Thursday, 6 October 2011

Eldar: background and colour scheme

In this post I want to talk a bit about how I conceived my Eldar army and their colour scheme. These things are actually entwined so please bear with me…

I have always loved the background and look of GW’s space elves and a purchase of some Rogue Trader-era metal Guardians recently convinced me to collect them seriously as an army. From the outset I wanted to be “inclusive” and for models of all the release generations to be represented. Indeed, this extended to the facets of the race for I wanted to include Exodites, Corsairs, and deranged Slanneshi-possessed Eldar as well as their more commonly seen Craftworld kin. This posed somewhat of a challenge in terms of background, but the way I reconciled it was deciding that the army represents the stages of single Craftworld through time. The Guardians and Aspect Warriors belong to the Craftworld era, the Scouts and Corsairs to the post-Fall time, and the Exodites and Slaaneshi-possessed to the “devolved” period.

Although I wanted to involve as many of the great minis as I could I was certain that I wanted to try some conversions using other Eldar and Elf plastics in GW’s range. I was blown away by the Kill Team conversions that appeared in a previous edition of 40K (top image, below) which did this very successfully. Hence I picked up some High Elf, Wood Elf and Dark Elf sprues.

Such a mixed bunch of minis was liable to look very disparate when fielded together so I figured I needed a rigorously enforced colour scheme to bind them all together. The army would include the refined Craftworld Eldar thorough to the ragged, tribal Exodites, so finding a palette was a challenge. I downloaded lots of sample swatches, looked at other painter’s colour schemes and did some digital tests. In the end I settled for a solutions from my archives; one of the first colour schemes GW gave to the range. This was grey, yellow and green with details in brass and brown. By making the grey and yellow the main tones a modern feel could be achieved, but by “flipping” the scheme and  using mainly browns and greens a more rural feel is the result. The fact this scheme was ‘old-skool-canon’ by virtue of being published secretly pleased me too.

I’ll leave you with some examples and in my next post on the subject I’ll talk more about my methods for painting the minis.

These conversions really inspired me so I was keen to mix fantasy components into my models.

This is the White Dwarf ad which, after a lot of searching, inspired my colour scheme.

Some of the colour tests I did. Rough-and-ready, I grant you, but very useful.
Colour swatch test from the Adobe Kuler site - a highly useful resource for any visual creative.


  1. Looking forward to it - I've always wanted to do a crone world eldar army myself. When the plastic dark elves first came out I mixed them with the original dark eldar, which worked very well to make the rather pathetic eldar models much more wicked-looking.

  2. I find the old Rogue Trader Eldars very neat. No wonder, they've been made by Jes; punk elven space pirates at their best, yippee-kei-yarr!

    Really looking forward for the next update!