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1 Votes - 5 Average   The Legion of Astragoth
Author MessageThe Legion of Astragoth
Xander
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Post: #61
RE: The Legion of AstragothXander 04-01-2014

Awesome job on the Bull Centaurs! They certainly are enormous compared to their 4th edition counterparts!

Quick question: how many Ikea display cases do you have? I count at least 3! Happy

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04-01-2014 12:02 PM
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Thommy H
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Post: #62
RE: The Legion of AstragothThommy H 04-01-2014

Yep, three. Dark Angels, Lord of the Rings and Sisters of Battle in the first, then a miscellaneous shelf with my Cygor, wedding diorama and some odds and ends, Chaos Dwarfs, Emma's Wood Elves and Bretonnians in the middle one and finally Vampire Counts and Warriors of Chaos at the end. Quite a bit of stuff!


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04-01-2014 12:42 PM
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Thommy H
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Post: #63
RE: The Legion of AstragothThommy H 04-18-2014

The Magmafiend

The slaves carrying Astragoth’s palanquin laboured up the black scree of the slope until they at last attained the ridge, where Baggronor and Rykarth awaited him. The palanquin was lowered to the ground and the slaves stepped backwards, kneeling and adopting a posture of cowering obeisance. Astragoth squinted at the murky horizon and curled his lip. “So…”

“It is as the scouts reported,” Baggronor said, “a considerable force.”

“I see that.” Astragoth stroked his beard. In the distance, the grim spire of the Black Fortress pierced the grey sky. The earth here was like black shale, shattered by centuries of strip mining and lava bubbled up from volcanic geysers all around, forming glowing streams that stood out in stark contrast to the bleak surroundings. The air was filled with choking fumes and there was a constant pall of smoke and ash hanging over the jagged terrain between their camp and their destination. But all that was irrelevant, for in the valley below them was another camp, and with it another army. The small shapes of armoured figures roamed between the magma rivers, and the clash of metal could be heard – smithing, training, or something more dangerous altogether.

Rykarth frowned down at the army whose presence was completely unexpected here. Their numbers were as great as the Legion of Astragoth. “Are these the allies of Drazhoath? The Northmen we have heard tell of?”

Astragoth shook his head. Each time he moved there was a creak like stones grinding against one another. “These are not servants of this so-called Maggot Lord. They serve a master different from he. If they marched alongside the traitor Drazhoath and his ally, they would be in the vanguard. Yet they are here.”

It was hard to make out details from this distance – Rykarth was surprised the ancient Sorcerer Lord’s eyesight was good enough to see anything at all – but as a chance burst of steam from a rent in the ground caused the toxic miasma to shift slightly, he saw that the armour worn by the warriors was red and brass. “They are worshippers of the Blood God,” he said.

“Yes.” Baggronor’s hands moved uneasily on the haft of his mace. “The best fighters amongst the Northmen. But what are they doing here? Their lands are hundreds of leagues away…”

“I know this force,” Astragoth said, “I have seen their banners before. They are the Destroyer Cult, the servants of the Skull-Priests of Khorne. They make great pilgrimages in pursuit of battle.”

“If that is what they desire, they have found it.” Baggronor lifted his weapon in challenge.

“Did they come to plunder the Black Fortress?” Rykarth asked. “If we know of Drazhoath’s treachery and his alliance with the Maggot Lord, surely they would too?”

“Yes,” Astragoth mused, his greying hands returning to his beard. “This is no coincidence. No army of Khorne would march so far to attack a lightly-held fortress. Where is the glory in that? No, they did not come for the Legion of Azgorh – they came for us.”

“How could that be?” Baggronor demanded. “To have come from the Chaos Wastes and arrived here before us, they must have left long before we set out from Zharr-Naggrund…”

Rykarth shifted his weight as he leant on his ensorcelled axe. The Chaos Warriors’ encampment was far more disordered than their own, and yet there was a sense of purpose to the layout. If he looked carefully, it seemed as if the rows of tents formed the shape of Khorne’s skull rune, and the lava trails seemed to be following the same paths. Great power was shifting somewhere above their heads as the Winds of Magic spilled down from the far north. He saw large shapes shambling through the ranks of armoured warriors and barbarian tribesmen too – trolls and ogres, and other, stranger creatures. A cry on the infernal wind made him glance upwards and he saw a shape in the sky coming from the direction of the Black Fortress. For a moment he thought it was a Great Taurus, but he realised immediately afterwards that that couldn’t be the case. This was some monster in thrall to their enemies. “What is that?” he asked.

