Chaos Knights – A Review

TaleOfTwoArmies copyThe final part of the Warriors of Chaos Battalion box reviews comes in the form of the Chaos Knights. Saving if not the best, then certainly the spikiest, until last.

Warhammer-logoThis set of Chaos Knights makes the third version I’ve owned since starting a Chaos army all those years ago. To put a chronology, and a bit of history, to it, I bought the Chaos army book, and possibly some unbuilt models, off my brother because he, having read the book, decided he didn’t particularly like Chaos.

Me, at 15/16, being crap with money, always on the look for a bargain and deeply covetous of the army book and models snapped up the offer. I read the book and then did…feck all with the models. They just sat there on a shelf directly below my TV mocking me because (A) I was quite lazy with hobby projects – and before I get awash with comments, I’m not lazy now, I just have no time – and (B) I had no one to play against.

And then I met Ian of The Chaps. He was returning to wargaming and was collecting an Orc and Goblin army. Seeing this as a sign, perhaps even from God, I sprang into action, frantically building my smallish Chaos army and slapping paint on it so Ian and I could get a game in. And from that game a friendship was forged that has last almost half my life. So understandably I remember those old Chaos Knight models, that were the pride of place in my army back then, with some fondness. Despite the fact they were rubbish. And my paint job was pretty terrible too.

They served a purpose but when the second lot of Chaos Knights came out, about 3 years later, I jumped at the chance to not only replace the, by now, fairly tatty and shit looking ones I already had, but expanded the army further. In so much as I bought 40 of them. Because I was stuff. And because it was cheap. And because I may have been a bit mental. Still, seeing your opponents face when deployed an entirely mounted Chaos army was priceless.

Those that have kept up with the AToTA articles thus far will know that I stopped playing shortly after so I return to the hobby to find yet another range of Chaos Knights. Obviously I was aware of the models but I’d never really bothered to give them any attention. And on reflection that was rather silly. Because they’re awesome.

WoCChaosKnightsMain_873x627

The first thing is, as with most regiments these days, is that they’re all plastic. And they’re only £20 RRP. That seems rather decent value for Games Workshop considering 12 warriors is the same and there’s roughly the same amount of plastic. Granted you need two boxes to get a full regiment but I’m sure the old metal/plastic kits before this iteration of knights was the same money.

Plus the hybrid metal/plastic kits never really worked. Granted working with metal is far more satisfying than working with plastic, resin or Finecast but plastic and metal make uneasy bedfellows and require superglue to keep them together, look a dog-eared book of sexual positions. But ultimately we know what’s going to happen. I don’t know a single gamer who hasn’t had to rebuild at least one metal/plastic model. Hell, even an all metal one.

So the move to plastic, for me, was a welcome one. If for no other reason than it means no longer working with those fucking awful old barded steeds and trying to glue metal heads and tails on to them which weren’t very well cast and so never properly fit. Those days, however are long gone. The casting quality was superb and any cleaning up was from clipping the models off the sprues. It meant that I had all 5 clipped, filed, glued and sanded in an evening. That isn’t bad going at all.

So, the horsies are all plastic, and massive, and covered in spikes. And did I mention massive? They actually feel like corrupted versions of the warsteeds bred in the days of Sigmar. Only the likes of Kurt Helborg Ludwig Schwartzhelm can match them in stature. And the nice thing is that the barding feels both worn and apart of the steed’s body, which is exactly as it should be. Some of the best Chaos models are those that walk the fine line between the man-made and the organic. The only downside is that the horsie heads don’t fit on all the horsie bodies and the wrong combination will stop the steeds from ranking up properly which is a pain and reduces the variety in the models, especially if you’re planning to have a couple of big-ish units.

The Knights themselves, as one would expect, are beefier, pointier and scarier versions of the Chaos Warriors. The helmets are arguably a tad over the top in places but nothing the careful application of clippers couldn’t fix. I’m not entirely sure of the logic of casting the legs in two halves as it’s just one more thing to stick and mixing and matching the leg halves isn’t really an option as they’ve been sculpted very distinctly. I suspect it’s entirely down to keeping the size of the sprues down as single piece legs stick out and would mean either more cardboard or less stuff in the box overall.

They’re also designed to tie in with the rider’s torsos, shoulder guards and, to a lesser extent, the steed but there’s enough deviation that you can mix or match depending on how you want your units to look. Its subtle but when presented overall as a finished piece it does work very well.

What’s also clever is the body and arms are a ball and socket joint which means quite a lot of freedom to pose the model. A raised arm and a turned head suddenly tells a very different story. Plus the way cool shoulder pads are separate pieces so you can stick them over the joint once you’re happy. Again, the downside is that without proper planning you can end up with some freaking awesome looking Chaos Knights…that don’t rank up.

The weapons are awesome though and because of the look and feel of the unit mixing lances with hand weapons wouldn’t look out-of-place: just make sure your opponent knows what you’re taking. It just adds to that narrative that each knight has his preferred fighting style and chosen weapon and little would persuade them to change.

Knights on the game board are nasty. Obviously. They’re Chaos Warriors on steeds, there’s nothing not to like about them. Although where it gets tasty is that they cause fear – which is so close to broken its untrue – and they get to choose between lances at +2 strength on the turn they charge or Ensorcelled Weapons at +1 Strength every turn. Strength 6 knights is tempting but strength 5 with 2 attacks, 3 for the champion, or in my case 3 and 4 attacks a piece for the mark of Khorne, basically makes them the heavy bolters of Warhammer World.

Throw in the barded steed, the Chaos Armour and the shield and Chaos Knights are pretty much the tanks of the Warhammer World too. Chaos Knights are absolutely nails but for 40 points a model one would hope so. Although for their potential they’re not badly pointed really considering Knights get everything for free and lances or Ensorcelled Weapons are only 2 & 3 points repsectively. And no you can’t take both upgrades. Throw in fear as well and Chaos Knights are one of the nastiest units in the entire game.

It rather goes without saying the Chaos Knights are a must in any Warriors of Chaos army. The only thing you’d ever debate is how many to take as it will mean sacrificing other things. But for the hitting power it’d be a tough sell to convince me not to take two units of ten. They’re just far too good. High in points, but good.

Warriors of Chaos Knights are available from Firestorm Games priced £18.00.

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