Monday, July 10, 2017

The rise of the Genestealer Cult (with some fancy basing work (in progress))

With only a few new snap-fit Death Guard on the horizon and the codex announced for somewhere later this year there is room to complete one of my other open projects....or I could just start a new one! Squirrel! I love Genestealer Cults. When they where first introduced (at least to me) in the back story of the original Space Hulk (Suicide Mission) they where intriguing. But what blew me (and many others if the Oldhammer Group is a guideline) away where the limousines introduced with a heavily converted (and part scratch built) Genestealer Cult that appeared in White Dwarf 124 (1991). Finding no decent pictures on the internet I took my copy out of storage to snap a quick (hopefully crisper) picture. More can be read on these models on the Eldritch Epistles blog here and a few snaps are available on the venerable Realm of Chaos 80s blog here.

The original (Khorne worshipping) Genestealer Cult that got me hooked to their background.
Way back then I was wasting my spare cash on Skaven and Space Orks. I sold the few hybrid models I bought (with the plan to make their own matching limousine) off a few years ago to a collector. No regrets there as the release of the Deathwatch Overkill boxed set in 2016 saw the return of the cult (and the scale is (as usual) off with the older stuff). It turned out the plastic Space Marines in this box where rather more popular than the Genestealers so I managed to pick up a set of sprues for a very low-ball price. These have been languishing on the plastic-pile ever since, as the elegance of Age of Sigmar turned me off Warhammer 40K completely. Now with 8th edition, it was about time for them to make a comeback, so I took them out of storage and set to work. Here is a group shot of the assembled models.

I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Now the sprues for Deathwatch Overkill pose a slight conundrum as you get odd amounts of cultists that don't fit with the unit structure on the new datasheets. You get 16 neophytes (including two equipped with heavy mining lasers) while a squad has 10 or 20 members. The Hybrids number 12 while a squad is made up of a multiple of 5 members. For now I put 2 hybrids and 6 neophytes in storage. Going by the shots of the sprue if (when) I buy a Goliath Truck I'll get four extra neophyte bodies I can keep off the truck and use these to fill out my squats. But let's paint this lot first. I had a lot of fun making small conversions to fit the other models with the new rules. For instance this group of hybrids has been equiped with hand flamers by cutting the middle bit off regular flamers (and taking their autopistols from them).

I had to cut up five flamers to build these guys, as you can see from the metallic paints on the front ones, some models in my display cases are now without flamers.
Insert a quick enthusiastic rant here about the return of the good old autogun with the advent of Chaos Cultist and Genestealer Cult models. Anyway the sprues also contained an underwhelming 2 Genestealers (minimum squad size is 5). Here my hoarder-like habits came to the rescue as I had some old second hand Genestealers from an old starter set at hand.

As a degenerate wargames hoarder I always have a chance to find some missing models in the shed.

The Neophyte squad required a bit of extra cutting and slashing. First off I found an old spare bit to give my leader a web pistol (don't know/don't care what it does on the table, worth it as an homage to Rogue Trader). I also gave him a chainsword by cutting some hand and swapping them. I'm not entirely sure what I think about his head, but at the time I thought it was a nice pose of someone not entirely sure of what to do with his fancy stolen weapons. We'll see what happens while painting.

Still not entirely sure about the pose of the squad leader. Let's see what happens after painting and proper basing.
Already slightly visible in the back is the icon bearer. He has been equipped with a new hand holding a pole arm to which the top of a Space Marine banner pole was added. In the end I cut of the entire left arm and re-positioned it so the banner was held high (the same might happen later on to someone's head). One addition that deserves special mention is the limousine I ordered off Aliexpress when I bought the Cult sprues. I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to make this look a bit more futuristic, but I'll keep it around for inspiration (it looks way too big from this unfortunate angle, but it actually scales reasonably well with the models)

This thing is not as huge as the picture would have you believe.
Aside from the models I also wanted to do something special with the bases. Earlier this year I ordered a bunch of green stuff textured rolling pins of Green Stuff World here was a chance to use them with actual green stuff (in stead of polystyrene). I took a few false starts to get the hang of rolling the Factory Floor texture onto my bases (push blob of green stuff on base first, make it very wet, then roll). Here is a shot of the texture roller with a few 25 mm round bases.

