Fleet of Craftworld Ulthwe
by Lord Admiral Acoron and Commissar Sonata

Sonata: More than a year ago, I noticed that Lord Admiral Acoron had collected quite a fleet of Eldar ships on his modeling desk. A few of our friends had taken up BFG Eldar only to realize that they weren't really interested in gaming (or just Eldar in particular). I asked Acoron if he would mind if I painted the ships. He was a bit skeptical at first (probably because I was always trying to convince him to give me stuff from his bitz box). Eventually, however, he gave in. Over the next several months, I painted the fleet in the colors of Craftworld Ulthwé. "Impressive... most impressive" Acoron stated upon seeing the results. Combined with my Ulthwé painted Shadow Hunter and my recently completed Craftworld model, the Admiral and myself have almost completed a marvelous joint fleet project. I say "almost" because there's still an unpainted Void Stalker on my shelf. However, I think that for now the fleet is scary enough as is! Just wait until we finish our Tyranid fleet...

Click Here for a larger image of the fleet.
1: Craftworld Ulthwé itself
2: Void Stalker
3: Shadow Hunter Cruiser
4: Eclipse Cruisers
5: Shadow Cruiser
6: Hellebore Frigates
7: Aconite Frigates
8: Hemlocke Destroyers
9: Nightshade Destroyers

Craftworld Ulthwé

Sonata: Ah, my scratchbuilding pride and joy. This model is the result of over a year of scrounging bits of various types, as well as cutting out custom parts at the plastic fabricating shop where I work. The model includes representations for most of the weapons listed in the stats, a bubble dome with a mini-ecosystem, two clusters of grand spires and the massive warpgate which Eldar Craftworlds supposedly tow behind them. I'll go into more detail as to how I made this model in another article. It's no SeaQuest DSV, but I think it does the job. ;-)

Acoron: The latest issue of BFG magazine lists the Eldar Craftworld rules (which appeared in Planet Killer magazine) as "House Rules", which means the craftworld will never the an "official" part of the fleet per se. However, it's great fun to play. You'll find that the craftworld is worth more than its points value. Your enemies will need to send more after it than one might expect to do any serious damage to it. Though this vessel may only be a scenario element, it is very deadly.

Top down Image of the Craftworld model, with some of our ordnance markers stuck into its launch bays.

Void Stalker

Sonata: I enjoyed painting this model a lot. My sister keeps a 40K Eldar army (just for display) and let me use a rune of seeing from her Wraithlord's transfer sheet for the prow of the ship.

Acoron: Every pirate prince should have at least one of these ships. Void Stalkers come in two flavors: torpedo-firing or attack craft-launching. It's good to have that ordnance diversity available, however, you get more bang for your buck with the Launch bays. Never play your Void Stalker as a regular battleship. Instead, play it just as you would any other Eldar ship: using hit and run tactics. Also, grouping it with a squad of Hemlockes and/or Nightshades can be very advantageous (they augment each other's weapons strengths). The flexibility of having pulsar lances which fire in two arcs can be useful, but only in rare situations.

Image of the Void Stalker Battleship, Galadriel's Gaze.

Shadow Hunter

Sonata: My Shadow Hunter is based on a great conversion done by the folks at Dropship 40K. I wrote some fluff and made some stats for it. There's also a detailed conversion article so you can find out how to build your own.

Acoron: I recommend that you support this vessel with an Eclipse Cruiser or a squad of Hemlockes in order to turn the frightening pulsar lance into even more frightening firepower.

Image of the Shadow Hunter Line Cruiser.

Eclipse Cruisers

Acoron: These carriers usually operate alone, as opposed to hiding them behind a gun line (a tactic you might use in a Human or Ork fleet). The precious Eldar ordnance is the Eclipse's most valuable weapon. Eldar bombers are great to use individually as escort hunters. If one Eclipse is operating alone, the pulsar lances can be used best as a defensive weapon. If there are two or more ships, their combined pulsars are great for sneaking up to enemy capital ships and pounding them with lance shots.

Image of the Eclipse Cruisers, the Lothlorien and Khaine's Rage.

Shadow Cruisers

Acoron: Try supporting your Shadows with a squadron of Nightshades. This gives you lots of weapons support and creates huge waves of scary Eldar torpedoes. These ships compliment each other very well.

Image of the Shadow Cruiser, the Bow of Legolas.

Hellebore Frigates

Acoron: Though powerful and diverse, this is hands down my least favourite Eldar escort. For 5 points more, one can get a Nightshade and a Hemlocke: same weapons, two targets. Hellebores are good for large fleets. However, it conflicts with some of our ideas on combat doctrine to have a vessel that could benefit well from LOCK ON be forced to use RELOAD ORDNANCE all the time.

Image of the Hellebore squadron, Children of Asuryan.

Aconite Frigates

Acoron: Though expensive, Aconites are one of my favorite escorts. Individually, these ships can provide support to escort squadrons of other classes. For example, putting an Aconite into a squadron of Nightshades gives the weapons batteries of that squad enough of a boost to noticeably increase your chances of hitting.

The two squadrons of Aconites are the Death Dancers and Void Cleansers.

Hemlocke Destroyers

Acoron: Hemlockes are comparatively cheap for their value. On average, one pulsar lance is almost guaranteed to get one hit. The drawback of -1 in a boarding actions is unimportant. Eldar get a holofield save against boarding actions, and escorts are so rarely used in boarding acts. Hemlockes are escorts which operate best in exclusive squadrons, to maximize their pulsar assaults.

The squadron of Hemlockes is named: Maugetare.

Nightshade Destroyers

Acoron: Eldar torpedoes make Nightshades one of the most powerful escorts in the game. The weapons batteries can be less than useful in Nightshade-only squadrons (as aforementioned, adding an Aconite can help). The few weapons batteries likely won't get through a capital ship's shields, creating blast markers which might destroy the incoming torpedoes. It isn't worth that risk unless you're confident about wounding your target.

Sonata: If there are two enemy ships in range, you might be able to dodge this problem by sending the weapons to one and the torps to the other. Nightshades are my favourite escort. Opponents seem to underestimate these tiny terrors.

Image of the Nightshades squadron, the Void Banshees.

That's all for the moment, but stay tuned for some excellent follow ups to this fleet article. We have an upcoming battle report using this fleet against a horde of Chaos-following Mon Keigh! Also, Commissar Sonata will be writing an article on how he built his craftworld, which will inculde some more photos.

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