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View Full Version : Are Eldar skimmers more like hover tanks or armored 'copters?



SgtTaters
04-12-2010, 23:17
The tanks like the Falcon, Wave Serpent, Fire Prism, do they just hover a bit over the ground and fight like a tank, or do they fly in the air like helicopters/gunships?

The artwork for Eldar skimmers (Dark Eldar ones too) have them able to fly high like a 'copter.

What are fluff depictions of eldar skimmers in combat? Honestly the only one I've read is Goto's "children blow up a falcon with sticks and rocks" lol...

Right now the image I have in my head, Eldar tanks function more like heavily armored helicopters than a fast tank.
Tau tanks, the artwork i've seen has them hovering above the ground a bit, I see them fighting as tanks that can move over small terrain obstacles.

Then again, the location of eldar turrets makes more sense for a ground-bound vehicle.

Hellebore
04-12-2010, 23:20
The eldar tanks are capable of flight. There is even an Apocalypse Formation called a Cloudstrike squadron where they hide in the clouds and then swoop down to strike the enemy.

So yes, more like air cavalry than mechanised infantry. Of course, the eldar WISH they had the stats of a valkrie on their vehicles - any of them. The valkyrie is a better tank than the Falcon and a better transport than the wave serpent whilst the vendetta is better than the Valkyrie...

Hellebore

MetalGecko23
05-12-2010, 05:56
I would say more like a flying IFV or actually just an IFV really seeing as it doesn't imply how it moves.

tezdal
05-12-2010, 06:06
but if It can fly pretty high, shouldn't the weapons be on the bottom too? Or they dive like Stukas?

Hendarion
05-12-2010, 06:15
Well, most of them have transport-capacities and in the end they got designed to float over a table-top. So a weapon on top makes more sense. And for real air-support there are actually better ones than Falcon-based tanks. So Falcons are actually more of a ground-support than air-support.

Just to note it: Tau-Tanks are really only skimmers afaik, Eldar ones are actually flyers, able to travel even through space, just dunno if a Serpent is able to go super-sonic. I kinda doubt it.

Poseidal
05-12-2010, 07:44
If it can go into space, going supersonic would be trivial for it.

Eumerin
05-12-2010, 07:56
but if It can fly pretty high, shouldn't the weapons be on the bottom too? Or they dive like Stukas?

iirc, they're anti-grav. So they can flip over to point the weapons at the ground if they want with no ill-effects - provided the pilot doesn't lose his lunch, of course.

;)

Dark Eldar raiders would be the same way, except that they're open-topped. So flipping them over wouldn't be a very good idea...


Unfortunately, CW Eldar skimmers currently suffer from a handful of issues. The most important is that until recently, the game didn't differentiate between flying vehicles and other vehicles (ignoring Forgeworld). Now the Valkyrie is in, and the Dark Eldar have a couple of flying vehicles as well. So the Eldar AFVs have been left behind. Ideally, Eldar players would be able to choose at the start of their movement phase whether they were going to treat each of their AFVs as a flying vehicle or a skimmer. Jet Bikes, Vypers, and Swooping Hawks should all arguably be allowed to operate as flyers if they so choose, as well.

Hendarion
05-12-2010, 08:08
If it can go into space, going supersonic would be trivial for it.
Well, traveling super sonic in space is rather easy, since there isn't much friction. In atmosphere that might be an issue, since although Eldar-tanks are stream-lined, but (to me! just for those that need the emphasize on personal opinion) they don't look too much like a super-sonic vehicle either. Dunno though, maybe they are able to.

Lothlanathorian
05-12-2010, 08:37
Technically, moving in space is going supersonic since sound doesn't travel in space.

Hendarion
05-12-2010, 09:06
Hehe. Well, then lets define it as a speed bejond 340m/sec.

Gazak Blacktoof
05-12-2010, 09:57
In order to enter orbit you need sufficient thrust to beat gravity. If you direct that thrust horizontally then you'll easily be going at supersonic speeds.

