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. This week, we’re kicking off a three-part series on how to paint Ynnari, specifically the triumverate of Ynnead that make up the faction’s special named characters. If you missed last week’s installment on the Visarch, you can find it here.
Part 2 – Yvraine
The Triumvirate of Ynnead consists of three characters, first introduced in 7th edition with The Gathering Storm II: The Fracture of Biel-Tan. Yvraine is one of two psykers in the Ynnead, and acts as the emissary of the Eldar God of the Dead. Originally born on the Biel-Tan Craftworld, Yvraine is a bit of an outlier among Craftworlders. Not only has she has walked many of the Paths of the Asuryani, acting as a Warlock, an Aspect Warrior, and a Corsair, but she also has a connection to wider Eldar culture in a way that few of her peers can match. After a mutiny among her Corsair crew forced her to flee to the Webway, she ended up in the Drukhari city of Comorragh, training in a Wych cult before ending up as a gladiator in the city’s arenas. As fate would have it, Yvraine met her end at the hands of a Priestess of Morai-Heg in the moments shortly after Eldrad’s ritual awoke the god Ynnead. The new awakened (and still weak) Eldar god of the dead recognized her as someone who had walked the light and dark paths of the Eldar and resurrected her to be his Emissary. Unfortunately this action also broke the seals on Khaine’s Gate, causing daemons to flood into Comorragh. Eluding capture by Vect thanks to the help of the Visarch, a mysterious but familiar ally wearing ancient armor, Yvraine and a group of Drukhari followers escaped into the Webway.
Yvraine and her followers spent some time wandering and gathering additional support from new converts to the path of Ynnead. She began to preach the Seventh Path, a process by which Ynnead could be fully awakened without the sacrificing the entire Eldar race. She traveled back to Biel-Tan and told the Craftworld’s seers this, and they did not respond well to the idea. Fortunately(?) for her, daemons of Slaanesh led by The Masque attacked the Craftworld, and the ritual Yvraine performed to save Biel-Tan fractured its infinity circuit, destroying it and releasing the souls needed to wake Ynnead.
Following the fracture of Biel-Tan, Yvraine led an expedition to recover the Crone Swords, powerful weapons vital to the Seventh Path. During this time, she crossed paths with Eldrad Ulthran, who had seen that the paths of the Eldar and the Imperium were joined. They decided to form a desperate alliance with the Imperium, helping the survivors from Cadia flee in the Webway to Ultramar. There, they healed Roboute Guilliman of the poison inflicted upon him by Fulgrim and revived him, helping him fight the forces of Chaos that had fallen upon the planet and forming an alliance. Since then, her quest to save the Eldar through the Seventh Path has continued.
Where to Read More
Like the rest of the Triumvirate of Ynnead, Yvraine was first introduced in The Gathering Storm II campaign book, released at the tail end of seventh edition. There hasn’t been a ton of content on the new Eldar cast since the bulk of Games Workshop’s fiction releases tend to be Marine-focused, but what has been released focuses firmly on Yvraine as the central protagonist of the new Eldar content. She’s probably the most important female character in current 40k fiction.
- The Gathering Storm II Campaign Book introduces Yvraine and the Ynnari, and covers her awakening and the fracturing of the Biel-Tan Infinity Circuit.
- Gathering Storm III: Rise of the Primarch details Yvraine’s dealings with Guilliman (though it’s short on both details and content around this)
- Shadow Warrior, by Gav Thorpe, details Yvraine and the Visarch’s attempts to recapture the final crone sword from a long-lost craftworld that has only recently re-emerged from The Warp.
- Wild Rider, by Gav Thorpe, is the second book in the Rise of the Ynnari series and details the Ynnari helping the Saim-Hann Craftworld fend off Necrons.
Playing With Yvraine
With the White Dwarf Index: Ynnari update, Yvraine’s datasheet changed very little from its original form in the 8th Edition Xenos Index, but functional changes to Soulburst actions (specifically, the loss of the ability to make a shooting attack out-of-phase) weakened the Ynnari psychic powers, and with them Yvraine, significantly. Without the ability to have a friendly unit pop off a free round of shooting, Yvraine isn’t exactly bad, but she’s a lot less compelling as a unit than she used to be.
