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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Meanwhile...

Well, Tony had things to do today, so we couldn’t get in our regular weekly GM’s scheming session. Still, we’re getting together to play some games later in the week, so that’s OK.

We did meet up in town though, and ended up in the local GW. Money changed hands as ever, and I ended up walking out with a box of the new plastic assault marines. These are hardly news to 40K fans, but I’ve somehow managed to miss the sight of them on the shelves for I don’t know how long. Really- I don’t know. The thing is you see that GW had such a large stock of the 3rd ed space marine plastics that none of the new 40K4 plastics were being put out on the shelves until the old stock had shifted. So I guess I’d just gotten used to going into my local GW knowing that none of the new stuff that I was interested in would be available.

Anyhoo, I got my hands on the new box today. What do I think then? Pretty damn good, all in all.

What GW have been doing with their 40K4 plastics range is largely rationalisation. I mean to say: the 3rd ed. plastic assault marines came something like this:
  1. 5 separate leg and torso sprues, each with head and 2 accessories
  2. 5 separate sprues with chainsword, bolt pistol, plasma pistol and shoulder pads
  3. 5 separate sprues with jump packs.
The new assault marine pack comes with just 3 sprues. Between them they contain all the parts noted above, with the following additional parts:
  1. 5 regular torsos and backpacks- so you can make assault marines without jump packs (or veteran/HQ squads with BP/CCW) should you wish
  2. 19 additional accessories, ranging from a new power fist and combat shield to enough grenades fully to kit out the entire squad.
That’s a total of 34 additional parts.

All in all this is very impressive, being just yet another example of how GW continues to provide a multitude of extra parts with which even the newest modeller can start to build a serious bits box. This has long been one of the company’s strengths, and remains something which improves with each new release.

That said, I do have some complaints about this set. The first is the casting quality. I have for a year or two now been of the opinion that GW’s production schedule is forcing them to overwork their venerable old casting machines. This speculative opinion is sustained by the flash on the set before me. The mould lines are very marked in places, and one of the standard backpacks has flash fully 1mm deep in addition. This is not good, and GW should be doing better.

My other complaint is minor compared to this: despite the generous allocation of extra accessories, and some brand new parts (plastic right-handed powerfist- yay!), the leg parts in this kit remain the same as ever. I find this disappointing. There are 2 new legs available already in the other new space marine plastic sets released for 40K4. So why then are there no new leg parts in this kit? Likewise, I would’ve liked to have seen some variants on the ‘left arm straight’, ‘right arm bent’ pattern established by the 3rd ed. assault marine kit.

That’s about it really.

So, to sum up: this is a kit that fans of space marines old and new will be wanting to get their hands on. It contains a generous allocation of extra stuff making it more worth its purchase price than its mere 5 figures might at first seem, although some might still shrink from spending up to £3 for plastic minis. And it contains some of those priceless new parts that online space marine fans have been clamouring after for simply ages. It’s just a shame that there weren’t more of these.

3.5/5 (Negs for casting and the new parts that weren’t there.)
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