Right I was actually going to ignore the whole hub-bub that has somehow spread like wild fire over the past few weeks concerning Chaos Space Marines in both Warhammer 40,000 and 30,000. Why? Because quite frankly it has been done to death by so many people I thought why bother? I mean I've always struck out on my own path any way, so why change that now? Well for a few good reasons actually:
- How many people have asked over the last God knows how many years for the Horus Heresy to be brought to life in miniatures form? It's lots by the way, so it's big!
- Chaos Space Marines have been in desperate need of updating for far too long. I know many heretics out there who have been desperate for this release.
- The fact that Forge World and Games Workshop releases are so divergent in not only physical design, but also design philosophy that I find it interesting.
- I'm fed up of seeing people being told that they must be blind, either because they don't like the Chaos / Horus Heresy releases... or because they do like them.
It's also because the Horus Heresy stuff has actually excited me. So I'm going to add my own voice to the swirling mass of chatter that is out there.
|Total geek swoon moment. Can't wait for the rest of 'em!|
Firstly I need to get something out of the way right now... the Horus Heresy books are crap! They are badly written piles of turgid, fetid bollocks. The characters are two dimensional at best, but more often than not they're one dimensional as standard. They are formulaic, repetitive and totally predictable. In short they shouldn't be held in as high esteem as great literary works, like they are in some quarters of our hobby... however... like Star Wars, which is also crap, they are a guilty pleasure of mine. They are what I term 'Brain Break Books', books you can literally read with zero cognitive effort. So what if Horus is a patchwork quilt of a character, whose 'development' through the books makes no sense? His development is so badly written it actually happens in a montage... a fucking montage in book form people? I thought they only existed in 80's films? It doesn't matter though, because the child in me grew up wanting to read about the Primarchs and the Horus Heresy, and low and behold, Black Library went and did it! So to me it's never really mattered all that much that they're not Tolstoy!
|Just one more pic because he looks so badass!!!|
The only question I have is, why the hell haven't we been buying these miniatures for years? To many of us in the hobby it just seemed really dumb that Forge World and Games Workshop hadn't got their collective asses in gear and got on it already. The popularity of the Black Library Horus Heresy range of books should have been more than enough to have convinced them this was a goer. A huge cash cow waiting to be milked to within an inch of its life... yet Kabuki Models got the drop on them by nearly three years, and showed them what an utterly spiffing idea it was. How the hell did that happen? Part of the reason has been a strange relationship Forge World has had over the years with Games Workshops full design studio, and part of it is to do with how cumbersome Games Workshop has had to become as a company.
You see they approach things very differently now to a lot of smaller companies. Games Workshop just can not respond quick enough to trends and new emerging markets rapidly. Why? Well because of the lead in times involved in making miniatures the Games Workshop way. They require far more OK's from more people before they can go to full manufacture, plus the substance they choose to make the majority of their miniatures in, plastic, doesn't have the easiest and quickest of turn around times. Then there is the simple truth that they are far too big a company to just run a couple hundred of something off and be ready for a global launch. They simply work to a much different scale. I was told by somebody once in their design studio that if they cocked something up they had to live with it for at least 5 years, if not 10. They said this not only focused the mind, but also meant they were becoming risk adverse. But, Forge World doesn't have these problems, if Games Workshop would let the shackles off and just trust them... Forge World could be a quick and nimble partner, able to respond to such markets far quicker than the parent company. But, it feels like the shackles have been on for the last decade or so, that the design studio has kept a tight leash on them.
|I've wanted my Space Marine Jetbikes since... well... since Rogue Trader! Not a long wait then.|
There's always been this thing that Forge World was for the more 'mature' hobbyist. Producing miniatures the serious collector and adults would supposedly be more keen to buy, although I think it's more like they produce products for the hardcore hobbyist regardless of age. While Games Workshops aim was to mass produce accessible miniatures, at reasonable prices. The thing is Forge World were clearly quite closely linked with the design studio's aesthetic decisions and were in effect a supporting premium product. Right now it feels like this relationship is changing with these Horus Heresy era miniatures being released. Especially at the same time as the Official Studio is releasing their Tonka Toy inspired Chaos miniatures. There is a clear design break between the two product lines as I see it, with Forge World going for a grittier, and as far as possible a more realistic look. They're still being dramatic, but its the animation in the sculpts that are leading to the drama. Meanwhile the Studio Chaos miniatures are clearly shooting for a more comic and outlandish look... and dare I say it quite a childish look, or perhaps a look designed to appeal more to children is a nicer way of saying it.
