Inquisitor 28: Lady of War

I think I may have mentioned before that I consider the Sisters of Battle, or Adepta Sororitas, to be one of the most interesting and original parts of the 40k background — there’s just something brilliantly quirky and narratively compelling at the same time about an order of “space nuns”, and I think when GW’s designers and writers were tasked with creating a (female) foil for the Space Marines, they couldn’t have come up with a better solution.

Likewise, John Blanche’s iconic cover for the Codex Sisters of Battle remains one of my favourite pieces of 40k-related artwork, because it really encapsulates the 40k universe in one piece of art. Take a look:

Adepta_Sororitas_by_John_Blanche

Artwork by John Blanche

It’s all there, isn’t it? The eclecticism, the grimdarkness, the medieval and renaissance influences, the traces of sci-fi — and of course the charming lady dead centre: A Sister of Battle — or should that be the Sister of Battle?

When I first saw this illustration, I didn’t know anything about the Sisters’ place in the background, or about the ecclesiarchy or any of that, but the picture captivated me nevertheless. And maybe – or very probably, come to think of it – my interest in the Sisters was planted then and there.

Alas, we still haven’t seen a plastic re-release/re-design of the Sisters of Battle, so what was I to do in order to scratch this particular hobby itch (without having to dig through piles of old lead)? That’s right — I had to get creative and make a suitable kitbash!

Which I did: I built a Sister of Battle for my collection of INQ28 characters, using nothing but plastic parts. Some of you may remember the model’s first appearance on this blog, quite some time ago:

Sister Kitbash (5)
Sister Kitbash (7)
Sister Kitbash (8)
Like I said back then, I do realise that the model is not entirely without its problems: The head may be a tad too big, the legs are maybe just a tiny bit too long. But I think that, under the given circumstances, I did the best I could with the materials available to me, and I am really enormously proud of the model, to be honest.

For those of you who want to attempt something similar, here’s a short bitz list:

  • the leg and torso are from a Dark Eldar Kabalite warrior and remain mostly unchanged. The only exceptions are that amazing aquila bit (I have absolutely no idea where I got that or where it’s from!) and a Fleur de Lys shaved off a Bretonnian bit.
  • the head came from the plastic gunner that comes with the SoB Immolator kit — one of the two plastic SoB heads in existence πŸ˜‰
  • the upper arms and the left forearm are shaved down parts from the WFB Empire Knights (from the Knights of the White Wolf, to be exact)
  • the right forearm is from the Bretonnian Knights
  • the bolt pistol came from the Cadian command squad, IIRC
  • the backpack was spliced together from a cut-down GK backpack with a GK heraldic plate, some vents from a Dark Vengeance Chosen backpack and an iron halo from a servo-skull
  • I also added some purity seals, pouches and decorative gubbinz that I cannot pinpoint accurately — the kind of stuff any INQ28 modeler has heaps of, I guess…;)

It’s also important to point out that it’s very easy to use a virtually identical recipe in order to create Sisters of Silence — as I have done repeatedly for my own, kitbashed Custodes army.

So what about the paintjob, then? Well, I have to admit that it actually took me ages to settle on an approach, possibly for fear of ruining the model. One thing was easy to figure out: The general colour scheme. Even though the model would have been a great opportunity to invent my own SoB colour scheme, I knew I wanted the model to be painted in the colours of the Order of Our Martyred Lady, for a number of reasons: It’s easily the most iconic SoB scheme, for one, and I really wanted to use it. But there’s also the fact that I needed the paintjob to make the conversion believably read as a Sister of Battle: I have learned from Ron Saikowski that, on a kitbash like this, it’s important to really nail some of the details, so the model will come across as “correct”, even if many pieces are different from the source material. And using the most well-known colours would probably sell the viewer on my model as a Sister, even if there are some notable differences from the official metal models.

When it came to the actual painting, two sources proved invaluable: One was a picture of a squad of Celestians from Codex: Witch Hunters. They had exactly the colour scheme I wanted, but with some additional decoration and golden trim that made the models look even cooler.

The other source that really helped me paint my model was Valhallan 23rd’s kitbashed Sister, because she was also converted using DE bitz, and I really needed an idea about how to apply the classic SoB colours to these particular parts. In a nice bit of symmetry, I seem to have inspired Valhallan 23rd to actually create the model in the first place, while I now took some invaluable inspiration for my own paintjob from that very model — I like that! πŸ˜‰

So, without any further ado, I give you Sister Euphrati Eisen, of the Order of the Martyred Sword:

Sister Euphrati Eisen (9)
Sister Euphrati Eisen (11)
Sister Euphrati Eisen (12)
Sister Euphrati Eisen (8)
Sister Euphrati Eisen (16)
Sister Euphrati Eisen (13)
Sister Euphrati Eisen (14)
Sister Euphrati Eisen (15)
You may have noticed the helmet on the model’s belt. This was a last minute addition I made, using part of a resin piece from the 40k basing kit. It just seemed more professinal and accurate to have the helmet actually displayed on the model.

One thing I am particularly proud of is that I even managed to give her a beauty spot on her left cheek:

Sister Euphrati Eisen (7)
As you can see, there’s also some minor texture buildup on her cheek, due to the colour I used. This would normally have killed me, but in the end, I think it could represent some slight scarring on her face, which seems a nice fit for a Sister of Battle (and is an element that keeps appearing throughout most of the artwork).

