Transformers Comics!

Yes a bit of a break from the regular (ok its never regular) miniatures updates (where I’m currently swamped with rats at present) to take some time to highlight the recent Humble Bundle for Transformers comics! They’ve got a massive sale on which includes almost all of the main IDW published series timeline that they’ve published over the years. However the Comixology pages list a lot more comics spread out over classic eras and the Bay films and other TV tie-ins and it makes rather tricky reading to work out what is missing, what you do get and what you don’t get. So I sat down and worked it all out.

I’ve also not been alone and another (far more dedicated) fan has also produced a reading order for the entire series. My own list is more of a purchase advice list and aims to show what is and isn’t included as well as roughly what fits into which block.

So if you’re new or want a refresher I recommend you to read the following two websites which both list suggested reading orders for the series (the first also contains links to comixology for the missing issues – just like my own does below).

Bundle Reading Guide
Overall Transformers reading(publication) guide

Note all comics listed below with a * beside them are included in the Humble Bundle found here Humble Bundle IDW Transformer Bundle!

Classic/Original series
Transformers Classics: UK
Transformers: Classics Originally published by Marvel Comics as THE TRANSFORMERS
Transformers: 30th Anniversary Collection Note appears to collect a random selection of issues from various series. Unsure if all collected are still present on comixology – might have things which are not (I can’t verify)
Transformers: Best of UK – Prey Based on the description I assume this is from the Classics UK range and would be included within that (anyone able to confirm?)
Transformers: Best of UK – City of Fear Based on the description I assume this is from the Classics UK range and would be included within that (anyone able to confirm?)

IDW Main timeline series
*Transformers
*Transformers: Autocracy Trilogy Collects the Autocracy, Monstrosity, and Primacy series.
*Transformers: Monstrosity
*Transformers: Primacy
*Transformers: All Hail Megatron
*Transformers: Dark Cybertron
*Transformers: Heart of Darkness NOTE included in Transformers Vol 4 Heart of Darkness (also part of Humble Bundle Deal)
*Transformers: Maximum Dinobots
*Transformers: Megatron Origin
*Transformers: Infiltration
*Transformers: Ironhide
*Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye (2011-2016)
*Transformers: Escalation
*Transformers: Devastation
*Transformers: Stormbringer
*Optimus Prime Note Volume 5 not included, but the issues and Annual that comprise it are included in the Bundle
*Transformers: Lost Light Volume 4 not included, instead the individual issues are included in the bundle
*First Strike Both Transformers/G.I. Joe: First Strike and Champions collected editions are included in the bundle
*Transformers: Drift Origins and Empires Includes Spotlight: Drift, Drift #1–4 and rift: Empire of Stone
*Transformers: Drift: Empire of Stone Included in Origins and Empires (above)
*Transformers: Titans Return
*Transformers: Redemption of the Dinobots Includes Punishment, Redemption and Salvation
*Transformers: Punishment Included in Redeption of the Dinobots
*Transformers: Redemption Included in Redeption of the Dinobots
*Transformers: Salvation Included in Redeption of the Dinobots
*Transformers: Unicron All issues included individually (at time of bundle the Collected edition is not yet released)
*Transformers vs. The Visionaries
*Transformers: Historia
*Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers
*Transformers: Requiem of the Wreckers
*Transformers: Sins of the Wreckers
*Transformers: Robots In Disguise (2011-2016)
*Transformers: Till All Are One
*Transformers: Combiner Wars
*Windblade The Last City Includes both windblade series below
*Transformers: Windblade (2015) Included in Last City
*Transformers: Windblade Included in Last City

Revolution
*Revolution: Transformers includes More Than Meets The Eye, and Till All Are One Revolution One-Shots plus the 2015 Holiday Special
*Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye: Revolution Included in Revolution Transformers
*Transformers: Till All Are One: Revolution Included in Revolution Transformers
*Transformers: Revolution #1Included in Revolution Transformers

Note far as I can tell “heroes” and Road to Revolution are not included – anyone else able to confirm
Revolution: The Road to Revolution 100-Page Special
Revolution: Heroes

