Serious Hobby Slump

Hey everybody,
I’m in a serious hobby slump right now. I mean, I’ve been in a similar position before, where I’ve not really been feeling in the mood to paint. But I’ve usually kept up with some other aspect of it – building for instance, always kept me going with stuff. However, everything seems to have fallen by the wayside a bit, and I’m not even enjoying reading the Black Library novels…

I’ve previously found Pete’s videos to be really inspirational in getting me back into the feel for things, and while it might be a bit odd, the above video for painting Watch Captain Artemis has done the job sensationally. But no more!

I think it’s probably because I’m so out of practice that I’m feeling like this. When I tried to get going with House Orlock last month, I just didn’t feel it and stripped them to start again. I’ve not painted, really, since moving house last summer, though for at least the last year I’ve not done a great deal of it, consistently. As such, I’m thinking whatever skills I had have just atrophied, and I constantly seem to be starting again.

Urgh!

I suppose I’ve not really picked the best miniatures to get back into things, of course – both the Orlock gangers and the new Sisters of Battle are insanely detailed, so I could probably try to do something a bit more straightforward… Hm…

I have painted some more Necrons so far this year, though, in an effort to try and get back into the swing of things.

Not bad, I suppose, though it didn’t really inspire me to move ahead and paint more! Last week, I tried to have a week off from doing any hobby at all, in an attempt to see if I would miss it enough to want to get back to it, and sadly I don’t think it did…

However, there are a couple of things I’ve been thinking I could do to get back on the horse, so all isn’t lost. I’ve been considering trying my hand at some sort of monster or a larger model in general, to try and combat the idea of having so many detailed minis. I’m thinking a monster would allow for some interesting techniques that I would like to give a go, as well, as I try to get back into things. Painting skin and the like, might be a good idea. And there are some decent Warcry monsters coming out next weekend that could be decent fodder for that! I guess we’ll see.

I suppose we’ll have to see!

Maybe next week I’ll have something more positive to share here!

The Unremembered Empire

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#nowReading #HorusHeresy

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Last week, I finished reading The Unremembered Empire, the 27th novel in the Horus Heresy series. I’ve not read one of these books since Betrayer back in the summer. In real time, there is the short story anthology Mark of Calth to check out, as well as the Salamanders novel Vulkan Lives, though I’ve decided to leap over some of those novels that don’t really hold any interest for me and keep ploughing through the main storyline. (That said, I might come back to some of the short stories, we’ll see!)

In the weeks and months after the invasion of Ultramar by the Word Bearers, Roboute Guilliman has sought to create something of a haven for the Imperial loyalists in the five hundred worlds. Since the planet of Sotha has seen the mysterious Pharos xenotech that has almost replaced the Astronomican as a light through the Ruinstorm, principally squads of Salamanders and Space Wolves, the latter sent to shadow Guilliman and censor him if he proves to be disloyal.

After an attack on the Ultramarines’ Primarch by shadowy members of the Alpha Legion, Guilliman reveals his plans to provide an Imperium Secundus centred on Macragge, but he is incredibly reluctant to sit on the throne himself. However, when he is about to reluctantly take up the mantle of regent, none other than Lion el’Johnson arrives with near-Legion strength Dark Angels, following the light of the Pharos. Guilliman finds it difficult to trust the Lion, however, due to his almost compulsive keeping of secrets, one of which proves almost disastrous for Macragge, as Konrad Curze is revealed to have hidden on the Lion’s ship.

Curze and the Lion aren’t the only Primarchs to descend upon Macragge, however, as not only Vulkan arrives, insane following his torture at the hands of Curze, but also Sanguinius and his Blood Angels, fresh from their battles in the Signus Cluster.

Curze runs amok in Magna Macragge Civitas, over a night of hell for the combined Ultramarines and Dark Angels forces, though he is sent into the Warp by the Perpetuals John Grammaticus and Damon Prytanis, who have arrived on the planet to fulfill the wishes of the Cabal by killing Vulkan, furthering their plans to allow Horus to win the war and for Chaos to burn itself out: if Vulkan is not present to help defend Terra, this will be easier. Guilliman proclaims Sanguinius as the new Emperor, as the Primarchs agree to immediately forget about this whole episode if it is proven that Terra and the Emperor still stand firm.

