THE AH-16 CYCLONE GUNSHIP ENTERS THE FRAY
The latest Dropzone Commander addition from the painting table to the game board is the first of my four AH-16 Cyclone Attack Helicopters, rugged and low-tech gunships packed with rockets and missiles. A key component of the Resistance arsenal, they bring Barrage weapons and some excellent anti-tank rockets on a mobile, aerial chassis.
The AH-16 Cyclone is a dedicated attack helicopter, designed solely for dealing swift annihilation to ground targets. It is extremely large compared to its modern UCM equivalent, the Falcon Gunship, and requires a crew of two to operate. Such uncomplicated and primitive designs have their merits, as proven by their reliable service to Resistance groups across the Cradle Worlds. Rotorcraft have fallen entirely out of favour with the UCMA. It is frequently argued that they take up too much room aboard ship and have a poor operating ceiling, making them totally unsuitable for the upper atmosphere drops common in UCM planetary assaults. Since the Resistance have never even dreamed of invading an enemy en-masse from orbit, the rugged design and larger weapons payload of the Cyclone has made it the perfect gunship for their needs. Indeed, the Cyclone’s Beowulf anti-tank missiles have claimed countless Scourge recon patrols over the long years and its Hornet’s Nest multi-missile system can launch a deadly barrage from cover. Normally employed in perimeter protection, armour interdiction and surgical strike missions, the AH16 always makes an impact whenever the leadership deems the situation serious enough to commit them to battle
- Hawk Wargames
I intend to run four of these in bigger games, as they are one of the reasons I collected the Resistance in the first place, and think they look amazing. Helicopter gunships are one of my favourite vehicles of war, and almost got me to play the Vietnam version of Flames of War. With the AH-16 Cyclone, I get to run a battered sci-fi version, covered in rusted armour plating and massive window panels - two of my favourite things to paint.
Assembly of the model was surprisingly easy, as the metal rotor blades fit singly into the resin centrepiece, and the rest of the model is only three pieces. Just be careful with sharpness of the rotor blades! They are beautiful, but deadly.
Painting wise, the model suffered from the same issues I have with any aerial model - you have to paint the bottom as well! This makes the model a bit of a chore, as it is effectively twice the size of a ground-based tank or boat. Nonetheless, the Cyclone was fun to paint, with lots of armour plates, rockets and details to put some extra effort into. I would compare it to painting the Lifthawk, which was an endeavour, but ultimately turned out nicely. I look forward to getting at least two more painted for the upcoming tournament!
Onto the pictures...