[Been Painting] Night Lords Kill Team (3/2)

Your eyes, they do not deceive you: additional 2002 smolbois have been hastened through the painting queue.

One of these little rascals will slide into the bolter collection and form a Large Legionary Squad, the others will retrieve the Barnett pose Champion and form an experimental Small Legionary Squad.

Now. These models were definitely fixer-uppers; these were the bodies that had been basecoated with orange craft paint, as far as I could tell, and I compounded the error by priming straight over the top because I can’t really be arsed buying a solvent just to save a few random plastic figures. As a result, they are… very blobby, in many places. A great deal of detail was lost. The arms and heads are fresh though, and do a fair bit to redeem the overall look. They’re good enough, albeit not at the standard I intended to set with my Last Army Ever.

Speaking of which: I think I’ve mostly exorcised the craving to Bear the Word now. I did paint up a handful of test figures; the Blackstone Fortress Chaos Lord, and a couple of his mates. They’re mostly done, though the paints I used to use for parchment have disappeared and I might acquire some Menoth White to address this.

I wanted to call back to Zymran, the Chaos Lord and chief antagonist of the original Chaos Gate game; he came this close to having a huge garish green daemon sword, but I’d have had to redo the priming to account for the glowing light coming from below and that was marginally too much of a faff.

Did I not mention that? I gave the ol’ zenith priming a go on these, largely because I had some spray cans to start using up, and I quite like the outcome. It’s made a subtle difference that’s most apparent in the trim on the two bolter bois: they are visibly more bold up top. It’s also done favours for the Orgoth Bronze pipes and gnarls on the Lord, which have a more vibrant, visceral sheen to them than the flatwork I’ve done on the Wood Elves.

Given that I now have an outdoors in which to prime, and that the Ork Land Raider last year taught me the folly of hand priming vehicles, and the aforementioned arthritis being ever more embuggerant, I think this is a useful technique to keep in the pocket. It would probably have helped a great deal on the Terminator Sorcerer I showed off last time, too.

I’m happy with the job I’ve been doing on the Night Lords, but breaking them all out for a glamour shot together does show how much my painting style has drifted over even the six years since project “Eighth for Eighth” sputtered over the starting blocks.

Some of this can be attributed to all the “drip” on the Chosen, of course: there’s more not!midnight blue on them so they’re going to look livelier. I do think m I’m becoming dependent on Drakenhof Nightshade, though. It really did the “liquid talent” work on these latest five figures but left them looking, well, Dark and Boring. I’ll eliminate it from the process going forward, I think, and see what comes about. This army’s inconsistent already so a bit more Muckin Abaht won’t kill it.

[40K] Every Day That You Feed Me With Hate, I Grow Stronger

This is all your fault, Militant.

Allow me to explain. Some time ago I had the opportunity to pick up a small Battlefleet Gothic force, mostly painted in classic Chaos red-and-metal. I took the reliable imagery to one Kakapo, M. for analysis, had it confirmed as a perfectly cromulent starter fleet, and bit the bullet.

Ships, of course, need names. Said Kakapo, M. likes to name his Eldar vessels after Nightwish songs, because of who he is as a person, and I respect that. I am also a sucker for a musical reference, but I wanted a different band – one that captured the nature of Chaos like no other.

Thus:

  • Kaisarion: Traitor Legion battle barge (Despoiler or Retaliator (not sure!) with Chaos Space Marine crew)
  • Deus Culpa: Styx class heavy cruiser
  • Mantra Mori: Styx class heavy cruiser
  • Chaos Eternus: Acheron class heavy cruiser
  • Infestissamum: Slaughter class cruiser (daemonship)
  • Cirice: Murder class cruiser
  • Ghuleh: Murder class cruiser
  • Emeritus Squadron: Infidel class escorts

The Chaos Eternus is canon-locked (goodness knows how my rabble got their hands on it, perhaps Abaddon’s boys left the keys in the ignition), but everything else is keyed to source. I need to add up the fleet roster, but I think a battlegroup of Murder/Murder/Styx plus the Infidels will work fine for small engagements, swapping in the Acheron and adding the battle barge as my command ship for larger ones where the presence of Warmaster Nihil is justified.

The only issue, of course, is that these aren’t very… VIII Legion. There’s a wallowing in Chaos here that isn’t commensurate with the Night Lords, for all that I’m big on “Chaos believes in them”. And this is what led me to reconsider my prior allegiances – the Legion I actually collected during the golden age (2002-2007) when the majority of my 40K-playing took place. Only with new models.

