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From Idea to Reality
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From Idea to Reality,
Part 6: Haemonculi
#1. Plan ahead;I’ve planned on the Ozone Scorpions having two HQ units: a whiz-bang Archon and three Haemonculi. While my army is still small, I’ll assemble the Haemonculi first and use them, saving my big, bad Archon for the last Ozone Scorpion unit I do. Not only will I have plenty of time to indulge on painting and converting the Archon, I’ll also have lots of Dark Eldar for him to lead (including Reaver squads as bodyguards— “just say no” to the nigh-obligatory Incubi!).
After asking around on various forums and reading articles on other websites, I’ve found that a lot of people like to “tool up” their Haemonculi with an assortment of Dark Eldar Dirty TricksTM. For a variety of reasons (which I’ll explain later), I’m going to keep my Haemonculi cheap.
In the original description of the Ozone Scorpions, I included a Haemonculus (“Dr. Jheste”) to keep my Archon, Syryx Lynatharr, supplied with anti-psychotic drugs and to maintain (and “feed”?) the Taloses. I decided that, fluff-wise, Dr. Jheste controlled the Taloses but the rest of the Kabal was loyal to the Archon: not even three Taloses could stand up to all the others. And in any event, it was to Jheste’s benefit to keep Lynatharr in charge and (relatively) sane, else none of them (Jheste included) would ever be able to force their way back into Commorragh.
As I began assembling the army, I asked some Dark Eldar players if they had any figures they wanted to part with. My friend Dwayne Powell obligingly sold me three Haemonculi—already painted as well.
Well, now I was in a small bind. I hadn’t really wanted three Haemonculi, but they were part of a package deal, and it was hard to turn them down. So, following Vicente Ruiz’s advice on making the best of what you have at hand, I worked these additional Haemonculi into the Ozone Scorpions army.
The Role of the
Dr. Jheste (pronounced “jest”), named after the chief torturer from the fantasy novel Elric of Melnibone by Michael Moorcock. Jheste is the most powerful Haemonculus in the Ozone Scorpions army, as he is entrusted with keeping the Archon in stable mental health AND he carries the webway portal that will allow the Scorps to drop their Taloses and Warriors right where and when the enemy least expects them.
As mentioned, Jheste carries a webway portal and a stinger. He costs 80 points.
Dr. Fybze (pronounced like “fives,” but with a “b” instead of a “v”) and his mute assistant, Vulnavya. These two are named after characters from The Abominable Dr. Phibes and Dr. Phibes Rises Again, two 1970s horror films starring Vincent Price as a VERY mad, very murderous physician. Fybze and Vulnavya want to see Syryx Lynatharr and the Ozone Scorpions return to Commorragh, of course (after all, they don’t like living in exile either). They also wish to undermine Jheste and take his place as the Archon’s “favorite physician”—whereupon, they hope to control him by altering his “medication.”
Fybze bears a destructor and a set of scissorhands (total of 45 points). Vulnavya carries a stinger (total of 30 points).
Though they control two Taloses between them, they lack any really impressive wargear--so despite the fact that there are two of them, they are not more powerful than Jheste. Still, they are enough of a concern to him that he must spend a great deal of time uncovering and undermining their machinations—which keeps Jheste from becoming a threat to the Archon, Syryx Lynatharr.
On the battlefield, the Haemonculi accompany Troop units. Jheste usually hitches a ride with a Raider Squad and parts company with them in a relatively safe spot near the enemy; there, he can open the webway portal and unleash the Taloses. Meanwhile, the Raider Squad he came with distracts the enemy from what Jheste is doing…until it’s too late, of course.
Fybze and Vulnavya always travel together, either behind the safety of the 20-strong Warrior Squad or on a Raider. My role for them is to add a smidge more firepower to whatever squad they’re with, and to serve as a distraction. A lot of players assume that any HQ figure is a tooled-up hand-to-hand nightmare and will go to amazing lengths to kill that figure—only to find that they’ve spent a great deal of time hunting down a 30-point henchman.
Painting the Haemonculi
Codex: Dark Eldar mentions that Haemonculi aren’t really part of a Kabal—they’re sort of like “free agents” or “consultants.” Thus, they usually have their own color scheme—if they deign to, they will adopt some of the affiliated Kabal’s colors onto their garb.
That may be how other Haemonculi operate but it didn’t really mesh with my idea for the army. The Scorpions’ background states that long ago they angered Asdrubael Vect and were forced to flee for their lives. Presumably Vect was so angry with them that anyone associated with the Scorpions would have been killed had they remained in Commorragh—so Jheste and the other Haemonculi were forced to flee as well. Otherwise, why languish in exile with the Scorpions when one could stay in Dark Eldar society?
Thus, my Haemonculi are going to be integral members of the Kabal, not hanging on the fringes: “in for a penny, in for a pound.” To reflect that, they wear the Scorpion colors of Enchanted Blue and Mithril Silver, as you see below.
Dr. Fybze (above) and Vulnavya (below). Don't they make a lovely couple?
I used the Urien Rakarth figure for Dr. Jheste because I thought Urien’s Crucible of Malediction would make a great webway portal—think of it like the puzzlebox that opens doors into realms of horror in the Hellraiser movies. Of course, using a special character as anything but that special character has its problems: chief among them being that people expect the Urien figure to represent Urien, not some other Haemonculus.
If you recall, I had that same problem with my Eklavdrah/Lelith Hesperax Sybarite (below left), so I hope to mitigate confusion the same way, by painting Jheste (below right) differently from what one would expect. In addition to the freaky skin tone, Jheste receives a Mithril Silver mask in place of Urien’s fleshy one. Dwayne had painted the Crucible in flesh tones, as if it were made out of human faces, so I re-painted it silver and gave it a Liche Purple lid.
Hopefully I’ve made Jheste distinct from Urien. I’m happy with how he turned out, but I can’t help but think that he looks like a member of KISS….
Currently I have one Talos painted, but when the army is complete I’ll have three. Despite their lack of speed, I like the d6+1 Attacks (power-weapons, mind you) that they get when charging into hand-to-hand combat, I like their Assault 6 “tail sting” gun, their Strength and Toughness stats, and most of all, I like that they look like big metal scorpions. A perfect choice for my army, especially because I want my Kabal to be an assault force.
The job of the Taloses is to pop out of the webway portal like some awful jack-in-the-boxes and unleash a really nasty surprise on the enemy. Taloses don’t have any vehicle upgrade options, not even a choice of alternate weaponry, so there’s not a lot to assembling and painting them: take what they give you in the box and slap it together.
Okay, okay, I did do some distinctive things. Again, this model was one that Dwayne had started painting, so I built on what he had done. To help the Talos fit in with the rest of the army, I painted it as I had my Raider, with most of it Enchanted Blue. I painted the underside and some of the engine parts Chaos Black, and used Mithril Silver for the “nose” of the Talos (just like the Mithril Silver prow of the Raider). I washed it in watered down Chaos Black,
Finally, I mounted the Talos low to the tabletop on a base of sand painted Shadow Grey and Space Wolf Grey.
From here on out, this series will
discuss the conversions (some of them quite extensive) that I hope will
really make this army stand out. Next up: Reavers.
Posted April 2001
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