Well Warhammer Fest 2016 is now over and the dust is settling and I am really happy to say that I personally enjoyed the day I went. I took a lot more pictures than I realised (over 80) which I’ve popped up into a Flickr Album.
Warhammer Fest Organisation
The Games Workshop Events Team has had a somewhat rocky start and there has been a number of times where things haven’t run very smoothly. I am really pleased to say that I saw none of these at Warhammer Fest this year! We arrived Sunday about half an hour before the doors opened and were early enough to queue within the main part of the Ricoh, within five or ten minutes somebody came down the line taking our ticket and handing out lanyards and telling us that our bag will come shortly and somebody in a green top would be coming down with seminar tickets. True to his word we were passed our red bag containing the event programme and various leaflets and stickers and shortly after two people with seminar tickets came down which meant that we picked up tickets for the Forge World seminar and also a Black Library seminar which we’d not intended to do. The queue started moving not long after 9.30 and we were in the first hall pretty quickly.
There were only three seminars this year: Forge World, Black Library and Licensed (aka computer games), what was really nice is that these were done both Saturday and Sunday and repeated in the morning and afternoon – so there really was no excuse to not get to one or these. The seminar hall was sizeable, had air conditioned and plenty of seating for all. I chose not to go to the Licensed seminar, not because I don’t think the games are amazing, but because I know I’d loose hours of my life if I did!
Forge World Seminar
As tradition now dictates this consisted of Tony Cottrell and Alan Bligh going over Forge World’s upcoming releases and answering questions in their own unique and entertaining manner. Most of the items had been shown at the Horus Heresy Weekender, but the model photos were more advanced.
Interesting Forge World are increasing the amount of Age of Sigmar miniatures they’re making with a Fimrach Noble being added (complete with human skin cloak) and an early work in progress shot of a Khornate Dragon with Lord which has been completed and is ready for production. Tony wasn’t able to get a photo before Trish cut it up to be molded.
A new Imperial Armour book is underway “The Fires of Cyraxus”. Tony confirmed that they’ve dropped the numbers associated with the IA books because they couldn’t agree with if they were on 14 or 15, plus nobody really cared anyway. Cyraxus is a Tau vs Imperium campaign, focused on the almost forgotten Forge World of Cyraxus. The Tau wish to expand into the system as it is mineral rich, the Imperium is seeking to bring the Forge World back into the fold and a number of Space Marine chapters looking to resupply after various long running campaigns (see previous Imperial Armour books). The Red Scorpions see a return in this book, but leaderless since Culln was turned into soup by the Tyranids. They’re being led by Captain Casan Sabius, but Culln does make a return in a Leviathan Contemptor Dreadnought. Most importantly this book brings a number of Mechanicum units into the 40k universe. Alan confirmed that there are risks with using technology this old however.
The Tau are getting some new goodies in the way of more weapon options for the KX139 Ta’unar Supermacy Armour – Nexus Meteor Missile System and a Heavy Rail Cannon. A new Barracuda has been released which is much sleeker than the previous incarnation.
The Iron Warriors Brass etch is up for release along with decal sheets for the Space Wolves Legion, Thousand Sons Legion, Blackshields, Sons of Horus and World Eaters Legion. Alan confirmed that they try not to simply re-print decal sheets and do a reworking each time to add variety and improve. He also confirmed that the stylised red wolf is Leman Russ’ personal emblem. This goes a little way to explaining why we don’t have a classic rogue trader wolf logo any more. I saw some of these on miniatures later on in the day and the unit markings (tactical, assault, devastator etc) are actually made from knotwork.
They showed the event only miniature and confirmed that he’d be available for the next year. I have since heard a report that he does have a name, so it may well be he appears as a special character in a book once he’s gone out of production in the same way as the Alpha Legion character from last year.
There is now a range of pointy stick accessories for many of the legions. Basically pole arm weapons for those that use them. We’ve got Scythes for the Death Guard, Power Spears for the Emperor’s Children, Nostraman Chainglaives for the Night Lords and Boarding Shields and swords for the Ultramarines (because they didn’t want a stick).
