The first of my troops choice for this Chaos Space Marines project sees a horde of cultists finished. They are forming a bulky part of my 1000 pt. Word Bearers list, as well as an entry for Azazel’s Squaddie September challenge. I opted for a mix of models to represent fanatics, renegade guardsmen, pirates, and gangers (although in hindsight I wish I had added mutants too).
The Word Bearers spread “the truth” throughout the Imperium, raising networks of believers that are ever ready to cast off the shackles of the Emperor’s fascist regime. These fanatics will happily fight and die for the chance to overthrow their oppressors in the name of Chaos. In reality, the Word Bearers utilise their vast pool of cultists as human shields in the heat of battle.
Up first is the cultist champion, who is a traitor guardsman from the Blackstone Fortress set. I kept their scheme uniform, centred around a grey tunic and black armour panels. For the standard cultists, I tried to keep at least one item red to tie them all together, while randomising their colours from a limited palette. The ganger about to hurl the bottle is one of my favourites from the kit.
The next lot contains the horde’s two flamers, one being Cook and the other being from the traitor guard. Cook’s apron and trousers colour combo were based on Leatherface’s from the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The flamer nozzles were washed with brown to give them a burned look, and the centre cultist’s shoulder was washed with red to make his skin look irritated from the Chaos brand.
The centre ganger above has a Skitarii head, as I thought this would link them with the hooded cultists, of which there are many! Grey and blueish tones stayed central to the bulk of the horde. with the occasional brown or red cape/cloak adding some warmth. Everything was drybrushed with white before getting a wash of black or brown for shading and a grimy appearance.
I used some of the guys as tests for various shades of red, such as Khorne red and Evil Sunz scarlet, and how they reacted with different washes. This was meant to be teaching me something about reds for use on the marines’ power armour further down the line. The gas mask cultist above had a hand swap, receiving a shiv from the Cawdor kit, while the ganger in the middle boasts one of the gang’s neat toys- an autogun on a stick. Other nasties came with hand weapons, such as an oversized pizza cutter.
Eventually growing bored of the creeping uniformity that the robed fellas were displaying, I threw in some green tones towards the last of the painting line. This added some much needed variety in small doses, but it was fun to paint an alternate colour once in a while! As mentioned in one of my previous posts, there were spare parts in the Cawdor box and these were used on the doubler cultists.
The final few got a touch of red and black treatment for variety. A few of the gang members had candles decorating their robes and armour, so these dainty details were among the last to sort out.
Cultists are meant to be a cheap as chips unit choice at the end of the day and made for the enemy to wade through, so I didn’t want to obsess over them too much. It’s not been an exercise in speedpainting, but I have learned and used a couple of techniques that I otherwise wouldn’t have. On the whole this has been a fun experiment with a unit that is new to me, and I’ve enjoyed it.