SRM’s Ongoing Stormbringer Review: Week 04

Stormbringer is a weekly hobby magazine from Hachette Partworks introducing players to Warhammer: Age of Sigmar. In this 80-week series, our intrepid magazine-receiver will be reviewing each individual issue, its included models, and gaming materials. A Premium US subscription was provided to Goonhammer for review purposes. If you want to follow along at home, US Customers can check out Stormbringer here.

It’s our first paint issue! What technicolor wonders await within? Read on and find out!

The Narrative Materials

Megaboss on Maw-krusha. Credit: Mike ‘Ellarr’ Chadderton

Our narrative section is slight this week, as the bulk of the pages are packed with hobby material. However, we still have a little bit here to look to. This week we’re taking a hike up Ramhut’s Spine to Skyheld, a fortress-library-city atop an inhospitable mountain in Ghur. A long-lost Draconith library, it was rediscovered and resettled by Kharadron explorers and is now a burgeoning city. Adventurers brave the traps and critters in the dungeons underneath in search of ancient knowledge, while the city itself subsists on hunted Stonehorns and supply trains. This isolated city’s main lifelines are the Dawnbringer Crusades that leave its walls, establishing settlements elsewhere that can send supplies back home. That becomes a challenge when roaming feral Maw-Krushas, natural disasters, and lurking Gloomspite Gitz are all in the immediate area, but that’s par for the course in Ghur. Fortunately, the Stormcast Eternals of the Iron Thanes protect this icy fortress, which is definitely not the College of Winterhold from Skyrim. 

The Iron Thanes, and, to my knowledge, the Hollow Skullz Gloomspite Gitz, are both original to Stormbringer. The Iron Thanes have a red, black, white, gold, and silver color scheme that looks a smidge busy in the illustration, but we’ll get to paint one in a future issue. They lure their enemies into the mountains around Skyheld, letting the hostile environment do most of their work for them before making a decisive strike. The Hollow Skullz, meanwhile, want to destroy the library because they feel idiocy is a virtue, and want to destroy all knowledge to engineer their ideal world of windless violence. I love them.

The Hobby Materials

Steelheart's Champions Credit: Alfredo Ramirez
Steelheart’s Champions Credit: Alfredo Ramirez

Imperium drip fed its initial paints; instead this issue has a respectable quartet of paint pots and a starter brush. This is the same starter brush included in issue 2 of Imperium or any of the paint sets from GW proper, and it is just that: a starter. In my experience, it’s not great at holding a point and doesn’t last very long, but for a beginning painter just looking to slap some paint on plastic, it’ll do. We’ll be getting a brush set upgrade in our 6th delivery of issues, but that won’t be for a minute.

As for the paints, there’s one paint that’s new to me, and three that I’m deeply familiar with. Orruk Flesh is the stranger here, a color that I seem to recall came out with the new Kruleboyz range. It’s kind of light for a base paint, but is a pleasing avocado green. I’d rather start with a darker green and work up as opposed to a lighter green you wash down, but that’s just me. The other three are the main colors you’ll see on most Hammers of Sigmar: Retributor Armor, Leadbelcher, and Kantor Blue. This trio of warm gold, dark silver, and deep blue look great together, and cover well. I’ve been using these colors for years, and Retributor Armor is probably the first good gold paint I’ve ever used.

This issue is the first to have a painting guide, and it raises some questions. It shows how to set up your painting area, how to gather your materials, and emphasizes having a good source of light. In the pictured painting area there is a Citadel Water Pot, a Citadel Palette Pad, and some paper towels. These are not objects included in Stormbringer. With this in mind, I wonder why they still don’t have the suggestion to prime your models with a spray primer. It’s clearly okay to show materials that aren’t included in the magazine, so I wonder why there isn’t just some helpful little bubble that says “You can use spray primer for better paint adhesion – just follow the instructions on the can!” or something to that effect. They could even have Kaiser draw the Stormcast lady using a spray can! It would be cute! This is all a preamble to my repeated critique of Imperium before: the paint guides instruct hobbyists to basecoat their models by painting right over bare plastic. I feel that this just makes things harder for burgeoning hobbyists who might get frustrated by the process, as paint doesn’t really like to grip plastic without primer. It’s not a great habit to encourage in the long term. I feel good about the rest of the paint guide, as it shows how to thin paints, encourages swapping your water out, and has some basic brush care, but that first step is still one I don’t feel great about.

The Gaming Materials

Guttrippaz – Credit: RichyP

This week’s mission builds on the last, as we expand to our full collection thus far – a Killaboss, Stab-Grot, and ten Gutrippaz for the Orruks vs. a Knight-Arcanum and five Vindictors on the Stormcast side. What we’re learning this week is Rend, the weapon characteristic that modifies saves, and Damage, which is just how much these weapons hurt. The heroes each go up against their opposing squads, and the survivors of those battles are the next to duke it out. Whoever’s left standing wins. This battle is firmly in tutorial land, but is teaching a fundamental building block of the game.

Final Verdict:

This issue contains $19.75 of paint alone, plus a paintbrush to get you started. Against the $13.99 cover price, even if you only want 3 of those paints, that ain’t bad. The two metallics will likely find their way onto nearly every model you own, while the blue and green are going to be extremely useful in the magazines to come. The paintbrush is not great, and while the advice on how to use it is largely good, I still question the decision to have painters skip priming and paint straight over plastic. There’s a safety disclaimer at the start of every issue already about sprays, blades, and glues, and they’re already showing materials not included in this magazine, so I wonder what the deal is. The mission is teaching a core part of the game, basic as it may be, and while the narrative this week was slight, the Hollow Skullz got a good snort out of me. It’s a mixed bag, this one.

See you next issue, warhams.

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