Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Jetbikes are WYSIWYG again!

At last weekend's game 6 of my jetbikes had invisible shuriken cannon. That will not do. My Eldar may be my first ever 40k army and certainly not the best painted. But it is WYSIWYG.

Just to recap, my current Windriders list has the following jetbike squads:

3 jetbikes, all with scatter laser
3 jetbikes, all with scatter laser
3 jetbikes, all with shuriken cannon
3 jetbikes, all with shuriken cannon
3 jetbikes, 2 with shuriken cannon
3 jetbikes, 2 with shuriken cannon

And why the eclectic load out? Why not all with shuriken cannon or scatter lasers? For the simple reason that I already have 4 jetbikes with shuriken cannon, and I only have 6 of the new scatter laser bikes, and 6 shuriken cannon bits from those new bikes, which I can transplant to retrofit my older bikes. When I do find 2 more shuriken cannon bits, I will find the 20 points and retrofit the remaining 2 jetbikes which are still armed with shuriken catapults.

And it does work out nicely that the scatter lasers are all mounted on the new jetbike models, while the shuriken cannon are all on the old jetbike models (you can tell by the varying bases that the old models themselves are from several different generations - I really should clean up and get rid of those old hex bases).

Since I already have 4 of the old jetbikes with shuriken cannon, I wanted all the shuriken cannon jetbikes to have the same kind of look, with the cannon barrel potruding from under the left side of the carapace. Incidentally, of the 4 original shuriken cannon jetbikes, only 2 had the old metal shuriken cannon bit, while the other 2 were converted from Vyper turret shuriken cannon bits.

The conversion itself was pretty easy. As usual, I never think about taking step by step WIP pictures, so I did the graphics below to give you a rough idea. The original plan was to remove the twin-linked shuriken catapults from the old jetbikes so that it's easier to work on the conversion, and then putting them back onto the jetbikes. But plastic glue will never cooperate with that crazy plan, so I had to do the conversion with those shuriken catapult bits still stuck onboard the jetbikes

So I took all the rescued shuriken cannon bits from the new jetbikes and cut the barrels off like so:

Then I cut the twin-linked shuriken catapults like so, finishing off with a good filing to round off the edges, as only the monkeigh have hideous sharp edges:
Then I simply glued the shuriken cannon barrel from the first step to the cut-down twin-linked shuriken catapult housing, and ,.. presto! (just realized that in the graphic below the cannon barrel is upside down - don't do this)
Repeat as necessary, which in my case was 6 times. The result is pretty convincing, and with a little bit of paint, would be close enough to the ol' skool jetbike shuriken cannon look.

Next, to paint the 6 new jetbikes, the 6 new shuriken cannon, and the Hemlock. And I've tweaked the list a bit. I've replaced the Falcon with a Wave Serpent to transport my Fire Dragons, and I've decided to swap the turret scatter lasers with bright lances instead. Thats's for another time.

Keep rolling them dice!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

First game in fifteen months!

"You shall not pass!"

And it was a blast! ... almost literally.

I finally got around to updating my Eldar list after more than a year of owning the codex. I've done several different versions, but this is what I brought to battle last Saturday:

Alaitoc Craftworld Eldar CAD (1850 pts)

Farseer - jetbike, singing spear, spirit stone of Anath'lan

6 Windrider jetbikes - 6 scatter lasers (the original list was actually 2 squads of 3, but I decided to try a combined large squad instead)
3 Windrider jetbikes - 3 shuriken cannon
3 Windrider jetbikes - 3 shuriken cannon
3 Windrider jetbikes - 2 shuriken cannon
3 Windrider jetbikes - 2 shuriken cannon

6 Swooping Hawks - Exarch w Hawk's Talon
Hemlock Wraithfighter

Fire Prism
Fire Prism
Falcon - pulse laser, scatter laser, shuriken cannon, holofield

8 Warp Spiders - Exarch w twin death spinners
5 Fired Dragons w Exarch
7 Dark Reapers w Exarch

I was against a scary Tyranid list with:
2 Flying Tyrants
2 Tyrant Guard
1 Xoanthroape (I think)
2 chunks/broods of Gaunts
1 Imperial container thing
1 Heirophant

We played Deadlock from the Maelstrom of War missions list. The bugs got first turn, so I deployed accordingly. And of course I managed to Seize the Initiative (which was the last 6 I was to roll for 3 turns).

