Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Genestealer Cult Returns! Inspired by The Strain

Hokay, so.

A long time ago, I got an idea for a Genestealer Cult, featuring some creepy dudes in black trench coats, and I swore that, once GW released plastic greatcoat guard, I would convert up my stealer cult.

So that never happened, but Games Workshop did release Genestealer Cult models, and—holy moly— are they every beautiful, and absolutely SPOT ON the Genestealer models of old, except modernized to compete with the surreal level of plastics currently coming out of GW. In case you'd missed it, they were sculpted by my new hero, Darren Razza Latham.

Though I had been holding out for greatcoat guard to start my cult, this release forced my hand.

Now, to be clear, I am completely, head-over-heels, moonstruck, gobsmacked in love with the new Genestealer Cult models. However, one thing I'm less than in love with is the fact that the majority of people I see on the net are painting their cultists in pretty much the same scheme from the box.


There are some notable exceptions, like the following, which, conveniently enough, were painted by the same Darren Razza Latham who designed the models:
Or These, by @helgewilhelm, who you really need to be following if you're not already:
...and I do REALLY LOVE the yellow/orange jumpsuit, penal scheme for them, but—for the most part—everyone seems to be using the GW, Overkill boxed set scheme for their cultists.

I decided I wanted to do something different. When I came up with my aforementioned idea for creepy cult dudes in trench coats, I always pictured them in head-to-toe black...which can be a very boring scheme.

I was at a loss for how I would make black into an interesting scheme until I came across Guillermo Del Toro's vampire series, The Strain—which should be mandatory viewing for any nid/stealer fan!
If you're not familiar with The Strain, allow me this brief diversion to bring you up to speed with the series, and how it has anything to do with a Genestealer Cult.

The Strain deals with a vampire outbreak in Manhattan, and how modern society just assumes it to be some particularly virulent plague. I love this premise because I fully believe this is how we'd first process a vampire outbreak in our post-SARS, Pandemic-loving world. The assumed "outbreak" in The Strain even arrives state-side via a passenger plane, as illnesses like SARS have done.

And, in the way that the infestation spreads in the Strain, and the way that there are clandestine, shadowy organizations both supporting and combating the outbreak, I was very much reminded of the fluff for Genestealer Cults and how they spread under wraps in the 40K universe, often protected and nurtured by an infested branch of the local government or military force.

The vampires/strigoi in The Strain are a bit more tentacle-y than you'd expect, which makes the parallels to a Genestealer/Tyranid infestation all the more accurate for me :D
Anyway. Getting back to the point of how I figured out my paint scheme. In the Strain, there is an opposing vampire faction seeking to contain/combat the infestation of Manhattan. Why, we're not too sure. However, to help them in their grizzly business, they employ a force of "Sun Hunters": vampire hunting vampires, who move around during the day under the cover of hooded black fatigues.
In addition to always wanting to start a Stealer Cult,  I've always wanted to paint some black-ops looking miniatures, and I figured the all-black-with-red-hood Sun Hunters uniform would serve well for my stealer cult.

For my first cult miniatures, I was focused on just getting them painted so that I didn't spend too much time languishing in conversion/kitbash never-ending spiral. For my next batch, I intend to try my hand at sculpting hoods on for all of them, but, for now, I just wanted to get a defined paint scheme and get it right.

The greenish skin I elected to use was also inspired by the strain, though I've gone a little more green than them, and I'm thinking I should rein it in a bit on the more human hybrids so they look closer to flesh colour.

I also kept the Tyranid carapace black on the more genestealer-y / mutated ones amongst them to keep the overall black theme to the force.

The red accents are meant to pick up on the red highlights on the inside of the hoods that the Sun Hunters wear in the Strain. My idea is that, as the followers are more mutated and dress in more robes than armour, these robes would be red, and you''ll see more of the red spreading through the force as you move away from the more passably human, covert ranks.

So, though I'm not 100% on the scheme yet, it's pretty close, so I wanted to share it everyone to see what you thought.

And, as a teaser for the future, if you're familiar with the Strain, I intend to blur the lines a little on Strain canon. Stealer cults are lead by a triumvirate of Patriarch, Magus, Primus, so I'll be casting:

The Master as Patriarch

Quinlan as Primus


...and Eichorst as Magus

Though I've so far failed to find an adequate model in either a suit, or a fascist military garb, so if you have suggestions, please share!


Oh, and a note that I wasn't sure where to get into: this stealer cult content is brought to you by the insistent cajoling of my dear Brother Pink, who is the single best person at getting me off my ass and back into the hobby.

He usually does it with a bribe (and this time it was Gal Vobrak models! YES!), but I choose to believe that behind the bribes lies his faith in my modeling mojo and his understanding of my intrinsic pressure motivation.

It was his challenge that got these first few cultists painted, and—now that I've seen them with paint on them—I'm inspired to make MANY MORE!

So, here I am, back on the hobby horse, and we all have Brother Pink to thank :D


  1. Welcome back :)

    The cult is looking suitably dark and creepy. I like the scheme you are going with

  2. Not heard of it before but The Strain looks really good. As do your models. Looking forward to more.

    1. As long as you can handle the standard, slightly comedic edge to Guillermo Del Toro's stuff, I can recommend the Strain—particularly the early episodes.

      It's still a pretty dark action/drama about modern vampires, but I feel like Guillermo's stuff never takes itself too seriously.

  3. This is going to be epically awesome!

    1. Thanks Greg! Since the codex has come out, I've decided that the force will be a bladed-cog-style one, where the vehicles and mecha they rip off shall be from an Adeptus Mechanicus world. This is mostly because I think the Dunecrawler looks way more appealing as a cult tank than the Russ does. Also, I would love for the cult to have more mining mecha, so expect to see a lot of that crop up in the force.

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks for giving me such fantastic modeling fodder/inspiration, Darren!

  5. I still think that the idea to linke The Strain with a cult is pure genius.

    ze Moloch

    1. Dude. The Strain / Vampirism and the Genestealer infection are so clearly analogous that I feel like I didn't really do any work to link them. It was all already there :)

  6. Hey, great looking Miniatures and Idea! Could you please explain which colors and techniques you used? Thank you!

    1. Thanks!
      In terms of techniques, a lot of this is painted by airbrush (particularly the black or red areas). Then it's just edge highlighting and some drybrushing on the skin areas.

      In terms of colours, I'm really much more of a sculptor and builder than painter, so I don't remember all the colour names. They are pretty much all Vallejo, if that matters to you. The colour I do remember is "Baby Poop," which is one of Secret Weapon Miniatures' washes that I used on the genestealer skin, and it is an absolute GODSEND. Cannot say enough good things about it!

      Sorry if that's not very helpful!