Tag Archives: Warhammer 40000

Anarchy Shall Be This Age’s King

To my mind traitor guard – that is to say rebel Imperial Guard regiments – are as much a part of Chaos in the 41st Millennium as daemons or Chaos Marines. Sure, the Chaos Marines can inflict a lot of damage by themselves and when it comes to teleporting into an Imperial Governor’s palace and butchering the command staff or cracking open a Mechanicum void-station in hard vacuum, why they’re the very men for the job. However, if one has launched a full scale Black Crusade there’s simply no way one can do all the killing by one’s self (no matter how much one might want to – followers of Khorne I’m looking at you here). Summoning great armies of daemons is always useful of course, although they strike me as being somewhat flaky allies, prone to sudden acts of mad treachery when you suddenly discover you were simply a pawn in the great game and their actual aim was to conjure up a great cathedral of crystal and sorrow or something equally weird. Almost as bad one can conjure up a whole legion of them, only for the whole lot to be banished screaming back into the warp by an elderly inquisitor who knows their master’s real name. Not to say they aren’t useful but sometimes the situation calls for boots on the ground, and when it comes to trudging through trench-lines and being massacred by the thousand no-one does it better than the Guard.

Thus once a Chaos force reaches a certain size a regiment of traitor guard seems like a natural progression. This is no longer a piratical strike-force but a campaigning, crusading army. It has outgrown looting for petty gain or ransacking cities in the name of the Gods. Now they’re properly empire-building. Imperial worlds burn in their wake. Just as the Imperium isn’t all about the Space Marines but relies on vast armies of common soldiers to do the bulk of the work, so too must their dark opponents turn to the ranks of cannon fodder to be in all the places that they cannot.

I’ve been plotting to muster a horde (or at least a few) traitor guardsmen of my own for a while and at last I’ve got round to painting a few.traitor-guard-convert-or-die-traitors-15

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traitor-guard-convert-or-die-traitors-25When I started I was planning to base this collection round a mixture of the Imperial Guard (later Astra Militarum) codex, plus units from the Siege of Vrax books. Then along came Imperial Armour 13 and, having finally got a look at it recently, I liked what I saw enough to make it the cornerstone of the force instead.
I built these next two traitors before I saw IA13, and originally planned them to be part of a special weapons squads, but I reckon they’ll fit in with the others just nicely.traitor-guard-convert-or-die-traitors-3

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I also planned a squad of Wyrdvane Psykers, no longer shackled by the oppressive rule of the Imperium and allowed to disport themselves with the fickle power of the Warp as nature intended. So far I’ve only got this one built but I’m rather pleased with him, so there should be more soon.convert-or-die-psyker_1_

 

So, what do you think? Should I have reported my mutant powers to my superior officer and accepted whatever castigation was my due, or was I right to murder my commissar and carve an eight-pointed star on my flak armour? As ever, rally to my cause or demand retribution in the comment box below.


Lord of the Woods

I love Chaos armies with a strong theme to them, built around a particular warband, legion or god. There’s just something amazing about someone picking out a detail of the 40k universe and pursuing it to such depth and with such dedication. That isn’t me though. I’ve got a butterfly mind, shackled to the attention span of a particularly lacklustre goldfish and a banker’s covetousness, rolled together to create a weird chimerical beast with brushes for hands and madness in its heart. Chaos Marines? Yes please! Daemons? Sure, why not! Daemon engines? Sign me up! Traitor guard? Sure thing (more on them soon)! Khorne? Nurgle? Tzeentch? Absolutely! Slaanesh? Why that’s what this post is about!
Thus, although I’ve got various Khornate and Nurgly projects to work on, here I am face to face with She-Who-Thirsts (but not working on my Noise Marines…). slaanesh-convert-or-die-7I’ve had this guy on my painting desk for a while now but he’s progressed really, really sloooowly. To make the model I had to start by decapitating a Beastmen Shaman, something that took a lot of willpower to go through with (picking up a nice new model you’ve just bought and hacking at it with a knife seems to be flirting with disaster in my book). Carving away the neck and the back of the skull from the new head wasn’t particularly pleasant either – it’s a nice component which I’d considered for various projects before settling on using it for Yegg-ha and I didn’t want to stall the project which I waited for a replacement. I’ll admit to being quite impatient – things like that have killed my enthusiasm for several projects in the past.I’ve had this guy on my painting desk for a while now but he’s progressed really, really sloooowly. To make the model I had to start by decapitating a Beastmen Shaman, something that took a lot of willpower to go through with (picking up a nice new model you’ve just bought and hacking at it with a knife seems to be flirting with disaster in my book). Carving away the neck and the back of the skull from the new head wasn’t particularly pleasant either – it’s a nice component which I’d considered for various projects before settling on using it for Yegg-ha and I didn’t want to stall the project which I waited for a replacement. I’ll admit to being quite impatient – things like that have killed my enthusiasm for several projects in the past.slaanesh-convert-or-die-10

