Annalistica Imperialis, or the History of Warhammer 40,000

This weekend I had a bit of free time while at my parent’s house, without anything to paint, so I managed to start a project that I had thought about for a lot of time. I have always liked the background of Warhammer 40,000, sometimes even more than the other aspects of the hobby, and I love reading all the historical informations that come with every book, delving into their details and nuances. That huge amount of information, however, is scattered in different publications, so it is almost impossible have a clear picture in mind, often because different books give us different perspectives and details on a single event.

So I decided to gather in a single place all the historical events that I can gather from the books I have collected in twenty years, and try to shortly retrace the last ten millennia of history of our favourite fictional galaxy. This new section of the blog will obviously be a work in progress without a set deadline, but I hope that you will appreciate it.

You can reach it from the menu of the blog, or you can use this link. Currently the sources quoted are: Continue reading

Some updates on my Skitarii and Imperial Knight

Lately I have not been able to update the blog as often as in the previous week, for I had a lot of work to do and when I managed to have some free time alone I mostly spent it painting and not writing. Here it is was I have been up to:

Skitarii Rangers

Last time I showed them to you (almost a month ago) they were not even undercoated, while now I have finished their trousers, almost all their metallic parts (minus the weapons and the backpacks) and almost finished their robes. Some of them have yet received their last highlights and the last Seraphim Sepia wash. Now they just need the torsos glued to the legs and the black flames of the Incaladine Mechanicum painted.

SKitarii with final highlights and final wash

The other half of the squad is still missing the last two steps, but I will most probably do them this evening. Then I will probably switch to some lesser details (Opus Machina, lenses, cables) before doing the remaining bigger areas.

SKitarii without final highlights and final wash

Well… in truth there is another picture of my Skitarii that I want to share here. It is from a earlier stage (I had just applied the first wash) and not very clear, but the Knight in the background really look imposing from this angle.
The imposing Knight

Imperial Knight

Nothing much to show here. I undercoated the model with black and then just applied the first two layers of paint to its legs’ armour (well, in truth they were at least a dozen thin layers of paint and a wash, but just two different main tones). As you can see I have left the darker colour show in the recesses and painted a shadow on the yellow knee pad. Next steps are to add some shadows to the lower part of the thigh guards and then highlight the top areas of all the armour plates, before applying a thinned down wash of Seraphim Sepia. I do not need to add shadows to the armour of the lower legs, for their lower part will be covered with the Legio Fureans’ signature black flames.
The Knight's first plates


After many misadventures with the courier, the replacement part for my second Castellax is finally arrived, so I can show him in his full shape, even if I will not paint it for quite a bit. The Skitarii and the Knight are my priority now!
My second Castellax, finally completed

Through the Currents of the Warp

It was October 2012 when I began my Chaos Space Marines army, the Betrayers of Pain. The new Codex was just released, and leafing through its pages I encountered a dilemma: I knew that I had to add to my army at least one Heldrake, for its rules were too god to overlook it, but the model did not excite me, and I just cannot force myself to buy models that I do not like. I was thinking of ways to solve the problem by converting something else or buying a Hell Talon from Forge World, when a member of the staff in my local Games Workshop showed me his Heldrake conversion. It was a simple repositioning of the wings in a more aerodynamic shape, but it was really effective and, most importantly, I appreciated the result. Knowing that I could do something similar, adding the model to my army was not a problem any more.

As soon as I started assembling it, however, I discovered that I could do something even better. Dry-fitting the two halves of the body and looking at the exhausts on the back, it was clear that there was a face there, the face of a creature born from the Warp and not just altered from its mutagen effects. It just needed a little bit of greenstuff here and there.

Converted Heldrake - 1

The spine-like structure on the new front of the model has been the most difficult part to sculpt. As I could not use the regular armoured plate that came with the kit, for it did not fit at all with this new look, I did not know what to use to cover that part. Maybe the final result is a bit raw, for that was the first time I tried to use greenstuff to sculpt something ex-novo but I am satisfied with the overall look I have achieved.

When it went to paint it, I decided to try a new approach. This was my first creature from the warp, an evanescent monster phasing between the materium and the immaterium, kept stable only by the enchantments woven on the armour used to submit it to the will of its master, so I could not use a layering approach on its flesh, for the end result would have been too “physical” and would have not satisfied me. So the idea of trying to wet-blend colours thinned down to glaze consistency struck me.

Converted Heldrake - painted

It was an experiment, but I am pleased of the result I have achieved.

Maybe it was unclear from the pictures of the unpainted model, but from these you can see that I also modified the flying stand socket on the underbelly of the Heldrake to change its flying angle. With the tail in that position, the model has a natural movement toward right, and I wanted to accentuate it even further to make this Hel-Manta ray look as if it was swimming through the evanescent currents of the warp and not flying in a physical atmosphere.

