+ inload: Dis now belongs to da orks! +

+ Sometimes painting doesn't go quite to plan – and sometimes, you don't have a plan in the first place. These orks in mega-armour were mostly painted last night, in a frenzy of chromatic black, boltgun metal and green. 

+ A mob of four of these blighters is going to cause some impact on the table – though whether through their success or simply the fact they're big heavy metal models, I'm not sure. +

 + This ork, Longthorn, carries the Waaagh banner on his back. The head's from a GW Warhammer orc boss, while the rest of him, like the others in the mob, is the Ghazghkull kit. To add a touch of difference to this one, I've cut the twin-linked shoota and turned it on its side. A minor change, but effective. +
 + A head from the special character Snikrot was used here, along with a slight repose achieved with putty in the armpits. I really like the huge numbers of sensors and lenses on his mask – perhaps a number of looted autosenses from Imperial sources? It gives him a great high-tech look that helps give him a lot of personality. +

+ The third member of the mob has a more ambitious repose; lifting his claw up to crush the enemy. He required putty in the gap between torso and legs, and I also added some detailing on his chest, which is visible underneath his head (taken from the FW Kommando conversion kit) because I haven't used the large 'iron gob' piece on these. 

+ To keep the Goff feel, I restricted the decoration to very minor dags and chequers. I used a chromatic black mixed from various darks like Abaddon Black, Necron Abyss, Orkhide Shade, Charadon Granite and Warlock(?) Purple. This ensures the black isn't completely colourless, which helps to ensure that it doesn't look flat and dead. Of course, because these shots were taken rather hurriedly in midwinter, you can't really make much out anyway! +

+ Here's the last member of the mob, who I think is my favourite – that Brian Nelson look to the head and the great Goff helmet are probably why.
+ Can't quite decide if he should represent the Warboss, Skraga Blacktoof, or just a mega-armoured nob. Thoughts? +

+ inload: Genyx + 

+ Records of the world of Genyx are amongst the oldest in the sector; with partial fragments dating back to pre-Scribe Wars material. Unfortunately, little of this is directly useful, as the planet is believed to have been subjected to an Exterminatus-level event during the Great Crusade, which meant that the records refer only vaguely to 'the planette Gennicks [sic], yclept same by the Awfulle master of ye Legion Outramare in yis yearre of Crusade 222; and noted hens as an aide navigationelle from Hesiodd Spaes.'

+ The planet is relatively well-charted, owing to its astrographical position: not only is it the closest major ork-held world to Imperial space, it also lies on the path of the Hyperion Warp Corridor, meaning that numerous Imperial sellswords, Rogue Traders and ne'er-do-wells have explored it. In turn, their reports have made their way to Imperial Intelligence.

+ Overview +

+ The attached document includes much in-depth material on the planet, so this abstract will concentrate on broad strokes. You are recommended to read, mark and learn as much as possible before deployment; as well as to pass this information on to relevant underlings.

Aphelion 109,101,000 km; 0.844 191 AU
Perihelion 107,440,000 km; 0.834 001 AU
Eccentricity 0.0056
Orbital period 401.881 Terran standard
Satellites 4; 1 believed inhabited

Mass 4.9112 x 10^24 kg
Mean density 4.2721 g/cm^3
Equatorial surface gravity 7.88m/s^2 08144 Terran standard.

+ The planet is broadly similar to Terran standard, with only minor gravitional differences. Imperial Naval forces with regiments on deployment are required to adjust their gravity in transit to aid acclimation. Respectfully, Astartes forces are advised they need make no alteration to their usual drills.

+ The planet is hot – all theatres of conflict save the polar assault have a mean surface temperature of ~40C during seasonal deployment; rising to ~43C by the projected end of hostilities. Standard equipment and rebreathers are recommended. Additional hydration packs are being recquisitioned.

+ The planet is densely covered in vigorous jungle, with the major landmasses completely covered. The small oceans are salt-rich and shallow. 

+Tacticum Imperialis +
Jungle environments can be inherently unhealthy, with various tropical diseases that have to be prevented or treated by medical services. 
Likewise the terrain can make it difficult to deploy armoured forces, or any other kind of forces on any large scale. Successful jungle fighting emphasises effective small unit tactics and leadership.

