Ahh, the Arco-flagellant — yet another character archetype that makes Inquisitor the dark and gothic masterpiece it is. Those guys got their first day in the limelight when Inquisitor was released, and they manage to embody much of what is wrong with organised religion in the 40k universe.
The process of Arco-flagellation is used to turn heretics into horrible weapons that can be wielded by the Ecclesiarchy. Use of an Archo-flagellant may also be granted to certain Inquisitors: a perfect excuse to have one or more of them in an Inquisitor warband!
What’s interesting about them is not only the fact that they probably pack quite a punch on the table, but also the hidden tragedy behind these creatures. Granted, Arco-flagellants certainly aren’t the leading roles in the shadow war for the Emperor’s soul, but with a bit of creativity, it’s quite easy to imagine suitably tragic and/or horrible stories to describe their fall from grace and their subsequent transformation into living weapons.
So it was clear to me that I needed to build one or more of them! All the more so since the official models are unfortunately quite horrible. Take a look.
So I once again turned to the Crypt Ghoul kit for a suitably twisted and tortured look. Here’s what I came up with:
The first model I built was once again inspired by Phil Kelly’s Inquisitor Lichtenstein warband: His Arco-flagellant Gryx uses an Ork power claw (from Ghazkull Thraka, no less!) which ended up looking very cool. So I tried the same at the 28mm scale. Apart from that, I added some mechanical doodads to show the “augmentations” the Arco-flagellant had received. The back of the Crypt Ghoul body also sported a nice, sharpened stake and some chains punched through the skin. I kept both, since it looked like they could have been part of the poor individual’s “punishment”. When painting the model, I took care to make the skin look extra pale and clammy. Looking back at it now, I will probably have to go back to touch up the vial supposed to be containing stimulants on the model’s left shoulder at some point, since I am not perfectly happy with the colour there. But apart from that, I was reasonably pleased with my first Arco-flagellant. All that was missing was a suitably dark piece of background for him…
In the long years of his career, Inquisitor Antrecht has been forced to use rather “unconventional” means more than once. So it is no wonder that his work would attract the attention of the Ordo Hereticus’ more puritan members sooner rather than later. Consequently, Antrecht has had to deal with the Ordo’s scrutiny on more than one occasion, but few of these confrontations have been as monumental and – ultimately – tragic as that with Inquisitor Ferrante.
During his long fight against the heretic Amnon Helix, Antrecht was forced to use some extreme measures, which earned him Ferrante’s scorn. The Witch Hunter declared his intention of bringing Antrecht in for strict questioning, but his quarry managed to elude him time and time again. Ferrante was man driven by the fires of fanaticism, however, and when he could not apprehend Antrecht, he turned his attention to those close to him instead. Towards this end, he managed to capture Antrecht’s Interrogator, Hamlin Rheden, laying an inescapable trap for the Inquisitor, for he knew Antrecht would try to free his disciple.
He had been right: Antrecht came out of hiding in a desperate bid to free Rheden, only to be confronted by Ferrante and his henchmen. Little is known of the two Inquisitors’ confrontation, but it marked the last the galaxy had ever seen of Witch Hunter Ferrante, leading some to suspect that Antrecht may have had a hand in the Inquisitor’s disappearance (or even his death) and earning him the undying enmity of Ferrante’s own pupil, Holm Fiegmund — a situation that would, in time, have its own dire ramifications.
Ever since Antrecht’s confrontation with the Witch Hunter, an Arco-flagellant designated “Enoch 451” has been a member of the Inquisitor’s retinue. Beyond that, nothing is known with any degree of certainty.
Enoch’s trigger word is “Discipulus”
Well, the first model was finished, but I couldn’t really stop at one, could I? So I built another Arco-flagellant, trying to improve on different aspects by using what I had learned while building Enoch 451: I wanted the model to be a little more dynamic. And I wanted to use a somewhat different head, so the model would look different enough from Enoch.
