Category: Warhammer 40,000

Painting Orks with Contrast and washes

I’m not just spouting hyperbole when I say GW’s Contrast paints really are a game changer. I’ve always been a speed-painter, preferring to get a whole army done to a fairly nice, tabletop standard, instead of spending hours lavishing minute detail on a single mini. My models will never win any painting awards, but combined as a force, they’ll look good on the table. So the release of the Contrast paint range has been an absolute delight for me.

Here, I paint a squad of Ork Kommandos using Contrast and washes almost exclusively. And the same methodology can be applied to nearly all the Ork infantry models. It’s a quick method and it’s enhanced if you’re neat and precise with it – which is fairly easy with Orks because of their over-the-top features, muscles, weapons and armour.


From a white spray undercoat, paint the flesh with Cassandora Yellow wash.


Over the yellow, apply a Beil-tan Green wash.


For the fatigues, I opted for Contrast Skeleton Horde. But you could easily go for any number of other colours. Most of my Ork boys are wearing a mixture of drab browns, greys and black. Even the greens work quite well, as they’re much darker than my method for green skin.


I used Contrast Snakebite Leather on the boots and straps. Because Contrast Skeleton Horde is so light, the Contrast Snakebite went right over the top. If you opt for a darker colour for the fatigues, you’ll have to avoid getting it on the boots and straps, leaving them white.


Apply Contrast Black Templar on the gas masks, goggles, climbing ropes, fuses, and also the mouths and teeth. Use Contrast Flesh Tearers Red for the dynamite bundles. And Contrast Wyldwood for the knife handles and dynamite ties.


Paint the metal – knives, armour, guns, ammo belts, canisters, toecaps – in Leadbelcher (normal paint). Pick out the teeth in Screaming Skull (normal paint). Then the few small details on the Nob and his base – the skulls in Contrast Skeleton Horde, cigar in Contrast Wyldwood, cigar ash and fallen masonry in Contrast Basilicanum Grey.


Now add lashings of Nuln Oil wash over the metals. Still worth being careful not to splash it on other areas. An added bonus of this stage is that it ‘black lines’ these areas as well e.g. it nicely defines the ammo belts that sit on the models chest with a thin black outline.


Then add lashings of Agrax Earthshade wash over the metals. This helps make them look old and battle-worn.


Drybrush Mithril SIlver (normal paint) over the metal to represent scratches and damage. Use Contrast Flesh Tearers Red for the goggle lenses. And add a quick stipple of Dwarf Bronze (normal paint) and Abaddon Black (normal paint) over the flamer nozzle to simulate scorch marks. The base rims are done in Steel Legion Drab (normal paint).


Glue mud, static grass and battlefield tufts to the bases and once dry, mat varnish them. Then apply gloss varnish to the lenses (much cheatier than ‘properly’ painting them!).

And you’re done!


Overlord Mortis of the Duat dynasty

Overlord Mortis rules the Duat dynasty.

Unusually, the Duat dynasty is based on but a single planet. But a planet of reputable dread.

In ancient Necrontyr times, his domain was known as the Underworld, a place enemies, traitors, criminals and wrongdoers would be sent to die – or worse.

The Silent King decreed Duat – the planet from which the Dynasty would eventually take its name – would be the Necrontyr’s own living version of Hell. A physical deterrent to keep his people in line. With a hyper-dense and volatile solar core, Duat was the very image of Hell. Lakes of liquid fire covered the surface, while black, acrid, sulfurous smoke smothered the atmosphere. Land masses formed of volcanic rock violently erupted to create jagged mountain ranges, while almost all the planet’s flora and fauna had either died out, or evolved daemonic-like resistance, with tendencies to match. The planet itself projected a strong and distorted magnetic field. Amplified by nearby micro-rifts, light seemingly bent around the planet, while long-ranged sensors could not make sense of the garbled readings they picked up – combined, this made the planet all but invisible until it came into physical sight upon approach. Once taken there, you’d never be found.

In Duat, the Silent King had a very real threat with which to hang over his subjects – obey the law, live by the codes, or face the eternal hellfire and punishment of the Underworld. Carved deep within Duat’s crust lay labyrinthine tunnels, caves and converted dungeon complexes. Cavernous torture chambers, dark experimentation labs and billowing execution furnaces honeycombed the entire planet.

