Tuesday, 13 December 2016

An Undead Champion of Chaos (Deadcember)

I like a bit of ambiguity, in a hobby sense it creates opportunity. Ambiguity of race, alignment and status are all present in this model that I've just finished painting. Is he undead (the skeletal legs would assume so), but perhaps a good undead - the shield design and colour may make that a possibility? His helmet suggests some sort of status too, perhaps a hero? He could of course be a Undead Champion of Chaos, as per the Lost and the Damned. I haven't found any models that were specifically released to fulfil this role though, anyone know of any? Anyway, he'll be fulfilling one of those roles for me...


Ambiguity with a sculpt, however can be a pain in the arse when it comes to painting, trying to work out what is what is slightly irritating, especially if you work it out half way through painting it and realise it needs to be re-painted. A third layer into highlighting the cloak around his shoulders with a pale blue, I realised it was in fact a metallic shoulder armour...

This model has both types of ambiguity. The definition of the shape of the axe was pretty terrible and I'm still unsure what exactly is supposed to be around this fellow's neck, (I guess it allows some creative freedom - which is a positive) but I'd take these sculptural/casting defects any time for a nice ambiguous character. Because this guy (I believe) was marketed by GW in 1985 as a Chaos Champion, but because of his skeletal legs, he could also quite easily be an Undead Champion. Muliple uses. Added character. Helps create a backstory for him.

This of course triggered the Lost and the Damned in me, in fact the Lost and the Very Damned in me, because what could be more damning than a dead servant of chaos being re-animated on a whim by their patron as an undead, lesser version of before? The Path of Chaos indefinitely prolonged in a  non-progressive stasis? But he'll have no idea of his identity, so this is all bollocks anyway. Here's why LatD says on p.159:

"The fallen body of the Chaos Champion rises as an Undead Champion. Initially his appearance will be little different to that of his living form. The Undead Champion is recognisable as such only by his deathly pallor and slightly ungainly way of moving. As time goes on the Undead Champion starts to decay. His flesh peels away, exposing his putrefying innards and gleamin bones. Eventually the Champion is reduced to a complete skeleton. Undead Champions do not have the intellect or even the sense of identity that they had when alive. Perhaps a remant of their former identity haunts their eyes, but they are really little more than automatons."

A further passage in the book describes how you have to deduct characteristics from the original champion as he becomes Undead, losing S,T,I etc but becoming fearsome and immune to psychology. He can also lead Undead units which is useful as in the army list from the same book there is an option for zombies and skeletons to be present.

The cold blue paint job for this guy was based upon a Wight King that I painted a few years ago, but this time I wanted to add some artificial warmth to him, to represent the once living and some part of his former self, hence the sun shield (which I think is from a Marauder Dwarf?) I had to raise him up on some cork rocks, partly because he's such a small figure (didn't you know that in 1985 there was a shortage of greenstuff due to the surfeit of sculpts during the golden age of Gw and all those grand ideas needed to be sculpted with something)  and also because he needed a more leaderly looking pose, raised up on a plinth of sorts, more statuesque perhaps.

I like my efforts on this undead champion of chaos, it was fun to conceive and to create.

If ambiguity provides opportunity then I am nothing more than an opportunist. Completing this model on the one hand for my Nurgle warband/army but also so I can partake in Deadcember (painting undead during December). It's a thing apparently and a nice bit of extra motivation to get something else done from a pile of models. And I haven't found too many (any?) examples of an Undead champion of Chaos, so Google had better make this post come up first on any search result. Maybe you can help with that by reading it once at work in between important stuff  and again when you get home in the comfort of your armchair. Go on, it won't kill you.