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 Burning of Prospero!

Oh my goodness, this thing sounds fabulous!

We’ve been hearing the rumours of this coming out for a good few weeks now, with the leaked cover of November’s White Dwarf showing us what we can expect from the much-wanted follow-up to last year’s Betrayal at Calth. But now, it’s here! Well, it’s at least in our sights! And it looks amazing!

Well, first of all we have thirty Mk III Space Marines, which I’m not entirely as excited by as the Mk IV, but they do still kinda look cool. In fact, they are kinda growing on me. Of course, it’s not the main draw here!

Burning of Prospero

I think these chaps look fantastic, and definitely one of the major draws for me. Being a Stormcast Eternals fan, of course, I suppose it’s no surprise, but these guys do look great. Looking forward to seeing the sprues for these guys, as I hope they can be posed into some really cool-looking miniatures!

Burning of Prospero

Of course, the Sisters of Silence do look pretty awesome, though I’m hoping they can all be outfitted with helmets, as I do prefer that look to them…

Burning of Prospero

Finally, I love that Ahriman model, and kinda wish the two special characters from Betrayal at Calth could have been more Legion-specific. But I suppose maybe this is to support the forthcoming Thousand Sons line we’re hopefully getting

Indeed, hopefully this box will be a portent of some awesome things to come – a full Adeptus Custodes line, the Sisters of Silence leading into the much hoped-for plastic Adepta Sororitas! Well… who the hell knows…

All I can say is, I’m getting at least one of these bad boys!

Tomb Kings extravaganza!

Tomb Kings

So this went up over the weekend, and it seems all hell broke lose across the internet, between long-time Tomb King players feeling like Games Workshop had given them the hard end of the stick, and folks pretty much like myself, who had always wanted to start a Tomb Kings army but had never quite gotten round to it. Within hours, things started selling out completely on the website, and at the time of this writing, there are just a few bulk-type things left for sale.

As I said, I’ve always wanted to start a Tomb Kings army, but a combination of being distracted by other models, and a little nervousness over so many fragile-looking skeletons has always put me off. Seeing them go has prompted a bit of nostalgia in me, so I thought I’d take some time today to write a bit of a rambling blog about all of this.

A Warhammer Story

I’m not sure if I’ve talked much about this on my blog in the past, but I still think of myself as pretty new to this Warhammer lark. It’s an IP that I’ve always had some sort of awareness of, but have always been a bit reluctant to delve into properly – having always been a huge Star Wars fan, I have felt there isn’t enough room in my head for two big IPs! So for a long time, I was on the outside looking in, always fleetingly.

Then in 2010 or 2011 I bought into a card game called Warhammer: Invasion. It’s a Fantasy Flight LCG that was discontinued back in 2014, set in the Old World and featuring the usual dwarves, orcs and elves. I’d recently gotten heavily into the Lord of the Rings game, and bought this as a bit of light relief, but enjoyed it so much that I snapped everything up, and started devouring everything I could get for it.

The reason why my eye had been drawn to it was this artwork:

Warhammer Invasion

There was something about that Slann Mage Priest that really intrigued me! This art adorns the box for a deluxe expansion called March of the Damned, which introduced new factions to the game, Vampire Counts and Lizardmen. Around this time, there was a thread on the official forums asking what other factions people would like to see, and Tomb Kings really stood out to me as an intriguing name. I mean, I knew what to expect from Ogres and the like, but was interested to see what these things could be.

I’ve long been interested in Ancient Egypt, and Tomb Kings draw heavily on that aesthetic. Or, more the kind of Hammer Horror-esque The Mummy and that ilk. While there are of course legions of skeletons that wield weapons, the characters were all bandage-wrapped horrors, though the overall look is really very appealing to me. I think the idea of the undead with all that gold on them is what really drew me in!

But I never bought them.

As a kid, I remember one Christmas having a model spitfire as a present, and my older brother had a model messerschmitt. While he managed to put it together, and I seem to remember him painting it and adding transfers and all sorts, I was deeply dissatisfied because it wouldn’t go together like a Lego set. I was about 5 at the time, I should add! But I always remember the failure with this airplane, so when I was one those fringes of Warhammer, I was forever thinking of my lack of modelling skills.

