Saturday, January 4, 2014

Catachan AirCav in Action!

These are the first-ever pics of my completed AirCav army (v.1). Like my past themed army projects, it took me awhile to get it done. First conceived in late-2009, the very first Vakyrie (#02) was done by the end of that year. West Wind US Army helmet heads and ForgeWorld Vendetta upgrade kits arrived at about the same time. This was followed closely in early-2010 with the first 2 veteran infantry squads. But disaster struck with the first Vendetta (#03) - painstakingly painted inside and outside, I had a matt varnish spray mishap, turning the whole aircraft into a frosty mess. This brought the project to a grinding halt.

Like most wargamers, other distractions quickly filled the void, and the AirCav was left on the shelves, with repeated self-promises of getting back to it. A spate of 40k and FOW leagues and campaigns were a most excellent distraction. Not to mention a brief foray into pre-heresy Thousand Sons. Also, 6th ed came along, and trying out my armies in the new edition took some time, with more dice rolling than painting (it was a lot of work - infantry IG, tank IG, mechanized IG, Ranger Force Eldar, Guardian Eldar, mechanized Eldar, Ravenwing, Thousand Sons, Apoc, etc). On top of that, I took on a new job, which further limited hobby time.

In late-2011, there was a blip of hobby resurgence. Sucking it up, I went back to Vendetta #03 and started fixing the paint-job, which was as time-consuming as the original paint-job. With morale boosted, I proceeded to assemble Straken's squad. Then got promptly distracted by painting up most of the Thousand Sons rubric terminators I converted way back in pre-Legio days. And the AirCav project went to sleep again.

It was left alone throughout 2012, which was largely a FOW year for me, building up both early-war and late-war German armies for some excellent campaigns. 40k hobbying in general was extremely limited.

Then in early-2013, Legio's first 40k Throwdown painting challenge re-ignited the AirCav project. As I've already had 4 units painted up, I had to build a new list to include additional units. And that included the Basilisk and Ogryns (which are in the 2000-pt version of the list), among other things. But the Throwdown really helped get things going again, pushing me to finish another Vendetta, a couple of squads and the Basilisk.

There was a slight lull until the first week of the fasting month, during which I was home alone. That was simply an intense week of hobbying, finishing up almost all the flyers, and Straken's command squad. And on top of that, an Eldar jetbike squad, a warlock and a Crimson Hunter. That was pretty intense. By the next month, all the flyers were ready, and the AirCav were only 2 squads to go before completion. Which I vowed to get done by the end of the year.

Which I did! On or around 30th December 2013, the final basing was completed for the last 23 infantry models, as well as 4 flyer bases, thus completing one epic hobbying journey. And it's only the first leg of the journey - the list was built back in 5th ed, and there will be a new IG codex in a couple months' time, so I am fully expecting the army to evolve further.

Baptism of Fire
II Catachan Air Mobile Detachment saw heavy action last night, rushed into combat against a major Eldar incursion. The AirCav beat off a Dark Eldar/Eldar alliance, was narrowly beaten by another such alliance, and was soundly trounced by an unconventional Craftworld Eldar force. I must say the AirCav makes for some really amazing wargaming.

There were some pretty memorable moments. In the first game, Straken and his entire squad were wiped out when their Valkyrie crashed and burned, shot in the rear by a Guided Ravager. In the second game, 2nd squad made a desperate grav-chute drop in an attempt to claim an objective - with their Vendetta zooming at full speed! Also in that game, Straken's medic actually made 6 or 7 saves with his Imperial-issue flak jacket before running out of meds.In the last game, things were so desperate for Straken's troopers that he, his command squad and 1st squad made an incredibly crazy drop amidst a Wave Serpent, Dire Avengers and Wraithguard - and survived! (and wrecked the Wave Serpent too),

The army's definitely not for beginners and I'm glad to be able to start the learning process of how to handle it. What's for sure is that the Valk and Vend squadrons are resilient - unless you are Tau, it takes a lot to destroy a squadron. I also need to compensate for the fact that the army by nature gives up a lot of the traditional strengths of the Imperial Guard. The AirCav has no massed lasguns, is usually unable to make use of orders, no Leman Russ, etc.

But it's a lot of fun nonetheless, and it's certainly a rush! I am thinking of adding heavy weapons to the squads that have to start on table, and maybe even convert the starting units to regular platoons and leave the Basilisk on the shelf. Anyways, I'm happy to be plugging away with this list for awhile. Looking forward to more epic battles with this army in the coming months.


  1. Looks awesome on the table Azlan! What's in your list? I have a few Catachan's and I love the Valkyrie models so am tempted to get a few. What works and what don't? No point in reinventing the wheel!

    1. Thanks very much. I'm still learning, so I can't really tell you what works yet. The list was designed originally in 5th Ed and it works very differently in 6th. If you were to build an AirCav army based Valks and Vends I would suggest having a platoon and company command on the ground, with heavy weapons n commissar, maybe supported by some vets. You don't really need Straken and his cc mob. Like I said, I'm still learning. I'll keep you posted as things go along

  2. Little trick I learned. If you spray the varnish and it turns foggy, the solution is to spray the model with gloss, then afterwards matt again. For whatever reason, the gloss absorbs the fog and viola, one fixed model. I swear it works - I couldn't bear to strip down a tank I had spent so much time on, and this method did the trick.

    1. Awesome tip. I'll remember that, though hopefully I won't need to use it. Thanks.