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Born Of Ash - an Aelf project


JackDaw

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Unseen, forgotten.
Chained, but consumed by fire still
A House now lies empty.
- Daughter


~*~


Somewhere in the grey forgotten borderlands between Realms, the air itself screams and blisters as though it burns. A feverish white light spills from rents that twist open as the air burns in ways that it shouldn’t, a light that chars and blackens the splinters and shards of grey rock that make up the barren scree that stretches for as far as the eye can see. The screaming reaches a crescendo, becomes more than noise. It is the sound of birth, of something entering this world through pain and suffering. The light thickens, scorches and razes everything it touches until it is blinding and painful to look at. Finally, with a sickening crack, the light disappears and in its wake leaves only blackened rock and ash, and thick coils of smoke.

The screaming remains. Becomes something lesser, something hoarser and more physical before dying into gasps.

From within the coils of smoke, which move like no smoke should, a kneeling figure appears. Slowly, so slowly, it uncoils and stands with inhuman fluidity, gaunt and long limbed. It is almost bleached of colour and its long pale red hair moves in currents not of this Realm. Mirror-masked, thin body wrapped in pale loose robes, the gaunt figure flexes hands encased in armoured gauntlets of polished ivory that shimmer with heat.

Moving through the smoke and drifting ash, other figures emerge, all as gaunt and bleached as the first. They bear long curved blades, wrap tattered robes and shards of pale armour around themselves. All are masked and wreathed in smoke.

These ghosts, these revenants, voice no warcries nor utter any prayers. They merely surround the first figure to emerge from the smoke and ash, turn blank-faced masks to it. This first gaunt revenant stirs shreds of smoke with its gauntleted hands and raises its mirror-mask to the grey skies above.

"Witness," it whispers. "Witness our return."

 


~*~


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Daughter

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Hollowed

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Morning(ish) everyone.

Mhsellwood - Ah cool, great to hear someone remembers the House :) Hopefully you'll enjoy this just as much. From what I hear from other sources and have seen Wintermute say, it's not looking good for Warseer. But fingers crossed for them.

So, Born Of Ash. Kind of a successor and maybe more to the High House Of Chains. I'm not planning a full AoS gaming force - for a couple of reasons, mainly being that gaming overall doesn't have much interest for me anymore and the game mechanics of AoS just seem a bit overly simple to me. However, I do think the setting itself is pretty damn good and kudos to GW for the burning, razing and rebuilding they've done into something that given time could be rather special. There's a lot of room for expansion and change, which is a good thing for a gaming setting and I think what they've done so far with the Realm reveals and linked campaign releases is pretty cool.

Also, on the main, the new models are looking damn good. Especially the Sylvaneth. And Drycha. ******, that Drycha. And if the Aelfs look anywhere near as great as the Mistweaver from the Silver Tower, well, they could be something special.

In terms of my dabbling, I'll be going more along the loose lines of a Realm Of Chaos type warband, with things I want to do to fit with the story I'm envisaging. So there's a rough plan of three characters, some basic guys and something reasonably chunky. That's the plan at least, whether it actually gets done is another matter as real life tends towards the ****** these days, but we shall see.

Anyways, enough blathering, here's a few teasers of stuff what I have done. Because we all love pictures don't we.
 

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The hands of my father guide us still, from the Ash onwards

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Even the Hollow have their Paragon

I did pick up a Drycha as well and my word. What a kit.

I've always been a bit dubious of GWs propensity for making larger and larger plastic kits recently but I have to say, I was wrong. They are knocking it out of the park with their big AoS kits and while they might suffer a little in terms of optional bits and pieces and flexibility in posing, they make up for it just in the amount of detail and thru actual finished look. Drycha was a joy to assemble, really simple and easy and fits together with very few visible mould lines. Even just trimming off the leaves to leave bare twisted branches gives her a great alternative look as a wintery tree, but I have hone a bit further than that. The new kits and look they are giving their AoS range is getting to be breathtakingly good - and I'm not afraid to admit that my initial 'meh' regarding the setting and look was entirely unwarranted. While the game play might not do anything at all for me, the setting and models are great in the most part. I'm definitely considering picking up some of the Revenants or Hunters to make some lesser Embers.

