Sunday, 24 February 2019

Talons of the Emperor Army Showcase II - Adeptus Astra Telepathica

In the second part of my Talons of the Emperor Army Showcase, I will be looking at the non-Custodes elements which help to bring variety to my army as well as being fun little projects each in their own right. While they aren't really field-able as a coherent force themselves, they are meant to serve as allies I can take alongside my Custodes as and when I need certain kinds of support.

Sanviento Dio, the Arch-Mourner

Sanviento Dio was there when the Emperor fell, and was one of the Custodians who stood vigil as he was interred upon the Golden Throne. Since that day he painted his armour black in sign of mourning  and in fact discarded much of it as penance. While the Custodes are not religious, they do revere the spiritual nature in which Sanviento honours the fallen Master of Mankind, and he is legend amongst those who remember a time before their confinement to the Imperial Palace. As Arch-Mourner he occupies a special place in the Mourner Host as figurehead of the sorrow they bear at the loss of the Emperor's dream for humanity.

I really wanted to pay homage to some of the old artwork of shirtless Custodes who still wear black in mourning of the Emperor, and one night while trying to fall asleep I remembered the Nightbringer body I had laying around which I soon put to use in making a black-armoured living-saint proxy for my army. I managed to create this miniature from a bunch of spare Custodes parts, some wings from a Stormcast, and the body of the Nightbringer. I managed to get a spare set of Saint Celestine's Geminae and added some spare Sisters of Silence parts to make him some suitable bodyguards as well, completing the unit.

Black Sentinels and an Arch-Gaoler

Following the Edict of Nikea, the order of Black Sentinels was formed as guards, gaolers, and executioners guarding the City of Sight and installations of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica in the Sol System. I discovered the existence of this organisation from looking through Lexicanum, and while I've found descriptions of them on other websites, it is the Lexicanum entry I have taken my inspiration from. While I have elected to armour them in gold, and I have armed them with a range of weapons not just lasguns, I have given them black robes and helms incorporating snarling beast's faces. These were a lot of fun to convert and between the colours, the plumes, and the furs; they fit right in with my Sisters of Silence and Custodes. Rules-wise I plan on fielding them as Inquisitorial henchmen, with the terminator-armoured 'Arch-Gaoler' being an Inquisitor.

Astropath, Bound Psyker, and Servo-Skull

I can't possibly have the guards of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica without including an actual Astropath. The miniature I bought was in finecast and the staff was slightly mangled so I cut it off and replaced it with a psychic looking skull. He's also joined by a bound-psyker and a servo skull which I painted in the same colours as the rest of the army and can serve as objectives when I need them.

Sisters of Silence and Null-Maiden Grav-Rhino

I have been a real big fan of the Sisters of Silence miniatures since their release and would love to get more in future. In fact these were the first miniatures I bought for this project; initially intending to use them as an anti-psyker detachment for my Witch Hunters. They are borne into battle by a Grav-Rhino, probably the most troublesome of all the conversions for this force. I had an old, partially broken Rhino laying around that required an awful lot of care and conversion to make a suitable transport for my Silent Sisterhood. Though I'm not generally a big fan of vehicles, I thought it would make a fun addition to the force as well as provide me with a little conversion challenge.

Dread-Sister Eudocia

Before the most recent Chapter approved, in order to round out my 1000 point Custodes list I decided to include an assassin and after rummaging through my bits boxes I managed to create this Sisters of Silence-themed Callidus Assassin. A Culexus Assassin would probably be more fluff-appropriate, but with the bits I had available I was able to better emulate the pose of the stock Callidus assassin. I forgot to take a proper picture of her, but you can see her on the right in the pictures above.

Eisenhorn and Cherubael

I was unsure as to which army my Eisenhorn miniature and converted Cherubael should belong to, but ultimately thought he would be a lovely addition to this force as an enigmatic, uncertain ally. I had an awful lot of fun converting a daemonhost and both miniatures were an absolute joy to paint. To anyone who enjoyed the Eisenhorn books and loves painting, I'd really really recommend getting his miniature!

Finishing off this two-part showcase of my Talons of the Emperor I'd like to just quickly get down some thoughts on what, if anything, I'd like to do with this army in future. I originally envisioned this as an approximately 1500 point force of Custodes and Sisters of Silence that I would finish within a year and use only for battling, however I've had an incredible amount of fun converting this army and adding characterful units like the Black Sentinels and the Arch-Mourner, and part of me would quite like to keep adding bits to it. As my army isn't exactly optimal on the tabletop, I'm considering adding some units to what is already essentially a soup army but converting them to fit the theme. In particular I'm thinking of refraining from selling all of my guardsmen and converting some of them into a Terran-born Guard regiment so I can have a 'loyal 32' CP battery.

