Fantasy – Rhazgra the Seneschal and Retinue

The dark armoured warriors stepped further into the darkness of the tunnels, moving carefully over the loose sand and scree that covered the incline. There were four of them, the rest of the band left above to guard the entrance against any intruders while the chosen few ventured deep into the tombs. They were looking for something, something to bring their lord greater power.

At the bottom of the stone ramp the warriors paused, listening. The tunnels around them were inky black, not even the strange glowing crystal the cave above had contained. It was also quiet, still, not even the sound of the wind whistling through the caverns.

“Rhalar, light.” The tone of the leader of the band, Rhazgra the Seneschal, was short and to the point, the brisk words of a commander used to seeing her action done. She didn’t bother to turn, instead crouching behind her shield, her mace held low in the enclosed space.

“Of course, sister” the taller mage answered, her voice with an ethereal edge to it, the greenish glow of the scars in her cheek become stronger as her hand ignited, green fire wreathing it like a beast desperate to flee. With a delicate motion, she place the fire inside the top of the staff, letting it writhe over the metal as in it was in pain.

“Where to now Seneschal? These tunnels all look the same.” The Dour asked, his voice like the grinding of stone against stone, his axe resting against his shield as his helm leaned forward.

“Rhalar will guide us, won’t you beautiful?” Arkfel the Slayer, the pelt of a great scaled beast over his shoulder moving as he laughed quietly to himself, only stopping when he felt the glower from his leader.

Ignoring such pedestrian things, the sorcerer lifted her glowing hands, the magical energy now spilling fully from her eyes and the scars on her face before evaporating into the air. She turned to look down each of the tunnels, the glow seeing to burn away the darkness, before she focused on one in particular. “The way ahead. There is something dangerous, old, long dead but now disturbed.” Rhalar lifted up her hands, letting the staff float beside her as she pushed her mind forward, attempting to understand the presence before her.

“The treasure’s guardian? Or something else those damn Templars have disturbed?” Rhazgra asked, turning slightly to look at her sister. Spotting the way her hands shook and the way green fire was emitting from her eyes even as her face creased with the effort, Rhazgra placed her shield down and delicately guided her sister’s hand back to the staff, the cold metal bringing her back to the present. She seemed to sign, her shoulders heaving as she drank in the cool air.

“Careful, beloved sister. It would be unwise for you to push yourself too hard before we have reached the prize. I’ll need your mind to unlock it’s traps.” She pulled her taller sister’s head down so their brows met, the anxious sweat of the mage resting against the cool of the warrior. “Besides,” she smiled “I would hate to have to leave you behind in favour of the treasure.”

Rhalar smiled. “I know sister, but I do not think you will need to. I know The Patron smiles on us this day. I can feel her whispers in the air.”

Yep, it happens to the best of us. Eventually anyone playing Sci-fi or Fantasy finds themselves looking at Chaos Warriors and reflecting on just how cool they look. They combine the glorious appeal of knights in armour but with that dark fantasy baroque look that means they just drip with character. They are the warriors that burn down the hero’s village as child, thus setting off the story. They are the Dark Figures that chase your heroes across the plains, slaying anyone in their way. And right at the end, they are the army you fight through to take on their leader. As you might guess, I adore the artwork and mental images, even if the normal models (released back in Warhammer Fantasy Battle days) are very static/designed for ranking up.

Seeing as I’m now working on very small (honesty) fantasy collection, and after seeing the Underworld Warband back when it was announced, I decided that these much more dynamic warriors were exactly what I wanted. Each of them looked like a real threat, a champion of the dark gods assembled alongside allies and rivals to take the fight to the enemy. What better troops to follow my Chaos Lord (who I’ve designed as some kind of Cursed Warrior/Undying King) than a collection of highly skilled individuals who just happen to be able to work together.


As a test bed, I decided to paint up the Underworld Warband “Khagra Ravagers”. Comprising of three warriors and a mage, it’s a great little introduction into the range. There are lots of shared character design elements among them – the armour and cloak combination, the multiple weapons and shield all ready to go, the smattering of decorations showing their allegiance.

