We start the release wave with the new Battletome - Hedonites of Slaanesh which comes in Whips and Chains Limited Edition and Hello Sailor Standard Edition. Leading the glorious shiny sexy charge is Sigvald, Prince of Slaanesh who seems to be less beautiful and more horse-faced. It's not a good head! The large HQ unit is Glutos Orscollion, Lord of Gluttony which is a very detailed model and like the other newer HQ units, not very flexible in modelling options. Slaanesh also gets a battle wizard, the Shardspeaker of Slaanesh and a bully-boy who is one of the only models to keep any of the old BDSM look, the Lord of Pain. There's also some troop options with the dynamically posed Blissbarb Archers. There's also some big boys and girls with the Myrmidesh Painbringers/ Symbaresh Twinsouls combi-kit. Finally we also get the Slaaneshi Beastmen with the Slaangor Fiendbloods which is really cool to see. There's a new generation of Seekers too with the Slickblade Seekers/ Blissbarb Seekers combi-kit. There's also Warscroll Cards and thankfully a Hedonites of Slaanesh Dice Set which are very nice!
The Daughters of Khaine also get an update, interesting being aligned in the universe with Slaanesh. It comes in Slippery Scales Limited Edition and Tear Your Heart Out Standard Edition. There's also an Endless Spells set (very red) and a Daughters of Khaine Dice Set (equally red).
In books this week we have the hardback of Stormvault, two new books in the younger readers range of books, Plague of the Nurglings and Fortress of Ghosts, another Warhammer Horror anthology, The Harrowed Paths, with 6 short stories and a novella including one by Graham McNeill, and White Dwarf 461.
So as you may know, we have been calling for human acolytes of Slaanesh since the Tzeentch release. They seemed pretty close then, but as Games Workshop don't really know what to do with the inherent sexuality of the old Slaanesh look, it took them a while. The look they have settled with though seems to be a little problematic - it's a sort of Persian-fusion, which makes sense when you read about the cruelty of those ancient rulers - but what we have is almost a stereotype of flowing robes and scarves, a VERY far cry from the leather, tight PVC and chains of the older lore. In fact only the Slaangor seem to have any callback to that older look and feel. There are interesting parallels in the look between these Hedonites and the Cypher Lords from Warcry, which makes sense, but again taken to an extreme. We're not really into the outrage culture thing, but this could blow up in GW's face, when really there was existing lore that adult gamers can understand and isn't offensive. The new look itself doesn't work for us when a few head swaps on Idoneth Deepkin will give you something better, so speaking of that, lets look at the minis.
The inability of GW to work out how to represent excess is typified in the HQ unit, Glutos Orscollion, Lord of Gluttony. He is the gross excess of Slaanesh, not the strong female warriors or tempting demonettes, or even the slaves in chains - they picked a unit that is, yes, excess, but also not something we see typically represented in the older ore of Slaanesh. In fact this is closer to the Glotkin from Nurgle and probably better suited to that range. As a centerpiece for Slaanesh, his doesn't work for us, in fact a Cauldron of Blood would be a better basis for an HQ unit - again showing how the Daughters of Khaine stole Slaanesh's thunder! The Blissbarb Archers are probably the high point in terms of dynamic modelling, and in fact very much similar in pose and sprue breakdown to the Namarti Reavers, which is interesting as these have been the base for kitbashed Slaaneshi troops for a few years now. These models are beautiful, and the influence of movies like Conan is written all over this range. The miniatures that really just don't seem to fit for us are the Myrmidesh Painbringers/ Symbaresh Twinsouls - are they meant to be the Slaaneshi Chaos Warriors? The poses are static and thick, not lithe and tempting, in fact they are ugly. There's also so little skin and lack any real BDSM elements like the leather or spikes - there's some, but really not much to tie them back to the Demonettes of Slaanesh or the rest of the range. They just seem like outliers without even a callback to the Lord of Pain, who ideally should share elements with them. In fact the Lord of Pain is a welcome part of this release, as is the Shardspeaker of Slaanesh who owes a lot of it's look again, to Conan, but has some real character to it. It's so great to see the Slaangor Fiendbloods who look exactly like the old ones, so a great callback to that old lore. It's curious as these are counted as elites in the Hedonites range and you only get three in the box - which is a far cry from the Tzeentch Tzaangor where you got a tonne of minis, extra heads and weapons. Bit of a shame, because fielding a large unit of these would be great fun.
Finally the Slickblade Seekers/ Blissbarb Seekers are again very similar in breakdown and look to the Idoneth Deepkin, which is not a bad thing and a definite improvement on the old ones, though the old armour was very cool!
Look overall this release seems out of place with the way we've seen Slaanesh. We've had some minis, like Syll'Esske: The Vengeful Allegiance which fits somewhat into this range, but again this is a far cry from probably what people thought or wanted. I don't know how this will go as it lacks so much of the old spirit and doesn't have enough of the heavy spikey presence Chaos followers want.
Be keen on your thoughts too, so let us know!