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Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Psychic Warfare: Librarians Part 3 - Terminators and Conversions

As far as I'm aware, the first mention of the Librarian in terminator armour was in the first edition Space Hulk expansion Deathwing. But since then the image of the embattled psyker wading through the onslaught of mental carnage protected by tactical dreadnought armour has become something of a staple for the 40k universe.

The librarian sculpted as part of the third edition of Space Hulk is in my opinion probably the best example that has ever been produced. The level of detail, pose and iconography work so well that it's a shame this guy was limited to the boardgame.

As with all the current edition Space Hulk terminators, this mini is something special and once you've managed to remove all the daft Blood Angels iconography (respect to an original chapter, but they've never been my cup of tea) you are left with a stunning addition to your army.

I kept the same themes running through this paintjob as I had with the previous librarians: a combination of antique gold on the inner features of the psyhic hood and stained bone on the outside in the hope it would resemble the halos in religious icons, bold red for the raised details on the force weapons and a basic mordian blue for the actual armour to provide a strong background that at the same time would not interfere with the finer details.

As always I want to include as many classic minis as possible in my collection and this is of course the librarian from the first metal boxed set. For me he sums up everything that you really need with a terminator librarian and still manages to do it on a 25mm base.

While the new larger bases are probably more realistic when it comes to representing the area that a terminator would occupy on the battlefield, it is worth remembering that there is little difference in size between the new and old terminators.

The new larger bases seem to me to demand that the sculpt of the mini be such that it is posed in a dynamic way that fills the area and thus justifies the larger base as a result. Some of the newer terminators fail in this and rather remind me of a guy sleeping on his own in a king-sized bed, throwing his limbs out as though he can occupy more space than he is able.

If nothing else, this guy allowed me to have a base on which to refer back for the rest of the terminator librarians that I painted due to the fact that he's wearing his helmet and is armed with standard weapons and has little in the way of ornamentation beyond the norm. Sometimes it's well worth tracking a mini like this down and using it as a testbed for your ideas and then a visual reference for future projects.

I went a bid medaeval on this one and the feedback has been nothing if not mixed. This was kind of a kitbash that came about due to me having bought the White Dwarf that had an Ork Boy and terminator sprue attached as a teaser for Assault on Black Ridge and the fact that I'm psychologically incapable of ending up with a mini that won't fit into a unit somehow.

When I got the five man terminator squard from AOBR, I was then left with the terminator from WD just sitting there. So my solution was to add the latter to the former and convert one of the terminators from the squad into a librarian using various bits from the spares box.

With a chestplate and axe from the Chaos Terminator Lord box, a head from a Chaos Warrior and a reliquery atop his shoulders from the WHFB Bretonnian range, this is one random collection of parts.

For my own part I'm relatively pleased with the way this turned out based on what I set out to achieve and the amount of experience that I have in this kind of conversion project. Perhaps the inclusion of the religious imagery and the helmet mean that this would have made more sense as a chaplain, but that wasn't where I was going at the time.

Anyone else remember when the Grey Knights were a bunch of mysterious marines in terminator armour who showed up out of the blue to battle daemons? Remember when they were enigmatic, deadly and never farted around with silly stuff like Dreadknights?

Remember when they all looked like this?

I traded this with a friend for a more modern mini in Mark VII armour when the guy was putting together a squad of them and I think that I got the better end of the deal in the end.

Adding a standard power sword and bolter arm to the mini and emphasizing the elaborate nature of the detail on the armour makes this guy stand out from the crowd.

Perhaps the ornate style of armour is some kind of relic of the chapter that has a mysterious and shadowed past? Whatever the fluff that could be dreamed up, this mini is an example of something that it's worth tracking down as a collector and also something that can be put to good use as a modern take on a librarian as well.

Show me a mini intended as a character for a chapter that has a codex and in reality what you show me is a challenge. More often than not the end result is a repaint or conversion as is the case with this librarian.

Ezekiel from the Dark Angels range makes a good approximation of what a librarian attached to the Bladesworn would look like with his robes and force sword.

Always seemed strange to me that GW pushed the robed marines for the DA range when their fluff is based on knightly orders. The influnence of monastic knightly trappings felt secondary somehow, but I suppose with the introduction of the Black Templars as the hardcore chapter for blades and tabbards the robes seemed to be the element that might be able to differentiate them perhaps?

Personally I have never been too keen on associating such generic elements as monastic robes so closely with one chapter due to the fact that they are something that could so easily be relevant to almost any chapter. When considered in comparison to the individual elements of say the Blood Angels or Space Wolves, perhaps you see what I mean?

Sometimes when you want something different to work on as a space marine collector, there's no better place to go than the chaos marines range. The sorcerors from said range were just too good of an opportunity to miss for me.

I had always been keen on the idea that the chapter had picked up some of the more primitive elements of the culture native to Basilisk, the wold where it was based after its founding. In the case of the librarians this involved the uncovering, capture and supposed destruction of any sorcerous cults.

For the sake of the record and the prying eyes of the inquisition, these were rooted out and put down. But many of their more interesting practices and tomes of lore were kept by the librarians and their contents digested.

This gave birth to an inner order within the ranks of the librarians devoted to the study and preservation of the newly aquired knowledge.

I think of these librarians as the arcane recluses of the chapter, the ones rarely seen on the battlefield and the ones called upon to deal with the really nasty stuff that comes crawling out of the Warp on occasion.

There's always the hint that the things they are dabbling in are beyond the realms that the faithful should be prepared to tolerate, but in reality there are times when only their insight can bring victory.

Keeping secrets always carries the danger that someone will come along and demand to be let in on them. But the chapter adopts a stance that sees their secrets as their own.

The Space Wolves might have brought down the sorcerors of the Thousand Sons at the behest of the Emperor, but the SOTA would never hesitate in telling the wolves to bend over and shove it up their hairy arses.

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