Yvraine has (appropriately for the fluff) a statline somewhere between a Farseer and an Archon. She’s slightly less good in a fight than the latter, and a bit less awesome than the former in the Psychic phase, but is pretty nifty at casting (especially as her Gyrinx familiar gives her +1 to cast and her single deny rolls) and killing. She has a 4+ invulnerable save – in line with a Farseer – and can also regain wounds when Aeldari models die nearby. Yvraine knows two Revenant Discipline powers, and learns a new one if an Aeldari Psyker dies nearby. She’s also one of the better users of the very strange Ynnari stratagem Acolyte of Ynnead, which adds +3 to your next psychic attempt if a unit has been destroyed this phase. If you happen to finish off a minor unit before using up Yvraine’s casts, then adding this to her normal bonus for a +4 on a Smite cast is at least amusing, if not consistent enough to be a powerful strategy. Finally, she can ride in any Aeldari transport even if it hasn’t been given the Ynnari keyword, a useful ability in mixed Eldar armies.
While Yvraine’s ability to activate Soulburst actions prior to the update mean that she’d be included in the vast majority of Ynnari lists, those changes have since seen her use diminished. The Revenant Discipline still has some gems, but she’s no longer the only way to access it. Several of its powers are real “build-arounds” that you really want to go off when you attempt them, and while her +1 is obviously helpful for this, a “Runes of the Farseer” re-roll is more reliable for ensuring that a single key power succeeds. With that in mind, you may find that if you’re building a Craftworld detachment are are happy to pay your “Ynnari Tax” with one of the other characters, you might get better use out of a Bike Farseer at the same price point thanks to the increased mobility and durability.
That won’t always be the case, obviously, and for players who want access to the Ynnari Psychic tricks while using Harlequins and Drukari as their core, she’s more likely to be the best bet (though any detachment with lots of Troupers might well want a Shadowseer, so bear that in mind). She’ll continue to provide value in many Ynnari armies, and has to be in one that wants to go full fluff and use all three Aeldari types – she’s just not as exciting for this as she used to be.
Where Yvraine may shine competitively is as a much smaller Ynnari contingent enabling the Aeldari to play a strategy focused around several psychic characters, using the powers from all three Eldar disciplines to throw out mortal wounds in a similar fashion to how some Thousand Sons armies operate. In this role, Yvraine can be taken either as part of a Ynnari Supreme Command with some Wraithseers, or slotting into an existing detachment in the place of another HQ (one potentially good place for this is as the second HQ in a Black Heart Battalion Detachment in place of the second Archon).
If Yvraine is your warlord she has to take the Favoured of Ynnead warlord trait, which gives her a 6″ pile-in and consolidate. This isn’t bad, and she’s on a huge and oddly shaped base thanks to her strong dress and cat game so you can potentially pull some tricks, but in general is not what I’d really want for her, and I think you can do better.
Yvraine’s not a large model per se, but she’s loaded with detail and different textures, including fine lines of metal, cloth folds, hair, fur, gemstones, and leather. Her model also has many small, spindly bits that can be difficult to work with and easy to break if you aren’t careful. There are definitely some areas you’ll want to work with subassemblies on Yvraine, painting specific parts before their glued together to ensure you aren’t trying to fit your brush into an impossible place. As always, we’ll be showcasing different approaches and skill levels in our guide.
Liam “Corrode” Royle’s Approach
Yvraine, the Herald of Ynnead. Feared for years as she, uh, sat at the back of the board and used her brain magic to make Dark Reapers fire twice, Yvraine these days sees the table a lot less. She does have her uses still though, and in any case, she’s a great model and really fun to paint. Much like the Visarch, there’s a few different materials involved, what with the bodysuit, the dress, the sash and the feathers.
The biggest area of colour is the long, trailing skirt, which I chose to paint blue (editor’s note: This ties her together visually to Liam’s Visarch model) – Macragge Blue, then layered with Altdorf Guard Blue, and then finally Calgar Blue, with a recess wash of Drakenhof Nightshade. I kept the bodysuit dark too, based in VMC Black Grey with some Mechanicus Standard Grey on the high points and then washed Nuln Oil. I painted her familiar the same way!
To offset painting two major parts of the model in a cold, dark scheme, I did the sash in pure white, starting wtih Ulthuan Grey and building up in layers to VMC White. To tie it in visually with the skirt, I applied a wash of Drakenhof Nightshade and then relayered (this gives it a blue hue). The gauntlet and fan were both red, using the same recipe as I use for my Crimson Fists’ gauntlets (coming in a future HTPE!): They were based with Khorne Red, then layered with Mephiston Red, then the edges picked out with Wild Rider Red.
