Andrew Zhu

Space Hulk


Project Timespan

2016 – February 2021, on and off (mostly off)


“In such dire circumstances, lesser warriors could perhaps have ceded all hope, yet these were Space Marines of the Blood Angels Chapter, the sons of honoured Sanguinius. Their forebears have fought beside the Emperor in the very blackest of days, and that memory was not theirs to dishonour.”

I have been a fan of Warhammer 40k ever since I was introduced to the game by my brother in middle school. The lore is spectacular, the figurine sculpts are excellent, and the gameplay requires deep thought and planning for victory. In addition to the main game, which has been through nine rule additions and counting from 1987 to the present, there exist numerous spin-off board games in the Warhammer Universe, from the American Gridion-like Blood Bowl to the space warfare of Battlefleet Gothic to the skirmishing gang warfare of Necromunda. But perhaps my favorite spin-off game is Space Hulk, first released in 1989, in which a group of Space Marine Terminators have been tasked to investigate the remains of a derelict space ship infested by Tyranid Genestealers.

Game Overview

“Be bloody, bold and resolute.”


The Wikipedia article on Space Hulk has a section on Gameplay provides a good summary, but in brief, the game is an asymmetric two-player game in which one player controls the Space Marine Terminators and the other player controls the Tyranid Genestealers. The game is set on a modular board comprised of various corridors, doors, and rooms; the board layout is dependent on the specific mission provided within the Mission Book. The goal for each player varies depending on the mission, with victory examples being killing a specific number of enemy units, burning sectors of the board with the flamethrower, or capturing a relic. 

Gameplay is turn-based and players alternate moving their units. Terminators, in their terminator armor, are slow-moving and excel at ranged combat, while the genestealers move quickly and can only perform lightning-swift attacks with their rending claws. The game also relies on a bit of luck, the success of attacks/defenses by units is dictated by the roll of the die. Nevertheless, there is a large amount of tactical thought required by each player to gain an advantage and defeat the respective enemy!

Below are some shots in-game of Mission 4: Cleanse and Burn between a friend (Space Marine) and I (Tyranids). The game started promisingly enough for my friend, but a few missed bolter shots by him led to annihilation of his squads!

Painting Terminators

I decided to stick with the traditional Blood Angels color scheme, rather than attempt to convert them to another chapter, as this was the most straightforward option given the intricate ornamented armor of the models. I painted two of the figurines, the space marine librarian and Brother Claudio, the terminator welding lightning claws, sometime in 2016 or 2017 while I was in college. However, I basically left the remainder of the figurines untouched until late 2020, when I made it a goal of mine to finish painting the Space Hulk models once and for all. Here are some in-progress photos of the painting process.

I don’t have any special painting techniques to share, and the end result is nothing spectacular, just my attempt at clean painting and basic edge highlighting. I built a ramshackle ersatz lightbox for photos, as seen in the images below. Enjoy!

Lessons Learned & Improvements

“For the Emperor and Sanguinius!”

You might notice that the majority of the photos in this post depicts the Space Marine Terminators. That is because I am not altogether satisfied by the way the genestealers have turned out, especially the highlighting and edges of the carapace. I will likely revisit these models in the future and make some finishing touches. 

My skill in painting miniatures has fluctuated over the years. In the past, it used to be me that would focus on painting the miniatures while my brother preferred to reign as warmaster in 40K, and I considered myself the much better painter. Now, though, he has taken with relish the painting aspect of the hobby while I haven’t had much time to dedicate to 40K at all. Thus, my level as a miniature painter has stagnated if not declined – I endeavor to get back to painting soon! 


I leave you with this excellent quote from the Blood Angels chapter:


“Treat them with honour, my Brothers. Not because they will bring us victory this day, but because their fate will one day be ours.”