Tuesday, 27 September 2022

Warp Spiders!

Time for some Warp Spiders. The Warp Spiders are one of the odder shines of Eldar aspect warriors (although not as odd as the "weirdly terrifying" Slicing Orbs of Zandros, it seems, who don't have miniatures and only exist on one craftworld). The Spiders use short-range teleporters to appear next to their enemies and shoot them with death spinners, which fire balls of sharp wire and function rather like flamethrowers. 

The Warp Spiders were introduced slightly later than the rest of the Eldar aspects, and the models lack some of the style and sense of movement of the others. The models are rather chunky lumps of metal, but then a lot of models of that time were static and hefty, with massive robes and cloaks and suits of armour. They're quite detailed, but the detail isn't very exciting - certainly not as dynamic as Marc Gibbons' cool artwork:

A friend bought me a pot of unusual paint in a sale. It's from the Turbo Dork range from Exit 23 Games, and is meant to be a metallic paint that goes from blue to pinkish-purple, in a very 1980s way. It looks rather weird, and I thought it could add an unearthly look to the Warp Spiders, which would fit their habit of flying through warpspace. I decided to use it quite sparingly.

Otherwise, I went for a traditional colour scheme, incorporating red, black and white. I mounted the models on slightly larger bases than usual, which I found on ebay. This is only because I didn't realise that they were slightly larger than usual until I'd purchased them, but I think they give the models a bit more "space" to stand in. 

The exarch for the Warp Spiders is much more exciting than the rank and file guys. The big blades on his arms gave me the opportunity to add some more of the Blue Raspberry paint, which came out rather well. 

They're clunky models, and they need new sculpts to fit with the rest of the range, but I like the overall result. The sparkly blue and red armour go together quite nicely - by fluke, I should add. Anyhow, they made a good change from painting things light blue!

Monday, 19 September 2022

Eldar War Walker

The Eldar war walker is a curious thing. It was one of the first Eldar vehicles, along with the dreadnought. It wasn't in Rogue Trader, but appeared in the blue Citadel catalogue. Where the dreadnought was a serious damage-doer, the war walker carried two big guns, like a walking AA battery. It was comparatively flimsy, and functioned like a slightly improved version of the Imperial Guard's sentinel. The somewhat gangly model re-used cleverly parts from the dreadnought. 

In the late 1990s, a revised version of the war walker came out - still entirely metal, though. The second version of the war walker was slightly changed: the original pilot had little dangly legs, like a baby in a harness, which looked a bit daft in practice, and the pilot in the new version was sitting in a seat. The new pilot also wore armour like a modern guardian. The guns were refined to be less clunky and more elegant.

I've painted one of these second versions. It looks both sleek and slightly dippy. For one thing, the pilot is ridiculously exposed to enemy fire, and for another, the guns would be going off right next to his helmet, which can't make aiming (or thinking) very easy. But still, it looks weirdly cool.

I went for the standard paint scheme I used for the guardians, to suggest that he's "regular" army. I added some bits of detail: decorations to the gun shields and a couple of markings on the exhausts. Otherwise, it's fairly simple-looking.

Tuesday, 13 September 2022

Striking Scorpions

 Here are a few Eldar Striking Scorpion aspect warriors. They're the old 90s sculpts - the first aspect warrior models. I think they were sculpted by Jes Goodwin. I think they're great miniatures. Despite the restrictions of the time, they have a nice sense of pose and movement. They're not as gymnastic as the Howling Banshees or Harlequins, but they've got heavier armour and they look as if they'd be pretty tough in a fight.

Whilst I went for the standard green, I tried to tie them back into the rest of the army with their faces, bases and blue holsters. I was worried that they'd be fiddly to paint, but actually they were fairly easy. Using a simple colour scheme helped, as did the various ridges on their armour. You might have noticed that I have three of the same model. That's because they were going cheap on ebay. Sadly, my camera is too rubbish to let me get a decent picture of all five together.