But on to Drycha and what I've been doing. She's at the last stage of the conversion process at the moment - all the gs work is pretty much done and the more obvious plant bits have been removed, leaving her looking angular and spiky and smoky. Just need to add some extra spines and smoke trails using her hair and other bits and sort the base. Here's a peek:
 

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 By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes....
 

The slits on the helm have been filled in to give her a smooth mask and match the look of the Daughter and Paragon.

In terms of rough plan - I want to do a half dozen or so Hollowed for now, and either the same number of Revenants or a trio of Hunters - haven't decided between those kits yet, but the Hunters may win out as some big pals for Drycha. Then there's a Herald/Scout type character I want to try, based on the Death Jester or Solitaire and some scout types to follow him maybe. Still sticking with the Realm of Chaos style warband rather than any actual gaming style army.

That's all for now folks, will probably update later on tonight with proper pics of the first few completed Hollowed (sans paint), along with more storyline stuff.

C&C would be great :)

Cheers, Jack

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Hollowed%20title%20card_zpsm8cejon7.jpg

A legion of Chained,
Sworn to a father. Consumed,
Left empty within.
 ~ Daughter

~*~

The borderlands that these once-Aelfs have forced their entry to, in such brutal and scorching fashion, are not entirely uninhabited. Here, between the full Realms of Shyish and Ulgu, creatures wander that are neither fully dead nor fully shadow. Trapped in the folds and tears between Realms, they exist as malformed and wizened echoes of their once-true selves, wizened bodies holding desperately to a half-lost memory of what they used to be. They are spiteful, bitter beings and they do not appreciate visitors to the barren wastes they call home. Now, close to a dozen of them throw themselves at the gaunt and tattered revenants that have found themselves in their lands.

The once-Aelf that calls herself no other name than Daughter regards the oncoming creatures with something regarding curiosity in the tilt of her mirror-masked head. They are ragged and emaciated things, dried out husks reduced to leathery skin and sparse flesh, standing almost as tall as the revenants that surround her now. She watches these things, that may have been mon-keigh once and the one hulking form that may have been what her father would have called a Kine or Orric (the word is unfamiliar in her mouth, a mere fairy-tale to her), she watches them hurl themselves closer until the stale-dust smell of them reaches her.

A flick of her long ivory covered fingers sends her own half dozen revenants gliding forward. In contrast to the jerking and angular movements of the creatures, her revenants are silent and graceful and move amidst the curling smoke and drifting ash as though part of it. Long curving ceramic blades flick out in smooth arcs and cut ragged armour, remove limbs, open bellies with the faintest of sound. Something that resembles a mix of sand and thick tar-like blood flies through the air in thin arcs and ropes as the creatures are reduced to mere pieces. Her Hollowed move as though dancing amongst the crude hacking blows of their enemy, ever silent and graceful. Within minutes, the creatures are disassembled and littering the ashen ground beneath the Holloweds feet. All expect the thing that may have been Kine once. Though withered, it still towers over the sinuous and gaunt Hollowed and keeps them at bay with wide sweeps of a ragged and ugly crescent of iron. It bellows hoarsely through a throat and dried mouth that has long forgotten how to articulate words.

Daughter watches as the Hollowed circle the creature, the blades of their draichs flickering like serpents tongues against its leathery hide. One of the Hollowed seems to misstep and is caught by the ragged arc of iron the creature wields. It folds around the weapon as the iron bites deeply into its chest, scales of bleached ivory armour spraying away. The Kine-beast croaks in frustration as the weight of the Hollowed pulls its weapon down, realises too late that its victim is clinging to the blade, impaling itself on purpose in order to trap the blade and leave the creature defenceless.

The remaining Hollowed close swiftly and the Kine-beast is hacked down in a whirling ballet of curving blades. Daughter glides to the fallen Hollowed, still twitching and curled around the ugly crescent of iron carving into it. She kneels in the baking ash of the wastes and waves aside the threads of drifting smoke rising from the deep wounds hewn into the revenant. It does not speak, merely turns its black faced mirror-mask to look at her as she places a gauntleted hand on its brow.