The face may actually be my favourite part of the paintjob, warts and all. This has been the first female face I’ve painted in over a decade, and I am really happy with the way it has turned out, in spite of a few smaller problems:

The sculpt of the head is certainly a bit of a problem. The hairdo is much more rigid (and less interesting) than that of the metal Sisters. But it was really the only (original, “official”) option if I wanted a bare head. It was also clear that my usual approach of “paint the basecoat, wash heavily, apply highlights” wouldn’t work as easily, because this tends to result in a pretty gnarly looking face — great for followers of chaos, grizzled Inquisitors and seven foot tall killing machines, but not so much for a grrrl πŸ˜‰

So I tried softer highlights, which worked reasonably well. The application of makeup may have been a bit clichΓ©d (if not sexist), but it was also a good way of moving the face away from the usual look. The glossy lips (painted with Tamiya Clear Red, btw) were something that I have wanted to try for a while, and it worked rather well. It’s also a shout out to the obvious absurdity of the Sisters of Battle, as is the blue-ish eyeshadow (created with a careful application of Drakenhof Nightshade). It’s a fairly stylised approach, all in all, but I am pretty happy with the result. Not because it’s perfect or particularly realistic or anything, but because the Sister at least doesn’t look like a Space Marine.

All in all, I have to say I am really happy with the finished model — I think she definitely reads as a Sister of Battle, which was the most important thing. And I’ve also managed to keep a female quality to her face, which I consider a pretty big achievement.

All that remained was a small background vignette, as per my usual routine:

Sister Euphrati Eisen (10)
Sister Euphrati Eisen, of the Order of the Martyred Sword

When the Crusade army of St. Sabasto moved to reclaim the Velsen Sector for the Imperium of Man, a detachment of the Adepta Sororitas from the Order of Our Martyred Lady joined the crusade and fought alongside Sabasto for the entire duration of the campaign. After the saint had sacrificed his own life to guarantee the reclamation of the sector, those Sisters reconsecrated themselves in order to honour the martyr, becoming the first members of the Order of the Martyred Sword.

Sister Euphrati, named for a particularly beloved Imperial saint, is one of the sisters of the Order who have been requisitioned several times to aid the Ordo Hereticus Velsen in operations of utmost importance, and so far she has excelled in her service to the Ordo and the Velsian Ecclesiarchy.

Let me know what you think — I’d be happy to hear any feedback you might have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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16 Responses to “Inquisitor 28: Lady of War”

  1. Exinfris Says:

    Terrific as always. All of your creations have had an influence on my recent Inquisitorial detachment for 40K. As well as my new Space Marine army.
    Keep up the great kit bashing, conversion and painting.

  2. I’ve always liked this model. Great job!

  3. Great stuff! Although quite different I was struck by a resemblance to the ‘sister in demi armour’ (can’t remember the actual title) in the Inquisitor sketchbook.
    Perhaps it’s a similar model of armour as used by marine scouts rather than ‘full blown’ power armour?

    • Maybe Sister Euphrati has just slipped into something more comfortable? Teehee πŸ˜‰ But seriously: While her armour obviously isn’t 100% accurate, I think I’ll still be considering it as standard Adepta Sororitas armour — at least until new official plastic models are released, that is…

  4. Loverly job mate – the blue/red on the face really is a nice touch.

    That winged bit is from the Dark Angel Veteran upgrade kit or something similar I’d hazard as a guess.

    • Cheers, mate! I wasn’t referring to the small icon on her tabard, though (that is indeed from the DA upgrade sprue), but rather to the small aquila on her breastplate — it just turned up in my bitzbox one day. Hmm…

  5. The Sister of Battle painting by John Blanche is fantastic. There are so many cool details incorporated in it and the atmosphere is unmistakably 40k. It is a shame the covers of codex books are no longer anything like it. I distinctly remember when the first images of it surfaced and the Sisters of Battle were first released years and years ago. I think if you asked most people they would have no idea that Blanche was the artist behind it, while the weirdness is distinctly Blanche it is much different than the typical art most associate with him.

    Your Sister of Battle conversion is really a remarkable conversion! All the components fit together remarkably well (and were expertly chosen too). The smaller Imperial Guard bolt pistol was a great choice, as is her respectably sized sword. I was not even aware there were any plastic Sister of Battle heads (it makes me want to convert one!) Fantastic work as always!

    • Cheers, Adam!

      I could write a great deal about why I love that JB painting so much, but let’s keep it short: For one, it’s a picture that perfectly embodies 40k, if you ask me. If somebody wanted to “get” what 40k is about, I’d show them this picture. Not any art involving Space Marines, but this. There’s also the fact that it seems like this could actually have been produced by an actual 41st millennium artist: It’s not just an illustration, but a believable slice of the very universe it depicts. Anyway, I just love this piece to bits, strange aerobics pose and all πŸ˜‰

      Thanks for your kind words regarding the model! To my knowledge, there are only two plastic SoB heads available, and both come from the Immolator kit, so I absolutely wanted to use one of those for this conversion πŸ˜‰

  6. Wow. This is great and very feminine. Your INQ28 continues to educate while being overall ompressive.

  7. […] Janus Auriga, my true scale Marine. I am still extremely happy with this model! There’s also Sister Euphrati Eisen, of the Order of the Martyred Sword. And let’s not forget Inquisitor Brynn Yulner (the model […]

  8. […] fourth year in a row, I’ve been pining for some redesigned plastic Sisters of Battle. Sure, one learns to make do, but it’s not the same as finally having access to some sweet new kits. Still, there may be […]

  9. […] Or Sister Euphrati Eisen of the Order of the Martyred Sword: […]

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