Friday, August 9, 2013

Thoughts On the New Space Marine Models

Images of the new Space Marine models have recently been leaked, along with a few rumored rules. Although I have dozens of models and squads left to build, these new kits have me pretty excited.

Space Marine Stalker/Hunter
I know very little about this anti-flyer tank, especially since rumors discussing it have been few and far between. The Stalker is said to have an Icarus Stormcannon Array, which consists of two independently targeted turrets. The Hunter version is supposed to have a Skyspear Missile.

Since I'm stupid with money, I'll probably be buying this model shortly after it comes out. However, if I have any sense left, I'll read the codex entry for it first. Our gaming group doesn't play with many flyers right now, so the Stalker/Hunter could be a complete waste of money. On the other hand, if the tank has Skyfire/Interceptor and the weapons have a decent strength (e.g., 7 or 8) it could very well be something worth taking. And if the look of the vehicle is any indication, its armor may actually be better than that of the standard Rhino. I just hope it doesn't turn out to be as worthless as the current Whirlwind.

Plastic Vanguard
Early rumors are saying that the Vanguard have seen a significant points reduction, meaning that they actually might be worth taking. Regardless of points cost, the new plastic Vanguard kit is definitely on my to-buy list.

The kit has various highly coveted parts, including several pairs of power armor-sized lightning claws. There's even one of the new grav pistols for the Sergeant. Ornate shoulder pads, decorated helmets (some with molded laurels), and fancy armor bits make this kit a bits collector's dream.

Plastic Sternguard
Unfortunately, I've not been able to find large pictures of the new plastic Sternguard models. Those who have seen them say they're even more decorated than the Vanguard Marines. The few images circulating show some interesting things, though.

Their armor is much more ornate than standard Marines and includes decorated helmets, shoulder pads, and tabards. Rumor has it that the kit contains a number of combi-weapons, with the picture above showing that at least one combi-plasma and one combi-grav rifle are included. [Update 8/10/13: on second glance, it looks like the "combi-grav rifle" lacks a magazine or obvious bolter barrel, meaning that it's probably just a grav rifle.] The picture also indicates that Sternguard continue to carry bolters (or combi-weapons) with box magazines. This has partially put to rest my irrational fear that GW might write special ammunition out of the codex.

Although I'm very excited for this kit, I'm wondering what to do with my in-progress 10 man Sternguard squad. Although I've made my own Sternguard bolters and gathered together various Veteran bits from multiple boxes, my homemade Sternguard can't match the new models for ornamentation.

My Sternguard models have only reached the priming stage, so I've decided to repurpose five of the more ordinary Marines. The remainder will get extra banners, purity seals, etc., and will be mixed in with the five models from the new kit. Rumor has it that the Sternguard kit is packed with extra bits (hence the reported $50 price tag for five Sternguard Marines versus $40 for five Vanguard Marines), some of which could go a long way towards sprucing up the converted models.

It's very possible that the five remaining Marines will be painted as a Deathwatch Squad that will occasionally see action as a counts-as Sternguard.

These models are, by far, the most controversial. The reactions I've seen to them are overwhelmingly negative. However, I remember when the Heldrake received similar criticism until it was discovered that the model had been given an immensely powerful set of wargear and rules. Now the only criticism the Heldrake seems to get comes from those who regularly take a beating from it.

Rumor suggests that the Centurions may have some impressive stats (possibly toughness 5, 2 wounds, a 2+ armor save, and a 5+ invulnerable save). They can either be built as an assault version or a Devastator version. They're big, too. These monstrosities are similar in height to a Dreadnought, which could explain the almost Dreadnought-like price tag of $78 for three models.

Astartes SMASH!

From the picture above, it looks like assault Centurions can be armed with either hurricane bolters or Ironclad assault launchers in the chest. On their arms they carry some sort of drilling weapon accompanied by either a meltagun or a flamer. The Devastator version has heavy bolters or lascannons on the arms and either a missile launcher or hurricane bolters in the chest. Rumor says that there will also be a grav-cannon option.

The big controversy is not over their stats, but their appearance. I'm in the minority when I say that I actually like how the Centurions look. The models are obviously meant to represent the missing link between power armor and Dreadnoughts, which is probably how GW will justify their sudden presence among the tradition-bound Astartes. They're big, brutish, and ugly. In other words, they're Space Marines. The Devastator versions seem a little more graceful; the enormous drills on the assault Centurions' arms look pretty unwieldy whereas the heavy bolters and lascannons are a lot less awkward. I also believe that they'll look better when we finally get to see them from multiple angles.

As for how the models fit into the army, I don't really see the use of assault Centurions. Unless their rules are amazing or fill some unique niche, I honestly can't think of any reason to take them when Space Marines already have close combat Terminators or Ironclad Dreadnoughts to fill the role. However, if the rumored stats are genuine, and if their rules allow them to fire all (or most) of their weapons per turn, I would take a squad of Devastator Centurions in a heartbeat.

I have to wonder what the existence of Devastator Centurions means for the traditional Devastator Squad, though. For starters, I think it's obvious that standard Devastators will have to receive a huge points decrease to justify their continued existence.


  1. I agree with all of this. I think the vets are boss looking, and the characters (although not really new, just resculpt) look fantastic. The Hunter tank is rather ugly (I would prefer the old Epic version), but it still fits the IP of the rest of the marines.
    I must note, however, that I am of that large majority of Centurion-haters. I don't like the way they look and I think that they have the potential to obsolete Devastators and Terminators in one fell swoop. I don't understand the purpose of these models. I will, however, be buying them as I have EVERYTHING for the Marines and can't stop now.

    1. I can only guess that the Centurions are meant to fill the same niche that Obliterators and Mutilators fill among the Chaos Space Marines. As far as I know, Obliterators haven't made Havocs obsolete, especially since the latter got a points reduction in 6th Edition.

      Maybe they'll be able to coexist, especially if one decks the Devastators out with weapons that the Centurions can't take (e.g., plasma cannons or multi-meltas) or loads the Centurions with anti-tank weapons and the Devastators with anti-personnel weapons.

      I'm starting to suspect that the unit that will take the biggest hit in popularity may actually be the Predator. Will it have any significant advantage over 6th Edition Devastators or Centurions?


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