I hear the cry of male hobbyists the world over – ‘I’m disappointed in the size of my tower’, well, if your erections just aren’t quite piercing the clouds, fear not as I have a product review for you.
I recently picked up the Fortified Tower from Croatia based Tabletop World and tried it out, so you can see if it meets your needs.
This is a five piece resin kit (three of the pieces being the flag, pole and base). The main tower consists of just two pieces, with a little bit of internal detail which might be nice for D&D etc but not enough to do too much with as you only have that level plus the roof.
This kit can also be incorporated into Tabletop Worlds Town Walls kits, these look pretty interesting but for my purposes I only wanted the singular tower.
Tabletop World states that the resin comes pre-cleaned but I didn’t want to risk it and gave the beast a good wash and brush up with some washing up liquid. I was pleased and surprised to find no bubbles or problems with the product to repair, given the material (!), I don’t know if this is their usual quality but I was very pleased. The irregular stone effect of the sculpt looks great and I think you could really put as much or as little effort as you wanted into painting this and it will reward you.
I #slapchopped up the tower very simply and it took the paint very well. I then added some spots of Dirty Down moss on the odd ledge here and there.
The kit is a bit pricey at €65, or £54.90 from Element Games. This beast is absolutely rock solid though and feels like it will last as long as if it really were made of stone. Terrain always is a bit of an investment and I can use this for the Warhammer Fantasy Watchtower scenario objective, in Age of Sigmar or even in 40k for a feudal world.
I’ve added a few pics, with a little green friend, so you can see the scale and how mine turned out
All in all, I’m a fan and might pick some more up…. I’ll let you know!
1 Chaos Lord on Karkadrakk 5 Chaos Knights 10 Chaos Warriors 16 miniatures, including a mounted hero and five cavalry
One of the best things about the Start Collecting! boxes are the savings, which are usually great. In this case, (as of 18/06/22 in GBP) the box is £65… What do you save, you may ask…. Well, that’s a bit of a complicated question, the Chaos Lord on Karkadrakk isn’t available in any other way and the newer knight and warrior models are also only available in this set…. Oof.
Aside from this, these sculpts are push-fit and the two units do not include options for either banners or standard bearers which you will want. This means that, in order to have units working at their full potential some conversion is needed, which isn’t brilliant for a starter set presumably aimed at beginners.
There are some minor options available – two head options for the Karkadrak Lord and head options for the warriors (male and female which is cool). There’s also the option to build a Doom Knight champion, with a Doom Flail, for the Chaos Knights to give extra Doom.
Unfortunately, the nature of the kit does mean that only one of the four potential Chaos Warrior option weapon fits is available, as these are hand weapon and shield warriors only. In addition, only the lance option is available for the Knights (other than the aforementioned Doom Knight option).
The push-fit nature of the sculpts does also present a bit of a tricky painting problem as there are some hard to reach bits and sub-assembly may be a bit fiddly.
These sculpts are excellent though, very dynamic but close enough to the originals to fit nicely in in with the rest of the range. They also don’t have markings for any specific god so can be painted to suit your taste in appalling extra-dimensional overlord or overlords. A great update to classic sculpts.
As mentioned, the Chaos Lord on Karkadrak sadly isn’t available in any other set and so there really isn’t any way to give yourself much variety if you wished to run more than one…. though I don’t know why you would.
A separate Chaos Warrior regiment set, with the older sculpts, is available direct from GW at £35 for sixteen(!) warriors. The sharp-eyed amongst you will have noticed that this isn’t a good number as the minimum unit size is ten, so you will have more hotdogs than buns. On the flip-side, whilst these are older and more static sculpts, which were designed to rank up for Warhammer Fantasy, they are multipart and do have banner and musician options.
This older kit can be built with either shields or two hand weapons but if you want halberds or great weapons you will need to spend a bit of money. GW used to make upgrade kits for these options but have discontinued them, sad to say. It is possible to make some quite convincing halberdiers though by using the spears from the separate Chaos Knight kit, if you choose to build your Knights with Ensorcelled Weapons.
For separate Chaos Knights, with the older sculpts, you will need to find £36 for ten. YMMV on this but I don’t think this is terrible value though I do really like the aesthetic of the kits. This multipart offers all of the build and command options and fits in reasonably well alongside the Start Collecting! knights, though perhaps not so well aesthetically as the warriors.
Who or What are Slaves to Darkness then?
The Chaos Gods are the ‘Big Bad’ of the setting and have had a huge trove of lore written about them over decades, so please forgive the rough edges of what follows…..
