Updated: Nov 17
During my teenage years the army which saw the table top the most and in fact, claimed the most victories was my converted Lost and the Damned force. Back in 2003 GW released the Eye of Terror codex, a book full of a few campaign themed armies for one of Abandon's Black Crusades. This "Traitor Guard" list gave me the rules to field the undead guardsmen I had been converting and turned the odd few models into an army. Unfortunately I'm not sure where this army ended up, a few models might be kicking around in my garage but I'd assume most of them are still at my parents house.
This brings us to the first concept in my ideas queue. Re-building this undead themed 40K army. Even if I found my older models, the conversion work wouldn't have been something I would want to reuse 18 years later. Most of the standard traitors were the Skeleton warriors of the time holding lasguns. Some zombies had Cadian parts and I remember using oversized toy skeletons has my big mutants. No, I think if its worth doing again, everything is built from new.
The second concept which I've been toying with is the Lazotep Mummies from the Amonkhet range of Magic the Gathering cards. For those not familiar, warriors from the Amonkhet plain become mummified in Lazotep and resurrected to fight again for the arch villain, Nicol Bolas.
Lazotep is effectively magically enhanced Lapis Lazuli and leaves the body of the warrior encased in a hard blue skeletal shell. It's like taking the Egyptian parody the of the Thousand Sons to the next level and it's Awesome!
So two undead themes kicking around. Question is, can they be combined or is this blog going to separate into two different armies?
On the one hand, the traditional undead, gory, rotten with an earthy colour pallet. On the other hand, bright blue and gold crystalline skeletons. The first very much suits a Nurgle themed force (which was what I picked back in 2003), the later very much suits Tzeentch...
A choice in Codex
So before unpacking the themes, I want to look at the current rule options now that the Eye of Terror codex is a thing of the past.
To do so, I think it's worth outlining the units the Lost and the Damned army could pick from in 2003;
For the HQ options, you could field a Chaos SM Sorcerer and Chaos SM Champions, effectively CSM sergeants who would lead units of the traitor guardsmen.
With Elites, you could pick from Big Mutants (S6, T4, with 3 wounds), Possessed and Daemon packs.
For Troops choices, you had units of Traitor guardsmen, Mutants and Gibbering Hordes (Swarm bases).
Chaos hounds, Daemonic beasts, Sentinels, Roughriders and Hellhound tanks could be picked for Fast Attack.
Lastly you had the options of Defilers, Chaos Spawn, Leman Russ's and Basilisks for Heavy Support.
Last of all you could pick the following from the Chaos Space Marine codex of the time; 0-1 HQ, 0-1 Elites, 0-2 Troops and 0-1 Fast Attack.
Now the two Codex's I'm looking at for 2022 are the current Thousand Sons and Death Guard books. A choice between Tzeentch and Nurgle again.
I think it's fair to say that either current codex has suitable HQ choices. I could easily field some sort of Liche, Daemon Prince or nasty controlling the undead hordes.
Big Mutants were meant to be Traitor Ogryns and the Death Guard book has suitable proxies in the form of Beasts of Nurgle. As for the Thousand Sons book I'm looking through, (not the current edition I might add), there doesn't seem to be anything I can use.
Daemon Packs and Daemons in general are something easily solved with allied units from a Daemon Codex. I'm not really concerned with the current version of stat lines. The fact is you can field something akin to Daemons either way.
As for the Possessed Chaos Space Marines, there seems to the same unit option in the Elite section of the Death Guard codex. Not so much for the T-Sons.
For troop choices, Both codex's offer replacements for the Lost & the Damned Traitors. Chaos Cultists fill the gap nicely but don't have access to the same armoury. The old Traitors had access to all the weapons regular guardsmen do, give or take.
As for the old Mutant unit, the Death Guard offer Poxwalkers and T-Sons have Tzaangors. Mutants were a simple meat shield with a S3 and T4 profile. Poxwalkers would defiantly suit the unit of Zombies I used to field but I had thought about using this melee troop choice for the Lazotep Mummies.
Gibbering Hordes of old literally used the Nurgling stat line for whatever swarm base you wanted to use. So the Death Guard book has this covered.
As for the "allied" Chaos Space Marines, well it's a pick between Rubric or Plague Marines.
Hounds and Fast Deamonic Beasts seem to be ditched. I mean I guess you could reuse the Tzaangor Enlightened or Plague Drone stat lines but both are flying... The same goes for the Rough Riders. Guess these will have to be parked.
Sentinels could vaguely be (flying) Foetid Bloat Drones. Clutching at straws here but it's a vehicle stat line in the Fast Attack choice for the Death Guard. Nothing like it in the T-Son list.
Lastly we have the Hellhound Flamer tank. The Deathguard Myphitic Blight-Hauler would work as a proxy. Again the T-Sons are falling short of options.
Defilers feature in both codex's which is good.
