Next up is Ana Polanšćak from the dark Gardens of Hecate and her Cult of the Possessed.
From the start, when I picked the Possessed Cult as my warband, I wanted to make them scary and uncomfortable. Many of my projects are more aesthetically driven, but this is one of those that are more conceptual, I guess. Usually when I want to create something scary, I start from my personal fears and anxieties. What I came up with for the warband was: a group of hyperviolent fanatics; people who cannot be reasoned with, who are way off balance, and whether this state is reversible is highly questionable. Then I was asked to make another warband for the project. I first thought I’d be making something else (undead Skaven!), but eventually I decided to go for another band of fanatics to form a diptych with the Possessed. My Witch Hunters don’t function in exactly the same way as their perpetual foes, but essentially, they make me feel the same.
So, hyperviolent, aggressive fanatics; this is the core concept I needed to communicate through the way the minis looked. The cultist models’ warped poses suggest erratic movement, their simple weapons unsophisticated brutality, and the filth-encrusted naked bodies complete disregard for their own health and safety. There is this primal note, especially with the mad, towering Possessed and the priapic Beastmen.
There are several visual similarities between the two cults in play, but I’ll just highlight this one here: in both warbands, their faces – or more significantly their eyes – are not visible. Some have crude masks, some hoods, and some have revealed faces, but their eyes are hollow and black and uncanny. This reads as a barrier to communication, to understanding. No dialogue can be established between them and their victims, no negotiation had or compassion shared. Their minds are already made up: there will be blood. So, it’s easy for these two opposing sides to dehumanize each other, and for me as a bystander to dehumanize them both.
Don’t get me wrong, these guys are not allegories, metaphors, or whatever. Just embodiments of certain notions that give me, as an individual, an uncomfortable feeling in my gut. But most importantly, they’re supposed to be cool, atmospheric minis to look at and play with.