Miniature Games, Tabletop Games

Shards of the Space Gods: Alternative C’Tan Miniatures

As work continues apace on Phase 2 of my Necron army for Games Workshop’s ninth edition of Warhammer 40,000, my eyes have wandered to Phase 3 and, more distantly, to Phase 4. Phase 4 will contain another couple of vehicles – or, perhaps, some Destroyers – and some units, but the most important part will be the C’Tan.

The C’Tan were the space gods that once fed upon and enslaved the Necrons. As The War in Heaven drew to a close, the Necrons turned on the war-weary and weakened C’Tan and broke them into shards. Now, ambitious or foolish Necron Lords use these shards as weapons, unleashing these avatars of once-mighty stargods upon their enemies. Cool, no?

Current Miniatures

Now, there are a few C’Tan models already available. The first two of these are The Nightbringer and The Deceiver (now known as Shard of the Nightbringer and Shard of the Deceiver, respectively). Both of these are interesting character but the miniatures are quite dated, being released with the 3rd edition Necrons codex back in, what, 2002? Judge for yourself:

Still cool, of course, but a little underwhelming when compared with the rest of the new Necron range. The Nightbringer, slightly generic though he is, has held up better. The Deceiver looks a bit goofy to me. I might pick these up, but they’re only available in resin just now, and Games Workshop’s resin does not have a good track record in terms of quality. I’ve been told the resin Nightbringer generally goes together fine, but more people have reported issues with the more complex Deceiver model.

Next, was the Transcendent C’Tan, the ‘generic’ C’Tan. This miniature is only available in the Tesseract Vault/Obelisk kit. If you build the kit as a Tesseract Vault, the C’Tan forms part of that model. If you build as an Obelisk, then you are left with the Transcendent C’Tan and can base him up and field him as his own wee unit. The problem here is that if I were to buy this kit, and it’s an expensive kit, then I would probably build it as a Tesseract Vault, and so would not have the model spare to field on its own. Also, take a look at the model…

Transcendent C’Tan

It’ a bit… silly. Actually, taking a closer look at it now, and picking out the detail, it’s not quite as bad as I remember it being. The fact remains, however, that it comes with an expensive kit and, even if I were to buy it, I’d build that kit in such a way that I would not have this chap spare to base individually.

Finally, let’s take a look at the newest model. The Void Dragon is being released this weekend. This is a character that has a lot of fans in the community, and one that people were really hoping that Games Workshop would explore. Sure enough, it’s here and it’s gorgeous:

Yup. That’s just beautiful. He’s not what I expected at all, actually. I thought we’d get something more mechanical or more draconic. Yet, when I see him, I do detect both elements in his design. It won’t be in the near future, but I do want one of these.

Alternative Miniatures

Now, the C’Tan represent a fantastic opportunity to bring very different miniatures into your Necron army. In fact, given how old two of the miniatures are, and how ugly a third is, there are pretty good reasons to pick up a proxy miniature or two. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some potential options. In each case, I’ll share the link, an image, and then my thoughts on the miniature.

I should say that not all miniatures are quite the right height and may need some elaboration on the bases to bring the height up.

Eidolon of Mathlann – Aspect of the Storm by Games Workshop:

From the Idoneth Deepkin range for Age of Sigmar, the Eidolon of Mathlann is an impressive mini. It’s tall enough to fill the role, but comes on a base that is a bit bigger than needed. I’m sure, with a bit of jiggery pokery, you could get it onto a 60mm base to match the Ascendant C’Tan. I think there are a few things that will need done to really make it look the part. Maybe a head swap? Perhaps an alternative blade on that spear? You could turn it into a scythe, or just have a generally more ‘Necron’ blade. You’d also need to clear the base of all the sea life, possibly by replacing them with a bunch of Scarabs. Yeah, there’s real potential here, though at £75 the price is a little prohibitive.

Lady Olynder, Mortarch of Grief by Games Workshop:

I don’t know that C’Tan have gender, but this would definitely be a more feminine option. This could be used as either, again, a Transcendent C’Tan, but it could also be a cool and thematic Nightbringer. The supplied base is the right size for the Transcendent C’Tan, but it could easily fit onto a 40mm base to act as a Nightbringer. As above, there’s a bit of work needing done. Again, I’d add a nice, Necronny blade to the staff, most likely making some sort of scythe. The little ghosts that accompany her could be kept, but maybe given new faces. Wraith faceplates, perhaps? I really like this model, and at £27.50, it’s quite reasonable.

Morghast Archai by Games Workshop:

So, at £37.50 for a pack of two, this option represents pretty good value, and they do come on the 60mm bases required for the Transcendent C’Tan. I’ve seen a few people say that they have used these guys as C’Tan, some of whom have converted the head and/or the weapon. Personally, I think they look a bit rough for C’Tan, and I prefer them looking a bit more human. That said, these guys and the whole Ossiarch Bonereapers line, can look at home in a Necron army. As an aside, here are three other characters from the line that would great as Crypteks:

How beautiful are these guys? The first would make a really nice Lord or Overlord, whilst the other two would function very well as some flavour of Cryptek. I think I’d like to pick these up somewhere down the line, as the whole Canoptek theme really appeals to me.

