Tag Archives: Slaanesh

What Next Dark Gods?

Ask any fan of Chaos in the Mortal Realms where the biggest gap in the range was and, if they were honest with themselves, most would probably have agreed it was Slaaneshi mortals. Over the last few years times have been good for those like me who worship the Ruinous Powers. We now have well developed ranges with unique models and a distinctive aesthetic for each of the gods (that’s Khorne; god of war and violence, Nurgle; god of plague and decay, Tzeentch; god of magic and change and Slaanesh; god of decadence and excess). Gone are the days when I differentiated my Khornate troops from your followers of Nurgle because I painted mine red and you painted yours green. For a while there only Slaanesh, the longest neglected of the four gods, was left with a limited range but Games Workshop have turned that around in style, first by bolstering the daemons with some fantastic new recruits and now with a soon to be released wave of mortal followers, the first we’ve seen for Slaanesh in a very long time.

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It’s a huge boost to the range and the miniatures are exquisite, but rather than talk about them I’m here to speculate baselessly instead! Once the Dark Prince has his mortal followers in tow where might Games Workshop turn their attention next? Of course they might come up with something wildly different, the Mortal Realms offers a lot of scope and potential as the Warcry warbands proved, and if they went off to stake out new territory with something a bit more unusual I’d be all in favour. Plus there still gaps to be filled in the current ranges, I’d like to see unique looking daemon princes for each god for instance, light infantry for Nurgle and beastmen for both Nurgle and Khorne.

Indeed, speaking of which I just kitbashed a pestigor to join a little Nurgle warband which has been whispering in the corner of my brain lately. Shall we sneak a peek at him before we begin? Oh go on then!

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Beastmen

Ah the beastmen, men who have become beasts and beasts who have devolved into something akin to men. The horned ones, the true children of ruin who lurk in the wild places, driven by a hatred of all that is civilised and orderly. I’ve always had a bit of a soft-spot for these shaggy barbarians, being hairy and uncouth myself. In fact, now I think about it it’s strange that I’ve never really painted many of them – something I’ll have to rectify.

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This range of models dates back to Warhammer as was, and although there are some excellent models in there it also leans heavily on a lot of older sculpts, bulked out by models borrowed from other ranges like the Tzaangors. Plus there’s the fact that, despite beastmen being traditionally described as an amalgamation of beasts and men, “goatmen” might be a better name for them nowadays. Those of us who are still steeped in the old Realm of Chaos era will recall beastmen which hybridised all kinds of beasts with all kinds of men, but nowadays the braying despoilers of the forests seem to be almost exclusively Pan-like creatures with hooves, horns and long ovine faces. Far be it from me to question their commitment to disorder but a little more chaos in the mix wouldn’t hurt! The birdlike Tzaangors (see below for a couple of them that I’m currently working on) and the lanky, sinuous Slaangors which are soon to be released go to prove that Games Workshop aren’t unwilling to break out of the goat archetype however, and beasts of Khorne and Nurgle don’t seem too much to hope for someday either.

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Slaves To Darkness

Take a look at the Slaves to Darkness range (that’s humans sworn to serve Chaos undivided rather than dedicated to just one of the gods) and at first glance it looks pretty healthy, packed with lots of kits, many of which were released in the last year or so. Dig a little deeper however and you start to release that most of the range comes either from the Warriors of Chaos from the WHFB era or, in the case of the newer models, are borrowed from Warcry. Now personally I love Warcry, in fact I tend to take things from Age of Sigmar to make Warcry warbands rather than the other way around, but I’m glad to see the Warcry warbands given a home in AoS armies all the same. Likewise I was a big fan of the Warriors of Chaos and that range has some great miniatures that I’m pleased to see are still available.

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However there are some models in there which are undoubtedly past their best, like the Chosen and the Marauders. Plus there’s the fact that, before the End Times, the Warriors of Chaos made use of all kinds of troops dedicated to specific gods, all of which have since been split off to form new factions of their own. With them gone the range has been left looking a little thin. Time to give it a bit of a boost. Thanks to Warcry we know what the warbands seeking to join the Everchosen’s legions look like, but what about those legions themselves. Time to bring the warriors Sigmar abandoned into the modern era – after all we don’t want that weakling thunder god to think he’s getting everything his own way now do we?

