Once upon a time I had a plan that I would spend a good chunk of Orctober painting either my long-untouched Orc Blood Bowl team or bolstering the number of Orks in my 40k army (or possibly adding a few more Orc Brutes to those available as part of my Warcry collection). As it turns out I ended up focussing on other projects instead, although I did manage to at least make a start on the Blood Bowl team (at last!) and hopefully I’ll be cracking on with the rest of them soon. However just when it looked as though that was going to be all the Orcs I managed this month I stumbled upon these four disreputable lads lurking in the bottom of a box; dusty, part-painted and in need of some love. How could I resist getting them painted up at last?
I’ll confess I didn’t try to go mad painting these to the best of my ability, as I’ve commented here before on several occasions I’ve never really been that enthusiastic about the Lord of the Rings miniatures but credit where its due, these were fun to paint. Being so small and lacking in detail compared to modern models they called for a more “quick and dirty” or sketchy style, and they certainly fit the stereotype associated with the Middle Earth range of being a little bit of a step down in comparison to the quality of the models elsewhere in GW’s stable (something that, in all fairness, the more recent releases have done a lot to counteract). That didn’t stop them being entertaining to work on though, and my hat is definitely off to anyone who can manage to produce really nice looking results with them. I’m pretty sure the rest of the set is still around somewhere, stored away after an abortive attempt to try out the LotR miniatures game many, many moons ago – I’ll keep an eye out for it and, when I find it, get the rest of them painted up.
With the ghouls of the flesh eater courts ready to take to the battlefield it’s time to finish painting their Nighthaunt adversaries. Again only one model was required, in this case a Myrmourn Banshee.
I really like these models, although it took me a little while to find a way to make my chosen colour scheme work as well on her as I wanted it too. Now that I’m happy with it I quite fancy turning my attention to the rest of her sisters.
Technically that’s the warband completed, in fact I’ve already painted more Chainrasps than I need, but I’ve been enjoying working on the ghosts so whilst I was about it I finished up two more.
Of course this means I have far more Chainrasps than I need for the warband but there’s no harm in that, indeed I’m well on my way to completing my first squad of them. Here’s the warband that will be facing the ghouls at some point in the next few days (as usual don’t give yourself eye-strain, click on the pictures for a closer look).
And here’s the entire Nighthaunt collection so far.
Next I want to try and clear a few part-painted miniatures off the desk – starting with something that’s a bit orc-y, but also a bit unusual for me. I’ll leave you guessing, but hopefully not for very long…
One more ghoul to round out the warband – for now – and this time it’s the turn of the leader, a fearsome Crypt Infernal. In order to make him stand out a little I used an alternative head from the same kit, which I think means he’s technically a Vargheist – not that I think anyone is going to worry over a technicality like that!
Time to lead his thralls in search of prey!
With him done that’s another Warcry warband completed and ready to unleash. Next up – more ghosts!
I ain’t afraid of no ghosts – although actually, I probably should have been. Before I tackled the Spirit Host model several people warned me what an absolute nightmare it is to assemble and you know what, they weren’t wrong! Lots of tiny fiddly joins, lots of weight resting on very small connection points – generally they were a huge faff but I got there in the end. After that painting it was easier, it wasn’t quite a case of “just dunk it in a bucket of Hexwraith flame and call it done”, there was also all the careful highlighting that came after – along with holding my breath and praying that none of those fiddly joins broke (again…). Still a lovely miniature but a real exercise in frustration at times!
Now whilst I think I’m quite justified in worrying about building and painting more Spirit Hosts at least I had no need to fear the (Grimgast) Reaper, which turned out to be very straightforward to paint and which I hammered through in short order.
With these two done I’ve just got a Banshee to fill out this warband, plus the Crypt Infernal to complete the ghouls and we’re golden. The weekend is looking a bit busier than planned but all being well I should find a spare hour or two to attack them, otherwise they’ll be my focus for an evening or two next week.
It’s a well known fact that I’ve never met a Necromunda gang I didn’t like, and sure enough I’ve thrown in my lot with the ogryns as soon as I got my hands on them. I’ve not got around to painting anything yet but I’ve been busy kitbashing to recruit the first members of my free ogryn uprising.
