Monday, May 31, 2021

28 Challenge: Female Space Marine WIP

Female Space Marine WIP

It seems that no matter how hard I try to work on non-Space Marine models, I am always drawn back to them. This time, however, I had a better reason than normal: to make a female Space Marine! I was motivated to try my hand at representing one due to the recently revealed challenge sponsored by Helge Wilhelm Dahl and the digital magazine 28. The challenge is incredibly simple, just create your own interpretation of a female Space Marine in Warhammer 40k, using any medium you like, and send pictures of your entries to by August 31st.

Although I wanted to keep as much of the Rogue Trader plastic Space Marine, I did change the pose of the legs, which required some gap filling and sculpting of joints.

I left her bolter largely unchanged, just shifting the magazine back, adding a rear sight, and drilling out the barrel and inserting some brass tubing.

While 40K lore purists might balk at the notion of female Space Marines, Games Workshop themselves made a few metal female Space Marine miniatures in the Rogue Trader days. More significantly Alan Merrett, the Head of Intellectual Property at Games Workshop for over 30 years, stated that the lack of female Space Marines was due to the fact that Citadel customers in the mid 80s complained about the inclusion of female miniatures, and did not want to buy them. Ultimately, they simply did not have the money to be producing models that would not sell in such a niche hobby. Therefore, the lore behind not having female Space Marines was, at least partially, a byproduct of these logistical issues. We should not be quick to write it off as just a logistical issue, though. Why did Citadel customers not want to buy female miniatures in the 80s? It is hard to see that as anything other than sexism. 

I had a few of the plastic Rogue Trader Space Marines at my work desk for awhile now, waiting for some inspiration to seize me. Why not take one of those Rogue Trader Marines and build a female Space Marine, updating the wonky anatomy of the old kit at the same time? With this idea, I set to work.

Using a combination of sculpting and carving/etching, I created the flexible material around her butt, details Games Workshop tends to do poorly.

Even with the new pose and extended torso, the Rogue Trader Marine is smaller than a Primaris Space Marine.

Initially I thought this could be a quick project, where I only had to rework the legs to make her pose less squatting. But after looking at the length of the torso of the original model, I decided that it needed to be increased, as well. I accomplished this by sawing the body in half and gluing in a small spacer made of plastic sprue, before filling in the rest with Milliput. For the legs, I sawed at each joint to separate each into parts and strung them back together with a thin piece of wire. This gave me additional stability and allowed me to experiment with different leg positions. Once I was satisfied with the pose, I used green stuff to fill in the gaps, sculpting it to look like the ribbed joints characteristic of power armor. For her head, I selected one included in the plastic Van Saar kit for Necromunda. This had the added benefit that it actually had a sculpted neck, making it easier to attach it to the torso naturally. The Bolter was largely left as it was, as it is one of the better parts of the original model. I cut off the magazine and moved it back, to get it closer to the ejection point. I also drilled out the barrel and added some brass tubing to make the bore a more reasonable diameter.

I still have a few final details to finish on the model, but I am excited to finish building her so I can move on to the painting process! At the moment, I am thinking of painting her as an Iron Snake, to fit along with my other recently built Space Marines. I would encourage anyone to try to create their own Female Space Marines for the 28 Challenge. You can follow what other people are creating using #28magchallenge on Instagram too!

- Adam Wier


  1. Looking good so far! The longer torso and resculpted legs really help the figure.

    I think though, that you ought to narrow the shoulders, I don't think she could get her arms in there the way it is now. The original pads make that issue worse somehow too. (maybe because they are lower and have a solid edge)

    1. Thanks for the kind words!

      You are right about the shoulders. The arms are currently just blue-tacked on. I am planning to experiment a lot more with the arms until I get them attached better. Thanks for the suggestion.

  2. Brilliant work. I agree about the shoulders needing to be narrower though too.

    Regarding the lore, I understand why they went the way they did - who could have foreseen in 1993 how limiting this choice would become in 2021? But, I sort of think if they can trash everything to the extent of introducing the Primaris lore, then female space marines is nothing!

    Looking forward to seeing this one finished!

    1. Thanks for the suggestions. I reworked the model a little to get the arms to seat a little closer to the body of the model. The old sculpt was very resistant to my efforts!

      I agree with the notion about the Primaris. If they are willing to introduce them, including female space marines is easy.