Indomitus

It’s hard to believe it’s been three years since we saw the launch of Dark Imperium, the rebirth of a loyalist Primarch and the arrival of a whole new kind of space marine. The adorable little space marines of yore with their squashed torsos and undersized power armour were swept aside by newcomers which actually looked the way GW has been claiming they looked for decades, whilst Abaddon reached out his claw, tore the belly of the galaxy open and let the armies of Nurgle spill into real-space. Now the passage of the years brings us the inevitable arrival of another new edition of 40k (the 9th for those keeping score) and with it a launch box packed to the gunnels with power armour and living metal. The Necrons are on the march and in response the Emperor’s Finest have been thoroughly reinforced.

It goes without saying that the wise and the foolish alike have been bumping their collective gums about this for weeks now, so do we really need another rambling appraisal of the Indomitus launch box written by someone who hasn’t even seen the damn thing in the flesh yet? Of course you do – this one is written by me!

As usual with these things it’s a box of two halves, one half – as expected – the power-armoured majesty of the Space Marines, the other half the implacable alien legions of the Necrons. A new edition of 40k may have the rules fans in a lather but for me this is where the interest lies, the new miniatures. Let’s start by taking a look at the space marines.

Space Marine

When the Primaris range first arrived I was fulsome in my praise. Despite the odd minor flaw and some new background fiction that still hasn’t quite bedded in, the Primaris marines were for me, and a great number of others, an unparalleled success. It took me a while to realise therefore that I really wasn’t actually in love with Primaris marines, only with Intercessors, their cousins the Hellblasters and one or two others. Beyond that the range has struggled to make much of an impression on me. The slimmed down Phobos armour pattern does nothing for me, nor am I in any way keen on the “not terminators” in their odd looking Gravis armour. Oh and the less said about the Suppressors the better!

Should have been supressed

A concept which surely should have been suppressed.

Likewise I’ve not been particularly blown away by the various vehicles, the flying tanks (why?) and the oddly leggy dreadnaughts. The only one that has somewhat interested me has been the Invictor Tactical Warsuit, although even then the concept doesn’t really fit in with my mental image of the space marines. I think I would have liked it better had it been modified into some kind of “super-sentinel” for the Imperial Guard. Someday, if I’m feeling flush, I may get one and kitbash it into some kind of industrial rig for Necromunda (think the powered loader that Ripley makes use of in the film Aliens – only much bigger.

Invictor Tactical Warsuit

These latest space marines however are a lot more like it. Ultimately space marines, as befits their enormous popularity, mean different things to different people. Some enjoy the sleek, high-tech look of the Phobos crowd, but personally I’ve always found it too reminiscent of a better future than 40k represents. I prefer the gothic knights and warrior monks that tap deeply into the neo-medieval aesthetic of the setting – and the ones in Indomitus have that in spades.

Take the captain who heads up the space marine forces in the box for instance. I’ve been imagining space marines that look like this for years and at last here one is. It’s unfortunate, of course, that he has to turn his entire shield upside down every time he wants to time an egg but apart from that he’s pretty awesome.

Captain

Likewise the Bladeguard Veterans. The enormous holsters make them a little busy but that’s a small thing (unlike the holsters themselves!) – overall these may be amongst my all time favourite space marines, at least amongst the ranks of the loyalist scum.

Bladeguard

Whilst some of the marines in the set capture this gothic knightly aesthetic others are rather more straightforward and austere. Generally these are models which will be familiar from years past, recreated in the larger and more imposing style of the Primaris range from the tiny and faintly adorable look of yore. Space marine bikers example have grown from these squashed proportions…

SM Old Bike

… into these brutish outriders. Personally I struggled to like the space marine bikers of yore but these I could get excited about painting!

Bikers

Similarly we have the new assault marines (or Assault Intercessors as they are called in their Primaris incarnation). A quick look at some of my favourite Games Workshop ranges (Khorne, Orks, Goliaths…) should be enough to tell you that charging headlong into close combat is very much the kind of thing I approve of (or as Khârn the Betrayer so wisely said “attack is the only order worth remembering”).

PAM

Back when the primaris were first released I tried my hand at making primaris assault marines of my own, and although I remain happy enough with the results the project never really got off the ground. Still, now might be a good time to resurrect them. As far as I’m aware the rules still don’t allow primaris assault marines with jump packs (although I’m sure that’ll change sooner or later) but rules are for wimps anyway!

Whilst we’re talking about the “primarisising” of the old space marine range it’s worth noting that this makes some people online very angry indeed. That said pretty much anything, no matter how innocuous, is liable to get someone on the internet frothing with rage. Next someone will say that women are people too and the internet really will be “triggered”. Quite why they get so cross is hard to explain, at least in part because they become so incensed that they struggle to articulate the issue themselves. If you happen to have a strong opinion on this matter you’re welcome to share it via the comments box below, even if all you can manage is to bellow with rage and headbutt the keyboard you’ll still make more sense than a lot of the online angry brigade. Plus, as a servant of Khorne myself, I can reassure you that your blood too is welcome.

My own attempts to understand where they’re coming from have been hampered, partly by the anger they’ve been known to direct at me personally (apparently doing what I want with the miniatures I bought with my money is somehow doing the hobby wrong) and partly because I just don’t give a shit. I really would like to address this issue without being catty or making straw men of the pro-short marine crew but despite rolling up my sleeves and daring the dangerous straits of social media to investigate, I’m not really any clearer. Is it just the ropey background when they were first introduced? Do the new primaris somehow invalidate the old marines (surely an issue when any model is replaced – my metal Jain Zar doesn’t really match up to her athletic plastic replacement for example, and I know that’s held me back on painting her)? Is it something obscure to do with the rules (are they broken, overpowered, underpowered, too good on the tournament circuit?)? Frankly I’m buggered if I know – all I can say is that some people get very upset about it. I like them though (the big marines, not people – those I can take or leave). If you can explain to me in simple terms why this makes me a horrible human being then please do, I really would like to understand.

I’m increasingly tempted to make my own space marine chapter into Blood Angel successors, amongst whom lots of assault marines are a natural fit. This got me thinking that, with more and more of the old space marine range converted into primaris variants (and let’s be honest, the days of the little marines are numbered now), there’s a good chance that this edition will see the specialist units of the major chapters also being upgraded. The Psychic Awakening already brought us primaris death company, although an expansion on that – with some cool new miniatures – would be very welcome. In the meantime these would be an excellent base from which to convert one’s own. Primaris sanguinary guard would be equally awesome.

