And now, Wood Elves!

Hey everybody!
In a move that will no doubt shock nobody at this point, I’ve found myself thinking about painting something completely different to what I’m used to, and feeling the need for – not a new challenge, as such, but just feeling like I want to try painting something different… and so I’ve been thinking about new armies, and looking at different stuff online, and have returned to an idea from a few years back now: the Wood Elves!

Wood Elves don’t really exist in Age of Sigmar. They were a faction from the Old World that encompassed the new Sylvaneth alongside their elven counterparts. I think this is the aspect of Wood Elves that appeals to me the most; the image in my mind of some tree-spirit creatures like the Treelord and Dryads, alongside their “mortal” followers, the Eternal Guard and so on.

I don’t honestly know enough about the elves (or aelves, as they are these days) to know if they’re worthwhile in an Age of Sigmar army. I still think I’d like to try and put together a small number of miniatures though, simply because I love the appeal of walking trees alongside elf hunters!

There seems to be an interesting mix of units available to the Wood Elves, which is another appealing factor. Of course, I’ve not looking into it in any great deal, so I suppose this could be equally true of any other faction, but I do like the fact that there are a lot of utility units, and nothing really seems to be too wasted. Of course, there are a lot of units that do their own thing, but then it isn’t simply reliant on heroes to then buff those units.

One of the units that first drew me to the army was the Wildwood Rangers, hooded and masked warriors wielding these massive two-handed draichs. I have previously picked up a box of these gents, in an effort to kit-bash them into plastic Incubi for my Dark Eldar army. Unsurprisingly, that was a project that ended in obscurity (well, ebay).

Of course, there have been so many new model releases that are just awesome for the Sylvaneth side of things since Age of Sigmar first launched, I think anybody would be hard-pressed not to want to include these in any such army! The exciting thing now, of course, is that we’ll hopefully be able to do exactly this, with the upcoming Cities of Sigmar battletome that was previewed at the weekend!

Back in the day, I was leaning heavily into Sylvaneth after I’d grown tired of painting Stormcast Eternals in the gold-and-purple scheme I’d been using, and had picked up several kits in an effort to build up a second force. The Tree-Revenants I later decided would be used as Mandrakes for my Dark Eldar, and I painted them up to match the main force:

I had also been painting Dryads, the first unit that I was building up for my Sylvaneth army, using the winter colour scheme from back in the day:

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Sylvaneth Dryads

I also had the big daddy himself, the Treelord that would form the centrepiece of this collection of living trees:

I really like the Sylvaneth. I suppose part of it is because it takes me back to my early days in the hobby, where I would buy all kinds of random stuff and build and paint while the youtubes was on in the background. Back then, I used to listen to Joey Berry a lot, whose videos would chronicle her own beginning journey in the hobby and served as a nice sort of mirror. Given that Joey was a Wood Elves player, a lot of that has stuck with me down the years, and it’s a nice way to look back on my hobby “journey” (if that doesn’t sound too corny) and reminisce!

It was a wrench when I eventually sold all of this off a couple of years ago, thinking I would concentrate solely on 40k, only to then fall right back into it when Soul Wars came out and I found myself picking up more and more fantasy stuff once more as 2018 rolled to a close. I suppose thinking I would just stick to 40k was a bit disingenuous, as it was fantasy that got me into this wonderful game, and back in the day, I was actually really into Age of Sigmar and all the rest of it.

I’m probably not going to go wild with this project. I’ve definitely been thinking a lot about that Treelord miniature, and wanting to get one so that I can paint it up and enjoy it. Having a small band of miniatures adjacent to that would be just lovely, I’m sure, and making them a nice mix of tree-folk and elves is the dream.

I’m probably still going to stick to my plans for the Nighthaunt and Legions of Nagash being my main AoS focus, with Chaos being a close second. Sylvaneth have some beautiful models though – there is just something really pleasing to me about painting fantasy miniatures. It was the same when I was painting up the Nighthaunt, something that just strikes a chord with me, and takes me back to my early days in the hobby. I think this could be a really fun side project though, so stay tuned for some (hopefully) exciting updates to see where I go with this for the rest of the year!

Age of Sigmar Open Day!

Yesterday was the Age of Sigmar Open Day over at Warhammer World, and perhaps unsurprisingly, the main focus was on Warcry, which is due out in a scant fortnight.

There were demo games, the beautiful models were on display, and folks were getting to paint up Iron Golems left and right.

I wasn’t jealous at all…

At any rate, Warcry wasn’t the only thing going on over in Nottingham…

The next two Battletomes were announced, one of which I really didn’t think we’d ever see! The Orc factions getting amalgamated into their own book was a nice touch for sure, as it’s good to see the formerly-splintered armies finally coming back together in a sensible and cohesive way. This is especially true of the old Empire faction, which was hacked apart, much like the old elves, into several tiny factions which, overall, it seems was done simply to then eliminate portions from stock. Cities of Sigmar is promised as more than just the Empire re-imagined, however, as it instead re-forges the Empire, the Elves and the Dwarves into a single book!

Cries of “Soup!” might well be warranted, but I’m hoping there will be solid plans in place to allow for an intelligent combination of these forces into a single cohesive army.

each City of Sigmar can enlist units from Battletome: Stormcast Eternals into their main force, while Tempest’s Eye and The Living City can draw on aid from the Kharadron Overlords and Sylvaneth, respectively, as full members of your army that share your allegiance abilities.

This has gotten me really quite excited, as I’ve been thinking for some time about trying to combine some of the old Warhammer Fantasy units with some of the new Age of Sigmar kits. Come back tomorrow for some of my thoughts on this!

