Well, that was 2021 was it? It’s been a funny year in some ways, as I look back I realise that quite a lot seems to have happened yet at the time it was over in a flash. Maybe that’s just a sign of aging and you’ll have me pensioned off and stuck in a home before I know it! At times it’s easy to look at the world beyond the hobby and fear that globally things are getting worse and worse.
But let’s not worry too much about our increasingly uncertain future and instead, gather round for a rambling and self-indulgent look back at my year in miniatures. Truly I spoil you all! Over in Games-Workshop-land the decline and fall of civilisation continued to bugger up the release schedule, although to be honest they release so much stuff, and at such a frenetic pace, that slowing things down a little actually helped me catch my breath. As the year began, Slaanesh – that most long-neglected of the Chaos Gods – received a well deserved boost in the form of new mortal followers. Time to indulge in some outrageous hedonism! As with any Chaos release I got quite excited and tried to budget for how to buy and paint absolutely everything. And as so often happens the limitations of having just 24 hours in each day and only 2 hands to work with slowed me. I did manage to paint up a Myrmidesh Painbringer though and I still absolutely love most of the new models so expect to see more of these appearing in the months ahead.
Hot on the heels of these party animals came animals of a different sort – specifically marsupials. The Lumineth Realm-Lords, released back in 2020, received a second wave of releases – bolstering the ranks of the range nicely. With the first wave of models falling into the odd position of being almost – but not quite – High Elves the second wave shifted them firmly into a new and creative direction. To be honest most of the new models aren’t really to my taste and I still think – despite many of my readers disagreeing – that it looks as though some of them are bouncing around on kangaroos, but there’s no faulting their originality.
April saw the arrival of one of Games Workshop’s biggest, and most heralded, releases of the year; Cursed City. This latest addition to the Warhammer Quest series launched with enormous fanfare, proving an instant hit with the fans, and continued to be talked about and hyped for months afterwards… Oh wait, scratch that last part, apparently Games Workshop suddenly decided just after it was released that it was only intended as a limited edition and started feverishly airbrushing it out of photographs and rewriting the history books. Naturally we mere mortals amongst the fanbase respected their sudden desire not to talk about it and didn’t indulge in wild speculation… Then, just before Christmas the saga took another unexpected twist when Games Workshop proudly announced that the game was coming back after all.
Anyway, as it happens I was one of the lucky ones who managed to snag a copy, and I’ve started chipping away at the models. At one time I planned to have enough painted to get in a game over Christmas but as so often happens my eyes were bigger than my stomach. Still I have managed to make a start, finishing the first few models from the set.
As it turns out however Cursed City was just the beginning and a whole wave of very cool-looking undead followed. So far I’ve not done very much about them apart from writing another enthusiastic editorial but given time I suspect a few more of these will be making their way onto the painting desk to join the ones I’ve already done.
One of the most controversial – not to mention biggest – models to appear this year was Kragnos, the End of Empires. Needless to say he inspired me to a great deal of pontificating and I stand by my assertion that he’s one of the coolest things that GW have done over the last few months. That said I doubt I’ll be painting him myself, and as things stand he really looks out of place alongside the orcs and goblins that make up the rest of the Destruction grand alliance.
As it turned out Kragnos signaled the beginning of a new phase in the Age of Sigmar story and the dawn of the Era of the Beast and this summer saw the launch of a new edition of the game (the 3rd for those keeping count), spearheaded by a boxset of Stormcast Eternals battling a new type of Orc, the Kruelboys. Again I didn’t miss the opportunity to share my thoughts with the world, and rattled my keyboard enthusiastically whilst indulging in some wild testiculation (that is to say, waving my hands around whilst talking bollocks). Now Stormcast Eternals aren’t really my thing but I was never going to resist new Orcs and managed to snag myself their half of the set from which I’ve so far assembled this little warband.
Nor are these the only orcs that I tackled this year, I also got around to painting up a bunch of Savage Orcs.
