Yet more INQ28 content this week, as I have finally managed to complete one of my longest running projects: The retinue of Inquisitor Erasmus Gotthardt.
Now Gotthardt himself is one of my oldest INQ28 models at this point, as are some of his retainers: The models were built back in 2011, and from a much smaller bitzbox, I might add. I have been working on the warband ever since, adding a character here and tweaking a paintjob there. But for the most part, the retinue has been finished since 2016 — except for one last elusive model.
And to be perfectly honest, I have been putting off this one paintjob for a long time, mostly because I didn’t know whether or not I could do the model justice. But thanks to the various community challenges from fellow hobbyists Azazel and Alex, I have been blazing through quite a few neglected models lately, so I thought I would use this surge of motivation to finally face my fears, so to speak.
But what is this dreaded missing model I keep referring to? Well, this lass here, Elisha Gorgo:
The model was actually built all the way back in 2013, if you can believe it, when I was lucky enough to get my hands on the female vampires from the Coven Throne kit and really wanted to use them to create some characters for INQ28. I still think those are some of the best female models GW has ever released, even if the “vampiresses in period dresses” shtick might not be for anyone
Anyway, I chose my favourite model from the trio to build a member for Inquisitor Gotthardt’s retinue. Unfortunately, the vampires had already been assembled by the previous owner, and due to the very delicate, slender sculpts, there was only so much I could do to convert them — which somewhat explains Elisha’s seemingly tranced-out pose
I thought this actually worked well for a psyker, though, so that was what she would become. I spent ages looking for the right pair of legs, finally coming across some High Elf archer legs that worked really well (although not everyone was a fan of the “harem pants” look when I originally posted her on the various forums). I also exchanged her clawlike hands for gloved hands from the Dreamforge Games Eisenkern Stormtroopers that looked much less cronelike. But really, it was a rather straightforward kitbash. The prospect of having to paint the model was the difficult part: I really didn’t want to mess up, mostly because I wouldn’t be able to get another shot at working with these bitz without having to purchase an entire Coven Throne.
And even with my fresh committment to finishing the model, I was still nervous enough about this paintjob to actually mock up the intended colour scheme beforehand in Photoshop, something I don’t think I have ever done before:
The actual painting process mainly consisted of trying to match the mockup as closely as possible while doing my best not to ruin the face
Which turned out to be a bit of a challenge: I found out that I really don’t have the brush control and technical finesse to sail through a delicate paintjob like this. But here’s what I came up with after a while:
I actually do wish I had managed to pull off a neater paintjob on her face. That being said, I did manage to bring it back from the brink after almost considering it ruined, so I think I should probably be reasonably happy.
Something that doesn’t really come across in the photos is how both the corsage as well as the pants have a slight metallic sheen, in order to hint at different materials and fabrics used for her dress: I simply mixed some Leadbelcher into the paint for those areas. Apart from that, her entire dress has been painted in different mixes of black, white and Vallejo’s Milenario Turquoise.
At this point, I was basically prepared to call the model finished — to tell you the truth, I was actually still terrified of ruining it
But at the same time, I couldn’t stop thinking about how a subtle blue OSL effect on the palms of her hands could be used to both hint at her channeling her powers and also explain her pose a bit better. But the hands were very small, and I didn’t really want it to end up looking tacky. In the end, I buckled up and just did it, though. I’ll let you be the judges of whether or not I succeeded:
born Countess Elisha Haxta di Colasante Mordina-Gorgo
Elisha Gorgo is the eldest daughter of the influential Imperial House Mordina-Gorgo. The girl started displaying psykana powers at a very young age. Under normal circumstances, this would have meant a dreary and possibly short life aboard one of the Blackships, but her influential father used every ounce of his authority to keep her “affliction” a secret. Due to her powers, she has been sequestered away from other people for most of her life and has grown up very shy and demure as a consequence.
Her secret was only uncovered when Inquisitor Gotthardt visited her homeworld as part of an investigation. And, for an undisclosed reason, he chose to make her a member of his retinue, arguably saving her from the far more dire fate that might have awaited her, had she encountered one of his more hardline colleagues.
When all is said and done, I am pretty happy with the way Elisha has turned out: Painting a model after such a long time always means you have to compromise — to settle on one definite way the model will look over all the possibilities you have been pondering in the back of your head. All technical gripes notwithstanding, I do think she makes for a rather stunnig addition to Inquisitor Gotthardt’s warband — because let’s not forget that the retinue is now actually finished. Take a look:
Inquisitor Erasmus Gotthardt and retinue
Ordo Hereticus Velsen
Once again, let us take a look at all of the warband’s members in turn:
Trooper Salvador ‘Sal’ Koltz, also formerly of the 126th Haaruthian Dragoons. An unashamedly lowbrow, yet surprisingly resourceful, individual. Bound by a debt of gratitude, he serves as personal retainer to Esteban Revas.
Iskander Gagarin, flamboyant Rogue Trader and merchant-prince. Claims to be a scion of one of the very first families to have sailed out into the Great Void Sea, even predating the Age of Unification.
Looking back at my three “big” finished retinues so far – Inquisitor Antrecht and his freakshow, Inquisitor Arslan and his sinister Ordo Hereticus operatives, and now Inquisitor Gotthardt and his retainers – it’s fun to see the different design approaches at play: Antrecht and retinue were a way to explore radicalism and the way rogue Inquisitors are driven towards more and more monstrous and inhuman allies. Inquisitor Arslan’s retinue was, in many ways, an exercise in cohesion, with all of the members sharing a very similar colour palette and overall visual aesthetic. Now Gotthardt and his crew take yet another approach:
Like Arslan, Gotthardt is a puritan, but he is also less extreme in his views: Think Eisenhorn in his earlier years, and you’re not far off the mark. And unlike Arslan’s warband, Gotthardt’s followers are a pretty colourful bunch. As I’ve said before, the warband makes use of many of the classic character archetypes from the Inquisitor rulebook, taking direct inspiration from actual 54mm models or artwork from the book in more than one case. I think of the retinue as just the colourful collection of individuals an enterprising Inquisitor would meet during his work and turn into a highly individual group of followers.
Again, each of this groups embodies a different aspect of the Inquisition: Antrecht and his crew embody radicalism that borders on the heretical. Arslan’s warband is full-on fire and brimstone and Inquisitorial ostentatiousness. Gotthardt’s team has a swashbuckling, picaresque feel by comparison — more Dan Abnett than John Blanche, for once.
Interestingly enough, this is probably also the retinue with the biggest amount of backstory so far, mostly because the whole project has basically taken on a life of its own over the years: PeeDee the Monkey joined the group when PDH sent me that little powder monkey that just seemed ideal as a pet for a flamboyant trader like Iskander Gagarin. Trooper Koltz only came into being because Esteban Revas just looked like the kind of noble fop who would have a manservant lugging around his smoking utensils — but both characters actually grew into something way more interesting and fleshed out. Just take a look at Esteban’s backstory, in case you are interested.
Anyway, enough rambling — I am just happy to have finished this long running project!
Oh, and since the completion of Elisha’s paintjob actually finishes the retinue, I think I’ll be counting this as yet another completion for Azazel’s Squad:March! challenge
And with that, we have come to the end of the road, at least for today.
Once again, I would love to hear any feedback you might have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!