Hobby Progress, week 20

Hey everybody!
Last week was the start of something wonderful for me, clearly, as I began to put base coats on more Stormcast Eternals. For those of you who didn’t click on the link, I painted six Protectors with Balthasar Gold, and pretty much left it there. It was a promising start, but with an essay due at the end of the month, I hadn’t thought I’d be able to get much done this week to report. Well, I was wrong!

Hobby Progress 20

Let’s start with the Protectors. These guys are some of my favourites from the entire Stormcast line released to date. Last week, I’d thought about trying to make them look really ornate and stuff, but decided I didn’t want to make them stand out too much from the other guys I have. The gold armour is the usual thing: Balthasar gold base, washed with Agrax earthshade, then drybrusged with Golden Griffon. For the purple, it’s a basecoat of Naggaroth Night and then a thin, almost-glaze of Xereus purple. I think the official Lions of Sigmar scheme that inspired me initially also calls for Genestealer purple, but I’ve never really wanted to highlight it up that much – I prefer my models to look almost dark, with more realistic highlights provided by the natural light on the model. Anyway! The metal is the usual Leadbelcher/Nuln oil/Runefang steel thing, though I’ve also done a very light drybrush with Liberator gold on the glaives, as I wanted them to appear somewhat special. The haft of their weapons is Screamer pink washed with Agrax earthshade and drybrushed with Pink Horror, and that’s pretty much that!

Hobby Progress 20

I’ve done four more paladins, as well. The base set for Age of Sigmar comes with three Retributors, but the paladins box has enough for five guys, which has always been a bit of an annoyance for me. I’ve previously built up five Decimators, but when I was building the Protectors, I decided I’d make three units of six for the three paladin types. Hence the six Protectors in the first picture, of course. My prime motivation for doing three more Retributors was my second game of Age of Sigmar, in which my Retributors did extremely well. I also thought the Soulstar Mace was a really powerful weapon, so wanted another one!

Hobby Progress 20

My Lord Castellant is still one of my favourite models to work with so far! Unfortunately, I think he’s currently at the very limit of my skills with a paint brush, yet I feel there’s still a lot that could be done to him. However, I feel really pleased with the achievement here. Especially considering I painted him fully built! That lantern has turned out so well! Sometimes I’m overly modest about my work, but I feel really proud of what I’ve done, even though I know it won’t be winning any awards or anything.

The basic armour and stuff is the same as with the other guys. For the tabard and the ribbon that comes off his axe, I painted them Warpfiend grey and washed it Druchii violet, something I’ve previously done with the standing Lord-Celestant. For me, the biggest thing on this guy was his cloak. I just didn’t know what to do with it for days! I’d painted it Celestra grey, but had no idea where to go from there! This morning, however, I took the plunge and washed it with Drakenhof Nightshade. It looks good, and ties in well with the Primes from the various warrior chambers, whose feather crests on their helmets are all done in the same manner.

The lantern is basically Leadbelcher, washed in Nuln oil, the lightning bits done in Retributor armour, and then very lightly drybrushed with Runefang steel. I think it’s quite a simple thing that looks really effective now that it’s finished. Really happy with that, in case you can’t tell!

Hobby Progress 20

Something else I’m really happy about is the completion of these Prosecutors! They’ve been hanging about since September, and despite trying to get them done earlier in the year, I haven’t actually managed it until this week. It’s just those wings, you know? I’ve tried painting the wings first and then the golden bits, the golden bits first and then the wings, but no matter which bit is done first, it always needs to be re-done as I manage to either get blue on the gold, or gold on the blue. Gah! That said, they still look damn sexy as hell when they’re done, and I’m so pleased to have them done. The masochist in me wants to immediately start work on three more, perhaps wielding a grandhammer or grandblade, but I think I’m going to start on something different next…

Hobby Progress 20

Finally, I think my Orruk chap is completed, too! As with the Lord-Castellant, I think he’s as good as my skill can make him right now, so I’m going to leave him there. The bone has been done, just Dawnstone with an Agrax earthshade wash, and the wrappings have been painted in Kislev flesh and a mix of Agrax earthshade and Carroburg crimson – basically, I wanted the wraps to actually be strips of flesh torn from his enemies!

Something I’m particularly excited about with this model is that I’ve used Blood for the Blood God for the first time ever, pooling beneath the severed head. It’s actually a lot different than I thought it would be, and I’m already thinking I might try it on other models. I’m not really one for making my models look dirty and whatnot, I prefer a clean finish, but it might add to some of the scenery or whatever on the base!

