Some thoughts on the new Dark Angels models

With the new Dark Angels release now available and with much of my Custodes force actually based on Dark Angels models in one form or another, I thought it would be fun to take a look at the new models from a personal perspective. Expect no brand new insights or tactica (if you want those, head on over to DFG. Those guys have got you covered), however, just a couple of opinions and ideas from someone who loves to discuss models and dream of kitbashes 😉

So, let’s start with the Finecast characters, shall we?

 

New_DA_models (3)

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Belial

Well, not too much of a surprise there, really: He mostly looks like people expected him to, and also like most of the Belial conversions people did when there was no model around. In my opinion, Belial is quite a nice and ornate model, suitably imposing and baroque for a DA HQ model. It seems that many people don’t like the pose, but I think it’s really a pretty good idea to try a slightly straighter look for Terminator legs for a change. That said, if you really find the model horrible, overpriced, or just slightly underwhelming, nobody’s stopping you from just converting your own version using bits from the Deathwing Knights (as Mordian7th has beautifully demonstrated here).

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Asmodai

Another competent sculpt, to be sure. My main gripe with the model is that it doesn’t really feel like all that much of an improvement over the older version, which, in my opinion, still boasts one of the coolest skull masks ever:

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

In my opinion, they should rather have focused on a new model for Azrael, who is beginning to look a bit puny next to his blinged-out new brethren by now…

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Dark Angels standard bearer

Nothing to write home about: This guy looks reasonably similar to the older metal standard bearer, but sports a fully sculpted banner. While it’s a nice enough model, you could build your own version using nothing but plastic parts very easily, making this an absolutely non-essential purchase in my book.

 

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Ravenwing Command Squad

The first of the squad kits comes with enough optional parts to build either a Ravenwing Command Squad or a squad of Ravenwing Knights. The bikes follow the slightly updated look introduced by the bikes included in the Dark Vengeance starter box, yet they should still work alright alongside your older Ravenwing bikes.  Lots and lots of nice detail on these guys — as a matter of fact, they are almost a tad too busy for my taste. But maybe I am just miffed at GW for now using the rank “Huntmaster” for a DA unit champion. And there I thought I had come up with something truly original. Oh well…

On a related note, while he is certainly not a Huntmaster on par with those of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt, I really like the bare head on this guy:

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

 

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Deathwing Command Squad / Deathwing Knights

Definitely the cream of the crop for me, but first things first: The kit gives you enough parts to build either a Deathwing command squad consisting of five models, five regular Deathwing Terminators or a five man squad of Deathwing knights (we’ll get to those in a minute). Again, the models look nicely detailed, with lots of options. Many people seem to be complaining about the price of these. especially when looking at the other Terminator kits. However, that’s a bit like comparing apples and oranges, seeing how none of the other Terminator kits gives you enough extra parts to essentially build three different unit types. So while these guys are indeed a little pricey, you should be able to kitbash lots and lots of Deathwing Terminators by getting one box of these and a box of regular Termies or Black Reach Termies, even (once again, Mordian 7th’s post here shows what thrifty use of the new bits can achieve).

In fact, I have a totally different gripe with these: While the amount of detail is really nice (and I particularly like the two-handed halberd), some of the poses and proportions seem a little …off: The models with twin LC and the Plasmagun in the above picture are the worst offenders in this respect. I guess that’s the price for making the kit flexible enough to allow you to build these guys as well:

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

The Deathwing knights are definitely the stars of the show for me! While I admit that they are probably not to everyone’s taste, I rather like the knightly, monastic look to them (it also fits well with the established DA look). The most interesting thing about these models may be their use as something different than DA, though: I can easily see these being a great base for a particularly imposing Inquisitor or a kitbashed and heavily converted Deathshroud for your pre- or post-heresy Deathguard army (in case you don’t want to use the new FW models). And call me crazy, but I think this is a perfect weapon for a warlord of Nurgle, if ever there was one:

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

So while I have little use for most of the DA release, I can see myself picking up a box of these in the future. It’s definitely not a priority, but the kit should give me lots of nice stuff to play around with. One thing, though:

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

I realise that you guys are super-mysterious and all that, but seriously, get that hood out of your eyes, soldier! 😉

 

And now for the vehicles:

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Land Speeder Vengeance

Well, let’s get this out of the way first:  I would love to be all edgy and unconventional here, but, like many other people, I am really not sold on this model. In fact, here’s what my first association was once I saw the model:

God, how I loved that film as a child...

God, how I loved that film as a child…

Yes, that’s right: Skeletor’s barge from the 80s Masters of the Universe film. Go figure.

