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Yes, you read that right. Umbral and I are actually going to do a segment of the Unification Wars in [broadly] 28mm scale. And this isn't just a pipe-dream or a "we're planning on doing X wouldn't it be cool" ... we've actually already got half a dozen miniatures made, and another several already finely WIP; plus some reasonable setting-details to make it all make sense in. 

In terms of a bit of backstory for just *why* we're attempting to luridly illustrate one of the most exotically unknown parts of the 40k timeline ... some of you might have caught our various other Vox Stellarum logs either here or over on Ammobunker. The idea with these has always been to bring together the three things we love most about 40k [i.e. uniquely converted miniatures, well-crafted stories of narrative resonance and 4-dimensionality, and the fluff and setting we get to play with both in] as a sort of living novel or something. We have yet to play a game, despite spending almost a year on these projects thus far ... but with all of the incredible detail of characterization, background, and lovely LOVELY figures that we've racked up [cheers Umbral], it almost doesn't matter. 

It started out with an intent to run an Inq28/Inquisimunda campaign set somewhere proximate to the 'contemporary' 41st Millennium. That's still on-track. Then I said "wouldn't it be cool if..." [famous words of inspiration no doubt responsible for all manner of leaps both forward and backward apace in human history] "...we did Inq28 style gaming in the Horus Heresy - there's all SORTS of smaller-scale 'narrative' actions and plotlines we could explore in amidst the big battles!" - and so we started doing that as well [also still on-track, and progressing very nicely, if I do say so myself!].

And we briefly batted around a few ideas about Unification Wars stuff [because ever since reading Outcast Dead, and some part of Prospero Burns, as well as elements of the Black Books fluff, ti's been seriously prominent in my brain for some reason], although it always seemed a bit of an idyl day-dream reather than a serious miniatures project. Particularly with all the other stuff we get up to hobby-wise [we haven't even done a project-log for our other 'closer-to-40k' setting yet...].

But Umbral, bless him, had an idea one day and mocked up a few figures [which you'll be seeing shortly] using some Bretonnian Men A Arms I had sitting around mixed with some Cadian parts, and it instantly became apparent that he'd just made WW1 British Soldiers in a Lower-Tech Science Fiction Setting. "They're Albian Ironsides", he declared. And so they were, too! 

This naturally lead to two follow-up question: first up, what sort of setting could we plug them into ... and second, what would I be doing to go with them?

The answer to the first, well you'll see a few elements of what we've come up with in due course. And as for the second ... THUNDER WARRIORS. I absolutely HAD to have Thunder Warriors. 

They're quite iconic for the Unification era obviously - but the concepts put together by most people thus far just don't quite 'do' it for us. Most of them are too small, or too 'clean' or too overtly "Marine-like". And fair enough. IT's an ill-fleshsed out area of fluff depiction [with even the otherwise wonderful Blanche illusrations basically having them in Mk.V Power Armour for some inexplicable reason], an dmost poeple can't be bothered to do truly 'original' things when playing around with a concept - so you get slightly converted plastic marines with Cadian HEavey Weapons Team sunglasses heads and plumes. We were wondering about usng some of th elarger Khorn Bloodbound heroes from Age of Sigmar, but were still umming and ahhing.

Until in one of those totally 'meant to be' feats of serendipity, somebody screwed up a seriously bulk order we'd just done [which was supposed to include Horus Lupercal for an experiment in making a truescale Space Wolf Terminator for our Horus Heresy game ... but instead wound up with us getting most of a Leman Russ for some reason], thus leaading to Umbral having parts on his hands and a sudden flash of inspiration... 

You'll see the result of that particular happy 'accident' a little later. But the basic result was, we wound up realizing that the Primarch figures by Forge World were probably our best bet at doing Thunder Warriors - particularly as we already do everything else truescaled anyway, and they had lovely 'unique' armour-sets to them that quite clearly weren't ordianry Marine armour, and came handily with a lot of 'lower tech' elements [for example, Mortarion has what apppears to be CHAINMAIL in the gaps in his plate]. 

Now, some might disagree with our take on Thunder Warriors. THat's OK. It's your hobby after all. But after taking a look at their representation in The Outcast Dead, it became readily apparent that these guys were BIG. Bigger than Marines, in fact. Fully capable of taking on several of them at once AND WINNING [as proven by the incident related in the World Eaters/Warhounds fluff-piece from th relevant Black Book]. 