"Rest dutiful servant," she whispers and beneath her touch the black glass of the mask cracks and shatters, loses its mirror finish. "Rest, and rise again when called."

The fallen Hollowed lies still as Daughter rises to her feet. These Realms are not what she expected - their taste is new and different and yet achingly familiar at the same time, and they hold dangers both new and old that will test the Hollowed and the Paragon both. She flexes her long bone-clad fingers, prepares herself to tear open another gate. It will pain her greatly, but already she knows she will become accustomed to the pain and will find it easier. The first time is always the hardest but a fresh wound is easier to open again and again.

 

~*~

 

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They swore to follow my father always...

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When the gates of the House fell, they stood...

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And the fires took everything from them, including their chains.

But they held to their vow....

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Hello again chaps, and thanks for all your comments so far - means a huge amount to see people liking and commenting on what they see.

Ademo - Ah, great to hear you remember the House, hopefully I can make this project just as interesting and exciting, if nowhere near as big haha.

Mirbeau - Yeah this seemed like the best place to be for all things AoS - I admit my desire to play hasn't really changed, but the enthusiasm on here is kinda infectious and the P&M forum seems great. Drycha was a joy to work with, such a great kit. What it loses in terms of posing flexibility, it makes up for with sheer detail and looks. The conversion is all done now so I'll be showing her off soonish.

Atreides - Thanks fella, pretty much everything in the warband that I'm planning to do will be converted.

Elfhead - Good to see you on here too mate. The hands are from two Silver Tower models - the upper arms and shoulders are from the Mistweaver and the forearms and hands are from the Tenebrael Shard. The Mistweaver is just a gorgeous model.

Pez5767 - Thanks man, glad to hear you like things so far. Got a fair bit more to come.

Just a quick little update in terms of the warband plan and what I've been working on recently - staying with that Path to Glory/Realm of Chaos warband feel rather than a full army, I don't think I'll be doing a huge amount of models by any means. At the moment the plan is as follows:

3 Heroes - this will be the Daughter, the Paragon and in-progress one that I'll go into more detail about in a minute

6-10 of the Draich armed Hollowed, including an icon bearer maybe

6-10 bow or xbow armed Hollowed. These might be converted from Shadow Warriors, or maybe the Rangers with the arms and xbows from the Darkshard kit, haven't quite decided yet.

A Shard of Darkness - the Drycha conversion

6 Embers of Darkness - converted from the Spite Revenants.

Gaming wise I'm not too worried about synergies or anything like that, I'm mainly going for the look and narrative value of the models, but there's a vague nod towards everything being Wanderer and Sylvaneth. Who knows, maybe I'll even play a game at some point. The third hero I'm kinda struggling with at the moment - I veer between wanting a bow-armed scout type and a totally unarmed messenger/bard type and cant really decide on which one I prefer. I've got a finecast Death Jester that I've started cutting up to use as a base, but I think I need to wait for inspiration to strike.

On the plus side, I nabbed a single Spite Revenant from a bits site and sorted out a test Ember. I was actually pretty surprised at how much bigger than the Rangers the Revenant models are. Lovely kits as well, really nice to work with. Here's a peek:

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Embers can be kindled to life once again...

That's it for now - C&C welcome as always folks. I'm off to do some work and think about colour schemes.

Cheers, Jack

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Paragon%20title%20card_zpsdwj59egp.jpg

 

A champion fallen

In grace, but in duty still

The truest of all

        ~ Daughter

 

~*~

 

The wound that Daughter has torn in the fevered and screaming air has become a gateway, a howling and scorching inferno of near-blinding light that scorches the wastes around it. Clouds of ash and smoke drift through the shrieking air, moving in currents unnatural to these borderlands. Daughter herself kneels in the drifts of ash that have formed against the larger rocks of the wastes some distance from the gate, surrounded by a half-circle of Hollowed. She is spent, drawing breath in ragged sawing gasps, and steaming blood trickles from the white hot gauntlets she wears. She watches as more and more of the Hollowed glide from the burning gateway. Most bear the same curved draichs as her current guardians, others wield matched pairs of slimmer blades. A small number burst forth on things that may once have been horses, long elegant bows of fire clutched in their hands. All of them are mirror-masked and silent.

