Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Let's play a game - Just what are space marines ?


Yup, that's what you think it is. A bunch of the new primaris models from the Dark Imperium. I'm not better or worse than any other and with painting in mind as always I wanted to test how a truescale marine would feel under a brush so I picked a few.
With little time before leaving on holidays,n I couldn't help but build them and see how they looked next to some of the rest of my models.
Now I have to say I only took them as a painting exercise at first , having absolutely no idea about how to incorporate them into a far smaller scaled setting and amongst mostly oldschool sculpts.

Just look at this comparison between one of the very first plastic marines AKA RTB01 beakie :


Yeah, no matter what we're being told, there is a significant difference between the 2 despite obvious common points. Do I want to field both along one another ? Hell no, it would look just stupid to me.

Now here's a comparison pic next to some regular human (Colony 87 Noble). Do I want to field them along one another ? Yes, I do. I've been taught Marines should be taller and bulkier, that they have most of their vital organs in pairs so does it fit ? Yes it does. The size difference does fit with the size difference you could expect between real life humans (Game of Thrones actors anyone ?) So yes, when I have my Imperial noble on a table, I'd feel more than OK to have that gigantic bloke guarding him.


Now let's push things a bit further... Here's a Primaris in MK10 armour along a Naismith Marine just to take the to ends of the line. Do I want to field them on the same table ? Well... why not ?
There's no mistaking one for another really even if most people know they're supposed to embody the same concept. But let's just remember one thing, Space marines back in the Rogue Trader days had a toughness of 3 like regular gumans and their armour was a 4+ save only (which was so often worn with an added 6+ it got retconed). Now, do I find the guy on th eright should have T3 and a 4+ save and the one on the left T4 a 3+ save and 2 wounds ? I do. it makes sense.
What made little sense was the gap between what we expected from a Space marine and how it actually looked.
I really believe the original sin lies in that moment when Space marines got boosted that way.



I'll go even further here. Just look at those C100 marines, all different, loads of character each, they're the ones you see smoking fags bent over a rhino after beating punks to a pulp. Just nothing to do with the cut and paste monsters (in proportions not look) I started with.

Picture from Solegend
Now the primaris look like that archetype of the anonymous indestructible killing machine when put next to those guys, our good old Beakies being pushed back to a sort of A-team/dirty dozen and the likes kind.
And isn't it just great ? having room for both ? Giant mutic mass produced killers along humans with all the characteristics of humans in power armour ?
I have to say it's relieved me of an issue I didn't know I had. I can now fully enjoy my C100 marines and their pathetic aesthetic without having to care about what legion/chapter/markings/whatever. And I can have a fistful of gigantic freaks on the same table !

Maybe the only common point between the guys in the 2 pics below is that they have a power armour...




Now of course scale creep never stops but I think it's fair to assume we have a bit of time before it goes too far now :



On a more pragmatic, The sculpts aren't bad at all, they do suffer from the issues you find on such kits like weird undercuts and the CAD makes a few things odd like visors aiming at weird parts and rotating purity seals... 
All in all they're pretty good honestly and they shold prove pleasant enough to paint.



Oh and I told you those guys were answering question unasked ! I didn't expect to play with the Emperor any time but look !



That can't be that bad can it ?
Maybe it's time to enjoy the 40kverse as a non monolithic place where you don't have to choose wether it's grimdark, cyberpunk, hard sci-fi or fantasy but where it can actually be a linear combination of all...
Time to take a big fistful of M&Ms and eat them without caring of the colours you picked.

30 comments:

  1. Je suis pas d'accord avec une seule chose : la couleur des M&M's c'est important.

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    1. OSEF ! (sauf les jaunes, j'aime pas le jaune)

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  2. Wise words mate - the 'old' scale never made sense with what Marines became, even as far back as Chapter Approved. The C100s make perfect mercs, proto-Marines, elite troops or whatever, but I think the newest kits just make rtb01 and the later plastics look a bit naff :-/

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  3. Huh, who would have thought of using the really old beakies as Normal humans in 40k armies today, you know, they wouldn't look out of place with an Inquistor as their bodyguards....

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    1. Now we have the choice between monsters in power armour and humans in power armour, that's a huge difference really !

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  4. I'm a little more jaded I think. I reckon the reason they are getting bigger, as with most of GW minis, is due to a large part of the market that love the teh awesome aesthetic. That's it, no master plan to get them to "fit" their image....the kids just want bigger, badder toys.

    I do agree with your logic though JB, regarding how the original lead, then plastic, marines didn't match their persona. They had woeful stats compared to what was written about them i.e. hot-rodded super soldiers.

    I suppose I'm still happy stuck in the pathetic aesthetic camp. Saying that though, I'd still happily include them in a game, but I wouldn't replace the old Beakies for them.

    Good topic for conversation JB :)

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    1. I think it's part of a bigger plan to please everyone and sell more marine (they've always been the best sellers). It's two birds with one stone here.
      Whatever the reason on their part, it's what I can do with that that's my main concern and although I'm unlikely going to paint more than those 5, I'm actually quite chuffed to have a bit more scope in my "bad ass guys in PA" tool box.

