Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Blood Angels and Assault Cannons Part 3

I apologize for the brief hiatus. The digital camera I have been using got a cracked LCD and I couldn't get it switched to macro mode and the pictures I was taken looked awful. Just got a new Canon Powershot which I am loving and I'm back in business. On with the tutorial!

So I have all of my bitz together and I am going to work on creating the twin-linked assault cannon turrets for my Razorbacks.

Initially, I wanted to be able to cut off the tips of the heavy bolters and magnetize them so I could have some options available for my Razorbacks. I've done a bit of messing around and it just doesn't look right.

I can't really foresee many scenarios where I'll use the twin-linked heavy bolter, so I'm just going to create the assault cannons and go with them instead.

Below is the list of materials you'll need to get started on this:

  • Twin-linked heavy bolter turret (this is the turret that comes with a Razorback or a Land Raider)
  • 2 assault cannon bitz (check part 2 of these series to see where I got mine)
  • Jeweler's saw (I got mine from MicroMark)
  • Pin vise (Also bought this from MicroMark)
  • Liquid Cement for Plastic Models (I use Testors)
  • Needle Files (I use the GW ones)
  • X-Acto Knife

Step 1. This isn't really a necessary step, but more of a plea to all 40K players out there. Drill out your gun barrels! Nothing kills an awesome painted miniature more than a gun with no gun barrel. All you need to do is find the center and start a hole with your x-acto knife. Once you have that in place, drill it out with your pinvise. This is a major pain (especially with an assault cannon!), but if you take the time to do it it makes a HUGE difference. If you do make the hole a bit off center, you can always correct it by slightly widening it with your x-acto knife. Pics of the gun barrels are at the end of this post.

Step 2: Here we need to the front of the assault cannon off of the housing. You can use either an x-acto or a jeweler's saw for this. I used a jeweler's saw. Once you have the two pieces, remove any flash with either an x-acto knife or a flat needle file. The non-assault cannon bit will be great to keep in your bitz box so hang on to it!

Step 3: Here we need to cut the tip off of the heavy bolter. You can use an x-acto or a jeweler's saw for this step. A jeweler's is hard to use for this step because you have to be extra careful to make your cut straight. With an x-acto you'll need a cutting mat or a piece of wood to cut against. I also cut off the ammo ejector as the assault cannons don't have one, but you can leave it on if you prefer.

Step 4. Glue the assault cannon bit to the heavy bolter. I'm not a fan of super glue especially for plastic. I use Testor's plastic cement as it create a much stronger bond, but use what works for you. You do want to be careful when you glue these bits together as you want both of your assault cannons to point straight and be the same length. Do a bit of dry fitting before you commit to gluing them together and make any adjustments with an x-acto or needle file.

    Step 5. Assemble the entire turret and you are done!

    Below are some comparisons pictures between the twin-linked assault cannon that comes with a Land Raider Crusader/Redeemer and this kit bash. While my version is a bit smaller, I do prefer it for the Razorback. I like the Land Raider assault cannon, but it looks a bit too bulky for my tastes.

    I've been like a kid in a candy store with the new Blood Angels Codex and the awesome new models. I've been working on putting together a whole new army and I'll share some pics, my thoughts on the dex in general, and other goodness in the coming weeks.

    Until then Enim Sanguinius,
    -The Harrower

    Saturday, April 17, 2010

    Bringing Eldar into the 5th Edition - HQ Choices

    First, let me start off by apologizing for the length of time between this article and the first part. Shortly after writing the first one, there was a significant change in work and my schedule was thrown all out of whack, but this is a 40K blog, so on to the Eldar...

    Based on my own experiences, not too many armies have their entire functionality depend on one HQ. Sure, they can have builds which revolve around a particular named HQ (for example, flamer/melta heavy Vanilla Marines list that use Vulkan), but if those HQs didn't exist or were taken away, the army wouldn't be irreversibly damaged to a point of unplayability. Of course I'm speaking generally, and not about particular army lists. After playing Eldar for as long as I have, it is in my opinion that we do have this problem. Thankfully, the truly viable HQ choices we do have are awesome and definitely makes the Eldar codex competitive.

    Before my head gets taken off or I start to hear about the fluffy lists out there, my perspective is based entirely on tournament winning lists or lists built for winning a game, not to lose in style. If you're going to respond to my post and whine about how I have Eldrad in my list and no Storm Guardians, this isn't going to be a blog for you!

