Prepare to Receive Boarders: the Winter Boarding Patrol Challenge

Spring has definitely sprung in the Goonhammer offices, and while the various Ark of Omen books started hitting shelves a little later than I anticipated, it’s time to do a round-up. We announced a winter boarding patrol challenge a few months ago and since then we’ve been amazed at some of the cool hobby work you’ve all done preparing your armies for small-scale skirmishes in the gallowdark.

Because I believe in being positive I’ll leave what I got done and till the end, and concentrate on everyone out there in the wild who did well.

First we turn to Instagram….

Thundercloud1: I really like this. The silver is well done, the basing compliments it through heavily contrasting with the clean paintjobs, and it’s 500 points of Grey Knights with a little Inquisitorial Warband for variety. Worth going to the instagram account to look at the close ups, progress and how the power weapons were done.

Summer: Grey Knights are one of my favourite factions in the lore for their secrecy and marvelous terminator armour. This force does their cold silver ceramite and intricate detailing full justice. I do feel sorry for the Inquisitorial warband, whose members run a real risk of execution once their cooperation ends.

Thundercloud1: Hero heavy genestealer cult from _ghaunt_, with a bright purple with mustard yellow/green clothing. Striking on the tabletop.

Summer: The choice of pink skin and hazard-yellow armour makes for a potent contrast in this genestealers force. Keeping interest on the top half of the model and making the lower half dimmer is a classic way of directing attention upwards. I can’t wait to see the completed project with its basing foliage.

Thundercloud1: Our first scenery set, with some good close ups if you visit the account. They’ve also posted the set on twitter with their completed Custodes boarding patrol, which also looks great.

Summer: The small size of Custodes lists always startles me. Here, you’ve got an actual strike force and the melee and ranged roles are covered by a squad each. What I really want to shout out is the use of basic techniques and varied colours to craft good scenery. Simple OSL effects on screens and lights, industrial hazard-coloured doors, and good weathering make for a very cohesive set of scenery. One that won’t jump out at you and distract from the models, but is interesting to look at. Excellent.

Thundercloud1: Our first valiant effort from xpseeker. Not everyone will get a finished patrol done (we’ll come to me in a bit, I’m not going to be a hypocrite about this) but getting started and moving forward is worth praising too.

Summer: Pulling together a strike force during a busy month is not easy, and mine was also delayed despite me being one of the hosts. What we have here is a strong effort culminating in a plan for the future. I dig the alien-world-explorator look, and this is an excellent base to build upon. ROCK AND STONE!

Thundercloud1: painting_the_stormwind has posted a very nice Votann squad and some completed terrain. While I’ve not seen a finished boarding patrol on their Insta, what they’ve finished is very nice.

Summer: I’m a sucker for grey armour. Greys, blacks and whites are some of my favourite colours, so I love seeing them brought to life. The classic red + a neutral colour scheme is on full display alongside some great striping and armour accents. I particularly like the bright troops tromping over a dusty badland base.

Thundercloud1: While backlog_blitz hasn’t posted his group shot, going through his insta it looks awfully like a finished boarding patrol worth of models has been completed to a nice high standard, again with rusty and decayed basing complimenting neat, clean paintjobs.

Summer: Another in-progress shot. I’m thankful for a Mechanicus entry here, and a deviation from Mars-standard red. The realest show of skill here is the hazard striping on the lead Kataphron’s base, which I adore. I’m gonna love the rest of the force, especially the support elements for these heavy hitters.

On to the grim darkness of the discourse mines, and it’s a bountiful vein of content on twitter.

Thundercloud1: Brian Smith has a blue Custodes boarding patrol (Custodes seem to be real popular, is it the low model count?) and they’ll look striking on a dinghy space hulk board.

Summer: brrrrr. An ice-themed Custodes force. Dead cold blue is broken up by gold and metallic weaponry. I have tremendous respect for anyone who builds a themed force, because they show a willingness to branch out of a standardised workflow. Some might claim that a constant desire to build themed forces shows a lack of commitment, but where would we be without lovely projects that nobody else has thought of? I picture a sea of Ultramarine Blue and Castellan Green.

