Saturday 1 December 2018

Kill Team: Mantle of the Champion

Hi folks,

Last night I converted this robe for my Fallen Kill Team leader. The main body of the robe is from a finecast Lukas the Trickster kit. I shaved the little Space Wolf diamond off the back, as well as the wolf shaped vents, which I replaced with a standard set. Thankfully, this wasn't too difficult; finecast is as soft as butter.

...but why would a Dark Angel be wearing a wolf pelt?

Thankfully, nothing on the pelt suggests it is a wolf (besides, there are no wolves on Fenris...). The inspiration for the robe is one of my favorite artworks in the Visions of Heresy book, which was used on the Horus Heresy TCG card "Mantle of the Champion":

I find something deeply sinister about this picture of a Dark Angel. You know he must be a skilled swordsman (he is holding a sword in the full picture), because he is wearing something called "Mantle of the Champion". At the same time, though, he is kind of hunched over.

The pelt is probably from a Calibanite Lion. Only two are killed in the books, one by Zahariel and one by The Lion himself, so the pelt would be something rare indeed. Considering who Zahariel ends up becoming, it is not such a stretch to expect such a pelt to end up on the back of a Fallen Angel.

The beast itself is lethality personified. On the 40K Lexicanum site, they are described as the most fierce and deadly of all the great beasts of Caliban. Their name comes from a mane of razor-sharp spines around their neck (whilst they are quadrupeds with paws, only their mane directly likens them to their Terran namesakes). Their claws are as sharp as knives and incredibly deadly. The lions also have two sharp, enlarged, teeth protruding from their top jaw. Their natural armored skin is able to patch itself and shift where needed. Calibanite lions also have orange eyes with reptile-like, slitted, black pupils. As with all the great beasts of Caliban, they possess an almost unworldly intelligence and seem to enjoy causing suffering. They can also shrug off pain and wounds without second thought.

Zahariel only manages to kill one by stopping time, phasing his arm through the beasts body and shooting it in the heart! Considering this was the first manifestation of his physic powers, you would have to say that is both a lucky and exceptionally brutal kill.

By modelling this pelt on my Fallen leader, I am trying to draw on this mythology, tying him back to old Caliban and the Knights of the Order. Making a link between him and Zahariel as well as establishing him as a champion to fear. Whether he lives up to the hype is another story!

I have a lot of conversions planned for this Kill Team, so I will be punctuating my other painting projects with more Fallen kitbashing. The squad includes a mace wielding Zealot, heavy bolter specialist and a Sniper with a stalker pattern bolter, spanning three different marks of armour. If I get through this with all of my fingers intact I will be amazed.

See you across the table,


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