Krüll, City of Slaanesh

The Hierophant of Krüll cocked his helmeted head, resting his steel cheek on a curled claw. The magnificent white plume on the top of his crown fluttered in the bitter breeze blowing in from the tooth-lined portal across the chamber.

Beneath his throne, a man grovelled, hardly anything left of him but skin and bone and weeping sores wrapped in a hessian sack. He cried for the broken shape in his arms, a daughter once loved dearly, but spirited away to the temples long ago.

“And I was told your family came from stronger stock, Gunther.” The Hierophant weezed. His voice was a cold wind, a metallic rasp and a sensuous whisper all at once. “We were expecting this one to last more than a few years.”

Gunther cried out, stroking back hair from a blue, dead face. He lifted his own head in the direction of the city’s ultimate Lord, suddenly filled with rage. But before he could gaze upon the Lord’s boots, a blade whipped out from the shadows and fluttered around his neck.

“You think you are worthy to look upon our Dark Prince’s chosen voice?” Some one spat out from behind Gunther. “Avert thy gaze, worm.”

Gunther did what he was told. It was all one could do in the city of Krüll.

“Now, now. Don’t be so glum. You have a new world in front of you, child,” said the Hierophant. “Now you are honoured by a truly rare sensation: utter loss. Feel it, embrace it. It’s what Slaanesh wants of you, of us. To truly feel. How many of us can claim that?

“I feel nothing anymore.” Gunther cried.

“That is a shame.”

Gunther heard the armoured giant rise from his throne, but kept his eyes firmly fixed on the marble floor. He smelt a rising musk and heard chains and bells clatter from some far off corner of the room.

“I’m sure we can teach you how to feel again, Gunther … TAKE HIM TO THE TEMPLE!”

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A Walking City

The city of Krüll is a crawling monolith. From across the murky horizon of The Realm of Shadow, it would simply appear as a hive of crenelated towers and spiked parapets. If one was to watch long enough (without going mad) they would see the mass of buildings moving slowly but surely through the land.

Krüll is, itself, a chariot. Upon wheels the size of castles and pulled by an army of 66,666 daemonic steeds, Krüll slowly cuts through the wastelands and swamps of the Realm of Shadow. Like a scythe, it topples lesser cities, crushes forests and shakes mountains. The city is an inhabited pilgrim, crossing the worlds in search of the missing Prince of Chaos, Slaanesh.

The city has moved for countless centuries, only stopping occasionally as the daemonically possessed steeds exhaust themselves and return to the Warp. In these periods of sloth, before the army of yoked beasts can be replenished, vast armies march from the city for the joy of bloodshed and to collect the slaves necessary for the working of the city. It is in these times that the influence of Chaos waxes strongest, causing daemons to rupture into reality and join the endless march of Krüll.

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Society of the Damned

Krüll, like any city, has its own layers of castes and classes. For the largest part it is, for lack of a better word, a civilised city of men. Slaves and “Freemen” (those claiming no allegiance to the so called “god-king” Sigmar) form the lower rung of this society, performing menial work and living in barbaric squalor for most of their lives. Still, inside Krüll and under the eye of its tyrants, they are safe from the Realm’s many monsters.

Above them are the Horselords, Marauders and Bandits turned from their wild ways into slave masters and property owners. Branded with the mark of Slaanesh, the Chaos god of excess, they hold dominion that would make men of Sigmar’s empire jealous. It is the Horselords who ensure the city keeps moving, by goading the horses and keeping the enormous wheels turning.

The Horselords bow in turn to the Warriors of Slaanesh who have taken Krüll as their barracks. These Champions of Chaos live for nothing but the din of battle, the warmth of fleshly-spilled blood and the cries of pained ecstasy that ring out in their wake.

The upper echelons of Krüll’s society are dominated by the wealthy, who dine nightly on banquets of human flesh and commit unspeakable acts behind velvet curtains. They strut through the city without fear, able to pick and choose their human “toys” with the backing of mercenary Warriors. Alongside these lucky few are the priests and priestesses of Slaanesh who run the dark temples scattered throughout the city. They are magic users, daemon consorts and vile monsters all.

