Archive for September, 2013

More work on the heavy hitters…

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 25, 2013 by krautscientist

Only a short update this week, since I am still completely snowed under with work. What little hobby time I have goes towards working on my counts as Obliterators though, and I would like to show you what my test model looks like right now.

When we last saw the model, I was still playing around with bitz and trying to settle on a look. Here’s where we left off last time:

Centurions_first_look (14)
The next step was to work out an actual build for the model, to get the overall shape to work before then adding the kind of detail that will make my Behemoth test model look suitably heretical and baroque.

So far, work has been going on at a pretty slow pace: partly because I am up to my ears in work, partly because I don’t want to mess up this concept by hurrying it along.

Regarding the head, I decided to use one of the standard heads from the kit with some added bunny ears for the Khornate touch. I think those heads are a pretty good fit because they look emotionless and somewhat brutal, which really lends itself well to what I imagine the Behemoths to be like.

I also carefully shaved off the Imperial imagery from the chest plate – which made me feel a little guilty, to be honest, because it’s so beautifully detailed. I also realised the ogre gut plate was simply too big to go on the model’s torso, so I ended up using a Chaos Marauder shield instead. This is what I was left with:

Behemoths WIP (2)

In order to fill the empty space on the chest plate with something suitably Khornate, I then built a bandolier of skulls strapped across the chest — you can never really go wrong with skulls on a World Eater, after all:

Behemoths WIP (3)

I do realise that the leg armour still poses a problem, although I am already hard at work finding a solution for that. Since I don’t see myself trying something fancy, such as adding GS trim to the armour, the solution will probably depend on a bitz influx. In any case, like I said, my main objective is to sort out the overall build of the model and make it all work out, then go back and add detail, accessories etc. So the next step was to figure out how to build the arms:

Behemoths WIP (10)
Behemoths WIP (11)

As you can see, I tried to turn the heavy bolter into an autocannon by adding a new barrel. It still needs some more work, but I quite like the overall effect. I also played around with some pieces of armour to use as alternate pauldrons — the jugger headpiece is just a placeholder, though, since I really don’t have enough of those to just use them on any model I like. I also made my first bad decision, trying to replace the left hand with a chainfist from a Chaos Terminator. That would have added a suitably chaotic element with very little work. The problem, though, was that the Terminator fists are a good deal shorter than those of the Centurions. While not immediately obvious when looking at the parts, once you add a chainfist to the model, you realise that the arm ends up looking far too short, rendering the model’s already slightly funny proportions even more off-kilter. The one exception I can see is the slightly bigger chainfist from the Chaos Lord in terminator armour. Since I wanted to keep that particular piece of a possible use on the squadleader, though, I carefully re-attached the Centurion’s fist I had cut off earlier — we live and learn…

The next big step will be to sort out the leg armour. I am currently experimenting with some armour plates cut from Ogre fists:

Behemoths WIP (15)
Behemoths WIP (14)
I rather like the look so far, although it will need some more work. All in all, getting the Centurions to look suitably chaotic for my army is quite a challenge. I knew what I was getting myself into, though. And the good news is that fellow hobbyist and World Eaters player Biohazard has now entered the fray as well. So I guess that between the two of us, we will manage to come up with an awesome Centurion conversion sooner or later. On a related note, Dave Taylor has figured out a pretty nifty alternate way of mounting the Centurion weapons and significantly change the models’ silhouette! Check it out here .

So yeah, that’s the current status of my test model. It’s still a fairly early version of the model, of course. Nevertheless, feel free to let me know what you think! Getting some additional perspectives on this will be a huge help. And let’s hope that I’ll soon be able to produce some more substantial content for this blog — I, for one, am keeping my fingers crossed.

Until then, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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More Dakka!

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 17, 2013 by krautscientist

Even after my seaside vacation, my current enthusiasm for working on my World Eaters remains. While that may be bad news for all those of you who frequent my blog for one of my other projects, don’t fret: I am very likely to resume work on the INQ28 and Custodes stuff before long! I just want to make the most of the motivation for working on my main army while it lasts. So let me show you the things I am currently working on, most of them squarely falling into the category of heavy fire support…

 

1. Just for fun…

The first thing I did after finishing my – rather involved – Wargrinder conversion was to kitbash another humble gladiator for my growing squad of gladiatorial World Eaters. Working on a humble 28mm footsoldier was a great way to relax, and so I was quickly able to get this guy built. Take a look:

World Eaters Gladiator 03 (4)
World Eaters Gladiator 03 (5)
World Eaters Gladiator 03 (6)
I believe I have mentioned before how I wanted to try and feature different kinds of gladiatorial weapons across the squad, so the newest recruit is wielding the ever-stylish chain glaive. Not a big project, to be sure, but a nice way to unwind after a more involved piece…

 

2. The Forge never sleeps….

Next up is a Forgefiend. I picked up the kit way back when I started working on my Heldrake conversion and never really managed to move beyond the basic construction. So I sat down to assemble and undercoat the model right after returning from my holiday — must have had something to do with renewed energies and all that…

While I realise that many people don’t like the Forgefiend design, dubbing the model “Dinobot” (or even worse), I have to admit that I am really rather fond of the kit: It adds a visual flourish to the CSM army that other forces don’t have. And for a World Eaters force, the fact that the fiend looks a lot like a larger Juggernaut of Khorne (the model was even inspired by the juggernaut, according to Jes Goodwin) helps, of course.

So I almost feel a little guilty admitting that I left the stock model virtually unaltered — I know, a shocking turn of events 😉

Here’s a look at the model so far:

Forgefiend WIP (2)
Forgefiend WIP (3)
Due to the fact that almost every model in my army has been converted in some way, leaving the Forgefiend as it was almost felt a little lazy. However, I didn’t really want to convert for the sake of conversion, and I didn’t feel I had any huge changes to make to the model. Using the Maulerfiend arms and the Forgefiend cannons at the same time (with the cannons mounted on the model’s back, as has been done my multiple hobbyists) would have been a pretty cool idea, but in the end I decided against it. That way, I had more leftover bitz to play around with — one of the Forgefiend cannons was already used on my Wargrinder, as you might recall, and you can expect to see those Maulerfiend arms pretty soon, as well.

