+ inload: Painting the Iron Circle WIP +

+ By Your Command +

+ The Iron Circle +

+ I reviewed the Domitar-Ferrum battle automata – better known as the Iron Circle – in an earlier inload [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], in which I sang the praises of these characterful beasties. I find large models both technically more difficult to paint (my style doesn't lend itself to large flat areas), and more time-consuming. On top of that, as they were a gift, I wanted to do them justice – in truth, I found 'em, a bit intimidating! +

+ In the absence of am alternative strong idea for painting, I decided that consistency with the rest of the army was the best route, so used the same approach as I take for my Iron Warriors Infantry [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]. Background-wise, I thought this fit well; as it nicely ties in with the Legion's primarch, Perturabo's, unsentimental view that both Astartes and Automata were equally tools to be used. Aesthetically, the stylistic differences between the Automata and my Astartes are smoothed by the use of a common scheme. +

+ These WIP pictures show one of the Circle at the end of a single painting session – roughly three hours. I was going to call them done, but as so often happens, stepping away suddenly reignites my interest, and there's a few tweaks I want to make; some of which were suggested by the PCRC (thanks chaps!) +

+ Primarily, I think the model lacks a strong focal point. Despite working up the tone on the faceplate further than the rest of the metal, the black eyes – a detail I included to give a soulless, dead feel – just don't quite work. Bob Hunk suggested I use the same blue eyes as for the rest of my infantry, so I'll give that a go. +

+ Similarly, Lucifer216 though the hammer could do with a bit more emphasis. I usually err from going over-the-top on glowing details as I prefer a grounded, realistic approach (well, insofar as giant robots are realistic), but in this case he's absolutely right. In truth, the hammer was a rush-job, and a few more minutes on it will go a long way to balancing the eye-catching impact of the yellow stripe on the shoulder pad. +

+ Theorectical +

+ Grimy, murky, threatening metal. I'm happy with the underlying steel/iron, but the gold need considerable work to add depth. +

+ The big flat plates of the shield scream out for freehand and detail, but I'm always wary about adding such detail to places like this. Not only is it a functional piece of equipment, rather than a decorative banner, but any strong detail here could easily draw attention away from the robot itself. This wouldn't be a big problem on this example, but if I add another member to the Circle with his shield to the fore, it could easily become distracting. +

+ With that said, leaving the area completely undecorated would be very boring. I've compromised by adding a relatively small Legion symbol in the centre (a flat transfer), and freehanding some hazard stripes on the bottom. This flash of colour is enough to add interest without going over-the-top. It was also an enjoyable break from all the metal! +

+ Being a special case, I spent more time on the metal than on a typical model in the army, and I am pleased with the discoloured, varied and naturalistic feel of it. However, spending so much time on the familiar steel was essentially procrastinating, and other areas of the model suffered for it. +

+ Practical +

+ The following areas need addressing:
  • Develop the eyes; perhaps paint them blue (to match), red (to contrast), or green (to complement) the rest of the army.
  • Work up the energy effect on the grav-hammer, and generally spend more time and thought on the weapon.
  • Build up the tonal contrast in the gold.

+ 8th Path Gaming +

+ If you're interested in using the Iron Circle in 8th edition, I've worked up a playtestable datasheet for them as part of my The Eightfold Path conversion [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]:

+ Initital price (for two) is 15 power; I'd welcome any feedback or suggestions on points cost. +

+ Designer's notes +

+ The underlying principle here was to sensitively adapt the Kastelan – the only 8th ed. robot – datasheet to fit the Iron Circle. Effectively, to look at how the 8th ed. Castellax compares with both the 7th edition Castellax and the 7th ed. Kastelan (both coming from the same inspiration); then see how the 7th ed. Castellax compares with the 7th ed. Iron Circle and Domitar. +

Iron Circle 8th
M 8" (equal to Kastelan)
WS 3+ (based on higher WS in 7th)
BS 4+ (equal in 7th)
S 7 (based on higher S in 7th)
T 7 (equal in 7th)
W 6 (equal in 7th)
A 3 (equal in 7th)
LD 10 (higher in 7th; but a bit academic)
Sv 3+ (equal in 7th)

Graviton Maul
Range: melee Type: melee S: x2 AP:-3 D:3 Abilities: Crushing blow: on a to hit roll of a 6, make an additional attack with this weapon. This cannot produce a further additional attack.

