Tag Archives: Slaves to Darkness

What Next Dark Gods?

Ask any fan of Chaos in the Mortal Realms where the biggest gap in the range was and, if they were honest with themselves, most would probably have agreed it was Slaaneshi mortals. Over the last few years times have been good for those like me who worship the Ruinous Powers. We now have well developed ranges with unique models and a distinctive aesthetic for each of the gods (that’s Khorne; god of war and violence, Nurgle; god of plague and decay, Tzeentch; god of magic and change and Slaanesh; god of decadence and excess). Gone are the days when I differentiated my Khornate troops from your followers of Nurgle because I painted mine red and you painted yours green. For a while there only Slaanesh, the longest neglected of the four gods, was left with a limited range but Games Workshop have turned that around in style, first by bolstering the daemons with some fantastic new recruits and now with a soon to be released wave of mortal followers, the first we’ve seen for Slaanesh in a very long time.

Shardspeaker

It’s a huge boost to the range and the miniatures are exquisite, but rather than talk about them I’m here to speculate baselessly instead! Once the Dark Prince has his mortal followers in tow where might Games Workshop turn their attention next? Of course they might come up with something wildly different, the Mortal Realms offers a lot of scope and potential as the Warcry warbands proved, and if they went off to stake out new territory with something a bit more unusual I’d be all in favour. Plus there still gaps to be filled in the current ranges, I’d like to see unique looking daemon princes for each god for instance, light infantry for Nurgle and beastmen for both Nurgle and Khorne.

Indeed, speaking of which I just kitbashed a pestigor to join a little Nurgle warband which has been whispering in the corner of my brain lately. Shall we sneak a peek at him before we begin? Oh go on then!

Pestigor Wudugast ConvertOrDie Nurgle 1Pestigor Wudugast ConvertOrDie Nurgle 2

Beastmen

Ah the beastmen, men who have become beasts and beasts who have devolved into something akin to men. The horned ones, the true children of ruin who lurk in the wild places, driven by a hatred of all that is civilised and orderly. I’ve always had a bit of a soft-spot for these shaggy barbarians, being hairy and uncouth myself. In fact, now I think about it it’s strange that I’ve never really painted many of them – something I’ll have to rectify.

Beastmen 2

This range of models dates back to Warhammer as was, and although there are some excellent models in there it also leans heavily on a lot of older sculpts, bulked out by models borrowed from other ranges like the Tzaangors. Plus there’s the fact that, despite beastmen being traditionally described as an amalgamation of beasts and men, “goatmen” might be a better name for them nowadays. Those of us who are still steeped in the old Realm of Chaos era will recall beastmen which hybridised all kinds of beasts with all kinds of men, but nowadays the braying despoilers of the forests seem to be almost exclusively Pan-like creatures with hooves, horns and long ovine faces. Far be it from me to question their commitment to disorder but a little more chaos in the mix wouldn’t hurt! The birdlike Tzaangors (see below for a couple of them that I’m currently working on) and the lanky, sinuous Slaangors which are soon to be released go to prove that Games Workshop aren’t unwilling to break out of the goat archetype however, and beasts of Khorne and Nurgle don’t seem too much to hope for someday either.

Tzaangors AoS Chaos Wudugast ConvertOrDie Warhammer

Slaves To Darkness

Take a look at the Slaves to Darkness range (that’s humans sworn to serve Chaos undivided rather than dedicated to just one of the gods) and at first glance it looks pretty healthy, packed with lots of kits, many of which were released in the last year or so. Dig a little deeper however and you start to release that most of the range comes either from the Warriors of Chaos from the WHFB era or, in the case of the newer models, are borrowed from Warcry. Now personally I love Warcry, in fact I tend to take things from Age of Sigmar to make Warcry warbands rather than the other way around, but I’m glad to see the Warcry warbands given a home in AoS armies all the same. Likewise I was a big fan of the Warriors of Chaos and that range has some great miniatures that I’m pleased to see are still available.

Warriors of Chaos

However there are some models in there which are undoubtedly past their best, like the Chosen and the Marauders. Plus there’s the fact that, before the End Times, the Warriors of Chaos made use of all kinds of troops dedicated to specific gods, all of which have since been split off to form new factions of their own. With them gone the range has been left looking a little thin. Time to give it a bit of a boost. Thanks to Warcry we know what the warbands seeking to join the Everchosen’s legions look like, but what about those legions themselves. Time to bring the warriors Sigmar abandoned into the modern era – after all we don’t want that weakling thunder god to think he’s getting everything his own way now do we?

Darkoath Tribesmen

In the old days, when the heavily armoured warriors of chaos marched south to attack the Old World they did so surrounded by hordes of barbarian tribesmen, clothes-phobic folk who’s hardiness and bitterness against the weakling southerners may be partially explained by the fact that they lived in a frozen wasteland but nobody seemed to own a shirt. In this regard people from the British Isles will recognise them as being essentially Geordies.

Marauders2

There are a few contenders for the title of “Worst Model in the GW Stable”, the Zombies and Skaven Plague Monks spring to mind, but the Chaos Marauders really have made a spirited attempt to claim that throne. Just a quick glance is enough to tell you that they’re past their best, if indeed there was ever a time when they looked anything other than awful.

Marauders models

 For a while there was a persistent rumour (and we all know how reliable those are eh!) from those who claimed to be “in the know” that Games Workshop were planning a new faction based around a range of new Marauder kits. Nothing has ever come of it, although we have seen a range of new Marauder equivalents in the form of the Warcry warbands, as well as troops dedicated to specific gods like the Bloodreavers of Khorne, the Kairic Acolytes of Tzeentch and the forthcoming Blissbarb Archers of Slaanesh, each of which is close to the Marauder archetype of old, and the Godsworn Hunt from Warhammer Underworlds. The rumour may have proved to be either a case of mistaken identity or wishful thinking but it’s still a good idea so who knows, perhaps someday we shall see the Slaves to Darkness split into two factions, the grim heavily armoured foot soldiers of the gods and the shirtless savages of the tribes?

Skaven

I know I sound like a stuck record here so I’ll keep it brief. The perfidious ratmen were my favourite faction from WHFB and over recent years I’ve painted up quite an army of them. Shall we remind ourselves of how they look? How could I ever pass up the opportunity!

Skaven Army Shot 3

Of course being a fan of the Skaven means being a glutton for punishment. Despite their ongoing popularity the range hasn’t seen much love in a long time and many of them models are so old they came off the Ark, and so rough they look like they were sculpted by the animals therein (and not the ones with opposable thumbs) rather than Noah himself. Get the finger out GW, give my rats some love!

Chaos Dwarfs

An industrious race of slavers and daemonsmiths the Chaos Dwarfs were the Old World’s finest bull-appreciators and big hat wearers, famed for putting Nagash to shame when it came to outsized headgear. They were also wearing big cow horns on their hats long before Johnny-come-latelys like the Lumineth Realmlords rocked up.

Chaos Dwarfs

By the later era of WHFB however they were almost extinct, their range of models long out of production and their sole surviving representatives the crew of the Hellcannon.

Chaos Dwarfs 2

With the Hellcannon going the way of all things when AoS was launched the Chaos Dwarves passed into history, in the main Games Workshop range at least. Forge World however have done their bit to keep them alive in the form of the Legion of Azgorh.  

Infernal Guard Command

Fantastic those these models are, a range which leans heavily on large and complicated daemon engines such as the Dreadquake Mortar (below) is going to be tricky in resin, and much easier for the average hobbyist to manage in plastic. Time to bring the bearded ones back I say!

Dreadquake Mortar

Chaos Gargants

From one end of the scale to the other, if we’re going to have Chaos Dwarves then why not Chaos Gargants? It’s not much of a leap really, there are already Chaos Giants and the new Mega Gargant kit contains a variant, the Warstomper, which can be taken by Chaos forces. Already I’ve seen plenty of them converted to be even more chaotic just as when the Imperial Knight kit was released many of us started welding on spikes to turn them into engines of the gods. After a few years of this GW yielded to the inevitable and produced a dedicated Chaos Knight kit, so it doesn’t seem beyond the realms of possibility that the same thing might happen with the Gargants.

