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Cèsar de Quart

Visually interesting stormhosts?

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Hi!

I'm taking a new look at the existing stormhosts and there aren't a lot of them that stand out to me. They're little more than a colour scheme, with no visual representation of their history, legacy, character and quirks.

Is there any host that could be upgraded, visually speaking, in an interesting way, preferably easy to model or convert? Some ideas could be:

Anvils of the Heldenhammer: They're basically a death cult made our of super old dead heroes. Skulls and hourglass symbology, maybe some more Ancient Greek flair to them?

Astral Templars: The easy route is Space Wolf pelts, but a cooler way would be Native American theme.

Celestial Knights: Not much is known about them, but they do have a lightning and dark sky fetish. Hard call. Maybe they paint bolts on their sigmarite armour.

Celestial Vindicators: They form deep bonds with their battle brothers and hate Chaos. Chaos trophies? They decorate their armour with kill-count markers? Also, going with colour theory, turquoise really works against deep wine red. What about the Vindicators paint symbols in their armour with Chaotic dark blood? The more experienced a Stormcast, the more red in his armour. A cool and organic way to show veterancy through colour and also it would stand out nicely on the tabletop, red against turquoise.

Celestial Warbringers: The Joyous Host. There guys sound like merry knights to me, give them more tabards and Medieval-inspired imagery. Smiling masks too.

Hallowed Knights: The Templars of the bunch, these guys could use much more zealotry in their gear. More parchment, more candles, more keys and rosaries and beads... Again, that's the most obvious way. Another one would be to model them after Buddhism, although the Sacrosanct Chamber has already gone this route.

Knights Excelsior: Examples of discipline, selflessness and sobriety, these guys should use as little ornament as possible. Maybe even no faces or sun-spikes on their faceplates, just sallet-like helms. They should draw inspiration from highly disciplined cultures like Prussians, Samurais...

Lions of Sigmar: Secretive and mysterious, they could even disguise by painting their armour in a way that conceals the bronze within, but in their case, the lion theme is too obvious to be ignored. Fortunately, there's no shortage of lion imagery in Sigmar's armies nowadays (I miss the days of griffin-everywhere). What if they show seniority or advancement within the secret circles of the Host through the use of chains around their armour, and also as a metaphore for their oath to secrecy? I can see them also with plain masks with no discernible expression, just holes for the eyes and breathing. Ominous!

Tempest Lords: Dead dynasts, kings and aristocrats, there's a value to genealogy in this Host, so I'm thinking additions that either play with traditional symbols of nobility (extravagant robes and coats, maybe Russian aristocratic cassocks, turbans...). Basically more ornate and pompous. I can see myself buying a box of Custodes and play with the conversion possibilities.

Radiant Suns of Sigmar: Robes and scales of justice? Though nut.

+++

But there can be many more things to imagine, sometimes more visual than narrative, like:

- A Host from Ghyran that has learned to accept the gifts of Alarielle and are covered in vines half the time.

- A Host guarding one of the last fortresses in the realm's edge of Aqshy, so burnt up by the ash and acid rain that the Sigmarite in their armor is starting to rust (this was the angle I used with my guys, by the way).

- A Host cryptic in nature, very closed to the outside world, with circles within circles, always on the hunt for Tzeentch, and whose admittance into the Inner Circles is shown by strange symbols and circles burnished into their armour.

- A Host with their faces painted, half the face is white and half is black. It may look cool. The duality of the soul and all that.

- A Host in Shyish which grieves for the dead souls of their comrades that Nagash has snatched. Once they loose a battle brother for good, they paint a tear under their mask's eye. A way to visualise the measure of their sorrow.

- A Host in Ulgu which wears candles and lamps to disperse the Mists (kinda like the steampunky lights everyone carries in Frostpunk).

- A Host from Aqshy which wears heavy chainmail coats covering their armour, instead of clothes (which get burned). Symbolically, they have shielded themselves to the idea of passion and fire, and they seek a dispassionate approach to life and conquest with extensive meditation. 

+++

The Mortal Realms are vast and there are a lot of interesting ideas out there, but I can't find any good compendium on visually interesting Stormhosts, so... there you go.

Any help or comments?

Thanks!