Thundercloud1: Primaris are a blast to paint, and this all big boys boarding patrol looks set to dominate boarding patrol games with a mix of horrific firepower and melee mayhem.

Summer: Here’s a painter who recognises the importance of contrast. Red on black is one of the most basic and good-looking colour schemes, but the choice of a lighter red makes the trim pop. Warm golds and purples round out the look, but contrasting cool blue lenses and piping ensure that warmth doesn’t overpower the scheme. I’m here for it.

Thundercloud1: It’s not a failure, it’s 1/6th of a Kill Team.

Summer: Anyone brave enough to paint metallic trim on chaos space marines gets a pass on progress in my books. The models are built. The warband stands ready (for pigment). Iron Warriors are such a good pick for boarding work, too.

And now we turn to email….

Death Guard Marv

Death Guard Marv Writes…

Hi goonhammer

Used this challenge as an excuse to touch up and work on making my death guard “better” (rust, weathering, verdigris, building bases and rebasing) and adding some new poxwalkers (the blue headed ones) to bolster the unit size.
Touch ups / rust etc
+ Lord of virulence
+ Plaguecaster (with the green fire on his hand!)
+ Tallyman (with the banners)
+ Blightspawn
+ Plague Marines
Touch ups / rebasing
+ Possessed (blood bowl model base)
Touch ups / full paint job
+ Poxwalkers
It’s not an accurate 500 points…but was a useful energiser! Thanks for the prod!

Deathguard Plaguecaster – ‘Death Guard Marv’

Death Guard Marv – Possessed 1

Death Guard Marv – Possessed 2

Death Guard Marv – Poxwalkers

Death Guard Marv – Plague Marines

Death Guard Marv – Plague Marines

Death Guard Marv – Plague Marines

Death Guard Marv – Plague Marines

Death Guard Marv – Lord of Virulence

Death Guard Marv – Blight Spawn

Thundercloud1: Well I’ve always had a soft spot for Death Guard since 3rd edition, and this is a great little force that shows attention and love to every model. Weathering, the use of contrasting spot colours, and conversions help bring out the character that we love in the Death Guard.

Summer: Let me get my noseplug first.

Anyway. Marv has really drawn out the best qualities of the diverse Death Guard character roster with a mix of bold colkours, weeathering and oily washes. These models are textural in a way that plainly painted ones aren’t, which suits the visceral style of Death Guard. I’m incredibly fond of the wacky possessed, and the mandatory inclusion of skittering nurglings. They’re a great force and I’d love to dispatch a suspiciously hardy four-person team of convicts to wipe them all out.

Tim Steer

This is my AdMech force of Forge World Ictis. I’ll probably run it as either Ryza or as a Rad-Saturated forge world. Comes to 500 pts on the dot.
Tech-Priest Dominus with Eradication Ray
3 Kataphron Destroyers with plasma culverins
5 Skitarii Rangers, arc rifle
10 Skitarii Vanguard, enhanced data tether, plasma caliver
5 Skitarii Infiltrators
5 Fulgurite Electro-priests
Thanks for all the work you guys do in promoting the hobby and keeping things fun!


Tim Steer – Tech Priest Dominus

Tim Steer – Skitarii Rangers

Tim Steer – Skitarii Infiltrators

Tim Steer – Skitarii Vanguard

Tim Steer – Kataphron Destroyers

Tim Steer – Fulgurite Priests

Thundercloud1: Good to see Mechanicus represented. The orange gives a coherence to the force, and the conversion on the rangers means you can much more easily tell them apart from the Vanguard. I like them.

Summer: This force uses a bold primary colour contrasted by green accents to carry the alien nature of the Adeptus Mechanicus. The choice of copper and bronze tones is great for maintaining the warm scheme’s cohesion without overwhelming it with colour. I will single out the Sicarian Infiltrators’ legs as a great example of keeping interest on the bright areas without going for grey metal legs like I would.

Ankur Mehra

Hello, my name is Ankur, and I’ve attached my entry for the boarding patrol challenge! I’m still a beginner and was nervous about spending a lot on new models, so decided to use some old used ones from eBay. It took longer than I planned to clean and reassemble them, and had to paint over some old primer in some of these, but was overall happy with how it all turned out! This was a great way to challenge myself to try to hit a deadline and learn how to efficiently batch paint!

