Looking Back: Battle Leaders

I should take a moment to explain something. I have the models for the Space Wolves' special characters, but they're all lying in my bitz box, unpainted. Back in the day, when I played 40K (hey, that rhymes!) special characters were one of those things that was ... discouraged. You could see it in each codex, where said special dudes were jammed into the back of the book after the entire army list. They were realistically fluff with stats, as opposed to actual gaming pieces.

So when I peaked into the 5th edition codex for Space Marines - and soon after Imperial Guard - I have to admit that I was shocked. They were right there next to the rest of the army list entries! Blasphemy! The bottom line is that right now, I just don't have any HQ models that are beyond a pimped out plastic dude.

Take for example this guy:

We're talking about a mini made from a combination of bitz I had lying around. Legs from an assault marine, the helmet strapped to his waist (we'll say that he thinks people who wear helmets are wimps) is from a Chaos space marines box, most of the accessories are from the Space Wolves sprue ... the list goes on.

For weapons, he's got a bolt pistol and frost blade. 90 percent of the time, he's a Wolf Guard Battle Leader with those and frag grenades. He weighs in at just 88 points, and gets me six S5 power weapon attacks on the charge. If he dies? So what, he's 88 points.

The other battle leader I have a bit of a mystery to me. If I could go back five, maybe six years, I'd ask my former self, “what on earth is this guy???” Let's be real here: he's a Space Wolf with an inquisitorial shoulderpad (I concede that I liked the gold shiny bit on the top). Because feral, fanged, ass-backwards deviant space marines aren't suspect to the Inquisition ... Moving along, I find his weapon load out to be ... intriguing. A combi-melta and a lightning claw? Most intriguing.

Looking ahead to 5th edition, I asked the manager at the local GW (the one I used to work at) how many players these days use special characters. “A fair number,” said he. Given that I'm the kind of player who hated gooby play, I suppose I'll need to adjust my game strategy to suit this evolution. I admit that even looking at my own army list, I could upgrade these sub-100 pt Battle Leaders into 125+ point monsters (15 pts for the extra wound is probably worth it, compared to taking one more space marine).

And I'd be lying if I said that I didn't like the 5th edition Storm Shields. Extra pictures after the break.