As for the Stormcasts I’ve managed to shock everyone, not least myself, by painting a whopping 2 of them. Wonders will never cease! Again though expect to see a few more popping up in the coming year.
As autumn rolled around we saw one of the biggest and best releases of the year as the Orks joined their cousins the Orcs and got their well deserved moment in the sun. When it comes to 40k Orks really are my first love, and my greenskin horde has been smashing its way through the 41st Millennium for many years now. Needless to say I’m over the moon about all the new models and even managed to paint some of them during the Orktober painting challenge (more on that below). Here’s all the Orks I painted this year (minus this Nob because I already had a group shot I took at the end of Orktober and I’m too damn lazy to dig everything out again to take another).
The final big release of the year for 40k came in the form of the return of the Black Templars. These are one of my all time favourite factions in the setting, and close rivals of the Blood Angels for being the best Space Marine chapter. The models didn’t disappoint and so needless to say I’ve been pouring over pictures of them with rabid enthusiasm since day one.
So far however I’ve remained strong and kept my wallet closed (for once) – I do have quite a lot of Space Marines to paint already after all. How long I maintain my resolve however remains to be seen. Then again it’s looking very likely that new Chaos Space Marines are looming threateningly on the horizon, with a few of them having already been previewed. Chaos Space Marines stand alongside the Orks as my favourite 40k faction (I just love a horde of angry barbarians!) and so it came as a bit of a surprise to me to discover that I didn’t paint a single one this year. I know, I’m as shocked as you are, I’ll change my name from Wudugast to Flabbergast! Still, with models like this soon to be released I reckon I’ll do better in 2022.
And whilst the ordinary Chaos Marines may have been neglected their Nurgle-worshipping cousins in the Death Guard were… well, they were neglected too to be honest, but they did at least enjoy enough attention to bring them up a (un)healthy 50 power.
Nurgle also got his greasy foot in the door over in the Mortal Realms as I put together a couple of warbands for Warcry, one of mortals sworn to the Plague Lord…
…and one made up of his daemons.
I started working on a duo of Tzeentchian warbands as well, and then got distracted and never managed to finish them. Still, change is always in the air so maybe next year will turn out better for them.
Necromunda remains one of my absolute favourite GW settings and this year we saw books released for the remaining Clan Houses (Cawdor and Delaque), expanding greatly on their background. The Delaque also got a new set of models, the Cawdor however were not so lucky. Instead of new champions and specialists that the other houses have enjoyed the House of Faith got a new kit for Redemptionists instead. This is something I’ve harped on about a lot this year so I won’t go over it all again, in summary my feelings are that the new Redemptionists are amazing but for me they will always be a separate faction to the Cawdor and the latter deserved new models of their own. Still, it is what it is and I’ve had a lot of fun kitbashing Redemptionists so all being well I’ll start getting some of them painted up soon.
As the year drew to a close we also got a new set of miniatures for clanless Hive Scum, and again I’ve been having fun putting these together so expect to see them appearing in due course. Both these and the Redemptionists can be fielded either as part of another gang or as a gang in their own right. That aside however 2020 and 2021 have been very much focussed on bringing new kits to existing factions – time well spent in my book, although I’m hopeful that 2022 will see new players taking to the stage on the polluted hive world.
As for myself I seem to have spent more time writing about Necromunda this year than I have painting or playing, my main contribution being these three House Escher ladies. Again hopefully I’ll do better next year.
Meanwhile Blood Bowl suffered an oddly quiet year. After all a new edition of the game was released at the tail end of last year, with all the fanfare that entails, I expected to see a few new teams appearing but in the end we only got the one, made up of the berserk warriors of Khorne. Still I didn’t do all that much better, I claimed that by now I would have painted up a Human team and an Elven Union team yet as things stand I managed just these three elven ladies. Of the humans there remains no sign…
On the other hand not all was lost, I did manage to paint a second greenskin team – the Black Orcs – which I managed to complete just a few days ago.