The Unremembered Empire

I’d fully expected to really enjoy this book. Dan Abnett is of course a fan favourite, and I really enjoyed Know No Fear, the last time he wrote about the Ultramarines. I don’t know whether it was just something as straightforward as the fact the cover had me expecting Sanguinius to show up for more of the book, but I just couldn’t get into it as much as previous books. There’s a lot going on, for sure, and Abnett covers a lot of ground between following up with Vulkan, bringing the Lion and Curze as well as then Sanguinius into the five hundred worlds.

We actually have a lot of Guilliman and the Lion, which was actually quite interesting for the most part, as we see the pair of them grow to almost-trust each other as potentially the only two Loyalist Primarchs remaining in the galaxy. I find it interesting that the Lion is a consummate secret-keeper in a period of time when we don’t have the whole baggage of Luther and the Fallen yet. It’s just part of his shtick, I guess. I’ve not read much of the Lion yet in the series, having avoided much of him after Descent of Angels, but this was a really welcome return to him.

Guilliman was much more of the statesman that we have come to expect from Ultramarines at large, with a surprising lack of the tactical/strategical brilliance we saw in Know No Fear. At least, that was my feeling! He’s still a much more interesting character than a lot of people would have you believe, of course, and his role in the book as the architect of the Imperium Secundus was really fitting overall. Maybe that’s where his strategic thinking comes in, though? Hm.

I think the highlight of this book, though, is probably the night of terror wrought by Curze throughout Magna Macragge Civitas. It’s a study in terror tactics, and I was really impressed at how relentless the pacing was. We do get inside of Curze’s head, and see how he is driven by his visions, and that sense of invincibility that he has, having seen his death already. However, for the majority (the entirety? I can’t remember) of the night, we’re seeing things from the eyes of others, which gives a real sense of the danger going on.

There is almost a Shattered-Legions sense from the book early on, when we see White Scars, an Imperial Fist, Iron Hands and Salamanders all converge on Macragge – only to discover that there is an Iron Warriors warsmith in charge of the Pharos! However, this is quickly pushed into the background as we focus on the Ultramarines and Dark Angels. Rightly so? I don’t know. They do make something of a reappearance later on, of course, but it feels a bit like a lost opportunity. For sure, the ending does feel almost rushed, with the denouement with Sanguinius being proclaimed Emperor coming almost as an afterthought…

I realise that I’m being quite critical of this book, but I suppose that’s only because I was hoping for so much from a Dan Abnett novel, and his previous offerings in the series have been pretty solid. I think it’s a pretty well-known fact by this point, however, that the Horus Heresy series does slacken off a little bit in the middle, as we’ve got so much ground to cover. Having 18 Legions pretty much all as important as each other is a tall order, though, and things do broaden out considerably in order to cover every corner. I think it does begin to tighten back up, though, as we get into the 30s, so hopefully there’s not long to go before we get back into the realms of the good stuff.


I think I said this about a year ago, but I want to get back into reading the series, and see if I can make some decent headway into it all. Two more novels have recently been released in paperback, bringing us up to fifty-one paperbacks now available. Gulp! I’ve definitely got some catching up to do, but at least I’m at the halfway point of the 54-book series!

New Stuff from Games Workshop!

Hey everybody!
It’s been a while since I’ve had time to catch up with what’s coming over the hill, but with the news coming from the Nuremberg Toy Fair today, I thought I’d better make some time to wax lyrical!

There are three big names in the offing here, let’s start with Aeronautica Imperialis and the new box, Imperial Guard vs T’au!

I’ve not played IA, and if I’m honest, it doesn’t really interest me a whole lot. But I am really quite intrigued by seeing the xenos races coming to the game. I wonder if we’ll see this explored further, with Necrons maybe? Is this how they’re going to re-implement Battlefleet Gothic? Hm!

Adeptus Titanicus has got a new box, too. Another game that I’ve not had any interest in, if I’m being honest, though I have had a game of this at least! At any rate, it’s good to see more for the game, as I’ve seen a lot of folks getting a bit antsy for more! Notably, battlefield structures!

