Well, 2014 is almost at an end, and it hasn’t been terribly successful in terms of actually getting in many games, or actually getting much hobby done! There were many grand plans for the year … and few of them have come together. Next year needs to be a touch more realistic, I feel!
I still have plastic mountains of models that need to be assembled and painted! If anything, the plastic mountain has grown significantly, with Orky enthusiasm. None of my armies have actually reached the state I wanted to class as finished (with the possible exception of the Ultramarines!) Though I’ve loved reading about Malifaux and Infinity, I haven’t painted my starting forces or played even a single game. I do have a complete starter force for Retribution of Scyrah in Warmachine, but not managed to get that going either (though I am loving Warmachine Tactics on the laptop). My major passion in 40K has been Orks for the last couple of months, and I’ve been gathering and planning an Ork Waargh (though that’s being somewhat derailed by the brilliant Blood Angels models being released right now, and enthusiasm for Silver Skulls!)
What has gone well? #WAAC 2014 was amazing fun, with events around the country, and I’ve ended up with an brilliant range of gaming gear, from T-shirts, to dice, through to templates. I painted some models that I think came out really, really well, and won a great book and a pro painting of my Bonesinger by Peter (@minimodelpaint), which is coming on amazingly well! I’ve tried playing X-Wing, and absolutely loved it.
I’ve loved interacting with (and meeting some of) the #warmongers. Twitter has been a brilliant hobby outlet for me, and that’s definitely going to continue!
I’ve got some brilliant hobby resources, with brilliant brushes from Gears & Games and Army Painter really making a difference, a full Army Painter set of paints in decent paint racks letting me dip in and out of painting to do little bits here and there around the demands of being a Dad – demands that are going to increase in 2015 with the arrival of another one in May! 🙂
I haven’t played much Xbox 360 for various logistical reasons over the year, but did manage to sneak in some Transformers and Halo, and completed Injustice! I’m hoping I’ll get more video games in next year, with an Xbox One arriving for Xmas … Halo! Destiny! Titanfall! There’s some amazing games coming out for the PC just now too – Satellite Reign as a long awaited “Syndicate” style game this week. Elite Dangerous looks amazing, and comes out this week! As mentioned, Warmachine Tactics is great.
I’d like to have reported much more hobby fun … but its been a cracking year. I’ll try to follow this with my plans for 2015, and maybe write a summary of what I think the biggest changes have been in the hobby world in general.
Well, my Ork enthusiasm has left me with what looks like a plethora of Green goodness … so I’ll need to work out some sort of list to put together with it all!
I have had several sets of Orks from Assault on Black Reach lurking in my garage for the day when the Waargh took me (3 sets, I believe!) – that’s 60 Orks, 9 Deffkoptas, 15 Nobs and 3 Warbosses.
I also have a chunk of Rogue Trader Orks from my first foray in the hobby back in the 80’s and early 90’s. I’m going to deal with the Rogue Trader stuff separately though – I think I’ll do them and the RTB01 marines I have lurking as a joint project to match the Rogue Trader cover 🙂
Recently, the campaign box for Sanctus Reach may have fallen into my grubby little paws, leaving me with some brand new orky goodness too! That’s a Warboss (Grukk Face-Rippa), a unit of 10 grots and caretaker, 5 nobz, and 3 kills kanz.
Jay (@SoulJacker1974) has provided with a veritable horde of 2nd hand Orks in various states of assembly. A fair chunk are pretty old school and will go in with my Rogue Trader era stuff (like the original Ghazghkull Thraka and Banner Bearer!), but there’s a lot of current ones too! A Bommer, Ghazghkull Thraka, Weirdboy, big mek with shokk attack gun, 15 Nobz, 20 Boyz, 6 Ork Kommandos, 3 deffkoptas, 5 lootaz, a battlewagon, a trukk, 3 warbikes, 8 stormboyz,2 deff dreadz, and 3 killa kanz – plus innumerable grotz and other individual Orks to be sorted.
And now my mate Leonidas in Crete is sending me further reinforcements! That’s a battle force (20 Ork Boyz, a trukk and 3 warbikes), another trukk, a unit of grots and caretaker, 2 boxes of burnaz/lootaz, an Ork Mek with Shokk Attack gun, 3 killa kanz, a deff dread, a flash git with targeting squig, and another AoBR set (another 20 boyz, 3 deffkoptas, 5 nobz and a warboss).