So with this in mind, we set out to create what I can only describe as table-top Demigods. Not the ordered, somewhat more 'predictable' and 'sanctified' Avataras or Aspects of the Emperor which the Primarchs are - but the sort of folk whom Babu Dhakal evokes in one's mind when one reads his bits in The Outcast Dead. Except in their PRIME rather than once they're cancer-ridden husks of their former selves once hte wars of Unification have already been won.

Oh, and we also decided to give our Primarch-based Thunder Warriors an array of 'twists' based around the idea that they're not simple 'line' Thunder Warriors, but perhaps bespoke crafted [rather than 'off the rack'] creations for more 'particular' purposes. Kinda like forerunners to the actual Marine legions perhaps. 

Anyway, I'm rambling. 

On with the show! 

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Key points to take away are:

- We're each attempting to do at least two forces. One 'Army of Unification', and one lot of pernicious Pre-Imperial warlords or whatever bitterly resisting the Emperor's Call to Unity. 

- So far, Umbral's got the beginnings of some Albian Ironsides [and just wait til you see the actual 'Ironside'!], as well sa the 'mooks' et co for our first set of games. [We're setill fleshing out some background details in that direction.]

- I've got to my name one Thunder Warrior, with another on the drawing board; and am presently doing concept-work for my own 'mortal' Army of Unification troops to go with. 

- One element we're going to emphasize is, in line with some hints from Outcast Dead, the idea that The Emperor's starting point is in North India [the Himalayas will figure prominently], so the Thunder Warriors are going to be based at least in part on the culture from that area [if you've seen either my AyasaBhutaGana Loyalist Iron Warriors, or my Pishachas Loyalist Night Lords, you'll have a sense of where I'm going with this] - and I'll be trying to do the Imperial Army to match. [Think Rajputs, Sikhs, Gurkhas - those sorts of warrior peoples] [i know *technically* the Thunder Warriors in Outcast Dead use *Mughal* ranks etc. - but I'm going to go back a bit further for various reasons :D ] 

- The 'other' force it looks ilke I'll be doing are 'Martian Raiders'  - a renegade Tech Priest who's turned up on Earth for slaving purposes and other such nefarious deeds. Will most likely be running an Egyptian theme in here [because I kept finding very decent NILE lyrics which inspired me for some ... stuff], meshed up with Stargate SG-1 vibes. [because OF COURSE!] 

- The focus thus far, for the Unity forces at least, is on Thunder Warriors and Army of Unity. BUT, there's a reasonable chance of OTHER elements turning up ... like Proto-Astartes [Hyenidae, 1000Heathens and BCK's whole "Firstborn" thing is very much in my head - we totally owe you guys a debt of gratitude for sparking much of this!; and I think The Observer did some stuff relatively similar in some areas we're also drawing upon], and dependent upon how we owrk out the times, Custodians. 

- We're gonna need as much help as we can get from you wise and learned and eager heads of the Forum to flesh out a lot of this stuff - wehther you can chuck us stuff you remember from reading the various HH-era fluff-books [ForgeWorld or Black Library or whatever], or you've got particularly siiiiiick ideas for Unification forces or troops or characters or ways to 'resonate' historical Earth concepts with the Grim Darkness of the 30th Millennium. 

Sound cool thus far?

Oh, and - this is all being done as a skirmish game, and very mcuh with 'narrative' and "RULE OF COOL" as lead consideratoins! 

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Now, that's enough 'outlining'. Let's get some actual miniatures up in here!


First up, we have this absolute BEAST of a Thunder Warrior! 


As you can see, this is NOT a small miniature. He's posed next to a genhanced Imperial Army kshatriya to his right, and one of my truescale Iron Warriors to his left. 


He quite clearly TOWERS over both, and ti's probably worth noting that his weapon is considerably longer than even a Truescale Astartes is tall! 


Indeed, come ot think of it, teh AMMO DRUM alone is roughly the same size as a fully armoured Marine!





If you can see this ... you're presumably in a rather bad spot!

Now, as the observant amongst you will already have noticed, the base-miniature is Mortarion; with the addition of a Valkyrie Punisher Cannon, and a Grey Knight Terminator head [something about the open-mouth teeth-bared shoutingness just 'spoke' to the serious brutality of the miniature and his armament]. 

I'm picturing his weapon as basically being something akin to the GAU-8 on an A-10. And the "BRRRRRRRRRRRRRAAAAP" will be transliterated into Sanskrit as "DevaGarjana" - a word which figuratively means "Thunder", but would more literally translate as "The Roar of God". 

