Idle Speculation - Are Army Sets The Future?

Two and a half data points do not make a trend, but they do at least give a leading indication.

The Lumineth Realm-lord Box that was shown on Sunday and previewed earlier today looks like it'll be a great place to start for anyone looking to collect the army, given what's included within the box.

The Realm-lords box, including not only models, but dice,
cards, tokens and a special  edition 
battletome. 


The posts on Warhammer Community do say that this set has been put out because the Realm-lords are a new faction, and as such merit a special release. However, the box is strongly reminiscent of a major box released for Warhammer 40,000 last year...

The Limited Edition Sisters of Battle Army Set, from November 2019

The Sisters of Battle Army Set has nearly identical contents to the Realm-lords. Dice, cards, special edition book, minus one or two additions and refinements taking place in the Realm-lords set. Which is possibly the case purely because these are what should be included in a release to make it functional as a quasi-starter set. 

Games Workshop also seem to be going for a specific box art aesthetic to these sets as well (which has extended to the Indomitus Box, which is certainly cousin to the two army box sets). 

The Indomitus Box, showing a very similar design aesthetic to other
big, special edition releases.

As I said this isn't a lot to base things on, but it does seem like Games Workshop is introducing an extra tier to their bigger launches to make the most of the hype surrounding them. I hope we see the upcoming Indomitus and Realm-lord box releases accompanied or followed swiftly by the release of the products within on general sale, as otherwise the content to many of these sets will be destined not for the painting and gaming tables but for eBay. 

It'll be interesting to see how frequently we see this type of set; if this is just compression caused by the Corona virus shutting the company down for a number of months, or if they are indeed a trend and will be accompanying many new and refreshed ranges in the future. 

New 40K - The Indomitus Box Preview

Well, Games Workshop has released the preview of the new Indomitus Box, and oh boy.

Kiristen Bell's Eleanor Shellstrop from The Good Place, accurately expressing my suprise.

I massively underestimated the scale of the box in my speculation post.

Tom Hardy and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Eames and Arthur in Inception.

Let’s Get Into It

I’m blown away by the sheer size of the Indomitus Box. It’s a massive set by any measure you choose to put on it. Model count, most especially, but also their quality, not to mention the sheer weigh and size of the box by the look of the sprues packed into it, 

Warhammer Community's image of the two forces presented in the Indomitus Box. A whole lot of lovely models.

I had thought the writing on this post would just be going through my speculation and making a few notes. Turns out my speculation both right in what I said would be in the box, but oh so very wrong on the sheer scope of the box, and what we’d see over and above what has been previewed so far.

I’m not going to get into the whole breakdown of the box here, as the preview post does a better job than I will. What I’m going to do is highlight a few models I like most from either side (a hard job, as the whole set is a high floor, high ceiling production), and then thoughts about what the Indomitus Box means as a whole, and some refactored speculation. There’s much more to talk of regarding the Adeptus Astartes side for me than what I’ll get into here, as the precedents of design and appearance that have been set by the Marines in the box are things I’ll want to fold into and modify within my own nascent Ultramarine force (especially the interaction of the medieval/knightly appearance with the more Roman styled features that are at play throughout the Ultramarine range), but that's a set of thoughts and posts for the future, for now slack jawed awe is the order of the day. 

Primaris Captain

Boy does he have presence; as well as three alternate heads, according to the preview video, which is a nice addition to allow the hobbyist to personalise the army commander, and adds a bit of versatility to the push fit kit. He’s the first model I’ve seen that feels like a worthy successor to Terminators, both in bulk and storied detail. I’ve not been a fan of the robes on the Lieutenant and Bladeguard models previewed before this, as they give the impression at the abdomen of gut rather than cloth, but this model dispels that for me. The level of detail gives the Captain a sense of history and accolades on a par with his none Primaris forebears and brethren, something that feels like it brings some sense of parity to the two sides of the old and new Marine divide, with the Primaris no longer being the clean cut new kids on the block that they were, but veterans on their own hard fought battles, worthy of of inclusion within the Chapters they are part of, and the burdens and honour that brings with it. 

