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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Monday, April 9, 2012

Current projects: Inquisitorial Strike Force WS1564

Hey folks, just giving everyone a shot of one of my current in-progress jobs, an Inquisitional force using the Grey Knights codex. (Cue whining.) It's a bit of a mixed bag as far as units go, but it's the first "real" mechanized army I've gotten fully built, so that's something that has been pretty fun for me. As usual I ended up doing a lot of alternate models and conversions for stuff, so I'm just getting started on painting up some of the dudes- I'll have more shots of it later once I get some additional progress.

Pics, list, and fluff after the break.

(Larger pics can be found here, on my account; hopefully a bit better ones will be coming as I get models finished.)

The body of the force: High Inquisitor of the Ordo Technologia Desdemona Parpetia, along with her retinue of personal Servitors armed with the most devastating weaponry the Mechanicum can supply. The Ordo Technologia is one of the smaller branches of the Inquisition, charged with policing the activities of the Adeptus Mechanicus and insuring that no heretical technology is used by member-planets of the Imperium. With the ability to requisition equipment from any forge world they desire, members of the Ordo are often amongst the best-armed of all the Inquisitorial forces. Desdemona is a a veteran of hundreds of battles and has condemned uncountable hereteks to arco-flagellation or worse in her nearly two centuries of augmented life; she is the terror of entire sectors and it is said that the advanced cogitation engines integrated into her suit give her predictive abilities that very nearly rival those of the greatest human psykers.

To her left in the photo can be seen elements of the Cadian 101st "Tempest Breakers," an inducted regiment serving under the Inquisitor. Like all the guardsmen working alongside the Inquisitor, the 101st are pledged to a lifetime of service and are only released posthumously- if even that, as many have worked on such secretive projects that their families can never be told what missions they undertook or even that they served the Imperium at all. Despite that, all inductees undertake such a graduation of service on a 100% voluntary service, and competition for such spots can be fierce. It is not, however, the greatest soldiers or the best marksmen that are awarded these positions- the sole merit of determination is the strength of dedication and loyalty to the Emperor. Many will see daemons, blasphemous devices, and xenos contact in the course of their careers, and it is imperative that only the most hardened witness these horrors, lest their eternal souls be placed in peril as a result. As such, it is often those who might have otherwise graduated to command of their own squad, platoon, or even regiment that are considered for such assignments, soldiers who are made of naught but steel and grit.

To the High Inquisitor's right another such unit can be seen, this one from the Catachan VII (the legendary "Catachan Devils.") Rivalry between the two is fierce for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being the personal animosity of Warrant Officer Montague of the 7th and Sergeant Capulet of the 101st. Their feud began over a century ago during a battle to which elements of both regiments were deployed and a blind-fire bombardment from the 101st's artillery support accidentally- if you believe the Cadians' side of the story- struck a unit of the 7th's forward infiltrators. After the incident was uncovered the two regiments developed a hatred of the other that has been bred into them by generations of drill sergeants and field instructors, to the point where official doctrine has simply become to not ever deploy the two alongside each other in battles, not even on the same planet. The problem is further exacerbated by the 101st's 100% draft ratio (every citizen is expected to serve in the military for at least five years), necessitating a mixed-gender military, whereas the Catachan Devils consider such a practice at best wasteful and at worst outright uncivilized and unchivalrous. Differences in military culture between the two planets as well as tactics, deployment, and practices lead to further innumerable conflicts between the two, from simple pranks to sometimes-lethal brawls. That the High Inquisitor can keep the two units in line with each other is a testament to her iron will and their respect for her prowess.

As with other elements of Desdemona's forces both units are equipped with the very best in the Imperium's armories and accompanied by Techpriest attaches to insure that any problems that occur in the field are quickly solved with a blessing or application of sacred oils. The machine spirits of such gear are often highly tempermental and can be get into a snit if familiar hands are not taking care of them, so drills with the new weapons are done incessantly, always under the direction of the Adeptus Mechanicus's watchful eyes.

Desdemona and her allies all are gifted with Chimera armored transports to give them the maximum combination of mobility and firepower over any terrain and any circumstances. From left to right the vehicles are the Valiant (a Ryza-pattern model), Redoubt (of the venerable Jupiter-pattern), and Resolute (Tigrus-pattern).

