Sunday 20 October 2019

Sisters are doing it for themselves

I'm starting to feel like the more productive I get with hobby projects, the worse I get at updating this blog. I've actually been pretty busy with painting and gaming over the last few months, both before and after my Japan trip.

Firstly, I had enough Blood Angels and Death Guard painted up to try my first game of Warhammer 40,000 Eighth edition. It wasn't a very big game - power level of 75 per side - and I used the open war cards to generate a random scenario, but it was a good opportunity to try out the rules, despite making a few mistakes. Most notably, I kept rolling two dice for morale check instead of one, meaning those units that weren't unbreakable were far more likely to run away.

In the end the Death Guard edged a victory after the Daemon Prince wiped out an entire Tactical Squad to claim their objective, while the Death Company remained locked in combat with the Death Guard squad guarding their objective.

I found a very fast and fast moving game. If I had any complaints it was that, like Age of Sigmar, most of the rules are rear-loaded. That is to say, the basic rules are pretty simple but their are dozens of additional rules to keep track of, with most units getting one or two unique rules plus all the stratagems that form a crucial part of the game.

I think over time, this can lead to the game becoming unwieldy and overburdened with additional rules, as happened with Epic second edition. Though, for the moment it isn't too bad. I'll certainly be playing some more.

Having gotten my Death Guard and Blood Angel forces battle ready, I decided to take a slight break and look at something else. I've had a decent sized collection of Adeptus Sororitas or Sisters of Battle sitting around unpainted for years now and with the new models on the way it felt like the right time to get them painted.

The previews of the new models look quite promising. The designs haven't changed too radically, for the most part, so I should be able to slot the new in with the old. But I know from past experience that it's all too easy to be distracted by new models and one way to avoid that is to make sure the old models are painted.

The first squad I had already mostly painted for my Shadow War Armageddon campaign, which is why they have numbers on their bases. The only change was that the Shadow War squad included a Storm Bolter which I swapped for a meltagun. This was to maximise the number of squads that could use the "Holy Trinity" stratagem that requires the squad to fire with at least one bolter, melta and flamer weapon in order to get a bonus to wound.

I had already decided to paint my Sisters as part of the Order of the Argent Shroud. This was mostly because I had a pretty quick and easy paint scheme for them. I spray painted them all in Army Painter Plate Mail Metal and gave them a wash with Nuln oil. This took care of all the armoured areas. The robes were painted in Vallejo light grey, then highlighted in pale grey blue and with a final highlight of off white. It took me a few goes to get the exact mix right, however and, if you look closely, you'll see that not all the robes look exactly the same.

The gloves and holsters were Vallejo black grey with a Nuln oil wash and highlight dark grey and the red areas on the weapons done the exact same way as my Blood Angels - GW Mephiston red, Carroburg crimson wash and then Evil Sunz Red higlights.

For each squad I left the heads until last and tried to have as many different skin tones and hair colours as possible. I'm not a fan of the Games Workshop all white hair for every model approach.

My Sisters army was assembled over a pretty extended period. I bought the first boxed set almost as soon as it was released back during 40K Second edition, along with the army book. I then got the £50 small army box as a birthday present. This was basically equivalent to the start collecting boxes you can get now and included a battle sister squad, a seraphim squad and a Canoness with a Celestian Body Guard (though back then they were Seraphim without jump packs).

That gave me about 1000 points back in 2nd edition, enough for some small games. But when third edition came along, Games Workshop initially nerfed the sisters, reducing them to standard humans in power armour and leaving me with no more than about 400 points. Consequently I left my Sisters on the shelf for a while.

When Codex Witch Hunters came along at the tail end of 3rd edition, and the Sister were restored to their former glory, I made elaborate plans to rebuild the army, but never quite got around to it, I was pretty distracted with other games at the time. Then, a couple of years ago, I noticed that some of the metal Sisters were going out of stock on the GW website and I had a paranoia attack that they were about to drop the whole range and ordered a bunch more.

At the time I was thinking or revisiting 4th edition 40K, which had been the version I had most enjoyed. But I still had other projects on the go and didn't have time to do much more than assemble my new Sisters. Then eighth edition came along and my plans changed again.

The banner carried by the Celestian Imagifier was included in my 2nd edition army boxed set and is the official banner of the Order of the Argent Shroud. If I feel like paying the command points I can upgrade it to the Order's banner. I distinguished this squad from the regular Sisters by adding gold detail to their shoulder pads and helmets, an approach I also used on the Canonesses.

The army command, including two Canonesses, the original from my army box with a combi-flamer, and Canoness Verdian, who was a Christmas present from my brother last year. The Missionary is a converted Empire Flagellant with a lot of additions from bits box, including the brazier from a Corpse cart. I painted the flame effects by painting them white and then using successive glazes of yellow and then red.

The Exorcist is a huge, unwieldy beast with a very weird centre of gravity, thanks to it being a plastic kit with loads of extra metal bits.

I basically followed the same approach as the rest of the army, with a lot of Vallejo brass for the pipes. I painted the parchment and bone in the same way using the highly useful Privateer Press paints Menoth White Base and Menoth White highlight. I painted them with the base initially, then gave them a wash of GW Seraphim Sepia, followed by drybrushing a mix of both colours before a final edge highlight with Menoth White Highlight.

The Penitent Engine was an impulse buy from when I was at Warhammer World two years ago. I was actually in Nottingham for a Warlord Games event and just popped along for the evening. I remember when these were first released they seemed over priced in money for a model that wasn't worth much in game. But, since then, their monetary price has barely changed, while they have become much more effective in game, making them feel like a bargain.

I painted most of the Penitant Engine in the same way as the metal areas of my Death Guard - a spray of Army Painter plate mail metal, followed by two heavy washes of Agrax Earthshade to give it a corroded look. The rest followed the same basic scheme as the rest of my army.

That's pretty much everything I have for my Sisters painted now, so I am taking a short break from Warhammer 40,000 all together to work on a completely different, but hopefully pretty short, project. More updates on that as soon as possible.

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