40k: Kill Team Review

killteamsRight at the end of 2013 Games Workshop released a new official Kill Team rules booklet. As a devoted fan of smaller, skirmish level games, I am all about Kill Team’s lightweight take on tiny 40k battles. These are some thoughts reading through the new mini-supplement.

Access

This was my first attempt trying to buy a GW digital product… And it was a huge disaster.

No surprise to anyone, GW’s website and online systems are not very good, and the Digital Editions really highlight that. Even though a ton of focus is going to them now, it’s still just a tiny little text link hidden up above the headliner box on the main GW page. But even that doesn’t actually go to the store! You have to click through another page for the actual stores, but the big obvious buttons there to do so aren’t actually links—you have to click on the little text links below them… Finally you’re shown actual products and click to buy. But nothing happened? And again? Hmm. Oh wait, the purchase was silently added to your cart, and now you have two of them in there. Fine, let’s remove one and checkout. Ok, I have to login. Wait, I just keep going to the account login landing? Oh, I have to change my secret question, but it never said that. Maybe now finally I can buy this? Oh, no, logging in for some reason changed my currency to UK pounds and I’m no longer in the right region to buy this product. Let’s correct that and try to purchase again. Ok, so far so good, let’s verify my Visa card and confirm this order! Wait… GW? Come back GW? Where is the order confirmation button, GW???  Why are you just showing me a white screen, GW?

After five attempts across three days, two web browsers, and probably an hour total, I have been completely unable to give GW my money and acquire a basic digital product in a very simple transaction that even 1-man shops have had figured out for two decades now. In contrast, it took literally a minute at most to find and download this puppy from BitTorrent. GW has to learn a lesson the music industry never did until Apple, Amazon, and others had already taken a huge slice of its pie: Piracy isn’t just about money. It’s also a lot about convenience and access to goods. I would have been—and am—pretty ok with throwing dollars at GW for their efforts here, even though I think the booklet is overpriced. But their poor implementation has made it literally impossible for me to do so, let alone a huge hassle.

Presentation

The cover is really good. That sounds like it might be a silly thing to say except I’m still traumatized by some of the really hideous, poorly executed covers of the past, like the 5th edition Blood Angels codex. With this Kill Team cover, the yellow Imperial Fist on the black background is just very appealing, and I’m a big fan of this particular painterly style of GW artwork.

Mothers, don't let yer babies grow up to look like this disaster of a book cover...

Mothers, don’t let yer babies grow up to look like this disaster of a book cover…

After that the presentation’s a mess. Kill Team has the usual cool little marginalia doodads, another painterly piece, and a couple good photos, but it looks worse than a large number of fan-made efforts out there. The older Warhammer World Kill Team Rules Pack looked way better and more professionally done. If I didn’t know otherwise I’d chalk it up as some nobody’s lame effort in a Word document, not a serious effort from any book publisher, let alone one of the biggest gaming companies in the world.

Part of that is the media.  eBooks just aren’t made for this kind of document. They’re great for novels, consisting solely of pages of text paragraphs, and little else. The formats provide absolutely no control over pagination, and little over the layout and flow of the text. Documents with a lot of lists, tables, and short paragraphs or sentences and a lot of mixed in graphics thus look bad and are hard to read, and this is no exception. The opening fluff story even looks super bad on a laptop screen, a stream of small single sentences centered on the page, almost looks like they tried to present it as a poem but didn’t quite make it.

Eventually if you screw around with the font sizes and such you can make the pages layout ok, but it’s not particularly impressive looking as a document. These issues are a huge problem I have with all eBooks that aren’t just straight paragraphs, like novels or basic non-fiction text, and the type of artsy looking efforts GW’s books should be really suffer in the medium.

On the we have a free PDF download that somebody probably made in their spare time.  On the right we have the latest and greatest in GW's publishing, sold for a full $12.

On the left we have a PDF that somebody at GW probably made basically in their spare time, available as a free download. On the right we have the latest and greatest in GW’s publishing, sold for a full $12…

References

After making a strong push in 5th and early 6th edition to correct the problem, lately GW has been getting back to one of its worst textual tendencies: Copy-pasting rules instead of referencing them. There’s some of that going on in the recent Stronghold Assault, and a lot of it here. About a third of the Kill Team content is Specialist abilities that get applied to your models. Every single one is just pasted from the main rulebook instead of simply referencing the USRs there. So when the new 6.1/7th edition rulebook comes out this summer, or one of those rules gets otherwise errata’d, these lists will be out of date.