Wonderful stuff, even if it isn’t a game that I’m going to be rushing to buy!

Something that I will be rushing to get, however, is new Necromunda!

Now, then. Of all the House gangs, Goliath are the ones that I’ve not yet been tempted enough to build. Well, I take that back – I’m interested in them, but I think they’d look better with some of the Forge World upgrades on them, such as the massive hammer and heavy flamer:

The other thing, of course, is that the other gangs just interest me more!

However, we’re seeing a new book, House of Chains, along with an upgrade pack for the gang, featuring massive hulks, or Stimmers, and some juves seeking to prove their worth in the gang.

As with a lot of Forge World paint jobs, I’m not entirely sure about these models when we see them like this – indeed, a lot of recent Necromunda publicity photos don’t really do the models justice.

The preview article tells us that several of the core gangs will be getting reinforcements along the way, so I’m really excited to see what else is going to be on the horizon in 2020. Particularly with regards to Van Saar, Delaque and Orlock.

Speaking of which…

I’ve been feeling a bit down of late about my own painting, as I was trying to get the Orlocks finished but feeling really unhappy with them. After the above photo, I ended up stripping these models and starting again – I’ve finished building up the full gang, finishing them off with a heavy bolter from the Forge World kit, so I’ve primed all ten of them black (rather than the grey recommended by Duncan). So far, I’ve not done a great deal with them, but I’m hoping that I can get them painted up before I start browbeating people into playing games with me!

Nuremberg isn’t the only set of reveals though, as we’ve recently had the excitement of the LVO last week, as well!

Oh, wow. AdMech flyers, and AdMech cavalry. This, I did not foresee! I’m not sure right now what I want to do with my AdMech, truth be told, but I’m considering getting some of the mechanical horses because I like the idea of all of these weird things, and they remind me of the Genestealer Cult bikers. Might be interesting to have as a sort of mirror for those guys, anyway.

The next Psychic Awakening book has also been revealed to be all about Knights, AdMech and Daemons! Engine War does sound intriguing, I have to say, though I’ve got no plans to go for Knights anytime soon!

Age of Sigmar is finally seeing High Elves return, the Lumineth Realm-lords. Alongside new units that have a distinct feel of the Old World about them – perhaps more than any of the new Age of Sigmar stuff yet – we’re getting a new Teclis, though I’m not a big fan of it.

It’s been out there for almost a week now, and I just can’t get round the fact that he’s just floating there, really lop-sided on the wing of this flying tiger-thing. It’s just weird, in a way that I can’t quite get my head around. The flying tiger bit is glorious, don’t get me wrong, but why is Teclis just floating there like a weird pin-badge…

What else is there…?

New warbands for Warhammer Underworlds, and most excitingly of all, Zoats are coming back to 40k in the next expansion for Blackstone Fortress!

Well, it’s just one zoat, it seems, which is a bit of a disappointment, as the Ambull at least had those borewyrm models as well. Unless it’s huge, in which case I can understand! The article talks about how they were the vanguards for the Tyranid Hive Fleets back in the day, so I’m guessing that connection will stay. In which case, I wonder whether they’ll have some special affinity with the bugs in their 40k rules (assuming they get some!)


There is a lot of good stuff coming out of Nottingham right now, it must be said! Of course, the new-style High Elves are interesting, though I’m more interested in the Slaves to Darkness release that I still hope is coming. There must be more to it than just the Start Collecting box, right? Also, what’s next for Warcry? Scions of the Flame still haven’t even been teased, outside of their name, while the Spire Tyrants are getting released this coming weekend.

These guys are very much making their way into my Slaves to Darkness force – there’ll be a blog on this soon, no doubt, but I want an army of Chaos renegades and rabble, and they fit the bill perfectly!

The first of the big beasts for Warcry is being released at the weekend also, and I’m quite excited for this! Again, it’s for the Slaves to Darkness that I’m most thinking for this guy, but even so! I think I’d like to get in at least one game of Warcry in 2020. I’ve got several warbands now, of course, and have recently made a start on painting the Cypher Lords… Hopefully I’ll get to try them out soon, anyway!

