We were blind, brothers! We were blind to the mania of our genefather, blind to the falsehoods around us, blind to mischief and deception. But we shall be blind no longer! We are araukhnetar, the blind now seeing – and what I see is a war of vengeance and the traitor’s blood on our blades!– Savaghore, former Captain of the Sons of Horus, XXIth company
Welcome, stranger. Would like you to hear a story about a man forging his own path amidst betrayal and civil war? In a new series of articles, we highlight the best talent in the community, giving them a platform to tell their own stories. Hauke Jacobsen introduces us to his dark vision of betrayal amidst the Age of Darkness. Come, sit down by the fire and enjoy a hot cup of paint water.
Usually, any army project of mine starts out with an idea for a single model. That idea can come from anywhere: A cool bit from another model that has just come out, a conversion seen online, a throwaway comment in a book – literally anywhere. This time, it was a single faceplate in a Games Workshop Warcry Warband boxed set.
For this first part of what is hopefully going to be an ongoing series, I’d like to share with you how that one tiny piece of plastic sparked my imagination and started me down the path of the army project that is to be the Araukhnetar Blackshields force for the Horus Heresy game system. I’ve split this introduction into 3 parts, but the actual creative process never happened (and is probably never going to happen) in a linear fashion, the reality of it is probably much more like a bunch of firecrackers going off in an enclosed space.
To me, a miniature has to tell a good story. Whether a model emerges from an interesting story or details of the miniature start creating the story, doesn’t really matter. In my case, the narrative was to drive the creation of the army:
A „blinded“ Son of Horus has his eyes opened to the betrayal of his brothers, turns from his Primarch, and wages his own war of vengeance against the traitor legions. The Host of the Blind Angel is born.
During this first stage of army creation, I start musing over custom character backstories and I come up with names to go with them. Every name in the Sons of Horus has a very rough and guttural, Cthonian vibe and I wanted to emulate that feeling with the names of my main characters.
So a couple of bike rides (making weird noises) to work later, I ended up with Araukhnetar, which sounded like a cool Cthonian expression for whatever I wanted it to be – in this case, the „Blind Now Seeing“. Online name generators helped kickstart the naming processes for Reaver Lord Savaghore (a name I thought would fit in nicely with all those existing SoH names) and Knight Errant Sylas Tor, a mysterious figure of as of yet unknown origin.
I’ll come back to their individual backstories and much more of the lore behind the Host of the Blind Angel in future Collected Visions articles!
The best thing about the Horus Heresy is at the same time the worst: There’s so many cool and fleshed out Space Marine legions to build and paint! This dilemma invites the „hobby butterfly“ and I have often found myself starting a Legion force and losing interest after making and painting a couple of models. With this ragtag band of outlaws however, I welcomed the freedom and the possibility of including single models from all of the legions in the Araukhnetar.
Warriors from the Shattered Legions, an Alpha Legion headhunter specialist, a couple of Thousand Sons escaping Prospero, all coming together to bolster the ex-Sons of Horus forces of the Araukhnetar sounded like an amazing modeling challenge. Mixed armour marks and battle damage would support the look of a band of brothers fighting with what is available to them.
As for the actual paint scheme for bringing them all together, I had always been a fan of this legionary pictured in Horus Heresy book 6 „Retribution“:
I didn’t want to make my force an exact copy of that scheme, but what I liked about it was how understated it was, and tonally very different to any other legion. As this series goes on, you will see that I moved away from this initial idea quite a bit.
To give myself a goal to work towards, I thought about how to best match the story that I had come up with.
The Araukhnetar, now isolated from their Legion and with that losing a lot of Legion assets, would probably end up gathering whatever strength they could muster and start raiding other forces fleets in space – where numbers wouldn’t matter as much and maximum damage could still be done.
Following down that road, I envisioned a small band of Marines, who start to become experts in ship-to-ship actions by using makeshift kill teams and the most volatile weapons they can find for maximum shock.
Using the Forge World Blackshields list from „Retribution“ and some fanmade Mournival Events rules, this was to be the core of the Host of the Blind Angel:
As you can see it’s not much of an army, but it’s enough to fill a Zone Mortalis force organisation chart. The units may seem like they were picked at random, but with this project, I decided not to worry too much about efficiency.
Reaver Lord Savaghore, formerly of the Sons of Horus, is going to be I chose a cyber-familiar for the chance to model up a little companion, like the golden eagle Garuda that accompanied the famous Iron Hand Ulrach Branthan.
Speaking about Branthan, the idea of having a badly damaged dreadnought in the force to count as a Cortus Contemptor was too good to pass up. Where else but in a Blackshields host would you see salvaged equipment like that?
The Marauders make up the bulk of the force and will provide the bodies needed to press towards vital objectives.
Seekers have always been my favourite unit entry in the Legiones Astartes list. Just imagine a disciplined, highly trained, stealthy squad of marksmen, carrying the coolest guns while securing objectives for the main force. That checks all of my Astartes Killteam boxes and is a must-have in ship-to-ship warfare.
The unit entry for Heavy Destroyers comes from the fanmade Mournival Events list. Originally equipped with 2 Volkite Chargers, I exchanged their equipment for something more useful in a Zone Mortalis setting. Terminator armour, steel-cutting chainaxes, chemically-enhanced flamethrowers and a grudge. What’s not to like?
Last on the list, for now, is a Knight Errant. I’ve always wanted to make one, but having mainly played Word Bearers, Mechanicum and staunchly loyal Dark Angels, it never seemed like the right time. Now, with a rogue warlord out in the wild, including a Knight Errant felt like the perfect opportunity to combine a creative story arc with trying out a gaming piece I’d never used before.
That’s it for now, I hoped you enjoyed this introduction. The story evolving around Savaghore and the Araukhnetar has got me all excited, so strap in for more painting and modeling adventures! You can follow all my work Here and say hi, or follow along!