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.
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.