Well, this has been quite a journey. I started a Blood Angel force when I first started blogging and like many projects I start I didn’t feel my skills were up to realising my vision for the commander.
The Caverrera campaign has obsessed me for years and I find the early part of M31. to be the most fascinating period in all of Imperial History. I wanted to explore the emergence of religion on a galactic scale. What ideas would persist? Which would be persecuted? I imagine the head at his feet is some forgotten god of a nameless pantheon.
I wanted Lucifer to be the avenging angel, the annihilator of religion as was his original mandate in the Crusading Legions. I also wanted him to be an anachronism. The ideals which he and his brother fought for are gone – he is at odds with the current narrative imperial history is taking, culminating in the vicious reign of Vandire. His armour is ancient, even by Astartes standards, having being constructed in the Dark Epoch of technology. He is a metal model which in itself will be a curiosity in the years to come.
I painted Lucifer in true metallics, shading the gold with purples, blues, reds and greens. I decided to paint the wings in faux NMM to frame the metallic armour adding contrast to the piece.
I wrote this article 2010 about the thoughts behind the construction of Lucifer. Enjoy!
How many Wings does a Seraphim Have?
Lucifer came about as a reaction to seeing the Sanguinor model for the first time. Like many of you reading this, my jaw just hit the floor. What a sculpt, and what a paint job. Seeing the accompanying range GW were planning, and the shift in emphasis from ‘Cyber punk- renaissance’ (see earlier post) to a more angelic characterization, I knew that I had to convert something special.
With such a wealth of paintings, imagery, and text devoted to the subject of angels, I thought it would be remiss of me not to have a casual glance over the subject.
Everybody knows what an Angel is, but I doubt when asked, that any two people’s definition is ever the same. The word Angel is a fusion of the old French angele, and Old Enlglish word engel. Both derive from the latin angelus, a romanizaion of the ancient greek word angelos, which means messenger. Most religions have winged deities, or angels, although their function is always on behalf of a higher power. Messengers of an eternal truth, or power.
The earliest known Christian image of an angel comes from the Cubicolo dell’Annunciazione, in the Catacomb of Priscilla. Ironically, they do not have wings!The above picture is a 12th-centurary icon of the Archangels Michael and Gabriel wearing the Loros of the imperial Guards.
Descriptions of Angels are quite bizzare. For example, the Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, in his Celestial Hierarchy fixed the image of a fiery Seraphim into medieval imagination. It is here that the Seraphim are described as being concerned with keeping Divinity in perfect order, and not limited to chanting the trisagion. Taking his cue from writings in the Rabbinic tradition, the author gave an etymology for the Seraphim as “those who kindle or make hot”:
“The name seraphim clearly indicates their ceaseless and eternal revolution about Divine Principles, their heat and keenness, the exuberance of their intense, perpetual, tireless activity, and their elevative and energetic assimilation of those below, kindling them and firing them to their own heat, and wholly purifying them by a burning and all-consuming flame; and by the unhidden, unquenchable, changeless, radiant and enlightening power, dispelling and destroying the shadows of darkness”
In classical and Christian mythology (is it cool to call an official religion a mythology?), the higher classification of Angels had more than one set of wings.
Seraphim – have six wings; two covering thier faces, two covering their bodies, and two with which they fly.
Cherubim – have four faces: one of each a man, an ox, a lion, and an eagle.
Thrones, or Ophanim– are beyl-coloured wheel-within-a-wheel, their rims covered with hundreds of eyes (sounds quite chaotic no?).
Dominions are divinely beautiful humans with wings, and occasionally wield orbs of light fastened to the pommel of their swords.
Virtues are often presented in choirs.
Powers or Authorities are the warriors, and have the distinction that none of their order has ever fallen from grace.
Principalities or Rulers – are shown wearing a crown and carry a sceptre.
Archangels – The most commonly depicted class of Angel. Michael belongs to this ruling class.
Angels – The messengers to mankind. Humans with wings.
Classical depiction of the Hierarchy of Angels.
I knew, even before reading these descriptions, that Lucifer would be modeled with more than one set of wings. I have also read that when Seraphim open their wings other beings, not even other orders of angels, can bear to stand in their presence. I’d imagine that Lucifer in full golden plate, feet never touching the ground as he makes war with the foe, would be a decimating sight.