All in, it was an amazing battle. I made lots (lots!) of nube mistakes, including: 1) being distracted by the Titan bug and splitting my firepower as a result, 2) forgetting to move stuff, 3) correctly assigning targets to units, then promptly forgetting about them and shoot something else instead, 4) overall bad fire discipline for the first 3 turns (not focusing on the correct priority targets).

The lack of fire discipline, in sharp contrast to the bugs' amazing hive-controlled fire discipline is telling. The Tyranids only lost their Warlord flying Tyrant and the Tyrant Guards,  half of the Gaunts and half of the Heirophant. I lost all 18 jetbikes, 1 Fire Prism, the Falcon, the Hemlock, the Farseer and the Fire Dragons.

But thanks mostly to Eldar speeed and agility, and the fact that I managed to regain proper fire discipline late in the game, Eldar won 12-10, including Slay the Warlord and Linebacker. The Tyranids' 10VPs include First Blood, Slay the Warlord and Linebacker.

Some observations:
1. Warp Spiders rock! (I guess everyone knows that) Awesome manouerability. Awesome manouverability (it's so good I had to say it again). Awesome firepower. Iron Resolve. It is indeed the best all-around Aspect Shrine in the Eldar war host.
2. Dark Reapers rock! When I finally figured out that using their multi-shot S5 missiles for AA is more effective than the single shot S8 missiles, the Warlord Flying Tyrant was easily put to sleep.
3. BS+1 and Shrinekeepers for the Aspect Host is just amazing!
4. Swooping Hawks are still very much relevant. Pin-point Deep Strike accuracy, grenade packs, good firepower against low T troops make them still a much-loved Aspect Shrine. I didn't get to try out Intercept. Perhaps in another game against an army with a flyer. Note that my read of the new FAQ limiting squads to only 1 grenade per assault doesn't apply to the Hawks' Intercept ability, as RAW it says each model may make a special attack in the movement phase that hits on a 4+, with the Haywire rule. I'm hoping they don't FAQ that.
5. Large jetbike squads are just not practical. It was a headache to deploy and move them. My old Windrider lists all had 6-man jetbike squads in them, but the new models are larger/longer than the old ones. I'll stick to the original MSU squads.
6. The Hemlock is a scary attack aircraft, it's no wonder it costs so much in points. Casting Psychic Shriek and then bombarding the enemy with D-weapons is just awesome. And I've yet to see the effects of the Mindshock Pod.

7. For psychic powers, I think it pays to mix disciplines, and forego the free Primaris. I went for an all-Telepathy mix (and did not get Invisibility out 5 tries), and found that I really miss some of the other powers.
8. I'm not sure yet how to "hide" the Farseer. 
9. The Fire Dragons were unproven in the battle as I didn't have any tanks or mechs to shoot at. So we'll hold onto them for now. 
10. There is a thought in my mind to trade the Falcon and Fire Dragons for 2 bright-lance Wave Serpents. I save 25 points, and if I take only 6 Dark Reapers, I can take a Warlock to ride with my Farseer. I trade off sure-kill tank-killing capability for flexibility, as I will have one extra AV12 fast skimmer tank for the enemy to worry about, and I get an extra psychic power die, and Conceal and another Rite of Battle power. I probably should try it out and see what happens.

Anyways, it was really really good to get back to rolling some dice in the grimdark, and I'm totally looking forward to the next game. Meanwhile, I'm halfway through retrofitting 6 of my old jetbikes with shuriken cannon (bits from the jetbike sprue), and once that's done, I'll painting the new converted weapons, the 6 new scat-jets, the Hemlock, the 2 or 3 new Dark Reapers and the 2 additional Warp Spiders. Looking forward to that.

Keep them dice rolling!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Awesome new jetbikes.

I finally got around to assembling these jetbikes - after more than a year. These are excellent models! Just amazingly well done GW. Design is awesome and the quality of the kit is just perfect.

The Eldar have long been overdue for new jetbikes, and these are just perfect. The only trouble is, they look so much nicer than my old ones, and I don't really feel like replacing 12 painted (and some converted) jetbikes ... I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

And I'm fitting all of them with scatter lasers. And thanks to the kits, I have 6 shuriken cannons to retrofit into my existing jetbikes. So my Windrider-themed lists will have 6 squads of jetbikes: 2 squads with 3 scatter lasers each, 2 squads with 3 shuriken cannons each, and 2 squads with 2 shuriken cannons each. Pretty cool.

