+ inload: Eldar Guardians +

+ Retrohammer army #2: Mike McVey's WD138 Alaitoc Eldar +

+ Well, here we go. A few false starts later, and we're off! Following up on my interpretation of the studio's Blood Angels 3rd Company from WD139 [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], I've started in earnest on the opposing force; the mysterious Eldar of Alaitoc. +

+ As with the Blood Angels, the underlying conceit here is to produce my interpretation of the studio Eldar Army from the 90s. This was late Rogue Trader; a few months before the release of Warhammer 40,000 second edition, so there are both similarities and differences – some subtle, some quite stark – between the period and modern armies. +

There's no great reason behind this beyond nostalgic fondness – I must have read and re-read these magazines dozens of times when I first got into the hobby. I suspect there's probably an equivalent for you; whether that's old WD magazines, an inspirational online blog, or perhaps, if you've just joined the hobby, whatever's coming out now! Embrace it. Enjoy it! +

+ I hope you'll enjoy following along with the process, and please do to chime in with your own ideas, questions and memories, either here or on the +Death of a Rubricist+ Facebook group. +


+ Guardians +

+ Distinguished by sash colour, this is the first of the four Guardian squads in the original army +

+ The original army had four Guardian squads; two armed with lasguns, a close combat squad (a modern Storm Guardian squad), and a Guardian Battle squad. The latter were the only Guardians armed with shuriken catapults; I believe you could only have half your Guardians thus armed. +

+ The first squad – my testers – are one of the lasgun-armed ones. As with my Blood Angels, I've tried to balance capturing the nostalgic charm I have for the originals against the advantages of modern design and manufacturing methods. +

+ My WIP interpretation.  +

+ The balance has proven an interesting one when it comes to the Eldar, particularly the Aspect Warriors. Unlike the Space Marines, the Eldar aesthetic has remained very consistent, with changes really limited to getting slightly closer to Jes Goodwin's original designs – likely a consequence of materials and manufacturing methods allowing for finer details. +

+ The Guardians are a bit of an exception here; besides the Epic vehicles, I think they're the part of the Eldar army that has changed the most. +


+ There's a lot I like about the old Guardians, but I do think that the new design is an improvement in almost every way. I thus had a bit of a decision to make in how far to alter things. There were a few options, including:
  • Complete retro conversion; aiming to replicate things like the chainmail mesh undersuit, cone heads and so forth.
  • Modern update, using modern bits – like the Corsair kit's long-range shuriken catapults – to account for period differences, like the variation in weaponry.
+ In the end I felt the former was a bit too beholden to the past, and the latter wouldn't be readily identifiable – it would look like any other modern Eldar army. I really like the modern Guardian designs, so I opted for a few critical changes: most obviously, weapons from the period. These are much smaller than the modern equivalents, and have more pleasing proportions to me. They're also a neat way to nod to the originals while retaining the appeal of the modern look. +

+ Note the melta gun. The modern version is almost identical; merely a hint larger and with cleaner, deeper details, but I opted to convert it to an old one anyway, for consistency with the others. +

+ More subtly, I trimmed away the cheek vents from the helms. It's not particularly obvious here, but it gives a taller, slimmer feel to the helm, helping to evoke the old 'conehead' look. Looking at the pictures here, I think I need to go back and tidy them up a bit more. +

+ One of the nice things about having a blog is that it encourages me to reflect on things and consider them as I go. While I like how they're looking already, I'm tempted to further convert them by trimming away the back vanes. These are a very distinctive part of the new design, but are conspicuously absent in the originals (instead, the Guardians had little vents that look a bit like a tea strainer). +

+ I consulted the PCRC on the matter, and will test the idea out on a spare plastic Guardian (one of the slightly older ones). It's a relatively simple change, and I think this additional detail will both evoke the older ones better and make the head more isolated, again enhancing the conehead look. +

+ The gunslinging squad leader! Armed with a shuriken pistol and laspistol, the squad leader will definitely have a banner. The originals (see above) had each squad leader bearing a pennant mounted on a pin drilled into their backs. Back banners are such an iconic part of the period, I just can't resist adding one on. I also opted to use a tasseled helm – not something from the period, but I don't want to be slavish. Besides, I thought he deserved a little flourish: rank should have its privileges! +


+ Once I've sorted out the back vanes and banner, I'll tackle the next Guardian squad. You'll see that I've tried to match the poses, weaponry and genders of the figures as closely as possible for this squad, but I'm tempted to be a bit more freeform on the others, as it'll let me use the cool options and details from the modern kit. Retro is all very well, but it needs to be balanced and informed by reinterpretation. +


  1. Very excited to see these, as "retro but new figures" is one of my favorite things you do (also marine conversions, guard, titans, random xenos... it is a long list).

    My own Eldar, also Alaitoc, have a lot of metal figures so far, but I plan to have at least one squad with old biker helmets which I have hoarded just for the purpose. I really dig the old "grill" helmets, and that was the part that I wanted to make sure to capture. Your idea of taking off the backpack fins is also a good one, particularly if you have a way to capture the look of the tea strainer vents. You may also want to consider removing the shoulder pads (although I actually added them to my metal guardians!)

  2. I can only applaud this initiative! It's on the same road you previously took with other armies and I find it all enormously evocative. Pretty cool.


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