My first interview for this hobbyist blog series is someone you will more than likely know if you’ve been in the Warhammer 40k, and the Horus Heresy community for some time. The Outer Circle is known best for his YouTube channel on such series as ‘What Broke the Fans’, ‘The Weekly Scrubdown’, ‘The Horus Heresy 2.0: Getting Started in the Age of Darkness’ and various topical videos on Games Workshop business practices and the community.
I wanted to create this post to not only hear from TOC opinion on The Horus Heresy, but to also learn how it all started for TOC, and where the future will go from here.
I hope you’ll enjoy this interview as much as I have. Let’s begin…
1) First of all, what got you started into the hobby, and what was your first army you’ve collected?
I had a relative who visited the UK bring me back some models, which I painted awfully as I was gifted just 3 paints, Blood Red, Ultarmarines Blue and Skull White and a far-too-large paint brush. After some stop-start I eventually ended up with Thousand Sons or Tzeentch aligned marines back in the heady days of late 2nd edition.
2) How did you get into the Horus Heresy, and what was that era like during the time when Forge World was producing it?
The Horus Heresy was an era I never imagined being actually covered. I had a friend, John, who ran a page called ‘The Painting Bunker’, a brilliant little blog, and he was producing some fantastic stuff which was starting to inform my own hobbying. I saw his work with Badab and the Charcaradons and his use of the Forge World Power Armour sets. So I decided that I would do something like that, taking the Forge World armours, namely MK II, and converting it with bits from Kromlech, Puppets War, Scibor etc. and created a heresy-like red Thousand Sons force led by a converted Scibor miniature as my Magnus the Red, and placed onto Secret Weapon Miniatures bases. The army was a real passion project, despite being hindered by being tied to the awful 40k Chaos codexes.
At about the time I finished up, the first Horus Heresy book was announced, and I was amazed that it was happening, and then I saw the miniatures, the quality, the painting style, and it felt so different, so much more realistic, and it hooked me. I was also reading the very new (at that time) heresy novel series throughout my army building, and it had a big impact on me. It was a golden time, where 40k was in a rough spot, with codexes being either awful or overpowered, and no in-between, with the cost of models being far lower at Forge World due to exchange rates, and the books were roughly the same cost, a 350 page black book from world was the same price as a “limited edition” codex with 80 pages. We saw a solid 5 or 6 years of cosntant releases, and continually high-quality books, which didn’t really change until we hit book VI/VII and the plastics released alongside a new direction for 40k with Primaris and the Last Chance to Buy nuking the hobby.
Up until that point, the community was amazing, and I really didn’t devolve into the ‘salt merchant’ until that 2016/17 era where first I targeted 40k as it was slipping, and then sadly had to start targeting 30k, because I felt too many people were being willfully blind to the very real (in my eyes) issues that affected our very large, and very real collections.
3) Now that the Horus Heresy current edition is over 6 months on, what are your thoughts on the current progress with the model range, rules support and community engagement?
The current version of the game is in a far worse place compared to the balance in the original game at the same point in time. I think the inclusion of many rules with a clear lack of playtesting, such as Brutal, Reactions and changes to Dreadnoughts upset the balance because it was performed far too late in the development cycle to be effectively worked with, and true to form, Games Workshop is highly reluctant to rectify their faults. There are a great many glaring issues which are a single sentence FAQ away from being resolved, but sadly aren’t, because that would require actual effort. For example, the Raven Guard have a key legion trait which applies to all of their jump infantry, which is rerolling 1’s to wound on the charge. Except all of the jump units have shredding weapons, in the form of chainswords or lightning claws, making the rule entirely redundant outside of niche units.
The kits as well have suffered from what I’ll call “impressive but not important” syndrome, where we keep getting tank models in particular, which are ill-suited to the basic requirements of the player base. People require troops units especially, namely Assault Marines, Despoilers, Breachers and Recon Marines, and instead we get multiple super-heavies which may make a 1-per-army appearance. It shows that sales are being placed ahead of the actual needs of the player base and brings out the inner cynic in me. I contrast this with heresy 1.0 which gave us Cataphractii, Tartarus, despoilers, assault marines, tactical marines, breachers and recon marines all in resin, in multiple armour types within the same span of time.
There can be a host of reasons for these issues, however, the issues persist and a concerted effort really needs to be made in the project management area when it comes to resolving the problem.
4) In comparison to Warhammer Age of Sigmar 1.0 supported transfer of all WHFB faction rules in PDF, and Warhammer 40k 8th ed having all factions updated in the Index books; what are your thoughts on GW deciding to space out rules support for factions in the Horus Heresy?
