Well here we are at the very end of 2015 and what a year it’s been! In fact as I sit down to write this review it’s hard to know what to pick as the standout moments. The death of Warhammer? The birth of its golden armoured offspring Age of Sigmar? Bloodthristers tearing their way out of the Warp and onto tabletops across the world? Harlequins?
If I had to pick one though it would be the arrival of the AdMech as a fully realised range of plastic miniatures. Now some of you are probably shaking your heads a little at that and thinking “What’s he on about? He’s not painted a single Skitarii! He can’t spell half their names! He’s a foul heritek, what does he care about the loyal servers of the Omnissiah?”
On that front I’ll admit to being guilty of all charges, but let me offer a few words in my defence. To me the Adeptus Mechanicus is the most iconic of all 40k’s factions (yeah, take it Space Marines!) but for a long time it looked like they were forever lost in the warp, their emergence onto the tabletop nothing more than a pipe dream. In many ways (and I’m sure some of you will be accusing me of being a GW apologist for this) their appearance gives me hope that – even if it takes a while – Thousand Sons, Noise Marines, Sisters of Battle, and all the other overlooked elements of 40k will someday make it onto the production line and into our homes. As a society we’re not very good at being patient but I’ve got plenty of models to paint and time enough to wait. The chances of anything coming from Mars was a million to one they said. Yet still they came.
I already expressed my enthusiasm for the release back here and trust me – I may not have painted any yet but their time will come.
Now before delving into my own output this year I do want to (briefly) mention Age of Sigmar (cue groans from the crowd and a hasty assumption of entrenched positions).
Warhammer fans study the latest release for Age of Sigmar.
I’ve not learned to stop worrying and love Age of Sigmar – in fact my long standing issues with Warhammer have been replaced by a rosy nostalgia that glosses over the cracks and makes AoS seem even more bland and uninspired than it would on its own merits. I’m from 40k after all where neophobia is less of a problem and more of a way of life. However I just read Godless by David Guymer and the Slaaneshi warriors are just spot on. The disappearance of their god has rendered them complex and nuanced in a way they could never quite reach when they were winning. Their lamenting, aching horror at the denial of their prince grants them a real depth and poignance. I almost don’t want them to find Slaanesh (in the overall story-arch of AoS I mean, not the short story itself – no spoilers here!). However I’m willing to guess that everything we’ve seen so far is the set up for the quest to see Slaanesh freed – accompanied by new models for the Elves and their Slaaneshi opponents. When that day comes I hope they take a few tips from Guymer’s text in describing the appearance of the Dark Prince’s servants – seeing characters of that style captured by the same team that brought us the Putrid Blightkings and Bloodreavers would restore Slaanesh to the glory she deserves both in the hearts and the collections of Chaos fans everywhere.
First of all though there’s plenty of other gaps need filled if Age of Sigmar is to rise from Warhammer’s shadow and I think we’d all be highly surprised if a big chunk of 2016 isn’t devoted to this. Current rumours suggest that Dwarves may be just around the corner (and apparently they’ve taken to communicating in text-speak and they’re after your gold).
Let’s be honest – after all that talk of Slaanesh the skull is really thinking “5318008”
Anyway, I’m not just here to talk about what’s been going on in the wider hobby. I’m also here to talk about myself because, to be frank, I think I’m really quite interesting. For me it’s been a year in which my hobby output has been defined by Chaos (with both a capital and a small c). My loyalist space marines have slipped to the very back of the backburner and my poor Orks haven’t seen a brush since January but the Beasts of Ruin have gone from strength to strength.
As soon as I’d finished updating my Orks I started work on a little band of Khorne worshipping Terminators. At some point I’ll probably add another four to reach Khorne’s holy number of eight (someone at GW must be kicking themselves thinking ‘They keep adding models to make squads of eight. Why didn’t we think to make Khorne’s holy number 30?!’)
I also upped the number of Helbrutes in my collection to four – including the Nurgle infested Igorin Rotbringer (second from the right). To the left of him you’ll see the Ironghast Fury – another of this year’s new additions and the first model I’ve created as part of an online event. Dreadtober ran through October 2015 and encouraged as many people as possible to produce a Dreadnaught/Helbrute/Deff Dread or similar. If you’ve not already been to the site it really is time you did, feast your eyes on inspiration here. I’m not ashamed to admit that the Fury would still be unpainted if it wasn’t for this event so this won’t be the last time I do something like this either.
As well as the new Helbrutes I also added some new HQ units including a fallen Grey Knight, and finally got around to putting paint on the Chaos Lord from Dark Vengeance.
Nurgle continued to be a big influence on me throughout the year – mostly as a result of my ongoing experimentation with the Putrid Blightkings. As well as the Helbrute I showed above I also created this Daemon Prince – easily one of the most difficult conversions I’ve ever attempted and a forceful reminder to me that if you keep pushing yourself you’ll create better and better models (or stranger and stranger at least). Read more about him here.
Continuing the Nurgle theme I also decided to come back to my Plague Marines, another unit which dates back to the very beginning of my Chaos collection. I felt it was time to bring the squad to a conclusion (and so inevitably started another straight away). You can see what’s planned for the second squad here and here . Don’t worry though, this won’t be the last you see of Golothess and the boys.
I’ve also managed to add three Dark Apostles to the ranks this year. One to speak to the followers of Chaos Undivided.
One to consecrate the skulls taken in Khorne’s name.
And one to preach to the servants of Nurgle, from the smallest virus to the mightiest Daemon Prince.
Obviously that means I ought to make one each for Slaanesh and Tzeentch as well. A job for 2016 then…
Another job for 2016 will be continuing to build up my squads of Nurgle Chosen and Terminators. As it stands most of them are still in need of paint but here’s the first two finished.And of course I finished off my first full squad of Chaos Marines (which you may recall I showed just the other day).
Not all of the followers of the Dark Gods wear power armour however and this year I was able to get started on a long standing ambition; the Lost and the Damned. Alongside Ad Mech this is the army that I’ve aspired to most over the years so I’m extremely pleased to have this little lot painted at last. Expect to see a lot more of them in 2016.
If recaps of the year are your thing and you’re starting to panic that I’ve almost run out of words then I highly recommend heading to Heresy and Heroes or Big Boss Red Skulls (the latter is particularly exciting because he talks about me!). I’m also waiting (im)patiently for KrautScientist’s annual Eternal Hunt Awards but sadly they’re not up yet. Keep an eye out though – he assures us they’re on their way and they’re always well worth a look. Edit: And as promised the first part of the Eternal Hunt awards are now up so if you’ve missed them, have a look here.
Hopefully that little lot should give you something to read until I’m back in the new year, accompanied by a retinue of cheerful, excitable and unhygienic sidekicks. You have been warned!