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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 7:34 pm 
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Well, I suppose an introduction is in order..

Hi I am The Dark Sheep, once an active collector, hobbyist and lurker of several forums (although I was very active over on vampirecounts.net). I haven't really touched a paintbrush in ten years - ever since real life happened. University and so on.. Now lately I've found myself with a stable job and finally som spare time on my hands, so a couple of weeks ago I picked up Total War for the first time and tried my hand at a high elf campaign (HE being my first ever army), and I had an absolute blast!

That inspired me to have a browse through the old GW website, and I was horrified to see the changes :shock: Disgusting.. and they had discontinued almost their entire range of high elf miniatures! WHAT!?? I couldn't stand for it, so i had a thorough look through my ancient and extensive folder of GW alternatives to see if I could find some replacement elves - because I started to feel an itch to bring out the old brushes and silver paint.

I was disappointed.. none of the alternatives even came close to the old GW plastic orangutan elves (and that's saying something). I even checked out some of the more recently established indie modellers like Last Sword, but they look way too computer generated and bulky for my taste. As does the recent GW models, so I have absolutely zero faith in those rumoured "pointy elves" I read about.. no soul.

As you might be able to tell this is a project borne out of spite :lol: I wanted to find the perfect replacement elf..

Well I finally had the sense to go and check out GW's old LotR range, and lo and behold! There they were the entire time: the Lothlorien Galadhrim elves.. slender, robed, scalemailed and longhaired elves with subtle aquiline details.. They were right under my nose the entire time!

They would only require some slight alterations to make them perfect. Below is my first draft - a quick photoshop sketch to check whether my hunch was right:

Image


Well.. I thought they looked promising, so I went down to my local GW and ordered myself a box. A week later i had the sprues in my hands and I immediately got down to converting.

...

Below you can see the final result of some trying and failing:

Image


I was quite happy with the result, and especially pleased that the final draft ended up being a pure kitbash! No greenstuff required! (although you will see below that I have sculpted a pennant to help reinforce the fragile spear head)

For anyone interested here is the list of ingredients:

- One LotR Galadhrim warrior
- The head of a Dark Elf cold one knight
- The tip of a Wood Elf glade rider spear
- Some old High Elf spearelf feathers

I had to trim off the entire neck of the COK head and shave off some of the clumpy head structure of the Galhadrim elf to make everything fit nicely, but it was all in all a very simple conversion. The kits scaled well with one another I found, and the anatomy of the LotR models has always been spot on, so the outcome HAD to be decent!

...

Now to the painting:

Image


I find the old LotR models a real treat to paint. They have so much soul and expression and their beautiful detailing is very sober and rational, requiring very little freehand in order to look good. They almost paint themselves - kudos to the sculptors (Perry twins? Does anyone know?)!

So there you are - one finished spearelf!

...

But how does it compare to the old elves you might ask.. "The LotR miniatures are surely of a smaller scale!" Look no further. Below is a size comparison with an old monkey elf and one of those giant (!) metal lords from way back:

Image


I think they compare quite nicely. I was surprised to see that my converted slenderelf actually stood taller than the old ham fisted classicelf. Just put them on square bases (if you like me prefer the rank and file of oldhammer) and I can imagine them standing convincingly as a full unit of core elves.

There is only one drawback with these elves that I haven't touched on, and that is the fact that they are all monopose. This limits the possibilities somewhat, but with a little bit of ingenuity it should be possible to work around that little problem. They come in 12 varieties (4 archers, 4 swordsmen and 4 spear) anyway, so there is still a lot to do with this box.. Swordmasters anyone? Armoured archers? and you get 24 in one go :shock:

A rare GW value for money situation $ 8) $

There are a few other sets to go with these guys also - both mounted and light armoured. And I think they also have some excellent plastic eagles to go with as well.

https://www.games-workshop.com/en-NO/Middle-earth?N=3140031572+3170377236&Nr=AND%28sku.siteId%3ANO_gw%2Cproduct.locale%3Aen_NO_gw%29&Nrs=collection%28%29%2Frecord%5Bproduct.startDate+%3C%3D+1579804620000+and+product.endDate+%3E%3D+1579804620000%5D

...

Anyway.. I hope you found this post useful in any way (if there are still people kicking around this forum). I just thought I'd share my excitement..

Maybe I'll stick around for some more painting? We'll see.. and if someone has any suggestions for a bolt thrower please share. i'd like to get my hands on one of those plastic ones, but they are sadly extinct..

Regards
TDS

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Last edited by The Dark Sheep on Sat Jan 25, 2020 8:50 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 10:28 pm 
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Welcome TDS!

