I said it over in Lustria, but it bears repeating. Fantastic work all around. The hats on the Astro-Ungarians (clever by the way) are amazing. Really exquisite sculpts that really give your friends a one of a kind army. Uniquely brilliant work on all of this.
For the Emperor!
These Austro-Hungarian inspired troopers are brilliant as they are beautifully sculpted. I wouldn’t expect anything less than perfection from you. I love them.
Admittedly, I’m biased because the Austro-Hungarians are in my top three favorite historical armies, but to give them a 40k update is truly wonderful.
And I know that you’re already a wealth of information about history etc, but maybe you’ll find this useful for a quick reference to Austro-Hungarian hats for future sculpting efforts:
Emperor Karl approves.
@Bowser : Thank you most kindly! Much appreciated. The name Astro-Ungaria was invented by my friend Johan von Elak, too fun not to use in a sci-fi setting.
@Fuggit_Khan : Viva Habsburg! Thank you very much, sir! Austro-Hungarians are indeed fascinating and so much fun to learn about. About time they took to the stars.
Excellent compilation picture of headgear! Most useful. I will add it to the growing hoard of reference pictures. I hope to use variations of all of these hats in my friend’s budding army.
These quick pieces of decor for a display board were sculpted at the start of last week, before a frenzied couple of days ensued of preparing armies for a tournament. Note herm and fascinus. Naturally, the nature of the sculpts had to be in line with the army theme of @Eisenhans . He has spent half a year of mad activity on converting, sculpting and painting a massive collection of pigmen and sealmen, all fit to flesh out four full armies on a scheduled team tournament. The team tournament had to be converted to a standard single tournament, but we still showed up as a team, complete with big pig display board built by construction engineer Dennis.
Likewise, more pictures of the pig display board and a couple of anecdotes from this tournament can be found here.
Astro-Ungarian History Extracts
My friend JAB has written some background for Astro-Ungaria. Expect more writings from us in the future:
Featuring prominently in the myths of the Astro-Ungarian people is a figure almost as synonymous with heresy as the Devil Lorgar: Robou Gildemann.
Myths hold that this apostate turned against the Emperor and Divine Horus in the later days of the Devil Lorgars’ heresy, creating a pocket empire for himself as the Ruinstorm tore the firmament in half and cut of Astro-Ungaria from the greater Imperium. Legend holds that the first Duarch fought such devils as the Angels of Blood and Darkness that were sent to tempt the Duarch and Astro-Ungaria into damnation.
Astro-Ungaria held firm against these threats and when the Ruinstorm lifted they rejoined the greater Imperium, fully integrating after the scouring of the traitor Astartes legions.
Astro-Ungaria officially refused to recognize Horus as a traitor, arguing the Emperors’ perfection and the fact that Horus had been His favorite son. Indeed, the cult of the Emperor had a seat in Astro-Ungaria in all but name even then, and had not been subverted successfully by the traitors.
It comes as no surprise that Astro-Ungaria embraced the Imperial Cult openly in its earliest days as state religion.
There have been many attempts to clear up Astro-Ungarian misinterpretations regarding the events of the great heresy war but they have been largely futile. It makes little difference to all but the most stubborn of priests - Astro-Ungaria is but one of thousands of worlds with a regrettably confused view of its past.
Ultimately the truth is of little consequence, as it should be. It is enough that the Astro-Ungarians pay their tithes.
Astro-Ungarian records of their past are almost exclusively dated after the Age of Apostasy.
Comparisons to records kept by Vostroya and Krieg support claims that Astro-Ungaria was brought into Compliance by Horus yet stayed loyal during the Heresy. Simplification, rewriting, and incompetence seem to have caused the misinterpretations we see today.
There can for example be little doubt that the mythical Robou Gildemann is none other than the thirteenth primarch Roboute Guilliman. The “pocket empire” is obviously a fanciful misconstruction and likely refers to Horus’ own empire of traitors, though somewhat comically the Astro-Ungarian governor officially refused to even consider the possibility that Horus had in fact turned traitor, instead blaming Lorgar - correctly - and “Robou Gildemann” - incorrectly.
The “Angels of Blood and Darkness” must surely refer to the Word Bearers Astartes though one would be forgiven for thinking of the Blood Angels and Dark Angels. There is plenty of evidence that the crimson-painted traitors as well as both legions of the Emperors’ Angels were active in close proximity to Astro-Ungaria before and after the Heresy. The term “Angels of Blood and Darkness” is therefore likely to be another error or perhaps just coincidence.
