+ inload: Lamb's World +

+ Poor bloody infantry +

+ Human lives and human tears; the stuff of which Imperium is made. +

+ As with all of the wars during the dark days of Nova Terra Interregnum, it was the ordinary men and women of the Imperial Guard – both Old Imperial and Nova Terran – who made up the bulk of the combatants. +

+ Illustrated below are a selection of warriors from a single unremarkable planet – Lamb's World – as a representative sample of the fates of the majority of the Imperium's sons and daughters who found themselves in the Imperial Guard during this turbulent period. +

+ It is perhaps notable that a single planet had birthed warriors that fought on opposing sides. Such is the tragedy of civil war. +


+++

+ Shale Campaign +

+ Shale is a small desert world in the Bothusion system of Antona Australis. It is covered in uneven dusty terrain and vast seas of finely ground rock. Small scale mining colonies, designed to harvest the modest mineral resources, are dotted across the solid areas of Shale's surface. +

+ Its residents broadly remained loyal to the Old Imperium during the Nova Terra Interregnum. It was attacked on three occasions by Eldar of the Ythranmir Craftworld, the xenos advance gradually being brought to a bloody stalemate on the Northern Plains by the Planetary Defence Force. A detachment of Lamb's World soldiers were diverted to support. As rear-line support, they suffered light losses during the war, and the survivors remained for long years afterwards to stabilise the lawless region. +




+ Io Merioneth. Shale Northern Theatre. KIA - confirmed: blood loss. +



+ Cole Apseth. Shale Northern Theatre. KIA - confirmed: Partial disintegration. +


+ Enzo Acton. Shale Northern Theatre. KIA - unconfirmed (body unrecoverable) +

+++

+ Karminos Void Clearances +


+ The Karminos Void clearances were an onerous but necessary duty to ensure the passage of evacuees from the world of Saltkind – a lone bastion of Nova Terran sympathisers – to safer regions closer to the Segmentum Pacificus. +

+ The clearances took the form of a series of running engagements between greenskin pirates of the Moonbreakers and the Imperial Navy, with Imperial soldiery deployed to clear and secure the numerous dwarf planets of the region. Lamb's World troopers adapting to the microgravity difficult, and suffered catastrophic losses. +


+ Prentice Iones. Karminos Void. Executed for cowardice. Justification: obeying the orders of an officer found wanting. +

+++

+ Orar's Star +

+ The prosperous and heavily-polluted worlds orbitting Orar's Star descended into a microcosm of the civil war raging across the Imperium; and Lamb's World auxiliaries found themselves fighting on both sides of the war. Beginning the war under the command of the infamous Marshal Fenkmann, his defection saw the Eighteenth Lamb's World Rifles ('Dricc's Dusties') overrun by the Fourth Lamb's World Armoured. The defeated soldiers were drafted back into Old Terran lines for the Siege of Bree, serving as a penal battalion. +



+ Japeth Ffiniog. Orar's Star Campaign. KIA - confirmed: blood loss and exposure +


+ Ascer Caper. Orar's Star Campaign. KIA - confirmed: disarticulation +

+++

+ Trimunda +

+ The Queen of O was the human face of an insidious xeno threat that emerged on Trimunda Secundus, and led much of its population in a counter-uprising against the Nova Terran occupiers. Its forces were initially supported by the Old Imperium, though the findings of Inquisitrix Barbari Kills led to the Old Imperium instead enacting saturation bombing on their former allies' fastnesses, at the hands of the Sons of Spectra. +

+ The Lamb's World II were deployed in the aftermath, spending two decades picking through the sodden ruins to end the worm-ridden threat of the Queen once and for all. +


Rhuddion Caul. Trimunda Plains. KIA – confirmed: drowning.  +


Ogof Moel. Trimunda Plans. KIA - confirmed: gunshot. +

+++

+ Intercession of Vega Rim +

+ During the early years of the Nova Terra Interregnum, the soldiers of 'Riker's Bloody One Hundredth' (confusingly, officially the 46th Lamb's World Cavalry Regiment, under Caef-Maior Vedder) were diverted to the distant Vega Rim to stymie an advancing K'nib assault on the worlds of the Rim. +

+ The bulk of the fighting occurred over the critical salt flats of Varrasland, with an ever-shifting front and sporadic vicious battles. During the later years of the war, many of the worlds declared independence from the Imperium, and the Bloody One Hundredth – still in garrison – were wiped out by punitive strikes enacted by the vengeful Gatebreakers Chapter Astartes. +


+ Mordecai Frin and Otio Cymer. Intercession on Vega Rim. KIA – confirmed: bombardment strike. +

+++

inload: The Chiron Anomaly

+ The Alien Wars: The Chiron Anomaly and the Ordo Chronos +

It is said that time waits for no man. Fortunately, as the more observant of my colleagues will have already gleaned, I am no man.
– attr. Inquisitrix Barbari Kills, during her hearing before the Chronos Coven of Eight.


