Model Review Round Table: MKVI ‘Corvus’ Marines

Welcome back to Goonhammer’s series for aspiring Praetors. We know that the Horus Heresy system can seem intimidating to players unfamiliar with its particular quirks, but this series aims to equip you with everything you’ll need to play out epic clashes on the battlefields of the far future with your very own army. In this series, we’ll be walking you through how to build your force and command it to glory, including everything from units to tactics to lead your army to victory. 

Its time to talk about the poster boys of the new edition of Horus Heresy, these are the latest of the plastic tactical marine kits produced for the game. Its been quite a few years since we had the MkIII and MkIV kits come out, and these MkVIs are clearly coming in with a completely different goal from before. Gone are the days of a kit clearly intended to be able to sub in for the 40k tac squad, in is a group of models intended to serve as a base for any number of upgrade sprues to create 30k specific units.


Tactical Squad. Credit: Rockfish
Tactical Squad. Credit: Rockfish

Rockfish: I really like the understated nature of these models, it really sells the idea of them being in a legion as opposed to a rag tag barely operating army. The endless beaky helmets might end up getting to you in a full army but it looks like they will have a good variety of alternates coming soon. I’ve noticed that the ‘toes’ and grieves of these fellows are fairly controversial with other people, I personally don’t mind them at all.

The scale of these is right on too, they look so much better then the older MkIII and MkIV kits, to the point where I can’t justify picking up the older ones to myself. I am aware this is probably going to cut me off from a bunch of the existing upgrade kits or force me to get creative with kitbashing but I think that is a worthy sacrifice.

The poses themselves are pretty good in my opinion. They don’t have a ton of variety and are less dynamic then one might expect from the current 40k or AoS ranges, but given the number of them you are expected to do for 30k that may be preferable. In a game where you might have multiple blobs of twenty models with identical loadouts it could get repetitive to see the same hyper dynamic pose.

Jack: I have pretty mixed feelings about these. Overall I’d say I’m a fan – maybe around a 6/10 (not that the MkIII or MkIV kits would score higher). I think the toes are bizarre and make no sense, and don’t love beakie helmets (though these have a slightly shorter beak than ones out of an old tactical/whatever kit, and look much better for it). The scale is fantastic, and the poses are pretty solid. Any set of arms works with any set of legs, so there’s a good amount of variety (5 sets of arms, 5 sets of legs). Nothing is so dynamic it’ll stand out as being repeated, but they’re also not doing awful power squats.

Colin: I’m not a huge Mk6 guy in general, but these kits really grew on me once I started building them. The scale is spot on, and the fact that they lack the adornment of Mk2 or Mk3 means they’ll paint up a lot faster than more traditional Marks as well. For a starter box, that’s a huge plus in my book. Less trim will see painted armies hitting the table faster and will be more newcomer friendly. The smooth pad offers a nice big landing area for transfers as well. Overall I really enjoyed building them and found them to be more flexible than I assumed they would be.

Lupe: I really like these and I wasn’t necessarily expecting to – I don’t have the same nostalgia factor to lean back on as some folks. They’re restrained but fun, and I like the poses we have though maybe a few more would be nice.

Richy: I was already high on nostalgia when the Mk VIs were revealed, as a 10 year the original RTB01 box was my first ever hobby purchase back in the 80s. The scale is great with the caveat that if you want to mix them in with older Mk’s then you might want to add some hero rocks to elevate the others so they don’t stand out too much. I did that with this guy below and as you can see theI think it looks fine, especially as the Mk VI next to him is the tallest possible configuration in the box:

Mk IV to Mk VI Comparison – Credit: RichyP


TheChirurgeon: My sole contribution here is to look at the size of the new models. You may have noticed that the new Mk. VI marines are standing much more upright than the old Mk. III and Mk. IV guys – no longer being in the classic marine squat makes them look great, but they also stand taller than the older marines. How do the older marks stack up to these new ones?

Well, the answer is that it depends. Generally speaking, the Mk VI modes are chunkier and lankier than the older plastic Mk III and Mk IV models (i.e. the Prospero and Calth marines), but this is most prominent on the “walking” Mk. VI marine, who stands substantially taller in a similar fashion to how the Deathwatch marines are taller than the older squatting tactical marines.