As an aside, before I get into the figures, I’m just going to mention that I’m using my own names and descriptions for them. As much as I like Games Workshop’s setting, I’m one of those people who really like writing their own settings, characters and stories. As part of this, these four warriors will form the leaders of my Chosen Warriors, set to accompany the Lord into battle (seeing as he fights on foot). Additionally, as the greatest warriors among them, they are sent off to do specific tasks for their leader, ideally setting them up for small skirmish games.


First up we have a Warrior with shield and axe, ready to attack but in a relatively guarded pose. This is “The Dour”, an old warrior in a profession where that is a rarity. He’s basically Rhazgra’s main advisor/strong man, ready to offer the blunt opinion when required but then following her orders to the letter.

He’s also just really fun to paint, a relatively open pose with lots of finer details to add to. As the first figure painted, this was where I decided on the colours I would be using. Going for Valejo’s Royal Purple for the cloak really helps to make them look regal. I also used the classic Leadbelcher for the armour but after a quick look, a layer of black contrast over the top made it look the classic black armour that the Chaos Warriors are known for. On most, I decided to use mostly brass colours rather gold, helping to make them look less “fancy” than any Templars I am doing. The exception was the leader and mage, the gold marking them out as a little more important.


Next, with a weapon in each hand and animal pelt over the shoulder we have Arkfel the Slayer. With a pose like that, leaving himself entirely open and daring his enemy on, he seems like a real charming bastard of a warrior. Combine that with the pelt over his shoulder, I worked up the idea of the charming asshole who knows he has the skills to backup his boasting. Plus, if I’m doing the writing, a perfect partner to the mage, standing there to taunt attackers away from his beloved.

This guy is really similar pose to the Slambo figure from the olden days and I kind of love it. It was really fun working on him, especially with the scales over his shoulder. I originally started off with the colours reversed, only swapping to a more realistic look once I double checked some reference.


Rhazgra the Seneschal is of course the leader of this warband, standing in a dynamic pose to command her warriors forward. Her gear is more ornate than her fellows, she goes to battle without her helmet and that sneer of command. In her role as Seneschal, she is responsible for making sure her Lord’s affairs are in order, as well as enforcing his commands and protecting him with the help of the Chosen. At other times, she will go and do important tasks and quests herself. As for her (and her sister’s) origins, they are shrouded in mystery. Some say she is the daughter of a northern tribal chief, others say she ran away from the Templars as a teenage trainee to protect her sister. Either way, she’s a formidable warrior and great leader of her force.

As the figure that attracted to me this band, I was very careful to try and get her done just right. As well as the ornate details, the face is really well sculpted. Normally, my faces are apply base colour, wash, finish, barely even bothering to do the eyebrows. With Rhazgra, I used the Reikland fleshshade but then went back, adding eyebrows, highlights for the nose and cheek bones as well as a touch of gold though the piercing on her eyebrow. The markings on the side of her head were an attempt at tattoos which I think have the right effect. I also spent a lot of time on the hair, working from the black basecoat to the strip of white. In sort of the opposite way, I started off the wolf pelt with a very light grey, working my way down until the layer of black contrast paint over the top portions. Overall, I’m really happy with this model, one of the ones I’m most proud of.


And then we get to the mage.

So at first I originally painted her up using the original head. This sculpt was my least favourite in the set. I understand the visual of the cursed mage with the horns and hairless, and it makes sense for Warhammer. But in my head, this wasn’t the look I was wanting for the warband. These are supposed to be well trained and skilled warriors, not yet corrupted fully. The other issues was that the head lacks a lot of the details I’d usually rely on when painting – it’s not got much topological features to let the wash run into. I tried my best with the black and gold bands but it just looks so agressively… eh.

After a weekend of staring at the model, I decided enough is enough and went looking for an alternative head. I had, a while ago, purchased some alternative Stormcast heads (which are now being used in my Templar forces which I’ll be showing off soon) so I could get away from the “nope, we’re totally not space marines” look. Those heads, waiting for me to finish the box of Paladins I got for cheap from the local corner shop back up in Edinburgh for a tiny price, have been in my bits tray for a while. Pulling them out, I found one which was ideal, matching the look of Rhazgra while still looking a little magical. The only problem was that all the detail was on the wrong side of the head, forcing a slight change in pose.

