Monday, November 29, 2021

Some "True Scale" 30k Marines

"For the Warmaster! Horus for hope!"

As the Christmas season approaches once more here in Canada, I find that my painting table has once more filled with assorted GW and GW-related projects - some are new projects, but others much more familiar. In this post I share a few photos of a project that is very much in the latter category - here is yet another unit of 30k Marines. These fellows are wearing Mark IV plate, sporting the green, black and gold of the XVI Legion, the Sons of Horus. More Sons of Horus, well...why not? I can always use another squad of veterans - and I do love painting these guys...but there is one difference with these models...

These specific Marines are a hybrid of components - the heads, power backs, shoulder plates, arms, and weapons will be familiar to anyone who has worked with GW's excellent plastic Mark IV Space Marine kits. The torsos and legs, however, are one-piece resin accessories and they are sourced from Tortuga Gamestable. Why use an alternate source? Well, the poses are very sharp, but these torsos and legs have one other feature that makes them unique: they are bigger, and as such, more "true scale". The net result of the combined components is a unit of 30k Space Marines figures that are larger - some photos in this post will give a rough idea of the size. Yessir, what we have here is a squad of "true scale" Space Marines for 30k.

"Truescale" Marines and 30k - Pointless...And Yet...

Bolt pistols and combat blades galore for these veteran chaps.

I last opined on this topic in the summer when I painted up "Maloghurst The Twisted"
. Suffice to say that a combination of factors over the past spring/summer - leaked photos of a rumoured new 30k box set, the apparent large size of some recent 30k character figures from Forge World, and the general fevers of online communities - have really got all of us fans of 30k wondering and worrying about a possible Primaris-style re-size/re-scale coming to the GW/Forge World 30k figure range. 

Veteran Sergeant sporting power fist and plasma pistol.

Hobbyists will all have different perspectives on these speculations and on whether a re-size is a good thing - if it even happens (remember it's still rumours and interpretations, after all - as of this day, we don't have any confirmed information). I don't mean to opine over that matter much in this post, other than to note it would be nice if GW would communicate more constructively with the community on this sort of issue. 

Many players will see any re-sizing as a pointless complication, and avoid the whole thing as much as possible. This is a perspective that I am highly sympathetic to - after all, inter-range "scale creep" is a curse in the hobby generally, and it is even worse when in happens intra-range, creating a nightmare scenario of mis-matched scales within a single collection. For those of us with hobby-related OCD tuned to a certain frequency, that is a nightmare.

Boltguns at the ready...

Lots of room to affix the "combat blade" and holstered bolt pistols.

But I will say I have been surprised to note the strong feelings among many hobbyists in favour of a re-size. I am struck by the extent to which a wish for "true scale" marines out there. There are many, many gamers looking for this. They are irritated at the gap between the Space Marines as described in the Black Library novels and the Space Marines they see on the gaming table. In the novels, the Marines tower over the "regular" humans. On the table, they are barely larger than that average Cadian trooper. For my part, I have always been annoyed at how the Cadian sculpts are too large...but that is a digression for another day. There is a large community of 30k players who wish for their Marines to loom on the table as they do in the novels. They are looking for options to make this happen - and they are finding ways to do it!

This brings me to another thing I must admit, I saw some folks with "true scale" 30k marines...and they looked...AWESOME. This is how I came to learn of Tortuga Gamestable.

The Conversion Monster Drowns Off Tortuga

For me, the main obstruction to creating a "true scale" 30k Marine from a base-line figure out of the current range is the amount of conversion involved - both the level of skill needed, and just the raw amount of overall work. Even if you manage it for one or two figures, can you manage it for the 10, 20 or 40 figures you would want for your 30k force? Would the results be consistent? Goodness knows they would not be for me. There are incredibly talented hobbyist out there who can manage this sort of this, but for me, it is just not worth any attempt. I like to think I am not alone in that view... 

Vox operator and special weapon, seen from the rear.

The fellow with the flamer is ready for a BBQ....

Enter Tortuga Gamestable. They cut this Gordian Knot by offering bodies and torsos that are "true scale" for 30k Marines, yet still work OK with the established and existing range of components such that players can work with the bits and kits they already know well. The assembled end result is a "true scale" 30k marine without a tortured amount of conversion work, and consistent results across your whole units. As a 30k obsessive, I decided to test this out - and in the process create another Veteran Tactical Squad for my Sons of Horus collection.

