Thursday, 6 September 2012

Looking back at assault on black reach, it's hard to imagine just how far games workshop's manufacturing process has come along. To think that for many, the contents of the black reach box offered the pinnacle of plastic kits. Now we can drool over plastic character blisters and the new Hellbrute model. Upon opening the box and having a cursory glance over the Dark Vengence sprues you begin to see the advantages of designing these kits digitally

I'm a little disappointed with the box cover. I think I've been spoiled with epic scenes of future battles brought to us by John Blanche and GW's artistic team. The stark black background is a little sterile, but does the job. Other's enjoy this change; a stripped back utilitarian presentation.

Once the box has been opened, the joy begins. The sprues are absolutely packed to the brim with models. Look a little closer at the set and you begin to realise the enormity of the success this kit is. This set should be seen in the same light as the next generation 'console'. It is colour to black and white, HD to normal...'D' - this is the evolutionary step that saw little fishes decide to poke thier heads above the water and have a looks to see what was happening on land. And this is all encapsulated in one model;

So what's to remarkable about this model? Well, the horned head piece is separate to the rest of the model for a more detailed, two piece casting process. This has been cast with a part of the shoulder pad and the bolt gun. A traditional sculpt would struggle to take this kind of casting process into account. This is an example of a confident designer working with an experienced tooler to produce a world class miniature.

This level of thought runs throughout the the kit and is just astonishing to see how easy they all fit together. The fit is snug and easy to achieve, even without glue. The level of detail is a joy to behold, as well as paint.

These models all have some form of mould line, but again this has been taken into account. Many of the joins have a straight edge, or some form of detail as to mitigate the mould line completely (running along a purity seal for example)

The entire marine set follows a clear line of imagery, well established through 6 editions of artwork detailing the dark angels. Games Workshop have not been subtle in their attempts to enforce the image of the first legions as monks from space. The captain is so swathed in his monastery robes that it is hard to image him actually fighting in a battle (he'd set alight pretty easily; something to bear in mind).

The poses of the marines are believable and well conceived. The Dark Angels markings look easy to remove and will come as a welcome staple in many marine armies. Online retailers and bits sellers seem to have set a price hovering around the £10 mark, and for those who can remember when the current multi-pose marines were released first, it is a welcome return for a tenner a squad.

The chaos marines draw on 20 years of imagery, that i feel hasn't been fully exploited in teh model kits to date. These marines hark back to the darkly baroque armour of the chaos space marines kit from the space crusade games.  Little touches like the backpack reloading Draznicht's bolt gun, or the twisted, raging faces establish these are warriors from beyond recognizable reality. They have endured the madness of the warp, and have been marked by its influence. The poses of the models are formidable and enduring; with plenty of  stuff for conversions.

The cultists seem to have pleased everyone, being comprised of hooded religious types, mutants and berserkers. They are the generic bad guys, drones to be slaughtered by the dozen; video game influence is very obvious here. I can see this part of the kit to be very popular with painters as they offer a host of conversion possibilities; scavvy gangs and imperial militia are proving to be popular suggestions already.

The Hellbrute is an especially exciting bit of kit as it may offer some foreshadowing of the releases we can expect from the rumoured upcoming Chaos codex. A melding of machine and madness, the Hellbrute is a wonderful concept to be added to the infernal legions. The model is exquisiteness detailed and least the front is. For a kit so beautifully formed and detailed, it seems so odd that the back is surprisingly bare. It's as if the designer only saved one half of the design in it's digital formatt, then only had time to create a passable impression of a back.

The rules set included in the set are simple to follow and the missions offer a fantastic entry to learn the game. Summary sheets are included as well as a special page for the Chaplain if you ordered the limited edition set. The little rule booklet will become very popular amongst gamers I feel.

In summary, this is a formidable successor in the run of starting sets. This is a fine example of what can be achieved with plastic models and can is an exciting new step forward into technology and the design philosophy of the kits. My only hope is that they follow up on this triumph by ensuring all future plastic kits have this level of detail in them.


1 comment :

  1. Nice review. Makes me even more excited to get my boxed set.... when GW remembers to send them out to stores that is. :)