Saturday 7 August 2021

Cult of the New Colossus - In My End is My Beginning

So we come to the end of the fourth Old World Army Challenge and I have finally joined the hallowed ranks of OWAC veterans! If you haven't already, do go and check out the other entries - they're all fantastic! Time for one more literary reference I think by way of reflection over the last six months. As Eliot says in his Four Quartets, "What we call the beginning is often the end and to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from." Well that's definitely where I'm at with this project! I've heard it said many times that an army is never finished and it seems almost a shame if one should find themselves guilty of such a thing. Again to paraphrase Eliot, to finally finish something and put it to rest or reach a final end is to arrive at "the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless; Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is... Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point, there would be no dance, and there is only the dance."  Other than all the dancing and not dancing, it sounds a bit sterile and lifeless to me so I think the Cult of the New Colossus will live on - but more on that later.

Writing a post without having anything new painted felt a bit odd so I decided the Cult deserved and indeed needed a new and bigger scenic backdrop. Having referenced Witch-haunted Sylvania as their entry point in to the Empire, I felt I'd best represent it visually somehow. 

Water-mixable oils meant I wasn't relegated to the shed because of the smell and I must say I rather enjoyed the process. I'd done water colour painting for a number of years as a kid but the oils were definitely what were needed for this job, especially as I'm no oil painting myself and hopefully this'll soften the blow of my ugly mug later.

I also felt that a Cult of the Colossus post wouldn't be complete without a few narrative bits so I hope you'll indulge me (and everyone's favourite Cult everyman character, Wermius) one last time...

Darkness was falling and already it was hard to see any distance in the shadows of the towering pines either side of the highway. Wermius swayed with the rocking of the cart in which he rode, lulled almost asleep with the soothing motion. In that strange and semi-lucid twilight between dream and consciousness, he mused over the journey he had somehow survived. They were safe for now and heading Northwards in a motley assortment of looted carriages and ox-carts but they had suffered many tribulations to get to this point. Long and hard had been the road with almost insurmountable obstacles but by the will of the Colossus they had made it through. He could hardly reconcile the outlandish sights and visions he had seen with the mundanity of his own existence. The ecstasies and agonies he had borne with equal humility and the awe and terror of what they had unleashed on the world seemed like some fever dream when compared with the banality of his current reality, being gently jostled in the back of a wagon in to much needed sleep.

He felt it were as though he was out of time and place whilst on the road, untouchable and ghostlike. A stillness came over him and he almost felt that he was at the epicentre of an ever-turning wheel, the world slowly rotating about him, dark shadows flitting by inconsequentially in the night. The rattle and groan of the cart diminished and he sensed a darkening at the edges of his vision. Was this the gentle kiss of sleep or something else? Shuddering he roused himself from that quietude that had the feel of the grave about it and set his mind to the task in hand once they reached the gates of the Empire and what might be waiting for them further down that dark road... 

It's certainly been an interesting journey this first OWAC of mine! Knowing what I'm normally like (easily led astray by good movies, good booze and good company - not necessarily in that order) and knowing that there were no major gaming events like BOYL on the horizon back in December 2020 that would normally motivate me to paint lots of things, I decided to really push myself in terms of numbers and upping the quality of my painting for the OWAC. I think it paid off and certainly in my opinion this is probably the best painted army I now own.

There's been quite a few firsts for me on this project. Apart from dabbling around the edges with the odd miniature here and there, this is my first real go at Chaos. Much as I like all the Realms of Chaos background, I didn't necessarily want to do one of the major Gods. Going with my own Demon Prince or minor God gave me a lot more creative freedom.

As I said earlier I wanted to up my game with the painting and this was my first time using an airbrush, albeit in a fairly limited way. It was an invaluable tool in priming models and getting that uplit zenithal highlight on. Time ended up preventing me from glazing the whole army with yellow ink to get that firelight OSL look that I flirted with in the first month or so with the Thugs and Cultists. My first foray in to using a wet palette was also a real success and glazing the colour on over that zenithal highlight really helped speed the painting process by retaining the highlights and shadows I had created at the priming stage. 