Anyway, with its slightly iffy visual status between a landspeeder and a fully fledged flyer, this model just looks sooo clunky, doesn’t it? And I really don’t think that gun turret in front was such a good idea: What is that marine standing on? How did he get in there in the first place?

On the other hand, not unlike the WFB Warshrine of Chaos model, the kit should be chock full of fantastic conversion bitz (the pilots and gunners are quite lovely, for one). Still, really not sold on this one. Moving on…

 

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Dark Talon / Nephilim Fighter

Now we’re talking! Yet another combi-kit, this time a flyer. Most importantly, I think this is what a Space Marine flyer should look like (and what the Storm Talon should have been in the first place). The addition of Aquila shuttle-like wings add some much needed plausibility to the model. It also doesn’t look as squat and bumblebee-ish as the Storm Talon. The downside is the much higher price, which seems like a bit of a rip-off really. But there’s no way around it: If I ever were to build a Space Marine flyer, it would be based on this kit.

Strangely enough, all the archaic and statuesque elements added to the model to make the Dark Talon really don’t gel well with the overall look, in my opinion. While I am a big fan of the strangely archaic elements found in 40k, all those statues somehow look decidedly off against the otherwise uncluttered silhouette of the flyer. But that’s just me…

 

All in all, the new release does a good job in adding some interesting new models and units to the mix. The DA’s characteristic look is also further fleshed-out in a fitting way. There are a few minor slipups along the way, but my main concern are the rather hefty price tags carried by some of those kits – justified as they may be.
From a converter’s perspective, most of this is fortunately pretty non-essential: I’ll probably pick up a box of Deathwing Knights at some point, just for the heck of it. Apart from that, I’ll leave the new kits to the DA players. Still, they have been competently serviced, at the very least.

What do you think of the new DA models? Any gripes? Any plans for creative kitbashes and crazy conversions? I’d love to hear your opinion in the comments section!

In any case, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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8 Responses to “Some thoughts on the new Dark Angels models”

  1. Nice association with Skeletor’s barge. But the barge is much more better than the Vengance! 😉

    • Yeah, but then it’s freaking Skeletor we’re talking about here, so of course his barge is better 😉

      …I may be a little biased, though, having been such a big MotU fan during my childhood 😉

  2. I pretty much agree with everything you brought up about the new line, and I’m glad you liked the builds I’ve been working on. Painted stuff to follow soon!

    There’s just something about Belial’s pose that doesn’t grab me. He looks a bit pigeon-toed for some reason. I tend to shy away from the finecast models in general so being able to build a convincing one from the Terminator kit was nice.

    I’m not much of a Ravenwing guy, but the new speeder variants don’t do much for me looks-wise. The flyers are ace though – definitely agree that they are what the storm talon should have looked like. The Nephilim is my personal favorite, not entirely sold on the ‘flying shrine’ look of the Dark Talon, though.

    I laughed at the “get that hood out of your eyes” comment – I totally agree, some of the Knights are just a bit TOO hooded. Heh.

    • Thanks, Mordian7th! Your kitbashed models are indeed excellent proof for the points I made in the post. I think you basically have to use the bitz that come with the Terminators the the fullest in order to truly get your worth out of the kit. It’ ll still be an expensive purchase, but you’ll probably end up feeling a little better about it 😉

      Incidentally, there’s a question you could perhaps answer for me, since you’ve worked with the models firsthand: What’s under the hood of the middle Deathwing Knight in the top row (in the GW picture)? It doesn’t really look like a face — is it a rebreather or a stylised skull mask? Or is it really impossible to clearly make out?

      Thanks in advance!

      • Aye, he’s got a triangular re-breather and his face is turned slightly to the left under the hood (he’s not looking straight out and even with the front fold).

        There’s tons of leftover bits still even after I pillaged the sprues, really the only thing one needs are extra legs and rear torsos and you can darn near make 10-15 full terminators out of each box set.

        I also liked the fact that the Avenger Megabolter and the Lascannon on the Nephilim are press fit as well, makes for an easy swap and they hold in such that magnets aren’t really necessary.

        Got started on the painting, pics to follow – the Nephilim is 90% done already, and I hope to get a fair chunk of the Terminators sorted out this weekend. Batch painting ahoy!

      • Ah, thanks for clearing that up, mate! Looking forward to seeing your next update, then 😉

  3. Definitely agree about the Dark Talon / Nephilim Fighter. Really dig the lines of the plane and think it’s exactly how a space marine fighter should look. The problem is that it’s a bit pricey and the Gothic architecture on the Dark Talon just seems completely out of place.

  4. […] taking a look at the new DA release and all the potential for conversions turned out to be a lot of fun, it stands to reason I have to […]

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