Born on a Bayou

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Laughing Ferret

Born on a Bayou

Postby Laughing Ferret » Sat Sep 05, 2009 12:07 pm

Born on a Bayou
Image

Welcome to my corner of the swamp.

My choice of army for the GC XII project is wood elves.

When considering a potential army to build I ask myself a few questions:
* Do I like enough of the miniature range to field an army that I'd like the look of?
* Do I like enough of the list selections to make an army that I'd find fun to play with options for varieties to change the style of play?
* Can I think of a way to personalize this army to make it my own?

Wood elves are a good fit for me.

I don't see wood elves as a proper 'army'. They seem best suited as a guerrilla defense force or strike force. I'm comfortable with that for them. For some armies, when I see 50 models or so it just looks wrong to me, but for the wood elves it doesn't feel out of place because of their background. Wood elves are also very expensive point-wise, without any cheap troops- perhaps they'll benefit from a points adjustment in the future like the dark elves have had, until that day however, it does limit the numbers the army will have. The Army will be a mix of elves & forest spirits. I was tempted to do a forest spirit army with no elves, but the simple fact is I like the idea of the elves- it helps me tap into my fantasy roots which is grounded in Tolkien.

I decided to make a 2250 list with all the visual elements I would want most. If I can accomodate it into the schedule I also want to make options for the army to switch out for some selections to create different styles of play.

The Starting List

Lord on Dragon saving 100 points for items & extras which may change from game to game. I'm struggling to decide how I'll outfit him, but for the look of a dragon, he's a must have.
Alter Noble with 50 points for items
level 1 mage with 2 dispell scrolls (an unfortunate necessity in the game environment. personally I think the magic system needs a complete overhaul)
Branchwraith with magic using upgrade and +1 dispel dice sprite.

2x 10 Glade Guard with musician
8 Glade Guard Scouts with musician
2x 5 Glade Riders with musician
3x 8 Dryads
3 Treekin

Great Eagle
Treeman.

Extras: undecided as yet. I'll likely have a Lord on foot, or mounted if I make a unit of wild riders- but these would need to be converted from something other than the GW models (which I don't care for). I may make a unit of Eternal Guard- depending on obtaining many of 1 bit (more on that later) since they'd also be converted. the extra rare, may be a unit of waywatchers or a 2nd treeman.

The Look

The theme of the army is the Bayou. Swamp Elves. When I thought of this idea it wouldn't let me alone ;) While I love temperate forest elves, I felt a swampy bayou would make a fun modeling project without being so different that it would seem out of place on an average wargaming table. I want the army to have a dark feel but not evil. A cross between Mirkwood & True Blood.

So, everything I will put in this army must fit the theme.
For basic troops I really like the models of the glade guard. The ragged layered clothing is brilliant and should really lend itself to painting in a collection of colors. I prefer the hooded heads though- I'm not a fan of the strange partial helmets. Hoods also seem more indicative of the swamp environment. I made the 2 glade guard units, they still need green stuff and are unbased. 2 models I used unhooded heads, though I may green stuff hoods- or at least a hood tossed back behind their heads. Though I won't have a champion in troop units I'll still have a model in each unit that looks like a leader. For the Glade Guards I may have a couple of 2 or 3 base length bases so I can add some trees & other elements between the models.

I got several good suggestions for dryads themed for the bayou, but I think i'll use the actual dryads- I have the models, I like the models, and have some plans for converting them to be more swampy.

Treekin will be mini vignettes.

The Treeman is going to be "Old Man Mangrove" with an alligator on his base just for visual fun.. I imagine the alligator hangs around to get scraps from the Mangrove's meals ;)

The Glade Riders will be on Cold Ones, painted like alligators. Horses would not do well in the swamp, so they had to go. Luckily the cold one models are ace and should look very much at home in the swamp.
Image

The Dragon: I'm leaning more and more to use the new orc wyvern that was just released and convert him to a dragon. he looks remotely gator-like and his pose has a hunched & crafty feel that fits in well.

Bases: I ordered some non-beveled bases this week so when they arrive I'll see if that bit of extra surface area is a benefit to what I want to do. I'll have elements of water effect, trees, fallen logs, ferns & cattails. So my glade guard have no bases yet, but that is ok for now- I have limited free time and a lot of other things to do for this project while I wait for the bases- lots of assembly to do.

Planning out the year: I will try to get all the glade guard done for the first update. I want to start with them as the visual anchor of the army.. something to refer back to for color & style as I add to the army. Plus it will be nice to get them out of the way, and 'play' with the more converted selections later. And I know I'll be out of the country for many months next year, so I want to save some of the less numerous selections and ones with fewer colors for the months I'll be painting away from home, which will be an interesting experience and challenge in its own right.

