I've always liked wood elves. They're a cool idea when done well, much more so than their boring high elf colleagues. In fantasy, they tend to run from twee little pixie folk to violent weirdos who would be happy in The Wicker Man. GW, unsurprisingly, tended more towards the violent weirdo end of the scale, but they never seemed to quite get the wood elves right. Every time they were updated, either the elves themselves (that's a lot of "elves") or their friends the treemen ended up looking a bit strange.
I thought I'd have a go at making a small warband, perhaps for Frostgrave, picking and choosing different models with a similar general theme. Recently, Axiom at Magpie and Old Lead wrote an interesting post about designing and theming conversions (HERE): while I don't go into as much detail when I'm converting a set of models, I do tend to have lists of features that form in my mind. If I wrote it down, the list for the wood elves would look like this:
- models will be archers or wardancers, so either stealthy or berserk
- cloaks, hoods and perhaps masks for archers, but not modern camouflage
- "wild" look for wardancers: big hair, furs/wood/skulls, barefoot etc.
- not much armour overall, and some of it will be wooden (maybe).
- use any models that work
- not just green.
I also decided to give them a pattern that I nicked from Dragon Age 2: stylised branches rising up from the ground. So, without further ado:
The first model isn't a GW miniature at all. It's a Tharn warrior from Privateer Press' Hordes, which I got ages ago and who looks a lot like a very feral elf. She was missing a left arm, so I cut one off a dark eldar and filed it down a little. She's also got an old GW wood elf knife strapped to her back, to use once she's thrown her spear.
And seen from behind:
The second wood elf is a wardancer that I got several decades ago. He's got a huge sword and seems to be dressed in a kind of toga (there's a bit of a Celt feel to some of the older models). I didn't do any conversions. Apart from him being quite a "flat" model owing to the moulding limitations of the time, I think he's a nice miniature:
Third, we've got one of the oldest models I own. The body of this archer came from a box called something like Fantasy Legions that GW made when I was very young. You got a variety of white plastic troopers, including humans, orcs, skaven, goblins and dwarfs. And this archer.
One tactic when painting slightly wonky models is to swap a not-great head with a better one. I did this here and used a much more recent plastic GW head. The new head has an odd fan of branches over the elf's mouth, but it's a great improvement on the rather dated original. I also cut his huge pointy feet down a little and resculpted the ends of his boots.