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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Collecting a Dark Eldar Army: Missing models

I know quite a few people are out there eagerly awaiting the Dark Eldar FAQ and 3rd wave of models before deciding to collect DE but a lot of people have already decided to start a DE army and whilst the FAQ shouldn't be too far off (let's give them at least 2 months...), the 3rd wave of models likely is. This is problematic as there are a lot of units which don't have models. Although this isn't as large an issue as it was for Tyranids (you mean two of my best units don't have models...say what?), it can put some limits on army lists for the moment (much like many people refuse to buy Kroot Hounds). What this post looks at is alternative ways to field the units without official models yet. Be warned, some amount of greenstuffing, modelling skill, kit-bashing or going cross-eyed is required (or in the case of Forgeworld units, deep pockets).

First, what units do have models:
  • Archon, Lelith, Urien, Haemonculi, Drazhar
  • Warriors/Trueborn
  • Wyches/Bloodbrides/Succubus
  • Hellions
  • Reavers
  • Raider/Ravager
  • Mandrakes
  • Incubi
  • Harlequins
This covers a good portion of the units available and if you include old metal models like Scourges and Talos you've got even more covered (I'll also do some lists with these models only later on). However, these old models are pretty bad when we want something hip and awesome (amirite?). Furthermore, Bloodbrides/Trueborn/Succubus have to be converted from existing kits (Wyches & Warriors) to ensure they are significantly different from their cheaper brethren. This is annoying but part of life, sorry kids! Hopefully GW will release kits for them too but don't hold your breath considering what else they have to release. And that list includes:

  • Grotesques
  • Wracks
  • Scourges
  • Beastmasters
  • Talos & Cronos Engines
  • Razorwing
  • Voidbomber
  • Venom
Certainly not as significant a list as Tyranids but Heavy Support is clearly lacking as well as Haemonculi creations. The most important one though is the Venom which will most likely be a staple in many lists model. So let's take a peek at a few ideas in what we can do to convert these units so we can use them before 2020.


This one is easy IMO but would take some extensive green-stuffing to re-work the faces. Rat Ogres from Island of Blood. For a T5/W3 model you're going to need something sizable which the Rat Ogres are and the fluff picture in the DE codex mildly resembles the Rat Ogres (hell, the fluff is somewhat similar). Again, the faces are going to be the hardest part to work with unless you're happy with a rat face, but it shouldn't be too hard to make a GS mask after you've filed down the face. Using bitz from Tyranids such as rending claws and scything talons can also make the hands of the Rat Ogres into the fearsome blades seen in the Grotesque fluff picture but any manner of things can be blades as well (i.e. real blades...). The brilliant thing about this is Rat Ogres are pretty cheap from e-bay. This makes them cheap but requires a bit of tenacity and modelling skill.


Miniature Grotesques basically, these guys are a vaunted Dark Eldar Troop choice for their toughness and being rather effective as a combat tarpit/support unit, especially once they get two pain tokens (remembering they start with one). This one is a bit tougher than the Grotesques as they are slated as man-sized and there's no Skaven like contraptions at that size (that I know of). However, branching out from GW (oooo) and into PrivateerPress and we discover the models seen on our right (Cephalyx Slaver and Drudges). The Slaver/Overlords could make excellent masked Haemonculi but are a bit weeny to be good Wracks (fluff picture shows them as quite broad at the shoulders). The Drudges however could make good Wracks indeed. A bit of greenstuff to change the heads to be blank facemasks and adding some spikes and stitching and perhaps changing the weapons to sickles and you've got some (short) Wracks! These take a bit more effort than the Grotesques and go outside of the GW model range but with some converting and as long as they don't make up the majority of your army, this shouldn't matter in a tournament setting.


Now here we have some easy ideas. You can buy the old GW models but they are pretty static and not very exciting or we can do some kit-bashing. The displayed picture shows an excellent example of kit-bashing with Sanguinary Guard wings. Although they don't look very organic like the fluff picture (unless you want to do some extensive greenstuff work and put feathers all over the things), they do fit the part very well. The same can be done with Swooping Hawk wings which are more slender and might fit the DE bodies better. The problem with this is obviously obtaining such wings (though the Swooping Hawks could simply be converted to be holding shardcarbines + special weapons with some added spikey bitz and have the added benefit of their faces being hawk-like) which generally aren't cheap from bitz shops. If you're willing to fork out though, these methods can give you some quick and easy Scourges which look great to boot (and if you're really good with greenstuff you can make all those feathers!).


