Welcome to February’s issue of the Month in Miniatures, the regular news roundup from Tiny Plastic People. My goal here is to write a monthly summary of all the things happening in Games Workshop’s miniatures ranges, to let you keep up with the new and interesting things that have been revealed or released, without needing to check all the blogs every day.
February gave us a videogame trailer, two Age of Sigmar army books, and a whole reveals stream dedicated to AoS, which means there’s a whole mess of cool stuff to see this time.
Total War: Warhammer
Right back at the start of February, we got an announcement trailer for Total War Warhammer 3! The Total War Warhammer series (massive empire-building strategy video games set in the Old World, if you’re unfamiliar) was always publicly announced to be a trilogy, so this was to be expected at some point. The trailer shows off Daemonic armies for each of the Chaos Gods, plus the two human factions, Kislev and Cathay.
Neither Kislev nor Cathay – cultures heavily inspired by Imperial Russia and China respectively – have been explored very much or had models before. Geographically and culturally speaking, they expand the Old World considerably from its roots in the Holy Roman Empire, and I’m very excited to see more details on how they’re going to turn out. Gameplay wise, I’m very curious about how the Daemons will work – they don’t especially care about taking territory or harvesting resources, just about tearing up reality enough to manifest.
Of the major Old World factions, only two are currently not represented in Total Warhammer now: Ogres and Chaos Dwarves. It seems a pretty safe bet that both will be DLC of some sort for TW:W3 – at least one preorder faction has been confirmed, but it could be one of the remaining small factions, like the Fimir (oogly cyclopses), Nippon (an analogue for japan), or Ind (an analogue for, well, you can guess.)
Back on the tabletop, new army books for Slaanesh and the Daughters of Khaine have both been released for Age Of Sigmar. In terms of new models, the Daughters only got their new Endless Spells (magical representations of a heart, a bunch of swords, and a really big snake), while the Slaanesh range was significantly expanded.
The range of models for mortal followers of Slaanesh was nearly non-existent before now, but has been expanded with, amongst others, archers, cavalry, big monster beastmen, and a new model kit for Sigvald the Magnificent, a classic Slaaneshi hero.
Competitively, the general consensus seems to be that both are going to be solid lists that are somewhere above average, though perhaps only the Daughters will be challenging the current top-level armies.
The only other major release this month is Kill Team: Pariah Nexus. This is the first release in a little while for Kill Team, the Warhammer 40k skirmish game, and pits some Space Marines versus a unit of Necron Flayed Ones. The reaction has been rather muted so far – this box is going to be the only way to get a couple of highly-anticipated units for at least a little while, which will make a lot of profit for ebay resellers but please nobody else. The units – Space Marine extra-heavy infantry versus robot skellingtons dressed in human flesh – are very cool though, especially the Chronomancer and his array of time-bending cubes.
This release is also coming with Kill Zones – each containing a cardboard base and enough terrain to make a full Kill Team sized board, plus a rulebook that gives special narrative rules for different environments. Disappointingly, these cost more than the last time these were revealed, and some contain fewer models too, though they’re still a decent deal if you want terrain. Also thrown in this week is a box each for Space Marines and Necrons, containing the sets of models that were previously only available in last summer’s Indomitus box.
This month also saw the Lords Of The Mortal Realms preview stream. If you’re unfamiliar with the formats for these streams, they’re usually the first look GW gives us at upcoming models or releases, with a set of cinematic trailers and some discussion from the Warhammer Community hosts, and are a pleasant enough way to spend a Saturday afternoon. This one was, as the name implies, entirely for Age Of Sigmar, and showed off a surprising range of new stuff.
- The first and largest reveal was a set of new models for the Lumineth Realm-Lords, who are apparently getting a fairly major update in the near future. This new range will both expand their Elemental units into a general “air” theme and include a bunch of more generalist troops, with elite swordsmen, a cool ballista thing, and (my personal favourites) a model of a swordsman with his twin, a wizard, leaping over his head. (There’s more as well: let me show some cool images and direct you towards the video below for the rest.) The rules for these models will apparently be in both Broken Realms: Teclis (the upcoming campaign book), and the next army book for the Lumineth. This is good, because – delayed by Covid – the last Lumineth book was only about six months ago, and it would be a real shame if it were replaced so soon.
- These were followed by the announcement of a new Stormcast hero model and his Nighthaunt adversary.
- The Stormcast model is Gardus Steelsoul, hero of Hallowed Knights: Black Pyramid, posed in the same manner as the cover of that book, performing a dramatic three-point superhero landing. (There’s a “Squashed Flat Goblin” model on the Aleguzzler Gargant sprue if you want to pose him to be Goomba Stomping something.)
- His Nighthaunt counterpart is a *checks notes* Krulghast Cruciator, the ghost of a torturer who appears to have been tortured to death, thanks to death god Nagash’s irony-based leadership policies.
- Also announced, a very cool Wight King (leader of the skeletons) on horse, about more later.