Blackstone Fortress is looking exciting right now, as it continues to be supported with the Zoats, though I find myself wanting more – as ever! I think I’d like to see a bigger box expansion, much like last year’s Escalation, though maybe even bigger still. More of the same is always fun, more explorers and more gribblies, of course, though I’d like to see something different – like a new big baddie rather than continuing the story of Obsidius Mallex. Whether we’ll see something like this, who knows, but it’s definitely something I’ll be keeping an eye on!

Necromunda The Eightfold Harvest Lord

Necromunda, though, is looking really rosy for the time being! The Corpse Grinder Cult is getting their standalone box this coming weekend, as well as the expanded terrain from the Dark Uprising box. I’ve not made great progress getting that box built up – I had a loose timeline in my head, where I’d get it all built in January, then painted in February into March, in time to start getting games in. Well, maybe half the terrain has been built, so I’m getting there. I do like the look of these Cultists, and have been building up a few with a look to getting at least some of them painted, if not yet the full gang. Though apparently they don’t work well for a starting gang, so it might be better off sticking with the main six gangs for the time being.

The possibility of new models for these gangs is really exciting me, though, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the year goes on.

What with getting into Sisters of Battle, too, I feel like it’s going to be a busy year!!

January catch-up!

Hey everybody,
It’s been a while since my last blog post on here – in fact, I hadn’t realised just how long ago it was! Time to catch up, methinks!

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Should see me through the festive season! #nowReading

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First of all, I read the very wonderful Grey Knights, the first novel in the Grey Knights omnibus, shortly before Christmas. It follows Justicar Alaric as he works alongside Inquisitor Briseis Ligeia to prevent the rogue Inquisitor Valinov from bringing the daemon Ghargatuloth into the universe. There is so much to enjoy in this novel, even though I found it difficult at times to get the time to actually read it! Having recently made a commitment to getting back into my Grey Knights project, I think this made me enjoy it even more, seeing the way the Grey Knights do battle. We get some really great descriptions of the Fortress-Monastery on Titan, and there is the real sense that Space Marines are, at their heart, warrior monks.

I very rarely read an omnibus as a single book, but rather treat it as the collected individual titles, and come back to it each time I want to read a particular book collected within. However, this is probably the first time I’ve wanted to carry on with the books, and I’m definitely planning to read the second book very soon.

Sadly, painting has not been something that I’ve been enjoying of late. I think I’ve been really out of practice since not having the time after the firstborn came along. Painting is, of course, something that improves over time and, after having a significant break, I’ve found that my brush control has really fallen by the wayside, and as a result I’ve become really frustrated with myself for not producing the sort of miniatures that I want.

I’d been wanting to paint up the House Orlock gangers that I’d started to paint almost two years ago, but a combination of the loss of confidence with a brush, as well as the fact the primer on some of these is a little thick in parts (it’s a grey primer, too, and I hate painting over grey!) has made me give up and strip them.

I’ve been watching Duncan’s video on painting the Sump Dogs, though, and as always, he has inspired me to give them a proper go. I mean, none of the lazy “just give it a drybrush and call it quits!” – I’m going to (try!) and follow this guide to the letter. We shall see how I get on!

Incidentally! How sad is the painting world now that Duncan has left GW?! I was gutted when the news was leaked shortly before Christmas – Duncan’s videos were basically how I learnt to paint!

This classic was, probably, the first miniatures-painting video I ever watched, and the massive collection of videos have been some of my favourites over the years – always come back to them, and I always look for a Duncan video when I’m going to paint something to see what he has to say about it. Hopefully they’re going to keep the archive up there, at any rate!


Model of the Year was announced the other week, and it was none other than the new Abaddon the Despoiler! I’m not sure if that was a shoe-in, though, as my personal choice was the new Keeper of Secrets, which is just such a phenomenal creation, it’s almost unlike anything else they have!

In a year when we had all of the Genestealer Cults stuff, the new Chaos Marines, new Drazhar, Ossiarch Bonereapers, new Slaves to Darkness, new Sisters of Battle – and all of that incredible Warcry stuff!

There were so many amazing new models in 2019, it was definitely a hard call. 2020 is already shaping up to be wonderful, now that we’ve had some of the new Sisters released – that Triumph of St Katherine centrepiece model is just astounding – so I can’t wait to see what else is in store!

