Hobby Update – Wood Elves, Dwarves and Beastmen

  • Edit: somehow I managed to unpublish this post so apologies if you’ve already seen this
  • It’s been a while since I posted and now I have 3 different painting updates (and apologies for a couple of paragraphs of me going on). You’d be forgiven for thinking I have spare time on my hands since the lockdown. Sadly I’m not one of those people. This time of year is always quiet on the hobby front as it’s our year end and audit so involves long hours. Covid, combined with having to actually look after your child (rather than just packing them off to a child minder) just exasperated this. I rather like this meme, which I think sums it up nicely:

    An exceptionally pregnant wife didn’t help matters. On a positive note, I still have a job and a number of friends don’t. This situation sucks in a large way.

    On an even more positive note, I now have a son to hopefully rope into the hobby and leave my stuff to!

    Was a little out of practice, the 1 hand hold is now back in effect!

    The bummer is they were in hospital for 3 days and bar the two hour slot after delivery, I wasn’t able to see them.


    Wood Elves

    I’ll start with these. I actually finished these guys back in March but I didn’t think they warranted an individual post. A further twelve 4th edition wood elf spearmen. These were painted up to match the original 16 that I had from back when they were first released (and the first wave of reinforcements painted a year or 2 back). I’m still eking out the last remnants from my Hex pot of Warlock Purple (some heathens have argued it’s fuchsia pink) and that formed the basis of the cloaks. I still need to contemplate the shields (which I do have) but that’s some way off. I also have some original banners that were sold back in the day (and transfers) that could be used.

    These models have come to me in various ways, a few bargains from ebay and a thanks to one of my club mates (Steve Mc) who also passed a number my way. It takes me up to 29 of these (including the 3 command), encompassing all the different rank and file sculpts released and if necessary I can bulk them out with 10 of the latest eternal guard models if I want to field them in a larger unit (though aesthetically i’m not sure about mixing them).


    How they play.

    In the game, I’ll more than likely use these as Eternal Guard (the 8th edition rules iteration). These guys are 11pts a model (12 with the obligatory shield) and come with spears and light armour as standard. This gives them a 5+ save which in 8th is pretty poor but is also about the best you get in the core units for the wood elf army. That tells a story!

    They are very comparable to both High elf and Dark elf spearmen but with a couple of notable differences. They have a higher weapon skill (5 vs 4) this puts them on par with elite units (so makes it easier to hit, especially when combined with their always strike first and potential re-rolls to hit). They also get leadership 9 (vs 8 for their kindred). On it’s own, this is nice but when you combine it with their other special rule: Stubborn (always take break tests on the unmodified leadership) they are unlikely to ever run. They also get the same 25pt magic standard allowance (like their High and Dark kindred) so you can easily boost this to LD 10 with the standard of discipline, ensuring they really won’t go anywhere (bar the most unlucky rolling).

    Damage wise they are only strength 3 elves, so as standard they will struggle to wound tougher opponents but they do have the almost universal armour piercing rule (that the whole army gets) so they will at least reduce an opponents save by one point if they wound. They also get a unique bonus when fighting in forests (very fluffy considering). They gain the Forest Stalker rule if half the unit is within a forest. This basically gives you one each of the High Elf and Dark Elf special rules.

    High Elf: Fight with an additional rank (so you would get to attack with 4 ranks if you were fielding a unit from 1-9 models wide (1 normal supporting attack from the 2nd rank, 1 additional from the 3rd rank from spears and one from the 4th rank for the high elf martial prowess equivalent). If you field them in horde formation, you could then also get an attack from the 5th rank. This could be a frightening number of attacks.

    Dark Elf: They can re-roll all to wound rolls of 1. OK so they are still only strength 3 so if facing just other armies infantry they will normally need a 4+ or 5+ to wound but when you can bank on the majority of the attacks to hit, you should be rolling a large number of ‘to wound’ dice and this just ups the odds of doing damage. Anyone who has faced dark elves will know how often this comes up.


    This was actually something that I completed very recently (together with the next item), both within a 2 day period waiting for the missies to get out of hospital.

    It is a Beastmen Herdstone. This particular one, was part of the Zealot Miniatures Minotaur Kickstarter I backed (and am finally getting round to paint!) and came out just before GW finally decided to release their own.


    How it plays?

    The herdstone is a 50pt enchanted item that is placed on the table within your deployment zone at the start of the game. It cannot be destroyed by any means and for the remainder of the game, any friendly wizard within 6″ will generate an automatic additional power dice on every one of their magic phases. This item leans your list building towards taking multiple wizards, normally a level 4 backed up by 2 lesser mages (levels 1 or 2) as at the start of the game you will all be in range and thus generating 3 additional dice, on top of the normally chance on a 6+ or generating additional dice anyway. In a game where the magic dice can vary between 2 and 12 (2D6), this can be huge and basing a list round this strategy is one of the recognised competitive beastmen lists (in an army generally rated in the bottom three army books for competitive rankings)


    The final item completed was a Dwarf Gyrocoptor/bomber. I built this following a now lost guide, so that it can be fielded as either of the kit options. I used the same colour scheme as my other Gyros completely, in the now familiar (to anyone who’s seen my armies) green and warlock purple. What can I say but I do love that colour combo but no other armies will be forthcoming in this scheme. You heard it hear first!


    Group shot of the air combat arm

    What it has made me realise, is how much I really dislike that other gyro. It was an original finecast model, back when it was first released and its fecking horrible. It is everything that made players detest that medium. Not just the crap material and horrible casting but it never held paint well, even after washing it first. I’m am close to buying another Gyro kit, just so I can bin the older model. Thankfully GW upped their game and the more recent finecast I’ve bought feels like a completely different material.

