Calling Blood Axe Tech Support

The first Oddboy to join my Warhammer 40k Rogue trader style Blood Axe warband is a Mek with accompanying Gretchin attendant. I’ve had this Mekboy figure for a long time, and previously included him as part of a modern style Burna Boyz unit, which was never completed. Now that he has set up shop for himself, I completed his paint job and gave him a little helper too.

Space Ork with flamethrower and welding mask accompanied by Gretchin with large spanner

The Mekboy is cranking up his latest creation

I think these guys make a great duo, and I am planning to have more Gretchin attendants throughout the tribe. The backdrop for the photos is a 4Ground adobe building, which is a great fit for the Ork architecture we used to see in 90s White Dwarfs and Codex books.

Front view of Space Ork with cracked welding mask holding flamer nozzle

Health & Safety first

Diminutive green goblinoid creature holding a large rusty spanner

Proudly carrying the tool of the trade

Back view of Space Ork displaying a backplate with crossed golden spanners and Gretchin from the roof of an adobe building

His backplate links the Mekboy to the Warboss’ household

Gretchin Boarding Party

I’ve reached my target of 20 Gretchin for an old school Space Ork force. These can well be used as part of a clan list or as Gretchin Bandits. Since I also recently bought Rogue Stars, I could pick a pirate gang from them.

Group of twenty goblinoids with primitive firearms

Gretchin swarming through a derelict space craft

The final additions are one proper old lead figure and one 2nd edition plastic Gretchin. I had the box set and used these guys regularly since I didn’t own any metal sculpts in the day, but this is probably the first one I actually completely painted.

Two space goblins with guns

Flamboyant freebooters

Eye level view of a group of Gretchin

These diminutive pirates are the curse of merchant shipping across the sector

Next I’ll be painting a squad of da boyz and a retinue for the Warboss.

Troops of Tomorrow

I’ve been expanding the Gretchin mob for my Blood Axes with two ‘proper’ Rogue Trader miniatures and one 2nd edition sculpt. That brings me up to 18, looking to pick up two more for an even 100 points under the ‘Ere We Go army list. Not that it matters gaming wise, I am using army lists more as collecting/painting goals these days.

The two older figures are amongst my favourites so far. They are perfect as freebooterz, so I’ll always have the option of fielding the mob in different contexts.

Goblin with sword, shotgun and pink mohawk haircut

His playlist exclusively consists of Disorder by The Exploited

Goblin with sword, shotgun and steel helmet

Geared up for a fight

Goblin with automatic rifle and spiked helmet

New kid with fancy shooter

From the back the differences in sculpting are most noticeable. To fit in with the plastic mono-pause Gretchin from the 2nd edition box set, the design of the whole range was streamlined and simplified. Only with the arrival of Gorkamorka Gretchin design experienced a bit of a renaissance and some individual character was reintroduced.

Back view of three Gretchin behind a crumbled wall

Lurking to take pot shots at the enemy

Every Warboss Starts Out Small

The Orcs were a major force in Warhammer 40k when I started out, with several large volumes of background and army lists complementing the Rogue Trader rule set. I had a force consisting of Goffs, Bad Moons and Freebooterz cobbled together, which got lost on one too many warp jumps.

For the last couple of years I gradually built up a new collection mostly through impulse buys, and after having re-read ‘Ere We Go, Waaargh the Orks and Freebooterz, I recently decided on raising a small force of Blood Axes.

Space Ork with heavy grey coat and power axe, flanked by two Gretchin with shotguns

The Warboss and his entourage, poised for greater things

I’ll loosely base the force on the army list in ‘Ere We Go, with some licence regarding weapon choices and unit sizes. To start me off, I painted the Blood Axes Warboss, and finished some more Gretchin which had languished in painting limbo for over a decade. There are a few more of them to come, and I might form them up into a mob of Gretchin Bandits together with a unit of 13 I already have.

Back view of Ork with crossed golden axes on white backplate

The Warboss stems from the Golden Axe household

Back view of two Gretchin

The Gretchin have equipped themselves with looted armour

Slaves of the Hive

I’ve completed another little side project in the shape of three Zoats. I vaguely envisage them being used in Rogue Trader style skirmishes against my Catachans and for Advanced Space Crusade, but more than anything I just felt like painting them.

Being a genetically modified slave race of the Tyranids with rebellious tendencies, they provide a lot of opportunity for storytelling in games of Warhammer 40k.

Three purplish centaur creatures with organic looking guns moving between brightly coloured jungle plants

A stampede of Zoats breaks through the jungle undergrowth

I only bought the models recently and was suitably endeared by what chunky lumps of lead they are. I decided to paint them in tones that make them compatible with my Genestealers, including purples, browns and black for the hooves and claws.

Side view of a four-legged rhinoceros-like hybrid creature with a humanoid upper torso and reptilian head

The Zoat is using Tyranid bio-technology to enhance its natural abilities

Dawn of the Eldar

I have long been harbouring plans to create a small force of Eldar for Warhammer 40k – ever since I started playing actually. My most recent thinking was to have an elite army of all warrior aspects, however inspired by the Oldhammer community and posts by Frank FJA and symphonic poet on the forum I opted for some Rogue Trader era Eldar warriors instead. Designed by Jes Goodwin, these are just beautiful miniatures that have only become better with age. Initially I was tempted to paint them in the colours most commonly seen in the Rogue Trader books, i.e. black or dark blue with yellow helmets, but since I am painting enough of those lately with my Undead and Dark Elves for Warhammer Fantasy, I decided to go the other way. Dark colours are commonly associated with Eldar pirates and mercenaries, so my force is a craftworld strike team, making them no less unpredictable and cold hearted in the eyes of any other race they encounter.

40k Eldar Warriors for Rogue Trader - front

Eldar fighters pursuing a clandestine mission

I purposefully won’t use metals since I am assuming the Eldar will mainly be utilising all sorts of ceramics, plastics and carbon compounds for their equipment. The only metal on these two is the earring on the mohawk sporting warrior.

40k Eldar Warriors for Rogue Trader - back

Equipment used by the Eldar is some of the most advanced in the galaxy

I currently have a unit of eight lined up for painting, including a commander, musician and standard bearer. The plan is to use white armour throughout and different helmet and hair colours to lend each fighter individuality. The helmet design came about more by accident, having started with aquamarine and the typical black tiger stripes seen in many old publications. The result looked somewhat bland and not exotic enough, so I tried applying a red glaze on top, which proved to be much darker than anticipated. Now left with a crimson basecoat, I used aquamarine to paint shapes roughly following the contours of the helmet on top before finishing this off with some hard white edge highlights. I’m happy with the rather exotic and alien looking finish and will try similar techniques with different colours for the remaining troopers’ helmets.

40k Eldar Warrior for Rogue Trader - helmet

The conical helmet shape is an Eldar style icon

In order to establish the skin colour for my Eldar I picked a soldier without helmet next. The figure has sharp facial features with high cheekbones, so I applied sharp contrasts from Agrax Earthshade shading in the recesses to white highlights on the cheekbones and brow.

40k Eldar Warrior for Rogue Trader - face

The mohawk is known as a warrior’s haircut not just in human civilisations