+ The Chiron Anomaly is a radiation-bathed region of wilderness space on the very borders of the galactic rim; both a memorial to the ancient warfare of the Great Heresy and – so it is whispered – a vision of a dark millennium yet to come. +


+ The Chiron Cabal +

+ Long quarantined by the Adeptus Mechanicus, the Nova Terra Interregnum saw the picketing Ark Mechanicus Assertive Denominator and its attendant fleet drawn to assist in the conflict over the Nova Terran outpost Jin Gi. With its guardians absent, numerous rogue traders, pirates and other opportunists were quick to descend. None emerged unchanged. +#

+ The divided Inquisition also sent a number of agents to investigate the Anomaly; resulting in the formation of the Chiron Cabal; a group of Inquisitorial servants dedicated to the investigation of the Anomaly. +

+ The Chiron Cabal were subsequently (at least, as far as such a term can be used of the group) to form the core group of the Ordo Chronos.  +


+++

+ Torans +

The Anomaly itself permanently affects two star systems; neither with inhabited planets in the current period (M35); owing to the constant projection of mereolgical ejecta. This has a matter-dilating effect that – from space – causes the surfaces of the planets to be a nonsensical soup of quantum contradictions. Further out, the unpredictable waxing and waning of the Anomaly's effect occasionally touches a third system, which contains the planet of Solemnace, intermittenly inhabited by hardy frontiersfolk and time-miners. +

+ Solemnace is inhabitable only in certain regions; those within the influence of the chthonic toran structures that predate colonisation. Beyond their reaches, the planets are bombarded with hard radiation remaining from an exterminatus-event executed during the Great Heresy. What garbled records remain are closed on who precisely executed the planets, but it is clear that at least one Astartes Legion was involved. +

+ The torans themselves are speculated to be of xeno origin; with some comparing their time-dilation effects to the technologies of the noxious hrud; though the gateways bear little similarity to other structures known to be 'constructed' by these aliens. Whatever their origin, the toran's effects on the planet are unmistakable; creating temporary localised regions of normalised space-time. Their cycling is relatively predictable, allowing the nomadic inhabitants to move to another pocket before the region winks out of stability. +

+ It is within these unstable regions that the Ordo Chronos – and others – delve, as they potentially allow a sufficiently briefed and trained operative to experience – and, so the theory goes, potentially affect – different periods of time. Thus, a number of different Ordos have brought their elite forces to the world; hoping to force their way through to change the past. Some aim to send word to distant regions; others to find an instantaneous method of galactic communion; prevent the rise of Nova Terra; or to expand the breakaway Empire's influence. The most ambitious – or insane – attempt to dive further back or forward in time, gathering tools and weapons to conquer a future galaxy, or prevent the Emperor's death. +

+ Of course; so the theory goes. In practise, most chronoagents are driven irrevocably insane, killed by timedisplacement, or otherwise lost forever. The planet has become a near-infinite mass of petty temporal skirmishes, with ever-escalating warbands reporting the appearance of new forces dating from pre-Imperial timelines to strange glittering warriors. +

+++

+ Thought for the day: Only the insane have strength enough to prosper. Only those who prosper truly judge what is sane. +

+ inload: Simargi of Moroz-Morok +

+ Simargi of Moroz-Morok +

+ Argh! Where are my arms? +
+ A work-in-progress of Simargi of Moroz-Morok; the leader of my Death Guard during the Tzi'Na Crisis, [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+] and one of Kainan's lieutenants (though like all champions of the Fell Powers, doubtless harbouring ambitions of his own!) +

+ Building the model +

+ The base of the figure is one of the new Deathshroud models, with the legs repositioned to improve the sit of the hips. It's also given him a bit more height, which I like. +

+ I wanted to change the silhouette, so I've trimmed away the arms, too. The distinctive cataphractii shoulder pads will be replaced with domed pads, like those shown (from Master-Crafted Miniatures). I'll likely use the original forearms, but replace the upper arms to give a distinctive pose. +

+ The remaining bits and bobs are details – thanks to our resident Khorne-worshipper Lord Blood the Hungry for allowing me to have some Tau skulls from this brazen throne. The barbed wire coronet wrapped around his head is from Hasslefree Miniatures, while the head itself is from the new Intercessors. +

+ I've popped him on a 50mm base decorated with some Anvil Industry rubble and bound together with sand paste from Golden Acrylic. +

+ While not yet tacked on, here are his weapons, Deathknell and Calcatrix:




+ Would love to hear your thoughts on the model so far. +

+++

+ Character +

It was clear, and bright, and fresh. A gleaming sun sat in a sky of astonishing clarity, warming a landscape of softly rolling hills, carpeted with glistening grasses and punctuated with copses of yellow-orange tree-analogues. Then came a sour scent on the breeze. 
His movements were halting as he lowering himself to the ground, bulky plates scraping and groaning against each other. Reaching out with a filthy gauntlet, he grasped a sod of the soil, and tore it from the ground.  
The grass here was almost emerald green, glossy; the earth black and loamy and rich. He lifted it to his face and drew a halting, sclerotic breath, inhaling the clear air of the world. For a moment, his expression flickered; though with anticipation or regret was unclear. 
"Harvest-ripe." His voicebox was clotted, his tongue septic and weeping; but his voice was as gold. It rippled out from the kneeling figure. Though a mere whisper, every one of his men heard it, and began preparations.
A great tocsin-bell began to toll behind him, sonorous and atonal. Then another. More. The warriors assembled, a host of Plague Angels gathered before their Master. 
He had borne many names, all inscribed on the Woe-Bell of Moroz-Morok. Son of Sorrow. Chosen of Daravek. War-king of Calcatrix. He was Simargi of Moroz-Morok; Captain of the Death Guard, and he would have these worlds for Nurgle.

+ The establishment of the Tzi'Na Enclave by the Tau has had the side-effect of creating many nascent cults, as freedom of religion was granted by the Tau to the masses. Believing the region to now be fecund ground for conversion to the Pantheon's paths, Simargi has – like many other Chaos warlords – pledged his arms to the Dark Apostle Kainan, adding to the Curdling Armada. Beyond duty to the Plaguefather, it is his belief that the veil can be pulled aside here to draw Mortarion himself to the region, dooming – or blessing – the worlds to the eternal service of Nurgle. +

+ As an officer of the Ferrymen, the Death Guard's Sixth Company, Simargi commands a Cohort (that is, a force roughly 500 strong) of the Legion, plus a large band of renegade auxiliaries. His forces – as well-disciplined and reliable as any in the Armada – thus represent a substantial proportion of the Astartes currently present in the region. Accordingly, he has placed a substantial number of transport vessels at the broader service of the Armada – though each remains crewed and maintained by the Death Guard. +

His appearance in a theatre of war is marked by degradation in the enemy's morale, for chief amongst Simargi's gifts is his softly insidious and beautiful voice – his demands and promises as corrosive to enemy morale as they are invigorating to his loyal warriors. He is also vector of the faith-fever, a dreadful disease that rapidly weakens its victims body with wracking spasms; while simultaneously besetting its victims with harrowing hallucinations that erode even deeply-held beliefs. +

+ Considering himself as much a herald and proselyte as a warrior, Simargi's forces contain large numbers of Blightbringers used to spread the word of Nurgle; and the toscin features on his Cohort's banner, along with his personal heraldry, a cockatrice. +

+ Clad in Terminator armour, Simargi is typically found in the centre of the battleline, directing his forces with the relic plague-blade Calcatrix. He also bears the grand bludgeon, Deathknell, used both as weapon and as a striker for the Woe-Bell of Moroz-Morok, a device borne to the field and sounded twice – once to announce the Host's presence, and once to declare the end of hostilities. +


+++

+ Rules +

+ Based on the Lord of Contagion stats with some weapon swaps (Calcatrix is a Plague Sword with an extra pip of damage, while Death Knell is a Mace of Contagion); and the Lord of Contagion's special rules substituted for rules from the recent Character Creation rules in Chapter Approved 2018. Feel free to give him a go in your Open Play games. +


+++

+ Thought for the day: All lies are told with a straight face. +

+ inload: Composition and the importance of contrast +

+ Count the Seven! +


+ Painting progress – nothing major, as hobby time has been slim – but the vanguard of the Death Guard are starting to look a bit closer to being ready.+

+ Blergh! +
+ Seven are being worked up from their base coat, including three leaders – the Blightbringer (bell chap); plague surgeon and Tallyman (the one with the loudspeaker backpack on the right). The step-by-step is here [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]; and beyond that I've been working in with very dilute brown paint, touches of neat sepia ink, and glazes of sepia. This last stage is what gives them the warm yellowy tint. +

+ It's an organic process, by which I mean I have lots of pools of gungy brown/black mixes on my palette, and dip in and out of them freely. It's not quite random, but it's certainly a world away from the tight control I apply to (say) my Blood Angels. These Plague Marines are much more in my comfort zone, in terms of style [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]


+++

+ Theoretical: The importance of contrast +

+ One thing you will notice above is that although many of the details are unfinished, I've painted in the eyes on a couple of them. For practical reasons, I wanted to check the colours I was planning (Vallejo's Prussian blue, for the record) would work and secondly, that there would be enough contrast. +



+ Contrast is really important for composition, as the viewer's eye will go to the areas of contrast first. There's a saying – 'tone does the work, colour gets the credit', which I rather like. Usually, if you have a dark-shady area, a light tint will look good, regardless of colour. The opposite is also true: the important bit is the contrast. +

+ Contrast in tone – that is, between light and dark areas – grabs the eye; but it's not just tone. Contrast can come in hue, in colour temperature, in detail, and even in texture. If you want to create a focal point, adding high contrast in some way on it will be effective. This Plague Marine's eyes are a good example of using other methods of finding contrast when the tones are similar. Here, both the light blue lenses and the grungy white helm are fairly bright, so there's not much contrast in tone. Instead:

  • The cool blue hue contrasts with the warm yellow-tinged white that surrounds it.
  • The clean, smooth surface of the lenses contrasts with the battered textural helm in which they sit. 

