Friday, 17 February 2017

Minimalism in AoS28

Okay, so perhaps I should start by explaining a little on what AoS28 is.

Following on from the successes of the INQ28 movement and it's ethos in exploring the darker, forgotten corners of the 41st Millennium and the people who dwell within. AoS28 proposes the same ideals, but naturally, focussing on the Mortal Realms following the cataclysmic events of the Age of Chaos. Inspired by the likes of that which came before (such as Mordheim), AoS28 seeks to move the action away from the frontline 'big battles' and discover what happened to those poor souls that did not have a safe haven in which to wait out the apocalypse. Coupled with the Blanchesque aesthetic that proved very popular in the INQ28 circles, AoS28 attempts to move away from the 'luminescent' vision of the Mortal Realms promoted by Games Workshop and instead delve into a much darker pastiche.

Okay, onto explaining what I mean by 'minimalism'.

Instead of the art/music movement popular in the 20th Century, what I mean by minimalism is rather the characters in the Mortal Realms that represent the 'Man on the Clapham Omnibus'. Now, the Blanchesque aesthetic, especially in miniatures, normally includes loading characters up with all sorts of trinkets, gewgaws, furs and such, treading that fine line between what is artistic and what is overloading. But what about turning that philosophy on it's head?

That is what I mean by minimalism, the dichotomy of the heroic in the simplistic. Compared the grand armies fighting on the front line, in these forgotten corners that the AoS28 ethos espouses, the lowly spearman would become the mightiest of heroes, defending the boarders of their besieged little niche. Essentially, with minimalism, I ask how would I (or anyone living an 'ordinary' life) fare should the forces of Chaos suddenly rampage about my doorstep? What kind of weapons could I find in my own home? What kind of armour, if any?

With minimalism in mind, gone are the mightiest heroes to be replaced by Fred Bloggs armed with a kitchen knife tied to a broom handle. Gone are powerful archmages to be replaced with Jane Doe the hedge witch and her bag of petty magicks.

Just a thought.

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Friday, 3 February 2017


Our hearths are gone out and our hearts are broken,
And but the ghosts of homes to us remain,
And ghastly eyes and hollow sighs give token
From friend to friend of an unspoken pain.
S Lainer - Ancient Terran wordsmith

On a nameless world, far flung from the decaying bosom of the Imperium, the man waited at an ancient wooden escritoire. Hunched over, with frayed quill in wrinkled claw, he scratched out his final repose to the dim light of a single guttering candle. His chamber was small, barely ten paces across each way, with a bare-bones billet alongside one wall and the aforementioned desk with accompanying chair. The open maw of a pipe set into the floor served as his latrine. Piled in one corner, empty and half-empty ration-cans putrefied, adding an underlining tang of rot to the stench of sweated sheets and the stink of his own unwashed body.

The only entrance lay directly behind him; a heavy iron bulkhead, long ago sealed shut with oxidised rust. Many years ago, this had been a safe haven, deep underground and well stocked with provisions and water. He had survived for nearly a decade by carefully portioning, eating a single can but once a week. But now the food had run out, and the thousands of kilo-tonnes of earth and stone above his head had become an oppressive weight.

He had been a large man once. Corpulent, with greasy rolls of flab sagging from a poorly built frame like semi-molten wax. Now he had been reduced to little more than an emaciated skeleton, his formerly opulent robes now rags stained variously in foetid greys and browns from his bodily excretions. It had been a folly to run here, he had realised some years ago when escape had proven impossible, to live but a little longer. This hadn’t been a penance for his crimes, but rather a long, drawn out death sentence that he had imposed upon himself. His safe haven was, in fact, a tomb disguised by his hubris.

His rations had run out a month ago, and after a fortnight, he had taken to consuming his own excrement for sustenance, to eke out a little more string of his miserable existence. But this was not out of desperation to live, but rather spite against those he had wronged. For they did not forgive and they did not forget.

Sickness had already taken root in his veins and he did not have long left in this world, yet his mind was already little more than the tattered remnants of the proud man he was, insanity having taken root some years before his body had started to fail. So now, his final testament was little more than illegible scratches on the labels from his tins, his inkwell long since dried to blackened flakes.

Suddenly, something changed in the aspect of the room, and a familiar, yet dreadful carrion reek, palpable yet subtle, entered his nostrils. He did not need to turn around for he knew what would be waiting behind him.

“So, you have found me at last”, his voice cracked, unused to speaking for such a long time, “come to take my life?”.

Then, just as it had suddenly arrived, the mouldering miasma vanished and the man risked a tentative look over his bony shoulder and took in the absence of the room. Nothing had changed; had he just been speaking to shadows and thin air?

