+ 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?


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?

  • 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

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.