What’s better than 1 giant hell demon model in an army? Well, 4 giant hell demon models of course. But what sort of mad fool would do that, and why?
Those of you that heard my hobby plans for 2022 on the Christmas Tiny Plastic People Pod (and if you don’t, you really should listen to the pods) may remember me unconvincingly stating the first half of 2022 was all about the backlog. Who needs new models?
Me. I do. I must own all the plastic crack.
So barely a couple of weeks had passed since making that comment, than an idea had formed. What about a small army for AoS. I’ve enough units to field lots of Chaos on the table, but honestly, who needs a lot of models. Lots of small units means lots of rules and, quite frankly, that’s hard. Small numbers of Bigge monsters are where it’s at. After overcoming my fear of painting the big models (see The Audacity), I’m finding more and more it’s my jam. Particularly if that jam contains spikes, tentacles and is emerging from the Warp.
In a 2000 point army in AoS, you’re allowed up to 4 monsters. There’s 4 types of Bloodthirster (excluding Forgeworld resin ones). Surely therefore the way a Khorne army was meant to be played was by having 1 of each type? Like some sort of ancient puzzle having been solved, it would be unbeatable, and with so many points on the bigge boyz, it’d surely be easy to run.
I already had Scarbrand, up and running (well, standing menacingly on hero rocks), so I just needed the other 3.
Bloodthirster Number 2
Consulting with peers, first up was a Bloodthirster of Insensate Rage. This was mainly as these things are pricey, and I wasn’t sure how long it would take to get them all, so which was “best” to get first. The one with the big axe, or, as I like to call him B’arry (all these demons seem to have an unnecessary apostrophe, don’t want B’arry to feel like I missed him out).
I built B’arry to the instructions. Not 100%, as apparently they’re meant to have a particular head each, but I didn’t spot that bit and just picked one. I also painted him fairly traditionally, red skin, leathery wings. For basing I attempted to make it look like he was standing on a big bronze Khorne sigil floating on lava, because why not?
Bloodthirster Number 3
This is where things got a little spicy. After painting B’arry, I was called out as a coward for not painting an elaborate landscape on his wings by Tiny Plastic Person Rogue Michael. If you’ve not seen it you should check out the reason why on his Instagram https://www.instagram.com/rogue_michael/.
This was a gauntlet to the face that I would meet with B’ob, my Bloodthirster of Unfettered Fury. But there was another challenge for this model. There is a single Bloodthirster kit. The Scarbrand version changes so much you can consider it a different model, but apart from arms/weapons, some armour choices and heads, all Bloodthirsters are the same.
I don’t like painting the same sculpt more than once normally, and I don’t want 3 models in that silly bouncing off a pile of skulls pose like some sort of hell ballerina. Khorne demands uniqueness! This model has a whip. I did briefly entertain making it unique by modelling it a cowboy hat. In the end I decided a leg repose was the better option.
I had a spare set of normal Bloodthirster legs from the Skarbrand kit, so went about reposing them to be both grounded. Being a set of legs ahead allowed me to a) not worry about if I messed up as I had a spare set, and b) get started before the kit arrived.
Kit assembled with reposed legs, I painted the body to be darker in his torso, going to flames on his extremities. I based him on what I was trying to make look like a long destroyed temple with a broken marble Stormcast statue (definitely didn’t work), and some lava. If it’s not obvious yet, I like lava.
But now the wings. How to paint the Realm of Khorne? What does it look like? Google image searches gave me a lot of pictures of a big man on a skull throne, but that was beyond my capability. I also couldn’t use too much lava and red given the rest of the model.
What goes on in the Realm of Khorne? Are there just random piles of skulls about? That sounds too messy for the skull carpenter that is Khorne, so I’d put some brass and skull buildings in to keep the skulls in place.
What about the blood? If it’s flowing it must surely be a river, so I’ll add a river flowing from one wing to the other. I chose an ashen waste colouring for the ground, with some cracks. The sky would be dark red and smokey coloured, with fireballs crashing through it of different sizes.
