Archive for new release

Japan IN SPACE! – a look at the new Tau models

Posted in 40k, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , on April 3, 2013 by krautscientist

The Tau are a really strange case for me: They are maybe the one 40k army where I quite like all the different elements, while the combination of them somehow leaves me cold. Does that make sense?

For the record, I love the Kroot. I think the Fire Warriors’ design – inspired in part by ancient Japanese footsoldiers – is pretty great. The combat suits are a pretty nifty idea for everyone who has ever loved Mecha-Animé (I have. Lord knows I have…). But for some elusive reason, once you throw all of this together, it somehow becomes less than the sum of its parts for me. Strange…

I think it has something to do with the lack of eyecatchers: While the overall visual design of the army seems well thought-out and pleasantly realised, I like my armies with a couple of strong centrepieces on the table, be it interesting squad leaders, spectacular army commanders or just  huge warmachines. The Tau are nice enough, but in my opinion, they tend to look a bit samey. Now I do of course realise that the reason for this is a conscious focus on unity in their background: The Tau as a race frown upon any attempts at individuality – a taboo that actually prevents them from individualising their wargear and warmachines. Yet while this seems like a fairly compelling concept from a narrative standpoint, it just tends to fall flat when applied to the medium of wargaming, where every army is visually defined by standout pieces on the table.

The other challenge with the Tau is the fact that their very distinct look makes it a fair bit harder to insert bits from other lines into their army: Human armies (such as all kinds of Space Marines – Chaos included – and the Imperial Guard) can be mixed and matched without a hitch, every bit feels right at home in an Ork army, and even Eldar and Dark Eldar share enough common design cues to allow for some kind of bits exchange. Yet armies like Tyranids, Necrons or Tau are so distinct that the options of the converter are slightly limited.

So with a new Codex and several new kits now upon us, will any of that change? And will the new release manage to deal with some of the problems outlined above? Let’s find out:

While this post, like the ones dealing with the last new releases, will completely forgo any rules discussion in favour of focusing on the new models, let me just point out that the new Tau Codex features yet another gorgeous piece of cover artwork:

Tau Release (29)

Anyway, one thing that immediately becomes obvious when looking at the new models is that GW have really dropped all pretense as to the inspiration for the army: They never tried to deny that healthy amounts of animé and manga designs had gone into the creation of the original Tau, to be sure. But with the new models, I would go so far as to state that the Japanese look has really be turned up to eleven in some respects. Case in point, the limited edition codex:

Tau Release (32)
Just look at the picture: You could even mistake that for a Gundam artbook at first glance. 😉

Make no mistake, though: I really think this is a pretty good idea. After all, the Tau were always intended to be cleaner, more futuristic looking than the rest of the 40k catalogue. The animé look has always been there, and I guess if you don’t like japanese animation and manga art, then Tau are probably not the army for you in the first place.

But what does that mean for the actual release. Let’s take a closer look:

 

XV104 Riptide Battlesuit

Tau Release (1)

With their army heavily leaning on armoured suits for much of the heavy lifting, the Tau were a very likely candidate for a superheavy Mecha — and here it is, the Riptide. And right enough, this is a centrepiece model if there ever was one: The size alone obviously makes this big guy stand out enough, yet I also like how the model features most of the visual design cues typical of the Tau while also adding a sleeker and more interesting look to the battlesuit. If anything, the Riptide looks even more reminiscent of Japanese mecha like Gundam than the Tau battlesuits released so far.

I also love the fact that GW gives us the option of assembling the Riptide in a kneeling position. It looks really cool, in my opinion:

Tau Release (2)
Oh, yes, you also get some new drones with the kit:

Tau Release (3)
These are without a doubt pretty useful to Tau players, but apart from a general appreciation of the concept, I find it rather hard to get excited over them. Moving on…

All in all, the Riptide is certainly a pretty great model. For all of the non-Tau players out there, however, I can see few options of turning this into something totally different. Yet my buddy Biohazard commented over on Throne of Skulls that he thought this might be a great base model to convert yet another huge chaos walker. I remain sceptical, but then I also didn’t think it was possible to more or less completely kitbash a Warhound Titan out of plastic bitz, so what do I know?

