Gyrocopters are flying machines whose rotor blades are propelled by an ingenious lightweight steam engine. They can take off and land vertically, as well as hover in position over a spot. Although originally used to fly over difficult mountain terrain and drop supplies and messages to beleaguered settlements besieged by foes, the Gyrocopter was soon tested over battlefields with great success. The main armament of a Gyrocopter is a steam gun. When the valve is released, this unleashes a super-hot steam from the engine that blasts out of the barrel with a hissing scream. Although its reach is short-ranged, a skilled pilot can bob and spin into perfect position to unleash this cloud of scalding death across the foe's ranks. Over the years, the Gyrocopter's firepower has been augmented with bombs, with varying degrees of success. Originally, the pilot was responsible for lighting the fuse and throwing the bomb overboard while trying to fly and dodge enemy arrows. More recently, the Gyrocopter's small payload of bombs has been fitted into the craft's stabilisers.
- ↑ Anti-Infantry: Anti-infantry units have an advantage against targets that are smaller than a horse. This advantage can be a damage bonus against small targets, superior weight used to smash through lighter enemies, or an explosive attack from range that effects a large area.
- ↑ Armoured: Armoured units can block damage from any source apart from Armour-Piercing damage.
- ↓ Poor Accuracy: This unit's attacks are prone to go stray.
The Gyrocopter is a niche weapon, but one that the Dwarfs have few other options to get--not only a flier, but a unit that can actually move fast. With a speed of over twice that of Slayers and nearly four times that of Ironbreakers, Gyrocopters open up a whole realm of new opportunities for any Dwarfen army.
Gyrocopters are relatively cheap compared to most of their contemporary units, and every Dwarf player should be able to recruit them in singleplayer, as they unlock with the same tier of building that provides the Irondrakes and the exceptional Organ Guns. At only three copters to a unit, and with little health and nearly no defense (though they are armored, and quite well), they are extremely fragile and should never be allowed to be caught in a fight. They are, fortunately, very good at running away--in a straight line they outpace the vast majority of fliers, with only Bretonnian Pegasus Knights and Wood Elf Hawk Riders being able to reliably keep pace.
When not being focused, however, Gyrocopters can be very versatile. As flyers and fast units, they give the Dwarfs actual flanking options, being able to avoid infantry and cavalry to go right for the enemy's missile troops with their Anti-Infantry steam cannons and their formation drop-bombs. They can also wreak havoc on enemy artillery, allowing the Dwarfs' superior artillery to focus on the line troops.
In addition, while not their specialty (you want the Brimstone Gun variant for that), Gyrocopters of all types can play merry hell with enemy cavalry, as there isn't a horse (or horse-equivalent) in the world that can outrun them. Basic Gyrocopters will not be very effective at actually killing enemy cavalry, but they can keep them well distracted while the rest of the army gets to work. While you won't want to get huge masses of Gyrocopters in your armies, putting just one or two in can add great versatility to the otherwise very one-strategy-fits-all Dwarfs.
Finally, and importantly, be sure you watch their ammunition! Gyrocopters have a melee attack, and are also fairly well armored (100 points is nothing to sneeze at), but their near-nonexistent melee defense, low HP per unit, and small model count means they will not last long if actual line infantry manages to bog them down. If your copters expend their ammunition and you don't want to send them off the field, focus them on soft targets like missile troops, and be sure to have them bug out to the skies if proper infantry start heading their way.