Returning to the contents of the box, the chaplain is an interesting addition to the roster. We already have one Primaris chaplain and so I’d not entirely expected another so soon – although to be fair Games Workshop don’t normally let that kind of thing inhibit them, just look at the number of Primaris Lieutenants that are kicking around these days.

Chaplain

Sure enough another chaplain has come roaring in to join the ranks, looking unbelievably stylish on his motorbike and ready and able to smite heretics and/or promote reading anywhere on the battlefield at a moment’s notice.

Chaplain Biker

Just a man coming back from the shops with his overpriced limited-edition Black Library novel… Not in the Indomitus box by the way.

The old chaplain is, for my money, one of the best models in the primaris range, and stands tall in my mental road map of things I intend to paint. Admittedly he is a little odd in comparison to the wider space marine range, but that only serves to emphasise his otherness as an outsider amongst the ranks, feared – in as much as a space marine can fear – by his battle brothers as a walking icon of their fury. The new one is more traditional, both as a marine and as a chaplain, and whilst being an excellent model in its own right doesn’t quite match the sheer original brilliance of the first one. His partly mechanical face is brilliant, although I might be inclined to use it on a different model and give him a traditional chaplain’s skull helm instead.

Alongside the chaplain we have the Judiciar, which seems to be a new rank amongst the space marines. I must admit I’m still very much on the fence about this guy. Part of me really likes him, there’s no denying he’s a stylish and technically well executed model, but on the other hand there’s something just a bit weird about him. The skull helm combined with the mask looks a bit odd to my eye (although it’s nice to see at least one of these space marines is taking Covid-19 seriously). As a visual it’s a little bit too close to the genestealer cultists, whilst his curved, stylised armour is closer to that worn by the stormcast eternals than to that of his battle brothers. Like his captain he too is enthusiastic about egg-timers – the one he carries being known as the tempormortis – and apparently representing a new item of wargear that can influence time itself (handy for getting those eggs just right).

Judicar

Cool though he is he’s an odd fit amongst the other marines, and based on what I’ve seen of him would have worked better had the design been tweaked a little to turn him into an inquisitor instead, which would have fitted both his unusual armour and fancy archeotech weaponry. Whilst we’re on the subject of marines that just don’t quite look right the Eradicators are the only unit on this side of the box which just don’t appeal to me at all, looking oddly hunched in their gravis armour and appearing to have the squashed down torsos that the old range of space marines were so often criticised for.

Erradicators

There was a time there when it really started to feel as though the space marine range had run out of road in which to manoeuvre. The range was pretty much complete, with plastic kits available for almost every conceivable unit. The Imperium being infamously stagnant and distrustful of new ideas was hardly going to invent new types of space marine – especially when only the Emperor Himself possessed the power, insight and authority to do that and He was stuck on the Golden Throne. On the other hand Games Workshop had no wish to slaughter the goose that laid the golden eggs and so they found themselves between a rock and a hard place – public demand for new space marines was as high as ever (and those shareholders wanted the sales to keep rolling in) but to the fans the background has always been sacrosanct – and that background left them with no room in which to cook up any new marines. Clearly something had to be done – and it was this I’m certain that drove the return of Roboute Guilliman and saw the rebirth of the space marine range more than any other factor. Now they can sell us space marines all over again, and what’s more they have the room to invent new kinds of marine to their hearts’ content.

Now I’ll hold up my hand and admit that so far I’ve not always been terribly keen on the new varieties of marine, as I’ve already discussed above I’ve got little love for Phobos or Gravis armour and flying tanks do nothing for me at all. However the potential is still rather exciting – and makes me wonder what they might decide to do with the space marine concept in years to come. After all if there’s one thing we can be absolutely certain of it’s that space marines aren’t going anywhere (although the short ones probably are).

There’s an argument to be made that the sneaky, lightly armoured scouts of yore have been expanded into the likewise sneaky and lightly armoured Vanguard space marines – the Incursors, Infiltrators, Reivers and Eliminators. Meanwhile the old Tactical Squad has an analogue in the new Intercessors, and the heavy-weapon wielding Devastators have begun to be expanded into the Hellblasters and their new colleagues the Eradicators. Throw the forthcoming Primaris Techmarine into the mix (and as you can probably guess that made my day and no mistake!) and more and more of the old range has found its new niche.  Of course with Guilliman and Cawl at the helm the range is no longer painted into a corner so that, when all the old models do have a new analogue there will still be almost infinite possibilities left for the designers to explore. In this regard the design team has been sensible in introducing really unusual designs like the Inceptors right from the start – and I say that as someone who doesn’t like the look of the Inceptors at all. Last time the Space Marine range started to look “complete” they rustled up the Centurions and the fanbase reacted in horror at the way in which new designs had been introduced (clearly violating the lore and causing the sky to fall on our collective heads). Had the Primaris range simply been an upscaling of the old marines there would inevitably have come a time when the exact same problem would have occurred. The limits of the existing concepts would have been reached, new ideas would be required and we would be back to having either no new space marine models (cue wailing and gnashing of teeth) or – equally bad – models for new kinds of space marines (cue equal levels of wailing and, for that matter, gnashing of teeth). In the meantime the release of the Primaris range would have risked feeling rather formulaic, as each new wave sought only to tick boxes and fill gaps.

Not a Terminator

An Aggressor – pictured busy wishing he was cool enough to be a Terminator…

As it stands the biggest thing missing in the Primaris range today is a lack of new Terminators. I wonder how much Terminators mean to new players who’ve only begun to delve into the 41st Millennium since the release of 8th Edition and the Dark Imperium. Do they carry the emotional weight which they do for us older hands? I doubt it – and why would they? So far the roll of “heavily armoured marines” has been given to the Aggressors, and if I’m honest there’s nothing wrong with them at all. It’s taken me a good chunk of the last three years but I’m slowly growing to like and appreciate them for what they are, rather than just cast vitriol upon them for failing to be Terminators. It’s unfair on them, and it’s unfair on me – especially as these are the kind of models I would have loved if it wasn’t for the fact that I hated them for not being something they aren’t.