    To keep this particular article short, I'm going to cut right to the chase: farseers win all. So many Eldar players are upset that other armies are getting psychic powers that close to being on par with Eldar powers, but we still have the best psykers in the game by a long shot! The farseer units add both army wide utility and offensive power without having to actually be on the front lines. For example, a farseer can be left inside of a wave serpent and use his fortune power on units outside, or he can doom enemy units in much the same fashion, while units like Lysander or Marneus Calgar (sorry to pick on Marines, it's just that they're the army I'm most familiar with outside of Eldar) are only fully appreciated once they get into an assault.

    That being said, with farseers winning the day as far as HQ choices go, there is of course Eldrad Ulthran. Eldrad is truly a powerhouse of the 40K universe. He can cast 3 psychic powers per turn, 2 of which can be the same power (but not more than one shooting attack, remember that), and he has a stat line that makes him something to be respected in close quarters, along with his power weapon that always wounds on a 2+. The real strength behind Eldrad is definitely his ability to cast 2 of the same powers per turn. Powers like doom and fortune are nasty enough on their own, but when you can affect two units with it, there's trouble brewing for your enemy. Eldard is a must have in my opinion for any army list that is greater than 1500 points (anything 1500 points or smaller, you should really just use a regular farseer).

    When building a regular farseer for your army, there are a few basics to consider: what's his purpose and what will he be attached to? The typical build I like to run is Doom, Fortune, Spirit Stones, and Runes of Warding (if Eldrad isn't the list already). Runes of Witnessing are a waste and shouldn't be bothered with (while increasing the number of successfully cast powers, they also have a nasty side effect of causing more Perils results). Just like any other specialist unit in the Eldar army, build your farseer to suit your purposes. There's a myriad of different strategies for farseers, and maybe I'll write a more specific article in the future concerning this, but for now, I'd like to discuss the second choice for Eldar HQs, Autarchs.

    Autarchs are rather underwhelming as far as how much they bring to the table for the army. They're second to the farseers, and that's a pretty distant second. Despite their variety of build options, I definitely find it best to go as minimal as possible and to just use the Autarchs for their Master Strategist rule. Personally speaking, I prefer to run 2 farseers for my larger point games, but if you had a build that depends on reserving your entire army list every single match, then having an Autarch might be the choice for you, and it should be fairly apparent that I think Yriel is a waste of points by now as I prefer any Autarchs in my army to be stripped to bare essentials.

    As for the other HQ choices, I'll try to sum them up fairly quick.

    The Avatar is good for a fluffy build. He's a powerhouse to be feared, but only if he makes it across the board. He offers nothing else than being a monstrous creature with a melta gun and an invulnerable save. The fearless thing is neat, but not very practical as the trend of the 40K game is now all about mechanization, and the thought of foot slogging fearless guardians seems rather ridiculous to me. If I was playing against an Eldar list using an Avatar, I would just use my transports to move away from it and ignore it the whole game.

    Phoenix Lords are just a big travesty right now. They offer nothing to the army in terms of utility, partially because of the aspect themes and that any utility they would provide only apply to their particular aspect, and since there are a few aspects that just bite the dust in 5th edition, their Phoenix Lord counterparts do pretty much by default. The Phoenix Lords are essentially cut from an elfy version of a mold of the Lysander variety. Big, super-expensive power houses that only have their full potential appreciated in close quarters, but even then that's iffy. Take for example Asurmen: a true close combat contender. He can make mince meat of any target he sets his eyes on, and is almost as durable as a terminator with a storm shield, but he's a Dire Avenger aspect. I want those guys to stay as far away from close combat as possible! For as much as I want to berate every individual Phoenix Lord, I'll just close here with they need to be reworked thoroughly, are dramatically over-costed, and suck in the competitive bracket.

    In closing, farseers are definitely the way to go for your army, and Autarchs if you have a build that works around their Master Strategist rule (they don't offer a whole lot else). I know some may have a love for the Phoenix Lords, but they are so flawed that in my mind, they're unplayable, and Avatars should remain in fluff lists for now.

    As always, for true success with Eldar, use the units for what they're designed for.

    Next up, Troops choices!

    -Farseer Frank