White Dwarf “Wood Elves” – A Review

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From the mists of Athel Loren emerge the warriors of the Wood Elves to repel the encroachment of man and daemon alike…

Today we get our first official look at the new Wood Elves as they return with a vengeance to the world of Warhammer. Anyone who’s been involved in the fantasy tabletop Games Workshop scene will know that Wood Elves have been long overdue an update (to put it mildly) and there’s no doubt now, that despite many of the rumours regarding scrapping them, combining them into a dual or multiple army book with Bretonnians, Games Workshop have given them a full army book makeover and the results look pretty special!

Thematic shifts

One of the most interesting shifts in the Wood Elf army is the emphasis that Mat Ward seems to have placed on the duality of the Wood Elves and their alignment to nature as both a creative and destructive force. This is borne out in what little we know of their rules (through things like access to both Dark and High magic lores, with the suspicion of more like this to come) and in the way that they are described, as walking a dual path, embracing the unpredictability of their choices and revelling in the somewhat chaotic environment that they reside within.

New Models

The most obvious changes with the release of an army book refresh prior to anyone actually having seen the inside of it (not available until next Saturday), is the model range. This week’s White Dwarf (issue number 13, not unlucky for Wood Elf players) contains new models across the range, including characters, monsters and new infantry in the form of what could be a new Eternal Guard kit.

Treeman!

Model

The biggest release, in both change of style and size of model has to be the new treeman model. Available as a ‘triple kit’ and capable of being assembled either as a Treeman, a Treeman Ancient, and the special character Ancient ‘Durthu’ (that’s him with the giant sword on the front cover) it’s a stunningly detailed kit with a myriad of options available to the hobbyist putting it together. The leaked pics available earlier in the week have already proved that it’s something of a marmite kit on first impressions, but I predict that few will be unswayed once they see it in the plastic, as it were. It’s obviously a break from the traditional Tolkien-esque versions available for the Wood Elves previously and I suspect that’s in no small part due to the Lord of the Rings line that Games Workshop have been selling since the Wood Elves were last re-done. The new Treeman kit certainly will make it clear to everyone whether you’re using a model that is what Games Workshop call a “Warhammer Wood ElfTreeman” as opposed to a “Lord of the Rings Ent”.

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Rules

The rules for Durthu, included in full in White Dwarf, are interesting and he looks like he’ll be a very cool option for anyone’s army. Your standard Treeman probably hasn’t changed that much but the Ancient Treeman certainly has – they are now all spellcasters (as is Durthu, as the oldest of all Treeman Ancients) and though it remains to be seen what lore choices standard Ancients get (Durthu is a Level 1 in Beasts) it will certainly give Wood Elves an interesting new dimension – especially given that standard spellweavers now have access to Dark and High magic alongside the 8 standard schools, albeit with their own special lore attributes. Durthu is also listed as having the “Blessings of the Ancients” special rule, which isn’t articulated anywhere. I presume that’s what makes him a Treeman Ancient, or possibly the big cheese of all Treeman Ancients, but that’ll take the army book to work out. Durhtu also has the rather nasty Tree Whack option in melee, which allows him to sacrifice his 5 standard attacks (at WS7, S6!) for one big bertha, that requires your target to fail an initiative test for you to deal d6 wounds with no armour save – ouch!

Araloth and other special characters

Model

The main character model featured in White Dwarf is Araloth, again with his rules, a Wood Elf noble who was diverted from his arrogant path by an encounter with an Elven Goddess. Araloth’s model is rather nice, posed giving flight to his hawk Skaryn, who can pluck the eye from any enemy careless enough to leave it unguarded. There also look to be a number of other new special character models appearing, but pictures are rather small so we’ll await confirmation on that front when the army book arrives!

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Rules

Araloth has a number of generic special rules, such as Always Strikes First (does this mean this isn’t a standard rule for all Wood Elves as had been previously rumoured? Or is it simply Games Workshop listing it this way in White Dwarf to avoid revealing more than they want to?) and Stubborn. He is armed with an Asrai Spear, which itself appears to suggest that any ‘Asrai’ weapons will be armour piercing (Asrai arrows, anyone?). A further interesting comment by one of the Games Workshop staff interviewed about using Araloth is the comment that “If you keep him in a wood, he’ll be able to re-roll To Wound rolls of a 1″, which suggests that Wood Elves may gain some benefits from being inside a wood as a general army special rule.

