Hammering the Warpath

During the summer we have been running a small Mantic-themed campaign for our local gaming store. The campaign is played with Warhammer 40,000 rules set, but all participants have been encouraged to pick up Mantic Warpath miniatures to use as counts as-allies or even to build an entire force with these 'alternative' models. The event also created a strong heat for us to build a couple of new forces to play games with as organizers. As the campaign is all about friendly casual gaming, we decided to go for themed armies with 40k races that are not as common sight on the tabletop as many others.

Mantic models have an interesting visual design and in our hobby projects they have proved to be a source of great conversion material. Still, even though their atmosphere is perfect to be used as alternative models for many other major gaming systems, many people seem to look down at using Forgefathers as Space Marines. As much fun as our "Mantichammer" project has been, a big part of it has been to try to think of ways to use this material to demonstrate what these models with great price value can be built into. We sincerely hope someone picks up an idea here and there and we get to see more personal armies and alternative individuality upon the tabletop battlegrounds both in tournament events and casual games.

Me and my friend Ollie started the project by writing down three small 40k army lists with some casual variety but with a potential competitive edge. The interesting challenge for ourselves was to find out if we'd be able to build a personal and recognizable Warhammer 40,000 force by using only Mantic's Warpath and Kings of War miniatures. Naturally it would've been easy just to use Corporation figs as Guardsmen or Marauders as Boyz but instead we chose three 'underdog' armies and tried to be creative. It has been fun so far and we're looking forward to unleashing the forces into the firestorm of our Death World campaign!

Part I: The Fate of the Chryseor 44th 

The Chryseor 44th was an inducted Corporation National Guard regiment, set to stand guard in one of the distant Forgestar Spaceports. It was ultimately the dreadful destiny of the soldiers to share the fate of their planet when an enormously powerful warp storm doomed the buzzing galactic metropolis to degenerate into a ruthless Death World. The earthquakes, thunderstorms and floods led to destruction of the civilization which drove the sector including its two moons into anarchy. Some were able to escape, most perished in the planetwide catastrophe. It was perhaps the unfortunate who were left to loot, scavenge and murder in order to survive.

The main elements of the 44th were stationed to overwatch a research facility R21 of New Merilbus. During the disaster the laboratories were ruined and many experiments and test subjects were set loose from the controlled environment. These viruses caused hideous mutations and horrible brain damage to hundreds of Chryseor's finest who were trying their best to hold the perimeter and to maintain an ordered quarantine upon the area. It wasn't for long before the regiment begun to crumble and eat itself, literally. The irony was such that the force tasked to protect the world was to be it's most feared blight for years.

The flesh-eating monstrosities of the once decorated regiment of the Chryseor 44th are now rotten hulks, ravaging the ruined cityscapes and seeking human flesh to devour. Apparently some of the undead officers are still able to maintain discipline and to act as blood-crazed leaders for the shambling host. At least their presence attracts more living dead, which is a frightening fact for the few survivors of the planet...

Zombie Platoon of the Chryseor 44th (Codex: Chaos Daemons)

 Staff Sergeant Remus (Herald of Nurgle) 70
- Chryseor combat drill
- Merilbus War mantle (count as Palanquin)
- Cloud of flies

10 Chryseorian Blight Rangers (Nurgle Plaguebearers) 150
- Contaminated bayonets (Plagueswords)

10 Chryseorian Blight Rangers (Nurgle Plaguebearers) 150
- Contaminated bayonets (Plagueswords)

3  Ranger Dust Crawlers (Nurgling swarms) 39

2 Diver Marine Abominations (Beasts of Nurgle) 90
- Noxious touch

499 points

We begun by picking up some Mantic products from both the ranges of Warpath and the Kings of War. As KoW Zombies along with the Ghouls are my favorite Mantic kit it was great to finally get to do some serious hobby work with them! Corporation set was ideal to provide the essential military feeling for our misfortunate Chryseorian veterans. The whole idea of these small army workshops was to introduce some conversion ideas and scratchbuilding concepts, build a small force simply and quickly and to have fun in the process!

To play the Nurgle Herald's role, we used the Corporation Commander blister as the conversion base for Sergeant Remus. Zombie parts work great as part of the model.

Some of the brain is still there, so SSgt. Remus is able to act as a highly trained (drooling) NCO that he is. Paintjob on all of the Zombie soldiers is a really fast mix of sprayed desert yellow undercoat and some washing techniques. Some details have been picked out in the end, including the subtle weathering to tie the models into the dry theme of their basing.

