November Retrospective: goals and ramblings

Hey everybody!
I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a blast this last month here on the blog, there seems to have been so much stuff to talk about, it has been really great to talk about all the upcoming stuff, the current projects, theory-craft about the future and so on. It’s been really productive for me, and hitting that 800-post milestone was just the icing on the cake there. I published a new blog every day for the week in which post 800 arrived, though looking at the little calendar over on the right there, I actually posted for nine consecutive days, which is definitely more productive than I’ve been for a long time here! Which is interesting to me, as I love a good stat.

However, the month is now at an end, and so I thought I’d ramble instead about the upcoming projects that I have on the horizon, and see where I’d like to be at the end of the year – it’s something I have thought about lately, and as we launch ourselves at December this weekend, I think it’s about time to lay out some groundwork!

This month, I’ve managed to paint quite a lot, as it happens, between the Thorns of the Briar Queen warband, the Fulgurite Electro-Priests that I’ve been wanting to paint since they came out, and the recent batch of Necrons and Dark Eldar chaps. Starting work on the Elucidian Starstriders has, I feel, knocked me a little as I had been trying to focus instead on painting just one unit and getting that finished. It was fine when I could focus just on the Electro-Priests, or just on the Immortals, but I do feel that I have once more been branching off and, sadly, it’s no good to anyone! I’ve recently been feeling really annoyed at having so many partly-painted miniatures out on the desk, so I think I need to pare things down and just work on the unit I want to finish, then move on.

Which brings me on to the units that I want to work on!

Necrom Immortals / Annihilation Barge

I had been talking earlier in the month about Necrons first and foremost, and wanted to paint up some more Immortals and some Deathmarks. Well, I have finished the unit of Deathmarks now, so I think I will indeed go for the heavy armour and add the Annihilation Barge to that list, alongside some more Immortals. For the Great Reanimation project, I currently only have 15 troops painted, while my list requires 25, so I think I need to get moving there. I have, actually, nearly caved on a couple of occasions and bought some Warriors for the army – sculpts that I dislike so much, but I can see myself perhaps eventually adding in the new year. Never thought I’d see the day, but there we are! I’m still considering it, though, so haven’t pulled the trigger yet. We shall see.

I’m hoping that the fact the Annihilation Barge is partly painted already will give me a good head-start on this!

Total so far: 5 Immortals and an Annihilation Barge

Before I move on, I thought I’d just mention my Dark Eldar, and the fact that I’ve recently managed to finish off a couple of things that have been hanging around the painting table for a while now, such as a Venom and the Sslyth. I’m quite chuffed that I’ve finally painted up a full Court of the Archon, which looks so gloriously weird that I love it! I’ve enjoyed getting these final few projects completed, to try and fully round-out the army, and have been trying to get more of the special-weapon Kabalites painted up as well. I now have the grand total of two splinter cannons and two shredders in the army – yes, that is apparently all! It’s surprising, really, that I’ve otherwise managed to get a silly amount of dark lances and blasters, when I try my hardest not to listen to the internet meta and go for these things! But there we are. I’ll probably continue to paint up odd warriors like this – I think I have at least three squads built and primed, so I suppose it’s inevitable that some of those will find their way to the table eventually. I wanted to experiment with taking huge blobs of Kabalite Warriors without relying on Raiders, so using 20-man blobs that include a dark lance, a splinter cannon, two shredders and two blasters (the max load-out). Not sure if that would be any use, as it would be a huge points-sink (200 points, without kitting out the Sybarite with any special weapons).

At any rate, I have no plans to paint anything further for the army this year, though that could change as I decide to try something new!

Skitarii Vanguard / Tech Priest Dominus

Let’s talk about Skitarii, though. I’ve been thinking about getting back into Kill Team with a force of the robot-men, and have been reading some short stories/novellas that feature them, so it’s probably natural that my attention would be turned that way. I’ve now got a grand total of 10 models painted for the AdMech army that I’ve been thinking about for years, so I think it’s time to really try and add some more to that. I’ve mentioned recently wanting to add in either some Rangers or Vanguard (probably Vanguard), and the Tech Priest Dominus, and while I think that’s definitely the goal, I don’t know if I’ll manage to get them all finished in December. The Tech Priest is such an amazing kit that I really want to try to do it justice, and so would need to spend a lot of time with it, picking out all the details of cabling and such. I’m fairly confident I can get some troops rattled off fairly quickly, though, so fingers crossed they won’t be too much bother. I recently built up some Vanguard with a lot of special weapons in the team, so I may actually try and get those painted as well, but for now I’m sticking to just five regular dudes with radium carbines.

Total so far: 5 Immortals, Annihilation Barge, 5 Skitarii

Let’s talk about Chaos for a bit!

Dark Vengeance Chaos Cultists

Blackstone Fortress has inspired me so much as regards getting into the Ruinous Powers, but my thoughts had turned from the Light of the Emperor with the Necromunda rules for Chaos Cults. I’ve currently got a bunch of these guys built up ready, having found my Dark Vengeance stuff as well as picking up some more off ebay, so I’m ready to get moving there. I currently have just five miniatures plus the gang leader (I think he was called Tetchvar in Dark Vengeance?) primed and ready, so I’m looking forward to getting round to those. I’d like to spend some quality time painting these guys, as well, as I think the miniatures look fantastic, and there is an element of wanting to do the models justice given the fact they are so scarce now!

However, Blackstone Fortress is also a thing, and I’m thinking about adding some of those miniatures to the fray, also. I’ve bought additional Rogue Psykers, as I thought it would be a good model to use as the Cult Witch in Necromunda when I get round to that, so I might add those to the roster. Some guys in my local group have also started on the Traitor Guard, and their results are amazing, but the feedback is they’re so detailed models that it’s taking longer than expected to paint them. So I might not move on to them just yet, as I’m trying to go easy on myself here!!

Between everything, I think there should be some excellent fodder for my budding Chaos warband.