“A manticore,” Astragoth said. “A dread beast of the mountains. The Destroyer Cult keep many such creatures in the dungeons and fighting pits of the Brass Keeps.”

“No beast of Chaos is a match for our forces,” Baggronor snorted, “our lines will hold, no matter what is thrown against them.”

Astragoth let out a crackling chuckle. “Perhaps, my loyal Overlord, but many lives would be expended before that monster was brought down.”

“So send slaves.”

“Slaves would flee as soon as it landed before them, even with their overseers whipping them from behind.”

“What of the Dreadborn?” Rykarth asked.

“They will be needed elsewhere.” He pointed across the valley. “Look – those things of iron and brass are Juggernauts, and the knights that ride them are the mightiest of Khorne’s followers, the Skullcrushers. You see, that is how they will attack: their bound monsters will fall from the skies and charge towards us. We will exhaust our ammunition and bodies fighting back that assault, and then the bulk of their army would crash into us. But we will not stand idly and wait for their attack. We have tools of our own the equal of theirs.”

“We have no Tauruses,” Rykarth said, “and our artillery will never shoot that beast from the sky.”

“Indeed. But there is another weapon. Baggronor,” he barked, “gather my Pyrophants and Daemonsmiths. Have them assemble at the vault. Tell them it is time to rouse the Magmafiend.” His eyes glinted with a fell red light.

*
In a part of the camp that Rykarth had not been to before, they found Baggronor and the Sorcerers waiting by a great object: a towering cube of veined obsidian etched with strange runes he could not read. He was immediately wary, but Astragoth ordered his slaves to bear him forward to within a few feet of the slab-sided box. Baggronor stepped back and stood beside him. The two warriors had not exchanged many words since the arrival of the Granite Guard, but Rykarth knew of the Overlord’s dire reputation for savagery and battle prowess. “This is an auspicious day,” Baggronor said in a low voice.

“I have little appetite for sorcery,” Rykarth replied.

“Then what of that axe you bear? I thought the Immortals were made of sterner stuff…”

“An axe is one thing…this is quite another…”

“Our place is not to question our Lord, only to follow. No matter what path that may lead us down.”

Rykarth looked up at the ominous shape of the vault. Ice crystals were visible on its edges, and he saw now that a human in rags crouched at the base of the near wall. He was chained and gagged, but from his pale skin and the remnants of his clothes, he looked like one of the men of Kislev. Rykarth had ignored him automatically, but he realised he was more than an ordinary slave. Though he could not see the Winds of Magic, he sensed some power emanating from the emaciated figure. The air was distinctly chilly, despite the bubbling magma fields close by. A Daemonsmith stepped up and casually backhanded the ice wizard across the face, sending him sprawling into the dirt. Immediately the ice began to recede.

“Let it be done,” Astragoth rumbled.

Struggling slaves were tossed towards the Sorcerers by masked Hellforge Guard and the Pyrophants slit their throats without preamble, splashing bloods across the sides of the vault. The runes, previously inert, began to glow with a dull red light. Rykarth took a step backwards. The Daemonsmiths began to chant and move their hands in strange shapes, while the Pyrophants let up a sonorous dirge that sent a shiver down his spine. Astragoth simply sat in his throne, his gaze intent on the burning sigils. His slaves trembled on their knees beside him. As the Sorcerers’ voices grew louder, the atmosphere changed, as if infused with unseen power. The air seemed to crackle and the hairs on Rykarth’s beard stood out stiffly. He grit his teeth and tightened his grip on his axe. The runes were brighter now, turning orange, yellow and finally white and he had to look away, blinking purple spots from his vision.

“Ghaz your’kag’rugh,” Astragoth said, his voice still as low and cracked as ever, but now with a strange echoing resonance behind it. “Drezh’khal’m’gorgh ash’zurd zharr’morg’uz’gruhn k’daai en’shan h’tharz’n’daai…”

As he uttered the last syllable, there was an enormous cracking sound. Rykarth stared as the front wall of the vault was outlined in ruddy light and then fell forward. For a moment it looked as if it would crush Astragoth and the Sorcerers, but it dissipated in mid-tumble, consumed by its own inner light, and the other walls did likewise as they burst outwards. In place of the great stone cube crouched a hulking shape of iron and gromril, nothing more than a jumble of parts, suffused with an odd inner glow. “Look,” Baggronor breathed.

