Sunday, August 1, 2021

Maloghurt "The Twisted" & Resizing Marines in 30k

The Warmaster will see you now...

Two things I wanted to touch on with this post. First, I wanted to show some more 30k painting progress, and the nature of the specific figure will lead to the second topic. 

But first things first - here is Maloghurst "The Twisted", Equerry to The Warmaster. This is a character figure for GW's Horus Heresy setting, released very recently by the folks at Forge World. This is a "28mm" Space Marine character figure - I put the miniature size in "scare quotes" for reasons we'll explore later in the post.

Maloghurst "The Twisted" - Equerry to Horus Lupercal

Malghurst "The Twisted" - equerry to the Warmaster - figure from Forge World

In the Horus Heresy setting, the Space Marine Legions are replete with specialized officers. Whereas the Space Marine "Chapter" in the 40k setting is something of a lean, specialized organization, the Legions of 30k were a travelling military-industrial complex in space. They were huge organizations, with tens and tens of thousands of fighting Space Marines and all that would be needed to support them and go along with them. Apothecaries, techmarines, priests/psykers (in some Legions, though not all), champions, signal officers, standard bearers etc. etc. etc. on and on. Just take a look at your Legiones Astartes army list, and see all of the various "Consul" options available - it's quite a buffet to choose from!

But wait, there's more! With the huge Legion Astartes organizations, the command echelons boasted a wide assortment of flunkies as well, especially on the staffs of the Primarchs, the top commanders of the Legion. "Equerry" is one such job - I believe the word has something to do with managing horses, but the in the 30k setting, "Equerry" seems to be a sort of principal secretary, keeping an eye on things, representing the boss at meetings, following up on important matters, making sure the lattes are the correct temperature, etc. 

Plenty of Horus iconography (I mean, obviously), but you can also see the power-pack sort of device on his hip...part of the augment/movement assistance system on the custom armour.

These equerrys often make short appearances in the Horus Heresy novels from Black Library. I think Kharn was equerry to Angron - before both of them descended into total "need-blood-need-skullz" losers. Given Horus Lupercal's central role in the, well, "Horus" Heresy, his equerry is a recurring character. Maloghurst is mentioned in the early moments of the first novel, "Horus Rising", in which he is seriously injured. He recovers somewhat from these injuries - he is a Space Marine, after all - but is always a bit damaged relative to his colleagues. Thus he is named "The Twisted" - a reference to his bodily state, but also his mental ability, as he is apparently gifted in handling the petty, bitchy politics that go on between the tiresome Primarchs of 30k. Horus might turn to the Mournival for advice on strategy or the means to approach a given battle, but he would count on Maloghurst for advice on how to reply to whatever tiresome correspondence and instruction arrived from Malcador, and the latest gossip on the other Primarchs etc.

Thanks to the folks at Forge World, you can include Malgohurst on your gaming tables if you like. Since I had painted up a Horus Lupercal figure, and as I have a large collection of Sons of Horus marines already, I was quick to order Maloghust when he became available. The sculpt is lovely, very well done. There are details large and small that speak to his exalted status as top flunky - the huge icon on the standard, bedecked with the usual skulls (of course) and odd Cthonian gang markings (aka scratches) - as well as some nice batons and a ceremonial sort of blade on his back. His weapon has a retro look and feel, befitting his status as a senior veteran within the Legion. The backpack is clever, and blends several retro-yet-pre-chaos-marine style elements. Given the fate of the XVI Legion, the look is perfect.

Command batons/scroll containers on the back - you can also see more of his supplemental support system on his power pack, and on his left leg (a big of an exo-skeleton added to the leg armour).

There are also details that speak to his injuries. Some are small - one leg has some augments to the frame, there are power/blood/other fluid packs and units on the back and sides, all small signs that Maloghurst requires some support to stay in the role he has. 

The posing suggests of the figure builds on these small detail. The way he is standing implies that is takes some effort just to be upright, even with all of the gadgets. Maloghurst is leaning, slightly forward, resting a leg on some rubble, and one arm braced on the pole for stability. He is not just holding it there for all to be impressed by...he is leaning on that thing in order to manage to stand 3/4 upright...the overall pose  speaks the effort on his part just to stand there, ready to shoot someone...