RBLFunk
05-12-2010, 10:00
If Eldar tanks can fly, unless flying at high speed it would still be in their best interest to stay as close to the ground as they can most of the time, using terrain to stay out of the enemy's line of sight.

If they do actually spend a lot of time flying, yes it would be a better design to have weapons mounted on their underside rather than on top in turrets.

I think making grav tanks true fliers is a bad idea. It gives them a big overlap with other Eldar aircraft. With the Eldar emphasis on not getting hit over heavy armour, the grav tanks might more logically be found swooping over the battlefield in high speed strafing runs rather than slowly hovering about at ground level.

MagosHereticus
05-12-2010, 10:56
In order to enter orbit you need sufficient thrust to beat gravity. If you direct that thrust horizontally then you'll easily be going at supersonic speeds.

unless you enter the webway planet side and exit the webway in space

TheLaughingGod
05-12-2010, 11:00
If Eldar tanks can fly, unless flying at high speed it would still be in their best interest to stay as close to the ground as they can most of the time, using terrain to stay out of the enemy's line of sight. Flying at high speed is good, and they also have holofields which help further. But of course, it's hard to make an attack when you're blazing along in the sky. So they'd have to move in close on the ground for the kill.



If they do actually spend a lot of time flying, yes it would be a better design to have weapons mounted on their underside rather than on top in turrets. Not necessarily. High speed flight may mainly be to get to and from the battlefield where as slower helicopter style warfare is how they engage targets, in which case the turret isn't a disadvantage at all (pop-up attacks)



I think making grav tanks true fliers is a bad idea. It gives them a big overlap with other Eldar aircraft. With the Eldar emphasis on not getting hit over heavy armour, the grav tanks might more logically be found swooping over the battlefield in high speed strafing runs rather than slowly hovering about at ground level. Nah. They aren't interceptors or bombers. More like high-speed gunships. Falcons and Fire Prisms perform similarly to AC-130 gunships, A-10 attack craft or Super Cobra helicopters, whereas the Nightwing is more like an F-22 or an F-15

RBLFunk
05-12-2010, 11:31
Not necessarily. High speed flight may mainly be to get to and from the battlefield where as slower helicopter style warfare is how they engage targets, in which case the turret isn't a disadvantage at all (pop-up attacks)I mean if they engage targets while flying fast or at high altitude.


Nah. They aren't interceptors or bombers. More like high-speed gunships. Falcons and Fire Prisms perform similarly to AC-130 gunships, A-10 attack craft or Super Cobra helicopters, whereas the Nightwing is more like an F-22 or an F-15I disagree, I've never seen or heard of a falcon or fire prism operating in a way comparable to an AC-130 or A-10, they're much more like an AFV or IFV. An A-10 is essentially performing the strafing runs I described.
If a falcons or fire prisms can fly at 500km/h+ at low altitude and are capable of engaging targets at that speed (they're Eldar, they have the technology don't they?), thus operating more like an A-10, they might prefer doing so rather than acting like an AFV as commonly depicted, and the might enjoy a greater survivability for it. They'd be pretty much immune to anti-tank weapon fire.

Eumerin
05-12-2010, 11:41
In order to enter orbit you need sufficient thrust to beat gravity. If you direct that thrust horizontally then you'll easily be going at supersonic speeds.

Yes and no.

If you have to use your thrust to counteract gravity, then yes you'd be traveling at supersonic speeds. But with anti-gravity, you essentially nullify gravity. So even a slow moving vehicle could go transatmospheric because it doesn't need to generate the extra force to counteract gravity.

To put it another way so long as the anti-gravity drive on an Eldar vehicle is active, the vehicle cannot fall. A grav vehicle (such as the Eldar vehicles) that's not generating any thrust hangs motionless in the air.


If they do actually spend a lot of time flying, yes it would be a better design to have weapons mounted on their underside rather than on top in turrets.

