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Preview: The Harrowed

The Harrowed

The chronicles of a Warhammer 40,000 army

Updated: 2018-03-06T08:12:27.782-08:00


Dark Vengeance!


The new chaos models are soooo tasty! Now that I have the Dark Vengeance sprues in hand, I can confirm: the detailing on the models and the quality of the molding is exemplary. GW continues to up its game and set new standards for the industry. (And now they really need to, don't they? Given all of the competition that's springing up.)

And I ardently love and enthusiastically endorse GW's evolving take on chaos. The Chosen models in particular look every bit as twisted and scarred. grotesque and lethal as the recent Possessed figures. In other words, they radiate Chaos and corruption. I feel as though GW has found the aesthetic and achieved the sculpting/molding capability to create creatures that truly deserve the name of Chaos.

I initially resolved to buy Dark Vengeance anticipating the cultist models. Which are pretty good -- some truly wicked, others a bit cartoonish.

When pictures of the Hellbrute started surfacing a week or two ago, I grew truly excited. And this model does not disappoint. In fact, it delights! The way the design grafts "daemon engine" with "organic," and the way it crafts horror as well as "bad ass" in the look and feel of the creature -- it all feels the way I imagine chaos to be. This is what I have been trying to achieve with the Harrowed. And GW, of course, executes on the vision far better than I can.

But the gems in the kit, I feel now that I've opened it, are the Chosen. Evil, evil things. No longer human or super-human. Ambassadors of pain. Nightmares with guns. Fucking chaos.

Sacred Shennanigans: Tzeentch List Concepts


I've been idly playing with list concepts for Tzeentch daemon armies, working from the base idea of nine being the sacred number for the Changer of Ways. And I've come up with some pretty lethal ideas.
The core idea is to field nine units of nine. Such as:

9 flamers, 1 a pyromancer = 212
9 flamers, 1 a pyromancer = 212
9 flamers, 1 a pyromancer = 212

9 screamers = 225
9 screamers = 225
9 screamers = 225

9 horrors, 1 bolt = 163
9 horrors, 1 bolt = 163
9 horrors, 1 bolt, changeling = 168

led by:
Herald of Tz, disc (65)
Herald of Tz, disc (65)
Herald of Tz, disc (65)

There: 9 units of 9, heralded by 3 prophets of Tzeentch. 2000 points on the nose. In this version, the Heralds probably join the flamers.

Or a variation, mixing up the Heralds a bit for variety's sake, kitting them out for each to join, respectively, a unit of Flamers, a unit of Screamers, a unit of Horrors:

Herald (50)
Herald, disc (65)
Herald, disc, Boon of Mutation (95)

9 flamers = 207
9 flamers = 207
9 flamers = 207

9 screamers = 225
9 screamers = 225
9 screamers = 225

9 horrors, 1 bolt = 163
9 horrors, 1 bolt = 163
9 horrors, 1 bolt, changeling = 168

Again, 2000 on the nose.

These are not armies meant for casual, friendly games. Obviously there's a lot of repetition here. And the lists take advantage of some of the strongest units in the codex. I'm not technically min-maxing, but these armies are honed to very sharp edges. That many Flamers and Screamers on the board would rip shit up and, probably, create enough havoc to protect my fragile troops choices, if I played it skillfully.

I do like the sacred number concept. Against competitive armies, this might be a fun idea to play. Say, in a game where an opponent knew to bring some heavy iron of his own. That would let us have fun, and meanwhile give me an opportunity to play with the narrative possibilities of fielding a sacred phalanx of Change....




Tzeentch be praised! Screamers look much more playable. I'll work up another three to add to the six I put together last year, enabling me to field the creatures in sacred formations of nine. My conversion idea for this unit (which moves as jump troops, and eats into armor) looked like this: I'll tinker a bit with the idea. And try out a version using the street lights from the 40k imperial scenery kit. That project is just beginning: Meanwhile, Flamers of Tzeentch in their new manifestation look as lethal as ever -- and the points cost has come down. Meaning rather than field them in suicidal units of three (which never struck me as being particularly interesting to play, tactically speaking), I'll put together larger squads. My existing Flamers look like this: New candidates include this wretch:... And this yet more debased monstrosity: ... who'll definitely have a C'thullu vibe... ...and who will be painted with "eye"s all over his bloated brain/skull.(One thing I like about this one is how his form subtly mirrors the GW Flamers' lines.) So I'm back at it. The work here is still very rough, still very much WIP, with a lot more embellishment and cleaning up to come. Thanks for looking. Any input would be most welcome.[...]