- - -
"I have had the honor of being attached to the Royal House of Astro-Ungaria for many standard years and witnessed their training regimen with my own eye and the one granted to me by Mars many times.
The Astro-Ungarian conscripts strike imposing figures. They train in firing drills, endurance and weight lifting to reach the pinnacle of Human strength, physical and mental performance. They are arrayed in ranks clad in grey blues and rich browns. They wear many hats. Their mustasches are immaculate."
- - -
"Their are trained to fight as dictated by the Duarchs of old: with honor, in ranks, singing praise to He on Terra and they on Astro-Ungaria.
By far my favorite thing is their first taste of combat. In a few weeks, hundreds of well-fed boys are whittled down to a few dozen empty-eyed, starch-emaciated men, their optimism and ideals scoured by the brutal reality of war.
I laugh heartily at my recollections every time. Look at this pict here. You can see the horror on this younglings’ face as his comrade is being dissolved by tyranid hyperacid. Look at his eyes!"
–End of transcript. The monologue ended as the whole room burst into incoherent laughter–
— From the journals of Sergej Volkondrov, former Vostroyan attaché to the Royal House of Astro-Ungaria
- - -
"The Royal House vehemently rejects any and all claim from Macragge that Astro-Ungaria was at one point part of the 500 Worlds.
The Duarch refuses to recognize the legitimacy of the Tetrarchy instated by the so-called “Primarch Roboute Guilliman”.
The Duarch will not meet with Tetrarch Felix. The office of Tetrarch is a lie. There is not, nor has there ever been a “Lord of Vespastor”."
"After careful consideration the Royal House can confidently state that there is some evidence that Roboute Guilliman could indeed be a primarch and son of the Emperor. The Royal House will appoint a commission to review the evidence further.
In other news, the Royal House has formally declared a crusade. This coincides with the larger “Indomitus Crusade” launched by the greater Imperium that citizens may have heard of. We look forward to having siblings from other worlds fight and learn at our side. For Astro-Ungaria! Prepare for mobilization."
"Do not be alarmed by the fleet in orbit. If you see space marines or foreign guardsmen on our streets, know that they are merely here to remind themselves of the glory and power of Astro-Ungaria, the Emperors’ own second favorite planet, jewel of the galactic east!
Pay no heed to rumors that they have come to remind us of our place in the Imperium, for our zeal is unmatched on this or any side of the Ultima Segmentum. If you hear these words from the Emperors’ Angels or foreigners, know that they speak in jest or that you misunderstood, as is to be expected, unused as most of you are to exotic accents. If a planetman says anything to the effect they are a seditionist, liar or fool, all of which are punishable by immidiate conscription into a penal legion."
“As a reminder of the duties of penal legionairies, should anyone need it; know that you will be expected to face career prospects such as tyranid biomonstrosities, plague warriors, ork beastmasters, and traitor astartes terminators. You will perform these duties armed with spare lasguns, sharpened toothscrapers, and rolls of paper.”
“Espandor and Iax lie in ruins. Beautiful worlds with hardy peoples. They will take centuries to recover, if they ever do. Yet monuments to mankinds’ timeless weaknesses and failure such as this endure. There is no justice in this galaxy except that which we make ourselves.”
- Attributed to Tetrarch Decimus Felix as his flagship Lord of Vespator hung in orbit above Astro-Ungaria during a diplomatic mission to hold Astro-Ungaria accountable for withholding forces from the Indomitus Crusade.
The mission was unofficially named “the Second Compliance” by ship crew.
The well-dressed ragtag regular infantry of von Dorfenhötz’s massive army marches forth under the stern gaze of a political officer of the Imperial Commissariat. Herded into the slaughter like sacrificial lambs, their warcry rings out: “For the Emperor and the Duarch!”
The Guardsmen are converted from hard plastic German infantry in winter coats of the Second World War, with Cadian arms. My friend bought them from a mate of his, who had started to convert them into Valhallans before that project was abandoned. Now, they shall serve the Duarchy. Power to the Golden Throne!
The Cadian arms and historical bodies were not a perfect fit. Some carving and filling with green stuff was needed. Notice the Genestealer cultist heads, a sign of Imperial incompetence for lacking the medicae capacity, equipment and knowledge to properly discover alien hybrid infiltration of the Astra Militarum.
Note the randomly distributed group of five fluff balls on a string on some miniatures. This is an award for good marksmanship. Astro-Ungarian soldiers, for all their flaws and shortcomings, are still known for their accurate shooting skills.