+ The latter point is another reason I painted them: after liberally sloshing on browns and blacks and washes, things looked messy. I wanted to reassure myself that I can paint cleanly when I want to! +



+ On a related point, note the thin border of black around the eyes. This acts as a border between the two similarly-toned areas of white and blue, preventing them bleeding into one another visually. This technique – black lining – is a good one for keeping similar areas apart. You can see the same effect used to break up the armour at the joints and details. All very quick and simple, but effective and eye-catching (exactly the same reason eyeliner draws the gaze – it provides detail and contrast between the white of the eye and the surrounding skin). +


+++

+ Contrast and composition +

+ A final note on contrast and focal points: While the figure above is unfinished, I don't have plans to add much in the way of freehand detail (though never say never) or develop the sculpted detail beyond regular highlighting and shading. The sculpt is already very complex, and I think picking everything out will make it all look a bit messy. The skulls on the wrist and so forth are given enough weight by the regular shading and highlighting; I don't need to gild the lily by painting them in a contrasting colour.  +

+ By leaving the gauntlet details unadorned – that is, with less contrast – they draw the eye less; and the lenses on the helm are thus left uncontested as a focal point. For similar reasons, the organic tentacles etc. will be painted with warm neutrals rather than vivid greens and purples, so the contrast is minimised and they sit quietly beside the armour plate. +

+ This is where composition and planning come into things. Generally speaking, I want the figures in this force to look slow and lumbering, to build the sense of inevitability that's in their background. That partially relies on having a single focal point for the eye to rest on. This doesn't need to be the head. Banners, weapons, shields and so forth are great spots for focal points. The important bit is that the viewer's eye is guided where I want it, and then rests there. +

+ Multiple focal points lead the eye around the figure. This is not necessarily a problem – sometimes you want to build a sense of movement or dynamism. Eldar, particularly Harlequins, for example, look great with multiple focal points – and it's for this reason that they tend to look best nice and clean, because then there's less contrasting texture to distract. The contrast is restricted to hue and tone. +

+ As well as imparting dynamism, multiple focal points mean the eye moves around the figure, and they're thus important if you want someone to really spend time looking at your work. If you look at single figures painted for competition, you'll probably find two or more focal points in order to encourage the judges to keep looking. +

+ For armies, you've already got lots of figures; so the most striking tend to subsume the individual within the whole, to prevent everything looking messy and confused. Instead, certain figures – your centrepieces' – act as the focal point for the whole army. If you want them to stand out, you've got to apply the principles of contrast to the army as a whole, not just the individual model. Consider picking them out or adding details in a different colour; and – perhaps more importantly – keep the rest of the army uniform, or you'll draw the eye away from the centrepieces. +

+ Currently the pistol is the focal point – not necessarily as planned. +
+ As an example, consider this Blightbringer. On an individual level, I want the bell to be the focal point, as it's his 'thing', but there's too little contrast there at the moment, and too much on the plasma pistol. To fix this, I'll have to play around. I have the choice of incorporating the pistol into the composition as a secondary focal point, or I muting the pistol entirely. In either case, the bell needs a lot of work. +

+ To help make the decision, I think in terms of the army's visual composition. As a character, he deserves a little extra to make it clear he's important – particularly in this case, when he's already competing with some very complex and interesting sculpts. I've added some simple detailing to his tabard to reward a closer look (though note it's in the same hues as the rest of the scheme, so as not to be too obvious), but he needs a little more oomph. +

+ As it stands, the plain is to include the pistol as a secondary focal point to lead the eye to the main focus – the bell. In order to do this, I'll mute it a little; perhaps using a dimmer warm orange as an accent colour. I'll balance this by building up another secondary focal point; the handbell on the other side. These secondary focal points will (hopefully) lead the eye upwards to the main bell, then around again, forming a trianglular path for the eye to follow around the model – which subtly echoes the triangular pattern on the tabard. + 

+++

[+APPENDEDIT+]

In the +commentarysubmission+ form, WestRider has very acutely noted that the eyes sit in the centre of the triangle the focal points will form, and that a pop of blue-white there would help clarify things. Alas – here my decision to change the head of the sculpt works against me. As you can see, the vision slit is painted to match the others, but the depth of the recess means that it's just not visible except from underneath. +

