Sisters of Battle launch box – finally finished!

I finally did it! After its launch in November 2019, I’ve finally finished painting all of the models within. You might think, 3 and a half years, to paint 25 models? Well yes, I am slow, but we’ve been through quite a few colour changes to get here!

I’m quite pleased with the results, anyway – so much so, that I set up that mini diorama above!

The Battle Sisters are some of the best models GW has produced, I feel, and now that I’ve found my colour scheme, I’m really enjoying getting the full army painted. After finishing the Arco Flagellants from the launch box to call the whole thing finished, I’m now ready to launch myself into the 500 points challenge that I talked about the other day. I think I’m going to begin with the Novitiates, because they’re intriguing me as regards the challenges that will come from having to find a different-but-similar scheme for them.

Oh, but wait, there’s more!

The awesome Exorcist is now finished, as well! It’s such a bonkers model, I just love it so much. Very much looking forward to getting all these to the table at some point, though for now, I’m still enjoying playing the Tyranids…

Sisters of Battle: 500 points challenge!

Hey everybody,
Despite a lot of waffle from me the other day about Tyranids, my current project is very definitely centred around the Sisters of Battle, as I’ve been enjoying painting the Exorcist tank, and want to try and get more of those units painted up in time for 10th edition dropping this summer. I already have a pretty decent amount of models painted, however I have an equally decent amount of models unpainted, with a not-insignificant number of models still in boxes on the sprue!

To help tackle this, James and I have started on a bit of a slow-grow type thing, where we have a 500-point list for each of our armies, and we just go from there. He’s doing Imperial Guard, as he has an impressive collection of Forge World Death Korps of Krieg models that need some attention, and I’ve got a small bunch of Sisters to get me moving once the tank is finished.


My list is simply ten Battle Sisters, ten Sisters Novitiates, three Paragon Warsuits, and a Canoness. It actually comes in at 530 points, but as I’ve already painted the Canoness, I think it’s probably fine! The idea is to keep us going by just focusing on this small force (although 500 points of Guard is actually quite a lot!) and then see about playing some games, either as a farewell to Ninth or to learn how to play Tenth!

To some extent, it’s also scratching that itch that I talked about at the start of the week, with having a project to work on. There’s a part of me hoping that I will be able to really focus on these models to the exclusion of all else, and hopefully get them finished by the end of June. I know that I still have some Hobby Goals for 2023 to work on, and I don’t want to be getting too distracted from those, but I would really like to get a full rounded battalion of Sisters painted up, so two HQs and three troops, before the end of the edition.

Naturally, I’ve already begun to think about what else I could be adding in to this as time goes on, in an effort to get rid of the backlog in the attic. I’ve currently got the box of five Seraphim waiting for me to do something with, as I really enjoyed those models back when I was painting them last year, so I would like to get some more Sisters of flying doom finished. I also have two more Penitent Engines, a box of Repentia, an Immolator, and the Triumph of St Katherine in boxes (that I can recall – there’s possibly still more…) It would be nice to get as much as possible painted though, especially while I’m in this mindset.

Once this is all finished, I’m not really sure where I would go from there. I mean, it’s possible that the army would be pretty much finished, which is quite shocking really! I suppose I wouldn’t mind a third Battle Sisters squad, as the Novitiates are a bit disappointing for what they do. A rhino for transport might also be nice. I’m not really sure what else I would like to get, though – I suppose it would become a question of whether there is a surprise release waiting for us, a bit like the AdMech release that came out during the Psychic Awakening series between 8th and 9th. A Sisters flyer would be nice, as would some kind of biker unit, so I suppose we will see. Their 10th edition codex isn’t due out this year, from what I can tell, so I suppose that could mean more unit entries could be on the way!

I’m definitely pumped for working on these models once more, and even though I don’t really have the best of memories for how they performed on the tabletop, I am still looking forward to having a fully-painted force to push around!

Sisters of Battle Exorcist (WIP)

I’m having a lot of fun painting this tank right now. It’s such a ridiculous looking thing, I just love it. In so many ways, it encapsulates that over-the-top feel that 40k has always been about – it’s a tank that has a series of organ pipes that have been converted to launch missiles (because of course). The missiles are seemingly controlled by the driver, who sits front and centre (the Emperor protects, so why should she sit inside the thing?!) Her helmet has been altered to have that ridiculous visor, and she uses a double-manual wraparound keyboard to shoot the missiles behind her. All while blasting out hymns to the glory of the God-Emperor of Mankind, booming across the field of battle from those trumpets mounted just a couple of feet above her head.

It’s just glorious!

On top of all this, the tank is decorated with statuary depicting various Imperial Saints, as well as icons representing the Orders Majoris of the Adepta Sororitas. The tank is attended to by two cherubs, one of whom clings on to the chassis having lost his legs, poor thing.

Spectacular, in every sense of the word!

The new model is a definite improvement on the older one, above, though I do love that classic, ridiculous design too. The new design is of course far superior, but it’s interesting to see how much of that design was carried over to the new model. I do kinda like the older driver, though, who seems to be playing the organ up there with wild abandon!

While I’ve been painting it, I’ve been watching Shetland from the beginning. I seem to remember we watched one of the later series last summer when I was painting the initial portions of the force, so it’s kinda nice to be back with that once more.

I had great fun painting my Sisters of Battle last year, and it seemed that I got a lot of the army painted very quickly. I’m hoping that this tank might herald the start of more models getting finished, as I still have quite a few units to get done.

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about giving myself a real project, for want of a better term. You know the feeling that you have when you open a Start Collecting box, or whatever they’re doing these days, and there’s a whole bunch of sprues in there? I have been kinda craving that sort of thing, where you have a defined bunch of stuff to get done… Well, short of buying something for the sake of this idea, I might instead launch myself at the Sisters again and see about getting all of these things painted.

In addition to the Exorcist, then, I’ve still got a unit of 10 battle sisters, a unit of 10 Novitiates, and the three paragon war suits that I recently built. It could well scratch the itch!!

I’m waffling here. In the meantime, enjoy my little diorama that I threw together with some of the finished Sisters and some terrain!

