Monday, March 3, 2014

Legio VII, 564th Company: Moritat Centurion in Mk II Power Armor

Nearly finished, and well enough along to post to the blog, is the Moritat consul for my Horus Heresy Imperial Fists Legion.  Armed with, inter alia, two plasma pistols, artificer armor, and his Chain Fire special rule, this gun-slinging centurion has the potential to be a real nasty customer.  I'm calling him either "Sweet William" or "William the Young."

The role of the Moritat - a centurion-consul like a chaplain, a librarian, or a siege-breaker - is that of a lone killer stalking the battlefield behind enemy lines.  He is armed with two bolt pistols, a chainsword, and rad grenades (-1T to enemies in the first round of CC), and he may exchange each bolt pistol for plasma pistols.  He may never be taken as a compulsory HQ choice, he may only join destroyer squads, and he has the scout and counter-attack special rules.  Greatest of all, though, is his Chain Fire special rule: for every successful hit with a pistol attack, he gets to make an additional shooting attack and may continue to do so until he misses; he cannot then either charge or fire in the next turn.  But he's BS5, so he's going to be shooting a lot because he is only going to miss on 1s.  Because I equipped Sweet William with two plasma pistols, I've also given him artificer armor.  NOTE:  pursuant to the Horus Heresy 7th Edition Warhammer 40,000 FAQ and Errata, December 2014 (available here:, a plasma pistol being chain-fired gets hot on a roll of 1-2, rather than just a roll of 1.  To round him out, I swapped his chainsword with a charnabal sabre (+1I, rending) and gave him melta bombs.

So, he's pretty awesome.  But because there's currently no model available for this one-man murder-show (hence the name, "moritat," which was a medieval German murder-ballad), that meant I had to make one.  It just so happens that I had an extra Legion Apothecary in MkII power armor just laying around, so I decided to convert him.

Here's my MkII Apothecary before I started working on him:

I knew that I'd need to trim off some of the lenses from the side of his helmet, as well as the caduceus from his apron.  Also, because I'm giving him Ryza-patern plasma pistols (below), it didn't make sense for him to have only one holster, so I'd cut that off and put the charnabal sabre there.  The apothecary's belt is encumbered with all kinds of medical doodads that, with a little bit of tweaking, could be melta bombs, rad grenades, and frag/krak grenades.  Here's the sweet Ryza-pattern plasma pistols:

I cut off the holster and the caduceus:

And I also cut off 2/3 of the lenses:

By this point, I was ready to try a little proof-of-concept.  I used MkIII gauntlets, because as you can see they are bold and brutal-looking:

 Satisfied that the MkII Moritat was likely going to work out, I added some etched-brass Imperial Fist icons to the apron and then turned to what I believed would be the hardest part: using green stuff to model a melta bomb from one of the doohickeys on the belt, and turning the eyepiece on the left side of his helmet - which now had a big chunk missing from it (see above) - into a comm-unit.  Additionally, in order to achieve a dynamic "aiming" pose, I had to attach the right arm at a rather severe angle; green stuff would be necessary to fill-in the gap.  The only problem: I'd never used green stuff before.

I started with the helmet, then filled-in the armpit, and finally made the melta bomb.  I decided that the odd apparatus dangling down over his right shoulder would be his rad-grenade; a device that sort of radiated-outwards passively.  Here's the finished conversion:

 Here's a good shot of the helmet:

Here's a good shot of the etched brass on the apron.  You can just barely make out the antenna on the other side of his helmet:

 Speaking of etched brass, I also cut the winged cadaceus from the Apothecary's shoulder pad and added a larger etched brass Imperial Fists icon there.  Before and after:

An etched brass Fist went onto the scabbard of the charnabal sabre, too:

Finally, I trimmed the drip-bags (or whatever they are!) from the Apothecary's backpack and cleaned it up.  Before and after:

With all of the converting work done, it was time to paint.  As my friends know, I dread painting, so this was a pretty big challenge for me.  I started by priming all of the pieces, disassembled, with black spray primer.  Then I painted everything that was either going to be gold or yellow with a base coat of Gorthar Brown (I used only Citadel paints).  I decided that because the Moritat is a centurion-consul, and therefore not properly in the chain of command, he would probably have a little more leeway in selecting his own personal livery; because he's a stone-cold killer, I thought he'd probably go with mostly black armor.  The apron would be yellow, as would be one kneepad and the shoulderpad with the Imperial Fist heraldry on it.  His other shoulderpad, however, I decided would be his own heraldry:

Concerned that the shoulderpad looked far better in real life than in the photo above, I took another shot, not quite so zoomed-in.  You can also see the black-and-brown Moritat (I removed his left arm for ease of painting):

I cleaned up the red lines on the Moritat's heraldry, and I feel much better about the final product:

Here is an excellent view of the helmet conversion, all painted up, as well as the crimson-fist gauntlets (Blood Red over Scab Red):

I wanted to tie-in the traditions of the Imperial Fists Legion, especially the crimson fists, because my Warhammer 40k Space Marine army is Crimson Fists.  Nonetheless, there is still plenty of "black and yellow" on my Moritat (yellow was Golden Yellow over Gorthar Brown, and then Flash Gitz Yellow over that with highlights of Flash Gitz mixed with Skull White).  Also, I think the scabbard of the charnabal sabre turned out very well:

The following shot is the pièce de résistance.  You can see the helmet conversion, the melta bomb, and the fine detail work (so many rivets! such a tiny little eagle on the buckle!).  I am particularly proud of the glowing effects of the plasma pistols, achieved by dry-brushing Lothern Blue over Regal Blue, with highlights of Lothern mixed with Skull White; the Ryza-pattern pistols have a really gnarly death-ray look that makes it difficult stop saying "pew-pew-pew."  I am also very pleased with the rad-grenade, which emanates a sickly-green light achieved by beginning with Scorpion Green, over which I dry-brushed Goblin Green, then a dry-brush of Dark Angels Green.  Note the pale, bleached appearance of the apron behind the rad-grenade (Skull White, with increasingly larger amounts of Flash Gitz Yellow mixed in as I got further from the rad-grenade); I wanted to give the appearance that the radiation had leached the color from the cloth:

So, now all that I have to do is make some final touch-ups to the backpack, including some highlighting, and base him.  The basing is proving conceptually quite difficult, as the base I choose for my Moritat will likely dictate the bases I use for my Legion.  On the one hand, I like the idea of building a 2x2 display board where my legion storms a muddy battlefield to breach a hole in some massive wall (which the Imperial Fists do very well).  On the other hand, most of games are currently Zone Mortalis games, and therefore happen inside on steel-plated decks (which the Imperial Fists also do very well!).  So, I'm not sure if the Moritat should be on deck-plates or dirt.

Once I decide, I'll post some pictures of the "final" product.

Thanks for reading!