New Army Update One

Hey everybody,
It’s time for an update on my New Year, New Army project for 2021 – yes, already! Only because I’ve been making some really good progress, so thought I’d come along and share it with you all!

Mortek Guard

I’ve been painting up the Mortek Guard, the basic foot soldiers of the Ossiarch Bonereapers, as I thought I’d try first to get the colour scheme down on the basic guys, before moving on to the more exciting stuff! I’ve gone for the colour scheme of the Petrifex Elite, after seeing them in the battletome and liking the mix of dark bone on the warriors themselves, lighter bone trim, then the more striking bright red armour and jade/turquoise cloth!

I’ve got a long way to go yet, but fortunately there are painting guides included in the Battletomes for Age of Sigmar, so I have some idea of where I need to go with it all! The scheme uses Contrast paints, which is fairly exciting for me, as I’ve not really done a great deal with them before. I must admit, I’m still not 100% sold on them even now, but I think once I start to bring it all together, it could be quite nice!

The Petrifex Elite were the original go-to choice for all the tournament lists once Ossiarch Bonereapers initially came out, due to the army-wide +1 to save. Basic troops with a 3+ save is quite powerful, after all! However, this has now been changed to a re-roll save rolls of 1, which isn’t quite as powerful, though for sure will have its uses! Of course, I’m no power gamer, so I’m fairly oblivious to the vagaries of these things! I also have nowhere near a playable army, with my partially-painted Mortek Guard bringing the grand total of 130 points to my army list!

The other Petrifex Elite abilities are nice, improving the rend of melee weapons as a command ability, and negating the first wound allocated to the relic-bearer etc. Age of Sigmar rules are not my specialism at the moment, however, so I’m going to have to go away and learn all about this stuff before I can talk sensibly about these things!

I have, however, made a start on my list, and have made the decision on which sub-Legion to use now, so that’s positive!

I’m starting out with the unit of 10 Mortek Guard, armed with Nadirite Blades (plus the one-in-ten champion type, who is armed with a Soulcleaver Greatblade which hits on a 3+, rather than a 4+). Nadirite weapons score 2 hits on a natural 6, which is very nice because the unit has 9 of these things, which make 2 attacks each! In 18 dice rolls, there has to be at least a couple of natural 6s, even the way I roll dice!

Mortek Guard are the basic troops, but I’ve ordered some Immortis Guard to give myself some elite options. These guys are armed with halberds that have a slightly improved stat line to the Guard’s blades, but importantly they also attack with their massive shields, which has the same Nadirite weapon ability of causing 2 hits on a natural 6. Fantastic! Furthermore, they have a command ability that lets them attack for a second time with the shields – anything that gives extra attacks is okay in my book!

The Immortis Guard also have the HEKATOS keyword, which is the name of the sergeant-type guys, and triggers off a number of other abilities, including the Legion-specific command abilities. For my Legion choice, I’ve gone with the Mortis Praetorians, which is the Legion on the box art, and the one with the named characters in there. I’m not sure, because I’m thinking like a 40k player, but I imagine that I can’t include those characters in my army if I were playing a different Legion… anyway!

Mortis Praetorians have a fear-like army-wide rule that subtracts 1 from the bravery of any unit within 12″ of them, and the command ability allows you to re-roll hits for units within range of a HERO or a HEKATOS, which is nice!

Speaking of heroes, I have got the Mortisan Boneshaper, a support wizard that can heal units, with a spell that lets them deal mortal wounds to enemy units based on that unit’s model count. It’s a variation on a fairly popular theme, but I think he’ll be quite useful in the back-line (his spell is 18″). I’ve got my eye on one of the named characters, Arch-Kavalos Zandtos, though currently haven’t pulled the trigger on buying him (it was him or the Immortis Guard this month!)

As a bit of heavy support, I have the Gothizzar Harvester to go about healing my chaps in a similar manner to the Boneshaper, though I’m also arming him with Soulcleaver Sickles, which increase the attacks for larger units. I’m not entirely sure how big this guy is, but I’m thinking somewhat Carnifex-sized. Should be a nice sort of centrepiece model while the army is still small-ish, though!

