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:
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 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...
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.
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!