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Themed Army Ideas
From Idea to Reality
Getting started <> Color schemes <> Raider Squads <> Transports <> Warriors <> 
Haemonculi/Talos <> Reavers <> Wyches <> Warp Beasts <> Archon <> Final

From Idea to Reality, Part 1: Getting started

Note: This series was first posted in 2001, using the Third Edition Codex: Dark Eldar, which has since been revised and re-issued. Some references may no longer apply to the current rules. For an up-to-date version of the Kabal of the Ozone Scorpions, please see the Armies of the Jungle entry.

Since the beginning of this site, Iíve been describing Themed Army Ideas: there are dozens of them here at the Jungle and more on the way. Yet anyone with any real-world experience will tell you that thereís a vast difference between initial concepts and final versions, and that getting from the idea to the reality is often a huge challenge. So how does one actually go about putting together a themed army? 

It so happens that Iím starting a second force, the Kabal of the Ozone Scorpions, based off a Dark Eldar Themed Army Idea here at the Jungle. As I go along, Iíll be documenting the steps (and missteps) I take in this series of articles and hopefully you can get some practical advice and tips on how to collect a themed army. 

In addition to using the description of the Ozone Scorpions, Iíll be practicing what I preach and incorporating some tenets from various articles here on the site. If you havenít read them (or if itís been a while since you last read them), you may want to check them out:

8 Tips to Help You Finish Painting Your Army
The Mini-Army
Making Your Army Distinct
Assembling an Army out of Odds and Ends
Finally, Iíll also incorporate these axioms (which I had previously discussed in terms of Space Marines):
Mobility, mobility, mobility
Donít sweat the big guns, sweat the little guys
You canít count on shooting...
One manís cheese is another manís brilliance
Ready? Letís get to work.

Reviewing the Idea
Understand from the outset that none of the Themed Army Ideas are written in stoneótheyíre just starting points to work from. Like the African theme of the Ebon Leopards of Kente but want more heavy weapons? Toss in some more big guns or a tank or two. Like the Black Talons but hate the Blood Angel rules? Use Codex: Space Marines. Like Craftworld Mor-Seth but want to use different Aspect Warriors? Go to it, pal. Remember, itís your army, and you have to be happy with itóalthough if youíre radically twisting the theme (like, say, dropping all the Daemons from Vastatorís army and adding Khorne Berzerkers), why bother using these descriptions in the first place?

In re-reading the description of the Kabal of the Ozone Scorpions, Iíve found some more things Iíd like to change. Based on suggestions from other Dark Eldar players (Dracon Hai, you da man!) and the excellent recommendations from The Warmonger Clubís ďLibraryĒ section, Iíve decided to:

  • Tweak my Archonís wargear to make him even more lethal 
  • Add a squad of Wyches (with a Raider transport, of course!)
  • Vary the size of my Raider squads
  • Cut back on the Reaver jetbikes to save points
Perhaps the most radical change I have planned is shifting the emphasis from the original concept of a ďshootyĒ Dark Eldar force to an assault-oriented army. I consider my Fighting Tigers a ďshootyĒ army because while they can launch assaults fairly well, it is not their main strength (Blood Angels, Space Wolves, and Black Templars all do a better job of charging the bad guys); for my second army, I want a force that I can consistently use ďup close and personal.Ē

In the articles 8 TipsÖ and The Mini-Army, I emphasize the wisdom of planning ahead. Rather than just running out, buying a bunch of stuff, and struggling to make it look good and work well on the table (as I did with my Tigers), I thought carefully about how I wanted my army to look and work.

First, the Kabal of the Ozone Scorpions will top out at 1500 points. While this total is higher than the 1000-point limit I suggested in The Mini-Army article, it does provide  a little more depth and flexibility. However, in keeping with the article, I'll strictly limit wargear, expensive units, and vehicle upgrades. If, after Iíve assembled and painted all 1500 points, I want to expand, Iíll go up to 2000. But no way will my Ozone Scorpions ever approach the size of my Tiger army (6000+ points!).

Second, the army will consist of one detachment, using the Standard Missions Force Organization Chart (a no-brainer there). In keeping with my axiom of Donít sweat the big guns, sweat the little guys, Iíll emphasize lots of cheap, expendable, and (hopefully) effective Troops. 

Third, for various reasons (that I will explain later), Iíll be limiting my collection to the units given in the Ozone Scorpions Themed Army description. The Wyches are an exception: in my opinion, they are crucial to an effective Dark Eldar assault army. 