The Ursurax are now in production, some were available over the weekend but I expect to see them on general release in the next couple of weeks.
The “not a plague drone” miniature now has been given its own category of “Stratos-automata” and the one we’ve seen classed a Vultrax. As I’ve said previously the sculptor really wants to sculpt a number of variants of this which I would imagine will depend upon the success of this one – I repeat again – this is not necessary the version that becomes the plague drone! I imagine we’ll see others in the future that may match that more closely.
The design for the Mechanicum Macrocarid Explorator has been revealed and it’s a beast. The weird love child of a Sand Crawler, Dune Harvestor and Land Raider with a bit of the Thundercats Tank thrown in for good measure. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this appear in the new Imperial Armour book as it’s being pushed as something that has been about since the beginning of the Mechanicum and is highly customisable for whatever role it is being used for and normally the Magos’ personal transport.
For anybody who has a growing Imperial Knight Household, three new Cerastus Knight Head variants have been sculpted. It might have been me mishearing but I’m also sure I heard Alan say that there are variants for regular Knights too…
The Knight Porphyrion appears to have been given a bit of a rethought and has grown by roughly 33%, now sitting between a Cerastus Knight and a Warhound. This is quite an interesting move and clearly steered by the new Imperial Armour book as it looks like this will be the counterpart to the Tau Supremacy Armour.
The Warlord Titan now has a Plasma Annihilator and Power Claw. Although I’m never likely to own one, they’re really nice looking weapon options. There are also a new head (Lucius-Alpha Pattern), new crew and shields.
The Secutarii are almost ready for production! The Hoplites are the ones with shield and spear. Alan explained that the shields force fields overlap, so the more you have near each other, the better protection they provide. The spears also fire lightening, but at a short range. The Pelastus have grenade launchers that can fire a whole range of different grenades. They will be in the new Imperial Armour book and as covered from the weekender, form the bulk of the troops tasked with defending Titans from infantry assault, rescuing Princeps and defending fallen Titans.
Various pieces of artwork were revealed from Book 7: Inferno, including a lovely Leviathan Space Wolves dreadnought (apologies on the awful picture). Finally a picture of Leman Russ was shown and although I’m biased I reckon he’s the nicest Primarch miniature they’ve done yet. I did hear that although they are being sculpted, Freki and Geri won’t be released at the same time. The reason being that it would make Russ out of line with the other character miniatures, both in scope (3 miniatures) and price point. There is talk that Russ will be on sale in limited numbers at the Forge World Open Day…
Black Library Seminar
For the first time in years I went to a Black Library seminar. Curiously (but unsurprisingly) most of the discussions were about the 30k era and following on.
Five new book covers have been revealed: The Ether, Echoes of the Imperium, Leman Russ: The Great Wolf, Praetorian of Dorn and Corax. I’ll be honest and admit that I should have taken notes so apologies if I miss anything and add it in later 🙂
Corax is going to be a collection of all of the Corax short stories and audio books in a single narrative.
James Swallow is working on converting all of the Garro audio books into a single novel. This will include a number of new items and reworks as the Garro audios were created as audio scripts and not stories.
Beast Arises and Primarchs were both a test to see how fixed book count (and multiple authors) campaigns work and it would appear that they’ve worked really well to the point Black Library have now coined the phrase “Events Series” for this type of release. By getting multiple authors and a finite number of books, it’s possible to release a series within a fixed time frame which people appear to be lapping up. Laurie Goulding said that as they’ve got a term for it expect more series like this.
The Beast Arises was quite an interesting part of the seminar as it explained that the Orks are more unified than the Imperium and how as Ork society grows it “unlocks” abilities and new types of Orks appear that fulfil specific roles in the society and pose the question what would happen if they were left unchecked – they could end up as a highly advanced and sophisticated society. It was also hinted that the in-fighting was an evolutionary step to (I guess) build up a hierarchy, so basically in the 40k universe by preventing their expansion we keep them at that dangerous phase.
