So, I subscribed to the Premium version and my first delivery arrived today.
Of course, if my opinion is to be of any use to you, you need to know where it comes from! I started with 40k with Rogue Trader, and stuck with it until about '98 as a player of the Blood Angels. In about 2005 I started collecting the mini’s again, but this time just to paint and collect Dark Angels, primarily and whatever else interests me - lots of imperial guard tanks.
About 3 years ago I got distracted with Star wars and Star trek model kits and haven’t raised a brush to anything other than those since. Apart from a brief foray into Battlestar Galactica model kits.
Also, I am not affiliated with Games Workshop or Hatchette Partworks.
It sells itself as the perfect introduction to 40k, and to save you a lot of reading, if you are interested in not just the game but the hobby - painting the models as well, but have no idea where to start, this is it! (( If you just want the game, get this )). It’s a very good introduction to the universe. It is laser focused on the Ultramarines and the Deathguard, but if you don’t know where to start, you can’t go too far wrong choosing one of those two armies.
The poster that was included with the first one would have been really nice, had it not been folded and left a white fold mark right across the middle of the image.
More on the packing later…
I’m going to focus on the Games Workshop provided material to begin with, and the headline is obviously that for £7.99 (£9.49 for the premium edition) a week, you get mini’s, paints and other hobby materials.
Starting with the magazine. It’s clearly designed for beginners. Most (If not all) of the artwork and mini photographs are recycled, the bulk of the magazine is copy pasted from elsewhere. The material is great, but you are likely to have already read it plenty of times already.
It comes designed to be separated into individual pages and clipped into a folder. The paint guide is well written, very clear and does not show unrealistic results. The game guide is nice as well.
Issues one and two come with a total of four paints - I can’t imagine the three in the first edition will ever be repeated, it’s very generous considering that edition costs £1.99 (£3.49 premium).
Citadel paints are very high quality, and rank alongside any of the top brands, differentiated only by the most minor of differences - meaning what you like more is a matter of your preference. I personally prefer Reaper, but I won’t turn my nose up at Citadel.
It’s surely what we’re all here for, no matter what your experience level, if the mini’s are good, then this is a subscription that could appeal to any experience level of hobbyist (unless you will not let anything that is not resin darken your home).
They are fantastic! The detail is right up there with any of their plastic mini’s, the models are crisp and ooze quality! I was genuinely shocked, I thought for sure they would cut costs here, but they have not.
These models are never going to be modular. If you don’t want
Ultramarines ((Correction - there is no Ultramarine specific iconography on the Space Marines)) or Death Guard, then you will need to get busy with the scalpel, because right down to the colour of the plastic, you will have a hard job making these anything but what they are designed to be.
The bases are terrible. The last time I bought games workshop mini’s they came with really nice, premium feeling bases, but the ones that have arrived, and on checking the website, seem to be standard now across 40k are cheap, thin and fragile. They are like the bases you used to get in the 80’s.
The Hobby Materials
As with the paints, it’s all citadel, it’s good. You can get cheaper, you can get better quality, but citadel corner the market in better than good enough at almost the right price.
The first issue comes with a starter brush, I’m still using my starter brush from the 90’s though it’s relegated to drybrush duties, if you care for them, they will last well enough. They are not as precise as more expensive brands, but those more expensive brushes tend to be a significant step up in cost.
The Game Materials
You get everything you need to start playing by the second edition, some basic rules, a handful of mini’s and a card playmat. I can’t complain, the playmat is fine, it won’t last long in use, but for a beginner, this is perfect!
The dice feel a bit cheap, but they will do the trick.
This is where things take a turn, steeply downhill.
Hatchette is a company who make and distribute partworks, they have done so for decades. They are also the kind of company that like to make it very difficult for you to unsubscribe from. Please understand that in my personal experience I have had problems with them in the past. They have suddenly cancelled partworks, but continued charging me (The Sci Fi Book Collection), they have drastically changed, and lowered the quality of the advertised future editions (Remote control Subaru) and they seem on course to continue being on the wrong side of sketchy. I cannot imagine they will pull too much with Games Workshop, so I would suggest this is a safer partwork than their unlicensed ones.
Firstly, they packaged mine in too small a bag, meaning the corners of the magazine are all damaged and it has been battered in the postal system as it has no protection at all.
A cardboard package instead of plastic would have done the trick, but nope, presumably that is a few pennies to much per unit.
The magazines are not for me, as I said, they are more for a beginner to the hobby, so in my case, they are big elaborate bumpers, but if I did care about them, I would be really annoyed!
Secondly, my modelling kit did not have the snips that are supposed to be a part of the first order. I’ve emailed them. I’ll let you know how that goes, but in my past experience, not well!
Finally, whoever packed my one was moulting, I had several hairs in my package, stuck under the sellotape, gross!
If you’re a beginner to the hobby, and interested in the games and modelling and painting this is perfect, ((If you just want the game, and don’t care about the modelling, buy this for £25)) if you want models and paints, this is good value. Just steer clear of the premium subscription, which I doubt will be worth the money and be aware that you will be dealing with Hatchette!