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In the old days, when the heavily armoured warriors of chaos marched south to attack the Old World they did so surrounded by hordes of barbarian tribesmen, clothes-phobic folk who’s hardiness and bitterness against the weakling southerners may be partially explained by the fact that they lived in a frozen wasteland but nobody seemed to own a shirt. In this regard people from the British Isles will recognise them as being essentially Geordies.

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There are a few contenders for the title of “Worst Model in the GW Stable”, the Zombies and Skaven Plague Monks spring to mind, but the Chaos Marauders really have made a spirited attempt to claim that throne. Just a quick glance is enough to tell you that they’re past their best, if indeed there was ever a time when they looked anything other than awful.

Marauders models

 For a while there was a persistent rumour (and we all know how reliable those are eh!) from those who claimed to be “in the know” that Games Workshop were planning a new faction based around a range of new Marauder kits. Nothing has ever come of it, although we have seen a range of new Marauder equivalents in the form of the Warcry warbands, as well as troops dedicated to specific gods like the Bloodreavers of Khorne, the Kairic Acolytes of Tzeentch and the forthcoming Blissbarb Archers of Slaanesh, each of which is close to the Marauder archetype of old, and the Godsworn Hunt from Warhammer Underworlds. The rumour may have proved to be either a case of mistaken identity or wishful thinking but it’s still a good idea so who knows, perhaps someday we shall see the Slaves to Darkness split into two factions, the grim heavily armoured foot soldiers of the gods and the shirtless savages of the tribes?

Skaven

I know I sound like a stuck record here so I’ll keep it brief. The perfidious ratmen were my favourite faction from WHFB and over recent years I’ve painted up quite an army of them. Shall we remind ourselves of how they look? How could I ever pass up the opportunity!

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Of course being a fan of the Skaven means being a glutton for punishment. Despite their ongoing popularity the range hasn’t seen much love in a long time and many of them models are so old they came off the Ark, and so rough they look like they were sculpted by the animals therein (and not the ones with opposable thumbs) rather than Noah himself. Get the finger out GW, give my rats some love!

Chaos Dwarfs

An industrious race of slavers and daemonsmiths the Chaos Dwarfs were the Old World’s finest bull-appreciators and big hat wearers, famed for putting Nagash to shame when it came to outsized headgear. They were also wearing big cow horns on their hats long before Johnny-come-latelys like the Lumineth Realmlords rocked up.

Chaos Dwarfs

By the later era of WHFB however they were almost extinct, their range of models long out of production and their sole surviving representatives the crew of the Hellcannon.

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With the Hellcannon going the way of all things when AoS was launched the Chaos Dwarves passed into history, in the main Games Workshop range at least. Forge World however have done their bit to keep them alive in the form of the Legion of Azgorh.  

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Fantastic those these models are, a range which leans heavily on large and complicated daemon engines such as the Dreadquake Mortar (below) is going to be tricky in resin, and much easier for the average hobbyist to manage in plastic. Time to bring the bearded ones back I say!

Dreadquake Mortar

Chaos Gargants

From one end of the scale to the other, if we’re going to have Chaos Dwarves then why not Chaos Gargants? It’s not much of a leap really, there are already Chaos Giants and the new Mega Gargant kit contains a variant, the Warstomper, which can be taken by Chaos forces. Already I’ve seen plenty of them converted to be even more chaotic just as when the Imperial Knight kit was released many of us started welding on spikes to turn them into engines of the gods. After a few years of this GW yielded to the inevitable and produced a dedicated Chaos Knight kit, so it doesn’t seem beyond the realms of possibility that the same thing might happen with the Gargants.

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Ogres and Trolls

Back in the old days all kinds of trolls and ogres shambled to war alongside the Warriors of Chaos. These days however such creatures exist almost exclusively under the remit of the Destruction faction (those who are particularly long in the tooth will recall Chaos orcs but let’s not go that far back!). There’s no reason not to bring these brutes back though, perhaps under the banner of the Slaves to Darkness or the Beastmen, or even as a faction of their own. Alternatively there could be versions of each of these incorporated into the four armies of the gods, each tainted and twisted by the favour of their particular patron, just like the Bile Trolls and Plague Ogres that formed part of Tamurkhan’s Horde in the latter days of WHFB. Regardless of which route was taken these brutes have plenty of potential, after all, as the Trogherds of the Gloomspite Gits demonstrated, people love big ugly monsters. 

