Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Saga of the Harrowed: Unholy Congress

[A bit of background narrative...]

Conversion, Harrowed, Lord Of Change

The Four convened, as ever, on neutral ground, on one of the Unmoored. Moons veered in and out of orbit, within the Eye of Terror. Many had peeled away permanently from their planets, spinning along on their own erratic courses. This one, noted E’Asuu E’Aglaa, Lord of Change, was particularly bleak, encased in bands of indigo ice and swirling with a thin, vaporous atmosphere that gleamed palely. His peers had chosen it with purpose.

They regarded him coldly now, the other three of the Four. E’Asuu affected not to notice, taking his seat with a gracious nod. “Well met, fellow sovereigns,” he said. “Are we resolved?”

“My pack has massed,” growled M’Bashaar, the Bloodthirster. “Hounds, Bloodcrushers, Bloodletters, Princes, all burn for battle.”

The Unclean One, Auguax, nodded, brightening a bit at the prospect of play. “Oh yes,” he burbled. “My flock, too, are gathered in numbers and eager to be at it. Such toothsome creatures!”

Ulular, Keeper of Secrets, leaned back in her throne and nodded as well, her eyes hooded. “My servants can be summoned at will, of course. They await only their sire’s siren’s call.” She paused, the whip-locks of her mane flicking languidly. “And you, E’Asuu? What of your own arrangements? Where is this new army you have promised to provide?

“My project has borne fruit,” the Lord of Change replied, allowing himself a smug smile. “The work has been wrought, brothers, and most artfully, too. My Host stands ready.”

“Your host?,” sneered M'Bashaar. “Those mongrels? Is this the army you bring to war?”

E’Asuu smiled brightly, knowing it would further enflame the Bloodthirster. “It is,” he said.

“Mongrels!” Mbashaar repeated. “They stew still in their mortal viscera. I can smell their blood. They reek of it!” The daemon’s eyes glinted. “The scent clings to you now.”

E’Asuu sighed. Would he really have to explain it all to them again? “I need them thus,” he said. “
We need them thus. It is their mortal flesh that will give these slave soldiers purchase outside the Chaos Realms. It is their blood that will sustain us beyond the nourishing tides of the Warp.”

“So you have told us before, E’Asuu,” Ulular replied. “Still I harbor reservations. Do we not already carry pain and punishment to many thousands of worlds in the Materium. Are our armies not glorious? Are they not puissant?”

“Most assuredly they are, my Lady.” E’Asuu replied. “Silken banners proclaim the powers of the Pleasure God on countless worlds. Now, however, the work we have before us demands that we carry our war far, far beyond the Warp Reaches. We must be able to strike at the very heart of the Imperium, at its strongholds and places of refuge.” He leaned forward, pointedly ignoring the Bloodthirster yet fixing Ulular with a hard stare with one head, and Augaux with another from his other head. “Or perhaps you have forgotten what we face here, what we work to undo, cousins.” He paused, for effect. Then hissed: “He has the book. The Grimoire. And once the fool perceives what it is that he holds, then he has more: he has our names. Our true names.”

Snarling, M’Bashaar leapt up and began pacing. Augaux nodded gravely. While Ulular, E’Asuu noted, winced and looked away.

Good. He had them again. Feeling the currents sway to him, E’Asuu stood and strode to the center of the Throne Circle. “I assure you, fellow Lords: my Host are pacted and bound, body and soul, blood and ichor. And yet, I see you harbor doubts. Yes? Perhaps you feel a further test may be in order. A final, supreme trial, to demonstrate my subjects’ fealty?” The Lord of Change smiled. “Very well then,” he said sweetly. “I have just the thing.”

Progress on the Screamers

The screamer conversions are coming together.

Chaos Daemons, Conversion, Daemons, Screamers, Tzeentch

I still have a lot of cleaning up to do here and there on the individual models.

Chaos Daemons, Conversion, Daemons, Screamers, Tzeentch

They each look messier and more ragged than I want them to be.

Chaos Daemons, Conversion, Daemons, Screamers, Tzeentch

Still, as a group, they have to look and feel I was trying to evoke. They look (at least to me) suitably menacing, swift, swirly, toothy....

Chaos Daemons, Conversion, Daemons, Screamers, Tzeentch

I just want the tail/tendrils to look a bit smoother, cleaner. And to fiddle a bit here and there -- with the eyes, for example. Then I'll work on the bases.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Making a Display Board

I'm making a display base for the Harrowed.

The goal is to end up with a board that will conveniently hold The Harrowed -- meaning it has to be basically flat and plain. But I also want the board to nest the army in a setting that creates narrative context. In this case, I want the daemons to be swarming over a landscape that evokes an imperial temple.

I'm also using this project as an opportunity to experiment with some new (at least, new for me) terrain building techniques. Specifically, I wanted to try my hand at this method for modeling paved floors.

I started by buying a framed bulletin board for a base, and some foam core to make into a temple floor.

Then I drew a grid (for tiles) and an aquila, and started carving.
Display Board, Terrain

Early results were mixed. The temple floor grid looked great. The aquila kind of sucked.
Display Board, Terrain

So I ended up carving up a smaller "platform" and simply gluing it over my first attempt.

So now I have this:
Display Board, Terrain

So far, I like it. Now I'm mulling over ideas for desecrating it in some suitably "Harrowed" fashion. (Though I don't want to make it too busy, as it's just meant to be a frame for the army.)

First I need to coat the foam with watered-down PVA, to make it more durable (and to primer it without melting it).

Meanwhile, I really like this technique. I'm sensing some terrain building in my near future!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Scheming up Screamers

Chaos Daemons, Conversion, Daemons, Screamers
Progress on this project has been fitful and scattered. I'm working on about five different things at once. A.D.D.? Or the inscrutable machinations of Tzeentch?

I suspect it's the latter, for among other things, I've been experimenting with ideas for conversions representing Screamers.

These creatures need to look like "Screamers" -- meaning, like daemonic "sky-sharks" (as the Codex puts it) that move as jetbikes and attack with Warp Jaws (daemonic melta bombs). And then, of course, I want them to look like the rest of the Harrowed, i.e., like elements of an Imperial Guard regiment possessed by chaos.

For awhile a solution eluded me. But I think I'm working my way toward something I like.

Here's a closer look at the prototype I think I like best:

Chaos Daemons, Conversion, Daemons, Screamers

The "warp jaws" look right to me. And I like the swirling, lashing energy in the composition:

Chaos Daemons, Conversion, Daemons, Screamers

I do need to clean the work up a bit. And bulk the models out to "GW-Screamer dimensions....

Chaos Daemons, Conversion, Daemons, Screamers

I also need to do some fiddly greenstuff work to knit the daemonic eyes more organically into the spotlight cases.

But it's getting there.