Fortunately, this one is a bit better documented. Here’s a work in progress on my second Arco-flagellant:
Once again, a Crypt Ghoul body formed the basis for the conversion, although this time I shaved off the quills and spikes emerging from the model’s back, replacing them with two electric coils to indicate that there’s some kind of generator powering the flagellant. His right arm was replaced with a Sentinel chainsaw, while I used a flail from the WFB Empire flagellant kit on his left arm to represent an electro-flail. I also added a couple of screws on his back to show where crude surgery had been performed on him in order to suitably “modify” his body. His head is a normal skull from the old Skeleton warriors, although I added a bionic eye that was built from some leftover bits and bobs.
Regarding his base, I had to elevate him a bit to prevent the chainsaw from touching the ground. I achieves this by using cork and the base of one of the energy generators that came with the “Battle for Maccrage” box set.
Concerning the paintjob, I’d like to highlight my method this time. It’s certainly nothing spectacular, but it will probably show you how a very basic paintjob may be transformed by the judicious use of washes.
I started by painting him in the basic colours I wanted. Take a look:
I have to be honest with you: At this stage, I was extremely nervous because of how horrible the model looked. But then came the application of washes: Ogryn Flesh for the skin, Badab Black for the metal parts and Devlan Mud for…well, pretty much everything. After about an hour of waiting and some careful touchups here and there, here’s what he looked like:
Quite a transformation, don’t you think? Granted, this way of painting is not going to win me any prizes, but it’s a fairly quick, effective and, most importantly, fun way of getting your models finished before you get bored. You also don’t need to take my word for it either: This way of painting is championed by much more talented people than me, for example by Steve Buddle, who even explained it in some depth in a Blanchitsu WD-article some time ago.
Concerning the model’s name and background, I decided to name the Arco-flagellant “Molotov XXVIII”, as a small nod to Commissar Molotov, who is a very talented modeller in his own right and a tireless advocate of Inquisitor played at the 28mm scale. A heartfelt, albeit strange and twisted way of saying thank you, admittedly – but of course a perfect fit for the equally strange and twisted 40k universe. So, cheers mate!
The man who should become the being called “Molotov XXVIII” was a devout believer in the Imperial Creed and a lay preacher on the Shrine World of Tabeathah. His piety managed to attract quite a large number of followers, inspiring hope and religious fervour in those who came to listen to him. This rankled the Cardinals of Tabeatha greatly, however, for they only allowed their own version of the Imperial truth and feared the growing popularity of the preacher’s teachings. So the man was abducted under cover of night and subjected to arduous torture in an attempt to make him confess to being a sinner and a heretic. But the faith was strong in him, and he could not be broken. It took the punishment of arco-flagellation to wipe his mind clean and end his existence as a human being. Instead, he was turned into a mindless killing machine and left in the dungeons of the great Vetranio Cathedral to wither away or be used in some religious war.
But his captors had been ill advised, for the loss of such a prominent figure incited a religious frenzy in the believers, and they stormed the cathedral, killing the Cardinals who had taken their leader from them. When Inquisitor Antrecht arrived on Tabeatha in the wake of the violent uprising, in order to investigate whether the Cardinals had been influenced by the ruinous powers, he found the lone Arco-flagellant in the catacombs beneath the sacked cathedral and took him along when he left the world. Through a twist of fate, Molotov XXVIII would be allowed to do the Emperor’s work once more…
Molotov XXVIII’s trigger word is “Advocator”
And with that, I have managed to show you all of Antrecht’s henchmen, except one: His Servo-skull Mercutio, actually the first model I built for Antrecht’s retinue:
It’s just the Servo-skull from the Cadian Command Squad, glued to its own base. I also have no background for the little guy, although, knowing Antrecht, there is probably some dark and disturbing backstory of some sort. But that, as they say, is a story for another time.
With Inquisitor Antrecht’s retinue completely presented, my future INQ28 posts will turn towards some other individuals, but fear not: Antrecht will still make an appearance from time to time. So look forward to all the strange and demented Inquisitor characters waiting on my workbench…
Until then, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!