Sooo … I need to whittle that horde down to a more practical first pass at a 2000pt army! Any ideas for a fun Orky vibe? Although I can put together the numbers, I don’t think a horde of infantry is a feasible first target – just too much to paint! I’m thinking of going pretty HQ and vehicle heavy. My first thought was something like:
Lords of War (225pts)
Grazghkull Thraka – 225pts
Wierdboy (level 2 psyker) – 70pts
Big Mek with Heavy Armour and Shokk Attack Gun – 89pts
Kommandos – Boss Nob with boss pole and klaw, 4 Kommandos, 1 Kommando with Big Shoota – 105pts
Nobz – Boss Nob, 2 Nobs, Warbikes.
Nobz – Boss Nob with boss pole, twin linked shoota, power klaw, 9 Nobz, Heavy Armour, Battlewagon ( 2 big shootaz, 2 Rokkit Launchaz, Kannon, Deff Rolla, Extra Armour, Red Paint Job, Grot Riggers, Boarding Plank) – 443pts
Boyz – 8 Boyz, Boy with Big Shoota, Boss Nob with Power Klaw and Boss Pole, Trukk – 135pts
Boyz – 17 Boyz, 2 Boyz with Big Shoota, Boss Nob with Power Klaw and Boss Pole, 170pts
Fast Attack (445pts)
5 DeffKoptas with Rokkit Launchas 150pts
5 DeffKoptas with Rokkit Launchas 150pts
Dakkajet – flyboss, extra twin linked super shoota – 145pts
Heavy Support (183pts)
Deff Dread with Power Klaw and Skorcha – 85pts
7 Lootaz – 98 pts
Well, as always, I am suffering from #HobbyADD, but at the moment I think its a particularly advanced case! I’ve almost completed my #WAACPainting entry – the models are done – I just need some decent photos for an entry. I’m looking a knocking up a quick display board to take the photos on. So, current projects (in no particular order)!
1) Infinity Nomads! I’m very excited about Infinity! It looks like an amazing system, and the skirmish nature means I don’t need to assemble and paint huge numbers. Plus nuns with guns – my battle sisters can stride onto a new battlefield. I think I can hold off until Ice Storm though!
2) Malifaux I have a Lady Justice crew half assembled (I still need to put the Death Marshalls together. Interesting system with the card deck, and fascinating fluff and gorgeous models. Only problem is that I keep eying up Viktoria’s crew and Gremlins….. Hopefully I can stick to my guns (of justice!)
3) 40K – Sisters of Battle I need to paint about 2 models to “finish” my Order of the Argent Shroud, and about 6 models to “finish” my Order of the Verdant Garden. So close….
4) 40K – Imperial Fists This is my current “Churn em out army”. I do like the Sons of Dorn, and these will probably be my standard go to 40k army for a while. Assault terminators and forge world pads on the way to bolster a Lysander charge 🙂
5) 40K – Pirate Orks Pirate orks. What more can I say? I have a fair few Orks from Assault on Black Reach, and Stormclaw may be lurking for an upcoming birthday. I’ve also got RTB02 ready to be repainted and take the field. Add some Flash Gitz, and Cap’n Kipp’s Freebootaz could be ready to go! Its a heck of a lot of models though, so I may end up holding off here.
6) 40K – Dark Craftworld Dark Eldar I have a reasonably DE force in need of some TLC. I’m really tempted to reorganise it as a fallen craft world and paint it in aspect colours – Striking Scorpion green for Incubi, blaster wielding kabalites as fire dragons, kabalites as Dire Avenger blues, Wyches in howling banshee bone and so on.
7) Ax Faction minis for fun I’m looking at using some of these as Inquisition forces too, so not purely just for fun. Cracking sculpts on these.
8) 40K – Fallen Angels This army has been lurking for ages and been bolstered by the DV set. Totally unpainted for over 7 years….. I really should at least prime them!!!