Once again, you don't need weapons on the underside of the vehicle. If your Falcon tank is up in the air and you want to shoot something on the ground, you just flip the Falcon over so that the turret is on the side facing the ground. Eldar vehicles don't need to worry about keeping exhaust nozzles pointed at the ground.


I think making grav tanks true fliers is a bad idea. It gives them a big overlap with other Eldar aircraft. With the Eldar emphasis on not getting hit over heavy armour, the grav tanks might more logically be found swooping over the battlefield in high speed strafing runs rather than slowly hovering about at ground level.

The problem with your initial sentence is that realistically anything with a grav drive is automatically a flier. It doesn't matter whether it fits a particular view of how the Eldar operate. The simple fact is that a grav drive automatically transforms the vehicle into a flier. And as for how to treat them, think of them as helicopters instead of airplanes. Helicopters use NOE flight tactics to avoid incoming fire on the battlefield. They hide and snipe instead of performing high-speed strafing attacks. That's the same role that the current batch of Craftworld Eldar vehicles perform. Assuming that Craftworld Eldar get dedicated aircraft in their next codex (and now that the Dark Eldar have them, I can't imagine that the Craftworld Eldar won't get them as well), then those craft will fill the "high-speed strafing" role.

Besides, the current rules don't allow Eldar vehicles to move at even a modest speed and simultaneously fire enough weapons to matter...

Hellebore
05-12-2010, 12:09
I mean if they engage targets while flying fast or at high altitude.

I disagree, I've never seen or heard of a falcon or fire prism operating in a way comparable to an AC-130 or A-10, they're much more like an AFV or IFV. An A-10 is essentially performing the strafing runs I described.
If a falcons or fire prisms can fly at 500km/h+ at low altitude and are capable of engaging targets at that speed (they're Eldar, they have the technology don't they?), thus operating more like an A-10, they might prefer doing so rather than acting like an AFV as commonly depicted, and the might enjoy a greater survivability for it. They'd be pretty much immune to anti-tank weapon fire.

Imperial Armour volume 2 listed the wave serpent as having an estimated max speed of 320kph with a 'combat speed' of 80 kph. How 80kph relates to their weapon engagement speed and troop deployment is a little hazy though.

Hell, they list the Scorpion superheavy tank as having an estimated max speed of 280 kph with a combat speed of 60 kph.

The Cloud Strike Squadron could also act as Fliers during a turn but couldn't fire their weapons if they did. They could however supercharge their pulse lasers whilst doing it so they had the lance rule when they shot next turn.

This would indicate to me that although they can fly and can stay motionless within clouds using holofields to hide them, they cannot engage whilst performing flier worthy speeds.

Of course, FW also list Leman Russes as having a max on road speed of 35 kph and an off road speed of 21 kph...

Hellebore

Hendarion
05-12-2010, 12:17
Too bad these numbers are not represented at all on the table :p

RBLFunk
05-12-2010, 12:31
Once again, you don't need weapons on the underside of the vehicle. If your Falcon tank is up in the air and you want to shoot something on the ground, you just flip the Falcon over so that the turret is on the side facing the ground. Eldar vehicles don't need to worry about keeping exhaust nozzles pointed at the ground.Depends on whether the nature of the anti-gravity mechanism necessitates remaining in a certain orientation to the planet. Do we know of any examples of Eldar grav tanks suspending them selves motionless upside down or nose down?
Regardless, for ground attack, weapons mounted on the underside are a more efficient design. It wouldn't need to turn itself upside down or point its nose down if its weapons were already underneath it.


The problem with your initial sentence is that realistically anything with a grav drive is automatically a flier.There's a pretty big difference in capability between something that's only capable of flying a few metres above the ground, something that's capable of flying a few thousand metres above the ground, and something that's capable of flying out of atmosphere and into orbit.


