Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Unboxing: Tech-Priest Dominus

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Although the Skitarii release was a very strong one, with a host of excellent models, I could not help but feel a letdown when it was confirmed that there would be no HQ choice in the codex.  This was a shame because with an army themed around esoteric, archaic technology and ritual, there certainly is not a shortage of ideas for creating exciting character models.  When rumors about the Cult Mechanicus started to circulate, however, I was pleased to hear that they were going to correct this, by releasing an HQ choice in the form of the Tech-Priest Dominus.  And after seeing pictures of the model, I think it was worth the wait, and think that the Dominus may be the best Adeptus Mechanicus model that GW has released. These are words I do not use lightly, considering the excellent Rangers, Sicarians, and Kataphron servitors.  I got the Dominus as soon as I could, and having assembled him, wanted to let everyone know what I think about the model, both aesthetically, and in terms of ease of assembly and quality.

Truly one of the most imaginative GW models released in quite some time!

Like all of the recent character models released by Games Workshop in recent years, the Dominus comes in a small plastic clampack.  Unlike most, however, the model is separated into two sprues, such is his size (about twice the height of a Ranger) and level of detail. The sculptor did a fantastic job of retaining all of the classic elements that one attributes to a tech priest (tattered robes with a cowl, brimming with bionics, armed with a cog styled power axe, etc.), while expanding upon it, making the character unique and interesting.  I particularly like how they subtly emphasize the character’s frailty with his horridly hunched back and single emaciated human arm.  These few remnants of his former human self somehow work to make the Dominus more horrifying.  You start to notice all of his steel bionic limbs and the vials of fell liquids flowing into his system.  But the most sinister thing of all is when you realize that his frail human frame is not really humanoid at all, and the robes that looked to conceal two legs actually hide some inconceivable array of skittering insectoid legs.  And this brings you back to that damnable withered arm, and you realize that it is the only recognizable human element on the creature, and you know just how much he must have sacrificed to his Machine God.

Although rather expensive, the Dominus is quite large and comes with an impressive number of pieces.

Excitingly, and seldom seen with such character models, the Dominus comes with multiple bionic limbs giving you the full complement of his weapon options in the game. The model is literally bursting with bionic limbs and weapons.  His main firearm is either a Volkite blaster (a class of weapons that, until this point, had been limited to Warhammer 30k) or an eradication beamer; both are bulky, but not to the point of absurdity, and are grafted directly to a thick bionic arm.  He has a choice of a sidearm, in the form of a macrostubber or an a phosphor serpenta, which looks like an ornate dueling pistol.  He also has an impressive power axe, which is as much a symbol of his status as it is a weapon.  The model has two choices for the Priest’s head, one a more traditional hooded head which conceals a wealth of tubes, cables and lenses, while the second has a tall conical hood/headdress that gives the impression of a religious leader.  Both are evocative and mysterious, very fitting of a magos of the Cult Mechanicus.

I was surprised and impressed to find that they included a set of detailed instructions with the model.

The Dominus proved to be relatively simple to assemble, with all of the parts fitting together snugly, without major seams.  Having said this, the model was not a quick assembly, stemming primarily from the vast number of highly detailed parts used to create him.  Trimming off all of the moldlines was a time-consuming nightmare, with so many little cables and mechanical bits.  Thankfully, although his limbs and other bionics are thin and skeletal, the model is larger than a typical space marine, making it such that none of the pieces are so tiny that they are easy to bend or break when cleaning and assembling the pieces.  The model actually came with a little foldout instruction sheet (in color), aiding in the assembly as well.

The Dominus is quite a complex model, with a lot of depth that is only realized after gazing at the bizarre horror multiple times.

After gluing together his main body halves, I did a little bit of green stuff work to fill in a few seams, but even that really was not necessary.  Aside from the basic trimming of the model, I felt very little need to modify the model in any significant way, which is a testament to how strong I feel the model is (with very little excessively bulky needless bits).  I did remove some excess tubing on the Vulkite blaster, which I found cluttered the weapon and did not appear to serve any purpose.  I also removed a little gauge that was hanging off one of the many cables on the model and replaced it with a less obtrusive claw.  The only other change, was that I removed some of the cabling and the weird vox apparatus hanging from his chin.  I think the model looks cleaner without this, and it does not distract from the model’s sinister physiognomy.  The last thing to do was put him on a base.  The pictures, as well as GW website suggests that the model should have a 50mm base.  The model came with a 40mm one however, and he fit quite well on this smaller base.  Since I had a bunch of Dragon Forge’s excellent Teck-deck bases in this size, I opted for using one of them.

Although not the 50mm base they show in the official pictures, the Dominus fits well on the 40mm base that he was packaged with and the Dragonforge one I ultimately put him on.

I am pleased to see my little Adeptus Mechanicus force grow with each model.  It is a slow process, but I have really come to appreciate the quality of the new models.  In addition to being well cast and cut, most of the design elements fit with my own sensibilities, allowing me to assemble them with relatively little modifications and conversions (while I love converting models, when building an entire army, the last thing you want to do is substantially convert every single rifle in the force, he he).  The longer I worked on the Dominus, the more impressed I became with the model, so many impressive interlocking parts and subtle details.  If you have any interest in the Adeptus Mechanicus, for 40k or even Inq28, I highly recommend you look into getting the Tech-Priest Dominus.

-Eric Wier


  1. Such a freaking amazing model. This has to be one of my all time favorite GW models.

    1. Yeah, he is certainly a fantastic model, one that build upon our conceptions of the Adeptus Mechanicus, rather then simply copy a previous model.

  2. Thanks for your review. Seems like a great model, but the price makes me balk. hard to reconcile it with my conception that I ought to get 10-20 multi pose guys in plastic for that price.

    1. Agreed, the price is probably the single worst aspect of the model. It is hard to believe their plastic characters have exceeded $30...

    2. Even with inflation taken into account...that is one expensive single HQ!

  3. I actually feel that regarding cost vs product we the customers win in that department. Every sprue is jam packed with bitz.

    As far as the model go I couldn't agree more. It is simply a fantastic model! I'm hard at work on my own version for my darkmech and I've tried to subtly convert it. Though it's almost needless because these models are do grimdark it almost hurts :)

    Thanks for yet another great review :)


    1. I do feel that it is money well spent, but not all the clampack characters are as worthwhile as this one (looks towards the Space Marine ones...).

      I look forward to see what you come up with with your version! Although you are right, there are few models so grimdark as this one :)

  4. I should have been more specific :) I meant the admech releases in general. Very good value in my opinion.

    Oh he's built so check him out here :)

  5. I agree with you 100% about the strengths of the model. I've heard the Dominus is a Jes Goodwin design, and considering the sheer brilliance of the model, it certainly wouldn't be a surprise!

    On a related note, I find it entertaining that we both decided to get rid of that proboscis dangling from the model's chin...;)

    1. It would certainly make sense that he was a Goodwin design; he has not shortage of wonderful ideas!

      About the proboscis, great mind think alike they say right?!