SRM’s Ongoing Stormbringer Review: Week 31

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.

Despite the time capsule-like nature of this still-ongoing magazine, the march towards Age of Sigmar 4th edition continues onwards. If you’d like to watch me talk about it for 20something minutes, why not check out our breakdown of the new edition over on YouTube? How else can you feed my ego and the equally ravenous engagement meat grinder at the same time?

The Narrative Materials

Laser-focused on nine-year-old me’s proclivities are the Seraphon, or as they were called when I was that very same nine-year-old: Lizardmen. They’re the focus of our first article this week, and while I still feel their 1:1 port into Age of Sigmar from Warhammer Fantasy is an odd one, I like what GW’s done with the faction. The Old Ones guide the Slann to follow the Great Plann Plan, and the Slann in part lead the other Seraphon along that path. The Saurus warrior-caste and Skinks who make up the rest of the faction are naturally subservient to these greater intelligences, and I don’t get the notion of there being any internal strife within the faction. I guess there haven’t been many books written from the perspective of Mesoamerican Space Dinosaurs to challenge this notion, but someone at Black Library should really get on that. They also fly around the realms in great temple ships which terraform the surface wherever they land, creating dense jungle around them. Said temple ships also house magic star lasers, which they mount on Stegadons and their other dinosaur pals. This faction mostly hangs out in Azyr, and are wreathed in the same magical energy as the Stormcast. I realize as I write this that this all sounds incredibly silly, and 9 year old me is currently hooping, hollering, and cheering from the rafters. I’ll tell my therapist that this counts as inner child work for the week.

Our next section is about Dawnbringer Crusades, the attempts by Sigmar’s armies to venture out and tame the Mortal Realms. On the one hand, this reeks of Manifest Destiny, colonialism, holy wars, and the sort of imperialist sins that cultures the world over (but mostly European cultures, let’s be real) are guilty of. This is framed as a reconquest (one could almost say a reconquista!) of realms that once belonged to Sigmar and civilization. On the other hand, these are realms of literal monsters, dark magic, fire and death. It’s a somewhat sanitized justification for colonialism when the cultures being driven from their homes aren’t just people who speak a different language and come from a different culture, but cannibals who cut out the hearts of their enemies and sacrifice them to one of four distinct Satans. Maybe I’ll write more about this later, or task one of our smarter writers to do it.

The lens pans over to Azyr, as we investigate the Forges of Creation. This tireless soul-factory is where the Stormcast Eternals are forged and reforged again, where their wargear is created, and where the Six Smiths reside. These demigods serve both Sigmar and the duardin metal god Grungni, and are always at work putting the souls of these fallen Stormcast back together. The Sacrosanct chamber are part of this process as well, and I guess they’re so busy with it that they won’t be showing up this edition. I do have to wonder where they get the raw material to reforge a fallen Stormcast – their souls get yeeted to heaven in a bolt of magic lightning and their armor is cast from Malus, the core of the Old World, but do they need meat to remake their bodies? Is that also sent skyward? Do they have celestial meatwagons that gather up the materials? Are Stormcast just made up of reconstituted livestock? I’m probably thinking too much about it since magic immortality doesn’t invite as much scrutiny as parallels to real world history (see above) but I think about it every so often.

Lastly we have a Battle Record for our new unit of Vigilors, the non-Vanguard chamber pathfinders and scouts of the Stormcast Eternals. These archers are deadly in their own right, but more importantly are a supporting unit, using enchanted arrows to mark targets for their Stormcast comrades.

Talon Graveborn skulked through the Garagevale thicket, ducking below curiously plasticene bushes and branches. She and her Vigilors had been tasked with hunting down Boss Porgo, one of the slipperier Kruleboyz to make their names known in the region. Talon’s Protectors were consummate hunters, showing their devotion to Sigmar through their investigative prowess. The lot of them had been Investigors in life, a sort of amateur sleuth cosplay troupe who died to the last when an investigation got them in over their heads – and six feet under.

The Hobby Materials

Stormcast Vigilors. Credit: SRM

Pardon the dishonesty of the image above, but this issue only contains 5 Vigilors, not 10. I genuinely love this kit – the bare heads are fantastic, the poses are believable, the capes are cool as hell, and the details are sharp. One of my favorite bits is how their armor is actually a bit lighter than your typical Vindictor/Liberator, with less armor coverage and a stripped-down look. The instructions want you to mostly build them with bare heads, which is absolutely the better choice. The instructions draw focus to two aspects of their construction, which I would have called out if they hadn’t – the bowstrings are super fragile, and the cloaks will require some care to avoid gaps or seams. The painting instructions will get you to a decent basecoated standard, though we’re waiting for some washes to give their bright golden armor and solid blue/white cloaks some definition.

The Gaming Materials

Swampcalla Shaman and Pot-grot
Swampcalla Shaman and Pot-grot. That Gobbo

In typical fashion, we get a Warscroll for Vigilors and a tutorial on how their Navigators of the Storm ability works. I’ve used Vigilors in probably every Stormcast army since I painted them, as handing out a +1 to hit bonus to whatever unit they hit with their arrows is a great support ability. They’ll be leading our Stormcast force Into the Maw, a ley line of magic power in Ghur. The Stormcast want to harness this power and control it, empowering their warriors and keeping it under control. The Kruleboyz would much rather unleash it, tearing the realm and any Sigmarite settlements therein to pieces. This mission is a simple objective-holding affair, but with a Maw Line running down the center of the field, where our two playmats meet. Every battle round a player rolls a die and adds the current battle round number to it – on a 7, any models standing on that line are instantly killed. It’s something that can easily be played around, and since the line doesn’t interfere with any objectives, I feel it can be avoided without much impact. It’s a nice idea, but I think it could use some massaging.

Final Verdict:

Vigilors are a $65 kit, containing 10 models. By that logic, 5 would cost $32.50. This issue’s $13.99 cover price represents less than half of that cost, making this issue a fantastic value before you even open the magazine. The hobby content is decent, and the narrative section has got some good info, even if it had me going wildly off-script. I feel like the mission is a near miss, but it won’t be a bad time either.

See you next issue, warhams.

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