This article is part of a series of explaining how to create an Exodite Army using the 7th edition codices and the new Ally rules. In this article, I will review each unit within the codex that can represent an Exodite equivalent. I will cover their backstory, wargear, special rules and modeling suggestions. As with each of these codex specific articles, I will be treating each codex independently so there may be modeling suggestions that are common to multiple codices for completely different units
Since most players favor a single army and don’t knit together several codices as I have done, it will be up to the individual modeler to determine how best, within his own army, he can use the same base model for different units from more than one codex. In reality, the possibilities are almost unlimited, especially with the variety of old and new models for most of the Games Workshop units available now, so it would be beyond the scope of these articles.
The units will be presented in the order they appear in the codex and if I have not written an Exodite equivalent unit for that entry, I will try to explain the challenge I faced. Maybe the reader can see something I missed and add even more Exodite flavor to the codex. If the unit is one I use as-is, then it will be listed at the end of the unit list with some general comments as needed for that unit.
One final note, as I explain the backstory of the unit, you will see a mix of traditional Exodite fluff coupled with my own interpretation to match the story of my own Maiden World. My intent is not to rewrite the fluff but to simply write my own story for a single Maiden World located on the Eastern Fringe in Tau space. It should serve as a starting point for the reader to launch out on his own interpretation or craft it to be more in line with the traditional Exodite fluff.
The Exodites are Eldar and left their homeworld equipped with Eldar tech so it is fair to use the standard Eldar weapons, especially the shuriken pistols. However, much of the Exodite fluff refers to them using wraithbows. The only problem I had with this is the 12” range of most of the Eldar infantry weapons. Being an archer myself, I decided that the best way to incorporate bows is to treat all 12” ranged weapons as wraith crossbows and anything longer ranged as wraithbows. This matched history in that not only did crossbows require less training, they were a shorter range weapon. Now the Guardian troop equivalents could use wraith crossbows while the more skilled warriors used wraithbows.
Wraith Units and Their Exodite Equivalents
The Exodites, through there Dragonsingers, have the capability of calling the many dinosaurs or other creatures to their aid in the defense of Lorien. Most iconic of the Exodite creatures are the dragons, from raptors to megadons, that are ridden into battle or are used as mobile weapon platforms.
The strangest of these creatures are the various forms of tree-like creatures. There is a great deal of disagreement amongst the non-Eldar as to the true nature of these creatures. Some believe they are sentient plant forms while others hold the more superstitious view that they are forest spirits. Some believe that deceased Exodite, housed within the World Infinity Circuit, somehow inhabit certain tree-forms much like the Craftworld wraith constructs.
Wraithblades - Dragons
Dragon, what the Exodites generally call their dinosaurs, come in all shapes and sizes. The smaller ones can be used to carry support weapons but some of the medium sized predators, especially the pack hunters, will often be summoned.
Though it is possible to mount a weapon on a dinosaur, I had trouble incorporating a crew model or a reasonable story of how the dinosaur would fire the weapon, especially such strange weapons as the D-scythes. However, the wraithblades easily lend themselves to medium sized dragons and with all of the dinosaur raptor models available from Citadel, Reaper and others, you have many options.
With the older plastic Cold Ones models, there is no saddle to deal with. However, even though the newer lizardman Cold Ones have a saddle blanket, the saddle itself is part of the lizardman piece so by simply treating the blanket as ornamentation used by the Exodites, it is a simple matter of just painting the models; no conversion necessary. The newer Dark Elf Cold Ones, on the other hand have ornate saddles and tack so unless you are very good at sculpting, you probably won’t use them for wraithblades.
Wraithguard & Wraithblades - Spriggans
Spriggans (thank you, Skyrim) are common in the forests of Lorien. Appearing as small trees at a casual glance, they are almost impossible to spot amidst surrounding trees. They zealously guard their sylvan domains against any invader and willingly support the Exodites against any foe. When they are needed, the Dragonsingers summon the Spriggan from the surrounding forests, which come alive with an eerie movement.
There are four general types of Spriggans. Each type is distinguishable from the others but variation does exist even within each type. Two of the four are able to attack opponents at range as well as in close combat. The Common Spriggan has smooth bark in hues of dark grey or brown and lashes out with its branch-like arms in close combat. The Iron Spriggans have light gray colored, thick, knurled bark whose branches sport thorns unlike a Common Spriggan. However, its branches are much thicker and harder, being capable of inflicting more damage. They are even capable of piercing medium vehicle armour. Their hard wood is capable of shrugging off even the most powerful of weapons.
