The Raging Goblin Reviews #16: ETB Primaris Reivers

Now, if any of you have read my reviews in the past, you know that I have a love/hate relationship with Games Workshop. Despite their high prices, whiny fanbase, stupid memes, and unbalanced armies, GW has been trying hard recently to improve their reputation and make the game more balanced and accessible to new players. And, as I said in my “Is GW the CoD of wargaming?” article, even though there was a lot of backlash for GW trying to go back to its roots and do something new, I still like that they went outside the mold for WH40K and introduced things to the grimdark future that haven’t been seen before. Case in point: the Primaris Space Marines. Despite all the fans whining on Bell of Lost Souls and Beasts of War (you know who you are), the Primaris Marines are cool because they take the already-over-the-top aesthetic of the normal space marines, and instead of trying to play it dead seriously, have fun with it and stretch it to see how far they can go. The Primaris Repulsor is the epitome of this, as it’s basically just a floating brick with as many guns strapped onto it as they possibly can. Yes, it’s mind-bogglingly stupid and impractical, but 1) it’s science fiction/fantasy, and you’re not SUPPOSED to follow real-world logic, 2) it fits in well with the over the top aesthetic of the Primaris Marines, and most importantly, 3) IT’S PLAIN FUN. Sometimes, you just need to appreciate the “bored kid doodling in pre-algebra” aesthetic and have a bit of fun with it. After all, isn’t that the reason we play wargames in the first place? Don’t forget, wargaming is still a grown-up version of playing with your green army men in the sandbox.

Anyway, rant over, let’s go on to our review for today. As part of GW’s effort to make the game more accessible to new players, they’ve introduced a new range of “Easy to Build” models that only compose two to three pieces and are molded in colored plastic, letting new players quickly build a starting army and start playing without spending all that time building a multi-piece kit and painting it up. This way, if you want to play a game with the Death Guard and Primaris Marines, it’s easy to tell which side is which without a lot of squinting, and you can get your army built quickly without setting you hundreds of dollars back. One of their offerings in this range, and one of the new Primaris Marine types, is the Reivers, a brand-new variant of the traditional Space Marine scout specializing in terror tactics and shock-and-awe.

99120101183_ETBReiverSquad01

Some were divided on the Reivers when they were first released, most notably on their color scheme, but as I’ve learned, if you want a true opinion on something, go to the hobby store itself instead of listening to forum trolls looking for attention. But onto the Reivers themselves, they are in essence stripped-down versions of typical Primaris Marines, losing the heavy greaves, chestplate, abdomen guard, and left pauldron to make them lighter and faster in the field, allowing them to cross more ground than their brothers and close with their swords. This provides a lot of detail for hobbyists to work with, exposing a lot of the steel-thread undersuit the soldiers wear under the armor, and adding more pouches and kit for the Reivers to store their weapons and equipment. Their most notable detail is the skull-shaped gas mask all their troops wear, either with a helmet or without (which I prefer). Combined with their nasty serrated swords, it’s not hard to imagine enemy troops soiling themselves in fear as these steel-clad ghouls come plummeting out of the sky towards them. The poses aren’t especially stellar, but given that each of these models is only a few pieces in total, I can forgive it. As for the paint job, I agree with the fans that the blue Ultramarines scheme on these skull-faced terrors isn’t especially intimidating. The Raven Guard scheme, with black and red armor, looks a lot better and is utterly TERRIFYING.

Now, are these guys easy to build? Yes, yes they are. Now, to build them, you take the front body, put on the head (there is a notch on both the head and neck area so it’s pointing the right direction), press on the back half of the body, put on both arms, which are molded to pose in the way they’re pictured, attach the backpack, and glue the whole thing onto the included base. You can assemble these guys without glue, but I prefer to glue mine just so they don’t fall apart, and even without it, the connections are surprisingly secure. Between clipping the parts out, gluing, and assembling, I was done with these three in only about fifteen minutes. If you’re just getting into WH40K, these easy to build models are a great entry point as they’re not too difficult to build, they’re pre-colored so you don’t necessarily need to paint them (the Primaris Marines in particular are molded in blue plastic, the Death Guard in green), and with only two boxes of Reivers or Intercessors, you’ve got a small starter force that you can start playing with right out of the box. For veterans, these guys are still a good addition, as they have a new look to set them apart from normal Space Marines and look almost like the Terran marines from Starcraft, they’re absolutely MASSIVE compared to old marines, they’ve got plenty of fun detail to paint, and their play style introduces some new mechanics to your standard “stand and shoot” Astartes force. Thanks to the new “grand army” list of the Imperium, you can also take these guys with Imperial Guard or Sisters of Battle, if you wish to further mix and match.

So, what exactly do they do? These three on their own aren’t too spectacular, as they do not come with grav-chutes or grapnel launchers to boost their mobility, but their stats aren’t bad. They’re fast, hit reliably, and have decent defensive stats, despite their armor being stripped down for mobility. For weapons, you have a bog-standard bolt pistol and combat knife (which is long enough to be a gladius), and THREE types of grenades. You can use the standard frag and krak grenades for infantry-clearing and armor-cracking respectively, but they have a brand new type called the shock grenade, which makes a unit hit stationary. This allows you to shut down threatening heavy weapons teams or support models and open them up for attack from your other troops. They’re also fearless, so never suffer leadership penalties, but their terrifying appearance can serve to demoralize your enemies and send them fleeing. In essence, the best way for using your Reivers is to terrify your enemies and either send them running, or stun them to open them up for return fire. Of course, they’re no slouch in battle either, and make brutal use of their guns and blades in close combat. As for their other options, I’d have to get the Primaris Codex or the full Reiver box to get the rules, and I don’t especially plan to do that. With Warmachine stepping up its game, I much prefer PP to GW by far, but I do still like they did something new and admittedly very cool, which is why I caved and bought a box of these guys. If I ever feel like it, I may get a box of easy to build Intercessors for a complete starter army, but it’s unlikely, and I’m saving my money for those upcoming Trencher releases we’ve got coming from PP this month.

That’s all for today’s review! I can’t say what next time’s review will be, as I don’t have many other models to review, but I’m sure I can find something. As the new Trencher releases come out, stay tuned for reviews of the Trencher Blockhouse, Combat Engineers, Commando Officer, Express Team, Long Gunners, Patrol Dog, Warcaster Lieutenant, Colonel “Siege” Brisbane, and Commander Anson Hitch. God’s blessings on your week!

-The Raging Goblin

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