The Dark Elf Showcase - Page 3


Freebooter

Germany is full of small companies producing quality pieces, and Freebooter may well be the best. For a start, their multi-part Dark Elves (Dunkelelfenheldin) arrive with sculpted - and easily detachable - bases!

First up is the Dark Elf Assassin (Dunkelelfen Assassine). Face masked, cloak billowing out and dagger poised to strike, he's the model of covert violence, but the agonised scream of his mouth adds a depth of character lacking in other assassins and the two-handed thrust is downright vicious.

  

The second Freebooter Dark Elf is a female lizard rider. With a weight balancing tail, dinosaur-like gait and realistic head the lizard is almost brilliant (physics minded frother's might imagine it over-balancing though), while the rider is a spirited lass, all dual swords, flowing hair and hungry leer. Needless to say, she's also topless. However, prospective buyers should avoid the official Freebooter catalogue picture where she's been painted like the Joker's younger sister.

There's time for more praise: Freebooter sell all the parts individually!


Brigade Models

Brigade Models's Celtos range (formerly of i-Kore) is, as the title suggests, a mix of traditional fantasy and pseudo-Celtic lore, with races such as the Fir Bolg (Undead), the Fomorians (Orc) and the Sidhe: elves. The style is a mix of everything we've come to expect from elves and a little more besides. Luckily for us, despite Celtos elves being 'nice', some have a dark heart...

"What do you think of Celtos' elves? To me they seem to be somewhere in the middle... too 'high' to be wood elves and too 'wood' to be high elves." Fatgoblin

 

Nuada of the Silver Hand (12101) easily doubles as a Dark Elf hero or general with his snarling face and raised fist. The kinky torso-moulded armour and gothic 'hair over one eye' fashion also make him a contender! The Elf Musician (12117) would make a good addition to Nuada's command group: this soldier may be more stripped down, but he's looking severely at someone!

         

Celtos also offers two pieces of suspiciously suitable cavalry: the Elf Dragon Rider (12113) and Dragon Rider with Plumed Helmet (12121). The first rider looks rather insipid but things pick up with the second and his detailed armour (just ignore the yellow paint job in the picture); both are armed with swords. Of course, no one really cares about the riders when these beasties are on the table, all serpentine body and large teeth. The lizards will contrast sharply with the 'life like' dinosaurs of other companies but, a few qualms about heads and simplistic sculpting aside, they're suitably perverse. Celtos figures come with round slottabases.

          


Irregular Miniatures

The Irregular Miniatures range is a behemoth, covering everything from 2mm to 54mm; their extensive 25mm lines even include some Dark Elves. I'm afraid I haven't seen the models so I can't comment further, but their other sculpts start at moderately-good and go up to excellent (I've seen numerous mentions of them on the net, and no complaints). They're also 'normal' 25mm, which usually prohibits them ranking up with 28mm or heroic scale (so buy a whole unit instead!). Figures include:

- Four assorted dark elf witches in chaotic armour, using swords
- Four assorted dark elves with repeating crossbows
- Four assorted dark elf swordsmen in chaotic armour
- Four assorted dark elf command figures
- Dark elf witch chariot with three crew and two giant lizards
- Dark elf chariot as above
- Two Dark Elf cavalry on giant lizards
- Four dark elf 'engine' crew

Irregular have won numerous mail order awards over the years, so you can shop with confidence. They're also very cheap: the four assorted elf swordsman are price code L: 1.80! ($3.00!)


RAFM

RAFM only produce one explicitly named Dark Elf, a thief (4004). He's thin, pointy haired and slashing at something! There are some similar figures in RAFM's Death in the Dark range: the Vanir. These aren't Dark Elves in the traditional sense, as the Vanir have formed some relationship with giant spiders (models of which are available) and have sci-fi weaponry. However, they're also tall, pointy haired and over-half make sufficient use of swords and bows for inclusion here...

The Vanir Sorceress (4530, who one company subtitled 'female'!) is their best sculpt: confidently posed, her mixture of armour and cloth matches the styles of other companies in this showcase, while her staff, raised arm and headgear scream magic-user. The Longknife Warriors (4536) are also perfect dark elves, with the oft-seen triangular groin armour, anarchic hair and bitter elvish looks.

The Vanir Warriors (4535) suffer by comparison, for the unified armour is replaced by leather for two and plate for the third, including a helmet which is more Viking than Drow, but one is holding a crossbow (well, it could be a pickaxe!). Finally, there's the Blackwind Ranger (4531), a character miniature you could paint up as a space warrior if desired. The large carapace armour isn't particularly dark elven but the wristbow pose is nicely dynamic.

 

 

The carapace is repeated in the Vanir Sniper (4539), whose firm stance and clearly sculpted crossbow would compete for a place in any army. The same can't be said for the Vanir Assassins (4534), two of whom are particularly thin and (physically) twisted; the remainder would be better off mixed among the Longknife Warriors.

With sculpting best described as dated, the RAFM range offers only a few items of interest to Dark Elf generals, although their slottabases and fitted stubs are easily removable.


Reaper

Reaper are peerless in the field of fantasy character figures and anyone who likes converting Drow will find a vast range of virgin metal in their catalogue. Most of Sandra Garrity's human women could have their cheekbones filed to produce a range of lively, if more sensible dressed, dark elf 'witch' warriors. For everyone else, Reaper produce six specialist Dark Elves; they're full 28mm.

Vernicia (2460), a female warrior with spear, isn't too exciting while Drinsel (2574), a lass armed with sword and shield, has some nice spider-web motifs, but perhaps too friendly an expression. Of course, both will be more useful on the battlefield than model 2577, the Queen of the Dark Elves lolling on her throne...although she's holding that skull in a suitably deviant manner!

     

Things move up a gear with Rath Nashanneth (2506), a hero with suitably commanding manner and detailed armour. Shadarn (2613) is a superb sorcerer, albeit not a great dark elf one, but the lack of Drow stylings is bettered by the windswept hair, calculating face and slight lean back: this is a mage unleashing and fighting magic. I've saved my favourite Reaper Dark Elf to last. Alvhaera is a wonderfully detailed 'Female Dark Elf Cleric' (2524) whose face captures the real essence of the dark elf: beautifully sexual but bitterly evil. It helps that she's holding a skull.

     

The only problem with Reaper's Dark Haven miniatures (of which all the above are) is basing. They come moulded onto bottoms which range from simple lead circles to thick detail and will require care, attention and tools to rebase.


WotC

Produced by Wizards of the Coast, Chainmail utilised the extensive Dungeons and Dragons background; this included the Drow, one of the most developed Dark Elf races in all of gaming and literature. Chainmail's sculptors didn't disappoint, creating five figures of clear Drow heritage...they just didn't name them very well though. The Drow Wizard does exactly what it says on the tin - robes, pouches around the belt and a marvelously morbid staff make this a clear magic user - but the Drow 'Warrior'? With a short crossbow, buckler/blade combination and facial coverings this is surely an assassin. Meanwhile, the Drow Ranger wields two swords and no bows!

   

The Drow Soldier is a solid figure, armed with twisted sword and buckler, while the Drow Archer is one of the few Dark Elves to use a 'normal' bow. Unfortunately, the bondage armour and stretching pose really prohibit anyone building whole units. Although the precision varies each mini is generally detailed and well-cast, but buyers should beware: despite a market shift to large 28mm figures, these are small and won't stand shoulder to shoulder with many other recent releases. On the plus side, they're supplied with round slotted bases which are easy to alter.

Now is the time to buy these figures. Many shops still have Drow stock while entire crates have been posted on ebay at a time.


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