The Tree People Project

Hey everybody!
Following my post the other day about Wood Elves and my thoughts on making a small force for Age of Sigmar. Well, that has kinda been ramped up in the last couple of days!

I’m really quite taken with the idea of putting together a combined Dark Elf and Wood Elf force, though of course how that would work remains to be seen. I suppose I’m waiting for the Cities of Sigmar book to come out before I can see how things will go down from there.

In the meantime, I’ve picked up a couple of things for the big tree force, starting with a box of Kurnoth Hunters and the Start Collecting box.

I’m thinking that the trees will be headed up with a Spirit of Durthu. It’s a beautiful model, absolutely stunning, and I’ve been wanting to get one again for a long time now.

I really love this dude, though while I originally preferred the staff, I’ve come instead to prefer the sword. Which is quite helpful, as the official painting guide for this model is for Durthu with his sword:

I am going to stick with my winter theme, though the Sylvaneth Battletome has a whole wealth of colour schemes for the “wargroves” now, and I may well take some inspiration from there.

But seriously, that sword!!

There is definitely something about the Sylvaneth that has inspired me right now. There is an element of nostalgia here, as I think back to my early days in the hobby, when I was probably equally into fantasy and 40k. I’m trying to re-capture that a little bit, I suppose, with the thought of using a number of older, Warhammer Fantasy miniatures. That’ll be where the Dark Elf side will come in, I suppose, and I’ll get to that in due course!

Sylvaneth Kunroth Hunters

For now, I’ve decided to try and get started with this project with these chaps. I want to try and complete one unit per month, and thought these guys would be suitably engaging to try my hand with it to see how far I get! With a baby on the way, I’m not sure I’ll get very far once we hit October, but until we get to that point, I suppose it’s a good way to keep motivated!

So there’s the plan! We’ll see how it pans out…

Getting Started with Blood Bowl

Hey everybody!
So after a bit of a false-start late last year, I’ve decided once again to try my hand at Blood Bowl. Well, to tell the truth, I’ve been convinced to try my hand at Blood Bowl following the news of a campaign of sorts coming sometime in October. How much of this campaign I’ll be able to take part in, I have no idea, as I’m expecting the arrival of the heir mid-month, but we shall see.

However, I’ve been trying to find out a bit about the game online, and I’ve not really found a great deal of useful information, if I’m honest. It’s also confused with the fact that some info out there is dating back to the old version of the game, and it’s unclear (to me, at least) whether the rules etc are all compatible. So I thought I’d create a sort of sub-blog here on my blog to chronicle this fine journey, as I seek to find out just what on earth I’ve let myself in for!

What is Blood Bowl?
In the game of Blood Bowl, the roar of the crowd and the chance for glory brings together players and spectators from every race in the Old World. On the pitch, tactical finesse meets wanton, brutal violence in a game where anything can happen (and often does!).

That’s how the official site puts it, and from what I’ve learnt so far, that seems to be pretty true! The game was initially produced in 1986, with rules by the legendary Jervis Johnson, and was basically a parody fusion of American Football with Rugby. There is a typically 80s over-the-top vibe from the game, with references to ridiculous violence and outlandish cheating.

Blood Bowl went through four editions up until 2000, at which point the “living rule book” concept took over with updates running through to 2009, bringing some significant changes, mostly along the lines of official teams being added to the line-up.

In 2016, Blood Bowl became the first game to be produced by the newly-established Specialist Games division. Plastic Orcs and Human teams from the starter set have been followed by all manner of classic Old World races, from Dark Elves and Undead to, most recently, Halflings and Wood Elves.

There is a lot going on with this game, it feels. I know a few people who have said it’s like no tabletop miniatures game they’ve ever played before, which is an intriguing prospect for me. I suppose one of the defining aspects of the game is the “turnover” mechanic, whereby a coach’s turn is over as soon as an action they have attempted fails.

Blood Bowl teams, as far as I can tell, have been released alongside team dice, card packs and thematic pitches, all of which were one-off releases. I find this utterly bizarre; it’s a similar situation to the Necromunda gangs, which came out with cards and dice that have since been discontinued. It feels odd to me that they wouldn’t want to keep these sorts of things in stock, and available to gamers.