Edited by Cèsar de Quart
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I'm working on a Astral Templar host. Indeed I started getting some SW bits, but now that I defined more and more the fluff, I'm focusing on Orruks and Beastclaw Raiders bits, specially for my Extremis Chamber. Bought some little chains and the box of skulls too to make more trophies.  Also working with green stuff using as reference the sculptures of Joaquin Palacios and the ones from the HATE boardgame. I will have more Relictors than usual (have 4 already) because my Astral Templars consider themselves more as a tribe than an army, and they really look towards their shamans. 

I've attached some of them here. Still a lot to improve since my hobby time is very sparse. I've also attached my version of Zephacleas Beast-Bane, based on his description of the Plague Garden.

I'm REALLY excited about the new books to get more information about the Realms. Specially about Ghur, where my army is based.

When the Sacrosanct Chamber was announced I leaning towards the Anvils, but I think I'll keep the Astral Templars, making them a Chamber of Druids.

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You can create your own stormhost!  Then it will be anything you want :)

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1 hour ago, chord said:

You can create your own stormhost!  Then it will be anything you want :)

 

1 hour ago, Kako said:

I'm working on a Astral Templar host. Indeed I started getting some SW bits, but now that I defined more and more the fluff, I'm focusing on Orruks and Beastclaw Raiders bits, specially for my Extremis Chamber. Bought some little chains and the box of skulls too to make more trophies.  Also working with green stuff using as reference the sculptures of Joaquin Palacios and the ones from the HATE boardgame. I will have more Relictors than usual (have 4 already) because my Astral Templars consider themselves more as a tribe than an army, and they really look towards their shamans. 

I've attached some of them here. Still a lot to improve since my hobby time is very sparse. I've also attached my version of Zephacleas Beast-Bane, based on his description of the Plague Garden.

I'm REALLY excited about the new books to get more information about the Realms. Specially about Ghur, where my army is based.

When the Sacrosanct Chamber was announced I leaning towards the Anvils, but I think I'll keep the Astral Templars, making them a Chamber of Druids.

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That's so cool! That's what I was talking about!

1 hour ago, chord said:

You can create your own stormhost!  Then it will be anything you want :)

You misunderstood. I know and I have - I just think that the existing offer on VISUALS, even on FLUFF variations on different stormhosts, is very, very limited. They're just different paintjobs on the same armour. 

The fluff really doesn't give us much room to play with it; as far as I know Sigmarite armour is made high above Azyrheim by Sigmar himself... which means there's little room for different armour the way Marines may have their techpriests and their allied Mechanicus worlds create custom servos. But we could still get something more than just "these guys are golden, these are silver, these are turquoise, these are deep red, there are black..." More on the lines of "these guys wear furs, these guys wear togas, these ones stuff their armour with skulls and these paint them with the blood of their enemies". Etc.

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Astral Templars do wear furs and in "Plague Garden" there is one Stormcast that wear head of defeated Orruk on his armour to show him respect. Stormcasts decorate their armours with trinkets and battle trophies and many people actually convert them to have different armour types. You can always say that they are some kind of special forces made for specific task. Sky is the limit! I plan to paint my ScE as Tempest Lords - forged from warriors from ancient city in Hysh conquered by Skaven. They're going to be insired by ancient Egyptians with gold ornaments and dark blue gemstones made from crystalized Hyshian Realmstone (based on gem called lapis lazuli). 

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I started the Astral Templars because I was visually attracted by the color, and I didn't want to create another Hammers of Sigmar chamber, as in my local store there was two already. The little blurbs about them on the previous BTs did nothing to me until a friend sent me Zephacleas description. It got me hooked instantly. Then I went after everything I could learn about them on the books.

I believe the more you read the more you are able to create your own story. I have a friend who's building an amazing BCR army and we are already planning shorts stories together, hence my search for BCR bits. Also there are unplanned finds that can create interesting details to your miniatures. I went to this local shop to try to find the smallest chains and found some little cheap beads that I'll now use as replacements for may Starsoul Maces.

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Edited by Kako
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3 minutes ago, michu said:

Astral Templars do wear furs and in "Plague Garden" there is one Stormcast that wear head of defeated Orruk on his armour to show him respect.

Yes! that's Zephacleas! That's the one I portrayed.

