You might be taken aback by the title of this review as I'm sure the internet is glowing with rosey-cheeked fan boys with Mephiston Red-stained fingers as they type gleefully. Well I'm here to add a little bit of perspective to this release of the Sons of Sanguinius Blood Angels Painting Guide and for a very good reason; I love Space Marines.
I love the miniatures, I love the history, the characters and the books that talk about Space Marines - even if I don't paint that Chapter.
That's why I bought this book, effectively to update my Blood Angels material, some of which is from 1996 and from what I see here, far superior to this release!
But more of that later. For now let's look at what you get in the Sons of Sanguinius Blood Angels Painting Guide from cover to cover and how this compares to the other recent painting guide releases: Companies of Fenris and Raiders of Commoragh - both of which I reviewed and was pretty impressed with!
+ More After The Jump + +
You may think this rocks - and that's totally cool - I have just seen this done MUCH better before!
In the dim mists of time the 1st Company all used to carry banners in their backpacks so they could unfurl them and all take them into combat. They all had personal markings. These guys could be the 8th Company or any company. Nothing about them says 'best of the best' or 'elite' apart from some gold helmets and some Terminators...
They have absolutely no personality which is a real shame!
It's in this unit we see the only real mention of markings - and this is a big criticism I have of this book; isn't this about how to paint Blood Angels? Well where's the information on their banners and markings and the why and how they decorate and commemorate with markings? It's just not there!
Later I will compare with past books and you'll see what I mean.
Overall this section is very detailed - as you can see a whole page on just a face for example.
In previous Space Marine books we have had a far better explanation of how the Blood Angels do their markings, why and how they sometimes differ and it's a real shame we didn't get that this time too..
Have a look below at these past examples:
Below we have the entry from "How To Paint Space Marines" from 2004. Very straight forward and easy and all on one page. A primer - something they could have had on page one!
With a book this size they could have then gone onto variants and personalized markings from across the Chapter - even the other Successor Chapters!
Below we have an older page from 1996 "Angels of Death" which had both the Dark Angels and Blood Angels and their Successor Chapters included.
This gives very detailed markings for all the Companies and later also for Chaplains and Officers. Also notice markings for banners and other ranks. There are six more pages of these too!!
This miniatures are lovely and someone has crafted the stories and names and all of that stuff, but what you don't get is any sense of character, of individuality - which by the look of the new Tactical Boxed set is exactly what they do want people doing. Giving the units personality!
Unfortunately for me I get none of that. It's like looking at red Ultramarines for me. There is no feeling to them! Then again look at the above and see the variants you could potentially have on Ultramarines shoulder pads and wonder why Games Workshop aren't painting them with personality either!
I just think this book misses the mark in a fundamental way!.
It could have had one page on each of the Successor Chapters and their markings, it could have had variant markings and kill markings, common trophies or iconography used.
Games Workshop still don't seem to be able to bring the personality into their books that Black Library or Forge World do.
I tossed up getting this book or the Codex and I think the Codex might have been more interesting.
In my mind this book is not recommended.
Go grab a copy of "Angels of Death" on Ebay!