Dataslate: Chaos Helbrute – A Review


Hot off the presses and hot on heels of the new Helbrute kit we have the Helbrute Dataslate.

Being a long-term Chaos Space Marine player, with a penchant for the slightly crazed, and considering that the Helbrute kit is really rather good (see my previous review for more on that front), I am pleased to report that the dataslate adds another, rather funky, aspect to including these lumbering, homicidal, dameon engines in a Chaos Space Marine army.


First up, the dataslate reiterates and expands the background surrounding the Helbrute. The additional fluff builds upon the elements of the character of the Helbrute that I like the most. Just as the unpredictability in their rules demonstrates, the various denizen commanders of the traitor legions struggle, as much as they revel, in the tactical complexities inherent in deploying Helbrutes as part of a fighting force. Reading the descriptive text and accompanying prose really gives you a sense of how the presence of one or more Helbrutes in an army generates a tension within your forces. Some legions might venerate and worship the incarnate abominations crashing across the battlefield, others might treat them as purely expendable and use their abhorrent appearance to force their enemies to focus all fire to bring them down, before they can rampage through their battlelines. Games Workshop have followed on their recent theme of generating rules to support the narrative in the fluff for in-game use and provided three different formations that nicely encapsulate the bizarre character of the Helbrute and the role it can play in destroying your opponent’s forces.

There are three flavours to the formations offered by the dataslate:

Mayhem Pack

What’s better than one Helbrute rampaging from your back lines across the wastes of war? Why three of course! And why not deep strike them in to maximise their threat? The Mayhem Pack allows you to take a formation of three Helbrutes and deep strike them onto the battlefield from reserve. There’s no additional cost for fielding this formation, but all Helbrutes that are fielded as part of a Mayhem Pack have to make a crazed roll (one roll affecting all pack members) at the beginning of each movement phase. It would appear that being held back from battle for ‘tactical’ reasons is not something that sits well with a psychotic, daemonic engine of destruction. Who knew?


What would you think, y’know budding cultist that you are, if the entombed remains of a deranged god-warrior now bound inside a monstrosity of metal and madness appeared next to you on the battlefield.? Well, apparently you’d want to stick to it like PVC to a Daemonette’s ass, and rush headlong into battle alongside it. The Helcult formation lets you field a Helbrute with 2 units of cultists and gives both the Helbrute and the cultists some suitable “let’s get crazy” advantages, including a 3+ cover save for the Helbrute (for the willing sacrifice of a cultist). The main drawback is that when in melee, the Helbrute’s rolls of 1 to hit means he’s mashed up a cultist instead, but if you lose the Helbrute, the cultists get kind of ticked off…

Helfist Murderpack

I bet when you woke up this morning your first thought was “I seriously need to field 5 Helbrutes in a unit. But only if one of them is a super nut-job that all the other Helbrutes in the unit look up to like some kind of Alphabrute of murderocity!” It’s a word. Well, you’re in luck.

I have to say, I am seriously tempted by this option. I mean just the idea of having 5 of these things as a rampaging mobile moshpit of death, smashing its way across the battlefield is enough to make me go out and buy three more kits. And I’m guessing that Games Workshop are hoping many people feel the same way. To be honest the rules aren’t that stellar. They count as a vehicle squadron, which is never a good thing and the alpha-brute/champion itself is a character who has to participate in challenges. The champion does gets an invulnerable save and means you can pick the crazed result for the whole pack. As with the Helcult, the rest of the Helbrutes get pretty aggro if you beat up their bossman, but really you aren’t going to find anyone complaining that the game is suddenly broken because of this (or any of the other) formations. It will just look frickin cool!

Fluffy awesomeness

This isn’t a dataslate containing formations that suddenly make Chaos Space Marines the new meta or the centre of the next round of net lists, not even close. Although I do think that the Mayhem Pack has some serious potential and in the right situation the Helcult could be very handy. If, however, you’re interested in adding a chunk of Helbrute goodness with more than an average dollop of fluffy goodness to your list, then this dataslate might be right up your alley. It’ll certainly make a change from the usual multiples of Heldrakes.

Right then… Imperial Knight converted to Helbrute champion anyone? Or was that just me?

Chaos Space Marine Helbrute – A Review

warhammer-40000-logoSo, the new Helbrute kit is out and what a magnificent little menagerie of plastic it is!

First up the standard box art shots is very much what we’ve come to expect of Games Workshop boxes these days: a nicely painted model on the front (in the new Crimson Slaughter paint scheme, that Games Workshop are pushing like crazy for Chaos Space Marines at the moment, due to the rather tasty codex supplement that was also released, alongside the Helbrute kit) and pics of more assembly options and some paint scheme details on the back.