And I can't wait to see your Tempest Lords!!!! It sounds amazing!

Edited by Kako
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Well, it could take a while as I'm right now focusing on my Skaven army (verminous traitor yes-yes), but when I'm done I will definitely post pictures here.

 

EDIT: And yes, that was Zephacleas - after reading Fury of Gork and his fight with that Orruk I started to like Astral Templars. I can't wait for David Guymer's Hamilcar Bear-Eater novel.

Edited by michu
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Nice ideas!

There is still something that bugs me about the Stormcar variety. As far as I've seen, most of them share the same culture. I can see that the Astral Templars are a fan favourite, given their cool colour scheme and their feral disposition. I'd like to see GW (not just the novels) flesh the others more.

Even the Ultramarines got their own character in 40k, so that they may be the posterboys, but they're no longer just "regular marines". They are Roman-inspired, disciplined, elitist, proud and they like to organise things into empires. Now the only "regular marines" are... the hundreds of unknown chapters no one knows about, because they may be your dudes.

I'm missing this about the Stormcasts. Examples of how far can we go, fluff wise, and a certain endorsement from GW in the idea that Stormcast hosts can indeed have some peculiar character without Sigmar coming down from Heaven with lightning in his eyes and punish my dudes for being deviants or heretics or whatnot. Lately Order is being very... Order.

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I agree with you. But I think we need to give time for the GW creative teams. AoS is still a baby compared to the 40K lore. I'm new to the hobby (roughly 2 years) but I work with publishing (comics and books) and things like this take time to develop. Also, for what I've talked to long time hobbyists, AoS has more room for us to create our own stories than before. The Realms are so vast that we can include whatever we want, no matter if it is a canon Stormhost or your own. They gave us (almost) blank pages to develop. I can only imagine ho someone envision the White Reaper's Knights Excelsiors a a totally new Sacrosanct Chamber based on Ulgu. At this point there is no limit for us.

My friend @Antonio Rodrigues and I are writing about creativity within the hobby on a Brazilian website but we have the English versions of our articles. I think it might interest you. I'll upload them on my blog here at TGA. I'll let you know as soon as I do. And we are writing some short stories that will bring my Vanguard Chamber closer to his BCR Alfrostun, hence my search for BCR and Orruk bits.

It's something that evolves with time, with reading and research. I love it because to me it's the reason why I'm here.

Edited by Kako

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You're absolutely right, AoS is still in its infancy. Although, all things considered, they didn't do a great job fleshing out their world when it came out. They're making up for it bringin some great ideas into the table.

To me, the most difficult thing is how to walk the fine line between familiarity and alien-ness that the Mortal Realms have. I can see that in many ways the Mortal Realms are a high magic fantasy Conan-esque universe  loosely based on a Medieval sometimes steampunk aesthetics. At the same time, some things are a bit hard to swallow (like the fey-like Sylvaneth living together humans in the Living City), sometimes things get too bizarre (like Hammerhal being divided by an astral gateway), some are outright absurd (the logistics of empire-building in the Realms are... strange. So are there only big cities loosely allied with one another? Are all the old empires gone? Is the world terribly corrupt with Chaos like Praag was in the old world?) and sometimes GW will be astonishingly unimaginative (most names are just cringe-inducing and they don't convey any sense of distinct culture, ideology... it's not just the Necroquake (oh God) or the sometimes remains of Imperial culture buried within compound generic fantasy names (Anvilgard...  :/), it's uninspired things like Greywater, the Living City... I mean, come on! At least Phoenicium or Excelsis have somewhat evocative names. Greywater... 

All in all, I like the canvas, I just need more ink. This is a very good place to get some.

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I try to view AoS more as mythology than fantasy. That way all these impossible and bizarre things can fit in. For example, think about how the Realms resemble the Worlds in Yggdrasil, the mythical tree of Norse mythology. Very distant from what was presented before, which was closer to a medieval background. And the feats of many heroes are told as Gilgamesh or Hercules were, more than King Arthur or Frodo. Well, that's my view at things. The creation of worlds are tasks for Gods that only brave writers tend to imitate ? 

And I really don't mind the names. As a Portuguese speaking person they all look cool to me ?

