Saturday 24 February 2024

A Season of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness...

Bit of a Saturday night quickie - ooh err...

Well as much action as I'm likely to get XD

I'm between laptops at the moment - charging port broke on the last one (can't remember if it was dog or booze related...) so my photos of stuff I've painted is all over the place. However, having gone through the memory card on my camera I happily found these shots I took ages ago!

I think it was two BOYL's ago that I had a rather nice chat with Harry (they're all rather nice chats because he's a very nice chap) and we got on to the subject of doing a painting challenge together. This was a bit of an honour for me and a bit daunting - Harry don't blog but back in the day he ruled the roost on the forum he decided to post his phenomenal painting output on. I forget the name of the forum but I still use his recipe for painting wolves to this day.

I'm afraid the pictures are all the same as I obviously just took a bunch of shots while I was in the shed photographing my Empire stuff. If I had more room I'd build another scenic background - hopefully the depressing mud and dying pine trees aren't getting too monotonous!

Anyway, long story short - Harry suggested Wood Elves and maybe splitting the challenge in to the four seasons of the year. I agreed, thinking of the large tub of Wood Elves I had collected from the early days of the blog when I needed some good guys to be massacred by the boxes of Orcs that my parents  gleefully handed back to me after they cleared the loft out, and which I promptly never got round to painting in all the years since.

Now Harry's notion of seasonal Wood Elves had partially caught my imagination. I'm not damning him with faint praise here, it being more the case of where my head was at at the time and still is! I was (and still am) in the grip of this grimdark thing (god I hate that term but love the look of it), having fairly recently finished up painting der Verlorene Haufen (my Evil Empire Army). I seem to be also in the grip of parentheses... Anyway, as soon as he mentioned seasonal Wood Elves, my mind went automatically to Autumn and Winter. I work outdoors for a living, and even with the weird things happening to the weather because of climate change, autumn and winter seem to dominate and last the longet. I guess living in Cumbria doesn't help that XD

For this job we'd taken out an old rotten ladder stile and dismantled the wall to  replace it with a gate - the wall was then put back up again either side of the gate. That's Pippin, one of my black labs in the foreground and yes, I should have worn a darker colour of underwear XD

They're both favourite seasons of mine since childhood - wrapping up warm, the smell of damp leaf litter, the promise of snow... There's a good few childhood books I associate with Autumn and Winter too - usually creepy ones because that's all part of the allure. A bit like the cosiness of the Moomins needing the terror of the Groke and most of everything else in it. I loved the Moomins as a kid but damn it used to scare me as a kid! Going back to the books though, there's a half remembered book in particular that I really enjoyed, called The Wild Hunt of Hagworthy, or more likely its cover as I don't remember the story that well other than the usual bunch of kids fall in to a wonderful and slightly scary adventure.

Credit for the image goes to the "A Pile of Leaves" blog - this was the edition I had as a kid - still in one of the book cases somewhere... 

Another story that was brought to mind was The Hounds of the Morrigan, which I do remember a lot of as it was bought for me as a get well present when I was off school for some time, back when I was primary school aged. I don't remember the illness but I do remember the book! I think this one sprang to mind mainly for the Fae elements and the main baddie of the Morrigan herself.

Stuart, who I did the Oriental painting commission for (more of which to come!), also very kindly gave me some of the Slaine books, which also very much fed in to my own idea of what I wanted my Wood Elves to look like - Slough Feg, I'm looking at you!

I also rather like a lot of the AOS Wood Elf stuff - or whatever it's called these days. I get confused with it all, especially as you can't seem to buy the stuff you want anymore even though it only seemed to be newly out not so long ago - probably my skewed sense of time more than anything XD - stuff like the Sisters of the Thorn. I seem to remember a nice Elf lady floating in a rosebush and a few other plastic kits that I could really use for conversions but maybe I dreamt it all as I can't find her now! I rather enjoyed blending new and old with my mobile Chaos shrine and the living statue of Moloch for the Cult of the New Colossus.  I recently visited Warhammer World with some Oldhammer buddies - there was an amazing diorama of Wood Elves, or Aelfs or Sylvans or whatever they're called these days. If I'm not sounding old already then I will when I tell you I forgot to photograph it! Still couldn't find the models I kind of wanted in the shop afterwards and they only make them round the corner! Well, if they still make the ones I was interested in that is - I can't keep up XD! I did manage to acquire a bunch of Sylvaneth Dryad (or whatever they're called) sprues for a few quid off ebay and made antlers out of their arms for my Jes Goodwin spearmen (spearelves?) instead!

If you've followed the chronology of this little tale closely, you'll notice that we weren't particularly successful with the painting challenge - it's not just the blog I've been neglecting. Sometime in the run up to October 2022 I think, I panicked and painted this group for our Warlords of Abion October game at Foundry - I figured they'd count as Folk Horror as there's a bit of a Halloween theme. I still need to paint a big banner for the standard bearer.

What am I going to do for smoke effects now I've given up the pipe?!

Maybe one day we'll actually get the challenge going but at the very least it's got me thinking about my long neglected Wood Elf collection and I have kind of divided it up in to vaguely seasonal appropriate units, as well as purchasing various bits from Foundry as leaders or centrepieces for each season. I'll just have to rearrange the paint queue if it ever comes about! 

Also - for a quick post, it's now 12:30am and I've been typing, editing and proof reading for a good few hours!


  1. Very atmospheric photos. The bone dagger sacrificing character is an old rafm sculpt I think. A buddy had it painted and it made an appearance in more than a few rpg battles. Dark sun and space 1889 certainly. Definitely a baddy as far as I'm concerned.
    I've willingfully ignored GW naming conventions since they slagged the old world. Hilariously (or not) I'm willfully continuing to ignore what they are doing despite relaunching the old world. I suppose I've been burnt by them too man times. My heart is scarred and blackened.
    If I had to offer up noteworthy books of when I was very young I'd have to point at the pyrdain books by lloyd alexander. Book of three, black cauldron, etc. They aren't really dark, but they aren't high fantasy and heroic either. Fantastically mundane perhaps? The world feels a bit tired. A mid to late fall, not winter yet.

    1. Thanks Dave! Yeah - can't remember where I picked him up but it was recently, so whoever stocks him these days. It was the antlers and skull head dress that drew me to the model - like with my Empire army, I wanted to do something a bit different with these Elves. While they're not going to be bad guys necessarily, they're certainly not going to be definitely good, more an indifferent, amoral force of nature - red in tooth and claw and all that.
      I've not paid much attention to the relaunch of the Old World too - more because I'm not as interested in most of those late 90's (early 2000's?) models and they're out of my hobby budget anyway! The whole renaming thing just seems daft but I guess they get to copyright their versions.
      Don't think I've heard of those Prydain books before - I presume Disney's Black Cauldron is maybe based on them? They sound good and I'll have to check them out. Talking of the fantastically mundane, in that they're set in real life with the fantasy elements creeping in and taking over, I nearly mentioned Alan Garner's books too - Weirdstone of Brisingamen and The Moon of Gomrath - but I forgot!
      Peter Morwood's Horse Lord series is worth a look too - also has that tired world feel.

  2. (This is Jaeckel, unable to connect himself to his Google account. Anyway) Nice idea these wood elves, the ghost wild hunt is also an theme I'd like to exploit in a future army. And don't worry for looking for already OOP AOS miniatures. It happens to me regularly too ūüėĎ

    1. Hi Jaeckel - thanks! I'd love to see your take on the theme. Mind you, I'm waiting with baited breath for you to get back to that amazing Bretonnian project - very taken with your idea for that army!
      I'm glad it's not just me - don't know if I just don't notice the passage of time since they get released or whether it's a GW marketing thing. I guess there's always ebay as I rarely want the whole model so broken miniatures covered in paint or abandoned projects are right up my street!

  3. Oh, this is tasty indeed. I love the way you connect the ideas and how you bring them into the minis. The antlers, the palette, everything is absolutely wonderful. Please get back to these!! :)

  4. Thanks Suber! I've a bunch more of these Spearmen/elves (maybe I should just call them spears XD) all primed and ready to paint to bring the unit up to 20 strong. I shall do my best but I may have to renegotiate the challenge so I can stick to Autumn/Winter. I've got some ideas for Spring and Summer but the idea of having four different looks in the army is bugging me a little and I feel it would detract from the look I really want! It is a project I want to get stuck in to - I've a bunch of stuff from Foundry I'm planning on converting to make some leaders or centrepieces... You may be in for a little wait though I'm afraid - till after BOYL at least which is in August I think - got a ton of stuff to paint for that!

  5. That's not what i think of when i think Wood elf, My mind goes more in the Legolas direction...
    These are too scary for me. ūüėĀ

    1. Yeah this lot aren't as jolly or in to tree hugging! In fact talking of trees, I've got some pretty scary resin ones to go with them when I get round to painting them XD

  6. Excellent stuff. I will have to tell Harry you have a start on him!

    1. Cheers bud! I did mention to him last BOYL that I'd painted this lot in a guilty panic about a year(!) after we decided on starting the challenge but I think we got sidetracked by the drink before we got on to anything like a serious discussion on reviving it XD

  7. I really like the mix of minis that you put together for your armies. And the autumnal look gives them a different vibe from the usual jolly green wood friends.

    1. Thanks Rob - I always like mixing a bit of new and old. Don't know if it's the (relatively) newer Wood Elf stuff that GW put out for AOS or the older references I mentioned in my post that made me go with a darker look with this lot - probably a bit of both!