And it fell to Mortis to act as custodian for this grim realm.

The Necrontyr race’s biotransference – the process that saw the once mortal race supplanted by undying metal physical form – stripped the will, self-awareness and individuality from most of the Necrontyr save the ruling elite, leaving behind soulless, numbed automata.

Following biotransference, Duat remained a place of imprisonment and punishment. Though with the passing of the eons, the long sleep, the disappearance of the Silent King and the eventual degrading of the Necron’s minds, the reasons that remained the case became unclear; perhaps it was a learned, practiced or habitual response from the now-dulled savants and warriors that inhabited Duat, or perhaps Duat’s most senior Necron’s – the ones who still retained some wit about them – knew the psychological power of a dread reputation.

Either way, to this day, the Necrons of the Duat dynasty still bring captives back to the Underworld for punishment after each and every engagement.

IMG_1229Grown bitter from the millennia of being steward to the dead and the damned, Mortis craves – irrationally now – to become mortal once more. To once again taste, smell, touch and feel, he plans to reverse his biotransference – to ‘upload’ his consciousness into a suitable vassal. And with ferry-loads of captives still mindlessly being brought to Duat on a daily basis, he has plenty of subjects with which to experiment on.

But Mortis is not content to sit and wait. For millennia he has personally led raids upon unsuspecting worlds to seek out new captives and technology with which to further his goals. And he will stop at nothing. He has no regard for the lives his experimentation and machinations cost – like when he unwittingly unleashed a zombie plague upon Imperial Registered Planet 1NA.


His experiments – ever grander, wilder and Machiavellian – have led to many other pleasant advancements;

  • While attempting to harness Duat’s hyper-dense solar core to power a mass-sentient mind-transponder, he discovered he could use the same technology to re-focus and overcharge the weaponry of his warriors… That he flash-melted an entire cohort of 10,000 of his own Immortals during the process was of no concern.
  • In an encounter with The Enslavers he hypothesised secretions from their feeder tentacles could be used to transfer thoughts from one living entity to another. He was wrong. And instead discovered their method of mind control was far more complex, involving the opening of a rift in the warp to, in effect, travel back in time and manipulate thought at conception. Mortis adapted this knowledge to upgrade Duat’s Plasma Sphere transports, allowing him to teleport his armies vast distances across the galaxy. Though he lacks the sprawling empires and growing influence of other Necron dynasties, this technology means he’s never hamstrung or handicapped operating from a single, hidden planet just as well.
  • Manipulating the hive mind of captured Tyranid specimens to create a ‘Multi-Mortis,’ was a promising concept. The vision of an ever-lasting version of himself across multiple, mortal creatures – each with their own sensations being multiplied by his own – is tantalising, yet proving frustratingly evasive. In addition to now hearing voices in his head, Mortis has however been able to put many of his failed experiments to use. Bottled Zoanthrope heads mounted upon skeletal legs allow Mortis to blast his foes apart with a thought. Genestealer limbs injected with silvered Necro-nanites have been successfully grafted onto Warrior bodies. And low level sentience inhibitor dishes have fairly reliably been able to control the smaller Tyranid creatures. A bit.

He’s known to many thousands of cultures and civilisations across the galaxy. And known by equally as many names; Mortis, Grim Reaper, Santa Muerte, Hades, Mors, Osiris… each sector he’s touched have their own moniker for him, but all such names mean the same thing – Death; ruler of the Underworld.



  • The Duat dynasty will be represented by ‘Mephrit: Solar Fury.’ Mortis’ experimentation and resultant discoveries have allowed him to overcharge his legion’s weapons. At half range, the Armour Penetration characteristic of Duat dynasty weapons are improved by 1
  • Mortis will be equipped with a Voidscythe and Veil of Darkness – true kit of the Grim Reaper
  • His warlord trait will be represented by Honorable Combatant – not for name, but for effect. Gaining +D3 attacks if directed against a single character suits the idea that Overlord Mortis is inescapable, inevitable, creeping death itself. From under hooded veil he points and silently calls for you. There’s no escaping. It’s your time to die




Note – the Overlord Mortis model is a quick and easy conversion of Puppets War Cyber Grim Reaper


Kill Team: Mortis

IMG_1496“Registered planet 1NA had finally succumbed. The zombie plague had taken hold and the planet was doomed. Imperial intervention to recover ancient Adepta Sororitas relics were thwarted by myriad xenos forces who escaped with the prize, fleeing the sector and sealing the planet’s fate. Now, Inquisitor Mortis has decreed the ultimate sanction: exterminatus.”

