|Truly the crux of all Space Marine armies, the venerable Tactical Marine.|
Now that Adam and I are working on assembling a small force of Alpha Legion Space Marines, I have been thinking a lot more about Space Marines in power armor (it has been years since I have worked with anything other than Terminators, he he). And in a quest to find parts to make unique looking Astartes, I decided I should really take a look at the new Tactical Squad that was released with the 6th edition Space Marine Codex. And while one might be quick to point out that the lowly Tactical Marine has been around for ages and therefore the kit is probably not the place to look for “unique” parts, from glancing at pictures online it was clear that the kit received a major overhaul and was more than simply a reorganization of the same parts on sprues. As luck would have it, a friend of mine recently gave me one of the new boxes, so I thought I would give my impressions of it and how it changes and improves upon a classic.
Whenever Games Workshop releases a new Space Marine codex, you can rest assured that there will be a flood of new models to go along with it, but they have not all been created equal over the years (sometimes with models being remade simply for the sake of remaking them). Therefore, I would not have put it past GW to simply recut the same Tactical Squad sprues they have been recycling since the release of the 3rd edition of Warhammer 40k, adding only the bare necessities (like the new special weapons, i.e. grav gun). Fortunately, Games Workshop has given the humble Tactical Marine the justice they deserve, and has completely redone the models, improving the classic kit in virtually every way.
|Even at a glance, it is clear that things have changed a great deal since the last rendition of the Tactical Squad.|
When first removing the sprues from the box, I was immediately struck with how crisp all the details look. All of the pieces have sharp clean edges, rather than the dull rounded ones of the past. The sprues are also well organized and overflowing with parts. There are 10 sets of grenades, 10 purity seals (all of which are very thin and unobtrusive, a far cry from the older variants). There are obviously 10 bolters, but each is subtly different from the next. They also include one of each special weapon (including the new grav gun). The classic 3rd edition missile launcher returns, but this time comes with the devastator backpack that has an ammunition hopper on it and a little servo arm for loading the rockets (the set of 3 rockets to mount to the side of the missile launcher itself has even been modified to include a frag, krak, and even one of the new flak missiles!). The sergeant model has a host of options as well, being able to chose from a bolt, plasma, or gav (which is surprisingly compact and excellent looking) pistol or a combi weapon. The combi weapon is neat in that it comes in two parts, the bottom is a compact bolter fixture, while there is a portion on the top where the special weapon mounts. Amazingly, these special weapon pieces were actually scaled down, better reflecting their single shot capacity and look much more reasonable as a result (they open up a fair deal of conversion opportunity for use in making Imperial Guard special weapons that look like they could actually be held by a human). There is also a closed powerfist, a chainsword, and a very nice looking power sword that actually looks thin and sharp.
|The missile launcher backpack first seen when the Devastator squad was produced in plastic is included in the kit.|
|They included an impressive array of weapons, including a much improved modular combi weapon.|
Although it is a more subtle element, possibly my favorite aspect of the new kit is how they improved the models’ hands. The most obvious change here is that the hands are directly attached to their weapons and cut at the wrist. This makes assembly of the models dramatically easier and looks more uniform. But more impressively, they finally fixed the cupped hands that attach to the foregrip of the bolter. Before, the palm and fingers were awkwardly thin, preventing them from effectively being used for anything other than their intended purpose. Now they have thickened them, making them a lot more desirable for conversions (this is particularly noticeable in Forge World Space Marines). Excitingly, they also included a host of additional hands, including one holding a grenade, a bolter magazine, and a combat knife. These hands look excellent, with the fingers sculpted to look natural and believable. Rather than holding the knife in an clumsy fist, the fingers are clenched in a tight yet fluid grip. Although small, these elements really show the thought and care that went into the models.
|Finally you do not need to rely on the bolter-gripping hands to give a Marine a combat knife or an auspex!|
|Three "beakie" helmets! Even with one styled after the classic Rogue Trader Crimson Fist cover!|
|Two MKVI Corvus breastplates and a MK8 Errant breastplate are included in the box.|
|As well as giving you a wide array of different styled and posed legs, they even include a single pair of MKIV legs.|
|Left: new Tactical Marine. Right: Forge World MKIV Marine. When looking at the legs, GW's plastic legs are far superior.|
- Eric Wier