Ionus Cryptborn

Another Age of Sigmar model complete, this time Lord Relictor Ionus Cryptborn. I really love the skull mask on this guy which was painted Baneblade Brown, shaded with Agrax Earthshade and then worked up through Baneblade Brown, Rakarth Flesh and Pallid Wych Flesh. The rest of the model was painted the same way as my other Stormcast with an additional highlight of Mithril Silver on the armour and Vallejo’s Ivory on the parchments to make him stand out from the rank-and-file.

Ionus Cryptborn

Ionus Cryptborn

Ionus Cryptborn

Ionus Cryptborn

Ionus Cryptborn

Ionus Cryptborn


Welcome back. In my previous post I gave my initial impressions of Warhammer: Age of Sigmar from a painting and modelling perspective (spoiler alert: I love it). This post delves into the new background and rules that establish this exciting new age of Warhammer. I should also give a mention to the guys at Tabled Podcast who provide an excellent account of the background to Age of Sigmar which you can listen to here. Their podcast is one of the things that got me so fired up about the game.

A Brave New World

As I said in yesterday’s post, I have been steeped in the lore of the Warhammer World for twenty years now and fondly remember pouring over maps of the Old World in the Warhammer Quest Roleplay book (the first Warhammer Fantasy game I purchased). For this reason I was genuinely sad to see the world destroyed in the End Times. However, the Warhammer World had become static. We all knew what it was and its history and the clock stopped some time around (or just before) the Storm of Chaos. In my opinion, the End Times series was a fitting send-off for the Warhammer World and again I must praise Games Workshop for having the bravery to destroy their setting so thoroughly. Part of me worried that it would turn out to be a marketing ploy like the death of Superman or Knightfall in the ’90s and that after a few months the Warhammer World would be magically restored somehow or that Karl Franz would wake up in the shower and it was all a dream. However, GW have shown no sign of this happening and are instead committed to developing the Mortal Realms.

The new setting, with its diverse opportunities and mythic grandeur, has got me genuinely excited. We know that elves, men and dwarfs have survived but as yet have been told little of their history, territories or social organisation. Personally, I can’t wait for this to be revealed as GW develop their new setting. It finally feels like Warhammer is moving forward again.

The Warhammer World still exists as a ‘historical’ setting for those people who wish to set their games in the ‘World That Was’ (this is even made explicit in the warscrolls on GW’s website).

Stormcast Eternals

Liberator Statue

I couldn’t write a post about Age of Sigmar without mentioning GW’s new poster boys, the Stormcast Eternals. The company’s commitment to these new guardians of humanity is evident from the new statue at GW HQ shown above and these really are the protagonists of the new game.

I really like the background and models for the Stormcast and am eager to learn more about them. The idea of super-human warriors taking the fight to Chaos really appeals to me. At first I was a bit ambivalent about the models but after painting up a few units I have really fallen in love with them. They are fun to paint and, importantly as my gateway army back into Fantasy, look great with a simple colour scheme that is quick to apply. This means I can have an army of them painted up and on the table in next to no time.

Many people have compared them unfavourably to space marines and the moniker ‘Sigmarines’ is already a common pejorative term being used around the internet. However, I like the fact that 40k has started feeding back into Warhammer. Back in the days of Rogue Trader, many fantasy archetypes were ported over into a sci-fi setting and given lasguns and shuriken catapults. It’s nice to see this go in the opposite direction and for an element of warhammer 40,000 to be adapted to a fantasy setting.

The Best Things in Life are Free

Undoubtedly one of the major draws of the game is the fact that all of the rules are free to download. No longer do you need a rulebook, expansions, army books etc to play the game, cutting down the cost of entry. As someone returning to Fantasy after many years I no longer have to worry about which rulebooks are still current or compatible with the latest edition. I can simply download the warscrolls for whatever models I have in my collection and get playing.


Another common complaint. Again, as a painter and collector I really like the idea of not having to trawl through army books adding up the cost of units and picking out combinations of magic items. I know some people got a lot of pleasure from this, and it really is just a matter of personal preference, but as a casual gamer I am all in favour of it.


