Thursday, 16 October 2014

Dance Then, Wherever You May Be

Waywatchers may be the iconic Wood Elf unit, but I'd say that Wardancers run a pretty close second.

(there is an old issue of Inferno - Leofa may still have the copy - that contains a one-page comic strip where a single wardancer takes down a pack of Beastmen like a prancing ninja. That sold me on them).

I have quite a number of the models, probably more than is optimal in the current rulebook (especially as internet wisdom says the optimum number is 0), but I like the models, the fluff and the versatility of their dances, so I'll be giving them a run-out in the near future.

Warhammer Quest Wardancer
He's a Bladesinger, but let's just call him 'Brucie'
The unit champion is still my favourite model in the troupe, possibly in the army. Not quite as flouncy as some of the 6th Edition designs, but still a lot a character and movement going on here.

For the white-blond hair, I think I started with a Skull White base and gave it repeated washes of thinned Bleached Bone - not the way I'd ever do it now, but it seemed to come out well. I tried to give the black blades an eerie glow by drybrushing white, then giving a glaze of Green Ink.

I also managed to avoid the 'crazy eyes' problem than bedevils the rest of my troupe - by giving him green eyeshadow as his talismanic tattoos (with the tights and the hair, he is so Bowie).

It's the old Warhammer Quest Wardancer. I now realise that the image below is the reason I persisted in the yang/yin symbol on the belts of all my characters (which was 15 years ahead of its time in anticipating the current portrayal of Wood Elves and straddling Light and Dark - so huzzah for me).

As for the rest of the image, I clearly didn't tax my imagination when choosing the colour scheme

Warhammer Quest Wardancer
Hey, at least I changed the belt colour.

The real task with painting these, if I recall, was doing the skin and the gold. Once that was done, the rest was fairly simple block colours (and then the fiddly eyes and tattoos),

Classic metal Wood Elf Wardancers
The wardancer on the right has an insanely-long ponytail.

I went dark for the whole unit, partly to contrast my mostly-blonde archers, but also to reflect that Wardancers are meant to be pretty deadly.

The colour recipe was:

  • Regal Blue - boots, gloves and loincloth
  • Dark Angels Green - trousers
  • Hair - Chaos Black, Skull White highlights
  • Ornaments - Shining Gold, Chestnut Ink wash, Shining Gold highlights
  • Weapons - Chaos Black, Mithril Silver highlights
  • Tattoos - no clue (maybe Scaly Green?)

Classic metal Wood Elf Wardancers
Love the pompadour, centre-right.

In addition to drawing in eyes (my old style of wide, crazy eyes - but maybe it fits these whirling dervishes), I continued my punishment by giving each one an individual tattoo. I also framed the open mouths with Black Ink and painted in teeth.

Classic metal Wood Elf Wardancers
Swapped the heads, but left the crazy eyes.

The first nine Wardancers were my original troupe, to which I added three more reinforcements many years later. By this point, I had learned that twisting the weapons made the models more dynamic (it works particularly well on the pompadour model, on the right). I also did a head swap with the left and centre models - and did it so well (if I say so myself) that I was staring at them for a long time before I'd remembered that I'd done it.

Classic metal Wood Elf Wardancers
Not allowed standards, not even allowed spears - now it's just a really fancy sword.

These command models began as Scouts, and represent some of my earliest attempts at conversions (or getting others to do it for me). I wanted to have a Wardancer Standard (back when they were allowed them), so I got the model on the left, Gen. Lefoa kindly snipped off his bow and quiver, and I added a greenstuff loincloth.

This worked for the unit, although the height of the standard and the absence of the quiver to weigh him down now meant the model kept falling over (and not in a very dance-like way, unless Drunk Uncle At A Wedding counts). So he got a little tree stump of greenstuff to pose dramatically upon, and he now stays upright.

The model on the right has a less complicated tale: I found I had the model spare, switched his bow for an extra sword, gave him a greenstuff loincloth and threw him into the unit.

Classic metal Wood Elf Wardancers
Harps may not be deadly, but they're great for starting flashback sequences.

And so we come to the only model to be freshly-painted - although ironically, it's the oldest design of them all. It's one of the 3rd Edition command models, which I picked up because he was a musician who matched the style of the other Wardancers (I didn't even need to sculpt a loincloth!). I'm not sure if a harp is a very warlike instrument (I'd have thought pipes, horns or drums), but it was good enough for the Argonauts...

Classic metal Wood Elf Wardancers
The only wardancer to wear a shirt (the big jessy)

Either it was a peculiarity of the model, or just this particular cast, but the model had a hideous mould line running down the middle of its face. This was something of a pain to fix, and not helped by the fact that his mouth appears to be open in a funny shape (must be trying to hit a top C).

Wood Elf Wardancer - Shadowdancer
By my reckoning, 6th Ed is 'new'

And from the oldest, to the newest. This model could only be a Shadowdancer - although I'm not as keen on it as the Warhammer Quest one. Maybe it's too lithe for my chunky metal Wood Elves, and would fit better among the new plastics (although I'm too far gone to replace them).

Wood Elf Wardancer - Shadowdancer
The tree trunk goes with her across the battlefield.

There are some nice touches around the base, such as the spites and a hell of a better tree trunk than I sculpted. I gave her the same bleached hair as the Bladesinger, to stand out from the dark-haired Wardancers (although the hair is braided, rather than Trollslayer-spiked, which makes it less distinct).

Classic metal Wood Elf Wardancers
Remember folks: keeeeep dancing!

So that's 16 more Wood Elves who waltz their way into my army. Enjoy them now, I doubt they'll qualify for the WoffBoot.


  1. These are lovely! The colours make me think of woad.

    I wore woad once. Didn't protect me from anything either.

    1. The Woad Elves - I like it.

      Looking at the only two units I've painted/rebased, I've got quite the colour clash going on (from russet browns and oranges to strong blues and greens) - I'm hoping these are the two extremes and the other units will level them out. Either that, or I'm going to have a woodland circus!