Wednesday, March 28, 2018

House Mortimer

The Imperial Knights Sally Forth

Imperial Knights House Mortimer from old Epic 40,000 or Space Marine, 1990

Imperial Knights were introduced as a prominent faction for Space Marine (the precursor to Epic 40,000 released around 1990). This initial release laid the groundwork for the Questor Imperialis faction we now know and love today in Warhammer 40,000. The first Imperial Knights were kept quite vague - they served the Imperium, inhabited feudal worlds and behaved...well, like knights. Officially, much like one half of the 2013 revamped versions, they owed fealty to a specific Forge World and thus supported the Adeptus Mechanicus and their Titan Legions. The medieval heraldry and overall aesthetic was spot-on for Warhammer 40,000’s gothic future setting, but beyond the broad strokes we didn’t get a ton of information about who piloted them, why they fight, or to what degree they were involved in Imperial affairs. 

House Mortimer was one of those original knight houses, bearing a garish yellow and purple paint scheme, their heraldry consisting of scrolls of text and tyranid bio-forms. Today some players choose to interpret this as an entire knight house infected by a Genestealer Cult...but I believe that House Mortimer fought in the Tyrannic Wars, taking their heraldry from many victories over Tyranid forces. The Genestealer Cult had not yet been invented when Imperial Knights were first unveiled - they arrived a year later in 1991. But “Hive War” - the expansion which introduced Tyranids to the Epic 40,000/Space Marine battlefield, came at the same time as Imperial Knights - thus reinforcing my theory. 

Forging the Narrative

House Mortimer Heraldry, Imperial Knights Warhammer 40,000
House Mortimer’s Coat of Arms
I relish freedom when creating a new 40k army, but at the same time, I like being associated with canon in one way or another - so House Mortimer is ideal for the way I play Warhammer 40,000. It’s all about the story, the epic clash between armies and characters for me, but it’s also about “your dudes” - I’m not big on special characters, and I’m not big on playing an army that is rigidly constrained by the official storyline of a game. “Nu-uh! Your Farsight Enclaves T’au couldn’t have fought against my Blood Pact army because the Eastern Fringe is nowhere near the Sabbat Worlds sector!” is a juvenile argument and kind of annoying to hear, but you see what I mean when canon clashes with creativity. 

There’s always been ONE thing that shone like a beacon in the night, a phrase which first showed up in 6th or 7th edition: Forge The Narrative. It’s such a simple, yet effective way of reinforcing what Warhammer, in all its forms, has always been about: creating an army that’s truly your own, a reflection of your personality, your creativity and your ideals, and waging war amidst the backdrop of the grimdark future of the 41st millennium. 

And so it was that my House Mortimer Knights were born. Although I’ve played many other armies before and since, that was the one force that always resonated most with me. It’s not about power, it’s not about winning games - and believe me, I caught my fair share of flak for fielding an army entirely made out of superheavy walkers - it’s about the lore, the story, and the hobby all coming together as one.

Baron Tybalt Mortimer

Imperial Knight pilot - Baron Tybalt Mortimer
 When I started my House Mortimer, I chose a Baron to lead - not a High King or Lord, so if GW ever fills in the fluff, I’ve got some leeway. Thus was born Baron Tybalt Mortimer, whose name I embellished further with titles tying him to the Tyrannic Wars, as well as battles I fought at my local hobby shop Games Workshop Blue Diamond in Las Vegas, and later Astral Games in Medford, Oregon and my personal favorite, Guardian Games in my hometown of Portland. In the end he was christened Baron Tybalt Mortimer, Slayer of the Progenitrix, Marshal of the Sanctic Host.