I think Domus had a good idea in his request in his GCXII thread, in that if anyone has suggestions or references in pictures I welcome them, but if you can include them as *links* in your replies rather than inserted pictures it would help keep this thread organized and easier to follow the project as it unfolds. Thanks and I welcome any comments, suggestions, etc. I'll try to update things here in between the monthly GCXII updates.

belakor

Re: Born on a Bayou

Postby belakor » Sat Sep 05, 2009 12:13 pm

This will be interesting to follow.

Rellay fancy the idea

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Re: Born on a Bayou

Postby deng_ham » Sat Sep 05, 2009 2:46 pm

must say that this is one of the more interesting wood elf concepts I've seen. Clearly wood elf and compleetly different.

I miss the wild riders on your army list. IMO it's the best unit in the army. And the eternal guard.... they are too slow and cost to much to work propperly in the army.

Love the cold one wood elf rider, but I'd cut off the spikes along it's back or atleast reduce them to smaler scales like the ones on a gator.

Also when basing them it would be sweet having the staning on fallen trees or on roots raising from the water. Don't know about them half submerged (like we saw plenty of with skinks 5 years back) but it might work. Swiming gators with the riders on there backs maybe.
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Re: Born on a Bayou

Postby Daddy troll » Sat Sep 05, 2009 4:37 pm

Scale creep might be a problem but have you considered the Lord of the Ring range. I'm thinking in particular of the Rangers of the North, you know, Aragorn's buddies. I know, I know, they're human but most of them are hooded and carry bows. They would provide some variety in pose and although I haven't done a comparison, I don't think they would look too out of place. Also, if you want to take them to an official GW tourny, they're still GW figures.
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Re: Born on a Bayou

Postby Laughing Ferret » Sat Sep 05, 2009 6:43 pm

Hmmm...yeah, the wild riders are one of the better units in the wood elf list, and its shocking how once you account for the free musician they're really about the same cost as the glade riders. I am toying with the idea of trading one unit of glade riders to wild riders. If I can come up with a conversion idea I like I may do that.

That's a good thought about the cold one spikes- I'll photoshop it and see if I like the look of it better without the sagital spikes. I did remove the harness spikey hooks & the spiked points from it's chest armor- so it'll be painted as cuirboilli leather.

yeah, I'll be going very detailed on their bases- the one photo'd was just a test piece- base was just to get the general idea rather than a finished project. sometimes it helps me to make a mock up and let it sit around for some time, look at it, pick it up, see what ideas it starts to stir in my mind before I go in to make the final pieces.

As for the Lord of the Rings range- I do love their rangers- both rangers of the north & gondorian rangers, but the models are both a bit smaller and also closer to true proportions, so wouldn't fit in well enough with the rest of the models for my sense of balance. Maybe if I wasn't using my 'gator striders' I could get away with it- but they are pretty key to the theme.

Thanks for the ideas :D

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Re: Born on a Bayou

Postby Phoenixenvy » Sun Sep 06, 2009 2:32 am

Looking great so far!

In terms of the Wild Riders, in the original range, the models aren't hugely different. They are shirtless, and have masks rather than hoods, and the steeds have fancier adornments.. nothing not within your abilities, to be certain. I was, myself, thinking that it might be interesting to convert Saurus warrior heads into helmets for your Wild riders, probably otherwise using the standard wild rider torsos and legs, perhaps adding some more viney or scaley effects to their clothing. And, of course, mounting them on the cold ones again.
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Laughing Ferret

Re: Born on a Bayou

Postby Laughing Ferret » Sat Sep 12, 2009 9:07 pm

With one month from today before the first monthly updates for the GCXII project, here's an update on the initial start of the Bayou Elves.

I'm glad the first month is really a month and a half, since this is a brand new project. I didn't have this army ready to begin painting... I started with a few boxes of sprues & 1 test model made that was one random afternoon bits bash moment that kept building in the back of my mind until the army concept took shape, stood up & said "you will make us!" :mrgreen:

The question was: what part of the army to do first, and what can I do now for assembly that will make this smoother down the line? I had to order bases, some new foliage items, and that stuff is just begining to come in now- with some etched brass on the way- maybe already, but probably not. Still need to order some minis too, but with a year project it's less of a rush for some of the items.

I started assembling archers first and then dryads in late night down-time while I waited for bases to arrive. I do prefer to paint on assembled bases, rather than paint base & figure separately, if I am able to. It helps me get a feel for the model in its setting & just an old habit really. As long as I'm careful it works out fine.