Finally, the overall Lord of Krüll is a creature known simply as “The Hierophant”. Though he was once, most likely, a mortal man, he has long since abandoned his humanity to grow closer to his god. He is the Dark Prince’s Chosen Voice and ultimate pilot of the city’s movements. It is The Hierophant who “speaks” to Slaanesh, reading the signs in the winds of magic and following them on the decadent path towards finding the missing god.

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In the Wake of the City

Though Slaanesh can claim the city of Krüll as his domain (should he choose to reappear in the Mortal Realms), the city’s movement leaves in its wake a world belonging to Nurgle, god of sickness, fear and entropy.

The passage of a gigantic fortress city, with its millions of slaves and obscenely wealthy, wasteful tyrants, leaves behind a world totally riven. Krüll deposits a trail of pollution, sickness and destruction for thousands of kilometers, from which has grown a completely different society.

Enter: The Sewer Kings, disgusting Champions of Nurgle who have gathered armies of escaped slaves, local monsters and Wildmen to their side. Though they live in constant filth, they are happy. Grandfather Nurgle has blessed them with a constant supply of fresh meat and ripe disease. They dance in the sewers of Krüll, perform in grand carnivals and raid scattered towns with rictus grins on their faces.

The Hierophant knows well about the Sewer Kings existence, but pays them little heed. He sees them simply as a band of merry madmen, deluded into worshiping a truly disgusting god. At times of war, The Hierophant and The Sewer Kings have even been known to fight alongside one another. Though they worship a filthy deity, the fly-ridden armies of Nurgle are unnaturally hardy warriors who are more than happy to bring Chaos to the Mortal Realms however they can.

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The Search Continues

The Hierophant is seemingly immortal, relentless and cruel beyond reasoning. His search for his missing god has taken him across worlds, through the Realm of Chaos and into battle with hundreds of armies. Yet still he searches, still the city moves.

Perhaps he will never find Slaanesh. Perhaps he doesn’t want to. For if the god were to reveal himself, The Hierophant would have to relinquish his tyrannical grip on the city. Perhaps the search itself is meaningless, eternal for the sake of it. Either way, for someone to challenge this mad demi-god, they would have to halt the movement of an impossible machine, climb a mile high fortress, defeating Champions of Slaanesh and hordes of drugged slaves along the way, before finally entering the marble and gold tower at the city’s peak.

And so Krüll continues onward, for ever into the darkness …

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A Gallery of Evil

I have recently resurrected my old Warriors of Chaos army, giving them a bit of a lick of paint and a whole new over-the-top, Age of Sigmar backstory. I might put together a few “Designer’s Notes” on this whole project in the near future, so keep an eye out for that. The Hierophant is watching.

Illuminator on Instagram

Greetings, Imperial Citizens/Slaves to Darkness!

You may have already seen the menus change and this pop up a few days ago, but I’ve now got an Instagram account dedicated to my hobby. You can find me at @illuminator_hobby!

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Come follow, like and share!

You can, of course, still find my inspiration feed via the menu above. This features a whole bunch of posts saved to Pinterest for easy organisation. If you’re stumped for ideas, this is a good place to start.

Stay golden.

 

Blood Moon Rising (Warhammer Fantasy/Age of Sigmar – Goblin Warband) 2017

“In the wilds of the world, the winds of evil hang heavy. It seeps into the crags and pores of the earth and infects even the lowliest creatures… and sometimes these creatures come out of their caves not quite like they were before…”


“Blood Moon Rising” is my first proper “diorama”, but is definitely not my first “warband” style force. What started off as a single painted Goblin (the Shaman) quickly turned into a full-scale display piece, complete with plinth board.

There isn’t too much preamble to this project other than: I love painting small models and in small numbers largely because I can really focus my energy into pinpoint detail and intricacy. This was also my first proper play-around with developing a scene, natural aspects included, if you don’t count my two previous Armies on Display boards.

Hopefully from these pictures you can get a sense for the vibe I was going for: dark and cheeky, like characters drawn from grotesque fairy-tales.

Chaos is a powerful force that taints all, even the meek and capricious. The people of the Old World tend to forget that… until the knives start to emerge from the shadows.

