Category Archives: Imperial Guard

The Ratling Project: Final Concept Art

Svirfneblin snipers standing around dramatically in some smoke

My brother Chris has sent me some final concept art for our alternative Svirfneblin-inspired Ratling project (or “the nebos” as he’s taken to calling them in his very . . . Aussie fashion).  He’s just finishing up another miniatures project, and then he’s ready to start sculpting the greens.  I think they will look pretty amazing.

Svirfneblin snipers on a break

Svirfneblin sniper rifles

There are more images on Chris’s blog here.  I particularly like the NCO.


The Ratling Project

Svirfneblin snipers

A little while ago I mentioned that I was dissatisfied with GW’s hobbit-inspired ratlings, and the only way I could see getting my hands on ratlings I liked was either to do a massive modelling project or commission a sculptor.

Well, last week you might remember I mentioned my brother Chris’s blog, which mainly chronicles his D&D adventures.  Chris is a trained printmedia artist with a long-term interest in sculpting miniatures, and I had a chat with him about making some tough, leathery little bastards inspired by the aesthetic of the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Svirfneblin (deep gnomes).

He agreed to give it a go and the above sketch is his first rough whack at the job.  I’m pretty excited, and will of course keep track of how this goes on my blog.  He has a cartoonish style that I think suits this idea well, given the exaggerated features I’m after. I particularly like the mandarin collars, the sneaky ninja boots and the felt helmets, which Chris tells me are based on World War One Romanian felt helmets.

For anyone who’s interested, here’s a link to some greens he has made and some of his future projects in miniature design.

Talking About Ratlings

The current iteration of Ratlings in Warhammer 40,000. Nice models I guess, but way too Sam Gamgee for my liking.

Today I’m going to return to Warhammer 40,00 and talk a little about a subject near-ish to my heart (maybe somewhere in the vicinity of the pancreas) – Ratlings.  That’s right, Games Workshop’s throwback space hobbit snipers.

I’m genuinely surprised whenever they manage to sneak into a new Imperial Guard book, so someone in the studio must like them.  You can tell how the community really feels about something though by looking at Black Library novels.  I can’t remember the last time a Ratling was even a character in one, but Ogryns for example pop up quite regularly.

Online you see almost universal disdain for the little buggers.  I think there are a few reasons for this.  Continue reading

Hey, I’ve actually been painting

There are totally going to be titans in our Apocalypse game it will be awesome. Can’t wait to take some photos. Er… and play the game.

I haven’t been my usual blogging self lately. No opinionated blow-hardiness(?) around here – I’ve actually been doing proper painting. Astonishing, I know.

I’ve been preparing for our up-coming apocalypse game, and I have to say, painting GW-sized units of infantry is wearing pretty thin. I’m starting to think after all these years that hey, maybe I have enough Imperial Guardsmen and Battle Sisters for my purposes. I mean I have more than enough for even the largest casual games, and the variety available to me pretty much covers all the units I actually find interesting. With my time and money being drastically restricted now by an extra family member, a reduced income, and an increasingly demanding workload, I think it’s time to put the brakes on and stop actively collecting. I might pick up the odd vehicle, but to be honest I only want another hell-hound, maybe another russ variant.

Stop collecting 40k that is. I’m thoroughly enjoying painting my half-a-dozen Yu Jung soldiers for Infinity. It’s a real struggle to force myself to paint twelve nearly identical battle sisters to match my other nearly identical battle sisters when in front of me are sitting a ninja with a sniper rifle and four soldiers who, while admittedly all in the same uniform, vary hugely in pose, face, hairstyle and even gender.

Once they’re done and added to my domaru and keisotsu I’ll have a legal 150 point army, which is enough for small games. Contrast that with the twelve battle sisters I have to paint to get oh, about a quarter of the points value of the smallest 40k game anyone would ever agree to play, and you can see why I’m kind of over it.

Don’t get me wrong, 40k is a fun game, I’ve always said so, and it’s not like I’m getting rid of my armies or anything foolish like that. I just think enough is enough, at least in terms of infantry squads.  Multitudinous, mind-numbing infantry squads.

Stay tuned, and I’ll put up pics of my finished Sisters and Yu Jing soon.

Talking About Army Background

This image comes from Tears of Istvaan, a blog that showcases a lot of beautiful and creepy art and some fantastic models. You can find it in my roll off to the right there.

Pretty soon the Invasion of St. Arkham campaign will finally come to an end, in a huge Apocalypse battle.  Because of this, I thought today I’d post up some brief background I’ve worked up for my Warhammer 40k collection.