Basing the whole army before painting was another big win and something I'll continue to do in future projects and I've really enjoyed using crackle paints and pigments to achieve the cracked wasteland effect I wanted. Along with a few other gimmicks like using colour shift paints for the Colossus' summoning portal, attempting heat tarnished bronze on Moloch I feel the OWAC has really pushed me to try new things and widen my repertoire as a painter. Going to town on the banners was a lot of fun too, as was sculpting the Beksinski Hellmouth, and I think they really add to the flavour of the army.  There is of course my first attempt at oil painting with the backdrop too - can't believe I've never pulled my finger out and done it before! For all this I thank you Iannick and your fantastic Old World Army Challenge!

On a personal level, this project has really helped me through some pretty rough times. I know many of my fellow competitors have also had their struggles and I salute you all for your efforts and the motivation and enjoyment all your fantastic projects have provided . Whilst lockdown itself hasn't been too onerous for me and was an actual boon in terms of painting time, it's been at work that I've had issues. Being put in a position of nearly losing my dream job and losing all faith in management thanks to their behaviour put a big dent in my morale. Add to that losing a lot of work friends and colleagues who decided to move on rather than put up with the crap and I was not a happy bunny. Thanks again to Iannick and the OWAC for providing a release from the real world. Idle hands and the Devil's work and all that! ;) 

Right, down to the nitty-gritty. What did I paint and how many points was it? Not that I usually count points when gaming...

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

10 Minotaurs 506 points

Pasiphae’s Brood

Hand weapons, standard

Led by L10 Hero - light armour double handed weapon

7 Chaos Centaurs 464 points

Chiron’s Children

L10 hero, light armour, hand weapons, shields

Dragon Ogre                                87 points

Hydra                                            200 points

Cockatrice                                    150 points

34 Beastmen            568 points

Gorgo's Flock

L10 champion, standard bearer, musician, light armour shields, hand weapons

30 Beastmen            516 points

Prosper's Bane

L10 champion, standard bearer, musician, light armour shields, hand weapons

War Altar                275 points

The Maiden in White

4 guards and magic standard

L10 Wizard

12 Mounted Chaos Warriors 1456 points

Brother Behell and his Outriders of the Knights Terminus

Chaos Steeds, Standard, heavy armour, shields, barding, lances, hand weapons

15 Chaos Warriors on foot 1184 points

Brother Gogol and his Brutal Berserkers

Heavy armour, shields, hand weapons, standard

14 Thug archers 222 points

Giudas Preest and his Leather Rebels

Marauder leader and Champion, standard, musician, light armour, bows, hand weapons

25 Thugs led by a Marauder 264 points

Kurtz and his Hollow Men

Light armour, hand weapons, shields, standard

17 Cultists of the Red Redemption 249 points

Marauder leader and Champion, standard, musician, light armour, shields, flails

Total Points - 8073 points

The points total seems a bit mad but that's Chaos for you I guess and the high cost of a lot of the troop types!

I thought I'd have a bit of fun whilst the army was all set out - I've always wanted to recreate those brilliant pictures of Eldar dreadnoughts breaching the walls of some poor unfortunate Ork Fortress on a medieval planet that feature in the 3rd ed Warhammer Siege book. 

I heard somewhere that they used a cigar to produce the smoke effects. Although I did feel like celebrating I wasn't quite prepared to spark up my Romeo Y Julietta Churchill that I've been nursing for a while so I figured my pipe would do the job just as well!

Here's the obligatory army shot - I was going to move them inside and set the army up on the coffee table for the Bryan Ansell style shot but that glass in my hand and the lateness of the hour put paid to that plan! The theme this year was waistcoat and tie - couldn't find my tie!

Yes - I smoke a pipe now. Pipes are cool.

Welcome to the Shed of Doooooooommmmmm!

Join us... or you'll never leave. At least in one piece.

This is certainly not the end of this project - the eagle eyed among you will notice a number of absences and additions to the original list. I have a couple of boxes of also-rans who will be receiving some paint in the coming months so I can hopefully clear the decks of Chaos cultists (until some new shiny ones I don't own yet come to my attention!). The baggage train needs finishing and I have some rather nice minis from the Order Militant range from Gripping Beast who will be joining the ranks of the Cultists. 

