A Few Thoughts on Dark Vengeance...

I don’t usually do any straight reviews or comments on Games Workshop projects, but the starter set is such an insane bargain I thought it was worth a quick mention.  After all, being cheap is what this whole blog’s about...

On the Dark Angels side you’re getting two Headquarters units (figure they’re probably averaging $20 each), a tactical squad ($35), a Terminator squad ($50), and a bike squad ($35).  So with just this one side of the equation, this box set saves you about sixty bucks.  If you went for the deluxe set with the chaplain, that’s another $20 fig for just ten dollars more--$70 dollars off individual prices.

Coming at it from the Chaos angle, there’s a headquarters, we’ll call the Chosen another tactical squad (just for easy reference), the cultists (if they’re priced like Guardsmen, there’s $30) and the Hellbrute.  I’m going to go out on a limb and guess the Hellbrute would be a dreadnaught- or flier-sized kit with all the options, so there’s about $46.  Around one hundred thirty dollars altogether. 

So no matter which way you look at it, there’s a fair argument that you’re getting one army at 2/3 price and another one for free.  Plus the free rulebook.  And dice.  And templates.  Really, this is close to $350 dollars worth of stuff you’re getting for just under a hundred bucks.

That’s a pretty amazing deal.


Many folks have commented that Dark Vengeance is an oddly unbalanced set.  A bunch of cultists vs. Space Marines and Terminators?  I’d point out that it’s also unbalanced towards Headquarters units.  If you bought the deluxe version, you’ve already got more Dark Angels HQ units than you can use in a regular game (barring some interesting Force Organization amendments in the upcoming Dark Angels codex).  Buying two sets isn’t going to help this problem.  You’ll just end up with a lot of models to sell on eBay.

Not to mention the fact that these are firmly Dark Angels models (or arguably a close successor chapter).  With all the iconography, there isn’t a lot of flexibility unless you want to do a ton of remodeling... probably enough that it won’t be worth the savings in the long run.  Dark Vengeance doesn’t just lock you into an army, it locks you into a very, very specific subset of that army.  It is to the overall gaming experience what the snap-together models are too customization.

UPDATE: The head and hand swap
were pretty easy on this model.
I'll put details in another post.
Speaking of which, these models are pretty solid.  There’s not going to be a lot of customization without a lot of serious work.  At best, you might get a few hand/weapon swaps.  I think it may be possible to do a head swap on Veteran Sergeant Raphael (we’ll find out for sure later this week).  If you have some accepting friends, you could paint all the Terminators silver, make their various “wings” gold, and call them Grey Knights, but you’d still need to figure out some close combat options...

In my own, they’re going to be added to my one squad of Fallen Angels that I made many years back (all metal models in robes).  With these models I’ve essentially got a small army of these black-armored heretics to use as an allied force for Chaos games.  And I know my friend Marcus—a long, long-time Dark Angels player--will appreciate getting to fight against an assembled host of the Fallen.
So, if you like Chaos and/ or Dark Angels, this set’s a fantastic bargain.  Just be aware there isn’t much else you can use it for.


  1. I got lucky and swapped the Dark Angels stuff for more Chaos stuff through another blog. Now I grant that gets me 2 lords, 12 chosen, 40 cultists and 2 hell brutes, but for $110 total expenditure (had to ship the DAs to the other guy to get his Chaos) it's a fairly good start on a new Chaos army. As a side benefit it's also a good challenge for converters to make their redundant models look different to one another. In my opinion it's all about how you approach it.

  2. Hey, at $110 you're still coming out ahead. Heck, that's probably the price of both Hellbrutes and one Lord.

    I agree there's still a lot of room for very advanced converters/ hobbyists to do some cool things (your modified Hellbrute looks fantastic, by the way), but I think the models are probably a bit too rigid for most folks (and the general audience here at In The Grim Cheapness...) to do a lot with. Especially these days when there's probably a bit more financial worry when it comes to cutting up our toy soldiers. ;)

  3. Oh don't misunderstand me, I'm not standing on a soap box telling people "You need to go buy this set!" I will absolutely agree that the models, while very highly detailed, are extremely closed off visually and physically making them difficult to convert. so if you're looking for a bargain on Chaos Space marines to build an army for the current codex, no Dark Vengeance is not the set for you. But years back I had a 7,500 Word Bearers army and I've been pissed that for the last several years I couldn't play it (no real way to represent cultists and Chaos Lords are basically worthless right now). But now with Allies, and I feel pretty sure that cultists are going to be in the next Codex, I've begun rebuilding my Word Bearers and the DV set meets my particular needs very well.

    It all comes down to what you (The player) needs/wants. Take a long hard look at the set and decide if it's worth investing the money into it for what you will get out of it. That's all I'm saying. For me, personally I love the challenge of trying to convert these bad boys. And I get a bunch of Fud-fud cultists for my army. For me, it's a Win-win. If I were building a Marine heavy Iron Warriors army, I doubt I'd find the set as big a value.