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Offline SeekingOne

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A Lethal Elegance: SeekingOne's Eldar blog
« on: November 21, 2017, 08:02:44 PM »
Hi All! :)

The opening phrase is always the most difficult one, lol  ;D
Let me just say that I finally determined to join the honourable community of bloggers on this board and start a blog of my own :) It feels like an ideal moment too: not only we're in the new edition of the game and just got a new codex for our beloved Craftworlds, but I'm also starting a somewhat special project that I'll talk about soon.

I'm collecting and playing Eldar in 40k for longer than it's healthy; I'm a great fan of Elves in all forms and variants (well, most of them), and so Eldar are the one and only army that I truly love in 40k. Many of my buddies have asked me on multiple occasions am I not fed up with pointy ears and why wouldn't I collect something else for change - after all, there are so many other beautiful armies and model ranges out there! To that I always like to answer that yes, it's true that there are many other beautiful armies - but the difference between finding a model range beautiful and actually collecting a full army of those models is about the same as the difference between finding a certain woman attractive and actually wanting to marry her :D Almost all GW models are great, but collecting an army involves so much more than that for me - and Eldar just have it all. The concept of the Art of Death, or "Lethal Elegance" as it is aptly worded in the new codex, is so captivating its impossible to resist.

Being a devoted tournament player I neglected the hobby part for years, and only got into the serious painting game a couple years ago. Have to say, playing with an army fully painted on a decent quality level proved to be such an amazing experience that I soon made a solemn vow to never play with unpainted stuff again :) Well, it's not really that strict for me, I do allow myself to proxy a few models from time to time, but those would invariably be the ones that I'm actually already working on now.

On to the special project... I've been invited to a special tournament organised by the team of SN Battlereports site, which is going to take place in Gibraltar on 10-11 of March 2018. It's a fantastic event that gives you an opportunity to meet some great people and play on tables with some absolutely stunning terrain. Naturally, it has high requirements to the quality of paint jobs, WYSIWYG, etc. Army composition rules require an army to be a mono-subfaction, so for the CWE it has to be one Craftworld. The rules are also strict about WYSIWYG in terms of colour schemes - basically you can't play with a green Guilliman or use Saim-Hann Eldar with Alaitoc attribute.

So, in the upcoming 4 months, I have to shape out a reasonably strong tournament-grade force which would belong to a single Craftworld and painted appropriately. And this is the project I'm planning to document here :)

Chapter 1: The Autarch

Now, my army is Saim-Hann and all models I have painted so far are painted as such (except Aspects which are in their native schemes), so that feels like a natural choice. Being a super-slow painter, even though I can use my aspects with any Craftworld I still doubt I can paint enough non-Aspect models in a new non-standard colour scheme to make a complete switch to Alaitoc or Ulthwe within that time frame.

And what is a Saim-Hann army without an Autarch riding a jetbike into battle! :) I never had an excuse to paint and use one before, so this feels like a perfect moment to do it. After all, if I'm forced to do a mono-SaimHann army, I can just as well make the most out of it - and Novalance of Saim-Hann is a fantastic relic.

I actually started working on the Autarch a week ago, so this post would be a report rather than a blog as such.

This is what I started with:

This is an ages-old metal model that I got with the Apocalypse Windrider Host box back in 2007 or so. Working on him made me realise once again just how fundamentally better Finecast is compared to the old metal, regardless of its flaws :)

Having started I immediately ran into a problem: the base model is designed to sit on a normal old jetbike, left hand resting on one of the steering handles. It looks like this:

Somehow it doesn't immediately stand out on GW photos, but when I pinned arms in place and tried him on a bike, I immediately realised that the right steering handle (don't know what's the right way to call it) is sticking out exactly where the lance should be when lowered and pointed towards the enemy. And that just looks silly. Perfectionist as I am, I couldn't stand it and started thinking of a way to fix it.

Using a Shining Spear model as an example, I decided to go for an asymmetrical steering mechanism. I found a metal left arm of a Shining Spear in my bits box and used the control panel part of it (the arm itself didn't fit due to being totally out of proportion).

