Tips on Collecting Eldar

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Yriel of Iyanden

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The following is my work in progress as a guide for a brand new player whose first act of taking on a craftworld is buying the army box. Once this topic is completed and my personal photos added- I am hoping this will serve as an introductory thread- enjoy! - Yriel

Opening your army box

[gal_img]1025[/gal_img]Do you really need instructions on opening your battle box? Okay then…remove the plastic wrapping…lift the box from…
Okay, just kidding. Still, here is a couple of tips:
  • Have a pen and a spare box ready. I'd recommend a plastic box with a lid, or you can steal one of mom's Tupperware boxes. This will be your bits box, so label the box ";Bits Box- DO NOT THROW AWAY"; or something similarly threatening. The laymen aren't aware that plastic sprues are hidden gold for us wargaming ilk you know.
  • Take the Eldar codex, and write your name on the inside cover in permanent ink. Keep this in a memorable location, this codex will be your textbook, best friend, and inspiration for some time to come, be good to it and it will be good to you!
  • DO NOT OPEN ALL OF THE BOXES AT THE SAME TIME. The boxes have an array of extra weapons and pieces that you'll throw in your bits box. Opening all of your boxes at the same time might cost you a clear flying base, or worse, a clear canopy which are small and difficult to see, and the pilots with the slick-back hair will be very upset if they have to fly at breakneck speed without a canopy, it will ruin their perfect Eldar hair!

Modeling your army

Start off with the easiest kits to assemble- the Banshees and Fire Dragons. There isn't a whole lot to build- mostly just gluing the models into slotta bases, and attaching the odd arm here and there. Use a hobby knife and a fine file to remove any bits of flash, or flatten mold lines. You'll notice that Exarchs have a couple of different arms for wargear options- keep them all and throw what you aren't going to be using in the bits box.
For the plastic kits, use a sprue cutter or hobby knife to free up just what you intend to model and paint. Some of the extra bits like tassles, or fins on the waithlord can easily snap or get lost once free of the sprue- just trim off the sections of sprue that have no more pieces on them, or if you are up for some scratch-builds or conversions, keep it all.
For larger, more complex model kits like the Falcon and Wraithlord- I prefer keeping the sprues intact while I prime and paint, but this is personal preference. You may find it easier to paint the Falcon/Vyper's pilots on the sprues before setting them in the cockpit, which is why I prefer this method.
You'll notice a TON of weapons options, especially in the plastic kits. Magnetizing is a great idea if you can do it, and there are some good articles here and on the internet on how to do this to allow for multiple configurations. I'll write this article from the viewpoint that we aren't magnetizing at this time. For the Eldar Heavy weapon, simply avoid gluing the weapon barrel down. It's that easy. Just assemble the platform and shield, so you can always change out the heavy weapon as necessary. If you are looking at multiple weapon options for the Falcon, don't glue the shuriken catapults in place, just snap them into the rotating ring. It's very easy to snap in the shuricannon as you need it. The falcon kit now comes with all the weapon options, plus a few weapon side shields. What I do is use a small amount of glue just to glue the hole in the gun barrel to the matching hole in the side shield, and set this aside to dry. I'll do three weapons, normally a scatter laser, a shuriken cannon, and a starcannon- these are your optimum options for your falcon, and you'll find that once the gun and side shield are dry- you can slide them onto and off the Falcon's turret arm fairly easily.
The wraithlord is a little trickier to keep options available- I would definitely magnetize this if you can, but if you can't- try a razor thin sliver of fun tack on the tabs at the bottom of each weapon. Don't apply too much- it can get really messy as you change out weapons, and after a while the fun tack will get dry and brittle. After a while you'll probably want to glue things you know you'll take each time out (like 2 flamers) permanently on.
Now for your Autarch, I recommend a simple conversion that will require some pieces from the other kits. Itook the dragon's breath (heavy flamer) from the fire dragon boxed set, and trimmed the shoulder off. If you do this carefully the arm should fit pretty snug underneath the Autarch's arm. The Dragon's breath looks very similar to a fusion gun as it is, but if you want a more convincing fusion gun simply round off and shorten the barrel with a good file. For mobility I dug into my bits box and found a warp jump generator fan old Spider exarch, and trimmed the bannerpole backpack to fit into the top cavity (I did this conversion before the release of the Scorpion/Spider Autarch, which is the easier way to go now that they are available.). If you are brand new to Eldar and the army box is your first (and only) purchase at this point, the lists I detail below use the standard Autarch with the simple fusion gun conversion.

