Lead by Alpha YDM-6 squad Xzel-Sht1 has been built and rebuilt dozens of times. Their battle engrams are extremely aggressive. Their aggressive nature often overriding the minimal self preservation protocols in the Skitarii cohorts of Kaiyune IV. YDM-6 always lead the squad closer to their foes to maximize the lethal effect of the yellow radium in their weapons.
The Catacombs of Abersim
A cohort of Skitarii including Xzel-Sht1 went to the Abersim system when tithes of heavy metals didn’t arrive at Kaiyune IV. The mines were busy. Workers went into the mines and heavy metals came out of the mines. The magos in charge of the cohort entered the refinery that separated the heavy metals from the less useful minerals and never exited it.
Threat protocols snapped into place and the cohort stormed the refinery. . A search for Magos Borl turned up nothing. YDM-6 ordered a full spectrum scan of the refinery. A faint binaric signal was picked up. It appeared to becoming from some distance below the refinery. A new search revealed a hidden panel in the floor. Opening it revealed controls that caused that section of the floor to sink rapidly beneath the refinery.
Beneath the refinery
As YDM-6 and Xzel-Sht1 sank deeper and deeper underground the faint binaric signal grew stronger. The floor stopped descending revealing a vast corridor. Strange Xenos constructs were disassembling the torso of Magos Borl.
Xzel-Sht1 opened fire on the creatures, having little effect on them. YDM-6 changed tactics and ordered the squad to focus their fire on 1 of the creatures. Metal shards flew from the creature until it fell inert on the ground. The other 2 constructs turned from the sparking remnants of the Magos and flew at the Skitarii. Quickly the squad changed their target to the closest of the remaining monstrosities destroying it seconds before its flashing claws reached them.
The final creature crashed into the squad, it hacked an arm off the closest skitarri while another claw pierced the chest of another. YDM-6 stepped up, his power maul slamming repeatedly into the xenos construct or whirling to catch the deadly claws and keep them from the rest of the squad. YDM-6 swung his power maul up and pounded what he thought were the creatures eyes and then instantly dropped to the ground.
Within microseconds of slamming the creatures eyes and while he was still dropping to the ground the remaining squad members opened fire , dispatching the strange serpent like machine.
Getting up and scanning the area YDM-6 ordered the still-sparking chassis of the magos and all the severed limbs to be retrieved. The squad quickly made their retreat alert for any new threats. They quickly made their way out of the refinery, broadcasting a recording of their encounter with the creatures and the tactics that failed and those that succeeded.
Building this was fun. I haven’t built a Forgeworld resin model in a year or two. It felt good to be working with it again. To get the pose of the Tomb Stalker curling up and over a piece of terrain I used some green stuff in the joints along with Gorilla Glue Gel. I find the setting time of the gel is quick enough to work with my level of patience to hold pieces together.
One of the personal highlights achieved while assembling this, I glued all 20 legs on without getting any super glue on my fingers. In fact I also glued on the 20 tertiary limbs sans glued fingers! That’s not quite as impressive as it could be, I used tweezers to position those little resin hooks.
However I did glue up the old finger-onis pretty thoroughly attaching the mandibles, manipulators and gauss slicer claws.
Painting, I primed it black with Stynylrez primer through my Patriot 105. I love Stynylrez, it goes on smooth, matte and is just a pleasure to apply. I then applied GW Air Lead Belcher and that’s what you see above. The Lead Belcher looked a little dark to me.
To lighten up the Lead Belcher I used Game Air Silver though my Sotar 20/20. Next I sprayed some Troll Slayer Orange down the center spine and on the gauss slicers, again using the Sotar.
The last few steps involved spraying Burnt Umber artist ink along the edges of the Tomb Stalker and underneath it to add shading. Then I cleaned up the orange overspray on the head and applied energy effects to the gauss slicers.
The finished model on it’s base, I don’t expect the antennae to last long! They’re just slivers of resin with very little contact area with the head of the model. They look pretty cool though.
Even as an acolyte it was clear that Garik-Z would not follow the typical path of a tech-priest.
Many thought he would study under the biologis because of his work turning criminals under an Imperial death sentences into servitors. The speed and accuracy of his mind wipes was often remarked upon by his mentors. In addition the servitors he turned out did not have the usual physical trauma and were able to be reprogrammed and repurposed more quickly.