9) 40K – RTB01 Crimson Fists Army Ah, my beloved Crimson Fists! Painstakingly gathered from eBay to replace an army that got lost on a train years ago. The plan is to recreate the classic Rogue Trader front cover. Navy primer is ready to go!
10) 40K – Ultramarines More marines! I actually have a fairly decent collection of ultramarines, some primed, some badly painted. I’m just missing a HQ force here really! Ironclad dreadnoughts and bikers recently added to the increasing forces. I now have a complete enough force not to worry about these! Counting Ultramarines as done!
11) 40K – Crimson Slaughter I have a reasonably solid force of CSMs in red and gold, perfect for the role of Crimson Slaughter. With the addition of the Crimson Slaughter specific models from the DV set, this would be a great little force (possibly in need of a bastion or helturkey for anti air). Just the CSMs from DV to paint here, though a fair few khorne beserkers need some finishing too.
12) X-Wing Not started here, but a good guy locally loves it, and wants to play. I love Star Wars, so I suspect mistakes will be made here 😉
13) Armada If I like Star Wars star fighters, running a fleet as an admiral???? Yeah, this is happening.
14) DnD 5e Absolutely love everything I’ve seen for this so far! Just wish digital versions of the core books were coming out as space is an issue.
15) 40K – Space Wolves My first 40K force back in the 80s! The storm claw set has sucked me back in. I’m not a huge fan of a lot of the recent vehicles, but the current character modelling is amazing. Definitely to be painted in grey instead of the rubbish modern light blue though. Will probably just be an allies force rather than a full blown 1850pts army.
16) 40K – Blood Angels Really struggling for enthusiasm here! I have some really quite nice chapter leaders painted up, and some gorgeous terminators from Space Hulk to paint. I have primed basic troops, and unbuilt death company and sanguinary guard. Just not feeling too enthused, particularly without a current codex.
17) 40K – Silver Skulls Loads of unbuilt models for this, and they fit with my long term plans of having a range of silver armies sharing some vehicles with magnetised logos with my Order of the Argent Shroud and Grey Knights. Need to work out the skulls for the shoulders and a quick effective paint scheme here!
18) 40K – Eldar Loads of unpainted Eldar, and loads of painted ones! Recently bolsters by Eldrad, a new Avatar and some warlocks. I need to sort out some effective fighting forces here – I think painting the remaining ones is quite low down the list. Really tempted to add more wraith warriors at all levels though ….
19) 40K – Tau My Tau are pretty much done with a reasonable force. There are a couple of options half painted that I’d like to finish off, and perhaps add some broadsides and riptides, but generally these are pretty low on the list as they have a fully painted force! Ticking these off the list as have a sorted out painted playable army matching all my main criteria. Not ideal, as could do with slightly different options, but cool.
20) 40K – Grey Knights! New codex due out, decent force already, and only a couple of things needed to be finished or assembled to finish them off! Also awesome with the new psychic phase. These guys may well be seeing the table again soon. Dreadknight is tempting me!
21) 40K – Imperial Guard Valhallans Pretty much sorted out and ready to go! Not great paint jobs, but OK enough to get by. some basing of heavy weapons needed here.
22) 40K – Imperial Guard Cadians Ouch. Loads of men, not much paint, and pretty much every heavy weapons squad needs to be rebased. Lots and lots of work, not much enthusiasm at present 🙁
23) 40K – Legion of the Damned I have 15 Legion to be painted to use as an allied force to other Imperial types. Struggling to get enthused though.
24) 40K – Deathwatch I have a 10 man squad with custom pads (both DW and a range of chapters), heads, guns, all ready to be assembled! Must get around to building and painting these. Very excited with my Inquistions types.
25) 40K – Inquisition I have a load of models from a range of manufacturers to put together as my Inquistion force. Female paladins as crusaders, floating psykers, daemonhosts, the lot! Very cool and good allies for almost all the other Imperial forces. Quite excited, but as I haven’t started they are quite low down the list.
26) 40K – Tyranids I’d love to get this army finished to at least 1850 points! They look gorgeous, and are easy to do. I’m struggling motivation wise here as I basically need to buy a fresh army to make them playable with tervigons, more termagants and flying MCs. I have genestealers aplenty to paint. Hmm.