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slaanesh-convert-or-die-8I imagine a huge chamber at heart of Kell’s flagship, the Blood Eagle, a hanger cleared out and transformed into a warped garden. At its heart stands a cathedral to Chaos within which the Sorcerers and Dark Apostles of the Beasts of Ruin summon daemons. The garden itself is left tainted, the children of all four gods roosting amid the contorted architecture and fighting petty wars over this strange space, a microcosm of the Great Game. Currently command of the Dark Prince’s forces goes to Yegg-ha, Herald of Slaanesh and self declared Lord of the Woods.

What do you mean that’s not enough for you? You’re greedy you are, greedy! Luckily Slaanesh loves you for your avarice so here’s three of Yegg-ha’s ladies to join the party (don’t say I’m not good to you!)
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slaanesh-convert-or-die-5And last of all a little group shot!
slaanesh-convert-or-die-4And there we have it. As you should know by now it’ll be something totally different next week!


Dreams of Blood And Iron

‘‘All of the souls you will reap.

All of your spoils of war.

To be a keeper of the Forge.

But a trifle price for the boon

that is bestowed upon you.’’

– Extract from the Iron Pact

Maulerfiend

There were a lot of divisive models released alongside Codex: Chaos Space Marines back in autumn 2012 but people got really stirred up over the Maulerfiend. A lot of commenters have hated it – but never mind them eh, I loved it!

The codex itself has also come in for a fair amount of abuse (when do they not?) but in spite of whatever flaws the hardcore gamers might see it’s hard to deny that it was a sturdy expansion on what came before, bringing in many of the elements overlooked by its predecessor. Alongside the traditional factions affiliated with each of the gods, we also saw the ragged human cults and the Dark Apostles that lead them, and the horrifying daemon-engines of the Dark Mechanicus. Obviously it goes without saying that they could have done more (and who doesn’t wish that were so?) but by the same token they could very easily have done less.

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The Maulerfiend is a powerful model; stocky, brutish and dangerous. It is also remarkably free of rampant mutations and god-marks (although of course clever converters everywhere have been adding them). It is not, then, the form that a daemon would have chosen necessarily, but it serves well enough, it is fit for purpose. Mortal hands made this weapon, and bound its malevolent scrap-code soul within. Too often men are depicted only as slaves to the Gods, yet the path of Chaos is forged from a desire for personal power. We do not throw off the chains of the Emperor simply out of a desire to be shackled by the primordial forces of the Warp. Thus it becomes a game of power. Some will be possessed, or decline into wailing spawn, some will become princes and trade freedom for immortality. A few will hold to their pride, hacking off their mutated limbs and replacing them with bionic substitutes, armouring themselves in bitter stoicism and remaining free. This multifaceted struggle between the Gods and their would-be pawns is part of what makes Chaos so compelling for me (that and the chance – no, expectation – to convert absolutely everything I touch).

Incidentally the daemon trapped inside this hulking iron monster is named Cynothoglys and was bound by my Warpsmith Sheb-Teth as part of the pact that brought him into Kell’s service.

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A close up of the screaming mouths in the chimneys. Frankly they’re just too horrifying not to take the chance to play with the special effects paints. Hopefully the drooling blood helps add to the narrative of the machine, un-burnt fuel spilling from the exhausts as it’s pushed to the limit of its capacity.

Maulerfiend

Just because I really like the model doesn’t mean it was easy to paint of course. I bought it within a few weeks of its release and started work on it straightaway. Not that I’ve spent the entire intervening time working on it of course – most of the time I’ve let frustration and procrastination get in the way – but the realisation that it’s a year older than this blog helped give me the final push to get him finished.

