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How long has the current CSM models (plastic ones) been around, and when where they released(year) I know the have repacked them a few times but when where they first released?.
And what did they look like before that? (Pics)
Well, the current box is technically new, as it has new bits in it. But the basic models came out a few years ago, not sure what the actual date is.
Chaos Space Marine - Lexicanum
Has a pic of an old marine at the top right, and if you search around youl find some others aswell, as for dates I have no idea.
Hope this helps you out a little bit.
The previous models were released in 2002 I believe. They were the 8 man boxed set instead of a 10man set. They don't look extremely different , just have some different bits, for instance the 8man set comes with a "mutation sprue" with some 2-faced heads and spikes and stuff, but doesnt have an icon and the special weapons that the new set comes with.
I actually just bought a set of the 2002 8 man box sealed and brand new essentially, not knowing thats what I was buying because of a mislabeled ebay auction, but I was happy to get a mutation sprue in trade for 2 marines.
Now the 2002 box was released with the 2002 codex, so I would assume the new ones were released with the 2007 codex, but I don't really have that info. You could email/call games workshop if you really must know, or someone else might have that info.