Yes, let's brainstorm more and more and bring out ideas. I've been writing as a creative exercise for the past few months and posted my first "tale-report" on my blog. If you have some spare time, I would LOVE your feedback.

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I'll take a look at your blog right away!

I'm Spanish but I still find the Age of Sigmar's toponymia insultingly obvious. The Prime Innerlands? I mean :P  But you're right, I should take a look at it more in the lines of "this is all myth" than as a somewhat realistic backdrop. 

Some time ago I wrote some kind of an atmospheric snippet of what I think Ulgu might be like, before it was explored. I'll post it here, see what you think (quite long, sorry):

 

ULGU, the SHROUDED LANDS

Grandparents and aunts all have a saying, "All is not what it seems, shadow follows no law". In the orderly Realm of Hysh, shadow is the consequence of stark light. Mystery and illusion conceal reality, and people, attracted to the mystery like a sailor to the sirens, are trapped inside as if it was a drug, soothing and conforting, numbing and ellusive.

Picture an old northern harbor, deep within the mists, bathed in dim dusklight, immersed in a sea of fog, clogged, oppressed. Here, there is always light, for it scatters everywhere, coming from the diffuse boundaries with Hysh, the Luminary; but it is a... fickle light. More akin to moonlight or to a stormy sunrise. Here, the sounds, the feelings, the thoughts are all diminished by the atmosphere. In Hysh, shadow is the absence of light. In here, though, shade is the presence of Ulgu, and a very tangible thing. The mists are alive and have their own will, plan their own plots and keep their own secrets. Things are never what they seem, always shrouded in a mystery older than the world itself.

The land stretches unseen for miles, and the landscape changes, riles and shivers with the breeze. It is a world of slow change, sluggish ebb and flow, where the only possible direction is to stay put, or to run in circles. Here, shadows are the embodiment of Entropy, in opposition to the order that the Light of Hysh brings to the Lands of the Luminary. Entropy, though, is not Chaos. Chaos is fervor, excess, violent transmutation, impatience, sturm and drang. Entropy is calm, quiet, numb, still. 

Here, men know that reality is shifting, that time is a-wasting, that all things come to an end, but they also live in a grey world of mystery and illusion. They are master riddlers, they understand that everything has an underlying intention, that the world is hiding secrets under its sheets. They speak in tongues that mimic the sounds of their dark nature; the wind, the rain, thunder and storm, and because Ulgu numbs sound as much as vision, they have become experts in sign language and light codes. They are wanderers, nomads, tricksters, never trusting the land to hold a building for long, never knowing if they will see anyone tomorrow, never being able to comprehend a world where the sky is blue and the horizon is vast. For a while, the Shrouded Kings led a coallition of nomad clans and were the most powerful men in Ulgu, the Firstborn of Mother Myst, until the Shadow King Malerion contested their rule. Now the Shrouded Kings worship Malerion as the Shadow King and Mother Myst as the generatrix goddess.

There are also other inhabitants in Ulgu, those that came from beyond the Great Gates; Azyrites, Aqshians, Chamonites, and other peoples brough forth by Sigmar's Tempest. They have tried to tame Ulgu and make it their own, with varying degrees of success. The Shademen look at them passing by and shrug. They will never last, they think. Their buildings will crumble, their towers will collapse, their light will vanish, eaten by the Eternal Mists. They labor to build lighthouses, barriers and to clear the mist as if it was a forest to be cut down and tamed. But this is the Land of Shadow, and darkness will always win. The Shademen bring their trades, do their business and continue their way, knowing that the Myst has a prupose for them, and shall devour them once thir purpose is complete. There's the Aegis, the famed Ivory Dome of the Knights-Serene, Sigmar's bridgehead in Ulgu, built around a priceless relic, the Hand of Khaine; there's Ulambra, the Silent Hall of the Ordo Occultam, an alliance of Light and Grey wizards; there's Rh'yz, the Mysteric Labirinth, a plain filled with the shadows of the dead that the Myst reclaimed for Herself, and which is guarded by the ever-stern Sisterhood of the Owl, always weary of Nagash's attempts to take the souls back; there's Rho-Dai, the White Pyramid established by Tellurio Critizo, still trying to tame the Ulgulands and establish a "haven of respite within the fog". The Shademen look at them and move on. The only respite is in the Myst. The only true sleep, is life in Ulgu. Soothing, inviting, like a siren calling a sailor, like an old man attempting to live forever. Hopeful but pointless.

