[WFB] Of Skeletons, Cement and Battlescrolls

I had every intention of doing a spot of work on my Vampire Counts over the midwinter break, you know. I knew there’d be a lot of restoration work involved, what with the badly dated paint-jobs and general incompetence with which the force was constructed back in the day. What I hadn’t been quite prepared for was the sheer level of embuggerance that would be involved. It seems like the plastic models are becoming more and more decrepit and less and less easy to restore as time goes by.

The kitbashed models were always a bit brittle, but the Knights were assembled as per their source kit and four of those have imploded. I’d been about to blame modern Citadel plastic glue, but that wouldn’t explain why models I built ten years ago are collapsing. I’ve scraped and scrubbed and scored, I’ve tried superglue and plastic glue, and nothing seems to bally well work. The last straw came yesterday when I tried to stick a Skeleton champion’s hand back on and his whole arm snapped off, pinging deep into the nether regions of the carpet.

The ball-ache of restoring the army has got me to thinking. See, it’s my attachment to the old models which bound me to some rather dubious list-building choices – but if some of my old models are effectively unusable, couldn’t I replace them with some stronger pieces and newer figures, and keep those original models who’ve retained some integrity?

My twenty-seven Grave Guard – one-piece metal Reiksgard infantry – have held up well, as have five Spirit Hosts and five Wraiths – undead Flagellants – and the Varghulf. The characters are OK too, so that’s two footslogging Vampires and one on a horse, three Necromancers and three Banshees, two of whom I clearly never bothered to paint. The Fell Bats need a lick of paint and their stands fixed, but I have four or maybe five of them ready to fly, and eight Black Knights who are still pretty much intact. That’s actually a decent enough chunk of Special and Rare stuff. I begin to wonder if it mightn’t be worth assembling a kind of MSU-and-Hordes build; hard Grave Guard and Ghoul centre, with a couple of mid-sized Zombie bunkers for spellcasters, and then Varghulfs, Wraiths, Spirits and Bats in various multiples to run interference.

Having run off and done some mathematics I’ve come up with something a bit different from the usual Vampire Counts lists that I see going around. I started from Rare and worked down rather than from Core outwards like I usually do, and… well, here’s what I’ve come up with for a squeak under 2400 points. I could build this very easily with either two boxes of Mantic Ghouls and a couple of unit fillers (Citadel Woods spring to mind) or one of those Crypt Scavengers sets GW are currently pimping; that’d give me all the unit filler terrain I could want, including long gateway/wall pieces for bulking out Hordes, plus a unit of Crypt Horrors and the option of messing about with the new Battlescroll thing. And, of course, all my models would be Official, which would be nice.

Lord Ruthven
Vampire Lord with Fencer’s Blades, Armour of Destiny, Red Fury, Dark Acolyte – 375
(Lore of the Vampires; always picks Invocation; General)

Vampire with heavy armour, shield, Book of Arkhan, Dark Acolyte, Beguile – 176
(Lore of the Vampires; always picks Invocation)

Necromancer with extra magic level, Staff of Damnation – 140
(Lore of Death)

Templehof Militia
30 Zombies with standard and musician – 100
(5×6 – Clarimonde goes here)

Templehof Levy
30 Zombies with standard and musician – 100
(5×6 – Walravius goes here)

Grim Moor First of Foot
40 Ghouls – 400
(10×4 Horde)

Knights of the Black Cross
29 Grave Guard with great weapons, full command and Banner of the Barrows – 428
(10×3 Horde – Ruthven goes here)

Spirit Host – 45

Spirit Host – 45

2 Fell Bats – 32

2 Fell Bats – 32

Black Monks of St. Herod
3 Wraiths with Tomb Banshee – 175
3 Wraiths with Tomb Banshee – 175

Varney the Varghulf
Varghulf (duh) – 175

Unusually light on characters and magic; rather than muck about trying to pin down an enemy magic phase I’d be focusing my efforts on soaking the casualties, hunting down the wizards with fast stuff and Death sniping, and using the Bound spells to recoup losses, move faster, and behave more efficiently in combat.

Possible tweaks include:

  • Thirty Ghouls and ten Dire Wolves (two fives with Doom Wolves) for more speed and chaff and hunting?
  • Two Varghulfs and five Wraiths, without Banshees (would involve dropping Walravius’ extra magic level and Staff down to a Dispel Scroll, taking Beguile off Clarimonde and trading in Ruthven’s Armour for a Talisman)
  • Cursed Book on someone, since I might not be using all my Power dice…

And you know, ranking them all up and taking a look at them without the depressingly broken-up Skeletons feels… strangely good. And it has been ten years since I first built the army. Maybe the cycle’s turned again. Maybe 2014 will be the long-awaited Year of the Vampires?

Author: Jon

Sententious, mercurial, and British as a bilious lord. Recovering Goth, lifelong spod. Former teacher and amateur machine politician, now freelance writer and early-career researcher.

3 thoughts on “[WFB] Of Skeletons, Cement and Battlescrolls”

  1. Hey Von, I always really like the names you give your units. They remind me of 90’s Warhammer novels and old White Dwarfs with brightly coloured dinky little steam tanks and cardboard cut-outs in the middle.

    Did youd ecide against Chaos Dwarfs then? I was going to weigh in but since my aesthetic judgment was pretty much on the side of the new FW guys I decided “buy the expensive ones they want you to buy!” probably wasn’t worth saying.

    1. Well, Nineties Warhammer novels and old White Dwarfs were a very formative influence on my young self, conception of the fantasy genre and so on and so forth, so I’m glad to hear that the influence shines through.

      The thing with the Chaos Dwarves is that I do really really like them, so much that I spent a week’s odd hours doing a lengthy review of the list, but there’s not really a way to do the army that I want to do on the budget that I have available. Revising the Vampires uses stuff I already have, and the expensive option for doing so can be done for the cost of one Scibor Chaos Dwarf unit. There’s not really a contest there.

  2. Gotta love the eternal optimism of GW gamers.
    ‘This is the year I get a GOOD codex. I know it is. It’s gonna happen.’
    I said that every year for 5 or 6 years when I played Tau. When I finally gave up a new codex arrived, of course, and it’s entirely TOO good, apparently. There’s so much Tau resentment going around there’s no way I could play that book. No matter that I suffered through a bunch of years. I’d still feel like a bandwagon jumper.
    Ya just can’t win, I tells ya!

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