Finishing your own army is core to the Warhammer 40,000 hobby. Every Thursday in our Army Showcase series, Goonhammer contributors take a look at the armies we’ve been collecting for years, and the new ones we’ve just finished – what drew us to them, why we keep building and painting, and how they play on the table. This week Liam is talking about his Drukhari!
Drukhari, or Dark Eldar as they used to be known, have been an ongoing obsession of mine since I first started playing Warhammer 40,000 back in the dark days of 1999 or so. My first army was Blood Angels, but I bought the 3rd edition starter box which came with the hilariously unbalanced Space Marines vs. (then brand-new to 40k) Dark Eldar set-up. Those Dark Eldar Warriors mostly sat in a box for a few years, but one day I decided I was going to get them out of the box and build and paint them. This being the early 2000s, I bought a single Raider, a single box of Wyches, a couple of the old Incubi and the old Archon, and probably not much else, then failed to paint any of it. I was not a very disciplined painter or gamer as a teenager.
That particular incarnation of the army has disappeared over the years – probably sold. All I have left is the codex; even the 3rd edition Archon you’ll see later on is newly bought from eBay rather than a relic of my past. I really need to get some of the old Incubi and Wyches, those models ruled.
Anyway. Fast forward to 2010, and after a decade’s worth of languishing with a pretty terrible model range and completely inadequate rules, Games Workshop announce out of nowhere that they’re doing a complete range refresh for Dark Eldar. And the models are good. Really, really good. Dark Eldar are one of the first truly modern GW ranges, and even though most of the kits are now coming on for 10 years old, they’re still some of the best things they sell. In 2010 they were mind-blowing, and I knew immediately that I wanted to play them. I don’t think I pulled the trigger until a few months later, maybe early 2011, but when I did I bought in hard. A ton of the models on show here were built and painted in this period – all the Wyches, most of the Kabalites, the Raiders, the blue-sailed Ravagers, most of the Venoms, the Hellions, the Reaver Jetbikes, and the totally-not-Chaos-Hounds Khymerae. This was the golden era for the Hellion deathstar and Beast Packs being at all relevant.
I had a long break from 40k during 6th and 7th edition, which I think is for the best, since from what I’ve heard Dark Eldar sucked hard. I mean I own like 10 armies so I’d probably have just played something else, but it would have been a shame to leave the elves in the box for the entirety of that time. Coming back into 8th edition, the newly-christened Drukhari book arrived, and I figured I’d get them out again and see how they played.
It turns out the answer was “brilliantly.” I still think Drukhari on its own merits is the best book in 8th edition, although it runs into a few problems with how the book is subdivided (check out how many units each faction can actually access from the already-small list – it gets pretty narrow!) The army played exactly how it should, and I’ve ended up playing it more than anything else in 8th. During that time, I’ve added…. well, a lot. 9 Talos, 3 Razorwing Jetfighters, a Voidraven, more Kabalites, three new Ravagers to replace the old, busted (literally busted – don’t look too closely!) ones, the excellent new plastic Wracks, a Haemonculus to replace the one I lost at Caledonian Uprising in 2012, some new Archons, it’s a whole lot. The army probably doubled in size, and I got to paint up a ton of cool new stuff.
Well, I don’t own any Grotesques of any kind, and those are pretty good so at some point I need to fix that (I will probably do this just in time for them to become unusable garbage for the rest of eternity). I also have mad plans in mind to paint a couple of secondary schemes so I can easily distinguish different sub-factions, and also because I love painting Drukhari and doing it a different way sounds like a ton of fun. You can see the beginnings of this on the three central Ravagers, with the lime-green highlighting. I have a spare Venom I’m going to try out an alternative scheme on (with no black whatsoever) and go from there. I also need to replace the Raiders, which are showing their age quite badly.
Oh, and of course, there’s this fucking guy and his friends, and whatever else comes out with them
Besides that, I’m kind of doing an all-Eldar super faction thing – I have painted a bunch of Craftworlders this year, and I have Harlequins in the works too, and Ynnari which have been kicking around for a while.
Hold on to your asses, we’re about to drop a bunch of Drukhari pictures right here.
That’s a good look at what’s in the army. Here’s some of my favourite individual models from this grab-bag of evil Eldar:
Anyone who follows my Instagram (so, no-one) is sick to death of these boys already. Talos are some of my favourite models in the entire Drukhari range, I like how I painted them a lot, and they mostly whip ass on the table. Sometimes they’re extremely slow and frustrating and you watch your opponent take your army to pieces in short order, but the rest of the time these guys run around carving up whatever they feel like.
This Archon isn’t the strongest thing I’ve ever painted, though I do like the bold green. The model is likely to be older than a bunch of the people reading this article, though, and it’s one of my favourites from the old Dark Eldar range back in 3rd edition.
This Archon, made from the metal 5th edition Succubus, is one of the longest-serving models in the army. She’s showing her age a little now and I tend to use the lime-green 3rd edition one instead.
The plastic Wracks are some of my favourite models in any range. They have tons of character, and they strike the right balance of being detailed and interesting without overdoing it for what are, at their core, 9pt Troop models. I have 5 more of these to paint up, and I’m looking forward to it.
Again, the painting here is whatever. The most impressive thing about this Succubus is the pin job – that archite glaive snapped clean in half in one of the first games I used her in, and I had to pin the very narrow join and I hit it dead on.
The new Ravagers I painted up, complete with violently lime green edge highlighting and disintegrators charging up ready to fire at someone. I liked this picture a lot more before I noticed the centre one has a bunch of static grass stuck to it which I didn’t wipe off before taking the photo. Fuck.
That’s all we have time for here on Drukhari TV. I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at a bunch of the evil, no-good, totally disreputable space elves, my favourite faction in the game and one of two armies of my heart (the other being my Crimson Fists, which will get one of these posts when I have a solid week and 12ft of space available to take pictures of all of them). If you want to get at me, hit me on the Twitter or Instagram links above, or just shout at me on firstname.lastname@example.org (which I won’t read) or the Facebook page (which I will).