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Armillion's Death Guard

Death Guard Horus Heresy

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#1
Armillion

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Hello All,

 

I've enjoyed perusing this forum for many years, though only recently joined as a member.  I have been working on a Death Guard heresy army, which has been a thoroughly enjoyable experience, for several years and I figured I should finally post it.  The army is definitely still a WIP but I have a large amount of it that is mostly complete so far so I'll have quite a backlog of finished stuff already.  Basing a large portion of the army is still on the list of things to do for sure.

I'm a huge fan of the background and lore, as well as of Your Dudes, hence I thoroughly enjoy creating conversions and kitbashes so you can see them along with some of the homebrew lore to support.  I don't profess to be an amazing painter, though I'd say my skill has improved somewhat since this army was started.  Being a gritty, dirty legion certain helps because you don't have to be super neat all the time.

 

Regarding the backstory for my Death Guard, I certainly am a loyalist at heart despite a traitor legion being my favorite, though I have to profess that "lost in the warp" is kinda of an overused trope so coming up with an alternative has been quite the challenge in my mind.  I like to think that while humans are prone to blind loyalty and hence why the Death Guard follow Mortarion, it is fact that humans have free will and can be more complex than automatons that make for an interesting story, so failing due to human nature, eventually recognizing failure, and the quest for redemption is certainly appealing to me.  I'd like to think they fought on both sides of the conflict at different points in time in the Heresy so I have an excuse to play the army as either side.  First as traitors, then later as loyalists or at least tangentially aligned to the loyalist cause as blackshields.

 

+++++++++

 

The Harbingers of Extinction

 

Even amongst a legion which showed little restraint in the usage of weapons of dread reputation, those companies almost exclusively tasked with eradication of the most tenacious of xenos organisms stood above all others in the XIVth legion in their efficiency in such ways of destruction.  Founded in the darkest days of the first Rangdan War, these companies were scraped together from the most hardened survivors of these conflicts.  Bearing the scars of horrific physical and psychological mutilation, the few to retain their sanity at least partially intact would go on to form the basis of the newly constituted "harbinger" battalions; the proverbial bearers of a species’ last rites.

 

At the basis of these battalions was an operational doctrine patterned after the Dreadwing formations of the 1st legion whom they had often served alongside of during the first and subsequent Rangdan wars.  These battalions usually consisted variably of 4 to 7 companies depending upon fighting strength and casualties suffered over the course of their campaigns.  Equipped with esoteric wargear and the executors of tactics not often employed by the XIVth at large, these battalions quickly developed a reputation as exemplary eradicators of some of the most deadly and tenacious xenos species yet encountered by the Crusade fleets.  At the height of the Great Crusade, there existed at least one Harbinger battalion within each of the Death Guard's great companies, though the unsustainability high attrition rate of men and irreplaceable war material would see this dwindle to just three immediately prior to the outbreak of the Heresy.  The replacement and reconstitution of such specialized forces was indeed a goal of Mortarion near the end of the Crusade, though the lack of sufficient stock in the required resources prevented this from occurring, a fact endemic of how thin the legions were stretched in the latter years of the Great Crusade.

 

While diminished, the remaining Harbinger Battalions continued to maintain a hold on many examples of irreplaceable archeotech and rare prototypes only sparingly seen elsewhere in the Legiones Astartes.  Perhaps the deadliest legacy of these formations was the extremely high concentration of exterminatus-class weapon systems for a force of this size, such that the extermination of all life within an entire subsector would be but a fraction of their full capabilities.  Even still, sealed records of forgotten campaigns show that the deployment of such weapons of mass destruction by the harbinger battalions was not a rare occurrence.  In fact, such devices were often used as an opening salvo to soften up their intended quarry, prior to the commitment of ground forces to eradicate species considered too dangerous for mere planetary containment alone.  The fact that many habitable worlds were left toxic, radioactive, and/or psy-unstable wastelands in their wake was considered but a minor price for the Imperium to pay compared to the alternative.

