Sunday, March 21, 2010

Blood Angels and Assault Cannons Part 2

My search for the cheapest assault cannon bitz has come to an end. Several people had mentioned eBay as the best place to go. After watching several of the turrets from the Land Raider Crusader/Redeemer go for upwards of $15 a piece, I decided that wasn't the best choice. I want to try and keep my hobby spending at reasonable levels as to not incite the Black Rage in my wife.

After looking around the 'net for several days, I finally came upon the perfect bitz pack offered by Hoard O Bits on eBay. If you do a search for 40K Assault Cannon in his store (click on the link I provided above first), you'll find 40K Bit Dark Angels Master + 6 Assault Cannon. This is the one you want.

Hoard O Bits has them available as Buy It Now or in regular auctions. I watched two of the auctions end and tried to get a last minute bid in, but they still ended at higher than the Buy It Now price of $19.50. As for shipping, I won the auction Wednesday night and already had the package on Saturday morning which is much faster than I expected.

So what do you get for $19.50? Well, 6 assault cannons for starters plus 3 twin-linked heavy bolters, 6 search lights, 3 power sword arms, 3 Land Speeder antennae, and a few ammo boxes and mounting bitz for the guns. If you ask me, this is a great deal. I'll definitely find use for the power sword arms and I was thinking of making some sort of beacon/objective marker with the others (I'll save that for a future post on terrain). Here is a pic of what comes with the auction.

The assault cannon bitz themselves are a bit smaller than the one that comes with the Land Raider Crusader/Redeemer which is fine by me. In my quest to keep down costs and have a lot of options available for my army, I plan on using the turret that comes with the Razorback and cutting off the tips of the heavy bolters. From here, I plan to magnetize it so I can use either the assault cannon or the heavy bolter.

Next time I'll break out the jeweler's saw, super glue, and some magnets and start work on my first tutorial.

Until then Enim Sanguinius,
-The Harrower

Continue to Part 3 of Blood Angels and Assault Cannons

Friday, March 19, 2010

Stormraven Gunship Conversions

One of the most talked about rumors leading up to the Blood Angels release was The Stormraven Gunship, the elusive flying transport that was to be released with the latest iteration of the Blood Angels Codex. There was some impassioned discussions on the various forums whether or not this vehicle was wishlisting or if it was real and would come to pass.

Preorders went up, black boxes were shipped, and the Blood Angels Codex has been devoured by people all around the 'net on various sites such as Warseer, The Bolter and Chainsword, and Dakka Dakka. The good news was the Stormraven was in. The bad news is there wasn't a model in sight. Not even a sketch or a concept drawing in the new Codex according to numerous reports.

Why Games Workshop would have rules for such a prominent and awesome vehicle and not release a kit for the Stormraven is beyond me. This has pretty much been par for the course with other recent GW releases such as the Space Wolves (Fenrisian Wolves, Thunderwolf Cavalry), Tyranids (Swarm Lord, Tervigon), and now the Blood Angels. There was a post on this very topic over on Fort Buyaki, so I won't revisit that topic here.

What I do want to talk about are the various conversions that have been popping up on the various sites in the past week. While I feel that the lack of a an official model is a real let down, it is nice to see various interpretations of it around the 'net. Some are good and some are bad, but hopefully all of these make you inspired to go out and create your Stormraven Gunship.

If you are building your own Stormraven or have ideas on how to convert one, provide a link or add some comments below and let's get a discussion going. What do you think the gunship of the Sons of Sanguinius looks like or how would you convert one?

Without further adieu, here are the pictures.

This is the Stormeagle that was shown at one of the Forge World events. I still have my doubts that this is a future Stormraven as some claim. I love the sketches, but hate the mockup.

Here is what Jawaballs is working on. It's made from a G. I. Joe Sky Hawk. Man does that toy bring back memories...

Not intended to be a Stormraven, but this is a great example. If you beef up the wings and add some engines from the Valkyrie, you have a winner.

Romeo, the creator of Battle Foam made an amazing Stormraven. The conversion work is top notch. My only gripe is I'm not a huge fan of the shape.

