Inspiration, focus, hard work, talent, discipline, stamina, flow, joy, pain, excitement...
All words that can and do describe an artists struggles and strengths in the hobby. Focus is a wonderful thing. It is often the difference between good and great, between chance and repeat. Hits and dynasties.
But sometimes marvelous things happen when you lose it. The very best work often stems from losing focus. When working on something manual, already imagined, when your mind can wander freely, sometimes it jumps to unexpected places. Alpharius was born that way - during Jade Vessel responsibilities and my commitment to build Shaddes offe Greye. I just brought in the giant marine to one of our sessions and everyone loved it. Legion hence became my focus and my first bigger than squad body of work I consider “great”. Actually the Shaddes off Greye being the only other decent thing I’ve done.
Greatness is obviously about context - and the context of this blog is about gothic, heavy impact miniature imagery that shows originality, clever use of plastic parts, strongly themed paintwork and repeating and relentless creativity.
Rather than making very nice renditions of Warhammer 40000 themes, I’ve wanted to push and magnify the imagery and the miniatures in to new extremes and with very strong visual themes. Like the legion - Massive Warrior Gods, Frail but stubborn humans, bizarre constructs of the Mechanicum, War relics of the Astartes - all fighting under pale, cold light of twin moons.
So a few days ago I lost focus.
And it was brilliant.
And now it’s time to return to a dear side project. Reincarnated. Reborn. Raw, fresh, and with similar singular strength.
The Red Storm is rising.
Shaddes offe Greye was part one of my Inquisitor Trilogy - The Ugly. The work that, again from my biased context, was my first feeble but resonating move from good to great. The theme was strong - to study the greyness of Inquisition and the universe. Everything you have been told is a lie. This was a bunch of freaks, bunch of twists, mutants, fighting the god emperor’s war. Hated, despised. The conversion work exhibited a new ambition and sense of scale and physiology. I mixed grey to every single paint sans metallics. It gave them a very uniform look and feel. It made all of my old work instantly suck.
While working on Legion, I started on part two of the trilogy. The Bad. Friends at dakka run a “Pimp my wizard contest that was a great inspiration and excuse. Conversion work came out nicely, new ideas came from nowhere - and obviously feeding from the great work others produced and I started to paint. I went for red.
The face was perhaps the best, most singularly powerful thing I’ve painted. Exactly what my new context in the hobby and art was all about.
But EVERYTHING else about the paint work sucked. The fact that the model had a hammer sucked. Most decisions I made after the face were uninspired technical exercises that lacked any real intent. And to make it worse, the red was so hard to photograph that the little technical good disappeared. By then I had produced a flow of great potential. Some of the best conversions I’ve done (Borsus and Valencia) some of the best stories... but I failed to connect the dots. The man at the centre of everything was a flop And the project stayed in the designated drawer of my beautiful desk.
Until a few days ago.
When I opened it, to see if I could fit in a few Legion primed models. I picked up Silas (Alben to Alban, for Bad 2.0) and saw his face. And finally it was all clear. The face would dictate everything else about the Bad. The theme was clear, that thin red line between end justifies the means, and total, utter damnation. Only the red line is not thin, but a crimson whirl that hits with the force of cardiac arrest, until things are reborn. If Ugly was about “Shaddes offe Greye”, the Bad and Silas is about mixing the warp and blood to every stroke of paint! (no humans or other living things are harmed in this process)
It was all so clear. All so bloody finally.
I painted in a frenzy, reworking every area of the model (except the face), with boldness gained from John’s paintings, his description of how he paints and his miniatures looking down on my efforts. I used inks over shades, over the top rather than just enough. I cut off the Hammer and attached the only suitable weapon for him. The Anathema.
Please, meet Alban Silas 2.0 and the “Red Storme Riseth”... Or at least what red my camera has captured!
A Red Storm Rising
I traveled in the rotten carcass of a long dead elevatorum engine. All 244 floors of the derelict hab block flashing through where the doors of it once were. Glorious wave of sparks shot down after the engine like an afterburner. I like to make an entrance, that is why. Slight psy frost begun to cover the engine, a side effect of my telekinesis.
I knew what awaited me at the top. Because I was there as I am here. I willed the murdermake, or rather directed the absolute onslaught. I tasted the blood and watched every single one of them die.
