There’s all kinds of elves in Games Workshop’s Mortal Realms. As well as the various survivors from Old Warhammer who’ve been gathered until the mish-mash banner of the Cities of Sigmar, there are the underwater dwelling Idoneth Deepkin, the blood-mad part snake/part bat/part woman/all lunatic mob of the Daughters of Khaine and the Sylvaneth, who’re arguably not elves at all but part of the shrubbery. Then there’s the Lumineth Realm-Lords, who used to be thought of as “the normal ones”. Until now that is…
I’m not usually that keen on elves, and when I am I tend to enjoy the savage forest-dwelling type far more than their pompous “civilised” kinsfolk. Nonetheless I have a bit of a soft-spot for the immaculately turned out Lumineth. I often felt that their launch last year did them something of a disservice, delayed as it was by the outbreak of Covid-19 and falling close to the limelight-hogging launch of Warhammer 40k’s 9th Edition. The initial range was fairly small, and full of relatively expensive models, and I often thought they could use receiving an injection of new miniatures to expand the range. Now, it seems, that is exactly what’s going to happen. Blurry photographs began circulating online, either taken by a eejit with a very old phone camera or deliberately released by GW themselves, and have been followed up by a full preview of the forthcoming miniatures, the Hurakan Windchargers. They’re not what I was expecting…
Regular readers will know I’m all in favour of creativity. Fantasy should be about exploring new ideas, embracing originality rather than rehashing the same old ground. Just because Tolkien liked a concept doesn’t mean it’s all there is to life. On top of that I support those artists and writers willing to look beyond the borders of Europe in search of ideas. It’s currently very trendy to scour the world for as broad a range of concepts as possible (except when that’s cultural appropriation of course – gotta walk that fine line!) but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. However, and I’m sure you knew there was going to be a “but” in here somewhere – kangaroos? Kanga-bloody-roos?!
Now I know, before anyone says “well actually”, that these aren’t really kangaroos but rather mish-mash animal that attempts, and sadly fails, to sell the idea of a species which has evolved in the Mortal Realms rather than been borrowed entirely from Earth’s ecology. However there’s so much kangaroo in there they might as well not have bothered.
I have no beef with kangaroos personally (some of my best friends are kangaroos!), and I know they can be vicious in a fight. If someone came charging at me on a kangaroo that was two meters tall at the shoulder I wouldn’t be laughing about it I can tell you. However you’d be hard-pressed to argue that they are noble looking beasts.
It’s clear from looking at them that these new beasts move with an inverted-pendulum motion, one limb planted firmly on the ground, one raised, just the same as ourselves and many other biped and quadraped animals do. However once again the mental association with kangaroos rears its head because from childhood we’re introduced to kangaroos and every toddler knows that kangaroos bounce. We can’t help but look at these and picture them hopping around, with the poor elves clinging on for dear life and trying not to lose their lunches whilst arrows go flying all over the place. What works for goblins with squigs just doesn’t work for High Elves. Despite all the qualities of these models, and all the arguments that could be made in their favour, one has to ask – did no-one at Games Workshop have the courage to stand up at a meeting and say “Kangaroos? Are you sure?” Have no doubt about it, for every person who thinks these look cool and adds them to their army, there will be a dozen mates who see them across the table and say “Strewth mate”, “What’s that Skippy?” and as many other antipodean clichés they can think of. To be honest the rather painful cod-Australian accent attempted by the Warhammer Community team in their preview video may not have been a wise move, there’s steering into the skid and then there’s just deliberately driving off the road and into a field.
It was perhaps unfortunate that the first image to be leaked online, and seized upon by those sites which specialise in Warhammer Roomours (I couldn’t resist!) was this, the most kangaroo-like of the lot.
There’s something about these that makes me think of creatures from the Star Wars universe. It’s probably this which made me realise that they could work well as steeds for Eldar Exodites. Quite why I’m comfortable with that idea but can’t quite get my head around seeing them in the Mortal Realms is another issue, and probably says more about me than it does about the models themselves.
Still, these are not the first unusual animals to make their way into the Lumineth range. The elves can already call upon the Spirits of the Mountain, a beast that is part bull and part mountain (so that would be a Moontain then wouldn’t it?). Some fans, myself included, think these look downright magnificent, whilst others complain that there’s nothing scary or warlike about a cow (and from that we can deduce which of us have been chased by angry cows and which have not…).
