The Chrono-gladiator is yet another archetype oozing the kind of gothic science fiction horror that defines the setting of 40k and Inquisitor. There’s just something inherently wrong and sickening about a creature only able to prolong its life by fighting and killing. So it was clear that I would have to build one of those guys as a part of my INQ28 exploits.
Fortunately, the Chrono-gladiator was once again a nice fit for Inquisitor Antrecht’s retinue, because even someone like Antrecht, who prefers working from the shadows, will sometimes have to employ a more direct approach or face one of his many pursuers in combat. It makes a lot of sense that he would choose to use servants that are not too bothered about his methods. And his alliance with Magos Zeiss should make it easy enough to keep all kinds of biomechanic abominations in working order. So with the consideration of plausibility safely out of the way, I once again started cutting and glueing:
All things considered, this guy was one of the easiest conversions in the retinue. I used the body of an old Ork boy I had built ages ago, replacing the hands with two crude chainblades from the same kit. There’s just something about those primitive Ork weapons. Hmmm…
The left arm had some bandages at the wrist which were a perfect fit for the crude implant, while I masked the left wrist with a very old shield that came from Advanced HeroQuest. It does manage to add a little bit of “Blanchian” madness to the piece, I think.
The head is from the ever useful Crypt Ghoul kit. The fact that it’s much too small for the muscular body makes the model look misshapen and malproportioned, like he turned the steroid use up to eleven, which, come to think about it, is probably exactly what happened.
I added a shaved down CSM backpack and a small tube running into the model’s neck to represent the mechanisms injecting drugs into the gladiator’s system during fights.
All that was left were some bits and bobs. I added a purity seal as well as a Mechanicus seal to the model. And of course an hourglass that he uses to keep track of the time he managed to “save up”. And with that, the model was ready for painting:
Looking back on it now, I was kind of ambitious with the paintjob, trying all kinds of new things. First of all, this was the first model where I managed to figure out a working recipe for pale, somewhat sickly skin: Paint it GW Dheneb Stone, the wash liberally with GW Ogryn Flesh. Done! Fortunately for me, I managed to load up on Ogryn Flesh before the new paints were released. Phew!
I also tried to paint some blue veins on the model’s skin, trying to make it look like the skin was slightly translucent (like real human skin). It worked out rather nicely, I think. You can see the effect on his arms and neck.
His clothes were mainly painted in muted browns and greens, so they would offer a nice contrast to the skin but not draw too much attention away from the more interesting points of the model. I used the shield on the right arm and the purity seal to add some accents in red.
And finally, I tried adding lots of scratches to the model’s chainblades, making it look like he has been using them to parry lots of attacks. By washing with Badab Black between applying the different “layers” of scratches, I tried to make it look like some of them were more recent than others.
All in all, I’m rather pleased with the model. He’s certainly not a main player in the warband, but I used him to try all kinds of things that were fairly new — at least to me. I also wrote up a small piece of background just now in order to get a feeling for how he and Antrecht could have crossed ways for the first time.
The main tenet of the Istvaanian creed is that it is unending conflict alone that allows the Imperium to prosper. What better embodiment for this philosophy, then, than a creature that can only prolong its existence by fighting?
Inquisitor Antrecht first saw the being called Klytus in the slave pits of St. Sabasto’s Reach, fighting for his life in more ways than one: The Chrono-gladiator’s internal clock was just about to run out, leaving him with only seconds to live, and so he tore through his opponents with wild abandon, desperate to prolong his existence. Then, as a cruel kind of recurring spectacle, the ringmaster would reset his clock after each fight, keeping him suspended in a stasis field until the next time, repeating a cycle of desperation and slaughter over and over again. Antrecht was disgusted and fascinated in equal measures.
When Antrecht’s investigations revealed the planet’s Circus Imperialis to be a front for a cult of daemon-worshippers, the ringmaster sicced Klytus on the Inquisitor, promising him to end the vicious cycle if he managed to take Antrecht down. It turned out however, that he had misjudged the gladiator’s will to live after all, for it was him that Klytus turned on instead. He had been a plaything far too long, and if he had to die, he would at least take a dangerous heretic with him.
As Klytus lay dying, Antrecht intervened, for he hated to let a useful asset go to waste. Magos Zeiss managed to keep the Chrono-gladiator alive and he became a member of Antrecht’s warband. From now on, the time he won in battle would be his to keep.
The long years of chemical treatment and crude surgery have all but erased the man Klytus may once have been. The real or imagined transgression that originally led to his fall into slavery and to his transformation has been lost forever in the mists of the past. All that is certain is that his body is now disfigured and misshapen, useful only as a tool for killing. And whatever remains of his mind is impossible to guess, for he is taciturn and solitary when off the battlefield, his frenzy and brutality snuffed out. However, Lazarus Antrecht has begun to suspect that something of the man may yet be left inside the beast, and he sees Klytus as a handy tool as well as an entertaining continued experiment…
As always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!