Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Dark Elf Army Takes Shape

Its been too long since I last posted an update of my painting work. Nearly a month... more you say? Well, works been firing on all cylinders so I have some excuse - getting up at 4-4.30am is pretty arduous!

Dark Elf Warriors - mix up 1

I promised in an earlier post that I'd try and grab a pic of the old Mengil's Manflayers mixed up with my other Dark Elf warriors. I kept the command groups the same, just splitting the male and female Mengil troops evenly and mixing in the rest of the warriors at random. This unit is 21 strong, including a full command with a characterful Ean Hawkbane as unit champion.

Dark Elf Warriors Unit 1
Mixed up Dark Elf Warriors

Dark Elf Warriors - mix up 2

This is how the other unit looks again 21 strong, with a full command plus wizard added in for fun:

Dark Elf Warriors Unit 2
Another solid unit of skillful, chaotic Elves.

So, basically they're finished. Sure there's the odd touch up here and there, plus the varnishing to do but otherwise I need worry about them no more... except if they have to face up to some Chaos Warriors or perhaps a couple of trolls. I'll worry about those issues later!

All in all I think they make some pretty interesting units, and as the main bulk of the army they look the part. This isn't a typical Dark Elf colour scheme I know but when I started out I saw that the Dark Elves could be either evil or chaotic in alignment so I went with the latter and picked brighter, contrasting, maybe even bombastic colours O_o It saved me from churning out another run-of-the-mill black/red or purple/gold army, which may have been striking but, to me rather boring. I admit that I had initially intended the turquoise to have way more contrast and be much darker overall but that never materialised.

Witch Elf Unit

These are the Marauder Witch Elves and they're ok miniatures. They're certainly not my favorites, with the sculpts being a tad crude both in their anatomic proportions and their rather sexist portrayal of women. Compare them to the older sculpts of female elves in the warrior units and, well, they seem to have removed most of their clothes, had their legs and necks stretched way out of proportion and their hairstyles are frankly ludicrous. They do make a dynamic unit and the style is at least cohesive with each witch wearing a skimpy chainmail swimsuit, thick bracelets on each arm (with "moar awesum skullz" added) and variations on the theme of loin cloth/tabard down the front. They're also nicely dynamic and brandish a variety of weapons to suit the 3rd edition Fantasy Armies supplement.

Marauder Miniatures Witch Elves & Citadel Dark Elf Sorceress
The Old Hag leads her witch elf guards in the vangaurd of the assault
Despite their weaknesses they do work well as a unit, on the whole. I have stuck to the same palette as the rest of the force but bulked up some of the more minor colours - purple, green, pink - to create a slightly wilder, more frivolous tone. A Citadel Dark Elf Sorceress, Azireth Darkforce,  is in there in the front rank, because it suits the 'fluff' rather nicely and allows me some extra room for narrative. There could be some tension between her and her bodyguards and the army general, perhaps allowing for some role-play style gaming.

Second Crossbow Company

I picked up some Black Tree Designs Dark Elf crossbows a while ago. Are they originally Harlequin miniatures or from the Fantasy Armies range? Either way I'm pleased with the quality of the miniatures. The unit has a cohesive scultping style and a good variety of models in it. The poses are all fairly similar though and they are not very dynamic either. This isn't neccessarily a bad thing, though a couple of kneeling poses and a couple that look like they're actually firing would be a useful addition to the range. The only problem I found was trying to attach the bows to the stocks - they rarely lined up well and, although a little work got some pretty close, a few are down right wonky!

Black Tree Designs - Dark Elf Crossbows
Crossbow reinforcements courtesy of Black Tree Designs
Whilst not in any way terrible the command models feel a little weaker in design and sculpt than the rest of the unit, with the dual wielding champion seeming rather flat and awkward. This could easily be remedied with a hand swap and maybe a little metal bending too! I probably won't bother. I will however be making a banner and finishing off the leather parts and bases soon.

Mercenary Contingents

Dixon's Samurai: Ashigaru Archers

I acquired a small collection of about 6 Dixon's Samurai models a while ago so whilst pondering the ally and merc options available in Fantasy Armies I figured a contingent of skillfull Nipponese might be an interesting addition. Feeling I could use more long range covering fire whilst my hand-to-hand warriors closed in I ordered some ashigaru archers and a bow wielding samurai to go with the minis I already have. I painted them in a variation of the same old colourscheme, using a royal blue alongside a more simple orange. The samurai leader is in a starkly contrasting green/orange combo. There's some work to go painting up bows/arrows but they're nearly complete.

Nipponese Ashigaru Longbow mercenaries
Nipponese mercenaries, a company of Ashigaru longbowmen
I actually really like these models. The sculpts are best described as wonky, with their chunky faces and stocky build. They have a real charm though, which accounts for them being in production continuously for some 30+ years! These guys are clearly well equipped with light armour and powerful zen-style longbows but I'll be keeping them back away from danger - they're relatively weak in combat. Full blown samurai are better up close perhaps, but are more expensive and have the same skill with missile weapons as this lowly peasant company. The Samurai commander is a dangerous opponent though - I might be tempted to equip him with a magic item of some sort. Of course once I get a full Samurai unit to go with them he'll probably be at the head of that instead. I might stretch to a cavalry wing too just for fun - that way I can give him a Ki-rin or a Temple Dog mount. There's also the potential for an assassin, though only if I have multiple units. The possibilities for this contingent are pretty exciting!

But What about the Ogres?

Well, I have an 8 model strong unit of Golgfag's Mercenary Ogres in a jar of Dettol right now, with some of them already stripped and cleaned. I'll probably only ever field 6 or so of them but the lot I won on ebay (for a tad more than I'd have liked but still under a fiver per model) had eight, so I now have eight. Simples! Better check back soon to see how that unit pans out. I've already got a crazy idea of paint scheme and given them a new name:  Jimmy Rancid and the Fuck Muskets. That's quite a major clue, right?

The Moment You've All Been Waiting For: Another Army Shot!

WIP Dark Elf Army
The Host assembles - the muster is nearly complete
This project is inching closer to completion and, whilst tantalisingly close, there always seems so much more to do. I happen to have another Hydra under the brush - a lion bodied one this time - in case one isn't enough, hah, and the only unit yet to get started is the ogres. Oh, to see it all finished will be a glorious day!


  1. Bloody awesome! You've done a great job on the old sculpts, can't wait to see the ogres :)

  2. Thanks mate - some scultps are of course better than others and some really show their age. But that's their appeal I guess.

    I can't wait to paint those ogres too, but first things first I must finish off everything else... or maybe I'll finish *nearly* everything else ;)

  3. Nice army, I especially like those banners. ;)