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Judiciar, Jury and Executioner

The latest marine to join my Cobalt Scions brings an extremely Imperial grasp of due process to the army. In today's post I invite you, dear reader, to join me on the conceptual journey I took from "never gonna want ye" to "Judiciar now plz." It was a journey that only required me to replace both the model and its lore.

When the official Judiciar mini was first shown off, it immediately fell into that sub-genre of 40K minis that look like a wannabe JRPG videogame character, thanks largely to the bandana over the skull mask and the shitnormous hourglass. The off-the-shoulder coat situation is a clear nod to samurai, which on the one hand leans into the wannabe JRPG thing, but on the other hand is a welcome reference to something other than Western Europe, so I'll give that a pass. The square-tipped executioner sword is also a clever design nod, communicating this guy's purpose without needing words, but as a whole it was... not a model I felt the urge to paint. Jeff, conversely, made fantastic use of this mini for his Word Bearers. Funny how much difference a few swapped components can make. Urr murr gurrd, foreshadowing.

The official version
Credit: Games Workshop. Used for illustrative purposes only.

The best use of the Judiciar mini
Credit: Jeff

Some time later came another mini I wasn't interested in: the events-exclusive Primaris Champion. Nice mini, I just had no particular need for it.

The Primaris Champion
Credit: Games Workshop. Used for illustrative purposes only.

Then I painted Chapter Master Drusus, and an extremely nerdy thought occurred: I could make another Space Marine command squad, this time for the Chapter Master. There's a lot of pretty Space Marine character sculpts, more than you can use in a single army, and like most nerds I require only the most paper thin of justifications to hop on the train.

The original Cobalt Scions command squad

Contemplating what new characters I could have besides the ubiquitous Primaris Lieutenant, I lamented the Judiciar mini. It has an interesting rule - forcing one unit within 3" to fight last in the Fight Phase - but I wasn't about to paint Samurai Skeletor toting an hourglass emoji. Then I remembered the Primaris Champion. He even has a little miscellaneous widget swinging between his legs teehee that could be a less insanely huge Tempormortis. Stick a Reiver head on that sucker, and the medieval gauntlets and extra bling would all  start screaming "Reclusiam 4 life."

Suddenly I was trying to acquire a copy of this stupid champion mere weeks before he was due to leave circulation. Mercifully a fellow Goonhammer author had me covered, so while I paid a solid chunk of change for him, I wasn't paying eBay scalper rates.

Mini finally in hand, and with Tom helping me out with a Reiver helmet, I got to work. There was almost no actual conversion work needed, but I did want to help nudge the mini a little bit away from the medieval vibes, so the crossguard had to go. Are crossguards useful? Yes, extremely. Are fingers things you want to keep? Also yes. But: SPACE ROMANS.

Besides, the Judiciar cheats; he isn't actually fighting his victims. More on that further down.

Anyway the point is that some sculpting was needed, including two tiny rivets. I always wondered how people sculpt tiny green stuff rivets, but more experienced me knows that it's way less technical than I assumed (you just roll a tiny dot of green stuff between your fingertips, then stick it straight on your green stuff surface. You'll probably struggle to get a rivet to adhere directly to plastic though).

Past Charlie had his reasons for expanding the hero rock, and present Charlie can't remember them. Possibly an issue with the feet not sitting flush on the base?


I didn't actually glue the arms or the backpack on; as a push fit kit it was easy to be able to take parts on and off while painting. The painting itself was pretty straightforward and enjoyable; the only point at which I diverged from my standard colours for the scheme was the black armour:
  1. Basecoat Vallejo Matt Black
  2. Broad highlight with Incubi Darkness
  3. Edge highlight Dawnstone
  4. Dot highlight Administratum Grey
  5. Tidy up any particularly dodgy highlights with the Incubi Darkness
Unfortunately, the Incubi Darkness (a dark blue-green) absolutely refuses to show up on camera, so you'd be forgiven for thinking I did a single highlight layer. Ah well.


Aside from the chapter badge on the left pauldron, I also added the halo and skull of the Reclusiam on the right. This affords another nice opportunity to talk through freehand technique.

1: The Blockout
This is where you figure out the basic shapes of your design and map them onto the surface prior to any attempt to be neat.

Locating and mapping the design

I started by looking at the design I wanted - a jawless skull with a halo - and thinking carefully about the proportions. We have a tendency to think of eyes as being further up a skull than they are, which can screw your proportions up. In actuality the eyes are in the bottom third of the design (or halfway down if you're adding a jaw). I realised the lowest points of the teeth and the farthest points of the halo formed a cross, so that's where I started: by painting a simple cross onto the shoulder pad to dictacte the positioning and size of the design. You can still see the cross faintly in the image above.

Next, I sketched out the silhouette of the skull, and made dots where each of the spikes on the halo would be. Happy that I had the proportions right, I began joining the dots.

2: Joining the Dots

Above, you can see I've joined up the halo and have firmed up the shape of the skull somewhat. It's not super sharp, but sharp isn't important until the third and final stage.

