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Starting a Cult

As I enter my fourth month on furlough, the prospect of actually playing a game is slim to none. But like all good hobbyists I’ve decided to use this time to work on some other ideas that have been brewing in the background. The first of these involves a campaign that Wash and I have been planning for some time now. The premise is quite simple. The Gilded Lily, a seemingly cursed ship, has been brought to its final resting place – the planet Azakarnul. Unbeknownst to the scavenger crews that pick through the planet’s ship graveyard, the ship is carrying a deadly cargo in the form of a genestealer. It’s up to the Space Wolves to purge the corruption that threatens to spread from Azarkarnul and dig its claws into the wider sector.

The First Curse

While looking for inspiration I came across Midwinter Minis’ genestealer speed painting video. The GSC aesthetic closely mirrors that of the Alien series so it seemed natural to paint all of the gross alien bits in the classic xenomorph style showcased in his video. I began by trying my hand at replicating the scheme on some genestealers.

The result was difficult to capture with my current camera setup but overall I’m happy with how they turned out. I’d never used a gloss varnish before and was surprised at how slimy it made the genestealers look (and how difficult it made taking a good picture of them). Next, I turned my attention to a cultist model. I decided that, in the spirit of narrative play, I would come up with a cult entirely of my own design. I started with the idea of an Imperial world that acted as a ship graveyard. To its inhabitants the local star is rarely glimpsed through the debris field that clogs the planet’s orbit. The cult that surfaced would see their patriarch in all his holiness as their second sun. Thus, the cult would be called The Cult of the Second Sun. Having just painted a batch of orks in a yellow scheme (more about them here) I decided to continue this trend and try my hand at some yellow armour for the cultists. I was happy with how the test model turned out but I had made a fatal error. I had not read the codex and a search on the internet had failed to reveal that the Cult of the Second Sun were already very much part of the lore of 40k and based in Necromunda of all places.

Back to the Drawing Board

After cursing the Emperor’s name, I spent some time deliberating (dying repeatedly in FromSoftware’s Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice) until inspiration hit me and the Cult of St. Alric was born. The cult’s backstory would remain largely unchanged. They’d still be based on Azakarnul but would draw their name and colour scheme from the tale of the first encounter the patriarch after it had crash-landed onto the planet. The man who would become St. Alric was the only survivor of the scavenger crew that came across the wreckage. He was presumed dead until emerging from the metal wastes bearing horrific wounds that would have killed a lesser man. Before he expired, he preached of a crashed ship deep within the wastes and the god that it contained. In this way, the patriarch lured more hapless humans to its lair and it wasn’t long before the cult had a firm hold over the planet’s workers.

Colour Theory for Cultists

With a background firmly in place, I turned my attention once again to painting a test model. Although, I decided to approach this in a different way. I’d heard of more experienced hobbyists using limited palettes and mixing their own colours so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to give that I go. So I set aside my box of paints and decided to do some research. Using a colour wheel I picked out a triad of colours that I thought would make a good starting point and matched these to the most similar paints that I could find in AK Interactive’s new range of acrylics.

With this handful of paints, I’ve started working on my new test model. He’s still very much a work in progress but I’m digging the contrast on the bright red armour and the yellow-green boiler-suit reminds me of the kind of uniform that you’d expect to find on an evil genius’ minion.

I’m hoping to finish him this weekend (weather permitting).

That’s it for this post. I hope that you’ve enjoyed this look at my process. If you’ve got any handy colour theory tips or tricks for a novice like me let me know in the comments. For more WIP updates be sure to follow us on Instagram @disordered_retreat and be sure to check out Wash’s Wolves.

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