NOT included in the bundle standard era
Spotlight
Transformers: Death of Optimus Prime Note might be part of an included collected edition – Unsure
Revolutionaries
Rom vs. Transformers: Shining Armor
Action Man Vol. 1 Part of Revolution series
Transformers: Combiner Hunters Special
Transformers: Evolution – Hearts Of Steel
Transformers: Infestation
Transformers: Infestation 2
Transformers: Regeneration One
Transformers vs. G.I. Joe
Transformers vs. G.I. Joe: Tyrants Rise, Heroes Are Born
Transformers: Bumblebee
Transformers: Bumblebee—Win If You Dare
Transformers: Bumblebee: Go for the Gold!

IDW A Bold new Era
Transformers
Transformers/Ghostbusters

“Bay” Movie tie-ines
Transformers 3 Movie Prequel
Transformers 3 Movie Adaptation
Transformers: Alliance – The Revenge of the Fallen Prequel
Transformers: Bumblebee Movie Prequel
Transformers: Defiance – The Revenge of the Fallen Movie Prequel
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Movie Adaptation
Transformers: The Offical Movie Adaptation
Transformers: The Official Movie Adaptation Prequel
Transformers: Nefarious
Transformers: Sector 7
Transformers: Rising Storm
Transformers: Reign of Starscream
Transformers: Tales of the Fallen

New Animated series
Transformers Animated
Transformers Animated – ‘Bots of Science
Transformers Animated – The Arrival
Transformers: Allspark Almanac
Transformers: Robots In Disguise Animated (2015-2016)

Transformers Prime Series (ties both Fall of Cybertron game and Prime TV show)
Transformers: Prime
Transformers: Prime – The Orion Pax Saga
Transformers: Prime – Rage of the Dinobots
Transformers: Prime – Beast Hunters

Others
Transformers: Art of Fall of Cybertron
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron
Transformers: The Cover Collection
Star Trek vs. Transformers

Note far as I can find the Beastwars tie-in comics by IDW are not on Comixology unless they are hidden away under some obscure listing title.

SKAVEN Battletome!

 

Yes yes it is here now! The might of the Great Horned One shall spread throughout all the Realms, all shall bow grovel to the might of the Skaven!

Review of the Battletome

My first impression of the tome was “oh gods this paper is heavy” and yes the pages are thick with ink! Brilliant colour on every single page, from decorative edges to full page and double page artwork spreads as well as army photos. GW’s photography studio has excelled themselves yet again in making photos that are as dynamic and epic as the sweeping artwork GW still fills their books with (although sometimes it highlights that GW really needs a few more models of things here and there when you can spot the same 3 stormfiends every time they appear).

The lore and story is well setout and, like many current Battletomes, they focus on a quick telling of the history of Skaven from the early days in the Age of Myth through the Age of Chaos and into the current times of the Age of Sigmar. The Myth age setting lore is, as for many, quite light on detail; representing the various histories and pasts lost to the Skaven over the vast generations. The short details leave a lot of room for further writing and fleshing out and for fleshing out ones own backstory and clan to fit into the realms. There’s also tantalizing hooks placed here and there – the mysterious fate of Clan Shrykt who built a new gnawhole and collapsed it in on itself behind them, their destination unknown; or that Clan Tichritt (a fallen Clan now) once held Chronomatic weapons of great power. Just two of the potential hooks that might one day be developed and evolved upon.
There are also many neat stories telling of creative plagues; unique machines and even skyfleets of stolen airships. Ideas that might spark the imagination of eager converters within the hobby; or which might one day appear here and there as future weapons and models released by GW official (though I’m sure the dark minds of their master crafters have got even more nefarious ideas to sculpt up for us). Plus fans of the mighty and cunning Thanquol will be pleased to know he features with his own short story!

From the general background things get more specific, focusing on a page for each of the Great Clans (Skyre, Eshin, Moulder, Verminous, Pestilens and Master) which set the scene. Though Skyre and Pestilens are the clear poster-child factions of the current age (likely bolstered by Pestilens own Battletome to begin with and by Skyre having quite a few newer kits and variety in the current range). Others are certainly not left without, but I’d wager we’ll see more of clans like Moulder as and when GW can update some of the older sculpts such as Rat Ogres*.

