“Beyond life there are” – his face grew ashen with terror -“things that I cannot distinguish. They move slowly through angles. They have no bodies, and they move slowly through outrageous angles…God, they are breaking through! They are breaking through! “Frank Belknap Long, The Hounds Of Tindalos
There’s more than a few Lovecraftian allusions in Rogue Trader and the wider Warhammer 40K universe, so I suppose it was only a matter of time before my xenofauna side project spawned its own side project. A few models that I’ve picked up over the past few weeks don’t quite fit in either my growing genestealer cult or my alien bestiary. But what if I was to start a small collection of space age horror mininatures…?
I’ve been interested in the ‘C’tan Shard of the Nightbringer’ since first seeing it on display in a Games Workshop in Derby around 20 years ago. At the time it – and its sibling the Deceiver – seemed very unique; much more sleek and ethereal than the static sculpts of the ’90s, deviating from the established pattern of what a large creature should look like.
So this was the obvious choice of model to stand in for Rogue Trader’s ‘Astral Spectre’.
Unfortunately I don’t really feel like I’ve done this justice, because I didn’t have a clear idea of what I was going to try to achieve. The colour palette clashes, the chrome effect isn’t totally successful, and the grey robes are just boring. I’m fairly happy with the base though. I wanted to create a sort of Martian, dusty effect, which I think I got right by layering rust-coloured weathering powers and red pigment over fine sand.
I’m also not totally happy with these ‘Astral Hounds’, represented by ‘Hounds of Tindalos’ from the game Achtung Cthulhu, which I’ve never played. There’s a few 28mm versions of Frank Belknap Long’s hounds on the market, but most of them are all fleshy and tentacled, whereas these sculpts are all angles, suggesting a projection into our reality from somewhere with altogether different rules.
They’re absurdly tiny and fiddly, and don’t really ‘fit’ with the aesthetic of anything else in my collection. I’m not sure there’s much else I could have done than paint them all a single colour, and I think the bright green looks pretty cool as a contrast to the Martian desert. Maybe I should have used pale turquoise for the topmost highlight rather than bright yellow? Oh well, I don’t plan to re-paint them. I’ve got more to be getting on with.
Finally! I’m very happy with these ‘Razorwing Bats’ from Trolls Under the Bridge, which are of course standing in for Rogue Trader ‘Razorwings’. Which are described as birds. They’ve got some similarities with the hounds, although I kind of prefer the sculpt of the bats (and I’m not sure why). I had some fun mounting one of them through the eye socket of a giant alien skull, using 1mm brass rod rather than my usual transparent acrylic because they’re very, very small. And speaking of the skull, I think this might be the most successful skull I’ve painted.
Here’s a family photograph to finish. At some point they’ll be joined by a vampiric cousin and a few sci-fi zombies – once I figure out a colour pallet that both suits those sculpts and has some coherence with these!