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Blood Moon Rising – A Warband of Chaos Goblins

The Nova’s Heart (Warhammer 40,000 – Harlequins) 2015

Much like my small Tau warband, my Harlequins are orphans of a larger planned army that never got far off the ground. I still have a Starweaver and a number of other Space-Clowns sitting, primed and ready, to be painted in my WIP box… Ah, some day, my pretties… some day.

But either way, I’m pretty proud of these colourful characters. I painted the Shadowseer and Death Jester for the monthly painting challenge at my local Games Workshop and added the Troupe Master after. The lone Harlequin trouper was the test model for the scheme, even though I found myself drifting towards more reddy-pinks in the later models.

These guys were a practice in painting bright and loud, painting convincing galaxy patterns (a tutorial for which I’ll upload soon) and some checks. They were also my first Eldar of any sort, as I’m not normally one for “knife-ears” in any setting.

Let the grand carnival begin!

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Harlequins from the Troupe of the Nova’s Heart. Their pyrotechnics challenge even the stars from which they emerge.

The Host of Ashmodeus (Warhammer – Realm of Chaos) 2015

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It was a bit before my time, but holy Warp Entities, Realm of Chaos is by far my favourite supplement to the Warhammer world.

For those who aren’t familiar with the dark glory of 80s Warhammer (I suggest you take a look here), Realm of Chaos was a two-book supplement all about the four dark gods, the daemons and lesser gods of the Warp, their spawn and their mortal champions. They delve into ridiculously deep detail in terms of lore, on par with the later Liber Chaotica books, while also delivering a set of rules for fielding a Chaos warband. They are also chocked full of the most evocative artwork ever published by Games Workshop (from the likes of Ian Miller and John Blanche) and colour scheme examples that really do seem insane (by today’s standards at least).

Realm of Chaos is centred around the idea of mortal “Champions” rising through slaughter, gaining chaotic gifts and mutations from their patron god and potentially reaching daemonhood. As such, armies were small, personal affairs, sort of like modern-day Inq28 or Kill Team forces instead of 2,000 point armies.

Almost everything could be randomised. You could even create lesser gods and their daemonic pantheons from d1000 tables, rolling to see what animal they take the image of, what weapons they favour and what gifts they bestow upon their followers, etc. etc. It truly was a golden time for weird and whacky role-playing fun.

And since I’ve always had a bit of a crush on retro Warhammer models (there’s something so full-of-life, simple, almost naive about them that drives me crazy) and, of course, the daring colour schemes of pinks, blues, greens and stripes that accompany them. In 2015 I went on a bit of a spending spree, hunting through ebay and second-hand stores until I had enough for a small warband. And so, The Host of Ashmodeus was born, not from random tables, but from much searching.

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The Host of Ashmodeus was a practice in painting as bright as I possibly could. Even know, the army stands out among my display cabinet. It was also my first time painting from a white undercoat (Games Workshop’s Skull White which, as you know, is pretty unreliable). I ran into a few problems with chipping, but apart from that, it was a really fun experience. In the near future, I’ll put up a tutorial on making these colours and working with white in general.

It was also an excuse to work my magic writing lore for every miniature in the force. Because each model has “gifts” (mutations and weapons) that mark them out as special, I created a backstory for them, connecting their stories under the Lord Ashmodeus, a Slaaneshi prince gifted with technology from a dark future.

The Apostles of the Abyss (Warhammer 40,000 – Chaos Space Marines) 2012

The Apostles of the Abyss were born from the Dark Vengeance starter set for Warhammer 40,000. As a dedicated cultist of Chaos, I couldn’t spend all that precious time painting Dark Angels, so I decided to turn most of the box over to the dark side.

The Apostles of the Abyss were an experiment in using dark, midnight colours, contrasted against bright orange. While the orange did turn out a bit muddier than I would have liked, I do really think the colour scheme worked. One day, I may go back and add to this small warband, perhaps using Vallejo fluro orange or something similar. The alien purple bases are definitely something I want to do again… but I’m struggling to find colour schemes to match.