In a lot of ways this is quite a basic kit, there’s only two bodies for example – one striding purposefully, one standing firm on his bionic leg – and the rest of weapons and arms are actually quite limited. It does however manage to do quite a lot with the space it’s given, and as a result it’s surprisingly versatile. Needless to say I’ve already been trying to push those boundaries even further by mixing in bits from elsewhere. A word of warning for anyone thinking of doing the same, these guys may be big by Necromundan standards but they’re not the largest ogres in Games Workshop’s catalogue by any means. Perhaps it’s the lack of decent nutrition combined with life in the cramped corridors of hive city, or perhaps it’s just to fit the bits onto the sprue. Some parts of the Imperial Guard ogryns will fit but most are a little bit too big. The Blood Bowl ogres are a better fit, although naturally lack the range of suitable weapons that might be available elsewhere. The AoS/WHFB ogres are, for the most part, disproportionately large. Dragon Ogres, Ork Nobs and Orruk Brutes all offer some interesting possibilities though, and I’m planning to explore these more in the future.
First of all, as already shown a few weeks ago, I put together this lad – built straight out of the box as I familiarised myself with the kit, with the only tweak being the inclusion of a gas-masked head from the Imperial Guard Ogryn/Bullgryn kit.
Following on I built a second ogryn, based around the same body, but swapping in a head from the Blood Bowl ogres and a club from the Imperial Guard Ogryns. Otherwise I kept him quite spare and toned down, without adding in any of the fancy gubbins that come with the kit to capture the sense of an ogre that relies on brute simplicity to get things done. I could almost imagine him hanging out with my Palanite Enforcers (whenever I get around to them!).
Having kept him quite pared-down and straightforward I decided that the next one needed to be a bit fancier so I gave him some ramshackle armour (borrowed from an Orruk Brute) complete with the spiky jawbones of some underhive monstrosity.
Finally every gang needs a leader, and so I turned my attention to kitbashing an Ogryn Overboss. Unlike the others I used the Imperial Guard Ogryn as the base model and went nuts on decorating him with scavenged odds and ends. He’s not done yet, indeed he’s still got a fair way to go before he’s finished, but who can resist a sneaky peek at what I’ve come up with so far.
Whilst his body and armour comes from the Imperial Guard kit his backpack and powerfist are from the Necromunda models, his head is from the Ogre Ironblaster (probably my all time favourite Ogre head) and his knife is from the Chaos Dragon Ogres.
He’s a big lad, not disproportionately huge in comparison to his gang-mates but big enough to make it clear who the boss is.
As usual I’ve no idea when I’ll get around to working on more of these, whenever the hobby butterfly seizes me and drags me back into the Underhive I guess. For the moment I’m going full steam ahead with the undead but it’s safe to take it as read that I’ll be getting back to these sooner or later.
Time to focus on all things ghoulish (and ghostly) with only a couple of weeks to go before my planned Flesh-eater Courts vs Nighthaunt Warcry game. So far I’ve mostly been painting the smaller members of the ghoulish warband so now it’s time to tackle something bigger, the crypt flayer. Like his predecessor, the crypt horror, this guy brings some muscle to the team with the added benefit of being able to swoop across the battlefield in suitably horrifying style.
Built as per the instructions the model ends up with one wing raised and one lowered, which makes him look very lopsided. Rather than tolerate such a state of affairs I adjusted it so that both wings were lowered, which called for a bit of greenstuff to get the shoulders looking right. Of course I then discovered that this makes it damn near impossible to get in and paint the legs and the insides of the wings, but sometimes we have to suffer for our art! The warband’s leader – a Crypt Infernal for those trying to keep up with all these crypts! – will have one wing raised and one lowered, I couldn’t face struggling through the process again and it helps make him look a bit bigger and more imposing.
I’m also one ghoul short (of a picnic?) so I got another one painted up, once again taken from the Grymwatch set.
With these done the warband is almost complete, there’s just the warband’s leader – the aforementioned Crypt Infernal – left to paint so I’ll try to bash on and get him done ASAP.
Another weekend, another big GW preview, another chance for me to roll out my opinions. This time it was the turn of some of the smaller, more “specialist” games in GW’s roster, with a focus on Blood Bowl, Warcry and Warhammer Underworlds. These three being, to various degrees, close to my heart, it was inevitable that I’d have some thoughts to share.
First out of the gate was Blood Bowl, the game of fantasy football, which is soon to launch its second season boxset (that’s the second season of the 2016 edition of a game that’s been on the go since 1986 – so technically it’s the 6th edition – maybe? Best not to get too hung up on that!).
From my point of view this couldn’t be better timed, 34 years after the game first launched, and about 25 years since I first discovered it I’ve finally started working on painting up a team. All being well I can crack on with painting my orcs, humans and various gubbins and await the release of the new rules, rather than pouring effort into learning the old rules only for them to become outdated in short order.