Eternal Guard?

One of the most interesting new models on show (though you have to peer quite hard to see them) are potential new Eternal Guard models. The Eternal Guard are definitely still in the army, as they’re mentioned several times in White Dwarf by those interviewed, and it would seem that they will retain their role as the ‘elite guard’ and ‘hard hitters’ of the Wood Elf army. The new models, if Eternal Guard they are, appear to be armed with a two-handed extended axe type weapon that could either be a halberd or a two-handed weapon. Whatever it turns out to be, I’m assuming it will be an ‘Asrai’ weapon as well, meaning it’ll either be S4 Armour Piercing, or S5 Armour Piercing. If Wood Elves don’t get ASF across the board, it’s probably going to be a halberd, but it will be interesting to see how it turns out. Either way, the new models look pretty damn cool.

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And what models are not there?

No pics of stag rider models in this White Dwarf, though two different art-works featuring them are in there, including those in the leaks earlier in the week. There aren’t any pics of treekin either – which given the way that the Treeman model now fits the theme of the dryad models suggests that there could well be new models forthcoming from them, but that’s a long way from confirmed. There is a very ‘in the background’ picture of a warhawk rider, but it’s impossible to say whether it’s new or old.

And the rest…

There’s also a nice paint splatter section on painting a Treeman, a whole load of interview content with people who’ve used the new Wood Elves in battle and lots of lovely pictures!

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Leaked Dark Elves Images

They’re blurry, poor quality and likely to give you a migraine but below is a whole heap of leaked Dark Elves images. There’s some interesting kits in there including a fooking massive Hydra, new Witch Elves, and a wheeled temple of Khaine type thing which looks aamzing. Looks like I’ll be collecting two Warhammer Armies…

Lizardmen Leaked Images

You can almost set your watch to shonky images making their way on to the Internet just prior to the Games Workshop releasing something.

Maybe it’s all part of a cunning marketing campaign, maybe staff are disgruntled or maybe a handful of brave souls are willing to risk life and limb to provide us with some sense of what the company wants us to buy. Like some sort of office bound Batman and Robin/Red Robin/Red Hood/Nightwing.

Anyway, apologies for the terrible quality but it gives a taste.

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Crusade of Fire

Games Workshop have unveiled a 96 page full colour campaign book entitled Crusade of Fire. Available to pre-order it does rather seem that they’re sticking with their ‘we don’t tell no-one, nuthin’ strategy because heaven for fend we should have a spare £25 to buy a copy.

Anyway, here’s some fluff and snaps…

Crusade of Fire is a campaign system for Warhammer 40,000 that enables you to join the campaign to control the Corvus Sub-sector. Whether you choose to join the Crusade of Fire itself, the foul Servants of Ruin or the bloodthirsty Prophets of War, the fate of the sub-sector lies in your hands. 

This 96-page, full-colour hardcover book features exclusive artwork and a host of dynamic new rules. As well as the campaign system itself, the book contains rules that can be used in any Warhammer 40,000 game, from massive multi-player scenarios fought in low-gravity environments or in bunkers deep below the ground, to expanded rules for Flyers. It also features rules for playing games in the gladiatorial arenas of Commorragh as well as for fighting battles on the surface of a Daemon World. 

Crusade of Fire also features the story of nine hobbyists as they play through the campaign, including detailed battle reports, fantastic army showcases and turn-by-turn accounts of their conquest.

Freebooter Miniature Review – Casimeere Flynn

The third part in my Freebooter Miniatures review is the eagerly awaited, and currently unavailable, Casimeere Flynn. I’m reliably informed by Hendrik at Freebooter that this is the model all the ladies have been waiting for.

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The thing that first struck me about Mr Flynn is that he tells quite a different story to pretty much every other model in the Freebooter range. Flynn is the cadish, fopish…something else beginning with ish swash buckler who woos the ladies whilst secretly stealing all their gold. And most likely wearing their underwear. What? It’s the hair style.

