Saturday, 9 April 2011

Conversion and Creation Centre: TWoC talks Dark Eldar

Image from GW's What's New Today

Herro there Ladles and Jellyspoons,

It’s Widthofacircle here. You might know me as one of the opinionated fools lurking around the shark tank or the pinksphere or if you are a bit of an internet sleuth; I’m also on ATT as Xanadu (We all have to start somewhere right ;)).

After much flirtatious tweeting with TKE, on Twitter, (feel free to follow me : @TWidthofaCircle), I showed him pictures of my recent Kabalite Trueborn conversations and he asked me to pen and article for him on their inception and creation. Frankly terrified of being directly addressed by the internet famusz, I said 'yes'…

Given that I am intending to launch a blog of my own, at some point, I figured that this article would give a fantastic stage for my first foray into becoming recognised for my pretentious tomfoolery and substandard grammar.

Well, I've been bitten by the sparkly, spiky new Dark Eldar bug quite badly; in a, sort of, festering way. I wanted to play them way back in 3e, but a degree of parental supervision meant that models, such as bewbalicious wyches and gammy grotesques, were deemed 'inappropriate' for a pre-teen. I was pushed into playing Tau. At a certain level I can agree; back then the females looked like glorified gimps and the males, unglorified fetishists - the incubi being the only redeeming model line. Now that I'm relatively free of parental influence and the model line having been recently updated, I jumped at the opportunity to play my first modelling crush *giggles*. You need only look below to see the drastic changes in model design that made my spiky dreams come true - Not only were they now more playable, rules-wise (opinion, potentially not reality), they were significantly prettier!

… Neither Gok Wan nor 'Snog Marry Avoid'* could perform a transformation as good as that..

As soon as the codex was released, I obtained a brand spanking new copy, and waited until 'Flavour of the Month Fever' had sufficiently subsided, in order for me to make my first moves towards fulfilling my urges. Much like many renowned netlisters, around 80% of my planned 1.5K armies hinged around two units of Kabalite Trueborn with blasters, (to be fair, who wouldn't?), meaning I had to get hold of large numbers of our favourite alien rayguns for them to be WYSIWIG, and thus acceptable in a tournament environment and at my local club.
I looked and I looked for these troublesome guns; trawling the internets for hours at a time. But it seemed that everyone, like me, wanted in on the units of Kabalite Trueborn too. (Again, I wasn't at all surprised, given their obvious utility). eBay was my friend for a little while, but the cost of blasters online began to rocket sky-high (I saw one go for around £5, I think) and I decided to move on. All of my eBay lurking, and gradual bits purchases, meant that my idea of a 'cheaper' army wasn't really a realistic one. After eBay began to draw blanks, I gave up looking for the guns, and resolved to make my own. I mean, I've kitbashed Tau parts before, to make hideous looking drones and the like. (A small caveat for this article is that I’m pretty much an absolute beginner when it comes to this kind of thing, and that I’m really not much of a painter).

[DC:FO A really lame introduction, content starts here ;)]

After having tried multiple options to make my own blasters, I decided to try and kitbash some out of jetbike blaster and Warrior shredder parts. This worked rather well for my plastic archons (the test of my abilities for my trueborn); as you can see, she's holding one of these weapons in her right hand - it doesn't look too different to the regular ones and has a little bit of a 'meaner' edge - (Personal taste):

This blaster was made by cutting the barrel and lower part off a shredder, and attaching the blaster 'rayon nastyend' to the previous 'shredder nastyend' - A simple kitbash, but one that gave me some confidence. The few games that I've played with this model, no-one has questioned the kitbash; recognising the end of the gun as the 'signature' for the weapon.

To mass produce blasters in this way, for my Trueborn, there was a bit of an issue. I only had a few jetbike blasters left after my original purchasing spree, and eBay was only so much of a friendly emporium. I resolved to try using some Japanese Modelling Plastic  ‘Oyumaru’,  to try and make a press-mould to cast my own blaster parts, allowing my to make more over time. But that was a little too hard for little old me - I'm, in relative terms, a casting newbie! The one vaguely successful blaster end that I cast using this method looks, frankly, terrible. (But I'll cover it with some paint and no-one will know the difference, right?). When compared to the original, it is distended and elongated, due to the way I pulled it out of the mould (*cries*). It does look a little like a blaster, right?

Shouting 'Holy flaming owl pellets!', I relented and brought more blaster-like to make my kitbashing easier than relying on my terrible modelling ability. I did similar kitbashes to the original shredder and blaster parts to make my final designs, throwing in an alternative design involving the disintegrator for a little change. If I must say, the disintegrator kitbash actually looks more dangerous than the original on-sprue blaster.
Bringing the two different methods I've developed, to make the guns for my Trueborn, together - (shredder + blast pistol/jetbike blaster parts, half of a disintegrator + parts) - I think that I've created a fairly nasty looking unit; all armed with blasters (albeit kitbashed ones), and armed with various blades and trophy racks.

Buoyed by my success with the blaster kitbashes. I set my sights on something a tad more complex, and decided to convert myself a Duke Sliscus model. I had intended to do this in a similar fashion to Sorrowshard over at Rant in E Minor; using the Dark Elf corsair parts as a basis, and then expanding upon the cloak with the Kabalite Warrior parts to give him that 'Dark Eldar' aesthetic. I encountered a small problem with this conversion, the Dark Eldar heads didn't fit exactly onto the Corsair Parts, meaning I had to perform a significant amount of model surgery to make them fit together. This was quite easy, but the legs don't like fitting to the torso either, meaning that I had to put a large blob of greenstuff to join the two together... This was thankfully covered by the front of the Warrior legs, meaning my admittedly shoddy work was covered.

After having made my Sliscus model, I expanded upon the Corsair/Pirate cloak idea and made the bodies for all of my Trueborn in the same fashion as that of the Duke. I also made myself a Dracon model to lead the Trueborn in instances where he is needed. The conversations are merely kitbashes of Corsair and Kabalite Warrior parts, which serve to make my Trueborn look markedly different to the regular warriors (the cloaks kind of help in this respect). I really like the way that these guys and gals have turned out. When compared to a standard warrior, they are a tiny bit taller, making them look a little more imposing than the basic Kabalite Warriors, and more capable of utterly destroying any tank they look at.

The result of all of my loving labour can be seen below:

In the future, I intend to make another batch of Trueborn in the same fashion as these guys, and equip them all with Shardcarbines and Dark Lances. Although, I doubt that I'll use the same method to join the legs to the cloaks. I'll probably upload some pictures of the current set of Trueborn when I've finished painting them, if TKE wills it. He sure does.  This has been very fun to read, good job!  Only one typo for me to fix too! lol.

I hope you enjoyed reading. I certainly liked writing. :)

....and some music to finish.

*Am not to be held responsible for the mental scarring that may ensue from searching for these two 'phenomena' on youtube or the internet in general. Real Train-wreck television, guys stay away at all costs.

* - Blog owner's addendum - Mind War, of course, would never suggest that anyone make their own moulds of GW products, even Conversions you made yourself.  If, of course, you are determined to do so, I have no control of your actions, but would SERIOUSLY recommend not turning it into a commercial venture - I'm not sure of the legality when it's for home use, but it is very clearly a breach of Intellectual Property Rights to sell such things, and TKE doesn't want to see wargamers in prison.  Unless they deserve it.  In which case I still don't want to SEE them, but I want to know they're there.  Ahem.  To sum up, better you simply never do it - and if you do, don't do it/talk about it online.  ;)

We would all like GW's bits policy to be the way it was, but that simply isn't possible, and frankly the limited stuff they do now still covers most needs, even if some of us (especially me) find the idea of glueing a metal piece onto a plastic model distasteful.
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