Saturday, May 11, 2013

Dark Eldar: Kabalite Trueborn

High Elf Shadow Warriors integrate nicely with  Dark Eldar warriors.
For the next installment of my quest to build a Dark Eldar army, I want to show my initial efforts to convert a unit of Kabalite Trueborn. At this point I have finished the the majority of a single Trueborn and wanted to get any feedback or suggestions for completing the model and converting newer members of the squad.
My initial thoughts were to make a pretty standard Trueborn squad, simply swapping their heads with the sleek domed helms of the Reaver jetbike pilots. That idea has been utilized by a whole slew of hobbyists and I still quite like the look, that faceless mask embodying the persona of soulless murderers. I even went as far as buying all the components to make such a squad, four blasters and a collection of the Reaver helmets. Somewhere along the way however, with all the other hobby projects and models that I am working on (it is so easy to justify buying more models...), the squad got sidetracked and never went anywhere.

The recent release of the new High Elf plastics, in particular the new Shadow Warriors, got me thinking about revisiting my Trueborn project. Their high-collared cloaks and plain helms emanating a kind of sinister perfection, suitable for representing Dark Eldar’s highborn killers. Excitedly I acquired a box of Shadow Warriors and set to work integrating the cloak and high-collar of one onto the torso of a Dark Eldar warrior. I have seen several Trueborn conversions utilizing a similar concept, using the Dark Elf Corsair cloaks instead of the new Shadow Warrior cloaks.

After a little trimming, you can pretty easily replace the Shadow Warrior torso with that of a Dark Eldar warrior. Before gluing the body to the cloak, I cut the high-collar from the Shadow Warrior (removing all traces of the rest of the body) and glued it inline with the rest of the cloak. With the collar in place, I glued on the Dark Eldar torso and carefully filled any gaps with greenstuff. From here I needed to do something to complete the warrior’s shoulderguards. For any of you who have assembled Dark Eldar warriors, you will remember their shoulderguards come in two halves, one on each half of their body. Fortunately, the Dark Eldar Hellions actually come with separate shoulder pads that fit perfectly overtop the warrior’s half completed shoulderguard. For the Trueborn’s legs I was able to use the standard ones from the Dark Eldar warriors after flattening the model’s  posterior, removing much of the detailing (toxin vials, barbed chain, etc).

By retaining the Shadow Warrior neck, you can easily attach the Dark Elf Corsair heads.
The first work in progress Trueborn.
The aspect of converting these new Trueborn that concerned me the most was finding suitable heads for the models (that can easily make or break a model). After sorting through and test fitting a collection of different heads, I settled on one from the Dark Elf Corsairs. Overall, I think the high-collars are best complemented with an unhelmeted head (but I would be interested in hearing other options on the matter). I was surprised to find that the Dark Elf Corsair heads are directly interchangeable with the Shadow Warriors (both of the kits have the model’s neck molded onto their torso). Importantly, I have found that if you cut out the model’s neck, the standard Dark Eldar heads (warriors, wyches, hellions, etc) slot in quite nicely with minimal trimming. I am currently in the process of making a second female Trueborn where I removed the model’s neck and have been toying with using either a Hellion or Wych head.

By cutting out the neck of the Shadow Warrior you open up room to use other Dark Eldar heads.
These are some of the heads I am considering, thoughts or other suggestions?
The only other thing I am unsure about with the models is what to put on their backs. The Shadow Warriors are modelled with a harness on their back to hold either a quiver of arrows or a sheathed sword. Thankfully neither of these options are actually molded on the models, saving me the trouble of having to shaving them off. Currently I am considering using the sheathed swords from the High Elf Dragon Princes to mount on their harnesses. Does anyone have any other suggestions of something suitable to put on their backs? Or would I be better off having nothing?

Any suggestions what could be placed on the Trueborns' back,  Dragon Prince sheathed swords? 
Hopefully you like the start of my Trueborn squad! I would be glad to hear of any suggestions or ideas to modify the Trueborn I have already made or enhance future squad members.

- Harlon Nayl


  1. Head #1 is my favorite by far I think having hair that takes up vertical space is important something you don't get with 2 and 4, high/dark? elf helms are too much fantasy for the model. No idea what should go on the back, trophies and instruments of pain would fit trueborn better than a sword I think but nothing like that would right probably

  2. I agree with your thoughts about vertical space. Heads 1 and 3 are my favorites, with 4 being a close third. Currently I am leaning towards using head 3.

