Warhammer 40,000: Hexfire Review

Last Updated on August 28, 2021 by FauxHammer

Whispers of the warp abound in Games Workshop’s latest battlebox as the mysterious and secretive Grey Knights face off against the Traitor Legions’ Thousand Sons.

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Warhammer 40,000: Hexfire – Summary

Whilst Hexfire remains a stand-out collection of excellent Citadel miniatures at a hitherto unbeatable knock-down price, it’s a little bit of a shame that the box isn’t quite as inclusive as it could be. Whilst Games Workshop’s latest battlebox release will be an excellent addition to the collections of experienced gamers looking for new armies, it requires the buyer to either already possess an understanding of Warhammer 40,000 or have pockets deep enough to furnish yourself with the other bits and pieces you need to get playing with these figures. New or inexperienced players will struggle to get to grips with the game based only on the contents of this box alone, but if you have the patience (and the cash) to get yourself up to speed, this box will be a heap of fun.

Warhammer 40,000: Hexfire – Introduction

It’s been a couple of months since Games Workshop’s last battlebox, Piety and Pain, which pitted the Emperor’s staunchest worshippers, the Adepta Sororitas, against Lelith Hesperax’s Drukhari space pirates. In stark contrast to Piety and Pain, this time GW’s latest battlebox pits the reclusive and secretive Grey Knights against the warp-twisted scions of Magnus the Red in a supernatural showdown that would make the 41st Millennium shake. It’s a battle of Space Marines and their now warp-twisted former kin to see who is the true master of the supernatural.

This promises to be an interesting box. Whilst anyone who read our Piety and Pain review will know I was impressed with the miniatures included in the box, as yet no battlebox has quite had me turning my head like Hexfire has. The figures look excellent and those exclusive models! Phwoar.

Warhammer 40,000 Hexfire Review Models All

Needless to say, I’ve been looking forward to getting my hands on Hexfire to see how it shapes up compared to its predecessor – especially given that the theme is so different to the last box.

Without further ado, then, let’s dive right in.

Warhammer 40,000: Hexfire – Contents

The Hexfire box comes with everything you need to jump-start both a Grey Knights and a Thousand Sons army.

The Grey Knights are furnished with:

  • 1 x Castellan Crowe
  • 10 x Grey Knight Purifiers (that can also be built as a Strike Squad, Interceptors, or a Purgation Squad)
  • 1 x Nemesis Dreadknight

The Thousand Sons part of the box offers:

  • 1 x Infernal Master
  • 5 x Scarab Occult Terminators
  • 10 x Tzaangors
  • 1 x Tzaangor Shaman

Also included in the box is the Hexfire campaign book, as well as a sheet of Chaos Space Marine transfers.

Warhammer 40,000: Hexfire – Unboxing

Let’s open up this box and see what we’ve got.

Here it is:

Warhammer 40,000 Hexfire Unboxing 1

As always, the front of the box is festooned with gorgeous artwork. One thing you can never fault GW for is the art they plaster on the cover of their releases; they are always spectacular.

The box is also thin and light, considering the next picture I’m going to show you.

Warhammer 40,000 Hexfire Unboxing 2

Thirteen sprues.


Warhammer 40,000 Hexfire Unboxing 3

Because the majority of the models in the Hexfire box aren’t made in the more modern push-fit format we’ve grown used to seeing with more recent releases, you’ve got a lot of sheets of plastic in here, sporting a lot of components. Be prepared for some serious additions to your bits box.

Anyway, underneath the small hill of plastic lies the divider.

Warhammer 40,000 Hexfire Unboxing 4

I’ll say it again: the artwork on the Hexfire box is magnificent. Featuring Castellan Crowe facing off against Tzeench’s Infernal Master, it certainly sets the tone for the contents and setting of this box. The print of the artwork would look fantastic in a frame or tacked-up on the wall of your hobby cave – providing, of course, it hasn’t been punctured by the sprues sitting on top of it. That is its primary function, after all: protecting what lies below from the sharpest bits on the sprue.

And here’s what’s beneath:

Warhammer 40,000 Hexfire Unboxing 5

The Hexfire campaign book, the build guide, a sheet of transfers and the bases you’ll need for your figures. Nice.

Let’s have a closer look at all of these things in turn.

Warhammer 40,000: Hexfire – Campaign Book

The Hexfire campaign book is a 40-page crash-course in the background, lore, and new rules that can be used to wage war on Sortiarius, the Planet of Sorcerers, as the Grey Knights and the Thousand Sons clash.