These skills served him well in the decades he spent creating and maintaining the 83rd Skitari cohort. The Alphas he created had the highest survival rates of any cohort. His refusal to share his methods with his mentor lead to his being ‘loaned’ to the Dominus tasked with expanding Kaiyune IV’s Kataphrons.
The Dominus recognized Garik’s skills and gave him free rein to do as pleased. This suited Garik fine and he quickly set to work. Eager to test new ways to to remove conscious thought but retain any innate aggressive behavior, Garik was soon requesting the most violent and psychotic criminals.
He was extraordinarily successful in this endeavor. The Breachers and Destroyers he created sped across battlefields to close with the foe. They were among the most merciless of the battle servitors ever created. Where most Kataphrons were effective at destroying the enemies of the forgeworld, Garik’s were efficient as well. Other Kataphrons could destroy a tank or breach a bunker. Garik’s Kataphrons would destroy the same tank faster with less force giving them more time and ammunition to destroy another tank.
Having increased the efficacy of Kaiyune’s Kataphron cohorts Garik turned his attentions to also increasing their survivability. Before he started working on making Kataphron’s more survivable they were often treated like throwaway forces. They were simple and cheap to replace after all, there was plenty of hardware on Kaiyune IV and the only flesh parts needed were half a torso, spine and brain. Garik was able to imbue or nurture some inborn cunning in his Kataphrons. Those that survived one fight were increasingly more likely to survive another.
Indeed it was a phalanx of these veteran Kataphron that excised a Tyranid infestation on the moonlet Mera-X-178. Mera-X-178 was a mining planetoid that also produced a protein rich lichen in the mines. 800 of Garik’s Kataphron were deployed, over 500 of them being veterans. The newly minted ones were sent into the mines to purge and drive out the termagants and hormagaunts. The veterans remained on the surface and wiped out the broods of Carnifexes that were wrecking the preprocessing plants and other hardware.
Using a variety of tactics such as goading the Carnifexes into rage-filled charges only to be cut down by flanking fire of Heavy Grav Cannons or slamming into the flanks of the Carnifexes with Arc claws and Cognis flamers. Rapidly changing tactics and constantly on the move Garik’s Kataphrons were able to obliterate the Carnifexes before the unseen Hive mind could adapt to their tactics.
I’m really fascinated with the compatibility between GW terrain kits, particularly of the Sector Mechanicus line. I saw this in the March 2019 issue of White Dwarf and knew I had to build one. It’s a simple build and the step by step instructions in White Dwarf were very clear and helpful. All that is required is one Ferratonic Furnace kit and a Haemotrope Reactor kit.
I have no idea what a Haemotrope is, but I like the big Mechanicus skull on one side of it. There are 2 Haemotrope reactors in the kit so I used both of the skull-sides on my Ferrotonic Reactor. I’ll make a single Haemotrope reactor with the other 2 sides and some green stuff to the top of the pipes at the base as there’s a gap.
End on View
Now that it’s primed I’ll do a heavy wash of Nuln Oil Gloss then some dry brushing of a light gray or pale wytch flesh. Next the pipes and metal details will be picked out before a last wash of plain Nuln Oil.
Finally some weathering and maybe a few mechanicus decals.
All work done so far has been purely airbrush. The blues are Badger Minitaire Troll Hide Blue and Lagoon Blue. The white of the carapace is Daler Rowney White Ink. (Everybody is jumping on the Airbrushing Inks Bandwagon so why shouldn’t I too?) Besides I wanted to see if painting white with them was as marvelous as everyone says it is. It is. It really is. I’ve shied away from white armies in the past but now believe I can do one.
Here are some shots of a Sector Mechanicus table I put together. The idea of a table with lots of raised walkways has always fascinated me. The release of the Sector Mechanicus kits gave me the tools I needed to build such a table.
To be honest, at first I was just going to build a few pieces. But the furnaces were so simple to build I found it soothing and soon I was buying ‘just one more kit’.
I hated scraping the mold lines off the platforms and walkways. I had so many pieces, the very short walkway pieces, the long walkway pieces, the half circles, the angled walkways aka ‘all the platform and walkway pieces’. Scraping the mold lines off the edges took forever and left me choking in plastic dust. So I stopped doing it. I admit it. I left the rather visible mold lines on the walkways and platforms. I know it knocks me down on the ‘Hobbyist Scale’, like not drilling out bolter barrels. But it’s scenery. Terrain. It’s meant to add character and atmosphere to the game, not take away from the armies fighting over it.
