Wednesday, July 29, 2015


So here's a little something I wrote about 6 years ago.

Witch Hunters by Brother Glacius

So, here we are at the dreaded crossroads of GW hobbies once again. This is a place every GW gamer eventually finds themselves. The big question of course is, do I start a new army? To the right of you, your last army that could use a new unit or two. To the left, that army still in blisters and boxes that you were really excited about for a good month, but then lost interest. Straight ahead, fueled by the propaganda giant that is GW, is the prospect of a new army. If you are like me, most of the time when you find yourself standing in this place, you choose the fourth option…and that’s to turn around and go hide under your bed for a while. But no…sometimes you have to move on.

Being an avid Warhammer Fantasy player for some time, my dark future side was getting a little dusty. A break from the swords and sorcery was needed. An lo, out there on the horizon, a new Codex was calling…Witch Hunters….Witch Hunters…and it was much louder than the little voice off to the left saying “what about the Tau you wanted to start…” which was quickly silenced with a quick bolter round. Foul blasphemous alien scum. The Righteous fury of the faithful will not be silenced. Run and hide heretic, for your doom stalks you.

And so, with a quick check to the bank account, a purchase was made! I was hoping to buy the new codex…but the foul winds of retail did not blow in my favor…out of stock! One movie later, with even more grim determination, I strode back into the store with one burning question on my mind…”have you got anything for Witch Hunters?” And yes! They did. A quick swipe with the plastic and I was the proud owner of a Sisters of Battle Squad. Personally, I think your bank card should get shaved down a little each time its swiped so you have an idea that your money is going away. But it really didn’t matter…new figures were mine!

Sisters of Battle Squad – 10 figures including Sister Superior and two special weapon sisters. Retail price $35.00. You know, I remember a time when I could buy a GW product without wincing…

All metal figures, no duplicate poses. Sweet. I’m pretty impressed with this squad. All the figures look great.

Now the die is cast…you can’t just buy one squad. See, that’s the real trap of GW. If you can stick to getting the Codex first…you should. The reason being is that you can always justify your purchase by saying you just want to know your enemy. But buying figs…that’s the death knell of your will power. So here I am with my first step to a new army for 40K, a step I have not taken in quite a long time (but what about the Ta...BANG!)

So I welcome you to join me on this journey down the dark path that is GW. Traveler beware.

Part 2: Army Design

So, there I am, staring Witch Hunters in the cover…what to do, what to do? I needed a theme for my army. I had to come up with an idea that the force would be built around. I knew I wanted an Inquisitor Lord. After about three days of on and off thinking…finally came up with Nostramus, Inquisitor Nostramus. I like it. But what kind of man is Nostramus? Immediately the thought of him using the sisters for his own ends popped into my head. He liked them because they were competent and fanatical…a rare mix. Even better, he could control them. So right there, I knew the army was going to have Sisters in it, but not as the main theme for the army. No, the Inquisitor was in charge, and he used his men to achieve his ends…no matter the cost. Throw away Sisters doesn’t seem right.

Thus, you’d think Imperial guard might be a good element to add to the army. Yes and no. On the one hand, they are cheap…and plentiful. However, they are rather soft and squishy. Nostramus doesn’t like soft and squishy…besides, guard are too easily swayed by the heretic. No, only inquisition storm troopers would satisfy his needs. And before I knew it…I had my first 500pts planned out.

Inquisitor Lord and Retinue………………………………………………………200pts.
Sisters of Battle squad…………………………………………………………….150pts.
Storm Troopers……………………………………………………………………150pts.

To make it easy on me, I decided to equip the troops just like they come in the box. Saves me a bit of cash since I don’t need to buy additional figures too. For the inquisitor, all but one of the figures will be used. Not bad. $105.00 though for three $35 box sets. Ouch. Again with the wincing. But for now, we just have the sisters and the other two will wait until they are done painted.

Now originally, I had wanted transports for these units, but two things stopped that idea. One, I didn’t have the points. I would need at least another 170pts to transport all three groups. Two, it is even more money. Wince. Transports aren’t cheap to buy. And worst of all, they don’t sell a Sisters of Battle Rhino kit. I want my Sisters to travel in style, and I’m not about to buy overpriced bits from Forgeworld either. So for now, transports are out, and footslogging is in.

So at this point, we have a plan. We have an army. And we even have some figures. We also have a promise to the wife-unit that we won’t buy any new figures until we paint the ones we have. So it’s on to painting the sisters! Up next, how I decided on the color scheme and the step-by-step painting process.

Part 3: Painting Sisters

Welcome back gentle readers. Today we look at the incredibly detailed and scientific process of how I choose the color scheme for my Sisters of Battle figures. First step, attach the color wheel to the dartboard…okay…just kidding. Actually, the first thing I did was look at the White Dwarf articles on the Witch Hunters and then at the painting section of the Witch Hunter Codex. GW’s web page on the army had some painting tips there too. Now some of you sharp people might be saying, “I thought he didn’t buy the Codex?” Well I didn’t, but I did borrow one, so there.