New40K - The Box and Beyond - Speculation

Before we see what’s in the New40K box, I thought I’d indulge some rampant and mostly baseless speculation.

What’s In The Box?

As is Games Workshop’s way I imagine the models we’ve seen in the previews so far will all be included in the new box.

I think the most overwhelming set of clues is in the trailer, which is surely built around the content of the box.

Will There Be Sisters?

If you take the trailer as a template the contents of the box potentially includes Sisters of Battle, as they feature prominently within it.

The inclusion of a third faction within a starter box would be a considerable change of a tried and tested formula. Seeing Adepta Sororitas in the box, while cool, therefore seems an unlikelihood. If we do see them in the box I imagine it’ll only be a single 10 person squad and a character.

No Sisters? What Then?

To dispense with the obvious it’s going to be Primaris and Necrons. The previous starter box, Dark Imperium, came with 53 models (22 Primaris and 31 Death Guard), and the full rulebook. All for £95, sneaking in under the psychologically important £100 mark.

Primaris

The Primaris fraction of the previous box pulled off the impressive trick of hitting all the slots of a Force Organisation Chart. It’d be a neat trick if they were to do it again.

  • Captain? - It seems unlikely we would see the Lieutenant as the highest level character in the box, but more unlikely that the Lieutenant would be taking all the limelight were they not the main character of the box. Leaving out a Captain for a future release does cement the Lieutenant in the background as a safe pair of hands to command a Demi-Company. Then again the Captain does feature strongly in the trailer. I’m 50/50 here. 
  • Lieutenant - Has to be included. Maybe two, as the previewed model is considerably different from the main art in equipped weaponry and pose. 
  • Judiciar - 50/50 on this. It’d be surprising not to see at least one extra Primaris character in the box.  
  • Bladeguard Veteran - The Primaris side do need something to go up against the Skorpekh Destroyers. 3-5 of these guys. 
  • Assault Intercessor - Following the model of Dark Imperium 2 squads of 5.
  • 3 Bikes - It’s been done before in the Dark Vengeance set, with the Ravenguard.
  • Something for Heavy Support, to round out the selection, and put some proper ranged firepower in the Primaris side. The other choices make for a force that’s very short range / close combat heavy. 

Necrons

My choices here fall a bit flatter than the Primaris side.

  • Skorpekh Lord
  • Minor character - Again it seems unlikely there’d be just the big guy. 
  • 3 Skorpekh Destroyers - I can’t see there being 2 units of six.
  • 20 Warriors - Either with some models armed with special weapons, or with two different weapon options.
  • Scarabs - Hopefully models that are smaller and denser on the base than previously.
  • Something chunky, unless that visual slot has been filled by the Skorpekh Lord. The above does feel like it’s missing something and it feels unlikely we’ve seen pretty much the whole force already in previews. 

But What Else?

I think we’ll certainly see the inclusion of the full rulebook again, and the mini-codecies for each fraction.

They’ll be the tools for playing the game, hopefully including nice dice.

There could well be a game board in the set, for a 44"x30" battlefield, either as two 22”x30” boards or as one large one, and I’d love to see some terrain, but I suspect that’s a stretch.

But At What Cost?

I’d like to hope for the sake of my wallet it’ll come in either in or on the £100 mark, but the trend for battle boxes to come in at £110 has me nervous, but for all the similarities they serve a slightly different function to a true Core Box.

When Will We See It?

I’d put a fair bet on the release date being the 27th. Going to the 4th seems both a sever stretching of the publicity window, and conflicts with Independence Day in the US, which is surely some level of consideration.

Beyond The Box?

The new box is only part of a new release. So what else will we see? Obviously there’s Avenging Son, but that won’t be all.

Releases in recent years have been accompanied by a set of relevant tokens/dice sets, and I think in this case it’ll also be alongside a combined terrain and game board box in the style we’ve seen in Kill Team/Warcry. I doubt we’ll see the objective box redone.

Is That All?

