Shadowspear and more!

Well folks, it’s taken me a few days to digest all of the amazing stuff that we’ve currently got coming our way from GW with the second phase of the Vigilus campaign – and just when I thought I was over it, we get the preview for the big man himself! I mean, what a time to be alive!

First of all, the Shadowspear box itself looks really good. I was initially a huge fan, but my enthusiasm had waned a little bit, but now that we’ve seen these new miniatures in all of their glory, I feel very much like I need them in my life. Most of them. Well, probably all of them. I’m currently planning to split a set, and get myself the Chaos half as a decent start to a Heretic Astartes army and beef up my Cultist force idea from back in December, but then I also want that Primaris Vanguard Librarian. And possibly the ten man squad, whatever they’re called. Infiltrators? They look like beefier Reivers, somehow, and I like them!

I was listening to the latest episode of Vox Cast last night, with the legend that is Jes Goodwin talking about the contents of the box as a whole, and now I feel like I want to seriously make a Primaris Space Marines army! Gah!

So the new box looks amazing, and I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on some of these models and getting them painted up. I’ve not really had any kind of thoughts as to a specific legion just yet, though I had entertained the idea of going “generic Renegade” and coming up with my own fluff, maybe, so I think that might be an interesting way to do it. We’ll see. I can’t wait to get that Master of Possession, at any rate!

I will likely pick up some Vanguard Primaris as well, maybe getting the Librarian off ebay and then seeing what else I can get in the fullness of time.

As if the new stuff in this box wasn’t enough, we also have the delights of the Warmaster himself coming in glorious plastic very soon, as well!

The model is insanely good, and I really like how they have clearly taken the original model as a jumping-off point. The amount of detail is just right, I think – so many of the new minis coming from Nottingham have been a little too busy, and it can make it difficult to really know where to begin with such things. But Abbadon looks just right, in my view – the baroque armour is definitely there, but it has enough breathing room that it can be interesting to look at, but not overwhelming. It should look fantastic as a centrepiece for my Chaos army idea, anyway, and definitely will form a nice counterpart to the Space Marine army idea I had way back in December, with Marneus Calgar forming a lynchpin of Ultramarines successors.

It looks like Abbadon will come at the head of the second wave of Vigilus storyline, as the second book in the campaign has also been previewed, and it doesn’t sound like it’s going to end well! I was very impressed with the first book, so I hope we see a similar sort of tome in the second one, with a lot of interesting rules and stuff to enjoy. We’re promised new rules, detachments and data sheets, alongside more new models, including what looks like a possible new Dark Apostle (just when I’ve gone and bought the finecast one!) and a new Havocs kit, which should be good if this chap is anything to go by:

I can’t really say I’ve always wanted a Chaos army, though whenever I’ve played Warhammer card games, I have invariably gravitated towards the Ruinous Powers, so I suppose it was inevitable! It should be good to get a small force of these guys, at any rate, so I’m looking forward to seeing what else we’ll be getting in this release window (Traitor Guard, please!)

All in all, there are some extremely exciting times ahead!

Going even bigger with Drukhari!

Hey everybody!
Following my post about the eldar Corsairs at the weekend, I thought it about time to get the main event posted up here on the blog: let’s take a look at my latest list development, the 2000-point Drukhari army!

This is quite exciting for me, as I feel like it’s been an army list in the making for a good number of months now! I’ve not played with my Dark Eldar nearly as much as I would have liked by this point in 8th edition, mainly because I’ve been struggling to come up with a way of organising my forces that I feel is right for me. I’m not interested in the competitive builds, but rather want something that I would actually like to play on the table. So late last week I spent some time cataloging all of the painted (and unpainted) miniatures that I currently have, before sorting them into an army that I can see myself playing.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I have 2545 points of painted Dark Eldar, with an additional 1000 points built and, in most cases, primed! I still have 14 kits waiting to be built, which is just mind-boggling, but then I suppose I was really into the dark kin back in 2017, and had grand ideas about fielding a massive force of them. Anyway! I’ve managed to distill all of this into a 2000-point list that takes in all three arms of the army; Kabal, Cult and Coven. Let’s take a look at this list now:

It’s quite a standard list of Kabal battalion, Cult outrider, and Coven patrol, netting me a total of 9 command points. I’ve still not really embraced the whole stratagems thing, feeling the need to maximise my pool of points wherever I can. Rather, I have been preferring to build lists that I want to play, and seeing if they can be organised after the fact for CP benefits.