When I eventually got into Warhammer models themselves, back in the summer of 2014, I moved almost instantly to 40k, a game I never thought I’d play, and went through a series of Necron kits – Necrons being space Tomb Kings in all but name, of course. When it came to collecting models for Fantasy (as it was still called then), I actually bought Ogres (and Lizardmen, but we won’t talk about them…) Tomb Kings were still not on my radar.

Throughout all this time, which saw me collecting space skeletons, Tomb Kings still somehow scared me. In writing this blog, I think I’ve finally realised why: rank and file. Looking at the pictures on the website of all those models ranked up with their bows and their spears and their goodness-knows what else, I think a little bit of 5-year-old me resurfaced, and I lacked the patience to put something together that looked just far too fiddly.

Age of Sigmar came out and I was bowled over by the Sigmarines, and it’s taken the withdrawal of the entire range to finally get me to invest in the models!

So I’ve finally taken the leap and have bought a decent amount of models – by my rough estimate, 202 wounds of the buggers – that I really can’t wait to turn into my next army! I’m still hoping I can get myself a Battalion box, another, what, 61 wounds right there! I guess we’ll see how the rest of the month progresses.

As a postscript, this is my 399th post on this here blog, and the 400th is right around the corner! It’s a little something that I’m looking forward to starting, anyway, so stay tuned!

New Year, New Sigmar!

Hey everybody!
Things have gotten very exciting today, with the first look at the new faction for Age of Sigmar: Fyreslayers! Essentially the same as the Dwarf Slayers from the original Warhammer Fantasy line, I thought these models looked a little bit silly when the spoilers were being leaked last week, but having now read through this week’s White Dwarf, I think I’m coming round to the idea.

Age of Sigmar Fyreslayers

Of all the changes that were made to the Old World when Age of Sigmar was launched back last summer, it seems the Slayers have survived almost intact. New sculpts they may be, but they’re still basically near-naked, muscly little men with big beards and mohawks. It’s an iconic look, and while a lot has been said of Games Workshop wishing to branch away from their 80s look into something much more unique, I nevertheless like the fact that we’ve still got this style of dwarf in the game.

Age of Sigmar Fyreslayers

So there are three new kits on pre-order this week: Vulkite Berzerkers, Hearthguard Berzerkers, and  the Auric Runemaster. The first of these appears to be something of a generic troop-choice style of kit, with ten miniatures that can be assembled with a choice of three different weapons options. Reminds me a little of the Liberators kit. They do look a little silly with their twin axes, leaping into battle, but again, it’s an iconic image that I feel Age of Sigmar is all the better for having. One of the weapons options is for a throwing-shield and war pick, which seems like a hilarious combination! I was initially hesitant about getting more models, but after reflecting, I think these could be a lot of fun to do, despite my lack of experience in painting skin, so I’m considering getting a box and kitting them out with that combo.

The Hearthguard appears more like an elite choice, with two distinct ways to build them – either with axes that trail some kind of magical, flaming flail (the Hearthguard Berzerkers), or with some kind of dragon-headed bazooka (Auric Hearthguard). I’m not yet convinced to get this kit, though the latter option does hold some appeal for me. As for the Runemaster, well he looks fine, but again, I don’t really feel all that enamoured of paying £18 for a character model.

Something that feels really exciting is that this week’s White Dwarf features a foldout panorama of the entire Fireslayer range. We still don’t know what gloriously silly names some of these chaps will have, but it’s kinda cool to see everything at once like this. Makes me wonder if the Battletome will be out sooner rather than later, as happened with the Stormcast Eternals. So in addition to all of these axe-wielding chaps, there’s also some kind of standard bearer, and of course the Chinese Dragon-style creatures. Maybe more – it’s difficult to distinguish new kits from alternate builds en masse like this. For the record, I’m almost certainly buying one of those dragon-type monsters!

Age of Sigmar Fyreslayers

Seeing all of these chaps has gotten me thinking, this more than any other time really, just how exciting the Age of Sigmar universe actually is. It’s a criticism I see leveled at the setting more and more by embittered 8th-edition players and fans, who are clearly sad to have seen the Old World end as it did, and see nothing of the richness in the new setting. Obvious rebuttals about the years that the previous iteration of Warhammer had to bed-in aside, it’s actually incredibly untrue. Sure, on the face of it, the idea of warrior souls being magically transferred into metal suits to go fight for Sigmar by using magical gates to move between worlds can seem a little goofy and all the rest of it, and if you’re not prepared to look any further then it’s no wonder you don’t see that depth. But the ‘New Old World’ still has a lot of depth and vibrancy to it, and as we see this new incarnation of Dwarf Slayers added to the world, a whole load of mythology is added on to provide that. Agreed, most of this mythology is pretty much grafted from the “world-that-was”, but it opens up so many more worlds and avenues for exploration that I am utterly confounded to see dismissed as often as it is.

