Illuminati Aquila – Ordos Terra

Who do you work for?
The Emperor.
Then imagine I’m Him and you won’t be far wrong.

Scrivener Abnett

Full circle, literally years in the making, the third and final pat of the trilogy is “finished”. The Good, The bad and the Ugly. A trilogy of work that studies the God Emperor’s holy ordos.Β (You can see each one in their respective gallery here.)Β 

I’m uncharacteristically speechless. This group is sort of testament to how I approach the hobby. It’s the imagination, story, curiosity and exploration in every aspect of it: converting, painting, display and photography, and this is all I got at this time.

If there ever was a group models I wish I could show you in person its the Illuminati Aquila. I’ve done everything I can to show what they look like in photos, but while I think I capture maybe 90% of the feel and look of my Clea Fenryka, I’d say, these guys not the same. The incredible contrast of their armor, equipment, skin, light and shadow is hard to convey. I am going to repaint the roses to much more magenta and purplish hue now that things are ready and they stand out the wrong way in my opinion. But here we go.

The Emperor Protects!


The second set of images is to try and give you another perspective to the paint jobs. These images below are shot on a cloudy day next to big open windows and capture the materials and feel from a mother direction quite accurately. The set above is shot at the same time, under the drawers of my desk to create that dark backdrop, and in addition to natural light I’ve used a neutral/cold temperature LED task light to help with drama.


Thanks for looking and please take a moment to add your comments. It’s not every day one gets to finish such a long standing vision and effort.

Thank you.



34 thoughts on “Illuminati Aquila – Ordos Terra

  1. Really stunning, Migs. A real honour to have sparked something so majestic.

    I’m still in love with the Inquisitor and Interrogator duo – they really make the set for me: such a strong focus.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They really are the set. The rest is a beautiful backdrop that tries not to draw the focus from the two. It was so clear after painting the two, who narratively are also the core that I altered the scheme for everyone else to amplify the focus.


  2. These are truly gorgeous. The contrast between the gleaming, metallic sheen and the cold, hard ground makes the group seem almost otherworldly, like gods among the drudgery. As individuals they are fantastic, but as a group I’d consider them a work of art.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bravo! No words to describe, just simply perfection. Every character beautifully complements one another. The way how the characters are displayed for the photos is also really inspiring and exciting.
    You have really captured the essence of what makes the hobby so exciting and fulfilling and imbued it on these works of art. Massive thank you for sharing us your process in creating this final piece of the trilogy and being such a great inspiration. Hats off!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I really like the beefy mechanicus guy, similar to the approach I took with my Skitarii Prime – as if he had been engineered for war. The pteruges and bare chests give him a cyber-gladiator feel. The hovering computer screen is quite retro sci-fi, but as background for the two center piece models the warband all work really well and look great. The gold is lovely, and I’ve always really liked the way you do the bright white skulls against dark bases, very striking.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jake!! I see him as a special kind of “bounty hunter” who hunts rogue tech and has a servoskull with a hidden electromagnetic disruptor. The retinue needed a big body to make sure the Inquisitor doesn’t for sure read as a space marine sized body.


  5. Well what superlatives can one use πŸ™‚ Especially as my vocabulary is rather limited so I’ll settle for fantastic πŸ˜‰

    For me here I don’t think there’s one piece that truly sticks out (but that computer droid is a hidden little gem among other stars). It’s the complete feel I get while looking at it. The palette is so rich while at the same time being almost monochromatic.

    You couldn’t have ended a very productive and creative year any better πŸ™‚


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Tommy! It’s been quite the year πŸ™‚ hard to believe only the first year for Iron Sleet. Much more to come. And I think the moving monastery of a tank I’m building for this group should be quite something too.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Great work Migs. I am so happy to see the FINAL GRAND INSTALLMENT of this project. Goes back how many years? I really like the combination of fine detailing and care that goes into the gold and the rough textures and washes on bases, skulls and cloth. And the colour scheme being domminantly metal I expect they look even better in the flesh.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jakob, 7 years all together, but then two insane armies fit in between the three retinues. 2000+ points of XX and 2000+ pos of VI Legions and their allies πŸ™‚

      Can’t wait to show you these in person. Hopefully next summer.


  7. It is excellent to see this group finished. Each strengthens one another, really selling the metallic radiance you emulated in that piece of art you showed earlier. I love the little floating cogitator, with its mechadendrrites. I also really like the different sizes of the varying models, it makes for a very interesting composition. The stark contrast of the red roses really helps add a bit hope and color to the models as well. All told, an excellent conclusion to the Trilogy.

