Return To Prospero

On the whole, we who follow the Ruinous Powers have enjoyed an excellent few years. In many ways the story of Chaos-loving 40k fans and the story of Chaos in the 41st millennium can be seen to mirror each other, surely a case of the warp twisting reality and reflecting it back at us! For many years we were isolated in the wilderness, forgotten by the Imperium that had birthed us, reduced to sticking spikes on to loyalist marines by way of generating new recruits and brooding on our bitterness. The glory days of the Heresy (that would be Realm of Chaos and Codex 3.5 then!) lay far behind us and, despite the occasional Black Crusade to enliven things (2012 was a good year) we were undoubtedly surviving rather than thriving. Then, after an eternity in exile, our luck finally changed. The Cadian Gate fell, the little green army men tasked with defending it receiving at long last the kicking they so richly deserved, the Cicatrix Maledictum split the galaxy in two and we were back in action! Since 2016 we’ve seen the appearance of the Thousand Son, Death Guard, Chaos Space Marines, Chaos Knights, Gellerpox Mutants, a growing army of traitor guard thanks to Blackstone Fortress and choirs of daemons for all four of the gods. Assuming that western civilisation doesn’t collapse in the meantime (hardly a safe bet these days) it seems sensible to assume that the World Eaters and Emperor’s Children will come bellowing and screaming out of the warp sooner or later, probably within the next couple of years. It’s a good time to be bad! Even if the worst happens and the dubious leadership of our political masters leaves the planet as a wasteland us Chaos fans will at least find a comforting familiarity to life as mutant tech-barbarians whilst the oldhammer fans amongst us will survive the fallout in style, comfortably ensconced behind a wall of lead.

Despite the fact that Games Workshop haven’t dropped so much as a single hint to this effect (and it’s worth noting that traditionally they don’t) few fans feel any real doubt that the Khornate and Slaaneshi legions are on their way. After all, the idea that GW might abandon the Chaos project unfinished seems desperately unlikely. What about the Thousand Sons though? Surely they are a finished entity, done and dusted for the foreseeable future? Allow me to argue otherwise.

Ahriman2

When the Thousand Sons were released at the tail end of 2016 for many Chaos fans it was a revelation. Writing about it now it’s easy to sound hyperbolic, after all these are still just toy soldiers we’re talking about right? Nonetheless for fans of the legions this changed everything. Suddenly Chaos went from just two fractions (Chaos Space Marines and Chaos Daemons) to potentially dozens – something GW hasn’t failed to capitalise on since. I think we’d all hoped to see a plastic kit for Rubrics someday but Scarab Occult Terminators had always floated close to being a pipedream for me, and seeing things like tzaangors or a living primarch fell well out with even my most enthusiastic daydreams.

In days of yore the range of models available to any given chaos legion were all drawn from a single codex (Codex: Chaos Space Marines to be precise). There were a few upgrade packs and/or metal bits for cult troops (these being the plague marines, rubrics and noise marines), plus the distinctly elderly looking berserkers and a small group of special characters, but in the main the way to distinguish one legion from another came down to the colours in which they were painted. With the release of the Chaos Space Marines and Death Guard codexes we’ve seen a widening of the gap between Nurgle affiliated Chaos Space Marines like the Purge and the true Death Guard legion of old. There are commonalities but each is a distinct entity – allowing one, if you so wished, to create two very different collections of models. The same however really isn’t true of the Thousand Sons.

Rubric

For one thing I think it’s worth noting that whilst there are many similarities between the Death Guard and the Purge, or the Emperor’s Children and the Flawless Host, the Thousand Sons and any given Tzeentchian warband are worlds apart. If anything of the Thousand Sons deserve more uniqueness not less. Despite this the Thousand Sons find themselves leaving much more heavily on Chaos Space Marine units than the Death Guard. The former share 15 units with the chaos space marines, with 8 units unique to them, whilst the proportions for the latter are 13 each (by my count – and my figures may be wrong, I’m no plaguebearer).

Those differences serve to really define the Death Guard as more than just Nurgly Chaos Marines, allowing them a radically different aesthetic and range of units available to them. Of course we cannot know the future but it is to be hoped that the Emperor’s Children and World Eaters, assuming they do appear, will follow a similar format. Where once some models would be painted green for Nurgle and others pink for Slaanesh, now the potential interest and depth in the Chaos range at last begins to be tapped.

