Ulthwé done right

It’s time to welcome yet another writer to the blog! Martin Peterson is a Bronze Demon winner and fellow journalist. Take it away! – David

Hi there! If you’ve actually read some of the words on this blog, you might have seen my name pop up once or twice. I’m Martin. This is my Eldar army. I’ve always seen the Eldar as quintessentially 40k, alongside the Space Marines, Chaos and Orks. They’ve been around since Rogue Trader, and the long years have seen them evolve from what was basically Space Elves into something quite unique and very characterful. The same goes for their place in the background of 40k. The Eldar are one of the ancient peoples of the Warhammer 40,000 universe. They witnessed the rise of the Imperium and the Horus Heresy as spectators, like wizened old men shaking their heads at the impetuous young.

As of now, they combine a sense of incredible power and destructive might with quiet, dignified reserve, packaged in exquisite grace and elegance. In short, they’re [bleep]ing cool.

I started painting this Ulthwé force about five years ago. As with any project, big or small, I started with the models (as opposed to the rules). Jes Goodwin’s plastic Guardians are terrific and I always wanted to try my hand at painting something so clean and smooth, so I was only too happy to fill up on those, as is appropriate for an Ulthwé army.

The War Walkers are some of my favorite models of all time, and even though they took about 56,000 hours to paint, I’m really happy I did a full squad of three. I’ve positioned them to give an idea of their respective purposes. The tank hunter, literally chasing his prey with a pair of missile launchers. The firebase, immobile and sporting sniper rifle-like Bright lances. And the horde reaper, striding calmly with his Scatter lasers set on full-auto.

I think the Fire Dragons are one of the coolest Aspects, and the new models look great. I also think the red works well in an Ulthwé army.

The Wraithlord is another awesome kit, and fun to paint. The look for the sword was actually inspired by the ‘Eavy Metal studio’s Tomb Kings weapons, and seemed appropriately different from most Imperial blades. I quite like the lack of free-hand detail on the face. (But, yes, I was just being lazy and uninspired.) I’ve seen a lot of cool Seer Councils, brimming with free-hand magnificence and awesome conversions. I think that’s cool. So, naturally, I went for something much, much simpler. In my defense, though, I must again refer to the genius of Jes Goodwin. The oldest of these (the middle one) was sculpted in 1991. That’s 20 years ago, for [bleep]’s sake! And it still looks great. So I’m happy to leave these guys unmodified.

The Farseer was really fun to paint. I shamelessly stole much of the free-hand and basic colour scheme from Darren Latham’s Eldrad Ulthran conversion. Check it out here. This “conversion” involved the severing and reattaching of one hand, minus a finger. That’s it. Again, the sculpt is just amazing and really fun to paint.

The Rangers are a nice unit. The models look good next to plain Guardians, and although I generally don’t give a crap about the game-wise effectiveness of a unit, I can’t deny how useful these guys are sometimes. [Not to mention hard to kill – David]

When it came to painting this army, I decided to try and limit my palette as much as possible. I tend to enjoy vibrant colours and loads of them, but with these guys, I think it’s good to keep it simple. The black is highlighted with a mix of Codex grey and Chaos black, highlighted with Codex grey, given a wash of Chaos black, then highlighted again with Codex and Fortress grey. The bone starts with a base of Snakebite Leather, to which Bleached bone is added in increasing quantities. The final highlight features some Skull white, as well. This is a really simple method that just involves a lot of thin layers. I guess it seems tedious, but I found it a breeze to paint lots of. So there it is. As for future additions, I’m slowly working on some Howling Banshees and a Fire Prism, which will hopefully be finished in time for the army’s 10-year anniversary. I’ve started a new 40k army, you see, and now I just can’t get enough of hairy Space Marines…

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