Judge Mortis

Judge Mortis

The Dark Judges are foes of Judge Dredd that hail from “Deadworld”, an Earth like planet located in another dimension.  Like Dredd they are law enforcers but the Dark Judges laws are even more draconian than Mega City Ones famously strict codes: the Dark Judges eradicate all life in order to eradicate all crime.

In order to achieve this goal, the Dark Judges are dead.  Their ectoplasmic forms inhabit corpses.  If the corpses are destroyed their gaseous forms escape until another suitable host is prepared.  “You cannot killll what doessss not live!” is a pretty common soundbite from these guys.

More agile than one might expect.

So technically the Dark Judges are liches or something, possibly wights.  I am still adding the “zombie” tag to this post though.

“Hol(e)y Judge Mortis Batman!”

There are four Dark Judges (although two other female characters did feature in their ranks for a while, plus another character from comics joined the Dark Judges for a story once, but more on that at a later date).  Each Dark Judge has his own shtick: Mortis here cause decay and putrefaction in anyone or thing that he comes into contact with.

“You cannot killll what doessss not liivvvee!” etc

The Dark Judges robes of office are each a thematically different parody of the Mega City One Judges uniform.  A pretty funny parody in my opinion, with pterodactyls in place of eagles and skulls, bones and body parts featuring heavily.  Fashion restraint is not a desirable quality in a Dark Judge.

Pterodactyl Skeleton Shoulder Pad

Various artistic interpretations of the Dark Judges have coloured different uniform elements in various ways.  I decided to go with a mix of influences from different artists to give each Dark Judge a visual identity while keeping them thematically linked.

Mortis features more bones in his uniform than the other Dark Judges.  Considering that he sports a cows skull for a head and has a bony tail he is pretty easily distinguished from his colleagues.

I did have to represent the bony armour differently to the bony head and tail, which in turn has to be similar but different to the rest of Mortis body, which is covered in stinking meat.


I hit a painting slump in mid-August part of the way through painting my Dark Judges.  They have been sitting on my painting table since then in an unfinished state, while I have been unable to get anything else painted.

I finally got the enthusiasm up to do some painting in December and decided that I would finish the Dark Judges one way or another.  As a result I took a few shortcuts and there are a couple of areas on each of these figures that really could have done with some more careful painting.  In the interests of clearing the decks for new projects I decided to grit my teeth and do a basic job on the remaining areas.

Hopefully those areas dont let the miniatures down too badly, as there are still some bits on the Dark Judges that are quite nice in my opinion.

Another Dark Judge up next time.  Comments and criticisms on Mortis are more than welcome.


6 Responses

  1. I’ve always had a soft spot for the Dark Judges, and Mortis looks very good. Whatever the shortcuts you took are, they’re definitely not glaringly obvious. What you said about “clearing the decks” is definitely a familiar phenomenon. Sometimes you just have to get those half-done models finished so you can move on to something else. In my case this usually consists of half-arsed drybrushing and washing or something similar.


    • Thanks Mikko. Three of the four Dark Judges were painted as a batch. This was a mistake as they ended up with fewer colours in common than I expected. Therefore no time was saved by painting a batch and the job seemed never ending.

      I got the batch about 90% finished in August. The half-arsed drybrushing, washing and fudged layering happened in December. I am glad that the shortcuts are not too apparent. Currently they are all that I see really. That should pass once they have out of my line of sight for a month or two..


  2. Looking pretty good!!!! I like the difference in bonecolour from his head to his armour. It makes the armour look a bit older or more rundown.

    I need to read some old dredd comics again. I remember having read a comic with the dark judges.

    Looking forward to the rest of them.


    • Thanks for the feedback lordsiwoc.

      I didnt want the the bone elements on the characters body to merge with the bone elements in the costume, so I am glad that you like how it came out.

      I have Death and Fear finished, but I am still working on Fire. I hope that I can paint the flames to a passable standard.

      As for old Dredd comics, there are surprisingly few that feature Judge Death and even less that feature Fear, Fire and Mortis. The collected book of Batman/Judge Dredd stories feature some of the better appearances of the lot of them in my opinion.

      A number of Death appearances have been in Judge Anderson stories rather than Dredds too. The definitive early appearances featured in the Anderson “Deaths Dark Dimension” collection and the “Judge Dredd Featuring Judge Death” collections that came out a few years ago.


  3. Nice job on old Mort! Looking forward to seeing the rest of the chaps.


    • Thanks Mattias. I am still working on Judge Fire but the others are finished to a similar standard to Mortis above. They should look well as a group, assuming that I can make Judge Fires fire look ok.


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