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Regular Dakkanaut




I was actually a big fan of the new Primaris models when they first hit. They looked lovely, they gave me a bigger canvas to paint on, and they were a properly imposing semi-truescale update of the classic Tactical Marines.

However, I've become less and less enamoured with the general approach taken for Primaris as time has gone on, and it's only recently (while putting together a "unified" Primaris Datasheet for Kill Team, a task that was depressingly easy) that I've figured out why. Individual bits of ugliness made their mark, yes - Suppressors look incredibly silly and static, all Primaris vehicles have been rather disappointing, etc - but they're not the overall problem. The increasing prevalence of a "clean sci-fi" or "modern military" aesthetic has chipped away a little at the anachronistic knightly appeal of the Space Marines, but that's simple enough to ignore or convert around. Ultimately, there's one simple problem at the root of what's gnawing away at my enthusiasm.

Namely, silhouetting.

For those not familiar, silhouettes are why you can tell classes and teams apart in Team Fortress 2 at a glance from across the map. If you reduce a character purely down to a single blob, a monochrome outline, are they still recognizable? Are their friends still recognizable as their friends, and their enemies as enemies?

In terms of silhouetting, classic Marines were... Marines. A Tactical Marine, an Assault Marine, and a Devastator Marine all had the same armour, the same proportions, the same gear. So did your Marine characters, from Apothecaries to Captains. They also had the same basic loadout: a boltgun was a boltgun, a bolt pistol was a bolt pistol. This meant that they all shared the same silhouette, which unified the "look" of the army even from a distance; all your blobs of infantry were clearly of a type. This also meant that deviations from that silhouette really stood out; the Librarian's looming hood or the Apothecary's bulky surgery-arm popped out at a glance, as did the Assault Marine's jump pack. The broad standardization of the army helped emphasize its differences. The only full units who totally broke the general Marine mould were Scouts and Terminators, which acted as a clear signal that the latter were really important and tough and the former were small, weak, and sneaky. That effect also applied to special weapons; when everyone else had boltguns, the guy with the melta, plasma, missile launcher, heavy bolter etc really stood out and signaled what that model (and its associated unit) was for.

Primaris Marines inherently damage this silhouetting, because they introduce a new type of Marine. Scouts and Terminators are both pretty rare, specialized units (or are intended to be), and their different silhouettes help them stand out as such, but with Primaris you now have four kinds of Marine "look". The lightly/heavily armoured Scout/Terminator, the Space Marine, and the Primaris. And the Vanguard Primaris, who has its own torso/legs/helmet. And the Aggressor, who is a new kind of big bulky silhouette entirely. And the Suppressor, who's a weird half-way house between Inceptor and Primaris silhouettes. And Centurion, who it's not strictly fair to lump in with Primaris, but I'm going to do it anyway because I'm making a point. And the wildly different and obvious special weapons have been largely boiled down to small adjustments to existing guns (both aesthetically and mechanically); does your boltgun have a scope, in which case this squad is static long-ranged gunners, or does it have an extra magazine, in which case this squad is fast-moving anti-infantry? I have yet to meet anyone who can tell different Hellblaster guns apart at a glance. Each unit looks unique, which makes the army seem less unified, and within each unit they all look the same, making it harder to distinguish roles. It's the worst of both worlds.

At a glance, the army's range of silhouettes has gone from Scouts, Marines, and Terminators... to Scouts, Marines, Vanguard Primaris, Primaris, Suppressors, Terminators, Gravis Primaris, and Centurion Terminators.

It feels like a lot of the new Primaris units aren't part of a unified plan to update the army's look with a new set of templates and roles, but are just... thrown out of a bucket of ideas. What if this unit had sort-of-Terminator-armour-but-not-really? What if this unit flew and had big guns? What if this other unit flew and had big guns but was sort of different somehow? What if this unit did recon and special ops and sabotage? What if this other unit also did recon and special ops and sabotage, but had smoke grenades and radio packs? What if this third unit also did recon and special ops and sabotage, but had giant mines? There's no templating or standardization, which makes the army feel less like an army and more like a collection of seasonal action figures: Winter Storm Batman, Battle Damage Batman, Disco Fight Batman, etc.
   
