Another week of fire and brimstone Ordo Hereticus Madness — I sincerely hope you aren’t fed up yet! But I am really on a roll right now, blazing through model after model, which is more than a bit uncommon for me. I also know how fickle motivation can be, so I’ll just let myself be swept along by the tide for as long as it lasts
Anyway, last week I shared more models for Inquisitor Arslan’s warband with you, and those completions left me with only two models to go before the warband would actually be finished. This seemed like an excellent goal to work towards for my participation in Azazel’s Squad:March! challenge as well, so I got to work. And, indeed, I do have some new models for you again. So let’s take a peek:
I. A blade from the Shadows
One of the last two missing models was this death cult assassin I converted a while ago:
The character was very much inspired by Severina and Sevora Devout (as well as the accompanying miniatures) from back when the original 54mm Inquisitor was released:
Granted, the concept of female assassins clad in latex bodygloves may not feel quite as fresh and risqué in 2018 as it did back in 2001 (or rather, than its inclusion in an Inquisition-themed game seemed back then). Even so, I have been working my way through basically all of the old character types from the awesome Inquisitor rulebook, trying to put my own spin on things, so I couldn’t shy away from this archetype, could I? I also still think there’s something pretty entertaining about taking a concept that is so ridiculously pulp-SciFi in many ways and finding a grimdark angle for it.
The conversion itself was fairly straightforward, especially since the model is really mostly a repurposed Dark Eldar Wych, from back when I briefly considered getting back into Dark Eldar after the beautiful new plastic models had been released. I added some small tweaks, such as the purity seal, to make the model a bit more Imperial.
The most important part for turning the wych into an inquisitorial operative, however, was the gas mask from a Dark Vengeance cultist: Plus the slightly weird look of the mask as well as the creepy layout of the eye lenses was intended to hint at the fact that she may have been augmented underneath the mask or to just suggest a certain kind of eerie wrongness that seemed fitting for the character.
When it came to painting the assassin, I basically used the same palette I had set down for the rest of the warband. Fortunately enough, it was really similar to the colours of GW’s official death cult assassins, so I could take some inspiration from those:
So here’s the finished model: A still unnamed assassin from the Order of the Blade Unsheathed:
The only thing about the paintjob that proved a bit difficult was the mask: I knew I didn’t simply want to keep it black, so I tried red first, but that just didn’t work. So after trying numerous highlighting and tweaking stages, I just went for an off-white/cream colour that still stays within the palette I had set for the warband, while also turning the face into enough of a focus point, I hope.
Incidentally, the assassin still needs a name, so if anyone can come up with something suitably medieval and slightly sinister, let me know!
II. The Lion of Velsen
Happy as I am with the finished assassin, she is really just a prelude to today’s main course: Inquisitor Nabreus Arslan himself.
Now it must be said – again – that Inquisitor Arslan is a model that I have been coming back to again and again for several years now. He started back in 2011 or so as an attempt at creating a no-nonsense puritan Ordo Hereticus or Ordo Malleus Inquisitor. My bitz box was still far smaller in those days, but I did the best with the tools I had. The model started out looking quite different from the modern incarnation, though:
Most of the elements were already there, but the model didn’t quite click yet. Then I came across this model over on DakkaDakka, and realised that the hooded Dark Angels veterans head would be much better for an Inquisitor:
And from then on, the model took shape, growing far closer to its current incarnation:
After even more nipping and tucking the conversion was basically finished back in 2014 — which is already a ridiculously long time for a model of this size. But even then, I kept returning to the model, adding a tweak here and changing a detail there, keeping the poor guy unpainted, while his retinue (likewise unpainted) kept growing. Until I finally committed to painting this version of the model earlier this month:
So maybe I would be able to improve on this basic template with my model for Arslan…?
One thing that was clear to me from the start was that I wanted the entire warband to hinge on Arslan and his interrogator, the Lady Chastity. Now the latter was already finished, and my idea was to simply inverse one key colour for Arslan’s colour scheme. So where Chastity wears red armour with black cloth over it, I wanted to paint Arslan’s armour black, with red cloth.