As I confront the experience of Legion Wobble head on, I am reflecting on those glorious years. The Eye of Terror and Medusa V were the proving ground for the Fifth Host, and what I remember most keenly from each was:

– Lord Beltane being taken out by friendly fire from my Black Legion “allies” (in an exploding Rhino incident) on planet Lelithar, shortly before the Salamanders knocked me from my dominant perch in the summer league standings and thus saved the world

– Lord Ba’althamor, his successor, ending up stepped on by a Wraithlord of Ulthwé during an attempt to, basically, daemon bomb the entire planet

So. We can see that they haven’t had the best time. I have a couple of names and a story beat kicking around from the abortive “Eighth for Eighth” project. Tar Zahaan still sounds good for a Chaos Lord, perhaps a Black Legion defector who was sent to take over the warband and got religion instead. In keeping with my taste for “ironic” cringe-inducing references, I might call the Dark Apostle Zadok (the Priest). Scale the army down from full Host to Chapter, in accordance with the New Lore, and we’re starting to cook with gas here.

If we were wrong, all those centuries ago, then explain the Imperium, with its cults and its creeds and its relics. The Emperor never understood the truth, and now it torments him in his entombed “triumph”. Bereave humanity of its gods, and it will elevate a man to take their place…

Zadok, Dark Apostle of the Veiled Eye

[40K] Been Painting: Night Lords Possessed Squad

I have been working on some Night Lords. First off, the Possessed squad, longest in the queue and needing the love most. Building these had me gnawing the furniture a bit towards the end, commentators have suggested that painting them would see a return to frustration, but honestly they weren’t that bad. The only real troubles were 1) breaking a cardinal rule of the hobby by reaching past something already painted to get at something further “inside” the sculpt and 2) executing the steps of my process in completely the wrong order because I wanted to basecoat everything and check the composition.

Despite the suspicions of Kakapo, M., this squad has stayed together very well. Apart from this fuckin guy down the front whose chainglaive has snapped and won’t take the hint. I’ve repaired him four times in the three days it took to paint ’em all.

I had another go at the Chaos Sorcerer, too. A couple of layers of Stormy Blue and a crude but good faith attempt at the lightning have brought him out of the doldrums a bit. He still doesn’t look like the others, but he looks a bit less Dark and Boring (TM). I won’t be doing lightning on everyone, because a) I don’t have the patience and b) I think it looks silly, but I’m willing to make the exception for a literal space wizard who’s collecting it up to throw at people.

I don’t like what Jess did with the trophy rack on this one, but I am quite pleased with the Hawk Lords helmet on there
– thanks for the recipe Ben!

Taking the time to sort out my bits box let me reflect on whether Noise Marines were really a feature of the world I wanted to live in. I concluded that they are not, and after snapping their guns back off and raiding the pile, I now have an additional bolter billy (enabling me to merge my plasma gun squads into one larger unit) and four bodies with close combat weapons (who are getting grenades, and the spare Champion, to bring them up to five members and a tactical use).

I also have a metal Night Lords Hero who’s been rescued from Blastmaster duty and re-equipped with his original power glove and combi-flamer, a bizarre combination of weaponry that nobody on this or any other planet could accuse of being “optimal.” He also has the batwings on his helmet and, you know, now that they’re in situ I don’t hate them as much as I do the gawky one-piece jobs from the squad box. I suppose one Legion brother can be wearing his parade helmet, as befits an officer, and as a treat.

With a Lord and a Sorcerer on foot, five Possessed and three units of five Marines, I actually have… quite a few 2002/2006 releases. I found a lone Biker in the spares box, and enough bits left to deck him out as an Aspiring Champion and pick up a few mates for him. And I wanted some Terminators to accompany the Sorcerer. Aaand since there’s a new Chaos Codex coming up, the older elements of the model range are at risk of replacement. Choices were made.

One of these Bikers has been done up as an Aspiring Champion, with the now-tradtional Possessed head/backpack and the sword from the upgrade kit. The others… I’ve done my best. These are 1999 kits, with all the huge empty sprue and paucity of variation that implies. The last of my resin bodies and heads plus some spare backpacks at least ensure that different bodies are crammed into the single pose. A couple of combi-flamer bits from the Terminator kit have gone onto the back of a couple of bikes – I’ve never been sure if the special weapons replace one of the bolters, with Chaos bikes, or if the riders grab them and fire them one handed like the Imperial ones that came out the very month I started the hobby. Hedging my bets like this seems to be a way forward.

By contrast, these Terminators are a first step toward the modern kits, with a densely packed sprue full of options, but strict associations to get the bodies together. Their dynamic posing comes at a cost too: lugs and notches guide their arms into set positions and, because some are left handed and some not, the weapon loadouts are actually halfway locked (especially if you’re building for one of the editions where it actually matters if they have a sword, axe or maul as their power weapon).