So there we have it. I can honestly say as a casual gamer who is mainly interested in painting and modelling this release is perfect for me as it does away with a lot of the problems I had getting into Warhammer Fantasy Battle. I understand it may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I for one will be embracing this new age.

Next time I will share my painting progress on the Stormcast Eternals. See you then.


This blog post may seem a little late considering the fact that Warhammer: Age of Sigmar was released a month or so ago and the internet has been awash with these kinds of posts for some time now. However, there are two reasons for this. Firstly, I didn’t want to write an impulsive, reactionary response to the release, instead preferring to wait and see how it developed. Secondly, I was not initially excited about the game’s release but, as more and more information has come to light with each new release, I have become steadily more interested.

I should begin by saying that, although I have been heavily steeped in the lore and history of the Warhammer World for twenty years now, I have not played a game of Warhammer Fantasy Battle or collected an army for it for a number of years. I have always liked the idea of having a Fantasy army, and have even made a few faltering starts over the years, but for some reason I have always found Warhammer 40,000 and the (now sadly departed) Specialist Games range more appealing. However, with Age of Sigmar I have finally taken the plunge back into Fantasy. Over the course of this and the next post I will try and articulate the reasons why.

Base Instincts

As a collector of 40k and Lord of the Rings I am obviously naturally drawn to smooth, inviting round bases rather than harsh, pointy square ones with their nasty angles and so the change to Fantasy on round bases was enough to draw me in. Joking aside though, as someone who is primarily a modeller and painter, I think the move to round bases has really helped shape my opinion of Age of Sigmar. Let me explain.

I know this may be controversial, and many people may not agree with me, but Warhammer always felt to me like a game of pushing around large rectangles (albeit ones with lovingly painted Citadel miniatures on them). I always thought that other scales (such as 10mm as used in Warmaster) were better suited to this style of game.

Another problem with square bases in my eyes is the constraints placed upon the miniature designers who have to consider how the models will rank up when assembled. While models may look great en masse when fully ranked up as a regiment, the individual models themselves tend to end up looking rather similar and lack dynamic poses. The Dark Elf range is a case in point: the new infantry models are well-designed and nicely sculpted but all rather mono-pose. The idea of painting up 20-30 virtually identical models to form a regiment is distinctly unappealing to me. At the opposite end of the scale are cool dynamically posed models that are a pain to rank up.

Age of Sigmar does away with these problems. The seemingly superficial change to round bases and 40k-style unit cohesion frees up designers and hobbyists alike and allows for more varied poses and more dynamic models. While some of the old Warhammer fantasy Battle kits suffer for being on round bases due to their static posing, the new models sculpted with round bases in mind look fantastic.

There’s No Limits

A chief complaint among those who dislike Age of Sigmar has been the lack of points costs, army lists or ‘balance’ (whatever that term might mean when applied to a game that revolves around randomness). For me, this is a sign that Games Workshop have been extremely brave with this release. For years now I have felt that many people have not been playing GW games in the spirit in which they were intended (as narrative-driven, story-telling games) but instead tried to force them into a competitive structure. GW have put their money where their mouth is on this one and done away with points all together. To me this feels like they are returning to their old roleplay roots and giving players a free pass to do what they want with their models.

Furthermore, as someone who is primarily interested in painting and collecting rather than gaming, this lack of restrictions is a blessing. I always felt that having to take x number of these units as a minimum and  y number of those units as a maximum was rather limiting. Now I can paint whatever I want and not have to worry about whether it is a ‘legal’ army or not.

The fact that these restrictions have been lifted at an army level as well (allowing you to field units from more than one faction so long as they fall under the same broad allegiance) allows for even greater freedom and the opportunity to create some great narrative armies. I’m already thinking of adding some Dryads to my Stormcast Eternals as they battle through the Realm of Life or some human refugees made from the Empire militia set. The possibilities are endless.

End of Part 1

These are just a couple of things that have got me excited about Age of Sigmar from a modelling and painting perspective. Join me next time as I run through my thoughts on the new setting and the rules.

Be seeing you.


