Category Archives: Warhammer World

Warhammer World – Part 6

It’s the final post in this showcase of the displays at Warhammer World and this time we’re looking at the big one. Twenty-two feet from end to end, twelve feet wide and twenty feet tall (that’s almost seven meters long, three and a half wide and six meters tall for those who’re sensible enough to use metric) – it’s the battle for Angelus Prime.

To give you a sense of how big this thing actually is there is a man in this picture – another visitor. I didn’t want him appearing in the shot so I waited until he was hidden by the building. That’s right – the human was hidden behind the miniature, usually it’s the other way round!angelus-prime-convertordie-1

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angelus-prime-convertordie-20The board captures the forces of Khorne, led by the bloodthirster An’ggrath, battling the Ultramarines who’re attempting to defend Ultramar. If you were wondering where all the Chaos miniatures were in the 40k displays – here they are. Followers of the other gods need not apply.

There are over five and a half thousand models on this board, putting any sensible person’s collection to shame. These stretch from swarms of bloodletters and cultists to tanks, knights, even titans. The fortress city itself meanwhile is constructed from over 1,200 scenery kits and took nine months to build. In many ways this is the ultimate aspirational army. We all dream of what it would look like to have at our command the thousands of infantry, hundreds of tanks, ranks of Titans and so on that our heroes in Black Library fiction posses but, with the exception of epic players, most of us never will. If only time and money were no object eh?angelus-1

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As if the scene wasn’t dramatic enough it also features a soundtrack of dramatic music, overlaid by the clatter of bolter fire and the distant crunch of explosions. Lights fade slowly from the deep blue of the loyalists to the bloody red of Khorne, adding another layer to the atmosphere. It’s a cliché to say that they make the viewer feel that they are right at the heart of the battle but – minus the discomfort, blinding terror and high risk of imminent death – that’s pretty much what they do.angelus-prime-convertordie-2angelus-prime-convertordie-4angelus-prime-convertordie-5angelus-prime-convertordie-6angelus-prime-convertordie-7angelus-prime-convertordie-8angelus-prime-convertordie-11The whole diorama contains a real sense of action, captured through elements like this chaos titan being felled by an off-course drop pod, the bloodletters crawling over each another to climb the walls (above) or the chaos Reaver titan firing its rack of missiles (below).angelus-prime-convertordie-12angelus-prime-convertordie-13angelus-prime-convertordie-14The Warlord Titan. For those still struggling with just how big this thing is those are Knights around its knees. The term ‘miniature’ may no longer be appropriate here.angelus-prime-convertordie-15big-guns-never-tireYesterday the mechanicum were fairly certain they had a gun. But no, it turns out this is a gun! I understand we shouldn’t expect it to tire any time soon…angelus-prime-convertordie-21Even a full scale planetary invasion wasn’t enough to distract these two from their WoW addiction.angelus-prime-convertordie-16angelus-prime-convertordie-17angelus-prime-convertordie-18angelus-prime-convertordie-19One of the most famous things about this board is that, in amongst the five thousand five hundred plus other models lurks one lone Vindicare assassin. If you can find it you can win one of your own and I was certainly planning to give it a good go, until I actually got there and realised what a painful, eyeball straining challenge that would be. However I was lucky enough to be standing next to the man who did. What impressed me most – apart from the bushiness of his beard, something for which he deserves extra credit – and the sharpness of his eyes (seriously, don’t even try unless your day job is as an eagle) was the logic with which it was placed. I understand the model moves around (not by itself – that would be slightly creepy) but even so I don’t want to give away too many spoilers so that others can enjoy the challenge of the hunt themselves. However the finder did explain that he focussed his attention (and presumably eyeballs that are the envy of the Hubble telescope) where he did because that location would afford the assassin a clear shot without being detected himself. In his hiding place he could crouch out of sight, allowing the ranks of the World Eaters to pass him by before shooting whomever his intended victim is. To me that represents an attention to detail that makes the piece even more impressive – they didn’t just stick him down the back of the radiator and think “no one will look there!”, they followed through the narrative of the piece and allowed a person to find it not by luck or simply sharp vision, but by joining them in the logical process and by investing their imagination in the story.

So there we have it – my day out to Warhammer World spread over a full week of posts. Once again I hope this has been as interesting and inspiring for you as it was for me. Check back tomorrow and, all being well, I’ll actually have a miniature of my own to show – my Dreadtober contribution roaring in at the very end of cheat week! Until then, as ever, I’m interested in your thoughts – so make them known in the comments box below.