Sisters of Battle
Sisters of Battle
Sisters of Battle

Hobby Goals 2023

Hey everybody,
Happy New Year! I like nothing more than a fresh new year, just full of promise and waiting to be exploited! Well, that’s what I tell myself. 2022 wasn’t really all that bad here on the blog, had some great times overall among those 181 posts, so let’s hope that 2023 will continue the theme! On a personal note, after deciding to eat better in June I’ve managed to lose 1st 5lb in total, just through eating better, so that has been amazing and I’m hoping to continue that into the new year. As is now traditional for this day, I am going to outline some of the hobby things I have every intention of doing, but most likely won’t end up getting round to for one reason or another, so let’s get to it!

This seems to be on the list every year, and with varying degrees of success. Last year, I did pretty well though, so I hope that I can do the same this time around. I have a Promethium Forge still to paint, one of the big three Sector Mechanicus structures that I bought way back when, and after painting the other two, I think it’s only fair to think I could get this one done this year! There is also stuff like the second Haemotrope Reactor, of course, and I’ve got plenty of bits for Necromunda that could go into this as well, so I think I have enough to be going along with. 

I would really like to get the Promethium Forge done, though.

I have had a lot of success with getting the outstanding Drukhari painted up in 2022, in fact it was probably the best year for the dark kin since I started the army in 2017, and spent the bulk of that year getting everything done. I still have a lot of models that actually need painting, of course, but I would also like to try to get round to doing some of the finishing touches to my models this year, too. Stuff like the basing, or final highlights, or adding some missing detail to some of the models that were painted very much to get them done. 

I would really like to get the 10 Hellions painted up properly this year, though.

Adepta Sororitas
Sisters of Battle were a bit of a surprise triumph for me in 2022, as I went from almost selling them all off to fully painting about half the army in a couple of months. The scheme is really easy to replicate though, so I think that’s a big part of my success here. I still have a lot of models to paint, like the Novitiates and the next squad of Battle Sisters, as well as a lot of stuff still to build. I’m not going to push this, because I don’t want to run the risk of burning out as I have done with other big projects, but I think it’ll be good to add units to the force as time goes on. 

I would really like to get the Exorcist painted this year, though.

Ah, my first hobby love. Necrons have been a little sidelined for a few years now, though they did come out in absolute triumph for two games in the summer, where they were particularly impressive. I have a lot of things for this army, and I have a lot that still needs painting for the army, as well. I think it will be best to just keep chipping away with these, and perhaps the more games that I play with them, the more I’ll want to paint up for the army.

I would really like to get the 3 Wraiths painted up this year, though.

Tau Empire
Now, then. The Tau were to have been my big project of 2022, but sadly didn’t really get too far off the ground in the end. In 2023, I’m hoping to get everything that I currently have painted, at which point I can start to look at other bits and pieces that I can add in to the force. I almost got myself a Devilfish the other day, but with five units still unpainted, I don’t want to go adding things to my list that just make the job more difficult. I have plenty to be getting on with, so I will hopefully make good on this project and have a painted playable army in no time! 

I would really like to get the 3 Crisis Suits (and their drones) painted up this year, though.

Having touched upon this in the terrain paragraph above, I think Necromunda deserves its own slot because it is a huge game in its own right, and I am currently on such a high with it that I want to throw the spotlight on it some more. I don’t even know how much stuff I currently have for the game, but it’s a lot, and I am really keen to get moving with all of the half-finished stuff that I have, like the Corpse Grinders and Orlocks. After getting all of the Ash Wastes terrain painted up so quickly, I want to try my hardest to get more stuff finished so that when I play games, it looks amazing as well. I currently have the Delaque and the Ash Wastes Nomads gangs both fully painted, so I think next up I would like to get another gang finished, either the Escher or Orlock gang, and just continue on from there.

I would really like to get more of the Zone Mortalis scenery painted up this year, though.

So that, my friends, is the sum total of my plans for 2023. I was able to get a lot of the backlog painted during 2022, and I was lucky in that my painted output outweighed the newly-bought models. I’m fully intending that I can continue that trend in the new year, and continue to paint the models that I have, rather than just add more stuff to the pile of shame. Of course, it’s silly to suggest that I won’t be buying more stuff, but I hopefully have more than enough models for the majority of my army projects – it’s only the Tau that could feasibly have more models bought for them. In that respect, then, I suppose it’s mainly going to be Necromunda stuff that will be added to over time. Which is fine, because I collect that stuff for the setting, after all.

In terms of other projects, I think it would be nice to get some more Genestealer Cults models painted, particularly the bikes now that I’m looking more and more at the Ash Wastes. Of all the odd stuff that I have going on in the back of my mind, I have been thinking more about getting the Onager Dunecrawler painted for my AdMech. That’s something I hadn’t really thought about, but it’s something that has been part-painted for years now. But I’m not going to worry about these other things too much. 

This year, in a further effort to focus my efforts, I’ve decided that I’m going to do mini check-ins at the end of each month as well, to see just where I’m up to with these projects. Overall, I don’t think it’s a massive amount of stuff that I’ve given myself to do. I’ve picked out six things from each of the headings above that I would like to see finished by the end of the year, so hopefully if I can get those done, everything else is just going to be a big bonus!

Some hobby updates

Hey everybody,
It seems to be going really well at the minute, and I’m riding a bit of a hobby progress wave, so thought I’d come here to ramble about it, as I usually do! I’m feeling really positive about the hobby and stuff, so I think it’s good to celebrate this (and, hopefully, keep that wave going!)

I had a second game with the Sisters at the start of the week, again against JP and his Imperial Fists. This was a much better game for me, though I still lost – I had tweaked the list to bring the unit of Celestians that I talked about last time, and while my game plan didn’t entirely go according to plan, I was nevertheless able to play with more of the rules than last time, getting enough buffs that I was able to actually be a part of the game, rather than providing target practice. So that was nice!