That said neither cows nor kangaroos are traditional war-beasts. Perhaps in the next wave of models we’ll see a creature that combines these two species into a monster that bounds over blocks of enemy troops whilst spraying them indiscriminately with milk. They could call it the Roominant.
Living in an ivory tower can be a bit of a double-edged sword. Games Workshop have often come across as being wilfully out of touch with what the fanbase thinks and wants. Now this is no bad thing, it certainly hasn’t hurt our enjoyment or their profits. Sure there are times when we end up shouting “Why won’t you release (insert miniature I want to see currently here)” but a quick glance at the “pile of shame” lurking on, under and around the painting desk tells me that they’ve still managed to release plenty of things I did want to buy. So whilst the fact that, for example, they seemed utterly unaware for years that Sisters of Battle might just be a tiny bit popular and worthy of a kit or two seems like wilful ignorance, it’s worth keeping in mind that the fanbase is a many headed beast, unable to agree on anything beyond a general satisfaction with what Games Workshop produced. It’s very much a self-policing system, if we’re not happy with what they make then we stop buying it, and the evidence is clearly there in GW’s executives’ bank balances that, on the whole, we’re very happy indeed. Yet if you look around online you’d be left thinking that the fan base stood on the verge of open revolt, mere moments from storming Nottingham and dragging the entire design studio out into the street by their heels. Perhaps it’s simply the case that, with time for hobbies being a finite resource, some people spend it buying and painting miniatures and others spend it sitting on the internet bitching.
Still, this feels like a case in which Games Workshop’s traditional secrecy has done them no favours. These are the kind of models where I feel that, within the confines of the studio, an echo-chamber of enthusiasm built up, with everyone working on the models being too close to see them for what they are. Which – love ’em or hate ’em – is kangaroos. Saying “They’re not really kangaroos, they’re Hurakan Windchargers on Treerunners” whilst throwing in some self-deprecating humour by doing only-vaguely credible Oz accents is bolting the stable door long after the horse has gone hopping off down the street.
It’s much like telling a joke, if you have to explain it then it hasn’t worked. Similarly if you have to say “look, the position of their legs clearly shows that they run with a side-to-side motion much like a horse. They don’t hop, their necks are far too long and who ever heard of a kangaroo with horns?” then it’s probably because people are looking at them and only seeing kangaroos. Perhaps in time I’ll change my mind, but for now these miss the mark for me. Probably because their steeds keep bouncing up and down…
However despite all this mickey-taking that I’ve indulged in here, it hasn’t all been bad news and questionable models. Alongside the Hurakan Windchargers we’ve seen the new Vanari Lord Regent. I don’t imagine that I’ll start a Lumineth army (although I’ll admit I do feel tempted at times) but if I did then this would be the guy I’d want to lead it.
Elves riding kangaroos may not do much for me but combining a cat with a wildebeest turns out to be a spark of uncommon genius. Anyway, now you know all about kangaroos but do you know what a kangaroot is? Why it’s a Scotsman stuck in a lift of course!
January 20th, 2021 at 3:45 pm
My first glance at these screamed Dinosaur to me mate, and now I just can’t see kangaroo no matter how hard I try!! A different paint job, de-tuft the tail and maybe some real claws, and these would look boss – very much an Exodite’s wet dream I should think
January 20th, 2021 at 8:54 pm
I just showed a pic to my wife, she said ‘a cross between 2 dinosaurs.’ I thought the same when I saw them. Only the vaguest resemblance to a kangaroo as far as I can see. Not that I think they look great but I don’t understand why most people seem to see these as ‘roos tbh. More like a herbivorous raptor IMO.
January 21st, 2021 at 8:00 am
For me it’s a combination of factors. The pose could be a kangaroo or one of the smaller dinosaurs. The fur however immediately makes me think “mammal”. I know there’s some debate about whether some dinosaurs had fur and if this was part of the evolutionary pathway that lead to feathers – nonetheless when I see fur I tend to stop thinking of dinosaurs. Plus those big upright ears are distinctly mammalian. I think I’d have been inclined to drop the furry elements, lengthen the forelimbs a bit, maybe add talons or something to make the feet less like paws, emphasise the horns and get rid of the ears. Pretty much all of these could be achieved in a conversion though, if one was inclined to do it. If I was painting some Lumineth I think that, and a different colour scheme, are the way I’d go.
