Any Lead Mountain miner worth their salt knows the thrill of the new purchase. The warm glow of acquisition, the breathless anticipation at the prospect of uncasing the fresh metal or plastic, the enticing scent of resin, so sweet. The expectant pleasure of recruiting for our miniature armies. The adrenaline burst of worry as we remember that each purchase must pass under the fiery unforgiving glare of our own lead widows, unswayable with arguments of strategic need or aesthetic value, compassionless, inscrutable, adamant that they are the last arbiter of value for money. We know that unless our goods are well disguised, or our defences bulletproof, that they will break us, rack us for the greater good, or apply the ultimate sanction of the exterminatus.
It is the belief of this particular collector that the inspiration for the WH40k inquisition was not in fact the obvious party: The Spanish inquisition, scourge of the cathars and other incorrect thinkers of the 1400’s. Instead, much as this image:
was reputedly inspired by a certain artists ex-wife, the Inquisition was the natural outcome of any group of hobbyists with partners at home seeking to invent a faction that is scrupulously dedicated to rooting out heresy in all its forms.
With that thought in mind we present here the 1st miniature incarnation of the Lead Widow herself, as she might appear on the grimdark battlefields of the 41st millennium.
The representation is of course figurative rather than literal, so do not seek physical resemblance (this miniature would need 6 more legs, minimum). Rather it is what she represents. Ware the man who hoards unpainted lead, lest he receive a stake to the heart, or find himself splayed open and flayed under excrutiatus. Confess, repent, or suffer.
The base model is Inquisitor Greyfax, an Ordo Hereticus witch-hunter, armed with a boltgun/stake launcher for some serious witch-hunting.
Not content with the Puritan hat, I felt the need to go for something a little more untamed, an Inquisitor who has gone just a little bit off the rails, perhaps with a mind driven slightly askew by dealing with decades of recidivism and backsliding, schizophrenically caught between despair at the Sisyphean task, and the hot white fury of crusading zeal. A slightly more savage/unhinged aspect was provided by a head from a Drukhari witch sprue.
The main goal of this miniature was an exercise in practising shiny polished metal that would contrast with the unpolished, workmanlike metal of her bolter or backpack, or the tarnished cabling of the Cyber-skull, without making it look like un-highlighted silver straight from the pot. To achieve this, a thin coat of Leadbelcher was applied and then overpainted with Boltgun metal (OOP, can probably be achieved by lightening Leadbelcher with some silver), glazed with Drakenhof Nightshade, then more Boltgun was applied, and fine highlights added in Stormhost Silver. A similar technique was used on the bronze areas, but with a wash of Druchii Violet instead of Nightshade, over Balthasar Gold. Touched up with Sycorax Bronze and a little Runelord Brass. As is becoming standard, bone areas were painted like the Crimson Fist chestplates laid out here.
The cloak was rendered in the traditional Lead Mountain style explained in detail here.
Accompanying her is a slaved and weaponized cyberskull, perhaps the last vestiges of some previous sinful paramour, or a signal warning to the prospective accumulator, cadged from the bitz boxes. His original cast-on ‘flying’ stand was clipped away and replaced with a couple of short pieces of guitar string, which (if memory serves) may have been looted from the instrument of a GW Studio artist. (No names, for this scribe cannot recall if he asked first…)
A truly enjoyable miniature to paint, even the actual Widow was taken with her (and is responsible for all hair colour suggestions).
There is some debate about how sensible it might be to wear Powered High Heels and boobplate to the average battlefield, but the Scribes thinking is thus: In the Grimdark future, where there is only war it seems likely that attire must be functional in more than one role. The fashion-conscious Inquisitor-about-town must be dressed for both formal appearances at the Governor’s Ball, and cleansing the heretic and unbeliever. Similarly, the line between battlegear and casual wear is blurred at best, with many notable individuals demonstrating all manner of obscure life-support equipment in battle and off the field. There is no need to assume that the Inquisitor even has an intact body, female or otherwise under her armour, which is obviously crafted to have a visual as well as technical aspect, unlike the more workman-like space marine power armour. In other words, it’s not worth stressing over.
Like Moorcock’s Eternal Champion, the Lead Widow exists in all the multiverse, past present and future, so expect to see other iterations of her disapproving majesty hereabouts from time to time.