Removing the head without damaging the paintwork was one of those butt clenching moments of hobby, trying very hard to scrape as little away as possible. Luckily I made a clean cut, cleaned up the resin part and then re-assembled the head into the slot, undercoating it via brush.

And now, here she is finished – Rhalar. With the new head, she looks like a true battle mage, just as likely to kick your ass with her fists than she is with magic. This better suits the mental image of her, working as her sister’s magical aid right next to her in battle. Her origins are as mysterious as her Sister’s and she shows promise of an even greater level of magic than she has already shown.

I’m really happy with the headswap, elevating this figure from okay to something I’m really happy with. I like how similar this model is in terms of gear to the actual warriors (such as the armour, cloak and the fur around her neck) while still having plenty of pieces that are different enough to make her stand out. The flames were especially fun to paint – I used the Hexwraith technical paint over a white basecoat and it worked out exactly as planned. I also managed to drip a little bit into the scars on her face, just to show the magic beginning to seep out.


Overall, this Underworlds unit was a fantastic way into painting more fantasy figures. I really recommend anyone interested in trying out a new Warhammer army take a look at these figures – they have some really nice details and it isn’t a huge amount of models to paint up. I’m also pretty happy with how the group has turned out, with a paint scheme that is relatively simple but looks awesome.

Next stage with these guys? Well I have 10 warriors, 5 knights and a lord on angry crocodile to finish off in a similar way to this warband. Beyond them, there are a few more less armoured chaos fighters to paint before I can move onto the big parts of the force – my Lord and his Patron.

Only a little terrified at the prospect of those two.

SITREP – Project Enforcers Complete

They are… complete.

The forces of ‘McNespy, Daughter and Sons’ for the upcoming campaign into the Mercy Longshore Docks have been gathered. With Elizabeth McNespy and her cyber mastiff at the head, this team of 10 Enforcers, 6 Subjugators and one lho-stick addicted Eldar in her power suit as their untrustworthy ally (aka the bounty hunter).

Having now reached the end of this project, I’ve got to say I’m really happy with the final result. This is the first project I’ve actually finished on this blog since the C130 board back in 2018 and there is that real sense of satisfaction from it. I’m very excited to actually play some games with it soon.


As for the boss lady herself, I decided to roll hard with the Sarah Connor look the sunglasses PMC head evokes. The white hair and black leather trenchcoat definitely helps her to standout from the rest of models in the force, while still being tired to them by the green armour, tan clothing and brown boots.

For the dog, I decided to match her colours as well, going for white armoured plates over the lead belcher painted body. The blue eyes and yellow safety handle help to finish him off.

The black leather coat was actually painted up using Burnt Umber as the base but then painting the black contrast paint over the top. I think this helped to give it a warm colour at the base, making it look a little more like leather. I then finished it off with a highlight of white along the edges, making it pop a little more.

SITREP – Enforcers – Subjugators Complete

The Subjugators are complete! The last two of the lads in heavy armour, the pair of stock baton and shield to provide backup for the Subjugator Sgt. I really enjoyed getting these two to look similar to their boss, colouring the shield decorations and berets to all match up. Also, with the project coming to a close, I am finally at the stage where I can actually work through this paint scheme at a relatively good speed – just in time to finish painting them.


And this is how my Subjugators stand. I really like how they look as a group and they are incredibly chunky they are. The touch of colour from the beret and shield symbols stop them feeling too one-note, as well as decorative enough to fit the 40k setting a little more. The main thing is that they are visual obvious as Subjugators but you’re unlikely to find a group that looks similar if I turned up at a Necromunda weekend.

I’m also really liking the look of the Enforcers for non-GW game. With the arrival of Stargrave later this year, I think I’m going to have a pretty good starting set for a heavily armoured crew or the pirates they will need to deal with.


