Friday, 10 June 2016

Recalcitrant Daze - Thoughts on Show Only Figures

So it's too hot to paint and I can't be arsed building anything, instead I thought I'd do a pointless and meaningless ramble. I'm not sure where this will go or what course it will take, so shall we strap ourselves in and see where we end up?

Recently we have seen three limited edition models from Forge World appear. The first went on sale at Warhammer Fest, the second has been announced as a limited edition model available in store only and the third will be available at the next Forge World Open Day.

I'm sure everyone has seen them, but if not here they are again:

Above - Warhammer Fest Show Only

Left - Store Only Figure.

Right - Open Day Show Only

You might notice they have something in common, three Marines in Terminator Armour, aimed, but not exclusively so, at Legion forces.

These guys follow the last two Show Only figures which were...

Two Space Marine Characters, aimed, but not exclusively so, at Legion forces.

You know, they aren't bad models. The latest three don't float my boat I admit, but they would all nicely fit into someone's army or display cabinet. I have both of the previous two models with the intention of using them as I like both.

Reaver Princep -
Painted by Sheep
But, I am disappointed. Right from the earliest Show Only figures I have been picking them up before I ever thought to use them for something (in the main Inq28, when I get round to it). But the main reason I bought them was because it was something different and they added to the setting.

In the main they were all something you wouldn't see normally, characters you don't see on the battlefield but they are all there in the background, Some of course would fit straight into an army (either 40k or Fantasy), but the ones I liked the most were the ones that weren't.

Starting with Games Day exclusives which then became Show Only Event Models, we have had (in no particular order)...

Ork Pilot - Also Painted by Sheep
Enforcer and Doggie,
Death Korps Death Rider Commissar,
Death Korps Quartermaster,
Thunderbolt Pilot.
Ork Pilot,
Reaver Titan Princeps,
Titan Princeps Majoris,
Boarding Marine,
Ork Runt Bot,
Davinite Priest,
Minotaurs Marine with Heavy Bolter (Badab War Character),
Ogryn Berserker,
Kroot Bird,

Skin Wolf,
Chaos Dwarf Hellsmith,
Chaos Dwarf Sorcerer,
Empire Warrior Priest,
Chaos Ogre,

Oh and the multi part Epic Grey Knight...

(Check out Limited Edition Warhammer for pics and dates of the above)

All of those were pre-2015.

Up until that point we had a mix of races, game systems and sizes. We had just two Space Marines in the first 10 years of Forge World Games Day/Show Only models.

However since then we have had (or are having) five Marines all aimed primarily with Horus Heresy Legion forces in mind, though of course you can get away with them in a 40k Marine army. Of these the last three are in Terminator armour and clocking in at £25 each (I'm basing that on the only one as yet available). For reference I think I paid £15-18 for the larger Ogryn Berserker.

Some models tied into releases, e.g. the two pilots with the release of Aeronautica Imperialis, the two Princeps tied into the Titan releases or the Davinite Priest with the start of the HH project. Meanwhile others seemed to just be cool models with no real reason to be released other than they were cool. Once we got into the multi models per year we tended to have a mixture, e.g. a 40k model and a Fantasy model.

So what is the point I am getting at?

Basically where has the variety gone? The wow factor and surprise. No longer does it seem that the sculptors are letting their imagination go aiming at producing something novel and cool, it's more 'what Marine can I do that isn't exactly the same as something else we already have'.

They could release anything as a Show Only and it will be in demand. The Horus Heresy is doing phenomenally well and certainly doesn't need extra Marines to help boost it's profile.

So why the Marine train of late? The Horus Heresy, the Grimdark of 40k and the Age of Sigmar setting (worlds? Realms?) have a huge depth which can be mined for characters that can be brought to life as a Show Only. Like many we have already had they don't need to be gaming pieces, we have entire ranges up for sale on the Forge World site that fulfils that role.