Let’s just say that I am looking forward to seeing what the crazy people on the interwebz come up with…

Sun Shark / Razor Shark

Tau Release (5)

Flyers are the other great rage at the moment, and the Tau don’t disappoint in this respect either: The Sun / Razor Shark kit, again, picks up some visual cues from already existing larger Tau tanks as well as the Piranha, which firmly ties it to the overall look already established for the army.  It’s also a look quite unlike anything seen in other 40k armies, which is a plus in my book.

What I especially like is how this model manages to look futuristic and still have a subtle WW2 vibe at the same time. Take a look at the topshot, it clearly looks a bit like an Axis superweapon straight out of Indiana Jones, doesn’t it?

Tau Release (4)
And come to think of it, it also slightly looks like the type of airship that might appear in a Studi Ghibli film, but that may just be my imagination running wild…

 

XV88 Broadside Battlesuit

Tau Release (6)
Now this is a brilliant redesign! In my opinion, the older Broadsides – basically a primitive kitbash using the regular Crisis suits – always looked pretty goofy (as well as physically improbable). The new version manages to communicate the oomph behind the weapon, and the slightly crouched pose nicely communicates the idea that the suit has to be able to absorb some recoil. The added mass and heavier armour finally make this look like a true heavy weapons platform. Great job!

Oh, and I simply adore the paintjob on this alternate build of the suit:

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They even managed to make the boxy head look far more interesting. Definitely a keeper, this one!

 

XV8 Battlesuit Commander

Tau Release (8)
Someone at GW seems to have realised that it was quite a challenge getting a cool army commander out of those Crisis kits, yet instead of redesigning the suits, they now release a different one to represent a commander. Oh well…
The suit itself looks pretty good, even though it slightly resembles a stick insect in the above photo. However, that problem is alleviated once you see it from a different angle:

Tau Release (9)
I like the dynamic posing and the fact that they picked up some of the design cues from the Fire Warriors: The suit has the iconic enlarged shoulder pad and even sports a bonding knife:

Tau Release (10)
Seriously, what does he do with that thing: poke Hive Tyrants and Greater Daemons in the ribs?

Still, those additions go a long way towards making the model look more like an actual commander instead of just some robot dude with weird additional antennae and clunky weapons sticking out at odd angles. Unfortunately, the standard boxy head is still there. But at least we get what seems to be several different hands:

Tau Release (11)
Pointy hand FTW! 😉

If there’s one dealbreaker for me here, it’s that the model is apparently Finecast. Considering the perfectly straight lines making up most of the model’s design, I wish all the Tau players luck with their purchase…

Anway, while we are on the subject of commanders in battlesuits…

 

Commander Farsight

Tau Release (12)
Now we’re talking! If you ask me, Farsight used to be just about the lamest 40k model available. It was plain to see what they were trying to do with him, but it just fell flat. Not so with the new version, which is all that a Tau battlesuit commander should be: Dynamically posed, aggressive looking and very three-dimensional. As an added bonus, they even added some streaming ribbons, further adding to the sense of movement. Oh, and I really like the new sword:

Tau Release (14)

Of course, being a rebel, Farsight has the advantage of being able to customise his suit as he sees fit. It does make for a much more striking model, however! All in all, a gorgeous piece, and definitely one of the high points of the release! They should really do an unarmoured version of Farsight one of these days, though. Just so we know what the guy actually looks like 😉

 

Cadre Fireblade

Tau Release (15)
Okay, this guy’s definitely my favourite among the new models! Even better than Farsight, if you ask me, and to top things off, he’s all plastic. What I really love about the Cadre Fireblade is how the model has the signs of individuality and status so sadly lacking in previous Tau models. And it also exudes a healthy dose of warrior’s pride and dignity. This is the one model I can actually see myself purchasing, since it should be useable for INQ28: I can easily imagine this guy as a Tau officer gone rogue, some kind of mercenary or even *shudder* member of a radical Xenos warband. If I have one gripe with this model, it’s that I am not perfectly sure what’s going on with that hand holding the sheathed bonding knife, but since that problem would be quite easy to solve, I don’t mind. Best model of the whole release, in my opinion!

