Scale: Heroic 28mm
Price: $7.91 for 6 backpacks
Get Them Here: Maxmini
In the last few years, there has been a proliferation of boutique conversion bitz. Primarily intended for Warhammer 40k Space Marines and Imperial Guard, a number of manufacturers make quality resin heads and guns ripe for converting. There has not been a preponderance of backpacks, however. Maxmini has started to fill that gap, first with their swank jetpacks and now with the Gothic Backpacks.
Space Marine backpacks have, to this point, been an overlooked aspect of the overall model. Unlike heads or even legs, I cannot think of a coveted or especially interesting power armor backpack. The Sisters of Battle Canoness has a cool backpack, replete with melting candles, but that is the exception not the rule. Short of modifying a Chaos Space Marine backpack to look less chaotic, there has not been a cool option to denote veterans or leaders.
The Gothic Backpacks are unique, to put it lightly. There are three sculpts and they are quite different from one another. Backpack A has a single baffled pipe poking up from the center, symmetrical braces holding it in place. A bas relief skull festoons the flat section of the backpack and the whole device feels like a cathedral reaching towards the sky. Backpack B has two large cylinders that resemble gothic turrets, each attached to the backpack with hoses. There is a bas relief like Backpack A, though this one is of a skeleton. Backpack C has baffled pipes on each side, though these pipes are much more decorative than on Backpack A. There is no bas relief, with the flat surfaces covered in riveted plates. Backpack C feels as steampunk as it does gothic. All three backpacks are one piece sculpts that fit right on a Space Marine model. They look a bit bulky on a Sister of Battle model, but I think it is an aesthetically pleasing combination.
Painting the Gothic Backpacks is a snap. Each has a mixture of flat spaces and nice detail. Due to the gothic details, black, metallic, or otherwise dark paint schemes look best. I would like to see them painted in an off-white scheme or Blood Angel red. Because of the size and detail level, I would advise painting these backpacks separate from the rest of the models, but I figure you know that by now.
The Gothic Backpacks have a very distinct style and will look very good on certain Space Marines. For Dark Angels, Black Templars, and Imperial Fists, the Gothic Backpacks really build upon the gothic, outsized look these chapters are built on. For less orthodox Marine chapters, these backpacks might not look appropriate. Used sparingly, they make great badges of rank in a Sisters of Battle army.
Ultimately, the Gothic Backpacks are a judgment call. If they fit into your aesthetic, the Gothic Backpacks add a lot of character without much work. For armies that lack the gothic look, like Space Wolves, your mileage might be less. At $8 for 6, the price is right if you find them visually appealing.