Followers of this blog may have noticed that I’m something of a fan of elves. Happily Games Workshop have got me covered whenever I feel the need to do something with space elves, but the fantasy side is a bit more tricky. I enjoyed painting Elrond from the Lord of the Rings range recently, but what I really want is the Warhammer Fantasy High Elves of my youth. Unfortunately with the advent of Age of Sigmar, the High Elf line has been abandoned in favour of Lumineth Realm Lords.
The problem for me is that while I can appreciate aspects of the Lumineth range, in the main they are not my cup of tea and I feel that the older High Elf aesthetic is superior. I certainly don’t intend any disrespect to the fine gentleman behind the Lumineth and much of the Age of Sigmar range – he is a far, far, far better and more creative miniature designer than I will ever be! But cow-themed elves with hammers and flying foxes don’t sit right with me. And it doesn’t help that many of the elves are wearing clothing that brings the tracksuit to mind. No I’m sorry, I like my elves robed and associated with fearsome beasts such as phoenixes, dragons and lions (these latter two now appropriated by the Stormcast Eternals it seems).
While I could go scouring eBay for High Elves, there are a couple of problems. Firstly, the prices on much of this stuff have got a bit silly recently. Also I’m not really interested in painting metal miniatures, and I’m certainly never going to waste another penny on finecast! What I really want is plastic, made to the standards of today but with the old aesthetic. Clearly that’s not going to happen any time soon (perhaps we can hold out a little hope of something coming with the Old World, although as that’s coming from Specialist Games I fear that resin will be more the order of the day).
I therefore decided that, as with Fuegan, it was once again time for me to sculpt my own miniature in order to create something I wanted to paint. Lately I’ve been feeling a bit jaded with the endless warlike stuff, so I wanted to explore the slightly softer side of the Warhammer setting and I decided to have a crack at Alarielle. (Obviously I’m talking about the classic High Elf Alarielle here, not her modern humongous incarnation atop a beetle.)
The most recent High Elf Alarielle miniature has a lot going for it, and I copied much of the design for my own version. Although huge hats are a staple of Warhammer, I’ve always felt that the headgear on this miniature looked a little too bulky for her delicate form and I wanted to try scaling it back a bit. I also decided to adjust the design of the staff a bit (in order to get rid of the sausage that appears to have been embedded in it) and took away some of the sculpted design on the loincloth to create a bit more room for runes, such as those on this artwork that represents the older Alarielle miniature. Classic magic user stuff here, and a lovely open pose to make the painting enjoyable.
I sculpted my version of Alarielle in blender, and printed her on my Elegoo Mars 3 at an appropriate Warhammer size (she is 32 mm to the eye). With hindsight there are of course some things I’d do differently. I think the biggest mistake I made was leaving the base of the dress solid, rather than making it a thin layer. I’ve been sculpting a great deal of small scale miniatures over the last couple of years, and I need to remember that there are things you can get away with at 10 mm that you can’t at 32 mm!
For the painting I didn’t really see how the most recent Games Workshop miniature could be improved upon. (I don’t know who painted it, but I strongly suspect the hand of Darren Latham. Possibly Joe Tomaszewski – I think it’s the right era for either of them!)
In the end, although I gave the miniature a good paint job, I didn’t paint it all the way up to what I would consider competition standard. For one thing, I don’t intend on ever putting it in a competition, but there are also some rough areas arising from the fact that this is a printed miniature. The Mars 3 is a 4k printer, and it’s an amazing piece of kit for the price, but even with it perfectly dialled in you’re still going to see some light layer lines in some places. I sanded most of these away but there were a few areas that were quite inaccessible. I’ve considered purchasing a Phrozen Sonic Mini 8k, but I’m not sure if there would be enough of an improvement over the Mars 3 to justify the expense.
I tried out the Pro Acryl golds for the first time on this miniature and I have to say I was a little disappointed with the results. I found that the coverage wasn’t great and it was very difficult to avoid building up texture with multiple layers. It’s surprising as I’ve heard very good things about these from painters that I respect. I daresay the fault is with me and further experimentation is needed. I’ve just been spoilt by Vallejo metal color I suppose, it’s just a shame they don’t make a gold with a warmer tone. I shaded the gold with Liquitex inks, and this was a more successful experiment.
As a reward for the few that have made it this far, I’ll just note down the rest of the colours I used as I know some people find it useful. The dress was painted using mixes of kabalite green from Citadel and AK white (I used lots of glazes rather than stippling as I wanted a very clean look). The skin was Vallejo basic skintone, shaded with beige red and then adding in khorne red and rhinox hide from Citadel, and highlighted with Vallejo light flesh. For the hair I used tallarn sand, ushabti bone and screaming skull from Citadel, and shaded with rhinox hide. There are some XV-88 glazes as well. Finally for the sashes and flowers I used pink 1 through 3 from warcolours (use some flow improver if you’re trying to basecoat with these – and be prepared for many layers!) and shaded with screamer pink from Citadel. The base used a similar palette to the hair.