23 April 2014

Going Rogue

It was only a matter of time. Posts like this, this, and this have broken my notoriously weak willpower. So, just when I seemed to be scaling the lead mountain with greater impetus, having only a couple of at least partially overlapping projects, I've fallen for the lure of lasguns and rocketships. I'm going rogue... Rogue Trader, that is. In the same way as I've been enjoying the skirmish level gaming of RoC over recent months, I plan to do the same with RT.

Step 1: The Rules

Well, I've read them on Scribd and am bidding on a softcover set on that auction site. I actually had the book on medium term loan from a friend back when they were newish so lots of it is pretty familiar (why is my head so full of, frankly, useless information from decades ago, rather than useful stuff?).

Step 2: The figures

Interestingly, considering the large nostalgia element to most of my gaming, I think might go almost entirely non-Citadel for this. Partly expense, partly just to be different, partly because there are some lovely old-school (or old-school style) figures out there to choose from.


These abhuman troopers were always high on my favourites list. Possibly because of the beastman thing (goes along with my RoC enthusiasm, I guess). Anyway, it's almost impossible to get hold of the originals for a decent price and there weren't many different sculpts, so I've ordered some of the old Spacelords' range of Phagons from Doug at em4 miniatures. Not only are there TWENTY-THREE different sculpts, but Doug has been really helpful, rooting around to find a single copy of a currently out of stock figure for me. Since I started this post he's found one and I've been able to ping some paypal credits his way this afternoon. Understandably, I recommend em4 and Doug for their customer service!

When they can be made to look this good (admittedly by a talented painter like Pil), how could I refuse?

See the trader chap in the middle? Absolutely screams Rogue Trader to me.
You can find more photos of his brushwork in this thread on the Oldhammer forum. I shall certainly be returning there regularly for painting guidance for these chaps.

Imperial Guard

More tricky, this one. You see, I started reading White Dwarf regularly at around the time images like this were the dominant ones for the imperial army:

My first thought, before trying to find non-GW miniatures, was to track down a bunch of the plastics. You can get them, but almost always quite thickly painted and often for the price of new metals. Then I remembered that there were some metal body/plastic arm miniatures. Now these I do really like:

But.... although the bodies are relatively easy to come by, they're also relatively expensive and the arm sprues are hellishly hard to come by. That range does contain perhaps my two favourite sci-fi soldier miniatures, though - the grenade launcher and the sergeant with the chainsword. 

What, then are my options? Well, if a reader wants to offload some of the above, I'll happily take them! Failing that, there are a couple of other ranges which might work, especially as I'm intending to build the retinue of a Trader who are supposed to operate independently and in a self-sufficient manner so would look a little different from a standard trooper quite legitimately.

There are the Muster Troops from the Ion Age range currently being sold by Alternative Armies through their Ion Age website. I wasn't sure I liked them at all until I saw them painted up by Blue in VT as his entries for this year's Lead Painter's League.

I could never paint that camo! Fortunately, if I do go for this option, I'd be considering a more Buck Rogers colour scheme. Maybe orange jumpsuit, and white armour? Now that would be early 80s sci-fi!

Another option is the Bob Naismith sculpted Security Troops in Bio Suits from Black Hat Miniatures' Cobalt Mercenaries line:

They have the "jump suit with knee pads" look that I like, as well as a whiff of pulp sci-fi, but not enough to be off-putting. I guess they look more prepared for alien environments than the standard Imperial Guardsman. I'm not sure yet if I think this is a good thing, aesthetically, or not.
Nothing else I've seen so far measures up to these two alternatives. Suggestions welcome, although I'm not interested in anything too grimdark or based on twentieth century European absolutist regimes.


I like the beaky marines and the earliest of the imperial marines and proto-marines put out by Citadel back in the 80s. I guess that almost goes without saying but, once more, I've been looking to cast my net wider. The options I have line up with my Guard options above, with both the Black Hat Cobalt and Alternative Armies Ion Age ranges having armoured soldiers that are stylistically linked to the light troopers above.

Ion Age


These are obviously very similar to the bio-suit troopers but with a a more encompassing set of armour. Very definitely of the same military force and lacking that definite indication of otherness that you get between Imp. Guard and Space Marines. They do however get an ever-so-cool jet bike with a range of riders for fast infantry support. I can imagine a pair of these circling a skirmish giving their side the edge!

The back seat is free for a passenger, two of which have support weapons:

The Cobalt ones also come with helmet options that can sit over the heads of the miniatures for extra variation. Apparently they used to come with a transparent dome option for a helmet when they were with a previous manufacturer, but that option is sadly lost to us :(

Ne'er-do-wells and other characters

Well, what is a skirmish game without characters?! Here there is almost an embarrassment of riches. My current favourite for a junior Rogue Trader type is this fellow from Black Hat:

There's a few others in that line which I could use as well. How about this for a Psyker:

Wow! That turned into a bit of an epic post! Not that I've been wasting time pottering on the internet or anything.....