44th finest. The models use Corporation legs and torsos in combination with Zombie upper bodies, arms, heads and accessories. My friend Ollie did great job bashing the Mantic kits together and painting the most parts on the figs as well.

Missing body parts, Corporation "Spartan" Helmets and basing elements add details to the models. We used a tiny blob of green stuff in between the torso and the legs to tie the parts together. These guys mean business (and they're dead serious)!

More zombies. I did the basing with simple sand covering, some Army Painter's Winter turf pieces and a few additions of mesh wire to resemble fallen barriers and net fences.

I wanted to include as many different unit types as possible. The Daemon codex has many Force organisational choices for Nurgle troops and Nurgling swarms are one of them. I had the idea of a tide of crawling and moaning zombie cripples who would swarm towards the enemy as a filthy, bloody tide. These were very straightforward to do by just taking a few big round bases and assembling leftover zombie bits on them as lean and mean piles. I did cheat a bit on these to save parts and glued on Games Workshop's Vampire Count Corpse cart bits to serve as a foundation for the rest of the swarm.

Big zombies are always fun and we wanted to do a couple of ugly, fat centerpieces for the zombie force. Unfortunately Mantic doesn't produce particularly large models yet and too much green stuff sculpting would be against the nature of our undertaking. I figured that we could use the new Veer-myn Night Spawn model as the base for a Beast of Nurgle. I had a vision of a steampunkish, old diving armor that the National Guard force would use during coastal rescue missions and seaside patrolling. Ollie then did the conversion according to my original idea, adding some cool personal elements.

These combat divers were unfortunate enough to succumb to the infestation while wearing their Marine equipment. They tirelessly drag along their oxygen tanks, now full of poisonous virus gases and smash through walls with the sheer weight of their heavy gear.

The other diver is reaching out to claw anyone nearby. I wonder if he's gonna get out in a single piece?

The Night Spawn model works well and by removing the tail and exchanging the head and the arms we were able to create an entirely different model. The weight of the metal model also adds to the feel of these abominations!
Both Diver hulks advancing in the forefront of the Undead Platoon.
The tide of the restless troopers. 

 Are the evac crafts high enough?
Mindless rage of the former Corporals.
The living dead overcoming obstacles.

The blighted commander overseeing the cityscape.

The 44th assembled!


  Part II: Claw of the Under Empire

"Enjoying the breeze on it's fur Radgnaw leant over the transport safety railing as the incoming mortar fire mangled the desert around their Reviler Host. Major's ramshackle skimmer was airborne towards it's destination, boosting through the night in an uneven pattern. Part of this was evasive action to counter the Corporation anti-aircraft fire, but mostly it was because of the rather unreliable side thrusters. Engines screamed as the Vitriol carrier swooped over the defence lines, brutally shattering the first Ranger ranks with it's noxious ammunition. "Inject the  stimulants!" Radgnaw bellowed. "Looks like we've got lives and stuff to steal!"

Reviler Host of Major Radgnaw (Codex: Dark Eldar)

Major Radgnaw (Haemonculus) 70
- Virulencer (Liquifier gun)
- Radgnaw's Reaper gauntlet (Casket of Flensing)

4 Chosen of the Splinter Cell (Kabalite Trueborn) 95
- 3 Blasters
- Plasma grenades
- Slaver with Venom blade

10 Slasher Kin (Wracks) 130
- Virulencer (Liquifier gun)
- Primary subject with Agonizer

10 Veer-myn Nightcrawlers (Dark Eldar Warriors) 145
- Nightray Cannon (Dark lance)
- Slaver with Agonizer

5 Veer-myn Nightmares (Wyches) 60
- Drill Penetrators (Haywire grenades)

2 Vitriol Skimmer Carrier (Venom) 75+75
- Two dual Splinter spitters
- Rusty cloaking devices (Night shields)

650 points

Another project with higher stakes and increased points cost! With this army we dove even more into the scratchbuilding environment and tried to think of ways to match the contents of the miniature kits into the units and rules they were trying to represent. The Mantic Warpath Veer-myn range is small but inspiring and in my opinion it was a good move to try to produce something original with a spice of some classic theme. After all, we're all used to ratmen in the fantasy battles!

The more I browsed through the Dark Eldar rules the more they began to resemble the vile Veer-myn. Eldar and rats are both agile and fast, utilizing their cunning animalistic and alien instincts. They both can be portrayed as quite fragile creatures, hence the light armour and soft toughness values. Poisoned weapons work brilliantly with a filthy rat-themed force. And the Dark Eldar even have the night-vision rule. Match!