Legendary Slayer Gotrik Gurnnisson is finally getting the model that he deserves, standing atop a pile of dead Skaven. Nice.

Speaking of new models…

I did not expect this to ever happen! A plastic Ogre Tyrant kit?! He looks wonderfully menacing, as well, which is really good. Alas, I’ve cleared out all of my Ogres, so don’t have any need to buy this one, but if I were still collecting the fat dudes, I’d definitely be picking this chap up!

Exactly how he’s going to be packaged, though – I’m guessing it’s going to be something along the lines of Looncurse and Carrion Empire from a couple of months ago. Bring out a new Leader for a faction, bundle it up with a bunch of older kits, and watch the money come rolling in!

Feast of Bones – the new battle box coming for Age of Sigmar! Maybe…

Meanwhile, Warhammer Underworlds is gearing up for season three, and I still haven’t played a single game! I’ve got stuff all over the place for this (I blame moving house, but still) so I think it really is time I tried the game out sometime soon. It seems to have a good following at my local store, at least, so that’s a good start!

Centaurs? Could we be seeing entirely new factions for Age of Sigmar here, or simply new models for existing factions? Who the hell knows!

It’s definitely time that I got my act together and tried this game out…

Finally – just what the hell is this all about? The Tithe of Bones? I’ve seen some speculation out there that the Tomb Kings will be coming back as a re-imagined AoS-style army, which would be incredible! Others think it could be Vlad coming back, or Krell. I’m not so sure, as I don’t think GW will be bringing back named characters anytime soon like this. So far, at least, it seems to have been mostly about creating new characters where possible, and the only named folks we’re seeing are the major players who came across at the very beginning anyway.

Re-imagined Tomb Kings would be so awesome. Death has got ghosts and it’s got zombies, and then there are the other bits within Legions of Nagash; it’d be really nice, in my mind, to have a faction of skeletons that forms a proper skeleton horde. Of course, TKs weren’t all about the skeletons and nothing but – rather, there were all of those constructs like the Necrosphynx and Ushabti. A skeleton army that features golem-like creatures could be really cool, and would allow for stuff like the Morghasts and Mortarchs to slot into the force quite easily.

Would it be too much to ask for a proper Deathrattle / Skeleton Horde? Possibly. I suppose only time will tell!


So there we go! I suppose for me, filtering out the Warcry stuff that was clearly the main focus of this event, the most exciting thing is this Tithe of Bones. I hope it’s basically a new faction release, and not the other half of that Ogres boxset that people have been speculating about!

Getting somewhere with Genestealer Cults

Hey everybody!
So the Codex has been out for a couple of months now, and I’ve been finding it a bit difficult to work out just how I want to build my Genestealer Cults army. I mean, there’s a lot going on here, with it being a new army with a whole slew of new models to try and get my head around and see how they work with the units that I was somewhat familiar with from leafing through the Index and stuff.

While I’ve been leafing through other codices, it’s usually my game-plan to start with a single model, or a single idea that requires a couple of models, and build out from there. With the Cult, however, I’m still at something of a loss! I think the first problem I encounter is always wanting to include the Broodcoven in my list, simply because of the coolness factor. The three HQ choices of Patriarch, Primus and Magus are something of a holy trinity, though, and I do feel like they should be at the forefront of my list. With that in mind, then, I suppose it’s time to try and build a Cult!

The Patriarch is a melee monster with some real psychic punch, as well. The Psychic Phase is not my natural home – I’m a Necrons & Dark Eldar player, after all! – and I think this could also be part of my downfall with these guys. Knowing when and how to use the best of the Broodmind Discipline is going to be a steep learning curve for me, I feel. The Patriarch knows two psychic powers and can attempt to manifest one per turn, though any familiars he has with him can lend him the power to try for a second. That could be very useful, I feel. He’s also something of a commander for both the Cult at large (allowing friendly models to auto-pass Morale if they’re within 6″) as well as adding one to the hit rolls for friendly Genestealer models within 6″. With 6 attacks of his own, he’s going to be up close and personal with the Genestealers, rather than hanging back with a screen of chaff to protect him (though that chaff will be useful, regardless!)

The Magus has a new model, I’m pretty sure we’re all aware of that by now, but I still love the classic model that came out with the first batch of miniatures for the army. The Magus is actually quite underwhelming as an HQ choice, I feel – he can allow units within 6″ to deny psychic powers as if they were themselves psykers, but if you’re not playing a psychic-heavy enemy, this ability is fairly redundant. He does know two psychic powers however, and can also benefit from familiars allowing him to attempt another one per Psychic Phase, which is quite nice. I’m guessing that’s where his main focus will be, either through buffing friendly units or else denying Overwatch with Mass Hypnosis. There are some more offensive Psychic powers in the Broodmind Discipline, but I think I prefer to keep my Magus further back than they perhaps require him to be…

A lot of Genestealer Cult players have been a bit miffed – and rightly so – that Purestrain Genestealers do not gain a Cult Creed. Indeed, I’m sure I’ve read somewhere that the Cult version of Genestealers are strictly worse than their Tyranid counterparts, though I don’t know a great deal about such things. At any rate, I feel like I can’t have a Genestealer Cults army without at least one squad of these little critters, and they do have the unique Stratagem that gives them a random buff that feels like it may go some way to compensating for the lack of a Cult Creed.

Speaking of which, I think I should probably talk about that for a moment, as well. All of my Genestealer Cults units painted so far have been in the colour scheme of The Bladed Cog, which gives an improved invuln save, and negates the penalty for Infantry units moving and firing heavy weapons. Which is alright, but given my thoughts of going heavily into melee, I’m wondering if The Pauper Princes might not be a better choice, giving re-rolls to hit rolls for melee weapons on the charge. For now, I think I’m going to stick with my original plan, because so often with chapter tactics-type rules, I feel that you really need to play them to get a feel for how good they actually are.

