New mutant units for Morkai

I picked up this 1:32th-scale M-42 anti-aircraft armored vehicle, manufactured by Matchbox, at a hobby convention flea market for $10. With some basic conversion work and extra bitz, I turned it into the kind of patched-together war machine that the mutants of Morkai would build. As it has twin-barrelled guns, I play it as a Lemon Russ Exterminator tank.

TheGM: This summer, I added a lot more combat units  to the Imperial and mutant armies that are fighting on the desert world of Morkai. In fact, I’ve more than doubled the point size of each army.

I thought I’d share some of my work on the mutants, as I had a lot of fun building and painting these models. See what you think.

Exterminator Tank

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A face that only Mom could love.

One of my most enjoyable projects was the Matchbox kit cited above. It was built pretty much as the kit instructions indicated, although I tweaked  the long-barrelled anti-air guns so they had more of a 40K vibe to them.

To give the vehicle a more ramshackle appearance, I used a lot of corrugated plastic to hide the smooth, manufactured tank body and give it a cobbled-together look. Some girders, a metal ladder, and overlapping styrene sheets provided more details to emphasize its haphazard construction.

For fun, I used an old 40K tank trap as a battering ram.  The bottom of the tank was angled  just right to serve as a base for the girder-like ram, so I didn’t hesitate to add it.

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Although I didn’t plan it out in advance, the mutants of Ungolath seem to have developed a creepy need to display gruesome trophies. I added living and dead prisoners to the front of the tank using zombie figures and jewelry chain from a dollar store.

My first mutant vehicle, which I describe farther below (ork trukk), had a few skulls on pikes to add a ferocity to the mutants. But, with the Exterminator, I added a corpse, live prisoner, and a severed torso  to the front of the tank—giving it a “Mad Max” vibe. Severed arms and heads also adorn the sides of the tank.

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Rust, corrosion, and severed body parts are a highlight of the tank.

The best part of the project was the painting. My initial 40K armies are pretty pristine in their paint jobs, but I decided I would let my mutants be a test case for trying new painting techniques, particularly weathering,

Now, you can question whether rust would be so prominent on an arid world, but I’m having fun with adding rust to my mutant vehicles, as well as stains of corrosion, faded paint, etc. I am, to be honest, a below-average, paint-by-numbers kind of painter, so giving myself permission to go wild with the mutants is just a blast.

So, rust works for me. I figure that water condenses in the underhives of the lost city of Ungolath (the mutant home base), and, after thousands of years, a lot of parts scavenged to build these vehicles have had plenty to rust.

Goliath Truck

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This Goliath truck is armed with a Clearance Incinerator. I didn’t care much for the rock drill, so I replaced it with a large animal skull from the old GW box of skulls.

Another fun project was the building of a Goliath Truck. Again, I pretty much built it as per the instructions, but I added a few features, such as skulls on pikes and some overlapping metal slabs to act as makeshift armor and emphasize it was built out of whatever materials the mutants could scavenge.

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I gave one of the gunners a turban to tie him into the desert theme of my Morkai fighting.

The Goliath has a lot of skulls on display. I’m not sure why I added them, but as is often the case with The Corvus Cluster, my little corner of the universe has a certain ability to surprise me. Once I’d added skulls to one vehicle, I did it to another because it made the mutants look more vicious. That led to body parts . . . well, you get the idea. There is something seriously wrong with the mutant culture.

Punisher Tank

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My first mutant vehicle, based on an ork truck, has been highlighted before. But it set the visual theme for my entire mutant army.

Based on an ork Trukk, this vehicle features a rear-mounted, open-topped turret featuring a four-barrelled weapons system. I originally intended to fight my mutants using the Imperial Guard codex, and the truck would act as a Wyvern. But now that I’ve decided to use the Genestealer Cult codex, it fights as a Punisher Tank.

Skulls, rust, a battering ram on the front—what’s not to love about it?

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To make life easier, I used the ork bodies included in the kit, but I replaced their heads with mutant heads and painted them a traditional flesh color.

In the photo below, you’ll notice a hand-painted H on a metal slab. This is the primitive icon of the Haruspex, the mythical mutant leader of Ungolath.

