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Exitus stage left

It's been a minute since I had a good old hobby hangout. Just sitting around a table with a few friends, talking and painting the afternoon away. It's a very civilised way to spend time.* Being in between projects, I cast about for something to do that I could both start and finish in one day; particularly something that I might not otherwise get around to. And then I remembered: I've got that Warhammer Plus Vindicare Assassin sitting primed in the cabinet. What's his name... Googles... ah yes, Operative Umbral-Six. I'd only built him to see if his pose still worked when he's removed from his giant hero rock statue.

The thing is, once a mini has been started, it takes up space in my brain until it's finished. And I built this spandexy boy over eighteen months ago. I couldn't imagine using him regularly, so he'd never made it to the front of the painting queue. As single afternoon projects go, he's perfect. Not over-detailed, not too many different elements. Very doable. So do him I did.

When the lore gets in the way of using a miniature

I've always struggled with the idea of actually using an assassin in a game. Canonically they can only be dispatched by the High Lords of Terra, and beyond that, they'd only actually appear on a battlefield if something's gone desperately wrong.

As is so often the case, I just take the official lore to be mythic overstatement and/or propaganda. It'd take such a long time to get word to and from Terra that the system couldn't hope to work at all. I'm all for leaning into the comedically grinding gears of the Adeptus Terra, but this does seem a smidge too far. Instead I imagine powerful bodies like the Inquisition or Sector Governors can petition more localised representatives of the Officio Assassinorum, and so long as the target is both worthy of their attention and not Imperial, it's doable. One imagines that the assassination of more senior Imperial figures requires ever more senior levels of sign-off, until eventually it's the sort of thing that only the High Lords can decide.

Different shades of black

You've got to love the sheer practicality of wearing a second skin of black spandex and then trying to stay hidden in any environment other than backstage at a theatre. Still, while I could've painted him in sensible colours, the whole concept is so over the top that I just committed to the bit. See also: the bright brass aquila and red dagger tassle.

Any rubbery areas (so, the bodyglove, webbing and scope eyepiece) got a basecoat of Vallejo matte black, and were then layered up with Corvus Black, Eshin Grey, Dawnstone, and finally Administratum Grey. Some glazes were needed to blend the layers together in places; if it gets too light, the whole thing just reads as grey. Too dark, and it looks like you didn't paint it. I never quite got it to the point where I was thrilled with the results on his arms, but his legs look OK. I shrugged and moved on.

Hard objects, like the helmet and the Exitus Rifle, got a different shade of black. Again, a basecoat of Vallejo matte black, but then highlighted with Incubi Darkness, then edge highlighted with Thunderhawk Blue.

Converting the base

This was simple enough, it just took patience to slowly slice the assassin's feet off the I-beam he's moulded onto with a scalpel. Once he was off, I put a fat wedge of green stuff on the base and sculpted it into a rocky slope, then used texture paint to give it some ground texture.

I debated having him lean back further to get the gun parallel with the ground, but I suspect I'll often deploy this idiot in the first available tower I can see, so some downward angling seems like a winner, and means his weight placement doesn't look too weird. I guess up close he's just kneecapping people?

Deploy the rifle ninja!

My Imperial armies now eagerly await a cavalcade of Night Lords, Word Bearers, and other assholes deserving of a bullet to the brainpan. Guluk the Git would also be much improved if his face was replaced with an exit wound. Sadly, there's no point giving Trazyn the same treatment.

For all that I can see some mistakes, I'm happy with him for an afternoon's work, and my list of WIP projects is now that much shorter.

* For a given value of 'civilised.' Harvey brought what I can only describe as an acropolis of biscuits.


  1. Lovely, has a very "wetsuit" look to his body which is perfect. The base accounts for his forward lean pretty well, and as you mention he can still be sniping from whatever tower you end up placing him on. A sniper does demand that a tower appears on the board... for cinematic reasons at least.

    I had one of the old metal fellows painted up in a very late 90s fashion, but my kid appropriated it and repainted his red gun. sad face.

    1. Thanks mate!

      Man, the red guns of the nineties baffled me as a kid, but I find them retrospectively adorkable 😄

    2. As an older person, I also get the utility of having the miniature very clearly indicating "here is my weapon, and here is where it is pointing". Other games handle that with detailed fire arcs, or generic weapons so it does not matter, but 40k is still stuck on hyper detailed rules without the accompanying game aids.

    3. It hadn't occurred to me that would be helpful in this magical new era of actually having a functional 40K app that just tells me which guns my dudes have, but I can see the charm :D

  2. Looks great! He reads well. Did you play with different material on the scope covers? The highlighting seems different to the rest of the rifle.

    Assassins bother me as they aren't really part of your army, I see them as part of the in-theatre war effort, not there under the command of your officers. That always feels strange, unless I have an inquisitor on my 'theatre roster ' if not the table, because it seems that someone else should be technically rolling his dice, or picking his targets- he's not there to get my sergeants out of a jam by picking off an opponent they can't deal with.

    I don't feel this way with sororitas or guard allies for space marines- it's the only time I feel that the miniature should have an agenda that isn't mine to decide.

    1. Good spot, I used the same neutral grey from his suit and webbing on the scope covers to suggest a rubberised surface that wouldn't scratch his visor, although I then made the baffling choice to paint the front of the scope the same way 🤷‍♂️😅

      I hear you re: not feeling like part of the army; it's not really enough to occupy a co-op player though... maybe the move is to decide on his primary target at the start of the game and do one's best to go after that so long as doing so doesn't automatically get the assassin killed 🤔

    2. The real solution of course is to access your opponents Instagram in advance of the game. That way you can print a stack of B&W photos of his HQs, independent characters and sergeants, draw one ominously before the game and put it aside, face down.

      If they guy bites it, you flip the photo, take out your red marker, cross off the face and draw another, placing it face down.

      If the deck is exhausted, you lean in close to the miniature and whisper 'weapons free' or 'exfiltrate pattern alpha 3' as the situation dictates


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