Raptor Review

I may have mentioned before that I quite like jump infantry: For us World Eaters players, Raptors are always a great way of adding a dash of flexibility to an otherwise very predictable army. So I built and painted my first squad of World Eaters jump infantry long before the release of the new Codex. You may remember these guys:

Granted, here may be other units in the list that are more viable in the fast assault role (*cough* bikes *cough*), but I simply love the concept of World Eaters equipped with jump packs rushing into the thick of battle with wild abandon. So it is probably no surprise that a box of the new plastic Raptors/Warp Talons was one of my day one purchases, along with the new Codex. Today’s post will be all about those guys.

The kit has been out for a while now, so I will spare you the unboxing video and sprue diagrams. Both are easily found elsewhere on the net. Indeed, let me point you towards Screwed Up Dice‘s very nice, two part review of the kit for all the necessary information. Still, late as my own “review” of sorts may be, I thought it would be nice to collect my thoughts on the models while working on my first new squad of jump infantry, pointing out the good and the bad as I go.

Pros:


“It’s plastic!

Working with GW’s excellent and highly versatile plastic kits is always a joy, and that is why the mere fact that Raptors are now available as a plastic kit counts as a huge advantage in my book: No more pinning, no more models falling over because they are precariously balanced on their bases. And lots and lots of customisability — provided you know how to use a knife, that is. I have painted quite a few metal miniatures in my time, and I like the amount of detail GW’s designers are able to cram into some of those Finecast models (QA problems notwithstanding), but plastic is where it’s at for me!

Of course this also means that the kit is fully compatible with the rest of the (Chaos) Space Marine range, although not all combinations will end up looking great. Still, with a bit of mixing and matching, you’ll be able to customise your jump infantry and make them fit the rest of your force visually (more on this point in a minute)

 

“It looks nice!”

The sculpt on these guys is pretty great, but that’s almost a given with GW’s more recent kits. What I really like though is the slightly readjusted overall look of the models: The last Raptor sculpt – along with the fluff – had them positioned as a bit an external force to all Traitor Legions, a cult onto themselves, which meant that the models had a very distinct look. And while more individuality is mostly a good thing, not everyone was happy with their Raptors looking so different from the rest of their force: Even when painted in the colours of a specific legion, they never quite looked like they belonged.

The new armour design seems like a bit of a return to the original 3rd edition Raptors in that it is distinct enough to differentiate them from other unit types, but should also work rather well with different colour schemes, those of the original Traitor Legions included. So for those who want it, the individuality is still there, while the rest of us are free to build jump infantry that resembles the rest of our force.

There’s also all kinds of nice detail: The Raptor helmets recall corrupted, older marks of power armour (MK IV and VI, especially), and the CC weapons are some of the greatest Chaos Space Marine weapons currently availabe (those chainswords are off the hook!). I also really like the rather economical design of the jump pack, but then, I’ve always been a fan of the Pre-Heresy jet engine design 😉

As an aside: While, as a follower of Khorne, I loathe all Slaneeshi dogs with a passion, those shoulder pads and helmets with the speaker-like design should work really well for kitbashing Noise Marines.

 

“You get some neat extra bitz…”

It’s great to see that the kit comes with a full set of weapon options for the Raptors: No more scrounging around for extra Meltaguns or having to use the same old weapon bit over and over. All of the weapons are very nicely detailed and have a distinct chaos look. The same goes for the Warp Talon claws (which could also be used as Lightning claws on regular infantry champions, Chosen etc.). And the fact that it’s a combi-kit means that you’ll get quite a few leftover bitz: Depending on which unit type you decide to build, you get a full set of Raptor weapons and heads or Warp Talon claws and heads for your bitzbox. Nice.

Cons:

 

“…but maybe not enough!”

Here’s the thing about those bitz though: I was a little disappointed at the relatively small selection of heads. While I understand that the kit has to be quite economically designed to carry enough bitz for both unit types, I am just a fan of extra heads and shoulderpads: just five heads and one set of shoulder pads per model? Come on, GW! Admittedly, this may just be nitpicking on my part, but still…

 

“A little restrictive…”

Here’s a piece of more substantial criticism then: I feel that some of the poses on these models aren’t all that well conceived. You probably won’t notice this when building Raptors, but for the Warp Talons it’s actually fairly challenging to have them look as dynamic and individual as you would like. I discovered this when I tried to go against the grain and build models that looked a little different from the ones on the box: While it’s possible, you’ll quickly discover that certain combinations just don’t work out, leaving you with a limited number of options. Granted, if you just want to get your models on the table, you probably won’t see this as much of a problem. But as someone who is very much into kitbashing and converting, I cannot help but feel that these models don’t lend themselves to conversion all that much. And while I like the fact that the models’ legs are attached in rather dynamic ways to small piles of rubble and battlefield debris, the designs can quickly become repetitive once you are building squads that are bigger than five models.

