Monday, 15 February 2021

Primaris Apothecary

Painting marines white is harder than I thought.  Hats off to all you White Scars players out there.  I wanted to give him a bluish tinge so used Drakenhof Nightshade for the recess shading.  Trying to replicate the glorious version of the the Apothecary painted by the GW team (is it still 'Eavy Metal?) is an exercise in madness.  There was no way mine was going to be as good but it was definitely inspiration.

Nevertheless, this was really enjoyable to paint. There is just something about the sculpt which fires my imagination.  The Apothecary is touted as a healer, but isn't he also a necromancer of sorts?  In the books I've read, I rarely see them doing much actual healing.  Their main role seems to be defiling the corpses of their brethren, salvaging arcane and unnatural organs which are then resurrected inside the bodies of neophyte recruits.  It all sounds a bit sinister and Frankenstein, I mean just look at Fabius Bile.  He's technically an apothecary, or at least he was.  

This sculpt shows the good doctor resting his boot on the chest of a fallen comrade.  Blithely examining the progenoid gland he just ripped out of his brother's neck. Illuminor Szeras has got nothing on this guy. You can even see the exit wound.  This sort of casual brutality sums up the noble Adeptus Astartes for me.  Yes, he's technically a healer and is performing a necessary service by preserving the precious genetic heritage of his chapter.  But at his core, he's just another dehumanised warrior-fanatic and the Emperor's Peace amounts to efficient resource collection.  Its macabre is what it is.  

I suppose I could have painted the dead marine on the base from an enemy chapter.  It still amounts to desecration of a fallen enemy.  Something Achilles did in the Iliad which ultimately sealed his fate.  Hector was the hero in that story, trying to protect his people and his family, not Achilles.  I decided to paint my 'patient' as a Red Scorpion and tell that story, but I've seen a lot of other people rebase the whole model. Removing the dead marine entirely, presumably to make it a less grisly scene.  But it's one of the reasons why I like the model so much.  It's a vignette, it tells a tale and is an insight into the nature of the Angels of Death.  I'll probably never play a game with him, but it's a brilliant model that I just had to own.

My favourite apothecary in 40k lore is probably Talos Valcoran from Aaron Dembski-Bowden's disturbing 'Night Lords' series.  Valcorian's bedside manner certainly leaves much to be desired and you would not want his fellow Apothecary, 'Variel the Flayer' anywhere near your bed, except in your darkest nightmares.  Ironically, it is Variel who does all of the actual healing, albeit in a most unorthodox manner.

I read somewhere that they made Red Scorpions a successor chapter of the Ultramarines, or at least strongly implied it.  How very disappointing.  Part of the allure of this chapter for me was that it was an unknown founding.  The Scorpions could have been an Emperor's Children successor chapter.  The Sigillite could have ordered the captured geneseed from the fallen legions to be preserved instead of destroyed.  

What a waste of resources to purge an entire legion just because their leader went batshit crazy.  Mind you, they all carry the genetic material of their fathers in their implanted glands so that doesn't bode well I suppose.  This Apothecary could have been safeguarding a bit of Lorgar's heritage for all we knew.  But now its just boring, boring smurfs. (Granted this is what I play them as in game, but that's not the point!)