I’ve picked up the Shambling Undead team to get started with, seeing as how I’m currently on a bit of an Undead kick in AoS. While I’ve managed to pick up the cards and pitch for a team that was released last winter, I’m still a bit bummed that I couldn’t get the dice. The fact that I can’t get products like the pitch, cards and dice for teams like the Dark Elves has left me thinking that I won’t bother picking that team up now. Putting aside the foibles of the collector, it’s slightly annoying that the pitches and the card packs contain additional rules for the game – rules that cannot be accessed by players coming to the game late.

It’s a rant, I know, but never mind.

There is a lot that I don’t understand about Blood Bowl, and I’m planning to be back here with updates as and when I get through playing the game!

Hobby Happiness: Mortarch of Nagash

Hey everybody!
This past weekend was a little nostalgic for me. I recently moved house, and so was trying to find the best location in which to do my hobby stuff. (For those who are interested, it happens to be the dining table, as the whole room is flooded with natural light and is awesome).

I also spent a good few days building up the amazing Mortarch of Nagash kit, which comes in the Start Collecting Skeleton Horde box, and is the third time I’ve bought this model! Back when the End Times were going on, I picked one up alongside the rest of those releases, but promptly sold it off for one reason or another… I then picked up the Start Collecting box when I had grand plans for a Tomb Kings army, but sold it off when I got rid of all of my Age of Sigmar stuff about two years ago. But having started with Nighthaunt at the beginning of this year, I’ve decided the time was finally right to build up this bad boy and make myself a Legions of Nagash army!

This model brings me immense happiness to finally have it in my collection. Sure, it’s only built, and I still need to paint it – fortunately, Arkhan isn’t actually glued in place, as I feel that would have been a silly thing to do.

The End Times
I first got into the modelling side of Warhammer in the summer of 2014 – in fact, it was five years ago today that I placed my first order on the Games Workshop website. By September of 2014, the End Times had begun, starting with the release of that awesome kit, Nagash:

Of course, I have recently picked up Nagash, as I really fancy having him as an army centrepiece (though at 800 points, I can’t see myself including him very often in an army list!) However, this blog is about the Mortarchs, specifically Arkhan the Black, who will be much simpler to slot into a list.

I just really love these models. I think I’d originally wanted to build up Neferata, because I really love her lore and think the model just looks so incredible and badass, but following my Tomb Kings experiment, I had started to look at Arkhan the Black more as my Mortarch of choice.

While a lot of people didn’t appreciate the End Times for blowing up their world, I suppose I didn’t have that level of hobby investment at the time to feel I had to burn my entire army and post the video up on youtube (well, I didn’t have an army yet, so there is that). Instead, I was kinda bowled over with excitement for how awesome these new models were, and really got quite caught up with the whole thing in a good way. As such, I always look back quite fondly on the End Times, as being the real start of my hobby adventure.

The actual End Times themselves didn’t really culminate until late spring 2015, so I still had the best part of a year to enjoy my time with Warhammer Fantasy, so I do still look back on the Old World with some nostalgia, mainly for the lore rather than the game of Warhammer Fantasy Battles.

The Model
Holy buckets, this model is amazing! It was a real joy to build up from start pretty much through to the finish. (Unfortunately, the reins on my model were broken on the sprue, and as this part is so small and delicate anyway, it has left them pretty much unusable. Luckily, I still plan to also have a Neferata model at some stage, so I’m thinking I’ll just use those when I come to it, as the two Mortarchs don’t share those parts).

That’s not to say it wasn’t fiddly, as there were several points during the building where I felt a little bit at sea. Also – Arkhan has a sword in its scabbard on his back, Zefet-kar, the Tomb Blade. The scabbard is part of the cloak, but the grip and pommel are a separate part. And they’re tiny! Well, at least his beard wasn’t a separate part, also.

He looks amazing, though, and the dread abyssal Razarak is actually quite sturdy and able to support its own weight really well, given that it is only held aloft on that skeletal tail-thing. Don’t get me wrong, it does wobble a little bit, but it doesn’t seem like anything is about to collapse!

Painting Plans
Now, I’m probably not about to go down the route of all that non-metallic metal on the armour that the studio has. I do want to do a deep blue scheme though, so have been considering using the new Night Lords Blue colour on his armour. I don’t know what to do about the rest of him though – in all honesty, I’ll most likely just end up following the studio scheme of pale bone and pale turquoise skulls. I do want to try out the contrast paints on him, though, so I think that might be interesting.

There’s a real presence about this model, though, and I am really looking forward to painting him up! I started painting two mortal followers of Khorne at the weekend, really because I wanted to try out the contrast paints again, but also because I want to try to get back into painting properly, and trying to get good at it. With moving house, it feels like it’s been a while since I’ve had the time to consistently sit down to paint in an effort to get better, but I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get back into the swing of things now, and hopefully get somewhere near “decent”!!

And now, Wood Elves!

Hey everybody!
In a move that will no doubt shock nobody at this point, I’ve found myself thinking about painting something completely different to what I’m used to, and feeling the need for – not a new challenge, as such, but just feeling like I want to try painting something different… and so I’ve been thinking about new armies, and looking at different stuff online, and have returned to an idea from a few years back now: the Wood Elves!

Wood Elves don’t really exist in Age of Sigmar. They were a faction from the Old World that encompassed the new Sylvaneth alongside their elven counterparts. I think this is the aspect of Wood Elves that appeals to me the most; the image in my mind of some tree-spirit creatures like the Treelord and Dryads, alongside their “mortal” followers, the Eternal Guard and so on.

I don’t honestly know enough about the elves (or aelves, as they are these days) to know if they’re worthwhile in an Age of Sigmar army. I still think I’d like to try and put together a small number of miniatures though, simply because I love the appeal of walking trees alongside elf hunters!

There seems to be an interesting mix of units available to the Wood Elves, which is another appealing factor. Of course, I’ve not looking into it in any great deal, so I suppose this could be equally true of any other faction, but I do like the fact that there are a lot of utility units, and nothing really seems to be too wasted. Of course, there are a lot of units that do their own thing, but then it isn’t simply reliant on heroes to then buff those units.

One of the units that first drew me to the army was the Wildwood Rangers, hooded and masked warriors wielding these massive two-handed draichs. I have previously picked up a box of these gents, in an effort to kit-bash them into plastic Incubi for my Dark Eldar army. Unsurprisingly, that was a project that ended in obscurity (well, ebay).

Of course, there have been so many new model releases that are just awesome for the Sylvaneth side of things since Age of Sigmar first launched, I think anybody would be hard-pressed not to want to include these in any such army! The exciting thing now, of course, is that we’ll hopefully be able to do exactly this, with the upcoming Cities of Sigmar battletome that was previewed at the weekend!

Back in the day, I was leaning heavily into Sylvaneth after I’d grown tired of painting Stormcast Eternals in the gold-and-purple scheme I’d been using, and had picked up several kits in an effort to build up a second force. The Tree-Revenants I later decided would be used as Mandrakes for my Dark Eldar, and I painted them up to match the main force:

I had also been painting Dryads, the first unit that I was building up for my Sylvaneth army, using the winter colour scheme from back in the day:

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Sylvaneth Dryads

I also had the big daddy himself, the Treelord that would form the centrepiece of this collection of living trees:

I really like the Sylvaneth. I suppose part of it is because it takes me back to my early days in the hobby, where I would buy all kinds of random stuff and build and paint while the youtubes was on in the background. Back then, I used to listen to Joey Berry a lot, whose videos would chronicle her own beginning journey in the hobby and served as a nice sort of mirror. Given that Joey was a Wood Elves player, a lot of that has stuck with me down the years, and it’s a nice way to look back on my hobby “journey” (if that doesn’t sound too corny) and reminisce!

It was a wrench when I eventually sold all of this off a couple of years ago, thinking I would concentrate solely on 40k, only to then fall right back into it when Soul Wars came out and I found myself picking up more and more fantasy stuff once more as 2018 rolled to a close. I suppose thinking I would just stick to 40k was a bit disingenuous, as it was fantasy that got me into this wonderful game, and back in the day, I was actually really into Age of Sigmar and all the rest of it.