Well, we’re into the final two figures for Project Enforcer – The Captain and her Cyber Pooch ally. I actually have some other Necromunda themed figures that would suit the group, so I’m still debating if I should get them painted up now, or take a little break. But we’ll see!

News: Games Workshop – “The Dead and the Divine”

Look.

It’s very hard to get away from Games Workshop as a hobbyist. For all of their flaws (and by god there are many of them), they have continued to make some of the best-designed models in the industry as well as useful hobby items (if you find them for the right price). It’s also definitely the main entry point for most wargamers, with the shops on the high street providing a one-stop point of corruption for many.

This weekend saw the latest of their major previews and the first for 2021. Taking place on Twitch and the Warhammer Community websites, these replace similar preview events at conventions such as Adepticon or Warhammer Grand Tournaments that haven’t been taking place due to the current situation. These previews usually cover a wide range of products that will come out over the next six months and oh man, did we get some cool stuff.


First up, Sisters of Battle… sorry Adepta Sororitas are getting themselves a war suit. Similar to the Dreadknight the Grey Knights got (which look incredibly dumb), these warsuits will provide an alternative to Penitent Engines that are a bit more Cool Battlesuit and a bit less “horrifying punishment machine”. Its definitely not for everyone but I think the idea is really cool – the sisters are portrayed as Knights in a way, so seeing them armour up to take the fight to the monsters is suitably gothic.

The model however, I’d personally have added some more intricate detail on the armour panels – it looks very much like the Primaris releases, with large panels with no detail. They mentioned this in the preview as a way to allow people to add their down free-hand painted artwork (as Sisters fans often do) but for the less skilled amongst us, having the extra texture helps.

On the other hand, I have had several people plan on removing the armoured plate, swapping the Sister out for a guardsman, mounting a lascannon on them and using them as a Sentinal alternative. I think this sounds great but frankly, it just needs a big knife to finish the touch.


Now, this bit is one of Games Workshop’s little sneaky tricks. Last year, they showed off the Heavy Intercessors back in September as part of the preview for the 9th Edition Space Marine codex. As someone who likes heavily armoured chaps with guns (and especially guns held like a chain saw), I’ve been looking forward to adding them to my Deathwatch collection. Except, despite being included in that preview, the kit is yet to appear. Despite the statlines being in the Space Marine codex, no sign of their release. Fast forward to Saturday and what should be part of this kit? The Heavy Intercessors (and their Captain) have arrived!

The good news is that this box is pretty exciting – Heavy Intercessors and Flayed Ones, cool characters, new Necron terrain and a complete set of stuff for getting into Killteam (including rules for figures from last year’s 9th Edition starter set). The guys at Goonhammer have made some comments on how unsuitable it is for getting into the game (based on points of the two forces included) but I’m more interested in knowing how many people will be buying this box purely to strip it for parts and sell off on eBay. I’m sure GW likes getting the number of sales that this tactic works, but I would love to know

No release date yet, but I’ll be keeping an eye open for the armoured boys on eBay when this box is released.


There is a new titan coming for Titanicus! This isn’t really on my radar as a game but based on the reaction of the Titan fans in the chat, people are quite hype to add a new Titan.


Age of Sigmar continues to release models that makes me sit there going “how the hell did you design this?”. I’m not the biggest fan of the Lumineth Realm-Lords line of figures but I can definitely appreciate the work and technical care used to make them come to life. They are also making models that fit their fantastical world, rather than simply rehashing Warhammer Fantasy design in new armour. Some of the shadows in the video below are very interesting, including what looks like some new Elven Swordmasters.


Despite being someone who just picked up some Witch Elves from GW, I’m not that fussed about the new battletome that the Daughters of Khaine are getting. However, I do very much like the Endless Spells. While designed in the game to be the effect of a mage at work, I think that giant blood snake is a really good looking model. I might end up picking this stuff up as my legion of villains for fantasy skirmish expands.


