Wargaming Tradecraft: Nightstalkers: Sutter's Nightmare (King's of War)


Nightstalkers: Sutter's Nightmare (King's of War)

I've been meaning to post this project for a while, as I painted this army up over the winter. It's tabletop quality, not like my usual Hordebloods level of detail, but it's completed and I'm happy with it!

One of the things I'd looked forward to with this army was creating scenic bases, rather than individual models. It's a new way to create your miniatures and allows you to combine terrain making with basing.

I took this idea a step further using inspiration from a scene on one of my favorite scary movies, In the Mouth of Madness. (Which also stars one of my favorite actors, Sam Neill and directed by the legendary John Carpenter.) In this scene, reality tears and Neill stares into the void. It's a simple concept but it added extra flavour to my bases.

This won't be a tutorial - that will come later. But I will discuss concepts and details.

OK, so - goals:

  • I wanted the army to be completed in a reasonable amount of time.
    • This meant tabletop quality.
    • To paint them quick and still highlight detail, I tried out the new Games Workshop Contrast Paints.
  • I wanted it to appear as if they'd come from the pages of an occult book.
    • For these I printed pages from the Necronomicon onto light yellow paper and covered in paint to age them.
  • Not just coming from the pages, but tearing through reality. Blurring the lines between what's real and fiction. Is the book merely a portal into our world? Or is the world a reality woven from the words in the book?
    • To execute this, all the bases have some level of detail where reality is literally being "torn" open to reveal an inky black void on the other side of the pages of the book.
    • The book is created by gluing down portions of the Necronomicon which are ripped outwards.
  • Void
    • The inky blackness is made from Heavy Sculpting Gel mixed with Black Gesso and covered in matte varnish. (Some of the void creatures are created the same way, either covering an existing form or with a wire skeleton.)
  • For the colours, I'm working with a limited palette:
    • Browns and yellows for the core of the creatures, with accents of red and white tipped weapons.
    • Terrain is primarily rendered in the green spectrum, (Grass, leaves and stone.) with some brown dirt and paths, small red rose bushes and some yellow hay and flowers.
    • Even the water is coloured green and to keep the limited palette I've used white sand / shells for all the shore and lake features.
  • Sturdy Scenic Bases
    • Each unit has a thin wooden base.
    • Most units have 3D printed structures that I designed myself to build the form of the terrain they're built upon.
  • Tokens needed to stand out from the rest of the army somehow so they don't blend in.
    • I ended up going with blue, taking a line from the movie where the author makes everything change to blue, his favorite colour, to prove the control he has over the world.
    • Tokens were also 3D printed.
Overall I feel I executed a nice army with a warm colour scheme on a cool backdrop with strong white accents.

Below, you can see the full army. Click through for more army photos and individual shots and descriptions.

They Live!

Full Army Photo

Partial Army Photos

Gaming Aids

So, Kings of War isn't a card-based game system, but I ended up cutting down and laminating copies of the rules from the book so that each unit has a rule card that fits in a standard card box. I also took a white card box and airbrushed it in my army colours.

Again, using blue to stand out from the rest of my army. The tokens themselves were 3D printed, airbrushed and I glued anti-slip padding to the bottom of them.

Nothing super-fancy about the dice, though they're black and a little sparkly to create a void appearance.

Individual Photos


I used some ghosts from a GW Undead box set and covered them in void, tearing through a wheat field.

This fake wheat is really difficult to work with. I found the trick was to get bunches together, place a drop of glue in the MIDDLE, then once it dries just cut it in half. I also used a paintbrush to apply some of the void on these, to keep a level of facial and body structure.


Who doesn't like a bunch of angry tentacles??? Well, I suppose anyone on the other side of these wire-frame, void-covered wreckers of reality.

What's neat here is that entire grass-covered section on the left unit is just paper bulging upward, the base is way down below. There's like... 20? tentacles on each base though and they hold the paper really well. To avoid making a mess, I started with just the wires sticking straight up, covered in void, THEN brought the paper down on them after it all dried. Then I was able to bend all the tentacles into position and add more void to blend them together. I used a small siphon/tube to push water effect into the hard to reach areas. Also, to build on the "reality torn asunder" instead of just a hill, I glued some of the rosebushes on sideways to suggest things are wrong.


