12 days of winter: day four, My top ten recommended Black Library books

Apologies for getting Day 4 of my seasonal blog post late, it took me some time to edit this post right before deadline schedule!

After four months of reading The Founding Omnibus for the Gaunts Ghost series, I felt like I’d achieved not only that I had read three books in a short space of time (very rare of me to do that). Ive also learned a lot more about the Warhammer 40k universe even more through the eyes of mortal characters. Dan Abnett is truly a master at writing very engaging and unique characters and stories that are relatable.

I’ve decided that I wanted to do my own top ten books I’d recommend reading for new and old readers. I’m a bookworm by heart, reading is one of my many hobbies in my past time.

My rules for picking this list goes like this:

  • Only one author per slot and only one book that they’ve written, if it’s in a anthology, I’ll mention where the book.
  • Can’t be multiple books/ series in one slot, for example, Gaunts Ghosts, Horus Heresy, The Beast Arises and etc. Only one title in the series can be chosen.
  • Must be books I’ve read and finished.

So with the rules set, I’ll now reveal my chosen top ten Black Library books I’d recommend. Enjoy!

10) Space Marine Battles: Slaughter at Giants Coffin, by L.J Goulding

My first pick is this novella story by L.J Goulding, featuring the near decimated chapter of the Scythes of the Emperor. This story is very action packed with one of the best Space marine vs Tyranids I’ve read so far. Following the fall of their home world of Sotha, the Scythes of the Emperor arrive on a Death world, where they prepare to rebuild their numbers after narrowly surviving the clutches of Hive Kraken.

This story is a sad tale of loss to he eyes of the space marines, what it truly means to be a space marine during times of darkness.

If your interested in reading more action packed stories with Tyranids involved, this book is certainly one to read.

9) The Dance of the Skulls, By David Annandale

A short Age of Sigmar story about Neferata and her ways of politics, this story focuses more on character motivation and discovering how the undead aristocracy functions. It’s an interesting insight into the lives of the living and dead celebrating and dine in the realm of death.

This short story is a great read if your keen to know more about the Soul Blight vampires, as well as the Neferatas personality and actions when dealing with obstacles from rival houses.

8) The Emperors Architect, by Guy Haley

One of my favourite traitor Primarchs got his own pre Heresy books a few years ago as part of the Primarchs Horus Heresy book series. Then about year ago or so, a short story Written by Guy Haley about Perturabo was included in the Sons of the Emperor Anthology.

It adds onto the early years of Perturabo and how the people of Olympia view him as either a monster or a saviour. Personally, this short story was by far the best one out of all of the stories in the anthology, as it added more mythos to character that isn’t widely known.

The Emperors Architect is a fascinating story about Olympia after Perturabo reunited with his father, the world now in imperial compliance. I’d recommend this book to anyone who wants to see what life was like during the Great Crusade.

7) Time of Legends: Malekith (part of The Sundering trilogy series), by Gav Thorpe

My first Black Library book was Time of Legends: Malekith, The Sundering Trilogy. This book got me started in the world of Warhammer and it’s fictional setting, a tale that grips me still to this day.

It’s a tragic story that not only shows what Malekith was like before he was corrupted, but it also showed the Warhammer World before the time of men.

I recommend reading the whole trilogy if your keen to learn more about the Durchii’s past, and what started the whole elven civil war.

6) The Labyrinth, by Peter

Need a horror story to read that’s not Genestealers? Well, The Labyrinth reads like an unfolding nightmare as it plunged one Sons of Malice marine into a nightmarish battle for survival.

I really liked the flow of this story as it unravels mysteries about the horrors that the Sons of Malice will face, the end twist is jaw dropping! I can’t spoil the story here, but I’d recommend reading it if your into horror/ Sci Fi Horror.

5) Fifteen Hours, by Mitchel Scanlon

This book to me feels very much like a Sci Fi story that is inspired by WWI, a young adult at a very young age joins the army to fight a war far away from his home. If I could describe this book in one word, it would be “tragic”. You see the Imperium not as a glorious force like the propaganda would have you believe, but instead a disorganised power that is slowly crumbling away.

Take my advice when reading this book, skip the first chapter and read on, and stop before the last chapter and read the first one. Trust me, it’ll make the story worth reading without spoilers, as it ruins the story by revealing too early the main protagonists fate.

4) The Horus Heresy- Vengeful Spirit, by Graham McNeill

I have many favourite books from the Horus Heresy series which I can’t include them all here, but I picked my personal favourite which is Vengeful Spirit. Drawing story lines from many books (by the same author and others) into a plot that would be epic in scale and drama that unfold.

Want full on Astarte action? Imperial knights? Titans? Lore? Mystery? Well this book has it all, as the battle of Molech sees the Sons of Horus take on the loyalist in a full on warfare.

