tl;dr - It's basically what I was expecting.
At our tournament on Saturday (new codexes aren't legal the day they come out in my tourneys), I played my old Steel Rain Vulkan list under 5th edition for the last time. I went 1-3, but I was having a monster of a time with my scatter dice and Drop Pods arriving 3-4 inches off of the table. When I got home, I re-wrote the list I used using the new point values. The point totals are almost identical, but my list is now 1507 points instead of 1500. Two of my three tactical squads are 5 points cheaper, one remains the same, and my Sternguard got 17 points more expensive. However, I can definitely suffer the loss of a combi-weapon on the Sternguard to bring the list back under 1500, because as a Salamanders player, the same list is a lot beefier. I don't loose any effectiveness (flamers and meltaguns are still twin-linked), they get a buff vs. flamers, and now all of my sergeants have master-crafted close combat weapons. So for that, I am pleased.
CON I'm not entirely pleased over the impact it will have on some of my other lists, though. No more master-crafted Hammernator spam (not to say that Hammernators are bad now, but they are a bit more expensive for - in my case - less). I can no longer take Telion without also taking Ultramarines chapter tactics. In fact, 6 of the 13 named characters in the book require Ultramarines Chapter Tactics.
PRO That being said, some of my other lists are going to be cheaper and have more room for other goodies.
CON(fusion) I'm also confused a bit over the proper procedures for taking certain characters or chapter tactics:
- Chronus is an Ultramarines Tank Commander, which tells me to "see the army list." However, the army list doesn't explain what exactly an Ultramarines Tank is. I'm assuming that means a tank taken as part of a detachment that uses the Ultramarines chapter tactics, but it's not very clear.
- Can I field both Pedro and Lysander together in the same detachment? The note about successor chapters seems to indicate that I can, but I'm not 100% positive there.
- The wording about chapter tactics really make it sound like GW is overly concerned with people playing exactly the rules that coincide with the colors they've painted their models. The book's language makes it seem like my custom-built Tu'shan (which I've used as Lysander) or my custom-build Pedro (which I've used as Doc'tyr) are useless, because green marines with dragon-head symbols absolutely cannot be fielded as Imperial Fists. To which I say SUCK IT, GW.
I'm not really confused, but I can see how a lot of people will be.
CON The artwork inside the book is a bit disappointing in that there's little new. Most of the unit entries are using the color versions from the 5th Ed codex, and by most, I mean nearly every single one. Of the units that did get new pictures, Cassius, Tigirus and Lysander's pictures are cooler. Legion of the Damned and Pedro are worse. Vulkan's new picture is actually the same picture retouched to look more like the model (compare the backgrounds). And there are so many good pictures of Shrike out there, it's a wonder that GW keeps choosing the worst ones to put in the codex.
Additionally, there is no new fluff for anything from the 5th Ed codex. Copy/paste for every unit. That's pure laziness right there.
PRO Legion of the Damned are super useful now. For only 15 points more than they used to be, you can get a deep-striking, scatter re-rolling, relentless, 3++, 5-man team with a plasma pistol, plasmagun and plasma cannon THAT IGNORES COVER. Kiss your Deathwing goodbye. Now we know why GW put out 17 models for them.
CON Black Templars make no sense being in this codex. They really don't. It's obvious that they're going to put out a supplement (or, could if they so chose), so why bother clogging up the main one with their rules? The rules tweaks for a supplement would be insanely minimal, considering exactly what the BT get:
- Add three characters (who already have models).
- Add chapter tactics.
- Add crusader squads.
It would actually reduce confusion as a separate supplement, because there wouldn't be the "This is now Codex: Black Templars!" blurb, or the "We said every successor chapter uses their parent chapter's tactics... except Black Templars!" line. Toss everything into its own book and let it go.
PRO Chapter tactics are really cool, especially for being free. They add flavor without being tied to/restricted by a specific character.
HILARIOUS CON Whoever was in charge of the Centurions should probably punch up their resume. The rules are crap, the points are way too high, the models are hideous, and they're way too expensive. There is absolutely no incentive for anyone to buy them. They're not even bitz farms.
PRO Vanguards are now sanely priced with Jump Packs. A base 5-man squad now essentially gets their jump packs for free. What's even more interesting is that they move to Elites. Not fighting for a Fast Attack slot, but then again, not scoring in The Scouring.
CON Seriously, WHY CAN I NOT TAKE A DOZER BLADE FOR A LAND RAIDER?! 5-point piece of wargear keeps my Rhinos from throwing a track on a tree, Land Raider gets caught on the same tree, can't get unstuck. Tech Marines stand around like a government education blue-ribbon commission trying to figure out how to fix it. Chaos wins. THANKS OBAMA.
PRO Points costs as a whole are pretty much what I expected.
- Sternguard go down in price, but their toys go up.
- Tacticals go down in price, but to keep them the same, they pretty much stay the same price.
- Dreadnoughts go down in most configurations. Venerable Dreads got a huge price cut.
