Skullcrushers of Khorne – A Review

TaleOfTwoArmies copyAs we’re well into the second month of A Tale of Two Armies I thought it was about time I wrote about one of the units that would make up the next 500 points of my army. The rest being made up of the Chaos Knights that I reviewed at the start of the month. I refer, of course, to the Skullcrushers of Khorne.

Warhammer-logoThere may be those that ask why, in a 1,000 point game of Warhammer would I opt for a unit of Skullcrushers of Khorne. And it’s a perfectly legitimate question. And my response? Because they’re fucking cool. And really, in a hobby like ours, what better reason is there?

SkullcrushersofKhorne

The simple fact of the matter is that Skullcrushers are the models that made me want to collect a Khorne army. Bear in mind that I didn’t have the army book – hell, I didn’t have the rule book at that point – so I didn’t know any of the rules. I just, whilst piecing together A Tale of Two Armies as a project, came across those models and uttered the word that millions of wargamers the world over say to themselves on a regular basis: want. And I did. I mean I really did. Over the last couple of years writing/running/editing this site I’ve seen and reviewed a lot of cool models but reviewing a model as an object and looking at a model as something to own, build, paint and use is very different.  And these I wanted to own, build, and paint and use. Well, I’ve got the first two done…

I must be honest, the name is stupid. Considering the God they worship is partial to his home furnishings to be made from people’s bonces, I’d say he’d be pretty pissed off with the Skullcrushers on account of the fact they keep crushing the skulls rather than handing them over. Perhaps in a gift bag with a little hand written note.

But that aside, the Skullcrushers kit is way cool. Juggernauts have come a long way from the boxy metal model I owned when the first Codex Chaos was released back in 1996. The new ones are also a flobbidy-gillion times more dynamic and detailed than that one too. They strike the perfect balance between a creature that has been forged and one born into existence. The iconography is also a cross between savage and ornate and I love how they tie in with the shield designs. The collars for the juggernauts are also a fantastic touch. Because they’re a separate piece they feel far more ‘real’ and every bit like they are there to restrain the creatures than for decoration or symbolism. And they look it too. They’re big, mean, spiky, and look every bit as savage as one would expect and it all rather points towards their masters barely being able to contain them. And considering who their masters are that’s saying quite a bit.

The riders themselves are equally cool. There’s one too many skulls on a couple of the heads but otherwise they look as brutal as they should and the weapons are fantastic. And because they’re designed the same way as the Chaos Knights the weapons are interchangeable. Which is great news for giving knights a bit of variety. It does mean the legs are bit irritating to stick together but it’s a minor grumble. You also get a couple of extra bodies and heads too so if you’re planning to have a few units of Khorne knights in your army you could do some pretty awesome unit champions.

The kit though is very well thought out and it all goes together seamlessly. The casting is nice and tidy too so the clean up won’t take too long which is just as well as there’s a lot of components. And I mean a lot. And some of the nooks and crannies can be a bit fiddly to get a knife-edge or file into. But otherwise it’s a good kit that you’ll smash out in an evening. Okay, a long evening.

In the game Skullcrushers are as nasty as one would expect. The riders are little more than Chaos Warriors. I say little more, they’ll still kick in just about any other unit type they’ll come across. Chuck in the Mark of Khorne and Ensorcelled weapons (or lances if you think you can guarantee the charge) and they pack quite a wallop. Oh, and like knights, they cause Fear. Although that’s somewhat of a given considering the big bastards between their legs. Wait, did that sound gay…

The Juggernauts are combat monsters with murderous charge, daemonic attacks, and three attacks at strength 5 basic. The initiative of two is their only downside but thanks to the overall durability of the unit it shouldn’t prove too much of a problem. And as they’re weapons skill 5 as well they’re going to kick, bite and generally mangle much face.

The only downside is that Skullcrushers weigh in at 75 points each plus upgrades which means units are expensive. And annoyingly at their best in units of 4. So it’s a big commitment of points and a big target for cannons. You’d also have to buy two boxes. And as you’re buying two you may as well buy three and take two units and use the spare bod for a battle standard-bearer. Chuck in a Lord on Juggernaut and you’ve got two units of 5 running about the place. Which is incredibly nasty.

The Skullcrushers are a great kit, a fantastic centre piece to a small army and lethal en masse. They epitomise the Khorne army and I’m so pleased the kit lived up to my expectations (the aforementioned skull on helmet issue aside).  I can’t wait to get them on to the battlefield and see how they perform. Let’s just hope Lee’s cannon misfires again…

The Skullcrushers of Khorne are available from Firestorm Games priced £31.50.

Warriors of Chaos New Releases

The rumour mill was alarmingly accurate on this one. That’s right even more Chaos releases, but this time of the Warhammer Fantasy variety. Not new units, just models of  units that hadn’t been released at launch. Hold on to your wallets.

