77191: Hydra (Reaper Bones)

77191: Hydra, Reaper Bones

Today’s model is the Reaper Bones Hydra, from their first Kickstarter. This model is one that I started about 14 months ago. I wanted it to work decently both as a display model as well as a wargaming piece. I used a few pieces of slate, carefully placed, including a nice sized piece in order to elevate the model – both literally and figuratively. During the process of painting this model and the time that it spent sitting on my desk waiting for some attention, I noticed that the heads of this Bones hydra tend to get a bit lost amongst one another.

77191: Hydra, Reaper Bones

These first two photographs serve well to illustrate a couple of things about how Games Workshop/Citadel paint and pose their multi-headed models. Workshop seem to either carefully split the heads, avoiding having any in almost-identical side-by-side poses as the two rear ones on the Bones model are. With other models, such as Archaon, GW design their models specifically to have the heads painted in different colours or styles – which again helps them to stand out from one another. Which isn’t to say that this sculpt, by Sandra Garrity is a bad one. Just that the way that the model is posed compared to other, more recent models which are sculpted perhaps it’s fair to say – with the finished, painted product more in mind became apparent. I think simply changing the pose of either the middle rear or middle left head head/neck would elevate this model further.

77191: Hydra, Reaper Bones

I’ve been painting for a long time now, and I’ve been able to turn out things to a nice standard for a lot of that time. I was commission painting when I was 16, and at 18 I won Best Figure and Best 40k figure at Cancon. (Before they gave trophies, unfortunately – assuming that they do now? I got a pair of certificates which are well lost at this point.) While that’s all well and good, what it really means is that as a painter I hit my plateau pretty early, and improving further from there has been a long, slow process.

77191: Hydra, Reaper Bones

Since I started blogging again as a way to share my models and motivate me to paint more, I’ve also been trying to improve and add new skills to my bow. Part of that is risk-taking and experimenting with new methods, materials and techniques. I have more than one of these models, since Bones 1 was in the days I went quite heavy on Kickstarters. Knowing that I had another one up my sleeve allowed me the freedom to try something I probably would not ordinarily have tried – that is instead of painting the Hydra in a shade of green, or even a turquoise/teal that fits my overall Dark Elf scheme, I went for what I wanted to be more naturalistic browns. I also played around with my airbrush (which I am awful with!) to try and achieve some nice looking gradients. While that actually worked(!), I felt that the rather deep scales sculpted onto this model demanded more contrast since the airbrushing was so smooth and the sculpted scales didn’t stand out at all.

77191: Hydra, Reaper Bones

A Dark Elf provides a comparison for our scale shot.

My (attempted) solution – which in my opinion didn’t work well – and is the reason that the model then spent a year (or two?) sitting on my desk unfinished until recently was to try a mix of Minitaire’s Airbrush Paints – specifically, their Ghost Tints. I’ve used them before, though never on a model this size. Now coming to the model for the first time and seeing it finished in these pics, it might look fine to the reader. But you know when you have a picture in your head about how you’d like something to look? Now imagine that, and imagine it coming along nicely, and then imagine it all coming undone once it dries. Now if I’d gone for Oil Washes, I probably could have removed it all due to the way that oil paints dry much more slowly and can still be removed and cleaned up with spirits.

I think the base worked out well, but in the end, the model fell short of what I’d envisioned for it. Could I go back and try to fix it up and redo elements of the model? Sure, but at the same time, I have another one to paint that would be a better use of my time than repainting this one, and my enthusiasm for this particular model waned to the point where it literally sat in front of me for over a year before I made myself finish it off. Sometimes you’ve just got to call something good enough for what it is, and call it done. In the end, the model looks decent and perfectly fine for a wargaming model.

In gaming terms, the model will have a home in the Pan-Elven army to start with (using the Dark Elf/Twilight Kin list), and eventually find a home with the Mythological Greek Army.

