A New Edition
I have to admit I’m cautiously optimistic about the new 40K edition after hearing about some of the rules changes.
Not seen it yet? Check it out here: 8th edition 40K starter box
7th edition was truly a bloated mess at the end and these changes remind me of a more stream-lined version of 2nd edition. With 2nd edition being the edition I started out with it feels like going back to something comfortable and a fresh start at the same time.
Exactly what I’ll need to reinvigorate my 40K projects.
Then the news breaks about the new starter set and GW introduces the new Primaris Space Marine…
It conjured up loads of conflicting emotions and had me thinking for a good while about if I’m loving this new development or absolutely hate it. And I’m definitely not the only one.
From a pure hobbyist perspective I really like them. GW really did a great job redesigning the space marine and altering their proportions to reflect how such a giant warrior would look and move.
The old space marine models always had a “compacted” look about them with the legs too wide and stocky.
Many hobbyists have tried to “true-scale” these models for years by giving them a more upright and imposing stance.
Adding some needed height to reflect the space marines we see in the art work and read about in the background stories.
As a true-scale redesign of the classic marine model these Primaris marines are truly impressive.
And if they had introduced these new marines as such I’d be overjoyed with these cool new toys.
But how they are introducing them story-wise raises a lot of eyebrows among gamers and especially “fluff nutters” like myself.
40K as a setting, and especially the imperium, is a story of slow decline and regression in face of ever growing threats. Only fate and eternal war drags humanity onward without any real hope of thriving or even regaining their old splendor.
The space marines are symbolic for this. While they may be the most elite warriors of the imperium their armor and gear are poor recreations and imitations of ancient technology.
For any improvements that are slowly introduced over time many secrets of manufacturing their gear are lost forever.
You can do a lot in the confines of the setting and this theme but what you cannot do is completely break with the basics. And at first glance that is exactly what they did .
I was already holding my breath when they re-introduced a primarch. Something you should never ever do in 40K (except as a daemon prince of chaos) without seriously altering the direction and focus of the setting. 30K should be about mythical warriors and leaders and the glorious collapse of the golden age of the Imperium. In 40K these should remain myths and legends to strengthen the whole theme of decay and decline. How humanity deals with this is what makes 40K.
So next to re-introducing a primarch they suddenly introduce bigger and better super marines…with totally new and improved gear and weapons. Many of the limitations space marines were struggling with are just…gone.
All just because Roboute Guilliman had this all planned out for 10.000 years while he was taking a nap. Why not huh?
He has always been the most disliked primarch for a reason; he’s too perfect for such a grimdark setting.
And they just put him front and center and polished everything to a blinding shine.
GW seems to have broken many of the rules of their own setting.
At first glance it simply looks like very sloppy and lazy writing from GW I’m afraid.
But we’ll have to wait and see.
Of course they could always write this into an enormous dark twist of fate but I have my doubts.
Some suggestions of alternative introduction of superior marines sound much more plausible then what GW came up with.
One suggests GW should have first introduced upgraded space marine in the form of a chaos experiment. Giving chaos space marines new superior abominations to sow terror on the imperium. Not only would this be properly grimdark and fitting but also give the chaos space marine miniature line a much needed boost of fresh models which fans have been waiting on for a long time. (not just bigger versions of Death Guards we get in the starter box)
The imperium would then respond with their own improved space marines to combat this new threat.
Humanity clawing back at insurmountable odds just in the nick of time. Sounds much more 40K to me.
And you don’t really need a primarch for this either…
Another aspect that nobody seems to point out is that they made the new space marines look a lot more high-tech.
One of the original aspects of 40K space marines is that they’re not your standard high-tech soldiers in fancy armor you often see. They are more like knightly orders in a sci-fi setting. And the crude, almost impractical looking armor is what makes GW “space marines” original.
This isn’t such a big deal with the standard marines but when you look at the new jump pack troops and leader in gigantic armor it gets over the top very quickly.
I know it’s a very deliberate move from GW to “upgrade” their marine miniature line and make them look more high-tech to give the old designs a “fresh” new look.
But by redesigning the space marine range to look much more high-tech they could lose what makes them stand apart from other sci-fi power armored miniatures on the market.
Which would be a shame really.
Don’t get me wrong, they haven’t gone too far yet in my opinion.
Another saving grace is that these new primaris marines are very clean sculpts.
It will be very easy to add all kinds of decorations to give them a “proper” grimdark look.
Which, I’m sure, is another very deliberate design choice.
Especially when compared next to the new Death Guard overflowing with decorations and details.