Gazing into the Warp – some thoughts on the new Daemon models

With GW releasing the Daemons (see what I did there?), it is once more time to take a look at all the new stuff. As was to be expected, the first people are already screaming blue murder at the new Daemon Codex, claiming Phil Kelly has nerfed the army beyond any chance of repair. Yes, well… Let’s just say that we are not too concerned with rules around these parts. But even though the prospect of a new codex doesn’t make want to rush out immediately to get the book, having the option to field Daemons as allies might still interesting in the future. Best to wait until things have calmed down a bit, though. For now, let’s just focus on the models and ponder the conversion possibilities — to tell you the truth, I have grown rather fond of this little series πŸ˜‰

Let me start by pointing out two things: First, the Daemon release may feel a little lacking at first glance due to the lack ofΒ  any “huge” model like the ones the last several armies had. It seems like the new (plastic) Greater Daemons would have been an easy (and hopefully spectacular) remedy to that, yet GW chose to save them for a tentative second wave. A shame, that. But we can always hope.

On a more positive note, all of the final models look far better than could be expected by looking at the first, grainy pictures that appeared on the net. This seems like a bit of a no-brainer, but I have to admit I feel a little relieved: After seeing the first pictures over at Faeit 212, I had feared for the worst…

Anyway, let’s have a closer look:

 

Plague Drones:

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Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Well, I’ll admit I have never liked the Plague Drone released by FW all that much, so I think it’s refreshing that GW proper now takes a rather more “organic” approach to their smaller Nurglite flyers. The huge flies look great, with lots and lots of disgusting little touches (like the severed heads of their victims pushing outwards through holes in their bellies…), and while the Plaguebearer riders seem a little precariously balanced atop their mounts, there is absolutely nothing stopping you from simply leaving them off (or indeed replacing them with Death Guard Marines — just an idea…).

Also, those wings will probably be in extremely high demand for converting all kinds of Nurglite Daemon Princes, champions and other beasts.

Oh, and the set also comes with an alternate set of heads, with huge, almost elephantine snouts.

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Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Let’s just say that they certainly aren’t doing the kit any favours and leave it at that.

 

Skull Cannon/Blood Throne of Khorne

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Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Well, if there’s a disappointment for me about the whole release, then it has to be this kit. When I read about a “Blood Throne”, I imagined a towering edifice, almost on par with the WFB warshrine of chaos. And the “Skull Cannon” made me think of the old Epic 40,000 and Armourcast warmachines of the same name. So I was looking forward to a kit that would not only provide me with lots of Khornate bitz, but also give me a Daemon Engine of Khorne that would feel right at home with my World Eaters, maybe even be able to stand in as a Vindicator or some other chaos tank.

Instead, the model in question turns out to be a fairly strange, techno-organic hybrid, and if WD claims that the likes of this particular kit have not yet been glimpsed on the battlefields of the grimdark future, I can hardly disagree with that. I am not sure whether that is really a good thing, though…

In my opinion, it’s a kit where all (or at least most) of the individual components seem rather great, yet as a whole it just doesn’t really quite click with me. It must have something to do with the strangely organic motorcycle body…

The skull cannon looks a little lost atop the main body, although the design of the cannon itself is rather nice. Once again, the parts are great, yet somehow they fail to come together.

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Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

But still, there is light at the end of the tunnel: I can easily see lots and lots of uses for different parts of the model: The cannon would probably look really cool atop a Chaos Predator. The armour plating covered in Khornate runes should prove interesting for all kinds of conversions. And even the chassis itself could reasonablyΒ  be used as the base for an ostentatious looking bike for a chaos lord or Daemon Prince, or maybe a special attack bike used by the World Eaters?

Anyway, this could be worth the purchase for the bitz alone, even though I am not sold on the model itself.

 

Burning Chariot of Tzeentch

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Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Well, it’s Tzeentch, people, what did you expect? To tell you the truth, I am not a big fan of the over the top mutations of Tzeentchian daemons, so I may be a bit biased here. Nevertheless, the chariot is a competent sculpt fitting the overall Tzeentch aesthetic, and the flamer chariot does a nice job of incorporating all the different lesser daemons of Tzeentch in a single model. The kit also gives you quite a bit of bang for the buck, with several horrors, two screamers, a herald, a flying disc and that huge flamer. Still, not my cup of tea, really.

