“A ship ain’t just a man’s job. It’s his home. His city. His place of worship. There be twenty thousand souls aboard this vessel, and it be the only home we’ve ever known. We was all born here, and I’ll reckon we’ll all die here. There ain’t anywhere else for us to go, and we’ll defend it to the death!”
– Deck Apprentice, 2nd Rate, aboard the merchant vessel Pax Commercial
The Heralds of Ruin Kill Team Expansion is great fun. Alongside a more detailed campaign and skirmish ruleset for the core armies of Warhammer 40k, it also provides rules for some lesser factions.
My favourite is the Rogue Trader faction.
Explorers, merchants, and scoundrels, Rogue Traders are the namesake of the original iteration of Warhammer 40,000, and represent those daring men and women who push the boundaries of the Imperium in search of fame and fortune.
The Rogue Trader ruleset is a flexible but fragile list, meant to represent the Rogue Trader’s crew and retainers. It includes interesting units such as rogue Astartes, xenos accomplices, and untrained voidsmen clad in coveralls. It is a great opportunity for conversions, as nearly every unit is unique in some way.
Since Games Workshop’s release of the Genestealer Cult Hybrids, I’ve been looking for a way to adapt them for my Rogue Trader’s forces. I finally decided to turn them into the ship’s armsmen – those brazen companies of men who defend the ship from boarding actions. The aesthetic of the Genestealer Hybrids reminded me of the rugged, industrial equipment seen in the Alien franchise, Outland, or the more recent Dead Space game. They struck me as perfect voidsuits for the ship’s crew, seemingly very reminiscent of the old Jes Goodwin sketches.
I decided to make two squads. The first would be armed with shields and naval shotguns, and the second with only shotguns. The most difficult part would be to ensure that they retained the rugged sci-fi look, and none of the genestealer look. Few of Games Workshops stock heads and helmets for the Imperial Guard seemed to work, so I looked farther afield to Victoria Miniatures, who provide a large range of 28mm scale weapons, arms and heads.
Once everything arrived, I filed down all the gene cult symbols and got to work. The final product includes third party parts (mostly from Vicotria), as well as bitz from the old Games Workshop Empire Militia, various Imperial Guard parts, some old Necromunda pieces, and a fair bit of green stuff.
I’m pretty happy with how they turned out.
I was worried that a few head and arm swaps wouldn’t be enough, but I was quite pleased with the result. I didn’t realize how much the Gene Cult heads and the posture of the hybrids drew the eye, and by giving the armsmen hair and having them stand up straighter, they managed to look quite a bit different.
I especially like the shotguns that come with the Genestealer Cult box. Though the arms with more ‘genestealer-y’ pieces didn’t quite work out, I had a few extra shotguns from Victoria Miniatures and Necromunda.