Olympia pattern boltcannon 
Range: 36in Type: heavy 5 S:5 AP:-1 D:1 Abilities: none 
(7th: 36in, S5, AP4, heavy 5 pinning)

Karceri Battle Shield
Provides a 4+ invulnerable save to itself or any character within 3in. Note that if the character uses the save, the Iron Circle robot cannot use it.

+ inload: Nur. Na. Phom. +

The spindle trees here are long and whip-thin, and completely still. Even with half-a-ton of unman scratching its worm-ridden arsehole against the repellent bark with a look of idiot bliss, the ominous trees remain utterly, obscenely, inert.

Worse. Every single tree stretches high; maddeningly high, towards a sky as white and dead as a beached sea-ray. As though providing some cosmic balance with the impossible trees, it writhes. Flat and blank, and somehow in motion. The gelds studiously avoid looking at it.

It is in Drone's inhabitants. You can see it. As bullet enters meat, great heavy clouds of blood – slick and red and dark as sorrow – belch out. Along with their despairing, bovine screams, they weep out clouds of luminous... something.

We are Nur Na Phom. Humanity paradigmatic. Our gene-weave has been stripped and refined and engineered to survive; parsing away inherent weaknesses of our kin. Thus we survive our toxic homeworld – and thus we resist the moon-mist better than many.

Better. Not perfectly.


Other Martinets see – mock, accuse – flaws in individuals. I see further. This is not a flaw in our genescaping. Whatever is behind Drone's fecundity underlies the fundamental limits of humanity. This is beyond us.


+ The Monitor +

+ The euphemistic 'Monitors' have been assigned to many of the invading regiments, their tasks nebulous and unclear. Unlike the Nur of Na Phom, they certainly appear baseline human, and are thus cloaked and hooded, the better to ward off any miasmatic influence of the Moon of Drone. +

+ Their equipment, appearance and role clearly varies, but at whose command their Fell Osseous quills scrawl, and what they record, is anyone's guess. This example, bears one of the infamous Liber Negra of Aulos; on the leaves of which are recorded the writhing and esoteric lament of the transcendant being Yes+

+ Na Phom+

Na Phom geld with typical equipment.
+ The ritualistic and fatalistic culture of Nur No Phom stems from their wizened and artificially restricted gene pool; refined, cut down and stripped back savagely, in a desperate effort to trim away any potential vector for genetic poly-corruption; a response to an endemic threat that catastrophically altered the culture of the world; causing a mass extinction event that nearly saw the end of the colonists. +

+ Barely-legibale STC bank scrolls, studiously copied for generations – the originals long-lost – indicate that the people of Na Phom were force to abdicate genetic diversity in order to avoid extinction. A few strains of resistant humans were developed; that has been further winnowed by subsequent developments in the swamp-borne polyvirus. +

+ Today, all inhabitants of Nur Phom are all-but genetically identical; and regard themselves as ur-examples of humanity – a stable strain of being that is somehow 'more accurately human' than the rest of the Imperium. Given this opinion, one might expect the Na Phom to be arrogant or supercilious, but they are typically taciturn and stoic, sluggish and fatalistic. Most are entirely indifferent to their way of being, seeing little of note in it's disparity from the cultures around them. +

+ Such lack of diversity has its drawbacks. The Na Phom are catastrophically infertile, with barely one in two hundred able to procreate; and then only with a great deal of mechanical and medical oversight. As with their curious lack of interest in cultural self-reflection, so do few philosophies or cultures indigenous to Na Phom fetishise or even seem to value fertility, as one might expect. Instead, it is seen as a burdensome – even irksome – duty; with most Na Phom regarded the ability to excel in their duties, which are assigned in their early years, as the value to which to aspire. +

