Archive for dark angels

Going through the motions – a look at the 2015 Space Marines release

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2015 by krautscientist

Wait, wasn’t there a Space Marine release fairly recently? In fact, it’s already been almost two years, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it. Granted, the Space Marines are 40k’s most popular faction and main cash cow, but even so, it feels like we only received a new Codex a very short while ago. But here it is, nevertheless, a new book, complete with a bunch of new kits to accompany it, so who am I to argue, eh?

2015 Space Marine Release (1)
The thing is: 2013’s Space Marine release was a pretty big release all around, thoroughly revamping the standard Tactical Squad, giving us plastic Sternguard and Vanguard, introducing Centurions, grav weapons and two new, Rhino-based tank variants. Plus we got new models for a couple of generic Space Marine HQ choices. So it feels like this new release does have quite a bit to measure up to. Let’s take a look at whether or not the new kits manage to hold up — and it goes without saying that we’ll also be taking a look at the various conversion options along the way!

 

Space Marines Terminator Librarian

2015 Space Marine Release (2)
The clamshell characters are often a very interesting part of each release — one need look no further than the Tech-Priest Dominus as proof. And the Space Marines receive another HQ option via this Librarian in Terminator armour.

Tell you what: I think there’s something off about the model. Something I cannot quite put my finger on. Sure enough, all the required boxes have been ticked: The model clearly reads as a Librarian, psi-staff, psychic hoods, lots of scrolls parchments and doodads — all accounted for. And the various details on the armour certainly look cool enough!

2015 Space Marine Release (4)But there’s something about the model’s design that makes it seem like the upper and lower halves don’t mesh: Maybe it’s the fact that the torso and head have a slightly squashed look about them? Maybe it’s the slightly iffy pose? Or maybe it’s just the angle of the picture? Whatever the reason may be, the model seems subtly wrong to me, almost as if the upper and lower parts of the body belong to different models and have been grafted together semi-successfully…

The good news is that I think the effect is slightly less of a problem when using the model’s alternate arm with its cool wizard pose:

2015 Space Marine Release (3)
And since this arm is far more interesting visually than the tired old Stormbolter anyway, all is well with the world, right?

Well, I’m not sold on the model, to be honest: There’s the slightly strange overall feeling described above, for starters. There’s also the fact that a look at the sprue reveals that most of the model, bar the arms, is made up of two massive slabs of plastic, with very little leeway for modifications, rendering conversions beyond arm or weapon swaps pretty complicated:

2015 Space Marine Release (5)
But all of this would probably be excusable, if not for the fact that the new plastic model is an inferior replacement to its predecessor and a better alternative is readily available. But all in good order!

Let’s look at the Terminator Librarian’s previous incarnation:

OOP Librarian Terminator
Now you all know that I am a huge fan of plastic models, but even I have to admit that the older Librarian model had a lot more character and dynamism going for it. It also seems less dubious anatomically. It does have the beefy look you would expect of a Terminator, but it still seems fairly plausible and natural — well, as plausible and natural as can be expected, that is…

There’s also a much better flow about the model — something that can arguably be hard to capture in multipart plastic models. But then, the new Librarian isn’t even that multipart to begin with (compare the sprue above).

What’s even worse, though, is that the Blood Angels Librarian in Terminator armour, released fairly recently, also seems like a more balanced model:

Blood Angels release 2014 (2)Granted, the BA Librarian is costs one Euro more and might require some minor conversion work to get rid of the BA iconography. That seems like a good investment, however, seeing how much better the model looks overall, and is quite a bit more flexible when it comes to conversion options (as it’s closer in construction to a standard, multipart Terminator). Back when this model was released, I was wondering whether it shouldn’t have been a generic Termie Librarian to begin with — and seeing the actual generic Termie Librarian now only enforces this notion: The BA Libby seems like the superior design, essentially rendering the new model obsolete, as long as you don’t mind some minor conversion work…

All in all, the new Terminator Librarian certainly isn’t terrible. But the model is a bit of a letdown, especially seeing how a superior plastic model is already available. I think I’ll pass on this one…

 

Space Marines Assault Squad

2015 Space Marine Release (6)
The Assault Marines were possibly one of the oldest plastic Space Marine kits still in service, so it certainly makes sense to give them a facelift. The new kit carefully updates the models and adds in some new options, yet at the end of the day, it still provides us with all the neccessary parts to build five Assault Marines, either with or without jump packs.

