28-Mag; Telling War Stories

The second issue of 28-magazine is here! It’s been a while in the making but it’s been released at last and those of us who’re suffering from withdrawal symptoms at the ongoing lack of the Blanchitsu article in White Dwarf can breathe a collective sigh of relief. Just like the first issue it’s packed to the gunnels with all kinds of dark, strange and wonderful miniatures, some very insightful interviews, beautiful artwork and excellent tutorials. Needless to say I highly recommend it giving it a look whatever your taste in miniatures is (it’s free after all!) but particularly if you’re a fan of Inq28, AoS28 or any of the hobby’s darker and weirder corners.

28 Mag Cover

The editorial team have worked incredibly hard to put this issue together and deserve all the credit and praise that’s been sent their way – it really is a very stylish and professional-looking production. Possibly driven into some kind of exhausted delirium by their efforts they even invited me to contribute an article, which you can find on page 74, published under my real name Paul Stagg (because it doesn’t say Wudugast on my birth certificate, even though my passport photo is a picture of a bionic skull). The article focuses on adding a background narrative to your hobby – be that painting, converting, playing games or a combination of all three. It’s a subject close to my heart and one that I may well revisit here in the future, especially as I had quite a lot of ideas that I simply ran out of space to cover. I did at least manage to wax philosophical about goliath gangers, tech-peasants and Khornate philosophers, all of which I intend to return my attention to in the coming months.

For now though all that’s left is for me to offer a big thank you to the team for putting together another great issue and to recommend that you go and check the magazine out and show them some support. I’ve also been asked to deny once and for all the rumours that I modelled for the front cover, instead you can find my portrait in its proper place – on page 3…


Iron Golem – Part 1

With work well underway on the Untamed Beasts it’s time to turn my attention to their adversaries, those enthusiastic metal fans the Iron Golem. After all, if we’re going to be able to play some Warcry then we’ll need at least two different warbands – an Orc may be willing to beat up himself if no other adversaries present themselves but a warrior of Chaos will struggle to impress the gods if that’s all they can manage.

A few months ago I painted the Chaos Dwarf Armator so with the short angry man done I turned my attention to the big angry man instead, that most muscular of an already hench warband, the Ogre Breacher.

Ogre Breacher Warcry Wudugast ConvertOrDie (1)

Ogre Breacher Warcry Wudugast ConvertOrDie (2)
Ogre Breacher Warcry Wudugast ConvertOrDie (3)
Ogre Breacher Warcry Wudugast ConvertOrDie (4)
Originally I was wondering about trying to get my hands on another to kitbash into a Goliath ‘zerker, although since there is now an official model (flawed but fixable in my opinion) that’ll no longer be necessary. However just in case anyone is thinking of using the Breacher for something in the Underhive, here’s a size comparison anyway.

Ogre Breacher Warcry Wudugast ConvertOrDie (5)

And here he is next to his little buddy.

Ogre Breacher Warcry Wudugast ConvertOrDie (6)

Anyway, that’s the long and short of it – now I just need to tackle the rest!


Untamed Beasts – Part 3

Work on the Untamed Beasts continues apace. Before I moved on to any of the other members of the warband I wanted to finish off the missing members of the “rank and file” – the final plainsrunner and the second preytaker.

First of all here’s the plainsrunner.

Untamed Beasts Warcry Wudugast (1)Untamed Beasts Warcry Wudugast (2)Untamed Beasts Warcry Wudugast (3)

With him complete he’s ready to join his new pals and go in search of some beasts.

Untamed Beasts Warcry Wudugast (9)

Secondly I wanted to paint the other preytaker. These are the tougher warriors of the tribe, as opposed to the considerably weedier plainsrunners, and it shows in their macho fighting stances.

Untamed Beasts Warcry Wudugast (4)Untamed Beasts Warcry Wudugast (5)Untamed Beasts Warcry Wudugast (6)Untamed Beasts Warcry Wudugast (7)

Again, here he is next to his previously completed brother in arms.