I’m not really one for writing up encyclopeadic histories for my armies, but I do enjoy mentally placing them in the setting, and it’s about time I wrote down my floating thoughts seeing as I have a blog and all.  Speaking of that, sorry I seem to have stopped putting up many pictures lately – I’m very busy these days and don’t have much time to trawl for non-essential images unfortunately.

Anyway.  I think there are at least two ways to enjoy the background of the games we love.  One is what I call the historical approach, where you accurately re-create elements of the background.  I call it the historical approach because this is what historical gamers usually do.  They give their soldiers all the accurate insignia and details so that when the army is arrayed it becomes a realistic tableau of retreating Russian infantry at Stalingrad or whatever.

People can do this with 40k too.  The GW games have such well-established background that you can make an army that is, say, an accurate depiction of the Ultramarines 4th company during the Tyrannic Wars, or the Thousand Sons in the 31st millennium.  I can definitely see the fun and the challenge in that.

The other main approach (which is the one I just can’t seem to avoid taking), could be called the inventive approach.  This is where you invent your own take on an army, for example making up your own chapter of space marines or unique Ork warband.  The challenge is to make it fit into the established setting in a way that is believable and makes people say “hey that’s pretty cool.”  There is obviously limited scope for this in historical gaming – although I know that the inimitable SinSynn at House of Paincakes has aliens in his Flames of War army.  And that warms my heart.

So, I normally engage with the setting inventively, not historically.  Below, if you’re interested, you can read the little bits of lore I have invented over the last few years to get my imagination going between games.

Continue reading

Two Hobby Victories and a Thought

So the last month or so of my life has been a total blur.  As well as baby-wrangling I’ve been battling against house-unpacking and marking people’s assignments (which takes WAY longer than I anticipated) to try to get just a little bit of game stuff done.  Now the house is pretty much habitable and I’ve managed to steal some tiny hobby victories:

Victory One: My regular opponent Cap’n Stoogey and I are going in a 1200 point doubles 40k tourney in a couple of weeks, 600 points each.  For the first time his Ultramarines and my Guard will be fighting side by side.  600 points is not much and we aren’t aiming for the top tables so we just decided to choose a few must-have units that we really wanted to field.  I’ve mustered a rag-tag band of misfits – two squads of penal legionnaires, my ogryns, and my demolisher Anathema led by a Primaris Psyker.  In fact this little army has really captured my imagination, and got me thinking about a full-sized force of penals, abhumans and psykers, supported by assault battle tanks.  I think an army like that would be fun to play and really capture the weird undertone of the Imperial Guard fluff that lurks underneath the “normal army dudes” surface.

Victory Two: After unsuccessfully scouring every art, hardware and car store in town (and the internet) for matt finish spray paint for my Night Goblins I noticed a street art and graffiti shop hiding up some pokey little stairs in the city centre.  They had 200 colours imported from Germany for ten bucks each, and the guy even threw in a smaller nozzle for free for detail work.  It was just an amazing lucky break.  Anyone who’s been to Canberra knows that shops like that don’t exactly grow on trees here so I hope they stay open.  The owners were super-cool and there was all this loud hip-hop and mad pieces on the walls yo, and I felt like a total dork buying graffiti paint for my Night Goblins.  I just kind of pretended I was an aerosol artist (despite having no real idea how an aerosol artist looks or acts).  It was awesome.

Oh yeah, I was listening to the D6 Generation’s 100th episode the other day and all three of the hosts (who are crazy hard-core gamers compared with me) were saying that they were past the point where they could ever see themselves buying an army for an army scale miniatures system ever again.  Not just GW, but any army sized system (I think they specifically mentioned PP, Battlefront and something else as well as GW).

I know how they feel (uh… despite what I just wrote above!)  It made me think about this post where I suggested that all these miniature games companies have really jumped the shark if you’re an adult gamer with grown-up responsibilities.  And by responsibilities I’m not just talking kids either, I’m talking real jobs and other games to play.  All of these things make the demands of games like 40k and HoMachine seem ri-godamn-diculous.

I’m genuinely curious about how the demographic will change in the future.  Are we stepping boldly into a world where Little Lord Fauntleroys with weatlhy absent parents play vast games of Warhammer against each other, while the rest of us whip out our phones or throw down a quick skirmish game?  Who knows?

Till next time.  Hopefully I’ll have pictures from the tournament 😀

After Action Report: The Invasion of St. Arkham, part IX


At the close of the invasion, several small skirmishes took place as the defending troops fell back toward the Governor’s fortress.  Lt. Col. Khazak of the Cadian 121st set a series of booby traps to the west of St. Arkham Cathedral to catch the Ultramarines off-guard and draw them into the open, but a breakdown in communications led to some elements of battlegroup Wyvern blundering into the area and mistaking the trapped ordnance for valuable salvage.  The Ultramarines took advantage of the confusion to rout the misdirected Imperial Guard.  Lord Felix Bock, ranking commissariat officer of battlegroup Wyvern, was severely wounded in the engagement by the famous Ultramarine marksman Telion.