Rykarth turned his gaze upwards and saw to his horror a great fiery vortex forming over the apparent pile of scrap. It seemed as if it was being pulled inexorably downwards, forming into a spout like a tornado, but of fire instead of wind. It was drawn into the metal hulk and then, with an ear-wrenching scream, disappeared. Nothing happened for a long moment, but then something stirred in the heap. It began to move, pulling itself up into the semblance of a bull, but it was hollow, skeletal, a thing of twisted metal bones. Rykarth had to fight his instincts to attack this dread fiend. Fire ghosted across its armoured plates. It was as if the world held its breath and then…

…a great shockwave was sent outwards, matched only by the thunderous scream that emanated from the iron beast. Rykarth was blasted from his feet, as were Baggronor and the other Sorcerers. Astragoth, steady in his palanquin, had not moved, and his face was lit with an unwholesome glee. “Yes!” he cackled, “Rise! Rise!”

The thing before him had changed. Now its form was filled out with sinewy muscle, laid over pistons and melding with its armour plates so that Rykarth could not tell where beast began and machine ended. It was no thing of mortal flesh though, for its body glowed like magma, and it radiated heat. The chimneys bristling from its back released a burst of reeking smoke, and the daemonic faces forged into them lit with a hellish light. It reared up on its hooves and then unclenched its forelimbs to reveal jagged claws that no bull had ever borne. Its great head, though still horned, pushed itself into a reptilian snout and a sinuous metal tongue emerged from between its black, steel fangs. Rykarth stared at the misshapen creation and could see the corruption emerging from it. Even one such as he, a Dawi’Zharr of the Tower of Fire and Desolation, steeped in evil magic and terror, recoiled at the way the entity’s natural form seemed to be taking control of its prison of iron, warping its shape.

Baggronor had scrambled back up to his feet. “Run,” he growled at Rykarth.

“Why? It is chained down…”

“Do you think those will hold it for long?”

“What about Lord Astragoth?”

“He is still in control.”

“Then why are we in danger?”

“You have been too long out of service of a Sorcerer Lord, Immortal.” He helped Rykarth up to his feet. “The Magmafiend hungers, and it is more valuable than you or I…”

They backed away as the Magmafiend began to claw its way forward. It strained at the heavy chains drilled into the ground that held it and, with a whine of tortured metal, they snapped. It flexed its great muscles and roared again, causing the air to waver in the heat haze. The Kislevite wizard was crouched in a ball to one side, hands over his head. The Sorcerers had fled. Astragoth remained where he was though. Around the mighty infernal engine, the earth had shattered and lava welled up to the surface. No longer did it follow the paths set out by nature and geology though: instead, the power of the ritual that had birthed it had left its mark, and the Magmafiend advanced from the glowing shape of a Chaos Star. To Rykarth, it seemed an ill omen.












Out of focus headshot:



Gratuitous lava shot:



This was a lot of fun, although I had some issues with the colour scheme. I did the metals first and I was really happy with them, but when I started doing the flesh I couldn’t quite settle on what to do. Originally I was going to do it black with red extremities (like the Bull Centaurs), then I decided to go with straight red, mostly because it would be more satisfying to paint! I was planning to do it like the Immortals’ cloaks, which is one of my favourite shades to paint, but halfway through, because I was also doing the glowing bits at the same time (the vents in his chest and the chimney stacks) I thought I’d highlight right up to yellow. This left him a bit too red for the rest of my army though, so I tried to get some more blue in by doing another blue glaze over his armour. I’m not quite sure it’s worked if I’m absolutely honest, but with the base he fits in well enough, and there is a background and rules justification for why he looks a bit…magma-ey…

The model itself is obviously a Chaos Space Marine Maulerfiend. I’ve only made a couple of changes to it, by adding some horns from the Ghorgon/Cygor kit, and a last-minute change to using the Forgefiend feet instead of the Magmafiend’s toes (an idea I got from JMR’s similar conversion – I wish I’d checked his before I started building though because I would’ve used a tendril for a tail like he did instead of the 40K-ish wires it has by default, but they were stuck too fast to change, unlike the feet which were easy to swap). The spaces for his lasher tendrils are covered with the ubiquitous Chaos Marauder shields which are just the right size, and the chains are taken from various sources – the Chaos Manticore rider (ironically the Magmafiend’s nemesis according to the story above…), Empire Flagellants and bits of Chaos Marauder flail.

