Warmachine: SteelHeads Halberdiers/Riflemen 101


Do you need cheap bodies to stem the tide of war?  Steelheads have a repack you won’t want to accept a contract without.

The new plastic steelhead kit is out and it’s a 2 for 1.  You can make either riflemen or halberdiers out of the box or if want to mess with magnets –both.

While they have been out for ages lets take a look at what steelheads bring to the table.

Steelhead Halberdiers:

Steelheads work for all the Warmachine factions.

Halberdiers have a pretty average even below average statline.  They are SPD6 and MAT5 with 13/13 DEF/ARM. This isn’t going to keep them up vs any concentrated fire.

Halberdiers do have few things going for them.

  • Set Defense DEF15 is a lot harder to hit then 13 and this can keep them in the game.
  • With SPD6 and Reach that is pretty good alpha charging.
  • Combined Melee Attack and Powerful Charge.  They go up to MAT7 on the charge and vs high defense they can CMA to get up to a 9 or better.  Meaning the MAT5 isn’t exactly what it seems.
  • Cheap. You get a lot of bodies for not a lot of points.



Steelhead Riflemen

Like their halberdier brothers they will also work for all warmachine factions.  Undead included.

They have the same stats as the halberdiers but with 1 lower armor.

What do Riflemen Really Do?

Similar to the MAT5 of the Halberdiers the Riflemen have ways around their low RAT.  They have Combined Range Attack and Combined Arms.  Meaning they can get rerollable RAT 7 shots if they combine.

They don’t have the Cheap factor though and some people may argue that taking 2 min units is better then taking one max since they are oddly costed at 5/9.

Steelhead Synergies

Steelheads have some supporting cast.  Sgt Verendrye and Stannis Brocker.  If you are going all in on Steelheads look at these guys to buff them more.

Cygnar: Cygnar doesn’t have a cheap reach unit so halberdiers are a great way to fill that gap.

Khador: Khador is kind of blessed when it comes to infantry so Steelheads don’t get fielded often over winterguard or pikemen.

Cryx:  Cryx can make use of Riflemen ans their shooting troops are kind of lacking at the moment.

Protectorate: Reznik tier is great with halberdiers and the priest attachment can make them quite useful.

Mercs:  Damiano is Mr. Steelhead hiself.  Giving buffs like Reform and Money shot makes the steelheads a whole lot better.

Check out the new plastic steelhead BoLS.  Any great battlefield stories involving steelheads?  Please share in your comments below.


  • Damon Sherman

    You forgot to how important they are to making steelhead heavy cavalry hit like a truck.
    Especially since the cav were recently repacked earlier this month.

  • bfmusashi

    They don’t work for Retribution or Convergence.

    • ZeeLobby

      Nifty fun fact!

  • ZeeLobby

    I like all these Warmahordes articles lately. It’s great to have some substance in the text rather than 99% of the GW focused ones “Pictures. Pictures. Go Go Go. Buy Buy Buy!”

  • Shawn

    I would have also liked pics of the actual kit itself. Mainly becuase, I bought the plastic stormgaurd and they were a nightmare to put together. The plastic was brittle and nothing fit right. Even after I sent pics to PP and they replaced the kit, I had the same issue all over again. One of the reasons I’ve shied away from PP in the last few years. While I enjoy the game and enjoy the lore, the models are just a nightmare to put together, even the metal ones need work to make fit right. Hopefully at some point, they can come to a workable medium that’s a bit more durable, and I’m not talking the resin/white metal combination.

    • ZeeLobby

      I don’t know, I just think that kit is just dreadful. I recently put together some Bane Thralls and had none of those issues. I’ve also recently put together Stormblades and had ALL of those problems. Maybe they just need to suck it up, and produce new molds. As a popular unit I wouldn’t be shocked if they’ve been worn down and that’s whats causing the issues.

      • Shawn

        Were the Bane Thralls all plastic? I know when I briefly delved into trollkin, the battle box and the fennblades were sturdy plastic and quite easy to put together, so you might be right – just a bad kit in general. I too had those problems with the plastic stormblades. A real pain in the behind, and working with the thin delicate white metal isn’t much better.

        • ZeeLobby

          They are now at least. I just put some together the other night. But yeah, it can be hit or miss. Most of their newest stuff is pretty rock solid though.

          • Shawn

            That’s good. I have the Dynamo, Nemo’s character jack and that was resin and white metal, but the legs were still a pain. I have had problems with other plastic kits too, most notably, some of the Cygnar warjacks, but you tell me they’ve improved their plastics? That’s good news at least.

            Do you know anyone who’s recently bought some of the stormguard and stormblades and wound up with good kits?

          • ZeeLobby

            The one I bought was pretty recent. Everyone else I know bought them a long ways back (pretty much when released). The issue with PP and Warmahordes is that there are boxes at my local FLGS that have not moved since release. A lot of people order online for the 35% off discount, and I bought it at my FLGS, so it could have been an older run. It’s quite possible that they’ve always been bad though. I have bought a lot of their newly released jacks and beasts though, or know people who have, and they’ve been pretty awesome.

          • Shawn

            Interesting, I may have to buy another kit to see if there has been any improvements. Thanks Zee.

          • ZeeLobby

            Yeah, no problem! Of course now PP is starting to release its own sprue based plastic. So I imagine things will get much better from here on out. At least for their multikit jacks and stuff. I imagine it’ll be a slow rollout, but a much welcome one.

          • Shawn

            wow, was the kit actually on a sprue when you got it? All sprue plastics would, indeed be a welcome.

      • Richard Mitchell

        There is a guy who has the plastics for that unit and it wasn’t too hard for him to put it together. Some units are easier than other for sure. If a joint isn’t fitting right a neat treat I do is take a small ball of two part epoxy (green stuff) and add it to a joint and then add super glue to the socket it is going to go into. The joint should seal with a filled gap in a minute or so. The bond will be strong enough where you don’t have to hold the piece but you want to give it a minute or so before you clean up the area with your sculptors tool.

        • ZeeLobby

          My issue was more that the mold lines were completely off, or overlapping. It was pretty bad. And I’ve seen it with them more than any other unit.

          • Richard Mitchell

            Oh ya clean up can suck. Used to use files for mold lines but a sharp exacto knife all you need. Don’t cut into the material just use the edge to peel off the excess. This will speed things up for you.

          • ZeeLobby

            Yeah, Problem was they were thick enough that shaving them off also removed detail. It could have just been a bad run, but they were baaaaaad.

    • Damon Sherman

      the kit goes together pretty well. a lot of the pieces actually dryfit together pretty well of the bat. I

      • Shawn

        Thanks. Maybe there is hope for my Cygnar after all.

  • Richard Mitchell

    A solid unit for many contracts and factions. Most important I like the unit and its traditions in the Cold Steel storyline and their look. Professionals through and through.