Don’t get me started on the fact that if you do login, you’re taken to the store homepage instead of the specific page you were trying to visit in the first place …

Following a search result to to check something that should’ve taken seconds: screen blocked by “choose your region” modal -> redirected to My Warhammer login -> screen blocked by cookie banner.

Seriously, who designed this?

I have 2 flights and 2 work-related social events in a 24 hour period this week, and it feels like that’s going to be my social battery drained for the rest of the year.

It always tickles me whenever someone posts The Underground to Hacker News. It’s happened 2-3 times now, that I can think of. Here’s the latest. The discussion is quite tame for HN. I always find out about it being posted a couple of days after the fact, which is possibly a blessing?

Currently reading: Godeater’s Son by Noah Van Nguyen 📚

I keep having to remind myself that the Darkoath aren’t a standalone AOS faction, but simply new additions to the existing Chaos book - so aren’t going to get a Spearhead box of their own, or much in the way of extra miniatures outside of this release. Which is a shame; another character choice (some sort of spellcaster or priest) and a unit with a bit more punch, and they could have been a full range of their own. I’m sure it will come in time though.

WIP Darkoath Chieftain, from Age of Sigmar, which I’m using as a tester model for the army box set I’ve got on preorder. There’s still a few things still to iron out, but I’m happy with this, given it’s only ~3 hours of work spread over the last couple of days.

A mostly painted miniature fantasy warrior figure, armed with an axe and a sword, stands on a textured base amidst painting supplies, including brushes and paints, with other miniatures in the background.

Thoughts on Spearhead in Age of Sigmar 4th Edition

We’ve finally got our first look at the new Spearhead game mode in Age of Sigmar 4th edition. What I guessed was going to be essentially a copy-and-paste of Combat Patrol from 10th Edition 40K, but with AOS profiles has turned out to be partially right, but with a couple of unique twists.

So, breaking it down:

  • Vanguard box sets are rebranded to Spearhead; expect the existing boxes to be replaced as the army books roll out, but the launch rosters will probably stay game legal throughout the edition (as seems to be happening with Combat Patrol.
  • Each box is a defined roster. You take what’s in the box, and only what’s in the box. If a unit has options in the instructions, pick the option shown on the front of the box. Think of it like a pre-built deck in some card-based games.
  • Unit rules and abilities are similar but simplified/tweaked for balance, so you won’t be using regular warscrolls.
  • Some units can be “recycled” and brought back after being destroyed, as another balancing mechanism.
  • The board is 30" x 22.4" - the size of a Warcry board. That’s half the size of Combat Patrol, and much smaller than I expected.
  • There are 2 decks of cards used throughout the game, that can impact each battle round. Not much info on this yet, but it reads like a way to mix up scoring conditions and game state as an attempt to keep games close throughout. Update: WarCom posted an article explaining the decks. They’re a mix of scoring opportunities, commands, and catch-up mechanics.
  • It’s apparently very fast to play.

At first glance it sounds like it could be really fun. I’m a big proponent of smaller games, both in terms of points values and board size. Locally at least, Combat Patrol appears to be popular among both newcomers and veterans alike, so an AOS equivalent should do pretty well.

I’m just a little worried the board is too small. I played a game of the current edition on a Combat Patrol sized board recently, and it felt ideal. There was space to manoeuvre while having plenty of terrain, and felt really good as an experience. Using only half of that space would have felt too cramped, I think. But we’ll have to wait and see. It does however mean I already have a board ready and waiting to go and I don’t necessarily need to finish off the other half I’d started working on.1

My other concern is some of the balance choices will feel unfun to play with or against. The preview shows the current Stormcast Eternals Spearhead - which has only been in stores a few weeks - was balanced by having the 2 most powerful units on the board not usable for half the game. What happens if the other units are wiped out in rounds 1-2? Will those units allow the Strmcast player to have a chance at pulling things back? Or what if the Stormcast player is already ahead and bringing in fresh, powerful, units is simply a “win more” button? This feels bad to me, in a similar way to how some factions in Combat Patrol have to choose between taking one unit or another because the units in the box are just too powerful. It leaves people unable to play with all their toys, which isn’t as fun.

On a more positive note, can we appreciate how jam-packed the upcoming launch box sounds:

The incoming launch box provides everything you need to play with a friend, including two complete Spearhead forces, terrain, a double-sided board with printed objectives, and the packs of cards that really make this mode tick. You’ll also get a beautiful hardcover book that includes everything you need to play – the core rules, the Spearhead battlepack, and the rules for every Spearhead force in the game – so you can start playing with your existing collections immediately.

The inclusion of the board and terrain is a step up from the 40K launch box, and makes me think (hope?) they might be going big on Spearhead this edition. It will need regular new content to keep things fresh - actual non-model releases, and not just something in White Dwarf (though that’s welcome too) - otherwise it won’t feel like a “proper” way of playing AOS to many. Without support it will just be “that weird format” some people play once or twice a year in a beginner-friendly campaign at the local store. A bit like Path To Glory, which seems to be withering on the vine a bit more every new edition in terms of adoption.