Of course, it was an uphill struggle even without having a lot of units shot off the field before I have a chance to play. I was able to hide the bulk of my army in dense cover, so the Imperial Fists thing of ignoring light cover didn’t come into play, yet there were a few units left out in the open. However, giving him a tank as the main target did mean that I was able to survive enough to be able to do stuff when my turn came. Being S3 T3 is a distinct disadvantage, though, and I found myself shooting meltaguns at infantry, which is always just a waste. A few of the tricks that I was trying to pull off depended on dice rolls, such as the Dialogus hymns of battle, and so naturally I failed every time. The addition of improving AP on weapons became key, though, as we had decided to play with the Armour of Contempt rule from the balance dataslate, meaning that we were both benefiting from the rule that worsens the AP by 1. Being able to keep my melta shots at AP-4 helped a lot, and the flamers benefited too.

However, while I tried to focus on the mission rather than getting distracted by killing stuff, I was only able to score 24 victory points, while JP had picked better secondary objectives for 37 points by the end of round 3, at which point we decided to call it a day. It was also 1am, and I had work the next day, so…

I’m really enjoying learning the army, but the way Primaris Marines are able to build a better army list that just interlocks so well, whereas I’m fighting to try to do half of that stuff the same, just makes it such a battle to play well. I think that Sisters are really not the army to take against this kind of army. Even though I was able to kill the Redemptor Dreadnought, the Impulsor, the Assault Intercessor squad and the Aggressors, I lost almost my entire army doing so because it took so much effort to bring stuff down. I’m stopping short of saying it was oppressive, but in general I don’t think the game is fun when it is skewed so well in favour of Space Marines. Something I really disagreed with, and yet it is clearly the right rule, was how a squad of five Intercessors was able to destroy my unit of Seraphim by shooting through a building. The rules are clear, that building is light cover, and Imperial Fists ignore light cover, so as they could see through the windows they shot, and they killed. It’s like shooting through an office block, basically – they are just allowed to do it. Meh.

I’m not going to abandon them, but for our next game, I’m switching back to Necrons, as I have been thinking a lot about getting them back to the table, and JP is keen to see how well the Fists fare against 60+ tesla carbines. So that should be fun.

Following on from my August Audit blog at the start of the month, I’ve been thinking a little bit about how I could potentially plan for the rest of the year and aim to get things finished. I don’t want to go crazy of course, as I find when I spread myself too thinly I end up doing very little of anything. The time around Easter this year, when I stalled with my Tau and promptly spent about three months in a bit of a hobby wilderness, moving from odd project to odd project without any kind of focus. Sure, I finished painting 10 Chaos Marines and 10 Khorne Bloodreavers, but I wasn’t able to sustain either into any kind of proper project.

At the minute, I’m finding myself incredibly focused on the Sisters, and have been amazed at how easy and quick my paint scheme is to work with. I’ve painted a ten-woman squad in a single week, whereas with other projects ten-model units have taken easily twice that length of time! The Celestians have taken just a handful of days, too. I think, having a very clear idea of what each model needs, coupled with the drive to get them painted for games, has meant I’m able to push through and get a lot done quite quickly.

I find myself comparing this current hobby streak with my painting progress for the Genestealer Cultists last autumn/winter. In the period of four months from September to December, I ended up painting almost a full army, eleven units at something well over 1000 points in total. While five of those units were single-model characters, I still painted 30 Neophytes and 5 Metamorphs, so I was no slouch! Currently, my Sisters tally is looking a whole lot better – it hasn’t even been a month, and already I’ve painted up 17 models, with another five almost done. If I can keep this going, I should really outstrip my Genestealer Cults record by the time Christmas rolls around!

I’m trying to stop short of actually planning anything, as I find that generally means I fail at the first hurdle and move on to something else entirely, but I think my main goals for the foreseeable future are to finish painting the Repentia and the Penitent Engine, then to paint the 10 Novitiates and the 5 Retributors. That still leaves a bit of a chunk to paint, but it’s all I want to focus on for the time being. For all that I said the colour scheme has been easy to do, I still need to give some thought to that for the Novitiates, as I’m not sure if I should paint them a little differently…

I’m still fully intending to ride this wave of getting the Sisters painted, of course, as it would be lovely to have a fully painted army, but I do find myself also wanting to get some Necrons units finished off, as I was quite horrified to discover they weren’t entirely completed. And it would be great to get a few more Tau models done, considering that was going to be a big push for me this year, with a new army and all!

Sisters of Battle musings

Hey everybody,
August is turning out to be quite the month for gaming, I’m very impressed with myself! The other day I had the chance to play a game of 40k with my Sisters, going up against my buddy JP and his Imperial Fists. I took a similar list I had mentioned in my last blog about the Adepta Sororitas, and I lost, quite dramatically at that!

I didn’t get first turn, and so had a swathe of Primaris Marines coming at me with their ridiculous weaponry, and even though in retrospect I didn’t actually lose that many models, I think the psychological damage of losing some of my Sisters, almost the whole Retributor squad, my Palatine etc really put me on the back foot. Now, the main error I made in this game is not really having a plan to deal with anything – I just deployed my army and thought, that’ll do. It clearly would not do, though, and JP was the complete opposite – a well-thought-out plan with maximum use of relics and warlord traits to make his Primaris Lieutenant, as he said, “a real warlord”, allowing for bonus hits on 6s and extra AP, re-rolling 1s and all sorts. It was quite the beautiful thing, it really was!

While I did have some successes, I was ultimately a very poor showing. Now, I know everybody always jokes about the bad dice and whatnot, but I made some phenomenally poor rolls. Shooting with a squad of Battle Sisters in rapid fire range, I think I was looking at 16 boltgun shots and 4 storm bolter shots, and I might have made 3 hits. Saving throws were also just ludicrously poor, and I was just shedding models across the three full rounds that we played. We should have called it there, but played a fourth round just to see what would happen, and I was thoroughly tabled.

I was able to kill a Librarian, and two Eliminators, and took maybe 5 wounds off the Redemptor Dreadnought. I really did not have any luck whatsoever, and it showed!

So, naturally, I’m looking at a slightly different list now, with a couple of tweaks to see how they do in a rematch next week! I’m swapping out the Penitent Engine and the Sisters Repentia for a Celestian Squad, with flamer and meltagun, and inferno pistol on the Superior. This will kinda function as the foundation for a sort of mini-deathstar type of unit which comprises the Canoness and Dialogus being nearby, hopefully with additional support from the Palatine.

I envision the Celestians acting as a bodyguard unit for the Canoness, who will trigger their +1 to hit rule while they’re within 6” of her. The Canoness also allows a unit within 6” to re-roll hit rolls of 1, which will serve to improve their accuracy further. They have a dedicated stratagem called Exceptional Proficiency with also gives them +1 to hit, and because of the weapon choices I have, they are a good target for the Holy Trinity stratagem, getting +1 to wound, as well. The Dialogus has a new hymn, which improves AP by one when the enemy is within half range, which is just wonderful. Celestians hit on 3s, but with +2 to hit re-rolling 1s they should be really accurate. With three boltguns alone, that’s six shots when within 12”, AP-1, wounding on 4s with +1 to wound. The Palatine will grant re-rolls to 1, as well, which should make them very accurate indeed. On top of that, of course, there is the meltagun which is a single shot, but wounding on 2s and AP-5, D6 damage (D6+2 if we’re close enough for the inferno pistol to come into play, as well!)

I should probably mention that I’m using the Divine Guidance Sacred Rite, to improve the AP further on an unmodified wound roll of 6 for any ranged attack. Basic boltguns at AP-2 is a very nice dream!

On top of all this, the Canoness cannot be targeted if she is within 3” of the Celestians, so the usual wisdom is to hide the Celestians and let the Canoness smash face with impunity. I’m not sure how prevalent that could be, given that 3” isn’t particularly large. However, it is a nice protection. In return, the Canoness has the Warlord Trait that allows core units within 6” to fall back and shoot (and to use any miracle dice as a 6), which might be handy if they get in a spot of bother. Her relic is the Iron Surplice that gives +1W, Sv 2+, and any attack against her auto-fails on an unmodified 1-3. So she does also get some built-in protection for being out in the open regardless, but I think if I’m going to be fairly aggressive with her, I need to ensure she doesn’t die to a stiff breeze.

An interesting footnote to the whole Celestians unit is that, while they can take two special weapons for a squad of five, you can actually take them in squads of 10, although you can’t take any more weapons for bulking up the squad size. Now, you might think, but that’s making them a normal Battle Sister squad? Aside from additional attacks, which is hardly a benefit given that they are only fighting with the generic close combat weapon, the real bonus that I’m thinking of is the extra bodies that a larger squad represents. Hiding a Canoness with a 10-woman bodyguard does seem like it might work out – and this squad has got a lot more to make it highly accurate, whereas the Sisters don’t have the additional +2 to hit from the Celestian ability and stratagem.

Now, Celestians are one of the alternate build options in the Battle Sisters box, the other being Dominions, and I do rather like the look of having those as well. In fact, I have also been considering using the other five from the box to build five more regular Sisters to either bulk out my existing squads, or else form a new five-woman squad to get a third troops choice in the list that isn’t the Novitiates. However, I do need some sort of melee option in here, and Novitiates are really my only choice for the time being.

My plan, then, such as it is, is to have the unit of Celestians being backed up with the Dialogus, in range of both the Canoness and the Palatine. At least one squad of Battle Sisters will also be keeping step with this walking mass of doom, to further gain the benefit of the re-rolls from all three characters – because something I forgot a lot in that game was the Dialogus gives core units within 6” +1 Ld. Even though I’m playing Order of the Sacred Rose, so I auto-pass combat attrition tests, I still saw some models flee in the Morale phase.

I didn’t really get a chance to use the Retributors in the last game, because the unit was almost entirely shot off the board in the first turn. But they have an interesting rule that denies any type of cover to units they target with heavy weapons, which is very interesting. Their cherubs allow for one model to shoot again, once the unit has shot, which is really quite useful indeed! Didn’t realise they did that, I have to say! Two heavy bolters and two multi-meltas does make the unit fairly expensive though, and I am thinking it might be worth exploring alternative builds. There isn’t a great deal in terms of support for them either, though they are core so benefit from the re-rolls from the HQs. There is also the Sacred Rose stratagem that gives exploding 6s to hit, which I wish I had known about – although the way I was rolling, it was probably no use anyway!

To my mind, though, it isn’t an easy ride with the Sisters. Many times, when you read through a book, you can find ways to stack things on top of one another and you end up with quite a well-oiled machine. Nothing really leaps out at me from this, though – looking online, it seems very much the consensus is that Sisters are a steep learning curve army, and the T3 makes them very precarious. One post on reddit made me chuckle: “play and be prepared to lose”. For all that I might bemoan the fact that I’m struggling to find answers, I am nevertheless really enjoying the puzzle. It’s clear that they are an army that wants to be reasonably close, but remaining in shooting range and not getting into close combat. Having the army-wide 6++ is very useful, especially when there are ways and means to improve that. I have been tempted to give the Palatine the Indomitable Belief warlord trait via a stratagem, but I’ve already spent 1 CP on her to get a relic bolt pistol, so I’m not sure I should sink so much in there before the battle! I suppose we can see. The warlord trait improves the invuln save for core units within 6”, so it’s all about keeping everything fairly close together as it moves up the field.

I think Acts of Faith are such a key part of how the army is meant to work, it’s crucial to keep on top of that and making sure I don’t forget everything that I can do. I completely forgot about the triggers for gaining them when I destroy a unit, or when my characters die. There are quite a few things that allow you to play with miracle dice, including Faith and Fury (1CP) which lets you use a single dice for the hit and wound roll of an attack, or Moment of Grace (1CP) which lets you discard 1-2 miracle dice to add one to a hit, wound or save roll for each dice discarded. Divine Intervention (2CP) can bring back a character from the dead by discarding 1-3 miracle dice, which brings the character back with that many wounds. Luckily, Order of the Sacred Rose allows you to gain a miracle dice on a 4+ whenever you perform an Act of Faith, so I was able to keep my supply up for a time, but I didn’t really ever find myself with a huge stock of them. I suppose that’s a good thing, because it meant I was using them, but even so, I don’t think I used them as well as I could have done.