Fortunately, I had the Chaos Lord bits from the Sorcerer kit kicking around, and one of the bodies didn’t have lugs on its shoulders, so with a bit of judicious part swapping I was able to build two lads with combi-meltas and power axes, and a de facto champion with a chainfist. This basic three man squad is the classic “Termicide” teleport configuration, intended to Deep Strike near a vehicle, blast it from close range with melta fire, and then wreck it with the chainfist if it’s still alive when they’re done. The other two members join in for larger engagements, and realign the squad to a more flexible role, with a combi-plasma gun and Reaper autocannon. No more power weapons though: not to be undone by restrictive kit options, I had cunningly saved the Terminator-sized chainglaives from at least one of my Night Lord sprues (one of them broke, but it looks OK on the power maul hilt), and glommed myself an extra couple of chainaxes.

Plasma boy is deliberately cheap because he’s likely to blow himself up when he shoots, and if he lives he’s a member of the Ablative Brotherhood, i.e. the first to die so his better equipped colleagues might live. Reaper chap already has the biggest and most expensive gun so he’s not getting a fancy weapon too, and to be honest I quite like his buckler and chainglaive combination (it’s the power fist from the kit with the Terminator chainglaive hand tucked in behind the guard). If I had more glaives I’d be tempted to do that across a whole squad. I can picture him planting the butt in the ground as he lines up a shot with the cannon, and that’s marvellous if you ask me.

[40K] A Stream of Consciousness

Which Traitor Legion…

  • is associated with the various flavours of “Now With Additional Daemon” units that I tend to gravitate to when I consider Chaos?
  • did I collect and play during the “golden period” c. 2002-2007 when I was “slamming hams” twice a week and had my first disposable income?
  • has a colour scheme which conveniently matches the “classic colourscheme” Battlefleet Gothic ships I own?
  • shares that colourscheme (almost) with a warband from another Traitor Legion I’m vaguely curious about and have been for some time?
  • has been on my mind ever since I stole Militant’s idea of naming ships after album tracks by outstanding metal bands and realised Ghost aren’t a great fit for the Night Lords?
  • is thematically an appropriate opposite number to my despicably criminal spiky sons, united where they are fragmented, devout where they are faithless and so on?
  • appeared in two of the iconic 40K games of my adolescence as well as a still-very-quotable early Black Library outing for Matt Farrer?
  • am I now extremely tempted to start?

If you answered “Word Bearers”, take a bow and have a point.

The short story by Matt Farrer is ‘Snares and Delusions‘. I first read that in Dark Imperium, which I bought the second time I went to Games Day. Overwhelmed by the crowd, I retreated to the gallery, and spent most of the afternoon reading. I’m lousy at conventions. Anyway, it must have been well over a decade since I last read the story, and yet De Haan’s final quotation from the Book of Lorgar still rings in my ears:

Pride and defiant hate, spite and harsh oblivion. Let the great jewelled knot of the cosmos unravel in the dust.

The games, of course, are Dark Crusade, about which much has been said elsewhere, and Chaos Gate, which I gather is having something of a resurgence in new and AA-graphic form. I played the original 40K X-Com knockoff, thank you very much, and still get the chants stuck in my head sometimes. The play less so, but it certainly had me at the time, and I remember dicking around with the level editor a bit. Sometimes I wonder if the conflict between Word Bearers and Ultramarines in the new “lore” is entirely down to that game, and if the Word Bearers were selected purely because their use of Chaplains and red colourscheme led to an easy, direct opposition with the Ultramarines.

(If I recall correctly, they’re also in Fire Warrior, which I mention purely because I know Militant loves it and will take any excuse to go off.)

And the old army is one of those which I didn’t photograph much at the time. (I’m sure I had a picture of the Dark Apostle somewhere, but – kids, never go mad with self loathing and delete ALL YOUR ACCOUNTS ON EVERYTHING!) Which is a pity, because bits of it – including the Forge World Dreadnought, which I won in a creative writing competition on Imperial dash Literature dot Net, the website which taught me to write and encouraged me into my choice of degree – were halfway decent. The Obliterator kitbashes weren’t bad (loyalist Terminators with all the spare weapons from every other squad in the army and most of a packet of Green Stuff). I used a lot of Black Templar bits to get weapons chained to hands and scrolls on everything. I remember repainting it all halfway through to get some more depth on everything.

