Tag Archives: Age of Sigmar

Cursed City: Watch Captain Halgrim

Time to dip a toe into the filthy streets of the Cursed City and what better place to start than with Watch Captain Halgrim. Once a senior member of the city watch, when the vampires took over the city and the purges began Halgrim betrayed his oaths and turned his coat, signing on with the new overlords in exchange for joining the ranks of the undead nobility. Sadly for him his treachery failed to pay off in quite the manner he was expecting. To this day however Halgrim leads the ranks of the city watch – though now both he and they are nothing more than decaying automatons.

Cursed City Captain Halgrim AoS Warhammer Wudugast (1)Cursed City Captain Halgrim AoS Warhammer Wudugast (2)

It might be a while before I get around to painting the troops under his command but I’m certainly looking forward to them. Before that though, my next targets are a few skeletons of a different stripe…


Ghost Stories – Part 6

I do enjoy a good pun so discovering that this ghost who flies around hitting people with a bell is called an Extoller was almost enough to make me paint him by itself. 

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This model is intended to serve as the leader of a squad of Grimghast Reapers but as these come in squads of ten and I only own the four that come in the Soul Wars boxset (and I don’t even know where all of them are at the moment) he’ll be restricting himself to serving as an alternative leader for my Nighthaunt warband in Warcry. He’ll also be another entry to the “Paint The Crap You Already Own” challenge from Ann’s Immaterium.


The Lost City of Ulfenkarn

Yesterday I managed to knock off work early – which is nothing short of a miracle at the moment I can tell you – and spent my hard-won free time assembling some of the models from the new Cursed City game. Let me say this first and foremost, they are downright gorgeous miniatures and will be a real pleasure to paint. However, having found myself enough time to catch up on world events I also discovered this week’s big news – that Cursed City has mysteriously vanished, as though into thin air.

Cursed City Skeletons

I must admit, I wasn’t the slightest bit surprised that the game sold out so quickly. This has been a trend with recent releases from Games Workshop, with supply being far outstripped by demand – particularly on these boxed sets. Knowing that I wanted a copy, and reasoning that I would treat myself and get it straight away rather than wait until whenever it came back into stock, I set an alarm to remind myself and was waiting, wallet in hand, as soon as it went up for pre-order. I did not for a second imagine however that once it had sold out it would be gone forever. Indeed Games Workshop were quite openly promoting the idea that this game would be around for a while. It seemed natural to expect that this successor to Blackstone Fortress would be available in the long term, and just like Blackstone Fortress would have plenty of expansions to enjoy in the months and years to come. To illustrate the point here are a few comments that were made by Games Workshops promotional team on social media over recent weeks (cropped to protect the privacy of those members of the public who were being replied to).

FB Comment 1FB Comment 2FB Comment 3

Based on that one could be forgiven for assuming that you could take your time before ordering, plan your budget and buy a copy when it suited you, rather than having to shell out mere seconds after discovering the (not insignificant) cost of the damn thing. However the message from Games Workshop has now changed radically. As far as I’m aware the only official statement from GW has been this “tweet” posted on Twitter, which makes it clear that the game is now gone and gone forever…

Twitter Comment

Nor have they tried to make this announcement obvious. Instead it’s hidden away in a reply to a comment on a different topic, on a social media platform that many people don’t use (I know precisely zero people with a Twitter account) where it would be remarkably easy for it to go overlooked. Not that it has of course, judging by all the chatter that’s been generated online and the number of angry comments that appeared in that Twitter thread alone.

“But the plans were on display…”
“On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.”
“That’s the display department.”
“With a flashlight.”
“Ah, well, the lights had probably gone.”
“So had the stairs.”
“But look, you found the notice, didn’t you?”
“Yes,” said Arthur, “yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard.”

Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

I Hear You're Racist Now

So what happened? Frankly your guess is as good as mine, although lots of people are guessing and very few of them are giving GW the benefit of the doubt. They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity but right now it looks a lot like GW just spent the last couple of months drumming up interest, generating hype and focussing the attention of their fanbase on what then proved to be a spectacular own goal. It’s similar to the situation that arose with Indomitus last summer – with a few key differences. For one thing Indomitus was the “launch box” for the latest edition of Warhammer 40k – and that remains GW’s goose that lays the golden eggs, the behemoth that – regardless of what you think of it – dwarfs everything else in the miniature’s hobby without breaking a sweat. It was always going to be popular. Secondly GW made it very clear that Indomitus was going to be a limited release – and much as I disapprove of limited run releases at least they were upfront about it. Thirdly, when it sold out in precisely 3.5 seconds – reportedly making an absolute mint for GW in the process – they kept it on sale for a few weeks on a “made to order” basis. This time around none of that has happened.

Instead the game has vanished like a vampire caught in the rays of the morning sun, and GW would appear to be engaged in pretending it never happened. Scent of a Gamer reports that references to the game are even being removed from GW’s various websites and social media platforms. The past has never been altered. Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia. There never was a Cursed City and there’s nothing to see here…

Zombies

Based on what we, as outsiders, can see this appears to have been a last minute decision, made after the game launch was already well underway. Despite all the (completely understandable) ire that’s being flung in GW’s direction I don’t see any evidence that they set out to lie to their fanbase, although the above screenshots demonstrate that time has indeed made liars of them. We live in a world where politicians cry “Fake news” every time they encounter a story they dislike, NGO’s promote a platform of “no debate” rather than attempt to convince a sceptical public that their ideologies have merit, and campaigners will stubbornly repeat “That never happens” regardless of how much evidence is brought to them that the thing they want to assure us never happens actually happens all the bloody time. Is it any wonder that businesses too prefer to obfuscate their way out of trouble? Equally is it any surprise that a public which trawls through a slurry pit of conflicting lies and counter-lies on the daily news might be feeling averse to bullshit? I, at least, will attempt to be honest with you and say I really don’t know and can’t guess at what happened. Perhaps some catastrophic breakage occurred which left the mould needed to cast the models beyond repair? Perhaps they strayed into someone else’s Intellectual Property and found themselves at risk of being sued – just a little bit ironic given their past behaviour – although I admit I can’t see what exactly that might be.

Witch Hunter

Regardless of what happened I managed to snag myself a copy so I can now sit here, looking over the rage and disappointment that GW have spun for themselves like the smug, self-satisfied bastard I am. As I’ve previously mentioned the models in this box are amazing and I’m looking forward to getting to work on them – although I acknowledge that this will no doubt rub salt in the wounds of those who missed out.

Anyway, I’m off to pat myself on the back for having managed to quote both George Orwell and Douglas Adams in this post, then cry in the shower whilst muttering “Must get clean, must get clean” (a normal side-effect to looking at Twitter and no cause for alarm) before getting back to painting my lovely, and apparently now very rare, miniatures. If you have a Sherlock Holmes style deerstalker, or a tinfoil hat for that matter, feel free to wear them and expound on your pet theories in the comment’s section below. It may well be that they are as close to the truth of what happened as we ever come – although I’d have loved to be a fly on GW’s office wall over the last few days…


Orc Champion

I’ve no idea what the origin of this old Orc is. He’s been knocking around in my collection, started but not finished, for a good decade at least, possibly longer. The aesthetic of him reminds me very much of the models produced by Rackham for the – sadly defunct and much missed – game Confrontation. However I’m pretty familiar with that range and I’m fairly certain he’s not one of them. Any readers who happen to know where he came from please shout out in the comments.

Anyway, needless to say he’s been neglected for a long, long time – but he was never forgotten, which means he’s perfect for the Neglected But Not Forgotten challenge being run by Ann’s Immaterium.

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He didn’t actually take me that long to get him from his half-finished state to completed, maybe an hour or so, which goes to show I could have done it any time in the last ten years or so. Still, he’s done now and I’m pleased with how he’s turned out. Big thanks to Ann for running the challenge, I’m fairly sure he’d still be gathering dust without it!