+ The Nur +

Gelds perfom most typical line infantry roles. 
+ The Nur form the military corps of Na Phom. Owing to the similarities between individuals, and a culture that emphasises excelling on behalf of others (for when those around you are closer than fraternal siblings, why not cooperate?) they operate as specialised medium infantry; working in groups of Gelds in support of Martinets. +

While they are genetically refined, their exceptionalism does not grant them particular advantages in combat. The Nur are not inherently stronger or resilient than other typical baseline humans.+

+ Their narrow but rigid band of genetic material is highly resistant to cancer and other genetic deviance, including that caused by low doses of alchaemical radiation. Combined with the strong immune defence built during a childhood on Na Phom does grant them some natural limited resistance to toxins, and a relatively quicker recovery time from traumatic injury; a trait exacerbated by the ready availability of blood transfusions, organ donation and the like. +

+ The Geld +

Gelded catechumen
+ Na Phom unable to breed are gelded in a coming-of-age ceremony; their generative organs irrepairably irradiated in order to reduce instances of tumorous growth. Gelds are more placid and obedient – though this makes them no less dangerous to the enemy – and operate in loose bands, directed by Martinets. +

+ The Nur rely on supporting air power and armour for heavier-duty strikes. Their standard-issue small arms are re-structured Chen-pattern las-spitters; light, rapid-firing but inaccurate – ideal for short-range firefights. +

+ Geld are not indentured. While most are largely indifferent to abstract concepts of freedom – being perfectly happy to serve alongside their peers – there is still a structure and rank system in place. This is mainly based on age and seniority. Younger Gelds join the ranks as catachumen; loosely equivalent to Whiteshields.

+ Martinets +

+ Marked out by genetic refinement, the skin of Martinets is rendered a soft, pastel blue redolent of ancient gods. Martinets direct and control swirling bands of Gelds, serving as an officer class. Despite the risks inherent to the military, and the continuing genetic shadow under which the population of Na Phom lives, Martinets continue to serve on the front line. +

Their presence on the battlefield undoubtedly has a ceremonial aspect to it, but there is also a societal reason many Martinets join the Nur: those who demonstrate military command ability are regarded as worthy of political tenure after their service is complete. +

Martinet on Unman

+ Unmen +

+ The polyvirus did not just attack mankind. Perhaps the great irony of Na Phom is that while their now-mythical STC system allowed them to manipulate their own genes to survive, the settlers were, for whatever reason, unable to maintain their partner species. +

+ Dogs, cattle, grox, birds and nearly all other higher lifeforms were wiped out by the virus, necessitating the back-breeding of analogues from resistant human stock. Today, manhounds, homo sub. equus and numerous other stabilised abhuman forms 'enjoy' an existence on Na Phom as 'unmen'; distinctly speciated by physical and cultural adjunct. +

+ Whether they remain blissfully ignorant of their lineage, or are somehow distantly aware of their stolen birthright, is a mystery that is unlikely to be resolved. +

+ inload: CD – Rubristic musings +


'400? That can't be right. Check again.'
+ DEPLOYAUDIO: Fanfare +
+ Launch: Rockets [extinctionevent/atomic/heat-seeking/chaff/warrocketajax/guided/celebratory] +
+ Launch: Rockets [extinctionevent/atomic/heat-seeking/chaff/warrocketajax/guided/celebratory] +

+ Having a breather every 100 posts is a nice chance to look back and take stock. It's been a busy year, and one in which I've completed a few projects, continued some ongoing ones, and failed miserably to do much with others. Since we're so close to the end of the year, I thought I'd use this opportunity to take stock of where my hobby has wandered this year. +

