Start Collecting Stormcast Eternals: Thunderstrike Brotherhood

Last Updated on August 5, 2020 by FauxHammer

It’s been out for a while now, but in this Start Collecting Stormcast Eternals: Thunderstrike Brotherhood review, Rob argues that not only are the Stormcast Eternals a woefully misunderstood faction, but also that this box is a must-have for any brand-new hobbyist.

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Stormcast Eternals: Thunderstrike Brotherhood Review – Summary

In spite of the faction’s mixed reception within the Warhammer community, the Start Collecting! Stormcast Eternals Thunderstrike Brotherhood may well be the best place to enter Age of Sigmar for a new hobbyist.

Stormcast Eternals: Thunderstrike Brotherhood – Introduction

Alright, I get it. Stormcast Eternals are boring and loads of people think so.

Let me tell you a story.

When I first started considering collecting in the Age of Sigmar, I turned to a colleague at my place of work for advice. I knew they collected miniatures from across various ranges, so who better to start with? I had seen some Stormcast Eternals on the internet and had picked up a copy of the Getting Started with Warhammer: Age of Sigmar magazine, mainly for the mini that came with it. I liked the look of the gold-and-blue warriors and shared my thoughts with my friend.

Start Collecting Stormcast Eternals Thunderstrike Brotherhood Review Age of Sigmar Getting Started Magazine

Getting Started with Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, designed to, er, get you started.

He snorted into his drink so hard he had to wipe Diet Coke out of his eyes.

Through laughter and carbonated tears, he informed me that Stormcast Eternals were, without doubt, the most boring faction to build and paint ever created by Games Workshop. “They’re all just so dull!” he said, before telling me to stop wasting my time and to get something interesting and fun like Kharadon Overlords or, better yet, scrap Age of Sigmar altogether and buy some 40K stuff instead. When I told a Seraphon-collecting friend of mine I was planning on getting some of the God-King’s finest, he simply looked at me like I was an idiot.

It was an attitude I found myself repeatedly stumbling across on the internet as well: painters and modellers frustrated that Games Workshop was spending so much time pushing the Stormcast Eternals faction congregated in corners of Reddit and on DakkaDakka’s message boards, complaining about the uninspired look of the “big armour guys” and their generally “lacklustre” appearance.

Start Collecting Stormcast Eternals Thunderstrike Brotherhood Box
Start Collecting Stormcast Eternals Thunderstrike Brotherhood The Thunderstrike Brotherhood box in all its blue-and-gold glory.

Determined to prove my pals wrong and simultaneously hypnotised by the colour gold, I took the plunge with the Start Collecting! Stormcast Eternals Thunderstrike Brotherhood box – which, once upon a time, came with a handful of Khorne miniatures in the the original Age of Sigmar Starter Set.

I spent happy hours with fingers covered in glue and blue paint, and as soon as I was done, I was on eBay tracking down people selling job-lots of Liberators and Sequitors. When lockdown hit the UK, I had dozens of little grey Stormcast figures assembled and waiting to be painted. I knew I would survive.

After five months of collecting from across the Warhammer range, maturing as a hobbyist, and developing as a painter – and now with a small horde of eBay purchases, several issues of the Mortal Realms magazine, and one Thunderstrike Brotherhood boxed set under my belt to boot – I have learned that the Thunderstrike Brotherhood box is a miracle of miniatures, and that my friends, like a large chunk of the internet, are wrong and will not be asked for their stupid opinions again.

Before we get into the Thunderstrike Brotherhood box in earnest, a little must be said about the Stormcast Eternals’ faction design as a whole and its quiet brilliance. So, let’s starts with the Liberator.

Stormcast Eternals: Thunderstrike Brotherhood – Box Contents

The Stormcast Eternals: Thunderstrike Brotherhood Box contains the following models.

