Saturday, July 31, 2021

Zone Secundus: Church of the Red Athenæum halfling

We are so very worthless, and everything we do is meaningless.

Throughout the year, I have been converting new members for the Church of the Red Athenæum, a radical splinter of the Imperial Cult that believes suffering is the highest form of veneration of the God-Emperor. Although we originally created the Church for Iron Sleet’s the Pilgrym event, we wanted to start exploring the organization again, and realized K0rdhal’s community event/setting Zone Secundus was a great opportunity for it. Since creating the Church, we always imagined their organization had a favorable view towards mutants in their congregation, recognizing their devotion, even though they are often persecuted throughout most of the Imperium. And while we created one mutant for our original warband, we always wanted to create more, to make it a recognizable element of the group. The Hedonites of Slaanesh Blissbarb Archers set contains a wonderful halfling model holding a banner, which caught my eye and seemed like a great model to create a mutant for my new Church if the Red Athenæum!

This member of the Church is crouching, as though he is tracking someone through the sump of the underhive of Secundus.

Below is some lore we wrote back in 2016 pertaining to the Church of the Red Athenæum’s stance on Mutants:

When Dorian Chandrakesan, the founder of the Church of the Red Athenæum, was cast out from the Ecclesiarchy and his congregation was immolated, the wool was pulled from his eyes and he saw the Adeptus Ministorum for what it was, a corrupt entity that concerned itself more with politics and wealth than venerating the God-Emperor. Despite his complete devotion to the Emperor of Mankind and dedication to spreading His Word, he was condemned by the very organization he was serving. This led Chandrakesan to form the Church of the Red Athenæum, a place where he could worship without persecution, away from the petty matters of humankind, in the shadows of the glorious chapels and spires of Terra, in the slums and underhives beneath the Steps. These squalid conditions were the home of a vast array of mutants, mutants who were forced to live in hiding, lest they be put to the torch as heretics, as well. A persecution due genetic deviation that is beyond the capacity of the Imperium to even understand, a regime founded on superstition and myth outside of science.

Chandrakesan quickly learned that many of these mutants were as staunch believers in the Emperor’s divinity as any he had come across, despite the intolerance shown to them. Chandrakesan saw something of himself in these mutants, faithful spurned by Adeptus Ministorum due to fear and ignorance, and began letting them become members of his congregation. Their life of misery was perfectly suited to the Church of the Red Athenæum’s ethos of suffering and pain. To this day, the Church is home to a vast population of mutants, souls’ whose dedication to Him is peerless. It is rumored that some 50 percent of its members harbor some phenotypic abnormalities.

The shotgun was made by cutting down a resin Elysian Drop Troop lasgun and using brass tuning to create the barrel and other details.

An array of scars were sculpted on the halfling, some on the side of his head and an intricate pattern on his back, indicative of self flagellation.

Converting the halfling into a member of the Church was relatively straightforward. First I cut off all of the overly Slaanesh elements, as well as his shoulder pad. The model was virtually naked, so I used modeling putty to sculpt pants and a fold of cloth across his one shoulder. I felt the model’s feet were too large, so I cut them down and then used modeling putting to make them look like boots. To modify his face, I cut off his mohawk and used green stuff to sculpt on a fibrous scar. To make him better fit with the Church and their tendency to mutilate themselves, I sculpted a lacework of scars on the model’s back and removed one of his fingers. His one hand was holding a knife, which I decided to keep, but I cut it down to make it look less ornate. His other arm was positioned in a way to be holding a banner, which I did not want for the final model. The arm position is not easily suited for other things, but I realized it would work quite well to be holding a rifle, and decided to convert a shotgun. To create the shotgun I used a Forge World Elysian lasrifle, which I cut down and used brass tubing to create the new barrel and shell tube.

From left to right: Genestealer Cultist, Hafling, and True-scale/Primaris Space.

It is great to be back to converting more members for the Church of the Red Athenæum. I am pleased how nicely the halfling came together in the end. I have a whole host of other new plastic models that I am considering using to create a few more members for the warband. Let me know if there is anything you would like to see!

-Adam Wier


  1. Very nice conversion! Good to see this interesting project continuing.

    1. Thanks for the kind words! There are a bunch of other models in the works and many others in the planning stage!