Sunday 19 April 2020

The abandoned realm of Yvresse

Some time ago, I came back from a holiday on the coast, full of ideas about a High Elf army. It was originally to be themed around the realm of Yvresse, but then I expanded my thinking and decided on a coastal army in general. I got as far as painting one unit and assembling another, then put it to one side for a couple of months while I worked on another project. Six years later......

It's time to resurrect the project. Instead of Yvresse I have moved my thinking northward a little, to Cothique, to really hammer home the nautical theme. What to do with the remnants of the original project? One unit of metal archers, on square bases, which I have photographed again for posterity before I transport them to their new homeland. Ranked up they are a bit cramped, and the metal figures seem to clank together a little, never a good thing. In keeping with my current ethos, I will rebase them on to two pence coins, perfect for storing and playing the skirmish games I like. If they are ever needed for mass battles, it's a simple task to put them on a magnetic sheet to group them together, for relaxed gamers like myself.

When I examined them close up, I discovered I had not painted a few details. Eyes, jewels and various other bits that are not really seen on the battlefield, only in photos that magnify the figure to screen size. I will definitely add some colour to the clothing and maybe dot in these details too.  It should be a quick job to get this first unit ready for battle.

Wednesday 15 April 2020


Cothique. Pour femme. Pour homme. Pour elfe.

It does sound like a perfume brand. But it's actually a province in the old Elf realm of Ulthuan, from the Warhammer Fantasy Battle world before it was destroyed. It's a coastal region on the north east of the continent, and it's probably one of the least known areas of the Elf kingdoms. Caledor has Dragon Princes, Tiranoc has chariots, Nagarythe has shadow warriors, while Cothique has, er, fish. It's probably most known for being next door to Chrace, home of the famed White Lions.

It is described as an unlovely place, with bleak windswept coastal landscapes. The inhabitants are more likely to travel the world than any other elf, sailing the oceans in their sleek white craft. They are famed mariners, as the seas around their homeland are filled with dangerous reefs and giant sea monsters. Elves from Cothique often wear dragon sea cloaks and their shields and heraldry bear aquatic symbols. They are the nearest the old world ever came to fish elves. Adventurers, corsairs, pirates, they have an unusual background that I want to use in my new elf force.

I bashed together this unit from two sets of elves. The legs and back/cloaks are dark elf corsairs, the front torso, arms and heads are mostly from the high elf shadow warrior box. This gives them a nice Cothique feel, if you ask me. Armed with sword and bow they could be used as shadow warriors in old games of WHFB, or rangers in newer games like Erehwon. I have enough bits for two units, though I might just forge on and paint these first.

Sunday 12 April 2020

Easter Elf

No Easter bunny or xmas elves here, it's an Easter Elf. I used my very limited watercolour skills on the recent sketch. I did manage to mess up the skin colour, but the pale gold leg and arm guards and the slightly more glittery hauberk with the dark red trim works well. It was useful to test out a potential colour scheme, I think this would suit a Chracian elf force, which I might get round to one day in the far distant future.

Meanwhile, in the present day, elves are taking over. I am working on my own elves and some on commission too, and playing the elf factions in Total War: Warhammer. I'm not sure what has happened to my inner dwarf, it's gone underground for the time being. It must be all this greenery and spring foliage sprouting. 

Friday 10 April 2020

How to paint a Tomb Banshee

I have completed and uploaded a third video tutorial to my YouTube channel, this time on how to paint a tomb banshee, though the palette would be equally useful for Slaanesh daemons, maybe chaos and dark elf troops. I hope you find it useful.

If you want to support me in this time consuming endeavour, the easiest way is to click the thumbs up, subscribe to my channel and share with fellow hobbyists. The more support I get, the more time I can spend on producing tutorials like this.

Wednesday 8 April 2020

Elf project airborne once more

I have been thinking about elves recently, for a number of reasons. I have worked on a few items on a commission project. I got some good responses when I posted a few elf pictures from my archive on instagram. And I even sketched an elf I came across while flicking through a White Dwarf. I tried to push them out of my mind, because they are not one of my "current" projects - for the record I think of myself as currently working on dwarfs, goblins, undead and vikings. Adding elves to this list would be completely absurd. So obviously that's what I am doing.

High elves were one of the first armies I ever collected (I posted about this quite recently). Down the years they have remained a favourite of mine, and I did actually make a false start on a new elf army, incredibly that's almost six years ago. They are challenging to paint, I would probably rank them as the most difficult of all armies to paint well, but also immensely rewarding when they are ranked up on the tabletop.

I usually start a project by working on some basic troops, to get a feel for the colours and any techniques. But in this case, I have been working on commission elves for a couple of years, so don't really feel the need to do that. I already have one regiment complete as a reference point. So I am going to just jump straight in with a model I have wanted to paint for such a long time. This beauty, probably one of my all time top favourites. It's the elf prince on griffon model from the now out of print Island of Blood boxset - for me this was the pinnacle of plastic sets produced for Warhammer Fantasy Battle, maybe for any game. So the elf project is airborne once more. Or should that be seaborne? . . . more on that next time.

Sunday 5 April 2020

Remote Wargaming

Now you really can become an armchair general. If you are confined to barracks but would love to wargame, try this. You need two (or more) gamers. The main player sets up a battlefield in their location, with a camera/phone/ipad to view the action. They use the zoom app to create a conference call, inviting other gamer(s). The main player takes all the moves, rolls dice for themselves, removes casualties, etc. The secondary player(s) talk to them, directing them - move the second unit forward eight inches, shoot at those cavalry, etc. The secondary players can roll their own dice if they choose.

I tried it last night with gaming buddy Matt. He set up the battlefield in his gaming dungeon. I simply had to get some dice, I had them on a tray in my chair. I also had the rulebook to hand, and an ipad to view the game. We stuck to the simple to play Dragon Rampant, about half a dozen units each on a 4x4 tabletop. It worked well, after I learned how to hold the ipad without covering the microphone - I blame the wine.

Here's my view in game. After some input from a technical expert, I propped the ipad up on a cushion, leaving me hands free to expertly shout out my orders, point at the screen (not that Matt could see where I was pointing), and roll some dice, usually badly. A good way to spend an evening if you crave a wargame. Not as good as the real thing obviously, but it works, it's free (if there's just two of you), and it's easy if you are the secondary player.

I won't attempt to describe the ingame action, I'm sure Matt will produce a battle report at some stage (edit - he sure did). Suffice to say that the uruk hai are well fed now, Samwise will be taking part in the trilogy no more, and we'll get you next time Frodo, you slippery little hobbit.

Wednesday 1 April 2020

White Lion of Chrace

There's a pile of old White Dwarf magazines sitting in my house. I am supposed to be downsizing. They have been earmarked for recycling for months. I cannot quite let go.

Last night I grabbed one at random. It was the artwork on the front cover, a Mark Gibbons classic, that caught my attention, just as it did all those years ago. And it was a long time ago - July 1997!

Flicking through I came across a section on High Elves. It was round about the time of Warhammer Fantasy fifth edition and I guess the elves had just been updated with a new book, or were just about to be. Lots of rules and background on the White Lions of Chrace. I can just about remember these special rules.

Again, it was the artwork that leapt out. And again it was a Mark Gibbons piece, this time a mono pencil sketch, but no less arresting for that. I had not practised my sketching for a while so I set to with pencil and eraser.

And finally I had my finished piece. I am trying to simplify my drawings, getting the main lines and shapes rather than lots of shading. There's a couple of things that are not quite right, but I am calling this a good effort. Now, should I ink it and add some shading, or should I watercolour it? Or both?

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