The Lead Widow’s Mountain is generally miniature and system agnostic*. If a range or game has ever struck the fancy of the scribe, then nothing can prevent it from becoming part of the mouldering mounds of incomplete projects, not war, death, famine, fire, or the towering fury of the incomprehensibly vast arachnid in her lair. What counts foremost is aesthetics.
- Does the model please the eye of the beholder?
- Does the model sit well with other miniatures of its ilk, or race, or faction?
- Does the model suit the theme?
- Will the Widow notice it arriving or think it was always there, waiting…?**
Harpies have been present in Warhammer since 1st Ed, first as a Chaos troop type, then later appearing alongside Dark Elf armies. Recently, whilst pondering the spoil heaps, this scribe noticed that he lacked enough bat-winged monstrosities to field any sort of meaningful unit. Thus he cast his eye out across the various iterations of GW harpy searching for something shiny, keeping in mind the second rule of Aesthetic Collection.
It transpires that the humble Harpy has passed through several design changes over the years.
Moving swiftly on: Early Bob Olleys, complete with saggy dugs and unpleasant visage, which are very Oldhammer, but not so very attractive. Then came these:
Pugnacious gargoyle creatures of indeterminate gender, which positively exude grace, of course.
Then there is a drift to a slightly more pleasant countenance.
And thus we reach the most recent styling.
The current crop no longer fly under a name recorded in the work of ancient Greek poet and tedious self-pitying*** farmer Hesiod (thus falling safely outside the Realm of Lawyering). Instead they sport the moniker Khinerai, and the range as a whole is now The Daughters of Khaine, whilst their race is apparently Aelven.
They are quite pretty, much as the grumpy Greek rake-jockey first described them, with long, flowing hair and a genuine sense of grace and menace.
The kit is the by now standard GW ‘multi-part’ flat-pack, which is to say that they are in many parts in order to fit the box, not out of any consideration for alternate poses. (It is this scribes considered opinion that once a unit has been constructed, it should be relatively easy to work out what changes to make to the base model to achieve some variation.) They are relatively simple to build, even for someone who has not kept up with the current trends in Warhammer armaments. Options exist for two variants: javelin-armed, mask-wearing Heartrenders, or shield&sickle wielding bare-faced Lifetakers, with a suitable leader for either. The in-game distinction appears to be mostly one of ranged weapons, the former having a tad more reach than the latter.
This modest amanuensis chose to model the Lifetakers, going for a more classic look, although there seems no reason beyond fair unit identification not to use whichever heads are preferred.
The term ‘Captain Boingy’, or variations thereof, has been heard to echo around the hallowed halls of the local hobby shop, predominantly in reference to the recent crop of spoopy AoS war-ghost models, but the term certainly could apply here.
Balanced on a worryingly thin yet cleverly contrived tail, it is hard to imagine a similar metal or even resin model posed thusly, without recourse to serious scaffold or pinning. As spectacular as it is, it does lead to some mild painting issues and mild motion sickness when applying any sort of dry-brush, as well as a dread fear that the miniature is on the verge of being pushed too far. They are also incidentally prone to get caught on sleeves, elbows or passing pets, and could probably achieve flight given a strong enough breeze. Although they stand upright well enough, weighting the base is probably a good idea.
This isn’t the first test scheme she has worn, but it seemed too much effort to strip her, so some application may be a tad thick. This is broadly the same process used with earlier Dark Elf posts, for example here and here and also on the Doomguard miniatures here
Here’s the first attempt at a painting guide of sorts.
Armour: An ancient pot of Marine Dark Blue provided the bulk of the armour, (discontinued, for closest match see below) with a sheen of Drakenhof Nightshade, edged with Retributor Gold.
Wings: An experiment in the new technical paints, in this case Hexwraith Flame over an 883 Vallejo Silver Grey base, with a tad of dry-brushing using Bilious Green (see below). (The same silver grey serves for hair, with a light wash of Drakenhof Nightshade.) The ‘fingers’ and incidentally the tail are both Macragge Blue, with a Drakenhof Nightshade wash and a mild touch of Lothern Blue.
Skin: Worked up from Caledor Sky to 973 Vallejo Light Sea Grey.
Base: Armageddon Dust, 837 Vallejo Pale Sand, and a tender stroke of Ushabti bone. The stone head is just dry-brushed with whatever pale greys came to hand. Once more of the army is complete, attempts will be made to bring all the basing together coherently.
Black (thigh boots): approx 4 drops of Nuln Oil black ink (or the same in Gloss for some serious shine), a dab of Vallejo gloss varnish, and a drop or two of sepia ink, applied as a wash over Abaddon Black dry-brushed with Space Wolf Grey (see below). Varying the amount of dry-brush creates variations in the sepia tone, which can then be adjusted with grey or light brown edge highlights to taste. Likewise varying the amount of Sepia ink can create interesting effects.
Shopping list. All the colours used, or viable alternatives, with links to a suggested UK source. (Moment of disclosure, the source is our new affiliate/sponsor/friendly neighbourhood FLGS, The Outpost, in Sheffield UK, snared in the Widow’s tangled web. Bwahahaha etc, of which more will no doubt be writ in future).
Bilious Green (Disc.): Try Moot Green, perhaps with a dab of white or yellow)
Space Wolf Grey (Disc): Fenrisian Grey these days.
Nuln Oil Ink (Or Gloss)
You may also need: One box of Daughters of Khaine: Khinerai
It seems highly likely that a unit of javelin-armed Heartrenders will worm their way into the collection before too long, alongside select other AoS Daughters of Khaine miniatures, though the debate over which Witch Elves to use is a painful one, for a future posting
*To her great chagrin, it is also cost and common-sense agnostic too.
** Ok, this is not aesthetics, this is the Golden Rule of Self-Preservation.
***No really. Ask him about his brother…