So my copy of Death From the Skies has arrived, and what follows are my thoughts. Theres been a fair bit of controversy around this by it being Direct Only, so lets see exactly how much it matters.
The first thing you notice that makes this different to the other releases in the 40k collection so far, is that its softback. Yes, the book bends! This matters little but it did catch me by surprise
Theres not an awful lot in here in relation to artwork, although it is nice to see this Helldrake illustration in a larger format than it is in the Chaos Codex. We already know this book is a compendium, so don't expect anything original. The photography is pretty good too, some nice compositions and angles but again, I don't see much original.
So when the Stormtalon and Ork jets were released, there was an article in WD featuring a Necron, Ork and Space Marine campaign. Thats here again, although it feels a little larger and not having that WD to had is hard to compare. If you havent seen this already you'll enjoy the read however. What follows this are 4 new missions that take flyers into mind. Theres some nice ideas here including a couple of different deployment zones that I'll look forward to trying out. One mission, 'Scramble!', has the defender nominate 3 landing spaces or 3 skyshield landing pads where 3 flyers are given for no points cost, and these are grounded.You launch these flyers depending on the roll of a 6 or more, by adding the turn that you are on. The attacker gets D3 VP's bonus for each of these that are destroyed. Sounds like a great laugh, and reminds me of a battle report from a few years ago between a drop-podding Black Templars army and an Ork army that was set after the Armageddon campaign in WD.
So the missions are a great little addition. The rules for dogfighting are also included from Crusade of Fire, and should be a good laugh if you have a number of flyers to try them out. While there are no new flyers in here, it does mean that now my Space Marine chapter can take Stormravens.
This is a good feature, and having bought one several days ago I'm looking forward to putting it together and using it on the field. The only difference I can tell so far between the vanilla SM's and the BA's Stormravens is that the missiles vary a little. While both are ST8, the BA's are ap1. The Codex Marines are ap2, but are concussive. Minor difference, but it seems like a useful weapon. Stormtalons are now 10 points cheaper than they were originally, which is a good thing as they were'nt used that often, even though I love using them! The book also features the rules for the other flyers currently in the game, its just a pity they couldn't fit a new one or two into the book.
Overall thoughts then.... Is the book worth £20? This all depends on how much of the material you already own. If you don't have the WD with the rules for the StormTalon and Ork jets in then you get the rules for these plus a story revolving around three armies and their flyers. If you already have these, you're paying £20 for slight changes that lets be honest, shouldn't cost that much. Why they couldn't put this update into a WD or on a PDF on the GW website I'm unsure, but it would have been a nice gesture to try and balance the feeling a lot of people have against Games Workshop. The GW online store has some bundles where you can buy multiples of flyers, but these offer no savings over buying them individually. Why not do these bundles and throw the book in for free? Come on GW, give the customer something back!
Its a nice little book that will add to your games if you're an avid pilot in the skies of 40k, but you will feel its overpriced for what it gives you.