Thursday, April 9, 2015

The New Mechanicus - A review (part 1)

Like a bolt from a transuranic arquebus, the Adepts Mechanicus have finally landed on gaming tables the world over. As someone who has had a long-term interface with the Cult of the Machine God, I've been asked by a few folks what my thoughts are abut these recent GW releases. I figured it might be fun to put together a series of quick review articles that covered my thoughts and feelings on each product released. 


First up, I'll cover my thoughts on the AdMech Skitarii boxed set - makes either Rangers or Vanguard.

For a long time, hobbyists with an interest in conversions have been converting the foot soldiers of the AdMech, the Skitarii. Although descriptions have varied through various background sources and pieces of official artwork, these hobbyists (myself included) haven't strayed far from the look of red-robed warriors with bionic legs (easiest limbs to remove/replace) and hoods with cog trim. Companies that specialize in conversion bits have stuck pretty close to that look as well in their creations of Steel or Iron Brotherhoods.

I figured that the reluctance of GW to explore their iconic (and mostly unique to GW) imagery of the AdMech was because they hadn't yet decided the best way to portray these foot soldiers. Descriptions in more recent Horus Heresy novels have them looking very feral, with a lot of beast/beetle descriptors. I was looking forward to seeing those vague descriptions being rendered in hard plastic.

Obviously, however, I was wrong. GW decided that hooded guys in red robes with bionic legs was the way to go. I'm a little disappointed they weren't something else.



Having said all that I must point out that I am quite happy with what they are (hey, I converted a bunch of guys that look similar, so there's obviously an appreciation of the look). My 20 or so models are armed with a variety of weaponry, almost all of it fairly short, almost carbine-sized rifles, so I think they'll become my first two Vanguard units.

This means I'll be able to turn the three boxes of Skitarii I bought into Ranger units. Once I've seen the Skitarii and Cult Mechanicus codexes, I'll know if I should do all three, or if I could save one box to start turning into a new rifle section for my Vostroyan-based Solar Auxila army.

Ever the converter, I think that it'd be pretty straightforward to replace the lower legs with boots from plastic Cadians, cult and cast up a number of heads with furry hats, shave off the cog from the breastplate and equip them with the galvanic rifles (which look great!) Sure, it's a bit of work, but that's how I like to roll. Of course, you could simply use them with the Vanguard heads, galvanic rifles, and paint them a color other than red to represent a cool Solar Auxilia regiment. The heads from Empire Pistoliers would also work really well for a fancy look. Also, if you get enough sets (or trade for the weapons) the plasma calivers would be great as volkite chargers for a Veletaris Storm Section.

Speaking of 30K, these Skitarii would also work well as Tech Thralls in a Mechanicum list. Ten thrall from FW currently runs about $60 in the US, 10 plastic Skitarii are $40.

So, not a bad start to the Adeptus Mechanicus release into the world. The Skitarii are certainly lovely, not quite what I was hoping for, but lovely none the less. I'll rate them at 7 cogs out of 10.

Cheers
Dave

18 comments:

  1. A few reviews I've read today say that the ability to swap legs and torsos is very limited due to the long clothing. Is this something you've found as well?

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    1. I haven't put any together yet, but I think the other reviews you've read are probably spot on. Looking at the legs, they appear to have areas that are "flattened" where the robes would "connect". Originally I thought it would be fairly easy to replace the legs with legs from, say, Victoria Miniatures, but I don't think that would be as easy as most would like.

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    2. That's a shame, but not entirely unexpected

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  2. I've been waiting for feral looking skitarii for so long that unreasonable expectations had built up. I hear you when you say you don't dislike these, I don't either, these are solidly OK. I wish GW had aimed higher. I've been thinking about de-legging these as well to make some death guard aligned auxilla.

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    1. Yeah, you know where I'm coming from. These feel like a soft option. But will work well in many varied applications.

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    2. I was also looking forward to the feral looking Skitarii that Dan Abnett pioneered in Titanicus. A bit of a let down. These are just kind of vanilla.

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  3. Personally I think these are great models. I don't really see the basic infantry as the tooled up, hardly human and feral looking beasts. In my book that fits better with praetorians and servitors of various types. I see the basic infantry man as a hightech soldier, tooled up techwise and with a few augments to make them superior to a standard human. I'm not a fan of robed heads for a basic trooper, reserving that for the priesthood, but I can see it fitting the idea of a ranger type fighter.
    You know I'm all in for the twisted machine and flesh mash, and I really hope that we'll see the real codex soon, and some evil looking constructs at that time.

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    1. Think there are a lot of different ways you can go with Skitarii, possibly as varied as the number of forge worlds out there. If this is where GW wants to set their "basic trooper" level, then that's fine ; )

      If rumors are to be believed, there be a Codex: Cult Mechanicus in the next few months : )

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    2. Think you are right, there will be as many different "styles" of warriors as there are forgeworlds or perhaps even as many as there is Magi highranking enough to have there own force.
      And I believe that rumour - very much.... ;)

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  4. I think these models are really quite good. The vanguard really remind me of WW1 bavarian infantry with longcoats. Almost like an admech version of the Death Korps of Kreig.

    When designing the basic infantry, one has to mind the silhouettes. Anything diverging from the human form makes it less like a soldier...

    Honestly, anything that was like a beast/bettle descriptor would have veered too close to necron territory. I'm glad they stuck with very human forms, and I'm not sure what they would have accomplished by doing anything less then their iconic admech stuff. If they had delivered something other than iconic, well...it wouldnt have looked like admech stuff, would it?

    The only thing I really have to complain about, is the small-ness of this release. Looks like it will be, Skitarri, Dunewalker, Ironstrider, and Sicarians. Where's the HQ? Where's the rest of the army, in fact?

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    1. I'm not sure I agree with you about the "diverging from the human form" comment. If any army in the Imperium could diverge from an immediately obvious human form, it would be the AdMech. They don't have to worry about their armies inspiring the populace, there armies don't really fight for humanity, but rather to acquire more knowledge and jealously guard it.

      As for the release size, I think this is much more like the Tempestus Scions release. A few boxes and a mini-dex that can act as allies for Imperial armies. Later on there'll be a Codex: Cult Mechanicus (if rumors are to be believed) where I'd expect to see more units and HQ-style models. It's probably just GW experimenting with different release styles to see if there's a marked difference. Just my guess ; )

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    2. Totally get that. Though i think its less about the fluff and more about appealing to customers. People tend to get more into things they can relate to, I guess. I dunno, just firing from the hip.

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    3. Yeah, I think that's totally the reason GW went for this approach, and it therefore leads to my suggestion this was the soft option : )

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    4. Can't wait to see what you do with all these models, Dave. Esp the walkers...Do you think we can expect some Skitarii with domed glossy black faces? Hope so...

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    5. Hmmm, I hadn't really thought of that. I expect the Dark Eldar Wyche heads could work well. I might have to use them on my Sicarian Rustalkers...

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  5. I'm with you Dave in wishing that GW would have aimed a little higher with this release. They are nice, solid miniatures but don't really tap into the gothic, tech-horror aesthetic that is so evocative in the art and literature. When I think of Mechanicus I envision something far more transhuman and disturbing, but going beyond the safe boundaries is not something you expect from GW these days.

    Nonetheless, all this being said, I look forward to seeing your efforts with these.

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    1. "transhuman and disturbing" - words to live by, I think, Curt!

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    2. Transhuman is an excellent word. I'll have to remember that!

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