Category Archives: Editorial

June 2022 Progress Report 

Early in 2022 I found myself thinking a lot about the way I’ve been going about this hobby, and the things I have and haven’t been painting. I think I’m a fairly prolific painter, admittedly not as much as some but I churn out a lot of models and on the whole I’m happy with the quantity and quality of what I produce. Despite this however there are a lot of projects that I’d like to see completed but which, for whatever reason, never seem to get done. By “projects” I mean sets of miniatures; an army, a Necromunda gang, a Warcry warband, a Blood Bowl team, the contents of a board game – you get the idea. By “completed” I generally mean; painted to a stage where we can get a game with it or where I’ve painted all the models in a particular set. So for example my Daughters of Khaine for Warcry is a completed project, even though I have some “bonus” models like a Medusa that I’d like to add to it. Blackstone Fortress on the other hand I’d call partially completed; I’ve painted enough models to play a game with it but I’d still like to paint up the rest of the box so we have plenty of options when we decide to get a game in. I know this criteria is a little vague but the key thing is, it works for me. If you’re thinking of attempting something similar with your own backlog then work out what works best for you and go from there.

Over the years my approach to the hobby has very much been a case of “this is for fun, paint whatever appeals in the moment, follow the hobby butterfly wherever it leads”. This has given me a lot of pleasure and has seen me paint a lot of models but whenever I look back at everything I’ve done I’m struck by the things I’ve still never finished and the models which I’ve been going to tackle “soon” for a very long time. So, over the last few months, I’ve been trying to do something about that. 

Partly this is about changing the way I look at the “pile of shame” (or as I now call it, the “Mountain of Madness”) and my efforts to tackle it. In the past I’ve tended to view the backlog as a single entity which could be wrestled into completion through a combination of time and Herculean effort. All my projects would be completed as a side effect of this (that is to say, if all the models I want to paint are contained within the pile then by painting everything in the pile I automatically complete all of my projects). 

Hercules

This bias in my outlook cosied up neatly to the tally of models purchased and painted that I’ve been keeping in recent years. New models excite me and so I buy them – but the growing number in the “bought” column doesn’t look so bad if there’s a large number in the “painted” column too. Thus if I had the choice between painting 100 models and completing 2 projects or painting 10 models and completing 10 projects I’d have chosen the former – up until recently that is. The interesting thing is, by changing tack to this more “project focused” approach I’ve actually ended up painting more models than I have in previous years. My current tally stands at 191 miniatures painted so far this year – that’s more than a model a day and vastly outnumbers the 83 I’d painted by this time last year. In fact it’s more than my total output for the entirety of 2020.

In trying to overcome the backlog in this way I had to work out an inventory of how much I’m up against and compare this against how many models I can reasonably expect to paint (I know many of my readers are also fond of spreadsheets – really is there such a thing as a problem that can’t be solved by a spreadsheet? I think not). This gave me a reasonably accurate idea of the scale of the task and unfortunately it’s a biggie. If my goal is to just paint everything I have, I don’t buy anything else (some hope!) and I continue to paint at the current rate (doubtful – for various reasons) it’ll still take me several years to get it all done. Realistically though the more time passes the more likely it becomes that any given project will never be finished at all. And even if things do turn out exactly as the spreadsheet predicts do I really want to wait that long to get around to my Delaque gang, painting up Cursed City or whatever other projects find themselves falling to the bottom of the list? 

Cursed City Cover

Since I first wrote about this back in February I’ve put together a list of projects and started trying to focus on them. From there I worked out how many models were needed to complete each project and how close to being fully painted said models were, and then started with the ‘easy wins’.

So how did I decide what to paint? After all, any way I slice it there’s still a lot of stuff in the heap to be tackled. The journey of a million miles may well start with a single step, but which step should it be when there are so many to choose from? To answer this I applied three key criteria.

  • 1. Inspiration and enthusiasm. At the end of the day I’m still very much a believer in the idea that this is for fun, it’s a hobby not a job. I’m here to enjoy myself, not to saddle myself with extra chores. Plus I’ve always found that if I’m excited about painting something I get in the zone and power through it, and if I’m not then I really am better off leaving it for another day – the process will be dull and the end results uninspired.
  • 2. How many models did I need to paint? I made a list of all my projects and worked out how many models each one needed to be called complete. The fewer models needed, the further up the list it went. If a model counted for multiple projects so much the better. My Khorne warband for Warcry needed just two models so I decided to tackle it ASAP. My Orc and Black Orc teams for Blood Bowl both needed just one troll (and better yet it was the same troll!) – they too got fast tracked. My WHFB Dwarf army needs around 130 models – needless to say it’s not currently a priority (another insult to be written down in the great book of grudges..!).
  • 3. For my third criteria I used a little mental exercise. Imagine that I discover that I’m going to live a very long, healthy and happy life (hopefully this part is true!) but that I’ll never be able to paint a miniature ever again (hopefully this part is not true!). What models will I look back regretfully and wish I’d painted for my collection? In some ways this covers similar territory to criteria 1 but the fact is there are quite a few models I’ve been really wanting to paint for ages – and yet every time I look at them I think “Not today, there’s something else I ought to paint first”. Well why not today? It’s my hobby and I’ll do what I want damn it! Time to stop putting off fun and get them done. And don’t worry; it really is just a mental exercise – I’m not going anywhere!

Up to now I’ve not really talked about what specifically I’m planning to tackle so the aim of the second half of this post is to lay that out and look at what I’ve managed to complete so far. It’s a living list, things will undoubtedly be added as and when inspiration strikes, but I’ll be aiming to look at it and talk about how I’m getting on every quarter or so – and as we’re now at the end of June this is a perfect moment to take a look back and see what I’ve managed so far. 

Warhammer Terrain Wudugast (16)

Warcry

Let’s start with somewhere that significant progress has actually been achieved already. I find Warcry is a great excuse to work on little skirmish warbands from all over the Age of Sigmar setting, putting together small groups of models that appeal without bogging myself down in painting large armies. Warcry is one of the few games I actually play on a semi-regular basis and I really like the idea of having a range of factions to call upon. This is an area where I’ve already made great strides and even before I started on this challenge I had warbands from 13 different factions in my collection. The forces of Order were represented by the Daughters of Khaine, Death by the Nighthaunt and the Flesh-eater Courts, and Chaos by the Daemons and Mortals of Nurgle, as well as Skaven borrowed from my WHFB army, and the Iron Golems and Untamed Beasts which were released specially for the game. The forces of Destruction have been particularly busy, unleashing three types of Orc (the Bonesplitters, Ironjaws and Kruelboys) alongside mighty Ogres and scheming Gloomspite Gits. Over the last few months I’ve added Soulblight Gravelords…

Vampire Counts Warcry Warband Wudugast

…Stormcast Eternals in Thunderstrike Armour…

Stormcast Eternal Group Wudugast Warhammer

…Sylvaneth…

Sylvaneth Wudugast AoS Warhammer (2)

…Warriors of Chaos…

Warriors of Chaos Group Wudugast Warhammer

…and Khorne Bloodbound.

Khorne Warcry Warband Wudugast Warhammer

Speaking of Khorne I also painted this Bloodmaster (that’s a herald of Khorne if you’re an oldster like me). The range of Khorne deamons for Warcry isn’t all that extensive (just bloodletters, flesh hounds and juggernaughts) so I had planned to just take a relaxed outlook on the rules and include a few daemons alongside my mortals rather than putting together a warband that might feel a bit “samey”. However now I’ve got the Bloodmaster painted up I’ve got options, so once I’ve retrieved my bloodletters and flesh hounds from storage I can unleash an entire band of Khornate daemons should I feel the need to do things strictly by the book.

Khorne Daemon Bloodmaster Herald Wudugast Warhammer (1)

As well as all these factions borrowed from the wider Age of Sigmar setting there are a number of warbands which have been created specifically for the Warcry game. In many ways I think of these as the real Warcry warbands and I’d love to paint all of them, each one is weird, exciting and unique. As things stand however I’ve only managed the aforementioned Untamed Beasts and Iron Golems, both painted back in 2020. I’d very much like to add to that list before the year is out.

Terrain

Another major project has been to complete all the terrain from the original Warcry starter set and with the completion of this building that’s done at last. 

Ruin Warhammer Warcry Wudugast AoS Terrain (5)

By adding it to all the other terrain I’ve finished we now have a small ruined town to fight over should we so wish. 

Warhammer Terrain Wudugast (3)

Of course this is just the beginning, I’m still planning to work on all the terrain from the Catacombs and Red Harvest sets as well. On top of that I’d like to expand my collection for Warhammer 40k and Necromunda, and with a solid start made to the fantasy side I’m hoping this will take the drivers seat over the next few months. In the meantime I’m calling this goal achieved – although there’s still plenty of room for bonus “stretch goals” yet to come.

Kill Team/Warhammer 40k

I’ve lumped these two together for now as they essentially cover the same territory – one at the skirmish level and one at the army level. As a whole the 41st Millennium is a setting that I love and for which I have a whole heap of models, both painted and unpainted. As games however these two leave me cold, for a range of reasons that would take a blog’s worth of text to elucidate. Thus when I first sat down to address the clear out back at the start of the year I thought I would probably give them only the minimum of attention. To begin with my only set goal was to complete this Death Guard kill team, something that required only a minimum of effort. 

Death Guard Wudugast Plague Marine Warhammer 40k (1)

Now I’ve heard that a plague marine fire team now runs to 3 models which, if true, only serves to illustrate one of my key objections to these games – GW’s constant tinkering with the rules which means that nothing stays the same for more than 2 minutes before an errata is released for the FAQ of the designer’s notes that explain the latest changes in the codex that’s just arrived for the game’s 170th edition. 

However, rules be damned, I love the models and I have a lot of them that I’d like to get painted – many of which are already half-done and lurking in boxes. This situation is nothing new, I’ve not played 40k in any serious way since the early days of 5th Edition and it’s not stopped me painting plenty of them in the years since. However without a rules framework it’s harder to describe exactly what I’m planning to do here. Looking through the pile I find plenty of Orks, Chaos Marines, Death Guard, Thousand Sons, Space Marines, Imperial Guard, Necrons, Adeptus Mechanicus, Genestealer Cultists and Eldar, plus a few Sisters of Battle. Plenty to be getting on with in other words. Of these some command large numbers of fully painted miniatures, and others are a little more sparse… I’m aiming to at least get together some small armies for most, or if possible, all of them – think something akin to a “combat patrol” (i.e. a couple of squads, a vehicle, a hero or two and a dreadnaught) but as goals go it’s deliberately ill-defined. Obviously some of these factions have already exceeded this goal, in some cases by a considerable margin, but I’ll still be adding recruits to them here and there because I want to, damn it, and all work and no play makes Wudu a dull boy (see also Criteria 1 and 3 above). So far my attention has been focussed on the Necrons and I’m pleased to say I’ve shaken a few of them out of their dusty tombs – enough that I could probably call this goal achieved in their case if I was feeling generous (and I am). Plenty more androids to come in the next few months though!

Wudugast Warhammer 40k Necrons (1)

Blood Bowl 

This feels a bit like cheating (but that’s Blood Bowl right?) because I’m counting one model towards two projects, but I’m going to call it efficiency. I’ve been promising to paint this sporting troll for absolute donkey’s and so when I started this project I fast-tracked him to the front of the queue. 

Blood Bowl Troll Warhammer Wudugast (6)

This completes both my Orc team…

Blood Bowl Orc Team Complete Wudugast

…and their even tougher cousins on my Black Orc team. 

Blood Bowl Black Orc Team Complete Wudugast

Since then I’ve been been chipping away at a team of Necromantic Horrors and a heap of Snotlings, neither of which have achieved full-team status as yet.

Blood Bowl Zombie Warhammer Wudugast (5)Blood Bowl Snotling Team Wudugast

I also have a number of other teams I’d like to paint up so hopefully we’ll be looking at a whole load more Blood Bowl by the time we get to September’s round up. 

Necromunda

Ah, my beloved Necromunda – my home away from home amid the overcrowded hives, the stinking sumps and toxic ash-dunes! I have so many projects I’d like to tackle here but alas the last six months have seen bugger all done. I shall mend my ways by the September round up I promise – and if I don’t you can sell me to the Guilders.

Aeronautica Imperialis

This one is nice and straightforward to describe; my goal is to paint everything in the Wings of Vengeance box and so far I’ve completed none of it. Just to prove I’ve not been entirely idle though here’s my first assembled Ork Dakkajet. Who knows, I might look to complete the whole Ork half of the set in Orktober. 

