How to Paint Everything: Other Eldar Craftworlds

In our How to Paint Everything series, we take a look at different armies of the Warhammer universe, examine their history and heraldry, and look at several different methods for painting them. Today we take a look at the other Eldar Craftworlds, the lesser fleets that make up a significant portion of the galaxy’s remaining Asuryani.

Wait. Other Craftworlds?

Yep! Turns out there are a whole bunch of craftworlds out there beyond the ones typically mentioned with rules in Codex: Craftworlds. When the Eldar birthed Slaanesh and fled in their ships and flotillas, they splintered and ended up strewn across the galaxy. While many of these grouped together and formed the largest craftworlds as we know them today, many other smaller groups also did the same. These craftworlds are no less impressive, just less populated. Many, such as Mymeara, were in hiding for a long period of time, convinced they alone were the last of the Aeldari race. Others, like Lugganath, have turned their back on realspace and become corsairs, hoping to reclaim the webway and foster a deeper relationship with the Harlequins. The Eldar of Craftworld Altansar were caught in the shockwaves of the birth of the Eye of Terror and thought lost in the warp for thousands of years while they fought a desperate ongoing battle against the forces of chaos. Iybraesil is a matriarchal craftworld known for its Howling Banshees. Yme-Loc are talented artisans, known for their ability to create the powerful Talismans of Vaul that support their forces in battle.

Credit: Games Workshop

While rules support for these craftworlds are more limited, Psychic Awakening: Phoenix Rising introduced rules for creating custom craftworlds that opened the gates for players who felt more like creating their own designs rather than adopting one of the more established schemes created by Games Workshop. The nature of the Eldar means that there really aren’t any colors or patterns that are “off-limits,” so players are really free to let their imaginations run wild if they want to create their own schemes, or if they want something a bit more obscure, there are a number of lesser craftworlds and exodite forces that you can choose to paint for your army.

Where to Read More

Black Library literature on the Eldar is already pretty sparse even when you’re talking about the “main” craftworlds. The pickings are reaaal slim past that. Craftworld Lugganath get mention in the first of the Fabius Bile trilogy of novels, Josh Reynold’s Primogenitor. Specifically, the book’s protagonist spearheads a daring raid against the craftworld in order to steal material from its infinity circuit. Otherwise the minor craftworlds mostly show up in excerpts in Codexes and short stories.

 

Painting Other Craftworlds

There are a ton of different approaches you can take here, with lots of potential details. Regardless of how you choose to paint your Eldar, chances are good you’ll still need to paint gemstones, and plan on painting lots of large uniform curved surfaces.

Mymeara by Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

A major focus of the Forge World/Imperial Armour books that deal with Eldar, Craftworld Mymeara are a secretive group who for a long time thought themselves to be the last remaining Eldar. As such they became convinced it was their duty to carry on for the species, becoming secretive and experts at remaining hidden. I really liked their color scheme, which reminds me a lot of how I paint my Alpha Legion models, with a blue to green fade. This particular model started with a Grey Seer undercoat, which was then base coated with Kabalite Green.  Once that was down, I started shading half of the model with Biel-Tan Green, as you can see the start in the image above. My goal here was to work from Kabalite Green up to Sotek Green, more or less, and get a nice green to blue fade. Once I finished the shading with Biel-Tan, I went back over those sections with Kabalite Green, and started doing thin layers of mixes of Kabalite Green and Sotek Green, working up from one color to the other in layers. This gave me a pretty nice fade. These days I tend to do this with thinner, wetter layers but you can get similar results that are a bit faster (if not as smooth) by just doing lots of layers of drybrushing. You’ll get a more stippled texture doing that, however. I then mixed a little bit of Baharroth Blue in with the Sotek Green to do some final highlights and worked some highlight lines along the middle of the jetbike’s nose, to get a lighter blue effect. I did similar blends/fades on the rider’s armor and the back of the bike and the fins. I was pretty pleased with this result, so I decided to move on to some of the other details. Next up comes the helmet, which I painted Abaddon Black and highlighted with Corvus Black. The eyes were Mephiston Red with dots of Evil Sunz Scarlet and the face plate was a light off-white; I tend to use Reaper Ghost White for most of my white shades.

Next came edge highlights. I’m on a weekly hang-out-and-paint stream with a bunch of friends (many of whom are Goonhammer authors), and it’s really helpful for figuring out how to tackle some paint decisions. For this model I was on the fence about edge highlighting, since they’d also have to be a blend. I asked the Badcast fuckos SRM and Dan Boyd their thoughts and they (probably correctly) suggested I just not do edge highlights. I agreed, then decided to ignore them and do them anyways. I did Baharroth Blue edging on the bluest parts, Skarsnick Green on the greenest parts, and a 50/50 mix of the two on teh in-between parts, which is just enough variation to give the impression that the edge highlights are also shifting color. The end result works pretty well. I finished off the final details by doing red gemstones for the little dashboard screen, Corvus Black for the seat, and the engine and handlebars are just Leadbelcher with a Nuln Oil wash. The end result is something I’m pretty happy with and reasonable enough that you coudl do it on a full army without hating yourself. The last step is freehanding the Mymeara icon, which I was happy to do after futzing around with transfers on the other Eldar models I painted recently (I hate transfers).

