Monday, July 1, 2013

Model Review: Space Marine Masters of the Chapter

So with the new edition of Apoc, GW released 4 more "masters of the chapter" to represent the captains of the 5th, 6th, 8th and 9th Companies of Space Marines and with the original set (which covered 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 10th Company), you have almost the entire chapter covered.

Now I am not going to review the positives/negatives of finecast. Finecast is here to stay, whether you like it or not, and all models are going to be released in finecast if they are not part of a plastic kit.

First I am going to start with the old Masters, from the first Apoc release. You'll see why soon.

Look at these guys. They are pretty awesome IMO. They are as ornate as a captain, or even chapter master if you so chose to use them as such, should be. Great details and functional form. They also are very nicely equipped and give you sometimes hard to model/bit options otherwise, such as the thunderhammer and stormshield. I also love that you can swap the heads for helmets. Each one is true to the role they are intended to fill in the chapter without really over doing it in any absurd fashion. One model has great motion while the rest are really static. HOWEVER, the static feature of the one with the shield carriers an air of stalwart defence, while the others have a sense of stoic superiority and wisdom of command, so it works. And lastly, they are very clearly equipped with a specific weapon. Now the formation doesn't (or at least it didn't, we will see if that changes) require specific weapons loadouts, so you could use whatever models you wanted as SM captains, but these guys fit the role and are usefully equipped for a Character. By that I mean Characters should have a good CC loadout. That is where their boosted stats are most worth the cost. 1 shot at BS5 is nice, but is it worth the +100 points you paid for it?

Now lets start with what I think is the best of the new Chapter Masters
This guy is the new Lord Executioner. I will probably grab one for my Blood Angels at some point. He is pretty sweet and can make a great captain or vanguard vet, no problem. I like him for all the reasons that I liked the original masters. He is appropriately detailed, clearly defined and clearly equipped. Okay, maybe not the clearest, but it can only be 1 of a 3 things: Power Axe, Glaive Encarmine, or Relic Blade, and two of those aren't even in the same codex, so really just one of 2 things. So as I said, well designed. They even made an Iron Halo that doesn't look like it is an extra bit. It belongs. My one complaint is the chest. I never was a fan of the harnesses for Jump Packs, but that is an aethstetic thing and personal preference. A little static of a pose, but there is a hint of movement, it has logical flow, and  anything more dynamic may have prevented the high level of detail work. Finally, he has a feel of grim determination that fits with the old masters and is well suited to someone titled "Lord Executioner".

From here on out we go down IMO
This is the new Master of Relics. As far as being a captain goes, I am not a really big fan. As I said before, I believe captains should be equipped for the CC department. A Combi-plasma means that this expensive unit is shooting a bolter all game except 1 turn. Whoopee. I guess it is nice if you really wanted to equip you captain as such, but who does? Furthermore, what SM player doesn't have a combi-weapon bit floating around. I will say however you at least know what he is equipped with. Overall, he is less ornate and the servo skull and satellite dish are just a bit odd, but not overdoing it and not too ugly. They are appropriately "grim dark" I guess.  A tunic would have been nice and keeping in tradition with captains and given it more of that ornate feel. This model is ever more static that the last, but does not manage to capture the stoic nobility of the old masters. He just looks grumpy. His head actually looks like Darth Vader with his helmet off, rather than a paragon of mankind.
I actually think I will grab this model too, but not for a Captain. Sorry, but this guy is getting a demotion- Devastator Sergeant. IMO he is perfect for this role. His armour is of the appropriate level of ornateness for a veteran, he is equipped well for a Devastator Squad, as it will be static and shooting the whole time, so a plasma shot and bolter support is entirely appropriate there. I could also see, maybe with the removal of the servo skull and radar dish, the use of the model in a Sternguard squad as well.

This is the new Master of Marches. IMO if you get one, paint him entirely in bronze or stone and mount him to terrain, because that is the most useful application of this mini. Makes him some sort of PA system for a town square. His armour is actually nicely ornate and befits a captain, but those weird speakers and the cherub with scroll is more befitting the parade ground rather than battlefield, and last I checked this was Warhammer 40k, not chapter wide inspection 40k or pass and review 40k. He just doesn't fit on the battlefield. As well, they turned his scepter/baton into a cane. He should be hold it high, marshaling his troops forward, not leaning on it like a crutch. Compare it to the old master with his sword downward. He at least looks to be in contemplation after/before a fight, ready to don his helmet and heft the sword at any moment to march to battle. And this new guy doesn't convey that. For that matter, what is he ever equipped with. A pistol. Is the baton a power mace? It doesn't look it. It looks like a cane. As for it being static, it isn't as noble as the old masters, but I will say with the cherub and scroll, he at least fits what he is doing. Though he seems to be reading a boring text rather than a fiery oratory. Overall not a poorly sculpted model, and rather nice looking. Just some poor choices that make him useless for gaming and those speakers as just really weird. Don't SM all have earpieces/helmet comms? Why does he need those?

This is the new Master of Rites. Just pass on this guy. Just pass. He fails in all aspects. First, if you do get him, do yourself a favour and just don't mount the Servoskull PA system. It just doesn't work. Incorporate it into your terrain or a vehicle instead. Now lets look at the model. He does look like a captain, but a poorly done one. Once again, just like the Master of Marches, what is with the speaker. Why do SM need that. And in adding it, they ruined the Iron Halo. Where the Lord Executioner's Halo looks cool and integral to the model, this looks like a weird bit added to the back. Now I want you to scroll up to the old masters and look at the one holding his tunic and then come back to this guy. Now the old one has a look of arrogance in the way he grips his cloak. This guy seems to be holding his up to keep it out of a puddle or something. It is just weird and inappropriate for the battlefield. And speaking of battlefield, what are this guys weapons. Once more a pistol. That's it. That is not a power mace, that is for sure. Maybe if they had doubled the size of the icon so it was more like a Crozius that chaplains use, but this is just come sort of sceptre. As well, it is rather static, but not in a good way. He seems to be just casually pacing while yelling at the top of his lungs, likely screaming "WHERE IS MY SWORD! WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THIS THING?" He has none of the nobility of the old models, nor functionality of form of the other 3 new ones.
This guy would work if you were modelling a diorama of a chapter mass in their fortress monastery, walking down the aisles during processional or to give a benediction. But otherwise there is nothing. He is $22 of finecast that would be better spent on this:
At least these guys look cool on the table and clearly fought in a battle.
Overall GW strayed from the originals and the air of coolness and functionality they captured. They tried to make these new guys "Blanche-jitsu" and in doing so, ruined 2 models. The first one is great IMO and the second has its uses, but I just don't get what the sculpters were thinking with the last two. They need to be useable in games of 40k as well, not just Apocalypse.