However by sharing so much common ground with the Chaos Space Marines the Thousand Sons feel to me to be a lot less unique than their Death Guard cousins. Despite having their own troops, even their own terminators (albeit only the one type compared to the Death Guard’s two) by falling back on the same vehicles and other kits as the Chaos Space Marines that uniqueness is diluted. A heldrake for example shares a lot of aesthetic ties with the wider Chaos Space Marines range that makes it fit in perfectly alongside them but no amount of a blue and yellow paint will make it look like anything more than an outsider amongst the Thousand Sons. I must confess to cursing when the heldrake was removed from the Death Guard range but time has proved the wisdom of that decision (for me at least). Heldrakes based on zombie dragons swooping above maulerfeinds kitbashed from maggoths, whilst warpsmiths surrounded by semi-organic mechadendrites bursting from there cancerous armour and bloated plague bikers roaring alongside – it’s a wonderful and entirely attainable image for an army and yet a very different entity to the Legion commanded by Mortarion.

Crucially despite these differences a Nurgly chaos space marine remains similar aesthetically to a member of the Death Guard. Both start out as fairly standard looking space marines upon which are layered the unpleasant attentions of Nurgle. The same however cannot be said of the Thousand Sons and their peers amongst the Tzeentchian chaos space marines. Magnus’ legion already looked unique at the time of the Horus Heresy. With their ornate armour and tall crests they deviated far further from the marine aesthetic blueprint than even the most radical of their cousins. Since then they’ve been essentially trapped in amber – spared the mutation which blights their fellow traitors by Ahriman’s rubric which turned them to dust within their armour. A later-day space marine breaking his vows to the Imperium and swearing his soul to Tzeentch would be unlikely to choose to cosplay ancient Tizcan ceremonial dress as he hurries to make his escape into the Great Eye. Likewise mutation will be rife, Tzeentch being rather keen on gifting his followers with a constantly changing array of mad appendages, something the modern Tzeentchian needs to learn to cope with without the dubious benefits of Ahriman turning him into a mindless automaton.

Sorceror

Perhaps the most striking example of the aesthetic divergence between the Thousand Sons and the Chaos Space Marines is the helbrute. These fleshy giants are to the traitor legions what dreadnoughts are to the loyalists, huge and powerful walkers piloted by mortally wounded space marines. Rather than see a great hero of the Imperium die he is placed within one of these engines to battle on – yet whilst for a loyalist space marine there are few higher honours, for the traitors incarceration within a helbrute is a terrible punishment and curse, and the result is a lifetime of torture.

Featuring as much bulging mutated flesh as it does metal the helbrute fits in well with chaos marines of all stripes, with the exception of the Thousand Sons. Here its meaty, bloated form seems out of place – although it would fit in well with other Tzeentchian marines. The developers acknowledge this contradiction and attempt to explain it away with a little success.

In the early days following the Heresy the Thousand Sons were wracked by mutation as Tzeentch showered his gifts upon them. Rather than see the whole legion degenerate into idiot spawn Ahriman cast his infamous rubric and the majority of the Legion were saved from mutation – instead ending up as perambulatory suits of armour, containing nothing more than weak psychic ghosts and the dust of their former occupants. By the time this happened however many of the legion’s dreadnoughts had already mutated out of control turning into the first helbrutes. Recognising their utility in battle some sorcerers decided to try making more of them. Finding themselves mysteriously short on applicants from within their own legion the Thousand Sons set up the internship program from hell, inviting wannabe sorcerers to join them to enjoy a full training program. Rather than the 41st millennium Hogwarts they had been promised the unlucky aspirants find themselves bundled kicking and screaming into a helbrute’s central coffin. Why such an elaborate scheme is considered necessary when any injured space marine would do, and how word has failed to spread amongst the cut-throat warriors of the chaos legions that unexpectedly generous offers by the Thousand Sons might not be entirely trustworthy, is glossed over.

Helbrute

Personally I love the helbrute model but, despite this explanation, I find myself sceptical and I just don’t think it fits in all that well amongst the Thousand Sons. I’d rather convert a loyalist dreadnought to represent a member of the old Legion turned to dust inside his sarcophagus. However what I’d really love to see someday is something akin to the Blood Angel’s Librarian Dreadnaught, a psyker dreadnought by which a sorcerer might continue to work his schemes in a mechanical afterlife. After all, whilst the other Chaos forces must make do with helbrutes, a legion devoted to hunting out secret knowledge should be more than capable of getting a dreadnought up and running satisfactorily, allowing a powerful psyker to stamp his way across the galaxy in style.