AI Ork Aircraft

Adeptus Titanicus

Picture it – two armies of tiny titans, one sworn to the God Emperor, the other to the Warmaster, beating seven bells out of each other as the Imperium burns. What have I done to make it happen, aside from snapping up a few models when they were going cheap a few years ago? Not a thing!

Blackstone Fortress 

We played a fair bit of this a while ago and it’s one we’d like to get back into, so completing all the unpainted models is one of the key projects on my list. Previously I managed to complete most of the miniatures from the core set, minus one or two of the heroes, as well as both models from the Traitor Command expansion and all the heroes from the Escalation expansion. My next goal is to finish up all of the other expansions and the heroes from the original set that I never got around to. 

Cursed City 

Sticking with Warhammer Quest we move from the far future to the grim darkness of a city overrun by the undead. My aim with Cursed City is nice and straightforward; paint everything in the box. So far this year I’ve been working my way through the various baddies that roam the haunted streets and crumbling thoroughfares,  starting with ten zombies (borrowed from the wider Age of Sigmar range)…

Zombies Warhammer AoS Wudugast Vampire Counts Group

… and two mighty ogres of the Kosargi Nightguard.

Cursed City Kosargi Nightguard Undead Wudugast Warhammer (5)

I had hoped to get a few more heroes done by now (so far only Emelda Braskov is complete) and finish off at least one more squad of baddies but it was not to be. I’ll see what I can do about that over the next few months.

Cursed City Emelda Braskov Warhammer AoS Wudugast (3)

A Song of Ice and Fire 

At the moment I have two projects on the go here; a House Stark army and their rivals from House Lannister. My aim is to get each of them up to 30 points (enough for a small game) and then keep expanding in 10 point increments until I get to at least 50 points each – enough for a large game or to mix things up in smaller games. Beyond that I’m tempted by some of the other factions in the game but that can wait until I have these first two armies up and running. 

So far I’ve been quite focused on the Starks and, as well as various characters and the beginnings of several squads, I’ve got a whole unit of Sworn Swords fully painted. I had hoped to have at least one more squad done by now and put together a nice group shot of the army but alas it was not to be – I promise to do better before the September round up rolls around.

Stark Sworn Swords ASOIAF Group Wudugast

My Lannisters meanwhile are a little further behind, but the Mountain is well on his way to summoning all of his men so I’ll aim to get this squad completed in the near-ish future.

The Mountains Men Wudugast ASOIAF

Hate

At the moment I don’t have any set goals that I’m working towards here, I just really like the models so I’ll keep chipping away at them whenever I feel like it. Expect to see the odd one pop up whenever I fancy painting some crazy barbarians. 

Hate Barbarian Wudugast Chaos CMON collection

Summing Up

I’m feeling pretty chuffed with everything I’ve got done this year, especially as the past few months are always the busiest at work (and this year has been no exception on that score). By the end of July work will be getting a little calmer but other commitments look set to take over so how much time I have for painting as the year progresses remains to be seen. That said I’m going to list a few key targets that I’d like to achieve by the time we get to the end of September and the next quarterly progress report.

  • Necromunda – get another gang up and running, most likely the Orlocks. More if possible.
  • Warcry – get at least one of the “core” warbands painted, the Spire Tyrants look like a good option here.
  • Blood Bowl – get the Necromantic Horrors team finished. As that only needs 2 ghouls I’m going to aim for getting another team up and running as well.
  • Blackstone Fortress – complete at least one expansion.
  • Cursed City – make significant progress. Hard to quantify on this one, I’d love to get it finished of course but I’m not going to try to bite off more than I can chew. A squad or two of mooks and/or some of the heroes would count here, whereas a single corpse rat just isn’t going to cut it!
  • ASOIAF – make significant progress. Again I’m not going to put an exact figure on it here, just that I want to get something done and again one model isn’t enough!

Really though this is the bare minimum I’d like to achieve. More would without doubt be merrier. Keep an eye out over the next few months and let’s see how I get on.


Scum’s Thoughts – Part 7

After years of fighting for survival in the claustrophobic depths of the Underhive it’s time at last for Necromunda to head into the great outdoors. This year’s Adepticon saw the full reveal of the new Necromunda: Ash Wastes box, in which gangers from the House of Iron do battle with Ash Waste Nomads in the toxic desert beyond the hives. To help them get around in the wide-open spaces of the wilderness the Orlocks have brought along a couple of nifty looking buggies…

Orlock Buggy

…whilst the Ash Waste Nomads, not to be outdone, will be scurrying out of the dunes on the back of giant fleas. 

Ash Waste Nomad Flea

Now it probably goes without saying that I’m very excited about this announcement. For one thing the new Ash Waste Nomad gang looks very cool, if a little challenging to paint, as does the new terrain for building desert settlements.

Ash Waste Nomad

However I’m also coming to realise how excited I am about vehicles appearing in Necromunda. I don’t think Necromunda needs vehicles per se, but I sure as hell need Necromunda vehicles in my life all the same. Plus, if we’re going outside the hives then really they become a must – the distances are too vast and the environment too dangerous to be tackled on foot. 

Having seen the beasts and buggies included in the new box my imagination immediately began to run through possibilities for the other gangs in the game. After all it’s safe to say that all the other Houses will be following the Orlocks out into the wastes and when they do they’re going to need wheels of their own. In this article I’m going to try to guess what those vehicles will look like then – in a year or so’s time – we can all come back and gasp at my Nostradamus-like powers of prediction/laugh at how wildly wrong I turned out to be. 

Goliath

Let’s be honest, the Goliath buggy will be unsubtle. I’m imagining a big spikey ram with a powerful engine and no reverse gear. 

Escher

At first I was a bit stumped by this one as I couldn’t quite picture what kind of vehicle the Eschers would drive. Then I spotted what should have been abundantly obvious – the Ash Waste Nomads aren’t driving but riding, preferring a living steed to anything mechanical. The Eschers, great bio-manipulators that they are, will surely do likewise. What we need is a horse crossed with a tiger to make it more predatory and with feathers and crests and spots and stripes so that everyone can see how damn glamorous it is. Now give it big claws, and a poisonous sting, and make it run really fast and spit acid! Sorted – now the girls can ride in style! 

Van Saar

The obvious choice is something similar to the Grav Cutters, but a little bit bigger. 

Grav Cutter Van Saar

Frankly I’d be perfectly happy with that, although I’m equally open to creative alternatives. Whatever they make it’s bound to be high tech, sleek and fast, and I’m going to bet it flies too. 

Cawdor

Make a pulpit out of scrap from which one can preach to the heathens of the wasteland. Mount it on the back of a gigantic mutant rat. Remove anything which might remotely be classed as a health-and-safety feature and replace it with FAITH! Garnish liberally with candles and you’re ready for your next crusade. 

Delaque

As with the Van Saar the Delaque already have a model which I think could give us a lot of clues as to the shape of whatever they end up driving. 

Piscean Spektor

That aside though I’m not going to try to pin down exactly what it will look like, just that I’m confident it will be very alien and almost certainly look the least like a traditional vehicle or steed of any of the factions. And it’ll probably have the brain of some poor psyker wired in there where sane people would have put an engine.

+++

Now we could leave things there, I think it’s a fairly safe bet that we’ll just see vehicles for the gangs of the six Great Houses, plus any new gangs like the Ash Waste Nomads. That said however it’s fun to speculate so let’s have a think about the other factions as well, starting with the most likely. 

Enforcers

Heavily armed and armoured, dark, sinister and brutal – when Helmawr’s Finest head out into the wastes they won’t be messing around. A blue flashing light on the top is optional. I’m also wondering if this one will be able to fly, or at least glide along above the ground on some kind of anti-grav engine. Some people have already suggested something like the Lawmaster from Judge Dredd but, cool as Dredd is, I think Games Workshop – and especially their legal teams – will want to keep developing the Enforcers identity as their own thing rather than rehashing someone else’s ideas. Remember kids – it doesn’t have to be something you already know to be good! (Incidently I just noticed I’d typo’d “Lawmaster” as “Lawnmaster” – presumably that’s for when Dredd takes up gardening).

Genestealer Cults

I know I just said that Enforcers are the most likely of the factions outside the Great Houses to get vehicles but that overlooks the fact that the Genestealer Cultists already have the Atalan Jackle bikers, the Wolf Quads and perhaps even the Achilles Ridgerunner and Goliath truck.

Atalan Jackle GSC Bike

Seeing these added to the game, even if it’s simply via a White Dwarf article, seems inevitable. 

Corpse Grinder Cults 

Find a wrecked buggy in the wasteland. Control your hunger and rage long enough to weld bits of scrap, lots of spikes, chains and razorwire all over the outside. Stick a great big circular saw on the front so you can carve open land trains and wagons to get at the fleshy good stuff inside. Decorate with bits of your last meal/victim. Impale yourself behind the wheel and go hunting! 

Redemptionists

I very much doubt that the Redemptionists will get a vehicle of their own sadly but will instead be allowed to borrow one from House Cawdor. That said I’d love to see a mobile pyre with massive flame throwers on the front, pushed into battle by the faithful. 

Hive Scum

Maybe I’m wrong here but I’m not convinced that Hive Scum have their own vehicles. It seems a bit resource intensive for these down-and-outs so I reckon, if they do ever venture out onto the open road, they just steal something off a better equipped gang. So my prediction is that a Scum vehicle will look exactly like an Orlock vehicle, with the addition of an angry Orlock ganger running along behind, who at some point is going to have to give up and explain to the rest of his crew that he left the keys in it. 

Ogryns

Much like the Scum I don’t think there’s much chance of Ogryn vehicles; they just don’t have the wit to build, maintain, fuel or even drive them. Plus they don’t really have any need for them, other gangs need to get from safe shelter A to oasis B as quickly as possible before the wastes kill them, whereas Ogryns probably think the rad-storms and lethal wildlife reminds them off the old country on whatever death world they originated on. Maybe they’d have some kind of servitor-beasts that escaped from the factories alongside them? Maybe the nearest thing to a vehicle they have is an Ogryn hitting people over the head with a tire whilst shouting “Free da peepol!”. 

Ash Wastes

…And that’s our show! As usual if you grease monkeys think you have any better suggestions the comments box is the place to be!


The Parasite of Mortrex Returns!

Well how’s about that! Flapping down out of the spore filled heavens (or more accurately being previewed by Games Workshop) comes that dread Tyranid beast the Parasite of Mortrex. 

Parasite of Mortrex

The Parasite of Mortrex first appeared back in the Fifth Edition of Warhammer 40k, emerging (appropriately enough) on the fortress world of Mortrex. Swooping out of the darkness it implanted tiny Rippers in hapless guardsmen who then played unwilling parent to swarms of the ravenous little predators. Rapidly maturing the Rippers would soon do exactly what their name suggests, bursting from their hosts in a manner familiar to anyone who has seen the film Alien before turning their savage attentions on the rest of the squad. Within weeks Mortrex had fallen, whereupon the Parasite vanished – both “in universe” and in reality as Games Workshop never made a model for it and dropped it from later codexes. Guardsmen however have been fearfully keeping an eye on the skies lest the Parasite return… and now it has! After years in the wilderness the Parasite has at last received a miniature, announced a couple of days ago to accompany the forthcoming new edition of the Tyranids codex. My first thought on seeing the new models was that it’s pretty cool. The back is a bit weird but that aside it’s a very creepy alien monster – just how the Tyranids should be. 

Parasite of Mortrex rear

I’ve never really got into the Tyranids and I can’t quite work out why. On the surface of it they should be exactly the kind of thing I enjoy; hordes of alien monsters set on devouring the galaxy. There’s something about them I’m not sure about though and I can’t seem to put my finger on it. Usually when there’s a faction I don’t like I start trying to work out how to fix it, and it turns into a mental challenge from which crazy conversions spring. With the Tyranids however this has yet to happen. It doesn’t help that I really don’t like the studio paint scheme but normally I can see beyond that. Maybe it’s not a bad thing though – after all I don’t have a shortage of things to paint! 

The Parasite isn’t going to change this, it’s a nice model but it’s not enough to win me over to the faction or send me rushing out to buy it. Hopefully any Tyranid fans out there are pleased though, they’ve not had much attention for a long time and they deserve something cool. 