I am, of course, playing Kabal of the Obsidian Rose, as that is how I’ve been painting my army since I started it back in 7th edition. I’ve got the classic combination of Kabalites in Raiders, and my Archons in Venoms – the Warlord being attended by his Court. I’ve also slipped a Ravager in there, because of course. So there are just six drops there to start with, and I should have some pretty decent mobile firepower to start chewing through the enemy from the off.

In contrast to most of my 8th edition lists, I’ve gone for just a patrol detachment of Coven, having 10 Wracks in a Raider and a Haemonculus in a Venom. This detachment, being so greatly reduced as it is, really feels a bit pointless on some levels, as I don’t have the mass threat of my big creatures or large blobs of Wracks to beat down in close combat. I’m seeing these guys primarily as a supporting unit for the Cult.

Wych Cults are an aspect of the army with which I have very little experience, and so the main focus for me in writing up this list has been to produce something that will allow me to change that. I’ve got an Outrider detachment because I principally have fast attack options painted, but there are also the squad of Wyches, and the Razorwing (which can fit into a Cult or Kabal detachment). I’d initially wanted to include a Venom in here also, but ended up without the points. However, the Coven really is a very mutable portion of the list, and so I could very quickly see myself expand on the Cult part to eclipse their Coven counterparts.

I have previously used Reavers when playing during the Index days, and I think they can be quite fun when used both for harassment and as more dedicated close combat units. During the game pictured above, I seem to recall they did serious work against the Orks! I also like Hellions, and feel like I’m perhaps the only Drukhari player who will make that statement! But I do like the models, and I feel like they should have a decent enough role to play in getting rid of the tougher infantry, while Reavers will likely be used to soak up any overwatch before falling back. I do actually have bikes with both grav-talons and cluster caltrops modelled on them, but haven’t had the points at this level to pay for them. As and when the Coven portion of this list is dropped, I think the Cult part could take on a slightly different look:

For this increased Cult list, I do rather have my work cut out. There are an additional 15 models to paint, which doesn’t sound too bad of course, but still! I do like the addition of the Beasts, as I think that’s an aspect that I’d like to explore a bit more if possible. The Beastmaster himself should be a good addition aesthetically, as he also rides a skyboard like the Hellions. The Clawed Fiend looks really nice on paper, making 5 S5 attacks hitting on 4s, with an additional attack once he’s taken a wound. I do have two of these models, though only one of them built – I think it could be quite fun to have a band of three of them with the Beastmaster (though not forming a single unit), going off to just blend their way through infantry where they’ll hopefully be hitting on 3s. The Beastmaster looks like he’s a decent enough support character in terms of his stat line – he can take drugs which might be useful when distributing them among the band, but his abilities otherwise basically allow for you to include Beasts in the army, and granting re-rolls of 1 to them if they’re within 6″. But he’s got splinter pods for 2 shooting attacks, and then carries an agoniser to make three attacks in the fight phase. It might be useful, I guess we’ll have to see!

I’ve only used a mass Cult once, and apart from the fact the Hellions were a fairly impressive unit for their Hit and Run ability, nothing else stood out. Of course, that could have been due to the fact I was pitting just one unit of Wyches against a mob of Orks! I’ve always thought that Wyches are the close combat unit to throw against a unit that doesn’t want to be in combat – their No Escape rule really speaks to that, after all. Coven units are the close combat units to use against dedicated enemy close combat units, so it does feel a little worrying stripping myself of the Covens!

I’ve also got enough points left over to give my Ravager a shock prow!

This list is a bit different to the one I talked about back in December, as it has more of a focus on the Coven than the Cult – if you haven’t already, I can recommend you taking a look at that to see what my thoughts were a little over three months ago!

