40K First Strike Starter Set – A Peek Inside

I think GW’s First Strike is a must have 40K Starter Set – let’s solve some of it’s mysteries.

First Strike is one of the three level of Starter sets for Warhammer 40,000 8th Edition. It’s the cheapest one clocking in at $40.  For that modest amount of cash you get everything you need to get playing and some cool new minis to boot.  Here’s GW’s official word on the set:

First Strike: A Warhammer 40,000 Starter Set $40

First Strike is the ideal first purchase to those new to the Warhammer 40,000 hobby – an exciting fusion of collecting, painting and playing with highly detailed Citadel miniatures. The box is packed with everything needed to begin your hobby journey – 2 sets of miniatures to battle with, and a double-sided gaming mat, a scenery piece, a book of rules and all the extras you need to play:

The Miniatures

15 easy to build push-fit (no glue required!) miniatures in blue and green coloured plastic, representing the heroic Ultramarines and putrescent Death Guard:


– 3 Primaris Intercessors – clad in Mk X power armour, they are each armed with a bolt rifle and carry grenades. 1 model is a Sergeant, who leads the unit – he has a holstered pistol and is easily identified by his bare, unhelmed head;
– 3 Primaris Reivers – again clad in Mk X power armour, these Space Marines carry heavy bolt pistols and combat blades – they distinguished by the sinister skull motif on their helmets, with the Sergeant featuring a half-skull faceplate.

Death Guard

– 3 Plague Marines – each festering and bursting out of their armour due to the malign corruption of the Plague God Nurgle. 1 wields a boltgun, 1 is armed with a blight launcher and 1 – the Champion, who leads the unit – has a plasma gun, power fist and plague knife;
– 6 Poxwalkers – these are the cursed victims of the plagues, transformed into living weapons. Each is armed with an improvised close combat weapon, with hammers, chains, planks of wood and metal pipes with nails in represented.

Gaming Content

Everything you need to learn to play with your new miniatures is included in the box:

– a 24-page booklet containing the core rules for playing Warhammer 40,000, with each phase of the game explained in a clear, easy to follow manner from the initial setup to one side’s victory;
– a 56-page book that guides you through the background, history and current state of the Warhammer 40,000 galaxy, with introductions to the Primaris Space Marines and Death Guard, as well as 9 other armies. It features step-by-step guides to painting your miniatures, with guides to the paints and brushes you need, along with a showcase of beautifully-painted miniatures to inspire your hobby journey. It also includes explanations of the different ways to play Warhammer 40,000, along with training missions that gradually introduce the core concepts to the total beginner;
– a 2’ x 2’ double-sided gaming mat – one side is specially designed with icons showing you where to place miniatures in order to play the training missions, and the other has no markings, so you can play your own games. Each side is printed in full colour with an evocative design of a ruined Imperial city;
– a scenery piece! The inside tray of the box is designed to look like a set of armoured containers, meaning it can be placed on your mat as a piece of scenery for your miniatures to battle over;
– datasheets for the miniatures in the box – these are handy cards with the information on movement and weapons for each model printed on, meaning less flipping through books for information and more actual gaming;
– 6 6-sided dice, and a 6” translucent measuring ruler, each vitally important for games;
– a decal sheet for your Ultramarines, featuring army and troop iconography;
– 9 32mm and 6 40mm round plastic bases for your miniatures to stand upon.

What’s Inside

OK, now it’s time to tear open the box and answer some of the burning questions about the set:

It’s a dense box, crammed to the lid with content. 

You get 4 sprues of quick assembly minis, rulebook, playing mat, the ruler, decals, dice, & bases. Let’s take a closer look at that mat as there have been many questions.

The playing mat is double sided heavy paper. It’s got a satin finish and is based on the 40K Sector Imperials Realm of Battle imagery. 

It’s vivid color and just big enough for starting games of 40K. You can see the 6″ ruler and the box up there for a scale guide.  You also can flip the box bottom over and use it as Imperial Crates terrain. No more charging up Black Library novel hills.

The next big questions are exactly what comes in the rulebooks. The introductory book comes with lore basics on the 40K universe and the enclosed models, plus a bit of hobby section. You also get a set of missions using the minis that teach you how to play the game.

The rulebook has the same content as the 8 page core rules pullout enclosed in the Dark Imperium box, with an additional default mission, warlord traits and just a tad more to get you playing.

Finally you get these snazzy laminated datasheets for the enclosed units with full color art on the backsides, color instructions and the teesiest cutest decal sheet you’ve ever seen from GW.

Walter says buy it!


I have to give this a two thumbs up. The First Strike box get anyone into Warhammer 40,000 for a bargain basement price. Just the minis themselves are worth $60 a la carte. You get the core rules, sexy new minis not included in any of the other boxed sets, and a nice travel set of rules to take to the gamestore.  It’s cheap enough that it makes a great gift purchase and it wont break the any for anyone.  It finally gives 40K an affordable entry level product to duke it out with other manufacturer’s low cost starters. (you know who I’m talking about)

~Go get it if you have ANY interest in Space Marines or Chaos. It’s that good of a deal.