The new box contains plenty to be excited about – most importantly two new teams. On one side of the pitch we have the humans, in the form of the Imperial Nobles. The quality of the Blood Bowl miniatures has been top-notch lately and these are no exception, each one flawlessly designed and packed with character.
I’ll admit I found the previous human team to be a little bit dull, they’re very nice miniatures in their own right but they are very definitely sportsmen and generally wouldn’t look out of place in a modern, real world setting. They’re not bad but there’s next to nothing about them that says “Warhammer”. Not so the Imperial Nobles who channel the Knights and Lords of the old WHFB Empire.
Needless to say I’ve already started a little kitbashing and converting to turn my team of ordinary humans into something that feels more rooted in the setting. Fancy a cheeky sneak peek? Yeah you do!
Alongside the human players we have a special character – or Star Player in Blood Bowl parlance – Griff Oberwald. Even amongst the never-knowing-underdressed show-offs of the Imperial Nobility he stands out, every inch the arrogant sporting superstar.
It’s a world away from the outgoing Forge World version, which if I’m honest had very little to recommend it (although it was still nicer than Varag Ghoul-Chewer – more on him in a moment). At least now when he jogs onto the pitch the girls will be screaming for the right reasons…
Sure enough the humans need someone to get a match in against and in the previous boxset that roll fell to the orcs. This time round it’s the turn of… the orcs again. Just as the standard issue humans have been joined by the new Imperial Nobility so the ordinary orcs now have competition in the form of the Black Orcs.
These are big lads, reportedly similar in size to the orruk brutes, which makes me wonder how many will be getting bought to convert into members of Ironjaws armies. After all, although taken as a whole there’s a distinct sporting theme to the models, but taken out of context and given a few tweaks and these could easily slot into the ranks of an ordinary orcy horde.
Special mention is also owed to the goblins which accompany the team, regular readers will know I’ve got a soft-spot for the little gits and these are no exception.
Like the humans the orcs have hired a Star Player to join them, this time in the form of the mighty Varag Ghoul-Chewer. The big lad looks like an absolute tank and – I suspect – will be the basis of many a converted Orc Warlord for both 40k and AoS. Take note of his undead snack, still thrashing angrily on his shoulderspike and ready to be devoured at half-time.
Of course if you thought the old model for Griff was a bit rough wait until you see Forge World’s attempt at Varag. Once upon a time Forge World were rightly praised for the high quality of their models – expensive but worth it – and generally that’s a standard they’ve kept to in recent times. Varag however should probably have been left on the shelf, or perhaps surreptitiously nudged into the bin.
Now exciting though all of this Blood Bowl action is, none of it is exactly new. Pictures leaked online some time ago and GW followed up by doing a full reveal of everything that was already in the public eye back at the start of August. Thus the only real surprises for fans was that the box would include two new models for referees. Both are great models but hardly enough to carry the “big reveal” on their own.
Next up we had Warcry and this was where my interest was really focussed. I’m a big fan of Warcry, of all GW’s games it’s the one I see myself playing the most so any news was going to be good news in my book. Sadly however said news was thin on the ground. No new models or warbands were announced, which I’m sure came as something of a disappointment to many fans (I know it did me!). Instead we’re getting four new books, one for each of Age of Sigmar’s grand alliances, containing rules, quests, scenarios and monsters.
Now this could be quite exciting, I’ve already started several Warcry warbands based around factions from outwith the core game – the very factions that these books are aimed at covering. However information on the specific contents of the books was pretty much absent so I’ll be reserving judgement until a bit more is known. If the new books turn out to be simply a collated reprint of the already released cards, White Dwarf articles and rules for Monsters and Mercenaries already printed in previous books then I’ll pass, helpful though it would be to have everything in one handy guide I’m not made of money and GW has plenty else to tempt me with. If on the other hand they take the opportunity to revisit some of the previously released factions, bringing in new rules for models such as mid-level heroes and huge monsters that were previously absent, I’ll be a lot more interested. For example the Gloomspite Gits, which were released at the same time as the game’s initial launch, received rules for loonbosses, various shamen and the monstrous arachnarok spider through the Monsters and Mercenaries book – whilst the Sylvaneth who came later have no rules for their own equivalent heroes and monsters such as the branchwych or tree-lord. If these books start filling gaps of this kind I’ll be very interested indeed.
