The Crimson Harvest: Morna Helstrom, the Blood Raven (aka Makeda1 and Makeda2)

Hello again, my skinless brethren (please, stop screaming as I peel, I just wanted you to feel included)!

This week, we finish up the last of Watt’s tournament-winning Makeda1, with a bonus: Makeda2! When I first got into Skorne eight months ago, I had no idea where to go, or what to build. But I did know the Mammoth was the bestest Gargantuan, and got one in trade from Omnus, so resolved to make a list for it. Then Watt went and placed third at Templecon with Skorne with a Mammoth list; my target was acquired! Now, there are folks who want to look down on others for ‘net-decking,’ i.e. copying a list that’s been successful, but here’s a truth that all new players and new faction players need to grasp: you are not a unique snowflake. Rather than Brad Pitt in your head telling you this, there’s me. You lucky dog, you.

But, returning slightly to seriousness, this is a fact to grasp when starting a new faction. Yes, once you get at least a grasp of the faction and its basics you can start meddling with other lists (I’ve finally gotten to that point myself), but in the beginning you can actually learn quite a bit by emulating a tournament-winning list, or one simply constructed by a knowledgeable person. By understanding and playing a list that you know has teeth, you can be assured that losses are your fault, not your list’s or army’s, and you can identify and rectify problems in your playstyle. There are only a certain number of ways to construct an army anyway, and unless you just discovered secret tech that utilizes 50 feralgeists, chances are someone, somewhere, has come up with the same. Instead, concentrate on perfecting your own playstyle, recognizing what does and doesn’t work for you. The Makeda1 Watt list I’ve been running is damn good, even if it doesn’t quite fit my personal style. But I learn by being outside of my comfort zone, and chances are I’ll keep it around for quite a bit until I master it. For those wondering, here is the list itself:

Archdomina Makeda (*5pts)
* Basilisk Krea (4pts)
* Cyclops Raider (5pts)
* Mammoth (20pts)
Cataphract Cetrati (Leader and 5 Grunts) (11pts)
Nihilators (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
Paingiver Beast Handlers (Leader and 3 Grunts) (2pts)
Extoler Soulward (2pts)
Feralgeist (1pts)
Mortitheurge Willbreaker (2pts)

Rather than boring you further in a post where you came expecting conversions and paint, let me just say that the list has massive internal synergy, and represents one of the best, if not the best, uses of the Mammoth and its support package. Watt was even kind enough to give an in-depth rundown of how he uses the list!

On with the conversions!

Here we see Makeda1, known in my fictional offshoot as Morna Helstrom, the Blood Raven. I’d actually stressed out a bit trying to come up with a concept of her as a caster, as the miniature itself is quite detailed and internally-consistent. This becomes a problem in that there were no obvious conversions or mods needed, unlike some minis …


I knew that I needed a motif, a way to differentiate her, but I was clueless until I started working on an RPG I’m DMing and stumbled across the name “Blood Raven” in my imagination (generally I keep smashing words together almost out of habit as I work, listening internally for things that sound bad-ass together).  This led my mind to Egyptian-style armor from Stargate with animal headdresses; something clicked in my brain, and I imagined Makeda spreading wings that cast movement spells on her army with a stylized black-iron armor. From there it all tumbled together, and soon I found myself trying to find the perfect wings for her. A blister of clockwork angels from my Convergence army sacrificed themselves to give up wings that aren’t in the PP bits store yet, a quick greenstuff copy using Instant Mold of my wife’s Circle Griffon for the beak, and bam: the Blood Raven is born! As I wanted to bring more blood into the flat black of the armor, I smoothed out the internal parts of her arms and thighs to show more skin … er, skinless flesh.


With Makeda1 sorted out, Makeda2 was largely an exercise in repeating the process. The one thing that did stand out was, with the removal of the back trophy banner, there was now room to rotate her head to look at the direction her sword was pointing. This, combined with the basing, gave her a much more dynamic, almost heroic, pose. Amazing what can happen when you’re looking at where your charging!

“Twisted sisters.”



