Well it's finally here. The Blood Angel Codex has deep struck into the world of 40k leaving (a sure to be imminent ) Necron Codex as the only non-hardback. I'm really intrigued to see where they go after that given the emphasis on supplements and campaigns recently.
Anyway, back to the main event: Blood Angels. My first love in 40K has finally got an update after 5 years. I remember all the hype with the previous codex and all that it introduced to them. (covered in my previous post) With the inevitable nerf bat hitting them though, will the Blood Angels come out better or worse for 7th. This is the first article which will be a general overview of the release. Every day this week I'll post up an article on the individual FOC sections comparing old and new and giving a few first impressions. Although the interwebz initially showed some scepticism to the codex, I'll try to remain optimistic and positive as always.
Glorious, as with all of the hardbacks. The cover is beautiful, not my favourite but beautiful still. The first thing that strikes you is the name change; codex Adeptus Astartes is the new things apparantly. Why Space Wolves didn't follow the same convention I don't know but if there's one thing GW have demonstrated lately it's that consistency loses out to pace. We are treated to 20 pages of background and art on the Blood Angels - my favourite art piece being on page 17 depicting the initiation of new recruits. Gorgeous presentation as we have come to expect in the past couple of years. A short section deals with successors with some gorgeous artwork and introduces us to a long-lost cousin in the form of the Carmine Blades - nice bit of background for them.
After the obligatory timeline (culminating with Shield of Baal) we are treated to a fantastic model gallery showing off the entire new range. There are some fantastic group shots and conversions in here. I was a particular fan of the Flesh Tearers two-page spread. After that the book takes the same convention as others with an armoury section followed by a whopping 40-50 pages of datasheets. It's obvious from most of the sheets that GW steers clear of kitbashes in this section showing simply the plain Captain model and assault squad. (Though the bikes and Command squad are mixed) After that is a wargear section and summary.
I wasn't sure exactly what to expect with this release as the Angels had a pretty comprehensive collection already. If I had to put money on it a few months ago I would have said a sanguinary priest, revamped character model, new flyer and updated generic kit (i.e assault squad). In addition, I was 100% sure they would tie them in with a campaign set and exclusive model like with Stormclaw. As it happens, I was about 50% right. Character-wise we got a Lovely new priest model which has a completely new design aesthetic, Terminator Captain Karlaen from the campaign box and a Terminator Librarian. Boxed sets were similarly unpredictable. A brand new and exclusive tactical squad which is basically a digital mash-up of the Codex tactical squad and death company sets. Just. Plain. Gorgeous. Lastly, an exclusive Terminator assault squad, which while a bit static pose wise, puts the regular kit to shame. A bit stingy on the parts but it also includes a banner. These releases have been very Terminator-heavy - bit of a gamble considering how many people have Space Hulk terminators already .Oh well, one can never have too many terminators......
As with the Space Wolf release, blood Angels have been tied in to part of a campaign. The first shield of Baal book focussed mainly on the Tyranids, while the second part (Deathstorm) gave us super cheap minis and a couple of limited models. This was a great way for people to get a cheap bolster to their collection and a few extra units and rules (I will cover in the FOC reviews) to add in. Lastly, and I have pre-ordered the hardback, we have Exterminatus to look forward to. I am hopeful that the contents of this supplement will contain all we need to fill any missing blanks in the codex, such as all jump armies. Dan and I are hoping to play the whole campaign in the new year time allowing.
The other ancillary releases include the obligatory cards and painting guide, both welcomed as they are excellent little supplements for die-hard fans. Also worth a mention are the Blood Angels dice - a nice little collectors set, although 10 dice hardly cuts it practically with all those death company rolls!!
Well, that's the run through finished. Overall a pretty stereotypical release content wise. The book and models are stunning and the rules I will cover in subsequent posts. Tying in with Shield of Baal has been nice as it has added a lot of extra hype and content. I'm pretty darn chuffed and looking forward to updating my collection over the next month then getting some games in.