Moving on further, I have another squad of Seraphim, or Zephyrim, to build up and paint, and I’m not 100% sure how I want to kit those out. I’ll probably wait and see how they perform as Seraphim on the battlefield before I make a decision. I also want to make a Dominion squad, and I keep having silly ideas about having all-melta or all-flamer squads. I think I want to try and get a better handle on the army in general before I make a final decision on that, though. I’ve also been thinking a lot about the Paragon Warsuits for some kind of heavy-support option. The trouble, of course, is that these suits are now 210 points a model. You’re only required to pay extra for the multi-melta option, but that’s still only three models for 630 points! Definitely something for when I’m playing higher-points games with the girls. They seem like a legitimate choice for close combat though, making 4 attacks each (five with the Superior) at S6 AP-3 D2 with their war blades. They also have a stratagem to do impact damage on the charge, and are core units for all of the re-roll shenanigans I’ve already talked about. Expensive in game terms and real-life terms, I think I’ll come back to them later.

The Imagifier is a model I want to include, as I have her in my to-build pile, but her effect doesn’t seem to be worthwhile, really. Situational, at best. I don’t face a lot of S3 weaponry, and I don’t really want to be advancing or charging a lot of the army up the field. That leaves the +1 Strength for core units within 6”, which is not amazing, but I suppose if I were to get charged, it could be useful to be wounding (potentially) on 4s and not 5s.

Saint Celestine is a model that I’ve had since the Triumvirate box came out late in 7th edition, and despite building her up a long time ago, I haven’t seriously considered her as my general. She actually has a lot going for her, with two built-in bodyguards, a 4++ and subtracting 1 from any damage allocated to her (with no minimum, so…). There are deployment things and whatnot, but her signature move is to return to the battlefield on a 2+ when she has been destroyed for the first time. She does seem quite useful, although at 200 points she might be a little out of my league for now. Maybe when I’m getting into the realms of 1500 point games…

Of course, everybody talks about Morvenn Vahl, and with good reason. She rolls a Canoness and Palatine re-roll abilities together, she can nominate a unit to gain that effect before they move and leave her, she halves damage allocated to her and can negate mortal wounds on a 4+. With 8 wounds, she’s the toughest thing in the book that isn’t a tank or diorama, and is armed with a heavy bolter, missile launcher, and lance of kill your face. At 280 points, however, I don’t foresee any time soon for me to be using her in my games!

I think I definitely need to play with the army more, and get more familiar with what the various units can do. I also need to cement the way Acts of Faith work into my brain, because I definitely lost the plot with those halfway through that game! There seems like a lot of book-keeping that needs to be done with the force, but it should nevertheless be an absolute joy to play, whether I’m burning the heretics or dying in droves.

Sisters of Battle: Planning Stages!

Hey everybody,
If you follow me on Instagram, or if you’ve been checking in with the blog regularly over the last week or two, you’ll have seen an uptick with my work on the Sisters of Battle, as I have made an effort to make something with the army. This is really nice for me, because it’s a really beautiful force made up of stunning miniatures, but one that I have had shelved for years, and came close to selling it all off after having stagnated for so long with them all.

I’ve already talked about my long struggle with colour schemes for them, and there have been several blog posts over the years that I’ve written that saw me attempting to build an army, only to then become disheartened by the level of detail on them. But, hopefully, no more!

For 9th edition, the army I think is fairly similar to how it worked in its last incarnation. We still have the army-wide rules of Acts of Faith and Shield of Faith, as well as Sacred Rites. Everything has been ever-so-slightly tweaked, though, so while the names are the same, they don’t always quite do the same things as they used to.

So what do all of these things mean?

Acts of Faith is the biggest one, and has a full page in the codex to explain how it works. At the start of the battle round, you gain 1 miracle dice – you roll a D6 and the result is that miracle dice’s value. Once per phase, a unit can perform an Act of Faith, which basically means you substitute a miracle dice for a single dice in an advance, charge, hit, wound, save or damage roll, or one morale test. So if you rolled a 6 for the miracle dice, you can swap out the meltagun damage roll for that 6, and if you’re shooting from 6” away, that will guarantee you 8 damage against your target – awesome!

In addition to getting that one miracle dice per battle round, you also get one if an enemy unit is destroyed by your army, or if one of your units is wholly destroyed. Almost feels like you might need multiple small units in the army to try to capitalise on that, really! Now, while only one unit per phase can use a miracle dice, any unit that has a Simulacrum Imperialis can perform an Act of Faith even if a unit has already done so. So it’s going to be key to sequence your battle, as you don’t want to find yourself performing an Act of Faith with a unit that includes a Simulacrum before you then need to use it on a unit without!

There are a number of other rules that interact with these things, such as relics and warlord traits that allow specific models to gain one for you and so on. But the feel is very much that these Acts of Faith will be quite rare, and you won’t be subbing out dice left and right – making it feel very much like a clutch moment in the battle (queue angelic choirs, light from above, etc!)

Shield of Faith grants a unit a 6+ invuln save, and also lets you attempt to Deny the Witch with any unit with this rule – you only roll a single dice, but a 6 will always succeed regardless of the Psychic Test result. Sisters hate the Psykers!

Sacred Rites are a series of 6 rules that you can use to affect the course of the battle – you select one and it remains in play, but there are ways to tinker with this as well, including ways to give a specific unit multiple Sacred Rites, which are quite nice. The Sacred Rite that I have chosen for my force is Divine Guidance, which improves the AP by 1 of a ranged attack when you roll an unmodified 6 to wound. Most of my army, as you’ll see, is going to be shooting, so this should be quite useful!

The Orders are still present, with the six Orders Majoris having a suite of special rules, and there are two pages of rules that allow you to make your own Orders. I have gone for the Order of the Sacred Rose, which is the Order that I was using for last edition (and which I had attempted to paint, at one point!) They have the army-wide rules to auto-pass combat attrition tests, and when performing an Act of Faith, you can roll a D6 and on a 4+ you get a miracle dice back. So that could be very useful to keep the supply going! The Sacred Rose stratagem gives you exploding 6s to hit, which is always a favourite rule of mine, so that should also be helpful for several of my units!

Now, there are a lot of rules here, and I think I need to really get some games in with the force before I can properly begin to weigh these up as to their utility. As this goes on, I think it’s possible that stuff will change, whether I look at creating my own Order or move to one of the others, or whether I invest more in those rules that increase my miracle dice, or allow me to really shape the Acts of Faith that I perform. But I need a starting point, so this is what I have chosen!

