Exodite Dragon Riders

Here’s a project I’ve been working on reasonably solidly for the past week, in order to get it finished for a friend’s birthday. He’d received the gift now, so I can put it up online. It’s a project I’ve been meaning to do for a very long time, and never really got round to doing.

Now, my friend and I both play Warhammer 40,000. We don’t play the recent version on account of it being an unrelenting suckfest, though. We play the 2nd edition rules, from 1994. There are many reasons for this, which I won’t go into now. Suffice it to say that if you’re playing any version of the rules after 2nd ed, you’re wasting your time. But I digress.

So we play 40K 2nd Ed. We have a whole number of armies between us, but his largest force by far is his Eldar. For those of you who don’t play the game or know what the hell I’m talking about, Eldar are like “space elves”. I like to call them space elves, because not only does it make them sound pathetic and twee, it also reminds me that I’m a grown man playing a game I bought when I was 15.

Now, my friend has a large eldar army. He’s got pretty much everything there is to get (or WAS to get, as most of this stuff is out of production now). So what do you get the guy who has everything? Well, simple. You don’t “get” him anything. You MAKE him something.

GAmes Workshop wrote rules for Eldar troops called “Exodite Dragon Riders”, but never actually produced any models for them (this was a habit of GW back in the 90s, and probably still is today, but I stopped following their products back in the 90s so I can’t be sure). The Exodites rode into battle on huge, fearsome lizards which they called “dragons”. They weren’t REAL dragons, of course. THAT would be ridiculous.

So I needed to find a way of making a reasonably convincing unit of Exodites by converting some existing models. I decided to use some old metal cold-ones from the “Warhammer Regiments of renown” series. I can’t remember the name of the set, but there was a regiment in the Fantasy Lizardman army which consisted of skinks (little lizardman things) riding cold-ones (big dinosaur-like lizards). The regiment was a fairly limited release, but I managed to find it on ebay for a rather princely sum.

OK so that sorted the mounts. What about the riders? Well I could use Eldar jetbike riders. But then I remembered that the rules described the Exodites as a more feral branch of eldar society.

Now, in the early 2000s, GW released a line of miniatures for the 3rd edition of 40K called “dark eldar”. It was a great example of designers completely missing the point about their own game, but I won’t go into it now. Suffice it to say that the whole concept of Dark Eldar is daft. BUT the standard Dark Eldar foot troops had a look which I thought could work for Exodites. Funds were running low, so I bought a bunch of plastic dark eldar off ebay for a couple of quid. They arrived completely caked in the shonkiest paint jobs ever.

Not to worry, I just soaked them in dettol and scrubbed off the paint once the pine disinfectant had reduced it to slimy gloop. It’s not the most fun activity, but it was necessary. So I had all the bits, I was ready to start building this stuff.

Exodites are armed with laser lances. To convert the standard splinter rifles of the Dark Eldar I needed to cut their gun barrels, and extend them using a length of brass rod. I then sculpted the shafts to appear continuous. I then had to perform some extensive resculpting of the legs in order to make the footsoldiers look like they were actually riding the dinosaurs. Here’s one after the sculpting was done:

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And the rest of them:

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So after resculpting five of them, it was time to paint them. I’ve painted cold-ones in the past and have always done them green. I fancied a change, so I decided to go with red. Here’s a work in progress shot:Image

My friend’s Eldar army hails from the Craftworld of Ulthwe, and standard troops have black uniforms with yellow helmets, so that was a choice which was made for me. The lances I painted as bone. Eldar use a substance called wraithbone for a number of devices, which is a sort of ensorcelled, organic substance. I figured the appearance of wrtaithbone would mask any imperfections in my sculpting. All that was left then was to make some pennants out of paper, and varnish them into position. Here’s the finished pics:

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On the whole, I’m pretty pleased with how they came out. Not terribly happy with the pennants though. My excuse is that I was pushed for time, but really I could have done better. Still, my friend thought they were great so all that remains is to try them out on the battlefield. Can’t help but feel I’ve made a rod for my own back there…

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