I definitely want to include some Aberrants in the list. I’d been keeping away from these models for some reason – I think I had in my mind the idea of a relentless wave of cultists, much like my plans for Chaos. With 2 attacks each, hitting on 3s and the potential to be dishing out some serious damage, they look like a melee powerhouse. Their Bestial Vigour ability allows them to reduce the damage they receive, and also gives them a decent enough chance to shrug off wounds anyway.

It also gives me the reason I needed to buy the Biophagus, which is such a great looking model, but had firmly dropped off my radar because of the fact his only special ability is really to buff the unit.

The Primus is another useful HQ that will give +1 to hit in the Fight phase for units within 6″, as well as providing a useful buff for nearby units when they target a unit he has designated as the quarry. Very thematic, I like it!

When thinking about what to bring as a bodyguard for the Primus, I hear a lot of chatter about people using Acolyte Hybrids for their versatility. I’m not about to get all power-gamer and equip the whole squad with heavy rock cutters, or whatever the current meta has decided is the best weapon of the moment. Indeed, I’ve got a lot of Acolyte Hybrids from Deathwatch: Overkill that are bare-bones with autopistol and cult knife, and as a cheap troops choice, they’re pretty great for that!

Of course, a lot of Cult units are very squishy, with most of the hybrid Infantry being T3. This is perhaps where the mechanised portion of the list will come into play. I’ve had a Goliath Truck half-painted up for years, but I really want to add the Rockgrinder to the list, for that insane drilldozer blade! There are now some fairly good options for the Cult to get around the board, with the new bikes and the Ridgerunner. I’m thinking a lot of these things can be used to soak up Overwatch fire, which is always something of a concern for me with units like this. I do love the idea of mass-infantry, don’t get me wrong, and the thought of unstoppable waves of cultists just coming and coming at the enemy does have some appeal (I feel like I have enough miniatures that I could fairly well-replicate that idea, too!) but there are practical considerations to bear in mind!

Finally, I love the hilarity of the Tectonic Fragdrill, and would love to include it in the list. At 75 points, it should be able to find a home, and if for no other reason than it looks fantastic, I think I do need one in my life. As the centrepiece for the army, it really does look the part:

So I think I’ve been wittering on long enough now – I suppose I should actually share the list ideas that I’ve come up with!

This is something of an evolution of one of many, many attempts to make a Genestealer Cults list that I have been through so far this year! At 1500 points, I didn’t have the room for a Fragdrill, instead opting to go for more customisation on the Neophytes and take a second squad of Atalan Jackals to provide me with an Outrider detachment. While I do have four detachments in this list, I think I’m really only allowed to have three, and so there will be a number of things shifted into the main Battalion detachment, with then the Vanguard and Outrider providing the additional benefits.

While I was particularly excited about pretty much everything prior to the release, I actually ended up with just two of the new character models and a box of Atalan Jackals. These bikers really impressed me with how they can be customised, but I wasn’t sure if I was going to include them in the army from the off. Well, that soon went by the wayside! I’ve grown to love their dirt-bike aesthetic, and I think they’ll be really useful for harassing the enemy with their 14″ movement, as well as potentially tanking Overwatch as mentioned above.

It might just be me, but there’s almost a Wild West vibe that comes off these guys, as well. The name, plus the quadbike Wolfquad they use, as well as the tomahawk-wielding guy in the image above… it puts me in mind of prospectors out in the deserts, which I suppose is what the intention is – the Codex talks of these bikers using the cover of searching out new seams of ore in order to further the infestation of the Cult.

All gaming considerations aside, I think I am really in love with the Genestealer Cults as a faction, for the simple reason of their flavour being some of the strongest we’ve yet seen for any army in 40k. The idea of a band of everyday chumps forming a revolution against the Empire is terrific, and when paired with the idea of the Genestealer Cults preparing the way for the Tyranid invasion, I think it really leads to some of the best storytelling in the game. The new Elites choices that we’ve seen, from the vox-hacking Clamavus to the tactician Nexos, bring to life some of these fantastic elements from the army and it’s in-universe methods. All of the new models fit in seamlessly with the already-established mining aesthetic from the first releases back in the day, giving us one of the best, most fully-fleshed-out forces in the game right now.

I can’t wait to get started painting more of these guys!!

Dark Imperium: Plague War

View this post on Instagram

#nowReading #Warhammer40k

A post shared by Mark (@marrrkusss) on

It’s taken me almost a month to finish reading this book, but I feel like I need to point out that I haven’t been dragging my feet because the book is bad – far from it, it’s a really great 40k story in what I’m coming to think of as the “iconic” mode, as opposed to all of the throwaway stories that I’ve read in the past. But, as I’ve said already, I’ve been moving house, so time has been at a premium!

Plague War follows on from where Dark Imperium finished off, with the stage set for a Guilliman vs Mortarion showdown. In many ways, Plague War is a much better book, as it doesn’t really come with all of the baggage of the new edition that its predecessor had. Rather than reading the book to find out what would be in store for the new Primaris range, we can instead enjoy it on its own merits, and while I think I’ll most likely re-read them both when the inevitable third part comes along, I do think that the second act is definitely stronger.

