Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Rambling thoughts concerning Codex: Cult Mechanicus

Having got myself a box of Skitarii, I wondered what the rest of the mechanicus would be like, so I bought the cult mechnicus codex, just to see.  As a kitbasher the admech would seem like an exciting choice with limitless possibilities across both 40k and the old fantasy kits.  You know, if I wasn't thinking about building both a dark eldar and a Blood Angels force I'd probably collect the children of the Cog-- but then again, I'd get into such frivolous conversion work I'd never get anything done, so...

I'm sad to say that Codex: Cult Mechanicus left a lot to be desired in my opinion.  I'm sure there are enough reviews out there discussing rules; I won't be, right off the bat I'm going to tell you this.  As one who appreciates Warhammer's lore far and above the game itself, I'd like to try and compile a few thoughts about the codex itself rather than rules.
I will not say anything against there being only 6 units and 20 weapon types covered in 23-odd pages of game-related content out of an 80-page book.  That's irrelevant, but what is relevant is the backstory you're given to work with.  In the end it was all a little painful to read, rather forced, all a bit rushed.  Almost as if they had a handful of edgy words they wanted to squash in as much as possible, so they worked their sentances around them.
Actually, that seems to be a common feature through everything here.  Their talk of chants and hymns, their talk of the power the dominium hold, it's all so... glossed over, so surface quality with no body to the intracicies-- Throne, don't get me started on how silly "sanctus canisters" sound.
I probably have worse writing skills than they, so I'm in no place to argue but I didn't like the way the backstory was portrayed, so there.  Much.  Also I didn't like sanctus canisters.  Never mind the improper grammar, it's basically "canisters containing holy".  What will they say next, I wonder?  Subito helm?

Sanctus canisters.

As for the art, I commend them for crapping out all new images to use but the miniatures very obviously came first and the art suffers because of it.
You know, I think that this might be a fault of the miniatures themselves... please understand, they aren't hideous sculpts in the slightest-!  The amount of detail put into them, however, might and will destroy the imagination of, not only hobbyists but illustrators who now go to draw them.
Let me now go a bit off-topic:  do you remember in the past, a time when the mechanicus were a nebulous subject, always there but only seen in the forms of tech-priests and techmarines?  Do you remember when the skitarii were mentioned in a 40K novel?  Do also you remember how you used to imagine them, as you were struck with horror at their shattered humanity?  And what about now that their codex has been released and your mind has been saturated with images copied straight from the miniatures?  Of course, if you like the way the skitarii have gone, I'm happy for you; it's just that I'm not-- because flock the norm-- that's why I'm making my own.  Without sanctus canisters.

I'm not sure what kind of free reign the illustrators were granted in their work, but there doesn't seem to be much love put into it all.  Uninspired, that's the word I'm looking for, uninspired.  They are exact copies, like I said before, and the poses are very forced and stilted, but not in the proper awkward, I'm-Running-On-Half-A-Brain stilted.

The imagery was once intended to inspire the reader, representations of what the grim dark future might look like.  Also it's all too clean, but who am I to talk!  I seem to have raked at the codex so much, but there is some good content too-- like this picture of a dominus, taking no notice of the sanctus canisters by-the-by:

Not the best photo, sorry

Sanctus canisters...  This particular work portrays one particularly intriguing facet of the older 40K style-- ridiculously bulky, oversized equipment.  Is his power axe steam-powered to be so huge?  THIS I like.  He must have such trouble using it but he knows no different-- or perhaps the frustration makes him feel holier.

Another nice addition was the inclusion of the ever-faithful.  Individual automatons, or maybe a few in a group, wandering aimlessly and fighting on whatever battlefield they find allies to fight for, this kind of story is-- I was going to say intriguing, but I've already said that a few times... Oh well!  It is intriguing!  For example, can you imagine an indie game like Inside or Journey where you play as a kastelian on some unknown pilgrimage?  The visual, dialouge-less storytelling you could get out of a mute automaton would be so compelling!

I'm afraid I can only say so many words about 80 pages, and I think that's that, really.  In summary, not too chuffed, which is a pity.

Lonely Kitbasher doesn't know how to sign off a blog post

P.S: sanctus canisters.


  1. Aye - I'm in the same boat, love the new plastic models and their kitbashing potential but felt rather let down by the codex. The Horus Heresy era Taghmata Mechanicum army list may be worth checking out - quite a few more list options and possibilities for conversions!

  2. The 40k mechanicum seems so much more forced compared to the 30k Tagmatas, Legios and other mechanicus forces. They're much darker, less cookie cutter and they have amazing leaders, more than just tech priest 5 ft canisters

    1. I wonder if this has to do with the fact that the people who buy FW seem more appreciative of the story? For the 40K admech it almost seems like they don't try because 1: we ought to already know the story, or 2: 40K players are seen to disregard fluff in general...?