I have heard convincing arguments from some players about how such-and-such unit is better than so-and-so, and how one should NEVER take ďUnit XĒ and ALWAYS take ďUnit Y,Ē and that might be fine for others, but not for me. Themed armies are about style, not squeezing out the maximum efficiency from your force. Any gaming geek worthy of the name can crunch some numbers and come up with a killer army, but to win AND look cool while youíre doing itóTHAT is the mark of true 40K master!

Sketching out the list
Hereís the preliminary list Iím using as a blueprint for the army. Iím certain about specific pieces of wargear that I want for some units (for example, I know that I want my Archon to have a jetbike) but not for others, so the list is not very detailed at this point. Later on, as I develop the army, Iíll narrow my choices down. Generally, Iím going to go easy on wargear (10 points maximum for Sybarites) to keep the point costs low. The exception is my Archon, whoís going to receive a full 100 points worth of goodies. 

HQ (2 units) 1 Archon on jetbike
1-3 Haemonculi (one with a webway portal)
Elites (1 unit) 10 Wyches with a Raider
Troops (6 units) 3 Raider Squads, each with 10 Warriors
2 Raider Squads, each with 5 Warriors
1 Warrior Squad with 20 Warriors
Fast Attack (1 unit) 8 Reaver jetbikes
Heavy Support (3 units) 3 Taloses

Iíll describe how and why I assemble certain squads the way I do in articles to follow. 

Finding some odds and ends
With the list sketched out, I was almost ready to get down to the actual hard work of collecting, building, and painting the models. But before I started, I recalled Vicente Ruiz's article on assembling an army from odds and ends. I scrounged around my bits box and my collection of retired figures to see if I had anything useful. I also asked around to see if anyone I knew wanted to part with any figures. And, it so happened that I started building my Dark Eldar around my birthday and Christmas, so I dropped some large hints about suitable purchases.

Hereís what Iím starting out with:

  • 9 plastic Dark Eldar Warriors leftover from the 3rd Edition box set. Booyah! Right off the bat I have a Raider Squad waiting for a rideóspeaking of whichÖ
  • Ö3 Raiders, all birthday and Christmas presents. Time to get aerial!
  • 16 plastic Dark Eldar Warriors, 2 pewter Warriors with blasters, and 2 Rogue Trader-era Harlequins, all birthday presents from my best friend Pat (awfully nice of him to supply me with minis Iíll use against his Orks and Space Wolves). These will help form some of my Raider and Warrior Squads. The Harleys have leering facemasks, and, with a few spiky blade bits from the Dark Eldar sprues, will look suitably nasty; Iíll use them as Sybarites for my Warrior Squads.
  • 5 Eldar jetbikes (my old Tiger Eyes of Craftworld Kashmyrr) and 7 Eldar Howling Banshees (my squad of Screaming Jaguars of Tezcatlipoca). These are ďretiredĒ figures, Alliesunder the 2nd Edition rules. With a little conversion work and a new paint job, the jetbikes would make excellent Reavers. Using the Banshees as Wyches is an obvious choice, but instead Iím trading them to my friend Scott Mallinson for some more Eldar jetbikes to bolster my Reavers (Scott, by the way, is the webmaster of the 40K fiction site Wanderer's End). 
Tiger Eye of Craftworld KashmyrrScreaming Jaguar of Tezcatlipoca
Left: Tiger Eye of Craftworld Kashmyrr. 
Mr. Goody-Two Shoes here will soon be joining the Dark Side....

Right: Screaming Jaguar of Tezcatlipoca. 
Sorry, babe, but you and I are through: I prefer "bad" girls....

  • A Talos, 3 Haemonculi, a Wych, and the Lelith Hesperax figure I bought from my friend Dwayne in South Carolina. The Talos is perfectly in character (after all, itís a big metal scorpion)ónow I only need 2 more! The Haemonculi will serve as my HQ unit until I can buy and build my jetbike-mounted Archon. I have some special conversions planned for my Wyches, so Iíll use the Wych and the Lelith figures as Sybarites for the Raider Squads.
Thatís all for now. In Part 2 of this series, I discuss what color scheme I used and why.

From Idea to Reality
Getting started <> Color schemes <> Raider Squads <> Transports <> Warriors <> 
Haemonculi/Talos <> Reavers <> Wyches <> Warp Beasts <> Archon <> Final

Related Pages
Themed Army Idea: Kabal of the Ozone Scorpions
Armies of the Jungle: Kabal of the Ozone Scorpions

Posted January 2001. 


Fighting Tigers:
Codex <> Tactics <> Gallery <> Allies and Enemies <> Tales of the Tigers

Other Pages:
Main <> What's New <> Site Index <> The Tiger Roars <> Themed Army Ideas
Events and Battle Reports <> Campaigns <> Terrain <> FAQ <> Beyond the Jungle