+ Thanks for all the fish +

+ Before that, I'd like to say thank-you. Getting feedback, comments and praise from the broader noosphere of the community has been invaluable, so please accept my blurt of appreciate praisecode:

01110100 01101000 01100001 01101110 01101011 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01100001 01101100 01101100 00100000 01110110 01100101 01110010 01111001 00100000 01101101 01110101 01100011 01101000 00100001 

+ While I enjoy writing for the love of it, your comments and contact are invaluable in keeping this blog going, so please don't be shy in getting in contact. You can reach me through the COMMENTARY SUBMISSION ACCESS at the end of each post, and Death of a Rubricist has also grown outwards this year, burrowing its semi-sentient tendrils into Facebook [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+] and Instagram [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+]. You are most cordially invited. +


+ Projects: Active+

Officio Monstrosa/The Tzi'Na Crisis

I've had a surge of interest for my Iron Warriors, owing to some fun games of 8th edition. I've got twenty or so marines primed and ready for paint, and the Iron Circle are literally on the painting table.

The gaming group have also got a bit of movement on a new Chaos versus Tau campaign – the Tzi'Na Crisis – in which they'd fit nicely.


The sister blog for the PCRC's Necromunda expy [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+] is up and running, and I'm itching to get going on some old-school gang warfare.

To the left you can see some Dramatis Personae...

The Alien Wars

I had really hoped to get further with this, but alas, life has got in the way. Nevertheless, this is a really fun and relatively enclosed project, so I want to get on with it.

Apart from anything else, I've got a pile of marines that I'm itching to build! 

+ Projects: Complete +

Shadow War: Armageddon

A couple of very enjoyable standalone commissions – killteams of Iron Warriors and Night Lords – made up a lot of my modelling/painting time this year.

Nur Na Phom

I was also involved in Iron Sleet's Thorn Moon invitational, which is currently being revealed piece-by-piece over there [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+], so apologies for the teaser image. 

I've got an inload with more pic-captures and commentary ready to roll as soon as they appear on IS.


I finished building and painting a mob of Witchhunters for Shallowell (our Mordheim proxy), who have bumbled back and forth to geekends while enthusiasm is elsewhere. 

Within this category I'll also fold my dwarfs – PCRC buddy TrojanNinja has challenged me to a game in March, so the Throng of Nog will be on the move then – and Shadespire, a great standalone game. While not complete, finishing the painting is a definite side-project for a rainy day.

Heroes of the Aturi Cluster 

This fan-made spin-off of the popular X-wing game has really picked up steam amongst the PCRC, with Spectre squadron doing pretty well. The main game is fun, but I really enjoy the co-op aspect of this. 

Having just a single ship (the Y-wing named with a hint of irony Fancy-Fancy) that's all painted and packed in my painting case made this a great self-enclosed project that I was pleased to complete.

+ Projects: Bubbling under +

May You Live Forever

Iron Hands, White Scars, and random guardsmen; oh my! A narrative-driven catch-all project that I always love working on; the unfortunately-acronymed MYLF has suffered from always being pushed aside for a project I need for a game. While I can use Tithonus (currently lurking in the Corestack Relics box at top right) and his 'friends' for games, they're really more of an opportunity for me to play around with making models. You can follow the story here [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+]

The Leviathan on the left is getting impatient; but whether he ends up in the Iron Hands or Iron Warriors is up to fate... 

Court of the Sun King

Ah, poor Polyphy. Will you ever get painted? I hope so. Like May You Live Forever, I always want to dedicate more time to this than I really have available.

I'm going to push ahead and see if I can get the PCRC – or perhaps some of the noosphere's Inq28 gamers? – to play a few games with me. I've got some scenarios all prepped to run; just need some interested parties to indulge my storytelling hat. If you're in the UK (or are even visiting!) and fancy playing a sort of boardgame-cum-RP game on Cepheus, get in touch. 

The #polyphyrises invitational is much more humble than that of Iron Sleet but it remains open if you'd like to get involved. I've seen a couple of fantastic ones, that I'd like to host as a guest inload at some point soon. 

