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From Idea to Reality, Part 9: Warp Beasts
We're getting down to the end of the series now. Those of you who have been following along will know that I’ve taken one of the Themed Army Ideas and been attempting to make an actual tabletop battleforce out of it. So far, my Kabal of the Ozone Scorpions has:

Including the Wyches in my army allows me to field a unit of Warp Beasts. So I did.

The Warp Beasts
I hadn’t planned on using Warp Beasts; indeed the Themed Army Idea that I’m using as a blueprint didn’t call for any. But inspiration struck when I saw some models that would look great with my army—and the extra hand-to-hand ability is perfect, too. The low points cost (75 points for a full squad) is mere icing on a very nasty cake….

The Role of the Warp Beasts
Warp Beasts do one thing: run up to enemy infantry and literally eat them for lunch. The only option available for them is unit size: you want three, four, or five Warp Beasts? A unit so easy to use, with so little thought involved, that even your typical Khorne player can handle that (hey, I was just kidding—put down the chain axes, okay?).

All right, so maybe they’re not that easy to use. Warp Beasts have two big problems that must be overcome.

The first problem is that they must get into hand-to-hand combat right away, as they are extremely vulnerable to shooting attacks. Warp Beasts are about as sturdy as your average Dark Eldar Warrior—which means they can take a bullet about as well as your Mom’s wedding china. Plus they come in small units—one and only one small unit, as a matter of fact, so you can’t just sneer, “Plenty more where they came from” like you can when your Warriors catch some bolter rounds and go off to She Who Thirsts. 

Fortunately, Warp Beasts can Fleet of Foot and have a nifty 12" Assault move. Even better, you can unload them via a webway portal and really ruin someone’s day. 

The second problem with Warp Beasts is that they have the bad habit of eating your own troops for lunch if their Beastmaster gets killed. Yes, indeedy. Or, as Codex: Dark Eldar states:

If the Beastmaster is slain then the pack will move towards the nearest unit (friend or foe) in the Dark Eldar turn, and assault them if they can.
Well, that’s all kinds of bad. The easy way to remedy this problem is to keep your Warp Beasts away from the rest of your guys. 

Of course, some players will argue that you shouldn’t even use Warp Beasts in the first place. I disagree. For a mere 12 points a pop you get:

  • The aforementioned Fleet of Foot and 12" Assault move; and
  • Three Strength 4 attacks (four attacks when charging) with Weapons Skill 4 at Initiative 5
For a mere 15 points, you get a Beastmaster packing an agonizer, normally a 20 point Wargear item all by its lonesome. 

As I said—at the most, you’ll spend 75 points on this unit. You can’t get your average Space Marine Hero Tooled-Up-for-Close-Combat for that, and I’m willing to bet that your Warp Critters would gobble him up before he could let out a Strength 4 sneeze.

Modeling and Painting the Warp Beasts
The Games Workshop Warp Beasts look like big dogs that had a bad night playing strip poker with a Haemonculus. The “no-fur-or-epidermis” look is gruesome but doesn’t do much for me. 

But what do look really cool to me are these Giant Scorpions of Hakir (below), part of the Dark Heaven line from Reaper Miniatures. These are some nasty bugs. Look at all the spikes on them! 

Now THAT'S a scorpionThis Tiger is in some serious trouble...

Games Workshop has a Giant Scorpion figure for Warhammer, but their scorp is very old (came out in the late 1980s) and, sadly, doesn’t look nearly as good. Of course, because I’m using non-GW minis, I’ll never be able to use my Warp Beasts in a GW tournament, but I can live with that.

The Dark Heaven scorpions come as is, so I didn’t have to do any conversion work on them. With those legs, they are very wide models: I fashioned each base out of three GW cavalry bases glued side-by-side. This will probably limit how many I can get into hand-to-hand combat (unless I’m using Cityfight rules), but I don’t care much. I like the look of the models so much that I’m willing to accept any actual game penalties for using them. 

Warp Beast

Real scorpions are not blue, of course, but I wanted to tie them in with the rest of my army, and they are creatures from the Warp, so I suppose they can be whatever color I want. Like the other units in my army, I primed them in black, with two basecoats of Enchanted Blue. To give the scorpions some definition, I washed them in thinned-down Chaos Black, then drybrushed them with Space Wolf Grey. I painted the spikes, claws, and edges of armor plates in Mithril Silver. Eyes are Blood Red. Bases were the same as my other units.

The Beastmaster
Flipping through a copy of the AD&D First Edition Monster Manual II, I was inspired to pattern my Beastmaster after a drider. Driders are dark elves (or “drow”) who have been transformed by demonic magic into centaur-like abominations, half-elf, and half-giant spider. Substitute “scorpion” for “spider” and you see what I came up with (below).

Half Dark Eldar, half scorpion--all bad

Because it was easier to convert, I used the aforementioned GW Giant Scorpion model, shaving off the claws and the eyes atop its body. I used a plastic Dark Eldar Warrior torso, arm, and head for the upper half, glued it to the scorpion body, and molded green putty around it to make the join more organic. One of the Giant Scorpion’s claws became one of the Beastmaster’s arms, with the pincer itself counting as the agonizer. Then I painted the model like the others.

The Beastmaster takes on a Veteran Sergeant

The Beastmaster is a little smaller than the creatures he runs with, but in my opinion, that makes the Warp Beasts even more frightening.

The pack on the attack against Fighting Tigers

Next up, it’s time to bring on the main bad guy: Archon Syryx Lynatharr himself.
 


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 December 2001
 

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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