 

Longstrike

Tau Release (17)
Ah, a specialised tank commander – I think they could do this more often! I like the pose and suit, although I find myself questioning why this had to be a Finecast model in the first place — probably because creating a plastic mold would have been too expensive? Anyway, GW were even good enough to sculpt the whole model, legs and all:

Tau Release (18)
Of course the pose of the legs looks a little silly: He seems like a fish out of water when not in his tank, but I guess that’s the whole point 😉

While this is a nice model, I guess it would be possible to come up with something similar using leftover plastic bitz from other kits — but that’s only if you’re into converting and/or money saving. The model is certainly nice enough. On a related note, I really love the alignment of the commander in this picture:

Tau Release (19)
“No, over there! Shoot over there, I said! For the sake of the greater good, is somebody listening to me at all?”

 

Darkstrider

Tau Release (20)
Once again, having the model be a Finecast release in the first place seems slightly dubious. The model itself is nice enough and all, but I really think it would be better to just build your own from any leftover Pathfinder parts you might have. Oh, and while I dislike Finecast bashing, I think it’s a little silly that they couldn’t even get that weapon straightened out for a promo picture on their website:

Tau Release (21)

Seriously, that stuff needs to get better or get lost (*cough* in favour of all plastic *cough*)!

In other news, this guy’s true name is actually El’ Myamoto. I hope his friends H’Anzo, T’oku G’awa and T’Oyot’Omi will make an appearance as well. Along with all the other citizens of the N’Ippon Sept…
Seriously, though, I am fairly bad at coming up with original names for my models myself, but jeez…

 

Pathfinder Team

Tau Release (22)
Another high point of the release for me, since these guys are giving us some more much needed plastic parts for the Tau! It seems like GW decided to really play the Japanese styling to the hilt with the Pathfinders. Just look at those sharp lines on their trousers:

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These couldn’t really look any more japanese short of wearing actual samurai helmets and Katanas, could they? The models look great, though. I especially like the angry facial expression on the squad leader:

Tau Release (23)
The bare Tau heads were one of the parts most in need of some work, and I think GW performed admirably here!

 

Farside Enclave shoulder pads

Tau Release (27)While I certainly wouldn’t say that these are the bee’s knees or anything, I think producing optional packs of shoulder pads, shields, standards etc. is definitely an avenue GW should be exploring more thoroughly. After all, it’s a nice option of adding more individuality to your models while the purchase is entirely non-essential. A good use for Finecast, if there ever was one!

 

Missing in action…

If you ask me, what’s missing in the release is almost as interesting as what is actually there:

More species! More culture!

I think the different species allied to the Tau empire are a fascinating concept! Not only can they serve to add something to the Tau force on the table, but the idea of having different races and species allied to the Tau makes for all kinds of great modelling and narrative approaches: How easy would it be for a member of an allied species to make their way up the career ladder in the Tau empire (my guess would be: virtually impossible)? Are all the Kroot perfectly happy with having been “absorbed” by the Tau? I imagine the Tau empire to function a bit like the Roman Empire in that different peoples and species are integrated into it, offered protection, piece and certain elements of technological advancement. But at what price? And what frictions and fractures might exist within Tau society? Those would be fascinating narrative avenues to explore, if you ask me! And the new Codex and model release would have been a fantastic opportunity to add some traces of an actual culture to the Kroot and Vespid, transforming them into more than just “Funny Birdmen” and “Funny Bugmen”. And that’s not even considering possible new species (Demiurg, anyone?). While traces of this may appear in the codex, and while we may yet hope for a second wave release and/or that rumoured “Allies Codex”, I think this was a bit of a missed opportuniyt on GW’s part.

For the record, I would love to see some kind of Kroot commander with something that looks like a “Krootified” set of Fire Warrior armour. Or a conversion set for (human) auxiliaries (granted, this last one can be achieved via kitbashing, but still…). Oh well, maybe next time…

Crisis? What Crisis?

Tau Release (28)

My biggest gripe is that GW didn’t do anything about the regular Crisis suits. While these may have been great when they were first released, I think they really haven’t aged all that well. Just take a look at the battlesuits offered by Forgeworld, or indeed at the new Broadside and XV8 commander, and you’ll probably see what I mean. And while your mileage may vary regarding the actual design of the suits, the fact that their standard poses are so wooden and unexciting is perhaps the largest problem. In my opinion, GW should really have addressed this, at least adding some new poses. Leaving the Crisis suits as they are may be the biggest disappointment about this release (of course you may disagree if you are a Tau player and have about 30 of these lying around 😉 ).