Those are my picks for the future development of Chaos in the Mortal Realms but what about you? Are there any of the candidates above you think are particularly deserving, or any that you would have preferred to see abandoned to the history books? Is there a faction in waiting that I’ve overlooked? As ever the comments section is all yours. 


Ready To Rock!

Alright 2020, let’s get this party started!

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Scream for me Cicatrix Maledictum! I got this amazingly bombastic Noise Marine as a Christmas present to myself back in 2018, got him 90% painted straight away and then ground to a halt, after which he just sat there gathering dust as the months passed. I wasn’t going to let another year pass without getting him finished. He was an absolute joy to paint, I don’t let myself play with gaudy outrageous colour schemes nearly often enough! Insert your best gurning and air-guitar here!


Heresy of Us

If you haven’t already been to check out the blog Heresy of Us then it really is about time you did. Chock full of the kind of grubby, Blanchesque madness that makes 40k great its host takes things up a notch by combining the traditional kitbashing and greenstuff with bespoke components brought to life by the modern wizardry of 3d-printing. Best of all, for those of us less technologically gifted, there is Black Earth.black-earth-logoAs producers of additional components for converters go Black Earth is a company so new it’s positively embryonic but given the depths of creativity on show at Heresy of Us expectations are already running high. In time it’s planned for the project to grow into a webstore providing a range of bases and other bits for convertors looking to add a unique spin to their models. One of the first creations to be unveiled have been a set of prototype Demonic Femes (see the image below which shows the figure looking disturbingly like a serial killer’s victim in its unassembled state).dfemme-teaserObviously these are perfect for those who’re looking to convert daemonettes which nod more towards Slaanesh’s aspect as a god of twisted sexuality than the comparatively family friendly models of GW’s recent past. With their outsize, balloon-like breasts and near skeletal thinness they take many of the tropes associated with modern ideas of beauty and stretch them to breaking point. This is where the very worst of body image problems takes us. It works because it isn’t trying to be sexy. If anything its disturbing. Too often those who try to ‘adult-up’ Slaanesh end up with a clumsy attempt at soft-core pornography (and regardless of how exciting one might find the latest plastic kit, or a rediscovered oldhammer classic – if you’re aroused by your toy soldiers you probably have a problem. Sorry it had to be me that told you…). These however circumnavigate such silliness and go straight for being disquieting. Placed firmly in the badlands of the uncanny valley they flaunt their sexual aspects in a way that could never be actually sexy and pricks uncomfortably at our mental programing. Of course depending on how adventurous one wishes to be there’s no need to stick to Slaanesh with a brainstorming session raising ideas that ranged from arco-flagellants  and dark eldar to beastwomen and wood elf wardancers. What’s more I’m able to put one of these ideas into practice as Mark, the man behind Heresy of Us, was kind enough to send me one to review.

I knew straight away I didn’t want to just add her to the ranks of my much neglected daemonettes where she would have stood out like a sore thumb (being for one thing a little on the tall side compared to the GW plastics) and which would have failed to do justice to what is after all an almost unique prototype model. Instead I decided to create a daemonic champion, thus giving myself the opportunity to let my hair down and create something suitably strange and ghastly. The result is this Slaaneshi gladiator. Who says the champions of Khorne should rule the fighting pits? black-earth-demonic-femme-convert-or-die-3

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black-earth-demonic-femme-convert-or-die-4 As with any conversion feedback is greatly appreciated. I also strongly advise you to swing by Heresy of Us and take a look at some of the other weird and wonderful creations on show there. At the moment  they’re running a promotion to give away some of their new skull stacks (and as everyone who loves the Warhammer universes knows you can never have too many skulls). skull-stackAll you have to do is click this link to find their contact details (and get a look at those skulls) then drop them an email and ask nicely and they’ll send you a stack of skulls absolutely free. Best to get on with it though as I’m led to understand that they’ve only got so many to give away and when they’re gone they’re gone. All they ask in return is that you send in a picture of what you use your skulls for, so what are you waiting for – they’re free!