The first couple of hundred pages feel like they are very deliberately setting the scene for the showdown on the planet Parmenio, presenting us with a number of small vignettes focused on several major characters to the story. We meet Frater Mathieu, who has settled much more into the role of Militant-Apostolic to Guilliman, and is continuing his schemes to make the Primarch a true believer in the divinity of the Emperor. We follow the Guard, as always, alongside some Sisters of Battle as they investigate the presence of a potential Imperial Saint in the city of Tyros, who first appears at the turning point in the battle against the forces of Nurgle. We meet several of Nurgle’s daemons, we catch up a little with Mortarion, and we also get to catch up with the Primaris marine Justinian Parris, who is seconded to the Novamarines following the events of the earlier novel. It’s all a little bit of a jumble – Guilliman himself doesn’t even appear until well over 100 pages, to take delivery of a curious strongbox.

While Mortarion is cooking up something particularly disgusting on Iax, which we got some clues about in book one, his feint on Parmenio is intended to bring Guilliman to his knees, and so the main portion of the book deals with the battle there. There’s only so much disease, filth and ichor that I can really take, but nevertheless, I felt it was somewhat toned down compared with previous Nurgle-centric novels. The Novamarines manage to destroy one of Mortarion’s clocks on the planet, which means that when the daemonic incursion takes place, the Neverborn are at a distinct disadvantage, due to the lack of any Warp power on Parmenio. They still put up a good show, of course, and Guilliman is almost destroyed by Mortarion’s scythe Silence, but at the crucial moment, the Battle Sisters bring the Saint onto the field of battle (defying Guilliman’s express orders) and her mere presence manages to send most of the daemon’s back to the Warp. Mortarion escapes to fight another day, calling out to his estranged brother to follow him to Iax and pretty much setting up the third novel, and the Imperium forces are left to gather their thoughts and their dead.

The fairly ambiguous end sees Roboute Guilliman open the strongbox, and begin to read possibly the only remaining copy of Lorgar’s Lectitio Divinitatus.


I said before, this is a much more enjoyable novel than Dark Imperium, and I suppose part of that has to do with how I approached reading the earlier novel. There is still an element of seeing these sorts of novels as miniatures catalogues, although there aren’t any new miniatures hinted at that I recall. The Astraeus super-heavy tank gets a mention, though, which I suppose was new at the time this book came out!

The novel did feel a lot like a short series of disjointed events for probably the first half, which didn’t really help me get into it too much. It became easy to pick up and put down after a single chapter, rather than wanting to read through for a good period of time. Nevertheless, once the story got underway, it was very enjoyable – though my personal disinterest in Titan warfare meant a particularly long chapter about 3/4 of the way into the book was just tedious to get through.

I thought it was really interesting how the Imperial Saint, Kaylia, was handled, though. She seems to have been just a regular girl who happened to have, to all intents, the Emperor act through her, bringing the cleansing light of His majesty to the disease-ridden battlefields of Parmenio. One of the daemons actually refers to her as “the anathema”, their word for the Emperor, though once this power has proven to be too much for a mere mortal to contain, and she expires as a result, Guilliman writes her off as an unsanctioned Psyker and berates Mathieu for planting the seed that enabled the Battle Sisters to take possession of her. The war between the Primarch and the Ministorum is clearly not over yet!

I do wish that more had been explored of that, but I suppose it’s possible that we’ll see more of it in the next book, which I hope will follow up on a lot of this stuff. Will Roboute Guilliman become a believer? I don’t know what to make of it – and I really don’t know what to make of him. Throughout this and the last book, we are led to believe that Guilliman, once he had come out of stasis thanks to the help of the Ynnari, had a chat with the Emperor on Terra. During the confrontation with Mortarion, however, it is implied that Guilliman did not, which makes me wonder what’s going on there. Is he trying to create some kind of cult of personality around himself, and maybe eventually declare the Emperor to be dead at last? I think he is now aware of the reasons for the Primarch project, and their eventual redundancy, so maybe his loyalty has shifted a little. I’m not trying to say that he is about to fall to Chaos, of course! I’m just wondering if we might be setting up for a further schism on the side of “good”, with the Ministorum heading up a pro-Emperor faction, and Guilliman at the head of his own? Like an Imperium Secundus, but for the modern age? Who knows!

I was a bit disappointed by the actual Guilliman/Mortarion confrontation however, and while inevitable, the fact that pretty much all of the Nurgle commanders escaped to fight another day was disappointing. I suppose it’s difficult to have such a confrontation where, presumably, the author isn’t allowed to kill off such a hugely important character (with a £90 miniature that was only released a year and a half ago…) In addition, the battle involving Typhus was almost entirely a bit of a sideshow, and I can just imagine the Herald of Nurgle twirling his moustache with a snicker and a “until we meet again!”

“You haven’t seen the last of me, muchachos!”

Overall, it’s definitely worth the read, although as the second part of a trilogy it both benefits and suffers, by having a decent story to build out from, albeit with no real sense of closure quite yet.

New Sisters of Battle

Sisters of Battle

Hey everybody!
We’ve had quite a few of these Battle Sister Bulletins come out from the community site now, and with this week’s reveal of quite a few from the troops squad, I thought it might be time to finally sit down with you all and take a look at what we’re being promised from the new Adepta Sororitas.

It’s an army that I’ve had a sort of tangential interest in for years now, especially since I’ve started delving deep into the history of the game. While I’ve had that interest, however, I’ve always eventually channeled myself elsewhere, mainly into the xenos races. There is something very, very fascinating about the Imperial cult, though, and I find myself drawn time and again to the smaller Imperial factions, wanting to explore things like the Inquisition line in more detail. Plastic Necromunda has brought us House Cawdor, with their own fascinating vibe, and I think it’s this aspect of the game and its lore that keeps drawing me in to the Adepta Sororitas. Back in 2016, I wrote this piece on the Sisters, when they were being embroiled up in Codex: Imperial Agents for 7th Edition, and while I wanted to be excited for a Sisters release, the fact that they were in all-metal just turned me off no end, and I’ve pretty much been in this half-state of kinda wanting to be excited, but just being totally burnt out (and absorbed in loads of other projects, of course!) But we’re getting plastic Sisters at some point in 2019 (apparently), and GW have been drip-feeding us news ever since.

