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…


28 responses to “Martian Madness and Pointy Elves

  • davekay

    I like the new high elf (or whatever they are now) spearmen and cavalry. I hope they release more miniatures that are old world models upgraded.

    • Wudugast

      Yup, I very much agree. Back in the old days of WHFB I would look at a miniature that was past its best and think “Well, sooner or later they’ll get around to replacing it”. You might end up with a long wait, you might be feeling quite impatient as the years went by, but sooner or later they’d come back around to your army and update some of the old models. With AoS that just isn’t the case though, there’s lots of things that might never be revisited because their gaze has turned to new things rather than endlessly reworking the past – and although in many ways that’s a good thing it leaves a lot of old models in limbo. It’s great seeing Night Goblins and High Elves revisited with models that are sympathetic to the old days – makes me hopeful that other ranges (like the Skaven!) will someday get the same treatment.

      • davekay

        Yes, the Night Goblins were good, Skaven would be nice too, and I have my fingers crossed for Chaos dwarfs – hope springs eternal I guess!

      • Wudugast

        Chaos dwarves would be awesome, yes fingers crossed for that here too! I think it’s well within the bounds of possibility too, the Chaos range has been fleshed out a lot recently and with the exception of Slaaneshi mortals most of the obvious elements are covered now. However I don’t see them saying “Well that’s Chaos finished forever then!” so even if we have a couple of quite years for Chaos releases coming up sooner or later they’ll be coming back to them. At that point Chaos Dwarves would be an obvious candidate. The real question is, are you hoping for big hats or the more straight-laced Legion of Azgorh? (I was also pleased to hear Andy Hoare of GW Specialist Games saying that they plan to do Chaos Dwarfs for Blood Bowl sooner or later and that those will definitely have big hats!)

  • theimperfectmodeller

    Well there’s no need to worry about you getting bored any time soon. Looks to me like you have plenty of work lined up for the forseeable future once all this lot is released. 😊

  • imperialrebelork

    Nice write up as always pal. I’m with you on the Archaeopter (spellcheck haha) Looks very cool but, straight away, I’m thinking my Orks might pinch it and do all manner of things to it. I’m not into elves at all, they’re like skinny dwarves to me haha. I like the Zoat though. He’s rockin’

    • Wudugast

      Ah now, elves are nothing like skinny dwarves – dwarves are cool 😉 Yeah, I’ve never been that big into elves, I like them well enough but not enough to paint any. Wood Elves have tempted me in the past and I’ll definitely try out some Sylvaneth sooner or later (although those are fringe elves at best). Daughters of Khaine might be fun to paint as well, even some of the Deepkin for something different, but these new lads would be last on the list – objectively they’re cool enough but subjectively they’re just not my bag.

      I’m with you on the ad-mech stuff, if I had the money I’d get two of everything – one to build “as intended” and one to kitbash the hell out of. As is I’ll save my pennies and end up doing something half-way in between the two.

  • patmcf

    Nice one mate, plenty of interesting stuff there, I can only say resist resist !!!

    • Wudugast

      I shall do my very best (although to be honest, I don’t think I’ll be all that successful resisting some of these…). Will have to see what the bank account says when they’re released.

  • Pete S/ SP

    Some nice stuff there- the Ad Mech stuff is tempting me to expand my Kill Team to army size but that Zoat really is a nostalgia trip.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

    • Wudugast

      It’s funny, I’m sure it’s a sign of the kind of hobbyists I interact with more than anything else, but I’ve heard so many people saying what an amazing blast from the past the Zoat is, and nobody saying “what on earth is a Zoat?”. I don’t remember seeing your Ad Mech, I’ll need to take a look back and check them out – I can never resist looking at Ad Mech models 🙂

  • bigbossredskullz

    Great review!
    For me the standout is that flying aelven monster. That will be a hard one to top this year for me 🙂

    • Wudugast

      Cheers! It is gorgeous isn’t it (I’m already trying, and failing, to imagine the kind of crazy things you might be planning to make from it). I’m hopeful Ghazghkull will beat it though.

  • Alex

    Exciting times dude! I’ve got those steampunk dog things pegged for my long-planned Praetorian Rough Riders… 🤩

    • Wudugast

      That’ll be a thing to see! I do hope they bring Rough Riders back someday, not the daft looking ones with the big hats but something closer to the Death Korps of Kreig versions – or best of all there’s a squad in the foreground of the picture of the Khorne Lord of Skulls from the last edition of Apocalypse, I’ve been hoping those turn out to be a sneak peek since the moment I saw them 😀

  • Azazel

    I always enjoy your write-ups, and as usual GW has some beautiful models in the pipeline that I want to buy (and eventually, paint). In a sense, I’m glad that they’ve closed down for a little while, as the pace of awesome new releases had been too much to keep up with. I *would* have liked to get the Ragnar/Ghazkull box first, though…

    • Wudugast

      Thank you! Yeah, I know what you mean, it’s giving me a chance to paint what I already have and take a proper look at all the things I’ve already bought. Miniatures is the only hobby I have where I splash out a little, most of my other interests are nice and cheap to maintain, but I do feel that models are to be painted and enjoyed, not left to gather dust so I’m going to try to make harder choices about what I treat myself to from now on. Completely agree on Ghazz though, although I must admit I wasn’t going to get the boxset anyway (just faintly annoyed that this was the only way he was available for now). I’m not a big fan of the Space Wolves and though I can appreciate Ragnar for being an awesome model he’s not one I’m in any hurry to paint, and I have more than enough Nobs and Primaris marines to keep me going, so I was really only interested in the big lad – I’ll just have to wait until he’s released separately.

  • Azazel

    Yeah, my main interest was for the two heroes as I’ve got plenty of the others, but I’m a sucker for a “deal”, sadly…

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