Over the Christmas Break I like to give myself a longer project. Regular visitors will have already seen that I polished off the Imperial Knights force, but I also wanted to do a completely new army.
I had been playing with Secret Army 1, but ran into trouble with the paint scheme; I tried two different ones and am not happy with either. So, I switched completely, ordered a bunch of models from the local store, and set about to return to an army I last played years ago – Craftworld Eldar!
I even returned to the paint scheme I used way back when, only slightly modified, based around deep purple and black for a custom craftworld I call Altsain. And this is what I ended up with after two weeks;
When I first did Eldar in this scheme, I used Warlock Purple with purple ink for the base, helmets and vehicle panels were black and weapons were gold. For the purple this time round, I switched to GW’s new base and wash paints – and found while they covered the model more evenly, they did not offer quite so much definition in, for example, the panel gaps on the vehicles. Still not 100% happy with how that has turned out.
For the weapons and helmets, I went with Coat d’Arms Linen with the Magic Goop, to suggest ageing wraithbone. The helmets work well with this colour and a black face plate (with red eyes), far better than my original black, as the head/face provides a highlight for the whole model. I retained the gold on many of the ‘blisters’ that pop up on armour and vehicles.
The sharp-eyed among you will realise that the two Guardian Squads above are not complete, as neither numbers ten men. These models were ‘overspill’ from some £1 eBay auctions I nabbed while building up the force and were not part of my original 1,500 point force. I have since grabbed some more Guardians from eBay and will be fleshing these guys out and adding a Wave Serpent to carry them around the battlefield.
These are the Guardians I went with for my initial force, and they seem to be an odd choice as few Eldar players I have seen use the close combat Storm Guardians. My thinking here was that these were the only Troops choice in the army that could sport flamers, and two of them at that – fighting Dark Eldar all the time, I am quite keen on getting flamer templates to lie across open-topped vehicles!
Their Wave Serpent mounts Scatter Lasers as they a) are powerful enough to worry AV10 vehicles (Dark Eldar) and b) pretty much guarantee the Shuriken Cannon and Serpent Shield re-roll all misses. I also added the Ghostwalk Matrix and Holo-Fields (pretty much as standard on all floaty vehicles in this army) so I can sit happily in terrain and take advantage of improved cover saves.
The second Troops choice was a squad of Dire Avengers. Not completely happy with the way the blue turned out on them (Ultramarines Blue with blue ink, drybrushed Ultramarines Blue to bring the colour back out), but I am quite happy with their potential on the battlefield. They will quite happily outshoot Dark Eldar Warriors, and you always have the Exarch inside to bring a couple of surprises to the party (I went with the Diresword). The Wave Serpent is identical to that of the Guardians.
The third Troops choice had to be Jetbikes, to rub the Dark Eldars’ nose in the fact that they are not Fast Attack, if nothing else. The Shuriken Cannon means this unit can hunt down infantry or light vehicles, as it sees fit.
And they are led by this chap. I picked up the Farseer on Jetbike conversion kit from Chapterhouse Studios, and it works very well. The pieces arrived a little bent, but two minutes under a hot tap sorted them out. It is a dangerous thing to have the Farseer in the only ‘exposed’ unit in the army, but I have methods in my madness. First of all I am, of course, hoping to roll Fortune for his psychic powers, thus allowing me to re-roll Jinks and Armour saves – that alone will make the unit much more survivable. The next step is to put a Warlock on a Jetbike too, so they get the benefit of Conceal.
I won’t be doing the Seer Council on Jetbikes – my Filthhammer combos (as a reader once put them) only go so far.
