Warcry Catacombs is the follow up to the hugely successful, popular, and consequently now sold-out Warhammer Warcry starter set, which pits warbands (groups of fighters) from across the Eightpoints against one another for martial supremacy. Set in the Age of Sigmar, the fantasy setting of the Warhammer world, Catacombs is a perfect jumping-in point for anyone interested in eventually building and fielding a fully fledged Age of Sigmar army. The Warcry Catacombs set comes with over 20 terrain pieces and two warbands, each containing eight or nine fighters that all need constructing and painting to be ready to play.
Last year, I reviewed the Warcry Catacombs set with a first look at the box and contents, and now, having had nothing else to do for a couple of months, I finally finished assembling and painting the models included, and I have even had a chance to test them out in some single-player battles at home. My wife thinks it terribly sad to see me playing both sides of a two-player wargame by myself.
For this set I wanted to try some new painting methods, so for one warband I used a traditional approach and for the other a more out-there style. This was a wonderful opportunity for me to test out some of my novice-level painting skills, and hopefully improve some techniques. I also was trialing some contrast paints for the first time. Let’s see all how that worked out…
The terrain pieces in this set come in two parts. First, you got 50% of the pieces from the original starter box – although the toppled dwarven head statue is absent, much to the internet’s general annoyance – these are mostly used in the above ground sections of the game. It also included a truck-load of brand new terrain pieces that feature in the subterranean catacombs.
For the over ground terrain pieces I used a simple paint recipe (apparently that’s what you call it. I’m learning). First I sprayed a primer coat of Mechanicus Standard Grey: this is the same primer I would use for the rest of the set, although in future for model painting I will probably move to using Warithbone as it works better with the contrast paints. After the primer I layered up the brickwork with steadily lighter shades of grey beginning with Eshin Grey, Dawnstone, and Ulthuan Grey. To create a worn stone effect I used a kind of dry-brush technique where the lighter the shade, the less paint I applied. Eventually after a few coats of different greys I used a black Nuln Oil wash, and finished the stonework with an edge highlight of Pallid Wych Flesh.
The over ground pieces also featured a lot of metal and wood elements and for these I used Sycorax Bronze and Auric Armour Gold for the metal bars, and then Doombull Brown and Nuln Oil wash for the wood.
Overall, I found these pieces relatively easy to paint and assemble, although there were a couple of small breakages when putting together the more fiddly elements of the bell tower. But on the bright side I now have a cool spare skeleton in a cage that I can use to modify a base or model in the future.
For the other half of the catacombs terrains I chose a more spooky and subterranean theme. This set consists mostly of doors and metal bridges and features a lot of rusty bronze effects and skulls. For the metal door frames I used Runefang Steel, with a nuln oil wash, and where I wanted the metal to stand out slightly I dry-brushed with Runelord Brass.
For the spooky skull effects I based the areas with pallid wych flesh, dry-brushed with Sybarite Green and then used Aethermatic Blue contrast paint as a wash and then a second dry-brush of Skink Blue. This created the spooky effect I was looking for and looks really cool on the board when the fighters are battling around it.
The Warcry Catacombs set comes with two warbands, the Khainite Shadowstalkers and the Scions of the Flame, and so to test my entry-level painting skills, I attempted two different painting approaches. Both used a mix of some standard and some contrast paints, but the Scions of the Flame followed a more traditional route and the Khainite Shadowstalkers less so. I also wanted to test myself with some more interesting basing techniques and found some really useful youtube videos to guide me (thank you Lee of Tabletop Skirmish Games!).
For the Khainite Shadowstalkers I had an idea, you could say a moment of insane inspiration – this is not always a good thing.
There are elements of Warhammer Warcry that focus on the narrative aspects of the game, and there are tools within the rules to help you build a story to explain why your group of fighters is where they are and why they are doing the things they are doing. The game also encourages you to come up with your own ideas too. My moment of insane inspiration came when re-watching an episode of the 1980s Dungeons & Dragons cartoon. For those unfamiliar, the set-up for this cartoon is a group of school-aged kids who visit a theme park and are transported via a roller-coaster to the “world of Dungeons & Dragons.” Adventures ensue. I thought that a similar conceit would work for this warband, only I decided to substitute the theme park with a mid 1990s electro neon rave. Because why not, right? This was in no way purely designed as an opportunity to use some fluorescent paints.
To achieve my rave-inspired warband I used Blood Angels Red contrast paint and Shyish Purple contrast paint for the clothing, and attempted to blend the two paints together. I then dry-brushed with Genestealer Purple and highlighted the tips of the cloaks with Fluorescent Magenta from Vallejo.
I’m not yet very good at painting flesh and haven’t worked out how other people do it. So at the moment, because I accidentally used a gloss finish flesh shade, which is a mistake, all of my models with human faces or exposed flesh look more like marshmallows sitting too close to the bonfire than people. Thankfully, I think I did a better job of this on the Scions of the Flame.
To achieve the neon green glow-stick effect weapons I experimented with lots of different paints, before eventually landing on a combination of Moot Green, Technical Tesseract Glow, and AK Fluorescent Green.
Scions of the Flame
For these warriors I followed a more simple and traditional recipe, again using contrast paints. I used Aethermatic Blue contrast paint for the upper robes and highlighted with Ulthuan Grey. For the lower robes I used Blood Angels Red contrast paint and then totally forgot to highlight. The flesh tones used Kislev Flesh, Reikland Fleshshade and highlighted with Pallid Wych Flesh.
The standout elements of these models is the flame-themed weapons: to achieve this I used more contrast paints, blending Iyanden Yellow and Gryph-Hound Orange to achieve the flaming effect and then highlighting the tips of the flames with Pallid Wych Flesh.
Overall, I was quite pleased with the finished result of my painting attempts here. I don’t imagine you’d consider these to be exactly ‘parade ready’ (also what they call it), but they’ll do. And to be quite honest, the parades I’m most likely to be involved in are less a polished and meticulously planned show of military supremacy, uniformity and might, and more a triumph of equal opportunity employment policy and a celebration of mixed ability diversity quotas.
I really enjoyed practicing some new techniques with the models from the Warcry Catacombs set, and found the contrast paints very easy to use and to achieve a better quality finish with. Of the two warbands my favorite to assemble were the Scions of the Flame. The Khainite Shadowstalkers were very fiddly and far less satisfying to put together, and at least three of the models have had to be fixed since I completed them. On the other hand, I was more pleased with the final paint job for the Shadowstalkers, and am most looking forward to showing them off – if I ever get their melty-looking faces sorted out!
I now have four complete Warcry warbands and am planning on expanding this further. In the future I hope to assemble even more warbands, so look out for more Geekdad Paints! articles where I aim to improve on my fleshy parts at the very least.