Stormcast Liberators

Following on from Friday’s post, here are my Stormcast liberators ready to bring Sigmar’s justice to the Mortal Realms. The models were fun to paint. I used Games Workshop’s video guide which is a very quick and effective way to paint up Stormcast models, particularly when combined with Retributor Armour spray paint.

Here is a photo of all of the completed Stormcast models so far. Most of the army from the starter set is complete now, I just need to finish the Prosecutors and the two characters.

Stomcast Eternals

Stormcast Retributors

I am making good progress on my Stormcast Eternals and have completed the Retributors and the Liberators and nearly finished Ionus Cryptborn. I really feel like I have broken the back of this project and should have it finished soon. I must say, initially I was excited about the Khorne army in the starter set but I have really been enjoying painting these models; I may have to paint up some more Stormcast in the future.

Anyway, here are some more pictures of my finished retributors.

Stormcast Retributors Stormcast Retributors Stormcast Retributors Stormcast Retributors Stormcast Retributors Stormcast Retributors

Retributors WIP

Work on the Stormcast Eternals continues. The base colours and shading on the Retributors are complete, just highlights to go now.

Stormcast Liberators

Yesterday I said that I would show my progress on the Liberators. Well, here they are. The armour is finished and most of the other colours have been blocked in and shaded. I followed the video guide on GW’s website but used Macragge Blue on the shoulder pads rather than Kantor blue as suggested. This is both because I wanted a brighter blue and because I want to differentiate between the blue armour plates and the blue leather elsewhere on the model.

Here’s a close up of one of the Liberators.

Liberator WIP

Stormcast Army

I recently picked up the new Age of Sigmar boxed set from Games Workshop. I’ve never been a huge fantasy player but the models in the set are fantastic. The main draw for me was the Chaos army but I also fancied painting up the new-kids-on-the-block, the Stormcast Eternals. The idea here is to get them painted up quickly following GW’s official painting guide and then sell them on.

I assembled all of the models in a single evening (with the exception of Valdus Hammerhand who I will focus on individually) and yesterday I moved on to the painting.

Initially the models were primed black and then sprayed using the new ‘Retributor Armour’ gold spray. I must say, I really like this spray and it applied smoothly and evenly without fuzzing or clogging details. I used two thin coats here to build up the colour.

Stormcast Liberators

The models were then shaded using Reikland Fleshshade and edge highlighted Auric Armour Gold followed by Liberator Gold.

Stormcast Liberators

As I type, the models are much nearer to completion than in the photos but you’ll have to come back tomorrow for more pictures.

Review: Fifteen Hours

Posted: July 13, 2015 in Reviews
Tags: ,

The Cadian Shock Library

I recently came across a great idea by a blogger going by the name of Cadianshock to give away Black Library books. Essentially, the idea is that if you are the lucky recipient of a free book once you have read it you should also give it away for free. As an English teacher, this idea of sharing books really appealed to me and so I was very honoured to be the first recipient of a Cadian Shock Library book.

In keeping with the rules of the project, I too will be giving away the book to the first person who replies to this post expressing an interest. I will post the book, free of charge, to anywhere in the UK. If you are overseas get in touch and I will look into how much postage will cost you. Full rules can be found here.


Fifteen Hours is the debut Black Library novel by writer Mitchel Scanlon. The book is a tale of a young farm boy who finds himself conscripted to the Imperial Guard and leaves his quiet, peaceful world to confront the horrors of the grim dark universe that is the forty first millennium.

I must say, I have always been a fan of the Imperial Guard and one of my earliest 40k armies was the metal Cadian Shock Troops (sadly, long-since thrown away). It is a point frequently made (although no less true for that), that the guardsmen are perhaps the most relatable inhabitants of the 40k canon as they are normal humans struggling to survive in a hostile universe with little more than their training, faith in the Emperor and trusty lasgun. Scanlon really plays on this and the protagonist, Arvin Larn, is a very likeable character. He is essentially a naïve, Luke Skywalker-type character who leaves a simple farm life and finds himself plunged into a larger and more dangerous universe.