Warhammer 40,000 Hexfire Campaign Book 1

The first 12 pages of the book are dedicated to the background and setting of the conflict, as well as a little extra info on the two factions in the box. Pages 13-23 detail the Theatre of War, two missions, and the rules for Grey Knights and Thousand Sons crusades. The rest of the book is given over to datasheets for the figures in the box, as well as more artwork to get you excited.

I’m a little disappointed that there are only two playable missions outlined in the book. Of the 40-page campaign book, 4 pages are given over to missions, and of those 4 pages dedicated to setting up a board and having a fight with the minis in the box, 2 of the pages are dedicated to the narrative background for each mission. Strictly speaking, then, that’s two pages of new mission. It just feels a little low effort.

There are also no core rules in the book, nor any kind of core rules handbook included in the box. You’re going to need to either have either a pre-existing knowledge of the rules for Ninth Edition, or have the resources on-hand to teach yourself all the other bits you need to know in order to play with the stuff in this box.

Warhammer 40,000: Hexfire – Sprues and Models

Book aside, let’s get on to the good stuff.

There are 29 figures in this box. With a total of 13 sprues, that’s something like an average of two and a bit minis on each sprue. Whilst the exclusive figures are on a single sprue each, the older – and larger – units have more than one dedicated to them, so be prepared for an avalanche of plastic.

Grey Knights Figures

Of the 29 figures in the Hexfire box, 12 of them are Grey Knights. Just as a reminder, that’s a single Castellan Crowe figure, a Nemesis Dreadknight, and then a group of 10 Grey Knights that can be assembled to represent a number of different combat units.

Castellan Crowe

I was surprised to find that Crowe wasn’t push-fit like most recent Space Marine releases have been. He’s actually quite fiddly to build, with far more components than I was expecting. Some of them are quite small, such as the half-hand that needs to be attached to the arm with his wrist-weapon attached. However, the end result is worth it.

Warhammer 40,000 Hexfire Review Models Castellan Crowe

What a spectacular figure. The sword is incredible, as is the sculpted base he’s standing on.

You get a choice of heads with Castellan Crowe: helmeted or helmetless, but in terms of variant components, that’s it.

Odd that Crowe is now Primaries scale, even those lore-wise I’ve seen no indication that he has gone through the Primaris protocol. I’m happy he is this size because it’s a larger canvas to paint and more space on a model offers more detail.

But what was the point of all this Primaris BS? Was it just an excuse to make all the Space Marines True Scale? All I’m after is consistency. I don’t really care about the reason Space marines are now bigger, I’m happy they are. Just don;t bother with the extra fluff if you aren’t going to stick by it.

Grey Knight Purifiers/Strike Squad/Interceptors/Purgation Squad

I really struggled to decide which variant of the Space Marines in this set to build. The four different units the Grey Knights squad can be assembled as are each quite different to each other, and each has a completely unique leader.

Eventually, I decided to go with the Purgation Squad. Here they are:

Warhammer 40,000 Hexfire Review Models Purgators

I was excited to start building these, particularly the Purgator Justicar, with his power sword buried in the decapitated head of a daemon. But, there’s a problem. He’s supposed to have part B52 on his left arm – a wrist-mounted bolter. But I couldn’t for the life of me track this part down.

Eventually, I put it down to being a misprint, but this didn’t help. There are at least half a dozen similar wrist-mounted weapons on the sprue, and I could not figure out which was the correct one. Eventually, I gave up on both the sprue and the Hexfire build guide and turned to the internet. I managed to dig out an old build guide for the Purgator Justicar on Imgur, and found the component I wanted was, in fact, 32F, not B52.

This wasn’t the only error I found. Whilst building the Purgators themselves, I found that what is written in the guide as component B28 should, in fact, be B29, and when looking at the heavy/special weapons options, component B51 should be component 1.

It does make me wonder: do these things not get checked after they’ve been put together? Surely someone in an office somewhere sits down with the sprues, the build guide, some plastic cutters and some glue to check that the figures can actually be built to the instructions in the book?

Also, some of the figures aren’t all that easy to get to stick together. Many of the spear- or halberd-wielding Space Marines require two arms to be attached to each weapon, and then for the combined pair of arms and weapon to be attached to a torso. this is particularly fiddly to do, and it’s not easy to get all the parts lined up together.

Once they’re together, though, they make for a unique bunch of classic sized Space Marines. As you may expect, they come with the usual supplementary additions of more purity seals and other trinkets and so-on that you can choose to festoon your warriors with, if you so wish.

A nice unit. A shame they’re a real nightmare to put together, but they are now 10 years old.

Nemesis Dreadknight

Good grief, this thing took forever to build.

