Two more personalities here for my growing collection of misfits who accompany my Rogue Trader retinue. I've been pretty inspired by the new Genestealer cult bodies. They have a really nice Harkonnen feel about then.
This chap is intended as some ancient preacher who has been plying the trade lanes for years, until eventually falling in with my Rogue Trader and his retinue. He's one of several such characters that I'm going to be making in the coming months. I like the idea that the's somehow tied in with the Pilgrimage that's been taking place, perhaps he set out too late or was left behind by his fellow travellers.
I finally managed to complete the labyrinth a month or two ago and I’ve just realised that I didn’t share any pictures of it. The idea, as you’ll remember, was heavily influenced by the wonderful Yggdrasillium board that came to fame a year or two ago. It’s taken me that long to put together first the shore line, then buy enough Zone Mortalis boards to finish it off. That said, it’ll be an ongoing project. You can never have enough Zone Mortalis.
In addition to the underground labyrinth, I also started putting together a smaller board to represent the surface of Seccundus. It took me a while to work out what to use as a basing material for these pieces. Then I hit upon Foamex. Foamex is used to create graphic signs and can be picked up quite cheaply at any printer’s or online. Unlike foam board it is solid all the way through, so it stays rigid and is much lighter than the equivalent width of MDF. It takes superglue and paint really readily too.
So here's my latest conversion kit for the venerable Chimera. I've always liked the idea of mobile mortar batteries. Whist the Thudd Gun is great I wanted something that was mounted inside a turret of some kind.
Once I've got enough of these kits lined up I'm looking to get hold of a vacuum chamber and start trying to reproduce in resin. This one is a two part kit, it slots in neatly into the back compartment of the Chimera.
These last critters are the final pieces of the Gene cult that I've been putting together. I've not been keen on the idea of them being manifestations of latent psychic power so I thought that as a Gene Cult, the members would obviously be tinkering with some form of genetic engineering. These being the result. I quite like how the old Ghoul heads work on them.
I've never been too much of a fan of the whole idea of Genestealer Cults riding around in pimped out sedans like a group of Mafia Dons. The whole idea of the Genestealer Cult is that they are a hidden force, operating in the shadows until the time is right to make a bigger against their host society. Surely anything that draws attention to them would be a bad thing in their eyes, cool looking pimp-mobiles included.
Since the latest background for the Cult seems to focus on them taking over mining planets I thought a much better solution would be for them to ride around in whatever they could get their hands on. Hence the vehicle below. A salvaged mining vehicle, press ganged into APC duty.
Sedeecion Kane, Constable of the Watch, Seccundus Hive Alpha.
“Your Assembled Honours, may I interject?… Thank you… Whether the horrors unleashed upon us these last three revolutions have a material origin, or an immaterial one, is a moot point: they die. With great difficulty it must be said, but they are mortal flesh and blood. Your problems, however persist and as certain members of the Holy Congregation have made clear, they do indeed threaten the very existence of not only this Hive, but the entirety of Seccundus herself. As far as we know six mines have fallen, ten more have slipped from the communications grid and must for all intents and purposes be regarded as lost. Your concentration of power now resides within these spires themselves. No longer do we control great swathes of the Northern Wastes as we did barely one week ago. I am receiving reports of a rebellion at the main space-port and several brigades of Ash Rangers have either deserted their posts or disappeared altogether.
If you will allow me to go on… Speaker, it is vital that I go on… Thank you, your patience will not go unnoticed …
To further add to your woes, just this morning I received reports from the network that the outer gates at Periphery Level One have been opened by agents unknown. Contact has been lost with the security detachments on those levels and I am hearing of habitation zone riots in several sectors down there. Our personnel are struggling to contain the rebellion but it is well organised and highly motivated. Clearly, the enemy is upon us. With those doors open, he is welcome to enter at his own leisure. As far as blame can be apportioned, this may be the work of low-born scum. On the other hand it may represent the beginning of a hive-wide rebellion. Several of my informers have told of great banners being borne aloft by the crowd, purporting to show a six limbed lizard. I am sure that such iconography needs no explanation amongst your learned selves, and if true, represents a whole-sale failure of the cull that this Administratum elected to undertake.