Terminator

A Terminator… looking old, bless him.

Still Terminators have a special place in the childhoods of many of us, the ultimate space marines, stamping through the dark depths of a space hulk in search of lurking xenos horrors. Indeed it’s past time for Games Workshop to stop being stubborn and bring back the Space Hulk game – alongside new, bigger and better Terminators (not Aggressors!) and some revamped Genestealers to boot. Come of GW, you know as well as I do that it would be a hit – what’s stopping you?

Space Hulk

Anyway, speaking of the foul xenos it’s time to turn our collective attention away from the Space Marines and take a look at the Necrons half of the box instead. I’ve had a bit of a soft spot for the Necrons for a long time now, roughly as long as I’ve been a hobbyist in fact. Indeed my first proper encounter with 40k came when a friend of mine tried, unsuccessfully, to sell me his Necron army. Despite not breaking out the cash in the end I’ve had one eye on the mechanical xenos ever since, although until now I’ve only ever painted one. Shall we take another look at him? Of course we shall!

Nice for a little nostalgia hit though he is, the new range is an order of magnitude better in pretty much every way. What’s more it’s fast becoming apparent that the Necrons in this box represent the speartip of a wave of new models for the army, something they wholly deserve.

Necron Warriors

For starters the box contains plenty of necron warriors, the shambling mechanical skeletons which make up the majority of the race. These outshine their processors which looked every one of the several million years they’d supposedly spent hibernating. These are much more like it, diverse and packed with personality whilst still looking like very much the overwhelming horde.

Necron Warriors 3

Just as the Eldar are Space Elves and the Orks are… well, Space Orcs (remember when that was what they were called?), so the Necrons have always been essentially Space Undead. Ranks of Space Skeletons march beneath the steely gaze of Space-Lichs and the influence of the Tomb Kings has always been strong. Some readers will know I’m a big fan of the undead so this is by no means a criticism, indeed my favourite piece of art showing this Necrons has been this one which really emphasises them as shambling, corpse-like creatures rather than sleek sci-fi machines. For a long time I dreamed of Necron Warriors which captured this ghastly, cadaverous aesthetic and at last here we have them.

Necron Warrior

Often however this has come at the expense of them seeming particularly alien. They may have evolved millions of years ago on a planet far from – and ecologically different too – Earth but they still like to hang out in pyramids and chose humanoid skeletons as the wardrobe in which to spend eternity. Now although I enjoy sci-fi in which the aliens are realistically alien, I also very much enjoy the Star Trek style universes where all the aliens are just humans with lumpy faces (I’ve been discovering Next Generation during lockdown – and very glad I am that I have too!). Nonetheless it’s hard to see the Necrons as supremely and utterly alien when they go around looking exactly like you or me if we forgot to put on our meat and skin before we left the house in the morning. Surely having transcended one’s biological limitations and achieved immortality and god-like technological prowess one would choose to become something a bit more imposing than an articulated skeleton? That’s fine for your ranks of slaves but for the masters of the empire let’s think big here!

With this release we see the more alien elements that have been entering the Necron range in recent times taken up a further notch. Whilst characters like the Overlord and Royal Warden are still very much humanoid…

Royal Warden

… the wizardly Plasmancer takes off in a new direction, with a model that recalls both the ghostly side of the undead – taking many cues from the Nighthaunt – and the spidery, insectile side of the Necrons that has previously been seen more in their technology – for example the Canoptek Wraiths and Spiders. He also has the finest metal beard since the Kharadron Overlords.

Plasmancer

His bodyguards, the Cryptothralls, are similarly unlike anything we’ve seen from the range previously, and oddly adorable to boot.

Cryptothralls

The strangeness doesn’t stop there either. The Necrons are the ultimate high-tech race of the 41st Millennium – the Adeptus Mechanicus, humanity’s finest minds on this front, would gladly turn their granny into a servitor for a fraction of the knowledge they hold (if they hadn’t already that is – and what finer way for the old girl to continue to serve the will of the Omnissiah). It’s only fitting then that we see some of their machines as well, the diminutive plasmacyte (with his even smaller scarab pal)…

Plasma Guy

… and the mighty Canoptek Reanimator.

Canoptek Reanimator

Again these push into territory quite unlike anything we’ve seen in the 41st Millennium previous, yet the results play on elements that are already familiar from the Necron range (the bladed limbs, the back carapace reminiscent of the destroyers, the flat faces with large lamp “eyes” and other insectile facets).

Taken together these expand the Necrons into something which feels really unique, pushing them out of the tech-undead niche in which they’d sat previously. On the other hand this isn’t a reboot or a re-invention, the mechanical baby hasn’t been thrown out with the million-year-old bathwater. These, and the other new Necron models that are soon to be released, sit very comfortably alongside the existing range and I’d imagine Necron fans are feeling very happy about things indeed.

The one thing I don’t particularly like on this side of the box is the Skorpekh Lord. He’s rather busy, with all the various weapons he’s waving around, and as a result the model seems unfocussed and cluttered, whilst his pose isn’t particularly threatening. Both his gun (an enmitic annihilator for those who like unpronounceable names) and his blade (a hyperphase harvester) are held up to the side rather than ready to attack, whilst the talon is held out – presumably to threaten his adversaries and not simply to pat a large invisible dog. He reminds me somewhat of the early conversions people create (I know I was guilty of this when I started out) that awkwardly clutch every possible piece of wargear on their profile and end up looking less like they’re heading into battle and more like they’ve gone to the gun supermarket, and are regretting not taking a trolly.

There are good things about the model mind you – not least of which is the sense of weight it’s been given as its claws sink into the ground, and even straight through a slab of rockcrete. Hope it manages to pull that claw back out and doesn’t end up clumping around with it stuck to its foot for the rest of the day…

Skorpekh Lord

As previously mentioned this isn’t everything that’s coming for the Necrons, not by a long way. All kinds of weird and wonderful things have been announced by Games Workshop, including mighty new warmachines, he truly outstanding Shard of the Void Dragon, and the Silent King of the Necron empire himself. As a precursor to this release we saw the arrival a few weeks ago of Illuminor Szeras, the megalomaniacal genius who oversaw the process by which the ancient race of the Necrontyr became the mechanical Necrons we know today. In many ways this model represents a very clever coded meta-narrative in which the large figure of Szeras represents Games Workshop, the broken man frantically crawling away is me trying desperately to resist starting a Necron army, the tiny scarab is the part of me that remembers how many other half-finished projects are already waiting for my attention and the stream of blood is the money being skilfully extracted from my wallet.

Illuminor Szeras

So, will I be buying a copy of the Indomitus box? Well, by the time you read this I guess I’ll know. Unlike previous editions of 40k, WHFB and AoS (and indeed the “specialist games” like Necromunda and Blood Bowl) this isn’t a starter set per se, which will remain in circulation throughout the lifespan of the edition thus giving people plenty of time to decide whether or not they want to buy a copy. Instead this is a limited run “launch set” which means it’s very likely to sell out within hours, perhaps even minutes, of being released. Quite how many of these miniatures will become available again is something Games Workshop is keeping very close to its chest. Likewise the price remains (at the time of writing – less than a week before launch) a closely guarded secret, making it hard for people to budget accordingly. Will I still be willing to pay the price when I know what it is? I’m going to have to make my mind up pretty quickly!

Games Workshop have been keen to assure everyone that they’ve made plenty of boxes, whilst at the same time urging us to mark our calendars so that we’re standing ready to hit “buy” the moment it goes on sale. They’ve also limited the number of copies available in any individual sale to 3, which is a good move when it comes to battling the scalpers, whilst still allowing those who wish to grab themselves a bigger army at a bargain price. Originally they planned to limited sales to 6 copies, which didn’t go nearly far enough I felt – and clearly GW felt likewise. Who the hell needs 6 copies, especially when they’re probably going to end up squirrelled away under the bed anyway... I do understand that some people buy multiple copies of these thing and, if you can afford the initial outlay, it can be a good way to save some cash in the long term by getting all the models at a knock-down price. Six copies though – surely that’s just greed, especially when it’s widely believed (and seems highly likely) that if you’re not quick off the mark then you’re going to miss out? Of course now a number of hobbyists that I respect will pop up in the comments section to say “I’ve bought myself 10!” and I’ll have to eat some humble pie…

I tend to write these posts over a number of days in the run-up to a release so although by the time you read this I will, or won’t, have bought my copy (sitting card in hand as the clock ticks down to 10am UK time and thinking how handy it would be to have a tempormortis to hand when the inevitable rush to buy-buy-buy begins…) at the moment I remain undecided. Certainly the set looks good, and – assuming the price is as its likely to be – a bargain for the models it contains. I’ve been feeling the temptation to get back to my space marines lately and if I was to dip a toe into the world of the Necrons – something I’ve been thinking about for at least fifteen years – then what better way to do it.

(Edit: it probably goes without saying given how fast it sold out but I didn’t manage to nab one. I’ll leave discussion of how badly GW seems to have screwed this up for another time, or at least until the outrage currently running through the sense has settled down a little and we find out what, if anything, GW might decided to do about what currently looks like something of a public relations own-goal. For myself I was pissed off for about ten minutes and then I remembered all the other things I could be painting and got over it).

Of course I still have that pile of unfinished projects lurking on, under and around the painting desk waiting for attention, and then there’s this snippet from the new rulebook which has been doing the rounds online and getting Chaos fans very excited indeed…

Red Angel

Say it with me slaughterbrothers! The Red Angel comes! Kill! Maim! Burn! Kill! Maim! Burn! Kill! Maim! Burn!


38 responses to “Indomitus

  • Circus of Paint

    A fun read, and to echo what you said – screw the haters!
    Regarding the tease at the end – guess that’s talking about Angron?

    • Wudugast

      Thank you! 🙂 Yeah, there are so many real problems in the world, so many things happening that I can completely sympathise with people getting angry about (I get pretty angry about some of them myself!) – why get so cross just because someone likes a different size of space marine?

      Yes, the tease at the end refers to Angron – he’s often titled as the Red Angel (poor old Sanguinius missed out on the cool title there!). I try not to get over-excited about things until I actually know what’s coming (and preferably not until it’s actually in my hand) but it makes sense that the World Eaters would get a codex at some point so my fingers are tightly crossed!

  • Steve

    The chaplain biker is a very cool model, as are the melta squad Primaris. As for the existing models, I think the Intercessors are pretty slick. Not to sound like a “hater” but the rest of the Primaris line doesn’t do anything for me. Some of the units are pretty cringeworthy in design (Suppressors, Dread). Less said about the buggy, the better.

    But hey, folk like it and that’s all cool. Like I said, I do think some of the new marines are pretty badass.

    • Wudugast

      Yup, it’s been a very mixed bag so far. For me the majority of the decent models in the Primaris line were in this boxset, which makes it’s very brief availability even more annoying. I keep thinking about the atv/buggy and it suddenly clicked why it’s familiar – it’s basically the old ork buggy. Those beakies have looted us! That said I’m suddenly a lot more interested in it, I couldn’t be arsed with it for the space marines but looting it straight back for the orks is a very tempting proposition.

      I’m very interested in the biker chaplain, depends how pricy he is though (I’ve got a feeling he might be rather painful on the wallet). I’m also liking the look of the tech-marine, so long as he’s within the bounds of affordability I’ll definitely nab myself one of them.

      • Steve

        I think the highlight is the ancient, he looks like a well designed model. The biker chaplain I’m assuming will be somewhere between £18-£25 maybe? Painful on the wallet indeed though, I would like to have that kit for parts (especially the book on the top).

        Haha that buggy is an Ork buggy, isn’t it? It’s just such a low rider for the space marines, it doesn’t fit the esthetic as well as they think it does. Saying that though, the Primaris vehicles seem to be quite dumpy and graceless, like the Duplo to the older marines’ Lego in a way haha. As you say, a mixed bag for now. I’m sure the line will be refined in the coming years.

      • Wudugast

        Yeah, I do like that ancient (I’m a sucker for a space marine with a banner in general – it plays into the pseudo-medieval look of them which I just love).