2015 Space Marine Release (7)This means the models have to work in both running and jumping poses, which seems to be the case. What’s more, we get some nifty pieces of crumbled masonry for our jump infantry, which is pretty nice. These small basing parts seem pretty interesting and are a nice bit of service — it’s especially cool that they come as separate parts, unlike the rubble in the Raptor/Warp Talon kit that is attached to the legs. And if you don’t like them or want to build your Marines without jump packs, just leave them off and the models will look like they are running:

2015 Space Marine Release (12)

Some of the poses do seem a little awkward, though (like the guy on the left in the above picture) — although, in all fairness, assembling running Marines that seem natural always takes a bit of doing and fine-tuning.

One thing I really love about the new kit is that it includes a plastic Eviscerator:

2015 Space Marine Release (11)
While we are looking at that Sergeant model, however, what is the matter with that face? The brow seems a bit huge, doesn’t it? Maybe this is a conscious effort to create Space Marine faces showing the kind of gigantism alluded to in the background — but it does seem a little weird, since it has never been done before…

I really love the other bare head included with the kit, however: I could easily imagine this guy as a gladiatorial World Eater:

2015 Space Marine Release (13)
All in all, the kit seems like a sensible and careful redesign, and if you should find yourself in need of some additional Assault Marines (or simpply some running legs), it seems like a sound option: You get five Assault Marines without any massive bells and whistles to speak of.

However, while having an updated kit is nice, it’s also pretty hard to get too excited about these models, because they are treading ground that has been thoroughly explored by several other kits. In fact, I would argue that almost everything this kit does, the Vanguard kit does better. And at merely two Euros more a pop, I know which kit I prefer.
Solid work, certainly, but nothing to write home about.

 

Space Marines Devastator Squad:

2015 Space Marine Release (15)
While the Devastator kit has seen more updates than some of the other Space Marine infantry, the addition of a couple of new weapons (with grav weapons being the prime example) obviously neccessitated yet another update. So here we are with a new Devastator kit that gives us lots and lots of weapons options…

2015 Space Marine Release (18)
Chief among these are the grav weapons, of course, but I’ll be honest: I am still not a fan of them from a visual standpoint. They seem clunky and ill-conceived, and not nearly as iconic as the other heavy weapons in the Space Marine catalogue — but maybe that’s just me being a grumpy old man there for a minute ๐Ÿ˜‰

Beyond such concerns, it’s great to see that the new Devastator kit contains lots and lots of weapons (basically two each of every heavy weapon plus a bunch of combi-weapons, pistols and a full complement of CC weapons for the Sergeant). This makes the new kit very comprehensive when it comes to weapon options — and thus possibly an essential purchase.

2015 Space Marine Release (21)
However, GW’s designers weren’t simply content with adding more weapons, they also added some visual touches to distinguish the Devastators from your standard Tactical Marines — basically the kind of attention sorely lacking in the new Assault Marines, if you ask me. Each of the Devastators comes with reinforced leg armour and an additional sensor array integrated into the model’s helmet:

2015 Space Marine Release (17)
Both ideas are pretty cool, because they visually support the Devastators’ battlefield rule and add some identity to the models beyond the heavy weapons they are lugging around. Even so, some of these new elements seem slightly uneven in execution: The extra sensors work far better on some helmets than on others (the one on the Marine with the grav gun in the above picture looks legitimately terrible, for instance).

As for the reinforced armour, it’s a pretty nifty idea! While I would have preferred some plastic versions of older armour marks (Mk. 2 or 3 would have been ideal for Devastators, if you ask me), I can still appreciate the extra effort. And the options for customising the squad leader are actually pretty awesome:

2015 Space Marine Release (19)In fact, we get quite a few bitz and bobs for the squad that are pretty interesting: the rockets streaming smoke may be a bit hit-or-miss, but I like the inclusion of a cherub, even if the sculpt does seem a bit clunky — I wonder whether the paintjob is partly to blame for this…?

