Warhammer 40K: GW’s Bottomless Models Leave Gamers Out In The Cold
Please give me whole models GW. I’m begging you.
The Imperial Guard have a brand new tank. Despite the fact that it really shouldn’t exist, the Rogal Dorn is here at last. This tank is a newer, heavier battle tank, seeking to in many ways replace the Leman Russ. It’s a larger model with more powerful guns and looked pretty cool when announced. However as people started to get their hands on the mighty tank’s actual kit they quickly noticed something was missing. The tank has no bottom.
The Missing Bottom
Simply put the brand new Rogal Dorn heavy tank is missing most of it’s bottom. As you can see in above picture about 1/2 of the tank’s underbody is absent. This is not an error. The instructions with the kit show it without a bottom. In addition there are no grooves, nor tabs in the surrounding pieces, which might hold in place the missing lower hull plate. GW simply made the decision to not include that part of the tank model. Mostly likely this was done as a cost cutting measure. It not only makes the tank use less plastic, but it also probably removed the need to include an extra sprue. Still it’s clearly a bottomless tank.
Not The First Of It’s Kind
This is actually not the first time GW has given us a tank without a bottom. Both version of the AdMech Skorpius tank were bottomless. Indeed the Skorpius was missing the entire bottom, aside from its hover skirt, rather than just the middle section. Still plenty of people were upset about that tank as well. It doesn’t seem like other tanks have been released without a bottom. Perhaps this design choice is limited to armies with the initials AM?
Some people might well wonder if a missing bottom matters at all. After all, the bottom of a tank is mostly not going to be seen. Many people don’t even paint them. Isn’t it fine to save money/plastic on something that won’t be seen? For many people that answer might be that it doesn’t matter, at least not for just one tank. I however think it matters quite a lot. For one thing, anyone who looks at these tanks see they have no bottom. Both the Dorn and Skorpius have top deck vents that allow people to see into them. In both cases you can see through to the ground, and see the missing sections.
It also really limits what you can do with dioramas, conversions and other non-standard builds. Even just flipping a destroyed tank over mid-game stops being viable with a missing bottom. Moreover there is the sheer principle of the thing.
Models Not Counters
It’s often said that GW is a model company first and a game company second. People use this as a defense for their rules all the time. In many ways its true, the success of GW is based off its amazing and often innovative models. Their very goal is to create good models, as stated in their published business model:
“We have a simple strategy at Games Workshop. We make the best fantasy miniatures in the world, to engage and inspire our customers, and to sell our products globally at a profit. We intend to do this forever. Our decisions are focused on long-term success, not short term gains.”
Looking at the Dorn I have to seriously ask, is a tank missing half its bottom one of the “best fantasy miniatures in the world”? The answer is pretty clearly no. Removing bits like this from tanks makes them feel less like a model, and more like a game counter or merely a playing piece. A model is something you can pick up and examine and look at form angles. It’s something you can work with and its a complete thing. A representation of the real, or fantastical thing. The Rogal Dorn tank fails here.
It’s About Premium Quality
GW is a luxury company selling premium goods. For these goods you pay a premium price. There is nothing wrong with this business model. However in return you do expect the best, as they themselves claim. Simply put bottomless tanks are not the best. They are a shortcut. In a world where GW does have to compete with other companies, where they are fighting 3D sellers and 3rd party model makes, they need to put out the best product they possibly can. Skimping on bits and parts of models won’t cut it. Giving me an incomplete tank won’t cut it. I’m not paying hard earned cash for most of a model, I’m paying for the whole thing. This sort of thing is in the end short-sighted. If not corrected moving forward this type of thing can cheapen GW’s brand for best in industry quality.
Whether it saved money or not, or whether it allowed them to cram more bits on to the spur doesn’t matter. The first thing anyone will notice when looking at the model now is that lack of a bottom. No matter what you say at this point, “my tank is bottomless” doesn’t sound good. It might be great for popcorn, but when it comes to models, or at least miniatures, it’s bad. It sounds cheap. The model feels incomplete. GW can and should do better than this. Players and fans should hold them to their own self-professed standards. When you pride yourself on making the best fantasy models in the world you need to actually live up to that standard.
Let Us Know How You Feel About These Tanks Down In The Comments!