Saturday, 14 March 2015

Army Showcase: Craftworld Ulthwé

After tidying the house a few weeks ago, I decided to get my Eldar army out of the case and just take a visual audit of what I have painted to try and give me an idea of where I want to go with it in the future, Whilst doing this, I took a few photos too, which I would like to share with you.

My HQ section comprises of a Farseer, Eldrad and my converted Warlock and Autarch. I'm quite keen on having a Farseer lead my army, as the psychic powers really help with how I play. 7th Edition 40k also brought with it power dice, and as I wasn't that impressed with the ancient Warlock sculpts, I decided to build my own so that I could throw a couple of extra dice into the pool each psychic phase. I based these Warlocks on how they were described in the Path of the Eldar series, Warriors who hadn't quite reached the level of Farseer due to them still trying to control their war mask. As such, they are based on the Dire Avenger and Storm Guardian kits to get the desired look. The Autarch was converted to represent the "bargain basement" loadout of power sword and Avenger catapult, I've not used him very often as my thought process is to use him to control reserves and perhaps replace a Dire Avenger Exarch. Sadly, I don't usually run with reserves in a game, but I will probably look into it sometime in the future to try and break up my standard way of play and make it more interesting.

I've got quite a number of troop choices, Dire Avengers, Guardians, Rangers, Windriders, and (when I paint a better Spiritseer) the Wraithguard. It's because of these that I have never gone unbound with my army, Rangers are my favorite unit in the game (visually and fluff at least) and I always try and take Guardians to fit the background of the Ulthwé Craftworld. I have a couple of squads of Dire Avengers, but I usually take Guardians over them, I much prefer the versatility of the weapons platform and being able to take up to 20 at a time over the increased weapons range and armour save plus the Exarchs varying loadouts. The Jetbikes have been slightly converted to use the more modern Guardian body and also have a centrally underslung Shuriken Cannon. It's only a minor change, but it does give them a look which ties in better with the rest of the army.

My feelings on the Wraithguard have changed over time, at first I would always go with the Wraithcannons over the D-Scythes. But in more recent times, the usefulness of the flamer template in both attack and defence have meant that I lean towards those more these days. Especially when they are usually zooming around in a Wave Serpent.

When Ilic was revealed, I was so excited about the prospect of a Ranger character. Sadly, he hasn't lived up to my lofty expectations due to the sniper rule on his gun and my personal misfortune when it comes to 50/50 odds. When the Eldar codex is updated, I would like to see his points cost reduced to around 100 points to make him more enticing, but that may not be for a while yet. Despite this, I am a big fan of the model and will always look for an excuse to use him in bigger games.

I have Banshees. Banshees are terrible. But because of this, I want to make them work. I think I have used them in one game, where they were shot by Deep Striking Deathwing, failed their leadership test and ran off the table. A smaller squad of Wraithblades are more survivable and do more damage, and with the advent of the updated Harlequins they may be gathering dust for a bit longer. It's a shame, I don't like to see models reduced to obsolescence because of unfavorable rules.

The Fire Dragons are a recent addition, and I actually have a full squad of 10 (only half painted at the moment). In the fluff, I find them to be the most hilarious of the Aspect Warriors, all of the other shrines dedicate themselves to mastering combat of various kinds and utilising interesting weapons. Fire Dragons are given a Meltagun and told to run at the nearest tank. Luckily for them they do it very well. In an Apocalypse game they were one dice roll off taking a Baneblade down in one turn, and they are very good at holding the back line when Deathwing Terminators deepstrike into your back lines.

The Crimson Hunter was my first attempt at working with an airbrush, and it really sold one to me when it delivered the smooth finish I was looking for. However, this is another unit that I rarely use, the local scene doesn't really see a lot of flyers, and I see this unit as the Eldar anti-air solution, maybe I'll have to revisit the Hunter when it comes round to me looking at the Voidraven.

I have two Wraithknights, one with the standard Wraithcannon loadout, and the Ghostglaive one, which I decided to have a bit of fun with. I initially wanted the blades to be wrist mounted (think Pacific Rim) but in the end went with the reverse grip. Using a Wraithknight in close combat is not really that good I've found, he's more of a tarpit than a killing machine, but that may be down to my dice rolling. I do favour the wraithcannons more (despite them having a 50% hit ratio), combined with the quick movement, you can really take out enemy armour just by looking at it with this guy. I would like to eventually get one armed with a Suncannon to round out the options and also satisfy the conditions for the Dreamwalker formation.

The Wraithlord is the sad casualty of the introduction of the Wraithknight. This one is set up for the 5th Edition Codex with what was then twin-linked Scatter lasers, because if this, it's not that ideal in the current era. I would like to get another few Wraithlords with more appropriate equipment because I do still like them. They are still tough and only half the price of a Wraithknight, and those points can be spent elsewhere.

The Nightspinner has only been used in one game, I think it suffered from new model syndrome. It was  a joy to paint and I hope to use it in a game again. Unfortunately, it lives in the Heavy Support section, where a lot of the best options for the army live. I only rank it above the Falcon, not because it's bad, but because everything else is better. Which brings me to my personal choice for best unit in Heavy Support and best unit in the book, The Fire Prism. I painted this tank in a weekend, and frankly, it shows. But it is so good in the game I keep on using it. It is so versatile that it can be used to cover most weaknesses your army has. In the future, I will replace this guy and increase their number to five for Apocalypse insanity.

The Wave Serpent needs no introduction, but I have struggled to finalise a paint scheme that I am happy with. I think that I have finally found it though. The bone colour stripe along both sides I really like. I'm looking to get four of these, I think it is a nice round number without going to far into serpent spam territory, but I am planning on painting a heck of a lot of serpent chassis. I'd better get used to painting them quick.

Finally, the Hemlock. At first I hated this, then 7th Edition came, it got Psychic Shriek and I love it. With it just having Terrify, it didn't really live up to the background as depicted in the codex, but with Psychic Shriek, I think that it finally does. Why it never came with that in the first place boggles my mind. I tried to base the colour scheme off the artwork in the Codex, which is why I stained the cockpit blue and also gave it a blue wash which does give it a strange effect in certain lights.

That wraps up my army at the moment, I have more units waiting in the wings, along with Harlequins and the Dark Brethren, which should keep me busy until they drop some more Eldar goodies in the future.

Thanks for reading, I know it's been a long one.

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