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Warhammer 40k Astra Militarum fan animation absolutely slaps

The latest Warhammer 40k fan animation, Scorch, has been viewed a quarter of a million times in just one day, and it deserves the hype.

Still from Warhammer 40k Astra Militarum Fan Animation 'Scorch' - closeup on a purple eyed Kasrkin soldier in full helmet, rebreather mask, with a prominent winged skull on his helment

With little fanfare, a new Warhammer 40k Astra Militarum fan animation dropped on YouTube on Tuesday, and it absolutely rips. Scorch depicts a multi-front Imperial Guard assault against the Chaos forces of the Bloodpact, and at time of writing it has been viewed over 277,000 times.

Scorch was created by Moskoni, a machinima artist and cinematographer. The story follows a unit of elite Kasrkin – the cream of the Astra Militarum Warhammer 40k faction – as they enter a fortress controlled by a 40k Chaos cult, to assassinate a traitor cardinal. The enemy forces are the Bloodpact, highly trained traitor guard originally found in Dan Abnett’s Gaunts Ghosts series of Warhammer 40k books.

Still from Warhammer 40k Astra Militarum Fan Animation 'Scorch' - multiple Imperial Navy voidships hover in the atmosphere, long, pike-nosed, crenelated vessels

According to Moskoni’s community posts on YouTube, it took around 800 hours of work to create Scorch. Only the first part of the two-part animation has been uploaded so far.

This is Moskoni’s first Warhammer 40k project, but they’ve made lots of machinima using the Arma 3 game engine before, including a bevy of short films adapting scenes from World War Z (the book, not the film).

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This fan film isn’t authorised by Games Workshop, and is at risk of being removed via a DMCA takedown. Around the launch of its own Warhammer 40k streaming service, Warhammer Plus, Games Workshop published a new policy which explicitly forbade fan animations. Whether GW will issue a DMCA or not remains to be seen.

While machinima is an excellent tool for rendering large scale battles, it can’t match the subtlety and scene composition of bespoke animation. Scorch isn’t as technically and cinematically impressive as Astartes, the Space Marine fan animation that achieved cult fame when it launched in 2018, and which Games Workshop ultimately removed from YouTube and hosted instead on Warhammer Plus.

Still from Warhammer 40k Astra Militarum Fan Animation 'Scorch' - an Adeptus Mechanicus operative, with glowing green eyes and metal armor over their face

But within the limits of the technology used to make it, the shot composition and editing in Scorch is superb, and the sound mixing and voice work is top notch. Given that the latest trailer for a 40k animation reminded us of a 90s RTS cutscene, we could hardly call Scorch ‘amateurish’.

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