A blog I really like, Convert or Die, recently made a post in which the writer answers this question:
If GW where to release just one new kit for each faction to replace an old model or unit which has either been discontinued or which hasn’t aged well, what would it be?
I enjoyed the post and it seems like a lot of fun, so I thought I’d give it a go, too. I’m not going to cover all factions, but instead focus on those about which I have a real opinion.
I actually have two sets that I want to see updated here. The first is pretty simple in that we need a Primaris Emperor’s Champion. The existing Emperor’s Champion miniature is pretty nice and very fitting, thematically.
However, the introduction of a Primaris-scale champ would give the miniature so much more of a presence on the battlefield. It would also help to really embed the Primaris within the Templars.
The next step would be making the rest of the Initiates, or standard Primaris marines, fit into the theme as well. The Black Templars are a devout crusading chapter and often go into battle adorned with purity seals, relics, symbols, and robes. This flies in the face of the often very ‘clean’ look of the Primaris marines.
These miniatures are actually the elite Sword Brethren, but they illustrate the point very well. There’s just so much going on with these minis that the standard Primaris would be left looking quite bare by comparison. They need to demonstrate their faith!
The Space Wolves have always had a cool feral theme going on. There’s also a bit of tribalism in there. One of my favourite Space Wolf units is the Rune Priest. There are a few of these miniatures currently available from Games Workshop. Two are generic Rune Priests and two represent names character Njal Stormcaller:
These are from all over the place. The power-armoured Njal is from 2nd edition. The generic Rune Priest in Terminator armour is also pretty dated, being out of date by a couple iterations of Terminator armour. The 13th Company Rune Priest and Njal’s Terminator-armoured miniature from 5th edition both feel more current.
Perhaps it is time for a Primaris version or two. Given that Rune Priests have always had options when it comes to armour types, I’d like to see that continue with versions in Tacticus, Gravis, and Phobos armour. Of course, I’m not expecting that these would be put out all at once, but it would be nice to see in the long-term.
Games Workshop has made some really cool Catachan Miniatures in the past few years. The command squad, characters, snipers… they all look really good. Take a look for yourself:
See? Nice, aren’t they? The thing is, as good as these look, your Catachan army will not be based around these miniatures. No, your army will be base around the core Catachan Jungle Fighters box, and those miniatures are a lot less pretty. They’re dated, they suffer from ‘ham hands’, and the faces are pretty terrible by today’s standard. Take a look:
Look at that guy in the front. I think he’s had a stroke. Maybe I’m being harsh. Back in the 90s when these minis were released, they were actually damn good for the time. The problem is that we are no longer in the 90s. It turns out we’ve not been there in some time, actually. They need an update to really make the most of the other Catachan miniatures which have been released.
Games Workshop has done a pretty great job with the Daemons over the past few years. Their work on the Greater Daemons for each god has been particularly good, and each is a fantastic centrepiece model for their respective armies. The Daemon that I’d like to see updated next is the Daemon Prince. I like that this is a multi-part plastic kit with lots of options, and I’ve seen people do very good jobs with their Daemon Princes. I just feel that the miniature is very dated and a bit… ugly:
The poses are a problem for me. They just don’t look natural. The wings are too squared-off, too. The whole setup just feels dated, in the same way that the rather spindly metal Daemon Princes felt dated when this plastic kit first came out. I think that GW could take design elements from the work they’ve done on each of the God-specific sets of Daemons to include some more thematic pieces to better customise the princes. A refresh would be really welcome.
I remember when the Grey Knights came out. I picked them up pretty quickly and had a lot of fun with them. Some people described them as an update to the old metal miniatures, but it was more than that. The metal miniatures were a curiosity which a small number of people picked up. This was the first proper Grey Knight army. And, to be honest, the miniatures still look really good:
They have lots of cool options, a nice power armour variant, really pretty helmets… So why update them? Primaris is why. The Grey Knights just look weedy and small in comparison to the other marines that are available these days. It’s such a pity, because they’re so cool and imposing, and are being made to seem so petty and unimpressive by comparison. A Primaris update would probably annoy a lot of people because that’s what Primaris seem to do for a very vocal minority of the community, but I really want to see what GW could do to make Primaris-scale Aegis armour.
Chaos Space Marines
Browsing the Chaos Space Marines on the GW website, there have been a lot of updates recently and the range looks better than it ever has. There aren’t many models that are really crying out for an update, but there are some. The Defiler stands out as one that just looks a bit out of place now, but it’s not the worst offender. One of the oldest and most dated sets is the Khorne Berzerkers Kit:
Like the Catachans, these miniatures were pretty cool in the 90s. A good kit for its time, this set really suffers from having static miniatures. For a force of berzerkers who should be running headlong into combat, most of them don’t look very agile or like they intend to move any time soon. Those that are moving have raised legs that just look clumsy and awful. They look less like they are running and more like they are attempting to balance – and are about to fail in this attempt. A new set up active, dynamic miniatures would revitalise the forces of Khorne.