The “walking” Mk VI vs the older plastic marks

It’s most noticeable with the Mk IV marines, who look extra small and thin compared to the Mk III and VI models, and are the most likely to look out of place. That said, when you compare the older models to the squatting Mk VI models from the boxed set, the difference is much less noticeable, to the point that you’d have no problem mixing them in squads . 

A size comparison of the plastic Heresy marines

This isn’t the end of the world; historically speaking marines are supposed to come in all different heights, so this should be fine, though it’ll be a bit weird that your taller marines all also happen to be wearing Corvus armor. To that end, I’d note that the helmets are at least very interchangeable, and the Mk IV helmets look great on the new Mk VI marines. 

Comparing Mk VI marines to other power armor dorks

For a broader size comparison, the new Mk VI marines are about the same size and height as the current plastic Chaos Space Marines, though slightly shorter than the Thousand sons and Death Guard, and less bulky than either. They sit about a head shorter than Primaris marines.


Rockfish: The indexing on some parts could be more positive, these are the chimeric abomination between primaris and older marine kits in how they go together. They have indexing nubs but they are small and indistinct, so its not necessarily obvious they are actually in the right spot other then for the legs. This also means that if you use extra thin plastic glue you probably will be a bit disappointed by their desire to fall apart.

What is probably the biggest step back for me is the complete lack of any kind of connection for wrists, we are back to good old fashion bare plastic. While its practical for reuse of the kit with upgrade sprues, it does mean that they are a bit more annoying to get right than I really prefer.

The sprue is very nicely laid out with each model is neatly grouped with its pieces, this is something 40k stuff would really benefit from. *cough* fuckyounewnecronwarriors *cough* 

Jack: Building these guys was pretty easy. Like Rockfish, I found the flat joins on the wrists to be a pain, but otherwise everything went together nicely. I do have one complaint (and it’s a big one) – the studded pauldrons are in halves like the ones on Dominion Zephon. I could accept this on characters, where you’re going to put more effort in to clean up the join and having the “correct” round studs rather than needing to accommodate a steel mold is an improvement. On troops that you’re going to build dozens of this is just extra work for minimal gain – I’d even rather have to deal with these pads being in resin rather than gluing halves together. 

They’re pretty convertible too – I mixed in shoulder pads, helmets, and sergeant weapons from my bitz box.

Colin: Building these models was really straightforward, I found. At first I was a little disappointed that there are only five poses for the main bodies of the models, but that proved to be less of a hurdle than anticipated. I built 2 squads of 10 Tactical Marines and a squad of 20 Despoliers (Marines with Chainsword/Bolt Pistol). The Tactical Marines I build fairly straightforward, though I did shave the nubs on the shoulders and swap bolter arms between poses to add some variety. As Jack and Rockfish mentioned, those two part studded pads can die in a fire. Because I use an oil wash in my scheme, I went back and gap filled the seam with plastic putty so it’s less noticeable. Awful to do on line infantry. 

One thing I love about the Mk6 is that even though they’re scaled up from previous Marks of armor, bits from Mk2/Mk3/Mk4/etc fit really well. I used arms from Forgeworld and GW armor, weapons from Forgeworld’s Power Weapon Sets, as well as other kits, and heads from Primaris Marines, Custodes, and Space Marines. To give the Despoilers a little more of a Gladitorial/Sons of Horus style, I gave them Mk2 and Mk3 shoulder pads on their CCW arms. I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of my bitz box as I was able to complete 20 of them! The icon on the backpack is from the current Chaos Space Marines kit. 

Mk6 Despoiler Squad – Credit: Colin Ward
Mk6 Despoiler Squad – Credit: Colin Ward

Richy: In terms of sprue layout, I actually really like it as each marine’s default build has it’s parts number sequentially and with the parts next to each other on the sprue, meaning you never really need to refer to the instructions. And for kitbashing, as long as you build the main torso and leg parts (usually a front torso with one leg attached, a second leg and the back plate) you can add in parts from other kits just fine. One thing to bear in mind if you do plan on kitbashing with the other armour Mk’s or the first-born 40k kits, is that the left weapon arms don’t have a hand on them (it’s on the weapon instead), so you’ll either have to 1) use a different arm if you’re using older weapons 2) scrape the hand off the weapon and use the older arms, which I may do to use the new weapons on older Mk’s, or 3) cut the hand off older Mk’s and hope you can line the left arm up with the hand on the gun.