The book is well-written and fast paced and the plot rattles along nicely, following Larn’s home life, training and deployment. As one would expect from a Black Library novel, it is full of action but, where the novel really shines, is the dark humour running through the narrative. This really showcases the uncaring bureaucracy of the Imperium and Larn is sent to the wrong warzone because of an administrative error. This element of the story reminds me of the fantastic film, Brazil by Terry Gilliam and its one of the elements that sets the book apart from the standard military SF novel.

The training section of the novel is the weakest part and is full of clichés such as the angry, insult-hurling drill sergeant and is essentially Full Metal Jacket in space. However, once the novel moves beyond this it really improves and I found myself gripped by the action and hoping things would work out well for Larn (although the opening of the novel hints at his eventual fate).

Overall, this is a nice little novel and, while unlikely to blow you away, will keep you entertained for a few hours.

If you’re interested in reading this book, drop me a comment below and I will post it out to the first person who replies.


Recently, I have enjoyed reading a number of blogs which focus on what has come to be known online as ‘Oldhammer’. This particular moniker seems to have been around a while now and is generally attached to those blogs with a strong, or even exclusive, interest in early incarnations of Warhammer and Rogue Trader. One thing that struck me about these blogs was that they do not merely engage in warm-hearted nostalgia for the good ol’ days of lead miniatures, polyhedral dice and lengthy random-generation tables (although they do do this) but have a strong focus on the narrative element of Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 and are witty, mature and eccentric (much like the old GW ranges they cover).

I have added a number of these blogs to the blogroll and would heartily recommend them. Here are my favourites in no particular order.

Oldenhammer in Toronto

Classic Citadel miniatures and the games that use them.

A truly fantastic blog by Oldhammer enthusiast, Matthew Sullivan. The blog is very intelligent and literary and offers amazing insight into the world of third edition Warhammer and other games. Not only that but it show cases some of Matthew’s fabulous collection of vintage models including some great baggage trains. Although I don’t agree with all of his points (I got into Warhammer in the early ’90s and have a fondness for the models from that period), it is great to read a blog by someone with such passion for ’80s miniatures and for wargaming more generally.

The Lead Pile

The adventures of a wargames amateur trying to get stuff painted and the real life that gets in his way.

This is the blog of Whiskey Priest. The main focus of the blog is on pulp sci-fi with a strong emphasis on Rogue Trader.  The blog is well-written and contains a wealth of information on the early days of 40k. A particularly interesting series of articles on this blog covers the myriad influences on the development of early 40k such as Frank Herbert and Isaac Asimov. Well worth a read.


Cramped Combatant Contentment.

The eponymous blog of Sho3box. This is another pulp sci-fi blog which, although maybe not an ‘Oldhammer’ blog in the strictest sense, does feature a range of Rogue Trader and Judge Dredd models. Sho3box really embraces the story-telling aspect of the hobby through the use of small warbands and the Pulp Alley rules. The site features some excellent conversions and paint jobs. Check out his Guardians-of-the-Galaxy-inspired ‘Space Tree People’, a truly creative combination of Dryad and Tyranid parts.

Stro’Knor Macekiller

Oldhammer and Rogue Trader by Quindia Studios.

Another fantastic blog which combines old Citadel miniatures with those from other manufacturers. The blog is full of well-painted, colourful miniatures for both Warhammer and Rogue Trader. As well as focusing on the miniatures, the blog is currently in the process of publishing a chapter-by-chapter review of the original Rogue Trader rulebook which is very entertaining and informative. If you’ve never read this venerable tome or are new to 40k check it out, the author really captures the quirky and eccentric spirit of those early days of the hobby.

Realms of Chaos

Realms of Chaos is the blog of old-school gamer, Nico. This was the first real Oldhammer blog I encountered and I was simply stunned by his fantastic Skaven army which really illustrates how well those old ’80s and early ’90s models stand up today with a decent paint job. His Epic models were also a real inspiration while I was working on my own Epic orks. The blog really captures the intense creativity of those early issues of White Dwarf and is a real feast for the eyes.

Oldhammer Fantasy Battle

This blog by Peter seems to have only recently started up again and has only a small amount of content at present. However, it is worthy of a mention for Peter’s amazing Undead army. These skeleton warriors were the first Citadel miniatures I ever owned and I wish mine had looked as good as these.