Slaanesh Built My Dreadnaught

You crept into my bones that night in La Fenice, crept in and changed me forever. All these millennia you have slept whilst I have paced, restless and hungry – first in flesh and then in iron. Others wept and raged as their broken bodies were carried from the battlefields and beaten into unfeeling ironframes. I felt nothing. Since the day I fell free of your possession, since the tide of your control rolled back and left me, a puppet without a master, alone on the cold shore of freedom I have felt nothing! No acts of debauchery, no mutilation of flesh, not the braying of the great horns of battle or the slaughter of brothers and slaves alike has stirred in me the ecstasy you brought before you abandoned me at Terra’s walls. When the First Primarch fell and we fled from the golden walls of the False One’s palace you discarded me and left a hollow in my heart, a cold stone that has never healed or warmed since. What did it matter if I walked the stars as a man, or an ironform, or if I no longer walked at all; when all passion was denied me?

Only now do you creep back in, now that Terra is once more in our sight. What is ten thousand years, after all, to one such as you? Have you even felt the ages of my suffering? You exulted in our master’s glory whilst I was cast aside, spent and forgotten, one of Fulgrim’s chosen yet treated no better than a flesh thrall!

How I hate you! How I love you! Claim my soul! Warp my flesh! Let the horns of war scream out once more!

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Well here we have it, my Dreadtober contribution finished at last (although we’re now almost a week into Cheatvember!) Lately I’ve been finding my enthusiasm for painting at a bit of a low, and I know this held me back considerably on this project, as well as draining my interest in all my other schemes as well. Particularly since visiting Warhammer World my imagination has been bursting with new ideas and crazy conversions but the desire to actually apply a paintbrush to any of them has been distinctly lacking. What’s more as the number of unpainted models continued to mount up I felt increasingly guilty about building more without painted the ones I’d already made. In some ways I hoped that Dreadtober would give me a push to actually get on with things, after all there was a deadline to be met and a lot of people who’d notice if I failed. As it turned out it did help but not until the very last moment.

The issue, I came to realise, was not dissimilar to that which felled the Emperor’s Children themselves – and so perhaps it’s fitting that it took a Slaaneshi dreadnaught to make me aware of it. By constantly trying to improve my skills, by striving to make every model better than the last, I’d drained a lot of the pleasure out of painting. Not every model needs to be a golden demon winner – indeed that’s not something I’d consciously aspire to. Art should be organic, both in its creation and its outcomes. In striving for perfection I’d made a rod for my own back. Instead I should have accepted that nothing I could create would ever be truly perfect and just had fun with it. Photography gives us crisp realism, paintings give us brushstrokes. The flaws in live music give it a quality, some might say a soul, that overproduced recordings cannot match. In an age of Hollywood blockbusters theatre has not died. Art needs to live. By setting goals which were unachievable I left myself unable to achieve anything. As a direct result of my determination to produce models which were always better than before I found myself producing things which I was less and less happy with. The more I tried to force myself to improve the more I wanted to take each model and throw it against the wall. Hardly the outcome one wants from a hobby which one intends to be relaxing. Time to change my outlook.

With this in mind I decided to let my hair down a little and just enjoy painting, and what a difference it made. Freed from my self imposed restrictions I took on my Dreadtober challenge with a new gusto. Ultimately we can’t all be Golden Demon winners and shouldn’t aspire to be. We are all craftspeople, all creating little pieces of art in our own style. Too much planning, too much fretting over details, and the process of creating becomes a chore.

For me painting miniatures should be more like sketching, taking an idea and giving it shape without worrying too much over the minutia. I’m not espousing laziness or sloppiness but I am saying that, for me, creativity is more important than perfection – which is why when I go to the Sea of Souls Tzeentch will claim me before Slaanesh does. Ironically the end result of this revelation is a model I’m particularly proud of, indeed – in my opinion – it’s one of the best things I’ve created in a while.

Anyway, enough waffle – you came here for pictures and you shall have them!