Untamed Beasts Warcry Wudugast (8)

With these done I’m going to take a quick break to tackle a couple of other projects (that ogre breacher from the Iron Golem is just too tempting to ignore any longer) then I’ll get back to the warband and wrap up the rest of them.


Fembruary 2020

Time continues to speed by with its usual unseemly haste and, even though I’m pretty sure Christmas was just last week, we’re striding into February already, which means it’s also time for Fembruary. By now the annual Fembruary challenge will be well established in a lot of hobbyists calendars but that’s no reason not to give it another mention, to remind anyone who might have been planning to take part and to alert anyone who’s not come across it in previous years.

To quote the man behind the challenge, Alex of Leadballoony, Fembruary works like this;

“…the deal is ‘Paint at least one Female miniature’ – it’s that simple! I’m not bothered what genre, game, manufacturer, painting style or material you go with. It can be a squad, a single mini, a diorama, or whatever takes your fancy… I’m just looking for awesome portrayals of the feminine in miniature form, as part of an ongoing conversation about how women are presented within our hobby.”

Originally I was just going to post something brief aimed at directing people towards the challenge and encouraging anyone who read it to take part, however I actually ended up writing quite a long post all about the representation of women in miniatures. In the end however I pushed it onto the back burner for now and went back to my original plan. At some stage however I’ll tidy it up and post it – after all it was both erudite and witty, and contained a number of well-structured and intelligent arguments without ever becoming rambling or preachy. You should try to imagine it – it was really something! In the meantime here’s a few of my favourite female models that I’ve painted in recent years.

Speaking of female miniatures, a recent release that stuck a particular chord with me is Fecula Flyblown of the Wurmspat, the Nurgle worshippers who’ve oozed their way into the latest expansion for Warhammer Underworlds. Allow me to pretentiously quote myself when I reviewed the Maggotkin of Nurgle in January of 2018.

“Disease affects all living things so here was a chance to show what happens when Nurgle’s ailments are contracted by someone other than a well-built male barbarian. We could have seen a sickly elf, twisted with bitterness as his immortality became a curse. We could have had a disease ravaged dwarf in a rust-caked suit of armour, great vats of toxin on his hunched back whilst intestinal pipes, throbbing with peristaltic action, spew jets of filth ahead of him? We could even have had a woman. Of course Nurgle isn’t all that interested in high heels and boob-armour but this is an age of equal opportunities and girls can worship an unglamorous god of disease and putrefaction just as well as boys.”

And what do you know, two years on here she is. What a joy to discover sometimes they do listen to me after all! And thank goodness they didn’t give her a chainmail bikini…

I’ve got a few ideas in mind for things to paint this year, although time is going to be very pressing this month so I suspect I may not manage very much. At the very least I’d like to tackle some more of my unpainted Warcry collection, and I know there’s a lady amongst the ranks of the Iron Legionaries, as well as the awesome Beastspeaker amongst the Untamed Beasts so if I manage nothing else I’ll at least take a shot at painting those two. Maybe, if I’m very lucky and clever with my time management I might even find the time to tackle Nayam Shai Murad from Blackstone Fortress, and Severina Raine (the lead character in my favourite Black Library novel of 2019).

In the meantime I implore you to take a look through the unpainted pile of shame and join in the challenge, as well as spreading the word on your social medias or down the local gaming club. The days in which female miniatures were thin on the ground are thankfully receding (although there’s still plenty more ground to make up – GW, if you’re reading this, female Orlocks stat!) so you should have plenty to choose from. Anyone who treated themselves to a new Sisters of Battle army last month for example now has no excuse to let them gather dust…


Amid The Ruins – Part 2

If we are going to tackle the savage lands of the Bloodwind Spoil I’ll need to get some terrain painted up. The Warcry box contains a number of ruined buildings with which to represent the following cities which litter Eightpoints and so, building on what I learnt from my previous attempt, I decided to cut my teeth on the smallest and easiest of them.

