Monday, 23 March 2015

Demonic Advesaries and Allies

Dechala as a demonic summons and a Temple Dog

I picked up a few new recruits from a fellow Oldhammerer recently - the community is very active when it comes to buying, selling and, most importantly, trading miniatures. One man's surplus is another man's gold! These two miniatures, I felt, would be perfect as summoned entities to support the Dark Elves' cause.

Dechala (the denied one?)

OK, the model has a silly name straight out of the blister - not really a bad thing - and it isn't that old, sculpted some time in the early 2000's. It's not, however, the best sculpt in the world or so I used to think, and is a royal a pain to put together. So when I saw it come up for trade/sale I thought that a six armed snake woman sort of fits the old Dark Elf vibe quite well and would make a great demonic summons for the wizards to play around with (or will she play around with them?) On closer inspection its not as bad as I once thought, mostly being let down by a poor product paint job, I think. This seems to be a curse of the 90's to early 2000's models. I mean, look at it this way:
Image © Games Workshop.
Seems typical early 2000's to me - lots of black and lots of pale, whitish areas leaving everything in between rather flat and lifeless. Not a dreadful paint job but it doesn't make a terribly interesting mini... though at least they'd got over that obsessive, plastic looking "Red Phase"!

Anyway, after plenty of pins - head, three arm pieces and body/tail joint - she was finally ready for paint. I would seriously advise priming the arms and at least the underside of the hair, before assembly because they're impossible to reach afterwards; I prefer not to start painting properly before putting together a model because its a major pain in the arse (or 'ass' for American readers, though might I remind you an ass is a cross between donkey and horse not the sitting part of a person... I digress)

six-armed demonic snake woman
She's already got six arms...
Well, being rather indecisive I wasn't sure what to begin with. I'm also impatient and impulsive so, thinking about yellowish skin, dabbed some Tausept Ochre and Tallarn Flesh (GW paints) onto the palette. I had a little GW Goblin Green still wet on there as well and accidentally mixed it in. It made the perfect colour! I love it when a plan comes together - or not.

six-armed-demon snake woman side view there's no need for legs, lets make her a snake!
To balance it out the hair has to be a rusty orange/red, that's simple colour harmony talking there. Mixing Scab Red and Bestial Brown does the trick. This goes onto the snake's rattle tail and that scale patch round her midriff as well, to balance out the mini. It may also find its way onto some of the armour too, but most likely as a wash or tint here and there. I'm still not settled on colours for the rest of the mini yet but I'll think more on that during the week and more than likely splash some random paints around, because its more fun that way. I've not used pink in a while, perhaps..?

Temple Dog

This model is made by Wargames Supply Dump, a small company with only a handful of 28mm's for sale. Its a nice model though, and the sculpting is pretty clean and the casting crisp. The one I got didn't have the rider which is fine, but he's quite bulky so there will need to be some modification of elf legs involved in mounting him - or her, there's no discernible genitalia to take reference from.

It didn't fit together all that well, with two body halves, one separate leg (its front right leg) and the head as separate parts. I pinned them all and back-filled a number of gaping holes, most notably on the underside of the body, the lower left side of the head and the front right shoulder. Still, they're not difficult fills to achieve, being mostly low detail, partially hidden areas. A little hair texture and some light smoothing over the rest of the joints finished the putty work nicely.

Work In Progress - Temple Dog
Bluey green, purplish orange... sorta weird perhaps!

I decided to go for a colour scheme that would reflect, but not be an exact match for, the rest of the Dark Elves. So I picked a mix of VMA (Vallejo Model Air) Intermediate Blue (dark grayish blue) and VMC Emerald, highlighted up through Emerald, GW Goblin Green and Goblin Green + White. This gives a more greenish turquoise than the pale, bluish colour of the Elves' armour, though the glossiness of the paint has killed the colour balance of the photos a little. 

The mane is a GW Liche Purple based Scab Red with orange-yellow highlights. Similar, but again not an exact match, using a warmer, richer palette than the Elves. I think its beginning to stand out quite nicely as a mini, which it should be as a mount summoned only for a powerful general or wizard.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

More Dark Elves from the Backlog

Up from the Archives

I said I would and I have some time to, so I'm going to introduce a few more units that are (still!) under the brush. As ever these have already been snapped on the Oldhammer forum thread Protist's Works Progressive.