I’m probably not going to go wild with this project. I’ve definitely been thinking a lot about that Treelord miniature, and wanting to get one so that I can paint it up and enjoy it. Having a small band of miniatures adjacent to that would be just lovely, I’m sure, and making them a nice mix of tree-folk and elves is the dream.

I’m probably still going to stick to my plans for the Nighthaunt and Legions of Nagash being my main AoS focus, with Chaos being a close second. Sylvaneth have some beautiful models though – there is just something really pleasing to me about painting fantasy miniatures. It was the same when I was painting up the Nighthaunt, something that just strikes a chord with me, and takes me back to my early days in the hobby. I think this could be a really fun side project though, so stay tuned for some (hopefully) exciting updates to see where I go with this for the rest of the year!

Age of Sigmar Open Day!

Yesterday was the Age of Sigmar Open Day over at Warhammer World, and perhaps unsurprisingly, the main focus was on Warcry, which is due out in a scant fortnight.

There were demo games, the beautiful models were on display, and folks were getting to paint up Iron Golems left and right.

I wasn’t jealous at all…

At any rate, Warcry wasn’t the only thing going on over in Nottingham…

The next two Battletomes were announced, one of which I really didn’t think we’d ever see! The Orc factions getting amalgamated into their own book was a nice touch for sure, as it’s good to see the formerly-splintered armies finally coming back together in a sensible and cohesive way. This is especially true of the old Empire faction, which was hacked apart, much like the old elves, into several tiny factions which, overall, it seems was done simply to then eliminate portions from stock. Cities of Sigmar is promised as more than just the Empire re-imagined, however, as it instead re-forges the Empire, the Elves and the Dwarves into a single book!

Cries of “Soup!” might well be warranted, but I’m hoping there will be solid plans in place to allow for an intelligent combination of these forces into a single cohesive army.

each City of Sigmar can enlist units from Battletome: Stormcast Eternals into their main force, while Tempest’s Eye and The Living City can draw on aid from the Kharadron Overlords and Sylvaneth, respectively, as full members of your army that share your allegiance abilities.

This has gotten me really quite excited, as I’ve been thinking for some time about trying to combine some of the old Warhammer Fantasy units with some of the new Age of Sigmar kits. Come back tomorrow for some of my thoughts on this!

Legendary Slayer Gotrik Gurnnisson is finally getting the model that he deserves, standing atop a pile of dead Skaven. Nice.

Speaking of new models…

I did not expect this to ever happen! A plastic Ogre Tyrant kit?! He looks wonderfully menacing, as well, which is really good. Alas, I’ve cleared out all of my Ogres, so don’t have any need to buy this one, but if I were still collecting the fat dudes, I’d definitely be picking this chap up!

Exactly how he’s going to be packaged, though – I’m guessing it’s going to be something along the lines of Looncurse and Carrion Empire from a couple of months ago. Bring out a new Leader for a faction, bundle it up with a bunch of older kits, and watch the money come rolling in!

Feast of Bones – the new battle box coming for Age of Sigmar! Maybe…

Meanwhile, Warhammer Underworlds is gearing up for season three, and I still haven’t played a single game! I’ve got stuff all over the place for this (I blame moving house, but still) so I think it really is time I tried the game out sometime soon. It seems to have a good following at my local store, at least, so that’s a good start!

Centaurs? Could we be seeing entirely new factions for Age of Sigmar here, or simply new models for existing factions? Who the hell knows!

It’s definitely time that I got my act together and tried this game out…

Finally – just what the hell is this all about? The Tithe of Bones? I’ve seen some speculation out there that the Tomb Kings will be coming back as a re-imagined AoS-style army, which would be incredible! Others think it could be Vlad coming back, or Krell. I’m not so sure, as I don’t think GW will be bringing back named characters anytime soon like this. So far, at least, it seems to have been mostly about creating new characters where possible, and the only named folks we’re seeing are the major players who came across at the very beginning anyway.

Re-imagined Tomb Kings would be so awesome. Death has got ghosts and it’s got zombies, and then there are the other bits within Legions of Nagash; it’d be really nice, in my mind, to have a faction of skeletons that forms a proper skeleton horde. Of course, TKs weren’t all about the skeletons and nothing but – rather, there were all of those constructs like the Necrosphynx and Ushabti. A skeleton army that features golem-like creatures could be really cool, and would allow for stuff like the Morghasts and Mortarchs to slot into the force quite easily.