I am sure that you will agree that the speed of these occurrences has taken us all by surprise. What defence is there against an enemy that slips in unannounced and turns our own population against us? This is where we find ourselves. Make no mistake gentlemen, this hive has fallen. The population has been absorbed by something that neither we nor I suspect the Inquisition herself can stop.
Yes Gentlemen… We must consider a final end-game. That is why I suggest off-world extraction followed swiftly by orbital bombardment.
I know… I know… These are cataclysmic times that require cataclysmic measures. I have taken the liberty of informing the Holy Inquisition and several assets have been stationed in orbit around the third Orbus for several days. Their orders are simple, to save whomever is willing to be saved… and to leave nothing else alive. The time for planning a ground response has passed. We have been overrun.
Gentlemen, gather your loved ones about you and make no mistake, this night will be a long one. Pray that it ends.”
Unknown Hive Medicant attached to the Holy Cloisters
In the Fall of that Imperial Year our Astropathic section’s long range augers perceived the shadow and shimmer of something leaving the Warp at the edge of the our Holy system. A Hulk.
The Ravenous Fortitude, or so we named her, appeared set upon a course that would bring her in-system, between the orbits of the first and secondaries. Although it was charted to pass many millions of miles from our orbus itself, and although we provided many hours of reassuring sermon, her presence made those among the higher echelons within our planet’s Administratum nervous indeed.
Our Early Warning buoys at the outer rim revealed nothing that caused immediate concern, but at seventy nine miles stem to stern, The Fortitude was an imposing proposition. Her sheer size alone, seemed to suggest that some abominable insanity lay at the root of her inauguration. What none could tell, least of all our Psyker Orchards and ranks of Teller Friars, was if she had indeed entered real space in her entirety, or if a portion of her still existed in some other dimension. We were tasked with trying to ascertain this as a matter of priority.
As the hulk slowly and innorexibly fell in-system, a small flotilla of naval vessels was dispatched to provide escort until she either left us entirely or fell prey to whatever strange and unwholesome tides she had already spent untold centuries coasting. Thus far, she had appeared relatively stable. Upon drawing closer to the central star, however, she lost several decks of superstructure due to expansion and contraction, and a cloud of debris, some of it quite large in size, began to accompany her.
Still the Astropathic adepts could sense none of the subtle tugging that so often accompanied such visitors from the Immaterium. And so we waited. And we listened. And we watched.
Loquastus Sil: First Assistant to Cloister Master Benedictus
The Desiccant Hermits sensed it first they did. Usually the Psyker Orchards were silent, but with the passing of She Who Soon Departed, those strange and spontaneously forming genetic Constructs took to screaming day and night. Reminded me, the noise did, of when my old Cloister Master, the Emperor anoint his soul, had performed a live dissection on a gangrenous Gutter Martinn. These noises disturbed me more than a little and I confess that I found myself gripping my Rosarius more tightly whenever I had cause to pass the Orchard.
Of what they spoke terrified me. It was not unusual to hear short passages of speech from the auto-forms, various mumblings about some dim half-memory that they recalled from the network, but never had I heard of such sustained semantic patterning. Never had those words imparted such portentous interpretation.
They spoke of shadows and corruption, of things that reproduced and spread, of things that could threaten the very purpose of our divine presence upon Seccundus herself. I wondered if the Orchards had become corrupted, whether the Emporer’s cleansing flame might be the only solution.
It was about this time I suppose that the first of the mine’s went silent and I confess that my master’s attention was soon fully occupied with this issue. It was not long after the rain of stars, that others said were nothing more than orbital debris, but I suspected to be portents of a most unholy kind.
It was not unusual for a mine to go silent. Not unusual for a storm or other such ne’r-do-well to render communication a thing of tricksy rarity. Not unusual at all for an outlier to slip from the network entirely if the Emperor decreed it. Took two weeks it did, for more learned minds to notice that the planetary beacon had also vanished. Now someone’s head will roll for sure. The crowd calls for arco-flagellation, for examples to be made and we must please the crowd, mustn’t we?
We passed messages up the chain like good and trusty servants. Saw that they were pored over by the Monks and Servitors who advised those strata above us. Hoping to have our fears laid. I confess that, despite the warnings and portents, I was unprepared for what came next.
