Craftworlds · Warhammer 40000

A fresh coat of paint

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“Thin your paints” is quite possibly the single most important piece of advice you could give anyone starting out in the hobby.  It might feel tedious at first, but you’ll thank yourself later.  Also, consider the alternative.  Thanks to the aforementioned paint thinning, and relatively dark (and boring) paint scheme I used when I first started painting my Eldar minis, the new layers of paint didn’t look all clumpy when I set out to redo the army.  Here’s one of the very few pictures I could still find of how they looked around 2008:

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I had a custom color scheme from Dawn of War that I kinda wanted to emulate (pictured up top), but try as I might, making it look as interesting on the tabletop as it was in game was more than I had the skill to pull off.  I couldn’t really highlight, and wasn’t confident enough to go for bolder, bright colors.  If you remember the old line of Citadel paints, it was primarily Regal Blue with some Midnight Blue for variation.  Both are really dark blues painted over black primer.  Needless to say they didn’t really pop, but at the very least I could say I was able to keep my minis looking fairly clean.  I figured purple gems would give some contrast, but not too much, and white helmets just seem to be the thing to do for Eldar.  It was alright for someone without too much experience.  It was safe.

Fast forward a few years later after I’d finished my backlog of Dark Eldar minis.  I’d learned a lot about brush control, highlighting, learned to really appreciate washes (aka shades) and with Citadel’s new line of paints coming out, I figured maybe I could do my old army some justice.  I also took another look at some of the established Craftworlds for inspiration in finding a new color scheme and had my interest piqued by Iybraesil.

Iybraesil is a Craftworld that’s been in existence since at least the 4th edition codex, but was really only ever given a small section in the “Other Craftworlds” section of the book’s army gallery.  Just a short paragraph of lore and a picture of an Iybraesil Guardian painted in very simple turquoise with a white helmet.  Nothing to write home about, until years later when I saw how people online were picking out details to spice up their look a bit.  The primary color always had to be blue anyway, and Sotek Green (originally Hawk Turquoise, and yes it is more of a shade of blue than green) made the models pop much more than they did with my old Regal Blue.

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I’ll get some better pictures of all the units soon, but here’s one I took awhile back, shortly after finishing the Guardians and Farseer — the Wraithguard were WIPs at the time.  I also redid the bases aiming for a brighter, more realistic rocky grey even for the units I hadn’t or didn’t plan on repainting, just to see how they looked together.  I liked what I saw, and went all in with Iybraesil from that point onward.

One last minor tidbit, is that I opted to keep the gems purple as a tribute to the old Craftworld.  The red and yellow gems I’ve seen people use just hurt my eyes anyway, and if we wanna get geeky and inject a bit of our own backstory to it (and we do), one might say survivors from the old Craftworld had found themselves on Iybraesil.  While they’re tolerated, they’re also viewed with some distrust for not being true sons and daughters of the Craftworld.  Hopefully that meets the quota for at least Grimdark-lite.

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Craftworlds · Warhammer 40000

Perfidious Eldar!

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I’ve always had a tendency to gravitate towards more mobile, high damage dealing characters in video games.  Not necessarily where high risk = high reward, but where playing with a bit of finesse rewards the player with something a little extra.  Assassins and Hunters in RPGs, and characters like Juri from Street Fighter and Xianghua from Soul Calibur come to mind.  Like many others I know who played through Dawn of War’s campaign with little to no prior knowledge of the massive 40k universe, my first window into the world was through the lens of the poster boys of 40k: The Space Marines.

They are bad ass.  Warrior monks in futuristic armor shouting lines like “And we shall know no fear!” as they faced impossible odds were bad ass.  Captain Gabriel Angelos of the Blood Ravens is still one of the most memorable and inspiring faction leaders in RTS memory for me.  But when the campaign was said and done and it was time to go online, I felt obligated to give the other factions a try.  It’s worth noting in the original Dawn of War’s single player mode, you only ever played as Space Marines.  Chaos Space Marines at the time felt like a spikier reskin of their loyalist counterparts.  Orks were fun and funny, but at times felt mindless.

Then of course there were the Eldar, who if you had played through the campaign you might remember as the guys (and gals) with weird voices who loved to run into  bolterfire and die in droves as much as Orks, but with half the effort.  I still gave them an honest try, and something stuck.  When played properly, they could dismantle armies while taking few losses.  But lose concentration or get flustered and it was easier to put yourself in a position where you couldn’t come back compared to the other, hardier factions.  I liked it.

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When they really settled in and became my main faction, I started reading up on their background.  The more I read, the more I wanted to know; and before long I thought these mysterious, space faring, psychic elves with a bit of Asian influences peppered in were the coolest thing ever.  Inevitably, I started reading more on the setting as a whole and tidbits on other armies and factions in 40k lore and decided it was something I wanted to delve into deeper.  So I picked up the 4th edition rulebook, Eldar codex and a few models, not really caring what what armies were considered strong or not at the time.  I guess the general consensus is that they dragged a bit in 5th, but from 6th onward, they’ve been broken and cheesy.  Oh well.  Something something arrogance matched only by firepower something something.