Sunday, September 01, 2013

First Impressions of the New Space Marine Models

Let me start by getting something out of the way. I haven't read very many of the rumours about the new Space Marine codex at all. Whilst I am interested in the new book (and indeed I've pre-ordered it), I don't like to read too many of the rumours because it just causes confusion between actual rules and what you thought they were going to be. I'm sure there are very few people more excited about the new book and miniatures than my mate Jamie so you should probably follow his blog for the next few weeks. Anyway, I'll be doing a full review of the codex (as I did for Tau and Eldar) but for now I wanted to talk about the models that were released onto the GW site yesterday. I was at a tournament all day yesterday (more on that shortly) so this is the first chance I've had to properly look at the models.

The trend for the recent books has been for a large model such as the Wraithknight, Riptide and Dreadknight. I'm sure Space Marine players were hoping for something similar but personally aside from a copy of the Dreadknight I'm not sure what there could be that could fit in with the aesthetic of the army. Anyway, what SM players got instead were the Centurions. When I first saw these models from the leaked WD pictures I really didn't like them. Their poses looked two-dimensional and I didn't really think they fitted the look of the rest of the range. Now that I've seen more images of them and the 3D spins on the GW site I have to say.... I still don't like them.

There's clearly some design nods to the dreadnought with the power core on the back and the look of the legs and feet. If Space Marine players were hoping for a big dreadnought type model then what they're getting is 5 mini dreadnoughts instead. Undoubtedly we'll see some of these of the table top though as GW are sure to design the rules to make them must haves. Perhaps my opinion of them will change when I see them in the flesh but right now I'm really not sold. It's a pretty hefty price tag too for three models making each one the best part of £16. Not that GW prices should surprise us anymore I suppose.

From what I have seen of the rumours this will be an anti-air platform. I haven't seen whether it gets both Skyfire and Interceptor but of all of the new models I have to say this is my favourite. It may not be anything particularly exciting but it's probably one of the few that I'd add to my collection. I get the impression that it'll have to be static to do most of it's work from the support pillars down the sides. I'm loving the pivoting weapons on the Stalker.

The reason I think that I like this model is that you can actually picture it doing what it's supposed to do. Obviously it isn't some new, exciting design as it's essentially a rhino with bolt-ons but overall I like what they've done with it.

Reclusiam Command Squad
Bit of a strange combination this one. The typical command squad look to the squad with apothecary, standard bearer, etc. but the new Chaplain model (which to me is very reminiscent of the DV one) has been rolled into the kit. The other releases have had the plastic character as a separate release. Stranger still is that the squad comes with a razorback. This is a new move for GW (apart from some limited run troop and transport combos) and it's one that seems like a money grab to me. I can't see everyone wanting to go down the mechanised route so it seems odd to me that they'd force a transport upon you.

Now, obviously you could buy the command squad and the razorback separately but it seems the Chaplain is only avaialble in that box. Of course you could sell off the tank and command squad but it just seems a strange way of doing things. All of that aside the Chaplain is a stunning example of what GW can achieve in plastic these days. Of course we've seen scrolls and the like before but I have to say I'm a big fan of the new Chaplain and I'm pleased to see them continuing their theme of plastic characters with scenic bases.

Tactical Squad
It'd take a massive power armour fan-boy (looking at you here Jamie) to notice much of a difference between the new tactical squad kit and the old one. There's a few new knees here and a torso two there but the biggest change is the weaponry. Obviously there's enough bolters to go around but the kit also contains the grav weapons that have made their move into regular 40K. The hobbyist in me is always pleased to see a kit contain what appears to be every possible wargear option.

Perhaps they've done it on a kit before and I've missed it but I also like how they've done the combi weapons. On the face of it you're limited because you can only make one of four combinations but just from looking at the bolter bit you can see you'd easily be able to carve done a regular bolter to make all four options from the same kit to give to your older models.

It remains to be seen if tactical squads will be any more use than they have been in previous incarnations of the book. I'm not hopeful to be honest.

Sternguard & Vanguard
Sternguard are often a feature of a Space Marine army and it's great to see a full multi-part plastic kit for them. Vanguard aren't quite as popular normally but it depends on whether they let them assault from reserve in the new book. Both kits are packed with options to make the five models in the box and give you plenty of bits for converting other models. Of the two kits I prefer the Vanguard but that's probably just because I've always liked the look of jump packers.

The Sternguard kit has been given the grav weapon options too. However, here the combi weapons are the more traditional single part as opposed to the built it yourself tactical squad version. This is obviously because you can have more combi weapons in a sternguard squad. You actually get two of each combi-weapon too so I can see a burgeoning bits market from this kit alone.

Captain and Librarian
Here are the obligatory new finecast models then... but wait they're actually plastic. This must be the first all plastic release that GW has done for a long time. Personally I think it's fantastic for the hobby and I'm sure Space Marine players will be pleased that there's less Finecast around than before.

On the models themselves though, the Captain is (presumably deliberately) very reminiscent of the previous incarnations of the model with gun rested against the hip and sword outstretched. Irritatingly the gun supplied is a grav weapon with no apparent options. The position of it could make it a ball ache to convert to anything else too. Still there are lots of nice details on the model, again showcasing what they can do in plastic now.

