GW Grognard: Embrace the Absurd

Hey everyone! Adam, from TFG Radio, here to talk about the wackiness that is 40K.

Over the years there have been a huge number of different units created by Games Workshop for the armies that they had released. Each codex that was created over the years have had a lot of unique units to the army. Many units crossed over several codexes or they are only for that particular book. Over time many units have fallen by the wayside due to the company getting rid of entire armies, ir replacing units with new units. Over all this time there have been a fair number of units that seem a bit or even just ridiculous. That being said, you should really just embrace the absurdness that is 40K

I see it a lot lately. With a lot of people coming into the game, there are a lot of fresh eyes looking at the beautiful models that games Workshop puts out. Many times I hear about how a certain unit, model, gun or other piece of equipment just shouldn’t work the way they were drawn or modeled. That’s the last thing people should be worried about. Part of the charm of 40K and what sets it apart from other futuristic settings, is the over the top art direction that the game has had since the beginning. In the early days it was the iconic deodorant tank, dwarves on chopper bikes, and an ork battlewagon that could fit as many models as you could pile on without falling off. As the years moved on, the art direction started to form for each army but there were still models that just left you scratching your head. If you have a chance, look at the original Khorne Blood Slaughterer. The epic greater daemons looked much different than their 40K counterparts today. A lot of the ways that a models weapons looked odd, especially for chaos space marines, and look like they shouldn’t work. In fact almost every model in the ork range would qualify as absurd. the fact that their equipment works not because of their mechanical genius but because they BELIEVE their equipment will work. With that attitude, the more absurd the better!

In the end it’s all plastic and resin toys. These aren’t historical games where it would be best to have models and units make sense for your army, otherwise you will garner the wrath of Historical Grognards. Trust me, you don’t want that. Although arguing over the minute mechanisms of a chaos space marine combi-bolter can be fun, I guess, it can come off as a bit of a buzzkill as most people just want to roll dice and blow up model soldiers. In many ways, the rule of cool really does take precedence over almost all else, at least when you’re starting out. So don’t worry about why a Land Raider would make a horrible futuristic tank because it looks likes it belongs on the battlefields of World War 1. Just put that bad boy on the tabletop and start blasting away!

That’s all for this week, I hope you enjoyed the read. Let me know your thoughts, and your favorite absurd 40K models, in the comments section. Don’t forget to visit our Facebook, Twitch, and Patreon pages to stay up to date on what we’re up to and when episodes drop!

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About Adam

Adam, aka Latin Gandalf, has been gaming since the early eighties and has played 40K since Rogue Trader (among a number of other games). He listens to more podcasts than any healthy person should and is currently the host for TFG Radio. He also is judges for LVO and head judges other major 40K Grand Tournaments.

7 Responses to “GW Grognard: Embrace the Absurd”

  1. Ohlmann November 16, 2019 6:10 am #

    I don’t have a problem with the models shown, but I would say one need to remember it’s often not “just” the absurdity the problem. Else, the totally absurd knights would not be popular.

    GW, in my (for once, actually unpopular !) opinion, have a big artistic direction problem. Mostly, they are lazy and unimaginative, and quite often tend to take the lowest hanging fruit for direction. That’s the problem with, say, the bonereapers stuff, who don’t even look like skeletons in favor of being buff humanoids with fancy hats. Similarly, I find a lot of the 40K new units bland (like the sisters), ugly, or both (like the death guard stuff who look like standard diseased troops, but done in a bad way)

    There’s also a problem of suspension of disbelief. It’s not the same as “not being absurd”, it’s more “do not break long standing rules”. That’s where, for me, the marine stuff have it the worse : the new snazzy equipment of the Primaris break hard the longstanding rule that the Imperium stuff is rugged, old, and well worn ; the primaris stuff actually look more like T’au esthetic than anything.

    Now, all of that *is* subjective. Rule of Cool is subjective too, so I am not surprised both that there are still W40K lovers, and that part of their productions is hated by some of thoses W40K lovers.

    • JVail November 18, 2019 6:08 am #

      I mean, you can accuse the sisters of being a lot of things, but objectively, “bland” is for sure not one of them.

      • Ohlmann November 19, 2019 4:51 am #

        Defining an objective standard for “bland” seem pretty hard to me.

        As a first point, I would like to point out again that it’s *my* opinion and I fully understand, and isn’t chuffed by, people disagreeing with my opinion. In other word, you’re not wrong if you think they aren’t bland.

        I find the sister very bland because they *all* look like the same, which itself is the look of an extra of Equilibrium. Differents units just have minor weapon change and/or a flying stand. That’s especially egregious when seeing that third party often make two or three different kind of sister themselves. For example, the melee sister aren’t in highly ornate medieval plate, none of the sister actually wear the iconic nun outfit, there is no barefooted ascetic sister models, and the like.

        I find, and that’s probably the point most likely to be controversial, their tanks blands because they *just* took a standard tank and put a random piece of a church on it. Generally, for something to be crazy awesome, there is the kernel of a good or practical idea which is pushed to absurd height. For example, they *could* have an immolator with an heretic burning on his cross in the middle of the tank, to weaponize the heretic burning bits. Instead there is just some stained glass panel who look unpractical. They could have put a choir on the rocket-firing one, but they stopped at just making a visual pun based on stalin’s organ.

        Note how I don’t think *thoses* idea to be super high quality or imaginative. It’s more, the artistic direction of GW stopped so fast after the initial first idea that it’s very easy to find more and weirder ideas.

        Also note that the *scultors* of GW make a top notch job at realizing thoses lazy concept. That’s the saving grace of GW : at least, they know how to actually make models.

  2. WestRider November 16, 2019 1:20 pm #

    It’s not whether or not it would work in combat, it’s whether or not it would look awesome on the cover of an 80s metal album.

  3. Pyrothem November 16, 2019 5:50 pm #

    Yeah I concur. The crazy was fine but I think the past way of lore and models made it clear that this was a world of nightmares and you would never want to be there. The poster boys SM were inhuman monsters with extreme flaws that were not to be expired to, there was no hope just a slow push towards extinction. Even the Ultra Marines were so honor bound and so prideful they would throw lives away just to prove a point.

    Some of the newer lines like Admech and GSC still have that great lore but the nue Marines have none of it. They have NO flaws, are easy to make and come in great numbers. They have better then the best equipment than the Emperor gave out to his armies. Some how with no logistics or corrupted data (demon or otherwise).

    There should be no place in 40k you wish you could be in but with the Flawless Primey Marines that is the clear choice with no downsides. A lot of this could be fixed with better lore writers. With top notch writing even the craziest models have a place that does not take you out of the game. Here is hoping they hold up the crazy zelotry of the Sisters and have things like burning down whole city’s to root out heretical cults.

    • Jace November 18, 2019 3:46 am #

      I’m all for making the setting a bit more positive as the reality is after 20 years of nothing happening or changing I go bored😄

      That being said, really good points that primaris were probably too far and are kind of flawless. Good point that a bit of stronger lore writing would do wonders

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