Project Log: High Elf Commission

The Brief:

A friend of mine asked me to paint up his High Elf army, which was already built but not looking great due to being a mishmash of ebay purchases and the like. Most models had mold lines, some are broken or falling apart, etc… What he asked for was a decent looking paintjob but nothing too fancy, with characters that stand out, and each unit with a different color scheme. He also didn’t want any with the boxart blue & white scheme since some of the painted models he has are already in the scheme. For bases we agreed on plain old grass but dark brown instead of black rims (Dryad Bark is what I ended up using).


So I haven’t actually counted it all up, but he estimated that there are around 90-100 models in his army. The ones that are already painted won’t be repainted, but I’ll be basing them so that they all fit in. I think it comes out to between 70 and 80?

Spear Guys:

Ok there are 32 dudes with spears from what I can tell, and one of them was already painted and based quite nicely! There are 7 Spearmen in the lot, and the rest are Sea Guard I think. To start off I gave them all a quick once-over with the scalpel to get rid of feeds that were still attached and some big mold lines I noticed. Then I primed everything white, on the patio in the rain at 40° F with the GW white spray primer, take that naysayers 😉 I quickly mocked up some test schemes, had him pick his favorite, and set to work.

In the process I realized that I didn’t actually like the scheme that much so we talked some more about it and settled on a variation of it. In order to help the army feel more unified the plan changed to paint every unit with steel armour and gold accents, then one other dominant color. This way the army as a whole wouldn’t look too busy and would share a unifying element. Plus it let me make the more important characters & more powerful units stand out on the table by having way more gold on them. It should read as an actual army this way, rather than a handful of totally different units.

Back to the Sea Guard, their color was now going to be blue. Deep blue cloth, with various shades for the shields, plumes, and fletchings. I ended up really enjoying these guys so I did a bit more detail with some stuff than I usually would for Basic Level (didn’t just hit the spearheads with nuln oil, did freehand for the one blank shield, edge highlights in general), but at the end of the day it’s still my hobby and I had fun with them so hey. Took about 35 minutes per model if I don’t count the time I spent staring at schemes I didn’t like and then painting over them.

Silver Helms:

Alright, so after a brief break from elves I returned to work on some light cavalry (10 of these guys). The plan going in was Mournfang Brown for the horses, all of the cloth in shades of green, and then silver armour with gold accents just like the spearmen had. Theoretically this would be a very quick paintjob because there aren’t too many other details to pick out, but everything was already (poorly…) assembled so reaching some bits of the rider was annoying and took a while. These models are actually what made me change my policy on painting pre-assembled minis, because they were in terrible shape and that really made them a slog to paint. No fault of my friend, he bought them that way and it doesn’t bother him too much so I agreed to do it, but I won’t be painting things in this condition again.

Dragon Princes:

There are 15 of these dudes! They’re called princes and they’re quite powerful looking, so I knew there was going to be a ton of gold. Other than that, the plan is for dark brown horses and bright red cloth. These should look good with deceptively little effort since so much of the model is armoured and I’ve got a spray can of Retributor Armour handy to save me that entire basecoat! I was also super thankful that these guys were in much better condition than the other cavalry, just a few gaps here and there.


There are a ton of these that are already poorly painted and the sculpts really aren’t anything too special so I just tried to go quickly and make the 8 that were unpainted match the existing scheme. Contrast paint and drybrushing made for short work.


He wanted a blue flame look, inspired by Azula from Last Airbender. I slapped on some thick coats of paint, did a little bit of wet blending to get a color transition going, and then painted all the feathers. Sure there were hundreds of feathers but thankfully there wasn’t a whole lot else to do, and I think this model makes a great centerpiece for the army!

Heroes & unique looking models:

These 5 guys just need to look cool, so I came up with a scheme I personally like a lot. If I had a high elf army of my own, they’d all be rocking this yellow and silver with blue and gold accents. These five models took the most time, but they were also the most fun part of the process for me.

And lastly, the army all as a whole:

The moment of truth, seeing how they all look on the table! Not a gaming table unfortunately, because we can’t leave the house due to COVID-19, but a table nonetheless. I re-based the archers he already had painted (unit on the right) but left the small unit of riders because they actually look pretty good (unit to the back left).

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