Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Product Review - Dark Eldar Hellions

Hellions are Dark Eldar that have build up an existence outside the normale ‘protection’ of a kabal, instead they roam the desolate regions of Commorragh in large groups, who move about on agile, fast-moving skyboards. Wild and unpredictable the different Hellion gangs have been known to hire out their services to Kabals on raids, using their Hellglaive and Skyboards to capture victims and claim grizzled trophies in battle.

Hellions are a Fast Attack choice for the Dark Eldar.


When the first picture of a Hellion was released I was rather uncertain about them, but know I have the actual sprues in my hands I do have to say that these models continue the excellent design seen on the other Dark Eldar releases. The Dark Eldar Hellions boxed set, which contains 2 sprues, and costs the same as both the Kabalite Warriors and Wyches boxed sets.


On the sprues you will find enough bits and bobs to put together 5 Hellions, one of which can be a Helliarch leader. In addition all options, available in the codex for a Hellion troupe of 5 men, are also included. So your Helliarch can be armed with a Phantasm grenade launcher, a venom blade, a power weapon, an agoniser and even the rather cool-looking stunclaw. And, of course, these sprues also come with an assortment of extra skulls, spikes and trophies to add to your Hellions. And naturally the kit has a small instruction manual giving details about what is what and how everything goes together. A nice little bonus is that the spare page of this manual has an excellent Hellion artpiece on it, which you can also see in the codex on page 16.
The Hellions themselves, though in line with the design of both the Reavers and Wyches, have a quite unique feel to them. They come across more tribal and brutal as a result of their tighter, torn Wyche suites, screaming mouth masks and grizzled trophies.

Each Hellion is mounted on a stylish and rather speedy-looking Skyboard. Each of these boards is mounted on a 3” base using a clear plastic rod. These rods both solve an old issue and leave another unresolved. On the one hand the rods are still notoriously difficult to fully insert into the hole on the base, pressure is needed and the danger of breaking is quite real. At the same they we no longer need to worry about the rod breaking off clean at its connection point on the mini. Heck no, each rod now comes with a ball and the Skyboard has a nice socket on its bottom half. So we have less unrepairable breaking and more posing opportunities not only with this kit, but also with the Raider, Ravager and Reaver Jetbikes.

TIP - I would advice using clippers to remove the Skyboards from their sprues, this as most of the points were they are attached to the sprues are curved. That way you can easily use a hobby knife and a file later to keep the curved surfaces intact.

We then come to the bodies. Like the other plastic kits each torso comes with a front and back part and allows you to make three male and two female Hellions. You also get five pairs of legs, four of which are split in half. Luckily GW added a nice little A-D on the inside of each leg to prevent any botched poses.

TIP – It is best not to glue the Skyboard to the base until you have finalized the pose of its rider. This way you can get the most out of the ball-socket, making your Hellions even more dynamic. Blu-tac, or an equivalent, is your best friend when trying out poses!

Next we get to the heads and arms with Hellglaives. You get a whopping 10 different heads; 3 male without mask, 4 with mask, 2 females without mask and 1 with mask. Additionally there are 7 Hellglaives, 6 with arms attached, on the sprue. Several of these come in two parts, with one of the upper arms being separate. Personally I am not a huge fan of the semi-dreadlock hair style of the heads, though the detailing is excellent. Although it adds a further unique touch to the Hellions, it does look slightly out of place if you try to add one of these heads to another unit like Kabalite Warriors or Wyches. So it works just fine for the unit, but may look out of place when kit-bashing.

The posability of the arms and equipment are quite good and can be further expanded with only mild cuts and adjustment that even basic modellers shouldn’t have any problems with. The only real issue I ran into was trying to get the Stunclaw off the sprue in one piece, that thing is one fine and delicate piece of plactic!


Hellions, being jump troops, add another very mobile unit to an already very fast army. And although they lack any kind of high Strength long range attack their Splinter Pods and higher Strength provided by the Hellglaives makes them a quite dangerous harassment unit to most enemy Infantry units.

The Helliarch leader also has access to the rather interesting Stunclaw, which is able to drag an Independent Character with the unit as they Hit-and-Run. By itself this isn’t all that useful, as a normally sized Hellion squad is unlikely to be able take down some of the powerhouse characters out there. However, the 3D6 movement provided by a successful Hit and Run attack does mean that even a 5-men strong Hellion unit can potentially drag a vital enemy commander within range of one of your tougher units (Hellions, Ravager, Archon etc.). And I am certain all Tau Ethereals out there will be scared of this unit!


The Hellions will be a blast to paint, though I do have to admit they will take quite a bit of time as the result of the many layers you will find on, particularly, the riders. I also really like that the blade on the Skyboards are a large, flat surface, allowing the painting fanatics out there to pour their hearts out with some free-hand, tribal work!

All in all, I think it will be relatively easy, though taking longer than say a normal Space Marine, to get an excellent looking mini on the table. The more advanced modellers and painters will also have a blast with all the different materials (skin, metallics, leather, trophies and cloth) and free-hand opportunities.

The Hellion kit is also the essential place to start for those wanting to add Beast masters to their army. These arena beast-taming Wyches also ride around on Skyboards and only have slightly different equipment The codex even described them as not always wearing their special masks, so a normal Hellion, straight of the sprue, with a spare Wyche weapon will already net you a legal Beast master miniature!

Finally by swapping heads and torsos with the excellent Wyches sprues, you can easily add a ton of extra variety to both a Hellion and Wyche unit. The cool thing here is that both units wear the same type of bodysuit, meaning everything still fits together perfectly. So do loose zero parts and do not have to sacrifice and miniatures at all. And naturally, if you decide not to use the Stunclaw, I am certain it will look great in a Wyche unit. Those ladies love all kind of gladiatorial weapons after all!


The Hellion kit contains enough parts to build 5 Dark Eldar Hellios, one o which can be built as a Helliarch and includes all the weapons options and upgrades available to them in the codex. The Hellions are easy to build and definitely look the part with their dynamic poses and the nifty ball-and-socket system on their Skyboards. Their bases and the plastic rod you have to insert into them do provide a potential weakness in the kit though. Their excellent posability and the potential to swamp bits with the Wyche kit, without sacrificing miniatures, makes it fairly simple to make a large, but still diverse looking, unit of Hellions. Now we just need to figure out where to find the bits to make a convincing Baron Sathonyx model!

So in conclusion, this kit provides excellent quality for your money, accommodates both the Hellion and Beastmaster units and is great in combination with the Wyche kit, making it a solid 8 for me. I will definitely be including a unit in my upcoming Wyche Cult army!


Coming later this week, a review of the Wyches kit.

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