The Inquisitor Kill Team from Ashes of Faith goes up for preorder today and that makes it a good time to talk about the models in the kit and the experience assembling and painting them.
Ashes of Faith, huh? What a farrago that was. I remember how incredibly excited I was when the set was announced, and how much the hype built to a fever pitch, over weeks of reveals and mounting expectations- and then the whole set sold out within approximately 30 seconds and was never mentioned by anyone again. A total disaster in terms of customer disappointment. If you want to read our review of the kill team’s rules, you can find it here.
I’m not here to talk about that, though, I’m here to review the minis from the set and to give you my reaction, so let’s do that. There are only a handful of new models in this set, and they got everyone excited on initial announcement, so let’s talk about The Inquisitiorial Retinue of weirdos.
Alarm bells started to ring as soon as I looked on the back of the box and saw “optional assembly” next to some of the pictures. That’s right, folks, you cannot build all of the models in a team from just the one kit, oh no, you will have to purchase a second kit if you want all the options (Although Ashes of Faith came out in the middle of May, the standalone set is still not available in late July, when I’m writing this), by itself this is laughably customer-unfriendly, but it gets even worse. It’s for this reason that my photos of the models only include half of the options, annoyingly.
- Interrogator This is your main guy or gal (the model is, I assume deliberately, androgynous). There’s not really much to say about this model, it’s fine, but it’s also a relatively static bald person with an eyepatch, in a robe, holding a gun and a book. The back-mounted candle stand is a funny little touch, but there’s really very little to say about it.
- Enlightener The optional assembly for the Interrogator, the same body but the arms and head are different, swapping the gun and book for two long knives, and the bald head is replaced with a weird hood-mask thing with a nasal cannula. This is a personal pet peeve of mine, but I really hate that the default way GW emphasises how messed up and twisted a character is to stick a tube up their nose, a tube that always ends up making the character look like they’ve wiped their nose with their sleeve and trailed a big thick bogey across their cheek. Yuck.
- Questkeeper Interesting chainsword on this one, it’s an Eviscerator that’s actually quite slender compared to the ones wielded by Sisters Repentia. The face has a cool sort of nose-guard crusader knight headband bionic eye thing going on that I also like, that nod towards the medieval is always fun. This model really is another person in a black robe, even though it looks more like a large coat, despite this similarity, there’s an element of forward motion to make it at least a little different to the others.
- Pistolier The optional assembly for the Questkeeper. The Pistolier features prominently on the cover art, and honestly she’s got quite a cool look, with an augmetic arm holding a (scoped!) plasma pistol, and a neat shoulder plate device. It’s easy to see why GW made this one their poster child, rather than the relatively dull Interrogator.
- Death World Veteran We all know what that *really* means, this guy is a rough and tough Catachan Devil, based very heavily on the old Sergeant Stone model from the 54mm Inquisitor game, he’s got some segmented shoulder plates, big staples holding his head together, several large knives, and a big Dueling Glaive slung over his shoulder. This guy is another standout from the pack, deftly catching the attention of the hobbysphere when he was teased, which is why it’s such a shame…
- Penal Legionary … that you’re forced to pick between the Veteran and this guy. The Penal Legionary is a really cool model, his eyes hidden behind the slits of cyberpunk Inuit-snow-goggles, covered in chainmail and leather straps, toting a vicious chainsword and hand-flamer. He really has that scum Hiver vibe that I love, he’d fit right in among the rest of Necromunda. An absolutely classic Imperial Weirdo. These models in particular turn my frustration at the artificial “you must choose” nature of this box set up to critical levels. The idiocies of capitalism aside, why would you sculpt two fantastic models and then force your customer to choose only one of them?
- Mystic Yet another classic Imperial Weirdo, the Mystic is an androgynous robed and hooded figure, wearing a blindfold, and holding a big staff with the Inquisition symbol on it. How do they know where they’re going? How do they avoid tripping over things? Who knows, the guidance of Emps, probably. This model is cool, even though it’s yet another guy/gal in a robe, it has that quietly menacing and mysterious air that I like to see in the Ecclesiarchy-style models (the Triumph of St Katherine also does this to great effect).