No, he realised in horror, his visitor hadn’t needed to waste any energy to take his life. Better to leave him here to perish in suffering in his own self-imposed tomb amongst the shadows and thin air.

The shadows and thin air.

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Sunday, 22 January 2017

Green Fingers and Chainaxes

Carrying on from The Green Death post earlier, I've been beavering away at this little warband for about a week, determined to create a small host of characters that were simple to build with only a little greenstuff intervention.

Black and white photos seem to be en vogue right now

Most of these characters (with the exception of Quayle) have gone through a number of rethinks on particular parts, but I'm rather pleased with how they've turned out (especially the Argyraspides).

Inquisitor Dimmock (name pending) still needs a little work, adding extra trinkets, tokens, gewgaws and fetishes, so I will be rooting through my bits box before painting her.

 The Argyraspides

As I've said, I'm rather pleased with how he eventually turned out, using an old plastic Goliath that I was donated by a friend.


Quayle was actually made for a different project idea I had several months ago, but was discarded. I'm really looking forward to trying out some new painting techniques on him, more specifically, painting his blades to look like pink/yellow coral.

Holy Arborists of the Orders Botanicae

I was drawn to the idea of including a couple of bizarre lumberjack-warrior monks. Indeed there is a rather nice quote in which the term 'lumberjack' is first used:

"my misfortunes have been brought upon me chiefly by an incorrigible, though perhaps useful, race of mortals called LUMBERJACKS, whom, however, I would name the Cossack's of Upper Canada, who, having been reared among the oaks and pines of the wild forest, have never been subjected to the salutary restraint of laws."

Anyway, looking forward to getting these guys painted and maybe even get a game in (if I'm lucky)!

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Thursday, 19 January 2017

The Green Death*

Have you ever seen a face in the skin of a tree that looks like it’s screaming?

It was on Vertellus, a relatively new world in the bosom of the Imperium. For its first settlers, it had been paradise; a goldilocks planet hidden away like a diamond in the rough. For six hundred years, the serfs of mankind had toiled away on its surface, growing crops from its soil, building cities from its stones. It had been so productive for six centuries before it had abruptly fallen silent.

I was still an Interrogator in the service of my late master, Inquisitor Boym Khirurg, when he had directed us to Vertellus and to his fate.

He dispatched an entire company of Argyraspides, battled hardened warriors armed and armoured with the best wargear our Imperial artificers can forge, and they made planetfall without incident in the capital city of Dilmun. For a day and a night, they searched amongst the buildings and structures only to discover the entire metropolis seemingly abandoned.

Just before dawn on the second day, our warriors fell silent too.

Despite his increased age, my master was still an irascible man, preferring to take the fight to the enemy (his ruthless pogroms against the alien threat during his years of service in the Inquisition remain, to this day, required reading material for acolytes in the Ordo Xenos). Within an hour, we were aboard a second lander, surrounded by my master’s personal guard, prepared to meet this unseen adversary with a wrathful arsenal.

Despite the atmospheric telemetry taken by our biologis-friars and their misshapen servitors reading free of airborne taint or corruption, my master instructed the ship in orbit to transmit an Inquisitorial Quarantine edict to the sector Ordos. Nevertheless, Dilmun was as quiet as the grave and of the two hundred Argyraspides, there was no trace.

For half the day, any explanation eluded us, yet we remained in a tight knit group as we searched, prepared to repel any external force with righteous prejudice.

As the light began the fail, they came for us.

I could not fathom what I was seeing at first; they looked human but all vestiges of humanity had been stripped away. Verdant green veins snaked beneath their almost translucent skin. They groaned deep within their throats like the sound of trees creaking in the wind. Some were in various states of undress whilst others were completely naked. Some were wearing the armour of the Argyraspides.

They were swift when they launched themselves at us with ferocious abandon, but we were equally quick in our response. The gunfire barrage was deafening, hammering into the tainted flesh of our attackers and felling many. Some burst apart like ripe fruit, spraying great gouts of white fluid tinged with green. A few of the forerunners had made it past the curtain of projectiles and were met in close combat with the rending bite of chainswords….

My master and I watched in horror as we witnessed the resultant effect of when this white-green blood fell upon the bare flesh of our own warriors. Corruption rooted almost instantly, their bodies racked with paroxysms as the infection raced through their bloodstreams. Even the combat servitors were not immune; their bionics and implanted weaponry falling off them like dead leaves to be replaced with prehensile vine-like structures as anything mechanical was rejected.

Faced with such abhorrence, my master ordered a withdrawal back to the lander, commanding that our flamer units maintain a wall between us and them. However, our attempts at departure was met with an even more fierce resistance and to my shame, with our craft in sight, my master fell to them.