Anyway, tonight I'll open the Hemlock box ^_^

Keep rolling them dice.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Reapers ... Assemble!

Finally assembled the 3 additional Dark Reapers, including Exarch, that I need for my updated Eldar lists. And I just realized that the squad itself is quite ... um ... diverse (or motley). The squad has: 3 metal Dark Reapers from 2nd Ed (coneheads), 2 metal ones from 3rd Ed (skull heads), and now 3 more of these new dudes (fairy heads?). I should just consolidate into the new look actually. I'll paint these up first and make a call on this at another time.

I also discovered that I have 2 unopened boxes of jetbikes. That's handy, because one of my new lists needs 6 scatter laser jetbikes. So these will be assembled next - maybe in the next couple of days.

I spent the weekend doing a bit of shopping. I got me a Hemlock (to complete my new lists), a box of Black Knights, a Darkshroud, an OOP Chaplain on bike, and 3 more bikes from the old Dark Vengeance box. I am stoked. The Hemlock gets assembled after the jetbikes. Hopefully this week too.

I'm hoping for a game this weekend. Perhaps to try out my updated Eldar lists. Here's hoping for the best.

Keep them dice rolling.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

We're Back! Sort of ...

 After a long long long hiatus, we're finally ready to get back into wargaming action - I think. A lot has happened in the past year, including moving to different town, packing away models, moving models, storing, looking for stuff in storage, fixing models damaged in transit and storage, finding out some stuff are somewhere other than where they should be, etc, etc, etc ...

Anyways, not to bore you with the minutae, but an old wargames buddy also happened to move to the same city, and we started to talk about 40k and the topic of Ravenwing came up. And I realized that I actually never did read the Dark Angels codex I bought last year. So I managed to dig up the codex (by accident actually, I really forgot all about it) and finally started reading it.

And what a read that was. I guess I'm one of the last Ravenwing players on earth to get excited about the new teeth this army has been given. I've been playing Ravenwing since 2003, and they did well back then, even coming in a decent Top 5 finish at a tournament in 2009 (which was the year I finally painted the army).

But the Ravenwing has always suffered from a severe case of chronic crapcodexitis, and any successes had to be hard-fought. When I first started playing the Ravenwing, they had a different Master of the Ravenwing, and he only rode in his Land Speeder with a 4+ invul save. Every biker had skilled rider and an always-on 6+ jink save (I think that was the first time I heard the term "jink" in 40k). Then Sammael came along, the bikers lost skilled rider, and the army got even harder to play.

When the Black Knights were first introduced, it did help a bit, as they now finally had a decent close combat unit. But the army as a whole lost traits that would help it survive because of its speed and manouver, as befitting an all-bike army. Then last year's codex came out. And it's brilliant!

Well at least on paper. I'll be trying it out this weekend hopefully. Looking forward to that.

And since my friend also plays Ravenwing, I'll be bringing my old Thousand Sons buddies over to have a go against his Ravenwing army. I finally unearthed them from the crypts last night, and thankfully there was only minimal transit and storage damage (Land Raider's smoke launcher and Ahriman's staff had to be glued back, and there's a tiny paint chip on the staff where it joins his right hand, but nothing too serious). I'm looking forward to see these guys back on the table this weekend, and share the magic of their modest 10+d6 warp-charge dice.

Because of the minor repair work I did last night, I also unearthed my complete and fully-functional modeling and paint toolbox, and I'm excited to get back into hobbying. Here's what I have in mind for the rest of the year:

1. Updated Ravenwing. For this I need to paint 18 Black Knights (including the Command Squad), Chaplain on bike (with a suitable-looking mace), a Dark Shroud, and 2 more Land Speeder Typhoons. 11 of those Black Knights and the Land Speeders have already been assembled and undercoated (which means they are also base-coated, ahh .. the wonders of a black-liveried army).

2. Updated Eldar. I procured all the models for this update almost exactly a year ago. I think I'll need to paint 1 Hemlock, 3 more Dark Reapers, 1 new Dark Reaper Exarch (because the old one is ... old), 2 more Warp Spiders, 2 more Swooping Hawks, and 6 more jetbikes.

I will be getting back to my Denerair Highlanders, but that's a huge project which my temporary quarters is not capable to handle. So that's going to be a 2017 project.

I'm totally looking to some furious dice rolling this weekend, and I'm lucky that the town's brand new game store is like 7 minutes away. Love it!

Let's roll them dice!