Commissars Headroom & Trude


L to R: Commissar Headroom, Commissar Trude

While they didnt feature in the original Warhammer 40,000 Rogue Trader rulebook, commissars showed up as part of the Imperial Guard soon after.  They were a defined part of the 40k universe quite early, long before second edition came out.

The first White Dwarf that I ever saw (#108, December 1988) featured an article that introduced both Space Marine Chaplains and Imperial Guard Commissars to 40k.  It has taken me a quarter of a century to get around to painting any commissar models.

White Dwarf 108

Oddly enough neither of the commissars that I painted are official GW commissar models, more obviously in the case of the female.  That figure was supplied as part of the “Into The Streets” collection of “Street Violence” figures from Foundry a decade or so ago.  This figure is the eponymous “Mistress Trude” from “Mistress Trudes Street Girls“.

To be honest, the girls were the pack from that set that I was least interested in, but when I started prepping Headroom for painting it occurred to me that I might as well paint Trude up at the same time.  I tried to get away from the fetish imagery that features in the Street Girls pack a bit but Im pretty sure that the figure doesnt look like any sort of real officer.  All of that said, Trude is a military officer from a futuristic space army, so maybe battleship grey belly-tops and patent leather thigh-high boots are standard issue where she is from…


Commissar Trude

The other figure is originally from a range called “Shockforce” I think from “Demonblade” miniatures (or perhaps the other way around…), although I bought it from Mega Miniatures who had the rights to the range before they closed down.  The figure is obviously a not-Commissar, although both the pose and style of the model are superior to the majority of Commissars that have been available from GW.  At least the figure has an air of authority about it, rather than being dressed like Liberace and waving a massive axe and a flamethrower around the place.  Well, maybe he is still dressed a little like Liberacé.

Commissar Headroom

Commissar Headroom

I didnt paint the eyes on either of these figures as my own eyes and hands couldnt take the strain.  Thats why Headroom above has a bit of a zombieesque thousand yard stare thing going on.  The models face kept reminding me of the actor Matt Frewer, so the commissar was named after one of the sci-fi characters that Mr Frewer is most well known for.


I really like Headrooms sabre hilt and swagger stick grabbing pose.  Not many people could make that work, but he does I reckon.



10 Responses

  1. They strike me as a very plausable pairing on the tabletop. Junior commissar, fresh from Commissar school and interning with a senior officer works well in my mind. The black shiny bits of Trudi’s outfit look like syn-skin based armour in my head. There is no mistaking what she represents on the tabletop in any case. Paint jobs look good (as always), I would not bother painting the eyes as he looks better with milky white pupils anyhoo.

    There is something very Bison like about Headroom.

    In fact you have just given me a very good idea about how to do a rough rider Commissar! I am aiming to do a high command squad on cyberhorses rather than do another infantry command squad. Something rather dashing about those old rough riders if you ask me.

    I am convinced you have your cats helping you paint based on the output this year. Keep it up!


    • I think that on her own the female model would look like a proxy commissar model, but on a tabletop with the male model (who definitely looks like M. Bison now that you mention it) she gets context.

      Output is good at the moment for sure. I want to make sure that I get back to the DreadBall stuff reasonably soon, but I am enjoying the 40K characters so I think that I will stick with them for a while.

      What do you plan to use for cyber-horses?


      • I have one test piece on the build at present. I am taking the old Skeleton Army boxed set horses and then doing some chopping of limbs to reposition whilst adding components from clockwork watches and milliput. The look I am going for is somewhere between the Natural History Museum stuffed animals, the clockwork litch Nazi from Hellboy (can’t remember his name but he made an impression), and what I remember of the descriptions of Chevalines from the book “The Diamond Age” by Neal Stephenson. A quick google image search has yielded a couple of images which should give you an idea of what I am after:

        and to a lesser extent:

        I am not so much trying to go for a cyberhorse so much as a servo-skeletal horse – a much more expensive, hardened, easily controlled and fitting mount for a high command staff. Having a Bison like commissar riding one will be bonus points. I will probably post some pics of the WIP soon. Still fiddling round with the pose and rider. I have an orderly mounted on the test piece as he looks more suited to being the bodyguard of the high command. In fact I plan to use the orderly model a lot more in this force – they will make for awesome elite grenadiers to serve as storm trooper level guys (as distinct from the hardened veterens who will be based on the cover of WD 149:

        I will post up some pics of the Grenadier test piece and cavalry guy very soon in any case.


        • Kroenen is the clockwork ninja from Hellboy. Definitely a highlight of that film.

          The cyber-horses sound like a time consuming, ambitious project, although they could look cool. I hope that they work out.


  2. Lovely painting as always. The man looks very much like he’s part of the range and has the appropriate air of arrogance and authority to be a Commisar. I’m not such a fan of the woman, though it must be said that the hat is just perfect. On the other hand, if there is one thing that the 40K universe is not, it’s restrained, so perhaps the pose and nipples are right at home.


    • I considered filing the nipples off (a painful process no doubt) but didnt bother in the end. I possibly should have been a bit more restrained when highlighting that region though. You could cut glass with those

      I can be a bit PC when it comes to my taste in female miniatures. I find top heavy, chainmail bikini wearing, pouty barbarian miniatures and the like off-putting (and the female ones too… but seriously folks, Im here all week). It puts me off a few Malifaux miniatures actually – the Viktorias for example. Reaper are also regularly guilty of adding gratuitous tits and ass to their range, lots of manufacturers are really. I see the female figure above and the likes of Lady Justice as being on the cusp of acceptable, but some days when painting figures like that I do feel like part of the problem.

      Funnily enough while the 40k universe is quite extreme there is rarely anything sexual going on in the 41st millenium. Its a bit like Tolkien – sex doesnt really tend to be much of a factor. I imagine its because their main market relies on getting cash out of the parents of 10-14 year old boys.

      Thanks for the feedback 🙂


  3. “maybe battleship grey belly-tops and patent leather thigh-high boots are standard issue where she is from…”

    Hey, you never know what Headroom has under that trench coat of his.

    Lovely work as always, and the Trude idea is great!


    • Thanks Mikko.

      Its true that Headroom could be wearing anything/nothing/his mothers tear-stained wedding dress under that voluminous coat, but the bottom line is that its a pair of figures where the male is “sensible” and the woman is “sexy”: it isnt exactly progressive.

      It also grates against my generally left-wing, vaguely “right on” sensibilities a bit that the male is obviously the senior officer too, a sort of passive sexism perhaps, or at least the fulfillment of a cliché. I would probably be happier with the pairing if the female had the more authoritative uniform/pose and if the male was the straight-out-of-college archetype. In “fuck-me” boots.

      Thanks for the feedback.


      • And here I was, thinking “fuck-me boots” was a Finnish concept…

        Completely agree with you re: the gender roles as well as the typical genre tropes. You could of course pair a junior male commissar with Khurasan’s Genocidal Overlord ( for the sake of balance.


        • Not an exclusively Finnish concept Mikko, but one as international as sexism I guess.

          The Genocidal Overlord is great, good call. I will have to try and pick up one of those whenever I find out the most cost effective way to get their new APC across the Atlantic.


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