This most closely matches what I envision for the Stormraven. A smaller Thunderhawk.

I have more pictures of this one than any other. I like that it's unique and the size seems right to me. Extra bonus? It's mostly made from Valkyrie parts. Cost effective and cool equals win in my book! Painted pics follow.

I'm still not sure what I want to do with the Stormraven Gunship for my own army. I don't know if I should convert my own or wait it out. I figure I'll have a better idea once I get my hands on the new Blood Angels Codex.

Next time, I'll go further into the conversion project for my cadre of Razorbacks and making twin-linked assault cannons.

Until then,
-The Harrower

Continue to Part 2 of Stormraven Conversions.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bringing Eldar into the 5th Edition, Part 1

Now, I must assume that because of the title some of you will scoff at the timing of such an article. However, I still see many people focusing on builds that would've been completely devastating in 4th edition Warhammer 40K games but are only capable of functioning on a mediocre level in the 5th edition. Predominantly, there's a lot of builds that utilize the concept of indestructible grav tank spam which tries to transport a nominal amount of infantry with the hope that 200 point wave serpents will be capable of killing their enemy so that their fragile troop of 5 dire avengers will never even have to see the board.

Unfortunately, this just will not work anymore for various reasons. In particular, as the game evolves and with new trends developing, the previous thought of more upgrades equating to increased durability are only proving to be marginally correct. In my opinion as well, I sense a desire for versatility when looking over some Eldar lists, which contradicts the core concept of the Eldar being specialists in their chosen path.

With this series of articles, I hope to help people move away from certain concepts that made the Eldar an unstoppable force in previous editions and to understand that their precious space elves are still very viable and very competitive in the new edition.

As these articles progress I want to focus on the various Force Organization Chart choices available section by section (HQ, Troops, Elites, etc). But the very first thing I want to get on the table is the concept that Eldar are over-costed and uncompetitive due to this since we have to pay a "premium price" on all of our units. The Eldar codex is fine. Yes, I said it. The Eldar codex is FINE.

Sure it can use a bit of a face lift, but what doesn't in terms of codices that have survived into 5th edition from previous editions? I'll post my thoughts on what units are "stinkers" and which ones are winners in the follow ups to this first article but what I want to get right out there is my opinion that the Eldar codex is fine and very competitive. I have defeated many many players to prove this point, almost all of which are using codices that were recently revised or released, including many Space Marines players.

That being said, I want to start my first discussion outside of the parameters I originally mentioned because I personally feel that this is where a lot of people get stuck on the idea that Eldar cost too much to be competitive. That's our main transport unit: Wave Serpents.

Now, the most common comparison that is drawn between Wave serpents and other transports is that of the wave serpent (WS) vs the Space Marine rhino, which is roughly costed at 35 points. I continually hear complaints that our WSs cost way too much to be competitive that there should be a cost reduction because other armies can transport their troops for less than 50 points.

I also see a lot of people contradicting their own complaints by stacking on upgrade after upgrade and they end up with a transport that costs nearly 200 points! If you're going to complain about the cost of your transport, why make it more expensive? Maxed out, with a twin linked bright lance, spirit stones, additional shuriken cannon, vectored engines, and star engines, we have a 190 point transport that's only marginally more capable of surviving than the 100 point version.

For starters, get the notion out of your head that a rhino and a WS are comparable by any means. Rhinos are 11/11/10, can move 12" max, have a storm bolter and can give themselves cover once per game using smoke launchers. The rhino is little more than an iron box on wheels that can travel from point A to B, as long as B is no more than 12" away. Then of course there's the risk of running over difficult/dangerous terrain or having to worry about manipulating other units in the way.

The WS is fast skimmer that can ignore any cover in its path and eschew dangerous terrain tests so long as you don't land in it. It also has an increased armor value of 12/12/10 with energy shields that allow it to ignore additional die effects (ordinance, melta, rending, etc) from shooting attacks. On top of all of that, it also comes equipped with a S6 Heavy 3 twin linked gun making this not only one of the most effective transports in the game (if not the best already) but a gun boat as well.