Hopefully by then, I’ll be more confident with painting once again, and can actually knock out some of these new models!


So yeah, I think I need to get cracking with regaining my confidence when it comes to painting. There are so many miniatures that I have on the back burner of course, so I really need to crack on! I think a lot of this will be helped by going back to basics, to some extent, and trying to re-learn a lot of stuff. It’s definitely going to be worth spending the time to do this, though, as I so many models that could be outright ruined by sloppy (or worse) painting!

I mean, I’m going to be picking up the Triumph of St Katherine, for goodness’ sake! I definitely need to up my game for something so fancy!

Hobby Resolutions 2020

Happy New Year, everybody!
I’m sure there will be a plethora of posts on their way, not just from me, where people expound upon their hopes and plans for the new year. Well, for now, I thought I’d come here to start looking at those hobby goals that I’d like to set. After my little retrospective from 2019, I was surprised at how little I managed to do there. So I’m going to set myself fewer goals – in the hope that I can achieve them, but also because I know that my priorities change, and I’d like to be able to have some flexibility to think, I’d like to get x done in the next three months.

So, without further ado, let’s get to it!

  1. Paint up those Grey Knights!
    This is continuing the point from last year’s efforts. Now that I’m settled on keeping them as an army, I would like to get that army finished off, both built and painted. I only have a couple more units to build before I’m at the 1500 point mark, which I think is a decent point to aim for in this first iteration of the list. I’ve talked to some degree about this army already, but in the coming weeks and months I’ll be back with my full list ideas, so stay tuned for that!
  2. Finish off the odd Drukhari stuff that I have hanging about
    This is something that I think needs doing, and is likely to be a fairly quick win, because I do have a lot of models that are kind-of done. Reavers, Clawed Fiends, Grotesques, more Warriors… the list goes on to something like 2000 points (in the current climate) of random stuff. I’d like to get this finished, so that I can then use it within the wider army.On a related note, I’d also like to give some focus to the Wych Cult models that I have hanging around, as I would like to try and dabble some more there. It’s an area that I have very rarely used, so I think it would be useful to have the models there and ready.
  3. Necromunda, generally!
    So, I failed to do anything with this last year, but I am so in love with this game that I really feel that the time has come to actually play the bloody thing! I will still collect everything that comes out, for sure, but my current plan is to get the Dark Uprising box done, somehow. Again, there will be another blog coming soon that focuses on this, but I think, of all of these goals, I am most excited for this!
  4. Blackstone Fortress – play a full campaign!
    Similar to the Necromunda goal, really – I want to play more of this game, as it has such a fascinating look at the 41st millennium. I’ve only played it once, so that definitely needs to change! I’d like to get the models painted, as well, but I think I want to get the game played, first and foremost.
  5. Try to thin out the unpainted / unwanted models
    This definitely needs to be a thing. I have so many Deathwatch models, so many AdMech – even so many Drukhari models – that I could definitely do with thinning out the chaff!
  6. Finally – try to work on what I have had lying around for ages!
    The Tempestus Scions, the Chaos Space Marines… there is a lot of stuff that I have that has been built for years, but just not painted or played with. This needs to change, as well! My plan for this is to try and focus on a single unit every month or two. Again, there will be a blog where I probably ramble about these plans coming out in the next few weeks, so stay tuned for that!

So that’s pretty much it, really!

Hobby Resolutions check-in!

Hey everybody!
It’s New Year’s Eve, and so definitely time to check in for some progress against those Hobby Resolutions that I made twelve months ago! Spoiler alert: I don’t think I’ve done very well, all told…

So how did I do?

Build and Paint a third Ravager
Nope! But I have very recently returned to the Drukhari, and I do have two Ravager kits waiting in the wings, so this may not be so far off, after all.

