Army sets, army sets, anyone else wants an army set? Just a week after the release of Slaves to Darkness army set, the 41st millennium is now also being graced with a new big box set, heralding the brand new Imperial Guard range. Cadia stands in our unboxing & review of the new Astra Militarum army set.
The Astra Militarum army set will be available for preorder starting Saturday, November 12 2022, and be on sale not one but two weeks after. Inside this Warhammer 40.000 army box, you’ll find 28 all-new models, the new Cadian transfer sheet, the new Astra Militarum Codex with a special collectors edition soft-touch cover, and a set of matching datacards.
Astra Militarum army set unboxing
Like the Leagues of Votann army set, the Astra Militarum army set comes in a large slipcase cardboard, and is filled to brim with plastic sprues. Besides the battletome and cards, 28 new miniatures are included: 20 new Cadian Shock Troops, a new Cadian Command Squad with 5 models, a new Sentinel, and 2 Field Ordenance Teams.
New Cadian Shock Troops review
Similar to Death Korps of Krieg, the new Cadian Shock Troops come on two medium size sprues and 25mm bases (the Death Korps box has a third sprue of Kill Team specific upgrades, but the basic loadout comes on two sprues). The design has been completely updated, the fatigues have become more detailed: the trousers now have sewn-on knee pads, the boots are covered by leather gaiters, and the sleeves end in cuffs. In addition, there are optional backpacks. The proportions have become much more realistic, the poses more upright, and the heads and helmets smaller, less “heroic scale”.
As with most current infantry models, the Cadian Shock Troops’ upper and lower body are joint in a fixed pose. Each pair of arms is intended for a specific body, but with a little creativity other combinations can be found than in the manual, as the arm connectors are flat. The bodies are completely unisex, the heads are on ball sockets and freely posable and interchangeable. 25 different heads are included, including: 11 helmeted heads with broad / masculine facial features, 8 helmeted heads with narrow / feminine facial features, 1 helmeted head with voxcaster speaking piece, 1 bald head, 2 masculine heads with sergeant caps, 2 feminine heads with sergeant caps.
All models can be equipped with lasguns, furthermore 1 plasma gun, 1 meltagun, 1 grenade launcher, 1 flamer, and 1 vox unit are included. The sergeant can get a bolt pistol or laspistol, or a pointing arm, as well as a chainsword, or alternatively a drum-fed autogun. Optionally, you may choose to omit the backpacks, as the backs of the Cadian Shock Troops are fully modelled, and there are a few extra bits like a spare helmet, two sandbags, a lasgun, two knives, a shovel, and a small knapsack.
All in all a successful update, and that only a short time after the old kit got an expansion sprue. Due to the increased level of detail, the models didn’t get exactly easier or faster to paint though.
Here you can see a scale comparison between the new models compared to the old plastic Cadians, other Imperial Guard / Astra Militarum models, various Space Marines, and other humanoid models. The changed proportions are very noticeable, the heads look tiny compared to the old models. Maybe even a bit too tiny, personally I prefer the Death Korps’ and Traitor Guard proportions. And the new plastic Kasrkin are enormous, same eye level as Firstborn Marines!
Cadian Command Squad review
The old Cadian Command Squad was already a really cool set, but Games Workshop has created a worthy upgrade with the new Command Squad. You get 5 models on two medium size sprues, the base size is 28 mm like Kasrkin.
- The first model is the Cadian Commander. He/she wears a longcoat and can rest his/her foot either on a piece of ruin or on a sandbag. In his/her right hand he can carry a helmet, a laspistol, a plasma pistol, or a bolt pistol, the left arm can hold either a power fist, a chainsword, or an extended or sheathed power sword. There is a bare head, a helmeted head, and a caped head, each in masculine and feminine versions, thus 6 heads to choose from.
- The second model is a Guardsman with medi-pack, with his lasgun either resting on his shoulder or stowed away in his backpack. There is a masculine and feminine helmeted head with a helix symbol.
- The third model is the Guardsman with master-vox, you can choose between a masculine head with the hand resting on the earphones, or a feminine head with a laspistol in her hand.
- The fourth model can either be assembled as a regimental standard bearer, or Veteran Guardsman with either flamer, meltagun, grenade launcher, or plasma gun. The banner has a choice of three tips.
- The fifth model can be a Veteran Guardsman, and you have a choice between a laspistol, bolt pistol, or plasma pistol, and a power sword, chainsword, or power fist. Alternatively, you can give him/her a flamer, grenade launcher, meltagun, or plasma gun.
- In total, you get two of each special weapons, and two helmeted masculine, two helmeted feminine, and two helmeted heads with gas masks you can use for the Veteran Guardsmen or swap with your other Cadian models. There are also various arm plates with different rank insignias, and two little pieces for decorating the bases.
