“Something stirred in the shadows; something huge, feral, and hungry. Then, it charged towards us at terrifying speed, eyes ablaze, and wet fangs gleaming in the pale moonlight.
“We ran — as far and as fast as we could. Eventually, I could no longer hear the thing pursuing us and judged we had escaped. Yet, there was no escape from the memory of what I had seen. I had only glimpsed the horrifying face of that creature, but when I did, I knew there was a maddened intelligence behind those yellow eyes. They belonged to a monster, fashioned for awful purpose and doomed to fight its dual nature as part beast and part human.”
The genetic taint of the Genestealer is hardy. An infected human will pass on a strain of the virus to their children, their children’s children, and beyond. Part of the virus will ensure that the infected progeny and their human relatives are bonded together with reinforced ties of love and loyalty. This is how Genestealer Cults gradually establish themselves, utilising expanded family connections over several generations to embed themselves in an unsuspecting society.
An Abomination, also known as a Living Weapon or a Corporaptor Abomini, is a horrendous experimental hybrid of Genestealer and animal. The fourth generation of Genestealer hybrids in the cult are highly intelligent, and see their potent genetic heritage as a weapon to be used in the defence of their brethren. The Primacii leaders, assisted by Thrall scientists, started to experiment with the larger local wildlife and the Genestealer infection. The result of this is often failure, but occasionally an Abomination is produced. These creatures are called ‘Living Weapons’ and kept caged until the cult is endangered. Then they are released at the enemy.
I loved the original Genestealer Cult armies that Games Workshop released in the early 1990s for Warhammer 40,000. The big yellow book, Warhammer Compilation, contained all of the serialised army list information for the Genestealer Cult that they had released in White Dwarf. One of my friends bought it and I would borrow it when I could to read about the Eldar, as I had bought a large army of Eldar miniatures and needed the book to organise them into an army for our games.
However, more and more I found myself reading about the Genestealer Cults. These were such a great opportunity for a gamer and a modeller to make something distinctive and personal.
In between buying Eldar, I managed to pick up a few Genestealer Cult models, but I never really got around to finishing my army and they ended up in a box in the loft after I graduated from university and left my parents’ home to live with my girlfriend.
Some years later, buying a house and getting a proper job enabled me to return to the hobby of collecting and painting miniatures. My collections came out of their boxes and gradually I began painting them — finding I had improved a lot by just being a bit older and more confident.
When I revisited my Genestealer Cult army, I only managed to find a few of the old miniatures. However, I also found that, to my disappointment, Games Workshop had stopped supporting the army in their games, although the Cult still featured prominently in all of their fiction.
From 2009 to 2011, I worked on modelling my own updated Genestealer Cult, collecting lots of the old models from eBay and making new ones. I wrote a completely new Genestealer Cult Codex, updating the old rules and inventing all sorts of new special creatures. One of them was The Abomination.
The model is a Games Workshop Chimera body with a modified Tyranid Carnifex head. The extended cranium at the back was modelled out of kneadatite (‘greenstuff’) to match the extended cranium of Genestealers and Genestealer Patriarchs. The extra scything arms are also from the Carnifex/Hive Tyrant kits.
The hair of the Chimera body proved really useful as a way to make the Abomination distinctly different to the more armoured Monstrous Creatures in Tyranid armies. It also helped mask some of the joins of the different body parts. By rolling kneadatite up into tiny thin strings, I was able to create an extended mass of thick hair around the upper torso and arms.
The base is that of the Chimera, but has been decorated with some of the alien flora that comes with the Genestealer plastic sprues.
I made three of these Abominations, as the Warhammer 40,000 rules of the time were focused around vehicle and Monstrous Creature squadrons of 1–3 units.
In 2016, Games Workshop reintroduced Genestealer Cults to the Warhammer 40,000 gaming table with a new codex and an excellent line of new plastic miniatures. They subsequently released an updated version in January 2019, with a range of new utilitarian vehicles and other models. What’s interesting is that the cult now have bikes and all-terrain buggies, something I had already created back when I was making my own Genestealer cult army.