The Black Fathoms: have a name now

We’ve made it as far as the no. 2 engine sump. Visibility is zero except for the arc-lights and of course, there’s not much headroom down here. Still no crew to be found.

That creeping void frost that lined some of the pipes near maintenance access 21-3 is much thicker now. It lines the walls, floors & ceilings, making every step treacherous underfoot. Everywhere around us glistens & sparkles in the lamp-light and we know for sure now that we are heading toward the source of catastrophe, however beautiful it may be.

The work has not been forgotten. Samples have been taken at 100m intervals as we progress. We won’t know the full details until we get the vials back to Harkis at pathology, but an initial readout from Alia-238′s onboard collators told us the frost in no. 2 sump contains traces of blood, something called nitroguanidine (which apparently had some use in early bolter ammunition) and an unknown, unclassifiable algae. An attempt to clarify the nature of the latter caused the servitor to begin leaking (bleeding?) from aug-interface ports 7 through 14, followed by a fit of convulsions and mostly unintelligible speech. 

Mina managed to subdue the servitor and place it in a safe mode configuration – it seems obvious that a full shutdown will knock out its termperature-control functions and jeopardize all the samples collected thus far. We will endeavour to recover it and bring it back on our return leg. For now, Alia-238 idles in maintenance conduit 7, sub-deck 3, no. 2 engine sump, repeating its last, garbled words before being subdued.

“Black fathoms swallow you”

“Black fathoms swallow you” 

“Black fathoms swallow you” 

We press on.

[stubbornly untitled nurglers]: Created in the Image of Suffering

Ringo, John, Paul & George (997.M41)

Kept you waiting, huh? Nah, I haven’t earned that; it’s only been a couple weeks. But the bigger uglies (I’ll have some poxwalkers in there eventually) of this kill team are built and ready for paint! One fighter, one champion and two gunners to add to the dude I painted previously. And Dave the nurglo-skull! Can’t forget Dave.

This fighter is one of the least-converted members of the team, as I really only had to do some very minor repairs. At some point I think I must have been trying to use that axe on a different model, because when I dug it out of storage it had been painted in a completely different colour scheme to the marine himself. The axe needed a replacement power cable and a new haft, which was easily done by nicking a big ol’ thigh bone from the old fantasy zombies kit.

The much bigger effort these last couple weeks has been getting the unit champion ready to go. When I first retrieved him from storage and started stripping the old, aborted paintjob it turned out that he needed substantial repairs to the power fist (which, again, it looks like I’d hacked up with a view to a different model), as well as a replacement for his original head-horn/blade-type thing. One of the downsides to these Dark Vengance renegades is that a lot of the horns, spiky bits and other organic details were modelled in such fine detail that they’re actually rather fragile. It’s a bit too easy to break off the very sharp points, in particular. Anyway, I am fortunate to have horns & spikes a plenty laying around my place, so this guy got a few horns stolen from a bloodletter skull, which were big enough to keep him looking aggressively conspicous and conspicuously aggressive, as a champion of chaos really should be.

His smashy fist was a more involved task, requiring some amount of resculpting. I was pretty pleased with the finish I managed to achieve with the greenstuff (never a strength of mine) but still, I decided to add a patented Giant Skull of Distraction, just to make myself feel a bit more secure with how things were looking. I even got a bit adventurous and decided to try and make it look like the skull was emerging from the armour a little bit, added a couple of rivets and called it good. We’ll see how it all paints up, but I’m encouraged by the initial pass of liquid greenstuff.

All that’s left now is to wait for the humidity to ease up a bit here in tropical north-east England and get to painting! Happy hobbying, everybody.

[currently untitled nurglers]: A Handmade Handgun

I’VE COME TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR BINDWEED PROBLEM

Two possibilities exist:

  • I have been at a bit of hobby loose end since finishing my drukhari kill team. Do I plough on with more Thracians, finally finish my Neferata, or make a few more Iron Tusks? Or do I do something different entirely? One can never have too many kill teams…
  • I am a terribly shallow creature, easily swayed by the cheap & easy gratification of social media, and when a random chaos renegade from the Dark Vengeance box that I painted up years ago started getting a bunch of likes on instagram I immediately started rummaging through my hobby drawers for the rest of his mates.