Warhammer World – Part 5

Continuing our look through the dioramas on display at Warhammer World today we explore the section given over to the alien races inhabiting the grim darkness of the far future. First off we have this lava board, showing the planet of Valedor – or Düriel to the Eldar – being swarmed by the Tryanid hive fleets.01At one point Valedor was a tropical paradise but, as is the case with most places in 40k that seem like they might be really nice, that wasn’t to last. First the Imperium turned it into an industrial hellhole, then the Tyranids arrived and began stripping it of all organic matter. By the time the Swordwind of the Eldar return to what had once been one of their Maiden Worlds the whole place was rather worse for wear. Eventually the Eldar activate a device known as the Fireheart, splitting the planet’s crust into the volcanic turmoil we see here.0203Both factions are really giving it their all here; the Tyranids have deployed their bio-titans (above) whilst the Eldar respond with their Phantom Titans.0405Another display I’d been looking forward to was this one; Ork Town – originally built by Forge World for their book Raid on Kastorel-Novem.010203A squad of Tempestus Scions have been shot down in Ork territory and now their allies rush to evacuate them. Apparently an ex-army store manager spent a day training the team in how to descend on ropes from an aircraft in order to capture the scene perfectly. Frankly I’m sure they could have worked it out from Youtube videos but who can blame the chancers for convincing their boss they needed a day out?040506070809Lastly for today we have the Tau facing off against their enemies in the Mechanicum. Both sides are rather fond of technology although the Tau’s habit of innovating, plus their insistence on being filthy xenos, prevents them from being friends. Plus the Mechanicum almost obliterated the Tau when the latter species was still in the stone-age, something that is bound to sour any relationship.010203A rather large Tau flyer. Probably named after a fish.04One of the Tau flying-mech-suits (which, if it’s not already clear, I’m not too familiar with) annoying a titan.0506Something I found particularly clever about these dioramas is the way in which the eye is drawn to certain angles, which themselves provide cinematic scenes. Take this Sydonian Dragoon for instance, which strides through the periphery of an explosion with the effortless cool of an action movie hero.070809Remember those Imperial Guardsmen standing grimly in their cold trenches I showed you yesterday? This is the Tau equivalent, and it’s just a tiny bit more glamorous!10This encounter perfectly encapsulates the dynamic (pun intended) between the energetic Tau and the trudging, hidebound Imperials.1112I feel there’s a joke to be made here, either about getting legless or going topless…131415The Mechanicum politely explain to the Tau that what they have are not guns, this is a gun…16Now some of you might be thinking “Hey guy, where’s Chaos in all this? I thought they were the big bad in the 41st Millennium? Don’t they get a diorama?” Oh they do my freind, they certainly do – but for that you’re going to have to wait until tomorrow…


Warhammer World – Part 4

Continuing our exploration of the displays on show in Warhammer World today we take a look at the Armies of the Imperium section, starting with the clash between the loyalist Iron Hands and the treacherous Emperor’s Children on Istvaan V.0102Before Isstvan V the Horus Heresy is a story of commonplace treachery, an ambitious son betraying his father, an internal matter for the Space Marines to thrash out amongst themselves. What follows is a three hour window in which in which hundreds of thousands of Space Marines are slaughtered, three entire legions  are broken and an age of darkness and suspicion is born. Of the eleven Primarchs fighting at the start one is dead, two others are missing and there’s no going back for anyone. The brutality and tragedy of the Drop Site Massacre is some of the hardest to read in any Black Library fiction I’ve come across, unrelentingly honest about the hellish reality of war, just violence without glory, the bleeding of the many for the ambition of the few. Set against that this diorama captures just one fight of many and the scale of the tragedy is lost. The scene is pivotal, the diorama intended to capture it less so. That’s not the fault of the model makers, it’s simply the case that this scene is much to big to capture on such a small canvas.0304Although a solid display  the lack of any interesting conversions or stand out miniatures beyond the two Primarchs themselves (I didn’t even spot any Kakophoni although that may have been a failure to look hard enough) meant it didn’t keep my interest for long.05istvaan-1istvaan-2istvaan-3istvaan-4Then we have this old(-ish) display showing Space Wolves defending the Fang from the Tyranids has been updated recently to include newer models not available when it was first built.01For example these bikers racing the front lines have been joined by a pack of thunder wolf cavalry.02A servitor about to meet a messy end.030405A wounded wolf lord is carried from the field by his battle-brothers and thralls. I love the way this scene, almost a tiny diorama of its own within the larger piece, poses questions of its own. Is it just an illusion created by his injuries or is his hand warping into an animal’s claw? Are his men carrying him from the field, partly hidden by his cloak, to protect him – or to protect themselves?0607Meanwhile Genestealers swim through the icy waters below, ready to launch another sneak attack on the Wolves.08Next along – this is where it all began, the cover art from Rogue Trader reinterpreted in model form. The scene captures the last stand of the Crimson Fists during the fall of the their chapter planet, Rynn’s World.03Now this is how an Imperial tank should look – the perfect combination of hubris and impracticality! From it the Commissar looks out over three hundred Cadians marching by.imperial-guard-2imperial-guard-3And here we have the Imperial Guardsmen of the Death Corps of Kreig doing what they do best; looking grim whilst standing in a trench. The light dusting of snow only serves to add to the chill of the image – indeed it all looks much colder and harsher than the snowy landscape around the Fang (above). Even the lack of action implies a forbidding inevitability to the scene; these men have hacked their trenches from the frozen ground, now they stand ready to face the death they know is coming.imperial-guard-1imperial-guard-4Once again I hope you’re enjoying this look through the dioramas on display at Warhammer World. Tomorrow we take a look at the Imperium’s adversaries, the aliens!