I’m going to stop this rant before it becomes something else, anyway!

Suffice it to say, there’s some interesting new stuff on the way next week, and for a few weeks hence as well, it seems!

Age of Sigmar Fyreslayers

Games Workshop in 2015

Hey everybody,
It’s a two-for-one here at spalanz.com today, as I present another retrospective over 2015, this time looking at the beautiful plastic pumped out by Games Workshop! A controversial year, some might say, but we’ll get to that all in good time. Inspired by the article in last week’s White Dwarf, I thought I’d present my top five favourite miniatures here (as well as sending them in to Nottingham), so without further ado, let’s get started!

5. Age of Sigmar – pretty much everything, but specifically – Liberators
So let’s get this out there right away – Age of Sigmar made a lot of people upset and angry, as it wiped the Old World from existence with the End Times, and replaced it with a setting that still feels a little muddled. While I mourn the loss of the original Fantasy setting, I absolutely love the new Stormcast Eternal models, having been excited by them like I have been for nothing else I can think of in a long time. The Liberators are essentially tactical marines in a fantasy setting, but the kit is just a wonderful collection of bits that you can assemble into some really cool-looking stuff. Even those from the starter set were amazing, specifically the Liberator-prime, swinging his warhammer high above his head… Seriously epic stuff!

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And here he is, finished! #Warhammer #AgeOfSigmar

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4. Adeptus Mechanicus – Fulgurite Electro Priests
2015 was a crazy year for Warhammer 40k, with some pretty unexpected releases, including a plastic Mechanicus range. While I haven’t yet sampled any of these guys, I’m continually drawn to the box of Electro Priests when at my local store. While the consensus seems to be that they’re not particularly great in-game, they nevertheless look fantastic – I’m particularly drawn to the bandaged-eyes look, for some strange reason. No doubt soon I’ll cave and buy a box, and somehow attempt to ally them with my Space Marines, for no better reason than they look so intriguing. But definitely a great-looking model, right there!

3. Khorne Bloodthirster
Oddly, this third slot was the most difficult of the five to fill. There are so many great releases that I’d wanted to put here, but somehow none of them managed to match the sheer awesome presence of this guy. Sure, the new Archaon model is pretty spectacular, but seems too much somehow. The Bloodthirster has just the right amount of daemonic presence, in my book, to make it a worthy third-place. I don’t have one, and doubt I will get one, but I can’t help admiring the model as a truly great piece of crafting. My personal favourite of the three options has to be that of Insensate Rage, with the massive double-handed axe.

2. Horus Heresy – Betrayal at Calth – specifically, Kurtha Sedd
Another huge release for the year, plastic Horus Heresy had people in a froth pretty much since the year began. The rumours appeared quashed when the Mechanicus range arrived earlier in the year, but November finally brought us the boxed game, Betrayal at Calth. Pitting the Word Bearers against the Ultramarines, I was trying to resist until I saw a series of unboxing videos, and specifically, the chaplain figure of Kurtha Sedd. There’s just something about that look that has me really enamoured of the whole thing, and sure enough, when I got round to assembling the first minis from the box, it was this chap I put together first.

Plastic Heresy seems to be here to stay, and I find myself hoping that we get a lot more top-quality miniatures along these lines over the coming months and years!

1. Age of Sigmar – Prosecutors
If you followed my Summer of Sigmar over, well, the summer, you’ll no doubt remember I was a huge fan of the Prosecutor models. The models are just fantastic – the starter set models were amazing (the Prosecutor-prime being a truly beautiful piece), while the multi-part kits blew me away with the awesome array of bits and whatnot. There’s a distinct majesty here with the unfolded wings that models like the Celestant-prime, and even the Knight-Azyros can’t quite match. My personal favourite of the build-options is that with stormcall javelins and sigmarite shields, the latter in particular evoking ancient Greece, always a favourite.

So there are my top five! I’ll shortly be emailing these off to Games Workshop – you’ve got until midnight on Sunday to do the same! What do you all think of my choices? Are you disgusted with my lack of Imperial Knights? Let me know in the comments!

