Paint Schemes & Precious Lore


As you’re probably aware, we’re starting with Skirmish, with a beginning score of 35 Renown. I think it’s probably worth admitting that over the course of the last week, amendments were (perhaps foolishly) made in a bout of brazen dwarf-lust:


Yes, yes, the table is still completely WIP. Shhhhhhh.

I’ve been musing over the idea that my Kharadron expedition makes contact with a badly-depleted Fyreslayer hold in Ghur, and the two form an uneasy alliance to deal with their shared enemies. I’d want to paint them with the same realistic (or at least, muted) sort of theme as my main force, which means something like an offshoot of the Greyfyrd Lodge might work really well, since they’re basically Spartans-but-Dwarfs in terms of colour scheme:


Which opens up my Skirmish list a little more, maybe with a Fyreslayer scout leading the group through the savage undergrowth, or 2-3 Arkanaut crewmen as ambassadors joining a small Fyreslayer patrol to scout the lie of the land up close and personal.

In terms of painting my Kharadron minis, I’m still no closer to picking a sky-port. I’ve been reading the battletome again, and a few things have really hit home. Most obviously, the Kharadron Overlords book may be a year old at this point, but it’s also leaps and bounds ahead of the curve in terms of presenting a faction with some actual lore. It’s got a whole bunch of backstory to the culture, how it evolved, how it functions, and so on – plus (and this has always been important to me) it has art depicting more than just artists’ illustrations of the models fighting other models; it actually has pictures of the society off the battlefield, including what their cities look like, citizens during their downtime, and basically a host of precious, precious context.

That’s the stuff that gets me into an army. That’s the stuff that gives me ideas and makes me want to play. If you look back at stuff like 2nd Edition 40K’s Codex Chaos and Codex Imperialis, a huge chunk of word count is given over to history and culture, explaining factions and letting you immerse yourself in them – and, crucially, the art depicts the setting’s scale with insane buildings, weird-looking aliens, unknown Guard regiments, and whatever else. Immersion. Scale. Context.

The newer Age of Sigmar stuff has started doing that, and it’s been great for really hooking me into an army as well as the setting itself. The art’s especially great for this: You have stuff like the Halls of Barak-Thryng illustrated (and looking evocative as all heck), and Barak-Zilfin’s drydocks with chaos-barnacle encrusted ships drifting in after long voyages, and cleaned-up ones heading back out. A personal fave is a bunch of teeny-tiny duardin working on the corpse of some gross, monstrous sky-whale.

Which brings me right back around to colour schemes, and something in the book that caught my eye. Kharadron society is divided into various careers and guilds, which means a sky-fleet might not be quite as unified in colour and appearance as you might otherwise expect.

Most notably, two of the main units in the army – Grundstock Gunhaulers and Grundstock Thunderers – aren’t part of the Arkanaut Fleets, they’re mercenaries hired on by Arkanaut captains and admirals as professional soldiers to defend the fleet from attack. Which got me thinking… It might be awesome to distinguish the Arkanauts (Arkanaut Companies, the Admiral, Frigates, and an Ironclad) in the sky-port’s colours, but to make the Grundstock mercenary contingent stand out in a completely different theme, pretty much like you might find Aspect Warriors standing out from the Eldar Guardian citizens of a Craftworld.

Like I said, I’m still no closer to settling on a colour scheme (though I need to speed up, since I’ve already built three of my Arkanauts) and adding another colour scheme consideration is probably a dumb idea at this point, but I think it’d look awesome.

As for the Arkanauts and my choice of sky-port, to represent them as engineers and crew members rather than professional soldiers, I’m increasingly tempted to paint them in the most drab, Average Joe/Jane overalls-and-toolbelts colour scheme.

And that makes this really, really tempting:


18 thoughts on “Paint Schemes & Precious Lore

  1. Awesome! I love that you are doing the Kharadons, they are a race that really got me into AoS..and I don’t even like dwarves…

    I am doing mine up like the Blanche sketches they showed in White Dwarf, very industrial looking and drab but with higher ranking members getting more gold/silver added as you go up the chain of command.

    Look forward to seeing more from you on this


      1. You can always write stuff. I’ve heard from reliable sources that work at GW that you’re pretty good at writing. Write about writing, write about not painting, write about anything.


  2. Dear Aaron, very nice seeing you combining Kharadrons and Fyreslayers. This got me thinking a bit and I realized something about AoS I hadn’t previously seen, and that’s being able to release small factions from previously large armies with very distinct flavours. So I think AoS would be the perfect setting to bring back Chaos Dwarfs in some form. Either do them straight up chaos again or develop something truely new, maybe something belonging to the forces of destruction rather than forces of chaos. Evil Duardin!


