What a Ghoulish Delight

Project Complete: Flesh-Eaters Court

Let’s take a stroll back to my Sophomore year, sometime in early 2002’s: I was a poor student working on a BFA in Graphic Design in Rochester, New York. I drove my roommate and our buddy to the Millennium Games. It was the most glorious game store I had ever been in and frequently found myself there, in spite of the fact that neither my part time job nor my bank account thought it was a good idea. 

But I still went. And on that fateful day I found something Glorious. An army. In a box. 

Over break, I had spent time with Cliff and had taken possession of his brother’s ragtag and random assortment of Orcs and Goblins. They were fun and kinda funny, but they were not units I would have chosen and it was far from a serious Warhammer Fantasy Army. 

Warhammer Fantasy was on my mind, having been firmly set in the 40k playing field for years, the bug had finally bit. I had interest in a few armies, but, and the one at the top was the Vampire Counts.

On the shelf. Right there. A Vampire Count army in a box. The book and a playable force all in a big heavy and glorious box. Well, I was ganna buy it, and I told my buddies. But, also, I wanted to keep looking around and didn’t fancy carrying the box around. 

Ghouls with gear! The new Cryptguard are ghouls with rusty weapons, bits of armor and flayed skin banners.

FUCK! WHERE IS IT? I went back several minutes later and it was gone. I shit you not, at that very moment my motherfucking roommate was buying the goddamn boxset. Fucking motherfucker. Needless to say I didn’t buy a Vampire Count Army. 

Oh, here’s the kicker. He built no more than a few models. Fucking motherfucker. 

I ended up with Dark Elves. Maybe we will hear (ie read) about them again in the future… We’ll see how the whole Old World thing goes.

Why all the Whining?

I swear I have a point developing here somewhere: bare with me another second or two. Fast forward nearly two decades: after a weekend of gaming at my place, before we put the furniture back where it was supposed to be, the four of us went to dinner. We ate, we laughed, and we planned. I suggested Necromunda as the new game we all adopt that year, but I was shot down. 

The decision was made: the majority vote was Age of Sigmar. Don’t worry, faithful reader, I still made my Delaque gang

I liked the look of the new-release Ossiarch Bonereapers. That’s part of the way that I was talked into AoS. But, after that dinner, when I went to buy some models, I still couldn’t find how the Bonereapers really played. So, I hesitated. 

The New Varghulf model is so much nicer than the old model…
that I literally threw away that old Finecast piece of crap

Then I saw the Flesh-eater Court Start Collecting box and I was flooded with thoughts memories and emotions. Without hesitation, I bought the box of beastly vampires and wretched ghouls. 

And… then another.

And then more ghouls. And, well, you guessed it, more ghouls.

In hindsight, I probably should have done a little research…

Army in Progress

I built the Start Collecting box, and quickly eBay’d some additional ghouls and Crypt Flayers/Horrors. As it turns out, I even had an extra box of Horrors, since I bought them to use the flayer wings to make my own Argel Tal model for heresy. When I said I could make nearly everything from that one box, I meant it. But, where that might have been a boon, it turned out in fact to be a problem. 

If I wanted a Courtier, the mid-level characters, I had to make them instead of a squad member. Sounds great, right? Don’t even have to buy a separate character. Wrong. In fact, it causes a problem.

I want a big squad of ghouls, which you buy ten at a time. I also want a Ghast to run with them. The only difference between the ghoul troop and the ghast leader models is using a 32mm base for the Ghast instead of the 25mm bases the ghouls stand on. So, now you have a Ghast, and 9 Ghouls. But, you pay points for 10 ghouls at a time regardless. Whatever, what’s one less ghoul? Well, the same problem surfaces when you want a character to lead your horrors and flayers. 

Painting the Flesh-eater Court turned out to be rather straightforward. Within the Flesh-eater Courts army, there are two main color schemes needed. The Ghouls and the Vampires. Both need to be similar enough to look like they are from the same army, but distinct enough to show on the battlefield. When the new box set arrived, I used the same paint scheme I had devised beforehand. It had been literal years; I was glad to see that I notated my method and paints used in my Painting Guide file comfortably situated on my Google drive. If you don’t currently log your army painting colors and procedure, I suggest you start. Especially if, like me, you are a bit of a hobby butterfly. It can be near impossible to recall what you did a year or two ago to add to an existing army.

For the Cryptguard in the new Launch Box, I used the method I had perfected with eighty or so Ghouls previously. The first step was the skin tone, as it is the majority of the color on the model. Primed a gray, I airbrushed them Administratum Grey. After a watered down all-over wash of Athonian Camoshade, thin to add a tint of green, not turn them green, I drybrushed Administratum over them to get the sickly gray look I wanted. 

The Morbheg Knights add so much character to the army…
and look cannibal Knights on cute little Terrorgheists

I used Dryad Bark for the hair and leather, Rakarth Flesh made a great soiled cloth color and Iron Warriors was used to make a dark, uncared for metal color. Pretty sure I used Zandri Dust for the bones originally, but just used more Rakarth this time around. Then, each of these colors were washed with Agrax Earthshade to dirty them up. The only difference between the standard ghouls and the Cryptguard was the flayed flesh on the banner and drum top, which was also done with Rakarth Flesh (it really is a great fuckin color) and then Targor Rageshade was used lightly, and in some places used lightly again to get a bruised flesh tone: this I got from the official Warhammer YouTube channel and it was honestly pretty stellar. 

When it came to painting the Vampires, known as Abhorrants in the lore, I started with a Dawnstone, a mid-tone gray. I washed it with a watered down Agrax like I did with the Camoshade when working the ghouls. I took my time to layer the Dawnstone back over, and then highlighted it with Administratum gray.