  3. Brilliant conversion! All the parts fit seamlessly - I've been toying with the idea of using corsair heads for trueborns ( if I ever get started on that dark eldar/eldar army I've been planning for years now...) but the use of the shadow warrior cloak is truly inspired. Would work well for alternate eldar scouts...

    Head 1 or head 6.

    1. Thanks for the comment! I was pretty surprised myself how well all the different components fit together. The Shadow Warrior cloaks would work really well for Eldar Scout/Rangers. I was never too enamored with the current models for them, primarily how over-sized their rifles are (they would be knocking into everything carrying them around...). Converting a unit of them would be a great excuse to give them rifles that are a little more reasonable.

  4. Very cool! I'm definitely going to have to try this out to make some rangers or corsairs. I'd knocked together a unit of quasi-exodites using the dark elf corsairs with the scaled cloaks, had never occurred to me to try the shadow warriors as a basis. Neat!

    Great work, mate - looking forward to seeing more of these!

  5. Harlon! Hi thanks I loved your idea so much and gave it a shot today, however i'm not exactly sure which tools to use to effectively file down the shadow warrior neck between the cape, nor to cut off the cape to begin with. I also noticed the proportions between the back of the cape and the kabalite torso are a bit off, the torso being just a tad smaller.

    Could you advise me at all? Thanks a lot!

    1. I am glad you like the Trueborn and are trying to make some of your own! I have really enjoyed making the four I currently have.

      In terms of tools, nearly all of the work I have done on the Trueborn was with an X-acto knife with a #11 blade. I have found I can get more control simply using an x-acto blade than a file. When using only an x-acto blade to remove larger sections, like the Shadow Warrior neck, simply go at it slowly and continue to cut layer after layer of plastic away until you have removed all you want (avoid trying to cut off everything in one pass; this can easily result in cut fingers…). Sometimes after cutting I go back in with fine grit sandpaper and smooth out some of the rougher sections. Most of the time, however, I can achieve a very smooth surface just using the blade.

      When cutting off the front of the model’s collar, you will likely need to trim a little off the left and right sides of it to allow it to fit on the Dark Eldar warrior torso. If you ended up cutting away a little more than needed, you can always tidy that up with some greenstuff work.

      As for the Shadow Warrior cape, I carefully cut away the half-circles used to position the front torso and the lower portion of the torso. Just like with the collar, if you cut away a little more than needed you can fix it up with greenstuff.

      The Shadow Warrior neck is a little tricky to remove with an x-acto blade, but with a little patience, I found it was not too arduous. Keep in mind if you plan to use any of the Dark Elf corsair heads (or most of the Warhammer elf heads) you can keep the neck intact and just glue the heads on without the need to change anything.

      Hopefully this was somewhat helpful! If you have any more questions feel free to ask them here in the comment section. Good luck with the conversions!

      Also if interested, make sure you check the blog in the next week or so because I will be posting a work in progress of Duke Sliscus!

  6. what did you use to het the cape ive looked up shadow warrior and dark elf Corsairs bits but I couldn't find any with the cape your models look so cool I really want to try it out myself plz let me know what bits you used and if I can get them on ebay thanks

    1. All of the capes are taken from the High Elf Shadow warriors (with the front collar being trimmed off and attached to Dark Eldar warrior bodies). The heads can come from pretty much any of the Dark Eldar or Dark Elf lines. I found the Dark Elf Corsairs and Dark Riders have some really neat heads that work great and are not often seen in Dark Eldar conversions. If you have any other questions, I would be happy to answer them. (:

  7. I am working on a conversion for my Eldar, well two to be exact. I am building an all female craftworld Army. the lore is that they are primarily female so they dont let the men fight. due to this i am having to scratch build a lot of units. for my rangers I was planning on using the shadow warrior bodies like you did, and I was going to use the sea dragon cloaks from corsairs. since they are so simliar I was hoping you could help with some advice. how did you get the chest to look right placed on the back. I feel like when I cut down my back end of the cloak it doesnt have a great line up with the front side. I am sure you dont have any pictures during assembly but if you could help give me some tips of how you connected the parts that would be great! thanks for your time in advance.

    1. I would be happy to help give you some suggestions for your Ranger conversions. Am I correct you want to use the female shadow warrior bodies with the scaled cloaks of the Dark Elf Corsair models? I imagine that could be done, but it is a little different than what I did for these models. I used standard Dark Eldar bodies and combined them with the cloaks from the shadow warriors.

      Feel free to send an e-mail to us and we can discuss the conversions in more detail (