I’m sure the presence of gaps within the Thousand Sons range, particularly as opposed to the Death Guard, won’t come as news to Games Workshop. In an effort to flesh things out they delved into their other ranges in search of kits which might find a suitable home amongst the sons of Magnus. Alongside a range of daemons (mirroring the approach taken with the other chaos forces and harking back to my early days as a collector when daemons and mortals fought side by side) they also borrowed two tzaangor units to swell the ranks of the beastmen. The tzaangor shaman is an excellent model and fits in perfectly here, whilst the Tzaangor Enlightened may risk looking like fantasy escapees when armed with bows but fit in much better when given chainswords and pistols.

Mutalith Vortex Beast

Lastly we have the hulking Mutalith Vortex Beast. It’s a bit of an odd model, a giant beast with a mass of tentacles for a face and a huge magical star mounted on its back. The kit can also be used to build a Slaughterbrute, a model I’ll confess I find impossible to like. The Mutalith Vortex Beast is better but still flawed. Perhaps if I saw it in the flesh it would help me make up my mind but I can’t recall ever encountering one and so I remain on the fence regarding it’s questionable aesthetic charms. Even at my most charitable however it’s hard to see it as anything other than an ugly old model shoehorned into an army it wasn’t originally intended for. Giving its unappealing appearance and meaty price tag, it’s easy to assume it didn’t sell as well as they hoped and that shoving it into the Thousand Sons range is a desperate attempt to boost its sales. In my opinion the Thousand Sons deserve better.

Indeed I’d go further than that. Chaos deserves better; the legions should be explored in full, with the Death Guard and Chaos Space Marines ranges as the model for the depth and quality to which they are treated. The fans deserve better; whether they love Chaos or simply want to see a fully realised adversary against which to pit themselves (and indeed see their own faction given the same care and attention). Games Workshop deserve better; to hold their heads high and say “This is what we do, and we do it well, and even if something seems a bit niche or strange we have the talent to pull it off”.

And yes, I’m aware that these things take time, the resources are finite, that not every faction can be given their full attention all the time. Rome was not built in a day. GW however are fond of advertising “aspirational armies” at me all day so I shall respond by describing aspirational product!

Magus

Part of the reason for the Thousand Sons being on my mind is that my birthday is coming up soon (aye, happy birthday me!). Last year my partner gave me Magnus the Red and so far I’ve only got as far as assembling him before my trepidation for tackling large miniatures, combined with my determination to clear my desk of half-finished projects, caused me to stall. I did promise myself that I’d tackle him as soon as the Chaos Knight is done, and yes – I’m aware that I owe you all a progress report on that too! In the meantime I’ve made a pretence of progress by thinking about the Thousand Sons a lot instead.

Magnus, Magnus I call it gladness

Tzeentch has always been a tricky god for GW to tackle. Khorne and Nurgle are relatively straightforward – if in doubt a roaring chainaxe or some exposed guts will go a long way. Slaanesh was harder, a heady mix of sex, drugs and rock and roll, which has both attracted and repulsed the company over the years. Tzeentch however the most problematic of all, combining magic with mutation – neither of them easy to achieve. Mutation may be a hallmark of Chaos but it’s a double-edged sword. Played right and the result is fantastic and creative models, played wrong and you end up with the Chaos Forsaken from old Warhammer, an ill-defined mess.

Meanwhile magical effects are a clear case of less being more, and even with the undoubted talent of the GW design team and the advances in modern model making its hard to render sheets of living lighting or warp-flame in plastic. The Tzeentchian daemons range captures this neatly; some are good (the Lord of Change, blue horrors and heralds), some are bad (the less said about the pink horrors the better) and some are just plain weird (even after many years of careful study I can’t honestly tell you if I like the flamers or not…). Given these challenges you can hardly blame them for concentrating on the ever popular Khorne and Nurgle.

Returning to the Thousand Sons, GW showed remarkable restraint in not throwing magical fireworks everywhere, whilst the Rubric of Ahriman saved them from the thorny mutation issue. However the Rubric also creates an issue in that it serves to limit the range of roles available to be explored with future models. Regardless of what you did before the Rubric, afterwards you were either turned to dust or psychically powerful enough to survive. If you fell into the latter camp then a career as a sorcerer was yours for the taking, with all the power that brought. If you were amongst the former then you didn’t get much say in the matter anymore. What’s more the traditional specialist ranks become essentially redundant, with no-one having much call for apothecaries, tech-marines and so-on when magic can fix anything. New specialist sorcerers would have a certain merit, perhaps based on the cabals and disciplines of ancient Prospero which take a prominent role in the Horus Heresy novels. However the further the sorcerers are explored the more top heavy the legion risks becoming, with loads of HQ’s and not a lot else.

More troops would be nice but it’s hard to picture rubrics doing anything fancy and although in theory I’m sure you could have rubric assault marines (if the controlling sorcerer gave the appropriate psychic nudge) it doesn’t really fit with my mental image of the army to see them hurtling through the skies. Plus the Thousand Sons, sadly, exist in a scale of their own – the models being a little bigger than the older Space Marines but still a bit short compared to the Chaos Marines and Death Guard that came after. As a result I suspect  GW might not want to draw attention to the fact by returning to the rubrics any time soon. Rubric Havocs and phalanxes of close combat rubrics are nice to imagine but I suspect they might be a long time in coming…

More Tzaangors and mutant beasts are always nice (I’ve never met a Tzaangor I didn’t like) but the greater their presence in the army the more the power-armoured element is diminished and the less it feels like a Thousand Sons army.

One thing it would definitely be nice to see is some more vehicles and daemon engines. The Death Guard have the Plagueburst Crawler, the Foetid Bloat-drone and the Myphitic Blight-hauler to call their own, the poor old Thousand Sons have to borrow the Black Legion’s wheels when Abaddon isn’t using them. Surely some uniquely Tzeentchian vehicles aren’t beyond the wit of GW’s designers to conjure up? Or how about replacing the heldrake with something more uniquely Prosperine?

Thousand Sons

On the whole the Thousand Sons remain one of my favourite factions in 40k. Seeing them reborn in 2016 was one of the defining moments of my hobby career and I have no real complains about the range of models we received. However I do feel that it’s not just greed that leaves me wanting more. Right now the range feels as though it’s been bulked out with filler rather than being afforded the attention that was lavished on the Death Guard (wonderful though that was too). Hopefully the time will come when GW recognises that something is needed to elevate the range to the giddy heights enjoyed by their peers. Even if we have to wait until other legions are explored I’ll be happy enough, just so long as they don’t leave Magnus and his boys in the dust forever.

Do you agree or are you too busy standing around on Fenris widdling on a tree? Do you have a dream model you’d love to see added to the Thousand Sons some day? The comments box is all yours!

All images copyright Games Workshop and half-inched by Ahriman when he went in to renew his membership of the Black Library.

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24 responses to “Return To Prospero

  • theimperfectmodeller

    Well I cannot comment too much on account of the fact that there is not a single cowboy to be seen but I do reckon you should do your own conversion showing GW what they need to aspire to! 😊

    • Wudugast

      Now Rubric cowboys would be a fine sight to behold! 😀

      I completely agree with you on the point about converting our own models. GW always make the point, quite correctly in my opinion, that they do what they want, not what the fans want. Certainly it seems to be working well for them so far! That said they are all hobbyists themselves (in the design studio at least) so if they see people being excited by and inspired by things then that will in time feed back to them (assuming there’s enough of it). Likewise the money men will see what’s popular and apply their pressure in that direction (presumably why new space marines are released every half-hour or so). As a fan if I want an army to get attention I need to give it attention, by painting models, converting, kitbashing, gaming (not my strong suite but will certainly apply to many readers) and by writing articles like this one. The more fans say to one another “The Thousand Sons are really cool” the more the developers will pick up on that, the more they’ll say it to each other and the more likely it is that it’ll be at the forefront of their minds when they sit down to work on a new project. Whereas if we all collectively shrug and ignore them then that energy won’t feed into the system and the chances are GW won’t bother with them again. Ultimately if we’re passionate about an aspect of our hobby (whatever that is) we need to get out and demonstrate that through our creativity and participation.

  • Azazel

    I think you’ve hit the problem there a few times – the “all Thousand Sons are now Rubrics or Sorcerers” thing is a real limiter on what can now be done with the models or range moving forward. Perhaps the answer has to actually come from the Renegade/traitor marine population?
    Like the bigger Biker gangs will have associated, smaller clubs, perhaps the Thousand Sons need “aspirants” from, say, The Chosen of Nemeroth in some sort of distinctly-Tzeentchian not-Havoc squads to replace the CSM verisons? A new type of possessed-of-a-sort to fit in the assault role?
    I do also sgree and think Rubric Dreadnoughts fit the lore much better than Hellbrutes, though.
    I’d like to see them come back and do another pass at Thousand Sons, but honestly, not for a few years until other armies have had their due – unless of course it’s done in a “1-2 units alongside a campaign book” format, in which case, the more the merrier!

    • Wudugast

      That’s not a bad idea, I can quite imagine Tzeentchian affiliated warbands falling in with the Thousand Sons, especially when they have corresponding objectives (and what better opportunity to steal their secrets along the way). Of course there’s always the risk of getting shoved into a Helbrute but thus is the life of a Chaos Marine.

      On the other hand I think the aesthetic of the Thousand Sons doesn’t really match with the heavily mutated look of a stereotypical Tzeentchian marine – although one could probably work that out fairly easily.