Time to bring this blog back to life.  The arrival of Sixth Edition, in tandem with new daemon releases and the imminent arrival of a new Chaos Space Marines codex, has revived my interest in Warhammer 40k.  I want to dive back in.

With both feet, this time. I want to get back to writing narratives, modeling, and painting. As well as playing, of course.

Played a great game last night at our local club, with Matt. (image)
He brought Tyranids, including a nasty Flying Hive Tyrant (tricked up with Biomancy--Iron Arm), a Mawloc, several Zoanthropes, some Hive Guard, a Tervigon, a Warrior squad, and an assortment of little bugs (Termagaunts, Hormagaunts, Genestealers). I'm experimenting with new lists, including CSM allies. And decided to roll with Tzeentch: a Lord of Change, Bluescribes, a Soul Grinder, Screamers, Flamers, and Horrors. For allies, I enlisted an accompanying Word Bearers detachment: a Sorcerer, a Tactical Squad, and a small Obliterator Cult. We're both wrapping our heads around the new rule set, getting a feel for the new dynamics of play. Each of us had a flying monstrous creature. Because I never had an ideal chance to capitalize on the possibility of grounding the Flyrant, and because he never seemed as dangerous as other bugs already on the ground, I never tried to ground him. He did manage to ground my Lord of Change after a few rounds, and then came at him with the Warriors. Meanwhile, the CSM/Sorcerer squad anchored my back lines, absorbed a lot of Tyranid shooting (more or less successfully), then a charge from the Mawloc (much less successfully). (image)
The Word Bearers may not have killed much, but they did at least lure the Tyranids into a general advance that let me slip daemons into his back lines, where I created a series of more favorable match-ups (Horrors shooting Genestealers; Screamers taking out the Tervigon; Horrors shooting up the Zoanthropes....) Before we ran out of time, we each killed about equal amounts of each other's army. And had a great time.
An auspicious way to spend a Thursday.... And (hopefully) to relaunch this blog!

Back to it


Aaak. Nearly June, and I've let this blog lie neglected for far too long. My apologies. Lately I haven't had as much time for hobbies as I'd like. That and, many of the people I usually wargame with are playing a lot of Blood Bowl lately -- a game that for some reason never really took hold of my imagination.

I have been picking away at a few daemonic projects here and there. Notably my daemon prince conversion -- the Nurgle Prince. He's sculpted now:


As you can see, I decided to try sculpting some hooves for the creature's "feet" -- which worked out well enough, I think.

I also tried working in a "wound" on the cab of the sentinel:


Have to admit, I'm pleased with that part. I love the idea of the vehicle itself becoming more animal, more wounded, as possession infects the thing.

Actually, after I primed what you see here I decided to add a few more daemon tendrils, these ones uncoiling from the ruptured cab in the front (above the horn). Didn't take pictures of these, as they wouldn't stand out with most of the model primed black. You'll be able to see what I mean when I post painting-in-progress pictures, to come in a few days. (I promise!)

Thanks for looking.

Daemonworld Done! Sort of?