Painting your Army

Disclaimer: I'll be the first to tell you I'm no expert painter, but I'm an experienced painter. I've painted well over 1,000 models in 15 years of gaming, and while I never have any hope of winning a painting competition, I do know how to paint up units fast and clean to give the overall army a clean look that may lose some detail up close.
Start with the easiest, simplest models first. I recommend the guardian heavy weapon platform. Prime your models white for cleaner, crisper colors, or black if you don't mind a dull look (or are playing Ulthwe'!). White is less forgiving on missed spots and detail, but more rewarding as you start to improve your painting skills. You'll want to paint a single model first. This will give you an idea of the degree of time and detail you are able to/willing to spend on your models, as well as serving as a test for your color scheme. Stick with two primary colors at first, and the number one rule of painting your first Eldar model isAPPLY THIN LAYERS OF PAINT. Avoid the common new painter error of gobbing paint on your brush and dabbing it on the model for coverage- it ruins the model's details and makes it harder for you to strip or recoat later (which you will likely want to do as your skills improve).
Also- you'll probably want to avoid painting eyes, waystones, and fine detail for now, this will spare you some initial disappointment, as your first set of eyes (especially if you modeled a guardian without a helmet) tend to look squirrely. Just stick to your two main colors for now, and ask a LOT of questions to your local GW Definition: Games Workshopor hobby store staff, many of whom will spend the time teaching you valuable painting techniques. Even total strangers who have nicely painted mini's are generally more than willing to help- they painted nice looking models in hope that their nice looking models will one day battle your nice looking models- and guys like me hate having to put the camera away for a battle including painted models versus primer and plastic.
Work your way through the guardians, and Dire Avengers first, then try the more detailed Fire Dragons, and test your painting skills on the Vyper. The last two units I recommend painting from the army box are the Howling Banshees and the Falcon. The Howling Banshees have a very delicate and intricate appearance, and the models are spectacular, so maybe save the girls until you have become comfortable and confident. Be prepared to spend extra time on the Autarch and Exarchs- as they have additional detail and built-in dynamic bases.
Take lots and lots of breaks in between painting your units. And not just breaks of a few hours- I'm talking days. You may be in a hurry to paint everything up and play- but remember your $250 investment, and the impression of the sculpted models when you opened the boxes. Take breaks to play games, even proxied games, rest your eyes, eat a burrito, all that good stuff. A tired set of eyes and tired hands will only help to ruin those beautiful models.
Finally, don't varnish your models until you are ABSOLUTELY satisfied with the results. And I mean ABSOLUTELY. This means you may end up spending extra time touching up chipped paint jobs- but I look at those as opportunities to continue to perfect your skill. Once you love your color scheme, and you can paint a waystone or an eye without too much trouble, then it might be time to apply your clear finish.

