Dark Harlequins

...the confrontation between Slaanesh and the Great Harlequin seemed to go on for ever. Other dancers melted from the stage as the two figures leaped, carthwheeled and somersaulted around each other. Slowly, in the background, the Mime-Daemons and the Harlequin troupers took up the dance resecting the movements of the two principals in perfect unison.The Dance ended abruptly, with the struggle unresolved. It was indeed the Dance Without End. The arena of Commorragh was quiet. The dancers left the normally blood-soaked arena. The audience sat stunned.
Even Vyriella, the leader of the malicious Cult of Decapitators, was silent and deeply thinking.
Never before has she seen the performance of a Harlequin troupe. Never before has anything she had seen in the arena touched her cold heart like this performance. Never before had any display of athletics impressed her that much. Never before had she thought about changing her way of life. She took great pleasure out of her fights in the arena. She and her cult of Wyches were only rivalled by the famous Lelith Hesperax, the leader of the Wych Cult of Strife.
In that moment she decided that she would mimic the Harlequins. She and her Cult would become like the Harlequins. Not on the stage, but on the battlefield.

The next night Vyriella’s Motley Cult was born. From that night on the galaxy was terrorised by the
Dark Harlequins…

It all started with an idea after the UK 2000 40K GT while Stephan Hess, Marco Schulze and me were sitting in a Nottingham diner and talking about next years armies. Stephan decided to do his Gobbo Cult of Speed army (check out WD #259) and Marco was really hot about the Tyranids (an really good army that was unfortunately completely overseen at this years GT but came back with a vengeance in 2002).
I always liked the Harlequins and would really like to play them. Problem as usual: GW did not have a proper Codex ready. During the studio tour the day before, I talked to Gav Thorpe and he told me that GW would not produce an official codex until the 2001 GT.
So I decided to use the Dark Eldar rules as a stand in army list.

After careful reading of the Dark Eldar army book, I decided that all the Haemunculi, Grotesques, Beast Packs and Talos would not fit in my idea of the Dark Harlequins. I envisioned the Dark Harlequins as a specialised Wychcult that was impressed by a Harlequin performance (see my introduction).


My basic concept for my army was the following:

  • HQ - Archon or Dracon plus retinue as the Great Harlequin.
  • Elite - Mandrakes as Master Mimes and Wyches as Harlequins.
  • Troops - Raider squads as Mimes.
  • Fast Attack - Reaver Jet bikes as Harlequin Jetbikes.
  • Heavy Support - Scourges as Death Jester.

Later I also added a Talos. After some thinking I came to the conclusion that it would be possible for my Harlequins to use a Talos with a tortured Chaos Marine chained to the machine. The model was more or less complete builded out of spare parts and a Zombie head.

So all in all an ultra aggressive, super fast army.

After basically knowing what I wanted the next step was to convert some miniatures. I started with the troops. I decided that the Dark Eldar plastic body, after removing a lot of spikes and adding the head of an old Harlequin mini, would do the job. I even made some sketches to see if it may work.


The Wyches would be real simple because I was using old Harlequin minis. Only for the assault weapons I did some weapon swaps. The only real exception was the two squad leaders. I had to do some heavy conversions to get female Wyches to fit into the Harlequin squads.

Out of the entire Dark Eldar range my favourite models are the Reaver jet bikes which reminds me of the jet bikes from “Star Wars - The Return of the Jedi”.

I was pleasantly surprised to see how easily the old Harlequin canopy fitted the Dark Eldar jet bike. With a head swap and arm swap my Dark Harlequin Jet bike was ready to cause mayhem and harry the flanks of my enemies.

For better recognition on the tabletop I was not using the Harlequin canopy on the jet bikes with blasters. Small things like this are greatly enhancing the acceptability of a „stand-in“ army. All has to be most easily to recognise for your opponent.

For the Jet bike Succubus I wanted something special. After watching “Episode 1 - The phantom menace” with my niece Sarah an idea really struck me - why not use a female Wych and paint her and the jet bike in the colours and style of Darth Maul.

The conversion worked like a charm and I decided to paint her whole squad in that colours.

For the HQ carrier I wanted something special. I took the main body of a raider and attached the front of an Eldar Vyper.

As strange as it may sound I always liked the underside of the raider crew platforms. So I used the original platforms as side shields ( like the Ravager) and builded the actual platform out of plasticard.

The Mandrakes (or Master Mimes) are plastic Dark Eldar with close combat weapons and Harlequin heads. It was a simple as it gets and the result was very satisfying.




That’s it. Overall I liked the army. It had also pleased me to see my army in the UK White Dwarf # 259. I think the whole army still looked consistent overall, even using miniatures decades apart in production. I also think the whole Dark Harlequin army is a good example of a „stand-in“ army.

Tired of GW don’t producing the rules you want? Choose the list you think that is most fitting and make a „stand-in“ army. You have a 4.000 pts old Squat army and can’t use them anymore? Take the Imperial Guard list and choose the units that are reflecting your idea of the Squats. And the best thing - tournament legal! I think you are getting the point...

Agis Neugebauer, July 2001


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