Terror from the skies

In an earlier post, you already made the aquaintance of Lord Charun, Master of the Harriers. This time, it’s time to look at his subordinates, the 4th assault company’s  corps of jump infantry, known as “Harriers” in my fluff and “Raptors” in the Codex.

You know what? I really love Raptors! While some argue that they have been nerfed in the current Codex and while no one can really know what they will work like in the new book, they are one of my favourite units for several reasons.

The first reason is a tactical one: If you – like me – are playing a fairly conservative World Eaters army, a lot of your gameplan consists of getting squads of Berzerkers across the table as fast as possible without being shot to pieces first. Even if your squads are fully equipped with dedicated Rhinos (which they should be), this usually makes for a grueling advance throug enemy fire. And then there’s the whole disembarking affair once the squad has reached its destination. Raptors, on the other hand, add a lot of mobility and an element of unpredictability to your strategy: With a squad of Raptors or two, you can suddenly outflank your enemy. Or you could pick off his vehicles. Or take guerilla shots at his tarpit units. Or you could just rush into close combat faster than you could with your Berzerkers.

Raptors are also quite flexible: Take two Meltaguns in the squad to use them as tank hunters. Use two flamers to turn them into fairly competent infantry killers. If you add an icon of Khorne, they’ll even do an okay job in the following combat. I usually try to run at least one squad of Raptors at all times, just for the added mobility and tactical options. Even at their worst, they’re still a big distraction: Your enemy will often target them not  because they’re especially dangerous to him but because they might become so later on. That in turn will draw away fire from your Berzerker squads, improving their chances of reaching the enemy lines in one piece.

The other reason for liking Raptors is an aesthetic one: They fit very well with the feeling of an army focusing on assault. They make even more sense in a World Eaters army from a fluff standpoint. They also offer great conversion options, and that has always been good enough for me!

So when I built my Raptors, it was clear that I would not be using the GW ones. Why I like their design well enough, I wanted my own Raptors to look like members of the World Eaters. I also didn’t want to miss the opportunity of creating interesting models myself.

My Raptors were built by mixing parts from the Berzerker and Chaos Space Marine kits. For their jump packs, I chose Maxmini’s standard jump packs. Back when I built those models, those were hands down my favourite choice. Meanwhile, Maxmini themselves have released two more variants that are more detailed, and Forgeworld has also taken up releasing Pre-Heresy jump packs, but back then, the ones by Maxmini were really the best way to go. I still like them a lot too, even though they’re less detailed than the newer releases. I especially like the turbine look they have going on, especially since it closely mimics GW’s Pre-Heresy World Eaters art.

I also tried to make them more interesting by raising them higher on their bases, so even the models with more static poses would look different enough from regular Berzerkers. The effect was achieved by adding all kinds of leftover pieces from different vehicle sprues, especially leftover Rhino doors.

But enough talk! Here’s what I ended up with:

I wanted this guy to be very dynamic and I used his base to support that effect. The downside is that it is quite hard to take a photo of him that gives you a good idea of the model, but oh well… Here’s a couple of extra shots:

Next up, one of my special weapons guys. As you can see, this model uses a flamer. I quite like the relatively sleek silhouette of the model in contrast to his bulky jump pack. The helmet was spliced together from that of a Khorne Berzerker and a regular CSM helmet, by the way.

The next guy has a more static pose, but I still like him. The base gives him a little extra dynamism, in my opinion.

And here’s the squad’s Icon Bearer. All my squads have Icon Bearers, regardless of whether they can actually get an icon or not. It’s just something that I have kept from my Warhammer Fantasy days, as I think that it really adds flavour to the army. I also try never to use an icon design twice across my army.

By the way, here’s something I found out by pure chance: By clipping off the small chain from the chainaxe’s handle, the weapon now looks far heaviery, since the focus is on the axe head instead of the grip. It’s just a small thing, but I think it works rather nicely.

And finally, my second flamer guy. I tried to make him look a little less static than the other one: Just because you’re wielding a flamer doesn’t mean you don’t get to use a chainsword, you know.

And finally, here’s a little family portrait of the squad so far.

Take note that this is not the whole squad, though: All in all, there’s seven more models where these came from: Two regular Raptors who usually serve as ablative wounds, two champs (one with a Powerfist, one with twin Lightning claws), two guys with Meltaguns and another Icon Bearer. I will usually run these guys in one squad of eight (what else?) as either tank hunters or infantry killers or in two squads of six, with both serving one of either role respectively. Unfortunately, that means that I still have quite  a bit of painting ahead of me until I can call these guys finished…

So, what do you think?

As always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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