Flynn is another nicely understated yet cinematic offering confidently striding forward whilst…er…smelling a rose in a manly fashion with hand and drawing a fecking huge sword with the other. Despite the Hugh Grant hair circa 4 Weddings and a Funeral (showing my age now) and the aforementioned flora, the sword points towards only once conclusion. For all the flower sniffing and sensitive hair, this chap means business.

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The model itself, once again sorry for the shoddy photography, is a little light on detail especially if I was to compare it to Macati that I reviewed yesterday, however it does have a lot of nice little touches that points towards the characters wealth without being ostentatious like his other more black-hearted cohorts. For one thing he’s wearing a duelling jacket complete with offset buttons. His trousers also have tassels at the hems which is just a mad level of attention to pay towards a models trousers from a sculpting point of view.

There’s even clear detailing on the rose in his hand and the two he’d discarded on the flower. Presumably he’d used up all the smell and needed fresh ones…

If you take a look at the snap below it’s actually a great pose. It’s the start of the fight scene where Zorro, or some equally attractive demigod who all the girls fancy, smarmily tosses the girl with the massive boobs in the gypsy top a rose before drawing his big weapon (a-ha!) and then promptly dose in everyone in the saloon/taver/bar/ale house*. And as mentioned it’s a seriously big weapon (stop it!) sword. It’s also really nicely sculpted. The scabbard is, for a change with 28-30mm models, correctly proportioned and the basket is excellent, to the point that you can actually see Flynn’s fingers between each piece of metal. Which is just mad attention to detail. Love it.

*delete where appropriate.

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As I’ve come to expect from Freebooter Miniatures, the casting quality is very good with little cleaning at all and overall the sculpt is very clean. Building it is a bit on the fiddly side. That’s not to say it’s taxing but because both arms go across the body they slightly get in each other’s way regardless of which way round you glue them on. And because the rose needs to be near Flynn’s face and you’re dealing with super glue you have to get it right first time or there’s a lot of faffing and cursing. By no means the end of the world and the model still looks ace, it’s just something I found when building it last night.

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At first glance Casimeere Flynn seems very simple. Understated. But I think that’s the point. On the surface this styled and manicured sissy man looks more softy than swords men but it’s only when you start noticing all the little details that you realise that you’re dealing with a stone cold killer that will probably toss the rose he’s been sniffing – and that you’ve been teasing him about – on your lifeless bleeding corpse. Then go and sleep with your wife.

Dreadfleet Unleashed

Today is the day folks; Dread Fleet has been released in limited quantities so if you want it you gotta be quick.

The premise, lifted from the Games Workshop website:

For two bleak decades the Undead reavers of Count Noctilus have plagued the oceans of the world. After each raid, the Dreadfleet disappears into its lair as quickly and silently as it appeared, far from the reach of Man. And yet there remains hope. Captain Jaego Roth of the Heldenhammer has vowed to hunt down and destroy Count Noctilus and his Undead captains once and for all. With him sail the most notorious and cunning of the pirate lords of Sartosa, each borne to battle upon a giant warship bristling with cannons, organ guns and bolt throwers. At the stroke of midnight on Geheimnisnacht, most forsaken of nights, the Heldenhammer and her companions sail into the realm of undeath known as the Galleon’s Graveyard. One by one, Count Noctilus and his vile allies move in to stop them.

It looks like some of the rumours were bang on the money with the ‘good guy fleet’ being an alliance of men, dwarves and elves and the Pirates are made up of various different ships including Tomb Kings and, rather surprisingly, a Chaos Dwarf mechanical squid. I imagine Spartan Games will be getting to them about that one… Oh and there’s a Skaven ship in there too. Which just looks mad as bat shit.

The box set includes:

  • 98-page Rulebook
  • Seascape Gaming Mat
  • 10 Warships
  • 10 Scenic Bases
  • 7 Cog Auxiliaries
  • 1 Dragon Auxiliary
  • 1 Dirigible Auxiliary
  • 7 Islands
  • 5 Shipwreck Pieces
  • 3 Sea Monsters
  • 5 Treasure Tokens
  • 12 Dice
  • 1 Wind Gauge
  • 2 Ship’s Wheels
  • 1 Navigation Rod
  • 10 Warship Cards
  • 55 Damage Cards
  • 40 Fate Cards
  • 12 Auxiliary Cards
  • 10 Wound Cards
  • 11 Miscellaneous Cards