The Gnarled Spriggan is one of two that can attack at range. Its dark gray-brown limbs and trunk are twisted and gnarled. Its powerful roots are shallow and can shoot forth underground and grab enemies from below and drag them into the ground. The Great Spriggan is a powerful wood spirit that can actually summon poisonous stinging and biting insects that swarm over their opponents and either kill them or drive them off in excruciating pain.
The Wood Elf Dryad kit is the base for these models. By using extra back branches on each model, it is possible to make each individual Spriggan look larger than the stock dryad and by omitting the extra head branches or using them as extensions of the feet instead, it is very easy to make visible differences between the four types.
Wraithlords - Stegodons
The most dangerous of the non-predator dinosaurs on Lorine is undoubtedly the Stegodon. A massive beast with large spikes growing from its brow or its neck frill, it is more than capable of killing a large predator if it is forced to defend its family group or nest. This aggressive, home defense instinct is used to great advantage by the Dragonsingers to call forth an impressive beast upon which to mount the lethal support weapons of the Exodites. Riding atop a howdah on its back, crew man one or two support weapons while two others use shuriken catapults and/or dragon’s breath flamers as defensive weapons.
Using any version of the Lizardman Stegodon, or even the Behemoth, you can drape a blanket over its back and build a more elvish looking howdah for the weapons and crew. This does not require much conversion of the stegodon itself so I feel it is a great unit on which to begin practicing scratchbuilding or kitbashing to create an Exodite howdah.
Wraithlords - Onodrim
The forests of the Maiden Worlds, home to many different exotic flora and fauna, are guarded and shepherded by mysterious creatures that appear as walking trees called Onodrim (Tree-host) by the elves. These are among the oldest creatures on the world and though few in number compared to the Spriggans, they are potent guardians of their Sylvan homes.
Four times the height of a typical Exodite, these forest guardians are powerful in combat and difficult to kill. They appear as much larger Spriggans but with no distinct head or legs. Instead, their many great roots serve as massive legs ending in a mass of root tendrils that plant themselves back in the ground with each step. Their head, or more appropriately, their face is part of the main trunk and not easily seen from a distance. For this reason, they appear simply as walking trees. They capable of sending their roots forth underground and attacking nearby enemies from below, even those within buildings as their roots are capable of cracking foundations and walls made of stone or metal.
Admittedly, here I am drawing inspiration from Tolkien, even with the name, but it fits the fluff nicely, especially if you hold to the theory that these are Eldar spirits inhabiting the trees and the Exarchs and Autarchs of old are able to inhabit larger trees.
The key to making these work is to leave off extra weapons and exchange the shuriken catapults for the flamers. The flamer stat line is a good representation of the roots lashing out from underground, ignoring cover, to hit the enemy.
I started modeling this unit with an old metal Woodland Scenics oak tree kit. I thickened up the trunk substantially and carved in details to give it a mouth and eyes as well as the large root-like legs. It came out very well in my opinion. Within a year, Citadel came out with their Wood Elf treeman kit which is an ideal model for this unit. Alternatively, the Ent models form their Lord of the Rings game could be used.
Wraithknights – Carnosaurs & Megadons
The Carnosaur is the largest predator on Lorien and is widely feared by all. However, some Exodites have the ability to tame them enough to allow them to carry one or more riders and a weapon system or two. Megadons, larger sauropods, are fitted with weapon platforms on their backs and crew operate the guns from the platform.
My original approach to this was to just treat the wraithknight as a piloted suit. However, I could not explain the influence a dragonsinger would have over the walker. I did get an inspiration from some conversions to use the Warhammer Lizardman Carnosuar kit. The details on the dinosaur itself are very appropriate and with the different combinations of body parts, no two need be alike. By building a howdah or similar platform on its back, any number of weapon systems and riders can be positioned on the model. The greatest challenge is the fact that it is much shorter than the wraithknight and you might be accused of “modeling for advantage” since it can hide behind terrain more easily.
For a megadon, you still have the height problem but here you could use the Bastilodon model. If you want to use a non-Citadel model, Lindberg used to make an in expensive “brontosaurus” kit that fits very well on the oval Base of a wraithknight. They are still easy to find and may even be in production somewhere.
The standard wraithknight comes with two heavy wraith cannon so a megadon works very well to represent the basic unit. The options include various gun options and one for the ghost glaive which makes the knight more effective in close combat. The ghost glaive version lends itself well to be represented by the carnosaur version as it will mount fewer and smaller ranged weapons on its back. In reality, the club-like tail of the Bastilodon could also represent a ghost glaive so it really is up to you to decide what works best for your army.
As you can see, there are many units in this codex that can be interpreted as creatures that call the Maiden World their home. The fact that the Edlar often aid the Exodites means that you can start with an Edlar army and add a couple Exodite models for some variety. Over time, you can add more units or make an entire Exodite only army from this codex.