    1. I concur. I mentioned it a bit on my recent Reddit AMA, summing it up a bit better than I have in this post:

      “I was a crazy-late adopter to Age of Sigmar. The Old World resentment hit me reeeeeaaaally hard, but I got a seriously lucky break, when WHTV asked me about helping them with some script work for their trailers. I had to sign a bunch of extra NDAs, and the end result that I’ve started seeing some insanely awesome stuff coming down the pipe for AoS in the future. And that finally turned me around all the way on the new setting.

      There are two things I’d liked to have seen at launch, which have swung me (almost against my will…) over time.

      Firstly, lore. My God, precious lore, precious context. I struggled for the longest time to work out why these people were fighting, or where, or what they were fighting over. Who lived in these Realms? What were settlements and societies like in these Realms? What was my army supposed to be defending? Who were the people in my army? You know? Context. I craved context. Give me a setting I love, and you have me for life. You have me aching to play and hobby and write in a way great models and cool rules can’t do alone.

      Secondly, we’re now seeing all these eclectic, esoteric takes on classic Fantasy races, and some truly magical, mythical stuff. And I love that. So I wish they’d led with some of the more insane and unique races, rather than Khorne barbarians and gold knight/Spartans. I really dig Stormcast lore now, as it’s deepened over time and contextualised a lot more, but if they’d opened with, say, Kharadron Overlords, Sylvaneth, and stuff like that? I’d have been way more receptive from Day 1.

      I love Low Fantasy, and that kind of The Past-but-with-magic ‘High Fantasy’ of the Old World. I love the Old World, still. And crazy-epic grand fantasy on the level of insane realms and warring gods can be great; I don’t only dig the ground-level stuff. But I needed to be hit with more of it on release, rather than suggestions, if I was going to be hooked. It was so out there, that I couldn’t picture most of it. I couldn’t picture who lived in those worlds and what they did, or why.”

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks for taking the time to respond! I cannot really add much more as I agree. I haven’t gotten into AoS yet despite having several large WFB armies. I couldn’t see the lore. Do my Clan Skryre still exist at all? How did Archaon survive the fall of the old world? What about my Tzeentch Chaos Lord? He used to fight for the destruction of the empire, but now I don’t know where he comes from, or who his most common enemies would be.

        All of the new lore was/is in books, essentially behind a paywall, which blocks me from learning all of this. I’m not going to pay for something when I have no idea what I’m getting. I have no idea what these realms are, other than they’re named after the old winds of magic. I have no idea how they interact, no idea where the normal humans live in all of this.

        I want to like it. I want to get into it, but so far, I haven’t seen anything that grabs me. Original stories and lore used to be in White Dwarf for ‘free’, then collected in later compendiums. This, along with original artwork and peoples converted armies are what gets me into an army, and not images of stock models punching stock models.

        I’ve looked at the Malign Portents website and like what I see so far, moreso than previous efforts, however I see too much emphasis on individual heroes, as opposed to, as you say, ‘context’. I know who is active in this campaign, but not why, or where they’re from. There is a little info on the realms, but this seemed limited. I don’t know if they have added more since last week.

        Just give me a map, with what forces are in each realm. It doesn’t even have to be accurate, just a eight slice pie chart with some annotations. anything!


        Also, I’m Xenith from B&C.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah, another post. Splendid, sir.

    I mirror your comments on the lore & context in the battletome – it really opens up the faction for me. Especially enjoying all the maps and small comments about Chamon, as the realms have felt a bit sparsely mapped out for me until recently.

    I’ve been toying with the idea of running my fleet as Barak-Nar purely for the colours, but having my particular sky-fleet be out of favour for stretching their interpretation of the code a bit too far – and causing a lot of diplomatic embarassment for it. Essentially a sort of robber baron theme where they’re a nuisance, an embarassment and a proper bunch of jerks at that, but just a bit too profitable to remove without incident.

    I think I’m going to steal your idea with keeping a separate scheme for the Grundcorps, just so I can dabble with more than one paint scheme. This would also fit with the theme of my fleet, since I reckon it’s fair to assume the Grundstok Company uses sub-contractors to give them some distance on certain less-than-honourable assignments.

    I’m planning on running some allies of my own, too, though I’m leaning towards some Stormcast Vanguard units rather than Fyreslayers – even if that Magmadroth is just. the. best.

    It occurs to me that it could be really fun to have some Stormcast allies from one of the more honourable and straightforward Stormhosts, though, idea being that they’re on a diplomatic mission gone horribly wrong. Somehow they’ve gravely offended the Admirals Council, so the Council decides to fell two giants with one cannon blast and sends them off with my nuisance-tastic sky-fleet on some Very Important (and Very Probably Lethal) mission, far from the sky-port.

    Oops, this ran a bit long. Hope you don’t mind.

    Liked by 1 person

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