All the golds were done the same way I always do them – Retributor Gold, then Auric Armour for highlights.
The three remaining “big” parts were the sword, the hair, and the feathers. For the sword and the hair I fell back on the one trick I can execute reasonably capably, which is wet blending. On the sword this meant starting from Kabalite Green and then blending up through Warpstone Green and then Moot Green, with a touch of Averland Sunset and then Flash Gitz Yellow at the end. The hair started at Ulthuan Grey, worked up through Dawnstone into Black Grey, and then blended through the other side into the same reds as the gauntlet. I then went back over most of the Ulthuan Grey with pure white, which may be a weird way to do it I guess but it worked for me.
The feathers: I wanted these to be blue as well, but much brighter than the skirt, so I basecoated them in Teclis Blue before building up through Lothern Blue and then hitting the top edges with Baharroth Blue (AKA “The King of Paints”).
All that was left after that was to pick out the gems – in a variety of colours through the skirt and on the belts at her waist, and then in oranges on the crown to contrast with the blue feathers – and the eyes. For both the cat and Yvraine I did the same thing – painted the eyes and the area around them in Lothern Blue, hit the edges of the eye sockets with Baharroth, washed Drakenhof Nightshade in the centre, and then picked out the eyeball in white. To me this looks like she’s in the middle of casting something, channelling power through the familiar. With any luck, she’s summoning the Yncarne and they’re about to burst out of something’s chest (editor’s note: More on that next week).
James “Boon” Kelling’s Approach
I am not a highly technical painter unlike some of my fellow goons – but I have developed a style of my own that I’ve kept for 15+ years. The overarching concept on all my models is a blended gradient from left to right. The idea is that when faced the same way, the army looks like the light is coming from one direction with both a bright and a dark side.
In general, I try to keep the factions I paint tied together visually with some form of unifying color, even if it’s just an accent – in the case of my Ynnari it’s the use of red as a primary color for armor plating or on sashes/capes/etc. The Visarch, as is appropriate, sports his red armor. I wanted to give Yvraine more of a traditional Romani look, so I opted to retain the red on her few armored portions but instead go with cool blues and purples on her robes. I wasn’t sure if the colors would end up clashing, but I think it came out perfectly.
When I paint all of my colors usually get 3-4 different coats to blend from dark to light. In this case, I’ve gone with:
Armor (Red): Mephiston Red, Wildrider Red, Trollslayer Orange, and Fire Dragon Bright
Sash/Sword/Feathers (Purple): Naggaroth Night, Xereus Purple, Genestealer Purple, Emperor’s Children
Dress/Feathers: Sotek Green, Ahrimen Blue, Temple Guard Blue
Gold Jewelry/Accents: Balthazar Gold, Auric Armor Gold, Stormhost Silver
Gemstones: Abbadon Black, Caliban Green, Warpstone Glow, Moot Green, Ard Coat
Whites: Administratum Grey, White Scar
Black: Abbadon Black, Eshin Grey
Skin: XV-88, Ushabti Bone, Screaming Skull, Serphim Sepia
Gyrinx Familiar: XV-88, Ushabti Bone, Screaming Skull, White Scar, Fire Bright Orange, Moot Green, Flash Gitz Yellow, Abbadon Black
After laying out the base colors on the model I will go back and lay down rough base layers with a break where I want the blend to occur. Then I’ll begin the laborious, mind-numbing process of wet blending each color. After picking out details, highlighting, and finally touching up I will complete the gemstones. I’ll typically layer up then blend down, and finish by placing a white dot. Touch it up to fix any mistakes, varnish, ‘ard coat the gems and voila! I will likely go back later to add free-hand designs on her dress at some point, but for now she is done and ready for the next tournament!
Tip: if you’re not sure where a gradient will occur, you can shine a light to see where the light hits the model.
Caution: Do not follow in my footsteps – paint and glue that kitty down AFTER Yvraine is done.
Jay “Flavivirus” Iles’ Approach
As I was painting Yvraine to bring her into my Harlequin force, I wanted the same purple scheme I used on them. She’s a pretty Drukhari-like model in terms of design elements, so I wanted to add a few things via face paint to bring her in line with the Harlequin masque. Also, I’ve enjoyed seeing people do fun things with Yvraine’s basing, and had an idea of a force that took a cosmic approach to death – and so as she walks along the land behind her becomes a field of dead constellations, reflecting ancient night skies. Also, I wanted to go with a kind of dirty blonde for her hair/dreads, to contrast a bit with the elegance of her skirts and pose.