Would it be too much to ask for a proper Deathrattle / Skeleton Horde? Possibly. I suppose only time will tell!


So there we go! I suppose for me, filtering out the Warcry stuff that was clearly the main focus of this event, the most exciting thing is this Tithe of Bones. I hope it’s basically a new faction release, and not the other half of that Ogres boxset that people have been speculating about!

Games updates!

Hey everybody!
I may be in the middle of moving house, but I’m still trying to keep abreast of all the goings-on in the games world! There is, after all, quite a great deal happening in the world, and I feel like it’s a glorious time for us nerds as we move into the summer.

First up, I want to talk about Lord of the Rings, and the first pack preview for the upcoming Vengeance of Mordor cycle.

After your adventures in A Shadow in the East, Dorwinion seems to be bright and beautiful, free from the taint of evil that the mysterious cult had swept over the land. After a month of peaceful travel, your band of adventurers have made their way back to the capital city to enjoy one last night of the citizens’ hospitality before returning home. You are glad for the rest, but your thoughts cannot help but drift back to the horrors you witnessed in the shadow of Mordor, and wonder whether the evil has truly been rooted out. 

Your fears are confirmed when you awake in the middle of the night to the sounds of clashing steel and cries of fear pouring in from the streets. The enemy has gotten Inside the Walls. Thane Ulchor, a traitor to Dorwinion, has returned to the city with an army of Easterlings. His agents within the city slew the guards and opened the gate to let them in, and now the battle rages in the streets. It is up to you to defend the helpless citizens, support the city guard, and push back the invading forces before the city falls into the clutches of darkness.

I feel very much like this cycle is setting itself up a little like Against the Shadow, which was an urban cycle focused on Gondor, and began with a pack set in the city with the task of rooting out a traitor. While comparisons can be made with controlling locations and Assault on Osgiliath, I think this one could be quite interesting, with the locations you control having effects on them that remain in play even after the card has left play.

Of course, the most interesting aspect of this pack is the new Tom Bombadil ally card, which is shuffled into the encounter deck if you manage to play a copy of the Tom Bombadillo! card from your hand. It’s an interesting way to bring in an ally like this – previously, they’ve been included in the encounter deck as Objectives. It’s exciting to see that the game is still bringing us new ways to play, even this far in the game’s history.

I’ve not been playing Lord of the Rings nearly as much as I’d like to this year, though I have rediscovered my love for the adventure card game with Arkham Horror LCG, and recently picked up the Return to Night of the Zealot box from my local store. While I’ve finally made it to playing The Dunwich Legacy, I think it might be fun to give this one a try and see how much more difficult the additional cards make things!

I’m still not caught up with the current cycle, which I think has now seen the final pack released, but I am looking forward to the next box already, as it looks really interesting with its dual-planes of play. I’ve already talked about this in a previous blog, of course, but I really need to catch up with this game and put some time aside to really investigate what it has to offer. I mean, it’s really not that I dislike the game, it just doesn’t seem to have the table-time that I think it needs. Symptomatic of the times, of course, as I don’t seem to be playing anywhere near as much as I’d like. I guess I’m mainly painting miniatures these days, which brings me on to…

Warcry, the skirmish game set in the Mortal Realms, the game I’d nearly forgotten about with everything else going on, has had another warband revealed, and it is just weird!

The Unmade are just…well, weird! They look like some wonderful Drukhari experiment or something, and I can probably see myself getting hold of some of these models simply to paint, though I’m not sure if they’ve taken the spot of the Iron Golems as my favourite.

They look… I don’t know, almost too-40k. Especially that elongated champion-like figure. Very much John Blanche-esque, make no mistake!

They could also make some useful Cultists for 40k, thinking about it…

Model of the set is probably this chap with the chain, though. The models coming out of Nottingham these days are all pretty amazing, but the sense of movement in these warbands is just phenomenal, and I thought it just looks really, really cool!

Where the hell did this come from?! Talisman: Batman?! Not only a re-skin of the classic game, but a Super Villains edition, where you navigate the hallways of Arkham Asylum, evading Batman to free the inmates! Sounds hilarious, and it’s always interesting when you have the opportunity to play as the villains!

