Concepting a Grey Knight warband.

After more than 20 years in the warhammer hobby, and around 10 head deep into the niche inq28 community, i recently realised that i never properly made an inquisitor miniature. 

I’ve collected a few models during the years, and would have enough to make a pretty big warband from unmodified model, but that’s not where i find the fun in miniatures.

So i set myself a small challenge, of making several small warbands around a strong archetype, focusing on a specific theme, and limiting myself to 4 or 5 miniature per band. And because i’m all over the place, i make no promises, and we’ll see how it goes.

These articles will probably be all over the place as well. As i was starting to build a few miniatures, i noticed i was about to use the same old tricks, and probably make the same models i’ve been doing for a while, and that’s not fun either. So i started to consider this as i would if i was doing concept art.

So hopefully, you’ll find here rough sketches, notes and ideas i have while thinking about a theme, and hopefully, it will kind of make sense.

Concepting the Grey Knight and their followers.

This feels weird to start wanting to explore inquisitors by making a space marine. 

At first, i thought i could make a grey knight as the muscle of the one team i wanted to make. An issue often brought up with space marines is that they should be a rarity. A stuff of legend, that the drunk shady character talk about at the corner of the bar, without anyone really believing they actually met one. So having one just as a sidekick felt wrong. But making only a space marine would also be a bit boring. I wanted to make small teams and explore stuff. So, this grey knight will be at the head of a team. 

As a lonesome knight, i thought it would not be followers they chose specifically to accompany them, because they would probably do the job better on their own, or he would choose other space marines. They would probably be the kind of weird mix of servitors, serfs, fanatics in robes we can see in the illustrations. I would imagine them as local people that chose to devote their life to this son of the emperor, this demi god here to save all humanity.

I imagined the space marine trying to keep a low profile, failing totally, and not being able to shake off the people gathering around them in devotion. They would not be warriors, but very religious people wanting to give their life to this angel of death.

I started drawing a few hunched robed characters carrying a shield, and quickly realised this could probably be the followers of a black templar, or a dark angel. What would make them stand appart as the followers of a grey knight? What is specific to grey knights, opposed to other space marines, outside of their colors and base equipment?

I was a to younger when the demon hunter codex was released with new grey knights and inquisitor models. I really like this book, along with the inquisitor rule book that was released some time before i think. I tried to remember what then made these character stand out to me from the rest of the space marines of 40k.

To me, a key element is that they fight demons, psykers, possessed. The stories around the ordo malleus give me a similar feeling as watching a movie about exorcism, which is probably no coincidence. There’s a strong element of faith and religion, but it has another flavour to it. It’s not just mass, preach, sermons, rituals in churches and processions of devoted people. There’s an idea of dark small rooms, flickering lights, black magic, forbidden words. I have not studied religions, but to me this has an ancient feeling, something more primal, maybe even pagan? 

At least, that’s the idea.

You can see here more sketches i did looking for ideas.

If i liked a few of them, most gave too much agency to the followers. A bigger influence in the team than i wish they had. So, exit the ones carrying shields or scabbard, books or stuff for rituals.

I did like the one carrying ammo though. At first i thought they would be carrying holy ammunition, but then it occurred to me. Without an idea of how weapons work, they could be carrying a lot of different bullets, even empty used shells, and carrying them around the big knight for them to use. In the end, a bit useless.

A model i already started to build to carry those ammunitions felt better carrying skulls, and i figured, seeing that the knight has several ones on their armour, and without knowledge of what is sacred or holy, they would try to offer them the ones they found in their life.

I tried to make  a model like the one that seems to be praying to a higher power, with incense sticks in their eyes, and it turned out to be a better base for the ammunition carrying one, so i went that way.

An element that is to me key to warhammer is the absurdity. Things don’t make sense. Don’t make a hammer, lobotomise a human instead, put it on mechanised tracks, and swap their head for a hammer. Then add a cohort of priest behind them to make sure they hammer the correct nail and pray that the machines works as intended because they have no idea how it actually works. Absurd ❤ And don’t tell me warhammer is not a satyr of our world!..

Before assuming fully the absurdity of the followers in the warband, i started assembling one model intended to carry the scabbard of the sword, but put it on the side when the idea of the warband became clearer. It will be useful for another warband i’m sure.

I made another model following the idea of the one carrying ammo, but this one felt too martial, probably because of the posing. And i thought that having four minis would make taking pictures of the warband more complicated, with such a big character at the center. So i decided it would only be three minis, and that will be another character for another warband, or as a flavour in the background.

The space marines is not mind breaking. It turns out that old terminator bits work quite nicely on primaris proportions!

Even if i don’t play the games, i enjoy thinking about how the miniature would behave on the table top.

I thought that since space marines are supposed to be over powerful, the weird useless followers would act as a hinderance for the knight. Each would be a kind of debuff for the space marine, and every time one would be killed, it would make the space marine stronger, since they would not get in the way anymore. That would create tricky choices for the adversary: endure this mostly harmless annoyance or get rid of them and unshackle the space marine.

With that, i realize now that my first goal to make a ritualistic kind of warband derailed a bit, but i think that’s ok. I like the idea of the powerful knight surrounded by idiots. I’ll make a ritual based team later, probably for a proper inquisition one.

It’s very much unpainted, and my desk is full of bits for another miniatures at the moment, so i’ll update the post once they are painted, which could take a while! 

Thanks anyway if you spent some of your time reading this here. I hope this was on some interest to you, and let me know if you’d like more of the same, or if you’d like for me to talk more about some specific aspect of it.

If you want to support my work, check my shop page on this website! There’s places for prints and t-shirts, or original work, were I sometimes put miniatures and boxes, if you’d like some of them for yourself. 


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