      I like the idea of possessed assault marines, I actually have a dream that someday GW will release the Word Bearers (complete with new possessed versions of everything – possessed terminators, dreadnaughts etc, loads of cultists and a new kit for Lorgar).

      I’ll definitely take a shot at making a rubric dreadnaught at some point (*adds it to the long list of future projects*).

      Actually quite agree with you regarding the timetable for more Thousand Sons, there are a lot of other armies which deserve attention in the meantime. In my opinion the Eldar are crying out for attention and I’d like to see more plastic regiments for the Imperial Guard too. And some more recruits for the Ad Mech. And the other Chaos Legions. And a new model for Ghazghkull. And zombies… And don’t get me started on the Skaven…

  • patmcf

    Happy birthday for your up coming one mate ! just looking at that guy makes me shiver I wouldn’t even think of trying to paint him, all those feathers!!

    • Wudugast

      Cheers! Aye, he’s going to be a challenge to paint – I’m not sure if I’m looking forward to it or not 😀 He’s a big lad too, just measured to check and he stands at roughly 13cm to the top of his head (roughly because I couldn’t use the decent tape measure – why the hell isn’t it the tool box where it belongs? Who took it and didn’t they put it back damn it!) 😉

      • patmcf

        Ge mate that is a cry that is often heard here ,even when I each member one of there own , ahhh!its a universal thing then .5 inches that is a big boy , looking forward to seeing what your nervous trembling hand can do !!

  • Alex

    I’d like to see someone plunder the old Tomb Kings range to make their own TS vehicles, cultists and such – rich pickings to be had there methinks…

    • Wudugast

      Have you seen any of the Thousand Sons Mauler/Forgefeinds people have made out of the old Necrosphynx? Some of those were amazing. Quite agree that Tomb Kings made excellent fodder for converting Thousand Sons, it’s just a shame that they’re harder to get hold of now they’ve been discontinued. Still, I’m very curious about this new undead/skeleton faction that GW keep dropping hints about – I’m sure they won’t be the Tomb Kings of old but I keep getting a distinctly Khemrian vibe off everything we’ve seen so far. Must be all the sand…

    • Alexis West

      I did manage to get ahold of a Necrosphynx to turn into a Forgefiend, but there are a bunch more I never managed to pick up that I had ideas for. The Ushabti, the Bone Scorpions, the Catapults, even just the basic dudes.

      • Wudugast

        Reckon any of the Ossiarch Bonereapers will fit the bill? I’m pretty damn excited about those lads to be honest. Nagash’s grip on my soul gets tighter by the day!

      • Alexis West

        I’m not sure about for the Thousand Sons, but the General Grievous ones really seem like there should be something worth doing with them in 40K. And even tho it would be prohibitively expensive, I kinda want to replace the treads on all my tanks with the little legs from the catapult thing.

        The Cavalry also reminded me that I want to see Cavalry Units for the big 4 Dedicated Legions, with Berzerkers on Juggernauts and whole Squads of Aspiring Sorcerers on Disks of Tzeentch and Plague Marines on Rot Flies and some sort of new Slaanesh Marine variant besides Noise Marines that ride Steeds of Slaanesh.

      • Wudugast

        Yeah, something like that catapult sits very close to my mental image for a Thousand Sons heavy artillery piece (obviously without quite so many bones – but the strangeness of it, the legs and so, would work nicely). I really like the look of the Ossiarch Bonereapers, I have a feeling my long-awaited Death army might finally be about to emerge. Katakros is everything that Naggash should have been (he said offending half the internet in the process, I know Naggash is a well loved model but to me he’s outshone by all of his Mortarchs. Are we really supposed to believe that miniatures as awesome as Katakros or Neferata take orders from a flying hat rack?). The four-armed guys are the only ones I don’t really like, they look like the size-zero models of the Tyranid world – but I also find myself wondering how they’d look converted into something 40k. I haven’t quite put my finger on what yet but I can sense that there’s something there.

        Good shout on the cavalry, any of those would be ace. I definitely like the idea of berserkers on juggernaughts (at the very least I expect to see a lord on a juggernaught when the World Eaters put in their appearance). For the Thousand Sons, rather than individual rubrics speeding along on disks I like the idea of huge disks as flying platforms with a whole squad or crew of rubrics manning the weaponry. More like a slow-moving flyer or grav-tank. Indeed how about a duel kit; one version makes a weapons platform, the other makes a transport. For the plague marines I’d like to see them riding something akin to mini-maggoths (someday I’ll get around to getting the maggoth lords kit and converting up a 40k nurgle lord riding it). My first thoughts was that steeds would be a bit too skinny to carry noise marines but then it occurred to me that they could just make bigger, hencher steeds and now I love the idea.

      • Alexis West

        I think a substantial amount of the love for the current Nagash Model is just due to how much of an improvement it is over the previous one. That thing was awful.

        I don’t have any real interest in them as they are, since no one around here plays AoS, but yeah, there are def possibilities for 40K conversions.

        I love that idea for the Tzeentch thing. A huge Disk with a whole Squad of Rubrics and a Sorcerer on there, with all sorts of arcane weaponry mounted around the edges would be awesome.

        Mini-Maggoth-riders would be great, too. Would probably work out better than the Rot Flies in a number of ways. I figure the Rot Flies would be a bit less of an investment to make tho, since the Pusgoyle Blightlords/Lord of Afflictions are already most of the way there.

        Yeah, def bigger Steeds to carry the Marines. I wasn’t thinking Noise Marines, tho, something else, with some other sort of sensory obsession rather than sound. Dedicated Emperor’s Children Bikers could also be really cool, addicted to speed in a similar manner to Ork Speed Freeks.

      • Wudugast

        Aye, that old Nagash was rough. The new one may not be to my taste but you’re right, it could be worse!

        I’d hope that when they do the Emperor’s Children they explore some of the possible sensory addictions beyond sound. Noise Marines are cool (and I’d love to see a sonic dreadnaught kit) but some kind of speed addict bikes would be great (perhaps they’ve managed to keep their jetbikes up and running since the Heresy…), not to mention all the swordfighters from the Palatine Blades and some big fat gluttonous dudes (it’s not just Nurgle that gets to be a tumster). And as we’re dreaming big here, how about beastmen riding on the steeds (to keep up with their masters on their bikes)?

      • Alexis West

        Yes! Beast-folk on Steeds would be awesome!

  • Alexis West

    OK, this is going to be long and rambley.

    To my mind, the first golden age of Chaos actually continued through 2nd Ed. Even the Black Codex list was pretty cool, and the 2nd Ed Codex Chaos was awesome, better than even the 3.5 one.

    I count 15 Death Guard-only Units, to 13 shared with the CSM Dex. But, of those 15, 9 are Characters, two of them Unique. Of the 8 Thousand Sons-only Units, only 4 are Characters, again, with two of them being Unique. So just two more Vehicles of some sort would bring the Sons up to par on non-Character Units, and then, as you mention, there is a great deal of scope for extra Characters (many of them Elites rather than HQs) with various specializations. I feel like a Warpsmith Technomancer would be a particularly cool one. A unique 1K Sons Dread would be a great option. Make it a dual build, either as a Rubric Dread or a Sorcerer Dread.

    One of the things I really want for the Thousand Sons is actually just a Rules change regarding the standard (Chaos) Space Marine Vehicles. They should get the All Is Dust special rule that the Rubrics have, to represent Rubric drivers/gunners. Also speaking of Rules, I really want them to add in Legion-specific Rules to things like Possessed and Spawn. That makes less of a difference for the 1K Sons than any of the others, but it just feels wrong running Death Guard Possessed and not having them get DR.

    I do feel like the Heldrake actually fits the 1K Sons pretty well as far as the Daemon Engines go. Some sort of unique Rule for Warp-Lightning or something would be great for it. Also, on a purely personal note, I want them to keep access to Forgefiends, simply because I put a lot of time and effort into converting and painting one for the Sons.

    I find the Mutalith/Slaughterbeast to fall into much the same area as the Forsaken: Barely tolerable on their own, but absolutely fantastic as a source of Bitz and/or a basis for Conversions.

    Much of the trouble stems from the logistics of making and maintaining stock of the needed Models. It’s relatively easy to make a fantastic single-pose Model, but then everyone’s looks the same, unless you have a bunch of different ones, which takes up a huge amount of shelf/peg space, cuts into economies of scale, and/or are difficult for customers to get the ones they want.. It’s relatively easy to make Models with tons of options, but they turn out like the Forsaken or Chaos Spawn. It is really hard to make Models that truly look Chaotic, but still have tons of options* and alternate builds for players to personalize them.

    *That said, would it really kill GW to include a mix of swords, axes, and mauls/staves with Characters, and let any of the Characters use any of those Weapons? Maybe two different ones per Character, so there will always be some variety available, but you don’t have to hunt down a specific Character for a specific Weapon. A certain degree of variety seems like it should be doable, both in terms of Modeling and game balance.

    • Wudugast

      I’m all in favour of long, rambling replies – I actually write long, rambling blog posts just to encourage them!

