Sisters of Battle are getting a codex. What is it and how will it look is still a ways out. I have been hearing an occasional whisper or two on what is coming. Here is a brief on what I have been hearing over the last few months. But wait, there is some new hints of Sisters of Battle that were suggested over at the Enter the Citadel event. I have those listed here as well.


Sister's of Battle
From Various Sources and a lot of speculation
*They are not being dropped. They are getting their codex.
*There was some model design issues (common knowledge) from some time ago
*The army is currently not up to 6th edition standards, and needs to be fleshed out a lot (more units variability background etc)
*The codex was being worked on at one point, and stopped.
*Whispers of an Inquisition codex may have some bearing on this codex. (like moving from Daemonhunters to Grey Knights)

Recent Sisters of Battle News
via Enigwolf on dakka (thanks for the links)
I attended all of the Design sessions and because there weren't many people around, I manage to have very good, long conversions with Phil Kelly, Jervis Johnson, Guy Haley, and Jes Goodwin. I asked almost all of them about SoBs, and from the sounds of it it's not in the pipeline anytime soon. However, Phil Kelly has expressed interest in it, although he really wants to work on the IG 'dex because there's a certain "human" element to it missing from all the other races. He also mentioned that there are 3 Citadel Designers who have full SoB armies as their main army, and reassured me that they're still around. It's apparently also hard to "get rid" of a dex's contents once introduced, so no fear of Codex: Black Templars, etc. becoming a supplement. I prodded him more about how Witchhunter and Daemonhunters became Codex: GK, and he told me he wasn't involved in that, but it was an oddity within the office. 

Oh yeah, one last thing about the Sisters of Battle. According to Phil Kelly, the reason why they never got plastic minis was because they couldn't be plastic moulded by the current process. He wasn't really sure what the issue was, but there was something about the sculpt which meant that it could only be cast in metal. Presumably this led to declining SoB sales and a lack of development in them as a result.

41 Comments:

  1. I seem to remember that the phrase used about the SoB plastics was that they were problematic given the techniques and restrictions at that time...

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    1. Which judging by Dark Vengeance and newer plastic kits:
      They have solved :D

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    2. That always seemed like a cop-out to me, especially in light of their newer plastics (Dark Eldar, anyone?) not to mention the quality of offerings from other companies.

      I'm not surprised by SoB getting sidelined by flagship armies like Chaos, Orks, Eldar, and Marines, though.

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    3. The Sisters have a lot of small details (rosary beads, details on the shoulder pads), not to mention things like the sleeves that they want to let us be able to pose in a hanging position regardless of arm orientation, that pose issues due to undercuts, and bits that would inevitably be trapped in the mold if they tried casting it.

      With the push to more detailed CAD sculpting they're able to work smaller, get even more detail in there and better break the model apart but they still have to go through phases of testing molds and then testing model assembly. And only once everyone is working off the same kit (for the pictures in the codex and online, the WD team for the Battle Reports, ect) will they actually continue forward design wise.

      I'm sure this kind of thing has already been sorted by now, but even 5 years ago, it's hard to say GW had the technology, and the know how to do it.

      Plus thanks to the Hobbit they have that smaller tooling for sculpting with which means the detail on the Sisters should be outstanding for their eventual release.

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  2. I remember something along those lines as well. But even if the old models could not be converted to plastic or resin (and I would argue that they could) new technologies would allow an updated line of models to be produced.

    Obviously, if they expanded the range (ie not having an SoB squad available for every FOC slot) there would need to be resculpts. But even then I would bet that many of the models would only need relatively minor attention.

    That said, I have always wanted one of these armies, even if it's only an allied detachment. I've always been impressed with the "look and feel" of these angry battle chicks in power armor, leather, and heavy flamers... something about them titillates my senses...

    I've just never been too impressed by the repetitive nature of the metal minis. I am resolved to be the patient hunter, and save up for their eventual release.

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    1. "But even then I would bet that many of the models would only need relatively minor attention."

      The thing is to move from metal models to plastics requires an entire new sculpt regardless. You cannot just convert from metal to plastic. Finecast and Metal use a similar method, both are actually CAST from a hand sculpted original (called a master), they just use different materials, so switching to Finecast only requires replacing the molds with new ones on a different material.

      To DRASTICALLY oversimplify its like deciding to switch from drywall to hardwood panel walls. You swapped the material, and you're using different screws, but its the same process.

      Plastic is very different. The new plastics process starts with a digital (CAD) sculpt that gets chopped up in computer to make the sprue base. This is then injection molded (or maybe spin-molded, I'm not sure which process GW uses.)