+ Flora and Fauna are believed to be non-hostile; mostly potentially lethal; broadly inedible. All liquids must be sterilised. Failure of Guard forces to follow jungle-theatre prophylactic procedures and conventions will be subject to Commissarial review of Officer ranks. +

+ Thought for the day +
Learn from the enemy's mistakes; make none of your own.

+ Initial deployment theatres +

+ Northern hemisphere +

+ Battlegroup Hastus +

Hastus will assault the largest concentration of orks on the surface, at the settlement coded Bearpit. Lions of Sol have theatre command.

Astartes Assault elements
  • Carcharadon Astra
  • Lions of Sol
Imperial Guard Assault elements
  • Cibernum Pioneer Resistance
  • Genhennan 103rd Heavy Infantry
  • Lastrati 4th Infantry
  • Virtue 3rd Drop Regiment (Regimental deployment)

Imperial Guard Support specialist elements

  • Metis Light Foot (Regimential deployment)
  • Temperance Drop Engineers

+ Battlegroup Caridas +

Caridas will take and hold the Red Fen region, believed to be relatively heavily defended; and create lines of supply and retreat down to the equatorial regions for all Imperial ground forces. 

Astartes Assault elements
  • Invigilators
Imperial Guard Assault elements

  • Aldebaran 1st
  • Siculan 445th

+ Southern hemisphere +

+ Battlegroup Mensa +

The southern hemisphere has little of strategic worth to the orks – forces deployed here will be supported by Adeptus Mechanicus forces to create reinforced landing zones and Naval refitting yards to support the Grovsenor and Ambitine Front advances in the coming years.

Imperial Guard Assault elements

  • Memini 2nd Reserves
  • Marrymen 41st
  • Rubicon 2888th (Regimental deployment)

+ Mission abstract +

+ Deployment is set for the 1st Secundus M37.778. The southern hemisphere theatre is to be rendered compliant and ready to support ongoing operations by 1st of Commencement M37.779.

+ The Northern campaign is expected to meet stern resistance; Imperial Guard forces will be cycled out on demi-annual tours until functional complicance. Astartes pledges are requested to support for as long as possible until compelled further into orkspace; or Admiral d'Yrbium announces Compliance. +

+ Enemy disposition +

+ Heavy resistance is to be expected around the mobile population centres coded Bearpit, Tangent and Spearmint. Initial reconnaisance by the Metis Light Foot have confirmed ork spoor and tribal markers from the following off-planet ork forces that have moved to support:

Major ork deployments
  • Black Sunz (full tribal deployment suspected)
  • Golden Horde, The (Believed to be rallying planetary feral ork tribes – Omega threat level)
  • Shooty Boyz (support/advisory elements – engage with immediate intent)
  • Orful's Oldboyz
Minor Ork deployments
  • Redgobz
  • Neckslica's Speedas
  • Zoddrukk's Sneeks
+ Expect the orks to be highly mobile, highly resourceful and to have dug in. The aboriginal tribes are likely to have liaised with incoming forces, which means the orks will benefit from excellent intelligence and be fully adapted to the hostile environment.

+ Naval forces will be at the disposal of all Imperial commanders, cross services. Ork aircover is anticipated to be low, but the jungle canopy means that air support networks are near-impossible to detect. Expect a precociously high level of preparedness from the orks.

Engage and destroy are standing orders. +

+++Images used without permission+++

+ inload: Forces of the Scallops Stars 4 +

+ Metis Light Foot +

+ The Helswall system lies in the spinwards reaches of the Hesiod-Siculus subsector, near the Scallop Stars border, and has long-provided tough and resourceful regiments to the Imperial Guard. The three principal planets usually contribute their own regiments, but in cases of unusually high levels of recruitment, they are known to combine individual companies into one of the so-called 'Mongrel' regiments. 

+ The Light Foot were the sole regiment supplied entirely by the forest world of Metis to the Fourth Great Purge. Their superlative fieldcraft skills proved invaluable during the planetary invasion of Genyx, which marked the first large-scale planetary assault by the Ambitine Purge Fleet.

