Wednesday 22 February 2023

A Cat and a Question

 Here's a cat I made to go with the Eldar. It started off as a metal leopard from the game Bushido that I bought ages ago. I enlarged the ears with green stuff, but otherwise it's unconverted. I was under the impression that Grynx - psychic cat-things from 40k that seem especially connected to the Eldar - were blue. Apparently, they aren't, but what the heck. It was a very quick paint job, and while the highlighting could be more extreme, I'm happy with it (and glad I finally found a use for that model).

So, I have a question. I've got some old metal Howling Banshees and Swooping Hawks. Being ancient models, they've got metal tabs across the bottom of their feet. They're all meant to be very athletic, which means that the points of contact with the ground are very small (basically, they're on tiptoe).

Like this

If I use my standard bases, so they're in keeping with the rest of the army, I'll have to cut the tabs off, which will make them very hard to connect to the bases. However, if I use slottabases (as was intended for these models) I'll probably have to use flock on the bases, which will be different to the rest of the army.

Which option should I go for?

Saturday 18 February 2023

Issyria, Sibyl of Dawn (aka Hovering Elf Lady)

 Some miniatures are just plain daunting. I've had this one for ages, but I've been working up to painting it for a while. I thought it was finally time to bite the bullet and get on with it.

This is "Issyria, Sibyl of Dawn" from Privateer Press' game Warmachine. She's a leader from the Retribution of Scyrah (ie elven) faction. As you can see, she seems to be meditating and is hovering about the ground. This rather fitted the style of my Eldar, and I thought she would make a good alternative Farseer.

I tried to incorporate a lot of the other colours I've used in the army on her armour and clothing: the blue and green gems, the purple-red of the other warlocks, the sparkly paint that represents the warp, a and the blue/green fade that I've used on the dreadnoughts and wraithguards. I even added a bit of purple blending to the shoulder pads to reflect the vehicles that I've done, but it's hard to make out.

Painting the symbols around the edge of the base was a bit tedious (I took them out of an old Eldar codex) but the base looked too large and they help make it seem a little smaller. I originally painted her with her eyes shut, but I thought it would look more dramatic if they were open (not that it's easy to see anyhow).

Here's a rear view. Working out how the cloth went together was tricky and I'm not 100% sure I got it right. Floating in the air is probably quite convenient when you've got hair like that.

I do like the colours. I have a slightly converted puma-type cat that I'd wanted to add to the base as a pet, but I think I'll put that onto a separate base after all. I quite like the idea of a small group of unarmed Eldar citizens, doing whatever they do. 

Monday 13 February 2023

Turnipocalypse Now

Over the last year, I've been trying to paint more cleanly, and to use better shading and detail, especially in my Eldar and Space Marines. I fancied a change from that - a palette cleanser, so to speak - and dragged out a few random historical sprues. I stuck bits from Soviet infantry, British Commandos and Frostgrave mercenaries, and made a couple of bandits.

I really like making rabble models. Whether it's 40k, Mordheim or some other system, there's something very appealing about sticking together odd bits to make a shabby lunatic wearing mismatched, scavenged clothing and holding a gun made from drainpipes. I particularly like Chaos Cultists done this way: to my mind, cultists should look less like devil-worshippers from a Hammer film (not that I'm entirely against the look) and more like desperate, crazed survivalists, who probably eat whoever they kill.

Anyhow, the bandits I made are for the skirmish groups inspired by the Turnip 28 setting. They'd actually be no use in the official game, which is a massed-battle thing, but they've got a grimy, slightly Napoleonic feel. To be honest, the painting is pretty ropey, but that made a change after all the Eldar, and these aren't as finely detailed.

That inspired me to dig out two slightly naff Mantic undead models, made of some kind of bendy plastic that doesn't lend itself to fine detail. I sculpted green stuff over their heads and added little bits of static grass. Now they're turnip-men. No idea why.

They have joined the horde of turnip-monsters. Are they veg turning into humans, or humans turning into veg? All we know is that the Turnipocalypse has arrived, and the End Dinnertimes are upon us.

Tuesday 7 February 2023

Chaos Space Marine and Eldar Musician Lady

After the big tank, I've been painting a couple of smaller-scale models. Here's a chaos bloke. 