Rippers

The one thing I don’t particularly like about the Parasite is the fact that it’s a special character. I know many people have an aversion to special characters on general principle and that’s fair enough, everyone should enjoy the hobby as they see fit. In the main though I’m in favour. We are all human beings and our history and mythology is stitched together from the deeds of other humans; kings, emperors, generals, heroes and so on. What would the Greek myths by without Achillies, Odysseus or Heracles? Seeing some of the characters that live in the setting help to bring it to life, and even if we don’t choose to use them in our own games it’s good to know they’re out there. Without them these worlds would seem a lot less real and believable. Try to summarise the events of the Second World War (or any other period of history that you are familiar with) without reference to any of the individual people who were making command decisions or developing strategies. It’s not easy is it, and it’s certainly not very engaging. 

They act as points of reference too – does my Chaos Lord serve Abaddon, do they have any pacts, or are they enemies? Is he sworn to one of the Dark Gods and believes that if only the big man would focus on serving Nurgle or Slaanesh then the destruction of the Imperium would go much more smoothly? If they are enemies; why? If they are allies; why? 

However despite being on Team Special Characters I draw the line very firmly at Tyranids. Tyranids, I believe, should not have special characters. I’ve never liked the idea and it would take a hell of a lot to change my mind (although if you want to try the comments box is the place for you, just don’t be disappointed if you fail to win me over). 

For one thing the Tyranids are defined by their huge numbers. To be the most famous Blood Angel in a chapter one thousand strong is no mean feat, but at the end of the day someone has to do it. To be the most famous Tyranid in a population of hundreds of billions however? Just by existing Tyranid special characters make the hive fleets seem smaller. 

Tyranids

‘Perhaps the Tyranids are a punishment for all the galaxy’s warring races, we who could not see beyond our reckless hate. Perhaps, in a final twist of irony, we shall be consumed by a force that feels no enmity at all, merely a cold and insatiable hunger.’

Farseer Zonayen of Alaitoc

For me special characters also sit poorly with the “alien-ness” of the Tyranids. At the end of the day the other xenos species in 40k aren’t that different to us. Despite their quirks the Orks, Eldar, even Necrons are much like the aliens in Star Trek – in that they are basically humans with some  cultural and physiological difference. Not so the Tyranids. I’ve heard it said that if the other xenos are like humans the Tyranids are like lions but I’d go further than that. A Tyranid is like an immortal lion, which eats planets rather than gazelles, lives in outer space, is smarter than the sum of all human geniuses that have ever lived, is made up of billions of separate bodies from the microscopic to the continent-sized and which is really, really hungry. Surely the point of the Tyranids is that I can’t put myself in their shoes anymore more than I can an oak tree or a gut bacteria. 

That’s not to say that the Tyranids aren’t intelligent. It was once put to me, and I wholeheartedly agree, that a Hive Tyrant could beat a grand master at chess. The hard part wouldn’t be teaching it the rules but explaining why it shouldn’t just bite his face off. 

Tyranids 2

Then there’s the fact that the Tyranids after all are the ultimate bio-manipulators, capable of breeding whole armies of precisely tailored organisms to fit whatever circumstances they find themselves in. If a Tyranid does in fact emerge which is powerful and awesome enough to achieve special character status then surely the Hive Mind would simply think “Wow! Look at these stats! Check out these special abilities! This gribbly dude is awesome – clone a few thousand of them before we reach the next planet”. (Of course a degree of abstraction is required for gaming purposes, after all the Hive Mind might also think “I see the opposing force is a balanced 2000 point army. Excellent, that’s very sporting of them. Deploy 8000 points in response, compel the slave bioform to paint more Termagants!”)

Now some gamers, especially those on the tournament scene, might argue that having special characters has a big impact on the rules and that if, for instance, players could “spam” the Parasite of Mortrex the game would be “broken”. For all I know they may well be right. Let’s be honest though, miniatures stay in circulation for decades whilst the rules will probably be FAQ’d before the book sees publication (and then FAQ’d again after the first big tournament, and then updated in White Dwarf, and so on…). Plus this is an easy fix for a rules writer to overcome. 

“To the relief of Imperial commander these creatures remain rare in the armies of the hive fleets… for now! You may only include one in your Tyranid army”. 

There – fixed it for you! 

I do follow the logic that these are experimental creations, bred by the hive to solve a problem and then either mass-produced or abandoned. However surely that makes them very circumstantial? Unless we’re actually playing a game set during the siege of Mortrex then surely the Parasite will either be part of the range of biological blueprints available to the hive (ergo no longer a unique character but an off the shelf tool to be bred and unleashed as required like a Carnifex or a Gargoyle) or it’s abandoned, a one off genetic experiment never to be repeated. Frankly I’m not convinced that it would ever be reduced to the latter status, a fortress world like Mortrex is hardly unique in the Imperium and the Parasite was so extremely efficient in bringing it to ruin that the Hive Mind is never going to bin the idea forever more. 

Parasite of Mortrex art

Now I think about it more however, could it be that this is exactly what has happened? Just because the Parasite was a unique character back in Fifth Edition when it first emerged doesn’t mean it still is. The article published by Games Workshop doesn’t really specify one way or another. The final paragraph hints that “You’ll soon be able to add a Parasite of Mortrex to your flying broods…” (my emphasis) so perhaps my complaints are unfounded? At this stage it’s hard to be sure and reading too much into anything GW says is a risky business. Personally I hope it is though, not that I’d want to include multiple Parasites in the Tyranid army I don’t have but because it would bring things nearly full circle, demonstrating that the Hive Mind can and does learn from its experiments and in time each of these “one offs” can become the blueprint for a new bioform through which the consumption of the galaxy shall continue. Hell maybe every edition GW should introduce a new Tyranid special character, and then change it into a generic specialist unit with the next iteration of the codex. 

In conclusion then the Parasite probably won’t be finding it’s way onto my painting desk any time soon but I still think it’s a cool model. I just wish there were more of them! Plus it’s great to see the Tyranids getting a new miniature, frankly that’s something else I’d like to see more of. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Kill Team is the perfect platform for new genestealers. Come on Games Workshop, you know it makes sense and it might just be the thing to tempt me out of the Genestealer Cults and into a fully fledged hive fleet to boot! 


Fembruary 2022 Round Up

Well here we are at the end of another Fembruary and it’s time to take a quick look back at everything I managed to get painted. Last year I surprised myself by powering through 21 miniatures in the month, whereas this year I managed a more modest 11 of which just 9 came under the Fembruary banner (by virtue of being ladies).

Once again however I managed a fairly eclectic mix of models of all shapes and sizes, from an Orc cheerleader…

Blood Bowl Orc Cheerleader Wudugast (3)

… to woodland dwelling witches…

Branchwych Sylvaneth Wudugast Warhammer (4)Hate Barbarian Wudugast Chaos CMON Witch (1)

… to vicious-looking ghosts…

Dreadscythe Harridan Nighthaunt Wudugast Warhammer AoS (1)

…and my first ever Sister of Battle.

Sisters of Battle Warhammer 40k Wudugast (1)

Meanwhile the Stormcast Eternals saw the most attention, gathering four new recruits.

Stormcast Eternals Warhammer AoS Wudugast

My aim at the moment is to bring my backlog under control (isn’t it always!) but lately my focus has shifted away from simply flailing haphazardly at the mountain of sprues under my desk and instead I’ve tried to tighten my focus, concentrating on those projects I’m most keen to have completed rather than wandering wherever my fancy takes me. I suspect that from the point of view of my readers of course, this will be entirely academic and my output will continue to look much the same as ever – a random-appearing bombardment of models from all angles with no apparent theme at all but trust me, as the Lizardmen would assure you, there is a Great Plan behind it all! This is something I’ve been chewing over a lot since the start of 2022 and essentially what it boils down to is this; there are many things which may curtail a lot of my painting in the future (lots of them good!) and so I ought to focus on finishing those things I’d like to complete now whilst I have the time. I’m not planning on going anywhere, I don’t intend to quit the hobby (heaven forbid!) or anything like that but I am very conscious of the fact that I have a lot of part-painted projects, and a lot of gangs and warbands that I really want to have painted but which have been left unattended for years. I often find myself thinking about projects and realising that I’m still as excited about them as I was on the day I bought them, but that a lot of time has gone by and they’re still untouched. I don’t want to look back in a decade, or even just a year, and find that most of them are no further forward than they are now. Looking to the future I suspect that the best time for getting things painted is now and for a lot of reasons the longer I leave something the less likely it is to ever get painted. So for the next little while prioritising and getting things done is the aim of the game.

This also applies to cutting out some of the faffing I’m prone to. Take colour schemes for instance and look at the Sister of Battle above or this band of Chaos Warriors. 

Khagra’s Ravagers Chaos Warriors Wudugast Warhammer (1)

In the past I would have agonised over finding a combination of colours that was both original and looked good, and unsurprisingly these often proved incompatible. There are far too many models in my “pile of shame” which stalled between these two pillars and never got started again. With these examples however the colour scheme used by the developers for the studio models is great and I’m pleased with the results so I’m happy to copy them, call that a win and move on, putting the time into painting something else rather than stressing over perfection. It’s a lesson I’ve had to learn several times over the years and sometimes I still need to remind myself; the perfect really is the enemy of the good.

Anyway, that’s enough waffle from me! Here’s a group shot of everything I managed to do in Fembruary instead (click on it to see a nice big version instead of giving yourself eyestrain). 

Fembruary 2022 Wudugast

….And with that Fembruary is over for another year. The scattershot assault on my backlog however will be continuing apace!


Alpharius: Head of the Hydra 

I am Alpharius. 

This is a lie.

As opening lines go those take some beating don’t they? I don’t normally do book reviews here, at least in part because writing them is bloody hard work and although I take my hat off to those who do it, it’s something I very much struggle to pull off. I do however read a lot of books and, as a fan of all things Warhammer, plenty of them are from Black Library. Black Library novels can be a bit of a mixed bag, some are excellent, many are a bit duff if I’m honest – Space Marine fan-fiction with dubious plot lines and turgid battles of blazing bolters. This is one of the good ones though. In fact this one really deserves a bit of gushing praise and so that’s exactly what I’m going to give it. 

Alpharius

Alpharius: Head of the Hydra by Mike Brooks, tells the story of the Primarch Alpharius in his own words for the first time. The ultimate in unreliable narrators Alpharius is known to all 40k fans as the Primarch who lies a lot – or as he describes himself to Leman Russ “I’m the one who keeps secrets”. Given this fact it’s hard to be sure if this really is a behind the scenes tell-all from the master of dishonesty, or if we’re being spun a load of nonsense. Most likely it’s a bit of both. 

There is the official story of the Imperium’s early years and the finding of the Primarchs, and then there’s the version laid out here. Thus in many ways the reader is drawn into the universe to the point where we almost become actors in our own right. Now this has always been true of 40k, with the “head cannon” story behind my army no less valid that which is laid out in a codex or Black Library novel. However what I’m driving at here is that, in the end, only a comparatively tiny number of 40k fans will read this book and so hear this side of the story. All the rest will stick with the version which has been laid out in codexes and novels for over three decades. Are those of us who do privileged members of a fraternity to whom deeper truths have been revealed or are we dupes taken in by a narrator famed as a master of lies and manipulation? 

Alpharius Forge World

Writing Primarchs, particularly in the first person, is a tricky business. Almost inevitably authors who attempt it fail to pull it off. These are gene-forged demi-gods, far beyond us frail baseline humans in every way, yet all too often they come across as tall space marines with quirky personalities. For Alpharius however it works perfectly. After all you can barely trust the words spilling from the serpent’s mouth, so anyone else trying to narrate these events second hand would become so tangled in misinformation as to be not worth reading. How could anyone but Alpharius tell his story when he takes such pains to keep everyone around him guessing and ensure that no-one ever knows the full truth? A book in which everything is false or guesswork wouldn’t be worth reading after all. No, the joy of this book is trying to guess at which points he’s lying – and concluding at the end that it’s all true.

Some authors seem to struggle with the Alpha Legion, putting Alpharius himself at the core of every mission as though he’s the only spy the Imperium has (Deliverance Lost I’m looking at you here), turning him into a one dimensional mustache twirling scoundrel (“I would have got away with it too if it wasn’t for Rogal Dorn!”) or bogging everything down in so many triple-crosses that it’s hard to remember who’s currently betraying who. Again however telling the story from Alpharius’s own perspective helps to get around this, rather than us readers trying to keep track of how many seemingly innocent people in any given room are actually Alpha Legion agents with conflicting agendas (hint: it’s all of them) we’re walked through events by the man who masterminded them. Does it make sense for Alpharius to be involved in every mission? It does here because this is his story, whereas all too often in the Horus Heresy we’re “surprised” to discover that every Alpha Legionary we encounter is really the main man himself rather than one of his – supposedly self-reliant and independently-minded – underlings. There are nods to the Alpha Legion’s reputation for overcomplicated schemes – a tech-priest asks how a top secret mission can be used as cover for an even more top-secret mission (and yes, there is a good reason for it) – but on the whole we avoid all the doubling-crossing the double-crosser (cross squared?) that can at times make Alpha Legion stories near impossible to follow.

