In the dark temporal forest of 2014, Games Workshop Adelaide began hosting a monthly paint club. Each month we picked a single model and everyone in the club painted it to the best of their abilities for the prize of picking the next model. It was an expensive game, but one that really pushed you learn knew techniques and learn from one another.
One of the models to be release that year was a Finecast Warrior Priest, who I painted up as a Witch Hunter, complete with burning brazier and eye-patch. This was my first time painting realistic fire (white at the base, darker to the top, rather than the other way round), and also such fine clothing details. The tartan wasn’t really the most… thematically Germanic choice, but it was a stylistic choice to represent hardened woodsmen from the realm of Hochland.
After painting the Witch Hunter, I just had to keep going. The grittiness and personality of Mordheim really entranced me. I had to make some sort of gothic fantasy fighting force of desperados and zealots, and so was born the Hochlander Hexenjäger!
Upon the currents of the Empyrean, foul winds sweep through the Imperium. While most cow and grovel, some heroes stand up and take the fight to the seemingly god-like. They are Inquisitors and the human galaxy bends to their will, malefic or heroic.
The Inq28/John Blanche style came into hobby fashion a few years ago, renewed by the appearance of regular “Blanchitsu” articles in White Dwarf. Of course, this gritty, gothic-punk style resonated with me on a deep level. I love a bit of cybergoth horrror.
Creating unique characters and small warbands are my favourite ways to tackle the Warhammer 40,000 universe. It feels a whole lot more personal and creative than building armies of hundreds of faceless goons. And so I decided to hop on the horse of Inq28, creating an Inquisitorial army, along with a few powerful allies.
I ended up going a tad overboard, I admit. I bit of a lot more than I could chew at the time, and so ended up blasting through this army with a very messy style that has aged pretty badly, in my humble opinion. However, there are still a few diamonds among the rough. I hope the conversions posted below spark some new ideas in the minds of fellow Inquisitors.
Star Phantoms, painted in 2015
A squad of veteran Star Phantoms, painted in late 2015
Along with the Flesh-Twisters of Krüll and Boo-Ha-Ha Klan Goblins, The Iron Wolves are one of my “main armies”. In fact, they’re one of the most beloved forces on my shelves.
Their saga began shortly after the Flesh-Twisters’ finished. After finishing an army of evil vikings, it seemed only reasonable that the next project would be “good” vikings. Well, “good” in the loosest sense.
The idea of hulking great brutes in beaten metal armour trudging through snow is too evocative to resist. I began with the idea of creating a so-called “Logan-Wing” army, that is a force of Space Wolves Wolf Guard led by the special character Logan Grimnar (in that edition, taking Logan as the leader of your force allowed you to count the super-elite Wolf Guard Terminators as basic troops). This small, elite force gave me the opportunity to really lavish detail and attention onto every model (there were originally only 12 models in the whole army!) and give them each individual background stories, just like Space Wolves should have!
The colour scheme, obviously odd for Space Wolves, is my rebellious attempt at avoiding the default baby-blue that everyone else painted. I just found it an off-putting and inglorious colour, and so instead looked for a way around it. Inspired by this army, I took to work on making super dark and super gritty Space Wolves.
The Iron Wolves are a “historic” army, in the sense that they represent Iron Wolf Lord Ránnulfr at the height of power sometime in the forgotten past, well before Logan Grimnar took reigns as Great Wolf. As such, Ránnulfr counts-as Logan in game.
I used a mixture of Chaos parts, Forgeworld parts and normal Space Wolves bits and painted them in heavily washed Boltgun Metal. In fact, every part of these guys was heavily washed (perhaps too heavily) to create near black shades and brutal battle damage. These guys aren’t gonna be sitting at home polishing their armour, after all, their going to be out there, beating in the heads of giant monsters.
So unleash the Wolves of War!
The Wolf Guard
Because the Iron Wolves are a bit of a special case (with almost every model having its own name and back-story), I thought, in-lieu of posting a collage, I’d post each photo individually along with their respective Saga. Enjoy!
Ránnulfr Called the Tribebreaker Long before the time of Logan Grimnar, Ránnulfr called the Tribebreaker was favoured among the twelve Wolf Lords to be the next Great Wolf. A bloodythirsty and violent Wolf lord, Ránnulfr was the most feared Wolf Lord to have ever taken the World Wolf as his company’s sigil. A long running rumour among the company is that Ránnulfr lost his compassion for humanity when more than half his body was replaced with cold iron.
