Not content to do just one new army this year with the Dark Angels, I have ploughed ahead and started a Soulblight Gravelords force. Because you can never have too many painting projects, apparently.

This came from a thought I had late last year. I knew I wanted to do a new Age of Sigmar force, but which to pick? I had mulled over the idea of a new Fyreslayers force, because funny, but nothing was really ‘grabbing’ me. I then started considering a vampire-led force, but wanted to lean hard into the gothic and avoid making a legion of skeletons.

Paging through the Battletome, my eyes fell on one phrase: Crusade of Blood. Yup, that sounded fun, a force of Blood Knights charging out of the Crimson Keep, flanked by big bats and dead wolves, and led by a big vampire on a dragon. I would avoid skeletons altogether but a big block of Zombies seemed to fit well, raised from the local graveyard and then just left to wander off or collapse after the battle.

But best of all, I had an idea that I could slapchop the entire force, making it an absolute breeze to put together and, with the right colour choices, look good while I was at it.

I wanted something easy to kick things off, and so put together a little unit of Fell Bats to try things out.

As it turned out, slapchopping is great but is not the panacea to everything. I thought these bats would take me 10-15 minutes to complete, as they were simple and would use a limited palette… but I was slowed down by those ‘fingers’ in between the wing membranes. Slapchop does not remove the need to slow down when you have to be precise!

That said, they were still fast to do, work well as models… but I will not be doing another unit of bats!

Going to try my hand at the Dire Wolves next, with a pack of ten for each flank of the force, and then start thinking about the actual Blood Knights who will form the centre of the army.

I have had an idea of doing not just a vampire army, but a vampire table – some gothic mansion or keep in a dark and gloomy forest with an abandoned graveyard close by, and the outskirts of a little village at the other end of the table, perhaps with a force of villagers coming out with torches and pitchforks… but that way may lay madness…