Initially though I tried to keep a simple steering handle on the left, which resulted in this:



I looked long and hard at it and, perfectionist as I am, couldn't shake off a feeling that it looks kind of weird. Comparing it again to a picture of a Shining Spear I started to realise that the feeling of weirdness comes from the handle - one-handle bike just doesn't look right :) However I realised that I quite like the look Shining Spear jetbike's control panel, which has the rider's left palm pressed against some sort of sensor (perhaps psycho-sensitive?) plate. Seeing no other way but to try to replicate that design on my Autarch's bike, I got to work.

It took me two full nights of work and several failures until I finally got a result that looked right.

I had to uncurl his fingers, re-position the hand so that it's pointing slightly upwards, and fully re-position the control panel itself to make them fit together :) The sensor plate itself is carved out of a piece of plastic sprue and blended into the control panel with a little Milliput (which I prefer to green stuff when I just need to bulk out some forms without actually sculpting any small details).

In the process of doing all this I realised one more issue: the lance shaft was so thin that the accursed white metal got bent literally all the time. Undoubtedly, bending and straightening it just a couple of times would be enough for the paint to peel off, and I just couldn't stand it. Did I mention that I'm a perfectionist?  ;D Fortunately, I had a set of brass rods for pinning, and the thicker ones matched the thickness of the lance shaft almost precisely. One more night with drills and files, and the lance shaft was replaced.


Now the Autarch is primed and ready. The bike is masked off for the very first painting stage, which is airbrushing the larger gems.

That's where I'm at now. Super-scared to pick up the airbrush, as I haven't touched it for over 6 months - didn't know what to paint next in the confusion of the new edition.

Oh, and I got my delivery today...!  ;D

Boxes are not too spectacular, but full of potential... ;)

Thanks for reading, and more to follow!
« Last Edit: March 1, 2018, 01:21:32 AM by SeekingOne »
I fight against Chaos and for Order, because it means fighting for Life against Death. There is no other battle truly worth fighting.

"If it's not for a tournament then play whatever it is that you like. Without the pressure of having to utterly destroy your opponent it opens up alot more opportunity to have fun." - Lazarus

Offline dog_of_war

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Re: A Lethal Elegance: SeekingOne's Eldar blog
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2017, 11:25:18 PM »
Looking killer so far. Can't wait to pick up some airbrush tips, so I certainly will be following this plog closely.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2017, 07:37:39 AM by dog_of_war »

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Re: A Lethal Elegance: SeekingOne's Eldar blog
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2017, 07:34:02 AM »
Oh hell yeah. I am so looking forward to seeing this hobby journey unfold. Welcome to the Project Logs Seekingone! I was blown away by your paint jobs in the Eldar Army section a few weeks back and was really hoping you'd join us here. So stoked that you did.

You got invited to No Retreat? That is really something to be proud of. With your skills its very well deserving. Now I have a mission for you... you must beat Lawrence from Tabletop Tactics! Me and my cohosts just had him on our podcast and I know he's gonna bring Dark Eldar... how I'd love to see a criminally underrated Saim-Hann give him a run for his money! If that matchup happens I'll be rooting for you! He's a super friendly and awesome guy so I'm sure you'll have a fun but super intense battle.

Wow the Autarch is already off to hot start... where did you get prow for that jetbike? Soooo nice. I'm really jealous. I've got a metal Autarch pilot and lance that I'm waiting to get a nice jetbike for and I'd love to get one like that.

Also... whats in those boxes??? I hope they are Shining Spears. Anyway off to a hot start on the blog, and like I said can't wait to see where this hobby journey goes. Thanks for joining us!

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Re: A Lethal Elegance: SeekingOne's Eldar blog
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2017, 07:57:06 AM »
Welcome to the Plogs SeekingOne! Man, I'm also so pleased that you've come across to these boards. You're talented as all Hell and I think we're all going to be able to pick up a lot of tips from following your journey.

And what a great first post too. I'm curious though; Did you give any thought to creating the Autarch and Shining Spears in the style of the more recent Wind Riders that have been released? They seem so much more dynamic and would seem to fit the style of Spears/Autarchs better.