(these possibilties are not mutually exclusive)

Long story short, I’m nurgling now.

That guy was the prototype that I painted years ago. The Dark Vengeance set contained 2 of these sculpts, and while he’s quietly my favourite model GW have ever put out (no joke), I wasn’t about to have two identical marines in a kill team. So I decided to start cutting.

Let’s call that the “oh shit, might’ve bitten off more than I can chew” stage. My man here lost a horn somewhere in storage, so that part wasn’t deliberate, but I did go and hack off his bolter, leaving just the hands to work with. The objective here was to give him a fancy nurgle flamer that could count as a plague spewer or belcher, depending on what points I had spare.

A plague belcher.

First task: the core of the gun and its weird muzzle. Because it’s a distinctive part that does a lot to differentiate the weapon from other flamers and if I can’t get that right, I might have to revise this entire model. I also wanted to add a little bit of warp-cursed mutation to the weapon to tie it in with the rest of the model’s armour.

The basis for the main part of the gun was a small piece of flat plasticard to fill the gap between the two hands and a bit of 1.5 mm dia plastruct rod for the gun barrel. So far, so simple. For the muzzle, I started by nicking a handy horn from a different chaos kit (probably), chopping its point off and repurposing it as the basis for that flared muzzle. Easier to sculpt over an existing shape. The bulbous bit before the muzzle proper got sculpted first (adding some reinforcement to the join between barrel & muzzle), before I went in and added ribs to each side of the muzzle and finally a little spine to bring the whole thing together. I’m very proud of myself that I actually had the good sense & patience to leave each little stage of green stuff for a good 8 hours before working on the next bit. I am not normally that sensible and typically cause myself a lot of unnecessary grief!

Second stage: worky bitz. Let’s try and make it a semi-convincing sci-fi gun. There’s not actually that much to be done here – I knew I didn’t want to make the back end of the weapon look anywhere near as heavy as the GW version, preferring the simple tube format of WW2 flame throwers (yes, those ones that werf flammen). Nevertheless the weapons of the Warhammer 40,000 universe have certain standards and we expect to see at least one unnecessary canister and some cool hoses on any gun worth worrying about and I do not like to disappoint.

This one was a pretty simple case of taking the fuel canister off another flamer I had laying around, carving a little slot out of it so it could attach to the side of the gun and then drilling a hole in the top of it. Once that was well secured, I drilled a similar size hole near the crook of his elbow and threaded one of Jeff Wilhelm’s handy dandy metal hoses through the gap and into the canister. The last step was to take some thin sections of 3mm plastruct tubing and cut them into little hoops to secure the hose and also reinforce the area around the left hand.

Finishing touches: obviously I needed to find a replacement horn. It’s bigger than the original, but it’s a chaos model, so we like asymmetry. The backpack is monstrously large, but in a way I can totally enjoy. If it’s not obvious, the big turbine is half of a raptor’s jump pack. I added a plaguebearer skull on one end to help receive a much bigger hose (again, shout outs to Jeff Wilhelm at Dragon Forge) and drilled a correspondingly larger hole under his trigger hand, as if that hose feeds directly into the grip of the gun. Finally, I did an incredibly delicate bit of work to make the little chimney bit that sits behind the muzzle, drilling a 1mm hole into some 1.5mm plastruct rod, and then drilling .3mm holes in the side of that. I am frankly amazed that I didn’t mangle the whole thing beyond use.

And there he is finished! Fiddliest conversion I’ve done in some time, but very satisfying all the same. I have three more guys to make (and one of those is going to need a scratch-built blight launcher) so it’ll be a little while before this one sees paint, but for now he’s enjoyable to stare at while making whooshy fire extinguisher noises. Happy hobbying, folks.

Iron Tusks: meeting the enemy

Iron Tusks terminators, making new friends at the city limits.

The enemy (including some wonderful, nonsensical Beasts of Nurgle) musters.

The Gravewalkers engage priority targets at range, while Squad Tarsus opts for a more personal approach. 

The Screaming Skulls tear out of the skies and definitely succeed in charging the waiting enemy and nothing goes wrong at all.   

A beast lurches past the Palatine monument, only to find itself face to face with Imperial artillery… 

… while The Skeleton Keys manage to wade through chemical hell to deliver a traditional Khaskan Hello to the Death Guard.