These are extra-dimensional representations of mortal drives and emotions become self-aware and turned up to eleven. These ‘Gods’ destroyed the Old World (does this mean GW is actually Chaos Undivided?) and are intent on corrupting the Mortal Realms and doing it all again. The Chaos Gods are reflections of mortal drives and emotions and seek to drive mortals further and further down the path of dedicating themselves to those drives and emotions. There are separate books for those purely aligned to a single God and their Daemonic footsoldiers. The Slaves to Darkness book is more for those who are still holding their cards close to their chest before playing a hand they can’t win. Chaos Undivided is the worship of all of the Chaos Gods, if you enjoy buffet food for some reason then this may be the option for you.
Slaves to Darkness are the (largely) mortal worshippers of Chaos Gods who are still sampling the buffet and have not yet dedicated themselves (entirely) to a single God, though they may have a Mark which bestows some Godly favours.
Chaos Lord on Karkadrakk
This got a slight points drop after the book was released from a slightly bonkers 250 to a slightly less bonkers 225.
Our Karkadrak can move 9″ and comes on a 90 by 52mm base which can be useful in blocking off an enemy move and generally being a bit annoying.
At 9 wounds Look Out Sir! is available, with a 3+ save and a 5+ mortal wound save this is moderately survivable but can’t stand with any serious melee threats for too long. Your healing options in Slaves are limited so be aware that, if focused, this Lord will go down quick. This is a sad truth of Slaves, in my opinion, your generic Lords are not the melee terrors they were in The World That Was and if you try to use them like they are you will suffer.
The Karkadrak does have a plethora of attack profiles though – five with a total of 13 attacks!
These aren’t great though, most are zero rend with six at -1. Your Karkadrak does have a heal effect with their axe, if it slays an enemy with the weapon it can heal D3. On the charge the Karkadrak can deal D3 damage to each enemy unit within 1″ on a 2+
The Karkadrak may be best described as a moderate utility buff hero and not an anvil or a beat stick. What buffs though….? Well, Slaves units receive buffs from nearby heroes with the same Mark. Plus, the Karkadrakk has a Command Ability which buffs Chaos Knights and Chariots wholly within 18″ giving them reroll charges and +1 to hit. This means that, if you wish to lean into Knights and Chariots, the Karkadrak can be a fun addition.
These are currently 170 points for a five and sadly often used more like semi-survivable chaff rather than delivering the hammerstrike you may be wishing for, I am afraid you need to look to Varanguard for that.
Knights have a 10″ move which is OK for cavalry and a 75 by 42mm base. Knights also have a 4+ save and a 5+ mortal wound save with 3 wounds. Their big bases are helpful for screening but again they won’t survive prolonged attention.
Command options include a champion, standard bearer and musician. The Doom Knight champion gets an extra attack and can take a flail with a 2″ range and D6 attacks. IMHO both the Ensorcelled Weapons and Cursed Lances outclass this but YMMV.
The Standard Bearer (1 in 5) adds plus one bravery giving a potential bravery 8, it’s free so you take it but I do usually find this unit is either OK or just blows up….
The Hornblower musician (1 in 5) adds plus 1 to run and charge rolls, which is always a great buff.
Knights are apparently scary *cough*, so their Horrifying ability subtracts one Bravery from enemy units with a model within 1″…. ahem.
Are they actually scary though? Well, with Ensorcelled Weapons they’re putting out 3 3+ 3+ -1 rend 1 D attacks…. plus the 2 4+ 4+ – 1 D attacks from the horses. We have the lance variant from the Start Collecting box though which gives us buffs on the charge (2 damage and -2 rend) but is less effective in a prolonged melee grind with only 2 attacks and hitting on 4s.
Knights sadly don’t do great damage and can’t really take a punch.
These clock in at a whopping 200 points for ten. They do have 2 wounds though and taking mark of Tzeentch can help their resilience, which really spikes in units of ten or more though (+1 to save taking them to 3+) so if you are looking for that you will need to pile in 400 points or lose it quickly.As mentioned, Warriors have a range of weapon options – Hand weapon and shield, Great Weapon, dual hand weapon, halberd and dual wield.
We all know dual wield should be the correct option, with a dove fly-by, but sadly only giving reroll hits and losing the mortal wound repelling ability of the shield (5+ MW ignore) simply isn’t worth it.
Great Weapons are another cool choice but again the loss of the shield is a huge blow, though the pip of rend is nice.
Halberds give us a 2″ reach, compensating for the 32mm girth, with the trade off of a 4+ rather than 3+ to wound and may be a nice option for a large block of warriors, allowing more to attack.
The only option in our start collecting box though is hand weapon and shield, giving 2 3+ 3+ 0 rend 1 D attacks, I haven’t found Warriors very killy in any variation but they can do some work against light armour and can be considered an OK anvil.
