Video games are difficult to play and complete (plus I'm still on the miniatures bandwagon) so I figured I would offer my narrow, short-sighted opinion on the Salamanders' Primaris Upgrade kit:
These bad boys are $40 AU from Games Workshop - if you can get them in stock. But that's mostly because, if you haven't noticed, the world is kind of in the toilet right now. Games Workshop is having issues with logistics just like any big business with international obligations.
The kit comes with two sprues - ten molded Intercessor Salamander shoulder pads, six aggressor shoulder pads, two Thunder Hammers, two Hand Flamers, two sheets of transfers and a a few other small bits and pieces for your dudes. If you consider that $40 is halfway to a box of Intercessors, that is actually quite steep an asking price. But that's hardly new for Games Workshop.
It's also a price I wouldn't mind paying... ...if the Shoulder pads didn't have a limited scope of use.
That sounds a bit broad, so allow me to explain. Let's say you're a neurotic person (*raises hand slowly*) and you wish for your miniatures to have a consistent visual theme. Let's say you've used your Primaris Shoulder pads on your Intercessors and Aggressors (and any other kit with Intercessor / Aggressor shoulder pads).
Then you buy a box set of snapfit models. For the sake of the anecdote, you bought the vanguard box set. Congratulations - now if you want your army to have the same shoulder pad icon... you can't! Now you have to use transfers (or the excellent Pop Goes the Monkey Icons).
Of course that's not the end of the matter, though. Whilst you could opt out of kits that don't have modular components compatible with the upgrade kit, you're locking yourself out of lots of the model range. In addition to that you're also limiting yourself from box sets like Indomitus, which are all snapfit and have the shoulderpads included as part of the arm assembly. To say it's "not ideal" is a bit of an understatement.
Don't get me wrong, the bits are great quality. Games Workshop always makes good stuff, even if the price point is high. It's also nice to have the mothership actually make components for Salamanders for those who do fit the above narrow criteria. But 40k, especially at the army level, uniformity is important. They would certainly hold more value in the case of a one-off project - but for me, they just won't do.
You are also provided with transfers for the unit - these aren't bad, per se. But they suffer from the problems all transfers have. They are difficult to get right and they can look crummy, even in Games Workshop's own promotional material. I did some experiments with the prefabricated flame icons in the pack and they were workable, if not great, due to their shape.
It's not all bad news, though. The interchangeable heads in the kit are versatile and useful. My Phobos Lieutenant enjoyed his head swap, and my aggressor sergeant has a shiny brazier on his backpack with which he can intimidate foes. So it's not all bad, but I couldn't justify buying another one for just those components.
In conclusion, buyer beware. There's nothing wrong with the components, but the use case is so narrow that I cannot recommend them to anyone who wishes to use them for an army project. Keep them for display pieces, or small projects where you know all the models are compatible with the kit.
Catch you next time,
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