[40K] A Tale of Von Gamer – The Prince of Darkness


Trying something a bit different with this lad: painting before full assembly. I’ve learned from my experiences with the Helbrute that reaching past armour to do flesh is Not A Good Idea with the methods I’m using, and all of these discrete pieces are ‘separate’ from the Prince’s actual body, so there’s no need to fret about filling in gaps like I usually do.


This is what primer looks like. 22nd February. 6 days to get him done or I welch on Month 2 as well.

Speed painted over one soggy Saturday. Notice that it went dark the moment I slapped the Liquid Talent Nuln Oil on. Truly, we bring the night…


The finished product (shot under the daylight bulb at about hours 2030, hence the odd lighting). He has red hands because he’s there in case Szandor has a Little Moment at some point, and Szandor’s sinner’s hands will never be unstained. Lack of Wings for the same reason. Personally I think jump packs/wings should transfer over on a Dark Apotheosis roll, same with psychic levels and relics. Cool with losing the rest of the wargear, but jump packing Warlords and psychic levels are the sort of thing you build an army around, and it’d suck to have a Daemon Prince turn up and that ultimately cost you the game because of lost tactical capabilities.


Bonus Squaduary content: I made up way too much Dark Flesh, so I thinned it down further with glaze medium and water and started on the Plaguebearers I meant to do last week. Here they are with a layer of Drakenhof Nightshade slopped over the top of their glaze. I’m still feeling my way forward with these: some Sanguine Base will be going on their innards and I might do something whimsical with their eyes and swords, but otherwise I might leave them more or less as they are.

(Daemons of Nurgle are likely to become my go-to for Summoning and Allied Detachments: I like the way their Shrouded stacks with the Night Lords’ ability to impose Night Fighting, and it’s not too hard to slap Feel No Pain on them. Plus, you know. Four Heralds means a reasonable amount of extra Mastery dice and Biomancy powers. And they’ll pull double duty as an Age of Sigmar force, which… plays into some other projects that are in the works. At the end of the day the Night Lords are in charge of this army and if that means Tzeentch and Nurgle both have a stake in their success then so be it. Mutual enmity aside, the Powers will come when they’re called…)

[40K] A Tale of Von Gamer – Seasons In The Ice Cage

Tackling the newfangled technical paints and making some freaky ice bases. Almost a tutorial!

I’m surprised at myself for, having sworn off batch painting for this project, immediately going forth and batch painting Cultists (but wouldn’t you, given the alternative?). I’m also surprised at myself for, having decided to paint models in the moments I’d normally spend vacillating on Facebook when my concentration wavers mid-article, ending up sitting down to discrete two-hour sessions in which a Marine and/or five Cultists have ended up completed from start to finish. No sooner do I say “I shall not do a thing” than I go off and do the thing. Weakness. Degeneracy. Something ought to be done!

Nevertheless, I was determined to uphold some of my principles, specifically the ones to do with bases. That’s why – despite having a toolbox half full of basing materials – I’ve invested in some technical paints for my Chaosmens. My old pot of Stirland Mud has been resurrected to provide the ‘spot colour’ (and ‘spot texture’ too) for a method I learned from (stage whisper) White Dwarf. Truly the Time of Ending is upon us when the old hobby rag actually teaches people something useful.

The rationale:

I watched this time and time again, that haunting soundtrack and the steady craaaaaaackle of encroaching ice reaching into my soul, calling something out of me.

As above, so below. That’s what the Warp does, at least when it’s reaching out from a cold dark place in the cosmos and gracing a new world with its touch. The glimpses of Stirland Mud around the edges are the last gasp for the native soil of whatever poor world my Night Lords befoul with their presence; all else is the chill embrace of death, the very earth beneath the VIII Legion’s feet revolting at every step they take. I thought I’d excised the urge towards references to Mourning Sun when I was still playing my Necrons, but apparently not…

The method:

  • Prime base grey like rest of model.
  • Use ‘lifty end’ of a scalpel to blob Astrogranite Debris onto edges of base
  • Use ‘stabby end’ of a scalpel to poke Astrogranite Debris inwards, leaving some cracked spaces in between blobs
  • Leave to dry. Stick in front of radiator and job off to edit videos: this will take a while.
  • Wash base with lavish quantities of Drakenhof Nightshade.
  • Leave to dry. Stick in front of radiator and job off for a walk: this will also take a while.
  • Drybrush textured surface very gently with Dawnstone. Don’t overdo it: we don’t want it looking all mundane and concretey.
  • Use ‘lifty end’ of a smaller scalpel to blob Valhallan Blizzard into the cracks between the blobs.
  • Use ‘stabby end’ of said smaller scalpel to ensure it’s not on too thick.
  • Use ‘lifty end’ of smaller scalpel to apply Stirland Mud in restrained quantities around edge of base.
  • Realise this makes the mud look like the ‘intrusive factor’ because it’s been applied over everything else.
  • Curse vehemently.
  • Realise it’s gotten well dark and you can hardly see what you’re doing.
  • Curse again.
  • Daub Drakenhof Nightshade over the edges of the bases.
  • Hope it looks OK.

Obviously, this isn’t perfect, and the approach will be refined on future pieces. I could probably get away with just using Stirland Mud from the start, instead of mucking around with Astrogranite Debris, but I worry that’d make the bases look too brown overall. Instead I shall simply make sure to do the Stirland Mud before the Drakenhof Nightshade goes on and I’m sure everything will turn out fine.

