Ulthwé Eldar – Army Showcase

Ulthwé Eldar Ranger FeatureIn today’s Army Showcase we’re looking at beautiful Ulthwé Eldar army created by Vince of Figu Works. There are some stunning models here, and each unit is a highly detailed and inspiring project in its own right. Vince has also kindly included details of some of the techniques used when converting and painting this impressive force, along with some tactics and plans for the future. Let us know what you think in the comments below. – Graven Games


I got involved with the hobby about 20 years ago when I got a 2nd edition Warhammer 40K starter box. Since at the time I couldn’t find a community to play in I focused on painting instead. I got drawn to Eldar with their unique looks and background story. Initially I just copied the studio color schemes, which is a great way to learn. I really liked the Eldrad model and he made me focus on Ulthwé.

Ulthwé Eldar Seer Council
Eldrad and Seer Council

I’ve been working on this army for over a decade on and off, so their quality improved with time. Here’s a selection of some of the better ones.


When I start a unit or a figure I usually spend some time looking at them and deciding what the environment they will be at what time of day, what atmospheric condition etc. Also I love doing directional lighting effects, so I try and look for thing that would emit light. This approach started with my guardians when I figured since they are black as standard, I thought they would most probably be fighting either in the darkness of space or at night involved in lightning fast raids, so I went for a very dark look. Also them being the closest to the Eye of Terror they seen some stuff and inevitably with this in the back of my mind they ended up with a almost sinister look.


Ulthwé Eldar Guardians
Eldar Guardians

Contrary to a lot of people I love troops as they can really make an army look unique. I went as far as having different heads for each without the helmet, which was the only thing I didn’t quite like about the models. They are from the old metal models mainly but also I used green stuff to add longer hair to the plastic ones.


Ulthwé Eldar Black Guardians
Eldar Black Guardians

Since black guardians have more experience than other craftworld’s guardians I wanted to make them reflect that. Them being a standing army rather than militia I, funnily enough, made them standing straight and ready for battle. I also liked the looks of regiments in fantasy so made a standard from green stuff and a female leader which could be a bit alien to male dominant ‘lesser’ races.


Ulthwé Eldar Storm Guardians
Eldar Storm Guardians

With the storm guardians it’s was about dynamism and the Eldar character. At the time my bits box was rather limited, so I had to be really creative with greenstuff to make each model unique. These guys were a Golden Deamon finalist a while back which is hard to believe now.

I tend to set a challenge for myself with each unit, and for a time it was about directional lighting effects, since having a night time theme makes great opportunity for these. I usually identify a the source of the light and gradually work my way outward drawing imaginary lines determine where it would fall, looking down from the source to different parts of the model. Initially this was done in black and white. and than thin layers of watered down acrylics added on top. I know this can be done with airbrush as well, but I like to do it by hand as it gives me more control.

Ulthwé Eldar Dark Reapers
Eldar Dark Reapers

I added larger bases for these to give them more room and stability. They all had a scythe blades added from powerswords. Again the main feature is the flash from the plasma missiles with which I wanted to illustrate the utter destruction they can lay down.


When the new codex come out it changed my tactics and army composition. I figured that with the guidance of the Seers they would only make surgical precision strikes at key times and places with an elite force, minimizing loss of life and assets, manipulating events in the future. So there would be a forward assassination unit of Rangers and Scorpions, the main detachment of the hardest hitting wargear for taking out the heaviest reisistance (Fireprisms, Wraithguard in Wave Serpents and Dark Reapers), and a highly mobile detachment that would be called in if and when necessary as reinforcements (Warp spiders, Shining Spears, Shadow Specters).

Painting Technique

I recently stopped using washes due to their darkening effect, and also they tend to come out glossy in recesses. So now I’m only using acrylics, applied with a really thin brush throughout the process to get that extra resolution. Also I like mixing colors with layering so if i want to go from one to the other I apply 2/1 3/1 4/1 water/paint mixes in 2-3 steps waiting for each to dry. When applied to a very small area it behaves like jelly and you can guide the paint in the mix to build up on 1 side of the patch, resulting in a natural gradient.


Ulthwé Eldar Rangers
Eldar Rangers

I was focusing on non metallics here and in particular chrome as the shape of the gun was just asking for it.


Ulthwé Eldar Shadow Spectres 1
Eldar Shadow Spectres
Ulthwé Eldar Shadow Spectres 2
Eldar Shadow Spectres

My challenge was to really make them look like ghosts and illustrate their jetpack workings. I wanted their armor to look highly reflective, knightly.


Ulthwé Eldar Wraithguard 1
Eldar Wraithguard
Ulthwé Eldar Wraithguard 2
Eldar Wraithguard

I just love the new wraithguard figures and they are the backbone of my army in 6th edition, so I really went all out on these giving them the attention they deserve. They took me about 2 months of hobby time, roughly 20 hours a week.

All weapon options in the box can be swapped on them. The close combat weapons are pinned with an extra long wire slightly bent which lets me pose them without gluing them together permanently. Their heads been replaced with the old metal Spirit Warrior heads.

In the new codex it mentioned that these units are cold to the touch and that really inspired me to illustrate this. This contrast between ice and fire has been a great color scheme to follow, hinting at a battle between good and evil. The key color between these two extremes was hormagaunt purple which really brought it together in the end.


Ulthwé Eldar Wraithguard
Eldar Wraithguard Helmets

I wondered how they communicate and what they would see or think, so I painted it on their faces rather than focusing on the eyes which have a deep-sea-blind-fish kinda look. I’ve gone with a tactical display which makes them look more detached from the living, as even though they harbor a soul it looks a bit as if they don’t care that much about dying. Also it shows that they are high tech bodies rather than suits of armor.


Ulthwé Eldar wraithguard back
Eldar Wraithguard back details

Another thing I wanted to try, is to make their limbs and back piece look wax like slightly translucent and glowing since they are constructed from wrathbone. The back piece is such a dominant feature on these models that I wanted them to look super light, almost made up of pure energy. This was achieved with a temple guard undercoat and a dozen watered down (2/1) layers of white washes, and finally a similar layer of Bleached Bone. The gems were made lighter in color compared to other parts to as if light was coming from underneath rather than an external source.


Ulthwé Eldar wraithguard base
Eldar wraithguard base

The idea with the base was that they are fighting the forces of Chaos (as Ulthwé would most probably would) and they either in the worst hellhole, or they just incinerated the place with their devastating weapons, and now are advancing. I managed to find the perfect resin base for it and added ash like grey flock at the end.

Future plans

Hopefully you got to this bit without closing the tab and I managed to hold your attention. With regards to my Eldar I got a handful of units to go to finish my list, and longer term I intend to have a fully painted 40K, Battle Fleet Gothic and Epic Army for cross system campaigns. I also have a 40K Ork army and slowly building up a Death Korps Assault Regiment as well.

In conclusion thanks for your attention and I hope you like these guys even though they have pointy ears.


Vince is a full time collector, painter and dealer running an eBay store at the moment selling second hand and rare games workshop products at http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Figuworks. He’s also on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/figu.works if you want to get in touch.

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