Thursday, 30 June 2016

Titan Owner Interview- Dan S., Sussuri Mortem

The Titan Owners Club is at it again as Dan, owner of the beautiful Sussuri Mortem, sits down with Shadow and has his brain picked.

TOC: It's definitely a pleasure to interview another TOC member again. This time with Dan and his Mortis Warhound, Sussuri Mortem. Thanks for taking time out of your day for this. What got you into Titan Owners Club?
Dan: So, for me I was researching building a Titan. I had not purchased one yet, and I was just looking through the internet, and I stumbled across Wild Boar's Templar Titan Warhound guide and I think I saw an early image of the Sunfury Plasma Annihilator on the Battle Bunnies page. And from that image, I think Drake might have linked to TOC, so I just jumped on and was totally blown away not only by all the talent on display, but also on the scope of the mission, the idea that you would like to eventually get every registered Titan an entry - man that would be so cool!

TOC: We certainly hope to. And your entry is of course up there. What does your Titan's name mean? A few of us have wondered that.
Dan: Ah. I had a bunch of ideas for names floating around - Sussuri Mortem translates loosely to Death's Whisper. I liked the idea of something so massive and violent being referred to as a whisper, but it also fit with the role of the Warhound - a scout, sneaky for a Titan, loping quietly between hiding places behind burnt-out shells of buildings, sizing up prey-machines before striking.

Also I just liked the sound of Sussuri - Sussurus, sort of a chorus of whispers, that's how I pictured the machine spirit of this engine "talking" to the Princeps.

I had about eight names swirling around in my head and couldn't decide on which one I wanted. I emailed Titan Owners Club and asked if they might be able to put together a poll. Drake posted one on the Battle Bunnies site and Sussuri Mortem was the favorite there as well.

TOC: Moving like death. Fitting for a Mortis engine. What made you choose that Legio?
Dan: So, my army is AdMech. And I always had it in my head that they were Loyalist. So when I first started I wanted a Legio that fit the color scheme for the army (Martian) and I was thinking of Ignatum and Atarus… but I wasn't really happy with the stripes on Ignatum engines. So I left it up in the air for starters, sort of thinking I would either do my own or Atarus.

Once I had the model primed, that's when it clicked. I primed black, and seeing the engine in all black, I was like, uh, this is a Mortis engine. It just felt right. So I started thinking, maybe my Magos, maybe he isn't Loyalist as such, maybe he doesn't care about that, maybe he found this engine and decided it was the hand of the Omnissiah at work that he had, and all he really cares about is the Omnissiah's will. So he's perfectly happy to have any engine - even a Mortis engine is a treasure, and this one has been sitting dormant on a backwater planet for millennia.

So he's started it up, and he's using it, but that's also made him some enemies within the Imperium. My first walk is lined up and it's going to be against Space Marines, so I'm picturing they have been sent by forces of the Inquisition who are … displeased… that this Magos hasn't sent the engine back to Mars for the proper techsorcism rites and reconsecration.

TOC: Very interesting story going. It certainly seems to be a trait amongst Titan owners to be story tellers and fluff-lovers. You read or listen to any Titan related stories/audio?
Dan: For sure. Titanicus, also the X of Mars series (Priests of, Lords of, Gods of, etc.) and Mechanicum, plus more or less everything I can get my hands on from the wikis to the Horus Heresy books that FW put out, etc. I actually really liked the way the Princeps and the manifold were designed in the Priests of Mars trilogy.

There is a bit in Priests of Mars where one of the Titans of Legio Sirius does something on its own, firing a plasma blaster inside a starship, and the way the results are described…wooo

TOC: Have those stories shaped your approach to your Titan's build, paint, or look?

Dan: That's an interesting question. They have, but it's been kind of indirect. For example, there is a piece of fluff from I forget where indicating that Mortis engines often chained the skeletal remains of their opponents to their hulls as trophies. I do have some black chain I am considering using if I find some skeletal models I like, and I wound up taking one of the big AdMech skulls that comes with the kit, mounting it on a leftover shield from a knight, and putting that up on my engine. So to a certain extent I guess they have, though I never really thought about it before!

