Thursday, July 26, 2018

Thorn Moons Crusade: Spireguard of the Thorn Moons

On a midnight run.

As the month comes to a close, the Thorn Moons event is almost here! With the T-26 tank finished, all that was left was to paint some of the Imperial Guard that we converted as Spireguard. To fit alongside the tank, I chose a similar color scheme with drab greens and browns. Below are some pictures of the completed kill team and the background we wrote describing how they fit into the setting.

I decided to paint the Spireguard in drab greens and browns to fit alongside the T-26 I painted earlier.

I used some of the new Nighthaunt Gloom technical paint to paint the plasma rifle coil.

Thorn Moon Spireguard

Immediately after the discovery of the forested Thorn Moons of the Crataegus Fragmentum (M30), the Genetor Mechanicvm Explorator Fleet recognized their biological and evolutionary significance. Realizing that they needed an ally with the newly-formed Imperium, one that appreciated the value of scholarly pursuits over the xenocidal dominance that many of the Expeditionary Fleets of the Adeptus Astartes espoused, they beseeched aid from the Crimson King, a peerless savant and leader of the XVth Legion, which had just been been permitted to launch their own Expeditionary Fleet (XXVIII) to bolster the Emperor’s Great Crusade.

Intrigued by the dense clustering of so many verdant celestial bodies, Magnus agreed, sparing a few ships and some of his Sons from the XXVIII fleet, sending them on this new quest for knowledge. He also sanctioned the travel of many medicae, biologis, and epidemiologis personnel from the prominent Universitariates of Prospero, along with a large contingent of Spireguard. Coming from a primarily forested world, the Prosperine Spireguard seemed ideally suited for exploring the boreal moons and ultimately bringing them into Imperial Compliance.

I used Ammo of Mig oil paints (dark green oilbrusher) to shade the dark folds in the model’s clothing.

Orbital augers, coupled with the with the success of the Genetor Mechanicvm’s preliminary colonization, suggested that Compliance would be achieved without incident, due to the apparent lack of sapient lifeforms on the numerous moons. Initially, this proved largely correct, with the only casualties arising from accidental deaths from circumnavigating the dense topography and coming into contact with poisonous flora and fauna, of which there were many. The process was unexpectedly slow, due to the dense vegetation covering each moon, causing the exploration process to stretch on for many months. Although each moon was its own unique microcosm, most were heavily forested, with an equatorial river basin surrounded by tropical rainforests, giving way to temperate and then boreal forests of ancient Coniferae.

Most of the Mechanicvm’s efforts at colonizing the moons centered around the equatorial regions, where they erected massive hydroelectric generators within the murky waters of the circling rivers. The reconnoiter and surveyor teams began from here as well, where they struggled to traverse the luxuriant, dense vegetation, which contrasted vastly from the sparse temperate coniferous forests of their home world. Although magnificent from afar, filled with towering smooth barked trees, covered in innumerable epiphytic flowering plants, their impenetrable and interlacing canopies locked the forest floor in perpetual darkness. Transpiration-induced rainfall was constant, but the lofty iron curtain of entwined branches prevented a smooth descent, creating a humid miasma that clung to everything. This stifling gloom proved ideal for the growth of countless fungi, whose chitinous forms carpeted the forest floor. A sea of decaying plant-fiber, covered in bioluminescent agarics, emaciated boletes, and clinging thelephores.

I used a series of enamel washes to add color to the bases.

Regardless of epithet attached to it, the Great Crusade’s success was measured as much in planets ground into Compliance as in human lives lost. And while the explorers of the Thorn Moon did not encounter coordinated hostility, they did not escape unschathed. Where most soldiers of the Imperium perished in bloody combat, by las bolt or honed blade, the Spireguard on these verdant moons perished by a stranger means: the very fungi they trampled underfoot.

By the end of the first year, the human occupants scattered over the many moons, both Spireguard and non-combat personnel alike, began suffering from acute hepatic necrosis. This was manifested by internal bleeding, edema, and sudden onset hepatic encephalopathy, where victims would have trouble moving and experience violent personality changes. The medicae stations were filled with sallow skinned combatants in unshakeable comas. Cirrhosis and terminal hepatic carcinoma was commonplace. By the time the combined efforts of the Universitariate medicae and Thousand Son apothecarium determined the cause was from a host of related mycotoxins produced by the prolific molds and other fungi colonizing the forest floor, the damage had been done. Within two years of arriving at the Crataegus Fragmentum, fully two-thirds of the human population was dead or dying.

I used miniNatur tufts to add convincing looking moss on the Spireguads' bases.

Making things more dire, shortly after the Expeditionary fleet made planetfall, the Immaterium, which had been unseemingly calm during the initial voyage, erupted in unprecedented storms, making the exodus from the blighted region impossible. It was as though a capricious force, like some antediluvian god from humanities’ ignominious past, had taken interest in the fleet and intervened on their behalf, only to lose interest when the journey was done. If there was some malign entity at work, curiously, it did not commit the coup de grace. Although trapped on the boreal moons, their gene-pool decimated, humanity persisted. Quite what kept the survivors alive is unknown. Possibly the psychic gifts of the few Thousand Sons with them, their abilities elevated by the very fulminating Warp that trapped them there? Maybe the unknowable machinations of the Genetor Mechanicvm, ritualistic in their praise of the Omnissiah? Perhaps it was the fortitude of the human genome, elegantly responding to selective pressures and safeguarding its genetic integrity more surely than the most able automaton? Or perhaps it was simply their unshakable tenacity to keep living, despite their insignificance in an uncaring galaxy? Whatever the case, the Spireguard and their Universitariate colleagues were able to staunch their precipitous loss of life and wrest their destinies back into their own hands. The terraforming had begun.

The entire Spireguard kill team!

I am thrilled to have finished the Spireguard and their tank just in time to be sent to Iron Sleet to participate in the event. As a rather novice painter (with this being the first squad that I have ever completed), I am quite happy with how the models turned out. Hopefully they can help stem the tide from the fury of the invading Space Wolves! Only time will tell.

- Eric Wier


  1. Great stuff--looking forward to seeing what they get up to on the Thorn Moons... as said on Instagram they have such special forces / Spetsnaz vibe to them. Such great converting and painting--bravo!

    1. I really look forward to seeing how they do at the event too (and generally how the event turns out). There are a lot of models involved, so it will be a little more difficult to manage compared to warbands. Regardless of how it turns out, I am really happy to see the warband completed :D

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, I am glad you like them! They were great to build and paint!

  3. Looking great! The masks are faintly reminiscent of the old Steel Legion models. Better proportioned though. The paint scheme while only a few subdued colors ties the squad together nicely along with the tank. Really well done!

    1. That is a good point, they do look a lot like Steel Legion. They were a great design; it would be great if they made plastic ones.

  4. So well writen! And the team looks great as well๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘ ๐ŸŒณ ๐Ÿ’€

    1. Thanks, it was really fun writing. It was nice to explore something that die not put death soley in the hands of combat.