Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Thoughts of Chaos

Although I have not played a game of Warhammer for at least six months, I still enjoy the collecting side of the hobby. And as most wargamers know, collecting in this context means wondering if I will ever get round to painting the piles I already have. Many an hour has been spent over the summer months, sorting through my two boxes full of chaos bits. Most of this sorting comprises me staring at the figures and willing them to do something, with an occasional half-hearted attempt at cleaning and assembling. The biggest impediment to progress is my fear that I will never actually game with them! It seems to make more sense to concentrate on my Saga forces, as that's the game I play on a regular basis.

However, if pressed, I would probably concede that Chaos is the favourite of all my Warhammer collection. For me, they offer the most variety, the most scope for modelling, painting and thematic experiments. I still have a soft spot for my elves, and could never be rid of my dwarfs, and I keep promising myself that one day I will tackle the hordes of undead. But the one army I have consistently worked on over the past few years has been my Chaos Warriors.

When the previous book was launched, I bought into the new range on a reasonable scale - a battalion, a metal Lord on Jugger, knights and marauder horsemen. Not a huge splurge by most standards I guess, but with the book it came to around £100. That was 4 or 5 years ago. In today's prices, £100 would buy just the book and a battalion, if that. I have also picked up various other bits from ebay, forum markets and other bloggers. I have about 2000 points painted with a similar amount unpainted. So I don't need any new toys, but as we all know, that never usually stops us from buying the latest releases for our favourite army. The biggest impediment to me buying the new range is the plain and simple fact that I don't really like them. The characters are poorly executed, and finecast is still far more effort than it should be. The plastics are either dull and uninspring (the Khorne and Slaanesh riders on daemon mounts), or just completely over the top and messy (the warshrine). I did ponder over the use of the shrine boxset as bits, but decided against it in the end - that £35 would buy me a complete Viking warband for Saga.

The biggest shock among my rambling thoughts is that, for the first time, I will not be buying an army book for one of the armies I collect. The cost is an issue, but it's more than that. The last couple of books I bought have given me less pleasure than any of the previous versions. To be fair to GW, this is to be expected in older gamers, as they cannot re-invent the wheel each time and there is bound to be some duplication in updates. It was the Vampire Counts book that proved to be the (ahem) final nail in the coffin. So much of the fluff was simply copied from the previous book, while the couple of pages of new material was tame and un-convincing. The direction of the game and the newer design concepts have left me colder than a wraith in a crypt. So, unless the next wave of models offers some mind-blowing must-have model, I will be abstaining from this latest version of my favourite army.

That's not to say I am abandoning Chaos, far from it. The book update I will borrow from a friend, while reinforcements will be acquired from other sources (the Avatars of War range is highly tempting). And there are other manufacturers that are slowly seeping into my collection, more on this in future updates. GW no longer offers what I am looking for, but plenty of other companies do. There are new forces at work in my Chaos army, which when you think about it, is rather fitting.


Turska said...

A moment ago I closed the Stuff of Legends pages from 80's catalog and I was shocked how cool the toys were back in the day. Even the miniatures were smaller, the atmosphere around the minis was something that the new sculpts will never accomplish with the new GW sculpts. Like the older chaos warriors - each of them had name and they had looks that kill. The new warshrine really is a tempting model, but there's no way that the plastic megamonster sculpts can have that magical feel in them anymore (Because it's not 80's anymore). Instead of character, the sculptors tend to cover the models with muscles and spikes... Are we getting old or what? "Back in my day our lead-figurines used to SMILE, not wave axes and severed heads..."

I was born in -89 but still I like to rant about the things that happened before 80's.

Hobby Horse said...

I am not one of those that think that all the old sculpts were great while the newer ones are rubbish. Quite the opposite in fact. I own quite a few of the old metal chaos champions, they were leaders in their time, but they do suffer in comparison to much that is available today. There's a lot of good stuff still available from GW, IMO the plastic warriors, marauder horse, knights, etc are among the finest that gamers can buy. It's just the monstrous infantry and mega-machines that have left me perplexed.

I have been married for longer than you have been on this earth, so I really am getting old! Too old to rant. Maybe a grumble once in a while.

Ian said...

Completely agree regarding the plastics, not keen on the warshrine especially, but surprised regarding your comments regarding the characters:

Scyla looks like he's falling over but I think Valkia is a good model, and Festus is the first model since I've been back playing (and attempting to paint) that I would buy just because I think it's a fantastic, characterful model.

Hobby Horse said...

The characters suffer from the same condition as the plastics - they are completely over the top. Valkia is quite nice, but the scale seems off. The shield and spear seem far too large, while the wings look a bit too small. There's no balance or elegance in the design. Festus and his mini army - how many figures are there? Which is the focus of attention? Do we really have to have that much on one figure? It's too much for me. I liked the plastic Nurgle guy with the big axe released a year or two ago, but these are too much for my tastes. Less is more, for me at any rate.

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