I’m actually trying to thin out the boardgames collection once more, as space is currently at a premium while we get settled in the new house and prepare for the arrival of the firstborn, but it is definitely very tempting, I have to say!!

Core Set 2020 is now out, with no real storyline as such (well, it’s a Core Set, so…) but focusing on the life of everybody’s favourite pyromancer, Chandra Nalaar. The set focuses on three-colour wedges, which I like because it’s the first time we’re seeing this since Tarkir block, the set that I really started playing in. I’ve not played in prerelease, of course, but I would like to get my hands on some of those cards for my decks!

There is always something quite nice about a new Magic set, and especially seeing a Core Set again. I’m really trying hard not to fall into the spiral of the cardboard crack, but Magic is probably the best one-on-one card game experience I can think of, so I think it will always be there in some form, and I enjoy collecting at least a few cards from each set and seeing what I can do with them!

The New Slaanesh!

The New Slaanesh is here, folks! I’ve been a bit lax with covering this stuff here on the blog, in the main because it came slap-bang in the middle of the birthday celebrations here.

There are some really fabulous new miniatures coming out for the youngest of the Chaos gods, although part of me feels like we could have done with some more models to properly round the release out. No mortal followers is a subject that has been done to death, of course, but it does feel a lot like the new Keeper of Secrets model has overtaken pretty much all of the other new goodness. While the new model is pretty damned amazing, there is a part of me that wonders whether we could have had anything more…

I suppose that having seen some of these new models already – the Infernal Enrapturess and the new Fiends – makes me wonder if that has perhaps spoiled the release a little. We’ve got the new daemon prince, the weird mirror-on-tentacles, and the new Masque model, along with the first ever Slaanesh Battletome, and the terrain piece and endless spells, which are now part of the expected schedule for Age of Sigmar.

I’ve been hoping for a new Keeper of Secrets for what feels like forever, and it really doesn’t disappoint. It has all of the design cues we’d expect for the line, allowing it to blend into the established Daemonette line quite easily and very well. There’s a wonderful sense of presence for the model, and a really menacing feel from the fact it is posed walking forwards quite leisurely – much like the Wracks really, it feels dangerous.

The new daemon prince looks much like any such daemon prince of Slaanesh would – not some horrific daemon, but rather a perfect, honed and muscular specimen that has reached its own level of ascension. It also has the sense of menace from the calmly-striding figure.

The Contorted Epitome is perhaps the weirdest model that we weren’t expecting for the line, and something that I’ve been really interested in getting my hands on. It’s quite an odd beast in that it is basically a wizard, with the native ability to buff models nearby while forcing enemy units to fight last in combat. I’ve heard a lot of talk about Slaanesh units now being better magic casters than Tzeentch, and I suppose these new units do really add a great deal to the force.

I’ve been struggling, so far, to come up with my own list of a Slaanesh army, though I think so far I’m going with three units of ten Daemonettes, a Contorted Epitome, and possibly a Hellflayer, led by a Bladebringer on Exalted Chariot, all for around 1000 points. Not sure if I can yet fit in any of the endless spells, though I’m not sure if I’d even want them, either. I suppose we’ll see how things pan out as I start in earnest to build and paint the force!

Speaking of which…

I’ve almost finished with the test miniature for the army, managing to get the skin pretty much as I’d like it, having a basecoat of celestra grey, then warpfiend grey, before a thinned wash of druchii violet and lahmian medium in a 1:3 mix, finished up with a light drybrush of slaanesh grey (because, obviously). The armour was a slightly difficult prospect, as I wasn’t sure how I wanted it to look, but settled on a basecoat of dawnstone, washed with coelia greenshade and then a light drybrush of sotek green. The hair was done in alaitoc blue and drakenhof nightshade, which looks better than the initial attempt with Daemonette hair that I’d made, simply drakenhof nightshade over celestra grey.

I’m quite pleased with how this one has turned out, anyway, so have a box of them to build up and get started with, though I fear the Start Collecting box that I’d made some headway with before Christmas has been packed away now that we’re in the process of selling the house, so it might be some time before I get round to that!