I painted her skirts, body, and headpiece separately.
For the bodysuit, I primed black, coated the bodysuit with a transparent green glaze (2:1 Lahmian Medium and Kabalite Green).and then the whole thing was hit with a green wash. The corset and upper body was based with Xereus Purple, then washed with Druchii Violet. The ridges on the suit were picked out by drybrushing with VMC Silver, and the soulstone on the corset was given a coat of Waystone Green.
The flesh (hands, feet, head) was based with Pallid Wych Flesh, washed with a little bit of Reikland Fleshshade, and then highlighted with a 1:1 mix of Pallid Wych Flesh and VMC Dead White. For her face, I used Genestealer Purple put on reasonably thick to get that facepaint look, and freehanded a diamond round one eye, a lightning bolt coming down from the other one, and (very lightly) a touch of purple on the lips. The same colour was used to dot the pupils.
The fan was painted with Evil Sunz Scarlet and washed with Reikland Fleshshade, will the sword was based with VMC Silver and then glazed with a 1:1 mix of Lahmian Medium and Genestealer Purple.
For the skirts, I primed them grey and then basecoated with Xereus Purple, highlighting with progressive mixes of Xereus Purple and Genestealer Purple, finally washing with Druchii Violet. The net on the back of the dress was picked out with VMC silver on a thin brush, and the soulstones were then hit with Waystone Green. For the sashes around her waist, I based them VMC Dead White and then glazed them with a 1:1 mix of Ahriman Blue and Lahmian Medium, to try and get as much of the brightness through as possible while maintaining the colour. Finally, the belt was based with VGC Falcon Turquoise, and the soulstones were picked out with VMC Silver and then coloured with a range of transparent paints – Waystone Green, Soulstone Red and Tamiya Clear Blue.
For the headpiece, I started by basing the hair with Administratum Grey, and then washing with Agrax Earthshade. Then the hair was drybrushed with Flayed One Flesh to get the blonde look. Hair pins and soulstones in the hair were picked out with VMC silver, with the soulstones getting gem paints as above. The metal arch of the headdress were based with Runelord Brass, and then washed with Reikland Fleshshade; the arrows were based with VMC Silver, and then glazed with the same 1:1 Ahriman Blue/Lahmian Medium mix used for the sashes.
For the base, I only started working on it once Yvraine was finished to make sure of the proportions. I trimmed off the little disk on her front foot, so needed something else to lift her up; a small rock from a box of basing bits worked well. I also marked down with pencil where her trail of stars should go.
Next, I coated the base with Vallejo Sandy Paste, and scraped it away from the areas where I wanted her trail to be. After it had dried, I covered it with various layers of thinned Gorthor Brown, Tallarn Sand, and Agrax Earthshade to get a good mottled ground look, finally drybrushed with Tallarn Sand. For the trail, I based it in Abbadon Black, made dots for stars with VMC Silver, linked the stars into constellations with Temple Guard Blue, and then put a glow down on the edge of the trail with a line of Ahriman blue and then a thinner line of Baharroth Blue. Finally, placed Yvraine on the base and then coated all the trail with a thin layer of Vallejo Still Water to give it a bit of sheen and depth.
Finally, the cat. This was pretty simple – base Ahriman Blue, put some blotches of VGC Falcon Turquoise, then some spots of VGC Bone White on the coat, and on the tip of their tail and their whiskers and inside the ears. The eyes were given a yellow glow with VGC Sun Yellow, and the rings on their paw, tail and ear were painted in Runelord Brass.
Problem Areas/Things to Avoid
The headpiece was a real faff – and sure enough, within a few games of use had snapped off completely. If you can, pin it from the top of her hair into her head when you assemble and it might save you trouble.
Things I’d Do Differently
Picking out the raised bits on her bodysuit was definitely the wrong call, I’m not a fan of how blotchy it looks. Probably drybrushing would be a better call. Also, her sword doesn’t look good; I’d probably follow the advice in HTPE: Power Weapons if I wanted to do it again.
Next Time: The Yncarne
That should cover what you need to know about Yvraine. Join us next time as we wrap up the series by talking about the Yncarne, one of the most complicated, detailed models in the 40k range.