"Shark fin" style missile launcher - still a classic!

Things did not go well with the decal on this shoulder...ugh. Oh well.

These resin sculpts are hobby-friendly and easy to work with, requiring some minimal preparation. And I really, really love the final look of the assembled figures. The taller Marines have, IMO, a superior look in terms of their proportions - their hips, and shoulders, just make more sense. The larger torso offers more opportunity for accessories too - as you look at some of the figures, you can see I used some of the pouches, for example, that come with the Mark IV plastic kits. These are very hard to fit on the regular plastic Mark IV marines, but they fit easily on these larger torsos, because there is just more room for that kind of stuff without interfering with the arms holding the bolt gun. 

Another benefit - the larger plates on the knees and legs offer that little extra bit of room you always wished you had to make full use of some of the decal options that are out there. For example, the "XVI" numeral decal on the knee plates was an easy fit (they still fogged up, because they are expired, poor-quality decals from Forge World, but that is a rant for another time). 

These "true scale" 30k marines look sharp and offer more scope for accessories, painting and decals. There is a lot to like in that...

So, How Big Are They Anyway?

From left to right: Tortuga Gamestable in Mark IV armour, GW Plastic Marine in Mark IV armour, and original Forge World Marine in Mark IV armour.

At the end of the day, these Marines are definitely larger than the current size standard, but still not-quite-so-large as Primaris Marines. Note: the comparison is a little rough when you consider that many Primaris sculpts are hunched over in a "combat stance". But I have a few comparison photos here that give a rough idea.

Tortuga Gamestable on the left, Primaris Intercessor on the right...the size is close overall, but the Primaris fellow is still  larger and heavier - note how the Primaris Marine is hunched in a menacing ready-stance, while Mark IV Marine is upright.

Even if they are not fully Primaris-sized, these true-scaled Marines are notably larger than the current standard range.Could they mix well with existing 30k Marine models? Look, they are definitely different - but everyone has their own sort of preference. IMO, I think they work OK to mix in the same collection, but definitely not the same unit. But we all have our own little hobby quirks and preferences - you might hate the difference, and I would respect that.

I just love how this squad looks - regardless of the relative size - the Tortuga Bay poses are just awesome. I enjoyed painting these fellow for sure, too. As I said, very forgiving and hobby friendly.

Are there downsides? Of course - there is no free lunch, especially when it comes to 30k! To make use of these Tortuga Bay sculpts, you still require a source of arms, guns, backpacks etc. The likeliest source would be a squad box from GW. So this approach is more expensive - for something that is already kinda pricey. 

There is also the fact that these components are not official GW kit, and thus would likely be barred from any official GW sort of gaming event. Not something I really care about, but some others might, so just something to keep in mind.

Ready to deploy!

The final downside is that, well, it takes a long, long, long time for your order - and I don't blame the folks at Tortuga Gamestable. I think the demand for their product is strong - I see more and more units of their marines appearing in pictures online. So it can take a while for your stuff to get cast. Then factor in the complete clown show that is shipping in today's environment - expect to wait. Again, not their fault...just something to keep in mind. I ordered these in the early summer, and they arrived in July...and that was back when shipping was still working sort-of-OK. Needless to say, my second order has yet to show up...pile on the Christmas-shipping pressure to an already caved-in global logistics system, and you will be waiting a long while.

So, what next? Will I now suddenly paint up a whole new segment of my 30k collection using these Marines? Well, stranger things have happened, and I am a 30k obsessive, yes - I love painting 30k Marines!. But I did not order enough sets of Tortuga Gamestable kits to attempt anything like for now. Instead, I plan to sprinkle these around a bit on a couple different projects. Watch for more of them to appear here soon.

That's all for now. Thanks for reading!  


Dallas said...

Great looking models there dude. Not a rabbit hole that I want to disappear into myself, but I can definitely see the appeal - finally you have Space Marines that tower over Imperial Guardsmen!

Lasgunpacker said...

Wow, those look great! The regular GW bitz fit so well on there, and as you said, the more realistic size allows for pouches and things to fit "correctly".

I hold out hope for a rereleased rescaled MkIII set, but until then this is a good option.

Martin said...

IMO it would make sense to release true scale heresy armor marks. Players with existing armies are unlikely to all of a sudden buy many additional marines but they would buy the new ones when starting a new army. But it's also likely that some/many players will replace their existing marines with the true scale ones because they look much better.