Eldar Warlock and Golden Demon 2022

A quick look at this blog reveals that it has been quite some time since I painted a miniature to competition standard, but when a UK Golden Demon competition was announced back in March I finally found the motivation to pick up the brushes again and settle in for the long slog that this kind of project inevitably ends up being.

I didn’t have to think too long about what to paint since GW had recently released some new Eldar miniatures and this gave me the excuse I needed to break out the credit card. I briefly considered having a crack at the Avatar of Khaine but I just don’t have any interest in painting miniatures that large, so I settled on something a little more realistic.

The warlock kit is quite unusual in that it contains parts to build two miniatures. Two bodies and four arms are supplied as well as several head options, so in principle you can build a decent number of variants (although in practice I don’t think they’d look massively different from one another). In an effort to further differentiate my warlock and inspired by a piece of art by my all time favourite artist Mark Gibbons, I sculpted a new right hand and head and added fur around the shoulders. Because I prefer to sculpt digitally, the fur was particularly challenging since I had to make measurements of the physical miniature and then sculpt a piece that I hoped would fit. After a few attempts I got reasonably close and was able to use greenstuff to sculpt additional little bits of fur to fill any gaps. I also used the rough digital mock up I had made of the warlock to design the base. Making the base before I had even started painting the miniature was a departure from my usual half-arsed cobbled together effort at the end of the project, but I think ultimately it was worth holding my impatience to get started in check. All the parts I designed were printed on my Elegoo Mars 3 printer with standard Elegoo resin.

Saim Hann Eldar Warlock by Mark Gibbons that formed the inspiration for this project. Image used without permission.

I decided not to try and replicate the colours of the artwork precisely as my experience suggested that at miniature scale they were likely to look a little drab, and my preference has always been for maximum saturation bright colours! I painted the miniature in sub assemblies, even going so far as to paint texture on the inside of the robe before gluing the two parts together. Doing it this way meant that I had to fill and sand the seam on an already partially painted model but it is possible to see inside the robe from some angles and because I don’t prime my miniatures this kind of procedure is not too much of a problem.

There’s nothing particularly revolutionary about the painting techniques I used. The early stages involved a massive amount of somewhat tedious stippling on the robe, highlighting the 1:1 evil sunz scarlet and mephiston red base coat through wildrider red and fire dragon bright up to lugganath orange. I shaded the robe with naggaroth night, and also used this paint extensively elsewhere on the miniature in order to tie everything together. (For example, the gold nmm also has this paint in the deepest shading, and it is also used in highlights on the armour, the gems and of course the base!)

The idea behind the piece is that the warlock is engaged in some psychic shenanigans, so I made extensive use of vallejo magenta paint for these aspects and even mixed in some warcolours fluorescent pink to really get that visual punch, although sadly it doesn’t really come across in these photos. The base is supposed to be breaking up around him due to the power of the eldritch magics, and I used the magenta in these areas to try and get that narrative across.

There was a decent amount of freehand to get through, with the robes, sash and helmet all having these elements. No matter how many times I paint freehand designs, I always find it a slightly stressful experience, as there is always the knowledge that you can’t really make too many mistakes or you will quickly find yourself building up texture that is the enemy of a silky smooth finish. I’m happy to say that it went reasonably well on this occasion! The only other areas of note that occur are the light weathering I painted onto the pouches and the very fine texture on the sash, making it look like a different fabric to the robe.

During the course of painting this miniature I was forced to accept that time has definitely started to catch up with me and my ability to focus very closely is now on the wane. Fortunately I found that using a pair of reading glasses enabled me to achieve the level of finish I was after. Unfortunately this does further affect my motivation for display level miniature painting, as it’s even more difficult to justify putting in the hours when I can’t even fully appreciate the finished piece without some kind of optical aid!

It was my intention to enter this miniature in the 40k single mini category at the 2022 UK Golden Demon and take Fuegan along to put in the open category. Sadly I won’t be able to attend this event because someone at GW decided that having not had a Golden Demon for three years it would be a good idea to hold it at Warhammer World, which has a very limited capacity. When the event was announced it was obvious to me that ticket availability was going to be a massive problem, and so it has proved! I’m not particularly bothered about being denied the opportunity to collect more trophies, but I was looking forward to seeing all the great people in the community that I haven’t spoken to for a very long time. I know many other painters have missed out on getting tickets too, so all in all it is very disappointing.

And finally, it would of course be a crime to write any blog post about Eldar without acknowledging the mighty Jes Goodwin, without whom none of this would have been possible. You’re a legend sir!