Inq28 is a term you may have heard, whispered in dark and foreboding corners of the internet or inscribed as an awkward looking hashtag on some freaky Instagram pic. A gnarly looking miniature with too many arms and a skull for a head, with greenstuff and little cables everywhere. And maybe your interest has been piqued, you are drawn to this sort of rebellion away from the brightly-coloured, regimented normality of 40k. You’ve caught the odd glimpse at some strange looking models in Blanchitsu and maybe you’ve wondered about what game people are playing with those models. Who are these little Inquisitors? What are their hopes and motivations? How many points are they?

Or you’ve got some ideas of your own. You don’t always want to colour-in between the lines. You’ve dabbled with conversions: there was that one time you superglued a goblin head to an Eldar’s body and before you realised your mistake you’ve caught yourself thinking – now who could this guy be? What’s his deal? How many points is he?

The origins of Inq28

Technically, Inq28 is just the old Games Workshop game Inquisitor adapted to 28mm scale. Inquisitor was a Specialist Games release from 2001 that used 54mm miniatures – the sort of scale that is perilously close to basically just straight up playing with dolls – and it was pretty unique in that it was essentially non-competitive: it was more about creating a narrative and roleplaying your characters. The rulebook is full of great art and background, and combined with the release of Dan Abnett’s Eisenhorn books at the same sort time it was an evocative setting that captured the imagination. Both of these things are still a great way to get started, even today and you can often find the rulebook on eBay. People play using the same rulebook, but with the measurements reduced, so inches become centimeters (or something similar) and the 54mm models are replaced with conversions made from the standard Games Workshop range.

At its core, Inq28 is about Inquisitors and lesser known characters from the 40k universe and the things they get up to. It’s mutants and aliens and heretics, and the men and women that want to either love that sort of nasty business, or who want to purge them with fire. It’s the gloomy stuff that you read about in 40k books but don’t see on the tabletop. It’s an alternative approach to Warhammer: it’s about doing something different, something unusual. Not everyone plays an Inquisitor, some people play as Chaos cultists, or influential Rogue Traders… or one of countless other character types.

In contrast to the bombastic themes and concepts of the main Warhammer ranges, Inq28 is a more subtle part of 40k, where the focus is shifted back to more of a relatable, human perspective where even a single Astartes is a momentous, game changing figure – as they are in the fiction. Characters in Inq28 are usually navigating their way through a maze of covert operations, sinister alien threats and murderous intrigue, thankful of the rusted autopistol that is their only protection. It’s a far cry from Terminators riding rocket-powered wolf sleds.

Inq28 today

Switching to 28mm scale has allowed for a greater range of miniatures to be used, and has made the game more accessible. Plastic kits from all sorts of ranges make for greater scope in creating unique character models, and because of this Inq28 has become more about creativity than strictly adhering to the rules.

Nowadays Inq28 is a term that is often used to include alternative rulesets, such as Inquisimunda, Necromunda or Kill Team, or something else entirely so long as the games feature Inquisitors or something comparable in power level and tone. And there are also lots of people involved who never or rarely game, but who are all about making models in the spirit of Inq28. Rather than specifically referring to the rules of Inquisitor, the Inq28 label is more about the style and the ideas of Inquisitor, and a lot of the most high profile games tend to use rules similar to Inquisimunda rather than the Inquisitor rulebook. We tend to play Inquisimunda here (or really just Necromunda with some new rules added). New Inq28 blogs spring up regularly, and Blanchitsu in White Dwarf often features Inq28 warbands.

The Inq28 aesthetic and Blanchitsu

I think part of the appeal of Inq28 is the desire to make your own little niche in the 40k universe – similar to the appeal of inventing a Space Marine chapter. You can explore some of the more obscure areas in 40k background Dark Mechanicus or you can try to create something entirely new. 40k can sometimes feel a bit regimented, despite its sandbox nature, and in particular the Horus Heresy setting can seem a bit restrictive, in terms of adhering to canon and colour schemes. Inq28 is often a rebellion against these rules and the ultra-bright colours and crisp style of ‘Eavy Metal – not that there is anything wrong with that style, just that it is nice to have some alternatives. There are a lot of unique painter styles, perhaps none more so than the mighty John Blanche himself, who champions and inspires Inq28 hobbyists.

Inq28 has a lot in common with Oldhammer: it’s a way of recapturing some of the older themes of Warhammer – particularly the stranger Rogue Trader and 2nd Edition stuff – that have been sidelined somewhat in recent years. But unlike Oldhammer it is not at all about nostalgia, it’s all made possible by the latest plastic kits: in particular the clampack plastic heroes, like the infamous Nurgle Lord. Plastic kits have made kitbashing incredibly easy, and a lot can be achieved by just whacking a more characterful head on a suitable body, or using compatible parts from various kits. New Games Workshop kits seem designed for this sort of thing, it’s they’re like Lego – using the instructions is at first, but you’ve got to scratch that creative itch eventually. Finecast and Forgeworld also provide excellent donor parts for more advanced conversions, certainly they are easier to work with than metal was.

For me the best part of Inq28 is scouring the various GW ranges and new releases trying to come up with new ways to use the various parts. Finding a novel use for a cool model is rewarding, and it means you get to pick and mix from the entire range. The recent Wulfen release might be a bit underwhelming for some – never nude werewolves – but for someone interested in Inq28 they are a wealth of interesting bits.

How to Make an Inq28 Model

There is no ‘right way’ to make an Inq28 model, but there is one key thing to consider: you should make the model yours. This means don’t always copy a paint scheme from the box art, and maybe don’t even assemble the model according to the instructions. Have some fun creating something new, even if it is just a head swap on a model that you like. A good start is to buy a plastic character model that you like the look of, regardless of whether it is for 40k or Age of Sigmar, and think about how you could change it slightly to make it something else: adding a gun or changing a head are the most common starting points. Painting in a ‘Blanchitsu’ style is also not really required, although I would suggest that it is best to use darker colours or a more limited palette. This sort of colour scheme will look different to how the model is probably represented in 40k or Age of Sigmar, and already it will look like it belongs to a different category. Changing from painting in the ‘Eavy Metal style to painting like John Blanche is not something that happens overnight, and I would say it is not something you can ever really emulate. It is great to experiment and practise different techniques, but there is no reason to try and copy someone else’s painting style – particularly a style so unique as Johns. There is no right or wrong way to make an Inq28 model, the main thing is to make the model unique, and if you do that it will be a great Inq28 model and be much more interesting than a model that attempts to imitate something that has already been seen before.