The Branded and The Tsanpakutō


“There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.”


Grandmaster Teppokiri bowed deep and long, for he knew this was his final act. The last client. The first carrier of his finest work. Wielder of Tsanpakutō.

Two figures stood in front of the sword smith.

A lord in black robe, his bald head branded with a horrific Octagrammic ward. Cables and implants glistened around his head, his ears had been replaced with metallic audio units and his eyes just reflected everything like quicksilver. 

And an apprentice. Dressed similarly, shorter, slimmer, a big hood covering his skeletal face. A blue orb and a fiery spark shone from the cover of the hood. Next to him hovered a carrier sled. The thick dark canvas poorly covered the form of eight knee height containers underneath. 

The branded would ask for the eight to be forged into the heart of the meteor. I would make him this weapon. The soul cutter. An Eternal inferno to smite the Alien, the Neverborn and the Witch. Eight months, eight days and eight hours it would take me and it would consume me and end me. 

Why? Why would I do this. I would do it because if I would not, someone less, less disciplined, less learned, less committed would try and the creation would consume all and worlds would burn. 

Thus the Branded would get the Tsanpakutō, eight infernos raging inside its perfect temper.


 :: Read about the painting ideology ::


Two black figures, but beyond primer and the base trim, no black paint was used in painting them. Subtle reds where the Tsanpakuto’s glow hits skin or armor or cloth, subtle blues everywhere else.
Red and Blue theme continues, jacket takes hue from the sword, and shotgun reflections from the eyes.



(I’m still planning on painting the little studs in the cape gold when the oil paint has fully dried)




17 thoughts on “The Branded and The Tsanpakutō

  1. An epic beginning to the new theme – as usual, brilliantly executed, and different from your other =I= , and the Wolves.

    The subtle nuances of colour in the ‘black’ armour/robes is glorious.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Glourius painterly – I approve so much – this has moved so far from the competition style so dominant within the hobby – this has such an air of realism and looks so right ….

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks John. So happy to hear. To be honest, it’s been 10 years from my one and only GD trip, but winning the one flipped a switch where I just no longer could care less of any award other than that of the practice itself and sharing with amazing artists.


  3. Just to pick out one detail for praise, when everything about this pair is so wonderful, feels a bit odd. However … that glowing red eye on the apprentice! It’s an effect that I so often see attempted, but I can’t think I’ve ever seen it done better than you have here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I used a combination of fluorescent paint and pink metallics. I think the sheen from the metallics sets of the glow in the fluorescent and it doesn’t photograph perfect but it does have a grey vibrancy to it.


  4. These are so good Migs, beautiful and hauntingly subtle. The blacks are majestic, (all oils I assume), but the little flashes of colour really bring it to life – I can almost hear that sword crackling! I love the reflectiveness on the skull of the apprentice too… these are really very special mate.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Two wonderful, evocative models made even stronger with the painting! The glowing oranges is awesome. Better than even the models I think is the narrative you wrote around the characters. It does a good job of not revealing too much, which makes it a lot more engaging!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is truly amazing and inspiring, the tone and execution are just spectacular.

    Please indulge me – what is the stock part for the lords head or is it sculpted? I love that deep furrowed brow. Thank you.


  7. Beatiful work Migs! I have a feeling this will be my favorite of your groups to date. So dark and brooding. They both just ooze character, the Inquisitor though is in a league of himself. You have managed to capture what it means to be radical with very few “giveaways” if you will. To answer the above, the head is from one of the Bloodreavers if I am not mistaken.


  8. Have said it already but it would be an honour to join the praise here Miklu. They are incredible. Simply so. Some of your finest work. Especially praise for daring to venture outside know territory. And to experiment. Cudos!


  9. I love these two a lot. Approach them carefully now, but please do give them a round of final attention. There are parts that really stand out and are strong, and the rest is in support of the theme. But the eye does wonder, so I’d love to see more finish (but not too much) on some parts, like the studs you mentioned.
    The visage of a radical inquisitor is just iconic, like straight out of the inquisitor rulebook! Testament to how well the artwork has endured..
    If this is the tone you’ll be evolving for the next few months, I’m super excited to see more! But part of me wants to also say “tread carefully” because these two are really on to something! And there is a strength in all the sparseness, not only of colors and techniques but also quantity of miniatures. Having less makes the intention clearer, but also puts more pressure on what is there.


  10. Migs,

    Just want to say that your work is really inspiring – so much so that it’s the impetus for me to try my hand at 40k conversions!

    I’m pretty new to painting as well, and I really like this dark metallic/ limited palette you used here. Would you be willing to share how you went about painting these and/or have any tips regarding converting and painting in general?



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