Chaos cultists are the reliable meatshield of the Heretic Astartes army list, cheap and mostly ineffective troops we can march up the table to soak up shots that could be killing more valuable units (literally anything else in my army). They got even better this edition with the addition of the ‘Tide of Traitors’ stratagem, which lets you remove a beat up unit of cultists from the battle and bring on a fresh squad from the side of the table!
The models, despite being only from Dark Vengeance, are awesome but there is an issue that quickly becomes apparent for those of us who like to run HUGE units of them – there is a very limited number of poses.
In fact there are 4 stabby cultists, 4 shooty cultists, two champions and two special weapons bearers, which just doesn’t cut it for me because I like each model to be unique if I can help it. And I can.
There are several easy conversions we can do to mix up the cultists enough that they all have something different about them. The first is a head swap, I used these heads from Puppetswar, that remind me of the old Mordheim cult of the possessed models. There’s plenty more third-party bitz available but these give off the religious fanatic theme I’m going for really well (they are Word Bearers after all). I also used a head from the Wrathmongers/Skullreapers AoS kit as you can see below.
The second change that is both simple and effective is a weapon swap, while this is more difficult for ranged cultists (they only get an autogun), close combat cultists are armed with a ‘brutal assault weapon’. This wording lends itself to any kind of melee implement so you can really go wild here – I’ve used flails, knives, and even a makeshift knuckle duster! The bitz can come from anywhere, but in my squad I’ve used Necromunda weapons, and a banner from the Chaos Warriors AoS kit. Extra bitz I added just for looks include Kroot shoulder pads, and a holstered pistol on the champion’s back.
As an added bonus, here’s a WIP shot of the champion for the next squad of cultists!