Fembruary 2021 Round-Up

Whew – I don’t think I’ve painted so many different things in such a short space of time in my life! There have been times when I’ve painted a lot more models (69 miniatures in October 2018 being the highest monthly output since I started keeping a record although that was mostly a case of batch-painting Night Goblins so perhaps not quite as impressive as it first appears). This month I “only” managed 21 models, but they covered as wide a range of subjects as I could find – united by a single common theme, all of them were women. Yes we’re talking once again about the Fembruary challenge run by Alex of LeadBalloony.

Fembruary Round Up Wudugast ConvertOrDie

For those unfamiliar with the challenge Fembruary is “a time of year for us to collectively challenge the male domination of our collections, and commit to painting some female miniatures”. The description adds “it’s a simple affair, just paint & post one or more female miniatures from your piles-of-shame, in the name of fair representation within the hobby” and notes “given that this is intended as an encouragement to think about inclusion in the hobby then it makes sense if your entries are kick-ass ladies”.

This year I was feeling both particularly enthusiastic about clearing my backlog and at the same time thinking a lot about the situation facing women both in my own country and abroad. Currently the government here is looking to bring in legislation which could severely limit our ability to even discuss issues affecting women, whilst taking away the sex-segregated services they need. It goes without saying that a lot of women, both in my circle of family and friends and the wider public, are frankly terrified. I don’t really want to get into the specifics of the debate, partly because this is a blog about miniatures and not really the right forum for the discussion and partly because there are activists out there who think that the appropriate response to someone saying “women are people too” is to make death threats and I don’t need that shit. 

I try to walk a fine line with this blog. On the one hand I try to make my posts thought provoking when I can, and to dig a little deeper than simply saying “here’s a thing wot I painted”. On the other hand I’m very conscious of the fact that the world can be difficult, distressing and depressing at times and our hobbies are intended to be a release from all that. Then there’s the fact that,  although the blogosphere is considerably more civilised than, for example, Facepuke or Twitter, many people fear any kind of online social or political discussion in case it erupts into an orgy of spittle-flecked outrage. At the end of the day people come here to look at pictures of miniatures, and although it’s my party and I’ll say what I want to, equally I don’t want to be a bore or start a fight.

It’s also a long and complex matter to try to dissect but we find ourselves in the odd position where, when I participate in Fembruary 2022, I may have to describe the kind of miniatures I’m painting without using the word “woman”, in case by doing so I cause someone offence – which under new laws could see me sent to prison. I know that sounds ludicrous to most readers but misogynist activists are already jeering themselves hoarse and claiming that they’ll exploit the new legislation to silence anyone who disagrees with them.

It should go without saying that, no matter what cause someone claims to be standing for, if a women says she feels unsafe and someone responds by threatening her with sexual assault and murder then the aggressor should not be hailed as brave. Such behaviour will always be abhorrent, regardless of how they try to dress it up. Regardless of what happens with this particular instance of state-sponsored misogyny watching events unfold has really emphasised to me the viciousness with which women in particular are attacked for speaking up.  

Ours is a hobby which traditionally has been primarily male. The cliché of the out-of-shape, unwashed, nerdy (and of course  single!) male gamer is a persistent one – despite the fact that my readers are to a man handsome, hygienic and erudite sexual stallions. We have worked hard to invite women into our hobby and the increased number of women – both in terms of miniatures on our tabletops and human beings painting and playing with those miniatures – is something well worth celebrating. Of course there are areas in which things could and should improve, and of course there will always be those for whom nothing is ever good enough. We just need to keep trying, keep discussing, and keep working towards something that works fairly well for everyone in the room who isn’t a total arsehole – and that’s basically the best that any society can hope for.

Anyway, in an effort to stop myself grinding my teeth right out of my head, I’ve found myself leaning heavily on my “go to” for calming my nerves and maintaining my mental health; painting miniatures. As a result what started out as simply an exercise in gathering together all the unfinished female models on my desk and trying to get a few completed turned into something of a marathon charge into the “pile of shame”. Let’s take a look at everything I managed to complete (don’t knacker your eyes peering at it, click on it for a decent sized picture!).