Before the Bulletins commenced in February this year, we did get some teases from the range, such as the heads revealed at the Nova Open and a range of weapons shown off at Warhammer Fest Europe.

The weird crossbow-bolter seems like it might be a step too crazy, though this is 40k, and I don’t think you can ever get too crazy when it comes to the religious zealotry of the Sisters! Of course, whetting the appetite like this just means we’re hungry for more!

The Battle Sister Bulletin

We started with a look at some iconography, which was interesting but perhaps not what fans were expecting/hoping for. This was followed by some notes on the feedback GW received from the beta Codex that was included in Chapter Approved 2018. It was a little bit like the FAQ, though only telling us what they want to change, without going into details of how it would change.

We had to wait until the third update before we actually got anywhere near the new model range, and even then, we got to see some of the pieces for the army, and not whole models.

Which is fine – I mean, the pieces they showed off were quite something, I have to admit!

This update was almost certainly the one that got me thinking. As I said earlier, there is just so much bound up with the Sisters, these weird techno-baroque touches that I just find so incredible about the 40k aesthetic. It was really, really good to see that they were going to be bringing this out in the new range.

If seeing the bits was exciting, then the fourth bulletin was even more so, as we got to see a whole model for the first time!

This Seraphim was criticised at the time, but that’s mostly because 40k fans are never, ever happy, I think. Taking a lot of stylistic cues from the Geminae Superior that accompany the plastic Saint Celestine model, these miniatures do look really nice, and I’m interested to see how they will work as miniatures. I mean, the Geminae Superior are held aloft on the scrolls of parchment trailing behind them, which is quite the elegant touch, while most jump infantry seem to end up with plastic flying stands, so I wonder if they’ll end up looking much like the Primaris Inceptors…

The fifth update was all about the vehicles, and I think this is also where things begin to get interesting, as we’ve had confirmation that the Rhino chassis that will form the basis for their vehicles will be the Mark I Deimos-pattern, with the circular doors, rather than the more familiar Mark IIc Mars-pattern rectangular box. We’ve been promised a level of detailing that should allow for some really beautiful models, such as the shrine in the front armour panel:

It’s shaping up to be a release that is full of gothic promise!

We also had confirmation that the Penitent Engine will be redesigned, which I think is a huge boon as the current model is just awful. When you think that we have such beauties as the Ironstrider for the Adeptus Mechanicus, which features a servitor hard-wired into the vehicle, I’m sure they can come up with something suitably macabre yet clear of the crucifixion flavour of the old model.

Who knew vehicles could be so exciting! Well, I suppose the promise of plastic Deimos-pattern Rhino models will do that to you…

The sixth update was all about the lore, as we see some of the artwork and history that will be making its way into the Codex. It’s cool and all, getting to read about some epic Sororitas vs Tyranids violence, but I suppose I’m all about the new models at this point!

Which is why the seventh installment of the Battle Sister Bulletin was so exciting, as we got to see not only 3D renders, but the first actual plastic Sisters model, fully painted!

Of course, this model is now familiar because of its release on Warhammer Day at the end of June (though I still haven’t received mine!) Sister Superior Amalia Novena was given quite the run-down in this update, with the article going into detail on how the various parts of the model were painted. It’s worth bearing in mind for when we all get our hands on these new miniatures – although there are some principles that will be quite useful, no matter what is on the painting schedule.

The eighth update brought us a first look at another unit from the army, the Retributors. These are the heavy weapons teams for the Sisters, akin to the Space Marines Devastators, or the Heretic Astartes Havocs, and will supposedly have options for heavy bolters, heavy flamers, and multi-meltas.

I really like the fact that we’re getting the full range updated, rather than a replacement range, which is a thought that crossed my mind at one point. With the new Primaris releases having a single weapon option for each squad, I was a little concerned that we might have a similar situation with the new Sisters. I’d heard it was something to do with GW trying to make things straightforward for newcomers to the hobby, and prevent the sort of analysis-paralysis of how to equip a new squad. Well, it’s good to see that we’ll be able to get the full panoply of wargear for these girls, at any rate!

I really love the small details on all of these models. Hopefully they won’t turn out to be quite the madness that we have from ranges like the Death Guard, but it’s nice to have models that have so many details on them that will allow you to really invest in painting them up. It’s also nice, as with the Rhino talked about earlier, to see the Sisters getting their own distinct wargear, rather than just being females in power armour with the basic flamer/melta, etc.

The ninth update was simply an announcement that Amalia Novena would be available to purchase at the end of June, while the tenth was an interview with Darren Latham, the incredibly talented chap who designed her miniature.

That little tease at the end! I hope it is brilliant, though from what we’ve seen so far, I don’t think we’ve got anything to worry about!

All of this brings us to this week’s update, and the 3D renders of more of the regular Battle Sisters squad.

I know we can’t really compare these to the old models any more, because let’s be honest, they’re worlds apart now, but I just wanted to add in this image from the older metal sculpts to illustrate how far removed from the older models we are now:

All of the design cues are there, but things have just come along so much that we can now get something in plastic that has just so much more elegance than the blocky metal miniature. It’s really exciting to see these things coming out, and how the range has the potential to really bring us something truly special.

