For a little while now I've been posting a fairly random series of posts, with nothing really to connect them other than they're all about toy soldiers (surprise surprise). At the same time I've been marveling at the patience, dedication, and endurance of people like David Soper, Klaus, and Colonel O'Truth. These hobbyists (and many more like them) can really take their time with a model, be it a single Skink priest or an enormous scratchbuild with tens of thousands of hand-cut rivets.
Well, I've decided to give this approach a try and will chronicle my building of "The Flight" (working title) in a similar manner. I'm also planning on collaborating with a few other artists on various projects over the next 12 months, and this is the first of those collaborations.
I've been thinking my way through this particular diorama idea since Games Day 2012. After attending the classes of Victoria Lamb and Roman Lappat at Adepticon earlier in the year, I knew I had to spend a bit more time planning this project out if I was going to push my own limits and get the best out of it that I could. The two rough sketches above are ones I did on the flight home from Adepticon. They show the basic structure of the diorama, some ideas for lighting/colors, and the genesis of the story - the flight of an Inquisitor and his henchmen towards a waiting gun-cutter at the end of a Star Wars-style walkway.
Well, after turning over a bunch of things in my mind, I asked my good mate - author Anthony Reynolds - if he could help me out by making something more concrete out of my general idea. He was a real champ and sent me this:
As we run, overpowered las-fire and solid-slug projectiles hurtle by us, buzzing like angry insects. I would have been hit a dozen times already if not for Saskia. She has her hand out behind her as she runs, slender ring-encased fingers splayed. She’s nudging the enemies’ shots away, deflecting the incoming fire with her mind, just enough to miss us.
Spotlights from ornithopters overhead chase us, leading our pursuers on. More of them are closing in fast; I hear their jumbled thoughts crashing against me.
We have what we came for. The heavy stasis-tube is mag-locked to my thigh. Contained within: the gene-seed of an Adeptus Astartes. The Ordo suspects their genestock is compromised. We will see. Thankfully, it is not the Space Marines themselves that are hunting us. Not yet.
My name: Miklos Aladar Bartok. My rank: Inquisitor, Ordo Hereticus.
I kill one of our pursuers. My wrist-mounted inferno pistol burns his head to ash. Two more fall to the heavy, chunking fire of Urgo-Wroth. The massive, slab-muscled warrior – vat-grown from augmented gene-stock and heavily mecha-augmented – is a living tank. The gantry-bridge shudders with his every step as he runs. Saskia doesn’t bother exerting her psychic powers to protect Urgo-Wrath – he can handle everything this enemy throws at him. His body is riddled with las-burns and bullets unable to penetrate the thick shielding implanted within his flesh.
His malformed twin, held aloft on humming suspensor arrays, is similarly left unprotected by Saskia. Incoming fire hammers at the crackling refractor field bubble that protects him. He retaliates with stabbing fire of his own, darting sinuously through the air, his face twisted in savage pleasure as he kills. I do not approve of the glee he takes in snuffing out life… but his usefulness outweighs his moral failings.
More of our pursuers – I cannot yet bring myself to name them enemies – fall to Areta’s shadow-blades. Part of the darkness shrouding the immense facility, she disappears and reappears at will, appearing behind, above, below and next to our pursuers, despatching them with ruthless thrusts and cuts before jumping again. To her foes, she is a living shadow, a murderous shade that is all but impossible to target. To me, she is much more.
My cadre is rounded out with three others: Luthor Hayne, my pilot, a murderer, ex-ganger and substance abuser, and also the best gun-cutter pilot I’ve ever met; Sister Aaliyah, a mournful penitent of the Adeptus Sororitas, soul-bonded to me and desperate to atone for some past indiscretion; and the mercenary Hand, giving the rest of us covering fire. He’s possibly the most dangerous of us all, with his two kill-drones. One day there will be a reckoning between us, of that I’m certain.
Hayne brings my cutter down through the acid rain storm. Lightning reflects off its glossy, void-black hull. It’s a gorgeous craft, as sleek and swift as a knife. The turret-cannon underslung beneath its insect-blade nose opens up, churning through the ranks of our pursuers. Still, more of them are closing in, and they are bringing in heavier elements now. Military-grade.
We’ve done more than stir up the hornet’s nest; we’ve dropped a grenade right in the middle of the hive, and the hornets are not best pleased.
I smile. It’s going to be a close-run thing. I send out a mind impulse to my cadre.
I've started work on Urgo-Wroth. After I finish the detailing on him, I'll start to add his heavy bolter. I think I'll have him standing on the platform near the waiting gun-cutter, his chunking fire lighting up the scene a little.
Throughout this process I'm really happy to take suggestions from you all. Understand that I might not follow them, but they'll all impact the progress in some way, shape, or form.