Tuesday 31 October 2023

Deathrattle Army - the Host of Hazurbanipal IV

With a few new additions since I last posted this proect, I thought I'd showcase the entire immortal host of Hazurbanipal IV. Appropriate for a Halloween night, this is a Soulblight Gravelords force made up entirely of skeletons. More pics below the jump...

The Host was my main project for 2021, when the new Soulblight Gravelords were first released, and I fell hard for the new skeleton sculpts. I planned to do the new models in a green bronze colour scheme. Once I had that recipe pinned down, it's been fun to go back and add new skellies every so often. In this post I'm going to show off some old models and some new stuff. I've covered most of these models before, but not altogether in one post. So this is something of a showcase post for the whole proect.

Hazurbanipal IV is the mounted Wight King

The army represents the pledged soldiers of Hazurbanipal IV. When he passed away, his loyal soldiers took poison and were entombed in his mausoleum with him for 4,444 years. And then they came back... as skeletons.

The skeleton on the left with the big hat and staff is the sorceror Avrashadru

This resurrection couldn't have happened without the loyal court sorceror, Avrashadru. He's my favourite conversion in this army (and the most extensive conversion). Unlike every other model in this army, Necromancers don't have the Deathrattle keyword, so I kitbashed a skeleton wizard from the long-lived (and still great) Wight King model.

The Sons of Velmorn, in amongst the Deathrattle horde

 A new addition this year is the Sons of Velmorn - the Warhammer Underworlds warband. This characterful set of models bring some variety to the skeletal horde. Not least the giant skeleton among them, who adds a very different silhouette.

The Sons of Velmorn

Velmorn himself is clearly a refresh of the Wight King that Avrashadru is based on, sharing many of the same details with more modern proportions and a more dynamic pose. I gave him a brazier helm to match him with the other Hazurbanipali characters, and his Sons got round shields to match the soldiery. I think they are probably the remnants of a rival dynasty that were subjugated and absorbed by Hazurbanipal.

The Grave Guard

The older Grave Guard models don't match the newer skeletons so well (the Sons are a good bridge between the older and newer styles). I converted mine with robes from Empire Flagellants (or should that be Cities of Sigmar Flagellants?), thinking of the older metal Wight models. The extra height puts them on a level with the newer Deathrattle.

Hazurbanipal III is the huge Wight King with the giant hat on the left

Also new this year is an addition to the Hazurbanipal dynasty - Hazurbanipal III. He's a Wight King on foot, made out of a Stormcast. The newest Stormcast "thunderstrike" armour almost matches the Deathrattle skeleton armour, with a few similar details. I cut away some of the more obvious iconography, and sharpened the angles on some of the plates to make it match more. I swapped the breast plate for a Grave Guard one, and of course the head is a skeleton one (you end up with a lot of these).

Hazurbanipal III

The hat is made from the strange stone that the Lumineth Stonemage sits on. I left it hollow (with some bones and ash in it), and added ornamentation from Lumineth bits and cross sections of plastic tube. I like that it looks a lot like the Chinese ritual bronzes that inspired this project.

Some less skeletal creatures...

I got the Vampire Lord and Lady Annika on the strength of those models alone. They're beautiful sculpts. They don't really fit thematically with the host, but you might consider them attachés from Lady Neferata, keeping a stern vampiric eye on the Host. The Host of course operates with mechanical precision, following whispered orders from King Hazurbanipal with the precision of automatons, so these vampiric supervisers have most likely been handed a dull job as a punishment.

Lady Annika skulking around...

I also made some Gravesite markers, which you can see dotted around these photos on 40mm bases. Nice to have some kind-of scenery in the army. I put together a little tutorial for them on Instagram. They're made mostly from beads and other bits and pieces, representing burial goods.

Where to go from here? I've had an idea for a specific centerpiece model since I started this project. It would be a Deathrattle version of a non-Deathrattle Soulblights model. The specific bits I want are hard to come by, and I've been acquiring pieces one at a time in between my other projects. I almost have enough parts to start on that soon. Maybe by next Halloween...

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