Thursday, 30 August 2012

Colours Of Vengeance - Chaos Space Marines


A different article from the previous Dark Angels piece, this is far more about what army the Dark Vengeance force will go into than my specific plans for the models. In terms of army planning it's in effect the step previous to that article, and should hopefully serve to help me decide which Legion(s) to collect.

The Dark Angel force in Dark Vengeance only fits one army, without undertaking some serious conversions and alteration. Even a successor chapter would have a lot of work to do removing the Dark Angels symbol from the models. The Chaos force on the other hand could be used for a far wider range of forces, all falling under the CSM banner, and it's that that I want to start off by looking at.

One of the issues, of brainstorming forces at this point in time is that, if you believe the rumours, Chaos Space Marines are getting a new Codex this/next month (although it's not made the pages of White Dwarf, so it'll be hitting the shelves pretty much out of the blue if it does seem a September launch),  which will see new rules and new models for the force. It would seem that the book will encompass all the Legions, rather than the previously rumoured split into two books. In light of the allies rules it's going to be interesting to see how Daemons are handled, as part of the list, coming in through icons, or only through the allies rules. Looking to the future how Forge World's Horus Heresy series ties in will be something to watch for as well. But I digress.

I'll try and stay centred around the models from the Dark Vengeance set, but expect some deviation. Looking back during editing, expect huge deviation.

Let's start with the big four Legions. Which I'll be illustrating with their "cult troops", but first these classics from Jes Goodwin


For those of you needing an succinct idea of what is in the Dark Vengeance here's a picture made up from the pictures on the GW site. Enbiggen for the loveliness up close and huge.



As impressive as the models are, they are more weighted towards a cultist army, rather than a Chaos Space Marine force. However it's the Chaos Marines that'll be the focus of armies built from this core so it's the six Chosen that will be focused on below. Given their weaponry and heavily detailed armour they're never going to be rank and file troopers, and are likely to always stay as Chosen or Squad leaders. That's no excuse for not fitting in with the fell/look/style of a larger force though. Time to go through the list, starting with Khorne's favourite sons...

World Eaters

The Chosen models suffer from having too many bolters and not enough chain axes for the disciples of Khorne (although the Chosen with an axe has a Khornate feel). They are also overly embellished for my liking for Beserkers. The Hellbrute would be a nice fit, although probably wants the melta swapping for another combat weapon.The Lord is a bit on the static side for a worshipper of the Blood God, although I'd certainly be stealing his pelt for a conversion. The cultists are just going to end up as skulls for the skull throne at the end of any engagement, and could probably be slanted towards Khorne easily enough, although I'd be keen to use different models to represent a Blood Cult dedicated to Khorne instead, that said though the Heavy Flamer wielding cultist is screaming out to have a chainsword blade replace the flamer barrel to make a real horror movie model (especially if you add the "drum" from the zombie kit) as a face-mask.

Death Guard

As with the worshippers of Khorne it's the detail on the armour that seems too much. Devotees of Nurgle should be covered in sores, not baroque detail. The armour Mk also seems wrong for the Death Guard, lacking the slit visors and single horns that work so well with them.With a bit of work on the Lord's armour with greenstuff, and reducing him to a single horn, you could make a good Sorcerer though. The Hellbrute would need a lot of GS to give it a suitably diseased feel, as despite it's mutations the lines are still too clean for something corrupted be Nurgle.

I'm undecided about the level of conversion you'd need to put into the cultists, or if a suitably messy colour pallet would work. Zombies and Nurgle do seem to go together a little to often. But that's probably because it works so well.

Emperor's Children

The Emperor's Children possibly the best fit of all the marked Legions to the models in the set. I think minor conversions would be all that is needed to turn the models into worshippers of Slaanesh, if any were needed at all, provided you wanted the models armed as they are. The Lord isn't perhaps such a good fit, as I'd want something more elegant as the leader of a Slaaneshi force. Likewise with the Hellbrute, it just feels too monstrous for the Lord Of Pleasure.

While the Chosen may fit, the Cultists, on the other hand, lack the style I'd expect from the decadent followers of Slaanesh, and I think with all the converting will in the world they're simply starting from the wrong point to bring them into line with the image in my head.

Thousand Sons

Of all the marked Legions Thousand Sons have the most distinct look. While I can see some of the helms being useful for sorcerer conversions, the models just don't fit. The Hellbrute also seems far removed from the Thousand Sons, although with some conversion the Lord could work.The Cultists lack either the mystic or mutated feel I'd want from worshippers of Tzeentch, although some could be bought into that twisted fold with a bit of work.

Undivided Traitor Legions

My thoughts on the Undivided Legions are influenced by a number of things. The background fluff that was presented many many years ago now in Index Astartes in White Dwarf, and modified by the last Codex, plays a big part. The models and peoples interpretations and conversions also make a difference. And this also plays a part. By John Blanche, and in this case, from White Dwarf 266.