Of course, going down the enhanced Cult route isn’t my only option for the army, as I am also considering the Eldar Corsairs option as discussed at the weekend. Should I go for that, I would then be able to fit in two more Reaver jetbikes to make one squad of five, with the addition of cluster caltrops to one squad and a grav-talon on the other.

While I suppose going the other way and enhancing the Covens is a third option for this list, I suppose the list as discussed back in December would be a better fit for that one. My fourth option, of course, is Murder Clowns, so make sure to check back later in the week for some thoughts on including Harlequins in the army!

Eldar Corsairs!

Hey everybody!
For the past few days, I’ve been fiddling about with a redesign for my Dark Eldar army, taking the list to 2000 points based on the models I already have fully painted. It’s been quite the task, as I’ve only played with the army using the codex once, but I’m excited to actually bring the list to the table soon!

I’ll be talking about this in more detail this coming week, but in doing this research, I’ve been looking at Eldar Corsairs as one of a couple of possible allied detachments, and I’m actually really intrigued by how this might work out!

In case you don’t know, the Corsairs are a sort of outcast band of the Aeldari in Warhammer 40k, basically more classical pirates than anything else. Following the Fall of the Eldar after the birth of Slaanesh, while the Craftworld Eldar began to lead lives of asceticism lest they attract the gaze of She Who Thirsts, and the Drukhari subsumed their psychic potential and retreated into the Webway, the Corsairs stayed more true to their original life, heedless of any acts of passion.

For a long time, ForgeWorld produced the army much like they do for other factions, but back in 2018 (I think) they discontinued the whole range, meaning that anybody wishing to play them would have to start a serious conversion project. Corsairs have always been conversion-heavy, so I believe, but now the problem is increased!

However, I do like the rules, as I think there could be an interesting slant to the army from using these guys. Let’s take a look!

They have two specific rules that can be thought of as army-wide: Reckless Abandon and Dancing on the Blade’s Edge. Reckless Abandon is probably my favourite, as it allows the unit with this ability to move 3″ in any direction if they inflict one or more casualties on an enemy unit by firing Overwatch. I like the thought of spoiling a charge move in this way, though obviously it would only really work on a squad-type unit making the charge, and there are plenty of ways to get around that. Dancing on the Blade’s Edge¬†allows you to roll 2 dice for a Morale test, and discard the highest (per the FAQ). However, if the test is still failed, +1 model flees.

While the weapon options for these guys are pretty diverse, they all seem to come stock with a brace of pistols, which is an 8″ Pistol D6 weapon that is similar to the splinter weaponry of the Dark Eldar in that it always wounds on a 4+ (except vehicles, which it wounds on a 6+), and any rolls of 6 are resolved at AP-1. They’re 2 points a pop, and 4″ shorter than standard splinter pistols, but that additional point of AP is definitely worth it, I feel.

The Imperial Armour Index only includes three Corsair units: the Reaver band (basic troops), the Skyreaver band (jet-pack troops) and the Cloud Dancer band (jetbike riders). The FAQ does state that the army can still use Corsair Princes or Corsair Barons as an HQ choice, using one of the three datasheets printed in the Index as best describes the model. Additionally, Corsairs can use Venoms and Falcons from the Drukhari and Craftworld codexes. Of course, this does limit the options available to the army, having such a limited pool of units to choose from – back in 7th edition, the army was much more fleshed-out, through the use of Craftworld units alongside Corsair-specific squads. Whether there is any truth to the rumours that the loss of the Forge World upgrades means we’ll be seeing new plastics, I don’t know, but it could be interesting to see if anything will come of this now that the main armies have all had their codexes for 8th edition.

I’ve been faffing a bit with the above allied detachment for my Drukhari, something that can slot into the army with relative ease – though you’ll have to wait for my Drukhari blog before I go further into that!

The dissonance weapons sound like they should be a lot of fun, S5 AP-2 and D3 damage, increasing to S6 AP-3 on the roll of a 6+. Quite how I’m going to get the pieces for these distinctive weapons, given the lack of the proper kit these days, but I’m thinking it might be just as easy to use a counts-as system for these chaps.