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Yep. Exactly.
Also I don't feel many of the newer ones succeed in looking like space marines due to how different their silhouette is. Phobos armour has weird ankle cuffs and uneven shoulders. It's all wrong. Which is weird because Jes specifically talked about how important the silhouette is!
   
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Across the Rubicon

You say that, but I don't see the silhouette of Primaris Space Marines in Tacticus armor being all that radically different than a tactical space marine. As for the other configurations, you shouldn't be comparing Phobos to a Tactical Marine but to a scout, and I would say the the silhouette is that much different. Maybe you did, but I kinda doubt you made ever made this kinda of argument about scouts which to have a very different silhouette from anything else in the Marine line looking more like IG. I think the silhouette of Phobos armor still has enough elements that it is not going to be easily confused with any other broad 40k faction.

So to me, this hypothesis sounds more like you are looking for something concrete to hang on your 'I don't like Primaris' than anything else. Here's the thing, you don't have to has a reason to not like Primaris marines. Lots of players don't even after 2 years. I honestly think most that don't like Primaris (talking models not lore) don't really have a reason other than Primaris weren't a thing during the hey day of when they played. Which is fine. They certainly could be a reminder that those days are gone, probably long gone at this point, and never coming back. But I do think the silhouette hypothesis is kinda a weak as a reason simply because I think I could show the silhouettes to a number of 40k units to someone that doesn't know much at all about 40k and be confident they will still match Primaris to space marines. At least better than scouts in any event.

Zustiur wrote:
Yep. Exactly.
Also I don't feel many of the newer ones succeed in looking like space marines due to how different their silhouette is. Phobos armour has weird ankle cuffs and uneven shoulders. It's all wrong. Which is weird because Jes specifically talked about how important the silhouette is!


I tell every one to look at the lower legs like fantasy high boots with the cuff rolled over (see Exalted Champion of Chaos or Blood Warriors in AoS for reference) and look at the armor as something a fantasy ranger or rogue might wear that is stripped down to the bare amount of protection to maximize stealth with a whole bunch of sci-fi techy bits to make it look futuristic. I personally think Phobos armor pulls of the fantasy game in space which 40k very much is.

It seems like it would be a failure of design to have same silhouette for a line infantry unit and a stealth recon unit. The differences are suppose to help the viewer differentiate how the unit functions but share enough elements that they could still place them in the faction they are from. I don't see Phobos patterns doing anything but that as they sell the idea these are recon troops and they belong to the space marine faction.

   
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Give it some time. Eventually they'll discontinue Terminators, Scouts, and Marines and you'll have your cohesion back.

But on a more serious note, my complaint is more with branding and less with overall army cohesion. Is there a reason this bothers you more for Marines and not for another army? Eldar for example where nearly every unit is unique in appearance?

Branding on the other hand is a significant issue. More people know what a Space Marine is than know they are part of Warhammer 40k or that Games Workshop makes them. Fortunately the stock Primaris Intercessor and, to a lesser extent, Hellblasters at least retain much of the original Space Marine aesthetic. But the rest of the line kind of jumped the shark. They just aren't Space Marines anymore.

I am really crossing my fingers that they find some lore reason to remove a lot of these things. A falling out with Mars, or Mars outright blows up and they can no longer fund things like flying rhinos and predators, or weird floaty marines. Ideally they'd lose the ability to make centurions and aggressors as well as new knees for dreadnaughts.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/08/11 14:59:00


 
   
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I actually like that different units have their own visual identity instead of the old way when most things were the same power armour dudes with weapon swaps.

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I’m with saturmorn on this. The argument doesn’t stack up. The mess of silhouettes you describe is because you list non primaris units in there. If you look at the primaris army as only that and no mini marines the silhouettes work fine. As for abandoning the aesthetic of knightly warriors the primaris marines are much more similar to the actual original concept and appearance for marines than the old range had become over the years. Primaris is more like a reboot than a redesign.

As it is you have standard armour, stealth armour with a distinct silhouette and then gravis and jump infantry all with very distinct silhouettes. All very distinctly marine. Your argument really boils down to “I don’t like the change in the range”.
   