      Even if they just 3D scanned the old metal masters into the computer they would still be a lot of work to touch up the designs and cut them up into a workable sprue (and, frankly would be nearly as much work as making new ones from scratch for a very subpar product considering the new CAD sculpts are leagues ahead of the old hand sculpted ones).

      To continue my poor analogy, it would be like switching to brick walls, your still building a wall, but every tool you need is different.

      Sadly there is no version of C:SoB that doesn't require basically starting from scratch. (Working on the assumption that GW would prefer to have new plastic minis rather than re-release all the old metal mini's as Finecast.)

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    2. Thanks this was very informative

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    4. Yes, very informative indeed, and I appreciate your insight. GW should start some of the models from scratch, but that isn't exactly what I said.

      I am aware of the process of going from a model's original sculpt through the various phases of mold making, and I am amazed at how complicated that process is. My point remains that since there are so relatively few distinctively different metal models that really need to stay in the SOB range, converting a number of them to finecast would still require relatively minor attention (ie. St Celestine and maybe some of the priests). Most of these you only need one of, so finecast would be acceptable to most gamers. But there are many "current" models that could be dropped in favor of newly designed versions *based on the concept art of the originals (common battle sisters or the penitent engine, for example).

      We can all admit that while very cool, most of the range of models in that army sorely need a refresh. I agree that they cannot simply switch from making metal minis to making the exact same mini in plastic, in fact, I hope they don't.

      Complexity of re-tooling aside, the range needs to be expanded and that is not possible if they simply rehash the same old models in a different material, and that means new sculpts. This can be done relatively quickly using a technology called rapid prototyping and injection moulding.

      And designers still developing any kind of highly detailed miniature or fine relief products in a CAD environment *should* go extinct in the next couple of years, if they haven't already. The subtractive method of slicing and "carving" models out using CAD is 80's technology. The competition from other rapid prototyping developers using additive manufacturing for prototyping is too fierce. Ideas can become models in a mere day or two.

      I do however appreciate the reminder of how complicated the current process at GW is, and I think GW is reluctant to change quickly because as you said, it will require a lot of new tools and processes and that costs money.

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    5. (Apparently I went way over the word limit so this is gonna be in two parts)

      First off, I agree that most, if not all of the SoB line, while aesthetically very good, needs to be entirely reculpted. We agree there.

      Minor technical quibble; GW actually does use rapid prototyping (also known as 3D printing to people following this back and forth) to produce their new masters. The new Finecast models (by new I mean the new sculpts such as the new Necron, Tau, Eldar etc characters, not the old metals that have been converted) are clearly CAD designed and then molds taken from the 3D printed masters.

      You're insinuation that they need to switch technologies is, I think mistaken. THey aren't using '80's technology', they are using cutting edge technology.

      They use the exact same 3D modelling programs used by film and video game companies to create the originals on computer (thats the CAD part; Computer Assisted Design) and then have a computer controlled machine router either produce the molds (in the case of the injection molded plastic), or they 3D print the master and take silicon molds (in the case of Finecast, which they then sully my praise of them by using the shittiest resin I've ever seen, but thats a different issue).

      They literaly use the "rapid prototyping and injection moulding" that you are arguing they need to switch to.

      Its not a technological problem that is the backlog.

      Here's the problem;

      The thing is that PRODUCING the models, in terms of creating physical toys, is not the bottleneck in the creation process. You're right when you say that you can go from a digital sculpt to a product in a mere few days.

      That's not, and never was, the time consuming part.


      The bottleneck is that GW has a limited number of sculptors to do their 3D modelling to make the new sculpts.

      It actually take a LOT of time to do the original sculpt, and thats true regardless of who you talk to. Go check the credits of a big action flick like Pacific Rim or Iron Man 3, look at the dozens, sometimes hundreds of sculptors they need. Its the exact same technology but the GW ones get sculpted and then go on to the getting rigged for sprues stage, whereas the film ones then proceed to getting rigged, textured and lighted for animation.

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    6. (2nd part)

      When it comes down to it GW has limited resources and SoB just aren't that high on the priority list. I'm going to make up numbers here to illustrate my point.

      Lets say that currently GW has 200 new sculpts that need to be done. Ranging from re-doing all the SoB models to filling holes in the product line like the DE Voidraven Bomber and the Tyranid Harpy and Mycetic Spore. (This is probably actually way to small a number but whatever, lets go with it).

      Lets also say they have 10 sculptors who can produce one new sculpt each every month. (Again I have no idea how many sculptors they actually have or how long it takes but a month is probably actually way faster than the actuallity).

      At this rate it will take them 10 months to crunch through all their backlog. But they also have to produce new content, like the Riptide, Wraithknight etc, so lets double that out to a full 20 months.