1st Marauder Dark Elf Company

Marauder Dark Elf Infantry
The later Maruader Dark Elf Infantry
These models (apart from one - can you tell which one though? He fits very well in stlye so its not that easy!) were the later addition to the Dark Elf range from Marauder Miniatures, sold as a regiment with the MB03 code from 1990. They're pretty solid sculpts with a definite and cohesive design and give an excellent sense of movement. With 4 unique character models and 4 different troopers there's also reasonable variety. Especially when compared to Citadel's earlier Regiments of Renown range with their mono-pose troopers, these Marauder regiments must have felt incredible when they were first released. Even nowadays its not always possible to get units with 8 individual sculpts in a strongly coherent design.
It is unfortunate that the success of creating more dynamic looking models came at the expense of practicality, they are exceptionally hard to line up properly, with nearly every model extending way over the bounds of the base. They're even less forgiving once the shields were on - more on that in the future though!
I wanted to vary at least some of the units in the force so these guys have kept the orange/turquoise theme only for trim and detail, and have proper evil, black chainmail.

2nd Marauder (... well, mostly) Dark Elf Company

This unit, even back in October 2014, was almost finished. It is now even closer and I should be able to get a post written about them this weekend.

Marauder Infantry, MM70
MM70 Marauder Dark Elves
The MM70 set didn't just have crossbow armed elves (see the previous post), it also had regular infantry with hand weapons, shields, spears, halberds and large swords, all really well sculpted - well mostly anyway! I think they did a great job on this range, personally; they have a good dynamic range yet rank up well and importantly they tie in perfectly with the Citadel scultps, of which there are quite a few hiding in this company. Can you tell them apart? Even better, can you tell which ranges the Citadel ones are from? The command models are the regular Citadel range from the 3rd edition era, I'll give you that one for free because this is my favorite musician model - though there is one I don't have that might be even better.
I painted the banner using the icon on the top as a starting point for the idea, though I wonder if this was actually a good idea. Ah well, it doesn't really matter because I think it looks pretty good! I also haven't decided if I should work up the blades in that deep green colour, or do something else entirely? Either way they won't be steel coloured.

Chaos Warrior Allies

A small but deadly unit of chaotic warriors as allies. Everyone loves the whacky designs of the early Citadel chaos ranges. The variety of sculpts, the plethora of design ideas, both the unearthly and the unrealistic combine to send most collectors into a Khornate frenzy of figure frothing...

80s Chaos Warriors
Heavy armour, huge weapons, that can only mean one thing... Chaos
Most of these sculpts have been re-released a number of times over in different ranges. Some were originally pre-slotta though all of these were cast with tabs. I think the models pretty much speak for themselves, all I'll add is that I tried to make each as individual as possible and that I need to add some more detail to the bases before I call them finished. One thing that the allies lack at the moment is a leader, but I have something in mind for that already.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

80s Dark Elf Army Update 1

Some more pics to publish of the Dark Elves as they currently stand, work still in progress. These were also recently posted over at the Oldhammer Forum, but thought I'd talk a little more about some of them individually.

Dark Elf Crossbows:

Dark Elf Crossbows
Dark Elf Crossbows
This unit is made up from Marauder's MM70, Dark Elf range, from 1988. The command group however is made up from Citadel Miniatures from around the time of 3rd edition WFB. There's a good variety of sculpts in the MM70 range, and they are mostly well proportioned and interesting. They also fit alongside the Citadel sculpts perfectly, which is something of a bonus, though the Citadel sculpts are a little more variable (I'm not a big fan of the 'champion' model 2nd from right, front row).

Menghil's Manhides:

An iconic Regiment of Renown, I have amassed a good sized regiment of the 2nd incarnation of this set; check out this page on Orlyg's Realm of Chaos 80s blog to have a look at the other set released way back when.

Ean Hawkbane, Menghil's champion
Ean Hawkbane, Menghil's champion
This model took me some time to track down on ebay at a reasonable price, by which I mean under £5; I've seen him listed for all sorts of crazy money though. He's a typical 80s Citadel champion - brimming over with character and slightly quirky sculpting. The lines may not be as clean and the design may not be flashy as modern GW models, but I think he's fantastic! Why and how has he befriended an owl, is it a familiar, channeling his worship of the dark gods or simply a tool for hunting and battle? These are the sorts of questions older models tend to pose, that are becoming, for me, less prevalent in modern miniatures.

