Adeptus Mechanicus Project

Although I dont play Warhammer 40,000 any more I do still enjoy the setting and many of the miniatures.

To me nothing says “futuristic dark age dystopia” as much as a bunch of cyborg priests reciting canticles over their weapons and communing with the spirits of their vehicles.

Therefore last year I decided that I would put together a small force of Adeptus Mechanicus for gaming with.  I started work on the project last Xmas.

An illustration of Adeptus Mechanicus from the original Warhammer 40000: Rogue Trader rulebook. Pretty wacky.

The Adeptus Mechanicus (or “Mechanicum” as it is referred to more recently) has always been present in the background of the 40k universe throughout its development (unlike for example the Squats who were retconned out in the mid-nineties and the Jokaero who were not mentioned from about 1990 until 2011).  It is therefore surprising that the Ad Mech presence on gaming battlefields or in miniature form has been as spartan as it has.


Before I bought anything I reread whatever I could find regarding the faction in the various different GW rulebooks and magazines that I have accumulated since 1989.

After that I read two recent GW novels that deals specifically with the Adeptus Mechanicus at two different points in its history, “Mechanicum” and “Titanicus“.

I quite enjoyed this part of the project, as the books are of quite good quality, in the sphere of cyborg-giant-robot-game-spinoff-fanboy-fiction at least.  Significantly better than the only Star Wars “novel” that I once read, thats for sure.

Then it was on to…


  • Size: While I could simply paint a handful of suitable figures and leave it at that, I enjoy getting a enough figures together to allow for a force to be used as the outnumbering antagonists (the “baddies”) in a game, so I planned to paint more than that.  I wanted to have enough AdMech painted and ready to go to outnumber the heroes of a scenario approximately 3:1 should I require it.  Consideration also has to be paid to the fact that I want the project to be realistically achievable.  The larger it becomes the less likely that it will get finished.  Therefore the goal is to put together a force of ~40 figures that would give me enough options to field a variety of miniatures in various roles whatever skirmish type wargame (or boardgame) that I wish.
  • Painting and modelling quality: After doing quite a bit of experimentation with how I go about my miniature painting related stuff over the last three or four years, my painting process and style has settled back down a bit in the last twelve months or so.  The net result of this is that I am slightly less precious about some time consuming processes than I used to be, which makes me more productive.  The trade off for this is that the painting quality of the miniatures is a little poorer than it was in 2006 or so.  The same logic applies to modifying miniatures for the project: I will be avoiding that as much as possible in the interests of expediency.  Therefore the painting and modelling goal is for tabletop quality paint job and modification work.  Hopefully that will ensure that the project actually gets completed.
  • Functionality: I often try to paint miniatures that are suitable for use in a variety of sci-fi sub settings.  The risk with this is that sometimes projects can become too homogenised, which spoils any atmosphere that the figures are meant to convey.  It requires a little planning to get it right.  An example of this as part of the AdMech project is the servitors.  In 40k servitors are vat grown humans with blank minds that are fused with technological components and used in place of computers and AI.  Although the concept is a little different,  in visual terms servitors look quite a lot like the Borg from Star Trek.  Therefore in order to make the miniatures that I paint more versatile, I painted the servitors with pretty significant reference to the Borg.  This allows them to be used whenever I get around to doing more work on my Star Trek stuff.  Some of the servitors visual elements will be carried through the hierarchy of the other Ad Mech figures, although the non-servitors will be more 40k looking overall.  Therefore the goal regarding functionality is to keep the look of the force undeniably 40k, while still having elements that will not look too out of place for use in games with less gothic settings.

Adeptus Mechanicus Concept Sketch (not my own work, obviously)


As GW have only made a handful of miniatures for the Ad Mech faction over the years making an Ad Mech force requires a little digging.

While I had access to a bit of budget for this project last year I tracked down many of the official GW Ad Mech figures.

Next I did a pretty comprehensive search of different miniatures manufacturers output that could be slotted into various Ad Mech roles and bought some of those.  Some of the figures are obvious attempts by companies to cash in on the lack of official miniatures available, while others are more generic.

I ended up with a spread of figures from numerous manufacturers.  While this can cause problems with uniformity and the like, I tend to enjoy the variety.  I would rather paint forty varied miniatures slowly than forty similar figures fast.

Budget was a concern of course, but I did indulge a little more than usual on this one by picking up a few items at collector prices.  I had access to the cash at the time (whereas I certainly dont at the moment or anytime in the foreseeable future) so I simply went for it.

Well done if you made it this far.  I will start posting up elements of this project soon.


7 Responses

  1. Interesting stuff, and looking forward to following this one. The few Horus Heresy books I’ve read that focus on the AM have certainly been good reads and they’ve really perked up my interest in those wacky Mars-dwellers. Can’t wait to see what you’ll come up with!


    • I am currently trying to keep a number of miniatures projects going simultaneously in an effort to avoid overloading on one topic/subject and causing painting burnouts like last year. Whether this will work or not is another matter, but one of the upshots is that progress in each project will be slower than usual.

      That said I have assembled and primed ~20 figures for it so far, although I have only painted a handful. It is something that I have wanted to do since the late eighties though, so it is likely to get continued attention.

      I hope that you like it.


  2. I know next to nothing about 40K and the only thing I know about Adeptus Mechanicus is that Bob Olley sculpted a bunch of servitors and other models for 40K. Hope to see them painted up soon! =)


    • A short bluffers guide to the Mechanicum can be read here if you are interested.

      I am no expert on Bob Olleys work but I am pretty sure that he sculpted three servitors (including a squat) and two Tech Priests back then.

      I have three of those models, one of which is painted and will be posted on Wednesday. Its a little goofy and my wife (who has been asked for her opinion of my miniatures for nearly nineteen years now) thinks that the figure design is a bit ridiculous.

      I quite like it and I get a real kick out of painting one of the standout figures from one of the earliest White Dwarfs that I bought.

      I hope that you like it too.


  3. Sounds good – what counts as ‘baddies’ for them? Chaos cultists trying boarding their beloved titan *nudge*


    • Being an insular religious order that reacts violently to free thinking I sort of thought that they were in fact the “baddies” 🙂

      Friction between the Mechanicum and Imperial factions is pretty common in the background. As the Adeptus Mechanicus has its own agendas and exists in parallel with the rest of the Imperium its quite easy conceptually to have them square off against a lot of Imperial factions. Friction with alien races is easy to justify in general, doubly so if its a Magos Errant researching xeno tech.

      I am hopeful that they will populate a James Bond villain style lair which will be raided by a suspicious Inquisitorial retinue at some stage, but thats a while away yet. It is on the cards though.


  4. […] Adeptus Mechanicus Project […]


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