Fresh from the Forge: Seyni N’Diaye’s Adeptus Mechanicus

Inspiration for a new army can come from many places – Seyni N’Diaye found some when he was looking at his family’s roots. Rather than just creating a family tree, he built a new Adeptus Mechanicus army. Join us as he takes us through the birth of House Joolan.

Seyni: This army project started two years ago, firstly as a warband that I created for an online competition. At the time, I was deeply immersed in my father’s family roots and history, and this trail led me to Senegal. I enjoyed learning about the old feudal kingdom, its culture of animism, traditions, rites, and cultures held by my grandparents and ancestors. In those exciting times, I started to wonder where it would take me if I tried to explore all of this in a more personal way, with models, books, and brush in hand. So I did.

The Knight House was the perfect canvas – those human civilisations whose cultures are defined by the world where they live. That was a start, but I needed to visualise those humans outside of their armoured behemoths. The first two Armiger Knight pilots of House Joolan were kitbashed and painted, followed quickly by a higher-ranking scion, a kind of Sacristan,* and finally a servitor Ogryn cut in the same cloth. The House name Joolan came from one of the Senegalese ethnic groups known as the Diola from which my family hail.

The idea was there, and so was the beginning of the warband.

I took so much pleasure converting those models and working on their background and colours, that I decided to expand the warband into an army! I extended their background by doing more research on Warhammer lore and looked for new ways to infuse the themes on other models.

As the lore of my project grew, I decided to make this force an Ordo Reductor Mechanicum/Knight army. The large range of units and the mysterious, insular history of the Adeptus Mechanicus seduced me. It also gave me the opportunity to use the wonderful range of Forge World models from the Horus Heresy as I’m a huge fan of the Age of Darkness too.

Why the Ordo Reductor? A sub-faction of nomadic, warlike priests and mad scientists with the right to create huge weapons, a right given to them alone by the Emperor Himself? That was enough for me to sign up – plus they have Thallax robots! Finally, the background I wrote for this army is infused with tiny pieces of Senegalese culture that I mixed up with what I know about Warhammer 40,000.

On the modelling side, I used all that I could to give a unique look to my models. From Untamed Beasts in Warcry to Seraphon bits, passing by Space Marines, orruk, Necromunda, Horus Heresy stuff, and so on. I also used several Characters from the Genestealer Cults range – they’re an awesome base for making conversions – while other models like the Saberjaw-class Battle Automata were built entirely from my bits box. Nearly all the models were converted, with the goal to create something truly original.

After working with grey for my Carcharodons army, I wanted something more vivid and colourful for House Joolan. To stay on the theme, I chose to use green to represent the forest, such as you would find in the Senegalese region of Casamance, red for the African red earth, and yellow.

I tried to balance those with more desaturated and natural colours such as brown and beiges. I also played with textures, adding pelts, wooden items, and battle damage. I highlighted my green with white rather than yellow, and used blue shadows to get the particular green of House Joolan.

Lastly, as on my Carcharodon Space Marines, I added some freehand to the painting process. Bringing those extra little patterns, reminiscent of West African art, was really fun to do and added a lot of character to the whole force.

The bases are made with a red savannah in mind, as that’s how I imagine the ground of the vast subterranean settlements that House Joolan dwell in and patrol, outside of the main forges on their home world, Cayors. But these colours also bring a good contrast with the prevalent green of the models. To achieve this effect, I used a textured red paste with chunks of slate stone that I painted with Doombull Brown. I used Middenland Tufts, and then finally ochre pigments in order to better merge the model with this dusty environment.

On the tabletop side, I play this army either as Ordo Reductor allied with Knights for Horus Heresy games or as Adeptus Mechanicus with Knight allies for Warhammer 40,000 games.

I just started a Crusade campaign with my friends, and I can’t wait to see how this army will evolve with time. 

Creating this army has been an incredible journey so far with a lot more to add lying ahead. Hopefully, this article will inspire you to explore the distant corners of the 41st Millennium – remember, your imagination is the only limit. You just have to reach out and create for yourself what you would like to see on YOUR tables and in YOUR stories.

Of course, this is only the beginning of the rise of House Joolan. Maybe some of you will hear the call of the war drums and add your writing pencils, cutters, paintbrushes, and dice to the muster…

For Cayor and the High King!

Death hunt with us!

Thank you, Seyni! If that’s inspired you to begin your own Adeptus Mechanicus army then pick up the Start Collecting! Adeptus Mechanicus boxed set and get ready to give praise to the Omnissiah. It’s only logical.

* Called Grios, after the nomad storytellers and knowledge holders in Senegal.

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