It was also rather fun to play, and I played it a lot during the Eye of Terror campaign and afterwards. I almost won the Plymouth shop league, only being thrashed out in the final by a Salamanders player who didn’t blink and absolutely deserved it. I think the army had a couple of Apocalypse appearances in Manchester, the summer after I’d finished but before I graduated. Then… then the Gavdex came, and I lost interest very rapidly, and got sick, and flogged the lot to pay rent on a flat I’d move out of a few months later. 2008 was a dogshit year.

Anyway.

While I am still very fond of my Night Lords, to the point where I’ve just bought a box each of Bikers and Terminators to round them out, and am contemplating a Land Raider for them, I am aware of a division in my Chaos collection. A split. Many of the VIII are in fact the older range of models, the third to fifth edition figures of my yoot’, and they look a bit… different… from the Dark Vengeance set with which all this nonsense started out. Similar, of course, a Chaos Space Marine is a Chaos Space Marine, but there’s a clear line between 2007 and 2012.

I’ve been sizzling with Chaos thoughts for a few days now, and chief among those thoughts is “what if I just… owned more Chaos?” Specifically, if I had my 1500 or so points of Night Lords, my third-to-fifth edition army, and then… repurposed or duplicated my Dark Vengeance set and went forward into the newer range under a different banner?

I was thinking about Thousand Sons – even went so far as to pitch a list and ask for guidance on the modern game from Reddit! There is such a thing as too many figures painted in cold dark colourschemes based on blues and greys, though. But the Host of Amon are a thing – red and bronze. I fancy using up some of my nice rich Formula P3 colours – maroons and purples and metallics in that set. And also I admit to being a bit excited about Knights. I’m not sure why, it’s not as if I have a group for contemporary 40K or anything, but they look great, and –

– look, 40K and I are entering into a kind of “collector” phase now. It was always my off-game, even though I’ve played it for longer chronologically. And as I approach a sort of hobby twilight, not able to speed paint like I used to, there’s something almost liberating about just… acquiring a bunch of Chaos, and not stressing too hard about it. What if I just let myself have stuff? As a treat?

I don’t know where all this is going. I’ll play some Dark Crusade and see if it works its way out of my system. I’ve started the Possessed for my Night Lords army, and I shall put the Terminators together when they’re done, and leave the (newer) Raptors who are primed black and so throw off the painting methodology –

– oh, sorry, that’s another thing. Part of my frustration with the Night Lords is my Sorcerer. He’s come out very Dark and Boring. No matter what I try and achieve with him, that black primer just eats light and flattens colour, and he’ll need stripping before he’s any use to me again. It’ll give me a chance to scrub down the bright orange bodies on my last five infantry models as well.

Anyway. I just wanted to share a glimpse into what’s happening at the moment. There’s a lot of hobby thought happening, and at times this blog is for thinking aloud, putting the brain sizzles out there so my head clears and I can progress.

[40K] CHAOS RAPTORS, READY TO KILL!

What is wrong with me?

Two weeks before a WFB event and what am I struck with the urge to do, every time? Build Chaos Space Marines.

In my defence, this has been a while coming. I picked up the first fifteen of these second hand at a knock down price last year, and bought myself the box to round out the squads into something game-legal for my birthday. At least… that’s what I thought I was doing.

Turns out that the earlier Chaos books are more generous with Raptor equipment than I remembered, so I didn’t actually have to abandon any special weapons as long as I could divide them up in threes-per-five. So I had another think, decided not to repeat the error with Fourth Claw (who may be visually interesting, but are total photocopy specials in the rules), and promptly sawed some arms off some Warp Talons and used a bunch more special weapons. It’s not like there are Warp Talons in every edition I like anyway.

Three of the original lightning claw lads still remain, acting as unit Champions. This fourth fellow is an alternate champion for the later editions when that weapon option is no longer available, and bigger Raptor squads are more appropriate; the idea being that as many bodies as possible get jammed in behind him.

Two plasma pistols, a plasma gun, three meltaguns and a flamer. This is nobody’s idea of optimised and I’m loving tolerating it. I might even stick a couple more plasma pistols on a couple more bodies just to keep my options open, but the more of those I have the smaller my “modern” squad becomes, so I’m holding off for now. Three meltaguns together, two plasma pistols and a plasma gun together, and the flamer by itself seems like it might be a giggle. Or:

See? Nine perfectly straightforward Raptors and a Champion, as an option.

Goodness knows where Szandor picked up this rabble of a Raptor Cult, but they’re another score of bodies for the Red Right Hand and beggars, as any renegade knows, cannot be choosers.

This throws my painting queue right out of whack, but they’re all in such different states of painted over different primers that they might as well be their own side deal anyway. I’ll paint up the Possessed first and then work out what to do about these.