I’d accuse GW of doing this specifically to pad out an otherwise already very short product, but they would never do that, right?

Conceptually, sure, there’s a small argument to be made that it could make some sense to copy rules precisely so that they don’t change with time. But that’s rarely justifiable in 40k, and historically has almost never worked out well. Recent editions and codexes made big improvements in simply pointing to a single source for a variety of common rules and gear, so it’s a significant step backwards that GW seems to be moving the other way again.

Similar goes for usual repetition of the same mission maps and boilerplate text 6 times, but that’s a smaller issue and more defensible.

Rules

Compared to the most recent semi-official Kill Team setup, the 2013 Warhammer World Rules Pack, the changes are modest. Nothing ground breaking, either positively or negatively, but a few interesting things and largely for the better. It is certainly ridiculously better than the last “for-sale” Kill Team, the 1 page junk rules in the quickly forgotten Battle Missions supplement.

Force Organization is the same: 0–2 Troops, 0–1 Elites, 0–1 Fast. Pretty awesomely, the Space Marine Kill Team in the photo with Mission 3 isn’t actually a valid Kill Team: The Librarian at stage center is an HQ. To that point, I actually think HQs should be allowed. A small support HQ like a Librarian or Commissar produces a pretty cool, fairly fluffy squad, just like in the photo. Beefy over-the-top HQs would be prohibited without the explicit FOC restriction just by the point limit, requirement to have 4+ models, and the fact that spending half your points or more on a single model would cripple your ability to claim objectives.

**ERROR**  Does not compute!  *ERROR*

**ERROR** Does not compute! *ERROR*

One notable change is that the Wounds limit per model was bumped from 2 to 3. Given that HQs like Space Marine Captains are out because of the FOC, off the cuff I think this mostly lets in some of the fluffy mid-sized Tyranids that were previously excluded by that restriction. I support this modification, it was weird previously that some of them weren’t allowed.

Another small but eye catching change is that there are more specialists powers, but they’ve been divided into categories that can’t be repeated. So you have more options, but at the same time are forced to not concentrate on one area. I’m more or less neutral on this one, though it doesn’t seem like a problem to let someone focus their team on close combat, or shooting, or whatever.

The biggest change though is Break Tests. Previously, once a team had fallen below half strength, the Leader would have to take a Leadership Test at the start of every turn. If they failed the team would flee, ending the battle immediately and losing the game. In the new rules, once a team falls below half strength every model starts taking a Leadership Test every turn and flees individually if they fail. The Leader model provides a cool bonus such that if they pass the test, every friendly model within 6″ of them automatically passes the test.

Overall I like that modified Break Test. The Leader command radius mechanic is really appealing, giving a fluffy incentive to bring your troops toward your leader as you start to lose models. One change I would consider is having models Fall Back if they fail, rather than just being removed immediately. That would give the other player more time to kill them, which yields a point in several missions while them breaking doesn’t. Models with Fearless automatically pass the test and those with And They Shall Know No Fear reroll, so those would work out pretty similarly falling back. My one concern with this change is having to chase down that one last model way off in the corner, or playing out the turns with no one moving on top of the objectives.

Somewhat interestingly, the old style break rules aren’t that ridiculous when loosely compared to real life battles. I don’t think most game players realize actual military units are generally considered broken once they go above something like 10% casualties, and decimated above 25%. That said, if Kill Team is supposed to capture a very small, close quarters & short firefight, then it makes sense that it’s every man, to the death, more similar to the new rules.

Let's get 'em, boys!

Let’s get ’em, boys!

For a final rules note, one bugaboo that stood out to me is that the first mission has an odd number of objectives, with the first player placing the extra. That’d be understandable if it was a thematic mission with a specific attacker/defender or something, but that’s not the case. Placing more or more valuable objectives is a significant advantage that GW should really get a clue about and stop doing. Objectives should be even, or the odd one out centrally placed.  In general though the six included missions actually seem fairly good.  Nothing crazy original, but there’s some interesting bits here and there.