Also... whats in those boxes??? I hope they are Shining Spears.

Seeing as the boxes say Shining Spears on them, I'm guessing that SeekingOne is also hoping they're Shining Spears!  ;)
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Re: A Lethal Elegance: SeekingOne's Eldar blog
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2017, 06:23:23 PM »
Sweet! Loving how the Autarch is shaping up :) can tell this will be one to watch ;)
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Offline SeekingOne

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Re: A Lethal Elegance: SeekingOne's Eldar blog
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2017, 08:00:49 PM »
@All

Thank you so much for your kind words people!  :D Have to say, about 95% of the praise is undeserved - my talent is all about simply being neat and precise :)

@dog_of_war
Thanks! I'll try to write up some (hopefully) useful details about the techniques I'll be using in each step.

@Cavalier
So you know about No Retreat - that's great! :) In fact, I've already been there once, at No Retreat 4 in January this year. It was 7th edition still... Hard to believe how much has changed in our hobby in less than a year, isn't it? :) I met Lawrence, Chef and Beard, WintersSEO and many other great people - a truly awesome experience.
So yeah, I applied for the second time, and got invited once again. It would be great to play Lawrence ;D I'll do my best to put up a good fight if that actually happens!
And yes those boxes are indeed Shining Spears ;)

@Looshkin
Yes of course, I did think about converting the new bikes. Thing is though... believe it or not, I actually like the old bikes more than the new ones. I mean specifically the bikes; the old guardian riders with their Ku Klux Klan-style helmets were ugly indeed - but they were easy to convert, using just legs and arms and replacing the old torsos and heads with those from the new Guardian sprues. That's why my 9 scatter-bikes are all converted from the old ones - and I shamelessly love how they turned out :) Particularly these two - even though I painted them properly just recently, they are actually the ones with which my Saim-Hann army started: the riders were the first jetbikers that I converted some 10 years ago.

I love the old bikes because imho they look much more imposing and create much greater presence on the table than the new ones. Also, their riders have much better poise - you can actually see them! unlike the new ones, where you see just their backs. And, even though from the rational PoV the whole idea is totally unrealistic - still, when I try to imagine how someone can actually fight from a bike's saddle, the overall position of the rider on an old bike looks very much more believable in that sense. You can't really fight (or do anything else for that matter) if you're lying almost flat on your chest! :)
This is why I actually quite love the standard Shining Spear models - and yes, that's just what it is in those boxes, I checked it myself!  ;D ;D

@Ynnead
Thanks! Happy to hear that you like him :)



A little update:
Didn't get much time to paint so far. Managed to airbrush the gems though.
These are the gems right after airbrushing:


What I do is simply spray the gem mostly from one and the same direction, almost parallel to the model's surface, with progressively darker shades of green, finishing with pure black. My paints are:


When you airbrush from the direction of the darkest shadow, the shape of the gem itself helps to create the gradient effect. The amount of paint sprayed all around the gems explains the liquid mask! It's easier and quicker to apply and then remove the mask than to overpaint this mess with white later on - and bright reds invariably have to go over pure clean white base.

Then I glaze the gems with Waywatcher Green and cover then with gloss varhish, getting the following look.

Will remove the mask in the morning and post the result :)

Overall it might seem overcomplicated, but I like the final effect and it's much easier (for me, that is) than blending them by hand.

To be continued :)
I fight against Chaos and for Order, because it means fighting for Life against Death. There is no other battle truly worth fighting.

"If it's not for a tournament then play whatever it is that you like. Without the pressure of having to utterly destroy your opponent it opens up alot more opportunity to have fun." - Lazarus

Offline Stormbane

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Re: A Lethal Elegance: SeekingOne's Eldar blog
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2017, 05:53:02 AM »
Fascinating thread SeekingOne. I'm an absolute novice in the world of airbrushing, so your tips and guidance are invaluable. What is the name of the mask that you use on the models? Is it easy to apply(Just brushed on?) and remove?

