Monday, October 1, 2012

Weird War Two Baddies Continued: SS Gruppenfurher Strasser, AKA Das Stillet, AKA Herr der Finsternis

Warning: Copious fluff follows mini pictures.

Besides werewolves, vampires seem one of the natural bad guys for Weird War Two gaming. Warlord Games has provided me with figures for both. This fellow, from their "Out For The Count" set, has been seen here in previous posts as a work in progress. Now he's done. This macro photo, taken with my wife's fancy camera, seems unkind to my painting. I really think he looks better in person than he does on these photos, though I now see a bit of grey on his red leather boots that needs fixing. There's always something to fix. :)

When I first started this project, I canvassed the discerning readers of this blog as to whether I should paint this mini in Whermacht feldgrau or in sinister SS black. You the readers weighed in with the latter, and so he became an SS vampire. However, like Sturmbannfuhrer Ingrid in my previous post, the SS uniform, particularly the red and silver cuff, is my own invention. The choice of skin colour now seems ill advised to me. I used Army Painter Necorotic Flesh with a GW wash, on the theory that he was old and really undead, but now I think he looks like some weird fish guy from an HP Lovecraft novel in a Nazi outfit. But I'm too tired and too busy to repaint him, so green he remains. The one thing I'm happy with about him is that I think I achieved some shades of variation in his black cloak and uniform, using successive shades of Vallejo SS Camo Black and some dark gray.


So, who is he? In keeping with my Weird WW2 project, some backstory for those of you what want it. If nothing else, these posts will all be helpful when I go back and try to consolidate this into a larger project. So if you're still reading and you enjoy this, it's a happy bonus.

He has inhabited many names over the centuries, but Sigismund is the first he remembers. That distant name belonged to a knight of an ancient Rhineland family, heading to Constantinople and a ship to the crusades. Somewhere in the forests and hills of Carpathia, while hunting en route, he vanished and after a week of looking, his comrades and retainers left him for dead. He remembers a castle and the allure a lady, Sophia, whose hair was dark and lustrous and whose eyes were sad and old. Perhaps because she was lonely, and he was young and fair, she spared him and made him into her likeness. Years followed, and she grew tired and careless as her kind often does, and she faded away, leaving him to return to a world grown strange.

Constantinople had become Istanbul, and there he met the princes of vampire society, navigated their vicious politics, and rose in skills and power. Eventually he made his way back to the Rhine, and found that reformation, religious war and revolution had stripped away the castles and feudal orders that had once protected his kind. He found new shelters in the structures of dictatorships and brutal systems that had risen in place of the medieval world. He was a secret policeman of the Czar, a spymaster for Napoleon and an interrogator for the Hapsburgs. Along the way he amassed a huge fortune and developed his powers. He has gone by many names, but in German those who fear him call him the dark one or Herr der Finsternis.

The Dark One distrusts the Nazis as a chaotic and dangerous crew, but has carved out an important place amongst them to protect himself and to await developments. During the Night of the Long Knives he eliminated two of his younger vampire rivals who were using the SA to rise to power. He became prominent in the SS, where officially he is known as Gruppenfuhrer Strasser or code name Stillet. Only Himmler and a few around him know his true identity, and they simultaneously fear him and find him useful. While he has been sparing in making offspring, he has a child who is highly placed in the Party whom he mostly trusts to safeguard him. Rumour has it that this other vampire is Reinhard Heydrich, but no one knows for sure. In his spare time, he collects art and rare postage stamps, and tries not to think of how one day he might tire and allow himself to fade away as Sophia once did.

The powers of the Dark One include suggestion, a degree of mind control over corrupt and ambitious types, the ability to animate and control a number of bodies of the recently dead, and possibly shapeshifting. Sunlight has a debilitating effect on him, but is not immediately fatal. Religious symbols do not bother him, but a pure and true faith is a sharp-edged thing he fears. Fortunately there are few people now who are such a threat to him.

The Dark One became known to Fr. Tristram Mercer and Brigadier McAllister when the Abdication Crisis led to the downfall of the last vampires in Great Britain. He is a known threat to S Commando, who would dearly love to locate and destroy him before his powers give the Third Reich a decisive edge in the true Shadow War.

More to follow. In the meantime, stay vigilant, chaps.


  1. A really weird guy, I wouldn't like to bump into him in saome dark alley... I love the painting as much as reading his CV

  2. He looks menacing. I often find my photos don't give justice to something I painted, especially on macros; the second pic gives more detail though.

  3. Great back story. I think you're right about his skin colour - a pale flesh colour mixed with a pale grey would probably be better, perhaps with a slight blush on the cheeks (assuming he has fed).

  4. Good stuff, Padre! I thought the vamp was the Red Skull at first.

  5. A real prince of darkness Mike. Great work.

  6. Nice painting Padre. He reminds me of Fran after a night out on the tiles!


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