Unboxing Dark Vengeance

I know more than a few unboxing articles and videos have been done by now for the 6th edition but I wanted to add my thoughts to the mix all the same. And all with my unique blend of sarcasm and bitterness.

So here we go, the unboxing of the 6th edition Warhammer 40,000 boxset; Dark Vengeance.

The first thing that stands out is the uncharacteristically minimalist box cover. I actually quite like it but it almost seems a shame that the cover art for the book wasn’t used because it’s absolutely stunning. It’s also an interesting contrast compared to the bright and colourful Warhammer Fantasy boxset and, interestingly, the 40k rule book is at odds with WFB’s minimalist hardback book. But on to the best bit; breaking the seal…

I have bought a lot of Games Workshop boxsets over the last 23 years and one of the best bits is the smell of the box when you open it for the first time. The smell of plastic and cardboard and untold possibilities. On that front Dark Vengeance was was a little disappointing, not because it lacks plastic – although compared to the likes of Necromunda and Warhammer Quest it does – but because the bits of paper in it are so ink heavy it over powers that lovely plastic fragrance.

In the box we have 4 sprues (although really only 3), the limited edition chaplain, bases, templates, dice and a big stack of paper. In terms of gaming forces you get a Dark Angels Chapter Master, a Librarian, 5 Deathwing Terminators, 10 Tactical Marines, 3 Ravenwing bikes, a Chaos Lord, 6 Chosen, 20 Cultists and a Hellbrute.

The Space Marines are a big improvement on those in the Assault on Black Reach box, which is saying something because they were of a pretty good standard. Although the sergeant looks a bit shit as have all Dark Angel sergeants since the dawn of time. The main thing is the variety of poses, particularly the terminators. There’s also a slight improvement on detail. Especially the terminators. Although quite what the one with the assault cannon is doing I have no idea but that crap wouldn’t fly in the Ultramarines, no-sir!

The Chaos faction is the star of the show, however, because no matter how cool the Dark Angels characters or the Deathwing look they’re just nothing compared to level of awesome of the Lord, Chosen and Hellbrute. Because the big coup is that Games Workshop are finally producing Chaos Space Marines that don’t look like regular marines with spikes stuck on.

Now I’ve always been of the opinion that there still needs to be an element of that because renegades or the recently corrupted aren’t going to be that Chaosified (it’s a word!). The Chosen and the Hellbrute on the other hand have embraced the dark gods and all their gifts so, quite rightly, their armour should look utterly mental and as organic as it does mechanical.

The Hellbrute is the replacement for the Chaos Dreadnought (according to my sources) and lives up to its name. The exposed head makes it a little comical but overall it’s a fantastic kit, intelligently designed and in game terms makes everything go splat.

The cultists however are really special. It’s not that they’re the best sculpted models in the world but they’ve got bags of character and lend themselves massively to conversion. I particularly like the unit leader with the Blood Pact mask.

However, it’s not all good news. I say 3 sprues because two of them are duplicates.What this means is that of the 10 Dark Angel tactical marines only the sergeant and plasma cannon dude are individual. This also means that of the 6 Chosen and 5 Deathwing, who should all be very individual looking, there are 2 duplicates. The same obviously goes for the cultists but it doesn’t matter quite so much.

The result, however, is that the majority of the boxset are duplicate models which is a far cry from the 3rd editions multipart loveliness but as 2nd, 4th and 5th edition had no shortage of duplicate models it’s hard to moan about it with any legitimacy, it’s just disappointing for the amount of money you’re being asked to part with.

Although a portion of that coin is going on the small forest worth of paper in the box. There’s no denying the quality of production, although the building instructions is printed on staggeringly heavy stock and this unnecessary cost will have inevitably been passed on to us.

That said that Dark Vengeance booklet looks ace and is well written and it’s the first time since GW started doing narrative driven boxsets that I’ve actually bothered to read it. This, I assure you, has nothing to do with the Dark Angels being my very first Space Marine army all those many many years ago. Promise.

The mini-rulebook is equally plush in its production with lots of original artwork and illustrations. When I think back to 2nd and 3rd editions it sill seems a bit mean that you only get a stripped out version considering the outlay but in truth a mini book is ace for gaming and it’s well made so will take the rigours of the game. I’ll be doing a separate review on the 6th edition rules but I’d like to get a look at the full book first. Mainly because I want to read the ‘new’ fluff.

I’m not entirely sure how balanced the two factions are as the cultists will be quickly reduced to smears and if the Deathwing can grapple with the Hellbrute then it’ll be over very quickly. Especially with the woeful new hull point rules. But it’s a well presented set with some really nice models within – duplications aside – and an array of nicely presented printed materials. Relatively the boxset is good value as just the space marine faction alone would cost around £95. All in all, it looks great, the models are class and it’s got all you need to get playing, or playing the latest version. So you can colour me impressed.

The limited edition Warhammer 40,000 Dark Vengeance boxset is available from Firestorm Games.