"I have some feedback from Horus..."

But the best part of this figure is the sculpting and positioning of the head...normally I hate Marine figures without their helmets, but here, I have to say, the sculptors did a perfect job. His head is somewhat hunched - which would match his hunched pose - but it has the effect also of giving him a menacing, calculating expression. Note the level of his exposed eye - it is just above the rim of his neck armour, so he can observe, but the rest of his face is hidden - this just suits the character so well...watching, waiting, observing. Other details (like the icon on the standard) are much larger. But the head is somehow still the centrepiece, skulking in place, of this figure. You can see Maloghurst seeing you, but cannot see what he might be saying or thinking...this is very, very well done in my opinion. 

"Primaris" Scale Creep Coming To 30k?

Maloghurst on the right, and "Legion Centurion" model on the left. Both are ostensibly wearing Mark III power armour. Remember - the Maloghurst sculpt is also hunched over...

There is something else very notable on this figure (in addition to the magnificent sculpting). He is f***ing huge. Now, there are variables...Maloghurst is an important named character in the Legion, and he's carrying the Warmaster's official standard, so he is going to look ominous...but at the end of the day he is a Space Marine wearing Mark III power armour - customized, yes - but Mark III. And he is notably larger than other Mark III models - even with his hunched posture. What might be happening here?

One should not over-interpret the's just one figure, and he is a special character after all. Space Marines can be extra huge, and naturally the Warmaster would have some big chap to be his "equerry", would he not? You would not hand your official Legion icon to some trainee fresh out of the vat.

And yet. And yet. We have all seen what is happening with the Space Marines over on the "40k side of the shop" - the new Primaris size figures, introduced a few years ago with the 8th edition of the 40k game, are squeezing out the older line of plastic figures. While a dumb storyline has been contrived to allow the two sizes of Marine to coexist on gaming tables, we can all see the plain intent. This is happening at a gradual pace, to be sure, but it is happening. The days of the older plastics and the now-lesser scale are surely numbered. Will a such re-sizing be inflicted on the Horus Heresy figure range?

Here we see a Legion Praetor figure join the assemblage...this is a figure wearing Cataphractii terminator armour...Maloghurst is still notably larger...

No doubt any 30k fan out there will have seen the leaked photos purporting to come from a new set of plastic kits for the Horus Heresy. These emerged over the summer, and folks are quite excited by the implied possibilities. I know I am! "Beakie" Marines! In plastic! It's about f*cking time! 

The photos are accompanied, as these things often are, by all sorts of rumours. What will be plastic, what will not, will there be a new edition etc. there are many vague hints. But one rumour that stands out to me is that the new Marine models included will be "Primaris" sized. Now, it is still just a rumour, and I find you really can't tell from the photos - but given what is happening with the 40k "Primaris" marines, it is a rumour that feels credible to me. 

Maloghurst next to a Primaris Hellblaster from my 40k Raven Guard...the hunch on Malogurst makes the exact comparison tricky, but I would say they appear to be the same "size".

Anyway, the Maloghurst figure was released right around the time the leaked photos appeared online...and then when you see how big the figure is, well, it lends even more credence to the rumours...Maloghurst is as large as a Primaris-sized Marine model, and much bigger than the existing Heresy figures. Maybe it is just a one-off? I am thinking not. But at the end of the day, GW has officially said nothing about this (at least that I have seen) I guess we'll just have to wait and see. 

Thanks for reading - happy painting and gaming everyone!


MFraser said...

The figure looks great and you did a nice job painting it. I’m not super enthusiastic about the increase in scale. In the photo making the rounds, it’s hard to tell the scale, but those mark VI marines look worryingly large next to the cataphractii terminators.

JamieM said...

Very nice job indeed! As you say, GW have a history of increasing size for whatever reason and it’s entirely plausible that 30k will feel the effect with the new figures given how neglected the era has been by GW for the last few years.