Tuesday, July 15

Mutant Chicken, Now With More Fluff!

+ + + +TRANSMITTED: Subsector Capital-World Van Hassan's Reach
+ + + + + +RECEIVED: Terra
+ + + + DESTINATION: Terra
+ + + + + + + + +DATE: 0.150.936.M41
+ +TELEPATHIC DUCT: Agatha Vokt
+ + + + + + + + + +REF: Inq/9084095984257323.432/LA
+ + + + + + +AUTHOR: Lord-Bishop Ghent
+ + + + + + +SUBJECT: Fall of Ordroth Prime
+ + + + + + +THOUGHT: There is only the Emperor, and he is our Shield and Protector.
Blackfang's Fury, a once-magnificent warship that had been twisted to the powers of Chaos, entered a low orbit around Ordroth Prime.  The crackling warp energies dissipated around the vessel, slowing down from its horrific journey through the Maelstrom.  The underside of the ship trembled.  As if the Fury was breaking apart, hundreds of daemonic entities disengaged from the hull of the ship, where they fed off of the violent energies of warp travel.  Eyes opening, wings unfurling, these former Imperial fighter-craft snapped free their umbilical cables and began a dive towards the surface of Ordroth - heralds for what would come. 

The local planetary defense forces looked up, hearing what they thought were claps of thunder, to the sound of these daemonic vessels entering the atmosphere.  Blazing white-hot from their rapid descent and trailing thick plumes of smoke, these beasts sent piercing screams to the defenders below.  Panicked officers shouted from sensor-array bunkers about an unknown capital ship that had just entered the system, and hundreds of fighter craft descending on their positions.  So sudden was the arrival of the Fury and so swift the assault of the Heldrakes that the PDF was reeling in disarray, unable to mount a sufficient defense.  Thankfully, however, they had help.



Elements of a Space Wolf Great Company had anticipated the movements of Urlag Blackfang, and positioned themselves in ambush on the planet's surface.  Long had they hunted these renegades, and now would be their chance to silence them.  The presence of these great warriors emboldened the local garrison.  A particular captain, Jek Redmane, had taken his bodyguard of chosen veterans to the fields where an enemy landing would likely take place.  Thousands of guardsmen formed battle lines beside him, eager to join the side of such a renowned soldier of the Emperor.  An armored company of Leman Russes from the nearby Hive City had managed to make it, with word that a Valkyrie squadron was also inbound.  Word spread quickly of these reinforcements, and hopes were high.
I recall Jek climbing a stone outcropping, the wind pulling at his wolfskin cloak, as he drew his brilliant blue power sword. A gift from Ragnar Blackmane himself, I'm told.  He turned toward the fields as traitor drop pods began to slam into the ground, pointing his blade toward them.  "What fear of death have we who know there is immortality in the great and noble deeds of men!?" he shouted in defiance to his mortal comrades, who responded with a great roar of solidarity.  "Look, brothers!" as he shifted his sword's direction to the distant horizon, "More servants of the Emperor come!"  A flight of Valkyries had indeed appeared over the mountains, laden with the elite personal guard of the Lord-Governor. 
Artillery shells landing in the drop zone had caught a pair of landing drop-pods, sending a spectacular blast into the skies, annihilating any passengers and elevating the defender's roar to a cacophony of loyalist pride.  The shouts died down as each platoon, each company had noticed the Valkyries once more, perhaps thirty meters from the lines.  One had come to hover a half of a meter from the surface, its elite troops disembarking and running for the defender's lines with practiced precision, sporting the finest armor and weapons.  The second Valkyrie, however, cartwheeled into the first as it was beginning its ascent, its tail ripped clean off, vaporizing as the payloads of each detonated.  A stunned silence fell on the defenders as the dull thud of artillery continued to fall on the enemy landing site.  Presumably a Heldrake had sheared the tail from the transport, I did not see.
All eyes now watched the third and final Valkyrie, who had veered steadily closer to the friendly lines, but maintained its height some fifty meters above.  The passengers were preparing to grav-chute into the defender's positions, not willing to risk a repeated catastrophe in the fields below.  A unified sigh of relief was let out as the first two figures fell from the transport, their descent slow and controlled. Until the Valkyrie suddenly lurched straight down, a Heldrake crashing atop it with meteoric fury.  Its talons grappled with the chassis, tearing its doors open and igniting the interior with unholy fire.  Burning soldiers jumped out, half of their chutes not working.
Jek Redmane, a mighty Space Marine of the Imperium, was not phased.  He gritted his teeth, pointed to the now disembarked traitor forces, and bellowed mightily, "Charge! For the Emperor!"  Another raucous yell came from the lines, resolute and gallant, they charged.  Jek turned to his cadre of bodyguards, to perhaps instruct them of their objective, but his eyes caught a flash of red.  A Heldrake snatched him up, at tremendous speed, breaking his neck instantly.  His stormshield, caught on the rock, ripped his gauntlet from his hand, removing flesh and armor alike. 
Ordroth will fall to Blackfang's forces. I ask for immediate reinforcement of Van Hassan, as that is clearly their destination.  May the Emperor protect us all.

Lord-Bishop Reginald Ghent
Keeper of Scriptures




A rough little basecoat for the victim, Jek.


Painting the brass ridges is phenomenally tedious.
The Heldrake is annoyingly complex to paint, all those little veins on both sides of the wings - not to mention the added details on the legs and tail I've kitbashed.  It'll be a slow paint, but will look great in the end, I think. 

The Space Wolf victim got a once-over to see how it'll look.  I'll touch him up once the overall bird is finished.  I'm pleased with the look of it.  I also spent way too long contemplating whether or not a power sword's power would deplete at the wielder's demise, thus determining if I painted the weapon glowing or not.

Round two starts tomorrow, more brass edging (damn you, Khorne!).

Update!

I finally got the rest of the brass painted (good lord I should've gone Nurgle!), and started on the flesh.  As this was once an Imperial ace fighter pilot who succumbed to the allure and power of chaos, there is a considerable amount of flesh mixed with metal - must've hurt to devote yourself fully to destruction!  I like the end result, I've never painted something like this before:


I like the bruising effect near the jaw.