Monday, 26 December 2011

New Vampire Counts Pictures

It's that time of year, when kids all around the world wait excitedly for the arrival of the guy in the red cloak. Only this year, he has no beard, but sharp pointy teeth and a big sword instead. Some naughty elves have circumvented the GW secrecy policy, and the pictures of the new Vampire Counts are spreading over the web. A victory for freedom of speech, here's my impressions of the upcoming releases.

The book cover is a either a deliberate attempt at a slightly retro look, or a bit bland, I can't decide which. It's not bad, it's not particularly exciting either. Never mind, it's the contents that matter, we shall have to wait a few weeks before we can decide on that.

There are at least three new character models, two finecast are Krell and Isabella von Carstein, with a generic wight king in plastic. These are certainly an improvement on the last set of characters, GW have never really hit the nail on the head with their vampire characters.

The two wight models appeal to me, with the plastic model possibly having a slight edge over the Krell figure. The female vampire is an improvement on the current figure, though I reckon there are better alternatives around. All in all, I like them, I may even buy one or two after I have read the book and decided on how to develop my army.

The release of a Krell suggests that maybe there will be a Heinrich Kemmler model too. I would be very interested to see that, Heinrich was one of the first models I ever owned.

 There are also new characters included in the big dual role kit, the plastic Mortis Engine/Coven Throne. I have to say that I was quite disappointed with the Ogre Kingdoms large models, and was dreading what they would do with regard to the Vampire Counts "centrepiece" models. The terrorgheist/zombie dragon was reasonable but ridiculously overlarge, so I won't have one of those in my army. These two new models are also seemingly large, probably too big for my personal taste.

However, there are some interesting looking bits in these kits. The billowing clouds could be the basis of a number of models, a spirit host springs to mind, as could the  floating skeleton steeds. The spirits flying around the engine look superb for this kind of conversion too. The throne itself could possibly become a piece of scenery, depending on how the components are constructed. The standing cloaked figure could easily be a necromancer/wraith/vampire character model, while the three female vampires show promise, though as they are seated it might be a challenge.

As a whole then, the models are not really to my taste, but the kits have plenty of bits that could reward further scrutiny and kitbashing. I will maybe pick up one of these, depending on how the components break down.

Quite possibly the pick of the new releases for me are the Black Knights. The existing kits are 15, maybe 20 years old. An update has been needed for a long time. The black knights do not disappoint, they look very characterful without being over the top. It might even be possible to use these as mounts for the characters from the engine kits. Again, further scrutiny of the bits is needed, but I reckon at least one box of these are on my shopping list.

The hex wraith options (not shown) of the kit are not appealing to me at all, the barding looks a bit awkward and the flames unconvincing. The bits from the riders might be useable, but otherwise these are not for me.

And finally, the one kit that worried me the most. The rumours have been some kind of flesh golem for months, of which I always hated the idea. The reality has turned out to be something entirely different. I have always liked the concept of winged vampires in a non-character form, so these show great potential. The kits are decent enough and I might well include them in my army, depending on what they do. It does make me wonder how they will be different to Vampire Bats, if indeed these still exist in the new book.

When I first saw the non-winged version of the kit I thought they were plastic ghoul three-ups. They are basically ogre sized ghouls. Nothing amazing there, but I reckon these could find their way into non-VC armies. Ogre Kingdoms gorgers? Trolls? Even skaven rat ogres are a possibility?

Having seen the new models, I think I can safely say that my Vampire army is back on my to do list. It won't include all the new releases, but I am sure that some of them will be useable. I am now praying that the army list itself matches up to the "better than expected" feeling I have right now. I am awaiting the army book leaks with renewed interest.

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