I realise that this may not even be valid criticism for some: The models look great and are easy to put together. What’s not to like, right? But I somehow feel that this kit seems to actively confound converters, and I’m not sure I like that 😉

 

“Some smaller design flaws”

Again, this is only a matter of personal taste, but I think that the design for the Warp Talon parts is slightly weaker in some respects: Most of the heads look really clunky and slightly out of scale. And while it’s nice to get a full set of sharp talons for the models’ feet, you’ll need to do some cutting on these to make sure they look natural, instead of jutting out at an improbable 90 degrees angle.

 

So what’s the bottom line?

All in all, I am prepared to call this kit a success, in spite of some nitpicks. It’s is expertly designed and lets you build some great looking models for your chaos army. The accomplished converter will be able to work around the small problems, and you’ll be able to make those Raptors and Warp Talons look like they are actually a part of your Traitor Legion or Renegade Chapter!

That’s what I set out to do as well: I decided to assemble the squad as Warp Talons, if only because I already have quite a few Raptors in my army. Not feeling particularly keen on the devolved, daemonic nature of the Warp Talons (it is a cool concept, but it doesn’t fit my personal fluff all that well), I wanted to build a squad of World Eaters melee specialists with jump packs. Here’s a look at my models:


This was one of the models where the basic pose of the legs combined with the Warp Talon arms seems a little goofy. It took some dryfitting and thinking to sort things out. Ultimately, I am rather pleased with the model, though. In this particular instance, the feet needed a little work (I cut off a part of the soles) to make surethat the angle at which the talons connect to the feet looks natural.


I gave this guy a FW berzerker helmet, since it added to the viciousness of the model’s look. Plus I wanted these guys to be clearly recognisable as World Eaters.


This second guy is the other model that took a while to get right: Although the legs are pretty cool this time, the arms are designed to be pretty close to the body, which makes for pretty restrictive posing. While I would have preferred a more open pose for the arms, the finished model shows the combination that, in my opinion, worked best under the circumstances.

I expect the fine detail on the model’s torso and left arm to be a challenge to paint, though, due to the fact that there is very little room between the torso and left gauntlet. But oh well…

Again, I used a Khornate helmet — this time, it’s one of from the plastic berzerker kit.

The next two models are where I just gave up and built them “as intended” 😉


In this case, the legs and arms work very well together, creating a relaxed but quite menacing pose (not unlike the Chaos Lord with jump pack, by the way). Compared to the ‘Eavy Metal model, I changed the alignment of the torso and arms a bit, though, to make the pose just a tiny bit more interesting. And I added yet another berzerker head. I realise that many are quite tired of these, but I think in this case the head works rather nicely!


Then there’s this guy, who is basically a perfect emulation of the unit champ built by the ‘Eavy Metal team:



What can I say? I just liked the pose and the head a lot! 😉

And finally, probably my favourite model in the whole squad:


It took some time to sort the pose out, but it was well worth it in my opinion. The model looks quite threatening and dynamic at the same time. Yet what really sells this guy is the addition of yet another Khornate FW head: This guy looks soooo angry…

And here’s the whole squad together:


I have not yet decided whether to use the “blade vanes” that attach to the jump packs. While those may seem a little silly at first glance, they could be rather useful in giving the models a more unique silhouette. Hmmm….

Also, it’s basically anyone’s guess when I’ll actually get around to painting these… 😉

Anything else? Oh, yes, the jump packs on these guys are quite a bit smaller than you would expect! Here’s a comparison shot with one of my kitbashed Raptors (using a MaxMini jump pack):

As you can see, the MaxMini pack looks pretty clunky by comparison, while the new model’s silhouette is far less bulky than you would have suspected.

So, one last question remains: Raptors of Warp Talons?

While the answer to that question will ultimately depend on what is the more sensible choice in the context of your army, let me look at things from a modelling perspective:

The Raptors you can build from this kit will work great out of the box, with very little extra work required. You get lots of options, and the squad can be made to look like a external cult or like your own Traitor Legion’s dedicated jump infantry. They’ll also look good alongside your older models, even though they may be a bit more detailed.

The Warp Talons suffer from their rather restrictive poses and will need more work and maybe an influx of external bitz to truly make them shine. Still, their rather distinct silhouette and overall look make them visually interesting, and those clawed gaunzlets are really great. They are also a great modelling option for Night Lords, in my opinion.

In any case, quite a nice kit that gives you a lot of options. The smaller drawbacks shouldn’t keep you from giving this kit a try!

Do you have any thoughts on the kit or my first test models? I’d be glad to hear them in the comments section!

As always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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