Friday 9 July 2021

Cult of the New Colossus: Angels We Have Heard On High

This is the end, my only friend the end! My last painted entry for the Old World Army Challenge IV. I'll save all my gushing and introspection for the wrap up post I have to write for July as well as the whole army shot. The last hours of last month were spent furiously painting banners and I reckon I've sold the last remnants of my soul to the ruinous powers to get these last bits done. Hopefully the low figure count won't be an anti-climax when compared to my earlier entries but I thought it best to lavish a bit of attention on this unholy quartet as the leaders of the Cult. I've certainly tried to up the level of epic in the narrative to make up at any rate!

Of course it's not the end of the Cult of the New Colossus. There's' a bunch of miniatures I prepped that didn't make it in due to time, real life and over ambitiousness - not to mention a whole bunch of newly purchased stuff I got tempted by during the challenge! I hope to paint these up in the coming months and will try to hold to the rigours of the challenge with self set deadlines...

Anyway I'll let old Wermius the Chronicler tell you about the latest additions.

A watery sunlight struggled to penetrate the mist that shrouded the dark pines. It clung to the high bows like the ragged tatters of winding sheets and lingered about the tree tops like the lost souls of brides long abandoned at the altar. Warily the soldiers of the Cult eyed the likely avenues of approach from whence renewed waves of attack might spring. The chill morning air that should have been fragrant with moss, earth and pine resin was tainted with the pervasive tang of the previous night's spilt blood.

The New Colossus fully manifested! 

The hammer blow had finally come from an unexpected direction. Wermius had noted the lack of opposition from the Sylvanian peasantry but feared the apparent silence from their overlords. That silence had been shattered when the Cult could least afford it. Their God had retreated back through the gate they had opened in to the warp, to recover from the exertion of manifestation in to the physical world, whilst the cult had busied themselves in the procurement of ever more souls for his nourishment. Several more settlements had been put to the torch, captives snared and new recruits baptised in the blood of the innocent since then. Oh how they scuttled like fleas and lice at the approach of the terrible light of the Colossus borne by his flock! And yet the faithful had fallen foul of a well prepared trap. Hemmed in by the forest on one side, the road wound past a craggy outcrop that reached up in to the sky, an ancient and abandoned tower crumbling at its pinnacle. Despite its dereliction it still jabbed an accusatory and skeletal finger upwards at the heavens. It was here, at this pinch point, between fell and forest that they were to become prey to the decayed flower of Syvanian nobility and the accursed Templar Knights of the Empire who drove them on.

I came upon this old Grenadier miniature of Orcus by chance on ebay whilst looking for a suitable Demon Overlord for the Cult and fell a little bit in love with it! I'd wanted to model the Demon materialising through a gate of summoning since deciding on going with a Chaos Cult for the challenge but didn't have it in me to chop this lovely bit of lead up. Thank goodness Reaper had their version of this character for me to butcher for last month's entry! The Grenadier version is a little smaller but I figured that Demons are mutable beings so it works in my head at least!

Fowzt Zapalous - Head Warlock and Magister of the Cult

Like a thunderous wave of iron, the Templars and nobles had come on up the road and sowed much panic about the rear guard of the Cult. Having nowhere to flee but the dark pines that loomed impassively below them, the hapless cultists fled and were met with the knives and spears of the common Slyvanian soldiery who skulked in those twilight groves. Only the righteous anger and fearless sacrifice of the Redemptionists had halted the attack. The heretic knights broke like the foaming surf on the rocks upon their hooded ranks and they were sent back in disarray as the fanatics smote all about them with their great flails. 

Zapalous' real claim to fame is of course his appearance on the front cover of that hallowed tome, the 3rd edition Warhammer Fantasy Battle rule book! I've tracked him down as a C02 High Sorcerer of Chaos on Stuff of Legends and he was another happy chance find on ebay. I'm very glad to have him, although I also now have a hankering to track down the other identifiable miniatures who also feature...

Lines had been drawn and hasty defences prepared since that dawn ambush. Several waves of unwilling levy troops had been used to probe the positions the Cult had taken up during the day but few survivors had made it back to their masters to report on what they had seen. As darkness began to fall several trees were felled across the road to protect the baggage train and war altars, and fires sprang up in the woods below the road. With the rising smoke and sparks of the camp fires, so too ascended keening voices, both human and not, that begged and beseeched their great Colossus to intercede.

Piros Horog - Gorice's champion and Bearer of the Sacred Standard of the Colossus

The night dragged miserably on with little to relieve the tension and neither did the grey dawn bring any solace. Shivering in their makeshift fortifications, the Cult kept up their vigil and offered up their desperate prayers. The sounding of trumpets dragged those fortunate few exhausted enough for sleep back to consciousness and an ominous sound of marching feet came from all sides. They were surrounded. Wermius felt despair gnaw at his innards like a starving rat. The sight of ranks of peasant soldiery, freshly reinforced in the night chilled him more than the frigid morning air. As the staccato rhythm of drums hastened their doom towards them, he looked about him for succour but saw nothing but the glistening fear of cornered animals in the eyes of his comrades. And yet when all seemed lost, a voice rang out above the growing clamour of war, piping high and thin above the firs that swayed indifferently over the coming slaughter. A song, both exquisite and unsettling in its appalling beauty, soared above the commotion on the ground, accompanied by the beat of leathery wings.

