It has been…a long time since I played a game of 40k. Too long. 8th Edition may be the simplest and most fun ruleset the game has ever had, dispensing with the over-complicated rules that bloated 6th and 7th Editions and replacing them with simplified versions that allow each army/unit’s own specific rules to be published in their own Codices and errata-ed in a much cleaner way.
So why haven’t I played in a while? Well, I made the mistake of going to the first 8th Edition Throne of Skulls something like a month after the game was released, and had an overall “meh” time – when one pays £60 for a ticket, however much for a hotel, and travels over 100 miles to play in an event, something more than “meh” is what I expected. So my Raven Guard went back into the box to gather dust and reminisce about the good old days of 5th Edition, the Heresy-specific models that weren’t Corax went on eBay, and I focused on my Wanderers army for Age of Sigmar – the models were more fun to paint (they weren’t all black), I’d found some OoP models on eBay that made my army 100% female, and I just enjoyed the way the game played more.
Then I moved to the USA, and finding a game of either is a pain in the behind! Fortunately there’s a large X-Wing community, and several of those players also play Kill Team, so I’m not totally devoid of GW-based interaction, even if my local Warhammer store is in the next State over.
So what brought me back to 40k? Well, truthfully, it was the new Phobos-armoured Primaris Marines – they just feel like they’d be a good fit in a Raven Guard army. Infiltrators? Good. Reivers? Good. Eliminators? Also Good! Suppressors not so much, but I can work with those models when the time comes. I’d considered purchasing some of each primarily to engage better with the local Kill Team crowd, and to practice my painting (which has atrophied somewhat in recent months – X-Wing ships aren’t particularly labour-intensive to repaint), but it was the announcement from NOVA that dragged me back towards 40k as a whole; even though it’ll be a slow process given how expensive the models are in this country!
There’s a new Shrike coming!
Old Shrike was a serviceable model; he had the Lightning Claws, he had the Jump Pack and the Grenade Launcher, and he fit nicely with any converted models that made up Shrike’s Wing (I miss that unit!). Unfortunately as things progressed, he started to look his age; the change to Finecast did him no favours, and Games Workshop did him a disservice when, after promoting him to Chapter Master in the Damocles Campaign, he retained his Captain’s statline. Early 8th Edition was a bad time to be Shrike.
Now, however, our overlords at Games Workshop have given him the Primaris Treatment alongside good old Marneus Calgar and Shrike’s White Scar Battle Buddy Kor’sarro Khan. The bandages come off, the mirrors come out, and we are given:
I have conflicting thoughts about this model. First, why is he helmetless? Ignoring the emo combover entirely (though I guess that’s now officially the Raven Guard’s “thing”); this is the man who once dove head-first into a Valkyrie’s engine to stop it taking off, why on earth is he not wearing his helmet? He’s just asking for that head to be liberated from those shoulders! Second, he’s very…busy. While I love the ammunition pouches and bandoliers across his chest, I’m not 100% sold on the massive Jump Pack with all of those extra manoeuvring jets and steering vanes. On the other hand, this isn’t the best angle to show him off from, and seeing the model in person is always the only accurate way to judge – as we know from the Storm Raven waaaay back when.
Looking at the other images posted, I start to feel better about the model as a whole; there’s a lot of detail here, the designer has really put the effort in and made excellent use of the larger model; the helmet dangling from the belt is the first Primaris Beakie we’ve seen, though I imagine it’s no larger than a standard Mk VI helm; the empty holster and feather talismans are both nice touches, as are the extra ammunition pouches on the back of the belt. The poster on the wall I can take or leave, I’m not a good enough painter to make that work properly, but I’m glad it’s there for expert painters who want to really show off their skills.
Overall, I’m pretty pleased with how the new model looks; there are changes that I’m going to be making; he’ll have a helmet, for one, and I’m not sure I’ll keep the claws on the back of his legs as they look a little odd.
I’ll be getting one, my only hope is that he’s reasonably costed both in points and in $$, that his rules aren’t hidden in some prohibitively expensive expansion book, and that his new Primaris abilities don’t suck.
I’d better get making repairs to my Marines so he actually has an army to lead when he arrives!