 

Regarding the 47th Battalion of the 4th Great Company of the Death Guard Legion, known also by the moniker as the Harvesters of Worlds, it held both the reputation as the second oldest of the harbinger battalions and one of the last three still in existence prior to the Horus Heresy, having accumulated numerous commendations from its many campaigns.  At the close of the 31st millennium, the 47th was almost entirely of Barbarus stock, resolute in both its loyalty to their primarch for liberating them from the monstrous Overlords, and of their resulting utter hatred of non-human life.  Often deployed on extended missions to distant warzones, over its many decades of existence the 47th had grown to be a fairly insular group of warriors with a unique, but intensely grim culture by the standards of outside observers.  Perhaps it was the mental scars of their experiences, or the nihilistic acceptance of a probable early demise, the warriors of the 47th were an exceptionally reserved group.  They paid little heed to those accolades bestowed upon them by other members of the legion who knew little of what the 47th had wrought.  Such trivialities were meaningless to warriors who steeped so heavily in the calculus of death.

 


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#2
Armillion

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Kicking things off, here is my counts-as Praetor Tribune.  This was a fun one to convert from the betrayal at calth praetor since I couldn't get my hands on the actual praetor-tribune model.  I figure he has a fancy enough set of cataphractii that perhaps it could have been heavily modified to match Tartaros mobility.

 

+++++++++

 

Anaton Geiss, Lieutenant Commander of the 47th Battalion, Bearer of Final Sanction

 

An early inductee of Barbarus and a rare veteran of more than one of the Rangdan Xenocides, Geiss would rise through the ranks not on the basis of his skill at arms, or his strategic acumen, though fairly proficient at both, but instead for his immense strength of will in the face of horrors inimical to the human mind.  Promoted to rank of Lieutenant Commander two decades prior to the outbreak of the Horus Heresy, Geiss was widely regarded as one of the finest commanders to had ever lead the 47th battalion.

 

Geiss is equipped with an artificer crafted suit of Cataphractii terminator armour and a calibanite paragon blade, so gifted by a captain of the Ist legion at the close of the Third Xenocide for a desperate rearguard action led by Geiss as a lowly assault squad sergeant.  It is said his actions rallying a band of ragged survivors of the Ist and XIVth legions enabled crucial war material to be evacuated prior to the fall of [REDACTED], escaping on one of the last Stormbirds to leave that doomed world prior to it falling to the [REDACTED].  Geiss would only take up wielding such a blade many decades later when he felt worthy of such a high honour.

DG Praetor Tribune
DG Praetor Tribune Back

Edited by Armillion, 05 September 2020 - 01:38 AM.

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#3
BadgersinHills

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Lovely stuff. :) :)


Maybe you could model TWC-sized "were-templars" who's inner Templar took over in the fury of battle transforming them into a giant half man - half templar?

gallery_62972_14467_9630.jpg. gallery_48988_16228_1694.png  sml_gallery_48988_16308_6255.png

My Works in Progress

Profile picture by Julie Hang as part of Mermay. 


#4
Armillion

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A few more, first up is a Predator.  Fully magnetized (even if I can't use the lascanons), the heavy conversion beamer looked like a fun option to play around with and try to convert up out of the plastic kit.  This unit was cobbled together from a bunch of different stuff out of my bits box.

 

A pict-cap of the predator Maladian Mortarch in service with the Death Guard 47th battalion for many decades.  This tank is a rare example of the experimental MkIIIF/G Meldev-pattern Predator, which was an early attempt by the forge world of Stygies to adapt the advanced power and weapon systems of the Diemos Predator into the more easily manufactured Mars-Pattern Chassis.  The effort failed to achieve its manufacturability targets and production was halted after only 106 complete examples of this configuration were produced.  Taking upon the distinctive rear mounted turret configuration of the Diemos Predator, this advanced model was fitted with thicker frontal armour, an advanced machine spirt, and upgraded powerpack, enabling vehicles of the pattern to field a wide variety of energy-based weaponry.  The Maladian Mortarch, serial number 31 of this series, is fitted with a prototype Stygies-pattern Heavy Conversion Beamer, one out of only eleven in this vehicle series known to have been equipped as such.  Over the course of its service, it has been upgraded and repaired numerous times and has proved invaluable in dispensing long ranged direct fire support to advancing infantry elements of the 47th battalion’s 4th company.