Meanwhile some of the other factions feel distinctly thin on the ground at the moment, Nurgle’s mortal followers being a particularly glaring example. Whilst the Putrid Blightkings have a range of weapon options available to a modeller the rules represent very little of this. Whilst the rules distinguish Blightking leaders, or those carrying icons or Sonorous Tocsin (that’s the great big bell to you or I) there’s nothing to distinguish the one carrying the massive axe from the one with the spear or the one with the sword and shield. Other factions are given considerably more detail – the mortal followers of Tzeentch for instance have rules for 14 different model types, whilst poor old Nurgle get’s only 5 – despite having the potential available for plenty more. The god of plagues may be having a fine time out here in the real world but he’s looking a little unloved in the Realm of Chaos – perhaps if GW took the chance to improve the options available to him in Warcry they could tempt him back to where he belongs?
Of course many people are rightly concerned about the way Warcry appears to be straying from its roots focussed around Chaos warbands specifically designed for the game and turning into the skirmish version of Age of Sigmar. I’m very much of two minds about this. On the one hand I completely agree, what drew me to Warcry in the first place was the chance to explore something really new, delve into the setting’s underbelly and explore the Realm of Chaos properly for the first time in years. Finding out that every single faction in the wider game is also mucking around outside the Varanspire dilutes the sense that this is Chaos’s world, a place where deamons walk and only the strongest and strangest endure.
On the other hand I love the idea of a skirmish version of Age of Sigmar, I enjoy Warcry (and most unusually I actually understand the rules) and so the more the merrier from my point of view – every additional faction that’s brought into the game opens up more opportunities for painting and modelling as I explore factions that I would never be willing to commit to a whole army of.
How do I square this circle? Simple – in my mind a game featuring Chaos warbands occurs within the game’s official setting – the Bloodwind Spoil – whilst when we play a game with any of the other factions we set it elsewhere in the Mortal Realms.
I’ve also seen a few people worrying, quite understandably, that the lack of any new warbands announced (and leaving aside the Khainite Shadowstalkers and Scions of the Flame set to beat seven bells out of each other in the soon-to-be-released Catacombs expansion) means the game is soon to be shuffled off to a dusty corner and left to wither. GW will pour in no further investment, no new models or warbands will appear and the new books represent simply an exercise in squeezing the last drops of milk from the cash cow before it’s led out into the field and shot.
I however take a more hopeful view – that this is merely the calm before the game get’s it’s second wind. Back when both Blood Bowl and Necromunda were relaunched – in 2016 and 2017 respectively – GW announced that there would be an initial wave of plastic teams/gangs and, if these proved popular, more would follow in due course. This has proved to be exactly how things turned out, with both games seeing an initial flurry of activity and, as people voted with their wallets and demonstrated their commitment to the games, GW set to work producing new things to sell us. Blood Bowl now has 15 teams available, with three more announced as coming soon (and two others which can be built by combing models from other teams). Necromunda followed the same pattern a year later. Both games saw an initial wave of releases followed by a quiet year as GW’s designers worked to catch up, and then settled into a regular pattern that’s kept each game topped up nicely. Warcry, I strongly suspect, is following the same pattern – with the game launching and proving it’s financial chops to the money men in 2019 and 2020 being something of a “filler year” as new concepts are worked up, ready to be released in 2021. Of course this may be false optimism but I wouldn’t be too quick to write the game off yet, Warcry proved very popular from all I’ve heard (if – like me – you’re keen to get a copy of Catacombs for instance I’d recommend hovering with your finger over the “buy now” button when it goes up for pre-order) and GW haven’t achieved their market dominance by failing to recognise when they’re onto a good thing.
Thirdly, the big reveal showed us the new core set for Warhammer Underworlds; Direchasm – which brings the popular tournament game into its fourth season. Given that I’m not by any means a hardcore gamer I don’t tend to pay much attention to Underworlds, beyond drooling over the miniatures at regular intervals. That said I’m looking at this new box with great interest. As with the majority of GW’s boxsets it features two rival factions, in this case the elves of the Lumineth Realm-lords vs the mortal followers of Slaanesh.
The elves alone wouldn’t be enough to grab me. I actually quite like the (much maligned) Lumineth range which has been released in recent weeks – although not enough to consider starting a collection I hasten to add – but these do less for me. They’re alright, but for my taste they’re nothing really to write home about – each one being basically a little bit of a step down from its AoS equivalent. The warband’s leader appears to be troubled by constipation, something not helped by his gravity-defying pose…
On the other hand the warriors of Slaanesh are downright gorgeous! Many of us have been bumping our gums about a lack of attention for Slaanesh, especially the god’s mortal followers, for at least as long as I’ve been in the hobby and probably a lot longer – and at last we have something to get excited about.
