Friday, November 29, 2013

Dark Eldar: Converting Duke Sliscus

Follow the Serpent!
Ever since the release of the Dark Elf assassin Shadowblade, I knew I wanted to use the model as a foundation for a conversion of Duke Sliscus. The model’s dynamic pose seemed to play nicely with the image of him I had in my mind, a flamboyant firebrand of a character.  I mused on how best to create the characters, and with the later release of the Dark Elf fleetmaster, I knew I found the last few pieces I needed.

It would have been very easy to stick largely to just the stock assassin. Nelson did an excellent job of making an elegant and minimalistic killer with the model. But I did not think that would do the Duke justice, as he is such a capricious and fickle character.  Although it was initially hard to cut up the excellent model, he was separated into very manageable pieces, which made the converting easier.

The Dark Elf assassin Shadowblade acts a great starting point for converting Duke Sliscus.
One of the first orders of business was choosing an appropriate head for the Duke, one filled with scorn and arrogance. The release of the new plastic Dark Elf Fleetmaster provided me with the perfect face (which fortunately fit very nicely in the place of Shadowblade’s normal head). While I really liked the hair Brian Nelson sculpted for the Fleetmaster, it did not really bode well with rest of the pose of the model (who would not like an exaggerated devilock, Jerry Only style). Not wanting to completely shirk away from the punk rock vibe, I opted to model on a much more reserved mohawk. I used a thin strip of plasticard to create the base on which I added detail with greenstuff.

To model the Duke's mohawk, I first started with a thin piece of plasticard and added detail with greenstuff on top. 
I wanted to make it evident from his appearance that he has access to the best equipment available, exotic and one of a kind. As such, the stock Blast Pistol just would not work, its overall bulk not fitting for such a sleek and refined figure.  Taking the standard Blast Pistol as a starting point, I removed the barrel and shaved away much of the body of the weapon. I replace the barrel of the pistol with the front of a Dark Eldar Haywire Blaster, making sure to lower the barrel to be more in line with the Duke’s trigger finger. I also took the time to remodel the Duke’s trigger finger such that it was off the trigger, emphasizing his control and level of training. Finally I added a holographic sight on the top, fashioned from the power coil from a Dark Eldar power weapon.

By replacing the barrel of the blast pistol with the front of a Haywire Blaster, the Duke's pistol shrinks dramatically in size.
For his pair of venom blades, the Serpent's Bite, I looked to the Dark Elf range of plastics again, and ended up choosing to use a sword from the Dark Elf Dreadlord. To make the blade more closely resemble the other venom blades in the Dark Eldar line, I added some toxin injectors to the spine of the blade (cut off from one of the plastic Scourge venom blades). For his second blade, I chose one of the Dark Riders sheathed swords to attach on the Duke’s side.

The Dark Elf Dreadlord sword from the plastic dragon works wonderfully on Dark Eldar models.
To hint at the Duke’s trafficking and use of contraband narcotics and stimulants I added some tiny vials of intoxicants (taken from the Dark Eldar scourges) at his waist. I also added a wrist-mounted keypad that he can use to administer himself all manner of combat drugs. The keypad was made with a thin piece of plasticard, greenstuff, and a little vial from a Blood Angel shoulder guard.

With a little plasticard and greenstuff I fashioned a wrist-mounted keypad on the Duke's gauntlet.
I have only made minor modifications to Shadowblade’s armor, namely adding some extra detail on the breastplate of his armor to more closely resembles Dark Eldar Kabalite armor. Further, I have started work on giving the Duke a scaled cloak (likely from some nameless alien horror). I took the cloak from the Dark Elf fleetmaster and carved out the all of the remnants of the fleetmaster’s body. Some greenstuff work still needs to be done to fashion attachment points of the cape to the Duke’s armor.

While a little time consuming, I was able to effectively remove all of the fleetmaster's body from his sea dragon cloak.
I still need to model on attachment points for the Duke's cape and remove the pin securing his cape. 
I wanted to put up a post before finishing the model to see if people had any suggestions or comments on the model. What do you think of the cloak? Does it look natural? Thanks for reading!

- Harlon Nayl


  1. Very inspirational, I have just started a CW Eldar army with D Eldar bodies as a base. This has got me thinking of adding D Eldar allies and was looking at what to do for an Archon …. sorted!

    1. Thanks for the kind words! Shadowblade should work perfectly as a base for all sorts of different archon conversions.

      I have been thinking of adding some Craftworld Eldar to my Dark Eldar for some time now. I like your idea of incorporating the Dark Eldar bodies into the normal Eldar. Good luck assembling your army!

  2. Awesome conversion - how did you attach it to the resin base? I've also used the shadowblade for a conversion but attaching it to a resin base seems daunting - did you pin this?

    1. I am glad you like the conversion! Shadowblade is a fantastic starting point for conversions. I did pin the conversion to the resin base. The foot of the model is large enough that you can pretty easily get a pin into it (without the pin I am pretty sure I would break the model off the base frequently....). Good luck pinning!