- The third Orruk warband for Warhammer Underworlds is coming – Hedrakka’s Madmob, consisting of a Wurrgog Prophet and three Savage Orruks. The models are as excellent as you might expect from the Warhammer Underworlds warbands (especially given that the normal Savage Orruks are, uh, showing their age) – I especially like the one with the bow.
- We also got a really good look at Cursed City, the next in GW’s Warhammer Quest range of co-op board games, seeing for the first time all of the playable characters and enemies. As with the Lumineth, there’s far too much here for me to discuss in any detail, but let me draw your attention to a few specifics:
- As well as some recognisable archetypes (techie dwarf, wood elf, witch hunter) the heroes include some character types unrecognisable to AOS’s Mortal Realms – what’s the deal with the hooded lady or the woman with the Eagle shoulder pad?
- Similarly, the enemies are a mix of recognisable horror archetypes (bats, rats, skeletons), and some weirder things – look at those plant-corrupted zombies!
- Radukar The Wolf, the main villain of the piece, got his own article a few days later. To me, he really exemplifies the cossack/imperial Russian aesthetic that several of the villains have – it’s a look that Age of Sigmar hasn’t delved into before, and I’m extremely here for it.
- Details on the rules are very light, though judging by the images, it looks like it’ll be keeping the existing Warhammer Quest engine, with players rolling a pool of dice and assigning them to specific actions.
- For lots more details, see the Cursed City website.
- And one last teaser – looks like we’re getting a new Be’lakor model! Be’lakor is the first (and coolest) Daemon prince, and it looks like there’ll be a new (massive) model for him before too long. A few of GW’s Rumour Engine teasers have indicated more Chaos stuff might be on its way in the near future – perhaps an upcoming Broken Realms book will bring a broader release for the Slaves To Darkness? (EDIT: Yup, that’s what’s happening! Broken Realms: Be’lakor was announced between me writing this article and it being published.)
People were expecting more from the Soulblight Gravelords (Vampires, to you) that were leaked last month, but all we got was a maybe-accidental confirmation that they exist – that’s the faction that the Wight King belongs to, according to precisely one picture on Twitter. It seems feasible that they’re going to be some combination of the newly announced Vampire models, generic versions of some of the things in Cursed City, and whatever they don’t cut from the Legions Of Nagash range – however, GW’s release schedule has rarely ever been less predictable, so who knows?
And In Other News
- An FAQ has been released for the Middle Earth games. I can’t claim to be intimately familiar with this line any more, but none of the changes I can see are particularly earth-shattering. Of note: Gandalf’s horse can’t help him cast spells, and models with the Woman keyword count as Men. Insert your own joke about Tolkein’s female characters here.
- The other news for Middle Earth is a preview of the Dragon Cult Acolytes, a new unit for the Easterlings. In contrast to the heavy pike line aesthetic of the rest of the army, the acolytes are kind of light and ninja-y, and can ignore terrain when fighting in close combat.
- Some updates to Necromunda’s House Cawdor have been teased. They’re next up on the roadmap, predicted for Q2 2021, and GW have shown off the first look at what that might be like – a skull, a book, and some weapons with built-in flamethrowers. Back in the olden days (the 2000s), House Cawdor had pretty close ties with the Redemptionist Cult, who were famous for using weird and wacky incendiaries – perhaps that’s the direction their expansion pack will be taking?
- (The cool female Orlock models that were previewed last month are also up for pre-order this week, along with Rattus Tatterskin, a special Cawdor character.)
- The yearly Black Library celebration came around with a bunch of new Warhammer fiction. Several books came out, and a model for Uriel Ventris, the Drizz’t Do-Urden of the Ultramarines, however none of that is as interesting to me as Penitent, the sequel to Pariah, 2012’s follow-up to the Eisenhorn and Ravenor serieses. Pariah wasn’t terribly well received at the time (it was a bit weird compared to Eisenhorn and Ravenor, though I thought it was rad) – but ended on one hell of a cliffhanger, and fans like me had to wait a long time for the conclusion.
- GW has shown off some changes that will be coming to the Drukhari in their next book. Kabalites, their basic warriors, are getting an extra melee attack each, which is interesting in itself and very powerful indeed if it’s a pattern that applies to the rest of the army as well.
- In a surprise move, GW have done the first price reduction that I can remember, bringing the cost of the Warhammer 40,000 app down to £1.99 a month. The app was very poorly reviewed on release, and GW seem to have been trying their darndest to turn that reputation around, including competitions, new features, and now this price drop.
Last month, I predicted Drukhari and the Piety and Pain battlebox would be coming and I was wrong about that – but I’d still bet on them for the next release, fitting with the promise GW made for one 40k army update each month. And that’s February! And here I was thinking the shortest month of the year would lead to a shorter article. Shows how much I know, eh.
…And then in the time between writing that and posting it, GW posted another article, which both announces the Broken Realms: Slaves To Darkness book that was predicted, and cryptically talks a lot about the likelihood of delays without going into any specific details. With that, I’d like to change my prediction from “Drukhari very soon” to a great big shrug emoji. In bold.
Thanks for joining me,
Tom F (@LeSwordfish)