2015 Space Marine Release (16)

All in all, this kit seems far more substantial than the Assault Marines, and it should be legitimately useful for Marine players both old and new. A very solid, if not exactly exciting, offering!

 

Space Marine Chapter-specific conversion kits

Now this is possibly the most interesting part of the release, at least for me: We get one conversion sprue each for the Blood Angels, Dark Angels, Ultramarines and Space Wolves — quite an interesting tool for customising champions and army commanders, and a possible return to offering conversion sets and bitz? We will see.

I do realise that many people seem fairly critical of these, seeing how they sell for 10.50 Euros a pop for a pretty small sprue of bitz. So let’s take a look at each of them in turn in order to figure out whether they are worth it:

2015 Space Marine Release (23)
The Blood Angels sprue is possibly the least interesting of the bunch, seeing how most of the bitz seem to appear in one of the existing BA kits in similar shape or form. The Mephiston-style torso piece is a notable exception, but most of the other contents of the sprue are very close to the stuff we get with the Sanguinary Guard, Death Company and BA Tac Squad. So while the bitz themselves are fairly cool, there’s nothing super-exciting here. Next.

2015 Space Marine Release (24)
The Dark Angels sprue suffers from a similar problem, but that’s mostly due to the fact that there are already several kits with lots and lots of DA conversion bitz in existence. The standout parts here are the mastercrafted breastplate, highly ostentatious sword and plasma pistol. The feathered helmet is a staple of DA lore but looks very clunky — I’d pick the Chapter Master helmet from the Dark Vengeance boxed set over this helmet any day of the week. Again, pretty nice, but ultimately nonessential.

2015 Space Marine Release (26)
The Space Wolves have just as many dedicated plastic kits as the Blood Angels and Dark Angels, yet their conversion sprue still turns out more interesting: The sword and axe are very sweet (and seem to be channeling the look of Krom Dragongaze’s weapons). The backpack also seems similar to his and is very cool — I love the vicious look of those wolf heads. Speaking of which, I thik the wolf head helmet is probably my favourite part of the sprue: Some may think it’s too cartoony, but I love how feral it looks. It’s far less stylised than the helmet we get as part of the existing SW sprue, and I think it would work just as well for a champion of chaos. This is a pretty cool conversion kit, mostly because it manages to move beyond the bitz that are already available as part of the regular kits.

2015 Space Marine Release (25)
And finally, the sprue for everybody’s favourite Do-Gooders, the Ultramarines. And you know what? This is definitely the best of the bunch! Because, for all their appearances in the background and posterboy status, the Ultramarines have never received any dedicated plastic kits, so this is our chance to finally make our Ultramarines characters look like true Ultramarines: The shoulder pads are obviously useful for that, but my favourite parts have to be the breastplate, sword and gladius combo and the knightly veteran helmet. I have never been a huge Ultramarines fan, but I really like this conversion kit because it provides something new in plastic — very cool!

All in all, the pricetag on these sprues may indeed be a bit steep, but I am prepared to call them a fairly promising experiment: If you want to use these for your whole army, you’ll be spending quite a lot of money — but that’s not the point: Each of the sprues would work perfectly for customising one or two models per army and really make them stand out — all you need are some Marine legs and bodies, and you’re golden. Which puts them at an ultimately reasonable price point below the – fairly expensive – new clamshell characters. What’s more, they certainly don’t force you to pick these up: You’ll still be getting lots and lots of leftover bitz that can work just as well from your regular kits. But as it stands, these new kits seem like a promising prospect, and it’ll be interesting to see what GW does with this approach. And I wonder whether these have anything to do with Forgeworld’s own, legion-specific upgrade packs…?

 

Bonus Content: HQ Command Tanks

2015 Space Marine Release (22)

I do of course realise that this kit is a Warhammer World exclusive, but seeing how it’s certainly vanilla-Marine themed, we might as well throw it in with the rest, don’t you think? ๐Ÿ˜‰

I think the boxy Space Marine tanks can use all the help they can get in order to look more interesting, and offering conversion kits to turn them into suitably ostentatious command vehicles seems like an interesting option. From my impressions, some things about the kit are pretty awesome, and some are pretty awful. Let’s start with the bad stuff: Those aquila-shaped radar dishes and the sensor array on top of the Rhino are pretty terrible. Seriously, there is such a thing as too clunky.