Anyway, my main addition to the model, apart from some decorative skulls on the shoulder armour, was the tail of an Ogre Kingdoms Stonehorn: I really love the horrible, bony growth at the tip of the tail, and I also thought having a longer tail really improved the model’s overall silhouette:

Forgefiend WIP (1)
Forgefiend WIP (4)
Oh, and I also added a juggernaut’s collar to the Forgefiend’s neck, representing the archetypal Collar of Khorne:

Forgefiend WIP (5)
All in all, I am rather happy with the model, a slight lingering guilt over not doing a super-involved conversion notwithstanding… I guess that this will be the next bigger model to be painted, once I manage to summon up the motivation for it.

 

3. The Behemoths

And finally, what is probably my most ambitious project at the moment: The Behemoths. So what is this about?

It’s no secret that Obliterators are a rather valuable part of the Chaos Space Marine army list. At the same time, I also have this strange urge to own an appropriate version of all (or at least most) of the unit selections in the Codex for my army. So far, this has made me convert a custom Dark Apostle and Warpsmith for the HQ slot, come up with some renegade Space Wolves to serve as “regular” CSM, and so on.

The one selection I could not find a suitable approach for were the Obliterators: I really dislike the current models for these guys, for one. And the mutated, fleshy look really didn’t fit the concept of my army (where mutation is kept to a minimum, due both to my aesthetic preferences and background reasons). I also didn’t want to go the easy route of simply getting some stock Obliterators, painting them in the colours of a different legion or warband, and using them as “allies”, because that seemed like a rather cheap cop out to me.

So I waited and collected pictures of Obliterator conversions I liked and quietly prayed for inspiration to hit. And I swore to myself that I wouldn’t use Obliterators until I had found a way of representing them on the table in a way that felt true to both my taste and the overarching concept of my army. I didn’t find such an option for the best part of two years.

But then, the new Space Marines were released, and as I mentioned in my recent review, the longer I looked at the new Centurions, the more I felt that these could be my ticket to finally building the Obliterators that I wanted: not mutated and unsightly giants, but hulking and baroque combat suits, a holdover from the more civilised days of the 12th Astartes Legion. So I started throwing around some ideas, and I ended up with this small background sketch:

Even in an army as focused on combat at close quarters as the World Eaters‘ 4th assault company, there are those who hunt by different means. These brothers of the company are called the Behemoths, and they are an enigma to even their brethren.

During the Great Crusade, the armies of the Legiones Astartes were faced with an ever increasing number of deadly adversaries. Often enough, wars were only to be won by attrition, and the head-on assaults led by the death seeking Primarch Angron were threatening to bleed the 12th Astartes legion dry before long. While Angron seemed oblivious or even indifferent towards such concerns, there were those among his officers who sought a more balanced kind of warfare, at least until the bite of their Butcher’s Nails consumed the remnants of their sanity.

It is said that, during this time, First Apothecary Fabrikus himself experimented on a number of battle brothers, trying to adapt their cranial implants to a different kind of fight. These warriors were outfitted with heavy combat suits, almost on par with the fabled Dreadnoughts. Their suits were equipped with a plethora of heavy weapons, and where the regular World Eaters would throw themselves at the enemy with wild abandon, the so-called Behemoth squads would hang back and lay down a barrage of heavy fire. For Fabrikus had changed the battle brothers’ minds yet again, hardwiring their implants to their weapons systems. The members of the Behemoth squads started to find grim joy in killing, just like the rest of their legion, but the greatest joy for them was to pick out enemies from afar, tearing through flesh and steel alike with bursts of laser fire and plasma, and seeing a red marker turning green in their targeting recticles.

The Behemoths remained and experimental unit that only saw limited use during the Crusade and subsequent Heresy: The weapons systems they were outfitted with proved too difficult to maintain during the arduous campaigns, and Angron would always favour a more hands-on approach. Yet some of the Behemoths endured, most of them among the warriors of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt.

There, these frightening giants still fill the role of heavy fire support, yet the long centuries and millennia have wrought havoc upon their minds: Growing ever more divorced from their humanity, Behemoths are more machine than man, gripped by a tranquil fury where their regular brethren are openly angry. They can only perceive life through their targeting systems, and each situation becomes an equation that can only be solved by heavy fire. They tend to see living beings as either targets or inconsequential elements, even referring to their battle brothers as “fleshkin”.

When away from the battlefield, the Behemoths are normally content to spent time in deep, deathlike sleep. They dream of worlds burning and planets shattering under a barrage of heavy fire, while the other members of the company take relief in the knowledge that their troubled brethren are not at large. Even in an army of frenzied killers, the Behemoths are perhaps the most inhuman of all, since for them life and death are the only variables at any given time, and death is always the preferable outcome…

So it was decided: I would build a squad of counts as Obliterators, and I would use the Centurion kit for it. I won’t lie to you, there was also the fact that I had the somewhat silly ambition to build something cool from the kit everybody loves to hate 😉

So, ironically enough, the most-reviled kit of the release was actually a day one purchase for me.

It has to be said, though, that I am at the very early planning stages of this project, and am currently just messing around in order to discover what I could do with the kit. Nevertheless, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the kit as I go along — maybe it’ll be helpful for you too! So consider this a mini-review/early WIP kind of affair — seems like you’ll be getting quite a bit of mileage out of this one post, dear readers…

Anyway, after picking up the kit, this is what I ended up with:

Centurions_first_look (1)
Let’s not talk about the decal sheet, obviously, because it’s standard fare. The instruction booklet is a rather hefty tome, however, on account of the kit being rather complex. Each of the three sprues that come with the kit is packed with bits, containing all the possible equipment options as well as a unique pose and individual (loyalist) decoration for each of the models:

Centurions_first_look (2)
The thing to note here is that assembling a Centurion with any given kind of equipment will invariably give you lots of leftover weapon bitz: You get three sets of long range weapons (lascannons, heavy bolters and a grav cannon) and one set of CC weapons (siege drills that come with optional flamers or meltaguns) for each model, so there will be a lot of leftovers.