The result:

The implications:

At this rate I might even consider some special terrain, something in the vein of the Baleful Realmgates, for use as objectives, or to provide a more appropriately Chaotic battlefield experience; certainly an improvement on the Imperial Everything in the Citadel 40K catalogue. These are where the caress is felt. This is where the corruption starts. These are the rips and rends in spacetime out of which the Eighth Legion emerge, ravening for delight. These will also make great mission objectives for “the draw mission” or for the narrative game I’m hosting at Dice and Decks later in the year, to wrap up all this activity. So they’re on the to-do list, at the ’rounding up’ stage in June.

For now, though, it’s on to month two of the challenge – a character model.

I’m trying something else new with this one: not sticking the armour plates on before I paint the skin. I’ve learned from the Helbrute, and these are separate pieces, so there’s no need to worry about leaving gaps…

[40K] A Tale of Von Gamer – Journey of the Sorcerer

Better late than never, eh?

I mean, the bases aren’t done yet, and it’s actually the first of February, but there’s paint on all of ’em.

Time to put a Daemon Prince together, I reckon. He’ll be my character model for February: the rest of the month’s hobby time will go into doing proper bases on everyone, putting some paint on some Frostgrave Gnolls for Squaduary, and hopefully getting some games in with a local lad who’s into his Dark Angels. We have this part-baked idea of going through the Dark Vengeance campaign, as a way of wrapping our heads around what’s still a ‘new’ edition to us both (he hasn’t played since fifth, I knocked off toward the end of sixth).

I’m not sure how well that’ll work with the skeletal backstory I have in mind. In the spirit of WIP Wednesday, allow me to drop what I have so far in the form of some unfinished flash-fiction. If it doesn’t quite hold together that’s because I haven’t quite joined it up, but I’m sure the gist will be apparent.


Tar Zahaan could have been a statue – a hulking ceramite statue, a midnight gargoyle standing sentinel over the Sixty-Fourth Company – save for his face. The Praetor wore no helm; his heavy, thin-skinned face announced his contempt for hazard and adversary alike.

“Treachery, chaplain? From you? I thought you the best of these scum.”

“We’re all traitors here, are we not? We all followed you down, after Istvaan.”

“You might have said something at the time.” Tar Zahaan snorted, still unmoving, though vox-clicks from behind suggested his Atramentar were at arms.

“At the time I thought you were right. I thought we’d kept the faith. I thought the Truth was with us and the Imperium had lost sight. Now I don’t know what to believe.”

“And this is my fault?”

“You’ve led us to destruction. You who are supposed to be our exemplar. This can’t stand.” Szandor thumbed the back of his pistol for luck, feeling it charge. “I challenge you – ”

“Don’t insult me, Szandor! You don’t stand a chance. Sergeant Garathor!”

One of Tar Zahaan’s guards stirred, racked his combi-bolter with the telltale heavy click, took aim. Szandor’s hand shook; spasmed; whipped the pistol from his belt and clenched around the trigger.

The world went white. The pistol had backfired in Szandor’s hand, and now pistol and hand were gone. Ceramite armour, flesh and bone had gone with it, flayed to fire and atoms and dust in an instant. Szandor stared at the cauterised ruin of his forearm. There was a moment’s terrible silence, and then his crozius fell from his right hand. Bolt shells struck him in the left leg, where the hastily-wrought plates of his Mark V armour were weakest. The detonations tore ceramite and cable and sinew, and Szandor began to laugh, a high hysterical laughter without end or sanity in it. He tumbled to his knees in the gritty winter’s dust, laughing, and he was still laughing when the first blow took him in the back of the head, and he knew no more.

Tsagualsa. Later.

“You shot me.”

Garathor looked down at his brother. Szandor, the younger, had been the smaller before the change took them; next to Garathor’s Terminator armour, he seemed little more than a boy.

“To save you. Tar Zahaan trusted me to slay you. You’re only here because I disobeyed him.”

Szandor nodded. He flexed the fingers of his left hand, felt servos purr and pneumatics hiss; his left knee had largely healed of its own accord, thick Astartes blood and gene-hanced cells clotting and stitching even as he’d been dragged from the drop site.

“What happens now? I presume you don’t intend to kill me.”

“I could never. Your… betrayal… changes nothing, but you’re not safe. Tar Zahaan leads what’s left of the Sixty-Fourth now, and he wants you dead.”

Szandor scowled. “Tar Zahaan’s survival is an omen, I’m sure of it. Some Power higher than any of us spared him. The Imperial Truth is dust in my mouth, and without it… ” He shrugged his shoulders, balled his augmetic hand into a fist, and sighed. “I’m leaving. I’ll stain my hands and go.”

“Where to?”

“In search of that Power that defies all reason, all hope. Maybe, when I understand why Tar Zahaan must live and our Legion brothers die in droves… maybe then I can come back.”


“Ashilla sorsollun… ashilla uthullun…

Light came back slowly, but still too fast for Nostraman eyes. Szandor found himself blinking. How long had he been in the chamber? He almost laughed. Might as well ask ‘how long is forever?’

His mentor stood over him, one hand loosely clutching his staff and the other resting on Szandor’s shoulder.

“I don’t recognise that. What have you been talking to?”

“My apologies. I must have been feeling homesick.”