Somehow I managed to pull together enough daemonworld terrain to create a table for my club's tournament yesterday. It proved an adventure, though.I fiddled for the better part of two weeks painting the "showpiece" terrain elements ... and meanwhile dithering about how to base them ... and meanwhile procrastinating.....Finally, with the tournament looming on Saturday, I cut out and beveled the bases on Friday morning:My original plan for these was to texture some caulk to create some kind of bubbling landscape effect -- something that would look chaotic and profoundly unstable but that people would be able to put models on easily. But then, of course, it rained on Thursday and really rained on Friday. I bought some quick-drying caulk, hoping it would firm up despite the humid atmosphere, and slathered some on a trial piece. After six hours it was still soggy.So on Friday midday I switched to plan B, applying a coat of PVC to my terrain bases and sprinkling kitty litter on top. But by this point it was pouring rain outside, so even that hadn't dried by 6:00 p.m. My younger daughter was in a play which I had to go to Friday night. At this point I realized I had to prime them early Saturday and see what I could do in the four hours or so I'd have before the tournament started.When I got back from my daughter's play, I painted until about 1:00 am that night.This effort brought things close to a presentable state -- though by no means finished:Thankfully, Saturday turned out to be a clear, dry, beautiful day. So I woke up at 6:00 am and primed the bases:andThen I hurriedly applied a few coats of painting and dry-brushing, slapped things together and packed them in time to drive at 10:30 to the tournament.The results were fair, I think. The table looked kind of sloppy, but it did create a certain atmospheric setting. Here are some pictures I took of one of the games played -- pitting Ragnar's Fallen army against Todd's Ultramarines:Kind of cool, I think:I do plan to spend some time over the next few months polishing the painting.And meanwhile architecting weirder elements. I'd love to work up stuff unbound by the laws of Newtonian physics....[...]

Tournament List


My club, Dorka Morka, is running a 1750 point RTT this weekend and I've worked up my list.

Bloodthirster, with Blessing of the BloodGod
Herald of Tzeentch on a chariot, Bolt, We Are Legion, Master of Sorcery
3 Flamers
4 Bloodcrushers, 1 with Icon, 1 with Instrument, 1 with Fury of Khorne
6 Fiends, 1 with Unholy Might
7 Plaguebearers
7 Plaguebearers
6 Horrors, 1 with Bolt
6 Horrors, 1 with Bolt, 1 is Changeling
Soul Grinder (nekkid -- no maw cannon upgrades)
Daemon Prince, Mark of Tz, Bolt of Tz
Daemon Prince, Mark of Nurgle, Iron Hide, Unholy Might, Cloud of Fliest, Instrument

The list is meant to be dangerous, but I realize it's not optimized or honed to razor-sharp edge. That's because my club promotes what it calls "full immersion 40K." We try to discourage WAAC attitudes and "internet lists" that spam only the "best" units in any given codex. (If that's how you role, hey, that's cool. We're just looking for a more well-rounded gaming experience.) Accordingly, the tournament emphasizes "soft" scores (making up a bit more than half of total points to be had) and incorporates "comp" criteria.

So my list is meant to be dangerous, as I said, but also to put different kinds of threats in front of my opponent. None of my hq, elite, or heavy options repeat.

And then I confess, the list was also assembled with an eye to putting my favorite models and conversions on the table, displaying the Harrrowed in all its twisted "glory."

Warp Gate fully formed


I've finished sculpting on the Warp Gate. In characteristically ravenous chaotic fashion the thing has consumed an absurd volume of greenstuff. And, literally, a measure of blood as well (when I cut myself on a daemonette talon while sculpting).

Here's the "membrane side":

And here's the "hand side":
(It's a shame about that crack at the bottom, but at this stage I think I'll have to just make do and move on.)

One more look: here's how it might appear from a player's p.o.v., approaching the gate.

Now it's on to other parts of the table. I've got to pull together an entire daemon-world table over the next week!

Warp Gate sculpting


Jack, a friend in my gaming club, asked me to work on a Warp Gate to use as terrain for the chaos table. We're in a big push right now to put together enough terrain to host a tournament. Here's what I've come up with so far.

What Jack handed off to me was a shallow lucite dome, filled with plaster and stuff, that will set in the middle of the chaos temple ruins scenery. (The dome is fitted with a rod that will slide into the temple ruins base.)

How to model the gate? My main inspiration came from descriptions of the Gellar Field and the visicious, swirling, protean mass of malignant daemons gnawing at it. I say "inspiration" but not in a literal sense. I just wanted to capture the idea of the Warp as a seething mass of semi-sentient matter and malignancy.

To that end, on the back I decided to sculpt a gigantic, disembodied hand, meant to look as if some daemonic power is cupping a piece of warp stuff to generate a portal:


I wanted it to look hand-like, but not precisely like a hand:

Then I turned to the other side of the portal, the part depicting the membrane between Materium and Immaterium. Jack had started some work on that, but I ended up clipping most of that off and starting over. (Sorry Jack.)

It's not done yet, but here's what I have so far:

The idea is to make the surface look like reality bubbling open, with half-formed creatures starting to pierce through...