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dreadtober-convertordie-5The knee-guard is finally re-attached.dreadtober-convertordie-3All the faces that didn’t work out as I wanted them to for the Warp Amp found a home on the base.dreadtober-convertordie-6Finally here’s a group shot of all my current Slaaneshi models.dreadtober-convertordie-8Once again I’d like to offer a huge “thank you” to Joe at Broken Paintbrush for making Dreadtober 2016 a success, and of course congratulations to all the other participants – whether they have a finished model to be proud of or just one that’s still half paint/half aspirations. As usual any comments or feedback are appreciated!


Cracking the WIP – Part 5

Well the end of Dreadtober is just around the corner and, as you can see, I’ve come close but I still haven’t quite made it. However the Dreadtober event will be running for one more week so those of us who’ve failed to achieve our target can enjoy a ‘cheat week’ and still join the ranks of our brothers to receive praise and accolades. Luckily Slaanesh enjoys praise above all else and has no problem with a little light cheating, Plus, at this stage, the longer I spend on him the better he looks – and the followers of Slaanesh know that if there’s one thing better than praise it’s looking good.convertordie-dreadtober-sonic-dreadnaught-wip-1

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As usual feedback is always appreciated, and don’t forget to head over to the official dreadtober site at Broken Paintbrush where a showcase of everyone’s achievements will be appearing shortly.


Cracking the WIP – Part 4

Just a quick update on my DreadTober progress. What passes for daylight at this time of year is playing hell with the camera so I’m struggling to get any pictures that bring out the highlights properly (chalk that one up next to all the other excuses on this project!). As you can see there’s still a way to go with him (and now only a few days to go!) but he’s getting there at least. As usual comments and feedback are appreciated – and don’t forget to take a look at the official Dreadtober page to see what all the other participants are getting up to.dreadtober-4-1

dreadtober-4-2Oh – and pay no mind to that hideous looking green  and brass pipe work on the warp amp, that’ll be getting fixed ASAP!


Cracking the WIP – Part 3

Nobody said it would be pretty! Not at this stage anyway. The first layers of paint are down. Washes have been sloshed around. Brushstrokes are everywhere. Somewhere Duncan Rhodes is screaming. 10 days to go!dreadful-dread-1-convertordie


Cracking The WIP – Dreadtober Part 2

Two weeks into Dreadtober and the conversion of my Slaaneshi sonic dreadnaught is finally complete (barring odds and ends like the shin armour which will be kept separate for painting and added back in later). slaanesh-sonic-dreadnaught-convertordie-wip-1

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The claw-arm is now looking much better with the inclusion of some cables to anchor it to the rest of the model. slaanesh-sonic-dreadnaught-convertordie-wip-7

I’ve also finished off the warp-amp with a few chains to hold it in place (providing some visual consistency with the Nurgle helbrute I built last year). slaanesh-sonic-dreadnaught-convertordie-wip-6

With two weeks to go the first layers of paint will be going on soon but in the meantime your thoughts and feedback are very welcome.


Cracking The WIP – Dreadtober Part 1

Ah, the first Dreadtober update! I had such plans you know! Such things to show you! Alas my grand vision remains unfulfilled. Between work’s cruel yolk and the loving embrace of Grandpappy Nurgle, wrapping his arms around me, blessing me with his gifts and begging me not to leave him for Slaanesh, my progress has been slower than I might have wished.

Now that’s not to say I’ve got nothing to show you, it’s just that I planned to have the model completely assembled and ready for paint already and it’s simply not got there yet. Still, this is one of the most complex conversions I’ve ever attempted, an amalgam of plastic, plasticard, metal, resin and greenstuff so I shall be kind to myself and remind myself that getting this right is the most important thing, and that’s there’s still a lot of month to go.