As an interesting aside, I also discovered that the Centurions’ bases (slightly bigger than a Terminator base in diameter) are a perfect fit for those resin parts that come with the 40k basing kit:

Centurions_first_look (4)
So it obviously wasn’t some kind of production slip up after all…

Centurions_first_look (3)
Why GW would make these resin parts fit a type of base that virtually never gets used across the whole catalogue instead of the much more prolific terminator base is clearly beyond me. Still, mystery solved!

Deciding how my Obliterators will be armed will take some time, I believe: I will probably go for mixed weapons, representing their ability to use different weapons each turn. The lascannons can be used out of the box. Beyond that, I guess I’ll convert the heavy bolters to look like autocannons / assault cannons. Plus I’ll swap in a flamer or plasma cannon here and there. For now, let’s focus on some of the bitz that come with the kit, because these could come in handy even if you’re not trying to build Centurions in the first place!

The kit comes with seven heads: four of them with helmets, three bare. The helmet crest that you can see on the sergeant in the official photos is a seperate, optional part (which is pretty cool). I played around with the heads a bit and took some photos to show you how they look on regular Marine models:

Centurions_first_look (5)
First up, the helmeted head variant on a regular (Chaos) Space Marine body: Although it seems a little clunky, it clearly works. With its look halfway between a terminator and regular power armour helmet, this could be an interesting option for Iron Warriors or Iron Hands. Or a suitable headdress for a Techmarine/Warpsmith? Unfortunately, the heads don’t fit into a terminator body’s head cavity, so you won’t be able to use them on your terminators without some serious cutting.

Even more interesting are the bare heads, since those are scaled to perfectly fit the existing Marine models. Take a look:

Centurions_first_look (6)
I chose the one with the open mouth and mohawk, since I thought it was a pretty good fit for a World Eater. These have pretty nice facial expressions, and while I think they do look rather silly when combined with the hulking Centurion bodies, they should be really useful for your other infantry models.

They also look really good on Terminators:

Centurions_first_look (7)
Another thing you can see in the picture above is that the Centurions’ shoulder pads are great if you want to add that special Pre-Heresy/artificer armour look to your Terminators, since they make for rather convincing terminator pauldrons as well:

Centurions_first_look (8)
Centurions_first_look (9)
Centurions_first_look (10)

So there’s really nothing stopping you from replacing those shoulder pads with something different on the Centurions and using the originals on your army commander or something similar.

And finally, the flamers and meltaguns that come with the kit are just about the right size to be used on regular infantry, if you want to be thrifty:

Centurions_first_look (12)
Centurions_first_look (13)
Granted, the meltagun might need some work to fit perfectly. But if you ask me, the slightly shorter muzzle on the flamer makes it look more special ops like, if that makes any sense.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg, really. So whether or not you like the Centurions, the kit will give you lots of extra stuff. Even if you use it to build a squad of three Centurions, there will be quite a few leftovers, which is always a plus in my book.

As for my own “Behemoth” squad, like I said, I am in the very early planning stages. It quickly became obvious that the Centurions are a rather complex kit, and I will need to take some sound decisions about what to glue together before painting, so I will take my time with this project. For now, I have tacked together one Centurion body and begun experimenting with a couple of bitz. This is all really WIP, and nothing is finalised. So if you think the model looks rather silly, rest assured that I’ll be doing my best to change that 😉

Anyway, here goes:

Centurions_first_look (14)
So far, I have only shaved some loyalist engravings off the right leg armour and replaced them with an icon of Khorne. Apart from that, the body’s still as stock as can be (as evidenced by the sprawling Aquila on the chest plate). As for the conversion, I am considering replacing the armour plates on the upper legs with ogre gutplates or Chaos Marauder shields for a more chaotic look (and a visual connection to the rest of my army).

Apart from that, my one main experiment for now was to use several chaotic heads on the body:

Centurions_first_look (15)
Centurions_first_look (16)
Centurions_first_look (17)
Centurions_first_look (18)Centurions_first_look (19)
As I said, nothing spectacular so far — although it’s nice to know that some of the heads look quite alright (I really like the WoC skull helmet). All in all, I’ll probably be using the regular Centurion heads with added bunny ears, though.

Anyway, I am still in the very early stages of this particular project, although I can promise you I’ll give it my all to make these guys look as cool as I have envisioned them.

 

So yeah, those are the next World Eaters projects I am working on! I’ll keep you updated about their progress, of course! And I would love to hear your opinion, so you’re very welcome to share any thoughts you might have in the comments section!

And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Where are they now?

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , on September 11, 2013 by krautscientist

I am on vacation to the seaside this week, grabbing some much needed fresh air. So I guess it’s time for a rather contemplative post today. So while I am spending some time doing nothing, let’s check on some hobby proejcts of mine: As you may recall, I built some models that I sent abroad in pursuit of various hobby-related business. So where are they now?

 

1.) Legion

Ah, who could forget my favourite, insane Mechanicus monstrosity? After his first outing aboard the Myth Shippe in April, Legion could last be glimpsed on a tray brought along to 2013’s Inqvitational by John Blanche. There he lingered, towards the back, glad to be in the company of some really phenomenal models both by JB himself as well as some other talented artists:

Image kindly provided by Marco Skoll

Image kindly provided by Marco Skoll

Seeing that a model I made has found its way into a collection like that really makes me proud!