I have a weird fixation with commanders popping out of the hatch on their tank, mech, war machine, etc - I think it adds a lot of character, and I wanted to convey that with my first Knight. I used a Knight Paladin as his personal suit of armor, the Foehammer. It slew many enemies big and small with its battle cannon, reaper chainsword, and stomping feet ( much with the heavy stubbers). For Tybalt himself, surveying the battlefield, hatch open to reveal his Throne Mechanicum, I used a Death Korps of Krieg command squad miniature, holding a data-slate, and a spare arm that worked surprisingly well gripping the handrail outside the cockpit hatch. His head came from a Luminark of Hysh/Celestial Hurricanum kit from the Warhammer Fantasy Empire/Age of Sigmar Free Peoples range. I felt the goggles fit well and he looked...well not classically noble, but grimdark noble - a bit thin, weedy, possibly inbred, etc. It worked. 

Imperial Knight Paladin Warhammer 40,000
His Knight Paladin suit is posed standing with one foot triumphantly stomping on the corpse of a slain Tyranid Warrior, and I went to extreme measures in weathering the armor with a deep, verdigris appearance inspired by the Statue of Liberty, using Nihilakh Oxide over bronze and brass. I kept the House Mortimer paint scheme of yellow and purple present - bedecking both shoulder plates, the head cowling, and one of the ankle plates. 

I figured the Baron’s suit would be truly ancient, so I weathered it even further with a good amount of Typhus Corrosion, Ryza Rust, Agrax Earthshade, and even Agrellan Earth - that last one of which I found a very interesting use for. In some instances I applied it in patches onto the hull, allowing it to crackle and split apart as it’s supposed to, then shaded over with Agrax Earthshade and Typhus Corrosion, and drybrushed with Ryza Rust. This created the perfect effect for worn out, weathered rusty metal - the kind that’s started to chip and flake. 

Ser Godwin Mortimer

Warhammer 40,000 Imperial Knight Paladin Superheavy Walker

I imagined Ser Godwin Mortimer, Seneschal to Baron Tybalt Mortimer, the Reaper of Nox Quintus, to be an aggressive, stalwart noble with a penchant for close combat, despite his Knight Paladin’s long-range focus, his battle cannon all but forgotten as he charges into the fray with reaper chainsword at the ready. 

This Knight was easily my most extensively re-posed, but looks absolutely stunning on the tabletop and was balanced very well - it’s hard to tell due to the poor picture quality (all images after this blog post have been taken with a much newer, better camera and a lightbox setup) but there’s a supporting rod attached to his right foot, keeping him supported. 

Ser Godwin Mortimer, Warhammer 40,000 Imperial Knights Questor Imperialis Army
In painting Ser Godwin Mortimer, I made the suit even more damaged and weathered than the other two, no doubt due to the pilot’s recklessness in battle. While the House colors are concentrated purely on the helmet, shield, and tabard, I am quite proud of the freehand and transfer work that went into them. I hand-painted the circular tyranid bio-form motif on the shield, as well as the word “Mortimer” underneath it - while I’m far from a pro painter, it was a nice challenge to tackle. 

All of the Imperial Knights I worked on featured reposing and subtle conversions, kitbashing, and a few additional elements to really hammer home their individual personality and quirks. Ser Godwin here has a small angel of death statue atop his Knight’s carapace armor (borrowed from a Dark Angels kit), and the cowling above his suit’s head has a large skull sculpture.

Squire Reginald Mortimer

The Knight Errant, the final suit of my original three, is both the first I built, and my least favorite. Usually when I build a kit for the first time (especially a complex vehicle like an Imperial Knight) I build it precisely as instructed....which is probably why I like it the least. The Knight kit is still exceptional and a blast to build, but the pose I elected for feels rather static, and thus Squire Reginald is my lowest-ranking Knight. 

Imperial Knight Errant House Mortimer

Nevertheless, when it came to painting, I lavished attention and detail to the suit. I did some more freehand work on the shield, and paid special attention to the right pauldron, taking another Tyranid symbol - a genestealer or termagant head - and applying it to the Knight’s personal heraldry. You’ll notice the rather prominent maker’s plate on the left ankle - the red plate displaying date and location of manufacture. Each of these Knights have one, at different locations. I found that an interesting bit of detail to add to each, and the Imperial Knight transfer sheet is full of really fun details like that. 