Playing your first games

Maybe at this point you've only finished a handful of models, but I bet you're eager to try all this stuff out! Good! Grab your mini's and seek out a game of Combat Patrol. Combat Patrol is designed to be played in just under an hour- but if you're brand new to the game, allow yourself extra time- 2 hours should be plenty.
As the rulebook recommends, your first few games should be at the 400 point or Combat Patrol level. Combat Patrol is wickedly fun for any level of gaming experience- it includes special rules to prevent the game from being imbalanced (like no 2+ saves, ordnance, etc.) I recommend sticking with these rules and making your opponents do the same- CP just isn't built for that sorta stuff. You can play with other new players, or if know an experienced player- tell him you want to try CP (make sure he isn't bent on getting easy wins on a brand new player though…make sure he's cool Wink ) Here's what I recommend from the Army Box:
Combat Patrol List
Elites6 Howling Banshees 118pts
Exarch, Executioner
Troops8 Dire Avengers 128pts
Exarch, Extra Shuricat, Bladestorm
10 Guardians 95pts
Scatter Laser
Fast AttackVyper 60 pts
Shuriken Cannon, Hull-Mounted Shuriken Cannon
Total=401ptsNotes: okay so we're 1pt over, and if anyone gives you flack over it- then frag him! (just kidding…you can drop a Dire Avenger, or your hull-mounted Shuriken Cannon). This list should be very fun for Combat Patrol, but it does require some care in moving those Banshees around- so be patient and try to keep them in cover as often as possible. You'll want this list to function as 2 unit entities each- I suggest keeping the Vyper where it can support your guardians and letting your two Aspects work as a team. I like that this list is ";portable"; in Combat Patrol- it can be deployed completely out of LoS, but still has good numbers to deal with opponents and 4 scoring units, which is great in CP. This is a great way of learning the basic movements and uses of your units- use this opportunity to learn the subtleties of moving Eldar troops. You may not win every battle, but the experience will pay dividends later…
At 750 things get a little more interesting. We're going to swap the Banshees for our money unit- the infamous " Grinragon Wagon";. We're also beefing our Avengers up to full strength and adding an Autarch to hang out with the Avengers for some added anti-tank and a little combat ";oomph";. The Guardians will be taking a Starcannon, to give you a feel for its AP goodness too. The list isn't anything to write home about, but learning how to use your Autarch and Dragon wagon in this list is essential for larger games, and trust me, if you're in a group of beginners, you'll always have that one friend that takes a Landraider at this points value…something the Dragon Wagon and/or Autarch is great for dealing with.
750pt Army ListHQAutarch 85pts
Fusion Gun, Scorpion Chainsword
Elites6 Fire Dragons 131pts
Exarch, Firepike, Tank Hunters
Troops10 Dire Avengers 152pts
Exarch, Extra Shuricat, Bladestorm
10 Guardians 105pts
Fast AttackVyper 85pts
Brightlance, Spirit Stone
Heavy SupportFalcon 190pts
Shuriken Cannon, Hull-mounted Shuriken Cannon, Spirit Stone, Holofield, Vectored Engines
Total=748pts[gal_img]1023[/gal_img]Once you're properly satisfied with your Dragon Wagon strategies, you can change the list up- switching Banshees for the Dragons and throwing them in the Falcon instead. You might also want more dakka, so swapping the Vyper over to a scatter laser or even an EML Definition: Eldar Missile Launchermight be in order, and both options are cheaper than the BL Definition: Black Libraryversion. Try at least a couple of games sticking the Banshees in the Falcon- as you'll need to learn the basics of using mounted assault units. Remember- you can't charge from a skimmer that has moved this turn, but you CAN assault from one that has yet to move. I like the Banshees coming out of the Falcon as you can pick an isolated spot in the field, move to within 14"; or so of an enemy unit, and then on the following turn deploy your Banshees prior to moving the Falcon. This is ideal because the Falcon will likely be shaken by enemy fire, or even if it was immbolized, you have Vectored engines which will safely land the thing. Either way, your banshess are up for a decent charge or countercharge if your opponent tries to blitz your lines.
Once you're feeling comfortable moving around more units, promote yourself to 1,000pt games. I'll warn that the playbook and variety of opponents widens considerably at this points value, and as a career 40K player you'll be spending most of your battle-time in this size engagement or larger. If you are completely brand new to the game- I would strongly recommend spending your first 30 days or more playing at 750 or Combat Patrol- you're just barely getting to know the basic rules- so don't rush it. There will be plenty of time to battle with the big kids in the 41st millennium, and I'm sure we agree that you want your 1,000pt debut to be promising, if not victorious.
If you're into the Hobby aspect of the game- you'll likely be finished painting all of your units by this time, and your force will look great as a whole. You might have noticed though that your first models are looking rather pathetic next to your most recently painted models. This is true even if you've played the game for a while- Eldar models tend to be very elaborate, and if you're used to painting Necrons, Space Marines, or green for days on Orks, you'll notice a learning curve with regards to painting the mini's. Consider spending some time in between games repainting that first squad of guardians and/or Dire Avengers. You might even want to change your craftworld color scheme at this point.
1000pt Army ListHQ
Autarch 85pts
Fusion Gun, Scorpion Chainsword
6 Howling Banshees 118pts
Exarch, Executioner
6 Fire Dragons 131pts
Exarch, Firepike, Tank Hunters
10 Dire Avengers 152pts
Exarch, Extra Shuricat, Bladestorm
10 Guardians 105pts
Fast Attack
Vyper 60pts
Scatter Laser
Heavy Support
Wraithlord 155pts
Brightlance, EML
Falcon 190pts
Shuriken Cannon, Hull-mounted Shuriken Cannon, Spirit Stone, Holofield, Vectored Engines
Total =996[gal_img]1021[/gal_img]Now you have some excellent options. The Wraithlord's primary prupose in (after)life is enemy armor, and don't forget you have the Dragon Wagon in here too. The awesome part about elites in non-dedicated transports is that you can decide during deployment which unit you really need in the Falcon, and again you can judge this on your opponent's army and his deployment. In most scenarios, I'd rather have the Dragons in there, keeping my small Banshee unit lurking near my infantry lines as a measure of countercharge…but it's not a bad thought at all if you're facing static Tau or infantry-heavy Imperial Guard. I downgraded the Vyper to a Scatter Laser for a couple of reasons- one- it's definitely more of a harassment and cheap scoring unit at this points level, and 2- I like scatter lasers. ?
Moving forward
[gal_img]1022[/gal_img]Once you've played a fair amount of games at these low points- I'm sure your mind will be filled with ideas like, ";I like these Banshees, but how good are Harlequins?"; or ";What would happen if I threw these Dire Avengers or Guardians in a Wave Serpent?"; Your more experienced mind will begin to identify things you think would improve your list, while the hobby side of you is dying to try your paintbrush on different models. It's open season! Remember- I believe the Army box is designed to let you enjoy the game as a casual/new player, but it isn't designed as a open and play competitive army, nor is it an all-encompassing display of the brilliant Eldar model range. You're getting your bearings now as a player and a hobbyist, and the Eldar happens to be one of the most diverse armies in terms of its model range and dynamic army lists. Will you be more of a hobbyist or a competitor? Are you more interested in firepower or assault? Do you like themed lists, a specific craftworld, or a home-made craftworld? These are all of the question you'll have to answer for yourself- and the only real way to do that is to get out there and play- so go to it!!
And remember the most important rule!Have Fun!
Thanks for reading! And welcome to the Craftworld!
- Yriel

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