Category Archives: Declan Walters

Book Review – Gitslayer

By Darius Hinks

The Bad Moon is rising and Gotrek Gurnisson once again finds himself in the middle of the action, fighting his greatest enemies and trying to find his doom – although in the Age of Sigmar – his doom finding is a little more limited and currently is based around him wanting to remove the Fyreslayer rune from his chest.

The latest in a (very) long series of books!

Darius Hinks has once again been given the job of adding to the saga of Gotrek and his new companion – Maleneth Witchblade (an Aelf). If you read my review of Dominion, you will know that I like his writing, and this novel is no exception. This being a Warhammer Age of Sigmar novel I’m not pretending that it is a classic to rival some fantasy epics from yesteryear but it is a good fun yarn, with plenty of combat, some character development for Gotrek, Duardin and (more importantly than all that…) Gitz!

It won’t surprise regular readers to hear that I love the Gitz (Goblins) since I started Warhammer Fantasy Battle back in the late <cough> 1980s. Since then the little goblins (or Grobbi to Gotrek) have seen new developments, have conquered the World’s End Mountains, made Scrappa-spill and started to control the Bad Moon… all while worshiping Mork (or possibly Gork). And it is great to have them here.

The Gotrek books often spend a large number of pages building character and giving background to the ‘Big Bad’ of the book and Gitslayer is, fortunately, no exception. Unlike Dominion where the Kruleboyz were only seen from the viewpoint of the humans and Stormcast, or Gloomspite where the Gitz got limited ‘screen time’, Gitslayer puts them front and centre.

There are descriptions of mushrooms, magic, bottles, potions, squigs and, of course, the Bad Moon itself; all coming together to threaten the Kharadron Overlords who have promised to help Gotrek remove the rune from his chest. These descriptions are fabulous and I won’t spoil any of the fun of reading them for the first time, but if you like Gitz this is a great book and succeeds where Gloomspite failed.

The main character remains Gotrek, but we know how it is going to end, as he searches for his Doom, or Felix, or both. We know he’ll upset some locals, get drunk and then save the day… but still we read for the journey. And Gitslayer delivers on this journey.

Love it!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

— Declan

Book Review – Belisarius Cawl – The Great Work

By Guy Hayley

For those who remember the classic boxset – RTB01 – they will know that scale creep for the 25mm to 28mm to 28mm heroic Warhammer 40k left Space Marines looking a little too small… so what to do with all these kits?

RTB01 – My first space marines and the reason for my love of Beakies!

Step forward Belisarius Cawl, and the Primaris Space Marines… this is his story!

Cawl’s had a huge impact on Warhammer 40k … and model design!

Belisarius Cawl has created the Primaris Astartes (Space Marines) in order to combat the threats to the Imperium of Man. This book gives background for Cawl from the time of the Heresy to the present day (41st Millenium), and his relationships with his followers and Primarch Roboute Guilliman.

A good, fast paced story set in two monumental times in the Warhammer universe. It is interesting to see the growth of the Cawl character – with his single-mindedness – and the group he has created and brought around him. Off-set against this is the story of his first realisation that the Imperium needs more assistance, and that he is the one to provide that assistance – by improving on the Emperor’s work.

It is good fun to occasionally read stories about the characters behind the epoch changing / making moments in the 41st Millenium and Haley brings the character to life, as well as giving some threat in the back story, and running both stories at the same time.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

— Declan

Book Review – Fahrenheit 451

By Ray Bradbury

A departure from Warhammer 40k and Warhammer Age of Sigmar reading, but in what may become a semi regular diversion in the Book Review series, I will be reviewing Fahrenheit 451 today. It’s a book that many of you will have heard of, and it’ll be on the required reading of some school curriculum’s but I only first read it in 2016… and again recently.

Published many times over the 50 years since it was published, this cover is an evocative view of the book!

Set in a near future world where books are banned and firemen no longer protect life and property, but burn any books which are found. Enter Montag a fireman who is part of a family of book burners.

A huge novel in America, not quite so important this side of the pond – perhaps as we didn’t have McCarthy-ism on this side of the pond – but poignant none the less. It’s never too late to read a classic novel especially a science fiction one which has been adopted by the mainstream, and it’s easy to see why it remains popular.