      Sorry it’s taken me a while to respond by the way, had to juggle quite a bit this week and I had a wordy reply to write! 🙂

      A Warpsmith Technomancer would be awesome, sign me up for one of those! And yes, a dual build Thousand Sons dreadnaught kit would be splendid too. Looking again at the numbers I’m counting 3 unique vehicles amongst the Death Guard (Thousand Sons have 0 – although they do have the dubious charms of the Vortex Beast), and 6 solo specialists (Talleyman, Biologus Putrifier, Foul Blightspawn, Plague Surgeon, Noxious Blightbringer, Malignant Plaguecaster) as opposed to just the Sorcerors and Tzaangor Shaman. Death Guard also have their own Daemon Prince model, which still holds up well despite its age – whereas the Thousand Sons just have the generic kit (which I like a lot more than most people do – but there’s not much in the way of a Prosperine heritage there). And the Death Guard have two kinds of terminators to the Thousand Sons one. I do stress though that I’m not opposed to the embarrassment of riches provided to the Death Guard, they deserve every last poxwalker, I just want the same thing for the Thousand Sons (and the World Eaters, Emperor’s Children, Iron Warriors, Word Bearers, etc etc etc etc ad infinitum!) A couple of new vehicles and characters would go a long way though.

      Regarding the rules changes, as you know I’m not really a rules guy but everything you’re saying makes sense. The drivers, gunners etc of the Thousand Sons vehicles must, by logical extension, be rubrics (no sorcerer is going to lower himself to that). Likewise if you’re a possessed marine running around with the Death Guard the chances are pretty high that a)you’re a member of the Death Guard and b)you’re possessed by a Nurgle daemon. From a modelling perspective I really do prefer it when people use bits from the appropriate daemons to model possessed for the god of their legion (e.g. using plaguebearer bits to model Death Guard possessed) rather than using the generic possessed kit.

      To my eye none of the current daemon engines really look like they fit in with the Thousand Sons and (treating the sky as the limit for a moment) I’d love to someday see them get their own range of bespoke daemon engines (being sensible, I know it won’t happen any time soon, but in my lifetime it’d be cool to see). I know what you mean about people converting up versions of daemon engines to tie into specific armies, and I always feel heart-sorry for them when those models are no longer part of their codex. That said if restricting the options on a certain army means they get more new models to fill the gap I’m in. Then again if someone tipped up to play a game and had a model that they’d converted to fit into their army but no longer belonged there under the current rules I’d let them field it anyway, no issues – but I know that’s just my way and it only works for casual gaming.

      I’ve not really explored the Mutalith as a source of bits but I completely agree on the Forsaken. Instead of discontinuing it they should have just rebranded it as a “Chaos mutations box” ala the skull pack – I reckon the sales would have shot up overnight! Part of my issue with the Forsaken I’m sure stems from seeing them in the army book long before the models came out and thinking they sounded fantastic. I couldn’t wait to see the models – so imagine my disappointment when I finally did…

      On your final point regarding character design I completely agree. Also, I’d love to see a small set of models be given multi-part kits with loads of options for building single characters. I’m thinking Space Marine chapter masters, chaos lords, ork warbosses, that kind of thing. Something akin to the old Empire General kit. Obsidius Mallex is a cool guy and a great model but my Chaos Lord doesn’t look anything like him and I reckon most people feel the same way about their own generals.

      • Alexis West

        I didn’t think it would be a problem, just figured it was worth mentioning up front. Similarly, I figured that was why it took longer for you to reply to it.

        Yeah, my non-character breakdown was 3 unique DG Vehicles (Crawler, Hauler, Drone), and 3 Squads (Poxwalkers and the two Terminator varieties), compared to 3 Squads (Terminators, Tzaangor, Tzaangor Enlightened) and 1 Monster for the 1K Sons. Unfortunately, the Rubric pins them down pretty hard as far as actual Chaos Marine non-Character Units can go. A similar discussion elsewhere had me thinking that an extra sprue to turn the Heldrake into a dual kit that could also make something more like the old Epic Doomwing. Speaking of which, I wasn’t so much saying that the Heldrake really fits with them as that it sticks out less than the other Daemon Engines do.

        Nurgle is the only one that has their own Daemon Prince, and there’s no easy way to give it wings, which is kind of a problem. I do find it sort of odd that they’ve never done a specific one for Khorne. But then they also have a 20+ year old kit for the Berzerkers. Specific Daemon Princes for each God would be cool, but would run up against the issue of being really cool but they all look the same, or decent looking but customizable.