Thought lost when a great chasm opened up beneath him, Ørnstein returned to The Fang months later bearing the multiple skulls of monsters. Ørnstein claimed that he had been eaten by the World Wolf itself and forced to do battle with the giant creatures that hide beneath the ice of Fenris. His shamanic powers were put to great test, but with the World Wolf’s favour, he emerged victorious.
Hallbjörn Warsong He who calls the winds forth and with them his howling brothers. They fight and rip, tearing into the enemies of the Russ. Warsong breathes fire, roars thunder.
Ingjalder The Blooded
Ingjalder served faithfully by the side of Ránnulfr as he plundered and destroyed his enemies. At the head of his pack, Ingjalder caused great devastation, tearing down tanks and fortifications alike. During a campaign that saw the arrival of Dark Angels on a hunt for the fallen, Ingjalder’s pack was caught in plasma crossfire and was completely wiped out. Ingjalder painted his armour blood red, inscribed the names of his fallen comrades on melta bombs and weapons and set out to find a glorious death against monstrous creatures and Sons of the Lion. Brutus and Gnarshuk
Ingjalder’s only mortal companions, the two Fenrisian wolves Brutus and Gnarshuk have become mascots of the company. While Brutus is loyal and heroic, Gnarshuk is vicious and wild. The two wolves never leave the side of their master.
Olov is the longest serving member of the Iron Wolves Wolf Guard. His favoured Wolf Claws are never far from him. He believes that through these weapons he can summon the ferocity of Morkai and slaughter enemies in his name. Gudbrand Flamebearer
Once a great smith, Gudbrand favours the holy burst of Plasma weapons. He is a constant worry to his companions as his fervour for melting things is slowly growing out of control. Isak Steeleater
A young member of the Wolf Guard, Isak is famed throughout the Fang for his ability to chew through metal. As such, he is assigned a Chainfist, all the better to tear apart enemy armour. Randulfr Siegemaster
Called the Siegemaster for his ability to quickly break the backs of any foe. With his antiquated Storm Shield and Power Axe, Rangulfr always cuts a striking visage as he lops heads off this way and that. Greger Longreach
Fiercely loyal and protective over his younger brothers, Greger plows down his foes with a rune-emblazoned Assault Cannon. He has been nicknamed ‘The Sweeper’ for his brutal volleys of fire, and also for his almost fatherly qualities.
Almost as animalistic as Gnarshuk, Bjorn never sleeps under a roof, favouring the strengthening winds of the outdoors. Bjorn and Olov have an enduring rivalry, a friendly competition that began with Olov drinking the entirety of Bjorn’s plundered mead. Folkvar Foehammer
A notorious tank hunter, Folkvar is never happy until he is charging headlong into an occupied building or rumbling tank. He wears a muzzle in battle for fear that his canine instincts will one day cause him to harm his brothers. Agni Sharpblade
Agni has been called ‘The Spurned Knight’ for his obsession with chivalry and honour. The other members of his pack constantly berate him over his choice of knightly weapons and totems that he favours over pelts and claws. Gulltoppr The Young
The youngest member of the Guard, Gulltroppr is claimed to be ‘Touched by the Sun’ for his bright yellow mane. He is feared for his reckless abandon in swinging his Thunder Hammer. Anvindr Stormwrath
Most tech smart of his battle brothers, Anvindr is the mortal representation of the storm. His missile launcher is an invaluable tool for the Wolf Guard, and has slain uncountable foes.
Torbjörn The Ironforger
Under the tutelage of Ránnulfr, Torbjörn became the company’s greatest smith and protector. Torbjörn sailed to the Iron Islands to teach new Iron Priests his inherited skills. When Ránnulfr was almost killed in a failed armoured assault, Torbjörn oversaw the rebuilding of his body. Since then, Torbjörn has held an honoured place in Ránnulfr’s Wolf Guard, guiding younger brothers on the path of steel. Agmundr Brightblade
A personal friend of Torbjörn since even before they were elevated to rank of Grey Hunter, Agmundr has fought by Torbjörn’s side for hundreds of battles. He was involved in the operation to return Ránnulfr’s broken body to the Island Islands, fending off ravenous creatures of the deep as Torbjörn tended to his wounds. Oddmund the Reviled
Not much can be said about Oddmund the Reviled, as he rarely speaks. There is a rumour among the guard that the ugly Oddmund is just as happy eating human flesh and drinking blood as the others are eating elk and drinking mead.