Considering how many less factions there are to account for, I can only put it down to laziness. If Games Workshop as a company performed thorough playtesting and did rapid and effective FAQ’ing of their work, I’d personally cut them a lot more slack. At the time of writing, however, we are at the tale end of February, the game dropped in May/June of the last year, and two of the big factions (Militia and Daemons) are both unplayable, whilst the company is releasing units like the Esoterist which directly use or work with those factions. It’s like some kind of sick joke.
5) Now that the Siege of Terra novel series is nearing its end, what do you forsee the future for the tabletop game?
I think the tabletop game is going to explore various warzones in 30k much like the warzones of 40k. In 40k you get a campaign book, and some new goodies, some must-haves to sell it, and 30k will likely copy this, with Siege of Cthonia being the first up my sources tell me. It makes me shake my head, because despite having a rich tapestry to draw from which is already established in the various books and novels, the writers/developers would rather come up with their own characters and campaigns rather than letting us play the most appealing scenarios we read about.
6) If you had three opportunities to choose any character, vehicle or faction specific units to be made in plastic, what would be your top three most wanted?
I’ try and make a tri-build unit, which includes Destroyers, Assault Marines and Despoilers first off, as it would be a huge boon to the players base. Preferably in MK II or V.
7) Final question relating to The Horus Heresy, what would you change if you were in charge, and how would you propose your pitch for 3.0 starter boxset?
If I were in charge I’d revert to more of a 1.0 style game, but bringing across some of the better 2.0 mechanics, such as psychic powers, the morale system etc. I would try and create a starter box of essential units, rather than cool toys like the Spartan, so perhaps Breachers vs Assault Marines, a clash of styles which anyone can utilise, and it plays nicely with the theme of defense (the Imperium) vs offence (the Warmaster). I would also try and make it as cheap as possible in order to make it more accessible as the gateway drug into the game.
I would also try to tailor my releases in such a way that there was more equal factional representation, the Daemons of the Ruinstorm currently have only Ruinstorm Brutes as their one and only unit available, which don’t’ really suit any of the daemonic factions from GW, and thus look a bit out of place. Sure, they have HQ options, but who honestly cares about the special characters. It’s a mess of an army currently, and that would need to be avoided with a well-planned release. Additionally, I think the game needs to stop trying to reinvent itself each release, that’s the trap GW has fallen into since 5th edition 40k, where rather than taking what works and keeping it, they try to rework the already working mechanics and miss half the ones that didn’t work, and without properly playtesting it, they just dump it onto the market. This is EASY to avoid, look at how ASOIAF was handled by CMON.
8) With Warhammer: The Old World in the works at GW, what are your thoughts on what has been revealed so far? What would you like to see from this edition of the game?
I think they should have just gone back to the Old World at the tail end of 8th edition fantasy. By going back in time, they are trying to invalidate people’s forces so that they HAVE to buy the new miniatures because units like Empire Handgunners won’t exist yet. It’s also a highly cynical move as they are trying to cash in on the success that Total Warhammer created, but don’t want to give us that world, and are giving it to us long after the Total Warhammer hype (3 is already over a year old) created. It’s like streaming services starting up in an already saturated market hoping to cash in on the trend.
9) Final question, what are your hobby goals for 2023, and what are your plans for your YouTube and Instagram content?
I would desperately love to get away from ‘salty’ sensational commentary. If, like with the latest price-hike, people wake up to the reality and complain, then I feel that my work is done. I don’t need to create a video swearing and chastising the company for their anti-consumer practices, because people are already aware. If people could do that more often, my content would become purely army showcases and talking about my hobby projects. I have a large Salamanders army for this edition, a small Raven Guard and Iron Warriors army, and I’m working on a unique project right now involving a missing legion. I’m also creating my own STL’s which I put up cheap on Cults3D just of the things that interest me, or that I see a need for, such as graviton shredders for the Iron Hands. I am far more interested in creating things than critiquing a toy manufacturer, but I feel I have a duty to perform since I’m lucky enough to have a platform and hence…. SALT.
Thank you TOC for taking your time to share your opinions on the subjects in this interview.
If you’d like to see more of The Outer Circles content, the links to the YouTube page and Instagram account are linked below:
I’ll be back soon with another interview post covering one of my favourite skirmish tabletop wargame, Fallout: Wasteland Warfare (which is a bit of a hint on who’s my next interview guest 😉).
Until next time,
3 thoughts on “An Interview with The Outer Circle”
The first interview is already your proof of concept, mate! I enjoyed reading this and I say that knowing next to nothing about Horus Heresy. I’m excited about the next interview (because I will know what’s going on!) and I’m curious to see who you talk to next 🙂 Keep up the great work!
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Thanks! Stat wise it’s not too good, but the interview regardless was a very fun time. Hopefully the next interview won’t be too long off once I’ve got the answers back to make into the next interview post. 🙂
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Sounds good and I’m looking forward to the next one! 🙂