We saw vid-feeds, most of less than 30 seconds, patched through. Dock gates, mining stations, habitation levels. We saw barricades of metal and plas-steel. A hodge-podge mess of welds and structures for strength. Strength that had ultimately failed and given to disarray. Great tears, great rents in the walls. Of people, nothing to be seen.
What does that? What makes those marks? Only the Emperor himself could tell, although I have heard the rumours from other locales as I am sure most have, of things that make wet messes of human beings, of a cult that uses the image of a Lizard, of things in the Underhive, seen only in hints and glints of shadow.
Those above us decreed the vids Unholy. No more watching, no more viewing. No more interpreting for ourselves.
Now the whispers are of action. The people call for arms.
The holy cloisters of Secundus Hive Prime had begun to ring with whispered rumours. The antique Oracles, plugged as they were into the Succundus’ genetic network almost always spoke in incoherent riddles. Now though they muttered of something else, of a new organised religion in the mid-levels, of many hundreds of citizens turning their back on the holy light of the Emporer and embracing new beliefs, defined by promises of salvation from the stars themselves.
There had been several protests in habitation zones that were so far up the hive that one would not have normally associated them with Under-hive belief systems. These protests had been viciously put down of course, but they had been marked by the appearance of well dressed, pale skinned individuals, who spoke in oaths and promises and held an almost hypnotic control over the assembled crowds.
Very few saw a connection with the Temple of the Lizard. That particular cult had long been a well kept secret amongst the upper classes of the Secundus administratum, eager to evade the all-penetrating gaze of the Imperium and its Inquisition, eager that nothing should interfere with the raising of their regular Militarum tithe and the sanctions that it awarded them. The Temple, it had been thought, was nothing more than a nuisance, contained as it was within the lowest depths of the sump. Regular security sweeps had reported encouraging body counts and it was believed that the Temple had suffered and hurt. Hundreds had been slaughtered. Only a few members of the Administratum recognised that those self same programmes of organised slaughter had created more Temple brothers than it had destroyed, inflicting, as it did, so many innocent casualties. In this way the Administratum had been squarely implicated in the radicalisation of its own population.
In this way, the danger had been ignored for far too long.
Many of the religious adepts who occupied the cloisters had been reporting the dreams for months. The dreams were always the same. A shadow falling over the stars, collapsing from the sky itself and appearing to infect the ash wastes and everything between them. The planet shrivelled like a rotten restruct-peach until only a husk remained, stripped bare and barren.
None amongst the higher echelons could afford to lend a sympathetic ear. Instead, the monasteries were investigated for corruption and a number of adepts were subjected to public dissection for the crime of disseminating heresy.
Yet still the dreams continued. And still the upper echelons preferred ignorance to knowledge
Octullus - Salvage Engineer, Sump Shore West.
I saw em first, although old Kirin ‘ere will swear uverwise, won’t you Kirin? E’s a useful little critter to ‘av around. Never ‘ad a better Skull. Me Sneaking Sentry, that’s wot I calls ‘im. He goes aloft whiles I sleeps. Stops the Bone Scraggers from stealing’ me wot nots. Saved me life before, ‘e as.
Them people? They been comin’ ‘ere for awhiles, at least that what the sump fishers tell, and you can’t argue with them can you? They see ev’ryfin.
There were five of ‘em three days back. Pullin’ a covered over cart. Didn’t see what was in it. Heard sumfin’ mind. Sumfin’ big and ‘eavy, like a big ‘eavy animal. Got this scrabbly-scribbly feelin’ as it went past. Like somebody in me ‘ed. Like somebody lookin’ through me thoughts and guts, you know? Could have sworn it had a voice, but wasn’t like normal talkin’, no. More like a pattern be’ind me eyes. Felt right weird it did.
Didn’t sleep that night I can tell you. ‘Ad weird dreams I did. Woke me right up. Couldn’t sleep so I went down to the shore and ‘ad a talk wiv one of the fishers. Theys there all the time you see. Always fishin’, never stoppin’ to sleep or talk or eat. Well, that fisher, ‘e tells me the self same fing. He felt the scribbly feeling in ‘is ‘ed too. Ever since that cart came an’ went. I told ‘im ‘bout me dream and Emporer’s Breath, ‘e tells me ‘e had the same.
