Mantic Games’ motto is “Affordable Wargaming,” and they do an astoundingly good job living up to that reputation. From the base cost of the majority of their products to the Mantic Points system wherein you can get free stuff, they are quickly becoming my go to for army building. In fact, they have better bang for the buck than most companies I have seen, especially when you factor in such things as convertibility, price per figure, unintended bonuses, and quality. Now, don’t get me wrong- I like other companies products as well, but Mantic seems to have found their niche in the market, and that niche is hobbyists like me. Today we’re going to go over the kit that I feel is the biggest bang for the buck that they currently sell, the GCPS troops boxed set.
At first glance, the GCPS box might just look like a cheap couple Guard squads for the budget conscious 40k player, and that's true. These guys are cheaper. 20 for $30
versus 10 for $30. Already that’s a deal (half price is a deal just in case you’re wondering). But what comes in the box, and what you can do with it should you have some spare bits lying around takes this from a good deal to a GREAT deal. With one box of models, there is the potential for over double the number stated. How is this the case? Well, read on and find out my deal seeking army building friend. The initial purchase was a hem and haw affair as I bounced between the starter set and a regular box with something on the side. I finally settled on the GCPS twenty man box, and the Rangers anti-tank and sniper box rather than the starter set. I should have gone with the starter or the megaforce, but I’m impulsive and I didn’t have the money for the larger set at the time.
Opening the box, you find four sprues of five figures each with a small baggie of five legs per sprue. The sniper/tank hunters box comes with one sprue of the same five
figures plus a baggie of legs and a baggie of metal bits for the thermal rifle, sniper rifles, and thermal grenades. Each set has the components to build either a GCPS Corporation Marines unit, or a Rangers unit. The GCPS Rangers lend themselves almost perfectly to the role of Scions/Stormtroopers/Kaskrins, complete with “gravchutes.” The Marines lend themselves almost perfectly to the roll of generic Guard. On each sprue there are enough basic rifles for each unit to make five regular troops, plus the bits necessary to make a sergeant, comms guy, or a special weapons trooper with either a grenade launcher or a “volley gun.” Between the two boxes, I had enough troops for two and half squads of troops if I just used the parts in the box. But I can’t just do that… That would defeat the purpose behind getting them in the first place…
I opted to use the included bodies to make the Rangers, complete with their heavy laser rifles and “grav chutes.” I opted to make simple five man teams with a vox caster and volley gun each (minus one team which has a volley gun and a “melta” in the
form of the Thermal rifle). The leftovers I used to make a squad of regular Guard
armed with lasguns and a grenade launcher using some Mantic Corporation Marines bodies I had purchased. Even doing all this, I still had bits left over for a “Tempestor” and a random leader like a lieutenant. There are enough arms options to make 13 full figures per sprue, with few items left over. If both special weapons are used (as I did in my builds) and every arm set is used, all you have left over is a couple rifles sans supporting hands, and either a pointing hand, or a
communicator arm and a couple heads. And that is from ONE sprue. Take that times four (if you have the spare bodies lying around) and that translates to 52 figures for the price of TEN Cadians! Granted, if you have to purchase the spare bodies, the cost will go up slightly (my additional cost was $.79/figure for the models I wanted), but even so, the bang for the buck is rather high. And the models look awesome to boot.
Fit is excellent, and the poses are decently thought out. Some are bland, and others are dynamic. This fits with capturing a moment in time. Not every person is moving at breakneck speeds, aiming, or indicating things. Some are looking for targets, shaking their heads at their fellows, or just taking in the carnage. The arms fit
the old Restic models well and don’t look out of place on other bodies I’ve messed with so far. The way the armor sits on the figures helps hide the mating locations of parts and looks natural when assembled. Speaking of natural, these figures are very close to true scale if not properly true scale. There is none of the massive body parts that are evident on Cadians and Catachans or other heroic scaled minis. For the hard scifi guy in me- this is a really nice feature. Sure, these guys look thin, but this just adds to the realism for me.
It isn’t all perfect unicorn poop and rainbows though- I do have some rather tiny issues with the kit. The most notable is the arms loud out. The special weapons use one of the support arms from the rifles. I’d have liked to see each special weapon have its own support arm. This would allow for all the various weapons to be used on figures if the modeler has the spares lying around (or recasts their own as I have been known to do). Or (and this is a big or) they could have just concentrated on ONE type of troop on the sprue and allowed for 10 models per sprue. The legs are already in a small baggie, what would be the harm of adding a second baggie? This is still an option for them I think if they can get five more torsos in the box (that baggie seems legit) or open the ability for customers to purchase more legs and torsos somehow at a cheaper price. The option of 3D printed torsos from Shapeways comes to mind as a viable option, and they could gain some additional $$$ from such a venture with ZERO investment in additional molds or printers. Either way, this would increase the value to the customer some if the customer isn’t nuts about converting things and kit bashing like I am.
Another small (and I mean small) hangup comes with the left arm options and the kneeling legs included with the special weapons box I bought. The kneeling legs are lefty. Not a really big issue, except the box art has a right handed “sniper” kneeling
and shooting improperly. Again, not a huge issue, but something for Mantic to think about. Perhaps that Shapeways idea could be used to include some righty kneeling legs to allow for even more pose options. I do have to admit though- having lefties in the force is rather cool. Not because of representation or anything, but because in training and combat I found that I switched arms and shot from my weak side almost half the time. It’s normal to see people shouldering from the left side. Incidentally, it’s one of the things I like about Blue Bloods- Danny is a lefty, but I ALWAYS see him switching hands to better utilize cover when he’s chasing the bad guys. It’s normal, and given the time frame his character may have served, actually a thing that was taught. Wall, body, weapon is kind of a thing, and being able to emulate that in a miniature is really neat.
All things considered, this is a steal of a deal, even if you don’t have any intentions of using the spare parts for your own purposes. The models are good looking, and there are plenty of them in the box. The basic idea Mantic has with regards to a base sprue with additional parts for the various sets is spot on and the scale is excellent. Comparing them directly to their primary competition, the Cadians and the Scions, they are a blowout deal wise, and they look WAY better (granted, that's a matter of opinion). The only issues I have are minor- more legs and torsos to allow for the extra arms to be used. As I mentioned, Shapeways 3D printed parts would solve this problem nicely. If you’re looking for a good substitute for Imperial Guardsman, or just want a cheap set of models for some other game, these are a great deal and I highly recommend them. I will be getting more to round out my growing mini force.
Images of products with price are screenshots from the Games Workshop website, and Mantic Games website and are used only to compare prices of items mentioned in this post.