There's one daemoness (from the daemonette sprue) just breaching, and indeterminate faces, claws and tendrils starting to pierce through too.

So it's coming together. Still some more sculpting to do on the "membrane" side. Then of course painting...

Progress on the Display Board


Over the last week or two I've been putting in work on the display board project. Having "sculpted" the temple floor from foam board, I next turned to desecrating the place. After all, the army that will be on display here is the Harrowed, right? Since the army is meant to be a corrupted IG regiment, I wanted the setting to tell some of that story.Accordingly, I sculpted in tendrils infesting the Aquila.Working greenstuff into the foam was tricky, as I couldn't press too hard into the foam without crushing it out of shape. Eventually I got the hang of a workable technique.In the center of the Aquila I modeled an eye of chaos -- conjuring (I hoped) a malignant cthonic intelligence gaining daemonic sway over the temple's spiritual energies.To help the bases of my figures blend in with the terrain, I sprinkled and glued on some patches of rubble.Also, to help frame the scene, I put a pillar at each corner, each one twisting unnaturally toward the center. (The pillars were cast in resin, then immersed in hot water and bent carefully.)To prepare for painting, I coated the temple floor heavily and thoroughly with three coats of watered down PVA (so that the foam would not dissolve when I spray painted it). This helped toughen up the "skin" of the display board. To further strengthen it, I sprayed on a coat of matte finish before I painted it.Then I primed the board and painted on a coat of grey (with some sand sprinkled in for some texture), then washed and drybrushed the floor parts. A bit of touch up with a brush here and there on the stone work, and I ended up with:To help set off the Aquila, I painted that in shades of grays mixed with a few drops of Gore Red, and lightly traced a marble effect with tiny brushstrokes of light gray.Then I painted the daemonic tendrils in shades of blue working up to icy white.(As you can see here, I also ended up magnetizing the four corner pillars, since they kept coming off, even after I hot-glued and pinned them.)The tendril painting still needs work, but it's beginning to evoke the effect I hoped for:Meanwhile, I decided (after priming the pillars -- doh!) that I wanted to sculpt some tendrils into the pillars as well:Some other views from other angles:andSo, that's where I am so far. Getting close....[...]

Battle Report, Harrowed vs. Tyranids, 2/10/2010


This week the Harrowed took the field against Tryanids captained by Matt, a longstanding rival. The first few times we pitted our armies against each other several years ago, the Tyranids had thrashed and thoroughly masticated my daemons. More recently, the Harrowed have managed to eke out a series of draws against the bugs. In fact, the expectation of fighting to a standoff has become a kind of running joke between Matt and me. This time, determined to achieve a more decisive result, we decided to play an annihilation game. For deployment we rolled Dawn of War.Hive Fleet Matt bred for battle:A Hive Tyrant, with three Hive Guard; 6 Ravenors; a Trygon Prime; a Mawloc; a Trygon; a Tervigon; 2 broods of Termagaunts (one 19 strong, one 18); and a brood of 11 Genestealers led by a Broodlord.The Harrowed summoned:M’Bashaar the Bloodthirster, the prophet Twice-Touched [Bluescribes], 2 deamon princes, one Nurgle-marked, one Tzeentch-marked; 3 Flamers; 3 Bloodcrushers accompanied by Skulltaker on a Juggernaut; 6 Fiends; a pack of 14 Plaguebearers; a pack of 9 Horrors; and a pack of 8 Bloodletters.(Note: as you might guess from the fact that my daemon troops were fielded in sacred numbers, this was a friendly game playing armies that were honed for battle but also themed for narrative. I don’t think either of us fielded “throwaway” units, but neither were we looking for optimally-lethal "tournament" lists. Hence my sacred numbers and, more generally, the avoidance of any repeating of unit types.)Matt won the roll to pick turn order and chose to go second. Looking the field over, I then chose the table side that had the most impassible terrain (hoping to make it easier to land in Matt’s rear lines if opportunities presented themselves). Preliminaries out of the way, we squared off for battle.Under the terms of Dawn of War, Matt could not deploy his Hive Tyrant (because of the Hive Guard), but he did station a brood of termagaunts in building ruins and a Tervigon just behind.Daemon SummoningMaking supplications and sacrificial offerings to their fickle Gods, the battle prophets of the Harrowed beseeched a preferred wave that included: The Bloodthirster, the Plaguebearers, the Horrors, Bluescribes, and the Nurgle Prince. The Ruinous Powers heard the prayers of their faithful and opened the gates.I tried to land my forces centrally. Twice-Touched (the Bluescribes) scattered backwards (11 inches!), M’Bashaar (the Thirster) also drifted back, while the Nurgle Prince scattered forward to the edge of the building holding the Termagaunts. The two daemon troop units landed more or less as planned. All in all an auspicious summoning, although one that left the Nurgle Prince unsupported in the teeth of the oncoming bug-storm.Nids 1Scenting prey, Xenos organisms walked, slithered, and scurried onto the field.The Ravenors sped particularly swiftly, joining the Termaguants in swarming over the Nurgle Prince.Impressively, the iron-hided half-daemon survived the onslaught, felling one of the Ravenors, taking wounds, then just barely remaining afloat amid a sea of slicing talons as the gaunts joined in. Daemons 2Drawn by the opening of hostilities, the Harrowed’s Bloodcrushers, Bloodletters, and Tzeentch Prince materialized on the field.As he arrived, the Tzeentch Prince hurled eldritch energies into the approaching Trygon Prime, wounding the creature.The Plaguebearers lurched and shambled into the melee consuming the Nurgle Prince, Termagaunts and Ravenors. Even as the daemonic reinforcements reached the fray, the Ravenors finished off the Nurgle Prince, though not before losing another of their number. Because the Plaguebearers were swamped by Termagaunts, the surviving Ravenors managed to break away to seek out new prey.Nids 2The Mawloc arrived, trying to burrow [...]