Summary

Overall Kill Team is solid, though probably overpriced. The length of eBooks is really hard to gauge due to the pagination and presentation, but this is probably about 12 pages if formatted to standard GW design, maybe more with all the copy-pasted USRs. More importantly, the existing free Warhammer World rules are basically just as functional, let alone more substantial fan efforts like Galaxy in Flames’ Killzone. As a free download it’d be great—though the presentation issues would still be inexcusable—and at $4 it’d be a good bargain that I’d happily encourage people paying to support the effort. At $12 though it’s hard to gauge.  On the upside, at a minimum that means it’s not ridiculous.  In stark contrast, I felt clearly burned and extorted by the very slim $33 Stronghold Assault, which in some sense has a fair bit more content than this, but much of which is just copy-pasted from the main rules and Apocalypse 2.0 book. In that light this looks comparatively reasonably priced, though it takes a ding for being very weakly presented.

So I have to say that I’m happy with the content here and the forward progress in the evolution of Kill Team rules. However, I wouldn’t particularly push anybody to discontinue playing from any of the existing free sources and plunk down for this; they all basically get the same job done. Kill Team tournaments are going to be particularly tricky in this regard, i.e., whether or not they just roll their own rules, the basics being well established at this point, or make everyone pick up this release.

Book Review: Beevor’s ‘The Second World War’

beevorEarly this year I picked up Antony Beevor’s 2012 history book The Second World War on the recommendation of Ta-Nahesi Coates (here and here), and recently I finally read it.  The book is actually somewhat complex to evaluate.  Most reviews (NY Times, Guardian, etc.) seem to have been positive but not super excited about the effort.  At first I agreed but now feel it to be an excellent book within its audience, goals, and necessary limitations.  It is certainly by far the best single-volume history of the entire war that I have encountered.

Audience

The first tough question to evaluate is who exactly is the audience for this book?  I found it to be a fast read but at almost 800 pages (excluding bibliography) it is probably a significant commitment for many people.  Beyond that, it is mired in details of dates, titles, numbers, troop dispositions, and so on.  Not getting bogged down in these while also not missing important notes or losing track of the overall thread and continuity could be challenging for younger or less experienced readers.  Similarly, those only marginally interested in the topic could potentially be turned off by its sheer length and the volume of nuts & bolts minutia.

From a different angle, those who are very interested and have read a lot about the second world war may at times be a bit confused about what they’re supposed to get out of the text.  Surprisingly given the many decades between the event and now, Beevor does actually present a number of new revelations that have only recently entered public knowledge.  But the overall text is very light on analysis and motivations, and the basic detailed history already well covered in innumerable texts and documentaries, so for those well versed in the topic it’s not always immediately clear for what or whom the book is intended.

Ground History

Eventually though I came to understand the book as a detailed ground history across the entire scope of WW2.  At that it is impressively detailed yet readable.  If you want to get or ensure you have a comprehensive feel for the military movements across all of the half dozen or so major fronts in the war, this is the text you want.  In this way it’s useful for both those unfamiliar with the topic, and those who want to cement their knowledge.  Beevor himself notes that he wrote the book because, having written several other books about particular battles and topics, he thought his own knowledge was patchy.  As one example for me, though broadly familiar with the fighting and politics in China, the overall picture and the specifics of the intense jockeying for post war positioning between the Nationalists and the Communists is much more clear now.

That leads directly to the first place the book really excels.  It covers the whole war.  From an American perspective this makes it a particularly useful text.  All of the early movements in Czechoslovakia and Poland, the critical nature and immense scope of the Eastern Front, to the Italian and African campaigns, to the overlooked but long-term incredibly important China and Southeast Asian theaters, everything’s covered.  This isn’t a typical American history in which the war is largely fought and won over 4 days (e.g., Pearl Harbor, D-Day, Iwo Jima, Hiroshima).  The Battle of Britain, for example, gets a reasonable but notably succinct summary, which makes much sense upon reflection:  That conflict’s extremely well covered elsewhere and, though immensely important, actually very simple and straightforward in the basics.  In contrast, a tremendous number of pages is spent on the sprawling, complex, and ultimately world defining Eastern Front, a theater that has little detailed recognition and understanding among western audiences.  As another personal example, though relatively very aware of the scope of Soviet and German losses, and the sheer brutality of that conflict in particular, the book adds a layer of general understanding to the overall sweep and movement of the war.  It also clarifies a number of details, e.g., the final Soviet and US run-in to Berlin, a relatively small but ultimately very consequential period of time of which it turns out I did not understand the basic mechanics well at all.

Map from the text of a late war overarching Soviet push.

Map from the text of a late war overarching Soviet push.

To the point about brutality, that’s where the book really excels.  It’s important to recognize and understand that the text comes from classical, traditional military histories of major conflicts.  Though the coverage is reasonable for the book’s purposes, Beevor only tangentially discusses the politics, economics, and scientific enterprises that are the real heart of the issue in the war.  If you’re looking directly for analysis, contextual understanding, and long term consequences, as I was going in, this is not that text.  It starts from a focus on armies and generals and combat and stays focused on that kind of ground level details of the war.

But Second World War goes well beyond that class of ultimately unenlightening typical military narrative in being very comprehensive about what it means to be a “detailed ground history across the entire scope of WW2.”  There is extensive discussion about the suffering of individual soldiers and the conditions they fought under.  More importantly, despite the book’s military history origins, Beevor places equal focus on the devastating, incomprehensible levels of civilian suffering, elevating the text well above most generic WW2 histories.  Both abstract issues and numbers as well as a wide array of personal letters and diaries are used to document that aspect of the war as extensively as the military maneuvers.  It documents well topics like the courses of both Nazi and Soviet genocide; unbelievable losses of life to famine in China and Southeast Asia; and the awful, unrelenting destruction and poverty of the churned middle ground between Russia and Germany.

The book also puts special attention to the near universal suffering and persecution of women on all fronts.  To a large extent this is not a revelation to any who have read about or are otherwise familiar with events like the Rape of Nanking, or, indeed, has thought at all about the likely consequences of an extended, to-the-death, wide scale war, particularly one with heavy racial and nationalist undertones.  But this is a topic still under-discussed and poorly recognized, e.g., among all the pop fans of WW2 enabling the thriving history-entertainment industry.  Beevor also pushes that understanding into all theaters and forces the unavoidable conclusion that this is not an issue of ad hoc atrocities or confined to just one region.  The text makes clear both the overwhelming extent and horrifying nature of female suffering across the entire worldwide conflict, as well as its execution as a systematic, condoned, even organized undertaking.

Chinese refugees in Chungking, wrecked capital of the Nationalists.

Chinese refugees in Chungking, wrecked capital of the Nationalists.

Details and Revelations

As has been widely publicized in other reviews, the book does work to raise popular awareness of a number of relatively new revelations.  Some of these include:

  • A somewhat notable assassination of a Vichy French official, not previously understood to be organized by the British and US intelligence services.
  • The treatment of Soviet women by the Soviet army itself, the uncovering of which I believe comes largely came from Beevor’s own work for his more focused book Stalingrad.
  • Most talked about, the overwhelming effect of starvation on Japanese forces—60% of all casualties—and the consequent systematized, rampant cannibalism among its armies.  This has only recently been captured by Japanese historians after being suppressed by the Allies in order to not traumatize families of POWs at home.

Just given the breadth of the material, the book necessarily has to make concessions to brevity.  Many reviews have noted that compared to Beevor’s previous books there is less emphasis on personal accoutings.  Still though, I think there is a good amount of that, with many of the scenes, particularly of refugee and other civilian suffering, told through diaries and letters.

Similarly, in many ways the book relies a fair bit on extensive knowledge of the war.  For example, there’s a line in a meeting with Churchill about Stalin’s blue pencil that has no resonance without knowing his original role as an editor.  As a more important example, I’m not sure the book adequately relates the technical limitations forcing the Allies’ unescorted bomber tactics in Europe until the development of the Mustang fighter with its combination of range and capability.

One of the most important engineering efforts ever...  Still not as powerful as Stalin's blue pencil.

One of the most important engineering efforts ever… Still not as powerful as Stalin’s blue pencil.

Some of these choices though come directly on the book’s focus on the ground, and are reasonable once you’re in line with that approach.  For example, there’s an interesting paragraph or so about driving in the London blackout, and the thousands of pedestrians killed by vehicular accidents in its early months.  In contrast, the massive, world-changing Manhattan Project appears almost out of nowhere only when the Enola Gay finally takes off on its fateful mission, with just a few references beforehand as it came up in conferences among the Allied leaders.

To me, among the more notable non-ground details Second World War does make within its comparatively limited focus on the leadership and behind-the-scenes politics, are those about Roosevelt.  Beevor paints a clear picture of his anti-Imperialist leanings, capturing how that defined US priorities, frustrated Churchill, and would have resulted in an immensely different world view had he lived longer.  For example, it discusses in passing references how he was staunchly against the French resuming occupation of Indochina (Vietnam) after the war.  Though it’s hard to predict how that would change history, clearly it would do some immensely.  In a related vein, it is also made clear just how poorly Roosevelt understood or cared about post-war implications, how fixated on them Churchill was—often in strongly Imperialist tones—and how masterfully Stalin and Mao Zedong out-maneuvered both of them at that shadow conflict.

"We're getting played, arent't we?  Hilarious!"

“We’re getting played, arent’t we? Hilarious!”

Maps & Endnotes

As a minor note, the first half or so could use a few more maps and diagrams, but I attribute that to Beevor being English and assuming more familiarity with European geography than I, and presumably most Americans, possess.  By the time things get really hairy and entangled in the second half of the war, much of it in the less familiar eastern Europe and Pacific, there are notably more diagrams complementing the text.

On another minor note, the book employs extensive endnotes rather than footnotes.  I assume this was done to make the book seem more pop history and accessible to people flipping through in a bookstore.  It’s very unfortunate however as it leaves you constantly wondering “Who said that?” and “Where is he getting that from?” for both quotes and newer revelations, giving the book just a slight feel of unscholarlyness and speculation that it doesn’t deserve.

Summary

All in all, I highly recommend Beevor’s The Second World War, contingent on being clear or what the book is trying to do and who it’s for.  It’s not a light history, and probably requires either a fair amount of motivation or an experienced reader; e.g., I have mixed feelings about recommended it for typical high schoolers.  Little time is spent on politics, economics, context, or consequences.  Similarly, there is little analysis or direct relation to modern events.  Beevor himself is careful in interviews to proscribe against the popular inclination of politicians and pundits to draw untrue and misleading parallels to WW2.  But the book is very good for those with a limited understanding of the basic mechanics and movement of the war, or those who want to ensure their understanding.

Beyond that, the book is excellent at is portraying the “truth” on the ground.  Most notably, it is faithful to and evenly balanced across the entire scope of the war—from the Pacific to the Eastern to the Western fronts—as well as both the military and civilian effects, particularly for women.  The scope and abstract numbers almost prevent a felt understanding, but there is enough detail and personal accounts to ensure a tangible picture of the colossal scale of human suffering entailed.

Ultimately that presentation is worthwhile in its own right, and enables the kind of thought and analysis from which the book largely shies away.  For example, through much of the text the US and English come off fairly well in ethical terms, with most of the atrocities, particularly mass rapes,  enacted by the Japanese, Germans, Soviets, and French.  Especially at the end though there are disappointing lapses by US forces in the occupation of Japan.  Combined with the deep picture from the rest of the text of the relatively limited contact up to that point between US forces and civilians, particularly non-Europeans, it is difficult to not then take that behavior as near-universal and those two Allies’ comparatively clean records coincidental rather than actually exceptional.

That is exactly the sort of observation a good raw history should support.  Second World War largely refrains from imposing its own conclusions, but does enable that kind of thinking across a number of topics: Civilian suffering, modern total war, justification for the atomic bombings, post-war geopolitical consequences, and so on.  For that I highly recommend it.

Hiroshima.

Hiroshima.

Book Review: Betrayer

betrayer-coverContinuing my Horus Heresy kick, over the weekend I read Betrayer by Aaron Dembski-Bowden.  I  was a little hesitant to grab this book but did so because it comes up on a number of best-of-series lists, not all of which are reliable (too much focus on action).  Turns out though Betrayer is very much possibly the best 40k/30k novel I’ve read, and certainly among the top.  Part of this I attribute to Dembski-Bowden apparently being an actual player of the game, something I don’t get from a number of the authors.  Not that it’s necessary, but it might bring an extra level of love to the work.

There are no spoilers in these thoughts.

Characters

Here that love’s paid off because he’s done the totally unexpected: Made the World Eaters, Angron, and especially Khârn possibly the most fascinating characters in the entire series.  My hesitation about the book was precisely because by the 40th century they never come across as particularly interesting.  Mindless killing machines, they do what they say—Kill!  Maim!  Burn!—and little else.  Their action sequences are boring, and they have basically no characterization to speak of.  Their appearance also raises a lot of uncomfortable questions, like how could such a bloodthirsty, disorganized fighting unit actually function?

The answer is barely.  This novel really explores in flashback and discussion the degradation of the legion and how costly their every minor victory has become.  A number of the characters spend a fair amount of time trying to come to grips with how precisely they can keep fighting when their extreme lack of discipline leaves them exposed and vulnerable any number of ways.  The action and training scenes demonstrate this well and between that, the characters’ discussions, and a healthy dose of the Warp, it’s an interesting progression that renders the 40k world more plausible (well, within the universe’s basic assumptions).

More importantly, Angron makes a good run here to be the most tragic of the Heresy characters.  That’s a big claim to make given Horus, but the novel makes it pretty credible.  My favorite though is Khârn.  He’s fascinating, and realizing that in the first couple pages is basically mind blowing given that I’d previously never found him particularly interesting.  He has a band of friends, many of them with their own solid characterizations—especially Argel Tal of the Word Bearers—and he has doubts, so many doubts.  Khârn’s so compelling, I’m almost motivated right now to go model up some Chaos Marine champion to represent him (I’m only 50/50 on his actual model).  Khârn’s depth and wisdom come across so well, it only highlights his glee and fury in battle.  The first, brief appearance of his catchphrase at a desperate moment is chilling: Kill, maim, burn.  Betrayer manages to make all of these utter villains extremely sympathetic and then next chapter they’re turning your stomach as they torture and murder with abandon, an excellent feat of writing.

Also excellently done, for the book that had every possibility of being the least humanized and the most purely testosterone driven given its very male lead legions and characters, there are a number of solid women characters.  In particular, Captain Sarrin of the Conqueror has a lot of pages and comes across strongly.  She’s key in manufacturing one of the standout scenes mentioned below, has a number of welcome interactions with her friend Khârn in the heat of battle, and it’s actually really cool to read with what glee and skill she goes about fighting the Imperialists.  In the grimdark future there is war and blood for everyone, not just men.

Fight!

As discussed regarding Know No Fear, 40k and especially the Heresy series has a ton of potential depth to it, and it’s the more character-study oriented novels that are the best.  All too often though they devolve into purely extended action sequences, as that novel does.  Here though a perfect balance is struck.  The action and character studies are so interwoven throughout the text, and often set within each other, that Betrayer never becomes a drawn out, boring slugfest, nor does it ever slow down and become purely dialog and thought with no chainswords or powerfists.  In terms of the technical execution of the plot and characters, the text’s arrangement is really well done.

Great Scenes

On top of all the overall excellence, the novel has a large number of great scenes.  Just a few of the most memorable, holding back the details:

  • Lorgar’s desperate battle to retrieve Angron, and the latter’s desperate struggle to then save the former.  This is the best primarch battle scene I can recall.  Forget inhumanly fast sword strikes and mega-punches.  There are goddamn vehicles being thrown like toys, and it’s not the least cheesy.
  • The legion’s censure of Delvarus after the battle of Armatura.  This opens with a great tense hangar bay standoff, once that captures that might alone is not always right, then pages later comes back with a darkly beautiful scene of fraternity, regret, and forgiveness.
  • Lhorke’s remembrance of Khârn and Argel Tal in the gladiator pits.  It’s a touching view of two soul brothers, ultimate warriors not yet mindless death machines, and has a rare touch of fun and mirth among a life of constant war.
  • Lorgar and Angron discussing the latter’s pre-heresy fight with Russ.  It has a sadness and quiet to it that’s heartfelt, with Lorgar pained because Angron doesn’t understand, and Angron pained because he does but can’t, shackled and crippled by his past.

Summary

Basically, go read it.  A fair bit of Heresy background and 40k foreknowledge is required to really appreciate everything.  Even having read a bunch and knowing a lot of 40k lore, even I wish just a little that I had read more of the Heresy series before reading this to catch all the references and character history.  But it’s got depth and action to spare so this is a minor concern.  Betrayer is an awesome novel that every 40k fan should really appreciate.

Kill. Maim. Burn.

Kill. Maim. Burn.

Update: Total sidenote, if the Khan model looked more like this conversion I’d be all about it.  The official model though is just a little to goofy and busy looking.  By absolutely no means the worst of the older GW sculpts, but after this read I really hope he gets an update or Forge World model sometime to be a bit more serious and dramatic.