A beautiful mechanical chime announced my arrival and I walked in to the main hall. The smell of blood was quite intoxicating through two separate noses. The cohort of witches surrounded my price, tightly packed behind a wall of vortex brought alive through their dark sorcery. My Alter-Daemon paced around the warp barrier. Such brilliant tool, such a cost to acquire it.
He cost me, it cost me. It cost me in resources and in the trust of much of the Ordos, narrow minded as they were, are, in the face of new, groundbreaking weaponry. Ignorantly labeled as a Daemon Host. They do not understand the forging of an Alter, of the genetic link and chain of control I project on the beast. It cost me much of my war-band, great warriors all of them. Oh yes, it also cost some dozens of collateral lives before I full mastered it. It cost me most of all.
But such a daemon. A bargain.
I burned through the feeble wall. They were powerful psykers, but not close to what power I posses, not close to the training they gave me, and I made their hearts explode. Not taking any chances, too eager to start.
I entered his mind, he and I blinked.
And I saw through his eyes. Through his eye to be exact. Into my eyes. I felt his terror, but it was overpowered by intellectual thirst. It was sublime. Such a clear and purposeful mind. The Mirrormaster, Lord Seer, Hereticus Diabolicus, sector threat three. There was I, cowled in ethereal alien robe, a veil of blood. Cream and sanguine in color, projecting the symbols of my trade on its surface. Encased in crimson carapace, wrought by master artificers to protect from harm and to provoke dread in equal measure; and to integrate the incredible psychic hood from Titan. A compact seismic hammer in hand and the vampire blade sleeping its endless nightmares in its protective alloy scarab. That another special piece made in the forgeries of Titan when such places would still cater for me.
I felt them before hearing them, before seeing them through his one eye.
Nevvie & Chaide set down besides me. Their huge, impossibly complex, synthetic wings a whirl that ultimately suspended them a few feet from ground. I was to make a job offer. Chaide carried the reward I would promise. Nevvie the tools for signing.
I blinked back with an understanding.
It cost us dearly. Not all my warriors agreed, or coped. Vhystor killed the Chaplain. Saved me the work I pain to admit. Nanda and Jahrl Wurst were caught by the Grey Knights. The Ordos all together killed 47 of my staff and erased the assets they could find, The Cliffloft on Terra, safe houses on Dressen, Melior and Necromunda. Eventually the Traders were brought down by the Navy. They killed Borsus twice, yet there he stands. I believe all of the Ordos declared us Heretics, Malleus Diabolica Majoris I believe. Quite a career move.
They are wrong.
No team can match our tally. No other Inquisitor meet our ambition.
and I still have a heart.
It’s pure and 6’3”. Sister Valencia, Repentia Illuminati, Fugitive and master pathfinder. Trained seraphim first class, before her incident. She took a wrong turn. They took her eyes. But she is resourceful and an escape artist. She learned to track and hunt with the Kroot Mercs and ended up in the hive game, syndicate business. She is invaluable. Hardcore. I love her.
Borsus, the weapon smith. The team always called him Meatloaf. I blame my upbringing for not sticking with the name. Tough as they come, stitched together more times than he can care to count. 300 pounds of instinctive cunning, gangs over school, violence over words, speed beyond all that mass. Over weight, over powered.
Borsus has a way with guns. They make him smile. He makes them smile.
The Master can cheat death - a gift in this trade. Peculiar, ancient being. A recluse, a seer. Mirror into the pantheon of future. They all want his service, the cults, the ordos... Works for me now. I am sanction to cross boundaries and means to cheat the immaterium.
Lewis is the pilot. Never see him around. Even with the massive cutter around him. His way with flight keeps saving us. Maybe the Master is overkill? Ha! Posh and well articulated, Lewis loves his craft and never seems to leave it.
“Chaide”, nicknamed after the classic refcast strip. Master Orsos made two before he was killed. Nevvie was caught recently. They are psychological hardcore warfare. That hollow steel can take and deal a beating. Lewis loves to drop them from the cutter.
That’s us, the core team, re-focused and re-arming.
WIP pics of the gang coming soon...
....AND... I know exactly what to do with The Good continent when the time is ripe...