+ The world of Metis has a higher gravity than terra, and the dense forest cover and low population density has bred men and women that are tough, stoical and resourceful. The planet is lightly populated and most inhabitants are isolationist, living individually in short-term 'wood-igloos'. They gather semi-regularly to meet family obligations and to trade. Large-scale mobilisation is seen as a necessary duty to which most Metans acquiesce, however grudgingly; but the planet has an extremely high Arbites presence in order to enforce the tithe.

+ Metans are famed both for their personal adaptability and initiative, and unfortunately also their insubordination. Metans called to serve off-world frequently find themselves wrong-footed by the void gravity and claustrophobia of life on ship, though they generally quickly adapt. The term 'Metan' quickly entered the Fleet's officer slang as a shorthand term for soldiers that were irascible and violent – perhaps unfairly, as the Light Foot quickly settled once granted leave to bivouac throughout the ships, rather than being cramped into barracks. +

+ Desetar Goran Chomatemj +

+ Desetar is a non-commissioned officer rank, which grants command over a handful of other soldiers. A Desetar might find himself tasked with leading anything from a single fireteam up to an entire platoon, but more often he will be serving under a higher rank, and specialised.

+ Chomatemj has been issued with a short-band communication device. The bulky Braun VI-pattern long-range backpacks were issued as standard, but suffered a near total attrition rate on Genyx. It was widely-held belief amongst Imperial command that the Metans were deliberately abandoning the awkward packs or cannibalising the parts to create short-band communications that were considerably more useful to their independent modus operandi. For obvious reasons, such reports were not passed on to the Adeptus Mechanicus – the High Command taking the Metans' reports of mecahnical failure at face value on the basis that the operational ability of the regiment increased as their comms-gear deteriorated.

 + Members of the Light Foot were deployed as infiltrators, sappers and generalists in support of the main Astartes drive on Genyx. Members of the Lions of Sol reported their admiration of the Metan's stoical and self-reliant attitude, and they worked unusually closely with the troopers.

+ Chomatemj is pictured here bearing a clearly non-standard boltgun. The ident tags mark it as drawn from the Forgeworld Conisium in the Hynde's Crimson Star system; a drawing point for the Stellar Steeds Chapter – also operating on Genyx.

+ The hard grey carapace and light fatigues pictured here were standard; though many of the Light Foot opted to wear only a light flak vest in the steaming heat of the Genyx campaign.

+ Chomatemj is also carrying supplies sufficient for a two-day ranging deployment, including a camo-cloak.
+ The Genyx campaign was often fought in close-quarters without support; a deadly position that favoured the eager and dangerous orks of the planet. While the Metans were tough and resourceful for humans, they – like other regiments – couldn't compete for sheer physicality with the greenskins. This sat badly with the regiment, who prided themselves on their fieldcraft, and morale was low throughout the campaign.

+ Nevertheless, the Metan Light Foot provided invaluable support for the Astartes forces, and while they took heavy losses on Genyx, their effort and sacrifice ensured that the war could grind on. +

+ inload: Da Blakk Kuttas +

+ I've been working on these orks for a while now, and thought I'd pop up a few pictures of them. +

+ Dedd proppa +

+ Individual shots +

+ inload: Forces of the Scallop Stars 3 +

+ Designated Focus: Redgobz/Bloody Toof Boyz +

+ This tribe was first brought to the attention of the Imperial military during the Fourth Great Purge. Like many ork groups, the Bloody Teef Boyz have had numerous leaders over several generations, and maintain dozens of rivalries and grudges against nearby ork groups. 

+ The homesystem and traditional fief of the ork tribe known variously as the Bloody Teef Boyz, Bloody Toofs, Redgobz and numerous other variations, holds four major worlds: Gorgob (known to Imperial forces as Pallas), Grinsnik, Weteye and Wurrsnaga.

+ inload source: Desk of the Lord Commander Ultima +
+ FAO Imperial Commanders of rank Major (equiv.) or above +
+ Thought for the day: The tallow of man keeps alight the flame of hope. +

+ Contact across numerous theatres has been made with a single enemy force. Believed to have substantial numbers, the 'Bloody Toof Boyz', as they style themselves, are fast beomcing a major threat, and every effort should be made to neutralise their forces and degrade their ability to coordinate, post haste.

+ This missive is intended to spread information about the enemy, in order that he may be identified and exterminated. Do not disseminate this information to the ranks of the soldiery!