I ordered pints & a quart of different sized bulk bases from GaleForce9. I thought the extra surface area compared to the plastic slope-edged bases would be beneficial, and if not- that's ok, as I have a large Celt & a Roman army in sprues that will be using the bases anyway- the elves will only make a dent in the bases actually. The bases arrived and I am very happy with them! I was right- that little bit of extra room really helped. often the feet of the archers would have overhung at the angle I wanted, or where the bevel would have been is where a swamp-pond's ridge is now. a 20mm base is not much room to work with for base details, especially with a large GW model on it with a cloak. I should be able to do more with the larger bases in the army of course.

In construction I wanted 1 model in each unit that would look like a champion, even though I doubt I'll have them in the army- it makes a nice centerpiece for the unit, is useful for skirmish games, campaign play, or having a substitute hero model.

I thought about drilling into the base to make deeper ponds, but after some experiments with water bases, you can get very realistic water with a very shallow depth. in fact, unless you're sinking an object into the water, the difference between a 3/32 of an inch and a 1/4 of an inch is just a lot more water effect and a lot more drying time.

Here are some shots of the Bayou Guard before painting begins.
Image

Image

Image

See the champion on the right? she's made with arms from the glade rider set.. unfortunately that box only comes with 2 of those arms. If I made a unit of eternal guard- this is how I will make them- I'm thinking of making the unit as a 'sideboard' unit for the army, but I'd need to get a lot of those arms. If anyone has any to spare- they don't seem like they'd be used much for glade riders or very useful for them actually- so if anyone has any to spare let me know as I'm sure I'd be interested in them- some kind of trade, paypal, etc.

Thanks for the ideas Phoenix! I have a test wild rider abut 90% constructed- he'll be in the next update.

Next will be to paint one for a test model. Ideally, I'll do both units together as October 12th's update.

Rez

Re: Born on a Bayou

Postby Rez » Sun Sep 13, 2009 12:05 pm

Looking good so far. The larger bases definitely give you a bit more room to work with. On the topic of the bases - what is the white stuff you have used? Im about to start making a jungle/swamp Lizardmen army, and I would be keen to get hold of some of that stuff to try it out. What are you going to be using for the actual water effects?
Last edited by Rez on Sun Sep 13, 2009 8:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Laughing Ferret

Re: Born on a Bayou

Postby Laughing Ferret » Sun Sep 13, 2009 7:30 pm

yeah I was suprised how pleased I am with these bases. they have a bit more weight to them than the plastic of course, which helps balance the models, they are solid, which is better for pinning, and of course the extra surface area is just what I needed.

The white stuff for the ground work is Vallejo white stone.
Image
A decent sized tub that will last a very long time. you can mix sand into it if you want texture, but for the kind of ground I want, just smooth straight from the jar is just right. It dries fairly quickly and is pretty sturdy once dry. For rocks & hills i mix the miliput & green stuff- that's how I made the root-hill. But the basic ground is this white stone product. it's sturdy enough to form the pond edges, but it isn't as easy to go back and add small amounts- because it is thick, so if I need to build the edges up a bit after I often do that with green stuff.
Image

The water effect I use is vallejo still water. also a great product. here's a swamp water base
Image

Rez

Re: Born on a Bayou

Postby Rez » Sun Sep 13, 2009 9:07 pm

Cheers for the quick reply LF - I will have to try and hunt some of this stuff down. Looking forward to seeing this blog progress, will one to watch.

Zechs

Re: Born on a Bayou

Postby Zechs » Sun Sep 13, 2009 9:13 pm

A fresh and interesting take on woodies. I'm looking forward to your results despite generally hating pointy eared snuff heads :)

Kiourgr

Re: Born on a Bayou

Postby Kiourgr » Mon Sep 14, 2009 9:29 am

looking good mate.
I like the idea of the vines on the rock.

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Re: Born on a Bayou

Postby Red Bruul » Mon Sep 14, 2009 12:37 pm

Really nice work so far - I'm loving the new aproach to Wood Elves. I'm also looking forward to seeing the dryas/treeman etc. Have you thought about trying to recreate that hanging moss (don't know its real name) that you get on trees in swamps - it could look really effective, especially on larger models.

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Re: Born on a Bayou

Postby RaZeR » Mon Sep 14, 2009 1:54 pm

Sounds great, and the first models are looking good too :)
I'll be watching with interest
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Re: Born on a Bayou

Postby Laughing Ferret » Mon Sep 14, 2009 7:53 pm

Red Bruul wrote:Really nice work so far - I'm loving the new aproach to Wood Elves. I'm also looking forward to seeing the dryas/treeman etc. Have you thought about trying to recreate that hanging moss (don't know its real name) that you get on trees in swamps - it could look really effective, especially on larger models.


