Saturday, March 27, 2010

Imperial Space Marines: Kill Team Charlie

If your a fan of this site you would know your Warhammer 4000k: Rogue Trader,  from your Warhammer 40k. The original was Weird, wonderful and- as most of us remember it- rich and full of promise.  It was like 2000ad punk, smashed into the good bits of Tolkien (no poems), presented by Max Headroom (look it up gen y- theres an awesome film you need to see)..
Okay, so the modern child of Rogue took a few interesting turns, but slowly has become a smaller, more restrictive and exclusive universe.  Women marines?  No.  Halfling cooks.  No.  Beastmen troopers.  No.  You cannot wear power armour unless you have implants, you cant do this, you cant do that.  Roll 4, 5 or 6 on a D6.  Oh, I have an invulnerable save on that- check the codex.

So for my next mini project I decided to tackle some of the earliest Warhammer figures in a different way- pushing them away from gothic and towards early eighties science fiction.  I wanted them to be able to walk into an episode of Rogue Trooper or ABC warriors and look the part.  So lets take a look at the figures!

First edition space marine with heavy laser

Now with the first ever 40k figures, you notice the evolution start straight away.  Batch one is prototype, with built on backpacks and absolutely chock full of detail and equipment.  They hit white dwarf before 40k did- although a cryptic ad for a Rogue Trader role playing game was seen on a flyer about that time, we had no idea a new battle game was in the making.  You can spot a first edition marine easily.  Those ball jet thingies on the backpacks point up like exhausts, and there are many more science fiction stylings such as wiring, piping, letters, scanners and laserguns.   Bolters do not yet exist, but a lot of the trappings we have come to know and love are seen in embryo- such as powerfists.  Interestingly, the sergent model hints strongly at the future, with his nazi inspired skull eagle and skull emblems.  A cool touch to this model is that he has a helmet hanging from his waist, from which dangles the middle breathing pipe.  It gives the model a very visceral, pragmatic feel- especially when you notice his helmet is modified to make room for his cyborg eye.

First edition marines

I decided the best way to exaggerate the science fiction feel of these characters was to pick a totally new scheme based on the colors common in science fiction at that time.  In the late seventies and early eighties Orange, White, Black and Beige where the future.  Take a look at Star Wars, Buck Rogers, Disneys The Black Hole, BattleStar Gallactica, Robotech- you name it.  White, Black, Beige and Orange.  Thats why commodore 64's where that awful monkey shit beige.  It was proper high tech.
I found VMC medium grey was a perfect offwhite beige with a slight warm note.  Citadel Blazing Orange would counter this nicely, once thinned and glazed over the beige.  I wanted my troops to be dirty, but not rusty- this is futuristic plexisteel or ceramite- not iron.  They have been in toxic environs, been blasted with lasers and space dust.  VMC ocre and green-grey dirtying up the palette nicely.
For the bases, I was considering round, however a glance through Heroes for Wargames, all the 40k models where on hex bases too- fortunately I have bags and bags of them.  Easy choice.  I also decided to give the base a moon dust feel, keeping with the science fiction angle.

So after taking these pictures I got most of the way through six marines, including the limited edition power armoured marine released about the same time.  I am calling them Kill team Charlie now, for some reason.

Hope you likey.


  1. Great stuff! I've got loads of these guys to paint up and this is just the sort of inspiration to get me to have a go at them.

  2. I have just a single squad of them. I want to paint them in a dark style, more rogue trader Will Rees ilustrations.

    Great explanation about the original weird sense.

  3. Beige and orange is still one of my favorite sci-fi color combos. I was a kid in the 70's and a teenager in the 80's, so I guess I'm just the right age.

  4. Oh, thanks a lot!! Now I've got to check ebay to see what vintage Rogue Trader figures are available. (Rogue Trader was my first ever miniature rulebook - too bad the binding disintegrated.) --- Oh, outstanding paint job BTW.