Build and Paint an Imperium tank of some sort
Nope! When I originally wrote this, I was thinking of a Predator, but I have made no effort to do anything with this one. Well, I suppose I have that Baal Predator for the Blood Angels army that I haven’t really started work on yet…

Buy, Build and Paint Inquisitor Karamazov
I did buy him when I went to Warhammer World earlier this month, but I have neither built not painted him yet. Inquisitor Karamazov is one of those models that I want to have, just to have, and I don’t really have any ideas for him in an army yet. I suppose then, the fact that I’ve been focusing on getting armies built, at the very least, has meant this one has fallen by the wayside…

Continue to build up and paint the 1500pt Grey Knights list
For the longest time in 2019, I did actually consider selling off my Grey Knights, as they had barely been started as an army, and I thought I might just get rid of them before I went in too deep. But in the last couple of months, I’ve kicked this project back into gear, and have actually played one game with them. So progress has definitely been made – though the 1500 point list has definitely changed shape since I wrote this!

Finish off painting the Deathwatch models I have
Nope. Deathwatch were, for a time, a significant project for me once more, and I was trying to get a few models done. I think the most I have done, though, is some base coats on Watch Captain Artemis… I have a lot of Deathwatch models, though, so they will be looked at in the coming weeks, in an attempt to thin out the backlog. I don’t want to outright get rid of any, but I do want to try and clear some space, mentally, in my hobby.

Work out what I want to do with those Tyranids, if anything
I have indeed done this – I sold off a few models, I added a couple more, and I’ve not only started painting them, I’ve even had a couple of games with them! Definitely ticking this one off, then!

Work out what I want to do with the Tau army, if anything
I have indeed done this, as well – I sold off the whole lot, earlier in the year.

Paint 10 more Neophyte Hybrids, and paint 5 Hybrid Metamorphs
I haven’t done this, unfortunately. I think I’ve barely touched Genestealer Cults all year, despite their new releases coming out!

Paint 10 Skitarii, the Tech Priest Dominus, and the Dunecrawler
Well I’ve done the Skitarii, and I’ve done the Tech Priest – I just haven’t quite made it round to the Dunecrawler, sadly! I definitely need to take a long, hard look at the AdMech that I have, though, and thin those ranks out.

Paint some Ravenwing Black Knights, and the Darkshroud
I haven’t done anything with this, beyond undercoating them. Does that count? Probably not…

Paint at least one proper terrain piece (not just an ammo crate)
I have tried to do this one, what feels like all year – I just haven’t quite gotten there. The closest that I have come is getting quite a few basecoats and some shade on the Alchomite Stack, which is quite possibly one of my favourite of all the terrain kits GW produce as a result!

Paint some Nighthaunt and see what AoS is all about
I’ve certainly painted some Nighthaunt, and I’ve had three games with AoS, so I think this can be chalked up to a success! Though I would, of course, have preferred to have played more!

Paint the Doomsday Ark
I started… but I have definitely not finished…

Try out ShadeVault and Necromunda
Total failure on both counts!

Play more games, dammit!
Well, I played three games of AoS, as mentioned, as well as four games of Kill Team and thirteen games of 40k! If we’re counting other games, I also played the Dunwich Legacy campaign, as well as a couple of games with the new Hellboy boardgame. So it’s hardly been a prolific year for gaming, but it has still been really quite good, and I’ve met some really nice new folks to play against, which has been great! Moving house and having a baby has limited my time to some extent, for sure, but I’m hopeful that, now we’re in more of a routine, things can perhaps get back on track.

I’ll be writing more about my Hobby Resolutions for 2020 in another blog, but I think some of these will definitely be making a return – that terrain isn’t going to paint itself, after all!!

Psychic Awakening: Phoenix Rising

Hey everybody,
It’s been out for a while now, but I’ve been wanting to talk about the new Psychic Awakening series of books for Warhammer 40k since the event kicked off a couple of weeks ago, so what better time to start than now?! The series is meant to have massive ramifications for the 40k universe as a whole, and back when it was initially announced, we were promised something new for every faction. I’m sure we’ve had such promises before, but so far, we’re three books in at the time I’m writing this, with a fourth on the way, and it looks like they are actually looking to deliver on this!

Psychic Awakening Phoenix Rising

Book One, Phoenix Rising, deals with all things Aeldari, and the book is actually really quite interesting to delve into. The first thing that you notice about it is that it isn’t anywhere near as weighty a tome as the Vigilus campaign books from last Christmas. That is probably because the book functions more like a mini Codex, than a true campaign book, and there is correspondingly less in the way of lore.