Mengil Manhide's WIP Company
Mengil Manhide's Company (incomplete!)
This is an older photo showing the progress I had made with the full Manhide company last year. Notice the mixture of male and female troopers. It may not be much but it certainly breaks up the monotony of an otherwise monopose unit. These are the first models I started painting for the collection. I jumped in feet first and made up the colour scheme on the fly. I picked turquiose for its cold, but vibrant character and complimented it with a contrasting, bold orange. The decision to paint all the army in the same, or similar, uniform was pretty much given to me by the fact that the Dark Elf ranges tended to confirm to a fairly uniform style. This is most evident in the fact that the champion, second from right, is not from this set at all, but from the more general Dark Elf range of roughly the same time. He has the same scale armour, in a sort of skirted tunic, as the other character models, with a similar crest on his helmet; these basic features pretty much define every Dark Elf model released from 1980 'til the release of 4th edition, when the design changed forever! That champion can now return to his own company, and be replaced with the 'true' champion of the set, Ean Hawkbane.

Maruader Beastmaster and Warhounds:

Dark Elf Beastmaster and 4 warhounds
Dark Elf Beastmaster and 4 warhounds
This is the Marauder beastmaster set, with an extra chaos hound (with two heads) added to make a better sized unit. I have another pair of chaos hounds to make up a harder hitting group in larger games. The dogs are great though, looking like old English Bulldogs (bigger than the modern breed) with a good range of dynamic poses, snarling muzzles and spiky studded collars. The chaos hound is, weirdly, emaciated but sporting a suitable mutation. I love how the muscles are defined on this model. The Beastmaster herself isn't bad, though being of the later Marauder style is afflicted with a somewhat ridiculous hairstyle. I'd love to track down an earlier Citadel Beastmaster, and move this individual model on, to a more appreciative owner; for now it'll have to wait though!

Citadel Dark Elf Bolt-thrower:

This final one is plain weird.

Citadel's 80's Dark Elf Bolt-thrower. Its odd
Citadel's 80's Dark Elf Bolt-thrower. Its odd
The Bolt-thrower itself is pretty huge, which is fine. Its actually quite a nicely designed model with large wheels to facilitate easy targeting and re-positioning, a frame with some suitably intricate 'rope work' type embellishment, and a magazine of bolts ready to hurl at the enemy. The crew are sculpted in the same manner as the other Dark Elves of the period, sporting feather like appendages on the helmet and tracery on the armour and clothes. However they are rather short, almost halfling sized, and next to the huge war machine they look tiny! The sharpness of the details is in line with other models of their era, which is rather soft, but that can be dealt with by painting sympathetically. The poses are a little awkward, but I do rather enjoy the stooping spotter and the guy stretching up to refill the magazine (he'd have to at 4.5 feet tall), if only because the exaggeration of such mundane activities is far more fun than a model pointing into the distance with a "Raaagh!" expression. I think this bizarre set might just grow on me, and hopefully - once I've finished basing them all up - will create a good compliment to the army. It better do; I have another two to work on.

The Nameless Army (so far):

The Dark Elf Army, work still in progress
The Dark Elf Army, work still in progress
Well, its fairly self-explanatory, that's what I'd got done some time around the turn of the year. There's plenty more to do to get them finished. I'm looking to complete the first 1.5k (based on Warhammer Armies, 3rd edition supplement) by the end of March, and come up with a name for them as well. Any suggestions?

What's to come:

I'll be taking a look at the models I worked on throughout last year (two more companies of infantry, more crossbows, cold one riders, chaotic and ogre allies, summoned spectres/ghosts/whights) over the coming weeks, as well as those I'll be working on soon (including units of light and heavy cavalry, more summoned spectres/ghosts/whights, skeletons and demons!).

Thursday, 12 March 2015

State of Affairs 1

This title will be attributed to all general WIP updates on painting and modelling projects. Not terribly descriptive but it'll do.

To get started I'm going to double up on some of the posts I've made over on the Oldhammer forum, a valuable place to go if you have any interest in early Games Workshop or Citadel miniatures.

WIP models

This model has been knocking around for years in a terrible black, artist's acrylic paintjob. That had to change (click images to enbigify):
Space Marine Sergeant, bionic leg and powerfist.

Ahh, a proper looking space soldier, with a gauntlet that doesn't weigh somewhere between oversized and ridiculous. He also has a prosthetic, robotic leg. Cool!

I've also been working on an early (or at least earlier) Citadel Dark Elf army. It's coming together, albeit slowly. Here's a few snaps I've taken recently of some of the models so far:

Dark Elves with shields and hand weapons. A few have spears too!
As you can see, this unit is tantalisingly close to completion, and the sneaky black primered guys at the back have since been painted. I'll be getting photos of them soon.

Check out my Protist's Works Progressive thread at the Oldhammer forum to see more of my old models from late 2013 onwards.