From clans to units the next big segment goes into some lore and history on the various units and weapons of the Skaven; giving some flavour to the various units and weapons of the army that gamers can directly buy and field on the tabletop.

Following is glorious page after page of photos of models from the GW painters and army displays, joined by several good and quick painting tips for various specific Skaven elements such as teeth, fur and warpstone.

Finally there’s the rules for the army; rules that you build either a clan focused army around one of the great clans, or a motley united force of Skaven pulled together by a powerful leader. Whatever your choice you can find it here and the single Battletome shines for being able to combine sub-armies whilst also letting them viably compete with each other for their own unique flavour. I will not go into any detail in the balance or numbers, there’s going to be endless reviews and arguments and battles that will appear over the coming months that will hammer out the winners and losers from the balance pass. Suffice it to say Skaven will never be a full beginners army; with many abilities that can outright kill themselves as much as their foes Skaven will need a careful hand to guide them to victory. I will say that its fantastic to see that they’ve retained almost their entire line from the Old World days; though also they’ve lost a few parts here and there. One I’m honestly glad to see gone are Skaven Slaves, for whilst they fit the lore really well (and they are very much still part of it); they were always both overpriced (as they never went full plastic) and so highly numerous whilst being the epitome of a chaff unit. The kind you’d spend hours making only to remove most of them each game pretty fast. Even in the old days most just fielded Clanrats so to have slaves gone and Clanrats the lowest of the biped rats is a good thing in my view.

 

If we consider this the first tome then Skaven are off to a good start with a great foundation to build upon. I fully expect that in the coming years we’ll see more stories like Skaven Pestilens which add to the lore and history of the faction. We’ll certainly see Thanquol weaving his mad plots and schemes and see the rise and fall of many a Skaven plan. Whilst some of the detailed depth has been lost from the Old World, Skaven have honestly retained almost all of their original character, they are still maniacal, scheming, cowardly, crazed rats. They still stab each other in the back as much as they stab their opponents and other races; they still strike from the shadows and, if the Hammerheld Herald is to believed, they still don’t officially exist!

 

Carrion Empire 

If you’re checking out Skaven right now then you surely can’t miss that Carrion Empire also launches this weekend. A duel battle kit featuring mad rats and madder cannibals with a new leader for both armies as well as a steep discount on the models within. A great selection for starting off your Clan Skyre or for bolstering your other clans with Skyres powerful war engines such as the famous Doomwheel!

If you don’t want to get the box I strongly recommend scouring your local store or ebay for the book that comes with the box. The Carrion Empire booklet isn’t huge, but gives a fantastic setting (and several themed battleplans for use against Flesh Eater Courts) and adds to the overall lore of the Skaven in the Mortal Realms.

 

* It should be noted that a selection of models including ogres, engineers, packmaster, warpfire throwers and globethrowers were updated with the Island of Blood boxed set in the last age of the Old World. However whilst those kits are still found on ebay (hunt around you can still find unbuilt ones); they’ve not made it into the current age (although teasingly the globethrowers do appear in the codex in a few photos).

Black Library Novella Series 1

A book review of the new NOVELLA series by Black Library.

Recently Black Library published the first ten books of a new run of novellas which span their range of worlds. From the dark and polluted ruins of the Underhive of Necromunda, to the vast magical peaks of the 8 Realms of the Age of Sigmar, these books take you on a wild series of adventures. They are a nice length for an evening read each and whilst they don’t have the length of a full novel, they still have room to develop characters and give you far more flavour of the worlds they take part in.