“But Inquisitor Mortis has one final plan before his sentence is carried out. Mortis wishes to plunder the secrets of 1NA and discover how and why it was so quickly ravaged by the zombie plague. This most unorthodox of Inquisitors has hand selected the most unorthodox of Kill Teams to recover a number of relics before orbital bombardment begins.”

Here’s the brief the players received:

We’ll play an allied cooperative game, where each player represents one individual member of a Kill Team, specially selected by a rather unorthodox Inquisitor to complete a highly important mission on a zombie infested planet that he’s sentenced to exterminatus.

You will have to build, convert and paint your character, and devise the rules and fluff. Anything goes. Warrior, mystic, combat lunatic, Space Marine captain, xenos, mutant, heretic, daemon… Whatever you fancy, and whatever rules and equipment you can devise – if it makes everyone say “that’s so cool!” then you’re on to a winner



  • The draw of a playing card will indicate the board edge (suit) and quantity (card number) of zombies arriving from reserve
  • Zombies have human stats, but I1, and will always move and charge 6″ regardless of scenery. They will only ever get one attack but it will have the rending ability
  • Zombies arrive together as a horde and will stay within 2″ of each other. If they can ‘join’ an existing horde on the board when they arrive, they must do so
  • Excess wounds caused on a zombie can be passed on to a neighbouring zombie within 2″


  • In addition to making your character, you will also have to build, convert, paint and come up with rules for one ‘monstrosity’
  • When a picture card is drawn, this means a random monstrosity will arrive. If yours is selected you’ll have to introduce it to the group and explain its rules.

The mission:

  • The Kill Team will enter play together from the same board edge. They will have to recover certain items from the battlefield in turn, each revealing a bit more narrative and return to the centre of the battlefield to await evac, just before the orbital bombardment of exterminatus begins. More details on that later…

Regular readers will recognise we decided to continue the story started during #TheTrainJob narrative game by setting it on the same planet; Reg: 1NA.

Unusually, for this game the players only need to bring a couple of models each. They will combine them to form a unique Kill Team. The game will be a blend of narrative and roleplay-based approaches; a sort of Warhammer Quest, meets Kill Team, meets 40K.



At the command centre

“Sire, the Planetary Defence Force has been overrun. Their dead have swelled the zombie’s ranks. The weapon we provided was ineffective. Our perimeter defences will not last much longer. The planet is lost.”

Inquisitor Mortis’ aide emotionlessly delivered the grim news from the doorway of the command centre. Mortis, his face hidden within his dark cowl sat at his paper-strewn desk and pondered the news. Slowly, he turned to his aide.

“The weapon worked perfectly,” he stated flatly in his cold, robotic voice. “We must recover it.”

The command centre looked more like a laboratory than a military installation. Diagrams of human, xenos and mechanical physiology covered the walls. Here and there, tissue samples, glass vials and beakers could be seen, some bubbling away on burners or linked to spiraling tubes carrying brightly coloured liquids. The occasional severed limb, pronged with apparatus, measurement and monitoring devices sat on macabre workbenches. Mortis waved a bionic hand toward a glowing monitor that seemed to show personnel files, pictograms of warriors slowly rotating, and vid-clips of soldiers in battle.

“Assemble the Kill Team.”


The virus

Registered planet 1NA, codenamed; ‘REGINA’ had been utterly ravaged. A backwater planet, in a backwater system, 1NA was considered locally to be a hive of villainy. Yet to the Imperium, it had a relatively stable population, though somewhat unruly, and was known for reliably meeting its mining tithe, despite declining targets as resources dropped.

The zombie virus took hold fast and the planet declined rapidly. The virus was rampant; in less than four months it had laid waste to vast swathes of the planet’s populace. Those that survived the early days of infection took advantage of the chaos to further their own selfish ambition. Small tribes formed across the continents but were soon overwhelmed. The Planetary Defence Force was annihilated and with the news, Inquisitor Mortis declared Exterminatus.