Heresy!

Well, seeing the tsunami of news about the upcoming Horus Heresy game from Games Workshop hitting the internet recently, I thought I’d write some thoughts here to add to the rest of the chatter scattered around the web!

GW seem to be really cagey about the whole thing. Despite all the recent leaks, they’ve otherwise been pretty tight-lipped. A 30k plastic miniatures game was rumoured much earlier in the year, but then we got the Adeptus Mechanicus, and everything seemed to lapse back into the realm of plastic Sisters of Battle – that is to say, “probably never coming”.

I won’t go into the fluff of the Horus Heresy here – instead, I’d recommend this video as a useful primer, also a pretty good game from Fantasy Flight! Suffice it to say, it takes place ten thousand years before the timeline of Warhammer 40k, and deals with a Space Marine civil war where several legions broke away and rebelled against the Emperor. As such, the idea of this game has always appeared to be very claustrophobic, insofar as it only deals with space marines rather than the more vibrant tapestry of xenos battles in the 41st millennium.

I’ve been reading a lot on the rumour site Bell of Lost Souls, which of course traffics in minor tidbits repeated often. However, we’re now seeing lots of pictures from next week’s White Dwarf, showing the upcoming release to be a board game much in the spirit of Space Hulk or Assassinorum: Execution Force. However, the miniatures appear fully intended as tabletop wargaming pieces, and not merely nice components for the boardgame. The current rumours point to a full 30k plastic range coming from Games Workshop in the new year.

Of course, Forge World already have a Horus Heresy range, and this has led to some conflicting reports about compatibility. I think the last thing I’d heard was that the two games would not be compatible, though there has been some talk of the game being almost interchangeable with the current 40k. But that may just have been the minis. Generally, it’s a very confused picture right now! I guess we’ll know more with this weekend’s White Dwarf.

At any rate, I’m currently conflicted by the whole thing. I’m largely intimidated by the price tag, rumoured to be at £95, which makes it one of the most expensive boxed games I’ve ever encountered! The contents have been estimated at much higher than that, of course, so it does actually represent a good saving – and in plastic, too – but I don’t know if I want to get that many marines in one go. I’ve recently begun building a space marine army, but I currently have a whole load of models, which means I don’t currently feel a need to add more. Further down the line, it might be of use, but I don’t know.

Horus Heresy

For now, I’m going to wait and see. I want to get into 40k at my local stores, so I think I’ll see how well it goes down there and base my decision on that as to whether I throw some money in. Not the most exciting response, I have to say, but it’s the best I have right now!

What about you? Are you excited for this release? Planning to buy a couple of these boxes? What are your thoughts?

Age of Sigmar, week 10

Hey everybody,
It’s time for winged fury as we arrive in the tenth week of Age of Sigmar releases!

Warhammer Age of Sigmar

This weekend is the one I’ve been waiting for since that first week of July, when I saw the painting video for the Prosecutors and just fell in love with those models. This weekend is pretty big – in fact, it’s been the most expensive for strictly new models so far, I think! We’ve got the new Prosecutor box, which has so many awesome bits and pieces I feel light headed to think about it, alongside the Knight Azyros kit, which can be built also as a Knight Venator. Got to be honest, I didn’t realise they were the same kit when I made my pre-order, but instead just snapped up both, envisaging a clampack-style character for each. But hey, it means I’ll get a spare phoenix – sorry, star eagle – to do something with…

The upgrade packs are exactly that, upgrade packs, but perhaps the most interesting release this weekend is the battletome for the Stormcast Eternals. Is it a codex/army book? Well, the answer is a resounding “kinda” – it has the warscrolls for the entire range, along with the battalion lists, and some history fluff along with some wonderful artwork and awesome miniatures photography. There are also battle plans, which I feel are recycled but may not be, and the four-page rules that have now made it into every Age of Sigmar book published for the game. However, the feel of it is much less like the codex that we were perhaps expecting, perhaps because we’ve already seen the warscrolls before. Instead, it keeps that feel of being very much like a kids’ annual from back in the day – something I mean in the very best possible way. There are the rules for your game, there are even some scenarios to play through, and there’s all the fluff you could ever want. There are also paint schemes to try, and it comes across more as a sort of toybox of awesome that I’m actually really excited to have, and to read through at my leisure, regardless of whether I’ve had some of it before. It’s by no means super-necessary if you’ve kept up with White Dwarf, but it’s certainly nice to have.