– Extract from the “Official History of the Invasion of St. Arkham, 896M41” 



  • Brother-Captain Gaius – Space Marine Captain, digital weapons, artificer armour, jump pack, power weapon, bolt pistol, melta bombs
  • Squad Lucianus – Assault squad (5), melta bombs, power weapon
  • Aquiline – Land Speeder Storm, multi-melta
  • Eamhair – Land Speeder Storm, heavy flamer
  • Squad Ulixes – Tactical Squad (10), flamer, missile launcher, plasma pistol, power weapon, drop pod
  • Squad Castiel – Scout Squad (5), power weapon, melta bombs
  • Squad Peregrinus – Scout Squad (5), power weapon, melta bombs
  • Squad Telion – Scout Squad (5), Sgt. Telion, 4 sniper rifles
  • Brother Constantinus – Venerable Dreadnought, heavy flamer, drop pod
  • Brother Thaddaeus – Dreadnought, 2 hunter-killer missiles, heavy flamer, Lucius pattern drop pod
  • Eugenius – whirlwind
  • Fidelis – whirlwind
  • Leontius – Predator, heavy bolters


  • Lord Commissar Felix Bock – bolter, power fist
  • Gloominwald Ogryn Auxilia – Bone Ead, 3 Ogryns
  • 8th Kasrkin – 5 Stormtroopers, bolter, power weapon, 2 melta guns
  • Nemesis Coven, Psykana Auxilia – Psyker Battle Squad, 5 Sanctioned Psykers, overseer
  • Cadian 129th – Veteran squad, power fist, 3 plasma guns, chimera with multi-laser and heavy flamer, Grenadiers
  • 44th St. Arkham sharpshooters – Veteran squad, Bastonne, two snipers, Forward Sentries
  • Lt. Blake, 44th St. Arkham – Platoon command squad, bolter, heavy bolter
  • Squad Boxer – Infantry squad, grenade launcher, power weapon, melta bombs
  • Squad Coleridge – Infantry squad, grenade launcher, power weapon, melta bombs
  • Platoon fire support – 3 mortar teams
  • Platoon fire support – 3 autocannon teams
  • Hell’s Breath, St. Arkham 1st Armoured – Banewolf, hull multi-melta
  • Anathema, St. Arkham 1st Armoured – Leman Russ Demolisher, multi-melta sponsons, heavy flamer
  • Storm Giant, St. Arkham 1st Armoured – Leman Russ Battle Tank, heavy flamer, pintle heavy stubber


It’s getting towards the end of the campaign.  In fact, the war is all but over and all that remains is the huge Apocalypse bang that every good campaign needs to go out with.  As you can see Jay and I both took unusual lists, to reflect the fact that this was a skirmish involving forward elements.  There were certainly a lot of Ultramarine scouts staring me down.  I really liked the look of this mission, as I love random brutality that ruins careful planning and makes you have to think on your feet.  Unfortunately, I got what I wished for with this one!

We decided to alter the mission so that both attacker and defender could trigger the explosions.  As luck would have it, most of the objectives I grabbed either exploded or were false objectives, and Jay managed, by the end of the game, to seize all the real ones and avoid getting blown up, all the while playing with a points penalty from last game.  Basically I got totally smashed.  It was one of those games where luck was against me all the way, I just couldn’t roll to save my guy’s lives.  Sort of like what happened to Jay way back in Part IV, so it all evened out over time at least . . .

The main horror I remember was my Lord Commissar and Ogryns charging a squad of scouts and being killed without causing a single casualty.  The best thing that happened for me was my sharpshooter lascannon team exploded one of the Ultramarine whirlwinds on the first shot of the game.  It was all downhill from there.  Jay played a tight game and just sort of swept my guys away, taking the objectives as he went.  After a bit of back and forth, the marines now have a clear lead on campaign points.

Things have been really busy in real life lately (I’m starting to wonder if they’ll ever not be), so it might be a little while until the final battle.  Stay tuned though . . . there’ll be at least one Titan, and some special rules my opponent cooked up. I’ll make sure to break it into a few parts for easier reading.

Result: Space Marine major victory.  Ultramarines 20 points, battlegroup Wyvern 12 points.


++Last remaining resistance gathering at capital —- Xenos Orks sighted and confirmed: Blood Axe mercenary clan —- In seeking to save his own life Governor has only compounded his crimes —- Justice must be swift and unrelenting++

– Intercepted Astartes Ultramarines Astropathic transmission, St. Arkham system, 896M41


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