It takes a bit of practice to get the hang of these. Also note the raised bit on the top left of the picture, I opened a fresh tube of superglue and instantly decided to incorporate the protective ring into a base.
I don't mind the wobbly parts on some bases as it will be representing old warped metal. I am planning to go for the original Genestealer purple/blue color scheme for the band and I will most definitely steal GW's grey/orange mining revolt scheme for the cult. Old rusting industrial bases will I think work quite well with that. Here are the required 32mm and 25mm round bases together.

Slightly wobbly, but for a first batch, they'll do fine.
Although not quite the evil grinning patriarch on his own throne I rather like this interpretation of the monster stat 'got the cult together'. I had a hell of a time getting the green stuff patern on his base right. In the end I decided to cover up the biggest failures with a bit of debris (yeah I cheated). I added some extra skulls to blend the plastic base of the model with the 60mm base. A light sprinkling of PVA and sand was added to the part where the pattern just didn't stick (and to a few parts where it did, just to blend it all together. The green broken (metal ;) spar is part off a balloon stick, having kids ensures you can always find some creative basing materials around the house...

Now where is Ellen Ripley when you really, really need her?
 I actually got around to a first few coats of paint on the bases as well. I started off airbrush priming Vallejo Black, followed by Vallejo Sombre Grey and topped with a light spray of Vallejo Wolf Grey. Then I found out I had multiple pots of Army Painter Strong Tone so I decided to use some of that to drown the bases in wash.

Two thin coats? Recess wash? I say: drown them in the stuff and try to salvage what you can with Q-tips!
I used a q-tip to take excess wash off the middle of tiles and then used a hair dryer to speed the drying along. In the meantime I checked some pictures of modern Genestealers to figure out what is carapace and what is not. Turns out it depends on who is painting. I want extra purple so I'm going to go for less blue carapace. In anticipation I sprayed a coat of 3:1 Genestealer Purple:Slaanesh Grey on the Genestealers, followed by a light Zenithal of 3:1 Slaanesh Grey:Genestealer Purple. The Genestealers took position beneath the hairdryer in anticipation of a purple Army Painter wash.

A bit of purple showing up on the Patriarch (bottom left).
After washing the bases I went back in with the Airbrush and I sprayed an extra light layer of Vallejo Wolf Grey back on to re-establish the grey.

A bit more clean-up and a session under the hairdryer later the bases are ready to be detailed. 
As a last move I used Nuln Oil to darken the openings in the grates. Now the bases are ready to have some color, rust, metal and dried blood added to them, but I got the chance to play a spontaneous game of 40K so I cleaned up my tools for the weekend and quickly slapped my ragtag Astra Militarum force together (Catachan Jungle Fighters) to tell the Cult Mechanicum what was what. Lesson of the day: yelling "stand and deliver" to a Onager Dunecrawler does not get you any loot (it does get the damn Adam and the Ants song stuck in your head though).

Miraculously the sergeant actually survived this encounter with the Dunecrawler, the same cannot be said for the nine guys that where around him at the start of the battle.
Last night I quickly slapped together this base for a very nostalgic side-project I'll be working on as well. The subject is top secret, but attentive readers might spot what is going to be glued to this base.

What will sit on this base? It is a enigma, wrapped in a mystery (actually it is covered in Biostrip-20 after my first painting attempt failed miserably...


  1. Love the GS cult stuff. Those bases are very good, particularly considering how much work they are relative to other options. (having just done a set of industrial bases lately I can really appreciate the approach)

    As for the limo, maybe you could get one of those Servo haulers for the front grill/details, and then cover up the spoked wheels? Couple of armor plates and bob is your uncle.

    1. Cheers, it the bases are a bit of work but I think getting a bit of experience with the texture roller will speed things up. As for the limo good suggestion especially for the front grill and detail, will look into it.