Conversion Beamer Predator
Magnetized Predator

 

Veteran Tactical Squad Shevarr, 7th company

 

Primarily acting in the role of hunter-killers, Veteran Tactical Squad Shevarr was often tasked with flanking actions against soft targets behind enemy lines.

 

Vet Squad
 
 
 

When the FAQ added paragon blades for Champions, I definitely wanted to go about trying to make one for the army.

 

Haezar Tarrigon, Champion Consul of the 2nd company

 

A skilled duelist, Tarrigon was previously assigned as an honour guard for the resident Death Guard delegation on Terra for several years.  With so much time away from the front-lines however, Tarrigon grew increasingly discontented and lackadaisical of maintaining the required discipline in a persistent parade setting.  This finally came to a head when he inadvertently managed to insult the competence of his superior officer in the midst of an Imperial war council.  His captain’s subsequent wrath echoed the halls of the Imperial Palace and Tarrigon was quietly reassigned to the most distant, most grueling assignment the captain could think of, the 47th Harbinger Battalion.

Tarrigon retains some of the trappings of his former role, indicative of the embellishments on his armor atypical for most in the XIVth legion, though it has been sullied by the grime and debris of his new assignment.  He is equipped with a finely crafted paragon blade from the master blade smiths of Terra.  The oath of moments adorning his power pack are penance for his failings on Terra.

Champion Front
Champion Back

 


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#5
Armillion

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Hargori "Madmind" Besca - Legion Praevian, 17th Mech Auxiliary

 

When the Ambots came out I immediately tried to figure out how to turn them into a counts-as something.  After playing around with some visual comparisons, I figured I could convert them into castellax with some leftover bits after rebasing it to 60mm.  The trickiest was making the mauler bolt cannon out of a razorback HB because it is larger scale than the infantry scale HB’s.  For the Praevian, I originally considered the FW resin one, but I found it was pretty ugly so I went about trying to convert my own.  I primarily took inspiration from Rasputin from Hellboy as a starting point and then used some of the admech range bits to make him look like a mad scientist, while the head was filed down from something in the space wolves range.  The corspucarii priest gauntlet was quite fiddly to get positioned correctly but some with some green stuff was able to get the arm mounted properly.

 

Brilliant, bombastic, and eccentric; all are words that described Hargori "Madmind" Besca.  The son of a Barbarusian blacksmith, upon induction, the mechanically brilliant neophyte Besca was sent to Mars to be trained as a techmarine for XIVth legion.  To the frustration of his Mechanicum instructors, Besca utterly lacked the discipline and patience required to follow Mechanicum dogma and was promptly dismissed back to his company.  Yet this did not deter the then young Besca, for he would constantly tinker with his wargear, customizing and improving upon it despite the warnings and reprimands of the legion's ordained techmarines.  After the conclusion of a arduous compliance action upon the world PX-47-888191G, Besca quietly salavaged several disabled and destroyed mechanicum automata from the barren wastes and proceeded to disassemble and rebuild them over several months in a disused storage bay.  Beyond the scope of his superiors, Besca managed to reconstruct a single functioning battle automata despite having no formal training or knowledge in the construction and operation of such a construct.  Unfortunately for Besca, upon reactivation, the construct attacked, impalling him through his abdomin and alerting his nearby comrades to his actions.  By the time they reached him, Besca was standing over the fallen automata bleeding profusely from his wounds with his assailant's cybernetic cortex in his hand, bellowing laughter.  For his brash and reckless actions he was harshly disciplined by his superiors and earned the nickname "Madmind Besca".  Begrudgingly, having shown tremendous innate technological intuition and insight, he was allowed to be officially trained and ordained as a Legion Praevian, with the intention that he would be closely watched by a Forge Lord superior.