Alpharius Omegon

As an aside I’ve always enjoyed the fact that there are several in-universe official accounts of Alpharius’s death, leaving the reader guessing as to which, if any, are true. Between being able to disguise himself as his own legionaries, encouraging his legionaries to pass themselves off as him, and having a hidden identical twin, is it any wonder that he has been “officially” killed off by at least two of his brother Primarchs? My own pet theory is that Alpharius/Omegon never could stick with the limitation of having two bodies. It is already cannon that Fabius Bile successfully cloned all of the Primarchs – including making dozens of versions of Ferrus Manus, a young Fulgrim and a reborn Horus. Those wondering how Games Workshop might someday bring back Sanguinius or one of the other dead Primarchs should look no further. If downhive Esher gang-queens and low-ranking Dark Eldar kabalites can bring themselves back to life as clones there’s no reason for the Primarch of the Alpha Legion to stay dead a moment longer than he chooses to.

In writing this I’ve steered away from talking too much about the plot, and quite deliberately so. I went into this knowing next to nothing about the story and I think I enjoyed it all the more as a result. However one thing I will say is that the more familiar you are with the 40k canon the more you’re likely to enjoy this. If you’re completely fresh to 40k then this really isn’t the best place to start, a degree of familiarity with the big players of the pre-Heresy era is vital to save yourself a lot of frustrating head scratching. If on the other hand you’re well versed in the story of how the Imperium came to be, the Great Crusade and the finding of the Primarchs, then prepare to enjoy having some well established “facts” revealed as falsehoods, key events turned on their heads and major players re-examined from a uniquely insightful perspective. After hearing things from Alpharius’s point of view I don’t think I’ll ever trust Rogal Dorn again!

Of course, it could all be a lie. Hydra Dominatus!


2021 – For Anyone Who Didn’t Feel Like Showing Up

Well, that was 2021 was it? It’s been a funny year in some ways, as I look back I realise that quite a lot seems to have happened yet at the time it was over in a flash. Maybe that’s just a sign of aging and you’ll have me pensioned off and stuck in a home before I know it! At times it’s easy to look at the world beyond the hobby and fear that globally things are getting worse and worse.

2021 New Year

But let’s not worry too much about our increasingly uncertain future and instead, gather round for a rambling and self-indulgent look back at my year in miniatures. Truly I spoil you all! Over in Games-Workshop-land the decline and fall of civilisation continued to bugger up the release schedule, although to be honest they release so much stuff, and at such a frenetic pace, that slowing things down a little actually helped me catch my breath. As the year began, Slaanesh – that most long-neglected of the Chaos Gods – received a well deserved boost in the form of new mortal followers. Time to indulge in some outrageous hedonism! As with any Chaos release I got quite excited and tried to budget for how to buy and paint absolutely everything. And as so often happens the limitations of having just 24 hours in each day and only 2 hands to work with slowed me. I did manage to paint up a Myrmidesh Painbringer though and I still absolutely love most of the new models so expect to see more of these appearing in the months ahead.

Myrmidesh Painbringer Wudugast ConvertOrDie Chaos AoS Slaanesh (1)

Hot on the heels of these party animals came animals of a different sort – specifically marsupials. The Lumineth Realm-Lords, released back in 2020, received a second wave of releases – bolstering the ranks of the range nicely. With the first wave of models falling into the odd position of being almost – but not quite – High Elves the second wave shifted them firmly into a new and creative direction. To be honest most of the new models aren’t really to my taste and I still think – despite many of my readers disagreeing – that it looks as though some of them are bouncing around on kangaroos, but there’s no faulting their originality.

Treerunner 1

April saw the arrival of one of Games Workshop’s biggest, and most heralded, releases of the year; Cursed City. This latest addition to the Warhammer Quest series launched with enormous fanfare, proving an instant hit with the fans, and continued to be talked about and hyped for months afterwards… Oh wait, scratch that last part, apparently Games Workshop suddenly decided just after it was released that it was only intended as a limited edition and started feverishly airbrushing it out of photographs and rewriting the history books. Naturally we mere mortals amongst the fanbase respected their sudden desire not to talk about it and didn’t indulge in wild speculation… Then, just before Christmas the saga took another unexpected twist when Games Workshop proudly announced that the game was coming back after all.

Anyway, as it happens I was one of the lucky ones who managed to snag a copy, and I’ve started chipping away at the models. At one time I planned to have enough painted to get in a game over Christmas but as so often happens my eyes were bigger than my stomach. Still I have managed to make a start, finishing the first few models from the set.

Cursed City

As it turns out however Cursed City was just the beginning and a whole wave of very cool-looking undead followed. So far I’ve not done very much about them apart from writing another enthusiastic editorial but given time I suspect a few more of these will be making their way onto the painting desk to join the ones I’ve already done.

Vampire Counts Soulblight Gravelords Wudugast ConvertOrDie

One of the most controversial – not to mention biggest – models to appear this year was Kragnos, the End of Empires. Needless to say he inspired me to a great deal of pontificating and I stand by my assertion that he’s one of the coolest things that GW have done over the last few months. That said I doubt I’ll be painting him myself, and as things stand he really looks out of place alongside the orcs and goblins that make up the rest of the Destruction grand alliance. 

Kragnos

As it turned out Kragnos signaled the beginning of a new phase in the Age of Sigmar story and the dawn of the Era of the Beast and this summer saw the launch of a new edition of the game (the 3rd for those keeping count), spearheaded by a boxset of Stormcast Eternals battling a new type of Orc, the Kruelboys. Again I didn’t miss the opportunity to share my thoughts with the world, and rattled my keyboard enthusiastically whilst indulging in some wild testiculation (that is to say, waving my hands around whilst talking bollocks). Now Stormcast Eternals aren’t really my thing but I was never going to resist new Orcs and managed to snag myself their half of the set from which I’ve so far assembled this little warband. 

Kruelboy Orc Wudugast ConvertOrDie Warhammer AoS (9)

Nor are these the only orcs that I tackled this year, I also got around to painting up a bunch of Savage Orcs.

Wurrgog Prophet Wurrzag Bonesplitter Orc Wudugast ConvertOrDie (4)

As for the Stormcasts I’ve managed to shock everyone, not least myself, by painting a whopping 2 of them. Wonders will never cease! Again though expect to see a few more popping up in the coming year.

Stormcast Eternal Wudugast ConvertOrDie AoS Warhammer

As autumn rolled around we saw one of the biggest and best releases of the year as the Orks joined their cousins the Orcs and got their well deserved moment in the sun. When it comes to 40k Orks really are my first love, and my greenskin horde has been smashing its way through the 41st Millennium for many years now. Needless to say I’m over the moon about all the new models and even managed to paint some of them during the Orktober painting challenge (more on that below). Here’s all the Orks I painted this year (minus this Nob because I already had a group shot I took at the end of Orktober and I’m too damn lazy to dig everything out again to take another).

Orctober Orks Orcs Greenskins Warhammer Wudugast ConvertOrDie (1)

The final big release of the year for 40k came in the form of the return of the Black Templars. These are one of my all time favourite factions in the setting, and close rivals of the Blood Angels for being the best Space Marine chapter. The models didn’t disappoint and so needless to say I’ve been pouring over pictures of them with rabid enthusiasm since day one.

Helbrecht

So far however I’ve remained strong and kept my wallet closed (for once) – I do have quite a lot of Space Marines to paint already after all. How long I maintain my resolve however remains to be seen. Then again it’s looking very likely that new Chaos Space Marines are looming threateningly on the horizon, with a few of them having already been previewed. Chaos Space Marines stand alongside the Orks as my favourite 40k faction (I just love a horde of angry barbarians!) and so it came as a bit of a surprise to me to discover that I didn’t paint a single one this year. I know, I’m as shocked as you are, I’ll change my name from Wudugast to Flabbergast! Still, with models like this soon to be released I reckon I’ll do better in 2022. 

Chaos Chosen Preview

And whilst the ordinary Chaos Marines may have been neglected their Nurgle-worshipping cousins in the Death Guard were… well, they were neglected too to be honest, but they did at least enjoy enough attention to bring them up a (un)healthy 50 power

Death Guard Nurgle Warhammer 40k Wudugast ConvertOrDie (1)

Nurgle also got his greasy foot in the door over in the Mortal Realms as I put together a couple of warbands for Warcry, one of mortals sworn to the Plague Lord…

Nurgle Blightkings Converted ConvertOrDie AoS Wudugast (1)

…and one made up of his daemons. 

Plaguebearers Nurgle ConvertOrDie Wudugast 40k AoS (8)

I started working on a duo of Tzeentchian warbands as well, and then got distracted and never managed to finish them. Still, change is always in the air so maybe next year will turn out better for them.

Tzeentch Warband Wudugast ConvertOrDie Chaos Warhammer

Necromunda remains one of my absolute favourite GW settings and this year we saw books released for the remaining Clan Houses (Cawdor and Delaque), expanding greatly on their background. The Delaque also got a new set of models, the Cawdor however were not so lucky. Instead of new champions and specialists that the other houses have enjoyed the House of Faith got a new kit for Redemptionists instead. This is something I’ve harped on about a lot this year so I won’t go over it all again, in summary my feelings are that the new Redemptionists are amazing but for me they will always be a separate faction to the Cawdor and the latter deserved new models of their own. Still, it is what it is and I’ve had a lot of fun kitbashing Redemptionists so all being well I’ll start getting some of them painted up soon.

Wudugast ConvertOrDie Necromunda Cawdor Redemptionist (6)Wudugast ConvertOrDie Necromunda Cawdor Redemptionist (5)Wudugast ConvertOrDie Necromunda Cawdor Redemptionist (4)

As the year drew to a close we also got a new set of miniatures for clanless Hive Scum, and again I’ve been having fun putting these together so expect to see them appearing in due course. Both these and the Redemptionists can be fielded either as part of another gang or as a gang in their own right. That aside however 2020 and 2021 have been very much focussed on bringing new kits to existing factions – time well spent in my book, although I’m hopeful that 2022 will see new players taking to the stage on the polluted hive world.

As for myself I seem to have spent more time writing about Necromunda this year than I have painting or playing, my main contribution being these three House Escher ladies. Again hopefully I’ll do better next year.

Fembruary Round Up Wudugast ConvertOrDie (5)

Meanwhile Blood Bowl suffered an oddly quiet year. After all a new edition of the game was released at the tail end of last year, with all the fanfare that entails, I expected to see a few new teams appearing but in the end we only got the one, made up of the berserk warriors of Khorne. Still I didn’t do all that much better, I claimed that by now I would have painted up a Human team and an Elven Union team yet as things stand I managed just these three elven ladies. Of the humans there remains no sign…

Fembruary Round Up Wudugast ConvertOrDie (2)

On the other hand not all was lost, I did manage to paint a second greenskin team – the Black Orcs – which I managed to complete just a few days ago.

Blood Bowl Black Orc Wudugast Goblins ConvertOrDie (2)

It wasn’t just about Gee-Dubz either. I may not have painted as many things from the wider world of miniatures as I have in previous years but there were still a few that managed to stick out their elbows and push their way through the Warhammer ranks. A Witchling Stalker from Malifaux snuck through like a sneaky ninja…

Witchling Stalker Wyrd Malifaux Wudugast (1)

Meanwhile Corwyn the Hunchback was the first Drune Kelt from Confrontation I’ve painted in a decade. I’ve dug out the rest of his tribe from the box in which they were lurking so expect to see them popping up sooner or later. 

Corwyn Drune Rackham Confrontation Wudugast ConvertOrDie (1)

Speaking of barbarians however one of the projects I’m most excited about at the moment are the savages of Hate

Hate Barbarians Chaos Wudugast ConvertOrDie

I’ve had an uncomfortable relationship with CMON over the years, and after falling foul of their business practices one time too many I swore I’d never buy anything from them again. Time however has softened my youthful idealism. In recent times I’ve come to realise that by stubbornly boycotting them I’m only really punishing myself and as they make some damn fine miniatures it’s really only me that’s missing out. So, as well as the Hate barbarians I’ve decided to treat myself to some models from A Song of Ice and Fire, and started listening a bit more carefully to those mates who’ve been encouraging me to give Zombiecide a look. Expect to see something in this vein appearing in 2022. 

