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Sunday, October 7, 2018
The Choir of Death
The trio of banshees is finished at last! Here is their story, along with a look at how I converted the models:
The Choir of Death
Over the centuries, the vampire lord Seth Von Koss has lured many maidens to his bedchambers. He loved each for a time, but the story was always the same– bored with their company, disenchanted by their fading beauty, or merely giving in to his bloodlust, Seth brought all of his romances to a tragic end. His lovers were unceremoniously discarded, their bodies entombed and their souls left to wander the catacombs below Von Koss Keep.
Olivia the First Betrothed, had spent many years by Seth's side. When she ultimately succumbed to vampirism, Seth slew her rather than share his throne. Condemned to the catacombs, she watched for countless years as more of Seth's lovers were cast down. Olivia was able to siphon a portion of spirit energy from each of these new handmaids, maintaining her own beauty and exerting control over her growing Sisterhood of Sorrow.
The necromancer Nieman Kimmel discovered the mass grave below the keep and found the spirits singing their songs of abandonment. Time had turned their sorrowful grief into spite-filled hatred, hatred not just for their former lover, but for everything and everyone. Hate was an emotion that Kimmel understood well, and knew how to use to his advantage. He tasked the wraith Korak the Grim with binding the banshees, promising them revenge against the one who had wronged them.
Now freed from their prison of grief, Olivia leads her sisters in a war against all life. Her Choir of Death sings a song imbued with the pain and sorrow of a thousand years, and deliver that suffering upon any who hear their cries. Until a time of their own choosing, Kimmel and Korak's necromantic binding prevents the Choir of Death from directing their fury at Lord Seth Von Koss. Olivia has no choice but to wait for her ultimate revenge. She can wait as long as necessary– For the dead, time is infinite and hatred is a rose that blooms eternal.
A man may be lured by the sound of distant, mournful singing– perhaps the lamentation of a widow and her handmaids. As he draws closer, seeking to offer his condolences, their woeful elegy turns to a shrill cry of rage, the banshees' voices unifying as one. The final image he sees is their faces twisting in anguish before his heart seizes in terror and his body is torn to shreds by spectral daggers.
Building the Banshees
When I built my mortis engine, I was left with the three vampires from the coven throne variant of the model. I wanted to use them to convert three new banshees for my Legions of Nagash army. The first two had poses and dresses that had a nice flow to them. I used one of the vampire torsos and the torso from the standard GW banshee.
The cut-outs in the back of the dresses allowed them to sit on the steps of the coven throne. I trimmed the shape of the dresses and sculpted their butts and hips to give them a more believable "floating" pose.
Next, I worked on the sleeves and arms. This was probably the trickiest part. I planned everything out and then attached the sleeves, resculpting some of the cloth and wrinkles to fit the gestures that I wanted for the arms.
The hands came from some spare ghosts left over from Nagash's spirit swirl.
This was where the project hit the wall for a while. I didn't like any of the hairdos on the vampire heads, I wanted the banshees to have long, flowing hair. I did some searching and, for a while I had my heart set on the witch aelves on the cauldron of blood and was seriously considering buying a $75 kit to use just those three heads. Fortunately, GW couldn't keep the kit in stock, so I saved $75 and eventually traded some bits for the hair from the witch aelf kit.
The heads on these two gals are the standard banshee head, and a head from the corpse cart. Some sculpting was required to create a smooth transition for the hair and ears. That was two of the three finished.
The third banshee was more involved. I used the third coven throne vampire torso and the collar from the plastic necromancer kit.
The third vampire dress wasn't right for a flying pose, so I considered using a combination of the standard banshee dress and the coven throne curtains.
Those weren't working for me, so I took drastic measures and cannibalized Neferata's dress (I'm never going to finish that Mortarch kit anyway).
I clipped away the legs and the seated shape of her butt. Then, I puttied over the joins and built up the hips.
Next, I sculpted the leg and front of the dress over the gap. A skeleton leg was used as an armature.
I attached a pair of spirit host arms, and then sculpted sleeves over top.
Now I was back to the dilemma of what to use for her hair. The witch elf hair wasn't working with the large collar and her front-facing pose. I tried one of the vampire heads, and it was a perfect fit in the collar, so I used it. The fangs and face inspired me to write the bit about the lead banshee being a slain vampire and maintaining her beauty by siphoning energy from the other banshees. Olivia the First Betrothed was born.
By now, the Nighthaunt battletome and models had been released, and many of them are held aloft by robes and spectral tendrils connected to tombstones. I similarly mounted the banshees by attaching their dresses to some of my tombstones.
I'm planning to use these in my Legions of Nagash force. That army is square-based, but I want the models to also fit in my Nighthaunt army, which I will be basing on rounds. The solution was to magnetize the tombstones so they could be interchanged between a round or square base. I drilled out the magnet holes, and then pressed the tombstone into some putty on the base. This left a perfect impression of the tombstone and the magnet holes in the putty.
Once the putty had cured, I attached the magnets and everything was ready to paint.
To paint them, I used the same technique shown in my Painting Ethereals Tutorial. The only thing added was painting the metal bits withregular metallic colors (I'm going to go back and do that on my spirit hosts), and painting the hair. The hair was basecoated with Formula P3 Cryx Bane Highlight, Drybrushed lightly with Vallejo Ghost Grey, and washed with GW Coelia Greenshade.
Here's the finished Choir of Death, ready for the battlefield: