Book Review: Blood Angels Codex

06/04/2010

Review

Nice background section, some well painted models in the gallery sections, clear unit lists and some amazing artwork.  This is a must for all Blood Angel or successor chapter players.

Moaning

Why oh why do you need a full codex for Blood Angles?  That goes for EVERY chapter with the exception of (maybe) Space Wolves in my books.  Space Wolves have a unique organisation with Wolf Guard units/unit leaders that make it slightly more likely they need a codex to themselves.  Grey Knights don’t count and as they have too few units and should be put in the Daemon Hunters codex.

Why the moaning then?  Furiso Dreadnoughts – aren’t they essentially normal dreadnoughts with an extra CCW and no Multi Melta?  Baal Predators – some ancient technical data was uncovered allowing them to strap an Assault Cannon onto a Predator and now the Mechanicus are annoyed because this technology is not theirs – but they can make Razorbacks with Assault Cannons?

Don’t even get me started on the Storm Raven – a piece of kit used by only a few Chapters, or that they have so many Land Raiders that they are used as common transport vehicles.  Surely (here is the real rub of it for me) the Ultramarines would have pretty much everything – friendly with Mars, adopting new technologies (Razorbacks and Land Raider Redeemers) etc.

The Sanguinor gets his own paragraph here due to him irritating me.  An excellent model, awesome statline and one of the best potential NMM paint jobs i’ve seen are in the plus side.  A character who no one knows, and just appears out of thin air to kick arse and then disappear sounds familiar – oh, thats it, Legion of the Damned – is pushing it too far for me.  The Legion of the Damned can do this due to their unique place in the background of the Hobby, a single character not of the legion sounds a bit silly to me.

Don’t get me wrong the Death Company and Sanguinary Guard are good additions and are Blood Angel only (as they should be) as per the very good background.  The Characters are colourful and interesting (except the Sanquinor who is crazy) and again deserve a space.

Solution

Unless GW really bulk up the background sections of these books I feel that (for Space Marines) the way to go would be to release 1 monster sized codex with loads of background, a force selection chart and an awesome gallery.

In the force selection chart there would be a few page for each Chapter (+ successors).  The 1st page would include all rule changes and alterations to the force organisation chart, followed by Characters and Units – maybe 10 pages for Ultramarines, Blood Angels, Space Wolves, Dark Angels, Black Templars and 5 for White Scars, Imperial Fists, Crimson Fists, Salamanders etc.

This would allow each Chapter to get Special Characters, Units and Rules, but ‘typical’ units and vehicles would be available to all and would be updated across the board all in one hit.

Example 1 – Blood Angels Fast Vehicles – +?? points per vehicle

Example 2 – Blood Angels – Instead of Combat Tactics all units have Red Thirst

GW are doing a great job with their Special Characters altering the armies – why not allow the armies to do it in their own section of the space marine codex?

I’d love to hear all your opinions – however please don’t comment on the Money GW are making by having the Codex separate – everyone understands that it is a way of a) constantly updating armies, b) making people buy the latest army and c) making people buy multiple Codex.


Product Review – Cadian Kits

15/02/2010

Here’s a brief review on the kits i’ve had a fiddle with:

Infantry

The kit comes with 2×2 sprues allowing you to make a squad of 10 Cadian Infantry.  The sprues have 10 lasguns with arms, 2 each of granade launcher, flamer and melta with arms, 2 las pistols and chainswords, 10 bodies, 10 legs, 2 vox packs, 10 sets of webbing (pouches) and 10 sets of grenades.

My initial view was that there was limited scope for making the little guys – my feelings now is that there is a lot of scope if you have lots of kits – with only 1 kit I feel that the squad lacks coherency.  My preference would be to have a squad with all bayonets and another without – maybe this is in the pipelines as my squad looks a little thrown together due to the limited parts in the kit.  I feel that either having 8 each of the lasguns with bayonets and without would be better – or even cutting down to 4 lasguns with a bayonet part would allow that bit more customisation (strange as it would have less parts in the kit).

My problem was that I’m thinking of the kit as a unit – with IG this isn’t how it works.  As each squad is so cheap (points wise) you will never have only 1 squad of infantry.  At £12 for 10 guys the box is also relatively well priced when compared to other armies.  Buy 4 boxes and you will have 40 troopers with enough variety to make (me or you) happy.

Command Squad

The command squad has enough parts to make 5 infantry command miniatures (banner bearer, medic, commander, Sergeant and special weapons trooper or vox).  It has 5 different legs, 4 ‘normal’ bodies and 3 ‘special’ bodies, lots of heads, 2 banners, all the special weapons, vox and lots of ‘bits’.

So far I’ve made my commander and banner bearer – both of which I think look great.  My favourite part of the banners is that there are 2 – and one isn’t obviously Cadian (hence it is the one I picked).  The parts allow for some great variation, in fact with 10 of these kits I recon I could make 50 clearly unique models.  Value is a bit lower ass the kit is £15, but the extra parts will make the infantry kit more flexible.

Joint Kits

As with the Space Marines range the value comes when you kit bash – and whilst there is less variation than with marine kits I still think you can make enough cool models for an army.  The kits are also very easy to put together – some space marine kits (Devastators) can be hard to piece together properly with the Heavy Bolter parts being the worst.

All in all I think the models are pretty cool and I can really see why it’s often considered as a beginners army – and from what I’ve seen online I can also see the potential for making it a converters dream with some of the coolest models being from the ranks of the Imperial Guard.  Heavy Weapons are the next product review.