Briefly the wings had 2 bloodletters farming with a spade and pitchfork. What jobs exactly they were doing, what crops they were planting I never decided. But as they largely looked like incomprehensible blobs I removed them. I also tried to paint a group of Bloodthirsters flying in the sky. They also went part way through, painted over, away never to see the light of day.
Bloodthirster Number 4
We’re in the endgame now. How to make this Thirster unique? Changing the torso or wings would be too hard. Let’s repose the legs again! We’ve had jumping off skulls and standing. All that was left was charging into battle. Again, being a leg set ahead took some of the risk out of the repose, and I gleefully chopped and sculpted to make a running pose. I also gave him a bigger tail, as they come with silly little stubby tails. This charging brute needed a majestic spiked tail to balance him as he runs.
The head I had left out of the 3 options was perfect for this, as it’s such a happy looking face. He’s living his best life.
How to paint this one unique. I settled on making the whole thing look like a bronze statue. That would give the opportunity to keep with the same colours, but be very visually different. I used 12 different metallics on the body in total to create lots of visual differences, as well as plenty of different washes and inks. It’s probably barely noticeable, but felt like I was putting a lot of effort into him.
For the wings, I needed to use red to tie him back into the same colours as the others, so I tried to turn the whole thing into flames ending with smoke.
I named him B’ruce the Wrath of Khorne Bloodthirster, and mounted him on a grassy field base. Oh, wait. Somehow the grassy field has become a base which is part hero rocks, part brass icon of Khorne and part lava. The lava part has a Stormcast Eternal melting in it.
What does a Bloodthirster do, when it’s not making skull cabinets and skull wardrobes? It goes out to find some reclaimed skulls in battle.
Adding all 4 to an army currently costs just under 1300 points. So I needed to support them with cheap, chaff battleline, and the cheapest I own is units of 10 Bloodreavers. These brave warriors (definitely not victims) needed something to sacrifice them to the god of things that belong inside a body in order to summon more worthy demons to battle, so a Slaughterpriest and Bloodsecrator, a perfectly normal and definitely not magic religious altar, some Blood Warriors and a 3 headed dog filled out my 2000 points, with 10 Fleshhounds, 10 Bloodletters and a Skullmaster ready to be summoned in to help.
I imagined a lowly force of mortal worshippers. Trapped in Ghur in battle. Surrounded by mixed Order forces on all sides, with blood flowing, mainly their own, their Mighty Lord of Khorne orders his priests to request aid from Khorne himself. With the sound of a thousand cloven hooves the Mighty Lord of Khorne was split asunder by a rent in the fabric of space, and first Karanak, then Skarbrand and the other Thirsters run out. Scattering the feeble Stormcast in their way, off they charged towards some unknown destination. Sharing a look and a shrug, the remaining mortals of the once lowly, now even more lowly, Khorne army took the opportunity to run directly towards more glorious skulls to be liberated, and certainly did not retreat from certain death at all.
All set, the army arrived at its destination. A mighty force of cowardly Stormcast archers, some Liberators, a Stardrake, and what at first looked to be a portal to the realm of Azyr, but was in fact a dragon, met them across a field. “What use for tactics? CHHHHAAAARRRGGGEEE!” growled the Bloodthirsters, as they ran straight forwards into a hail of arrows. A giant comet fell from the skies, further wounding them all, but they captured 2 out of 3 objectives in turn 1, with the Blood Warriors moving to the third. Victory was assured thought the Slaughterpriest, just need to hold this position and…. Oh! The Bloodthirsters continued running on, dying one by one, mostly not in glorious battle, whiffing charge rolls and rerolls to charge. “Still it’s all just Blood for the Blood God, and now..” thought the Bloodsecretor “I can use this blood to return a Bloodthirster to battle. Oh wait, I’m dead too.”.
Yes, their inaugural outing of destiny saw them die ignominious deaths. I’ll admit to not really knowing their rules, forgetting hit bonuses, save bonuses, special abilities, all of which may have contributed. However the most heinous part was B’ob never getting to land a hit on Rogue Michael’s Krondys.
What’s next for these brave, but foolhardy demons? Well, there’s some cool-looking Slaves to Darkness models coming later this year, and perhaps my problem was still too many models. What about an army based around the friendship of Archaon and Be’lakor?