The Legion of the Damned. Boxed set. £20.00 Games Workshop.

Reviewed by Marc Farrimond.


From out of nowhere they came as if sent by the man god himself, from his throne far away on Terra. Warriors in garb as black as night yet offset with flames as bright as the morning sun. Without sound they advanced on the unsuspecting Dark Eldar, cutting off the foul alien abominations only line of escape. The guardsman gave silent prayer to the Emperor as one by one the vile creatures where cut down by bolter fire from behind. A Witch leading a unit of strange overly tall creatures spun on a delicate heel and let loose a volley of hot death in the direction of the ebony Marines, with a speed and grace that defied her tall frame she cut one of the leading troopers in half with a hail of deadly fire from her Splinter gun, only to see another take its place without breaking step. A hiss of sheer annoyance issued from the lithe female as she backed away from the advancing Marines. She let out a curse to the foul god she served, but was cut short as her throat exploded and her severed head dropped to the floor.


The Guardsmen cheered as the Dark Eldar routed and using jump jets vanished out of sight. But of the Marines who came when all seemed lost there was no sign. Not even the corpses of the fallen warriors remained, and as silently as they had appeared they where gone without a trace, the only sign that they had ever been there was the faint odour of brimstone that hovered in the air. The men looked as one to the Commissar for enlightenment, the man just shook his head gently and in a voice barley above a whisper, yet as dead as the grave.


"Legios Damnantos! The Legion of the Damned!"


The Legion of the Damned can trace its origins back to an article that appeared in White Dwarf magazine almost 10 years ago, when Warhammer 40,000 was still in its infancy. These strange and dark looking Marines would appear on the battlefield when all looked like defeat and turn the tide of the battle in the favour of the Imperial forces. No body knew where they came from or who they were, but it was sure that they where once Marines under the service of the Emperor. After the battle was over, all traces of the black clad saviours where gone. Fallen Marines just simply faded and vanished leaving no sign that they had ever been there at all


A small range of miniatures was released way back when it only cost a couple of pounds sterling to buy a pack of four marines, but some of the figures left a little to be desired. Then for a long time absolutely nothing at all; that was until 1996. To celebrate the opening of its 100th store; Games Workshop released a limited edition miniature (available for just one weekend!) in the shape of the Legion of the Damned Sgt Centurius. The miniature sold out world wide within the space of 48 hours and the moulds were reportedly broken after the weekend was over, to ensure that the miniature would never again be available to buy. Ask anyone who frequents the newsgroups about Centurius and you will get a lot of mixed replies, but I can grantee that most of them will ask you if you have one spare. The figure often fetches many times its retail price nowadays and its not unheard of for one to exchange hands for over a $100!


So with the renewed interest in the Legion of the Damned and the new edition of Warhammer 40,000 rumoured to be on the near horizon, Games Workshop has decided to release the miniatures in an all new boxed set and also as a full range of miniatures to join the vast ranks of the hundreds of Space Marine models already available.


The box set consists of 7 Marines, a Special Weapon Marine with Flamer and a Sgt. The figures themselves are nothing new at all and come from many of the other ranges in the lists, but as an exercise the Design Studio staff gave new sculptors old marines to work on, by adding skulls, bones and flames the main motifs of the Legion of the Damned.


Apparently the studio staff were so pleased with the results that they got the miniatures cast up and ready to be shipped out in the form of the Legion of the Damned (LoD) range. Up till now Space Marine players have only been able to field up to one squad of LoD , but with the advent of more miniatures in the range we can expect too see even more of the older figures revamped and put out as extra squads and perhaps even a small codex along the lines of the Assassins codex which came out last year.


So whatís new in the box then? Well the first thing one notices when opening the box is the distinct lack of plastic that you normally find in a GW boxed set. The Marines, guns, arms and shoulder pads are all made from white metal! This causes a few problems as the metal is very fragile and snaps easily if too much pressure is placed directly upon it. I found that assembly of the Marines was as normal nothing more than a laborious task, but was very pleased with the end results. The new details added to the Marines are excellent, with each figure having bones, skulls or flames on pads or armour, even on weapons, even the backpacks carry the motif on. The Marine with the Heavy Bolter is a prime example of how a small and simple conversion can make for a striking miniature. The top of the Bolter has part of a skeleton draped over it and once painted looks very mean indeed. The Sgt is a rehash of the old Sgt with Bionic Arm, a miniature I have a few times in my own Marine forces and his helmet as been drawn into that of a skull, in the same way as the Chaplainís, but the added bones on the chest postron and shoulder pad make the figure stand out (but I personally don't like the bones on the legs!).


So that's about it. Nothing new to report really except that the miniatures will make a fine addition to the ranks of any Space Marine players forces. Reportedly the Legion of the Damned are the last remnants of the Fire Hawk Chapter who mysteriously vanished into the Warp thousands of years ago (the entire Chapter, just why the whole bunch would make a Warp jump is beyond me?) and occasionally they crop up in real space sensing when the Imperium is in danger. As I said at the start of this review, the LoD are rumoured to play a large part in the new edition of 40K when it comes out, hopefully I will be able to bring you more information nearer to the time.


Animation. 10 out of 10

Detail 10 out of 10

Value 8 out of 10


Overall 9 out of 10.





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