Corehammer Armies: Old Woden

As part of our continued revamp we are bringing back some of the more popular regular monthly features from yesteryear. First amongst those is Corehammer Armies. Each month we’ll be shining the spotlight on the mighty forces fielded by our extended circle of heroic generals and warmongering tyrants. In this instalment Chief Chirpa has a nice chat with Joe Wilding about his very sick Treemen, Dryads and Wood Elves. Read on…

Hey Joe, give us a quick intro about yourself, how you got involved in the hobby and how you ended up in the Corehammer throng. 

So I don’t even know how many years back now but maybe 5 or 6 I stumbled across some photos on maybe Instagram of some painted up Game Workshop minis and given I was into it as a kid it obviously peaked my interest a little and I got a massive nostalgia rush. My brother was buzzing off it too and it quickly came up in discussion with Tom and Gaz too and we all decided to get back on it. Shortly after we started working on some armies.

I ended up chatting with Nate about it outside of a show and he brought up the whole Corehammer thing starting. At that point I knew Nate in passing to have a chat to and I’d done the odd thing for Hemlock 13/Abyss for him and it was mind blowing just how much he and, as it quickly transpired, just how many people I knew/knew of in the hardcore scene had been/were back on this whole tip. He stuck us on the Corehammer email list and a lot of the discussion there only added to my positive feelings towards it.

How long have you been working on this army and what was the theme for the army? Also was the theme a pure fluff choice, or was it more constructed for competitive games?

I don’t remember exactly but I know I started mid November 2014 and I was done in the new year of 2015 so a matter of maybe 2 or 3 months but I’d had the army book 6 months before that so I’d spent a long time working my way through that and coming up with a list I was happy with.

Before I’d even picked up the book I knew it was going to be mostly trees, I mean the fluff for nearly every unit in that book is ridiculously good but I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity of doing so many forest elements. I’d toyed with doing an age of winters theme, all blocks of ice and partially frozen trees but I felt that might of got in the way of some other of my painting options. The problem with taking an 8th edition list that focuses on treemen/dryads is that it’s never going to be competitive and that was in the back of my mind and I didn’t want that to get in the way of me doing the things I wanted to do with the army.

At the same time getting tabled by turn 3 every game can stop being fun pretty quickly. I’d already got it in my head I could run the dryads in a horde and work them like my beastmen with a few buffs given the similar stat line and that I’d got room for two or three treemen. So I had a chat to you Chirps about it at one of the Corehammer chillers and a couple of times after and took some input from Connor Boardman about it too to help out with the other areas of the army which really helped.

Can you talk us through some of your favourite conversions or models and give us an overview of why you chose them?

A lot of the reasons for model choices are above really but in 8th I’d got some basic things I liked to go into every single list with and that was a level 3/4 wizard, a strong general (named character or otherwise) and a BSB even if it was just for the sake of the bubble. For me those kind of elements are what turns the game you’re playing from just some dice and some charts into being a game you’re invested in as well as a good place to start a list.

Wizards were tricky but because I wanted to run a good amount of Lore Of Beast spells to get Wildform and Savage Beasts off as my key tactic I needed a Spellweaver. I’d already decided it was going to be forest spirits army so sticking a Tomb Banshee in there as a spellweaver/huntress really helped on a number of fronts but mainly because a lot of my units were going to have ethereal elements in there and it tied things together well.

I already knew Druthu was going to be my general, because there was no way I wasn’t taking the spirit of hatred and malevolence incarnate that basically goes round stomping people the fuck out for stepping into his zone, he’s basically the Tom Apollyon of the army book. There wasn’t much conversion work there beyond changing his posing but I did massively alter his base in a no fucks given sort of a way but when you’re working with a model that big it’s good to go OTT otherwise it gets lost easily. As for the BSB that was a mounted glade captain and the best way to do that to fit with the forest spirit them was to use just the mount with a banner in the ground next to it. 

Waywatchers and a Waystalker were the only elves other than a bunker for my Spellweaver but those were down to fluff, they had some of the most appealing in the book. I have an aversion to metal miniatures so the current models were out for me and I made some using some heads Chris Jones donated and I converted the rest out of a combination of Shadow Warrior and Sisters parts. The Waystalker was a dark elf assassin character that I basically kit bashed fairly easily. 

Only other things of note was that at the time GW had this box set that was basically like 36 dryads and 3 treemen at a little cheaper than buying all the kits separately. They actually released it again under AoS I think. I wanted to stretch that unit out to be 45 dryads and 3 Branchwraiths (because when you pop off Savage Beasts those kind of low level characters get real scary real quick). I managed the latter fairly easily by adding more tree parts but for the former I decided unit fillers were the way to go and after mapping it out in my head to account for how many casualties you might have to remove I realised I could do two big unit fillers to represent 10 models each which gave me loads of options and I really enjoyed making them. 

