Onwards in Khorne’s name! Inspired by all the End Times action in Warhammer (more on that below) I’m trying to focus my enthusiasm on finishing off my little squad of Berserker Terminators.
This one evolved from a specific idea I had about a character I wanted to see in the squad. Reading the Black Library short story Enyalius; In Memoriam got me thinking about how a character as berserk as the Redwolf might need someone along to guide him and keep his blood red fury on the right track. In the story the character Enyalius is that guiding force, steering his brother Marakitedes and the rest of their squad and keeping track of the important elements of campaigning (who’s side are they on, why are they here, what are their objectives) that the Butcher’s Nails leave the others blind too. I reckoned the Redwolf would need someone similar, someone to point him at the enemy and set him loose, someone he could trust to keep him on the right track even in the thick of the slaughter and someone to reign him in when the killing was done. I named him Enyarexis in reference to the character in the story (which is well worth reading by the way and, alongside some excellent descriptions, shows a wonderfully personal and at points very sad take on the tragedy of the World Eaters. A similar novel would be most welcome).
The howling wolf on his shoulder pad denotes his allegiance to the Redwolf (although it could equally well be a reference to the War Hounds – the old name for the XII Legion before they became the World Eaters). I’ve not completely settled on a background for the character yet but I did wonder about a former War Hound, perhaps saved by the Redwolf in some battle long ago before he went completely mad, and ever since pledging his allegiance to Sapir and his squad. In many ways it makes sense to me that this is an older, wiser character than the rest of the squad, one who was implanted with the Butcher’s Nails before Isstvan and who has learned to master them – rather than some hot-blooded upstart attempting some crude copy-cat surgery by hammering some half-understood bit of tech into the back of his bonce.
Part of the reason I’ve got Khorne on the brain is that this weekend we at last get a proper look at the Wrathmongers and Skullreapers, the latest addition to the Warriors of Chaos range in Warhammer and Khorne’s answer to the excellent Putrid Blightkings released back in the autumn. The thing is, the Blightkings are a gold mine of inspiration. I’ve got dozens of ideas scratching around the inside of my skull waiting to be actualised, and I feel like I’m still only getting started with what the kit can do. Can the warriors of the Blood God match this? Well at first glance I would say ‘absolutely!’
Let’s be honest here, at first glance they are ridiculously over the top – even for Chaos. For one thing they’re just covered in sigils marking their allegiance to Chaos and Khorne. If I was intending to use them for their original purpose it might seem a bit much, luckily I’m not. As regular readers will recall I don’t collect Warriors of Chaos (in spite of temptation) so these will be getting repurposed into the ranks of my Chaos Space Marines instead. Here the slightly overwhelming number of skulls and sigils is quite an advantage, mixing bits from other kits to ‘40k-ify’ them will naturally lead to a degree of dilution – which should balance things out nicely whilst still leaving no doubt at all as to who they serve.
Some of you might still be saying ‘but if all you wanted was Khorne bits to decorate your Chaos Marines you have that! The Skull Crushers are a rich vein of components – and still Tzeentch and Slaanesh are lagging at the back of the pack’. You’d be right of course, but never mind eh – this is what we have and no matter what you say Games Workshop’s team have made up their minds and no-one is going to say ‘Surprise! It’s Sisters of Battle this week instead!” at the last moment. So chill, take this release for what it is, enjoy it and see what comes next.
What’s more, the longer I look at them the less ridiculous they feel. After all they’re really no more over the top than the Chaos Chosen from Dark Vengeance – and no-one has been decrying them. Some people are calling this a new aesthetic for Chaos but I think its more the case that this has always been the aesthetic of Chaos and Games Workshop finally have the technology to realise it.
So having accepted that ‘they’ll do’ what do I want to do with them? Some of the choices are obvious; I’ve already started a squad of Khornate terminators and more berserkers are always welcome. The Blightkings made excellent Chosen of Nurgle with very little effort and I’m suspecting these guys will make Chosen or Possessed of Khorne in much the same way. I’ve also quite fancied the idea of a Lord of Khorne mounted on a Juggernaught to command the Khornate part of my army, now might just be the moment that pushes me into doing it.
I’ve also had an idea for a while that as Khorne has such an association with daemon engines it might be an idea to make a Khornate Warpsmith (I have also bought one of the official Warpsmith models – more on him soon).
Whilst the Blightkings could equally have been used as Daemons (they make cracking Heralds of Nurgle in my opinion) the Wrathmongers/Skull Reapers are more recognisably human. One pair of legs have been designed to look like they belong to a Bloodletter, which makes me wonder about making another Khorne Herald or even a unique Skulltaker. Some of the weapons might also turn out to be rather handy for arming Heralds with extra vicious weapons.Several commenters have already said they look like Space Marines, which may not be what one is looking for in a fantasy warrior – but quite handy for someone who wants to convert Khorne worshipping Space Marines.
I’ve also never managed to come up with an idea for Mutilators that really worked well for me – which is a shame as they, like the Obliterators, would make a nice stylistic addition to my Chaos force. I had hoped that seeing the Wrathmongers/Skull Reapers might spark some kind of revelation on that front (Mutilators being as enthusiastic about close combat as the most rabid Berserker) but sadly I’m no further forwards.
Then there’s all the more far-fetched ideas that are already swirling round the edges of my brain. Corrupted Blood Angels? Fallen Space Wolves? Mechanicum renegades? Ogren Berserkers? Assassins? All of them would be prime candidates for developing an unhealthy relationship with the Blood God.
Anyway, now it’s over to you. What do you make of the new kits? Love ‘em or hate ‘em, let the world know in the box below.