The Bloodied Rose by Danie Ware – Sisters of Battle (40K)
Steel Daemon by Ian St Martin – Imperial Guard (40K)
Auric Gods by Nick Kyme – Custodes (Space Marines – 40K)
Spear of Ultramar by David Annandale – Horus Heresy (prequel to Siege of Terra series)
Dreadwing by David Guymer – Horus Heresy (prequel to Siege of Terra series)
Wanted: Dead by Mike Brooks – House Escher (Necromunda)
Warqueen by Darius Hinks – Dark Oath (Age of Sigmar)
The Red Hours by Evan Dicken – Sigmarites (Age of Sigmar)
The Bone Desert by Robbie MacNiven – Gotrek Gurnisson (Age of Sigmar)
Heart of Winter by Nick Horth – Scourge Privateers (Age of Sigmar)

As you can see there’s a fair smattering of stories from the fantasy and the futuristic. Some are clearly tied to major recent publications and soon to be publications, such as Horus Heresy and Gotrek; whilst others are more free form stories set within their respective worlds. As they are shorter books I will provide a short summary review for those I’ve read below.

WARQUEEN by Darius Hinks. This is a powerful story that presents a fresh angle on worshippers of the Chaos gods and focuses on the lesser known Dark Oath factions. Brave and mighty barbarian tribes that worship the Chaos Gods. If any reading have ever read any of the Conan stories/comics or seen the various films (esp the classic with Arnald) then the Dark Oath feel lifted right out of the Hyborean age. Whilst with more trust to magic than your average Cimmerian, they are still akin to that classic warlike wild image. These are not crazed nor mindless characters and they retain a stronger sense of their humanity and emotions.

Within this story is war, betrayal and discovery. Follow a mighty warqueen as she seeks to unite her people under a single banner, to forge them into a single army that can carry them beyond the plains they have warred over for generations in the Age of Chaos. To bring them into the Age of Sigmar and make them a threat for all the world to fear. I would say of all those I’ve read thus far this is my favourite of the series.

 

HEART OF WINTER by Nick Horth. This story is cold. Not just from the frigid lands in which it takes place, where biting winds, ice slick surfaces and frostbite are around every corner; but with the characters that fill the story with their taste for blood, slavery, betrayal and revenge. Aelf pirates without equal, who are the literal scourge of the high seas. Those who have a passing understanding of the Old World (or who have been playing Warhammer Total War 2) will recognise some mighty icons from the past appear again within the Realms as a mighty Black Ark features prominently in this tale.
Of interest this story also ties strongly into the development of the Realms and the Age of Sigmar and is perhaps one of the stories that is the most “recent” in the time line. Whilst it does not focus upon those golden warriors from Sigmar, it does show how their society and the new Order is going. Giving us an idea of the rebirth, the rebuilding and the political shifts that are taking place within the Realms. It’s a view of the world generations beyond the end of the Age of Chaos; where only aged Aelves might remember the Cursed blight that was upon the land. This adds greatly to the story and makes it a fascinating read beyond the development of the background of another faction. Those who are fans of the Daughters of Khaine would also find this story of interest, for its not just scourge Aelves who inhabit the bloody pirate strongholds. Places of slavery, death, blood and fighting attract those piests and worshippers of the bloody God of Murder.

WANTED: DEAD by Mike Brooks. Necromunda lends itself well to the short story market and this tale does not disappoint in the least. We see the classic Necromunda battle between Houses Escher and Goliath, but things are not always so simple as the might appear on the surface in this dark, dank world of the Underhive. There’s also a tale of love woven into this and of loyalties which are fine additions to the lore of Necromunda, where betrayal and selfish interests can often appear to rule much of the action. It adds to the rich tapestry of the world and shows that the Underhive, for all its lack of education and structure, is possibly one of the most varied settings in the 41st millennium.
We also get a sense of how individual each gang within a Great House is, how they are almost alone as they carve out their own little corner of the Underhive and defend it to the last against any competition.

 

THE BLOODIED ROSE  by Danie Ware. Welcome to the world of the Sisters of Battle, women monks of a powerful militant order who are bound to serve the one true Emperor of Mankind and protect humanity from the threats of the heretic, the mutant, the xeno and the corrupt. The story here touches at the very foundation of the war of mankind vs the darkness of the universe and follies of the long forgotten past of mankind when they originally spread through the stars in ages past.

The religious element is woven into this story well and builds a fantastic mental picture of the churches and religious order of the Sisters. Of how they worship in battle, of how prayer and unity with their sisters armours them against the darkness of the universe and how those dark forces might see to corrupt and tempt them.