TOC: What is your ultimate goal with your Warhound? Any intended "siblings" or "cousins" in the form of other engines like you see in the fluff?

Dan: Yes, so - when I first got the Warhound, I actually really vacillated at first about whether or not to do it.  The financial aspect is there of course, but I just wasn't sure my skill level was up to the task, when I read about having to cut all the pistons to length etc. But I honestly LOVED the build stage of putting the model together and would like to do it again, so…it's probably some time off, but ultimately I'd like to have a nice demi-maniple.
Next project will probably be a Reaver, though I am going to take a little break and finish a few kits I have laying around first. But ultimately I'd like to have a Reaver and a pair of Warhounds. Fantasy land is a Warlord, two Reavers, and three Warhounds, but… that is a long way off.
TOC: A full Venatarii Titan Maniple would be interesting to see. And it sounds like the build was fun. Any advice for others on building Titans?
Dan: I'm not an expert at all. First time I have done something on this scale, so I don't know about advice but I can tell you what I learned!

1) Test your magnets if you are using them. My initial magnetization scheme wasn't strong enough. I wound up fixing it, but doing so meant sawing through the "arm" piece to install a larger magnet.

2) If you are using JB weld, once it is glued, it is GLUED. Dry fit six billion times.

3) At least for the Warhound, when you put the cabin together, you are going to have to do more parts at once than you think

4) Buy a dremel if you don't have one!

5) For the Warhounds, if you are planning on making it so that it is in the middle of taking a step, and the weight is on the toes mores than the main foot portion, you will have to angle the toe pieces horizontally.

6) Take your time!

TOC: It is good advice.  What guided your weapon choices?
Dan: Main weapons will be Plasma Blastgun and Turbo Laser. They are magnetized, so I can do whatever I like with the weapon loadout. I like the Inferno Cannon too, but haven't picked one up yet, although I did get a Mega-Bolter. So for me, the plasma / laser load out gives a lot of versatility and deadliness in an actual game. I feel like you have to have at least one D weapon on a Titan, and the Plasma can either kill vehicles or wipe squads and covers a ton of ground.

I personally think the plasma and bolter are the two best looking weapons for this Titan and since the Titan will probably sit on my shelf more than it walks, I grabbed one of those. Also, if I ever DO get a maniple together, the bolter's ability to fire at flyers and to potentially strip off void shields could be really nice.

TOC: Pulling a page from Honour to the Dead and Drake's playbook, I see. And Sussuri Mortem has quite a striking paint scheme. The red in particular is very rich. How did you go about setting the paint scheme?

Dan: That red, I'm actually really pleased with the way that came outSo, my wife took one look at the warnings on the Forge World bags and was like you are NOT doing this here - we are in a pretty tiny little apartment, so I wound up doing most of the work at my folks place. My mom said the red reminded her of burnished leather. Considering the steampunk aspect in the design of the AdMech stuff, I was actually OK with that.

It's a Khorne Red basecoat, followed by Khorne Red to Mephiston to Evil Suns wet blend going towards the middle of the plate, followed by a wash of Carroburg, then a final airbrush coat of a light red that just kind of sealed it all together.

The black is just black – I had painted a leg plate and the Blastgun white, and kind of halfway through I decided I didn't like the white bits, so I striped the one leg plate black and white, and repainted the Blastgun black. Masking the Aquila was a hassle though! I wish I knew more about weathering. I'm going to try the sand / hairspray technique out before I do a Reaver

Very beautiful and richly developed colors on this engine make it so beautiful to look at.

TOC: Very true to Mortis colors. So far, what's been the best part of having a Titan?

Dan: Honestly? Modeling is meditative for me. Us adults have so many responsibilities and it can feel like you never do anything for yourself, like you are constantly focused on others, like you are shorting yourself somehow, or at least that's how it is for me. So just the process of building and painting it has been the best. In some ways I'm less interested in fielding it, and probably won't have too many opportunities to do so. But for the last four months or so, I've done a bit of work on that Titan nearly every day, and it's been really relaxing.

TOC: Sounds like when I did my Thunderhawk. Building is quite relaxing. It is an escape from work in its own way. What motivated you to Titan ownership?