As if that champion wasn’t wonderful enough we have a suitably twisted beastman.
Beastmen remain one of the most potentially interesting Chaos factions aesthetically speaking, yet all too often they’ve been relegated to the sidelines. A few years ago Tzeentchian beastmen appeared in the form of the Tzaangors to general delight, and Blood Bowl features an amazing looking Nurgle beastman, but beyond that beastmen specific to each god have been thin on the ground. Of course, one swallow doesn’t make a summer (or at least that’s what Slaanesh said!) but its hard to deny that nothing says “chaos and decadence” like a goat in thigh-high boots. We can only hope that soon GW will satisfy us all and give the god of excess the kind of vigorous affection it desires.
Exciting though these Slaanshi warriors are this preview over felt a little bit thin. The Blood Bowl set looks amazing but it’s really nothing new, the qualities of the Warcry books are anyone’s guess but look likely to be at least in part a reprint of pre-existing material and the elves need to eat some prunes. That left us with previews of some upcoming films being produced by GW and which to me look like a bit of a mixed bag. The Blood Angels film looks intriguing…
… but the anime series with its prominently featured Eldar Striking Scorpions does less to grab me, although that may just be because it’s anime.
Truthfully I’ve never been terribly interested in anime, in fact the style tends to put me off. Maybe it’s because I used to have a couple of flatmates who were obsessed with anime and anything else Japanese, and seemed truly to believe that Japan was the source of everything good in the world whilst all other countries were the source of everything bad. I understand that Japanese includes a word for westerners like that and I’m pretty sure it translates as “patronising tossers”. I’m sure this prejudiced me against the style, and by extension the sprinting Striking Scorpions and their ilk, especially as I’d really much rather see some new models for the Scorpions (not to mention the rest of the neglected Eldar aspect warriors).
One thing I did expect to see here, and which was glaring by its absence, was a hint at what’s coming next for Age of Sigmar. After considerable build up the Lumineth Realm-lords and Sons of Behemat have both been released, and the immediate future of the game is rather sparsely populated. We know that books are planned which move the narrative forward and a new boxset lies ahead, containing mostly models which have already been released (plus another truly wonderful Slaaneshi lord to the delight of the Mortal Realms’ S&M community – you wait a couple of decades for a champion of pain and pleasure to come along and then two appear at once). What we don’t know, even by the merest hint, is what kind of major releases might be planned or what new factions might be around the corner, and I was half expecting some kind of teaser in this direction. Not to worry though, between Blood Bowl and the new Slaaneshi models there’s enough here to keep me interested. Whilst I go in search of a pair of thigh-high studded leather football boots in my size the comments box is open for anyone with a strong opinion to hold forth!
What with it being Orktober I had a grand plan to spend the month painting loads of greenskins. I’ve got all kinds of things I’d like to add to my 40k Ork army, and a few more brutes for my Ironjaws Warcry warband (and speaking of Warcry I reckon that as I have the other three Destruction factions represented by warbands now it’d be fun to put together some Savage Orcs as well). Most pressingly I’ve been claiming that I’ll work on my Orc Blood Bowl team “soon” for far longer than the word “soon” is generally taken to represent (except, possibly, by geologists). After all it was one of my key goals for 2019 so, as we hurtle towards the end of a turbulent 2020, I’m starting work on them right on time!
However… That was before I came up with my scheme to play some undead vs undead Warcry around Halloween. With ghosts and ghouls to be concentrating on over the next week or so the poor old greenskins have been popped once again onto the backburner – although I promise I’ll get to work on them properly in November.
By way of showing willing however, and putting my brushes where my mouth is when it comes to Orctober, I have made a start by painting up two of the boys. Here’s a thrower…
… and here’s a black orc blocker (that being a heavily armoured thug who enjoys hitting people and has only a rudimentary grasp of sport – a normal orc in other words!). I reckon that for orcs the easier a number is to count to the better it is (a finger you’re using to count on being a finger that would be better used clenched into a fist and smashed into some git’s teeth after all) so the flashy, show-off thrower is number three, the highest number he could claim without getting a kicking from the black orcs, who’ve used their brute strength to claim the “best” two numbers available.
