|Plastic Space Marines have come a long way from their humble beginning.|
The moment Forge World began releasing Heresy era Space Marines, I was thrilled. Their first release was a redesigned version of MKIII ‘Iron armor’, reminding me of those lovely Rogue Trader pewter models. Forge World have since redesigned most of the old variants to fit with aesthetic of the modern plastic space marines. Despite this, I have always had a few reservations about these new renditions of the power armor variants. Much of this revolves around the extremely awkward leg posing of some of the models and their unusually thin, ‘stretched’ legs and arms. This gives many of them a ‘spindly’ scarecrow-like appearance, very much at odds with what I typically envision when thinking of Space Marines. It is interesting to note that this actually harkens back to the original plastic Rogue Trader Space Marines (but the Forge World models are missing the old school charm and nostalgia). This thin, spindly look also makes the feet of the marines look comically large when compared to the standard plastic Space Marines. All of the FW’s variants, aside from MKIII, have this weird misproportion to them, something that detered me from buying many of the FW basic infantry (aside from the aforementioned MKIII armor that actually looks suitably bulky, without distended knees).
|When compared to the plastic marine on the left, the resin ones from Forge World have much thinner legs and arms.|
|When viewed from the back, some of the awkward proportions become even more apparent (red arrows). Owing to the extra armor plates, the MKIII armor is much better balanced and lacks most of the problems seen with the other Forge World armor variants.|
|Thankfully all of the awkwardly thin and positioned legs seen on the Forge World MKIV armor is not seen on these new plastics.|
I am pleased to say that having seen the pictures of the new MKIV plastic sprues, most of my hopes where answered. When looking at the sprues, it is pretty clear that they redesigned the current 40k tactical squad box to contain all MKIV armor. It appears to still be three sprues, containing most of the relevant options. Importantly, it contains 10 pairs of MKIV styled legs that do not look stretched and thin, as well as over 10 of the broad-plated MKIV breast plates. Excitingly (and expectedly), they also include 10 of the older style backpacks (the FW resin ones were always a nightmare of mold shifts). There are a large assortment of plain, crisp shoulderpads; some might be disappointed to see that there are only 4 studded ones, however. There is a single flamer, meltagun, and plasma gun (all with the FW/Rogue Trader designs). Absent are any Volkite weaponry or grav weapons (possibly a way to make the box more suitable for both 30k and 40k?). Like the 40k box, they also include a missile launcher (one of the old magazine loaded, shoulder mounted ones!). Additionally they include one of the neat FW styled underslung heavy bolters. Notably, instead of recycling the 40k bolters, they give you 10 Tigrus pattern ones along with a single pistol (although this might be my least favorite of the FW bolter variants, it is still cool to see them in plastic).
|All of the Space Marines in the kit appear to be suited in MKIV Maximus armor. This decision helps reinforce the notion that in the times of the Heresy there were vast legions of marines all outfitted in the same fashion.|
The sprues also looks to contain a lot of other neat parts. They include seven holstered bolt pistols (and an empty holster!), and a single combi-weapon that maintains the two part assembly like the new 40k ones, but maintains the FW aesthetic. There is also one of FW’s more compact plasma pistols. Two powerfists are included, with a separate claw piece that can be added to create a lightning claw (another nod to FW). Another neat inclusion is a set of 10 single-edged swords. Interestingly they look a lot like the combat daggers from the standard plastic marines resized into swords (or the large blades carried by the Catachan Imperial Guard). They all look to be held in a simple sheath to be attached somewhere to the marines, apparently taking place of the traditional combat daggers. This is an exciting addition, however I would have liked to have had the option of the smaller daggers (it would not be too hard to get them from another kit, though). Aside from the sheathed swords, the kit has a single chainsword and an excellent power sword with a Roman gladius look to it.
|All of the weapons seen in the kit closely mirror their Forge World resin counterparts.|
And if the plastic MKIV armor was not enough, a single plastic character sprue was also leaked. The sprue looks to contain two character models, a Praetor suited in Cataphractii terminator armor and the other in MKIV power armor. The marine in terminator armor is equipped with what appears to be a combimelta and a chainfist. The MKIV armored guy looks to be a Consul with the Chaplain specialization, evident by his Crozius Arcanum. Like the more recent plastic character models Games Workshop has been producing, each of the models was designed to be assembled in a single pose. Based on how the individual pieces are cut for the models on the sprues, reposing them will require a fair amount of conversion and greenstuff work. Both models also have cloaks making conversions even more tricky. It will be interesting to see if they have more plastic character models planned, because there is a huge list of character types in Horus Heresy (Master of Signal, Primus Medicae, Siege Breaker, Moritat, Librarian, Forge Lord, Legion Champion). I imagine they would stick to the more common character types however such that there is more overlap with the 40k community.
|As with all the other character models in recent memory, these ones are single pose models.|
There are still many unknowns with these plastic Horus Heresy marines. Will it be a stand alone release, or does Games Workshop plan to start making plastic versions of many of the basic infantry models to remove strain from Forge World, so they can focus on creating larger tanks, Chapter-specific models, and characters? Likewise, will they be packaged up and sold as a new game, or will they simply be released to supplement the current 30k and 40k games? I could see it going either way, and see merits with each. Regardless, I feel it is an exciting time for new and old players. With these new plastics, it seems much more likely that I might actually get that fledgling Alpha Legion army into a playable force. I am Alpharius!