Before orbital bombardment of 1NA began, Mortis assigned a covert Kill Team to recover a devastating weapon. Recruiting from local talent, the mission was completely off Imperial records, allowing Mortis to employ xenos, mutants, heretics, as well as some of the sector’s hardest and most dangerous warriors.


Kill Team inbound

Safely deployed and clear of the battlecruiser, the Storm Eagle’s thrusters roared into life propelling the gunship aggressively towards the planet. Nestled safely within the confines of the troop compartment, an eclectic mix of warriors assembled from across the Georgia system pensively waited to receive their orders as the gunship smoothly banked to join 1NA’s orbit.

The ship’s holocom activated, an incoming communicade casting its green glow throughout the compartment and bathing the Kill Team in a low gloom. Out of the static, a robed figure appeared and could be seen adjusting his hood, revealing for the briefest moment a pair of bionic hands. Turning to face the camera, the hooded figure addressed the team, his features undetectable beneath the darkness of his cowl:

“I am Inquisitor Mortis. I have assembled you for a mission of the upmost urgency. The zombie plague has taken hold of registered world 1NA and local forces, both Imperial and Xenos, have been overrun. Unable to control the outbreak, it has now become a planet-wide epidemic. The world is lost and it is my heavy burden to sentence it to receive the Emperor’s deliverance in the form of Exterminatus.

“Yet before orbital bombardment begins, there are a number of relics I want recovering – artefacts of great importance to the Imperium and indeed the future of the entire sector. I want to discover the source of the outbreak and why the planet succumbed so quickly.

“I have personally selected each and every one of you for this task based on the unique skills you possess. Together, you are greater than the sum of your parts. Resistance will be heavy and you are authorised to use whatever means necessary to complete your mission. I am sending you landing coordinates now…”




What a game!

We played in two parts; on the surface of REG:1NA locating a number of objectives, and then underground in a top secret lab full of monstrosities!


  • The first game played a bit like a platform computer game – each objective was revealed one at a time, adding narrative and a bit of tense drama
  • Arriving by dropship, the team had to:
    • locate the survivors
    • take a water sample from the village font
    • get the sample analysed
    • locate and secure the T-virus weapon
    • get to the underground lad entrance and lock the door
  • As the game entered its final stages zombie cards (reinforcements) were drawn every five minutes – this really put pressure on the team!
  • The monstrosities were great fun – each player had designed their own rules. A favourite was ‘mimic’ who had the same stats and abilities as his opponent, and ‘the trouser snake’ who deployed via deep strike
  • Dutch used his field craft ability to kill a Nurgle beastie – but only because he was saved at the last moment by the sniper providing him a 6+ invulnerable save
  • The Kroot shaper sniping zombie hobbit Michael Jackson…who’d previously evaded four instant death wounds (clearly moonwalking or thriller dancing out of harms way)
  • The beastmarines played to character and butchered everything in close combat. Predictably, they were the last ones to reach the underground lab having to be practically dragged out of combat
  • The Ork doktor’s kit was wildly spectacular – one shot killed 13 zombies, whilst another backfired and woudned his comrades
  • Once underground, with the door bolted, the team had to investigate the rooms and deliver the T-virus weapon
  • The facility door was eventually bashed down and zombies flooded in
  • Plot twist; ‘Barry’ the monstrosity turned out to be the survivor’s husband who long ago, went off to fight ‘robot space aliens’ but was never seen again – the survivor managed to convince him to fight for her (using a mini ‘higher or lower’ card game to determine the result). He was eventually overcome by the horde but not before holding them up and saving the team
  • The Arbites judge managed to interogate one of the lab’s scientists to discover an alternative way out – a secret transporter room
  • The final gambit saw the team break down the last door to reveal Inquisitor Mortis himself… a Necron Lord in disguise, he’d orchestrated the whole thing. In his endless quest to reverse the effects of his race’s bio-transference, his experiments had gotten wilder, grander and more deadly. The zombie virus outbreak on REG:1NA was one such experiment… with planet-wide, destructive results
  • The team fell upon Mortis and took him out in close combat. But his skeletal body faded out of existence leaving his dark robes behind.
  • The team disbands and the story continues…

Adeptus Arbites – Kill Team

IMG_0279Our first forray into Kill Team was a success! The games were very quick, full of narrative and had tonnes of tense, heroic moments. It also worked well for allied games too; all players could get involved and there were no long periods of waiting around

Will the sniper make this critical shot? Can we kill the suicide bomber before he reaches our lines? Will the melta gunner roll high enough to one-shot the Taurox?