What I really like, however, are the alternate side panels, because they really make the vehicles look like relicts of a bygone age — ancient artifacts of the chapter that also happen to be warmachines. And I do have a bit of a thing for the Chapter Master atop the Land Raider — pretty cool!

So does this kit alone warrant a trip to Warhammer World or is it worth the hilarious prices some folks are asking on ebay? The answer to either would be no, if you ask me — although there are probably enough reasons for wanting to check out the new Warhammer World.

When all is said and done, this kit made me want to think about how to kitbash command tanks that are just as cool, but much less expensive — and I think it really wouldn’t be all that hard, given a reasonably well-stacked bitzbox. Still, it’s a cool idea, and I think one that many converters should be able to have a field day with ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Conversion options:

One of the biggest strengths of the entire Space Marine catalogue is how it provides an interlocking system of fully (or mostly) compatible kits, and the same goes for the new kits, of course: Whichever of these you pick up, you’ll always end up with more stuff for the huge Space Marine toolbox. And there’s no question that, for instance, all the extra stuff within the Devastator kit will prove hugely useful. So the release certainly provides new tools for all the (Chaos) Space Marine players out there.

I’ll be honest with you, though: No part of the release strikes me as particularly exciting or fantastic from a converter’s perspective. The things that interest me are mostly different bits and bobs: The pieces of rubble, Eviscerator and mostly bald head from the Assault Squad (because the latter would be great for a World Eaters officer). The servo-skull and cherub from the Devastators (because one can never have enough servo-skulls and cherubs in INQ28). The sword from the DA conversion set (because one can never have enough blinged out swords). And possibly the entire SW and Ultramarines conversion sprues (the SW sprue is, once again, full of cool options for World Eaters, and I just like the design of the Ultramarine bitz and the novelty of having Ultramarine parts available in plastic).

Many releases can become exciting even for those hobbyists who don’t play the army at hand. But this certainly isn’t one of those releases: It’s rather a workhorse of a release, replacing some outdated kits and tentatively offering some customisation and conversion options that might become more interesting in the future. I have always loved Space Marines, but even I cannot really get excited about the new kits — the most interesting part for me are the conversion kits, and even those are mostly interesting for what they could become for other armies or factions somewhere along the line.

 

Comparing this release to the recent AdMech extravaganza, one cannot help to see the new Space Marine kits as a disappointment, because they are ultimately just more of the same. The 2013 Space Marine release was more interesting, because we actually got something new (the Centurions, whether you like them or not), and the redesigned kits (Vanguard and Sternguard) were pretty exciting.

This time around, we mostly get small updates, which is nice. And taking an even-handed approach, we can probably call this a solid, if a little bland, bread and butter release. But in a world where the Skitarii and Cult Mechanicus have just turned the entire GW catalogue on its head, maybe solid just doesn’t cut it any longer? But then we knew AdMech would be a tough act to follow ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

So what do you think? Do you feel differently about the new Space Marine kits or would you like to discuss some crazy conversion ideas of yours that I didn’t think of? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section!

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

Kitbashes from opposite ends of 40k, pt. 2

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Custodes, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2014 by krautscientist

You might feel inclined to call my scheduling slightly scattershot – and you’d be right – but I already have an update to my last post, further eloborating on each of the respective conversion projects, and I simply want to share the results with you, so let’s take a look: ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

1. Custodes

Certainly the smallest of the updates, but even after showing you this Custodian in archaic power armour…

Squad Asklepian 31
…I just couldn’t stop myself from tweaking the kitbash even further. The photo above made me realise that the model’s waist seemed rather waspish, for one, so I tried bulking it out a little:

Squad Asklepian (34)
I used some leftover Terminator armour plates for this task, and I have to say I rather like the added bulk! And while I was added, I could not resist replacing the left shoulder pad with a studded one from the Sternguard kit, mirroring the studded leg armour on that side — in fact, I should probably have done this from the get go!

Squad Asklepian (35)
Just some small changes, admittedly, but they help me homing in on what I want the finished model to look like!