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

 

Lugganath by Rockfish

The Craftworlders of Lugganath want to escape life in realspace. They see it as a dead end, and are deeply invested in escaping to the Webway for a more permanent existence there (ousting the Drukhari in the process). To that end, they’ve been fostering a strong relationship with the Harlequins, and working on a long-term plan to escape into the webway. They’re seen by most other Asuryani as corsairs and pirates – basically one step above the Drukhari. Rockfish’s Eldar aren’t technically Lugganath – at least, that wasn’t the original intent – but Rockfish’s models are essentially ringers for the craftworld thanks to the bright orange paint scheme he’s chosen and so he kind of ended up with Lugganath by accident.

Farseer. Credit: Rockfish

Farseer. Credit: Rockfish

Most of this scheme I figured out somewhere around a year ago when I was last considering picking up eldar, I think that was about when the new space marine stuff was on the horizon which is probably why I did not start then. In some ways this scheme is a bit ridiculous in the number of steps, but you could probably skip some of the extra highlights and such to save time if you so desired.

I started with a subtle zenithal base coat of Vallejo Orange Fire over Vallejo Light Red, you could probably just use straight Orange Fire but it does result in a slightly richer colour and the difference is quite obvious when placed next to a mini without it.

After that I throw in some simple and quick base coats, this is a scheme which benefits from doing stages of base coating + washing as some of the colours really need to stay clean for max impact. I also forgot to take a picture for the steel legion drab stage, sorry about that!

So you will notice a couple of potentially odd looking choices for washes in the blue for the cloak and purple for the orange, this is me making use of a rough interpretation of colour theory. The idea is basically that when you want to make shadows rather then just darkening the colour, you can instead shift towards blue which makes a more natural transition. In this case orange could instead go to red since that is just reducing the yellow content of orange, but I skipped to purple to get a touch more more contrast.

Normally I use something like basilicanum on metals, but I wanted a very clean and bright silver metal which nuln over iron hands steel gave nicely. Note that you could skip the rakarth highlight on the cloth as it is fairly subtle in the final result.

Don’t mind how messy the initial highlight on the cloak starts, once we build in the more extreme colours it will end up looking smoother then it is.

I gradually mixed a bit more of the next colour into the highlights typically in one or two steps, be careful to leave your self enough space to get them all in there as it is very easy to either entirely obscure the previous layer or create a odd looking transition. Sorry about the blurry picture, but it should give you the idea of where I place the Karak Stone, otherwise these are just some basic highlights.

For the orange robes I slowly stepped colours up similarly to the cloak, but for the armor I only used Fire Dragon Bright and Bestigor Flesh for simplicity.

I forgot to take a separate picture for Sybarite and Sons of Horus here they are not mixed at this stage, for the blade/gems I was pretty concerned about getting the size of the transition correct so I just block in the main colours to start with.

Once I was happy with where the colours were blocked in, I went back to blend the transitions to make them a bit smoother. I like going with these extreme edge highlights on blades as they help obscure rough transitions with how stark they are in comparision.

Once the final reflection is added to the gems its time to build up the base. While its not as important on these small bases, I like using multiple texture paints as it introduces enough variation in elevation to prevent the models from appearing to be on a perfectly flat plane without much added effort.

I like to pick out some details in the ruins with other colours to help imply that the ruins once were far more impressive, washes are great for this as they mostly retain the underlying colour.

To really make the ruins stand out and define sections I went around edges with green implying lichen or moss growing upon them. After that it was time for a coat of vallejo mecha matte varnish to take the sheen off, then I painted the rim with Abaddon black and threw some tufts from Gamers Grass on. (For this scheme I have used Green 4mm, Light Green 4mm, Dry Green 2mm and flowers of assorted colours.

Farseer. Credit: Rockfish

Farseer. Credit: Rockfish

Farseer. Credit: Rockfish

Farseer. Credit: Rockfish

Wave Serpent. Credit: Rockfish

Wave Serpent. Credit: Rockfish

Wraithguard with Wraithcannons. Credit: Rockfish

Wraithguard with Wraithcannons. Credit: Rockfish

War Walker. Credit: Rockfish

War Walker. Credit: Rockfish

Unnamed Craftworld by Scott Horras

Seer Council

My wife got really jelly and wanted to play 40k after NOVA Open Narrative in 2017. I put a 90 day waiting period on purchases for her because I knew I’d end up assembling and painting it all for her because I love her dearly. Anyways she wanted an army that would look good in “highlighter pink”. She was really into SoB at first, but this was back in the dark days of all metal SoB, so we steered clear of that. I pitched CW Eldar to her:

Hey babe, these are gonna look great in pink and also you get to smash people with the army because Eldar are consistently notoriously overpowered. – Me, 2017

Paints Used

This definitely requires an airbrush, don’t try using the pink without it… honestly, the pink is really finicky I suggest never trying to use it unless you’re painting it for someone you love very dearly. almost all of these models are done in subassembly so be on the lookout for utilizing that if you’re trying to execute this paintjob.