And speaking of fantasy villians, god damn am I picking up these figures. Warhammer Underworlds as a game is yet to get it’s snares into me but I think it continues to be one of Games Workshop’s best ranges. By only needing a very small number of figures per group, they can go all out making some cool and dynamic ranges. These vampires do a fantastic job of both harking back to the day of Warhammer Fantasy, while also feeling like the Age of Sigmar times. I also like how each vampire feels like a unique hero but all the group fit together thanks to a few similar features. Sadly, I think this set has already booked out some space on my shelf (and in my figure database).


Speaking of ranges that let Games Workshop show off (and has found a slot in my wallet), the secret reveal in the preview was the announcement of a brand new Warhammer Quest game, Cursed City. Warhammer Quest is a board game with a pile of miniatures, letting players (between 1 and 4) take their heroes on missions against the insidious enemy (be that the game or the person controlling the villains). There have already been three other Warhammer Quest games (two in the Age of Sigmar setting and one in 40k) and each brought with it a set of exciting and unique hero miniatures (apart from Shadow over Hammerhal that bundled existing models together), often that stepped away from the existing release to bring you other elements of the setting.

And oh boy, the first hero shown off is definitely new, yet also familar. This is a Vampire Hunter and the “pop-off” in the voice chat I was in when he was shown was immense. I really like this the design of him – sure it’s over the top, but he has that real Van Helsing look to him, covered in his tools of the trade including the long rifle with underslung stake launcher.

Key Art

We also have some guesses from looking at the Social Media artwork at the top. The website lists 8 heroes and the previews have shown us 6 so far:

  • Jelsen Darrock – the Witch Hunter (previewed model + appears in the title art and the key art above)
  • A human captain in plate armour with sword and wolf pelt over their shoulder (appears in the title art)
  • One of the Dwarfs of AoS armed with a giant harpoon (appears in the title art and the key art)
  • Some form of mage/priest (as shown on the left in the title image)
  • What appears to be some kind of Elf with Antlers (centre frame in the key art)
  • A bulky Ogre looking brute with a carved face on his shoulder (right side of the key art)

Of course, heroes need villains. The setting of Cursed City is a location in the Realm of Death so we’re going to be fighting a lot of undead – including this rather fantastic looking model. He is one of five Overlords the heroes will need to fight, as well as presumably a pile of horde figures you’ll need to fight past before they overwhelm you. Gorslav is perfectly gribbly, looking like something out of Pan’s Labyrinth. I’m looking forward to seeing who else we’ll be going up against.

With just these first two figures, and as well as the trailer that announced it, Games Workshop is going for very Gothic Horror feel to the game. It is also VERY heavily reminiscent of the game Darkest Dungeon, with the stark colours and ominous tone. Perhaps our heroes might have more to contend with in the Cured City than simply survival of body?

Also yes, I am already signing myself up for this. These figures would probably match up with more grounded fantasy and would be ideal for setting up some Frostgrave gangs.


Overall, a pretty good preview. A nice mix of models and ranges, giving most players something interesting to look at. Even if you weren’t excited for anything in particular, there is still some really nicely designed kits coming and a new Warhammer Quest is definitely a high point among them.

And then on Sunday, GW announced next week’s pre-orders. As well as Dark Angels and the required Primaris releases, the new warband for Underworlds is coming. I have a soft spot for the Chaos Warriors in their plate armour and frankly, it’s a good set if you just want a few heavily armoured figures to pick up.

SITREP – Enforcers – Subjugators Batch 2

Two more Subjugators finished! These two are the first with shields, finally adding some armoured fists to the group. On the left, we have the Sgt for this group – I think he looks incredible 40, from the skull on his shield to the club to the pose and red flowing cape. The right figure is ready to clear some rooms with revolver and pistol.

Originally I wasn’t sure how to paint the shields – do I go bright with colour or go grime? I decided to go grime, painting them in Leadbelcher. I then painted on a layer of black contrast before wiping the top layer away to leave it settled in the lower areas of the shield. To prevent them being a simplistic metal colour, the blue visor at the top and the bone/colour/gold detail on the front helping to make them pop.

The end of project is almost in sight!