The force consists of a chaplain, sanguinary noviate, 5 man terminator squad, and two 5 man tactical squads, which I believe should come out to exactly 500 points. While they are smaller, I sort of enjoy the look of the all-firstborn force, which makes the size difference somewhat less appreciable.

Thank you!

Ankur Mehra – Chaplain

Ankur Mehra – Sanguinary Novitiate

Ankur Mehra – Tactical Squad

Ankur Mehra – Tactical Squad 2

Ankur Mehra – Terminator Squad

Ankur Mehra – Boarding Patrol Group Shot

Thundercloud1: It’s nice to see some older models coming out to play. The Black Reach terminators are refreshing to see, along with what I think is a hybrid metal/plastic Chaplain from 2nd edition. Ankur has got the most important part of being a new painter down, being neat, and it’s great to see another Blood Angels force.

Summer: Ankur has the workings of an excellent painter who recognises that their skills have limits, but works beside these limits to create something unique. I wasn’t expecting many firstborn marines, much less old school metal sculpts, but we have that exact force here. Even better, the bold Blood Angels scheme lends a brightness to these dopey sculpts to create an utterly classic 40K feel.

Gavin Truckenmiller

Here’s my last-minute entry for the Goonhammer Boarding Patrol Challenge! I’m pretty sure some of the paint is still drying…

Anyways, here’s the list in case you were interested:

Ventrillian Nobles 42nd “Night Watch” Regiment (Astra Militarum – 500 pts)


Lord Commander Theodosius Bard and retinue (Cadian Command Squad with plasma pistol + power fist): 85 pts


Commissar Julius Scarr (with plasma pistol + power sword): 50 pts

Junior Commissar Juno Minerva (with plasma pistol + power sword): 50 pts

Grenadiers (Kasrkin with plasma pistol + power sword): 110 pts


Light Infantry Squad (Infantry Squad with plasma pistol + power sword): 75 pts

Line Infantry Squad (Cadian Shock Troops): 65 pts

95th Jaeger Detachment (Cadian Shock Troops): 65 pts

Thank you all for everything you do on your awesome website, and for giving me the motivation to complete this building and painting project

Gavin Truckenmiller – Command 1

Gavin Truckenmiller – Line Infantry 1

Gavin Truckenmiller – Line Infantry 2

Gavin Truckenmiller – Grenadiers 1

Gavin Truckenmiller – Grenadiers 2

Gavin Truckenmiller – Jaegers 1

Gavin Truckenmiller – Jaegers 2

Gavin Truckenmiller – Light Infantry 1

Gavin Truckenmiller – Light Infantry 2

Gavin Truckenmiller – Group Picture

Thundercloud1: Ventrillian Nobles get some love. It’s great to see a force where someone has put a lot of love and effort into converting every model in it, and Boarding Party is the perfect format for projects like that where you have a lower model count (though less so for guard).

Summer: I’ll always profess a small bias for non-Cadian Guard regiments. I watched the gradual demise of diverse Guard models over the course of my hobby lifetime. The slow phasing out of interesting, albeit questionably proportioned models is saddening, but hope springs from the host of fantastic kits coming out. Specialist Guard regiments have become the provenance of converters who grind up Necromunda, Tempestus and Skitarii models to form their new forces.

Gavin’s entry follows that tradition by making good use of the baroque Tempestus armour to full effect. Plenty of trim and a fine gloss varnish serve to bring out the parade-ready nature of Ventrillians, and I adore the bagpiper.


On to my contribution….

Yeah, it wasn’t on the list of models I put in the first article, but it’s always good to have some Assault Intercessors, isn’t it?

More Intercessors. Looks like I’ve got a Kill Team roster now that can also make two five man squads in 40k. Hmmm. Also not on the original list.

A squad of Bladeguard from the Indomitus Crusade box. Well it’s always useful having painted models, though I don’t like how I’ve done the gold on the shields and I’ll come back and do those again. Still nothing from my original pledge.

Terminator squad – these are looking familiar. Not happy with them but they’re in a state you can put on the tabletop.

Three tactical squads of MkVI marines, so a bit more than the ten I originally pledged.