Starting a new Nurgle Prince


I'm starting yet another daemon prince conversion. Based, once again, on an IG sentinel.I can't help myself!Seriously, though, the model that I use for my Nurgle-marked daemon prince, this one...(since re-painted in more Nurgly colors).Well, I've never liked it as much as the others. Too top-heavy, too cluttered, too spindly in the legs. It was my first piece for this army, it spawned a lot of ideas and making it taught me a lot, but I think I can do better now that I've had more practice.So....I started with Sentinel legs, pinning them to the base, since in my experience, that is where they tend to break -- and since I've clipped off a lot of the Sentinel feet.Then I took a fire-starter to the sentinel cabin, warping it a bit and while the plastic was soft, poking open a mouth-like aperture.Actually, the "mouth" came out better than I expected, and I was tempted to work it into a proper maw with teeth. But in the end I decided to go with my first idea, which was to put a tusk/horn there (since this will be a Nurgle Prince).Then I glued the cabin/head onto the legs, giving the beast a cocked, bent pose to suggest that it's goring prey with its horn.At this point I decided that the horn looked too small...…so I built it up and textured it with greenstuff.The texture on the horn turned out a bit rougher than I intended, and I've since cleaned it up a bit -- though I do want it somewhat rough and lined.Pulling back, I have to say I really like the pose this one is striking:It feels very "alive" and beast-like, to me at least.Here's a look at the creature from behind:Needless to say, there's still a long way to go on the creature -- and a lot more greenstuff to splice/weave/graft in! Never fear, it will become much more monstrous, more noxious as its unholy transformation continues.Wheee! I love this stuff. Sometimes it's hard to bring myself to follow through on the painting, but I really enjoy this stage of a project!More to come on this...[...]

Herald of Tzeentch, manifesting on the material plane


I've been tweaking, tinkering, fussing... and I've brought my second Herald of Tzeentch nearly to "fully-sculpted" status.


The Herald will ride to battle on a chariot, which moves as a jetbike, so I've modeled the creature so that it will "float" on its base.


The wires curling out of the creature depict its ability to project daemonic powers such as Bolt of Tzeentch.


Still need to do a bit more with the bare wires -- splice in a bit of greenstuffed tendrils and so on. Though I don't want to overdo it.

