Boxed Games · Warhammer 40000

Some Thoughts on the Release of Indomitus and an Unboxing

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You know what sucks about being into Warhammer? You’re bombarded with so much cool stuff that sometimes you struggle to keep up with all the releases that are relevant to your interests. You know what’s awesome about being into Warhammer? You’re bombarded with so much cool stuff that sometimes you struggle to keep up with all the releases that are relevant to your interests. Of course with so many boxed sets being hyped up only to sell out within an hour of going up for pre-order, FOMO (fear of missing out) has become kind of a way of life for those of us invested in this hobby.

Such was the case with this special set Games Workshop had been hyping for weeks in celebration of the 9th edition of Warhammer 40,000. We even got a sick cinematic trailer to kick everything off. But those of us that remember what went on with releases like Carrion Empire and Looncurse knew what to expect when pre-order day came around. Games Workshop wasn’t ignorant of this and tried to assuage the community’s fears citing the literal boatloads of Indomitus that were being shipped around the world. Still, what we figured would happen happened. It sold out immediately and within hours copies went up on eBay with anywhere from a $100 to $300 markup.

I was able to get my copy from my FLGS, but the damage was already done for a lot of people and they were pissed. But then something happened. Games Workshop acknowledged the shittyness of it all and did something they’ve never done before. They made a limited edition boxed set available as a Made to Order product, which amusingly screwed over the hoarders that still had a hundred or so boxes they were trying to sell on eBay. Obviously, Games Workshop has every reason to want to be the one that sees as much of the profits for its own product as possible, but it was still a widely appreciated move on the part of all the people who are just looking for something to play, paint and collect, even if they had to wait months to get their copy.

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Anyway, upon opening the box you’re greeted with a really cool bit of art featuring Space Marines just doing Space Marine stuff while looking cool and heroic. I’m honestly not sure what’s going on in this scene, but it seems to be standard practice to include these sheets of cardboard to protect the other items in the box from the pointy bits on the sprues. The one I got in Blackstone Fortress wasn’t in the best shape thanks to that, but these ones were in good enough condition to potentially have framed and hung on a wall.

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…And the obligatory shot of the face full of sprues you you’re presented with once you get past the art sheet. Uncovering this many sprues never gets old, though at this point in my life it’s a mixture of “Whoa, cool,” and “…How much time is this gonna take me to paint.”

Here’s a quick look at some of the sprues. It always amuses me how much more stuff gets packed into them compared to some of the stuff we had in the early 2000s. Not a complaint of course.

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Obviously the Space Marines are the star of the show. You get a hefty amount new units and therefore, new models in this set with the standout for a lot of people probably being the Executioner Blade wielding Judicar. Otherwise the new units are kind of just Primaris-ed versions of already existing Space Marine units like Chaplains, Bikes and shield wielding Veterans. As a whole, the Space Marines force has more of a melee bent to it than they’ve had in older starter sets.

For the Necrons, we get a preview of what an all but guaranteed revamp of the Necron Warrior kit will look like, as well as introducing the Skorpekh variants of Destroyers and Lords. These clamor about on three legs and honestly look more menacing than the floating Destroyers with all that junk in the trunk. There’s also the Canoptek Reanimator which reminds me of Striders from Half-Life 2 or some of the machines from The Matrix, and easily towers above anything else in the set. The Necron side of the box is easily much more interesting stylistically as a whole and was the main motivator for me to pick up Indomitus. I especially like the grungy, battle-worn look they’re trying to incorporate to these new models.

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Finally, you get a full art copy of the 9th Edition rulebook, a campaign book designed for Indomitus and all the bases you need for all the models. I liked how the rulebook was kind of cradled and protected at the bottom and the presentation of it all. It’s like discovering a tome on an ominous looking shelf, or it would be if the art on the book wasn’t so bright and colorful. Not a complaint by the way. The cover of Abaddon and Guilliman facing off is incredibly epic. As with every Warhammer rulebook, it’s hefty, and considering the $60~ USD it’ll cost by itself, cuts the approximate cost of each army to about $70 USD.

I would’ve recommended this without hesitation for existing fans of 40k who either wanted access to the new units, or wanted a small force of either Necrons or melee oriented Primaris Marines. For newer players, one of the three starter sets that came out recently are probably a better experience. You get a lot of similar units, but also get a smattering of terrain and a board to play on for a bit more of a complete experience.


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So, as a bit of an addendum, will Games Workshop implement Made to Order for future limited edition boxed sets? I’m not sure. This box had a few things going for it. It was massively hyped and was kind of a celebration of a new edition. It’s full of units we’re not likely to see get individual releases for who knows how long. They’re also mono-pose, so they’re not undercutting an already existing product in their model range. Plus, just the inclusion of Space Marines meant it was going to put Indomitus on the radar of a large chunk of the 40k fanbase, and likewise, a lot of people were going to be upset when they got beat out by all the scalpers again.

