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The 5th God

Lockdown Activities

I’ve found that during the lockdown period I haven’t had quite as much time for building and painting as I originally expected – there’s an awful lot of housework needing done, especially as we’re no longer going out anywhere. I had managed to complete a couple of painting projects however, but a new and interesting opportunity arrived in the form of an Instagram challenge: Conjure a 5th Chaos God for Warhammer/40k and construct one of its daemons!

I haven’t played Games Workshop’s games for many years now and as such haven’t been buying any of their minis. The result being that my bitz box is very small indeed. That said, I did have enough parts to create something roughly humanoid and plenty of milliput and greenstuff to fill in the rest. It was a challenge, that’s for sure, but I felt I could give it a good try!

Build-a-God

The challenge was posted in celebration of the old Realm of Chaos books from the early days of 40k (when it was Rogue Trader) and Warhammer 3rd Edition; Slaves to Darkness and The Lost and the Damned . These books detailed how players could create their own champions of Chaos and give them a unique patron god, with charts and tables to determine names, true names and what chaotic features and mutations may be manifested by devotees.

I took some inspiration from the books for my god (both of which I was lucky enough to grab off eBay when the price was still fairly low) but ultimately went my own way. I first had to decide what my new god should actually govern and work from that to develop a name and likely appearance for its daemons.

I admit that, ultimately, I had to work backwards. I have already mentioned my limited store of useable parts, so I had to make sense of the bits I could realistically put together. The results were not great: some Tomb Kings skeleton sprues, a 40k kroot sprue and assorted bits from Mordheim. What sort of god would have a daemon made from this?

Under the Influence

I really needed some inspiration, so took to Pinterest to look for “Dark Fantasy Art” and concept art for games like Dark Souls, Bloodborne and Blasphemous. I wasn’t looking for anything to copy; more, imagery to get me in the right frame of mind. Blasphemous turned out to be a great influence for what would become my daemon – several of the enemies in that game attack you with pieces of statues or are integrated into scenery elements. Pieces of Mordheim scenery began to look more useful – there must be a way I could incorporate them into the daemon.

I decided to use the body of a kroot as the foundation, with a spear arm and head from a skeleton, and an arm from a mid-2000s sculpt of a Tzeench Horror. I really wanted to avoid having the component parts too identifiable; the daemon should not make people think of something else when they see it; so I removed some of the kroot details like quills and spikes. I also had the idea that the daemon should be at least partially melded with whatever scenery element I used, so set about wrapping its body with milliput to represent this. This also helped conceal more of the original kroot details without resorting to lots of filing and cutting.

After toying with pillars, door frames and treasure chests, I settled on a window frame for the scenery element. More milliput was needed to fill in some details, but at least I had settled on which parts to use!

Chûd-tuhal

I was trying to come up with a god concept all the while I was sorting through the bitz box. I needed something distinct enough which wouldn’t be too closely related to the other gods. I had in mind the End Times phase of the Warhammer world and the general sense of looming dread the citizens of the Empire may feel, cowering in the knowledge their realm was beset by enemies on every side. I figured that what many people would want most was to keep everything out and be left alone – keeping their lives just as they are – so why not have a god who answers this particular prayer?

I decided there could be a God of the Keep or Miser God, prayed to by those who live in fear of drastic change and have something to lose; Lords fearing for their estates, business owners fearing for their financial stability, even peasants who fear losing their way of life or family to war, taxes, a military draft or any other change. The Miser God promises to keep everything just the way it is; hold on to your riches and loved ones – nothing shall change; your castle and keep shall be strengthened to hold back the world.

I had the concept, so next came the name. Latin is a fairly common source of names for many units in 40k, but for my god I needed something which sounds chaotic; something gutteral which can be growled as much as spoken. With this in mind I turned to Gaelic. I looked up appropiate words and phrases, which eventually gave me the name Chûd-tuhal, as derived from a phrase which means, “all your worldly possessions”.

“They’re coming outta the god-damn walls!”

With the god conceived I was then able to fully explain the design choice of the daemon and proceed with construction! Originally I had considered the daemon may just be carrying the window frame or be loosely attached to it, but the story became that these particular daemons would emerge from the walls of any properties protected by their god. I decided that sometimes the daemons may bring pieces of the structures with them as they set forth. In this case, the daemon must have emerged from a wall with a window.

The problem became how to make the window frame look like it was actually a part of the daemon. I didn’t want the window to sit flush across the daemon’s back as that could make painting awkward and limit the positions of the spear arm. I remembered an artist whose works I enjoy has a particular flair for skeletal figures – Zdzislaw Beksinski. I gave one of his books a quick skim and once again felt inspired!

