A few weeks ago now Warlord games released the latest USA walker to hit the K47 scene the Pondskater. Here at K.O. we were so excited about it that we thought we would give it a few games to really get to know the unit before we wrote this post so hold onto your hats we have more than just theoryK47!
The kit is two resin legs and the body with the crew, weapons and stowage being separate metal pieces. I’ve now put together 6 of these kits (yes 6! I said we were excited!) and apart from a slightly slipped mould on one leg the casts have required minimal clean up and go together very quickly. A nice feature is separate heads on the crew so I mixed things up with some of the heavy infantry heads (both sets) and I like how they look
One minor quibble is the kit doesn’t come with all the options however with a little bit of work you can put together some nice conversions. I made my anti-tank version using brass rod and a 3D printed recoilless rifle and using the spare HMG i was able to make a twin HMG version by trimming parts and swapping the magazine feed side round.
Overall using a guide like the one Simon put together for building resin kits you should be up and running in no time.
The Pondskater is from the USA list and uses up the armoured car slot and weighs in at 75 points regular or 95 veteran it’s a 6+ scout walker equipped as standard with a pintle HMG and a forward hull MMG. It also has the following special rules;
- Recce (if it doesn’t upgrade weapons)
- HE (on the Light AT gun only)
The Pondskater may upgrade its pintle gun to either a twin HMG for+25 points or a light AT gun for +30 (in which case it does D3 HE instead of D2 as per the HE rule) however in both cases you lose Recce
Now a couple of those special rules stand out, the first is fast which the rules writer on Facebook confirmed was a mistake so it doesn’t have this rule.
The second is open topped which does three things first it means for armored vehicles you get +1 to the damage results chart roll but you don’t roll on this chart as the Pondskater is soft skinned. Second they are pinned like a soft skin from small arms fire and third if assaulted by infantry it is auto destroyed like a soft skin. This is odd because as a 6+ scout walker it is soft skinned so this rule has no effect.
In fact because it is a soft skin it makes the Pondskater very vulnerable to small arms fire as a single 6 will kill it which is easily overlooked (like we did in the first game we played!)
The Pondskater is an solid anti-infantry platform with 8 shots basic (3 at +1 pen) it can tear infantry caught in the open to shreds, then recce away when shot back at.
It’s also a really good unit to use in outflank as the USA don’t suffer the -1 to reserve rolls you only suffer the -1 for outflank (rather than the normal -2 for coming on as an out flanker) which makes it quite reliable and can provide a surprise for your opponents objective sitting units.
For me I wouldn’t ever consider the veteran upgrade I don’t think you get enough for the extra 20 points to justify it but as an out flanker you might consider it to make the morale test to come on slightly more reliable.
The upgrades are a tough call, having played with the twin HMG variant its a beast 6 HMG shots is really good when backed up by 5 MMG (for a total of 11 shots!) however it loses recce so any squad that rolls a 6 to damage and its dead with no recce’ing out of the way. At 100 points for one at regular, for me it’s just to much. At 105 for the light AT option I don’t see a use for it on such a fragile platform.
Having had a few games with the pondskater now its a decent unit but in this writer’s opinion its over-costed. If you compare to a British LRDG truck from bolt action that has a similar load out but gets an extra rear MMG and transport but doesn’t have the walker agility (so sort of balances out) it’s 15 points more expensive (60 vs 75 at regular). it also compares poorly to options within the American list as it stands you can get two jeeps with MMG’s for less points than one Pondskater. The jeeps don’t have recce but do give you an extra order dice and you have to kill two units rather than one and compared to the Jackal or the Greyhound for not may extra points over the basic (between 15 and 35) you go up an amour band to 7+ and have one less gun (normally losing the HMG) but will stick around a lot longer as you have to have a pen value to kill them.
Given that its got the open top rule that does nothing on a soft skin we assume it was pointed as if it got to roll on the damage chart which adds hugely to its survivability (we played a game where this was the case and it made a big difference).
When you consider the weapon upgrades the cost difference becomes even more pronounced; 100 points for twin HMG and MMG that can be killed on a 6 is a lot of points for something so fragile. (to add some context here a squad with 10 men and a LMG getting 13 shots hitting on 4+ for 6 hits should get a 6 to kill roughly 65% of the time from the 6 hits so in one round of fire not guaranteed but high enough odds to make it worth a punt).
Now that being said if you want to take a Pondskater in your USA army go ahead its unlikely to cause you to lose the game because its 15 points more than it should be and its an excellent model and in the right place at the right time it does shred enemy infantry; just be cautious with it!
However it’s when you start to build platoons around them the points start to add up. I’ve put together an armoured recce platoon using 5 of the Pondskaters and at that point 15 x 5 is 75 points, that’s a squad or another support weapon. The loss of recce on the upgraded version makes the gap even bigger for me these are 25 points over costed because of the loss of recce. So in my platoon that adds another 30 points so at a 1000 point game it felt like I was 100 points down.
Its been the hot topic in out little K47 chat group over the last few weeks and various fixes have been suggested, for me you either create a scout walker special rule that means you roll on the damage table or you drop its points. The option i didn’t like was bumping it up to armour 7+ because at that point i think it starts to outclass the other options in the slot and causes another problem. (i.e poor coyote)
We would love to know your thoughts please comment and let us know.