3: Sharp Practice
This is where I reinforced the design by getting solid coverage with Macragge Blue, then sharpened it up by using Corax White as an eraser, going back and forth between the two colours to add details like three tiny lines to define the teeth, sharpening the points on the halo, and so on.

Lore: The Cobalt Scions' Judiciar

Since they're new, there's not a whole lot of official lore about Judiciars. The 40K wiki has this to say:

A Judiciar is a Primaris Space Marine who is in training to become a Primaris Chaplain. Sworn to silence after accepting their role, Judiciars do not preach aloud, but instead use their deeds to preach a litany of righteous fury.

Wielding an arcane, hourglass-shaped device known as a Tempormortis in one hand that can be used to slow the progression of time in a limited area around an enemy unit to easier kill those foes, and an immense Executioner Relic Blade in the other, Judiciars must prove their worth in battle to join their Chapter's Chaplaincy proper, doing so through acts of devotion and the slaying of enemies.

That's it.

It also doesn't quite work for me; it seems silly that a man who's in training to become an inspirational orator begins his training by hitting things with a sword in easy mode. So I had a think.

Here's where I landed:

The Chaplains of the Cobalt Scions' Reclusiam take it in turns to serve as the Chapter's Judiciar. It is a role served in anonymity and silence, for it brings no honour. The anonymity is largely ritualistic; in an organisation as small as an Astartes Chapter it is not hard to work out which Chaplain is now serving as the Judiciar, but even if a marine knows the Judiciar's true identity, it is forbidden to address them by name; they are instead referred to by title.

The Judiciar's duty is primarily done off the battlefield, for they serve as the Chapter's executioner. Should a Cobalt Scion or another Imperial servant commit an unforgiveable transgression, the Judiciar is sent to dispatch them without honour or opportunity to plead their case or defend themselves. The silent Judiciar cannot be engaged in conversation; he simply arrives, throws the Tempormortis at the accused's feet, and cuts them down. Should armed resistance be expected, the Judiciar may be accompanied by any number of marines.

Given the grim and dishonourable nature of the Judiciar's duty, time spent serving in this position is not recorded in the personal history of the Chaplain himself. His deeds are said to belong to the title, not the individual. Only the Chapter Master himself can instruct the Judiciar to execute an Imperial Space Marine.

To date this has only occurred once, during the Purge of Belandrin's Hive Secundus. Brother Pollo of the 9th Company was found to have been extremely overzealous in his labours, failing to make the most basic distinctions between recidivists and cowering citizens. His last words are recorded as, "They all looked like scum to me."

It is far more common for the Judiciar to be dispatched in response to a corrupt official undermining Imperial rule on planets the Scions have come to defend. Recent examples include the execution of Prefect Lang in Hasmides after he was found to be taking bribes from heretic cultists. The prefect was well defended by a private militia that had already seen off an Inquisition team. The Judiciar and three marines in Aggressor gear assaulted his besieged residence with predictable results.

In true battle, the Judiciar usually protects the most senior officer present, but will also on occasion be assigned to seek out and destroy enemy champions. They never issue orders, instead enacting the requests of the most senior officer present.

This is why I love having my own Chapter to mess around with; anything in official canon that leaves me cold becomes fertile ground for coming up with new stuff. Hopefully I'll throw this guy into a game at some point. Maximum lolz points awarded for telling Angron to have a bit of a sit while we all wail on him with sharp pointy sticks.

Possibly also lethal (and understandable) sodium levels from my opponent.


  1. What a job. You've rehabilitated the concept and made a great mini in the process. You've correctly identified that executing helpless enemies is not something Astartes would enjoy or see as a good use of their talents. The original champ helm seems to be a poor mashup of OG marine aesthetic with mark X, whereas your headswap looks like it was meant to go with the rest of the armour.

  2. Yeah, that Judiciar model is a real mixed bag, especially the head. I ended up using mine as the base for a Librarian who desperately needs some good photos taken of him one of these days. A hooded, rebreather-clad head from the Eliminators kit, a spare three-eyed skull instead of the hourglass, and a pointing hand instead of that sword over the shoulder and I think he came out looking pretty nice.

    Excellent work on the sword here, I assumed you had salvaged a plastic gladius from another kit until I saw it all unpainted and greenstuff-y! Very neatly done.

    1. Cheers! Also: that is an inspired use by you of the original mini, particularly combining it with an eliminators head and a three-eyed skull. Strong approve. Do drop a link if you get around to photos :D

  3. Huge improvement on the official miniature, and the fluff. Going around and killing failed local leaders seems like a task that a more formal chapter would indeed have an officer for.

    I wonder if there will be a separate Judiciar available with the 10th edition codex? hard to say with GW these days, they are just as likely to have three variants of an idea as none.

    1. Heh, yeah, they seem to be in a similar place to the primaris ancient, who was originally only available in the Dark Imperium box. Time will tell!

  4. Dear Charlie,

    Should I ever email to Games Workshop, I would like it to be a screencap of your painted Judiciar and its corrected lore, followed thusly:


    Hopefully the reference explains itself ;-)

    1. I am neither a genius, nor a billionaire, nor a playboy, nor a philanthropist, but I shall endeavour to take the compliment in the spirit with which it was intended 🙏


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