All in all, I think he turned out pretty well.

Moving on, I’ve also done something that’s been suggested to me since I started this thread, which is to sort out my movement trays. The idea I discussed back then – using the new Citadel texture paints in place of the gravel – was exactly what I tried and, amazingly, it turns out it mimics my bases almost exactly! I’m actually sort of annoyed because it’s so much easier than what I was doing, and looks basically the same. If I do another big infantry unit, I’ll do their bases this way instead. That said, I’m not sure you’re supposed to use this stuff exactly like I did, because I had to really slather it on and probably used about a third of the pot just on these!







Full army shot:



Getting pretty big now, although I don’t have enough Core any more. I need a big unit of Hobgoblins I think, and I’m trying to decide how best to do them. I have a few options I’m mulling over. Unfortunately, it’s now a pretty tight fit in my cabinet for these guys, and they may need to expand onto another shelf if I buy any more units! Getting them all in there today was a fun mathematical exercise as I shifted units around and tried to find some combination that would accommodate all of them…

Next job though is going to be the long-awaited sprucing up of the Hellcannon. I’m thinking I’ll keep the colour scheme the same, but I may well change my mind about that.


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04-18-2014 03:53 PM
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Skink
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Post: #64
RE: The Legion of AstragothSkink 04-18-2014

The trays really do justice to your wonderful units.

The Magmafiend is absolutely gorgeous! One of the best conversions based on the Forgefiend I've seen. Only minor critic might be that his skin could use a little bit more highlighting... And maybe you can put some skulls or Chaos Warriors bits on his base, just to spice it up a little bit!


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04-18-2014 04:27 PM
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Admiral
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Post: #65
RE: The Legion of AstragothAdmiral 04-18-2014

Nice paintjob and good choice and conversion of model. The horns were most appropriate. It makes a difference, as I can tell from using my friend's 40k Forgefiend as K'daai. Nice movement tray as well, though expensive in special effect paint from the sounds of it.

That Chaos Star lava base is supreme. Like it or not, that and previous great paintjobs earns you 20 slaves at once.

As for the background... You're good at proving my point. Tongue Wink

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This post was last modified: 04-18-2014 04:35 PM by Admiral.

04-18-2014 04:34 PM
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Yodrin
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Post: #66
RE: The Legion of AstragothYodrin 04-18-2014

Love your army - colors, pain job and conversions!!!! Great job Thommy



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04-18-2014 04:51 PM
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Thommy H
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Post: #67
RE: The Legion of AstragothThommy H 04-19-2014

Thanks for the nice comments, guys. I'm still a bit conflicted about the Magmafiend's colour scheme, but it sounds like you all think it works okay, so no worries!

Admiral: I'm glad you like the stories. I doubt the Black Library would touch it though, since Chaos Dwarfs still occupy a pretty nebulous position in GW's marketing strategy. I also think you're overestimating its appeal somewhat! I'm happy with the stories and I'm enjoying writing them, but I don't think they exactly set the world on fire. It's just context for the models.


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The Legion of Astragoth | The Dark Crusade of Mousillon | The Destroyer Cult | Les Défenseurs du Béniterre | Storm Over Béniterre | Force Belial

My rules:
Chaos Dwarfs Warscroll Compendium


04-19-2014 05:56 AM
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Post: #68
RE: The Legion of AstragothBen Saunders 04-19-2014

That Magmafiend is awesome. Other than the horns, I see some Marauder shields on the sides. Anything else converted or is it used almost as-is? That's not to diminish what you've done: I'm amazed that you achieved something so fitting with just a few subtle touches and the paint scheme. That is just as impressive as a far more complex conversion.