Warhammer World – Part 3

Continuing my showcasing of the dioramas on display in Warhammer World today we take a look at the rest of the displays focussing on the Old World of Warhammer and the new Realms of Age of Sigmar. First up we have a pair of small displays exhibiting the Ironjaws – a new faction which grew out of the old Black Orcs – and opposite them the Sylvaneth, which were developed from the treemen and dryads who used to hang out with the Wood Elves.01Orc brutes march past tribal boundary markers whilst a warboss, crouched on his hulking reptilian mount, watches from a neighbouring hillock.0203The tide of red armour stands out against the black rocks and wilted vegetation.0405The neighbouring display is considerably more green and lush. The Orcs have left their semi-desert homeland and invaded the forest only to find themselves ambushed by the Sylvaneth guardians of the woods led by Alarielle herself and several ancient treemen…0102…including this impressively bearded individual…08…and these tree revenants. 03Alarielle, a woman after my own heart! Keen on trees she’d have undoubtedly enjoyed my other outing whilst in Nottingham – a trip to visit the ancient Major Oak in Sherwood Forest.0405Of course that would have left her unable to oversee the defence of her woodland from the marauding orcs, although by the looks of things her followers were managing fine by themselves.06Next along, one of the displays that was top of my list to see ever since a friend showed me pictures from her own trip. Here the Skaven and Dwarves do battle in the depths of the Underway, deep beneath the World’s Edge Mountains.0102The war under the ground remains one of my favourite parts of the Warhammer background. As a fan of Skaven, Dwarves and Night Goblins alike the subterranean struggle is a compelling battle for survival, all happening out of sight of the races living above.03Here dwarven stoicism meets the mad brew of science and magic wielded by the ratmen, the two sides divided by a jagged canyon criss-crossed by swaying rope bridges.040506The scene contains over three hundred miniatures, which probably explains why I failed to spot Joseph Bugman who is allegedly hiding in there somewhere.07Slayers seeking an honourable death take on a Hell Pit Abomination (without a trace of Fyre in sight…)08Once again I hope you’re enjoying this look through the Warhammer World displays and I really do recommend a visit if you’re in the area. Tomorrow we’ll take a look at the armies of the Imperium in the dark days of humanity’s future.


Warhammer World – Part 2

Yesterday I showed you some of my pictures from my recent trip to Warhammer World, today let’s take a proper look at some of the dioramas. The exhibition space features over a dozen of these displays, covering everything from Skaven and Dwarves clashing beneath the mountains of the Old World to Eldar and Tyrands battling over the lava fields of Valedor. Each one is a slice of Game’s Workshop’s universes given life and the chance to get a proper look at them is well worth taking if you happen to be in the Nottingham area. For those of us who’re not however hopefully these next few posts will help to spread the inspiration a little and perhaps spark some fresh ideas – I know they did for me.

I’d also recommend clicking on the pictures for a closer look, these displays are simply jam packed with details, there’s so much to take in  that I’ll admit to spotting things whilst editing these images that I completely missed in person.