Still – enough excuses! I have at least managed to get this monster to a stage where it can be tacked together enough that you can get a feel for how it’s going to look on completion, and get your feedback in. sonic-dreadnaught-convertordie-1

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As you can see there’s still a bit of work to do before he’s ready for paint but progress is being made. The claw arm needs a lot of work before it’s ready to be attached properly and will most likely be raised a little, the tack isn’t strong enough to prevent it drooping under its own weight (insert your own Slaaneshi joke here). There’s also a bit more greenstuff work to do, the base needs done and both shin-guards are coming off so it’s easier to freehand/sculpt/whatever I decide to do with them. Here’s a close up of the arm which as I say still needs a lot of greenstuff before it’s ready to roll. sonic-dreadnaught-convertordie-5

And here’s a look at the howling faces on the warp amp. sonic-dreadnaught-convertordie-4

There’s also a few ideas which I originally planned for this dread but which are proving unsuitable in practice. Slowly they coalesce at the back of my brain, drawing in scraps of other ideas and generating fresh ones. After all once I’ve made a dreadnaught for Khorne, Nurgle and Slaanesh then poor old Tzeentch is going to be feeling a little left out…


Resurrecting The Lost Factions of 40k?

Over the last year or so 40k has changed considerably. Things which we once believed to have been banished to the dusty corners forever are back. The Adeptus Mechanicus have marched out of their manufactories with the might of the Imperial Knights by their sides. Once more the Wulfen howl in the night, whilst the Harlequins spring forth from their library and the Genestealer Cults come crawling from the shadows. It’s enough to make one wonder what’s left. If Games Workshop are trawling their own history for ideas – and frankly that’s good news in my book – then can there be much left to resurrect? Well, once I sat down and started writing a list, it turns out there’s quite a lot…

We Are Chaos!

Let’ start with the forces of Chaos – a faction naturally close to my heart. In many ways Games Workshop have built themselves a beast that’s difficult to ride here due to the sheer multifaceted nature of a faction that straddles both of its central games systems. There are four pantheons of daemons, a very conservative five ‘types’ of chaos marines (one for each god plus unaligned traitors – and that pushes the likes of the Iron Warriors and Night Lords to the fringes once more), the traitor guard and then the same again on the Fantasy side of the fence. Keeping it all fresh is a mammoth task and there’s always going to be someone who feels that their particular element of the faction is being under represented with releases.

On the plus side Chaos has always been a convertors’ army. By cannibalising Warhammer and Age of Sigmar both Khorne and Nurgle fans can create a plethora of futuristic barbarians, whilst those who’s taste is for bitter old legionaries need only visit Forgeworld’s Horus Heresy range. This opens up the opportunity for Games Workshop to thin down the task into something manageable. Of course everyone has their own personal wishlist of things they’d like to see – personally I’m looking for multipart cultists, obliterators and something to be done about the tanks (ten thousand years in the Warp and all that’s happened to them is someone’s nailed on a few spikes).

Over in Age of Sigmar the forces of Chaos have been split down into a whopping 20 factions (frankly I may have miscounted – once the numbers get that high I start to get dizzy). Of course that includes the Skaven, as well as factions like the Chaos Gargants that only include one model, but my point stands. Perhaps the problem in 40k is that everyone aligned to Chaos is crammed  into just two factions – Chaos Space Marines and Chaos Daemons. Compare this to the five different colours of Loyalists and we start to see a discrepancy. Should Blood Angels and Space Wolves exist as a single unit entry in Codex Space Marines in the same way as Plague Marines and Thousand Sons do? Would the servants of the gods not be better served with a Codex and model line all of their own, separate from  – but supported by – a central Chaos Codex? Many people are starting to think so. Of course if they did take this route there’s a couple of the gods just dying for their place in the sun at last…

Bring The Noise!

Grab your long grubby mac – it’s time to talk about Slaanesh! These days the Prince of Pleasure seems to be suffering from something of an image crisis. Rumour and supposition abounds that Games Workshop are wary of upsetting their younger fans – or more accurately their credit card wielding parents – with too much naked hedonism. The god’s absence from Age of Sigmar has only served to fan the flames, although personally I’m struck by how much attention Games Workshop have deliberately drawn to this, suggesting that they’re setting up the return of the faction at a later stage in the advancing storyline, probably alongside a relaunch of the elves. Whether this (hypothetical) resurgence of love for the Youngest God makes its way into 40k or not remains to be seen. If not we can always hope that a few kits of similar quality to the Blightkings might do for Slaanesh what the festering fatmen did for Nurgle, in terms of conversion fodder. Given a bit of love and attention however and the followers of Slaanesh have the potential to develop into one of the most stylish and visually arresting factions around, with sonic weapons, body modification and plenty of glamour abounding – and with not a boob in sight if that’s how the designers want to play it.