It’d be nice to see the Action Figures released to coincide with the box, but I suspect that’s beyond Games Workshop’s control.

I guess we’ll see the strength of my farseeing come the 13th, and I’ll score myself then, and see if my other guesses need refactoring.

Ending Racism In The Warhammer Community

It’s not the place of this blog to add anything to the following, only to listen, understand, transmit and act going forward.

Joshua Mallett / Omegonedge posted the following to Instagram on 2020/06/02

He has since made significant follow up to the above amid and addressing response from the community and Games Workshop, including their posting of this image on their social media; a strong statement of intent for themselves and the community, that needs to be followed by action


The current atmosphere has precipitated a disheartening outpouring of similar stories, exposing the abhorrent behaviour displayed by some in the community; and as a community that reflects on and affects all of us. The world only gets better if we all strive to do better.

BLACK LIVES MATTER

State of the Collection 2020-06-06

My initial conception for this post was to run down the Primaris range as presented on the GW site and just tick off what I have. This was swiftly followed by the thought that not only will it date alarmingly fast as a snapshot of products, but especially so being so close to the release of a new edition. That said I still think it’s useful for me to have a record of where my collection stand before things kick off in earnest with the launch of New40K.

I’ve spilt the below into starter box sets and individual boxes for my own clarity and ease of reference in the future; the box set models being all push fit single pose figures, and also ill conforming to the breakdown of the individual boxes, being of odd squad sizes or possessing unique models. It also serves to highlight a few holes appearing in the range, as the Dark Imperium sprues (and the derived box sets) were the only way to get hold of the Gravis Captain and Primaris Ancient. Shadowspear has also been split off for the same reason, as we have yet to see Suppressors released as a stand alone box.

Boxes below that can be used to construct multiple different models have been listed as one entry. Something only of issue at this point with the Infiltrators/Incursors, which is surprising given how frequently it occurs for other factions.

For the sake of keeping the list short and remaining chapter agnostic any faction specific model has been excluded, unless I own them, and Easy-Build boxes have been left off as being duplicates in the case of Primaris (something that again isn’t true across other factions).

I’ve included the few limited release Primaris Lieutenants etc I own out of completeness.

I’m mildly surprised about how few entries there are compared to my expectation and impression of the broadness of the realm.

At some point this sort of post will transition to being "State of the Army', but I'm hardly there yet.  In the meantime here begins the list of shame and unpainted plastic. 

At least I’m in good company.


HQ

Troops

Elite

New40K - Game and Board Sizes - WarCom

The information below can be found in these posts on the Warhammer Community site. All I’ve done is pulled it out of images and into a table I can search at a later date. 

Battle Size  Power/ Pts   Command Pts   Time   Min. Battlefield Size 
 Combat Patrol  50 / 500 3 1 hour 44"x30"
Incursion 100 / 1000 6 2 hours 44"x60"
Strike Force 200 / 2000 12 3 hours 44"x60"
Onslaught 300 / 3000 18 4 hours 44"x90"

Aside from the fact that points costs will be increasing across the system to allow for smaller, faster games  with fewer models and finer granularity for the designers in assigning points the big thing I want to note here is change of board sizes.

Traditionally Games Workshop has used feet as it’s preferred unit of measurement for tables, with smaller boards for skirmish games generally being 4’x4’ (48”x48”) and larger games being 4’x6’(48”x72”). This trend was bucked fairly recently by Kill Team and the introduction of 22”x30” boards supplied either in the core box or available in additional releases. This size was something of a curio, being difficult to tessellate into the larger sizes cleanly. It would turn up again in Warcry, but hasn't been seen in a main system until now. 

With New40K these boards officially graduate to the big time, as the minimum board sizes are constructed out of two, four and six boards respectively.

I like it, as it makes the physical space required for a game slightly more manageable to find, especially at smaller sizes, and with the use of game boards gives a setting that's accessibly priced, easy to store and ties in with Games Workshops available terrain. Being smaller than the previous sizes does nothing to invalidate boards and tables created by hobbyists previously, although it does raise the question of the future of the realm of battle boards, and if Armies on Parade will make the switch to these dimensions. I can't see any reason why AoS wouldn't also be adopting this battlefield size down the line. 