Black Legion

As seen in White Dwarf, and Online, the models work well in the Black Legion scheme. As the big name Legion I'm surprised the Dark Vengeance set hasn't featured them instead of the Crimson Slaughter. I'm prejudice against Black Legion because of their sheer ubliquity, and that no one has risen through the ranks to challenge Abaddon's failure to conquer the galaxy after 13 Black Crusades. I'll be avoiding the Black Legion.

Iron Warriors

Much like the Death Guard the base aesthetic of the Iron Warriors is too spartan for the styling of the Chosen in the set.While Cristian Bryne made a utterly gorgeous job of building an army of them in White Dwarf, as chronicled in Will Of Iron, UK White Dwarf 294-296, they just don't push my buttons. The cultists don't fit in with Iron Warriors for me, and the Hellbrute is a little too heavy on flesh, although he does look like a huge Oblitorator.

Word Bearers
Picture taken from Team Stormbolter featuring some very nice painting and conversion work.

Of all the undivided Legions the Word Bearers have possibly the best fit with the Dark Vengeance set. The Lord doesn't quite gel, but otherwise things are spot on, (although they need a few more twisted purity seals etc for my tastes) especially of you promote the Chosen champion to a Dark Apostle with a bit of conversion work. The cultists fit nicely too. The issue will be, as discussed way up top, how daemons work with the CSM book, as Word Bearers should be amply supported by the denizens of the Warp. I'm on the fence about Word Bearers, as the book thumping rubs me the wrong way. 

Alpha Legion


Image from Jarhead on CoolMiniOrNot

I remain unsure about the Alpha Legion, and judging by the galleries on CMoN, and elsewhere so does the rest of the community. That being said though the Dark Vengeance miniatures have been painted up in their colours for this month's White Dwarf. Blue highlighted with green still looks wrong though.

While I think the Chosen models work for them well enough, they seem too twisted to Chaos for a Legion operating outside the Eye of Terror. I thing the Alpha Legion would be far closer to loyalist Marines in stylings, with a feel of a slightly patchwork force, without seeming ramshackle, if that makes sense.

The cultists also seem too overtly chaotic, as I imagine Alpha Legion converts to be far more organised, far better equipped, and more subtle.

Night Lords

Depending on how far you run with the skull and wings aesthetic then the models could be a good fit. As demonstrated by the slightly naff look of the models above it is very much a case of less is more. You shouldn't laugh at terror troops.

From an army building point of view the question is how much access Nigh Lords will have to jump packs and if that'll mean conversions for the Chosen. Otherwise the models fit well, and the Hellbrute works as an instrument of fear.

The cultists fit the Night Lords quiet well, and I can't see much needing to be altered about them. As with so many of the Legions listed above it's the Lord that doesn't work for me. 

Traitor/Red Corsair

Ultimately I think the models are too chaotic to represent a fallen chapter, as such a force needs far more of the feel of a true Chapter to emphasise the corruption. If the kit was multi part rather than snap for then you could combine models, but as things are that'd be a mammoth undertaking.The models above are some of GW's Red Corsairs, and to my mind they do look too far gone to Chaos.


Conclusion

I think writing this has seen me fall to Chaos, certainly I've got the idea for more than one force. I'm not sure I can see the use of buying more than one Dark Vengeance set, given how ill suited I think the models are too many Legions, and how the Dark Angels don't work when multiplied up either. 

At the moment I've got a worrisomely long list of potential Legions to collect; World Eaters, Death Guard, and Emperor's Children (I've got a pile of old sonic weaponry in need of a home, but it's a bit dependent on how the codex treats cult troops) are all armies I'd like to do at some point. Of them all Night Lords stands out as my first choice, but I remain  undecided about both Word Bearers and Alpha Legion. At least they all fall under one Codex. I realise I could deal with my Legion specific wants by folding them into a Black Legion or similar eclectic undivided force, but that doesn't appeal, as I dislike the idea of Chaos getting on in that manner.

I like Word Bearers as, if they are sticking to the fluff, they allow me to use the various daemons I have picked up over the years. Death Guard would allow me to use Nurgle Daemons though.

Alpha Legion seem like they ought to be the power behind a rebellion, pulling strings as a Imperial Guard force turns traitor, rather than fighting as a force in and of themselves. I really like their background, but they never seem to have really made it to the tabletop full.

All of this doesn't solve the problem of what to do with the Dark Vengeance models though. I think the best solution may be to concentrate on the Dark Angel force as, while they are also in line for a new codex before the end of the year, there's a very limited amount they can deviate from the previous model in terms of army affecting fluff, and colour scheme.Decisions on where to go with Chaos will likely have to wait till after the Codex is in my hands, but I have a fairly heavy lean towards using the Dark Vengeance  models in a Night Lords force. Not that there's a need to use the models in a single army if I do chose to collect multiple Legions.

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