Poxwalkers: Undead Zombie Daemon Clowns

This idea for this unit was inspired by my recently completed “I Scream” truck conversion of a Chaos Rhino. That vehicle resembled “Sweet Tooth” from the Twisted Metal Video Games, and that vehicle represents a kind of corrupted clown. It got a lot of great feedback so I decided to use it as a thematic centrepiece of my new display board.

In the “I Scream” truck, there is a converted Poxwalker serving Ice Cream out of the side window. I went with bright, garish colours to make it appear “clown-like.” So, I extended that idea to an entire unit of 10 models.

Zombie daemon clown poxwalker serving ice cream as part of my “I Scream Truck” conversion

I decided all of these undead zombie Daemon clowns would have white/grey skin, red lips, neon green “hair” and pink outfits. For those that had shoes, I decided to go with a clown-shoe-like red. 

One of them is converted to hold a banner. I found the flag bit in a bag of Dark Eldar bits. It’s painted in red and white stripes like a circus tent.

Another is converted to resemble a sort of circus ringleader. It already had a long coat, and I added a top hat made of plasticard and a piece of heat shrink.

Detail of my non-metallic metal work and edge highlighting on the poxwalker’s weapon

I took this opportunity to continue practicing non-metallic metal (NMM). Like my recent Vorx model, I went for a “Power Rust” look, wet-blending a gradient from Typhus Corrosion, Mornfang Brown, Cadian Fleshtone, and Ryza Rust. Practice makes perfect, and I think I’m slowly getting better.

Squad of 10 “undead zombie daemon clown” poxwalkers

The bases are Desert Basin beveled bases from Secret Weapon. I bought them at X Planet Games.

I quite like the effect and they will work with my Death Guard army, or upcoming circus-themed army. I think I may make 10 more!

Lord of Contagion Conversion: “Siegemaster Vorx”

I really, really enjoyed reading Chris Wraight’s “The Lords of Silence.” I enjoyed it so much that I wrote a book report about it.

I was particularly impressed by one of the characters, Vorx: Siegemaster of the XIV Legion, leader of the Lords of Silence warband of the Death Guard. He is pictured on the cover of the book, at the top. Vorx blurs the lines of good and evil, while being honourable, caring, polite and considerate. So, I decided to make a model for him.

Vorx as he appears on the cover of The Lords of Silence

I started with the model of Sergeant Lorenzo, he’s a Blood Angels Terminator from the Space Hulk box set. I filed off all the Blood Angel decor and re-modeled his arms. His left arm is a Power Fist that I took off of a Plague Marine.

As with many of my models, there are LED lights in this one. I followed Chris Buxey‘s method for light-up-eyes again. I think this is better than the “I Scream truck”. And in the centre of the base behind the Nurgling and in front of Vorx, there are 3 flickering LED’s in a wad of cotton to resemble a fire.

I’d like to think I paid a lot of attention to details from the book:

On the cover of the book, Vorx seems to be a Chaos Lord, wearing Power Armour (or Artificer Armour) based on having a backpack. But, he is armed with a Manreaper scythe he calls “Exact.” There are no rules to allow a Death Guard Chaos Lord to wield a Manreaper, but a Lord of Contagion may take a Manreaper. And, Vorx uses a teleporter at one point in the book, and from what I understand, the only Space Marines that can use teleporters are Terminators. So, this is why I decided to model Vorx as a Lord of Contagion which wears Terminator Armour.

Details from the book illustrated on the model

A Lord of Contagion with a Manreaper also takes an Orb of Dessication. I originally intended for Vorx to be holding his Orb of Dessication aloft in one hand, and his Manreaper in the other. But, I realized that the pose was quite similar to Abbadon. So, instead I decided to model Vorx wielding his scythe with both hands. The orb is that big glowing ball on his belt.

The scythe is a combination of a Kromlech Legionary Vibro Scythe and some sort of Dark Eldar staff. I connected them together using a piece of heat shrink I usually use for electronics. This is also my first attempt at non-metallic metal (NMM) which seems to be all the rage right now. I followed a method described in this video by Impending Duff. It is a wet-blend on the blades from Mornfang Brown to Cadian Fleshtone. To my pleasant surprise, Typhus corrosion is even darker than Mornfang Brown, so rather than using it for weathering, I used it to increase the gradient. And instead of weathering, I used Ryza Rust as another part of the gradient. I think the bright orange looks like “Power Rust” so I may use this technique a lot more.

Details of the book on pulpit, and non-metallic metal on the scythe blade

In Vorx’s personal holdings on Eletgibia, now better known as the Plague Planet, he maintains an untitled book with the names of everyone he has killed. It’s becoming an impossibility long book, and gaining potency as a relic with h each entry. Vorx spent 8 weeks writing in it on one visit during the book. I have modeled that book on the base of the model on a sort of pulpit. The book is a bit from the Kromlech set “Chaos Books of Damnation” and the pulpit is from an AoS Chaos Warshrine.