The stark warnings are as clear today as they were fifty years – perhaps even more so as we lose books, and embrace 24 hour television and films. A great though provoking piece leaving as many questions opened as answered…

… I suppose the only issue being that I read it on an ebook… what would Mr Bradbury think of that I wonder – I hope he would be happy we were still reading – so however you get it – paperback, audio or ebook as I did – I hope you enjoy it!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

— Declan

Book Review – The Lost and the Damned

Book 2 The Siege of Terra by Guy Hayley

Guy Hayley returns to the Horus Heresy in the second book from the Siege of Terra. This is the follow on series from Black Library and was made as a great ‘drop in’ point for those who lost track of the Horus Heresy series. I previously reviewed book 1, which can be found here.

From the book:

With the solar defences overcome through the devastating strength of the Traitor armada and the power of the warp, Horus launches his assault on the Throneworld in earnest. After withstanding a ferocious barrage of ordnance, an immense ground war commences outside the Palace with every inch gained paid for in the lives of billions.

On the thirteenth day of Secundus, the bombardment of Terra began… With the solar defences overcome through the devastating strength of the Traitor armada and the power of the warp, Horus launches his assault on the Throneworld in earnest. After withstanding a ferocious barrage of ordnance, an immense ground war commences outside the Palace with every inch gained paid for in the lives of billions. The front lines are beyond horrific and the very air is reduced to poison and blood. Bodies are thrown into the meatgrinder but the outer redoubts cannot possibly hold for long, even with the loyal primarchs to reinforce them. For Horus has his own generals to call upon… Between the plague weapons of Mortarion and the fury of Angron, the defenders face a losing battle. 

The Lost and the Damned includes the three Primarchs defending Terra from Horus and the attacks from Mortarion and Angron. Guy Hayley continues to tie together the threads of the battle, and as this book is based on Terra it is much easier to follow than Book 1 (which concentrated on the battle for the Sol system).

Sanguinius also makes his first appearance at the Siege, ignoring his brother Dorn’s instructions to stay behind the Wall, and going out to take the fight to the Heretics. His presence rallies the defenders and brings them hope that victory may be achieved… his appearance is great from a personal point of view, as I collect Blood Angels!

And similarly to much of the Horus Heresy series there are stories of ordinary defenders either from Astra Militarum regiments or from local PDFs.

A really good second book in the series – and definitely leaving me wanting to read the rest!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

— Declan

Orruk Warclans – New Book

Wish Listing for the Weekend

I am at heart a Destruction player, having played them at most of the tournaments I’ve been to since AOS was launched. My main army is definitely the Gloomspite Gitz, but they have been in a bad place for some time and so I switched to Orruk Warclans at the end of AOS2. This wasn’t my first time with them as I did play with a lot of Ardboyz in AOS1 under ‘MoComp’ before points were released by GW.

So, as I’ve got a little experience with them I’ve decided to do a bit of wishlisting for the new release of the Orruk Warclan book which goes on pre-order this weekend (11th & 12th September 2021). I don’t have any insider knowledge, so all this is bound to be wrong, but it’ll be interesting (to me at least!) to see how wrong.

Overall Book

We already know that the book includes the new forces of the Kruleboyz and that it still includes the Ironjawz and Bonesplitters. There have also been releases about the Kruleboyz with the Dominion box and over on Warhammer Community in the last few months. So I’ll try to incorporate what we’ve learnt below.

Allegiances

I hope we keep the allegiances with Ironjaws, Bonesplitters and Kruleboyz and that we retain a Big Waaagh! version.

I’d like to mostly retain the Waaagh points, especially the extra ‘+’ to cast. It would be good if it were a true allegiance with their own artefacts, magic etc… but I don’t see that happening as it could get too confusing.

Hopefully we’ll also keep some of the sub-allegiances although now would be a great time to remove the Realmgate requirement for the Bloodtoofs!