This pict-cap shows Praevian Besca in the closing years of the Great Crusade.  His wargear consists of heavily modified Mark III plate, an artificer-crafted boltgun, and a cybermechanical controller device on his arm of his own construction.  This unique device appears to be a gauntlet worn upon his arm which in turn shown the scars of extension cybernetic augmentation.  It is suspected this is the means by which he directs the battle automata under his command.  Alongside of him are two heavily modified Castellan-Lucifex battle automata primarily equipped with power blades, mauler bolt cannons and chem-flamers.

Praevian & Kitbash Castellax
Praevian

 

Kurnoth Droll, the Cackling Buzzard, Legion Moritat, 7th company

 

A jovial warrior belying his psychotic tendencies, Droll’s dark sense of humor tended to put his fellow warriors on edge as it was difficult to know what his true thoughts were behind his persistent smile.  It is said that Droll was a truly broken individual, his sanity taken long ago by a near death experience with Treskian Thresherworm.  Now he only invites the company of other broken individuals amongst the destroyer cadres.

 

Moritat

 

Destroyer Squad, 7th company

 

Destroyers

 

Tactical Squad, 3rd company

 

Tactical Squad 1

 


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#6
Pearson73

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Really nice work on this force! The split colours on Droll's (love the name and moniker) helm make him stand out as unique. I also think you've done a solid job converting the Ambots into battle automata, they have much more fluid, aggressive poses, whereas the stock models look quite stiff and unable to really hack and slash through a melee.

Adding back story to a force makes it so much more engaging, especially when it's represented on the models, Tarrigon with his Terran blade and oath parchments, for example.
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#7
Armillion

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Really nice work on this force! The split colours on Droll's (love the name and moniker) helm make him stand out as unique. I also think you've done a solid job converting the Ambots into battle automata, they have much more fluid, aggressive poses, whereas the stock models look quite stiff and unable to really hack and slash through a melee.

Adding back story to a force makes it so much more engaging, especially when it's represented on the models, Tarrigon with his Terran blade and oath parchments, for example.

Haha thanks, I come for the models & I stay  for the lore.  Trying to work the physical hobby into the expansive background is certainly a huge draw for me.


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#8
Raziel-TX

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Great stuff you have. Bonus points for the interesting background. Keep it up!

<p>Colossians 3:17.


#9
Armillion

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Basilisks, 475th artillery reserve cohort

I chose to go with the plastic basilisk kit to try and save on real-world dollars as I can buy 2 for the price of one FW resin one.  Between the basilisk and the medusa, I know the Medusa is probably the stronger choice but I like the super-long range aspect in a Reaping RoW army that usually lacks reach to get there and because I purposefully like to go for some less-used units.

 

Depicted here are the Death Guard basilisks known as Fogger VII and Oliesian.  The relatively unarmoured chassis and bulky gun shield compared to the more standard legion-issue self-propelled guns indicates that these vehicles have been co-opted from attached imperial militia elements, likely to replace losses amongst more typical astartes-optimized artillery assets.

Basilisks

 

 

Tactical Squad, 2nd company

 

Tactical Squad 2

 

 

Grave Wardens, 1st heavy assault company

I love the idea of all heavy weapon-equipped terminators (and terminators in general, I have a lot in this army) so going for the full 10 was definitely a deliberate choice.  I would say what drew me to the death guard in the first place was their love of dreadnoughts and terminators.

 

Going by the moniker of the “Pale Hands”, the two Grave Warden Terminator squads within the 47th battalion were frequently deployed together into the thickest fighting alongside Commander Geiss.  Utilizing their chem and toxin munitions, they were a crucial instrument in breaking the toughest resistance in the 1st company’s armoured spearhead assaults.

Grave Wardens

 

Spartan Assault Tank, “Overlord’s Bane”, 1st heavy assault company

 

The preferred transport of Commander Geiss, the Spartan’s thick adamantium and ceramite hull has enabled it to survive many decades of service in some of the most hostile warzones as part of the 47th.  Befitting such a venerable vehicle, it has been upgraded and modified with intricate iconography depicting the legion heraldry.

Spartan Tank

Edited by Armillion, 12 September 2020 - 03:21 PM.