In my defense I’m going to use the ‘There is Quality in Quantity’ defense. I had unwittingly acquired too many pieces. Well, unwittingly is a cop out. It’s not like I went to one of my local FLGS and thought I was buying a box of Eldar Guardians or Skitarii only to find out when I got home I had bought another Sector Mechanicus kit. I knew what I was doing. Sometimes I specifically looked for the Sector Mechanicus kits with lots of walkways or support trestles.
To Glue or Not to Glue
I glued some of the pieces together. For example, I glued a few of the half circles together to form one piece and then glued them on top of the furnaces. I also glued walkway pieces together to make longer, sturdier walkways. I did not glue everything together of course. Rubbermaid does not make a 4’x6’x 4′ storage tote (that I know of), and even if they did storing it would problematic.
The Ironstriders of Forgeworld Kaiyune IV are fast and deadly in battle. The servitors bound to the walker have the best spatial awareness of any servitor. This allows them to move quickly across the battlefield regardless of obstacles.
Armed with either a twin cognis autocannon or twin cognis lascannon the Ballistarii can roam the backfield and still hit most any opposing target.
I still need to add decals to this model to complete it. Plus I like playing with MicroSol and MicroSet! Looking at the photo I realize I can also add more shadow particularly in the leg pistons.
Farseer Tai’Len of the craftwold Biel-Tan is a formidable psyker and military general. Tai traveled many of the Paths of the Warrior before taking the Path of the Seer. On each path he learned lessons that make his battle plans very effective.
As a Guardian he learned the power of focused mass shuriken fire. He uses his Guardian squads in fleet groups that are always on the move. One squad moving up while another moves back, keeping the enemy within the firing zones of at least 2 Guardian squads at all time. Enhancing the power of the squad closest to the enemy with a well placed Doom on the foe or Fortune on the Guardian squad while the other Guardian squads wheel around the foe.
As a Striking Scorpion he learned how a swift strike can decapitate the leadership of the enemy, causing disarray among their troops. Wielding a Singing Spear and protected by his Rune Armor Tai’Len will take on the foe’s generals in single combat. Wielding the powerful Executioner or Mind War spells Tai to weaken his foes. Then provides the killing stroke with his spear.
Tai learned the power of Doom on his enemies while he trod the path of the Banshee. The whirling blades and acrobatic movements of the Banshee are far more deadly when their target is Doomed by a friendly farseer. A single squad of Banshees will decimate an enemy unit that is Doomed in one charge. Tai was impressed both with how quickly a squad of Banshees will remove an enemy unit from the fray and how many more of his Banshee squad mates survive the battle when the enemy was Doomed.
In the Corconna system Tai’Len led a branch of the Swordwind against a growing Ork Waagh. The large number of Orks they faced were whittled down by rotating squads of Guardians until the battle-enraged Orks fled. Squads of Vypers armed with shuriken cannons harried the Ork flanks, funneling the Orks into the deadly fire zones of the Guardians.
On the swamp moon of the gas giant Serol VII Tai fought toe-to-toe with the Necron Overlord S’Zentol while squads of Dire Avengers and Howling Banshees kept S’Zentol’s Warriors and Immortals at bay. Tai kept the tireless being of living metal engaged in single combat for hours until finally he disarmed the overlord and pierced the metal shell of S’Zentol. The Eldar withdrew, knowing the Necrons were delayed from gaining their full strength but were not truly defeated.
The Skitari of Kaiyune IV are extremely deadly. Very little of the human is left in them. The Alphas are the exception. They are made from the most successful mercenaries that the tech priests of Kaiyune come across.
The Alphas are ruthless commanders, some have compared them to the Commisars of the Imperial Guard for the heedless way they send wave after wave of their skitari into a fight.
Deadly marksmen, or at least marks-once-men, the skitari of Kaiyune IV hammer their foes with a storm of long range firepower.
Their distinctive blue great coats cover a more traditional red armor plating. Kaiyune IV has been out of touch with Mars for centuries but still follow her precepts. At least, they claim to.