INQ28: More Grimdark Librarians of the 41st Millennium

Hey everyone, after last week’s “blast from the past” diversion of repainting an old Star Wars action figure, let’s return to my Ordo Scriptorum retinue once again for this week. Allow me to share the latest completed inquisitorial operatives with you:

While most work on Inquisitor Orlant’s retinue is being spent on actually finishing models that have been built years ago, in an effort to make a dent in my painting backlog, the warband also keeps taking on new members as it develops. Take a look:

I. Screaming into the void

Let’s start with a very recent addition to the project: When most of the characters for Inquisitor Orlant’s retinue had already been hammered out, and while I was making good progress on the project, PDH, whose thoughts on the nature of the Ordo Scriptorum had originally inspired the project to begin with, pointed out to me that Orlant still needed his own astropath: One of Peter’s ideas for an organisation dealing so heavily in secrets lost and rediscovered knowledge was that every Inquisitor of the Ordo would have their own astropath, to better relay whatever secrets they had discovered to their superiors in the most direct fashion imaginable in the 41st millennium. And while the idea of having to come up with a totally new model to represent an astropath had me slightly wary for about five minutes, I also realised that this would provide me with yet another chance to channel inspiration I had drawn from Wayne England’s artwork.

I instantly recalled his illustrations for the various psyker disciplines (originally printed in the Dark Heresy rulebook and recently reused both for the 8th edition 40k rulebook and a Warhammer Community post). One in particular, seemed pretty ideal as a starting point for an astropath. This one here:

Illustration by Wayne England

My original plan was to use the Dark Eldar Medusae model as a base for the conversion, seeing how it already seemed so close to the artwork in many ways:

And while this would have worked pretty well, I discovered that the model had gone out of production. So instead of going on a wild goose chase in an attempt to procure it, I decided to force myself to actually use the bitz I already had at my disposal to come up with my own astropath conversion.

So here’s my interpretation. It’s not a perfect fit, but I think you’ll be able to see a certain resemblance:





Fortunately enough, I still had a pair of legs from the plastic Necromancer — they even came with a book worn at the hip, which was a fun little coincidence. A torso piece from the Genestealer Hybrids provided both the astronaut look that seemed rather fitting for an astropath, but also a slightly eerie, ever so subtly Gigeresque quality that matched the somewhat sinister general vibe of the warband.

And the Empire flagellant head with an almost picture perfect representation of the hairstyle appearing in the artwork, was a bit of a godsend, of course — that being said, the process of adding a Greenstuff bandage across the astropath’s eyes actually had me on the verge of a screaming fit, as the material just wouldn’t stick to the darn face. I am really glad I managed to pull it off in the end πŸ˜‰

Possibly the most involved part of the conversion was to build a suitable staff: It was spliced together from the haft of a Dark Eldar Hellion glaive and a couple of imperial bitz.

Oh, and here’s an angle matching the artwork that inspired the conversion a bit more closely:

Again, I’ll admit that my astropath isn’t really a perfect reproduction of the artwork, but rather takes some pointers from the illustration.

When It came to painting the model, my Ordo Scriptorum recipe was well established enough at this point to turn the paintjob into a pretty straightforward affair — I did discover that those Genestealer hybrid torso pieces look absolutely terrific when painted in glossy black, incidentally πŸ˜‰

One area where I had to compromise a bit was the bandage across the model’s eyes: My original plan had been to try and add some lettering to it, but I quickly realised that there was just not enogh space there to come up with something that wouldn’t turn into a jumbled mess of squiggles, so I decided to leave the bandage bare. I also went for a slightly darker colour to create a better contrast against the pale face. In the end, I think it was a sensible choice that makes the model less similar to the art, but arguably makes it work better in and of itself.

Anyway, here’s the finished model:

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Ordo Scriptorum Astropath

 


All Inquisitors of the Ordo Scriptorum are assigned an astropath at the same time they receive their Inquisitorial Rosette. This agreement and gift from the Adeptus Astra Telepathica goes back to the beginning of the Ordo Scriptorum, when they were a breakaway sect of the Ordo Hereticus. The need for such a fine tool has proven its worth countless times, for having direct access to telepathic communication has saved many lives. In the eyes of the Ordo Scriptorum, the sooner mistakes are exposed to the relevant authorities to rectify the better.




