The Dust Settles on Week 1

Tidy Desk

Week 1 of my 52 Week Challenge has gone fairly well although it has rolled over a little due to the sheer scale of the amount of tidying and sorting I’ve had to do. Significant quantities of sorting, binning and re-arranging has occurred and I’ve now got numerous piles of old miniatures that have been bundled up and need to be passed onto new homes. Last night I finally sorted out my two modelling areas so they’re usable again and a lot of the bits underneath the desks have been relocated into better homes.

So what’s my Week Two challenge?

Finish Tidying & Complete Imperial Knight Skeletons

Week 2 has the potential to be a sizeable challenge. Today is Wednesday and I’m out this evening and Friday evening so will need to motor. With luck the Imperial Knight skeletons shouldn’t be too big a job as I managed to do some more on them Saturday evening, however I do have lots of pipes I need to paint and I’m sure more bits will present themselves as I inspect. At some point in the future I also need to decide if I varnish them or not. I’ve mixed feelings as I do like the mixture of finishes but varnish does protect them from action on the battle table.

Now onto the slightly more exciting part of the post (I’m sure most people don’t get excited with seeing pictures of somebody else’s tidy room). I am happy to say that I’m now the proud owner of the new Forge World Masterclass book and a Starter Set of Adeptus Mechanicus!

Forge World Heresy Masterclass (Volume One)

Heresy MasterclassThis book is one of the most eagerly anticipated books Forge World have released for a while. We’ve been tempted with teasers and hints since before the Warhammer Fest event in 2014 and it was finally available to purchase at the Games Workshop 40th Birthday Event run on the 2nd/3rd January. Although I didn’t manage to get to the event (my shoulder still preventing me travelling that distance) a friend kindly picked me up a copy and I’ve been avidly reading it between then and now.

The book takes the same format as the previous two Masterclass books thankfully using the latest Citadel Colour paints and (on the whole) the new Forge World range – the very first Masterclass book used a lot of oil paints so it’s a welcome change. It’s a substantial hardback tome full of amazing pictures and information on how Forge World achieved certain effects. As in previous books, it assumes that you’re a competent modeller & painter and use a bit of brain power as you’re going along. The book begins with an in-depth guide for a Questoris Knight painted in traditional Mars colours, it then goes onto an Imperial Fist tank followed by an Imperial Army tank and so on, culminating in a couple of dioramas. Each section gets smaller and less detailed as the book progresses and there are a few points where the text basically goes “This is Horus”.

If you try to follow one of the first three articles as a step-by-step, then your end result isn’t going to match the picture. There are a number of steps that are completely missing in the articles – wash stages seem to be the most common. Anybody with half a brain can work out what you need to do, but I don’t know why the “in depth” articles are missing anything. Also if you’re thinking of picking up this book so that you can paint your rank and file legion marines then you’re going to be disappointed. The book does feature a few marines but not that many and it’s clear that the Sons of Horus article was done prior to the creation of their own paints, lazily displaying the mix colours used and then adding a footnote of “we now produce our own range of paints”. Certain legions are also missing entirely – including the Death Guard.

Would I recommend the book – resoundingly YES. I’ve already improved the skeletons of my Imperial Knights using washes I lifted straight from the book and am veering towards the amazing glossy red colour for their armour (potentially with glossy black accents). It’s a good update from Masterclass Book 1 with entirely Games Workshop produced paints and additives so no more oil washes and such like. For £30 the book is a steal, although one word of warning – it does rely heavily on using an airbrush to achieve a lot of the effects.

There are a sadly few disappointments. The book feels like it was rushed in places, missed steps (especially in the early articles) could have been easily remedied and the Sons of Horus article needed to be re-written using the new Forge World paints, not doing this was lazy (bear in mind the rest of the book does use the new paints). The hype also led me to expect something slightly different. I had hoped for more commitment to showing how to paint legion armies rather than how certain display pieces were made and I don’t understand why the book didn’t focus more on the Istvaan legions. That said it is a Masterclass book and is only volume one – it was never intended to be used as a paint by numbers for somebody who’s never painted before.

Overall Rating 8 / 10

Starter Sets

The New Year, New Army boxes
The New Year, New Army boxes

Over the New Year, Games Workshop rolled out one of their usual “Get into the hobby” campaigns. Nothing new here, if you went into a store with a friend and purchased one of the boxed games containing a ruleset, you’d both get a voucher which was pretty cool. A week later and Games Workshop announced their “New Year, New Army” campaign alongside a number of “Starter Sets”, coming in at £50 and containing a small starter army, clearly intended to take the position of the old Battleforce boxed sets (which have ballooned in cost and contents). Nobody really took much notice until it was announced exactly what each boxed set comes with and the fact that these Starter boxes aren’t limited run and going to be an off the shelf product.

Broadly speaking, each boxed set provides a saving of 30% off the individual pieces, most boxes containing an HQ choice, Troops choice and vehicle of some kind coming in around 400 points. The savings means in most cases you’re getting the vehicle for nothing… Element Games is selling these for £39.99 which suddenly means that a starter set is a phenomenally good deal. There is also another hidden nugget – each starter set contains a formation which means that you can field them legitimately as part of a Battle Forged army. As with most formations you also get a special rule when fielded in a particular manner, the ones I’ve heard of don’t seem over powered.

Credit where it’s due, Games Workshop have released something that is fantastic in almost every aspect. Cost wise it’s really good value for the contents especially if you get it from somewhere like Element Games – £40 is affordable in a way that £60 isn’t. The included formation means that it’s a brilliant starting point for a new army or ally for an existing force as it can be fielded as per the box. For some armies it also would make a fantastic expansion force and it wouldn’t surprise me to see something come along later in the year intended to expand on the miniatures in the starter box.

It’s been my intention to give my Space Wolves some Adeptus Mechanicus allies at some point, so I picked up one of the Adeptus Mechanicus stater sets. This is a bit of an oddity as it contains a Dominus, unit of Skitarri and Onegaer Dunewalker. The Skitarri codex doesn’t have any HQ choices, so having a Dominus HQ is interesting and supports the rumour of a joint Skitarri and Cult Mechanicum codex later in the year. The formation is for a Dominus Maniple and allows failed to hit rolls for units within 6″ of the Dominus, what’s interesting is the formation only allows Skitarri Vanguard not the other Skitarri troop type. That said there are no limits on options – and stick a kitted out Dunewalker next to the Dominus could be horrible…

Overall Rating 9/10

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