Saturday 12 November 2022

Cadia Stands - First Impressions

Games Workshop were kind enough to send us a review copy of the new Cadia Stands boxed set; after falling in love the Kasrkin models previewed some time ago, I volunteered to have a look at the kits contained.

The kit comes in an impressive box; there’s a Cadia Stands slipcover with some of the new art for the Astra Militarum, featuring Cadians piling into the Orks, complete with Commissars, Rogal Dorn Battle Tanks and banners waving. The style is a lot grittier than we’ve seen from some older artwork; the Cadians seem to be portrayed as a little more fanatical than we've seen previously. It echos the piece from the cover of the 5th Edition Codex but dials the grim-dark up to 11! The back of the slipcover has a wonderful shot of everything you get in the box and some close-ups of certain models from the set.

Inside the slipcover, the box itself is no less decorative, with a closeup picture of a Cadian standard; I’m by no means an Astra Militarum expert, but the first thing that struck me was that the banner itself has changed. I’m used to the symbology of the old Cadian Gate image with the skull at the centre, but this new standard has the gate itself cracked and shattered, with a flame at the centre where the skull used to be. It’s a subtle shift, but it’s these little details that I really enjoy.

When you open the box, you’re greeted by a plethora of sprues; there’s enough contained to make a Command Squad, two Infantry Squads, two Field Ordnance Batteries and a Sentinel. There’s also the Codex with the Lord Solar Leontus looking all heroic on the front. The art on the Codex is a lovely piece, showcasing the adorable absurdity of the Astra Militarum... on the one hand they engage in war on a frankly industrial scale with tanks, troops and weapons uncounted, and on the other, one of their most senior officers goes into battle on a bionic horse waving a sword around.

The Command Squad comes with a bucket of options (as one would expect from a unit choice with so many upgrades in the Codex!). You get one of almost every special weapon, power swords, power fists, pistols, a regimental standard, parts for a medic, a huge number of head options, and... of course... a tactical rock for your officer to stand on! For the base-size fanatics amongst you (I include myself in this!), the Command Squad models stand on 28.5mm bases.

The infantry squads are a fantastic refresh of the old Cadian infantry sprues; you get 10 soldiers with a selection of dynamic poses and a mix of male and female head options for them. I really like this change, which brings a lot more representation to the Astra Militarum and the game in general. There are no specific torsos or legs for males and females, which makes sense. The Cadian uniform is made up of bulky flak armour across the torso and shoulders, and baggy trousers; we’re constantly told that the gender of the God Emperor’s soldiers does not matter and that’s clearly echoed in the uniform of the Cadians. The models are festooned in equipment packs, grenades, spare ammunition.

You get one of each of the special weapons (but no sniper rifle) in the kit, a Vox Caster, parts to upgrade your Sergeant, and in a nice touch, everyone gets a backpack. These regular soldiers come on 25mm bases.

The Field Ordnance Batteries are probably my favourite additions to the Astra Militarum (aside from the Kasrkin!) with this refresh. They add the option to have non-tank heavy weapons in your army, which opens several thematic and tactical choices for you... that and they’re just so pretty.

The sprues come with enough pieces to build any of the three weapon options twice over; I’ve not yet sat down and tried to figure out how easy it would be to magnetise them for multiple options, but I think it would be possible. As you get all three weapon options twice over on the same sprues, this means they’ll be sold in pairs as and when the kits are released individually. These models come on chunky 100mm bases!

The Sentinel is just big. Its base size has gone up from 60mm to 80mm and the new model fills it comfortably. Sadly, I don’t have an older Sentinel to do a side-by-side comparison, but this new one fits the range really well. It comes with all the usual heavy weapons, the choice to have either a Scout Sentinel or an Armoured Sentinel (with trade-offs between the two), and the option to mount a whopping great chainsaw to the front of it. You’ve got a good selection of stowage for the sides of it, along with smoke launchers, a Hunter Killer missile and a search light.

The main guns don’t have to be glued on, they’re push-fit with a friction locking mechanism. I decided to cut that off and magnetise the main gun so that I can figure out how I want to run Sentinels in my army. I’ve started with the Plasma Cannon as it’s uncommon in the Astra Militarum armoury, and who doesn’t like lobbing giant blobs of flaming plasma at the enemies of the God Emperor?!

All in all, I feel this is a great starter set for an Astra Militarum army; you get a good selection of all-new sculpts to kick-start a new army or expand an existing one. The plastic kits and presentation of the boxed set itself are top quality and should interest both hardened veterans and whiteshields alike!

Now I'd hoped to have most or all of this set built, painted and ready to rock and roll for this post, but some last minute changes and some challenges at work have put paid to that. Instead, I'll be getting the models from this kit painted up over the next few weeks, and then starting a series of posts tracking the army's growth and progress through the 40k Crusade system.

What are your thoughts on the new kit? Will you be adding to (or starting!) an Astra Militarum force?

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