Kirill Blokhin: Acirgeon of the Church of the Red Athenæum

Here’s the latest stunner from the brothers Wier, an old-school character from the past brought to serve the Church of the Red Athenæum at the Eve of the 42nd millennia.

My brothers and I wanted to share the next member of the Church, someone who we have been working on for quite some time, developing the concept, writing the background, and creating the model. He is well on his way to completion, and figured it was a good time to share him with everyone (and get people’s feedback and ideas).

The entire design process was sparked by rediscovering a classic piece of John’s art, from the Confrontation era. The central figure in the piece has always held our imagination, a crazed ganger, reminding me of one of the Droogs from Clockwork Orange. The creepy frowning mask, the clean tunic and pants, the axe at his belt, machine pistol in hand, and noose around his neck, all makes for one compelling character. We wanted to set out and create a character such as him, and Kirill Blokhin, the Church’s Acirgeon was born.

John Blanche Confrontation
The image that inspired the Acirgeon. “He was a venator – ei sanctioned bounty hunter – all the characters in the crowd were portraits of people working in the studio at the time……” John explains the background of the original drawing.

The Acirgeon: Kirill Blokhin

Possibly the most peculiar and atavistic role within the Church of the Red Athenæum is that of the Acirgeon. Present since the Church’s foundation, the Acirgeon is a spiritual role within the Church, one that acts as a catalyst to enact violence and sacrifice within the congregation.

While known to promulgate a fiery sermon on occasion, the Acirgeon primarily enforced the Church’s ethos of suffering by harvesting the bodily sacrifices that members offered up to the Emperor. With a keening axe, they would remove the hands and limbs of the Emperor’s supplicants, while preaching the Litany of Renouncement. With the rise of Cardinal Levedescu, and the medical knowledge that she bestowed upon the Church, the Acirgeon’s position in the Church has become increasingly anachronistic.

Long gone are the days when a honed axe and some burning incense were the only requirements to offer the Emperor an appendage. Now, each sacrifice is committed under the auspice of a trained medicae officer with sterile blades and aseptic conditions. However, the Acirgeon’s twisted visage still shadows each sacrifice, marking each offering as if they would be for naught without his grim vigil. Due to this, the current Acirgeon, Kirill Blokhin, has lived something of a hollow existence, one of a jaded veteran, nostalgic for an age bygone.

Blokhin 6Blokhin 7Blokhin 8Group WIP

Short story with Kirill Blokhin:

The Emperor Protects. The Emperor Provides.

A common axiom in the Imperium of Man. Simple words, but words he firmly believed. And the Emperor was providing for him now, providing for good ol’ Kirill. Protecting him even, if you thought about it. Yes, protecting his soul and giving him purpose.

Finally.

After years of an increasingly purposeless existence, simply going through the motions, attending the masses, abiding the bloodletting, and offering up pieces of himself in sacrifice, it was going to change. But even if this fortune had not befallen him, he would have continued to do all of those things willingly. Of course he would have, the Emperor Expects, doesn’t He? Of course He does. Of course.

But yes, it was different now. He had been chosen. Well, not chosen perhaps. It was a lottery, and he drew the short straw…

No, chosen Was the right word, Throne take anyone who said otherwise. The Martyr. Upright. It meant Sacrifice. Duty. But also Inner Harmony, the crone had assured him.

Yes, the Emperor had chosen him. Chosen him to take up the Black Mantle. Chosen him to spill His faithfuls’ blood. The Pilgrym.

He felt for his axe, and found it at his side, reassuring. Running a finger along its edge, and drawing blood. It gave him clarity of mind.

Chosen. The Emperor Expects. The Red Hour approacheth.

M42 approacheth:

As the last days of the 41st millennium draw to a close, the ritual bloodletting known as the Red Hour gets ever closer to becoming a reality once more. But to complete the bloody rite, the congregation needs to appoint someone to serve as the Arch-heretic. This unfortunate soul must murder a member of the congregation and inflict another ceremonial wound upon the presiding Cardinal, before finally being killed during the ritual’s climax. This solemn duty is one that every member of the Church is aware of, but few like to dwell on the grim possibility of their selection. Blokhin, lost without the affirmation of severing limbs, actually secretly wished to be granted this task. It would be one last role to play with his familiar and trusted axe in hand. A necessary role. Whether by some grand coincidence, or possibly the Emperor’s divine intervention, when the numbers were drawn, Blokhin was selected to be the Arch-heretic.

But this Red Hour is special; beyond the strangely fitting selection of Blokhin as the Arch-heretic, it marks the turn of the millennium, and coincides with the coming of a prophesied Pilgrym, an individual who the Church’s agents, spread throughout the notable establishments of Terra, have confirmed has the power to repair the Golden Throne. The Church believes that repairing the Golden Throne will not give the Emperor back what He has lost; it will merely fetter Him ever tighter to the dark machine and the whims of the petty High Lords. Instead, they wish to sacrifice this Pilgrym to the Red Hour, thereby casting off the Emperor’s shackles, releasing His soul into the Warp, where He will finally be able to exercise His Divine Will. Blokhin’s role is key in the ritual, for he is to land the killing blow, a stroke that will change the course of the Imperium and alter the fate of Mankind.