Dark Vengeance Delayed

Sources within the Games Workshop revealed to me yesterday (and since been all but confirmed by Bell of Lost Souls) that the standard edition of Dark Vengeance will be delayed.

There’s some speculation about why but my source tells me that it’s a combination of the Limited Edition box not being as limited as was originally implied and the sales of said box not being as strong because customers are holding off for the cheaper box.

It’s a rare thing for me to feel sorry for the Games Workshop as the limited edition box was a nice idea. Personally I’d like them to pay a bit more attention to the video games market to understand what a limited edition box should be. One extra bloke a special box does not make. But that aside, they attempted to garner some excitement with the release and it all seems to have fallen a bit flat. Although the whole thing was compounded by the retail division not getting their copy until the day before release which meant they couldn’t ramp it up.

I remember the days of preview nights, the odd cheeky peek at the book or WIP models both as a staff member and as a customer. It built hype and the life blood of the hobby – enthusiasm. This new ‘strategy’ of not telling anyone anything until it’s about to happen just doesn’t work because the world is on a budget. Plus all that happens is pages of White Dwarf get leaked on the internet by a disgruntled employee.

This is bad for three reasons.

1. Crappy photos taken on someone’s iPhone (other smartphones with crappy cameras are available) don’t do the models justice

2. It garners ill feeling from the community because the Games Workshop should be, perhaps, a little more willing to share in lines they’re expecting us to buy

3. Customers don’t necessarily have £65 handy at a week’s notice. I certainly didn’t.

Marketing aside, perhaps the answer to lacklustre sales would have been a limited model for each side making it worth while for gamers of both factions to spend that extra little bit of money.

But whatever the reasons and whatever Games Workshop should or should not have done, the message is clear; if you’re holding off for the standard box set, give in and pay the extra two or three quid because you’ll be waiting a while.

I shall be reviewing 6th edition 40k and the Dark Vengeance box set very soon.

Dark Vengeance Reveal Trailer

Games Workshop have posted a Dark Vengeance reveal trailer showing all the models painted and close. If nothing else the close-ups of plastic soldiers with the dramatic backing soundtrack will make you giggle.

40k Boxset Contents Revealed

The limited edition 40k boxset has been put up for advance order today which means we (finally) get to have a proper look at the toys. It’s £65 which is roughly what I expected. Although as the standard edition will be without the Chaplain bod the question remains; will it be cheaper? Probably not…

Any take a squizz at the plastic crack and I’ve also included the fluff about the boxset. Overall I think the standard of the boxset is pretty good. The character models are all ace, I especially like the Librarian model. The bikes are a tad disappointing because there was an opportunity to tart up the design and, well, they haven’t which means that White Scars players are doomed to keep using the same old boring plastic bikes for the rest of time. Chaos players might feel a tad cheated to hear that of the 6 Chosen, 2 are the same. Very disappointing seeing as the emphasis is on individuality. And the curse of the Dark Angel sergeant model continues. Because it looks crap. And I’m not entirely sure what the Deathwing terminator with assault cannon is doing, but someone should probably tell him he’d be far more useful if he pointed it towards the enemy.

Interrogator-Chaplain Seraphicus comes with a staggering array of features from the Crux Terminatus detailing and his censer, to the smoke unfurling from the ornamentation at the top of his backpack. Standing on a sculpted base, he wears studded robes and embossed text on the inside of his cloak, as well as an enormous Dark Angels emblem on the back. In addition to this he carries a Crozius Arcanum, plasma pistol, and frag and krak grenades.

Alongside Interrogator-Chaplain Seraphicus, this box contains enough miniatures to start a Dark Angels army, including: a Company Master armed with bolt pistol, power sword and combi-weapon; Librarian Turmiel, who carries a bolt pistol and force sword; Veteran Sergeant Raphael and his Tactical Squad; Deathwing Terminator Squad Barachiel; Sergeant Arion and a Ravenwing Bike Squadron that comes equipped with twin-linked boltguns. All are resplendent in the iconography of the Dark Angels. From the finely crafted purity seals to studded power fists, to the Librarian with codex, keys and ornate sword, through to the Bikes with angel-wing panels, they are among the most sublime Space Marines ever sculpted.

Ranged against the Dark Angels is the Crimson Slaughter. These Chaos Space Marine models contain attributes that will leave you slack-jawed in awe. Warp distress shows through on every detail of armour on the models. Horrific maws can be seen on swords, armour and guns. Faces emerge from flesh, as bones jut outward. Dozens of miniature eyes of Chaos peer outwards; jagged or ribbed horns curl in all manner of directions. There are macabre brain-like surfaces, grills, chains and skulls, and even more textures. The full Crimson Slaughter line-up includes: Kranon the Relentless, Chaos Lord – armed with power sword and plasma pistol; Mortis Metalikus: Helbrute – armed with multi-melta and power fist; and Draznicht’s Ravagers: Chosen. They stand alongside Chaos Cultists made up of Sect Anarkus, which carries close combat weapons, and Sect Tetchvar, which carries ranged weapons such as autoguns. Both units are garbed in sinister-looking cloaks, masks and hoods.