The other variant of the kit is far more interesting:

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Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

First, the flying disc that is part of the model means Tzeentch players finally have a plastic flying disc of Tzeentch at their disposal to use on their warlords and characters. Just as the whole model could very well serve as a plastic replacement for the Finecast Herald.

Indeed, the herald himself is the true star of the show for me. He comes with a variety of heads, among which the standard horror head is certainly the least interesting:

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Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

The half moon face may seem goofy, yet it’s a fantastic nostalgic callback to ye olden days of WFB and Rogue Trader! And the avian head gives you the chance to make your herald look like a smaller Lord of Change — easily my favourite of the bunch! Oh, and these could also be used to spice up your Tzeentchian Chaos champions and sorcerors — just sayin’…

And while we are on the subject of heralds: It seems pretty obvious that this is GW testing the waters for the future of Finecast versus plastic. They are releasing two of the heralds in plastic (one as part of a larger kit and one in a clamshell) and two in Finecast, when, from a design standpoint, all three could probably easily have been plastic. Plus the price of all the three sold in clamshells is the same. “Honi soit, qui mal y pense”, if you ask me…

Anyway, on to the other herald models:

 

Herald of Khorne

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Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Well, this guy is pretty cool to be sure! I like the pose and the ferocity, and I like the fact that he has Khorne runes in all the right places. However, I’ll come right out and state that I think GW’s designers are really passing up an awesome opportunity by having the heralds merely look like larger versions of the lesser daemons. I would prefer the heralds to have more personality, almost like a missing link between a lesser daemon and a daemon prince. For instance, if I wanted a truly imposing herald of Khorne for my army, I would probably get something like Avatar of War’s Herald of War: It looks pretty Khornate as well, but you wouldn’t confuse it with a measly Bloodletter. So while I like the Khornate herald well enough, I would like to see a little more originality for the herald sculpts in general.

On a side note, since this guy seems to be a fair bit bigger than your average Bloodletter, does this mean he is also bigger than Skulltaker, Khorne’s preferred herald? That would indeed be a little silly…

 

Herald of Slaanesh

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Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

This model exemplifies what I tried to get at above even better: Now this girl (?) is just a little lazy, don’t you think? I guess it would be possible to kitbash something really similar (or even cooler), using nothing but plastic parts. I would have loved to see something a little more daring — and I don’t mean the “show your boobs”-variety of daring! What about a herald with a sinuous, serpentine body? Like a miniature Fulgrim, if you will, or a cool version of the old WFB character De’chala? Or a herald with a truly spectacular dancing pose, not unlike the Eldar Harlequins? Instead we get a somewhat tired rehash of the Masque of Slaanesh (which, come to think of it, wasn’t all that great to begin with). Definitely the weakest of the bunch!

 

Herald of Nurgle

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Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Well, this guy has to be the winner by default simply by virtue of being a plastic model πŸ˜‰ But seriously: GW seem to have the knack of doing Nurgle at the moment, so this model is another solid addition to that particular end of the spectrum. The dangling entrails are a tad too much, if you ask me. Then again, you have got to love GW’s treatment of the Nurglings:

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Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

This little fellow is definitely enjoying his workday!

All in all, the Tzeentchian herald has to be the best of the bunch. The Khorne herald is also pretty cool, followed by the Nurglite model. The Slaaneshi herald is by far the worst, due to the rather slapdash design. And from a converter’s perspective, only the Tzeentchian one offers something truly beyond what could be achieved by clever kitbashing and converting.

 

So that’s the entire release. All in all, I would call this a solid, middle-of-the-road effort that is slightly hampered by the lack of Greater Daemons. The new releases stay true to the established look of the Chaos Daemon line, although the models are maybe not as useful as conversion for the other chaos armies as they could have been.

What about you? Do you have any thoughts or ideas concerning the Daemon release? I’d be happy to hear from you in the comments section!

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

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12 Responses to “Gazing into the Warp – some thoughts on the new Daemon models”

  1. i think that this release is disappointing

    drones looks good, tzeenth chariot is nice and heralds are ok but this khorne something is just horrible

    thie release lacks of something that look really good

    if there would be one greater deamon – for example GUO simmilar in looks to the FW one the release would be much better

    • Yeah, but then this is a bit of a “damned if they do, damned if they don’t”-scenario for GW, isn’t it? Release all the GD’s at once, and you have blown your whole ammo on one release. Release only one, and the unpleasable fanbase will scream blue murder…

      While I think some of their choices may indeed be a bit dubious, I often wonder if it’s actually possible for GW to do anything right in this rather heated up climate… πŸ˜‰

  2. Good observations as usual. I have to say I like the elephant snouts for the drones though, I feel they look more disturbing than the wasp heads. Some nice ideas for the daemon engines. I will probably get the Tzeentchian and build a range of separate models with it instead. The Skull Cannon I quite like and a “free” Khorne Herald will come in handy. The leftover throne should make for a nice addition to a terrain piece (Altar of Khorne?) or could form part of a Warshrine for WFB. Overall those models are in my opinion some of the best value kits at Β£25 with regards to their conversion potential.

    • Indeed, isn’t it slightly ironic that the true quality of these kits lies in their potential for conversions? The Khornate kit is basically only really useful for converting stuff in the first place! πŸ˜‰

  3. I’m also really liking the tzeentch herald, plus if you buy 4, you get 4 heralds on discs, 4 flamers, 8 screamers, and 12 pink horrors. I’m considering doing that some time next year when I get around to expanding my Daemons from just nurgle to include all of the gods.

  4. Yeah, middle-of-the-road release to be sure (but much better than I initially feared by the first blurry pictures). The daemons have been suffering from a cobbled-together look for a while now (plastic seekers and chariots), and most of these new releases are the same (worst being the Khorne thing). The Tzeentch herald is the best thing in the release I think; the fact that his parts are interchangeable with their other kits is nice (and I love the crazy moon head, really takes me back, he he). The Nurgle herald is so busy and uninspired (which is what most of them are, just being larger versions of the lesser daemons as you said…). All we all really wanted were nicely maked Greater Daemons (Brian Nelson or Jes Goodwin); we can only hope they are coming… Blood for the Blood God!

  5. Alexander Says:

    To be honest I don’t really know what to make of the daemons yet. The concept art by Blanche is amazing and probably resulted in too high expectations.

    The drones are interesting and the wings could be used for all kinds of conversions. The PB on top looks a tad silly. I don’t know what to make of the khornate cannon bike, what’s with the squig head in the front? Tzeentch flamerthing is very chaos, and as you said the herald offer up possibilities.

    I do not like the other heralds, at least not at the moment. They are too plain as mentioned. The little nurgling is fun and fits with old jovial nurgle.

    • Hmm, maybe its just the fact that the Blanchian design approach doesn’t mix too well with the slightly comic book-inspired colour palette chosen by GW for these models. Take a look at one of JB’s own models, built from the same (or at least very similar) plastics and painted by the man himself:

      http://spikyratpack.blogspot.de/2013/02/champion-of-tzeentch-by-john-blanche.html

      And suddenly you’ve got all the menace and Bosch inspired apocalypse feeling you could ever want πŸ˜‰

      All in all, I guess Daemons are among the most difficult factions to actually get right, both in sculpt and in painting. Let’s wait for a while to see what all the talented hobbyists on the net will do with this stuff — that will be the measure of the release’s success!

      • I agree, a lot depends on the painting, and the ‘Eavy Metal style doesn’t lend itself well to sinister and creepy, everything is quite clinical, which makes perfect sense though for serving its function as catalogue display pieces. Painted blanchesque, the Skull Cannon will look great I think.

        My point of criticism regarding Blanche is that all his images/models use the same palette of red/brown tones which gets boring quickly. It’s just much more difficult to get something to look menacing if it is in pastels or vivid tones – which is why I still haven’t started painting my Daemonettes and Horrors…

      • Alexander Says:

        Fascinating argument that the releases should also be judged on the conversions they spawn. There is definitely merit to that line of thought.

        Blanches tzeentchian freaks are as surreal as can be expected, they are very much love or hate, love in my case πŸ˜‰

        Daemons are absolutely the hardest faction, especially considering that they can’t be too freaky to be commercial. I would have hoped for more Lovecraftian horrors but that is no longer GW’s path. The bright colours does them no favours either. You re right that we should wait before judging too harshly.

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