They know what lurks beneath the Shade, beyond the Curtain. Dark gods lie at the edges of the Ulgulands, in portentous slumber, godbeasts born with the end of the World That Was, maybe even before that, drinking the essence of the Mist from time immemorial, looming at the end of things, always out of sight but present in their pull, like a monster hiding just behind the door. Gods with a thousand names and recipients of a thousand sacrifices, beings of unfathomable power that no one remembers, beasts that even the Chaos champions avoid, incarnations of the Ulgumen's beliefs and creeds about the Myst, the Secret and the Occult.

The Ulgumen say that, after all, when the Shroud falls upon all lands, secrets shall be kept for all eternity, death shall be defeated, life shall freeze in its place, fire shall fickle and dim, metal shall cool, beasts shall turn meek, the sky shall close to the eyes of men and light shall die, consumed by the Shadow. That, they know.

 

HYSH the ENLIGHTENING

Light is the seed of life, light is the source of hope, light unleashes the secret and enlightens the obscure; light is the substance of order.

The Realm of Light, the Hyshi would say, is a land of symmetry, of ordainment, of law. The landscape is angular and harsh, filled with mirrored patterns, fractal formations and symbolism, meaning, truth.

But bright light also casts the darkest shadows, and as the Hyshi know, this is not apparent at first. To the passer-by, Hysh is a dizzying place, glamouring travelers with bright lights, black nights and a constant mirage or hidden symbolism, for light reveals all, but only to the initiated. Light conquers all, but only as long as there's a source, and as long as someone is looking. Grandparents and aunts all have a saying, "All is not what it seems, shadow follows no law". In the orderly Realm of Hysh, shadow is born of the stark light. Mystery and illusion conceal reality, and people, attracted to the mystery like a sailor to the sirens, are trapped inside as if it was a drug, soothing and comforting, numbing and elusive.

Many live in the white deserts of silver glass sand, the bright red forests of irenoak, the fertile plains of Ignotica, Pha-Myria, Hyrkania, Us and Kemit. There great realms spanned continents; the Solkanic Conventium, the Alluminassi, the Brotherhood of the Sealed Eye, the Pharian Conclaves, the Us-Ptar Domain, the Eight Gates to Heaven, the White Library, the Heliogogic Synarchy or the Hyrkan Empire all thrived once, and in some cases, still do today, within the corners of Understanding. Just outside the Reach of Truth.

Civilization is possible even at the edges of the Pillars of Creation, of the Broken Seal Ridge, of the Ten Towers, mountains tall as thought can picture and yet symmetric, elegant, in an inexplicable way. The land may seem ordinary in these inner lands surrounding the safest of gateways; the Shrouded Lake, the Caverns of Gammarica, the Syrman Abyss, the Bridge of Telemachy… the doors to other worlds through which the Humankind entered this world. But as one wanders farther from these realms, the land takes a life of its own. Pyramids sprout naturally from the hard soil, or dunes of diamond travel the plains serpent-like. Giant beasts conceal their nature through veils of illusion. Angulate formations deceive about the number and disposition of their sides thanks to their elusive shape and albedo. Is it ever night in here? Is this scorching light calling me? Can I find my own truth hidden within the circles and patterns of this place? Losing oneself is easy, especially when the landscape itself is difficult to measure, to take in, and simple orientation becomes relative. A matter of opinion. Orientation… towards what? What is a journey? What is life?

As we wade further even, Hyish challenges the traveler with riddles, with questions. Each step becomes a test against oneself, against nature, against reality. Each heartbeat requires the pondering of the nature of the Universe, but each victory brings further enlightenment, until finally, the traveler becomes one with Hyish. A guru, a wizard, a god… or nothing at all. A being of splendid light, always bound to the place he fell prey to Hyish’ siren chants, a shard of living crystal eternally questioning the nature of his own imprisonment –or even, if he is imprisoned at all.

 

Edited by Cèsar de Quart
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Cèsar, I'm speechless. Absolutely amazing writing! Would you mind if I share this to my group? 

