Games Workshop has been previewing a lot of the new plastic Sisters of Battle they are going to be releasing late this year and early 2020 with a full re-launch of the army. All of these previews have been good, building my hype for the eventual release, and have remained faithful to the spirit of the original models and art of Gothic battle nuns.
The latest preview though shows the Sisters Repentia, those of the orders who for various reasons are stripped of their rank and place and are then supposed to repent for their sins by flinging themselves into close combat with the enemy without any regard for self preservation but only seeking the forgiveness of death. They are closely related to the medieval phenomenon of the flagellants and are closely related in Warhammer 40,000 to the Arco-Flagellants.
A redesign is understandable. The old Sisters Repentia had rather a BDSM feel. While that certainly fit in with the over the top, 80s, Heavy Metal Magazine inspired art style large portions of the game stemmed from, as Games Workshop tries to expand into a more general market most factions are being toned down in one way or another. So half-naked BDSM nuns in corsets seem an obvious place where some cuts and redesigns could be made.
However the need for a redesign does not excuse a bad redesign. The new models seem to be wearing tank tops, track shorts and sneakers. When I think of members of a fanatical religious order in the far future who are attempting to purify themselves from previous sins the picture that really comes to my mind of is someone dressed like they are going to do twenty minutes on the treadmill at the local 24 Hour Fitness. The pose certainly doesn’t help in this either.
There were plenty of options to go with removing the corsets. Short simple dresses or tunics torn and battered from combat seems to being the obvious route that was somehow not taken. A return to some of Dan Blanche’s original art for a Sister Repentia would have also been an fun, and thematic, change.
So while I will certainly be picking up some of the new Sisters when they come out later this year I will be giving a hard pass to the new Repentia.