Horus Heresy Model Review: Sicaran Venator

This week the Sicaran Venator and Cerberus Tank Destroyer go up for pre-order, so we can all get our grubby little mitts on the Heresy’s fastest (and largest) tank destroyers. Before we dive in, thanks to Games Workshop for sending a review copy over to make and paint up.

If you’ve built a Sicaran before (and if not, why not? Great fun kit), there aren’t too many surprises with the Venator. We have a couple of sprues – the main Sicaran sides/bottom sprue, the tank accessories kit that I’m stockpiling for Fulmentarus Terminators and the ubiquitous sponson sprue. On top of that, the Venator comes with an extra sprue that replaces the Sicaran turret and top assembly – handily called the “V” sprue. This has everything you need for the Venator – gun, top plate and unique casement and top mounted heavy bolter. The layout and design is as top-quality as we’ve come to expect from Heresy tanks, and the existence of a separate sprue lets us speculate that the remaining Sicarans in plasma, gatling gun and missile launcher variety will probably follow the same pattern with an extra sprue on top of the main Sicaran body.

Sicaran Venator Sprue, Credit: Lenoon

It’s a very close match to the old resin version, taking the same design cues from turretless assault gun WW2 tank destroyers. The obvious one that everyone will go for is the Hetzer, but to me it’s more reminiscent of the more modern Swedish Stridsvagn 103, with a massive gun and a low, trapezoidal frame.

Stridsvagn 103. Credit: VHMQ Photography via Wikipedia

It was a pretty delightful build with a few trickier spots where you should take your time to line up. All the joints between top and bottom plate come together on a very sharp edge, so rubber bands to hold each major piece – sides, top and bottom – are an essential part of the process. I managed to get one side on the main hull together without bands, but the other side really needed the additional pull to get everything tightly aligned. The Venator comes with a new front and top plate, and the front plate in particular has only small guides to get it in place, but requires a perfect 90 degree joint. It wasn’t a difficult thing to do, but if you’re like me and just glance at instructions before soldiering on, this is a good point to pause and make sure you’re getting it right.

A tricky piece – take your time. Sicaran Venator, Credit: Lenoon

It also raises the idea that you could magnetise this kit – everything to do with the very big gun (which is why you get this kit at all) attaches to the front/top plate, with the rest of the Sicaran being the stock build. As a result, if you were careful and placed the magnets well, you could lift off the entire top/front plate and replace it with the standard Sicaran and – possibly, pending the models having the same configuration – the other variants. I didn’t, because I think this is (to be honest) not particularly worth the time, it’s such a huge part of the model that you’re magnetising about 50% of it, and would need to get a full Sicaran anyway. It’s very clever design for manufacturing purposes, but, while possible, the magnetising seems more trouble than it’s worth.

Assembled detail, Sicaran Venator, Credit: Lenoon

Overall, it was a lovely tank to build. I think the Sicaran is one of the best examples of the modular, intelligent model design that the Heresy vehicles are releasing with, and I’m looking forward to getting another one to build.

Painting the Venator

Given some big, flat panels, sharp angles on the panels and lovely exposed tracks, I grabbed my trusty sponge and got to work with it. I painted this in sub-assemblies, with the tracks painted separately. This means that you really have to jam the tracks underneath the track guards (leave the bottom set off until the tracks are in place), but a little elbow grease got them in nicely. As this is a Venator, I wanted to use the same blues as on my recon marines, a slightly more subdued grey look than on my mainline Sicaran, with an Ochre panel and diamond line work to tie it to the recons. As it’s a quick tank I also gave it a fetching racing stripe.

Sicaran Venator, Credit: Lenoon

As always I ended up indulging myself with some freehand. I think the massive panel space the Sicaran and other Heresy tanks offers is the perfect canvas for messing about with transfers or freehanded decoration and given that it was a quick, simple build, the Venator is a really good chance to go nuts with it and do whatever you fancy. I’d love to see some in full dazzle camouflage, if anyone is looking for a challenge.

In game, Lupe’s assessment of the Venator was that the gun rules, and it certainly does – very high strength, Ordnance and two shots will take care of just about any heavy armour your opponent is unwise enough to put on the table, and bargain lascannon sponsons add insult to injury. Position it well and you’ll be popping armour with the contempt of the Tank Destroyers of history.

The Business End. Sicaran Venator, Credit: Lenoon

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