Pink
  • Base Coat Army Painter Matt White
  • Airbrush Vallejo Fluorescent Magenta 70.735
  • Seal with Testors Glosscote
  • Pin wash with red oil paint wash
  • Seal with Testors Dullcote
White
  • Base Coat Army Painter Matt White
  • Seal with Testors Glosscote
  • Pin wash with red oil paint wash
  • Seal with Testors Dullcote
Black
  • Base Coat Army Painter Matt Black or brush Vallejo Black 70.950
  • Highlight with Vallejo Sombre Gray 72.048
  • Seal with Testors Dullcote
Power Weapon Blue
  • Base Coat Army Painter Matt White
  • Airbrush Vallejo Electric Blue 72.023
  • Highlight with Vallejo White 70.751
  • Seal with Testors Dullcote
Gunmetal/Gold
  • Base Coat Army Painter Matt White
  • Brush Vallejo Gunmetal 72.054 or Vallejo Glorious Gold 72.056
  • Wash with red oil paint wash
  • Seal with Testors Dullcote

Combine these basic color for the overall model you’re painting. I suggest doing the pink first. Followed by black, power weapons, and any metallics on the model. Before the glamor shots, these guys are really hard to photograph, and I don’t have a great lighting setup right now. I apologize for the color balance and focusing problems ahead of time

Seer Council and Autarch

Wraithknight (aka “Stompy”)

Fire Prism conversion (Warp Hunter base)

Shining Spears conversion (Windriders and Dragon Princes)

Guardians and Heavy Weapons Platform

 

Mata Nui by BuffaloChicken

My Craftworld is, in classic BuffaloChicken fashion, extremely stupid and designed to make exactly nobody happy but me (and my equally nostalgic brother, I guess). The colorful Aspect Warriors reminded me of the elemental-themed villages in LEGO Bionicle, a staple of my childhood, so I decided to lean into a Bionicle theme for the army. The standard scheme is a “temple tan” with vine motif, but the specialized units have all manner of conversions and garish colors inspired by LEGO toys from about 20 years ago.

Credit: BuffaloChicken

Base (Prep)
  • Cut small rectangles out of cereal box cardboard.
  • Snip off corners to round rectangles and make “flagstones.”
  • Coat base with glue and arrange rectangles in a staggered pattern, then sprinkle fine sand on top.
  • After glue dries, cut any flagstones that overhang the base edge so that the base edge is neat.
  • For jungle areas, glue additional sand.
  • Pin miniature to base.
  • Prime miniature black.
Base (Paint) 
  • Basecoat flagstones Vallejo Desert Yellow.
  • Drybrush flagstones Vallejo Bonewhite.
  • Highlight flagstones with watered-down Vallejo Bonewhite to smooth over rounded surfaces and hide drybrush marks.
  • Wash flagstones Citadel Agrax Earthshade.
  •  Highlight flagstones with successive layers of watered-down Vallejo Bonewhite.
  • Basecoat jungle areas Vallejo Charred Brown.
  • Drybrush jungle areas Vallejo Earth.
  • Follow additional steps as per jungle bases

Credit: BuffaloChicken

Tan Armour
  • Basecoat Vallejo Desert Yellow.
  • Drybrush Vallejo Bonewhite.
  • Highlight with watered-down Vallejo Bonewhite to smooth over rounded surfaces and hide drybrush marks.
  • Wash Citadel Agrax Earthshade.
  • Highlight with successive layers of watered-down Vallejo Bonewhite.
  • Freehand vine designs with Vallejo Black. For larger vehicles, lightly sketch designs on with mechanical pencil before painting.
  • Basecoat vine designs with Vallejo Cayman Green.
  • Highlight vine designs with 1:1 mix of Vallejo Cayman Green and Vallejo Scorpy Green.
  • Highlight vine designs with Vallejo Scorpy Green.
Fabric
  • Basecoat Vallejo Charred Brown.
  • Highlight Vallejo Earth.
  • Wash Citadel Agrax Earthshade.
  • Highlight Vallejo Earth.
Exposed Joints and Ribbing
  • Basecoat Vallejo Black.
  • Highlight Vallejo Cold Grey.
Guns
  • Basecoat metal areas in Citadel Hashut Copper.
  • Wash metal with Citadel Agrax Earthshade.
  • Highlight metal with Citadel Hashut Copper.
  • Highlight metal with Vallejo Mithril.
  • Basecoat weapon casings Vallejo Black.
  • Highlight weapon casings Vallejo Cold Grey.
Lenses and Gems
  • Basecoat Vallejo Scorpy Green.
  • Paint 1:1 mix of Vallejo Scorpy Green and Vallejo White on bottom-right of lenses.
  • Paint one or two dots of Vallejo White on upper-left of lenses.

Credit: BuffaloChicken

 
 

Final Thoughts

While there are a lot of older models in the Eldar range many of them still hold up beautifully and they can be a real joy to paint. There’s a ton of potential variation and a lot you can do beyond just the major craftworlds shown in Codex: Craftworlds. Hopefully this guide gave you some ideas for your own approach, but as always if you have any questions or feedback you can email us at contact@goonhammer.com.

 

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