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#10
Armillion

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VIth Reconnaissance Squad Squad, "Voxaris", attached to the 7th company

It doesn't seem like recon squads are an often taken option, especially with shotguns so I figured "why not, its sort of like a discount-volkite charger support squad but with innate outflank" which certainly helps getting around the Reaping's mobility issues.  That and I figured a close assault unit to breach enemy trenches was rarely seen but actually pretty fluffy for Death Guard so I ran with it.  To befit a squad emphasizing mobility, I went mostly with MkIV but figured that mixing in MkIII chests to represent an assault oriented team would make sense.

 

Recon Squad "Voxaris" exemplifies a common load out for reconnaissance elements of the 14th legion, equipped with a heavy bore shotgun and meltabombs for trench warfare and zone mortalis engagements.  Their armor is largely composed of newer MkIV components for enhanced mobility, whilst retaining elements of the sturdy MkIII chest-plate and helm for additional protection befitting of close quarters firefights.

Recon Squad 1

 

To add some flavor I wanted to make it so the sergeant was still a true Dusk Raider, leading a squad to cause havoc behind enemy lines, so I gave him a crimson shoulder pad and tried my best to free hand the dusk raider iconography.

 

Sergeant Orsid Suliav is an Albian native and veteran of the Unification Wars, putting him amongst the oldest Astartes still within the XIVth legion.  Even after reunification with Mortarion and the remaking of the XIVth into the Death Guard, Suliav stubbornly retained his old heraldry and bears it still upon his right pauldron.  This act of insubordinance likely hindered his ascension into the ranks of the veteran companies but given his lengthy service record, his superiors eventually relented and gave Suliav some leeway to keep the crimson pauldron.  Suliav is equipped with a hand flamer and a terran power sword dating back to the Unification Wars.

Recon Sergeant

 

IVth Reconnaissance Squad Squad, "Flak-trackers", attached to the 7th company

Once I made the first recon squad, I liked how much it turned out that I threw together a second one also equipped with shotguns so I could run the Recon Company RoW.

 

Recon Squad 2

 

 

Choom Squad, 2nd company

Not much here, though I will say my love of choom in spite of the Death Guard preferring simpler, easy to maintain weapons is what drove me to flavor them as sort of a special weapons/assignment unit whose missions would dictate the need for equipment not generally used by the Death Guard elsewhere.

 

Choom Squad

 

The Indomitable Ursid Ghars, Leviathan Dreadnought 34th armoured reserve, attached to the 6th company

 

Before becoming entombed within the armoured sarcophagus of a Leviathan, legionary Ursid Ghars was storied warrior with a reputation for surviving against all odds, often at the forefront of breaching actions in order to test himself worthy of being a son of Mortarion.  However, the close detonation of a cache of phosphex munitions would leave Ghars horrifically burned and interned within a Leviathan Dreadnought.  While at first honored to have been chosen to pilot such a mighty war machine, the residual pain of his phosphex burns and the knowledge that his machine will slowly kill him has driven him to more berserk actions in recent years, so that he may die a worthy final death.

Death Guard Leviathan
 
 
 
And now for some WIP stuff, haven't seen a lot of nullificator squads before so it sounded like a fun challenge to try to convert up.  I've largely used a variety of plastic terminator arms and weapons because that's what was available and tracking down free-handed left arm bits, left handed maces, and a bunch of suitable toxiferran-looking flamers was proving challenging.  Gave the sergeant a thunderhammer because I only had 4 of the DA maces in my bitz box (which have been there for years...).  Eventually I settled on modifying some grey knight bits as I figured surely their gear must be based off of something.  That and it solved making a different-enough flamer that adds psy-reactive munitions into the standard promethium, so two fuel tanks was a win.  Just carved the stylized "I" to make it a "T" for toxiferran rolleyesclean.gif  and good to goteehee.gif
 
And yes, the whole squad is using toxiferran flamers because a bunch of rending, poisoned flamers sounds awesome.
Nullificator WIP2
Nullificator WIP1

 

 


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