The actual Beastmaster is pretty easy, Hellion skyboard and some kitbashing of other kits should leave you with some crazy deranged dude with a whip; but what about the Beasts themselves? I think we need to delve into Fantasy again here and look specifically at Daemons. There are three types of beasts, Razorwing Flock which has a lot of attacks and actually sound like a flock of friggin Ravens; Khymerae's appear to be 'normal' sized base on the fluff picture and have many eyes and long fangs; Clawed Fiends are much bigger than the rest and apparently quite muscley and furry. So...what for each? Slannesh Fiends would work quite well as Clawed Fiends (Fiend -> Fiend) in terms of size but aren't exactly claw like and furry. If you're willing to be a bit flexible in this regard and could do some greenstuffing, I think these would work quite well if a bit expensive. Khymearae could be done quite well by some old DE Warp Beasts or Chaos Warhounds. Add some extra greenstuff balls for eyes and walla, Khymeare. Problem here if using old Warp Beasts is they are a bit static and could be hard to source but the Fantasy Chaos Warhounds are cheap and plastic, if furry. Finally the Razorflock to me sounds like a bunch of tiny Daemon-birds pecking your eyes out so something like Fantasy Furries or Harpies might work or a flock of something like Vampire Bats from the VC range if you want an actual flock rather than a single model. Beast packs will basically be a mishmash of models but I feel as long as each is clearly identifiable people shouldn't have too much trouble in making these units up, particularly with the Fantasy range produced by GW.

Talos & Cronos Engine:

Now this is a toughy and I'm afraid I don't have any gems for you (if you can consider my other options 'gems'). The only model available is the old metal Talos from GW which is quite fugly if I don't say so myself but to each their own. With some plasticard and greenstuff this could be done to look better or be converted into a Cronos Paraite Engine but like the Tervigon and T-Fex for Tyranids, I think extensive conversions of an existing plastic kit will get you where you want to go with these (if you don't want to use the old Talos). Looking at the picture for the Talos in the codex the main head quite resembles a Wraithlord (how ironic) with two claw/hand like appendages hanging off the front, an over-arching tail with a gun and a bunch of hanging machinery. If one uses a Wraithlord heas as a base a Tyranid tail of some description and extensive modelling and I think you'd have a very cool looking Talos but certainly not a cheap or easy one to make. The Cronos on the other hand might be easier to do with some Tyranid backplates (i.e. Carnifex) or a Necron Tomb Spyder as a basis (the Tomb Sypder's arms could also be of use on the Talos). Attach a bunch of mechanical legs to the underside (Tomb Spyder already comes with so add some smoke stacks or whatever they are to its back) and a fanged maw with some clawed arms and syringes and you've got a rough concept for a Cronos. Nothing too fascinating here I'm afraid and I think both will be quite expensive to make needing parts from multiple models and then needing some modelling ability unless you use the old metal model for the Talos (for Cronos perhaps remove the tail and add a bunch of arms).

Razorwing & Voidbomber:

These will also be toughies like the Engines above. A drop-dead easy way is to use Forgeworld who has an actual Razorwing model and the Voidbomber can be done by an Eldar fighter (Nightwing?). However, this is obviously extensively expensive so not really viable for most players with normal sized pocket-books. Otherwise scratch-building is an option but not something for the novice (go fester go) but if anyone else has ideas here? Unfortuantely I think converting Raiders/Ravagers to these vehicles is going to be difficult because of their different nature (open-topped skiff compared to closed compartment fighter) but their chassis could be used as a basis for conversion. I'm sure people are open for ideas here!


This is probably the biggest conversion need for many DE players. The Venom is a fantastic transport for small DE units and a powerhouse in its own right (12 poisoned shots at 36" whilst moving 12"? okay) and luckily shouldn't be too hard to convert thanks to the ever more useful Eldar Vyper and old Dark Eldar Raider. Using one of these as a base and combined with some plasticard and milliputty/greenstuff (and of course spikey bitz), one can create a myriad form of Venoms based around both old models. A couple of previously posted examples can be seen here as well as the picture to the left. I think this is one of the easier ideas to get down and particularly with the Vyper or old Raider model as a base, should be pretty easy to whip something up which looks both unique, functional and cool.

Well there's a quick list that I was able to put together with a couple hours of brainstorming and googling so I'm sure the more experienced and capable modellers and more creative folk can come up with some other ideas (i.e. put them in the comments section please). These are just some concepts which I thought would be cool and should be shared and I'd like to hear other ideas as well (I know a friend who is starting DE and I am of course, still tempted myself...). Go P-cubed!

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