Before we even start this, if you haven’t done so already, head over to Warhammer Community and read the story about Harry and his son painting this mini – it’s way (waaay) more important and interesting than reading my drivel. But if you’re in the mood for a little drivel, do continue on – I’ve got plenty of it to share around. And now, back to our usual feature. 🙂
Quite unexpectedly, Games Workshop were kind enough to send Bastian Carthalos to me and I’ve been happilly working away on him. While this character is very much belonging to the Hammers of Sigmar, I inducted him into the Ashen Stars (my own Stormhost that you can read about here) because no-one, not even Lord Commanders, are immune to the curse… Let’s take a look at this big (BIG) fella.
What a chonkster. What an absolute unit. This guy is huge – like, Primarch proportions if you’ll permit me to cross the streams for a moment. All those memes people were making about him being an alternative model for Vulkan – let’s just say it would be far from impossible to do that. And he has that poise and purpose that you want a general to have – that’s some great posing and positioning from the Miniatures team.
When it came to painting him up as a member of the Ashen Stars, i was presented with a problem though. I started that Stormcast army over 3 years ago now, and I haven’t really worked on it properly for a long time. The golden-boys side of the Dominion box remains untouched (though come to think of it, so does the swampy-boys side – one day), but what’s more troublesome is that the way I paint (especially) metallics has evolved a lot in that time. So I had to drag myself back into the mists of the past (2018-ish) and relearn how I painted back then to fit this guy into that army. It was tricky, but I think he matches them quite well, even though I changed up a couple of things.
The model was undercoated black, and then I picked out all of the metallic areas with Leadbelcher, the brown leather with Rhinox Hide and the bone-coloured cloak with Ushabti Bone. All of that got a covering of Agrax Earthshade and was left to dry. Once dry, I highlighted the metallic areas up through Ironbreaker to Runefang Steel, before using Nazdreg Yellow, thinned with some Contrast Medium to create the brass/gold areas. The leather cloak was given a series of treatments (from sponges, brushes, etc) with XV-88 before being sealed in with Seraphim Sepia, and the bone-coloured cloak has lifted back up all the way to Screaming Skull.
That was the bulk of the model done so I focussed on the red areas next, the purply haft of his hammer and the lighter banner bits before adding the 5 pointed star to his cloak buckle and moving on to the base. Oh, that base. Normally there’s like a stone or two on the bases of this army, but on here there are tonnes, as well as two skulls (I’ve fixed the dodgy eye I painted in one of them post photos), and the brazier thing too. I’m not happy with the lines on some of those tiles, but as I got this whole thing finished in about five hours, I’ll live with it. This army was always meant to be played with, not lauded as a painting masterclass.
Once that base was done, I cracked out the Rhinox hide, Typhus Corrosion and Ryza Rust and went to town with the weathering – by far the most fun step with this scheme. I got him all grossed up with the signature look of the Ashen Stars, before cleaning up his base rim and calling him done.
In a way, I’m sad to see the back of this miniature. He reminded my why I like Stormcast Eternals, and he was a simple fun paint in a short period of time. Given weeks with him (and I’m not complaining at all here – it was very kind of GW to send him my way) I think I could have done something really special with him. Genuinely tempted to buy another one to do just that. He’s super easy to put together too, and there are minimal mould lines to worry about. Also, having looked at his bonkers rules, I’m trying to find a way to squeeze him into the army I intend to play, but we’ll see.
Onto the next project for me, though I have a packed couple of weeks so it might be quiet around here for a little. And I’m aware that there are at least a couple of articles that I have promised that have fallen by the wayside but I will get back to those as soon as I can. In the meantime, have an awesome weekend filled with hobby goodness. Onwards!
P.s. Here’s a good size comparison with a Liberator for you:
I heard a funny story from a friend of mine the other day. He’s a Tyranid player but is accepting of his lot in the game at the moment. Ask any Nids player and they’ll tell you that, on the tabletop, the faction sucks. I personally can’t speak to that, having not played against a Tyranid army since I think 6th edition, but I can believe it. I never hear anyone talking about how hot Tyranids are in the meta, so I’m happy to go along with their lack of winning options. But my friend told me a tale of the one list that has performed well in the last few years, making it to the heady heights of 3rd (please be aware that there’s some grape-vining going on here so I may not get details like that exactly right, and there might be some scuttlebutt in here but if it’s not exactly true, it’s a pleasant and believable fiction so we can ride with it) in a tournament. This list was, apparently, completely randomly generated. And I can believe that.