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Not bad eh! I’m sure there will be plenty of hobbyists out there who could paint a lot more in a month, and to a much higher standard to boot, but this isn’t a race and I’m rather proud of my output. Along the way I added models to various ongoing projects and started a few new ones. We have three daughters of House Escher…

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…three Blood Bowl playing elves…

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… two explorers delving into the Blackstone Fortress…

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…the Imperial Guard commissar Severina Raine from the Black Library novel Honourbound

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…a Stormcast Eternal…

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…two dryads…

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…two Chaos Sorceresses…

Fembruary Round Up Wudugast ConvertOrDie (3)

…a Genestealer Cult Magus…

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…an agent of Tzeentch…

Kairic Acolyte Narvia Tzeentch Warhammer Wudugast (1)

… an old goblin witch…

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…one of the grand ladies of the Adeptus Mechanicus…

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…and a warband made up of the Daughters of Khaine.

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Things might be a bit quiet here for the next little while, and certainly quieter than they’ve been recently. This is the time of year when my work goes into overdrive and this year is scheduled to be particularly hectic.  I’ll still be painting miniatures when time allows though and I’ll try not to vanish from the world of blogging altogether, especially as I have a lot of projects up my sleeve that I’d like to be tackling soon.

Finally I’d like to give a shout out to Alex of LeadBalloony who organises this challenge every year. If you’re not already familiar with his work I highly recommend you go and check it out right away, and of course keep an eye out for the Fembruary round up, which he should be posting in the next few days, for a look at all the other talented people who’ve taken part.


Zarshia Bittersoul

So far most of the models I’ve painted for Fembruary have been what you might call “neglected models” – miniatures that have been sitting around unfinished for months or, in a number of cases, years. Either I bought them some time ago and then never got around to painting them, or I started them and then, for one reason or another, never finished them. This one however is very new, in fact she was only released at the start of last month and made her way to me just a few days ago. Did I leave her to gather dust before finally getting around to painting her? No, in a break with tradition I most certainly did not!

This is the scheming Chaos Sorceress Zarshia Bittersoul from the Khagra’s Ravagers set. She alone would have been enough to convince me to buy the set although the other three models are very nice as well (and of course I’ll paint those in due course too, although they might get the standard few months minimum spent dust gathering, just to ensure tradition is maintained!).

Chaos Sorceress Warhammer Wudugast ConvertOrDie (1)Chaos Sorceress Warhammer Wudugast ConvertOrDie (3)Chaos Sorceress Warhammer Wudugast ConvertOrDie (2)

And there we have it, Fembruary is over for another year. I’ve painted so many models for it this year that a round-up is definitely in order so I’ll get that written up and posted at some point in the next few days. Of course I’ve still got plenty more female miniatures I’d like to paint so expect the usual mix of boys, girls, daemonic entities and soulless robots over the coming weeks and months.


Goblin Witch

You don’t often see female greenskins so when I found this goblin witch from Knightmare Miniatures lurking in the unpainted pile I knew I had to include in my Fembruary painting marathon.

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The range of female miniatures available to me for this challenge has impressed me a great deal over the last few weeks. When I first participated in Fembruary back in 2018 I really didn’t have very many and it’s pleasing to see how much that’s changed in recent years. Partly of course that’s my doing – by a natural process of accumulation I now own more models than I did three years ago so I had more to pick from. However I’m also seeing an increase in the number of female miniatures on the market, and in an increasing diversity of roles. Where once I would have struggled to find much beyond sorceresses and the chainmail-bikini brigade now there are even goblin women. Long may it continue!


God Of Murder – Part 4

We’re into the last week of Fembruary now so it’s time to put the finishing touches on my Daughters of Khaine Warcry warband. Just like the two Witch Elves I showed earlier in the month these two come from the Morgwaeth’s Blade-coven set. Of course this also means that I only need to paint up Morgwaeth herself to complete another Warhammer Underworld’s warband so at some point I’ll do that too. For now though let’s concentrate on the final Warcry recruits.