Thursday, 8 September 2022

Eldar Fighter Skimmer Thing

 So, in an earlier post I mentioned the Eldar equivalent of a pickup truck...

You don't have to be an expert in Warhammer to realise that the 40k world is a bloody ugly place. Whether it's lumpy tanks, snarling demons, Gestapo-lite commissars, zombie-bondage-mutant things (that covers a fair chunk of Chaos, Sisters of Battle and Dark Eldar), or just skulls and more skulls piled on a big unimaginative heap of skulls, there's not a lot that could be called elegant in the 40k setting. The Tau and the Eldar are the two main exceptions.

I happened to find two partial Dark Eldar venom transports for sale on ebay. Once you take the crew, chains, spikes and guns off these things, they're actually very sleek and stylish. The curved body looks really cool. They remind me of the smooth, fishlike spaceships of 1970s science fiction art, like this picture by Chris Foss:

Back in the 90s, a company called Psygnosis made computer games for the Amiga. For their cover art, they used a lot of pictures by Roger Dean, who also drew album covers for the prog band Yes. While I am wary of prog to say the least, some of Dean's pictures have the sort of feeling I'd want for my Eldar.

I don't know if that makes any sense, but it's something about the blended pastel colours and the lack of intense detail (which is fortunate, as detail isn't my area). Anyway, with all that slightly pretentious stuff out of the way, here's what I did with the "broken" venoms.

First, I took off the little pods under the fusilage, which carry guns and hooked blades. This made the silhouette even more sleek. Then I needed to add a shuriken cannon somehow. Putting it under the ship looked clumsy, and mounting it on the top made the venom look like some kind of space pixie version of those Toyota pickups equipped with machine guns in third-world warzones.

So, I cut what looked like a headlamp from between the two "pincers" at the front of the ship, just before the cockpit. I sliced off the barrel from a shuriken cannon and pinned it into place there. It looks even more sleek than before, if you ask me, and doesn't interfere with the "line" of the ship. I assume that the workings and ammo for the gun are inside the fusilage, like a nose-mounted cannon on a fighter plane.

You've got to admit, it's a nice silhouette.

And that's all the converting I did. I then started painting it up in the blue that I've used for the rest of the army. I decided to add a new colour: I toyed with some kind of peach, but this was too tricky and so I went for purple instead. 

The pilot was the standard Dark Eldar one, with a smooth, featureless helmet. I thought it would look cool to put some kind of reflection on the helmet, like the reflections of the Arizona desert that Highway Patrol cops have in their sunglasses in films.

The canopy went on fine: I didn't glue it, although I might do later. It has a slightly naff heads-up targeter type thing, which I defy anyone to paint well. As it stands, the targeter just looks like a fancy symbol, which is fine by me.

I've got to admit, I'm pleased with this thing! Neeeeeowwwww!

I've got another of these to do, which ought to be a bit easier as it doesn't have a pilot. I'm sure I'll find some new way to make it awkward and difficult. 

Friday, 2 September 2022

Another Eldar Dreadnought

 A couple of days ago I headed to the local gaming shop to get some more of the paint I'm using on the Eldar project (Army Painter Wolf Grey, in case you're wondering). On the way I was thinking about the good old days of miniature painting, where you went into a shop with £5 and bought a blister pack of... well, something interesting, really. 

And then I found something interesting! The shop was getting rid of some old stock, and I found (for a fiver, no less!) a pack of seven models from a game called Dark Age, based on the pictures of an artist called Bron. The group I found were called something like "The minions of Mark", and looked rather like chaos cultists with electrical weapons. They'll be interesting to paint. Nice to see that you can still stumble upon things like that.


Anyhow, I've painted up a second Eldar dreadnought/wraithlord. It's another ancient one from the days of the blue Citadel catalogue. Once again, the mystic space elves have decided to field a big robot to punch their enemies. This one has slightly different arms, and I posed the legs a little differently to make it look as if he was going for a stroll. I went for much the same colour scheme, although I blended the canopy from green to blue rather than blue to green. I'm really pleased with the blending.

