Sunday, September 9, 2012

Cowboys of the Empire

Hey Everyone

Thank you for your patience and I have settled in...and ready to write once again on toyconstruct! Today, I will be featuring my remaining and yet unreleased shots of my WFB pistolier regiment. And yes, this is another painted unit I got at a rather good price on ebay (aka Joshua's Rag-Tag Imperial Army).

I am only familiar with the Empire of the old 5th edition, and out of disgust with GW's $$$ making tactics, I haven't been buying later editions (shame on me?). It seems to me that the current Empire lineup has more new units that look quite powerful, like the Demigryph knights, Hurricanium, and a redesigned Deathclaw (the old griffon on steroids).

One thing I do love about playing as Empire is the variety of units you can deploy, from the gallant Knightly Orders to the psycho Flagellant regiments (and ability to recruit mercs to boot). So far I have found that the strength of the Empire lies not in uber heroes or uber stats, but in proper tactics and choice of units. And one of the special units of the Empire is none other than the pistoliers, bold young men who fearlessly ride into the enemy for the Emperor (or mercilessly at the whim of your decisions on the tabletop).

Pistoliers charging into battle. FOR THE EMPEROR!!!
Side-view of the dashing pistoliers.
Ranged combat for the Empire is a little bit of a mixed bag...they do not have the legendary Ballistic Skill of Elves, but they get bonuses from armour piercing bullets and added punching power of gunpowder. Hence, using gun-units like the pistoliers may result in a large number of misses, but any hits will have a good chance dealing wounds.

Sometimes I call them "Cowboy Bebop" just on the merit of their resemblance to cowboys.
Top-down view of one of the men.
Experience-wise, I find that using pistoliers (and light cavalry in general) is a high risk/high reward tactic. You need to get your fast cavalry into favourable positions, where they can unload their pistols at a good range (pistols have short ranges), not get engaged/charged by enemy units, and have the space to flee from attempted charges (far away enough as to not affect friendly morale). Close combat and entrapment is death for pistoliers.

Outrider champ with repeater pistols.
So far I have only deployed them against warmachine crews to deadly effect, and haven't tried using them as bait for larger regiments. One thing I like about regiment champions is their enhanced stats and ability to equip better weapons. A pistolier unit can have an Outrider champion, and giving him repeater pistols will make a difference (I think you can choose an outrider unit that has all repeater pistols). Owing to human's mediocre BS and that pistoliers are mostly firing on the move, getting more shots will certainly make your unit much more effective.

Riding into war like a Sir.

Taking pictures of this pistolier unit was quite fun for me, somewhat due to the steampunk-ish fashion of the champion. I can see why some people (like JQ) are not big fans of the puffed up uniforms of the Empire, but I do feel that GW has managed to produce a unique look and feel to Empire units. You can certainly tell an Empire army from a Brettonian army without much difficulty.

An officer and a gentleman.
The pistoliers also exude a feel of "organized chaos", which is natural for the role they are used in WFB. This inspired me to arrange the figures as a unit, and yet not in a neat rank and file, which would probably be closer to how they would really ride in real life (and not as a neat row of 5 horses). Arranging the pistoliers in a mess helped to add a sense of movement/speed in the shots I took.

Have you had experiences with light cavalry or ranged cavalry? Please share any wisdom you have, and once again, thank you for visiting and being an integral part of toyconstruct!


  1. I do want to say that the Imperial Armory for War Machines are the deadliest in the game. So I do not really think that the current edition Empire is a mixed bag for ranged combat. Much less, bad in other areas. The Empire has diversity that Bretonnians cannot compare. And it is this advantage tht makes them so deadly against opponents.

    My 2cents worth :)

  2. Great Figures! Pistoliers are pretty formidable light cavalry. I choose them over the Wood Elves' cavalry. Mainly because of its armor piercing firepower.

  3. I do agree with chaoslurker on Imperial War Machines. Good to see you back with entries again! Great pictures!

  4. I disagree with Desolater. I think Goblin Wolf Cavalry for its pointage are the most efficient and combat worthy fast cavalry. In other words, they serve the purpose of fast cavalry best.

    1. You do have a point. However, The Pistoliers are great "harassers" and can be great impediment against enemy units. I must add that they are horrid in close combat.

  5. Nice to see everyone back! My bad on the "mixed bag" comment I made, I should have been more specific by stating ranged combat for non-cannon units like handgunners, crossbowmen, and archers. I love using handgunners but their aim isn't exactly hot and their move-or-shoot rule makes deploying them a mental exercise for me.

    Great cannons are awesome, but misfires can be a real pain lol. I brought 2 against an Ogre Kingdoms army and both misfired without causing any wounds...tough luck sometimes haha.

  6. Josh, Your misfires can't beat my Bretonnian Trebuchet misfire rate. It has come to a point that nobody gets scared of my warmachine at all. In fact, nobody even bothers to attack it because it would self-dismantle itself at the early point.

  7. I do very much like the steampunk glasses that the Captain of the pistolier is wearing.