Out On A Limb

~

Amadriel closed her hand around the twisted trunk of the scythe. It had grown in the greenwood for half an age now, replanted after the last war against the ruinous ones. Lichen stained its bark and moss had sprouted in dark patches amongst the knots and gnarls, but she could still feel the polished grooves worn by her fingers from generations of bitter fighting. She gently pulled it from the earth, rich soil falling in clumps from its hungry roots. The nourishing energy of the forest was replaced by her own angry spirit, the blade that had pulsed gently in the stillness of the grove now surged with magic, its keen edge singing in expectation of the violence to come.

She willed the blade to stillness. She had felt that same elation, the same thrill of the hunt, when the forest was young and her people still fought for the hope of peace. That was a different time, a time now lost in shadow and memory. Once, Sigmar and Alarielle had walked together in the gardens of the realms. Life flourished in their wake, and the children of the woods had reaped a joyful harvest among the servants of the dark gods. But Sigmar abandoned Alarielle, and a bleak winter fell over the worlds. They fought the long war, no longer for victory, but because war was all there was. Without end and without hope, their joy turned to sadness, turned to hate, turned to anger.

And now new evils emerge to threaten her domain. She senses their approach, like shadows lurking at the edges of her vision. Unnatural storms flicker and rumble on the horizon, creaking leviathans drift and groan amidst the clouds, and the beasts of the plains hack and gouge at the borders of the forest. With a thought she stirs her kin to battle. The ancient trees grumble in response, leaves rustling in an ethereal wind. Earth shifts and pebbles trickle between roots as trunks split to bare their slumbering guardians. The deep places of the forest move, slowly at first, but as sap flows through sluggish limbs and the hatchling spites chirp and chitter, life blooms once more in the wyldwood. Spring comes, and death follows.

~

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My first Sylvaneth is complete! *horns toot*

It’s been a short but tricky journey painting this model. I was super chuffed with the conversion, but when I started laying paint down it felt like it was all going wrong. It was like the stages of grief, but instead of someone dying, it was just me being a bit rubbish at painting. Now all in all, I’m happy with how it’s turned out, but it wasn’t the smoothest process. First came the denial, when I painted it completely the wrong base colour. “It’ll be fine,” I thought. It wasn’t fine. I went far too dark with Dryad Bark (the obvious choice, one would think), which would normally have been ok if I was building it up with traditional layers, but I’d set myself the goal of experimenting with washes to get a more natural look, and they’d have been completely lost on Dryad Bark. So I had to rebase it with a couple of coats of Baneblade Brown, and that got me worried because the detail was already starting to disappear under redundant layers of paint. At this stage the anger started to seep in. “Why did you try to be experimental, Ross?! Just stick to what you know, idiot!” “You used Agrellan Earth as a paint? Does your hubris know no bounds!?” And so on.

Then came the bargaining. After all the washes it looked a bit of a mess, and although I had a plan for the scheme I totally bottled it. I fell back on more traditional methods and added in a couple of traditional layers and highlights. Firmly within my comfort zone, this stage was nice and relaxing, and I’m glad I did it as it adds some sharpness and definition to the model. I also had quite ambitious plans for the skin, but I caved and fell back on the default scheme for fear of mucking it up. I’ll return to it on future Tree Revenants though. I made the quickest progress at this stage of the process but I don’t think I really learned all that much or challenged myself.

The painting depression hit me in the last few days. Yes, depression’s too strong a word, but I’m committed to this metaphor, dammit! You know that stage that you get to on a model where it’s almost finished, but you really can’t drum up the enthusiasm to do those last few details? Just me? Oh… The good thing about this blog is that it forces me to meet deadlines. Can’t beat some good old accountability to your peers to give you that extra push over the finish line. I just had to suck it up and get stuck in, and in the end it only took a couple of hours, so I really was just procrastinating and being a big baby.