After building up a large 40k greenskin army over the last decade I’m hopeful that the rest of the team should be fairly straightforward for me to paint, plus as one of the races in the (soon to be replaced) starter set alongside humans I presume they are relatively forgiving for a newcomer to the sport to play as well. Expect to see more of these as soon as the dead guys are dealt with, and nag me to get on with it if you don’t.
Unexpectedly, I decided to use the weekend to churn out another Warcry warband. This time it’s the turn of those cheeky little rascals the Gloomspite Gits (that’s Night Goblins to old timers like me). The Gits are, for me, the crux point at which I learned to stop worrying and love the Age of Sigmar. Up until they received their army book and expanded range of models they were a jarring oddity in the Mortal Realms, as one of the most iconic races of the Old Warhammer world they felt very much shoehorned in, as unwelcome and out of place in the new setting as Stormcast Eternals would be if they showed up in Necromunda (or perhaps its more accurate to say that the new setting was unwelcome, I’ve never lost my love of Night Goblins – AoS on the other hand took a while longer to work its magic on me…). Their armybook, released back at the very beginning of 2019, gave them a new lease of life – and finally won me over. After all, if the old Night Goblins could be successfully reinvented for the Mortal Realms then maybe it was time for me to let it into my life – at least a little? Now that’s not to say I’ve turned my back on old Warhammer, but there’s no reason why I can’t enjoy both (after all, the world of square-bases and flank attacks was always my ‘bit-on-the-side’ in comparison to the grim darkness of the far future, it’s far too late for WHFB to try to hold me to monogamy now!).
Anyway, getting back on track (although that intro will prove to be important – see below!) this little band of miscreants all began when I spotted this part painted squig-herder lurking about on the painting desk and decided to get him finished.
As I was working on him it suddenly struck me that I could make myself another Warcry warband, and what could be more fun to unleash that the madcap japery of these evil little so-and-so’s? Now usually these new ideas blaze gloriously across my brain every hour or so, and most die with their passion unrequited in a dusty corner of my subconscious, but this one found fuel in my love of all things greenskinned and took off like a hurricane. Before I knew it I’d painted up a leader for the new band, a crazily bouncing Boingrot Boss riding on a big old squig.
Next I knew I had to incorporate a Sneaky Snuffler. I’ve been loving these models from afar since they were first released and was pleased to see them given rules for Warcry (after being left out of the original rules for the faction). Honestly they don’t seem to do anything particularly cool in the game, they just snuffle around looking awesome, but there’s no way I was going to miss the chance to include one all the same. Truth be told the backpack with all those little mushrooms in it, wasn’t the easiest thing to paint so I’m in two minds over how excited I am to paint the rest of them, but I’ll get around to them eventually.
Next I needed to bulk out the ranks with more nasty little gits. For this I turned my attention to my unfinished WHFB Night Goblin army. I’ve wrestled over the last couple of years with whether or not to add the new models to the old army, or rebase the old army and make them into an AoS army. Lately I seem to have settled on the idea of making the Gobbos into Gits and unleashing them on the Age of Sigmar, and instead painting up an army of Dwarves for WHFB instead. I know I’ve currently only painted one dwarf but Rome wasn’t built in a day, and presumably neither was the Ungdrin Ankor (that’s the dwarven underway for those who don’t speak dwarf). Starting as I mean to go on (although probably – let’s be honest – not for ages, I’ve got loads of other things I’m planning to tackle, but we can all have a good laugh about this when I finally get around to it in 2037) I grabbed a calculator, wrote a list for the warband, dug a few goblins out of the box where they were being stored and rebased them.
Lastly, the warband needed a pair of squigs. In my opinion squigs are a vital component of absolutely anything Night Goblin themed so there was no way I was going to leave them out.
And here we have the whole lot ready for mayhem!