January 20th, 2021 at 11:18 pm
You know, the more people that say dinosaur the more I start to see it too. For some reason, and I can’t really say why, I have a real aversion to dinosaurs in fantasy and sci-fi. I mean, dinosaurs are awesome, fantasy is awesome, but combining the two is like finding bacon in the middle of a chocolate cake or something – they just lose their inherent qualities once they’re in combination. That said I’ll make a grudging exception for Exodites and I could definitely see these working there. It would need a colour scheme that’s less ‘roo-ish (Is that a word? Should it be roo-ful? I can’t believe I didn’t think to mention the Knight of the Roo-ful Countenance until now). The hair would need to go too but that should be fairly easy with a steady hand (the eyebrows and sideburns are particularly silly). Oh dear, the creative cogs in my brain have started turning now, luckily they’re not out yet so I don’t need to worry about impulse buying them and a load of Eldar bits!
January 20th, 2021 at 4:20 pm
It’s definitely an unexpected design choice but I’m loving it. The way the mounts flow and the way the riders are almost stood in their stirrups really works for me.
They kindof mimic slaanesh seeker silhouettes too which must be on purpose? I’ve only just noticed how big the daemonette riders feet are, clocking that they look like the forearms of these ‘roos. You might have to squint for that.
January 20th, 2021 at 9:40 pm
I’ve got to say, and I probably should have said somewhere in the post, the elven half of these is just outstanding. I just wish they were riding on horses or something. Mind you, if they were I might not be able to resist getting some and I’m trying to save my pennies for the new Slaanesh stuff!
January 20th, 2021 at 9:15 pm
I quite like these to be honest, although to me they do look more like something out of 40k than AoS. The wildecattebeestwhatever is really cool too! The moontain is weird, in a good way – kind of like religious art can be.
January 21st, 2021 at 7:43 am
The more I look at them, especially in light of all the comments I’m reading here, the more I think that what we’re look at here are some excellent AoS elven archers mounted on the back of some fairly decent 40k steeds. I’m wondering how much of the armour come be left off these beasts (and I’m guessing the answer is some, but probably not all of it). With the armour on I reckon they’d still work for Exodites but without it they work well for Imperial Guard rough riders.
I hadn’t spotted the religious art element to the Mountain Bulls but now I see it I completely agree. I can almost picture him stepping out of a stained glass window as he’s summoned to battle.
January 20th, 2021 at 9:30 pm
Just so you know I think these look ace and can not wait to get them and paint them a mix of green and orange 🙂
January 20th, 2021 at 11:20 pm
And I can’t wait to see you do it mate! 🙂
January 20th, 2021 at 10:36 pm
I first thought dinosaur, too. But yes, I can see the kangaroo too. The wildcat beast thingy is pretty neat. They should have gone with those instead. However, they are definitely imaginative and a fresh take. Maybe get a pack and make them into Eldar?
January 21st, 2021 at 8:06 am
The Wildercat is amazing isn’t it? I’m actually quite glad they didn’t reveal a unit of those, I’d be very hard pressed to stop myself from spending money then! The more I look at the kangasaurs the more I think they might be perfect for Exodites, with a little tweaking. I’m trying to budget my miniatures purchases at the moment but the challenge of it is definitely starting to interest me. 🙂
January 21st, 2021 at 12:15 am
I’m in the dinosaur camp as well! I don’t like dinosaurs that much and Jurassic Park never really resonated with me either so these new models are even more disappointing than the previous ones surprisingly. Though I will admit that I hold GW to an impossible standard because the High Elves in WFB were basically perfect in my eyes and just need a bit of updating and I’d happily buy some or maybe even a lot.