One of the real highlights of the year for me was the Orktober painting challenge that arose between myself and my fellow warboss IRO. Here’s what IRO had to say about it in his own round-up of the year

The Ork challenge in Orktober with fellow hobbyist and all round cool dude Wudugast was an absolute standout hobby thing for me in 2021. I liked trying to keep up with him. I like that we are both mad Ork fans. I liked that it was a draw, 37 all. Haha. Great fun and I’m really looking forward to doing exactly the same thing in 2022. Hopefully others might join in the fun too.

I honestly couldn’t have put it better myself; I really am an all round cool dude! For that matter IRO isn’t a bad bloke himself. Here’s a reminder of all 37 greenskins that I managed to complete in the month. Needless to say I’m already looking forward to the rematch in 2022. 

Orctober Orks Orcs Greenskins Warhammer Wudugast ConvertOrDie (2)

With one painting challenge under my belt I headed straight into another one. I’d already set myself the task of adding something to my Adeptus Mechanicus collection every month of the year. In November however I decided to up my game and painted up the contents of the first Start Collecting set. 

Onager Dunecrawler Ad Mech Warhammer 40k Wudugast ConvertOrDie (1)

Added to everything else I managed to paint this year (and the few models I managed the year before) and here’s the state of the army as things stand. 

Ad Mech 40k Wudugast ConvertOrDie (1)

Once again, I’ve still got a few more of these to paint so expect to see more recruits for the legions of Mars appearing in the new year. 

Nor was that the only painting challenge I tackled in November, I also threw myself into the Movember painting challenge being run by Roger from Rantings From Under The Wargames Table. Here’s the mob of hairy gents I managed to paint, and I really do advice you to check out the rest of the participants if you haven’t already.

Ogre Warhammer AoS Wudugast (1)

Of course no summary of the year would be complete without looking all the way back to Fembruary, the annual challenge to “for us to collectively challenge the male domination of our collections, and commit to painting some… kick-ass ladies” run by my blog-brother Alex of Leadballoony. This year I really threw myself into it and managed a total of 21 women covering everything from the Underhive to the Blood Bowl pitch, and the war-torn battlefields of the 41st Millennium to the Chaos Wastes.

Fembruary Round Up Wudugast ConvertOrDie (4)

One of the key challenges I set myself for the month was to paint up a warband of Daughters of Khaine, the savage she-elves of Age of Sigmar. Not only did I succeed but since then I’ve managed to add a few more, and I’m planning to tackle even more of them in the coming year (so expect to see an influx of them in Fembruary 2022!).

Daughters of Khaine Wudugast Warhammer

And if that wasn’t already enough elves to make people think I’d lost my Orky way and turned into some kind of flower-picking, daisy-tripping, tree-hugging, pointy-eared wimp I only went and painted a bunch of Sylvaneth as well. Don’t these fairy-folk just look delightful!

Sylvaneth Wudugast Warhammer

Anyway, that’s been my year in miniatures. Once again keeping the blog and reading about what other hobbyists have been getting up to has been a huge source of inspiration and motivation for me. Now with 2022 looming over us all in dramatic fashion there’s just time to wish all of my readers a Happy New Year and I’ll see you on the other side!


From Warhawks to Warcry: Warhammer Day 2021

Another weekend, another big Games Workshop preview, another chance for me to get up on my soap box and harangue the crowds of internet users as they shuffle past before me. Yes it was Warhammer Day 2021, the chance for us mere mortals to find out exactly what it is that Games Workshop expects us to buy next. It doesn’t take Nostradamus to predict that I will end up waxing lyrical about all the projects I may or may not actually end up painting and enthusing rabidly to my unfortunate readers about models which, after the passage of time and the opportunity for more sober thought, I may not buy in the end after all. Things like budgeting my money, time and energy, or examining the pile of unpainted sprues already waiting for attention, are problems for the future however. Today it’s time to look at new stuff and indulge in some childish overexcitement!

Shadow Throne – Genestealer Cults vs Adeptus Custodes

The first thing to be announced was a new boxset for Warhammer 40k. Titled “Shadow Throne” it focuses on the battles being fought between the guardians of the Emperor’s throne – the Adeptus Custodes – and those sneaky, xenos-loving rebels, the Genestealer Cults. It also gives us our first opportunity to get our hands on two new models, one for each faction. The servants of the Emperor are joined by a stylish-looking Blade Champion.

Blade Champion

Even amongst the elite ranks of the Custodes these are favoured warriors of exceptional skill and the model certainly looks the part. My reaction to the Custodes so far has been fairly mixed, some of the models are outstanding whilst others don’t really do much for me. This guy falls entirely into the former camp and if I ever started a Custodes collection he would undoubtedly be front and centre. However I’m far more interested in his rival, the Reductus Saboteur of the Genestealer Cults.

Genestealer Cultist

I’m a big fan of the Genestealer Cults, even if I’ve not painted quite as many of them recently as I’d have liked to. This miniature brings them another excellent character model, and one which fits nicely into their theme as the ultimate schemers and guerrilla warriors. Whilst other armies enjoy overwhelming invasions the Genestealer Cultists fight defensively, knowing ever inch of their territory and seeding it with bombs and booby traps ready to repel invasion. This lady clearly knows a thing or two about planting bombs, as evidenced by the alternative head with serious burns which suggests her on-the-job training may not have gone entirely without a hitch.

One thing the Genestealer Cultists are not short on however is characters. The range is already packed with individual specialists of every sort you can imagine. Much as I like this model it would have been nice to see something else, a new kind of troops for example or some kind of repurposed industrial warmachine. I’d love to see Cultists stomping around in heavy-lifting exo-suits, partly because it would fit the range nicely and partly for the nod to the suit Ripley wore to fight the alien queen in the film Aliens (although this time the humans would be fighting for the aliens not against them!).

Ripley vs Alien Queen

Or how about just some new models for the Genestealers themselves, the cultists might be even more enthusiastic about laying down their lives for the true children of the star gods if the miniatures didn’t predate the invention of the wheel. 

In some ways the Custodes and the Genestealer Cults aren’t the most obvious adversaries. The Custodes, after all – and despite what the Space Marines will tell you – really are the Emperor’s Finest. Each one has been rebuilt on a cellular level, given the best training and armour available and made capable of truly superhuman feats. Whereas the Genestealer Cultists are very definitely enthusiastic amateurs, armed with equipment borrowed from their day jobs. So far we’ve mostly seen Cultists from mining and industrial worlds but I’m sure somewhere out there is a Genestealer Cultist from Admin, trying to beat a Space Marine to death with a stapler. 

On the other hand these differences, with a highly elite force in pristine golden armour on one side and a rabble of balding miners on the other, make for a striking visual distinction. The set-up for the conflict is also based around this particularly ominous snippet from the Eighth Edition Codex: Custodes…

A Genestealer Cult calling themselves the Wyrms of the Ur-tendril are discovered by Ordo Xenos agents, entrenched amongst the Nordafrik under-archives on Terra. Captain-General Valoris refuses a request by the Deathwatch to send Kill Teams against this threat, instead leading the purge in person at the head of a huge Adeptus Custodes shield host. The Cult put up a brutal fight, their sheer numbers and fanaticism allowing them to drag down one Custodian after another and tear them limb from limb. Yet for every one of the Custodians that falls, hundreds upon hundreds of malformed cultists and Aberrants are slaughtered. At last, Valoris himself beheads the monstrous Broodlord that ruled over the cult. He orders the creature’s disturbing inner sanctum burned despite the protests from the Ordo Xenos investigators – Valoris refuses to let anyone other than his comrades witness the foul mural that decorates the sanctum’s back wall, of a nest of fanged tendrils emerging from the heart of Sol itself to devour Terra whole…

I really liked this when I first read it and so it’s nice to see it brought back into the light as it were. Whilst more obviously powerful adversaries like Abaddon the Despoiler, the Tyranid hive fleets or the mighty Ork invasions unleashed by Ghazghkull Thraka himself might rampage through the outer parts of the Imperium it is the Genestealer Cultists, reliant on guts and guile and armed only with what they can scavenge that have come to threaten the Throne World itself.

Shadow Throne

The boxset itself I’ll skip, I’m not short of Genestealer Cultists to paint and I’m not particularly interested in starting a collection of Custodes. It also looks rather light on content to my eye. I expected the Custodes side to have a fairly low model count, these are a highly elite force, but the Genestealer Cultists are looking sparse as well. I’ve bought a few of these kinds of boxes over the years and in the past they’ve proved to be a great source of lots and lots of models at a bargain price. This one however doesn’t seem to have much too it and even if I was planning to start collections of both armies I think I’d be more tempted to see what bargains I could get elsewhere.

Maggotkin of Nurgle

For Age of Sigmar meanwhile we got the news that the Maggotkin of Nurgle are the next army due for an update. As well as a new battletome there’s also a new miniature (something that’s much more important in my book!) a ghastly and baleful sorcerer.

Nurgle Sorcerer

He’s a wonderfully evil and twisted looking model, and best of all he’s not fat. Now before you decide to “cancel” me for being “fatphobic” (although hopefully you’re not that kind of person anyway) hear me out. I do like the bloated, swollen appearance of Nurgle’s favoured but variety is the spice of life, and absolutely intrinsic to those factions sworn to Chaos. With the vast majority of Nurgle’s followers being rather on the tubby side therefore it’s nice to see one who has been left withered in the arms, if still a little potbellied, by his afflictions. This suits a magic user, who doesn’t need to rely on raw bulk to crush his enemies, and is an aesthetic already associated with the Plaguebearer daemons –  allowing the sorcerer to form a neat visual link between the mortal and daemonic sides of the army.

All in all I like him and I’ve been feeling the temptation to paint a little more Nurgle lately so I might treat myself to him when he’s released. Equally I reckon he could make a cool looking underhive shaman for Necromunda with a few tweaks.

Dungeon Bowl

I’ll admit I’ve been surprised by the lack of attention that Blood Bowl has received over the past year. Having seen a new team released every quarter for the last few years, and with the new Second Season boxset launched at the tail end of 2020 I expected to more teams rolled out as we made our way through 2021. Instead it’s been pretty quiet, not crickets entirely but hardly the roaring bustle of activity of a packed stadium either. Mind you I’ve been unconvinced by the woe, woe and thrice woe wails coming from some commentors who, perhaps unaware that we’re going through a global crisis and that everything from food to fuel is getting harder to buy, believe that Blood Bowl is being uniquely targeted and the game will soon be done away with entirely. Fans of the Specialist Games, and I know I suffer from this myself, do tend to be twitchy and expect our beloved games to face the executioner’s axe at any moment, but I’m confident that when it comes to Blood Bowl there’s life in the old dog yet. 

DungeonBowl

Now, as if to prove my point, along comes Dungeon Bowl – exploding back from the distant past and onto our gaming tables once again. This, from what I remember, is Blood Bowl at its silliest, as Orcs, Elves and others race around a cramped dungeon – stepping through portals, avoiding the lava pits and battling each other for control of the ball (assuming they can find where the damn thing has been hidden!).

DungeonBowl Box

I’ve heard a lot of good things about Dungeon Bowl over the years and I’m pleased to see it back, but to be honest I’m not that excited yet. After all, I’ve still not really got to grips with the rules for normal Blood Bowl – although I have heard that Dungeon Bowl is a good way to start learning the game. In the meantime this is something that will undoubtedly be discussed much more knowledgeably elsewhere. As someone who’s much more interested in new models than new rules I would have loved to see a new team – but then again I still need to paint most of the ones I’ve already got. For now I’m watching this space with an open mind.

Jaghatai Khan

For a while there the Horus Heresy game seemed to be everywhere. Like Lord of the Rings before it the releases seemed to pour out of the Games Workshop studio in an unending tide, a great tsunami of miniatures that grew larger by the second. And then, again much like LotR, the wave broke and rolled back, perhaps never to rise again. Following the death of the extremely talented Alan Bligh the Horus Heresy, as a game, seemed to vanish from the release schedule almost overnight. 

Not that it’s been entirely abandoned of course, there has been the odd release here and there. The entertainingly named Ultramarine hero Remus Ventanus for example is available to pre-order as we speak. However this is but a trickle in comparison to the flood that came before it. Now however we finally have the last of the Primarch models, Jaghatai Khan of the White Scars.