+ First contact: The group is unusual in maintaining its own fleet, part of the larger group clustered around the Stellar Wells – the so-called 'Stellar Wells Greens'. However, first contact was made by a ranging picket ship of the Hyperion Front, a vessel belonging to the Stars of Dorn Astartes Chapter. Happening across a superior force of enhanced cruiser-displacement craft in the tribe's distinctive livery, the Furious Anger disengaged after a brief but damaging engagement. Having sustained boarders during the retreat, the Furious Anger was later found to be harbouring a surprisingly sophisticated and self-replicating void-tracking broadcast system. To what end is unclear at this point.

+ Threat level: Extremely high. The force muster is believed to number in the millions; with many subgroups and allied factions. The 'Bloodeater King', the tribal leader, has so far proven elusive. Elements and groups ranging from battalion strength down to unit cells have been positively identified across almost every world during this first year of conflict.

+ Action: On contact, report to fleet command as a priority. The tribe enjoys substantial support and manpower, and must be met with crushing force wherever possible. Levels of engagement up to fleet orbital bombardment have been sanctioned: check with Commissariat and Naval Fleet command.

+ Identification: The tribe appears to have no especial preponderance of 'clan' fidelities, with an equal balance seemingly between Evil Sun, Snakebite, Deathskull and Bad Moon social types, and a scattering of Goff, Blood Axe and minor clans. This diversity and balance makes the group especially dangerous as the typical adaptability and strategies of any clan type are seemingly equally likely to be employed. The clearest identifying mark is the red teeth of the tribe. Believed to have stemmed from the chewing of betel, a rare spice theorised to be native to the ork's theorised homeworld under the codename Pallas. Betel juice is red-staining, giving those enjoying this mild narcotic a distinctive red maw. Leaders of the orks are known to have had their teeth permanently stained, their lower jaws tattooed red, and dozens of other variations. Even their vehicles are daubed with red jaw symbols.

+ Image Captures of typical belligerent for identification only:+ Source: Brother-Sergeant Androth, Ishilites; Birch theatre. +

+ inload: Forces of the Scallop Stars II +

+ Blenheim 2nd Expeditionaries +

+ Imperial Guard of Blenheim +

+ The Perseus system is situated on the Grovsenor subsector's border with the Boten Cloud Nebula. The nebula dissuades most attacks from orkspace, but the system has come under attack on a not inconsequential number of times. As a result, while the planets are not always on a war-footing, they all maintain standing and touring armies.

The Civilised world officially termed Perseus II, and known in-system as Blenheim, is the system's second world. Green and pleasant, the whole of its surface is not only inhabitable but hospitable, with the exception of the extreme poles. Numerous mountain ranges dot the surface, and the planet is split into a number of allied – though nominally independent – states, overseen by the Federation Council of Blenheim. Much of the planet's tithe comes from food exports, including such delicacies as ghostberries, chew-vine and apebread. 

+ The planet contributed three large armies it dubbed 'Expeditionary Forces' – each one an organisation of multiple standard regiments – to the M37 Scallop Stars campaign, an amount which is unsurprising once one considers the traditional hostility to raids from orkspace. Recruitment across the planet was met with celebration as the patriotic Imperial servants saw their chance to be involved in the 'great adventure' and take the fight to the orks. All threee armies were folded into the Grovsenor Front forces.

+ Blenheim regiments are mixed; with a roughly two-to-one proportion of males to females serving. Service is compulsory, though the planet is unusual in the number of veterans who eventually make their way home, owing to the Council of Blenheim's political links with the Imperial Navy. 

+ Lance-corporal Maximilianus Mustermann is a typical example of the standard trooper the planet contibuted to the campaign. He is pictured here during the first year of the campaign during the landings on Cibernum Alpha, a notoriously tough tour of duty that saw the guardsmen quickly adapt to off-world fighting or perishing.

+ Clutching a Fulzene-pattern lasrifle, an archaic and temperamental type with a wooden stock, marks Mustermann as a later assignation to the 2nd Expeditionaries; as the first were equipped with the superior Yoke-pattern type.

+ The distinctive red-and-yellow system mark of Perseus II was displayed prominently on each uniform, and was often incorporated into unofficial clothing such as hats and scarves sent from family and well-wishers back on Blenheim. 