The Art of #New40K - WarCom

⚫︎ From the Warhammer Community, coverage of the New40K launch:
It probably hasn’t escaped your attention that a new edition of Warhammer 40,000 is on its way. We’ve shown off stunning new models and started previewing the exciting changes to the rules. But what about one of the most important parts of any new Warhammer product? That’s right, we’re talking about the art.

The art and imagery of Warhammer 40,000 are key to the game’s appeal. The grim, dark universe of the 41st Millennium comes to life through the incredible artwork that peppers the pages of the game’s books.

Source:  The Art of #New40K
I can only agree wholeheartedly with the above. The art across all of GW's publications add so much flavour to the worlds they have created; fleshing them out, providing inspiration for the imaginations of fans, converters and painters.

Preview artwork from the 9th Edition Warhammer 40000 Core Book. Lacking official title, description, or artist credit. Source: Warhammer Community
The artwork previewed in the post show an Imperium darker than we've oft seen previously. The Emperor's Angels are far from the glorious heroes they can be portrayed as in both the background and on the tabletop. The febrile juxtaposition of panoply and poverty, the futuristic and the antiquated, the functional and the baroque, and most especially the massive scale of the Imperial war machine and the dwarfing of the mortal cogs that support it, are really on display, in an arresting mix of the martial, religious, superhuman and almost subhuman. The Astartes are rendered almost uncanny, their post human stature and trappings of brutality and nobility a far cry from the scurrying bent backed humans that attend and honour them. It's a powerful composition, and there're are even some lovely nods amid it all to the older versions of the game and background, with the Blood Angels 2nd Company Standard on display as well as the chainsword with hazard stripes in the bottom left.

New40K - Secondary Objectives and Actions - WarCom

⚫︎ From Warhammer 40,000: Matched Play, Points, and an App! on Warhammer Community

…secondary objectives are asymmetrical, and are actually chosen by the players themselves. The primary represents the shared story on the battlefield, while the secondaries represent your army’s theme and help balance tough matchups.

Are you running a sneaky Raven Guard army? Choose secondaries that score victory points for planting homing beacons or infiltrating the enemy’s deployment zones. World Eaters? Focus on secondaries that reward reaping skulls for Khorne, not standing on objectives!..

There are a number of categories of secondary objectives you may choose from pre-game, but you can’t select more than one from any given category.

This is very reminiscent of Infinity‘s classified’s objectives, especially with the newly introduced actions and the increased ability in the rules for running smaller scale games.

The new edition also adds actions to Warhammer 40,000. Traditionally, your models could either stand near objectives or shoot/punch. No longer! Now you can perform rituals, plant homing beacons, raise banners on key objectives and more. This creates dynamic moments where you may need to decide between firing at the enemy or bravely accomplishing a mission.

This is the sort of thing I’ve wanted of the game for some time, so I look forward to trying it out on the table.

Running List of Warhammer Community New40K Launch Posts

As per the title really, an index of the Warhammer Community coverage of #New40K

Updated 2020-06-24

Intention

As I said in the previous post I have plans for the new edition of 40K and for this blog.

To get into specifics I intend, during this edition, and as the primary and exclusive project of this scope I’m undertaking at this time, to, bastardising Games Workshop’s phraseology, collect, build, paint, and (maybe even) play with an army of Primaris Ultramarines.

℧︎

There are assumptions and qualifiers in that monstrous run-on sentence, evident and implied, that need drawing out and defining. I’m not doing what I said I’d set out to do and interrogate my decisions if I don’t pull this all apart a bit. The posts doing that will be interspersed throughout the blog, interleaved with actual progress on the army as I cover the theoreticals and practicals of the undertaking. All of which is to say there’s a 2,500 word draft about what makes an army waiting to be posted, and it’s got to go somewhere other than just rattling around in my brain and computer.