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New images from GARDUS the Steel Soul and HAMILCAR Bear-eater. Hamilcar has the vibe I'm looking for, but I really like the idea of the arm. Coincidentally I'm working my Castellant's cape with the same kind of fur with green stuff. As soon as I'm done, I'll post it here.

 

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Of course, go ahead. It's all my head canon (in which names are a bit more imaginative, or at least I try...) but no problem in sharing this.

Thanks for the images, the second one is quite characterful!

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Kako, Your army is incredible. I love it. I was torn between making Templars and Anvils and think I will have to go Anvils now because my army won’t look half as good as yours. Did you use an airbrush for the armour? 

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Welp, my egyptian Tempest Lords army may not be possible to make. GW discontinued Stormhost upgrade sprues. I hope it's just to add Sacrosanct Chamber shields and emblems.

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7 minutes ago, michu said:

Welp, my egyptian Tempest Lords army may not be possible to make. GW discontinued Stormhost upgrade sprues. I hope it's just to add Sacrosanct Chamber shields and emblems.

I still have an upgrade sprue somewhere from 1 of the box sets, I am not sure if it is the one you need though.

Edit: it is the sprues with the hand holding the hammer and the fist on the buckle.

Edited by Kugane
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10 hours ago, Sigmarine said:

Kako, Your army is incredible. I love it. I was torn between making Templars and Anvils and think I will have to go Anvils now because my army won’t look half as good as yours. Did you use an airbrush for the armour? 

Thanks! Pretty sure you would make a great amy of Templars too, there are a lot of possibilities to go! I was talking to a friend about a host of Astral Templars with a "dragon" flavor, lots of bits of Seraphons and maybe going after dinosaurs bones. Maybe an Extremis Chamber! The Anvils as so cool too, I think the idea fits perfectly with the new Chamber ? 

I actually didn't do any airbrush, just a simple dry brush of plain screamer pink on top of a very dark background color.

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10 hours ago, michu said:

Welp, my egyptian Tempest Lords army may not be possible to make. GW discontinued Stormhost upgrade sprues. I hope it's just to add Sacrosanct Chamber shields and emblems.

Have you tried eBay? Meanwhile, I have found these for you:

http://www.hobbytitan.com/warhammer-bits-stormcast-eternals-tempest-lords-upgrades-paladin-pauldrons-x6/

http://www.hobbytitan.com/warhammer-bits-stormcast-eternals-tempest-lords-upgrades-shoulder-pads-x8/

The other bits are out of stock.

I'll check if one of my friends also have spare sprues and bits like Kugane. Don't let your idea die! I'm pretty sure if you look for it you'll find what you need.

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Well on the US site there's still the Celestial Warbringers(the comet heraldry) available.

I do hope they re-expand the upgrade range and this is just a temporary adjustment for upcoming Sacrosanct parts(which I could see if the Sacrosanct Easy to Build kits are coming). I really loved those round shields.

 Also, brilliant work, Kako! :)

 

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Me too, those round shields are the key. That and terminator shoulder pads instead of the odd looking shoulder pads we got.

Here's an interesting item I've come across,from Blog de Kouzes, an amazing French blog about flavourful conversions and good painting:

DSC_0932.JPG

Amazing relic warden, I like the bones, but I especially like the coloring: his left arm is white. Nice touch. I'm a big fan of expressing veterancy or specialization through distinct coloring.

Source:

http://leskouzes.blogspot.com/2015/08/relic-warden.html

 

Edited by Cèsar de Quart
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56 minutes ago, Cèsar de Quart said:

Me too, those round shields are the key. That and terminator shoulder pads instead of the odd looking shoulder pads we got.

Here's an interesting item I've come across,from Blog de Kouzes, an amazing French blog about flavourful conversions and good painting:

DSC_0932.JPG

Amazing relic warden, I like the bones, but I especially like the coloring: his left arm is white. Nice touch. I'm a big fan of expressing veterancy or specialization through distinct coloring.

Source:

http://leskouzes.blogspot.com/2015/08/relic-warden.html

 

I love Blog de Kouzes. And this guy... WOW!!! Wonder if there is a place that sell only bones. Like a box of bones like the skull one. 

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