+ Nevertheless, it's an excellent point, and links back to the use of multiple focal points. Were I able to create a pop here on the head, it would create a fourth focal point (main bell, head, hand bell, pistol), which sounds unwieldy. However, in this example, it wouldn't unbalance the model, as the fourth sits within the 'route' the eye is guided (pistol to bell to bell). +

+ If you are considering multiple focal points, check you can lead the eye effectively at the modelling stage – sometimes the decisions you make with the sculpt can prevent you. +



+ inload: Painting Death Guard Plague Marines +

+ Back at the tincture-pools + 

+ It's been a while since I've had time and the opportunity to paint, so it was nice to dust off the brushes. While enthusiasm is high, I thought I'd crack on and do a little batch of Death Guard for the Tzi'Na Crisis campaign. +

+ Theoretical +

+ The concept is simple – the impact will come from high contrast, and the aim is for a quick and effective scheme that I enjoy painting. Having deliberate aims like this helps stop my hobby turning into a job, and keeps the approach to painting playful and fun. If I want to really go in-depth, I'll turn to the Blood Angels [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]; if I want some organic forms to paint, I'll unpack the orks of Luggub's Drop Legion [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]; and if I want freehand fun, I'll turn back to The Sons of the Temple [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]. +

+ As for the Death Guard themselves, they'll be my go-to for washes, glazes and a generally more free and expressionistic style. Perhaps surprisingly, the complexity of the figures lends them to this approach. It's easy to get bogged down in all the detail, but that can lead to an overly-fussy finish, which stops the figure 'reading' clearly. Better to leave some things indistinct, and lead the eye where you want. +

+ Practical +


+ Nadrotmistr Oto Thumor is the furthest along of the new batch, as fits his role as herald. I've used a black undercoat – regular inloaders will know I favour grey mostly – because I want the greatest possible depth in the recesses. The complexity of the figure also means black helps throw up contrasts while I work, so I don't miss something. It also dirties the finish, which suits the Death Guard well. +

+ 1_ The basic scheme starts with a quickly-applied mix of silver ink and Mithril Silver (or equivalent). Unlike my normal grubby metallic approach [+noosphricinloadlink embedded+], this is a very clean and bright basecoat. The reason for this is that it will be covered with layers of inks, washes and glazes – if I start too dark in tone, the contrast will be lost completely. +

+ 2_ I use a 15mm flat watercolour brush to apply the paint, with a semi-drybrush technique. Using a large brush gets things done quickly and stops me being too fussy. I don't worry about cleanliness here. As long as the paint is the right consistency, it won't spoil the details; and can be overpainted easily. +

+ 3_Once the silver is dry, I change to a size 2 round brush to paint the shoulder pads and tabards with a new paint called – surprise! – Death Guard Green. It's a nice olive, which gives a cool military effect. This helps to ground the more fantastical elements. +

+ 4_ Next, I use Vallejo's Off-White, a colour I bought especially for this project. It's a lovely warm neutral hue that works as a good base for the earthiness I hope to build up. This is applied more carefully to the remainder of the armour plate. +

+ 5_ Once dry, an initial layer of Seraphim Sepia mixed with diluted Sepia ink goes on over the whole figure (this is a glaze or filter, as it's intended to subtly alter the surface colour). I quickly add pure touches of Nuln Oil and undiluted Sepia ink into the recesses to build the tone there (this is a pin wash, as it is more obvious and directed). 

+ 6_ While the glaze remains wet, I dry my brush and use the tip to 'lift out' highights by touching the bristles to areas I want brighter. The dry bristles soak up the excess paint and leave a brighter, cleaner area. +


+ That's the stage I've got to so far on the Blightbringer (second from left). The Plague Surgeon (second from right) is pre-glaze, and the Tallyman (rightmost) is pre-Off White. Note the messiness of the silver application. +

+ I find this an effective technique that's fun to do; and it's quick, too. I got fourteen figures to the stage the Tallyman's at within fifteen minutes or so, and working up the Blightbringer to the stage shown only took another quarter of an hour. This should – I hope – allow me to get the force to a basecoated standard quickly; after which I can spend a bit more time on each figure to take them to the stage the Plague Marine on the left (shown also below) is at:


+ inload: Plague Marines +

+ Paraepidemiology +

+ Coo, Plague Marines are fun to convert. I've got hopelessly caught up in building them. Very much enjoying these kits; and I'm glad I waited to build them all together. It's a nice way to avoid duplication and add variety; particularly on models like these, which are a halfway house between modular and monopose. +


+ As mentioned in an earlier inload, I've steered towards the pickelhaube- style helmet that I think of as the classic Death Guard (as opposed to general Nurgle marines). Not completely convinced on its use on the characters [viddy the pict-capture above]. On the one hand, it's a bit predictable; on the other, it really hammers home the 'faceless replaceable infantry' vibe that I love so much. I'll wait 'til I've applied some paint; that can go a long way to making characters jump out a bit. +


+ These chaps were an eBay win. Nice as they are, I didn't fancy paying the yikes-inducing RRP. For less than half, I ended up with this nicely-assembled set (though sadly lacking the poo-stick carrying Nurgling). +




+ With a mass of boltgun-wielding marines built, I got stuck into some specialists. I'm thinking of fielding a close-in squad; something I don't normally do, so some dedicated close-in fighters along with the Death Guard special flamer-equivalents are a musy. The heavy chem-thrower thing (right) is awesome, but felt the static pose made it look less like a war machine, and more like a leaf-blower. A few cuts and trimming gave it a bit more dynamism; while the use of the duplicate body from the Dark Imperium set helps break up some monotony there – infecting two birds with one stone. In particular, I turned the supporting hand. I prefer the gun-grip to the palm-down look. +


+ The bubotic axe reminded me of the fly-headed Nurgle champion from my youth (loved that figure), so it was cool to add it to a new marine. The central figure is unmodified (even second-hand, I didn't want to cut up this model, as I think he's pretty cool); while the blight launcher marine got reposed for much the same reason as the other heavy weapon. +


+ Same models, different angles. +

+++

+ ...and a little thing I was playing around with, based on the Chapter Approved character creation rules: 


+ inload: Plague Surgeon +

+ Lukaerna Nemoc +


Cha'anxi. An important border system for the Tau, and a beachhead for the coalition of godsworn-forces called the Curdling Armada. Two months ago, the sept-world of Or'na was invaded by Astartes of the Iron Warriors, whose brutal armoured assault scattered the defenders of the H'unk Hunter Cadre. The Tau defenders now hunker in and around the outskirts of the city of M'Kel Bay, desperately training reserves and ferrying in equipment for the inevitable assault.

For their part, the invaders are forced to wait. As scouts, cultists and infiltrators seed themselves across the systems of the Tzi-Na Enclave, the Armada's charismatic leader, Kainan, has cloistered himself in his vessel, though to what purpose the various sub-commanders remain in the dark. Even the scryomancy of the Thousand Sons are unable to penetrate the World Eaters formidable mental defences. 

The alliance of such a chaotic force is fragile at best, and while thus far it remains unfractured, such inaction rests uneasily with the forces of the warp. Still, such orders are meat and drink to some amongst the Alliance: the Iron Warriors 242nd have fortified a region of Or'na, and has constructed sufficient nav-pylons to allow the other forces of the Armada to begin deployment. A warband of Death Guard has arrived; a portion of a larger force. They are led by the dread Krug Ikthos, who has sent his able lieutenant Plague Surgeon Nemoc forward to weaken the Tau defenders of M'Kel Bay...

+ If you'd like to read more of the Tzi'Na Crisis, vis-enhanced datablurts are available at the following noospheric nodes:




+++

+ Lukaerna Nemoc +

+ More building last night; and as sometimes happens, I got carried away. I had intended to build the Plague Surgeon 'stock', as I really like the model – but just as the glue was drying, I suddenly spotted a spare half-hood... Well, the result is below:


+ A hand-bell adds to the odd 'out-of-time' feel of the Death Guard. +


+ Not much has changed from the back – it's a fantastic model. It struck me how relatively accurate the proportions of this figure were, when compared with some of the more stylised troops. Standing very straight, he may be the only properly upright Space Marine I've ever seen! +


+ I'm reserving the majority of the more twisted/daemonic/mutated parts for some specifically mutated/possessed troops, but a scattering of bits here and there will help them to blend. In any case, this is the default pad, and a rather nice one. +


+ The front shows where the majority of the work has gone – at root a head swap and arm swap, it was complicated by the presence of the hood. I've used a carved-down Space Marine head to sit within the space, and add the front hood from another Death Guard miniature. For the most part, it's all plastic – the part of the hood with the tiny bell is a tentacle, for example, that I've shaved down and blended into the surface with poly cement. I have used some greenstuff for the back of the hood, but it's very minimal. +

+ inload: Death Guard resurgence +

+ Something wicked this way comes +



+ Ah, a new(ish) year – time for a return to the squamous delights of the Death Guard. The new Plague Marines kit is complex, but full of fantastic detail. I can't rate it as highly as the new Warlord Titan for Adeptus Titanicus, which I think is quite the best kit GW have ever produced in terms of engineering, but the Plague Marines have clearly been the recipient of some very enthuastic designers. +

A mix of parts from the main kit, Dark Imperium and easy-builds. Some – like the champion here – are so distinctive that kitbashing will never hide their origin. You can either go more ambitious with conversion, or just accept a little homogeneity. Personally, I don't mind a little duplication: you can do a lot to make things distinct with painting.
+ The Plague Marine box is packed with options and variation, but at the same time the figures you build out of the box are quite limited. In creating ways to have such wonderfully detailed figures, the flat sprue technology has been pushed to its limits. Two-part shoulder pads, optional torso fronts built to fit around spalling flesh and rot... it's a kit that couldn't realsitically have existed prior to computer assisted design. +

As I built the Plague Marine kit, I incorporated pats of the Dark Imperium easy-build versions, too. It's a quick way to create more variety – particularly useful for a kit with such fixed poses. Head swaps and trimming extraneous details goes a long way to making models more individual and preventing duplication.

