Salute in Review: What Happened To All The Spending?

Salute 2014Must…buy…toys…must…buy…toys….  No it’s not Mat, but you’d be forgiven for thinking so. Instead it was me wandering around aimlessly trying to find shizzle to buy at the end of Salute on Saturday. I went in with a good idea of what I wanted but after picking up my hefty (and heavy) Forge World order, purchases were unfortunately few and far between.

The day went largely as expected in accordance with the pre-Salute post – far more business over pleasure and the vast majority of my time was spent engaged in conversations with gaming companies old and new. It was a very productive day on that front with some downright fantastic agreements made with several major companies and numerous encouraging discussions with others, who were also showing signs of following suit.  Despite the dedicated focus we still ran out of time at the end and missed out on several stands we wanted to visit, there just weren’t enough hours in the day in truth.

The walks between the companies we wanted to talk to was where I attempted to find the things I wanted to buy.  Some bits for my Warhammer Empire army were high on the list but there was an absolute dearth of their products available, being limited to just boxes of State Troops and the occasional Greatswords.  I know Games Workshop removed many of the items I needed from the list available to independent stockists but I thought given the scale of the event some would still be available from the three I wanted: Demigryphs, Helblaster, Pistoliers/Outriders. But no.  I did grab an absolute bargain in the form of a brand new metal Marius Leitdorf for just £4 – yes you read that right. Just £4.  A pricing error? Who knows, but I didn’t wait around to ask.  I also bagged a pack of Purple and Gold dice to go with my Emperors Children, very fitting I thought, and a ruined building from Amera Plastic Mouldings (review to follow soon). But that was it. I had still spent a hefty sum on my Forge World order, but I went home with £160 still burning through my pocket and now charring the flesh of my thigh.  So here’s what I got (because most of my stuff came as bags of parts, which aren’t very exciting, I’ve used images from web):

LEGION SICARAN BATTLE TANKEMPEROR'S CHILDREN PHOENIX TERMINATORS

Marius Leitdorf36 PEARL DICE - 6 SIDED & 12mm SIDES - PURPLE !!Z214 - City Block Ruins

 

I think you’ll agree that if any Imperial Tank could ever be considered sexy, the Sicaran would be it – with it’s sleek profile and…er…armour plates. Backing it up with a pimp set of Phoenix Guard means I should have one good looking army once they hit the table top alongside one of last years Salute purchases, the Emperors Children Contemptor Dreadnought (with twin Kheres and a back up Power Claw, of course).

At the time of writing I have just ordered a variety of the magnets I wanted and now have to further resort to trawling the web to satisfy my hobby cravings and try to find things that can convince me to part with my cash – but it’s not the same.  When your there and it’s in your hands something almost takes over you, and you just start throwing money in peoples faces and running off before someone’s mind changes. Still, at least I’ll get a free Space Marine Captain if I order from Games Workshop direct.

Until next year, the sound of Neil singing the Salute theme tune will remain a memory.

 

*The Salute theme tune goes as thus: Saying the word Salute repeatedly to the tune of Black Adder (writing credit: Rob Mossop).*

Empire Demigryph Knights – A Review

TaleOfTwoArmies copy

The second unit of reinforcements for my 1,000 point list comes in the form of the new and very promising Demigryph Knights.  I mentioned in the Wizard review that I needed to give my force some more teeth, well it turned out to be some beak instead.  And claws, lots of claws.

Warhammer-logo

I don’t know about you but I really like the models for the Demigryph Knights. They have the right balance of fantasy and functionality that, for me, is required in an Empire army. The oversized heavy plate barding gives them a real sense of war worthiness: something to keep all but the pointiest of sticks at bay, all the while the Demigryphs get down to the business of ripping off faces.

Their riders are regal and imposing with just a tinge of arrogance to them, which is exactly as they should be seeing as they’re knights. Riding on Demigryphs. With big sticks. Of the three poses for the Demigryphs themselves, one is awesome, one is good, and the last one is a bit meh – it’s cocking its head to the side which although accurate fluff wise, is a little too much like an oversized chocobo for me. Younger readers will have to Google what one of those is. You young whipper snappers. They really are another unit goes under the ‘reward’ title for painting as they look great and as there’s only three of them you’ll stay the course in terms of effort.