I think the sensible thing to do would be to re-evaluate the situation once I’ve gotten going with my painting projects during the month. So for now, we’ll just stick to the Chaos Cultist models and see about adding in Traitor Guard later.

Total so far: 5 Immortals, Annihilation Barge, 5 Skitarii, 6 Cultists

Now then, let’s bring ourselves back from the brink and return fully to the Light of the Emperor, with some Space Marines! I’ve talked recently about two of my favourite projects from back in the day, Deathwing and Deathwatch, and I am quite keen to do some Imperium projects alongside all the Xenos and Heretic stuff I have going on! I had been thinking about trying to finish the Deathwing Knights, which have been hanging about half-finished for years, but I’m already feeling a little overwhelmed at this point, that I’m moving away from this idea a little bit. Similarly, I’d thought about trying to paint up some characters for the Deathwatch, but again, it feels like those models would require too much time to do them proper justice.

So I’m thinking that I’d prefer to hold back a little, and see how the month pans out before going too crazy here. I’ve got almost twenty models that I want to get painted during December, already, so I don’t want to just keep adding to the list and risk not getting anything done! But I shall definitely re-evaluate the situation once the month is underway!


This blog is already running quite long, but you’ll be pleased to learn that I’m not far from done now!

Now that I’ve outlined all of the stuff that I would like to get painted during the month, I thought I’d waffle a bit more about my thoughts for getting it done in time. I’ve really enjoyed the focus I’ve been able to maintain on the hobby during November, and I was talking about this sort of thing with my mother-in-law at the weekend, who is herself a very crafty person, doing all sorts of sewing stuff. Anyway! She was saying that she’s taking part in some kind of long-term thing whereby you commit to doing a little crafting each day for 50 days (at least, I think it was 50 days), and it has really helped her to get some projects moving along. So I’m planning to adopt this approach myself, and so every day during December, I’m intending to paint for at least an hour a day.

I think that a lot of my success during November has been due to painting miniatures as a wind-down before bed (though it hasn’t helped my sleeping much, given that I’ve been excited about getting projects moving!) So I’m hoping to continue that, and while I suppose I can probably write-off Christmas Day due to the usual family commitments, who knows if I may well still manage a few brush strokes?! I do have some time off though, so can always make up for lost time!

I think this approach of ‘a little, often’ should do quite well, and if I can keep the focus on getting units finished at a time, I should be fine! That’s the theory, at any rate!!

I’ll be documenting my progress over at my instagram account, with daily updates of what I’ve done (hopefully I’ll stick to this list, but you never know!) and, every Sunday, I’ll be reinstating the Hobby Progress blogs for the month, with a special one on New Year’s Eve that showcases all of the stuff that I’ve managed to paint throughout the course of the year. It’s surprisingly more than I had thought!!

So stay tuned for all of this and more, as we throw ourselves at December!

Warhammer Quest: Blackstone Fortress – first impressions

Hey everybody,
Had my first game with Warhammer Quest: Blackstone Fortress at the weekend, so thought I’d re-institute the Game Day blogs while we run up to the festive period by looking at this beast!

Blackstone Fortress

At its heart, Blackstone Fortress has a lot in common with the earlier Silver Tower game. We have a co-operative adventure for four heroes delving into the labyrinth, with the mechanics of destiny dice and activation dice being common to both iterations. There have been some tweaks, which has led to many people calling Age of Sigmar in general something of a test-bed for 40k and its related games.

I’m not going to call Blackstone Fortress a re-skin, as there is more to it than that. But there are enough similarities between the two so that, if you’re familiar with one, then you’ll be able to get cracking with the other quickly enough. Once I got going with this, I certainly had no problems running the adventure along.

Blackstone Fortress

The biggest draw, for me, was definitely the miniatures. I try not to buy these games purely for the minis, as I want to enjoy the game aspect of the box. I am extremely guilty of having been suckered into this game purely for the fact that the minis look amazing, and so very different to anything we’ve had so far. Negavolt Cultists and Traitor Guard are just fabulous, while plastic Ministorum Priests and Navigators are just phenomenal! One of my driving reasons for picking up the game was that I have a concept for Armies on Parade that a lot of these miniatures really fit into, so in a way I dropped a lot of cash on picking up some minis that look fantastic.

However, the game itself is actually really quite good!

There are some very specific set-up instructions that I don’t remember from Silver Tower, which help to balance the game somewhat and introduce you to things slowly as you begin with the prospect of lower-level adversaries to fight. The game features an in-built levelling system whereby, each time you end an adventure, you add in a Legacy card that either gives you more enemies to fight, or increases the difficulty of the current selection. Combat is not always a given, either – during set-up, you create an encounter deck, which are split into combat and challenges, and it just so happened that I drew a combat to start things off. Challenges are almost out-of-game things where you need to build a tower of dice in 20 seconds, or whatnot. I suppose this is what GW meant when it came to the RPG aspect of things.

Blackstone Fortress

Something else that has an RPG element is the cleanup step at the end of the encounter, called the Precipice step as it involves returning to the main space station where all the adventurers’ ships are docked. There, you get to trade the strange archaeotech you discover for some upgrades – there are six ships included in the core set, and each of them has a distinct flavour, such as bizarre xenos tech on the Rogue Trader’s vessel, military hardware on the Kroot Mercenary’s ship, Prayers and such on the Priest’s vessel, etc. It’s all quite thematic, but I wasn’t entirely sure of the value of a lot of the upgrades – possibly due to the fact it was my first game…

I’d been hoping this game would be something akin to Shadows of Brimstone, though with a better quality of miniature and a much slicker implementation. The gameplay itself is actually really straightforward, and like I said earlier, it wasn’t a huge concern for me once I got going. The structure of the turn is fairly straightforward, if a little packed with stages, and there are some bits that I found myself forgetting at first, such as the Event phase at the end. The main problem, I found, was that the rulebook feels very much like it has been separated into three separate booklets for no good reason. There is the actual Rulebook, which only includes the rules for set-up, and then some advanced rule stuff; the Combat book actually includes most of the rules you’ll need to reference during the main body of the game, and the Precipice book has all of the after-game stuff like buying stuff and whatnot. It felt clunky for the amount of booklets I was leafing through each time, and I do believe it could have been organised much better, with just one big book that also includes the Background material included within a fourth booklet.