Ironjawz

The Ironjawz are good, and doing reasonably well in AOS3 with the Maw Krushas doing a lot of the heavy lifting, so I don’t think much needs to be changed. However if I’m wish listing the following could do with attention:

  • Gordrakk to be on a level with some of the other God characters, and at least as good as the Megaboss on MawKrusha. Ability to take mount trait for BigTeef (his MawKrusha); or a significant point reduction
  • Megaboss on MawKrusha looks like they may lose their 3+ armour save which if there isn’t a way to get back to 3+ will need a points reduction. Command Ability needs to be replaced as it another +1 to hit. Charge mortal wounds back to 4+
  • Megaboss – new command ability
  • Warchanter – Magic Items & PRIEST keyword
  • Shaman – Green Puke to be 5+ to cast
  • Orruk Brutes – simplify weapons, 2″ reach for everything, fewer points. Bravery increase
  • Orruk Ardboyz – they currently have same function as the Brutes. Turn them into Brutes light, with worse attacks and lower bravery. To be used for objective holding whilst Brutes go forward.
  • Gore-Gruntas – 2″ reach

Bonesplitters

Bonesplitters did well at Nashcon with two army lists, but haven’t shown up in many other tournaments. Perhaps the old list of ‘Kunning Rukk’ which shot people off left a bad taste in the mouth, but with LRL now on the board and lots of Sons of Behemat there may be play with the Bonesplitters now.

  • Wurrgog Prophet – A good scroll
  • Savage Big Boss – Command Ability to work with shooting as well
  • Maniak Weirdnob – Spell replicates above command ability. Would be good to have a difference
  • Wardokk – A scroll prayer
  • Savage Orruks / Savage Orruk Moarboyz – combine these warscrolls
  • Savage Boarboyz / Savage Boarboy Maniaks – combine these warscrolls
  • Savage Big Stabbas – help with survivability (maybe -1 to hit with shooting if near Savage Orruks, not closest to enemy)
  • Savage Orruk Arrowboyz – Swap the Loadsa Arrows ability for something that doesn’t add dice (more low quality shots!!)

Kruleboyz

We only know what we’ve been told about these so I’m bound to miss some units. They rely on poison to do their damage, and unlike the other Orruks have ranged attacks.

  • Allegiance abilities to help with the poison (ie double down!)
  • Hobgrots Battleline if and get Orruk benefits for a build or Allegiance
  • Monsters to be playable to fairly pointed
  • Shooting to be able to affect the meta, by outdistancing LRL, and being able to hurt monsters
  • Some of the fun traps which were written about in the Dominion novel.

Kragnos

The elephant in the room. Hopefully he’ll be good enough to see play in some competitive builds, and will be given a mortal wound after save. Whilst he is a 2+ save there is so much that can avoid this at times he feels like he’s wearing paper… which to be fair, he’s not wearing a lot.

I would also like to see GW giving a different point value for Kragnos with the other Destruction forces (particularly Gloomspite Gitz)

Summary

Orruk Warclans are a Destruction book that definitely has options and can compete for 4-1 in the hands of an experienced player, so my primary hope is that the book doesn’t become bad with the new release. All the parts are there, and hopefully the Kruleboyz won’t be a third wheel and break the book.

And I suppose another one – hopefully the Kruleboyz are playable on their own without the other Warclans Orruks being necessary.


What do you think? What are you hoping for? How wrong am I?

Let us know in the comments below!

Warhammer TV – Week 3

With Warhammer+ launched a few weeks ago and with our review of Week 1 and Week 2, we return again. As with the previous reviews this is a spoiler free zone for the current episodes. However as Angels of Death is episodic, I may give away some things from previous episodes. If you haven’t seen them, go away now and watch them.

Before I delve into the new content – there’s only 2 things this week – there is still nothing for Age of Sigmar. It is very difficult to see how this is value for money at the moment if you have no interest in 40k, and I understand that AoS is the smaller sibling, but it still needs some content. Fingers crossed for next week.

Loremaster – Abaddon the Despoiler

Anyone with any knowledge of Warhammer 40k has probably heard of Abaddon the Despoiler… but if you’re new to the setting or haven’t been interested in Chaos Space Marines of the past then this is for you.

Presented by Wade Pryce (and I assume written by a Black Library Author), this is a great start to the Loremaster series charting Abaddon’s first appearance in Warhammer 40k, through to the end of the Horus Heresy and his Black Crusades against the Imperium of Man.

