I was all ready to place a pre-order (or two) for the Dark Vengeance set, when I decided to count some pennies and think about what miniatures would be in the box and whether I really (truly) wanted them.
Sure, I've got a soft spot for the Dark Angels, as my long term readers will know. And, I'm a self-confessed heretic. So, on the surface, this starter set looks absolutely fabulous for me personally!
But then I started to think about what is in the box. Clearly the rule book contained within doesn't warrant my money -- I already got that, thanks. The rules for the Dark Angels and the Chaos Marines are a different matter -- they're tempting and may shine light on future codex releases. But again, I think I can wait for the real codex releases and therefore that doesn't interest me so much either.
Now, the miniatures. They really are awesome. The sculpts look great fully painted up and I know I'd just love to let rip on a few of them already.
Let's start with Chaos.
The chaos lord deserves a pedestal. He's wicked good in my opinion. If this kind of sculpt is a taste of the things to come, then I'm sold. The same goes for the chosen marines. They are also looking very resplendant. I could easily imagine these guys in Word Bearer iconography and colours (heck, the colours of the Crimson Slaughter chapter are pretty close already on the pre-order website). Then, the hellbrute is probably going to be one of those must-have miniatures for the future chaos codex.
On the other hand, I'm not taken with the cultists. The sculpts in themselves look good, but there's a little too much repetition for my taste (i.e. almost two of each sculpt). I can't help thinking Necromunda either. I'm fairly sure that the boxed set of cultists will be superior to these guys (or at least I hope!). Considering these guys are going to be snap-fit, the boxed set will have the advantage of pose-ability at very minimum.
Turning now to the Dark Angels.
The interrogator-chaplain is a superb model. And I think it'd be easily converted to a dark apostle (or similar) for chaos with a bit of scrubbing here and there. The company master is good, but not outstanding for me -- one for the Dark Angels fundamentalists perhaps. I really like the librarian though. The pose and sculpt are excellent -- this is really a hidden gem in plain sight. The company master is standard fare -- I like it, but it doesn't "pop" for me personally. I like the terminators -- the heresy era power fists, and legs of one terminator look great. And the poses remind me of the dynamism of the Space Hulk Blood Angels a few year ago.
The regular marine squad though, is just that for me: seen it, done it before and not very interested. Even less so with the raised iconography that implies tough conversion work to make in to other chapters. The bikes would be a nice investment if folks were interested in a ravenwing army (perhaps even White Scars with some conversion work).
Numerically, I think I'm 100 per cent taken with under half of the miniatures in the boxed set, and not in the rules so much at all. Moreover, I didn't find any mention of scenery bits in the boxed set that I was hoping would be in there (recall the crashed lander in 4th edition). I was really hoping for some chaos and/or Dark Angels themed scenery not available elsewhere ... and maybe cowls and robes on the regular marines since the Dark Angel veteran miniatures are so cool. Financially, that means that I'd be buying the boxed set for (probably) one third of its contents, maybe less. Although I could sell the parts I'm not interested in, it seems like a bit of extra effort ... as I suspect that many folks will like the same miniatures as me. So, I've pretty much decided to save the pennies and wait for the big codex releases. But that's just my personal take on things. I'm sure the boxed set will sell like hotcakes and will be a humongous hit overall.