On the base I tried to recreate a small battle scene with a wounded Burning Ashes Space Marine (my personal Chapter). At the time I was happy with it, but the more time passes, the more I feel unsatisfied. It is too empty and boring, it needs more rubble and more colours, and maybe a bit of wreckage and some difference of height in some points. I do not know when, but I will probably change it in the future.

I was thinking to add another Heldrake to my collection, to make a different conversion and to add some strength to my Chaos army, but the armour has been such a pain to paint, with all those trims, that I don’t know if I will be ever able to persuade myself!

A Custom Warhammer 40,000 Mission: The Summoning

The Games Master

When three players want to play a Warhammer 40,000 game, but they cannot find a fourth opponent, most of the times they simply deploy three full armies and playing a free-for-all match, or allying two smaller armies against the third, bigger, one. Those approaches can result in wonderful games, sure, but there is another approach that is worth to try: one of the players becomes instead the Games Master, as if you were Roleplaying (or playing Wharhammer 40,000’s first edition, Rogue Trader). A Games Master is essentially a referee, whose main task is to judge on the doubts about the rules that might arise in the game, but he can also create unconventional game events, establish rules for situations not covered by the rulebook and, if the situation requires it, also to run a “NPC” force, that usually cannot win or lose a game, but is only there to add flavour to the scenario and hinder the armies of both players.

The following mission is written considering the presence of a Games Master.

The Summoning

An enormous concentration of energy appeared in the middle of no-man’s land, and it is so incredibly powerful that you can feel it inside your body, without resorting to any instrument. Your army reaches the point to investigate at the same time of an enemy force, and they both discover that the anomaly is due to a horrible ritual aimed at summoning a powerful Daemon on the planet. Stop the servants of the Ruinous Powers and prevent your opponent from taking possession of the dark temple.

The armies

Both players choose their armies as described in the Prepare for Battle section of the Warhammer 40,000 rulebook. The Games Master chooses an unbound army with half the point value of those of the players, composed only by Daemons and Cultists from Codex: Chaos Daemons, Codex: Chaos Space Marines and/or Codex: Khorne Daemonkin. The Games Master’s army must include at least one Herald, but cannot include any Daemon Prince or Greater Daemon, and all his Daemons must have the same demonic alignment.


Use the deployment map included in this mission. Place a temple or other suitable terrain in the middle of the table, then set up the terrains as described in the Warhammer 40,000 rulebook.


Before deploying any model, the players and the Games Master must roll for their Warlord Traits.

The Games Master deploys first, placing all his models within 6″ from the middle of the table. The players then take turns to deploy their forces as described in the Warhammer 40,000 rulebook.

First turn

The player who deployed first has the first turn, unless the other player manages to Seize the Initiative.

The Games Master’s turns happen before the turns of the other players, but in his first there is only the Psychic Phase.

Game Length

The mission uses the Variable Game Length special rule.

Victory Condition

At the end of the game, the player who has scored the most Victory Points is the winner. If both players have the same number of Victory Points, then the game is a draw.

Primary Objective

The temple in the middle of the table follows all the rules of an objective marker. At the end of the game, the player that controls the temple gains 3 Victory Points. If the Daemon Prince is summoned (see below) and then killed, the player that killed it gains 2 Victory Points.

Secondary Objectives

Kill the Warlord, Linebreaker, First Blood.

Mission Special Rules

Night Fight, Reserves.

The Summoning: The Herald(s) controlled by the Games Master are trying to summon a powerful Daemon Prince. During their Psychic Phase, any Herald with the Psyker special rule can try to manipulate his Power Dices for the summoning as if it were casting a psychic power: each success adds 1 Summoning Point to the pool. The controller of the nearest enemy unit can try to Deny the Witch: each 6 reduces the successes of the Herald by 1. The Herald suffers Perils of the Warp as if it was trying to cast a Psychic Power, but if there is any Cultist within 6″ from it, the Games Master can sacrifice one of them to avoid the Perils of the Warp before rolling on the apposite table. In addition, each Wound dealt by a ranged or melee attack of a Herald adds 1 Summoning Point to the Pool. When there are 10 or more Summoning Points in the pool, a Daemon Prince (chosen from Codex:Chaos Daemons or Codex: Khorne Daemonkin and without any point limit for its options) appears on the temple as if it was Deep Striking, but without rolling for scatter. The Daemon Prince is added to the Games Master’s Army.

The Temple: The temple has its own datasheet, that you can download from here.

EDIT: If you want, you can download this mission as a .pdf from here.

The summoning deployment map