+ Contact with home was an indulgence denied to most regiments, but available to the well-connected Blenheimers until later in the war, when supply lines became attenuated.
+ The heavy 'bergen' backpack is non-standard, though the cylindrical smoke and fragmentation grenades were issued to all Blenheimers. 

+ Imported from the Forgeworld Braun VI, the payloads of the grenades were distinguishable only in infra-vision, owing to a mis-stroke by a Munitorum factotum, which led to a number of regrettable casualties and confusion as troops attempted to provide cover for allies – with explosive results – or destroy ork vehicles and emplacements with harmless smoke bombs.

+ The final image incongruously shows what appears to be a large and valuable Catachan 'knife' strapped to Mustermann's backpack. This is either spoils of war, a treasured relic, or possibly a reproduction bought for intimidatory purposes. The Blenheim troops deployed in the assaults on Cibernum Alpha believed vulgar displays of power provided a benefit against the superstitious orks. Such reports were investigated, but proved largely unfounded.

+ Mustermann's lack of head covering denotes either recklessness or its loss; both punishable by Commissariat reproach – or death.

+ inload: Minor forces of the Scallop Stars +

+ The old worldwide campaigns were supported by some really cool concepts – not least the little bits of colour text and single images that detailed (then-unknown) regiments like the Savlar Chem-dogs, Death Korps of Krieg and Elysian Drop Troops. This is something that I really loved.

+ As the Scallop Stars campaign goes along, I'd like to add little character sketches of armies, in order to help support the impression that the war is huge, and goes beyond our own 'real' 40k armies.+

+ Designated Focus: 'Zodrukk's Sneeks' ork tribe +

+ inload source: Desk of the Lord Commander Ultima +
+ FAO Imperial Commanders of rank Major (equiv.) or above +
+ Thought for the day: Read, Mark and Learn. +

I have recently been made aware that a freebooting commando force specialising in infiltration and sabotage – self-designated 'Zodrukk's Sneeks' have been implicated in numerous attacks, acts of sabotage and other efforts that have contributed to Imperial loss of life and limb.

+ This missive is intended to spread information about the enemy, in order that he may be identified and exterminated. Do not disseminate this information to the ranks of the soldiery!

+ First contact: The group was identified as xenos aggressor by Captain Spear of the Gothic-class Cruiser Steel Eye (Ambitine Purge Fleet) in the second month of 778; post-invasion by merely a few days. 

+ Threat level: The speed at which the force made contact indicates a high level of responsiveness; or else internal Imperial subversion. Efforts should be made to root out any staff who have had contact or dealings with mercenary forces native to the Scallop Stars – deal with them as you see appropriate. Beyond this, regular firesweeps should be made of Imperial Naval craft of the Ambitine Purge Fleet – particularly those that have been engaged in Void War, or received medical evacuation or reinforcement from the planets of the first landings on the Ambitine Front (viz. Cibernum Alpha, Genyx). 
+ Aside from this, the force is believed to be fairly disparate, though relatively highly organised. You are unlikely to encounter the 'Sneeks' en masse – so be aware of them in support of other orkoid forces, or in isolation as small cells of no more than thirty orks.

+ Action: On contact, attempt to engage and capture for interrogation. Report to fleet command as a priority whether capture is possible or not. Engage as possible; maintain fire discipline through the ranks. Officers are likely targets of their modus operandi in order to spread disorder. Purge teams of line infantry can likely deal with all engagements without officers beyond Captain level. Major rank and above (incl. brevet ranks) should be withdrawn, along with any aides who have knowledge of this inload. 

+ Identification: The force employs primitive camouflage, and seems to have extensive fieldcraft skills and abilities. Non-gentlemanly warfare and asymmetrical engagement is to be expected of this force. Most engagements have seen the orks with breathing gear, occasional void suits and small arms; nothing beyond heavy stubber-equivalents and RPG equivalents. 

+ Image Capture of typical belligerent:
+ Source: Haupt-sergeant Carenna (KIA), Delphi 20th Light Infantry; Genyx Landings. +

+End missive+

+ inload: Updating models – Novamarine captain +

+ inload: Captain Mercian of the Novamarines +

Resolution, Dominance, Control. These three words will be etched into the hearts of every one in my command. The first we shall own, the second we shall bring, and the third we will force onto the greenskin.
– Attr. Captain Mercian, Novamarines Master of the Marches -

+ Every so often, it's good to go back and update a model with which you're not satisifed. My Novamarines Captain was one such.

