Grimdark Challenge Dark Mechanicum

This month we will continue to explore the Horus Heresy by delving into the Dark Mechanicum, a sect of traitorous  Tech-Priests who have become Hereteks in service to Chaos. They willingly swore their loyalty to the Warmaster Horus and the Chaos Gods at the onset of the Horus Heresy.
All the instructions you will need can be found here, but if you have any questions feel free to contact the Grimdark Compendium via email or on social media. This should be a really fun and creative challenge with an emphasis on kit-bashing I and can’t wait to see what you guys can create this month!


Official Rules Summary

  • Post at least one WIP and one finished photo to Instagram, Facebook or the Grimdark Community Facebook Group using #grimdarkchallengedm to join the challenge.
  • All submissions must be posted by August 31st, 2022. It is highly recommended to email your final submissions to to guarantee your submission is considered.
  • Eligible miniatures – Any miniature that is conducive to creating an amalgamation that represents the Dark Mechanicum, including all Forge World, Games Workshop, Scale Model Kits, 3d Prints, and/or any other source bits you can use to build a horrifying figure from the Chaos warped Cult Mechanicus. 
  • Submissions must include a clear, well lit, photo of the miniature.
  • Submissions must be painted in the Grimdark Style. If you are new to the style, you can learn all about it in our free Learn Grimdark course.
  • Kit-bashing is HIGHLY encouraged for this challenge. If you need help with kit-bashing, you can check out our Kit-bashing Fundamentals Course
  • Basing is equally important. Don’t hold back.
  • Have fun, spread the word, push yourself, and encourage others!



This painting challenge is open to anyone who can paint in the grimdark style and is intended for everyone in the hobby. We encourage everyone to participate even if you are not familiar with or have never tried the grimdark style.
In short, the grimdark painting style seeks to recreate the terrifying reality of dark and dystopian worlds that have suffered from perpetual war and nightmarish hardships.  We will look for things like battle damage, chipping, rust, grime, blood, skulls, muted color palettes, high contrast lighting, OSL, decay effects etc…


Eligible Miniatures

There are no limitations to what models or bits that can be used for this challenge. You may use whatever you like to create figures, walkers, or vehicles of any size as long your final work represents the Dark Mechanicum. 



Though kit-bashing is not required for this challenge, it is expressly recommended to make at least some effort to modify your work to show that the corruption of Chaos is present and apparent.



Basing is an equally important element of a finished miniature created under the grimdark style and will be heavily considered during judging. You will want to portray the dystopian environment from which your miniature is immersed. Dystopian and grimdark worlds are horrible environments and in many ways shape the folk that reside within them. Pull out all the stops on your basing to create a truly grim atmosphere for your miniature.


Submitting an Entry

An entry shall consist of at least a single 1000×1000 pixel WIP and final image of your miniature. The figure must be well lit and properly framed. The image must include the basing work but does not need to show the rim of the base. Participants shall be limited to one entry per challenge. All entries should be posted to either Instagram, Facebook, or the Grimdark Community Facebook group using the #GrimdarkChallengeDM hashtag before or on the 31th of August 2022. Again it is recommend to email final entries to


Judging Criteria

Judging Criteria and point values may differ between each challenge. The winner will be selected by Zatcaskagoon from the Grimdark Compendium and guest judges invited to participate based up on the following:
  • Grimdark painting skill  (1-40 points)How well the painted miniature represents a character, vehicle, or monster that is derived from a dark-dystopian and war ravaged world. Proficiency with mottling, weathering, and distressing techniques. As well as realistic surface variations or realistic effects.
  • Technical Skills (1-30 points) Technical skills include basic model building skills, mold line removal, kit-bashing, conversion work, sculpting, mundane item usage, etc…
  • Basing  (1-20 points) – How well the basing depicts an environment that is conducive of a dark fantasy world and how well the basing/environment works with and influences elements of weathering on the mininature.
  • Photography (1-10 points) – Image clarity, adequate lighting, and detail clarity.
Example of proper image size, framing and lighting:


  1. Toosh

    I haven’t painted a complete model for 10+ years and I last painted a Terminator in the 80’s. I get the feeling the Grimdark style at it’s basic level, might just match my current painting ability right now! 😀 I do love the aesthetic of Grimdark and realise there is actually a lot of skill involved making something look so horrifyingly gribbly, not to mention the conversions out there. Good luck to everyone that takes part.

  2. Nick

    Count me in!


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