Now the other dreadnought has a friend. I've got the bits to make a third dreadnought, which would have some more modern parts from the mid-90s, when GW bulked up the arms and the exhausts. But that's for another time!

Tuesday, 30 August 2022

Lots and Lots of Eldar Guns

 At long last, I've assembled (almost) all the Eldar mounted guns that I've got bits for. It was something of a process of trial and error, but here we go.

First up is a very old d-cannon, as advertised in Rogue Trader, with what seem to be the appropriate crew. This looks quite unlike the other Eldar big guns, and could be just a generic sci-fi weapon. I suspect that it comes from a time when GW hadn't quite got the look of the Eldar figured out yet.

I had the gun itself and the bottom of the stand, but I'd hacked up the connecting part many years ago. So, I improvised with bits and pieces. As ever, converting is a matter of working out the shapes that you need, rather than the actual parts: Eldar stuff is sleek and rounded, so I used bits that suggested that, largely left over from the plastic guardians kit. I recommend keeping any leftover parts from kits, especially bits of plastic tube like gun barrels that could be used for connecting things.

Next we've got the old metal plasma gun, as seen before on this website. I reckon looking at hovering laser cannons is what Eldar rednecks do in their spare time, when not driving their grav-pickups (more on this in a later post).

The third gun is called Mary Lou - no wait, it's an old metal d-cannon. Unlike the gun at the top, this one looks much more Eldarish, with the elegant gun-shield and base with engines at the back and a curved prow. This one also dates back to Rogue Trader days.

Now we've got the starcannon from the guardian plastic set. Nothing to see here, just two space elves with a huge laser gun, whooping in a sophisticated manner.

And finally (at last!) I made up a brightlance (that's an Eldar lascannon to me). You get a lot of big guns to choose from in the guardians set, along with a spare gun shield. It seemed a shame to waste them, especially since I had so many crew, so I bought a spare metal base from ebay for a few pounds.

However, connecting the gun and its base was harder than I'd expected. I built a connecting piece out of sprue, which is good for adding bulk to conversions. By pure luck, it happens that the base piece had a hole in it, where the gun mount would fit if I had one. The hole was just the right size for one of those little cylindrical pegs that you get on the top of some bits of sprue (I think this is where they cut it out of the moulds, or something like that). I added little bits and bobs to the sprue to make it look more Eldar-esque.

And here it is painted!

So that's my high-tech Napoleonic cannon-line finished! 

Wednesday, 24 August 2022

Lots and Lots of Eldar Gunners

 The trouble with these projects of mine is that they start off with me deciding to repaint some old models and then I buy a ton of new ones. Or new old ones. Anyhow, owing to wild enthusiasm, I've ended up with a load of Eldar gun crew. They range from dinky Rogue Trader era models to larger modern ones. I like them all.

These two guys are really old. All the pictures I've seen of them have them next to a massive and chunky D-cannon, which doesn't look Eldarish in the slightest. Anyhow, they're great models; really sci-fi and oddly elegant. They'd look appropriate in a Moebius picture or a Yes album cover. I think the more recent Eldar have lost a lot of the simple sleekness of the old metal sculpts.

Next up are two more recent crewmen. I think they're specifically from a bigger mounted gun. They've got odd antennae. You can see what I mean about the armour becoming bulkier: the sculpting is nice, but they're less elegant (and they've still got a crap armour save). I didn't make a great job of the bare-headed guy's face, but otherwise the armour has come out pretty well, for me.

And finally, here's an absolutely wacky dude from the strange days of Rogue Trader. This chap has taken time out from playing bass for The Damned to operate the weird organic aiming device sprouting from his shoulders. I like the idea that Eldar field crew might be a bunch of random types who show up wearing whatever they like. 

And here they all are - apart from the two plastic gunners who came with the plastic set. I just need to make some guns for them! Maybe I should get on ebay again...