However I didn’t do the lieutenant. My plan was a little messed up by the marine points changes making everything cheaper, and running out of bases (no idea why GW didn’t release the void bases with the first book as well), but this is a thousand points of marines, which is enough to make a boarding patrol even if it isn’t as coherent as I wanted. This month I’ll polish off all the basing after getting a couple more Sector Mechanicus basing sets, and start working on my next project.


I set out with my pledge back in January to paint this force. If I’m fortunate, you’ll have followed my progress as the year took to a busy start. The short of it is that I set out to paint a converted, narrative-focused force consisting of:

Primaris Lieutenant w/ Auto Bolt Rifle

Infiltrator Squad with helix gauntlet

Sternguard Veteran Squad (in Primaris scale) with an array of weapons

Veteran Intercessor Squad with auto bolt rifles (and custom boarding shields)

Eradicator Squad with melta rifles

At the outset, the Lieutenant and Veteran Intercessors were built, and everyone else was in various states of ‘parts’, ‘boxed’ or ‘to-be-shipped’. This was a challenging pledge due to the sudden dataslate points changes that inflated my list by a whole unit and a lot of wargear. I got a late start on this Challenge, as I was away from home – and my painting station – for the holidays and could only start work in January. There was some push, but I got things done and elevated my weathering slightly.

I’m proud of what I’ve achieved. This wasn’t just a painting challenge done in a reduced timeframe. A substantial amount of worldbuilding and converting went into every single squad – this is standard for me. This was the most painting I’ve done in a very long while. I probably did 4 months of painting in the span of 2 months, and once again pushed my skill and techniques up by a notch. I learned a great deal and came away with a cohesive infantry force. I am profoundly happy to showcase what I’ve got.

The Infiltrators were caught up in warehousing delays at the beginning of the year. The store got to me in the last week of February to say, “Oh. Your Phobos Strike Team was packaged and ready to ship. I don’t know why it didn’t go out. We’ll ship it now.” I was a little flabbergasted. I pounded them together after the event officially ended, and slipped them into this article right before publication. So yeah.

Credit: Summer

The Force

This Boarding Patrol is drawn from my homebrew Astartes chapter, the Iron Panthers. I developed them the day I started the tabletop hobby in 2014. Every single space marine I’ve ever painted for myself has been for this homebrew chapter. I’ve painted an easy two hundred space marine models, and my dark blue and white colour scheme has a dear place in my heart.

The Iron Panthers are my vision of the Adeptus Astartes: a fast-moving special forces contingent who are extremely reasonable in their use of combined arms tactics. They’re basically my version of the Reasonable Marines my 1d4chan days. I themed this force around the idea of door-kickers. I wanted a small, elite strike team that covered all of the bases for a boarding assault. They needed to be heavily armed, robust and most importantly, fast.

The force is led by a Lieutenant, rather than a company-level commander. The heart of the force consists of Infiltrators for reconnaissance by force, and Veteran Intercessors with assaut. The boarding shields are a nod to the Medusan Immortals of yore. Heavy fire support is provided by Eradicators, whose ability to melt bulkheads, doors and heavy resistance would prove invaluable in the confines of a space hulk. Lastly, the unit is anchored by a squad of Sternguard Veterans who have crossed the Rubicon Primaris. These fine troops are drawn from the vaunted First Company and bring centuries of expertise and an array of unique equipment. Where everyone else has a fairly specialised role, the Sternguard plant their feet and hold the line.

Everyone is painted in the Iron Panthers’ characteristic dark blue, with white and red accents. Heraldry and squad markings are present, but vary from unit to unit. The decision to base them on arctic bases was intentional, as my entire army is arctic warfare themed. Despite being a ‘boarding’ patrol, I didn’t have affordable access to space hulk bases and didn’t want to break my army theme.

Credit: Summer

I’m superlatively happy with how the Lieutenant turned out. He is built from an Eliminator and features a highly personalised carbine with suppressor, shoulder stock (remarkable!) and red dot optic. Here, he is flanked by the Veteran Intercessors with their boarding shields. The veterans exude weight and menace that turned out wonderfully. Each trooper is bedecked with additional ammunition, grenades and webbing for the daunting task ahead.