The story starts off building a fantastic sense of mystery, touched with the edge of horror. Carrying the reader forward eagerly with page after page as one seeks to uncover the truth of an abandoned settlement and the dark forces that have led to its twisted, macabre end.

 

If you are interested in reading these stories and others in the series, then they are up for sale now. At £3 each for print or digital, or if you get them direct from the Black Library website there’s a £3 discount if you get the whole series of 10 in one go (digital or print). The price is well worth it and this series makes the fantastic in-fill whilst you’re waiting for that next reprint of Inferno Classic or the upcoming New Inferno issue 2

Print Collection

Digital Collection

KR Multicase Review

The KR Accessory case. I purchased the case empty, they also do a version with their own tape measure and a selection of 30 regular dice as well.

Made by KR https://www.krmulticase.com (non affiliate link)

Price: (as of this articles writing 01-08-2018)

Empty case black or silver £10.99
Case and 30 regular dice and tape measure (choice of 3 colours of tape measure) £15.99

Both versions of the case also come with a stick on plastic wallet (not photographed) which can be used to put a name card or similar into and be stuck on one lid section

Content (my own added):
1 Tape measure – its a little chunky and I did have to remove the belt clip so that it would fit. It fights tight and pinches a little, ideally I’d get a slightly thinner one; this is a minor issue.

2) Two GW large dice packs (the Daughters of Khaine)

3) An older GW Dice Tin, which will let you put the lid on it. I like as not will use this for tokens and the tiny dice alone in time)

4) An assortment of regular dice (a few more than one of the old dice cubes)

So I chose to get the black version might regret it a “tiny” bit because I forgot how much black shows up dust, so silver might be better in that regard, but really a fast wipe with a cloth and its good as new. Note the colour only affects the outer case colour not the internal colour.
The case is well made and firm, the four clips on each side snap into place with a firm smooth action and once all four are clipped into place the lid is going nowhere. In fact you can lift up one clip and three alone holds it securely closed. The interior is lined with a black fine felt that gives a nice muted sound when you roll dice onto it.

The depth of the case is clearly based around two regular dice stacked one atop the other. It would have been nice to have have had it a little deeper and thus be able to stack two of the larger GW dice; but at the time of this items manufacture I don’t think GW were even using those larger dice (and in fairness trying to roll lots of those big dice is actually trickier than a handful of the smaller ones in equal number). There is a very slight lip around the inside of the case where the felt is stuck down, so you can’t pack it tight with with double layered dice – though honestly by that point you’re carrying hundreds of dice and thus way more than you’d need in a warhammer game.

The lid gives you a good dice rolling area, even with a big handful of the larger dice they generally all remained in the lid; and overspill is very minor and with smaller dice they all stay in side without issue. Because it takes a part in half you can either use the base to keep your dice and items organised; or take them out and offer it to your opponent so that you’ve both a separate dice rolling platform.

After closing the lid and giving it a strong shake around

The dice tin slides around a bit and the dice, predictably, roll around a lot. As its a hard case there is some noise with this, as one would expect of loose dice. You could muffle that further if you put the dice into a fabric bag prior to putting them in the container. My tape measure didn’t budge as the box was pinching it in place. At no point in this shaking around (where I also gripped it by the base/lid alone and shook that so that there was pressure on the clips) was there any sense of the structure of the container moving; or the clips weakening. All very solid locked together!

Overall – very pleased with this. There are a few niggles, but those are mostly just personal factors or related to using larger than average dice. With its build quality and price this is great value in my view; indeed I’d expect it to last for years and remain fully functional with the most likely long term wear and tear being on the felt slowly going bald with years of use.

A very solid fun product that brings with it a duel purpose of transport and game aid.