Around the time of 5th or 6th, I remember hearing tales of an Eldar list that won a tournament. Now, this isn’t the eldar of today, which consistently performs well in games, but the Eldar pre-serpent-shield when they, well, they sucked. They were at that point the worst army in the game pretty much, so how did they win in an era governed by Draigo-wings, Screamer-stars, the Old School Lash of Slaanesh and whatever vileness the Necrons had going on? Well, they won because no one imagined a good player would bring this list. Everyone was set up to deal with those top tier tricks and combos, but they didn’t have an answer for a load of Fire Dragons melting everything, or Dire Avengers shredding their stuff.
The point of recanting this tale is that it’s another example of an army doing well because in any system where there is “a meta” it is not unusual for said meta to become blind to anything outside of itself. Armies are selected to deal with the big problems that everyone’s going to bring, so when someone brings something unusual, the unusual list can take advantage of the fact that no-one was expecting to ever see that on the table. Ok, so 95% of the time, the most meta-centric lists will win, but, personally, I’d live for the one time in 20 that I brought something no-one was expecting and got a good result with it. Now that’s a thrill.
So, where are we going with this? Well, this idea has been swirling around in my head for a little while now and so I got a bunch of the new Battletomes and Codexes, and my big set of strangely shaped dice, and I set out to create six completely random army lists. And when I say completely random, I mean completely random. I won’t go into every dice roll, but if there was a choice to be made, I made that choice with dice alone.
In today’s post, we’re going to be looking just at Age Of Sigmar armies, and in the next one, we’ll look at 40k Armies. I’ll walk you through a bit of the dice rolling here and there, and I’ll give you my opinions as to their tactical play (like I’m someone you should take seriously on that front). I want to see if my dice can create an army capable of upsetting the meta in any way. Let’s start with:
List Name: Draco-Blobs
Leader: Lord Celestant on Dracoth
Leader: Lord Celestant on Dracoth
Leader: Lord Commander Bastian Carthalos
Battleline: 5x Judicators with Skybolt Bows
Battleline: 5x Sequitors
Battleline: 5x Liberators
5x Vanguard Hunters
2x Dracothian Guard Desolators
3x Vanguard Paladors
The Army: So, this one was a bit strange. For a start, I didn’t roll for anything big – something I was slightly concerned about for future armies but it turned out I needn’t have been. We got a few Dracoths though, which are pretty handy, and the weirdest thing was I rolled the first two Lord Celestants as my first two picks. I then realised, as I was doing matched play, I’d need at least three Battleline units so I rolled for them and got an interesting mix. Then I asked myself “should I add another leader?” and the dice said yes, so Carthalos got added to the mix after another roll. I also rolled for a unit of Aetherwings, but when I added things up, they took the total over 2000 points, and as they were the last thing rolled for, they had to go, so we’re coming in exactly 50 points light here.
There is a little synergy here. With any Stormcast army, the troops choices can be hard to shift from objectives but obviously, you lose the numbers game typically if things get contested. There’s a nice speedy contingent with the Dracoths and Paladors, and a little fire-support too. I think ol’ Bastian and the Annihilators will look very scary and can slowly trudge to do whatever they want.
Personally, I think this would just look like a bit of a fish out of water list and I doubt anyone but the most mastermindedly (not a word) of generals could get much out of this one. Nope, I don’t think this is really it. It will have the all the strengths of the faction, but no-one’s mind is goign to be blown (in a good way) by this list.
List Name: A Little Doing A Lot
Leader/Behemoth: Nagash, Supreme Lord of the Undead
Leader: Kritza, The Rat Prince
Leader/Behemoth: Prince Vhordrai
Battleline: 10x Deathrattle Skeletons
Battleline: 10x Deathrattle Skeletons
Battleline: 10x Deathrattle Skeletons
5x Blood Knights
The Army: Oh boy. When the first thing you roll for is Nagash, you know there aren’t going to be many more rolls. When Vhordrai comes out two rolls later, you start worrying if you’re going to get a legal army into 2000 points. In fact, originally, I rolled for a couple of 30 man units of Skeletons and that killed the list, so after consulting the dice, they were reduced to 10 man units and thank Nagash that a unit of Blood Knights came out to fill the last points out quite nicely. And with 45 points left over, you should have enough to add in an Endless Spell for Nagash to play around with too.