As well as the Maulerfiend the kit can also be assembled as a Forgefiend, its sister model which brings the long-range firepower to compliment the Mauler’s close-combat brutality. As it happens I ended up buying a second Maulerfiend body in amongst some other bits and realised that, by picking up a few extra components, I could now add a Forgefiend to the collection. Here we go again then – the Long War is never over!


Architect of Destruction

‘Shackle the soul and forge the flesh. Bind the machine and butcher the rest’

(Codex: Chaos Space Marines)

 Ladies and gentlemen allow me introduce my Warpsmith, Sheb-Teth the Soul Feaster!

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I actually really like this model. Fair enough its incredibly fiddly to put together and its impressive collection of appendages has been the subject of many hentai themed double-entendres (insert your own here). However for me personally the biggest problem I had was drawing the viewer’s gaze to the head. ‘Faces and bases’ is a rule I try to stick to (i.e. the two most important elements of a miniature to get right if you want it to stand out are the face and the base, the former because that’s where people naturally look to begin with, the latter because many people don’t bother). On the warpsmith however it’s easy for the head to be overwhelmed by the halo of tentacles that surrounds it. It also makes taking half-decent photos of it almost impossible as the camera has a tendency to focus on random mechatendrils rather than the core of the model itself but I persevered.

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The model’s pose certainly adds a great deal to his character, his overweening arrogance and command coming through in his challenging stance, chin out, axe held high. I imagine him being locked in a battle of wills with my Chaos Lord Kallamoon Kell, neither confidently the master of the other but requiring an alliance… for now. It’s the exploration of these minor conflicts and divergent personalities that I find not only feeds my interest in an army but also inspires new ideas to explore and develop. How long will Sheb-Teth be willing to serve, dedicating his prodigious talents to building war machines for another? Yet what form might his rebellion take? What weapons should he craft to stage his inevitable coup? With all the attention the Mechanicum have been getting lately I’d love to put together a few dark Skitarri, mutant servitors or thrall tech-priests to aid Sheb-Teth in his work. I’d also love to build a rival Warpsmith, someone with whom Sheb-Teth would lock horns in a vicious battle of professional competitiveness, each striving to outdo the other and all the while distracted from Kell’s throne.

All that will have to wait until time allows however. In the meantime though I have just finished my Maulerfiend so expect to see him shortly (as soon as I’ve got some pictures!)


No Guts, No Glory – Part 4

So, here goes with another batch of Nurgle conversions joining the fetid ranks. First of all I’ve finally got around to making a second Chosen. In many ways this guy is built exactly as the designers intended, with only a few tweaks to move him from the world of Warhammer to 40k. Take a look: Chosen of NurgleChosen of NurgleChosen of Nurgle The biggest change is on his back where he has a convenient strap to hang a holstered bolter on. Chosen of Nurgle I know I’ve not really pushed the boat out here in terms of conversion work but then again ‘if it ain’t broke’ and all that. I always really liked this configuration of the Blightkings – to me it’s the pure, unalloyed essence of Nurgle. You can almost imagine the buzzing of the flies that surround him and the dolorous tolling of his bells. Plus that executioner’s axe just nails it in my opinion. As a result I really didn’t want to change much about him, just lift him from a fantasy setting and transfer him to the far-future as subtly as possible. Hopefully you’ll agree that’s what I’ve done. I did toy with the possibility of giving him some kind of Space Marine type backpack but dropped the idea. Pulling it off without fouling the axe looked like a real hassle and it’s not like he really needs it – if he can survive without most of his internal organs then he can do without whatever it is that Space Marine’s keep in their backpacks. Anyway, that’s not everything I’ve been working on. Here’s two more Plaguebearers to join the Rotten Souls. I’ll probably make a couple more to use up the extra Plaguebearer parts I’ve acquired (more on that below). Do you ever feel like you just can’t surround yourself with enough Plaguebearers? Must just be me then… PlaguebearerPlaguebearerLook at his happy face! PlaguebearerPlaguebearer And then we have this monster. Daemon Prince of Nurgle - ConvertOrDieMiniatures He’s still at a fairly early stage yet but I’m really enthusiastic about him so expect to see more of him shortly. I’ll talk about him more in a future blog but I was so eager to show him off to you all I snapped a quick shot and added him to the end of this post. Once he’s finished he’ll be a Daemon Prince of Nurgle. He’s also partly the reason for my making more Plaguebearers, as I managed to pick up several of the riders alongside the Rot Fly body. Eagle-eyed readers might notice that his left arm is the one that used to belong to this Chaos Terminator. Nurgle TerminatorOn the terminator it was proving to be just a bit big and heavy looking so I swapped it out and put it to use here instead. Of course that also means I’ll have to find a new arm for the Terminator now (‘armless joke anyone? Armed and dangerous? I’ll get my coat…)


