As you might've read I'm going to be starting a new army with the Dark Angels codex so I thought I'd take a look at the new models. Obviously this is only based on the pictures as I won't physically have the models until next week (I'll post again when I do) but for now here's my first thoughts.
I'm a huge fan of the quality of the new codexes/codices. It's taken GW far too long to produce full colour books which compliment the standard of their miniatures. Now I'm not saying I'm a fan of the price tag being 50% higher but given the massive leap in the finish of the final product I can kind of forgive them... kind of. What I can't get my head around is why anyone would then pay another £25 (ignoring the discount you could get on the standard edition from an FLGS) for the limited edition version. Seriously, although the embossed chapter symbols look good, you're playing £25 for a new cover and a printout of some words that you'd swear had been done on someone's PC. The content is exactly the same and if I see someone at a tournament with the limited version I'd be more likely to laugh at them than say "that looks cool".
Despite it's many detractors I've always been a fan of the stormtalon model. I've even thought of having some vanilla Space Marine allies for my Tau or Wolves just so I could have one. I'm therefore thrilled to see that the DA get an, in my opinion, improved version in the form of the Nephilim. It looks like it's going to be a pretty decent option for taking down enemy flyers.
The Dark Talon looks a bit odd with that gothic bit on its back. Maybe when I see it in the flesh I'll think differently but I'd probably model it without that bit if it isn't actually performing a function in game. What I do like about that variant is the rack of hurricane bolters slung under the wing and we all want to know what a rift cannon is don't we? It's billed as an infantry killer and in these days of people thinking tanks are unfashionable that's probably a good thing.
Speculating here but I'd say that the Dark Talon can Hover but the Nephilim can't. When you look at the 360 spins the Talon has downward facing jets and the fighter doesn't. Would fit with their function but we'll have to wait and see.
This is probably the most "marmite" of the new models with most people on the internet seeming to be firmly on the "hate it" side of that line. It's growing on me a little but overall I'm still not really a fan. The pulpit gunner on the front looks odd and I don't like the gothic canopy on what would be his normal seat. I was hoping that it'd be a standard land speeder kit with these bits bolted on so that I could just model it with the gunner in the normal position but from the looks of the sprues its a hard plastic piece containing the pulpit. Perhaps I can do something with a cheap land speeder kit from eBay to make it look a bit better.
The general idea of it being a flying fortress is kind of there and it looks like a heavy support version of the normal speeder at least. My concern really is again the Dark Shroud's ostentatious gothic bits. Now I'm starting to think that collecting DA probably isn't a good idea when obviously they're going to have a lot of gothic stuff. Perhaps they'll look better on the actual kit but I'm gonna hold off buying one initially until its rules convince me its worth the excessive price tag.
Asmodai on the other hand looks a lot better than I thought at first. Depending on his rules he may be the only character I bother buying as a finecast model. Now again it wouldn't be difficult to simply use the DV chaplain with a bit of minor conversion work but I'll wait and see if his rules inspire me to want the model.
Sammael isn't a new model but rather a re-cast but he's chuffing expensive. As I'm currently leaning towards a ravenwing list I may end up having to get him but I'm hoping he can still be taken in his speeder so that I can save myself £30. Looks like he'll be the only way to make ravenwing bikers into troops but I'm still hoping (if forlornly) that there's an alternative.
Ravenwing Command Squad
When you look at the sprue pictures it seems like you get quite a good selection of options. Not really surprising when you consider how many different combinations there are. As with the DV models they feature the new style wings on the front and back. It seems like you get 4 of these in the kit (although one has the apothecary detail on it) but this should mean with a bit of filing I can convert my spare old bikes (that I never used for my wolves) into knights.
Deathwing Command Squad
Having the option for apothecary and standard bearer (another one I won't do justice) is great too. Also did you see that funky halberd thing? I don't care what it's rules are I want one of them in my army!
The big excitement about this box is obviously the deathwing knights pictured here. The combination of shoulder heraldry matching the shields and individual looking cloaks makes me very happy. Again I hope their rules live up to the models because I'd love to put these guys on the table.
If it is just Belial and Sammael that unlock the troops then I know a lot of people will be disappointed but personally I can see the argument both ways. It'd be a shame if it was too easy to make a full army of terminators. If Belial stays a similar points cost to before then he's half the price it costs to make Loganwing. Granted he can't compete with the greatwolf but as an army theme you're getting terminators easier.
Sammael is a bit more awkward. He's pretty expensive however you take him and on the jetbike it's difficult to see how you'll put him in a unit. With bikes he'll seem like he's crawling along and with speeders he'll just be tagging on and not getting any protection. We'll have to wait and see I suppose.
When you look at the DA section on the website with everything divided up into its appropriate FOC slot it seems that without unlocking stuff there'll be a stiff competition for those Fast Attack places. Flyers, dark shroud and bikes all vying for your attention.
Elites are a choice between termies, veterans (including sternguard?) and dreadnoughts. I imagine most armies won't struggle with elites as people will want terminators as troops. On the subject of Troops it seems that scouts are now an option which is nice to see. HQ may also be a tricky one with potential for needing Belial/Sammael and then perhaps a libby or chaplain thrown in too?
What will I be getting on release day?
The codex, of course, but I'm also going to grab one of the flyers, a box of ravenwing command stuff and probably leave it at that until I've had chance to work out what I want in my army. From a purely aesthetic perspective I'm leaning towards ravenwing over deathwing but I'll need to see the codex to work out which will be the better option.
I was originally going to rush into buying all my stuff at once but I'd like to avoid shelling out for, and painting, anything I won't actually put down on the table for a game. Fingers crossed its a decent codex. What I've read so far seems promising. For the models alone I'll definitely be getting an army. I'm not going down the standard colour scheme route this time though so take a look back here at some point when I've finished my first tactical squad and you'll see my plans.