:)

It’s a great project. The Middle Earth ranges are a really interesting option for an old school take on the elves. Unfortunately your pictures are not showing for me, either with Safari on iOS or Chrome on Android.

The Dark Sheep wrote:
any suggestions for a bolt thrower

I use the Gondor Avenger.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 10:29 pm 
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For some reason your pictures aren't showing. I'd love to take a look at them though.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 10:50 pm 
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Oh no!! :shock:

Must have been because I used google images or something - have to be logged in as me (which I naturally am) for it to work.. But try now, flickr should work.

Good suggestion about the Gondor avenger by the way. It might look a bit too manmade compared to what I have in mind, but with some alterations to the limbs in particular it could work. Maybe I could make a slightly more curved version of it in balsa?

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2020 12:13 am 
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Hey, that looks quite nice. Much better than the 6e plastics (though that's a low bar indeed).


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2020 11:13 am 
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I like them a lot. Nice work :)

One note, it would be good to make the images a bit smaller (around 1080 max width) so it's easier to read the post.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2020 1:56 pm 
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Splendid work, they are amazing and cant wait to see what you do with those Sword Elves or Archers.

Biggest problems would be that your bitzbox would need to be immerse. And especially those Cold One Rider heads might be hard to come by, you got any plans besides those heads?

I do hope to see more tho ! :shock:


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2020 3:00 pm 
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Really elegant work!

I've just come back from a WFHB life hiatus too, and the lack of core troops that aren't abomination against nature has been a major sticking point for my rebooted High Elves. After co-opting in some Wood Elf Glade Guard for archers, this is a brilliant way to resolve the spearman question.

Having just seen the AOS spearmen, I think they might have been taking notes from you! But the Spartan-esque aesthetic doesn't appeal to me - I think yours are much closer to my imagination.



Image



On the helmet, do you think there are any in the High Elf range that could work? (I think securing Cold One Knight helmets in sufficient numbers might be expensive.) Shadow Warriors are a bit too enclosed for me. Maybe Eternal Guard in the Wood Elf range?

Brilliant work though mate!


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 11:11 am 
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...
Thank you for the kind words all! :)
...

Oh my, are those truly the new elves? I was banking on them providing a decent alternative for heads at least, but unfortunately these new "pointy elves" are far from as pointy as implied.. in fact these are quite rounded off! Truly though they aren't as bad as I had feared, but they are nowhere near my mental picture of a high elf. Why is it that GW had to abandon a perfectly iconic and style defining look to replace it with a generic fantasy interpretation of a quasi greco phalanx? Where is the slender regality of the shiny silver host?

I suppose they are good for bitz though.. the bodies could work for archers perhaps - if the pauldrons aren't attached, and the heads would be at home on some white lions I guess.

...

On the topic of heads.. I made a mockup with some old HE heads at first, both silver helms, spearmen, charioteers and plastic noble, but found them a little disproportionate. Though I suppose they could work if you are not as picky about that sort of thing as I am. I haven't got any of those newer infantry units though.. maybe they would fit better?

Those eternal guards have some promise, but the problem is the hair - the lotr elves have hair sculpted onto their shoulders, so it would require some work to adapt the flowing locks of the eternal guard. But possibly they could work. I have no idea about the scale though..

So yes, I suppose I'll stick to CO knights for now (and then I'll keep the original heads on the archers). But I am already running a little low as you suggested, so I tried my hand at some green stuff moulding:

Image


As you can see it worked out with quite varying results. The first head came out great with crisp details and only a little flash. The next one though is a total mess. No facial features and much more rounded off around the edges. I guess I'll have to work on my technique here to get it right..

If anyone has any tips in this regard I would be thrilled to hear them!

So far I have figured out that fixing the bottom half of the mould to a stable base is important. So is providing an absolute guide for the upper half, thus ensuring that it fits perfectly. Hence I built the lego structure (more pieces on the side). The lego pattern keeps the green stuff in place and the walls provide the guide. I also knead in a tiny amount of vaseline to keep the green stuff from sticking, and then i provide an even pressure on the closed mould (with a blob of GS inside of course), using a square stamp i made from more lego pieces.

I have no idea why the second head came out so bad though. Was the GS too soft? Or is the mould already spent and broken? I had hoped to get at least a handful of heads out of it before making a new one..

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 3:33 pm 
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I would recommend trying a product like instant mold or blue stuff. Or you could go all out and go silicone and resin.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 4:21 pm 
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Really nice work, lovely conversions. I have seen a few like it in the past but they look fantastic. Where do you pick up the square bases?

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2020 12:40 am 
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Shannar, Sealord wrote:
I would recommend trying a product like instant mold or blue stuff. Or you could go all out and go silicone and resin.

