Designing and Painting the Silent King

We couldn’t stay quiet for long about the incredible new Silent King model. Neither could Steve and Ed, who designed the imposing figure of Szarekh, nor Max who painted it. Join us as we see what they have to say about the return of the Silent King.

First up, we spoke with Steve Buddle, the lead designer on the Necrons army project.

Steve: As the project lead for the Necrons army, it fell to me to develop the image for Szarekh, the Silent King. It started with an exploration by Conceptualiser David Ferri and Miniatures Designer Tom Walton that got to the core idea of him atop a flying platform flanked by giant menhirs.

From there, I wanted to push the image in a way that expressed the personality and status of Szarekh – that of an insane megalomaniac with aspirations of godhood. With that in mind, the platform became more of a throne room, adding the Triarch characters, enslaved to the throne and emphasising that Szarekh is utterly in charge.

Making the trapped C’tan a feature that Szarekh is displaying prominently to everyone pushes the idea of his staggering hubris. It’s a statement that, yes, he can control even the star gods and reduce them to a power source for his own ends.

In an age where some legendary Characters are giant in stature, I liked the idea of Szarekh himself being a relatively normal size, and this worked well to emphasise the scale of the throne itself and the accompanying menhirs. I then had fun with the idea of a liquid necrodermis cloak to make him look more dramatic and fuel his ego a little bit. I thought it could even have been the ‘skin’ of the trapped C’tan.

With the themes and general idea worked out, Ed Cottrell took on the monumental task of realising Szarekh as a model.

Ed: Whilst I was still busy working on the Space Marines Characters in the Indomitus boxed set, I found out I’d be sculpting the Silent King as my next project. It was exciting not only to be swapping sides but also to be designing their leader, who hadn’t been released as a model before!

I liked the idea of Szarekh returning upon his throne room with delusions of power and importance as if he expects all Necrons to bow before him. I guess my favourite aspect of the model is the composition – Szarekh is positioned on his platform at the top of his staircase, standing taller than the two Phaerons beside him, emphasising his visions of grandeur. I designed the entire throne room around this idea, and although it’s an insane xenos contraption built using unimaginable Necron science, Szarekh himself remains the focal point at its centre.

The two menhirs serve to add even more presence and power to the model. When placed on either side of the throne room, they form a pyramid-like silhouette, reminiscent of a Monolith.

Thanks, guys! We also spoke with Max Faleij from the ‘Eavy Metal team, who talked us through painting this fantastic new model.

Max: In many ways, the Silent King is the culmination of a lot of the work that went into developing the new Necrons range as a whole. In the months leading up to painting Szarekh, I was tasked with developing a new colour scheme for the Necrons. In the beginning, this just meant exploring as many ideas as possible – I worked with Neil Green (also of ‘Eavy Metal fame) to refine some of those concepts and create the final look for the Szarekhan Dynasty.

At that point, we already had an idea of what the Silent King model would look like. The colour choices for a lot of the elements found across the entire Necron range, like the unrefined noctilith stone, crackling energy orbs, and phase blades, were designed with Szarekh in mind. This meant we could keep the look and feel of those elements consistent across the army, and at the same time have it work in our favour later when deciding how to make Szarekh stand out as a centrepiece on the tabletop amidst his forces.

I had the idea early on to make the blackstone elements radiate with a ghostly teal glow as if it was reacting to the Necron energy pulsing through it. I think this ties directly into the mysterious and unknown properties of the material itself and speaks to the Necrons’ profound understanding of how it works. It also gives us this great colour that sits harmoniously together with the green energy and contrasts nicely against the copper armour.

In the end, painting the Silent King was a collaboration between Anja Wettergren and me. One of my favourite parts of the whole model is the pair of noctilith menhirs that she painted to float alongside the throne. We painted Szarekh himself in a lighter, smooth, almost pearlescent metal, while the Phaerons flanking him are darker and more weathered. This way, Szarekh stands out as the focal point of the piece and reinforces the way Ed designed his necrodermis vessel.

The trapped C’tan shard is another cool feature of this kit, enhanced even further by the way we chose to paint Szarekh’s cloak. The cloak shares a lot of similarity to the body of the Void Dragon – as Steve says, it hints at the fact that it might be the flayed skin of the enslaved star god writhing in agony above Szarekh.*

Thanks, Max! The Silent King is available to pre-order next month along with the new Necrons codex. In the meantime, swell your android phalanxes so that your army is fit for the Necrons’ supreme ruler.

* As they say, always dress for the job you want!

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