I've been pretty busy since my last post. Fluffwise, I'm about half way through Path of the Outcast now, really enjoying it. Paintingwise, I still hate Drop Pods. Not only are they really annoying to assemble, and not only do they fall apart in a stiff breeze, but they are also really irritating to paint. They may not be the largest vehicles in terms of volume, but they have a huge surface area due to having to paint things on the inside. I'm almost done with the first coat of the thing, and I need to have it done by next week really. I've had it for 8 months.
This post would have been out yesterday but the draw for Battlefield Birmingham was made so I spent some time doing background checks as to what I would be up against, and it looks like it'll be Dark Angels, so I'd better get going through this Codex. Whirlwinds today.
Whirlwinds are quite generic as far as Marine codecies go, it has the same armour statistics as a Rhino, it comes with Smoke, which you're probably not going to be using too often (brief paragraph on this later). It then comes with a Whirlwind Missile Launcher (duh) and can take options from the Dark Angels vehicle upgrades, which I shall go into when I reach the Predator.
You're probably not going to be using the smoke launcher too often, as these are dependant on you not shooting, and as the purpose of the Whirlwind is to shoot things, it's not exactly optimal. Plus, your weapons are Barrage, so you are able to hide behind cover to get a save or even be out of line of sight altogether so you won't need to use the smoke.
Oddly enough, you don't have to be in line of sight to use your Searchlight (eh?), so you can shoot a target that you can't see with your Barrage weapon but still light it up. Could be quite useful, although you can only shoot at targets within 36” in Night Fight.
So, rather than go through what the Whirlwind does, as it's pretty familiar, it's probably best to ask how it has changed in 6th edition.
On the face of it, it has probably got a little less durable if you look at it without any in game experience simply because of Hull Points, as glances do something now. But that's still not a big problem for the Whirlwind, simply because its shots are Barrage. Meaning that you can hide the thing, not use your BS when firing and avoid being shot at.
Sure, this increase in distance scattered may cause you a few issues but. 1. You're cheap enough for it not to matter too much in most circumstances. 2. You could potentially scatter into another unit at least causing some damage. And 3. You can cast Prescience upon your Whirlwind if you really need it to hit, as Dark Angel Librarians have access to the Divination tree.
Do watch out though, if your opponent does get a penetrating hit through it could cause some serious damage, as there's only 1 weapon on a Whirlwind meaning 1 weapon destroyed result and you'll be down to ramming things.
Barrage is also huge in this edition, it's one of the reasons why I love my Manticore, and don't drop it in favour of a blob. It's also definitely the reason why I take a Mortar in my Veterans, last game it sniped out the Platoon Commander from some Guard allies preventing the blob from having, 'First Rank, Fire! Second Rank, Fire!' The ability to pick on special weapons, sergeants, and even independent characters if you're getting enough hits is really important.
Barrage also gives you the advantage of ignoring many cover saves, such as those generated by Aegis defence lines, as technically the shot is coming from behind the line. This means that in the majority of cases the Whirlwind is going to be firing the S5 AP4 shell, unless the opposing unit is in area terrain.
So, is the Whirlwind worth 85pts. I'd say that it's not bad. Barrage is incredibly useful and 85pts isn't too hefty a price tag, so it's ok for that. It's definitely much better in 6th edition, as they were incredibly rare in 5th. So, Whirlwinds would be an ok unit in the Dark Angels Codex if they were that price, but they're not. They are actually 20pts cheaper. That's really not bad. A good buy.