<half-formed tangent> I was thinking overnight about what was revealed in the article and it feels like Spearhead might be a better expression of what it seemed like what very, very, early Age of Sigmar was perhaps trying to be: small skirmish games on a small board, that are played fast. This might be just my skewed impressions, but this is what I remember of the first few weeks of AOS: 10-20 models a side (no points, just bring few small units plus 1-2 heroes), played on a 2’x2' board, sometimes up to 4’x4' (2’x4' was common locally for a time). It was only later on that the wider community started to push for points and larger battles like we see in the modern, standard, Match Play format. I’m curious if this call-back to early AOS is intended. </half-formed tangent>

Overall I’m looking forward to Spearhead, even if I have some reservations about the implementation and whether it will be allowed to reach its potential. Small games are a blast, and even if I’m wary of the board size, it does mean I can play on our small kitchen table without having to expand it out or have the board hanging over the edges. If I can convince my partner to start playing AOS again then it means we have somewhere convenient and accessible to play without a journey to a local store. That would mean the potential for more games - which is a win no matter what.

  1. I probably will at some point, if only to be able to step up from Spearhead to “small scale” Match Play. ↩︎

April Warhammer Accounting

Another month gone by, so time to look at the hobby books for April:

  • Miniatures purchased: 28
  • Miniatures assembled: 54
  • Miniatures started painting (including priming): 47
  • Miniatures finished painted: 42
  • Warhammer Fund withdrawals: £281
  • Warhammer Fund final balance: £75

It was a surprisingly steady month, even if it didn’t feel like it at times. There were two main themes: completing my Sylvaneth project, and building my backlog of Stormcast Eternals.

The Sylvaneth had been kicking around in a half-painted state for a few months so I wanted to make a concerted effort to get them finished off. In the end it only took a few hours over two days to get them “tabletop-ready” (or “Battle Ready” to use GW terminology). They look fine, if a little uninspiring. There’s not much interesting happening with the main colours, and they certainly could have been neater. But they’ll do for pulling out as a different army to try out. I’m particularly happy with the basing, so I’ll try to do a post all about that in the near future.

Auto-generated description: A collection of intricately painted miniature fantasy figures, featuring slender, elven-like characters with vibrant teal and purple detailing, stands on a surface mimicking a mossy ground,, is neatly organized in a plastic storage container on what appears to be a workbench cluttered with tools and other items.

While I’m on the subject of Elves, I should mention the Daughters of Khaine I was working on last month. I put that project to the side as I just wasn’t enjoying the painting process and was in danger of burnout if I tried to force myself through it. This is the second time it’s happened with DoK, so maybe it’s just not a good range for me. They’ve only got some thin layers of paint - yay Contrast and the like - so it will be straightforward to repaint them entirely if I ever pick them up again.

As for the Stormcast, I resprayed some existing models; most with gold primer, some with black (these will be going into a custom Stormhost). Then I set about building. As it stands I have every infantry model except for 5 Vigilors and Bastian Carthalos assembled. Beyond the infantry I have some dragons (big and smaller varieties) and a chariot still to build. Then that will be everything ready for paint - just in time for the new models. I’m hesitant to build the remaining dragons at the moment because they’re just so awkward to store once assembled; the flying stands, lances, and wingspan make it hard to fit them into any case or box I currently have.

Unfortunately the weather has taken a turn for the worse over the last few weeks and I haven’t been able to get any of the newly-assembled miniatures primed. Fingers-crossed I can get a big spray session done soon.

The final little bit of painting I managed to finish was a “pallete cleanser” of 8 plastic Warhammer Fantasy Battle Wood Elf archers. They’re monopose, single-piece miniatures, so very simple. The mould lines were a major pain; even though I spent a lot of time going over each model before priming, and everything looked smooth, somehow there’s still some showing up. I’ll try to post better pictures soon, I just haven’t had a chance to take some nice ones.

Auto-generated description: A set of intricately painted miniature figures resembling archers or rangers is displayed on a workspace among various painting supplies.

May is likely going to be all about the Darkoath. I’ve started a tester model - the Darkoath Chieftain from Silver Tower - and I’m hoping to get a lot of the models assembled on the Sunday + Monday after release. The Monday is a public holiday in the UK, so I’ll have at least some time to work through them. This is dependant on the box arriving in the Saturday post though, so there’s at least some luck involved! I do have some travel in May, so overall output is probably going to be lower than recent months, but if I can try to get little pieces done here and there it’s possible I can complete the whole set before the end of the month. That really would be something!

  1. I’m not counting the Darkoath boxset, as I had specifically put other money aside for that. ↩︎

I was up early and made the mistake of doing a tiny bit of painting before starting work, and now my brain is all “no concentrating on work today, only thoughts of paint.”

I made an update to my website that adds all of my #PaintSlam data from the last several years. For now it’s just simple log entries, but I’m hoping to augment it with extra stats/visualisations in the future.