 

She can hear more of them, more of the scratching, whispering scraps of souls that belong to the creatures that call this place home. They are gathering in the defiles and ravines around them in large numbers, drawn to the agony of the wound she has inflicted on these borderlands and to the presence of her Hollowed. She can taste more of the Kine, or something similar to them but larger and more ferocious, even in their withered and desiccated state. Daughter knows that her Hollowed may not fare so well against these larger things, but she is not concerned. She knows he is coming – the pressure in the air around her has become almost unbearable and the blinding light from the gate-wound now pulses and throbs rapidly, building to a pained crescendo before winking out of existence with a scream that is almost physical.

 

From within the clouds of drifting ash and coiling smoke that form patterns that echo the spirals and twists engraved in the armour of the once-Aelfs, a tall and gaunt figure strides forth. Long tattered robes are covered in plates of archaic armour that hisses and steams with heat, bleached to almost ivory in colour. A blank mirror-masked helm that resembles Daughter’s own turns slowly to regard her and is inclined in a shallow nod of greeting and respect. The armoured revenant is gaunt yes, but still towers over the other Hollowed and seems taut with coiled power and potential.

 

From the defiles and ravines around them, the creatures begin to scream and bray choking cries of challenge as they finally emerge and start to sprint towards to the gathered once-Aelfs, led by the hulking Kine-breed. The scores of Hollowed are silent and still, all mirror-masks fixed on the gaunt revenant who only watches the oncoming withered creatures before turning to face Daughter once again.

 

She stands, gathers the shreds of her power around her and stirs the coiling smoke and ash to life. She returns the blank regard of the revenant and inclines her own mirror-masked head in a nod.

 

Her champion, First Sword of a broken House, raises the ancient ceramic fork-tongued blade in its left hand into the grey skies of the borderlands. The Hollowed answer their Paragon and turn to face the oncoming tide, blades raised in challenge.

 

~*~

 

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A line of shattered Swords lies behind him, but he defies the fall of our House.

 

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The blade he wields is no mere weapon. It is the summation of all we have lost, and what we have become.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Greetings from the Ash.

Its been a busy old week or so for this project. I've pretty much got 99% of the physical bits needed to assemble everything I plan to do with just a few little random bits needed. Sods Law of course, they are the hardest bits of all to find. Incidentally, if anyone reading this can hook me up with five Wrack masks and five of their thigh armour plates, I will love you for ever.

So replies first, then pics.

Well, that was quick.

Right, lets spam some pics eh? First up - I sorted the last three Hollowed, giving me a nice round half-dozen. Enough to look cool, not enough to make me sick of painting them. Just the bases to finish, once I can sort some small pieces of slate. Here's how they look;

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Ragged they come and ragged they fall...

I like the uniformity they have while still retaining some individuality in the masks and other little bits. The Wildwood Rangers kit is actually really nice, and with a little thought you can get a decent amount of variation in pose from the basic pieces.

So, things were looking pretty good with the Hollowed. I decided to try a mounted version, using the Doomfire Warlock kit as a base. Here's how that turned out;

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Godawful really. I dislike this so much that he doesn't even get a caption. I think my main issue is that I forgot how much I dont like the actual Warlock kit and those fething hideous horses. I mean, I did 5000pts of Dark Elves for the High House of Chains, and I still didn't use any part of these guys for anything. Not even the actual Warlocks I had in the damn list. Just bad models. He got scrapped obviously, and mounted Hollowed got put back on the drawing board. I might, might, revisit the idea with Glade Riders, because they are by far the best elven horses GW have done, even if the riders themselves are a bit naff. In all honesty though, its doubtful I'll do anything in this vein - anyone who followed the House on Warseer knows how much I hate painting horses.

So that was a set back. Added to that, my initial fiddling with various parts to make an Envoy type Scout thing were going nowhere too. Much of the problem there was that I couldn't decide whether he would be a bow armed Scout character, or just a messenger kind of Herald, with no visible weapons. In the end, I was way more drawn to the latter and after some eBay scouring and a long wait for delivery from Germany, I got hold of one of the nicer male Wardancers from the more recent range. A bit of cutting and filing later and we had this;

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Call me traveller, call me wanderer, call me half-seen, unmasked, call me what you will...