Original version
+ Based on the Space Hulk (3rd ed.) Librarian, the original conversion, seen left, received a quick paintjob for a last-minute campaign weekend. The golds were brash, the whites were too messy (even for my taste), and the model as a whole had a feeling of incompleteness to me.

+ On top of that, he just didn't have the presence of a Captain. I've never been a fan of capes on models before, but here I just thought it would add what was missing.
Updated version

+ The new version received a cape taken from FW's Minotaur Terminator special character, which I attached below the backpack. I then used greenstuff to extend it over his pauldron and across to a jewelled brooch next to a new shoulder pad with Terminator honours. My Novamarines are set in the 37th Millennium, so they offer good opportunities to experiment with details like the Crux Terminatus that don't fit thematically or chronologically with my more austere Ultramarines (M31 era).

+ Painting wise, I cleaned up the white, enriched the blues and then muted the golds. With that in place I worked on the additional details like the Chapter Symbol (partly hidden under the cloak) and picking out the Ultramarines Legion symbol on his helmet crest. 

+ Little touches like this took less than an hour but really made a difference. With them in place, I used a torn-off piece of sponge (for a ragged edge) and suggested some dirt and weathering by lightly dabbing Dryad Bark (a new dark brown paint) on.

 + The cloak was pretty easy to paint. As the Master of the Marches, the company colour is black. I try never to use pure black except for undercoats, instead making things very dark green, blue, red etc. Here I wanted a neutral hue so I mixed Dryad Back, Orkhide Shade and Necron Abyss for a dark hue. This was then highlighted subtly with the addition of Rotting Flesh.

+ Rotting Flesh was also used for the decorative lining, a simple high-contrast design that add a little detail to the piece.

+ The addition of the cape also means he now matches his Epic-scale iteration. +

+ inload; Thrugg Bullneck redux +

+ inload: Painting Thrugg Bullneck  +

+ A while back, I posted up a conversion I had made based on the villain from the Rogue Trader scenario Battle for the Farm, Thrugg Bullneck. As you can see above, I got around to painting him over the weekend. +

+ He was a lot of fun to  paint – and a great exercise in practising the palette I want to use on my army project for the PCRC's 2014 campaign, da Blakk Kuttas.

+ I always love painting skin, and the character Brian Nelson got into his metal ork nobs is fantastic fun to paint. While painting it, I noticed that the face I used here had metal caps rivetted over his tusks. I toyed with the idea of retaining them, but ended up trimming them down and painting them as natural teeth to better emulate the original model. 

+ I used a touch of purple in the basecoat and reinforced that on the lips and eyelids. Just because the skin is green, it doesn't mean it doesn't deserve all the time and effort you would put into human skin. +

The pose tends to make the eye go the head and then slide down the gun to the base, so I added a little freehand chequer pattern on the bracer as a quick way to keep the eye lingering on the model. In addition, some relative tidiness helps set off the looser blocks of colour on organic forms like orks. 

 + This shot shows the fur texture – a very easy paintjob which was Rotting Flesh overlaid with Ogryn Flesh wash (to add a bit of warmth) and then Agrax Earthshade. I think the particular detail of a bone horn sticking through orangey-tinged animal fur is very Blanchesque. John Blanche is a huge influence and inspiration to my painting, so I wanted to get that across. The minimal base is also a result of reading that he prefers a simple base to let the miniatures speak for themselves. 

+ I enjoyed painting the trophy skulls and heads a lot, too – very sci-fi barbarian!
+ All this grim brooding darkness can be a bit much sometimes, so I leavened the paint scheme by painting the squig scratching his ear (a mini-mawe from the ever-wonderful Hasslefree miniatures) a nice bright orange, and scrawling 'Git' on one of Thrugg's trophy skulls. 

+ I don't like clownish orks, but a bit of 2000AD style black humour is very much in keeping with the original flavour of the orks. 

+ Overall, I'm very pleased with how he's come out – a nice mix of old and new, with a lot of character. Hopefully a fitting tribute to Thrugg himself. +