What I think: Chaos Space Marines and Shadowspear!

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“Let the Galaxy Burn.”-Horus

Almost every new player to Warhammer 40k starts with an Imperial army, usually that of the Adeptus Astartes. Some eventually move on to Xenos armies like the Eldar, Orks, and Tau. But you will be hard pressed to find a player who doesn’t at least have one or two Space Marines hidden away somewhere. But some players eventually choose to play the Arch-enemy, the mortal and otherwise legions of Chaos.

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But there is something about Chaos that makes that choice more interesting; We primarily view the galaxy from an Imperial viewpoint, and from that viewpoint forces an outlook that Chaos is the ultimate bad guy, with heresy and unbelief considered capital offenses. For a new player, this gives them a sense that despite the fact Space Marines and the rest of the Imperiums armies are serving, at best, a theocratic hellhole worse then any government in human history, that they are the good guy.

Chaos then, is for when a player decides to go bad. To rebel, to jump feet first into being a villain. Tired of the Imperiums dogma and rhetoric, they either choose Daemons or Chaos Space Marines. Of Daemons, I know quite little. Of the mortal servants of Chaos, I know a bit more. At a surface level, the forces of the Heretic Astartes resemble an evil mirror of their Imperial cousins, with smooth battle-plate replaced by a healthy helping of spikes, tusks, skulls, etc. But once one digs deeper into the lore of these depraved warriors of the Chaos gods, one finds that they have far more depth then what appears on the surface. The artwork depicts baroque, powerful figures of immense power, a force that could very realistically threaten the Imperium of Man.

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These guys look terrifying, an amazing piece of older 3rd or 4th edition artwork!

But for the longest time, this wasn’t well represented on the table top. As Space Marines got release after release, modernizing them and bringing them up to par with today’s standard of miniature quality, the poor humble chaos marine didn’t change much. They were a product of 3rd Edition, and compared to models of the same age, didn’t look too bad.

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Not a bad looking kit….until you compare with below.

But as releases came and went, the humble Chaos Marine stayed the same; they started to look long in the tooth, a holdover from an earlier time.

There was a glimmer of hope at the beginning of 6th edition, with the release of Dark Vengeance. While size had not yet been addressed as yet, the included Chosen in the starter box were less squat, more upright and most importantly, finally looked like what a Traitor space marine might look like after centuries of fighting the Long War.

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A vast improvement! These looked baroque, full of malice, and ready to burn the galaxy.

Chaos players got excited. We lost Dreadnoughts, replaced with Helbrutes, similar but with more fleshy appendages and warped battle-plate. We got new Raptors, new units such as Heldrakes and Forgefiends. We all awaited the release of the new Chaos Space Marine kit.

It never came. 6th left abruptly, and with the arrival of 7th, a new version of Dark Vengeance, with the same models as before, with a new Aspiring Champion model that looked great. It also eventually saw the release of updated Rubric Marines, taller and more imposing then their by now very dated cousins.  But 7th, thank goodness, was left behind with the arrival of 8th.

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Tall, upright, and downright awesome looking! Just like how I imagined them.

8th brought us Dark Imperium, which introduced the Primaris Marine, but also brought in new plastic Plague Marines, which dwarfed the Chaos space marine kits of old. This was great for Death Guard and Thousand Sons fans, as while many had to redo their armies to fit the new releases, at least they looked as menacing as the lore suggested. But for anyone still fighting the Long War with the vanilla Chaos Space Marine codex, our squat marines were still here.

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Just like the Rubricae, these look exactly how I imagined Plague Marines to be, big, bloated, and full of angry sores and lesions. But where are the regular marines?

Personally, my Chaos army then sat on the back burner, as compared to the modern miniatures, mine just didn’t do it for me anymore. The 8th edition codex brought new units but no new models, and I thought for sure that again we were being left behind.

Suddenly, Vigilus Defiant teased something big. 80 days until the Warmaster would arrive? Surely, we are hoping for too much, there was no chance that beyond the release of Haarken World Claimer that we would get much.

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Looking good! A great HQ to lead Raptors and Warp Talons, but those looked pretty good already…wheres the normal marines!

I, and many others, were thrilled to be proven wrong. A new Abaddon replaced his old model from the 90’s, something that while rumored for forever, was still able to surprise us. But for me, never a fan of the Black Legion, the release of new regular Chaos Marines got me very excited!

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Holy Crap, I never thought I’d see the day…And as for normal marines?
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YEEEEESSSSSSSS! Glorious new sculpts! Finally!

So, now that the history is out of the way, what do I think of Shadowspear, our new box set of chaotic goodness?

While yes, much of the kit is mono pose, which was a little bit of a disappointment, as was the high asking price of $210 Canadian, to say the box was popular in my area was an understatement of some magnitude. Our small gaming club ordered 15 of the boxes, all but one selling the same day. The Primaris half I sold to a friend, and then used the funds to buy a second Chaos half. I won’t do an unboxing, as the rest of the internet has done that. What I will show is a scale comparison.

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From left to right; Shadowspear Marine, Dark Vengeance Chosen, MKIII Marine, Mark IV Marine with Khorne Bezerker parts, and finally our tiny Chaos Marine.

And while the kit is monopose, the heads are easily interchangeable with a head swap for some variety. I did one set of marines as the instructions showed, then fooled around with head swaps on the others. While small, it actually goes quite far in changing a models “feel”.

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The one on the right looks like he is shouting to the heavens, while his brother gazes downward, signalling with his chainaxe. The one on the right will probably get a weapon swap to make it less obvious that these are the same models.
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The one on the right looks like he surveying the battlefield, and the one on the left looks like he is blaring a challenge to an enemy champion. One model will get a weapon swap to further the differences.

These are small changes, and are by no means a completed project. A more involved conversion concerns the lack of Icon Bearers. As I wanted each squad to have an Icon of Wrath, I pulled out the hobby knife and tools.

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This Icon Bearer has a standard I took from a Bloodletters sprue. The banner isn’t overly ornate, and will probably be painted to resemble tanned hide. He looks ready to fight at a moments notice, with his bolter at his side.
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This conversion I didn’t like. I used a rather large banner from the Skull Crusher kit, and it looks A. Too heavy. B Too ornate. And C. Just wrong. While led to part 2.
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While not perfect, this is a big improvement I think. The Icon is clearly of Khorne, it looks less unwieldy, and while not planted firmly on the ground I can see it being held like that. I kept the idea of a shield on his arm, both to cover the damage I did to the model removing the big standard, and to tie into some fluff I’m thinking of for these guys.
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A better view of the shield.

In all, it may have been a very long wait, but these new marines are a joy to look at, substantially more detailed, and finally a size that looks menacing! I’m very pleased with Shadowspear. The other models have not been converted up yet, but I am aiming at no duplicate models looking the same, so watch out for that post in the future.

And I was ready to wait a month or two until the multi-part versions of the kit would be released…

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By the Gods! I NEED this. That model with the belt fed bolter feeding it like some sort of 80’s action hero is by far my favourite. And these will have options!

Guess I didn’t need to wait that long, huh?

But that is all I got for today, could be a while before I post again, but keep a look out for my painting logs for the tournament and a tournament after action report! As my usual sign-off would get me drawn and quartered by present company…May you slay many lapdogs of the Corpse Emperor, and happy hobbying!