In Midnight Clad Again

Over the years I have dabbled in a lot of 40k forces.  On the blog I have posted on the Imperial Guard and the Dark Eldar.  The Dark Eldar are a rather young project as far as my hobbying go and while the Guard are probably my longest running on again, off again running back into the mid 90s it's debatable if I ever had a cohesive, themed force mustered for a single game in all of those years.  The VIII Legion are the only army that have ever had that distinction for me and in the course of a decade and a half there have been six distinct incarnations of my Night Lord armies.  What follows is a retrospective and yet another resurrection of the army I never truly leave behind this time as a skirmish level "art scale" project for Shadow War: Armageddon or some form of Inq28 in the future.

This illustration was part of the IA article that sold the Night Lords to me.
I'm happy to say I can't provide a photo of my first painted Night Lord marine.  It was awful.  I remember that I painted the figure with the old GW Midnight Blue (It seemed more purple after the fact) and was a truly pitiful figure.  If the midnight purple wasn't bad enough my first attempts at freehand lightning were even worse!  The, "In Mudnight Clad Dress Rehearsal/Massacre" was a complete failure and the offending model was buried deep in a bitz box of broken toys never to be seen again;  or was he?  It's all worth mentioning because what proceeded it was reading the Index Astartes article that drew me to the Night Lords.  White Dwarf 259 presented a cast of brutal, yet cunning villains with a compelling history and incredible character.  My brush might not have been ready but I would return.

Last survivor.  With so many facelifts it's hard to find models in the Mark II colour scheme.

I painted my Mark 2 Night Lords in 2004.  I couldn't get around the bat helms that were on offer at the time but I scooped up as many Night Lord box sets as I could to gather those striking shoulder pads.  While I didn't like the Night Lord heads the plastic chaos warriors set had recently released and the helmets made fine fodder for the second coming of the Eighth.  This excellent kit would continue to be the basis for many conversions over the years.  This time around I think I'd used a Regal Blue basecoat.  My lightning effects were still very primitive but at the time I was pretty chuffed.  In retrospect not so hot but I'd learned from the first attempt and would continue to evolve my interpretation of the patterns.  I never liked the idea of magical lightning coursing across their armour.  For me it was always a warpaint or embellishment that had been applied to their battle plate.

Bloody but unbowed.  Missing an arm.

The final note for this phase of the project is the addition of the red sash.  From a painting perspective I really need another point on the model with red accent.  It balanced and added to the wings of the chapter badge so the colour didn't feel as overwhelmed by the imposing blue.  The other bit was my love of Tombstone.  It's not only my favorite western but probably one of my favorite movies period.  My legion of cutthroats and killers have borne a homage to the Cowboys since their introduction to the tabletop.  The first Night Lord never made it to the tabletop as he was first painted.  On a happy note he did find a happy home in this first table ready force as his parts were recycled and he was overpainted in this group of models.

The Mark III project was likely my favorite of the lot.

 By the end of 2005  I had a fully painted 2500 point+ army.  Since everything had been filled out I spent time playing around with glam character models and tricked out some plastic loyalist terminators in chapter colours.  By the next summer I thought my "fancy" models were making my rank and file look trashy so I ended up putting them under the brush and knife again.  The repaint was a significant improvement across the board.  All that practice painting lightning had upped my game and this generation of Night Lords was a step up from the last group.  I cut up some tomb king heads and butted them on the chaos warrior helms to give them gilded death mask helmets. 

The bikers like the second wave of terminators were more about cool models than seeing the tabletop.

The next wave were a group of the plastic chaos terminators and the plastic lord in terminator armour.  I doubt theses ever hit the table more than once or twice and I don't think I played many more games than that in the next couple additions.  I made some pretty heavily converted bikers during this period too.

I was aiming for an archaic and battle hardened look with these guys...

...veterans of the long war not worshippers of chaos.

