Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Thorn Moons Crusade: Invitational II WIP

"Searchers after horror haunt strange, far places."
- H.P. Lovecraft

Over the last few months, Iron Sleet has slowly been revealing glimpses of their next collaborative Warhammer 40k project, the Thorn Moons Crusade. From the enigmatic Elder Ones, to the shadowy Alpha Legion, to the howling slayers of the Vlka Fenryka, forces are mobilizing to turn the Thorn Moons of the Crataegus Fragmentum into a warzone. During this time, we built Elder One Othalanga to help defend the Thorn Moons, but still had many other ideas swirling through our heads of other things to create for the project, primarily focusing on the human defenders of the Thorn Moons. Incidentally, a few weeks ago Iron Sleet announced their second Invitational, inviting people to join in on creating models and lore to accompany the Thorn Moons Crusade, specifically asking for people to build 5 human-sized models that would fight alongside the many factions looking to spill blood in the coming conflict. We decided to take this as a cue to put some of our ideas into model form, creating some elements of the Imperial Army that originally explored the Crataegus Fragmentum during the Great Crusade, and has spent the last 10,000 years cut off from the wider Imperium.

In the lore, the Imperial Guard forces are as varied as the planets that inhabit the Imperium, each with their own distinctive combat styles and battle-garb. In reality, due to the models Games Workshop produces, they are essentially limited to Cadian Shock troops. Recently, conversion opportunities for creating more varied Guard have increased with the Genestealer Cultists, the Imperial Scions, and the Skitarii, but even these are so visually distinctive that it is hard to create something that truly has its own identity. With this in mind, we wanted to create some Imperial Guard that were a little more grounded in reality, eschewing bulky breastplates, rubberized mining suits, and heavy starched robes, for more functional combat fatigues like the United State’s ACU. We also wanted to convert more reasonably-sized lasrifles and other weapons, something that Games Workshop tends to struggle with.

The modified torso and legs next to the original Elysian Drop Troops components.

An Elysian Drop Troop torso next to 3 torsos I am using green stuff to modify.

Although the conversion process is still ongoing, the Guard are primarily based around Forge World Elysian Drop Troops. The most extensive work has gone into the models’ torsos, removing the armored breastplates and rebreathers, to sculpt cloth fatigues and nylon straps. I did similar work with the legs, as well, removing the armored knee pads, and adding straps for thigh holsters and other equipment. I also created a new pattern of lasgun, based on the bullpup design of the stock Elysian ones. To make it, I cut roughly the top half of the rifles off and replaced the barrels. I also added a picatinny rail to the top, carefully cut off of a Primaris bolt rifle.

I converted thigh holsters for the models by dramatically cutting down grapnel launchers from the Primaris Reivers.

An Elysian Drop Troop lasrifle, followed by two converted ones.

Although we are still at work crafting the background for the regiment, we wanted to explore the dichotomy of how long-term exposure to toxins or mutagens might affect the frail physiology of a human compared to that of an Adeptus Astartes. While the advanced biology of a Space Marine might be able to safely metabolize toxins and other carcinogens, normal humans might not be so lucky. And since the effects of exposure to carcinogens are only evident later in life, with the appearance of oncogenic growths and tumors, these humans, thousands of light years away from medical technology and screening would have no way of knowing their plight. Furthermore, such continued exposure within the unique environs of the moons would likely provide selective pressures, leading to rapid microevolution within the human population to better survive their new home (such as the upregulation of various DNA repair pathways). Our current thought is that the regiment defends the 73rd Thorn Moon, Nimhe, a celestial body inhabited by an alarmingly high abundance of venomous and toxic organisms. They inhabit the moon alongside Elder One Othalanga, who was drawn to it due to his fascination with poisons.

Although the these Invitational models still have a long way to go to be finished, I am thrilled to have finally started the process. The sculpting takes a long time, but it is something that I think will be worth it in the end, making for some realistic, yet visually distinctive Imperial Guard models. Let me know if you have any comments or suggestions!

- Adam Wier


  1. Looks promising so far. It will be interesting to see what you end up with, lore-wise as well as model-wise.
    Still close to Elysian though. I would recommend using some distinctive heads to set your guys apart, something like this, for example: https://puppetswar.eu/product.php?id_product=541

    1. Yeah, the models certainly still have the Elysian look to them, which is fine for me, as I think they are the best, non flamboyant guard models available. I do plan to use different heads to set them apart more too. Thanks for the suggestion!

  2. Looking forward to the results too! Really enjoy your drawn down subtle style :)

    1. Thanks! I am glad you like them. I cannot wait to get them further along to show!

  3. Cool! I'm exited where this will go.
    The guns are also very cool, only that without the lasgun-barrel, it's hard to recognize them as laser weapons. Are you casting the guns? Propably too small, eh?

    1. Yeah, that is true, without that characteristic barrel, it does look like it could be traditional rifle. The only element that really ties it directly to a lasgun is the powerpack, but being a bullpup design, even that is somewhat hidden. I am going to attempt to cast most of the components, hoping that will speed up the process of making more!

  4. Looking great, those rifles really do look much smaller when paired with the bodies. Can’t wait to see these finished and see how you paint them!