- Librarians got a huge discount
- Just about everything got a little price tweaking, typically for the better. We can stop complaining that BLOOD ANGELS AND DARK ANGELS ARE SOOOOO MUCH CHEAPER.
- Black Templar players can stop complaining about everything they've been complaining about since forever. They have new things to complain about now!
So, on the whole, a mixed bag that does very little to change the status quo, freaks out every other codex player, and will be complained about bitterly in a year despite being rather competitive.
After reading the rules for Sevrin Loth, I knew I had to try this guy out. This model was pretty awesome. The arms, backpack and pauldrons were all separate parts, so I was easily able to add the Salamanders pad. Cleaning mold lines took me all of about 5 minutes - it was cleaner than most of the new GW plastics. The only drawback is that he comes with an Honour Guard, which is essentially a command squad sprue with some Red Scorpion upgrades. I didn't want that, so I sold that off to a fellow gamer who collects Red Scorpions.
I got a little crazy with the airbrush. I wasn't initially going to have his casting hand glowing, but after I did the glow on the axe, it just felt right to match the hand. It give the model a really nice pop on the front. So now when Vel'cona gets shot out of his Stormraven, people will ooh and ahh when he chews through their lines!
Since I don't play Tau and really have no desire to start yet another army*, I really couldn't justify the rather ridiculous cost for the Riptide... but oh, what a sexy model. So I convinced my friend to let me build an paint his. And by "convinced," I mean, "asked him and he threw the box at me." Well, kind of.
The model has magnetic hardpoints to swap out all of the options - the guns, the tops of the wrists, and the tops of the jetpacks. There's also a magnetic wound counter on the base (the little chimney hanging out next to the script that some desperate guardsman scribbled on the wall).
* More on that later.
Here's the Razorshark I painted up for a friend of mine. This model was actually a lot of fun to build and paint, with one exception: It's one of the few multi-option GW models I've come across that is practically impossible to build both kits with. The guns on the quad turret on the back are used for the guns on the drones of the Sunshark, and attach in completely different ways. They're tiny, so magnets aren't really an option - anything small enough would likely not hold, and there would need to be two magnets in a tight space with two different magnetic axes. It would be easy to do if they included two sets of guns, though. Quite annoying. So anyway, this got built as a Razorshark.
The base also serves as a hull point marker. Notice that the pipe here is in a different position from the first picture? It's attached with a magnet to allow it to be moved. The three vents on the wall pieces have numerals over them, indicating the remaining hull points.
The skeins of fate seem to be pointing at Eldar in June, so I figured I'd give a rundown of the things I'd like to see in the new Codex. Obviously I have no advanced knowledge of what's going to be in it, so this isn't even speculation - this is simply what I'd like to see.
- All Aspects: Allow any number of models to be upgraded to Exarchs with access to powers and wargear. Allow Falcons as Dedicated Transports. Give me 3 different boxes that have 10 models each which can be built as Striking Scorpions/Dark Reapers, Fire Dragons/Howling Banshees and Swooping Hawks/Warp Spiders.
- Everything: Deny the witch on 5+ because they're all psychically potent.
- Phoenix Lords - unlock their aspects as Troops choices. Maybe an invulnerable save?
- Autarchs - ability to pick warlord trait instead of rolling. Some other awesome army-wide buffs. A plastic model similar to the Space Marine Captain Sprue.
- Farseers - two different farseer paths - Farseer and Warseer.
- Farseers get the current disciplines, Runes of Warding, and maybe some army-wide defensive buffs.
- Warseers get more combat-focused mind toys, 2 attacks, access to cool weapons, and maybe some area-wide offensive buffs.
- Allow each HQ slot to hold 2 Farseer/Warseers because seriously, more psykers for what should be the best psyker army in the game.
- Let them cast out of tanks because tanks are made from psychoreactive Wraithbone and you'd think they'd have figured that out sometime in the past 20,000 or so years.
- Just like the Autarch, a plastic model to let me build the Farseer I want.
- Warlocks - include powers in their price (maybe a small increase?), allow them to upgrade witchblades to direswords. Make them splittable like Wolf Guard. Plastic models.
- Avatar - Monstrous Creature-sized model, ability to take the Court of the Young King, Eternal Warrior, It Will Not Die, and have it grant Furious Charge within 6".
- Eldrad - Mastery Level 4, generates 6 powers, everything else remains the same. No, seriously, this should happen.
A Harlequin HQ that unlocks Harlies as troops.
- Storm Guardians - I don't even know what you could do to make these viable.
- Guardians and Guardian Jetbike Squads - Maybe a few more toys like special weapons and/or a power weapon or something. Other than that, they're good.
- Rangers - precision shots on 5+ and BS5. Plastic models
- Dire Avengers - Aside from the Aspect note above, Dire Avengers are pretty good as they are.
- Striking Scorpions - Give them back their first-turn infiltrated assaults.
- Howling Banshees - Give them an assault vehicle maybe? I could accept the AP3 nerf if I could get them where they're going without dying.
- Fire Dragons - Let them trade their fusion guns for Dragon's Breath Flamers. Also, some neat extra fun if they get multiple "Explodes" results when popping a tank.
