perjantai 10. maaliskuuta 2017

Animal handlers in 3rd ed. WFB: Dark Elf Whelp Masters

This part of ´Animal handlers in 3rd ed. WFB´ -series of articles is about Dark Elf Whelp masters. It discusses rules, models, tacktics, pictures, links, pro´s and con´s and everything related to Dark Elf animal handlers. Please click here to find the other arcticles.

As described in the WFB: Armies book you can take 0-8 Whelp masters to a Dark elf army. That is two handlers more than Wood Elves and same number as Chaos and Skaven. Each unit is made up of 1-3 handlers each with 2-6 beasts which they lead. A single beastmaster has a normal elf profile and is armed with a hand weapon. Basic cost includes no armor but there is option for light armor and shield. Whelp Masters may lead  warhounds or chaos hounds. Sets for these were produced by Citadel and Marauder.

Whelp masters were one of the units in WFB: Armies that was originally printed with wrong profile. That was corrected in WD107 with a glue-on-errata.

Goblin Lee discusses Dark Elf Whelp masters in his article where he takes a look into the dark host of Naggaroth. I agree on a lot of what he says there. The whelp masters fit well into the background of a dark elf army and they look good on a battle field. A strange thing that Lee also notes is the absence of cold one warhounds as pack beasts.

Having the maximum of only three handler par pack can be a vulnerability and one should propably either take a large number of beasts or give armor to the handlers to give them some protection aganst missile fire.

Whelp master and chaos hounds set from Citadel´s 1989 winter trade catalogue.

 Another add with color pics of handlers and chaos hounds.
I never knew there was a chaos dwarf handler too.

Add from Dec 1987 flyer.

The Whelp master set is a very nice one in my opinion. The master himself has a good pose with his whip laying low and hand pointing to the direction where he wants his pack to go. I just wish there were more options for a handler model available. On the beast side ten different chaos hounds gives you a lot to choose from.

The dark elf handler seems to be a pretty sought after model. I managed to get one for 6€ and a full set of a handler and four hounds was sold in december 2016 for 23€. When writing this article there was an unopened blister in ebay for 115€ BIN. Single chaos hounds were from 10€ up. No examples of a single handler were on sale.

Marauder MM73/3 Dark Elf Whelp master and warhounds.

The first thing one spots here is that the warhounds are actually monted on 25 x 25mm bases and not on 25 x 50mm as wood elf warhound are. At least the walking dog has had a long slotta tab that has been clipped for this picture. Anyways I believe that these hounds can be mounted on the smaller bases and still rank up nicely.

From this picture it is pretty hard to tell what kind of bases there are inside. I believe that the one that is visible behind the dog in right lower corner is a 20 x 20mm for beastmaster himself. And I believe that there are three 25 x 25mm bases under the grey padding as three cavalry bases would show from beneth the badding. What do you think?

One of the Marauder produced masters seems to be wearing light armor but the other one looks unarmored. One could easily attach a shield to their free hand or back. I´ve never had much love for Marauder dark elves and in my opinion this is one of the worst sets for darkies they did. The poses, clothes and especially the hair just rub me the wrong way.

A set of four hounds was recently sold at ebay for 14€ and a set of a handler with three dogs for 17€. Writing this there was a single handler in ebay for 7€ BIN and a full set for staggering 76€ BIN. Asking price for single doggies seem to be from roughly 10€ to 20€.



Normal war hound profile here with no special rules. As mentioned before these models do actually fit a 25 x 25 mm base. The Marauder produced models bear some resemblance to the picture above. Don´t know if it´s a good thing or not - the hound in the picture look quite strange IMO. That´s a chaos hound if you ask me.

Just like wood elf ones, dark elf war hounds can be used for multiple tasks. Threatening enemy flanks, harrassing skirmishers and warmachines, protecting own troops and screening action - they can do them all. But keeping in mind that they are vulnerable and won´t survive long against a stronger enemy. And missile fire can twindle their numbers quickly. Being on a 25 x 25mm base means that they take up a lot less room on a battle field than their wood elf cousins.

Just for 111 points you get a horde of three handlers and eleven hounds.

War hound pack as a part of a Marauder Dark elf army. People
don´t seem to be very fond of the set as it is hard to find painted example of one.
Or of any Dark elf Whelp master team with normal war hounds.

Citadel produced handler is a nice model
A large pack looks good
Good speed
25 x 25 mm basing
Many ways to use in a battle

Not very effective in combat
(Marauder handler models)

Chaos hounds


Once again we meet the basing issue. Rules say 25 x 25mm but models are supplied with 25 x 50mm and propably won´t fit a smaller one less rank up at all on those. The profile is strong for close combat. Chaos attributes can be a curse or a blessing. And in any case should be generated as mentined under GM´s supervision. We don´t want to take the fun away from anyone by some lucky/unluncky rolls before the game has even started.


These dogs are deadly in close combat so you want to get them engaged. They are hard to kill with T4 and W2 but will propably draw missile fire as the enemy wants to take out the whelp masters and send the hound on their way to wilderness. You could concider armoring the handlers to cancel some of the hits they receive.

As chaos hounds are pretty valuable I wouldn´t waste them on harrassing skirmishers or war machines. They are a decent alternative for heavy cavalry so a simple staright forward advance followed by a charge should work. But once again - a large pack takes a lot of space. Perhaps you could support the hound pack with some dark riders who can take on enemy flank after the dogs have been committed.

Chaos hounds are valuable: a pack of ten hounds and three handlers with light armor and shield will cost you almost 280 points. With 18 hounds the price goes up to 462 points.

The chaos attributes might affect the way you use the a hound pack. Most of the dominant chaos attributes (rulebook page 207) are quite helpfull but for example enormously fat chaos hounds would be nearly unusable. GM discretion is definately needed here. Don´t break the game before it starts.

A large pack of chaos hounds from Realms of Chaos blog.

Nice models
Look good in large packs
Very powerfull in close combat
Good speed
Strong overall profile

Vulnerability of the handlers

Evo Von Himmel´s (Dieselmonkey) beastmaster with his chaos hounds.

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