A Review of Warhammer Fest 2021, Part 2: Days 4 to 6

I don’t normally write about Games Workshop’s previews, but they’re actually normally pretty cool. This week, they’ve held Warhammer Fest, a massive, multi-day set of previews. Each day has a particular theme. Here’s the schedule that they gave out:

I was intending to do one big post with all of the previews, but there really was a lot revealed. So, following on from Part 1, let’s hop back in…

Day 3: Boxed Games

To be honest, I went into the boxed game preview with a bit of a chip on my shoulder and not a small measure of cynicism. What can I say, Games Workshop, you teach people how to treat you… That said, I generally like Games Workshop’s boxed games. Let’s see what they’re coming out with.

They started off with a new warband for Warhammer Underworlds:

The Idoneth Deepkin aren’t really a faction that I’m all that interested in. I do keep considering picking up a starter set to have a Warcry force with their cool ell riders, and I do love all their sea creatures, but I just don’t like their standard infantry. That is further reflected in this warband. I love the leader, and the fish and crab are both awesome, but I just don’t like the other two dudes. It might be another case where Games Workshop’s chosen colour scheme doesn’t work for me and I end up liking the miniatures when I see them “in the wild”. We’ll see at some point, I imagine.

Next up was the next book for Necromunda:

House of Shadow is all about House Delaque. Delaque is pretty cool, and I actually really like their evolution from the old versions to the new. let’s have a quick look at that comparison:

Looking at the two, they are very different, but there are some similarities. The bald heads have stayed, and the prominent coats and collars. I love that Games Workshop have created something so new and outlandish as the new Delaques, whilst maintaining those few key design elements that defined the old miniatures.

In terms of the new miniatures, the specialist Delaques look really good. They fit the existing aesthetic, but then set the house apart from the other gangs. The most interesting of the new miniatures is the Piscean Spektor (no relation to Regina, I’m told) which appears to be a brain that’s been hooked up to some biomechanical monstrosity. I love it. Like, really. Like, I’m thinking that once I clear out another project, House Delaque will be finding its way into my life.

next up was some new stuff for Aeronautica Imperialis:

RIght, so, I remember back in the day that Aeronautica Imperialis was a game made by Forgeworld. There were a ton of resin miniatures for it, and I was quite impressed by the Tau ones in particular. Now, it’s a plastic game, which is better. It’s also a lot more polished, which is nice. Thus far, the new edition of the games has some miniatures from the Imperial Navy, Astra Militarus, Ork, and T’au factions. This release previews flyers for the Space Marines and the Eldar. There will be a two player starter box, shown above, in the same style as the existing boxes which sees the Imperial Navy face the Orks and the Astra Militarum face the T’au. Here are the individual miniatures:

From what I understand, the Eldar promise to be a speedy, maneuverable faction, which is very fitting. I love the miniatures for the eldar flyers, which are almost as cool as their old Battlefleet Gothic ships. The Space Marine flyers are, of course, satisfying chunky and contrast really well with Eldar, which I think is actually a really good thing when they’re together in a box like this. I imagine that the Stormtalons are, at this scale, a lot less of a pain in the arse to put together as well! In addition to the Space marine minis shown in the box, Games Workshop also previewed the Thunderhawk Gunship:

Now, I do think that in order to really capture the spirit of the reveal, I need to share the video for this particular reveal. It features some top trolling by Games Workshop:

It’s a great mini. Detailed for the scale. Very big for the scale, as well. It’s the biggest miniature so far for this game. I also, and this is a total aside, really like that Games Workshop chose to paint up their display miniatures as Salamanders. Yeah, not one of the chapters that tends to be featured in this sort of thing, but a really welcome sight. I don’t know enough about the game to really comment on the addition of these two new factions, but the minis are certainly fantastic. I hope true fans are enthused.

As a whole, day 3 was alright. I don’t really care much for Underworlds nor Aeronautica Imperialis, but I really like those Delaque.

Day 4: Warhammer 40,000 (again)

After the disappointment of Day 2’s 40K offerings, the bar was low for this to be, at least comparatively, a good reveal. I had a suspicion that it would feature Orks and I was not disappointed:

We’d seen the Beastsnaggas prviewed already, but this was a bigger reveal of the release, including the full contents of the limited edition army set. Inside, there are 20 Beastsnagga Boyz, three Squighog Boyz, a wee grot/squig/bomb thing and a couple of character whom I will come back to soon. The Boyz are great. Really characterful and dynamic, and I love their armour. The Squighogs are lovely. I’m already a huge fan of Squigs (I am currently working my way through 2,000 points of them for Age of Sigmar) so I’m really excited for these.

The two characters in the box are a Squighog Nob and a reimagining of a classic character, Zodgrod Wortsnagga:

The Nob is really good, because it combines a few really cool elements. First of all, it has the Squig, which is just a slightly bigger, slightly more armoured version of the Squighogs ridden by the Boyz. He also has a bionic arm, which I think it a great touch. The implementation of technology (beyond just the guns) in this army helps to root them in the 40K setting, rather than just giving some fantasy Orc access to armory. The second character, Zodgrod, is based on this classic miniature:

We can see shared design elements here. First of all there’s the weaponry, particularly the claw. More significantly, there’s the hair, or rather, the hair squig. Yes, that’s not just a wig, but an actual squig that appears to be stapled to Zodgrod’s head. This update is really similar to what we saw with the Be’lakor miniature, where Games Workshop keeps the bulk of the cool features that made the character unique and special, but brings it more in line with the current aesthetic. I’d love to see more of this going forwards. I actually expect we’ll see a fair amount of it as more Space Marine characters get re-released as Primaris.