Citizens beware! Under the protection of the dusk, Veer-myn Nightcrawlers emerge from the Death World's endless sewer network!

The basic Night Crawler kit works very well to represent Warriors. The guns are convincing Splinter rifles with their glowing power sources, heating the sinister toxins to appropriate temperatures to be blasted upon the enemy. We only did subtle conversions to these models, basically extending the necks of a few ratmen to allow different head postures. Ollie also sculpted a couple of red-lensed goggles to the models to carry on the skimmerborne theme.

Quick'n'Easy armament conversions were required to separate the special weapons from the ordinary ones. Whip is a very Dark Eldar-like tool and it works pretty well with cruel Rat-slaver as well. The electro-lasher counts as an Agonizer and it's simply a piece of wire wrapped around itself. One of the Night Crawler weapons was also extended using plasticard pipe with Orx Marauder Special weapon muzzle as the end of the barrel. Some wire was added to fill the purpose of some power cables and the crude stock to help the rat take aim with his Dark lance-substitute.

The Vitriol transport conversions were an enjoyable scratchbuilding experiment. At first we thought of just making the Venom skimmers using the ordinary Orx Raptor model with a bit taller, scenic base added. At some point I decided that I'd try making a flying version. Even though Venoms don't actually have such details, the shark-fin sail elements were included already in the original ground buggy-concept to bring more resemblance to the Dark Eldar vehicles in general.

For the prototype I combined the Orx Marauder Raptor and Forgefather Hailstorm cannon kits, both available in the Warpath Starter kit Fate of the Forgestar as well as in individual boxed sets. The basic structure is from the Raptor with the extended transport capacity and the different thruster details added from the Hailstorm cannon. Only non-Mantic components were the cardboard sail and the safety railings made out of wire. We didn't cheat with the bases either, they're both from the Corporation heavy weapon teams!

The "Blasterborn" squad uses parts from the Veer-myn plastresin kits. The special weapons are straight from the box, as the tip of the gun is very similary to the actual Dark Eldar Blaster. To give the models some elite appearance, we used the sleeveless, muscular arms and the gas masks only on the Trueborn.

Wyches are out of a Veer-myn Nightmares team box. The strange drill knives look like a special weapon of some sort and I thought they would make pretty interesting alternatives for Haywire grenades, when slammed against vehicle hulls.

The Vitriol carrier provides fire support from the altitude. The paintjobs on the ratmen as well as vehicles are tabletop standard, as we didn't want to get stuck with a certain project for too long. The overall appearance is what counts!

Watch out! Strange, biomechanical cyborg creatures swarm the streets!

The Wrack conversions utilize the Nightmare models as a base, with the tank/canister kind of thing from the models' back used as a headgear. This is to give them a dark and menacing, steampunk-themed appearance. You can just imagine the gloomy laugh and screams audible through the iron masks! These creatures are not the sanest ones around!

The slasher whips are the same conversion as used in the Warrior squad leader, these things just run with a bit cheaper batteries and hence don't ignore armour saves. The squad leader has two weapons to maul the enemies with. We also did a small liquifier gun conversion that I forgot to spesifically photograph, but it's a small flamer-looking tip on the palm of one of the steel gauntlets.

Major Radgnaw leading his mindless disciples. To make the boss bigger and more imposing than the regular rat grunts, we used an Orx Marauder body to bring more length and mass to his stature. Rat head and tail tie him in with the rest of the army. The armoured, bionic hands are from a Veer-myn Night Spawn model, which we had as leftovers from the Diver Zombie conversions.

Some fuel tanks from the Nightmare team kit were added to power the liquifier gun of his left arm. On the right arm we removed the drill weapon and added a couple of scavenged and customized Corporation rifles to count as his other special weapon (Casket of Flensing).

Merciless ratmen rank up to blast and burn through the concrete jungle of an unfortunate city.

Enough nuclear waste to power the Virulizer guns for the rest of the decade. Must be held at all costs!

Night Crawlers prepare to embark into their transport vehicle.

"Fire-fire!" The fallout-ridden wasteland also attracts the living dead.
Major Radgnaw's gonna show how it's done (and check the pockets of that nice jacket too!)

The Reviler Host assembled!