I suppose using the right medium for the job is always the best idea. Green Stuff is really meant for sculpting - it's just the only one I really know. I'll go to the local mini railroad store next week and ask if they stock anything like that. Thanks for the tip Shannar!

Olthannon wrote:
I have seen a few like it in the past..

Really? Do you remember where? On this forum maybe? I would love to see another take on these models- for inspiration. See if I can learn something.

Olthannon wrote:
Where do you pick up the square bases?

Well I suppose GW stopped selling those a good while ago didn't they? Hadn't really considered that. Come to think of it that must mean I'm sitting on a small fortune worth of square bases from way back.. 8)

Image


Now on to some more elves..

Today I assembled a few more as you can see below; two spear and four archers. I've definitely settled on the look for the spearelves after seeing them in force (3) - they can absolutely form an imposing unit eventually I think.

I am wondering about the archers though. With the original heads I think they look a little more lightly armoured, but I would like to do something extra to distinguish them. Give them their own look. I added feathery plumes to the two on right which I think works fairly well. It gives them sort of an oriental look I think, but I'm not entirely sure yet if that is the direction I'm going for.. hmm, we'll see once I put some paint on them I suppose.

Image
Image
Image

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2020 4:32 am 
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ebay often has instamold cheap. The process is nearly the same as what you are doing by the way, just with a better medium. Here is a tutorial that should help. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIWDqQOA040


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2020 9:13 am 
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First of all: Beautifull job! Its always a thing of beauty watching someone plan and execute an interesting and challenging project while putting their heart into it!

When I was at that point I never imagined going to LotR models, as I owned a few old Gondorians and even rivendell elbes and they seemed way smaller than the whfb scale.
I started converting and sculpting a lot, which doomed me to a very slow progress...
Now I am dappling into 3D design to combat that problem - but thats a different story.

As to creating molds: Green Stuff doesn't hold hard edges very good. Milliput is way better it that regard (and cheaper btw). But its also more brittle. Thats why it may brake, if you made a mistake creating the mold and try to get it out.
Mixing GS and Milliput works very fine though and you can vary the results to your liking.
Another thing could be, that you a) eiter didnt press hard enough or b) the material was allready curing to much or c) air got trapped inside and the material couldn't fill out all the crevices....
As to a) and b) (which kinda belong together) I usually prefer to let the material cure for 20 - 30 minutes, so it looses some of its stickiness. Then I press the material with a blunt sculpting instrument into the smalles areas, before applying the rest.
As to c): it helps drilling (or cutting) small holes into allready pointy places, e.g. the top and the bottom points of the helmet. the excess in material is easily to breake of later. Thats like the air reservoir created in comercial molds...

Looking forward to see more progress!


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2020 9:49 am 
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Great looking elves. I've never considered the LoTR models for WH elves, even though I love the models. I really must start a LoTR army at some point ;)

I can second Shannar's suggestion for instamold. It works great as a way of replicating parts. It holds details well and you can use it multiple times betterthen greenstuff. Also, once you're done with a part, you can just change it and go for the next part. I've used it in the past for a tree (see here: http://www.ulthuan.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=877716#p877716, click on the image to see what it's actually about).

Milliput greenstuff might be a better choice then greenstuff. It's definitely cheaper (which is nice if you need a lot of it). But it's also softer when it's still malleable, which means it gets into crevices better. And it cures harder then greenstuff, which means the details will come out better. I should note that, in my experience, this is also why it's less useful if you're trying to sculpt fine details yourself.

Rod

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2020 12:43 am 
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Thank you so much for the help all! You are all quite competent in the area I gather, both from your writing and from your work! It seems like I have a lot to learn when it comes to both moulding and sculpting in general, having never used anything besides GW Green Stuff. I shall have to expand my repertoire, moving ahead!

...

And speaking of conversions here is another finished elf - an archer this time.

I was originally a little in doubt about the feather plume, but now that I have painted the model I have settled for this look. It gives it a bit of a fantasyesque top-heavyness that I like.

My only gripe with the current paintjob is that I couldn't seem to work in that little x factor, and now it looks a little bland. A spot colour of contrasting red, like in the gems of the above spearelf would be perfect, but I am uncertain about how to go about it; I could either paint the quiver a subtle wine red or perhaps pick out one of the two feathers in blood red? Or I could sculpt in one or two small jewelled talismans hanging from the belts or bow handle or something? The important consideration is that this would have to be worked in with all of the other archers as well.

I am also uncertain about whether to pick out the upper part of the helmet in gold (Too much? Too rich?) or whether to coat the lower part (ear covers) in leather brown to lighten the armour. Or should I leave it as it is in all silver (leaning towards this for rational reasons)? But it is a matter of colour balance..

