Monday, August 27, 2012

Epic Post - This is not the EMBARGO you are looking for.

I am now the proud owner of GW's new starter box Dark Vengeance. Oddly, this is the first starter set not names for a place or a battle. Equally odd is that this is the first time a named Space Marine Chapter has been featured in a starter box. The last two starter boxes have ostensibly been Ultramarines but there was little detail on the minis to distinguish them from vanilla Marines.

It retails for about $100 which is friggen crazy for a starter set. No parent is going to walk in there and drop that on a child's whim and no gamer has that much to throw around on a new hobby. Bad move  IMHO from the start, GW. $50-$70 would have been a much smarter place to stay.

There is an OMG Limited Edition Pre-Order WTF that is about $10 more and you get is a pretty awesome plastic Interrogator Chaplain. Pretty good deal right? Wrong! You can only get the LE Edition from GW Direct or from your FLGS/CLGS. Unless you have a really cool FLGS that give you a loyalty discount you are really paying $25 for that one mini. Average discount on GW products is 20% because GW sells to independent retailer at 30%-50% off (I can't remember the exact figure) the retail price on the GW website. As a loyalty bonus to people that buy from the store they play in rather GW or the Internets, most stores will give you a little break.

Not worth $25
Neil over at The War Store give you 20% off and flat shipping and that makes the regular set $80 + $5 in shipping. That means the fools that pay retail are getting one very pretty $25 Interrogator Chaplain. That mini is pretty and super-limited but, I am sorry, it is not worth that much. Insted of getting the Limited Edition, I used that free $25 to take a chunk off of the very pricey but very shiny Storm Talon Gunship that I so desperately wanted which came at 20% off too! All told, I spent about $110, gave up the Chaplain and got a Storm Talon. I call that a win.

Also, it comes to my door and I do not have to go into the GW CLGS. You know how much I hate answering 30 inane questions when I just want a quick in and out.

And now... Back to Dark Vengeance!

The kit contains the most impressive starter minis and quite possibly the best plastic minis they have ever produces. Each one is a masterpiece and is going to be fun to paint. While it is dreadfully apparent that they are using single-pose models and even recycling poses with minor variations, they have put forth enough effort to really make this kit outstanding. Back in the Battle for Macragge days, the single pose minis were awful and garish even when mixed with regular multi-part Marines. Even in the Assault on Black Reach box, the Marines were improved but still pretty bad. I think is the heads that look like they are locked in the forward position. It stands out.

The Marines in the DV box do not suffer from the "static pose stand out" as much as their predecessors and that is due to mixing in 3 marines with their heads turned to the side and twisting the Sergeant's head to the side. Simple change but it makes a lot of headway (pun intended) to fixing the problems with the static poses.

"I find your lack of faith in the Emperor disturbing."
Some other Dark Angel minis I am exited about are the Librarian and the Bikes.

The Librarian is a wicked model. Its open and dynamic "force choke" pose contrasts directly with the closed and static pose of the Commander. There are little things that make this a subtly-dynamic model for instance the stride evident in his left foot. A small thing like putting that foot in motion rather than flat, makes the mini look as if he is striding forward rather than standing still.

I like everything about this mini. I am really hoping that the sword arm and shoulder are one piece and removable (EDIT: It is!). That would give me access to a Force Sword bit that would allow me to make my own Librarians from plastic kits. If the other arm is removable as well, that would also make for some interesting conversions. Yes, this mini is not even in my hot little hands and I am already thinking of chopping him into bits.

The best news for Blood Angle players is that Dark Angel iconography is damn close to ours. With some minor flicks of the hobby knife, wings and swords becomes wings and blood drops easily. Also, these minis are not really loaded with a lot of Dark Angel iconography. There are the occasion wings and angles but as Space Marines are the "angles of death," it is easily played off in other Space Marine armies.

I have never been much of a bike player but these new minis are growing on me. There are lots of little changes from the regular Space Marine bikes. The most noteable ones are the single and double wing-fins on the rear. These are a common sight on Ravenwing bikes of old, but these are updated and much more pretty. I can see how they could be useful for picking up a mini and moving it, but unless I have enough to put them on all my bikes, I'll probably trim them off.

The wings on the cowlings are awesome and a big improvement over both any cowling in the past. They have also updated the exhaust vents so that they look like vents rather than melta coverings. The bolters on the front no longer look like 2nd Edition bolters and that is a massive improvement. There is a corvis-like lip on the front fender and I am sure other Ravenwing iconography elsewhere on the bike.

There are some downsides to these bikes. While the Sergeant is amazing, because of his cloak and hood, it is going to difficult to do a head swap if you get tired of the "end of Return of the Jedi Darth Vader" look. The other two bikes are also variations of the same pose. While it would only take a quip zip with a knife or saw, it is still going to be a pain to add variety to these models.

The CSM minis are insane! All of them are friggen beautiful and the repetition of poses is quickly lost in the orgy of detail.

Winners in this regard are the Chosen. GW has never produced a dedicated Chosen model before and forced anyone who wanted to use them to make their own. the lazy ones just used regular CSM and called them Chosen and the more adventurous converted their own up. With the advent of these minis, you get models more details than the Possessed kit and with almost every weapon option imaginable. Power Fist, Lightning Claws, Power Weapon and even an excellent Power Maul, each of which has a unique mini. It only repeats the bolter Marine and even that is super-beautiful.

Back in Assault on Black Reach days, the games was changed by including a Dreadnought (Not "dreadnaught." Learn to spell.). That and the Blood Angel Codex heralded the coming of Dread-heavy games. I don't know if this box is going to increase the number of bikes or Terminators we will see, but every CSM player is going to give his eye teeth for a Hellbrute mini.

His friends call him Heckbrute.
This thing is a tower of awesome covered in wicked-cool sauce. It is clearly a CSM dread but is more Chaosed-up than any Dreadnought aside from the Forge World ones (and it even gives them a run for their money. I don't know what the rules are for it (and I do not care about rumors), but even if they blow, this is going to be a super fun mini to paint. I am equally excited to see what people do to it for conversions. I can easily see Daemon Princes and Great Unclean Ones hidden in this model.

The thing that I like most about his mini and the CSM minis in general in this kit, is that they left all  particular Legion iconography off the minis. The models are covered in Chaos imagery and detail but there is not a single Legion mark on them. That means that with a change of paint, the minis can fit into any CSM army. I am really looking forward to painting these guys up in Iron Warriors colors.

Over on Barter Town, I posted about swapping the plasma-laden Tatical squad for more Chosen, but no bites yet.

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