Skullcrushers of Khorne – £35.00 RRP

Only those Chaos Knights who devote themselves utterly to the Lord of Slaughter and offer to him a mountain of skulls are destined to become Skullcrushers. They are completely without mercy and they leave only a trail of broken bodies and a river of spilt gore in their wake.

The Skullcrushers of Khorne are ferocious-looking, thick-set models. The Mark of Khorne is emblazoned across their tough armour, they’re festooned with chains and skulls, and they each carry immense lances. The Skullcrushers ride upon muscular Juggernaughts, each of which possess bladed crests and spiked collars. The creatures are encased in armour and display barbs, pistons, chains, blades as well as the symbol of Khorne. The kit features command options including a banner, musician and a champion, who holds a massive double-headed axe.

Hellstriders of Slannesh – £20.00 RRP

Hellstriders are devotees of torment who hunt from the back of impossibly swift daemonic steeds. They fight to inflict pain and despair, landing mortal blows upon their victims where they are most likely to prolong the agonising moment of death.

The Hellstriders of Slaanesh are muscular miniatures who ride atop Steeds of Slaanesh. They sport Classical-styled helmets, featuring plumes or curved blades, and also wear unusual angular armour covered in sigils. Each of them carries circular shields bearing the icon of Slaanesh and comes armed with enormous, whip-like, barb-ended hellscourges, while some of the Hellstriders even have spears fused to their arms. The kit comes with command options including a musician, champion and standard bearer who holds aloft a banner with a sculpted symbol of Slaanesh. The Steeds themselves are long, reptilian creatures with serpentine tongues, a variety of skin textures, thick claws and an elongated tail, and they stand in a variety of dynamic poses.

Chaos Warshrine – £35.00 RRP

The prayers and sacrifices that are offered up from Warshrines are like sweet nectar to the otherworldly beings of the Realm of Chaos, and the air crackles with power around each shrine with the eye of the gods turns their way. The presence of these mobile altars empowers and emboldens the warriors that fight before them.

The Chaos Warshrine is a towering and baroque model. Two huge, lumbering creatures, one of which possesses two heads, hold the Warshrine above their shoulders. Rings of fat droop over loincloths, broken shackles and loose chains are attached to their wrists, and the Mark of Chaos appears as a scar upon their hide. The gilded carriage of the Warshrine is embellished with features including icons, horns, spikes, rune-etched details, braziers and large flames. The central feature is a massive 8-pointed Chaos Star propped up by a gargoyle; at the centre of it an interchangeable icon can be fixed in place to represent the desired Chaos god. There is also an on-board altar that can be fitted onto the model (into which an axe can be embedded). This decadent model comes with a Chaos Sorcerer that can be assembled with a choice of different heads and hands, allowing even further personalisation.

Scyla Anfingrimm – £30.00 RRP

Scyla Anfingrimm was once the bane of the coastlands from frozen Norsca to exotic Ind. Now little more than a mountain of muscle and unquenchable rage, goaded into battle as a beast of war, Scyla’s only desire is to kill and maim in the name of Khorne.

Scyla is a huge ape-like miniature whose body is a mass of sculpted muscle, bubbling flesh, spikes, fur, scales, flaring tendons and horns. A metal collar of Khorne hangs from his neck, whilst a finely detailed Khorne symbol is branded upon his chest. His face features huge ungainly teeth protruding from his bulky gums, bulging eyes, and his tail leads down to a vicious serpent’s head.

Valkia the Bloody – £15.00 RRP

Valkia the Bloody is said to be the consort of Khorne himself. Her violent deeds are watched over by her battle-hungry patron and it is said that those who earn her blessing will fight in the halls of the Blood God for all eternity.

Valkia the Bloody is a vicious-looking model. Her expression is fearsome, as are the two ribbed horns that protrude from her forehead. Two enormous, thick wings are unfurled high up, and she is posed rising up from a pile of flaming skulls. In studded armour she carries her Daemonshield, which features a hideous maw as well as horns, and she stands ready to unleash the barbed Spear Slaupnir on her foes.

Festus the Leechlord – £11.00 RRP

Festus is the Leechlord of Nurgle. Woe betide the fool who crosses him, for he is not above force-feeding his latest concoctions to his victims in his quest to bring even more repugnant forms of life into the world.

Festus is largely made up of layers of fat, immense jowls, and boil-infested skin. His helpless victim kneels before him with his head snapped back, his jaws wide open, clawing his throat with a bony hand. Whatever filthy substance Festus is forcing down his neck has ended up burning through the poor man’s guts, which have since erupted across his thighs. As well as wearing an apron, on Festus’s back sits an immense vat of flesh, offal and marginally more coherent body parts, all of which is helpfully (and probably mindlessly) tended to by a slimy, one-eyed Nurgling. Finally, a tentacle unfurls from Festus to grip a staff that is caked with skulls, fungus, parchment and a quill. It is rare to see a more disgusting model grace the tabletop.

The Warriors of Chais new releases will be on sale from the 3rd November and are available from Firestorm Games.