3) The End Times: Return of Nagash by Josh Reynolds

It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t include the End Times onto my top ten list, even if I haven’t read many books from the series. This book is arguably my favourite so far, with unexpected deaths, more deaths and probably my favourite team up of Arkhan the Black and Mannfred Von Carstein.

It’s sad that the End Times (supplement gaming books) didn’t do well with the community, with only five books that hardly covered every faction and story plots. However, BL did the best it could to make the End Times enjoyable to read, with Josh Reynolds writing a the rise of Nagash.

Interestingly enough, Josh Reynolds had the opportunity to return to writing the undead in several AoS stories including the Realmgate Wars, Soul Wars and short stories.

2) Into the Malestom (part of the anthology book by the same name), by Chris Pramas

Now you may be wondering why I’ve picked this short story for second place. It’s a story that not only shows what Warhammer 40k is like in the grim darkness of the far future, but also how loyalty means nothing in a galaxy that neither cares nor remembers your sacrifices.

A lone Astarte named Sartak returns to his chapter after years of absence, that chapter is none other than the Red Corsairs. With a White Scar marine in on the plan, they attempt to take down Huron Blackheart!

Sartak considers himself to still be an Astral Claw, disowning his legions new identity. But his loyalty is tested as gradually the story takes a turn for the worse. The ending (which I won’t spoil) has got to be one of favourite endings where it really sticks with the theme of Warhammer 40k.

1) Necropolis, A Gaunts Ghost novel, by Dan Abnett

You’ll have already gussed I would put a Gaunts Ghost novel as my number one recommended book. I’ve chosen Necropolis as my chosen book due to it’s sheer gripping rollercoaster ride of a story of Hive city siege warfare, as Gaunt and his ghosts most defend a city against a vast chaos military might.

Dan not only writes characters that we already get aquatinted with in previous books, but also adds new characters that are funny, tragic, strong, intelligent and some being complete aresholes.

If your into grand scale siege warfare and want to see what Hive society is like when war hits home, I’d recommend reading this book!

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With that, my top ten book recommendation is done! I hope you have enjoyed this post and maybe interested reading a sample or two of the books I’ve mentioned. I haven’t read every single BL book and popular books, so I’m still reading so many books!

I’ll be back again today with day 5 of 12 days of Winter. See you soon!

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12 days of winter 2018

Time does fly past when you aren’t looking, I swear that clock with the steam powered aeropropellers was on my desk a minute ago…..

Steve Forsy, Engineer of some guild not worth mentioning

It’s that time of year again (sigh) when the adverts buzz about Christmas, shop decorated early to draw you in to spend your cash and singing, god the constant singing of Christmas!

This year I’m working hard on my second ’12 days of Winter’ where I post festive stuff everyday until the big day. Last year was a monumental task of getting stuff posted on the blog, I learnt my mistakes from last year! So this month I’m working hard to make my twelve posts early, with the same heretical love as a cultist workers tea part.

I’ll also be making this years thumbnail image festive like I did last year, I wanted try something different this year by going ‘greenskin’. Here’s what this years thumbnail will be!Good old Saint Grobnob is ready to share the joy of Christmas, with his Cycle powered-inferno-combustion-scrappa-junk-skip pulled by the Grot community. Old Grobnob will be sure to deliver presents, stocking will including one of a variety of Squigs.

So what will be in this years calander by yours truly? Well I can’t spoil the surprise, instead I’ll hint some clue for each of the days.

  • 1st day- Astroman
  • 2nd day- snow
  • 3rd day- The sea green armour
  • 4th day- names of pen writers
  • 5th day- Moon with the same name as the planet
  • 6th day- red sun
  • 7th day- Old book of Old World
  • 8th day- He is the law of paper
  • 9th day- inspiration by synthwave
  • 10th day- Soul the finale
  • 11th day- day off (jk), novella
  • 12th day- Grim

And there’s all the clues I’ll be spilling, silly I know, but I’m interested to see what guesses are for each clue.

With that, I wish you guys a merry *Christmas and I hope you’ll join me for my twelve day countdown of 2018.

-Bjorn

(*I think it’s too early for Australia as they celebrate it later?)

Clan Skelnix emerges: Plague Monks

Today I have unit of Plague Monks painted after many days of batch painting, and many refills of water. It’s not a fun process painting block infantry units especially if their the rat kind who would most likely need 40x models. But, I will admit it’s a good feeling to finally get this lot painted after two years of neglect.