Warhammer 40,000 Hexfire Review Models Nemesis Dreadknight

What’s more, it’s not an easy thing to put together. The Dreadknight is spread across two sprues and is, like a lot of older 40K vehicles and other larger models, made up of an enormous number of parts. What’s more, the build instructions for the Dreadknight aren’t great either: the build (which took me about half of Spider Man: Far From Home) is crammed onto as few pages as possible. Plus, with a number of variants to each arm (the right hand can hold a sword, a hammer, or a number of weapons, and either/both arm(s) can be mounted with yet more weapon choices), there’s a lot happening on each page, and it’s not always clear what’s supposed to be happening when.

I actually caught myself making quite a few mistakes putting the Dreadknight together, and had to disassemble parts of the huge warsuit in order to add on parts that I had previously missed thanks to the truly dreadful formatting in the guide.

Still, it’s a striking figure that’ll look great looming over ay Grey Knights army. Alongside the myriad build options for each arm, there are a couple of extra Space Marine-y bits you can stick on, such as purity seals, if you so wish. This’ll help make your Dreadknight feel more like yours – or provide plenty of entertainment for magnetisers.

Thousand Sons Figures

The remaining 17 figures in the box are all Thousand Sons. Once again, as a reminder that’s an Infernal Master, a Tzaangor Shaman, 5 Scarab Occult Terminators, and then 10 Tzaangors.

Let’s get into it.

Infernal Master

Like Castellan Crowe opposite him, the Infernal Master is the second of the two exclusive figures in the Hexfire box. And, woah, does he look great.

Warhammer 40,000 Hexfire Review Models Infernal Master

Like Crowe before him, I was surprised that the Infernal Master wasn’t push-fit. Still, he goes together easily enough, and he’s another spectacular figure to look at. Say what you will about the rest of the aged figures in the box, but Castellan Crowe and the Infernal Master are really gorgeous.

There was only one component I had an issue with, and it’s the final one you attach: the flying manta ray things that appear suspended in the ring of warp magic the Infernal Master is conjuring. They are attached by a small join cut into the circle of magic. However, you actually have to push the rays quite hard in order to get them to snap into the space allocated to it. Given that the ring of magic is actually quite fragile, this isn’t so easy to do. Just be careful as you do it, and you should be fine.

Scarab Occult Terminators

Compared to the other figures in the box, once completed the Scarab Occult Terminators might seem a little dull. There’s not much movement with them: they’re just five swole chaos dudes standing around looking menacing.

I don’t mean to suggest for a moment that these are in any way bad figures – they still look great.

Warhammer 40,000 Hexfire Review Models Scarab Occult Terminators

They look smashing, but they are static poses and as such aren’t exactly oozing with personality like a lot of the other figures in this box – particularly the Thousand Sons half of the box. You’re always going to look a bit uninterested next to the leering Tzaangors, the screeching Shaman, or the Infernal Master who has been immortalised mid-spellcast. They are just kinda standing around, but I suppose you can’t do much else when encased in a foot-thick casket of armour.

One big thing they do have going for them, however, is that they are one of the easier builds in the box. The vast majority of the components that make up the Terminators are large, and there don’t seem to be quite so many of them, which makes tracking down the right bit a lot easier.


The Tzaangors might seem a little intimidating at first, but they’re actually quite good fun to put together.

Warhammer 40,000 Hexfire Review Models Tzaangors

Spread across no fewer than four sprues frames (two of which are actually Tzaangor Upgrade Sprues), the 10 Tzaangors included in Hexfire are actually quite easy to build, and there’s an enormous amount of freedom with them. Each Tzaangor is assembled the same: two halfs of a pair of legs and a torso, a neck and shoulders, a head, horns, and some arms holding an array of weapons.

The kit is cleverly designed. You can put just about any combination of weapons with any combo of head, neck, horns and body, so there’s not much chance of two of your Tzaangors looking the same. What I did was assemble the legs and bodies, then cut out all the other parts, arranged them into respective piles, and pulled parts out at random. It worked pretty well – aside from one Tzaangor who looks like he really wants a hug.

Warhammer 40,000 Hexfire Review Models Huggy Boi

Just be wary if you decide you want to include a hornblower or standard-bearer amidst your Tzaangors. Some of the head/neck combinations might not fit on so well due to the size and positioning of the horn/banner, so just be careful when considering the parts you want to use for these figures.

Tzaangor Shaman

The Tzaangor Shaman is another nice, stand-out model. Mounted on his Disk of Tzeench, he’s yet another striking figure that really brings the box to life. What’s more, he’s a breeze to put together.

