Roughly fourteen years ago, I bought a plastic bag of fifty one metal stromtroopers for (I think) twenty dollars. They were meant to go with my Grey Knights army, which was then part of a cool Warhammer 40,000 codex called Codex: Deamonhunters. Since then, the Deamonhunters have been split up, and whereas the Grey Knights got their own separate army book, the inquisitors and storm troopers were largely relegated to the dust bin of history. This was a tad demoralizing at first, but, I liked these guys, and I really wanted to see them finished. Well, on Sunday, after years of painting them on and off, I’ve finally done it.
It’s not the Greatest photo, but it’s still a matter of pride. I will take better pictures of them when I get my equipment replaced. Some of it is cheap, old, or falling apart. For now, here are some close ups of my Tempestor Prime, which was done up on a whim only last week in a fit of hobby madness.
His expression is goofy, I know, but it’s perfect for the classic vibe I was originally going for. How fortunate for him the hobby bug bit me at just the right time and I ended up making him a senior officer instead of a scenery statue. 😀
So who are these troopers you may ask? Why are fifty soldiers, a fairly average number by Warhammer 40,000 standards so important to me? Well, for the same reason something is important to anyone, there’s a story behind them, much as there is a story behind this entire army, and some of it, I would like to share with you now. Keep in mind, this story started fourteen years ago, when I worked for Games Workshop, and the rules for the game were very different than they are now. For the sake of narrative, I will try to weave things together without explaining a bunch of rules changes, but props to those who get the context clues.
The Founding of the Crimson Curs I
Lord Inquisitor <REDACTED> was never at the forefront of the Ordo Malleus. Yes, he had near unlimited authority, and yes, he led alongside the highest ranks of the Grey Knight brotherhood. But he found keeping his head down, and focusing only on his most immediate tasks, tended to keep him out of the crosshairs of his inquisitorial rivals. Despite his critics, this didn’t mean he was cowardly, or dim. He still had authority over several worlds, and had even used said authority to marshal his own private forces, as any Inquisitor Lord should when they need to ‘skirt’ around imperial red tape. He even managed to acquire a holy Warhound Titan by bribing a high ranking member of Mars.
Alongside his allies, The Grey Knights, he had many battles against demons, mutants, and heretics. He learned much of his foes, but learned even more about himself, and what it took to lead his forces directly. His storm troopers could not take the punishment of the heavily armored Grey Knights. His own tanks couldn’t match the power of their Dreadnoughts and Land Raiders. The Grey Knights were few in number, but they always proved the more effective, and always took the credit for most of his victories. Again, this led to much criticism, and some wondered if his title was simply a political appointment, or some grand favor with the expected support. Even the Grey Knights had reported his forces were rarely needed, and that, when the Lord Inquisitor was present, he often “stayed back and barked orders while his soldiers were sent to their deaths. Pardon me, my lords, but I thought Lord Inquisitors were supposed to be on the front lines, dolling out the emperor’s justice.” Still, these criticisms and threats did not phase Lord Inquisitor <REDACTED> as it all remained part of his strategy to both stay alive, and stay off the radar of his enemies; for a coward, he knew, is never considered a threat. Content in his practicality, things remained this way for many years.
But, as it always does, things change, and his contentedness eventually caught up with him. As Cadia breathed its last gasp, and a rent in the warp tore the galaxy in half, a tremendous reorganizing effort was launched by the High Lords of Terra. Among these efforts, and little known to much of the imperium, was the stripping of ranks from all but the most famous of Inquisitor Lords. Along with this demotion came the moratorium on personal inquisitorial armies, save for a few of the most devoted of acolytes, which they could still take with them as cannon fodder. In what felt like a single day, Lord Inquisitor <REDACTED> had become merely, Inquisitor <REDACTED>, without an army to his name.
To add insult to injury, The Grey Knights, having long held Inquisitor <REDACTED> in contempt for his relative lack of fiery judgment, felt this demotion was a good time to go their own way, and so they left the Inquisitor’s service, with the caveat that, if he wished to join them, he would have to do so under their rules, and follow their orders, now that even their lowly Brother Captains outranked him. Of all the things that had happened, this betrayal hurt the inquisitor the most, but, he was a proud, and clever man, as one would have to be in his position, and so, he silently refused the Grey Knights ‘offer’, and stepped into the shadows, to plan, to prepare, and to reclaim his original status, through any means necessary.
Deep in his underground bunker complex on the shadowy world of Errassis, The inquisitor began pouring over manuscripts, datasheets, and political decrees, looking for any loopholes he could. His men were still loyal, and his arms and armor still belonged to him, even his Warhound Titan, as its existence had been stripped from Martian record. But, without Imperial Authority, he could not field any of them, lest he be arrested as a traitor, or worse, a heretic. He needed to act outside of inquisitorial constraints, and as his finger began running past a record of Astra Militarum regiments, (a name he thought to be silly, as Imperial Guard had worked just fine for millenia) he came across his solution.
The Militarum Tempestus was the new designation for Storm Trooper squads, and his men had both the equipment and the training necessary to qualify. The problem, was that he couldn’t lead them directly. Using his rapidly depleting connections, and a significant portion of what remained of his treasury, he managed to get one of his more promising sergeants registered as a Tempestor Prime, and his soldiers codified as a Militarum Tempestus retinue dubbed, ‘The Crimson Curs’, a name his men weren’t particularly fond of, but found better than the alternatives the inquisitor came up with. They would meet only the most basic of requirements , but for Inquisitor <REDACTED> that was enough, at least at the time.
Long after the paperwork had been submitted, and battle plans including his tanks and mobile armor were being made, the formal acceptance for his soldiers new designation finally arrived, and along with it came all the Militarum Tempestus regulations on armor and equipment. As they were no longer his ‘personal’ army, and could be called up to serve the Imperium at large, standards dictated the Crimson Curs could not field any tanks and transports that had not been made specifically for Millitarum Tempestus use, nor could they use weapons deemed beneath their level of expertise. This included much of Inquisitor <REDACTED>’s existing armor, and even a few of his niche specialists that had been trained in the use of plasma cannons, heavy bolters, and sniper rifles. Though not known for being a temperamental or brash individual, rumors state that unmentionable curses could be heard from Inquisitor <REDACTED>’s office, and that he set many of his older records, some of which were heresies yet to be investigated, to flame. Though he would often sell their lives as a clerk sells candy, Inquisitor <REDACTED> cared deeply about his soldiers, and now, he would need to find some other means of supporting them, lest they be torn asunder by the larger and stronger forces of Chaos, Xenos, and the now questionable sanity of the Imperium and its lap dogs.
As his soldiers continued to prepare for their new role as a Tempestus regiment, Inquistor <REDACTED> cloistered himself in his sanctum and took to the Tempestus documents to do what he did best, find loopholes. It turned out, supporting his soldiers was not out of the question, but that he would have to request forces from Imperial Auxilla, such as the ogre-like Ogryns, and the priests of the Ecclesiarchy, neither of which he wanted fighting alongside his ‘Tempustus Scions in name only’ as it would likely turn heads, and attract the noses of his rivals. But, he needed something, and he no longer had the necessary clout to acquire Taurox Prime transports, the only terrestrial support vehicles his storm troopers were allowed to use. It was when he was thinking this over, while reviewing a genetic treatise that had been flagged for heresy, that he hatched upon a daring, and controversial idea. If he did not wish to call upon Ogryns from the existing Astra Militarum Regiments, perhaps he could create his own. (To be continued)