    How do they play?

    Gyrocoptors are all kinds of awesome. Possibly the single greatest unit that dwarves can bring in 8th. For just 80pts you get a flyer with 2 weapon skill 4, strength 4 (boosted to 5 on a turn it charges), initiative 2 attacks (which in fairness is just a bonus as you don’t really want it in combat). It is toughness 5 with 3 wounds and a 4+ save, which makes it about the toughest harrassing/chaff unit in the game.

    For me, the key to this units versatility and strength is its fly ability. In an army with a universal movement of 3″(!), the ability to move 10″ or march 20″ can’t be understated. It plugs a glaring hole with the army. It also gets swiftstride due to the fly rule so flees and pursues on 3D6 rather than the normal 2D6.

    It comes as standard with a steam gun, a strength 3, armour piercing gun that uses the flame template. This thing can be brutal though it can’t be used if you march.

    Thankfully it comes with a one use ‘Dive bomb’ rule that can. This is useful for the first turn of movement when you march move and fly over an opponents lines dropping your ordnance. It causes an artillery dice rolls worth of automatic hits (that do between 2-10 hits), which again are strength 3 armour piercing. If a misfire is rolled you take an automatic wound with no save allowed. Dive bomb is just a handy additional bonus to use as you move into position.

    You can also upgrade (for 20pts) half the ‘coptors in your army to get vanguard. This allows a free 12″ move just after deployment. It does prevent you from charging in the first turn but does potentially allow you to get over the opponents lines quicker to harass warmachines etc. and you can still drop bombs. It also might give you the ability to use your steam gun in you first turn (on top of the bomb drop) without the danger of being charged. The question is whether it’s worth 20pts? It probably is but I always struggle to spare the points.

    The other weapon option (Brimstone gun) is a free upgrade that replaces the steam gun but is pretty terrible so don’t ever take it. It gives D3 strength 5, flaming, dwarf crafted, quick to fire, armour piercing, flaming attacks with an 18″ range. This has a plethora of special rules. It differs from the steam gun in so far as, you can stand and shoot with it and there is no penalty to moving and firing. I have a number of issues with this gun option:

    • Attacks: it has D3 attacks, D3. If it had a fixed 3 attacks it might (and thats a huge might), be worth considering. The template option can take out whole swaths of opposing units. It’s just better in almost every way.
      Hitting: with a Ballistic skill of 3 and the multiple shots rule giving minus 1 to hit (no matter how many shots you fire), you will hit on a 5+ at best or 6 if over 9″ away (or worse if your target is in cover or imposes a further to hit modifier). That is terrible odds for such a low number of attacks (especially considering the template automatically hits).
    • Strength: you can get similar or better strength attacks with so much else in the army.

    I cannot conceivably think of a scenario where the Brimstone Cannon is better.

    Gyrobombers are a rare choice and cost 125pts. It shares the same statistics as the Gyrocoptor (though it always felt like it should have an extra wound), so is fairly tough. Where it differs is in its armament and the question is, are these worth the additional 45pts.

    The secondary weapon is the clattergun. This is similar to the Brimstone gun but loses a pip of strength (4 vs 5) and flaming but makes up for it by gaining a 6″ range (24″ vs 18″) and a fixed 4 shots. Again you will be hitting on a 5+ at best. The thing is, it will be unlikely you will fire it most turns anyway, as you will primarily be moving at maximum speed in order to make the most of its main rule/use:

    Bombing run. This is similar in effect to the Gyrocoptors Dive bomb but can be used every turn. If you move over a unit, you can drop a bomb on a single target. You place the large 5″ template on the unit (one of the very few times you use this size outside of boosted spells) and then roll to scatter and damage in the same way as a stonethrower.

    Any model covered, suffers a strength 3, armour piercing hit (with the model covered by the centre hole suffering a Strength 6 AP hit with D3 wounds). After resolving the damage roll a D6 and on a 4+ you get a secondary explosion. Roll a scatter dice again (though if it scatters use a D6) and place the smaller 3″ template. Anything covered is hit using the same rules as before.

    The ability to get an extra template is an added bonus but could easily amount to nothing unless you are facing masses ranks of troops.

    I want to really like the Bomber. Using the large template is almost unprecedented in this edition and is what keeps drawing me back. I’ve used it in several games but to little effect. The main issue is it becomes a target very quickly and although tough, it’s not very survivable if it suffers focussed fire (it’s why it feels like it needs an additional wound). You also often end up comparing it to the grudgethrower and with that you can run it up to reroll the scatter dice or artillery dice (to make it more accurate and less likely to misfire respectively) and also boost that (3″) templates strength to 4 for the basic hits and 10 (with D6 wounds) for the centre circle. Yes it costs more points but it is more reliable.

    That said, I think there is a place for the bomber but it has to be fielded in a ‘royal air force’. By that I mean with at least 2 bombers and 2-3 Gyrocoptors. With so many threats (combined with others in the army) your opponent will have been saturated with targets (it’s similar to the monster mash) and so you should be able to make the most of them.


    7 thoughts on “Hobby Update – Wood Elves, Dwarves and Beastmen

    1. Well, you are having a busy time! 🙂 I need to get these in the right order:
      1) congratulations on the arrival of the littl’un! Hope you’re all safe and well!
      2) congratulations on getting that gyrocopter painted – it looks spot on!
      I think I got that right!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Wow, you’ve had a busy time. Congratulations on the birth of your son, of course.

      That’s some great painting work you’ve done. The pink just stands out so well on both the Elves and the Gyrocopters that it was a wise choice of army colour. Te only thing bugging me is the bases on the Elves – you really need to go back and tidy up all the flock that is falling down the sides of the them and off the main surface.

      Liked by 1 person

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