deep bond between human (perfectly crafted in the Emperor’s image) and animal (intrinsically lesser but still descended from the line of Blessed Terra) that crosses the boundary between species. Rather this is a master and his servants, a power-armoured alpha male and the savage hunting beasts which will undoubtedly kill and eat him if he becomes weak. I suspect he doesn’t get invited to many parties either…
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.
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!