    On a related note, it would be pretty awesome if some of these inquisitors’ narratives could be expanded by actually trying to play Inquisitor. Trying to included some of excellent, evocative models from the other members of Iron Sleet, and possibly other members of the community! It would certainly be quite an undertaking, but I think it could be an excellent extension to the fantastic community you are already building. Just a thought. Regardless, keep up the great work!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Eric! The sizing and contrast of different models is so critical in each of the three trilogies. Just like any group of humans, any team, they are made of individuals with different physiques. And in the grim darkness of the far future those differences are so much starker like everything else. Each of the retinues has seen Inq28 gaming action and these guys will do too! In fact it’s already being planned for Next summer and it will be epic.


      1. Wow, that is incredibly exciting! I cannot wait to hear more about the event. To be able to see some of these great model together in one place to fight for the Emperor’s Soul is basically a dream come true, the pinnacle of a community slowly building over the years.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Amazing work Migs! The dark photos really bring out the idea that they’re on some backwater world with the only light coming from the inquisitor! I really love the big guy, what kits did you base the legs/bare chest on if you don’t mind me asking?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It has been a pure pleasure to follow you in your endeavours into the paradoxical nature of the Imperium of Man in the 41st Millennium Miklu!

    One thing is this last instalment of what has become a very powerful and highly personal trilogy of Inquisitors. It is beautiful. The overall ambience and feel of this final handful is incredible and a good example of why it has been such a pleasure to take part, albeit from a distance, in this journey for more than a decade:

    You explore.

    And it is this exploration manage to combine storytelling, visual impact and three-dimensional – as in spatial – quality. This ability make the characters you imagine and bring to life highly believable – in that they seem to emerge right out of the essence of what is a human galaxy-spanning empire in the 41st Millennium. An empire torn by strife from within and without.

    Thanks man, for taking me along on this journey from the beginning. Now get your ass in gear and do more great stuff…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Congratulations on finishing your project.. I have long envied your ability to set a definitive goal no matter how far ahead whilst keeping the end in sight.. the final instalment of your trilogy is a triumph of the the hobby .. as with all your projects pushing the boundaries, reinvention and experimentation is the norm.. the results speak for themselves .. I am in particularly impressed not only with the close realisation of the paintwork to the inspirational artwork.. ( which captures the essence of the piece with some aplomb.. but also like Toni mentions with the strides you have made with the photography .. your fickr galleries are a velvety sumptuous delight.
    Watching you continue to push the boundaries in these areas and what ever may come in the future is a pleasure.

    Bravo !


    1. Thank you Neil!! So good to hear from you. It’s quite the testament to technology miniaturization that all of these photos are taken on an iPhone. πŸ™‚ the adeptus Mechanicus would be proud. Looking forward to hopefully catching up in the summer.


  11. You really do amazing work. I was just reflecting how you have given me years of excitement and entertainment now with your amazing ideas and builds. Most of all as an artist its been wonderful seeing someone approach all their work as an artist. Thought and creativity testing new ideas and looks and creating new styles by mixing techniques. I truly believe within the community you account for a large part of peoples ongoing inspiration and could be considered one of the primaries in the current generation of work. Many cede that Blanche artwork and figures are what inspire them when they build, creating the iconic evil grim dark look many of us dream in now. I could say your to the Blanchism as “Duchamp was to Dada” Creating your own works moving through the styles building your own style and notary. Most of my fellow hobbyists sadly have no idea who you are by name, they simply have no interest in blogging and the arts of the game. But they know your work, they show it to me often and say “whoa have you seen this?” I just wanted to try and express my love of your work and what it has meant to me over the years. I’m not trying to be stalker-ish or rabid fanboy. But I hold you and your work in very high regard and respect your love and work in the field of GW modeling and painting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tony, thank you! This means a lot to me. It’s artists such as you who understand the effort and courage and the value of avoiding mannerism that ultimately make sharing this work so rewarding. The creation I do for myself and the act of creating it is a mystical blend of meditation and flow and discovery for me. John’s been open about being really inspired by the work too. A very special privilege as I’m so incredibly grateful and inspired by his life’s work. He really is a creative genius. And a machine in creation. I am the same on the latter. The muse never leaves me. I must do art. Sometimes it’s just another medium. I’m happy to say a bunch of us will do something special starting January that you should really enjoy. Thanks again!


  12. What an amazing ending to such a great project, Migs.

    I still remember like it was yesterday when I first saw the Ugly back in 2008(?). Holy shit, is it 7 years ago already?! I was visiting Ropecon and was asked to judge the annual miniature painting competition of theirs, where your posse won gold on their category. Boy was I blown away by the Shaddes off Greye, and still am.

    Then came the roof breaking Bads and now sky tearing Golds. The whole project is like the end of it – solid gold.

    The trilogy holds some of the best models I’ve ever seen. It is your signature style that makes the miniatures, both individually and in groups, so recognizable and unique. The use of different kits and bits to create their design – the pattern – is just pure genious, something I’m always waiting to see from you when you announce another grand project of yours.

    Needless to say, I’m really looking forward to what next years brings in.

    Liked by 1 person

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