Warstomper

Ogres and Trolls

Back in the old days all kinds of trolls and ogres shambled to war alongside the Warriors of Chaos. These days however such creatures exist almost exclusively under the remit of the Destruction faction (those who are particularly long in the tooth will recall Chaos orcs but let’s not go that far back!). There’s no reason not to bring these brutes back though, perhaps under the banner of the Slaves to Darkness or the Beastmen, or even as a faction of their own. Alternatively there could be versions of each of these incorporated into the four armies of the gods, each tainted and twisted by the favour of their particular patron, just like the Bile Trolls and Plague Ogres that formed part of Tamurkhan’s Horde in the latter days of WHFB. Regardless of which route was taken these brutes have plenty of potential, after all, as the Trogherds of the Gloomspite Gits demonstrated, people love big ugly monsters. 

Those are my picks for the future development of Chaos in the Mortal Realms but what about you? Are there any of the candidates above you think are particularly deserving, or any that you would have preferred to see abandoned to the history books? Is there a faction in waiting that I’ve overlooked? As ever the comments section is all yours. 


The Chosen One

For a while I’ve been kicking around the idea of making some chaos chosen for Age of Sigmar/WHFB/Warcry (the latter winning out when it came to deciding what shape of base to use!). I like the idea of chosen but the current miniatures are a funny-looking bunch, not bad all-in-all, but not half as good as I remember them being from my youth either, and certainly not worth the hefty price-tag that comes with them. I’ve tried out a few ideas over the last few months and finally found something I’m fairly happy with.

Chaos Chosen Wudugast ConvertOrDie AoS (1)Chaos Chosen Wudugast ConvertOrDie AoS (2)Chaos Chosen Wudugast ConvertOrDie AoS (3)Chaos Chosen Wudugast ConvertOrDie AoS (4)

He’s not a direct attempt to copy the official chosen champion but I do rather like that model so there’s a few references in there, particularly the mutated hand and arm (swiped from a very, very old, ill-conceived and horribly painted conversions, which even when I first made it – well over a decade ago, I knew was probably only fit for the bin). Here’s the official chosen champion from Games Workshop for reference.

Chaos Chosen Command

Without any official chosen to hand it’s hard to be sure but if I recall correctly, they don’t look all that big these days. Not something that this guy can be accused of, he looks suitably imposing next to a normal chaos warrior (one who’s yet to catch the eye of the gods).

Chaos Chosen Wudugast ConvertOrDie AoS (5)

For reference his legs are from a stormcast eternals liberator, his head and axe are from the chaos knights, his torso the Khorne bloodwarriors, his shoulderpads from the bloodcrushers and his mutated arm from the chaos space marines possessed. The hideous mould-line down his arm, which I’m sure you all spotted and were repelled and disgusted by, will be dealt with ASAP (now that I’ve stopped being blind to it and it’s become glaringly and horribly obvious).


Untamed Beasts – Part 2

Following on the heels of my first few Untamed Beasts we have the warband’s First Fang. Unlike the others I really didn’t like this model too much in its original incarnation, the downward pointing harpoon lacked aggression, the axe looked too big and heavy and I wasn’t mad about the helmet either. I did a fair bit of chin scratching over what to do with the axe but in the end I decided to make my life easy for once and just leave it alone. I did however adjust the angle of the arm, so that he appears to be launching the harpoon at a distant enemy rather than poking listlessly at one lying near his feet. With this new pose I think the axe works better as well, counter-balancing his weight as he hefts the harpoon into the air. I also gave him a headswap for one which looked a bit more tribal and belligerent and a bit less supercilious and bored.

Warcry Wudugast First Fang Untamed Beasts (1)Warcry Wudugast First Fang Untamed Beasts (2)Warcry Wudugast First Fang Untamed Beasts (3)

Here’s a quick reminder of how the studio model looks for comparison.