Thank you. Regarding the hanging moss, yes that's been part of the image I've seen in my head from the begining. Wet tangles of hanging spanish moss.. not exactly something that the common static grass, shaker ground cover, lichen or etched brass will stand in for. But I'll be trying some experiments. I have an idea that is simple but think will work, involving shread-pulling cotton balls & watered down & colored pva glue. it works in my head, will give it a go soon :mrgreen:

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Re: Born on a Bayou

Postby deng_ham » Mon Sep 14, 2009 8:04 pm

Laughing Ferret wrote:
Red Bruul wrote:Really nice work so far - I'm loving the new aproach to Wood Elves. I'm also looking forward to seeing the dryas/treeman etc. Have you thought about trying to recreate that hanging moss (don't know its real name) that you get on trees in swamps - it could look really effective, especially on larger models.


Thank you. Regarding the hanging moss, yes that's been part of the image I've seen in my head from the begining. Wet tangles of hanging spanish moss.. not exactly something that the common static grass, shaker ground cover, lichen or etched brass will stand in for. But I'll be trying some experiments. I have an idea that is simple but think will work, involving shread-pulling cotton balls & watered down & colored pva glue. it works in my head, will give it a go soon :mrgreen:

Steel wool might work. Streach it out into strips and give it a round of super glue. And then add some flock or other to give more texture.
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Laughing Ferret

Re: Born on a Bayou

Postby Laughing Ferret » Mon Sep 14, 2009 8:09 pm

deng_ham wrote: Steel wool might work. Streach it out into strips and give it a round of super glue. And then add some flock or other to give more texture.


Thanks, interesting idea- might be good for the thicker dryer areas of the hanging moss.

Steve-O

Re: Born on a Bayou

Postby Steve-O » Tue Sep 15, 2009 12:53 pm

0000 steel wool is pretty wispy. I think you should give it a shot. $5 at Home Depot will buy you a life time supply for this particular application.

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Re: Born on a Bayou

Postby MarkE » Tue Sep 15, 2009 6:07 pm

Looking forward to seeing this.
Laughing Ferret wrote:... Wet tangles of hanging spanish moss ...

Maybe just bits of recycled paper (egg carton grainy but finer) or Aquarel paper (easy to get at any art supplier) soaked in PVA glue?

Laughing Ferret

Re: Born on a Bayou

Postby Laughing Ferret » Wed Sep 16, 2009 11:41 am

Spent some time to try out a color scheme. Not the best quality painting on a test model, since they tend to get a bit too much paint- trying a color, changing my mind- pick up as much paint as can, try a new color over, etc. So hopefully future ones will be better now that I know which colors & how I want them highlighted. pictures showed me I need to tone down the crease in his right arm too. dang.

the swamp water is a bit hard to photograph when such small areas-but looks pretty good in person.

I'll let this sit on the desk for a few days while I decide if this is the scheme for the army or not. I had thought of adding some burgundy- tried it- but no, looked wrong. too christmassy :P

I wanted drab colors, but first try with them and it was all a dark washed out look.. needed some lighter areas- so I went with this sandy color for lightening it up a bit and so they will still look like something from across the battlefield.

goal here is to see if i like the colors of the elf and if I like the basing- if so this becomes the 'anchor' visually for the rest of the army. Knowing that, I went with only one color of green rather than what I had originally planned on- 2 maybe 3. reason is I'll have 2 or 3 units of Cav, riding 'gators' which will be dark green with pale green bellies, so to set the elves apart a bit I went with more browns on the elf so they won't be overdone with the greens.

here's the test elf:

ImageImageImage

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Re: Born on a Bayou

Postby MarkE » Wed Sep 16, 2009 3:51 pm

That looks great! And the water base really gives the miniature added context - will be a striking army for all the right reasons carried throughout.

curse of beers

Re: Born on a Bayou

Postby curse of beers » Wed Sep 16, 2009 4:23 pm

Very nice, but much too clean, if you don't mind me saying. Although I guess that's an elf kinda thing. I imagined a really grubby, dirty feel; ragged cloth, mud everywhere. Kinda like they live in a swamp :)

I AM a grimy kinda guy though. :lol:

