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Warhammer 40K: Would A Plastic Thunderhawk Even Work?

4 Minute Read
May 7 2021

Games Workshop is making a plastic Thunderhawk for Aeronatica Imperialis. They *could* make one for 40k – but would it even work on the tabletop? Let’s chat.

Let’s just get this elephant in the room out in the open and talk about the realities of a plastic Thunderhawk. Can you play one in the current edition? Yes. There are even rules for them which are current and up-to-date. So they technically “function” in the game. However, in practice, the Thunderhawk in 40k has some issues. Does that prevent you from playing with one? No…but you’re going to bump into these issues.

Board Size

One of the largest issues you’ll face when using a Thunderhawk in the current edition is the board sizes for matched play. Unless you’re playing all your games using the Onslaught size games, you’re going to run into a maneuverability issue very quickly.

In a typical 2k game, the standard board size is going to be rather limiting for a Thunderhawk. It’s got a BIG footprint which can already be a problem. But also, let’s not forget it has a minimum movement of 20″ – sure, you can Hover around (and that might be the best option) but then you’re likely to get shot out of the sky. I mean, it’s essentially a Knight with toughness 8, 30 wounds, and a 2+ save. It’s tough but any dedicated firepower base can take it down. And your opponent could also flood the field with bodies and block off your movement options.

So pretty…

It’s 800 Points

The Thunderhawk is also 800 points. While it certainly might be able to take some punishment, I don’t know if it is going to make that investment in points back in a typical game. Yeah – it’s got an option for a Turbo-laser destructor and it can put out a decent amount of shots – but for 800 points it BETTER. Here’s the default weapon loadout:

  • 2 Lascannons
  • Thunderhawk Heavy Cannon (48″ / Heavy 2D6 / 8 / -2 / D3+2 / Blast)
  • 4 twin heavy bolters
  • Thunderhawk Cluster Bombs (up to 18 D6, cause a mortal wound on a 4+)

You can swap out the Cluster Bombs for the Hellstrike Missile battery and the Heavy Cannon for the Turbo-laser as well. That’s a lot of firepower. But is it 800 points worth? Debatable. And yes, you can load up the transport with 30 infantry (or other units depending on size). But you’re paying a premium for that, too.

Or 40 Power Level if you want to look at it that way.

Cool In Concept…

But the execution is rough. For a standard 2k matched play game a Thunderhawk is just not that practical. One of the issues is actually getting to to the game table as well. Even in plastic, I’d be worried about transporting this thing around. It would be *better* than the metal version (or even the resin version) but every time someone bumps the table, everyone is going to freak out. This model is just unwieldy. That’s part of the problem with these larger kits in general.

Having said all that…I’d still get one. A plastic Thunderhawk for 40k? Hell yes, I’d take one. I’d probably never get to play with it but having one in my collection would be sweet! I’d probably only bust it out for 3k+ games and special occasions. I’d probably end up using it as a terrain piece or objectives in most games anyhow. It might not be a good fit for matched play, but for narrative games and campaign events I’d make it work! I’ve played in narrative events where people would just bring their collections and we’d just go nuts – that’s when a Thunderhawk would make sense.


A 40k sized plastic Thunderhawk would be impractical, unwieldy, expensive, and troublesome to transport…but I’d take one anyway.


How would you feel about a 40k scale plastic Thunderhawk?

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