  • 1 x Lord-Celestant on Dracoth
  • 1 x Lord-Relictor
  • 3 x Retributors
  • 10 x Liberators (including 2 Liberator-Primes)
  • 3 x Prosecutors

Stormcast Eternals: Thunderstrike Brotherhood – Models

The Liberator is the fundamental man-in-armour, the backbone of the Stormcast Eternals, and the root design of all other units in the Stormcast Eternals range. They are intended to be to Age of Sigmar what the humble Space Marine is to 40K – and the overall design of the miniature is a thinly-veiled, high-fantasy homage to the iconic cosmic crusader. These plucky fellows, armed with either swords or hammers and clad in their signature heavy plate armour, are the archetype Stormcast Eternal unit.

Start-Collecting-Stormcast Eternals Thunderstrike Brotherhood Review Liberators
The Liberator: as basic as it gets.

They are basic. They are stripped back. They are straightforward and easy-to-follow: big dudes in big armour with big weapons and big colours; heroic, holier-than-thou warriors pulled from the Stereotype Fantasy Good Guys Barrel, much to Nagash’s ire – though why baffles me (honestly, can you imagine these people at parties?).

The Liberators’ aesthetic lacks teeth (both figuratively and, in the Warhammer universe, very literally), and this is where the problem many experienced collectors have with Stormcast Eternals begins.

The fundamental design – that Liberator in his gold armour – forms the basis for every other model in the Stormcast Eternal range. Retributors are just Liberators but with bigger pauldrons, heftier weapons, and backpacks. Slap a couple of wings on the back of a Liberator? You’ve got yourself a Prosecutor. Paint his knees blue and you’ve got yourself a Knight-Questor.

The most lacklustre switch-up of all, though, has to be the Judicator. Let’s call them what they are: Liberators with bows.

Start Collecting Stormcast Eternals Thunderstrike Brotherhood Review Judicators
Liberators with bows, sold as Judicators.

For the advanced painter looking to hone their skills, or someone searching for a faction with an array of models, there’s little joy to be found in the Stormcast Eternal range.

It is an unfortunate mark against them.  It is as if someone brought a box of Chaos Warriors, cut of all the pointy bits, glued them onto their bases and called it done. They’re Slaves to Darkness and Blades of Khorne but with all the skulls, the scars, and the endless buckets of gore removed – all the bits that make those factions what they are, and what keeps the hobby exciting and evolving for tried-and-tested collectors.

Liberators are Fireslayers without beards, Orruks without tusks, Ogors without gargantuan, swollen stomachs. What do Sigmar’s poster boys have instead? Parchment. Parchment!

Start Collecting Stormcast Eternals Thunderstrike Brotherhood - Painted Retributor
The Stormcast’s dangly bits of parchment look like the trailing bits of bog roll you get stuck to the bottom of your shoe when leaving a public bathroom.

The lack of variation from model to model will have even the most dedicated followers of Sigmar with their head in their hands, lamenting the differences – or, rather, chronic lack of – there are between the units available to them, as they find themselves unable to remember if the model in their hand came out of the Lord-Veritant or the Lord-Castellant box. And yet this model-to-model similarity, whilst frustrating for middling or advanced painters looking to further develop their skills, is a quietly brilliant feature of the Stormcast Eternals, and one that is so excellently realised in the Thunderstrike Brotherhood box.

For the beginner hobbyist, the Stormcast Eternals are the perfect faction, and the Stormcast Thunderstrike box is quite possibly the best place to not only start collecting Stormcast Eternals, but to enter the hobby as a whole.

The reason for this is the aforementioned familiarity in the design of the models – that source of such ire for some – and those models included in this box (a Lord-Celestant on Dracoth, a Lord-Relictor, three Prosecutors, three Retributors, and 10 Liberators, including two Liberator-Primes) take full advantage of this, as we shall see.

Stormcast Eternals: Thunderstrike Brotherhood – Points

Each model has the following points cost

  • 1 x Lord-Celestant on Dracoth – 200 points (260 if used as Vandus Hammerhand)
  • 1 x Lord-Relictor – 100 points
  • 3 x Retributors – 120 points (worked out as 200 points for 5)
  • 10 x Liberators (including 2 Liberator-Primes) – 180 points in total (90 per every 5 miniatures)
  • 3 x Prosecutors – 90 points

Stormcast Eternals: Thunderstrike Brotherhood – Building

As an untested and largely clueless novice hobbyist, I followed the assembly guide that came with the Thunderstrike Brotherhood page-by-page and started with the handful of Liberators.