  • euansmith

    I’m so tempted. I’ve got two boxes of Betrayal At Calth waiting to go to create a Space Marine force, but I’m holding off for the Marine Codex to come out. But these getting started sets are sounding so tempting. Maybe I’ll be able to resist Primaris temptation, and pick up a mini rulebook off ebay instead.

    • Xodis

      Yeah Im still not sure what direction to take my Primaris so they are on the back burner until I decide on a chapter.

      Could use the extra terrain and Plague Marines though 😀

      • Slippy

        I am in the exact same position. So relatable.

      • A.P.

        What to do with Primaris…

        I am Alpharius

        • Xodis

          I thought that was a given lol

    • Lion El’ Jonson

      One can never have enough mark 4

      • euansmith

        The only STC available in the Solis Corporatum is programmed with Mk IV Power Armour, Cataphractii Terminator Armour, Contemptor Dreadnoughts and other obsolete technology.

        • Lion El’ Jonson

          Pass a few of those suits around m8

    • orionburn

      Now that they announced successor chapters are getting their own special rules/abilities I want to wait as well. Still torn on whether to do a DA succdessor or go with something completely new. Either way I won’t be doing anything until the Marine codex hits. Going to suck if my DA codex doesn’t come out for another 8 months.

    • ZeeLobby

      I’d take em 30K where mini-marines are still elite marines, but that’s just me. If I was starting a marine faction in 40K now, it’d have to be primaris all the way.

      • euansmith

        I like the idea of having a force that is just a bit shabby, a bit second fiddle. Mini Marines suit my aspirations. Let the Primaris hog the glory; we’ll laugh at their memorials when we are drawing our pensions.

        • ZeeLobby

          I mean that was stormtroopers, lol. Now ST are third tier, guard are like scum-bucket level. So sad :(.

          • euansmith

            You think that the Guard are low?

            Underhive Scum Prospect Gumby McNormal, “I usta fink I cud see da starz and feel da rain on me fizog; but den I foun’ out it wuz just lux light and pizz leakin’ frew the bullet ‘oles in da ceilin’.”

          • ZeeLobby

            Def lower, lol. Everything has just been dropped a peg.

  • Xodis

    Im excited for the models, terrain, and more importantly the laminated Datasheets!!! lol

    Seriously though, I expect Codices to be released along side a pack of them and that is ok with me.

    • orionburn

      I’d love to see them do the datacards for everything. Granted in a marine army that’s a ton of cards. If it were split out into one set for troops and one for vehicles it might ease the burden on the wallet. All comes down to the pricepoint.

      Then there’s the headache of making a card set then coming out with models two months later that won’t be included in the set…lol

      • Xodis

        Thats why they need to sell a card pack for all existing models now, then add it to the box for all future kits. Could even have stores hand out the card with purchases for the smaller clampacks rather than boxing them up like Kharn and Arhiman were.

  • Horus84cmd

    “Starter set peek inside” …Ohh exactly what is listed on the GW site as being described inside – who’d of thought it?

    • Sorien

      Debbie downer

      • Horus84cmd

        err ooook?

  • Luca Lacchini

    OK, I’m confused.
    The Reivers bear the assault marking on their shoulders, but the datasheet looks to have the “elite” marking (and no PP value visible, by Crom!).
    Moreover the Intercessor datasheet lists only 3 marines per unit with PP4, as opposed to the standard 5 man, PP6 unit.
    Maybe it’s a reduced strenght squad size just for this box? Else?

  • This set is quite appealing. It looks like a good start for a couple of Kill Teams for Shadow War.

  • Tarsal Wizard

    Can someone give me a brief explanation of the Primaris marines from a fluff perspective? I’m aware that the practical reason is to sell more miniatures, but how does the storyline justify this new scale?

    • Horus84cmd

      Read these two and you’ll get the gist. There are also a couple of other articles on WH-Com if you browse round – search Primaris.



      • Tarsal Wizard

        Outstanding, cheers. The FAQ was actually useful. Interested to see how they look in a big SM force, alongside “regular” marines…they seem to warrant a bit of extra visual differentiation from their brethren, and not just a height change.

        • Horus84cmd

          One important think I don’t think is mention on the WH-Com is how the technology that creates P-Marines can be retroactively applied to regular marines…. and thus a convenient way to phase “regular” marines out over the next 3-5 years.

          • euansmith

            Seeing the Space Marine Named Characters getting Primarisized could be fun.

          • BaronSnakPak

            Ive been thinking of turning the new P-Libby into Tigerius by adding a banner on his backpack. Pretty easy conversion.