Yes he is not wearing a mask like the others and yes he will be the only one and yes there's a reason. Really happy with him so far, and the bits I have in store for him work really well, so huzzah there.

On a bit of a roll now, and inspired by a rather nifty little conversion I saw on Instagram and remembering that Wardancers were my favourite thing about Wood Elves (I had long ago planned an entirely Wardancer themed winter Wood Elf army, with giant wolves and Werewolves standing in for Tree Spirits. Think really feral Elves running with the pack) I knew I needed some Wardancer Hollowed. EBay to the rescue for some dirt cheap DE Wyches and the fortuitously timed Death Masque release meaning a flood of cheap Harlequin kits on there as well. Here's the initial tester for them;

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Spun from ash and smoke...

Needs some gs work on the shoulder guard and to make a sash around the waist, but godsdamn do I like how he looks. Got enough to do a half dozen of them as well, and if there's enough left overs, more ribbons might be added. They're so different to the regular Hollowed just from the sheer movement afforded by the Harlie and Wych kits, which actually work and mix together surprisingly well, while still looking very similar to them.

So things are all peachy again hobby-fu wise. And I have a box of Tree Revenants sat waiting to become Embers. Its all coming up Milhouse assembly wise, and all I really have to worry about is how painting them is going to go.

Oh, and I also spent way too long making smoke tendrils with greenstuff.

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There's bakers dozen there and I still need more.

I'm off to cry quietly about the amount of story I still need to write. Comments and so forth are gratefully received, they help keep my embers stoked and the fires going.

Toodles, Jack

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Alright, enough of the niceties around here.

Damn you, JackDaw.

It is not often that I'm impressed with the content and tone of this sort of thing, but you have hit it out of the park so far.

And the models... very intriguing.

Please keep the updates coming.  Inspiring for those of us struggle to simply get the mold lines off the models and are struggling to even start to paint, much less mod.

Love it.

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Great progress jackdaw! Really a shame there aren't more people verbally drooling over this.

maybe you could try making some small molds for the masks and wracks armour pieces. I just did some wrack conversions so I guess I snatched up some of those pieces:p

the messenger looks great. And working with just small units is great. For my slaaneshi elves I also work with units of 6 (which also works fluff-wise) and I love it. Not to much work painting and lots of bits leftover.

keep it up! When will we see some paint?

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Looking good - agree that the horses are a bit messed up - I think with the glade rider horses you might want to cover the faces or change up the leather armour pads a bit to fit the theme? I'm also looking forwars to seeing these guys with paint!

Sent from my SM-G920F using Tapatalk

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Greetings from the Ash again.

So here's the thing - I've got a contract on the go to rewrite some stuff and made a good start on it yesterday, getting about a third of the work done. I then took a break, intending to get the next Scene for The Hanged Man's Tarot (my ongoing =][=28 project) finished (it's sat at about a third or so through). Instead I took advantage of the weather and spent a couple of hours painting. I'm such a magpie.

Scrubyandwells - Thanks man, much appreciated. I'm really happy with how the project overall is going and it's great to hear people like the Hollowed so much.

Zephyr - Ha thank you for the damnation sir ;) Comments like yours always make a big impact on me, it's awesome to know I can change the way people feel about this kind of project. Hopefully I can keep you inspired and enjoying things. Agree with you on the awesomeness of small numbers, its so good. And paint soon. Promise.

Elfhead - Verbal drool is always appreciated. Having the foresight to make moulds would have been awesome, but I have managed to source some masks now. Luckily I wont be needing any more.

Ratamaplata - Thanks fella, much appreciated.

Ademo - GW seem really hit and miss on horses. Anyways, cavalry is very much not an issue now - I doubt I'll be doing any. Also, your request is granted :)

Mirbeau - Hmm maybe the hexwraith horses might work. It's something to consider if I do change my mind about the cavalry at all.

