Monday 2 September 2013

So, what to make of these new Space Marines?

Better quality images have not saved my opinion of the Centurions. Yes, they are more detailed than they appeared to be in the leaked photos but they still don't really fit in with the general aesthetic of Space Marines (to my view, anyway, your mileage my vary) and the advertising copy in White Dwarf is the most blatant example of power gamer baiting I have ever seen (please buy these models they're really really really really hard!).

All that said GW have done everything I have ever wanted done to the Tactical Squad with their new sculpt: there's at least one full set of MkVI Corvus armour in there; the Sergeant's MVIII Errant breastplate now has room in it for a helmet to fit, there are arms that allow you to pose a Marine iron-sighting his bolter; the missile launcher has been re-sculpted to match the Devastator set; there's even a pair of MkIV Maximus pattern legs! Love those kneepads.

What really surprised me was that the set has only gone up by £2. I know GW can count on shifting immense numbers of units but I was fully expecting a new-sculpt ten-man set to come out at £30.

Which financial musings I suppose bring us to the actual £30 set of the release: the Sternguard and my stupid, stupid decision to panic buy one of the old Finecast sets in case these were bad. They are, in fact, fantastic with all sorts of bells and whistles included like a crested Sergeant's helmet and a really cool component where the Sergeant is resting his hand on the pommel of a sheathed sword.

Slightly less impressive (and slightly less expensive, hmm) are the Vanguard Veterans. They have an awful lot less bling than the Sternguard but they're still a very good set and by the looks of things even after building the squad you'll have spare weapons to equip your Veteran Sergeants from now until the Emperor gets up off the throne.

The Stalker and Hunter tanks... well, I've never liked “meh” as a critical response but I don't have much else to say, really. It's a Rhino variant. Space Marine tanks have never thrilled me overmuch and so, good as the sculpt is, I can find no enthusiasm for it. Looks pretty cool in the Iron Hands' new colour scheme, I suppose.

Which brings us finally to the characters. The decision to sell the plastic Chaplain purely as part of a £55 set with a Razorback tank and a Command Squad is bizarre and, hopefully, temporary. He is, to my view, the weakest of the three character classes though the bare head option does improve him somewhat.

The Captain is plainly and simply a redo of the Captain from the old Assault On Black Reach starter set. This isn't a complaint: he's a vastly superior sculpt and there's certainly mileage in redoing a model that's been several years out of production (we can only hope a re-sculpt of the Black Reach Warboss is on the way the next time Orks get a release).

Finally we have my personal favourite: the Librarian, who has been sculpted to evoke fantasy wizards (look at the skullcap). £18 is a bit steep but I might get him just to paint, he's so encrusted with detail.

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