Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Seahorses of Annihilation

I'm taking a break tonight from assembling terrain, the pictures of which that I've taken have been mostly either boring or unusable due to near constant toddler-attacks. I've included a few WIP photos at the end of this post just for the sake of completeness after my last posting, but I've got something else on my mind right now that I'd like to address first with this update. This evening I decided it was time to get back to my old Chaos Marines. After a decade of waiting for me to settle on something, they finally belong to a named warband, the Beasts of Annihilation. Having chosen this group based solely on their color scheme more or less matching the one already painted onto my army, this step forward has brought with it a new dilemma in that there is no established chapter badge or symbol for this warband. After taking so long to get to this point, I am eager to hurdle this stumbling block so that I can at last finish this army.

At first the name itself seemed somewhat silly to me, but over the ensuing weeks its appeal has grown on me, especially after an exchange about it with Sons of Taurus. The result of this shift in attitude is that I no longer know if I should go with my original joke idea. I therefore painted my candidate design onto a spare icon bearer, last touched by brush more than six years ago, as a test run. You can see the result below. Well, what do you think... have I taken it too far?

Other than the snout being a bit long, this is essentially what I envision as the Beasts of Annihilation's calling card to the 40k universe. I may try to add some orange shading on the belly but I don't know if it would be worth the effort. I haven't come up with any alternatives so if I don't go with the seahorse it's back to the drawing board. I enjoyed painting it and it passed the main test of not being particularly difficult or time consuming so for the time being I am satisfied with it. Also I would probably have fun doing larger versions of the seahorse on tanks and banners. I just have this nagging feeling that it could possibly be too inappropriate. Then again, I'm also working on a Simpsons army so I've probably already crossed that threshold of concern. Perhaps it was a millennium of taunts and jokes about the chapter seahorse that eventually drove the Beasts of Annihilation to embrace Chaos, due to bitterness and a mad desire to prove their mettle.

My inspiration for this comes from the real-world iconography of the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines (2/4) with whom one of my best friends served for a number of years. Hence there is actual military precedence for this. I'm fairly sure I've also seen the seahorse used in heraldic devices, but that could have been mere fanciful depictions or even just a figment of my imagination. Nonetheless, seen below is the insignia of the aforementioned USMC battalion.

I'd love to hear any thoughts on whether I should go forward with the seahorse or if I instead need to rein in the stupid and find something more suitable for a bunch of daemon-loving meanies. What do you think?

Below are the photos showing some of my recent work on 7G. The first one is of the space-filler piece, previously consisting only of the pipe sections glued down onto the base, that I have now turned into an impromptu gun nest...

Next is a detail from one piece of a marine who has crashed through this building's ceiling, squishing some unfortunate fellow beneath him. Look for the hand poking out from under one of the tiles to see evidence of this pitiable ending....

Seen below is a damaged building that has become a fuel depot to serve whatever vehicles or generators located in Sector 7G...

Lastly, a WIP of my next double sized building that I'm still putting together. (I ran out of pieces.) You can see I have used one of those shoddy, flimsy GW "moonscape" craters to reinforce the bond between the sections of the base. It worked out really well out in this case so I'm now planning more of these using the rest of my packet of craters.

It's still slow going, but I feel like I'm getting the hobby winds behind my sail.


  1. The buildings look really good! The only thing I'd change would be their bases; I prefer mine less symmetric and instead have more rounded corners and uneven shapes as I think it better meshes with the landscape. But that's my preference and by no means a requirement. Yours will do just as well if not better :)

  2. The 7G stuff continues to be very cool. There's not enough terrain being showcased these days. You're doing a great job.

    As for the warband, do what you think looks good. I'm interested in hearing more about this Simpsons army...

  3. The 7G work is amazing, and I really enjoy "the magnificent bastards" -proving once more that truth is stranger than fiction.

  4. Terrain looks great! When I get the time and inclination to re-do my city table I've got to remember to check back here.

    I think that the seahorse could work. After all, nasty warp beasties can take on all sorts of shapes. Maybe these are the critters that prowl the dark places of the warp, devouring stray souls and errant daemons.

    But other things could work well too. Something more typically seen as "beastlike", perhaps interacting with the Eye of Terror or a planet. Some ideas from sports logos:

    Instead of a V, perched atop a planet.

    Tearing out from the banner/armor, could also be a nice nod to the BoA heavy use of possession.

    Head/maw and paws/claws bursting forth from a planet/warp storm/black hole. Alternatively something like the beast devouring a world - claws on either side of planet, biting or getting ready to bite the top.

    Of course, some of those would be harder to paint than a seahorse! But maybe could do up one in a program and then copy/paste and do custom decals.

  5. Well, as a retired Marine, I would have to say go with the Seahorse! However, Sons has brought up a good point with the Sports Icons. I do not know the difficulty, but perhaps the Points of a Chaos Star radiating out from behind the seahorse?

  6. I say run with it. Not everyone will (or should!) have a skull of some sort. Skulls are common in reality, but not as common as in 40k.

  7. Thanks for all the feedback guys, I appreciate hearing from you.

    @ Trollhoer - Thanks for the compliments, and I understand about rounded edges blending better. I really like rounded corners and edges for buildings, especially when the base has some thickness like you get with MDF, hardboard, foam, and such. In this case I'm just using plastic movement trays straight out of the package so they are at least really simple to use. Also my plan is to push these against each other to create areas of dense terrain, but still have the option of using them as individual structures for more traditional setups.

    @ Col. Hessler - Wow, thank you Sir! I agree, I always enjoy seeing terrain projects people are working on. I tend to skip around so I should be getting back to the Simpsons army soon. Up first will be painting Captain Homer....

    @ b.smoove - Haha! I agree, the whole insignia is kind of odd but the Magnificent Bastards is a very nice touch.

    @ Sons of Taurus - I was thinking today that the seahorse is certainly a strange looking creature, perhaps touched by the warp. And the head reminds me of a Steed of Slaanesh so maybe there some potential for it after all. Thanks for all the great suggestions, I appreciate that you're always so helpful. I really like the idea of the Beast/Deamon image like it's tearing its way out of the armor. While I work on terrain the next couple of days I'll see if I can figure out how to do custom decals as I doubt I'd be able to paint even a simple design like the seahorse consistently. Thanks again for all the ideas!

    @ Magilla Gurilla - Adding a Chaos star behind the seahorse would look really good, thanks for the idea! I've been thinking all day that the design needed another element besides the seahorse, and a chaos symbol would be very appropriate. Besides this guy I have one more spare Chaos Marine painted so I can still do some tinkering. Thank you!

    @ CounterFett - Thanks, I think that's sound advice. I understand that skulls everywhere is one of the defining elements of GW's style, but I sometimes feel it's a bit much already. Just maybe seahorses are the tonic I need. Thanks for letting me know your thoughts on it!

  8. Anything is possible in the warp/Eye of Terror, so what's wrong with some soul sucking sea horses? Perhaps they're the apex predator on the Beast's home/demon world.

  9. Great stuff. I really like the gun nest tile. I always like to see peoples ideas. I mean almost anyone can do some building stuff, but the added touches make all the difference. The crater gives one character, the casualty does the other.

    All around great stuff.