Any opinions?

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2020 1:00 am 
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I think a little gold in the helmet would be good. Perhaps the raised portion, the bird head or whatever it is.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2020 7:47 am 
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I like him. I think the subdued color scheme fits the LoTR model range very well. The models are less over the top then WH ones are. So they don't need as much to look good (or better).

Rod

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 02, 2020 9:33 pm 
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Let me just add my appreciation...

=D>

Lovely work.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2020 9:41 pm 
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Colors are relative... If you want to make the colors on your model pop more, just add a little bit of contrasting colors next to it. pushing the yellow more towards orange (just the shadows and midtones) you would archive a focus on the bow and make the blue pop more.
I really like the cool and understated color choice. If you want to increase the contrast, I would increase the shadows by airbrushing (or carefully glazing in case you don't have access to an airbrush) a dark magenta or violet from below.

Looking great though!


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2020 10:03 pm 
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The big problem for me are heads, they are so hard to find, and im not good at molding heads. Your models look great.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2020 2:35 am 
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I'm in the same boat, Dark Sheep. Away from the hobby for a few years, taking another look while I'm stuck indoors, and dumbfounded to find most of GW's HE kits gone. (Mind you, in the case of spearmen, it's kind of moot)

I'm gobsmacked to see what you've done here, how the LotR elves fit so easily with just a couple of warhammery bits. Simple but genius! And a real good job painting them, to boot. Definitely going to keep this in mind.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2020 9:18 am 
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Greetings Dark Sheep,

i really like what i am seeing here, so i would like to add something to it:

1.) You mentioned "Last Sword" miniatures in your first post, i bought the axemen that have dragon cloaks. i have to tell you, i like them, beautiful models, well made. One thing that bothers me though is, that they might be too small, compared to all the new miniatures releases, which to me seem to be HUGE!
Not that i dislike big models (we´re all not getting younger, eye-sight is getting worse, blabla... lol) but it might look stupid having mini-elves and big-elves in one army! ;)
It´s not, that they´re half the size and you still can cheat a bit by putting them on something while basing, still, with the Lumi-Elves on the horizon, they might be their "mini-me´s".

2.) Your Paintjob: Bro... marvellous! What a sight! A pride fot the 10 realms and a brilliant idea!
Fascinating how blind people are, as you said, having them right before our nose all the years and not seeing it!

3.) Are the dragon-icons on the shield freehand? if yes, respect!

4.1) The new Lumi-Elves:
Well, i would say, they have potential. I have to admit, i dislike the whole cow-thing and the big model as well as the stupid helmets, which almost made me lose my lunch, BUT if someoe has a sharp knife, greenstuff, some talent and the will for it, he might get some awesome models like yours:
- spearmen: Change heads or at least cut off the crests - highelf spearmen
- riders: cut off crests, use some greenstuff to make the spears to lances - tadaaa, new silverhelms
- archers: IF the heads are removable, cut off 2 strings - nice archers
- hammer-guys: completely throw away the helmets, use GS to make the cloak look like fur and add some axeheads instead of hammers - pretty cool white lions
...or adjust the arms and give them swords - swordmasters (of course besides removing the helmet)
...one might even think about helberds and phoenix guard?
...IF i would really want to play them as they are, i thought about hammerheads with dragon iconography to make them fit a caledorian style army (but for that one, we will see)

4.2) the biggest issue with the new elves might be their size. we might have problems squeezing them on 20mm square bases and into units, seeing that the new models come on 25mm round bases, 32mm or even GW´s new 28,5mm. BUT if someone considers going fully AoS, it could be a nice occasion to build beautiful environmental movement trays?

5.) Regarding your Mold-Works: I AM FUCKING IMPRESSED!!!

6.) Archers: Your archers really hit it! i mean considering generations of monopose "things" or (if not monopose) disgusting versions of fluffwise beautiful archers made me personally use only one 20strong unit of Sisters along with a battlestandart (with the banner that gives flaming attacks) as archers. Your´s on the other hand make me rethink and maybe one day i might use more archers. The only issue i have it the helmets, which i would like to be more "pointy"! ;)

7.) Your LotR models look like plastic... i thought GW is doing the whole LotR range with their stupid finecast? Or is this some "alternate producer"? (you can answer that question via PM, before getting any trouble)

8.) Last but not least i would like to ask if the LotR models are not considerably smaller than the standart highelves or even the new stuff? Do you have any pics comparing yours to a lothers Seaguard for example?

Have a wonderful weekend and stay healthy!

Icarion

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