A long time ago I bought a pack of plastic Games Workshop (Warhammer) Dark Elves, and three metal figures to use in Hero Quest. More recently, the D&D campaign that I run has been encountering Dark Elves / Drow in increasing numbers. I have seven of WotC’s D&D pre-painted mini’s and started using my unpainted GW figures to bolster their numbers. Having fought their way through Hill, Frost and Fire Giants, the party are seeking the Drow that masterminded the assault of giants in the west of the Flanaess of Oerth. Their next step is entering Lolth’s Demonweb and so they will encounter many dark elves. Time to paint…
Eight standard Dark Elf warriors, 2 “champions” (I think they’re Blackguard) and a sorcerer. The standard paint scheme of my D&D mini’s seems to be black on black, with a touch of silver. (I’m touching some of those up next.) I’ve been watching Subedai on “The Lost and the Damned” a lot since the end of last year, since he’s done a range of Dark Elves. This was the basis for my uniforms. The plastic figures have as much detail as the metal ones, which isn’t common in my experience. I spent a week and a half working on these – if I can just finish some floor plans for parts of the Demonweb then I’ll be ready for another D&D session!
I wanted to show a painting progression for the standard warriors, but forgot to take pictures each night. Here’s what I do have:
I normally do flesh first, but I was still looking up how other people have painted drow flesh, so left it to last. If I do any more drow, then I’ll prime the whole figure in black! All of my figures had a long helmet ornament which I didn’t like – half got trimmed before I sprayed primer. The other half of that (skull) went part way through painting. I generally paint mail black, then go over with silver, but chose to start with my violet first to give a different look. The final result is noticeable, but doesn’t stand out. It worked well, whereas I don’t like the green (as much) behind the mail I did on the champions. I varied their boots a little by using two browns and then later did something similar with the scabbards. Blackened most of the areas to be treated in dark green and did the bottom of each figure – then glued into a new base. Browns on sword hilts and chest plate, then antique copper. Grey on helmets (I should have just done this in black too) and then silver on blades and helmets. I’d wondered about the chest emblem (skull) for a while – thinking that it could be a “house” symbol – and was considering red. These troops are what I’d consider city guards, rather than underdark patrols, but I decided against something bright. They ended up black, brushed over in silver. I’d done sleeves in a light grey and had to repaint those to violet once I started doing flesh – too similar.
Most of the sites and images I looked at for “drow flesh” suggested dark browns (supposedly easier to highlight) to very dark greys, to blacks (with grey/white highlights) I mixed a very dark grey that dried to a nearly black shade. A tiny bit of white highlight, then white eyebrows and eyes. Red over the white later for the eyes. The face detail on the plastic figures is excellent – made painting the eyes much easier than heaps of other figures that I’ve done. I gave all the figures a go over with AP Dark Tone Ink here – nice shading, particularly bringing out the weapons and the hair. Hair got a good paint now with white to clean up spill-over from other features, though I kept the detail brought out by the ink. I’d been doing the champions and sorcerer at the same time – same colours, mostly in different form.
The sorcerer got extra effort because he has a lot of extra details – scrolls, rings, trinkets, etc. The yellow ochre on his cap was originally going to be painted over with something else, but it looked good and worked with the green and purple, so I used it with the robe trim too.