They had taken to using the buildings against us: as hard cover and for something much more atrocious. They scaled the walls like creepers before hurling themselves off to burst upon the ground at the impact, scattering their hideous corruption like profane grenades. My master was struck before I could shield him by a minuscule drop that landed upon his wrinkled cheek. Just a drop.

He threw to me his treasured power sword with shaking hands and collapsed to his knees. He spoke no words, but his eyes gave me his last command as the perfidious rot began to spread across his flesh. I did my duty and granted him the Emperor’s mercy with a gliding sweep of his power sword. The remaining yards to the lander I fought with tears in my eyes.

Of the seventy-two members of my master’s personal retinue to have made planetfall, only a score of us returned to the ship without taint. I was inconsolable with grief for the fortnight in transit back to the sector Ordos. I would have declared exterminatus on Vertellus but, whilst I have the fire of vengeance in my heart, I had not the authority to do so.

In my master’s posthumous testament, he had urged the sector Ordos to grant me full inquisitorial status due to my exemplary three-decade service under his tutelage. Within a week, in a solemn and quiet ceremony, I was bestowed my rank and sigil: my first declaration was the death of Vertellus.

However, it was some years later when I discovered that my edict exterminatus on that planet had never reached any recipients, yet it remained under quarantine. I suspected that a greater authority within the sector Ordos had somehow buried my edict, but any subsequent investigations or protestations I made came to naught.

A century has passed since then and whilst I like to think I have become tempered with experience, I still have the occasional nightmares about Vertellus that wake me from my sleep. So, when I heard about the recent events on Terra regarding a ‘green mechanicum’, that world was the first that came to mind.

In those hundred years, the sector Ordos had not been idle. Vertellus had been monitored continuously from orbit. Sixty years ago, they had instructed survey teams back down onto the planet and do you know what they found?

Nothing: no bodies. Not even any trace of the infected.

It wasn’t until some years of thorough research, they discovered what had happened to the original inhabitants, to those creatures that my master and I had faced that night. They had taken root and joined the trees of the world’s forests, with bulbous white-green fruit hanging heavy from their boughs.

So, I ask again: have you ever seen a face in the skin of a tree that looks like it’s screaming?


*Title shamelessly taken from the Doctor Who serial

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

John Blanche's Pyratii of the Voodoo Forest

John Blanche has been busy working on some world building of his own devising, wholly separate from anything GW related. Some of you may have heard talks of the Voodoo Forest; on here, on personal sites such as Iron Sleet who work (and have worked) closely with Mr Blanche on numerous projects in the past, which started somewhat with this first artwork piece:

The Voodoo forest is a vast malignant woodland of twisted trees seemingly without boarder and within its darkened boughs and mangled roots dwell the most harrowing and unwholesome of creatures only conjured in the most macabre of nightmares. Only the very desperate, insane or those aligned in unnatural pacts with its denizens dare to make the perilous journey through the Voodoo Forest by foot.

Many choose to pay the, often exorbitant, fees for the relative safety of riding the aerial ley lines and trade winds on airships; baroque galleons constructed from sturdy lighter-than-air woods. This choice, however, is not entirely without danger; for trading vessels and passenger ships are not the only ones to sail the skies....

The dread pyratii often prey upon these ships, as selachii prey upon shoals of wyrdfische, the scarred and blackened hulls of their ships plunging forth without warning from cloud cover to descend upon the unwary and ill-prepared. Some are unscrupulous reavers interested only in what they can pillage, others are quirky freebooters with their own peculiar set of codes and moral, but the most feared are those that revel in the thrill of the hunt and the sport of bloodshed.....

Lately, Mr Blanche has been producing individual pieces based upon well-known naval personnel from both classical literature and historical reference transposed to his setting in the Voodoo Forest.

There has also been a lot of discussion regarding the limited release range of the Femme Militants recently, their classic Blanchesque visuals and how they might tie into the imagery of the Pyratii of the Voodoo Forest. So I was challenged (in a round about way) to build a 40mm scale pyrato of the Voodoo Forest and I made a start a day ago:

Please keep an eye on the horizon.....

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Sunday, 4 December 2016

Outgard - The Necromancer

This was the third and final piece inspired by the Outgard project, sadly my time was waylaid lately, so I only got to finish building him after the event.

Instead, another local member of the INQ28 community and I have been in talks about arranging a self-contained game in which this necromancer will fit in very nicely. I've included a little clue in the Youtube video below about what we are thinking;

I'm also running a little competition; if you're the first to guess/find out who was my inspiration for the visuals of my Necromancer, then you get a 28mm sculpt/conversion made by me. Answers below in the comments box please.

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Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Random sketches

Trying out sketching things; thought I'd start with the reclusive, rattie obsessed Inquisitrix idea I've been playing with, who I envisaged kind of like Madame Web.

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