Vali the Legend Bearer
Vali the Legend Bearer
Bard the Living Relic
The Prowling Mountain
Leaf, Commander of The Prowling Mountain
The Prowling Mountain
The Ice Giant
I still had a rather wolfish itch after completing The Wolf Guard of Ránnulfr (perhaps it was fleas), and so I set out to add some more long-fanged brutes to the army. Along with the force below, I also put together 20 Grey Hunters that, unfortunately, never seemed to have found paint.
But anywho, the extra Wolves below are members of the same Great Company, following Ránnulfr through the cosmic wilds. They were painted after the main force of Wolf Guard Terminators.
Strungbad Slighthammer and his Servitors arrive by Drop Pod Brugall
Varg the Pilgrim with Amarog and Bodolf
Leman Russ himself! At least, the really-retro version of the Primarch
Among the Iron Wolves, he is known as Rendall Grimrock
The Dragon Keepers were a practice in speed painting, and I think the results sort of, well… they show a bit.
Basically, I had the Island of Blood set sitting in my closet and needed a break from my then-current project: The Flesh-Eaters of Krüll. The complete opposite of my dark, blue and purple daemon-vikings would, naturally, be glittering, gold and red elves.
The Dragon Keeps were members of an elite sect within the Realm of Caledor. The Keepers believed that Elf and Dragon are one, and that the power of the great drakes runs through the veins of every son and daughter of Ulthuan.
Though I can’t say I’m particularly happy with the finished models, I did have a lot of fun forcing myself to get them painted as quickly as possible. If memory serves, it only took me a couple of weeks of painting on-and-off to get ’em done. If I every played tournament games, I’m sure I’d have a good chance of getting a new army painted quickly.
I was also reading The Silmarillion at this point, so there’s a lot of elfish-nods to Tolkien in the force, such as the Mounted Prince, Turin, The Black Blade.
Krüll was a large and beautiful city sitting near the Western entrance to The High Pass. For all of its promise and early glory, it quickly became a much maligned place. After a few decades, not many in the Empire would even admit that Krüll existed, or at least, that it was populated by any sort of civilised man.
In truth, Krüll was once great enough to match many of the Empire’s great cities in war, trade and culture, but it was these strengths would ultimately prove Krüll’s downfall. For all of Krüll’s glory, it was ruled by a base and brutal regime of pleasure lovers that rejected the rule of The Empire.
In gilded, ivory towers, the elite of Krüll wined and dined on the blood and labour of the poor. The dangers of the wastes outside and harshness of life in the poorer sections of the city meant nothing to the city’s lords and ladies. They lived well, safe in their towers, while the majority of the city slowly died in effort to feed them.
Slowly, but surely, the city turned foul and began to fracture. Cults dedicated to dark powers arose in both sides of Krüll. The high-society turned to the worship of a beautiful and devious entity they called Shalth, practicing ritual sacrifice and taking part in massive orgies for the pure pleasure of it. Down below, in the sewers and slums so neglected by the Lords, worship of a hugely-bloated, talking she-rat bearing the name of Ungalla began. The poor turned to magic and sacrifices of their own in an effort to assuage their daily pain.
Darkness rose over Krüll. Peasants and paupers took to brutal murder and theft. The Lords of Krüll continued to ignore their vassals, instead turning inwards to perverted arts. Many a man was turned inside out and splayed across a room simply because some Lady thought it was beautiful to see the walls painted red. The Eyes of the Gods turned towards Krüll.
Two warbands eventually descended upon Krüll. For what purpose, none could say. Perhaps it was to absorb the pools of dark power that had seeped into the walls of the city. Perhaps it was to recruit new warriors. Perhaps it was to destroy and plunder. The purpose hardly mattered in the end. They came, and with them they brought Chaos to Krüll.
The Heirophant was the first to arrive. On a slithering, unearthly steed, he rode up to the inner sanctum of Krüll unopposed by any guard. With him came a band of incredible warriors, seven foot tall at their shortest and clad in darkly glistening armour. Like a knife cutting through butter, The Heirophant (for he went by no-other name and never removed his immaculate armour) installed himself as the ruler of Krüll. The Lords and Ladies worshiped him, and in return, he taught them dark secrets and blasphemies that none should ever know.
After the Perfect One arrived the Putrid. Luvrot the Unbearable appeared in the sewers of Krüll, as if from the muck itself, surrounded by braying, rotting hounds. Luvrot killed and devoured the she-rat Ungalla in front of her poor, diseased worshipers and presented to them, instead, a greater god. Luvrot told of the Great Father of Plague and the twisted love that he bore for every living creature. The newly installed Lord of the Slums taught a hopeless and bleak gospel that caught on like wildfire. The lower class of Krüll accepted their glorious new role, to spread pain, fear and disease, and they did so, dancing through the streets and laughing all the while.