In many ways it's an odd kit, and the more I built from it, the more I wonder if it was a case of the designers producing too many bits to fit, or perhaps a compromise driven by the sales team. Even the in-game rules seem a bit of a kludge, with far more options than equivalent units; allowing for an assault variant, a shooty option, or a mix of the two. I quite like this flexibility, but I wonder if the original plan was to have two distinct unit types – a 'standard' Plague Marine squad, and a more close-in assault version, or veteran type? +

The three-man easy builds have flooded the second-hand market, and you can buy them very cheaply. With just a few tweaks, you can make some models that hide the origin nicely. My favourite conversion here is the chap on the right. I think the base model, from the Dark Imperium set, looks great, but is very distinctive. Changing his arms gives a very different feel.

+ That would go some way to explaining the odd number of models in the box (although we ought to remember that seven is the Plague God's holy number in the lore), the unusually large amount of weapon variety, and also explain why the release was accompanied by the odd accompanying mini-releases – the three-man easy build version; the limited three-man 'Plague Brethren' version; and the separate icon bearer and champion... +


Some more specialist models here. Two with plasma guns, one with a flail. Note the scattering of green easy-build parts alongside the standard kit. I've aimed to slightly tone down the spikiness – I've used quite a few 'plain' parts from the Mark III kit, too – but chaos isn't chaos if you completely clean it up. By leaving some more flamboyant parts, you improve the look of the force en-masse.
+ Of course, we'll likely never know, but I think a ten-man 'standard' kit, with the regular upgrade weapons (plasma gun, melta gun, flamer) might have been on the cards, alongside a five-man 'elite' kit containing the plague spewers, flails and the like. Who knows? In the end, when the kit's as good as this, it doesn't really matter :) +

+++




+ A Realm of Chaos-era classic. Snippets of colour text at the bottom really help to spark your imagination, and the artwork provides some great inspiration for colour palette and freehand designs. +

+ The Queenking of Cockroaches +


+ A very cool third-party sorcerer; this'll join my force as... er... something. Haven't decided what, yet! Sometimes a model is just strong enough to demand a place. +

+ Nurglings, poxwalkers and support +


+ inload D: Schwerpunkt – Mordheim MMXIX +




+ Something a little special for inload 'D' (that's number 500 for non-Romans). I have been invited by Alexander Winburg of the ever-inspirational Echoes of Imperium blog to get involved in a celebration of Mordheim, the Warhammer skirmish game which turns twenty this year [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]. +

+ I was very flattered to be involved, then found out the other contributors – and very quickly became a bit intimidated! A list of the hobbyists taking part can be found here [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], but far more fun is the blog post with pictures of some of the miniatures [+noosphericinload link embedded+]. I thought I'd give a run-down of what my plans are, in order to give a little insight into my working methods, for what they're worth. +

+ The idea has been churning over for quite some time – Alexander asked if I would like to be involved back in mid-2018. I can only apologise for the time it's taken, but a combination of real-life busy-ness and wanting to do something really special meant it's been a while in the making. +

+ Anyway sufficient excuses; on with the plans. Regular inloaders will know I like to put together a 'conceptinload' of notes, to give me a feel for the idea as a whole. I then refer to this to develop the models. +


+ Theoretical +

+ As I understood things, at the root of the idea was an an affectionate retelling of Mordheim from 1999. Alexander was keen to strike a good midpoint between being us all having the freedom to be as creative as possible; while also not going too far off-piste. I had a little dig around history to find something appropriate to the concept of Mediaeval Europe through a dark mirror, and stumbled upon Jan Žižka.:
Žižka helped develop tactics of using wagon forts, called vozová hradba in Czech or Wagenburg by the Germans, as mobile fortifications. When the Hussite army faced a numerically superior opponent they prepared carts for the battle by forming them into squares or circles. The carts were joined wheel to wheel by chains and positioned aslant, with their corners attached to each other, so that horses could be harnessed to them quickly, if necessary. In front of this wall of carts a ditch was dug by camp followers. The crew of each cart consisted of 16-22 soldiers: 4-8 crossbowmen, 2 handgunners, 6-8 soldiers equipped with pikes or flails (the flail was the Hussite "national weapon"), 2 shield carriers and 2 drivers.
+ Poached from Wikipedia, I've added my own emphasis. That little list seemed to describe a Mordheim band to a T; and I started gathering bits... +



