Saturday, April 16, 2011

Valhallan Infantry: Techpriest Enginseer and Servitors

The fact that the universe of the 41st millennium (M41) is an entirely depressing and awful place from pretty much any angle at which one would care to view it is not really surprising; Warhammer 40,000 is, after all, a war game, and how much more depressing would it be to juxtapose medieval Gothic oppression and explosive combat with some sort of utopia?

The Imperium of Man is a blinkered, xenophobic, intolerant, bureaucratic dictatorship overseen by the Twelve Lords of Terra who serve (or claim to serve, depending on whom you ask) the undying God-Emperor, who has been entombed in his Golden Throne for more than ten thousand years.  It is a wonder that anything gets accomplished in a system wracked by internecine power struggles, superstitious demagoguery, and constant, ever-increasing paranoia wrought from without by humanity's very real enemies, as well as from within by institutions like the Order of Blessed Inquiry, more commonly known as The Inquisition.

The fact that such a society exists in a place like M41 Terra is again, not surprising.  The fact that the Imperium represents the closest thing to a good guy in this universe though, that is a bit of a shocker!  Still, paragons are the worst heroes from a dramatic point of view, aren't they?  All the best protagonists have their flaws, their dark sides, and the Imperium has them in job lots.

Take this unit, for instance: a Techpriest Enginseer and his work crew of servitors:

In the ten millennia since the Emperor walked amongst men, human society has regressed.  The secrets of lost technology are now revered as sacred mysteries, and only the Tech-Priests of Mars are permitted to dabble in them.  The Enginseer is half-mechanic, half spiritual advisor, but in game terms, he can give me the opportunity to get a disabled tank moving or firing again.

The servitors are a sad case; mind-wiped criminals or heretics with extensive cybernetic modification, who will serve the Emperor in this role for the rest of their lives.

This is actually a model I have had for years as part of the crew of a Space Marine artillery piece called a Thudd Gun (goofiest template in the game, but fun nonetheless), which has since become outmoded.  Originally I had two, but I've no idea where the other one got to.  (If you find a blue one behind the sofa sometime, please let me know.)

This is another old one (later renditions actually gave the poor unfortunates footwear) that I found unpainted in my bitz box, dredged up an appropriately pinchy arm, and voila!  Two servo-arms are better than one, or in this case, an extra servo-arm is easier by far to glue on than an organic one is.  I hope the mind-wipe keeps them from feeling itchy...

It's difficult to see the servo-arm from this angle, but I love how this guy has had his other arm replaced with a bundle of cables, like the network engineer of the future; "Hang on, one of these has to be an Ethernet connection...ah, here we g- ah, nuts, is that CAT5 on there?"
(Again, I have no clue why the white in this picture turned out more blue while the others insist on maintaining that orange tinge.  It's not as though I am changing cameras or setups or anything.  Suggestions?) 

In lieu of a forklift style servo-arm, this servitor has been kitted out with a multi-melta, a potent anti-armour weapon capable of knocking a tremendous hole in just about anything foolish enough to wander in front of it.  On the other hand, it is limited to a single hole each turn, so if a mob of Orks attacks this cogboy and his retinue, I have to hope that having one less 'Ardboy will make all the difference.  The gun arm also meant this servitor has far fewer fiddly wires and the like to paint, which made me happier.

The Enginseer himself was a lot of fun to paint, and I could have taken more time to bring out all the excellent details the sculptor has managed to include, but my deadline is just too merciless.  Thankfully, the level of texture makes drybrushing and ink washes an effective way to add depth to the model.  I am also pretty happy with how the red turned out, as I used Mechrite Red from the Foundation paint range to cover the black I primed him with.  I had initially primed all these models white, but when I sat down to give everything metallic a coat of brushed-on black, I realized there would very little white left, and re-primed the lot of them in black to save time.

The Techpriest's servo harness highlights a lot of the aforementioned detail, including the Adeptus Mechanicus cog-and-skull crest.  I also like the wee pistons on his legs.  It is interesting to note that while the servitors have no choice about their modifications, the tech-adepts replace much or their organic material by choice, in order to make themselves more useful to the Machine-God, and more durable as well.

The servo-arm itself also has a lot of nice details, very much giving the impression of the Enginseer as being some sort of nightmarish hybrid between man, garage hoist and Swiss army knife.

This small squad made for a nice break from the regular Valhallan infantry, but now I need to get stuck into the final 16 of them, which I intend to do en masse.  I am still pretty much on schedule, but I am not too optimistic about how much time I will have for painting on Easter weekend, plus I have added an additional unit in case I should have time to paint it.  The end is in sight though!

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