It wasn’t just about Gee-Dubz either. I may not have painted as many things from the wider world of miniatures as I have in previous years but there were still a few that managed to stick out their elbows and push their way through the Warhammer ranks. A Witchling Stalker from Malifaux snuck through like a sneaky ninja…
Meanwhile Corwyn the Hunchback was the first Drune Kelt from Confrontation I’ve painted in a decade. I’ve dug out the rest of his tribe from the box in which they were lurking so expect to see them popping up sooner or later.
Speaking of barbarians however one of the projects I’m most excited about at the moment are the savages of Hate.
I’ve had an uncomfortable relationship with CMON over the years, and after falling foul of their business practices one time too many I swore I’d never buy anything from them again. Time however has softened my youthful idealism. In recent times I’ve come to realise that by stubbornly boycotting them I’m only really punishing myself and as they make some damn fine miniatures it’s really only me that’s missing out. So, as well as the Hate barbarians I’ve decided to treat myself to some models from A Song of Ice and Fire, and started listening a bit more carefully to those mates who’ve been encouraging me to give Zombiecide a look. Expect to see something in this vein appearing in 2022.
One of the real highlights of the year for me was the Orktober painting challenge that arose between myself and my fellow warboss IRO. Here’s what IRO had to say about it in his own round-up of the year.
The Ork challenge in Orktober with fellow hobbyist and all round cool dude Wudugast was an absolute standout hobby thing for me in 2021. I liked trying to keep up with him. I like that we are both mad Ork fans. I liked that it was a draw, 37 all. Haha. Great fun and I’m really looking forward to doing exactly the same thing in 2022. Hopefully others might join in the fun too.
I honestly couldn’t have put it better myself; I really am an all round cool dude! For that matter IRO isn’t a bad bloke himself. Here’s a reminder of all 37 greenskins that I managed to complete in the month. Needless to say I’m already looking forward to the rematch in 2022.
With one painting challenge under my belt I headed straight into another one. I’d already set myself the task of adding something to my Adeptus Mechanicus collection every month of the year. In November however I decided to up my game and painted up the contents of the first Start Collecting set.
Added to everything else I managed to paint this year (and the few models I managed the year before) and here’s the state of the army as things stand.
Once again, I’ve still got a few more of these to paint so expect to see more recruits for the legions of Mars appearing in the new year.
Nor was that the only painting challenge I tackled in November, I also threw myself into the Movember painting challenge being run by Roger from Rantings From Under The Wargames Table. Here’s the mob of hairy gents I managed to paint, and I really do advice you to check out the rest of the participants if you haven’t already.
Of course no summary of the year would be complete without looking all the way back to Fembruary, the annual challenge to “for us to collectively challenge the male domination of our collections, and commit to painting some… kick-ass ladies” run by my blog-brother Alex of Leadballoony. This year I really threw myself into it and managed a total of 21 women covering everything from the Underhive to the Blood Bowl pitch, and the war-torn battlefields of the 41st Millennium to the Chaos Wastes.
One of the key challenges I set myself for the month was to paint up a warband of Daughters of Khaine, the savage she-elves of Age of Sigmar. Not only did I succeed but since then I’ve managed to add a few more, and I’m planning to tackle even more of them in the coming year (so expect to see an influx of them in Fembruary 2022!).
And if that wasn’t already enough elves to make people think I’d lost my Orky way and turned into some kind of flower-picking, daisy-tripping, tree-hugging, pointy-eared wimp I only went and painted a bunch of Sylvaneth as well. Don’t these fairy-folk just look delightful!
Anyway, that’s been my year in miniatures. Once again keeping the blog and reading about what other hobbyists have been getting up to has been a huge source of inspiration and motivation for me. Now with 2022 looming over us all in dramatic fashion there’s just time to wish all of my readers a Happy New Year and I’ll see you on the other side!