Tracking victory points throughout the game increased the intensity and added new tactical elements: “We’re three points behind… if we can kill an enemy leader, get that unit behind enemy lines and reduce that army to 25%, we can still win…!”

In short, we loved it. And are hooked. Many of the lads are starting new collections and projects, myself included.

I’ve built an Adeptus Arbites ‘Execution’ team – these are my more elite, heavily armed and armoured Arbites, deployed only when the complete and utter extermination of the target is required (think; SWAT team with a 40K twist). I’ve based the models (and their rules) on Space Marines, but used Maxmini riot shields and Puppets War shoulder pads and Judge Dredd style heads


The team includes three boltgunners, one of which has the ‘sniper’ skill – so the boltgun on the right has a silencer and scope!

The heavy bolter carrier will be given the ‘relentless’ skill, while one of the riot shield bearers will be given the ‘rending’ skill – he’ll be accompanied by his faithful K9 unit (the model will have no in-game effect, but if  I score a rending hit, we’ll all imagine he got mauled by the dog!)


kill team list

The team is built around ‘counts as’ Dark Angel Space Marines

IMG_0279 IMG_0280 IMG_0281 IMG_0282 IMG_0283 IMG_0284 IMG_0286 IMG_0287 IMG_0288 IMG_0289 IMG_0291 IMG_0292 IMG_0293 IMG_0294 IMG_0295 IMG_0296 IMG_0297 IMG_0298

#TheTrainJob – playing the game

What a game!

#TheTrainJob was a six-player, narrative-based fluff game based around the Kill Team rules (download PDF here). After setting the scene and giving the players a brief, the club frantically set about building scenery, painting models and crafting lists.

For this battle, the scenario wasn’t prescriptive and we let the day unfold as the players dictated. But there were some set elements that helped shape the narrative, including;

  • Imperial vs Chaos (and Xenos)
  • Set on a backwater world that no one cared about where anything could happen
  • Action revolved around a railway running through key points; depot, city, scrapyard, ambush alley…
  • An Imperial container transporting something top-secret

The six armies that took part:

  1. Adepta Sororitas of Our Martyred Lady
  2. Adeptus Arbites patrol
  3. Beastmarines
  4. Iron Warriors
  5. The Orkenstein
  6. The Weeping Angels

To kick things off, we played a few mini-games using the 40K rules, which ended brutally fast because of our small lists. These we decided were like ‘opening sequences in a movie’ and really set the scene. In one game for example, the Orks raided and captured the train so we decided they should ride it in the next battle!


  • Lone Dark Eldar biker one-shotting a Beastmarine dreadnought in the rear with a dark lance
  • Adeptus Arbites bikers mounting the railway and racing headlong towards a speeding train
  • Battle Sisters hitchhiking a ride in a civilian VW camper van to get to the action quicker
  • Orks boarding a speeding train from their trucks
  • Chaos marine raptors using their feet-claws and rocket packs to lift the container onto the train (as the depot crane was disabled) to make a getaway
  • Beastmarine dreadnought barreling into the container to knock it off the train
  • (Drunken) mini games to decide events that weren’t in the rules; “Can my Arbites officer lob a krak grenade into the exhaust pipes to stop the train?”… “Ok, but only if you can stack 15 dice in 30 seconds”
  • ‘Wild cards’ – for the final game, each player wrote and was given one random wild card (making sure the player didn’t get the one he wrote himself). Each wild card described a ‘triumph and treachery’ type event and could be as crazy or as game-breaking as the author wanted (but remembering that it could just as easily be used against his own side). Events took place such as; entire buildings falling down, orbital bombardment, warp storms, and even an Inquisitor teleporting directly onto the train
  • The contents of Container 23 was decided at random. Each player wrote down what they wanted to be in it and we decided that once the train reached the city, we’d reveal its contents… to say we were all quite miffed as to what we’d been fighting over all day was quite an understatement!
  • Karaoke (yep, that happened)

