21 Dump Street Precinct Adeptus Arbites: Patrol Squad

Come quietly or there will be… trouble.

An arbite as pictured in Warhammer 40,000 Rogue Trader rulebook.

As a lifelong Judge Dredd fan, I liked the idea of the Arbites as described in the Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader rulebook way back when I first read it.  Citadel Judge Dredd figures were used to represent Arbites in playtesting and I suspect on a fair number of tables around the world in the late eighties, but official models became available in 1990.

White Dwarf #130, October 1990

Back then, I saw these Jes Goodwin “Adeptus Arbites” sketches included in White Dwarf #130, as part of the fan-favourite, proto-Necromunda, Confrontation articles.  I was immediately smitten.  Apparently I love a fascist cop in uniform.

Overwhelmed by lust, I rapidly decided to paint some Arbites twenty seven years later.

John Blanche illustration of Arbites, from the 40k Codex Imperials originally I think, subsequently reprinted.

Over the intervening period the Adeptus Arbites design was refined a bit by both Jes Goodwin and John Blanche.  The enforcers of the Dictates Imperialis lost a few of the neoclassical elements and got a bit chunkier.

The models in this post – from the second era of Arbites miniatures – were released to fit in with Necromunda in the mid 1990’s.  I speculate that the miniatures were not designed with Necromunda in mind specifically, but I dont have any evidence of that: it’s more to do with how and when the rules and miniatures were released.

Edit: scratch that.  I was helpfully reminded by richardcowen in the comments that the Arbites shown were released the January before Necromunda came out, with rules to fit them into the then new Warhammer 40,000 second edition.  I used to know this.  Getting older is a fright.

A more complete range of Enforcers (the line between Arbite and Enforcer is blurred, but I wont go into that here) was made available as part of the Fanatic Necromunda line in the early 2000s, but I have yet to paint any of those, so I wont cover them here.

Top row = Necromunda (second era) release. Bottom row = Confrontation (first era) release.

I considered selling or trading my Arbites models away several times.
With a decent number of Mega City One Justice Department models painted (and quite a few more unpainted) I felt that painting Arbites would not really be a very good use of my time when I have other robots/aliens/zombies/spacemen/ninja/etc to paint.

But I decided to paint them anyway, hooray!  Another victory of the heart over the mind!  Which is usually a really bad thing… but not this time because I say so!  [FIST PUMP SOUND]

Negotiation’s over…

I wanted a rapid to apply paint job and a pseudo-fascist look for these guys. With the MC1 Justice Department colour scheme being so gaudy and comic book, I was comfortable going for something more (relatively) reserved here.

Well, that was the plan.  In fact I introduced a number of brighter colours to the palette as I progressed though painting these.  The original plan was simply too dark for a 28mm miniature as far as I am concerned, so they became a little more cartoony than originally planned.  They are still a lot less gaudy than the ostentatious Mega City One equivalents of course.

The painting was all done in the usual simple, fairly sloppy fashion with the only real care being taken at the end of the process.  Emphasis on getting them done to a decent enough standard for gaming with, minimal fluting around.


42 Responses

  1. Great work with such a limited palette. The silver face plates work super well, and the sarge’s coat pops like a champagne cork.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Mr S!

      The coat needed a fair bit of consideration.

      Apart from the kinda daft notion of wearing a coat over a suit of armour, I also wanted to make sure that it didn’t spoil the austere fascist look too much, that it didn’t suggest Dick Tracy or anything too bright, that it didnt look like an oilskin etc.

      I’m honestly still unsure about how well the brown worked out, but a few people have commented favourably about it, so I guess that’s a win.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Really nice mate, good work on not having the black dominate the minis, while still keeping it simple and slick… these guys look f*****g serious man!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I wanted these guys to look impassive and dangerous. A lot of the painted Arbites that I have seen look a little too bright in my opinion (possibly from Judge Dredd comic influence), so I tried to make sure that they didn’t stray too far in that direction.

      I ended up adding more colour too the lot of them towards the end of the process, as they were just a bit too austere for toy soldiers.

      Im glad that you like them Alex, thanks for the feedback!

      Liked by 3 people

  3. They look brilliant – though I have seen them painted up in the Dredd comic book style of blue yellow and green and they look quite good too…
    And only 27 years to start a project… impressive! I am still working up to that level of motivation and work ethic.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Some of the examples of Arbites painted in Dredd uniform colours are excellent, no doubt.

      I considered it, if for no reason than to be able to field them alongside each other in a battle game some time, but in the end I decided that I wanted to give them their own identity.

      While there are similarities in the Dredd setting and the 40k setting, I decided that having distinct enforcers to patrol my games set in the 41st millennium would be nice, so I actively avoided painting them too much like my MC1 Justice Department.

      Thanks for the nice compliment Warburton.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Very nice. I regret selling my remaining un-hacked out Arbites. I cannot fathom why GW haven’t done a made-to-order for them.

    Mind you, I think I sold mine to Axiom so they went to a good home.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Certainly it would be very difficult to find a better home for then than Axioms Andrew. He has a squad of arbites painted in blue and white IIRC.

      There are no current rules for Arbites in 40k 8th and they were not included in the Imperial Agents Codex that was released for 7th last year. That might have something to do with why they have not been included in a Made-to-Order perhaps.

      Thanks for the feedback Andrew.


    • You’ve a better memory than I have Andrew! I certainly was hoovering Arbites up in recent times! I think I’ve got a dozen or so painted – I must get the rest of the precinct painted!