I could probably spin my notes for this out into a blog of their own if I let myself (or perhaps even a book of roughly War-and-Peace like proportions) but I’ll restrain myself to saying that – although I’m not promoting prudishness – a version of Slaanesh that focuses more on the decadence and weirdness and less on the tits and ass is a sacrifice I’m perfectly happy with if it brings She-Who-Thirsts back into the game.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes!

Almost as overlooked as Slaanesh is his/her brother-god Tzeentch, and like the Prince of Pleasure the Changer of Ways also has an image problem. In the case of the latter it’s less a matter of offending the buying public (although personally I reckon anyone with a sense of athletics is liable to find those pink horrors offensive) and more a case of creating something that makes sense out of a concept that is essentially ephemeral and ever changing. It’s a tricky one but – amongst the daemons at least – Tzeentch’s followers are now fairly well represented. I might have preferred something a little more ‘Lovecraftian crawling horror’ and less ‘cartoon character’ but that’s a matter of personal taste. Now it would be nice to see some more emphasis on the god’s mortal followers; mad sorcerers, mutants, beastmen and of course the Thousand Sons themselves. Of all the gods Tzeentch is the chance for them to be the most creative, to come up with something visually arresting and unique. Fans are already producing some wonderfully strange Tzeentchian creations (check out these from Big Boss Redskullz for example) but more official support for the faction would be extremely welcome. In the wake of the Skitarii they’ve demonstrated that they’re more than capable of realising their grim-dark weirdness in plastic and models like the Gaunt Summoner show they still have good ideas when it comes to Tzeentchian weirdness. Time to bring them out of the shadows I say!

Guant Summoner

The Gaunt Summoner – a sign of things to come for an expanded Tzeentchian faction?

Tide of madness: This classic Tony Ackland picture captures a large part of the horror and strangeness that I would like to see associated with Tzeentch in the future.

Nuns On The Run

The other day I stumbled upon some notes I’d made for a blog post I’d intended to write but which never saw publication. They dated back to the very early days of this blog and referred to some early, sketchy, ideas I’d put together for my traitor guard (long before the project actually got off the ground). In it I quipped that much as I was looking forwards to plastic Sisters of Battle they’d better release plastic Mechanicum first, and maybe revisit the Wulfen whilst they were about it! Oh how I must have chortled to write those words. After all, plastic Sisters were certainly only a few months away at most – whilst the chances of anything coming from Mars were, as we all know, a million to one. Who would have imagined that the passage of years would see the priesthood of the Omnissiah reborn in stylish plastic, whilst the brides of the Emperor continue to languish in an ever decreasing collection of elderly finecast and metal?

It’s not just the girls in power armour that are missing though, it’s the whole ecclesiarchy. The vibe of 40k has always been both grim and grand, darkly gothic and gleefully over-the-top all. The Church of the Emperor has always been the epitome of this, and provides a way to bring that look onto the tabletop without needing to change GW’s established formula for other major branches of the Imperium – particularly the Space Marines and Astra Militarum.

In some ways I can understand GW reluctance to move here – and I’m sure there are plenty of senior managers there shaking their heads and wishing they’d never got into this. The fact is if they play it too safe there’s bound to be complaints that they’ve failed to give the faction its due, yet go too risqué and controversy will undoubtedly follow. It’s Slaanesh all over again. However between the bondage nuns and the catholic pomp however there lies a window of opportunity in which to recreate a faction which not only has a legion of dedicated fans in its own right but also provides an opportunity to round out the Imperium as a whole. My solution? Make the faction more about the Ecclesiarchy, throw in more weird and wonderful machines (the Exorcist is already an organ on wheels – and not in the Slaaneshi sense…), avoid over-sexualising the female characters (never really as big an issue here as it’s been made out to be) and bring the armies of the faithful back to the forefront of 40k where they belong.

Penitent Engine

The Penitent Engine – brilliantly encapsulating the pomp and strangeness of the 41st Millennium.

Guards! Guards!