        I’d guess you’re right on the price of the biker chaplain, probably at the higher end of the spectrum. The current primaris characters (librarian, chaplain, apothecary) are all £22.50 (bit on the steep side for a single model I reckon) so I’d assume the tech-marine would be the same and the biker chaplain a bit more unfortunately. I’ll wait and see how rich I’m feeling, it is a cool model dammit! Maybe I’ll get the ork buggy and kick those marines out of it instead though…

      • Steve

        Agreed, I like a decent banner or icon in the mix as well. The Primaris one looks well-detailed and pretty dark, might try and track one down.

        The price of the HQ models has been a bit of a sticking point for myself as well. £22.50 is steep, no matter what level of detail a model has. I used to think the bigger HQ units could get away with that at a push (Ghazghkull, Abaddon), due to their physical size. Still might get that chaplain and pimp that bike for my Chaos lads haha

  • Pete S/ SP

    Great post- talked a lot of sense too about the fanbois….

    Cheers,

    Pete.

  • theimperfectmodeller

    I took two things from this great post. Firstly, with all this stuff coming you are not going to be bored or rich any time soon. Secondly, the haters. I realised a long time ago that the problem rational people have is trying to make sense of irrational people. I found the best thing was to either ignore them or if I felt compelled to reply then a simple “Fuck off you moron” did wonders for me even if the statement was lost on them. 😊

    • Wudugast

      Never bored or rich – that could be my obituary! The second part got a proper, out-loud laugh from me (and from my partner when I read it out to her) – I couldn’t agree more although I can see why neither you nor I can hope for a career in international diplomacy 🙂

  • imperialrebelork

    I bought an invictor tactical suit a few weeks back and can’t wait to get it built. I’ll be adding it to my recent Head Hunters Warband with added chains and fabric. The Necromunda idea is cool though man. I’m seeing Hazard stripes over yellow or red. I’m also seeing it as the same mechanical suit Sigourney Weaver used in Aliens. Nice write up man. I’ve fallen in love with all the necromunda kits and I’ve already bought the Illuminor but I won’t start the Necron army until next year I reckon.

    • Wudugast

      Nice – I’ll keep an eye out for what you do with the invictor, and then steal the best ideas for my own one! 😀

      Yeah, the new Necrons are pretty gorgeous – I almost bought the Illuminor but I held off to see if I could snag Indomitus. Now I’ll wait and see what else they come out with before I decide. Even if I don’t start an army of them though I’m sorely tempted to nab the Illuminor just to paint. I think it’s safe to assume we’ll see most (and probably all) of the Indomitus units get new kits at some point, even if it’s not the exact same models. We’ve already seen the old Necron warrior models removed from sale on the website so I reckon at the very least we can expect a new kit for them. As you say, waiting and starting a Necron collection later seems like the wise move at the moment, there’s no rush and I’ve got plenty to paint in the meantime. Everything will become clear soon enough 🙂

      • imperialrebelork

        Steal away my friend. I noticed the warriors were gone, I never much liked them anyway. It’ll be interesting to see what they offer up as a replacement.

      • Wudugast

        Probably something very similar, or even exactly the same, as the warriors in Indomitus I reckon. Aye, those old warriors were past their prime, good source of prosthetic limbs for conversions but not great in and of themselves.

  • backtothehammer

    I think they are just upset that their squat marines will end up redundant. I kind of get it, though I feel they have it easy as at least their game and world still exists (though that ended up liberating). I like the new marines in general (not the suppressors or the ATV though!). Not so much a fan of the new tanks but I think it’s mainly an aesthetic thing, I like tracked vehicles, it’s why I’m pleased the new bikes are wheeled.
    The GW launch though was a fecking travesty. Having the basket crash repeatedly on so many people is terrible, especially after the same thing happened for the sisters. It smacks that they didn’t have enough vtids and hadn’t boosted the concurrent payment instances for them. In hindsight, even limiting purchases to 3 seems to many, I know they cut that down to 1 in other countries, though most still sold out in 15 minutes or less.

    • Wudugast

      Aye, I think you may be spot on there, nobody likes seeing a beloved range of models done away with – although at least they’ve had plenty of warning. It’s been three years and still no sign of the short-marines going so if there’s anything they’re desperate to buy there really has been plenty of opportunities (unlike with WHFB, or when the Rackham range went). In some ways I think the fear of it is worse than the reality will be, when those models eventually do go off sale (which will happen someday – one way or another) it won’t be any better or worse than when any other model becomes no longer available.

      Funnily enough I didn’t appreciate WHFB half as much as I should until it was gone. Who knows – perhaps the same thing will happen with short marines and I’ll suddenly realise how wonderful they were and how deeply I miss them as soon as I can’t buy them anymore! And despite the fact that GW ended that particular world it turned out not to be the end of the world (boom boom) – I’ve painted an entire Skaven army since then, I’m gearing up to work on my Dwarf army and I know people who still play. WHFB has gone to live on the outskirts of the GW range where Necromunda and Blood Bowl survived very happily for many years and Inq28 still does. In some ways I’m still hacked off that they blew it up but I’ve come to realise that, from my point of view at least, it wasn’t the disaster I feared at first. I’d be interested to get your thoughts though – especially as you say it ended up liberating. (And of course I’m very curious to see how it looks when they bring the Old World back).

      I’m not keen on the suppressors at all, and I actually own some (got them in the Shadowspear box). God only knows what I’ll do with them in the end. Like you I prefer my Imperial vehicles to have tracks or wheels, leave flying through the air to the Eldar!

      Yup, that’s exactly what happened to me when I tried to buy a box. Tried to get it through Element as well, and their website was no better (and they were charging full whack for it, rather than their usual discount – which I thought was a bit cheeky). Usually I’d be cool with people getting more than one copy (if they want to get a second one for a mate who can’t buy their own until payday or something) but in this case, knowing how high demand was likely to be, and given the production restrictions they presumably have at their factory thanks to C-19, going for one copy per person wouldn’t have seemed unreasonable.

      • backtothehammer

        You nailed it relating whfb to Bloodbowl etc. The community has continued with people now playing their preferred edition of the game. In some ways it’s splintered the community further but everyone knows that with their preferred version it won’t change or you can house rule to your hearts content and most of the remaining players are there for the love, waac players have moved on. 3rd party providers have stepped up to fill gaps in some of the ranges and I’m happy to buy from them (whereas I used to be a total gw purist). On top of this, the last year has seen an increasing number of new players joining or old players coming back to the hobby. Some of this is down to total war, some down to the old world announcement. Some may also be down to the changes Mantic did with 3rd ed KOW. I know I wasn’t the biggest fan of some of the army changes.
        I was lucky with the Indomitus box, our club have an arrangement with the local shop so we were able to arrange our order in advance. Ofc we still have to get them but we’re hopeful, which more than a lot of people.

  • Bjorn Stormborn

    As they say in Skavenblight: “All tunnels lead to Skavenblight”.

    I wish I could offer some insightful commentary or something to add to the conversation, but I can’t.

    I tried to accept the Primaris with two projects which only contained Primaris marines. I wanted to like them and customise them to at least have elements of the old and new. I thought that would help me appreciate the new age of Space marines. But whenever I look at my collection of Astral Bears and Crimson Fists I feel empty, like part of me sees loss that I can’t describe. Is it just me growing older, the design of the marines being too modern or just hobby fatigue?

    I know what would instantly get me to love Primaris marines, MKIII scales Primaris. Like full scaled Iron armour that I wouldn’t need to source parts to kitbash, just a kit sculpted.

    Am I technically a hater for posting this comment? I hope not as I’m not trying to come out as a zealous hater of the new. I’m just sad that I feel less enthusiastic about the Primaris range.

    As always your posts are insightful and enjoyable to read. 🙂

    • Wudugast

      Thank you! That’s honestly the sort of common sense answer I was looking for 🙂 Not liking something is fine by me, we all have personal tastes in these things, it’s not liking me just because I like something different that I find hard to get my head around (and clearly that’s not the case here!)

      I know exactly what you mean about looking at a collection that you’ve built up over a long time, poured a lot of love and effort (and money!) into, and now feeling like it’s been made redundant or somehow lacks value. I’ve had a similar thing with my Chaos marines, I started to run out of enthusiasm for them every time the loyalists got a new release that just looked so damn good compared to our ropy old models, and then when we finally did get a whole wave of (really nice) new models a part of me was really excited and another part of me just couldn’t face starting all over again.

      Old armour marks in primaris scale would be amazing! I’ve been dreaming of primaris-scale Iron Armour since I first saw them so you’re not alone there. Mk X armour is nice enough but I would give a hell of a lot for upscaled Mk III and upscaled Tactical Dreadnaught armour. In my mind’s eye space marines wear armour that’s been kitbashed and repaired over thousands of years, each suit personalised and passed down from one wearer to the next, until it becomes a minor chapter relic in its own right. The more options and styles of primaris-scale armour they give us the more we’ll be able to do that.

      Anyway, never fear – your comment was very helpful and insightful. At the end of the day a well-loved army will always be cool and for my money will always beat the latest, newest thing hands down.

  • Alex

    Great write up as always mate – the Primaris are a funny old thing… I have no skin in the game at all, but if I did, I would be miffed about them. I don’t like mixed scales in an army – it sucks visually, and the fluff is a clumsy shoe-horn at best.

    I suspect if I had a Marine army (curated over many years, storied and lovingly painted) and if I have a shit about playing 40k competitively, I would see my mini-marines as obsolete in Primaris-land… Luckily, I don’t tick any of those boxes, so I’m free to enjoy the Primaris for what they are! Sure, there are some dodgy aesthetics across the range, but they are pretty solid overall. Those assault dudes & shield geezers are deffo the pick of the bunch 😉

    • Wudugast

      Cheers mate (and excuse how long it’s taken me to write a reply). I see where you’re coming from with the Primaris, it’s a slightly different thing but I do have a lovingly curated collection of marines – albeit of a rather more spikey and evil variety – and I absolutely agree that seeing them looking so old, worn-out and obsolete next to the new Chaos marine models is really disheartening. They’re miniatures that I poured a lot of love into so although the new ones are amazing it still sucks to see so much of my collection superseded – and I do appreciate why that would make someone pissed off (even though I reckon there are far more important things to be hacked off about!).

      I’m with you on the mixed-scaled issue as well, it just looks off from a visual perspective – which I think is why I never liked the old little marines to begin with. It was hard to imagine them conquering the galaxy at the Emperor’s side, or holding back the tide of enemies seeking to tear the Imperium down, when they were so damn tiny! But yeah, we’re the lucky ones – no firm attachments to the old marines and (if we want to) free to enjoy the new ones to our hearts’ content! 😀

      • Alex

        I make an exception for my teeny weeny Rogue Trader Marines, but only because they only ever fight my equally titchy RT Orks 🤣

  • [redacted by the Inquisition]

    Very insightful discussion of the whole Primaris issue.

    For me, the thing mostly is that the Primaris are a blatant cash grab who have been injected into the setting without much care.

    Their roll out could have been more open about what is happening here, but instead the fanbase is constantly pondering about the squatting of the old marines. We see that it is coming, but come on GW be open about it!

    Rules-wise, the primaris marines are also horrendous. They have far too clearly superior gear compared to every one else in the game, which is honestly not fun. They get better basically everything, and their points costs do not show it well. I even suspect that regular bolters were a bit nerfed in the 7th ed -> 8ed transition to boost the numarines, but in turn it severely hurt not just old marines, but chaos and Sisters as well.

    Primaris rules are there to not be fun or balanced, but to force us to buy new plastic crack. For example, all primaris marines cannot interact at all with old marine vehicles. Despite drop pod assault from the orbit being a a staple of space marines in majority of scifi universes, primaris marines cannot use drop pods (also this gives an interesting lore viewpoint: are the chapters then continuing the use of tactical marines for the costlier meat-grinders of orbital assaults?)
    Also Primaris display an alarming lack of options. With old marines you had equipment lists and could build all kinds of fun combinations to make the miniatures more unique: now primaris marines have rules _only_ for what the sprues contain. An Primaris Captain, for example, cannot have a thunder hammer even now, because there isn’t a model for it? Jump Pack characters? Nope! Reducing the options for modelers is a horrible crime against the hobby, and it feels like it was mostly done to increase profits.

    Lorewise, their introduction was rushed. Without almost any kind of foreshadowing, Primaris Marines were a sudden and major change of the setting. This kind of Old Marines vs New Marines kinda could have been interesting (compare the fate of the Thunder Warriors) but not much came out of this because the new things were forced to be cool and in the spotlight and all the actually interesting stuff was basically forgotten to few novels. Where is Badab War II aka internal marine schism? Has there been any major conflict with the primaris issue at all in the setting called WARhammer? Even the upgrading of old marines to primaris came out due the need to update Calgar and not because the fanbase had demanded an answer to the conundrum from start.

