It looks like our next turn about the release merry-go-round from GW will be the big bounding beasts that are Fenris’ finest. Yep, it’s Space Wolves time. You probably won’t see much from me in the way of painting these guys and I want to use this post to explain why. In part, this is due to the BIG project I’m working on at the moment (more on that to follow soon) but also because, well, I don’t really like Space Wolves.
Except that isn’t true. Of all the Primarchs, the grim-faced Wolf King, the Emperor’s Executioner, Leman Russ, striding purposefully into battle is, for me, up there among the coolest of the primogenitors. I love the hints of Vikingness in their fluff and all that ‘there are no wolves on Fenris’ mystery. From the destruction of Prospero to the rejection of the Codex Astartes, I am a fan of the Space Wolves stories, from the heresy era and beyond.
And models-wise, they’ve always had some crackers. It may be a dated pose now, but Ragnar Blackmane’s mini has a little bit of the ‘iconic’ as far as I’m concerned. It may be of that old style but I still think it has an aura of ‘come and try me’ about it. Bjorn too – the first named dreadnought I ever came across always looked like a real mean monster.
However, all of this admiration aside, I’m not a fan of the Space Wolves. I’m not writing this to slag off a faction – I don’t do that. To each, their own. The thing is, I feel like I should be really into the Fenrisians, and yet, I’m not. This is me trying to understand why. I mean, I even look a bit like a Space Wolf – I should have at least a 2000pt army just going by my beard! I’ve narrowed it down, I think, to these gripes/opinions…
Fluffier than a Pampered Pomeranian
It’s always a little odd when you start taking things that are very obviously of one place and start using them in another. Like the Vikings of the 41st Millennium. It’s like driving a horse and trap down the motorway/freeway. What I mean by that is that though they are related, they just sit a little too uncomfortably with each other. The necrons with their Robo-Space Pharaohs look suffer from the same problem for me, and to a lesser extent, the Minotaurs Chapter are a little στη μύτη.
As I mentioned earlier, I like the nordic edge, don’t get me wrong, but all the sagas, runes, axes… if this was a a few years ago, I’d actually be surprised if they didn’t get a long-boat shaped/themed transport, though I have heard tell of a dragon-shaped flyer already for the upcoming release. Yes, I know Chaos already have one of these, but that makes ‘sense’ in that it’s a dragon created from a demonically possessed vehicle rather than an actual dragon… actually, that’s about as bad so I’ll leave that one. All I’m saying is that the occasional rune works better for me than the entire horn-helmeted opera that these guys seem to have become.
The Heritage of the Poodle
This is going back a long way, but when I was playing back in 2nd Ed, I remember a guy in the Reading store referring to them as ’Space Poodles’ shortly after their first codex was released and, well, that kind of stuck. Not a logical reason to dislike them at all, but it goes to show you the power of early impressions on a young mind. Since then, I have always had that phrase stuck in my head whenever I see their name. And some of those hairstyles they sport are a little less ‘wild warrior’ and a little more ‘Parisian salon’.
Baby Blue Beagles or Grey Great Danes
Whether you prefer the older grey style of Space Wolves or the more baby blue look that they seem to have developed over the years, I can honestly say that I’m not a fan of either. The Dark Greens and Blacks of the Dark Angels – nice. The vibrant sanguine red of the Blood Angels – awesome. The shining silver of the Grey Knights – stunning. The Battle Ship Grey/Duck Egg look of the wolves – it’s just never been my scene. For purely aesthetic reasons, that colour-scheme counts against them in a big way for me and that really is a big reason why I won’t be rushing to paint them.
Let’s Address the Wolf In The Room
Yeah… no. The whole ‘riding around on giant wolves’ thing just does not do it for me. It may be fluffy (to an extent) but it does have an air of ridiculousness about it. It’s fair to say that most armies have something a little ridiculous, but the big doggies take the proverbial biscuit in my eyes and if I had my way, they’d go the same way as the Ork Boar Boyz.
I think that that’s probably enough. Space Wolves will never be a faction that appeals to me other than enjoying the occasional bit of fluff. That being said, there are a couple of caveats to all of this. Firstly, I want them to get a good Codex with lots of fun toys – it’s always good to see a different army on the tabletop and I’ve not faced any Wolves in a long time. I should also say, regarding the colour scheme, there are some people out there who have totally nailed it and, had I their talent or any measure of it, I’d be tempted. Artists Delius and ThirdEyeNuke have both done excellent Space Wolves projects – well worth checking out – as have many others.
So, I hope I’m ending on a positive there. You won’t see much in the way of Space Wolves here, but you’re in for a pack of them heading your way in the coming weeks from GW. Let’s hope it’s a good release with some cool new models. Until the next saga…