Tag Archives: The Chapel

Children of the Grave – Part 1

I am the voice of your Emperor and by His command I order you to walk among the living once more, to be my hounds and hunters and to reap the souls of those who would betray His Imperium.

– Inquisitor Morix

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Those who trespass against the glorious Imperial dead shall be hounded forever more by vengeful wraiths.

– from the Codex Phantasma, put to the torch by Inquisitorial edict.

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Forge for me a servo-construct, to house in flesh and iron these furious ghosts, these wrathful spirits. Let them serve from beyond the grave and redeem the failures that dogged them in life. Let all who witness them know that duty does not end in death!

– Inquisitor Morix of the Ordo Mors to the fleshwardens of Grixos IV

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Black Magic Woman

I planned this model to be my second contribution to Fembruary, alongside the genestealer hunting Imperial agent I showed previously, although truth be told she could equally fit in with Azazel’s call to make February “finish a neglected model month” as she’s been sitting untouched and unloved for almost a year. The wait is over however and, with both community challenges chaining me to my painting desk she’s finished at long last.

My aim for Fembruary was to paint powerful, non-sexualised women and I like to think that nothing ticks that box quite so well as a thousand year old, possibly possessed witch.

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Of course, continuing the theme of cross-over projects and community challenges that seems to surround this model, she was originally envisioned as part of HeresyOfUs’ Chapel project. However as the rest of my Ordo Mors warband continues to languish in unpainted purgatory here she is with a squad of Imperial guardsmen for company. How the poor guardsmen feel about this we can only guess.

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Man’s Best Friend – Part 1

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.

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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.

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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…


The Bird Is The Word

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


Ostium Guides – Part 2

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

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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.

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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.

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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.


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We have suffered from loosening our roots in the natural world and loosing the sense of wonder, deepened intuition and perception that naturally occur when we see nature’s most extraordinary and beautiful phenomena. We are humbled by such glimpses of glorious creation and the mind opens, the soul becomes inspired at last.

– Mike Tomkies, Golden Eagle Years

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Finished at last; the first of my Ostium Guides ready to lead intrepid explorers through the twisting paths of the Albino Woods and into the heart of the Chapel itself.

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Divesting herself of all technology but for that which she can carry on her back she becomes one with the groves and glades of her forest home, attuning herself to its moods and reawakening instincts stifled by millennia beneath the Imperial yoke. Yet agents of the Imperium must beware for although she will not renege on a deal or break a solemn promise she does not forget the generations of persecution that her kind have suffered, or the horrors perpetrated against those of abhuman stock which drove her people into the forest in the first place. The wilderness has made her kind strong, and she will not risk her own survival for those who cannot rise to its challenges or heed its warnings.

 


Inquisition on Mortality – Part 1

What with one thing and another it’d be easy to believe I’ve forgotten about the Chapel and my intrepid band of Inquisitorial agents but I can assure you the truth is quite the opposite. I may not have blogged about them quite as often as I should have but do not doubt for an instant that they were always on my mind.

At last however, after considerably tinkering and tweaking, I finally have something to show for my efforts. Pending any major issues raised – and as ever if you see something that needs fixing you know where the comments box is – Inquisitor Morix of the Ordo Mors is ready for paint. Let all who would disturb the rest of the glorious Imperial dead tremble!

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The base itself also deserves a close up, it’s part of a set sent to me by Black Earth as a preview of their forthcoming range so thanks once again to Mark, both for this and for all his efforts to make the Chapel a reality.

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One of the things I was keen to convey with this model was the sheer bulk of a (relatively) unaugmented human in power armour. My own feeling, and there may be background somewhere that contradicts this, is that Astartes power armour will only ever work for a wearer with space marine physiology. A normal human, even one with substantial internal tweaking like Kor Phaeron or my own inquisitor, just couldn’t wear it – regardless of the fact that they’d be too small for it anyway. To put an ordinary human in power armour requires lots of adjustments, to both the person and the suit, before either is ready. Furthermore whilst space marines and their armour are both made in what is essentially a production line fashion and can therefore pick their power armour off the shelf each inquisitor will be different, with different needs and different levels of internal augmentation and implants, and as a result will require a custom suit. Not only that but whilst each space marine chapter has its own personal forges, armouries and thousands of specialist thralls dedicated to maintaining their armour an Inquisitor, particularly one who spends the majority of his time in the field as Morix does, needs something that can be repaired on the fly by pretty much anyone who knows which end of a spanner to hold (and has a basic grasp of the prayers needed to calm the armours fractious machine spirit). My intention was for his suit to appear industrial, as though it’s been built from some kind of void-armour or forge-suit of the sort that Terminator armour was based upon. The fact that it should also be downright intimidating for any heretics he comes across is a lucky bonus.

With this in mind I built a suit that relies more on its size and weight to provide both its protective and aggressive capabilities. This man may not move fast but small arms fire will ricochet from him like a hab-block wall and when he hits you you’ll know all about it.