Warhammer 40,000 Hexfire Review Models Tzaangor Shaman

The only thing I can say against this figure is how he attaches to his base. The model is suspended in the air by a relatively thin swirl of warp magic, so the figure does bounce a little when you touch it. This may make him a little more difficult to paint. Alternatively, you could always just leave the disk and shaman detached from the base until you’ve pained it, then stick it on.

Another thing to be aware of is, when you do decide to attach the disk to its base, make sure you’ve got time to hold the base in place whilst the glue dries. I had to get up to answer the door shortly after I’d attached the Disk of Tzeentch and its rider to the little coil of magic that holds it to its base. Because it’s a ball-joint attachment, by the time I got back to the figure, the disk had slipped ever so slightly. Now my shaman looks like he has a bit more, hm, forward momentum than I had originally intended.

Warhammer 40,000: Hexfire – Price and Availability

If you managed to swipe a pre-order from GW’s website the Hexfire box would have set you back £105GBP/$170USD/€140. Your local independent retailer may still have a copy or two available, and likely for 10%-20% off, so it’s always worth checking elsewhere.

There are some good savings to be had in this box too. Here’s everything added up. Note that we assume the Castellan Crowe and Infernal Master figures will be sitting somewhere between the £20-£30 mark.

Grey KnightsCost GBPCost USDCost EUR Thousand SonsCost GBPCost USDCost EUR
Castellan Crowe£20-£25$30-$40€27.50-€32.50Infernal Master£20-£25$30-$40€27.50-€32.50
10 x Grey Knight Purifiers£37.50$60€47.505 x Scarab Occult Terminators£35$60€45
1 x Nemesis Dreadknight£37.50$60€5010 x Tzaangors£27.50$44€35
2 x Tzaangor Upgrade Sprues£16$25€20
1 x Tzaangor Shaman£20$35€25
Grey Knights Total Cost£95-£100$150-$160€125-€130
Thousand Sons Total Cost£118.50-£123.50$194-$204€152.50-€157.50
TOTAL CONTENTS VALUE£213.50-£223.50$344-$364€277.50- €287.50
Hexfire Retail Price£105$170€ 140

Looking at the cost price grand totals and the respective savings, you are essentially getting one of the factions for free, so that’s always going to be a win.

Whilst adding all this up, I noticed that in some countries, a few of the units in the box aren’t available anymore (like the Scarab Occult Terminators in the US), whilst this may just be due to reboxing in the 9th edition style, this box might be your last chance to net some of these figures for the foreseeable future.

Warhammer 40,000: Hexfire – Where to Next?

If you’ve had a whale of a time with Hexfire and can’t wait to use one or both of your new armies to start knocking lumps out of everyone else’s, the obvious next stop for you are the new codices for the Grey Knights and the Thousand Sons, which were released on the same day as Hexfire.

Warhammer 40000 Hexfire Review New Codices

If you’re determined to get the most out of the figures in this box and really want to start getting serious with them, you might need to grab yourself a copy of the Warhammer 40,000 Core Rules manual as well. Whilst the Hexfire campaign book has the datasheets you need for these models, as well as additional information pertinent to this particular setting, it doesn’t have any of the major rules you need to actually play 40K.

Warhammer 40000 Hexfire Review Rulebook

Or, you could do what Bosshammer did and grab yourself a box of Rubric Marines. Both of us, in fact, were quite surprised that the Scarab Occult Terminators were included in the box instead of Rubric Marines, as Rubric Marines are very much the archetypical Thousand Son unit.

Perhaps GW know we’ll want to buy these as soon as we get the Hexfire box. Smart move.

Warhammer 40000 Hexfire Review Rubric Marines

They do look really cool.

Or, if you’ve been bitten by the loyalist Space Marine bug, you could always take a look at the brand-spanking-new partworks magazine from Hachette: Warhammer 40,000 Imperium. This’ll drip-feed you not only all the Space Marine miniatures you could ever possibly want, but also a smattering of other Imperium factions, as well as an entire Necron army over the course of around twenty months. It’s a bit of a commitment, but if Mortal Realms is anything to go by, Imperium is going to be amazing.

Warhammer 40,000: Hexfire – Final Thoughts

Fantastic exclusive miniatures
Other miniatures are very nice – if a little old
Interesting new rules
Big saving to be made
Smashing for experienced gamers and collectors
Can’t actually play 40K with the contents of this box alone
Not for new players or people looking to get into 40K as a wargame
Awful build guide

The more and more of these battleboxes I review, the more and more conflicted I get about them.