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To my mind the lack of visual cohesion is a symptom of a growing flaw in GW's designs where they don't release armies that can be built in flexible ways anymore, they release one-dimensional mono-builds and occasionally cram them together in one book despite them not actually interacting. It's a bigger issue in Sigmar (where if you buy, for instance, the Stormcast Eternals battletome you're actually getting four armies (Warrior, Extremis, Vanguard, and Sacrosanct) whose synergies, formations, and command abilities barely interact with each other) but the release of the Primaris Vanguard as a complete set of new units built with Primaris Vanguard faction synergy in mind and little to no interaction with existing Space Marines has me worried the same design philosophy is migrating over to 40k.

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Saturmorn Carvilli wrote:You say that, but I don't see the silhouette of Primaris Space Marines in Tacticus armor being all that radically different than a tactical space marine. As for the other configurations, you shouldn't be comparing Phobos to a Tactical Marine but to a scout, and I would say the the silhouette is that much different. Maybe you did, but I kinda doubt you made ever made this kinda of argument about scouts which to have a very different silhouette from anything else in the Marine line looking more like IG. I think the silhouette of Phobos armor still has enough elements that it is not going to be easily confused with any other broad 40k faction.

So to me, this hypothesis sounds more like you are looking for something concrete to hang on your 'I don't like Primaris' than anything else. Here's the thing, you don't have to has a reason to not like Primaris marines. Lots of players don't even after 2 years. I honestly think most that don't like Primaris (talking models not lore) don't really have a reason other than Primaris weren't a thing during the hey day of when they played. Which is fine. They certainly could be a reminder that those days are gone, probably long gone at this point, and never coming back. But I do think the silhouette hypothesis is kinda a weak as a reason simply because I think I could show the silhouettes to a number of 40k units to someone that doesn't know much at all about 40k and be confident they will still match Primaris to space marines. At least better than scouts in any event.

Zustiur wrote:
Yep. Exactly.
Also I don't feel many of the newer ones succeed in looking like space marines due to how different their silhouette is. Phobos armour has weird ankle cuffs and uneven shoulders. It's all wrong. Which is weird because Jes specifically talked about how important the silhouette is!


I tell every one to look at the lower legs like fantasy high boots with the cuff rolled over (see Exalted Champion of Chaos or Blood Warriors in AoS for reference) and look at the armor as something a fantasy ranger or rogue might wear that is stripped down to the bare amount of protection to maximize stealth with a whole bunch of sci-fi techy bits to make it look futuristic. I personally think Phobos armor pulls of the fantasy game in space which 40k very much is.

It seems like it would be a failure of design to have same silhouette for a line infantry unit and a stealth recon unit. The differences are suppose to help the viewer differentiate how the unit functions but share enough elements that they could still place them in the faction they are from. I don't see Phobos patterns doing anything but that as they sell the idea these are recon troops and they belong to the space marine faction.
Agreed 100%.

I genuinely don't understand all the comments of "they don't look like Space Marines" - they couldn't be more similar.

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They’re more like marines than marines were in my opinion.
I think eventually they’ll bring back some of the gothic and knightly aspects to some of the chapters, (possibly namely Dark Angels and Blood Angels, and maybe bring some of the Viking back to Wolves).
Otherwise I think that the different silhouettes help more than they hinder. Pointing at the same game you reference, Team Fortress 2 has drastically different silhouettes for each class, so you can tell them apart. Similarly for the new Primaris, it’s so much nicer to be able to see at a glance where it’ll be a tough gravis dude, a nimble Phobos dude or a typical Mk X duder, especially for your opponent who doesn’t have to ask who, “that other dude in power armour,” is. Doing this all while keeping to the recognisable marine aesthetic of big shoulders, big guns and flairs.
   
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Andykp wrote:I’m with saturmorn on this. The argument doesn’t stack up. The mess of silhouettes you describe is because you list non primaris units in there. If you look at the primaris army as only that and no mini marines the silhouettes work fine. As for abandoning the aesthetic of knightly warriors the primaris marines are much more similar to the actual original concept and appearance for marines than the old range had become over the years. Primaris is more like a reboot than a redesign.

