+++ Eldar Blog 2: Headquarters Choices +++
looming on the horizon we return to our trip down the Webway. This is the second in a series of articles by my friend Allen Stroud
: an author, university lecturer and long time Warhammer fan. So over to him:
“Over the years, some of the Eldar ranges have changed a lot and some haven’t too much. I’ve tried to keep my army as current as possible, continuing to use the models that I can modify and swapping out the ones that no longer fit.
At one point, I owned pretty much every figurine and vehicle that could be part of the army list, but that’s changed since the plastic ranges have become more extensive and I haven’t kept up.
Games Workshop’s prices have remained comparatively high compared to other miniature manufacturers. However, the combination of their store monopoly, tournament infrastructure, regular magazine, good quality photography of miniatures and more has kept them ‘top of the tree’. And meant they’ve outlasted a number of different ranges.
You can see the advantage of the higher price average as this has enabled them to maintain and develop this infrastructure, even in the difficult times when they were switching to plastics and white metal.
As a rule, I try not to purchase from Games Workshop stores, but hunt for Ebay bargains and the like. Also, as I only play Warhammer and Warhammer 40K infrequently, I don’t ascribe to any rules about models needing to be ‘all GW’ in their construction. I look for parts that fit and work. This is particularly important when I’m working on more specialist armies (see my later blogs). It also means with a little work, I can find a place for some amazing old models and castings in my Warhammer Armies.
My painting is generally okay, but not great. I enjoy painting, I try to be accurate and paint as well as I can, but I can’t claim to be massively talented.
My original Farseer model remains current. My painting of him is one of the first miniatures I was actually proud of. I really enjoy painting as it’s very relaxing, but I’m not a particularly confident painter and generally just try to get my models done accurately, then move on. The Farseer has been updated a little to include the transfers.
My original Avatar was replaced with the metal multi-part oversized one, which I converted a little bit, adding the Chaos Space Marines victims. I wasn’t a fan of the hair tassel, so that went in the bits box. I like this version, but also like the even bigger, Forgeworld Avatar. Hopefully that will be a next purchase soon.
My original Warlocks didn’t take much converting. The models had laspistols. Gradually Games Workshop has moved away from utilitarian las-weapons for Eldar, as it’s kind of a mixed design aesthetic to give graceful Space Elves a variation on a functional assault rifle. Switching the pistols for Shuriken pistols was a straight cut and file.
My Seer Council is a collection of older models from different generations. This gradual collection of the different Warlock and Farseer models was supplemented by a conversion or two. Making robes out of Kneadatite (green stuff) is a skill that takes a bit of practice, but once you get it right, it can work very effectively.
In addition to this, I made a jetbike Farseer/Warlock. Again, the new plastics allow a great deal of flexibility with changing the models. The newer Eldar codices allow Warlocks to join Guardian jetbike squads and Farseer commanders to take jetbikes as a vehicle choice.Transfer sheets have been around for quite a while, but it took me some time to learn how to use them without breaking them. Painting runes is very tricky, so using the transfers to supplement these is great.
The Singing Spear and Warlock/Farseer head are mounted on a Guardian torso. The legs are from a standard Guardian jetbike rider. The rear pole is not as stable as I’d like, so there’s probably more work to do on that.
Changes to the Eldar range
The changes in the Games Workshop paint ranges have been an issue recently as the majority of my colour scheme uses Enchanted Blue and Regal Blue. I’ve not yet established an equivalent in the new GW paint range, but I’m sure we’ll find one. Other ranges such as Vallejo and Revell are actually very nice and have helped in the meantime.
The newest Warlock/Farseer models are really nice, their poses are more dynamic and mystical. The Spiritseer is concept that has been in the lore for a long time and its good to see its been added to the new codex. The benefit with wraith based models is a good advantage, which had previously been just an upgrade on the other seer types.
This custom Warlock/Farseer was built using an Eldar Guardian body, a head and staff from a Farseer model and a judicious use of green stuff to make the cloaks. I had in mind that this character was going through an inauguration confirming his rank.
New editions and plastic hybrids
The third and fourth edition period saw a lack of variation in miniatures. The original Eldar multi-part metal/plastic hybrids were okay, but the subsequent full plastics were difficult to modify, leaving the gamer with an unrealistic army. In addition to this, the Aspect Warrior types were re-released with new generations of models, but most remained in lead/white metal and were expensive.
Supplementing my army with one or two of these was fine, but when the new Guardian plastics came out in 2006, everything got better. These also allowed me to go back and modify some of the older models to add variation.
The Autarchs were an addition to the Eldar command options in fourth edition. This was a badly needed option as both the Farseer and Avatar (other HQ choices) are very specialised and not much of a support leader. The multi-role options of the Autarch made him a much better leader, even if the strategic advantage the character got wasn’t particularly well realised in the rules.
The ability to have a custom character with options from a variety of Aspect Warrior weaponry appealed to my modelling skills. The Autarch miniatures that were released were nice looking, but pretty limited in their kit, so I decided to design my own.
The ability to combine a fusion gun with a warp jump generator, or a pair of hawk wings with a reaper missile launcher is invaluable as this gives any army a fast moving heavy hitting character who can support other specialised units, making an Eldar army more flexible and adaptable in a battle.
The lore of the Eldar has always had a kind of leader character, the Young King, chosen from amongst the Exarchs to be sacrificed to awaken the Avatar for battle. I made a character for this, mounting him on a grav platform. Whilst his weapons don’t fit the Autarch profile, he is a good model for working out the paint scheme for the Autarchs in my army.
The current codex has changed the balance of the ‘Seer Council’ into a Warlock Council with a Farseer available only as a HQ choice. I think this is a shame, but perhaps it was overpowered.”
Allen is Editor of the British Fantasy Society Journal and Chair of Fantasycon 2017 and 2018. You can find his website here.
In 2017, Allen is returning to the Frontier/Elite Universe with EDRPG, the roleplaying game for Elite Dangerous. Find out more here.
I think the custom Warlock/Farseer is my personal favourite.
I am lovin’ the Avatar diorama.
That Avatar of a murder god is an angry being, ain’t he?