The next group, Mark IV was a kill team for the Death Squads kill team game.  This "generation" of Night Lords was upscaled slightly and meant to look dark and stripped down.  I felt inspired to build them simply because I read Aaron Dembski-Bowden's Night Lord trilogy.  I really enjoyed his characters and felt his portrayal was as close to the snapshot that old Index Astartes article had provided years earlier.  The figures were made from plastic marine and plastic warhammer chaos kits.

Another life for Lord Awesome!

I built this overscaled terminator around the same time I made the the Mark IV's.  He was recycled from one of the Lord kits I had built earlier; Possibly the sorceror because I never liked sorcerers.  I will actually get around to painting him in the near future so he can join the latest generation of Night Lords for Shadow Wars: Armageddon as a special operative.  Lord Awesome is the verbal shorthand for most of the character models I have had for years.  When I am trashtalking someone the awesome names and histories I've created (Yeah, awesome) are too verbose and get in the way of a good bit of verbal abuse hence, Lord Awesome.  I think there is something that sticks in the craw of an enemy better than a narcissistically and childishly monnikered super villain.  Any model that has borne the name Awesome (Including Lord Awesome Junior, Lady Awesome, Pretty Lord Awesome) have done so with pride and swagger befitting a top drawing heel.  Being bad is style.

The pre heresy pads are cool enough but I hate transfers with a passion.

Not much to say about the fifth mark.  I picked up the Betrayal at Calth set because I thought the sculpts were super cool.  I got right at building a test model and started looking for my long forgotten box of Night Lord parts which had been lost to basement for at least a year, possibly two.  They remained hidden and I got disgusted and Mark V was abandoned.  In painting the test model I did get another kick at the cat painting the more subdued scheme featured on the last group.  I think my freehand was neater still so job was a good one.

This resurgence died on the vine for lack of shoulder pads.

This brings us to the present and the Mark VI Night Lord.  I decided to do another upscaled Eighth project to play Shadow War: Armageddon.  This is the kind of project I can get behind.  A low model count that gives me wiggle room to play around with kit interests me far more than mass producing a full scale army.  To big up this group It's been easier than ever before.  There are so many stock large scale kits that make awesome adds to power armoured figures now I found I didn't have to do any involved green stuff reworkings unless I absolutely wanted to.  I'm only two models into the project and with a good selection of plastic parts from a couple kits across the 40k and AoS ranges it is as easy as pie.  So far I have been grabbing legs from the Bloodbound Wrathmongers and combining them mostly with parts from the Calth plastics.

The only scale reference in the picture is the diminutive skull on the base.

Brother Trajan and the members of his claw should look like beasts compared to their serfs.

The low numbers and mixed scale squad members made this worth doing.

A wise man once said if everyone is 7 feet tall you don't have any giants.

The paint scheme is probably the most vibrant one I have used to date comparatively most reminding me of the Mark III group.  These dats I'm using a Cantor Blue base and using vallejo air paint for the lightning.  I think it my best effort at the Night Lord so at least some things are getting better with age.  I am happy to report that the wonderful box of Night Lord treasures was excavated from a formerly unknown location in the basement of doom.  I'm happy to report I now have more Night Lord shoulder pads than common sense.  To illustrate the literal pisstains on my moment of triumph I will leave you with this photo of the offending miscreant.  I was ignoring someone and painting models when I should have been chinscratching.  Ave Domine Noctis!


  1. With the new `true scale' plastic marines inbound you have the perfect excuse to start another army. Night Lords are second only to my beloved World Eaters. For Shadow war they would be brilliant.

    1. It's tempting. I've been watching the stream of unveils surrounding 8th and looking for said excuses. I want to build my Night Lords for Shadow War and see them through serfs ans all but I'm not so hot on trying to build an entire overscaled army because the scale gets lost or skewed when everyone is of similar height. Looking at that new set I'm really tempted to do a Death Guard army. Having most of the grunt work done out of the box would allow me to really go to town on a few models and still have a fair sized force. Big armies rapidly burn me out though so we'll see :D .


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