Tybalt Mortimer’s heraldry boasted the coiled wyrm-form representing his House’s service in the Tyrannic Wars, as well as Adeptus Mechanicus sigils, cog-symbols, etc. 
Tybalt’s left pauldron bore a modified Opus Machina - the Cog and Skull icon of the Adeptus Mechanicus,  one half of the skull human, the other Genestealer (poorly hand-painted...alas). I had some fun painting the heraldic colors over Agrellan Earth - the cracked paint making this perfect effect for heavy, laquered armor paint worn over millennia. 

Squire Reginald proudly displays the heraldry of his house: half of the Mechanicus Cog and Skull, as well as a Tyranid head shape, and the double-ringed cog that I chose to symbolize House Mortimer’s homeworld (whatever that may be) and their allegiance to the Forge World they supply.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Sally Forth

Well 2017 wasn’t exactly a banner year for my hobby, a lot of misfortune and a lot of hardship meant I wasn’t even remotely able to work on Godhead Aquila. 2018 too has been off to a slow start, but I feel a change in the wind coming...and the thunderous footfalls of Questor Imperialis - the Imperial Knights - are on the horizon once again!

Adepticon 2018 kicked off with a huge bang, GW dropped a bombshell: two new Imperial Knight kits are releasing alongside the 8th edition Codex next month! We’ve already seen the Armiger Warglaive backing up Adeptus Mechanicus forces in Forgebane, but now...the Knight Castellan, a bigger, badder knight bristling with guns, a veritable walking battleship (sorry, T'au Stormsurge....) that looks like it could rival a Warhound or Reaver Titan in terms of sheer firepower. Needless to say, I’m psyched.

House Mortimer is my allegiance of choice. My Imperial Knight army in the last couple of editions were my pride and joy until financial problems led to me selling them off with a heavy heart. This will not be so. I will rebuild House Mortimer as i’ve always dreamed, and my Baron, Tybalt Mortimer, will lead the charge with nobless oblige from the helm of a Knight Castellan, flanked by his brothers in arms bedecked in Knight Armiger, Paladin, Errant, Warden and every other mark of holy mechanized armour.

My original force consisted of three Imperial Knights: two Paladins and an Errant, representing Baron Tybalt Mortimer, his Seneschal Godwin Mortimer, and a younger Squire Reginald. 
Tybalt Mortimer, Baron of House Mortimer, Slayer of the Progenitrix and Marshall of the Sanctic Host. Equipped with a Knight Paladin suit, Foehammer.

Godwin Mortimer, Second Cousin and Seneschal to Baron Tybalt Mortimer, the Reaper of Nox Quintus. Knight Paladin suit Lament of Eons. This model shows my full, completed paint scheme circa 2013-14 (sorry about the fuzzy quality). My House Mortimer used the traditional color scheme of yellow and purple with Tyranid bio-forms as a part of their heraldry. However, I went heavily weathered on my suits - both to reflect that Mortimer is one of the earliest Imperial Knight factions GW ever showed, and that Knight suits are tens of thousands of years old, and, while lovingly maintained by Sacristans, still bear battle damage and the patina of millennia of usage.

Now, in 2018 here I’ve already purchased new Imperial Knights - three Armiger Warglaives and a Knight Warden. Once they’re up for preorder I’ll be adding a Castellan and of course the Codex. I’ll be going into the army in more detail here in the next few days and weeks as I’m blogging more regularly, so keep your vox dials tuned to this station!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Narrative - Countdown to Reckoning.

“Throne damn it!” Bastonne Sol swore, yanking his hand away from a faulty wire and sucking his left thumb, part of the one organic limb he had left, and the electrocuted digit throbbed with a sharp jolt of pain. He glanced into the corner of his eye, the ever-present noospheric display overlaying his vision ticking up one number, verbal sin-counter in the upper corner keeping track of his every minor heresy. 