I decided to add a field curator of souls to each squadron, as a watered-down Ministorum priest. Sure, the rare few command squads might sport some lonely robed priest in tabletop games, but I wished to infuse this Imperial Guard army both with a heavy dose of Austria-Hungary and the fanatic Imperium. Notice the sleeve bands on the field curators, as per military priests, rabbis and imams of the Königlich und Kaiserlich (K.u.K.) army. Also note the purity seals scattered throughout the troops. To add some confusion by overlap of specialist roles, I made one of the field curators his squad’s flamethrower man.
The sergeants sport tasseled bands hanging from their chainswords, as will the officers of the army. Yes, they are deliberately meant to be a hazard, dangling about and ready to be snagged into the teeth of the roaring chainsword. The Imperium is sclerotic, so do not aim for polished efficiency if you can depict ineptitude and parochial superstition. The original head of the sergeant of the fez squad accidentally fell off and was lost on asphalt, despite thorough scanning. Thus, a new head had to be sculpted for him. Note the medals on the shoulder pads of the sergeants.
The vox-caster men are a result of frugality. I had two vox-casters for three models, so I cut one in half, pinned antennae into the bottom half and sculpted greeble over both halves.
Speaking of tightwads, every single Guardsmen sport patches on his uniform, and many sport unpatched holes from shots and shrapnel. The underfunded and poorly equipped regiments of Astro-Ungaria will of course salvage all uniforms from corpses, send the human carcasses off to the grinder for starch, and have the soldiers or workhouse slaves patch up the proud uniforms of the Duarchy in sweatshops on an industrial scale. Waste not, want not! How many times have not commanders dumped their casualties into mass graves, only to have to dig them up to requisition the corpses’ uniforms after some years of total war?
As a Kriegsman once put it, on fighting alongside Astro-Ungarians: “It is like being shackled to a corpse.”
This is seriously impressive, WW2 Soviets as base models I assume? I would never find the dedication needed to do a fully converted IG army for myself, let alone for someone else. Even the plasma rifle is 100% green stuff haha. Hats off @Admiral! If you need IG bits, I can check what I have lying around – I definitely have some radios, maybe even the odd plasma gun.
@Anzu : Thank you kindly! Good guess. It’s WW2 German greatcoat grenadiers from Warlord Games. The plasma gun was fun to sculpt. They’ve always been my favourite weapons in 40k, especially when they are more rounded than square. Well, the key is to put most of the sculpting efforts into heads, because the head is 9/10s of a model.
Oh yes please! We’ve run out of arms with lasguns, for instance.
Glory to the First Man to Die!
Reyhan Cicek made his kith and kin and clan proud, for he was the first to fall in brave combat as the 78451st Astro-Ungarian Infantry Regiment charged over the top into the hellish maw of Archenemy fire during the Iscarpian offensive on Istria III, Pannonian subsector. As life was blasted out of the dutiful Guardsman’s spasming body, his squad’s curator of souls could be heard crying:
“Glory to the first man to die!”
The cry was taken up, first by Reyhan’s Hosnovician squad, and then his entire company as the fiery yell spread from lips to lips of comrades in arms. Hot blood rushed through their veins as squad after squad shouted his warrior glory, before the cries were drowned out by thunderous artillery fire, and only painful shrieking remained.
For the Duarchy!
All in all, the Warlord Games greatcoat German grenadiers of the Second World War that my friend acquired from another pal numbered 29 bodies. Now, that is one body short of 30, which means that one Imperial Guardsman had to be sculpted from scratch. And so this one was quicksculpted. As is ordinary for all my sculpts and drawings thanks to a poor grasp of size and eye-measurement, his arms and head are larger than average. Clearly, this stalwart soldier of von Dorfenhötz’s host has inbred mutant blood running in his veins, yet such hushed-up family shame can be redeemed by dying for the God-Emperor of Holy Terra, enthroned in heavenly splendour upon the Golden Throne of hallowed myth.
Ave Humanae Imperium!
Admiral, these are seriously cool. Way more characterful than the original models and beautifuly rendered. Brilliant and hilarious pose on the 30th trooper. The one voted most likely to get a badly thrown grenade stuck in his boot. Well done!
Your green stuff work on its own is nothing short of incredible but to combine it with your fantastic story telling, this is where it just goes to another level.
Loved looking through each of these conversions, amazing army
I’m always in awe at your imagination, which is let loose upon the world with your sculpting skills.
I honestly don’t know how you do it.
But Hashut has clearly chosen you to go forth as his prophet of creativity.
Good work Matte!
Absolutely superb work on your imperial guard troops, the green stuff work you’ve done on them is fantastic!
They feel like the perfect inbetween of the vostroyan first born and the mordian iron guard, aka a perfect blend.