When I set out my 2015 mission statement earlier in the year, I purposefully left Eldar out of it, and yet they’re an army very close to my heart and one that I’d love to do more work with, but I have a problem, and that problem’s name is ‘finecast’.
As has been stated here, and on every other hobby-concerned blog, forum, social media page and in any discussion between fellow enthusiasts, there are myriad problems with this medium and I won’t dwell on those too much. However, whereas many painters and players have had some individual characters and components spoiled by finecast’s issues, the Eldar’s very core, it’s heart has suffered a horrible fate at its hands.
The thing that I, and many others love the Eldar for, are the Aspects. There’s a reason why the Court of the Young King has always been one of the most popular formations in Apocalypse Games (that’s an Avatar and a squad from each Aspect – for them that don’t know it). No one gets into an Eldar army for the Guardians, the rangers, or even the grav tanks. The Wraith part of this army has grown beautifully and usefully since the last codex but the dead guys, while awesome, still don’t have the iconic perfection that are the Aspect Warriors.
I’ve worked on some of these before. I’ve got some Fire Dragons, Dire Avengers and some Striking Scorpions (not of the sort of quality that I’d put on this blog), as well as the Warp Spiders that you may have seen before on this blog (if not, they’re just above), sitting on my shelves. I was excited to paint them but soon realised the limitations. They are static. They are monotonous. The current finecast (sorry, Samuel) models just make for an unsatisfying experience, because, without really skilled conversions, there’s very little you can do to make each squad look different.
So how do you fix it? Even with the amount GW are churning out now, six new plastic kits is a big ask and Eldar only recently had a big release wave with their Codex. However, we should remember two things. Firstly, the new, more flexible release pattern that GW are aiming towards. Secondly, when looking at the poses of the Aspect Warriors, you could conceivably get this down to three kits full of posable options and details that would make any Eldar fan so much the happier.
I noticed a long time ago (and you probably have too) that GW control your spending and options with legs. Legs don’t tend to have a vast amount of details, and they aren’t traditionally what people look at straight away (on a miniature at least), so in a box that has two or even three kits, you only need to include the amount of legs suitable for one of those units. Ergo, thinking about poses and shapes, and remembering that Dire Avengers have already moved in this direction, you can have one kit that creates Scorpions/Spiders, one that creates Dragons/Reapers and one that creates Hawks/Banshees.
Not convinced? Well, think of it like this: The arachnids should both be running, and though their upper halves need to be completely different, you still duplicate certain aspects in a big, multi-pose kit. Dragons and Reapers are both hefting big guns and really, only their weapons and heads need to be wholly different. Hawks and Banshees would be the trickiest but actually, the way the legs look is all in the arms – if they’re holding a sword and look like they’re running, they’ll look like they’re running, while holding a lasgun in both and putting some posable wings on them give them the look of taking off into flight. Take a look at the models now and you can see that this could, conceivably work.
Once that’s done, some plastic Harlequins and an Autarch with a few decent options is all that’s really left to get the army to a great point. The Phoenix Lords would also be a real treat to have in plastic but I love their poses despite their age so I’m in no rush to see them redesigned.
Were I to believe that all of this could be done in 2015, I’d totally add Eldar back into my plans but, as it stands, they remain very low on my priority list. When I can create an unbound army of Scorpions and Spiders with forty of each, all in different poses, then I shall be back to the Eldar. Until then, they shall remain lowest on my priorities list, and I am a little bit sad about that.
If anyone at GW reads this blog (you never know!), please, from someone who has always been a fan of the Eldar, produce some plastic kits for all the Aspects. Three, six… however many you think it will take. They are the most glorious part of the Eldar and I, along with many others, would love to see these kits evolve into plastic. It would be the height of awesomeness and I’m sure Asuryan would reward you greatly.
What could Games Workshop do to make your army even better? Is there anything stopping you from diving into (or back into) a favourite army? Comments below please!