Works on multiple levels :D [we're quite big on theme-naming, you see].

I haven't yet *quite* decided on a name for him, or a few other things, but most likely I'll be drawing upon the Vedic concept of the 11 Rudras in order to flesh him out more fully. [We *started out* by presuming that the Maruts would make for ideal bases for the Thunder Warriors, and they'll certainly still be used ... but something about the more brutal and 'Roaring' nature of the Rudras just 'spoke' to me for these...]

In our heads, if he is indeed one of the 'test-bed' THunder Warriors for later gene-manipulated super-soldiers b the Emperor, perhaps he carries elemens that will later emerge in teh putative IVth Legion - i.e. a serious love of heavy firepower ["they make a desert and call it peace", indeed]. 

The next step's going to be working out some iconography for the rest of these bad-boys - although de-XIVth Legion'd skulls aren't perhasp a bad plae to start. 

I'm honestly rather surprised at how well this chap's come together [again, thanks Umbral! - for both design-work and execution], and the scythe-wielding pose actually makes for a fairly ideal firing stance, with even teh arms nicely coming together to 'play ball'. 

Next up, I'll prod Umbral into posting some of his FANTASTICC minis. Your jaws, I assure you, will be floor-bound! 

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I'll introduce the Albians first, when I first started these guys I was calling them Ironsides but I've started referring to them as the Regulars, a term used to describe the British army during the Napoleonic wars but had continued use through to the Great War.













The reason for this is cause as you can seen these guys are not heavily armoured like the name Ironsides would suggest. These guys are going to be a scout commando unit wearing cloth armour that can dissipate the kinetic energy of hard rounds but not much more, and mostly armed with old school ballistic weapons, taken from the Skitarii for obvious reasons. 


I plan to build some more of these, 10-15 in total is what I''m thinking, and maybe an early Imperial Discipline Master.

Now the Albians were also said to make use of Proto-Dreadnoughts, now I haven't found much to go on in that regard so I'm taking this an opportunity to go nuts. I've used a Mechanicum Dunecrawler cab, added a battle cannon and punisher cannons from the scion Taurox,




I went with this cause to me at least it bears a bit of a resemblance to an old battleship in fact it has a few aesthetics in common with a particular historical vessel



anyone know what this is? This is THE Dreadnought!


This is the first of 2 Dreadnoughts I have planned, this one is going to be the larger of the 2. This machine is going to be a relic of Albia's war with the Emperor's forces, which helps to explain the near Ork levels of Dakka on this. I intend to mount him on a set of Imperial Knight legs which should give him an impressive level of elevation from which to take advantage of all that fire power. I also plan to add an arm with a power fist, also taken from a knight, to the Dreadnought's left side. As for the name of this Noble vessel, I'm going with "Old Contemptable" a reference to a nick name the British Expeditionary Forces took after the Kaiser referred to them as a "Contemptible little army" thus in typical British fashion they started calling themselves "The Old Contemptables" which for my purposes serves as both a good reference to Albia's past and the future of the Dreadnought as a weapon.

Edited by Umbral
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First off, that's insanely cool. Second, I'm getting a Fallout 3 Supermutant vibe from the Thunder Warrior. Third, I never thought I'd read the words ' the Primarch figures by Forge World were probably our best bet at doing Thunder Warriors' and then see someone *actually* follow through on it. Whats the plan, harvest eBay for bits?



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Now for those Thunder Warriors, as Ryltar mentioned a lot of this started with a Russ conversion, I turned him into a Psyker, using the Force rod and head from the Grey Knight Terminator box and Horus' mace.

















Now i haven't run into any fluff about if Thunder Warriors even had Psykers in their ranks, so this guy is a very special individual probably from a very limited batch of Thunder Warriors, with this in mind the plan is that their chapter (I think its mentioned in "Know No Fear" that Girlymann stole the chapter formation from Thunder Warriors) is for the purpose of dealing with Terran reps of the Ruinous Powers, however these guys are nowhere near as well defined for that role as the  VI and XV Legions kinda are later, in fact this chapter is more of a weird mix of the 2, combining aggressive psychic power with brutal excessive close combat to teach Daemons a lesson they won't forget in a hurry. Since their job is both risky,vital and entails dealing with Chaos, I feel it's fitting that these guys fall under the mantle of Malchador, now i have no idea what the dude was up to at this point, but some shady clandestine stuff for the good of the Future Imperium is probably a good bet, and since we're not going to see a lot of this chapter (I only have plans to make 3 in total) we can reason that they are not deployed in chapter strength like most of their kind tends to be, but instead used like the Knights Errant, sent off to deal with problems in small covert teams


As for the name, since i didn't have the heart to remove the wolf heads from Russ, I instead added a golden blindfold, perhaps symbolic of the means by which the Emperor has rebuilt them fro the purpose, they are metaphysically "blind" to the corrupting visage of chaos. these Thunder Warriors are the Blind Hunters, they will not be stopped till they have removed that which should not be. 