Demigryphs

When Games Workshop started to release Monstrous Cavalry for the various armies I wasn’t sure if the Empire would even get any at all, or if they did, what would the mounts be as the Pegasus had sort of been bagsied by the Bretonnians – despite it still being a mount choice in the Empire book. The use of a ‘half’ griffon made me wonder why I hadn’t thought of it before, which is a good sign as the decision is a little obvious in hindsight and makes total sense. Rare praise for Games Workshop these days.  And in doing so has given the Empire a unit capable of actually doing some real damage in combat (honestly).

The Knights themselves are fantastic, and just make me weep over the missed opportunity that is the old Knightly Order kit even more.  The heads are great, gifting you the pleasure of choosing which ones to leave out rather than which ones to include – likewise for the shields, plenty of good choice with a nice range. The stylization of certain armour elements into pointed beak shapes works very well and really tells the story that these guys are an elite unit rather than Knights given Demigryphs to ride for the day. All the weapons arms/options included look good enough to make you pause for a difficult aesthetic choice. If and when the old Knights do get a new kit, if they look anything like this there will be much rejoicing in the street, songs will be sung, mead will be drunk and babies will be named in honour of the sculptor. I’m predicting a significant rise in the number of Empire cavalry armies you’ll see galloping around what with them being a pretty good investment for the points.

Rules wise, you couldn’t ask for much more as an Empire player: the Demigryph Knights are a unit to be feared by almost anything. [Except Skullcrushers! -Ed.]  The Demigryph itself kicks out 3 Strength 5 attacks basic plus another for its Stomp for a total of 4 at Strength 5, and then the already Inner Circle Knight on its back adds another at either Strength 5 or 6 depending on how you arm them.  But this is where one of the very few annoyances rears its head: if you choose to equip them with halberds instead of lances (which is a choice most people would usually go for) there’s no rules exception for using a halberd while mounted so you lose your shield.  The 1+ armour save is a big deal for mounted units and sacrificing it for an extra point of Strength is not a decision to be taken lightly – and most seem to have stuck with the Lances as a result.  I fail to see why the Halberd could not have been an upgrade rather than a free weapon swap and let you still use the shield – as represented on the models themselves.

But still, with a box of three being able to chuck out up to 16 attacks at Strength 5 or 6, they can tear apart small to medium-sized units and elites really have a lot to fear as the Demigryphs have the armour-piercing rule to boot giving them -3 to armour saves.  With the errata on Monstrous Cavalry stating you use the higher value for both Wounds and Toughness now, you’ve also got a unit that is now quite resilient too at Toughness 4, 1+ armour save and 3 wounds each.  Deliver them into an enemy flank and they’ll eat anything. Someone even mathed out that they can beat Skull Crushers in straight up combat as the Initiative 4 on the Demigryph means it goes before the Juggernaut, and that’s at 12 points less per model too. [It’s worth noting though that the article go the Skullcrushers armour save wrong so it’s probably about even. -Ed.] It’s just a pity you can’t take them as character mounts so they can lead a unit, but maybe that is just taking the cracker.

Demigryph Knights are available from Firestorm Games priced £30.15.

Empire Range Unveiled

I posted about this the other day but the range has hit the Games Workshop site for pre-order I thought I’d show you proper images rather than those snapped from a copy of a White Dwarf that someone, somewhere took and then gave to the world.

For the most part the range doesn’t do much for me, which is a shame because the Empire is by far my favourite army. I’m still not sure about the Griffin, although it’s grown on me slightly. Although the head is just too small. The Wizardy warmachines are a bit too mental for me as well. The steam tank was my limit on that front. To be clear, the models are fine, I just don’t know how I feel about the direction the Empire army is being taken. It feels confused – trapped between Steampunk and Fantasy, neither really one or the other. The demigryph cavalry are pretty cool and are a nice addition to the army without straying from the Empire feel, but at £33.50 for 3 that tea is too rich for the likes of me. The mad thing is that the hero on a Griffin is 50 pence cheaper for a shit load more plastic. Go figure.

The characters are, in my opinion, poor. The Witch Hunter (dude with a fooking massive sword on his back) is pretty nice, although I’m not sure I’d use him as a Witch Hunter, but the rest just leave me cold. I’m genuinely gutted because the characters, thus far, for the Empire were really good. The general on foot with the hammer is gorgeous, as are the existing Warrior Priests. Even the multipart plastic battle wizards and general are perfectly fine. These new ones feel sloppy. Shame.