With the warband starting to take shape my next move is probably going to be finishing off some of the terrain I’ve started (and at some point I’ll need to turn my attention to their Iron Golem adversaries as well).


War Eternal – Part 3

We are the sons and daughters of Khorne, the shieldbearers of the one true god of Chaos, the sword brothers to His daemonic legions. How weak the cults of the other powers are, how pathetic the foolish schemes in which they ensnare themselves, the plots and counter-plots they use as crutches in place of honest strength. We do not need to beseech our God, or cower behind mewling spell-casters. We are strong, chosen by our God because of it, and respected accordingly. We do not beg him for gifts, or grovel before him like invertebrate creatures, bent backed and frail, whining out an addict’s need for just a little more power.

Ours is a honest bargain. Khorne offers us a portion of his strength because it is our right and we in turn spread slaughter in His name. Let the slothful and needy slaves of lesser gods decry us as crude if they will, we care not. We are closer to the heart of Chaos than they will ever be, and the butcher does not concern himself with the screaming of the sheep. 

– from the philosophies of Skaros the Desolator, Slaughterpriest of the Bloodlords

Khorne Slaughterpriest Khornevert Or Die Wudugast (2)

Well here he is, Skaros the Desolator himself, ready to lead my little warband of Khornate savages into the Mortal Realms.

All too often the followers of Khorne are portrayed as ignorant, thuggish and crude. They care only for bloodshed and become so enamoured with their own rage that they lose all sense and coherence and flail and froth in a killing fury of self-destructive mania.  Personally I prefer them a little more nuanced. Thus I envision my slaughterpriest as a ruthless and methodical killer, powerful and predatory, rather than a maniacal berserker, a thoughtful killer – if no less brutal for all that.

Khorne Slaughterpriest Khornevert Or Die Wudugast (1)Khorne Slaughterpriest Khornevert Or Die Wudugast (3)Khorne Slaughterpriest Khornevert Or Die Wudugast (4)Khorne Slaughterpriest Khornevert Or Die Wudugast (5)Khorne Slaughterpriest Khornevert Or Die Wudugast (6)

With him painted I have the beginnings of my Khornate warband. I’ll be adding more models to it later in March, although as yet I haven’t decided exactly what. Right now I’m leaning towards getting the bloodreavers done in order to bulk up the warband a little, after all one model doesn’t make an army by itself (unless it’s Nagash of course!), but there’s always the chance I might end up distracted by one of the other possible contenders. As ever, watch this space!


The Virtues of the Beast

In the last post I talked about my scheme to make some Chaos Marines based on the Personal Attributes table in Slaves to Darkness, and how it all fell apart a little. Never mind, those marines who were chosen have survived and clawed their way off the painting desk. Last time I showed a two-faced marine, now it’s the turn of this beast-faced individual.

This time credit for selecting the number goes to Alex at Leadballoony who, as well as being as a thoroughly interesting person to chat to via this blog, also has a regularly inspiring blog of his own – go and check it out. He selected number 151 which apparently is a favourite number of his youngest son. Please, Alex, in the interest of good parenting, if your child has an ounce of artistic taste, never show him this miniature!

Consulting the attribute table I discovered that 151 equates to a ‘bestial face’ which this guy certainly has. I’ll admit it isn’t the best model I’ve made, not by a long shot. Anyone of a sensitive disposition should look away now.

Damn he’s ugly. Really it’s no wonder – I started out without a clear plan, and still managed to drift from it. Even the nature of the beast changed (my original plan was a pig believe it or not). I decided that I wanted to avoid anything too traditionally beastman-ish (i.e. no goats) or space-wolfish (no dogs allowed!). Mostly, then, I made things difficult for myself and ended up with something that looks a little bit like a racoon having a bad day.

What makes him special then, and what stopped me from throwing him at the wall in a temper tantrum and starting over, is just how much I learned from working on him, particularly when it comes to working with greenstuff and the freehand eye on his chest. In fact there are many elements to him that I really fought with but afterwards I felt I’d developed my skills and that means that, alongside a guilty relief that he’s done at last, I’m also feeling rather proud.