Since the renaissance, Angelic imagery has become less obsessed with reflecting a immaterial, spiritual realm, but rather more concerned with visual metaphor. The lance, or spear for example, symbolic of truth, order, knowledge. Lucifer, brandishing a spear in one hand, and a wreath in another, becomes less of a literal, photo-like translation of a Blood Angel commander looks like mid-battle, but instead becomes more a sculpture, concerned with visual metaphor of his weaponry. Throughout the army I have modeled fallen statues, plinths, and signs of a fallen civilization on the bases. On Lucifer’s base, he ascends over the shattered head of a god, cast down by Astrates who’s aim had been to abolish false Gods. If you look at the fluff throughout this blog, you will notice the time line – just after the Heresy. I imagine that some remnants of the original crusading Astrates would be left within the Chapter’s ranks. Marines who remember the original tenants of the imperial truth, who see the emergence of the Ecclesiarchy, and the stripping away of power by the hands of new organizations like the Inquisition. When modelling the fallen statues, I had Shelley’s Ozymandias in mind:
I met a traveller from an antique land Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand, Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command Tell that its sculptor well those passions read Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things, The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed. And on the pedestal these words appear: `My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings: Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’ Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare, The lone and level sands stretch far away”.
Mikhail Vrubel Six winged Seraph Azrael. I love this painting. I wanted Lucifer to reflect some of the cold, selfish nature this painting possesses.
The shattered civilization on Lucifer’s base is a visual joke. The artist who made the statue of the god must have thought it would stand forever, just as Lucifer’s hubris fuels his belief that the Imperium will stand forever, even as it stands of the brink of shattering completely. Conversely, even as I made the model I did not think of where it will be in thirty, forty, even a hundred years time.
I drew inspiration for Lucifer, and the astetic imagery of my army from such works as Guido Reni’s Michael. As well as a divine painting, Reni’s Michael cuts quite a dramatic pose, perfect for replication in miniature form.
The army really started with Lucifer in mind, I just had to wait until I could build my vision. For all of those out there who think magnets are the be all and end all of easy customization – think again. Magnets will make you kick your cat (or next door’s if you don’t have one), drive you to drink, fight walls (I have a penchant for attacking my thin balsa wood door when I’m in a mood; feel well hard when I put a hole in it), and think hard whether it’s all worth it or not.
But if you get over this, hey, you will have a cool model, that can change bases, is easy to store, and easy to travel with. -Myles
Lucifer First of the Host
Chapter master of the Blood Angles Chapter
M31. The Blood Angels stand of the brink of extinction. The painful reformation of the legions coupled with the horrendous casualties sustained by the IXth during the Heresy saw them unfit for battlefield duty for a full century after the Siege of Terra. With the baffling disappearance of Azkellon, the natural successor of Saguinius,the chapter fell to a series of commanders who quizzically remain anonymous in the annals of Imperial History. If we were to peak behind the pages of history, into the hidden histories of the Blood Angels we would learn that four Chapter masters succumbed in quick succession to the Curse of the Black Rage. It was believed the Chapter was cursed, punished for their failure to save their Angelic Father at Terra, censured for their failure to protect their spiritual creator – The Emperor.
The Red Priests, precursors to the Sanguinary Priests order, turned in desperation to the locked Sarcophagi of the restful dead. Therein they found the Nephillim, a band of warriors so ravaged physically and mentally by the War of Terra that they were honoured with the Perpetua una Dormienda seal – never to be awakened from their restful sleep. Lucifer was chosen as the ninth Chapter Master of the Blood Angels.
Lucifer awoke wrathful of the changes wrought to his legion. He felt castrated by Guilliman, betrayed by Azkellon and felt the traditions upon which the Great Crusade were founded to be eroded. Lucifer instigates a series of changes that would re-unite the fractured chapters into a cohesive Legion once more. Re-calling The Devourers, and Chalice Bearers and folding them into the Blood Angels once again Lucifer put the resurgent legion on a war footing once again. These changes did not go unnoticed by the new agencies of the Imperium and would culminate in the disastrous Cavaderrera Campaign.
A derisive figure in the history of the Adeptus Astrates, Lucifer was one of the few links back to the swiftly becoming mythical days of the great crusade. When he awoke, the universe was devoid of Primarchs, The Empreror spoke but infrequently and always through the medium of the newly formed Council of Terra. The Angelus Ocrea is an eight pinioned pet pack that is capable to astounding levels of velocity without the loss of mid flight maneuverability. This rig also acts as a life support system enabling the ravaged figure of Lucifer to take the field of battle.
Lucifer wields the reconstituted Spear of Telesto, the original wielded by the Primarch being destroyed at Terra. Lucifer also bears a laurel wreath which is a symbolic link to the Angel and his methods of war. Upon learning of a newly found human world Sanguinius upon would offer a wreath in one hand and a sword in the other to the ruling elite. Like the existence of the Blood Angels themselves, Sangiunius offered annihilation or peace – there are no alternatives left in the Imperium.
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