Part III: Short temper, big attitude

Squat Spaceport Security Platoon "Colt" (Codex: Sisters of Battle)

After putting together Zombie and Ratmen armies we headed off to paint some armor. The idea of using Forgefather models as Battle sisters was inspiring from the beginning, as they're not big enough to portray Marines but have the necessary power armor and bolter equipment! We started by planning a loose army list structure to build some characters and special weapons on, knowing we could always tweak the list if need be. Just as before these themed forces were not built for competitive play and this reflects to the army list as well, notable from the absence of Saint Celestine, Uriah Jacobus, Battle Conclave and so on. Instead we tried to include many different unit types, build descriptive wargear items and to invent different conversion capabilities in the Mantic Warpath and Kings of War kits!

Centurion Commander Colt (Canoness) 115
- Bolt pistol

- Heat hammer (Eviscerator)

- Skryleegh Mantle (Rosarius)

Centurion Command Unit (Sororitas Command squad) 135
- Field medic (Chirurgeon)
- Color sergeant radist (Dialogus)
- CQB Rocket launcher (Multi-melta)
- 2 Ray guns (Meltaguns)

Field provost Kramer (Ecclesiarchy Priest) 80
- Plasma blaster (Combi-plasma)
- Heat hammer (Eviscerator)

10 Squat Grunts (Sisters of battle) 150
- CQB Rocket launcher (Multi-melta)
- Ray gun (Meltagun)
- Sergeant with Heat charges (Meltabombs)

10 Squat Grunts (Sisters of battle) 140
- Hailstorm gun (Heavy bolter)
- Flamer
- Sergeant with Heat charges (Meltabombs)

5 Squat Reconnaissance Commandos (Dominions) 95
- Ray gun (Meltagun)
- Sergeant with a Ray gun attachment (Combi-melta)
- and Heat charges (Melta bombs)

5 Squat Skyforgers (Seraphim) 135
- Ray pistols (Inferno pistols)
- Sergeant with Heat hammer (Eviscerator)

Armadillo Missile Platform (Exorcist) 146
- War Head Battery (Exorcist launcher)
- Hunter-killer Missile
- Smoke launchers and Searchlights


+ Bonus

5 Squat AA-Supporteers (Retributors) 105
- 4 Ray blasters (Multi-melta)

Centurion Command Squad stands ready to inspect the Forgestar defences. To match both the Forgestar table we created and the basing environment of our two former Mantichammer-armies we decided to go with dry desert-like bases.

Medical officer, geared up to cure some casualties and cause new ones! This model uses parts of Mantic Warpath Forgefather Steel Warriors and Drakkarim team.

The model has a metal body with cool details all over. The medi pack was made out of plasticard and Steel warrior sprue greeblie.

Colour Sergeant directs the battle and conveyes the Centurion's commands to the ordinary troopers. The base model is of Forge father Stormrage Veteran kit. Hands were swapped with those of the ordinary Steel warriors. The beacon equipment was made out of Orx Marauder shoulder gun and the antenna is a piece of wire.

Radio equipment ready. We decided to continue the weathered desert theme in the armor.
Special Weapons! Sadly the Sisters of battle don't have an option to take any missile launchers, but the Drakkarim Rocket launcher was just too cool to ignore. We decided to use it as a Close Quarters Anti-tank Rocket to counts as Multi-melta. Smaller 'Ray guns' are simply Meltaguns and are easily distinguished from the ordinary Forge Father rifles.

Field Provost Kramer is one of the spiritual heroes of our Squat Platoon. We went for a darker armor to make him stand out and a golden headgear to symbolize his status. The model body is the Stormrage Veteran leader with Drakkarim arms and weapon additions.

Heat hammers work as Eviscerators in our army. I think the hammers are available with both the Kings of War Dwarf and Warpath Forge Father kits.

Lieutenant Kupak salutes his superior and reports his platoon in for duty.

We use standard Steel warriors as the basic Battle sisters. Cloaks, weapons and headpieces are cool and although the kits come with traditional bearded Dwarf-heads too we chose to leave them aside this time.
Flamer special weapon from the Drakkarim boxed set. Rodents and undead beware...

We figured this guy might sometimes be equipped with Heavy flamer so we made an appropriate canister to carry the fuel around in.

Heavy bolter and Meltagun special weapon conversions. Hailstorm gun operator consults the leadership through a field phone during a training exercise.

The gun was made out of Kings of War Dwarf cannon kit and some bits we had laying around on our workbench. The gun model itself doesn't have any game technical meaning but marks the operator as the Heavy bolter-guy.

Ray gunners scout the high ground.

Another sergeant model with a headgear and equipment from Warpath Orx Marauders sprues.