Chaos Wudugast Warcry Terrain (5)Chaos Wudugast Warcry Terrain (6)Chaos Wudugast Warcry Terrain (7)Chaos Wudugast Warcry Terrain (8)Chaos Wudugast Warcry Terrain (9)Chaos Wudugast Warcry Terrain (10)

It’s worth noting that the ruins in the box can be assembled in a myriad of ways and if you wished you could mix them into all kinds of buildings (provided they are just ruined shells of course!). The instructions that come in the box aren’t all that helpful, providing detailed directions for some and leaving others entirely up to your imagination. This wouldn’t be an issue but the game also includes a set of cards which suggest terrain layout and if you want to make use of these you’re going to need to build ruins roughly compatible with those described on the cards. Now it should be stressed that you don’t have to do this and I certainly won’t be sticking to these religiously but I would like to at least have something roughly compatible with the cards, so we can use them if we want to. With the official instructions leaving something to be desired I turned to a couple of tutorials which I found to be invaluable, one from Cascadian Grimdark and the other from Waywalker Studios. Together these were a huge help in getting my buildings assembled and if you’re planning on tackling something at similar I highly recommend giving these a careful read over first.

Armed with this knowledge I tackled one of my favourite pieces from the set, a ruined statue of Sigmar.

Chaos Wudugast Warcry Terrain (1)Chaos Wudugast Warcry Terrain (2)Chaos Wudugast Warcry Terrain (16)Chaos Wudugast Warcry Terrain (17)Chaos Wudugast Warcry Terrain (18)Chaos Wudugast Warcry Terrain (19)

I am Sigmar, the God King, look upon my works ye mighty and despair!

Chaos Wudugast Warcry Terrain (15)

Rather than glue all the parts together I recommend leaving it as several pieces. That way the ruined head can be used as a stand-alone piece (as suggested by some of the cards)…

Chaos Wudugast Warcry Terrain (3)Chaos Wudugast Warcry Terrain (4)

… whilst the ladder can be put to use elsewhere anywhere to allow alternative routes onto the upper stories. Similarly the barrier from the end of the platform can be removed, again providing another route into the upper levels.

Chaos Wudugast Warcry Terrain (20)

Speaking of which I also painted this ramshackle bridge for those occasions when even a chaos worshipper doesn’t dare a death-defying leap.

Chaos Wudugast Warcry Terrain (21)

Because the game is set in a realm entirely warped by Chaos I want to play that up by creating some terrain pieces that really emphasise the way in which the world has been warped and twisted by the fell powers emanating from the beyond. I have a few ideas I’d like to tackle but to get things started I decided to go back to my old “chaos tree” I made back in 2014 (and the subject of one of my favourite under-appreciated puns in the post title!).  I’ve always liked the idea of a warped forest in the Realms of Chaos, every tree pulling itself along by its roots, eyes rolling in knots and hollows, branches straining forward in search of prey. I think it’s held up fairly well all things considered but I did want to touch up some parts of it so it returned to the painting desk for a quick lick of fresh paint.

Chaos Wudugast Warcry Terrain (13)Chaos Wudugast Warcry Terrain (12)

Finally I painted up another of the spiky barricades which are another of my favourite elements of the set, even if they do add an element of drama (and a few pricked thumbs!) to the assembly process.

Chaos Wudugast Warcry Terrain (11)Chaos Wudugast Warcry Terrain (14)

All together I think I’m off to a good start with these, I’ll aim to complete one of the larger ruins soon.


Untamed Beasts – Part 2

Following on the heels of my first few Untamed Beasts we have the warband’s First Fang. Unlike the others I really didn’t like this model too much in its original incarnation, the downward pointing harpoon lacked aggression, the axe looked too big and heavy and I wasn’t mad about the helmet either. I did a fair bit of chin scratching over what to do with the axe but in the end I decided to make my life easy for once and just leave it alone. I did however adjust the angle of the arm, so that he appears to be launching the harpoon at a distant enemy rather than poking listlessly at one lying near his feet. With this new pose I think the axe works better as well, counter-balancing his weight as he hefts the harpoon into the air. I also gave him a headswap for one which looked a bit more tribal and belligerent and a bit less supercilious and bored.

