Here at Master of Magics, we’re pretty big fans of the Genestealer Cult line that Games Workshop have made available. One of us in particular has fallen hard for them and is currently guiding them through a disastrous Urban Conquest mission. Over in other parts of the internet, Nick Kinsella has made an astonishingly cool cult army with a USSR-inspired look. We got in touch with Nick to ask him about his magnificent force and how they fell under the sway of a greater influence.
Firstly, when did you start with the cult? I assume it was the new set of models in seventh edition?
NK: It was actually the 3rd edition Space Hulk boxed set I got off of eBay to have as a standalone game, and from there things got a little out of hand. I wasn’t even that keen on the Genestealer Cult initially, but then someone at my local gaming store asked me if I wanted to get into Necromunda and I thought “sure,” so I bought 10 Neophyte Hybrids. Then I realized after half a dozen games that I didn’t enjoy Necromunda that much, leading me to the conclusion that I should build a 1k Genestealer Zone Mortalis force instead. That swiftly became 1,250, then 2500, etc. etc. Plasticrack addiction confirmed.
What prompted the decision to go with the soviet angle, where did the inspiration come from?
NK: The Genestealer Cult was supposed to by my lazy “let’s mess about and have some fun” army while my Eldar that I had from 2nd edition were my more serious force. Initially I didn’t even have them pegged as “Communids” but I think I was messing around on my phone one day back in mid 2017 and did a Photoshop of the Hammer and Ripper logo, mostly because I was bored, and I ended up really quite liking it.
At the time I had been reading the Gulag Archipelago (Ed. – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s three-volume treatise on life in a gulag!) and when I really thought about it, it seemed to me that the whole fluff for the army is actually a satirical commentary on this particular branch of totalitarianism (the GW fluff being a brainwashed/mindcontrolled cult of industrial workers, full of idealistic utopian types overthrowing the oppressive Imperials). The irony in this case being that they end up being the architects of their own doom, consumed by the events and action they helped instigate – consumed both figuratively (and literally!) by the hive fleet. This all seems highly analogous to the events of the 1917 October Revolution and the Great Purge of 1937 where many of the original social revolutionaries who helped win the 1917 revolution were rounded up by Stalin and either thrown into the Gulag system or simply executed. I think it’s safe to say this was deliberate on GWs part.
I feel the need to mention that I am planning an army lampooning a more right-wing flavor of totalitarianism too, but this has been put on the back burner since the birth of my son a couple of months ago. In any case, I’m fairly certain that if I post it on any of the big 40k Facebook pages that I will get banned immediately. I’ve recently grown a modest Instagram following, which I’m thankful for, so if you’d like to check it out, it will probably go up there sometime later this year.
There’s plenty of IG conversion work going on in these models, especially with your command units. Any major issues with the models? Do you have a favourite?
NK: I’ve really enjoyed messing around with the Imperial Guard stuff. Some have come out better than others. Of the infantry models, my favorite is the Ordo Perfectus Commisar conversion with the flag and outstretched claw.
The Sly Marbo conversion I did is a close second and it went through about 3 or 4 iterations until I was happy with it and had a use for it as a Sanctus.
Beyond infantry, I’m particularly proud of my tanks and especially the Stormlord, as they’re all based on actual Soviet tanks from World War 2 and kitbashed with 40k parts to make them fit the aesthetic. My Stormlord even has a Bluetooth speaker inside so I can play rousing music when my opponent is trying to roll dice. It’s probably my favorite model.
The bubble space helmets are an inspired touch. Talk me through where you get them from and just how fiddly they are.
NK: The bubble helmets are from a small company called Bombshell miniatures based in Texas. I thought the Neophyte Hybrids had a 1960s sci-fi feel, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the original GW concepts included them in their design. The idea of Grimdark Cosmonauts was very appealing and in searching online for how to make bubble helmets I got the idea from another Genestealer Cult player who had made one model using the Bombshell Miniatures helmet. I thought it was inspired, so I went all in, buying enough to equip all my Neophytes and vehicles.
As for the Helmets themselves… they almost fit. A bit of work with a modeling knife and some Greenstuff is needed, but even a novice should have little difficulty getting them to work with 4th generation heads; the larger 3rd generation ones don’t fit, unfortunately. The only thing to be very careful with is gluing the clear plastic to the metal collars – using superglue can fog the inside of the domes. I’ve heard that epoxy is the thing to go for, but I just used superglue very carefully, leaving the helmets upside down when they were drying so as to not fog the canopies.
You’ve got some great custom scenery on the go here too. I love the rocket especially, can you talk me through that?
NK: If I’ve got Soviet Cosmonauts with Goliath moon vehicles, my logic was that they need some sort of rocket ship. GW really didn’t have anything that looked right, so I got an Apollo 27 rocket from Pegasus miniatures. It was originally intended to be just a piece of scenery, but I decided to make it into a Deathstrike missile system and built a tracked crawler for it out of sector mechanics and Imperial Guard vehicle bits. https://www.instagram.com/
Much of the other scenery you can see on my Instagram is what I painted for my Local Gaming store. They asked me if I would be interested in painting some and I said “only if I can put my propaganda posters all over them.” And so I did.
You’ve got propaganda posters, artwork and all sorts of extra bits for this army – what’s your favourite part of it?
NK: My codex with its custom covers is probably my favorite bit. I did it as a way of showcasing the propaganda posters I made and partly because I was annoyed that I couldn’t afford the super-duper limited edition codex that GW released back in January. I figured if I couldn’t get the limited edition, why not make a completely unique one?
Nick’s cult is comfortably the best I’ve seen, thematically amazing, and filled with great touches.