Monday, 26 September 2011


If I'm completely honest, the one unit that sold me to play the Grey Knights is Grandmaster Mordrak, and his Ghost Knights.

Mordrak is a real standout unit in the Grey Knight Codex, a real boon to all old and new Grey Knight players alike. There is nothing quite like him in any other codex, and everything about Mordrak really clicks for me: from the fluff perspective (vengeful, haunted Knight of Mortain out to get his arch-nemesis, Huron, with psychic manifestations of his guilt / actual ghosts?), rules perspective (Ghostly Bodyguard for the win!) the gameplay perspective (First to the Fray and Grand Strategy really appeal to the Deep Striker in me!), and most importantly for me, the modelling perspective.

Modelling perspective? But wait, GW hasn’t released actual models for Mordrak. Perhaps during the 2nd wave?
Part of me thinks perhaps this will not be so. The reason for this being the same as of that of the lack of Grandmaster model.  Sure, many players will use Draigo or even Stern as a counts-as Grandmaster, but all the bits in the Terminator kit can be utilised to make one’s own personal Grandmaster equipped with all matching wargear as per the army list (and indeed I have done so!). Likewise, the same reasoning with Grandmaster Mordrak, but that is not the reason as to my posting.

I am posting because of my love for the ‘Ghost Knights’. The lack of models + the fantasticly crazy fluff and rules (thanks Matt Ward) means there is a huge opportunity to create a real ‘pop-out’ unit that stand apart from the homogenous Grey Knight silver dudes (or in my case, Stormtrooper White!) all Grey Knight players collect.
I have seen some great conversions and painting schemes, and many players have hit upon the idea of re-using their old metal Grey Knights termies for Ghost Knights, some have even used the Rogue Trader era GK’s, and others have even gone for Zombie/Skeleton Knights !
There are plenty of crazy cool Ghost Knights out there that one can find with a quick search (e.g. here and here)
I have decided to mix all these ideas up and have come up with my own take on the Ghost Knights that I am pretty pleased with, AND easy to paint.
Easy to paint?
You heard me. Ghost Knights are as easy to paint as they are to model!
I’m no Golden Daemon winner by any stretch of imagination, I have a busy worklife and time is of the essence, as I barely get enough 40K time nowadays. So here’s how I did my squad of Ghost Knights:
From my understanding of Mordrak’s entry (someone correct me if I’m wrong), the max. allowable number of Ghost Knight models one can have on-the-board is 8. That’s 5 for the squad, and a possible 3 more from Mordrak’s rules, provided he gets some good rolling each time he loses a wound per phase. Of course, part of the rules is if you don’t have the appropriate models, Mordrak no-spawn the Ghosties. So while it’s unlikely you’ll have the max. possible squad at any one time, let’s just pretend that you *would* havei t that way, given the choice.
So you will need max. 8no. models in total (I myself have 7), or less.
1. Use any old metal Grey Knight Terminators you have lying around.
2. And/or use any old Rogue Trader-era metal Grey Knight Terminators you have lying around.
3. And/or make your own Zombie or Skeleton Ghost Knights from scratch! I mean they’re ghosts = dead right? So go creative! Build your Ghost Knight termies from the plastic Grey Knight termie boxed set, but try some really simple headswaps. The Warhammer Tomb Kings and Vampire Counts have a great range of ghoul, zombie, and skeleton heads. Of course, you can just use the plastic Termies as they are and paint them Ghost Knight-style which is cool too, but I think this is too good an opportunity to pass up to have some crazy cool models in your army.

I mean, Zombie Terminators FTW!

I have used a tomb guard head, necropolis knight head, and zombie head for my conversions, thanks to Let the Dice Decide for the bitz.
You will need 2 colours. Skull white, and whatever you like.
I have gone for a LoTr Army of the Dead-style paint scheme (handy tutorial here). That means monochrome, no glowing eyes, but with a spectral, otherworldly look. I’m trying not to achieve marble statues, but a more creepy look, with patches of brightness and darkness to really make the models pop! so your opponent takes notice and will try his darnedest to kill them before the rest of your army arrives (you brought a Librarian with a tele-homer with Modrak didn’t you?)
From left to right: My basic Grandmaster recently spraycoated as an example, a Zombie Knight just-washed with enchanted blue, and  a Skeleton Knight just-highlighted with skull white.
1.  I undercoated all my Ghost Knight models skull white, and touched them up quickly with more skull white if I missed any spots.
2. Take your favourite ‘Ghost’ colour. It could be Green, which I had certainly considered. Loads of people prefer Hawk Turquoise, a bit like this (which inspired me to go for my paint scheme). I went for simple, good ol’ Enchanted Blue, as it matches with the Force sword colour scheme of the rest of my army.
Proceed to wash with thinned down Enchanted blue. Feel free to experiment! Go really thin, with just a sliver of paint and loads of water. Go really thick with loads and loads of gobs of paint, then just add a wet brush to spread it around and let the natural darkness of the paint fill in the recesses.
3. I then re-highlighted with Skull White at certain sections of the models to make parts of it stand out, e.g. fingers for a bony effect, any skulls and seals, and certainly all the words emblazoned on the armour. Again this is an intuitive process, and you just go with what you think works. The more white highlight you apply, the more that bit will 'pop'.
The best thing is if you make any mistakes you can just re-wash the areas again with blue (or other) and start all over again.
This is a fun, and easygoing process. I only wish I could paint the rest of my army in this paint scheme, as it only took just less than a day to paint the 7 models I’ve made!
4. For the bases, mine are just simple painted black to match the rest of my army scheme, but I have let the blue-paint wash spill over onto the base for an ‘ectoplasmic’ spillover effect (that’s just me being too lazy to clean it up. I think it looks good!)
5. For the weapons I just paint mine to match the force weaponry of my army, so whatever you think works!
Re-conditioned for the 42nd Millenium!
Obviously a smaller Terminator needs a bigger base.
Not-Modrak in the middle, surrounded by the cast of Thriller!

I am most pleased with the results, and can’t wait to set them loose upon mine enemies! Now, if only I can just get around to building a proper Modrak myself...
 Thanks for reading!

Note: Image at top of blog used without permission.


  1. Very nice! The effect turned out great, and I like the skulls/zombie heads - really drives home the ghost knight vibe. I'll have to give that method a try for my Thousand Sons, I want to add some ghostly-looking tutelaries to various models and the blue tinge you have is perfect! In my opinion the bases could stand to be something other than black (looks like it's just an unpainted base to me), but that's a purely aesthetic choice. Can't wait to see more - keep up the great work!

  2. Thanks! I'm pretty pleased with the mix of non-helmeted (Zombie) and helmeted (old metal GK) Ghost Knights.

    The lack of eyes in the zombie knights meant I could get away without a 'glowing eye' source lighting effect, my mediocre painting abilities are nowhere near as advanced skillz as some of those who have painted up their Ghost Knights (as per the links above).

    My camera really doesn't do my models justice, but suffice to say I am generally a lazy painter(hence simple black bases, same with my extensive Cadian army) but to hit upon this 2-tone method to painting the Ghosts I find has really worked. If only I could paint the rest of my Grey Knights in the same colour scheme!