It’s still there, for sure – I read somewhere that this series is meant to bring the Imperium as a whole up to the same point in time as the Vigilus stuff, which sort of functions as the “current” timeframe. That would seem to be correct, as the fluff here goes right back to the Gathering Storm in places, chronicling the rise of the Ynnari and putting that into the wider context of the Aeldari races as a whole. That does sort of make sense, as that earlier series was a 7th edition thing, so it’s good for new fans to have the same sort of context as the rest of us.

The fluff is followed then by a series of narrative missions to play, three Echoes of War missions that recreate some of the storyline in the fluff section, such as the Drukhari attack on the Ynnari, using manipulated forces of the Astra Militarum. Each of these missions has its own suite of stratagems that can be used, and there are also a couple of additional rules for Theatres of War, giving ongoing effects for the whole battle. Theatres of War is something that I don’t see used a great deal, but could be fun to play with if you wanted a really intense game of 40k!

This first book in the series was released alongside a box set, Blood of the Phoenix, which repacked several Craftworld and Dark Eldar kits, as well as providing plastic miniatures for Jain Zar, Howling Banshees, Drazhar and the Incubi. I’m not a Craftworld expert, but the Drazhar model went all the way back to 1992, I believe, and so was really quite desperately in need of an update. I’d been hoping for plastic Incubi for almost as long as I’ve been a Dark Eldar player, so this box was highly anticipated! I mean, look at a comparison with their older models:

Jain Zar and Drazhar old models

Unfortunately, the box set was really quite overpriced – I think it was something like £150 retail, which is fine when you think the characters will probably be £25 each when released separately, and the new units will be around £30 or maybe £35, if the Chaos Marines release is anything to go by; it means you’re getting a whole bunch of the older stuff for about £30, which is a big saving. A lot of people weren’t too impressed, though, as the older stuff it was packed alongside has been out for years now, and people tend not to want that stuff. It was the sort of box that might be great for new folks getting into the hobby or wanting to start these armies, but for those of us who have been waiting for these plastics, it was a hard pass. As it stands, I picked up Drazhar on a bits site, and would be fine to wait for the plastic Incubi kit to hit retail, having already bought and painted up the finecast models if I wanted to use them in a battle before then.

New Drazhar is an incredible model though, I really liked him a lot!

Anyway, following the missions, the book sort of splits into three, as we get the new rules sections. First up are the Craftworld lot, which have the rules for Jain Zar and the Howling Banshees, as well as three pages of additional rules for other aspect warriors such as Dire Avengers and Striking Scorpions. It’s really quite an interesting little rules update in this respect, although I’m no Craftworld expert to know whether they’d be of any use!

The Drukhari section is a little smaller, having new rules just for Drazhar and the Incubi – I say new rules, they’re more like tweaks, really. Drazhar gets a bit beefier and now has the Lethal Precision rule the Incubi had, and the Klaivex can take demi klaives like Drazhar.

Both flavours of Eldar get new ways to create their own brand of chapter tactics with new Obsessions and Attributes. From a list of different abilities and effects, you get to choose two (unless otherwise stated) which give you your own custom rules for your chosen army type. I suppose it compensates for not having your own Stratagems and Warlord Traits by getting to pick two. There are four pages of Craftworld Attributes, while the Drukhari get a page of Obsessions for each of Kabal, Cult and Coven. Some of them are quite decent, as it happens, and I’ll talk about them a bit more shortly.

Finally, the book closes out with a reprinting of the Ynnari “Codex” that was featured back in a White Dwarf earlier this year. There is all of the lore, the rules, stratagems, psychic powers and warlord traits, so it’s nice to have that reproduced again here for convenience, and to ensure that Ynnari players can have those rules without resorting to trying to find the White Dwarf on ebay, or something.

All in all, it’s a pretty nice book, with a lot of different parts that you can pick and choose from. Obviously, Eldar players are the demographic for this, as Space Marines players will find nothing of interest here. But I do like these sort of books, which have a bit of story/background to them, some new rules, and then some missions and stuff to choose from, as well.