The Six Species Invitational

love Blood Bowl. Why don't I play it more often?

This is another frustrating project that probably just needs a weekend of dedicated painting to get completed, perhaps finishing Chaunterwick Unathletic will be my Sanguinalia Christmas project. 

+ In addition to the above, there are projects that have reached a natural plateau – the Praetors of Calth, the Guard of Lambs' World. These 'don't count', as they're effectively somnolent. I like having some a couple of armies I regard as complete; ready to be pulled out and played with/added to/adapted as the fancy takes me. +

+ As you can see, that's quite a lot of projects; no wonder my hobby time feels a bit busy! In order, then, my short-term plan is to tackle:
  • Finish the Iron Circle
  • Getting Chaunterwick Unathletic painted and played with
  • Something from the Alien Wars – more likely building than painting.

+ Of course, I'm sure I've missed some stuff – no mention of Epic/Titanicus here, for example (or The Eightfold Path, now I think of it). Is there anything I've posted or mentioned that you'd like to see? Let me know below. +


+ Marginalia, conclusions and a look ahead +

+ Overall, this has been a good year. I would like M3.018 to be one of slightly more disciplined consolidation, closing off a few projects and building on others, rather than the madcap hopping around of M3.017. +

+ I'd also like to get more involved in the noospheric community – playing, contributing, and meeting new and like-minded players – so if you've got a similar itch, perhaps we could organise a meet up at Warhammer World? Feel free to add some thoughts – and any suggestions for the blog in general – in the comments below. +

+ inload: Confrontation at Coripaest +

+ The Kehudo Spills is the first system of note with the Inner Isolation of Vectum, a region of space forbidden to Imperial travel. Of course, while Imperial ships do not travel inwards, the Archenemy forces within occasionally sally out... +

+ Such was the case as the embittered sons of Perturabo launched an attack from the Spills onto the isolated border world of Simmer, on the corewards and spinwards reach of the Invictus subsector. +

+ This attack was the first in a calculated series of assaults that formed the spearhead of the Archenemy fleet that came to be known as the Curdling Armada, a fleet that bypassed Imperial defences and travelled spinwards during late M41. +

+ Such a huge confluence of Archenemy vessels would have proven a significant – even catastrophic – threat to any Imperial subsector, but as it subsequently proved, the chaotic forces were after a specific prize – the Space Hulk Feverdream, which had entered the Tzi'Na Enclave, a portion of space newly claimed by the Tau... +

+ The opening moves that led to the subsequent Feverdream War, are detailed here:

[+inloadflow begin+] 

+ A couple of friends – Lucifer216 and Warmtamale – got together over the weekend for a few games, and we ended up playing a very enjoyable couple of games of 8th edition. I didn't make notes on this one, but playing against Lucifer216's beautiful Knight houses made for a visual feast that I wanted to share. +

The Footsore 242nd draw up a battleline through the outlying districts of Nanbred, one of Simmer's numerous manufacturing towns. 

+ Still being largely unfamiliar with 8th edition, I stuck with tried-and-tested infantry. The Iron Warriors all counted as Primaris marines (or Lieutenants, Captains etc.), and this worked beautifully well. +

+ Elements of House Temporis and the subservient House Nestis were present +
+ Fighting a full army of Knights with a 'standard' reinforced infantry list in earlier editions would have been a dreadfully boring game, with the infantry relegated to hiding and claiming objectives. In 8th, the Iron Warriors themselves could offer some useful support to the heavier-hitting armour. +

+ Knights loom over the battlefield, giving a great visual against the buildings and terrain. +

+ The line holds. +
+ 8th edition made for great-looking visuals, as there's no incentive to position models or vehicles awkwardly for some in-game advantage: you can just place them to look good! + 

+ This shot really shows the visual impact of fighting Knights – just check out the comparison with the three-storey building in the background! +

