Tuesday, 3 March 2015

13th returned

The 13th Wulfen Lord Modi has rerturned from the unfathomable perils of the Æther with his two Fenrisian wolves! A huntsman loyal beyond measure who has searched for his beloved Primarch in the Eye of Terror for millennia and now, to heed a special calling, returned through the eye to wage war on the foes of his Northern brethren.

The threesome belong to a body of work more than a decade old and it is my contribution to the 1st Invitational over at Iron Sleet.

They take as their point of departure my deep fascination of Nordic mythology grounded as it is in Nordic landscapes and weather. This, I think, makes it a fitting entry in the Invitational - Iron Sleet itself initiated by a group of mad Norsemen working with weather and atmosphere more than anything else.

I began working on the Wulfen Lord and his wolves after returning home from Golden Demon UK 2003. He was intended for the UK Golden Demon in 2004 but I never got around to finish him. Since then he has been lost for almost a decade, probably in the Warp. But a recent spark of imagination and new inspiration from the extremely talented hands of Migsula, who is working on his mindblowingly beautiful Vlka Fenryka, have resulted in the Wulfen Lord and his two Fenrisian wolves going from early WIPs to being finally done and ready for paint.

In 2003 I had built my Space Wolf Lord Odin and his personal entourage of Space Wolf Valkyries in true scale, dwarfing the normal size of standard marines. For the Wulfen Lord I decided to go all in on scale.

As such, 13th Wulfen Lord Modi has been built around a Demon Prince sculpted by Juan Diaz at the turn of the millenium. It has been heavily converted by changing the pose of the original model and adding a large variety of sculpted elements like jewellery, totems, banners, cables, chains and drilled-out skulls. The areas where armour and fur have merged together were all sculpted to show that he, marked as he is by a flaw in his gene-seed and exposed to the perils of the warp for thousands of years, has mutated into a giant wolfman fused with his Astartes armour.

Apart from the remnants of his personal belongings like backpack, shields (the round shield with two interlocking wolves was originally intended for a major Valkyrian Shieldbearer), family emblems and a selection of important battle trophies he is also covered in wolf totems, tributes and seals marking him as the true warrior god he has become. One of the few who have fought alongside Russ himself.

With the wolves I wanted to utilise the idea behind the Invitational in order to emphasize the size of the Wulfen Lord. While the first of his two wolves has been outfitted with a longrange weapon (inspired in part by Neil101s excellent new Envoys of Russ over at Opus Maius) all that remains of the second wolf is a handcrafted Servo Skull still heeding the call of its master.

In his right hand 13th Wulfen Lord Modi still holds aloof - after aeons in the Æther - the family staff of his Primarch adorned with pledges, wows and seals of faith honouring the Alfather (to be added after painting the staff). In his left hand he wields a Lightning Claw, which has merged with his body being one of the few parts of his original Astartes armour still fully recognisable.

The result is a behemoth of man, Astartes and wolf!

Thursday, 5 February 2015

The Invitational

In my imagination Iron Sleet is weather.

Numbing weather thundering across the burdened worlds of the 40K galaxy, mesmerising and all-encompassing. More than snow, rain and storm combined. Much more.

It is 40K weather in its rawest form.

A fitting image for the work that is emerging from the warp through the hands - and minds - of Kari, Mikko and Migs over at Iron Sleet, which is very fast becoming a beacon of creativity, artistry and inspiration in the Æther world of 40K.

Apart from Migs mindblowingly beautiful Vlka Fenryka, Fenrisian weather reincarnate, Mikkos excellent Brotherhood of Steal and Karis amazing Hounds of Valon, they have managed to gather together some of the most talented individuals in the hobby in a very short time.

Also, they have just announced the first Iron Sleet Invitational here! 


Standing in my Cabinets of Wonders are three very early WIP's of my entries-to-be. If I manage to get them done in time for April 1st they will be in an amazingly good company, so for that alone...

Friday, 16 January 2015

Melancholia III, part I: On Holloways and Harrowed Paths

I have been re-reading Dan Abnett’s excellent Pariah and was once again struck by one of the great concepts appearing in the book. A concept, which in turn have inspired me to begin my third Melancholia project and a further exploration into the ‘anatomy of melancholy’:

In Pariah the city of Queen Mab is criss-crossed with an irregular scheme of holloways and harrowed paths, which, according to Abnett, are sacred ways, streets of the vast city that are distinguished because they felt the actual step of Saint Orphaeus when he trod upon its world during his pilgrimage of grace many centuries before the story unfolds (Abnett, 2012).