I would love for this to become standard practice, as it’s probably hard to gauge the interest in any given non-Space Marine release. Something like the upcoming Shadow & Pain box interests me, but given the much narrower potential audience for something like Daughters of Khaine vs Hedonites of Slaanesh, one would think the print run would be much, much smaller. That said, I really dislike the feeling of urgency in picking up these boxes since I’m not hurting for things to work on at all. In fact, my pile of shame is becoming something more akin to a large hill, and I’m not eager to drop $200 USD just to make that hill a little taller. If I had to guess, boxes like this probably won’t get the Made to Order treatment even if they sell out of pre-orders, since besides two hero models a side, the rest of the models are already available to buy individually, and I’m sure Games Workshop would rather you buy those at full price. I wouldn’t mind being proven wrong on that though.

Chaos · Slaanesh · Warhammer 40000

Starting a new Army — The Hedonites of Slaanesh

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It’s a little funny when you think of someone who started their Warhammer career as an Eldar player before going all in on Dark Eldar eventually “falling” to the temptation of building a Slaaneshi army, but here we are. After finishing Blackstone Fortress I had hoped to put a lot of time into Kill Team (and later Warcry) related projects, but those were sidelined by the growing number of Slaanesh models I found myself accumulating.

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When the Wrath and Rapture box set came out, the prices for a lot of the models in the set, especially older ones, were driven down as you might expect. Initially, I picked up a single squad of Daemonettes with the intention of painting them as a one off project, but seeing how cheap some people were selling off the Slaanesh half of that box, I figured why not assemble a modest 500-750 point army. It wasn’t too long after that we got hit with the Hedonites of Slaanesh release, and in addition to the new Fiends and Infernal Enrapturess we already got, we saw some sick new models like Syll’Esske, The Contorted Epitome and mercifully, a completely redesigned Keeper of Secrets.

And so I was sold. Part of me does wonder how many armies have been started with a single squad and the owner thinking, “Okay, just this one and nothing else…”

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At the moment, everything I’m posting is a work in progress. I’m still finalizing some colors, since I want as much uniformity across the army as possible. I will say that one of the nice things about starting a completely new army is being able to switch over to a color palette — in this case greys, purples and pinks — that you don’t normally work with much otherwise.  My earliest stumbling block however, was just finding a skin tone for Daemonettes that I’d be happy with. And I better be happy with it because I’d be painting it at least 60 times over. My initial attempts were much more purple than the slightly off-grey that you see in the official Daemonette paint job, but I eventually did settle on a method. Something I’ll go into in a future post.

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Another opportunity working with this army gave me was the chance to really put Contrast Paints to the test. This is really just a side project at best and I would eventually like to get back to the multitude of other projects I have lined up sooner than later, with as little burnout as possible. And you know what? For the amount of effort I put into the Seekers above, I would say that Contrast Paints absolutely do what they were meant to do, and then some. Really happy with the result.

Anyway, with all the new great additions to the range, I probably wouldn’t be making this much of an investment into this army if it wasn’t compatible with both 40k and Age of Sigmar, the latter of which I’ve been toying with the idea of dipping my toes into for awhile. Apparently, Hedonites are a really strong army at the moment too, which is always nice. These, combined with the growing stockpile of Sylvaneth models — which will sadly accumulate dust for the forseeable future — means that I’m finally onboard the Sigmar train.

After dragging my feet early on, I’ve finally made decent progress over the past few months finishing 30 Daemonettes, 10 Seekers, an Exalted Chariot, the Infernal Enrapturess and Syll’Esske. I’m just waiting on the weather to warm up a bit so I can varnish them and base them properly. After that I’m still looking at two Daemon Princes, a Contorted Epitome, 30 more Daemonettes, 3 Fiends, The Masque and of course a Keeper of Secrets. Whew.

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I’ve got my work cut out for me. Somewhere in the middle of all that, I’ll probably find some time to crack open the Warcry starter because I’ve been itching to get started on that for awhile now.

Blackstone Fortress · Boxed Games · Warhammer 40000

[Blackstone Fortress] The Explorers (2/2)

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Finally we’ve reached the end of Blackstone Fortress and it’s only fitting I saved what ended up being my favorite models for last. Starting with Janus Draik, arguably the main character of the game if there was one, I opted to keep his color scheme as close to the official paint job as possible. A lot of the colors and techniques for things like his coat, the pelt draped over his shoulders and his skin tone I’ve already gone into in previous blog posts, so I don’t have much to say except that I love the pose and the cigarette is a nice touch.

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I actually stalled out on Dahyak Grekh, the Kroot Tracker, for awhile. I spent a few days trying to find a skin tone that I felt would fit the gloomy atmosphere of Blackstone Fortress, since the official paint job was a little too warm of a green. None of the stock Citadel paints seemed to serve as good jumping off points for what I was looking for, and there actually weren’t many paint jobs online that were inspiring me either.