So this is what I’m building towards. It’s actually not that bad really, the core of the army is coming from the launch box, with a couple of squads being added in to bulk that stuff out. For those of you who may be interested, the contents of that box now come to 470 points (keeping the Canoness upgraded as she is here). I think there is a fairly decent balance among the army at this point, with the big blobs of Battle Sisters posing quite a decent threat, the lighter Novitiates can run about doing whatever I might need of them, objective grabbing or backfield support, the Celestians can help the Canoness get into range and the Retributors can sit on objectives roasting anybody who comes close. The Seraphim can cover the battlefield pretty well, and that just leaves stuff like the Repentia and the Penitent Engine to fill in wherever they may be required.

Let’s have a closer look at some of this stuff, though.

The Canoness, as the star of the show, allows core units within 6” to re-roll hit rolls of 1, and her rod of office extends this ability to core or character units within 12”. She can also improve the invuln save of core units within 6” by 1, so the army-wide 6++ becomes a 5++ for one unit close to her. Core units are obviously the troops, but also the Retributors, Seraphim, Repentia and the Celestians. My plan for the Canoness is to be hanging about with her bodyguard team of Celestians, who are packing a fairly serious punch with the melta weaponry there. The Canoness cannot be targeted while she is within 3” of the Celestians, and they in turn get +1 to hit while they’re within 6” of her. So they have +1 to hit and are re-rolling 1s to hit, which is lovely. But wait! Celestians also have their own stratagem that gives them +1 to hit! Marvellous. Now, there are two boltguns in the team, which are Rapid Fire 1, so that’s fine, but then we have the combi-melta and the meltagun, both Assault 1 weapons firing at S8 AP-4 D6 damage. They have a 12” range, and melta once more means a bonus when within half range, so we’ll be getting fairly close for these things to go off properly. But getting extra close isn’t a horrendous problem because I also have the heavy flamer in there, with 12” range and Heavy D6 shots that auto-hit (so no need for the Canoness this time, but I like the big flamer anyway, so meh) with each one being S6 AP-1 and D1. So big flamer and scary melta should hopefully give people pause before coming after the pair of units. And there is also the stratagem to allow you to make the maximum number of hits on a flame weapon, but if we’re already using a command point for the additional +1 to hit, using 2CP to get 6 flamer shots might seem like overkill.

The Celestians are also the only squad I’m currently giving a Cherub to. These little guys can basically give you a miracle dice once per battle – you roll 2D6 and choose which one you want, and you have to use it on the phase you rolled it otherwise it’s lost. It’s still considered to be an Act of Faith, so you can’t perform two Acts with the unit, but it might be useful, especially if my miracle dice aren’t looking that brilliant!

The Palatine has an aura to allow core units within 6” to re-roll wound rolls of 1, which can sometimes be the more useful of the two abilities, and I think it could be funny if a unit like the Celestians were to cross over within both of these auras, but I don’t think it will be my primary focus for the army. In the main, I’m hoping to get her working alongside one of the big blobs of Sisters. Possibly the second squad, with the meltagun and the heavy bolter, as I think having an expensive unit stuck in melee is always upsetting, but I have given the Palatine a warlord trait for -1CP that will allow a core unit within 6” to fall back and still shoot. The warlord trait, Light of the Divine, also allows her to use any miracle dice as a 6 when performing an Act of Faith, which could prove to be very useful! I’ve upgraded the Palatine’s bolt pistol to the relic, Wrath of the Emperor, which is a slightly punchier pistol as S5 and AP-1, but is also Pistol 4, which is just lovely!

The only problem with pretty much the entire army, though, is that they’re pretty much all Toughness 3, and even the Canoness has 5 wounds. I suppose that’s why things are pretty cheap, though.

Staying with the second Sisters squad for a second, that is a surprisingly expensive unit, though it’s mainly because of all the weaponry I’ve tooled them up with. The condemnor boltgun is almost entirely situational, as it has the option for dishing out mortal wounds to Psykers, but it does make for an interesting combo with the stratagem that adds +1 to hit against a Psyker, so that could be handy! I had originally included a flame weapon in there, because there used to be a fairly hefty focus on the “holy trinity” of bolt, melta and flame weapons (if I remember correctly), but as this is now limited to a single stratagem, which grants +1 to wound when firing these weapons at the same unit, I’ve moved away from that a little. Instead, I have a meltagun with its delightful melta tricks as I’ve already mentioned, then the heavy bolter for three S5 AP-1 D2 hits, and then eight boltgun shots which are all rapid fire 1, so if I’m in range for the meltagun to be firing that’ll be 20 shots coming at the enemy, most of them regular bolts but with enough other bits and pieces going on to cause some chaos, with any luck!

Moving on to the Dialogus, another fairly key unit for the army here. Her aura adds 1 to the leadership of core or character units within 6”, which can be useful, and she has a second aura that allows an Adepta Sororitas unit within 6” to alter one miracle dice by 1, up or down, when performing an Act of Faith. That’s very nice, I have to say! The big change for the Dialogus is that she is now a Priest, and has the Chaplain-like prayers that she can intone during the Command Phase. (The Dogmata model is also a Priest, and I do fancy getting one of those at some point). She knows War Hymn, which grants +1 attack to core, character and engine units within 6”, so the Penitent Engine gets some love from that, and I’ve given her Refrain of Blazing Piety, which allows her to dish out D3 mortal wounds to an enemy unit within 12” (3 mortal wounds if that unit is Chaos). She’s otherwise not very durable, so I think having the attack prayer could be of more use to her than being a blessing battery for the army, though there is something to be said about providing target saturation for the opponent, and forcing them to not know whether it’s best to attack the annoying unit or the unit making everything else more annoying.

The Repentia are one of my melee options in the list, and will hopefully be dishing out 8 attacks at S6 AP-3 D2 each, though their massive chainsaws are -1 to hit. So they’re hitting on 4s unfortunately, which is always a bit of a downer for a melee unit. They have the Zealot rule, though, which allows them to re-roll the hit roll on the charge, and the Repentia Superior allows them (and herself) to advance and charge, and she grants them +1 to wound when they are within 6”. They also have a 5+ feel no pain save, which should help to keep them alive when they’re being targeted, but otherwise there’s little hope for them – they’re very much a cheap unit that should be able to deal out some damage before crumpling like a wet paper bag as there isn’t much in the way of stratagems to keep them going.