The Saga of the Harrowed: Unholy Congress


[A bit of background narrative...]The Four convened, as ever, on neutral ground, on one of the Unmoored. Moons veered in and out of orbit, within the Eye of Terror. Many had peeled away permanently from their planets, spinning along on their own erratic courses. This one, noted E’Asuu E’Aglaa, Lord of Change, was particularly bleak, encased in bands of indigo ice and swirling with a thin, vaporous atmosphere that gleamed palely. His peers had chosen it with purpose.They regarded him coldly now, the other three of the Four. E’Asuu affected not to notice, taking his seat with a gracious nod. “Well met, fellow sovereigns,” he said. “Are we resolved?”“My pack has massed,” growled M’Bashaar, the Bloodthirster. “Hounds, Bloodcrushers, Bloodletters, Princes, all burn for battle.”The Unclean One, Auguax, nodded, brightening a bit at the prospect of play. “Oh yes,” he burbled. “My flock, too, are gathered in numbers and eager to be at it. Such toothsome creatures!”Ulular, Keeper of Secrets, leaned back in her throne and nodded as well, her eyes hooded. “My servants can be summoned at will, of course. They await only their sire’s siren’s call.” She paused, the whip-locks of her mane flicking languidly. “And you, E’Asuu? What of your own arrangements? Where is this new army you have promised to provide?“My project has borne fruit,” the Lord of Change replied, allowing himself a smug smile. “The work has been wrought, brothers, and most artfully, too. My Host stands ready.”“Your host?,” sneered M'Bashaar. “Those mongrels? Is this the army you bring to war?”E’Asuu smiled brightly, knowing it would further enflame the Bloodthirster. “It is,” he said.“Mongrels!” Mbashaar repeated. “They stew still in their mortal viscera. I can smell their blood. They reek of it!” The daemon’s eyes glinted. “The scent clings to you now.”E’Asuu sighed. Would he really have to explain it all to them again? “I need them thus,” he said. “We need them thus. It is their mortal flesh that will give these slave soldiers purchase outside the Chaos Realms. It is their blood that will sustain us beyond the nourishing tides of the Warp.”“So you have told us before, E’Asuu,” Ulular replied. “Still I harbor reservations. Do we not already carry pain and punishment to many thousands of worlds in the Materium. Are our armies not glorious? Are they not puissant?”“Most assuredly they are, my Lady.” E’Asuu replied. “Silken banners proclaim the powers of the Pleasure God on countless worlds. Now, however, the work we have before us demands that we carry our war far, far beyond the Warp Reaches. We must be able to strike at the very heart of the Imperium, at its strongholds and places of refuge.” He leaned forward, pointedly ignoring the Bloodthirster yet fixing Ulular with a hard stare with one head, and Augaux with another from his other head. “Or perhaps you have forgotten what we face here, what we work to undo, cousins.” He paused, for effect. Then hissed: “He has the book. The Grimoire. And once the fool perceives what it is that he holds, then he has more: he has our names. Our true names.”Snarling, M’Bashaar leapt up and began pacing. Augaux nodded gravely. While Ulular, E’Asuu noted, winced and looked away.Good. He had them again. Feeling the currents sway to him, E’Asuu stood and strode to the center of the Throne Circle. “I assure you, fellow Lords: my Host are pacted and bound, body and soul, blood and ichor. And yet, I see you harbor doubts. Yes? Perhaps you feel a further test may be in order. A final, supreme trial, to demonstrate my subjects’ fealty?” The Lord of Change smiled. [...]

Progress on the Screamers


The screamer conversions are coming together.


I still have a lot of cleaning up to do here and there on the individual models.


They each look messier and more ragged than I want them to be.


Still, as a group, they have to look and feel I was trying to evoke. They look (at least to me) suitably menacing, swift, swirly, toothy....


I just want the tail/tendrils to look a bit smoother, cleaner. And to fiddle a bit here and there -- with the eyes, for example. Then I'll work on the bases.

Making a Display Board


I'm making a display base for the Harrowed.

The goal is to end up with a board that will conveniently hold The Harrowed -- meaning it has to be basically flat and plain. But I also want the board to nest the army in a setting that creates narrative context. In this case, I want the daemons to be swarming over a landscape that evokes an imperial temple.

I'm also using this project as an opportunity to experiment with some new (at least, new for me) terrain building techniques. Specifically, I wanted to try my hand at this method for modeling paved floors.

I started by buying a framed bulletin board for a base, and some foam core to make into a temple floor.