I’m quite pleased with the range of warbands now available to me for games of Warcry. There’s the Iron Golem and Untamed Beasts that I painted from the original boxset, three warbands from the Destruction alliance (Ironjaws, Ogres and now Gloomspite Gits) and enough models already painted to field daemons of both Khorne and Nurgle, and a plethora of Skaven options (assuming I don’t mind them being on square bases – which frankly I don’t, as it means some of my WHFB Skaven army gets to see battle more regularly than it would otherwise). All being well I’d like to finish up the Flesh Eater Courts and Nighthaunt warbands soon too, then perhaps turn my attention either back to the factions that make up the core game (the Spire Tyrants are the current favourite) or perhaps someone to fight in the name of order and civilisation for a change…
Feel the ground shaking? Hear the screaming of the villagers? See the sun suddenly blotted out by the passing of an enormous shadow? Don’t worry – it’s only a tribe of giants stomping into town! That’s right, this weekend saw the arrival for pre-order of Games Workshop’s newest faction for Age of Sigmar; the Sons of Behemat. Oh and the screaming might just be people looking at the latest GW prices…
For those who’ve not been keeping up the Sons of Behemat are not a Mumford and Sons tribute act but instead a new army for AoS made up entirely of giants (or gargants as GW confusingly likes to call them now – in my mind gargants are plus-sized Ork Stompas for 40k, but in these changing and uncertain times it’s nice to know that GW will still ensure that their naming conventions are as complicated as possible). The old giants kit of yore has been renamed “Mancrusher Gargants” and make up the rank and file of the new army, whilst an impressive new kit brings us three flavours of Mega-Garagant, which is even bigger and more imposing than its predecessor.
Almost exactly a year ago today (it was the 12th of October 2019 but who’s splitting hairs?) I wrote an article asking where exactly GW planned to go next with the Destruction grand alliance. Order had really come into its own, Chaos and Death both had plenty of scope to expand, but what about the happy-go-lucky barbarians of Destruction? I’m increasingly hopeful, incidentally, that we’ll see the thuggish hordes of Destruction given a boost in the next edition of AoS, the first edition boxset featured Order vs Chaos, the second Order vs Death so it makes a degree of sense that we’ll see Order vs Destruction next time around. Or we might not get a starter set and instead just see a repeat of Indomitus – although hopefully they’ve learned something from that screw-up…
Anyway, when I wrote the aforementioned article I’d already been pouring scorn on the idea of an all-giants army, which various speculators and “rumour-mungers” had been touting as the next big thing, and I didn’t miss the opportunity to pour a little more, saying;
“The giants may have enjoyed a brief stint as a one model faction in the early days of AoS but the big oafs have been reined in by their destruction colleagues and I’d be surprised to see them go it alone again.”
Do pass another slice of this delicious humble pie…
The new Mega-Gargant kit makes three very different models, and it’s well worth giving them a quick look. First of all we have the Warstomper which is basically a normal, traditional giant.
Then things start to get weird with the Kraken-eater, a marine themed giant.
Lastly we have the hooded Gatebreaker.
Credit where its due GW has managed to make three very distinct looking giants out of one base kit. The core of each is pretty close to identical being built over the same chassis, yet slight changes to the positioning of head and arms make for very different poses (within a realistic scope of course – no-one was looking for a giant doing handstands or pirouettes – and if you are you’d better break out the greenstuff). Of the three the Kraken-eater is the most unusual – the other two are basically just straightforward giants, but the Kraken-eater has, for some reason, been decorated with all sorts of maritime gubbins. Without reading the army book I can’t say exactly why this is but my guess would be that, as the giants which are most inclined towards nicking everything they can get their hands on, they’ve been drawn to walking along the shores of the Mortal Realms looting shipwrecks. Being GW though it’ll probably be some overly-complicated pseudo-mythological bollocks instead.
I don’t have any particular problem with the Kraken-eater but I must admit I find them quite specialised aesthetically. Being able to make a marine giant is cool, but for my money a kleptomaniac giant with more generic taste in loot would have been better than one which exclusively hugged the tideline. A model tells a story, about what it represents and it’s place in the wider setting, and the story told by this one is not “some giants like to pinch things” but “some giants like going to the beach”.
In recent years GW have been leaning heavily into making everything as unique to their brand and intellectual property as possible (the Lumineth Realmlords – as essentially a High Elves analogue – being the main exception of recent times, although even they went for a unique spin with walking bull-mountains). Now this is no bad thing in my book, I like new and creative ideas more than rehashed clichés, and fantasy should be about exploring and inventing rather than sticking religiously to old ideas. However you can take this too far, and there’s a time and a place for playing it safe. Giants that steal stuff and load themselves down with loot is a well-established idea and one that lots of giant fans will be drawn to. Giants that go fishing is a bit more “out there” – it may prove to be the next big thing but equally it may not. Personally I’d have played it a little safer, not every single thieving giant in every Sons of Behemat army in the world needs to be a keen rockpooler on the weekends.
