The release of the 7th Edition Space Marine codex threw my whole modeling schedule for a loop. Just as I was ready to start on a Tactical Marine-heavy list with a cheap Librarian at its head, GW introduced the concept of the Demi-Company and the Gladius Formation and I lost all interest in fielding a solitary CAD. Models that I felt no urgency to build suddenly became necessary additions to the army while certain other models (e.g., Librarians) found their futures in question.
The Assault Squad ended up on my must-build list, not only because it fills a position in the Demi-Company, but because I completely lack any fast attack units. (That's right, I've been playing the game for over four years and I've never taken any units in the Fast Attack slots.) I don't know how many times I've found myself in a mission where I was too slow to grab objectives in time.
Although I already had Assault Squad bits that I bought a few years ago, I grabbed up a new Assault Squad box immediately after its release. The kit has a good variety of bits in it, including normal backpacks and torsos without jump pack straps for those who want to build a foot-slogging squad. It even has a Mk VI backpack (the first ever in plastic, I believe), allowing you to build a Marine in 100% Corvus armor.
My first Assault Marine is a Veteran Sergeant with dual lightning claws. Unfortunately, the model is a tremendously expensive 57 points with these upgrades (a Vanguard Marine with the same exact wargear and stats is only 32 points), but it looks great.
The legs are from the new Assault Squad kit, the right shoulder pad, torso, jump pack, and lightning claws are from the Vanguard kit, the left shoulder pad is from the Commander kit, and the head is a Mk IV helmet from the Betrayal at Calth box. (Yes, I said I probably wouldn't buy Betrayal at Calth, but it was a great value and Bryce and I split the cost.)
I'm very happy with how the model turned out. The Mk IV helmet looks great and I'm fairly proud of my hand painted laurels. The Assault logo on his right shoulder worked out pretty well, too. After cutting off the bottom third of the transfer, I used my usual technique to apply it to the shoulder pad. Once the decal was dry, I used a razor to scrape away the bits of stray decal from the Imperialis on his shoulder pad.