Well, I guess it shows just how horribly out of touch I have become from my old hobby that I have only now learnt that last year Games Workshop finally killed off its ‘Specialist Games’ range entirely.
This doesn’t come as a huge surprise. I was already aware that GW was phasing out production of metal models in favour of a combination of plastic and resin. With the Specialist Games range having been essentially unsupported for years with only the existing back catalogue of models available by mail order, it was pretty much inevitable that GW would just pull the plug rather than try and shift production of the mostly-metal SG ranges over to resin casting. But even though I was aware it was going to happen sooner or later it took a year before I was aware that it actually had.
Inevitable it may have been, but it’s still a shame. The Specialist Games were the only wargames from GW I still had any real interest in. Epic, in particular, is (I believe) the best game GW ever made. With new models now completely unavailable, the game can only become increasingly obscure.
The difference this makes to my own Epic armies varies. My Chaos army is essentially done. I would still like to add a formation of Chaos Predators to it, but I would want to do those with the older style of Rhino chassis anyway, so either way I’d be looking to use OOP models, most likely from eBay.
My Titan legion is almost as close to being finished as the only things I want to add are a few more Warhounds with different weapon configurations. Once again I need to stick with the older Warhound Titan model for this army, partly for consistency with the rest of my army and partly because the E:A-era Warhound model was pretty dreadful. Fortunately, Imperial Titan models are quite common on eBay and I have already managed to acquire the last four titans that I need to finish the army. Whether I will ever get around to painting them remains to be seen.
I had been planning to paint up a number of Imperial Navy aircraft to support both my Titan Legion and any other Imperial armies I might put together at a later stage. I already have two flights of Thunderbolt fighter-bombers waiting to be painted so unless I were to start adding more aircraft that aren’t included in the army lists all that I’m missing is a pair of Marauder bombers. While it would be nice to have the option of taking a pair, I doubt I’d actually take them very often so I don’t miss them too badly.
More of a problem are my Eldar. Although I have a respectable force, the army is far from complete; there are many options in the army list for which I have no models. Some — a Warlock titan, for example — will not be too difficult to obtain second-hand. Others will be trickier. The various super-heavy grav tanks are rare, especially as I am not keen on the Epic 40,000-era versions of these models (nor on their older equivalents from the first two editions of the game) and would only really want the later E:A-era versions. I doubt I will ever find Shining Spear Aspect Warriors, although it may be possible to convert some based on ordinary jetbikes. And the old resin aircraft from Forge World will likely be either impossible to come by or at least prohibitively expensive.
Beyond this, any other plans for additional armies will probably have to be abandoned. Although it might well be possible to assemble an Imperial Space Marine army from OOP models, I would prefer to keep to the more modern styles of vehicles so as to differentiate them from my Chaos army and this would be difficult: most of the Space Marine models available second hand are older models. An Imperial Guard army might be a better bet, but would still be difficult.
Of course, I do have to wonder how much any of this should actually matter to me. I haven’t painted a single model for over two years. Although adding a few more units to an existing army is still something I might get around to (and, having just bought four Warhound Titans, I certainly hope so), there’s no way I’m going to put together a whole new army from scratch at this stage. It’s just not going to happen.
Lack of new models does mean that finding or recruiting new players is now harder, but in all honesty, that wasn’t something I was going to be doing anyway. At present and for the foreseeable future wargaming is an occasional hobby to be enjoyed with other gamers whom I already know. I don’t think I’m likely to be seeking out any new opponents any time soon.
Ultimately, the fact that it took me a year to even discover this news shows how small a part of my life this hobby has become, and therefore how big a deal this isn’t.