The Sister with the Simulacrum Imperialis is a personal favourite, as it has so much of the gothic detailing that we can find elsewhere within the Imperium, helping to really tie these forces together, while still remaining its own thing. I have images of running some Sisters alongside my Tempestus Scions, and I think they’ll provide a really nice counterpoint between the hefty, utilitarian flak armoured stormtroopers with their own gothic grace and splendour. Really looking forward to picking some of these up when they’re released, though depending on the actual release date, I don’t know if I’ll have a lot of time for hobbying as the first born will be arriving around mid-October!

Another fully-painted miniature from the range! Bulletin 11 really was a treat! These miniatures do look fabulous, the flowing robes and sleek power armour having a really arresting look overall. The bulletin also went into depth on the colour choices with ‘Eavy Metal’s Max Faleij, another really useful resource for when we get our hands on these miniatures and start to paint them up for ourselves!


So far, then, we’ve had almost five months’ worth of Bulletins, and along the way we’ve had some really exciting stuff shown off. I think the most exciting for me have been the vehicles update, followed closely by this week’s update with the regular Battle Sisters squad. I’m a sucker for the regular infantry in many armies, and seeing these warriors has really gotten me interested in collecting a force of Sisters. I think the promise we’ve seen from the vehicles bulletin really cements the idea that this is going to be an actual army, and not just a couple of new kits that will use some existing stuff, re-packaged with an upgrade sprue.

So far, we’ve got the Battle Sisters squad, the Retributors and the Seraphim, alongside a new Sister Superior (I’m assuming she’ll be a special character HQ choice) and promise of the three Rhino variants coming as Deimos-pattern, plus a new Penitent Engine. That’s a good solid core, but what else can we hope to see as part of this release?

Going from the top, I’d assume a generic Canoness will be coming, with the possibility of a new Dominion Squad. I put this as a possibility because Dominion teams are made up of regular Battle Sisters, all of whom wield special weapons. So in theory they may market the Battle Sisters as a dual kit for the Dominions, I don’t know. (It’s difficult to tell based off the current range, because they’re all metal, and you can very often buy these specialists as single miniature blisters to upgrade a regular squad, anyway).

The Command Squad will hopefully also be upgraded – I’m guessing it will be done, given the vox-hailer we had previewed in the third bulletin, but I suppose you never know! They were all separated out in the beta Codex as individual Elites choices, much like we’ve seen with the Primaris stuff. Of course, Battle Sisters aren’t Space Marines, so maybe the fact that Astra Militarum forces still get a Command Squad will mean they’ll be reunited in their actual Codex release. I’m going to put a question-mark over the Repentia squad, because of the weird nature of that particular squad. Half-naked Sisters wielding chainswords, urged on by a whip-toting Mistress of Repentance? Not sure it fits with new-GW, but maybe they’ll find a way to make it work. I suppose you could have them just clad in flowing robes, and no power-armour? Hm.

Of course, this all assumes that they will merely content themselves with updating the existing line, and leaving it there. What if there were to be some new squads brought out as part of this? Thinking about the Space Marines line, we don’t have Sororitas Scouts, for instance. Would they be a thing? I don’t think we’ll get Dreadnoughts per se (and I suppose there’s an argument that the Penitent Engine fulfills that role, anyway), but what about bikers? Of course, I did just say that Sisters of Battle are not Space Marines, so maybe this isn’t the right comparison to make.

What particularly interests me, however, is all of the Sisters-adjacent stuff that is also included as part of the line-up. The Preachers, Missionaries, Arco-Flagellants and Death Cult Assassins. I wonder if these will also be getting upgraded as part of the army? While the Preachers could, I suppose, be thought of as a part of the overall force, units like the Crusaders and the like feel a little more… odd. I think they’re all fine to be part of an Inquisition force, and there’s a significant part of me that hopes that model range gets a plastic update along the Sisters lines very soon! But in all honesty, I feel like these aspects of the army might be overlooked at this time. At least most of them are in finecast resin, rather than the dreaded metal!

Of course, we have had one plastic Death Cult Assassin, as part of the Rogue Trader box set for Kill Team, so maybe such things aren’t actually so far away after all? I’d like to think that these weirder aspects of the 40k universe will continue to be explored through releases like the Kill Team box, and also Blackstone Fortress (which has already given us a Ministorum Preacher, as well as a Missionary Zealot). Who knows, maybe the Sisters upgrade will naturally evolve, through units like the Crusaders and the Preachers, into a plastic update for the Inquisition, as well? To tie in with the much-requested Kill Team: Inquisition? Surely the upcoming rules for Eisenhorn in Kill Team are simply a testing bed for another boxed game to come out later this year?!

There is a lot of stuff that I would like to see come out for 40k, even if my wallet would disagree. Plastic Sisters have been a wonderful start to that, as well as the weird and wonderful releases from Kill Team: Rogue Trader, Blackstone Fortress and the like. I can only hope that these things continue to add diversity to the game, while we continue to see the main-line factions get their updates in the same way.

For now, though, I’m excited to see what else we might be getting from GW in the next Battle Sister Bulletin!

Mid Year Hobby Check-In

Hey everybody!
Things have been a bit sparse here on the blog in recent weeks, due to the fact that I’m moving house again at the end of this week. Two moves inside of two years isn’t really all that bad, if I’m being honest, though it’s still one move more than perhaps I’d like! Well, anyway – we’re having lots of fun because Jemma is now six months pregnant, so can’t do a great deal of anything when it comes to packing and moving stuff, but the heir is apparently developing beautifully, so that’s the most important thing!

Anyway!