My thought has been to proxy Dire Avengers as the main Reaver band, and then use Windriders for the Cloud Dancers, with the Warlock Skyrunner as the Corsair Prince.

It should be pretty basic, for sure, but I think it will work well enough, and I’m sure I can keep all of the counts-as stuff consistent!

In all honesty, I have no idea when I’ll be able to actually get round to this project, as I have so much on my plate right now with the Great Reanimation of my Necrons, and the Skitarii project that I’m still persisting with. But hopefully I can get some space pirates onto the table with my Drukhari soon!

The Big Kopinski

“I’m basically still doing what I was doing aged five, drawing spacemen, bikers, superheroes and monsters, so here’s a book full of them!”

Karl Kopinski

The Big Kopinski is the first volume in a series collecting sketches by the artist Karl Kopinski, who you will likely know from his work on the card game Magic the Gathering. I mean, that’s certainly from where I was familiar with the guy! Among so many other iconic images for that game, he also produced the wonderfully evocative artwork of Liliana that was used as both box art and playmat art for the Innistrad set, and is without a doubt a classic rendering of the infamous Planeswalker.

I started to play Magic seriously around the time of Origins, and learned the basics of the game from watching Spellslingers season 2, as well as playing via the Android app. The app uses a number of cards from M15 and earlier, and playing a black/red deck, I became familiar with Kopinski’s style though a lot of these cards. That Goblin token in particular is one that I feel should be on my Christmas card list, I am so used to it by now!

Karl Kopinski MTG cards

There is definitely something evocative about his work, particularly seen in the Temple of Silence art, but also the lighting in both Gatekeeper of Malakir and the Rakdos Drake – the use of light to create an imposing shadow is particularly striking, don’t you think? There are elements within the Rakdos Drake art, but perhaps moreso in the Blood Cultist art, that show a kinship with the grim darkness of the Warhammer universe (and, of course, that of Warhammer 40,000) – unsurprising, given that Karl has also worked for Games Workshop over the years. His style is definitely more veiled than that of the archetypal Warhammer artist, John Blanche, but it still lends itself perfectly to the setting. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he numbers artwork for Chaos among his work in that franchise, although is not averse to drawing the defenders of humanity, too:

But let’s look at the book itself.

Karl Kopinski

Like I said, it is principally a book of sketches that range from the fantastical and the futuristic to the more mundane and the realistic. It’s a fascinating collection of drawings that is an utter delight to leaf through. Even if you aren’t familiar with the man’s work, it’s a really nice book that is a treat for the senses, one that you can lose yourself in as you study the worlds created on the pages. I was really taken by that guy dragging the demon-head, shown above, imagining all kinds of scenarios it could be illustrating!

(As a side note, they are also lovely pages, with a very nice, soft feel to them – just in case you’re interested in that sort of thing!)

Karl Kopinski

There are a lot of fantastical, sci-fi bikers in the book that look a lot like they have strong design elements of the Izzet League from MtG. And there are also superheroes, including the humerous older Batman shown above! But the most arresting image, to my mind, has got to be this hulking goblin character:

Karl Kopinski

This is truly a fantastic piece of artwork, whether you think it unfinished or not. That face! The textures Karl uses on the skin feel so real, and the detail just brings this piece to life off the page. I couldn’t help but gaze intently at this dude, again, imagining all manner of worlds and situations he could inhabit. It’s just fabulous, and a really great example of the hundreds of others across these pages.

Now, I’m not an art student, but if you’d like to learn more about Karl’s work with a focus on the MtG stuff, you won’t go far wrong by checking out this video from The Magic Man Sam:

You can see more samples of his work (and purchase any you like the look of!) from his website, here.


I am very grateful to the publisher of this book, editions caurette, for sending me a copy to review here on my blog. All of the sketches used to illustrate this blog were taken from the book, as was the quote at the top of the page. You can pick up a copy of The Big Kopinski direct from the publisher, here.