It wasn’t until I came across this one guy’s Instagram account. His take on the Kroot skin tone was more inspired by the old school paint jobs you would’ve seen in the early 2000s, and just nailed that cold look I was going for. He was nice enough to give me some tips, but being that this was well over half a year ago, I’m struggling to remember how I ended up doing it. Something like mixing Administratum Grey with Ogryn Camo to start, then mixing in Abaddon Black to shade, and progressively more White Scar to highlight. There was a lot of improvisation that I don’t think I would do if I were trying to copy the technique over multiple troops, but since this was a one off, it was nice to try something different.  Anyway, shout out to IG: dweeziedie from Stockholm Warpaint for the advice.

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And last but certainly not least, Amallyn Shadowguide. I was pretty much obligated to paint her armor in the colors of my “home” Craftworld, and not just because her Biel-Tani iteration was, again, too bright to fit the mood I was going for. The only thing I took from her original paint scheme was the rifle, since it was dark and sleek, but still ornate enough to stand out. It’s also kind of a character on its own, just like Pious Vorne’s flamer.

Her cloak was just a random pattern of jagged shapes using Abaddon Black, Mechanicus Standard Grey, Dawnstone and Administratum Grey to highlight certain shapes. I feel like I could have done a better job, but the camo ended up being understated enough in a way that I liked. Happy accidents and all that.

It was kind of nice being able to close out this box with an Aeldari model after painting so many non-Eldar. Though admittedly there is still a UR-025 sitting around. I might try experimenting with some Contrast Paints, but after finishing Amallyn, I’m just about ready to call this project done so I can finally play the damn game.

On to the next.

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“Go on. I’ve got your back…”

Blackstone Fortress · Chaos · Warhammer 40000

[Blackstone Fortress] The Black Legion

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Between all the models that come with the Blackstone Fortress set, the trio of Chaos Space Marines ranked high among ones I looked forward to working on.  If I remember right, this was actually where we got our first taste of the makeover that the CSM would be receiving deep into 8th edition and I was pretty impressed with what I saw.  Maybe it’s all the gold trim or the way the warp has corrupted their armor, but there’s an arrogance and a meanness about Chaos Marines that I find appealing, and the updated models we saw this year just really (war)hammer those traits home.

Incidentally, one of the earliest projects I ever worked on was a squad of Chaos Space Marines done up as Black Legion — back when you could get a box of 10 marines for $30 USD.  The thought of fleshing out the battleforce box that they came in into a full on army has always been there, but I always found myself opting to pursue other factions instead.  Still, having a chance to work on these newer models was an opportunity to try my hand at painting Chaos Space Marines for the first time in maybe a decade and a half.

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Going into these models I knew the biggest and most time consuming challenge was going to be highlighting all the panels on the power armor.  You can definitely make things easier on yourself and just drybrush them with a shade or two of grey before doing other details, but to get that really dark, clean look that goes amazing with gold armor trim, there’s really no shortcut.  I followed the same technique I’ve been using throughout the Blackstone Fortress models for black armor, just now it’s being applied on a model from head to toe, literally.

Over a basecoat of Abaddon Black, begin by applying a generous highlight of Incubi Darkness to everything that’s going to be lined.  It doesn’t stand out much, but it does a lot to smooth out the transition from black into brighter colors when all is said and done.  Next, apply increasingly selective highlights of Thunderhawk Blue, Fenrisian Grey and finally Ulthuan Grey.  As always, Lahmian Medium is a better way to thin down these paints than water, and thinning them down is something you ought to be doing.

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As for the gold trim itself, it’s a detail that I find much more eye-catching on newer models.  Part of it is the crisper details they’re able to achieve on modern sculpts, but there’s also a very distinct look that you you’re able to pull off with the introduction of paints like Retributor Armor and Liberator Gold — at least for those of us who only really stick with the Citadel range.  Thanks to those paints it’s easier to achieve a stronger gold, and as a result Black Legion stuff just really pops.  It’s no wonder they became the poster boys for Chaos again when it came time to push out the newer model range.  Well, that and the fact Abaddon was getting a new model.  Either way, Death Guard had more than enough time in the spotlight, and Crimson Slaughter never really caught on.

Anyway, here’s more or less how I went about doing the gold:

  • [Basecoat] Liberator Gold
  • [Wash] Multiple of Agrax Earthshade to achieve a dark, dirty gold
  • [Wash] Spots of Nuln Oil around rivets
  • [Highlight] Pick out details and some flatter areas with Liberator Gold to bring back a shine
  • [Fine Edge Highlight] Stormhost Silver

A few examples I saw often had the trim on the shoulder pads a slightly different shade of gold, so I used a basecoat of Retributor Armor for those instead.  Otherwise the process was pretty similar to what I just outlined above.

I’m fairly happy with how they turned out, and while I’d love to own a Black Legion army I don’t think I have the patience to paint several squads in this style.  That said, a Kill Team wouldn’t be entirely out of the question.  Also, one of the things I sorta threw my hands up with was the cabling that runs around a lot of Obsidius Mallex’s model.  I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be mechanical, organic or what, and I just had no idea what to do with it.  I would have greatly preferred if he just had a more “traditional” suit of warp corrupted Terminator Armor, because whatever is going on with his looks dumb.  Other than that, these are some nice, intimidating models for some of the biggest threats you’ll face in the Blackstone Fortress.