Then I drew a grid (for tiles) and an aquila, and started carving.

Early results were mixed. The temple floor grid looked great. The aquila kind of sucked.

So I ended up carving up a smaller "platform" and simply gluing it over my first attempt.

So now I have this:

So far, I like it. Now I'm mulling over ideas for desecrating it in some suitably "Harrowed" fashion. (Though I don't want to make it too busy, as it's just meant to be a frame for the army.)

First I need to coat the foam with watered-down PVA, to make it more durable (and to primer it without melting it).

Meanwhile, I really like this technique. I'm sensing some terrain building in my near future!

Scheming up Screamers


Progress on this project has been fitful and scattered. I'm working on about five different things at once. A.D.D.? Or the inscrutable machinations of Tzeentch?

I suspect it's the latter, for among other things, I've been experimenting with ideas for conversions representing Screamers.

These creatures need to look like "Screamers" -- meaning, like daemonic "sky-sharks" (as the Codex puts it) that move as jetbikes and attack with Warp Jaws (daemonic melta bombs). And then, of course, I want them to look like the rest of the Harrowed, i.e., like elements of an Imperial Guard regiment possessed by chaos.

For awhile a solution eluded me. But I think I'm working my way toward something I like.

Here's a closer look at the prototype I think I like best:

The "warp jaws" look right to me. And I like the swirling, lashing energy in the composition:


I do need to clean the work up a bit. And bulk the models out to "GW-Screamer dimensions....


I also need to do some fiddly greenstuff work to knit the daemonic eyes more organically into the spotlight cases.

But it's getting there.

Anatomy of a Daemon: The Soul Grinder


“The Outcast begs an audience, my lord,” sniffed EloqE’Asuu nodded, amused by his major domo’s superciliousness. Under other circumstances, Eloq would tremble to stand within reach of a daemon as ancient and powerful as the one he now led into the chamber. Yet now…The Lord of Change leaned forward, studying the beast as it approached the dais.Auax still smoldered with rage, E’Asuu noted approvingly. He may have been brought low, his dominions despoiled, his followers scattered, but he had not come to beg or truckle. Sulfur leaked from his pores, his eyes darted fiercely around the audience chamber, and though he carried himself suitably humbly – head bowed, claws sheathed, haunches low – the beast still brimmed with feral menace. He was supremely dangerous, a cornered animal.He was perfect.The “Altar of Souls” is one of the centerpieces of my army. It’s probably my most ambitious conversion, and while the creature doesn’t always perform impressively on the battlefield, it does something equally if not more important: It communicates what my army is all about. It tells the story of the Harrowed.For those unfamiliar with Games Workshop’s general concept, a soul grinder represents a construct fashioned in the Forge of Souls, a blasphemous creation that fuses one of the Warp’s higher ranked daemons to the salvaged wreckage of a war machine.The concept fits the theme of my army perfectly. Within the Harrowed, I think of the Soul Grinder as an Imperial Guard tank, perhaps a Baneblade, once revered for its loyal Imperial service, now possessed by the Ruinous Powers. Daemons have ripped apart and reforged the vehicle, transforming it into a baleful, blasphemous engine. Even as it strides into battle, it feeds on the souls of its former crew.“Curious, how circumstance tugs our condition this way, then that,” E’Asuu observed, his voices chirruping brightly, cawing harshly, chorusing raggedly, just on the edge of cacophony. “Lowly servants become mighty sovereigns as the Warptides wax. Mighty sovereigns are brought low and cast into exile as the tides wane. Fortunes flex and flux. Boon gives way to bane, and often it becomes impossible to tell the one from the other.”The object of this moral lesson, the daemon Auax, said nothing. Merely regarded E’Asuu, tail snapping behind him, bile acid-hot in his chest.E’Asuu smiled—sweetly with one visage, grimly with the other. “Why do you come to our court, Auax-outcast? What is it you seek of us?”“Vengance. The chance to repay my enemies. The means to make war again. Give me iron, E’Asuu E’Aglaa. Give me armor, give me cannon and fire and claws. If I cannot rule, now let me rend, let me ruin, let me lay waste to those who conspired against me.”E’Asuu sat back in his throne, savoring the moment. “You are much reduced, Auax. It seems to us that when last we crossed paths, aeons ago, you vowed to cut our hearts out and feed them to your hounds.”“Aye, so I did,” the daemon growled.“Pray tell us, then, why we should grant you such formidable powers as you now seek? Why should we succor one who, in years past, declared himself an enemy?”At that, Auax grinned. “Actually, I thought the illogic of the idea might appeal to you, twisted one.”Delightful! E’Asuu felt a frisson shiver through him. “Indeed it does,” he murmured.Here’s how I put the creature together.I started with the chassis of the GW Soul Grinder kit, planting in it two thick wires (from a coat hanger), twisted so that they spiraled in a sort of helix shape upward out of the engine.My idea was that [...]

