Thursday 17 September 2020

Review: Warhammer Crime Stories or Farewell My Lovely

I have read a few of the Warhammer Crime stories recently and have some thoughts.

The first thing one notices is that all the stories are very similar in style and type of plot, irrespective of which author is credited. The central heroes are also basically the same character, although they may not have the same name......

And that character is Philip Marlowe

“down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. He is the hero; he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor—by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world.

“He will take no man’s money dishonestly and no man’s insolence without a due and dispassionate revenge. He is a lonely man and his pride is that you will treat him as a proud man or be very sorry you ever saw him.

“The story is this man’s adventure in search of a hidden truth, and it would be no adventure if it did not happen to a man fit for adventure. If there were enough like him, the world would be a very safe place to live in, without becoming too dull to be worth living in.” 
― Raymond Chandler

The problem is that the Philip Marlowe stories have already been written, and written by a writer of superior talent to anyone employed by Games Workshop - and it is no insult to Black Library to point this out. Marlowe has been brought to life by some of the greatest stars in Hollywood...see above.

The cigarettes may have been turned into lithosticks and the Colt 45s into laspistols but, in reality, that’s just superficial skin on the pudding. The stories owe nothing to the world of The Imperium and everything to the Pacific coast of the USA in the 30s and 40s.

What we are left with is a pastiche; often quite a fun pastiche but The Big Sleep they ain’t.

Expect to see The Cadian Falcon when they move on to Hammet.


Monday 7 September 2020

Tribute to Ciaphus Cain, Hero of the Imperium


Commissar Ciaphus Cain, Hero  is a character invented by Alex Stewart, writing as Sandy Mitchell for Black Library. He is accompanied by his aide, Gunner First Class Jurgen.

I made this model some years ago and it has languished in a box in the garage. However I have been using the lockdown to have a clear out and came across it. After a quick spruce to blow the dust off, it will soon be off to Alex as a momento of his wonderful stories.

I took as my inspiration the front cover of The Traitor's Hand, one of Alex's novels, that shows Cain riding in his personal Salamander armoured recce vehicle. However, I did not feel bound to follow the artwork slavishly as I can't see Cain advertising his presence with a banner.

The Salamander is based on a Rhino chassis so I kitbashed a Basilisk. Removing the cannon left me with an appropriate open-topped hull to which I added an heavy bolter.

I wanted the car to look lived in so added bedding and a potable water holder - water is often a limited resource on Imperial worlds

Note the ID plaque bearing Cain's name on the flank.

The Salamander offers an easy escape route over the back if Cain needs to leg it, sharpish. He has added an additional drum of promethium as a reserve. Running out of fuel in a hostile environment is one of those things that makes his hands itch.

The scout car is a bit dirty and knocked-about with the odd spot of rust on the exterior but you can be sure the weapons and mechanics are in full working order. Cain isn't to bothered about spit and polish but you never know when you may need to make a run for it.

As a recce scout, the Salamander is well equipped with augurs - very useful for detecting and avoiding dangerous enemies.

The Salamander also has the advanced comms array of a command vehicle, as befits the Regimental Commissar. These are useful for screaming for assistance when in difficulties.

Note Jurgen's 'uniform' - and I use the word cautiously. Cain's aide is equipped with a variety of ill-fitting battle dress from different campaigns, sporting a variety of camos.

Saturday 5 September 2020

Review Heresy Labs: Inquisitor Messalina

Inquisitor Messalina

There is, of course, no such thing as a Traitor Inquisitor. On the other hand there are Radical Inquisitors, some of which can be reclassified by their peers as Rogue Inquisitors or even Excommunicate Traitoris.

But, by their own lights, they are not traitors.

One such is the Radical Inquisitor, Messalina. An Ordo Malleus Horusian, she believes that Fabius Bile;s cloning technology holds the secret of merging warp power and biology to create a divine avatar for the resurrection of The Emperor.

So she and Fabius are nominally allied in their research into 'superhumans but obviously each intends to betray the other at some point. The question is who will be quicker of the draw.


Messalina is equipped with a power stave and a high compression sprayer loaded with highly toxic and corroding chemicals laced with unstable lethal viruses (i.e. a flamethrower). She has been busy in Bile's laboratory.

This model is resin and obtainable at a very reasonable price from Heresy Lab.