February Retrospective

Hey everybody,
Another month has been and gone, and it’s once more time for another retrospective blog! I’m quite enjoying this idea, so hopefully that’ll continue for the year ahead! It’s been a pretty productive month as well, with a lot more hobby and stuff to report!

Since last month, I’ve been making terrific progress with the Ossiarch Bonereapers, which was most recently chronicled in my update blog, here. I’ve now got 590 points-worth of the bone-boys painted up in the colours of the Petrifex Elite. It’s been a lot of fun painting these chaps, although for now I’ve taken a small break as I look at what else I have that needs attention.

The next part of my plan for the Bonereapers is to have the Necropolis Stalkers painted, although I’m not sure whether to build them as the Stalkers or the Immortis Guard. It is on my radar to get more troops, although I’m kinda waiting for the inevitable Start Collecting box, which will likely have these guys in there. Unless they go for a cavalry box? That said, with 40k moving to these combat patrol boxes, I don’t know if they’re planning to continue to do these for much longer. At any rate, for now I’m continuing to build and paint what I have, rather than branching out and buying yet more miniature men.

Quite the sea-change for me, really!

At some point in the near future, though, it’ll be the turn of this magnificent specimen, and I cannot wait to get this one built!

In the middle of getting this small army of mine assembled, I did a little work on the nascent Black Legion that I’ve been wanting to get off the starting block for quite some time now! I’ve been inspired by Martin Sivertsen on Instagram and his own burgeoning Black Legion force! It’s a beautiful force, and I think it’s about time that I got somewhere with my own. In addition, I’ve also been hard at work building up the remaining models from the Necron side of the Indomitus box (I’ve decided to sell the Space Marine portion, more money for the stuff I do want!)

I’m still not a huge fan of the new Necron aesthetic of shambling robot zombies, but the army is of course my first love, and I do find myself enjoying the look of the new Crypteks, so have picked up a Psychomancer for the list that I talked about a while back, and I’m planning to start work on painting the Plasmancer pretty soon. That juggernaut of GW painting, Garfy, posted yesterday showing the new Chronomancer mini and it’s absolutely beautiful. Probably going to be a while before this one is released separately, but I suppose it’s at least four more months before we will see the lockdown restrictions removed here in the UK, so I’ve got the time! I’ve got a lot of disparate ideas for 40k floating around, but it seems as though I’m much more likely to focus myself on Age of Sigmar right now.

Slaanesh has been on my mind of course, now that we’ve had the new range of mortals released. I’ve picked up the Shardspeaker, such a fantastic model, but have otherwise reined myself in here. In all honesty, this is a force that is a long way off just now, and I’d rather keep focusing my efforts on the bone boys to get a decent sized force finished.

In addition to the Bonereapers and Slaanesh, I’ve had my eye on the Lumineth Realm-lords, following the latest Warhammer Preview this month. There are some very beautiful miniatures in this range, to be sure, and I’m trying my hardest to resist buying anything just now! There’s definitely something Old World about these minis, that makes me nostalgic for the old days. I keep thinking I might just pick up a box of the basic infantry, just to have a go…

Lumineth Realm-lords

So far, though, I have been a good boy!

Something that I haven’t been able to resist, though, is this:

The “latest” expansion for Warcry is a few months old now of course, but I’ve been thinking on it for quite some time, vacillating over whether to get it or whether it was a bit steep for the content involved.

However, I am glad to have it, despite all the negatives floating around online! Warcry is absolutely one of the things near the top of my list right now. I’ve been wanting to get further into that game recently, although I’ve still not played it after that game back in September. I’ve got the Iron Golem models from the original core set primed and waiting, and I’ve been thinking that may well be the next project to get underway with. Of course, Warcry could be the perfect way to start with Slaanesh when the time comes, and I’m sure I’ll be exploring more of that here!

Arkham Horror LCG The Circle Undone

At least I’ve been playing Arkham Horror LCG, and have managed to get started with recording my endeavours on the blog here! With working from home more regularly during the current lockdown, I’ve found that I have the time while on my lunchbreak to get a game in, which has been quite good for getting to explore the game some more.

Taking a sharp left turn now, I watched The Phantom Menace last weekend, for the first time in what feels like an age. It’s hardly the best film in the series, of course, but it did feel quite wonderful to be watching Star Wars once again, and I did feel really quite nostalgic for the whole saga. I used to watch the prequels almost every Christmas, while reading a selection of the novels and comics set around there – to the point where I had almost developed a set scheme for “my prequel Christmas”. I do quite miss the days when I had nothing much going on, and could read a 400 page book in a day, happy times! I’d like to try and get back into that maybe someday here, revisit the old days and chronicle some of those classic tales here – though much like with the Legacy series I re-read last December, it’ll be interesting to see if these things hold up.