I love the thinking behind using the older Jetbikes too. I can definitely get behind the idea of making a unit look more imposing, while yes, it does seem impractical to expect someone to fight from that position...it would be like having a sword fight whilst doing Skeleton Bob or Luge or something!

Keep the updates coming bud...those gems are looking outrageously good.
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Re: A Lethal Elegance: SeekingOne's Eldar blog
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2017, 07:27:57 AM »
Hot damn is that cool! Wow those gems look awesome. Also the jetbikes look gorgeous. I still think when painted properly the old jetbikes look fantastic. I really dig the old school converted Guardian. Also it looks like you did some additional conversions on the scatter laser. I'd like to get a look at that if possible.

What kind of masking stuff did you use to do the chevrons? Its something I want to try again this time with my airbrush as opposed to primer. Was it hard to get the white on over the red? Or did it go on with a single take?

Anyway great stuff Seekingone. I'm an aibrush novice as well so I'll definitley be fishing for tips.  ;D ;D ;D
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Offline magenb

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Re: A Lethal Elegance: SeekingOne's Eldar blog
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2017, 04:04:01 PM »
really nice work on the gems.

Its also the first time I've seen that jetbike front design very nice score there :)

Offline SeekingOne

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Re: A Lethal Elegance: SeekingOne's Eldar blog
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2017, 10:43:36 AM »
@Looshkin
What is the name of the mask that you use on the models? Is it easy to apply(Just brushed on?) and remove?
The liquid mask is just brushed on, like this:

It takes 5-10 minutes to dry, after which it turns into a latex film, which you later remove by simply pulling it up at one side and carefully peeling it off. If the layer of paint is thick, it's recommended to carefully break the paint along the edge of the mask first using a wooden toothpick, and only after that to peel the mask off (otherwise it can pull the paint from the unmasked area with it).
You apply it with an old brush, preferably synthetic. It can be cleaned off with mineral spirits.

I bought mine in a general art supplies store. Many companies make it. It's universally called "artist masking latex" - you just need to ask stuff and they'll point you in the right direction.
My bottle is like 8 years old, so its label is most likely obsolete anyway :)

Important: there seem to be two types of liquid masks - with and without ammonia. You want the one WITH ammonia. It smells horribly, BUT its qualities are ways better. Most importantly, the ammonia mask is tougher, so you can easily remove it by grabbing the edge of the film and pulling it off. The mask without ammonia will tear up very easily, forcing you to practically scrape it off piece by piece, often damaging the paint underneath. In particular, stay away from Vallejo liquid mask - it's horrible, and I ruined the results of many hours of painting with it when I was just starting to learn airbrushing.

@Cavalier
Also it looks like you did some additional conversions on the scatter laser. I'd like to get a look at that if possible.
So you noticed! :) Few people ever do. I prefer to attribute that to the quality of my conversion though, lol - as in, the conversion looks so natural that nobody notices that it's not a standard model :)

In fact, building those scatter laser fittings was one hell of a project in itself. Here they are:


Initially, I tried to fit the scatter laser barrels onto the side, like the classic shuricannons. However, unlike the sleek shuricannon, the scatter laser is fat and stubby, and when mounted on the side it looked totally out of place. So I turned to the idea of mounting it along the centre line. It did fit there just fine, but a new issue immediately followed: what to do with the shuriken catapult barrels? I saw some people just sticking the scatters in between the twin shuricats and leaving it like that - but it looks ugly and I couldn't settle for it. Initially, I just cut them off and filed the remainder to blend relatively smoothly into the central scatter laser mount. However, after building my first bike that way, I realised that instead of cutting them off I can resculpt them into something like additional air intakes. And that's what I did :)
The frontal grills of those intakes are derived from a DE Reaver jetbike - I took one of those grills, impressed it onto a piece of Milliput, then used is as a "mould" to replicate it multiple times by pressing green stuff into it.

I had 9 spare scatter lasers, so I converted 9 bikes like that :) This project took a better part of the summer 2015 to complete.