The site should in part act as a public facing journal of my hobby progress across the Ultramarine army project, with notes on conversions, paint schemes, etc, and the foreground thinking behind them (because sometime is can be summed up as “it looked cool”). Hopefully the growth of the army will make up the backbone of the blog, as models are added and the force expands.

The blog isn’t going to be monomaniacally focused on being an Ultramarine hobby diary though. The theoreticals should be generalist for one, and I do intend for them to be far from the only content. The hobby is, to greater and lesser degrees about art, and the conversation through that between Games Workshop and its audience, and the conversations we have amongst ourselves. INQ28 and the myriad of insanely talented creators working under that banner is probably the preeminent example of what I’m driving at here. I’m not blinded to the fact that Games Workshop is a corporate entity and that the hobby is derived from the manner in which it has developed and leveraged its IP over the years, but that their creation has taken on a life of its own in the heads of people who’ve come into contact with it, is absolutely deserving of acknowledgement.

While I’ve broken my addiction to rumour sites I do enjoy speculating on what will happen next in the hobby based upon the posts from the Warhammer Community. There will doubtless be some spurious forensics performed upon some of their output, trying to divine the future.

There’s also something to be said for the blog chronicling the hobby; both the internal experience and at a remove, which drifts perilously close to academia and journalism, and probably exposes some nuisance of the way my brain runs. (Sadly I suspect opportunities for gonzo journalism will be rare, but it’s a genre I’ll indulge given the opportunity. New Games Journalism* is probably the closest kith and kin to what I’m aiming for with some of this).

There’s some onus on the blog to try not to be monotheistic. Games Workshop maybe the church I worship at, but it does not exist in a vacuum in the hobby landscape, and utterly ignoring the other options in the field is a form of cultural myopia. I don’t want this to become a gateway into the sprawling hobby commitments and range of systems I’ve bought into previously, but I do want to keep an eye on what else is out there. If only to continually remeasure the assertion that Games Workshop is making the best miniatures in the world.

It’d also be nice to avoid being bowel strainingly pretentious,** although there’s a chance it’s already too late for that in this. It’s hard to take on such an internally self serious setting as 40K and the rest without a sense of humour and the absurd, this just isn’t the post where it’s going to show through.


* NGJ is a term originating from Kieron Gillen, who alongside his comics writing output, is also a hobbyist, as seen occasionally on Instagram and the Hipsterhammer tumblr. He’s written a Warhammer comic for Boom! Studios, and I strongly recommend taking a look at his comic Die for a journey into an RPG that strikes close to home (and is described by the author as “Goth Jumanji”). I mean check out his other stuff as well, but Die is the most strongly relevant.↩︎

** This isn’t a Medium post after all.↩︎

Introduction

A photograph of five Primaris Intercessors, from the now out of print Dark Imperium, the 8th Edition Starter Box, painted in approximation of the 'Eavy Metal Studio style and sensibilities, in the colours of the Ultramarine’s 3rd Company, displayed on an Apocalypse 32mm Movement Tray.
Despite the best of intentions during the lifetime of 8th Edition 40K I only *finished* the half squad of Space Marines above. There were other projects but no other models got to this stage, despite some getting close. The marines are missing squad numbers and a final coat of varnish (which I’m unwilling to chance), but they have crossed the line of any reasonable definition of table ready, which has otherwise been so consistently a point of failure for me across my time in the hobby.

#New40K, for me, is a chance to refocus on the collecting and painting side hobby and to build something atop these meagre foundations, having not had a force that truly approaches being “completed” for 40K since back in 2nd edition and my first forays into the hobby, when the distraction and acquisition that would characterise later years were yet to surface.

The new edition is also a chance to take a steely eyed look at the hobby at a meta and personal level through the blog, and really dig down into certain aspects of it. 

New40K, New Screwed Up Dice


Screwed Up Dice has crossed the Rubicon Primaris.

still image from the #New40K Cinematic Trailer showing an Ultramarine Primaris Assault Intercessor Sergeant framed in front of an Imperial Aquilla. (Shortly to be released as an action figure). Source: Warhammer Community.