+ ...however, as more details emerged, the concept slightly evolved to an even more post-Apocalyptic setting – that of the ruined city twenty years on (i.e. Mordheim had moved on with real-world time). Other people's models started emerging at this point, and were very different to the fairly conservative approach I had started with (basically resculpted mercenaries). The stuff that was coming out was fantastic – heavily influenced by Bosch and full of Baroque grandeur. +

+ I scrapped my initial idea, and went back to the drawing board. I had been avoiding looking too much at the other contributor's works, as I don't want to be derivative, but instead give my response to the idea; but felt I wouldn't be giving enough with such a simple idea. So, I mused a bit more. +

+ The idea of 'twenty years on' really resonated with me, and I thought back to what I was doing twenty years ago – namely playing Advanced Heroquest and watching Conan the Barbarian with my brother. 'Now there's an idea,' I thought; and started gathering things together. The following are a few scribbled thoughts as visions of Advanced Heroquest, Heroquest and Warhammer Quest all got a bit bashed together. Hope you enjoy; and I hope to bring some proper models together to show soon. Can't all be planning, after all!


+++

Abstract – a pathetic group of old men and scared youngsters led by a man with a burning need to succeed, but none of the power. Everyday regular treasure-hunters; a mix of everyone. No-one in their prime. Not at all prepared for the monsters. Be a contrast for the other warbands – the regular folk that are scared of the dark
  • Sertorius – Marienburger Captain. An Othello figure – proud but conflicted; hires the greatest warriors of a generation – unfortunately; the last generation...
  • Heinrich Löwen (the fighter) – old and grizzled; Champion in charge of a group of henchmen. Scrubby beard; missing eye?
  • Sven Hammerhelm (the Dwarf) – Champion in charge of another group of henchmen. Imperial Dwarf with ruffs and puffs, or stern classic?
  • Torallion Leafstar (the Elf) – Abandoned the group; NPC that follows them? Elf Ranger NPC
  • Magnus the Bright (the wizard) – senile (NPC); bathchair?
  • Wizard's apprentice from Heroquest
  • Barbarian from Heroquest – Ogre Bodyguard NPC?


At the height of their powers....


Use this shield design – update with Mordheim skull-headed crow?

FISHFISHSFISH

Owls – birds; carrion

Option 1
  • [115GC] Sertorius, Mercenary Captain – 60GC; duelling pistol (25); light armour (20); sword (10)
  • [110GC] Heinrich Löwen, Mercenary Champion – 35GC; heavy Armour (50), sword (10), shield (5) and helmet (10)
  • [73GC] Sven Hammerhelm Mercenary Champion – 35GC; hammer (3), light armour (20), shield (5) and helmet (10)
  • [30GC] Youngblood – 15GC; double-handed weapon [staff] (15), dagger (free)
  • [200GC] 5 warriors – 125GC, three with a halberd (30), two with axes (10), three shields (15), two helmets (20)
  • [70GC] 2 Marksmen – 50GC, each with a bow (20)
Hired swords
  • [30GC+15] Magnus the Bright, Warlock
  • [40GC+40] Torallion Leafstar, Elf Ranger
  • [80GC+] The Barbarian, Ogre Bodyguard
Knight (injured?) and bearded wizard – ancient/senile(?); dwarf and elf absent(?)

Slambo enslaved? Or NPC?

Words:
  • Canticle for Leibowitz
  • Viriconium
  • 'Scarred and scared': old and leathered leading fresh-faced and terrified henchmen
  • Viginti – Twenty years on; aggressive sounding. Spiky.
  • Scherpunkt – critical point. Punky puns.



[T]he most warlike of commanders and those who have accomplished most by a union of daring and cunning, have been one-eyed men, Philippus, Antigonus, Annibal, and the subject of this Life — Sertorius; he whom one may affirm to have been more continent as to women than Philip, more true to his friends than Antigonus, more merciful to his enemies than Annibal, inferior in understanding to none of them, but in fortune inferior to all; and, though he always found Fortune more hard to deal with than his open enemies, yet he proved himself her equal by opposing the experience of Metellus, the daring of Pompeius, the fortune of Sulla, and the power of the whole Roman state; a fugitive and a stranger putting himself at the head of barbarians.
Plutarch: Life of Sertorius


Palette:
Ratspike Ian Miller – greens and blacks; Rembrandt – deep rich darks; reds and yellows. Touch on three-dot yellow-ochre used on Unfortunus Veck – perhaps servo-souls? Punk stylings. Leather jerkins; grubby metal. Pastel pinks? Outré exorbitant fabrics utterly spoiled in the City.