Credit: Summer

The Eradicators were built from the monopose kit from Indomitus. In typical Summer fashion, I decided to make the squad my own with some simple conversion work. A Skitarii backpack provided a vox set and I filed off the aquilas to stay in line with my homebrew chapter’s no-nonsense disposition. They’re quite dapper, I think.

Credit: Summer

The post-Rubicon Sternguard Veterans turned out wonderfully. Where the other units represent uniformity and modernity, the Sternguard bring tradition and legacy. This squad was a joy to build. I took bodies from the Indomitus Bladeguard Veterans for the classic tabard look, and Hellblaster bodies with Gravis pauldrons for the armoured look. I wanted the Sternguard to act as a strong contrast to the rest of the unit. Where the others represent no-fuss, uniformed modernity of my chapter, these veterans bear the honoured ways from before the Cicatrix Maledictum opened. These troops are living proof that tradition has a place, and the chapter can always look to its veterans for battlefield mastery.

From left to right: combi-plasma trooper, Deathwatch veteran heavy gunner, sergeant with power axe and bolt pistol, heavy gunner, veteran with personalised rifle.

Credit: Summer

I was very happy with the laser sight effect for my Sternguard. The conversion is simple, but intuitive: I inject medication and accumulate used hypodermic needles. I sterilised some needles and blunted the tips, before inserting them into a pilot hole on the weapon. They’re painted as normal. Medical-grade hypodermic needles provide great strength and flexibility that is perfect for a piece that needs to be perfectly straight, but must resist occasional bumps in transit.

Credit: Summer

The combi-plasma trooper was built on an Indomitus Bladeguard Veteran. I turned the basic monopose model into something marvelous with the addition of a hellblaster’s plasma incinerator. Here, the assault incinerator was modified to accept a bolt rifle magazine. A second barrel was drilled and we have a combi-plasma at Primaris scale. His brother in arms is a heavy gunner who served in the Deathwatch. The Deathwatch Veterans kit is trove of conversion bits and they really elevate a squad.

Credit: Summer

Here, we can see some of the detail work on my Lieutenant. The camo cloak was carefully painted and weathered, and my decals also show an appropriate amount of wear-and-tear. His carbine also features a tasteful holographic optic, which I’m very happy with.

Credit: Summer

Getting a squad of boarding assault space marines with shields was a dream of mine since the days of the Siege Assault Vanguard list. I started 40K wanting to work toward that Siege Assault Vanguard list, but the rules moved on before I could. These Veteran Intercessors pay homage to that tradition with their considerable weight. The boarding shields were printed by a 3D print-on-demand service using a file from Thingiverse.

Credit: Summer

The Infiltrators missed the original Boarding Patrol Deadline, but I did them in a hurry after they arrived at the end of February and got them into the article. They’re my patrol’s specialists. I wanted explore an idea of competent multi-role infantry by developing a squad with interesting roles, rather than mono-weapon infantry. GW is so fond of squads with one weapon type, but that’s nothing like small unit organisation in the real world.

Here, we have the grenadier, designated marksman and helix adept. The grenadier’s grenade launcher was built from a Tempestus Scion grenade launcher glued to the back of a bolt rifle. The designated marksman has a suppressed bolt rifle that was 3D printed off Thingiverse. The helix adept was a conversion using existing parts, but I used a blunted hypodermic needle for the injector. For realism, of course.

Credit: Summer

Lastly from the Infiltrator squad, I have a comms trooper and a sergeant. The comms trooper is throwing a knife, for some reason. He’s a veteran, so I’m sure he knows what’s up. The sergeant carries a bolt carbine with red dot optic, and also has a shotgun slung over his shoulder. The shotgun is for applications that benefit from the application of force at a distance, but aren’t worth spending bolt ammunition over. Like testing potential IEDs and breaching weak doors and windows.

Keep your eyes open for more of my work here on Goonhammer, or at my personal Instagram. I wasn’t wholly satisfied with missing my painting pledge due to the failure of those infiltrators to ship on time, but I will never give up. I’m profoundly happy with the results I do have, and they’ll make a fine addition to my collection. I’m very close to a full Primaris battle company with vehicular support, and that’ll be a beautiful day.

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