The Dark Angel stood back and watched the tank burn. He did not raise a hand to put down the crew as they tried to put out the flames that engulfed them. They had turned their backs on the Emperor, the Imperium and all of Mankind. They deserved no better than to burn in the fire of their treachery.
GW has released a new box set; ‘The Horus Heresy – Age of Darkness’ based in the time before the current 40K storylines when there were still Legions of Space Marines. The box includes a hardback rulebook and most of the stuff to play in the setting of the 30th Millenia. Yes, there are Cataphractii Terminators in the box. Yes, two special characters also, Praetors but more on that later. Yes, a tank and dreadnought. More importantly FORTY(!) BEAKIES!!!! For us old grognards that is the best thing that GW can do for us! Most of us who have played from the late 80s cut our teeth on the original Marines for the ancient ‘Rogue Trader Era’. Over the years we’ve been waiting for a new set of ‘Beakies’ to paint up and game with. Now it’s here and I have one.
I make no secret of my affection for Beakies, or more accurately Mk. VI ‘Corvus’ Armour. They were, and for some of us still are, the most iconic of Space Marines. The original Rogue Trader rulebook was full of pics of well painted lumps of lead that were kind of in scale with each other. The Beakie was a preeminent type of Marine armour as that was what SMs were supposed to look like. At the start there were no other types of Powered Armour to appear until ‘91 or ‘92 with the first of what would become Mk VII ‘Eagle Armour’. The Mk VI were also what was in the first mulitpart plastic set to be sold and they were featured in a number of pics in White Dwarf as well as most of the books published in the era. By the advent of the 2d Edition (1993) they were on their way out and by 3rd they were gone in favor of the later marks of armour. The later multi part kits of tactical squads would have parts of the Corvus armour and you could build one or two out of the box. The old Space Wolf Gray Hunters had a few more beakie helmets.
The fluff would tell you that the Mk IV armour was the most prevalent of armour types inthe latter part of the Heresy and who am I to disagree? Still, it is the Covus Beakies that I wanted rather than earlier marks that appeared in previous Heresy games. Sure they are larger than the old plastic ones from the late 80s but then the technology for molding plastic has gotten better as well as using CAD to create the minis. No issue with that. I am just glad to see new beakies, and boy, are they nice. As soon as I can clear what’s on my paint table I will assemble a squad to show off. They will be Dark Angels.
But wait. Is there a catch? Is there something that causes consternation within the ranks of the Old Gumblers? Yep, you know there is. Is it the cost? $300??? No. Seems a bit much but if you look at the price of a box of 10 minis which is probably $60, well, do the math, so no, not the cost. There is a ton of plastic that could make two small skirmish armies or one large army for HH:AoD. It has a big honking rulebook that gives background for the Heresy era along with the rules for the basic game. There are two copies of very generic force lists. The biggest issue I have with the box is that it will cost you another $150 or so to get the two army books for both factions in order to get the unique lists and traits of the Legions of the Loyalists and Traitors along with the Imperial Army and other organizations. With a hardcover rule book of 300+ pages should have had some Legion specific things. The two Praetors in the box are very much unique to the Sons of Horus and Imperial Fists as they are the two Legions on the box art. Finally a sheet of decals for the two featured Legions.
This blog was intended to be an ode to the Mk. VI Tactical Armour and its return to the game table in a big way, became a sort of review of the new box set. I have to say I’ve not yet assembled or painted up so it’s more of an ‘in box’ commentary. Also, keeping in mind that I have not played AoD or read through any of the newer ‘support books’ I would not be able to say that it is accurately ‘Two playable armies’ in the box. If anything it is a good start and I will certainly keep an open mind about what I could do to create an army worthy of the Legions. Considering the new pricing of the plastics of HH, $80 for 20 Marines, and the number of releases that are ‘coming soon’, I wonder if the Heresy will become a third (or fourth if you count the Lord of the Rings game) core game for GW…
The Space Wolf Sergeant, Wiglaf Arunssen, grunted at the Dark Angel, ‘More are on their way.’ The Angel growled back, ‘Let them. They will meet the same fate at our hands, cousin.’ Wiglaf grinned and showed his fangs.