Armed with a brush, some paint, the new Kharadron Overlord Arkanauts models, and a desire to fit this newest race into the backdrop of the Endless Deserts of Shyish, I dove head first into creating my own skyport of Barak-Mor.
The sands glowed with a dull orange light, reflecting the rising sun back up towards the duardin craft as it cruised along the warm thermals of the Endless Deserts. Kratok Thurgsson squinted against the bright light as he leaned against the Frigate’s railing. Off in the distance he could just make out the ominous, blocky shapes of their destination as it crested the horizon. From up in the clouds they looked deceptively small, but he knew better from the stories he heard back in Barak-Mor, that the tomb-cities of the desert monarchs were anything but. Though he himself had yet to visit the streets of one of the necropolises, the tales spun more seasoned Arkanauts spoke of towering, megalithic structures whose engineering impressed even the normally unflappable duardin of the Kharadron Overlords.
“An impressive sight,” a voice called out from behind him. Kratok turned to see Gungi Skullbreaker, his Company Captain, approaching from the hatch that led below deck. “I remember the first time I saw the domains of those greedy undead wazzocks too,” he said with the hint of a grin in his voice. “Though don’t say that to their faces. Unless you’re ready to back up your words that is,” he paused briefly. “Tough lot they are.”
“Aye,” was all Kratok managed, bringing his gaze back to the rapidly approaching pyramids and obelisks.
“Ah, you’ll be fine laddie. We all have to take our first trip at some point, just be thankful yours is a trading mission. Keep your wits about you and everything will go smoothly. Just don’t look the ones with the fancy hats in the eyes; when in doubt, keep quiet; and whatever you do, don’t lean on their statues. They don’t like that.”
“The kings don’t?”
“Ha! No, the statues laddie, keep up,” Gungi said with a laugh. “Now come below deck before we land. It doesn’t hurt to check over our gear one last time. Just in case.” The captain lifted the hatch before turning back, “Never trust the dead, lad. They’ve got nothing to lose, and everything to gain.”
As soon as I read through the Kharadron Overlords book I knew I wanted to make my own skyport. The six major skyports are definitely cool, but I wanted to take a crack at my own color scheme. Plus, by making my own skyport I'm able to place it anywhere in the Mortal Realms, which meant it gets to live in my own little sandbox, the Endless Deserts. First things were first though, I needed to decide on a color scheme. While I planned on tying them into my Tomb Kings lore wise, I wanted to deviate from the whites and blues I had been painting since my Arcanites were using that as well. Instead I went for more of a general Death vibe and chose Incubi Darkness as my main color. This was a color I saw used a lot on Death models by GW and it looked suitable sinister to me. I wanted to keep the metallics simple, so I just went with iron and brass and weathered it up a bit to make them look grimmer then the standard duardin.
Next came the background for the army. After a bit of playing around I settled on Barak-Mor for the name to play off the word mort from french which means death. Now I had a name and a place, but why were they there? Why did my skyport branch off on its own and venture into Shyish? Well, for one thing, the empires of the Tomb Kings are flush with gold and treasures. I imagine my duardin trading with the undead monarchs as often as they raid abandoned ruins. The Tomb Kings are not the only inhabitants of the sands though and I figure they will trade with anyone, from the Free Peoples city of Bétone to the new cities of Sigmar. Beyond the gold though, the duardin of Barak-Mor have become obsessed with unlocking the "science" behind Death magic. They figure that there is ample profit in discovering the secrets of death itself, and thus have ventures going all over Shyish, not just in the Endless Deserts. With that in mind I find that I can really get behind these guys and delve into the army more. I have already started fleshing out their background even more and plan on giving their Allegiance Ability choices the battalion treatment. I'm going to be putting together a page like the ones for the six major skyports, so expect to see more on these guys from a background perspective in the future.
I was lucky enough to have Games Workshop send me a couple of the new kits along with the book for review. I started building everything, and originally planned to have it all done by the time the release came out, but alas, my ambitions were too great. In the end I decided that at the very least I wanted to have the Arkanauts done, so I pushed ahead with them. The Arkanauts were really simple to put together, which is nice after some of these more complex kits they've had recently. They come in just a few parts.
The torsos and legs are one piece, then you have the head, arms, and backpack. The arm joint is just a simple flat join, meaning you can really go to town on making each pose unique. You also get 20 left arms so you won't have to repeat anything. One thing I did notice after I glued all of mine together, is that technically there are matching sets of arms. So if you want the vambraces to match on both arms you glue on, make sure you pay attention.
This isn't a huge deal though, and on my models the arms are all mixed up and you don't really notice. There are ten swords and ten axes and ten pistols. I did drill out the barrel on my pistols a bit to make them look more gun like. Anyone who has collected Space Marines before will be familiar with doing this. The only set of arms you need to make sure you assemble correctly are the special weapons since they only go together in one way. Unfortunately you only get one of each special weapon in the box, so if you want to have just a bunch of one weapon be prepared to bits online or buy more boxes.
There are several extra heads and two different weapon options for the champion, including two different guns and two different close combat weapons, one of which is an anchor. I glued my models together fully except for the special weapons that went across their chests. I left these off and painted them seperately, as well as the extra skyhooks that go on that model's back. Even after putting together the whole unit I still have a ton of left over bits for conversions or future units. They were relatively fast to paint too, taking about a week and a half for ten of them.
I tried to keep my color scheme as simple as possible, with just the main color, the metallics, and a bone color for the straps and pouches. The bone/khaki pouches act as the bright spot of the model alongside the glowing eyes and lenses, helping to brighten up the otherwise dark mini.
The lenses are meant to reflect the otherworldly quality of Death magic and I intentionally used the same technique I used to paint my Nighthaunts. Though the models themselves are fairly dark due to the green cloth and iron armor, they are framed by the bright desert sands which I think really makes them pop.
I will have a step by step tutorial on how to paint an Arkanaut of Barak-Mor on Monday. Even if you don't plan on painting your's in the exact same colors, hopefully you can pick up a few techniques from it.
Until next time,