Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Pilgrym: Kirill Blokhin, Acirgeon of the Church of the Red Athenæum

Rip and tear.

The Pilgrym event is getting closer and closer to a reality, and I have been trying desperately to finish converting the last few members of the Church.  Today, I wanted to share with you one of these models, a character that my brothers and I have been working on for a while, both in concept and model execution.  The entire design process was sparked by rediscovering a classic piece of John Blanche’s art from the Confrontation era.  The central figure in the piece, a sanctioned bounty hunter, always held our imagination, a crazed ganger, reminding me of one of the Droogs from Clockwork Orange.  The creepy frowning mask, the clean tunic and pants, the axe at his belt, the machine pistol in hand, and the noose around his neck, all make for a compelling character.  We set out and create a character in his image, and Kirill Blokhin, the Church’s Acirgeon was born.

A Venator, sanctioned bounty hunter - John Blanche

The Acirgeon:  Kirill Blokhin

Possibly the most peculiar and atavistic role within the Church of the Red Athenæum is that of the Acirgeon.  Present since the Church’s foundation, the Acirgeon is a spiritual role within the Church, one that acts as a catalyst to enact violence and sacrifice within the congregation.  While known to promulgate a fiery sermon on occasion, the Acirgeon primarily enforced the Church’s ethos of suffering by harvesting the bodily sacrifices that members offered up to the Emperor.  With a keening axe, they would remove the hands and limbs of the Emperor’s supplicants, while preaching the Litany of Renouncement.  With the rise of Cardinal Levedescu, and the medical knowledge that she bestowed upon the Church, the Acirgeon’s position in the Church has become increasingly anachronistic.  Long gone are the days when a honed axe and some burning incense were the only requirements to offer the Emperor an appendage.  Now, each sacrifice is committed under the auspice of a trained medicae officer with sterile blades and aseptic conditions.  However, the Acirgeon’s twisted visage still shadows each sacrifice, marking each offering as if they would be for naught without his grim vigil.  Due to this, the current Acirgeon, Kirill Blokhin, has lived something of a hollow existence, one of a jaded veteran, nostalgic for an age bygone.

His glove is a modified Knight Scion pilot hand.

Various angles of the micro-Uzi.

M42 approacheth:
As the last days of the 41st millennium draw to a close, the ritual bloodletting known as the Red Hour gets ever closer to becoming a reality once more.  But to complete the bloody rite, the congregation needs to appoint someone to serve as the Arch-heretic.  This unfortunate soul must murder a member of the congregation and inflict another ceremonial wound upon the presiding Cardinal, before finally being killed during the ritual’s climax.  This solemn duty is one that every member of the Church is aware of, but few like to dwell on the grim possibility of their selection.  Blokhin, lost without the affirmation of severing limbs, actually secretly wished to be granted this task.  It would be one last role to play with his familiar and trusted axe in hand.  A necessary role.  Whether by some grand coincidence, or possibly the Emperor’s divine intervention, when the numbers were drawn, Blokhin was selected to be the Arch-heretic.

But this Red Hour is special; beyond the strangely fitting selection of Blokhin as the Arch-heretic, it marks the turn of the millennium, and coincides with the coming of a prophesied Pilgrym, an individual who the Church’s agents, spread throughout the notable establishments of Terra, have confirmed has the power to repair the Golden Throne.  The Church believes that repairing the Golden Throne will not give the Emperor back what He has lost; it will merely fetter Him ever tighter to the dark machine and the whims of the petty High Lords.  Instead, they wish to sacrifice this Pilgrym to the Red Hour,  thereby casting off the Emperor’s shackles, releasing His soul into the Warp, where He will finally be able to exercise His Divine Will.  Blokhin’s role is key in the ritual, for he is to land the killing blow, a stroke that will change the course of the Imperium and alter the fate of Mankind.

After a lot of deliberation, I finally decided to extend his boots to almost knee height.