Anyways, so now I’m looking at the official paint schemes for the sisters. I really don’t want to copy simply what GW has already done. Its not that they don’t look good, but I like to be a little original. However, I don’t want them looking silly either. Gold armor at first really appealed to me. But, the more I thought about it, the more I thought that was being a bit too high and mighty. A whole unit with gold armor? What makes them so special? Could I justify that over a whole army? No way. But I do like gold…so it will stay on as a trim.

So we are back to square one…what color for the armor? Well, after looking back and forth at models and schemes, I finally settled on one I saw in the Codex. In the back of the book, they have a special character done in red armor, with gold trim, and white cloth. Wow, what a great look. The red is nice and flashy and really stands out. The gold gives it that oomph that says, “We have style”. And the white cloth really contrasts very well and helps to give it the clean and virtuous look. And with that, I have my color scheme.

Going back to the codex, I notice the Order of the Bloody Rose is pretty close in colors. They have the red armor, but use black for their cloth and gold for the trim. Fairly darn close to what I want. A quick read into the background for the Order is done. Not bad at all. I like my armies to fit into the current history of the universe. So making my Sisters an offshoot of the Bloody Rose sounds good.

So I grabbed my trusty can of black spray primer and set for the outdoors with my sisters in a big cardboard tray/box type thingy. Now personally, I think I over-prime. I like every inch of that figure to be coated. So after about an hour’s time, I had all 10 sisters and their backpacks primed black. I chose black because its 40K, and things tend to be dark.  Also, I’m not a great shader. Dry brushing is my friend. I know lots of the painting snobs look down at dry brushing, but I don’t’ care. If it looks good to me, then I’m happy. And really, that’s all that should matter, unless you want that Best Painted Trophy.

A day or so later, I talked to an excellent painter about my sisters and the color scheme I wanted to do. His advice was to prime them red. Crap. So I’m not re-priming my figures. However, as I’ll have to do other sisters down the line, I’ll probably give it a go then. Pics of the lovely ladies in black are soon to follow.

Part 4:  A Bump in the Road

Hmmmmm finding time to paint amongst all my slacking is proving to be quite difficult. I have started on a figure though. I tried to go thru and put down the red on the armor sections. Now maybe it’s just me, but I’m finding it kind of difficult to nail down the sections I need to paint red. Which means I’m actually going to grab the codex and look at the painting section. Also, an issue of WD had a good article on painting sisters, which I will look over. I’m more of a visual learner, so having reference materials is a great way to keep me focused.

I also need a new Inquisitor name. As fate, and GW’s odd pricing policy goes, I didn’t get the Inquisitor boxed set. I was able to pick up similar figs in blisters for much cheaper. So I did. But that has now left me with a slightly smaller retinue, but most importantly, a female Inquisitor. As cool as Nostramus is, it doesn’t fit a female model. This may seem like a minor thing, but it can actually be very important. For me, a big part of an army is the inspiration for it. The connection I feel with the army directly affects how much I want to play it. Which in turn, affects how much I want to paint it.

So now I have a female inquisitor. I had always thought of Nostramus as a guy’s guy. While he respected what the Sisters of Battle could do…he always thought less of them simply due to the fact that they were women. Well, that would hardly stay true for a female inquisitor. But first things first…a name. I like my names to be inspired as well. Right off the bat, looking at the figure, we have kind of a 19th century thing going on. Big hair, regal manor…I’m thinking Russian nobility. A quick google search brings me to a web site with the 90 most common Russian female names. Three pages later, we have it: Nadezhda – pronounced Nah-Deyz-da. Inquisitor Nadezhda…ooooo sends shivers down my spine just saying it.  Now for her, she sees the Sisters of Battle as an image of strength for women. Men have their uses, but if you want a job done, then a woman is called for. There is no room for weakness in her army. She is cold, hard…Russian.

And just like that, the whole theme of my army has changed. Where once we had a hard inquisitor that was going to rely on storm troopers and simply use the sisters, we now have one that relies on the strength of the sisters to win the day. This really won’t affect the first 500pts for my army. However, it will impact the units I select further on. For instance, now it seems fitting to have a unit of Sisters Repentia in the force. Where Nostramus wouldn’t really care about the fate of a sister that had fallen from grace, Nadezhda does, and thus ensures that those sisters have a chance to redeem themselves in battle.

This will also mean adding more specialized sister units to the roster and most likely, SoB vehicles as well. Since I didn’t have huge plans drawn out for my army yet, a change like this isn’t too much of a big deal. There were certain units I had already decided that I wanted in the army, regardless of theme. But now what this change in theme does, is allow me to use different auxiliary units to fit the new concept. Army composition is a tricky thing. Not only does an army need to fit your play style, but it should also fit your visualization for it. I think its very critical to know what you want your army to look like, and have it fit your play style. As I said before, the greater the connection you make with your army, the more enthused you will be to paint it, and play it.

Painting pics soon…I promise.

Yeah, nothing has really changed has it?

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