Something that I have finished reading this month is the Warhammer Crime anthology No Good Men. I really enjoyed the first novel in the series, so had been looking forward to reading more. Anthologies can always be a bit ropey, and I think this one is no different. Seven short stories from Black Library alums (including Chris Wraight, author of the inaugural Bloodlines), all set on the world of Alecto and around the hive city of Varanganthua. The thing is, after Bloodlines, and after a couple of stories here, things begin to sound all the same. Probators going about their investigations, etc. There are a lot of missing persons, it seems, in the hive city, and I found myself wanting a bit more variety. I’m not really that down on the book, of course, but things just tend to blur into one at the end. Individually, the stories are pretty good, and very enjoyable with that noir feeling. Some are better than others, of course, but I definitely like the change from space marines and the like.

I’ve got Flesh and Steel, the next Warhammer Crime novel, ready and waiting. But I’m also hearing such good things about the first Star Wars High Republic novel, Light of the Jedi, that I’m thinking I might have to pick that one up sooner than later.

Warhammer Crime: Bloodlines

Hey everybody,
It’s been more than a week since I finished this bad boy, so it’s definitely time that I got down my thoughts on the blog here! Warhammer Crime is the second subset of Warhammer novels, following the Horror imprint that made its debut in 2018. Warhammer Crime came along in 2020 with Bloodlines by Chris Wraight, which was a huge draw for me, for a number of reasons. First of all, of course, Chris Wraight is one of my all-time favourite Black Library authors, and while I do love a bit of the crime (stories, not actual crime), I thought this could be a great vector to introduce my wife into the world of 40k, as she reads almost exclusively crime fiction.

Bloodlines is, at its most straightforward, a missing persons story, following the Probator Agusto Zidarov as he follows the trail of a wealthy industrialist’s son. The search takes him into the underground pharmaceutical trade, and includes a fairly hefty dose of industrial espionage and politics along the way. That’s how I kept selling it to Jemma, but to date she hasn’t taken the bait. But you never know!

The novel is set on the world of Alecto, mainly in the hive city of Varangantua. There is a very strong Necromunda vibe here, for sure, and I had a lot of serious call-backs to the Ravenor books, which is probably the closest we’ve had to Warhammer Crime up to this point. Zidarov is basically the Warhammer version of a detective, so he’s a bit of a different breed to the Enforcers that we’ve also seen in novels. I found it interesting to see the emphasis placed on this being pretty much a police procedural, and the aspects that make this 40k were almost down-played, which makes me think this could be to allow the book to appeal to the widest possible audience. For sure, the references are there if we want to notice them – I mean, the major plot point of the pharmaceutical trade involves rejuvenat treatments, which we know of course from so many 40k novels (including those Ravenor novels), and of course we see folks armed with laspistols and autoguns. But you don’t need to know what any of these things are to enjoy the book – interestingly, I’d say we actually learn more about the rejuvenat process here than we’ve ever learnt in mainstream 40k.

There is some wonderful world-building here – this is one of those sci-fi books where none of the food or drink is familiar, you know? It weirdly helps to ground the book in the realms of the more mundane, though, and made me realise that we’ve never actually had a 40k book like this before. I suppose the emphasis has always been on the battles and the insane stuff, even with Ravenor we get those glimpses into the downtime that folks have, but here there is almost a family drama playing itself out for us in the middle of the investigation, with Zidarov and his wife worrying about their daughter’s desire to join the Astra Militarum. It was interesting, to me, because again, we don’t need to know what this means in the context of the 40k universe for it to have an impact – it was very much two parents worrying about their child getting shipped off to die on some distant battlefield.

It was very well written, with a fantastic feel of the classic noir detective story throughout. You could almost imagine Zidarov sat behind the frosted-glass door with his name on it, smoking a cigar while brooding on the case. No femme fatale here, but maybe that’s being kept for a later book, you know? Interestingly, the book is described as “An Agusto Zidarov Novel” as if we’ll be getting more, so hopefully there is something in the works for that, anyway!

Warhammer Crime

Varangantua is apparently the setting for at least a few more books in the subset, though, and I’m looking forward to getting my hands on the next one, Flesh and Steel, by Guy Haley. Another Black Library veteran, it sounds like this one might be a bit more 40k-y, as it features a probator working alongside the Adeptus Mechanicus. It’s on order, anyway, so I’m sure it won’t be too long before I’m back here with my thoughts on that one, too!