Wednesday, 16 April 2014

A Warhammer Bestiary: Elves


Its been a while since I last painted any models in my Warhammer Bestiary project. If you don't remember what I was trying to do, I was attempting to paint an example of every model listed in the Warhammer Third Edition bestiary. I had made some pretty decent progress until I reached the elves, then something about the race just put me off. I have never been a fan of the fey ones if I am speaking honestly, and this lack of inspiration made work a turgid chore.

However, looking back now I found myself really enjoying the challenge of painting each of the four types and making them different once I got going!

Looking at the top image from left to right you have a Sea Elf, a Wood Elf Wardancer, a High Elf and a Dark Elf. 

The Sea Elf was the first model I worked on and I was keen to capture the feel of the sea and the maritime swashbuckler about him. I picked a Jes Goodwin Silvan Elf from the mid '80s Lord of the Rings range. Doing my best to do an 'Errol Flynn' colour scheme I worked from a blue trousers and whitish shirt look over a blackjack, dotted with silver and gold studs. I painted the equipment with reds, bright greens (proper old school Citadel colour that!) and golds. One area I was keen to improve was the painting of hair, so after a few chestnut and brown ink washes, I worked up the colour into a fairly flat blonde. Over this I highlighted on my own strands of hair taking the mix up to an almost white mix of the original tone. 

The High Elf came next and with this colour scheme I was inspired by the Ancient Greeks. Whites and golds were the orders of the day here, with very pale browns and greens for the non-metallic clothing. I found that by mixing my dark brown ink with chestnut I could create a shade that really brought out the depth of the gold. It was a simple case to highlight up with the original mix for the gold's base colour to bring out all of the detail. Gold predominated here as I was keen to reflect the wealth of the High Elves. I choose a fairly ubiquitous figure from the 1987 elf range (also by Goodwin) as I wanted something that was as far removed as I could achieve tow hat many people consider a high elf to actually look like. 

Next, I worked on the Dark Elf and chose a female model for the first time in this painting project. I really like this (Naismith I think) sculpt. Though its female it doesn't really have any of the silly boob fixated armour or impractical clothing that often plagues these sorts of designs. I kept the gold from the High Elf but darkedn it doesn somewhat with black ink washs. I picked out much of the colour of the colthing with purple and black as these are great tried and tested tones for villainous characters. I used an almost white to pick out the bone knife in her left hand as I wanted a different colour to contrast with all the dark tones. I was very pleased with the way the hair turned out too, it was very simply done, a little bit of edge highlighting and drybrushing. Though I feel the results are more to do with the sculpting of the hair rather than the skill of my painting! 

Finally, the Wood Elf Wardancer. This was quite a quick job really. You will probably know by now that the model is by Jes Goodwin. Much of the top half of the model is flesh, and I found quite a nice new way of creating a ink wash by mixing chestnut and red inks together. The hair was just a variant of the mthod I used on the High Elf and the Sea Elf. For the clothing, I choose two shade of contrasting greens to represent the woodland lifestyle of these warriors and these were quite simple to work up to a highlight. The flesh proved more of a challenge and I have been working on my methods for painting skin. I had a go at damp brush blending (a tip picked up from Andy Craig0 and was quite pleased with the result. A technique to try out again in the future. 


Next I had to work on the shields. As you may know, I used to be the crappiest freehand painter in the history of freehand painting. But through close inspection of the old school masters, I was able to refine my skills. I chose symbols that best reflected the background to each elf. A fish forthe Sea Elf, sylised leaves for the Wood Elf and High Elf and a dreaded spider for the Dark Elf. Source material for these designs came from a Google image search and were very useful indeed. When doing freehand painting like this it is essential to keep your paint very fluid, almost like milk, and to avoid overloading the brush to prevent flooding of your painting surface. On tip that works for me is the mixing in of a similar coloured ink to the colour you want to use, roughly 50:50 and this allows me to really move the paint easily but not loose depth of colour through watering down. 


Before I leave you, I mocked up a joke 'diorama' like you used to see in White Dwarf. The caption could read something like, ' A Sea Elf adventurer and his companion tackle a Dark Elf and her zombie slave while a Wood Elf looks on from the bushes!' 

So what do you think about my latest painting efforts. Opinions are always welcome here and I find them very constructive indeed! 

16 comments:

  1. Really nice paint jobs there. I particularly like the shield work.

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    1. Thank you pest of the Lead - and I am sure that painting shields could easily become a hobby in its own right!

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  2. They look great. I think you've captured the feel of each different 'race' very well. Where do you get ideas for shield designs?

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    1. The ideas come from Google image search. I just type in various search terms ending in '... symbol' and go from there. There is just so much inspiration!

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  3. Great paint job. I must say I love the elves especially the wood elves from the dark days of third edition. Cannot say why I love the tree huggers but I like them...

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    1. The Wood Elves were a serious, and very popular army, back in the 1980s - very different from today by all accounts! ):

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  4. Very interesting choice of minis... especially love your choice for the sea elf, hadn't thought of the Silvan Elves as seadogs, but it works excellently and the accompanying paintjob brings out its character nicely. Think the wood elf wardancer looks a bit too barbarian like for my tastes, though again you've done a good job with the painting.

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    1. Funny you should say barbarians, as I had the Foundry range (ex-Citadel) in the back of my mind as I was painting this model - the influence just came through I guess. Still, the wardancers are quite barbarian like in their visciousness are they not?

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  5. Very inspiring stuff! Great paint jobs which, for me at least, also capture the aesthetic of good old school Warhammer!

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    1. Thank you Chris. I aim to please- and spending hours studying old White Dwarfs and collecting the original paints helps too!

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  6. lovely, as others have said, your painting of them has captured the vibe of the times and the photos are rather class too =)
    (Iike the house also, the higgledy-piggledy tiles are ace)

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    1. The tiles are one of the things which root it in old-school Warhammer! The building is ace!

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    2. I have another house like this to paint up in the near future> I keep meaning to doa painting article about it!

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  7. These look excellent. My only comment is that the lips on the dark elf are too big or too red. I would tone them down to a more pink colour, or else make them smaller.

    Otherwise top effort!

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    1. Actually, that is how big the lips are on the model! I tried with a purple-pink the first time I tackled them and felt that the lips just didn't stand out. So I opted for a vampy red lipstick!

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    2. Fair enough! As said, they look great!

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