EM4's Space Rangers (Cheap Space Marine Alternatives)
Posted by MortiS-the-Lost –
These are not a new product, they have been around forever but I thought they were worth drawing some attention to because they are complete 5 man squad including a leader and a choice of heavy weapons for an excellent £2.55! the nearest thing GW do to this is a box of 3 basic Spacemarines for £6.00 (that more than twice as much for what isn't even a complete squad)
Firstly I was surprised to find that they come in (a rather nice) box – yea normally I wouldn't mention some thing so trivial as the box in a review, but the impression I got from EM4's Website was that I'd probably be getting a loose sprue in a bag with a few bases.
^ The front of the box features a blatantly Photoshop'd picture of a group of the Marines fighting some unseen foe (note the impossible -even to convert- left handed firing pose of 2 of the marines on the left) Of course Games Workshop do this sort of thing on their boxes these days too
^ While the back of the box has a nice clean picture of the painted miniatures – this is the picture EM4 should be using on their website not This
looking at pictures on the box I am suspicious that the photos might actually be of painted 3-ups rather than the actual finished miniatures (note the size of the transfers used to add detail) – but I don't hold this against EM4, Mantic do the same thing and there are rumours that GW do too
Right! enough about the box - lets get to the miniatures themselves …
The miniatures come on 3 separate sprues – please note that the grey/sliver plastic they are cast in makes them a little difficult to photograph well
^ The Commander bares a strong resemblance to Duke Nukem
^ The basic troop, you get 4 of these
^ and finally the heavy weapons
The detail level on the Space Rangers is not the best I've seen, but I'd say it's on par with the Marines from Space Crusade. In fact these figures have quite a few things in common with the Space Crusade Spacemarines – First the basic marines come in 3 parts, the body, backpack and gun (note that the very similar Spacemarines in the 2nd edition 40k boxed game came the same way and as do the newer Black Reach and Battle for Macragge Space Marines), Secondly you get a choice of interchangeable Heavy Weapons, 3rdly they come as a 5-man squad and finally I believe the figures were originally released around the same time. These model's clearly draw some inspiration from the SpaceCrusade ones
Assembled the Space Rangers stand a little taller than a GW Space Marine with the same proportional bulk, making them slightly more intimidating on the table top – no doubt this will annoy people with armies of Space Marines who insist that the GW models are not big enough
^Size Comparison: An EM4 Space Ranger flanked by a modern GW Spacemarine (left) and a SpaceCrusade Spacemarine
While not the best Space Marine miniatures out there, at £2.55 for a box of 5 EM4's Space Rangers are almost certainly the cheapest and I'd recommend them to anyone looking for Space Marines on a budget.
If you want to play a Spacemarine army but don't want to pay Games Workshops extortionate prices then these are ideal for forming the core of your army while you spend a larger part of your budget on more specialised troops and vehicles (there are of course great alternative Space Marine vehicles out there too). And should you end up fighting an army of GW Spacemarines (sadly I see Spacemarine Vs Spacemarine battles all the time these days with no explanation as to why they are fighting) having all your troops slightly taller than your opponent will make your army a little more intimidating to face, top that with a few comments about how much money you saved and your opponent wasted and physiologically at least the game is yours - watch them become more demoralised as they remove their dead units of troops that cost £5 each and laugh! (your whole army might have cost less than one of their tanks lol)
For SpaceCrusade these figures are great! If your looking to join a SpaceCrusade campaign, add a extra team of marines to your SpaceCrusade box or maybe replace all the teams of marines from your game because some one used them to bulk out their 2nd edition 40k Space Marine army, then you can't go wrong with these – each box of course contains exactly the troops you need for a Space Crusade Squad with a Commander and a selection of heavy weapons and for only £2.55.
If you goto GW you could buy a Tactical Squad (£23.00) and then to get the extra Heavy Weapons a Devastator Squad (£20.50) – this would give you about enough figures to field 2 Space Crusade Squads (with only 1 of each heavy weapon apart from the missile launcher which you'd get 2 of) – the equivalent from EM4 would be 2 boxes of Space Rangers (£5.10) and of course if your replacing all the Space Crusade Marines you'll be wanting 3 Squads worth!
I'd recommend counting the 3 heavy weapons from the kit as the following 1: Las-cannon, 2: Conversion Beamer, 3: Auto Cannon. The basic troop gun would of course count as a bolter. The commander as he comes in the box would count as having the Bolt Pistol and Power Axe option, but with a few spares from other kits you could easily convert him to have other weapons, like a power-fist or what have you (I've seen some nice conversions online). Like wise by replacing the barrels of the Heavy Weapons with parts from your bits box you can of course widen your choice of weapons vastly (Weapon number 2 would make a nice missile launcher with a bit of work)
There's also the potential for those who like a challenge to convert a squad of Chaos Space Rangers!
Finally, you might be interested to know that Red Shirt Games in Ottawa Canada stock these along with a whole host of other Sci-fi miniatures for which they have written their own games, but I'm not sure if the prices are as competitive as EM4.
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