Wade does a great job of being front man for this and the extensive use of the GW back catalogue of images was great to see as well. I found myself trying to identify where I first saw them all… and some are old as you might expect!

This bodes well for the series if they are all up that standard – hopefully we’ll have a new one soon!

Angels of Death – Episode 3 Blood and Duty

The Blood Angels and their fleet continue to investigate the populace of the planet they find themselves trapped on as the flagship – commanded by a very well written & drawn Ship-Mistress – is trapped by docking claws and being boarded and attacked from space. Meanwhile the Blood Angels on the planet must discover where the Genestealer hybrids are coming from.

A good series, getting better. Once again great use of red as a spot colour to the black & white included not using it for some effects I thought they would – and much better for breaking that expectation. This is their ‘flagship’ programme on WarhammerTV / Warhammer+ and it is definitely good.

Conclusion

Another good week, but with only 2 releases and still nothing for AoS I’m concerned they may be slowing down and getting through their pre-made / pre-recorded things a little too quickly. Sure there’s the 40k app, but still no sign of the AOS app, or any WarCom article about it.

I’m still happy to have the subscription, but my liking what’s on offer has a lot to do with the Blood Angels appearing each week.

— Declan

Kill Team – Genestealers

The beginning of a journey into an unknown

I am fortunate to have met many friends through wargaming and boardgaming, and sometimes these two groups even collide in a gloriously fun way! Kill Team is one of the rulesets that I can play with those more interested in boardgaming, or not interested in buying & painting a 2,000 point army.

So when one of these friends asked if I was playing Kill Team at a holiday we have soon, I immediately said yes… and started thinking about what I could take. I didn’t want to buy new toys… pile of shame is far too large anyway… so I was limited to Imperial Guard, Blood Angels, Orks and Tyranids. Looking at what others were planning on bringing (Tau, Guard or Orks; Sisters of Battle; Iron Warriors; Necrons) I decided to bring something very different – so Tyranids it was.

The Kill Team

Tyranids have a number of options for their Kill Teams consisting of 2 fire teams from: Tyranid Warriors, Genestealers, Tyranid Swarms (Hormagaunt / Termagaunt). I had loads of all these available, but Genestealers looked to be very different from the other armies being taken, so I picked two Genestealer Fire Teams with Rending Claws & Scything Talons.

The first Fire Team, with the Feeder Tendrils being the Genestealer Leader

I grabbed a few models, some new (see above), and some old (see below) to make the individual Fire Teams clearly different. To add a little variety I found a ‘Stealer with Feeder Tendrils… he was different enough to be my Leader.

Needless to say none of the extras that are on the models are included in Kill Team, so it didn’t matter that some of them have mutations on them. Perfect for adding a bit of variety.

2nd Fire Team is more old school!

The second unit was the gorgeous monopose sculpts from the Space Hulk era. I grew up with these guys, so it was great to get them painted.

Painting

I wanted a scheme I could do quickly, and I’d just picked up Talassar Blue (GW Contrast Paint), so I decided to start with this. The ‘Stealer models have lots of detail on them, and the contrast worked wonderfully, giving great coverage over a simple zenithal highlight (Chaos Black & Grey Seer spray paint). It’s such a vibrant colour and may become my favourite contrast paint!

After a quick Teclis Blue drybrush to show some highlights, I checked my colour wheel, and it suggested orange as a contrast colour… perfect! I picked out the teeth, talons and nails and I had the units finished in a little over a day.

Fortunately, I have a bunch of Sector Imperialis bases already painted, so a quick snip of the bases and reglue and the unit was finished.

Hope you like them, and I’ll let you know how I get on later this month!

The Kill Team core book is available from SCN Hobbies in Corby; or – most likely – from your FLGS!

— Declan

Book Review – The Solar war

by John French

Review by Declan Waters

The Solar War is the beginning of the end in the epic Horus Heresy series from Black Library.

With the Horus Heresy reaching 54 books, countless short stories and novellas I admit to finding it difficult to keep up-to-date with the storyline – and I read a lot, and have known the story since I was 11! As such, it was a great decision to ‘restart’ the series numbering to allow readers to get back on track with the ‘Siege of Terra’ series.

Horus’ fleet has arrived at Sol and must get to the Emperor’s palace on Terra – fortified by Dorn – but first he must fight through the remaining loyal fleet of the Emperor.