Everything mixes in fine, I was able to use bits from the other Heresy plastics, 40k first-born marines and both the new and old Chaos Space Marine kits. One other thing to note though, if you are mixing kits, is that the torsos have little notches on them so the recommended arms line up properly. Cut these off if you want to use other arms, but just be sure to manually line up them up and dry fit a weapon if you’re not gluing the weapon in place before painting.

My only real gripe about the kit is there are only 5 poses for the leg/torso part, so you end up with a lot of repetition in a unit of 20, and the mix of 2 walking and 3 standing wide poses makes it hard to have a uniform appearance.

Lupe: Please GW, why did you split the shoulder pad in two. I didn’t mind studs that weren’t perfect little spheres; you didn’t need to do this to me.


Blood Angels MkVI Tactical Squad. Credit: Jack Hunter

Rockfish: I found these a lot of fun to do, my scheme means that most of my time is spent on fun details of which these have just the right amount to keep my interest for a troop unit. Some armies just have so much going on with each model that it can get exhausting, even current primaris units are pretty dense with edges to highlight.

These are relaxing models to do, they have next to no overlapping details to make you want to subassemble them. The details they do have are distinct and easy to keep track of, so I rarely find myself realizing at the end of the model that I missed a errant skull or pouch.

My biggest complaint is probably that the studs on the left shoulder pad makes it a little annoying to my glazes, but that’s something you can work around with spare pads from other models or doing it in a different color to the other.

Jack: I loved painting these. Very clean, paint quickly, not a lot of miscellaneous detailing unless you choose to glue the pouches on. The details are sharp and well separated, and the poses are open enough that I actually painted them with the guns glued on. 10/10 will paint more happily.

Lupe: Absolutely agree. Loved getting mine together, very nice and fast, really enjoyable mix of details and smooth surfaces. 10/10 will be painting a bucket of these guys.

Alpha Legion Mk VI Tactical Marines
Alpha Legion Mk VI Tactical Marines. Credit: Lupe

Colin: I haven’t been able to paint mine yet, but I have to say I’m really looking forward to it. Not going to over-complicate the scheme, just that iconic sea-foam green of the Sons of Horus. They’ll take weathering really well and should paint up really efficiently. Can’t wait!

Richy: Like Jack I also loved painting these, 1 part nostalgia to 2 parts fun. As somebody who likes to paint fast and in one session, I was worried that they wouldn’t take my painting style well (Space Marines generally have lots of flat areas that don’t wash well) but I was pleasantly surprised how quick they painted up. I videoed the process for the Sons of Horus scheme and one model turned out to take about 20-30 minutes using inks and shades*. In the cases where pooling was on issue (looking at you studded pad), I just painted them black instead. I could see this being an issue for really bright schemes though and therefore might be a candidate for different shoulder pads.

I’ve already painted up the first 10, and when then box arrives I could happily paint up the other 40 in there too. It says a lot about the model when I’m already brain-storming ideas on what else I could use them for too.

* For reference the guy below is approx 90% Ink: a mix of 2 parts blue ink to 1 part black green ink from Vallejo, followed by a wash of green ink and finally a wash of Coelia Greenshade. Once dry this gives you a base that takes Syberite Green well in the lighter areas (and any highlights you want to add), and Sons of Horus in the mid tones, for clean-up. Hairdryer the layers, but on a really low setting and from afar otherwise you’ll move the inks and get dark streaks.

Sons of Horus Mk VI Tactical Marine – Credit: RichyP

Sons of Horus Mk VI Tactical Squad – Credit: RichyP


Next Time: The Vehicles

That wraps up our review of the new Mk. VI marines, but we’ve got two more reviews to come – there was too much to fit into a single article. In our next article we’ll look at the vehicles in the box – the Spartan and the new plastic Contemptor. 

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