War Walkers. An Eldar vehicle which is slightly more powerful than the Imperial Sentinel, but not by much. Able to take two heavy weapons and fire both while on the move.
I just bought three of them. They can be fielded in units of three, so that's good. The efficiency of them is terrifying, actually; picture three War Walkers all armed with Star Cannons. Each one fires two S6, AP2 Heavy 3 weapons, meaning six shots each, eighteen in total. That's a LOT of shots that can take down Space Marines with little trouble. If, at BS3, they can land 50% of those shots, they'll hit six time. Then they'll likely wound 5 out of 6 (S6 wounds on a 2). In one turn that's half a fully loaded Tac/Assault/Devastator squad. If there's a Farseer casting Fortune on them (which allows them to re-roll their misses), that's another 3 hits, which will kill 2 - 3 more marines. That's just freakin' staggering. Load them up with Bright Lances and do the same thing to tanks. Six S8 shots (which reduce all armor to 12) on the nose of a Land Raider or a Leman Russ? Again, three will it. At least one will penetrate. Put a Farseer in the mix and, well... you get the idea.
The down side is that the War Walkers are slow (6") per turn, have armor 10 on all sides and no fancy upgrades (like holo-field or whatever). In short, if they step out of cover to shoot at something they had better kill it before it can shoot back.
I have two main problems with the War Walker though. These problems have kept me from really getting into them as a Heavy Support choice in my army. First of all, the casting is pure ass. I don't know what Games Workshop's problem with the molds are, but all I can say is that the casting is terrible. There's huge flash on the model (which isn't hard to remove) and great, thick casting lines (which is a little harder to remove), many of which go straigh through textured or ribbed areas of the model (which makes them impossible to remove without destroying the textured or ribbed area). This bugs me. I'm already somewhat resentful of having to file and sand out casting lines as it is, but when they cross an area that I can't file then my model looks crappy and there's nothing I can do about it.
Alright, that being said: I can live with it. I can.
The other thing I don't like is this: Check out the stupid looking Guardian model they have piloting the thing. I don't know the history of GW models like the back of my hand, but this guy was obviously put together sometime during second ed Warhammer 40K, so he has that goony conehead helmet, the big nasty teeth and bug eyes. God, he looks bad. The new Guardian models are great (that one is one of my Guardians I put together ages ago: Poorly painted, but the model is cool). What's more, the guy is sitting down (the old, OLD War Walkers at least had cone-head standing up). It just looks stupid when the rest of the Guardians look so fantastic.
So I decided to create my own Guardian pilot. I considered just lopping off the head of the old Guardian pilot and replacing it, but that was too hard. I tossed the entire pilot and the seat he was in and started fresh. I used a standard Guardian helmet and torso (complete with big backpack and all). I also added two tiny "searchlight"-like doo-dads you find on the standard Guardian sprue, but almost never see used. I put them right on his shoulders. I did do some converting to the helmet, making it smooth and featureless (this pertains to my DIre Avengers, which I'll discuss another time).
For the rest of him I used the legs and arms from the Jetbike pilot model. I also tore the bottom strut off a Jetbike and turned it on its end so he could stand on it (the footrests fell in the appropriate place). After that, I removed the Jetbike handlebars and reversed them, glued them to two of the flagpoles that are used for... er... hanging flags of course (only I clipped off the pointy end part). Affixed a Dire Avenger tabard to him, put the whole thing right on the War Walker, and there you have it: A new pilot for the War Walker.
Painted and based the War Walker, of course, and guess what? I no longer hate this model! In fact, my buddy says he wants some of them in his own army. I'm flattered!
I am also in the habit of doing something else you'll hear me talk a lot about: Instead of gluing weapons in place, I have used Rare Earth Magnets acquired from Lee Valley Tools in Ottawa. They're 1/8", so they're quite small (about 1/3 or less the size of the eraser on the end of a pencil). Using Green Stuff modeling epoxy, I mount magnets in both the vehicle and the weapon itself. I can then pop weapons on or off as I please, depending on how I outfit the vehicle. War Walker, Falcon, Wave Serpent, Wraithlord, Anti-Grav Support Weapon Platforms, Vypers... you name it. They all have the magnets and they all really benefit from it. I'll go more into detail about this later sometime.
So now I have one completed War Walker and a clear idea of how to outfit the next two. I'm pretty happy about this.
Regarding the base: I do all my bases the same, so I'll explain now how it's done and not repeat it later.
1. Paint the base Goblin Green.
2. Use watered-down PVA glue on the surface.
3. Cover it with Games Workshop sand.
4. If desired, grab some rocks from the driveway, wash them, then glue them on as well.
5. Once dry, seal it with more-watered-down PVA glue.
6. Wash in undiluted Brown Ink.
7. Once dry, dry-brush with Bleached Bone.
8. Add a few blobs of PVA glue and dip in a bag of Static Grass.
Here are the pics. I haven't finished the shading and the gems, but you can easily see what I'm up to by checking this out:
I'm happy enough with this that I won't likely bitch about the casting lines that go right through the ribbed parts of the legs... but don't push me on the subject.