He's made from lots of assorted bits: the head is from a Chaos Marine, the body is from an old metal marine (I think it's one of Fabius Bile's enhanced minions, but I'm not sure), the arms are from an Empire Flagellant, and the legs come from a Blood Angel jump pack marine. I think the axe head is from a Chaos Marauder. I added the grenades on his leg to cover up some Blood Angels iconography. Here's a WIP:

I like the sense of movement and craziness to him. I could see the Chaos Marines arming themselves with whatever implements they could find: axes, crowbars and bits of chain. I decided to paint him in the standard not-Black Legion colours, with unhealthy skin. The skin was base-coated grey and highlighted with pink flesh. I washed it with purple and a bit of strong tone. His lower legs got quite a bit of weathering powder - I doubt he'd be very interested in keeping clean!


And now for something much more wholesome. I've always wondered what Eldar civilians look like. In a way, there aren't many purely civilian Eldar, as they can always be called up to help the Guardian militia. But what do Eldar do in their free time? I expect they do arts and crafts, and spend their long lives getting very, very good at stuff. I vaguely remember Games Workshop saying that they make a lot of pots.

I'd expect civilian Eldar to look like a cross between hippies and Roman senators - in fact, quite like the elves in the films of The Lord of the Rings (what? Eldar looking like elves? How can this be?).  I found this Jes Goodwin picture online, where they look slightly New Age and quite Goth.

Anyhow, one of the best things about the local gaming shop is that, when there's no interest in a game, they start selling the models off cheaply. Clearly Warmachine hasn't taken off in South-East England, since they were flogging some random metal Privateer Press models. One of them was an elf lady playing a wind instrument to a giant snake-alien. I bought them both and painted up the elf.

It was quite hard to make out some of the details, and assembling her instrument - it looks like an oboe or a clarinet - was an absolute sod. I ended up cutting it into pieces to get her hands to align. It was risky, but it paid off. Like most Privateer Press elves, she's got colossal pointy ears.

I ended up painting her in much the same colours as I've used for the rest of the army. I painted her space-clarinet metal to make it stand out. I might use her as a bonesinger, who can repair damaged Eldar structures with psychic power. 


Thursday 2 February 2023

Eldar Wave Serpent

 Hello again! Last summer, a friend gave me a load of Eldar, including a plastic Wave Serpent (thanks Mark!). Wave Serpents are the basic transport vehicle for the Eldar, built on the same chassis as the Falcon grav-tank. They can carry ten soldiers, and have an automated turret.

I decided to paint mine blue (unsurprisingly). I wanted to add some freehand designs, and I happened to see a picture online that included some blue butterflies. I thought it would be cool to copy the look of their wings on the wings/prongs of my Wave Serpent.

After giving it a couple of thin undercoats, I blocked out the areas in dark blue.

I decided to extend the pattern to the next square "tile" on the wings. By this point I'd added a bit of shading to the design and quite a lot of shading to the hull.

I painted the pilot, too. He got reflective shades.

Some of the shading on the hull was dabbed on with bits of sponge, for a smoother transition than I could do with brushes. Then it needed some details. To keep with the Vyper/Venom/Vitriol fliers, I shaded a couple of panels with purple. One thing I hadn't realised was how asymmetrical the details of the hull are, which makes it tricky to pick out details without making the ship look lopsided.

The Wave Serpent has some kind of field generator to protect it. I didn't have the pylon-type bits that stick on the hull to represent this (and I don't really like them all that much). Instead, I painted some of the bumps on the hull with Turbo Dork Blue Raspberry paint (thanks Ruth!). It reflects rather like insect skin, which goes well with the butterfly design, as well as complimenting the blue hull. I reckon that colour represents "mysterious tech".

The gun barrels got red tips, again to fit with the other heavy weapons on the Vitriols and the other war machines. I decided to leave the cockpit clear, so that the pilot is visible.

And here it is!

I like the idea that, while everyone else is nailing skulls to their lumbering tanks, the Eldar paint fancy designs on their fast and deadly skimmer. Hopefully, in addition to floating like a butterfly, it will sting like a bee.

And here's the whole squadron!

Of all the armies in 40k, Eldar are probably the one that is (are?) most helped by having an airbrush. It's very difficult to get smooth coverage and gentle shading without one. I think it helps to add designs that don't have straight lines and mimic natural colours, like the tiger stripes on the lead Vitriol. I could have shaded the wings of the Wave Serpent a bit more, and I reckon a few more shiny metallic bumps would help, but I don't think I'll risk ruining it now!