Liquid Greenstuff

Ulthrash has his back and antennae now glued, and a coat of liquid greenstuff applied and sanded chiefly to join his shoulder pads which were incredibly inaccurately cast.  Now with a second coat applied and some extra work on the sides of his torso, it feels like he’s nearly ready for arms.

Meanwhile, the Guardian squad are all ready for gluing bar a final pass of liquid greenstuff and sanding on their packs/antennae.  

Wraithguard weapons meanwhile are finishing the first phase of sanding.  Altogether it’s looking very much like I’ll be basing, priming and painting Autarch, Guardians and Wraithguard together – maybe in a month’s time at my ponderous, diligent speed.

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Ulthrash redux

Ulthrash has been updated to a more stable, less fiddly build.  Getting the mismatched Dire Avenger legs and cloths to fit was tough, whilst these Guardian legs and torso were way more secure as I tested poses.

The previous version used a Splinter Rifle as a surrogate Death Spinner stat line, but I’ve subsequently decided Ulthrash will be better off kitted out with a Fusion Pistol to give a better impact at close range.  Outside of close combat, he’s there primarily for his aura rather than the extra couple of shots.

The Blaster also looks a lot fiercer and more esoteric, and better reflects his actual armament.  In the Nelequë army Shredders are mostly being used to represent Fusion Guns, but the angle of those weapons doesn’t so easily fit the Ulthrash build and I don’t want to make things harder than necessary.  Also, if I did go back to a Desth Spinner it’ll better stand in for that too.

With the bigger shoulders, I felt I needed the extra impact of the “bearded” DA Exarch head, but the forehead gen was too fussy for my liking.  With that sanded away, I think his head is suitably spartan, without any unnecessary ornamentation.

Right now then, he’s a Guardian body with aerials, Kabalite Warrior arms and the DA Exarch head and loin cloth, with a DA ammo/trinket belt behind.

Ulthrash

On holiday in Florida, with a small box of glasspaper and craft knife, Guardians and the pieces with which I intend to build my Autarch, Ulthrash.

Right now he’s shaping up to be a Dire Avenger torso, legs and head with Kabalite gun and sword standing in for Deathspinner (stat line at least – the rifle looks like it might conceivably be a two shot S6 firearm of some sort) and Power Sword.

The torso looks much grander when using Kabalite pieces though.  Think I’ll try to find a way of using those back plumes/vents/horns on the DA body in the final version.

Cleaning with soap

The ten Guardians are still in endless prep after another week work on them during my commute.  A lot of work was done at home with a craft blade between their shoulders where weird lumps of plastic were splayed over both sides.

After a fierce session with soap and toothbrush, it looks like we’re nearly their.  Their right arms could do with a little more knife work, but aside from that I’m going to get glueing.

First draft colours

First draft colour scheme will be primarily dark purple (Naggoroth Night) with striking white helms and sashes.  I wanted to accent with both green on gems and blue, but might refine to just blue.  The white stalks of the backpack might well revert back to just purple or blue.  For the moment I just wanted to get a first draft on record.

Guardians and spiritstones

It’s taken a while, but I think I’m ok with Guardians.  The basic Games Workshop fluff is something I’m really not comfortable with.  The idea that normal Eldar citizens might be drafted into armed service without proper equipment always felt wrong – the opportunity cost of losing such a long life, seemed at odds with the minimal kit.  Moreover the likelihood many had served as Aspect Warriors before, but now came back to the battlefield without the weapons and armour they knew all seemed wrong.  I know these were meant to represent desperate times, and thus desperate measures, but when Guardians are a core choice having them felt like every battle my army ever fought would be “desperate” in terms of the fluff.

That became more of an issue again looking at the 8th Edition Eldar (Xenos 1) Index, as Guardians started to look like good value.  If you were playing on points and impact alone, they’d have a place in a force.  It was the fluff and my assumptions around it that offered an issue.

So, I’ve decided Nelequë has a different take on Guardians, and it’s helping to pin down some key points in the Craftworld’s story.  All Nelequë Eldar will walk the Path of the Warrior as their first path.

I’ve always envisioned a distinctly Naggaroth feel to Nelequë – much more Dark Elf than High Elf in terms of the cold, cruel circumstance and striving to rise above it, to be better.  A Spartan interpretation of Naggorth perhaps, as I don’t want to imply the internal back stabbing that would come with much of Dark Elf society.  Rather, Nelequë has a Spartan outlook, stemming from brutal conflict within its walls that demands every Eldar play their part in the active defense of their home.

Moreover, in order to understand what it means to be part of Nelequë, an Eldar must understand war first hand.  Without that understanding, they cannot meaningfully contribute to the other Paths of the Craftworld.

To add edge to this and demonstrate how embedded in the Nelequë culture it is, each Eldar’s first steps on the Path of the Warrior as they reach maturity are shaped by the Craftworld’s resources.  Resources on Nelequë are scarce.  It was a void-haunted hulk for millenia, then stripped by savage war with the Tyranid occupiers that contested its ownership.  This plays out in two ways.