Field Ordnance Battery Teams review
The models come on three medium size sprues that build two models, the bases have a massive 100mm diameter.
You start by first building the mounts and the gunners, and then you can choose between a bombast field gun, a heavy lascannon, or a malleus rocket launcher. Both weapon systems are included twice, so you can equip both guns in the same way. You can position the other four crew members freely on the base, in total there are 2 hooded helmeted heads, 2 masculine and 2 feminine heads with caps, as well as two feminine and 4 masculine helmeted heads, all on ball joints and compatible with the other new Cadian models. There are also a couple of ammo and weapon crates you can use as decorative elements.
New plastic Scout / Armoured Sentinel review
To the surprise of many, Games Workshop also decided to release a new Sentinel kit, even though the old one was pretty serviceable. The new Sentinel is visually differentiated by its somewhat more rounded armour plates, sharing a similar design with the new Rogal Dorn tank. In addition, the base size has increased from 60 to 80mm.
The kit can be built either as an open Scout Sentinel or as an Armoured Sentinel with a closed cabin. The legs don’t have articulation, but for a bit more variety you can swap the left and right leg. The leg armour is also modular, so the Scout variant can be lighter armoured. Unfortunately, there is only a Cadian crew member included, with three masculine and one feminine head to choose from. At least the heads are a little more generic and do not sport the typical Cadian helmet.
You can equip the hard point on the right with a lascannon, heavy flamer, multilaser, autocannon, rocket launcher or plasma cannon. The left hard point can be equipped with a smoke launcher, search light or chainsword arm. There is also a hunter killer missile, a spare lasgun, and 5 different stowage pieces of which you can attach one to the left side.
All in all the Sentinel is a worthy upgrade, but I find it a pity that there are no suitable parts to represent other regiments. A pilot with a generic Imperial overall and a few variant heads for Death Korps of Krieg, Catachans and Vostroyans would have been amazing. The old kit had at least a few Catachan heads.
9th Edition Astra Militarum battletome flip-through
The new Astra Militarum Codex has over 150 pages, and has been produced for the army set with an exclusive soft touch cover. There is a very rich lore section of almost 40 pages, densely filled with old and new artwork, a miniature showcase section, as well as a detailed rules section with datasheets and Crusade rules, including some nice name generators for Cadians, Catachans, Death Korps, Tallarns, Valhallans, and Vostroyans.
Since we here at Tale of Painters are painters rather than players, we leave the rules analysis to others, but I would like to briefly summarise the most important changes.
There are still the generic Command, Infantry and Heavy Weapon Squads as they are known. Conscripts, special weapon squads, Veterans and some of the older special characters have been removed, but most army list entries survived, even some for very dated models such as Imperial Priests. However, the Cadian Command and Infantry kits, as well as the Death Korps and Catachan Infantry kits have now received their own datasheets, with their own special rules, keywords and equipment options that are tied to what you find on their respective sprues.
It’s not exactly consistent, as the new Cadian Castellan model didn’t receive a generic datasheet for example, and there are is also no Cadian specific heavy weapon squad datasheet for the new models, nor a Catachan specific Command Squad datasheet for their plastic kit. And for some reason, the new Field Ordnance Batteries are generic datasheets, although the kit only contains Cadian operator models.
All in all, these are the most profound changes to the Astra Militarum army list since the change from the Imperial Guard codex of the 3rd to the 4th edition. Large parts of the book were already leaked weeks ago, and the changes have been controversially discussed in the community. Let’s see if the Astra Militarum fanbase can be appeased by the very flexible doctrine and custom regimental rules system.
What I can deduce from this for further releases: For the time being, Cadians will remain the only miniature range that can cover all army list entries. I base this on the fact that the new Sentinel only has a Cadian pilot, and I bet the new Rogal Dorn tank only has Cadian crew members as well. Other regiments will be limited to single releases for now, like the Death Korps for Kill Team or the new Attilan Rough Riders, and you’re supposed to slot them into your force similar to Aeldari Aspect Warrior squads. Maybe in the future the focus will shift to other regiments, but then probably with their very own special units and character. If you want to fill all the standard selections with, for example, Death Korps, you will have to fall back on Forge World or need to kitbash.
The RRP of £120 / 155 € / $200 is the current standard price for army boxes, and for that, you get a lot with 28 models plus codex and cards. I find the selection of models very attractive as a starting point for a new army, and I’m sure the box will sell out quickly, despite the 14 days preorder window.
As we do not yet know individual prices, it is difficult to determine the exact value of the products included. But with the previous army sets, the saving was usually around 25% compared to buying them individually (plus whatever the special edition codex is worth to you), and with the Astra Militarum set, the value seems to be similar.
With the additional saving of up to 20% on Warhammer products at our partner stores Wayland Games, Element Games, and Taschengelddieb the box becomes even more attractive, so have a look if the box is still available as it will probably sell out quickly:
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