Thursday, February 11, 2010

Air Support!

The Valkryie/Vendetta is one of those rare birds that's both a beautiful kit and an extreme joy to use on the battlefield. Of all the Forge World designs to mass-produce, GW certainly hit it out of the park on this one, although at $50+ it's sort of cost-prohibitive. (thank God for eBay)
I won't bore you with pictures of the stock kit, since you've already seen a million of those by now. What I will flash up here is the Vendetta conversion: (as always, click to enlarge)
There are magnetized hardpoints on the wings and wingtips, as well as on the body for the landing gear. I mounted searchlights on the wingtips over the old landing gear wells, which are, of course, still magnetized.

I don't like the idea of an aircraft putting all its weight on wingtip gear, and the four landing gear that FW designed the Valkyrie with just don't make sense to me. (especially that thing under the nose) If this thing lands in mud, that nose-pad is going to get stuck, fast, so we did away with that. I kept the tiny zep gear intact in the back, lengthening it a bit, and moved the wing gear under the body, so it's a bit more solid, now. The Lascannon mounts are made from good ole' heavy weapons team lascannons, mounted together with bits of sprue:

With a lascannon mounted in the fuselage on either side of the nose, we're ready to shoot down those nasty Wave Serpents with their force fields and lance weapons. Of course, if we need another Valkyrie, it turns into one:
But the magnets skew things, dammit. Really I only use those wingtip mounts when he gets mounted on his flying base (realistically, they'd retract up into the body, of course). I also detailed the inside, but left out the gunners. My Guard are a Skitarii regiment, so we auto-target those heavy bolters from inside. I keep forgetting to put mechanized servitor torsos in before I glue the roof on, though, but who's going to look inside anyway?
If I was going to enter one of these in some kind of competition, I'd go back and use some surgical tools to add some kind of servitor to the pintle mounting inside. Looking at Cool Mini or Not and sites like that, I doubt these would even place. Of course, if I were making a model specifically for a competition, I'd have gone that extra mile from the word "go", complete with dry-transfer aircraft decals instead of my hand-painted scrawl. Of course, I would have also weathered it with stippling instead of directional brushing, as well as the chipped-metal effect to the leading edges. A real Mechanicus craft would had an armored cockpit with cameras instead glass, too, I suppose. 
I was originally going to magnetize the base as well, but I wanted the grip to be extra-solid, so I decided to go with pins instead. These are thick paper clips cut with tin-snips, and it grips the model quite well. I don't know how they intended to mount it otherwise, because that translucent stalk-part doesn't clip well into the plastic mount for the helo. Both of my bases are like this, and I've never had a problem with the model slipping off or tipping over. For some reason, I've yet to detail the bases with materials. Maybe it's because the helos travel too fast, so the ground beneath them is constantly changing anyway? 
You will probably never see a Super Valkyrie like this carrying missile pods and anti-armor lascannons, unless someone makes an Apocalypse sheet for one. Both of Forge World's helos are woefully underarmed. Modern helicopters like the AH-64 Apache and heavier Mi-24 Hind carry two pylons per wing in addition to a nose/turret cannon (the Apache gun tracks with the gunner's helmet, too. Way cool!). That's sixteen anti-armor Hellfires or four multi-rocket pods, in addition to the wingtip struts, which can mount one anti-aircraft Sidewinder. I guess I'm spoiled by mechanical designers like Masamune Shirow, who think their tanks and things out a little more. 40k is supposed to be a dark future of slow technological decline, but come on. 
Here's a teaser-image for future posts. Damn you, Dave Taylor. Your army in that White Dwarf article made me fall in love with the Mechanicus, and gave birth to this Guard army. I really should mount those heavy weapons teams on proper bases, but no one I've play has cared. From that distance 50+ infantry doesn't look like a lot, but then this edition of 40k is better for vehicles than foot hordes anyway. 


Robin said...

To be fair, the Valkyrie and Vendetta are both troop carriers as much as gunships. A fairer comparison would be to the Vulture, which sports a fancy chin turret AND two lovely hardpoints per wing - or a pair of ridiculous huge gatling guns.

#2501 said...

The Mi-24 Hind is also a troop carrier, having enough room inside for an infantry squad. They still have (and still do) used them as gunships, and rightly so.

I have a real problem with those wing-mounted Punishers, as they would A) make the aircraft buck like crazy, as vulcans do and B) probably rip themselves clear of the wing pylons, if not cause some serious stress fractures. Also C) every time an A-10 fires its single vulcan, it slows the plan waaaaaay down. Fire two and you'll probably stall out (admittedly, not a concern on a hovering VTOL). They look freaking cool, however. If I were to build one, I'd mount the guns on the body, but that's me.

Mordian7th said...

Looking good! I like what you've done with the landing gear - that's a nice touch.

I look forward to seeing more of the Ad-Mech as well, I'm always looking for inspiration for my own Explorator force!

Keep up the great work!

RonSaikowski said...

Very nice.
I want a pair of these myself now.

Losferwords said...

Holy crap! That is one awesome IG Army. Great job, man.

Col. Corbane said...

Outstanding army mate, I'm very envious. I really need to paint up my own valk.

#2501 said...

Thanks guys! The Valk takes a little longer than usual to get started, modeling wise, (at least, for me) but is a nice piece and a satisfying build. I had to go order custom battlefoam to transport them, though, otherwise they'd never leave the workshop.