The concept may have been inspired by Abnett’s own surroundings in Kent. Here long distance pathways like the North Downs Way and the Pilgrims Way between Winchester and Canterbury run along the chalk ridgeways of the high hills. In some places the ridgeways are linked to the lower levels of the river valleys by sunken lanes and holloways that are routes where footsteps over thousands of years of pilgrimage have worn a passage into the soft chalk. 

In the words of Abnett’s peer Robert Macfarlane in his beautiful book Holloway, which coincidentally was published in 2012 – the same year as Abnett’s Pariah – a holloway is:

A sunken path, a deep & shady lane. A route that centuries of foot-fall, hoof-hit, wheel-roll & rain-run have harrowed into the land. A track worn down by the traffic of ages & the fretting of water […] They are landmarks that speak of habit rather than suddenness. Like creases in the hand, or the wear of the stone sill of a doorstep or stair, they are the result of repeated human actions.  (Macfarlane, 2012)

In Queen Mab the holloways are silent and dusty, almost all colour gone and flaked, sanded down by centuries of weather. They are home to the destitute and the warblind (Abnett, 2012). Macfarlane echoes this description when he in Holloway describe some holloways also as ‘fearways, danger-ways, coffin-paths, corpse-ways and ghostways.’ (Macfarlane, 2012) 

Many of those that have walked such old ways have experienced them as places within which one might slip back out of the ordinary world and within which ghosts softly flock. For some, walking them is a wordless conversation between ghosts and ghosts-to-be

In Melancholia III I will try to convey this - and that some certain old paths are linear only in a simple sense. That some paths are echospaces where past and present - like trees - have branches and - like rivers - have tributaries. That some paths, in the strikingly beautiful words of Macfarlane, are:

[…] rifts within which time might exist as pure surface, prone to recapitulation & rhyme, weird morphologies, uncanny doublings. (Macfarlane, 2012)

Where Melancholia I and Melancholia II were about sight and sound respectively Melancholia III will be all about warblindness and otherworldly, treecovered silence!

Sunday, 4 January 2015

The Sanctioned One

What was intended as a last post of 2014 has become the first post of 2015: My third project of the year, which was initiated while preparing for a Golden Demon many moons ago. Back then I was struck by the amazingly vibrant and atmospheric sketches by John Blanche of inquisitor characters roaming the dystopian worlds of the Imperium of Man. In his sketches these characters became weathered in the truest sense of the word - depicting not only the characters but also, and maybe even more so, the worlds they inhabit.
Together with Dan Abnett's ongoing series of Eisenhorn, Ravenor and Bequin, which I truly enjoy reading, The Inquisitor Sketchbook by John Blanche has been and still is one of the most important and inspirational publications in my small collection of Games Workshop/Black Library Publications. 

Not only does it give shape to Ressurectionists, Adeptus Mechanicus Cultists, Rogue Traders, Whip Mistresses, Witch Seekers, Sidith Priests, Fire Redemptionists, Chrono Gladiators and Lex Mechanics but it also sparked my imagination and in turn the initiation of my two recently finished Melancholia projects as well as Melancholia III, which is on its way.

During my ongoing process of rediscovery in 2014 I decided to finish the important works I never got around to finish before disappearing into the boreal many moons ago. Many of them have been well hidden for almost a decade but have now resurfaced and are seeing final work done to them. My Cabinet of Wonders is slowly expanding.

My recently finished version of a Sanctioned Bounty Hunter was inspired by a Blanche sketch depicting a Sanctioned Alien Bounty Hunter appearing in his sketchbook. It was intended to be part of a Golden Demon entry a decade ago. This made 2014 a ten year jubilee of sorts and a good year to finish it and in the process give homage to the great and creative artist that was the inspiration behind it.

Furthermore, it is a proper first post of 2015 as it fits very well into the theme of FPOA by showing that the divine light of the Emperor works in truly mysterious ways;

In this case making a hunter of the hunted...

His chains of enslavement are broken and he is standing aloof some shattered remains of his foes. Apart from a lot of added small details like the inquisition seal of sanctioned enlistement, personal totems and various Imperial insignia showing The Sanctioned One's devotion to the cause, he is wielding two slightly altered hunting rifles from his home world, various types of purity seals and handcrafted Xeno bullets. Also he is being assisted by a specially crafted Servo Skull intented to search out the aliens he is sanctioned to hunt...

...the dreaded Tau!

Friday, 26 December 2014

An Imperial Knight and inspirational reads

Before the end of 2014 I will post my third completed miniature of 2014: An Imperial relic from the past originally built as part of a Golden Demon entry in 2004 and now, a decade later, found and finished - and part of my (luckily) growing Cabinet of Wonders. 