(The Cadians are still incomplete because I am waiting on a set of female heads to arrive from Hasslefree, but you can see the general gist of the Storm Bolters I have built for them. They and the Catachans both have different "patterns" of weapons, but based on the GK Storm Bolter arm married to a standard Lasgun stock/grip. The "Techpriests" are from Micro-Art Studios' Iron Brotherhood line, with some added bits for the mechadendrites/blessed staves.)

Above the Inquisitor Brother-Captain Prospero in his armored sarcophagus is seen in his partially-repaired state; the weapon mounts for his Dreadnought are still incomplete following his resurrection to a second term of service to the Imperium, but even so his visage is a fierce one none the less, his new form bedecked in the multitude of honors he bears from five centuries of service. Possessed of a calm and steady mind even in death, the Brother-Captain prefers to lead from the rear, annihilating targets of opportunity with his long-range weaponry and reinforcing the blessed protections of his battle brothers while using his exceptional senses to feed a constant stream of data and suggestions to the High Inquisitor. Even outside the battlefield he is more than just a weapon of war, he is a potent advisor to Desdemona on matters spiritual and sorcerous, for it is often that the hereteks she seeks out have degraded themselves in more ways than simply those she concerns herself with, and Prospero's insight into how best combat such blasphemies is invaluable.

Additional elements of the Catachan VII can be seen in the extreme left of the picture here, along with the other units.

Center of the photo are Combat Squad Alpha of a Purifier brotherhood, Squad Secundus, accompanied by their armored transport "Wailing Judgement." Following in the stead of their Brother-Captain and under the agreements of the Inquisitorial mandates, Squad Secundus (composed of Justicar Caliban, Brother Duncan and Banquo suporting him, and fire support from Brothers Agamemnon and Caius) insures that even the most horrific warp abominations are powerless against the strike force's might. Whether at a distance or in close, their unassailable psychic might protects the more fragile bodies and souls of the human members of the regiment and the hail of Psycannon fire strikes down armored targets and daemonic abominations alike.

Participating under the direction of the Ordo Hereticus are a group of less-blessed, though no less revered, spirits: Repentia members of the Sisters of Silence. For those who fly the Black Ships of the Inquisition, corruption and the taint of the warp are never more than a single misstep away, and those who make the stumble most often fall quickly to its heinous temptations. Some few that are resistant to its effects, however, may find themselves in a twighlight state of declining sainthood, and rather than allow themselves to spiral into oblivion most choose to join the Sisters Repentia in hopes of achieving a blessed death, if not a blessed life. Their psychic talents- or, to be more specific, their lack of psychic talents, since all Sisters of Silence are so-called "blanks" without a warp presence- makes them ideal for hunting daemonic abominations and insure that neither compassion nor pity will ever stay their hand from the enemy. Unlike more traditional Sisterhoods of Repentia, the Sisters of Silence usually find their end in a more isolated manner, striking down a tyrant or cabal or traitors to the Imperium where the deployment of a full-fledged agent of the Officio Assassinorum would not be practical. The use of the transport "Burden of Sin," adorned with parchments bearing the all of the crimes its passengers have committed and playing hymnals of the dead as it rolls into battle, is a gift given to each of the Sisters only once- and once is all that is necessary.

As the Strike Force often must make landings (and assaults) on planets where their presence is not welcomed, it is no surprise that the fighting often comes down to the sort of brutal, close-quarters fighting that marks nearly any kind of urban engagement. It is for this reason that in addition to the Purifiers, Desdemona has also requisitioned the use of one Purgation Squad to eliminate the most troublesome of such rebels, armed with the devastating Incinerator cannons that are often their signature weapon. Should this prove insufficient- or should the enemy be holed up in a structure too well-protected to be breached by such weapons- Justicar Iago's thrice-blessed Daemonhammer will make short work of the heretics. It was that holy weapon that shattered the gates of Hive City Allomene in M40 and it has since gone on to slay more foes than can be counter, though the name of every one is inscribed into its haft. Though the use of a transport runs counter to the usual preferences of the Grey Knights, it is necessary to keep up with the fast-moving strike force, which relies on lightning-quick strikes to compensate for limited numbers, so the Razorback "Fist of Wrath" has been solely dedicated to them from the motor pool, and by its use they can often come to grips with the enemy before they even realize what is occurring.