Warhawk

I’m sure every Horus Heresy fan has a favourite primarch and for me, on the loyalist side of things anyway, Jaghatai Khan is the guy. Unlike many of the other primarchs he seems like the kind of person I could actually get along with, and throughout the stories he proves to be a dynamic, free-thinking hero. I’m currently reading the latest Siege of Terra novel, Warhawk by Chris Wraight, (no spoilers please!) in which the Khan is once again proving himself to be downright awesome dude.

Warhawk

This also brings the series of primarch models released by Forge World to a close. Beginning with Angron in 2012 the studio has released a miniature for each of the Emperor’s sons (apart from the clone Omegon of course, but I’m sure you could always buy the Alpharius miniature twice). This leaves me wondering what they might have planned next. Already we’ve seen various other heroes and villains from the series released as miniatures and I’m sure there will be plenty more in the future. Meanwhile two of the traitor Primarchs who ascended to daemonhood during the Heresy – Magnus and Mortarion – have already had plastic models released for them and it seems more likely that the others will enjoy the same treatment rather than having daemonic versions released in Forge World resin. In many ways it depends a lot on what Games Workshop decides to do next with the Heresy series. Despite the decline in the number of releases which the game has suffered in recent years persistent and believable rumours continue to circulate that a new boxset is soon to appear to inject fresh blood to the system. With the series of novels hurtling towards their cataclysmic conclusion I’d say it’s now or never.

Warhammer Underworlds – Blackpowder’s Buccaneers

Warhammer Underworlds continues to play host to some truly outstanding models and the latest warband to be revealed is no exception. Blackpowder’s Buccaneers are a bunch of pirates, lead by an ogre, his gnobblar crew and his various pets. Gyaaar!

Ogre Pirate

I don’t follow the Underworlds fanbase that closely, but judging from the comments of those friends that do, people seem to have been asking for a pirate warband – specifically an undead pirate warband – for ages.  Clearly these lads are not in any way undead but they do have a sinister looking monkey.

Underworld's Pirates

They’re not due out until early 2022 so I’ll keep my powder dry – a vital skill for a pirate – but they do look like they’d be fun to paint, I guess I’ll decide if they still tempt me nearer the time. In the meantime it’s interesting to see where Games Workshop decides to go with the warbands for the game as they move beyond the existing Age of Sigmar factions. Until now almost every warband in Underworld’s has been based on one of the AoS armies, albeit sometimes putting quite a unique spin on them. Every faction in AoS now has a warband to represent them in Underworlds however and so the studio have announced that they will be exploring  new and creative ideas, something the format is perfect for. Needless to say I’m extremely curious as to what they come up with in the months ahead. And speaking of warbands that showcase creative ideas…

Red Harvest

Regular readers will know that Warcry is one of my favourite GW games, and the only one that I play on a semi-regular basis. So far I’ve painted up 11 warbands, and it’s safe to say that more are in the pipeline. Only two of these however are what I think of as “official” Warcry warbands. Let me explain. In my mind Warcry is really two different games, one in which various gangs of Chaos worshipping maniacs battle each other in the ruins of the Eightpoints and one which serves as a skirmish game for any of the Mortal Realms various races. Just as I’m not interested in seeing Eldar or Orks in Necromunda I don’t tend to imagine the Eightpoints as busy with anyone and everyone from the wider Mortal Realms. Yes there will be times when the big players attempt to invade, and yes there will be small bands of brave and foolish treasure hunters attempting to loot the lost cities and fallen temples. However in the main this is supposed to be the Chaos Wastes re-imagined, a place twisted by the madness of the Gods, the crumbling streets haunted by dark magic and mutant beasts,  populated only by the degenerate and the insane and dominated by the dark citadel of the Everchosen himself. 

Now Warcry in its guise as “Age of Sigmar Skirmish” has been fairly well served. Warcry the game of scrapping Chaos gangs on the other hand has been fairly quiet in terms of releases. We had an initial wave of warbands, each of which was striking and original, and a few monsters and then it all tailed off. I couldn’t help but find myself wondering; was that it? Was Games Workshop just waiting for an opportunity to slot Warcry back into their frantic release schedule or had the game lived and died, abandoned on the road as the company marched onwards, to lie beside Mordhiem, Cursed City and all the rest, mourned by cultish followers who gnash their teeth in lonely darkness every time a space marine is released? 

Long story short I was pretty excited to see what they had to show us and Red Harvest did not disappoint.

Red Harvest

A new boxset for Warcry Red Harvest pits two new gangs against one another in the ruins of a Chaos mining facility. On one side we have the Darkoath Savagers, a brutal bunch who fight partly in the hopes of one day standing at the Everchosen’s side and partly because they’re trying to seize control of a reliable supply of shirts.

Darkoath 3

Boys and girls are represented in the warband, with the ladies looking just as brutal as the gents.

Darkoath 6

You really can’t put together a mob of under-dressed barbarians without a nod to Conan, although in this case GW are really making a nod to the barbarian from Heroquest – who was himself a nod to Conan.

Darkoath 1

Meanwhile the tribe’s shaman is this old woman who, like the Graeae from Greek mythology, has only one eye – and it’s not in her head.

Darkoath 2

Facing up against them we have Tarantulos Brood, spider men who do whatever a spider can. Having spotted that the Chaos star has 8-points and that spiders have eight legs these arachnophiles have put two and two together and made eight.

Spider Man

These are another of the strikingly original warbands that Warcry does so well, pushing the creative boundaries of the setting and exploring all the weird and wonderful cultures that arise in a land riven by the dark power of Chaos.

Tarantulos Brood 1

Needless to say I’m hard-pressed to say which of these warbands is my favourite and this is a boxset I will undoubtedly be buying. The set also provides loads of new terrain with which to expand the twisted landscape of the Eightpoints. Apparently this is what a Chaos-run mine looks like. What next, a Chaos market, farm or arena?

Chaos Mine

So far we’ve no way of knowing what, if anything, might lie beyond the horizon for Warcry. Will this boxset be a one off, or is it the start of another wave of regular releases? Looking on the bright side we know that there’s plenty of potential in the setting (one of the developers mentioned in an early interview that at least 50 warbands were considered at the concept design stage) and it’s proved to be popular. If we assume that they were testing the waters with the initial wave of warbands and the moneymen were pleased with the results and immediately order more to be made then, accounting for Covid and the delays associated with it, we should be due for a second wave of warbands to appear round about…now. Could Red Harvest be just the beginning? Might we see a new warband for Warcry appearing every quarter for the foreseeable future, alongside a new Blood Bowl team and a new gang for Necromunda? We would if I was running the world anyway!

Anyway, these are my thoughts, now I want to hear yours. Will you be joining me in the Eightpoints, preparing to overthrow Holy Terra or heading down to your local dungeon for a bit of Blood Bowl? As ever the comments box is all yours.


Beyond Chalnath: Kill Team Dreams

Last week Games Workshop previewed Chalnath, the next expansion to be released for Kill Team. Kill Team, for those who’re unfamiliar, is the skirmish answer to Warhammer 40k and often seems to have been regarded by its parent company as very much the junior sibling, making do with hand-me-downs in the form of repackaged models, rather than dedicated releases of its own. With the release of the new edition a month or so ago however the company appears to have finally taken the bull by the horns and started giving the game the kind of attention that it deserves. Releases have been promised for every quarter year for the foreseeable future, with new warbands likely to be a regular occurrence. Already we have seen Ork Kommandos and Death Korps of Kreig, and now Chalnath brings us T’au Pathfinders fighting Sisters of Battle Novitiates.

Sisters of Battle

These, however, are known quantities and I’m not here to talk about them. Instead join me as I speculate wildly, and entirely without basis, about what might over the horizon in the unknowable mists of the future! 

The Emperor’s Finest

The process of turning a male adolescent into a fully fledged space marine doesn’t take place over night. As well as all the surgery and genetic tinkering involved the subject also requires a great deal of training. Youngsters who are undergoing this process are known as scouts and tend to be given the kinds of missions that call for a bit more stealth and a bit less brutal shock and awe than those undertaken by their elders. Missions, in other words, that are perfect for games of Kill Team. Indeed this isn’t a million miles away from the Sisters of Battle Novitiates already announced for the game.

Wargamers are an argumentative and opinionated bunch but you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who regards the current space marine scouts as anything other than dreadful. Squat, ugly and unlovable the dustbin of history has been calling out to them from the very moment they were released. 

Ugly Scout

Lately the old fashioned, oddly short and ill-proportioned space marines of yesteryear have been pushed aside in the release schedule by a new breed of space marines, the bigger and better looking primaris. Amongst these newcomers the scout’s battlefield role – sneaking around performing ambushes and acts of sabotage ahead of their fully initiated brothers storming in all guns blazing – has been given over to fully trained and developed specialist space marines like the Eliminators, Infiltrators (below) and Incursors. I must admit I’m not a big fan of these latter two, although I do see a lot of potential in them as the basis for converting decent looking Scouts. That said I’ve not got around to it yet so if Games Workshop wanted to save me the bother by just releasing some decent looking Scout models in the meantime they should feel entirely free.

Infiltraitor

The Eldar

One of the most iconic factions in Games Workshop’s stable, the haughty space-elves of the Eldar also have one of the oldest ranges of models, and one of the most deserving of an injection of new kits and miniatures. The obvious choice for Kill Team has to be the Rangers…

Eldar Rangers

Far from the craftworlds of their people the Rangers act as scouts, seeking out potential threats, spying out danger and reporting back to the Farseers and Autarchs. They’re cool looking models and I’ve long had an affection for them, but really they deserve to see the benefits of modern miniatures design lavished upon them. Plus their role in sneaking around, ensuring that fate favours their race by assassinating anyone liable to prove a menace them in the future, makes them perfect for a game like Kill Team.

However this is my wishlist and I’ll dream big if I want to! How about taking the things even further along the path of the outcast and creating a kit that makes both Rangers and Corsairs? Whilst some young Eldar find life aboard the Craftworlds too restrictive and leave to become Rangers others slip even further from their society, becoming pirates and raiders. These Corsairs live much as Eldar did thousands of years ago, neither embracing the asceticism of the Craftworlders nor the sheer cruelty and decadence of the Dark Kin. There were even models for them produced by Forgeworld until comparatively recently.

Eldar Corsair

Imagine a pirate crew of Eldar (peglegs and xeno-parrots optional) made up of specialists and hardened veterans and doing the jobs too dirty for their Craftworlder kin to touch – or working for whoever will pay them to keep their ships in void and continue their lives of adventure. Perfect for Kill Team I’d say!  

Genestealers

Lurking in the darkness of rusting space hulks, gloomy underhives and tangled jungles, the predatory genestealers are every honest Imperial citizen’s worst nightmare and never to be confused with a man who sells Levi’s. These terrifying alien monsters have been leaping out at unsuspecting gangers and space marine terminators alike for decades. The current crop of models may be old but they’re not bad so much as simply less than they could be.

Genestealers

In recent times their peers, models released at around the same time and representing similar roles in the rank and file of their respective ranges – the ork boys and necron warriors for instance – have been updated and look much the better for it. Genestealers, I would argue, deserve the same treatment. Around a decade ago they actually received a rather nice suite of new models (below) via the limited edition re-release of Space Hulk (another game from years gone by that GW really ought to look at bringing back). However when said limited edition was sold out (and then sold out again after Games Workshop “found some in a warehouse that they’d overlooked… honest…”) we were back to being stuck with the old models.

Space Hulk Genestealers

They might not be the most traditional kill team but small packs of genestealers leaping out of the shadows to slaughter your elite operatives is the stuff that the very best action movies are made of. In fact why not go all in and package them in a boxset with some nice jungle terrain and an updated squad of Catachans? Failure to quote all the best lines from Predator whilst playing will be deemed a criminal offence!

Nobody Expects the Emperor’s Inquisition…

One of the best things about a skirmish game like Kill Team is the opportunity to break out of the restrictive structures of traditional armies and build unique bands of unusual operatives. Enter the strange world of the Inquisition. Granted near limitless authority to act in defence of the Imperium, Inquisitors can – and frequently do – take command of entire armies when they need some serious muscle on a project. Traditionally however we tend to picture Inquisitors working in the shadows, aided by small groups of carefully selected agents – many of whom are amongst the weirdest characters the strange world of 40k has to offer. I’ve often dreamed of seeing the Inquisition developed further in 40k and given a suite of new models, but realistically 40k is a game of armies and Inquisitors don’t have armies, they just borrow other people’s (and heaven help the Imperial Guard commander who even thinks about saying “no”). Kill Team however is exactly the kind of set-up that favours the Inquisition and gives Games Workshop a golden opportunity to give them their due at last. 

