Thursday, February 21, 2013

Alert: Genestealer Insurrection!

Reach out to the stars, and touch the Hivemind....

"The bastion has been seized!!!"

Having brought those old Ultramarines out for a few games, it got me thinking about some of my other armies. I have been itching for years now to gather up all my genestealers that I have amassed over 24 years of playing these games and spring them on some unsuspecting foe (who at this point would expect me to plonk down Space Wolves or Orks), kind of like I did with the Daemons a while back. Dare to be different, right?

While going through my miniature cases I found these old Genestealer Hybrid models. I decided they needed some love, and seeing that I think their paint-jobs still hold up reasonably well, a photo op. For those of you who might not know what these are, you are missing out on some sweet 40K history and a unique aspect of 40k background that GW has sadly sort of left behind.

The idea is that genestealers, the advance scouts of the Tyranid Hivefleets, would infiltrate a ship (a cargo, etc.) and smuggle themselves to a densely populated planet, where they would slip into the fringes of society and implant a few humans, These humans would typically form chaos cults, whose insane worshippers would venerate their hybrid status and genestealers as demi-gods from the warp or whatever. Eventually they would cause enough havoc and chaos on the planet to greatly weaken the world's defenses from within, making the world unready for the Tyranid Hivefleet that the Genestealer Partriach has been psychicly summoning all along. The cultists would rejoice that their masters have arrived, realizing too late of course, that the hivemind has no special exception rules when it comes to eating a world: they would be consumed as well!

...I think that was a decent summary. For some good reading on the subject, check out Ciaphas Cain: Hero of the Imperium by SandyMitchell, and two short stories from the old Deathwing anthology: alien beast within and deathwing (This one explains the reason why the Deathwing paint their armor white).

So the Genestealer Cult was formed and an army was created in the sophomore years of 40k 1st edition, circa White Dwarf 117 (?), but it stalled ultimately as it didn't seem to have enough steam to grow in the way the developers wanted it too. In fact, at this point, there was no Tyranid connection, they were their own thing.  It was White Dwarf 145 that a new Tyranid list was released updating the old nids and incorporating the larger warriors from Advanced Space Crusade along with the genestealers and the new 'Screamer Killer'. When the 2nd edition of the game came around, the Genestealer Cult had been reduced to a small appendix list. They haven't had proper rules now for many editions.

I recap all of this to explain my tyranid army. Or seemingly lack-thereof. My brother had purchased the Tyranid and Terminators filler boxed set while we were still living in the UK, but lost interest in the Genestealers and sold them to me. I was keen on doing an army, as they were not commonly played much in our circle of friends. Really, at that point they only had blisters of the tyranids whoe soon be called 'hunter slayers' (and later in 2nd edition, 'termagaunts') and a few Zoats! Zoats...yeah, another time... anyway, so I had some of those and painted up these genestealers and I really liked that I got my paint scheme fairly close to how they looked in the White Dwarf and other publications, In fact, they were the 1st paint jobs that I think I 'nailed'. But when the 2nd edition Codex Tyranid range was released, I was revolted with the over-all design, and stopped collecting them actively.

Left to Right: missile launcher, plasma gun, autocannon, and conversion beamer.
So here they are, obscure and ancient weapons and all! The genestealer was painted in England in '92, and the hybrids painted in New Mexico and Tennessee between '93-'95.

Next time, I will tell you about the game that Screech and I played earlier tonight using my mostly genestealer force, as for now, I spent way too much time writing up this "preamble".

Hope you enjoyed the pics!


Hive Angel said...

Older models either make me cringe or LOL.

Duty Calls was a great novel featuring a successful defense against a Tyranid invasion. I think some of the novels details are mentioned in it.

One thing the book points out is genestealer cults can take quite a while to establish and even longer for a broodlord to emerge. The pure strain genestealers take the longest to emerge as they have lost all of their human appearance.

This whole aspect missing out of the games sucks.

Kushial said...

Have you looked at the Genestealer Cult FanDex that the Fly Lords of Terra did? It's pretty balanced and makes for an interesting read. Not something you could take to tournaments or anything, but might be interesting for a pick up game or two.

Rifkind Wolfwalker said...

Given I am reading the Ciaphas Cain novel and am in the part where they are fighting the Genestealers on Gravalax this almost makes me shudder abit... They are super nasty and badass in the book. And the Space Hunk Death Angels 40K card game I played a couple weeks ago that was the enemy. They seem creepy nasty and kinda cool at the same time.

neverness said...

I enjoyed the heck out of that story too! Try finding Deathwing, that story was particularly cool and the Genestealers were especially nasty in that one.