This morning, Games Workshop previewed the models some of us have been waiting literally 20 years for...
GW announced the much anticipated (and teased) battletome for the Soulblight Gravelords. In my prediction post from October, I had speculated that we weren't going to get a new Soulblight battletome, and that most of the rumor engine images would turn out to be from Underworlds or Warcry warbands. I was half right– There is a new vampire warband coming for Underworlds, and many of the images are for the unexpected Warhammer Quest: Cursed City. The models look awesome, and I'm looking forward to picking them up and painting them.
Around the announcement of the Cursed City boxed game, we also saw a leaked image of the "bat hair" vampire, which confirmed "Soulblight Gravelords" as a new faction name. So we sat with bated breath, wondering when (if ever) they would show us the battletome. Today, we received that, and some new plastic kits that will update decades-old models.
Yes! After about 20 years, the plastic zombies are finally getting updated! The new zombies look suitably undead (some of the old ones just looked like disheveled peasants). They also match the aesthetics of the Cursed City zombies, so they will mix nicely into the army. These will likely be in fewer parts than the old kit, and their hands will match the scale of the newer models. (I had a moment of panic after the undead Blood Bowl team was revealed; it has these goofy scarecrow construct zombies, and I was afraid that aesthetic might carry through into Age of Sigmar. But no worries, these are cool.)
We're also getting new skeletons, also matching the design of the Cursed City models. One thing I appreciate is that the new crop of skeletons have proper faces, with upper and lower teeth. I was never happy with the most recent skeleton kit– They had small faces and leaned too far forward. These, and the Cursed City skellies look really sharp. (And hopefully all that armor means they will get a better save in combat!)
And fell bats too? I had fully expected fell bats and bat swarms to be dropped from the game, but was surprised (and pleased) to see the mostly normal-looking bat swarms in Cursed City. These fell bats are great, and I genuinely appreciate the accurate (and consistent) wing anatomy.
But the piece de resistance has to be the new blood knights. I never owned any of the old metal knights; $100 US for five models was just too expensive to justify. These look fantastic, and should come in at a significantly lower price point.
So, that just leaves me with one concern: What will happen to the Legions of Nagash battletome? I think at this point that everything in it will be redundant, and that the book will get scrapped (or at the very least, neglected into obsolescence). That doesn't really bother me, as long as models will still have a home in a current army. Either way, undead players have some fantastic miniatures to look forward to!