Quote
What kind of masking stuff did you use to do the chevrons? Its something I want to try again this time with my airbrush as opposed to primer. Was it hard to get the white on over the red? Or did it go on with a single take?
Not sure about white over red - if you're asking about white Saim-Hann serpents, those are just decals. Black chevrons were done using masking tape. I usually start with cutting two stripes of masking tape of the same width that I want my chevron lines to be. Then I put them onto the model to mark the position of the chevron and use them as a 'template'. Then I use bigger pieces of masking tape to cover everything on both sides of those two stripes. Finally, I simply remove the two initial stripes, which leaves an exposed area in the form of a chevron. I find this works better and more precisely than just "eyeballing" everything in place.

@Magenb
Its also the first time I've seen that jetbike front design very nice score there :)
It's actually an ages old custom sculpt created by one of the local artists here. Back in those days people didn't know resin :) so it was cast in metal (it might even be pure lead...). I decided to use it with this model, because it not only looks good, but also counter-balances the metal rider, lol



I had one more painting session, and managed to airbrush saddle, shuricat barrels and the trickiest part - red armour.

After I removed the initial masks and tidied the edges of the gems a little, it looked like this:

Then I masked the gems and other painted parts:


Next is the Red. I do my red combining a modified "pre-shade" technique with some actual highlighting.

First the base neutral red goes on:


Next, I shade it with a mix of dark red and very dark violet, followed by the first "pre-highlight" with a mix of neutral red and white.


Next, I apply the second "pre-highlight", this time with pure white.


Next, a fine semi-transparent glaze of bright red is sprayed all over the model.

What I get as a result is very bright red on the areas that were pre-highlighted with white, which blends very smoothly into midtone and then into very natural-looking shades. Unfortunately, the camera decisively fails to capture this effect  :-\ For some reason it just doesn't distinguish between different shades of red and orange and swallows about 80% of colour transition.

Having completed those main stages, I did a little bit of "back and forth" between highlighting and shading on a few areas that didn't seem to have enough contrast. Finally I added a bit of bright orange onto the most exposed points (tips of the wings and engines, tips of shoulder pads, etc.) The final result looks roughly like this (on the bike shot you can even actually distinguish a little bit of final orange highlights, lol):


To be continued :)
I fight against Chaos and for Order, because it means fighting for Life against Death. There is no other battle truly worth fighting.

"If it's not for a tournament then play whatever it is that you like. Without the pressure of having to utterly destroy your opponent it opens up alot more opportunity to have fun." - Lazarus

Offline Saim-Dann

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Re: A Lethal Elegance: SeekingOne's Eldar blog
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2017, 12:54:01 PM »
G'day SeekingOne!
Have only just stumbled onto your blog and WOW! How skilled are you? The step by step with the airbrush is amazing. Your sculpting with the Autarch's lance and the WR" scatter lasers are pro level. Best of luck at no retreat... Be well!

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Re: A Lethal Elegance: SeekingOne's Eldar blog
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2017, 01:39:00 PM »
Wow! Amazing stuff SeekingOne. This is truly incredible stuff. I LOVE that Scatter Laser modification. Just brilliant... also I know how fiddly those Reaver intakes are so major league kudos to you for getting it to work. Also fantastic work on the Autarch bike so far. I just love it! Also I feel your pain on the camera not picking up your transitions... my paintingly applied 4 stage highlights are absolutely invincible on my photos  :'( so I totally feel your pain. But nonetheless it looks brilliant. Absolutley love it! Keep it up bud I can wait to see the Autarch himself painted.
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Offline SeekingOne

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Re: A Lethal Elegance: SeekingOne's Eldar blog
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2017, 05:37:50 PM »
Many thanks for your kind words guys, much appreciated! I believe that trying to make our armies look good is not only something we do for ourselves, but also something we owe our opponents, as it helps to improve their experience as well! So I'm really happy to hear you like these models :)



Just did the flags:

This colour would make an unusual combination with reds, but I hope it will work :) If it doesn't, nothing stops me from repainting them once the rest of the model is complete anyway.

This is practically all the airbrushing done. In terms of time, that would be about 20-25% of work completed :) Following sessions would be brushwork - blacklining, edge-highlighting and fine detail.
I fight against Chaos and for Order, because it means fighting for Life against Death. There is no other battle truly worth fighting.