04-19-2014 01:28 PM
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Post: #69
RE: The Legion of AstragothBilly Ocean 04-19-2014

Ha coincidently I have done the exact same thing putting chaos shields over those holes in the Forgefiend's sides. I'm working on mine at the moment, it will probably end up looking quite similar to yours. Looks great by the way, its such a perfect model for the K'daai and provides a great centerpiece for your army. The lava chaos star on the base is a really nice touch.

And yes the writing is great as always, I read all your fluff and really enjoy it.


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04-19-2014 02:11 PM
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Admiral
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Post: #70
RE: The Legion of AstragothAdmiral 04-19-2014

Thommy, I've read a lot throughout the years and it is not without careful consideration I consider you one of the better writers I've come across. At least that is true in the short story format, I'll discover your full-length novel later on when it's time for an overseas book order again. Though it's obvious you're capable of even higher quality those stories still bring the world of the Chaos Dwarfs to life like few others. At least I think they stand above much of Black Library's production, and that's not necessarily intended as a snarky remark against their authors.

I'm pretty sure that even a shorter period of serious writing and polishing of existing material would give you a good novel capable of rivalling Matthew Farrer's work for 40k. Potential Chaos Dwarf books are a true niche market, but niche still sells and give you something for the portfolio/CV. I've written short pieces of parodical stuff for my mates' consumption (jokes, some in-jokes, but really elaborate ones), yet when returning to it by accident later on and due to forgetfulness almost reading them objectively for the first time I find that the frivolous things there made a better read than quite some stories which pass the printing press. Context for miniatures does not equal poor stories, however much more polished they'd be in their final form.

Somehow I come to think of Asimov, who abandoned his Foundation series (1940s) after the trilogy due to failing interest of his own in it as well as poor contracts. Eventually his readers managed to pressure his publishers into paying him handsomely for what would turn out to be four more Foundation novels in the 80s and 90s. This is not an available option in your case, sadly. Tongue

I'm aware of GW's probable view of Chaos Dwarfs, but on the other hand any attempt at delving into their background should be undertaken only by skilled authors with the right mind to grasp what they're all about. The same would go for faraway places like Ind and Cathay. If anyone was to delve into CDs for Black Library, I'd want that author to be you, due to proven quality in stories about the subject.

Just sayin'. I won't pester you more about it. Anyhow, it's great to see this army up in the workshop again and receiving a good treatment. Do you know what would be cool later on? One hell of a display board. Takes Hat off


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04-19-2014 06:40 PM
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Thommy H
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Post: #71
RE: The Legion of AstragothThommy H 04-19-2014

Ben Saunders Wrote:
That Magmafiend is awesome. Other than the horns, I see some Marauder shields on the sides. Anything else converted or is it used almost as-is? That's not to diminish what you've done: I'm amazed that you achieved something so fitting with just a few subtle touches and the paint scheme. That is just as impressive as a far more complex conversion.


Everything I did with it is detailed in the post above. It's basically as-is though. The horns make a surprising amount of difference to the feel of the model, I think.


Serial Writist - lots and lots of short fiction, written by me, regularly updated.

My models:
The Legion of Astragoth | The Dark Crusade of Mousillon | The Destroyer Cult | Les Défenseurs du Béniterre | Storm Over Béniterre | Force Belial

My rules:
Chaos Dwarfs Warscroll Compendium


04-19-2014 06:44 PM
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MadHatter
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Post: #72
RE: The Legion of AstragothMadHatter 04-19-2014

Wonderful work, as always. I love how the models are given a story...

I agree with Admiral, perhaps approaching GW? I would definately support a Kickstarter otherwise, just throwing it in here Happy


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04-19-2014 07:22 PM
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Thommy H
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Post: #73
RE: The Legion of AstragothThommy H 04-19-2014

Didn't see that post there, Admiral - I think we were posting at the same time!

I do appreciate your kind words. As a writer, the fact that you enjoy my work and think so highly of it is pretty much all I ask for. I write these particular stories for my own enjoyment because as I assemble and paint a miniature, it comes to life in my head. But I have sent some stuff to Black Library before (when they have the occasional open submission window) and never heard anything back. I might well be good enough to write for them - others have told me I have talent - but I'm not sure that's always evident in the context of a short fiction submissions. The truth is that I don't find either of GW's settings that inspiring - I'm not sure I could stomach writing a whole novel about the Old World, or even the 40K galaxy! I want to write for a living though, and that would be one way to make that happen, but these things are never easy. It's one thing to be a good writer: it's quite another to be a successful one.