Varghulf was a mix of the ghoul and vampire paints. Started with Dawnstone, washed Athonian. Monsters mounts for the Morbheg Knights were painted in the same fur color as the ghouls and the Varghulf. 

Something Lacking

When I dug into the lore I was instantly hooked. Their lore hit that perfect spot between fucked and fun. Finding out that the cannibalistic ghouls thought they were dutiful serfs and the bestial bruisers of the army though they were honor-bound knights defending their liege was great. The Court of Delusion was so original, giving the living dead horde such character while making you feel for the flesh-eating psychopaths. While the fluff was both intriguing and compelling, I didn’t feel the same about the game play. 

There was something missing, or maybe the scope was a little small. Being used to 40k and specifically Space Marines, I was accustomed to options. There were so few choices in the Flesh-Eaters Court Battletome that nearly every unit could be made from the Start Collecting box. The same problem that plagued me when building the army with limited options also described playing the game. 

I played a few games, and decided it just wasn’t what I was hoping. To the battle-foam they were cast, out of sight and out of mind, with all but a few models painted and done. If I had spent a week painting, the whole thing would have been complete, but, the level of apathy I had towards them and heights of excitement to paint Star Wars, Marvel and 40k minis made the impossible for me. There they sat, unloved for a couple years.

Gettin Ghoulie with it!

And then the Age of Sigmar 3rd ed Flesh-eater Court launch box was announced over a Twitch stream and I was instantly excited. New units, New characters and a big fuckin dude called Ushoran; I was nearly as ravenous to get my hands on him as, well, the crazy he infects the ghouls with. 

It was still dark out when I jumped on eBay and preordered the box set. The FLGS that I have historically done business with started answering with “maybe” instead of “yes” when I asked if he would have one to set aside for me. It arrived around Christmans and was built and painted in record time. 

I am thrilled with the results and I am eager to find time and play them: even the few new units that come in the new set along with the collectors edition Battletome and Warscroll cards to make pay easier make me wanna play. 

Along the way I bought an STL collection and had a friend print me up a PLA graveyard, which realistically will work for my Flesh-Eater Court models and the entire Soulblight Gravelords army that I have built and primed. Don’t look at me like that.

And as I write this Ushoran has been preordered and should ship shortly. Check back here to see how that crazy fucker comes out.

Extra Added Cannibal

While I was at it, I thought to myself – Tyson, you might as well finish those last few fucking Flesh-Eater models that you have been figuratively sitting on for years.

So I did.

I had bought the second Start Collecting box with the idea that I was going to run two Terrorgheists, one with and one without a Ghoul King riding upon it. Guess I wasn’t all that interested, because the second one didn’t get painted until the new boxset came out and spurred me on a little.

This is a great model. I painted it in sub assemblies: the head, the ribcage, the torso and legs, and each wing all separate from one another to make painting quick. it worked well, as I painted this guy in one evening: while one color was was drying I could move onto another piece.

Terrorgheists are awesome.
Endless Spells

The only bonus from ignoring these models for so long, is that, at the time that everyone was trying to grab up the Endless Spells for the army, well, I already had them. The Endless Spells were painted with Contrast paints so that the process would not be, well, endless. The dead horses came out a little rough, and the corpses along the fence are kinda flat, but I think the chalice came out well and, in the end, these are spells, so I only care so much about them.

Hungry Hungry Ghoulie

Hold Up! I got a chance to play before the article went live!

Despite having a complete army painted, I hadn’t played since 2nd edition and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I definitely didn’t love how they played before but I also suspected that was due to a lack of variety in the unit choices. Ryan and I set up a game and I was finally going to be able to try the new Flesh-eater’s Court Battletome and modes. I was a bit nervous: I was apprehensive that I put more time into painting models for an army that I didn’t even like playing.

I had so many more hungry hungry ghoulies than Ryan had Chaos Warriors

It was such a relief when we played our game. Neither of us had played AoS in quite a while, so it was a re-learning game for both of us, and we both made some grievous errors. I can say that not only did I enjoy it much more than I did before, but I might have actually loved it. The rules are so flavorful: My delusional Vampires and cannibalistic hanger-ons earn Noble Deeds because in their crazy minds they are being honorable knights and protectors of the realm.

The Noble Deed points are spent bringing dead models back either models removed from a unit, or even an entire destroyed unit, albeit at half strength. This is balanced by the fact that you want to have enough Noble Deeds to cause the army around the characters to go into a Feeding Frenzy and get an extra attack. Even a crappy unit of ghouls gets nasty when each one of them gets an extra attack that auto wounds on a 6 to hit, or on a 5+ if they have at least twenty ghouls in the group.

Best of all, the new units were great. The Morbheg Knights worked decent as a minimum sized unit, so I can only imagine a double sized unit will crush it. The Crypt Ghouls bodyguard rule kept my vampires alive far longer than they should have and dealt out a decent amount of damage all their own. The star of the show was the Varghulf Courtier, who literally tore everything apart, healed himself so efficiently that Ryan stopped even trying to hurt him, and was the perfect recipient for warlord traits and relics.

Where once before I was totally indifferent, now I cannot wait for another game. And I definitely need to paint Ushoran and the other new characters! But first, I have to return to the Old World…


Obsessive and neurotic collector of little plastic men, novels about the same little plastic men and paints to make the little plastic men pretty. Married to Kera, who puts up with him and pretends that she doesn’t hear him speaking to the little plastic men in between making pew pew noises in the hobby room. Requires adult supervision. A menace to himself but rarely to others. More beard than man

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