The last entry (at least for now) in my “Avengers” line is for my Eldar Dire Avengers. Eldar were my first love, my first 40k army way back in the day when the aspect warriors first came out in White Dwarf # 127 (which I still have right here on my shelf!), circa 1990. (Damn, that’s over 20 years ago! That really makes me feel old...) As an Eldar player I tend toward a force heavy in aspects. I prefer infantry over vehicles and the colors and unique qualities of the aspect warriors really appeals to me – much like a team of multi-colored superheroes, each with their own set of powers and skill, a dazzling team that together out-matches the enemy. This is contrary to most Eldar armies I’ve seen—it seems almost everyone else prefers guardians and tanks and wraithguard/lords, or bikers and psykers. I like all these things too, as long as the bulk of my force is made up of aspect warriors. In fact, I recently came up with a 2000pt list that includes every aspect (including the johnny-come-lately Warp Spiders, who were not in the White Dwarf and therefore are not purist aspects, but not including the Shining Spears, though I do like both) and still has room for a lancer autarch on a bike leading guardian bikers and the Avatar! Someday soon I’ll use that list...
The Dire Avengers are one of my favorite aspects, even though, really, they’re one of the weakest in terms of specified punching power. But they make great troops for Eldar. I especially like the “noble warrior” feel of them, the crested helmets and the sleek shuriken catapults. I just really like them. For my boys, I wanted a Darth Vader, a look that said how elite and dangerous they are. So I went with black armor and used the aspect-specific blue in the details, and really like how that scheme worked. I actually painted these models a while ago and just added drybrushed highlights a few days ago (now that I know how). The black armor has grey highlights and though it’s hard to tell in these pics, the crests have light blue highlights brushed over darker blue plumage. The catapult color is a mix of mithril silver and shadow grey with a lighter silver and fenris grey drybrushing on the edges. (My highlights tend to be more subtle than is probably best for them – just can’t bring myself to go wild on the contrast.)
As much as I like them, in action my Avengers tend to let me down. Though they are supposed to be the “most flexible” of the aspects, really they’re primarily a shooty unit. Most times that I’ve tried to make them a combat team they’ve gotten their butts kicked. I’ve come to realize that exarchs have Defend and Shimmer Shields not to make them super combat units but to help make up for the fact that they are NOT. I suppose against impies and tau they’d kick butt, but short of that... Try to stay out of close combat. I always give my aspect units an exarch and the DAs get the max: both warrior powers (Bladestorm adds +1 shot each model in the squad for that phase, Defend takes away one attack from the enemy in melee) and usually the power weapon and shimmer shield combo (5+ invuln to whole unit in close combat). I had hoped to have some exarchs painted up for this entry but again, real life is leaving little time for hobby right now. Someday.
My final planned entry for my Avengers run was going to be a super squad of Marines, all colorful and badass, but no way I’m going to get all that painting done any time soon. My plan was/is to run an Honor Guard squad along side Pedro Kantor, each member being from a different chapter, all honorable liaisons from brother chapters, all of a different color scheme to give the unit that superhero feel. My Crimson Fist chapter master would be accompanied by a Black Templar (probably an Emperor’s Champion, using the chapter champ rules, wielding a big axe relic weapon), Space Wolf, White Scar, Dark Angel... who knows what else. Maybe a Blood Angel just for the color (though I do generally hate them—cheat’n’est damn codex in the game...), maybe a Salamander or an Imperial Fist... something else colorful at least. Actually I would be unlikely run such a squad very often, as it’s expensive: each honor guard model is 35 pts, but they’re vets with 2+ saves and power weapons, so pretty cool. (I generally stick Pedro with my sternguard squad, which he makes a scoring unit just for being on the list.)
(stolen from Marvel)
So that’s it for the Avengers series for now. I hope anyone reading it enjoyed it as much as I did! Maybe I’ll get my warp spiders painted in time for the Spider-Man movie? Or do something Dark Knight related...?