Blackstone Fortress

This isn’t a dungeon-crawl in the sense that Silver Tower is, as the Combat cards re-invent the board each time you draw one, and place adversaries for you to overcome. The AI that drives these adversaries is, if I’m honest, fairly basic – being a hex-based map, there are often a lot of decisions to make as to where best to move the adversary, and I can imagine a lot of players would position them in such a way as makes it easier on the explorers. I did like the Reinforcements idea, though, whereby enemy models can potentially always come back, even if you’ve gotten rid of the entire group. I was seconds from getting all of my explorers clear of the maze near the end, when a group of six Traitor Guard reappeared and blocked Thaddeus from joining the others, causing the game to continue another couple of turns. Talk about dramatic!

Blackstone Fortress

I think this is where the game is really going to shine, though, in terms of the storytelling and the drama that it can create when getting these moments in-game. There are a lot of moving parts to this game, and a lot of things to keep track of. While it does work fine as a pure co-op adventure, the rules state that for five players, one will take on the role of a GM almost, and control the adversary groups as well as the additional stuff like Initiative. Doing that, I can see the game being a lot more involved and, dare I say, enjoyable as you feel more like you’re actually fighting against the fortress. But these are my initial thoughts, and increased familiarity with the game might see me change that idea.

Blackstone Fortress

Overall, I think the game is a really good implementation of the Warhammer Quest core ideas. It doesn’t really feel that much like a simple re-skin of Silver Tower, but instead there is so much going on that you really feel in the 40k universe. If you’re already familiar with the setting, then there’s a lot to enjoy as you work your way through the adventure.

I think a lot of people may be a little bit confused, or misled into thinking this is a Legacy-type game, with a lot of mileage out of your actions in one game spilling over into the next. This isn’t a Legacy game in the sense that Pandemic has made us understand it. There is the opportunity to not so much level up your character, but certainly to create a narrative around them in the spirit of an RPG, and you can buy upgrades to add to their abilities.

The confusing aspect, I think, is that there is a Legacy card deck, and GW have made a big thing about the sealed envelope that signifies the hidden heart of the fortress, to be opened only after you’ve defeated four strongholds (basically a more narrative, drawn-out Combat step). Once you’ve done that, you get to open the envelope and find what was waiting for you all that time. I’ve notheard of anybody who has opened one without completing the adventure yet, so at least it has captured some people’s imagination, but this is really where any similarity to the Legacy genre ends.

It’s definitely an enjoyable game, and there are a lot of storytelling possibilities within the game, but the main roadblock for it is the same as that for Silver Tower: you’re paying £95 for a type of game that you can get for probably half that price elsewhere – and where the miniatures come pre-assembled! Unless, like me, you’re invested in the lore, and you love the look of these new miniatures, then I can imagine you’d be better off going elsewhere for your space-faring co-op adventure.

Games Workshop have recently come out to say that there will be expansions, more news of which will be coming in the new year. This is an exciting prospect, as they’re using this game as a way to explore the dark corners of the 40k universe, and based on what they’ve done with this already, I cannot wait to see where they go next with it. I hope we will see some rules to add selected pre-existing miniatures as adversary groups to the game – possibly through card expansion packs, as we only really need the Legacy cards, the Adversary stat cards, and maybe a themed mission or something to bind it all together. I’ve talked in the past how they could use this to introduce something like plastic Flayed Ones, but I don’t know if this could actually happen. However, I also hope we won’t have to wait 12 months before we see another big box for the game. I’d like to see something that basically expands the game with a smaller-scale version of the core set: a couple more explorers, with a couple more adversaries, and maybe a mission or two with the appropriate tiles, etc. It’s certainly going to be interesting to see just how much love they give this game, though!

Join me next week for another Game Day blog, where I’ll be shining the spotlight of awesome on another game from my collection!

Deathwatch Army thoughts

Hey everybody!
I seem to be in a bit of a reflective mood of late, looking through a lot of the armies that I’ve had built but not necessarily ones that I’ve been doing a great deal with for some time now – today sees me turn this attention on the Deathwatch, a force that I was really excited for back when they first arrived on the scene with the Overkill boxed game. Having painted up a number of units rather quickly, they’ve since been left to gather dust, so I thought I’d take a look at what I have, and see where I can potentially take them!

Imperium armies for me have, for some time now, been confined to the smaller-scale things like Tempestus Scions or Skitarii. Certainly, I don’t think I’ve painted a single marine since I moved house 18 months ago…

My Deathwatch force is pretty much as you see it above, anyway, and on paper looks something like this:

My Deathwatch army is a bit of a mix of a couple of squad ideas that I’ve built up initially, then picked a couple from each to paint. So there’s the original Kill Team Cassius from Deathwatch: Overkill; there are the veterans from Death Masque that came alongside Watch Captain Artemis, along with the Vanguard Veterans and Venerable Dreadnought from that box; there are also a group of Veterans that I built to represent Kill Team Excis (the original Kill Team from the Overkill storyline, who had stats in White Dwarf back in September 2016), as well as some odd bits like the Deathwing Terminator and the Black Templar that I built out of bits from their upgrade kit that I found online. So it’s quite a mixed bag!

I do have a number of unpainted miniatures, though, which I have been thinking about returning to at some point, as I would like to make these guys into something more like a playable army. Having played against Deathwatch a couple of times, I would like to wield that kind of power rather than be coming up against it, for sure!! The kind of army I think I’d like to have would be something along the lines of this:

It feels, to me, like a well-rounded force, capable of doing enough interesting things to, well, keep me interested!