"If it's not for a tournament then play whatever it is that you like. Without the pressure of having to utterly destroy your opponent it opens up alot more opportunity to have fun." - Lazarus

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Re: A Lethal Elegance: SeekingOne's Eldar blog
« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2017, 07:05:26 AM »
Pretty sure I've seen Saim-Hann with purple accents before... I think this'll look really good. You gonna pin these bad boys? Been contemplating that... as I have the same kit (though I need a jetbike for it) and I'm just worried about the model busting up on the regular.
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Offline SeekingOne

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Re: A Lethal Elegance: SeekingOne's Eldar blog
« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2017, 09:36:52 AM »
You gonna pin these bad boys?
Absolutely, yes. If you look at the Autarch, you'll notice two pins sticking out from behind his back - those are the ones these flags are supposed to go onto. They look thick and warped and so might not be immediately recognisable as pins - but that's because they are also covered with liquid mask, so that I won't need to scrape primer and paint off them in the end.

And yeah, mine both already broke off in the process of pre-assembly, so pinning is 100% essential with them.
I fight against Chaos and for Order, because it means fighting for Life against Death. There is no other battle truly worth fighting.

"If it's not for a tournament then play whatever it is that you like. Without the pressure of having to utterly destroy your opponent it opens up alot more opportunity to have fun." - Lazarus

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Re: A Lethal Elegance: SeekingOne's Eldar blog
« Reply #15 on: November 29, 2017, 11:27:25 AM »
Wonderful stuff :) airbrushing as a whole is all pretty alien to me so it's great to see it broken down so well :)

What sort of camera do you use? I've found since my little melty mishap that a fair few phone cameras have built-in image processing to help amateur snaps pop with colour. However, they tend to muddle up a lot of finer detail...
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Re: A Lethal Elegance: SeekingOne's Eldar blog
« Reply #16 on: December 4, 2017, 08:37:36 AM »
A quick WIP update:




Painting that face was a nightmare, particularly the eyes. I think these are by far the smallest eyes I ever encountered on any of the GW models. I think I spent 4 or 5 hours straight on the eyes alone, only to realise that it's physically impossible to paint them properly (they're just simply too small for that), and all I can do is make them look semi-decent at an arm's length... very disappointing.
The face itself is nicely detailed but is sculpted asymmetrical (including eyes which are different in size) and in the end I decided to paint a long scar across the right cheek and the right side of the brow, which (I hope ::)) kind of helps to justify the two sides of the face looking so different.

The face does have some character though :) now I see that this is definitely a rough fighter and a type of leader who doesn't care about his own safety and would not tolerate weakness or indecision in his subordinates. A survivor too, seeing that he doesn't look young at all. Overall, seems quite fitting for a high Autarch of Saim-Hann  8)

To be continued  :)
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Offline Saim-Dann

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Re: A Lethal Elegance: SeekingOne's Eldar blog
« Reply #17 on: December 4, 2017, 09:07:25 AM »
G'day SeekingOne!
That face looks amazing, mate. Palease do a tutorial as I've an entire Space Wolves army to paint without helmets. If they could look as good as yours, I'd be one happy forumite... Pointy ears forever!!

Offline Cavalier

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Re: A Lethal Elegance: SeekingOne's Eldar blog
« Reply #18 on: December 4, 2017, 09:21:27 AM »
Bruh... that face looks amazing! Absolutley incredible paint job. I would not worry about it one iota. Absolutley killed it. Also the shading on the jetbike runes is also incredible. I own this model as well and am now SUPER inspired to paint him up. Just brilliant work Seeking One. The face is impeccable! Dont be disappointed!
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Offline Stormbane

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Re: A Lethal Elegance: SeekingOne's Eldar blog
« Reply #19 on: December 4, 2017, 01:58:53 PM »
That face is superb SeekingOne. There is a lot of character in the face and you're right, it does seem like the face of a weathered, gnarly veteran fighter that puts his own safety to one side in the name of his clan and Craftworld.

Simply amazing bud. this project is rocking right now!
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