It's been debated since the Blood Angels codex dropped, photos were leaked, polls were taken, and confirmations of release were made. Finally, it is here. I got my grubby mitts on the thing and cobbled it together over the course of the evening, documenting all the way, so let's get to it!
Overall, the construction reminded me of building a Land Raider for the first time.The main body construction was a series of large strokes during which the vehicle took shape, followed by smaller details that fleshed it out. This one was unique in that I actually got the instructions to go with it, so I was able to build it with far fewer plastic-glue fingerprints, pieces pulled apart and re-glued, and profanity!
First, you build the sides of the hull and connect them with the floor and the front assault ramp. Very reminiscent of the Land Raider here, especially in the need to rubber-band the rear of the assembly due to slightly warped plastic pieces, which is usually the case with larger components.
You'll note that the front ramp is articulated; there is no mechanism here like on the LR, since there's only one door. Bear in mind that it's easy to push the door inside the hull since there aren't any guide rails along the inside of the hull, which is kind of a hassle, especially after the top is on!
Rubber bands again here. The top of the hull snaps into place pretty securely, actually, but the front join had a bit of a gap I wasn't happy with, so it got banded. It gave me time to clean the pieces for the next step.
Once the landing gear was on I started to hear the pilot chick from Aliens in the back of my mind. Sadly, I had no Genestealers handy for a photo-op. Note at this point that you have the option of building the rear landing gear as shown or in a retracted position. I went with extended to show how it looked, and it ended up working out nicely, since the bird sat on the landing gear just fine and I was able to build onto it a lot easier.
There's a lot of articulation on the Stormraven, one bit of which are the thrusters both here and on the wings (shown later); many of you may know that I'm not a fan of articulation, since it breaks, but for the sake of the review I followed the instructions and left this piece mobile. You can shift it between the positions shown; it snaps in place in the down position, and tends to fall from the up position.
In general, all the articulation is pretty stiff and doesn't feel like it would wear out with normal use.
Here's the next stage with the tail and rear stabilizers. Don't forget that note about the assault ramp in the front! You can push that thing all the way backwards into the hull if you're not careful.
The Techmarine pilot is nicely detailed and follows the more recent design philosophy for crew models where their pieces fit into delineated spots. There's very little play in how you can pose him, and the control bits in his hands have clear places to attach to the console. Remember: Legs first, then torso and head, then console, then arms, then shoulderpads. Getting the pads on after the arms are in place can be a little fiiddly, but it'd be even harder to try and get the arms on if the pads were attached first. The canopy has clear plastic that I smudged slightly. It's ok, I'm not bitter. I used tiny lines of superglue to attach the clear piece to the underside of the canopy, and equally tiny lines of glue to attach the metal struts to the outside edges of the clear piece. I left this off the final assembly so I can paint the pilot and cockpit. Note that the front weapon mount has been fitted with multi-meltas (duh, they're a free upgrade to heavy bolters? Yes, please!), and this piece is also articulated in that it can swing from side to side a little bit. This is the kind of mobility in a model that I'd recommend just gluing in place. It's not like you're ever going to fiddle with moving it.
The next stage sees the wings and engines attached to the main hull. The tips of the wings have articulated thrusters just like the sides of the nose. The Stormraven's instructions have a kinda confusion "do-this-not-that" section at this point that had me second-guessing and futzing with the parts of the engines here far more than was necessary; they go together in a pretty clear and sensible manner once you've got all the parts ready to go.
More Stormraven optionality here. You have the choice of regular LR-style doors or Hurricane Bolter sponsons. You can easily make both so you can swap them out, just bear in mind that neither piece fits very snugly into the door, so you'll need something to hold them in place.
Home stretch now. The turret with the servitor and the top vent piece are the last couple pieces to go on. The canopy glass for the servitor turret was attached like the main cockpit glass (with less smudging this time), and I opted for twin-linked Assault Cannons, though there are enough bits to make any armament the codex allows. Yet again, the canopy for the turret was not glued in place so the servitor and cockpit inside can be painted. Be aware that it's impossible to get the turret into its mounting ring if you glue the guns in place and glue the air vent onto the hull before attaching the turret. I'd advise leaving the guns off until the whole assembly is painted. The turret swivels on the same mount as a Leman Russ turret, and the guns are attached to an internal rod that is articulated so the guns can go up and down a bit. More articulation that can break and is therefore probably safer when glued firmly in place, but that's up to you. Leave the guns off before you're ready to go final, though.
Here's the servitor controlling the turret. He's a really cool piece that reinforces the theme of 40k a lot, and is reminiscent of some larger pieces of Imperial Armor... The Stormraven as a harbinger of plastic titans???
Here's the whole Stormraven, along with some shots around and about the bird.
In that middle picture, you'll see the rear access ramp, which is the only real disappointment on the model. It is not attached to the body by anything other than a series of little plastic hooks that I think the door is supposed to snap snugly into, which it kinda does, but once you snap it in place in either open or closed position, as soon as you try to move it to the other position, the door slips out of the holders and falls off. On an otherwise very impressive miniature, this piece is quite literally tacked-on, and is a serious eyebrow raise. Without some pin-vice work and brass-rodding, this door is not effectively articulated, and you can bet that most Stormravens out there will have this door simply glued shut.
Finally, here's the bird in flight, and next to an Ork Nob, a Killa Kan, and a Deff Dread as size reference:
And that's it! It was a neat piece to build, and as usual, having it in-hand helps me appreciate it a lot more. It is much less of a flying dumpster to me now, despite my acknowledgement that it is kinda clunky. I did not put any of the icon bits on it, but you do get both Blood Angel and Grey Knight detail pieces, sized to fit nearly anywhere on the model.
There's a lot of pieces in this kit, but it goes together pretty easily, and there's not a lot of stuff left when you're done. Thanks go out to my awesome GW guy who got me the instructions, without which I would have had no freaking clue how to put this thing together!
Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed this journey through the new Stormraven, and that it's been a good read!
Well, it's finally here. Now that you've seen the thing from the ground up, has your opinion changed? Still think it's laser awesome/the worst model ever? Are you going to pick one up?