Sunday, August 12, 2012

Imperial Armour Aeronautica Review - A Tau Player's Perspective

This past weekend I received the new Imperial Armour Aeronautica book from Forge World. This book was billed as an official 6th edition rules update for several FW aircraft and anti-aircraft units. Also included are updated rules for Apocalypse Super Heavies and a campaign, The Scourging of Kerrack.

I was pretty hyped for this book. I felt like I got a head start with fliers by using them often in 5th edition during Apocalypse games with my Tau. I was eager to see the updated rules for my Barracuda for regular 40k games and my Tiger Shark AX-1-0 for Apocalypse.

Like other IA books, this one features nice full color photos of extremely well painted models.   The entries for the book are predominately Imperial as expected, but I did notice some new units for Xenos (new to me at least).  Orks for example gained some new AA options for both 40k and Apocalypse games.
Images from FW website
There is an "Additional Rules" page that work sort of like flier specific USRs throughout the book.  A lot of these new rules though seem to be skewed towards the Imperial army entries though.

I do not own all of the Imperial Amour books, but I do have the Apocalypse 2nd edition book.   I noticed a lot of repeat entries in IA:Aeronautica that were in previous books.  While the book has some updated 6th edition nomenclature, some items could have just been updated via FAQ.  Other entries are exactly the same.  For example, the entry for the Contemptor-Mortis Pattern Dreadnought is exactly the same as in IA:Apoc 2nd edition.

Finally, to the reason I really wanted this book.   I was excited to get a unit that I originally bought for Apocalypse only on to the table top for regular 40k games.  I reread up on all three previous rules releases for this model (IA Update 2005, IA:3 The Taros Campaign, and Apocalypse) wondering what to expect. I even touched up the paint and base in anticipation...

Oooh, Barracuda....
.... only to be disappointed in the updated rules.  First, let me focus on the positive.  It received a significant points drop and it did receive the "40k badge of approval".  Also, it is a Fast Attack choice for Tau, so thankfully it will not compete in the heavy slot.  Finaly, it did a nice rule boost with the "Agile" addition rule that allows it to gain +1 to its Jink cover saves.

On the negative side, the only other rule it received is Auto-Targeting.   Auto-Targeting is great, as the gun it is attached to ignores cover gained from the Jink special rule.  


Whew, sorry about that.  For an aircraft that is billed as an Air Superiority Fighter, I don't see myself taking down too many fliers with a STR5 gun.   I seriously wonder if that was a typo or misprint.   The original Barracuda rules always had the Ion cannon as its main anti-air weapon.   Also, previous rules allowed for a lot more upgrade options.   The most important was the ability to buy a Targeting Array for +1 BS.   But, that is gone.   The only option now is for Tau's crappy version of the Hunter Killer missile.  Sigh.

Other than that, the other rules of concern for me were for my Tigershark AX-1-0.   It gained the "Strafing Run" special rule and a small boost to its front armor.   That's about it, same cost, same options as IA:Apoc 2nd edition.

Sorry for the rant.   Tau stories always have them dominating the space and skies during campaigns so I had hoped the rules would reflect the fluff somewhat.  Also, I was hoping for an entry for Tau's only anti-air platform, the Skyray Missile Defense Gunship with AA option from the Taros book.   No such luck.

As far as the campaign in the book, I was hoping it would be more generic.   But it is setup specifically as Imperial against Chaos.   I am sure some modifications can be made to make it non race specific.

Overall, I would give IA:Aeronautica 2 out of 5 stars.   Thanks for reading and posting your feedback.


  1. Sounds like smaller changes than I heard elsewhere. Namely that the contemptor mortis had lost the dual plasma option and a point of rear armour. Hopefully this means the eldar flyers changes hinted at are minimal as well (unless of course they make them better, but this is eldar we are talking about..

    1. You're correct on losing the dual plasma option for the Mortis, thanks for catching that. I am sure there are other details like that for other entries.

  2. Replies
    1. Only Necron entry was an update to the Pylon. It still eats Fliers for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

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  4. At least you don't have to strip yours down. The Grey Knight Thunderhawk far outclasses the vanilla one. For 140pts you go from 12 TL Str5 Heavy Bolter hits to 16 TL Str7 Psycannon shots, gain fortitude, and also the ability to take Mindstrike Missiles for instagibbing psykers. Its better at flyer to flyer combat and it can strafe the ground harder. I think I am going to keep it. :).

    1. Is anyone surprised that the GK version is far better for a negligible amount of points? :)

  5. well at apocolypse level 140pts really is nothing, but it is still vulnerable to other flyers, sure it has fortitude but that won't stop weapon destroyed results or immobilized results. I don't anticipate it lasting more than a turn, but I am happy that it can at least do more damage now. 1,040 points is a lot of points, your big nasty tyranid beasty is what 1250 and will cause 8x the carnage a Thunderhawk can.

  6. So wait, I am confused. Why is the Remora or the Barracuda bad? To me the Barracuda seems top-notch anti-air. Lets evaluate these vehicles a little closer.

    3 STR 7,6 str 5 shots (that ignore jink), 2 twin linked str 7 shots all on a fast (albiet fragile) flyer all at a cheap cost in a slot that isn't Heavy Support AND with either skyfire or ground fire? This thing seems like it can easily take on any other flyer at the game at this point. The synergy with markerlights make this thing a raptor of death, capable of shooting ANY flyer down in a single round.

    Which brings us to the Remora, the remora seems to me like something that has to be run in pairs and is mostly a utility craft. They are hard as hell to shoot down with a 3+/2+ cover save, decent firepower (in pairs you can probably shoot down a plane) and they come stock with seekers and networked markerlights.

    I don't quite see the point you do. I think these vehicles are amazing for the Tau.