During the summer I tend to be out a lot, the pressure of work is high and finding time to paint miniatures isn’t always easy. I tend to start projects left, right and centre, and then find myself without time to complete them. By the time I sit down at the painting desk again something else has seized my attention. Now, however, winter has rolled around once again, the nights have drawn in and the days are cold and grim. Time to finish some of those part-painted miniatures which the hobby butterfly had previously danced around. Over the next few days I’m aiming to fight once again the endless battle against the tide of unfinished projects – starting with this hulking Ogre Irongut.
When I put together my Ogre warband for Warcry a few months ago I decided that one of the elite Ironguts would make a fine option to call upon should the puny species which attempt to defy the mighty Ogres prove tougher than expected. I started him whilst riding a wave of enthusiasm for the fat lads and now I’ve finally gathered that energy once again and got him finished.
I do enjoy painting Ogres, and the Ironguts are amongst my favourite models in the range so although I wouldn’t want to commit to exactly when I’m going to tackle more of them expect to see them lumbering over the horizon sooner or later.
With the winter nights drawing in I’m taking advantage of spending more time indoors and making a concerted effort to finish some of the backlog of partly painted miniatures which are currently cluttering up the painting desk. After all, whilst a well painted, or even just competently painted collection is a sight to behold displayed on the shelf or marching across the gaming table, no-one has ever stopped to admire a load of miniatures with the base coats half-done.
Today it’s the turn of the Signifer from my Iron Golem warband. As an optional extra that wasn’t included in my initial warband, he was somewhat left behind when I painted up the rest of them back in the spring.
The kit provides enough parts to build either a Signifer or a Prefector and, after considerable thought, I decided in the end to build the Prefector to begin with. However it was a close run thing and I was still keen to add the Signifer at some stage. Rather than buy a whole other box I hunted down the model individually, by which time the rest of the warband was almost finished. The Signifer was built by the time I finished the warband but he’s lingered unfinished ever since. Time to do something about that!
Here he is next to his alternative build, the Prefector.
And of course here’s the entire warband, completed at last.
For the moment I don’t plan to add anything else to this particular warband although I do enjoy unleashing them in the Bloodwind Spoil so who knows? In the meantime though there are plenty of other warbands vying for my attention!
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!
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!
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…
Since I finished painting those three chainrasps a couple of weeks ago I’ve been toying with the idea of putting together a ghostly Warcry warband. However, before I can do anything of the sort I had a problem to deal with. You see, those ghosts that I posted a mere few days ago were actually started many, many months earlier. How did I paint their tattered robes? What colours did I use, and in what order? Did I write it down, and if so where did I put it? So many mysteries, and so few clues to help me solve them!
In the end I just grabbed a test ghost and worked it all out again from first principles, ending up with something that I think is a fairly close match.
That done I turned my attention to the Dreadwarden, the leader of the new warband (and the leader of this nascent squad of chainrasps, should I ever paint enough of them to make an AoS army worth considering).
Here’s the whole swarm of little ghosts so far, ready to pour out of their open graves and carry off the souls of whomever has disturbed them (or whatever it is that ghosts get up to).
Lastly for today I wanted one of the Glaivewraith Stalkers. These are probably my favourite thing in the Nighthaunt range and, for my money, one of the most ironically “Warhammer” models ever made, real classics despite being relatively new. Naturally getting at least one for the warband was a must.
With these done the bulk of the warband is finished, although I still have a few other things to finish up. My partner and I kicked around the idea of a ghosts vs ghouls game sometime around Halloween so I’ll aim to finish up both warbands over the next couple of weeks.
I haven’t tackled any of the larger Warcry buildings in quite some time and I’d really like to get the full set completed so it’s time for another big old ramshackle ruin. As usual with these there’s not a whole lot more needs to be said, the size of these things always makes them a bit intimidating but otherwise it’s a fine chance to just let my hair down and go mad making a mess with washes and drybrushing.
With that done I’ve got one more big ruin and a bunch of rubble and barricades to finish the starter set, then I’ll have a think about what other things I can add to the chaotic landscape of the Eightpoints.
For a while I’ve been kicking around the idea of making some chaos chosen for Age of Sigmar/WHFB/Warcry (the latter winning out when it came to deciding what shape of base to use!). I like the idea of chosen but the current miniatures are a funny-looking bunch, not bad all-in-all, but not half as good as I remember them being from my youth either, and certainly not worth the hefty price-tag that comes with them. I’ve tried out a few ideas over the last few months and finally found something I’m fairly happy with.
He’s not a direct attempt to copy the official chosen champion but I do rather like that model so there’s a few references in there, particularly the mutated hand and arm (swiped from a very, very old, ill-conceived and horribly painted conversions, which even when I first made it – well over a decade ago, I knew was probably only fit for the bin). Here’s the official chosen champion from Games Workshop for reference.
Without any official chosen to hand it’s hard to be sure but if I recall correctly, they don’t look all that big these days. Not something that this guy can be accused of, he looks suitably imposing next to a normal chaos warrior (one who’s yet to catch the eye of the gods).
For reference his legs are from a stormcast eternals liberator, his head and axe are from the chaos knights, his torso the Khorne bloodwarriors, his shoulderpads from the bloodcrushers and his mutated arm from the chaos space marines possessed. The hideous mould-line down his arm, which I’m sure you all spotted and were repelled and disgusted by, will be dealt with ASAP (now that I’ve stopped being blind to it and it’s become glaringly and horribly obvious).
The eternal mystery of just who ate all the pies (the burgers and the fries) has been solved – it was these fat bastards. They also ate the pie salesman, his pie stall and the car he drove up in. Yes, it’s true – filled with enthusiasm for my ogre project I cracked on and painted up the leadbelcher, the one who brings a cannon to the knife-fights of Warcry.
I made one slight tweak to the stock model, adding a cannon wheel to the gun to make it look even more like he’s just picked the thing up (to the horror of the poor humans or dwarves who’d been crewing it and thought they were safely behind the lines). From some angles it covers up his pretty face but that’s a sacrifice I can make!
Of course the ogre army has never been just about the fat boys, someone needs to do all the work that the ogres are too big or lazy to bother with, not to mention providing a handy meal if times get tough. This role goes to the gnoblars, little greenskins related to goblins who live symbiotically with the ogres, doing the menial tasks so that the big guys can concentrate on eating and fighting, whilst being protected from danger by their bulky, aggressive masters (at least until said masters fancy a snack). Thus the final touch the warband required was a pair of the little dudes.
With these three additions the warband is complete – and turned around from start to finish in a week no less!
Here’s the whole crew, ready to get out there and pick a fight. I like to think that the gnoblar on the left is spoiling for a fight, backed up by his big pals, whilst the one on the right with his drooping ears and worried expression has a rather more pessimistic opinion of their chances!
I’ve enjoyed working on these a lot so I may well come back to them at some point, I have a few other ogres kicking around that I could use to make a full squad or two and I reckon it’d be quite fun to add a few Ironguts and see what they bring to the gang. Right now though I think I’ll turn my attention elsewhere and see what else is lurking on or around the painting desk and takes my fancy.