For example from the universes of 30k or 40k we could have...
Imperial Judge,
Non-Astartes agent of the Sigilite,
Agent of the Warmaster (e.g. an Assassin like that in Nemesis),
A Vanenum or Vanus Temple Assassin,
An Agent of the XXth Legion,
Rogue Trader,
Imperial Navy Ships Captain,
Imperial Army/Guard Beastman (flash from the past there),
Legion/Chapter Serf,
Thunder Warrior,
Astropath Choir Member,
Planetary Governor
(how about Lord Helmawr when the Necromunda reboot happens?),
Radical Inquisitor,
Dark Mechanicum,
Eldar Exodite,
Eldar Corsair Prince,
Ork Madboy
Goffik Rok Band (not much chance I know...)
Ork Boarboy (ditto),

I'm sure anyone reading this could add at least one more to that list. Being as my knowledge of Age of Sigmar is nonexistent I didn't try and think of anything.

That was a long post. Longer than needed, in fact this entire post could have remained unwritten but I was bored and decided to run with it anyway. Congratulations if you made it to the end.


  1. I agree with your analysis. It seems to be fast becoming all Marines, all the time.

    For FW, 40k seems to have become an afterthought. Marines in 40k (of both flavour) get access to some of the toys from the HH but generally speaking 40k seems to garner a lot less interest from the team (maybe because they feel they have done all they could or there is more opportunity to bring back very old designs as HH models).

    I am looking forward to the new IA book which will allow us to use some of the Mechanicum minis in 40K. But it seems that it has been a long time since we got anything but an update of existing books (not to mention some like Kastorel Novem still require updating).

    It is even more true when you see that a lot of 40k models have disappeared from their range (IG and Ork vehicles for exemple).

    Those show exclusive models should be the opportunity to balance that all Marine, all the time policy with really original creations. I would love to see more regular humans, even from the HH (iterator should be added to your list) or Xeno.

    1. FW has definitely gone full 30k. They have all but eliminated their 40k offerings. (when a mould is done, its done).

      I am curious to see what happens now that they got that new factory capable of making pretty much all the resin kits in plastic...will they continue 30k? Probably. It sells like hot cakes.

      Poor Orks. They haven't had a good codex since 4/5th. No wonder their stuff isn't selling.

    2. The new IA book will bring some freshness to the releases, but we will only see a few Tau pieces, the rest will be opening up AM and Marines to what their counterparts have in 30k.

      I think a fair amount of the dropped models were done because they lacked sales, such as the old Marine Dreads which in popularity has been replaced by the Contemptor. Seeing the Xenos items go was a loss though, holding on to them would have been welcome, unless like the Barracuda it is being done to replace them with updated models.

      the HH range will continue unabated in resin, plastic will allow some core items to be produced and open up the market to more people, but it would not be worth doing the minor choices, Legion specific units, characters, add ons etc in plastic.

  2. Don't you have a picture of the thunderbolt pilot I painted for you?

    I agree with you about the lack of variety, if they really wanted too they could do a 3 model system, one for 40k, AoS and 30k. That would inject some variety and keep everyone happy.

    1. I do, however the picture wasn't very good so I left it off. I couldn't be arsed getting it out too take a new picture.

      They could, and they did at one point. I am sure at the first Heresy Weekender they introduced the first Heresy Show Only figure, the Davinite Priest, they already a few months before brought out 40K and Fantasy Show Only models - checking the dates it was the Empire Priest and the DKoK Quartermaster.

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    1. I do agree with your point about lack of variety. At the end of the day if somethings not selling, why support it (in the case of making new moulds or not as the case may be) but as you say, there's plenty of things in the 30k universe they could explore, like rememberencers and itterators which serve no real purpose in game terms but would still be popular

  4. Orks did get a new Codex un 2014 but it was so terrible that it almost made me drop the army altogether. There were some improvements (transports for everyone, better rules for Tankbustas...) but the lack of an ++ save on a CC HQ like the Warboss and the awful mob rules were just too much to bear. I just wish my gaming group would be more open to house rules because I have had a lot of fun with my Orks. Hilarity always ensues whenever I play my SAG, either because it sends a whole squad of Deathwing termies screaming into the Warp or because it blows itself up or teleports itself at the worst moment.

    I agree with you Rictus. It is probably down to a question of popularity but it is still such a shame, especially the Kill Krusha which I had finally gotten around to saving enough money for, just to miss the last chance to buy because I was at work :(

    1. I'm a huge ork player brusilov. I know :).

      Honestly the worst part of the whole new book was the new ramshackle rule for the trukks...having them go flying all over the table then explode was the absolute best!