      GW needs to balance what is the best investment on the time of those sculptors. Making a new Sisters Repentia kit takes about the same amount of time as replacing an aging Imperial Guard kit, or Space Marines. Which, however, will sell more kits and therefore make more money relative to the time invested?

      GW has taken a look at the financials and decided that, for now SoB aren't worth the expense. It sucks, but their not wrong.

      To play devil's advocate, which would be better (LONG TERM) for the company;

      Producing a bunch of SoB kits that are basically just re-hashes of what we have now with mediocre rules because none of the rules and fluff writers seems to be able to wrap their head around the idea of kick ass women who are more than just sex symbols.

      OR

      Waiting patiently for someone on the design team to get fired up about them and they can do a serious re-launch along the lines of Dark Eldar and Necrons?

      Its a question of 6th Ed CSM (which, while ok, didn't address the wants or desires of the old fans and hasn't made much of a splash outside Helldrake spam) versus 5th Ed Dark Eldar and Necrons (which have both had amazing sales and wildly positively reviewed codexs, well at least until 6th hit and Nightscythes became horribly imbalanced).

      I'm not saying its RIGHT. I think GW has their priorities mixed up and is too far out of touch with the fans to predict what would sell well at all. But I can see their logic.

      I do think they need to hire some female writers though. Its seriously a sausage-fest in their design team and it REALLY shows in the fluff and writing. Oi.

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    7. I'm a close friend of one of the sculptors at GW, an engineer myself whos applied for a number of jobs within GWs moulding processes and own at least 2 old white dwarfs with some details of the process SculptureOverdose has it mostly right.

      The only things slightly out is that many plastic models are sculpted by hand and then uploaded to CAD software via photographs taken (probably the same cameras as produce the 360 images of painted models) the mould engineers (one of the jobs I applied for) work with the software to tidy up the 3d Models and liaise with the original sculptor to produce the mould.
      The second point is the time scales you estimate are grossly underestimated.
      Once the model is broken up on the sprue it can take several attempts (sometime into double figures) to then produce a working mould for injection moulding.
      Each attempt can take days of CNC milling to make and that's just for testing you then need to make the actual moulds for use in manufacturing.
      Add to that the length of a sculpting project can be much greater than a month maybe as much as 10 months or even more.
      It's clear that to rebuild a whole army is going to be something that will need some serious thinking about especially when the army have some serious flaws in it's design (I.E. armoured boobs) to overcome. It's not a surprise sisters are on the back burner.

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    8. Wow, I figured I was underestimating but I didn't think it was by that much.

      As a hand sculptor myself its nice to know that GW hasn't completely forsaken the art. Thanks for the clarifications.

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    9. Games workshop need to invest in 3d printing i feel.

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  3. Sisters and Templars getting new codexes soon? Quick, pinch me, I must be dreaming.

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  4. So....how about those Squats....

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    1. and what about those other weird abhumans in the back of the 6th edition rulebook? Hope they get some love come IG time.

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  5. Metal has been the big barrier between me and a Sisters army. I fa new codex means plastic models then I am for sure jumping on that bandwagon.

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    1. Same here, this is the army that I wanted since I started playing not long ago...but there's just too many barriers to playing them. Plastic and a new codex would make a happy gamer, and I'd drop my current armies to play them for sure.

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  6. GW is STILL using injection molding equipment thats dated. Yes they are now using cad designed models, But still the old 2 plate system
    . Till GW invest in the newer technology they are going to be limited on quality and limited to some degree on what they can produce.

    On a side note 3d printing by top of the line machines has now progressed to the point where you can not only "print" models BUT you can now print molds for resin casting. Sadley GW is dead set on making everything plastic which envoles a lot of money and time per mold set. It may sound as plastic is state of the art but it really is not at least in the case of minitures.

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    1. I sincerely hope they stay using plastic. It is good to work with, reliable quality and good detail. (GW) resin is hard to work with, full of errors and the increase in quality is only noticeable if painted very well ( which is not the par where in from)

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    2. @ Unknown

      3D printing is great on quality, not so much on time and cost. Unless you want every miniature to double in price or more its better that GW stick with plastic.

      3D printing will get there unfortunately, no doubt about that, but its not there yet and wont be for quite a few more years.

      @Phillip

      The Finecast mini's aren't 3D printed (if they were they wouldn't need a sprue network). Resin mini's SHOULD be superior, but for some reason GW has decided that it needs to add filler beads into its resin which weakens it substantially.

      While this ostensibly cuts costs resin isn't that expensive in the first place and it drastically increases their returns and miscasts. I'm really not sure why they do it, and I'm a sculptor and caster myself. When garage based outfits like Strange Aeons and Chapterhouse can produce better quality resin for the same price it frankly flummoxes me that GW can't do it for cheaper and better considering all the economics of scale.

