Jamie and I headed down to our FLGS (Wargames Emporium in Sheffield) with the intention of picking up one or more of the new flyer kits that GW released over the weekend. We'd planned on getting them at Maelstrom to make the most of the tournament discount but they'd already sold out their first lot of stock!
Since I don't own any Necrons or Space Marines (except SW), the only one I can put to use is the Ork Bomma kit. I have been considering a Necron army but I think I'll wait and see what 6th edition brings both in terms of rule changes and new codexes. Jamie on the other hand bought all three!! I'm hoping the purchase of a new kit will be the push I need to get mine & Matt's shared Ork army painted up.
Before I go on to talk specifically about the Ork one I'd like to say that I actually like the look of all three models. In spite of what the popular consensus is I think the Stormtalon is perfect. It shouldn't be long and sleek it's just a flying gun platform. I've seen some people extending the tail section to make it look more like a real plane but frankly I think GW got it right in the first place, unpopular as that opinion may be!
Anyway, I've got the Ork kit sat in front of me and I'm trying to decide what to assemble it as. From a purely aesthetic point of view I prefer the swept back wings of what the manual calls the blitza-bommer:
A running theme throughout all of these new fliers (and those in the Dark Eldar codex) is that in addition to being Fast Skimmers they also have the Aerial Assault (move 12" and still fire everything) and Supersonic (move up to 36" flat out) rules. The ork fliers all have the Waaagh!plane special rule which allows all the Assault weapons to fire twice as many shots as normal. All three planes can also be given Red Paint Job which as you should know by now allows them to move an extra inch. This means 13" movement whislt still firing everything and 37" flat out!!
All three planes are BS2 but have some options for improving their accuracy. They're also all AV10 all round so don't expect to be holding on to them for long. Given the relatively high point cost it does make me think that these fliers will be somehow harder to hit in 6th edition though....
The cheapest of the three with a base cost of 110pts the Dakkajet is a simple beast with twin-linked supa shootas providing S6 fire power. You can throw on an extra twin-linked supa shoota for 10 points giving it 9 S6 shots per turn! Even with BS2 this means you'll be landing around 5 S6 shots. The Strafing Run special rule means that against pretty much everything except skimmers the Dakkajet is BS3 and also makes those shots pinning. For another 10 pts you can fire at skimmers with BS3 too. With all the guns being twin-linked that means for 135pts you're getting a plane that can move 13" and land around 7 S6 pinning shots on nearly anything.
The burna-bommer is mid-range in terms of points cost (125pts) and offers anti-horde fire power. It comes equipped with a couple of guns along with two burna bombs which are single shot large blast weapons with a heavy flamer profile. They're fired in the movement phase by "dropping" them on a target unit and scattering them D6". Pretty decent chance of scoring some hits then. You can also give it upto 6 skorcha missiles which are small blast heavy flamer profile weapons. These aren't cheap though at 10pts a pop.
Basically, with the bommer being AV10 you're going to want to come on from reserve and fire off most of your arsenal before the inevitable return fire takes you down. With the guns, bombs and missiles combined the burna-bommer has the potential to devastate an infantry unit even in cover. However, they're going to be most effective against hordes but it's not like Orks struggle with that anyway! Not to mention that to equip it with 6 missiles and paint it red will cost you 190pts!!
Finally the blitza-bommer at 135pts has the highest base cost. However, given the only upgrade is Red Paint Job it doesn't spiral in cost like the burna-bommer. Again you get a couple of guns but also two boom bombs. These things are S7 AP4 large blasts. Sounds reasonable but the delivery mechanism is a bit random.
To me this is the fluffy fun choice. It's the same as having a weirdboy or shokk attack gun. They make the game interesting but you're not going to see them in competitive play.
It's well established that Orks lack any ranged threats apart from lootas. The dakkajet goes some way to address this but it comes at a fairly hefty cost. For the fully upgraded dakkajet you're paying the same as a 9-man loota mob. Essentially you're trading some manoeuvrability for volume of fire. With the lootas averaging 2 shots each they'll probably score as many hits as the plane will but at S7 not S6.
I think the mistake people are making, myself included, is to apply these new planes to our current 5th edition game. When 6th edition hits in July we could see these fliers come into their own. It may be that they're harder to hit from the ground and then the dakkajet will be weapon of choice for dealing with the offerings from other races.
Whilst I can see room for the dakkajet the two bommer variations are a little harder to imagine being useful. With a largely anti-infantry feel to them they're going to struggle to compete with the rest of the ork army list. It remains to be seen which will come out on top with the new rules but for now I've made my decision and assembled a dakkajet. Now I didn't strictly follow the instructions because that isn't very Orky and I just like the swept back wings better than the straight ones. I've also given it the extra supa shootas because who can resist more dakka? I have to say the kit was an absolute joy to assemble with all the parts slotting together perfectly and everything feeling really solid. I'll post up some pictures as I make some progress painting it.