The librarian is clearly taking his cues from Njal Stormcaller with his pose and staff but wait...what the hell is that thing on his shoulder?!!? Seriously it's horrible. It must be what happens when a Space Marine gets bored between battles and impregnates a servo skull! Thankfully it appears to be an optional extra so won't require any carving to remove but I can't begin to imagine what they were thinking! Otherwise it's a nice model and one that I'd almost certainly want in my army if I were to start one.

So there you have it. That's what Space Marine players can look forward to next weekend. I imagine the biggest seller for those who already have an army will be the Stalker/Hunter kit to add some much needed anti-air. Space Marines may well be one of few armies that can deal with flyers without the need for allies. The rules will be what makes or breaks the Centurion kit as I haven't heard many people saying that they're stunning models.

On a final note, at the end of this release GW have snuck in some new spray paints. You can now get Fenris Grey (Space Wolves), Mephiston Red (Blood Angels), Caliban Green (Dark Angels) and of course Macragge Blue (Ultramarines). It was a great shame when GW discontinued their old sprays so I for one and pleased they've brought them back again. I wonder how many people will use them though as companies like Army Painter have already taken a chunk of the market. Funnily enough I just bought a can of red from them before I knew GW were doing this. For those gamers out there who, like me, want to get their miniatures painted up quickly it's a great time saver. You could, however, argue that to paint a whole army you might be better off investing in an airbrush.


  1. Hi alex.
    I have to say I am personally a fan of the new centurion models and they are growing on me more and more (like the chaos dino bots which I hated but now really like). I am also pleased marines now have an answer to the hell turkey which felt completely invalidated the marine codex ( certainly on a competitve level anyways). I have high hopes for this book and the flexibility and creativity it will create on the tabletop.

  2. Hi bud,

    Yes, I will hold my hands up - guilty as charged - I am massively stoked for the release and am eager to get my hands on the new chappies. I've been keeping up with the rumours so thought I would address a couple of the issues raised:

    Centurions - not a fan of the models but I can see the devastator variants getting some tabletop time in general. I want to grab some and wait until the conversions start cropping up as I'm sure they can be salvaged somehow.

    Stalker/Hunter - the model appears to have enough parts to build both turrets independently which is great news. The Hunter (single big gun) is 1 s7 ap2 shot, but it has armourbane and missed shots can continue tracking the target in every shooting phase until the target dies or leaves the table. The stalker has more shots at s7 ap4 but can elect to split fire at BS2. In a nutshell, hunter better for high AV and stalker better for low AV multiples.

    Reclusiam squad - a rather blatant attempt to sell more older models sadly. Chaplain has grown on me though, but unless he sees a single release somehow I'm not grabbing one.

    Tactical squads - the kit is amazing! I won't go into detail but the amount of new sculpting (most of the chests/backpacks/legs are unique) is great for fleshing out new armies. Plus you now actually get a power fist and combi weapon (it's plug and play but should be easy to convert spare bolters) in the kit. Magic. As for their usefulness, they now upgrade same as dark angels, so no net decrease in price it seems. However, chapter tactics are where these chaps get to shine. Smurfs can reroll to hit once per game, IFs can reroll missed ones with bolters for entire game, RG can scout, salamanders reroll armour saves vs flame and also reroll to would with their flamers, IHs get FnP 6+ and WS get hit and run. Not too shabby. Plus grav weapons should make those dirty Tau players think twice about loading up on 2+ saves......

    I actually prefer the sternguard out of the vets, but wish the loincloths were optional. The galore of bits from both kits make them a great purchase for either new or existing players. Just a shame the marines still don't get that elusive power maul in any of the new kits.

    The new plastic models are pretty nice, just a shame about the monopose and the increased prices. The librarian is my favourite of the 3 and the creepy psyber-cherub is growing on me. Shame there's not a fincast Iron hands SC in this release though, but with the relics and newly beefed chapter master and chapter tactics there's plenty of opportunity to build your own chaps now. Speaking of which, you can't mix and match chapter tactics and special characters, so no calgar leading Iron Hands any more.

    I'm glad to see the return of the spray paints (little bit late for me) and hope they continue to release popular base colours in spray format.

    1. Re: Calgar with Iron Hands

      They can ally from their own book as Battle Brothers, but he still wouldn't be a true Iron Hand.

  3. I really like the new Sternguard, and Tac Squad kit(s). What surprised me the most about the new Space Marines kits was the depiction of aged Space Marines: The Librarian, the alternate Veteran heads- especially that Librarian; he looks like a geriatric! I don't particularly care for the Chaplain's helm- I think there are cooler versions already available: LeMartes and this fellow come to mind.

    Overall, I like the new models. I'm excited and I can't wait to get my hands on this release. I may wait and order at the end of the month to take advantage of a certain Company's 25% discount!

  4. I love the little servo cherub and if you're correct and it's optional then lets hop your opinion is in the majority so I can pick up a number of these spare to dot alongside my servo skulls!


    Check out the sprue pic here. It's quite open with customization by the looks of it.


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