From their announcement:
At the very heart of the Warhammer world lies the Empire, the largest and most powerful of all the realms of Men. Beneath the resplendent banners of the Elector Counts march vast armies of proud warriors, every one of them ready to live, fight, and die for the glory of the Empire. It is these brave soldiers that defend the Empire from attack - from brutal hordes of Orcs, the shambling monsters of the Vampire Counts, and the endless legions of Chaos. With mighty war machines, regiments of stoic troops, the armoured might of thousands of knights, and the raw power of magic, the Empire has defeated countless foes a thousand times over.
We fight for Karl Franz and the glory of the Empire!
The armies of the Empire are an eclectic mix of warriors at the best of times, ranging from the unwashed common soldiery to the aloof Elector Counts. Your basic warriors, the State Troops, are professional soldiers, and for the most part they fight because the pay is good. Many of them will die on the field of battle, but this is nothing to be afraid of - there are plenty more civilians to take their places. Meanwhile, the nobility can do what they do best: charge into battle on mighty steeds, dispatch their foes with casual distain, and twirl their moustaches as the enemy flees into the distance. It's a glorious life.
The first thing you'll notice about the Empire army list is the sheer breadth of units available to you. Want to shoot the enemy to death from afar? Simply wheel out a couple of hefty cannons, an experimental rocket battery and enlist a few regiments of well-trained handgunners, and you've got a gun line that will strike fear in all but the most stalwart foe. Or perhaps you'd rather charge headlong into your enemies and give them a right royal thrashing in close combat? In which case, the Empire has plenty of knights for you to choose from, including the fantastically monstrous Demigryph knights.
Maybe you prefer magic to guns. The Empire has plenty of magic users, from Warrior Priests to Battle Wizards. They also have access to all eight Lores of Magic, so you've got a wide range of imaginative ways to annihilate your opponents. Oh, and don't forget all the monsters, too. While Empire Generals may not ride into battle on massive spiders or huge lizards they do have a fairly large menagerie, ranging from the humble Pegasus to the mighty Griffon. There's even a Dragon (but he's reserved for Karl Franz when he's in need of some extra killing power).
And if that wasn't enough variety for you, then the painting prospects for the Empire are similarly diverse. There are ten provincial realms within the Empire, all with their own livery. Then there are the major cities, many of which have their own colours, too. Or you could just choose your own colour scheme (it's not like we haven't got enough paints for that nowadays...).
Along with all the new releases at the top of the page, we've also got a huge number of miniatures that have been re-released in Citadel Finecast to accompany them. Make sure you chick through the image slider to check them all out. All of these models, along with the other new releases are available to advance order now and will be available in all Games Workshop Hobby Centres on Saturday 7th April.
With so many new models coming out for the Empire, we honestly didn't know what to focus on first. The Celestial Hurricanum and the Luminark of Hysh both look completely insane - only a very powerful, and possibly mad, conclave of wizards could come up a contraption that can magnify spells (or encourage comets to plummet out of the sky for that matter). In the end we settled on the main man of the Empire, the chap with the biggest feather in his cap. Yes, we're talking about Karl Franz, The Emperor, and the ruler of the Empire of Man. If you haven't done so already, makes sure you check out the 360° image on the right to see him in all his glory.
The really great news is that the Karl Franz kit is not a one trick Griffon, far from it. Like many of our multi-part plastic kits, the guys in the Studio design team have constructed this kit so that it can be made with three (yes, three!) completely different riders with a combination of different Griffon parts. So for those of you that want an Elector Count to lead your army into battle, you can now mount him on a mighty war Griffon. Or, if you're one of those shifty magic users, why not upgrade your Battle Wizard with one instead (the Wizards' Griffon has two heads, which is very suspicious if you ask me). Of course, you could just lead your army into battle with the mightiest man in the Empire - Karl Franz, who wields his Warhammer, Ghal Maraz, with the relaxed demeanour of a warrior who's very experienced in smashing off people's faces. Then again, if you're army's big enough, there's nothing stopping you from taking all three of them at the same time, though you'll need a very long bit of parchment to write your army list on.
To find out more about the Empire (and the new Citadel Paint range for that matter), then make sure you pick up April's issue of White Dwarf to find out more. Not only is there an in-depth focus on Karl Franz and his illustrious career, but there's also a full overview of the Empire race, from State Troops to extreme war machines. Then you've got buckets of information about the Citadel Paint Range including 10 pages of stage-by-stage painting guides using the new colours. But that's not all (is it ever?). Harald Deathwolf takes on the Swarmlord in a very wintery battle report, we present new Warhammer Battle Missions for fighting on Death Worlds, the Warhammer Civil War expansion continues, and we play our first game in The Lord of the Rings Tale of Four Gamers (and the guy collecting the Mordor army is still immensely handsome...)