Thursday, November 15, 2012

Black Phoenix: Dark Eldar BeastMaster (Mistress)

I have completed the first model of my new pilgrimage!  Sick of power armor, I have decided to take on a new quest: to create a new xenos army free from Space Marines of all kinds!  Don't get me wrong, I still love my marines, mostly, but I need something new.  So I'm going back to my roots, which is with Eldar.  But I also love the new Dark Eldar line of models--to me, the best GW has ever produced, and pouring over the Wych sprues trying to decide which combos of pieces will go with which has convinced me that, Yes indeed, these are the best models ever.  And so the Black Phoenix is born!  (Or re-born, as phoenixes tend to do.)

The Black Phoenix is my prototypic fluff: a craftworld lost in the warp and/or webway for millennia, at some point joined by Dark Eldar and then having a fused, evolving culture from there.  So the aspects are largely known as Aspect Cults now, a fusion of traditional Eldar and Dark Eldar influence, etc.  In game terms, I'll run an Eldar army with Dark Eldar allies (usually--sometimes straight one of the other or greater DE with lesser E allies).  My models, however, will reflect the merged culture of the two.  I love doing conversions and coming up with "counts as" stuff, so this combined with the anti-power armor quest will all culminate into the Black Phoenix, a project that will take me years, if I ever finish at all.

All that being said, the first model is finished: one of three DE Beast Mistresses!  She's born of bits from the wych and warrior sprues with the legs of a hellion.  I really wanted the bare feet for her, though the hellion legs were made for crouching on a goblin glider, not riding an animal, so it isn't a perfect fit.  I also figured that since her "type" is beast, not jump infantry, she might as well ride one instead of the glider.  To represent the glider's built-in splinter pod I gave her a rifle, which has come out looking like something Mr. Freeze shoots at Batman with the swirling, soft blue glow, but I like it!  The whip, too, has a blue wash over white, giving it an irregular azure color.  I'm not sure how likely I am to actually pay the 20 points for an agonizer for her, since she has only one attack (two on the charge), but certainly an animal tamer should have a whip.  And just wait and see what kind of beasts she's taming...  That is the next surprise.

Obviously she's riding a Slaaneshi steed, which seems inappropriate fluff-wise, but I wanted a mount as sleek as she is.  I considered Cold Ones but they're just too bulky and ugly; I wanted something fast and graceful. And to tie the two models together thematically I gave the Mistress a green whip of hair, matching the mount's hide and the tongue and whip curves of the overall model (getting artsy-fartsy here).

Also in rebellion against painting marines, I decided to make her colorful: these are punk rockin' Eldar, after all.  So I went with purple and red for her, which the DE Warriors will likely resemble too, being careful not to use Aspect colors on non-aspect models (so the Aspect Warriors will stand out in their deserved glory). Her flesh is space wolf grey and white mixed, then washed with shadow grey and hit again with white.  In the end, it's basically white, which I think looks good on her.  She technically has rents and tears in her pant legs which should show the flesh too but I had to give up on those: the details on these tiny little models proved too much for me.  I tried painting it and went back and forth trying to get those nice crisp boundaries between purple pants and white flesh, but eventually I just said, "Screw it, the sculptors beat me on this one."  And I'm okay with that.  My new philosophy also includes a more stress-free approach to hobbying in general.

So there she is.  Next I'll be adding her "beasts", and then probably do up the next mistress of her unit, "The White Queen".  Stay tuned...    

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