Friday, January 3, 2014

Fields of Blood 2013 Awards - GW Edition

It is the time of the year to do a wrapup of the year that was so without any further ado, here are my awards for 2013 - in no particular order. This first section will look at GW Fantasy releases.

Best  Infantry Model - in 2012 it was the Nurgle Chaos Lord and this year for me it clearly was Skink Priest. What a fantastic model and no wonder so many Golden Daemon painters chose it.

Worst Infantry Model - there can only be one winner this year and that is the Loremaster of Hoeth. Whoever thought it would be good to have a Swordmaster running while projecting a squid from his hand.....well, you got it wrong. Everything about this model looks wrong. Please don't do it again.

Best Warhammer Unit Models - for me these were the Plague Drones. A brand new unit and a truly inspired design. I painted up six of these models and they were a real pleasure to paint. Something GW hadn't done before and they added to the spectacle of the Daemon army. I don't think that the website paintjob does them justice.
Worst Warhammer Unit Models - there weren't any stinkers this year and so it was hard to come up with something for this. In the end I was picky. The new Dark Elf Executioners are a step back from the exquisite metal models of the previous edition. There's something about the pose that represents an opportunity lost. This may well be a function of the need to produce dual kits.

Best Warhammer Single (Non-Infantry) Model - a little bit of a cheat here as it was released at the backend of 2012. Nothing came close to the absolutely stunning Slaaneshi Chariots. Again a real triumph of design and a new take when they could have taken safe option (see entry above).

Worst Warhammer Single (Non-Infantry) Model - and from the sublime to the ridiculous. In 2012 it was the Warshrine but in 2013 there can be only one winner. The Skullcannon of Khorne. What Were They Thinking! Not only does it look out of place in the Old World its overall design is ghastly. The only redeeming feature is you can make it up as a Blood Throne....oh wait.

Best Warhammer Monster - for me there were no standout Monsters in 2013. Certainly nothing like the Araknarok Spider which is still GW's best. Probably the best was the Carnosaur which scores points for irs impressive size and the added extras you get with the kit.

Worst Warhammer Monster - This is my first tie and I can't really split what are two absolute stinkers. What is it about the Chaos Wastes that compels you to put your foot on a rock and punch your fist in the air (like you don't care). Chaos Lords do it. And now monsters do it.

So it's a tie between the Slaughterbrute and Throgg. Though looking at them together I'm now pretty sure that Throgg is slightly more dire. And at least you see him on the table.

Best Army Book - we were spoiled this year with five releases. Four were good releases in my eyes. The Lizardmen book tidied up a lot of 7th Ed hangovers but really suffered from a lack of Core choices. If anything it reinforced the netlist Skink Cloud build and introduced another underpointed Special Character, Pseudo Echo. The Daemons book had more possibilities than a bag full of weasels (though Beasts of Nurgle are 20 points undercosted IMO), while the High Elf book propelled them from also-ran to a very strong contender. But for me the Best Warhammer Army Book is the last released Dark Elves. It removed the 7th Ed hangovers AND gave a book with diversity and good internal/external balance. Warlocks are probably 5 points undercosted but although we have had three months the Net is no closer to publishing its list.

Worst Warhammer Army Book - Having mentioned the other four books, it is no surprise as to what I see as the weakest release. And when I say weakest I mean in terms of balance and mechanics because on-table the book has been a powerhouse. What were they thinking with making Chariots Core? Or including the updated 3rd Eye? Also Throgg as a Special Character that transfers Trolls to Core was particularly brainless. It is a real shame for what is one of the most characterful armies - Warriors of Chaos.

So that's my take on the GW releases for WHFB. Love to know your thoughts.


  1. As bad as the Loremaster is, I think the Anointed of Asuryn is worse, while the Black Ark Fleetmaster beats the pair of them. Sword Leg/Cruella Hairdo > Stupid Winged Hat > Squid Thrower.

    I agree with the WoC book being the poorest of the new releases (not the weakest....). I want to do a Slaaneshi army, but how can you go past Skullcrushers? Pink and purple Juggernaughts for the win (I'm sure I can write some fluff to explain why Khornate daemons are fighting for their greatest enemy). The internal balance is really poor, and while Marauders were undercosted, I think the pendulum swung too far the other way.

    I agree about the Executioners and their stupidly big swords (how the hell do they use them for anything?).

    The Skullcannon is an easy winner for worst unit model, even beating the terrible Dark Elf Chariot, which I think takes a lot of doing. A mono-wheel chariot in a fantasy setting is all kinds of stupid. It demands more than a willing suspension of disbelief, more a drug-induced coma to accept it. The Cold Ones look good, but everything behind their arses looks terrible. Still, the Skullcannon beats it with ease.

    1. Actually, I think the Gamezone Predator/Cold One Knights would be better. I think Slaaneshi and Dark Elf art concepts are pretty close; slender, elegant, debauched. The Predators are big enough to be monsterous cav.

      The boobsnakes are fantastic, but monopose. A unit would look boring very fast.

  2. Suspension of belief? Lothern Sky Cutter

    1. Yep, can't argue with that. I think the Cold One Chariot is worse aesthetically but both are pretty ridiculous concepts.

  3. It's a complete shame that chaos warriors are not a unit that you see make up the core of successful charos warrior armies.

    in general monster cavalry have made knights extinct.

    I don't like the left handed pose of the executioners so I converted mine to have right handed grips. I like the swords they are in keeping with the rest of the GW sword design philosophy.

    I agree the DE chariot looks silly, I plan on converting it to have two wheels. The slaughter brute is pretty silly

    It's also a shame that the models with great looks often have bad rule (slanesh daemon chariots) while skull crushers traded looks for great rules.