The dreadnought is complete at last and I decided to make myself a 40k demotivational poster to celebrate. I wasted another evening playing with Genestealers and taking pictures of this little set piece. Further confirmation that I never quite got over my boyhood fixation with toy soldiers. I wanted to do something suitably apocalyptic for the poster so a lone Redemptor about to be overwhelmed by the cohorts of the Great Devourer was the predictable choice. The blood-dimmed tide is loosed! This is the end times!
I'm willing to bet that there is a disproportionate ratio of (lapsed) catholics amongst 40k enthusiasts, drawn to the whole Gothic Torquemada Armageddon vibe. It certainly strikes a chord with me. All those years of Holy Roman Catholic indoctrination and serving on the altar have left their mark. As a child, I was taught that 'piety' meant fear of God, which is now a politically incorrect way to view your Creator. In this, more enlightened millennia I think it means 'reverence' or some such watered down crap, but in my day, God was terrifying and you went blind if you looked at Him.
I remember serving at mass once, and a fellow altar boy stage-whispered, "bollocks!" at me as I rang the bell to signal Transubstantiation, the most sacred (and occult) part of the Eucharistic celebration. I was only 11 at the time and apalled by this casual blasphemy. I fully expected him to be struck by lightning at any moment. He wasn't actually killed on the spot but I bet he came to a sticky end in later years. Ungodly miscreant.
The concept of daemons invading our reality, coupled with all incidence of demonic incursion being hushed up by the clergy is not a new one. Go and watch The Exorcist if you want to see a showcase of the Chaos Gods. Gut churning horror, obscene trickery and violent excess. Not many skulls for the Skull Throne, admittedly, but exchange the word 'hell' for 'immaterium' and it all makes perfect sense.
So there's lots of Christian symbolism to latch on to but I reckon the biggest demographic for 40k is 'Male, Pale and Stale' i.e. white men approaching their middle years. A bracket I also fall into. I think it's possibly a customer base they want to move away from since we complain endlessly. There's always Forgeworld though. If I was going to have a mid-life crisis, I'd buy a Mars Pattern Warlord Titan rather than a Harley.
Speaking of Forgeworld, much of the inspiration for this little vignette was taken from Imperial Armour Volume IV: The Anphelion Project, so I'm just going to quote various passages from it and post loads of photos. Much easier than trying to think up entertaining content to fill in the gaps between pictures. You can see that I have named the dreadnought in honour of Brother Halar if you look closely, but nothing else about the story really matches up. Call it poetic license.
"Commander Culln could see the titanic clash of adamantium and steel against flesh and hardened bone. Both were mortally wounded and on fire. the Dreadnought staggered, tottering backwards as if he might fall as blow after blow pummelled into him. The commander was powerless to intervene, already another wave of Tyranids was massing."
"Brother Halar knew his systems were failing, his responses were growing slower, and the complex life support systems that kept him alive inside his armoured sarcophagus were badly damaged. But the Carnifex was also dying, weakened by its wounds and the flames that had engulfed the two of them. Halar levelled his storm bolter and opened fire at point-blank range, round after explosive round ripping into his foe."
"The Carnifex lunged through the bolter rounds, ignorant of the damage each shell was causing as they blew chunks of armoured chitin and flesh away. With its last strength it drove a long claw at the Dreadnought's sarcophagus, puncturing the front glacis, barbs ripping deep into its inner workings. Impaled, Brother Halar staggered, then fell... "
- Imperial Armour, Volume IV - The Anphelion Project