Warcry Wudugast First Fang Untamed Beasts (1)Warcry Wudugast First Fang Untamed Beasts (2)Warcry Wudugast First Fang Untamed Beasts (3)

Here’s a quick reminder of how the studio model looks for comparison.

With the warband starting to take shape my next move is probably going to be finishing off some of the terrain I’ve started (and at some point I’ll need to turn my attention to their Iron Golem adversaries as well).


Martian Madness and Pointy Elves

This weekend sees the Las Vegas Open, which is apparently some kind of big deal if you’re a tournament gamer who lives in Las Vegas. The rest of us might not pay that much attention, were it not for the fact that GW sees this as a grand opportunity to reveal some of their forthcoming releases. Needless to say I have plenty of thoughts about these and I’m not going to miss the chance to share them with the world because that’s how the internet works nowdays.

First things first we have the announcement of a substantial wave of new models joining the Adeptus Mechanicus. I’m not sure if I’ve apologised for this before but I’m a huge fan of the Ad-Mech. I say apologised because for many years I harped on about how awesome they were to anyone who couldn’t think of a suitable excuse to leave, about how great it would be to see a range of miniatures for them, about what a missed opportunity it was that GW failed to do anything with what must be one of the finest ideas they’d ever come up with. Then finally GW got the finger out and created a truly wonderful range of models, tapping into the weirdness of the Ad-Mech with real aplomb and I’ve painted nothing. In the five years since they first appeared I’ve managed to get about half-way through painting two Skitarii and that’s it. I didn’t rush out and clear the shelves of my nearest stockist but I have snapped up bargains and Start Collecting sets until I’ve gathered myself a sizeable heap of the Sons and Daughters of Mars and I love them as much as ever but I just haven’t got any of them painted. My soul may have long ago been sold to Chaos, and my heart will always be green and orky, but the Adeptus Mechanicus speaks to me to quite a profound degree, and yet I’ve done naff all about it.

Nonetheless this might be the moment to take the plunge. After all I’ve just finished off my Skaven so maybe I ought to roll up my sleeves and tackle the Martians. I wasn’t particularly wowed by the Skorpius tanks that emerged last summer, and in part that may be because I’m just not that big into tanks. To me the Skorpius are just a little plain, sensible and straightforward which is not at all how the barking-mad scholars of Mars like things. On the other hand the Archaeopter looks like much more my kind of thing, as weird and archaic as all the best Adeptus Mechanicus creations should be.

AdMech Flyer

With the Serberys cavalry they’ve continued to up the Ad-Mech’s game as troops go thundering into battle on weird, bio-mechanical dogs. It’s utterly mad of course but then that’s how the Cult of Mars ought to be. I’m sure a few Imperial Guard fans are cursing that these have appeared but Rough Riders remain a thing of the past and although I agree with them entirely that Rough Riders deserve a new kit ASAP these models are one of the coolest things we’ve seen in a while (and it’s been non-stop cool things lately).

Serberys Sulphurhounds

Speaking of madness we have the Pteraxii, another new unit of troops, this time with wings. Again the strangeness of the Ad-Mech is on full display and although I’m not so over-excited by them as I am the Serberys cavalry there’s still a lot to like here – not to mention what looks to be a lot of useful parts for Inq28 conversions.

Pteraxii

I must confess the first thing I thought of when I saw them were the Bird Men of Catrazza, an old regiment of renown from the days of WHFB.  To be honest the similarity probably starts and ends with them being men with wings but it gave me a little thrill of nostalgia all the same.

Bird Men

All this Martian madness is due to be released soon, which makes me hopeful that GW will finally get around to releasing the Tech Priest Manipulus properly too. Until now it’s only been available as part of a Kill Team set, which would have been a bargain if I’d been in the market for any of the other contents – as it was it just looked like a very expensive way of getting the Manipulus model so I’ve been stubbornly holding off. Either way it now appears to be out of stock (unless I’m just failing to find it on the GW website) so fingers crossed the fat lad will see a proper release shortly.