But before that I will wish you all a great holiday and, with two small things to share, thank you for hanging on to FPOA:

First of all one of my favourite treats of this December has been the Christmas Countdown over at Miniatextures by the ever-so-talented Jakob Rune Nielsen. It was a pleasure to follow his journey of finishing an Imperial Knight in 24 days - and even though the result is a true beauty it is the experimentation and testing of new colours and techniques, which I really want to compliment.

Secondly I have been re-reading Dan Abnett's brilliant Pariah and Perihelion on the recommendable Alizabeth Bequin and the continued journeys of Gregor Eisenhorn and Gideon Ravenor: A re-reading which has inspired me to begin a third Melancholia piece, which I look forward to share with you in 2015!

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Ravens gathering!

After a year of wandering, in solitude, tired and weary, among rooks and ravens in the shadows of dark Northern forests, I have found my way home to the dimly lit hallways of FPOA...at least for a while as I will most likely loose myself in the boreal once again.

From craggy and pinecovered fells I have brought with me a small but precious - for me at least - collection of relics, which have been lost for many moons. The first two, Melancholia I and II, are in many ways thought of as a pair. They are beacons of sight and sound, now found and finished:

Melancholia I has been inspired by a hauntingly beautiful painting by Caspar David Friedrich from 1818 of a wanderer lost in a sea of fog. It depicts an Imperial Navigator from the Navis Nobilite (thank you Krautscientist for clarifying) and his servants on their way through the vast expanses of a wartorn galaxy. The Navigator himself is centuries old, tall, thin and pale. His assistants, a burdened, crippled and hunchbacked servant and a blindfolded cherub. Apparently none of them can see, blind or blindfolded as they are - lost in a sea of fog

Together they make up a small entourage fitting the theme of FPOA eloquently balancing as they are between the visible and invisible worlds of the darkness of the Warp and the light of the God Emperor. And as I have hinted at in earlier FPOA posts there may - literally - be more than what initially meets the eye.

Melancholia II has been inspired by the weathered, dystopian and deeply sensous paintings of artist extraordinaire John Blanche. It depicts an Ecclesiarchy Echo Priest who himself - albeit only through hissing and analogue sound - has haunted the lost Arkke, a vast Space Hulk aimlessly adrift in a silent and long-forgotten corner of the galaxy. Weathered and beaten.

A hunchbacked servant of the Ecclesiarchy preaching the echoes of a millionstrong choir of dying God Emperor devotees. Echoes which can still be heard as a musical discord, an ambient resonance of prayers past, in the vast soundclouds of the Imperium here.

As my painting skills are rusty to say the least the painting process has been trial and error - experimenting mainly with inks and glazes in order to paint more quickly than I used to in the past. So Melancholia I and II represent my point zero. From here onwards I intend to progress and get both better and faster.

But these relics of the past are not all I bring back with me to FPOA from the cold north: 

First of all there are now several more relics in my Cabinet of Wonders, which I am working on getting finished and look forward to share with you in the hallways of FPOA. All of them are showing that the divine light of the Emperor works in truly mysterious ways - and that there is a fine line between darkness and light in the wartorn galaxy of the 40K universe.

Secondly, one dreary night while stumbling my way back to FPOA through the boreal I caught glimpses of what appeared to be weathered figures twice the size of ordinary men. Soaring among the craggy pines of the fells. Their distant voices were coarse, rasping and leathery. Like archaic drones they bore through the dimly lit forests with a deep and resonant sound of dry parchment, which, like a palimpsest, had several layers of tones intertwined in each other.

What had caught my eyes - and ears - that night in the boreal were ravens gathering!

Friday, 10 May 2013

Vox-com sounds of the Arkke

When I was asked py PDH to take part in the latest Arkke Retour as eloquently presented on The Tears of Istvaan I began working on my Ecclesiarchy Echo Priest. I imagined him being part of a million strong choir spanning star systems echoing the dying voices of uncountable God Emperor devotees. 

The Echo Priest was to be a beacon of holy, hissing, analogue, mechanical, vox-com sound in a silent and forgotten corner of the vast Imperium - the drifting dark hulk of the Arkke.

Sadly I didnt manage to finish the miniature before the event took place in April. 

Instead, as I really wanted to have at least the idea of the Echo Priest present in the Arkke during the game, I managed to pursuade | D R E A M B I E N T | to compose a fitting soundpiece, which PDH played at a certain moment during the game:

Echo Priest Vox-Com Choir

| D R E A M B I E N T | is electronic sound making by composer Martin Darlan Boris, who among other things collaborates with astronomers in the US and Europe. A collaboration I thought was fitting for a game of Warhammer 40K, set as it was, in a dark corner of the galaxy.

I look forward to share with you the finished Echo Priest...until then please do check out some of the other compositions at | D R E A M B I E N T | :

| D R E A M B I E N T |