Now for his Chapter Brother

This guy is made from Coarax's body and Ferrus' arms, with Skorr's Helm and some choice pieces from the 40k Techmarine and a pair of heavy chainswords stuck together.

















So this guys roll should be pretty obvious,his job is to cut things into little bloody pieces while bellowing like a beast. This Thunder Warrior is another Experiment, and perhaps a good demonstration as to why Trans-Humans with excessively boosted aggression is really usefull. however unlike the unrefined tech of the Butcher's Nails, this guys experimental power armour has a large multitude of combat drugs and sedatives, however even this is not enough to keep such a Warrior in check, as such he is equipped with a Psychic Receiver Antenna on his back that allows the Psyker above to keep him Leashed by controlling the Warrior's brain chemistry in real time.





Only work left to do on the Berserker is to take off a bit of the ferrus and corax details and add  some blinded wolf heads 

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  • 4 weeks later...
We've had a few other projects crop up recently [because, like I keep saying, Hobby ADHD] ... but the Unification Wars modelling and painting is still chugging away in the background. Umbral's managed to put together most of a squad of his Albians, as well as the top half of a ... large stompy thing ... and whilst I'm taking a veeeerrry sllooowww approach to the Thunder Warrior I've got to hand [genuinely underestimated the level of detail on the primarch minis!], we've also started putting work into conceptualizing 'proto-astartes' to go with them. 


The idea behind these is that toward the later stages of the Unification Wars, the Emperor's forces wind up moving away from the previous mix of more 'regular' human troops and Thunder Warriors, and incorporating escalating levels of 'other' transhumans. Initially, these will be 'testbeds' for what will become the Astartes project that may bear rather little resemblance to eventual Marines; and over time, these'll wind up looking, acting, and performing a lot more like the 30k-era Astartes we've come to know and love as the Emperor and his geneticists move closer and closer to the finalized Astartes template design. Oh, and as the technological development which governs their armaments and armouring also stabilizes from the beewildering variety of less-refined and lower-tech stuff which characterizes Unification [wherein I basically see almost everything of quality being basically artificer-produced individual items; and pretty much everything else being excessively crude mass-productions] ... through to the more uniform and even [and also on average better quality] output which characterizes the Crusade. 


So expect to see an array different approaches which attempt to bridge the gap between 'techno-barbarian' and Astartes; as well as some slightly bizarre things that are both predecessors and 'dead-ends' for same. 


Anyway, I'm rambling. ON WITH THE SHOW!




What we have here is just such a Proto-Astartes; albeit a rather highly tech'd up one in pretty heavy armour. 




The partsmix on this chap is a Gorgon Terminator head; Kataphron up-armoured torso; plastic Mk.III power-pack, arms and armament [volkite and lightning claw]; Autilon Skorr body and legs [who's quite tall]; and FW Raptor Imperialis shoulderpad. Conversion-work and concept by Umbral, who got bored and awesome happened. 












I really do rather like the Unification Raptor pads :biggrin.:




I reckon he looks rather like really really old-school Rogue Trader art tbh! And that's awesome.


The much heavier torso in comparison to the rather thin [by the standards of a truescale] legs helps to recall the descriptiosn given of 'Thunder Armour' in fluff - wherein only the upper body is actually powered, and hte legs ... aren't. Now, this makes "questionable sense" in reality for a number of reasons [namely, hefting the fairly massive weight of a powered torso, arms, power-pack and all the rest on just your un-supported legs must be a rather impressive feat even for a transhuman] - but hey, maybe the fully encased plating of this chap's legs help to support some of that impressive bulk. 


Next step will be working out a colour-scheme and some background fluff based around some concepts we've had kicking around for awhile about the pre-history o the Astartes program and how it may have co-existed with the Thunder Warriors etc. It'll be an interesting question as to how, when, and to what extent the various natures of different legions' gene-seed will become evident in individual warriors, partiuclarly prior the 'standardization' of what it means to be a Marine; and whether various organs aren't implanted, fully working, etc. 