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    3. That's great information from all above. A little sad it sounds like it's still a ways off, but really I already have a sizeable (metal) sisters army. What I really want are the rules. I've made mmy own, but obviously can't use them outside of a friendly game. And of course I'm going to buy the new models when they come out (along with the Raging Heroes girls)

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  7. White Dwarf is next week, where's the lizardmen rumors?

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  8. Wow, this week of rumours has been amazing so far! Inqusition, SOB and BT! Can it get any better?

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  9. "Phil Kelly has expressed interest in it, although he really wants to work on the IG 'dex because there's a certain "human" element to it missing from all the other races." Pretty much confirmation Phil is doing the upcoming IG codex :) Always wanted to start a Guard army, not I have the perfect excuse!

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  10. And so the BIG rumour is...

    Parroting what was said three years ago.

    Sorry, that isn't a news or rumour, it's just repeating the only thing GW has said about the Sisters for the past few years.
    There is nothing new or even vaguely important here at all.

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  11. I'm exited to hear that my sisters are not abandoned. But now I wonder if I would get new plastic models given the new prices. I already have 60 sisters. But I would want the new looking models...

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    1. Sadly, I see statement about us as a society in your statement... Now that your "girls" are getting older, you want the newer, better looking ones... {smile}

      I agree though, the only reason I don't have a sisters army right now is because the models and rules are a bit dated. But even the old ones are still awesome.

      I wonder if hey come in blue? (Tau Joke)

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    2. Tbh, ill probably do what I did with my dark eldar army. Buy one unit of the new troops and use them as the elite versions.

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  12. Daemonhunters & Witch hunters need to be able to be used in SoB armies again. Entire army needs to be recast in plastic with lots of new models. I would have bought a sisters of battle army years ago but GW's continuous lack of attention for it has prevented me from doing so.

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    1. Why not have repeat entries of them in the SoB book in a similar way the Harlequins were shared between Eldar and Dark Eldar Codex?

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  13. Daemonhunters & Witch hunters need to be able to be used in SoB armies again. Entire army needs to be recast in plastic with lots of new models. I would have bought a sisters of battle army years ago but GW's continuous lack of attention for it has prevented me from doing so.

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    1. Sisters are coming. Even sounds like they're breathing real hard. (Wait... Was that a moan?). :-D Seriously, quit yer bitching. Sisters will show up eventually, just like everything else. Be patient. Unless you have a terminal disease and a known, limited time left to live, this is awesome news!

      Wow, there's no pleasing some people...

      :-)

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  14. The apostrophe in the title is bugging me.

    I know it shouldn't be, but it is.

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  15. I still think a joint inquisition codex would work best. HQ choices include GK and SOB commanders and characters, Deathwatch Captain and Inquisitors that can adhere to one of the three ordos. Each HQ unlocks corresponding codex options (brother captain and Malleus Inquisitior unlock GK's, and so on). There are some units available to all (inquisition stormtroopers etc). I think it was GKs being stretched out to fill a whole codex that led to all the present silliness.

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  16. One thing I hope Citadel learns how to do for new Sisters of Battle models:

    Learn how to model women!

    No more East German athletes with six packs please.

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  17. To reiterate what Frog Queen has said:

    If you've been following the SoB rumor train from way back, you'll notice that the Studio has been spouting the very same talking points for the Sisters back to before the WD codex was released:

    - Difficulties with sculpting the models.
    - Sisters will not be dropped.

    with the exception of everything being 5th ed back then.

    While the gripe about sculpting the models (flowing robes in particular) may be a real one, does anyone really think that GW will admit to dropping an army?

    Of course not. Why would they want to drop whatever money they're making from rabid fanboys/hopeless optimists/uninformed customers? As well as any remaining goodwill from that part of their customer base?

    They'll own up to dropping the Sisters someday. Maybe when the moulds finally break down, or something.

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    1. I don't think that Sisters have been dropped, but the above rumor suggests that they're not being worked on. The Boys of GW expressed interest in them, but it sounds an awful lot like nothing is being done on them beyond saying: "Yeah, that was a cool army."

      Sounds like they're a real low priority and maybe GW is stuck less on appearance and modeling than where to go with the army. If they aren't quick on this, they're going to get undercut by third parties.

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    2. Third parties can undercut them on the models, but not the rules, codex or even the eventual new toys. Even if 3rd party stuff comes out the lack of the codex will cause Sisters to sell when they finally make it out. Namely because not everyone knows where to find the rules now that they're out of print or is going to bother.

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