New Year, New Army 2021!

Hey everybody,
It’s been a while in the planning stages, but I’m finally ready to talk about the new project for 2021! New projects are, of course, nothing new for me, although finished projects are much more of a rarity. However, this one is something that I’ve been thinking about for a couple of months now, since picking up some bits late last year, and it’s something that I’m very excited to get moving with, so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to keep some momentum with things, and see some real results when I look back on this point in the future!

The project I’m talking about is nothing less than Ossiarch Bonereapers!

This is an army that I was incredibly excited for back when it was first revealed at the 2019 Nova Open. Tomb Kings re-imagined as ancient conquerors with hints of both Roman and Mongolian heritage in the lore and aesthetic, it was wonderful! I’ve been a huge fan of the armies of Death for Warhammer Fantasy and Age of Sigmar for such a long time, in part due to the nostalgia of having the Nagash releases happening back when I was properly falling into the whole miniatures side of things. I currently have a fairly sizable Nighthaunt army as well, although I’m not exactly sure what I’m doing with that as it has been languishing in a box for a long time now.

Arkhan the Black is one of my favourite miniatures of all time, and while I had initially thought to include him with the Nighthaunt, it seems like he has found a much more permanent home among the Bonereapers, which makes me love them all the more! I really like the fact that the Arkhan model is, what, 5 years removed from the Bonereapers, and yet they all share certain design cues that makes everything feel really quite homogeneous. Arkhan is still unpainted, I think I recently put him up in the loft as I need the space for something else, but when I’ve got a decent force built and painted, I think I’d like to test my skills with painting the big lad himself, as that should be a real fun project!

The lore on these guys does veer a bit towards the silly at times, though I think in part this is due to the penchant for Games Workshop to give over-the-top names for stuff, which really goes across the board and isn’t unique to the Bonereapers. Here is an army of undead skeletons, and the amount of necro- prefixes, mort- prefixes, and osseo / bone references is just off the charts. Bones, bones, bones.

The idea behind them is that Nagash created a race of warriors from bone, almost as a secret weapon, and hid them underground “in serried ranks”. So, terracotta warriors style. The Necroquake that was (I think) the event that kicked off Soul Wars unleashed the Bonereapers, and they’ve been going about the Mortal Realms ever since, conquering empires in the name of Nagash. They extract a toll of bone from the vanquished populace, which they use to then replenish their ranks to keep the immortal legions strong.

Among the theme of BONES then, there is also a strong undercurrent of contracts and extracting tithes, which no doubt appeals to me as a civil servant, thinking there might somewhere be countless clerks making sure these tithes are met! It’s very weird, to me, for a fantasy army in a game like this, to have such a convoluted backstory that is based around taxation. But that’s pretty immaterial, really, because the miniatures themselves look great!

I’m a big fan of the line soldiers of this faction. It always helps, when you’re looking at having to paint vast hordes, that you’d actually want to do so! The Mortis Guard are the basic troops that come in two flavours: sword and spear. Each box has 20 models, and I’ve already begun to build up my first unit, for which I’m building the sword variety. There isn’t really anything more to say about these guys, they’re just the basic troops, and they’ll doubtless be forming the backbone (ha!) of the army as it evolves.

There are so many good-looking models in this range, but my first hero choice is going to be one of the few named characters in the faction, Vokmortian, Master of the Bone-tithe. He was the central hero of the faction at launch, in the Feast of Bones boxset, and his miniature seems to just drip with that officiousness, holding out the contract there as if to point out the small print. What a guy! In the game, he has the ability to outright kill a model on a 5+, the only downside being that model has to be within 1″ of him. I wonder how many times that has actually been pulled off against some god-like character in the opposing army…

In time, I’m probably going to collect everything, but aside from (probably) more Mortis Guard, I’d really like to get my hands on the Mortek Crawler. A giant, walking catapult, this thing is absolutely absurd, but the more I’ve been looking at it lately, the more I’ve fallen in love with it!

I love the fact that it’s almost a mini-diorama piece in and of itself, with the guys crawling over it and that dude in his little hamster wheel to (presumably) move the thing forwards. In the game, it fires magical skulls, although has two additional once-per-game missiles, including a lump of inscribed stone that looks so amazing I just love it! It’s barmy, but it’s another of these models that I hope to be able to paint up and do justice to as something of a centrepiece model.

Of course, the Bonereapers have perhaps the original centrepiece model, Katakros, the new Mortarch! This guy seems to have attracted more hate than I think he deserves, as the model is definitely an imposing piece, and it is also really quite amazing in the true sense of the word, with all the attendants that he has surrounding him. He’s become almost a blueprint for others, such as the Triumph of St Katherine, with multi-model diorama style miniatures coming out for several armies since.

I won’t be rushing to get this model, mainly because of the price and the fact I don’t think I am good enough to do it any kind of justice! But in time, I think it would be a wonderful crowning piece for the army, and I’d love to have a go at it!

For now, though, my collection of Bone-Boys is really quite modest:

I’ve also got the Gothizzar Harvester on order, the idea being that my local store is doing a New Year New Army thing, where we all paint up the equivalent of a Start Collecting box. In the absence of such a box for the Bonereapers, I thought Vokmortian, some Mortek Guard, and the Harvester would make a very decent start! Now I just need to get a move on and start building and painting these things!

I’m still not 100% set on my colour scheme just yet, but I think I’m leaning towards that of the Petrifex Elite. They used to be almost overpowered, from what I’ve picked up, but have since been nerfed quite considerably. Personally, I just like the combination of colours, and think it could work really nicely across the whole force!

I haven’t looked at the rules properly since I picked up the book last October, so I need to properly read up on everything to see what subfaction I actually choose to go for. I’ll be back sometime soon with some waffle about this, though – probably with an army list that I’m going to be aiming for, and maybe some updates on the actual models, if I’ve managed to get anywhere with them! So stay tuned for that!!