Lord Inquisitor Kyria Draxus

The Less Well-known Players

Until now I’ve been thinking in terms of kill teams acting on behalf of the 41st Millennium’s big players. Each of the factions I’ve described so far would operate behind enemy lines on behalf of a faction which already commands entire armies on the tabletop in 40k. However that’s still falling into the trap of seeing Kill Team as 40k in miniature, rather than as a game in its own right. The galaxy is a strange and multifarious place full of wonders – many of whom are keen to strike the big players where it hurts but lack the manpower to do it in a straightforward military engagement. Mustering a few elite operatives however is much more within their remit – and gives Games Workshop the chance to play around with concepts that might otherwise be left to gather dust on the drawing board. How about the weird and unsettling Hrud for instance? Just look at this beastie – it’ll give you nightmares!

Hrud

Or what about the hyper-violent Barghesi, the secretive Eldar Exodites, the various races of beastmen, murderous mandrakes, the ancient constructs from the Blackstone Fortresses, or even the much-missed Squats? Dig a little deeper into the lore of 40k and the possibilities are almost endless. 

Anyway, that’s my current Kill Team wishlist, but I’m all ears to hear what you think. Is there a squad that would be perfect for Kill Team, something that’s crying out to be made but which I’ve not included? Get your crazy ideas in the comments box below then!


Ork Boyz Old And New

Fans of the Orks in Warhammer 40k have long been familiar with the humble Ork Boy. Mobs of these green thugs have been forming the core of Ork armies since the very earliest days of the game, and the miniatures have remained pretty much unchanged since the 3rd edition, making them older than many of the people currently playing. With the Ork range currently seeing its biggest shake-up in at least a decade many people are casting a critical eye over their Ork mobs and naturally, I’m one of them.

First things first, let’s remind ourselves of the models I’m talking about. This is an Ork Boy, built especially for this article and armed with the standard gear – a slugga and a choppa. He originates from the Assault on Black Reach set, the starter set from the 4th Edition of Warhammer 40k but aside from being “push fit” he’s identical to the Boyz you can pick up from your local GW store today.

Ork Boyz Line-up Warhammer 40k Wudugast ConvertOrDie (3)

I have a long-standing affection for this kit, in fact I’ve painted 100 of them and will undoubtedly paint a few more in the future. Want to take a look at what 100 angry greenskins looks like? Of course you do!

For the most part these lads have stood the test of time fairly well but, with the quality of modern miniatures improving on a seemingly daily basis, I’ve started to expect that Games Workshop will soon decided that they should be shuffled off to wherever Orks go when they retire and replaced by something newer (and possibly also greener and meaner). Of course, as those who’re familiar with Games Workshop’s sometimes anarchic, sometimes simply arcane, business decisions will no doubt have already surmised, that would be far too straightforward. Yes, new Ork Boyz have indeed been released but no, the old Ork Boyz don’t appear to be going anywhere. Rather than just discontinue the old kit and release a new version like normal people (and I’m sure that it’s because I make comments like this that puts them off from sending me cool stuff for free like they do with those fancy-pants Youtubers and Instagram kids) GW decided to release their new Ork Boyz exclusively in a new box set: Combat Patrol: Orks.

Ork Combat Patrol

Now in all fairness this box has a lot of good stuff in it. Alongside the boyz there’s a warboss in mega-armour, three new deffcopters and a deffdread. In fact there was no way I wasn’t going to buy myself one, so the fact that the Boyz are currently only available there is no real skin off my nose. However Boyz are something that many Ork armies contain a lot of. This box will get you 20 of them, but my army contains 100. I’m not much of a list builder and I don’t have access to the latest points values, but based on my fairly rough calculations you could get almost 400 Boyz into a 2000 point army. Would it be any “good” in 9th Edition 40k? Would it get you to the top tables and the big prizes at your next tournament? Buggered if I know but it would surely impress your opponent and you’d have to employ a team of people to roll all your dice for you. However to assemble this mighty green hoard you’d need to purchase 20 of these boxes, which wouldn’t just be hard on the wallet but would leave you with a lot of spare plastic from all the other models that come packaged as part of the deal. Quite what GW are about here isn’t entirely obvious (beyond wanting to sell more models as fast as possible) but then isn’t that often the case? I’m sure it’ll all become clear in time…

That aside let’s take a look at the new Boyz. Here’s one I made earlier.

Ork Boyz Line-up Warhammer 40k Wudugast ConvertOrDie (1)

I chose to build this one specifically because he echoes the old Black Reach boy I showed above, even going so far as to hold his slugga and choppa in the same hands as his predecessor. Now let’s now beat about the bush – much as I loved the old Orks this beats them hands down. As miniatures go he looks fantastic, full of character and crisp details whilst still maintaining the various traits iconic of his faction.

Ork Boyz Line-up Warhammer 40k Wudugast ConvertOrDie (2)

Standing next to the old boy he’s clearly superior, a little bigger and more natural in his pose. The old Boyz could often end up looking a bit static and awkward, whereas this lad practically breathes, his warlike bellow almost echoing from the plastic. If I planned to paint just one Ork the new lad would win over the old hands down. However he’s not without his flaws. For one these new Boyz are all “easy to build” with tabs that can be used to push them together without using glue. It’s a clever idea, when it works, but usually I just snip the tabs off and glue them together properly like an adult. All too often the tabs aren’t quite the right size for the holes they’re meant to fit into and pieces get stuck, necessitating fiddly cutting and pushing to rectify things, by which point some fragile detail or other has been irrevocably damaged. However the real issue I see here is that each of the Boyz in the Combat Patrol box is designed to be built in one specific way. Unlike the old Boyz which could mix and match heads, arms and so on freely these Orks are designed to go together in one way only and woe betide if you start changing things.

Now it only takes a quick glance at the name of this blog to realise that I’m a convertor at heart. I like my models to be unique. The Combat Patrol box contains two sets of sprues to make two sets of identical Ork boyz (the boyz with heavy weapons and the Nobs can be built in one of two different ways but the other 8 models on each sprue have one “correct” build each so if you stick religiously to the instructions you’ll end up with 4 unique models and 8 pairs of twins). Obviously that’ll never do for me, I made sure that every single one of my 100 Ork boyz was unique and even to the 100th Ork it remained a fun challenge. With these guys it’s going to be harder work and I don’t see myself reaching 200 without things changing. That’s not the same as “impossible” of course, and I’m damn well going to find a way to convert every last one them, but it won’t be easy, and there will always be a risk of the converted version loosing something of what makes the unconverted version great without really gaining anything. For now however that challenge still lies ahead.

It’s also worth noting that Boys can be armed with either a slugga and choppa (that’s a pistol and an axe or big knife for those of us who don’t speak ork) or a shoota (a gun). These new lads are mostly armed with sluggas and choppas, although some are armed with shootas. If you want to convert a shoota boy into a slugga boy with these you’d better bring your converting A-game and even then you’ll be pushed – whereas with the old kit it was simply a case of choosing different arms from the sprue. Presumably someone in an ivory tower in Nottingham can explain why this was done but we mere mortals can only guess.

At the end of the day I’m very happy with the new Ork Boyz as models, but as replacements for the old kit they’re pretty terrible. What would delight me would be if GW kept these models as exclusives to the Combat Patrol set and released a new kit for making Ork Boyz separately, something which combines the quality and character of the new boyz with the ease of making lots of unique models that the old kit provided. I think it’s safe to say this isn’t going to be happening anytime soon, but someday – who knows?

Now as it happens these are not the only new Ork Boyz to have been released over the last little while. We’ve also recently seen the arrival of the Beast Snagga Boyz – orks who supplement their lives of fightin’ with wrangling any savage animals they can get their hands on. I’m sure you’ll be pleased to hear I’ve built one of them for this article too!

Ork Boyz Line-up Warhammer 40k Wudugast ConvertOrDie (5)

I’ve heard these referred to a lot as “Primaris Orks” – a nod to the Primaris Space Marines which were released over recent years, and which are considerably bigger than the old Space Marine models which preceded them. This seems to stem from a misunderstanding that the Beast Snaggas are much bigger than the Boyz so let’s put that to bed once and for all – they aren’t.

Ork Boyz Line-up Warhammer 40k Wudugast ConvertOrDie (4)

Indeed, apart from a few bits of fur which any Ork might choose to wear these aren’t that much different to the other new Ork boyz. That aside there’s not much to add here that I haven’t already said about the Boyz – they’re lovely models and I’m looking forward to painting them but they’re not multi-posable – if you want lots of these in your army you’d better either accept a lot of clones or get to work converting (naturally I strongly suggest the latter). They’re damn cool but I don’t really know what they bring to the range that couldn’t have been achieved by just branding them as Ork Boyz. They’re nice to have and I’m not going to turn my nose up at them but they’re not what I was asking for any more than the new Boyz are.  I can’t help but wonder if they sprang from some piece of concept art depicting Boyz from the Snakebite clan – which in turn makes me dream of seeing Boyz themed around each other the other clans (snazzy-looking Bad Moons, hulking Goffs, wild-eyed Evil Sunz running full pelt and dreaming of the day they can save up enough teef to buy a motorbike of their own). I know it’ll never happen but if I’m going to dream I might as well dream big right?

Anyway, you’d think that these lovely (albeit imperfect) new kits would be all the new Ork infantry we’d be getting in this wave of releases but you’d be wrong about that because I’ve been saving the best for last. New Kommandos have come sneaking out of the undergrowth and they’re perfect – everything I was hoping they would be and more.

Ork Boyz Line-up Warhammer 40k Wudugast ConvertOrDie (6)

Despite being an elite unit, which is only likely to appear in small numbers in most armies, these are the most poseable and convertable of the lot. Each Kommando has two “standard” builds straight out of the box – that is to say just by following the instructions you can build two radically different miniatures around each body and if you bought two sets you could build two entirely different looking units. Compare that to the new Boyz which have one standard build each from which you diverge at your peril. GW would have done very well to have applied a few lessons from these to the rest of the new infantry but never mind. Expect to see me painting lots of Kommandos in the future.

Sneaky though they are I managed to coerce this one into lining up with the rest of the ladz for a nice comparison shot.

Ork Boyz Line-up Warhammer 40k Wudugast ConvertOrDie (7)

Anyway, with that I’m going to draw my ramblings to a close. Needless to say, strange though some of the decisions GW have made here seem to me as an outsider, I’m still going to be having a lot of fun with these green gits over the next little while. After all, Orktober is just around the corner…


Templars, Sisters and Scum: GenCon 2021 Previews

GenCon, which likes to remind us all that it is “the biggest four days in gaming” happened this weekend. Despite the fact that some American acquaintances of mine seemed to believe that it is the only four days in gaming it might well have passed those of us who live outside Indianapolis by, were it not for the various companies which attended and used it as a platform to show-off the next big things to be assaulting our wallets.

Games Workshop were there of course, and although they’re far from being the only company who’s miniatures I buy I’ll admit to being enough of a fan that I was watching with keen interest. Plus they announced that they would be previewing forthcoming goodies for Necromunda, Warcry, Blood Bowl and Kill Team – and you know they had me at Necromunda. Now that the dust has settled I’ll take the opportunity to cast my eye back over the announcements and share a few of my thoughts. Needless to say there’s a lot we still don’t know about all this, we really only have Games Workshop’s own promotional bumph to go on and I’m sure much of what I have to say will look laughably out of date in a few months time. Is that going to stop me bumping my gums and rattling my keyboard? Of course not!

Harrowdeep

Before we got to the good stuff (and I’m sure I’ll be shot at dawn for saying that!) the first thing to be revealed was the forthcoming fifth season of Warhammer Underworlds. As a game Underworlds doesn’t really attract me, the emphasis on collecting cards and competitive gaming is a bit of a turn off I’m afraid. The models however have been generally outstanding, with rarely a duff miniature in the game’s entire stable. Given its popularity a new edition (sorry – “season”) seemed pretty much inevitable and GW had already announced that this was on the way. Now we got to find out a little more about it – this time it’s set underwater – and features a new game mode that other reviewers will undoubtedly be able to share far more educated opinions on than me. I just like looking at the miniatures! And as for those miniatures – well, they’re a little bit of a mixed bag for me I’m afraid. Underworlds warbands tend to attract me either as models to paint for the sheer pleasure of painting them – and again let me emphasise that the vast majority of them have been outstanding – or because I can use them for something else (normally Warcry). This time the set features Kruelboy Orcs fighting it out against Stormcast Eternals which is very much the match-up of the moment in Age of Sigmar as these two posterboys for good and evil slug it out across the Realms.