SITREP – Enforcers – Batch 2 and Subjugators

Last week I managed to finish off my last batch of Palatine Enforcers and begin the process of working on my more heavily armoured Subjugators.

While my other sets of Enforcers were more standards, these guys are definitely much more of the Special guys. A marksman, two leader characters and then my gunslinger/massive mistake.

Painting wise these were mostly the same as my other Enforcers with a few tweaks. The Marksman was drybrush and painted a slight shade of grey, her armour covered in dust to help her hide among the rubble. Meanwhile, the gunslinger and commander also had a touch of gold added to their paint scheme, making them look special among the other troops. In contrast, the Concussion carbine user has a bit of Typhus Corrosion on his guns, giving them a slightly more worn look.

Having spent a chunk of assembling these guys, I’m quite happy with how the paint job worked on these “special” characters. They match the basic colours, while still looking unique with a few colour touches.

This is how the gang currently looks with the regular enforcers. They have a nice uniform feel with the green and tan which is appropriate for a merc group, but each character then has enough extra elements to make them stand out at a distance. I’m also still a fan of how my bounty hunter matches the green rule but still is distinct, mostly by towering over the other characters.


Now, lets take a look at the BIG boys. Subjugators are the guys in super heavy armour that covers most of them, giving them the real riot control guys. For the first two figures, I decided to paint the ones not carrying shields, giving me a chance to actually paint all their armour.

The other tweak these guys have is the cloth handing off the armour. It does help to make these guys look a little more 40k, especially with the purity seals and winged skulls on them. I did scribble on some writing using a detail brush and black contrast paint and I’m really happy how it looks with the guy on the left.

One thing I’ve been trying with these guys is edge highlighting, something I haven’t really done with my moderns before. The Subjugators require a lot more of it (as there are more edges to detail) and by god, it makes me not want to make an army of Space Marines if all those panels need detailing. It does, however, look really good – I’m tempted to go back and add the highlighting to my vehicles, just to make them pop a little more.


Next week’s hobby time will be finishing off the last four Subjugators before moving onto the special character and her doggo. I keep thinking of stepping away to do some individual figures as a break (such as the Spectre Tier 1 MG gunner) but honestly, I’m so close I think I’ll just push on and get the project done. I can have some time between this and WW2 time to try painting different things.

SITREP – Enforcers- Batch 1

First figures of 2021 painted, finished just after midnight on the 1st of January (“start as you mean to go on” they say). Four more Enforcers done – after having worked out the scheme with the last two models, it quickly escalates up to batch painting. I’m really happy with how these figures have turned out, both with the extra conversion pieces and the paint scheme. I think out of this group, my favourite has to be the white-masked trooper with the bolter – I had worried about his pose looking awkward but I got to have a little fun giving him a decorated face mask and the old-style bolter. I’ll get some more detailed shots once all the models are painted up.

This week, I’m onto the final set of normal Enforcers to paint. Well I say normal – the presence of the sniper and gunslinger mean I get to work on some extra cool bits. After these guys, I then have the Subjactors to do, before finishing off with my special character and her doggo. And THEN I get to start work on the WW2 project.

SITREP – Enforcer Number 2 (Tiny Me)

Another week, another enforcer done in the new pattern. And stupidly I managed to pick a figure in exactly the same pose, just with a different weapon/head. This time I picked up one of the shotgun figures, one modelled after some of my airsoft kit (complete with helmet and chest-mounted pistol). I had a lot of fun painting this guy up – the scheme I’ve come up with works rather well.

The only thing I think I messed up was doing the flesh slit around the eyes. I seem to have covered up all the details on my first pass, and then after scrapping some of the paint off, it hasn’t really gone back together well. This is still something I need to work on, but luckily this model just has a very small gap of flesh.

As for further comments on painting, I’m really enjoying using the black contrast over lead belcher for a lot of things. The helmet was done this way, not even needing a dry brush. I’m not sure I’ll move over to contrast for everything but I’m really happy with it.

I also had fun adding the final touches for my helmet – the white writing on the back of it. I didn’t really do it 100% accurately but it evokes it enough. That flash of colour to draw your eyes.