Helbrute box front   Helbrute box rear

The kit itself is really rather nice. Bountiful weapons and other options fill the sprues and, as you’d expect from Games Workshop plastic kits, the level of detail is fantastic. Just check out the number of different head options on there!

Helbrute sprue 1

Helbrute sprue 2

Helbrute sprue 3

I hadn’t had cause to assemble any of the more recent kits until the Helbrute came out and I was pleased to see that the ‘layering’ of detail that you get from a proper multi-part plastic kit comes through very well indeed.  After having seen the Imperial Knight kit up close and personal, and the level of detail it contained my expectations were high and the Helbrute kit does not disappoint. It certainly makes the Eldar Jetbike and Vyper kits that were the last Games Workshop plastics I’d put together to shame; they really do show their age when put up against something like the Helbrute. One example of the ‘layering’ I mentioned can be seen in the leg assembly, in the first picture you see the leg prior to one of its armour plates being affixed – you can see the muscle/sinew wrapped around the pistons and skeleton that form the Helbrute’s frame and the horn jutting out. Once the armour-plate is affixed you can see that Games Workshop prepared not just a missing chunk of armour for the horn to pierce through, but a proper hole and that even when the armour is in place that the muscular detailing is still visible behind it. 

Helbrute legs assembled   Helbrute legs pre-assembly

This may present issues when considering at what point to carry out priming and painting – there’s a point at which sub-assembly painting becomes ‘component’ painting and even I am not quite that obsessive about covering every detail!

Maybe I’m just playing catch-up with recent Games Workshop plastics here, but the assembly itself is a breeze in comparison to some of the models. Pieces fit together in an almost ‘snap-fit’ fashion, joining surfaces are well delineated and it’s always obvious whether you’ve married up the right pieces or not. The slight drawback to this is that the level of pose-ability the model has takes a little bit of a hit, but Games Workshop make up for this by providing ‘high’ and ‘low’ arm positions for weapon options and, to be honest, the confidence boost that a less than expert modeller will get from the accuracy of part placement in a kit like this is worth that small drop in customisation. If I was to change the ‘default’ posing of this model I’d be whipping out the green stuff (not a euphemism, I promise) [I’d be worried if it was and tell you to go see a Doctor if its green – Ed.] and making the most of the bio-mechanical style the model has. I love the detail down the back of the model as well – the fact that the exo-spine that runs down its back is a separate piece gives the model real depth and gives the painter so many options for describing the relationship between the hard ceramite and metallic components and the flesh that has inhabited it and over-grown it through millennia in the warp wastes.

The kit definitely permits magnetisation of weapon options on both arms. You can build left or right arm power fist variants and the right arm ranged weapon attachment allows (with a little magnet activity) for easy to swap options. The left arm power scourge vs power fist would be trickier to achieve as a magnet swap, but a bit of persuasion should see it being possible. There are a tonne of weapon options available to the Helbrute owner: missile launcher, reaper autocannon, twin-linked lascannon, plasma cannon (nicely styled along the lines of other daemon-engines), multi-melta, and heavy bolter. The power fist arms (you can do left and/or right) can be kitted out with heavy flamer or twin-linked bolter and the left arm can have the power scourge. Finally, and as you can see on the sprue pictures above, there are 6 head options with three different ‘surrounds’. All in all no reason why you should have to play cookie-cutter Helbrutes in your army even if using similar weapon options.

If it’s not already clear, I really like this kit. I’ll certainly be adding at least one more, and when the data slate for Helbrutes comes out on the 22nd (if any of the rumours regarding the formations they give a Chaos Space Marine player are accurate) I may be adding in significantly more than that!

The Chaos Space Marine Helbrute is available from Firestorm Games priced £29.70.

Leaked 40k Chaos Helbrute Images

After a loooooooooooong wait Chaos Space Marine players can rejoice that a multi-part plastic Helbrute is finally on its way. By the looks of the leaked photos below there’s only one body option but several head pieces so kinda like the plastic Venerable Dreadnought for their loyalist counterparts. And, of course, a bunch of weapon options including plasma cannons, big smashy hammers and big smashy fists.

Interestingly it looks like they’ve opted for corrupted versions of the current Space Marine Dreadnought rather than a pre-Heresy/Contemptor version. I’m not disappointed perse it just would have been cool to see a wibbly Contemptor Dreadnought stomping about gaming boards.