Sunday, May 5, 2013

How to Paint a High Elf Mage


What do them pointy-eared, long-lived, do-gooders do better than almost anyone else in the Warhammer World?
So if you are going to have a High Elf army you are probably going to have several Mages of different kinds.

In this "How to" guide, I am going to be working with the famed "Rock Balancing Rainbow Purple People Eating Mage of Xereus". This was a model that I did as part of a gift army I painted up for my kids. It is a bit different from the standard one because the tip of the staff was broken.

As usual, no claim to greatness here. These are tabletop models (because I can't do anything else.) I hope that this will still be useful for somebody though, especially as the new High Elf Army Book is now out (I picked mine up at GW Jinbocho in Tokyo yesterday.) Please note that I make reference to the "old" Citadel Colours because that is what I used when I painted this, but you can find a conversion guide here, and if I can I will list up the nearest equivalent in the post. As many have noted on other blogs, new and old colours don't exactly correspond, so your experience may change from mine.

Paints used (Old/ New):

  • Skull White (White Scar)
  • Snakebite Leather (Balor Brown)
  • Bleached Bone (Ushabti Bone)
  • Chainmail (Iron Breaker)
  • Mithril Silver (Runefang Steel)
  • Dark Angels Green (Caliban Green)
  • Snot Green (Warpstone Glow)
  • Liche Purple (Xereus Purple)
  • Warlock Purple (Screamer Pink)
  • Calthan Brown (Mournfang Brown)
  • Tallarn Flesh (Cadian Fleshtone)
  • Dwarf Flesh (Ratskin Flesh)
  • Elf Flesh (Kislev Flesh)
  • Sunburst Yellow (Flash Gitz Yellow)
  • Dwarf Bronze (Hashut Copper)
  • Shining Gold (Gehenna's Gold)
  • Codex Grey (Dawnstone)
  • Fortress Grey (Administratum Grey)


  • Gryphonne Sepia (Seraphim Sepia)
  • Ogryn Flesh (Reikland Fleshshade)
  • Badab Black (Nuln Oil)

Step 1: Preparation.

Assemble models.
Use a craft knife or file away flash/ mould lines (carefully!)  Please make sure you pay attention to this on their robes and bows, as mould lines really show up later when painted if you don't get rid of them, especially when using white paint.

Step 2: First basing.

Sand down any flash or raised areas around the edge of the base. 
Apply PVA glue to the top of the base, being careful not to get this on the boots of the model. (For variety, consider sprinkling a couple of pieces of crushed coral onto the PVA before the sand.)
Immediately dip the base into modelling sand.

TIP: Rub away any sand or glue that has dripped over onto the sides of the base now if you prefer a nice (clean-looking) base later.

Optional: Finish off the bases now (see Step 8, final basing).

Step 3: Undercoat.

Spray paint the model(s) using the undercoat of your choice. 
I use Citadel Chaos Black. Many people prefer a Skull White undercoat for brighter models like High Elves as the overall effect will be brighter and you will need far fewer layers of Skull White (White Scar) later on robes etc. 

However, I often use black as it hides mistakes and allows you to very easily leave shading in corners and crevices etc (especially in difficult to reach areas).

Step 4: Basecoats.

Codex Grey (Dawnstone)Rocks. 
Fortress Grey (Administratum Grey): Robes (this will be an undercoat for the Skull White (White Scar) later.
Chainmail (Ironbreaker) or Mithril Silver (Runefang Steel): Circlet, belt detail.
Bleached Bone (Ushabti Bone): Hair, parchment.
Snakebite Leather (Balor Brown): Belt, shoes.
Liche Purple (Xereus Purple): Robes
Dark Angels Green (Caliban Green): Gems
Tallarn Flesh (Cadian Fleshtone): Skin.
Calthan Brown (Mournfang Brown): Staff
Dwarf Bronze (Hashut Copper) or Shining Gold (Gehenna's Gold): Jewelry, details on belt.

TIP: I didn't do the Skull White robes until after washes (step 5 below) had been done.

Step 5: Washes.

Ogryn Flesh (Reikland Flesh Shade: Skin (face, hands etc.)
Devlan Mud (Agrax Earthshade) or Badab Black (Nuln Oil): Sleeves, belts, shoes, (leathers), rocks.
Gryphonne Sepia (Seraphim Sepia): Hair.

Looking back, I don't think I washed the cloak/ cape.

Step 6: Layers.

Skull White (White Scar): Robes (leave Codex Grey in the folds to provide some shading.) If using Skull White, be prepared to use many, many thin layers. 
TIP: Don't be tempted to do thick layers though, the end effect won't look very nice.
TIP: Ceramite White gives good coverage, so you should be able to get a nice smooth covering in fewer layers than the old paints. As above though, don't be tempted to put it on too thick.

Liche Purple (Xereus Purple)/ Warlock Purple (Screamer Pink) mix (50/50) on robe. Layer this up to a purer Warlock Purple (Xereus Purple) to provide highlights on the raised areas of the robe (30/70) 
Bleached Bone (Ushabti Bone): Staff, strands of hair
Tallarn Flesh (Cadian Fleshtone) / Dwarf Flesh (Ratskin Flesh) mix (50/50)
Dark Angels Green (Caliban Green)/ Snot Green (Warpstone Glow) mix: Gems. (70/30 mix, layering up to a 30/70 mix along the bottom edge of the gem)
Dwarf Bronze (Hashut Copper)/ Shining Gold (Gehenna's Gold) mix: (50/50) on Gold pieces.

TIP: To make your gems really stand out, consider adding a tiny dot of pure Skull White at the top and/ or bottom of the gem.

Step 7: Drybrushing.

Fortress Grey (Administratum Grey): Lightly drybrush rocks.

Step 8: Final basing.

Calthan Brown (Mournfang Brown): Overbrush across the sandy part of the base, being careful to avoid the boots/ legs of the model and flagstones
Snakebite Leather (Balor Brown): Drybrush across the base. Paint the base edges. I usually find 2 coats gives a nice smooth finish.
Codex Grey (Dawnstone): Drybrush lightly across the base, paint any crushed coral.
Fortress Grey (Administratum Grey): Drybrush any crushed coral rocks to add a natural highlight. 
Bleached Bone (Ushabti Bone): Flagstones (being careful not to go into the cracks between the flagstone. We want those to remain a darker colour)
Bleacher Bone (Ushabti Bone)/ Skull White (Scar White): 50/50 mix - apply as highlights around the edge of the flagstones.

Paint on PVA glue, and then sprinkle static grass onto the base.

Done! (I think!)


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