Next Week!

Next week looks like it’ll be the final week of the Stormcast Eternals releases, with just two models to finish off the army. The Knight Heraldor, trumpet in hand, and the Knight Vexillor, carrying the banner aloft. I feel like these are nice throwbacks to the Warhammer Fantasy era of battles, where standard bearers and musicians can affect the morale of your unit or an enemy unit. It’s good to see them having a nice effect in-game, although such effects are only once per game. The Knight Heraldor can blow on his sigmarite trumpet to cause buildings to collapse – scenery itself isn’t damaged, but models close to it will potentially be wounded or killed. The Knight Vexillor can call down a comet onto the battlefield to smite the opponents of order in a similar fashion to the Celestant-Prime, although there is the option of building him with a pennant rather than the full-blown banner. which can serve as the eye of a vortex that will transport friendly units anywhere on the battlefield, the wind then causing your foe to take wounds somehow. It all sounds quite nice for add-on effects, and while I was initially surprised that they are separate models – whereas their Fantasy forebears have been options within a unit kit – they do seem to be suitably grand.

The Heraldor looks a bit weird, having the half-mask that enables him to blow the trumpet and all, though I like how he’s been made to fit in with the rest of the line, particularly the Lord-Celestant with the cloak-hammers. The Vexillor has been a bit of a let-down, if I’m honest – the Retributor armour makes him look a bit too bulky, and the standard itself seems a bit odd in comparison. I feel that Khorne has all the good banners! I’m definitely going for the pennant option, as it looks more in-balance with the rest of him.

My week

I haven’t actually done any painting last week, but have moved on to something that I’m pretty excited about – scenery! Yes, I’m not entirely sure what possessed me, but I’ve built both the Ophidian Archway and Numinous Occulum, as well as finally putting the Lord-Relictor together from the starter set.

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I love this #AgeOfSigmar stuff!

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The Lord-Relictor does look vaguely silly, I can’t deny, but I’ve done all of the others, so I might as well put him together as well. The scenery is something that I’m very excited to see, as I’ve never done anything like this before! The archway was actually really easy to assemble, being just an archway and two side-pieces. I think the rules for it are pretty hilarious, though, which could have been part of my motivation there – basically, a hero close to the arch can attempt to bring to life the dragon-beast on the stone, and if he fails, it’ll eat him! The Occulum looks amazing, but was an absolute bear to assemble, unfortunately. It also suffers a lot with gaps, so I’ve tried my hand with greenstuff for the first time ever. I’m not entirely convinced by my results, but it’s better than having those dreadful holes in the model! I actually published a more in-depth review over on tumblr yesterday – check it out here!

You’ll no doubt be pleased to know that I also finished reading the Lord of the End Times! The fifth novel in the series sees the world torn asunder, as Archaon the Everchosen overwhelms Middenheim with the massed forces of Chaos in order to awaken an artifact of destruction. Will the massed Incarnates of Magic be able to stop him? Well – spoiler alert – they won’t. If you were any kind of Warhammer fan, you’ll know that the End Times were exactly that when the storyline finished back in May this year, as the Fantasy world was basically annihilated. I hadn’t realised how literal this was – knowing the ending, I became intrigued as to how the story would actually play out, and the answer was, not how I expected. The artifact under Middenheim was a bit deux-ex-machina-esque, admittedly, and a lot of the novel swung between periods where nobody did much of anything, and what can be described as someone’s attempt to storify their latest tabletop wargame. To some extent, I feel bad for any author saddled with writing the apotheosis to a fantasy world as rich and vibrant as this. A lot of big names were brought back only to be killed off – Sigvald, I’m looking at you – while others were thrown in almost at random – Neferata in the epilogue? Why? However, it was still great to see some of them – even Grombindal made his appearance, which was nice!

The novel ends with more than a glimmer of hope and, knowing what we do now about Age of Sigmar’s lore, it actually makes a whole ton of sense. Hindsight is wonderful, after all. So while I enjoyed the first two entries, the final three were a little too clunky for me, and while I would never dissuade anyone from them, I can’t really say you should expect much.

So, I’ve got some models to build and paint. What do you all think of the Stormcast Eternal range now we’re approaching the final models? Love them? Do you disagree the standard bearer looks weird? How about the fifth End Times novel? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!