He glowered, turning his attention back to his work, rerouting auxiliary power from the main console through the power plant in one of his servitor charges. The main console lights flickered from red to green and he smiled, “By the Emperor’s grace…” he trailed off, flipping several switches. The sin-counter redacted a number, assuaged by the utterance. Down to 139…and the day’s only half over. Sol wondered why he’d bothered to install that thing in the first place…back when he was younger and less cynical, maybe. 

The Emperor’s grace indeed. He spat onto the floor grating, gritting his teeth. It had been two hundred and fifty-six rotations since arriving on the accursed hellscape that was Armageddon. The once-proud hive world had seen better days, and Bastonne Sol was not feeling particularly blessed by his assignment here. 

“Two hundred and fifty-seven days…” He growled to nobody in particular. He had been assigned to Godhead Aquila without warning, reassigned from a research mission in the Ghoul Stars, far from Armageddon and even farther from the legio’s forgeworld of Voss Prime - neither Sol’s native forgeworld nor one he frequented. His assignment had felt rushed, desperate even, the Mechanicum Synod that had ordered it did so with little fanfare or even the auspicious, holy writ commonplace to the Adeptus Mechanicus. 

Now, the Tech-Priest was the adjunct replacement aboard a Titan he didn’t know, on a planet he loathed, serving alongside a Titan Legion he’d only heard of by reputation: Legio Ivigilatum, the Emperor’s Guard. Everyone and their mum believes themselves to be the Emperor’s so and so these days….his shields or his swords or his scythes or his wardens or his bloody watchdogs. He half-heartedly wished the Imperium would wise up and worship the omnissiah with that same singleminded fervor, but logic and experience had taught him that dim-witted commoners believed in one god at a time, there was never enough room for more. The tech-priest grimaced again, then relaxed as he realized he’d said none of that out loud, the sin-counter remained stationary, only picking up on verbal cues. 

Sol’s thoughts were disrupted as a heavy thud and the bang of metal echoed through the engine chamber, the Titan swaying precariously. Not the usual rolling motion that came with the titanic god-machine’s footsteps - the tech-priest had long since upgraded his augmetic legs with gyro-stabilization. No, this was unmistakably the impact of a high caliber shell on the superstructure. His noosphere overlay flashed up a warning in red: 

 Estimated 180mm Tungsten Penetrator Shell, demolisher cannon equivalent. Numerous imperfections, xenos category- Ork. No internal damage. Void shield down, armor intact. 

Godhead Aquila rocked, no doubt turning towards the aggressor. Bastonne Sol placed a hand on a nearby support strut, his mechanical hand, ingrained sensorium nodes and data-feeds reporting back to him every imperfection, every weld and rivet of the cold-forged metal read to him in calming, binary psalm-code, the very scripture of the machine, holy and sacred. “By the Emperor’s grace…
He inhaled deeply, auto-senses sampling the tang of chordite, the ozone of frayed wiring, the acrid salt-waft of his own sweat from his few remaining organic parts “…and the Omnissiah’s will.” 

The sin counter tallied down again. Outside, the reverberating staccato of small-arms impacting on the hull picked up pace. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

The First Miniatures

There they are. The first miniatures of the crew: Princeps Absalom Kite and the first two Moderatii (roles and names pending). Forgeworld models are always gorgeously detailed, though it looks like these three will need some cleaning before they’re ready for the table.

Obviously for Inq28 and Shadow War Armageddon, stock models are never good enough! I’ll be giving each of these a personal touch, adding character and detail to make them truly unique members of my planned warband.

Noe for Inq28 these characters are individualized and equipped a bit more freely. For Shadow War Armageddon however, I suppose I’ll be using the Astra Militarum list - the princeps representing a veteran sergeant and the moderatii representing various ranks of guardsmen. That way I can add in other combatants and specialists including a techpriest representing Bastonne Sol, the adept in the engine room of Godhead Aquila.

