A group of Czech wargamers are building a gigantic Warhammer 40k army to raise money for Ukraine’s fight against Russia. The group of twenty volunteers, which goes by the name Astra Ukraina, aims to create an Imperial Guard army at least 200 models strong. Once complete, the army will be auctioned or raffled and the money given to a charity that purchases weapons and gear for Ukraine’s armed forces.
The Astra Ukraina army is designed with Ukrainian “flavours and undertones”, and includes bespoke 3D printed components designed by the Czech team. For instance, a Valkyrie conversion was built and painted to resemble the real Mi-24 attack helicopters donated to Ukraine by The Czech Republic. The group decided to avoid the Warhammer 40k faction’s more blatantly sci-fi kits, like ogryns or sentinels, aiming to make their force “as close to a 21st century army as possible”.
Astra Ukraina says that Games Workshop models (Astra Militarum minis from various Warhammer eras) have been used as the basis for each unit, but many have been augmented with additional pieces. All of them were “donations from project members, the wider Czech wargaming community, and friendly local game stores,” the group’s website explains. It adds that the only expense is the professional paint job, done by Vladislav Teply’s ‘Wing Smooth Painting’ studio, which provided the service at a discounted rate.
The team is taking donations to support the project, and plans to have the army completed and ready to sell by 2023. Originally, Astra Ukraina planned to auction the models, but it now favours a raffle approach, which it says will be more reliable than “embarking on a perilous search of a single buyer with thousands of USD / EUR to spend”.
The money will go to Dárek pro Putina, a Czech organisation that funds the Ukrainian army via the country’s embassy in Prague. It says it is not donating to a humanitarian cause instead, because its members believe “the enemy military presence in Ukraine is the root cause of all the death and suffering, and the fastest way to remove it is by supporting the Ukrainian military.”
We’ve seen plenty of Ukraine-inspired Warhammer paint jobs since the Russian invasion began on February 24, 2022 – but never a project on this kind of scale. Warhammer’s creator Games Workshop has itself taken a firm stance on the war in Ukraine – stopping all sales to Russia in March 2022, a move that has cost the brand $2.4 million.