Space Marine Bladeguard Veterans – Review

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When the Space Marine Primaris models were first announced I was both sceptical and underwhelmed. It was unclear as to why they had been introduced if they weren’t replacing Classic Marines and there were so few units that they also weren’t really worth taking. Especially as an entire army.

They lacked the unit diversity and firepower to be a contender for almost any other army in the game. Short of forming gun lines and relying on concentrated firepower and that all important second wound, Primaris marines didn’t really live up to their forebears.

Since then more and more units have been added to make Primaris armies both interesting, characterful and – well – deadly. The most recent injections of transhuman mega-killy-death came with the release of the Indomitus box and the new Outriders, close assault Intercessors and the Bladeguard Veterans.

I bought two Indomitus boxes, wrongly assuming that the models were multipart, not easy builds. Foolish of me but equally not the end of the world considering the bulk of the models are rank and file and unlikely to be next to each other on a board.

However having two units of identical Bladeguard Veterans stung a bit so, the release of the multipart kit was welcome news. Not just because they could be taken in units of up to 6 but because I could inject some needed variety as well.

Warhammer 40,000 Space Marine Bladeguard Veterans box
Image courtesy of Games Workshop – all rights reserved

Mostly-multipart plastics

When I opened the box I confess to being a little disappointed. While I can’t fault the look and feel of the new Primaris range, the limited poses are a source of frustration for me with the newer models. Although I appreciate there needs to be a balance between dynamism, strength of the model and ease of build to make them accessible to all.

The classic marines – by having separate legs and bodies allowed for more nuanced poses. Although comparing them to the Primaris models they are hilariously bow-legged. Regardless, being able to pose the heads and bodies allowed you to tell a story with every model in the unit.

The new Intercessors make that harder and the Bladeguard Veterans have the same issue. Admittedly the sheer amount of detail would make building a truly multipart version a colossal pain in the arse. Especially for less experienced hobbyists. A little bit of variety would have been nice though. Because you only get three bodies in the box, if you intend on taking units of 5 and/or multiple units you will end up with very similar looking models. It won’t be as bad as having two units of the Indomitus easy-builds, but it’ll still be pretty obvious.

Space Marine Bladeguard Veterans sprues
Copyright Games Workshop – all rights reserved

However, where the Bladeguard Veterans box really shines is the variety of arm options. If you want a model pointing their sword in the general direction of the enemy, fill your boots. Want him cleaning his blade after a kill? Sure. I mean, hardly practical in a war, but why not? Hand resting on the pommel of a sheathed power sword while defiantly snapping off shots with a bolt pistol? You got it!

Don’t get me wrong, it won’t give them the same kind of dynamism that the close combat Intercessors have – not by a long shot. But as centrepiece models they abide wholeheartedly by the rule of cool.

And cool they are. The arm swaps make for some suitably heroic poses and the option of having the storm shield mag-locked to the backpack or in hand is a really nice touch. It allows for even greater variety so you can make your Bladeguard Veterans look as unique as possible, even if their poses really aren’t.

You’ve also got the choice of helmeted or un-helmeted heads. Personally I try to avoid un-helmeted heads as much as possible because, well, war. But if you like a suicidal edge to your heroism, the Bladeguard box offers three suitably mangled and/or grizzled heads to choose from.

Again, it would have been nice to get a little more variety on this front as, again, anyone wanting to take larger units or multiple units are going to struggle to keep that variety. Although heads from other kits should fit well enough.

Built Space Marine Bladeguard Veterans models
My built Bladeguard Veterans destined to become Silver Templars

Bladeguard VEterans in Game

As one would expect from a new Primaris unit, Bladeguard Veterans are suitably tough. With 3 wounds each they are capable of soaking up considerable punishment in the slog to close with the enemy. Especially if you take them in units of 5 or 6.

Bladeguard Veteran datasheet entry from Warhammer 40k app
Image taken from the Warhammer 40k app – all rights reserved

Moreover the storm shield provides a much needed extra layer of protection, especially as in most instances the Bladeguard Veterans are going to be horribly outnumbered. No matter how squishy some units are, the sheer weight of numbers means a 3+ armour save and 3 wounds will only keep you going for so long.

Fortunately they have some decent weapons to hit back with. Aside from the heavy bolt pistols they come with as standard (note the chunky holsters they wear), they are also armed with master-crafted power swords. The extra point of damage along with 3 attacks (4 for the sergeant) means that a full strength squad will chew through most infantry without too much bother.

Bladeguard Veteran weapons entry entry from Warhammer 40k app
Image taken from the Warhammer 40k app – all rights reserved

The introduction of the Neo-volkite pistol is also a welcome addition, especially with it’s not to the volkite weapons of the Horus Heresy. It loses 2 points of strength and the AP compared to.a standard issue plasma pistol. But, it benefits from a second shot and the ability to inflict a moral wound on a roll of a 6 in addition to any other damage which can make it pretty nasty if the dice are on your side. It also doesn’t blow up, which is definitely worth considering for your 35point model.

