Let's start with the Dark Angels.
Model-wise the Dark Angels' composition is quite an interesting mix. We could see 2 HQs right off the bat (excluding the Limited Edition Chaplain) which are impressive sculpts for snap-on miniatures. The Terminators are also interesting that they are perhaps the first instance of a 'Heresy' mark of Terminator armour with lots of studs on their armour. However the Ravenwing bikers and the Marines is what pulled the overall impressive look of the miniatures down as the Ravenwing bikers and Marines do not look any different from the normal mooks.
|For some reason I think of the Chappie as an Iron Chef....|
However, game-wise we could see that there is a lot of game mechanics involved in the Space Marine repertoire (teleporting, bikers, plasma, psychic, etc) thus allowing the newbies to get a feel of the many myriad rules of 40k. and. In addition, it seems that this could be some foreshadowing of Dark Angels as being the plasma-kings of the Imperials as befitting their fluff. Perhaps it could be the cheapest/strongest option in the book that could not be ignored. Only time will tell.
|Termies cool, Ravenwing not so....|
|The true jewel of the starter set.|
Gamewise, the army is geared to work in close combat with the Chosen being very powerful if the balance is to be considered within this starter set. We could also deduce that this is in effect for the new Chaos Marines book. The Hellbrute looks to be a buffed Dreadnought and is perhaps the general counter to the whole marine list as only the Terminators could take it down with any amount of certainty. The Chaos Lord's role is something I find a challenge to figure out as there must be a mechanic in place that makes it the equivalent of 2 Marine HQ, but what mechanic could make that is currently unknown to me.
The Cultist in my opinion serves to become a form of buffer for the Chaos Marine elements to work their magic. In addition it appears that they come in two flavours; Close combat and shooty. Perhaps they could be given marks to make them even more useful than before, perhaps Chaos will get a form of the Skaven's shooting at enemies trapped in close combat.
What do you guys think about the starter set as a whole?