tech priest manipulus

Moving across to Age of Sigmar we discover that Teclis, once the premier mage of the WHFB setting and now elevated to godhood in the Mortal Realms, has been at it again. Following the capture of Slaanesh who was forced to disgorge the glut of elven souls they’d consumed during the End Times (I’m picturing someone sticking their fingers down a Chaos God’s throat until they puked – something Slaanesh probably gets off on) Teclis took his share of the available souls and turned them into a race of his very own. Sadly he made, not to put too fine a point on it, an absolute balls of things, and the result was the Idoneth Deepkin, a culture defined by their deep-seated trauma at being consumed by Slaanesh (not the mention vomited out again) and with a deeply difficult relationship with their spiritual father. With the majority of their race born with weak and withered souls they took to stealing the life-force of others and Teclis attempted to wipe them out, which only served to sour relations even further. You’d have thought old Teclis would have decided to write the whole business off as a bad job and leave creating new Elven races to others, but apparently he’s decided to take another shot at it and his latest effort are the Lumineth Realm-lords.

Vanari Auralan Wardens

Perhaps worried about what they’ll get up to without him keeping an eye on them Teclis himself has joined the range, with a gloriously over-the-top miniature (although personally I still prefer Morathi and Alarielle when it comes to Elven Gods in miniatures form). Whilst Teclis himself looks suitably impressive the star here is Celennar, Spirit of Hysh, who may be intended as a creature of purity and light but could just as easily be something chillingly inscrutable and madly Tzeentchian.

Teclis

These are very much old-fashioned elves in the style of the High Elves of yesteryear – some of them even ride around on horses! After the part-tree, part-elf hybrids of the Sylvaneth, the part-snake Daughters of Khaine and the weird, eyeless aquatic creatures of the Idoneth Deepkin these harken back to something much more traditional and Tolkienesque.

Incidentally I’ve recently discovered that the word “Aelves”, which GW now uses in place of the desperately outmoded “Elves” to differentiate their copyrightable pointy-eared people from the kind of pointy-eared folk that everyone else produces, should be pronounced “Elves” just the same as every other company’s elves. Until now I’d been pronouncing it “Aleves” with a hard “A” – which would have made all those fans crying out for some old-fashioned elves like these part of the Campaign for Real Aelves.

Vanari Dawnriders

I don’t imagine I’ll be painting any of these myself any time soon, I’m sure they’ll appeal to a lot of elf fans and I can see that they’re beautiful miniatures, but they’re not really my kind of thing. That said pretty much every other AoS race has found its way into Warcry so perhaps someday these will too, in which case I might find myself tempted to put together a little warband and stretch my creative muscles into painting something bright, clean and noble rather than the filthy degenerates that usually attract me.

They did however get me thinking about the place of elves in the Age of Sigmar, and what that means for the humans which find themselves increasingly pushed to the fringes. In the past humanity stood at the heart of both GW’s key universes. Just as the Imperium has been the central mover-and-shaker of the 41st Millennium so the Empire lay at the centre of the Old World, with the other races scattered around the edge of the map. Elves lived on the outskirts, sailing their craftworlds through the depths of wilderness space or living on far flung, exotic continents like Ulthuan or Naggarond. AoS however has pushed the elves to the centre of the setting whilst humanity barely gets a look in. With the release of the Lumineth Realm-lords we now have four full elven races in AoS, joining the sea-dwelling Idoneth Deepkin, the never-knowingly-fully-dressed Daughters of Khaine and those most wooden of actors the Sylvaneth. Between them these races have sprung from just three of the Elven pantheon, Teclis, Alarielle and that old snake Morathi. That still leaves us with Tyrion and Malerion who are surely bound to usher in elven races of their own sooner or later, not to mention of the off-cuts of the old High, Dark and Wood Elves still knocking around the Realms. Rather than Age of Sigmar this could very easily have been called Age of Elves and one almost wonders why GW didn’t bite the bullet and do just that. Humans have been shoved into the margins of the setting, with most of those still living in the Realms being flesh-eating degenerates or Chaos worshipping thugs. In the purging of their old lines that followed the death of WHFB the Empire was spared the destruction that swallowed their brothers across the mountains in Bretonnia but sometimes you’re left wondering just what GW saved them for. The human perspective is a great narrative tool (most, if not all, of GW’s customers being human) but the old Empire range now look like people out of time, a race of proxies standing in for the fantastical city states described in the background. It’s easy to imagine the kind of strange and extraordinary cultures which might exist in the Realms, until you discover that everyone still dresses exactly like they did thousands of years ago in Reikland. I often dreamed of starting an Empire army myself and I certainly have nothing against them as a faction but they look out of place now, and GW seem to have little interest in developing new human cultures with which to populate their developing setting. Perhaps, with retrospect, they should have been bolder, packing the Empire range off to join the Bretonnias and Tomb Kings in the history books and reducing the human race to tribal savages, scraping by in the Age of Sigmar, with a few chosen champions elevated to join the Stormcast hosts, whilst the light of civilisation belongs exclusively to the Elves. In a decade or two they could have revived a few Empire concepts to the delight of old grognards who would rave to bemused youngsters about the era when bases were square. After all if you wait long enough everything comes round again, even zoats…