Firstly, the Craftworld does not expend limited resources on an Eldar until they have proven they can serve militarily.  So as they take their first steps on the Path of the Warrior, it is as what other Craftworld’s would view as a Guardian – basic, function armour and weapons that are broadly expendable compared to the much more valuable Aspect Warrior equipment.  Those that go on to walk the Path of the Warrior again in later life will have earned the right to wear an Aspect, having first proven their martial prowess without such boons.

Secondly, spiritstones are one such resource.  A limited resource everywhere, spiritstones are especially rare on Nelequë – to the point where Eldar do not receive a spiritstone at birth.  Instead their first test upon the Path of the Warrior is a quest where their cohort will journey to the Crone Worlds to each secure their own spiritstone to wear thereafter.  Those that survive and secure their spiritstone, can pass on to other Paths within the Craftworld, a proven and valued part of the population.  Those that fail on this quest, or indeed those that die through accident or illness before attempting it, are consumed by She Who Thirsts.

Nelequë Eldar are not especially appalled by this.  For Nelequë, removed from the Fall and so nearly destroyed by and surrounded by haunting puzzle pieces hinting to the Tyranid threat, it is the forces of the Hive Mind that pose the greatest cultural enemy.  Morover, with a mysterious Infinity Circuit, haunted in part by the ghost of unknown Eldar from generations before Nelequë arrived, there is some trepidation about what the journey into the circuit might mean after death.

That’s the long(ish) version, but the upshot is I’m now including Guardians in my force.  The first draft list now looks as follows;

Autarch, on foot
– Deathspinner, Mandiblasters

Spriritseer, on foot

10x Guardians

5x Fire Dragons, includes Exarch, basic kit

Wave Serpent
– Upgrade twin catapult to cannon, carries Guardians and Autarch

Wave Serpent,
– Upgrade twin catapult to cannon, carries Fire Dragons and Spiritseer

Wraithblades
– Ghostswords

Wraithguard
– Wrathcannon

A simpler force and one I can table quicker.  The two characters – Autarch and Spiritseer – need developing.  This “vanguard” detachment host will likely represent an initial “Seeking” party – a cohort of new “Seekers” (being aspirant Guardians, preparing for their journey to the Crone Worlds to secure their spiritstones), along with transports and mentors.

The Autarch I’ll be modelling from Dire Avenger components, current thinking being this is a male strategist to be named Ulthrash.  The Spiritseer will likely be a female, Susku.  Thinking through Spiritseers on Nelequë, I come to think they are likely powerful figures.  This is a Craftworld that relies upon Wraith units, with an Infinity Circuit of unknown dead that may help mysteries to the Craftworlds origins, with a personality cult around a founder whose soul is bound into the core of the world, thus a spirit itself.  It feels like Spiritseers must be very important for these reasons, for utility and philosophy both.  More to follow as I think these points through.

And still cleaning…

One benefit of the Citadeal mould line removal tool over a craft knife is that you can use it both safely and legally on public transport.  Along with some fine glass paper – sometimes rolled, sometimes folded – it’s allowing me to get more cleaning done on the commute into work.

I’ve really focused on getting 10 Guardians finished, and we’re nearly there.  Then I’ll glue, greenstuff and finish prep.  I’ll base them alongside the Wraithblades, Farseer and AKA Fire Dragons.

What they end up being tabled as is still in the air.  More and more Guardians look point for point better value than DA’s.  I might revise my Craftword fluff – perhaps another interpretation of having fewer Aspect Shrines and less resources would be that Guardians are a Nelequë Aspect Warrior.  I might re-fluff to make things a little more Sparta/Naggaroth – where the first path all must walk is that of the warrior.  This is a weeding out of the weak; perhaps due to the need to keep population tight in the face of a harsh, somewhat broken Craftworld biome, perhaps due to the demand that all must be qualified to fight, perhaps both.

We’ll see, but work on the train is allowing things to progress more rapidly than before.  Look forward to showing the models glued with prep finished soon.

And cleaning…

Cleaning work continues on the Guardians/DA’s whilst camping.  More slow steady progress, though the scale still looks very wrong between the “Exarch” (normal DA) and the DA’s (cheap box of four Guardians).  Might look at some bitz for the small DA belts to sprinkle through the squad and bulk them out a little.  Even considering running them as Guardians, say with Wave Serpent, but I’m not convinced fluff wise and am not sold on the 12″ only range of Guardians.

Cleaning mould lines

Progress is slow and steady, cleaning mould lines from the first wave of models – Guardians that will be Dire Avengers, their Exarch (actually a DA), the Wraithblades and a Farseer.  Working slowly with a scalpel, mould line remover and glass paper we’re maybe half way.

The mould line remover is surprisingly worthwhile.  I was certain it’d be a gimmick, having always used the back of my craft knife, but on big areas I’m finding it leaves a smoother finish first time around.  You just need a knife for the really fiddly areas under arms or similar.  Slowly, slowly.

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