Despite the Weekender being about 5 weeks away, there were some nice early releases to pick up. The first of the Custodes Contemptors were available and came with the sword and board, the next grav-tank and Rogue Trader which seemed to be selling well. They were also selling off t-shirts, hoodies and mugs that were at the end of the range for very low prices. This did irk a bit as normally these sell for about £20 but were being sold off for £5, a very good bargain but a bit harsh if you had already paid full price. Like normal, the sales area was rammed for the first couple of hours and then was empty. Personally, I still feel that unless there is a limited release model you desperately want, you're better off going around the Studio area first. Garro did tell me that they did a 1-per customer sale on the limited releases until later in the afternoon, hopefully they will do the same at the Weekender as well to ensure everyone who has paid for the ticket has an equal chance to pick up a copy.
The Custodes are having all new vehicles. I did mention this last year as well but it has been confirmed that the Talons of the Emperor list has unique Terran technology that results in the Graf-vehicles we are currently seeing. The latest grav-transport is the Custodes equivalent of the Razorback and will have a capacity of around 10 (5 Custodes). The jet-bikes won't be based on the dong bikes and will be different as will the next transport vehicle. There may also be a flyer. The grav-rhino, as seen in Collected Visions, won't be built as it is covered by the newest release. The Custodes Contemptors will have better stats than the Legion version but won't be up to Leviathan standard. The new guardian-spear with built in lascannon on the Contemptors is awesome. It also comes with a hand option that allows the left hand to be either holding the shaft (calm down Raglan) or clenched. It also comes with either stormbolter or twin-linked flamers on the back of the arms.
It was also admitted that some of the earlier Legions from Books 2 and 3 have been a little neglected. That should change this year. Tyrant Siege terminators have been started work on and some of the other missing units should be designed next. This doesn't apply to Primarchs as Sam works to a different schedule. Mike found out that the Moritat has been painted and should be available at the Weekender.
I had a long chat with some of the designers. They reinforced the same message as the Warhammer TV guys in that 40k is not moving towards an End Times in the same way that Warhammer Fantasy had. The 40k timeline is advancing and there are big consequences for every race in the next twelve months but all current races, armies and background will still exist this time next year. 8th ed. wasn't confirmed but there were lots of hints that it was on the way. As this year is the 30th anniversary of 40k, they are going to make a lot of it in terms of releases and story development.
Fires of Cyraxus should have all the 30k Mechanicum units ported into 40k including rules for Secutarii, Trios and the Porheryrion Knight. There are some great artwork prints of Knights in combat and Red Scorpions in ZM combat with Tau.
Put simply, these have been much more successful then GW management imagined. Blood Bowl was always going to be popular and they have a lot of future plans. Dwarf and goblin teams are due for release in plastic along with a plastic ogre. The Deathroller has also been designed and will be out in the next 6 months. They Specialist teams would also like to work on a Dungeonbowl expansion.
There and Back Again from the Lord of the Rings team has also shown the strength of the community as shown by the fact that they can't keep it in stock and the plastic laketown houses sold out within 2 days. Once again some of the new miniatures look amazing and should be familiar to anyone who has seen the extended edition of the Battle of the Five Armies. Personally, I want you Dol Goldur Nazgul but you can't have everything at once.
Adeptus Titanicus has been put back for release for possibly Q2 but likely Q3. The reason is that they want to build up stock as they are expecting it to be extremely popular and they want to release all the basic titans (Warlord, Reaver and Warhound) at once without people waiting. Feedback from design teams and playtesters has been overwhelmingly positive.
The most likely game to be worked on next is Necromunda. Provisional plans for this are intended to make the game function best in a burst campaign. That is, a campaign that has a fixed end-point rather than one that drags on indefinitely. One-off games will be possible but will miss the point of the game. Both Hive and Underhive gangs will be included but no confirmations of which ones it will be yet. Weapon profiles will be as per weapon and the ammo roll mechanism will survive in some form or another. The game will develop the background by looking at how the gangs interact with each other when they are not shooting at each other and raiding territories. Plans are certainly underway but are in very early stages.
Bits and bobs
The Exhibition and gaming table team were there as usual. The latest gaming table they are working on (Ad. Mech mining operation) looks awesome and is perfect for Kill Team, HH Raid missions, Victory is Vengeance games. Less helpful if you're taking tanks as a lot of the board is raised walkways.
Tony Cotterall also had a lot of the Rogue Trader plastics such as the RTB01 marines, plastic rhinos as well as the original Spartan, Vindicator and Sabre conversions - how things have moved on. Brought back lots of memories.
If you were expecting lots of new releases and news from this event, you would be disappointed. Other than the new Custodes variant Contemptors, seeing the grav-transport 'in the flesh' or new Specialist Games models there were no new models. None of the main FW rules writers were there to answer questions and information on Inferno was obvious by its absence. GW main studio were still guarded about what they could talk about but were more open then previously. All the staff were happy to discuss constructive feedback about rules, the games in general, background or model design. The army painters were also more open and talkative than at previous events and could give useful tips.
Overall, the event was a good start to the year. It acted as a positive starter for the main course of the Weekender.
Warhammer Fest is also dated for the last weekend of May back in the Ricoh Arena.
Thanks again to Penddraig for his coverage!