I wanted to try something different with my unit of Plague Monks by painting their clothing black, to create contrast between the Clanrats and the Monks. Whilst Clan Skelnix’ Verminous horde are bred from uncontaminated stock (apart from a chunk that worship the Pestilence), the Plague Monks are notable for their bruised purple skin that’s riddled with toxic diseases. I wanted to show how joining Pestilence will change the look of the Skaven in Clan Skelnix, but retain their volcanic red fur that marks the Clan.

With the Plague monks painted, I’ve gathered all of my Clan a Pestilence models to see how far progress is going. 20x Plague Monks, a Verminlord Corrupter and a Plague Priest.

So far I have amassed a total of 500pt (GBH 2018) about half way towards my goal of 1,000pt list. Thankfully since the ‘Start Collecting! Clan Pestilence‘ set is est around 480pt, it’ll cover the other half of my list as well as being a great money saver!

As you can see in the photo above, I have a unit of unpainted models of kitbashed Plague Censer Bearers. I made mine using spare Clanrats (none armoured ones) and censer ball option from the Plague Monks kit, this is an easier alternative for those who don’t like working with resin. It’ll cost roughly around £40 which isn’t cheap, but if your aiming for a Pestilence faction only, you’ll be saving a lot of money for two battleline units. Also considering the fact that GW kit of five Plague censer Bearers costs £20, it’s better to just build your own using Clanrats.

I’ll be working on these guys next using the same colour scheme as my Plague Monks.

Also on the pipeline is my kitbashed Warlock Engineer which was built as a ‘renaissance’ inventor, wielding his warpstone powered pistol and his electro halberd.

With that, I’m going back to paint some more Skaven and say my blessings to the Great Horned Rat.

-Bjorn

Inspired Soul Wars Collection: Leading the cats

It’s not just Stormcast Eternals that are in this collection as I’ve included a new human miniature (hobbit size), Elya. Whilst she’s only a child in the story, Soul Wars, she does have some bizarre ability to attract cats to her. Don’t ask me why.

Since there’s no AoS civilian kits yet, I had to use my imagination by using a spare plastic Hobbit model from an old LoTR boxset. I painted her the best I could using colours that would fit both a street traveller and the colours of Glymmsforge.

Here’s a size comparison for those of you who want a visual contrast of height.

That’ll be it for today’s post, and I’ll be giving this series a break whilst I focus on getting other projects done. Hopefully I’ll be returning to finish off my remaining tasks by the end of December, or the new year.

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Thank you for reading this post. If you have any questions, post a comment below and I’ll reply back as soon as I can. Thanks!

-Bjorn

Clan Skelnix emerges: old acquaintances

Clan Skelnix emerges: old acquaintances

It’s been a very long time since my Skaven had any attention with many models still neglected for painting. My reluctance to paint big units of twenty rats has been a curse for me every since I started collecting Skaven back in 2010-2011. Like every Skaven blogger you’ll read will say, you either paint them throughout the sluggish process, or you’ll regret buying hundreds of Clan Rats. 8th edition Warhammer Fantasy really put a curse on me.

Lately I’ve been drawn back into painting my neglected Skaven models and improving some of the bases that I didn’t quite finish off. It was clear from the start that my work was going to take me a lot of energy and materials (not cheap either), to get units painted. I’ve gone for the simple decision to use Nurgle rot for basing without texture paint and grass, as it’ll at least look thematic without the full look.

My current tasks were as followed:

  • Paint 16x Giant Rats
  • Use Nurgle rot for Clan Rats bases and Arch Warlock
  • Create a Skaven styled Endless spell model (proxy rules possible).
  • Paint 20x Plague Monks
  • Kitbash my third Warlock Engineer
  • Rebase my second Plague Priest and paint it

There’s quite a lot already for me to do on the list, and at first it was daunting, but I did get a few tasks done already! Maybe not the best of my painting skills, but just about good enough table top wise.

Clan Moulder has yet again got the most attention as I finish off painting my Giant Rats, totalling to about 28 models! Great news is that the Giant Rats are the last of my Clan Moulder models to be painted, reaching just enough under 1,000pt. After years of painting these guys on and off, I’m relieved to have completed this collection in the Skaven umbrella of factions.

Now I’ve got five more more Skaven collection assets to paint, sigh…..

Below is a new photo of all of my Clan Moulder models in one happy family reunion!

Apast from two Packmasters of six, this collection just fits nicely for a 1,000pt match play game (2018 GHB).

Now onto the next unit, with Clan Moulder done, I can focus on getting more units painted like Clan Rats. Only problem is I hate painted Clan Rats! It’s really boring trying to paint the same models over and over in a block of twenty. I’ve only ever painted one unit of Clan Rats by sheer luck and enthusiasm.

The first (and probably only) unit of painted Clan Rats needed their bases painted as they didn’t look thematically tied with the collection. So withba fresh pot of Nurgles rot, I applied the great Unclean ones less desirable fluids onto the bases.Ah, already looking better!