Nightmare Predator Endless Spell by Games Workshop:

Again, this is a model that I see other people using. It would be appropriate for either a Nightbringer or a Transcendent C’Tan. It would fit comfortably on a 60mm base, as it comes on a 60mm oval one. What I’ve seen others do, and what I would also do, it maybe add something to the chest to make it fit better into the Necron theme. Perhaps some sort of armour, a glyph, whatever. The box of Endless spells costs £25. It comes with another two spells. The one that looks like a bird is probably not going to be much use, but the other one could find use as an objective marker or something.

Mourngul by Games Workshop (Forgeworld):

This was a popular model in Nighthaunt armies a couple of years back. At £39 it’s pretty reasonable for Forgeworld, and would make a fantastic Nightbringer or Transcendent C’Tan. It has that ethereal vibe that I’m looking for, but is also brutal and aggressive. I’m not sold on the horse, but there are plenty of pics of people replacing it with a rock, a pile of skulls, or the like. This is a strong choice, but what puts me off a little is the lack of any sort of armour that I can blend into my army scheme.

K’Daai Fireborn by Games Workshop (Forgeworld):

At £45 for three models, this is another set that has pretty good value. I really like these miniatures as they combine cool armour and that lovely fiery texture. These would all look good as Transcendent C’Tan, and there’s some pretty nice artwork out there of fiery C’Tan. of course, you don’t have to paint them as real fire, and can instead go purple, or green, or whatever as ethereal flame, perhaps turning one into a Nightbringer. The model above is even posed the same way as the Nightbringer. Just, again, maybe switch out the weapon for a scythe or something.

The Star God by Master Crafted Miniatures:

The first of our non-GW options, this is a miniature that is clearly intended to be used as a C’Tan. It has a similar aesthetic to the existing miniatures, looking like a large, statuesque human. It would be suitable to be used as Transcendant C’Tan or as the Deceiver. I think it’s more intended as the latter because it comes on a 40mm base, as the original Deceiver miniature did. This is a resin miniature that is very reasonably priced at £18.

Dementor by Knight Models:

From the Harry Potter Miniatures Game, the Dementor miniature is pretty much perfect as an imposing alternative to the Nightbringer. The faceless head is particularly good, and the post is wonderful. I love the almost gentle way he seems to be floating forwards as his robes billow behind with ethereal lightness. At £33.50 he’s not too badly priced, either.

Banshee by Rage Craft:

Another feminine option, the Banshee is a beautiful miniature that captures the chiselled, statuesque feel of the existing C’Tan models. She’s pretty tall (96mm without base), but she’d also quite narrow, meaning that she’d work as a Deceiver on a 40mm base or a Transcendent C’Tan on a 60mm one. She’s not cheap, costing €38.90, but she’s also very nice, very detailed and very large. The cost is pretty justified, really. This is a very strong option. I think, to capture to majesty of the C’Tan, I’d probably for for the first, more elaborate head option, with the wings and flame. I think it looks more the part than the hear would on the other head.

Storm Knight by Kingdom Death:

I love this miniature. It’s not the best fit from the models in this post, but it’s still gorgeous. I love the idea of doing the armour in the same sandstone scheme that’s used for the rest of my army, which would really make the billowing smoke effects pop when done in nice, bright colours. I’m not sure about a cost for this model, as Kingdom Death itself is insanely expensive and I’m sure that all of the cheaper copies of this model that I am seeing online are recasts. If you can get hold of the model, it’s definitely cool and it would make a nice Transcendent C’Tan.

Death Elemental by Creature Caster:

Creature Caster make some really incredible models. This would clearly make a beautiful Nightbringer, but something to consider is that you will really have to field him on a larger base. Seeing side-by-side pictures, this model is twice the height of the Nightbringer and quite a bit wider. It’s not cheap, setting you back a princely £56.40, but it’s a real centrepiece model. It will tower over your army, impressive and imposing. I feel like I am trying to talk myself into buying this, so I’m going to move on before I succeed…

The Watcher by Kingdom Death:

Another Kingdom Death miniature, The Watcher would obviously make a wonderful Nightbringer if painted appropriately. By that I obviously mean dark and deathlike. Now, if you wanted to go a different direction, I think you could have a lot of fun making a Transcendent C’Tan out of this, downplaying the Nightbringer looks and going for a more asian-inspired set of robes. Red, jade green, anything colourful. All the better if you can then freehand on a nice pattern. As with the Storm Knight, price is difficult as I’m sure that most of the copies I’m seeing online at reasonable prices are recasts, rather than originals. If you can find it, it would be a really cool option.

All in all, there are loads of great alternative C’Tan miniatures out there and I’m looking forward, once my Phase 3 models are complete, to finding one or more for myself. I’m genuinely not sure what I’d go for at the moment. What about you?

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