As it is you have standard armour, stealth armour with a distinct silhouette and then gravis and jump infantry all with very distinct silhouettes. All very distinctly marine. Your argument really boils down to “I don’t like the change in the range”.
The silhouetting problem isn’t between units, it’s within them. This is something OP mentioned but should have made a bigger point. It’s hard to tell apart the different intercessor loadouts at a glance, it’s the same with hellblasters and it will probably be the same with infiltrators and incursors. I don’t think it’s a deal breaking issue, but it is something I don’t like.

Regardless of what original marines were like, if you came to love marines because they are a mix of gothic knights and sci-fi spec-ops then there is no debate primaris marines skew that relation. Just look at eliminators. Sure they have their reliquary bits, but they’re also holding thinly veiled G36s. Not that one is worse than the other or that 40k doesn’t have plenty of gothic to go around (look at CSM), but primaris marines do not have the same feel as normal marines and there is no reason to assume someone who loves normal marines would also love primaris marines.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/08/11 17:33:56


 
   
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Eipi10 wrote:The silhouetting problem isn’t between units, it’s within them. This is something OP mentioned but should have made a bigger point. It’s hard to tell apart the different intercessor loadouts at a glance, it’s the same with hellblasters and it will probably be the same with infiltrators and incursors. I don’t think it’s a deal breaking issue, but it is something I don’t like.
No harder than telling the difference between what weapons a Tactical Squad has, or Veteran Squads, or Terminators or Scouts.

The only slightly difficult distinction is between bolt rifle and stalker bolt rifle (purely because they both have a scope, but if you know to look for the magazine instead, it's not so bad).
Hellblasters are easy to tell apart due to the backpack cabling on the heavy plasma incinerators, and incursors have different backpacks and helmets to infiltrators.

The real issues on this regard are xenos armies, who's weapons rarely have an intuitive design that reflects their effect, unlike most human armies.

Regardless of what original marines were like, if you came to love marines because they are a mix of gothic knights and sci-fi spec-ops then there is no debate primaris marines skew that relation. Just look at eliminators. Sure they have their reliquary bits, but they’re also holding thinly veiled G36s.
And? They're not the core of the Primaris line, are they? That would be like complaining that sniper scouts aren't proper marines, because they have lots of cloth bits. At least the Eliminators are still heavily armoured and even the monopose Shadowspear ones have purity seals and trinkets, unlike Scouts.

I don't see what about the Primaris skews the idea of "gothic knights and sci-fi spec-ops".
Not that one is worse than the other or that 40k doesn’t have plenty of gothic to go around (look at CSM), but primaris marines do not have the same feel as normal marines and there is no reason to assume someone who loves normal marines would also love primaris marines.
Except that, as far as I'm concerned, no-one has actually given me a rational answer why they look any different. I've seen plenty of people say "the Primaris Marines don't look like Space Marines any more", which I simply cannot see. A Primaris Marine is still, compared to every other fictional supersoldier, quintessentially 40k. I've seen people claiming they look more like Halo's Spartans, or other generic sci-fi soldiers, but I genuinely cannot see that. They're clearly still Space Marines, and I don't see how they have a different feel at all.

Note this is all my opinion, but it's made as a counter to your statement of "primaris marines do not have the same feel as normal marines", which comes across like you phrased it as a fact.
   
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 Sgt_Smudge wrote:
Except that, as far as I'm concerned, no-one has actually given me a rational answer why they look any different. I've seen plenty of people say "the Primaris Marines don't look like Space Marines any more", which I simply cannot see. A Primaris Marine is still, compared to every other fictional supersoldier, quintessentially 40k. I've seen people claiming they look more like Halo's Spartans, or other generic sci-fi soldiers, but I genuinely cannot see that. They're clearly still Space Marines, and I don't see how they have a different feel at all.

Primaris Marines are still very 40k and they are still marines, but they aren't the same marines. Maybe it's the sharp straight lines an extra armor plate layers, but they look more like halo spartans than normal marines look like halo spartans.
   