27) 40K – Necrons I have a fully painted army of these bad boys – rubbish in the current game, but fully painted and ready to go. w00t!!!! Could do with some newer models, but not loving the new fluff anyway. Counting these as done for now! I have a complete playable and painted army all sorted out. Not great, but done!
28) 40K – Militarum Tempestus I have a reasonable number of Karskrin Stormtrooper squads here. No new stormtroopers, but enough to work well with inquisition or guard voices quite effectively! None really painted, boo hiss!
29) Scenary! I have a huge amount of scenery to assemble and/or paint. From an Imperial City to Altars of Chaos, it’d look amazing on my battle board. As it doesn’t affect my actual games too much though, difficult to find the time!
Sooo, 29 reasonably sized projects, and possibly a few more kickstarter bits to go too. Ouch! #HobbyADD indeed!
I like to keep my Interactive Army Painter links up to date, as I find them just so useful as a prelude to getting actual paint on a model!
Bolter & Chainsword has an amazing set of interactive army painters available, letting you plan out a general look and feel for models before you try them. Its no substitute for trying a model or two, but does let you think about your colour choices!
You also have Chaos Marines.
Games Workshop had some OK interactive painters for their old paint ranges, which are gone from their site…. but can be found on the Wayback Machine. The B&C painters are better!
There is a painter program that handles both tau and eldar – its simple to use, but not as flexible as the Bolter and Chainsword options here.
Although its a little over complex and fluffy, there is a great Tyranid painter program here
I still haven’t been able to find any for Dark Eldar, or Necrons though. One suggestion is to use the Dawn of War army designer, and take a screenshot of the outcome.
Brush 4 Hire do some fabulous tau scenery. What really impresses here is that you can select the colour of the forcefields … to match your Tau Sept. Really nice touch. Their bunker looks really good, though if you like a very rounded look for Tau, it might be too hexagonal for you.
And here are their matching barricades (or Aegis Defense lines!)
Scotia Grendel have a range of scenery that seems perfect for Tau – their NBO range. Here a couple of examples.
Micro Art Studios have a fabulous Tau Ceti line of scenery that would work fabulously for Tau. Their defence line looks awesome:
But their general scenery would really make a Tau board come to life.
Games Workshop make fantastic models, and their Imperial terrain is absolutely superb. Unfortunately, if you don’t want imperial type terrain (or a hill or two), you are pretty much out of luck!
Lets take a look at what we can find for terrain for other races, or cheaper alternatives for a home board!
There are some very good Eldar pieces of terrain available on the market at the moment.
Minature Scenery in Australia do some fantastic MDF pieces, which can easily fill in the traditional roles of bastion (Elven Tower) :
A Skyshield Landing Platform (or Elven Dias):
And, of course, an Aegis Defense Line (or Sanctuary of Souls):
In addition, their walkways and space modulators are fantastic for people putting together an Eldar themed board.
Brush 4 Hire do an interesting range of Aegis Defense Line alternatives, one of which works quite well as an advanced Eldar concept – their forcefield defines line! You can pick the colour of the translucent plastic force shield, to match your craftworld a bit better!
Micro Art Studios do a fantastic set of barricades or Aegis defines line too!
There once was a template for creating your own webway gate on the GW site, but like much of the old school hobby stuff, this has long since been removed. A retro-engineered version can be found on a here, though!
I’m sure there are a few more options out there – I’ll update this post if/when I come across them!
Let me start by saying I love Warhammer 40K. I love the universe, the Black Library books and authors are fantastic, and the game is generally fun, interesting, and has evolved in interesting ways (even if there are enough quibbles with the rule set to start a fresh Horus Heresy!)
However, I’m not as keen on GW as a company these days. I’ve personally found some of the employees of GW to be pushy, unpleasant, and of an aggressive opinion that GW can do no wrong. Everyone makes mistakes, so that tends to wind me up! Suing authors for using the term “space marine”, a term that predates GW by a significant margin is not exactly great work, for example.
With that in mind, I thought I’d take a look at alternatives to GW models for various forces in the 40K universe. These are just my opinions as to what you could use the models for, rather than what they are being sold as – you may disagree, or feel they’d be better as something else.