I don’t think many people would expect to see this. You’ve got a couple of big beasts in there (two of the biggest in the game really) and they can do a lot of damage, but the Skeletons are likely to get blown to pieces, and I don’t really know what the Rat Prince is doing int there to be honest, but I don’t think all is lost. Vhordrai and the Blood Knights can do some serious damage when paired together – not much is going to be able to handle that charge. And Nagash is, well, Nagash – a terrifying thing to play against on any occasion. But you’re asking Nagash and the chargers to do all of the heavy lifting here and that could prove too much. If those skeleton blobs could have been a little bigger, or if we could have squeezed one other threat into this army, but alas, the dice said no.
Not a lost cause by any means, and you will have some sort of element of surprise, but I remain skeptical.
List Name: A Great Green Tide
Leader: Orruk Warchanter
Leader/Behemoth: Killaboss on Corpse-rippa Vulcha
Leader/Behemoth: Gobsprakk, The Mouth of Mork
Leader/Behemoth: Swampboss Skumdrekk
Battleline: 5x Orruk Ardboyz
Battleline: 5x Orruk Ardboyz
Battleline: 10x Gutrippaz
Battleline: 10x Gutrippaz
Artillery: Beast-skewer Killbow
10x Hobgrot Slittaz
The Army: Ok, this is more like it. You’ve got a very solid core with plenty of bodies, some fast movers and big monsters, some buffers, and even a bit of artillery support. I rolled for a Big Waaagh, and then I rolled to include Ironjawz and Kruleboyz but none of the Bonesplittaz, so I was worried this would look like the “Fist Mouth” list I did for the Lazy Painter’s guide a little while back. Happily though, it’s nice and different – and actually quite well balanced.
You’re going to have a good advantage on objective holding thanks to your numbers, and the Sloggoth and Warchanter can help out the footslogging units. Meanwhile, as your Killbow chips away at anything you want it to, the three behemoths and the Goregruntas can charge head-first into the enemy. I’m not sure if this list is breaking any new ground, but I think the dice have been rather kind to us with this one.
I’ve got to give it a high score really. I could see this winning, though movement trays are probably a must just to ensure you don’t get timed out. You’ve got a lot of model moving to do, but I can’t see any real downsides to this list!
So, what have we learned with this experiment thus far? Well, it’s a bit of a mixed bag really. I don’t think the Stormcast list will rock anyone’s world but I don’t think anyone would be expecting it. The Soulblight List looks like it’ll be fun but a few bad rolls and you’re going to be in a lot of trouble. The Orruks list though looks decent enough, and there’s some good synergy in there. So I’d say we have a 1.5 out of 3 successes really, and all of that is entirely down to the dice. I haven’t added in any faction rules, warlord traits or relics here, but if you spot something in that vein that could work with any of these, pop it into the comments.
In our next post, we’ll give the 40k side of things a go and determine whether or not, once and for all, if random armies can be trusted. Onwards!
Ok, this may well have been the easiest Lazy Painter’s list I’ve ever put together, due mainly to the amount of choice you have in the new Stormcast Eternals Battletome (that GW were good enough to send me) and the points cost of the models. I actually made some decent lists at very low model counts but then I worked this one out and I couldn’t not put it up here because it does kind of fit in with all of the Lazy Painter rules for creating an army. There are very (VERY) few miniatures, the vast majority of them are new, there’s not too much repetition here (there literally couldn’t be due to the low number of models) and while I can’t promise you it will win games, I can promise you that it’ll be fun finding out.
I also feel like I should add another rule – If you can take dragons in your list, you should do, because dragons are cool. You can probably now guess where I’m going with this one, so without further ado, let’s take a look.
Karazai the Scarred looks like a boss. This gnarly old dragon likes to scrap and boy does he have some tools to help him with that. How about the fact that all melee weapons that target him have their attacks characteristic reduced by 1 (to a minimum of 1)? Or the fact that his “Annihilating Jaws” have a to hit roll of 1+ when he’s not lost more that 8 of his 18 wounds (and they cause some real damage too). He is a powerhouse of a miniature and absolutely the general for this army. And if that’s not enough, we’re also going to be taking along a Lord Celestant on Stardrake which is still as brutal as it always has been. That Rain of Stars attack – love it, man.
Whether we choose to take Karazai or the Stardrake as our General, it doesn’t matter because either one of them will make Stormdrake Guard battleline. So we’re taking three units of two Stormdrake Guard as our Battleline. These guys are also monsters in melee, and they too carry a ranged attack in the form of their mortal wound dealing Draconic Flamestorm. And to top that all off (literally), they’ve got a Stormcast with either a Warblade that does 6 attacks, or a lance that does 3 but also gets improved stats on the charge, riding them into battle. What’s not to love!?
There aren’t any. That’s it. It’s literally eight (8) models.