Assuming I have a place in the next OWAC, in which I'd dearly love to participate, I have a few ideas for the next project. One would be a companion piece to this army in the form of an Empire army. I have a few plans on how to match the Cult of the New Colossus in terms of theme and narrative - Jaeckel's Lost Crusade from 2020's OWAC was a big inspiration for the Cult and I imagine my Empire force to be a Home Guard type version of it with a bit of Hammer Horror Witchfinder General religious intolerance thrown in for good measure. Alternatively I have a bunch of Amazons who'd be a much more manageable project but who wants to follow Mr  Paul "Double D" after his stonking and beautiful Amazon host this year! Then there is the lure of the Steppe - I have various Nick Lund Orcs, a horde of Satanic Panic and Fantasy Warlord Hobgoblins as well as various other gribblies that would make for a great Vassal army of the Great HobGobla Khan. In a similar vein I have a few bits and pieces that would make a nice start on a Cathay army, although other than Foundry's Citadel pieces that would not feature much old lead. Hmm decisions, decisions...

I'll leave it to Brother Wermius to say the last words...

And yet somnolence persisted despite Wermius' efforts and as his senses failed him and the dark closed in, he watched the wagons ahead plunge through the tunnel of night and trees and his thoughts veered towards mortality and the fate of all things. Whether he spoke out loud or in the confines of his self, he knew not, as sleep overtook him. Though the words seemed bleak at times he took some comfort from them though there was not much to take,

O dark dark dark. They all go into the dark,

And we all go with them, into the silent funeral,

Nobody's funeral, for there is no one to bury.

I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you

Which shall be the darkness of God.

With a hollow rumble of wings, with a movement of darkness on darkness,

And we know that the hills and the trees, the distant panorama

And the bold imposing facade are all being rolled away-

There is no end of it, the voiceless wailing,

No end to the withering of withered flowers,

To the movement of pain that is painless and motionless,

To the drift of the sea and the drifting wreckage,

The bone's prayer to Death, its God. 

One last thanks before I go - thanks Mr Eliot!!!

Introductory Post

January Entry

February Entry

March Entry

April Entry

May Entry

June Entry


  1. It´s like a Dante's nightmare, horrific but beautiful. I'm speechless. Awesome. Congratulations.

    1. Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven ;) Thanks Mr B!

    2. Hahaha, so true...and more fun too!

    3. You got that right - those goody two shoes upstairs are no fun!

  2. Absolutely stunning tour de force, sending me gibbering to hide under the stairs. Well done! Sympathies about work ( management always muck even the best jobs up) but three cheers for the pipe.. lends a patrician air to the proceedings.

    1. Thank you kindly sir but there's no hiding from the shadow that's falling across the land ūüėČ We're slowly getting back to normal at work and a load of new starters are due soon which might change the dynamic for the better - we'll just have to manage the management better in the future XD
      You're right - the pipe does lend a certain gravitas to proceedings and I've not been in as much trouble for starting smoking again as I might have been if I were back on the ciggies!

  3. It’s been a pleasure to follow along! Hope work gets sorted out for the better. ūüėČ

    1. Cheers bud - glad you've enjoyed the ride. If old Vasken ever needs a hand and you're over this way I'm sure the Cult would oblige!
      Like I said above, we're getting there with work - at least I'm back out on the actual practical side of things more now and my bullshit filter seems to be working better too XD

  4. Anything I could say would be such an understatement. I'm totally fascinated by your work on this project, since the beginning to the very last detail. Truly magnificent.

    1. Thanks so much Suber - it's been quite the journey for me too!

  5. Splendid work. The oil painting is great and the miniatures really capture that weird, ornate feel of oldhammer chaos. I like how you've incorporated some of the newer bits too. Terrific stuff!

  6. Cheers Toby - really enjoyed using some of the newer plastic kits. The Cult welcomes all!

  7. A work of demented genius! Congratulations, you truly have something special here.

    1. You're probably not far wrong there Mouse - at least about the demented bit! XD

      I think this project allowed me to vent a bit (albeit indirectly) about all the stupidity surrounding the ongoing plague we're all experiencing and let me go to those dark places somewhat vicariously! Not sure if I look on this lot as the bad guys or a revolutionary force though... ūü§Ē

  8. That is some fantastic work. I really like your backdrop. I might have to do something similar.

    1. Thanks Ian! Apologies - your comment seemed to have been buried in my inbox.