The Sisters Novitiates are my other melee focused squad, and they have quite a good profile for the scout equivalents in the list! There are eight models who have Novitiate melee weapons, which grant an additional attack (so that’s 16 attacks for these girls), and they get +1 attack on the charge, so 24 attacks coming at the enemy, granted they’re on 4s to hit, and will likely be 4s to wound with no AP, but that’s quite something! The Novitiate Superior also has a power sword, so she’s making 2 attacks of her own at -3AP, which is helpful! They also all have pistols for the following shooting phase, whoever survives the fight back. In a way, it’s a shame that the full range of Kill Team upgrades doesn’t get rules, but I suppose having a scout with a Condemnor Boltgun, for instance, or a scout version of the Dialogus, might be a bit odd, but surely they could have allowed Scout Dialogus access to just War Hymn, and it only affects her unit? Hm.

Maybe for the 10th edition Codex…

For now, however, this is what I am looking to build towards. I still have stuff like the second Battle Sisters squad, and the Celestians, to build, and I still need to paint an awful lot of this stuff, but I think it’s all slowly coming together. I’m on such a high with the Sisters right now, though, that I’m hoping I’ll be able to get a decent amount of stuff painted for the army before I get distracted by something else!

Looking even further ahead, I am considering a Dominion Squad, as I will have five Sisters left from the Celestians box (unless I just bulk up the Celestians to 10), and I think I would like to get one of the tanks built. I have a lot of stuff for the Sisters still to build, such as the Exorcist and the Immolator, a couple of Penitent Engines, another Seraphim squad, the Triumph, a box of Repentia and an Imagifier. I’m trying not to go too crazy here though, because I think there is a bit of a balance that needs to be struck with the force – there are a lot of units available for it, almost too many. I’ve not really thought this about any other force, but the Elites slot in particular has become really top-heavy now that Command Squads have been sundered. I wonder if that would ever change, and allow us to bring them back into a single unit? As it stands, the Dialogus and Hospitaller can be included without taking up a slot, but the Imagifier doesn’t have that luxury. Hm.

I would like to focus more on having significant units, rather than the smaller units (which kinda goes counter to the point above about gaining miracle dice) which can sometimes be difficult to keep track of. I definitely want to keep it primarily Sisters-focused, so I don’t want to get into Death Cult Assassins and Priests and so forth. I think it should look really nice, having Battle Sisters and the smaller squads like Celestians and Retributors, and then having some of the tanks in support as well. While I said I didn’t want to go crazy buying anything, I am considering getting either some of those Paragon Warsuits, or some of those Celestians with shields, who look nice for a melee option.

Something that I’ve long wanted to try is adding in Thaddeus the Purifier from the Blackstone Fortress game, as the model is so cool and I think would make a really nice addition. That always felt a bit too difficult with the old book, however, but the Missionary HQ option seems almost made for him now, having the correct wargear and so forth, even if the picture used for the codex entry is of the old metal model. The rules are also somewhat clearer, as well, in that now everything has the Adeptus Ministorum keyword, so his aura ability will cross over to cover the Battle Sisters squad (though given that his leadership is the same as a Sister Superior, I don’t think it would ever be necessary). I’m not sure if the last book was the same, but I remember having the feeling that building an army for Sisters in 8th edition felt a bit like a tough prospect, and it always struck me as a bit difficult to actually make things work. The new 9th edition book feels a lot better in this regard, which has made me pleased!

Anyway, for now, this is my entirely too-long blog post about my current obsession for 40k, the Sisters of Battle!

Sisters Reborn!

Well folks, I didn’t quite expect this project to go as well as it did!

Last weekend, I decided to try again with the Sisters of Battle, and stripped the paint from those ten Battle Sisters who had, god love them, been through the mill with at least 2-3 colour schemes, individually. I then thought I’d try out a new scheme again, using as test models some of those from the multi-part kit. However, the paint stripped off so beautifully from those original ten that I’ve decided to keep going with those, and I think by Thursday I had produced my three test models!

These really were quite good, and the scheme didn’t seem to be entirely too onerous to complete. Grey armour and purple cloth, with grey guns and grey bases. Very grim-dark, I think. That’s really what I wanted, as well – I think there’s something rather majestic about the classic black-and-red scheme with pure white details, but when it comes to thinking about actual warriors in the 41st millennium, those guys and girls have got it really tough. I think the fairly muted scheme really reflects this, too, which is nice!

I really didn’t expect to do all ten – indeed, after doing the three testers, I thought I might do three more, and continue on quietly like this, but actually it made more sense to just try and do the whole squad, at this point. It was a bit of a scramble to get them all finished last night, but I’d got to the point where there were just a small handful of details left, then the rims of the bases…

I’m really happy with them, anyway, and having finished the whole squad in a week (a few days, really), I think this bodes really well for the future of the army.

But painting up more Sisters of Battle hasn’t been the only thing I’ve done – I’ve also been building the Novitiates from the Kill Team box that came out a while ago! These girls are primarily melee focused, so they will fit in with the general feel of my army I think, and the models really are quite spectacular. I definitely want to get another box of these at some point, so I can get all the fancy models built as well as some more of the bread-and-butter troops. Going with melee options fits in with my idea for having them as almost zealots keen to prove themselves in battle, rather than equipping them with the autoguns.

I have plenty of stuff built up already for the army, however, so I need to make sure I’m not going to be getting too far ahead of myself with building yet more units. I want to keep going with painting more models for the force, so I think my next move might be the Seraphim squad, because it really bothers me that they are just floating around without bases. I might do a character or two as well, so that I can get ahead on that front a bit, too. 10 models doesn’t seem to have been that cumbersome to deal with, all told, so I think 6 or 7 should definitely be fine!

Famous last words…

A new way for the Sisters

Everything has happened before…

Sisters of Battle

Yes, folks, I’ve been here before, on no less than three separate occasions… It’s once more time to try and paint the Sisters of Battle!