And so it was that Krüll became a city, not of men, but of Chaos. The inner struggles of the city quickly sorted themselves out and a new way of life was accepted. The Dark Gods, Nurgle and Slaanesh, ruled and from the unholy union was born a great army. The Flesh-Twisters rode forth, shambling plague carts beside beautiful stallions, intent on spreading woe and glorious death wherever they could sow it.
So here we go! The Flesh-Twisters of Krüll were one of my biggest army projects ever and my main table-top force for the majority of my gaming years. The project began with the release of the fantastic plastic Nurgle Lord and grew from there! I was so excited to finally be collecting a proper Warhammer Fantasy army (I’d painted Battle for Skull Pass before but never really expanded upon that), in about a week I’d amassed enough models for a 1,500 point force, including Warriors, wolves, The Heirophant himself and even a Hellcannon (in Finecast…)!
I would spend the next three years collecting and painting the terrible warriors from Krüll. The last major expansion I finished for the army was a small “Carnival of Nurgle” detachment that I added sometime in 2015.
The important thing to note about the Flesh-Twisters is the unified colour palette that draws the disparate aesthetics of Nurgle and Slaanesh together. The soft purple and bright blue is repeated on almost every model. On the Slaaneshi warriors, the bronze and splash colours are more pronounced. On the Nurglitch models, I’ve painted a lot of ooze, stitches, rust, etc. I think I overdid it with the cartoony “verdigris”, though. If I had the time and energy to go back and paint over it to make the bronze more, well, bronze, I definitely would.
Maybe some day soon, The Flesh-Twisters will ride again. But for now, I’m sure they’re happy committing their special brand of debauchery in the depths of their evil city.
The Heirophant himself! Masked sycophant, beautiful torturer!
Tor’Un is a far-flung, pioneering Tau world, orbiting close to the border of Ultramar. The population of Tor’Un is small, and so rely on stealth and drone technology to make up for their lack in Taupower.
The origin of this project was, well, I just wanted to paint a Battlesuit and try make it as crisp and clean as possible. Sure, it’s not the greatest paint job ever, but I’m still pretty proud of it, as early paintjobs go. The original baby-blue Battlesuit was soon joined by another plastic Battlesuit and an expensive Forgeworld Suit that have so far gone unpainted (and probably will be flogged some day… oooh well).
The addition of a Stealth Suit team really fleshed out the little “warband”, turning it from a single practice model to a small narrative force in its own right.
The original Battlesuit, a practice in crisp painting
A Stealth Suit team painted in a harsh-edging style.
The Cult of a Thousand Eyes was my first foray into The Warp.
The idea of a warband of Chaos Space Marines running around, sprouting eyes and tentacles all over their body, really creeped me and out and inspired me in equal measure. There’s just something so unsettling about multiple eyes on something that should normally only have two, especially if they’re in the wrong place.
The Cult of a Thousand Eyes stalk the galaxy, using their unique visions of the dark flows of The Immaterium to guide them to their next prey.
A dreaded Chaos Lord, brining his enlitened vision to the Universe by force
The iconography of the Cult reflects their unique mutations
After completing my small Ultramarines army and my much larger Black Templar successor force, The Sons of Vergus, you think I would have become sick of Space Marines.
Not so! The Emperor’s Finest were the soldiers that introduced me to the world of Warhammer 40,000 and to the grimdark of miniature hobby in general. With the release of Assault on Black Reach, I managed to lay my hands on another wave of marine reinforcements. At that time though, I felt like branching out from my black and red force… by painting a red and black force.
The Exorcists proved an interesting chapter to me. They were gritty daemon hunters, resplendent in blood-red instead of holy silver. Though my painting skills at the time were no where near good enough to get such a bright red to look really great, the process of building and painting this small army taught me a lot about highlighting and shading that I then applied to later Sons of Vergus.
In the same Assault on Black Reach box I also recieved a number of Orkz, which became a sort of side project for a while. These Snakebite Orkz allowed me to practice shades of green and brown, and work with textures that you just don’t find on Space Marines. I think this early branching out definitely helped improve my general painting skills.
Sadly, not many of these original Snakebite Boyz exist. Now they’re stuffed away in a to-do box, to be stripped and repainted later into more Nuka Troopers (more on that army to come!)
But those that did survive (at least in storage) are the mighty and mysterious Exorcists of Commander Panthius.