Saturday, 25 January 2020

Warcry Nighthaunt "Screaming Fragments"

Warcry is certainly growing on me as a Warhammer setting. I had fun making the Worms of Paradise ghouls warband so soon after that I started on some Nighthaunt – the Screaming Fragments.

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One aspiring warrior of Chaos, whose name is lost, was marked by no exceptional qualities except for his sheer persistence. Though he rarely won battles, he would refuse to ever surrender or defeat, and would cling to life despite the most grievous injuries. This tenacity alone won him a handful of followers: some Nurglites who admired his physical endurance, some Khornans who respected his bravery, some Tzeentchii who enjoyed his usurping of fate, and some Slaaneshish who thrilled at the prospect of being repeatedly subjugated by foes. As with countless other questors, his mission to the Varanspire ended in defeat, and this time his defeat was at last fatal. However, with his final cry of "NO!" his resentful spirit refused to accept its doom, instead clawing its way back into a semblance of form.

The Fragments are not exactly the remaining shards of the nameless warrior. Most of him exists in them, and pieces of many of his followers are present in them too. The repeated trauma of defeat and (re-)death have splintered the souls of him and his followers and brought in pieces of their foes, of places, even of the architecture. Fragments of spirit, memory, emotion, soul, echoes of combat, the delusions of increasingly shattered mind – all are combined in the mirage-like Fragmented presences. Human figures cry out in the voice of beasts, what appear to be weapons are in fact limbs, and disembodied hands and faces flow between different bodies without regard of apparent owner. An opponent may strike at the spirit in front of him to find instead a different ghost further away succumbing to the blow, his current target unharmed (and vengeful). Amidst their cacophony of howling and sounds of shattering and breaking, many cry out a single word like a defiant battlecry: "NO!"

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At first a couple of these were gonna be a few new Ghouls for the Worms of Paradise. I decided instead to leave that project as complete and modify the new builds into another type of undead, namely ghosts. The majority of the conversions were built piecemeal out of any leftover offcuts and pieces discarded from prior conversions. Particularly parts that had once been glued but later removed, with the glue dissolved surfaces facing outwards to produce weird textures. It was a fun way to work and a way to use up some bits - particularly broken bits - that I was never likely use in any other projects. This meant that the conversion process synchronised with the lore, with the figures being made up of broken off parts.

The Chainrasps are distinguished by chains holding them down, sometimes phasing through the ground. Each got a few defining "character" pieces to hold together the randomness of the other components – such as a book or an hourglass. My favourite is the "Hanged Man", who's upside-down.

The Spirit Host was made from two Fury torsos. It also uses several Fury dagger hands to look like it's trying to tear itself apart. It was hard work to get the arms posed in the most unpleasant pose possible!

The Glaivewraith Stalkers were made separately using very different configurations. Both were built to roughly mimic the shape and pose of the official Glaivewraith Stalker models. The Pyramid-headed one's pyramid is from the Dreadfleet Khemrian ship, which I may or may not have lingering around for another project…

The Grimghast Reaper was made to look stoic, unlike the official ones that are very dynamic. He's an assemblage of bits including old school Chaos Warriors, a statue from the Giant kit, Wood Elf pennants, a Skaven blade, and the staff from the Warhammer Quest Wizard I sacrilegiously cut up to make my Moon Aelf Tidecaster.

The Dreadwarden was made from a Chaos Knight banner, a zombie hand, and the stone plinth from a Fury base. The head is also a Fury's, with most of the detail obscured but for the mouth and beard, and one of the horns repositioned.

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The painting process was an important part of completing the weird textures on the models. I started with a good idea of what I wanted the faces to look like. I thought particularly of paintings by Francis Bacon and body painting by Olivier de Sagazan. So to make the faces really thick and distorted I applied a white basecoat very thickly then went back and forth with painting facial details in acrylic (onto the featureless surface) and layering on artist's oil-bar, which is sort of like a thick oil pastel. This stuff seemed like it was never gonna dry, but it set semi-solid after a while and I applied matte undiluted acrylic varnish over it. If it produces a chemical reaction later, well that'll just add to the effect ;-)

I also experimented with coloured graphite (it didn't work that well) along with thin layered acrylics. The result is a mixture of bright colours and natural textures.

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Thanks for following! As ever there's more projects on the way and you can keep up with me on Instagram.


"The Moon"


"The Hanged Man"


"The Warden"

The Spirits

"The Pyramid"

"The Carcass"


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