    Introducing new marines, hope and innovation in this way they did fights against the very cornerstones of our Grimdark Universe. What could have been an interesting evolution of the setting became a bland mess where the market is king, not the IP GW tries so vigorously defend but itself then alters suddenly.

    Because all this butchery of a setting I have much loved for over two decades was so clearly due money, GW has earned my eternal hatred. I have not bought a single Primaris marine, yet I do not take offence of others using them. After all, this is just an amazing hobby for us all. We cannot let a foolish profit-focused company hinder our fun too much.

    • Wudugast

      Thank you – that’s a very comprehensive and thoughtful answer (which my tired, overworked brain will now attempt to write a sensible response to!)

      Regarding the roll-out, and the way in which GW have failed to be open about it; I completely agree there, although I think that’s a wider issue than just the Primaris. They’re less secretive than they were a few years ago but the company still models their communication strategy too closely on the Dark Angels I feel. A lot of their releases are both expensive and only available for a limited time period (look no further than Indomitus for an example) – if we know what’s coming in advance we can budget accordingly. Far too much of their sale’s strategy is based around rushing people into buying something now-now-now, quick before it’s gone, don’t just stand there you’ll miss out! I’m sure the question mark over the future of the small-marines is intended to make people who want them buy them now, (don’t wait because when they’re gone they might not come back!). A bit more honesty from them would be nice to see – we’re all adults with other things we need to buy and other commitments to deal with after all, and spending money is something that needs to be factored into the budget – sometimes they act as if parting me from my cash is just a nice surprise for both of us 😉

      On the rules side of things – that’s where I don’t know very much at all so thank you, that helps to clear that up. I know it’s going to be tricky to keep the rules balanced in a game as big and complex as 40k but that sounds from what you’re saying like the rules team being forced to accommodate a sales decision (“make them awesome so people want to play them but don’t make the points cost too high so that they need to buy lots of them for an army”!)

      “For example, all primaris marines cannot interact at all with old marine vehicles. ” – I wasn’t aware of them (I’m really not a rules guy at all, I try to keep up but I’ve played so rarely – and so casually – over the years, whole editions go by without me rolling any dice so I do tend to miss things). Again, I think you’re right – that sounds like a sales decision, no reason I can see why Primaris couldn’t use old marine’s vehicles. The scale would be off a little but the old marines were out of scale with the rest the range for years and we all put up with it. Plus drop-pods are awesome, I’ve always fancied an army in which as many as possible of the models deployed by drop-pod. Dunno if it would be any good in the game but it would look awesome! I really must pick one up at some point, they’re cool just as objectives or thematic deployment points.

      Lack of options for characters; I couldn’t agree more. Again this is a problem throughout the GW stable (only good old Necromunda has kept to the old ways!). Converting and kitbashing was a staple of the hobby for me when I started – they shouldn’t be discouraging it. Of course some people will look to exploit this to make the most over-powered, game winning unit but fair play to them, they’ll do that with whatever GW releases, that’s their hobby – let them have at it! They also say it’s to make things less confusing for newcomers to the hobby but I’m not convinced by that – I managed to get into the hobby when kitbashing was commonplace, presumably you did too – and hundreds of thousands of others did likewise.

      Agreed, there could have been so much more done on the lore front. All the suggestions you’re making would have been interesting, there’s a lot they could do on this front. They must have had this planned for a long time so a bit more build up and foreshadowing would have been great, and all the potential points of conflict hinted at seem to have been smoothed down without much in the way of internal bloodshed or feuding. The Flesh Tearers for one were hell-bent on never accepting Primaris marines at the beginning, but soon enough they accepted them the same as everyone else – and it was never really explained why. I guess I’ve taken a similar stance in the end, I hated them but grew too accept them too – I guess old Gabriel Seth and I have even more in common than we thought!

      “Introducing new marines, hope and innovation in this way they did fights against the very cornerstones of our Grimdark Universe. ” Again this was very much my feeling to begin with. I remember when Guilliman first returned I wrote a long piece, which I ultimately didn’t publish (it was too personal, and shared things about myself and several other people that ultimately I didn’t want to regurgitate online, and it was desperately self-indulgent) – decrying the new direction GW was taking. I’ve still not entirely come to terms with the new background, books like Spear of the Emperor have helped a lot, and Guilliman has grown on me a great deal, but I’m still not fully on board. (Honestly I could rant about this for hours, only the fact that I need to rush off to work is stopping me!)

      For me the Primaris marines (the original ones, and these newest – not the Phobos armour – less said about that the better) looked exactly the way I’d always imagined Space Marines to look. I never liked the way the little marines looked so it felt like the new background was the price to pay for that. It always felt like GW simply wouldn’t turn around and say “Look, we screwed up big time, we made space marines that were tiny and rather than doing anything about it we doubled down and kept making them small for decades”. I must confess though, I’ve spend a big chunk of the past three years pretending that the Primaris marines are just ordinary space marines that look the way I’ve always imagined them to, and that the return of Guilliman never happened. Ultimately I love the models but the background, the rollout, the way it’s been handled by GW (and the rules now you’ve explained it to me!) I’m a lot less happy about.

      ” I do not take offence of others using them ” – thank you, that’s all I’m really asking for!

      ” We cannot let a foolish profit-focused company hinder our fun too much. ” – wise words indeed, and a motto for all hobbyists to live by! 😀

  • mcmattila

    Great write-up and discussion. I have pretty much the same feelings about the primaris as you Wudu, the intercessor armor is cool, the phobos less so. Apart from the new bikes, I don’t really care about the vehicles. And to me, the old mini-marines still look very good, as long as you don’t put them side-by-side with the primaris (or anyone else, if you’re considering the lore). My own current Revelators army project won’t have any primaris in it, but I might do some in different company colors for example, or a different chapter.

    The mini-marines are also a great source of conversion bits for the primaris. As I’m pretty much only interested in the modeling and painting side of things, I can stick mk7 backpacks and helmets on primaris bodies, and arm them with bolters. Much better looking than the new rifles in my eye! Rules-wise, I guess they could be used as either in a game.

