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They Come At Night... Mostly. Genestealer Cult #5 - Purestrains

For the most part, the Genestealer Cult is existentially horrifying. The loss of identity, the glad subordination of free will. But lurking at its heart is something much, much more straightforwardly horrific. Entities that are utterly, inimically alien, yet nonetheless born to human mothers. Yes folks, we've proceeded through the generations and have finally emerged, hissing and coiled, at the Purestrain Genestealers.

I really wanted my Purestrains to have a good sense of motion and energy. The kit on it's own in quantity can be a little bit samey. Thankfully there exist some other sculpts of Genestealers out there, the Space Hulk set. Even more thankfully Maisey was looking to divest himself of his copy so I didn't have make the agonising choice of modelling my own Space Hulk set for the battlefield. Thanks Maisey!

Mixing in the Space Hulk set and the slightly different two from the Deathwatch Overkill box gave me both 30 Purestrains (second half coming soon) but more importantly a series of variations among those Purestrains. I like the notion that rather than being cookie cutter 'stealers stamped out by the hive fleet, these are the product of 4 generations of breeding. There is a real chance that some variation can creep in among that many pairings so I'm delighted by the results.

However, there was one wrinkle with using the Space Hulk models. Terminators. Lots of Terminators. On the Sin of Damnation this makes a ton of sense. Terminators are everywhere on that thing. When fighting Orks... seems a bit weird. The occasional Space Marine helmet? That's fine, it's possible that killing a Deathwatch Kill Team was the triggering stressor that brought this cult out from the shadows. That they could kill a minimum of 8 Terminators (once bases are also brought in)? Seems a bit of a stretch. Why on earth would that many Terminators be in a civilian facility?

Fortunately, I had a bunch of spare rending claws from the Hybrid Metamorphs half of the Acolyte boxes. I'm not planning on this cult being near a Hive Fleet so I don't want the Tyranid stuff in the cult. This meant I had a bunch of donor claws, so rather than carving the terminator heads into inexplicable rocks; I just whipped the claw off at the wrist and replaced it. There is a small difference in size but once painted it's hardly noticeable and muuuch better than a splash of colour drawing attention to the Terminator helmet.

With all the alterations complete I could proceed to painting. I'd already laid down a lot of the colour scheme on the rest of the cult: Purple skin; purplish-black carapace; blood red tongue. This meant all I had to do was figure out exact shades and get to it. I wanted the 'stealers to be the darkest purple skin in the cult so there's barely any skintone mixed in with the purple. I remember a really old piece of lore from the time when tyranids had three models. This was that Tyranids had strongly red-shifted vision which is why the warriors used to be bright red - to be seen, not because reprographics was terrible in the 80's and worked with strong tones, oh no. It also meant that they'd struggle to see things in the blue-purple end of the visible spectrum. Hence their stealth troops were in that end of the spectrum.

I will say that oh gods Purestrains take a lot of painting. Tons harder than the rest of the cult. Not least because I've volunteered myself for more basing work by using the Space Hulk models. I decided to minimise the architecture to look like a dilapidated  manufactory. I figure the Purestrains and their Broodlord great-great-great-great grandfather live in the deepest and worst elements of the Ortag facility. I used a bunch of different Ammo rust paints to get the rusty metal and tried wherever possible to give them concrete bases to tie them better to the wasteland basing scheme.

I'm really happy with the final result. The variety of height, pose, and form pleases me no end. The black carapace pings my obvious Aliens obsession and the deep purple skin looks like something that could actually hide in the shadows. They are a sod to paint though so expect there to be a little while before the other half of the Purestrains get painted. Rest assured, there's a ton more cult coming. I'm not over this motivational spurt just yet! Until then



  1. About 20 years ago my son did an Aliens themed Tyranid army. The `nids he did with silver teeth and claws. Your paint scheme is very reminiscent of his, grey skin though. His always were a lucky army. I hope that passes on to you.


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