Dan: Diehard Mechanicus fan here. From the start of reading the fluff, I always liked the Mechanicus and the Titans are the ultimate expression of their power. So from a fluff standpoint it was logical. Plus I really wanted to push my modeling skills to the next level and I figured this would be a really good way to do that, and it has. The plastic kits have no terrors for me now!

TOC: Then you'll be really excited if the rumored plastic Lucius Warhound drops, I imagine. And it sounds like Titan ownership has been a literal dream come true.
Dan: Yeah, I would love to see a plastic Lucius! If they make one, then I won't have to 3d print one! And definitely, building one of these out has been a top notch experience in lots of ways!

TOC: That would be nice. Speaking on future releases, what do you think of the upcoming Secutarii?

Dan: They are awesome. I will get some, for sure. I might even try to kitbash them into more Mortis-style warriors, barely human, vicious carnivore machine men draped in furs. I don't know if you have ever seen Ultra-Cola's AdMech blog, but he's done some really interesting work on Dark Mechanicus, both with drawing and kitbashing. I can see this Mortis engine being the start of my Magos' descent into chaos, maybe!

Sussuri Mortem and her current guardians.  And more are to come.

TOC: That would be interesting. Putting together quite the Explorator Fleet it seems.

Dan: Yeah, that's the idea behind the army overall! Well, I wrote it up, I was planning on sending it to you guys when I complete (for a given value of complete) Sussuri Mortem.

TOC: We look forward to seeing it. Final question. Any shoutouts, advice, or challenges to the TOC at large?

Dan: Definitely you and Drake for running the site. Brandon, Grayson, and Col Hertford for just being involved and leaving comments consistently, also seeing developments with their machines has kept me on track. The bases both those guys are putting together are sick! Nearly everyone for inspiration - seriously, I am amazed at what I have seen on the site and I really think it has pushed me to be a better modeler & painter than I would otherwise be! Iosh's recent addition - the hand-sculpted Mortis stuff he's done is just amazing, and some of the paintwork I've seen (Bone Garland and Ira Deorum in particular) has been jaw-dropping. I can't think of a challenge as such - someone is probably already doing anything I can think of better than I could imagine! Thanks for taking the time out of your day to do the interview! And thanks again for running the site, it really has been a source of inspiration and joy!

TOC: And thank you for your time today. It was a pleasure.


  1. Love the transfer work! So balanced!
    Great interview!

  2. I think this is one of the richest reds i've seen. As a 40k Khorne player I may have to try to replicate your technique for some of my tanks. Beautiful work, the carapace decals are amazingly applied and really made it stand out in my memory.

    1. Thanks man, glad you like it! for what it's worth, I couldn't remember the exact name at the time time but the last color (airbrush) was transparent napthol red light. The one I used was from Golden, but you could probably use any transparent red and get similar results.

    2. I'm with Bevier in that I might need to steal that for later on. The only difference being that I don't use an airbrush. I still like to do all my stuff by hand. But it's a very rich red that is striking and distinctive.

    3. This is the first time that I have used the airbrush! Ultimately I feel like it's just another tool (kind of an expensive one though). I have a lot to learn about painting with regular brushes still, but I have started practicing a bit with the airbrush. For this guy, the only bits I airbrushed were the red ones. I thought about trying to coat it with Klear - but that's not available in the US. I've heard of some alternatives looking online but I'd actually be really curious to see what fellow members of TOC use- I trust you guys more than just about anyone else I think!

    4. My titan is my first use of the airbrush also! I've learned so much. Such as: that end is sharp...stop making yourself bleed. And you can't twist your arm like that while holding the airbrush.....gravity still works and paint splashes when it falls!
      We should compare notes!

    5. Would love to! I used a spray primer for the first time a week or so back and was really amazed with the smoothness of the results! Kicking myself for not using them sooner (although ventilation was really the issue up until recently). At any rate I've been finding my two biggest mistakes with the airbrush so far are having the air pressure too high (you really don't need very much for minis and doing an onager recently I blew a bunch of pieces around while painting them) and getting in the habit of starting the air and paint just before you actually hit the model with it.