So it’s a little over 1000 points, but hopefully that won’t be too overbalanced if I want to try it out in some games once I’ve gotten going with it. Pretty much all of these models have been built and primed, as well, with just the Watch Master that needs building. I think, of the 20 models in the army, I’ve got 9 of them painted, so 45% completion isn’t too bad! It’s certainly a good start, I feel, although I may well find myself swapping out things as time moves on.

I’ve also got another Veterans sprue that I can build, so I’m thinking that I might wait for a bit, get some games under my belt with this army, and see how well it works and what I might need to add in to the force before I go and build those. I do like the idea of building up the sergeant to have a xenophase blade, though, as it has become quite an iconic piece of wargear since it has now featured on the cover of both Codexes!

I do enjoy these guys, as the models are so wonderfully detailed, and the results of the gold and other bits against the black armour is really quite striking. There are definitely a lot of options for painting these guys to look really good – I think the black base really lends itself well, in that respect, and it makes not only the gold pop out, but also the chapter iconography that adds some colour to the force.

I’ve not yet played an Imperium army in 40k, despite having several on the go, so I think it could be fun to try out something different for a change!

The Vigilus Weekender!

Oh my goodness, this thing is just phenomenal. I’m trying to look at this with a lot more objectivity than my usual fanboy garglings, but let’s be honest, the reveals that we’ve seen so far coming from Nottingham are really blowing the world wide open as regards what’s next for 40k!

So first of all, Marneus Calgar is getting a new model, Primaris-style, and he looks quite sensational. I’ve been really quite up-and-down with the Primaris marines taking over the regular chaps, given that I’ve invested so much already into that line, and while my initial thought was that this does indeed signal the end for the classic space marines, as Calgar is “the first to be reborn as a Primaris Space Marine”. Hm.

But, you know what? I’m pretty fine with this now. The Primaris range feels quite bland, given the fact that we can’t customize a squad as we could with the classic Tactical Marine Squad, but they really do look good, so I’m fine with peppering my army with some more of these guys. I’ve been wanting to paint up my marines as various successor chapters to the Ultramarines, and now I think I have the perfect character model around which to do so!

Bring on the Primaris!

So not only do we have Ultramarines, but we’re also getting Black Legion, in the form of “the sinister herald”, Haarken Worldclaimer. Weird name, but whatever. I like the fact that we’re getting a character model for these guys as well, and the fact that Vigilus has been declared to fall to the Warmaster in 80 days could possibly mean that we will indeed be getting a new Abaddon model, when he turns up to claim the world!

I think Calgar coming in Primaris form does mean we’ll be getting more characters, rather than merely generic Lieutenant #48, so I’m hopeful that GW will see their game and their world does benefit from having more named characters that we as gamers and general lore enthusiasts can get behind. So it’ll be exciting to see what comes next!

The main feature, for me, is the new campaign book, Vigilus Defiant, which is going to include the rules for these new minis (and more, apparently…) This is what I’ve been waiting for now that the Codexes are almost done, and this is what has got me most excited for the world of 40k to come!

Towards the end of 7th edition, we saw a number of these things come out, starting with Shield of Baal, and taking in the Tau expansions and the War of the Fang. These books featured campaigns with lore, missions and new rules, so I would totally love to see them return to this model to further expand the game.

And look! Marneus Calgar comes with his Honour Guard once more! This is all just excellent stuff!

But it’s cool, because it means we won’t be getting second editions of Codexes in order to update them with a new unit or two. And we won’t have to wait for Chapter Approved once a year to get new stuff. Campaign books really do open up so many design opportunities that I cannot wait to see where this model takes us in 2019!!

Looks like we’re also getting a boxed campaign next year around city fighting, which I’m not all that fussed about, but the teaser video looks like there may be some new terrain involved, which might be nice to have… Urgh, I am a sucker for the shiny new toys!

Finally, let’s talk some Genestealer Cults. I don’t think anybody could have seen Cultist bikers coming out, which is just spectacular if you ask me! Not only are we getting these chaps, but some of the photos making their way online from people at these events show a quad-bike will be coming, too! Part of me wonders if they’ll be usable in Speed Freeks, though not having that game, I wouldn’t be too disappointed if they weren’t. It is, however, an excellent way to capitalise on an existing game etc, while also expanding the galaxy in general.

I love this new GW!

These models are just tremendous, and I think the dirt-bike look really fits in with the mining aesthetic so it looks like a natural extension. So good!

But the bikes aren’t all that’s coming, as we’re also getting another new character model, the Nexos!

I love the idea of having a sort of spymaster, co-ordinator-type chap as an army HQ (assuming he is, of course!) It really nicely plays to the dual-aspect of the Genestealer Cults, having him wearing the regular mining gear, yet looking so much like the army commander (planning to infiltrate Warhammer World, no less!) – it’s definitely a model that I’m looking forward to adding to my collection, whatever his rules! We also know that the gunslinger Primus was on show at the event, so I’m hopeful we’ll get all of these new things in the Codex. Whenever that shows up!

Ah yes, Noise Marines might be back! The Christmas exclusive model is no less a re-imagining of a classic, and while I don’t know if this is supposed to herald a new Emperor’s Children release (Sly Marbo was never the start of anything last year…) it’s exciting to think we might just be getting the third Legion coming out soon in plastic!

We’ve also got some wonderful new Slaanesh models (and Khorne, as well) from the Wrath & Rapture box, including a new Herald playing the harp. Because who doesn’t want some lilting melodies in the middle of battle?

I’m really trying hard not to get suckered into starting a Slaanesh army again, but these models definitely hold an allure for me, I might just have to get that Harpist on ebay to paint. So wonderfully sinister!