All is not lost, however, because it’s at least possible to get them to look far more dynamic with a bit of work. Here’s one of Cousin Andy’s old Crisis suits that I converted and reposed:

Crisis Suit WIP (2)

partial paintjob was not done by me. The model will definitely have to be repainted at some point!

Crisis Suit WIP (3)

partial paintjob was not done by me. The model will definitely have to be repainted at some point!

So at least there is some kind of stopgap solution. That’s the great thing about plastic, after all!

 

All in all, despite my disappointment in the lack of new Crisis and allied races, I’ll call this a strong release: The new models play to the Tau’s visual strengths while working out some of the kinks in the design: For me, that means that the army has gained some much needed individuality as well as some stunning new centre pieces. So while this release won’t make me buy a Tau army any time soon (or, indeed, at all), I can recognise good work when I see it. And the new models are very good work!

What are your thoughts on the new models? Any favourites? Any gripes? I would love to hear from you in the comments section!

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

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

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 1, 2013 by krautscientist

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

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

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

Anyway, let’s have a closer look:

 

Plague Drones:

Daemon release (9)

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

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

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

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

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Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

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

 

Skull Cannon/Blood Throne of Khorne

Daemon release (1)

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

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

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

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

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

Daemon release (2)

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

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

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

 

Burning Chariot of Tzeentch

Daemon release (3)

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

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

The other variant of the kit is far more interesting:

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Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

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

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

Daemon release (5)

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

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

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

Anyway, on to the other herald models:

 

Herald of Khorne

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Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

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

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

 

Herald of Slaanesh

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Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

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

 

Herald of Nurgle

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Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

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

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Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

This little fellow is definitely enjoying his workday!

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

 

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

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

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

Chaos Fantasy

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 30, 2013 by krautscientist

Since taking a look at the new DA release and all the potential for conversions turned out to be a lot of fun, it stands to reason I have to do the same with the new WFB Warriors of Chaos release, seeing how these twisted guys are even closer to my heart than a couple of loyalist dogs: What’s more, Warriors of Chaos were my first love in WFB and actually the first tabletop army I ever managed to complete, so while it’s very unlikely that I will ever return to WFB, I still have a huge soft spot in my heart for these guys!

Chaos players really have much cause for celebration at the moment, with a new book for the Chaos Space Marines released last October, a huge WoC update right now and books for Daemons in 40k and WFB already in the works, supposedly. And even though some of the models may be a little hit-or-miss so far, I feel that’s quite easily forgivable given the sheer amount of stuff released for chaos players. So let’s take a look at the latest slew of releases, as I gather some spur of the moment ideas on what could possibly be done with the new kits…

As per my usual routine, I’ll probably mostly talk about how these kits can be used in 40k in one way or another. I hope you won’t mind…

So let’s start with the characters:

 

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Throgg, King of Trolls

Let’s begin with this huuuge Finecast model. I love this guy, period. He’s everything that a troll king should be, in my opinion. I love the face, I love the pose, I even like the (slightly ridiculous) cape. What really makes this model stand out, though, are the small details: The magical crown lodged on one of his tusks. The way the model has a pretty coherent shape overall but is still wracked with mutation (take a look at that teeth gnashing maws on Throgg’s belly and leg). Without a doubt, this is a worthy centrepiece for any army. There may be no conceivable way of using him in 40k (at least not without lots of harebrained explanations and/or extensive conversions that would probably destroy what’s so great about the model), and I will also very likely never buy this guy. But I still think it’s a marvelous model! Great job!

 

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Vilitch the Curseling

Actually my second favourite model in this release — I wonder what’s wrong with me 😉 But let’s take a closer look:
While some people prefer the more “conventional” look Vilitch has in the older artwork, I really love just how alien he looks: The armour on the bigger brother immediately reads as Tzeentchian, while the actual Vilitch looks nightmarish and twisted enough (he is also eyeless…brrrr): I think it’s a cool idea to have Vilitch fused to his brother’s body in a haphazard and asymmetrical (this is Tzeentch, remember?) fashion, instead of merely being carried piggyback. My only gripe is that the smaller brother’s staff should have been quite a bit shorter (it just looks extremely impractical as is), so I would probably shorten it to just above the “bandaged” part of the grip. All in all, this model shows a more stylised look that I am normally not exceptionally fond of – we’ll get to that in a minute – but for some reason, it works here.