Grunts pulling a guard shift on a Forgestar highway.

For the Retributor equivalents we made simple, generic special weapon conversions out of Marauder shoulder cannons. Basically these could be either the Multi-meltas or Heavy bolters, as long as you make the choice clear to your opponent.

Team leader has a cool, metal gun part from the Drakkarim box. These could also be used as Storm bolters if need be.

Recon Commandos infiltrating mountain slopes. I wanted to do a couple of Sniper conversions to support the Scout special rule the Dominions have even though they don't actually have an access to sniper rifles. The guns and arms were taken out of Kings of War Dwarf Ironwatch regiment, with a hammer handle added as a a silencer. The scopes were made out of plasticard tube and some paper.

The rest of the team, including the mandatory Ray gun specialist and the sergeant with Heat charge Melta bomb.

Epic Skyforger Seraphim enter the fray! After writing down the army list the greatest conversion challenge was to make Dwarves fly. We used many different bodies from all over the Forge Father range to form a squad of Squat Jump Infantry.

Dwarfs take to the skies. For the flying Skyforgers we used the Hailstorm Cannon driver as the pose was naturally perfect. Some wire was added to the helmet front as a part of rebreather equipment.

Jetpacks were once again made out of Orx Marauder shoulder cannon parts. What a great bit!

Commander Colt has a Kings of War Dwarf body, hammer and accessories in addition to Steel warrior head and green stuff-sculpted cloak.

Squat grunts brace themselves to counter the incoming Airborne Veer-myn onslaught!

Field Provost Kramer inspires his men in the eve of battle.

Weathered and chipped armour of the space-dwarfs.

Raptor-1 and Sweeper-2-1 are airborne! Death from above!

Heavy weapons ready to rock!

To add a vehicle in our "Forgesister" army, we scratch-built a gunwagon to count as an Exorcist. We used Jotunn Hailstorm Cannon weapons and tracks along with some armor plates. The smoke grenade launchers are out of Marauder Raptor kit. Shields in the front add a bit more heraldry to the tank and originate from Kings of War Dwarf sets.

The rest of the body was made out of cardboard and some plasticard strips. For the round hull shape in the back we bent the cardboard paper over some round Warpath bases and glued the ends between the roof and the floor of the tank. Bases were also used as the cannon mounts.

The Squat Spaceport Security Platoon ready to man and maintain the Forgestar positions. Semper Fi!


  1. Outstanding job! And thank's for the tip, will also use Mantic zombies for my Chaos renegade troopers, perfectly posessed!

    1. Cheers! Make sure you check out the Mantic Ghoul sprues as well, by mixing these kits you can create more variety and character to your traitors! Ghoul boxes also include some crude close combat weapons such as knives and rending claws, which can be used as different weapon options (They're perfect for Imperial Guard Penal Legion troopers, then just roll for the Knife fighters!).

    2. Thank's for the tip, I'll get the Ghoul box too! Already have platoon of penal troopers, with orange jump suits, as in Arizona jails :-)

  2. oh man, that's reeeaaally awesome. Just incredible work.

    1. Thanks, we appreciate it. :) Stay tuned for part three during next week!

  3. Wow! This was so thoroughly enjoyable.
    I love the creativity and I am definitely inspired to give something like this a try myself.

    1. Cheers Kevin, I'm so happy you feel inspired! Please check the incoming third part in the duration of this week!

  4. Ratmen as DE is a beatiful idea and I love the look of them! Will part 3 be Forgefathers as Space Marines? Looking forward to it whatever it will be!

    1. You score a point for the Forgefather guess! Part three finally done. :)

  5. Man, this stuff is incredible. Would you be willing to allow us to use pictures of this for the Ironwatch Mantic Fan-Magazine? :D (https://ironwatch.wordpress.com/)

    1. Absolutely! Use what you need and please ask if I can do anything else to contribute.

  6. The latest and the final part four can be found here:

    SPARK Corps - Enforcean Defence Spearhead


  7. Awesome dudes! Don't you play Warpath Rules?

    1. Cheers man! Currently we're playing the models with Warhammer 40k rules.

  8. Good work done. I have seen this conversions before few years ago. Those are interesting and well done a lot of work, and imagination is excelent

  9. I found some of your Ratmen conversion dudes in a bits box sale last weekend, do you want them back? I was planning to use them them as Mechanicus Electropriest

    1. No worries, parts of the army have been scavenged for other projects earlier. Have fun with your Mechanicus build!