The club all approached this with the same attitude and mindset, and the event was a fantastic success – it wasn’t about ‘winning’* or adhering to a set of rules, but rather about telling a really cool story. We all set up lots of in game ‘movie moments’ and were open to a bit of roleplaying-esqu games mastering and narrating when it helped move along the story


















#TheTrainJob – Adepta Sororitas of Our Martyred Lady

The last remaining Adepta Sororitas gather around the remains of the Chapel of Our Martyred Lady. Sister Superior Veronica will lead the ceremony to desanctify this ruin so that the remains of the 15th Saint can be taken off world. Until this sacred act is complete the chapel is holy ground and home to the last of the faithful



Violent biker gang spotted raiding local settlements. Nine known members

  • Gang name: Weeping Angels
  • Gang leader name: Toe Cutter
  • Reward: 500,000 thrones

Only known photo





#TheTrainJob – Adeptus Arbites patrol

“Duty roster: Planet 1NA”

These were words even the most veteran Adeptus Arbites officer didn’t want to hear. 1NA was considered to be the arse-end of planets, in the arse-end of systems. To be posted here, even for the shortest amount of time, was practically a death sentence. If the radiation didn’t kill you, then the local populace of scum and villiany would.

1NA once specialised in mining, processing and the production of low-grade ceramite. Mined almost to exhaustion, the dwindling resources meant Imperial involvement slowly reduced. Those that could afford to leave the planet did, while those who remained behind were forced to scrap out a living in the slums, which soon accounted for over 75% of the habitats on 1NA.

The Arbites stationed on 1NA were fighting a losing battle. And it was a battle. Slowly, the planet was descending into anarchy and lawlessness as the Imperium’s interest dwindled and its grip loosened. Casualties were mounting and resources were scarce. The Arbites were increasingly forced to work with local militia groups, Adepta Sororitas covenants, mercenaries, bounty hunters and many other unsavory characters. And with increasing desperation, payment became increasingly unorthodox, ranging from credits, food rations, and the Emperor’s pardon for past crimes to weapons, ammunition, protection, dead bodies and even xenos captives…

For this game, I’ll be using the Adeptus Arbites fan-Codex written by Matthew Forish (found here Arbites 7th v1.4). I have a full squad of 10 Arbitrators with shotguns. The ‘executioner ammunition’ is represented by a unique stat line; R18, S4, AP5, twin-linked, no cover, no snaps – which ‘feels’ right and is an elegant way to represent the heat-seeking, armour-piercing ammo. One of the squad carries a grenade launcher and has a skill to ignore cover. They are led by a sergeant with a plasma pistol and shock maul (a close combat weapon that gives +1S), and he is accompanied by his faithful K-9 unit which I’ve given the fear special rule. Finally, the team is supported by a three-man pursuit team mounted on bikes. The leader of which has the hammer of wrath skill – hopefully he can simply run over his opponent before he even needs to draw his weapon!


#TheTrainJob – the brief

Registered World 1NA is a back water industrial planet that specialised in mining, processing and product of low-grade ceramite. Due to low remaining resources, imperial involvement has been slowly reduced over the last 25 years. Those that could afford to leave have, those that remain work in the last remaining jobs or scrap out a living in the slums which now make up over 75% of each sector.

What follows is an intercepted communicade between illegal freighter traffic in the Georgia System, thought to be referring to planet 1NA…












Beastmarine scout group commissioned to confirm potential reemergence of a lost member of the wolf brothers. All sighting were false.

BEASTMARINES report 62.44.9666.57

Planet 1NA known as ‘Regina’. Back water hell hole little imperial influence. Rumours of possible Wolf Brothers planetfall sighting. Impossible to ratify without further study. Decision to send scouting unit for corroboration taken. Unit to include Greygan Prime, one of the oldest of us, as requirement to complete any spirit connection needed if to fully corroborate rumours. Considered low risk. Engagement protocol Zulu Bravo 32. Not to have any part in local affairs unless directly engaged. Beast Guard leader Haryk Black Blade is in command. Will require updates upon arrival. For the Emperor, for Leman of Russ, for the Blessed 13th, may your hooves and horns part the Imperium’s enemies and may you find our lost brothers.