I also have a hunch we may not have seen the last of our favourite Tech Wraith, but we’ll have to see about that…

 

2.) Inquisitor Zuul

After being captured by his puritan pursuers during this year’s Inqvitational, Inquisitor Zuul was unexpectedly observed causing some mischief among the denizens of the Arrke:

Image kindly provided by PDH

Image kindly provided by PDH

I swear Zuul didn’t have anything to do with that car on the right crashing like that. Oh dear, let’s just hope Inquisitor Tybalt doesn’t find out…

I gave Zuul to PDH as a birthday present, both as a thank you for involving me in all kinds of kick ass international hobby projects, and because having to send Zuul back and forth between Germany and Britain for games would have been a bit of a drag. It goes without saying that I am rather happy that Peter’s getting some mileage out of the old rascal until Zuul is finally taken out for good by his puritan enemies. Let’s keep our fingers crossed, though, because I, for one, have grown rather attached to the old boy…

Image kindly provided by PDH

Image kindly provided by PDH

 

3.) Elias Cobb

And last but definitely not least, Elias Cobb’s identical twin has successfully made his way to his namesake (who, it bears repeating, is really not a mutant sniper, but rather a gentleman and a scholar) in the north of the USA. There he has found both a new home and a place of honour:

Image kindly provided by Elias Cobb

Image kindly provided by Elias Cobb

The real Elias kindly sent me the photo above. I am really glad that the model has reached its destination intact, although the twins now have to rely on the power of social media to see each other. How sad:

Where are they now (5)
It’s cool, Elias: You guys can skype, or something… 😉

 

Anyway, where am I going with this?

Being a bit of a pack rat, I’ll readily admit that I am not especially good at letting things go — least of all things I painstakingly converted and painted myself. But in these three cases, seeing that the models I sent abroad are still around and keep popping up here and there really makes me happy.

Each of those was a labour of love, of course, but building them to eventually give them away was very much a part of the joy: There is a certain satisfaction in the knowledge that these models have found new homes in another country, and that their stories will continue, even if I am no longer the one in charge.

In a way, this hobby is really all about sharing, isn’t it? I cannot count the number of ideas I have borrowed from other talented hobbyists, and I certainly hope that I have, in turn, managed to give some inspiration back to others. And being able to contribute a model to a fantastic narrative event or the collection of one of the biggest hobby legends really is a great feeling! I can’t help remembering my early years in the hobby: Without the internet or an actual hobby scene, the hobby felt like a really isolated activity, with every hobbyist an island, so to speak. GW’s own materials were really all the available input there was, and fruitlessly trying to emulate ‘Eavy Metal paintjobs was a very special kind of self-deprecation. I could never have imagined then that something like this would be in the cards for my hobby life!

Today, there’s a brilliant scene of creative and inspiring hobbyists around, and it’s possible to get in touch with them via the magic of the Interwebz: You can exchange ideas, swap bitz, plan events or even send away models you’ve build and painted, then see them take on a life of their own. And this is great and really makes me happy, in a small and self-centered way…

So yeah, before I get all sappy on you, like an 80s’ Filmation cartoon, let’s wind this up: I am happy that these models are still around, and that they are in good hands. Cheers Peter, John and Elias! Take good care of those little guys for me!

And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more! Normal service will resume next week 😉

Engine of destruction, pt. 3

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, paintjob, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 6, 2013 by krautscientist

One more look at the Wargrinder, like I promised. I hope I’m not boring you yet! That said, it is a fairly involved project that I am also rather proud of, so I hope you’ll forgive me for featuring it prominently whenever I can…

Anyway, the last thing needed to complete the model was a suitable base. And the fact that the standard Dreadknight base is rather large also meant that I couldn’t exactly phone it in . So I sat down and thought about what I actually wanted the base to accomplish from a visual perspective:

  • I wanted the base to fit the look of my army’s overall basing scheme, obviously. So it was clear that I would use the same rock/rubble look.
  • I wanted the base to look interesting enough to do the model justice, but not so impressive as to draw away attention from it.
  • it would be really cool if the base could feature a fallen enemy of the Wargrinder.

So with these ideas in mind, I started to mess around with a couple of ideas. I obviously used the usual recipe of big and small pieces of cork plus some modelling sand and slate to represent the rocky ground and debris. Yet what about the fallen enemy? Covering the base in skulls would certainly have seemed slightly goofy, since the Wargrinder doesn’t have any obvious way of harvesting skulls in the traditional sense, due to its enormous size. So it had to be a bigger enemy, preferredly one with a certain reputation when it came to ferocity in combat.

Fortunately enough, I still had the torso front of a Death Company Dreadnought lying around from way back when I converted my first Chaos Dreadnought from a Furioso kit. I had always wanted to use that nicely detailed piece, and now was the time! So I added the remains of a defeated Blood Angels Dread to the base:

Wargrinder base (1)
I didn’t have a whole Dreadnought to spare, of course, so I wanpushed into the earth under theted its remains to look half buried, probably flattened and  trampled underfoot. In order to achieve this effect, I covered the middle of the base in a mix of wood glue, modelling sand and cork chaff. After the material had been evenly distributed, I added the torso front on top. I also built the remains of a torn off arm from a Dreadnought fist and a hydraulic strut from the Dreadknight. Then I added more sand and cork on top to blend everything together. And if you take a closer look, you can see some actual cables, representing the torn cabling emerging from the Dreadnought’s destroyed torso. And you may even spot the areas where I used a pen to sketch the outlines of the Wargrinder’s feet in order to make sure everything would fit together in the end.

When everything was nice and dry, the base was spraypainted with Chaos Black. As per my usual routine, the next step was to block in the base colours. Then everything was washed with brown wash. Then I went back in to do the accents and detail work. I tried to replicate the “official” Death Company paint scheme fairly closely (finding out once again the loyal Marines really aren’t for me when it comes to painting). Afterwards, I used a mix of washes, drybrushing and weathering effects to create scratches, chipped paint and battle damage on the fallen Dread. Here’s the finished base:

Wargrinder base (4)
I am reasonably pleased with the result: The fallen machine clearly reads as a Death Company Dread, and it adds a nice visual flourish to the base without the thread of overpowering the actual model. So the last step was to actually glue the Wargrinder to the base, and it was with slightly shaky hands that I completed this last task.

After enough drying time has elapsed, let’s take a look at the completely finished model. I give you the Wargrinder on its new base:

Wargrinder (18)
Wargrinder (19)
Wargrinder (20)
Wargrinder (21)
Wargrinder (22)
Wargrinder (23)
Wargrinder (24)
Wargrinder (25)
Granted, it’s just a relatively small detail when compared to the rest of the model, but it does really make the Wargrinder look complete. I also think it’s a nice bit of irony that a Death Company Dreadnought, itself well known for its ferocity in combat, has been reduced to a mere base decoration here 😉

Here are some additional detail shots:

Wargrinder (28)
The Wargrinder towering over its fallen foe.