Start Collecting Stormcast Eternals Thunderstrike Brotherhood - Instructions

Using a pair of Citadel snippers and a mould line remover, I had no problems getting everything off the sprue without any disasters.

As I was going, I got to know the models. I began to learn their shapes and the patterns in their construction. Piecing together the Liberators was a brilliant confidence-building exercise for a brand-new hobbyist like I was – the models in the Start Collecting! kits are not as idiot-proof as the push-fit miniatures and are assembled with glue, which allows for just enough variable options to give the newly-initiated the freedom they need to make their first units their own.

Having assembled the simple Liberators, the logical progression – and that exemplified in the assembly guide – is to the Retributors. There are a handful of slightly fiddlier bits on these models (their backpacks, for example), but nothing a new hobbyist can’t handle. Once they are conquered, hammers in hands and glowering out from beneath their helmets, the Prosecutors await. Once the Prosecutors have spread their wings, it’s on to the Lord-Relictor and finally the Lord-Celestant on Dracoth; both models have their details, their foibles and their quirks, and the latter will likely be the first larger model a novice builder has attempted – and yet it is not too intimidating in its size.

Start Collecting Stormcast Eternals Thunderstrike Brotherhood - Liberators

Every step of the assembly process was another step up a gentle learning curve.

The fact these models have been chosen for inclusion is clever: the familiar Liberator shape transfers from model to model, but the handful of small differences from unit to unit keeps challenging the novice builder and requires slightly more thought each time – but is never so much as to be intimidatingly difficult. For a beginner, confidence grows with each successful model built, and before long, and without too much trouble, you’ll have eighteen warriors ready for a splash of colour.

Stormcast Eternals: Thunderstrike Brotherhood – Painting

When it comes to painting, there is nothing better to start with than a Liberator: easy shapes, few colours, familiar textures, and just enough details on the shields and shoulderpads to begin honing those finer painting skills. The models are just detailed enough to be a challenge, yet not so detailed as to be intimidating – and this is where the beauty of the box and the genius of the Stormcast Eternal faction really begins to shine.

If you can paint a Liberator – and, if you’ve got the Stormcast Thunderstrike Brotherhood box, you’ve got ten to practice on – then you can easily conquer anything else in the box, and have a good crack at painting any unit in the Stormcast Eternal range.

There are new techniques to be learned with each new model as you progress through the Thunderstrike Brotherhood box, but that familiar Liberator shape is similar enough to keep the newly initiated comfortable whilst testing their skills with small variations on painted details. Suddenly, that samey, copy-paste base design of that humble Liberator becomes genius for building the confidence of new painters.

As they were with their construction, Retributors and Prosecutors are familiar to paint, and there is nothing so radically new on either model so that they become intimidating. Then, the hero units have just enough new details on them to keep pushing the new painter, whilst simultaneously not being so unfamiliar as to be daunting. My Lord-Relictor, pictured , is straight from this set, is one of my favourite models to date.

Miniature LED Portable Photo Studio Lord Relictor

Once the Thunderstrike Brotherhood are battle-ready (the inclusion of each unit’s warscroll in the box ensures they are just so), which at eighteen miniatures is not too strenuous a task, the entire range awaits. Sequitors and Evocators are a logical stepping stone from the Start Collecting! box: throw in some cloth robes, begin working on edge highlighting and, of course, shading. The entire Stormcast Eternals faction is suddenly within the grasp of the novice painter.

Stormcast Eternals: Thunderstrike Brotherhood – Price and Availability

As mentioned above, the Thunderstrike Brotherhood box has been around for a while. Initially sold alongside a cohort of Khorne warriors in the Age of Sigmar Starter Set, a boxed game detailing the first incursions of the Realmgate Wars, the Stormcast and Khorne halves of the boxed game have since been split into their own respective Start Collecting! boxes. Whilst the Stormcast bits are now sold as the Thunderstrike Brotherhood, whilst the Khorne units are now called the Khorne Bloodbound Goreblade Warband (try saying that ten times really fast).