More updates to come as we make progress here. However, I’m in the process of moving so my bits box and equipment is packed for a moment - should be back online and updating more frequently in a couple weeks, so stay tuned!.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Project

So what is Godhead Aquila, exactly? Godhead Aquila is a passion project born of nearly 20 years of love for Warhammer 40,000.

My name is Sam Nolton, I’m a game designer, hobbyist, gamer and writer. Despite over 30 rejected applications to Games Workshop, I still hope to work for the company some day, translating my love of the world they’ve created into a career in writing or design - but until that day comes, I will still embrace my passion for the 41st millennium in the ways that speak to me most.

As-Yet Unnamed Knight-Seneschal who will
 be joining the crew of Godhead Aquila in their journey.
This blog, named for the eponymous Warlord-Class Titan mentioned in the past two posts, will be chronicling the journey from end to beginning (yes, you heard that right) of the crew behind the god-machine, starting with an Inq28 warband (or a kill team for the upcoming Shadow War: Armageddon game) after their titan is felled during the 3rd War for Armageddon. Made up of the surviving crewmen including Princeps Absalom Kite, Tech-Priest Bastonne Sol, and the Moderatii crewmen, as well as allied men and women in service of the Emperor, this ragtag group is nonetheless determined to complete their holy mission.

Further on down the line, sometime later this year, I will be exploring the Titan Legio associated - the Legio Invigilata or “Emperor’s Guard” - first for the upcoming game Adeptus Titanicus and later as a full 40k-scale Titan battlegroup.

Occasionally one-off projects like this mutant overlord may make it onto this blog
As the story grows and expands, and the characters are explored, I will show my progress on this blog with conversions, paint schemes, and character profiles. This will also be supplemented with narrative snippets - short stories and the like to explore the narrative from the Godhead Aquila’s forging to its eventual fall on Armageddon.

Every now and again I’ll also be displaying other side-projects and sharing my thoughts on the hobby, painting, and converting miniatures.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Godhead Aquila

Godhead Aquila
Mars-Pattern Warlord Titan
Legio Invigilata - “The Emperor’s Guard”

Primary Armament: Arm-Mounted Saturnyne Lascutter, Arm-Mounted Arioch Power Claw, Two Carapace-Mounted Twin-Linked Vulcan Mega-Bolters 

Princeps Majoris - Absalom Kite
Moderatii - Primaris Fairfax, Navigator Holloway, Sensorius Coburn, Oratorius Lindel 
Clades - Tech-Priest Bastonne Sol, 9 Mono-Task Servitors

Service Dates: 374.M31 - 999.M41 
Battlezone: Armageddon

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Vox Link Active

:Vox Link Active: 
:Initialize Uplink to Voss Prime Noosphere: 
:Ref/Collegia Titanica/999.M41/Armageddon:

*Transmission Begins* 

- Sounds of las fire, heavier ordnance, et al. - 

“ - no time for proper authorization codes, the servo-skulls will suffice!” *sounds of coughing, shuddering metal* “This is Bastonne Sol, Tech-Priest adjunct aboard Godhead Aquila, two-hundred and fifty-seventh rotation, Armageddon campaign. Situation untenable, greenskin presence over one hundred times approximated resistance, multiple Gargant-class weapons platforms. Repeat, multiple Gargant-class weapons platforms in the target vicinity. At least one Mega-Gargant on site. Request immediate reprisal!” 

-  Heavy impact, metallic sounds, gunfire - 

“ Confirm, two Imperial titan assets disabled. Requiem Nox, Revenant-class destroyed. Impetus, Warhound-class disabled, immobilized. Three Imperial Knights, Questoris-class, active in fire-zone - insufficient support.” 

- Another heavy impact, alarm klaxons, mangled vox static - 

“Titan down. Repeat, Titan down.” 

:Vox Link Terminated: 
:Initiate Recovery Protocols - Sanction Alpha:

Thought for the Day: Inhibition is absolution.