For most of us, the models are a big part of the army. Sure, the quality of the rules is a factor but if we don't like the models, then there's no chance for the army. Which brings me to the first thing that grabbed me about the Blood Angels - the model range.
Like every other army book, the Blood Angels codex was accompanied by some very cool new models... and some ones that I find crappy. Since this is usually what the focus of the first few weeks prior to a release rests on, I figured I'd start here. Plus, the new releases are the kind of thing that gets me thinking the most about a new army.
The New Stuff:
These are the thing that no one has seen until now - no re-releases or remakes here. Just the new hotness. Of course GW will also be using these to get the people who already play Blood Angels to buy some more models. Once the the new stuff makes itself known, its one of the first opportunities we have to figure out what's going on with the character and nature of the book. In this case, the new book seemed to be more concerned with wings and ribbons than past iterations but, overall, was way more badass.
The Sanguinor, Exemplar of the Host: Kind of a bummer to open up with a model I don't like, but such is life. I like the idea of muscles sculpted on armor, but this is just a bit too much. Add in the hair and the face, this guy looks like some kind of freakish, metal Fabio. A better pose would go a long way towards making this model pop and keeping the pretty pretty princess vibe at arms length. Unfortunately, we're stuck with the Passion of the Christ. Not much getting the brain juices flowing here. Kind if anti-pumped at this point.
Astorath the Grim: Ah, much better, but being cooler than Sanguinor isn't a good benchmark. It's like being better looking than an Gerard Depardieu. However, I do kinda like Astorath... I'm just not in like with him. The action pose goes a long way to making this guy look cool and he manages to pull off the trailing scrolls effect much better than space Jesus up there. However, with the face and the ribbed armor, Astorath is straight outta the Gary Oldman Dracula film. He seems like he'd be more at home in a Vampire Counts army.* Astorath also kicks off the Blood Angel's penchant for luxurious hair. Paul Mitchell would be proud. Blech. I'm not 100% or even 65% sold on Astorath, but at least its an interesting model on some level.
Chapter Master Gabriel Seth: Yes! We're in business. A big hulking dude with a giant clever and a murderous expression. Its a simple (relatively speaking) and clean model with a solid action pose. I really feel like this model captures the essence of the new codex better than all the baroque craziness of some of the other stuff**. What with all the hand to hand combat and berserk rage and all. Never mind the fact that he looks suspiciously like Kor’sarro Khan. Seth also got me thinking about how awesome the Flesh Tearers' logo is. Its a fucking buzzsaw! How freaking cool is that?! Its a symbol with no pretense - it just says "watch out, 'cause we're probably gonna cut you (bitch)". Still not convinced that I won't be playing as Flesh Tearers over the Blood Angels. I'll also go ahead and admit that this was the model that got me started thinking down the Blood Angel path.
Sanguinary Guard: These guys are what the Sanguinor should have been. Overwrought and gaudy? Yes. However, they manage to pull it off because they still look like marines rather than St. Celestine Mk II up there. Another solid offering for the Blood Angels. I have to admit - at first glance, I wasn't really impressed with these guys and kind of gave them a mental pass. Now that I'm giving them a good look in the name of science, I'm actually quite impressed. Lots of options for customization, the wing packs are pretty neat and options the kit gives you for kit bashing are incredible. My only complaints are the terribad hair on the sergeant and the death masks.
Vanguard Veteran Sergeant and Sanguinary Priest: They're direct order only and boring. I just can't force myself to give a shit or review them past these two sentences. Actually... no. I guess it's worth mentioning that the sergeant has the worst head I've ever seen modeled on a miniature and continues the proud Blood Angel tradition of amazing hair. Seriously, its like the Blood Angels allowed a retarded cave man to suit up. Other than that, the two models are plain, unremarkable and needlessly expensive.
Since this post ended up being a giant wall of text, I've broken it up into two parts. Next up is all the re-releases, so keep your crank turned to Frank.
* Dear Vampire Counts players: You're welcome.
**If it ain't Baroque, don't fix it! Bwahahahaha!