Imperial Armour volume 2 listed the wave serpent as having an estimated max speed of 320kph with a 'combat speed' of 80 kph. How 80kph relates to their weapon engagement speed and troop deployment is a little hazy though.Is that 320kph max at sea level? Not that I would expect anyone in any division of Games Workshop to understand the distinction.
320kph max would be fairly consistent with modern day helicopter gunships. 320kph max for something capable of flying at high altitude and into orbit would be absurdly slow.

Lothlanathorian
05-12-2010, 12:33
I think it would be safe to assume that it is 'at sea level'. Then again, we know what they say about assumption and we are talking about GW.

Sgt John Keel
05-12-2010, 16:41
Imperial Armour volume 2 listed the wave serpent as having an estimated max speed of 320kph with a 'combat speed' of 80 kph. How 80kph relates to their weapon engagement speed and troop deployment is a little hazy though.

Of course, FW also list Leman Russes as having a max on road speed of 35 kph and an off road speed of 21 kph...

Hellebore

From Chapter Approved 2004: Falcons and Wave Serpents have a maximum speed of 180 kph at low altitude and 850 kph at high altitude.

It also says that the Leman Russ has a maximum speed of 29 kph on road and 19 kph off road.

Hendarion
05-12-2010, 17:00
Ha! GW at it's best.

Eumerin
05-12-2010, 21:00
One of these days GW needs to appoint an official "arbitrator of the fluff". They would have two jobs -

1.) Make sure that all of the details match up across the fluff. Writers should have easy access to things like vehicle speeds so that you don't end up with contradictory statements in different products, and
2.) Making sure that the inevitable poaching of ideas from one codex to another is kept in check so that the army flavors aren't lost by the inevitable "need" for codex creep to steal the latest and greatest in other codexes for the next new codex.

Idaan
05-12-2010, 21:28
But there's no contradiction: these are estimated speeds (by the Imperials) and in Imperial Armour no altitude is given. Though on the other hand it would be nice to have some solid data on Eldar vehicles for a change.

Lars Porsenna
06-12-2010, 02:18
Has anyone ever read/played Renegade Legion? I have one of the novels (Frost Death by Peter Rice FYI). In this setting, grav tanks feature very prominently (essentially everything is grav-capable). Grav tanks very frequently went to high altitude so they can travel very fast as a form of strategic movement (i.e. going from one combat theater to another). But once they neared the combat zone, they dropped down to low, ground hugging level since high altitude made them vulnerable not only to air defence systems, but also enemy fighters (which would completely outclass grav tanks in a turning or performance battle -- essentially the enemy fighter can "dictate" the tempo of the air battle).

So I see Eldar Falcons and similar being used in a similar role. Despite their performance, I don't see a Falcon as lasting long against a Thunderbolt, but get it down low, where the holofields can help blend it in to the ground clutter, or it can use terrain advantageously, and it has a better chance...

Tangent: the listed speeds for the Leman Russ at 29kph (18.125mph) and 19kph (11.8mph) makes it somewhat faster cross-country than a Mk VIII Liberty tank of 1918 era, and very similar performance to the US M1922 tank (which had a max speed of 16mph). By modern standards, both these tanks had...rudimentary...suspension (the Mk VIII had unsprung road wheels). Say what you will of the LR, but at least the first couple of road wheels are sprung (visibly so)...

Damon.

Hellebore
06-12-2010, 03:42
That's certainly how the cloudstrike squadron is depicted in the datasheet.

Hellebore

urien
06-12-2010, 07:49
Right now the image I have in my head, Eldar tanks function more like heavily armored helicopters than a fast tank.

ever watched aliens? now think about eldar tanks as of that marines dropship.
capabale of space travel, dropping from ship from orbit, atmospheric travel and transportation plus a weapons platform. as far as combat goes - falcon could be it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mil_Mi-24

eldargal
06-12-2010, 10:47
I had always assumed the 180kph speed at low altitude represented the maximum allowed by the Eldar pilot and his/her navigational aids, taking into account the need to dodge terrain and whatnot. 850kph represents the Falcons speed when unhindered by the need to not slam into stuff.