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The new direction for modern space marines is tacticool. I don't like it either but at this point we might as well get used to it.

For whatever reason GW has decided that tacticool is the look that's going to expand their audience so that's what we're getting. RIP, gothic space knights.

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 slave.entity wrote:
The new direction for modern space marines is tacticool. I don't like it either but at this point we might as well get used to it.

For whatever reason GW has decided that tacticool is the look that's going to expand their audience so that's what we're getting. RIP, gothic space knights.


intercessors have more of a knightly look then the god damned MK 7 Marines. the helmet grill is actually more in line with some medieval knight helms for example

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Too bad the rest of the intercessor design is dressed up in generic sci-fi video game styling.

Actually OP has a good point. The silhouettes of units in relation to other units in the faction are also less distinct and more cluttered with excessive bits.

   
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 slave.entity wrote:
Too bad the rest of the intercessor design is dressed up in generic sci-fi video game styling.


well... if by video game you mean Dawn of war, or Space Marine..

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Nice side by side picture. The only unit on that list I like more than the original range are the Aggresors. Though they always struck me as the new Centurion unit that actually looks like it can walk.
   
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I much prerfer the phobos to scouts, but that just might be the part of me that finds it annoying so many marine lists don't use power armor troops for their troops

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BrianDavion wrote:
I much prerfer the phobos to scouts, but that just might be the part of me that finds it annoying so many marine lists don't use power armor troops for their troops


Phobos are pretty decent looking but I just can't buy a sneaky power armor unit. The scout kit is definitely showing it's age but scouts at least look like they can sneak up on someone. The new stealth dread that GW ripoff from avatar is even sillier.

Even If the thing is some how totally silent, good luck moving a multi ton vehicle across any type of terrain with out someone noticing, especially when it's paint job is a bright color
   
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 AnomanderRake wrote:
To my mind the lack of visual cohesion is a symptom of a growing flaw in GW's designs where they don't release armies that can be built in flexible ways anymore, they release one-dimensional mono-builds and occasionally cram them together in one book despite them not actually interacting. It's a bigger issue in Sigmar (where if you buy, for instance, the Stormcast Eternals battletome you're actually getting four armies (Warrior, Extremis, Vanguard, and Sacrosanct) whose synergies, formations, and command abilities barely interact with each other) but the release of the Primaris Vanguard as a complete set of new units built with Primaris Vanguard faction synergy in mind and little to no interaction with existing Space Marines has me worried the same design philosophy is migrating over to 40k.


I noticed that with AoS and it's really confusing and I hope beyond hope this doesn't happen with 40k factions. I just want one faction, not sub factions splintering one whole faction. Like in guard, you have Scions and core guard, I'd hate for them to further break it into armored companies and air forces and auxilla of ab human types, all that don't interact with each other but somehow are the same army. In part it already is like that but I don't want it to go further it makes the core game hyper frustrating for army list construction.
   
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Personally, the reason I dislike primaris designs is they don't fit aesthetically with the rest of the line. Marines are angry churches, each one a hero in their own right wielding a relic of a weapon and armour forged millenia ago in ways now unknown. Primaris marines are generic supersoldiers who have been mass produced and use standardised weapons and armour. And they look it.
Which is to say, they don't look very 40k. I dunno,, I guess I've just always thought of 40k as being Blanche's version, not the digital deviantart stuff on the front of codexes now that wouldn't be out of place in any other sci-fi setting, even though 40k is fantasy in space.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/08/12 11:37:00


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 CREEEEEEEEED wrote:
Personally, the reason I dislike primaris designs is they don't fit aesthetically with the rest of the line. Marines are angry churches, each one a hero in their own right wielding a relic of a weapon and armour forged millenia ago in ways now unknown. Primaris marines are generic supersoldiers who have been mass produced and use standardised weapons and armour. And they look it.
Which is to say, they don't look very 40k. I dunno,, I guess I've just always thought of 40k as being Blanche's version, not the digital deviantart stuff on the front of codexes now that wouldn't be out of place in any other sci-fi setting, even though 40k is fantasy in space.



