Friday, 29 October 2010

Hive Fleet Níðhöggr - Why Nids Aren't Orks

Remember, these aren't models.  They're parts.  Just because the box says three doesn't mean you can't build six...
Basically, in the midst of my epic plan, I did a bit of analysis and worked out a) that the Orks would be time-consuming to paint and b) they'd have too many kits that cost a lot of money for not many in-game points.

£20 for a 40 point Trukk is not a good investment.  I tend to rate kits based on how much of a game-worthy army they constitute, and transport vehicles tend to come off very badly when viewed in those terms.  About the only one I have any respect for is the Land Raider: it may set you back £35, but it's also a two-hundred-plus point behemoth of a kit that constitutes a good chunk of army for the investment and actually does things in games that aren't just 'ferry infantry around the board'.

The Ork Battlewagon's in a similar bracket, I suppose, although less imposing on all counts... which is sort of the problem, really.  I could have built a smashing looking army, but it would have a lot of fiddly little kits that didn't eat enough points in it, and I'd also have had to buy almost everything in one go in order to have all the parts that I needed for it.  Not terribly economical and would have resulted in a huge, demoralising pile of plastic to work through.

Wanting to avoid the whole tangled issue of over-priced, under-valued transport vehicles entirely, I hit on the idea of either doing Daemons (who'd pull double duty as a second WFB army, but not offer me that many modelling opportunities - and that was the point of this 40K project, if you recall) or Tyranids (who would be committed to 40K and 40K alone but also have some excellent plastic kits and some big scary monsters which don't have proper models, therefore demanding some modelling).

I sat down at the computer, poked around some good netlists (remember, there's no shame in it), looked at a few conversions to give me ideas, and then it hit me - I could easily build a Tyranid army in smaller, self-contained, self-managing units, without needing this kit to give me spare arms for that kit which would mean I could use those third-party minis to free up bodies for t'other conversion.  It seems far more sensible than the alternative, anyway.

For the first chunk of the army - the first thousand points - I'll be needing two Tyranid battleforces, recommended retail price £60 each.  First way to save money - buy from Maelstrom and revel in their 10% discount.  First obstacle - they don't have any in stock, and I could do with having this project ready to go by Wednesday.  M'colleague and I have also discussed how to set an example to the kids we're running our club for, and he reckons that encouraging them into the hobby centre to play games and socialise is important, so actually visiting said hobby centre might be a good idea.  I'm not convinced, myself, but the fact of the matter is, they have the miniatures ready to go and I have a deadline here.

Second way to save money - look at building expensive things out of cheap things.

This is a Hive Guard.  They're quite good.  They're also £12 each.  Tyranid Warriors, meanwhile, are £6 and small change each, similar sized, and look similar enough to get away with.  Loads of people have done the conversions already, and I'm not one to avoid jumping on a bandwagon if it'll get me some half price elite choices, so I'll be using the two Warriors with Venom Cannons that I get from my Battleforces to build a couple of these lads.  A third will be providing a stop-gap HQ choice (hello Tyranid Prime, later to be one of a second Tyranid Warrior unit) and the rest will be ordinary Tyranid Warriors.  Four Force Organisation slots from six minatures.  Not bad going.  I have similar plans for the second stage; two Carnifex kits (£54) will be building me something like four hundred points' worth of monster meat, again inspired by some of the conversions I've seen around the Net (although I'll be adding my own unique stamp to the Tervigon I've designs on), and potentially giving me a second HQ choice to mess about with.

The third way, of course, is the time-honoured 'buy a bargain and sell what you don't want' method.  Those two Battleforces will furnish me with rather a lot of Tyranids, including eight Genestealers and twelve Hormagaunts that I'm not sure I have a tactical purpose for.  They might find themselves converted up as alternative weapon options for other units, or they might find themselves going on eBay, unassembled, to try and recoup some start-up costs.

On a final note: while I've been looking at plastic sprues to jazz up this post, I've also seen a picture of the Stealer sprue and discovered its lack of enough tentacly heads to suit my purposes.  I'd need four, not two, boxes of Genestealers to build eight Ymgarl 'Stealers - not very economical at all.  I'll either have to sculpt my own or pick up some resin alternatives from Chapterhouse: either way, let this be a lesson about the importance of research, finding out what parts you actually get in a kit before you buy it, and seeing kits as parts rather than as foregone conclusions, models already built.

Isn't this where we came in?


dwez said...

My son started 'nids in January, i've got 1000's of points of Space marines but oh no he wants the spikey snarley aliens. I'd think again about genestealers because they can fulfill that dual purpose as ymgarl and regular stealers which fits your game-worthy points for pounds rules.

If you follow frugal Dave's thread on ebay then you can see Space Hulk stealers are being sold by the bucketload [and make a cheap alternative to differentiating ymgarls]. A lot of folks feel they don't perform in the new codex so they're offloading them. Yes, they're save is rubbish but with infiltrate and outflank, a Broodlord in tow and adrenal glands these things make surprisingly effective tank killers. I know a hive guard can do it better but with my sons 24 stealers I can field a couple of large broods but in a game the other day the broodlord took out a Predator with just 2 penetrating shots, the 5 stealers didn't even get a chance to roll to penetrate.
Additionaly Carnifex's are readily available on ebay, I got mine for £11 and the obligatory Plasma Hatchers toy for use as Mycetic Spores, they're £2.99 each at my local Poundstretcher.

Von said...

Good tip on the Carnifexes (Carnifices?). While I have a bit of a thing about buying already-assembled models for this project, conversion opportunities being a primary objective, I was pleasantly surprised to see two more-or-less complete, unassembled kits available.

Decided to go for ten regular Genestealers and six Ymgarls in the end (the Ymgarls are being differentiated by modelling, since I have gameplay issues with proxies). I'm not sure I'll be wanting any more than that, although I do have my eye on a plastic Broodlord after reading your comment, so again, thank you.

Mycetic Spores? Soup pots and putty (or papier mache or something like that). I'll be working on those at some point later in the year.