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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 7: Reavers
For my Dark Eldar army, I’ve built and painted one Raider Squad, one Warrior Squad, three Haemonculi and a Talos. As I suggested in Tip #7 of the article 8 Tips to Help You Finish Painting Your Army, I’m going to switch gears and move on to a Fast Attack unit. If I wasn’t writing this series, I would crank out another Troop unit before the Fast Attack unit, but seeing as how I've already discussed Troops, that wouldn’t be very interesting to read about again, now would it?

The Reavers
Going back to the Ozone Scorpion Themed Army Idea that I’m using as a blueprint, I’ll be using Reavers instead of Hellions. My reluctance to use Hellions (or any HQ on skyboards, by the way) has nothing to do with points cost, battlefield performance, or anything other than pure aesthetics. Skyboards look like bats, not scorpions, and including them would go against the army’s theme. I suppose I could design my own, more appropriate-looking skyboards, but I choose not to.

I know that a lot of Dark Eldar players are unimpressed with Reavers, but I love them. For a mere 25 points a pop, you get: 

1. WS 4, BS 4, S 4, T 4, I 5, Save: 4+. Toughness 4 and Save of 4+ don’t sound like much, but it’s a big deal when you consider that the average Death Twinkie is Toughness 3 and Save 5+. And Strength 4 thrown in as well—woohoo! That’s no typo, friends: Dark Eldar jetbikes are the only bikes in the game that give the rider +1 to Strength and Toughness. Booyah!

2. 12" regular move, ignoring terrain (skimmer).

3. 24" move anytime you like, as many times as you like, which transforms your already nice 4+ save into an Invulnerable 4+ save.

4. Combat drugs.

All for less than the price of two dopey Space Maroons with bolters. How can anyone NOT like Reavers?

The Role of the Reavers
Depending on the points and the scenario, I will use my Reavers in one of three ways:

1. To attack isolated enemy units (particularly on the flanks), firing with splinter rifles and special weapons before charging in to finish off the enemy; or

2. To grab objectives; or

3. To serve as a bodyguard for my jetbike-mounted Archon.

Despite all their mad stats and hoopy combat drugs, the biggest asset Reavers have, in my opinion, is speed and size (they’re just as fast as Raiders but a lot smaller). So I’ll maximize those attributes, whizzing from cover to cover, pouncing on the enemy before they have a chance to fire off any heavy weapons. 

No, no mad, suicidal charges for my bikes. Like the rest of my Dark Eldar, the Reavers will attack enemy squads that they can easily defeat (hey, if I wanted to fight fair, I wouldn’t be playing Death Twinkies, now would I?).

In my initial list, I said I would have one unit of 8 Reavers, but after some thought, I’ve decided to change that. Reavers might be smaller than Raiders but they’re still larger than Dark Eldar on foot: 8 Reavers would have difficulty using terrain to stay out of sight of heavy weapons. Similarly, it would be darn near impossible to get 8 Reavers in base-to-base contact with any but the largest of enemy units, and you usually don't want to assault large enemy squads anyway. So I’ll have two units of 5 Reavers, one unit with two blasters, one with two shredders.

If you’re familiar with my Tiger army, you know I like to upgrade a squad member to act as the leader: Veteran Sergeants for my Tigers, Sybarites for my Warrior and Raider Squads. To save on points, I won’t have any Succubi for my Reavers; my jetbike-mounted Archon will take over that leadership role. 

Modeling and Painting the Reavers
The obvious choice was to run out and buy heaps of the way-cool Games Workshop Reaver models, but they are a tad too expensive for my budget. Following Vicente Ruiz’s advice, I decided to make my own Reavers, basing them on some old Eldar jetbike models I had used in 2nd Edition (below) and had kept in my bitz box.

Close-up of Tiger Eye of Craftwor;d KashmyrrOzone Scorpion Reavers
When coneheads go bad: I converted Eldar jetbikes (left) to Reavers (right).

The riders were simple to convert: off with those “Goody-Two-Shoes” Eldar helmets and on with some proper Dark Eldar heads. Add some spikes here and there, perhaps a splinter pistol, paint using Dallas Cowboy colors, et voila!

Notice that my guys don’t look like regular Reavers. GW’s Reavers (below) are screaming nutcases wearing spikes and electrical tape (and little else) as they hunch over their bikes. In contrast, my Reavers actually wear the Ozone Scorpion uniform and (by their pose) appear a lot more sedate. 

Above: GW Reaver jetbikes. Photo © Copyright Games Workshop Ltd. 2001

Part of the reason for this, of course, is that I’m using the original Eldar jetbike rider figures: as Vicente would have said, “Use what you have.” But there’s also a story-related, or “fluff” reason.

According to Codex: Dark Eldar, Reavers are a subset of Wyches, who belong to cults. Wych cults, like Haemonculi, are “hired guns,” working for the highest bidding Kabal but not a part of any Kabal. While this idea works fine for other Dark Eldar armies, it doesn’t for mine: everyone in my Dark Eldar army is a member of the Kabal of the Ozone Scorpions and has been forced into exile—if they weren’t members of the Kabal, why would they have left Commorragh? 

So while my guys  certainly operate like Reavers and follow the same rules for Reavers, from a “fluff” perspective, they aren’t Reavers. Rather, they’re Warriors who fly jetbikes and take combat drugs. That make sense?

As for the bikes, I did a little work to make them look less like “good-guy Eldar” bikes. I shaved off the twin-linked shuriken catapults and the tail fins and replaced them with those nifty keen blades and thingies I had saved from the Raider kits. 

Reavers lead the attack against the Catachans
Above: Scorpion Reavers lead the attack 

I took the “wings” of the Raider tailpieces, cut them up, and mounted them on the back of each jetbike to resemble a scorpion’s sting. Like my Raiders, my Reavers are mounted very low to the tabletop. Finally, I painted over the carapaces (in Mithril Silver), adding an Ozone Scorpion rune (below) to let everyone know who they're dealing with.

Ozone Scorpion ReaverRune for the Kabal of the Ozone Scorpions
Left: Reaver with bike-mounted blaster. Right: Ozone Scorpion rune

Reaver with claws

What's a scorpion without claws? I made these (above) out of leftover bits from the Raiders. I imagine them to be movable, mechanical pincers that are tucked under the carapace during high-speed flight. They're extended as the Reaver attacks in close combat, snipping an opponent in half or carrying them off for further fun and games....

More Reavers

Though the riders wear the same uniform and the bikes are painted in the same pattern (above), armament varies. Ranged weapons can be mounted in different positions and the number, shape, and size of bike-attached blades is up to each rider.

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 June 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