I'd welcome any thoughts you have on other options, or the aesthetic of those listed above, or links to images with mixes of those above, or anything else I could/should consider.

Now, would all personnel take their positions for jump to lightspeed,


  1. Those are pretty much all the manufacturers I would have recommended! The only alternatives I can think of might be http://www.pig-iron-productions.com/ lots of choice in bodies and heads and i've tried swapping pig iron heads onto cobalt heads and it creates and interesting look. http://www.anvilindustry.co.uk/index.php?route=product/product&path=114&product_id=314 These guys look pretty good but don't really have the aesthetic you are going for. http://heresyminiatures.com/shop/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=2&zenid=2996b09c4c755953a4701927dff941b3 also have some interesting figs. And there is always http://www.olleysarmies.co.uk/home.html

    1. I really like some of that Anvil Industry stuff, and they're a new company on me. It doesn't quite match the look I'm going for, but the armoury section is a treasure trove of conversion bits! Thanks for the pointer.

      And how could I forget Scrunts! If I need any short abhumans, they'll be on my consideration list...

  2. And how could I forget http://shop.princeaugust.ie/warzone-mutant-chronicles-wargame/

    1. Ah-hah! That's where the 80 trooper bag comes from! Not quite what I'm looking for, but they might work perfectly if I need a whole bunch of enemy "redshirts" to man an installation I'm raiding...

  3. Hey thanks for the name drop! I'm glad to hear that I help to inspire you down the road of RT. :)
    Two things:
    1. that camo pattern I used is very simple. In fact I used a pointed cocktail stick to dot on the colors for the camo. This technique I learned from Stone Cold Leads Blog/tutorial here:


    Of course his beautiful work makes my attempts seem ham handed...but its really easier than it looks.

    2. The other troops that a seriously considered for my "not imperial guard" are the Khurasan Federal Army figures which they released in 28mm sometime last year. Their web site seems to be down right now but here is a thread on LAF that has good pictures of these figures:

    http://www.lead-adventure.de/index.php?topic=63350.msg762662#msg762662 (scroll down)

    I think they are really great figures...perhaps not "old School" but really nice...and fairly affordable if I remember correctly.

    Anyway...I'm excited to see your project get off the ground.



    1. You certainly have inspired me!

      Do those Ion Age figures come as single piece castings, or do they have separate heads and weapons?

      1. I actually prefer your version to SCL's, although I agree that normally he is someone whose work I measure others' against. Marvellous brushwork.

      2. I like those! Again, I'd be interested in head/weapon swaps as they look a bit too Hollywood SWAT team for my liking, but the poses and body armour is nifty. It's a shame their website is down to allow them to catch up on orders, but I admire their honesty and openness.

      More options to consider....

    2. the Ion age figures are all one piece castings...at least the muster troops and retained knights. They do offer sets of different weapons for conversions but not heads....that I am aware of. The big failing of this line is that its is not strongly supported at the moment. Alternative Armies seems to be heavily focused on their 15mm offerings at the moment. Luckily the existing range is quite extensive and is more than I will probably ever need....

      ...I'm trying desperately to keep my "40K" ambitions modest...the lead pile is large enough already!

    3. That's a shame, but thanks for the info.

      Modest? Trying not to increase the lead pile? You mad, bro? :)

    4. ...yes...yes I am...

      ...also I'm in denial...:)


  4. Seems that for a few of us 2014 will be the Year of RT ('though I ain't using RT rules, just the minis from the period). If you do for vintage Citadel I find that first gen. Eldar and Space Orks go for a veritable song on the 'bay. I very much look forward to watching this project unfold.

    1. I haven't even started looking at aliens yet, but those early Eldar have always been a favourite of mine, particularly the bareheaded piratical types. Was there an eldar mercenaries range?

  5. Some excellent choices in minis are out there. I'd not seen these that you posted pictures of and I like them a lot. The Cobalt especially. I'm going to go check them out online and not buy anything... probably not... maybe not... but maybe?

    1. Glad to have cost you money, I mean "inspired you" :)

  6. NOOOOO! Rab, you realise that you have just cost me money and time, as I always end up sucked into your hobby diversions! (And don't go blaming me for getting you back into gaming a decade ago! It is YOUR fault, you master of temptation you!)

    1. However, this maybe the excuse to buy the old Ork BattleWagon that I always wished I had bought as a teen!

  7. Space Broo? Oh yes yes yes! Looks like more money spent...