For a long-time Epic fan, these past few weeks have been a dream come true. The release of an updated, plastic homage to the Epic Imperial Knight is unprecedented and, from what I read, has already been a huge success for GW. At first I baulked at the price tag, but actually seeing the size of it now and putting it next to a baneblade I feel less hard done by. It fits the tag, and although we are not far off the first £100+ GW plastic kit I fear that is simply a sign of the times and we have to roll with it.
Before I get on to the Knight model itself, just a few things I wish to mention around the Knight. Not only is the inclusion of a super heavy as a detachments unprecedented, but also the addition of an entirely new codex is something we haven't seen since the likes of Grey Knights. True, it only has 2 unit entries and you can only take say 4 Paladins at 1500 and 5 Errants at 1850 without including allies. But I think despite claims of it being either overpowered or overcosted that the Knight will shake things up nicely and allow another factor to challenge the might of deathstars and Lords of War. And I'm certain that FW variants with dataslates will be cropping up further down the line. Although the notion of facing an entire army of them is somewhat frightening, I am planning to run a single one and hope to use it as often as possible simply for the cool factor.
On to the model then, which the picture above shows my painting progress upon. It's one of the first models I have seen put out by GW that is almost universally loved by fans, even if the rules and price tag are not. It stands a few inches shy of a wraithknight but certainly has the bulk to compensate. It's also worth noting that the legs on the knight are nowhere near as easy to repose from the standard pose, unlike the riptide and wraithknight, hence why mine is still standing same as all the other knights out there. It's a shame especially if you wanted to run a whole army that didn't all appear to be in the same pose and, IMO, the major flaw of the kit. I added a slate base to mine to give it an extra half inch height. In terms of assembly, it will take a few hours. I assembled the skeleton of mine leaving the arms and armour plates off for now to make it easier to paint, although I am eager with anticipation to see what he looks like fully assembled! I also (no surprise) magentised certain components and have put a brief guide below for anyone interested.
MASK - probably not relevant for most people but I just loved them all so much I couldn't decide which to use and so magnetised them. Simply drill a hole for a small rod magnet bang in the middle of the forehead directly below the groove where the mask is meant to fit. Once the magnet is glued in place, attach a second magnet to it that sticks out of the forehead. Take some greenstuff and put it on the inside of the mask below the fin that attaches into the groove on the head. (best to let it set a little first, say half an hour) Position the mask onto the head and remove - the magnet should now be firmly embedded into the greenstuff. Trim any excess greenstuff and repeat for the other two masks.
GUN - this is where all the rest of the magnetising takes place so might go on for a while. Ironically I found that I could simply push-fit the main guns into place, it was the rest of the stuff that needed magnets to sort. (by all means use magnets if you wish though). First and most importantly, make sure when assembling the main housing common to both guns that you use the part meant for the Errants big melta gun that sits in the middle of the rear of the gun housing - this part remains hollow in the battle cannon version and if you leave it out you won't be able to assemble the melta properly.
Battle cannon - assemble the ammo box and glue a small disk magnet fairly centrally onto the flat oblong panel that the stubber ammo hopper attaches to - this way it won't look out of place when the hopper is not attached. Place some greenstuff in the hollow of the hopper and a second magnet onto the one glued in place. Locate the hopper in place and the remove it - the second magnet should now be in-situ embedded in the greenstuff. As for the larger battle cannon ammo, you will first need to cut off the tubes used for the melta weapons from the rear of the housing as show below - we'll come to them in a bit. Using some spare offcuts of sprue, bulk up the interior of the BC hopper to save using masses of greenstuff. You will effectively be doing exactly the same as you did for the smaller stubber hopper. The tube that feeds into the rear of the gun can also be magnetised by drilling small holes for rod magnets into both the tube and the hole it plugs into - this will be useful for the next step.
Thermal cannon - Using the same technique as above, locate the cannons ammo to the outside of the arm where the magnet is already in place. You will have already cut the tube (which unlike the BC ammo was not attached to the ammo container) from it's final position earlier, and so now glue it onto the ammo container and carefully use a drill and small rod magnets to relocate it into its former position. Finally, you are left with a tube that plugs into the same port as the BC tube one end and into the space you cut it from earlier at the other. A magnet should already be in one port from the BC assembly, so simply add one to the other port and, as before, carefully drill and add a rod magnet to each end of the tube.
And that's it. I used 11 small rod magnets and 5 disks for the whole thing and it works a treat. Hopefully between the pics and text it should be apparent how to proceed but if not please ask. Before I wrap up I leave you with a bit of fluff I wrote to accompany my Freeblade:
The freeblade know as the 'Dark Avenger' is an Enigma to the Imperium. It is not known where he originates from nor how he is able to travel throughout the Imperium with no obvious means of interplanetary transport ever having been witnessed. All the at is known for sure is that in times of need the Avenger shows up to fight for the Imperium against its many foes, most notably the ruinous powers. Once the battle is done he simply vanishes without need for thanks, the only evidence of his presence being the ruins of his defeated foes. Some images of the Dark Avenger have been recorded and theories ventured as to its origins. Certain markings and heraldry bear vague resemblance to that of the Knight house of Fenix, a long since extinct house which was wiped out by the forces of Chaos in M.36. Imperial surveys of the Knights homeworld post-genocide accounted for all but one of the Knight chassis amongst the wreckage. This belonged to the eldest son of the Lord of house Fenix; Darius Fenix. It is unknown why he alone was unaccouted for in the massacre and is wild speculation at best as to whether the Dark Avenger could indeed be he. Though the livery worn by it is now sinister black rather than the red of house Fenix, the flame motifs upon it's carapace and the golden chassis still burn as brightly as ever. For now the Imperium is content to live with such unexplained occurances, for where the Dark Avenger fights the enemies of the Imperium are vanquished. The whys and wherefores matter not, so longer as it continues to fight, and win.