Now, with all these new Orks, it’s great to see that they’ll be coming with a brand new Codex:

The codex shown here is the limited edition one, with a special cover. It will come in the army set, with the regular edition following on a little later. The discussion around the book suggested that the book will facilitate themed armies, such as bike or vehicle heavy ones, Bestsnagga ones, horde ones… Yeah, the goal seems to be that you can play the Orks that you want to play. That’s a great ambition that I hope materialises.

In addition to the new Beastsnagga stuff, it was stated that there would be more new Orks coming. The first of these, a Warboss in Mega Armour, was previewed:

This guy’s great, and gives you a chunky, armoured Warboss that you can field without having to convert Ghazghkull. My favourite bit of this miniature is the Axe, which is a thing of brutal, barbaric beauty. The shoulder pads are also really cool, and of course I have to mention the wee grot on top. I suppose that with his hands full, adding a grot to man the shoota was a cool idea. It also adds to the funny tone that Orks tend to have, which maybe wasn’t as evident in the Beastsnagga Boyz. I’m glad that this shows that the humour of the Ork army isn’t going away.

So, yeah, I think it’s safe to say that I really enjoyed day 5. Lots of great new Orks makes for a fantastic preview.

Day 6: Mystery

Mystery! Oh, there were a few things that this could have been. The third edition of Age of Sigmar was the most expected. Some thought that this could be the reveal of Games Workshop’s plans for their promised Old World game. Some spoke of a hybrid Underworlds/Warcry game. One video I watched suggested a second edition of Kill Team. I really didn’t think it would be Kill Team.

In the end, on the day, it turned out to be Age of Sigmar 3. I’ll give my thoughts on that at the end of this section and cover the new miniatures first. First up was a new Stormcast Eternals hero, Yndrasta, the Celestial Spear:

This is a nice miniature, but seems quite slimline for a Stormcast. The wings are absolutely beautiful, and I love the head with that shaved side to the hair. The pose is fine. It fits with the base but is not particularly dynamic. Games Workshop’s painters have also gone with something of a more photorealistic look for this mini, so I’m not sure if it would really fit visually into the studio’s wider Stormcast army, at least in comparison to the brighter golds and bolder colours that they normally use.

Next up, we were shown a new unit, the Vidnictors:

Bland. They’re just bland. They have a bit of a gladiator look to them, which is cool, but overall they’re just bland. I will say, as usual, that the non-gold colour schemes look so much better, but i find it hard to get excited over these miniatures. Their slender frames also make them look a tad small on the bases that they’ve been paired with, leaving them feeling less imposing that previous Stormcast Eternals.

We then saw an Annihilator, which will be part of a unit of similar miniatures:

See, after the Vindictors, I feel I need to say that this is how you do Stormcast. Ornate. Campy. Cool. That shield is amazing. The pauldrons are gorgeous. The lion armour… looks a little derpy but is still damn cool. You might have picked it up elsewhere in this paragraph, but I really love this miniature.

So, that was it. Yeah, the starter box will have another army, but we were only shown the Stormcast. This is a little bit frustrating as someone who doesn’t really care all that much for Stormcast (except the Annihilator, PHWOOOAAR!). I reckon, given all the hints that are around, that we’ll be looking at Beastmen for the second army. That would be pretty cool, and I hope it’s right. We’ll see in the next month or two, I imagine, especially if they’re going for another Summer release.

In terms of a new edition, eeeh… AoS was released in 2015 and we’re already about to see third edition? Second edition came out in 2018, meaning that we’ve had it for a little under 3 years, and a third of that time didn’t see much play due to a series of lockdowns and distancing procedures. When did editions get so short? I love Age of Sigmar, and I’ll be all about this new edition, but I think these are valid questions.

Day 6 was… a little disappointing. I’d hoped for something more interesting. I’d even have been okay with it being this reveal if we’d seen something other than more Stormcast, particularly given how bland half of them were.

Final Thoughts

All in all, this was a very mixed bag. You can read my thoughts on days 1 to 3 in part 1 of this review. There were some great previews, some stuff that I didn’t care much for but which I understand others will appreciate, and some disappointments. Let’s hand out some awards!

Best Reveal of Day 1:

This was a tricky call but it has to go to Kragnos. Gorgeous model. Brilliant.

Best Reveal of Day 2:

For day 1, I had to pick out the best miniature from a pretty great selection. For day 2, I didn’t have to do that. It was more “which one is fine“. The lukewarm award for day 2 goes to Morvenn Vahl. Meh, it’s a nice mini, but I just don’t really care.

Best Reveal of Day 3:

There’s a few books from this reveal that I’m keen to read, and I also really like the Gaunt’s Ghosts minis. The book that I’m most eager to read would definitely be The Twice-Dead King – Ruin. Excited for this one.

Best Reveal of Day 4:

No question. Delaques. Piscean Spektor. Give it to me.

Best Reveal of Day 5:

Beastsnaggas! Well, they’re all that was revealed, really. I love this army set and will be trying to pick it up. It’s limited though, and Games Workshop has a real problem with scalpers, so fingers crossed for me!

Beast Reveal of Day 6:

it has to be that sexy Annihilator. he was the bright spot in an otherwise disappointing reveal.

I hope you enjoyed Warhammer Fest for this year. Some really cool stuff is on the horizon and it’s really cool to get that early peek at it.

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