Before I launch into the first part I thought a brief hobby update was in order. I have built up a small primaris army in Sons of Orar colours made pretty much from Dark Imperium, the dreadnought, aggressor and reiver sets. I'm hoping to add more to the army before the end of the year but not before FINALLY sorting out my Luna Wolves, which are currently making slow progress on the hobby table. Turning back to the Primaris, the limited 8th edition games I have had so far have demonstrated how well they can be used alongside conventional marines. This, however, was not something I wanted to do, ultimately preferring to run them as a purely primaris army and keeping my other marines armies as is. (well, with the addition of a few lieutenants here and there) Without further ado I will delve into the article. Cheers.
Part 1 - concept and design
Well they're here. Months after the initial teasers that a fair few decried as conversions (I personally always believed them to be the real deal) we now have the full release of the primaris space marines and all the rules to go with them. I thought I would talk a bit about them and give my thoughts. To best go about this I'm going to split the article into 2, firstly covering my overall thoughts on the concept, models etc and how I intend to use them. In part 2 I will talk about the new rules and how viable the army is when fielded solely as primaris.
So GW are continuing with their storyline advancement and revealing what it was that Guilleman tasked Cawl with for the past 10 millennia. There has been some outrage about this from fans, calling weak plot device and cheap sales gimmick. I don't mind the storyline myself and see it as a natural progression of things. The Imperium is at its lowest ebb, enemies striking from all sides and now one of the Emperors sons returns with a new crusade to, if you'll excuse the TF reference, light their darkest hour.
But as we know GW is mostly driven by money, and this new AoS style ruleset now has its very own 'Sigmarines'. This isn't as surprising a move as one would expect given the current SM range and the last releases. One got the impression that, between Centurions, the stalker/hunter and the Stormhawk, GW were getting a little desperate to find units to fit into the SM range. They filled this gap nicely with the Horus Heresy marines, but there's only so many plastics one can release without invalidating the FW range. As far as I can tell, the only units that need plastic represyentation in the SM codex (if you ignore those such as dreadnoughts, scouts and terminators desperate for updates) are techmarines/servitors/thunderfires and honour guard, neither of which are going to be huge sellers. (Note, I still hold out hope that we will get chapter upgrade sprues for the other first founding Chapters at some points and, given that the pads are compatible with Primaris I actually think it's all the more likely - then again we've already seen a switch to Primaris upgrade sprues for ultramarines so maybe Primaris upgrades will be the way forward)
Anyway, back on track. There was a need for them to revitalise the SM range and rather than take a gamble (which they would probably lose) and invalidate the entire range with a revamp, they chose the middle ground and designed these chaps, the Primaris Astartes. Bigger, better and faster than a regular Astartes, they chose to make them so they could be both used as an army on their own (more on that later) or as a supplement to an existing force - from a collectors point of view this is ideal as you can either ignore their existence, add a single unit to your collection or go all out and buy a whole army.
I do like the dynamic of how some Chapters are willing accepting of them as reinforcements but others are more hesitant, seeing them as an abomination of the Emperors work. (Templars I'm guessing) Also, it is implied that the enhanced abilities come with enhanced gene flaws, which may not work out too well for BA and SW. The nomenclature, however, is one thing I don't like as it doesn't fit with the rest of the SM range. We go from tactical, vanguard, scout to Intercessor, aggressor and the like. (again, shades of AoS here) As for Mk IX armour, I can't believe this is lazy or an oversight by GW. I'm sure we'll get Mk IX at some point in the future.
Standing broader and a head taller than regular marines, the design features from several past MKs of armour can all be seen. GW have stated that they are cross compatible with heads and shoulder pads from the standard lines, making it easier to accessorise them to fit in with other chapters such as BA/DA/SW. I love the look of the bolters and also the plasma weapon. The characters also look great adding a new dimension to old favourites. Squad markings remain consistent with their Astartes brothers and, when viewed next to each other, it's actually quite tricky to tell them apart. I can't say I'm a huge fan of expanding each company to take up to 20 squads but hey, times change.
The vehicles also look superb, with the repulsor taking on a new direction as a mix between land speeder and raider (and bristling with weapons) The dreadnought is a significant step up from the old model and blends old and new aesthetics together. Some of the other models have taken a bit more getting used to, such as the reivers and inceptors. Since assembling some reivers they have grown on me more simply because they were so much fun to assemble. Inceptors are a harder sell (something about the posing is just, off) but are far from the worst models I have seen. Finally, aggressors are pretty much similar to the gravis captain and I personally prefer the look of them with flamestorm gauntlets.
So we finally got the 'moviemarines' that people have been raving about for as long as I've been in the hobby. How much transport capacity they take up in vehicles remains to be seen but in theory you could take an army of just these chaps and play them as being more resilient and with more attacks / nastier bolters than your standard marines, playing them as movie marines. Or you can pretend they don't exist and play your regular marines as normal. That's the beauty of how GW have executed this - you get the best of both worlds and can pick and choose as you wish.
This leads me nicely to the end of part one and to set up where part 2 will begin by looking at the rules for individual units and, more specifically, how they can be fielded as a single 'new' army without using any of the older astartes units. Cheers.