Chaos Space Marines
I’ve never found much in the way of alternative Chaos Space Marines. It’s a very iconic look, which doesn’t lend itself to alternatives terribly well!
However, Evilcraft do a fantastic set of Chaos looking troops in power armour with bolt pistols and bolter style weaponry. Very cool, and ornate enough to be used as chosen if you just wanted some specialist models.
Puppets War do quite a good range of conversion bits, much of which is suitably spiky for the forces of Chaos. In terms of straight models, they have a great squad that work work as a Raptor Squad.
They also have a reasonable number of troops that are probably better guard proxies, but would make OK cultists. They also have some cracking zombies, for Nurgle plague zombies.
On the zombie front, Hasslefree Minis do a great, and cheap, set of zombie plastics.
And finally on the zombie/cultist front, Mantic Games do a great range of plague zombie marines:
Raging Heroes have a cracking model that could be could as a Nurgle general.
Zealot Miniatures do a model I think would work well as a chaos spawn.
Scibor do a small range of Chaos terminator types, which could be could for chaos lords.
Raging Heroes do some amazing Preying Mantis models, which would make fantastic Daemonettes.
They also do a great demon option for a Daemon Prince or Greater Daemon of Khorne. You could probably get away with the smaller version as a Chaos Lord in a CSM force.
Puppets War do some good demons too. I love the thought of fielding Plague Bears instead of Plague bearers!
Avatars of War do fantasy models, but that isn’t a problem for Daemons! They do a couple of cracking models that would make amazing Heralds of Khorne and Nurgle.
Maxmini do a fantastic line of Nurgle style demons, from Greater Demons:
Through smaller plague bringers, which would make a good herald:
Zealot Miniatures do an interesting Greater Demon of Khorne style model:
Imperial Guard are the closest thing in the 40K universe to standard human soldiers, and so are probably the easiest army to find decent alternative models for – for the infantry, anyway!
Interestingly, I’ve seen their Veer-myn line os space rats used for very effective chaos guard!
Dreamforge Games have a great range of stormtroopers that work well for Tempestus Scions, or maybe as veterans.
Statuesque Miniatures do some really cool female resistance fighters that would work really well as cultists or irregular guard. As well as squaddies, they do a few special weapons, heavy weapons, snipers and commissars
Raging Heroes don’t currently produce many models. but are launching three full female guard army lines, loosely matching Steel Legion, Valhallan and Penal Legion Imperial guard lines. At the moment, they do a small number of female officers which are great as commissars or custom commanders.
Victoria miniatures do a tremendous range of guard alternatives, as well as bits for customising any GW troops you may get. If you want a custom regiment, or decent female troops, this is the place to go. Their Arcadian rifles look absolutely cracking models.
Puppets War do a few squad options, but I’m not amazing taken by them, to be honest. What I love, though, are their rough rider options, on motorbikes with lances. Its something that has come up in the novels a few times, so it’d be good to see on the table.
Scotia Grendel do some interesting lines from the old VASA and Urban Mammoth games, which could easily be adopted for Imperial Guard. Here’s one of their VASA squads, for example.
Maxmini do some great catachan alternatives, female alternatives, and a few space ogres for some Ogryn fun.
Mad Robot Miniatures have some brilliant conversion parts, but you can get complete guard squads in various looks. Decent Valhallans are always a bonus these days, especially if you have most of an army already!
Mantic Games have a line of Enforcers. While quite a different look from the traditional space marines found in GW, the equipment ties up quite nicely.
Puppets War have an interesting range of heavy armoured troops that would also do quite nicely, including strike (power) armours, and terminator armour in a range of configurations – even bikes and vehicles.
Scibor do some amazing marine style models. Most of them match to more extreme versions of the various Space Marine Legions inspirations – Spartan for the Imperial Fists, Roman for the Ultramarines, Celtic for the Space Wolves, and so on, though there are some more unique ones, like egyptian options too.
Hitech Miniatures do some really interesting models, and again, break into groups that match the SM legion inspirations – more extreme than the very similar GW ones.
Kabuki Models do a great line of possible Primarch alternatives. Less appealing now Forgeworld are producing official models, they are still gorgeous pieces in their own right. Here is the Castellan Knight.
