Warhammer 40,000 – Deathwing Assault

The 1st Legion returns with their updated 1st company, the Deathwing Terminators under the command of Belial. While we already had a rather Deathwing heavy boxed set last year with Wrath of the Soul Forge King, bringing a lot of the 2013s Dark Angels Terminator sprues into circulation once again - only to be completely out of scale with the release of the new Terminator models of Leviathan - now the updated and upscaled Deathwing Knights are part of the Deathwing Assault, which we're going to take a look into today.

Warhammer 40,000 - Deathwing Assault Warhammer 40,000 - Deathwing Assault

Deathwing Assault is a themed army boxed set, covering a battle force of Dark Angels (or its successor chapters) 1st company Terminators, including Belial as a character and the current rules, covering the Codex Supplement and Data Cards for the Dark Angels as well.

Warhammer 40,000 - Deathwing Assault

At a RRP of 175 EURs and somewhat limited early access to the rules and new models, this is the first wave of the new Dark Angels range and will be followed up with the individual boxes of  this set, along with the previewed Inner Circle Companions.

The box is well made, has a thick card board inner box, with the winged broken sword and a proper artwork featuring a battle Terminator vs Terminator, Deathwing vs Black Legion.

Warhammer 40,000 - Deathwing Assault Warhammer 40,000 - Deathwing Assault

Inside the well-designed slipcase is a thinner drawer, filled to the top with sprues. You get a lot of them, but more on that below. The casted plastic is separated with a large card board inlay (no artwork on that, simply the Warhammer logo) and beneath that you will find the bases, the data cards, decals and codex supplement.

Warhammer 40,000 - Deathwing Assault Warhammer 40,000 - Deathwing Assault

The Dark Angels Upgrade decal sheet covers a lot of large iconography, mostly meant for vehicles, with a lot of smaller insignia for infantry as well. The decals could work for some of the successor chapters as well, especially if they repurpose the winged sword iconography in colour variants.

Some parts fell from the sprue into the box. Just make sure you take a final look into the box. And the number of sprues you get with this kit, is quite impressive (each squad of 5 Terminators is spread across three sprues), as you not only have 15 Terminators, but upgrade sprues and Belial.

Warhammer 40,000 - Deathwing Assault Warhammer 40,000 - Deathwing Assault Warhammer 40,000 - Deathwing Assault

But we want to take a step back and give a brief introduction on the Space Marine army covered in the Deathwing Assault boxed set?

The Dark Angels were the first Space Marine Legion founded by the Emperor, and were under the command of their Primarch Lion'El Jonson, who returned to Warhammer 40k during the Arks of Omen campaign. This campaign not only marked the return of a second primarch to 40k, but having several characters from the Angels of Death cross the Rubicon Primaris, like Supreme Grand Master Azrael. We have a very multi-layered background for the Dark Angels, a tragic, mysterious narrative in the 30k time-line, with treason among their ranks. With some of these events strongly forming the image of the chapter in the 40k narrative.

Their history goes back to the late 80s, where the first Dark Angels were depicted in black and only later moved to green, with the Ravenwing as a mobile company and later with the release of a supplement to Space Hulk, the Deathwing as the terminators of the Dark Angels was added. As all of this was rather compact information, partially incoherent, it took the 2nd edition of 40k to form a sharper image of the Dark Angels, as they became one of the four major Space Marine chapters, even having their own Codex (or at least half-of it). The "vanilla", true to the Codex Astartes Space Marines were covered with the rules of the Ultramarines (basically being the Codex Space Marines), there were the Space Wolves (who's codex was released before the generic Space Marine codex) and the Codex Angels of Death, providing you with rules for Blood Angels and Dark Angels. David Ely provides a proper sum up of the Dark Angels on his blog, focused on the overall chapter.

Warhammer 40,000 - Dark Angels Deathwing Heraldry Warhammer 40,000 - Dark Angels Deathwing vs Night Lord Renegade Terminators Warhammer 40,000 - Dark Angels Deathwing Cyclone Missile Launcher

The legion/chapter of the Dark Angels have a very rich and broad lore, and are actually three armies in one, that can either be played in combination or as individual themed armies - the Dark Angels, the vehicle focused Ravenwing and the veterans of the 1st company - the Deathwing. In the Space Hulk supplement of the same name they received their Native-American motives (with feathers, face paint etc.) and (bone-)white armour for the first time.

Back in the day, this was the only option to play a terminator focused army in 40k, later other chapters got similar options for veteran companies or certain themed lists. And while you needed not that many miniatures, because they were quite costly on points, the metal miniatures themself weren't cheap either. There were metal terminators around in Rogue Trader, Space Marines in Tactical Dreadnought Armour, and as you can see the Dark Angel Terminators on that boxed set are simply dark green, almost black and not Deathwing yet. Until the release of the 2nd edition, the Dark Angels simply used the regular models - either metal or later plastics from the Space Hulk board game.

Along with the release of the Codex Angels of Death, we saw the Dark Angels Deathwing with feathers and the broken sword iconography as metal miniatures. Those were sold as a box of 5 and individual blisters. The addition of plasma cannons for the terminators came much later.