By way of demonstrating Morix’s size and bulk here he is standing next to a battle brother of the Adeptus Astartes (recently emerged from the Dark Imperium box of course).

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And here he is towering over my lone Imperial Guardsman who remains my go-to guy for demonstrating size comparisons next to a normal human.

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Fans of the skelliebird that usually perches on his arm fear not, he’s flown off somewhere but he’ll be returning shortly. In the meantime I also put together a drone to assist Morix in his investigations, floating ahead in order to carry out any scouting or espionage he may require. After all if you’re as big and heavy as Inquisitor Morix you aren’t going to be sneaking up on anyone by yourself.

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I did try to give the drone arms so it could lift and carry objects it finds, rather than just providing surveillance, but as yet I’ve not managed to find a way to do that which doesn’t unbalance it. In the meantime here it is hovering next to its master.

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Skull-Crab

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!

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He’s More Machine Now Than Dwarf

Whilst some of the other Chapel participants are forging ahead I’ll admit that I’m progressing a little more slowly. However I feel quite justified in this, my aim is to make every model as good as it can be and if that means I work at half my normal pace then so be it! Anyway, don’t blame me – blame everyone else for making models that look so damn good!

Excuses made, I have found the time to assemble a couple more models as potential henchmen for the warband. Something I wanted to emphasis was the loneliness and isolation of my Inquisitor and for a while I even toyed with the idea of using no human characters at all (not sure the witch counts as human anymore I’m afraid). However I don’t want to end up with something entirely one dimensional with everything hanging on the central figure. I also played with the idea of making lots of undead skeleton-servitors but that felt like over-egging my inquisitor’s relationship with death to the point of cliché.

My latest scheme is dwarf servitors based on the Kharadron Overlords; vat-bred creatures created solely to serve the Inquisitor in his duties. In this way, hopefully, they’ll emphasis both his remoteness from the human herd he shepherds (these aren’t friends he’s made along the road but acolytes purpose bred to serve him) and draw attention to him as the central character of the warband by being so much smaller than him (more on that below).

One issue with dwarves in space is that they often end up looking like squats and, although I’ve no issue with the hairy bikers in principle that’s not the aim here. Hopefully I’ve managed to steer around it successfully but of course do let me know if you think otherwise.

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At first I planned to only put the heavy vents and exhausts on one of them but the second one looks a little unbalanced without it, especially with the large gun. Here he is with the exhausts tacked on but, pending any input to the contrary from you the readers, I think it will probably become a permanent addition, alongside some cabling connecting it to the gun.

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Recently I read a little about court dwarfs. Essentially these were individuals with dwarfism whose task was to sit near to the king and make him look bigger and more impressive than he really was. Although some of them wielded a degree of political power and influence (Jeffery Hudson for example was, supposedly, a captain of horse during the English Civil War, in spite of being 61cm tall and property) most undoubtedly had fairly unpleasant lives (apparently throwing the dwarf from one guest to another was a popular activity at formal dinners – although one assumes this led to terrible indigestion for guests and dwarf alike). Anyway, beyond the fact that owning people is never pleasant, and turning them into objects of display simply because they’re short is pretty disgusting, there’s no denying the idea would fit neatly into the dystopian landscape of 40k. I can quite imagine planetary governors and senior inquisitors having dwarfs vat-bred in order to increase their own appearance of stature, probably whilst simultaneously persecuting people with natural dwarfism for being mutants. With this in mind here’s the two new dwarfs alongside their master (and yes, I’m aware he’s not progressed much in the last month but the next bit is really fiddly ok!)

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I’m going to be away most of next week (but someone will still be in the house so don’t even think about burgling me to steal my miniatures!) so progress will slow once again. In the meantime however I’m all ears for your thoughts and feedback.


An Agent Emerges

It’s all been a bit flat out this week, between one thing and another, but I did manage to find a little time to kitbash another model for the Chapel. For those of you thinking “What? What’s this Chapel when it’s at home?” or who thinks I’ve joined some obscure religious order, take a look over at HeresyOfUs and all will be revealed.

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As it stands I’m not entirely sure who or what he is, or how he fits into the warband. I built him as a test piece for the henchmen (for the uninitiated – the rank and file of the warband). However his dynamic pose gives him the look of a specialist agent, even an assassin.

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I’m also rather fond of the head I’ve given him. Originally I only used it as a placeholder to be replaced by a suitable servo skull but I’ve come to rather like it. The question is; does it make him look too dead? I like the idea of the henchmen of the Ordo Mors being somewhat liminal; are they dead men artificially resurrected or living humans skull-masked to make themselves seem more fearsome? As with a servoskull I want to keep it a little vague on how much is just bone and how much is organic ‘wetware’. Does this head make him look too much like a straightforward skeleton, or even a comic book character?

As usual your feedback is appreciated, but with so many question marks hanging over this model I’ll be reading your comments with particular interest. Have at it!