Disgusted by the Light

Nothing too major but I finally got around to adding another Chaos Marine to Squad Abholos. In the end I plan to keep adding marines until the squad reaches its maximum strength of twenty and then… keep making more marines anyway because I have so many ideas scratching around inside my head it might just pop.
Perhaps this individual was driven to madness and the embrace of Chaos when his career in shadow puppets failed?
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Chaos Marine


Voices of Transgression

As promised in my last post, here’s my second Dark Apostle. He joins Aghkam Poxspeaker but serves as the more generalist voice of Chaos Undivided alongside his Nurgle worshipping brother.
dark-apostle-convert-or-die-2Like a lot of the models that accompanied release of the last Chaos codex this one really impressed me at the time, which makes it slightly boggling that it’s taken me this long to get it painted. Then again I could say the same thing about several other models from that release (Warpsmith, Maulerfeind, etc). In the end I think I have three legitimate excuses; 1)he’s highly detailed, 2)I wanted to do a good job of him and 3)he proved to be a serious pain in the arse to put together. Anyway, he’s done at last!
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dark-apostle-convert-or-die-6Finally here’s a picture of him doing what he does best, preaching to the Converted. Oh yeah, I went there!
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Fall to the Thrall

The second post I ever made on this blog, way back in November 2013, concerned the two squads of cultists I was working on at the time. It’s slightly worrying to me then that it’s only now that I’ve finally got both squads finished. Never mind, at least I did it, and met my personal goal of making each unique from the others as well. They’re split over two squads; one armed for close combat – the Cult of Nug, and on for ranged combat – the Cult of Yeb. Here’s Yeb himself.
chaos-cultist-convert-or-die-17It’s been suggested to me that, with his Commissar’s coat that might be just what he is; a Commissar turned traitor. At first I thought this was a great idea but the more I considered it the less I was convinced. A Commissar must be utterly ruthless and unquestioning, a man without doubt or fear who’s resolve has only been strengthened by a lengthy training program and, undoubtedly, invasive indoctrination and brain-washing regimes. Such a man would not – indeed could not – simply turn to Chaos on a whim. Furthermore, if he did fall, the result would be a far more callous and terrible warrior than the mere leader of some rag-tag cultists.
Much more likely then that Yeb found his coat on the body of a dead Commissar, perhaps one who had stood, still firing heroically, as Kell and his terminators closed in. However this little train of thought did get me thinking about how interesting it would be to make a fully developed traitor Commissar, perhaps for the nascent traitor-guard army I keep considering. It would be interesting to look at how such a man could fall, and what would be created if he did. Watch this space!
Anyway, here’s the rest of the squad.

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As I painted this next guy I started to realise that, with his deeply pitted eye-sockets, he was almost certainly blind. To me this puts a disturbing, and definitely Chaotic, twist on the model. I wonder what infraction led Imperial authorities to order this man’s eyes put out – or if he was born blind and shunned by the suspicious people with which he shared his hive? Either way the Dark Gods must have heard his whispered entreaties an granted him some alternative (I’m thinking infra-red – imagine him spotting approaching enemies by their body heat and gunning them down as they attempt to approach his holdout under cover of night or a dust storm. Ironically his sighted companions would be left firing blindly in the same direction – this is the sort of paradox that Tzeentch finds especially pleasing). Perhaps the process of transformation was so painful that he’s gagged himself to prevent him from, in desperation, asking the Gods for anything else.
chaos-cultist-convert-or-die-9And here’s a group-shot. Continuing the theme the next post should be the Dark Apostle that led them all down the twisted path into Chaos in the first place.