First up we have two Age of Sigmar dioramas featuring the warriors of Khorne doing battle with the hosts of the Stormcast Eternals. In the first they’re fighting over a huge flying citadel, in the second the Stormcasts are… erm… storming a chaos fortress with the help of their new chums the Fyreslayers.

a2My preference for the Old World over the Mortal Realms is one I’ve stated several times but it’s hard to deny that the scope for creativity in the Age of Sigmar is hard to beat. For all its qualities the Old World was trapped within the borders imposed upon it by decades of development whilst the Realms can be as bombastically creative as they want. Want to fight the legions of the Blood God in a flying temple? Now you can!a3It also struck me how the roles have been deliberately reversed in these displays, as compared to the Old World. Like the Imperium the Empire was always on the defensive, with enemy hordes clawing at the fortress walls. In Age of Sigmar however we see the good guys being the aggressors, and Chaos on the defensive – which offers a whole new range of scenarios for the model makers and gamers alike to explore.a1Whilst the first display is focussed around models from the Age of Sigmar starter set, the Ironwarp Citadel is rather more complex. This time the Sigmarites are fighting their way into a Khornate fortress, backed up by several Star-drakes and everyone’s favourite clothes averse dwarves; the Fyreslayers.02030809The Ironwarp Citadel, features three gates, each with its own opening mechanism. What exactly those are however I’m still not sure, and neither was anyone else I asked. One of them is clearly being dragged open by a pair of chaos giants in a scene inspired by the trolls opening the black gate in the Lord of the Rings film, but as for the other two – not a scooby.01Never mind who let the spawn out, or how they did it, these Stormcasts are in a lot of trouble now.11040506I’ll confess I wasn’t entirely sold on the magmadroth when it first appeared but after seeing them in this display I’ve really grown to love them. Like a lot of people I think I fell into the trap of seeing Fyreslayers as equivalent to the dwarves of Warhammer rather than as a race in their own right. If only their flesh had been painted in a similar, slightly tortured style (they do hammer metal into their own bodies after all) to their equally shirt-hating Chaos adversaries I might have been swayed sooner. Mind you, they could always be wearing flowery shirts0710If I had to pick a favourite diorama from those displayed this Nurgle fortress would take the crown. Titled “Chaos Musters” it features the forces of the Plague God marching out to conquer the Old World during the End Times. In comparison to the neighbouring displays which look forward into the bright, golden Age of Sigmar, this is firmly rooted in a grubby past. The influence of the seminal Realms of Chaos books are everywhere here and whilst the previous displays primarily showcased models – and even buildings in the case of the Ironwarp Citadel – built straight from the box, this harks back to the convertors’ art with large areas of the Plaguespire appearing to have been either scratchbuilt or extensively kitbashed.020304Likewise the models themselves have been subject to plenty of conversion from this band of Chaos Warriors…01…to these trolls with plaguebearers budding hideously from their backs.0506Or how about this knight whose horse has the head of a plague drone…07…or this magnificently nasty looking ogre?080910Plus there’s more Nurglings that you could shake a germ-covered stick at, and that can only be a good thing!111213Tomorrow we’ll take a look at the rest of the Warhammer/Age of Sigmar displays before getting stuck in about the Grim Darkness of the Far Future.


Warhammer World – Part 1

For many of us the name Warhammer World is synonymous with the heartland of our hobby. As the flagship store, events hall, exhibition centre and the home of the design studio it’s a name almost as well known as Games Workshop itself. For years I’ve wanted to visit, primarily to see the series of huge displays, dioramas and miniatures collections on display. When work took me to Nottingham for a conference recently I knew it was time to take advantage of being in town (a mere 500-odd miles from my usual haunts) and take the chance to see it all for myself. So please excuse the shameless self-indulgence of these posts – I am after all essentially showing my holiday snaps – and the quality of the images. I did my best but between the glass cabinets and the dramatic lighting it wasn’t always easy. For those of you who’re already familiar with Warhammer World much of this will be old hat – and nothing in comparison to actually seeing the place for yourself – but for those from further afield hopefully this  showcase will help you to tap into the great well of creativity that the dioramas and displays represent. For me I found seeing the displays hugely inspiring, something that will hopefully come through in my output over the next few weeks, and with luck a few readers might find yourselves equally enthused and energised. Plus this way I can put all my pictures in one place instead of having to show people individually – something that appeals to my sense of laziness inordinately!

