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.

Dark Vengeance Teaser Trailer 2

With the release mere days away, fan boys everywhere will be scrabbling around for the cash to get their sweaty non-boob-touching hands on the Dark Vengeance box set, another teaser trailer has hit the interwebs which shows fragments of what is undoubtedly the cover art.

And yet still nothing on the advanced order page…

Dark Vengeance Teaser Trailer

A teaser trailer for the Warhammer 40,000 boxset – Dark Vengeance has hit the interwebs. The trailer doesn’t really show anything or tell us anything other than the release date – the 25th August – giving gamers a whopping 8 days to set aside an unknown amount of money to buy a set. Genius.

40k Box Content

Beasts of War have released the contents of the Warhammer 40,000 box set, known as Dark Vengeance. I have, quite simply, robbed it and up it up here for your reading pleasure. So, what do you get in the box…

Chaos

The Dark Vengeance boxed set will have 2 units of 10 Chaos Cultist models, one armed with auto-guns (with a shotgun & CC weapon for the leader and a Heavy Stubber support trooper) and one with auto-pistol & CC weapon (with 2 CC weapons for the leader and a Flamer support model).

The Chaos Cultist look like everything you’ve ever wanted for Chaos. They’re bound in rags, with metal half-masks and weapons that suit the cobbled-together, improvised look that you expect from the dregs of Chaos.

But that’s not all for those naughty Chaos worshippers; they’re getting a unit of 6 Chosen…elite Chaos Space Marines, armed with a variety of Power Weapons (a Maul on the Sergeant, a Power Fist, a Chain Axe and a set of Lightning Claws by the look of things). The remaining Chosen are armed with Boltguns, but this bodes well for the potential that these exemplars of Chaos might get some more customisable options in the upcoming new Chaos Marines codex.

To lead your forces, you have the obligatory Chaos Lord, armed with a Power Sword & Plasma Pistol. His pose is a bit static, but that is only in comparison to the much more animated Chosen.

Lastly… what would Chaos be without something big and menacing to bring to the table? Well… how about a brand new model… the Hellbrute!

The massive Hellbrute model comes equipped with a Multi-Melta & Power Fist. Suggesting that this isn’t a Dreadnought replacement, but is in fact a huge suit of specialist armour crewed by a Chaos Marine (or more likely a Champion). Actually, the model resembles a huge suit of Terminator Armour with lots of cool Chaos gribbly bits… I’m hoping for a Monstrous Creature that acts like the Dreadknight… what about all you Chaos fans? What would you like it to be?

Dark Angels?

They haven’t been left wanting and with a new codex (no doubt in their future) there is quite a bit to have a look at.

Firstly, they wouldn’t be Space Marines without the obligatory 10 man Tactical Squad. However, the Dark Angel Tactical-Squad has a twist… it’s got Plasma!

The ordinary Space Marine grunts come sporting a Boltgun, but the squad also has a Plasma Gunner and a Heavy Plasma Cannon model giving support… and just to round out the theme… a Plasma Pistol/Chainsword Sergeant.

Looks like that squad will be getting hot!

The Tactical Squad also has a mixture of poses, this time around. Some of the Bolter-totting Marines are holding their ubiquitous weapon at jaunty angles to make the squad look a bit more animated… and it works too… good job GW!

The Marine side wouldn’t be Space Marines without a smattering of Terminators… so you get a squad of 5 of them. It’s a pretty standard squad, with Stormbolter/Power Fist, with a Power Sword Sergeant. However, you do get an Assault Cannon and Chainfist option and true to previous form… the models now come in a variety of more dynamic poses with the squad sergeant even sporting Wings but thankfully no nipple armour!

The last squad in the box is a unit of 3 Space Marine (or Ravenwing) Bikers, with Sergeant and one Biker sporting Bolt Pistol/Chainsword and the third Biker packing a Plasma Gun. The models look similar to previous Ravenwing Bikers (with that big wing banner on the back) and are probably the least inspiring out of the box.

But let’s not end on a low… let’s talk about the Dark Angel Triple Whammy… 3 Heroes!

The box will contain a Dark Angels Company Master (Balthasar) resplendent with his erect Power Sword!

A Dark Angels Librarian with a slightly less impressive looking Force Sword and a limited edition Interrogator Chaplain, who’s Power Armour (including smoking exhaust details) and embellished robe might be the most ostentatious model in the box!

That’s all the models in the box but what about the Rulebook?

I know many of you have been planning to buy the box (price TBC) in order to get your hands on the smaller rulebook. So rest easy there will be one in the box.

There will also be templates and a new How to Play Dark Vengeance booklet, that allows you to jump right into the action.

So there you go, start saving because I expect it to be £60+.

Musings on 6th Edition Fluff

By now most, if not all, of you would have seen the leaked White Dwarf pages that went up on blogs all over the world this week. I resisted because, well, what would be the point? Especially as so many of my fellow Alliance members had gotten there first.

