Loin cloth sculpting

First two of the Fire Dragon/Storm Kraken loin cloths are sculpted.  I much prefer this look, with the harsh angle on the cloth.  There’s just a little more shaping and smoothing to do, for which I think I’ll stick with super fine glasspaper and water.  The next two will have to be created from greenstuff to add to Kabalite Warrior legs that don’t currently have any cloth.  My main focus will be on keeping length and angle the same.  I think the “knot” in the belt will need changing, so I might use one of the Kabalite Warrior spiked extras to disguise the transition, point.  Otherwise, I’m hoping the dark colour and lightning cannon (that would be “shredders”) will cover some of the differences.

dark eldar loin cloth conversion (2)

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AKA Fire Dragons

Quick post to show early stage work on the “AKA Fire Dragon” Aspect Warriors.  I’m going to go with a working title of “Storm Kraken” for these, imagining intense lightning like plasma weapons, rather than fire.  Right now I’m guessing they look very much like Kabalite Warriors with Shredders.

Not so surprising, of course, as that’s what they are.  I’m hoping once I have several of them all stood together and consistent in terms of head and weapon, they will start standing out a little more.

The only real conversion being done is in the skin/teeth loin cloths.  In this early edit I have simply shaved away the bone/teeth details with craft knife and glass paper.  More work is needed on that.  Getting them consistent across the five initial models feels important, so I think I’ll take a blade across the lower section to cut it to a diagonal slash, facing aggressively forward.  There’s another similar legs to do the same to, then two legs wit loin cloths I will try to do with greenstuff.  From there I will have a think about the Exarch, driven by the success of the green stuff sculpt.  If that worked, I’ll use the loin cloth with armoured section as the Exarch base.

The Exarch should also get the “Dark Lance” to indicate “Fire Pike” kit.  That looks a little crazy at the moment, simply due to scale.

Otherwise work continues cleaning models.  I think I’ve tagged up a first selection of 5x Wraithblades, 5x Storm Kraken, 10x Dire Avengers (Guardian models with DA Exarch) and Farseer as a first wave to build and undercoat.  Moving slowly, cleaning fastidiously.

Sketch of History

Quickly setting my thoughts down to order them ahead of this weekend’s Lakeland Ultimate Trails 55k which I’ll be running in.  If I don’t do this the current sketch of the history will just keep churning around in my head, so I’m hoping this will serve as a brief foundation from which to refine and evolve the Craftworld’s history.

Let’s first note that the pencil sketch here isn’t claiming to be fine art.  Rather it’s a swift view of this small, ravaged Craftworld – Nelequë, meaning “13” in Elvish (and thus we imply some dialect version of Eldar).  It is equally a number of ill omen for the Eldar, associated with the sinister Shadow Fox character of Eldar myth.

Initial ideas are as follows – this is a Craftworld of a personality cult.  Nelequë Everkiss was an exceptionally gifted Psyker pre-Eldar fall.  Her father Saim-Hann rounded her up unwillingly as the Craftworld departed, racing away ahead of the collapse of the old Eldar civilisation.  Essentially a captive on the ship, she was held in stasis after rebellious attempts to escape and return to a growing cult on her homeworld.  Even post fall, having been awoken from hibernation, she rebelled against the order and controls put in place to protect Eldar from the newly born threat of Slaanesh.  With a rising cult threatening stablity on Saim-Hann she was confronted by the Craftworld’s council of seers.  Calling on her remarkable gifts as a Psyker, she battled one against many, confounding their attempts to restrain her, but in doing so called on such dark energy as to teeter suddenly on the edge of damnation.  Shocked by this nanosecond epiphany, Nelequë abandoned the battle and banished herself in a small craft, with her followers.

Struck by a mysterious vision in that moment of near-death, she had a course set out of the galaxy.  As starvation threatened to take the last of her cult, as they slid out of the grasp of the galaxy, a ping on short range scanners alerted them to a craft ostensibly coming the other way.  A space hulk, ancient and warped, but at its core a dormant, perhaps dead, Craftworld.  Perhaps from another parallel race in another galaxy, perhaps from another time, an earlier cycle of this galaxy, perhaps simply out of time and place due to the vagaries and ravages of warp space.

Boarding the hulk, in an attempt to find food and fellow Eldar on the hulk, Nelequë’s people at first find hope and begin to reactivate the Craftworld’s wraithbone core.  The infinity circuit begins to wake, sparking more mysterious and confusing revelations – perhaps these Eldar all went mad before they died, perhaps they were not Eldar of this galaxy or time or dimension – the echoes of the spirits there are bizarre, distant and ominous.  As the Craftworld wakes, so too does a Tyranid horde, millions strong.  The few thousand Eldar endure a nightmare thousand year war against this ravenous foe.  By this point, Nelequë is framed like Kellhus in R. Scott Bakker’s Prince of Nothing series – a Psyker of transcendent power and a leader of pure, searing intellect.  Pushed back to the heart of the mysterious Craftworld, she bids her people hold this final sacred ground, before stepping forth into the Tyranid horde, a blazing beacon of psychic force.  Summoning forth pure, incandescent power Nelequë sweeps through the legion of enemy, in a one against thousands battle that cleanses the ship.

Yet it comes at a cost, the final eruption of white light that blasts through the hulk, somehow dissolves her utterly, fusing her to the Craftworld’s long dead infinity circuit, sparking it into life.  The Craftworld of Nelequë has no true Khaine Avatar – instead, Nelequë’s spirit has merged within it, and it she who appears in times of war.  (She may one day be fielded in the long run as a 28mm miniature, floating above a huge base, in a floating chorus of lightning and Hive Tyrant corpses, to be pointed and played as a Phantom Titan).