At several points in the book, Vorx dotes on a particular Nurgling or “Little Lord.” He pets it, and even takes it for care when it gets injured. I have modeled this particular Little Lord on the model’s base, seemingly writing in Vorx’s book. The Nurgling is also wearing a mask, in an ironic, counterintuitive nod to the times.

On the agri-planet of Najan, the Lord’s of Silence captures an Astra Militarum officer, Captain Dantine. Using some wicked sorcery, they remove his heart. Vorx keeps the still beating heart in a pouch on his waist. Dantine is still alive, with his heart removed from his body as some sort of Poxwalker or “Unchanged”. I have modeled the pouch holding Dantine’s heart on Vorx’s belt using an Astra Militarum pouch bit. The pouch has a little bit of blood pooling at the bottom.

I got the idea for the stairs he’s standing on from Warmaster Horus’ model from the Horus Heresy. The stairs are made of stacks of cork board.

My conversion of a Blood Angels Terminator into a Death Guard Lord of Contagion. He is modeled to represent Siegemaster Vorx from The Lords of Silence

Book Review: The Lords of Silence

I started painting Death Guard models about a year ago. I find the models detailed and interesting. I have amassed quite an army by now. But, it kind of bothered me how they are always framed as the “villains” in contrast to the “heroic” Ultramarines. In the grim dark Warhammer 40k universe, I felt that was a little oversimplified, so I wanted to read some more “fluff” featuring the Death Guard. So, I recently finished “The Lords of Silence” by Chris Wraight and wanted to share why I found it so impressive. 

Writing this book report reminds me of being back in school and being forced to analyze and review books from a curriculum. I reviewed a couple of running books, but this is quite different. 

There are some classically evil characters in this book too. Some characters are almost cliché with their “har har infect and torture.” Other characters are constantly scheming to usurp or betray. Mortarion and Typhus, two of the more notable characters in Death Guard lore have brief appearances, and seem typically villainous. 

But a couple of other characters are more nuanced and interesting: One of the protagonists is Vorx, “the Siegemaster”, a Space Marine that has been fighting for the Death Guard since before the Horus Heresy. He is in charge of the eponymous Lords of Silence Warband, a division of the Death Guard, and he commands their Cruiser “Solace.” I found Vorx to be quite an interesting character. He is usually polite, honourable, respectful, and even caring. He has glimpses of being the “warrior monk” that you expect from more noble Adeptus Astartes. 

Obviously, Vorx seems like a “bad guy” because his service to the Chaos God Nurgle involves infecting planets, spreading disease, and raising hordes of daemon zombies. But, from his point of view, the monolithic, heartless, brutal, oppressive Imperium is the greater evil. He respects his opponent Loyalist Astartes, and in fact feels pity for them and their plight. He is less sympathetic to the Thousand Sons whose behaviour he considers to be deceitful and hypocritical. I love that complicated shades of grey, where evil and bad are relative terms. 

The deuteragonist is Dragan, “the Gallowsman”, a more recent convert to the Death Guard. He left a Loyalist Space Marine Chapter and joined the Death Guard, and is gradually receiving Nurgle’s “gifts.” He is called a “thin blood” because he hasn’t been in the Death Guard as long as some of his peers. But, because of that, he still retains anger, drive, and zeal that seems to elude many older, sluggish, Death Guard. His story is quite interesting too. I wondered how Death Guard recruited or replenished their forces, so Dragan’s recruitment into such an old Legion gives a glimpse into that. 

I was also impressed by the genuine use of “science fiction” that Wraight uses. In my experience, better science fiction has commentary or theoretical parables on how a current trend can get much more complicated with advances in time and/or technology. In “The Lords of Silence”, Wraight describes the nightmare that is the agri-world of Najan. The planet is windswept and brutal, with minimal biodiversity, and barely hospitable to its workers. It is being overfarmed so aggressively that it will be completely depleted in less than 100 years, even with constant fertilizing and other interventions. It’s like an incredibly exaggerated version of those “super-farms” that are becoming increasingly common. And, ironically, this world is a hellish nightmare BEFORE the Death Guard invades!

It also frames great battle scenes. Some are scaled in space combat or planet-wide invasions. But Wraight goes into the small elements that make up these larger conflicts, like loading of ship ordnance, or small boarding parties battling in confined corridors. There are lots of great scenarios that could be rebuilt as part of a Warhammer 40,000 game. 

Posing with “The Lords of Silence” by Chris Wraight, a great book featuring the Death Guard in the Warhammer 40,000 universe.

I liked the book so much that I want to model some miniatures to represent some of its characters. I definitely would like to have a Vorx model. And I can foresee a great model of Naum the crazed Helbrute dragging the body of a defeated foe like a broken toy. 

There is rather limited “fluff” about the Death Guard in the 41st Millennium, so I’d definitely recommend it as a glimpse into this “heroic” army.