So, along with yet another Knight, that was the Vigilus Open Day! What do you think? I’m impressed overall, if the campaign book structure becomes the new delivery method for models to make it into the game – especially for re-worked models like Marneus Calgar and Abaddon (when he eventually arrives), then I think this is the start of something tremendous, and should really help to free up some creative spirit for the designers over there in Nottingham. The Genestealer stuff was just wonderful, and really excited me, as it took me back to those heady days when they had their initial release for 7th edition, and I was excited to start a Cultist army of my own! So I’m really looking forward to those models coming out – given the fact that the campaign book and the models for Marneus and Haarkon are set to come out in December, I’m guessing that we’ll have to wait until January at least for the Genestealer Cults Codex, but I have so much to get built and painted, it’s hardly like I have an army waiting to be played! Might add some more Cultists to the painting roster then, methinks!

However…

They promised us that “something big” was coming. Do you think any of this could count as that? The campaign thing is big, for sure, and while I’m excited for the models, I would have thought, if they were treating the Genestealer Cults announcements as the “something big”, it would have been the full Codex release, and not just some new model teases. The new Knight is, of course, enormous, and mocks the concept of a miniatures game, but I don’t know…

It’s got to be the re-imagining of Marneus Calgar, but I feel like they have somehow missed the mark, and it could have been more. Or bigger. Or both. Or maybe I’m just expecting too much these days! I love the Genestealer Cultist models, and I love the campaign system – I just thought we’d have something different, I guess.

What do you guys think?

Rampant Speculation, and more!

Hey everybody!
It probably hasn’t escaped anybody’s notice that tomorrow is the start of the Vigilus Weekender, a two day event at Warhammer World, where GW are going to announce “something big” for us all. Intrigued? Well, I am!

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Vigilus Calls. The Imperium will answer…

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This “something big” could, of course, be anything. I’ve been reading a lot online where people have suggested it could be the return of Abaddon, or it could be Marneus Calgar as a dreadnought, based on the teaser video GW posted yesterday. Frankly, both of those things could well be true, as it wouldn’t be a massive stretch of the imagination to learn that the Black Legion has shown up on the hotly-contested battleground, and given how sidelined Marneus Calgar was during the Dark Imperium novel, I think it would be so cool to see him come back as a relic dreadnought to really kick some ass.

I suppose the problem with that last could be that it feels like such a huge event, it should be in a novel. Calgar’s last stand, his heroic death and eventual reincarnation in the sarcophagus of a dreadnought – it’s too much to just bring out the model and say, “oh yeah, he’s in there now”. Maybe they’ll announce the tie-in book, though something just feels a little off about that. Sure, there has been a build-up for months now, with all the box sets coming out! But who knows?!

Abaddon and the Black Legion are a very safe bet, as it feels like the Blackstone Fortress stuff is going to be heralding a new age for Chaos. If we don’t get more Chaos Space Marines in the mould of those chaps from the boxed game, then I don’t know anything, anymore! I’ve talked about this extensively in the past, but I would love to see GW come out with a full Black Legion release, making use of the new minis as well as the Chaos Renegades such as Traitor Guard and Beastmen, with maybe some sort of campaign book rather than a full Codex. A Black Legion Codex just seems like a silly thing, to me. I am really excited to see how GW progress with the new models from Blackstone Fortress, however, so I’m probably talking about them a great deal because I’m just so interested!!

Personally, I would love to see the announcement of the Genestealer Cults Codex come out of this weekend. We know that they’re an active force on Vigilus, and while they have only recently had Tooth and Claw devoted to them, I would like to see this be a major thing to come out of the weekend. Preferably with a pre-order to boot! But between a Codex, the new Aberrant models, maybe the new Abominant, and of course the gunslinger Primus, this is a Codex release that would actually feel like a new army release once more. It’s the last of the regular Codexes from 7th edition to have the 8th edition treatment, so why not go out with a bang? We could even be seeing more new releases for the army that we hadn’t been expecting – I mean, who was expecting that Abominant?

Equally, I would love it to be something entirely out of left field, that comes as a complete surprise to us all. Codex: Dark Mechanicum, with a whole new line of models after the Negavolt Cultists!

But it’s most likely to involve Primaris Marines, so there is that…

Anyway! Whatever is involved this weekend, I’m just rubbing my hands with anticipation!

In other news, I’ve picked up my copy of Blackstone Fortress today, and have put together a little unboxing video in the way that I used to for these things! I haven’t made a youtube video for a while now, though that is at least partly due to the fact I was moving house so didn’t get a chance to keep going there. Might get back into it all sometime, once things calm down again! Of course, it feels like there are enough miniatures in the Blackstone Fortress box to keep me busy until Christmas, so I may have other things to occupy my time!

I’ve been busy building some units for the Ravenwing portion of my Dark Angels army that I talked about in some depth the other day, so I currently have the bikers from Dark Vengeance (that I eventually bought from ebay, as I couldn’t find my own – they were a nightmare to fix up, but got there in the end!) and a Talonmaster that was built out of a landspeeder and the Ravenwing upgrade sprue. I’ve also put together this little beauty:

I’ve had this kit for years, and have been recently on the fence as to whether to keep it or not, but having now built it up, I’m really chuffed that I did! It looks amazing, and I can’t wait to get it painted!

I’ve also been building AdMech stuff, which is exciting – I’d previously built a Tech Priest Dominus, but the model broke, so it’s nice to have another one to get painted.

While building both the Tech Priest and the Darkshroud, I was thinking about how amazingly detailed these models are, and how I really want to do them justice. So I’m really looking forward to getting started on them, as a little winter painting project. This hopefully won’t impact too much on the plans I talked about the other day, of course!!

Anyway, it’s been a busy time for building, and with the arrival of Blackstone Fortress, it’s going to be even busier! But I’m really looking forward to seeing what comes next from this weekend’s event!!

Nobody expects the Inquisition!