In total, then, we’ve got:

Mortisan Boneshaper: 130 points
10 Mortek Guard: 130 points
3 Immortis Guard: 200 points
Gothizzar Harvester: 200 points

There is a lot to do right now, for sure, but I’m trying to focus myself on building and painting one unit at a time (might do the hero alongside the big guy though). My principal focus for the time being is to get the equivalent of a Start Collecting box painted, so I’m thinking the troops, the hero, and the big guy. I want those finished by the end of February, and given how quickly the Guard have progressed since I started painting them on Saturday, I’m hopeful this is achievable! I may even get the other 10 warriors painted up in that time, actually!

In addition…

Following a flurry of interest back in September, Warcry has somewhat fallen on the back burner once more for me, as 40k and Necromunda took over my life for the remainder of the year. However, I’m really on the fantasy kick once more with this current project, and I’m really enjoying the return to fantasy models and all that entails – it’s always the same for me when I come back after time away, it’s like my world is blown open and I remember why I got into this whole mess in the first place.

Back when I bought the first few Ossiarch Bonereapers kits, I also picked up the Warcry cards for them, as I think the store had one left in stock, and I thought, why not? The Bonereapers seem to have a fair number of units available to them, made from three boxes: the Mortek Guard, the Necropolis Stakers (the Immortis Guard aren’t allowed, oddly), and the Kavalos Deathriders (the cavalry units). There are two leader choices, one of them mounted, and a whole host of new rules for unit types that I’d not come across when I initially tried the game out, so that’s been exciting!

There is the “bulwark” runemark which grants an ability that can be used by shield-wielding Mortek Guard, giving them +1 toughness, and two units for the “destroyer” runemark, which can be used by the Necropolis Stalkers to grant an additional move on a double, or a bonus to the number of attacks made on a quad. Very nice!

Warcry is definitely something that I’d like to try out some more, as I really do love the look of the game. For a 1000-point warband of Ossiarch Bonereapers, I’ve thrown together the idea of a Hekatos, a Necropolis Stalker, and the Guard champion fella, with six further Mortek Guard to get me nine guys at 985 points. Could be quite interesting, though I suppose there’s only one way to find out!!

New Year, New Army 2021!

Hey everybody,
It’s been a while in the planning stages, but I’m finally ready to talk about the new project for 2021! New projects are, of course, nothing new for me, although finished projects are much more of a rarity. However, this one is something that I’ve been thinking about for a couple of months now, since picking up some bits late last year, and it’s something that I’m very excited to get moving with, so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to keep some momentum with things, and see some real results when I look back on this point in the future!

The project I’m talking about is nothing less than Ossiarch Bonereapers!

This is an army that I was incredibly excited for back when it was first revealed at the 2019 Nova Open. Tomb Kings re-imagined as ancient conquerors with hints of both Roman and Mongolian heritage in the lore and aesthetic, it was wonderful! I’ve been a huge fan of the armies of Death for Warhammer Fantasy and Age of Sigmar for such a long time, in part due to the nostalgia of having the Nagash releases happening back when I was properly falling into the whole miniatures side of things. I currently have a fairly sizable Nighthaunt army as well, although I’m not exactly sure what I’m doing with that as it has been languishing in a box for a long time now.

Arkhan the Black is one of my favourite miniatures of all time, and while I had initially thought to include him with the Nighthaunt, it seems like he has found a much more permanent home among the Bonereapers, which makes me love them all the more! I really like the fact that the Arkhan model is, what, 5 years removed from the Bonereapers, and yet they all share certain design cues that makes everything feel really quite homogeneous. Arkhan is still unpainted, I think I recently put him up in the loft as I need the space for something else, but when I’ve got a decent force built and painted, I think I’d like to test my skills with painting the big lad himself, as that should be a real fun project!

The lore on these guys does veer a bit towards the silly at times, though I think in part this is due to the penchant for Games Workshop to give over-the-top names for stuff, which really goes across the board and isn’t unique to the Bonereapers. Here is an army of undead skeletons, and the amount of necro- prefixes, mort- prefixes, and osseo / bone references is just off the charts. Bones, bones, bones.