Despite looking rather straightforward and simple, the conversion for Blokhin was one of the most time-consuming of all the models that I have created thus far.  It was based around a Cadian tank commander torso and Elysian droptroop legs.  I did a lot of green stuff work too make the torso and legs fit together smoothly, resculpting the folds in his tunic and sculpting a belt, as well as a little loop to hold his trusty axe (a trimmed down version of an Empire Greatsword axe).  One of the most critical elements, however, was creating his masked face.  I found a suitable “mask” from a Dark Elf Doomfire Warlock, which I recessed into a hooded head, and used some green stuff to sculpt the frown on the mask.  Being a member of the Church, he had to be missing an arm, but we thought that might distract from the imposing image of him.  We ended up deciding to give him a power glove strapped to his severed wrist, possibly an ancient relic of the church, gifted to the chosen Arch-Heretic to a help them with their horrific last acts during the Red Hour (and a symbol of the Talon of Horus).

Kirill and Roland, two of the most unique members I built for the Church! 

The last major element I needed to create was his machine pistol.  John’s artwork depicts an interesting hybrid between a mini-uzi and a mp5k.  Considering that Kirill is missing a hand, we decided that he would likely have trouble effectively handling a full-sized submachine gun, and decided to give him the even smaller micro-Uzi.  Games Workshop does not really make any firearms small enough to accurately depict such a gun (or really any pistol for that matter, if we are being honest), so I knew I would need to do some major work.  I ended up cutting off the end of a Skitarii Galvanic rifle, and after some trimming had a suitable base.  Then it was a matter of sculpting on a trigger guard, magazine well, and cleaning up the side to make an ejection port.  I used small pieces of plasticard to add the barrel, sights, charging handle, and magazine.  I also resculpted his trigger finger, making sure he was practicing proper trigger control.  He might be a little fanatical, but he is not dumb.  :D

Let me know what you all think, and if you have any suggestions!  Any thoughts on paint schemes for him?

- Adam Wier


  1. Awesome! You really do some of the most characterful models around man, always look forward to seeing the next creation. As far as color suggestions my mind sees the black and white image as portraying yellow clothing and a metallic-red armor, but that said I think they'd look cracking in the same scheme as the Sisters of the Order of the Crimson Hour you did a little while ago - the yellow idea may clash with the aesthetic you've been doing with the overall project (unless it was a muddied or washed-out pale yellow perhaps).

    Looking forward to seeing more!

    1. Thanks for the high praise! I do love creating interesting models, and am happy I have a place to share them with everyone! I like your thoughts on the paint scheme. I think Sister’s colors would work quite well. Decisions, decisions...

  2. As you might expect, I love it, and the micro uzi is great! It really is a pity that most "pistols" are so darn large, and the other guns really need to have limbers...

    As for color schemes, it might make sense to reverse the colors of the ordinary members, and have more rich fabrics, embroidery etc.

    1. I am glad you liked the uzi! I admit I thought of you as I was creating it, he he. It certainly is a shame there are so few small firearms. I guess it just forces one to be more ambitious in their conversion work...

    2. I think next time that Warlord is having a sprue sale, I will have to get a few of their WWII weapon sprues. Then I will at least have a few scale weapons to make the other ones feel bad about their life choices. ;)

    3. I did not know they did that, but it sounds like an excellent idea! I would be really interested in seeing the scale and quality of their miniatures.

  3. This is so cool and that mini uzi really encapsulate what you guys are about - realistic scaling and functionality. Though I did find a very small and nicely scaled laspistol in my DKoK bits that would've been right at home here. I used mine on the shuttle pilot. Anyway as far as colours go yellow and browns kinda struck me right off the bat.

    1. That laspistol is certainly one of the best pistols in the entire 40k range. A bunch of Egan’s FW guard models have more reasonable sized weapons. Even that pistol is sort of large, however, great for a “full-size” sidearm, but not suitable for any sort of subcompact pistol. But I digress, he he.