2. More Fallen Angels

I should have known before that converting my own version of Cypher wouldn’t be the actual end of this particular project. As a matter of fact, it only took a small remark from fellow hobbyist ghosty over on Dakka to provide me with the urge to kitbash some additional Fallen Angels — stupid hobby ADD!

Fortunately enough, I still did have quite a few DA bitz as well as some leftover Dark Angels from the Dark Vengeance boxed set lying around, so indulging my fancy was really easy enough ๐Ÿ˜‰

So I built two test models for a small squad (or Kill Team) of Fallen Angels. Take a look:

Fallen Angels (1)
This first model was built from the DA Sergeant that came with Dark Vengeance. I simply replaced his weapons and head and added some additional bitz and bobs.

The second model was mainly a kitbash from different Space Marine bitz with a chaos bit or two thrown into the mix:

Fallen Angels (3)
Fallen Angels (2)
One thing that was important to me was that these guys’ allegiance was supposed to be somewhat ambiguous. Yes, they are more ragged and more sinister than your average Dark Angel, but even if they are followers of chaos at this point, it’s out of necessity rather than conviction. That’s why I restrained myself when it came to adding chaotic and spiky bitz. They’ll also fit together nicely with my Cypher conversion, I believe.

I also started working on a Fallen in Terminator armour to accompany these guys. Once again, instead of going for straight out chaotic spikyness, I tried to achieve the brooding, sinister look you see in some of GW’s own artwork for Fallen Angels, with only some slightly heretical touches here and there…

Fallen Angels Terminator WIP (2)
Fallen Angels Terminator WIP (1)
Fallen Angels Terminator WIP (3)
Granted, the huge daemon sword is a bit of a giveaway, but again, I like the idea that this is a weapon that the Fallen picked up by necessity rather than inclination. I also have to admit that the helmet remains a bit of an experiment at this point — feel free to let me know what you think!

Here are all of my Fallen together:

Fallen Angels (5)

 

3.ย  World Eaters Daemon Prince

Some more work went into my World Eaters Daemon Prince, in order to tidy up the conversion a bit.

World Eaters Daemon Prince (6)
The main addition is a tangle of Butcher’s Nails implants on the model’s back:

World Eaters Daemon Prince (7)
I am pretty happy with how that turned out!

my original plan for the huge collar the Daemon Prince wore in the previous post was to place it around the model’s neck and have it rest atop the crest of cables — but that didn’t end up looking quite as cool as I had hoped. So I tried a slightly different approach, halving the collar and using it almost like a heretical version of the Space Marines’ Iron Halo:

World Eaters Daemon Prince (13)
World Eaters Daemon Prince (14)
One last thing I did was to try adding the wings from the Daemon Prince kit. I wasn’t even sure whether I wanted to add any wings to this guy, to be honest, but I at least wanted to find out how the model would look with them:

World Eaters Daemon Prince (16)

World Eaters Daemon Prince (17)
And to be perfectly honest with you, I really rather like the bulk and presence they add to the model — what do you think?

 

So yeah, those are the three kitbashing projects that have kept me occupied this weekend. I would love to hear any feedback you might have! Oh, and a warning in advance: The next update might be slightly late for work related reasons, so use this one to tide you over until then, alright? ๐Ÿ˜‰

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

Kitbashes from opposite ends of 40k

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Custodes, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 14, 2014 by krautscientist

Kitbashing seems to be my most productive hobby activity at the moment: While converting plastic models has been my favourite part of the hobby for a long time, I seem to have worked myself into a bit of a kitbashing frenzy right now, using my work on various conversions as a means to relax. This might be a disappointment to those of you who would like to see some painted plastic on this blog, for a change — I can merely ask you to bear with me here: I will get around to doing some painting eventually, promise ๐Ÿ˜‰

In the meantime, I do have to show a number of new kitbashes to show you: Three wildly different projects from opposite ends of the Warhammer 40,000 universe, so to speak. Here we go:

 

1. Golden Boys

Granted, it has been some time since we last heard of my kitbashed Legio Custodes army — but the project is far from dead, I assure you! By way of proof, let me show you two (fairly) recent kitbashes I made for this project:

First of, a conversion I am extremely happy with: Meet Constantin Valdor, Chief-Custodian and Captain General of the Legio Custodes:

Constantin Valdor WIP (1)
Constantin Valdor WIP (2)
Constantin Valdor WIP (3)
Even though it’s only a Space Marine based kitbash, I believe most of the visual cues are there to make the model a reasonable approximation of the artwork for Valdor. While most conversions have him running forward, however, this one is clearly more static, resembling his appearance in this piece of artwork.

Constantin Valdor WIP (4)

As you can see, most of the bitz for the conversion came from the Sternguard kit, which is basically your go-to source when it comes to building ostentatious looking Marine characters. The kit has also given me the chance to touch up a couple of earlier conversions, among them one of the Marines for my squad in various marks of power armour. Here’s the old version of the model in question:

Squad Asklepian 22
I think we can all agree that the legs on this guy were a little iffy. Fortunately, one of the beautiful leg pairs from the Sternguard kit allowed me to give this guy a bit more presence. Take a look:

Squad Asklepian 32
Squad Asklepian 31
The model now looks quite a bit more massive than before, which I think is a rather nice fit for the slightly clunky, archaic looking armour on the upper body.

So here are the two models together:

Squad Asklepian 33
My small Custodes project may be far from finished, but it’s a great little sandbox I can always return to in order to tinker away on a model or two for a while. It also helps me get the urge to build blinged-out loyalists out of my system, which is a great help when I need to stay focused on my more chaotic projects ๐Ÿ˜‰

2. Lord of the Fallen

Next up, a very recent kitbash: Last Sunday evening, I sat down and converted my own version of Cypher, apropos of nothing. I didn’t even need the model from a gameplay perspective, mind you: I just felt that Cypher had been a staple of the CSM background for so long that I needed to build my own version. Here it is:

Cypher WIP (1)
Cypher WIP (2)
Cypher WIP (3)
Cypher WIP (4)

As you can see, the conversion was based on the model for Interrogator Chaplain Seraphicus from the Dark Vengeance limited edition set I purchased back in 2012. It did feel kind of sacrilegious to cut apart a limited edition model like this, to be honest, but I figured it wouldn’t do any good to leave the model lying around for another two years — plus I will need those lovely smokestacks from Seraphicus’s backpack when I eventually convert the 4th assault company’s Apothecary, so that made the decision a bit easier ๐Ÿ˜‰ What’s more, fellow hobbyist and Skull-Championess Flint13 pointed out that desecrating an Interrogator Chaplain by converting him into the Dark Angels’ worst enemy was strangely fitting, in a way…

Beyond those considerations, the conversion is fairly straightforward from a structural perspective, which gave me the liberty of lavishing some extra work on a couple of small details: I originally considered having him in a more static pose, with the arms held down. But when it came to building the model, I just couldn’t resist spacing his arms as far apart as I did, making it look like he’s covering a huge area with his shots — it’s just the way I imagine him in the midst of battle, guns blazing, and it works for me. I also obsessed over which pistols to use for the conversion for quite a while (and I am really happy with my eventual choice). And I spent far more work on that backpack than I would care to admit…

Cypher WIP (5)

 

3.ย  A daemonic gladiator

And finally, as if to prove that I haven’t forgotten my World Eaters, a very early WIP I am currently working on:
I have gone on record saying that I am not a huge fan of the fairly underwhelming plastic Daemon Prince kit. In fact, I kitbashed my first own Daemon Prince at one point, partly out of a desire to avoid having to use the “official” model. But as karma would have it, I did still have a mostly complete Daemon Prince kit lying around, and I felt the urge to challenge myself with trying to come up with a version of the model that fits the gladiatorial look and feel of the World Eaters more closely, while trying to dial back some of the cartoon villain look. Here’s the result:

World Eaters Daemon Prince (4)
World Eaters Daemon Prince (3)
The model’s nowhere near finished, of course: What you see above was only started yesterday afternoon, but I think I may be on to something here…?

 

Anyway, so far for my current kitbashes — they really serve as a great way to relax for me, funnily enough, and as the one part of the hobby that I never seem to tire of.

So, let me know whatever feedback or suggestions you might have in the comments! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Some thoughts on the new Dark Angels models

Posted in 40k, Custodes, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , on January 18, 2013 by krautscientist

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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.ย  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

ย 

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! ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

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:ย  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!

