The sky is not falling. Unless you count the incoming Ravenwing fliers – in a narrative sense – that is. Reaction to the new Dark Angels kits has been… polarising to say the least. Love or hate the new models (personally I like them all except Asmodai – yes, even the Landspeeder, but that’s a rant for another day).
One criticism a lot of people have been most vocal about are the new prices. The Dark Angel kits are generally several pounds more expensive than their “vanilla” conterparts. I guess people are worried this is a sign of an incoming price rise. It’s not. Yes, there will be a price rise in the future, but the Dark Angels are not the harbingers of it. They represent something different. Something I think is a logical and sensible move for Games Workshop.
What the new Dark Angel kits represent is a final end to the “Chapter Upgrade kit”.
Until now, if you wanted to make your Dark Angels look like… well… Dark Angels, you likely would have bought the Dark Angels Veterans set and likely some of the upgrade sprue’s from GW Direct. Ravenwing players would have bought the Ravenwing upgrade sprue’s This is on top of the cost of the standard kits you were customising.
With the new Dark Angels kits you no longer have to do this. Instead, you buy some of the key units for your army – which you’re likely to buy anyway if you’re actually a collector of the army – and you’ll get enough spare bits to spread through several other units. Lets break it down from the perspective of the new Ravenwing Black Knights/Command dual purpose kit:
Ravenwing Command/Black Knights:
- 3x Space Marine Bikes
- Biker Command Squad Parts
- Black Knight Squad Parts
- Ravenwing iconography
- multitudes of extra DA parts (shoulders, icons, weapons, helmets…)
Total: £30 (OMGWTFBBQ!!1!!)
Now lets build as close as we can with the “cheaper” vanilla sets:
- 3x Space Marine Bikes – £24
- Ravenwing Upgrade kit – £9 (we could just stop here as a minimum, and still be more expensive)
- Space Marine Command Squad – £15.50
- Dark Angels Upgrade kit – £12
Your honour, the defence rests.
I’m surprised more people don’t recognise this move towards including Chapter upgrade parts in key kits. It started a long time ago, at least as far back as the Blood Angels. Ask your nearest BA player how many extra Death Company kits he’s bought to give his army a more “flavourful” feel. But no, instead we got a knee-jerk reaction, that frankly, was embarrassing to watch.
Maybe it’s my old-timer/non-competitive gamer view of things clouding my judgement, but I just don’t get it. If you stop and think about it logically, these kits are great value to a Dark Angels collector and/or hobbyist. I can only assume those complaining the loudest were looking to jump on Dark Angels as the latest flavour of the month but have been put off by “sticker shock”. If that’s the case then my advice would be to follow the alternative option you always had: don’t buy the new kits.