So far I’ve yet to buy one of the core sets for the game and I’m pretty certain that this latest – Harrowdeep – will go the same way. The models are nice, and I might be tempted by the Kruelboys if they were available separately, but they come packaged – and priced – with a lot of extraneous cardboard that just isn’t for me.

Kruelboy 1

Stormcast Eternals aren’t generally a faction that appeals to me that much and although the latest models added to the range have been amongst the best so far the crew from Harrowdeep fall short of that. Take this guy for instance – it’s hard to put my finger on exactly what I don’t like about him but there’s something off there. The boar carved into his armour is pretty cool though – I’m enjoying seeing all the animal motifs popping up on Stormcast armour. We’ve seen hawks, lions, bears and now a boar and (on one of the others in this set) what appears to be an owl. What next I wonder? My money is on a hamster.

Stormcast

Games Workshop have invested a lot of effort and attention in Underworlds and it seems to have paid off, I may not be that excited about it – although as I say I’m very much looking forward to seeing what other new warbands will be arriving this season – but I know I’m in something of a minority there. Kill Team – the skirmish-scale sidekick of Warhammer 40k – on the other hand has suffered from a lack of love, all too often making do with repackaged kits and “trickle down” attention from it’s much more lucrative big brother. With this latest relaunch however GW claim to have finally got the message and have promised us something new for Kill Team ever quarter year for the foreseeable. This is a big improvement, previous editions having barely seemed to stay on GW’s radar for three months before vanishing into the murky depths – outcompeted for their parent company’s limited attention by the plethora of other games the studio produces. Already – mere weeks after the game was launched – the first new expansion has been revealed. First we had Orks fighting the Death Korps of Kreig, now the Sisters of Battle are taking on the Tau in a new box entitled Kill Team: Chalnath.

Chalanath Kill Team Box

Now I’ll acknowledge that neither the Sisters nor the Tau particularly interest me – in fact I wouldn’t have realised that the Tau half of the box was made up of models already available, supplemented with a new sprue of upgrades, if I hadn’t been told. Similarly, whilst I’m pleased to see GW investing properly in the Sisters of Battle for the first time in decades and I can barely think of another faction that deserves attention to the same degree (cough-Skaven-cough) they’re still not really my bag. That said these particular Sisters are pretty interesting. Whilst the majority of Sisters of Battle go around in power armour (thus answering the question of what a female space marine would look like and saving anyone the trouble of getting on their high horse…) these ladies are still just initiates and so go into battle defended only a corset, a wimple and what looks like reinforced jodhpurs. Mixing the futuristic with the medieval in true 40k style these girls will be great for Inq28 conversions and even though I probably won’t get a full set myself I’ll have my eye on get some spares to use in converting downhive fanatics and witch hunters for Necromunda. The matriarchal agents of House Ko’iron, with their close ties to both House Cawdor and the Sisters of Battle spring immediately to mind.

Sisters of Battle 1

Given the quality of these models, and the preceding Death Korps and Ork Kommandos also released for Kill Team I’m feeling genuinely positive about the future of the game and very keen to see what might be coming in the quarter after next. Oh and speaking of the Death Korps and Kommandos these will also be getting separate releases soon, not entirely surprising but nice to have it confirmed – especially given how odd GW’s releases can sometimes be.

Death Korps

For a while there Blood Bowl was riding high with new teams emerging roughly every three months. Things got a little bumpy during the height of the covid epidemic but that was true of everything, and as 2020 drew to a close we even got a new edition of the game. As we stepped bravely in 2021 you could almost hear the baying of the crowd around every corner, see the discarded McMurty’s burger wrappers blowing in the breeze, taste the Bloodweiser and feel the crunch of fragile flesh hitting unyielding astrogranite. Then everything went suddenly and strangely quiet. Yes we got things like new pitches, and dice and so on but we’re fans of miniatures – we want new teams! Some people might argue that we already have 21 teams available to play in the game and I should have used this lull in activity as an opportunity to paint some of the models I already own and learning how to play the game properly but I won’t tolerate nonsense like that!

Anyway, at last our prayers have been answered and a bunch of very angry men have stormed the pitch – and for once it’s not just the fans. Blood Bowl has long had a Chaos Undivided team and a Nurgle Team and now the developers turn their attention to one of the other Chaos Gods; Khorne. If ever there was a Chaos faction likely to be drawn to Blood Bowl it must be the followers of the Blood God (the clue is in the name). Somehow I can’t imagine that these guys will be tactically challenging to play, or rely on a subtle passing game over good old-fashioned brutality.

Khorne Blood Bowl 3

The team contains three types of players, the Bloodborn Marauder Linemen (above), Bloodseekers and bestial Khorngors. The Bloodborn Marauders and Bloodseekers are roughly analogous to the Bloodreavers and Blood Warriors from the Blades of Khorne faction from Age of Sigmar.

Khorne Blood Bowl 1

Now before anyone gets too hot under the collar I don’t think this suggests that the Blood Bowl developers are turning to AoS for inspiration, that the Old World of Warhammer has been mined out of ideas (it most certainly has not) or that we’ll be seeing Stormcast Eternals playing Blood Bowl by the end of the week (Satan will be ice-skating to work before that happens). Rather it’s simply the fact that many of the concepts behind the Blades of Khorne were ported over from WHFB to AoS, and have been imported to Blood Bowl in the same straightforward manner. Keep in mind that the warriors of Khorne revealed in recent previews for the computer game Total War: Warhammer III have also looked a lot like their AoS counterparts – that’s just how fantasy Khornate warriors look.

Khorne Blood Bowl 2

More importantly though via the Blades of Khorne range we have a treasure trove of bits to convert our new Khornate Blood Bowl players – and equally we can always take some bits from Blood Bowl and sneak them into AoS armies. I salute the first person who unleashes a Khornate horde in AoS with a ball carrying Marauder Lineman leading the charge of the Bloodreavers.

Khorne Blood Bowl 4

Now some of you are probably thinking “This is all very nice but how about seeing some Space Marines, there’s an underrepresented faction if ever I heard of one”, in which case fear not – the boys in power armour were covered too. If you feel that the honour of the Emperor has been intolerably besmirched, that the unclean are being allowed to live and witches are going around without anyone to suitably abhor them then good news – the Black Templars are coming to sort things out.

Black Templars Art

Every 40k fan, even the staunchest heretic, has a favourite Space Marine chapter and for me the Black Templars are probably it (the Blood Angels give them a good run for their money though – berserk space vampires are hard to beat). The Templars however bring sheer, uncompromising attitude that I find irresistible, they’re ruthless fanatics and stubborn to the point of self-destruction if they choose to be. These are the guys who chain their weapons to themselves because they’re always ready to purge someone, and whilst the Blood Angels find the time to make beautiful art and think about their feelings these mad bastards have been permanently on crusade for 10,000 years.

Black Templars

They also have more gothic flourishes than you can shake a dead heretic at, which means they look like they’d be a real joy to paint, and to top it off they have arguably the coolest colour-scheme of any Space Marine chapter ever.

Black Templar Martial

If all this sounds a bit fan-boyish then it probably is, but if we’re not allowed to enthuse about things we like then what are we allowed to enthuse about? The Templars will be released later this year, starting with a limited edition “launch box” which will sell out in about 12 seconds. I won’t be trying to snag a copy but I will be keeping an eye out for when the kits get a normal release, and waiting with great anticipation to see what other models are added to the range.

The boxset also contains the codex supplement for the faction, with a limited edition cover, and I must admit I let out a very unmanly squeak when I saw it. This was the piece of artwork that, back when I was a lad, transformed me in an instant from thinking “Space Marines – meh, they’re a bit rubbish” to thinking “Space Marines are fucking awesome!!”

Black Templars Cover

Even now it’s a dangerous thing, I can’t allow myself to look at it for too long because every time I do I find myself planning out the Black Templars army of my dreams and really I ought to be concentrating on all my other projects, especially all those lovely new Orks.  Dammit, I want to start a Black Templar army now though…

Black Templars 3

Anyway, moving swiftly on, and finally we got to the part I was waiting for. Games Workshop really saved the best for last here (or almost last anyway – more on that below). Regular readers will know that Necromunda is where my heart lies these days and so of course I was agog to find out what will be coming next to the dirty streets of the underhive. The last two years have been given over to building up the forces of the “big six” houses, bringing new models and expansions to flesh out the gangs of Goliaths, Eschers, Orlocks, Cawdor, Van Saar and Delaque. The last time an entirely new faction appeared it was the Slave Ogryns back in early 2020 but GW had announced that another new gang would be hitting the streets before the end of the year. There were various things that I was hoping we might see – pit slaves, ash waste nomads and muties being particularly interesting. Instead we got something which on the one hand is quite unexpected, and on the other is exactly what I’ve been hoping to see for the last decade or so.

Necromunda Outcast Gangers 1 (1)

The majority of people on Necromunda belong to one of the great houses in only the loosest sense – that is to say they belong to them as property, not as citizens. Whilst an Escher ganger is fully immersed in Escher culture, the majority of the people working for the house do so only because they are indentured to a factory that the Eschers happen to control. For these ordinary people life is unbelievably harsh and whilst most endure brief lives of cruel drudgery before being worked to death some get out, by accident or design, and find themselves forced to survive on the mean streets without the dubious protection of the Houses. These Outcasts and Hive Scum are what we’re looking at now, down-and-out desperadoes banding together for survival.

Necromunda Outcast Gangers 1 (2)

Now I’ll start by saying that I’ve been thinking of starting a gang of underhive criminals and outcasts for a while now but couldn’t quite decide where to start so I’m over the moon about these. However let’s think a little broader and look for a moment beyond the walls of Necromunda itself, because these guys are a convertor’s gold mine! Do you want Chaos Cultists? Just add a few spikes and mutations! Thinking of starting a penal legion, or other disreputable Imperial Guard army? These are your guys! Want some frateris militia to march alongside your Sisters of Battle? Just add Cawdor and Redemptionist parts and you’re good to go! What about Imperial civilians, Space Marine chapter thralls, Genestealer Cultists, space pirates, Inquisitorial agents, even inhabitants of the more industrial and shabby Cities of Sigmar? The possibilities from a bunch of generic humans are vast and extremely exciting.

Necromunda Outcast Gangers 1 (3)

Alongside these we’ll also be seeing an Underhive Market as a set of terrain. Again this is something I’ve dreamed of having for years and when I finally get around to building a little corner of the hive of my very own this will definitely be included – where else can my gangers go to buy extra guns, a few bottles of Second Best and a rat on a stick?

Underhive Market

Finally, the very last preview came in the form of a little hint at the future of Warcry. Now whilst Necromunda is the setting I’m most excited about Warcry is the game I’m most likely to play – I’ve been enjoying slugging it out against gangs of thugs across the Chaos wastes of the Eightpoints and beyond since the game first appeared back in August of 2019. However despite an initial flurry of attention the game hasn’t had a lot of official support since then, there have been a few rule books, three monsters and various rules to bring factions from Age of Sigmar into Warcry – all of which is great – but we’ve only seen two new warbands made specifically for the game since it launched and it’s been easy to imagine that Games Workshop planned to let it pass into history, as they’ve done with so many other games in the past. I suppose that wouldn’t be the end of the world, we do have a lot of cool models and content for it already, but I’d love to see it given more long term support. The setting is very intriguing, the models have been outstanding and the game is a lot of fun to play; all good reasons to keep it alive and kicking. Now at last we’ve had a definitive answer to whether or not they have more releases up their sleeves; Warcry – Red Harvest is on its way.

Red Harvest

…And that’s all we know. Well that and a lot of hints about spiders being involved somehow. I’d have loved to see a new warband previewed, in fact I’d love to see them give Warcry quarterly updates with four new warbands per year (and the same for Blood Bowl and Necromunda whilst they’re about it!) but I’ll settle for knowing that the game isn’t entirely dead and gone.

Anyway, that’s more than enough enthusiastic wittering from me! What about you – did you enjoy these previews, do you have a particular favourite or would you have preferred something else? As ever the comment’s box is waiting for you to share your thoughts with the world!