It has, however, given me time to reflect on the prominence of the Dark Angels in the new edition and the slight shuffling on of the canon from the previous version.

So, based on certain rumours, the Tau are now under the protection of the Space Marines. Or at least the Ultramarines and their successors which rather suggests that the Emperor knew that there would come a time when Chaos would return to the galaxy in a level of force akin to the Heresy. It also makes me think that he was aware of and/or had a hand in the genetic manipulation of the Tau alongside the Eldar. Which if nothing else makes you realise where Alpharius and Omegon get their pragmatism from…

More over I’ve been thinking about the Dark Angels. It’s quite telling that we’re on the cusp of the 42 Millennium, the Golden Throne is failing, and the fate of the Imperium hangs in the balance and there is a sudden emphasis being placed on the 1st Legion. The Dark Angels have always been a mysterious bunch and all the evidence suggests it is because of the betrayal of half the Legion during the Heresy. And although they bear those scars with great shame, the true cause of their secrecy is the realisation that came with capturing Luther and his eventual confession. The great secret that the Dark Angels keep is, whereas the Space Wolves are the Emperor’s executioners, the Dark Angels are or will be the executioners of the Emperor.

From broken lips Luther told his captures that the Emperor was a true immortal, a being destined to be reborn for all eternity and by keeping him trapped within a shattered physical form humanity was preventing his rebirth and with it their very salvation. This secret was the Dark Angels’ alone to bear and with their stoicism they would see it done.

Cypher’s quest to kill the Emperor is a well established part of the background, his motivations supposedly sinister. And wherever the lost son of The Lion makes planet fall the Dark Angels descend to allegedly bring him to justice. It’s no surprise to see Divination as one of the Dark Angel psyker traits for 6th edition. In the resulting engagement Cypher makes his escape and with each new appearance he gets closer and closer to Terra. The assumption is that the Dark Angels are trying to stop Cypher but I propose that they are trying to help him by covering his tracks and sowing misdirection as on the surface the Dark Angels appear to be doing little more than thwarting heretics. But think about it, Cypher is from a time when the Emperor was not a God – a truth all Space Marines hold – and so often times Cypher is doing little more than opening the eyes of those he comes into contact with. The Imperial Creed demands action is taken. The Dark Angels prosecute the campaign as far as they need to then withdraw. His escape is assisted by the fundamental and intentional conflict within the chapter structure. Battle brothers don’t know the true extent of the Dark Angels’ role in things to come, whereas company captains are initiated into the Deathwing and so, to a point, do. They accept the grim task ahead of them with the redoubtable determination we’ve come to expect from the First Legion. As a result the Dark Angels hamper their own efforts to capture Cypher and further turn the wheels of destiny towards the inevitable death of the Emperor.

This isn’t to say that the Dark Angels are heretics or traitors. Far from it. Arguably only the Dark Angels and the Space Wolves see things for that they really are and the grim roles they must play. The Dark Angels know that the Wolves will be set upon them once their work is done. And probably deepens the resentment that runs between the two Chapters. Especially as the Wolves know they were powerless to change anything as for the Dark Angels to succeed they must fail in their most basic duty. To keep the Emperor safe. The Dark Angels understand that by allowing the Emperor’s shattered mortal form to die he can be reborn and will signal for the Primarchs to return and herald a new age of reclamation. Although I suspect that it’ll be The Lion himself that ends his father’s life as he was always destined to carry a terrible burden. Indeed there’s every likelihood that he saw this possible future which is why the weight of the Legion was so heavy on his shoulders. Combined with my note about the Tau ostensibly being anti-Chaos weapons it all seems to point quite strongly that humanity is on the brink of either destruction or redemption but it’ll come at a terrible price and its survival may come at the cost of the Imperium itself.

This is purely speculation but it’ll be interesting to see where the new Dark Angel codex will be taken and whether or not the rumoured ‘Warhammer 41,000’ will ever come out and how that follows on but I suspect a lot of questions will be answered in the coming months.

6th Edition 40k Boxset Rumours

There’s some rumours floating around the interwebs about what the 6th Edition 40k boxset will include so I thought I’d share what I’ve come across. Please remember these are rumours, not my opinions, so add salt to taste.

Dark Angels:

Terminator Captain
5 Deathwing
Tactical Squad
Ravenwing bikes (3 likely)

Chaos:
Sorcerer
Chosen
Chaos Marine squad
Cultists
Possessed
Dreadnought

Personally I think it’ll be nice to see a new Chaos Dreadnought – perhaps along the lines of the Contemptor but a shitter version in the boxset seems counter productive (considering the shorter, lamer AoBR Space Marine Dreadnoughts). The forces seem a little unbalanced too but without specifics it’s hard to say one way or the other. I also hope they put the multipart plastic Space Marines back in the box but I know that they’ll just shove the AoBR ones in instead.