The figures in Beksinski’s works are known for their large number of joints and bones, particularly in their arms and hands. One piece has a mass of skeletal figures running across a room, in through one wall and out via another, as a jumbled mass of limbs. I had plenty of limbs available thanks to the skeleton sprues so I thought I’d add some more arms to the daemon to connect it to the window and increase its unnerving, otherworldliness.

I was also inspired to add some more detail to the daemon’s body by way of some skeletal hands poking through the surface of the skin, as if the building they emerged from were in some way reluctant to let them go and so tries to maintain a grasp. This added to the sense of possessiveness which Chûd-tuhal governs and also helped to break up what would otherwise be a fairly featureless body.

I used more milliput to form smooth connections between limbs and window, and to add folds and creases across the body as if its skin were a wrap of some sort, possibly materials from the walls made malleable as it emerges. I also had to add some musculature to the skeletal spear arm to help it match the Horror arm. I dedcided to alter the weapon, slightly – the spearhead was replaced by a small spike so it became a goedendag: a weapon of the militias of 14th century Luxembourg.

Adding Colour

The paint scheme I decided upon was also inspired by Beksinski. I mixed brown, grey and green to emulate Beksinski’s colours – I found they really conveyed a sense of dry dirtiness, giving the skin and bones a dry mud or baked clay-like appearance. I used some 25-year old Citadel Skaven Brown ink for the recesses and built up the layers with careful altering of the ratios of the base colour. Some drybrushing of white helped add texture.

I felt the colours were quite odd, so for a while I really wasn’t sure how the daemon would end up – I just built up the layers and hoped for the best. Typically enough, the vision became more clear as the first layers of highlights were added.

I decided to add a sigil to the daemon’s forehead in orange. This stark contrast would help break up the otherwise dull palette. The orange also helps give the impression that the sigil is radiating – a clear display of which god the daemon serves.

A benefit of the limited colour palette was that the daemon was relatively quick to paint once I had a clear vision of where to take it. To the base I had originally fixed some modelling lichen for another flash of colour. I was warned that this diverted the eye’s focus away from the daemon and more to the base, which was certainly not a good result! With this advice in mind I replaced the lichen with some Army Painter grass tufts. This improved the look by maintaining the dull palette and also further conveying the sense of old dryness.

Warder of Chûd-tuhal

With the painting nearing completion I had finally decided on a name for the daemon. The idea is that these daemons will emerge from the structures within an area dedicated to the Miser God to ward off any intruders who may disturb the peace, clubbing and jabbing at them with their goedendags. This made the choice of name simple enough: Warders.

Though I had a difficult start, I was glad I saw the project through to the end. I actually like the idea of the Miser God enough that I may create more daemons in future and they may even feature in games of Warhammer: Fantasy Roleplay or Dark Heresy.

The Miser God sits in opposition to both Nurgle and Tzeench. In his domain, nothing decays and nothing changes; everything remains just as it is, in blissful stasis. Those who fall to corruption no longer leave their homes and eventally may never even leave their chair – they sit clutching their most prized possessions, their bodies slowly merging with the building until they themselves are an ornament.

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Back to Infinity pt3

Updating Progress

There has indeed been progress on the Chanthara project. The Yadu is now complete. I do need to improve my blogging, as perhaps I am too well-acustomed to the short, sharp posting habits of other social media. However, I have been working on improving my panting style and re-learning all the skills which have faded over time. To this end there has been a bit of trial and error with regards to techniques and colour blending.
As I move down the painting queue I shall try to update progress more often.

Finishing Touches

Higher ratios of Army Painter’s Matt White or a mix of AP’s Oak Brown and P3 Thamar Black were added to the base colours for edge highlighting and shading. The hex pattern on the leggings was given some subtle highlights with Angel Green (AP). I used Coal Black (P3) for highlights on the darker area of the helmet and the gun. Coal Black has quickly become my first choice for highlighting matt blacks, particularly on guns. I feel that sometimes the highlights could be too bright but when taken out from under my fluorescent lamp they do look more natural; perhaps it’s time to invest in a different form of lighting.

With the highlights done it was time to add some of those more characterful details typical of the Chanthara cyborgs. Things like hazard warnings, “caution” markers, etc. I added some characters in bright orange to the wrist unit and back of the helmet plus some orange detail on the satchel, inspired by a Crumpler bag I use for my laptop. I tried to add the “132” logo, which features on many of Chanthara’s works, to the jacket in such a way as to make it look faded, with limited success – ideally I should have added it before some of the highlight layers and then painted over the top of it to push it more into the background and not have it so prominent. The gun also had some assorted markers added with no particular inspiration.