I’ve never really found any good third party Eldar like models in army like levels. That may change when Mantic Games get around to releasing their Asterian line of Space Elves!
Chapter House Studios do some great commanders on jet bikes, and also do a unique aspect warrior squad – Warp Stalkers – that looks like it’d run as howling banshees.
Raging Heroes are the current queens of the non GW Dark Eldar! Not only do they have a really lovely female archon, succubus, and squads of “blood vestals” which are perfect for Wyches, it looks like they’ll be expanding their line in the future too!
Orks are tricky. There aren’t generally huge numbers of space ork alternative models out there, though there are fairly large numbers of passable alternative vehicles.
Mantic Games do offer a large line of Marauders which would work well for Orks, both infantry and light vehicles.
Raging Heroes do a fabulous sci-fi ork warmaster, which would be amazing as your army warlord!
Puppets War do a fantastic range of Orky vehicles and planes, like this:
Well, I’ve never found any great models here for ladies in power armour. Heck, its almost impossible to even get them from GW!
Having said that, it looks like Raging Heroes are planning on producing some nuns with guns options in the future – look here!
There are a couple of options that can be adapted from Privateer Press – Protectorate of Menoth. I really like the Daughters of the Flame as Death Cult assassins as part of an Ecclesiarchy Battle Conclave. Picture from Firestorm Games.
In addition, I think the Harbinger would make a brilliant alternative to Saint Celestine:
There’s only one real alternative to Imperial Knights out there – and that’s DreamForge Games Leviathan!
There aren’t huge amounts of Necron alternatives out there either, unfortunately. The best selection I’ve seen is from Puppets War. which has a reasonable range of things, like an enormous cyber spider (scarab) swarm.
There’s a C’Tan alternative too
And a couple of vehicle and canoptek spider options. No basic troops at the moment though.
Well, there are a few options for the die-hard squats fan still.
The second option I’ve come across is Hasslefree Miniatures range of Grymm. You can’t beat some of these models for character:
Tau & Tyranids
Unfortunately, I’ve never come across anything that really works well for these! There are a lot of Mycetic spores for Tyranids out there – but GW axed them from the codex. Tau is a very unique look – there are some female Tau kits from Zealot Miniatures, but no full squads I’ve come across. Some people have used Robotech type models in place of the crisis and riptide suits, but thats a step further away from the Tau models than I’d go normally.
Well, my work sorting out my various armies has continued onto the Tyranids!
Unfortunately, I have fewer painted Tyranids than most of the other forces, and can muster only 1300pts of painted gribblies! I’ve included the full unpainted forces (a solid 3000pts) here, to illustrate the full potential scope of the Tyranid threat. Its a fairly simple paint scheme, though – desert yellow base, red wash over non-chitin, yellow chitin, dry brushed red, then a few details.
With two hive tyrants (I have metal wings that I may use to convert them to “flyrants”), some old school tyrant guard, tyranid warriors, lots Genestealers, Termagants, 3 Zoanthropes, Hormagaunts, a Lictor, Raveners, Biovores and spores, and a carnifex, there are plenty of options for lists. Unfortunately gargoyles must be fielded in units of 10 – I have 9 metal ones!
No anti air hits pretty hard these days, though. Aegis defence lines or a hive crone might be needed, and possibly an exocrine or weapon heavy carnifex may also be needed to make it more workable, and it sounds like a venomthrope is almost essential to absorb incoming firepower.
I worked out as a minimum to hit 1850 pts, I need to paint:
- 2 broodlords
- 1 termagant
- 2 hormagaunts
- 3 biovores
- 1 carnifex
- 2 Zoanthropes
So just 11 models to hit my minimum completed army specifications!
Well, the Farsight Enclaves have returned, in a deep green pattern. Although not fully complete, I have 2000pts of painted Tau ready for action, with some unpainted and unassembled reinforcements too.
Commander Farsight, another commander, two bodyguards, a battle suit team, a stealth team, a pathfinder team, a single broadside, two devilfish, 12 drones and 6 teams of 6 Fire Warriors are ready to hit the field.
Another 12 Fire Warriors, Aun Shi, and a Hammerhead are unpainted, with more devilfish and hammerheads that could be assembled.
No Riptides at all, at the moment! 🙂