        I don’t have great pics, but there are some decent shots of my Maulerfiends on some older posts on my blog. (Best ones are at: https://cascadiangrimdark.blogspot.com/2016/07/machines-that-kill-2-kill-you-harder.html) That was one Slaughterbrute kit, two Maulerfiend kits, and a whole lot of plastic cement, greenstuff, and swearing.

        I don’t think I ever saw the Forsaken Models assembled before I saw enough of their bits used in Conversions that I knew I wanted to get some.

        I do suspect that if they wanted to, GW could do some pretty impressive warp lightning effects and such using clear tinted plastic. I suspect that there are logistical issues with making and packing kits done with two different kinds of plastics, tho, which is why they’ve always been kind of rare.

        I have always wished that, rather than going the single-pose route for Characters, they’d expanded more in the direction of the old Space Marine Commander box and the Tau Battlesuit Commander kit. Do a Marine one with a robed body that can either be given a Psychic Hood and Force Weapon to be a Librarian or a skull helm and Crozius to be a Chaplain. And then similar kits for Chaos Lords, Ork Warbosses, Sorcerers, all that sort of thing.

      • Wudugast

        Nice – those are some wonderfully warped maulerfeinds! Worth the effort I reckon although I can sympathise with the amount of swearing that must have gone into them 😉 Chaos demands it’s sacrifices – nothing great is won without suffering!

        Personally I’d like to see a daemon prince for each of the gods. They’ve done all the greater daemons and all the heralds (I think?) now so it’d be a good next step. As with all the daemons they’d fit in both 40k and AoS so the increased market should make them worthwhile. Much like wanting to keep your Maulerfiend in the Thousand Sons, I’m faintly annoyed that Death Guard daemon princes can’t have wings after I converted one based on a rot fly. Going to ignore that rule though – although he will need a bit more work soon I think, I made a few mistakes when I built him that I can now go back and rectify.

        Bringing back the doomwing – now you’re talking! That would be an excellent kit and as it’s more mechanical and less gribbly than other Tzeentchian models it would fit in well alongside the Thousand Sons as well.

        Absolutely with you on the multipart commanders, the single figures are generally lovely but I’d love to see a few more like you’re describing. Easily affordable marines in robes would be great too (of a decent size – I have foresworn titchy marines forever so the current crop of Dark Angels are out) I want to make sorcerors and Fallen and the pickings are slim.

      • Alexis West

        Thanks! And oh yeah, they were absolutely worth it. Took something like three years from concept to actually getting them painted and on the table, because I kept stalling out from fear of screwing them up.

        Heralds are mostly covered. Slaanesh really needs a fast Herald option, which would ideally be a Herald on Steed, but even just re-introducing rules for the Herald on Chariot would do, and that requires no new Models at all. A faster Nurgle Herald (on Rot Fly) would be nice, too, but isn’t as necessary.

        Check the DG FAQ. The lack of wings in that Dex was an error. They errataed them in.

      • Wudugast

        Say whaaaat!? Well, that’s made my evening! I never pay that close attention to FAQ’s – clearly I should change my ways 😀 All the more reason to celebrate by fixing my old Daemon Prince then!

        Stalling on miniatures for fear of screwing up is something I know all too well, in fact I’d describe my creative process as slowly rotating the models I’m stuck at that stage with until by some miracle some of them end up finished. Well worth the effort on those maulerfeinds though.

        They took out the rules for the Herald on a Chariot? I did notice it wasn’t listed any more but I think I assumed it was just an error. Any idea why it’s gone, seems weird to me (especially in this era where every optional build with a different head is suddenly a new model – look no further than the Flesh Eater Courts and their plethora of Crypt Courtiers built from what used to be the old Crypt Horrors).

      • Alexis West

        Most of the FAQ stuff isn’t too big of a deal, but every now and then, there’s one that really matters. Makes ’em worth checking out, at least briefly.

        The Herald on Chariot options are, for the moment, still available via the Index, but with the Legends announcement, who knows how viable that will be. And looking through GW’s website, they might actually be phasing that kit out. It’s not in the 40K section at all except as part of the Start Collecting box*, and only the basic Seeker Chariot is listed in the AoS section, not the Exalted version or the Hellflayer or the Herald versions. All five versions of it do have Warscrolls in the Hedonites of Slaanesh Battletome, tho. And they have added updated Datasheets for other Units to the Chaos Daemons Codex via the FAQ, so I really don’t know. I don’t inherently mind if that particular kit gets discontinued, because it’s a serious safety hazard, but Slaanesh Daemons really need a fast Herald option to keep even the minimal functionality that they have now.

        *Which actually has the Exalted Chariot, which uses two of the kits, like they’re trying to push them out the door faster.

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