I felt like you painted this army very fast – can you talk us through your approach to painting these guys and how you achieved such high quality at such a rapid speed?

Well I’d got in my head that I wanted to try a new approach and that was to try using brighter and non muted colours but still get a dark feel off them. I knew I wanted to push some contrast which is one of the top tips I kept hearing off the various better painters in Corehammer crew too. I’d started with the dryads and obviously you can dry brush the fuck out of them and batch painting them wasn’t going to be detrimental so they came out after a few different layers of dry brushing, washes and highlights easily enough. I think looking back they were possibly the weakest painted unit.

The treemen and the Waywatchers were a joy to paint and I found they went quickly not because of the process I used to do them but more because I loved spending time doing them. Not that I hadn’t the others it was just that even though these were more laborious it didn’t feel like it at all really.

The treemen were some of what I feel were my best results to date even if they weren’t that comparable to some of the better painting standards out there in the Corehammer group. I went slow and made sure I nailed one colour/area at a time. I made an effort to instead of reaching X colour to Y colour in for example 5 steps to do it in 10 and make a point of going the long way round on things and that was really rewarding. The army took a bronze at Armies On Parade in the autumn of 2015, I think given some of the paint jobs that were there on the day to score so highly was kind of ridiculous but if anything carried them it was the Treemen.

Now the real talk – How have you dealt with the release of AOS? have you found it to be refreshing, or too much of a game-changer?

I was against it when the rumours dropped with how it was going to work and be on round bases. Even when the rules went up I was pretty gutted about losing 8th both in terms of rules because it worked pretty well in my opinion and in terms of that whole world disappearing.

Another factor was that I still had the odd army I really wanted to do on squares too. I wasn’t fond of the look of the Stormcasts too, despite the whole Titanomachy vibe, which didn’t help. All of that negativity didn’t help me get off on the right foot with it really. I wasn’t mad about it I was just kind of gutted to see 8th go. I played a couple of games but I wasn’t 100% percent. After seeing some of those Stormcast models in the flesh I kind of bit and bought some to make and paint which were fun to do if a little monotonous and at the point I’d finished them off I’d gained a lot of enthusiasm for it from Ash Barkers battle reports and things like Heelan Hammer so I played a bunch more.

It’s not 8th, I wouldn’t even say from a gaming point of view that it’s better than 8th, just very different and difficult to compare, but it’s a good game. I think to get the most from it it really does rely on scenarios which I’ve no complaint with because the limited amount of scenarios in 8th were largely boring and it’s nice to see a move towards that. There’s less tactical nuance than in 8th but again that doesn’t mean there isn’t any, there’s still plenty there to go at. It’s refreshing to play smaller games (8th didn’t scale down well), it’s refreshing not to have to play for 2 or 3 hours to get through a game and from a painting/modelling point of view it’s really refreshing to make a cool army without spending stupid amounts of money/making up stupid amounts of core. So in conclusion sad to see 8th go but more stoked to see where AoS  goes.

treemen warhammer 8th edition Age of sigmar games workshop

How has the army evolved to fit into the new dynamic in AOS (fluff or gaming) or do you have any future plans to fit this change in direction? 

I’m not rebasing this army or playing it in AoS. It’s been my favourite project from 8th and I’ve played it under 8th since AoS dropped but probably won’t again so it’s staying that way for now. As for expanding it under 8th that depends on how regularly I can get games, I had plans to try more bestial units like units of stags and war Hawks and things which is something I’m sure I’ll come back to. That said I’ve played against my mate Liam’s AoS Wood Elves and they seem like a perfectly fun army to play and play against.

As someone who is struggling to get an AOS buzz, Have you had any future ideas for what you would like to do in AOS that you would like to share?

Yeah loads, but as a chronic procrastinator how many of those ideas reach fruition I’ve no idea. Like I mentioned before I’ve now got the opportunity to do so many armies I wanted to do before without wading through models I’m 50/50 on to fill out certain army building stipulations. Some of the armies I wanted to do under 8th might appear but ones I’d never of gone near definitely will. Skaven for example, you don’t need 150 odd clan rats to take some of the nice models anymore so I could see those kind of armies happening. Other than that I can see both short and long term campaigns going down in our local functional gaming group which will be fun cos I’ve not played a linked campaign in a long time. I’m also working on a modular gaming board which will hopefully be finished soon which has been great fun but that’s also for Mordheim and Frostgrave too which I’m hoping to branch into.

Thanks Joe, play a fucking song. 

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