So, without further ado, step this way. Before we begin I just need to find somewhere to park (I jest of course, this vehicle doesn’t have nearly enough spikes, chains and trophies to be my wheels).05As soon as you walk in to the exhibition space the senses are assaulted (in the best possible way) by this delightfully old-school John Blanche diorama. Bearing in mind the vintage of the models, and the fact that large parts of it are clearly made of polystyrene, the fact that it holds up so well next to modern pieces – built with the full technological and financial power of the company today – is extremely impressive. It may be a little rough around the edges but it responds with a boundless, energetic creativity, unburdened by the restrictions imposed by decades of development. I love the modern GW universes and I’ve no wish to return to dwarves in flowery shirts but I’m glad that in this age of Sigmarites on the side of trams and staff looking distinctly uncomfortable when I mentioned Warhammer* this third-edition mid-eighties madness is still given pride of place.

*I just said I knew more about it than AoS. I wasn’t an ass about it! There was a combination of fear and resignation in the staffer’s eyes though when I mentioned it, they must be sick to the eye-teeth of people moaning about it by now.john-blanche-dwarves-and-undead-convertordie-5This isn’t a lament for lost creativity however because what follows is even better. Room after room of spectacular displays covering the grim darkness of the far future, the ruins of the Old World and the bright new future of Sigmar’s mortal realms. The dioramas in particular were simply jaw dropping – this was what drew me to visit in the first place and they did not disappoint. I was actually so impressed by them that I’ve devoted several posts to them and will be putting them up over the next few days. On my arrival the extremely talkative and friendly staffer who met me said “Take as many photos as you like mate” and I took him at his word (so strap yourselves in – there’s a lot of pictures to come!)

john-blanche-dwarves-and-undead-convertordie-4john-blanche-dwarves-and-undead-convertordie-3john-blanche-dwarves-and-undead-convertordie-2What – did you think I was joking when I mentioned dwarves in flowery shirts? Perhaps in a future Blachitsu we could get some kind of explanation for this wonderfully mad fashion choice. Additional credit has to be given for the quality of his moustache as well, something even the most stylishly hirsute of Fyreslayers would struggle to replicate.john-blanche-dwarves-and-undead-convertordie-1…And is that a lady dwarf? Clearly the 80’s was a radically different world – dwarfing today having become a solely male profession.john-blanche-dwarves-and-undead-convertordie-6Next to it we have this display showing a bunch of Empire chaps having a bit of a showdown with some lizardmen in an ancient temple. I must confess however that I know next to nothing about the origins of the piece so its significance was rather lost on me.

Edit: Thanks to Warburton  I now know a little bit more about this McVey classic. Anyone who’s interested should take a look here.img_586306As well as the dioramas Warhammer World also features an area set aside for guest displays and, at the time when I visited (which – because time moves strangely in the blogosphere – was about a month ago now) much of this was taken up with models from past Golden Daemons. The display was about to end and be replaced by something new so the content was a little sparse (my assumption being that they’d started removing models, rather than that they didn’t have very many to begin with) but what remained was a collection of some of the most inspiring (and slightly intimidating) individual models I’ve ever come across. The internet has made many of them familiar but for someone like myself, whose never been to a GW open day or Games Day event, being able to get up close to painting of that quality was memorable to say the least.

Highlights included this Empire Captain by David Waeselynck…

david-waeselynck-1…and these two Plague Marines (the first by Maxime Corbeil, the second by Robin McLeod). Each is very different in style, but with Nurgle models stacking up on the edge of my painting desk and demanding attention, both will be serving as inspiration in the future.maxime-corbeil-1

robin-mcleod-1Then we have this truly ‘miniature’ diorama by Cedric Lurkin, cleverly capturing the duel theme on a scale quite different to that we’re used to.cedric-lurkin-1

Last of all this Predator Tank, dedicated to Nurgle. The creation of David Soper this claimed both Gold in the Vehicle category and the Slayer Sword back in 1990. Its undoubtedly one of my all time favourite models and so spotting it on the shelf was quite the pleasant surprise.david-soper-1david-soper-2And finally, how could I resist taking this selfie in Bugmans?04Anyway, hopefully you’ve enjoyed this look through my pictures from the day (if not the bad news is there’s a lot more to come). Tomorrow we’ll start taking a look at the dioramas, starting with Age of Sigmar.