- Wraithguard - Models that don't cost $15 each and come in groups of more than one. Also, make Wraithbone a 4++ and no armour save.
- Harlequins - I doubt these will change, considering they're identical in the Dark Eldar codex, but maybe a note that they count as both Eldar and Dark Eldar for all alliance purposes?
- Shining Spears - something to make them worthwhile. Also, a kit that has Warlock and Farseer parts as well.
- Warp Spider - These are actually pretty good as they are.
- Swooping Hawks - Let them assault Flyers, even if it's only on 6+, and give them something better than the looted lasrifle they currently carry.
- Vypers - Just vehicle upgrades that I'll discuss below
- Obviously a flyer or two.
- Support Batteries and War Walkers - no real need to change these.
- Dark Reapers - these are good, too.
- Wraithlords - These do very little well for what they are. They're the finest warriors brought out of slumber, and they're just OK at shooting, and not very good in assaults other than their size. Here's what I'd like to see their stats at: WS5 BS5 S8 T8 W5 I5 A3 LD10 Sv- (4++). Also, no more twin-linking for buying two weapons. Give them the ability to be really shooty or really combat-oriented. And a really cool MC-sized model would be nice.
- Falcon - As I said above, make it a Dedicated Transport for Aspects only, and give it some way to become an Assault Vehicle - like a micro Warp Gate inside it or something.
- Fire Prism/Night Spinner - Drop to BS3 (keep reading)
Wave Serpent - I'm fine with this as it is. Changes can be made with upgrades below.
Haven't seen any of these in the new codexes, which is odd. I figured at least Tau would get something, considering all the ones in the rules are completely Imperial. I'd like to see something like an ancient Warp Gate that allows the entire army to be held in reserve, allow all units to deep strike with no scatter within 12" of it, and start rolling on turn 1.
- Crystal Targeting Matrix - bring back shoot and scoot!
- Spirit Stones - should become PotMS instead of Extra Armour.
- Warrior Path pilot - Upgrade to BS4
- Scything Blades - All assaulting models take an auto-hit at S6, AP 5. If a skimmer moving 36" a turn can still be assaulted on 3+, it should at least hurt.
- Star Engines - need to come down in points now that they're just an extra 6" to flat-out.
- Holo Fields - change to granting a +1 to their cover save (6+ in the open). 4+ Jink saves would be awesome.
Now, to be fair, I've had some good success with my Eldar now that I have a good build worked out. The only problem is that there aren't a lot of good builds anymore. I'd like to see that improved.
Here's the Riptide! Not nearly done yet, but (mostly) assembled. The weapon/upgrade hardpoints on the wrists and tops of the jet packs are magnetized, as is the main gun.
And if you look very closely at the little smoke stack to the right of the window, it's in a different position than it is in the first picture - that's the wound counter! It's magnetized, and snaps easily in place when slid up and down. The verdigris effect is straight from From The Warp's tutorial, which is wonderfully easy.
I'm building and painting a Tau Riptide Battlesuit for a friend of mine, because it's a totally awesome looking model. Here's the base:
I glued the plastic in place, then built up the base with cork from a pin-board sheet. After that, I mixed fine gravel with Liquid Nails and covered the cork for a nice rough texture. Finally, I topped that off with a liberal sprinkling of large talus. Painting this base is going to be half the fun!
I started painting terrain for my FLGS so that we can have good looking battles. I've got one table's worth done so far. Nothing fancy, just highlighted grey on the top and mud brown on the bottom. I used Liquid Nails mixed with fine gravel for the basing, which gives it a rough look that models will still stand on.
I should have some half-decent shots of the whole set next week, hopefully with some well-painted armies to go with them!
After building my Salamanders Sternguard vet for the Badab Death Watch contest, I decided that I needed to have an entire kill-team. It also helps that my FLGS is running a regular kill-team event.
I've got two other built, one more halfway done, and bits for a few more. My final plan is to have around 15 of them, so that I can field them as a 10-man Sternguard squad with whatever configuration my list calls for. I'm really happy with the way this one turned out. I used the same general pose that I used on the Salamander, requiring a cut to reposition the legs. I then used some chunky Tyranid bitz for him to surf valiantly into combat on. The Stalker-pattern barrel is cut from a Scout pistol.
I've had this model since the day it came out. Before I settled on Eldar (in fact, right up until I pressed the 'order' button), I was seriously considering reviving my Crimson Fists army. I was going to go with all early-Mark armours and model the 128 remaining Fists after the Crusade of Righteous Liberation. The Anniversary model was going to be my centerpiece, Chapter Master Kardova, modeled to count as Pedro Kantor. Of course, once that didn't happen, the model sat on the shelf for months. I decided to break him out and finish him up right as a display piece.
I still went with the Kantor conversion, as I had the bitz sitting in the box. With the banner, the severed Ork head no longer fit, so I simply left it out. The joins for the arms were identical, though, which made assembly seamless. No need to GS the gaps! The Kantor bitz are still metal, so pinning was necessary, but other than that, this model was a breeze. Nicely detailed, and it looks great.