The Apostles of the Abyss emerge from the darkness between stars, bearing the icon of the flame-eater, intent on snuffing out the light. Wherever they arrive, shadows follow, but blood does not always flow. They are ghosts in the night, treacherous tongues, vile disciples of darkness… yet great heroes all the same.

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Da Boo-Ha-Ha Klan II (Warhammer Fantasy Battle/Age of Squigmar – Squigs) 2015

The Boo-Ha-Ha Klan are a famously good-humoured Night Goblin clan that, long ago, infested the ruins of Lugrumdumbz and the nearby mountain passages near the infamous city of Krüll. They have a propensity for practical jokes and sabotage, as well as an incredible thirst for potent Fungus Brew.

The Goblins of The Boo-Ha-Ha Clan are never happy unless they are heavily intoxicated. The clan is more often than not raiding distilleries or celebrating pointless, hilarous deaths in their dank hideout. More exotic and toxic fungi grow in their caves than almost anywhere in the North, which allows a healthy Squig population to exist. Soldiers and mercenaries should be aware that The Boo-Ha-Ha clan are highly specialized in Squigly warfare and have a large number of Fanatics among their ranks.

In fact, that is but the surface of the truth. Within the depths of Lugrumdumbz and its labyrinthine cave systems, something else calls the shots… something… bouncy.

The Squiggly King is a beast of pure, regal destruction. It rarely pops its head out from its cavern, as the Boo-Ha-Ha Goblins are keen to keep it satisfied with a constant flow of sacrifices. Better that, than have a glowing ball of angry fungus and teeth running wild through your cramped campsite.

Lesser Squiggly beasts rally to the call of the Squiggly King and it takes a truly powerful Night Goblin to corral them all into battle.


My Squig-themed army is perhaps my favourite past project and so I’m super happy to finally get around to sharing it with you all! Who doesn’t love these little balls of destruction, especially when they’re painted in bright, garish colours?

While I actually see my Squig army as seperate to my previously painted Goblin horde, they can still be played as one, of course (in case I wanted to run some unfortunate army over with a truly apocalyptic horde of green and teeth).

Most of these models are old metal ones from back in my own day, mixed in with a couple of finecast Squigs and some Forgeworld resin (you can actually read about my trip to Nottingham, where I bought these models, in my travel blog here). I decided to paint them up in crazy, fantasy fungi colours instead of traditional red and orange. Because, you know, it’s more fun that way! It actually leads to a surprisingly cohesive looking force when put all together.

I won’t say anymore, other than I hope you enjoy the madness!

My Squiggly army also took part in the 2016 Games Workshop “Armies on Parade” competition, in which they took away a shiny bronze medal! I unfortunately don’t have any better shots of the finished board, but hopefully these give you a good idea of the finished product.

The story?: Don Squixote has heard rumour of a “Heart of Power” deep within the lush woods. Hoping to find it and swallow it for its special powers, Squixote leads a bouncing, doom-bringing, rather-doomed-itself expedition into the heart of the forest… only to find the “Heart” guarded by ruinous champions.

Personalities (2014 – 2016)

In the realms of fantasy, there are heroes untold. Thousands of charismatic characters and perilous personalities. There are also plenty of villains and monsters for them to fight.

In this post, you’ll find a whole host of these heroes and villains that I’ve painted over the years. For the most part, these individual models were either painted as practice, for a bit of fun, diversion from larger projects or for painting competitions (like the monthly Paint Club at my local hobby store).

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Heroes and Villains

 

Art Toys (2013 – 2016)

Not all of my hobby efforts have been expended upon Citadel-forged plastic. Sometimes, it pays to branch off and try something new.

Over the years, I’ve created and painted a lot of sculptures, DIY toys (like the Kidrobot Munny, etc.) and just general non-miniature pieces. I’ve also painted and drawn a lot, but that’s a story for another time. In this post, you’ll see a number of my non-miniature projects from over the past couple of years!


An untitled Munny creation, using an A-Wing model, some Warmachine pieces and a couple of Epic 40,000 miniatures.


Captain Mew-Mew, another Kidrobot DIY toy.


Menina de Baseman, a plaster sculpture I bought from a cheesy tourist spot in Seville. I painted it in honour (and in the style) of my favourite Pop-surrealist artist/icon Gary Baseman.