Hey everyone, welcome to the eighth issue of the Dispatch!
For this issue we will be staying close to the Workbench as we look creating a themed army, from units all the way up to the scenery itself. In this case we will be taking a step away from Waaagh Dakagrub and instead focusing on an oldie but a goodie, the Genestealer cult army list. Since there is no official 'stealer cult list, this one took some creative thinking on my part but so far I am really liking how it is coming together, so sit down and strap in because we are about to hit the ground running!
From the Workbench
The Birth of a Genestealer Cult
After playing a few games with the 'nids, I couldn't help but start thinking about Genestealer cults of old. First introduced back in White Dwarf #114, the 'stealer cult combined 'stealers, hybrids, and their human minions into one army. I used to have a copy of this magazine floating around but I have unfortunately long since gotten rid of it. Even so, I remember how cool the list looked with its blend of human cultists fighting alongside their 'stealer lords. The question is how to create this using the current 'nid list. The 'stealers and the patriach are easy enough but how could I field the cultists that the list would need?
I decided to start by comparing the Imperial Guard list to the Tyranid list to see if there were any similarities. As I wasn't really interested in fielding most of the units on the Guard list, I was actually kind of glad nothing on there came close to the stats of the 'stealers. The 'nid list proved to be another story. Gaunts and Guardsmen have an almost identical stat line but what about their lasguns?
With a potential range of 24" the 'nids don't really have anything that compares to the lasgun. Most of the longer ranged 'nid weapons have a higher strength and blast templates which just would not work in this case. In the end, I decided to go with the spinefists to simulate the lasguns. Both of these weapons have the same strength while the reduced range of the spinefists will represent the lack of training the cultists have, and the twin-linked will represent them firing wildly as they close with their targets.
This gave me a good solid core of troops that I could use between the 'stealers and the cultists, but the list was still sorely lacking in the synapse department. At least I was until I took a look at the sanctioned psyker miniatures for the Guard. I decided that these would take the place of the Zoanthropes in my list, giving me access to more synapse creatures and really giving me some fitting leaders for the cultists. The stats notably different between these two units but I decided that the increases were the result of the psykers being direct conduits to the massive power of the hive mind. 'Thropes also have toxic miasma and greatly increased armor save which I decided would represent the intense psychic field that was surrounding them.
With the basic list picked out, it's time to start building my army from the ground up.
Just Who is What Exactly?
Some of the miniatures in the list could be very straight-forward. The Broodlord is a Broodlord while the 'stealers are just that as well. Using the Guard santioned psykers for my cult leaders meant that this portion of my list is also easy to complete, just leaving me with the cultists themselves.
There are several different options out there from other companies that would look pretty good to represent cultists (Pig Iron Productions Kolony range of minis comes to mind) but I really want to keep the minis plastic so that I can maybe do some conversions. In the end, I decided that my best bet is to get a set of Cadian Shock Troopers and a set of Catachan Jungle Fighters, mix them together, and see what I can come up with. This combination will help convey the impression that they have raided the local PDF armories and grabbed anything they could get their hands on, not to mention they will be a lot of fun to put together. There are still more minis that I will add to the army in the future as it grows from a 1000 point list to a full 1750 list, but for now this will be enough to keep me busy.
Their Own Private Idaho
In addition to the army, I am also building a new board and terrain themed to go with it. The board is not going to be anything too fancy for now, though the dimensions are slightly different than might be expected as it comes in at 3'x4'. I have a lot of experience playing on a board of this size thanks to AT-43 and I really like how it puts you right there in the action. It is also something that I can easily expand up to 6'x4' once the army has grown to its full size.
As for the terrain itself, I am going for a small rustic settlement, almost like something out of a sci-fi western. In my mind this fits with the cult theme perfectly; a small, backwater settlement that the cult has taken over and is using to slowly spread to the neighboring towns before rising up to take over the world.
The Parting Shot...
And so there you have it, at least for now anyway. In the next Dispatch, I will have pictures of the terrain that I have built along with some of the models that I will be fielding in the cult, including my scratch built Broodlord! So until next time, may all of your dice come up Dragons!