– Adam Wier

Kari

20 thoughts on “Kirill Blokhin: Acirgeon of the Church of the Red Athenæum

  1. One of my favorite pieces of 40K art for inspiration, and a great figure as a result. If there was one thing I’d like to see more of, is that he was more flamboyant in his clothing – a little more faded and dirtied, gutter nobility.

    You guys are the masters of trigger discipline.

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    1. Thanks! You are right that this rendition of the illustration is a lot more militaristic than John’s original piece. I have been going back and forth on whether or not to minimize it more, knowing that it would take a considerable amount of work. I am glad you noticed the trigger discipline! While Blokhin might be a little crazy at times, he is not stupid, he he. The finger should always be off the trigger unless ready to fire 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Very nice work Adam. Love how you made the mask – extremely clever.

    I know you guys are fond of understatedness, but that uzi is diminutive even compared to John’s realistically proportioned artwork. Very much a matter of taste of course…

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    1. I am glad you like the mask, I was quite happy with how it turned out.

      We certainly are fond of understated things, but try not to sacrifice realism to achieve it. Going into building the model, we knew that we wanted to take John’s ideas and adapt them into something that would fit with our vision for the Church. Since our character was going to be missing a hand, we did not want to give him a full-sized Uzi, as that would be hard to wield.

      In John’s original illustration, it looks like he has an amalgamation of a full-sized/mini Uzi and a MP5K. We thought this would be a little unwieldy in one hand, so we modeled our character’s weapon off of a micro Uzi. Micro Uzis are quite small and designed to be used as pistols (they chambered in the same 9mm round as the full-sized version).

      Ultimately, I think the general 40k aesthetic depicts weapons that are far larger than “real” guns. Even the largest pistols, like a Desert Eagle or a S&W 500, are substantially smaller than the standard las/bolt/plasma pistols sculpts. Micro Uzis are really small, about the size of a person’s hand. I will stop rambling now, he he 😀

      But yeah, if I were trying to make the exact character in John’s piece there, I would likely have made the gun a little bigger, to reflect a full size submachine gun, but Blokhin’s lack of a hand would make that infeasible.

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    1. Thanks for the kind words, about the model and the writing! We had been sitting on the narrative stuff for a while now, and I am happy to have gotten the model to a point that we could share it!

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  3. A!azing conversion and a wonderful take on that piece of art. I would recommend removing the cargo pockets on the pants, as it looks a bit too militaristic in comparison to the rest of the model. Knee high boots like the art would be nice, aren’t are needed. I think a slimming down of the bagginess where theyntuxk into the boots would also help “de-militarize” the pants as well though.

    Those are minor nitpicks. The model are a stunner and the greenstuff work is exceptionally well done.

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    1. I am glad you like the model! I think you are right about the pockets; removing them would reduce the military vibe. I had considered extending his pants to cover up most of his boots, but held back when I realized how much work it would likely be. I do like the idea of him having taller boots. I will consider modifying them…

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  4. Nice! I am very jealous of your GS skills – the models you create are a fantastic blend of brilliant bits and seamless sculpting. Always look forward to seeing the next creation!

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    1. All I can say is the more you try to push yourself with green stuff, the better and more confident you get with it. Two years ago all I did was use it to fill in gaps, but I gradually tried to do more, and have been amazed at how far I have come. Practice and a little patience go a long way!

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  5. While so many female models are built with care taken to show unambiguously that they ARE female (boob armor, tight and revealing clothes, long hair, etc.), rarely does anyone take the same care when making the male models, and that’s a shame. With Kirill, on the other hand, clearly you have taken care in building the codpiece to set him apart as male, lest he be considered by default to be female. Well done!

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    1. Thanks! The devil is in the details they say right? I felt the codpiece was something that I could not leave out, it being relatively prominent in the artworks, he he.

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  6. This is such a stunner Adam! You continue to produce models I’m thrusting to paint, and that’s the ultimate conversion compliment in my book. These are all so elegant, so unique and so you. BRAVO!

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    1. I am glad you like him as much as I do! The idea of making a model out of John’s art has been on the drawing board for a while, but all I had converted was his head. When I finally started to work on him earnestly, things started to fall into place.

      One of these days I really need to create something for you to paint… It would be interesting to see our styles combine!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. A stunner Adam! That Power Glove is spot on. Looking at the original drawing the Venator even has one too with the cables going into the glove barely visible.

    Ace!

    Great pace too. Very inspiring for the rest of us…

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    1. Thanks for all the kind words! I think the glove turned out well; I am pleased with the little straps I added, holding the glove to his severed wrist. I will likely add a power cable to the glove before calling it finished.

      Somehow I have managed to keep steadily working on models since this project began, which is good, lest I would not be able to finish in time!

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  8. While i really like your miniature, it was the fluff that got me!

    He does fit in so good!
    It feels like a man nostalgic and almost without hope can be found in a church like that and striving for one final act suits him well!

    A great piece overall!

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    1. Thanks! I am really happy to hear that you liked the fluff as much as you did! We spent a long time working with it, trying to incorporate it in a meaningful and logical way into the Church’s background. I am pretty happy with how it turned out. I got so captivated with the idea that I wrote that short story in a rush of inspiration, trying to better convey the emotional turmoil of Blokhin.

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