I really enjoyed the previous instalments of these wishlisting articles. Rather worryingly, with the beginnings of my Genestealer Cults army, I’ve now taken on 2 out of the three projects from the first article. Thankfully I’ve not succumbed to any of the projects from the second article, or the Stormcast from the third one. It wasn’t really my intention to actually take up these projects. The point was really just to “think out loud” about the hobby and share some cool ideas. Today, I’m going to do what all obsessive Warhammer fans do, and share a few more army ideas that, ultimately, I’m unlikely to ever really commit to.
Crusade of the Devout
The Word Bearers are one of the most interesting traitor legions. The Horus Heresy book that focuses on them, The First Heretic, is probably the best book in that very extensive series of novels. They are really interesting and, in the grand story of the 41st Millennium, very pervasive. I love the idea that the Imperial Cult, the religion upon which the modern Imperium is built, was their creation. They are fundamental to the premise of the setting.
They are also devout. As a loyalist legion, they were devout in their worship of the Emperor, and as a traitor legion they are devout in their worship of the Chaos Gods. I had a Word Bearers army back in the day, largely converted at the time from the old, metal Dark Angels. The bulk of the army was built from the robed Dark Angels bodies. These were actually really cool miniatures:
The army was a deep, dark red, whilst the robes were black. My Dark Apostle (well, a Dark Apostle-themed Chaos Lord, as Dark Apostles didn’t have rules back in early third edition 40K) was built from the old, metal Cypher model:
His pistols were swapped out for the more priestly armaments of a mace and a chalice. I wish I’d kept the army, or at least taken some decent photos.
Now, the Chaos Space Marines line has changed considerably, and the background of the traitor legions has been fleshed out pretty significantly. There are also a lot of interesting bits available, both from Games Workshop and a number of third party manufacturers. Are the Word Bearers worth a revisit? Yes, but with some additional theming…
The Black Templars are a crusading chapter of Space Marines. They are devout, zealous, and brutal in their execution of the will of the Emperor. Every battle is a set piece in their holy crusade, their chainswords are swung with the power of their faith as much as with their enhanced transhuman physiology.
I think I just really want to do a knightly crusade in the name of the Dark Gods. Sound fun, doesn’t it? So, how would one go about this?
I think there are a few key elements to make this army work:
- Careful unit selection
- Obvious symbols of piety
- Inspiring characters
The careful unit selection would see me field the obvious units, like the Dark Apostle, and only really take vehicles that I can convert to either carry shrines or be mobile shrines in themselves.
Regarding inspiring characters, I think that we could actually do pretty well by converting from the Black Templar characters. Grimaldus, the Emperor’s Champion and, most crucially, Helbrecht would make really good bases for conversions. Pete the Wargamer actually did a really good Iron Warriors conversion from Helbrech when he first came out:
It would be cool to switch out the more Iron Warrior-specific elements of that conversion to make it more Word Bearery (Bearerish?). Imposing and charismatic leaders would form the core of the crusade.
Other units will include a fair few possessed units, as these have a long and cool history with the Word Bearers, and cultists. The cultists are really important as they will act as the pilgrims following the crusade. I think that this is a huge part of the theme. I was hunting around for some options for where I could find some suitably devout cultists and, once again, I ended up at Pete the Wargamer’s Youtube channel:
These have the right look; the right mix of archaic technology and implied zealotry. The Necromunda miniatures generally have a lot of potential for use in Chaos armies, given a bit of conversion work. Look at those Delaque, for example… But, yeah, a good swarm of these guys would help hugely with establishing the theme of the crusade. A horde of pilgrims swarming around the crusading “heroes” of the Word Bearers, used as cannon fodder by the objects of their devotion? Yep, that slaps.
Terminus Est Assault Force
A simpler idea, this one. The Terminus Est Assault Force is a footslogging army of Death Guard. The Death Guard has a number of really good vehicles, so it almost seems like a bit of a pity to basically discard them, but surely there’s a good reason? Well, for me it comes down to theme. Specifically, the idea of fielding wave after wave of Poxwalkers.