6th edition starter box – first thoughts

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Custodes, Pointless ramblings, Traitor Guard, World Eaters with tags , , , , , on August 19, 2012 by krautscientist

With “leaked” pictures of the 6th edition starter box all over the interwebz this weekend, you have probably seen the models by now. After spending the last 48 hours alternating between screaming like a little girl and fainting due to the sheer awesomness of the new chaos models, let me take a few moments to collect my thoughts on the contents of the starter box.

But first a disclaimer of sorts: I took these pictures from Faeit 212, and they originated on 4chan, I believe. And all of this is of course totally owned by Games Workshop, to give credit where credit is due. I only cropped some of the pictures to illustrate my ramblings — please don’t sue me! Thanks ๐Ÿ˜‰

Alright, everyone ready? Here goes:

Chaos


Well, I think we can all agree that this is all that chaos worshippers the world over were hoping for and then some. When the chaos contents of the box were first leaked, I was a little unimpressed at the inclusion of five Chosen — no more!ย  The new models blow everything I have seen in terms of starter boxes clean out of the water. GW was even nice enough to paint them in an almost-World Eater colour-scheme for me! But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, but rather approach this systematically:

Chaos Lord


The good: Well, where to start? This guy looks fantastic! Just what you imagine a twisted, millennia-old warlord of the ruinous powers to look like. I love the inclusion of a Plasma pistol, since it’ll give me the opportunity to pull off one of my cheap OSL effects. Come to think of it, the sword lends itself to shenanigans like that rather beautifully as well. This guy is great!

The bad: Well, he doesn’t look like a World Eater. But wait, is that a little stylised fanged maw on his belly — maybe he can be made to look like a World Eater easier than I suspected. Yay!

The plan: Well, I’ll definitely use this guy as some kind of officer! It remains to be seen how easily he may be converted, but the model will definitely end up in my force sooner rather than later.

 

Chosen:

These are all kinds of awesome, and they really, really look the part. Let me walk you through my plans for them:


This guy screams “Dark Apostle” to me, from the maul (Dark Crozius) to the third eye on his forehead. I’ll probably end up painting him as a Word Bearer – if only for the heck of it.


The single horn on this Chosen’s forehead somehow gives me a Nurgle vibe. But then, it’s a great idea that “generic” undivided Marines should have visual cues that call to mind different chaos gods: After all, they are worshipping all of them. Anyway, really love the pose on this guy!


Where the last model reminded me of Nurgle, this guy looks decidedly Tzeentchian in my opinion. Look at the helmet, the eye on the breastplate…. and even the weapon: If you ask me, paint up this guy in blue and gold, and you’ve got and instant Thousand Sons Rubric Marine.

It also seems that there are two of these in the set: While I am not generally opposed to repeating models (least of all in a starter box), they maybe could have done five unique Chosen. But then, that’s only a very small nitpick, considering the sheer quality of these models!


This guy is a little harder to make out due to the quality of the picture. So let me just say that he really reminds me of one of the older 90s’ metal Chaos Marines. And a bit of nostalgia is always a good idea!


And finally, easily my favourite of the bunch. This guy is just plain fantastic, from the design to the pose. I am so going to make him a World Eater! Although, he’d make for a rather nice Night Lord as well: Just add a jump pack, and you’re there!

So what’s my overall take on these?

The good: Fantastic design. Lots of variation. First really cool chosen ever. ‘Nuff said.

The bad: They could have done five unique models, of course. But my biggest gripe with these is actually the fact that their quality makes me want to instantly throw away the Chosen that I painstakingly converted myself…looks like my Chosen may be downgraded to be regular Berzerkers…

The plan: Some of these will make fantastic World Eaters. Some I may keep for different projects. All of them are fantastic, so I’ll be able to think of something ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Hellbrute:


This guy seems to be everybody’s darling at the moment. And rightly so! While I am not a big fan of over-the-top mutations, this beast is just off the hook! First we only had a pretty shitty metal model for nearly two decades, now we are rewarded with this —ย  that’s Karma for you!

