The path to damnation moves on a pace with a review of the all new Raptors/Warp Talons box. There’s been a lot of excitement surrounding this kit, and rightly so, as it’s the first ever plastic Raptor kit finally making the unit financially viable. It’s also the first Raptor unit that doesn’t look shit.
Once again, as with all the other new Chaos models, you get two sprues for your £20.50 retail but credit where credit’s due; the Games Workshop did a remarkable job of cramming a lot of components on to those two sprues.
Aside from their being components up the arse they’re sensibly placed so cutting them out is easy and avoids hacking lumps out of them by accident. This is a good thing. The other good thing is that, for a change, all the spare parts from the kit, regardless of which option you choose to build, are genuinely useful. Except the spare feet you get. They’re not useful at all. The chainswords are awesome looking and would work on an Aspiring Champion or even in a unit of Bezerkers and you even get a couple of special weapons including a plasmagun that rather appears to be eating itself. Which is nice.
By far my favourite part is the jump packs. Aside from being intelligently designed so join lines are minimal, they are reminiscent of the original jump packs from Rogue Trader days which have been co-opted into the Horus Heresy lore. On top of this the thrusters actually look the part and have integrated directional fins so overall they actually look like they could propel its wearer.
I opted to build the Warp Talons because they tie in with my Dark Knights and as I clipped out all the various bits and pieces I was really impressed by not only the level of detail but the quality of the casting. There were few, if any, mould lines so cleaning was very quick. Overall all the parts are awesome. The leg poses are dynamic which gives a fantastic sense of movement and the torsos strike the right balance between uniformity and individuality. Variations in the paint job will go far in helping to make the bodies, at least, look different at first glance if you take a unit of 10.
However, the lightning claws are a bit of a mixed bag. They come in paired sets. Three of them are cool. Two of them are not (although one is arguably borderline). And because you only get five that’s going to lead to disappointment as well as severely limit variation. It’s something Games Workshop have always struggled with. You just need to look at the Space Wolves Grey Hunter box to know what I’m talking about. They’ve never managed to capture the sense of movement for claws that are supposed to be ‘attacking’ without them looking clumsy and the two attacking/punching sets that come with the box are no exception and it boils down to careful positioning on the model and the right set of legs to get the best out of them.
Sadly the same is true of the Warp Talon helmets. The majority are look ace but one looks like it belongs in an episode of Samurai Jack and the other looks like a Palaeotherium’s head from Ice Age. If you don’t know what one of them is I have kindly provided you with an illustration…
It’s either that or a creepy jester type cowl. Regardless, it’s pap and no it’s not the paint job, it’s just a poor sculpt. Happily the box comes with 10 heads in all so you can actually mix things up a bit but the big problem is that because they’re so individual looking repetition is disappointing and that’s the issue with Chaos Marines over their loyalist brothers. Space Marines are supposed to look the same, with slight variations but unity is the key. In a unit like Warp Talons, or even Raptors, because of the superb detail the similarities actually count against them.
So there’s quite a few negatives and there’s little point in me pretending they aren’t there. There are disappointments the main one being the lack of variety the individuality of each component, or pair of component, causes. However, what the Games Workshop get right, they really get right. The shoulder pads are inspired. The mutations showing the synthetic muscle fibres beneath the ceramite. The subtle mutations in the armour allow for convincing units whichever way you build them. Making the feet multipart is another brilliant idea as it clearly separates the two units and emphasises the differences between them clarifying how far down the path of heresy they have taken.
The fins on the side of the jump packs intended for the Warp Talons I really wasn’t sure about. In the photos they look kinda daft and spoil the feel of dynamism but having built them for myself I can see them properly and at the angle they actually sit. It’s a simple touch but further highlights the cyber-organic nature of specialist/veteran Chaos units and how the mutations overtake them.
Warp Talons in the game is something I’ve talked about elsewhere so I’ll not bore you with it again but suffice to say that deep striking Daemonic nutters with lightning claws is horrid.
Overall I am actually very impressed with the Raptors/Warp Talons box although you may not know it. There are things about the box I don’t like but that’s probably true of everything I review. The fact is that the kit is well thought out albeit more so for the Raptors than the Warp Talons. The detail is excellent on every single piece, even down to the belt feeds on the bolt pistols and the crab claw tip on one of the chainswords. The helmets, for the most part, are cool, sleek and deep-fried in menace (Mr Floppy-nose aside). To get the best out of a unit of 10 Warp Talons or, heaven for fend, two units of 10, there’s going to be some serious conversion work involved but fortunately they’re plastic and one marine part fits another so chopping and changing shouldn’t be too bad.
I do wish there had been slightly more choice with the head and weapon options for the Warp Talons as, considering the emphasis put on them by Games Workshop, they are rather starved of options and variation, which is a crying shame. But, all in all an awesome kit.
The Raptors/Warp Talons box is available from Firestorm Games priced £18.45