My Arch Warlock also received his blessings too on his base, not that he asked for it!Arm mounted rocket launcher? Why not.

Now for my Endless spell I wanted to give it a thematic link to my army. So I used a spare part from the Verminlord kit and cut it down to half length, then glued it into a 32mm base. The blade itself is soaked in warpstone power that seems to weep a pus like liquid down its blade and into the ground. The pus liquid is forming a swamp like environment that looks very similar to the rest of the Skaven model bases……

once owned by a disgraced Verminlord, the Great Horned Rat cursed the blade and broke it in half, hurling the blade down to one of mortal planes. It seems to be eternally weep warpstone energy that oozes out toxic swamp-like liquid into the ground, transforming the once lush and living landscape into a dying and chocked up carcass.

Finally I have a WIP unit of Plague Monks who have different colour scheme for their uniform, I’ll elaborate this on a later post. But for now, here’s how the rabid lot look like so far.I love the freehand painted banner!

My current goal is to get my Plague Monks finished by tomorrow, and start painting my second Plague Priest. After that I’m going to try and paint my second unit of Clan Rats as I need a second none aligned batteline unit.

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Thank you for reading this post. If you have any questions, post a comment below and I’ll reply back as soon as I can. Thanks!

-Master Moulder Bjorn

Black Ark fun fest

This week I’ve been reading one of BL’s novella series one books, Heart of Winter by Nick Horth. It’s a short story of revenge as a female Corsair captain, Arika Zenthe, seeks to kill her farther by any means (basically anything bloody).

I won’t spoil the story here, but I’d recommend giving it a read yourself. What’s fascinating is that the story delves into the what makes a Black Ark a fearsome Citadel/ fortress sea fleet, what makes it sail and what goes on inside the fortress (just imagine Clar Karond mixed with Hag Graef, and you’ll know what I mean). There’s also more exploration of different societies and races in Ghur, and how the places function in brief but interesting exposition.

But to meat of the meal, this story is a first look at the Scourge, or Scourge Privateers to be exact, and this story has enough lore to make sense of how the Scourge operate in AoS. I’m very pleased to see part of (once Dark Elves faction) the Druchii factions get some spotlight by BL after a three year gap of nothing to go on. Nick Horth has done a splendid job at crafting a creative, fun and new background lore into the Scourge whilst also keeping the established lore of Warhammer Fantasy woven in.

With that said, I’d like to point out a few interesting bits of information I’ve found in the story, although they might be slight spoilers to the novella story (not major ones). So it’s best if you the book first if interested in reading it.

  • Reaper Bolt Throwers make a come back and are now cannon in AoS lore! (Whilst they’re not got point values for match play, you can more than justify using one in narrative games for a cut throat Scourge Privateer army).
  • The Black Arks are still the same as Warhammer Fantasy lore.
  • The Scourge are just on the tip of provoking a war with Sigmar, but still do trading openly and a side of black marketing behind closed doors.
  • The Elves originally of the Dark kin are all still called the Druchii, so there are still some traditions of the past carried on into AoS’s timeline.
  • The Scourge Privateer are all known to many as the ‘Scourge’.
  • [slight Spoiler]: In Druchian, The Dryads are described as being cold blue with dark wood of black, caused by the morbid eternal cold affect of a sacred artefact. So depending on the environment, I guess the Dryads can change based on the season.
  • The Wanderes get a bad reputation, and the Dryads would more than gladly slay them for their crimes of the past, for betraying and leaving the forest folk in the Age of Chaos.

Now you may be wondering why I’ve not mentioned much about the books protagonist, Arika. It’s mostly because a lot of her history will spoil the story if I said here. However, as far as a female protagonist goes, she’s on my list as top best Aelven anti hero characters for hero ruthlessness at getting the job done and isn’t too brooding with the right mix of fun and dark.

Would I like to see her in a sequel novella, short story, audio or even a full privateer novel? Yes, I very much want to see her story continued in any form of said above. We’ve already got a lot of Stormcast Eternals, Freeguild, Duardin and Chaos stories, now would be a great time to get some Aelves in BL books. I think Nick Horth’s book has a exceeded more expectations with this book, with the cliffhanger at the end being a very good one, I hope we’ll be able to see more of Arika Zenthe in future fiction.

Well with that, I’m done for today, one book down, there more to go! Next up I’m reading Evan Dicken’s first AoS novella, The Red Hours. So far into chapter one I’m already absorbed into this story, and I can’t wait to see how it progresses!

Until next time!

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Thank you for reading this post! If you have any questions, post a comment below and I’ll reply back as soon as I can. Thanks!

-Bjorn