Cultists Group


One Knight Stand

Look at almost any piece of artwork showing the Imperium at war and there they are, striding along in the background, towering over the tanks and scurrying foot soldiers; the Titans. They’ve been part of 40k for such a very long time, yet for most of us they’ve been out of reach, the preserve only of those rich enough to afford the Forgeworld kits or spectacularly talented and able to build our own. My fingers were crossed from the moment I saw the Riptide, then the Wraithknight came along and sealed the deal. Surely, surely an opportunity was not to be missed? The Imperial Knight must, at last, be on its way!

Thankfully when it did emerge the Knight did not disappoint. Hard to believe really that it was a year ago now. As soon as I saw it I wanted one, I just wasn’t sure if I could actually make a decent job of painting it. After all I’d never attempted anything even a fraction of the size, and as I’ve noted before I can be a bit of a coward when it comes to the bigger kits and this beast is one of the biggest of them all. Finally there’s the fact that I wanted to do some fairly major conversion work to it. Much as I love the heroic knights who stride out in defence of the Imperium I’m an unrepentant traitor at heart and I wanted something far darker and spikier than the official kit. My imagination had set the bar pretty high and I admit I was a little afraid that my skills might not match it. By September last year I’d finished one leg. Yes that was a long time ago wasn’t it, thanks for reminding me. Not to do it down, I’m pretty pleased with that leg, but I’d be the first to admit there was a way to go yet. Well, it’s taken a little while but here’s progress at last – a whole other leg, and a banner to go with it.

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Here’s a close up of the banner.

Knight Banner

With the legs done I’m ready to start on the torso and head. This is where my ambition might outstrip my ability as I’ve got some fairly grand and convoluted plans in mind. Updates might, therefore, remain a bit thin on the ground – this was never going to be a project I finished fast and if I’m to pull off what I’m looking for the learning curve will be quite steep. Never mind, I’ll give it my best shot and let’s see what we end up with!


Binary Logic

The story of Warhammer 40k is, and always has been, the story of the Imperium. Until now, however, we have seen only part of it. The alien races add colour and complexity, harrowing the empire of man from its fringes, and of course there is always the great enemy, Chaos, waiting in the wings for mankind’s own hubris to bring him down. The main player, however, remains the Imperium, a toppling edifice of decaying glory and overweening arrogance in the face of a brutal and rapacious assault from within and without.

Here we see the fall of Rome written across the stars. It is peopled by the strange and the mysterious and governed by the mad. Together they grub through the ruins of their own toppled magnificence and believe themselves still to be supreme. Their wars are fought by medieval peasants, armed with weapons far beyond their understanding, holding back the horrors of the galaxy only through sacrifice and attrition. It’s infamous ‘grim darkness’ has been captured by dozens of authors and codex writers, as well as artists including, amongst others, John Blanche and Jes Goodwin (whose images are used – without permission – to illustrate this blog).
John BlancheSomehow I’ve never felt that this was quite captured on the tabletop. The warrior-monks of the Space Marines have often looked too clean. The imperial guard have come to focus too heavily on the Cadians (whose aesthetic is closest to modern soldiers and not really to my taste) and the Catachans (who now seem like a contrived pastiche, glaringly out of place beside the gothic strangeness of their peers). The inquisition are spent force. They might once have been at the pinnacle of grim-dark gothic greatness but today they look old, tired and utterly overshadowed by the creative genius displayed within the Inq28 movement, their own feral offspring. The assassins and ecclesiarchy languish in lumpen disregard.
Today however sees the release of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Since the beginning they have been a part of the background but it’s taken until now for them to emerge. Quite why it’s taken so long is open to debate, the Imperium after all is the marriage of Terra and Mars, yet the red planet has seen next to nothing in terms of miniatures releases.
Exactly what will come next with this release we don’t know yet, although it’s hard to imagine that more miniatures are not on their way. Already, however, we’ve seen the kind of grubby madness I’ve been hoping for since I discovered 40k. Not only do we see the Mechanicus army so many of us have been waiting for but the spares should provide more than enough to add a Blanchien vibe to other imperial models. Of course I still have a host of Chaos projects to work on before I rush out to buy the agents of the Fabricator General but, having waited for them for so long, it won’t hurt to be patient. At least they’ve arrived.