As mentioned, Warriors have a range of weapon options – Hand weapon and shield, Great Weapon, dual hand weapon, halberd and dual wield.
Points mean prizes
At the time of writing the Start Collecing! box clocks in at a fairly respectable 595 points and immediately fills our core requirements for a 1k game of a hero and two battleline.
Should you buy multiples of this set?
Well, in the current meta definitely not (and possibly not even one….). They are fantastic models though and really give the heavy metal theme of Slaves to your army. You will have a bit of a samey feel to your army though due to the lack of variety in poses and will need to do some work to create your command models.
So, a 1K army list might look like this:
Allegiance: Slaves to Darkness – Damned Legion: Ravagers – Grand Strategy: Hold the Line – Triumphs: Chaos Lord on Karkadrak (225) – General – Artefact: Mark of the High-favoured – Mark of Chaos: Khorne – Ravagers Command Trait: Master of Deception Chaos Sorcerer Lord (135) – Ravagers Command Trait: Bolstered by Hate – Spell: Mask of Darkness 10 x Chaos Warriors (200) – Hand Weapon & Shield – Mark of Chaos: Khorne 5 x Chaos Knights (170) – Cursed Lance – Mark of Chaos: Khorne 10 x Chaos Warriors (200) – Hand Weapon & Shield – Mark of Chaos: Tzeentch 9 x Untamed Beasts (70) – Mark of Chaos: Khorne
This makes good use of our box and adds in a wizard with a teleport and an extra couple of wounds, courtesy of Bolstered by Hate. Our Karkadrak Lord now has an 18″ range on their Aura of Chaos and so can buff your Khorne units from further away, in addition Master of Deception subtracts 1 from hit rolls of melee attacks directed their way.
An extra block of warriors gives our wizard a body guard and a nice target for their teleport spell to go objective grabbing. Untamed Beasts round out our points and are a good cheap screen with a cheeky pre-game move.
A nice trick in Ravagers is the ability to summon in models via the General which you can rotate through your heroes. This summoning is more impactful in smaller games and the ability to bring in ten marauders is very nice. You will need to pick these up though to effectively round out your list (I would suggest twenty marauders) but these models will be useful as you expand to 2000 points.
All in all I think this is a nice fluffy list which will be fun and meets our heavy metal theme from the Start Collecting! box.
What will it cost?
Start Collecting: Slaves to Darkness
Battletome: Slaves to Darkness (2nd Ed)
Chaos Sorcerer Lord
With the above you’ll end up with 10 additional Warriors for when you look to expand to 2,000 points. You’ll also have a Warcry warband, which is nice. As always, shop around. You’ll be able to find retailers who’ll offer 15-20% off the prices above. If you live in the UK sign up to SCN Hobby World and join their mailing list, with them you’ll receive 25% off GW prices!
If you want pure metal though, buy a second Start Collecting! and use everything from both, excepting the second Karkadrak….. I am not saying it’s great on the table but you can turn the volume up to eleven and headbang your way to a 0-5.
So, is it a buy?
Overall, I would say yes…. it was a buy for me. I picked one of these up and use all of the units in most of my Slaves to Darkness lists. They look cool, especially if you like the heavy metal aesthetic and are a truly great reimagining of classic Warhammer Fantasy units. They do currently lack a bit of juice on the tabletop but who knows what a new book and a shaken up meta might bring……
Speaking of which, with a new Battletome coming for them later this year, it’s likely they’ll also receive a new Vanguard boxed set much like the other factions.
But, until then prepare your claim for whiplash injuries and bellow to the uncaring skies “For The Everchosen”!
Following on from Declan’s article last week where he covered a competitive list that could be made using the Start Collecting! Ogor Mawtribes boxed set, we continue this week with a look at the Start Collecting! Anvilgard set.
What’s in the box……!?
1 Black Ark Fleetmaster
1 Kharibdyss, this can also be built as a War Hydra
10 Black Ark Corsairs
1 Scourgerunner Chariot, this can also be built as a Drakespawn Chariot
13 miniatures, including a hero a chariot and a monster.
One of the best things about the Start Collecting! boxes are the savings. In this case, (as of 18/12/21 in GBP) the box is £60 and the collected contents, if purchased individually, retail for £100 giving a sweet £40 saving (or a free Kharibdyss/War Hydra, if you prefer).
What is Anvilgard?
Anvilgard is a subfaction of the Cities of Sigmar faction in the Order Grand Alliance for Age of Sigmar, to play the army you will need a copy of the Cities of Sigmar Battletome.