Model Count: 8. Just 8. A Lazy Painter’s record so far. And they’re dragons, yo!
Army Name: Dragons, Yo
Additional Stuff: Like i said, I don’t know if this will win you games but you will have fun with this list. From a painting point of view, imagine how colourful and cool eight dragons could be, and with only seven Stormcast Eternals riding them, this should be quick and very enjoyable to paint.
On the playing side of things, at least your games won’t drag on (get it?) as you’ll either have immolated or smashed up everything in like 3 rounds tops, or you’ll be dead yourself. More time to get a pint in post game and talk about how cool it is fielding an army of eight dragons, right? Set up will be quick, you won’t have many rules to remember, and the look on your opponent’s face will be priceless. An army built for laughs which might just have something.
Does it have something? Or is this just too nuts to work? Let me know in the comments, and until next time, Onwards, yo!
“What land is this?” Barakros watched as the golden colour of his armour drained away to nothingness. Flecks danced in the dull, blood-tinged light, glittering as they spun away from him.
Long shadows fell before him and he looked to see his own kind. Great warriors of Sigmar, strode silently towards him. It was only as they drew closer he saw the rust and grime of their armour. Bare metal, streaked with grease and splashed with now dry blood. Upon their shields, a lone black star.
“Brother? What land is this?” he asked again.
“State your name” the only forthcoming reply.
“Barakros. Liberator of the-“
“Liberator is fine. You are no longer part of any other host. Quickly now, present your shield”
The stranger took from a worn leather pouch at his waste a brush, like one might use for painting decorations upon the walls of a home, and moved it over Barakros’ shield. A sticky black substance traced the black star upon the face of it, and moments later it was applied to the shoulder of his star-forged armour.
“The symbol will protect your armour. It stops it from being lost to the chill winds of Ulgu where you now stand. You are one of us now. We are the unreturned. We are those whose Sigmars voice could not reach, and whose lightning could not summon back to our home. We are the Ashen Stars, and we have use for a warrior like you…”
That’s the idea that started the Ashen Stars. When I first moved up to Nottingham, I received a “Start Collecting!” box of Stormcast Eternals and if I’m honest, I had very little interest in doing much with them. I think they’re a really fun faction, but they never really caught my imagination. That and I’ve never really enjoyed painting gold – just got a bit of a blind spot for it. Of course, gold isn’t a necessity, but I suppose, the way they were presented, I never really found a soft spot for them.
And I didn’t know too much about the lore either – something I would learn more about later. But I did like that they arrived and left the battlefield as bolts of lightning sent from Azyr. So I thought; what if that went wrong? What if, when a host returns, every now and again, a single warrior remained. And the warrior’s armour started to lose its colour until it was bare metal and began to rust. But they’d always find their way to Ulgu, and would be met by others who had encountered the same fate. They would teach the newcomer the sacred symbol that would protect their armour – a five pointed black star, painted using the ash that flows across the realm’s winds.
Why this is happening? Who knows. Maybe Morathi has done something. Maybe Nagash. Maybe there’s a flaw with the process of creating a Stormcast Eternal? Who knows. But over the last couple of years, using a very quick and easy scheme that lends itself to this sort of thing, I’ve built up a small army of the Ashen Stars, and I thought I’d show them off here. So let’s take a little look:
I wanted the army to have three distinct parts. Heavy Support, a strong Core, and some Fast Attack (to borrow from 40k’s terminology).
The Heavy Support so far brings some nasty ranged power, augmented by the Lord Ordinator I painted for the recent Heresy Vs Heroes project I embarked on (more on that soon). And protected by the raven-like Aetherwings who can strike out at anything that gets too close and harass any nearby threats.
I think my favourite unit here are the dudes with big crossbows (name escapes me right now). I like the old fashioned weapons given a high fantasy twist.
There’s not much to the core yet. Some Liberators and Stormsire’s mob. I love the old sword and board combo, and I don’t care if hammers are better – the swords just look cooler. I went for a dull red glow to contrast against the typical bright blue glow that the faction is known for.
The Knight Azyros leads the Fast Attack portion of the army which so far is made up only of Prosecutors (that’s their name right?) and my favourite Gryph-hounds.
The hounds were a lot of fun to paint. I wanted the animals in this army to have a similar affliction to the Stormcast so I studied Albinism and Melanism to get their colours right. A very enjoyable project.
There’s more to do, though when I get the time, who knows. I need to expand that core to make it a playable army, and I want more in that Fast Attack section. I’ve got the minis, but not the time. One day. And until that day comes, I wish you happy and successful painting! Onwards!