Sunday 26 July 2015


Hi folks,

It looks like it is that time again, when Dark Angel players clench their teeth and hope for the best (or at the very least, hope they don't lose anything too important to their own personal grim/dark). On Thursday afternoon I dropped into my friendly local GW to pick up the new Codex. I have done this four times in the past and I have to say I have developed something of a Pavlovian response to the whole process. My eyes squint with skepticism, my teeth start to grind uncontrollably and my fingers twitch in anticipation of snapping off arms to replace wargear...

My Dark Angels during the dying weeks of 3rd Edition. No photos of my 2nd Ed. games exist. Getting film developed was a pain in those days; the photos always ended up looking rubbish.

In my first proper game of 40K I chose to use Dark Angels specifically because my mate was playing Space Wolves, they seemed like the obvious choice considering the whole Lion and the Wolf thing. I was drawn to the anti-hero nature of the Dark Angels and the Native American stylistic influences.

And robes.

I had no great grasp of their rules, but compared to the Space Wolves and Blood Angels they seemed decidedly, I don't know... tactical. To my simple 15 year old Metallica addled mind, Space Wolves were for shooting (Long Fangs and 5 assault cannon Wolf Guard) and Blood Angels were for assaulting (Veteran Assault squads, Dante and Mephiston). Dark Angels focused on fearless and plentiful Terminators, elite bikers, inspirational banners and hard-as-nails Chaplains. They were just far enough outside the box to hook me, it would seem, for life.

First game of 4th Edition. I can still remember this argument :-) It ended with me conceding that, indeed, I didn't know the rules yet. Then I wiped out an entire enemy unit of infantry with three deep striking Ravenwing Landspeeders. Bliss. Crumbs this photo makes me feel old...

Dark Angels have changed a bit since those days. I don't know how other players feel about their codex, but I feel like the Dark Angels always seem to lose something important every edition. For example, GW has distanced the Dark Angels from the original Native American influences. In particular, there is a little passage in the last Codex that quite deliberately retcons the Deathwing origin story. Dark Angels are rightly anti-hero in nature, but they have been increasingly portrayed as extremists bordering on disloyalty. Whilst debatable (frequently, between Sgt Waz the upstart Black Templar and myself), this just doesn't sit well with me. More recently, the more-Ravenwing-than-Ravenwing Black Knights, and the more-Deathwing-than-Deathwing Deathwing Knights have bugged me. Both are very powerful units that make we want to spend money to remain competitive; I hate spending money to stay competitive. As a result, I generally just buy things I really want to paint and end up losing lots of games :-)

Floor 40K, back when we couldn't afford a kitchen table.

So... the new Codex. I won't do a review here, Corrm at St Andrews gaming has already done a wonderful 7 part article covering that ground. I will say, however, that the Codex is beautiful. There is a great collection of older artwork in there as well as a broad collection of dynamic new pieces that didn't make me feel so bad about parting with my $90 AUS. The army list is quite competitive, with nothing particularly new apart from the new Lion's Blade Strike Force and other formations.

They took away the Dark Angel's special banners.

After modelling my Command squad to be equipped with boltguns specifically to take advantage of the Standard of Devastation... plip... gone. Ah well, I guess it could have been worse ;-)

I have already begun the process of bringing my Dark Angels up-to-date with some new wargear, units and coats of paint. While my Ravenwing squad is being assembled and undercoated, I have been working on a Devastator squad to help complete a Battle Demi-Company. I bought these guys back in 3rd Edition (they are metal) and decided to paint the plasma glow green, which has bothered me ever since.

Today I exchanged that for a more subtle turquoise glow inspired by the artwork in the Codex, using the same technique I used for my Iron Snakes Contemptor Dreadnought. Whilst this is primarily a "painting lipstick on a dog" exercise, I was glad to get rid of the green at last. I have also added some detail to the old Veteran Sergeant and Combat Squad leader.

See you across the table (with ~5K of Dark Angels between us),


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