Recent Developments and News

So thought it was about time to collect ones thoughts and do a little army and life update to the blog since a fair bit has happened since the last update. F

First up had a visit and an interview at GW in Nottingham for the position of a product photographer. Sadly I didn’t get the job (though in all fairness to GW they were very good in communicating through the whole process, none of that contact you and then giving one the silent treatment). This did mean that I also got to have a peek around their Warhammer World setup – the studio upstairs is great and seeing the models in the flesh painted is a joy. A large amount are the regular models (most of which you’ve likely seen in White Dwarf and on the front of the boxes) though there are a few conversions thrown in as well. The centre is dominated by a huge assault of Tyranids on a Space Marine Citital and really shows off what the GW staff can do when they want to make something big and impressive to show off. I’ll try and get a few pictures to show up later (hint its dark in there and the combo of small spotlights and glass makes lighting a nightmare).

Back to home base and the Slaanesh army has been growing more in a mound of unfinished models than anything else. Ebay has been pruned regular for fiends and hounds (the former of which are proving rather scarce in the UK at present – at least in metal form) and as I type I’m sitting on a bid and crossing fingers for a Lord of Change in metal. So most of the growth has been in adding more models and finding those few good deals on ebay to bolster the numbers.

My aim at present is to get much of the bulk of metal models as I can, which is mostly Slaanesh Fiends and Hounds of Khorne along with any lords or heros or daemons as well. Mostly to avoid having to work with Finecast, which whilst showing details fantastically can be so iffy with details showing (my Fateweaver is awaiting me taking a few photos to show missing detail to get one wing replaced from GW). I’ve also been gathering up the Seekers I can find in metal and will likely run two units, one plastic (they are good models in plastic) and one in metal, the metal seekers going with my metal seeker herald for a special group on the table.

I’ve thus far avoided the temptation of the metal Daemonettes, great models that they are, but at present I’m more keen to bulk the army up to a good size than to really sink a lot of money into them, I might build up a nice group of 30 or so for a special squad in time, but its low on the priorities at present (which of course means that there are loads on ebay  – thankfully also at higher prices so I’m not tempted).

Other News

Drake the Dragon Wargame – updates have gone out on the Kickstarter and they are entering the final stages of packing ready to ship. A future update is expected in the next few days with a video as well as more specific details. In addition they’ve announced that shipments will be split into two with AGM taking the cost of the second round of packaging (ergo no increased cost to backers). This is because the Rule book (printed offsite) and a few other items are taking longer than expected to complete. AGM is also packing quickstart sheets with the first round of shipments so that players who assemble faster than others can get a start before the final shipment. Final shipment is expected a to ship a month or so after the first so barring customs slowing things up Backers should have all their dragons before Christmas.

Any in Vancouver are also able to drop in for a launch party being held – details to follow shortly (check the KS updates page).

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/agm/drake-the-dragon-wargame/posts

Spartan Games – Firestorm Armada – lots of great stuff with free Battle stations for the core factions for any ordering the new 2.0 rule book (which was developed with aid of the community). In addition new Patrol Fleets are coming out with MII versions of the core ships – new battleships, cruisers and frigates are coming along with brand new flyer tokens for fighters and bombers and also new ships in the form of some new super carriers. They are also releasing a 2 player battle pack for Firestorm, with rumour of a few more battle packs with other core factions in the future. All details and more appearing in the Spartan Blog and also on the Spartan Facebook page.

Spartan Games – Uncharted Seas – Sky Pirates are out on November 5th – get ready for a brand new fleet in the Uncharted waters of the fantasy world.

http://www.spartangames.co.uk/blog

Everblight New Release

Privateer Press have put up updates for their release schedual recently and the new and mighty Beast Mistress solo is up for release in December 2013

Beast Mistress

Head over to the PP website to see their gallery 3D rotation of the model.

Beast Mistress Gallery Page

In addition they are now reboxing the Legion of Everblight Legionnaires models into a single 10 unit boxed set (as opposed to the former split box and blister arrangement). This appears to be a straight change in packaging as I’ve not seen any mention that they are changing the material they are made from. So you get to keep the great metal models (some of my personal favourites).

There are other models up for display this month including Protectorate Flame Bringers and Convergance Perforators.

Finally Wargamer Girl from youtube has a new battle report up for Warmachine. Well worth catching her clear and well presented video battle reports, some of the best you’ll see in the gaming world.
Khador VS Cyriss Release Event Battle