Why Play Daemons? Why Play Warhammer?


Why daemons? Why 40k?Actually, the best way to frame the question is to ask where. It was the narrative setting, the place, that first lured me into the hobby.Back when I was a graduate student in the late-1980s, I came across Games Workshop, the concept of Space Marines, and the earliest iterations of what eventually became "the grim distance of the far future." As sci-fi went it was heroic but dark. In fact, it was pretty twisted. Intrigued, I bought a few rules supplements, a few White Dwarves. I didn't know anybody who played the games. So I "played" them in my head. Mostly I just imagined the setting.Eventually, I moved on to other things. Years passed.Then two things occurred that drew me back. I stumbled across a store with wondrous models in the display case and lushly-terrained tables in the basement. And there I found a community of gamers who had immersed themselves in 40k. A friendly group who loved the game, the hobby, and the narrative.Danger Planet, in Waltham! Since swept away by macroeconomic malaise.*sigh*Well I spent weeks lurking at the store, watching games, talking to experienced players, trying to figure out what army I'd play if I played...And so I found my way toward the Ruinous Powers. Even before I bought the rulebook for the game I got the Chaos Space Marine codex. Third edition -- the Golden Age of Chaos in 40k. And when I cracked it open and began to read, I realized I'd found my bible, my calling, my creed. My fate was sealed.I mean, c'mon. Tanks possessed by deamons? Armies that spit brimstone as well as bolterfire? Infantry that were sleek and sci-fi, but beneath, tormented souls thrashing in the grip of eternal damnation? This was the vibe that makes 40k truly distinctive, uniquely twisted. Chaos, for me, captures that ineffable essence, that amalgamation of space opera and gothic weirdness, that characterizes Warhammer at its cancerous core.My first army was an Iron Warriors company. Which was fun to build and forgiving when it came to learning game mechanics and the rudiments of tactics. But which turned out to be a very blunt instrument. Iron Warriors, in the 3rd edition Chaos codex, were a brutal army. I felt sheepish playing it -- as if I was simply bludgeoning my way to victory.When Games Workshop issued the Eye of Terror codex, I jumped ship, shed my iron, and started amassing a horde of the Lost and the Damned.What a codex! What an army! Playing the LatD fundamentally shifted my perspective on Warhammer 40k. No longer was I helming an elite strikeforce of mighty warriors. Now I was MC'ing a carnival of horrors. Now I was herding a host populated by wretched creatures -- minions enslaved in the service of monstrous overlords, doomed to live horribly and die yet more horribly. What had been heroic became deeply and irredeemably horrific.Man, I loved playing the Lost and the Damned. They were not always effective on the battlefield -- at least in my hands. But their narrative potential was boundless. That army seemed to tell me stories about the battles they were fighting, even as they went down in defeat.And what was more, they offered unbridled modeling opportunities. Indeed, they demanded it. The core footsoldiers of the army, the mutants, GW issued no boxes or figures for. They had to be converted. And I found, as I worked up my early batches, that I loved doing so. I'd never painted miniatures before playing Warhammer, never been much into modeling, even as a boy. But now, in a blossoming second childhood that was taking me entirely by surprise, I found I loved pulling out piles of bits, workin[...]

The Harrowed, Summoned


Greetings, foolish mortals. You've stumbled into very dangerous Warp currents here. You're teetering on the brink of damnation.

I've decided to collect my various forays into the daemonic reaches of Warhammer 40,000 here. In future entries, I'll be chronicling the adventures and misadventures of the Harrowed. Expect modeling, painting, narrative and battle report entries.

So welcome.