Military psychologists have been experimenting for a number of years to find a way to condition Corporation soldiers for the challenge of fighting the Z’zor on distant planets. Many humans find it disconcerting, possibly due to the way they move, the noises they make, or the way they tap into the tiny, primal ape brain deep inside that holds an inexplicable fear of all insects, even those only two inches long. It could also be down to the totally valid fear of an insect seven-feet tall that could punch a hole through a car or slice a cow in two with their powerful pincers.
The Zoat corporation, a varied entity with a small foothold in many commercial industries both military and domestic, was one of the first to attempt to capture and breed Z’zor specimens for practice but still they found it difficult to break that psychological barrier. After a couple of years however, an interesting effect was noticed – the researchers and colonels overseeing the experiments had completely lost their fear of the Z’zor despite never having faced them. The fearlessness remained when the roles were reversed, and they were armed and sent against the captured specimens in a live-fire exercise. It seemed that constantly watching Z’zor in holo-vids, on screens and in slow-motion action replays nurtured a familiarity with the creatures, and familiarity breeds contempt.
A few short months later, and Zoat’s military training with the Z’zor had been cancelled. Instead, Zoat became the preeminent supplier of Z’zor DreadBall teams, making use of it’s military studies to secure funding from mercenary units and Corporation planetary expedition forces looking to employ a new generation of fearless human warriors ready to face the Z’zor in battle. This initiative has been so successful, the Zoat corporation now counts bioengineered Z’zor DreadBall teams as it’s most profitable venture. Second place is a product that appeared about the same time – the crunchy breakfast cereal with a unique taste, Zzorios.
First, a poem:
Mould lines on the Z’zor.
I hate them the most.
More than anything.
Hopefully that sums up how I feel about them!
As for paint schemes, I wasn’t sure whether to go with an old-school Space Hulk Genestealer scheme (deep blues and pinky purples), a more “chitinous” type of bone colour (which I’ve seen done well on the DreadBall Fanatics page on Facebook) or a sort of “Aliens” inspired black armour plates with a coloured highlight – either green, yellow or purple – in streaks and blobs, in a kind of organic insectoid patterning. I have settled on the bone colour for now, with the internal bits in bone and the armour plates in a dark, streaky purple. In the end, I didn’t trust my freehand enough for the patterning, and I prefer the contrast of the bone and purple rather than blue and purple/pink.
The bone was done with Zandri Dust, washed with a very old Flesh Wash then more Zandri Dust and a highlight of Bleached Bone. I think I overdid the Bleached Bone on a couple of the players. The carapace was Naggaroth Night, highlighted up through Liche Purple and Genestealer Purple in an imprecise, streaky sort of style. It didn’t come out as streaky as I thought it would, but I really really like the final effect. It was so simple, and just instantly added depth to the armour plates.
The eyes were done with red for a bit of contrast, the same way many people paint gemstones. My precise method was Crimson Gore, Mephiston Red, Blood Red, then a Bloodletter Glaze over the whole thing. I can only just tell the difference myself, but I do believe that there’s a very slight graduation through the eye, from bottom to top.
I decided to leave the numbers off of the models for now – I can’t think of any smart way to do it that would look natural enough for the rest of the model. If anyone can give me a good idea, maybe I’ll revisit them when I paint up my spare models.
I’ve taken them to one tournament so far (the 2013 Bristol Regional Tournament), and didn’t do greatly there – but I enjoyed playing a bashy team and I’m about to start using them in the next Vanguard league… watch this space!