I dunno what’s going on, but it feels like any time over the last 2 weeks when I think I might get out to prime some miniatures, the wind starts picking up immediately. Or it rains.

I’ve had a pretty productive building session today, while watching Wrestlemania and Sharpe. I’ve only got a few more units left to build until I’ve built everything in my reduced Stormcast backlog (excluding the dragons for now).

A desk covered in 25 assembled, bare plastic Stormcast Eternals

I’m starting to accept that Daughters of Khaine are an AOS army that I like the concept and style of, but absolutely hate painting, to the point I might just give up on my current project. I’ll keep the Croneseer, but the rest is likely ending up in the “to sell” box.

In an effort to have at least some differentiation between the units of Vindictors in my Stormcast Eternals, I converted this alternative Signifier using one of the 2 female sculpts in the kit and a 3d printed head. I’m particularly happy I managed to get the banner and hair flowing the same way

A converted Stormcast Eternals Vindictor miniature. Its spear has been replaced with a banner, and the head has been replaced with a 3D printed alternative. It has been posed dramatically, as if the banner and hair are blowing in the wind

My kingdom for a gold primer spray that’s actually any good 😒

I did a stock-take on my Stormcast Eternals backlog, to see what I have to deal with (just the “Thunderstrike” models; the older style are going to get sold/donated). It’s tentatively not as bad as I thought, though I think I’m missing 2-3 sprues, and I have 15 more Vindictors than I thought…

March Warhammer Accounting

It feels like a mixed bag of a month. I bought quite a few new minis despite the goal being not to… and while I made progress from the backlog, I didn’t manage to finish painting anything.

  • Miniatures purchased: 42
  • Miniatures assembled: 55
  • Miniatures started painting (including priming): 73
  • Miniatures finished painted: 0
  • Warhammer Fund withdrawals: £351
  • Warhammer Fund final balance: £122

So some progress, but not as much as I’d like. I had visions of completing the Sylvaneth I built last month plus maybe one other project during the month, but I found myself too burned out from work to maintain the energy needed to sit and paint much in the evenings. Instead, painting was 5 minutes here and there, or applying a wash while waiting for something else.

On a more positive note, I have still made significant progress on two armies: Sylvaneth, and Daughters of Khaine. For whatever reason, I’ve been inspired to work on the various flavours of elf I have lying around. The woodsy-elves just need a light drybrush, some details, and basing to be considered complete; the stabby-stabby-elves mostly need some clean-up/highlights and basing for the first wave to be finished enough. The second wave is currently un-built while I try to nail down the army colour scheme and process. It’s been proving a challenge. I’m not happy with how things are looking right now, so my enthusiasm has dipped and I’ve been second-guessing everything. I need to get out of my head and “get it done”. With a fair wind (and less nonsense at work) I should hopefully get one or both finished in April.

I primed the Blades of Khorne built last month at the same time as I primed the Daughters of Khaine, so they’re good to go once I clear at least one of the in-progress elven armies out of the way. I’m thinking I want to make them as quick and simple as possible. I should have prepared them for the slapchop method, but I’ve primed them too light in hindsight. It should be recoverable - apply some washes, drybrush, then follow the usual slapchop process.

In celebration of playing my first game with the Cities of Sigmar, I bought, built, and primed a unit of Fusiliers as the first expansion unit. As tempting as it is to go ham with expanding this army at the minute, I’m only letting myself add and complete a single unit at a time.

Interestingly, it’s another month with zero progress on anything 40K-related. For whatever reason it’s just not holding my attention at the moment, even though I have had a couple of project ideas during the last month. It’s taking some willpower not to act on those ideas, but I’m helped by the fact they’d be neither cheap nor quick!

Looking ahead, I want to finally start making progress on my Stormcast Eternals. They were one of my big aspirations for this year, and I haven’t done anything with them so far. With the new AOS edition coming in a few months supposedly bringing some old units up to date with the more modern “Thunderstrike” redesign, I can’t see me being able to resist adding the units from the launch box. So maybe the Stormcast are what I should be concentrating on. I need to figure out a replicable process that’s either quick, easy, or low-stress (ideally all three!) that fits the vision I have for what I want this army to look like - battle-worn, slightly “grimdark”, but knightly and heroic.

But then again, there’s also the Darkoath boxsets on the horizon…

  1. Some of the purchased miniatures were delayed birthday gifts, so I didn’t pay for them out of the Warhammer Fund. ↩︎

  2. The “real” total is higher, as I put some extra money I had into the fund account to put it aside for future purchases I know I’m going to make. I’m only tracking funds from backlog progress here. ↩︎

First game of AOS3 in the bag. My Cities of Sigmar vs Ogors, at 600pts each. I still have a lot of minutiae to learn, but it was fun. And quick! I ended up winning 15-2, but it easily could’ve gone the other way. Cavaliers were my star of the game, as they hit like a truck when they charge ⚔️

Today seems like an ideal time to play my first game of Age of Sigmar 3rd edition… 😅