- Hexorcist The optional assembly of the Mystic, and the only real proper stinker in the bunch, I can’t imagine anyone will see the choice between the two and come down on this one. He has the cool robe of the Mystic, but the Hexorcist (also a genuinely rubbish name, who came up with that?) accessorises this cool robe with a really stupid fur mantle.. thing that, in its plastic form, looks like he’s got a load of leaves around his shoulders. Add to this a truly rubbish head with a stupid looking Keith Flint via Friar Tuck haircut and a shotgun shell clamped between its teeth and this model… well, it sucks. This is the only case where I don’t care about having to choose.
- Auto-Savant The only Inquisitorial Agent model with no options at all, which is even more baffling than the rest, somehow. The boxset designers have agreed that you’re going to need to get two sets to get the complete line-up… but they then include a monopose model with almost no variation as part of it (the only options are which face to put on him), so you’re going to end up with two of these, even though they’ll be the exact same.
The model itself is nifty though, it’s got that real John Blanche by way of Ghost in the Shell transhuman style with the merging of human and machine in this hunched figure with cables poking out the back of his head, floor length robes hanging from a metal carapace, and four little mechanical arms operating two feather quills on a giant toilet-roll style parchment scroll. I like this guy a lot.
- Gun Servitor Another neat guy with almost all of the baffling problems of the Auto-Savant, narrowly escaping the same verdict by having 3 different armaments to choose from, a Plasma Cannon, a Heavy Bolter, and a Multi-Melta, so you’re going to end up with two of this guy in the exact same pose, but at least you’ll have different weapons to choose from.
- Skull Tome *long sigh* It’s a servo skull with a book, as with the previous two models, you’re going to end up with two of these for no reason if you try to assemble the full team from the multi-optioned models. This really ought to have been a base decoration rather than a standalone model, given how tiny it is.
That’s it, really; all of the other models in the set have been available for a long while now, both the Sisters and the Scions have been available for 8-10 years already. They’re padding, box-fillers that no-one really asked for. If I were an incredibly cynical man, I might say that their inclusion feels very much as though someone in upper management in Nottingham thought out the multi-optioned nature of the Retinue models, and the need to buy two sets to get all the possibilities, before realising that this wouldn’t actually give you enough models to actually play the game with a single Ashes of Faith box. Presumably after a hasty meeting, they decided that to add the “special power” that the Retinue can call upon other elite Imperial forces to fill out the rest of the team in the absence of that illusive second set. Given that the other choices include new Kill Team kits like Breachers, Arbites, Kasrkin, and Veteran Guardsmen, it is… certainly interesting that the option GW chose to include in the AoF box are the two kits that are already getting on a bit.
Sadly, it really does feel like the models in the Inquisition Kill Team were designed by someone deeply constrained by a “each general frame must be able to support options to build two different characters” directive, since the only differences are the arms, the heads, and some other little add-on bits. This is a massive problem and sticking point from a model review perspective, as if you collect the whole thing, you are necessarily going to end up with repeating poses and outfits among your entire team, stand the Interrogator next to the Enlightener and your brain is going to tell you straight away “Oh this is the same guy with different arms and a different head.” This problem of duplicated poses is something you get in regular armies as a function of how, if you need 60 guardsmen, you can’t possibly make 60 different poses, but to my mind it’s absolutely inexcusable to have doubled poses when talking about a little skirmish team of just eleven(!) models. Excepting the Servitor, Skull, and Autosavant, in a fully stocked Kill Team of eleven models, eight of them are going to have duplicated poses.
Verdict: Ashes of Faith and the Inquisition Kill Team has a great idea at its core, with lots of promise, but it’s let down by being both badly implemented and dreadfully delivered.
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