 

Dark Elf Assassins – 1995 and 2008

Dark Elf Assassins, WHFB 7th Edition Khainite Dark Elf Assassin #2, 4th Edition WHFB Dark Elf Assassin, 1995

The two models being shared today are a pair that have been around for some time. The older model on the right, skulking with the rather chunky sword is from WHFB 4th Edition, circa 1995 – just when huge chunks of WHFB were getting a bit too chunky and Morley. I never especially liked this model, having picked him up to use with my 3rd Edition Blood Bowl Dark Elf team (which I still haven’t painted) and so he sat in limbo for… you know… twenty years. (FUCK, I am getting old!)

The much nicer model on the left is from 7th Edition. Apparently known as Khainite Assassin #2. I probably got him secondhand from eBay as well, and Stuff of Legends becomes useless the further into the 2000’s you head. He’s pretty clearly the precursor to the current plastic kit of an Assassin (Shadowblade?) leaping off a spire-rock because dynamic posing.

4th Edition WHFB Dark Elf Assassin, 1995

Despite being purchased for Blood Bowl, this guy had actually gotten to the point of being almost-painted. I’d painted him with D&D/Pathfinder in mind, and so he had been given dark blue (Drow) skin, and deep red-browns for his leather gloves and boots. When he got reassigned to the Dark Elf army, I needed to redo the deep blue shading I’d started on his cloak with a more sea green, and change his leathergoods to Aqua/Turquoise shades – and obviously redo his face as well.

4th Edition WHFB Dark Elf Assassin, 1995

Nothing fancy on his cloak. He’s an assassin, after all – and his cloak is there for practical purposes. I think the Turquoie shades have worked better than the dark blues that were there originally, and having come up this pleasingly, I know of some other purposes I’ll be using the same highlights in the near-ish future.

4th Edition WHFB Dark Elf Assassin, 1995

The flowers are a feature that I intend to use on figures from all of my Elven armies, which will be a small, unifying factor across the Dark, High and Wood brethren. Despite my snide remarks about Gary Morley, this model is actually an Aly Morrison sculpt.

WHFB 7th Edition Khainite Dark Elf Assassin #2

The second model was started way back in 2013, shortly after we moved into this place and long before The War Room was converted into such, featuring a light box. A much more dynamic model, but without going to the point of ridiculousness, it was also a pleasure to paint – and the impetus for the repaint on the older model as well. I’m not 100% sure of the sculptor (Chris Fitzpatrick?), since GW stopped crediting their artists by this point. If anyone knows for sure, please do LMK and I’ll edit it in! Since he’s a 7th Edition figure, and GW released most of the models for an army alongside the Warhammer Armies volume, I’d say he’s pretty safely a 2008 release.

WHFB 7th Edition Khainite Dark Elf Assassin #2

Having said that, the two of them sat on my painting desk for literally years until earlier this month, when I looked at the pair of them, each three-quarters-painted and made myself pull my finger out and get them both done. Which I managed to do in a very reasonable amount of time. That’s the trouble – I’m not playing Warhammer or KoW, etc very much at all these days, and so then my desk is covered in models – none of which have a particular pressing “need” to get finished and so I flit between a few minutes on this or that, and taking the 30 minutes or hour to finish a particular model or two becomes “too hard”, despite the pleasure that comes from completing a model.

WHFB 7th Edition Khainite Dark Elf Assassin #2

Most of my Fantasy work over 2016 was focused on the Undead and Gondor armies – both of which now have tons of painted models and units, yet have tons still unpainted and unassembled – and two units of cavalry each half-painted). This year, I’ve made inroads on getting a Dwarf force to the point of functionality while mucking about with Orcs. I’ve got to get some lists written up again and focus on completing units to have more “finished” fantasy armies for Kings of War. Maybe then I can have the Elves up and running, even if only as a combined, pan-Elven force to start with.

In the meantime, if we need a Druchii or Drow Assassin for anything, at least we’re covered…