So with those ideas in my head, I took Arslan along for one of the frequent painting sesssions hosted by my good friend Annie. Those sessions are awesome, and I usually walk away with some kind of breakthrough on one of my current painting projects.
So here’s Inquisitor Arslan after a short while, with just the base colours in place:
While I was already reasonable happy at this point, one thing about the model just confounded me: The red left shoulder pad just didn’t work. This felt especially weird as it looks quite lovely in the picture above, doesn’t it? Yet for some reason, in real life, it kept drawing the view away from more important parts of the model, and I kept glancing back at it, so in the end, I decided to repaint it black. Apart from that, it was mainly smooth sailing the rest of the way.
So let’s take a look at the finished model:
Inquisitor Nabreus Arslan
Ordo Hereticus Velsen
However, I did end up losing some sleep over some key visual decisions:
Probably the scariest thing was to paint Arslan’s sword: Its sheer size clearly turns it into an important part of the model, and I realised during the painting process that, by limiting the entire warband to a colour palette of mostly black, white, red and gold, I had actually deprieved myself of the option to just paint the sword a stunning blue — it simply wouldn’t have gelled with the rest of the warband, but more importantly, it wouldn’t have led to the sinister look I wanted. I also realised that a simple metal sword wouldn’t cut it this time around, so I did a bit of research, taking lots of inspiration from fellow hobbyists like Alex Marsh, Jeff Vader and Midnight Runner, among others. Then I took a deep breath and tried to create my own effect for the blade, adapted from their work:
In the end, I am pretty happy with the finished effect, seeing how I managed to make the sword look both blisteringly hot and quite sinister But painting it was so far out of my comfort zone that it wasn’t even funny
True to Arslan’s history as “that model that I was never really able to finish”, I did end up making one last unexpected tweak: I actually swapped in a new shield!
Now I originally had the shield with the stylised “Knight vs. Daemon” battle scene from the Nemesis Dreadknight kit on there, but my colour choices for the model meant that I had boxed myself in regarding the shield: The warrior on the shield would obviously have to represent Arslan himself, so I would have needed to paint him in black. That would have left only gold and red for the daemon, with red being the obvious choice. That, in turn, would have left me with a golden shield, which wouldn’t exactly have matched the rest of the model all that well. Anyway, to make a long story short, I decided to try a different shield and create the inconography on it from scratch (or rather, via decals):
The idea here was to go for a medieval-style seal that would fit Arslan’s very medieval overall look. I also thought that this design might be his actual Inquisitorial seal, the one he uses to sign Exterminatus orders, and other jolly missives like that
The “A” stands for “Arslan”, and the “V” for “Velsen”, the name of the sector. The whole thing was also ever so slightly influenced by designs like the Chi Rho.
Oh, and based on Inquisitor Mikhailovich’s comment, I also tweaked the position of the shield a bit, so it might actually be attached to Arslan’s arm in an at least slightly believable way
Here’s a picture of Arslan and Chastity, showing off the aforementioned fact that they use an identical palette, and their colour scheme is very similar, save for one key colour that has been reversed between the two models:
III. A project finally finished
And would you believe it: With that, the warband is actually finished. After several years of hemming and hawing. I actually cannot quite believe it. But here it is. Take a look:
It’s slightly weird – but also very fulfilling – to realise that I’ve had most of this retinue for years now, and now I’ve finally manage to finish the models in very short order. Oh, and this also means I’ve managed to complete my first, proper committment for the Squad:March! challenge! Yay!
Speaking of which: Many thanks must go to fellow hobbyists Azazel and Alex: I couldn’t really have done it without you, guys, as your hobby challenges finally provided me with the incentive to actually get this project on the road, at long last!
As for my next plans, I want to ride this wave of inspiration out yet a bit longer, so I think I’ll be staying in the INQ28 world for a while yet: There’s one last model for Inquisitor Gotthardt’s retinue I need to get finished (another project that has been going on for ages). Then I think I’d like to paint a truescale Deathwatch Marine conversion. And then there’s an Ordo Scriptorum retinue I am really proud of that I hope to get started on while my motivation still lasts.
Until then, I would truly love to hear your thoughts on Inquisitor Arslan and his retainers! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!