Morna Helstrom, the Blood Raven  (aka Makeda1 and Makeda2)


The creature once known as Lady Morna Helstrom had dreams long ago: to free Llael, to drive out the Khadorans, and to restore the glory of her family name. But time and weariness wore down the Lady Helstrom through years of constant warfare and mercenary work, sharpening her into a calculating and brutal mistress of battle. By the time she led an ill-fated party of adventurers into the depth of a hidden Orgoth temple in the swamps surrounding Corvis, she had already abandoned her humanity as an extraneous luxury she could no longer afford. Everything, everyone, had a price and a worth that she could calculate at a glance. When her band of thieves and murderers accidentally woke a forgotten deity entombed within the temple, it offered her a simple choice: life or death. She recognized the blood god’s power immediately, and it was an easy decision for the cold-hearted commander. Morna embraced her new role as general of the risen god’s forces; in return, the Orgoth deity revealed to her the treasure trove of weapons and armor intended for the officers of the demonic army. Donning the black iron armor, she listened closely to the tutelage of the insane whispers from the eldritch shadows trapped inside. With a scream of pain and exultation, the Blood Raven was born, unlocking the secrets of imbuing her army with supernatural speed as her bleeding wings stretched out.


Now Morna Helstrom, the Blood Raven, leads the Crimson Harvest against the forces of humanity, seeking to restore the ancient blood god’s power … and to increase her own. At any cost.


And, of course, here we have the twins, next to each other again, only this time fully painted!

“Twisted Sister 2: Hellish Boogaloo”


And last, but certainly not least, the picture of the entire family:

“Massive infections from having no skin is our secret superpower.”


So, after eight months, I now have 3 viable 50 point Skorne lists, fully converted and painted. To put that in perspective, it took over five years for me to finally get a single 50 point Stormhammer list done. I’ve got an even crazier idea in mind for a theme list that Omnus is helping me hammer out tactics for; if it comes to fruition, will double the size of this army with new models. Stay tuned for that.

But in the meantime, I’ll be taking a quick break from the Crimson Harvest to work on a model next week for the Boost for a Cure raffle, and the week after I’ll be hard at work on the Butcher3 that I owe the winner of the Stormhammer raffle. Don’t worry, you’ll get to see both!






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  1. Sam said:

    Makeda doesn’t have flight, so adding wings to her seems like it wouldn’t be tourney legal. I know that you make your conversions so they could be tourney legal so I am just wondering how this one works?

    • MercykillerMercykiller said:

      Flight doesn’t actually seem to be tied to wings in models; there are models without wings with Flight (Legion battle engine and Issyria spring immediately to mind), while models with ‘wing impressions’ that don’t fly (Nephilim soldier and Imperatus). Even in the fluff, it’s described that the clockwork angels’ wings aren’t what allows them to fly, but rather the gravitic techinology enhanced by Aurora. I was actually inspired by Imperatus in the crafting of the wings, as his back attachments look so much like stylized wings to me. In the end, though, this is admittedly the most ‘iffy’ of my tournament-legal conversions. How far do you have to convert a wing before it’s not a wing, if it starts out as something that couldn’t possibly fly in the first place? On the plus side, I took this army to Masters at Lock & Load and no one had a problem with it, as well as every local event I’ve gone to. In the end, it is the final technique of conversion-fu: the “rule of cool” will oftentimes carry you through a questionably-legal conversion (also don’t stretch the rules unless absolutely necessary, i.e. the rest of the army doesn’t stretch it, so folks allow a little leeway on these questions). It also helps there wasn’t a ton of conversion outside of the bird-hat and wings on the mini, so it wasn’t significantly changed 😉

  2. Lucas said:

    I love your conversion work. The Stormhammer Brigade is an awesome creation, and the Crimson Harvest here looks incredible, yet very recognizable. You’re an inspiration for hobbyists, and I just wanted to say thank you.

    • MercykillerMercykiller said:

      Awww, thank you, Lucas! I’m just glad folks like them, as seeing people go gonzo makes me want to work even harder to get the same reaction. Converting: it’s a hell of an addiction 😛

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