I’ll need a bit of rationalizing to call this vehicle a Punisher tank. I think a four-barrelled gun could produce the rate of fire necessary, but the truck is a bit light of armor for a Lemon Russ variant. My explanation is that the vehicle is very maneuverable, so it’s hard to hit—and the odds of taking out the vehicle is equivalent to the slower but better armed Punisher. (Hey, it’s my world.)

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This close-up shows the stains, rust, and ramshackle nature of this vehicle. Note the crumbling rust just above the gas orange fuel tank.


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The primitive flag of the Haruspex marks out this Ridgerunner as the commander of the squadron.

I love hobby flea markets. I picked up two already-built Ridgerunners for $10 apiece, and my purchasing decision wasn’t based solely on  the insanely cheap price. Militarized dune buggies are perfect for desert warfare.

There’s not much new to say about these models. They look as bad as all my other mutant vehicles, although I did add coils of barbed wire to the hood of the Ridgerunner. Although one model is armed with a mortar, I treat the two as armed with mining lasers—their job is to race behind their opponent and fire into the rear of the Imperial tanks.

Scout Sentinels

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I’ve played this unit as giant mutants, using the stats of Meganobz from the ork codex. But now they’re Sentinels.

When I saw the box of Meganobz on the shelf of my local Games Workshop store, I had to have it. I knew if I ditched the ork heads, I could create a unique unit of oversized mutants.

On two miniatures, I covered the front of the chest (where the ork head normally goes). I figured that any mutant smart enough to fully armor himself wouldn’t leave such a squishy target as a head exposed to enemy fire. I did use an ogryn head on one model, as I thought it important to emphasize that these aren’t orks—and I often use helmet-less figures to indicate a squad leader.

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It’s really nice that I can easily convert ork vehicles and figures into mutants. After all, both armies rely on handmade, primitively manufactured junk to make their weapons.

It’s a small thing, but I really like the decision that most of these mutants do not leave their heads exposed. I don’t know why. Sometimes little details tickle my fancy.

In some games, I’ve used the stats for Meganobz in the ork codex, but I’m rethinking this. As I’m currently using mutants as a Genestealer Cult, the Cult Ambush ability is very strong, and to maintain some fairness to the battles, giving the mutants non-codex weapons (such as Meganobz) appears to unbalance my games.

So, I’m going to use them as Scout Sentinels in the future. They’re a bit short, but on a desert landscape. I’m not sure there’s enough terrain that the lower profile will be a big deal.

Atalan Jackals

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My Atalan Jackals are proving very dangerous on the battlefield. All are armed with shotguns.

Other than a little rust and a mix of daemon, zombie, cultist, and poxwalker heads, my Atalan Jackals are nothing unusual in the looks department. Some bikes do have the primitive H icon somewhere on the two-wheeler.

Mutant Leaders

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The current leaders of my mutant army. As I’m using the Genestealer Cult codex, these are (from left) a Magus, Primus, and Iconward.

When I painted these figures, I hadn’t planned on basing my arm on the Genestealer Cult codex. I just wanted to paint up a psyker, a mutant with a Commissar’s hat, and a banner bearer for my small-but-growing Death Guard army.

But once I read up on the rules for a Magus, Primus, and Iconward, these figures quickly were enlisted into my army. There are some great rules for all three figures, and I’ve had a blast confounding my Imperial guard with those rules.

Conclusion: I love painting all my armies. My approach is to paint a unit for each army in turn (seven armies in total), then start over again. But I have to say, I get a bit more excited when it’s time to paint up a mutant army.

In fact, the reason I wrote this blog is because I cheated this summer—I had all these cool models and I just painted them up in one six-week period. If my other armies suffer on the tabletop because of a lack of reinforcements, I don’t care.

The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting my gaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.


Categories: Modeling

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1 reply »

  1. Not surprised that the mutants are doing such, violence breeds violence and the oppression they have suffered has clearly enough brought on some real hatred of Imperial Soldiers and governance

    I can bet that if they catch anyone actually running anything, he’s going to get paraded around for day’s for people to get a crack at.


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