Piros Horog (Hungarian for Red Hook - more on which later!) is a lovely Bob Olley sculpt and still in production and available from Ral Partha Europe as part of their Chaos Imperium range. Happily, for a sculpted banner, there was plenty of room for a cursed trinity of demonic sigils - or at least the band logos for Judas Priest and Ghost, as well as the emblem of Torquemada's Terminators from 2000AD's Nemesis the Warlock - bit of a throwback to the Chaos Warriors and mounted Knights I painted a while back.

A great dark shape swooped out of the mist and over the battlefield, bat-like and terrible. Wermius' heart leapt at the sight and he castigated himself for the seeds of doubt that had unmanned him so - the Great Colossus had come to their salvation! His elation slowly turned to confusion, however, as a bestial and reptilian roar joined the angelic singing that rang out from among the clouds. The effect on his persecutors was immediate. The once confident mob, fear now writ large on their faces, wavered and fled. As the faithful around him took heart from this unexpected turn of events and turned from the hunted to the hunter, Wermius took out his manuscripts and began to feverishly chronicle their miraculous deliverance as dragon fire brought a second dawn to the mountain side.

"And lo, from out of darkness, beset on all sides by the heretic persecutor, salvation was delivered unto us by the Light Bringer. 

An angel we have heard on high, sweetly singing 'oer the plains. 

And the mountains in reply, echoed back those joyous strains. 

Angel of god, guardian dear, to whom God's love commits me here

Ever this day be at my side, to light, to rule, to guard and to guide.

We have survived the coming rains, the crash and the tide of the latter days. We have secured our slot and fallen in rank with the crippled and the faint. Behold I'll show you a mystery we shall not all see. We shall be changed, crippled, dead, and weak and the sheep shall flock to hear the word and receive Great Colossus' love. 

For there appeared a great wonder in heaven; and behold a great black dragon, arrayed in shining horns of black obsidian, and I saw a figure, seemingly neither man nor woman. A crowned angel with voice as golden as its shining armour sitting upon the the black beast. And it seemed the dragon's tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth as its fire cleansed the heretic below: and the dragon descended upon the unbelievers for to devour them where they stood. 

Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath.  And the great dragon was wroth with the infidel, and went to make war with the remnant of their seed, which keep the commandments of their false Gods. And the dragon gave him who had mastery over it his power, and his seat, and great authority. And it was given unto him to make war with the followers of false prophets, and to overcome them.

Can you hear the rumble? Can you hear the voice that is calling you? You cannot hide in the darkness. I can feel the thunder that is breaking in your heart. I can see through the scars inside you. Now our merge is eternal. Can't you see that you're lost? Can't you see that you're lost without your new God? "

Gorice Bathorey of the Red Hook - Disgraced Sylvanian nobleman, reviled degenerate and now General of the Cult's soldiery

Thus the coming of Gorice Bathorey of the Red Hook snatched the Cult from the jaws of disaster and he was taken in as a great general in service to the New Colossus. Gorice Bathorey, as black a man as ever walked the face of the world. Forced from his ancestral Sylvanian lands for his sadism and disdain for Human life, Gorice was a feared and hated figure, all the more so after his pact with the Black Wyrm, Ebethron. A castrato by his own hand, such was his hatred for his fellow men, he soon became reviled for his predilection for hanging his victims from the meat hooks that give him his title, while he sung to them in their last moments.

I modelled my General on the following image from the 3rd ed. rule book - it always captured my imagination and I love the mix of low and high fantasy depicted in it. Those skull faced Chaos soldiers will hopefully be making an appearance in the future once I get my hands on some of the plastic Wargames Factory Orcs and some plastic skeletons to kitbash... If anyone knows who the illustrator is do let me know!

The Dragon is from the excellent Ral Partha set, The Antagonists - a lovely model! I even had a go at green-stuffing the scale armour on Gorice to attempt a similar look to the illustration - lots of swearing I must admit! 

His banner has elements of the cover art of Ghost's excellent album, Infestissuman as does Wermius' celebratory gospel you've just read. As I've mentioned before, Ghost have been quite an influence on this army with their brilliantly blasphemous music and the costumes they wear on stage!

Blake's The Number of the Beast is 666, one of his amazing water colours illustrating the Book of Revelations, was the main inspiration for Gorice's banner though and hopefully compliments the Blake inspired Beastman standard from a while back. This also led me on to using Revelations as a source that provided a lot of material for Wermius' celebratory gospel on the salvation of the Cult!

It wouldn't be a Cult of the New Colossus post without mention of a musical influence - I've already mentioned Ghost a lot in this post and the last! The post title and a section of Wermius' chronicle is taken from the weirdly brilliant Lift to Experience and their Texas Jerusalem Crossroads, particularly the song To Guard and to Guide. The album is a crazy exploration of a biblical apocalypse and has fascinated me for years - it was great to borrow a few lyrcis from it (albeit slightly perverted from their original form) and the end of the world mood once again fits right in!

So there you have it - the end of the challenge but not the end of the Cult! 

Gorice Bathorey of the Red Hook - Chaos Knight (L20 Hero) riding a winged Dragon, magical heavy armour (Blinding Glare), lance, magic weapon (Parasitic Blade) - 892 points

Fowzt Zapalous - Soulflayer (L20 Wizard), Chaos Armour - 290 points

Piros Horog - Chaos Champion (L15 Hero), Heavy armour, handweapon, shield, magic standard - Bane Banner - 279 points

The New Colossus - Greater Demon - 750 points

If you haven't checked out the Old World Army Challenge yet then get on over as it's chock full of old school loveliness! 

Introduction Post

January Entry

February Entry

March Entry

April Entry

May Entry

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