Again, I am really not sure this guy has any use for 40k, but if I actually still played WFB, this would be a must-buy for me.

 

New WoC models (3)

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Plastic Chaos Lord

Well, this guy deserves kudos for the mere fact that he’s plastic — I love plastic characters! Apart from that, the model’s quite alright. I don’t mind the static pose too much, since we are talking about a mighty warlord here, and he should exude quiet menace. The head seems a little iffy, although that should be easily solvable with a simple head change. The lance is cool enough, but seems like too much of a good thing: I really can’t see this guy fighting with a broadsword and a lance at the same time. Personally speaking, I’d just leave it off or replace it with something else.

All in all, this guy is pretty cool, nothing more and nothing less. His main importance will possibly lie in serving as a base for myriads of conversions in both WFB and 40k, and it should be fairly easy to transform him into a follower of a specific chaos god (or a CSM, for that matter). I really expect this guy to be the model that everyone will love to convert. As a matter of fact, I could even see him used as a base for INQ28 conversions!  So even though I am not totally floored by the model, I am pretty likely to pick up one of these, just for the heck of it.

 

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Chaos Chariot/Gorebeast Chariot

This kit comes with options to build either the Chaos Chariot you see above and the Gorebeast Chariot that is being pulled by a single …well, Gorebeast actually:

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

A new chariot kit has been overdue for WoC, obviously. Let’s see how this one stacks up:
On the one hand, I like the supposed flexibility of the kit and the fact that it’s plastic (I LOVE plastic, in case you didn’t know 😉 ). According to WD, the kit also comes with lots of head and weapon options and additional bitz, so that’s a plus as well.

On the other hand, there’s something going on with the design of this kit that I am not really all that fond of. Let me show you what I mean. by taking a closer look at one of the chariot crew:

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Well, this guy is definitely screaming Chaos alright: He’s huge and imposing. He’s heavily armoured. He’s also quite spiky. But the bold lines and pointy bitz make him look almost too comic-book-like for my taste. GW’s Chaos is usually baroque and lavish, with a side of spiky and feral. Yet this guy is almost too stylised for his own good. Don’t get me wrong, the model is cool, taken on its own. Yet when placed next to some of the older models (or even some of the not-so-old models from the first wave of the release), he looks almost cartoony by comparison. A trace of the same element is also present in the Vilitch model. Yet where Vilitch manages to transform this otherness into an actual part of what’s cool about the character, the crew member above just slightly looks like the animé version of Chaos for some reason. Does this make any sense?
Maybe I am putting too much thought into this…

 

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Forsaken

When the first, fuzzy images for this release were “leaked” onto the net, I was really thrilled for these! I hoped they would give us yet another alternative for constructing mutated followers of chaos. Yet where the 40k Possessed kit is very cool but also very “creppy crawly” visually, I had hoped for these to be slightly more subtle in execution.

Well, silly me, because if anything, the Forsaken are even more over the top than their 40k brethren. As a matter of fact, they seem like a shout out to the old mutation sprue released by GW during the early 2000s for use in both WFB and 40k. Then again, while some of those mutations may look slightly silly, there’s also a couple of really nice and disturbing ideas in this kit, along with mutations that clearly recall specific chaos gods.

I also really feel that the …thing emerging from this guy’s mouth…

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

…could be used to build a fantastic Daemonhost for INQ28.

So what to do? I can easily see these as a viable alternative to further spice up your mutation-wracked forces in both WFB and 40k. The kit should come with lots and lots of interesting bits, and by the look of it it should be fairly compatible with most other (chaos) kits. Whether that’s worth 40,00 Euros a pop is up to you, of course. Personally, I would have hoped for something a little less hammy and more understated (and thus even more disturbing). But that’s just my personal taste, of course.