The current 1,500 point set up only allows for a single outflanking War Walker (with Shuriken Cannon), but I painted up three to give me options later on. They all have Scatter Lasers, for the same reason as the Wave Serpents, with a choice of Shuriken Cannon, Star Cannon and Bright Lance to be paired with them. These models are, incidentally, a pain to put together as everything ‘moves’ (there are no static parts aside from the cockpit) and then a pig to paint as there are a lot of nooks and crannys. I may not do any more War Walkers because of this…
Finally, my pride and joy of the army – the three Crimson Hunters, including an Exarch (incidentally, during our first game Alan did, in fact, ask which one was the Exarch was – anyone care to take a guess from the picture above?). These take up a large chunk of the army in points, and will be the first things to get swapped out to try list variations, but they look seriously cool.
They did, however, take the longest to paint, simply because I was at first using Crimson Gore and then Coat d’Arms Vampire Red as the base coat – and it just would not take, leaving streaky brush marks all over the place (the Exarch was fine…). In the end, there are something like five or six base coats on these fighters and while I am not completely happy with them, they stand up well to scrutiny at distances of a couple of feet or more.
First Army List
So, my first 1,500 point army list looked something like this;
Farseer: Singing Spear, Jetbike, Spirit Stone
Storm Guardians x 10 : Flamer x 2, Wave Serpent (Scatter Lasers, Shuriken Cannon, Ghostwalk Matrix, Holofield)
Dire Avengers x 10: Exarch (Diresword, Disarming Strike, Shield of Grace), Wave Serpent (Scatter Lasers, Shuriken Cannon, Ghostwalk Matrix, Holofield)
Windrider Jetbikes x 9: Shuriken Cannon x 3
War Walker: Scatter Laser
Crimson Hunter Exarch: Marksman’s Eye
With this army all painted up, I gleefully told Alan to bring his Dark Eldar for a game, but neglected to tell him what he was fighting (what has fairness got to do with it).
We played to five turns, with Alan using a typical Dark Eldar set up – two units of Warriors Deepstriking in Raiders with Splinter Wracks, 6 Reaver Jetbikes, the Cronos/Talos/Haemonculus formation he has grown fond of lately, and a couple of Ravagers. oh, and a Succubus leading Incubi on a Venom.
A few lessons were learned;
1. The entire Dark Eldar army did not simply melt away on the first turn, as I had envisaged.
2. Alan is very good with Jinking on his Ravagers when attacked by Crimson Hunters.
3. But Serpent Shields are very good at blasting past Jinking Raiders.
4. Don’t throw Jetbikes right into the heart of the battle, even if they have a Farseer with them. Warriors with Splinter Racks have enough dice to hurt them (though they did survive three turns of continuous fire like this before going down).
5. Storm Guardians may well be able to catch the Dark Eldar Incubi and Succubus, blast them out of the Venom, and then reduce them to just two models. But those two models will seriously mess the Guardians up in close combat (the Guardians ended up fleeing, leaving the Dark Eldar trapped between a War Walker and Wave Serpent, so it worked out right in the end).
6. Crimson Hunters are very good at forcing Ravagers to Jink. However, a Jinking Ravager is quite happy to shoot at flyers because it makes no difference to the dice rolls…
The Craftworld Eldar did not really get any traction for the first couple of turns. I could say it was partly down to dice rolls, and that would be gtrue, but mostly it was my own inexperience with the force. The Crimson Hunters and Wave Serpents took on the brunt of the work during the battle, which is fine, but it meant units like the Dire Avengers were largely wasted. They ended up finishing off a Dark Eldar Warriors squad huddled in a crater, then grabbing an objective – fine, but they could have done more. Sorting out the Succubus and Incubi, for example, which they could likely have done far quicker and with less casualties than the Guardians.
Still, that was just the first game, and I am looking forward to getting back into Eldar-mode.
Naturally, I have already started to gather new units for the army. On my painting desk at the moment is a Vyper with a Bright Lance I pinched for £2 (seriously!) off eBay and a Night Spinner (was going to go Prism Cannon, until I realised the focussed blast of its weapons was a Torrent template), along with two units of Dark Reapers and Maugan Ra (more cheap eBay wins). I also have another Wave Serpent sitting on the shelf, waiting its turn.
They will all appear here as soon as they are done, along with details of more battles they fight!