As mentioned in our first issue of this column, I decided to start a new army for 2017. One that I could use with older editions of Warhammer Fantasy Battles, but also with Warhammer: Age of Sigmar. Thanks to the extremely affordable and well done box set, Spire of Dawn, I decided to go with High Elves…or Aelfs as they are now called.
The core of Spire of Dawn are a sect of elves known as the “Swifthawk Agents,” so one might assume that I would base my army solely around this. This is partially correct. However, as I wanted to make this backwards compatible, it would be impossible to be straight Swifthawk. So I decided I’d also branch out into Order Draconis, mainly because it has the best looking High Elf pieces still available on the first party market. It also would also me to split this into two separate Age of Sigmar armies. For smaller games. My goal this year was to build a 2,000 point High Elf army, but I kept picturing two separate 2,000 point Swifthawk and Draconus armies in my head so I wanted to plan for that, if possible.
You might also that I would start with a piece from the Spire of Dawn box for my army. Again, this would not be correct. I know a lot of people like to start with their rank and file, but that’s too hard for me to do for a few reasons. The first is that painting what is essentially the same figure en masse takes a lot out of me, which is why I play skirmish games more than with fullblown armies. It burns me out unless it’s something like my Tomb Kings, as skeletons are really easy for me to paint. I can whip out five to ten in the time it takes me to down one or two regular figures. It also probably doesn’t help that my previous armies were Lizardmen and Bretonnians, neither of which has you paint everything in a uniform color. With Oldhammer Lizardmen, you could get special points of abilities depending on the colours you used for units and it encouraged you to mix things up. Bretonnians just had each knight bne its out standout (garish) piece. So doing a dozen or so figures exactly the same is a skill that has only come to me late in life and it’s still hard for me. I also like to paint the largest figure in my army first. It lets me see how things will look on a much larger scale and I find it easier to do a high quality job on larger pieces due to my shaky hands. Finally, doing the largest piece first also lets me have my centerpiece done and thus craft the rest of my army towards it. I’ve seen a lot of people save the biggest for last and then realize that the scheme they have chosen colorwise doesn’t work with the biggest, most eye catching piece of the army. Whoops. Hell, I even did it when I was younger with some Chaos Space Marines. Thankfully I was never all that into 40K (even thought I did preorder the 8the Edition Rulebook in case I want to expand any of my Shadow Wars: Armageddon crews.)
Finally, I just had to choose a color scheme. The stereotypical paint scheme for Games Workshop High Elves is steel armour with blue and white highlights. I didn’t want to do that. I instead decided to make my armour silver, so that it was especially shiny, which seems to fi the pomposity of the High Elves nicely. Then I decided I would do purple and gold for the rest of the scheme. I wouldn’t know how it would look until I did a piece or two though.
Interestingly enough, the first Games Workshop piece I did this year was not one of my High Elves, but a piece of scenery entitled the Magewraith Throne. I like doing scenery and I wanted to have something to go with the elves as an objective or scenery piece. I painted the whole thing in one day (January 13th) and I think it came out nicely with a weathered stone sort of look. It’s definitely not how GW did theirs (with all the skulls being actually skulls), but I wanted to have the piece look uniform and not so Khorne-y (pun intended).
As I mentioned earlier, the first piece I was going to paint was my centerpiece, which was neither the leader of my combined army nor something from Spire of Dawn. Instead I decided to grab a Dragonlord. Hey, dragons are awesome and I couldn’t imagine doing the High Elves without one (or three for my Order Draconus full crew that I envisioned down the line). It was the first piece for my army, so it took me a couple of days to paint it up. You have a lot of different options for the Dragonlord, including weapons and heads for rider and dragon. Eventually I went with a Panzer Dragoon homage for the dragon, put it together and started painted. I finished it on January 18th, and I still am really happy with the result. I decided to make it a silver dragon as that would match the silver that comprises the majority of my High Elves’ armour. So the dragon was in uniform with the elves and it also gave the whole thing a Dragonlance vibe to boot. I made this first rider with a sword instead of the lance (even though the lance works nicely with the Order Draconus), because it looked better and I liked the damage potential more than the lances. This will be my most expensive piece points and/or wounds wise, so I wanted to make sure it could do more than just charge.
The only other unit I finished in January was the set of ten Swordmasters from Spire of Dawn. Now, Swordmasters are usually Eldritch Council instead of Swifthawk Agents unless you play the full SoD High Elf battalion. This lets Swordmasters, who are pretty sweet, be Swifthawks. I did a set of three on January 19th, the leader on January 23rd, another set of four on January 24th, and finished the set off by painting the Standard Bearer and Musician on January 25th. This meant that I had finished two units for my army in January, or a total of twelve figures. That’s not bad, especially when you remember I also painted that Magewraith Throne for scenery.
So let’s look at the point breakdown for January
1 Dragonlord: 400 Points
10 Swordmasters: 200 Points
TOTAL FOR JANUARY: 600 Points
That’s pretty good right? I’m one-fourth of the way there in my first month!I was feeling pretty confident I’d get this army done in plenty of time. The question was what to paint next. Sure I had the rest of Spire of Dawn to paint up, but that still wouldn’t bring me up to 2,000 points. I’d have to figure out what to pick up that would bring me to my goal.
I didn’t just paint High Elves in January. I also painted the following figures during the month:
1/1 – Doctor Doom by Knight Models (No longer in print)
1/2 – Groot by Knight Models (No Longer in print)
1/3 – Black Adam by Knight Models
1/5 – Ben Affleck Batman by Knight Models (preorder bonus for the Suicide Squad boxed set. No longer available.)
1/9 – Roadshine Shrine by MaxMini.
1/10 – Honaire, Spirit by Reaper Miniatures
1/10 – Yuki-Onna by Zeniti Miniatures (Kensei Undead Kickstarter exclusive)
1/12 – Emma Frost by Knight Models (no longer in print)
1/12 – Armoured Ben Affleck Batman by Knight Models
1/29 – Shaern, Female Anti-Paladin by Reaper Miniatures
1/30 – Henry Cavil Superman turned into a pre New 52 costumed Superman by Knight Models
1/31 – Alfred Pennyworth by Knight Models (Chase piece. No longer in print)
Looking back, I had a pretty busy January. A great start to my painting year. However, this column is about my Age of Sigmar army, so if you want to see the other figures I painted, check me out on Instagram or Facebook.
Next week, we’ll take a look at my progress in February. See you then.