And so onto painting. Yep, painting. I'm not going to say much, just leave this here for now:

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From the Ash, onwards...

I'm really happy. Really really happy. It's a hell of an evolution from that initial scheme tester and way more in line with what I had pictured in mind - ashen robes fluttering aside to show flashes of stained ivory armour, cold and bleak and loose and ethereal in technique.

There was a horrible moment during the undercoating when I realised that Id picked up the wrong kind of undercoat and was applying a zenithal of grey roughcoat - I managed to get the worst of it off with a brisk tank-brush polish, but you can still see a little roughness in places. No matter though - just need to pick up a smooth undercoat next time. Things will probably get more refined now that I've got the scheme nailed, but still, I'm super happy with how this Hollowed has turned out.

Still need to do some gs work on the Dancers and a little touch up on the remaining Hollowed, as well as do the rest of the Embers of Darkness. That's the plan for this week, with the other Hollowed also hitting the paint table at some point this weekend.

That's providing I can focus and get this contract and the update for the Tarot done first though.

Would love to hear your thoughts folks, always a great help.

Jack

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Very nice mini - has a certain gloom about it with the cold colours. Although the spraycoat gives a rough finish in a few areas, the model totally gets away with it - kind of like a build up of ash or dust. Oh and the bone blade is a great touch - has a lot of impact.

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Magnificent.

Have you given any thought to a standard bearer at all?  On the one hand, I feel like this is a group that is so far beyond anything so fickle and meaningless as colors... but on the other hand, I think done with the same sort of inspiration, a BSB could really drive home just how far these desperate souls have come, and how far they are willing to go.

Can't wait to see more of these guys coming together.

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  • 2 weeks later...

 A wild late night update appears!

Just a quick one chaps - up to my nuts in a contract that has to be completed in about 5 days total and the weather here has been super hot so painting and hobby time has been limited. Have made some progress though, as well as ordering the new WD, a new large brush for Drycha and a couple of new paints.

Ademo - Thanks man, glad you like what you see and that cold dusty feel comes across. I see what you mean about the roughcoat working as a build-up of ash and so on - got lucky there I think haha. I have now got a proper non-rough primer though.

Rootsmanuva - Ha thanks man. I'd say it was all skill but I'm pretty sure its mostly luck ;)

Zephyr - Too kind :) The Hollowed won't have an icon or standard themselves - I see them as having died and been reborn so many times, and so seared away in the fires that burnt their Realm that they don't have any real soul or identity left. Like you say, they are way beyond anything as fickle and nebulous as a bit of cloth meaning something. However, the warband as a whole will have an icon, carried by the Envoy, because you know - Aelf arrogance.

And to progress! All the gs work on the Wardancers (Ash Dancers? Spiral Dancers? I dunno yet) has been done and they are fully based and looking spiffy. The Envoy is also at the same stage and is looking rather good too. Will be showing them off soon, once I can get some painting done and balance out all the writing I need to do for this and the Tarot. Painting wise, I've got the other 5 Hollowed and the Paragon to this stage:

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The robes and armour are about 66% done. They are both waiting for several thin coats of very thinned down black wash to build up the shadows before some final fine highlights and shading. I'm already loving how they look. The plan is to get the Paragons armour and robes done at the same time as the rest before working on his details separately and spend a little more time on him.

That's all for now folks, hopefully update again after the weekend. C&C welcome as always,

Jack.

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Semi-regular updating over a weekend? My word.

Fair bit of painting progress over the late few days, which I thought I'd show off. The Hollowed only need their bases finishing and the glass masks doing. I've changed the gem colour to red as well, mainly because it'll fit more with the planned hair on Daughter and the ribbons on the Wardancers. Who will probably get shown off next. Oh, and the transition on that lead Hollowed's gem isn't that brutal in real life, promise.

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Obviously better pics will come once they are all finished up and varnished. The Paragon needs a bit more work, mainly on the details - it just made sense to do his robes, armour and blade at the same time as the rest while I had washes and glazes ready to go.

Would love to hear your thoughts folks, I'm off to eat Chinese and wait for my new White Dwarf, brush and light grey paint to turn up. Rock and roll.

Jack.

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