Start Collecting Stormcast Eternals Thunderstrike Brotherhood Review Age of Sigmar Starter Set
Cross out all the mean-looking dudes in red armour on the right-hand side of the old starter box and you’ve got the Thunderstrike Brotherhood.

Given how much Games Workshop have pushed the Stormcast Eternal range over the last few years, you won’t be surprised to find that most hobby retailers with a dedicated Age of Sigmar section will likely stock it.

My local Games Workshop had them in excess, and online retailers such as Element Games have a habit of keeping them in stock or on order, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble getting one from your favourite hobby retailer. Prices are usually between £40-£50 ($50-$65 USD) plus shipping, which, given that buying all the units separately would set you back somewhere in the region of £140/$175, makes the Thunderstrike Brotherhood box a steal.

Stormcast Eternals: Thunderstrike Brotherhood – Final Thoughts

Straightforward to build
Easy to paint
Conversion/kitbash opportunities
Perfect for beginners
Great overall value
Readily available
“Illegal” unit sizes
Little variation between units

There is a real unappreciated genius to the design of Sigmar’s reforged warriors that is truly realised in the Stormcast Eternal Thunderstrike Brotherhood. Points to consider, though, are what you want from the box: people looking to get their dice out and their models onto the tabletop will find that some of the units – here’s looking at you, Retributors – are below “legal” unit size. According to the rules, a unit of Retributors has to contain five models, so this box leaves you two short which, depending on who you’re playing with and how much of a stickler you are for the rules, might be a setback for you. The set comes in around 700 points with its quirks (those being the option to field your Lord-Celestant on Dracoth as Vandus Hammerhand for an additional 60 points, and the issues associated with being two Retributors shy of a “legal” unit), so it does just about form the good basis for a nearly tabletop ready army.

The design of the minis found in the Stormcast Eternals Thunderstrike box is, as discussed above, underrated. Whilst more experienced painters looking to add to their collections, as well as die-hard Old World fans, may see as the models’ weaknesses, are the faction’s strengths for the newbie: the fact each model is so straightforward in its design and similar to the next means that they are the perfect range for the newcomer, whilst simultaneously the skilled hobbyist can create some truly incredible conversions, and in a truly talented pair of hands, even the unassuming Sequitor can become a thing of true beauty – take a look at Longleaf Miniatures’ incredible Dark Souls-inspired Lion-Knights of Sigmar.

The Thunderstrike Brotherhood box is, without doubt, one of the best items currently available to the new hobbyist. Whilst skilled painters or builders looking to push themselves and take their hobby to the next level may not find exactly what they are looking for in this box, and would, perhaps, be better picking specific models from the range to meet their requirements, Stormcast Eternals Thunderstrike Brotherhood set is, for anyone looking to get into the creative side of Age of Sigmar or the Warhammer hobby as a whole, the perfect place to start.

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Start Collecting Stormcast Eternals Thunderstrike Brotherhood
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Start Collecting Stormcast Eternals Thunderstrike Brotherhood
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Rob has spent most of the last 20 years playing World of Warcraft and writing stories set in made-up worlds. At some point, he also managed to get a Master's degree by writing about Medieval zombies.

3 thoughts on “Start Collecting Stormcast Eternals: Thunderstrike Brotherhood

  • August 5, 2020 at 6:46 pm

    Cracking review and I have enjoyed building and painting the stormcast models. Look forward to future reviews ??

  • August 8, 2020 at 12:21 pm

    Great review sir! I myself have worked through 3 of these boxes if only to get my hands on the Lord-Relicators. It’s a nice change to see someone defending(?); maybe too strong a word, but at least not being overly critical on the Golden Boys as if it’s a hobby in it’s own right.

    You mention the lack of ‘pointy bits, skulls & gore’, but this is one of the main attractions to the faction for myself. I look at the baroque styled armour of Chaos Space Marines or the Custodes, turn my attention back towards the humble Liberator, and find a new appreciation for the clean lines of their armour.

    All the best for your next review :)

  • August 19, 2020 at 10:23 am

    Really enjoyed reading that, factual, enlightening, interesting and humurous, not an easy combination to achieve.
    Well done sir


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