+ inload: Adeptus Mechanicus army +

+ inload: What we lost in the Omnissiah +

+ Oh me. Oh my. Adeptus Mechanicus. At last! GW have really hit it for six with their latest army release, and it set off all sorts of memories for me. +

+ Braun VI +

Obsequitor vassal
+ The Braun VI Skitarii were my very first all-converted army, built almost nine years ago (tempus fugit, eh?). They won me a painting award at one of the first gaming weekends I attended – and more importantly to me, the great John Blanche said he liked what I'd done. Those two events pretty much set me off exploring miniatures as little works of art rather than as gaming pieces. +

+ As a result, the army – sold in a period of poetic penury – has a special little place in the withered and bionic-encrusted cardioengine that replaces my primary hearts. +

Looking back, there's a lot I'd change. My painting has improved, and my conversion ability has also got a lot better – not least because I'm now in the happy position of owning proper tools! However, the core thing I took away from this army is that I could make and paint a completely personal army that people thought was cool – and because I think of my hobby as a social activity, that really meant a lot. I had a proper plan for the force, and every single model was converted and painted to the best of my ability. + 

+ If you'd like to look at the development of the army, you can see my youthful endeavours logged in my blog here, in Warseer's Hall of Heroes +

+ Since then, a lot has changed in the world of tabletop gaming. Small-scale skirmish has grown in popularity, and a lot of the things I was trying to capture at the time now have official models for them; not to mention a huge increase in plastic technology that has given a much deeper and broader well to draw inspiration from. The online community has swollen and brought together like-minded people and set off the Oldhammer and Inquisitor 28mm (Inquisimunda etc.) 'movements'. If you'll excuse a little hyperbole, a new golden age of modelling is dawning! +

+ The outré weirdness that I love so much about the Warhammer universes is coming through much more strongly in the plastic miniatures, and GW seem to have gone back to their roots. Compare the sublime Blightkings models to the original lead Chaos figures – much closer than the intervening plastics of the red period. +

+ Baroque bodyhorror +

Combat Praetorian with integrated broadvox-hymnal servitor
+ The weirdness and freedom of the period that brought forth Rogue Trader and Warhammer 3rd edition was what I was trying to capture with the Braun VI skitarii. If you'll indulge me a little, I'd like to flick some of the models from the army. +

Archmagos Veneratos Hebron Zion
+ Tassels, candles, asymmetry. Technology dressed up like mediaeval altars. Degraded remnants of a golden age. Desperation; haste and mindless cataloguing. +

Balisterai maniple with auto-bombard and attendant Immanual labourers.

+ The human form is holy. How much more holy, then, must it be if augmented? Faster, stronger, better – and closer to the Omnissiah. Question not the Machine God's servants, menial, and present your arm to the amputatrix at once. +

Combat Walker
+ Invest me with your power, Omnissiah! Strike the first rune! *WHUNK* Draw back the consecrated asphyxiation lever to allow life-giving oxygen into the system. Strike the second rune! *WHUNK* Pause and let it breathe, then allow it to revert to somnolence before reinserting the hardware-wafer. Strike the third rune, and reignite the spirit of the engine! +

Hypaspist skitarii accompany most Explorator forces. 

Gary Morley Techpriest
+ If your gene-runes are compatible, fine lines will appear in your vision as you draw your coif up over your scalp. This is called a HUD. The hood will assist you in identifying potential points of interest by utilising underused or non-vital portions of your brain. Headaches, loss of sense of taste, smell or balance, dizziness, nausea or personality loss when using the hood are a mark of the Machine God's displeasure with your unworthy use of his gifts. Be extra vigilant in your maintenance. +

Sagitarii heavy weapon operatives midway through painting.

+ Knowledge. Prize it above all else. That which is lost will be refound. That which is corrupt will be purified. That which is xeno will be abhorred. +

Skitarii are generally well-armed with good quality and well-maintained weaponry.
+ A tight colour scheme – red, white and black – was used for the army, with the occasional accent flourish of acid green, warm purple (used for the skin and lights) and turquoise; the start of a long love affair with those colours! +

Iron Soul techmarine aspirant
+ The army was also the first time I was confident enough to share the little backstories and colour text I thought up for the models when painting. People seemed to like it. Best of all, for every idea I gave out, I'd get three or four in return as people started to chat and discuss – so thanks to every single one of you who helped birth this army. + 

+ Writing background ideas down as I went also let me explore blind alleys in 40k background (this was when Black Library was still in its infancy, and most background for the Adeptus Mechanicus was spread around in relatively obscure old rulebooks) like what exactly Space Marines did in the three decades of training to be a Techmarine. In turn, this led to models like the techmarine aspirants – and indirectly to my current Ultramarine army. + 

+ Tabletop wargaming is a peculiar mix of solitary inward-looking and social interaction. The explosion of blogs and online discussion just goes to show what a valuable resource the internet is, and just how far it's gone in encouraging people to try something new and giving a new technique a try. +

+ I hope these old models – however old and shonky – give you a bit of inspiration for your own Adeptus Mechanicus forces. Please do let me know in the comments if you'd like a closer look at anything in particular; or if this has been useful to you. I'd really love to hear your thoughts. +


+ What does the future hold? +

+ We can never be quite sure when inspiration will strike, but I'd dearly love to have some of these models back in order to really get involved in getting back to the roots of my gaming: smaller roleplay-driven games. Alas, they are long-gone – and while I'm fond of them, I imagine having them back in my hands would just remind me of how I'd do things differently now! +

+ As a result, I'd like to use the lessons from the army to build up some more Mechanicus stuff...

... so let's see where I go with these now. With the new plastic releases from GW, creating Mechanicus models will be less time-consuming than the metals and resins I was using – and perhaps I can make something still more gothic and baroque this time around. +

Magos Militaris
+ To finish, I'd like to make a little plea. The one model I would like to recreate is my Magos Militaris. He was based on the Necromunda Scavvy leader that had a very short release. I've been looking for another for over two years now, and I've almost given up hope. If anyone has one they'd be willing to part with, please do get in touch. Here's a pic of the original. +

+ Good luck with your own Mechanicus army. Praise the Omnissiah and pass the ammunition! +

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