Anvilgard, also known as the City of Scales was a port city in the realm of Aqshy on the Charrwind coast. The city is surrounded by jungle and the Ironweld Arsenal constantly pump out defoliants which shroud the city in a stinking fug. The city was dominated by Blackscale Coil crime syndicate and has some interesting rules which align with this lore. This City of Sigmar fell to the forces of Morathi during the events of Broken Realms: Morathi but is still a playable subfaction in the game.
The background and the rules for Anvilgard encourage the use of our monster and the Privateers, so the box actually fits really well with the lore for the city.
Fans of Warhammer Fantasy will note that if they have an old Dark Elf army (and didn’t burn it), then Anvilgard may be a good entry into Age of Sigmar…. though not the only possibility.
Here’s a quick rundown of our units, please note this article was written on 18/12/21 and points etc. may change:
The Black Ark Fleetmaster is not a world destroying hero but at 70 points they are cheap and importantly have the Scourge Privateers Keyword. This means that, if used as your General, they make both Scourgerunner Chariots and Black Ark Corsairs Battleline. Furthermore, if your Fleetmaster hangs around with their Corsair buddies, they have a buff which will improve their fighting abilities.
Kharibdyss/War Hydra: The Kharibdyss comes in at 165 points and the War Hydra at 170. So, which one should we build? Well, sadly neither of these are brilliant in terms of their rules at the moment but they are great models and incredibly lore friendly for the city. Both are monsters, so can use the monstrous rampage actions and can give you bonuses in five of the eight core Battle Tactics. On the flipside, monsters give away points when slain and these are not particularly survivable so be cautious. Both of these monsters have some limited healing, though the Kharibdyss only triggers if it slays a model and the War Hydra does have a ranged attack. Playing Anvilgard, we get access to Drakeblood Curses, this gives us an extra buff which we can put on our beasties to make them a little more impactful such as improving their charge or debuffing enemy bravery. Personally, I would build the Kharibdyss purely because I prefer the model and it plays so nicely into the nautical theme of Anvilgard.
Scourgerunner Chariot/Drakespawn Chariot: The Scourgerunner Chariot and Drakespawn Chariot both come in at 80 points. Sadly, there isn’t much, in my opinion, to recommend the Drakespawn Chariot. If you would like to theme your army around a Dreadlord on Black Dragon then these do become battleline but unfortunately, they aren’t terribly impactful (no pun intended). The Scourgerunner chariot, however, becomes battleline with our Fleetmaster General and has a few things in its favour. Big Base Action, with a 120 x 92mm base the unit can be handy for blocking up the table and is quick with a 12″ move. Furthermore, its shooting attack is quite nice, two shots with a reasonable chance of hitting and wounding and d3 damage plus a chance of causing D3 mortal wounds.
Black Ark Corsairs: Our ten corsairs come in at 85 points for ten models on 25mm bases and can be armed with either vicious blade and handbow or vicious blade and wicked cutlass. An argument can be made for the ranged version but our first unit, I would recommend building with the blade and cutlass. The reason for this is the Black Ark Fleetmaster, our Fleetmaster can buff the Corsairs with +1 to the attack characteristic of their melee weapons, so it is definitely worth bearing that in mind.
So, our army list looks like this:
Allegiance: Cities of Sigmar – City: Anvilgard (Illicit Dealings: Black Market Bounty) – Grand Strategy: Hold the Line – Triumphs: Inspired
Black Ark Fleetmaster (70)* – General – Artefact: Arcane Tome (Universal Artefact) – City Role: General’s Adjutant – Lore of Dark Sorcerery: Vitriolic Spray
10 x Black Ark Corsairs (85)* – Vicious Blade & Wicked Cutlass – City Role: Honoured Retinue (Must be 5-20 models)
I gave our General the Arcane Tome to make them a wizard and made the Corsairs their honoured retinue, to make the Fleetmaster more survivable. The Kharibdyss has received the Drakeblood Curse of Fell Gaze, this will stack with the native ability of the beast and will make battleshock a scary proposition for low bravery armies. This would be a fun start to an Anvilgard army but could also be used as a nice start for any Cities faction, though particularly Har Kuron (excellent if you want to port over a Dark Elf army as you can include your Witch Elves) or Misthavn.
Is it worth buying multiples of these?
