Welcome to the first installment in the latest phase of my insanity: the Infinite Empire!
For those wondering what in Urcaen I’m babbling about, I’ve been toying with an idea for a long time: Stargate-inspired Circle. Take my unhealthy love for all things cartoonishly ancient Egyptian and pair them with a powerful set of beast and construct-heavy lists in a last-ditch attempt to save my back inspired by Emon and his fellow hosts on the Leyline, sprinkle in homemade fluff with names ransacked from my upcoming fantasy novel (The Divine Infection) altered to make sense in the Iron Kingdoms, and bam, you have the Infinite Empire: the Voidgate Incursion! (The origin story for the army can be found here).
Rather than having my normal unit and caster descriptions from an omniscient view, I decided to have more fun with this and give fans of Jonathon Worthington, Strangelight Investigator (a novel-sized IK story, also available to read on Wattpad) a treat and have the descriptions be urgent missives sent by a captured Jonathon. He’s trying to warn anyone who will listen to the imminent threat of the Infinite Empire while playing along as the ‘captured guide’ to the army.
Enough blabbering, time to show rather than tell! Warning: this is a mighty monster of an article, easily triple the size of the ones coming, but it establishes some of the basic building and fluff blocks of the army.
All of these articles will be cross-posted to the PP forums via the thread Infinite Empire: the Voidgate Incursion. I’m hoping to have this army ready for Lock & Load 2016, but I’m short on time, so we’ll see . . .
I’ve already shown the finished conversion of Kromac2 and a few other minis in the thread linked above, so this article is more about showing how I built him and the final painted product. This was one of those minis that caused a failed painting CMD check, as halfway through I figured out I liked playing other Circle casters more. Also, Destiny on the PS4 from X-mas didn’t help either 🙂
A special thanks to Omnus for trading me his Circle for my Crimson Harvest Skorne, as well as Adam and Aaron for their immensely generous donations of literal bags of Retribution bits.
Armed with a donated Imperatus from Omnus I set out to turn primal into elegant, savage into ancient tech, pork into beans . . . you get the point.
First is the base style. I wanted the army to look like it was either striding on arcane ancient ruins, or forming them where they went. So I put a thin layer of greenstuff on the bases and pressed a series of interconnected circles in using plastic rods and tubes I had on hand. I didn’t pay too much attention to the accuracy, as it’ll be barely visible most of the time, but it’ll give a good background to work on.
Rathrok wasn’t exactly impressing me on Kromac2, and I wanted something that looked like it had real reach. So I’m switching Imperatus’s blade into a scythe-like top for his royal staff.
The earliest WIP photos have been lost to time and incompetence (mine), but here you can see where I’m going with the pose. I cut away literally all of his pre-existing cape, as well as his more savage clothing bits. With pinning and greenstuff I change his pose to be more upright, sculpted the base of an Egyptian-style neck piece, and assembled the new Rathrok.
Dry-fitting the head into place. I’ve cut off his chin-braids and facial fur to give him more of an angled and clean jaw. Unfortunately, the arm itself wasn’t really doing it for me, and I wasn’t a fan of him straight-arming his staff, so part of this gets torn apart 🙂 Astute watchers will also note that he is mistakenly mounted on a medium base instead of a large. D’oh!
Deciding that I really, REALLY didn’t like the arm as it was, I tore it apart and put a new longer pin/skeleton in. I was waiting on some parts at this point, but wanted to see how a modified pose would look. Much better. Rather than breaking him from his ultra-steady base I decided to simple mount the medium base on a larger one and fill it in with terrain.
Time for Imperatus to donate more to the cause! His wings are very regal, so they go onto the back of my centerpiece model. You’ll notice I also sculpted a small swirly bit at the head and end of the staff, which helps to give more elegance to it than a simple stick.
Ermagerd, he scared me into a fuzzy picture! Here you can see the arms I decided on: Hydra! I pried the hand away from the skeleton, drilled a long hole through the plastic forearm, slipped it on, and reglued the hand.
With the weapon hand taken care of, it was time to turn to his open one. A sane man would have been satisfied with simple gluing on the old hand, but I had been mainlining Stargate while sculpting, and decided I wanted to replicate that funky “fry your brain” hand weapon the Gao’uld used. It took a sadly incredible amount of sculpting to finally get the hand where I wanted, but in the end I managed it. The gem at the center was made by pressing a paint brush protector cap into the drying greenstuff after letting it sit about 20 minutes.
Time for the cloak! I debated different styles, and even tried one that I later ripped off, but this was the winner, a simple one that emphasized the regal nature of the Kha of the Infinite Empire. I used the time-honored simplicity of cutting a cape to size on a lubed porcelain plate then transferring it and supergluing it into place. The clay sculptor was left in place to hold it in a flowing pose as it dried. You can also see that I’ve filled in the gap from the wings to his back with brown stuff to form an engine housing, and the armor shoulders have been resculpted to be the rune-inscribed armor favored by Circle.
Muscles were sculpted in the gap between forearm and shoulder, and the cape got a special trim.
A bit more terrain to hide the medium and large base join and bam, the WIP is done! Let’s get some paint and fluff on this bad boy . . .
Faro’kha, the Infinite Emperor
(Click for larger pics)
“To my esteemed colleagues of the Strangelight Workshop:
Ensconced within heavy ceremonial armor and shifting ur-flesh, Faro’kha has led his people out of the hell of Urcaen to the fertile fields of the living. I cannot fathom how long the Infinite Empire (Zhiashi in their native tongue) dwelt within the boundaries of the spirit world; even the Kha is unclear in his estimations. Time appears to flow differently within each fragment of the shifting never of the afterlife, especially for those who have yet to die. Although he speaks as if millennia have passed, Faro’kha is only the second of his bloodline to rule the Empire. Regardless, whatever god it was that the Zhiashi murdered to gain entry and dominion over their ethereal homeland was not strong enough to sustain them there indefinitely, hence the appearance of the Voidgates. I have discovered that they are driven to find new divine prey not only for personal glory and honor, but also to strengthen their hold on Urcaen itself.
Outside of the grips of the ur-flesh I find Faro’kha to be a wise and benevolent leader, easy with his friendship and deeply concerned for his people’s well-being. However, when the oily nether-flesh crawls over his skin, when he takes on the form of self-aggrandizement that can only be described as a living godhead, the leader of the Infinite Empire becomes a demon of violence and pain. The Kha refers to himself in the third person in such situations, and it really is rather frightening when one cannot discern where the man ends and the ur-flesh begins. To say such a thing affects his mind is an understatement, but submerging into the flesh is regarded as the closest thing to a holy rite these people have.
Although bedecked in the strange voidgems that the Infinite Empire uses, the power that Faro’kha wields is clearly his own. It remains in him after the ur-flesh and armor are cast aside, and I fear sometimes that the madness revealed when he takes on the mantle of his kingship merely reveals the insane tyrant lurking within the genial facade, rather than the other way around.
If the Kha is allowed to stalk Immoren freely in pursuit of the Empire’s agenda, Morrow himself may not be able to preserve our souls.
Yours in service,
-Jonathon Worthington, Strangelight Investigator”