The book returns to some of the characters from the start of the series – Mersadie & Logan – and is was fun to read their story of the start of the invasion.

The book includes mass space battles, many (many) deaths as the loyalists attempt to slow down Horus’ treachery.

I did struggle at times with the number and names of the ships many introduced to be destroyed and I did sometimes have to re-read a passage to work out if a destroyed ship was loyalist or traitor. Although they have restarted the numbering, it is difficult to see how anyone who is new to the lore could understand what is happening in the story. Definitely a book for those already invested in the Heresy – although fine if you’ve not read all the previous books.

The pace feels significantly quicker than the rest of the series, so don’t expect another 50 books for the Siege of Terra, but I’m looking forward to the next in the series.

A promising start to the Siege…

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The book is available from Black Library direct, your friendly local book store, or audible (audiobook)

Book Review – Gloomspite

by Andy Clark

Review by Declan Waters

I really wanted to love this book. In theory it has everything that appeals to me. Fantasy, set in the new Age of Sigmar world, staring the Goblins (Grots) who were my first army and still grace the wargaming table for me. Unfortunately, it fell down and I think it’s to do with the marketing and editor and not the author – which is even more of a shame.

The book follows a group of mercenaries – Swords of Sigmar – who warn the militia of Draconium about an impending disaster. Unfortunately they don’t know what the disaster is, except it will come from below.

The Swords and the characters in Draconium and well written, interesting characters – with an equal mix of women & men (the characters genders are not relevant to the story, but after so many male fantasy books, this is welcome relief – well done Andy Clark) – and a fun story. 4* for the author.

However, the book’s title in ‘Gloomspite’ and this was released at the same time as the army book. All other races get a book from Black Library with their army as the heroes (or anti-heroes); the Gloomspite (Grots) get a story where humans are the heroes and they are the peril. I know that they are ‘destruction’ but that is no reason to not get a story expanding the reader’s knowledge of the Gitz. I realise it is difficult to write from the point of view of destruction armies, but with the vast world available in Age of Sigmar, it must surely be easier than other fantasy settings. 2* for marketing & editing.

Okay, but not really about Gitz!

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The book is available from Black Library direct, your friendly local book store, or audible (audiobook)

Book Review – Dominion

by Darius Hinks

Review by Declan Waters

Straight off, I want to say this – if you’re just after a story from the Warhammer Age of Sigmar this is a fine book, well written with an interesting underlying story.

However, I picked it up because it was the companion book to the recent release of Age of Sigmar 3, which is the first edition to have Destruction (one of the Age of Sigmar factions) as well as the Stormcast. As such, I’m looking forward to more expansion of the history and background of the Destruction races – especially the new Kruleboyz released in the boxed set…

… Unfortunately this book didn’t achieve this. There was the (now reasonably common) Black Library usage of a human as the main character to make them more relatable – in this case a brother and sister whose father had been killed by Orruks (Orcs) before they escaped to Excelsis (a very large city in Ghur – the Realm of Beasts). If you’re not into Warhammer I’ve made this sound a bit confusing, but you can honestly read this book with no knowledge of the background.

The Realm of Ghur becomes one of the things that the siblings must overcome and they encounter monsters not released by Games Workshop (Kraken), and some that have (Kraken Eater Gargant), on their Crusade. If this is familiar to those who have read the Age of Sigmar rule book, it’s because Crusades are a new way to play the game… all good so far.

But… the story revolves around the brother (Niksar), with his sister being relegated to a supporting role. This is unfortunate given the need for Warhammer to appeal to more women readers and gamers, and missed a perfect opportunity in a big release book.

And then my biggest complaint – there is a little background on the Stormcast from the box, but the Kruleboyz (Orruks) only make an appearance late and are hidden behind their mist, only appearing to attack and then be attacked by the Stormcast. There was little development for them and – as they are a new race – I expected a lot more. It’s about time Black Library released some books from the perspective of the ‘bad guys’ which we know they can do, but which is sadly lacking for the new army – and indeed all the Destruction forces.

Disappointing

Rating: 2 out of 5.

The book is available from Black Library direct, your friendly local book store, or audible (audiobook)