Hey everybody,
My recent return to the light of the Emperor with the Deathwing army that I currently have on the go has got me thinking more about the Imperium as a whole, and looking at the other armies on offer to us outside of the Dark Angels. From Deathwing, I started looking at the Deathwatch army that I had started to paint up over the summer of 2016, and there will be a blog coming shortly with some of my thoughts on those chaps, don’t you worry!

But I’ve also started to think a lot about the smaller-scale stuff, and in particular, the Inquisition. This is a range that is quite woefully under-represented in 40k miniatures terms, which is odd considering the success of Dan Abnett’s Eisenhorn and Ravenor novel series. Most of the Inquisition line is made up of old finecast miniatures, with only the new finecast Eisenhorn mini and the plastic Greyfax that show any real attention for it over the past few years.

It got me thinking about what GW have been up to, what they are up to, and what I think I’d like to see them be up to, based on the first two.

First of all, though, let’s talk about some history
The Inquisition dates right back to the original Rogue Trader years, where they would combat the myriad threats to the Imperium, most often rogue psykers (more on this in a bit). Further lore expanded on this, introducing secretive sub-factions, and produced the little nugget of information that one of their secret tasks is to discover the sensei. For those who aren’t familiar, the sensei are the offspring of the Emperor of Mankind, who possess the ability to hide from the warp and are something of a perfect weapon to use against Chaos. While I don’t know whether the current GW will want to pursue this storyline, I think it has some potential to advance the story of 40k, which does seem to be a current objective for the company, so whether we will see them reimagined for this, I don’t know.

The popularity of the Inquisition has always seemingly stemmed from the specialist game Inquisitor, released in 2001 as a skirmish game roughly double the scale of “normal” 40k. It was this game that spawned Dan Abnett’s Eisenhorn trilogy, of course, and alongside several of Fantasy Flight’s RPGs, the popularity of the faction has bubbled along away from the wargame. In terms of the regular tabletop 40k, the expansion of the Grey Knights in 2011 to have their own Codex seemingly overshadowed the rest of the Inquisition, though it does seem that 2016’s Deathwatch Codex may have helped to balance that somewhat.

Power Armour connections
The Inquisition is made up of three major Orders: the Ordo Malleus (which deals with daemons), the Ordo Xenos (which deals with aliens) and the Ordo Hereticus (which deals with cultists). Each of these three has its own Chamber Militant: the Grey Knights, the Deathwatch, and the Adepta Sororitas, respectively. Now then, the Grey Knights have a decent plastic range of models, and the Deathwatch saw a new release of miniatures back in 2016. As has been well-documented by now, we’re expecting the plastic Sororitas range to arrive in 2019, with the current rumours pointing to sometime around October. With each of the Chambers Militant getting plastic releases, it’s gotten me thinking about when we’d be likely to see the Inquisition released in plastic sculpts to go alongside them.

Deathwatch: Overkill

Deathwatch have been something of a surprise, to my mind, as far as the new releases go. We saw a glorious release back in 2016, starting with the boxed game Deathwatch: Overkill, and it just went from there in terms of the amazing things we’ve been seeing. Genestealer Cults are such a fantastic example of this, and now again with the Rogue Trader releases, that it makes me thing GW is, to some extent, committed to bringing out some of the more weird and wonderful aspects of the 40k universe, not necessarily always via the mainstream tabletop game.

Within the space of months, we’ve seen two flamboyant Rogue Traders come out, surely it will only be a matter of time before we get the equally flamboyant Inquisitors in plastic?!

The Kill Team factor
Kill Team has already brought out so many fascinating sculpts with the Rogue Trader box back in September, and it doesn’t take a genius to see the possibility for a Kill Team: Inquisitor box to be quite the thematic expansion to that line. The fact that we have now got a plastic Death Cult Assassin in the Elucidian Starstriders makes me wonder if this is showing the possibility of further miniatures down the line. I know we’re wishlisting here once again, and most likely reading far too much into this, but I do like the idea that GW are perhaps testing the waters with these boxed games before going more down certain routes and creating miniatures on the back of those found in their specialist / board games.

It’s not just limited to the Kill Team game, though. Blackstone Fortress is set to be a major source of new, previously-unseen miniatures that might not be expected to have a full-army release. The fact that the Inquisition has been said to predominantly tackle rogue psykers in the past (Eisenhorn does it quite often, as we know), and there are rogue psyker models in the core set, makes me fanboy-dream that we might see a new “team” of heroes to choose from – the Inquisitor team. It would be so straightforward to give us a new plastic Inquisitor model, with some warrior acolytes and crusaders, maybe some sort of arco-flagellant or death-cult assassin, and a preacher of a lesser rank than Thaddeus from the core set. Throw in an Interrogator or Null Maiden as secondary leader-types (yes, I just want Ravenor and Bequin!) Heck, I’m sure people would like to play the Jokaero if they could, as well! It would be straightforward as anything to reinvent the current finecast/pewter range as a plastic warband here.

But I fully admit to leaping to this conclusion due to the tenuous link with rogue psykers, don’t you worry!

What does it all mean?
I don’t claim to have any kind of special insight into the future for GW. I’m just a nerd with a laptop typing all this junk up as I think of it. But given the popularity of the Inquisitors as a faction, it seems just wrong that they have one plastic mini, one (hard-to-find) resin mini, and the rest of the army is dated as all hell. Most of the line is made up of finecast versions of the old metal miniatures from back in the 90s, which admittedly is something of an improvement on the current Sisters line, which is all metal (but we know they’re changing that).

As it stands, we’re seeing a very slow drip-release of new miniatures that could potentially be used in an Inquisitorial retinue. Knosso Prond from the Elucidian Starstriders is a great example of this. Thaddeus the Purifier and Pious Vorne from Blackstone Fortress are also fantastic for making Preachers. Due to their heavy Redemptionist aesthetic, the new House Cawdor gangers could make excellent Warrior Acolytes. Without trying to read too much into these things, I do think it’s only a matter of time before we see the Inquisition brought back to life as a modern force on the tabletop.