I’m a bit late to the party on this one, for sure, but I wanted to check in with how I’ve been doing, hobby wise, especially in comparison with the hobby resolutions that I made back in December! So let’s get cracking, and see how widely I’ve strayed from these goals…

First of all, though, let’s take a look at what those resolutions were to be:

So then! I think the easiest thing would be to just run through the list quickly and see, one by one, what I have managed to do…

Build and paint a third Ravager
This one is still a work in progress. But it’s on my mind, which is good!

Build and paint an Imperium tank of some sort
I was hoping to do a Predator or something – you know, something that really looks like a tank? But I haven’t gotten anywhere with this yet.

Buy, build and paint Inquisitor Karamazov
None of these things has happened yet.

Continue to build up and paint the 1500 point Grey Knight List
This project has well and truly stalled!

Finish off painting the Deathwatch models that I have
This project has also well and truly stalled!

Work out what to do with those Tyranids, if anything
Finally, something that I can tick off! Check out this blog post for those plans! I’ve had several thoughts, plans and ideas since then, as well, though I don’t think they’ve yet made it into blog form. But give it time…

Work out what I want to do with the Tau army, if anything
Another big tick in the box – I’ve sold the whole lot on ebay, including the Codex. That Tau bridge has been well and truly burnt!

Paint 10 more Neophyte Hybrids, and paint 5 Hybrid Metamorphs
The models are built and primed, ready and waiting. I just need to get myself sorted out! This has actually stalled in favour of the next bullet point, however:

Paint 10 Skitarii, the Tech Priest Dominus, and the Dunecrawler
Well, I haven’t quite managed the Dunecrawler yet, but the Skitarii are coming along quite nicely, as it happens!

Paint some Ravenwing Black Knights, and the Deathshroud
Okay, so this has also well and truly stalled, but my buddy Matthew has been recently sharing some progress he’s made with his Dark Angels, which has in turn started me thinking once again about a return to the First. Watch this space on that one!

Paint at least one proper terrain piece (not just an ammo crate)
Well, I have plenty of terrain pieces that are built and primed – it’s just finding the time, at the moment, to get anywhere with them! I think I’ve just been much more focused on getting dudes painted, their surroundings have kinda lapsed into nothing for me at this point. Though I have started painting four more ammo crates…

Paint some Nighthaunt and see what AoS is all about
Okay, so this is probably the biggest one for me thus far – I’ve painted up quite a decent chunk of spooks at this point, and have had three games of AoS, which has been really positive overall! I’ve had some hiccups with it, whereby I’ve almost been branching out too much again, but I think I’m now contained to just Death and Slaanesh armies, keeping my AoS adventure much more understated and in keeping with the factions that hold the most interest to me.

Hopefully when I move, I’ll be able to get some more games in!

Paint the Doomsday Ark
Well, this one is still in pieces somewhere, so let’s move on…

Try out ShadeVault and Necromunda
Again, not managed to do anything here except paint gang members, so let’s continue…

Play more games, dammit!
Well, I’ve managed to play 9 games so far this year, across 40k, Age of Sigmar and Kill Team. Bearing in mind that I only managed to play 11 games in the entirety of 2018, 9 games in 6 months isn’t bad at all! So I feel quite good about this one, even though it isn’t as good as perhaps it could be!


So far, then, I’ve not been doing that well, but I think that’s partly because I was so focused, back in December, on getting my Deathwatch and Grey Knights painted, that I somehow thought I could do it to the exclusion of all else. Now, my buddy Kev has often said I just need to be focused here, but I do tend to lack that over a long stretch. I mean, if I had two weeks where all I painted were marines every day, then I might actually come out with a few hundred points of army at the end of it. However, I’ve been painting for one or two nights a week, for one or two weeks per month, and my focus is diffused over a wide variety of projects. Inevitably, I just end up doing nothing, or very little, and I think I need to get better at that aspect.

Last month, I started painting Skitarii like there was no tomorrow – at least, by my standards! And while it might not sound that impressive, I managed to get fifteen Skitarii Vanguard, a Tech Priest Dominus and a Tech Priest Enginseer painted up! That’s not bad, considering I’ve also been slowly packing up the house!

So I think I need to really try to hone myself into just concentrating on one project at a time, and going from there.

However!

Lack of concentration is one thing, but there has also been a number of new releases that have just grabbed my attention, and I feel now like I really need to alter my original resolutions in order to take account of them!

First up is, of course, Slaanesh. I’ve been a great fan of the Dark Prince since my Warhammer Invasion days, and I am thinking more and more about the need to start painting more of these things, and soon! I did also get a new Keeper of Secrets, which is just glorious but, due to the impending move, I haven’t yet made a start on it. So I’m thinking that might be a good project to keep for later in the year – we’ll have a small person to contend with, but I’m sure I’ll be able to cope with a centrepiece miniature! Ha!

Slaanesh has been a big deal for me for years, so I’m really looking forward to getting some of those daemons painted up – both the new stuff, and the old!

Towards the end of last year, I got into Chaos Marines again in a pretty big way. All of that Blackstone Fortress stuff was coming, and it really fired my imagination. Well, Shadowspear brought us loads more, and we’re currently on the cusp of Traitor Command for Blackstone Fortress, so it’s probably little wonder that, with so much heretical good stuff coming, I’m once again feeling the pull of the dark gods. I really fancy having a Word Bearers army, and have made some fairly slow progress in getting these things planned out. Chaos was one of my three “going bigger with” blogs from February, as I really fancied getting a Chaos force to the table sometime this year. The way that real life has intervened, I don’t think that will be possible now, but it’s something that I have on my mind at the moment, along with some other bits and pieces for a Chaos army, so I really hope that I can at least get a few more things painted before the end of the year!