To close the argument of WSs being too costly or the debate of the rhino vs the wave serpent, it is apparent that the WS is capable of out performing any transport capable of being fielded in the 40K game. As an Eldar player, ask yourself the last time you've actually felt threatened by an enemy transport aside from it delivering its cargo. The wave serpent is a transport that flies from point A, bypasses point B while rolling down the window and tossing you the bird, and lands on point C.

Next, let's take a look at upgrading a Wave Serpent. In my opinion...don't! I know, I know, I must be crazy since so many tacita writers say that items like star engines are basically required. This all goes back to the concept that taking a unit that's already well costed and adding on upgrades to make it more costly for less effectiveness is just a bad idea. First off, weapons. What weapons should you upgrade your shuriken cannons to? Well, there's Scatter Lasers, Eldar Missile Launchers, Star Cannons, and Bright Lances. Keep in mind that a WS is only BS 3, twin-linked or not, and the foremost function of the WS is to be a transport, and when you have a transport that can move 24" you better be taking advantage of that mobility. That being said, when you flat out, you obviously cannot fire your main weapons so if you're someone who just had to have those 45 point bright lances on your WS, you're now left with a very expensive gun you can't shoot. Not very practical.

This solidifies a concept with the Eldar that will always ring true: to succeed with Eldar, you must use each unit to accomplish whatever task it was specifically designed for. This piece of tactical advice comes from the core rule book, not the Eldar codex. Wave serpents are transports and should rarely be used other wise. That aside, I've killed many marines and destroyed many rhinos with my off the shelf shuriken cannons. Our increased mobility give us the ability to take advantage of an opening and get into the side arc of vehicles like vindicators and easily lock them down from shooting because of the decent volume of twin linked shots coming from your 10 point gun.

The next upgrade for me that I see very little point in is star engines. In a normal game, you're playing on a 72" x 48" board. If you can't maneuver your forces into position with a 24" range then something is just being done wrong. To be quite honest, I think most people use them incorrectly because of disinformation from articles I've read in the past. You cannot use Star Engines after you disembark/embark troops. Period. Check the FAQ. So the idea of kicking out troops on an objective and then jetting out 36" across the board to contest an objective just doesn't work. And here's some food for thought, if you spent fewer points on upgrading your transports, you may be able to afford one more WS with another squad of infantry to send after that elusive objective.

I have a very similar opinion on vectored engines. I have never, ever been in a situation where I have vehemently wished that I had either of these upgrades. Sure, I've lost WSs that have flatted-out and were immobilized, but we're talking about a 15 point upgrade that probably wouldn't even come into effect due to the cover save you have on the wave serpent. Makes little sense to me. Do you know what's cheaper than upgrading your wave serpents with all of this stuff? Put a farseer in there with fortune. Now wish your opponent good luck as he's trying to get past your fortuned cover save and 12 armor value.

Last but not least are spirit stones. I have no bias for or against this upgrade. If I happen to be left with points left over I may add spirit stones. They're not a bad upgrade but they're not exactly one that'll make or break your game. If I do take spirit stones, I make it a point to only upgrade the WSs that are most aggressive in my line up (i.e. a WS carrying fire dragons for example, or striking scorpions).

As a closing comment, don't think that you should never upgrade your wave serpents. Always adapt your lists to your own playing environment. My suggestions should only be treated as general guidelines because there are times I will put scatter lasers on a couple of my WSs for the increased range and extra shot. But if you're someone who runs pimped out wave serpents and really feel that you're not putting enough on the table, slim them down. As 5th edition progresses and armies evolve, the game is now about how much you can put on the table rather than the single strength of an individual unit.

Next up, HQ choices!

–Farseer Frank with contributions and proofreading by Alfonzo


Hello All! I'm the first contributor to the The Harrower's blog, Farseer Frank, and my specialty, if you haven't determined that already, is Eldar. I'm a member of the gaming group known as Ded'Ard and will be helping to provide content for this new blog.