First of all here’s a savage Sister of Slaughter, the berserker she-elves so savage that even the Witch Elves must look at them from time to time and think “Steady on”.

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Alongside her we have a second snake-bodied Melusai, this time in the form of a Blood Stalker. I must confess that I was struggling a bit with this one but, very fittingly for Fembruary, my fiancée gave me some very helpful pointers and stopped me from making a hash of things. The benefits of having a professional artist in the house!

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Finally here’s a shot of the whole warband gathered together.

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Although the warband is finished for now I’ve got various other Daughters of Khaine models I’d like to add so at some point I’ll come back to this project and add a few more recruits. We’re also almost at the end of Fembruary and for me work and other “real life” commitments are starting to get particularly busy. That said there are a few more models I’d like to complete that are within stretching distance of getting finished so we’ll see what, if anything, I can manage over the next few days.


Narvia the Acolyte

The very eagle-eyed reader may have spotted that, in amongst the various blue horrors I showed last month was this evil little chap.

Tzeentch Horrors Wudugast ConvertOrDie Chaos (5)Tzeentch Horrors Wudugast ConvertOrDie Chaos (7)

Personally I wouldn’t have known him from any other blue horror but anyone who’s a Warhammer Underworld’s aficionado might recognise him as a member of the Eyes of the Nine, the Tzeentchian warband from a couple of seasons ago. Mostly I bought the set for the leader, Vortemis the All-Seeing, one of the coolest looking Tzeentchian sorcerers ever made in my opinion. For those not familiar with him, here’s what the studio model looks like.

Vortemis the All-Seeing

The way I saw it, I was buying Vortemis and getting a bunch of other models free, and as the price for the set wasn’t too painful on the wallet that was something I was happy to do. Now as it happens I’m still to paint Vortemis but I did have one of his acolytes, Narvia, sitting on the painting desk – and as Narvia is a lady and therefore qualifies for Fembruary this seemed like a fine moment to get her finished.

Kairic Acolyte Narvia Tzeentch Warhammer Wudugast (1)Kairic Acolyte Narvia Tzeentch Warhammer Wudugast (3)Kairic Acolyte Narvia Tzeentch Warhammer Wudugast (4)Kairic Acolyte Narvia Tzeentch Warhammer Wudugast (2)

I gave her a dark skintone to help her stand out from the other Kairic Acolytes I’ve already painted (and because, speaking personally, I think she looks damn good that way). All being well I’ll remember this when I get around to assembling and painting her frenemy Turosh, the other Kairic Acolyte in the Eyes of the Nine set, and paint him the same way.

Kairic Acolyte Narvia Tzeentch Warhammer Wudugast (5)

For those worrying about what’s happened to my Tzeentchian cabal that I was working on back in January fear not, I’ll be getting back to them as soon as Fembruary is over. For now however I’m enjoying my marathon charge through all the unpainted ladies who’ve been waiting for attention on the desk.


Dryads

I seem to have something of a reputation as having something against elves but that’s really not true at all. As every Chaos fan knows, properly cooked an elf can be amongst the finest of all fantasy creatures! Back in the days of WHFB I toyed with the idea of starting either a Dark Elf army, a Wood Elf army or perhaps even kitbashing a combination of the two. Alas neither project ever got off the ground. In the case of the Wood Elves the miniatures generally left a lot to be desired and, despite a few stellar models that appeared in the later years, the range overall never really looked as good in the cold light of day as it did in my mind’s eye.

One set of models I did always like though were the dryads. I’ve had a set of them knocking around for absolutely ages but never quite got around to doing anything with them. However in the course of the headlong charge through my unpainted backlog that I’ve been undertaking lately I found myself thinking about these tree-women and, as they are fine candidates for Fembruary, I decided to assemble a couple of them and see how I got on.

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Just as my unrealised Dark Elf army is now finding a new lease of life via my Daughters of Khaine Warcry warband these woodland folk may end up following a similar path, I reckon I have enough kicking around to make a little warband. Who knows, I may even manage to paint some of the other treefolk ladies by the end of the month.