The other thing that’s causing ructions online right now is the price. This is the sort of topic that get’s the frothier end of the fanbase hot under the collar at the best of times, the First and Second World Wars seeming like mere blips in comparison to the rage and factionalism that breaks out on social media whenever the cost of a GW kit is mentioned. Mind you anything is usually enough to set social media groups at each others’ throats so we shouldn’t be too surprised. However there’s no denying this is a pricy kit, buy it full price from GW right now and it’ll set you back £120 in UK money. That’s a fair chunk of cash for one model in anyone’s book – although in fairness it’s also roughly 25% of a standard sized army, and represents a major painting project in its own right. I find myself wondering how the Sons of Behemat compare to other armies pricewise, after all they’re individually expensive but you need very few models. Are they really costlier than hordes of little dudes? I could probably grab a calculator and figure it out but alas I haven’t. Probably someone somewhere has a spreadsheet already…
I don’t know, because I’m not a fly on the wall of GW’s decision making process, but I do wonder if they might not have been better rearranging the contents of the sprues and releasing three different giants, each at a lower price. One set of sprues would contain all the parts common to each giant (the legs, torso etc) and whilst three other sets would cover all the parts needed to make each sort of giant. As it stands if you want to build a Warstomper you’re also paying for all the bits to make a Gatebreaker and a Kraken-eater which are then tossed unused into the bits box. Per my suggestion your Warstomper kit would contain only the common gargant frame, plus a sprue or two of those bits needed to turn it into a Warstomper. This would also leave the way open for more varieties of Mega-Gargant in the future, should the kit prove to be popular. They could even throw in a sprue of mutations and do a new army of Chaos Gargants somewhere down the road.
I suspect though that this would probably be more expensive to produce and package, and take up more shelf space as room would then be required for three Mega-Gargant rather than just one. Still I do like the Warstomper, and I could be tempted to get one, but the price is a bit too rich for my taste – especially when I’m paying for a load of bits – even if some of those bits will find their way into conversions at some point.
As an aside it’s worth noting that these are not the only “big giants” on the market. Mantic for one also produce a plus-sized giant. I’ve not bought anything from Mantic in years so I can’t comment on the model from direct personal experience but just eyeballing it online it does look like a nice kit.
Hopefully soon we’ll see a direct size comparison between it and the mega-gargant but I suspect there may not be a lot of difference, although the Mantic giant is probably slimmer. Here’s a size comparison between the Mantic giant and the old GW giant (the one now known variously as an Aleguzzler or a Mancrusher) borrowed from The Hobby Heroes.
Compare that to the picture of the Mancrusher and Mega-Gargant above and I think the Mantic giant would make a fine stand-in if you were thus inclined. Of course it’s the price that makes things really interesting, £25 buys you the Mantic kit which leaves you with £95 in change when compared to the GW offering. Go down that road and the Sons of Behemat could easily be the cheapest AoS army to collect.
Seen collectively the big giants towering over the smaller giants looks a little odd to my eye. The impression that one gets when looking at them is of two distinct size classes of giant, big ones and bigger ones, rather than a mixed tribe of mighty monsters. A friend took one look at it at and said “Ah, the big one is taking his children for a walk, he’s Behemat and these are his sons?” which isn’t an unreasonable conclusion to jump to I guess. Again I know it comes down to time and money, both things that GW have plenty of but which are not in unlimited supply even for them. However, if you’ll indulge me in a bit of wishlisting, I’d have loved to see a third size of giant somewhere in between the old Aleguzzlers and the new Mega-Gargants. Between them they could have created a range of sizes and a more natural look to the army as a result. Perhaps they could have used the Warstomper as the big guy (with a few alternative bits so you can personalise your own) and made the Gatebreaker and Kraken-eater a little smaller, perhaps alongside a third type. The resultant army would look a bit more natural with a mix of sizes.
Will I be signing up for an army of mighty, world-stomping brutes? I doubt it – I’ve got too many other projects on the go and my wallet is nowhere near deep enough to fund this kind of scheme (except, perhaps, at Mantic’s prices). Maybe, should the chance arise to snag a bargain in the future, I might get myself a Warstomper to loom ominously over my various Chaos and Destruction projects – he’s certainly an extremely cool looking model. Oh and somewhere I have a couple of old Aleguzzlers I was given by a mate who was having a clear out, maybe I should start by digging them out of whichever box they’re lurking in and giving them a coat of paint. After that, who knows – perhaps by then we’ll have seen the next addition to the Destruction line up, and at last the warlike lads will step out of the shadow of WHFB and follow in the footsteps of the other Grand Alliances with an AoS-unique faction or two. I loved WHFB and still do but we’re overdue for Destruction to leave the past behind and charge bellowing into the future.