The more I think about it, I think these new dino-roos would look great as Slaaneshi mounts. I think they’re too lithe for even elves to ride. With that said, the elk riding elf (that’s kind of fun to say!) is the best sculpt in the Lumineth line and is the first and pretty much only one I’d consider painting. I doubt I’ll ever get around to it but at least I can’t say all of the new Lumineth are bad finally 🙂
Now, those new vampire sculpts they’ve been teasing, now those look pretty darn good and are more of what I would prefer GW did with AoS. Hopefully, The Old World project ends up being more to my taste and I won’t be as disappointed by AoS releases. Doing anything new and original in fantasy is really hard and while I commend GW for trying, I think they might just want to embrace the conventions created by Tolkien like elves and orcs and make high quality minis of those. I think there are a lot of people who will eat that up, including myself 🙂
January 21st, 2021 at 9:54 pm
I love dinosaurs, there’s something about them takes me back to my childhood (when I was obsessed with dinosaurs, I’m not implying that I’m that old!). I really don’t like seeing them in fantasy though for some reason. I can build up a tolerance to them (the Lizardmen dinosaurs are actually quite cool once you get used to them for instance) but in the main I just don’t like it. Dunno why.
Personally I was never that keen on the old High Elves but that’s just personal taste (and the fact that my favourite WHFB races were, in no particular order, Skaven, Warriors of Chaos, Orcs and Goblin and Dwarves – at that point hating High Elves is pretty much compulsory!). Nonetheless I’ve got total sympathy with High Elf fans being somewhat disappointed in the Lumineth. I have a terrible fear that something similar might happen when they revisit the Skaven and instead of just replacing some shoddy old models with nice new ones they instead decide to re-imagine the entire range. Personally I’ve always felt that any one of the Lumineth (apart from the dinoroos) would have fitted in nicely with the old High Elves. If WHFB was still a thing and AoS had never happened and a new wave of High Elf releases was announced which contained one or two of the Lumineth models I don’t think anyone would have batted an eyelid. It’s just that, taken in combination, they stray too far from the High Elves of old.
Now those new vampires are downright gorgeous. The lady with the two swords is outstanding, I can’t wait to see the rest of her warband on Saturday. If they’re half as good I’ll be picking them up for sure. I really like the look of the other Vampire Lord they showed as well, although the bats in his hair is just to OTT for me, hopefully they’ve given him an alternative hair-do that’s a little less daft, otherwise the clippers will be coming out to play.
I’m really looking forward to seeing what they do with the Old World project – I’ve enjoyed AoS a great deal, and I imagine that I’ll continue to, but I do miss WHFB. I enjoy both the “out of the box” thinking that AoS encourages and the rather more straightforward, down-to-earth concepts of old Warhammer. No reason they can’t do both at the end of the day.
January 22nd, 2021 at 12:20 am
Even as a child, I just couldn’t get into dinosaurs like other kids were (especially with Jurassic Park’s popularity at the time) so I tend to think now they just aren’t my thing but with that said, I do like the Lizardmen/Seraphon too. Their big models are really awesome and if I had time, I’d probably paint one just because of how impressive they look.
I like the iconography the High Elves had with the phoenix and lions better for sure. A cow and peacock aren’t quite the same. I was giving the new sculpts a real look over the other day to see whether I can do anything interesting with them and you’re probably right that they aren’t really a downgrade compared to the old High Elves. I think maybe GW had done those minis well enough at the time that they aren’t improving them a ton, its more of a sidestep with small improvements if you know what I mean. Ultimately, they are similar enough to where the High Elves invoke a lot of nostalgia for me and the new thing isn’t enough of an improvement to justify replacing the old. That’s what I tell myself anyway 😀
I echo everything you said about the vampires and the Old World. I might take it as a challenge to try and paint the bat hair lady in a way that redeems that part of the sculpt. I don’t love that part of it either but I think I can make it work 🙂 We’ll see! I can’t wait for this weekend’s preview for some reason and hope GW really hit us with some good stuff and a surprise or two!
January 21st, 2021 at 6:15 am
I reckon IRO will have something to say about this post if he hasn’t already given his hatred for elves! Elves and kangaroos will surely set his blood boiling. 🤣
January 21st, 2021 at 7:04 pm
Aye, the poor bloke must be worried. It wasn’t so bad when they just lived in out of the way places but then the Lord of the Rings movies brought them to New Zealand – it was only a matter of time before they got to Oz. Bloody elves, coming over here, riding our ‘roos!