The muscle of my army.. they sure do look the part.

For a few of these, I cut off limbs to make them fit in tight spaces and extended void out as the creatures leave the abyss.

Butcher Fleshripper

A hero Butcher, it's only fitting that he's dragging the skin of a victim along, chained up as the ground itself opens up to swallow it.

To built up the mouth swallowing the victim, it's many thin layers of sculpting gel, pulled up and allowed to dry. The body is actually the form of a person, 3D printed with clear resin, heated up and melted into form, then washed red. I think it turned out..... just OK. Others seem to think it looks like a tongue.


This is a unit that changes into their opponents in combat to use their offensive stat lines. So, I made the unit out of miniatures from a variety of places to demonstrate this.


This mounted wraith is exploding from a row of rosebushes.


These are a bunch of individual spellcasters and I wanted to represent each of the tilesets within my army.

Horror Riftweavers

OK, quick story... so Nightstalkers meta changed from 2nd to 3rd edition. You used to want lots of Horrors and then in 3rd... you don't need the 7 that came in the starter box. So the game was like "OK, here's a Monster called Horror Riftweavers but just glue 5 Horrors to the base." Well, that wasn't good enough for me. If the spellcasting support model has a "Monster" version and it's "weaving" a "rift", then I'm going to sculpt what that summoned rift monster is!

Wireframe skeleton and LOTS of void gel.


Swimming in from the ocean, this swarm of teeth and sticky appendages is ready to devour!

The full water base was made from an acrylic form glued together, everything placed inside, then filled with a clear resin mixed with some GW Camoshade wash. (Not the product you're supposed to use to colour the resin, but it worked - I poured a test first to make sure.) I definitely learned to pour resin outside in the future... the basement wasn't far enough away....


These were fun to make.. they fly, so I put Void under them. I really like how I built them coming from the trees and they fill the base well. I cut the bottom half off the one in the center and brought void in from the sides, coalescing into him.


Really proud of this guy. Story is, Shades are created when two Phantoms combine to kill themselves. I wanted to portray that.

I cut a Phantom into thirds, then used void to piece it back together.

Also cut a deep slice into my thumb while working on this guy in a moment of foolishness... it bled. A lot. Apparently, enough blood and peroxide creates a lot of heat.

Portal of Despair

There isn't a model for this, so it's all custom. A 3D printed structure covered in the Necronomicon, with a wireframe void beast pushing it's way into our reality while the ground caves in before it. Tried to keep the style similar to other Nightstalkers.

Inspiring Token

The Portal of Despair can Inspire a unit every turn. So, I made a token on a round base and blue out of a Reaper chibi scarecrow. If you ask me, kind of ended up looking like an evil Inspector Gadget.


Scything death creatures screaming out of the forest!

The structure AND the trees are 3D printed. Also notice the one up on the branches.

Reaper Souldrinker

Having some fun with the quick-stabby-ness of Reapers, I have this guy dodging into a void tear in a stump and appearing / jumping back out of the tear from above his target.


What great miniatures. At first I thought they didn't fit with the rest of the army, but man I like how they turned out. Also, notice the one holding his pumpkin head.


Also attacking from the shore, I've used a frosted sheet of acrylic to create a place in the air along the back of the base that can support portals as if the hounds are jumping in from thin air.

Did a lot of cutting up of these to make them crawling and jumping out of their portals.


Riding forth, bursting from a stream and flying out of the void!

To make these mounted ladies, I took undead GW knights and used vampiress bodies with the knight weapons. I covered their horses in void, because I didn't want them to look like I'd just used undead models.


This unit is trash, but I made at least one and I like their look. Too bad they're garbage.


Ripping through reality from a fountain that's being torn asunder as the void crashes through!

Such a great model! Detail kind of falls off on the tentacles though. I cut him in half, which was quite a chore, but pays off to be able to see him morphing from the center of the base. (Though I kind of wish I'd based him back a little further to reduce his tentacular overhang.) His drool was made from strands of fiber optics (From a dollar store toy.) glued into place and covered with heavy gel. (The clear fiber actually disappears within the gel, so it all pulls together nicely.)

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