Howls of the 13th Company – Warzone Fenris

Archive Reviews Warhammer 40,000

The last week has been a pretty busy one with only a small amount of time for any hobby work.  There has been a fairly significant release for the Space Wolves and Daemons in the form of a new campaign pack – Warzone Fenris.  This introduces some updated rules for both, some new Space Wolves character miniatures (the long needed Iron Priest, Ulrik the Slayer and Krom Dragongaze on general release).  It also re-introduces Wulfen as a usable unit.  Both Space Wolves and Daemons also have been given a huge number of formations and the Daemons also got new Warlord Traits and psychic powers in addition to a mix of some really nice scenarios.

wulfen Because I didn’t spend as much money at the Horus Heresy Weekender as I anticipated, I treated myself to the “Saga” edition of Warzone Fenris which arrived via UPS on Monday.  I also purchased a box of Wulfen that arrived on Saturday (because Element Games have a better postal setup than Games Workshop).

I’ll not lie and say that I was extremely dubious about seeing Wulfen back in the game.  The new miniatures are massive, coming on 40mm bases and looking very bestial rather than marine like, plus I’m not a big fan of the new “ice” look weapons that seems to have become popular.  The studio paint job puts them in modern Space Wolves blue-grey armour rather than the old school grey colour, which deviates from the last incarnation where they wore an assortment of scavenged armour.

Now that I have the narrative book in my hand and have seen the miniatures up close I have changed my initial impression.  The fluff has been slightly ret-conned to bring it inline with the way the Horus Heresy fluff is being written.  Basically the 13th Company were composed almost entirely of Wulfen and they followed Prospero into the warp (which the books now explain didn’t happen immediately).  Their time in the warp has meant that they have become more bestial, basically growing and loosing their armour and many of their more civil qualities.

The armour is brand new, having been forged by the Iron Priests from normal power armour and the weapons are a mix of normal (such as Thunder Hammers and Storm Shields) and ancient weapons that were dotted around The Fang, everybody having forgotten and thinking they were just ornamental – I still don’t like the look of the “ice” look weapons.  The Warzone Fenris component comes from the fact that Wulfen are being collected throughout the galaxy (they’re appearing when Daemons break through reality) and brought back to Fenris which makes them a prime target for Dark Angles and Grey Hunters.

The miniatures themselves offer a lot of variety on weapon options (four options for each body) although there are only six poses in total (the pack leader and Wulfen #6 share certain components).  They’re a challenge to assemble but go together really nicely.  I put together the box I bought on Saturday whilst watching a couple of rugby matches.  On the table they also look like an incredibly hard hitting close combat force that will blitz through most things.  Armour wise they’re only on 4+ which fits alongside the fact they’re only partly armoured, all have 2 wounds and Feel No Pain on a 5+, so they’re not going to be the easiest things to kill, especially as if killed in close combat they get a second “free” pile-in and attack before being removed.  Plus they “buff” other Space Wolves units within a certain distance (12″ for Blood Claws, 6″ for Grey Hunters and 3″ for Long Fangs).

Overall I would say that I’m quite impressed.  The fluff backs up the miniatures and fills in some of the gaps of the past ten-thousand years.  The rules for the new unit are horribly powerful on paper, but it’s a very expensive unit and upgrades are quite pricey, plus you also have the challenge of getting them across the board, although they are able to Run and Assault in the same turn and can re-roll failed charges which will help.  Extra points on a drop-pod look like an essential.

Warzone Fenris: Curse of the Wulfen Saga EditionI’m less impressed with how Games Workshop has actually undertaken the release.  Despite Codex Space Wolves being updated (replacement Iron Priest rules and vehicle squadrons) the digital Codex didn’t receive an update (it has instead been superseded by Codex Space Wolves: Wulfen Edition).  The Saga edition of Warzone Fenris also only has the narrative book and separate booklets for the Daemons and Space Wolves rules whereas the general release find them compiled into an 88-page hard backed book.

I’d put the Saga edition into the “poor” value for money bracket.  One hard back book, some booklets, poster, A4 “quick” sheets, some tokens and dice is a bit of a hard one to swallow for £115, especially when my Long Fang codex gave me three hard back books, posters and tokens for £100.  I’ll admit that the box is beautiful, but can’t help feel a little cheated and combined with the lack of digital update am not particularly impressed.  I have e-mailed Games Workshop but have yet to receive an answer.  Strangely I’m less bothered with £35 for five Wulfen miniatures now I’ve seen them.  The size and assortment of options does actually make the price point about right in comparison to other units – of course that drops to £28 when you get it from Element Games.

Weekly Challenge

I didn’t set myself a challenge for Week 5 as I wasn’t really sure what time I’d have, I’m glad I didn’t as I’ve also been really under the weather and suffering with my sinuses.  I did get my Wulfen pack assembled (got the bases finished off last night) and have done a bit more experimentation with a deep glossy black after suggestions from Mark and Phil at the Weekender.

Wulfen WIP 1

This week’s challenge is also going to be fairly dull.  On the 12th/13th March I’m off up to Nottingham for another gaming weekend (this clearly isn’t the dull bit) and have a reminder game booked with my brother on the 28th, so need to get my Wulfen at least almost finished for this.  I have 3 weekends between now and then, however I have my Imperial Knight armour pieces masked and arranged on my painting desk and also have 60-odd Plaguebearers to undercoat using my airbrush for my brother.  Both of which I really need to sort before I do my Wulfen…

So I think this week’s challenge is going to have to be:

Undercoat Plaguebearers (all of them)

Further experimentation of black

I’m hoping that I can rattle through the Plaguebearers fairly quickly, they’re not difficult but need to be undercoated in two or three passes and you have to be careful where you put them incase they stick.

I’ve almost settled on how to achieve the gloss black (no picture – it’s black gloss…), but want to try this using a brighter silver colour underneath and have picked up Vallejo Metal Air Chrome and Silver.  However I may have to temporarily pause my Knights in preference to getting my army up together.

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