IG players- do you find the kits limiting or do you find them easy to convert?


Product Review – Maxmini Heads

10/02/2010

Well, they arrived yesterday so it’s time for my first product review.

When I got into work yesterday after a site visit a little padded envelope was sat on my desk to welcome me.  The pieces were all together in one sealed blister inside the envelope.  Packaging and delivery were given top marks.

When I took the heads out I had a very nice surprise – 2 extras.  I don’t know if this is similar to the bakers dozen method or if it was due to bad counting – it still made me happy.  What made me really happy though was the quality of the heads.  The designs are reasonably simple but really do give a great alternative to the Space Marine Heads – further they would look great on Empire or Bretonian knights or on Chaos Marines or Warriors – they also look like they’d fit in with some of the other gaming systems.

Typically the heads have very few casting lines, but they do have some cleaning up to be done around the protruding details such as the respirator bits and some of the cabling – this shouldn’t take long though.  The last thing I want to comment on with these heads is that I’m definitely going to wash them before using them – just incase there is any release agent left on it.

All in all I’m very impressed with these heads, getting 20 (typical) heads for about £10 may seem like a lot, but they really give some variation to the force and they also are pretty cheap when compared to ‘beakie’ and ‘maximus’ heads from Bits and kits – who I will do a review on in the next few weeks.

Anyone else had any experience with Maxmini or know of any cool alternative heads?


Current Plastic Boxsets 2 – Cadian Colourscheme

08/02/2010

I take it back – having now seen the command and heavy weapon sprue’s I think that they are pretty good.  It’s not a complete U-turn as I think that the Space Marine kits are still far better, it’s more that I have enough to play with to hopefully make some cool models.

The heavy weapons kit has a ridiculous amount of spare bits to use for some objectives.  I’m thinking of getting 2 kits and using them to make 2 groups of 3 of the same heavy weapons – probably mortars and autocannons as they’re not in the Space Marine lists.  The others will be used for objective markers, city fighting markers and some conversions on some e-bayed vehicles in the distant future.

The allies squad will probably be a command squad, 2 infantry squads and 2 heavy weapon squads.  This should allow me some pretty good variety of troops.

Compared to the Space Marines the Cadians seem pretty easy to make and paint so I hope to be turning them around far quicker.  I still need to pick a scheme for an IG unit from Ultramar to compliment the Ultramarines without being far too similar.

My other allies will be Space Wolves (the new kits are great), Blood Angels (it’d be such a shame to alter the Space Hulk models) and Marines Malevolent.  I don’t really want the IG to be seen as linked with these so all grey, red and black and yellow and black seem to be out.  I’m thinking of grey cloth and blue armour (very Ultramarine) but really want to come up with a nice colour scheme – maybe ice camouflage is the way to go?

What do you think about the plastic kits for kit-bashing?  Any suggestions on colour schemes?


Current Plastic Boxsets

06/02/2010

As a Space Marine modeller, painter and (fledgling) player I have been cutting up and sticking together bits and pieces from a reasonably large range of kits to make a collection of models that (I feel) is individual and well conceived.

I enjoy to lay out a number of frames (tactical, assault, devastator) mix in some more specialist pieces (command squad, commander, chapter specific upgrades) and throw in some ‘unique’ individual castings (ordered online from bitsandkits.co.uk, e-bay and the cool heads I had in my last article).  But others are simply not as lucky.  I’ve split my post in to 2 sections – the first my rant – the second an example.

1.  Anyone who has followed this blog knows about my ideas for the ‘Tale of _ Gamers’ that will start soon – and that I intend on adding a number of allies to my army.  Today I went to buy some models that will be one of those squads and upon pulling out the plastic I was – well – not amazed.  Buying a squad of Cadians to act as my Ultramar Imperial Guard Allies seemed like a great idea – and still is by any accounts.  Flicking through the plastic sprues of parts however made me realise how luck Space Marine players are.

The Cadian frame includes 5 bodies, 5 legs, 6 (i think) heads, 6 lasguns, 2 special weapons, laspistol and CCW, pouches, granade arm and a few more bits.  To many this may sound like a huge amount of options – to a Space Marine players this screams limitations.

You may be confused up to this point but let me explain – ALL Space Marine sprue’s have bits that can be used on other models – and this is only untrue for the majority of terminator parts.  This allows me to build each standard Space Marine from loads of different parts.  For the Cadians they have only 3 kits – Infantry, Heavy Weapons and Command.  This means that the Emporors Finest (SM’s) who are very limited in number can all be individual, the huge swarms of infantry that is the Imperial Guard will have huge amounts of repetition in even smaller armies.

To finish off this rant and moan I’d like to point out that I still think I could make 75+ unique Cadian models – though my imagination may strain – which is awesome for Allies, I just feel sorry for them when they have 100’s of infantry models – I think I could fiddle with my marines for ever.

2.  My (current) favourite model may be a Marines Malevolent or may be an Ultramarine – either way he’s been pieced together with care.  Running Assault Marine legs, Tactical body, Heavy Bolter arms and weapon from the Devastators kit – from memory I can’t remember where the head is from but I think it is Black Templar, Dark Angel or a metal head (maybe from Deathwatch).  I think it looks amazing and can’t wait til it’s all painted up – this is not really possible with most of the other ranges.

What do you think?  Who is the luckiest of them all and who is bottom of the pile?  I thought that the Dark Eldar kit was brilliant but with all the other kit upgrades are they now the worst off?