Cadia and Catachan are not the only planets to supply the Inquisition with soldiers- far from it. Though Mordian's population, and thus contributions to the regiments of the Imperial Guard are limited by its sparse production of food around the terminator line circling it north to south, their strength of purpose and cold respect for authority are second to none and it is for this reason that Desdemona makes use of them in an usual capacity. While the other guardsmen may egg each other on with jibes, shouted orders, and ridicule, the Mordians act in perfect unison with each other at all times- and complete silence as well. It is an uncanny coordination born of years of living, acting, and fighting in identical fashion and one that few others can boast to have matched; Mordians, however, never boast. All three members of the Mordian 58th are entrusted with a custom Meltagun, with the unspoken understanding that they are to die before letting it be damaged and that nothing, not even death, is an excuse for failure in their mission. Such trust is never misplaced, for when a Mordian is ordered to do something, he cannot help but obey and succeed- such is the legacy of his planet. The "Gear of Heaven," their vehicle of choice, is just as stoic and unrelenting as they are, as is the battle brother who pilots it.

Sisters of Silence are not the only ones on board the Black Ships- indeed, they are the least of its cargos, being only the curators of the others. Such ships exist to gather up the most dangerous of humanity's lot, the psychicly talented, and take them away to where they can be properly trained and controlled. Such a fate is largely a death sentence- many go into the Adeptus Telepathica, to later burn themselves out sending a critical message or in powering the Astronomicon. Far more find themselves unable to pass the rigors of the testing and either destroy their talent or themselves before ever making it through. Hardly any find lives of peace or success, and this is a fact widely known in the Imperium. What is not so widely known is that there is another, rarer path: to serve an Inquisitor who finds use for the talented in their operations. Some may be able to read the minds of an enemy or thow out storms of fire, but whatever their gifts, many Inquisitors make use of them to go and do what normal men and women cannot. Such a job is not without risks of its own, however- without the blessings of the Sanctioned Psyker, being devoured by entities of the warp or destroyed by channeling too much power is a very real and constant possibility. Lest such an occurrence lead to worse consequences (like a daemonic incursion), all members of a unit of psykers are equipped with tiny but potent melta detonators that can be triggered their handler should possession or worse come to pass. For many this is a kindness- better to be slain instantly by a comrade's hand than be sucked into that hellish realm for eternity, but not all such handlers are kind men, and Kommandant Malvolio is among the worst. He knows that he can slay any of them, at any time, and will not be questioned by the High Inquisitor in the slightest, and he makes sure that his charges know this as well. For such men and women there are only two choices- absolute loyalty to the Kommandant or death. More than one group of talented trainees have been splattered all over the interior of the "Unwavering Lion" en route to a battlefield because one or another of them displeased him.

(I'm using the same East Riding Miniatures "Slicks" as Kirby is- or, rather, he's using the same ones I am, though admittedly I likewise stole the idea from someone else on the internet who had used them for his Psyker Battle Squad. I think they make a really good, Matrix-y group of "secret agent"-styled henchmen, and the addition of the Nazi Zombie Controller mini from the same line lets me round out the squad to a full eight if I want, or to stand in as the Acolyte that always accompanies the squad.)


This is the current 1500pt casual version of the list that I'm using; I tried to avoid running too many GK models in the list, since it was explicitly not a GK list in that sense, and also include as many different types of henchmen as possible (and feasible.) More competition-oriented variants drop the second Inquisitor, the Banisher, and the "extra" Acolytes (beyond the basic five per squad to shoot out the top) plus Jokaero in order to add a second Psyfleman and Purifier squad to the mix, at least in my current incarnation. I haven't looked a lot to expanding the list beyond 1500 yet, but it will inevitably involve adding more GK, since I'm out of Troops slots at this point; I think I'd like to work a unit of Interceptors in somewhere, since they're a neat unit and help cover my lack of long-range firepower.

1500 Grey Knights
1 High Inquisitor Desdemona (Coteaz)
1 Ordo Malleus Inquisitor Ajax (Terminator, Psycannon)
5 Purifiers (2 Psycannon, 3 Halberd, Psyback)
3 Servitors (Multimeltas, Chimera w/ML, HB)
3 Acolytes (Meltaguns, Psyback)
10 Acolytes, 2 Jokaero (Storm Bolters, Chimera)
10 Acolytes, 2 Jokaero (Storm Bolters, Chimera)
5 Death Cult, 1 Banisher (Eviscerator, Psyback)
6 Psykers, 1 Acolyte (Rhino)
5 Purgators (4 Incinerator, 1 MC Daemonhammer, Psyback)
1 Psyfleman

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