Anyway, you may be thinking ‘who cares about this feel good, I’m proud, shit! He looks like an evil pug with bad teeth! Stop this hugging and learning and show us something decent!” Alright then – calm down, no need to shout! I’ll try to get another Nurgly chap ready to show you over the weekend, ok?


Blood For Blood

Right, there’s a lot of Khorne to look at this week so let’s get stuck in shall we?

First of all we have this chap, the third new model I’ve added to Sapir Redwolf’s Skullrippers, a little squad of Khornate terminators I’ve been showing off over the last few weeks.
Khorne TerminatorKhorne TerminatorThe oath scroll proved to be a bit of an issue. I may be going out on a limb here but I don’t see the warriors of Khorne taking too much time writing out oaths of moment, so at first my inclination was to cut it off. However I quickly realised that it was going to be pretty tricky to do so without needing to do quite a lot of carefully shaving down and rebuilding of that part of the leg. In the end I left it but set myself the challenge of painting a tiny symbol of Khorne onto it. Perhaps the mark has been ascribed by a Dark Apostle or a particularly bold cultist as a ward or sign of good luck upon a chosen champion?
Other than that painting him was fairly straightforward and flicking him with ‘blood for the blood god’ paint from an old toothbrush was great fun as always!
Khorne Termi Close Up

Kharl the Blunt.
Working on the Skullrippers also put me in mind of Kharl the Blunt. Back in the long distant past (1988 I believe, when I was 4 and as yet uncorrupted by the nefarious touch of Chaos) Kharl appeared in the book Slaves to Darkness where he was described as ‘a Troll of some renown and little brain, who often stands perplexed, unable to choose between beating his opponents senseless with a gnarled club or roasting them with his fiery breath’.
Kharl fought alongside a mob of Chaos loving humans and dwarves as a member of a warband named the Skullrippers, a name I shameless ripped off when I came to naming my own Khornate terminators. Sadly there’s no room for a troll in the far-future (in spite of their durability they don’t seem to have survived into the 41st Millennium – something I must get around to fixing someday with a few conversions) but it did get me thinking about making an Ogren Berserker. Probably nothing would have happened but I was spurred on (or led astray?) by Alex from the Dauntless 215th Praetorians who said something like ‘go for it’. (As an aside his steampunk twist on the 41st millennium is well worth checking out – his tripod in particular remains a favourite of mine). Anyway, with that my last shreds of self-control evaporated and I put together this hulking, angry gentleman.

KarlKarl

I have to say, making him was excellent fun, the Ogrens kit is amazing for building Ogren Berserkers and I’m already thinking of ways I could build some more.

Dark Apostle of Khorne

Just a minor update to show the latest progress on my Dark Apostle of Khorne (currently minus his backpack – removed to make painting/modelling easier).

Khorne Dark Apostle ConvertOrDieMiniatures

After trying him out with various tabards I plumped for this one. Although not my first, or even my second, choice it looked best in practice and adds a nicely feral element to him so I’m happy.

Skarr Bloodwrath

Lastly I want to talk about Skarr Bloodwrath, a man who’s name – conveniently – is also his job – the latest Warhammer character to be released as part of the End Time’s series. In many ways Skarr is for the Skullreapers/Wrathmongers released last week what Gutrot Spume is for the Putrid Blightkings – a single figure character based on an accompanying set of infantry. In both cases however I’m left wondering if it might not have been better to make them an upgrade within the existing kit as, for example, Nork Deddog is in the Ogren kit.

Skarr Bloodwrath

To be honest though, although I quite like Gutrot Spume at first glance Skarr did less for me; the anime style giant weapons are not to my taste, the flying chains are rather over the top and the bare head looks like a cartoon character overwhelmed by the potency of some jalapenos.

Too Hot To HandleAt first then I was planning to let this one pass me by, at least until I’d seen the conversions that the clever people of the internet came up with. However a look at the sprue started to change my mind. I’m still not sold on the model overall but I reckon there’s a wealth of conversion opportunities in there, so much so that I might even buy one (in spite of the hefty price tag).