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In this review, we take a look at the Legiones Astartes Special Weapons & Heavy Weapons (Missile Launchers & Heavy Bolters) upgrade sets, also available for pre-order since yesterday. Both plastic kits contain special and heavy weapons to upgrade the new MkVI Corvus armour Space Marines to Legion Support and Heavy Support Squads. But are they also compatible with the older MkIII and MkIV Legionaries? Here you will find the answer.
Both weapon sets will be open for pre-order from 4 June 2022 and will be released two weeks later on 18 June. The RRP will be £26 / 34 € / $42 for each set, with discounts available at our partners Wayland Games, Element Games, and Taschengelddieb. The Legiones Astartes Special Weapons Upgrade Set contains 60 special weapons, the Legiones Astartes Heavy Weapons Upgrade Set (Missile Launchers and Heavy Bolters) 10 each, as well as arm pairs for the shoulder-mounted Missile Launcher.
On the Horus Heresy Open Day, two further sets were announced, one with 10 plasma cannons, 10 heavy flamers, and 10 multi-meltas, the other with 10 volkite culverins, 10 lascannons, and 10 autocannons. A release date for these is not yet known.
Legiones Astartes Special Weapons Upgrade Set review
The Special Weapons set contains two identical sprues, each with 5 flamers, plasma guns, meltaguns, rotor cannons, volkite chargers, and volkite calivers. Grav guns are unfortunately not included. Each of the 5 weapons fits exactly to one of the five different arm pairs from the new MkVI kit, so you have to be careful when assembling and read the instructions carefully. I’ve put the assembly guide below:
The question is: do the new weapons also fit the old models? Not really. The MkIII and MkIV kits have the left hand modelled on the left arm, whereas the upgrade sets and the new MkVI Marines have the left hand modelled on the weapons. So to make the weapons fit the old models you have to remove the hands from the left arms, which is not so easy as the MkIII and MkIV bracers often overlap the wrists.
Also, the MkVI models’ arm proportions seem to be slightly different. As you can see on my MkIV test model, there is a big gap on the right wrist that needs to be filled with Green Stuff.
And how about removing the left hand from the guns? Well, you’d still have a gap on the right wrist. And the way they sculpted the thumbs resting on the weapons makes it hard to remove the hands without damaging the details of the gun.
So, it’s not impossible, but making these fit requires a lot of work. Why they changed the design of the hands and arms of the MkVI models is beyond me. They could have just kept the old layout, thus ensuring cross-compatibility, but no.
Legiones Astartes Heavy Weapons Upgrade Set (Missile Launchers and Heavy Bolters) review
This set contains a total of four sprues: The first sprue contains 5 Missile Launchers and 5 Heavy Bolters, and is included twice. The second sprue contains MkVI arm pairs for the shoulder-mounted heavy weapons and two augury scanners, and is also included twice. This sprue will no doubt also be used in the two other Heavy Weapon sets that have been announced.
As with the special weapons, the weapons are matched to the 5 distinct arm pairs/poses of the MkVI kit, but as the shoulder-mounted missile launchers come with their own set of arms, they should be compatible with any of the 5 bodies.
Only MkVI arms are included for the shoulder-mounted weapons. For MkIV models, this might still work, but compared to the heavy MkIII armour the difference is too obvious. It’s a pity they didn’t consider the old kits for this set either. However, MkVI arms are very similar to MkVII arms, so the missile launchers also fit well with Firstborn Space Marines.
I’m torn when it comes to assessing the value. Of course, it’s cool to no longer have to rely on expensive resin weapon sets. But I’ll be honest, I would have preferred a lower price. Of course, the upgrade sets are significantly cheaper than Forge World’s weapon sets, and you get a lot of weapons in each set, even if the special backpacks have been rationalised away. But since most armies won’t field more than 1 or 2 support and/or heavy support squads, a lot of plastic will remain left unused. It seems like a good idea to share the upgrade sets with friends from your gaming group.
There is one good thing about the sets, however, and that is that they will also be available from independent retailers. Our partners Wayland Games, Element Games, and Taschengelddieb offer up to 20% savings off the RRP:
If you use our links, you’ll be supporting our work at no extra cost to you, a thousand thanks for that!
More Horus Heresy content is on its way – check back later this week, there’ll be more reviews, and tutorials for Imperial Fists and Sons of Horus, which you can see above. Let me know what you think about the new upgrade sets in the comments below, cheers!
- Lots of weapons in a box
- Plastic, not resin
- Available from independent retailers
- Have been designed for the new MkVI models only
- MkIII and MkIV models require lots of conversion work
- No special backpacks for the heavy weapons
Actually, the upgrade sets are a pretty good idea. But the fact that the weapons only fit the older MkIII and MkIV models with great difficulty, as well as the rather high price, dampen the joy. At least the Special & Heavy Weapon Upgrade sets are considerably cheaper than the resin weapon sets from Forge World, and they are also available from independent retailers, which makes them much more accessible.
Primaris upper bodies are slightly wider than Firstborn / MkVI bodies, and the arms are also slightly chunkier, which might be a problem. Backpacks are the same size though, and heads and shoulder pads fit as well.
That makes sense. The arms look significatnly thinner than Primaris arms. I was wondering if the MKVI arms are comparable in length to Primaris. Mostly curious about the heavy weapons arms for the missile launcher.
The praetors on the other hand look huge. It might just be the tactical rocks they are standing on but looking at the legs they look significantly bulkier and taller than terminators.
- John E
Can’t wait for those tutorials! That Sons of Horus one looks superb in particular.
Any chance of one for the Emperor’s Children?
Not sure yet, but the tutorial will be written in a way that makes it easily adaptable for any Legion, you just need to change the colours for the armour.
Thanks for posting these, and I hope you are able to do the same for the other two heavy weapons boxes when they are released. Thank you also for the MkIV arm conversion, as naturally that is a question that many will have, particularly for more obscure weapons like the Volkite guns.
Regarding the heavy weapons, it is a pity that the special backpacks have gone away, since I always liked that aspect of the heavy weapons, but I guess this does allow for more weapons per box.
I’ll try to get my hands on these once they’re out, but what I’ve seen so far, all hip-held special/heavy weapons and all shoulder-mounted heavy weapons will be designed in the same way as these.
- James P
Thank you for this and your other Horus Heresy reviews. I have a similar question to BeakieRespecter: would the plastic shoulder pads from the non-primaris plastic upgrade sets produced by GW (e.g. Dark Angels, Ultramarines) be compatible with these new Mark VI marines? Thanks.
Shoulder pads stayed the same size, so even the shoulder pads from the Primaris upgrade sets would work.
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I have a couple of questions about compatibility with Primaris Marines. I was thinking of doing an Apologist style Primaris to Mark VI and VII conversion project so I’m wondering. Would these weapon fit Primaris Marines? What’s the scale of the arms and backpacks compared to Primaris Marine arms and bodies?