Yesterday, I played my final game of 40k for the year, a three-player game against Chaos and Necrons, for which I brought my own Drukhari – the first time they have had an outing since about May, I think!

It was a pretty casual game, with armies floating around the 1000 points mark. My buddy JP had had the Start Collecting Chaos Marines for Christmas, as well as more Havocs, so was keen to get those out. Matt was playing Necrons, in what was I think his second game of 40k (certainly his second game of 8th edition). We were using the multiplayer rules from the core rule book, so nothing too fancy, but I think it definitely helped that we were all very much into it not being a case of ganging-up on one player, but we were all trying to achieve our own objectives while attacking everybody else.

It was also really nice to finally get all of my terrain out and on the table!

I’ve been thinking a lot about doing away with Obsessions entirely, and playing lists more like I used to in the Index days, but instead decided to try out the new build-your-own with a Raiding Party force. Pretty much everything about the Drukhari army caused raised eyebrows from my opponents, and with good reason – they’re the sort of army where so many things just shouldn’t be the case, and yet they are. I’m particularly fond of the Hexrifle on my Wracks here, because nobody expects a fairly-dedicated close combat unit to include a sniper rifle, after all!

Wracks were possibly the star players here, taking out the Daemon Prince warlord for 1VP, followed closely by the Ravager which, over the course of my turn, finished off the Havocs unit before it could do anything.

However, I was very often forgetting a lot of rules – standard operating procedure, for sure, but I think the sheer number of moving parts to this army when you have all three subfactions present is just bonkers.

So for my Kabal, I took Disdain for Lesser Beings, which allows me to only ever lose one model to Morale (forgot about that, and lost two of my Warriors this way), and Toxin Crafters, which adds one to the damage characteristic of a poisoned weapon on a natural 6 to wound. I don’t honestly know if this would have made a difference (I forgot about the open topped rule for my Raiders for at least one turn), but there you have it. I normally use Kabal of the Obsidian Rose, giving me +6 to the maximum range of weapons, and I think I would usually prefer this to anything else, as I want to keep my Kabal gunline as far away from anybody as possible.

The Kabal rules in Phoenix Rising aren’t particularly game-changing, they are just some interesting alternatives if you don’t want to use those from the Codex.

Wych Cults are still a subfaction that I don’t know enough about, having only used them once previously. I mean, I use Reavers a lot, but the rest of them… I’d gone with Precise Killers, which improves the AP of a weapon on a natural 6 to wound, as well as Slashing Impact, which allows me to inflict 1 mortal wound on a 5+ when I finish a charge move. These are nice bonuses, and there are some interesting things in the book that I think could do with further investigation. I probably need to play more Wych Cults to get the gist of things, though.

I will say, as well, that I had an incredibly lucky roll on my Hekatrix’s blast pistol, and one-shot killed the Master of Executions! Given that the last time JP and I played, his Master of Executions took out my entire Grey Knights Purifier Squad in a single swing, I feel that has given me justice!

Combat Drugs are still a mystery to me, however…

Finally, for my Haemonculus Coven, I went with Experimental Creations, which increases the Strength of everyone in the unit, as well as giving a +1 to wound rolls when attacking units with lower toughness. That didn’t really come into it as much as I thought, but the +1 Strength was very handy! With Wracks being S3 but T4, you want them in combat, but their effective power is quite limited with just basic weapons. Anyway! My second Obsession for them was Masters of Mutagens, which means a natural 6 to hit against anything other than vehicles or titanic units is an auto-wound. That did come up quite a bit, which helped me to get rid of the Chaos Sorcerer, at which point there were no more Psychic shenanigans to endure.

It was a good game, and didn’t feel too much like a 1v1 with a bystander, though the Necrons just kept reanimating while Chaos and Dark Eldar were dying all around, meaning the final round was a bit one-sided. But we got to 5 rounds, so all was well!


I feel like Phoenix Rising is definitely going to be worth getting for Craftworlds players, and Ynnari too, but if you’re a Dark Eldar player looking for new ways to play the army, I think there is limited good stuff here. Possibly not worth it to the more competitive players, as nothing in there seems particularly game-destroying – and I’m guessing the more competitive dark kin won’t want to give up Agents of Vect so easily, anyway!