So I am flattered by your faith in me. I don't personally see what's so great about these particular stories - I think they're demonstrably inferior to what I consider my "real" writing - but if you're this enthused about them I obviously have some sort of ability to breathe life into words!


Serial Writist - lots and lots of short fiction, written by me, regularly updated.

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04-19-2014 07:34 PM
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Ben Saunders
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Post: #74
RE: The Legion of AstragothBen Saunders 04-20-2014

Thommy H Wrote:
Everything I did with it is detailed in the post above. It's basically as-is though. The horns make a surprising amount of difference to the feel of the model, I think.


Sorry, I was obviously too distracted by the pretty pictures to take the text in. Again though I'm very impressed with the result given that's 'all' that you did. The horns in particular really do make a big difference.

04-20-2014 04:47 AM
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JMR
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Post: #75
RE: The Legion of AstragothJMR 04-21-2014

I agree with Admiral's words, Thommy. I really enjoy the short stories and fluff you write. It's why I liked your pointless armies/champions/compendium of Zharr books that you've posted recently; I'll never use them, but I sure enjoyed reading them.

My secret wish is for a full novel about a Dawi Zharr anti-hero. I've read Malus Darkblade, Neferata, van Horstmann and Skarsnik. I think Ghorth, Zhatan or Rykarth would fit in that line very nicely.
Never gonna happen, right? Wink


Oh, nice Infernal Engine by the way!


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04-21-2014 04:42 AM
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Admiral
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Post: #76
RE: The Legion of AstragothAdmiral 04-21-2014

How about a bribe then? There's always Kickstarter. Tongue Wink

Only joking. The more I think of it, the more awesome a display board for your army would be. That lava would guarantee it. Have you built terrain before?


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04-21-2014 05:13 AM
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Thommy H
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Post: #77
RE: The Legion of AstragothThommy H 04-21-2014

I'd do a kickstarter for some non-Chaos Dwarf writing, because I don't think GW would appreciate me trying to make money from their IP. Maybe persuade the real-life Baggronor to fund some new Titan Wargames projects that way? We did talk about writing a full skirmish game in the beginning. I think the C&D from GW kind of killed his enthusiasm though...

I've done some terrain, Admiral, but I'm a better painter than a modeler and I'm not sure I'd have anywhere to store a full display board! We'll see though. I'd definitely like to take some photos of this army (and my Chaos Warriors, whom they're gearing up to fight in that story) on appropriate terrain that matches their bases.


Serial Writist - lots and lots of short fiction, written by me, regularly updated.

My models:
The Legion of Astragoth | The Dark Crusade of Mousillon | The Destroyer Cult | Les Défenseurs du Béniterre | Storm Over Béniterre | Force Belial

My rules:
Chaos Dwarfs Warscroll Compendium


04-21-2014 05:48 AM
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Thommy H
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Post: #78
RE: The Legion of AstragothThommy H 04-27-2014

The Doomcannon

The tribesman had been taken captive some months ago and confinement had not suited him well. He was covered in filth and reeked of his own excrement and most likely some festering wound or other. It was an amusing irony that a devotee of the Pleasure God should end his days looking more like one of Father Nurgle’s servants. Nonetheless, fiery rage still burned in his eyes. A sword was thrust into his hand and he was shoved forward. He needed no more urging, yelling out a war cry in his native Kurgan and swinging the sword with a strength undimmed by his captivity. The confines of the low tent were not conducive to a lengthy battle, but Lord Riktus didn’t plan for this to take long. He sidestepped the first swing and drove his fist into the small of the Marauder’s back. The prisoner staggered and tried to turn around to confront his captor, but Riktus was much too fast for him. He grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and tossed him nonchalantly to the ground. The Marauder tried to stand but an armoured foot slammed into his chest and pinned him to the dirt. Riktus lowered himself so his knee was pressed against his victim’s throat and then, without apparent effort, forced his hand into the still-living man’s abdomen. The Blood God had gifted Lord Riktus, High Skull Priest, with this strength, and in return he asked only for the skulls of his enemies. This one’s would soon join the mountain Riktus had already amassed.

