A sleek black box with three shiny silver words embossed on its front is getting my hobby blood boiling!
It's an extravagant box for sure, but this is an extravagant product, so I think it's perfect. Forge World seem to know how stupidly excited geeks like me get about this stuff and to be perfectly honest that's awesome.
The showdown between Loken and Abaddon in the Parliament House on Isstvan III is one of the iconic moments in the opening salvo of the Horus Heresy books and Simon Egan's diorama of it justifies a proper unboxing in every sense of the word. The anticipation; the splitting of the plastic wrap; tearing it off; impatiently waiting for the lid to slide free and reveal the hidden treasure inside - this is the good stuff!
I saw this scene at Games Day last year when it was work in progress and I enjoyed painting the Angron kit I bought on the same day, so it's fair to say that my expectations are high. At first I wasn't too sure why this one cost an extra fiver, taking the price up to £55, but once I saw the contents I realised that there's a hefty amount of beautifully cast resin in here. It's always a good sign when the lid of the inner case won't stay shut due to the volume of contents!
Popping that lid open shows a lot of parts. This isn't a truly complex kit, but it's certainly not aimed at a beginner, which probably justifies the lack of assembly instructions.
The Parliament House baseTaking up most of the space is the sizable scenic base which depicts the ruins of the Parliament House. It's scattered with the stripped bones and ragged remnants of Marine armour after the virus bombing and looks really cool. As with the previous Angron kit, the models have their own gaming bases which slot neatly into the main diorama as inserts.
There's no doubt that a keen hobbyist could achieve a scenic base like this far easier than they could make models of Loken and Abaddon, so if you're not won over by this part, perhaps you may question the cost of the kit. I know I could achieve a similar finish to the scenery with some effort, but it wouldn't be as good and I like that this is a diorama with interaction and flow to it, rather than two individual models.
If you're just after the minis then you're going to find this kit expensive, but I'm not and I don't think that it's aimed at those folks. This is a kit aimed at collectors and though it's not cheap I don't think the price is unreasonable.
The casting is great. There's a little clean up to do but it's no more than you'd expect on a resin model. I'll be building the kit later on and putting a follow up post before painting, but the fit of the bases into the main diorama looks like it will be really good.
Plastic bases are also included of course to mount the resin on.
But enough of plastic, onwards with the resin crack! ;)
AbaddonFirst up is Ezekyle Abaddon, First Captain of the Sons of Horus. It's a glorious rendition of the Master of the Justaerin and all the parts are cast in the quality you'd expect. It has to be said that a few parts in the previous Angron kit seemed to be cast a little 'softer', without the extreme sharpness of detail I expect from the best of Forge World's models. That's not the case here. All the details are replicated very well and boy are there lots of details. If I'm being really picky, there is one air bubble in the centre of the end of the blade, but it's an easy fix and I may just have gotten unlucky because usually the feeder channel present would help to avoid that.
Big congrats to Mr Egan for his fine work. The pose is great and it's always nice to see a dynamic, realistic war pose on a bulky model like this. As for those details I mentioned - Abaddon's Justaerin armour is showing subtle hints of the betrayal and corruption. There are runes carved into it, spiked studs cresting it, a beautifully crisp and evil looking power claw (which is in the next set of pictures).
His head is very expressive, eyes wide with both hatred and complete confidence in the imminent destruction of his former battle brother.
I think my favourite little detail is that there is a serpent entwined with the Sons of Horus legion symbol on his right shoulder. It brings in the influence of the Serpent Lodge in Horus' downfall and also harkens back to the 'fallen angels / first sinner in heaven' parallels from the Bible (it's not blatant of course, but I do enjoy discovering these little throwbacks in models. It's the same as looking at a John Blanche illustration and seeing the barrage of art and religious influences that lie beneath the 40k exterior!)
Something I didn't realise came in the kit (it isn't shown on the Forge World website) is an alternate weapon. Should you so desire you can arm Abaddon with the most badass looking Phobos-pattern combi-bolter I've ever seen instead of his blade. Very cool!
LokenAs with Abaddon, Garviel Loken's pose is great - charging into the fray, his cloak billowing behind. All I need to say about the casting is that once more it's super-sharp and only going to need minimal clean up.
Though he's probably not quite as exciting a model as Abaddon due to his smaller size, Simon has made sure that the armour is peppered with little details and I'm really looking forward to painting him. Loken's one of my favourite characters ever in the world of 40k because the first three Horus Heresy books really gave him a chance to develop. Loken has heart, he's real and he's the guy you can't help but root for. Of course I know how this scene ends, but the way the face has been sculpted almost gives me hope for something else. Loken has the look of a man fueled by righteousness and vengeance after the atrocity he's seen on the planet's surface. Though he is outmatched he's as intent on the kill as his opponent.
Can you tell that I'm into this kit yet?
Final thoughtsUltimately, it's always tough to be truly objective about models like this when you get such a fanboy glow from the background. If you share my passion for all things 40k and Horus Heresy then you will love this set and you've probably already ordered it. If you are a Space Marine fan, you're going to be hard pressed to find two more interestingly posed and pleasingly detailed examples of them either.
I can't find anything to criticise in terms of concept, sculpting or casting.
The only reason you may hesitate in getting this set as a collector would be that the big scenic base no doubt adds to the cost. If you're not invested in the background you may wish you could do away with it and pay less for the two adversaries on their own... but that's really not the point in my opinion.
I'm excited to paint this up and I'll hopefully have a follow up post showing my progress soon.
In the meantime, you can see more of the full scene on the Forge World website.