 

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Dragon Ogres

I have to be honest with you: The very concept of “Dragon Ogres” always seemed a little iffy to me. They seemed to be a part of the setting for no other reason than somebody thinking “Dude, wouldn’t it be awesome to have Ogres with DRAGON BODIES??? Let’s totally do that!” somewhere along the way. Still, this kit has been a long time coming, and it is really, really nice, if you ask me: The Dragon Ogres are huge and imposing (fortunately eschewing the slightly silly charm of the Ogre Kingdoms models). The design is great, and I can see these being a joy to paint as well, with the slightly larger scale lending itself rather well to all kinds of tricks and effects.

From a 40k perspective, I cannot resist thinking about using one of these as a base for a Khornate Daemon Prince. Just look at this guy:

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Wouldn’t he just be perfect for the role with some small additions and changes? Oh well, one can always dream…

 

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Slaughterbrute / Mutalith Vortex Beast

One huge beast per army seems to be par for the course now, so this was only to be expected. In this case, it’s a combi-kit that allows you to build either the Slaughterbrute or the …other thing –no way I am typing that out again 😉 The Slaughterbrute (shown above) is sure to make the mouths of chaos player the world over water, and rightly so. It’s a nice and chaotic design, and if you ask me, this is pretty much what the Scyla Anfingrimm mini should have looked like in the first place.

Anyway, a couple of more detailed impressions, if I may:

First of all, the multi-eyed (and multi-tongued, ewww) head looks decidedly non-GW, if you know what I mean. I am not sure whether that’s a good thing. In any case, the kit obviously comes with an alternate head that is freaking awesome (and looks very Khornate to boot). Take a look:

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

I also love how there seems to be some kind of harness/chaos artifact thing rammed into the beast’s back — maybe as some kind of binding or incantation? What I really hate are the smaller arms emerging from the model’s uhh…nipples? Anyway, while they certainly make the beast look more chaotic, they also mess with the very strong silhouette and the points where they emerge look really silly and lazily designed, which is a shame on an otherwise great model.

This big guy could easily be used as a “counts as” Defiler or Greater Daemon in games of 40k (until we are finally getting the rumored new plastic GDs, that is). I am also looking forward to seeing the crazy conversions some of the more inspired hobbyists come up with — I, for one, would love to see the likes of GuitaRasmus or Biohazard have a field day with this kit! The only reason that I am not totally blown away is the fact that the logistics of building and painting such a huge model don’t appeal to me all that much. But again, that is just a matter of personal preference.

Now let’s look at that other …thing as well:

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Wow, just…wow! It actually takes quite a while to a) make sense of this thing and b) realise that this beast is based on the exact same body also used for the Slaughterbrute. I have repeatedly stated that I am not a huge fan of the “mutated beyond any reason” look. That said, this model perfectly embodies chaos, and that is an achievement all of its own. It also goes without saying that followers of Tzeentch and/or Slaanesh will probably cry with joy at this particular model. So while I’ll gladly pass, I still acknowledge that this is a pretty extraordinary piece. It should also be usable in 40k, similar to the possible uses for the Slaughterbrute I outlined above.

Oh, one thing: That chaos portal thing one the beast’s back looks really cool:

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

I also love the paintjob on this part and sincerely hope it can be duplicated by mere mortals (like me).
As a final remark on this kit, it somehow feels like this is a dream come true for those who follow Khorne, Tzeentch and Slaanesh, yet Nurgle followers seem to get the short end of the stick. Then again, Nurgle players should be used to the necessary conversions by now… 😉

 

All in all, some smaller nitpicks notwithstanding, I think that this is a rather strong release for chaos players. While the price tags are once again unlikely to elicit responses of joy (and rightly so), chaos players for both 40k and WFB now have a huge menu of (plastic) kits to tug into. And if you don’t like any part of the release, well, there’s nobody stopping you from coming up with something better: Converting stuff is what being a chaos player is all about, anyway 😉

So what do you think of this new release? Any ideas? Do you need to vent your anger? Let me know in the comments section!

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 😉

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

 

New_DA_models (3)

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Belial

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

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Asmodai

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

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

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

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Dark Angels standard bearer

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

 

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Ravenwing Command Squad

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

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

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

 

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Deathwing Command Squad / Deathwing Knights

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

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

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

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

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

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

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

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

 

And now for the vehicles:

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Land Speeder Vengeance

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

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

God, how I loved that film as a child…

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

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

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

 

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Dark Talon / Nephilim Fighter

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

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

 

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

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

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