Questoris Household: Makabius

Rebooting my Questoris Knights for Heresy 2.0

The new Liber Mechanicum has tweaked how knights are organised, which feels like a great excuse to get my Makabius Questoris and Armigers out of the cabinet and into some Age of Darkness games. Not that I need much of an excuse because let’s be honest, Knight Households look awesome on the tabletop.

Fun fact: Original plan for this project was to paint ‘House Taranis’ as a loyalist allied detachment. Only it turns out Taranis had a completely different colour palette during the Horus Heresy, which I didn’t like as much as the red version. Instead, I pivoted to the traitor household Makabius. Partially because I loved the scheme and the Forgeworld decal sheet, but also because they paired well with Mortarion’s Death Guard thematically. Turns out I never progressed with making the fourteenth legion in to a fighting force, but Makabius did grow to include five knight models which I had loads of fun building and painting.

Divisio Tactica: Questoris Household 2.0

The units below were all built for the original Age of Darkness rules and Crusade Imperialis publication (the Red Books). This permitted a range of knight chassis to be taken and the force organisation was determined by the ‘rank’ of each pilot, be that Seneschal or Lord Scion for the HQ, Preceptor and Aucteller for the elite ranks and Scions Martial or Aspirant for the troops.

Under the new ruleset from Liber Mechanicum this is somewhat simplified. Armiger Talons are basically troop choices and all other knight classes are considered a Lord of War. To create your household force organisation you are able to select a single Lord of War choice from the full list for every ‘two’ troop choices. Minimum as usual is two. I actually like this approach as it encourages light Knight chassis like the Armiger Helverin and Warglaive to be taken in the list and as each Talon has a base of just a single Armiger, the minimum force organisation can be met from just a single Armiger box and a Questoris Knight. Ranks are then assigned as upgrades to the Lord of War choices to give them access to character sub-types and certain special rules.

So how did the changes impact my original list? Fortunately I already had a single box of Armiger Warglaive assembled to go alongside the three Questoris Knights, so that covered my mandatory selection. To include the other two Questoris I’ve already painted I will need to purchase two additional Armiger boxes at some stage in the future, but as I was looking to include some Helverins anyway this isn’t a big deal and makes a much more rounded looking collection when all together.

Knight Questoris #1

Under the new rules arming Knights is super simple now. Pick a class and that chassis makes other weapon upgrades possible. Basically all ‘Questoris’ Knights start as a base ‘Paladin’ (to use the old edition terminology) and are armed with a battle cannon and reaper chainsword. Either of these can be swapped out and in the case of mine I replaced the chainsword with an Avenger gatling cannon and added a Carapace mounted Icarus autocannon.

The new approach massively encourages magnetising all weapon hardpoints and in truth this was the approach I took with all of these plastic kits from day one.

Tip: For the carapace weapon if you have a strong enough cylinder magnet it can be attached under the hardpoint before you glue the carapace down. I mounted mine with some additional greenstuff to make sure it was not going to ever come loose and rattle around inside the chassis. This means if you choose not to include a carapace weapon option the model still looks great with no nasty naked magnets spoiling the appearance stuck to the top.

Painted Questoris Knight in house Makabius colours

Knight Questoris #2

My second Questoris is tooled for more up-close encounters with enemy armour or other Knights. I kept the Reaper chainsword and paired it with a Thermal cannon for some extra spice. Up top I’ve given it an Ironstorm missile pod for the carapace mount. I picked it for looks and variety, but in truth even as ordinance with a nice large blast template it’s pretty underwhelming strength wise in a battle where you are mostly going to be be facing legion ceramite and lots of 2+ armour saves.

Fortunately the inclusion of magnets on all hardpoints make this something easily remedied in the future.

Of the three Questoris I’ve built so far, this is probably my favourite. The pose came out as the most dynamic, but it’s the markings and weathering I’m most pleased with, especially the pauldron armour. The oils went on really nicely and gave the plates an almost polished lustre that contrasts nicely with the desaturated blue.

Painted Questoris Knight in house Makabius colours

Knight Questoris #3

Knight three has both my favourite faceplate and melee weapon in the Thunderstrike gauntlet. The Reaper chainsword is cool and all, but this thing literally looks like it could peel a Spartan open like a tin can with max strength, great armour penetration and sunder. I really want to see how this performs in game. The Avenger gatling cannon and carapace Stormspear pod aren’t too shabby either. My only reservation with the loadouts for all three Questoris is they are versatile rather than specialised. I may be tempted when I redo the list to swap around some of the weapons to make them much more anti-infantry or anti-armour, but not both on same Knight. That way they can be tasked more efficiently.

The only other thing I would change now, which I would do on all of them is the base. I was rushing to complete all five to use as a stand-by force for an event, so the bases are really uninspiring. Nothing that can’t be fixed through the addition of some additional pigment tones to break up the flat mono-palette so one to get added to the future “to-do” list.

Painted Questoris Knight in house Makabius colours

Armiger Warglaive talon

The warglaives are literally the ‘only’ truly compulsory unit in the list as the Lords of War are all optional (Note: this only applies to Questoris Households, not Mechanicum who follow a more conventional setup). These were added when the kit was first launched and in retrospect I would probably have amped up the bases a lot, which I mentioned earlier and I think the palette didn’t work quite as well as it did on the larger surface areas the Questoris kits offered. When I add the Helverins I think I will adjust the blue in particular to go much lighter in the highlights and push the contrast far more. This should give me more room to add the weathering. To the eye the palette is actually a near perfect match to their larger cousins but it just lost some of that when photographed in isolation.

I may also try some palette splitting across the carapace armour on the Helverins as well to further differentiate, or add another element. The nice thing about these being larger models in general is it let’s me evolve the scheme as I add new units.

What’s next?

To field Makabius as a primary detachment in any games I need to include an additional four Armigers should I want to use all three current Questoris at same time. That would make the list approximately 2k+ which is fairly average sized game. It’s not a primary force I want to field often given I don’t know how much fun it will be to play, or more importantly face. But I think against either a mechanicum list, or better still another Questoris Household could be a fun encounter.

With that in mind my immediate plans are to pick up two more boxes to add some Helverins and their Phaeton autocannons. With AP rounds having both sunder and rending they bring a bit more ranged versatility compared to the Warglaive and fill the next four troop slots unlocking my other two Questoris. I do have a couple more Questoris kits I believe in reserve, but I feel they would be better employed on the loyalist side as an allied detachment. The seeds of an idea is already germinating to use them as part of a “Siege of Terra” themed list, but that is going to be for another day and future project.