The idea behind them is that Nagash created a race of warriors from bone, almost as a secret weapon, and hid them underground “in serried ranks”. So, terracotta warriors style. The Necroquake that was (I think) the event that kicked off Soul Wars unleashed the Bonereapers, and they’ve been going about the Mortal Realms ever since, conquering empires in the name of Nagash. They extract a toll of bone from the vanquished populace, which they use to then replenish their ranks to keep the immortal legions strong.

Among the theme of BONES then, there is also a strong undercurrent of contracts and extracting tithes, which no doubt appeals to me as a civil servant, thinking there might somewhere be countless clerks making sure these tithes are met! It’s very weird, to me, for a fantasy army in a game like this, to have such a convoluted backstory that is based around taxation. But that’s pretty immaterial, really, because the miniatures themselves look great!

I’m a big fan of the line soldiers of this faction. It always helps, when you’re looking at having to paint vast hordes, that you’d actually want to do so! The Mortis Guard are the basic troops that come in two flavours: sword and spear. Each box has 20 models, and I’ve already begun to build up my first unit, for which I’m building the sword variety. There isn’t really anything more to say about these guys, they’re just the basic troops, and they’ll doubtless be forming the backbone (ha!) of the army as it evolves.

There are so many good-looking models in this range, but my first hero choice is going to be one of the few named characters in the faction, Vokmortian, Master of the Bone-tithe. He was the central hero of the faction at launch, in the Feast of Bones boxset, and his miniature seems to just drip with that officiousness, holding out the contract there as if to point out the small print. What a guy! In the game, he has the ability to outright kill a model on a 5+, the only downside being that model has to be within 1″ of him. I wonder how many times that has actually been pulled off against some god-like character in the opposing army…

In time, I’m probably going to collect everything, but aside from (probably) more Mortis Guard, I’d really like to get my hands on the Mortek Crawler. A giant, walking catapult, this thing is absolutely absurd, but the more I’ve been looking at it lately, the more I’ve fallen in love with it!

I love the fact that it’s almost a mini-diorama piece in and of itself, with the guys crawling over it and that dude in his little hamster wheel to (presumably) move the thing forwards. In the game, it fires magical skulls, although has two additional once-per-game missiles, including a lump of inscribed stone that looks so amazing I just love it! It’s barmy, but it’s another of these models that I hope to be able to paint up and do justice to as something of a centrepiece model.

Of course, the Bonereapers have perhaps the original centrepiece model, Katakros, the new Mortarch! This guy seems to have attracted more hate than I think he deserves, as the model is definitely an imposing piece, and it is also really quite amazing in the true sense of the word, with all the attendants that he has surrounding him. He’s become almost a blueprint for others, such as the Triumph of St Katherine, with multi-model diorama style miniatures coming out for several armies since.

I won’t be rushing to get this model, mainly because of the price and the fact I don’t think I am good enough to do it any kind of justice! But in time, I think it would be a wonderful crowning piece for the army, and I’d love to have a go at it!

For now, though, my collection of Bone-Boys is really quite modest:

I’ve also got the Gothizzar Harvester on order, the idea being that my local store is doing a New Year New Army thing, where we all paint up the equivalent of a Start Collecting box. In the absence of such a box for the Bonereapers, I thought Vokmortian, some Mortek Guard, and the Harvester would make a very decent start! Now I just need to get a move on and start building and painting these things!

I’m still not 100% set on my colour scheme just yet, but I think I’m leaning towards that of the Petrifex Elite. They used to be almost overpowered, from what I’ve picked up, but have since been nerfed quite considerably. Personally, I just like the combination of colours, and think it could work really nicely across the whole force!

I haven’t looked at the rules properly since I picked up the book last October, so I need to properly read up on everything to see what subfaction I actually choose to go for. I’ll be back sometime soon with some waffle about this, though – probably with an army list that I’m going to be aiming for, and maybe some updates on the actual models, if I’ve managed to get anywhere with them! So stay tuned for that!!