I confess, my motivation for getting the Bladeguard Veterans is to plump out squads in an army that is primarily destined for my display cabinet. Their battlefield role is entirely secondary to how they’ll look nicely painted on a shelf.

However, Bladeguard Veterans manage to look impressive and provide quite considerable punch for the money/points/power. The lack of variety in some areas of these models will make owning more than half a dozen of them a little annoying. But mixing them with Indomitus models can offset that.

Equally, the Indomtius Lieutenant model fits in perfectly as a Bladeguard Veteran sergeant which is would I’m doing with mine to give me two units of 5.

Space Marine Primaris Bladeguard Veterans are available to buy now from Warhammer stores and independent stockists.

Short Tau Tactica: Kroot

As I focused on the Fire Warriors last time, it only makes sense that I cover the Tau Empires only other troop choice, Kroot. Some fans may have been disappointed that the option to have a Kroot Mercenary army doesn’t exist*, but I think that the unit still have their place in the army and even have a few new roles with the codex.

First off, lets see what you get for your points. The biggest change to Kroot is that they have lost strength 4, but they get a better combat weapon, the Kroot rifle giving them AP 5 in combat. Stealth and Move Through Cover keep with the theme that these guys are hunters. And they get proper Infiltrate this time, which is awesome! Less amazingly, they get a 6+ save for free now. Just what I’ve always needed.

This should be a signifier to most people that their role has changed from assault powerhouse of the Tau army to something a little different. Still, it’s possible to bulk up on the squad and add additional Kroot Hounds and Krootox and throw them into combat as a sort of buffer between the enemy and your more important units (read: everything else in the army).

A squad over 30 in number is still pretty rare in 40k, so there will be a significant psychological impact on you opponent seeing that many models get plonked down in one go. Just don’t expect them to remain that size by the time they reach combat.

Now, on to their more interesting uses. For 1 point a model, Kroot can take sniper rounds, which gives the Kroot the option to fire their rifles with the sniper rule if they remain still (or hitting on 6s if they move thanks to snapfire). Sniper rifles have always been a pretty underrated aspect of the game due to not many armies having units with access to them, but think about it. Kroot can now wound everything on a 4+ (if it’s less, they can switch back to the normal profile of the Kroot Rifle and rapid fire things to death) and have rending.

Kroot squads just gained the ability to topple even the mightiest of creatures in the 40K universe. Which will certainly surprise someone the next time they take their all Monstrous Creature ‘Nid army!


My best advice would be to stick a small squad of 10 in cover (to maximise the benefits of cover and make your opponent doubt if it’s worth targeting them) with a few Kroot hounds for combat purposes. They give the unit Acute Senses, which is very useful if you plan to have a bit more control over just where Kroot will pop up if you plan to outflank them close to an objective.

Kroot are going to fulfill a very similar role to the one they did for me last edition.  Sitting in cover near objectives and moving to claim them late in the game, or else just hugging terrain and acting as an irritant all game, or the ‘Eldar Pathfinder’ effect as I call it. They still can have a role as a counter assault unit, but the changing of the units focus is a clear indication of how the designers see them being used this edition. I’m not sure they are vital to a Tau army, but for one that wishes to be aggressive and keep an opponent of the back foot, Kroot squads will help you achieve that for a minimal cost and provide you with a unit that can reliably advance on an objective and hold it.

As such, despite what some parts of the internet may believe, I view the Kroot squads as very much alive and kicking in the new book. If an opponent isn’t careful, they may take their legs off.

See you soon for another Short Tau Tactica.


*Players with a predisposition towards “count- as” may note that due to the slight change of wording in what effects what in the Tau book, it’s entirely possible to proxy a Kroot Mercenaries army.

Six Month Review

At the beginning of the year I wrote a post laying out my wargaming resolutions. As we’re now half way through the year, or near as dammiy, I thought I’d revisit them and see how I’m doing. So, here we go…

1. Paint fucking anything!

Hmm, not doing too well on this front. I partially painted a venerable dreadnought and a chaplain. I’ve managed to undercoat my Covenant of Antarctica fleet but I wouldn’t say that really counts. Although I have another scenery review in the pipeline so I shall have to paint that. Plus I’m hoping to organise a hobby day with The Chaps to paint Dystopian Wars stuff. But, to be honest, that’s a resolution to do a resolution, which is a little weak.

2. Finish Project Awesome.

Now this is actually going quite well. The core rules are pretty much finished which means it should be ready for playtesting in the next couple of months. I’m giving myself a slight extension on this so as long as I have Project Awesome completed within my 30th year of being on God’s green Earth I’ll call it a win.

3. Complete the Super Mega Awesome Shell Case Project.

This sadly has been canned. For reasons that are too tedious to go into it’s not happening. Sad but not the end. I hope that I can come back to it one day but we’ll see. On the upside; the time can be put into The Shell Case and Project Awesome instead. So it’s not all bad.

