SRM’s Ongoing Stormbringer Review: Week 13

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.

This delivery came with a special gift: Stormbringer: The Mug. I was going to write a whole article within an article here but it quickly eclipsed the length of this piece entire, so I spun it off into a much dumber article.

The Narrative Materials

Akhelian Allopex
Raf’s Sharks. Credit: Raf Cordero

It’s a thicc narrative section this week, and our first article is about the oceans of Ghur. I found it best to read this article (as well as any writing concerning salinated bodies of water) in the voice of Willem Dafoe in The Lighthouse. We get brief definitions of a few aquatic beasts and some notes on how Ghur’s ocean itself can rip you apart. This is real “here be monsters” shit, and I’m here for it.

Next is our first short story of the collection, Spearhead. In it, a Stormcast relief force is lured into an ambush during a Kruleboyz attack on a convoy of Sigmarite settlers. Our main character, Alyria, gets beaten up while her Stormcast comrades die all around her. While it may seem odd to have our first narrative focusing around the setting’s heroes consist largely of them getting owned, it’s clearly meant to show their determination and bravery, with Alyria fighting on even as she gets stabbed, shot, and poisoned. The writing isn’t anything too special but it reads briskly and paints a well-realized picture for its limited wordcount.

Next is a centerfold spread on the Armies of Order. We’ve gotten some of these before, and they largely serve as a surface level overview of a few of the game’s factions with some artwork and photography. It gives a distinctly 2nd edition Age of Sigmar vibe, with a central image portraying the defense of Hammerhal Aqshy by Cities of Sigmar in their Isle of Misfit Toys era. As much as I adore the old Empire aesthetic (and to a lesser degree, those of the old High Elves, Dark Elves, and Dwarfs) I’m glad those old models get to go home to The Old World. They always felt at odds with Age of Sigmar, and the new Cities range is a slam dunk. This article also has some art of a Dark Elf assassin sneaking up on a Dwarf king that’s clearly from Warhammer Fantasy, but I like seeing the old art pop up from time to time.

Lastly, we get a Battle Record for our own battlefield in Ghur. There are tables of region traits, as well as a map with locations in which we can set our battles. Some of these have been fleshed out (Gallet getting a whole season of competitive play, for one) while others contain just the hooks of potential narratives to come.

The Ghurish land of Garagevale (formerly known as Ghurage Bay in a less civilized era) was connected beneath by networks of massive worm tunnels. While these have let trade flourish beneath mountains and rivers, exits in the Gnarlwood have opened the tunnels up to the predations of Impaler Mantids, Rhinoxes, and more besides.

The Hobby Materials

Steelheart’s Champions. Credit: SRM

This week we get two paints: Mephiston Red and Wraithbone. Mephiston Red is the first GW red I ever used with good coverage, thinning wonderfully and providing a saturated medium red basecoat or even a highlight for darker reds. You can see it used as the basecoat for the reds above. Wraithbone is a paint I like far more out of a rattlecan, as the bottle paint is always chalky in its composition and streaky in its application. We put these paints through their paces as we touch up nearly every model in our collection thus far, the painting guide leading us through bowstrings, skintones, plumes, shields, and more besides. These instructions are quite thorough and I’m happy to see multiple human skintones being represented.

The Gaming Materials

Stormstrike Chariot. Credit: Rich Nutter

This week’s mission is Battle Lines, and its intent is to teach players about deployment. We’re still working in designated spaces not unlike a boardgame, but players get to alternate placing their units like in a typical game of Age of Sigmar. There’s an illustrated example with some reasoning for why a player might deploy a given unit in one place or another. Deployment was the one thing it took me longest to really get a grip on with wargaming, so having this sort of illustrated example with some tactics involved is laying some good groundwork. The mission is still just “run in and kill each other” but maneuvering and smart placement of units is going to be what decides victory.

Final Verdict:

This is $9.10 of paint in a $13.99 wrapper. Paint issues like this are always tough, because they seldom deliver the same value as the issues containing discounted miniatures. However, the painting guide is thorough, the gaming material is continuing to lay solid foundations, and the lore section is the biggest yet in an issue of Stormbringer. I enjoyed my time with this issue quite a bit, and I’m happy to have more Mephiston Red in my paint drawer.

See you next issue, warhams.

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