I talked about this just recently so I’ll keep this snappy to avoid repeating myself. I also accept that this isn’t so much a missing faction as an overlooked element of one that already exists – and in fairly large numbers.

However the fact remains that the Imperial Guard are extremely well represented when it comes to models – so long as you like Cadians or Catachans. If, on the other hand, your predilections lean towards any of the other famous regiments – or even just something a little more in keeping with the 40k aesthetic than Rambo and the Little Green Army Men then your options are thin on the ground.

As it stands the Astra Militarum (as I’ve still not learned to call them) range is pretty well fleshed out, with most options now available in plastic and more tanks on show than a goldfish emporium. Now’s the time to bring back the Steel Legion, Talarns, Valhallans, Vostroyans and all the rest – and create a faction worthy of the diversity that is the core of the Imperium.

Roguish Types

In spite of everything I’ve said above regarding the Sisters of Battle and the Imperial Guard the Imperium is actually extremely well stocked with factions. In many ways this is their right – the story of 40k is, after all, the story of the Imperium at the moment of its decline and fall. The other factions exist almost entirely as counterpoints and adversaries, their differing philosophies used to bring perspective to the story of the Imperium,  their armies the savage beasts which will pull the realms of men down.

None the less, with five types of Space Marines, two (easily combined) sections of the Adeptus Mechanicus, the Inquisition, the Assassins, the Knights – plus the aforementioned Sisterhood and Guard – do they really need another? I would argue that the answer is yes, we need the Rogue Traders. The conquistadors of the far future have been part of 40k for such a long time that the original game was named after them, yet they remain an unexplored faction. Giving them their own range would not only offer another opportunity to dig into the weirdness that is 40k’s trademark but set up another angle on the grim-darkness, the grasping greed and expansionism as opposed  to the oppression and desperate clinging to power that the other factions already cover.

A Little Help From My Friends

The Tau Empire has always been marketed as the great coalition – dozens of species brought together in the name of the Greater Good. The fish-heads are ever optimistic about recruiting more races to join their quest for a new, hope-full and inspired galaxy. Unfortunately for them all the big names prefer xenophobia, planet-wide brutality and the mocking laughter of thirsting gods but one can but try. However as the Tau range has expanded we’ve seen more and more of their high-tech fighting prowess and less and less of their alien allies. In some ways I can see the value in this – by introducing all kinds of strange aliens there’s a risk of it looking like a rabble on the tabletop. Nonetheless the concept remains at the core of the Tau background, and yet appears on the tabletop only via some increasingly elderly-looked Vespids and Kroot. With the Tau range now armed to the teeth with fancy walkers (with even fancier guns) maybe it’s time to get out there and start making friends?

Vespids

Always the Bridesmaid – Never the Flesh Eating Alien
Continuing from that last point brings us neatly to the Tau’s oldest – and bestest – friends of all; the Kroot. Yet for all their supposed camaraderie with the space-communists the Kroot are an altogether more complex beast than is allowed by their status as perpetual best friend and bit-part sidekick. Their strange ecology whereby all the creatures of their homeworld look a lot like each other not only brings a unique visual style to 40k but undoubtedly makes for some unusual creation myths (what Kroot-Adam got up to with the birds and beasts of Kroot-Eden is probably best left to the darker reaches of fan-fictiondom…).
What’s more their background paints them as roving mercenaries and bandits, happy to lend a hand to whoever will feed them and not above savaging outlying colonies if they don’t get their way. The Kroot also have a pre-existing range that would make them perfect for a smaller codex not dissimilar to the Harlequins. The Carnivores squad has stood the test of time fairly well but new Kroot Hounds, a clampack Shaper, a revisited Krootox weapon platform, some kind of elite or specialist unit and of course the obligatory big kit in the form of the return of the big chap below – and we’re all set for the people of Pech to throw off the Tau’s shackles and take their rightful place in the galaxy.

btknarloc4

All this and no mention of the hairy bikers (not the chefs but the Squats)? It’s probably for the best! What about the Hrud or the Zoats, the Custodes or the Arbites? If there’s a faction you think I’ve missed, or if you think I’m wrong and you want the world to know about it, then speak your mind in the comment’s box below.