Now that Forge World have released beta rules for using their Custodes units in 40k I quite like the idea of adding some units from the Horus Heresy like the Aquilon Terminators and the new Venatari which are absolutely gorgeous miniatures. I can't really afford it right now but those would be some fun additions to bring to the tabletop. Additionally, from a purely painting perspective, I'd quite like to get Constantin Valdor as a technical showcase of my skills at this point in my hobby-life, and also because I have grown to really like the miniature despite initially disliking it. Though I think my time and funds this year will largely be spent on other projects, my Talons of the Emperor are a force I am really proud of and would certainly like to return to in future.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Talons of the Emperor Army Showcase I - Adeptus Custodes

My Talons of the Emperor army that I painted last year has been one of my favourite miniatures projects I've ever embarked upon. It has been loads of fun and exceptionally rewarding in a way I doubt my next few projects will be. Painting-wise; red, gold, and black are my favourite colours and this might be best army I've ever painted, having tried a lot of different techniques including glazes, custom transfers, and blending. Conversion-wise this army was lots of fun and nearly every miniature is converted in some way. Some are quite subtle like adjusting Eisenhorn's foot to make him more upright, though many like my Custodians and my Tempestus Scions are much more involved. In fact I think the only miniatures that haven't been modified in some way are my Silent Sisters and Trajann Valoris. Basing was also an adventure as I really wanted to do something different to the relatively boring bases I usually do. I ended up going for some clear, cold water that my army is striding through which contrasts wonderfully with the warmth of the palette used on the actual miniatures. It's been a great journey and I'm thrilled to finally have the finished project on the blog. This is a long post (the first of two) with plenty of fluff and a little rambling but I hope you enjoy seeing the efforts of my labours this last year!

The Mourner Host

Made up of various sub-sects of the Adeptus Custodes who usually do not leave the palace, but for reasons of academic interest, fate, or atonement have come forth to follow the Lord-Historian on his grand tour around the Imperium at the beginning of the 42nd Millennium. The Mourner Host attracts all manner of the Emperor's most devout servants from Terra; including Sisters of Silence, Acolytes of the City of Sight, and the agents of the Inquisition. This is the first of two articles exploring the Mourner Host, this one showing the members of the Adeptus Custodes under the command of the Lord-Historian and the second will show those other Imperial Agents who answer his call to war.

More after the jump:

Sunday, 3 February 2019

How to: Basing Middle-Earth

The finished bases
I'm trying to put more painting and modelling guides onto the blog so I thought I'd start a year likely to be filled with Middle-Earth miniatures with a guide to how I do them, alongside a few thoughts I have at the end on variations. For reference, I have largely followed GW's grassy plains tutorial for my Middle-Earth miniatures but with some minor difference.

I wanted a consistent basing scheme for all of my Lord of the Rings and Hobbit stuff, rather than a different one themed to each force. This is so that should I choose to ally forces I will still have a fairly unified looking army, and it will make using miniatures in different armies (for example, my orc warriors will turn up in the Angmar, Mordor, Barad-Dur, and Isengard forces I field) much easier from a visual point of view.

Sand --> Mournfang Brown
First up is applying the sand. The way I did this was to water down some pva glue (just a little bit), apply it all over the base, and then dunk the base into a tub filled with sand. I made sure to keep dunking the miniature until no more sand would adhere to the base, then I waited to let it dry.

Once the pva had all dried (I like to leave it overnight), I then covered the top of the base and the rim with watered-down Mournfang Brown. I'll come back and tidy the rim up to a firmer colour later.

Agrax Earthshade --> Mournfang Brown

I then deviated from the GW method linked above by washing the top of the base with Agrax Earthshade, before dry brushing with Mourning Brown. This is just to make sure any sand I may have missed with the first layer is at least stained brown, and also makes the recesses just that bit darker which is just personal preference.

Zamesi Desert --> Ushabti Bone
This is then followed by a dry brush of Zamesi Desert, followed by a dry brush of Ushabti Bone.

Mournfang Brown on rims and blood tidied around hooves
Once the dry brushing is complete the rim of the base can have Mournfang Brown reapplied to make the colour solid, and if there are any effect around the miniature's feet (like I have done with blood around the hooves of the Mouth of Sauron's horse) this can then be applied to the base around it.

Grass and any finishing touches
Following this add a bit of grass to finish off the generic 'plains' look. My plan is to use only dead grass (my favourite Mordheim Turf is great for this) on my evil armies, and living grass (I'll probably use the somewhat muted Scorched Grass) for my good armies. This will mean that allied forces will maintain a level of cohesion, while at the same time there is a subtle differentiation between good and evil. The only exception I might make is the Dead of Dunharrow, where I'd be tempted to use a mix of living and dead grass for thematic reasons.

Then you can add on whatever subtle touches you fancy like tree-roots or rocks. I plan on putting a skull or two on the bases of my Angmar heroes, and a few bits of ruins on my Moria bases, but otherwise I'll continue to follow the scheme laid down here. A bit of blood (if not already applied) may also be welcome if thematically appropriate, but I think I'd be tempted to keep gore to a minimum on Middle-Earth miniatures, don't know why I just would. Whatever you add, neutral and dark-to-mid toned colours are going to be the ideal.

These bases are ultimately designed to be fairly simple to do and also generally unobtrusive. While one would usually base dark miniatures on lighter bases and vice versa, this is more of a mid-tone so it can work fairly well with just about anything. The goal here is to allow the miniature to take centre-stage and not be overshadowed by a busy base.

I hope you've enjoyed this little how-to and best of luck with your own basing in Middle-Earth!

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