|I don't like this. Looks like something you'd see in the Power Rangers... no that's not a good thing!|
I've had a suspicion for years that much of Games Workshops designs have been aimed more and more at much younger audiences. Placing the new Chaos Space Marines next to the offerings of Forge World's Horus Heresy stuff will bring this into exceedingly sharp relief.Yeah sure, they're both Space Marine toy soldiers, but even the paint jobs are very different from the studio efforts. I feel like the shackles are somewhat off. I've felt the Warhammer Forge stuff was the beginning of Games Workshop giving Forge World more slack in their leash. But allowing forge World in effect to do Warhammer 30,000 is a big step. Huge! Games Workshop has allowed Forge World to provide niche product to support Warhammer 40,000 for the obsessive gamers amongst us, I once described Forge World as 40k for investment bankers. Lets face it those Titans remain out of most peoples grasp, but they did provide weapon options for tanks and kits available from Games Workshop without the need for us to whip out the green stuff and hone our converting and sculpting skills. In some respects Forge World has been used as a test bed for nifty ideas, a sort of miniatures hypothesis factory, Forge World release it and see if it works and people like... Games Workshop incorporate it into their mainstream products. It's a symbiotic relationship that has served both well.
|Is it worth the money?... I don't know. But it looks cool.|
The Horus Heresy is different, in a way it will be running directly in competition against Games Workshops stores up and down the land. Will they be selling Forge World tanks and Primarchs? Hell no! So this is letting Forge World run with something that potentially could be leaching sales away from their shops... that's brave, and I actually applaud whoever had the guts to let Forge World do this. So what do I think of the Forge World Horus Heresy stuff so far? Well Angron has gone right to the top of my wish list, simply as a miniature to paint and plonk on a shelf he's worth it. I don't care if I never deploy him on a tabletop in anger. The Cataphractii Armoured Terminators also look all sorts of splendid, and again are something that I personally would consider buying just to paint. The Fellblade Super Heavy Tank also has a smattering of cool, but the price is way beyond me at £155, just can't justify that sort of cash, ditto the £95 Typhon Heavy Siege Tank. But I am excited by them both as products, and that's a start. There are plenty of people super excited about the Scimitar Pattern Jetbikes too, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a hankering for a few of those to paint. I'll probably make do with one and go to town on turning it into a display piece.
|Yeah so it's a Land Raider with a big gun... but that's cool... right?|
But what of the official Chaos Space Marines launch? Well I'm going to big up Games Workshop here as well, because they've finally made a promo teaser trailer that doesn't totally suck, in fact it's not bad at all:
No true it's not the best video by a games company ever TM, but lets be fair here, it is significantly better than what they've done in the past, isn't it? Well I think it is, for the simple reason that it just shows the product in detail and gives you and idea as to what the hell to expect from the products if you pre-order them. Talking of pre-orders they've already sold out of the limited edition Codex, given my Sunday Sermon this week, I guess there will be a lot of disappointed fans! Now as I said this stuff has received a lot of mixed cometary, I think Miniature Tim summed up my feelings fairly well. I've said before that I've felt Games Workshop isn't really designing product for the likes of me anymore, this is the first set of releases that I absolutely 100%, hand on heart know was not intended for my demographic.
|Probably the best of a bad bunch for me... but I'm not even sold on this.|
So what do I think of the latest batch of shot for Games Workshops Chaos Space Marines? Well does it really matter what I think? If you like them then that's all that matters as far as I'm concerned. They don't appeal to me personally, but as I've said I don't think they were meant to. Kids will probably love them though, and no that's not a dig, because that's who these are aimed at now... and well, I guess there are plenty of big kids around too! It seems to me like Games Workshop has finally decided that its kids who they were after all along and that's cool by me. If they stick with it and see it through then maybe it'll work for them, because this awkward halfway house they've been trying to run for years now just wasn't working. They have no chance in hell of keeping everybody happy in the hobby, so why the hell should they bother. Pick a market and go for it! Wisely however, they've allowed Forge World to go for another marketplace, finally Games Workshop has unleashed their not so secret weapon, lets see if they can live up to the huge expectations they've now generated. Yeah I'll be getting the Primarchs, and maybe a few other bits and bobs to paint. I was never going to get any Warhammer 40,000 so maybe this way they'll entice me to spend money of their IP again. Is that a bad thing? Peace out!