Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Sisters Of Battle Prattle

"Right, that's it, I've had enough."

Rejoice And Cease Thy Lamentations!

Last weekend, I managed to get hold of a copy of the new Sisters of Battle codex. This is quite exciting, since it's been about 20 years since my army got an army book (I used to play Bretonnia, too - I really know how to choose 'em). In fact, I think the Sisters of Mercy had a release more recently than the Sisters of Battle*.

Leafing through it, I'm both pleased and - not exactly underwhelmed, just not overwhelmed. It's pretty decent. Obviously it's nice to see the space nuns getting plastic kits at last. The new models look excellent and unsurprisingly have a level of detail and movement that you just don't get with old lead models. Some of the characters are pretty much dioramas in themselves. Also, the design style is good and thank goodness the sisters don't have high heels.

Someday... Dominions!

Interestingly, the look of the sisters has changed slightly in that they don't all have exactly the same face. The haircuts of the models have changed, suggesting that the 1920s/Cleopatra style** isn't obligatory, and many of the sisters in the recent artwork aren't white, either. Now the grim darkness of the far future is available to everyone, which is good unless you're in it.

That said, I'll be keeping with my metal army - yes, they're a bit dated, but they're perfectly workable, especially for bog-standard troopers. And I suspect that the new sisters would look weirdly large beside the older ones.

On The Duality Of Kitness

As with quite a few GW kits these days, some of the plastic kits have two options: you can make old Seraphim (jump pack sisters with pistols) or new Zephyrim (jump pack sisters with swords) and I expect the same kit will do both. Likewise the plastic (smaller and weedier) Penitent Engines can be used to make the new (very similar) unit of Mortifers.

There's also a new Exorcist, which is much like the old version except plastic and now probably lighter than a brick. It doubles as an Immolator, which is one of the few models I'm not that keen on: the new version has a huge stained-glass windscreen on the turret which looks awkward, even for an army this silly. Also, the Immolator is more or less the equivalent of a Space Marine Razorback: a Rhino with improved guns and reduced troop carrying potential. The new version costs £50. Ouch.

You're just being silly now

Bring Me Fresh Popes For The Holy Howitzer

This is all good, but I do feel that the new codex has missed a couple of opportunities. Compared to, say, Imperial Guard, it's lacking in range and variety. Compared to Chaos, it's really a bit samey. Also, some of the specialist units (Crusaders and Death Cult Assassins especially) are capped at very small sizes, which was never the case before.

It's missing two of the old special characters: the drunk-looking hermit Uriah Jacobus and his tidier space-pope colleague and book-waver Confessor Kyrinov. Also Canoness Veridyan, better known as the John Blanche picture on the 2nd Ed Sisters Codex, and Amalia Novena, better known as the sister off White Dwarf who's fiddling with her rosary, have disappeared. That seems a shame. And why can't the Ecclesiarchy take stupidly large chainsaws anymore? How will anyone recognise them now?

They could have put in rules for the old Repressor APC, or introduced a new big tank (perhaps some sort of mobile cathedral to rival the Land Raider) or included some kind of disposable rabble on a pilgrimage, like the old Frateris Militia units. Or how about a howitzer that fires popes? They could wear metal mitres for maximum impact. It could be called the cannon of canons. No?

Like this

Replacement Nudists

In terms of the look of the army, I've always preferred the power-armoured sisters to the other troops. The Sisters army has always had a Joan of Arc looking part and a crazy nude flagellant part, including the Repentia and Arco-Flagellants. Personally, the crazy nudists are much less my kind of thing***, although they are handy units in the game.

So instead, I'm going to have the Wrath of God in my army - more particularly, lots of small Wraths of God flying about the place and melting people's faces, as per Raiders of the Lost Ark. They could be the spirits of sisters who aren't going to let minor things like death get in the way of their duties. This would explain their speed, skill in fighting and lack of armour.

I think the Myrmourn Banshees from the Warhammer Nighthaunt range would work best for this: I'd hardly have to convert them at all. It doesn't hurt that they're really good models and extremely clever sculpts that really do look like animated bits of sheet. Hmm... the Wraith of God. I like it!

*If I'm not mistaken, the last specifically Sisters of Battle codex was in 1997, for 2nd edition 40k. The last codex they were in was Codex Witchhunters, in 2003. I may be wrong about this.

**According to the Jes Goodwin sketchbook I've got, the haircut comes from 1920s actress and pinup Louise Brooks, which is about the oddest 40k reference apart from the gay Victorian poet Lionel Johnson, author of "The Dark Angel".

***If you do like crazy nudists, may I recommend the novel God Emperor of Didcot by Toby Frost, which features Arwin Wainscott, commando and bare-arsed maniac?

1 comment:

Wouter said...

That tank is definitely a bit silly. I haven't played 40k for the longest time and can't say anything about the rules and such, but I'm glad they kept the style while still making these tiny significant changes that make the models that much better. It is a bit weird that they're larger than their older counterparts, did GW change their scale? I can understand they made Space Marines bigger, something which was kind of necessary in my opinion but I thought the size of a normal human had roughly stayed the same.
Great idea this Wraths of the Emperor thing by the way!