Well, first up, it seems my predictions about the availability of Epic Eldar models was pretty accurate. Picking up a Warlock Titan, some Wraithlords (which to this day I still can’t help but think of as ‘Dreadnoughts’), Vypers and weapon platforms was relatively easy and not particularly expensive. Besides the Titan (which may be older), all of the models I have acquired are SM2-era plastics so neither the platforms nor the Vypers are armed with the exact same weapons that the rules say they have. However, while I’d prefer the correct weapons, it isn’t a major issue. In particular, I have yet to see any of the later, metal weapon platforms anywhere, so I think it’s probably these or nothing.
Shining Spears pop up occasionally on eBay, but they often go for quite a lot. But if I can’t get any of the official models then I don’t think they should be too difficult to convert based on Guardian jetbikes, of which I have plenty of spares. Going by the 40k models, the only major difference between Shining Spears and Guardian jetbikes is that the former have their power lances. There are also different helmets for the Shining Spears, but I’m not sure if those are meant to be exclusive to the Exarchs or not. Either way, converting a formation shouldn’t be too tricky, and a suitable paint job should ensure that there is no potential for confusion.
Forge World aircraft are not quite as scarce as I thought, but they are quite expensive. Ideas I once entertained about getting multiple squadrons of fighters and bombers have definitely been scrapped. One Vampire raider, a single squadron of Phoenix bombers and the Nightwing interceptors that I already have will be plenty, if I can even afford that.
That just leaves super-heavy tanks. The E40k-era Scorpions and Cobras don’t seem to be all that scarce, so I could always go for a few of those. But although they aren’t bad models, the E:A-era models are much nicer. The Scorpion, especially, is a gorgeous sculpt. None of the Eldar SHTs are must-have units on the tabletop so I don’t have to get any models for that reason (not to mention the fact I haven’t played for years and might never actually use the army in another game; shame though that would be). So the only reasons to get them would be because I like the models (in which case I should hold out for the newer figures) or for the sake of completeness in having at least one of everything. This last consideration might just have persuaded me to settle for the older models were it not for the fact that the older range did not include a Storm Serpent model, so unless I were to try and convert one I wouldn’t be able to include every option without going for the newer models. So for now I’m holding out for the newer versions. I’ve only seen one pair of Scorpions go on eBay so far (plus a pair of Void Spinners, but mine isn’t a Biel-Tan army so I won’t be including them anyway) and they sold for just a little more than I was prepared to part with. But I may get lucky in the future. In the meantime, I have plenty of other units to getting on with.
What is strange is that discovering that GW had dropped Epic seems to have triggered a resurgence in my enthusiasm not only to buy Epic models, but also to paint them. It has been almost two and a half years since I have done any painting and more than a year before that since I had painted with any kind of regularity. But so far in the past week I have managed to paint up five Wraithlords/Dreadnoughts and have almost finished my Warlock Titan. I hope to follow these up with the remaining Wraithlords and then move on to some infantry. I don’t know how long this painting kick will last. It may fizzle out fairly quickly. I also don’t think I’m likely to manage the same kind of output that I did back in 2008-10; I have too much else going on for that to be at all realistic. But I think getting a session in maybe once a week — or perhaps only every other week — would be possible. Time will tell.
One final thing. In my last post I pretty much wrote off the prospect of ever putting together an Imperial Guard army. I’ve since come to the conclusion that this was premature, not least because I have already started it. Back in 2009, when Forge World announced that they were dropping a large proportion of their Epic Range, I bought an artillery company and two companies of super-heavy tanks. And of course thanks to my AMTL army I already have all the Titan support I’ll ever need and some aircraft into the bargain. Infantry need not be a problem thanks to Troublemaker Games, whose forthcoming 6mm plastics will make for excellent Guardsmen. Their IFVs wouldn’t make for bad Chimera proxies, either, but as it happens they won’t need to. I have found a seller on eBay who is selling some models that look exactly like Chimeras. They have been designed by scaling down GW’s WH40K Chimera model and look very good as far as I can see. Also available are Hellhound copies and apparently there are plans to add models based on Basilisks, Griffons and Manticores, along with some infantry based on the Death Korps of Krieg. Leman Russ are also a possibility a few months down the line. How long these models will continue to be available before GW’s lawyers put a stop to them remains to be seen. I hope they can survive long enough to make some good Russ copies, otherwise those will be the one unit that I will be notably lacking. But if that does happen, I suspect I can find some second-hand.
That does leave a handful of other units that I will need to source from eBay. But with Imperial Guard generally being some of the most common Epic models, it shouldn’t be too hard to get the extra bits and pieces needed to finish the army. So, while it’s definitely a long-term project rather than something I’m in a hurry to get done right now, the Guard army is — just about — back on.