Miniatures purists, take note – this post will give you fits. You have been warned!
Late last year, as our group began grumbling and muttering about some sort of grimdark Inq28-style skirmish campaign in 2023, I started putting the wheels on my latest warband. As a longtime Chaos player, I’ve always wanted to build a small collection of miniatures representing an insane, techno-heretical cult of the Machine God. In 40k, these guys would be called Dark Mechanicus.
But I didn’t want to just say “Adeptus Mechanicus, but bad guys.” I also wanted to blend religious zeal and biomechanical horror and see what comes out of that stew. I wanted to aim for a collection of miniatures that looked like the frantic pencil sketches that filled the margins of the old Rogue Trader rulebook.
The results were The Seekers of the Fractal Schematic. I wanted to give them an evocative and mysterious name that hints at some of the narrative territory I’d like to explore in our upcoming game. What is the Fractal Schematic, and why are they seeking it? Let’s find out together, etc. I’d say about half of these models already existed in my collection, and the other half I’ve painted up to match their brethren over the last few weeks.
In true Comrade’s Wargames fashion, there are at least 5 different manufacturers represented in this photo. Shall we name them? Obviously we have the Asphyxious figure from Warmachine’s Cryx faction. He’s a standout grimdark model that perfectly represents my image of what a fallen Mechanicus heretek might look like – swollen with power, bereft of humanity, just a few tattered scraps of flesh held together by a fearsome mechanical frame, eyes burning with vengeance. Of course, he’s got a new name. Now this figure is known as Rho-Terak, the Enslaver of Logic, leader of the Seekers of the Fractal Schematic.
There are two other Cryx models in the mix up there… a biomechanical serpent coiled atop a heap of scrap, and a stooped, withered chap hefting a ramshackle banner made of clinking vials or censers. In my headcanon, he’s the second-in-command, the executive officer, so to speak.
From there, we have two GW models – an old metal Chaos cultist and a metal Necromunda Redemptionist hefting an autorifle over his head. In the foreground we have a hunchbacked mutant from Mega Minis (which is a great source of Rogue Trader-inspired models). The little Roomba from hell is a terrifying monstrosity known as The Flesh Engine, and he’s a kitbash using pieces from Star Frontiers (!) and a head from Pig Iron Productions. The blood-spattered cyborg on the far right is from ThunderChild Miniatures (painted by sculptor Jaycee and gifted to me after I won a contest, what!).
I speedpainted up a few more generic cultist models to bolster the ranks a little bit. Every cult needs some fearless cannon fodder to sell their souls in a blaze of glory, right? Contrast paints did a lot of work here.
In the image below, the guy on the left with the pistol and axe is converted from a Frostgrave soldier model. (Oops, forgot to paint his base rim.) The guy on the right with the flamethrower is a monopose model from Ramshackle Games.
You can never have too many cultists! In the photo below, the guy on the far left with the axe and cluster of dynamite is another conversion from the Frostgrave soldier sprue. That kit is very flexible! All it takes is a couple sci-fi bits to drag a medieval-inspired model into the grim darkness of the 41st millenium.
The other two guys with assault rifles are from Pig Iron Productions, from their excellent Kolony Ferals range. I’ve got dozens of Kolony Ferals in my collection and they are some of my very favorite scrappy scavenger/cultist type models. Lots of gas masks, rebreathers, and creepy machinery poking out of necrotic flesh.
The two bruisers with clubs and shields in the photo below are from the Dark Age miniatures game. This is a super niche skirmish game based on Brom’s creepy fantasy/sci-fi art. Imagine that, a minis game inspired entirely by the work of one artist?! But here we are, and the models themselves a quite nice. These guys are from the Skarrd faction, and they’ve got a scrappy wastelands vibe with lots of twisted metal and weird cybernetics, not to mention assless chaps and exposed buttcheeks, and it all fits really well with my warband.
I absolutely love the challenge of combining miniature from many different manufacturers and sculptors to create a cohesive warband with a shared aesthetic. Nothing tickles me more than picking a figure like ol’ Asphyxious from Warmachine, giving him a new name and dropping him into a warband alongside a half dozen or more other distinct models from different makers. My goal as a painter and hobbyist is to create either a visual look or a narrative hook that ties all these models together and helps tell the stories that are swirling around in my head.
I’ll continue to build on the Seekers of the Fractal Schematic. My goal is to make each model fairly unique, so this won’t be a warband that I can use in games that require multiple squads of dudes, like Warhammer 40k. It will be, however, a great choice for skirmish games focused on individual models and small units. Stay tuned for more!