And here’s a – slightly tweaked – comparison picture showing the artwork and the actual model side by side:

II. MOAR SKULLZ!

You are probably all familiar with the old Warhammer adage of “When in doubt, use MOAR SKULLZ!”, and as it turned out, Inquisitor Orlant’s warband also needed at least one additonal skull πŸ˜‰

Seriously, though, while looking at the warband and comparing it to the one that had come before, Inquisitor Arslan’s retinue, I realised that Arslan’s merry gang featured two pretty cool servo-skulls/familiars, while such a model was missing from my Ordo Scriptorum team. But servo-skulls are a cool and quintessental part of 40k, and also a sensible wargear choice for an Inquisitor, and I also happened to still have the servo-skull from the Deathwatch:Overkill boxed set in my bitzbox, so I decided to add him to the warband:

I didn’t really change anything about the skull, as it already had that slightly sinister, yet elegant vibe that I think fits the Ordo Scriptorum rather well. I did make sure the servo-skull’s trailing cables interacted with some torn book pages on the base, however.

So here’s the finished servo-skull:

Certainly not a major player in the warband, but good fun and easy to finish. Moving on πŸ˜‰

 

III. Masked Bodyguard

Now where the astropath and servo-skull are recent additions to Inquisitor Orlant’s warband, the next model in line had been sitting on top of my pile of unpainted models for a rather long time. We are talking about this lady here:

I originally started working on the modelΒ  back in 2013 as an homage to Bruticus’ brilliant Prima Carnifexa Absoluta:

Model built and painted by Bruticus

Model built and painted by Bruticus

 

Bruticus had originally envisioned his character as a member of a sun cult, venerating the Emperor of Manking in his sun aspect. and I loved both the concept and its execution so much that I wanted to build a model similar to Bruticus’ character.

I originally started with a Blood Angels Sanguinary Guard helmet, a torso from a Coven Throne Vampire and some Dark Eldar Wych parts. To be perfectly honest, however, the inital build rather lacked direction, moving from a very Dark Eldar-eque model…

…to something that seemed more like some kind of gladiator:

The one element that remained firmly in place was the concept behind the head: I always knew I wanted to splice together a Sanguinary Guard helmet (chosen for its obvious sun motif) with the lower half of a female Wych head. The initial conversion lacked a lot of finesse, however:

Thanks to some very helpful feedback from the Ammobunker’s INQ28 board back in the day, I realised that the face might have been a good idea, but it needed far more work. So I cut it all apart again, shaved some tiny amounts of plastic, carefully sanded down the mask’s features to be less masculine, very carefully glued it all together again, and ended up with this:


In the end, some WFB Empire arms were what finally made the model come together, turning it into its final incarnation as a masked bodyguard:

When it came to actually making the character a part of Orlant’s retinue, the feedback was generally unfavourable: Most commenters argued that the rather elegant carnival getup didn’t really mesh well with a warband mostly occupied with exploring sunken libraries and dusty archives.

But while that assessment definitely had some merit, I have always felt that there is also another angle to Orlant’s warband and his character, a slightly elegant and debonair look that is present in some elements of the retinue, and in some of its members: the colour of Orlant’s robes, that snazzy scaled cloak worn by his Interrogator or even the deadly elegance of the Clockwork Assassin.

To me, the masked bodyguard was another chance to explore this secondary angle to the warband, and I also like the idea that Inquisitors will attract a motley crew of operatives during their work, and not each of their henchmen – and -women – may be suited to the same kind of task. So if Orlant wants to hit an underground bibliocathedra, he might bring the creepy bureaucultist to help him deal with the place’s ancient filing system, but during a social function, he would definitely need somewhat more presentable retainers. Towards this end, the masked operative might seem like a misfit, but she also presents an interesting glimpse of the versatility present in an Inquisitor’s retinue.

Painting should have been as easy as applying my tried and true recipe again — however, one thing that happened during the painting process was that I decided that I wanted to use a darker skin tone for the character. I was actually rather frustrated when I realised that I would always default to caucasian skin tones when painting, and seeing how I had wanted to try my hand at something different for quite a while, this character seemed like a good occasion to break away from old habits. There was also the fact that the bodyguard and Alizebeth Selandrine shared a similar look, due to both making use of Dark Eldar Wych parts, so going for different skin tones also had the added benefit of making sure the characters would look suitably different from one another.

Anyway, here’s what I came up with:

I am actually really happy with how the skin colour adds a completely different dynamic to the entire figure! There’s also the fact that combining the Venetian carnical getup with dark skin also makes for exactly the kind of eclecticism that seems so quintessentially 40k to me.

Those sheathed blades/throwing knives on the model’s back were a bit of an eleventh hour addition, by the way — they were originally part of the Yvraine model I used to build Countess Mandelholtz, and seemed like the perfect addition to Orlant’s bodyguard.

Here’s a look at the finished model:

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Masked Bodyguard


While much of Tiberias Orlant’s work is spent in dusty archieves and long lost bibliocathedra, the tasks of an Inquisitor are manifold, and often make it necessary to move through all layers of Imperial society. For those cases where interaction with the upper strata of the Velsen Sector is necessary, Orlant has cultivated the cover identity of a wealthy and elegant collector of the obscure, with eclectic interests and very deep pockets. Always at his side in the spires and courts of Velsen is a mysterious, masked bodyguard, whose athletic poise and fluid grace betray her utter deadliness.