The good stuff first. As a hoarder of miniatures and avid painter, battleboxes are always exciting releases to both receive and review. There’s a charm to them: a kick-start to two new factions, the tantalising promise of more collections, and the chance to get hands-on with some figures you might never have otherwise come across. The artwork in these boxes also always looks great, the preview photos are always stunning, and the exclusive miniatures are always mouth-wateringly beautiful. 

Hexfire is no different. 29 seriously nice and very unique Citadel miniatures from some of the perhaps slightly lesser-known edges of the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Even though the crux of the box pits Space Marines against Space Marines, this remains a particularly diverse box of figures. No two units look even passingly similar, and the exclusive models are absolutely fantastic.

As FauxHammer.com is the homeworld of the Miniature Painters Legion and all its Successor Chapters, this checks a lot of our boxes. Our site is geared towards hobbyists, so this is the kind of thing that appeals to painters and modelers – as much good-quality plastic as you can get your paint-splattered fingers on for as low a price as possible. If that’s your modus operandi for buying this kind of thing, then great: here’s a pile of (frankly awesome) figures you can’t really go wrong with.

This has been how these boxes have been reviewed in the past: through the eyes of hobbyists, for the consumption of hobbyists. As far as we are aware – and do please correct me if I am mistaken – the vast majority of our readership come to Fauxhammer.com looking for info on new miniatures, building and painting. Actually playing TTRPGs and other wargames is a somewhat secondary concern when perusing this site.

But you see, thanks to Berserk Games’ Tabletop Simulator and a million years of Covid lockdown, I’ve been getting into getting absolutely stomped playing 40K and the new version of Age of Sigmar. I was interested in seeing how this box would be to play.

But you can’t actually have a battle with the contents of this battlebox alone. And I think that’s such a shame.

Sure, this box is not aimed at beginners. It’s peddled at experienced collectors and gamers who might be looking for a new angle to work into their Warhammer 40,000 gaming. The box is timed to come out with the new codices for both Grey Knights and Thousand Sons, so experienced gamers will like just grab the box in order to add a few reinforcements to their existing lists whilst also picking up their new codices. But because it doesn’t come with all the stuff you need to play a game of Warhammer 40,000 (there are no dice, no rulers, and no actual core rules to enable you to play the game), its not very inclusive for new or inexperienced players.

Perhaps I’m feeling this because I am still such a new, inexperienced player. But it does feel like a bit of a missed opportunity to get more people into 40K. Sure, Hexfire is not a starter set, and that’s crucial to remember, and Warhammer 40,000 has its own excellent Recruit, Elite and Command Edition Starter Sets still available for purchase. But there will be plenty of people out there who don’t want armies of bog-standard Space Marines or Necrons. Heck, I’d have swapped the Necrons in my Indomitus and Command Edition boxes out for a bunch more Thousand Sons in a heartbeat. These guys are so cool!

This has led to something of a bitter revelation for me: this box isn’t really about us as consumers. It’s about GW. 

Strip back the new art on the box, the two exclusive figures, and supplementary rules and you have a bunch of old sprues that have been available for at least 10 years. They’ve been dusted off and are being waved around as part of the new codices release. There’s a warehouse clear-out going on, and someone’s just found a whole bunch of Grey Knights and Thousand Sons boxes squirrelled away behind a massive pile of Primaris Intercessors.

Without the bells and whistles of a hyped-up codex release, this box would be little more than two combat patrols. The exclusive figures are seriously gorgeous, but, just like the Melusai Ironscale, Lord of Pain, Palatine, and new Lelith Hesperax models that came with recent prior battlebox releases, these won’t remain exclusives long and will be sold separately in the near future.

So, I find myself unsure how I actually feel about this box. On the one hand, the figures are – as you would expect – absolutely stunning, and as far as experienced gamers and collectors will be concerned, this box is a winner. If you just want a box full of stuff to paint for seriously less than retail price, this is a stand-out purchase. And don’t get me wrong, this is a still a valid reason for owning this box – heck, it’s what I’m doing, and it’ll be what a lot of other people have done as well. 

But I am left wanting a little more. Perhaps this is because I’ve only just got into 40K, and still see releases like these partially through the eyes of a complete novice gamer. If you’re interested in actually getting in to 40K as a tabletop game and were hoping for a quick transition from the box to the tabletop, steer well clear from this box – unless you have pockets deep enough for a Core Rules manual and the new codices.

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Rob has spent most of the last 20 years playing World of Warcraft and writing stories set in made-up worlds. At some point, he also managed to get a Master's degree by writing about Medieval zombies.

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