As some of you know, when it comes to Warhammer 40,000, I have a large collection of models. Not as many as the more ardent collectors of the hobby, but certainly more than most. To date: My armies are:
(Really Old) Space Marines roughly 2,ooo pts
(Kraken) Tyranids roughly 1.000 pts
Grey Knights 1,500 pts
Astra Militarum 1,000 pts
Certainly not the grandest of forces, to be sure, but, these are simply the actual lists. Many of my models are spread across multiple armies, editions, releases, and even games, which makes my collection considerably larger than these points values would dictate, should I actually finish building and painting what’s still on my ‘To Do’ pile.
But that ‘To Do’ pile is entirely why I started writing this. Having been MIA from the 40k scene for (several) years now, I find myself wondering if anything still sitting on the back burner of my collection is still worth doing. And, the answer is . . . I have no fricking idea.
The Primaris Problem
Even after having left the 40k hobby for some years now, I have dipped my head back in from time to time to know about the Primaris Marines. The ‘better’ ‘stronger’ ‘more powerful’ ‘better armed’ and ultimately boring new space marine models. I know why GW did this. It’s painfully obvious for anyone with half a brain. With so many hobbyists sitting on large armies of space marines already, there needed to be a new reason to make them buy models, and that meant making their old models . . . obsolete.
And yes, that is certainly the plan. With all the new releases being primaris marines, all the new artwork being only primaris marines, and every chapter (except Grey Knights) having access to primaris marines, Games Workshop is making it clear that primaris marines are the future, and that this ‘sunset’ period of the old marines is approaching its inevitable end.
Of course, Games Workshop won’t say this directly. In fact, their exact words on the subject are that the old space marines “aren’t going anywhere”, and this is entirely truthful. They will remain in the previous editions of 40k, where Games Workshop no doubt feels they belong. Just like all my fantasy armies are perfectly viable in any games of Warhammer Fantasy Battles . . . should I ever happen to fine one.
But ragging on GW, and their obvious and totally expected business practices, is not why I’m writing this. Honestly, I don’t really care about the primaris marines one way or another. In fact, I’ve even considered starting a new chapter with those models, just as GW intended. The reason I’m writing this is stated above, and that is the idea of whether what I still have to work on will be worth finishing up. And that is why the primaris marines are an issue to consider.
The Cost of Finishing Something Old verses Starting Something New
Let’s be honest, every hobbyist has a slew of models that will never see paint, and some even have boxes that will never see assembly. We all have grand ideas that never see fruition, and I am certainly no exception to the fact. However, when it comes to armies, I like to try and ‘finish’ them, if for nothing else than to increase their value for resale, or displaying them as my father loved to display his trains. But ‘finishing’ armies takes time, and effort, and if I could be spending that time and effort on something that’s ‘up to date’ I might be better off in the long run for both playing the game, and displaying my work.
However, I already have the models to be ‘finished’ and I would have to purchase the newer models. Not to mention that some of those ‘out of date’ models, such as my old inquisitorial stormtroopers, are still perfectly viable in game as Militarum Tempestus Scions. (New Storm Troopers). There is also the fact that I have completely given up on finishing my Tyranids (given that, in the end, I didn’t like playing them), so those are, in all respects, completely off the table. So then, the problem comes down to old Astra Militarum units, and practically all of my Grey Knights.
The Grey Knights are, for the most part, a done deal already. Most of the important models are painted, and I even have an old unit of models with hammers and storm shields (a shame they aren’t an option anymore). In fact, all I have is a few unpainted psycannons and a box of terminators. So, what’s the problem? Well . . . the Primaris marines, of course. Given their increase in size, stats, and their absolute incompatibility with the Grey Knights (at least for now. I’m sure GW will shoehorn them in) I’m left wondering if the whole army won’t just become a very pretty but unplayable heap of metal. Even the Land Raiders and Dreadnoughts are looking at the Primaris vehicles and sweating bullets. Do I take the hours and days to ‘finish’ up my Grey Knight army, never to actually play it? Or do I simply shelve what’s left to do and put the army on permanent display in my cabinet? Only time will tell, as a new Grey Knight Codex should be coming out soon, according to GW, anyway.
For my stormtroopers, the future is a tad more rosy. Sure my current stormtroopers look rigid compared to the newer ones, but, unlike the space marines, they are close enough in appearance and size to their current counterparts that playing them shouldn’t be an issue. Lemen Russ battle tanks, and Valkeryie drop ships don’t appear to be going anywhere either. My chimeras are a little worried about the tauroxs, but they at least still have their niche uses and slightly better stats. No, the one’s I’m worried about, are my special weapons sniper squad (built and painted) and my unbuilt, unpainted, shotgun veterans. As Imperial Guard players know, Rough Riders were . . . left out of the current codex, and though they certainly only rarely saw sales, it was proof positive that GW intended to clip the guards unit list of ‘obsolete’ models as well. Veterans and Special Weapons teams were included in the current codex, but they are relatively older add ons from older additions and most guard armies don’t play them anymore. The current kits don’t even include the weapons. This makes me wonder if they will make it to the next edition, and if converting models for them is a colossal waste of time. Adding to this issue are the old guard models; the unique and characterful guard models; the models you can still play with and who still have rules, such as Tallarn, or Mordian Iron Guard; the models you can no longer buy, and only rarely see pictures of. Hint. hint.
And so, that is the situation I currently find myself in hobby wise. Do I continue building and painting what I have, knowing that I am likely working on ‘sunset’ units? Or, do I just bite the bullet and start collecting a brand new and up to date army? Given that one costs money, and the other costs time, that is why I said, I have no idea.
There are other factors to consider of course, and I will touch on each of these in a later post, but for now, I have some . . . let’s call them ‘Hobby Qualms’ that also need addressing.
- I prefer metal to plastic
- I think many of the older models look better than the newer ones
- There are other model ranges to collect and paint.
I will only address the first two right now, and briefly.
First, I love working with metal. It is a pain in the ass to customize, and convert, and heaven help you if the model’s balance is off even a little bit, BUT, learning to work with these things makes me a more adaptable hobbyist, it increases my knowledge of tools and methods, and gives me a good deal of experience when it comes to converting the easier and lighter resin and plastic. Not to mention the new vocabulary of curse words when something goes wrong. However, the biggest reward of metal to me is the sense of permanence. It has weight, in more ways than one. Plastic feels like I’m playing with cheep dollar store toys, and resin feels like I’m playing with paper. All current GW models are plastic, save for a very select few which they simply haven’t sold yet from their storage.
Second, when it comes to starting a new chapter, I think the current primaris space marines are so bland, even sugar free vanilla looks tasty by comparison. Their masks are blank and featureless. Their weapons scream trying too hard. And their vehicles . . . Well, I think they’re repulsor vehicles look truly repulsive. That is why I think I will continue sticking with the Imperial Guard, at least until I see where this primaris train intends to go, and eventually, I may get off at another station, again. There are other, better looking model ranges, and as a hobbyist, I don’t need to limit myself to Games Workshop.
Whiiiiiiich brings me to the final statement of this long rant. (Get used to these). I am currently looking at other hobby ranges to build and paint from. I won’t go into details now, but I have intentions of introducing some of these ranges on my workbench in the future.
If you made it this far, I thank you for sticking with me through the muddling of my thoughts. Doing it this way helps me make better decisions, and you can see my thought processes and compare them to your own. I will still talk about Warhammer and Games Workshop, but their decisions have kept me at arms length, even when trying to see what they are currently up to. Stay posted to see what I decide. Things might get just a little more interesting.