Chaos Spawn feature in both books but are now Fast Attack options.
As for battle tanks, either have options for the classic CSM Predator. So a version of a Leman Russ might as well be there. They have a tank as far as I'm concerned at this point.
The Death Guard book have Plagueburst Crawlers which could be a corrupted Basilisk.
While the Thousand Sons book has things like the Vortex Beast, Forgefiend and Maulerfiend. All might be good options for the old Tomb Kings Necroshpinx model I have. Would really suit the Lazotep concept. I think the Death Guard can take these as allied units from the Standard Chaos Space Marine book however. Or if I'm really looking to use this Necroshpinx, I could proxy it as a Helbrute, which is an Elite choice for either codex.
I think the Death Guard book would be a worthy successor to the old Lost and the Damned list.
Getting that theme to work
So the Lazotep Mummies are much tougher zombies and behave as trained troops on the battlefield. I'm looking to convert the Mortek Guard with Tomb Kings parts which will mean they fit the melee choice on the table top. I'm thinking the tougher Poxwalker stat line would work here.
I could also "break" parts of their Lazotep plating to reveal the corpse beneath it.
So these could be the Elite (not in the Codex sense of the word) troops on the battlefield. Those captured battlefield casualties, mummified in Lazotep and returned to serve a new master.
By using Poxwalkers as the Lazotep Mummies, I forego using the classic looking Zombie horde which I had in the 2003 list.
The other troop choice is the standard Chaos Cultist. These are the planned skeletal guardsmen. While they will be skeletons with Autorifles, I don't think they should be painted blue. Lazotep is like an armour over the skeleton hence why I'm using Morket Guard, which are a much bulkier undead that suits this. With that in mind, if I'm using regular skellies for the ranged infantry, I think there should be a separation in colour, I.E. regular bone coloured skellies for the Cultists.
Hopefully it's as if the army raises a lot of undead, but not all can be mummified in Lazotep. They (the Liche) reserves this magical Lapis for the troops in need of it the most, those in close combat? This is a working idea clearly.
The thing I'm struggling with most is the clash between the bright blue, gold and rather clean undead look of the Lazotep Mummies and the dirty, traditional undead with mixed and tatty equipment of the Cultists. I wonder if the idea of recreating my old Lost and the Damned army and this Lazotep theme should be two different armies?
In any event, I'll start converting various units and see what happens. I don't imagine I'll have enough for a full army any time soon, so the question of whether these two ideas go together is a problem for later.
Early concept models
So, on to the actual models. Or at the very least some working concepts. As I've loosely decided on above, the Cultists will be the risen guardsmen and other damned inhabitants of the 40k universe. While the tougher "Poxwalkers" will be those undead mummified in Lazotep.
I still had a single sprue of 90's era Warhammer Fantasy Battle skeletons. I reckon it must be left over from the first time I made this army, which is fitting. I also cast some Cadian legs in resin, deliberately trying to leave air bubbles. These turned out to be really useful for boots with skeletal toes jutting from them, or fitting a bone down the middle of a shin guard.
As for the Cultists weapons, I had two options. Either I model the Skellies with the guns they carried while alive, Lasguns, Galvanic Rifles, Bolters and all sorts in between. Or I model them to fit what the rules state a Cultist carries, Autoguns. I figured that it's easier for the army to be rearmed and reloaded if they all carry some sort of standard issue rifle and as this army is going to be heavily converted, they should at least be armed with what the codex states. To avoid further confusion.
Autoguns however are a pain. Apart from a few expensive Necromunda white metal sprues and of course the official cultist models, Autoguns are not readily available like Lasguns are from the numerous left over Cadian boxsets littering the country. No, Autoguns would have to be built.
I settled on reusing Kroot rifles and the magazine parts of the new Primaris Bolters. Cut down and reshaped, I think they'll do. It's also easier to model the Skeleton's hand holding the trigger area than it used to be back in 2003 when I used Lasguns. These new rifles look pretty brutal as well, which will help with the theme.
Cadian bodies have also been combined with some ribcages and the empty helmets stuck over some skulls. I do plan on adding tattered clothing and other bits of old uniform. Whether it's on these 4 or just others in the army once I find new parts.
The left hands however will need green stuff each time. I've cut down the original Skeleton fist (which would be stuck to the back of a shield) and used green stuff to add the fingers and thumb holding the gun barrel.
As for those Lazotep Mummies, Morket Guard are the base with a Tomb Kings head swap. The Kholpeshs come from the Thousand Sons Terminator sprue (which hopefully will not be an issue to keep locating spare ones...). Lastly, which is a bit of a problem, Mortek Guard left arms are modelled to the shields they come with. Which leaves me trying to find suitable left arms to hold the Tomb Kings shields. Currently these two have Eldar Guardian arms holding the shield. I'm hoping this won't be too noticeable once it's all painted. Unlikely this method will be the standard one moving forward.