+ From infantry eye level, you have to Know No Fear to dare take on these huge fighting machines. +

+ House Nestis clashes with the savage forces of chaos. +
+ The game ended with a fairly conclusive victory for the 242nd, which leaves the way open for the Curdling Armada to advance on Tau space... keep an eye out for a new PCRC campaign. +


+ Access more dataflow on House Nestis: [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+]
+ Access more dataflow on House Temporis: [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+]
+ Access more dataflow on the 242nd Cohort: [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+]

+ inload: Iron Sleet invitational +

+ Forgive a little self-indulgence; I finished my contribution towards the Thorn Moons Crusade [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+] last night, and am really looking forward to sharing them. +

+ I'll do my own little rundown on the figures after the event, as I took the opportunity to try some techniques and ideas that had been bubbling away for ages. Not everything worked perfectly, but I think that's rather the charm of creating something utterly fresh, and with a set time limit. It helps to focus the mind! +

+ Anyway, I'm waiting with baited respiro-autocycling to see the other 99(!) contributions – a stunning response that really goes to show quite how inspirational, productive and active the Iron Sleet blog – and the broader Inq28/Blanchitsu noosphere – can be. Thanks again, Toni and the rest of the gang. +

+ In other news +

+ The PCRC's Necromunda-expy, Golgotham, has a new noospheric node – Hive Confronsis [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+]. This is a bit of a new thing for the PCRC, and we'd love it if you want to follow along – so come have have a look. Things are still being bolted into place, but there's some lovely colour text and ideas already fermenting away in the tabs at the top. +

+ inload: Map of Hive Confronsis – Golgotham +

+ Map of Hive Confronsis +

+ I think this probably speaks for itself, but here's a map I've drawn up for our Necromunda campaign, set in Antona Australis, on the world of Golgotham [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+]. +

+ If you'd like to use the map yourself (perhaps for your own campaign), here's a larger version – you should be able to click to embiggen it, then save it down. +

+ If you do, please let me know through the commentary inload form below – I'd love to see it in the wild, so to speak, and hear how your campaigns are going. +

+ inload: Gaming with a GM +

+ Future Echoes +

+ A PCRC Warhammer 40,000 scenario set during the Tzi'Na Crisis in the Antona Australis Sector +

+ Preamble +

+ While building terrain for our Golgotham project [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+]Stuntwedge, Warmtamale and I had been discussing a shared interest in 'proper' narrative gaming and scenarios a few weeks earlier, so I thought I'd prepare a game for a couple of PCRC members to have a go at. +

+ While this scenario has been written with the 8th edition of Warhammer 40,000 in mind, the intention is to evoke the story-led and GM-shepherded scenarios of 1st edition Rogue Trader; most famously the Battle at the Farm (which I'm determined to play at some point), but also the lesser-known Skirmish at Rynn's World [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+]. The latter has some lovely blind events that require a third party – the Gamesmaster – to monitor and resolve, and then reveal to one or both players at the appropriate time. +

+ At root, my intention has been to avoid complicating this scenario with lots of additional special rules, so the players can concentrate on their troops and tactics to play out the story, rather than getting lost in largely irrelevant bells and whistles. In fact, as a result of this, the scenario will require very little adjustment to be played with different factions, a different edition of the rules; or even other game systems entirely. +

+ The scenario and the GM's role +

+ For this scenario, you will need a GM to ensure some pre-determined events happen at the right times, blind to both players. In essence, the GM is there to 'run the theatre', so to speak. He or she has two roles: the first is to act as the caretaker of the battlefield; resolving mechanics that distract the players or get forgotten in the heat of battle (terrain effects, for example). Random reserves, for example, can be determined by the GM during the other player's turn, for example, so they're ready to roll out immediately. The result is mechanically identical to a normal game, but it strips a chore from the players, and allows them to concentrate on their troops in the game, rather than struggling with the 'interface'. +