Sisters?
Again, without trying to read too much into anything, I’ve been flicking through the old Codex: Imperial Agents from seventh edition, and I find it interesting that a Sisters army back then wasn’t all-female. Ministorum Priests, Arco-Flagellants, Crusaders and Assassins all featured in the army list, which gives it a strong crossover to the Inquisition army list in the same book. Could we be seeing new models for these coming as part of the plastic Sisters army next year?

Army releases for Games Workshop nowadays tend to be smaller affairs, with less of the more obscure elements like this. Since the announcement of plastic Sisters, I’ve been expecting a character or two, maybe two troops choices (multi-part kits?) and an elites choice. With maybe a heavy support/vehicle option. I’d not been expecting any of the, for want of a better term, “hangers-on” like the Priests. However, GW do seem to be treating this army project very much as an Event, and so it would perhaps be in keeping with that for them to go ahead and basically re-imagine the entire list, maybe even go crazy and give us entirely new units if they’re going to advance the fluff as well, and so in time we’ll be getting a whole host of new plastic goodness. The rumoured release of October 2019 does also make me think that maybe, by then, they will have released a lot of the Blackstone Fortress stuff separately, so could potentially be tying-in with that. I wouldn’t have thought they’d attempt to cash-in with Sisters and give the option for a Priest that basically means players need to buy a Blackstone Fortress set for £95, but maybe we’ll be seeing multi-part plastic clampack releases for the heroes by then?

On a side note, given the strong ties to both Grey Knights and Deathwatch, I’ve also been wondering if there will be rules to include special detachments of those forces, which won’t break your Battleforged army. Only time will tell!

It’s definitely an exciting prospect, and one that I hadn’t really given much thought to until now!

But what about Kill Team?
Ah yes, Kill Team. It feels a little like Kill Team is being dampened-down of late, with all the hype for Blackstone Fortress coming out this week and all. We’ve got two new Commanders being released, but there aren’t any tremendous rumours on the horizon for more expansions, or even to finish off the Kill Team faction boxes as they have been doing. (Probably because they’ve run out of terrain to include within those boxes?)

However, the rumour of Kill Team: Inquisition is still floating around, with nobody confirming or denying this, but also no further information beyond the idea that it will be a thing. I do think that Rogue Trader and, by necessity, Commanders were both rushed out somewhat due to the leaks that predated the core set for Kill Team itself, so perhaps we shouldn’t read too much into this gap. I do hope that we’ll see an Inquisitor expansion, and that we’ll see it in the first quarter of 2019.

If we do get such a box, then, I’m really hoping for a similar look to the Rogue Trader line-up, with the Inquisitor and his retinue forming maybe a dozen models, facing off against perhaps 20 Cultists. While this would be a perfect opportunity to bring back those push-fit Cultist models from Dark Vengeance, I think that rant is for another blog. At any rate, we’ve had Chaos mutants in the Rogue Trader box – an Inquisitor expansion would be better served with some Cultists (I’d also like some form of xenos race, preferably a new race that we haven’t seen yet, but that would likely take too much time). Indeed, the crossover between Rogue Trader and Blackstone Fortress was enough that I think it could be a nice touch to continue the Traitor Guard aesthetic and provide more of that, with a varied band of generic Cultists, peppered in with a Rogue Psyker or two – it would be on-theme, after all!

Blackstone Fortress

 

I am in danger of running away with myself on this (well, I’ve been running away with ideas for this entire blog!) But I do feel like there is the potential here for significant crossovers with actual Kill Team expansions like Rogue Trader and the Blackstone Fortress stuff. It would probably be too much to hope for some kind of expansion for the Starstriders and Gellerpox mutants in Blackstone Fortress, but I suppose you can never say what GW are going to do these days, as they have been coming up with some phenomenal releases of late, and I don’t think a lot of us could have predicted any of them, if we’re being honest. Who would have thought plastic Rogue Traders would ever see the light of the tabletop? At least we’re getting Kill Team profiles for the Blackstone Fortress minis, so we can (presumably) field a Kill Team of Traitor Guard and Rogue Psykers – which is quite an exciting prospect, given my desire to make a 40k army out of these guys!

But so much of this blog has been me just wishlisting and fanboy-dreaming, I’m not entirely sure if any of it has been worthwhile reading! If you’ve made it through this far, thank you! There’s not a lot to take away from this, really, beyond the fact that I absolutely love the weird and esoteric corners of the 40k universe, and the arrival of first Kill Team: Rogue Trader, and now Blackstone Fortress has got my imagination doing so many somersaults and backflips with the amazing potential such boxed games hold for the expansion of the universe in plastic!

I’ve been enjoying thinking about the possibilities for these things, though, and I really hope at least one or two of my ramblings might come true in the fullness of time!

The Deathwing

Hey everybody!
After mentioning the idea in yesterday’s painting update blog, I’ve been thinking a lot about my ideas for a Deathwing army, and thought I’d come along here today to briefly talk about the whole thing. I’d last mentioned it on the blog here almost exactly a year ago, when the last thing that I’d done for the force was build up a Land Raider Crusader. I’ve not actually painted any of the models in the army since November 2016, however, when I was attempting to forge ahead with some Deathwing Knights:

So I do feel that I have a long way to go!

The Army Right Now
The current state of the republic so far as my Deathwing goes is as follows:

Deathwing list

That is an elite, expensive list!! I’ve been quite excited by this army for a while, now, and I think the idea of it being such an elite force is a really exciting prospect. None of my other armies forgoes troops like this, although I suppose the Terminator Squads basically act like troops for the purposes of this list.