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  5. What are your thoughts on how our Chaos Marine armies fit in now A-Man?

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    1. They're mostly old renegades with so grotesque armours and look they don't have anything in common with primaris but having backpacks.
      The chaos guys are meant to be played as an army really or as villains. Primaris marines will likely be used as "opponents" as well like guards, sentinels , I want the heroes to be characterful so primaris facing renegades is just not exactly the kind of game I'm likely to want to play. C100 blokes trying to sneak into a fortress guarded by primaris or renegades, that 's more like it.

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    2. You read my mind. Those primaris aren't going to be the stars of any show especially next to the retro marines, but they'll perfectly fit the roles of anonymous giant canon fodder in many nice stories we have yet to tell :)

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  6. Nice article JB. I think we can find room for all. GW have helped us a little by making primaris a different beast to regular astartes, but we all know that marines should be seven foot tall, so they're just amending a long standing error, while giving the wee guys an out. For now.

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    1. I'm on that page really, no constraints here, just more opportunities.

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  7. Space Marines were a parody of the idea of the super-solider, and the original models suited that idea down to a tee. But the parodic nature of the setting got lost a long time ago. Maybe if I see one painted with an acid smiley and KIL markings it might change my mind, but it is in the sculpts as much as anything else.

    The Primaris are, to my mind, just bigger step-change evolution of what's been done before, bigger, more hard edges, more flat surfaces, easier to paint. The might make interesting alternative Terminators, but I find a lot of the sculpt - the pouches in particular too geometrical and cold for my tastes.

    Look forward to see how you approach the paintwork!

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    1. The parodic nature is indeed gone but it's tsill in those old sculpts, that's precisely why I wan't T3 Sv4+ guys in power armour with 5 o' clock shadows, crushing fags on the head of punks. The coldness of the new guys is exactly something that can be turned to our advantage and make them gigantic version of SW's stormtroopers.
      Painting a primaris with smileys an dKIL markings would be like Kathy Perry doing a cover of the Runaways or something like that.

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  8. I'm with Mr Papafakis on this. I've always found the marines to be the weakest element of the 40k world. There's so much strange, quirky stuff out there, that they feel a bit flat as just Huge Super Killy Men, especially since the fluff is pushing them ever closer to semi-gods. The more I play and make models, the more I prefer strange and eccentric characters rather than flawless supermen.

    That said, one thing I like about the primaris marines is that they look like a man in a mech suit, like a closed-in version of the Aliens powerloader. Strangely, I could almost imagine a normal person in there like the Fallout 4 power armour, effectively driving it.

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    1. I get your point and it's precisely that flawless supermen feel I like because as dull at is can be, it makes eccentric characters stand out, like those anonymous villains in movies. It's always a matter of contrast I believe.

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  9. I made a fistful of realscale marines some years ago, and indeed I want a few more. I've been amassing pieces for years and some day I maybe get to it, but this release broke all my plans :D
    I'm keeping (and playing whenever I get the chance!) my beakies, of course, but I also want these towering monsters to play the 'Movie Marines' rules, which for me is the proper way of using them. I mean, if they are big badass beasts, they need to have rules in accordance to that. So the plan is having a tiny army to face countless hordes of enemies!
    I don't think any of these approaches is better or worse per se, and of course they're not mutually exclusive, so everything's right in the end!

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    1. I loved those "Movie Marines" rules! Really captured the idea of a Chapter being only made up of 1000 Astartes. Else, with the standard Marine rules, how the heck would a chapter survive in the never-ending wartorn galaxy of WH40K? These Primaris definitely fit the bill with this in mind - darn you Suber, I might have to get some afterall...

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    2. The movie marines can also be a very good idea yes, it's pretty fun although it might be a joke that wears off after a few games.

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  10. I really liked this article JB and agree with all your thoughts and ideas. The old RT sculpts could represent just up-armoured Rogue Trader troops, or mercs or some such for sure.

    I feel way better about their design aesthetic now.

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    1. I really believe it's in the nature of RT to be as inclusive as we can. I do like many aspects of modern 40k but the "set in stone" background is not one of them. I prefer to play between the lines, expanding the setting with my own imagination rather than following highways.
      Thanks !

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  11. "Time to take a big fistful of M&Ms and eat them without caring of the colours you picked" O_O but the blue ones make my tongue go all bluesy ;P

    I agree with you ... these new space marines are indeed pretty good.

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  12. Have you tried doing the same with Fantasy? I did (one day I will also make a post about it with a nice chronological line of figures) and it doesn't go well... 80s Classic figures versus AoS is just silly :( That's really a bugger when you own both oldhammer and AoS miniatures but can't use them in the same game.

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    1. Some of my friends are doing AoS Skirmish bands mixing old and new at the moment and they work splendidly, they do require to pick the right guys but even Slaugtherpriets along old thugs work.

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