Screams of agony filled the tent along with the foul stink of faeces as the Marauder died slowly and horribly. Riktus pulled and tugged at the bloody viscera in the man’s gut and then dragged out intestines like wriggling pink eels which he threw across the ground. Blood poured from the ragged wound and the wet innards steamed. Risktus lifted his bloody fist in the air. The warriors gathered at the entrance looked at their master with awe as the dark fluid seemed to take on a life of its own, curling around his arm and forming gruesome tendrils. The Slaaneshi Marauder had ceased his screaming too and now stared at his own blood as it obeyed some unseen command from beyond the world of mortals.

“Khorne despises sorcery,” Riktus said. His voice was as sonorous as the grave, and the breath rasping in his broad, bare chest sounded like the rattling of bones – or skulls tumbling down a heap piled high enough to blot out the sun. “He respects only blood. But there is magic in blood and, like all the True Gods, even the Lord of Skulls requires the stuff of Chaos to sustain him and his servants.” Riktus drew back his hand and hurled it towards the pile of viscera. It detached itself like some hideous creature, floating through the air as languidly as some ethereal beast of the warm southern oceans. It settled over the mass of guts and coated it. The Marauder began to scream again as the blood began to bubble and hiss. His skin started to blister and blacken, and then crack like the tortured earth of the Dark Lands. Ruddy infernal light glowed through the fissures. His screams reached an ear-splitting crescendo and then stopped abruptly. The smoking remains of the unfortunate barbarian’s mouth clamped shut. All was silent in the tent. Riktus waited.

Slowly, with a crackle of scorched flesh and pop of charred bones, the remains of the Marauder sat up. Sightless eyes fixed on Riktus who walked over to his great brass throne and took a seat opposite the gruesome cadaver almost nonchalantly. He waited. Finally, the Marauder’s mouth fell open, his jaw dropping right to his chest, and an unfamiliar voice emerged from his gullet. It sounded thin, distant, as if being transmitted over a very great distance – which in fact it was.

“Can you hear me?” the voice asked.

“I hear you,” Riktus said with a thin smile. The deep red cowl he wore covered most of his face, but his sunken, pale jaw was visible.

“Is your force in position?”

“Yes.”

“And Astragoth’s legion?”

“They gather for battle.”

“Good.” The dead Marauder didn’t alter his blank expression, but there was a sense of a satisfied nod being given, far, far away.

“This battle will cost the lives of many of my warriors,” Riktus said, “his army is considerable.”

“Do you plan to renege on our agreement, Lord Riktus?”

“No. But I will require greater recompense than we agreed. I have seen what our enemy is able to conjure – beasts of iron and daemonflesh, great cannon and more besides.”

There was silence from the corpse. Then, after a moment, “The Dawi’Zharr do not negotiate contracts that have already been signed. You agreed the terms, Riktus.”

“So I did, but now we are here and you are in your obsidian city a long way away.” He leant back in his throne. “Perhaps we should leave the Dark Lands? Perhaps Astragoth should be allowed to take the Black Fortress unopposed?”

“You would come so far and leave without taking skulls for your master?”

“You tell me, Ghorth.”

There was another pause and Riktus waited calmly. “Very well,” the voice from the ruined throat of the Marauder said, “what are your terms?”

“War booty.”

“Booty?! You are servants of Khorne! You have no interest in wealth!”

“I told you: they have bound Daemons in their service. Such creations would be a boon to the Destroyer Cult and a powerful addition to our menagerie. Many Champions of the Blood God would relish the opportunity to test their strength against a beast of living fire and iron.”

“If you can subdue it, it is yours.”

“The artillery too.”

“Has Khorne changed the tactics that have served him so well for the last five-thousand years?” the voice of Ghorth said with an audible sneer.

“The Blood God will take skulls however they may be reaped. A Hellcannon is no trifle.”

“No indeed. That is why each is so valuable…”

“More valuable than the Black Fortress? More valuable than the defeat of Astragoth here today?”

“No. Take whatever you wish from Astragoth. But the Black Fortress will remain unmolested. Is that understood? Should you attempt to take it, the wrath of the entire Chaos Dwarf nation would descend upon you.”

“I have no interest in the Black Fortress. Only in the means by which my master’s rage may be appeased. And that, my ally, is what you will eventually aid me with, as per the terms of our original agreement.”

