I will freely admit, when I first saw that Black Bella was getting a new model for the Wintertime Wasteland block, I was trepidatious. Not because I was scared of playing against her, not because I was nervous to figure our how to use her in either Riot Quest or Warmachine, but because the Duchess of Dread’s model from the Mayhem block had for some inexplicable reason been a huge mental stumbling block.
I was nervous about painting another Black Bella.
I was wrong.
Stonecold Black Bella was a lot of fun to paint, but we’ll get to that in minute.
In RiotQuest, Stonecold Black Bella os a Rpgue class hero, complete with the Sneak ability to help her get around the board. Given that her earlier incarnation was a Fighter, apparently it’s just too chilly in the Wintertimd Wasteland for her to fence with her dueling blades, so now she’s armed with a Telescoping Whip for melee attacks, and she’s made friends with Frostwing.
The… owl? I wanna say owl… harasses opponents from afar, forcing them to drop their bounty tokens with the Snatchability,
Stonecold Black Bella doesn’t have anywhere near the damage potential of Black Bella, Duchess of Dread, but that doesn’t mean she won’t be impactful. With Frostwing forcing opposing models to scrabble to pick up dropped bounty tokens and the Flankability to help allies, she’ll find room in more than a few rosters.
For Warmachine, Stonecold Black Bella is a mercenary who’ll work for most of the Warmachine factions. Even the Protectorate, despite her filthy Thamarite tendencies (Where’s a scrutator and a wrack when you need one?).
Frostwing is a basic POW12 ranged attack, and the telescoping blade – while still limited to 1″ melee range – is a P+S10 Weapon Master Chain Weapon attack. In and of itself, solid, but not about to one-shot a warcaster. The real value of our avian airborne assault is that while he’s flapping about the target’s head, he’s also picking their pockets for loot tokens, which Bella can then use to boost attack and damage rolls.
Stacking with this, Dual Attack allows Frostwing to attack in melee, ignoring the target-in-melee penalty thanks to Black Penny, looting a token which Bella can then use to boost the attack or damage roll on her Telescoping Blade.
Given that the blade also extends to 4″ reach thanks to Chain Strike, that’s now a 13″ threat range with a boostable MAT7, rolling 4d6 damage with a chain weapon (buh-bye shield bonus), and potential boostable attack and damage on any other targets in melee range since they’ll be targeted by Blood Reaperas well.
This means you can charge Model A, launching Frostwing with a boosted attack roll for a little nibble (and to replace the loot token you just used), swing wildly at your initial charge target, and then potentially boost the attack and damage roll on Model B, who you couldn’t see to charge at the start of the activation.
Having spent a lot of time throwing Mage Hunter Assassins across tables in my Retribution days, it’s a fun thing to do, and Bella can bring it to every Warmachine faction as a mercenary. Granted, she brings it with an active threat to every model in her melee range, be they friend or foe, so she’s less of a Mage Hunter Assassin scalpel, and more of a Stonecold Black Bella blender.
The last piece of the Bella puzzle is Call To Sacrifice. While the Mage Hunter Assassin has Stealth to keep her safe as she runs up the board, Stonecold Black Bella is a target. The solution isn’t cheap, but let’s face it, you’ll get plenty of utility out of a unit of Sea Dogs, especially with a pair of Riflemen and a selection of the other piratical solos that usually come to port with them.
And then there’s painting the model. In hindsight, the job may have been easier if I’d left the telescoping blade off while working on the model, but I’m occasionally a glutton for hobby punishment.
Painting Black Bella, Duchess of Dread, brought my table to a standstill for some time, as I struggled to get the studio scheme white armor down. Changing tack to blue armor was the trick in the end, but I’m pleased to say that Stonecold Black Bella gave me no such headaches.
I tried for the pale armor again, and while it’s not as crisp and neat as I usually like to get my white armor, I’m happy enough with the end results, layering up through light blue/greys to the white. I am absolutely chugged with the rich blue cape, the purple hair, and while Frostwing isn’t pure white as in the art, I’m still pretty darn happy with his flappy self.
Stonecold Black Bella was a challenge, to be sure, but a very satisfying model to work on in the end. Stonecold Black Bella is one of the five heroes in the Riot Quest: Wintertime Wasteland starter box, available through your FLGS and online retailer.