    So, did you end up buying the Indomitus box from made to order? I missed the pre-order as well (surprise, surprise), but bought it on Monday. Leaning towards Black Templars on the marines..

    • Wudugast

      Thank you!
      It’s not something I went into here (the word count kept creeping up and I was rambling off topic enough as it was 😉 )but much as I don’t really like the mini-marines there are two key disclaimers to add; firstly that a well painted miniature always looks awesome, no matter what – they may not be my first choice of models to paint personally but I could still admire a cool looking collection of marines all day. Secondly, you’re point “old mini-marines still look very good, as long as you don’t put them side-by-side with the primaris (or anyone else , if you’re considering the lore)” – I do really like the look of Horus Heresy armies, and mini-marines are perfect for that. It being almost exclusively marines vs marines the scale issues aren’t so apparent, and in fact the slightly smaller scale works really well for those huge armies. Still tempted to collect a Legion some day and if I did mini-marines would obviously be the way to go.

      “stick mk7 backpacks and helmets on primaris bodies, and arm them with bolters” – I’ve seen that done and it looks amazing! In fact it may have been your blog I saw it on, I’ll have to go and have a look in a minute and remind myself.

      Absolutely in agreement on the joy of using old-marine bits to personalise the primaris – one of the best things they did with the new range was make the shoulderpads and heads the same size.

      I did indeed get one through made to order – such a good move on GW’s part 🙂 I’ll be painting the marines for my Angels Mortis, they’d look brilliant as Black Templars though (one of my favourite chapters – the painting John Blanche did of them for the cover of 3rd edition remains my one of my key mental images of what space marines look like). Looking forward to seeing what you do with them when your box arrives!

      • mcmattila

        I’m afraid it wasn’t my blog, as I haven’t done any primaris (yet!). I did combine mk3 and mk7 bits for my Devastators though!
        I’ve seen at least a couple of mk7/primaris project logs on Dakka: Truescale Space Sharks and Solar Lions spring to mind. There’s also really cool scout concepts in there!
        And yes, Blanche’s 3rd edition cover is one of my favorite 40k artworks as well, and one that I’m hoping to emulate in some humble way. I just got to figure out how to paint black armor first 😀 At least I’ve got a lot of minis to practice on when I eventually get Indomitus..

      • Wudugast

        Nice finds, those are great! I’m even more inspired to get back to my space marines now!

  • heresyofus

    Fantastic read as always mate. I went halves with a mate and will be the proud owner of the Necrons. It’s been a long time since I painted anything that’s not Imperial or Chaos and seeing the new Necrons changed that. I’m keen to create a very Flayed One themed army out of them because the Flayed Ones are the best thing about Necrons and I’m hoping they get new models eventually as well.

    • Wudugast

      Cheers! I was wondering if you’d be after the space marines for your Flesh Eaters. Interested to see what you do with the Necrons though, I reckon they’ll work nicely in your style. I’ll be painting up both halves, the space marines will be rolled into my own chapter and I’ll dip my toe into the world of Necrons at last.

      Agreed, flayed ones are awesome, it would be really good to see new models for them. At the moment they seem a little tacked on to the rest of the range, cool but out of place, it’d be good to see them get a new kit (or preferably more than that) that helped give them their place at the centre of the range a bit more. I like the idea of a C’tan shard leading an army of flayed ones and feral Canoptek engines from a fallen tomb world.

  • Kuribo

    This was a fascinating read for someone who does not follow 40k too closely. I would agree that GW was really smart in how they redesigned a lot of these minis and added a bit more of a grimdark feeling to the marines. As an outsider, GW tinkers with the space marines a fair amount and I know they sell well but the Ultramarines kind of all look the same and are unexciting but these new models really change that. A bit of a heretical view to put down the Emperor’s finest, but that’s just my feeling. Its funny to me that people are so upset/worked up about the switch to Primaris. I shouldn’t be surprised about that but I think it is mostly an improvement as the proportions and scale of the marines are much more realistic now. There are parts of the newer armor sets that are just better to paint and look cooler too. I think most people will come around to the changes eventually. Most importantly, there are a lot of sculpts in this box set that are tempting to buy and I may end up painting some of them which is a compliment considering my very casual interest in 40k! Thanks for writing this up and sharing your thoughts!

    • Wudugast

      Thank you! I’m very much in agreement on the aesthetic of the loyalist marines, for a long time they felt very samey, and it was only in the later years of the small-marines that they really started to develop character (in my view). That’s the thing with marines though, if you don’t like today’s release there’ll be another one along in a minute 😉 It’s easy for people like me who are much more interested in other ranges to get a bit jealous of the attention that GW lavishes on the marines but honestly I struggle to keep up with all the things I want to add to my other collections as it is, I don’t think I’d be able to cope if the Orks or Chaos got new models as often as the marines do (and my bank account would probably have conniptions)! Until the primaris range I didn’t really get what the fuss was about with marines but these I like a lot more so I started a little marines collection of my own and I’ll be adding these to that.

      • Kuribo

        That is a good point on the cost as a consumer! I assume that marines sell well and GW knows if they keep pumping them out, people will buy them so that is why there is a steady flow of new sculpts released of them but its interesting for me as more of an outsider to hear from people who know 40k much better than I do 🙂

      • Wudugast

        As far as I’m aware marines sell like hotcakes. About a decade ago there was a rumour (dunno how well substantiated but widely believed in the industry at the time for what that’s worth) that 1 in every 4 miniatures sold, across all companies not just GW, was a space marine. Even if it’s not quite that high those of us who’re not such marine fans have to cut them a bit of slack I reckon, they’re probably subsiding the other factions/games that GW produce (and GW themselves are popularising the concept of tabletop wargaming, bringing people into the hobby who then go on to support other companies). Plus, every time they do a big release of space marines or stormcast eternals my wallet gets to have a few weeks off which is always nice 😉

      • Kuribo

        1 in 4 really is a jaw dropping stat but I can believe it at the same time. GW knows what they’re doing and is very profitable and I’m sure shilling those loyalists is a big part of it 🙂 I’m glad you mentioned Stormcast as they are clearly the fantasy equivalent of space marines which makes me roll my eyes a bit but oh well. Someone out there is really enjoying them I am sure 🙂

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