“You will have what you seek,” Ghorth said, “if Astragoth is defeated, for the artefact is in his vaults here in Zharr-Naggrund. When I have replaced him as High Priest of Hashut, all that was his will be mine.”

“Good. And should
you betray me, Ghorth, it will be the wrath of the Destroyer Cult that descends on you. And we will have the might of Astragoth’s engines then also.”

“No enemy has ever taken Zharr-Naggrund, Riktus.”

“That is because I have never tried.” Before Ghorth could reply, Riktus waved a hand and the corpse fell down with a clatter of bones. Fire consumed it in seconds, and soon there was nothing left of the grisly scene but black ash. Riktus looked up and out of the entrance to his tent past the hulking shapes of his men. Dawn was breaking, and he could just see the ridge above them where the Chaos Dwarf army gathered. Something vast was being wheeled into place; a great and terrible engine of destruction, bound with the souls of Daemons. If the Destroyer Cult survived its onslaught, it would make a very rich prize indeed. He smiled again and then rose from his seat. “To battle,” he told the captains of his host.














This is my old Hellcannon, spruced up a bit to match the rest of the army. A word on how I built it, because there are good reasons it looks a bit different from a normal Hellcannon. When I first got it, in 2007, we were all still using Ravening Hordes, and the Hellcannon was some weird war machine that only appeared in the Storm of Chaos global campaign. Its rules were very complicated, and it was a lot more dangerous than it is now – back then it had a double blast marker shot, could spew ichor and might even eat your own troops! Of course, it also led to the re-emergence of Chaos Dwarf fandom, and this very site. But, apart from house ruling it, there was no way to include a Hellcannon in your Chaos Dwarf army, and besides, I hadn’t bought it for that – my plan was to use the model to represent a mere Earthshaker.

So, to make it a bit less cumbersome, I hacked it apart a bit. It lost two pairs of wheels, some of the front chassis and all the chains holding it down (Earthshakers don’t rampage out of control). I also didn’t stick on the big Daemon-maw thing on the barrel. Most of those parts eventually got reused, ironically given the above narrative, for the Destroyer Cult’s Warshrine.

Of course as time went on it morphed into various daemonic engines in my own rules and eventually a Hellcannon after all, albeit a rather less menacing version than in its original incarnation. Nonetheless, it’s still a little small for what it’s supposed to be, but never mind.

The colour scheme is much as it was, but hopefully a little better painted. I’ve also done some of the workings at the back in the same way as the Magmafiend’s flesh so there’s a little visual link between them. You may be interested to learn that I redid the base in my new method, using Citadel texture paint with a black wash. It did, as predicted, use a huge amount of paint though, and I had to give it a light drybrush of grey afterwards as the wash doesn’t work the same as it does on the gravel. Also note that the base is a bit crap around the edges (especially at the front) because when I first did this model it was based on an old movement tray with layers of card to build it up to the top of the lip. It’s a bit scrappy and I considered just starting from scratch but…yeah…couldn’t be bothered. So don’t point out that it looks bad! I already know!

Here’s a quick army shot as it now stands, squeezed onto one shelf with considerable application of geometry:


Serial Writist - lots and lots of short fiction, written by me, regularly updated.

My models:
The Legion of Astragoth | The Dark Crusade of Mousillon | The Destroyer Cult | Les Défenseurs du Béniterre | Storm Over Béniterre | Force Belial

My rules:
Chaos Dwarfs Warscroll Compendium


04-27-2014 12:19 PM
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Yodrin
Greater Daemon of Hashut
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Post: #79
RE: The Legion of AstragothYodrin 04-27-2014

As usual, it looks awesome!! A great pic of an awesome army!! Great work Mr.!



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04-27-2014 01:55 PM
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Skink
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Post: #80
RE: The Legion of AstragothSkink 04-28-2014

If you hadn't said anything about the base I wouldn't have noticed. I built bases with layers of plasticard/cardboard /plexiglass too, and they look very much passable other than cheap (at least cheaper than prices on bits stores). That's a snazzy cannon by the way! Love the orange you painted in the back and the blue hue of the souls. Maybe you could add some light to the crews' masks?


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This post was last modified: 04-30-2014 03:18 PM by Skink.

04-28-2014 01:22 AM
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