I would say yes to picking up a few if I wanted to build into Anvilgard. I should note, though, that if you are going into this Start Collecting! you are probably already accepting you are not playing at the competitive ‘Bleeding Edge’and you are leaning further into that. A second box will allow you to bulk out your Corsair unit to the maximum twenty for an Honoured Retinue and give you an extra Scourgerunner (which I would probably use as a separate unit, rather than increase to a unit of two). The only potentially questionable second unit is the Fleetmaster as the Command Ability to buff the Corsairs cannot be stacked so they may find their way on to be traded or sold. You could, of course, convert your Fleetmaster to something else as you will have plenty of spare bits from the Corsair set and they might look nice as an alternative crew model in one of your Scourgerunner Chariots. A third box could be useful, especially for the Chariot and you could convert the Corsairs into some nicely themed Shadow Warriors with a head swap with left over bits from other kits.
Looking to expand further, I would consider adding a Sorceress to our fledgling army, her warscroll spell debuffs an enemy unit’s to hit roll and also does D3 mortal wounds, she could be the Fleetmaster’s Adjutant and provide some extra Command Point generation as well. If taking a Sorceress, it’s worth remembering she can get buffs to cast by shanking her comrades with the Darkling Covens keyword, so give her some pawns to sacrifice! Cities of Sigmar also get +1 to cast Endless Spells, so it is worth perusing those to see which you might like and which might support your playstyle. I would suggest vitriolic spray as her chosen spell, removing enemy armour saves is not to be sniffed at, despite the short range. I like the idea of pairing her with Darkshards who can provide good sacrifice fodder while giving some shooting.
One of the most beautiful models still around from Warhammer Fantasy, in my opinion, is the Dreadlord on Black Dragon and they nicely line up with our theme. The Dreadlord is also quite strong and their buff works nicely on other Order Draconis and themselves, so consider some Drakespawn Knights for flavour. Picking up the Black Dragon, in combination with our two Kharibdyss, also opens up more Battle Tactics to us.
I would also consider branching out a little into Daughters of Khaine for a bit of fun and variety, the Khainite Shadowstalkers are beautiful models and their teleport ability is a great addition to any army.
This is what our 2K army might look like, add in Regiments to taste:
Allegiance: Cities of Sigmar – City: Anvilgard (Illicit Dealings: Dabbling in Sorcery) – Grand Strategy: Hold the Line – Triumphs: Inspired
Sorceress (95) – City Role: General’s Adjutant – Lore of Dark Sorcerery: Vitriolic Spray
Dreadlord on Black Dragon (290) – Lance of Spite & Tyrant Shield – Artefact: Drakescale Cloak – Drakeblood Curse: Jutting Bones – Mount Trait: Foetid Breath
Black Ark Fleetmaster (70) – General – Command Trait: Blackfang Crimelord
20 x Black Ark Corsairs (170) – Vicious Blade & Wicked Cutlass – City Role: Honoured Retinue (Must be 5-20 models) – Reinforced x 1
I think this can be made more competitive with the addition of a Hurricanum, perhaps a Runepriest and an Anointed on Frost Phoenix instead of some of the Aelf units but this does somewhat compromise the theme for me and I truly enjoy this theme, if you are looking for a very competitive list then Anvilgard is probably not the place to start in any case.
To sum up, this is an excellent Start Collecting! with some great models and a good discount but it doesn’t have the most competitive choices and it doesn’t line up with the most competitive of factions. If you enjoy the aesthetics, lore and theme of Anvilgard though, it does fit them perfectly and is 100% a great buy.
All the Best and for the Witch King *cough* Sigmar!
A couple of the Woehammer group have been reminiscing about the joys of Warhammer Fantasy Battle (WHFB) and how much fun it would be to get some armies together to play not only this but the upcoming ‘Old World’, which is rumoured to be released in 2023. So we did just that, I’ve dusted off my fantasy collection and have started looking at which units I could take while Pete has been doing the same with his.
If you’re new to the hobby, WHFB was the precursor to Age of Sigmar. Rather than large skirmish games with quite unconstrained movement, WHFB focused on the clashes of large units in tight formations with precise movement and positioning. The element which particularly appealed to me was the aesthetics of the game which are very much focused on those large blocks, rather than large monsters (though these do exist in the game).
We’ve decided to start by playing out a narrative campaign, and where better to start than the Grudge of Drong, a Campaign Pack written by Nigel Stillman for Games Workshop. The campaign was written for the Fifth Edition of the WHFB ruleset, but we have chosen to use the Eighth Edition rules as we are more familiar with these and have the necessary army books etc. The campaign pits stalwart Dwarfs against the perfidious High Elves who have aligned themselves with one Dwarf faction against another in a rather fractious internal dispute.
We will need to modify the campaign a little for the armies we have available to us but are looking forward to getting this kicked off. In the meantime, we will be putting out some articles on the armies and how they are developing over the next few months, before beginning the campaign in the New Year.
Both Pete and I look forward to sharing more with you soon and may all your Grudges be satisfied.