As anyone who has even a passing interest in 40k knows by now, the regular edition starter box comes out next week but Games Workshop released the limited one a week early. What do you get in the limited box that's different? A one-page card stock sheet detailing the stats and construction diagram for a chaplain figure. According to the young fellow at the local Games Workshop, you're getting "a $20 model for only $9!" I'd be inclined to disagree that this is a $20 model, but it is pretty nice, and in reality only set me back $9. On the other hand though, that's about the maximum I'd reckon any plastic 28mm figure is really worth to me.
Across the various pools of darkness that are the hobbyist-infested corners of the internet I've seen a lot of people deriding the quality of the fifth edition starter box (Assault on Black Reach). Personally I think all of those people have been confined to their hobby rooms constructing models and sniffing glue without adequate ventilation. The models from Black Reach were, in my opinion, really great. Easy to assemble, minimal mold lines and great looking once constructed and painted. The contents of the Dark Vengeance box follow suit with that, and in fact are done better, and bigger.
The box is standard GW fare, a little flimsy, but up to the task of holding the contents without sustaining damage. There are four sprues included, as well as the bonus Chaplain. There are two quick reference sheets (one on heavy card, the other on regular paper), a book of instructions for putting the models together, a learn-to-play booklet, a set of blast templates, two measuring sticks, some dice, and the mini rule book.
After looking over all the components I decided to start on the Dark Angel models first. Most of these are three to five pieces, even the bikes. While I'm not sure how I'll be integrating these models into my Obsidian Fist army, I will say that they are great looking figures. The Dark Angel iconography is pretty heavy but every single model looks good. The standout pieces for me here are the librarian and the terminators.
A lot has been made of the preview images for the Chaos figures too, and I will simply say that they are really amazing in terms of details. Some folks will complain a bit that the cultist models, except the leaders, are duplicated but for the record I don't think it really matters here. As long as you don't paint each pair of figures exactly the same and put them in different squads, most folks won't easily notice the duplication. In addition, the figures aren't all that 40k specific so you could easily use them as post-apocalyptic gangers, a Mordheim war band, contemporary cultists or a dozen other things.
The Chaos Chosen models, and the leader model are again, exquisitely detailed. They have nice weight to them and will look truly fabulous when they've been fully painted. I can't wait to add these to my CSM force box and finally get my chaos space marine army taking shape. I've had that other box for almost three years now and really haven't done much with it other than put together a few Khorne Berserkers and the Chaos Rhino.
And finally the Hellbrute model. This thing is SICK. I think it's five or six pieces in total, and looks amazing. I couldn't believe how cool it looked when I put it all together. I glued this guy all together barring the final piece of armor, which I snapped on simply to see how it looked. Now though I think it's stuck there. I tried prying it off (which will make it easier to paint), but didn't have much luck. I'd rather leave it there and have a harder time painting it than forcing it off and busting something along the way.
I have no idea when I'm going to finish gluing and get to painting these guys, but I'm excited at the prospect of doing so. The space marine stuff from my Black Reach set should probably take precedence. There are only a few left from that to do, which will give me a nicely rounded 1000pt list. I'll start adding these pieces to that list after I've had a chance to run through the new rules with my existing army.
Now if only I had a friend that played 40k to game with...