My first series of articles, titled Bringing Eldar into the 5th Edition, will be the real introduction to myself and my approach to both the Eldar and the Warhamer 40K game in general. I'm always one to appreciate constructive criticism and I'll be watching my comments like a hawk. :)

-Farseer Frank

Monday, March 15, 2010

The New Blood Angels and Assault Cannons

I've been reviewing the rumors surrounding the new Blood Angels Codex on various forums and blogs, and I think Twin-Linked Assault Cannons might be the new hotness. Of all the accounts I've read, a 5 man Assault Squad armed with a Power Weapon, Meltagun, and Infernus Pistol in a Razorback with a Twin-Linked Assault Cannon will run you 170 points.

All of the tanks (aside from Land Raider variants) in the new Blood Angels Codex are fast. So for 170 points you get a Razorback that can move 12" and fire, transport a scoring unit, and deliver a unit that is deadly on the charge and can deal with almost any threat. In higher point games you can add a Sanguinary High Priest for 50 points plus wargear, and the unit gains Furious Charge and Feel No Pain. I really can't see not taking at least 2 or 3 Razorbacks in every game I play. Which brings me to the main point of this post.

If you want your Razorbacks to be WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get), you are going to need to do some sort of modeling to make that happen as the Twin-Linked Assault Cannon bit only comes with a Land Raider Crusader/Redeemer. Alternatively, you would need to be rich because $57.75 for a Land Raider Crusader/Redeemer for only a couple bitz is pretty insane.

I'm not rich, so I was looking into coming up with some kind of alternative. I did some pricing and this is what I came up with:
  • The Land Raider Crusader Pack will run you $19.75 from the Games Workshop which is still crazy.
  • You can get two Tornado Assault Cannons from Games Workshop for $6.60 which is a fair deal, but I don't like working with metal when I'm doing conversions.
  • I love the War Store and buy all of my 40K stuff there, but just the Twin Assault Cannon Turret is $21.99! Ouch!
  • The Bitz Barn has very fair prices, but I've never seen them sell the Twin-linked Assault Cannon. I imagine they are gone as soon as they have them in stock. :(
I'm thinking that the best bet might be the plastic assault cannons that come with the Dark Angel's Deathwing as I have seen them go for a fair price on eBay. I'm going to scour around the internet and see else I can come up with. Once I have the materials together, I plan on converting my own and posting this as my first tutorial.

Tomorrow, I'm playing a 500 point Combat Patrol game with some friends at the Unknown in Scranton, PA. I'll be trying out the new Blood Angels 'Dex. Maybe I'll post some pics and a brief Battle Report in the next few days.

Until then,
-The Harrower

Continue to Part 2 of Blood Angels and Assault Cannons.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Welcome to DED 'ARD! I have been meaning to start a project blog for quite some time. Jawaballs recently had a post asking for contributing writers, and when I saw that post I figured I would send him an email and see how that goes.

Also, it made me realize that I really should start my own blog for our gaming group that recently got together. So even if Jawaballs has enough contributing writers, I can still do my own thing here. It's something that I wanted to do, but I haven't had the time until recently.

I've played 40K since 3rd Edition after which I left the hobby and my beloved Blood Angels on the shelf to start a company that produced supplements for Dungeons & Dragons via the d20 System. The company I formed, the Inner Circle, has pretty much been put on hiatus as we stoked that fire as long as we could.

This is a new chapter in my 40K hobby career. Hopefully I can convince some of the other members of my gaming group to post some articles on painting, tactics, and terrain. I'll be posting progress on my second go at my Blood Angels Army and hopefully you'll learn something along the way through the various tutorials I have planned...

Here is what I am currently working on. A Razorback with twin-linked assault cannons and a Rhino.

It's been quite some time since I did any painting, so I figured I'd try and cut my teeth on a hand painted Blood Angels Symbol. I still have some weathering left to do as well as vehicle markings and final highlights. Also, I'm still trying to figure out what to do with the side doors. I'll post some progress shots as they get closer to completion.

I hope you like them!

More soon,
–The Harrower