And finally, sweet sweet acceptance. In truth I only really started to like this model when I started taking the photos. The dramatic lighting works wonders for capturing the mood I had in mind when I started, and the deep shadows mask some of the dodgier bits of the paint job. Y’know in the early days of television where they smeared vaseline on the lens to blur out the wrinkles on the actors’ faces? I think I’ve discovered the hobby equivalent.

All in all, I’m happy with how it’s turned out. There’s still plenty of room for improvement, and there are a few techniques that I want to try out or improve on, so I might put together a few more Tree Revenant conversions and see what happens.

 

~ Ross ~

16 thoughts on “Out On A Limb

  1. Personally I think it looks excellent, the textures in particular really work well, especially the combination of rough bark and smooth skin. The models that challenge us to develop our skills are particularly rewarding and of those the ones that actually look good when we’re done with them are gold-dust – I’d say this is one to be proud of.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, man. Yeah, no doubt I am pleased with this one. I’m particularly happy with the way the textures came out, and now that I’ve got a better idea of what works and what doesn’t for the paint scheme the rest of the collection should be smoother sailing.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was already lurking in the shadows when you posted the WIP of this model: The use of actual lichen on the piece really struck me as a brilliant idea, and the whole model comes together so well now, with the beautiful paintjob! Excellent stuff! Like Wudugast, I am especially in love with the different textures!

    Since I may just have to steal the lichen idea (for the basing of some Nurglite models, if you can believe it), may I ask you whether you did anything to seal the lichen after it had been glued to the model?

    Oh, and since you seem to be collecting lame plant related puns over here: Seems like you are really turning over a new leaf with this army 😉 (Geddit? Geddit?)

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Man, what can I say, sometimes I do strange things. As if a dark puppeteer were controlling my body and soul. Plus I felt really clever, being able to pull of a pun in something that isn’t my first language. Don’t judge me, okay? 😉

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you kindly!

      For the lichen, I didn’t seal it, no. I’ve seen people say that you should bake it in the oven for an hour or so to kill any organic processes, but I was too impatient! I did notice that the bits that I stuck on had shrivelled up a bit overnight, but once I undercoated the model the lichen didn’t seem to change after that.

      Glad you’re enjoying the puns! Some people could take it or leaf it.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, man. That was one of the easier parts as I’ve had plenty of practice blending. I was hoping to blend the blue skin into the wooden head a bit more, but I wasn’t sure how to approach it.

      Like

    1. Thanks, Bjorn!

      Oh jeez, I can’t even think how I’m gonna tackle Durthu at the moment. I need a bit more practice on the little guys first. I do wish I hadn’t built him straight away, as it’s a model ripe for conversion work. Might have to do something drastic!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Maybe more tree puns could work? That might fertilise and improve the growth and strength of the Sylvaneth. Jk

        In all seriousness though, I’d suggest looking at different kinds of tree species to be inspired, you could take inspiration and copy the colours and textures from photographs. Or, I could suggest checking out Blanchitsu articles, there was one on an AoS warband that had a mixture of Wood Elves and Sylvaneth models.

        Hope the suggestions might help! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Aye, Jake Bruticus’s Swamp Aelves are a big inspiration for this project. And I’ve been paying much closer attention to the nearby flora. I live in the middle of nowhere, so there are plenty of trees for first hand reference!

        And you may joke, but I actually have list of tree puns for future use.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh, I thought it was Jake Ozga? I like his Spite-Revenat kit bash, the way the Sylvaneth is sprouting from the rusted Stormcast Eternal armour is a clever idea. I can see elements of inspiration in your Sylvaneth, the painting does remind me of Jakes painting.

        Sounds like you’ve got all the inspiration you need for reference. 🙂

        How many puns? 😯

        Like

      4. I think they may well be the same person. Bruticus is his screen name, I guess.

        Yeah, that Spite-Revenant is very cool. I want to do something with the dryads maybe sprouting out of things, but I’ve no solid ideas yet. We’ll see!

        Liked by 1 person

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