I think I need to take a minute to talk here about the new line of Contrast paints from GW. They came out last month, to much fanfare, and I was actually pretty surprised at the results when I finally managed to try them out myself. The genestealer above was painted using Gryph-Charger Grey, and the blotchy appearance it left was really quite a surprise, and quite an eyesore. I’ve had that finish before with washes, and haven’t always managed to remedy the situation with some drybrushing or overbrushing, but considering these paints are supposed to get the model ready for the tabletop with one thick coat, I think the results are very poor.

Maybe it’s just because I’ve been doing it wrong, but even when mixed with the medium, that seems to tone down the pigmentation, while still leaving this blotchy finish. Is there some secret to it? I’m applying the paint as I think I’m supposed to, but it’s just leaving this horrendous look that I’ve yet to see work well.

I did try it on some space marines today, while I had some small dose of calm amid the flurry of cardboard boxes, but they just look bad. I’m particularly annoyed at this, because one of them was the 30th anniversary Primaris Lieutenant, which is actually a very nice model. Very annoying!

So I’m not a fan of contrast paints, which is just as well because I’ve only bought four of them. I think I’ll stick to the usual methods, but I’m quite pleased GW have brought out so many more base and layer paints, as it means I can start exploring new territories with them! I’ve already been thinking of a new Tyranid colour scheme after getting my hands on some of the old Forge World colours, so that’s exciting!

I’m also keen to continue painting up units for my Dark Eldar army that I’ve not had as a part of it so far. Incubi and Mandrakes, as well as Scourges, have been on the table as I inch closer to getting these chaps finished! So that’s all encouraging stuff.


In the middle of all of this, however, is my desire to just improve as a painter. There is so much that I can do to get better, top of the list being calm down and have more patience! A lot of the time I see myself rushing through things and getting sloppy, only to then need to go back and revisit the whole thing. I think I also need to try and get better with my brushes, as I usually wear them into the ground, while still using tufty things as if they were XS artificer layer brushes. While I have no problem replacing them when they wear out, I’m still a little nervy about starting to use a new one. I think I need to get over that, as it’s holding me back a bit.

There have been a few miniatures that I’ve churned out in the recent past where I’ve thought: yes, this is actually a decent looking mini. The one that immediately comes to mind is that Rogue Psyker from Blackstone Fortress, which is really quite neatly painted, and while the majority of the miniature is actually just basecoat and shade, I still look at it and think it’s come out pretty well. I suppose I’d like to try and capture that more and more as I go along, and paint in an unhurried manner but still get to make decent progress. It’s the dream, for sure, but I’m fairly positive that I could actually make it happen! It does help, of course, that the Rogue Psyker is one model, and did not require any sort of batch painting nonsense that I’ve recently been encountering as I’ve been doing the Skitarii, or preparing myself as I look down the barrel of the Chaos Marines from Shadowspear!

As the year goes on, then, I’m thinking I’ll be doing some much smaller-scale projects, five marines here, five daemonettes there, maybe a vehicle if I can manage it. Certainly from October, when Junior will arrive, I can’t see me getting much of anything done this side of Christmas 2020! But hopefully there will be bright spots on the horizon, as I can begin to get some things finished in the small hours while on the night shift!

But I don’t think I’ll get 1500 points of Grey Knights finished in 2019…!

The Apocalypse is here!

Hey everybody,
So, Apocalypse is coming on the horizon for Warhammer 40k. While I’m not really all that into playing such massive games, I’ve actually surprised myself at how interested I’ve become in this latest format for the game, after watching the brief run-down video from Becca Scott over on the  Warhammer TV channel. In case you haven’t taken a look, I’ll link it here:

My very first impressions after watching this were of just how similar it sounds to card-based combat games like Battlelore. I find this interesting, as I had originally had the impression this scale of game was literally just for people who wanted to spend an entire day playing a single game of 40k, or else wanted to play with all of their massive Forge World stuff that required remortgaging in order to buy, or possibly both. The video, in fact, makes the game seem a whole lot less complicated than that, and I can actually see me giving it a go sometime in the near future!

Right off, something I really like about this system is the way the army building works. Building a force using detachments is nothing new for 40k, but here we see that the detachment functions as a singular entity, activating at the same time, and relying on its commander for in-game leadership. In regular games of 40k, I find myself (and see plenty of others) building armies where the HQ which goes into a Vanguard detachment never has any in-game link to the Elites within, and is almost seen as a tax. Here, it sounds like it might be a lot different, and I like that!

Here’s something huge: movement trays! Apocalypse isn’t Epic, and so troops units still have a vital role to play. However, moving about dozens of units model-by-model will be arduous for anybody to watch, so we’re seeing movement trays coming back, and the internet rejoices!

We’ve got an Index of faction focus articles that show pretty much all of the regular factions will be making an appearance – and it’s nice to see the Sisters of Battle included here, ready for their big plastic release that is hopefully coming later this year!

It’s probably the fact that it feels like such a new and interesting way to play the game, but I’m really quite keen to pick this one up! I’m also a bit of a sucker for this style of box set, with all the fancy dice and tokens and cards. It sounds like it should make large-scale 40k games much more bearable than some of the horror stories of playing Apocalypse from back in the day, so it’ll be interesting to see how much of that is true. I never played Apocalypse back in the day, of course, but still…

It goes up for pre-order on Saturday, along with a bunch of other stuff (including, naturally, a bunch of battalion boxes to help you flesh out an existing army ready for the new system, or maybe to start off a new one). If I do find my way to playing, I will pretty much certainly be playing with either Necrons or Dark Eldar, depending on how the army composition works. I mean, I’ve got loads of painted Dark Eldar ready to go, so hopefully they’ll turn out to do me well!