Wargrinder (29)
By the way, PDH found the perfect excuse for the icon of Khorne on the model’s back being the wrong way around: “It’s for when Khorne’s looking down on him.” — yes, that’s a brilliant explanation, and much better than admitting that I didn’t pay enough attention, so let’s just go with that!

Wargrinder (32)

Wargrinder (33)
All in all, I am really happy to have completed this model! It’s been some work alright, although I feel the result is well worth it:

Wargrinder (30)

Incidentally, after posting the model, it turned out that the choice of head remains a point of critcism for some. Now I do of course realise that it’s a fairly eclectic choice, and it will never please everybody. That said, at least there was some method to my madness. Fellow hobbyist TJWyrm over on B&C really put it more succinctly in his comment than I ever could have:

For me, the head really helps trace a lineage back to the Legion Maniple robots, one that was dragged with your guys into the warp, and is still serving millenia later.

While I didn’t have it all worked out like that from the start, my plan for the model was that the Wargrinder is neither a dreadnought-like sarcophagus for the remains of an Astartes, nor a daemon’s spirit given metallic form. Rather, it is actually supposed to be an enhanced and somewhat redesigned Legio Cybernetica robot (as a matter of fact, even though I only disvovered this after the fact, it does bear some structural similarities to the Lambda Zeta-01 Combat Class Robot): Maybe it has been serving the 4th assault company ever since the Heresy, and Warpsmith Deracin just made some additions and alterations to the machine. Maybe it has been constructed by Deracin himself, using the remains of Mechanicus warmachines and the dark secrets of his craft. In any case, the machine isn’t a frenzied daemon, but rather an emotionless, uncaring killing machine. And I think the head I chose is a better representation of that than any frenzied daemon face. That said, it’s certainly purely a matter of taste, and I acknowledge that not everyone will like my choice. I am certainly not making excuses, just trying to explain my reasoning on this. For those who really cannot stomach the head, I’ll happily point you towards Chris’ Dreadknight conversion once again. It uses a Necrosphinx head and looks awesome!

So yeah, that’s the finished model in all its glory. But what will I ever use it for?
To be perfectly honest, I mainly started this project due to the prospect of being able to convert and paint an awesome model. Still, there are a number of possible in-game uses for the Wargrinder, of course: The most obvious choice would be to use it as a Decimator. The size of the model is similar, and using it in that capacity would be a great way of having access to a Decimator without having to get the “official” model, The small problem here is the WYSIWYG rule: The base is quite a bit bigger than the Decimator’s standard base — and I simply refused to glue the Wargrinder to a smaller base, because that could have looked rather ridiculous. Still, while I didn’t try to model for advantage, the fact remains that the bigger base may make things ever so slightly easier for me 😉 The other problem is the model’s weapon: I just used the leftover Forgefiend weapon because I liked the look of it, but it doesn’t really represent either equipment choice available to a Decimator all that well. Still, with a little goodwill on my opponent’s part, the Wargrinder would certainly make for a pretty cool counts as Decimator.

It could also be used as a counts as Forgefiend, Maulerfiend or even Defiler, come to think of it. Sure, each of these options will once again require an understanding opponent, but the bottom line remains the same: Even though my main objective was to build and paint a badass-looking model, the Wargrinder could very well come in handy on the table as well!

So, before I wind up this post, it’s good tradition here on Eternal Hunt to present some fluff to go with the new model. So here’s all you need to know about the Wargrinder:

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Wargrinder pattern Blood Knight

The warmachine designated Wargrinder by the legionaries of the 4th assault company is certainly a terrifying testament to Huntmaster Deracin’s dark genius. Bigger even than the fearsome Contemptor, the Wargrinder usually towers over the battlefield, a metallic embodiment of murderous intent.

Based on the ancient and hallowed warmachines of the Legio Cybernetica that fought alongside the XIIth Astartes Legion during the Great Crusade and subsequent Horus Heresy, the Wargrinder has evolved into something altogether different: While there are still enough hints as to its origin, the machine’s armoured bulk now resembles nothing so much as the form of a traitor Astartes, its baroque armour plating and daemonic weapons a clear indicator of its allegiance. and its fluid, almost organic, movements terrifying to behold.

While the Wargrinder is infused with the energies of the warp, it remains a machine: In eerie contrast to the frenzied and bloodthirsty traitor Astartes fighting alongside it,  the daemon engine’s relentless advance betrays the precision of an automaton: A Wargrinder never tires, never retreats, until its task is done. But where an organic follower of Khorne would leave himself be consumed by his instinct and his rage, it remains emotionless and calculating, its behavioral protocols ensuring its murderous efficiency.

In the armies of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt, Wargrinders fill a combat role similar to that of the accursed Decimator daemon engine. Equippable both for short and long range combat, a Wargrinder is a highly versatile warmachine. It is also a terror weapon, frightening to behold to those standing against the 4th. And a chilling reminder that even the most sophisticated machines ever devised by mankind may be turned against the servants of the false Emperor…

 

So there you have it: I hope this little series about building and painting the Wargrinder has been interesting to pursue! As always, feel free to let me know what you think in the comments! I’d love to hear from you!

And, of course, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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The Big One: A look at the new Space Marines

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , on September 4, 2013 by krautscientist

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the last fee weeks, the relentless barrage of Space Marine related rumourmongering cannot have escaped your notice. And now, the cat is finally out of the bag: The new Space Marines are here in the kind of ‘no holds barred’ release that I would have loved to see for chaos as well. But let’s not get bitter here: The Space Marines are undoubtedly GW’s most recognisable property as well as a cornerstone of both the 40k universe and, one would imagine, GW’s business. So it’s no surprise that they should give it their all this time around.