4. Make the Shell Case Shorts a regular feature and put togethe an anthology for Christmas release.

Well so far so good on this front. It won’t be a Christmas release for the anthology as the competitions are monthly (didn’t think that one through) but the Shell Case Shorts have become a regular feature. It’s been tough finding prizes, or even getting the community to take part but I shall keep at it.

5. Write more reviews.

Well I’ve certainly been doing that! And I’ve got 3 in the pipeline at the moment.

6. Organise the first, and hopefully not the only, Shell Case Beatdown for all my #warmonger chums.

This didn’t really pan out. Again the uptake in the community wasn’t what I had hoped. I might try and arrange a smaller, invite only, version as a starter and then see what might happen after that.

7. Forgive the Games Workshop.

I was doing so well on this one! And then they put their prices up again. To be honest I think I have forgiven, as far as I can. I still play 40k and the Specialist Games range and I love the fiction. I’m just not going to give them my money any more. Not directly at least. With stockists like Total Wargamer offering their stuff at as much as 25% off why by Bonaparte’s balls would I go direct?

8. And finally play a little less xbox and a little more toy soldiers.

This is actually going quite well. With the exception of Mass Effect I’ve been all about the toys. That’s been helped in no small part by the reviews I’ve been doing and The Chaps getting into Dystopian Wars. That’ll change when Halo 4 comes out but I’ll worry about that in November.

So that’s where I am. My big drive is Project Awesome but fear no The Shell Case will continue on its merry course. And, if anything it’ll be getting a lot busier on the blogging front, but more on that another time.

The Good Ship Resolute

@jraferguson is proving quite the inspiration today. As he posted his new year’s (hobby) resolutions, I thought I would follow suit. So all aboard the good ship Resolute.

1. Paint fucking anything! I am the worst at finishing hobby projects. This is mainly because I have the attention span of an 8 year old but I also have little time and too many interests. So I resolve to paint something. Anything. Not even an army just a model or two.

2. Finish Project Awesome. Project Awesome has been a game in its 14th year now and has been rewritten 7 times because I always developing my skills as a writer, my knowledge as a gamer and learning design techniques to make it shiny. The final final final version is in development and it will be finished this year. Or…I don’t know, I’ll punch myself in the face and put it on YouTube for you all to watch.

3. Complete the Super Mega Awesome Shell Case Project. Obviously still under wraps at the moment but it’s steaming towards completion which makes me very proud. All I need to do afterwards is make it a success. Piece of piss right?

4. Make the Shell Case Shorts a regular feature and put togethe an anthology for Christmas release.

5. Write more reviews. Not alot to say about this one. It’s one of my very favourite things so I’d like to do more of them.

6. Organise the first, and hopefully not the only, Shell Case Beatdown for all my #warmonger chums.

7. Forgive the Games Workshop. This sounds a little silly butI spent last year being really angry at the company for all the changes and price increases but at the end of the day all that happened was I stopped enjoying games that I’ve enjoyed for over 20 years. Which is a bit daft really. Tbat’s not to say I’m going to start collecting lots of new armies, but I am going to stop worrying about it. And if I so choose to buy something then I have to accept the price.

8. And finally play a little less xbox and a little more toy soldiers. And maybe write a few new campaign packs along the way.

Have a happy, healthy and toy filled 2012.

What Kind of Year Has It Been?

This is arguably a bit too early but I wanted to write my year in review because it’s been on my mind.

The most significant thing for me was, obviously, the creation of The Shell Case. And what a decision that was. Had I known that setting up this humble little blog would see me writing reviews for all the weird and wonderful games and have them read all over the world I would have done it a long time a go. It’s been an amazing few months.

Its success is down to, in part, certain individuals like @DocBungle, Chris_S79 and a host of others that I could list but it’d make a boring read. You all know who you are so thank you.

I’ve also been hugely lucky to to inteview the incredibly awesome Sarah Cawkwell, writer of The Gildar Rift (my first Black Library eBook purchase), and the visionary Erasmus, creator of the Lord Inquisitor.

Off the back of the blog, the forum was founded and shortly after the Alliance. Both are growing although not as fast as I like, but that’s entirely down to me not having time to do much of anything beyond the blog. This is partly down to the Super Mega Awesome Shell Case Project but mostly because my day job is taking up far too much of my time.

My new year’s resolution really should be to get my Shell Case shit together.

So it has been (half a) year of writing reading, playing, reviewing and meeting some awesome peope both on Twitter and through the various companies I’ve had the very great pleasure of dealing with. And I’ve loved every minute of it.

Next year should be interesting with the Super Mega Awesome Shell Case Project hopefully coming to conclusion, more reviews and hopefully getting my own game off the ground. I hope that the community continues to grow and the #warmongers with it who are all a bunch of awesome chaps.

In the new year we’re introducing a 6th member to The Chaps which is very exciting and will hopefully see the Mordheim campaign grow but new campaigns start too. I’d also really.like to get Ian, Jeremy, Neil and the Freshman into Firestorm Armada and Dystopian Wars because, well, the game is cool and the models are the tits.

Anyway, I want to wish all of you a very Happy 2012. May it bring happiness, health and many shiny toys.