Who are the Deathwing?
For those of you who don’t know, the Deathwing are the elite First Company of the Dark Angels Chapter of Space Marines. The Dark Angels are a Chapter shrouded in mystery, and secrets-within-secrets is kind of their schtick in the 40k universe. During the Horus Heresy, it is widely believed in the meta that Lion el’Jonson kept back from Terra during the siege, as he wanted to see which way the hammer fell before fully deciding to join with Horus or keep to the light of the Emperor. Added to this fact, back home on Caliban the Lion’s trusted lieutenant, Luther, fell to Chaos and took a sizable chunk of the Legion with him – these are known as the Fallen, but the Dark Angels are determined above all else to keep the existence of these renegades from the galaxy at large. Very few know the story of the Fallen, and all of those in the First Company are within the Inner Circle of trust in this regard.

Nowadays, the Dark Angels regularly devote a portion of their strength to searching out for these renegades, in an attempt to make them repent or die. If any part of the Chapter suspects the potential location of a Fallen, they usually bring in the Ravenwing to deal with the situation – the lightning-fast Second Company. Should the presence of Fallen be likely, the First Company promptly come in to deal with it.

Side note: Ravenwing
The Ravenwing are the all-biker Second Company of the Dark Angels, and a force that I have not usually paid much attention to. However, since reading through the Codex for the Dark Angels, I’ve been considering re-vamping my entire list to include at least some of these guys in there. As I said, the Ravenwing are supposed to hunt for the Fallen, and when they confirm a location, they call in the Deathwing to teleport down to a planet and strike. I think it could be really cinematic to recreate that on the tabletop, so I’ll be giving that some thought in the coming weeks to see how feasible such an addition could be! I already have the flying church altar that is the Darkshroud, as I had been briefly considering using it as a part of the Deathwing army anyway, so I might include some more and plug any tactical holes in the list.

The Army Build
First Companies of Space Marines Chapters are the veterans, and as such almost exclusively wear tactical dreadnought (or terminator) armour. As such, there are a lot of Terminators in the list – pretty much everybody is wearing that stuff for the 2+ save it grants! While I still have some models that I’d like to add to the army, such as a second Venerable Dreadnought and perhaps an Interrogator-Chaplain, I am also in the curious position of having everything currently built and partly painted, so this is like none of my other current army projects to date!

It’s definitely a fluffy army, and I have no idea how well it would do on the tabletop. But my curiosity in that regard makes me want to try it out soon and see just how well (or not!) it fares!

Tactical Thoughts
I’ve only briefly studied the new Codex, so there may well be a lot of things I’m missing with this, but some important linchpins for the force are Belial and the Ancient. Everybody in the force has the DEATHWING faction keyword, except the Venerable Dreadnought (and the Land Raider, though at 300 points, I’m currently leaving that thing off the list!) – Belial, as Grand Master of the Deathwing, allows for all friendly units within 6″ to re-roll failed hit rolls (as well as allowing for re-rolling hit rolls of 1 for all Dark Angels units within 6″ of him), while the Ancient gives all Deathwing units +1 Attack while they are within 6″ of him. While Belial is obviously a unique character unit, the Ancient will be useful to give those Terminators and Knights 3 attacks each, and the Venerable Dreadnought will gladly take that for 5 attacks, as well!

But the Venerable Dreadnought isn’t a DEATHWING unit, I hear you cry. Well, thanks to the ICP stratagem “Inner Circle”, he now can be!

I may well build up another Ancient, as it happens, though that would be too much for the game and not enough for the fluff.

All of the Deathwing units also have the Teleport Strike special rule, which is the way they get to deep strike in 8th edition. There is a Deathwing Assault stratagem that allows them to immediately shoot after arriving by deep strike, which doesn’t prevent them from then shooting in the regular shooting phase, also! Very nice. I think the changes to the deep strike rule that prevent this from happening on turn one may have turned off a lot of folks, but I do like the dramatic idea of maybe using it for the Knights – I had briefly considered the Knights and Belial, but if it is used for a unit of more than 5 models, it costs 3CP – a hefty investment for an army that is quite light on the command points due to the fact it’s pretty much all HQs and elites! But it definitely fits that cinematic style if I do indeed go for the Ravenwing build, also!

Deathwing Redemption Force

The stratagems are generally pretty decent, I think – there are a lot of fluffy ones that only really come into play if you’re fighting Chaos Space Marines, and there’s a nice one that affects the plasma weaponry of a Dark Angels unit. Fluffy, for sure, though the Deathwing guys don’t really have many options for maxing out on such things to really make it worthwhile – again, this is a very elite army, with a maximum of five command points available to it as it stands, so I can’t really afford to go spreading the love too much!

From what I can see, though, there isn’t a tremendous amount of tactical ability within the units themselves – there are a couple of stratagems that will help, and a few aura effects that are useful, but in the main we’re looking at an army that is very much deploy and get on with it. Everybody is a Terminator, so has a 2+ armour save and 5+ invulnerable save, with at least two wounds each (Belial and the Master are the toughest infantry units with 6 wounds, while the Venerable Dreadnought has 8), so it should be a fairly durable force – as well it should be, for the points cost!

Building the army
I have an inordinate amount of love for the Deathwing Terminators kit. Ever since I built up my first Terminator (above), I knew that they were going to have a special place for me. I think the kit is quite remarkable for having three options within it – the regular Terminators, the Command Squad, or the Knights.

The way the Deathwing Command Squad has been broken up in the new Codex does mean that I’m somewhat at sea with my current builds – I actually have an additional Terminator with an assault cannon that I currently can’t home anywhere. I think I’ve got another box somewhere in the pile of shame, so I could always build up a third squad and maybe with the left-over model make either another Master or that second Ancient. It just feels a bit wrong to me that there would be two Ancients floating about with the company banner, you know?

At any rate, them’s my plans for the Deathwing army! It’s a force that I really love the look of, and have had a lot of fun painting them in the past, so hopefully that will continue as I move slowly towards completion this year! December is definitely Deathwing month for me, as I’ve done a lot with these models each Christmastime for the last three years now, so it will be nice to continue that tradition.

Stay tuned for more updates, anyway!