The good: He’s stunning! This may be the single greatest model ever to be included in a starter kit! Can you remember the way we were blown away when GW included a freaking Dreadnought with the Black Reach box? Seems like the bar has been raised by several notches!

On a related note, I do hope that whoever did this guy also took a shot at the new Obliterators: They really do need a facelift!

The bad: My problem does not lie with the model itself, but rather with the suspicion that Hellbrutes will completely replace Dreads. The leaked ruleset looks alright, but just having converted two Dreads with a lot of weapon options, I hope that they won’t turn out to be useless this edition. But I am really rather confident, that it’ll all work out alright!

The plan: Paint it and play it. As soon as possible.

 

Cultists:

Highly anticipated, these guys come in two flavours: More dakka and less dakka. I really like the models, too. And it was about time CSM got cultists back!

the cultists with autoguns take all the right cues from the Vraksian Renegade Militia and a couple of other sources. The champion somehow looks like a traitorous commissar to me — must be the coat. He’s also wearing a Blood Pact-like grotesque. Awesome!


The CC Champion looks a little less impressive, but his followers are pretty great. I especially like the disfigured guy with the bare torso!

The good: The sculpt on these guys is really nice! They are also a godsend for INQ28 and Necromunda players. And I really love the fact that a cheaper, non-Astartes troop selection seems to have made the cut!

The bad: Quite a few duplicates here, which is a little more noticeable. They’re still great though!

The plan: All of these will be drafted into my Traitor Guard force, Urash’s Marauders and painted in the corresponding colours. That way, I’ll be able to play them as Traitor Guard or Cultists, depending on the situation. I also think they’ll look really cool in my Traitor Guard colour scheme.

I really think that the Chaos models alone are basically worth the price of admission here! If this is a first taste of what’s in store for us Chaos players, this will turn out to be an expensive year indeed!

But wait, what about the loyalist dogs?

Many people argue that the Dark Angels really got the short end of the stick. But that’s crazy talk: The fact that they seem a little underwhelming is not due to a lack of quality, but rather to how fantastic the chaos models are. Taken on their own merits, those DA models are rather great:


The Company Master and Librarian are excellent! Some people are miffed by the huge wings adorning the Company Master’s helmet, but come on: Those wings have been a huge part of the DA’s iconography for a very long time now! What kind of DA army have you been playing for the last decade?

I am, however, not particularly fond of the limited edition Chaplain: He simply doesn’t click with me. His head should have been far more skull-like, in my opinion. On the positive side, this means I won’t have to get the limited edition. Phew!

The tac Marines are indeed a little underwhelming compared to the Chosen. However, that’s really like comparing apples and oranges: There’s far more artistic license for creating armour warped by the ruinous powers. It’s not these guys’ fault that they have to wear the “boring” loyal power armour. The sergeant looks rather nice, though! Also note that these are really Dark Angels (sculpted heraldry and all): No space smurfs this time!

The good: Nice, if a little underwhelming sculpts. I really like that they are not Ultramarines for once, though!

The bad: The tactical Marines could have been cooler. I also think the chaplain’s a bit of a missed chance.

The plan: The Company Master and Sergeant seem likely recruits for my Custodes. All in all, it remains to be seen how easy these will be to convert…

The second batch of DA has a Terminator squad as well as a Ravenwing squad on bikes. This is some serious bang for the buck, if you ask me!

The good: The sculpts are very nice, and they really look like Dark Angels. No more decal shenanigans and painted on heraldry. I also hope that I’ll be able to induct these into my Custodes without too much of a hassle.

The bad: Once again, in contrast to the chaos models, these don’t really go too much beyond the established look for DA/loyal Marines. But again, you can’t fault these models for the fact that the chaos side of things got treated so poorly in the last years.

The plan: I’d really like to turn the Terminators into Custodes Cataphracts. Let’s just wait and see how hard that will be… The bikes should be reassonably simple to convert into Custodes (jet)bikes, provided they are assembled similarly to the “regular” Space Marine bikes.

 

All in all, this starter box is nothing short of stellar. You may keep bashing GW for their sometimes harebrained decisions or their inflexibility, but then something like this comes along and just shuts you up — if only for a minute or so. I AM SO GOING TO BUY THIS!

What are your thoughts about the new models and your plans for them? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section!

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