Warhammer 40,000 - Dark Angels Classic Deathwing Terminators Warhammer 40.000 - Dark Angels Deathwing Knights / Terminator / Command Squad Warhammer 40,000 - Leviathan Space Marine Terminators

We have covered the evolution of Terminator armour in last year's review of the new upscaled Indomitus pattern, which was released with the Leviathan set. The push-fit models from that kit were later replaced by a regular multi-part plastic kit, which we will cover in a review of its own. Of these new terminators two sets of 5 are included in the Deathwing Assault. They have access to bits and pieces from the Dark Angels Upgrade sprue, to tie them in closer (and provide the necessary bits for the options from the codex) with the remaining theme of the army.

Warhammer 40,000 - Dark Angels Deathwing Terminators

Warhammer 40,000 - Space Marine Terminator Squad Warhammer 40,000 - Space Marine Terminator Squad Warhammer 40,000 - Space Marine Terminator Squad

Warhammer 40,000 - Space Marine Terminator Squad Warhammer 40,000 - Space Marine Terminator Squad Warhammer 40,000 - Space Marine Terminator Squad

Of the said Dark Angels sprue two sets are included, giving you various heads, shoulder pads, a power sword and the sought-after plasma cannon. But the kit is not just meant for the Deathwing and as such you will find further hooded heads for Primaris marines as well as some items, to be used with the Ravenwing.

Warhammer 40,000 - Deathwing Assault Warhammer 40,000 - Deathwing Assault Warhammer 40,000 - Dark Angels Deathwing Upgrade Sprue

Across the range Dark Angels have a lot of options for upgrade sprues. In addition to the vast range of plastics for Space Marines, there was a veteran sprue for Dark Angels, providing you with Marines in hoods and robes, initially only available in metal. And Games Workshop used the chance of that sprue, to give you a lot of bits and pieces, banners, shoulder pads, helmets and a few bits for Ravenwing and Deathwing as well. There was a Ravenwing Upgrade sprue as well, mostly to provide the regular vehicles with the Ravenwing weapon options.

The veteran sprue is available as Company Veterans via Games Workshop.

Warhammer 40,000 - Dark Angels Veteran Upgrade Sprue Warhammer 40,000 - Dark Angels Ravenwing Upgrade Sprue

Later these there more or less faded out, and we got a smaller, original First Born sprue, there's an upgraded Primaris sprue (which for some reason wasn't added to the Lion and his retinue kit, which was quite the pity). These two are currently still available via Games Workshop.

 Warhammer 40,000 - Dark Angels Upgrade SprueWarhammer 40,000 - Dark Angels Primaris Upgrade Sprue

But as it was a bit tricky to buy multiple Veteran upgrades to fully convert your Deathwing Terminators, Games Workshop released in 2013 the Deathwing Knights, who went full Dark Angels. Lots of iconography, full body robes, hooded head options. These were even used in last year's Wrath of the Soul Forge King boxed set, and give you options for command miniatures on top of "just" Deathwing knights. These models will now be replaced with the upscaled variant, of which there are five models in here. Very similar in load out, regular Terminator weaponry along with storm shields and close combat options. Yet a bit lighter on the command options, so if you want to have a banner, you will have to make use of the "old" bits.

Warhammer 40,000 - Dark Angels Deathwing Knights

Warhammer 40,000 - Deathwing Assault Warhammer 40,000 - Deathwing Assault Warhammer 40,000 - Deathwing Assault

Warhammer 40,000 - Deathwing Assault Warhammer 40,000 - Deathwing Assault Warhammer 40,000 - Deathwing Assault

And just like Supreme Grand Master Azrael moved across the Rubicon Primaris, Belial as 1st Captain of the Dark Angels and Grand Master of the Deathwing, is moved from Finecast to plastic and accordingly upgraded in size. Single sprue, two head options and on a larger 50mm round base (like the other Terminator characters). Just like the regular Terminators, he will have a review of his own.

Warhammer 40,000 - Deathwing Assault Warhammer 40,000 - Grand Master of the Deathwing Belial


I am honest, while I was going through this box for the article, looking at the sprues, I was very tempted to start a 10th edition terminator project. And while that is not entirely off the table, I will stay with Dorn instead of the Lion and use the regular Terminators to build a Space Hulk themed boarding team. More on that in the review of the Terminator Squad.

This is article is more of an unboxing with the addition of lore and comparison here and there. I'll go into detail with the other articles, when I build the terminators and Belial with reviews of their own. The box itself, if you were able to order it, is quite the deal. 175 EUR RRP, with 3 boxes of Terminators at 55 EURs each, Belial will probably be 35 EURs - that's already 200 EUR retail, not counting in two upgrade sprues at 12-15 EURs, a Codex at ~40 EUR and the data cards for ~15 EUR.

Even as some of the upgrade sprues for the Dark Angels maybe dated, I still think that both - the classic Veteran sprue and the Ravenwing sprue provide a lot of value for Primaris projects. The plastic iconography on the ravenwing sprue might be more appealing to people who don't like to do decals. The smaller bits and bobs from the Veteran kit, make for great details and are completely usable, with First Born, Primaris or Terminators between the 90s and today. I used a lot of them with Black Templars, as they fit the gothic theme of 40k in general very well.

Overall great update to the range. Looking forward to the Inner Circle models as well, and hope for further characters of the Dark Angels to be updated in the new scale, with Ezekiel and a proper Asmodai, Brother Bethor and maybe even a wild new Sammael (even though that model is impressive as it is).

Warhammer 40,000 is a brand by Games Workshop.

The reviewed product item was provided by the manufacturer.

Posted by Dennis B.

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