Warhammer 40,000 Introductory Set
Publisher: Games Workshop
Release Date: July, 2023
MSRP: $65.00
Number of Players: 2
Product #: 5-011921-199280 (UPC)
Age Rating: 12 and up
ICv2 Rating: 4.5 Stars out of 5

In my experience, all miniaturists are, to some degree, evangelists for their hobby.  Everyone I have met has been eager to explain the hobby to anyone with the patience to listen, displaying their models and telling tales of their miniature battles.  But to the uninitiated, the hobby of tabletop miniatures can be intimidating.  Over the years, there have been numerous attempts at introductory sets that help ease new players into the hobby, with varying degrees of success.  The Warhammer 40,000 Introductory Set is Games Workshop’s latest effort in this regard.  But is it a useful way to draw in new players?

Summary:  The Warhammer 40,000 Introductory Set provides everything a new player needs for the core tabletop miniatures experience, from modelling to painting to playing.  In the box are 16 push-fit miniatures (on sprues)—five Space Marines and 11 Tyrannids—a pair of snips, five full-size pots of Citadel paint and a "starter" brush, half a dozen dice, a two-sided poster playmat, four cardboard walls for use as terrain, a set of cardboard tokens, and a plastic range ruler.  Also included is a 48-page "Handbook" that guides the user step-by-step through the entire process of assembling, painting, and playing with the miniatures included in the box.

Originality:  There have been intro-level sets for tabletop miniatures before, and some have tried to be complete like this one.  There are two elements that set this Introductory Set apart from others I have experienced before: the inclusion of snips for removing the models from the sprues, which is very handy and something that most new modelers won’t realize they need; and the fact that it includes full-size pots of paint instead of tiny little sample-sized pots that barely suffice to cover the models included in the set.

Presentation:  With typical Games Workshop-quality artwork and graphic design, the box does a good job of capturing the audience’s attention and showing off the models included.  I do have a minor issue here, however:  The cover artwork sports a suitably heroic scene of battle between Space Marines and Tyrannids, but the combatants represented in the picture are not the models included.  I worry that this may lead to disappointment when someone who is not familiar with the hobby picks up the box, thinking that they can recreate the battle depicted in the artwork.

Quality:  The models, while push-fit, are sculpted with the same quality and level of detail one expects from regular Citadel models, and were sculpted with a variety of poses so they don’t look like carbon-copy clones.  The paint also is regular, standard paint.  The clippers are excellent, but I would have liked the set to also include a scrapper for removing mold-lines, a topic not explored in the "Handbook."  The brush is good:  While it’s a little too small for base coats and a little too big for detail work, it is a good "utility" brush and it holds up well to use.  The box includes a cardboard tray to keep the pieces from sliding around too much, which doubles as the terrain walls and tokens.  Sadly, these need to be cut out with scissors and are very thin.  I think thicker, die-cut pieces would have provided a much better playing experience here.

What I appreciate most about the Introductory Set is the excellent "Handbook."  The writers did a solid job of explaining and guiding novice miniaturists through the basic skills that they need to remove models safely from the sprues, assemble them, and even paint them nicely.  Although only five colors are included and the paint scheme is very simple, even "flat" without highlights or shadows, the basic techniques cover the essentials and the result is, honestly, better than some tournament armies I have seen.  The text uses plain, easy-to-understand language with lots of pictures showing every step.  It does seem a bit strange that they have you assemble the most complex models first, but even that isn’t too intimidating of a start.  The last part of the book teaches the core concepts of miniatures games through a trio of simple training missions, using only the most essential rules and simplified model stats, without overloading new players with concepts like unit coherency, morale, or special character powers.

Marketability:  Considering everything that is included in the box, the price tag is actually surprisingly reasonable.  A squad of miniatures these days can easily run $30-$45, and a pot of paint over $4, not to mention the tools and dice.  But, it is a high enough price point that it still might discourage some who just don’t know if they are willing to dive into the hobby.

Overall:  To my mind, the ultimate test for the Warhammer 40,000 Introductory Set boils down to this question:  if I knew someone who has not explored the miniatures hobby but is interested in learning more about it, would this product be something that I would recommend they try out?  Is it something that would give them a simple but reasonably complete overview of everything that the hobby has to offer, and does it do so in a way that would help them see it without overwhelming them?  And will it provide them with something that will continue to be useful should they decide to jump into the hobby more fully, rather than something that would just get tossed in a box never to be looked at again?

For me, the answer is yes.  The Warhammer 40,000 Introductory Set is among the best-designed novice-targeted starting sets for tabletop miniatures that I can remember seeing.  It presents the heart of the hobby with real models, real tools, and real paints, all of which would be of value to any Warhammer 40,000 player or miniatures enthusiast.  The "Handbook" teaches useful, valuable basic skills that to be honest I wish someone had shared with me when I started, and it presents the way miniatures games are played in a clear, easy-to-understand way that I think would be appealing to new players.  And that’s why I’m giving this game 4.5 out of 5.

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