Nurgle

Of course, as soon as Teclis showed up with Celennar – who is at least in part a giant cat – Nurgle had to get in on the action with a cat of his own and a crazy cat lady to keep it company. Enter the Wurmspat, a new warband for Warhammer Underworlds. Underworlds hasn’t really grabbed me as a game, I’m not really interested in card games and the focus on the competitive side leaves me cold, but there’s no denying it’s brought us some outstanding models. With the Wurmspat we see not only two more Blightkings, each of which is a chip off the manky old block and a fine looking decedent of the original Nurgle Lord, but we also get Fecula Flyblown, our first Nurgle lady (and her cat). Of course I’m not about to look a gift horse in the mouth but for traditions sake I will repeat the same mutterings that I make every time there’s a new Nurgle release – that this was a fine chance to bring us a pestigor and they missed it again.

Fecula Flyblown

Last but very definitely not least we have a real blast from the past, the first Zoat to grace the worlds of Warhammer since the ’80s (by my memory at least). When I first heard that a Zoat was part of the reveals I assumed, wrongly as it turned out, that this would be Zolcath, the Blood Bowl star player. Who would have thought a second Zoat might be waiting in the wings after all these years?

Zoat

In many ways Blackstone Fortress has stepped into the same niche as the Specialist Games studio, allowing GW to produce those things which fans still love but which don’t quite fit in to the established armies of the main games. So far we’ve seen Rogue Traders, Imperial Navigators, a Man of Iron, Traitor Guard, Dark Mechanicum, even a stonking great Ambull. Of course nostalgia is all very well but the strength of all of these has been that they stand on their own two (or in this case four) feet as excellent models, more than deserving of attention and admiration in their own right. One wonders what else might emerge from 40k’s shadowy corners to walk the halls of the fortress; Squats, Hrud, Eldar Corsairs or Exodites, perhaps even a Slaan? Of course the question now is, will the Zoat be an adventurer or an adversary? I suspect it’ll be the latter of course but the former would be wonderful. Who wouldn’t feel more comfortable tackling the maddening halls and unravelling corridors of the xenos star-fort with a Zoat at their side?

Finally, in the midst of all this excitement, it would be remiss of me not to mention the appearance of the Eightfold Harvest Lord, a Khorne worshipping maniac now stalking the surface of Necromunda. Having sworn to bring cannibalistic madness down upon my favourite Imperial planet I was already contemplating making my own version but to be honest this beats what I’d come up with hands down. Of course, like all the Forge World bounty hunters he’s a little pricey but I reckon he’s one to save up for (not that this will be easy with all these other lovely looking miniatures crowding the release schedule over the next few months!)

Eightfold Harvest Lord

Needless to say I’ll be watching all of these miniatures emerge with great interest, although exactly what I end up adding to the collection and what I allow to pass by remains to be seen. After all there’s clearly plenty more waiting in the wings – and any fellow Ork fans out there will know I’m extremely curious to get a proper look at Makari’s boss. Can the greenskin to rival Abaddon get a model to match? We’ll know soon enough…