+ Secondly, the GM can enrich the experience for all involved by breathing life into the world through the pre-set events built into the scenario – the player achieving a certain objective, for example, can be issued a related, follow-up objective (rescue the pioneer to get the location of the mine entrance, for example); or new, additional objectives become clear. Such event are very difficult to build into a two-player system, but having a neutral party maintaining them gives a richer fabric to the game. +

+ Of course, the role of a GM to a 40k scenario is not to act an additional storyteller, and as the GM, you should resist the temptation to give yourself an active role in the battle – instead, set the stage, prepare the timed pyrotechnics, then stand back and enjoy the spectacle. +

+ We'll be playing this game next weekend, so I'll keep the players' packs and GM notes for another inload. In the meantime, here's the shared information for you to digest:

+ Welcome to Delph +

Commander Strongheel,
hero of Del'f
Six standard months ago, the planet Delph joined – or, depending upon your point of view, was annexed by – the Brightsword Protectorate. Since that time, the townships and industrial zones have been cleared, with the human population ported to supposedly temporary accommodation in the 'Protective Reservation Camps', as engineers work to bring the mines and factories up to standards more acceptable to the Tau.

Traditions long-suppressed by the Imperium have been sanctioned by the Water Caste, in the belief that temporarily allowing the humans freedom of worship is a harmless sop that will render them more pliable and open to the teachings of the Greater Good in the long-term – and give them something to focus on other than the sinister, antiseptic atmosphere of the camps. 

No world is conquered cleanly. Inevitably, Imperial loyalists and anti-xenos sympathisers have banded together, launching raids on the Tau fire teams as they systematically sweep each factory complex clear of rebels. The Tau's stated aim is to make it safe for their Earth Caste engineers to enter and alter the embalming and body-processing factories into 'Safeguard' arms construction.

In a little under a week, it will be Saint Capilene's Day, a sector-wide day of Imperial celebration, and the atmosphere is understandably tense. The Tau military – a mix of tough veterans of the war for Delph and green recruits – is on high alert in anticipation of trouble – teams have been deployed in force across the processing plants of the dockland industrial sectors.

+ inload: Thorn Moons invitational update +

+ The Nor of Na Phom +

From left, we've got a Geld, a Martinet on the Unman, a Monitor (rear), then two other Gelds; the one at the front being a fresh recruit, marked out by his consignment pelt.

+ Basic information on this project can be found in this earlier inload [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+], but today I finally finished putting the group together. I had (just about) hit the earlier deadline for submitting WIP pict-captures – you can see the results on Iron Sleet itself here [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+] – though they were at a faintly embarrassing level of non-completion. +

+ Spool on a couple of weeks, and I've got all five (arguably six, depending on how you read the unman) ready for paint.  +

+ The project was a lot of fun. Getting a balance between creative individuality, without making the group incoherent, required a lot of back-and-forth work. +

+ The figures are unabashedly retro – I like trying to use the most modern components I can find to give a fresh take on older 40k tropes; so these five have a dash of pop-culture Vietnam, a dose of technobarbarism, and a hefty splodge of 2000AD. This latter influence will come through still more in the painting, as I fancy a blue-skinned approach for the Na Phom to help solidify their non-standard humanity, and to contrast with the unman, who I'm planning to use my more practised skin techniques upon. Quite apart from anything else, I haven't used blue in ages, and this seems a great opportunity. +

+ Conversion work +

+ The pict-capture above is of the pre-primed figures, so you can see the conversion work and sculpting – this is mainly finer detail work (pouches, straps, hair etc.) which is fairly subtle, but adds up to distance the figures from their original purpose. In so doing, I hope the Warhammer Fantasy feel has been successfully submerged beneath a 40k ident. The Unman required the most work, with the face proving the most challenging (and rewarding) part. +

+ There's a lot of parts involved, some of which are a bit obscure, but the Gelds are basically Solar Auxilia legs with Tzeentch Marauder torsos and Khorne Marauder heads. +