Anyway, that’s all the progress for this week! I’m surprised there’s been so much of it, to be honest – particularly seeing as how I’ve also managed to read two books and write a 3000-word essay! I should clearly have time off work more often!

Don’t forget to come back next week, for what I hope will be a really exciting update blog!

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.

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!

Age of Sigmar, week 9

Nine weeks of shiny awesome! It’s certainly been one hell of a ride so far, and while I am a bit fraught about how much is being added to my pile of plastic (more later), at least this week has only seen one new model released for the Stormcast Eternals range. But oh, what a model…

Age of Sigmar Celestant-Prime

The Celestant-Prime is the first Stormcast Eternal made by Sigmar, but has only been reanimated following the successful recovery of Ghal Maraz. Consequently, he is only now able to lead the Stormhosts into battle. Something of a Warhammer Frankenstein, then, among a whole legion of similar, the model is a little bit goofy, I can’t help but say. I love the actual body of the guy, his armour looks immense. The wings I can kinda live with, as I love my Prosecutors, even if the Celestant-Prime makes them pale by comparison. The celestial orrery thing that swirls around his feet looks interesting, though could turn into a nightmare to paint. But the whole ensemble just looks faintly silly.

Fortunately, the sprues look like this model should be fairly straightforward to assemble. I’m not yet sure when assembly will begin, though I have some time off work coming up at the end of the month, so may save myself for that. We’ll see. Of course, the weapon options are the most exciting thing here, as we finally have a Ghal Maraz that looks as kickass as we’ve been repeatedly told it is – plus, the fact that both it and the comestrike sceptre come in two¬†poses means we can, potentially, have another warrior wield Sigmar’s famous hammer.¬† I think I mentioned last week that I bought this model principally for the hilarity factor, but having now seen the upcoming releases, I really wish I’d saved my money…

Upcoming Stuff

Next weekend finally sees the release I’ve been waiting for, along with so many other exciting bits and pieces, I was eagerly refreshing the webstore this morning in a manner I haven’t seen since the End Times hardcover releases. First up, we’re finally getting the Prosecutor kits I’ve been dying to get my hands on! Only two different weapon options – paired warhammers as in the starter box, or javelin-and-shield combos that look super-awesome!

Age of Sigmar Prosecutors

I think I love these shields most because they remind me of Ancient Greece so much. Longtime readers may recall I’m currently doing a part-time degree in Classics, and the round shield is strongly reminiscent of the hoplite shield – indeed, while it is meant to be a lighter version specifically designed for the winged Prosecutors to carry, I’m actually considering using them on a new squad of Liberators, just to get that Ancient Greek vibe for a unit…

Something else that I really, really love about these guys is that Trident guy. Let’s just take another look at this guy from the video:

Age of Sigmar Prosecutors

I mean, how amazing is this guy?! Aside from the fact that the Sons of Mallus black paintscheme looks incredible, that weapon just looks like too much awesome! I’m definitely doing this. I’ve already pre-ordered two boxes of these guys in order to do a whole host of wonderful things, but this is definitely going to happen at least once in my unit…

The Prosecutor kit has a real good selection of other weapon choices, and it doesn’t take an eagle-eye to realise that most of them are recycled from earlier kits. The paired warhammers, okay those are the options in the starter set. We’ve also got something called a Stormcall Javelin, which is basically a shorter blade than the Stormstrike Glaive from the Paladin kit. The special weapons are the Grandblade from the Liberator kit; the Grandaxe that is a Thunderaxe in the Paladin kit, and a Grandhammer that looks like that from the Liberator kit without the scroll hanging from it. There are also two separately-available character models with wings releasing (more shortly), one of which has a Judicator Skybolt Bow. I’m expecting all of this to lead to some disparaging remarks about design-laziness and the like, but it is actually addressed in this week’s White Dwarf as a fantastic way to swap out weapons among your units. See, the Prosecutors, Judicators and Liberators all have the same torso, so you can do all manner of customising on your guys to get a really interesting strike force going on. I’ve already mentioned the possibility of arming Liberators with the round shields; I’m also thinking I might give some Prosecutors a Liberator Warblade combo, and see where that takes me. It also means the army will have some really nice uniformity as it begins to come together. I think Prosecutors, with their massive wings going on there, are potentially the most weird unit released, and as such could look the most out-of-place in your army, but by adding this layer of uniformity, it helps to pull everyone together. So I’m a big fan!