January 21st, 2021 at 1:30 pm
Dinosaur yes, kangaroo yes but all I see is bunch of limp wristed elves grrr… grumble, grumble. Very entertaining write up though Mr Gast. *tips hat*
January 21st, 2021 at 9:35 pm
I must admit, when I saw these I just saw kangaroos but I’m starting to get why people see dinosaurs. I don’t have your aversion to elves (who am I kidding, of course I do – I’ll always be an ork at heart, stab me and I bleed green… please don’t actually stab me…) but elves riding around on either dinosaurs or kangaroos does nothing for me (not a sentence I thought I’d be writing a few days ago eh!).
January 22nd, 2021 at 1:18 am
I think I’d be all in if dinosaurs and kangaroos were stomping and/or eating Elves.
January 26th, 2021 at 1:32 pm
I actually like them, they have a samurai aesthetic that keeps in line with the old high elves, the Kangarooesque beast is fitting with the high fantasy vibe of the game. The horrid sigmarine ram-thing and the retarded flying fish concept, that was stupid!
Also, it’s ironic that you say you don’t like cows in war, only to immediately endorse the new elf cowhorse.
January 26th, 2021 at 3:27 pm
Aye, it’s all personal taste at the end of the day isn’t it? I think I’ve definitely missed the prevailing zeitgeist with these, most people that have posted here seem to like them. 🙂 I’ve softened towards them myself, although I still won’t be rushing out to buy any personally. I tend to write these posts as very much a first impression, it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve completely changed my mind about a model after a few months.
If we’re thinking of the same thing I kind of like the big Sigmarite ram/lion/eagle – although I’d want to put a Bretonian lord on the back of it. Then I look at the price of the damn thing and think “You know what, never mind!”. I’m ambivalent to the Idoneth flying fish, I don’t dislike them but I’m not really interested in them either.
As for the cows in war I’ve got no issue there, I like them as war beasts. Bulls and oxen were used in a lot of wars historically, especially to drag guns and siege equipment. Plus, in my line of work I’ve been chased by a few angry cattle over the years (a statement I’m going to leave hanging in the hopes that you assume I’m a rodeo rider!) . When those things come charging at you it’s damn scary I can tell you! No I’m all in favour of the various bulls that are part of the Lumineth range, there’s a really nice aesthetic between the heavy set bulls and the light, lithe elves. I was however commenting on the fact that plenty of other reviewers and commentors have said they don’t like them (which I personally think is a load of bull… sorry, couldn’t help myself!).
I’m very curious about the new Lumineth that were hinted at over the weekend, Sevireth the wind spirit doesn’t really do it for me (although my hat is off to anyone who can paint the thing – it looks tricky to me) but some of the things that were shown in silhouette have me intrigued.
March 21st, 2021 at 9:24 am
The funniest thing about reading this post is that I just don’t see Kangaroos at all in them, and I’ve been surrounded by images of them my entire life and have seen enough of them in person as well to consider myself reasonably familar with them as far as an average punter goes.
Wrong shape, wrong proportions, wrong head, and so very wrong locomotion/movement – I mean that in itself just does it.
Without throwing shade, I guess if you’re not that familiar with them (and it’s not like I ride one to work) then I can imagine that you might project onto them, but nope, it’s just not there. They’re much more like furred dinos to me with some markings nicked from Arfrican quadruped herbivores…
March 22nd, 2021 at 10:29 pm
Judging by the comments I got on this post I sometimes think that it was only me and the guys at Warhammer Community (and their truly dreadful faux Australian accents) that looked at these and saw kangaroos. I do agree that the longer I look at them the less kangaroo-like they appear (and although I live on the opposite side of the world from kangaroos my real-life job is as an ecologist so I do spend a lot of time looking at animals, and these have a lot of non-kangaroo elements). Buuuut… when it comes down to brass tacks, most people aren’t that familiar with kangaroos, and these do look a little bit… rooish. I dunno, I’d still have preferred to see these riding horses, the archers are pretty much perfect and definitely one of the best things in this wave of Lumineth, but the steeds just don’t do it for me at all.
April 8th, 2022 at 2:51 am
A year on and a reply! I think I’d be able to see more ‘roo in them if the gait that they’re posed with was a bit closer to the actual two-foot movement cycle of the actual animals as opposed to the bird-run that they’re posed in. There are of course lots of other problems, but I think that’s actually a big part of it. Some actual more accurate kangaroo-type mounts in fantasy would actually be quite a welcome variation!.