A bit of good fortune crossed my path a couple weeks ago, I had a nice little lottery win. Nothing in the quit-work-and-get-some-hookers-and-blow category, but a nice wee three figures. It was sensible hat time though, so a good chunk went to paying some stuff off and another hefty piece went into my saving account. There was enough leftover to be a little self-indulgent. I took a mate out for dinner, bought some new togs and, of course, picked up some miniatures for the pile!
I'll keep the first purchase quiet for now, but I'm quite happy with them. The second was another ship for X-Wing, the HWK-290 Light Freighter. Similar to the YT-1300/Millennium Falcon and the Firespray-31/Slave-1, the HWK-290 is better know to fans as the Moldy Crow, and for it's pilot Kyle Katarn. Actually, many people won't recognize the HWK at all, as it's the first ship in the X-Wing range not to have been in the movies. Those of you who played the Dark Forces series on the pc "Do you fear me Jedi?" should be happy at it's release.
Now I think it's fair to say this ship was the least popular of the Wave 3 releases for X-Wing. A lot of people didn't like the model (it's brown after all) and it's stats are hardly that impressive. Still, I thought, it can't be that bad, can it?
Well, no, it's not bad at all, but it's not great either. Not terribly manoeuvrable, not that resilient, not even dishing out that much damage. The HWK-290 is really the first support ship available for the rebel fleet; it's not going to do much on it's own, but with the right options and in with the right mix of ships. . .
The most obvious build is using Kyle Katarn, The Moldy Crow itself, a blaster turret and a recon specialist crew member. This will pump out Focus tokens for the whole game, two per turn, allow you to give one to nearby ships each turn and also make proper use out of the blaster turret. If you have a couple ships with Advanced Photon Torpedoes along side, then they can really dish out some damage in one or two turns.
A similar, but less obvious, way to use the HWK is by just using the cheapest pilot, the blaster turret and recon specialist. This doesn't give any fancy benefits to your other ships, but it makes an excellent finishing ship. As the turret can fire in any direction, swing this ship safely round the sides or behind several enemy ships, wait to see what survives the attacks from your better pilots, then use the HWK to finish them off. Best of all, this build is fairly cheap at 23 points so you could squeeze in three other ships in a 100 point game.
I'm quite happy with my purchase, despite the fact I actually wanted a B-Wing (they didn't have any left.) It's not a ship I'd want two of, unlike the awesome Tie Bomber, but I'll certainly try it out the next time we manage to get a game in.
Incidentally, for any X-Wing players out there who don't know about it already, the Unofficial X-Wing Squadron Builder is a great tool for messing around with lists (and avoiding uncomfortable mental arithmetic.)