SgtTaters
11-12-2010, 20:25
The Cloud Strike Squadron could also act as Fliers during a turn but couldn't fire their weapons if they did. They could however supercharge their pulse lasers whilst doing it so they had the lance rule when they shot next turn.


That's interesting, pretty much what I was looking for. Is it depicted in the fluff though? Is there a novel or codex or WD that has falcons/serpents engaging in combat in a manner that reflects their gunship capabilities?

are vypers capable of the same? The pilot and gunner is exposed to the elements though so it's a bit funny to picture it in space.


and the grav-tank does have a chin mounted shuriken cannon for sweeping the ground, though it would be a cool conversion to make a Falcon Gunship. Though it's got rather puny weapons for a gunship role...

TheLaughingGod
11-12-2010, 20:35
That's interesting, pretty much what I was looking for. Is it depicted in the fluff though? Is there a novel or codex or WD that has falcons/serpents engaging in combat in a manner that reflects their gunship capabilities? Way of the Warrior has Vypers and Falcons flying high above the streets of the Craftworld, attacking the imperium forces.




are vypers capable of the same? The pilot and gunner is exposed to the elements though so it's a bit funny to picture it in space.
The pilot is in a sealed cockpit and the gunner has a voidsuit on.

Hendarion
11-12-2010, 20:53
The pilot is in a sealed cockpit.
I wonder if that's how a Vyper will look like at MKII ;)

Lord Damocles
11-12-2010, 21:01
The pilot is in a sealed cockpit...
Is [s]he? The model has big gaps at the back of the hull behind the pilot.

TheLaughingGod
11-12-2010, 21:40
Is [s]he? The model has big gaps at the back of the hull behind the pilot.

Huh. Apparently I modeled mine with the crew compartment enclosed. It's not that way though normally, according to what the internet says.

chromedog
13-12-2010, 04:03
Vypers are NOT fully-enclosed.
They are high speed recon and light gunship skimmers.
In 2nd ed, if the pilot was killed, the gunner WAS able (risky) to leave his controls and take over - climbing into the cockpit - to regain control.

The falcon (and ALL hull variants) ARE fully sealed and more akin to fully armoured gunships than tanks (Jes Goodwin's Falcon notes from the WD article prior to release).

Ace Rimmer
15-12-2010, 14:37
Well, back in the good old days when Skimmers used their flight abilities to make pop-up attacks, they could throw themselves up into the air to avoid intervening terrain before shooting.

FarseerMatt
15-12-2010, 20:25
Don't forget the good old Crystal Targetting Matrix. With them you could use Vypers EXACTLY like helicopter gunships - pop up, fire, duck back. Felt very in character for Eldar. I wish they'd bring that back...

SgtTaters
15-12-2010, 22:55
(Jes Goodwin's Falcon notes from the WD article prior to release).

was there a sketch with it? Which WD is that?

chromedog
16-12-2010, 03:28
No longer have the issue (only scanned the article - the only part I kept - also managed to lose the 'newer' datafax card for it that replaced the one from the codex) having dumped a couple of hundred of them in the skip 4 years ago before moving house.

The article scan was cropped to lose extraneous crap (like page numbers) to further reduce file size.

Shamana
16-12-2010, 08:13
Vypers seem a bit more like an oversized jetbike - kind of like an attack bike to the standard SM bike - than a "typical" eldar skimmer. I think they are a bit of an in-between option between personal bikes and actual antigrav-tanks.

Hendarion
16-12-2010, 08:14
That's probably true as they are called "Vyper-Jetbikes" ;)

BigBarryJazz
16-12-2010, 09:32
I remember when they brought the vypers out, they mentioned in White Dwarf that their original plan was to make them just an add-on kit to a regular jetbike model.