With the new models now upon us, it is once again time here at Eternal Hunt to take a closer look at the release, point out the good and the bad and, of course, think about all the delicious conversion opportunities that arise from this release. Let’s go:

Space Marine release (1)
The book itself once again features the kind of cover artwork introduced by the last releases. Unfortunately, the art itself isn’t quite as awesome this time around, if you ask me. But that’s not really a problem, because if you’re fast enough, you can order yourself a special edition in almost any colour of the rainbow:

Space Marine release (1b)
Seriously, though, offering separate covers for some of the more influential first and second founding chapters is certainly a nice touch and a bit of fanservice! Plus it may actually make the Black Templars players around the world a little less grumpy. I mean, yeah, they folded your army back into the Marine Codex, sure, but at least they’re throwing you a bone. I, for one, am still holding out for those rumoured supplements detailing the mono-god traitor legions.
Funnily enough, of all the different variants, the Ultramarines art appeals most to me for some reason, and I am certainly not a huge Ultramarines aficionado. In any case, the price for these editions is just silly, so I think I’ll pass…

It goes without saying that the contents of the book will be passionately discussed for the weeks and months to come: Already, cries of outrage can be heard all over the hobby scene, since it seems like Marines do it all — and better. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how all of this plays out eventually. In any case, we’re not here to talk about the rules, so let’s take a look at the models already:

 

Space Marine Centurions

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Ah, yes: The elephant in the room. The kit everyone already loves to hate. Let me start by saying that having to wedge completely new Space Marine units into an already meticulously defined lore and game system cannot be an enviable task for a designer. Last time around, they took the safe route with the Sternguard and Protector Guard  – basically regular (Assault) Marines in blinged out armour – then they got a little more gutsy with the Stormtalon, and we all know how that went. So this time, the Space Marines get what basically amounts to loyalist Obliterators.

I’ll be honest with you: At first, I was less than impressed with the models. In fact, I was prepared to cry blue murder, along with the best of them. But then something funny happened: The more I saw of these guys, the better I liked them. Oh, make no mistake, the sculpts are not without their problems (the legs still look too clunky for me and will probably take a lot of getting used to, for instance). But for some reason, I find these guys rather fascinating.

Now I don’t have any idea yet how these were retconned into the existing fluff: I guess they’ll either pretend that these existed all along, or have them be based on a rediscovered STC design. But for one crazy moment there, I thought to myself: I get it. The Astartes have seen what the Tau can do with their crazy combat suits and are now saying: We want a part of that.

I have no idea whether that’s actually where the design came from (probably not), but if seen from that perspective, the models suddenly make a lot of sense: They really look like Tau suits reverse engineered by way of the clunky Imperial technology.

I also like them not so much for what they are but for the conversion potential: As somehow who has always disliked the rather unwholesome looking Obliterator models, I cannot help feeling that the Centurions could finally be a perfect way of converting some truly awesome Obliterators for my army. But more on that later…

The one thing I really dislike about the models is the look of the CC option that comes with the kit:

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Those siege drills really don’t work for me. Maybe it’s because they look too much like something you would find at the dentist’s. Maybe it’s the fact that these guys seem to fill a slot that didn’t need any filling in the first place. In any case, the artillery option makes more sense and looks better, in my opinion.

Let me just point out a couple of small details that occured to me:

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One, Dave Thomas, the designer of the kit, pointed out in WD that the Marine piloting the suit has his arms crossed over his chest. While that sounds like an enormously uncomfortable position to hold for an entire battle, I really like how the Centurions’ dedicated unit badge reflects that small bit of lore.

I am also fascinated with the helmets, halfway between a regular power armoured helm and that of a Terminator. Oh, and it seems like that helmet crest (seen on the right) is an optional bit. Very nice! I also think the bare heads that come with the kit (and that do look slightly silly on the heavily armoured models) could work great for World Eaters with their extremely angry expressions, shouting mouths and head implants that would make for fairly convincing Butcher’s Nails.

I also like the fact that the back of the leg is really similar to the legs of a Dreadknight:

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A very nice bit of visual consistency there!

So, all in all, I started out hating these, but now I am beginning to grow rather fond of them. A sign of my rampant fanboyism, perhaps? Maybe. But even though these guys may not be for everyone, at least the designer wasn’t afraid to try something new, and I can always appreciate that!

In closing, let me get one small nerd gripe off my chest: Centurion was an actual commander rank during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy, right? Now why would they call a completely unrelated combat suit by the same name 10,000 years later? Couldn’t they have come up with a different name? Couldn’t they have been called Colossus, for crying out loud? Yeah, I know, I need to get a life…

 

Space Marine Tactical Squad

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Well, this one was possibly overdue: Even though the old tactical sprue had been slightly touched up for one of the last Codex releases, the tactical Marines were pretty much the oldest kit still in existence, having originally been introduced at the start of 3rd edition. So now they finally get a true update. And, well, what did you expect? These guys still look like Space Marines, that much is for sure.

Seriously though, instead of just adding some inconsequential decoration, the designers seem to have gone for some serious re-engineering this time around, making sure the tactical sprue – certainly the bread and butter of every Marine army – now boasts lots and lots of options.

For Marine players, the most important ones will possibly be the weapons options, complete with new grav weapons, although the improvements don’t stop there: For one, it seems like some of the models now boast a somewhat more upright pose due to their legs. This is a very welcome change, since the notoriously crouched legs really get old once you have built about a hundred Astartes models.

We also get a bigger variety of parts from armour marks, among them some Mk IV legs and a full suit of Mk VI Corvus armour:

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For someone like me, who has been experimenting with kitbashing older armour strictly from GW plastic parts for my Legio Custodes project, this is  a very welcome addition indeed! And call me a little weird, but my favourite parts in any Marine kits are usually the bare heads:

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I love building my (traitor) Marines bareheaded, because (while it makes no sense from a combat perspective) it’s a great way of adding individuality and character to the models. And the new heads certainly don’t disappoint: The one on the left with the slightly gladiatorial mohawk would be great for eather a World Eater or a Custodes model, while the rebreather mask is awesome (and would work like a charm on a champion of Nurgle, if you ask me…).

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With the old tactical Marines slowly beginning to show their age, It’s also interesting to note how the new kit seems to be all sharp lines and crisp detail:

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This is especially evident on the new Corvus helmet that now seems to have some murch sharper lines as well (almost making it look a little duck-like…):

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Anyway, having a new version of this kit probably was a sheer necessity, and GW did a nice job of  making it as comprehensive as possible. At 35 Euros for ten Marines, this is also possibly the best bang for the buck out of all the new kits, although the new Marines are still more expensive than their older incarnation. On the other hand, they do come with lots and lots of options. With the new design, these can finally hold their ground against kits like the Space Wolves or Blood Angles Death Company again. Nice job, GW!

 

Space Marine Sternguard:

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Wow, this kit is certainly one of the stars of the show for me! While nice, the old Sternguard models always seemed a little conventional to me. But the new kit not only provides a way of building plastic Sternguard, but should also be a great kit for simply adding a little oomph to your commanders and squad leaders and basically for building badass-looking models.

Once again, the kits comes with lots and lots of options. And once again, it’s the heads that I am drawn to first:

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The head on the left has to be one of my favourite Astartes heads ever: It looks just as grizzled and noble as befits an honoured warrior of the Legiones Astartes. That makes it a perfect fit for chaptermaster, a Legio Custodes character or even an Inquisitor. The head on the right is not quite as awesome, but it also gets the grizzled veteran look right, at least.

It seems that providing lots and lots of modelling and equipment options was once again the order of the day. And while Space Marine players will be happy with the many equipment options (especially the combi-weapons, I imagine), it’s bitz like this that make me stupidly happy:

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When it comes to the models themselves, the greatest things about them are the highly ostentatious pieces of armour as well as the added bulk when compared to normal Marines:

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You instantly know that these guys are bad news. Also, that power fist is looking fantastic…

All in all, I expect this kit to sell like hotcakes: Not only does it offer the option to build plastic Sternguard, but it looks like the new go to kit when it comes to making awesome character kitbashes. Definitely one of the high points of the release for me, and possibly one of the kits I might purchase myself.

 

Space Marine Protector Guard

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You can’t have one without the other, so we get a Protector Guard kit along with the Sternguard. And while it’s great to get yet another unit type in glorious plastic, I somehow think these are less impressive than the Sternguard. Maybe it’s the fact that they look like a similarly impressive unit could be built by simply using some additional bitz on a regular squad of assault marines? Maybe it’s a problem with the picture, though, because the alternate squad of Raven Guard built and painted by the GW studio looks awesome:

Space Marine release (17)I especially love the sergeant’s helmet!

Still, while the last incarnation of both unit types had the Protector Guard looking much cooler, the roles are reversed this time: The Protector Guard looks nice enough, but I feel the Sternguard takes the cake. However, I suppose this kit will be similarly succesful, since the amount of bitz makes it a useful purchase.

 

Hunter/Stalker

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There’s also a new vehicle combi-kit, albeit one based on the trusty old Rhino. The kit may be assembled as one of two tank variants, the Hunter or the Stalker. The design is nice enough and some of the visual touches (like the stabilisers) are nice, but you’ll probably forgive me for being unable to get excited over yet another Rhino variant.

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In all fairness, though, the Space Marines have received a couple of rather more interesting vehicle kits out of turn in the past, so it’s really not that much of a problem that this release doesn’t bring us a spectacular new vehcile kit. Moving on.

 

Characters

The Space Marines also get some new characters, and the most interesting thing to note is that they’re all plastic models. Are we seeing a change of strategy regarding Finecast? In any case, let’s take a closer look at the new models:

 

Space Marine Commander

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This guy certainly looks the part! But is it just me, or does he look like a slightly rejigged version of the Commander from the Assault on Black Reach boxed set? Here’s a comparison photo for you:

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Nope, definitely not my imagination: They seem to have used the same base model and then slightly redesigned it. Which, in all fairness, doesn’t have to be a bad thing: I have always liked the Black Reach Commander, and some of the added detail is really cool.  The fact that you get a crested helmet with the kit also means that you can build a plastic version of Captain Sicarius on par with (if not better than) the slightly malproportioned FC version.

The kit also gives you a different head option…

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…which is standard, slightly constipated looking Marine fare. Still, it’s good to have the option!

A look at the sprue reveals that not only should the model be easy enough to customise even further, but some of the bitz (like the heads and backpack) can easily be used on different models as well. I like that!

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The model is nice enough on its own, and I think it can be made to really shine with a bit of work. Here’s the catch, though: Seeing how this is basically a Black Reach Captain 2.0, the price point of 25 Euros seems particularly egregious in this case. If I wanted to build a new Marine commander similar to this one, I’d simply get a cheap Black Reach mini online and kitbash it into something on par with the new model. And there’s always the multipart Space Marine Commander as a cheaper option (although that one is slightly hampered by the fact that it is based on pretty standard Marine physiology and posing). Anyway, considering the price, there are lots of alternative options that will give you an equally impressive model.

 

Space Marine Chaplain

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Seeing how this is the first vanilla Marine chaplain available in plastic (the Dark Vengeance S.E. chaplain obviously doesn’t count), this is a nice addition to the Space Marine catalogue. However, the chaplain is only available as part of the Reclusiam Command Squad:

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While this makes lots of sense from a business perspective, using the new model to give the older kits in the set a bit of a leg up, it also seems like a bit of a dick move on GW’s part.

However, their website has this to say on the matter:

This includes a new plastic Chaplain, armed with a crozius arcanum and bolt pistol, which is currently only available with this box set.

That sounds like a separate release somewhere along the line isn’t totally out of the question, at least. So in case you don’t need that additional command squad and Razorback, I’d probably hold my breath for now, if I were you.

The model itself is pretty nice, but not really all that spectacular. The skull mask even looks silly in a slightly Skeletor-esque way, if you ask me. Fortunately, the kit also comes with an alternate head option that is much cooler (and seems like a shout out to a great 2nd edition metal chaplain):

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But a chaplain always looks more like a chaplain with a deathmask. Just sayin’…

A look at the sprue shows that it should once again be easy enough to use the different parts of the model for different projects as well.

Space Marine release (32)Again, considering the price, this is another model where it’s quite possible to kitbash something similarly impressive with existing bitz. But I appreciate the option of fielding yet another HQ option in plastic, even if it’s far too expensive 😉

 

Space Marine Librarian:

Space Marine release (21b)
Now we’re talking! This guy is certainly the best of the new characters, and maybe even my favourite part of the entire release. It’s great that Space Marine players now basically have plastic versions for all of their generic HQs, but even beyond that, this guy really shines. I especially love the fact that they have moved beyond the smooth shaven look for the Librarian’s face:

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His bearded face has an almost Merlinesque quality to it, and is a great fit for an experienced psyker. The head would also look great on a GK character or an Inquisitor! And in any case, the model is basically worth it for the creepy little cherub alone! One of the best bitz in GW’s entire catalogue!

The sprue picture also reveals that the Librarian should lend himself rather nicely to conversions:

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As you can see, it should be easy enough to swap in different legs or arms, which is brilliant. And both the head and cherub are separate pieces! Awesome!

From among the three plastic characters, this is the one I am almost guaranteed to purchase at some point. Sure, the price is just as high as that of the Commander, but the model is by far the most exciting and unique sculpt out of the three plastic characters. Defintely one of my favourite Space Marine models, hands down.

 

Conversion potential:

Right off the bat, I’ll happily admit that I may be slightly biased this month: With two of my hobby projects (my World Eaters and my Legio Custodes army) partly or mostly based on Marine parts, it goes without saying that the new stuff from this release would be easier to put to good use than, say, a Lizarman or Tau model.

That said, flexibility is one of the greatest strength of GW’s marine based kits: The fact that most bitz can be merrily mixed and matched makes kitbashing (traitor) Astartes models both one of the easiest as well as one of the most satisfying hobby activities for me. It goes without saying that the new kits bring lots and lots of interesting bitz to use for all kinds of conversion projects. Indeed, Marine players will probably have a field day with these, kitbashing and splicing bitz into their existing forces with gusto.

For me personally, I am really interested in some of the bare heads. This seems a silly detail, to be sure, but those faces should be great for adding some character to my armies, and some of the heads would work perfectly for both my World Eaters and Custodes.

The most interesting infantry kit would be the Sternguard, since the partly robed bodies seem perfect to build Custodes Praetorians or veterans of the Legio in older marks of power armour. For the other kits, I will probably try to stick to ebay, bitz sites and bitz swaps for getting my hands on some of the interesting parts.

Regarding the characters, I think I’ll pass on the commander and chaplain: The former is so similar to my already painted Black Reach Captain that I don’t see any room for yet another version of the model. And the latter, apart from being part of a pretty expensive boxed set for now, isn’t all that fantastic — I’d rather kitbash my own model if I ever had to. The Librarian, however, is truly awesome, and I will certainly get one at some point. I expect he will end up as some kind of Inquisitor, though, since neither my World Eaters nor my Custodes seem like ideal employers for a psyker.

And then there’s the one kit that really has me thrilled. The one kit everybody seems to hate: the Centurions. I know they are goofy. I know it will be a lot of work. But I have half a mind to use these as a base for converting some Obliterators for my World Eaters. Already, ideas are beginning to form in the back of my head. And what is there to lose: They probably won’t end up looking as horrible as the existing models, right? 😉

 

Anything else?

Actually, yes. It may feel like beating a dead horse, but I can’t wind up this review without talking about the price of some of these kits. I realise that GW’s pricing is a highly controversial subject, and I certainly won’t go into economics here. That said, a certain divide is evident with this release’s pricing:

The tactical Marines come at 35 Euros a pop. While that’s more expensive than the older tactical squad, the new kit looks sharper and features lots and lots of bitz. So in the context of GW’s overall catalogue, paying 35 Euros for a highly customisable infantry squad of ten doesn’t really seem so bad.

The Sternguard and Protector Guard are quite a bit more expensive, coming at 40 and 35 Euros for five models, respectively. Once again, I am inclined to let it slide, because the amount of (really useful) leftover bitz you’ll end up with even after completing the squad manages to sugarcoat that particular bitter pill for me.

The Centurions are a problem, though: 62 Euros for a squad of three? Whoa, that is a pretty penny! Sure, these guys may be big, but given the fact that the sculpt doesn’t seem to be all that popular, GW had better hope this works out for them (it probably will, though: I bet these will be super effective on the table, making them an auto-include). Still, even though I am interested in using these for a conversion project, the price tag is giving me pause.

The biggest problem for me, though, are the characters: For WFB, the plastic characters are usually a great – and fairly affordable – purchase. For some reason, however, 40k plastic characters are much more expensive than their WFB counterparts right off the bat. And 25 Euros for a standard size, single pose plastic model does seem pretty egregious — all the more so if it’s simply a touched up starter box model (the original of which can be had for a song on ebay). It’s true, in my opinion, that GW still produce the best 28mm plastic models available, but they also charge us rather outrageous prices for the benefit of using these delicious pieces of plastic, and it’ll be interesting to see how long this will realistically continue. Regarding the Space Marine characters, I’d advise you to check if kitbashing isn’t the more sensible option – apart from that Librarian, of course: That guy is wicked.

 

In closing…

All in all, this is certainly a rather strong release, but what did you expect? Space Marines continue to be GW’s most successful product, as evidenced by their site crashing under the onslaught auf pre-orders. The release provides Marine players all over the world with some fantastic new toys, and seeing all that beautiful plastic crack turn up in all kinds of different army and conversion projects will be a lot of fun. You’ll have to pay rather handsomely for the benefit of getting to play with the new stuff, though, so even the most diehard Space Marine fans should carefully consider which of the new kits are essential purchases. So, long story short: some fantastic models. Some not so fantastic prices. Business as usual in the 41st millennium.

 

So, what do you think of the new release? Are you itching for some Astartes goodness? Or are you foaming at the mouth when looking at  the price tags? Or both? And do you love or hate the Centurions? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section!

And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!