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Monday, 25 May 2020

Grimdark Future/Warhammer 40k: Additional Ideas for Multi-Edition Space Wolves

Primaris will never get to look this cool.
Back in late March I started nailing down my plans for what would be a multi-edition (nay, multi game!) Space Wolf army. With the recent reveals of Warhammer 40 000 9th edition and the general trajectory of the game, I've been less and less wanting to give Games Workshop money to the point I am genuinely considering either recasting or acquiring all my required bitz through a secondary market. Fortunately, getting Space Wolf and/or Space Wolf-like parts should not be too hard given the army's popularity, not to mention I still got access to a lot of the bitz I bought for my Plague Marines which included many loyalist bitz.

However, building an HQ/hero unit is going to be a bit harder. Hero units are generally agreed to require to be a tiny bit more 'fancy' than the base troops. Now obviously, Games Workshop sells old Space Wolf heroes like Rune Priests and the likes but, as previously established I'm not quite in the mood to dump money into GW directly and, beside, those are old sculpts redone in Finecast which mean there is a good chance they might come up all broken and full of air bubbles. As a result I've set out to see what I can use to kitbash my own Space Wolf heroes and special units which will look both coherent with the rest of the army as previously outlined while also looking distinct enough to be able to tell them apart.

Wolf Lord

As the head honcho (or top dog, if you will?), the Wolf Lord is basically required to be one of the coolest and fanciest model in the army. Now what form exactly he will take depend, as Wolf Lords can be equipped in a rather wide variety of ways. The pragmatic in me believes it is unlikely such a model will be a Terminator, as these are difficult to find all the required parts to build one 'whole cloth' and due to how Grimdark Future work I'd rather not turn a five man squad into a four man squad. This mean he is likely to be a simple, power armored Space Marine hero unit.
  • Kromlech/Bits of War has some of the most fancy-looking, Norse-themed not!Space Marine bitz out there in their Sons of Thor sets. Given a full set consist of five of each torso/leg/backpack this would provide the main starting point for the miniature. The rule of cool alone dictates the Wolf Lord needs to rock a wolf pelt cape.
  • Beyond that, the wargear of the Wolf Lord will heavily depend on what bitz I have available.
The key to telling the Wolf Lord apart will simply be his raw level of bling, since nearly every area which could be embellished with brassy colors will be colored as such, rather than the basic Space Wolf greyish-blue. Fitting of the cliché of Space Marines heroes, he will be bare headed.

Wolf Priest

The Wolf Priests are the Chaplains of the Space Wolves, as well as apothecaries but really they generally focus more on the first part. Their main visual 'shtick' is their iconic wolf skull helmet, where they replace the basic skull face of regular Chaplains with a wolf skull, because space wolves really like wolves.
  • The first thing I need is a bitchin' wolf skull helmet! As it happen, Pop Goes The Monkey has the Dire Wolf Helmets which are clearly meant to be wolf-themed Reiver helmets but I ain't using them for that Primaris bullshit. As for what the remaining nine helmets will be used if I got only one Wolf Priest? Scroll down below and you will see.
  • Next, this guy need a big mace. Or, in fancy 40k talk, a Crozius Arcanum. Kromlech has the Legionary Maces and these will do just fine.
Beyond that, a Wolf Priest is easy to tell apart because their armors are black, as are all Chaplain armors. As such, with the wolf skull and black armor this guy will be easy to tell apart. Oh and like the Wolf Lord, he will be built from Sons of Thor legs and torso to make him more 'blinged' but it will be slightly more understated than the Wolf Lord.

Rune Priest

Rune Priests channel the powers of the Warp like Thousand Son Sorcerers the spirits of Fenris. Given how powerful (even post-nerfing) Psychic powers are in Grimdark Future (one of the games I plan to use the army for), I just have to bring one into the army.
  • Unlike the other heroes, the Rune Priest would benefit well from one of the torso from Spellcrow: in particular, the one which show these runestones around the neck. Alternatively, sticking to the Sons of Thor torso, the one with the cape would work well.
  • In addition, I would probably use the shoulder pads from Spellcrow with the runic talisman, to further make a visual connection of runes=Rune Priest.
  • To make the character more Librarian-like, some greenstuff rolls or pewter cables plugged into the armor would help simulate the look of the various psionic apparatus which they have. I might also need to figure out some way to make a Psychic Hood.
Rune Priests have their own fancy styling and, if possible, I would try to slightly emulate the GW sculpt in some respect, possibly by using an older face painted with a big white beard to really go for the old shaman look.


This is where my list deviates both from 3rd edition (where Wulfen worked differently) and from established lore and aesthetic. The current look for Wulfen is completely banana and ridiculous: it invites ridicule rather than inspire fear. They are simply too silly, cartoony and over the top to look threatening. Instead, my version of the Wulfen will take cues from the Blood Angels Death Company in some regards: cursed warriors thrown into battle to tear apart the enemy rather than be driven mad and degenerate into monsters.
  • Remember the  Dire Wolf helmets from the Wolf Priest? The Wulfen with helmets would wear those wolf skull helmets as a nod to the Deathsworn of the Horus Heresy.
  • Spellcrow has bare arms with fur growth and clawed hands. While I wouldn't model these Wulfen as mutated as their 'canon' GW model, at least a few model per squad would have an exposed arm showing their mutated claws.
  • These warriors would be wrapped in chains around their arms, torso or even legs, hinting they have been let loose on the battlefield. In addition I'd probably model their armor to look slightly more worn down, with scuffed paint and muddy boots. Space Wolves may be savage but they still take care of their wargear. Those who have lost their minds would not.
With the proper red and white squad markings, their broken armor and chain wrappings these Wulfen would look suitably nasty and demented, clearly showing to friend and foes that these are no longer the Emperor's Angels of Death but now ravenous beasts.


  1. +1 for invoking the Rule of Cool. Post pics as you go, please. I'm not a WH40k player, but the minis sound cool.