Friday, 22 January 2016

It's come to the point in my collection where I've started to write out some lists. The Horus Heresy books offer a dearth of knowledge, back history, colour plates and interest for the fluff gamer. But it also offer rules which are by all accounts excellent. I feel that I delve into the history and the painting side, but I'm missing out on the gaming aspect. 

All the lists I've written so far include a Chaplain. It's a fantastic consul choice for small games and augments units in larger games. But what does a 30K chaplain look like? What is his function within the legion? Did they exist as an organisation before the council of Nikaea?

There are few facts concerning this organisation. In the Word Bearers section of the Forgeworld book we learn that they had a corps of Imperial Heralds who would travel to newly discovered worlds and iterate the teachings of the Imperial Truth, welcoming that lost branch of humanity back in to the fold of the Imperium. Unsurprisingly there was a high attrition rate with the Heralds. It is unclear whether this role was prevalent in other legions or was unique to the XVII. Another thing we learn is that there Heralds were garbed in black to signify that they are under the direct order of the Emperor himself (as an aside banner bearers were garbed in imperial purple, a colour later adopted by the Emperor's Children). These Heralds would be given a sigil of office, a Crozuis topped with the Imperial Aquila. 

Although Forgeworld have not released a model for the chaplain the plastic Word Bearer fro the Battle at Calth boxed set gives us some insight into how the 30K predecessor differed from his 40K counterpart. For one there is little in the way of iconography embellished in the armour. In 40K we see a recurring motif of Death's head, skeletons and the such, motif's prevalent in Medieval art reminding us of our mortality and salvation in the next life. This iconography can be construed as Chaplin embedding the heart and soul of the Chapter - the bare bones if you pardon the pun - that underpins the ideology by which the chapter functions. 

We do have descriptions of Chaplains bearing the death's head helmet. In Fear to Tread the Warden has such a helmet, his role within the Legion to uphold the edict of Nikaea and morale (perversely he seems to have the opposite effect on his brothers, badgering them over the most minor lapses in protocol). 

So what we know:

1) Chaplains wear black (although this is not a universal factor. Parts of their armour may be painted black)
2) They bear a Crozius (a badge of office, normally topped or adorned in some manner with the Imperial Aquila).
3) They embody the tenets of the Legion, recalling it's history and maintaining morale. In some cases they act as heralds to newly found human worlds. In effect they are part of the council that decides whether new worlds are suitable for compliancy (if their genetic stain is to divergent from main stream humanity, or if their ideologies are to far removed to join humanity).

From here we can start sourcing some suitable models. The Battle of Catlh boxed set is an excellent model but is unsuitable for my needs as he will be armed with a jump pack, and we can't have that pretty cape going up in flames now can we?

The second choice is simply buying a chaplain model. Again I don't see this as a suitable fit as the ornamentation on the armour is to much for the stripped back functional legions.

A conversion it is then. There are some excellent examples of Chaplain conversion out there, but nothing that quite scratches the itch for me. Then I remembered this:

The Games Day event only Forgeworld Boarding Marine. I wasn't fortunate enough to buy one first time around but this model is just perfect for how I envision my Chaplain working within the force. My expedition is a Vanguard fleet at the edge of the known galaxy in the latter days of the Great Crusade. The heat and fury of the Imperium's forging has begun to cool. This Chaplain acts as a herald, announcing the Imperial Truth to human civilisations on the rim of the Galaxy. He has a big beefy Storm Shield with a teleport homer to help him escape those court who do not like his declaration. 

Paints used: Vallejo, Reaper Master Series, Games Workshop Washes, Com Art Medea Airbrush Airbrush: Iwata Hi-Line HP-CH Airbrush Paint Brushes: Rosemary & Co. Raphael 8040, Broken Toad Brushes, Windsor and Newton Series 7


  1. Yeah I don't think they were so heavy on the death motif with all the skulls and such during heresy. It was more about them inspiring and being a stalwart example of heroism and defiance in the face of the new warp terrors that were being unleashed. More classical knight than anything I think. You have nailed everything for this project so far so trust your insitncts :)

  2. The Word Bearer chaplain in Battle for the Abyss is normal armour, but a black helmet with skull motif

  3. Aren't the blood angels chaplains engaged with hiding the curse if the blood angels legion?been a while since I read fear to thread.

  4. I do like the Finecast jump chaplain legs for this. Just a little skull on the knee. Replace the chest with one of the resin FW bits and you lose his crozius. I did this one with a normal Heresy helmet so I could have the option to paint a skull on later: