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Trench Crusade: Communicant anti-tank hunter

Created by James Sherriff

32mm grimdark miniatures set in the horrors of the Trench Crusade. Important note: * THE PRE-ORDER STORE IS NOW CLOSED

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Glad tidings, pilgrims!
4 months ago – Tue, Oct 31, 2023 at 05:52:28 AM

Anointed ones! A messenger arrives bearing glad tidings… The SioCast thermoplastic has finally arrived! Forge monks of New Antioch have been roused from prayer and assigned to their manufactory posts… casting has now recommenced at the Zealot foundry! Praise be. 

Your patience through these trying times has been incredible – your stalwart support so much appreciated, you cannot imagine. Not gonna lie, it has been pretty stressful these past three months waiting for the plastic to arrive, especially not knowing when it was likely to appear (after numerous promises of “next week” from SioCast). So thank you all for standing by us and for trusting us to get this campaign fulfilled. :) 

I’m just waiting to get some new timescales from Zealot Miniatures and am also keeping the fulfilment companies (Spiral Galaxy Games and Ironheart Artisans) informed throughout. This delay unfortunately, if understandably, had a knock-on effect with them, since they blocked out shipping time slots for us which they have subsequently had to try to fill up with other work. 

Once I have the new timescales, I can talk to Spiral and Ironheart about their next available shipping slots. I will update everyone as soon as I have more info on that, but Ironheart (US fulfilment) have informed me that their next available slot is currently in December. The SioCast delay has had such a knock-on effect, it is most vexing. Apologies once again – be assured the miniatures are coming!

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Also in this update:

  • STL link closing tomorrow
  • Our first painted 3D prints
  • A special announcement…

STL link closing tomorrow (1st November)

Our small gesture of gratitude to our long-suffering yet faithful backers (the download link for six Trench Crusade miniatures) will be closing tomorrow, 1st November. If anyone has had any problems downloading/accessing the files, please get in touch and I will do my best to assist.

As per the previous update, all we humbly ask is that you do not share the STLs. These are for backers’ personal use only. Here’s the link again for anyone who missed it. We hope you enjoy them!

Trench Crusade STLs 

We have our first painted 3D prints from a backer!

Pilgrims! Behold the righteous zeal of one of our flock! Bastian (abyshaii on Instagram) has downloaded, printed and painted the Communicant and Ammo Monk! Witness their splendour and weep with joy, pilgrims, as they march to the front to lay waste to all that is unholy.

Communicant and Ammo Monk painted by Bastian (abyshaii on Instagram).

Special announcement: Dave Gallagher joins the Crusade!

We are excited to announce that the titanic legend Dave Gallagher (Dave Gallagher Art) will be creating some artwork for Trench Crusade!

Dave really needs no introduction. He spent years making some of the most memorable Warhammer, 40K and Mordheim artwork (Mike is particularly partial to his weird but wonderful Empire citizens). Dave has a truly unique imagination and we are blessed he has agreed to make some artwork for us.

This is a teaser of Dave’s artwork for the Trench Crusade rulebook – much more to come!

++Art by Dave Gallagher++

Page furniture for the forthcoming Trench Crusade rulebook by Dave Gallagher.

That is all for now, pilgrims. Apologies once more for the delays but thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support, fortitude and understanding! You all rock.

See you in the trenches.

James

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Addendum…

Links for the Faithful:

Trench Crusade - Facebook 

Trench Crusade - Instagram 

Casting update
4 months ago – Thu, Oct 19, 2023 at 01:19:08 PM

Trench pilgrims! News from the Front…

In this update:

  • SioCast delays
  • A small gesture from us
  • Locking shipping addresses
  • The Lion of Jabir
Artillery Battery by Artem Demura

SioCast delays

In our last update, we mentioned that SioCast had delayed a large order of thermoplastic for Zealot Miniatures (our caster) to continue casting the many thousands of miniatures required for Trench Crusade. Zealot placed this order almost THREE MONTHS AGO now, but they are still waiting for SioCast to send it. This is most vexing and probably very disappointing for you to hear – it certainly is for us! We can only apologise profusely for the long delay caused by them. It is totally out of our hands (and our caster’s) which is so frustrating.

SioCast have been pretty vague and disappointing in their replies, and we have often had to wait for responses to multiple emails, with excuses ranging from staff vacations to disruptions in SioCast’s operations (apparently due to “changes in their purchasing and logistics department”). They assure us that they have resolved these matters now.

SioCast’s CEO emailed Zealot last night to apologise for the delays and he said that the material will be shipped out today (19th October). SioCast are in Spain, Zealot are in the UK, so hopefully this will take no more than a week. Let us hope that this time, the shipment actually arrives (a previous shipment was apparently returned at customs) and there are no customs delays. 

This all sadly amounts to a further extension to the timeframe, I am extremely sorry to say. We are extremely frustrated by SioCast’s poor customer service and can only apologise – once again – for yet another delay. If we could source the thermoplastic from elsewhere, we would, but it is a special formula devised by SioCast to work specifically with their machines. This means we have no choice but to order material from them – there is simply nowhere else to get it.

We have updated our fulfilment centres accordingly – Spiral Galaxy Games (UK, EU & RoW) and Ironheart Artisans (US) – regarding the SioCast delay. This obviously has a knock-on effect with our shipping centres, since they blocked out time slots for us, which they understandably now have to try to fill up with other work. The knock-on effect caused by the delay has been wearisome for everyone.

All this means that, whilst I originally planned to go to Zealot a while ago to collect a first batch of miniatures, I am still not able to do this as we still need close to 10,000 miniatures from this first batch to send to our fulfilment centres. Rest assured that as soon as they are ready, I’ll be zooming down to Zealot to collect them, quality check them and then send the entire batch on to the fulfilment centre. I will of course update you again when I have more information. Rest assured, you WILL get your miniatures!

A small gesture from us

Because you have all been such amazing, patient and understanding backers, we wanted to offer a small something to say thank you. It is not much, but please find a download link below for six miniatures for our glorious backers (communicant, ammo monk, combat medic, witchburner, trench pilgrim and observer). These are unsupported STL files, so if you’d like to print them (for personal use only, of course!) then feel free – you’d just need to add the supports yourself for your specific 3D printer.

Trench Crusade files 

All we ask is that you please do not share them. These are for backers’ personal use only. We will leave the Dropbox link open until the end of October, which should hopefully give you time to download them. We hope you enjoy them!

Locking shipping addresses

Just a little heads up, pilgrims. We haven’t locked shipping addresses yet, since production has not quite finished, but we will be looking to lock addresses nearer the time when we are ready to start shipping. This gives anyone who may be moving over the next couple of weeks a bit of time to change their address. When we are ready to lock, we will update you here, plus you’ll get a 48 hour notification email from BackerKit.

And now for a new concept by Mike for the forthcoming Trench Crusade skirmish game…

Lion of Jabir

In the fabled Sultanate of the Iron Wall, deep beneath the golden gardens of Damascus, through the Cavern of the Sleeper, and past the Seven Gates of Potentiality, are the vast laboratories and metaphysical factories of the Alchemists.

Using the mysterious Jabirean process called takwin, the alchemists are able to create artificial life, and produce all manner of strange and wondrous beasts and automatons to delight the masses of the souk and grace the gardens of the Sultan.

Deeper still, in the darkest and most secret reaches of the alchemy complex, past the Seven Hidden Gates of Actuality, are the sanctums where the art and science of takwin is honed to its most keen and deadly purpose. Here they make the dreaded Lions of Jabir.

Named after the deadly hunters of the plains, the Lions of Jabir can take many forms, not all of them leonine. Each one is a unique masterwork, and they are grown according to the skills and artistry of the Jabirean scientist that created them. The esoteric arts the alchemagi employ are learned through study of forbidden Books of Solomon, and many alchemists are killed when their experiments fail or run amok. However, the Lions are in desperate demand by the army of Sultanate, so the program continues, regardless of cost and casualties.

Creating the Lions of Jabir is extremely difficult, and there are endless variables to consider. Because of this the Lions are often malformed in some way. Though still magnificent hunters in war, their malformations often cause their existence to be one of constant physical pain and suffering. The truly tragic cases are the Lions created with human-like intelligence, who are wracked with existential dread as they realise the horror of their unnatural origins.

In battle the Lions of Jabir are deadly threats and are used as a vanguard of the host of the Sultanate. The Sultan himself has a hunting pack of seventy-seven enormous Lions of Jabir that guard him day and night, and accompany him on the battlefield. The speed and ferocity of the Lions is nearly unmatched, and some even have strange powers granted by their alchemical birth. Many have armour melded with the flesh and fashioned from alchemical metals, etched with cryptic seals and sigils, and richly embellished by the Alchemists to hide the defects in their creations.

++Art by Mike Franchina++

A Lion of Jabir.

Well, that’s it for this update. Sorry again for the delays but thank you so much for your support, patience and understanding! We’ve had so many messages of support it is truly humbling. You are amazing.

See you in the trenches.

Casting update + call to pilgrims who haven't completed their surveys
5 months ago – Mon, Sep 18, 2023 at 03:09:10 AM

“And in the hour of wrath, the heavens wept blood, for the swords of the wicked descended upon the innocent, their cries unheard and their souls lost in the abyss.” - Book of Lamentations 3:16

Greetings, pilgrims! I trust you have been practicing your liturgies of battle and your feet are now suitably hardened from your pilgrimage to The Front.

Firstly, an apology for not posting sooner – it has been a while since the previous update! My attentions have been on multiple aspects of fulfilment, from quality control to customer services, rearranging shipping arrangements with fulfilment companies (due to the previous delay in production – please see prior update) and regular communication with Zealot Miniatures (including a delay with SioCast – details on that below).

Then there is the small matter of working on the Trench Crusade game, sculpting new miniatures for that, going through the details of production with manufacturers, marketing, customer relations… Oh, and whilst this is going on, I’m still working freelance in order to pay the bills!

But I am getting there. We are getting there. Sorry it is taking longer than originally envisaged, but we are so close now.

In this update:

  • Casting
  • Late surveys & declined cards
  • New multipart Trench Pilgrim sculpt
  • Trench Crusade game – Ways to follow the journey

Casting

Zealot Miniatures have been beavering away in their foundry casting thousands upon thousands of Trench Crusade minis. So much so, that they had to put a huge order in with SioCast for more thermoplastic resin. They placed this order almost two months ago, but they are still waiting for SioCast to send it!

My caster is constantly chasing SioCast and has recently received assurances that the order will finally be shipped from Spain this week (we are in the UK). Unfortunately, due to this delay, production has been affected – meaning that Zealot cannot finish the production run until they receive around £10,000 worth of thermoplastic from SioCast.

This may add another couple of weeks to the timeframe, I am very sorry to say. Personally, I am quite frustrated by this turn of events, especially as it is something outside my control. I can only apologise for the further delay.

This also means that, whilst I originally planned to go to Zealot last month to collect a first batch of miniatures, I am not able to do this probably for another couple of weeks, since I need close to 10,000 miniatures from this first batch to send to one of two fulfilment centres. Again, so sorry for this. All I can do is assure you that as soon as they are ready, I’ll be zooming down to the South West of England to collect them, quality check them and then send the entire batch on to the fulfilment centre. I will update you again when I have more information on this front.

Some of the excellent SioCast castings by Zealot Miniatures, including all three Communicant anti-tank hunter poses.
Close up of the Mendelist ammo monk and combat medic plastic production miniatures.

Late surveys & Declined cards

There are still a few people who have not yet filled out the original BackerKit survey – without this I won’t know what you want or where to send it! I have tried numerous times to contact those people, as have BackerKit, but some are still outstanding.

If you have not completed your survey for any reason, or you have any problems or questions, please drop me a message via Kickstarter or contact BackerKit directly. I don’t want anyone who has backed the Kickstarter to potentially miss out on their miniatures!

Also, we have some backers on BackerKit who have declined cards. This can happen for a number of reasons. Again, we have attempted contact with those people affected – please do get in touch if you are having any issues. Cheers!

New multipart Trench Pilgrim

As part of our preparations for the forthcoming Trench Crusade skirmish game (designed by no less than Mr Mordheim himself, Tuomas Pirinen), I have been busy sculpting new miniatures. We have SO MANY cool new miniatures in the pipeline – very excited!

We’ve always loved the idea of multipart infantry kits, since the variety of parts give you so many options when sticking them together. With the Trench Pilgrims, we want to design a number of parts including different legs, torsos, arms, heads, weapons and relics, all with the aim of providing choice and variety in pose and loadout.

Pictured here is the basic pilgrim in A-pose (with arms at about 45 degrees in relation to the torso). This is still work in progress, with some refining and tweaks to be made here and there, but it should give you a good idea of where we are going with this. Since the model has been sculpted in its component parts (head, torso, legs etc), it will be a lot easier for me to manipulate and pose, with some re-sculpting required here and there – for example at the joints and where the drapery of the fabric needs to be moved about so that it hangs/flows correctly.

Currently, I am sculpting some alternative heads (helmets and bareheaded – medieval bowl cut, anyone?), weapons (rifles, trench clubs, knives), icon shields and so forth. Not only that, but I am also doing a female version of the pilgrim. The intention is to have plenty of variety for players choosing their fodder for the trenches.

Trench Crusade game – Ways to follow the journey

There are several ways you can follow along if you want more info on the forthcoming Trench Crusade skirmish game. Here are some links if you are interested:

Trench Crusade - Facebook 

Trench Crusade - Instagram 

Trench Crusade - Twitter 

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That’s all for now, faithful pilgrims. See you in the next update!

Grim tidings,

James

“Let the trumpets sound and let the banners unfurl, for it is in the violence of war that salvation is gained. From the abyss, the armies of chaos shall rise, and the rivers shall run red with the tears of the forsaken.” - Divinations 17:13

Casting update + Pre-order store closing soon
7 months ago – Mon, Jul 31, 2023 at 01:01:48 PM

“The fires of judgement shall consume the wicked, and the righteous shall be reborn in the light of the Almighty.” - Battle Psalms 17:2

Salutations, pilgrims! In this update:

  • Casting
  • Pre-order store closing soon
  • A brief update on the Trench Crusade skirmish game
  • The Anointed Ones

Casting

The forge zealots have been whipped into a frenzy of dedicated servitude, their flayed flesh testament to their devotion. Communicants are sanctified, Mendelist monks charge their magazines and combat medics sharpen their bone saws. Overseeing the production lines are an increasing number of witchburners, watching grimly on, their thoughts hidden behind iron capirotes.

SioCasting is well under way, and we have recently received some plastic production miniatures, as well as some resin masters from Zealot Miniatures. We are using the SioCast hard plastic, which is very crisp, holding details very close to the resin masters (see the ammo monks comparison photo below). It really is very similar to resin, except it is a lot more resilient to being accidentally knocked off the table!

Resin masters of the Communicant hunter and Mendelist ammo monk.
Some SioCast plastic production samples. Very little in the way of mould lines on these!
Resin master on the left, SioCast plastic production miniature on the right.

There have been a few things to balance/rectify on the casting journey, namely calibration settings for the SioCast machines (that vary depending on the miniature), fine tuning these so that we get the best casting possible. We have had to fix a couple of things along the way, such as thin parts (trigger guards, I’m looking at you!), as well as the clamping pressure to ensure we get minimal mould lines. But we are at a point where things seem to be moving along quite nicely.

Due to the increased volume of miniatures (we are now up to 17,500!), Zealot reckon everything should now be done by October at the latest. We are very sorry that the fulfilment date has been pushed back again, but we had to iron out the small issues to ensure that you will get the very best miniatures possible. It is at this point that I feel the need to mention again that this is the first time we have ever done a project on this scale, so we really hope you understand the need to not rush production so we can do things right.

Having said that, I will be popping down to Zealot before the end of August to collect the first phase of completed miniatures, in order so that we might send out a first batch to backers in September. The second batch would then be October/November. I will have more information on these phases in a future update. As always, any questions let me know in the comments or fire me a message! We are getting very close now. :) 

Pre-order store/late backers (BackerKit)

We plan on closing the pre-order store on 10th August. Once we do this, anyone who placed pre-orders (late backers) will then have their cards charged by BackerKit. This will be for your pre-order plus the relevant shipping fees. This means you have until 10th August to update your card details, change address or your order. Any questions, I am only a message away – just fire one across here on Kickstarter.

If anyone reading this missed out on the Kickstarter, or if you’d like to share the link with your friends, you can jump on the pre-order store here (but only until 10th August!):

https://trench-crusade.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders

A quick Trench Crusade game update

Tuomas has almost completed the quick start rules and, once finished, we will be laying out a quick start pdf that you, our glorious backers, will be the first to have access to. As a quick start guide, this obviously won’t have all of the advanced rules (campaign rules etc.) but it will be more than enough to start playing in the ruins of the crusade! More news soon...

The Anointed Ones

After making great contributions to the Arch-Devils, the Anointed Ones are ordained by their masters in Hell to make pilgrimage to the Lake of Fire. There, on its stinking, oil-choked shores, they meditate and chant, committing sickening rites at the blackened temples that litter its shores. The fires of the lake horribly burn these pilgrims, but they take no notice as they revel in the visions of grandeur bestowed by the twisting black fires.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, some heretics just love burning stuff...

Their heavy armour and weaponry, forged in the Iron Pits, are gifted to them by their wicked masters, and they are granted unholy strength in order to wield them. Flamethrowers filled with pitch from the Lake are particularly valued, and the Anointed Ones take great delight in burning their foes with its supernatural flames.

++No AI was used for this image or will ever be used for any Trench Crusade artwork++

"From the depths of despair, a crusade shall rise, unyielding and relentless. The trenches shall become our cathedral, and the fallen shall be our congregation, baptised in the crimson rivers of salvation." 

- Book of Martyrs 4:16

The Communicants March to War
7 months ago – Wed, Jul 12, 2023 at 01:57:46 PM

Attention pilgrims! You will now be assigned to your unit where you will be met by your Castigator. Remember, no eye contact, obey all orders without hesitation and, whatever you do, never flee from the enemy. Your Castigator will not be best pleased…

I'd like to start by apologising for it being a month since the last update. As usual, I've been running around like a blue-arsed fly (a colloquial phrase used to describe someone engaged in constant, frantic activity or movement), performing what feels like the work of several people in the meagre 24 hours our planet's rotation provides each day. I've been dealing with casters, fulfilment centres, customer services, sculpting, game design, lore, talking to game manufacturers and all manner of other things. Oh, and still working freelance to pay the ever-increasing bills [insert sweaty smiley face here]... The next update should be a lot sooner! Thanks as always for being such a patient bunch :) 

In this update:

  • Communicant alternative poses (finally!)
  • Ammo monk print photos
  • Recent Trench Crusade Facebook updates, for those who missed them (or aren’t on Facebook)

Communicant anti-tank hunter – alternative poses

After receiving scans of the original communicant from Zealot Miniatures (these are scans of the original putty & clay sculpt), these have been cleaned up, chopped up and re-sculpted to form the alternative poses that were made available as stretch goal add-ons during the Kickstarter campaign. These are now with the caster - cut, keyed and being printed as we speak, ready for tool making.

I sent the digital files to Brother Mike, and he produced a very quick render that I think looks rather spiffing! 

Blender render
Communicant alt pose 1
Communicant alt pose 2

Ammo monk prints

Here are some photos I got from Zealot a while back (sorry for not sharing them sooner!). These are the print masters that were used for tool making. The keen-eyed amongst you may have noticed the damage on one of the magazines – Zealot were aware of this and printed extras – rest assured, only the perfect ones will be used for tooling/mould making!

Printed ammo monks!
This chap is straight off the printer, before cleaning. This is the one with the broken magazine, so we won't be using him. Hopefully we'll have some better photos soon!

Miracles & magic (an updated from Tuomas Pirinen, Trench Crusade game designer)

Hail from the scriptoriums of New Antioch. It is I, Lexiographer Tuomas, who brings you a quick overview on how supernatural powers work in the Trench Crusade.

Humans themselves cannot directly wield supernatural powers, but instead certain individuals of great devotion such as Prophets, or those who have pledged their souls to Hell in exchange for power, may call upon their patrons to work miracles and magic.

When including such an individual in your force, you must first choose a Patron. This could be an archangel or a venerated saint such has St. George, the Patron Saint of soldiers and warriors, or a mighty Duke of Hell such as Astaroth. The most devout might even choose the Almighty as their Patron! Depending on your choice, you can then ask for Healing, Blessing or Smiting the Heretic if you follow the path of Heaven, or Torment, Deception, Conjuration and Annihilation if you are a servant of the Evil Ones.

The choice of the Patron also determines how many Power Dice you get to roll when calling upon your Patron. Each power has a difficulty rating you must equal or exceed in order to successfully use the power. However, if you roll 2 or more 1s when attempting to use a power, you will suffer the Wrath of God/Hell! This can lead to your warrior bleeding from many wounds, being knocked over by the powers of the angered Patron, or your opponent gaining bonus dice, your equipment being destroyed or even worse!

Patrons differ from one another in their anger, so calling upon Lucifer has a much greater risk of being betrayed by the Prince of Lies, while a humble Patron Saint might offer far more modest powers of Healing and Blessing, but with much lesser risk to the supplicant.

Pictured below is a Heretic Priest of the 5th Legion, ‘The Serpent Rampant’, whose Patron is Balam, one of the Princes of Hell, devil of avarice, idol worship and immorality.

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In the next update (which should be in the next couple of weeks) we will have more photos and another update on how casting is going. Thanks again for your support and patience, pilgrims!

Cheers,

James

P.S. Here’s the link to the Trench Crusade Facebook page, if you are interested. This page is specifically for the upcoming Trench Crusade skirmish game – Kickstarter updates will of course always be made here, for our amazing backers, first! :) 

https://www.facebook.com/trenchcrusadeofficial