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Re: Born on a Bayou

Postby deng_ham » Wed Sep 16, 2009 4:35 pm

curse of beers wrote:Very nice, but much too clean, if you don't mind me saying. Although I guess that's an elf kinda thing. I imagined a really grubby, dirty feel; ragged cloth, mud everywhere. Kinda like they live in a swamp :)

I AM a grimy kinda guy though. :lol:

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Re: Born on a Bayou

Postby MarkE » Wed Sep 16, 2009 4:44 pm

Nah they still elves besides he has some dirt on his cloak already :wink:

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Re: Born on a Bayou

Postby Daddy troll » Wed Sep 16, 2009 6:20 pm

When you proposed the initial concept I thought then that this could prove very interesting. If the test mini is anything to go by I'll certainly be watching your progress (if only to steal some terrain ideas - imitation being the sincerest form of flattery - honestly!).

I like the balance of the colour scheme, some green 'cos of them being tree huggers combined with the leather look of the light brown (also hippy- like). The bow looks like old weathered wood, another woody mainstay.

I also think the squared off base edge does exactly what you wanted, ie to provide more surface area for scenic effects whilst still being the correct size overall.

Ok I'll stop gushing now, I haven't played or painted anything fantasy for quite a while now but I'll keep up with you.

Cheers,

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Re: Born on a Bayou

Postby Laughing Ferret » Wed Sep 16, 2009 8:33 pm

Thanks for the comments everyone. I appreciate the feedback.

This is the first time I've ever attempted a painting blog of any kind- usually I just work behind a big secret lab door and reveal a project once finished. So I'm trying to stay loyal to the concept, show as I go and give all the waffling, not confident train of thought that goes with trial & error :mrgreen:

re: clean vrs grimy:
I know what you mean, and I'm not surprised to see a split already with just a handful of observers. It's always a divide between clean or weathered. I have no preference myself: I like both. With these I think I will be adding more to their dirty factor, but not a whole lot. If I remain convinced of this color scheme this week, when I begin the rest of them what will happen is one of them will get a more dirty treatment, I'll compare the two, and make the rest to match whichever of the two levels of dirt I like.

Either way, there will be a bit more than this one shows- at minimum I think I'll increase the cloak's dirt up and then add some darker grime to the area that is there now. and a bit on the boots. But I suspect I won't go very grimy for a couple reasons:

1. the bases are very dark since wherever there is not vegatation there is wet-mud, not the typical lighter colored dry brushed gravel...this means the base is quite dark & to muddy up the boots to match, while realistic- hike through the mud and soon you have a couple quarts of mud stuck to your feet, no boots in sight- that level of realism would cause on this scale and that dark to make the boots look like they aren't there or would blend into the mud of the base too much and lose the distinction. might look fine for a single close up miniature, but across the table I think the subtlety would be lost.

2. at the end of the day, while they were 'born on a bayou' they are still elves. One of my favorite bits reading Lord of the Rings was when the fellowship was struggling through the snow of the misty mountains, the two men trying to bulldoze a path for the rest and Legolas is sent to scout ahead.. right.. lightly jump to the top of the snowdrift and effortlessly sprint across the top of it.

So I think I'll be adding some more dirt to the clothing, but won't have them looking completely grimed up- figuring they are still light on their feet.
The comments definitely helped me hash the back and forth of it :)

I will say though, that when I do the conversion for the bayou guard scouts (which I plan to have double as waywatchers if I need them) they will be embracing the grimy more, as they are going camo guerrilla fighter style.

Daddy Troll: I haven't painted much for fantasy or played in years either- it' fun to be back doing a project for my first miniatures game. I'm looking forward to having a painted army for the game again... and it's making me want even more to get to my unpainted dwarves as well.

kefas

Re: Born on a Bayou

Postby kefas » Sun Oct 04, 2009 11:29 am

wow! I really like your colour shame and precision! I want see more pictures!

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Re: Born on a Bayou

Postby UberTek » Sun Oct 04, 2009 1:46 pm

I'm in the cleaner painting camp, but thats more in line with my own painting style. Love that sceen in the fellowship too. :D

Swampy bases look good.
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Re: Born on a Bayou

Postby Viruk » Mon Oct 05, 2009 12:15 pm

Your 2250 list is illegal, since you have 5 heroes. Remember Dragon takes up a hero slot.
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Re: Born on a Bayou

Postby RaZeR » Mon Oct 05, 2009 1:36 pm

Really nice test elf :) I like the colour scheme, and the base is pretty good as well. I'd also say go for the cleaner scheme, maybe just some flecks of mud on the bottom of the cloak. Should hopefully look as if they keep their stuff clean, but obviously on each expedition they'll pick up a few mud splatters...
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