Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Something Wicked this Way Comes

I was going to build and work on my new army in super secret fashion. But I found after building the ogres I really enjoyed blogging about my army.

So, I will keep a blog here and update my progress as I go. It's not the most well traveled spot on the interwebs anywho. :-)

Dark Elves are my new army of choice. They offer, to me, the ultimate gaming experience in all of Warhammer. The ability to play in all three phases - well. On top of that, the army list can easily be scaled to a maximized list for playing in 0 comp tournies and scaled down for "softer tournaments".

My list starts as what I plan to run at the Core Competency tourney in November in Chicago. It's a 2 day tourney where soft scores + fluff gets you more points than anything. OH yeah, and 40% core is a requirement! This list will be great as it provides me a solid foundation for my Dark Elves and enough spearmen for almost any build. It will be very easy to add units to this army to scale it up in size / power.

The Army List
Lvl 3 DE Sorc
Web of Shadows (Themey but fail item - easily replacable for other tournies)
Focus Familiar
Dark Pegasus

20 Spearmen - Full Command
20 Spearmen - Full Command
20 Spearmen - Full Command

10 Crossbowmen with Shields
10 Crossbowmen with Shields

5 Dark Riders with Musicians and Crossbows

6 Dark Riders with Shields and Full Command
6 Dark Riders with Shields and Full Command

5 Harpies
5 Harpies

6 Cold One Knights with Banner and Musician
6 Shades with Great Weapons
14 Executioners with Full Command

1 Repeater Bolt Thrower

139 -ish models
224x points

As to the models

There will be heavy conversions. Each unit of spearmen will be created using different models with similar elements (spears, banners, etc...). The harpies will be converted around a piece of artwork directly linked to the theme. The crossbowmen will be converted based on some inspiration from German GD painter George Damm.

The big conversions that will set the theme of the army will be for the Dark Riders. I will be converting them all into Driders using Spider Rider Spiders, Beastmen and Dark Elf bits. Below is a very rough conversion test of my ideas just to see how well the bits worked together. I am really happy with the results but foresee a ton of cutting, pinning and sculpting in my future to make these a reality.

As to the Theme
My army will be based around my vision of the Drow that I have in my mind which was largely influenced by all of my AD&D gaming experiences in the 80's. I have never seen a well done entire Drow army and I think it's time.

As to the colors
Skin color for the drow is the most important choice. Lots of the text refers to them as having obisidian skin. R.A.Salvatore & the Drizzt books started depicting drow with a dark purple-gray colored skin.

My skin color will be based on the image from the Super module Queen of the Spiders which was published to contain all of my favorite D&D modules in one series.

See my first attempts at this rough color scheme.

I love the WE sculpts. She has been a ton of fun to paint on so far. So much so that I have decided to paint up a unit for the Chicago Golden Demons.

The basing of the army has been a bit of a challenge. I need to create cavern floor to represent the underdark. I was going to use cork as I could get nice textures with cork and it is both cheap and easy to work with... But I found that I'm not happy with 'pure' cork for a number of reasons, the big one simply being durability. On a suggestion from a friend, I have been messing around with Durhams Water Putty. I initially didn't like this stuff but later found I just hadn't allowed it enough time to thoroughly 'dry/cure' due to the thickness I was creating. This stuff may fit the bill nicely. It is also cheap and easy to work with. I am also playing with some Sculpy on a suggestion from Cathy Wappel. I really like working with this stuff and definitely see me using it a lot in all future projects.

The basing will feature numerous additional elements. Some will be sculpted and some will be generated using green stuff press-moulds. You'll have to tune in later to find out more.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Model Selection Process

So, I have been thinking about various ways to pick models. I know I have to pick something I WANT to paint, or the effort just won't happen.

I've been toying with the idea of re-painting some models I have completed for other projects by attempting to add to them to bring them to the next level.

One model in particular sticks out in my mind for this attempt. My WE Horse. A new base, re-paint the armor, mane, hooves and a fidly bit here or there and I have a very nice looking horse. One I think would look nice under the right rider.

That would be this fellar right here.

I'm taking a close look at the ogres I recently completed as well to scour possibilities.

As for new models to start with, I am considering;
Heavily Converted Dark Riders (*A borderline unit as they exit the GW established universe)
Witch Elves
Converted Executioners
(*Anyone see a theme emerging here....)
An Assasin...

Lots of ideas in my head, I need to get some test painting going.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Raising the Bar

This year has proved to be an interesting one hobby-wise for me on many levels. A solid return to the hobby after too-long spent playing online in the World of Warcraft has been lots of fun.

I spent the first part of the year creating my ogres with Caius for the Team Tournament. At Adepticon, I got to handle most of the Rogue Demon entries and was both blown away and inspired by the talent evidenced on those minis. During the day, I browse tons of websites / blogs and I am in general inspired by the depth of talent in our hobby.

I have been planning on attending the Chicago Games Day and entering my Wood Elf army into Armies on Parade. I don't expect them to be the best painted army in the competition but I do expect them to be very competitive thematically.

I now think it's time I created some entries for the Golden Demon painting contest. I have wanted to enter for quite some time now but I am always very doubtful of my abilities. I think the only way I will ever progress to the next level is to seriously try and compete. So, I begin the process of raising the bar I set for myself and creating at least one entry for the Golden Demons.

I have been scouring the web over the last few days, reading tutorials, reviewing demon winning models, and bookmarking as many preparation-sculpting-painting-basing articles as I can.

I have some ideas of models I would like to use and will begin the selection process shortly. I am both nervous and excited about the prospects of starting down this path and look forward to painting out of my comfort zone. I am going to be fairly transparent on my first attempts and reaching out to as many great painters as I can for advice throughout this process. I will detail my choices and progress here. All comments / advice will be welcomed.

Couple this with a couple of other ongoing hobby projects (Touching up my WE, a New Base for my WE and starting my DE army), and a ton of HoneyDo's around the house and my plate will be quite full.