While working on the model, I realised that I actually tried to channel the look and feel of two particularly cool characters of colour from videogames I have recently enjoyed: Vanasha (from Horizon Zero Dawn)…

and Billie Lurk (from the Dishonored series):

When all is said and done, I am pretty pleased with the finished model! And, as an added benefit, she very much counts as another model for Azazel’sΒ  “Neglected Model May” challenge, — so that makes four models for the challenge! What’s more, I am confident that next month’s challenge, focusing on units, should give me the incentive to finish the warband’s final member, the jolly chap on the right here:

That one last model is really all that’s still missing for Inquisitor Orlant’s retinue to be finished: The warband certainly has a rather nice and rounded out look by now, if I do say so myself:

So that’s it for this week’s update! I would love to hear any thoughts you might have about today’s models, or about the state of the warband as a whole! Please let me hear your thoughts in the comments!

And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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22 Responses to “INQ28: More Grimdark Librarians of the 41st Millennium”

  1. Terrific job! Even though some of the models look so different from each other, the limited color palette and the bases make for a really uniform warband (not to mention your painting and kitbashing skills)!

  2. The Astropath, with the spiked hair, grimace, and slightly fetishy glossy synthetic ribbing, has quite a bit of Clive Barker there, especially the Hellraiser series. Also, thanks so much for bringing up Vanasha, that’s exactly the sort of practical opulence that I want to hit with my Nova Terran stuff!

  3. I was thinking Hellrsiser too. Spot on mate. Very tidy work

  4. Inquisitor Mikhailovich Says:

    I’m not gonna lie, I strongly disliked the sun cultist in her earlier incarnations, yet somehow here you have made her my favorite model in the warband. I agree with you about her skin tone – I think it’s arguably the best part of the model. I especially love the way that the darker skin contrasts with the almost terribly bright gold of the mask.

    As always, your work is brilliant and an amazing inspiration to us lesser hobbyists.

    • Yeah, everyone and their cousin seemed to dislike the model when I first posted it — that makes it all the sweeter now to prove how my concept might have been sound, after all, though πŸ˜‰

  5. Excellent work mate, especially the sun cultist – good call on the skin tone you used there, I think it makes her so much better!

  6. More excellent conversion work and spot on painting! Really admiring your use of color contrasts on these. They are certainly grim dark in tone, but with some really nice splashes of bright colors!

    • Thanks a lot, Faust! Mixing the overall grimdark look with one or two strong spot colours made me a little nervous at first, but it seems to have paid off! πŸ™‚

  7. Another amazing trio of conversions here – the painted, completed Astropath and bodyguard are particularly wonderful (I mean – the servo-skull looks great too, but you know what I mean!)
    Going back and reworking the face mask of the bodyguard has really improved it no end from the pretty rough start, but from here it looks like that Astropath just came together beautifully (except for the bandage, I guess!) πŸ˜‰

    • Cheers, mate! I remember cursing out loud when I went back to shave away those tiny details on the face mask, but it was definitely worth it in the end πŸ˜‰

  8. majikkman13 Says:

    Gods above I love your paint job on the Masked Bodyguard. She was always the model I was most looking forward to you finishing of the whole retinue ever since the first group shot she showed up in. The muted blues and blacks with the flaring bright mask look awesome. And your right, the darker skin tone looks beautiful, great job on that piece. To me, her contrast in style and feel always seemed right with the rest of the war band, even if she is a bit of an outlier. She and the clockwork assassin, through their different-ness, almost lend some authenticity to the war band as a whole. Not uniform, but more believable as a Inquisitors Retinue. Very well done.

    • majikkman13 Says:

      Along with that I enjoy the conversion work with the astropath, those necromancer legs really work well with the genestealer parts to fit a 40k robed psyker type of model.

    • Thanks a lot, majikman13! I agree completely, an Inquisitor’s retinue should have at least some eclecticism to account for the fact that these are indredibly powerful, widely traveled and probably rather eccentric characters. It’s a tough balance to maintain sometimes, however, so I am glad to hear that the warband still seems to come together as a coherent whole.

  9. Dude, that astropath is dope! You’re really got a knack for capturing the artwork. Love the other guys too, but that astropath is just radiating character.

  10. […] of the Eternal Hunt completed another of his Inq28 Inquititorial retinues, tying in neglected models with those completed last month. Each model an individual and a […]

  11. […] Still motivated from my breakthrough with Arslan’s little band of misfits, I pushed onwards and (mostly) finished yet another Inquisitorial retinue: Redactor Orlant’s Ordo Scriptorum warband: […]

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