Oh, and hopefully a few more Proto-Astartes based off the various Age of Sigmar chaos heroes we grabbed late last month. 


Edited by Ryltar Thamior
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Amazing models!

Just a quedtion how are you gonna play a game with these rule wise i mean are you guys gonna base it on the 8th edition rules, the HH rules or are you gonna write a whole new rule set?

If you are gonna write a new rule set do you 2 need any help? If so i am interested to help!

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  • 2 weeks later...
Glad our efforts are meeting with approval :D 


Now as I may have mentioend previously, one of the 'antagonist' forces we're building is Egyptian-inflected Mechanicum [long story]. 


With  that in mind...














And, 'dismounted'..
















And the controls ..




Parts, obviously, are the locomotive parts of a Dunecrawler, the Abeyant [or whatever it's called] from Draykavac [augmented with elements from Ferrus' backpack and hte horns from Magnus ... because uh .. mashing up those two primarchs is kinda heading towards the aesthetic we're going for here with this force :P ]; and as for the character himself - Lorgar for the base-body, a head from iirc the Kataphrons, Empire battle-wizard staaff-topper, more Draykavac bits for the mechandendrites and back-cabling, Gorgon shoulderpads.


All power/credit to Umbral for the building. 

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I hope you realise I hold you responsible for buying two boxes of Kataphron now........those chestplates will tie in nicely to the Tartaros legs I've got lying around. Great idea.


As you said, it really does echo the RT artwork, and perhaps I'll be able to cobble something for the anniversary myself.


The Mechanicus fella is certainly impressive, but I'm not sold on the power armour, preferring spindly and/or robed myself, but you can ignore my traditional taste.


Keep up the good ideas !

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I hope you realise I hold you responsible for buying two boxes of Kataphron now........those chestplates will tie in nicely to the Tartaros legs I've got lying around. Great idea.


As you said, it really does echo the RT artwork, and perhaps I'll be able to cobble something for the anniversary myself.


The Mechanicus fella is certainly impressive, but I'm not sold on the power armour, preferring spindly and/or robed myself, but you can ignore my traditional taste.


Keep up the good ideas !

Lolol. I feel your pain. The Kataphrons were originally earmarked for something else we're doing ... but the torsos just work SO WELL. So instead, they've all wound up going for UNITY [i'll try prod Umbral into posting the BRILLIANT Proto-Astartes he just did for his own forces] meaning we're going to need another few ... 


Now as for the Mechanicum chap ... one thing we like doing with a lot of our projects [and good grief, we've got at least four running simultaneously it seems], is 'subverting' the traditional archetypes and expectations. But as it happens, we definitely agree with there being a place for more 'spindly' techpriestly folks as well - so in the near future we fully intend on having a few cobbled together that fill a role roughly approximate ot the Liche Priests and Necrotects [Necroteks?] of the old Tomb Kings army. 

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This chap was originally done up in a black-and-gold scheme to emphasize a presumably 'elite' nature; however redid in a dark grey to be more closely reminiscent of the grey and less adorned panoply of the early Astartes Legions as seen in the colour-plates of the Conquest of Sol-era paintschemes of the Black Books. 




Having said that, he's rather more ornate than those aforementioned later 'proper' Astartes in their Mk.II and subsequent armour; as this is quite clearly a walking experiment who'd both survived long enough and been highly valued to be granted some of the best test-bed equipment that the Emperor's forges could provide.






The power-pack is, of course, from teh Mk.III sprue - in conjunction with the Abaddon legs - representing armour elements that are forerunners to the designs that would later become standard for Astartes warplate.




And, of course, teh RAPTOR OF UNITY: 






Pretty intimidating! 


Oh, and as for why he's equippe with a volkite weapopn rather than a proto-bolter; we figured that the citations for volkites being some of the original Astartes weapons were worth a nod - and it may either represent this Proto-Astartes being a warrior of the era after the Martians had been incorporated into the naescent project of Unity or a fine master-crafted armament from the Terrawatt etc. 


I know that technically speaking, Thunder Armour is supposed to have unpowered legs [which, as previously noted, is a bit nonsensical when we consider just how heavy the powered torso and arm sections would be] ; although in this case, perhaps it's a pre-production prototype for the later developments we see on Mk.II and subsequent. The emphasis armour-wise is definitely on the torso-section however, which has clearly een plated up to 'walking battle-tank' status.


Anyway, there should be a few more of these chaps along shortly. The big issue is going to be working bout hte background fluff for 'em - we have some concepts we've been kicking around in need of fleshing out. 

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