Grey Knights and Dark Eldar. And I expect the Necron templates to start showing up any day now. Releases that have gotten everyone I know pretty darn excited. Well, Matt was really excited about the Blood Angels, but the rest of us weren’t. Especially when he had the gall to start using those new rules with his army...
Anyway, I wanted to prattle on real quick about the Dark Eldar. A lot of my friends and I had dozens of Dark Eldar sitting around, The older, straight-backed ones that came with the third edition set. And many of us had tried--really tried--to make a solid army out of them.
It never worked. Yeah, I’ve seen the mathhammers and win-crazy guys argue that the old Dark Eldar worked fine as long as you make this list and do this and get these rolls. Personally, I’ve always thought that any codex which only offers one viable army list is a failure. That’s why I can’t wait for the new Chaos Legions Codex.
But I digress...
Here’s the cool thing. The new Dark Eldar Kabalite sprue comes with tons of extras. Two heavy weapons, two special weapons, and enough options for two or three different Archons. Plus extra heads, knives, blades... tons of good stuff. It is, in all fairness to Games Workshop, a spectacular set. You can make ten Dark Eldar from the set and still have enough arms and heads for six more warriors.
So... guess what?
All the new arms fit on the old bodies. No problems, no tweaks, nothing. Take a pair of clippers to the head and carefull snip off the ball that fits in the neck socket--now those fit on the old bodies, too. Alternately, use a sharp knife and a drill to make a tiny socket for the head. And the spare back accessories like the flag, trophy rack, or grenade launchers? Just file down that little nub and they’ll glue onto an old body just fine. You can even use some of those extra daggers for more detail. Essentially, it you’ve got those older bodies—you know, the one everyone was selling for pennies on the dollar or dumping in their bitz bins—you can get sixteen Dark Eldar out of each Kabalite ten pack. And once they’re mixed in, they’re pretty much identical. This photo is three Dark Eldar. An all-new Kabalite. One old body with new arms, head, and accessories. One’s an old warrior with just his head replaced.
You can also use the old splinter cannons, too. I put matching blades on both the old and new cannon as an additional link-up between them. With that and the overhand grip it’s pretty obvious they’re the same weapon. Add on one of the new heads and it looks great.
Your old Raiders can get dressed up the same way. Again, two easy head swaps and a dagger make the crew match your shiny new army. Spare chains, blades, spikes, rifles--they all go on with no real problem. I like to say my archaic-looking Raider is Urien Rakarth’s personal transport, but it would also work for any senior Dark Eldar--an Archon or a group of Trueborn, for example.
Speaking of which, I also used the new Kabalite Warriors to make an all-plastic Archon for the army. I used the Drachon helmet and trophy rack on a body with a splinter pistol and power sword. Then I used the skull-cape from the Fantasy Chaos Marauder sprue. All I needed to do was cut the very bottom point off the trophy rack and file the center of the cape a tiny bit to make a deeper "drape" in it. I glued a plastic dagger in front to match the metal (now Finecast) Archon, and also added some skulls-on-chains from the new Raider sprue. A few tiny notches and pits in the sword will make it a fine huskblade once it’s got a bone paintjob.
The old bodies also made for fine Wyches. I’m not too sure I’m going to use Wyches in my army, to be honest, but I figured I had the bodies so why not. A few of the old Dark Eldar torsos are definitely female, and some of the leg sets have a bit of motion to them. Bend them a bit and you’ll get even more. And the old sets already come with the double-bladed punch dagger. Some of the heads are leftover Kabalaite ones. Some of them are from fantasy High Elves, I think (I found them in the bitz bin at my local store). And a few are from my friend Jeff who bought two boxes of Wyches for himself. The Hexatrix’s shoulderpad was from a Hellions set my lovely lady got me for my birthday.
And while we’re on the subject, lets talk Beastmasters. All metal? Dear God, a squad of these guys and their beasts will run you fifty bucks, minimum, and could hit $200. For one squad! Just use Hellions for Beastmasters. That’s what I’ve done. You’ll get five of them to a pack, and half of the Hellion heads already have monstrous-looking rebreathers on them. Leave off the shoulder pads so they’re showing more skin, add some body paint, and they’ll be fine Beastmasters. You can trim the blades off the hellglaive and just say it’s a big spear or animal-prod. You could also add on a few Kroot or Ogre accessories so these guys can have random chunks of meat hanging from their belts.
I love the Clawed Fiend, but for a single model it’s just too expensive (money vs points). I dug around in the bits bins at my local store and came up with the body and tail of a Fantasy Cold One (also available at BitzBarn). I happened to have some of the old Cold One heads, so look at that. Add on some Tyranid armor plates, an unusual color scheme, and I’ve got an alien velociraptor with a collar. If that’s not a fine stand-in for a Clawed Fiend, I don’t know what is.
You can pay $15 apiece for Khymera or around $25 will get you ten Dire Wolves, which look like big zombie dogs. You can even buy them individually online (BitzBarn again). Replace their tongue and tail with Skaven tails, give them an alien paint scheme, and they’ll make for a fine pack of beasties. Or just use them as is and tell your opponents the Beastmaster got them from Space Wolf nightmares.
Alternatively, there’s also a mention of “blade-legged Helspiders” in the Beastmaster entry, and there are tons and tons of spider models kicking around the Games Workshop lines. Some of the larger goblin ones would make great counts-as Khymera (fast scuttling spiders could rate an invulnerable save). Or, if you’ve got smaller spiders, you could also say the Helspiders are counts-as Razorwings. They are blade-legged, after all.
For my own Razorwings, I used some old plastic bats I’ve had kicking around for years. I think they’re from Warhammer Quest or something like that. I altered the angles and heights a bit for variety and gave them another alien paintjob, trimming the wings and claws with boltgun and mithril.
Oh, and last but not least... pain tokens. I saw a very cool article on the GW site about using piles of skulls or brass tubing and helmets. All awesome if you can afford it. I just used old Skeleton shields from the fantasy line. They’re pretty much tokens already, and they’re marked with one skull, two crossed bones, or a skull and crossbones (three). I dug up over a dozen of them, which means I can use them as either individual markers or accumulated counters.
So, tons of stuff for about $70 worth of new Dark Eldar (thank you, Neil at the WarStore) and a bunch of stuff I got for maybe $10 from the bits bins of my local store.
And sometime soon you’ll get to see my all-plastic Grotesques and Wracks.