Got me finking it as. Right odd. Doesn’t feel right out there no more. Doesn’t feel like the Sump as it ought.
Like a lot of people I've been waiting for the Genestealer Cult for a long time, ever since those early days back in the late 80s when they were first introduced. I was slightly too late to the game when the first metal hybrids were released. Now though, they're back with a vengeance.
I'd been toying with the idea of expanding the Temple of the Lizard. These guys arrived just in time to absorb that cult. They have their eyes set on bigger things that just being masters of the Sump.
So I recently bought another squad of mixed and matched Victoria Miniatures guard to bolster my Seconds Ash Ranger's regiment. These guys are put together using Vic's fantastic trench coat legs, combat torsos and victorian arms. I equipped them with Outguns as I like the rough and ready feel it gives them.
The sergeant was armed with a modified pistol. I wanted to convey the feeling of some kind of Artillery Luger type weapon, complete with snail drum magazine.
The Cadian grenade launcher works perfectly for the special weapons trooper.
Despite being bedecked in golden and turquoise livery, the Hate Engine is a fearsome entity, host to a malign machine spirit, corrupted and tainted beyond what even the Mechanicum would tolerate. Hate Engines are often found in the service of Rogue Traders, as only those of dubious and debatable nature are irresponsible enough to field such a machine.
They have only one purpose: to hunt down and destroy those who have angered or insulted the Trader and his household. Being machines of boiling anger, they are hard to control and the Rogue Trader will often keep such a machine at arm's length, deploying it only in advance of his armada, or simply leaving it behind upon a planet to run amok, a final insult perhaps, or just an act of malicious revenge.
Amongst the many millions who inhabit Mars' lowest social strata, there are those who see a way out of the endless cycles of poverty by submitting themselves to the whims of the Machine God. In this way the priesthood of the Mechanicum finds itself having to deal with many thousands of supplicants, eager for augmentation and a life of certain servitude away from the perilous environments that do for so many.
Most are mind-scrubbed and put to use as brainless slaves, or else surrendered to the gene-labs or converted into Thralls. Few are allowed to retain their individuality, and of those even fewer are trusted enough to be augmented with rare Mechanicum battle tech. Of the small percentage that are destined for this fate, only one or two will survive their first encounter with the enemy and so in this way the Mechanicum never finds itself overrun by the many hordes who would chose this way of life over any other.
Rogue Trader households often have ample opportunity to acquire all kinds of tech that for one reason or another have long since been discarded to history or else declared unholy.
Automata of various types are often found in the service of such ne'er-do-wells, purely through virtue of the fact that they are cheap, effective and can easily fetch a high resale price. Such items are rare and valuable indeed. Some are dumb-bots, entirely incapable of independent thought and useable only after in-depth interfacing with a tech-logi. Others, however, still possess dangerous levels of self awareness, often leading to unfortunate 'accidents'.
Usually I start my INQ28 conversions with a torso or a head in mind. This chap started with the cloak. For ages I'd been wondering how on earth to use that pesky sniper's cloak that comes with the Cadian Command Squad. I cut the right hand off and thought that it would look wonderful with a protruding claw instead. Fortunately the cloak fit the odd ruststalker torso that I had laying around, not that you can see it, and various gribblies later I had an upper half.
The legs were another matter. My bits box is running desperately short of legs. In the end I made do with a floating style character. I think he works that way. Only the spare head from the Mechanicum HQ sprue completed the build.
I'm expanding my Rogue Trader retinue again, this time with a couple of specialists and a few close combat team members. These guys are all based on the Empire state troop bodies, with Mechanicum arms and weapons with a few additions of my own design. I wanted the weapons in particular to look ancient and exotic, kind of like a 1950's ray gun approach. I simply delved into my watch parts box and came up with some bits that looked the part etc.
Work progresses on the Labyrinth (or Zone Mortalis board to be accurate) I'm buying these tiles piecemeal when I should be splashing out on a bundle, but hey, at least I can give each one a little conversion when I'm putting them together. I wanted some extra doors on this one, basically Rhino hatches and Necromunda bulkheads etc. I thought I'd give this one a splash of white too. Too much rusty darkness going on, plus I like the idea of a tile, deep in the bowels of the Labyrinth that suddenly looks as though it's been done up really nice .... for some reason .... or other.