Since then, the Craftworld has struggled back to life, bolstered by outcasts and exiles from other Eldar worlds, it now has a stable population, capable of defending itself and functioning as a sustainably growing society.  Yet, separated from the rest of the galaxy for some thousands of years, without the anchor of continuity or Eldar hierarchy, without a recognisable Avatar, its traditions are its own.  It only hosts a tiny number of Aspect shrines, and those are its own echoes of the better known traditions.  Rather than the base 12 mathematics of other Eldar society, they use base 13.  Moreover, Craftworld Nelequë holds strange beliefs about the nature of the galaxy and mirror-like cycles of creation and destruction.

Other Eldar treat them with great suspicion, not least for their long separation and the eerie reworkings of Eldar culture that came of it.  They are seen as edge walkers, too close to She Who Thirsts.  They are obsessed with patterns in their own perverse branch of mathematics, and fanatically search out dangerous relics thought worthless to other species – especially space hulks.  They ally widely, often with their Dark Eldar kin, sometimes, it is said, with Chaos where agendas align.  They are only tolerated due to their hatred of and skill in confronting the Tyranid threat.  Though not a large enough power in the galaxy to confront a Tyranid horde on the battlefield, they have an uncanny ability to show up to make a surgical strike against a genestealer cult or other nascent threat before it gathers pace, and for this they have earned a few unlikely, but powerful friends despite their otherwise sinister reputation.

 

Initial Army List

In setting a first target for the project, I thought I’d draw up an initial army list of 1,000.  My main criteria were that it contain a range of easier to assemble and paint models, that they be entirely from the plastic ranges and that they not be suited for somewhat competitive all comers play.

Bouncing ideas around on the 40k Online forum, I arrived at what felt like a sound foundation.  Wraithguard and Wraithblade units are great looking models, and being larger scale than eldar infantry should be a little more forgiving in terms of easing back into painting.

Following them, I’ll add a small Windrider unit – another effective unit with great models and large plastic sections to paint.  Again, hopefully an easier route back into painting than the smaller scale infantry.

In terms of cost the basic box of four Guardians looked like a great investment.  Not wanting Guardians in the force (too soft and out of keeping with an exploratory force, plus fewer points thus more models needed to hit the initial 1,000 points), I opted for a squad of Dire Avengers.  These will be the Guardian models, with a Dire Avenger model as the unit’s Exarch.  I might add some minor conversion to tie the models together a little more, but as the leader of the army’s largest squad I’m comfortable the Exarch model be significantly more glamorous than the other squad members.

From there I will likely paint the Farseer – taken for the exceptional model, and initially to count as the more expensive Psyker.  With the 1,000 points painted I may downgrade this to a Spiritseer and add further troops, depending on how I develop the character backstory.  GW have an exceptional Farseer model on foot which looks suitable for use in the spotlight within a smaller force, or blended into a bigger army later.

Rather than additional Dire Avengers as first planned, I decided to add two other Aspect Warrior groups to add some variety in play and drama in painting.  These will be Fire Dragons and Striking Scorpions, yet with the nuisance that those models only come in resin at present I will convert.  The Craftworld’s backstory will involve significant trauma and destruction, and millennia away from other Eldar worlds.  As such, it will have few Aspect shrines, and those it does have will have diverged from tradition.

The Fire Dragons I will create from Dark Eldar Kabalite Warriors, using the “shredder” component and a consistent head across the squad.  The loin cloths looking too feral I will smooth and shape these, or even replace them with a consistent green stuff equivalent.  The Exarch will have a “dark lance” from the Kabalite kit to stand in as “fire pike”.  Whilst “blasters” would have looked more like the “Fire Dragon” fusion guns, “shredders” were all I could find on eBay or bitz sites.  Thus I will revise this unit as a lightning wielding equivalent of Fire Dragons.  Name to be determine, but perhaps Storm Kraken to summon the vision of flailing tendrils of lightning and the darker, more sinister feel of the Kabalite armour.

The Striking Scorpions will likely be less more, but more of a stretch.  I have a large number of Witch Elves left from my Dark Elf army, thus will use these.  Most of the rules will need to be recreated from suspension of disbelief as I do not currently intend to convert the Witch Elf weapon choices to include a shuriken pistol.  Perhaps those are simply thrown knives, the mandiblasters roll to wound indicative of further mastery of knives, etc.  This feels a little weak, so when approaching this unit – likely last due to difficulty in painting the faces professionally – I will decide what if anything to change.  Worst case I will be looking to tie them in with paint work, basing and fluff alone.

The 1,000 point list then looks as follows;

Farseer with singing spear – 120

5x Wraithblades with ghostswords – 175

5x Wraithguard with wraithcannon – 200

3x Windriders with shuriken cannon – 96

10x Dire Avengers, Exarch with shimmershield/powerglaive – 187

5x Fire Dragons, Exarch with fire pike – 120

5x Striking Scorpion, Exarch with basic kit – 95

TOTAL – 993

Craftworld Nelequë PLOG

This is going to my project hub for the assembly, conversion and painting of my Craftworld Eldar army for Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40k wargame.  It should serve as a person project page to gather my thoughts, help me monitor and share progress, and if people wish to comment, critique or otherwise engage they’ll be very welcome indeed.

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