A shambling horde of plague zombies backed up by some Plague Marines and a handful of Terminators? Yes, please. You’re also encouraged to use Typhus, who is just a fantastic character whom I’d love to field.
I actually have a stack of Death Guard from the 8th edition 40K starter set, meaning I’ve already got 40 Poxwalkers. I think that a good list for this force would need 100 to 120 of them. This means that, much like the Genestealer Cults army that I’m planning, I’d be picking up the Combat Patrol box for a further 30 Poxwalkers and my main man, Typhus:
The only unit that I’d struggle to build from existing kits is the Possessed. Frankly, the current possessed models are a bit… lacking. There are rumours of new possessed possibly coming out, but I feel that they will have to be quite generic, whilst I’d like them to be quite specifically Nurgle-themed. I like Nurgle stuff. I really like Nurgle stuff. The always-reliable Pete the Wargamer has my back on this:
Yeah, I could do that.
So, the Plague Marines I have, plus a few more from the Combat Patrol, along with Typhus and a buttload of Poxwalkers, maybe a few boxes of Terminators, and a couple of the cool, little Death Guard characters could be a really fun force. There would be a lot of minis to paint, but it would also be damned impressive. I especially love the idea of doing a nice block of those converted Possessed…
Sisters of the Eight Pointed Star
The Sisters of Battle were well overdue an update for years when their plastic kits finally surfaced in 8th Edition. Despite the anticipation, rampant speculation and the high expectations, I really feel that Games Workshop hit it out of the park with the new stuff. I’ve always loved the Sisters of Battle aesthetic, and they were actually the second 40K codex I ever read, back in second edtion. For those who may be interested, the first was the combined Dark/Blood Angels Codex, Angels of Death.
They had a third edition Codex as well, but the range has really been completely redone and totally redefined over the past couple of years. They look great.
I want to see something a bit different.
That difference could easily come in the form of some Chaos-themed Sisters. I think this sort of army could really be something special. The thing is, what God should they follow?
- Tzeentch: I’ll be honest, although I love Tzeentch, this is the least appealing option. You could get some beautiful blue colour schemes going on, but there’s nothing that really strikes me as interesting, beyond maybe trying to “Rubric up” some sisters. Actually, if I could do something cool, hollowing out some bits of armour and going for a damaged Rurbricae look, this could be pretty cool. Prayers as spells, perhaps?
- Slaanesh: Eeeeeeeh. I feel this would be easy and would look ok. You’d lean heavily into whips, claws, showing a bit of flesh… I dunno… It all feels a bit “that guy”, if you know what I mean. You could do some really cool stuff with sonic-themed weapons, and melee units could be properly kitted out with claws and mutations. Daemonette heads would be the order of the day as well. It could be cool, but I think you’d have to be reasonably conservative so as not to come across… you know…
- Nurgle: Here’s where the talent barriers kicks in. Distended stomachs, pustules, gaping maws in the stomach, tentacles. Someone with some greenstuff skills could do an amazing job with these. Saint Celestine soaring on Plague Drone wings? Badass!
- Khorne: I think these are the easiest – and perhaps coolest – option for the Sisters of Chaos. Khorne is all about getting up close and personal, ripping and tearing with chainswords, bludgeoning and slicing… delicious. You wouldn’t even need to do them in red. Do them in a bleach bone motif and them apply a liberal splattering of blood. Amazing. Really double down on Repentia with their chainswords and other melee units. Yeah, this has real potential.
Slaanesh and Nurgle has potential, but I imagine that I’d likely – in a real departure for me – go with Khorne for this army. A quick Google search dug up this little nugget of inspiration from Siege Studios:
The army would likely not be vehicle heavy, though it might need some transports. I don’t know enough about the current Sisters army to really comment with any authority on their range. Whatever God I ended up on, I’d want to do a version of Celestine. She’s a fantastic model, a worthy centrepiece, and would look suitably imposing with some pretty straightforward conversion work. The power armour used by the Sisters provides such a good foundation for any of these ideas.