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.

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 · Boxed Games · Warhammer 40000

[Blackstone Fortress] The Explorers (1/2)

Now on to The Explorers.  I painted these guys in roughly this order, from models I thought would be more straight forward to paint or characters I wasn’t as invested in, to ones I knew I’d want to spend a little extra time on.  This first of two entries will cover the former — and that’s not to say I disliked these models or anything, since I was really happy with how Espern Locarno and Pious Vorne turned out.

As a disclaimer, it’s been awhile since I put these models away and I’ve had to put the blog on hold for awhile too, so my memory might be a little hazy on some details.  Bear with me.

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Espern Locarno was the very first of The Explorers I worked on.  At this point, coming up on the end of the Blackstone Fortress box,  I was just excited  at the prospect of painting more than just blacks, reds and variations of grey that comprise so much of the hostiles in the game.

For most of The Explorers I didn’t feel the need to stray much from GW’s paint schemes, and for Locarno in particular there was a nice little video on Warhammer TV that provides a bit of a jumping off point for the purple on the cape and robes.  To sum it up, base the outer cape with Naggaroth Night, then build on that with Xerus Purple, Genestealer Purple, and highlight with Warpfiend Grey. For the robes, base with Xerus Purple, and progress through the previous colors, but a bit more liberally to create a brighter purple.

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Painting Rein and Raus isn’t much different than painting a Cadian Guardsman — one that’s been dipped in glue then rolled around in your bits box.  I’m generally not a fan of really “busy” models because of how much they slow down the painting process, but there is something to be said about the amount of detail GW is able to cram into plastic kits these days.

Despite their size, the Ratling twins are carrying a lot of crap, and their knapsacks, mini-fridges, leather pouches full of snacks, etc. I just found tedious to paint.  As long as they’re not rank and file troops, I guess I can stomach the odd HQ or character models done in this style, but the twins still came out as my least favorite of The Explorers to paint.

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Next was Taddeus the Purifier who, next to Rein and Raus, was probably my second least favorite explorer to paint, but not because of the model.  The model’s neat and so is the official paint job, because that’s pretty much how I’d expect the Space Pope to look.  Actually, the problem was just me and not feeling like I did a very clean job on this model.  The face just doesn’t stand out enough and some of the reds on the robe look less crisp than I would’ve liked.  At some point I just decided it’d be better to keep it moving and shift my focus to the next one.

Oh, and my approach to his pajama robes were as follows:

  • [Base] Zandri Dust
  • [Layer] Ushabti Bone
  • [Wash] Seraphim Sepia
  • [Layer] Ushabti Bone, leaving the wash in the folds or where shadows would fall
  • [Layer] Mix increasing amounts of Screaming Skull into Ushabti Bone
  • [Highlight] Pallid Wychflesh

As always, Lahmian Medium is useful to thin paints down and create smoother transitions between colors versus plain water.

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Finally, Pious Vorne.  Despite the drab colors, she was fun to paint.  She was also an interesting example of just how different black can look when highlighted with different but similar colors.  For example, a highlight of Mechanicus Standard Grey followed by a fine highlight of Dawnstone gives her black armor a cleaner appearance, as opposed to her dusty leather gloves which are highlighted with Eshin Grey and Stormvermin Fur.  The effect isn’t as noticeable in the pictures, but is something worth remembering and keeping in your bag of tricks to use on models with a lot of black, especially when they have a mix of metal and leather.

Finally, I couldn’t resist the urge to paint hazard stripes on her Vindictor, since the thing is so over the top it’s almost a character in itself.  For those I followed the same method I used to paint yellow for my Orks that I detailed awhile ago.  It’s eye catching on an otherwise subdued model.

That’s all for now.  Next up are the Chaos Space Marines and the big bad, Obsidius Mallex, then finally the other half of The Explorers as the conclusion to my series on Blackstone Fortress.  Hopefully in a few days as opposed to a few months this time.

Blackstone Fortress · Boxed Games · Warhammer 40000

[Blackstone Fortress] Negavolt Cultists and Rogue Psykers

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Here we are almost nearing the end of the hostiles for Blackstone Fortress.  The Negavolt Culstists were one of the standout hostile models for me for a few reasons.  As far as I know, this is the closest thing we’ve seen to a representation of Dark Mechanicus in model form in the past couple decades, if ever at all.  It’s also just a really cool model.  The Adeptus Mechanicus could already easily be portrayed as an evil faction, corrupted by their obsession with machines in many other fictional universes, but this being 40k, you can always take it a step further.

Well, they took it a step further.  The whip-like tentacles coming out of their skulls, metal plates giving only the basic outline of a human face fused to mask their actual faces give even Electro Priests a bit of a run for their money when it comes to the creep factor.  Much like the Traitor Guardsman, there is a bit of a scavenger vibe to them as well that I like, and the power coils on their backs wouldn’t look out of place at all on an Ork Mek.

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Speaking of the power coils, I saw them as a great chance to practice object source lighting, aka OSL, again.  I wasn’t a fan of the orange coils Games Workshop used in the official paint schemes, so I went with good old blue plasma.  Warhammer TV has a basic tutorial on how to paint the plasma on plasma guns, and that’s a good starting point.  To sum it up:

  • [Base] Kantor Blue
  • [Layer] Teclis Blue
  • [Layer] Baharroth Blue on the raised coils
  • [Layer] Thinned down White Scar in patches around the raised coils to give it a more white-hot look

Next, if you’re going down the OSL route, you’re going to want to have the metal done first, as the glazes are meant to be applied over them.  The metal’s nothing special — the same technique you’ve seen a thousand times:

  • [Base] Leadbelcher
  • [Wash] Nuln Oil
  • [Wash] (Optional) Agrax Earthshade — helps break up the uniformity when applied to parts, (example: the shaft of the batons).
  • [Highlight] Leadbelcher
  • [Edge Highlight] Stormhost Silver

With that done, you’ll be thinning down Teclis Blue pretty heavily with Lahmian Medium, at least 2:1, to create a glaze.  You want to build this up slowly on the metallic surfaces where light from the coils would catch.  Remember, you can always add, but you can’t subtract — at least, not without a lot of effort.  Next, do the same with Baharroth Blue, but bring it in a little closer to the light wherever the light would be stronger.  I also used Stormhost Silver to reapply an edge highlight to the metal, but you could try playing around with White Scar as well.

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I don’t have much to say about the Rogue Psykers but here they are.  They were only a little more interesting to paint than the Traitor Guardsmen, but the callback to the old Daemonhost model, being shackled to weights, was a nice touch.

A lot of the techniques used on these guys I’ve already detailed in other entries, like the fur pelts which also appear on Traitor Guardsmen and the flesh which I took a very similar approach with as the Chaos Beastmen.  I wanted a bit more of an unnatural tone to their skin and didn’t want to just make them look pale like the Negavolt Cultists.

Next up for Blackstone Fortress, the Black Legion Marines and Obsidius Mallex.