Thursday, September 25, 2014

Dark Eldar: Plastics wracks!

Submit to the suffering.

The November 2010 release of the newly redesigned Dark Eldar range was a revolution in scope and vision: an entire army re-envisioned and entirely resculpted, virtually all by one individual, the legendary Jes Goodwin. Even more astounding, all but a few of the new models were plastic and all were interchangeable. The redesign of the army was just before Games Workshop’s switch from metal to finecast, so there were a few models initially in white metal, before being switched over to resin (incubi, mandrakes, character models, etc.). The Wracks where one of the only kits released solely in finecast, because they were released a bit after the initial wave of releases. And although the models were quite good (in their own disturbing way) finecast was a deal breaker for me, so I never got any of them. Almost four years later, the Dark Eldar are finally getting a new release, and plastic Wracks are leading the way!

In an army primarily composed of lithe, agile warriors who bring a sort of macabre elegance to killing, the Wrack is their antithesis. Twisted souls who gave themselves willingly to the scalpels and flesh-hooks of the haemonculi, where they were dissected and refashioned into drug-addled and lumbering horrors. Taking a page out of Hellraiser, the Wracks take the form of tall, ritually mutilated terrors, faceless due to sinister steel masks. They have massively overdeveloped shoulders and arms, which sit atop grossly slender midsections with thin legs wrapped in tight leather. Even more horribly, from their swollen backs sprout misshapen vertebrae and bone, which are hung with chains and laced with syringes. Most eschew any sort of traditional firearms in favor of vicious blades, hooks, and maces.

While I always liked the original wrack models, their production in Finecast always steered me away.

With the first release of the redesigned Dark Eldar plastics, hobbyists were graced with an impressive array of plastic kits that were all interchange with one another, giving conversion flexibility before reserved only for Space Marines. Some of those kits, like the wyches and the Talos, have become almost legendary in their conversion potentials and seemingly find themselves in an endless array of conversions. Needless to say, any new plastic Dark Eldar kit has a lot to live up to if they are to stand on their feet.
Wracks now have a new horrifying weapon at their disposal, the Ossefactor! The device is apparently used to promote rapid bone growth.

Thankfully, it looks like Games Workshop has put significant effort into making these new plastics equally impressive. The new wracks have transitioned well into plastic and are strikingly similar to their finecast counterparts. Having never worked with the finecast versions of the models, it is actually pretty hard to notice obvious differences between the different kits. Great care was taken by Steve Buddle to closely replicate the original wracks in the shift to multi-part plastics. While the majority of the components in the kit mirror the components seen on the originals, the ability to mix and match components will go a long way towards keeping the models looking unique. From my perspective, the most obvious differences between the two kits are how the arms attach to the wracks. For the plastic variants you need to glue on both of their arms at the shoulder, resulting in pretty noticeable seam lines (many of the finecast ones you only needed to glue on one arm). This is not really much of a concern because the seams can be easily filled with greenstuff.
I have a strong feeling that many of the components of this kit will be utilized heavily in conversion across the Warhammer 40k range.

Another notable difference is the inclusion of a new special weapon, the bone-ravaging Ossefactor (which kind of looks like a heavy-duty grenade launcher)! In addition to the Ossefactor, the kit looks to come with all the other special weapons available for the unit and/or the Acothyst (squad leader). These include the age old Liquifier, the Hexrifle, and an assortment of wargear items like the scissorhand, electrocorrosive whip, and the mindphase gauntlet. So an avid converter will have more than their share of weapons to play around with!

The new plastic wrack kit comes with a huge selection of different weapons and wargear items. The faceplates are even separate pieces. Converters rejoice!

In line with the interchangeability seen in the earlier plastics, the new wrack kit also comes with components to replace the crew members of the Raider and Venom transports. This is a neat addition that will go a long way for those who want a Coven themed army. It does unfortunately look like you would need to use two of the wracks of the squad to man the Raider (rather than including models specifically for the Raider). This is a little problematic because the boxes only come with 5 wracks for the hefty price of 36 US dollars. I guess I can’t really complain too much because the plastic wracks are priced around what the old finecast ones were. The shift to plastic is worth a lot in my book.

The kit also comes with components to man Raiders and Venoms with wracks, perfect for creating a Coven themed force!

The final thing I want to mention about the kit , and perhaps what I am most excited about, is the wrack face masks! Although most of the faceplates look similar and were designed to look unremarkable and sterile (smooth steel broken only by slits or holes), the kit comes with an impressive 11 unique versions. Even more exciting, it looks like the masks are separate pieces that you glue on the different heads. This will greatly facilitate their use in all manner of conversions, saving the time and effort of replacing a model’s entire head. Now you can simply place one of the masks of the existing head of whatever you are converting (and instantly you have a creepy inhuman vibe to your model)!

I am looking forward to getting some of the new plastic wracks and the fantastic new plastic haemonculus. With the models in hand, who knows what interesting conversions await (although now I am leaning towards converting a haemonculus...)? It is an exciting time to be a Dark Eldar player! New images are being leaked by the day showing future releases in the coming weeks. Voidraven bombers, plastic archons, and who knows what else!

- Adam Wier


  1. It is a great time. I just hope everyone can weather the re-balancing without tearing their hair out.

    Preemptively: It's ok guys...breathe! You like pain remember?

    1. It will be interesting to see what they do with the actual book. The rumors are not too good...

      I don't play competitively so it does not matter as much. But it does hurt that they removed all their interesting special characters.... :(

  2. I think that staying very close to the earlier Finecast models from a visual perspective was a good idea -- the new models still closely follow Jes Goodwin's (absolutely stellar) design for the whole Dark Eldar line. By the same token, it's really awesome to have three distinct kinds of foot soldiers for a DE army now, with each of the kits following the same system and being fully compatible.

    Oh, and I expect the INQ28 crowd will love these as conversion fodder. And Slaaneshi CSM players have finally found the perfect counts as chaos cultists as well ;)

    Thanks for the very well considered review!

    1. Yeah, it is nice the dark elder have three distinct troop types. Helps make the army interesting!

      I just got some of the New plastics. They look really nice in person and should work well for all manner of conversions. I am currently considering how to kitbash and give the plastic haemonculus a hexrifle.