There came a point where the details were starting to feel a bit too intrusive. I chose this as a good time to stop.

Conclusions

I feel that in the end I have deviated somewhat from the original reference image but that is not necessarily a bad thing; Creepy/M was more for inspiration rather than to directly copy. My intent, however, was to have the Yadu look worn and I feel some of the details distract from this.

Always in mind…

There is an appropriate quote from the fashion designer, Coco Chanel: “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off”. With this in mind I may remove some of the markers on the gun – they really are surplus to requirements. They are also completely meaningless; it actually looked better without them.

The bright orange of the helmet and satchel could also do with a wash to dull them down. The dirt of the battlefield and even general wear & tear would certainly remove the factory-fresh sheen of such details. I’ll give it a try and post the results later.

I mentioned before that if I paint more Yadu I may have them darker and dirtier. This would be more in keeping with the concept- a trio would project the theme more than a single mini. That could be a project for another day. In the meantime it’s time to return to that Daofei sniper which I intended to paint in the first place!

If you’d like to try some Chanthara Yadu, you can find the unit box here. The Coldfront Yadu, which I’ve used, appears on the Split List. You can find the works of Nivanh Chanthara over on ArtStation – it’s worth a look!

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Back to Infinity pt2

Style Choices

Progress on the Chanthara project has been slow but there has been progress! Since last time there has been a slight change of schedule, in that the ALEPH Yadu with Multirifle has been prioritised over the Yu Jing Daoying sniper. A particular piece by Chanthara inspired me, the style of which was more applicable to the Yadu than the Daoying. The Yadu is also the easier model for me to paint.

This had “Yadu” written all over it!

The style of this piece, Creepy/M, is quite dull and dirty, setting it apart from most of the painted Aleph I’ve seen. A trend for painting robotic/armoured units is glowing LEDs or AV stalks but I shall not do this. My cyborgs shall have photoreceptors which do not emit any light. There is a risk they may appear too dull, so I shall apply subtle highlights and decals to offset this.
Chanthara’s decals tend to be in stark contrast, often in orange or yellow, so I shall need some very careful brushwork!

Painting the ALEPH Yadu

I’ve been using a mix of GW, P3 and Army Painter paints. Lately there’s been less use of GW as the pots keep drying up, so I’m salvaging those I can by pouring them into spare dropper bottles from my Army Painter set. I’ll signify which range each colour is from by adding a GW, P3 or AP in parentheses.

Starting with a matt black (AP) spray undercoat, to match the Creepy/M cyborg I basecoated the jacket of the Yadu with Army Green(AP) dulled down with some black. The armour sections on the legs and the head were based with Ash Grey(AP). The hex pattern on the leggings and around parts of the waist I left mostly black but with some slight colouring with Angel Green (AP) to try and maintain the dark, dirty look as best I could. Other armour sections like the back of the helmet, edges of the shin pads, the backpack, and the case of the Multirifle were based with Coal Black (P3).

Yadu after some simple high/lowlights.

Green is the uniting colour of Creepy/M, so I added lowlights and shading to the armour sections with a thin wash of a mix of Army Green (AP) and Thamar Black (P3). I thinned the paints a lot, very close to the consistency of water, so that they wouldn’t be too intrusive on the layer of white I’d paint over the top. For the jacket I shaded the recesses with a thinned mix of Army Green (AP) and Oak Brown (AP).

Highlights and Maintaining Style

I added highlights by blending Matt White or Ash Grey (or sometimes a mix of the two) to the base colours. For the lighter armour sections I simply built up thin layers of Matt White. I highlit (highlighted?) the pouches and belts by adding a thin edge of Coal Black (P3) as I didn’t want them to stand out too much from the rest of the underclothing; combat accessories like these are often dark, dull colours.

And turn.

At this point I think I could have made the jacket darker by adding black and grey to the base coat but overall I think the Yadu is headed in the right direction. I may have to take some liberties with the highlighting and overall palette as I fear the Yadu may otherwise end up looking half-finished. That’s the conundrum with directly adapting Chanthara’s style on Creepy/M; it looks indimidating and characterful on paper but may not look striking or engaging on a wargames miniature. The results could be completely different if I painted a group of say, 3 Yadu looking battered and worn as the theme would be more apparent but for this solitary mini I may prefer it to be slightly more eye-catching. There is more work to be done!

Perhaps you’d like to try this, yourself? If so you can find the Yadu unit box here. You can usually find the Coldfront Yadu I’ve used in the Infinity Split Box Service section.
I also highly recommend checking out the artwork of Nivanh Chanthara over on ArtStation; you may be inspired!