The next book in the primarchs series will be Leman Russ – which I expect will sell ridiculously well…
A new Inquisitor trilogy is currently in the works focused on what was my favourite Inquisitor from the game – the Xenos hunting Covenant! I believe that it’s John French writing this who seemed quite enthusiastic.
Needless to say the idiotic question on the missing two primarchs was asked – I really don’t understand why people constantly ask this and expect to get an answer. Games Workshop has kept the two missing primarchs deliberately vague and although it has been discussed behind the scenes the purpose of them is to add mystery to the whole background story. That’s not to say they’ll never be covered, but there is no intention to do so anytime soon.
One really nice point that Laurie Goulding confirmed is that they are more than happy to write stories in the Warhammer Old World (Time of Legends technically). Just because Games Workshop isn’t developing the Old World and has blown it up for Age of Sigmar doesn’t mean that it’s off limits for them.
Warhammer Quest Silver Tower Design Pod
Towards the end of Sunday we attended one of the Design Pod’s for Warhammer Quest Silver Tower. This was one of the sculptors going through the design process of creating the miniatures. Now I’ll be honest and say I was expecting more information on the behind the scenes creation, however it was very interesting to hear a bit more on how miniatures are created in 3d and the challenges of maintaining a 3 degree chamfer angle on everything with no undercuts. The task of laying out a sprue is also a phenomenal work of tessellation art!
David pointed out some of the tiny little touches that he’s worked into the miniatures – including the new barbarian having nods towards each Chaos god – Nurgle and Tzeentch shoulder pads, Khorne dagger and a smug Slaneesh smile…
Blood bowl is clearly not far away from being released and it looks a corker! The pitch is double sided, grass on one side and mud on the other. The two default teams are in green and blue plastic for ork and human respectively. The actual plastic components are really good. One really nice touch is that the bases all have a hole in where you can insert a ball! No idea how this will work in practice and I imagine that I’ll simply glue a magnet in place 😉
Specialist Games are looking for a 2017 release for Adeptus Titanicus. It appears that they’ve almost decided on doing this in 8mm scale which is larger than the original game, but not quite as large as Warmaster. This gives the best overall feel of an epic battle but without the miniatures being too big. Special thanks to Chris Drew who spent quite a bit of time going over the game and putting up with our nostalgia ramblings!
The Hobbit is once more being brought into the workshop for development and the most amazing lake town plastic scenery kit. I can honestly say that I’ve not come across a kit like it – it doesn’t look like a kit! It looks like you’ve created a model out of balsa wood and plasti-card. It’s highly versatile too as you can see from the lake town diorama. It would appear that one of the reasons for the poor support of The Hobbit was also because the film count was increased from 2 to 3 literally the morning everything got sent off to be manufactured.
Rest of the Show
As you can imagine, the rest of the Warhammer Fest was jam packed with looking enviously at new miniatures and amazing paint jobs. I’m particularly impressed with the Warhammer TV display cabinet and even more stoked to try out some of their tutorials on the Bloodbound I picked up off eBay the other day.
Although I know there is a lot of negativity towards Age of Sigmar, I actually think all of the new releases are brilliant. They’re much more “fantastical” than Warhammer was and the centrepiece models are gigantic – it’s not until you see Archeon is almost double the height of an Imperial Knight that you realise how big it is…
From the length of this post you can probably guess that I had thoroughly enjoyable time. I didn’t do the sales stand until the end of the day which meant I wasn’t able to pick up the limited edition Space Wolves t-shirt and mug, but that’s a risk you take with leaving it until later on. The only gripe I could have is that there wasn’t actually enough time to do all of the demo pods and seminars! I wasn’t able to do any of the painting pods during the day which was a shame as they all looked very good. My current thought is that next year it’s worth doing both days and possibly entering Golden Daemon too.
Please have a shuftie in my Flickr album as there are a lot more photos (including lots of cabinet ones) and they’re a lot larger too!