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!
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!