Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The 231st Host

 The Word Bearers of the 231st Host

This week I thought I would take a break from terrain construction (don't worry, I am still working on some new pieces for future articles) and delve into some of my current modeling projects that I have going on with my Word Bearers army. But before I show off my current works in progress I thought I'd go into when and why I chose to go with the Word Bearers. I started collecting chaos marines in 2005-2006 or so when then Chaos 3.5 codex was out. At that time my main focus was with my Tau and Necron armies so working on chaos was a side project.

 Being somewhat new to chaos I did not know if I wanted to model my army after an existing legion or come up with one on my own. Up to that time, my Black Library collection dealt mainly with Bill King's Gotrek and Felix, Dan Abbnet's Gaunts Ghosts, and Sandy Mitchell's Caiphus Cain books (all great series). At first I toyed with the idea of running World Eaters as I loved the berzerker models but in the end I opted to run with a variant of a Black Legion army using my own paint scheme. Here is a picture of my original color scheme.

Yes, this was my original paint scheme. :(

I attended my first major tournament in 2008 running my Black Legion army at the Da Boyz GT. Being my first major event I was enamored with all of the different paint schemes and armies presented and I knew that I needed to up my painting and appearance to entirely new level.

Around 2008, Anthony Reynolds came out with the first book in the Dark Apostle series and I was hooked immediately by the characters and the way he portrayed the Word Bearers as devoted followers to their Primarch, Logar and the gods of chaos. As I read more about the legion I liked that they were also somewhat similar to the Black Legion in that they worshiped the 4 main gods equally, not favoring one over the other. This way I could use the different marks from each god in my army without feeling like I was breaking away from the theme of the army. So with that in mind I decided to do a total repaint of my chaos army and thus was born my Word Bearers of the 231st Host.

The core of the 231st Host

The vehicles of the 231st Host

The various HQ units of my army.

Cult troops of the 231st Host
 Since then I have experimented with adding details to my army to make them stand out. On my vehicles I added scroll work banners and litanies of hate to each of the rhinos and land raiders and I updated all of my icon bearers to include scroll worked banners as well.

Scroll work and litanies of hate.
All of the shoulder pads now include the Word Bearers icon and I recently picked up the metal shoulder pads with the Word Bearers emblem sculpted into it that will be going on all of my future marines.

As my army grew over time I wanted to stay in line with the fluff of the Word Bearers so I made sure that I ran possessed marines and daemons when possible.

The possessed of the 231st

During this time, GW nerfed the Chaos codex to reduce the daemons to simply greater and lesser daemons but I loved the new Khorne bloodletters and Soul Grinder model so they went into my army as well. I picked up the Belkhor model to run as my daemon prince and the plastic balrog model to run as my greater daemon.

Daemon Allies

While I didn't win many games playing with my self-imposed fluff restrictions, it is an army I have enjoyed playing with and had fun putting together. Since 6th edition rolled in last year, I have been experimenting with running daemon allies, which has been a great boost to the new chaos marine codex.

So with that out of the way, here is what I am currently adding to my host. I've been slowly painting up 40 cultists from the new starter set. I simply love these models and I want to take my time to paint them up uniquely, to represent that they come from all walks of life. This way they can have different clothing and colors but the crimson red is the unifying theme that will tie them all to the Word Bearers army.

A slow work in progress on the cultists.
I am also working on a discord to go along with my cultists. For those of you who have read the Dark Apostle series you should be familiar with a discord. But for those who have not read the books, a discord is described as a hellish monstrosity that hovers off the ground trailing tentacles. It has a grilled speaker unit from which it broadcasts hellish, unrecognizable sounds. Generally they float along slave gangs and spout out gibberish in chaos that slowly wears away the sanity and faith of the former imperial servants. Ever since I read about them in the first book I always tried to imagine how they would look as a model.

For many years I tried to find a way to portray them using various GW bits and pieces but nothing ever worked. A few years back, Rackham games came out with a pre-painted tabletop game called AT-43 which looked promising but I was hesitant on starting a new system. After a year or so, Rackham went under and many game stores quickly dropped the price on them so I picked up a bunch of the models and a starter set for next to nothing. One model in particular really appealed to me and seemed to be a good starting point for a discord. With a few minor cuts and some repositioning of the pieces and the addition of some greenstuff tentacles and GW bits this is what I came up with.

Front view with tentacles, vox unit.

The main body is made up of the original model. I just cut off the legs, arms and weapons. I repositioned the shoulder pads to sit further back. In place if the legs I added greenstuff to guitar wire to give it the mechanical tentacles look. I also took some of the rotting heads from the new plague bearers kit and added them to guitar wire so that it looks like they are hovering around the discords head. The main vox grill is just a searchlight from the rhino kit. I'm really pleased with how this is coming along and once I've finished with the paint job I will be adding litanies of hate scroll work to this model and then have it accompany my cultists in battle. Since there are no rules for this model I'll only be running it as a cultist in friendly games and during tournaments I'll add it to my display board. I'll post more pictures once it is fully painted.

Besides the Dark Apostle series I enjoyed the "First Heretic" and "Know No Fear" as they go more into the Word Bearers during the time of the Heresy. I saw on Anthony Reynolds blog that he wrote a short story for an upcoming Horus Heresy book titled "The Mark of Calith." It looks to be about Marduk's involvement of the Battle of Calith and I cannot wait for this book to come out.

So, how many of you have built a Word Bearers army and what are your favorite stories involving the 17th Legion? We would love to hear about your Word Bearers army.


  1. I think I had the same paint scheme for my first Chaos army. When I was painting it, I thought it looked pretty good, black with dark shades and a bronze armour. Didn't realize that it was essentially black on black until years later.

    It was about that time when I figured out that I should be holding my figs at arm's length when I evaluate them.

  2. Yeah, bringing my marines to the GT was the best thing that could have happened to me. After seeing all of the other armies painted 100 times better than mine I knew I needed to work harder on painting. Since then I have repainted all of my necrons, my chaos marines, my warriors of chaos army, and I painted a new elder army for the 2011 GT. Now with the new Tau dex out I am thinking I may want to revise their color scheme before I start adding in new models. sigh... it never ends.

  3. Wow, seeing these again reminds me of how great this army looks - and how fun it is to see it across the table. I cannot wait to see how you ally in some of the new daemons as well. Might I suggest a Tzeentch herald for Prescience? Or maybe a Lord of Change?