There are, as mentioned, two character models coming out next weekend: the Knight-Azyros and the Knight-Venator. These guys look amazing, and could be a lot of fun to build a unit of Prosecutors around, rather than just the Prosecutor-Prime. The Knight-Azyros wields a sword and lantern combo, and while the lantern of the Lord-Castellant is closed, this new iteration is open and blazing, with rules that allow you to sear every enemy within 8″ with the light of Sigmar. Nice! The Knight-Venator is something of a sniper model, using his Realmhunter’s Bow (a Judicator bow with some additional detailing) to strike from afar. He comes with a Star-eagle swooping low around his feet, which I feel is a really nice touch, though I have seen the odd comment online dismissing it. I think the model looks like a fantastic centrepiece-style kit, anyway, particularly when you see it in the colourscheme of the Celestial Vindicators, above.

But that’s not all – we’re also getting Upgrade Kits!

Oh my goodness, I’m excited for these out of all proportion. Two separate kits, providing shield options and pauldron variants, I’m thinking I might want to try out some new units with these guys attached. In particular, the Knights Excelsior look pretty fabulous, and while I’ve heard white is a very difficult colour to pull off, I’m really considering giving it a try…

Age of Sigmar Knights Excelsior

But that’s not all – we’re also getting an Army Book Codex Battletome!

This is a very interesting development, as I’m sure I’d heard mention back when Age of Sigmar began that they weren’t going to be producing these kinds of things. Warscrolls have been free in White Dwarf as well as in with the models themselves, of course, and the campaign books that have been coming out have featured all of the scrolls up to date, so it looked like that would be the established format. But now we have this – it looks like more than a Codex, which is pretty exciting, and it also looks like it might be setting the stage for what is to come by having the “Order Battletome” emblazoned on the cover. We’ll see if we get a “Destruction Battletome” that features the Ogres, then…

It’s also pretty exciting as I’m going to assume that it will be featuring all of the range of the Stormcast Eternals among its 17 warscrolls – so the end really must be in sight! A brief count puts the warscrolls we’ve had to date at 15, so paired with this week’s tease in White Dwarf, we can assume we’re getting just two more models and then the range will be complete. And my wallet can breathe a sigh of relief! The tease, incidentally, hints at a musician and a standard-bearer option for the Stormcast Eternals – presumably Liberator models – that has been floating around the internets for a few days or so now.

I’m excited to see the end of the Stormcast Eternal release window, which might sound a bit weird at first glance, but being a collector at heart, I’m excited to have some breathing space where I can finish building up my models, get them painted, and then see the entire war-host without thinking “there’s still x to get…” It’s been a whole shed-load of fun, and I’m excited for future releases down the line (I’m thinking next year, now), but for now, it’s really nice to think that my army will be very nearly done.

What I’ve been up to this week

I had another very productive weekend over the bank holiday, where I got the Liberators I’d started last week pretty much finished:

Age of Sigmar Liberators

I’ve now moved on to five more Judicators, this time with boltstorm crossbows:

No actual undercoat has been applied to these yet, though I am looking forward to trying something darker on the weapons this time. As with any army project I suppose, the more models you add to it, the more the scheme comes together, but the more everyone begins to look the same, so I feel a real need to make some stand-out differences where I can.

Unfortunately I feel a bit like I’ve come up against a brick wall with the painting, having had two very productive weekends recently. Fatally, I tidied up the painting space in order to play a very exciting boardgame that is getting the first-look treatment on Tuesday, and I haven’t really been in the mood to put it all back to continue painting. Maybe in the next couple of days I’ll be inspired once more.

For all of this, anyway, I am actually feeling very pleased with my Stormhost right now. The Lions of Sigmar are steadily coming together, and I’m looking forward to finally trying the actual game out! But more than anything, I feel like all of this concentrated painting activity had really helped to hone my painting skills, and I’m feeling much more confident when I tackle the filigree bits like the raised detail on the pauldrons and shields. Progress with my Ogres hasn’t been as steady as I’d like, having been distracted by the Liberators last weekend, and I still have a sizeable number of Necrons waiting for something to finish them all off, so I definitely have my work cut out for me! Hopefully I’ll get everything finished off and beautiful over the course of the month, before my degree starts up again early in October and I’m back to having hobby-time somewhat curtailed.

Age of Sigmar