Marines are not fighting churches, that’s they way have gone over the years but it isn’t what makes a spacemarine. Primaris share the same lines but stripped off all the gothic BS that had cluttered up recent kits. It will be back where appropriate on certain models but not on all. That might be what you like about marines but it is only one aspect of what they are. For me it drove me away from marines as it wasn’t what I associated with every marine. Because they weren’t always like that.

The argument still seems to be people don’t like primaris because they are new and different. They are really just truescale mk4 marines.
   
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Andykp wrote:
The argument still seems to be people don’t like primaris because they are new and different. They are really just truescale mk4 marines.


Without the ability to mix weapons in the squad. Without Rhinos or Drop Pods. Buffed beyond relative parity with Aspect Warriors/Necron Troops. And I don't think I've noticed a single Chainswrod among them.

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Primaris are the first marines I ever liked. I just don't like the look of mini marines so I've never owned any. I have a small force of purely primaris deathwatch now. I therefore totally get not liking them as it's just the way I feel about the oldmarines.
   
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Drager wrote:
Primaris are the first marines I ever liked. I just don't like the look of mini marines so I've never owned any. I have a small force of purely primaris deathwatch now. I therefore totally get not liking them as it's just the way I feel about the oldmarines.


See, this I can get. The two collections are aesthetically different, and it makes sense that one might appeal to you more than the other. Primaris imo are more "modern-techy".

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Andykp wrote:

Marines are not fighting churches, that’s they way have gone over the years but it isn’t what makes a spacemarine.


Yep. Original space marines (Rogue Trader) were convicted felons that were augmented and brainscrubbed and reprogrammed. Many of the current space marine chapters recruit from the most feral, aggressive and savage human tribes possible, subject them to the involuntary torture that is gene seed implantation, and brainscrub and reprogram them. The original person has been effectively murdered and you're left with a program of what a Space Marine should be and the battle brother is left from there to grow a real personality of his own, which will never stray too far because he's constantly monitored (Chaplains) and is brain damaged (brain altered to feel emotions differently than humans).




   
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Andykp wrote:
They are really just truescale mk4 marines.


They really aren't. Their armour is much more similar to mk7 and 8. The only similarity with mk4 is the helmet front, thats about it.

They aren't truescale either. Their head to body ratio is closer to ideal art proportions, but that is about it. They are still heroically proportioned.

People who dislike them dont dislike them because they are 'new and different' either. They dislike them because they don't like their particular aesthetic, its really that simple, it shouldn't be hard for you to comprehend.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2019/08/12 15:03:51


 
   
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The way I see it, Oldmarines no longer have a reason to exist. There are Primaris equivalents for pretty much every unit and battlefield role at this point, so it makes little in-universe sense to raise new standard marine troops.

Personally, I decided my own chapter went renegade when they were offered reinforcements from the Indomitus Crusade, seeing them as a heretical abomination designed to supercede and exterminate them (needless to say, they do not consider Rowboat Guilliman as their spiritual liege). This saves me money, too, as I can buy all my minis from the secondhand market now (I do not expect GW to ever release a non-Primaris marine model ever again).

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robbienw wrote:
Andykp wrote:
They are really just truescale mk4 marines.


They really aren't. Their armour is much more similar to mk7 and 8. The only similarity with mk4 is the helmet front, thats about it.

They aren't truescale either. Their head to body ratio is closer to ideal art proportions, but that is about it. They are still heroically proportioned.

People who dislike them dont dislike them because they are 'new and different' either. They dislike them because they don't like their particular aesthetic, its really that simple, it shouldn't be hard for you to comprehend.


It’s not hard to comprehend and that’s my point, let’s not pretend it’s some issue with GW overall strategy and silhouettes and stuff. It’s because you don’t like them. Any model isn’t going to appeal to some people and it doesn’t make it wrong. They aren’t a huge shift or radical change from the past they are just different and if you don’t like then you don’t. They are still “spacemarines”. Just ones you don’t like. They were designed by the same people who designed the originals, so they are what marines are.

As for truescale etc, I was of course generalising but they are more true scale than the gangly legged horrors people used to convert and feel very smug about.
   
 
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