  5. If I recall, the second-wave Arbites release pre-dated Necromunda by some way. There wasn’t even an official gang for them until Fanatic came along later with the Enforcers, although I think they’re NPC’s in the Outlanders supplement.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are both right and wrong Richard 🙂

      1) You were right that the release of the Arbites miniatures in this post did in fact predate Necromunda: I had completely forgotten that.
      The rules for Arbites squads in 40k 2nd ed came out in WD #169, Jan 94. Thats over a year before Necromunda was released IIRC.

      2) Arbites are not NPCs in the Outlanders book. Gangs could become deputised as “Watchmen”, but Arbites didnt show up in that supplement. The campaign GM was called an “Arbitrator” though.

      3) There are rules for fielding Arbites as a gang in the “Necromunda: Battles in the Underhive” book from 1997. The Fanatic rules are essentially a cut and paste of that with minor tweaks (cybermastiffs, different weapon loadouts etc).

      I used to know all of that info by heart, but I had to do some research to be certain about a lot of it.

      I had completely forgotten that the Arbites were released for 2nd ed 40k though, nice catch.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I -could- have done some research (the books are at the other end of the room), but didn’t (because the books were all the way at the other end of the room…).

        Liked by 2 people

        • Tut tut Richard ;D

          I had managed to completely forget that the 2nd ed rules for the figs existed, even though on some level – due to the rules for 2nd ed being essentially the same as Necro – I have always known it.

          Getting older is a terrible thing.


  6. They looked great in real life too Paul. I had fun trading shots with them, winning by the slimmest of margins.

    Black is best for fascists 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Proctor Ezquerra is going to solve the Papafakis case before he retires.

      The DA may be blowing smoke up his ass (he doesnt like his methods, but he likes his results) and his ex-wifes alimony payments are forcing him to eat nothing but Soylent, but Thronedammit, he is going to find out what those xenos scum were doing on his turf…


  7. These guys are menacing lawbringers without a doubt – time to disperse some citizens 😀 Take that hippy!

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Wonderful, wonderful work, Paul! Very fascist chic. “Overwhelmed by lust” made me snortlaugh, so extra points for that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I often find that I cause laughter when I am overwhelmed with lust Mikko.

      The old figs are classic Goodwin, fun to paint. I’m glad that they turned out they way that they did.

      Thanks for the feedback.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Great work. Looks like a good squad mix too.

    If/when you get around to the enforcers, are you going to go with the same scheme, or are you going to emphasize their differences?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I won’t make any distinction I expect.

      For my purposes I’m much more likely to use something like Grenadier police models as Enforcers, to make the differences more distinct and obvious at a glance.

      It’s a fun selection of models alright, I’m glad that you like them Lasgunpacker.


      • Yes, I think that is a good way to go, considering that the official enforcer figures are about 90% the same anyway.

        When I made some local “cops” I tried to make it clear that they were a lot squishier than the Imperial sort. (I ought to circle back around and base these poor fellows)

        Liked by 2 people

        • Broad strokes work best at toy soldier level I think.
          Some subtlety can be fun, but by and large it’s wasted effort on a gaming piece.


  10. These are great. The restrained palette and sombre scheme really does ramp up the sinisterness of a squad of anonymous totalitarian space cops. Lovely job!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Axiom. Definitely a bucket list project.

      These guys are probably about as “realistic” as the 40k-verse gets really. It’s possible to actually miss the proctor’s Crow of Command on the first pass I reckon, due to the restrained scheme. That’s no small feat considering the oberwaldiness of that aspect of the sculpt.


  11. Well, it’s impossible not to have a soft spot for them 😛
    They look as dark and grim as they should, ready to terrif… ahem, ready to serve and protect. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. You doing those sort of makes me feel like the item’s ticked on my list.
    This is how I’d want mine to look really (with glowing red eyes).
    They’re perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nice of you to say Asslessman.

      These guys simply *must* spend an afternoon subjecting your Bratts to the Lex Imperialis at some point.


  13. Thanks for sharing. You are showing me what I missed in the 90s (was busy in the Army, getting divorced, etc). I really like these! The colors I like and appreciate the backstory. Please paint more!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Great work on these. I like the dark, rather cold and limited palette you’ve used on them – perfect!

    I’ve recently found my own set of 2e Arbites, still primed and based with the start of actual paint on them from years ago. They’re in the queue to be done, nominally to start after I finish all of these Power Armoured Dudes from the same figure cases who actually have rules in 8th…

    Now that you’ve done yours, I’ll relax a little more and if I get mine out and done by the end of the year, it’ll be good enough. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Arbite sculpts have dated pretty well, I’m sure that you will get a kick out of finishing them Azazel.

      Your output is thick and fast at the moment, so much that I can’t keep up. I’m sure that you will be able to tag the Arbites on to that enthusiasm.


      • Agreed that they still look fantastic today. I’ve got a couple of the originals as well that I will follow up the 2nd ed models with. And perhaps after that, I’ll finally start on the Mega-City Judges…

        I’ve had a pretty good run lately. 8th has been excellent motivation to get older projects out and finally completed.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Great! I have plans on making Arbites one day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They are a very appealing trope and flexible in terms of how they can be used in various scenarios etc.

      I suggest that you go for it imperialrebelork 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  16. These look great. It was a pleasure to play against them with my Pirates, but I have no photos of the occasion! Just as well as you did manage a flawless win.

    Interesting to see the notes about them having Marine arms. I speculate they were originally intended as torso-only models.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks!
      I have a couple of photos of the Arbites squaring off against your exceptionally nice pirates Curis, I’ll dig them up when I get a chance.

      I had assumed that if the range had expanded that the marine arms would have been used in further designs.

      I don’t remember how long the first design of Mk.VII marine arms was available for, or when the ribbed shoulder design became smooth, but I have associated the pattern on the shoulder with Judge Dredd shoulder pads for the twenty seven (!) years since.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: