Warhammer 40K: Primaris Captain and Librarian Review


What does this rating mean?

Posted by Michael on Jul 19, 2017

The first post-starter set 40k releases for 8th edition have hit and they are a new Primaris Captain and a Librarian. As expected, these guys are "bigger, better" versions of existing Space Marine units and as such they have received some excellent new models that will tower over your old timey Ultramarines or Space Wolves or whatever you have been collecting previously. Games Workshop is still towing the party line that these aren't a full-line replacement and that you can play the new Primaris models with your existing Space Marine armies, but it is pretty clear that the writing is on the wall. Primaris (and a larger scale) is the future. If you are looking at putting together an all-Primaris army like I am, then you will want to consider martialing these figures. If you are sticking with the "mini-marines", they are much less essential if only because they are simply updates to existing unit types.

The new Primaris Captain comes in the new Mk.10 Tacitus armor, which immediately sets him apart from his counterpart in the Dark Imperium starter. That captain is outfitted with the new Terminator-like Gravis armor with a built-in Boltstorm Gauntlet and no customization options, whereas the new kit allows for some options. He can be modelled with mastercrafted versions of a swanky new Bolt Rifles or a scoped Stalker Pattern Bolt Rifle with a drum magazine. There is also a Power Sword option as well as a couple of head choices, including one with a crest. There are no chapter-specific markings molded onto the figure, but the only transfers supplied are for Ultramarines.

Points-wise, this captain is slightly cheaper (87 versus 102 points). Statlines are almost identical, except for one less toughness accounting for the Mk.10 armor's slight inferiority to the Gravis. The stock abilities And They Shall Know No Fear, Iron Halo, and Rites of Battle are on the datasheet along with the same keywords. The differences, ultimately, are pretty minor apart from the long range weapon choices. That said, giving the captain 24" and 36" range weapons makes this a very different strategic choice over the Gravis captain. At this point, Primaris units are mostly very range-y and work best with a gunline approach so the new captain fits in well with that concept.

The Librarian on the other hand has no analog in the starter set and is the first Primaris psyker to hit the table. This is a great-looking miniature that comes with your choice of either a supple beard or a helmet. With flowing robes over his Mk.10, he sort of looks like a cross between a Jedi and a Space Marine if you choose the bearded option. He's armed not only with his mind, but also a Force Sword and a Bolt Pistol along with the standard issue frag and krak grenades. I especially like this kit- it's extremely well-sculpted, fun to assemble, and it looks great with your other Primaris units.

In play, of course, the Librarian's chief role is basically as a magic user or wizard sort of character with ranged attacks and an assortment of buffing and debuffing psychic abilities. He can cast two psychic powers during the Psychic phase, one of which can be the stock Smite attack and two more from the Librarius discipline. His psychic hood also gives him a bonus to thwart enemy psykers with Deny the Witch tests. Coming in at 93 points, this is an essential support unit that will work well in almost any army. For my part, the Librarian is pretty much an "always take".

Both of these are excellent kits, although the posability and customization options are really pretty limited. They aren't as restricted, obviously, as the starter set models but those looking to really go to town making custom-modded characters might find them difficult to work with. But the upshot is that the figures look great as-is with dynamic poses and best-in-the-business levels of detail and personality. I would like to have seen more choices myself, even though I tend to avoid any kind of serious modding.

And now, the big negative. These kits are too expensive, period. $35 retail for single figures is simply too much. I'm not quite sure why these pieces have been subject to such a price hike, when comparable Citadel miniatures elsewhere in the range are as much as $10-15 less. I am actually willing to defend GW's premium pricing on some of their items, but I have to admit that I'm disappointed that these kits are so overpriced. Especially since the Captain is really a variation on something in the starter set and frankly, the Librarian should have been in that set to begin with.

But hey, complaining about GW pricing is like complaining about Disneyland being too expensive. You don't go to theme parks to save money, and you don't get into Warhammer looking to pinch pennies. Beyond the upcharge, these are good additions to the Primaris list. I would only caution that with the new Space Marines Codex coming very soon, it may be wise to see if there is any change to these units' datasheets before taking the plunge. I doubt anything would make them "bad", but point changes and other options may sway you one way or another on them.