The opening phrase is always the most difficult one, lol
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
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?
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...!
Boxes are not too spectacular, but full of potential...
Thanks for reading, and more to follow!