I’m also going to include a character miniature in this section, because he’s actually one of my favourite characters in both the Chaos Space Marines and in 40K, generally. This character is the Primogenitor, Fabius Bile:
Fabulous Bill still looks good, but he could look so much better. He’s been a prominent victim of size creep, and I feel that giving him a Primaris-sized miniature would make him feel much more imposing, and be thematically appropriate, given his habit of making new clone-bodies for himself. I don’t know that I would run Bile in a CSM army, but I’d love to build a Kill Team around him, representing his ‘Consortium’ that is represented so well in the novels. Please, please, please give me a new Bile!
Phoenix Lords. Oh, yes, the Phoenix Lords. Most of them are in dire need of an update. They are relics of 2nd edition and are really showing their age – especially Asurmen.
To be fair, Jain Zar has been updated recently and she looks amazing. We now need a similar treatment for all of the others. I maintain that Asurmen is most in need of a complete revamp, but Baharroth and Fuegan also have that same ‘flat’ feel that a lot of the older metal GW miniatures had.
As with the Chaos Space Marines, the Orks have seen some really nice updates over the past few years. My biggest complaint about the Ork range used to be the very dated vehicles, but the new ones are incredibly cool. Big Mek army, anyone? The one exception for me is the Stompa. I really hate this model:
I get that it’s basically just a big hunk of armour and guns. I get that it’s supposed to clunky. I just don’t like it. It feels like a really lazy and uninteresting design. It doesn’t feel as cool as any of the other Ork vehicles. I like the top half of it because it’s at least somewhat interesting in comparison to the long, patchwork skirt that is the bottom half. The Gorkanaut is a similar shape, but is much more interesting in its design. Time for an update?
I don’t care much for the Tau, but I do find the range reassuringly consistent. All of the Tau models share a tight aesthetic that is carried across all of the range. They look good. The thing is, my favourite part of the Tau were never the actual Tau. I always had something of a soft spot for the Kroot. I still remember the White Dwarf issue that introduced the Kroot Mercenary army as a standalone option. It was really cool! It made the most of the various different Kroot miniatures:
The thing is, the Shaper, Kroot Hounds and the Krootox are not available in plastic. You can get them in Resin from Games Workshop, but it would be great to have them in plastic. And, hey, if you’re putting in that work on the Kroot line anyway, how about making a kit for the Vulture Kroot? They were the winged Kroot that were introduced in the aforementioned White Dwarf article, and which keen Kroot players created through conversions and kitbashing. I have a friend who would love nothing more than to see a revitalised Kroot army, and I know that this miniature from Blackstone Fortress filled him with a renewed sense of hope for the future:
I suppose it was just nice to know that GW had not forgotten about the Kroot, that they were still thinking about them and that they were willing to use them. The mini is also really nice and would be a cool commander or sniper in a Kroot mercenary army. I think it’s also okay to not release massive, expansive armies. Games Workshop has done armies for Age of Sigmar which only have a few kits (looking at you, Fyreslayers), and that’s proven to be okay. A limited, narrow army has obvious disadvantages but allied with a Tau army or another force, the possibilities become interesting.
The Tyranids saw a major revamp in third edition and several of the miniatures that are still in the line stem from this time. The many newer miniatures take their design cues from this revamp which really redefined the visuals of this army. It was a good time. There is one unit that has not changed at all since second edition, though. These are the humble Genestealers:
Aside from retooling the sprue and adding a couple more options, these are nearly identical to this kit from 2nd edition:
There have been a few variants as well, like the ones that came with Space Hulk, but the design of the Genestealers have been pretty consistent for decades. Is it time for a tweak? A little update? GW has done a fantastic job with Genestealer Cults and ensuring that they are modern, impressive miniatures whilst also keeping one foot in the past. I think the humble Genestealer deserves similar treatment. Some more dynamism, maybe?
The interesting thing is that I hadn’t realised was just how many miniatures Games Workshop has released in the past decade. I went into this article with so many ideas of miniatures that I would like to see updated, only to discover that they had actually already done so. This is heartening!
Another point is that I really like Primaris marines, despite the fact that I don’t actually have any of them. I wouldn’t buy ‘tiny marines’ any more. I see no point. They’re going to be phased out and the Primaris just look so much better anyway. Take the recent release of Mephiston, for example. His miniature, as I’ve said elsewhere, just looks so much better now, but some people are losing their minds over the fact he is now a Primaris. Okay, whatever. I really don’t care. People just don’t like change.
Thirdly, the miniatures that are really old in this article actually still look pretty good. The Catachans are chunky and a bit iffy, but they’re still nice. The Genestealers have survived unchanged for a reason – they are a good design. Even Njal’s 2nd edition miniature looks pretty good with a modern-style paintjob. The Berzerkers are pretty bad, though…
Finally, I do feel that Games Workshop consistently hits it out of the park and I love the company that we’ve seen since 2015/16. They’ve returned to engaging with fans, giving people what they want and putting out really great stuff. Are they perfect? Nah. Do their prices always make sense? Definitely not! But, we are definitely in a much better place than we were previously and I feel that it’s okay to like GW again. Just, y’know, read my wishlist guys!