I first tried to paint these miniatures in early 2020, using a colour scheme vaguely reminiscent of the Deathwing.

That was as far as it went with this scheme, however!

Next up, from around the summer of that year, I had decided that painting white could be a good idea, and made a fairly decent, if still half-hearted effort at painting the squad as Order of the Sacred Rose.

Then, in 2021, I thought I had it cracked with a custom colour scheme of pale blue and grey:

But then I decided to use that colour combination for my Tau, and for the Sisters it would no longer cut the mustard.

So here we are, summer of 2022, and I’m once more thinking of a colour scheme. I have the coming week off work (I promise you, I do actually work full time – how else could I afford all this plastic crack?!) and I’m thinking it’s time I really made an effort to paint some of them. So by this time next week, you can expect to see the fruits of my labours with some test models! Having been through so many colour schemes one on top of another, though, I’m going to give the original ten models a break, and instead focus on some minis that I built up from the multi-part kit. I’ve stripped the paint from the monopose models though, and have been trying to clean them up as best I can. Hopefully, the test subjects will go well, and I’ll actually make a start on these, too! But I don’t want to over-commit myself. It is a fairly busy week, after all…

Genestealer Cults in the Black Library!

Hey everybody,
It feels like it’s been a long few weeks as I’ve been reading some Genestealer Cults stories – or re-reading, that should be, as I have actually read both of these before, I’ve just never talked about them on the blog! As I’m still on the Cult kick at the minute (although painting has stopped due to lack of brushes!) I thought it was appropriate to get in the mood, and all that!

Cult of the Warmason is first on the list, and shows a Cult uprising on the shrineworld of Lubentina while the besieged Sisters of Battle attempt to put them down. There is a lot of story here, as we see the battle sisters defend the Warmason’s cathedral against the cultists. The Warmason of the title, Vadok Singh, was the man who helped design the defences around the Imperial Palace on Terra during the Heresy. The Ministorum clerical staff refuse to call for aid until it is too late, and when they think that the Adeptus Astartes have arrived to answer their call, instead it is revealed that the Iron Warriors have arrived to reclaim one of the relics in the cathedral. The cathedral becomes a nexus of the fighting, as the Astra Militarum, the Sisters, the Cult and then the Iron Warriors all converge upon it. The Cultists get the relic first, and so the Iron Warriors follow them into the catacombs below the surface, followed closely by the Sister Superior while all goes to hell up above. The Iron Warriors confront the Patriarch of the Cult, and eventually recover the relic, which turns out to be one of Perturabo’s flawed creations. In keeping with their primarch’s wishes, the launch the device into the sun, and leave the planet. While the world burns, the Sister Superior escapes Lubentina with the genestealer infection…

Like I said, there is a lot of story here, and it almost needs more space to be told at times, as the narrative feels a bit like it jumps around a bit too much. I love the inertia of the ruling Ecclesiarchy and Ministorum council, and there is something wonderfully gothic and very 40k about the flashpoint being centred around a monumental cathedral. However, the story did feel a little bit like it shouldn’t have been constrained by a page count, which is something a lot of Black Library books almost have in common. Perhaps if the Iron Warriors storyline hadn’t been included, things would have had the room to breathe a bit more? I believe that plot links in to the Space Marines Battles novel Siege of Castellax, also by CL Werner, which is on my list to investigate at some point, so maybe I’ll think differently when I’ve read the background there!

However, I also think the novel suffers a little from comparisons with the next book that I read…

Cult of the Spiral Dawn is the rebranded novel from Peter Fehervari originally published as part of the Legends of the Dark Millennium series, back (I think) when the original Genestealer Cults codex came out at the end of 7th Edition. There are a lot of similar ideas to the Warmason book; Sisters of Battle and Astra Militarum fighting the Genestealer Cults uprising on a remote world, but there the similarities end. Spiral Dawn is somehow a lot more complex, and yet also a more compelling read. It starts with the genestealers besieging the abbey stronghold of the Sisters of the Thorn Eternal on the planet Redemption 219, then fast-forwards a century to the arrival on world of a group of pilgrims seeking the light of the Emperor through the Cult of the Spiral Dawn, an officially-sanctioned sect of the Imperial creed. However, when the pilgrims land, a hundred are pressganged into the Vassago Black Flags regiment of the Astra Militarum, who are on some obscure guard duty, though nobody has explained to them what they’re guarding. The tension mounts from the Imperial side, while we get some glimpses into the activities of the Cult and their kindred followers, until it all boils over with the emergence of the Primus war-leader. The colonel of the Black Flags is almost seduced by the Magus, but in so-doing he learns of the existence and location of the Spiral Father, and launches an assault with his ogryn bodyguard while the on-world Inquisition presence also launches its assault. Despite the carnage of the assault, three of the purestrains manage to escape Redemption for deep space…

Also included in here is Cast a Hungry Shadow, a short story that takes place within the narrative of the novel, dealing with the early years of the genestealer infestation and filling in some blanks around the betrayal of the Sisters. There are some interesting threads in the story, which felt a little confused towards the end, but ultimately it is the tale of the cult securing their hold on Redemption, the discovery of an untrained psyker hiding beneath one of the spires who is taken in by the genestealers to birth their Magus. There are some interesting scenes in the story, particularly involving another cult, called the Scorched Creed, which may or may not be a Chaos Cult dedicated to Khorne.  

I do think that Cult of the Spiral Dawn is one of my favourite 40k novels. I hadn’t really realised that I’d read it before – I mean, I knew that I’d read the Legends hardcover, but I didn’t remember which one that book was. It’s a really good story – some of it could perhaps do with a bit more meat for the bones, and help to further the atmosphere, but it’s still a really good story. It’s also my first exposure to Peter Fehervari’s Dark Coil … series? I’m not sure if you could call it that, but all of the 40k stories that he has written are linked in subtle ways, either with shared characters or worlds, etc. It’s an incredibly interesting way to write in a shared universe and carve out a niche without limiting yourself to staying in a random corner. The links in this book to the Fire and Ice novella, for example, give the sense of history without feeling forced, if that makes sense. It’s really good, anyway – I like it a lot! And will no doubt be investigating more of these stories in the not-too-distant future!