This post is quite special for me, since I'm now (finally) able to put up the first model from my new long-term Stormcast Eternals project.
Now, I had always liked the Stormcast Eternals, as most (though of course not all) people do for the main characters in any franchise, but I had never really thought about taking them on. Several things happened all at once earlier in the year that changed this. The first thing was working on my Sepulchral Warden model; although that was for a completely different, highly specific purpose, I still really enjoyed modelling and painting the base Stormcast model, to the point where I thought it might be nice to do more. The second thing was looking through all the amazing, inspiring Space Marine projects that have been happening this year, including Migsula's Space Wolves and 20th Legion, Kari's Red Corsairs, and Toni's Deathwatch (all from Iron Sleet); Johan's Deathwatch over on the Convertorum; and Cagn's Iron Genesis on Le Blog de Kouzes--all of these started me thinking that such a project with the Age of Sigmar equivalent of Space Marines could be a fascinating, challenging, but rewarding undertaking. And then, finally, the third thing was practical rather than ideas-based: a friend of mine wanted to offload a big lot of Stormcast models really cheaply.
Now, Stormcast are very popular, it must be said, and even more so now with the new release of the Sacrosact Chamber (which, for the record, I don't like very much). There are an awful lot of Stormcast projects out there. But, I have to confess (and hopefully this doesn't sound too arrogant) that none of them have been particularly successful for me, barring some good minor elements. From my research, there seems to be three primary routes hobbyists have taken when interpreting the Stormcast Eternals faction (apart from, of course, making them stock): firstly, the supernatural creature cliche, of which living statues, ghosts, and vampires appear to be very common; secondly, the 'human' character, which tries to re-humanise the Stormcasts and tends towards what I'm calling the 'grizzled Viking' aesthetic; and thirdly, the historic knight, which focusses on trying to make the Stormcasts less fantasy and more medieval Britain/France. To my mind, all three of these approaches miss the whole point of the Stormcast Eternals. By going off on completely random tangents, such fanciful creatures, cuddly bearmen, and historical mashups leave the idea of the Stormcasts behind and so fail to adequately capture what this faction is and means. I think they are, in actual fact, not Stormcast Eternals at all.
Having said that, I need to back it up with my conceptualisation for this project. What I want to do here is nothing short of capturing the essence of the Stormcast Eternals. My aim is to take the basic sketch that GW has provided for us, distil it down to its core ideas, and then flesh those out to really bring them to life and make something truly special. (So, nothing too ambitious, then!). Needless to say, my primary influences are the 40k projects mentioned earlier, which so beautifully capture the essences of their Space Marine bases, rather than the other previous and current attempts at Stormcasts. This first model, then, the Judicator Prime, is the rallying point for my project. I've been working on lots of models over the past four or five months--playing around with part combinations, assembling full models, breaking them apart and trying something else, breaking models apart again and trying another idea, thinking through and trying out paint schemes, constantly going back to the Battletomes and making sure I'm on the right track--and this model is the first fruit of that process. This first model represents the distillation of what I think the Stormcast Eternals are and mean; they are grim, inhuman (yes, even without their helmets), cold, ruthless, tireless machines of war, made by Sigmar for one purpose in the present but with little thought for what the repercussions might be later on. They are powerful, beautiful, wretched, and pitiable.
Okay. I'll leave this there. I will have more to say about the composition of the army and some other parts of the project, but I think that's enough for now. I leave some more images of the Judicator Prime, as well as a little sneak peak WiP of the rest of his unit in their black and white underpainting stage.