The painting is proceeding on the ethereal portions of the Mortis Engine. You have already seen the banshees:
This week I finished the two halves of the spectral horde. The basic spray and wash was done back when I finished the Spirit Hosts, then I neglected them for a month or so while I worked on Korak. I finally sat down the other day and highlighted all the spirits. Once that was finished it was a simple matter of basecoating and washing all the metal areas.
The two halves were then glued together and attached to the base. I added the shields and moved on to basing the model.
As with the Spirit Hosts, the tombstones and skulls were painted separately and then glued down with the brown ballast. The ballast was inked and drybrushed, and the sides painted green. The next step was to spray it all with Dull Cote. Finally, I highlighted the metal bits with P3 Quick Silver and added the static grass.
All that remains is the chassis, cage, and corpsemaster.
As I mentioned last week, the base model for Korak is this wraith from the Mortis Engine's ethereal swarm:
That wraith is combined with the sleeves from the Corpse Cart's corpsemaster. A plastic skull with the back portion trimmed away is used for the face. At this stage, I haven't yet decided how I'll handle the scythe, other than that I'll add the spirit tail behind the blade. I'm torn between the pitted scythe from the Mortis Engine or the "flowery" scythe from the Empire Wizard kit. Since I first envisioned this conversion, I've imagined Korak with a larger, fancier scythe than the regular rank-and-file wraiths.
I cut the flat portion off of the wraith, and trim the bottom of his robes a little. Where the flat spot used to be, I sculpt some layered robes.
The sleeve is blended into the body with putty. I leave the top of his hunchback a little rough because it will be covered with a second layer for the hood.
The "tail" of the spirit clinging to Korak's back is extended and filled out with more putty to create a base for the model. The spectral cloud continues up under his robes. I also work out the model's positioning on its base. (Although, the base would be changed out later because this one melted under the heat lamp while cooking the putty. It wasn't even in the heat for a long time, only a few seconds, but the base began to warp quickly. The black GW bases have a MUCH lower tolerance for heat than the regular plastic.)
Next, I add the other sleeve and sculpt the wrinkles on the connecting putty.
The hood and shawl come next– a layer of putty over the back, smoothed over and shaped at the bottom. The folds are blended around the neck. The holes are made with a pointed sculpting tool by poking into the putty and pulling down slightly.
The edge of the hood is enhanced with a bit of putty.
At this stage, I notice that there is an indent in the spirit's skull. I think it's part of the attachment point when it fits together with the other parts of the spectral swarm. Either way, it looks odd, so I sculpt over it and added some tendrils that blend into the wraith's robes.
I had removed all the flowers from the Mortis Engine's chassis, under the assertion that nothing would be living in the presence of this much Death Magic. I apply the same principle to Korak, and remove the roses and thorns from the scythe. (I imagine the grass and vegetation withering in his presence as he floats by.) The scythe handle is made from a length of wire, pinned into the scythe head. The hands are from a Tomb King's skeleton, and the wire runs right through them. I leave the hands unglued, and base their spacing and the bend of the handle on the positioning of the sleeves on the wraith.
Once the fit is correct, I glue the hands in place and attach the spectral trail.
I wrap some putty around the wire and smooth it out to create the wooden handle. Some splits and wood grain are pressed into the putty with a knife.
The final step of creating the scythe is to extend the spectral trail with putty, blending it into the blade.
A new base is added and the weapon is glued in place. The last little bit to be added is the hand grip on the scythe, made from a section of a plastic spear shaft. I had planned to add a second handle closer to the blade (scythes usually have 2 hand grips) but, in order for it to be "anatomically" correct, the grip would need to extend up, perpendicular to the blade, and in front of Korak's face, which would look terrible when viewed from the front. It also seems odd to have both handles on the scythe and Korak using neither of them. So, one handle it is! (If anyone asks, Korak will just explain to them how the other handle broke off ages ago, and then murder their soul.)
And that's all there is to it! Now that he's painted, I can't wait to get this guy on the table.
One of the things I enjoy most about building miniatures for this army is coming up with the story behind my characters and units. One of the first regiments I had built was a block of skeletons, and I painted their wraith champion to match the shield decals. This was the first unit and character I made for my undead army. You can see the history of the army in my post "The Legion of the Infernal Skull: A (not so) Brief History."
In life Korak was a necromancer known for preying on villagers for his grizzly experiments. Eventually, the village elders discovered his lair and slew him, entombing Korak's body in a barrow mound protected powerful spells. The necromancer lord, Nieman Kimmel, discovered Korak’s tomb and released him to serve as his undead lieutenant. Korak returned to the village where he was defeated, and murdered everyone. As The Crimson Reapers, they are now eternally enslaved to Korak and do the wraith’s foul bidding.
Korak the Grim and The Crimson Reapers remains one of my favorite units to this day. I have wanted to update Korak's model for the longest time and now, after a decade of patience and planning, I have finally done it.
This specific conversion has been in the works for the better part of a year. I had been waiting for an appropriate wraith-like miniature to use as the base model, something more imposing than the classic GW wraiths. The new plastic wraith, while larger, isn't really my style of wraith and it's too open on the bottom. I considered models like the Changeling (Chaos Deamons), and the Watcher (Lantern wraith from Kingdom Death), but they didn't fit the bill.
The corpsemaster from the Corpse Cart had some really nice sleeves (and plenty of spare options in the kit). I had used them to make a Curse of Years spell counter, and I could imagine these as part of a larger build with more robes and a scythe. (Check out the post about how I made this counter here.)
I picked up the new plastic banshee and necromancer, and began experimenting with the different parts to kitbash a suitable wraith. Here you can see the banshee's skirt, with the top half of the corpsemaster, the necromancer's cape/ sleeves, and the elaborate scythe from the Empire Wizard kit, which seemed appropriate for a character wraith. These parts sat for well over a year. Every now and then I'd fit them together and consider the build, never quite happy with how it was shaping up.
Then I began working on the Mortis Engine, and this portion of the ethereal swarm jumped out at me:
It had the height I was looking for, and there was room for a skull to fit inside the hood. There was room to fit the sleeves that I wanted to use, and some of the ethereal tendrils would add an element that would tie it to the spectral aspect of my army. I picked up an extra set of the spirits online, and got to work.
These are the parts that went into the conversion: The spirit, the sleeves from the corpsemaster, and a plastic skull.
I took the bit of ethereal smoke from the bottom of the wraith and added it as a trail behind the scythe.
I'll go into the conversion in more detail in part 2, but here's how everything turned out: