In that article I described the army just as an army. In this article I take a closer look at the 3D design aspects.
The Eldar army is quite versatile with focus on mobility. I love mobility in an army. That they are quite hard hitting is a bonus.
The next two paragraphs are about design principles. They are a repeat of what I have written in the article about designing an Epic Ork Army. If you familiar with that feel free to skip them.
IMHO the most important thing to make a good miniature is plausibility.
We judge the plausibility by comparing it with things we expect, know and are familiar with.
The first step in checking plausibility is context.
If you glue a straw to a lego brick and paint it, it's just a painted lego brick with a straw.
When we look at a tabletop game, we expect buildings, hills, woods, soldiers, tanks and so on. So when looking at our lego assemble, we would not think "hey a lego brick and a straw", but we would think "what a badly done factory".
We'd think about factory because of the general shape - blocky building with a long cylinder - and because we would find it more likely to see a model of a factory on the tabletop than a lego brick and a straw.
What's missing to make it a plausible model and to turn the brick into the model of a factory is detail.
If you sand off the lego print on the nobs and paint them as vents or lights, paint a door to the sides and call the straw a funnel, you have a more convincing factory. And some might think what a clever sod you are.
Doing miniatures brings the printer to it's limits. 6mm even more so. Too small a detail just can't be printed. On the other hand some details can only be seen when oversized anyway.
This leads to the insight, that you will have mainly to rely on general shape and pose to create a convincing miniature. On the other hand some things that you would call general shape on a 28mm miniature might be taken for detail on a 6mm miniature because of it's minute size.
I upgraded to a newer model of the printer since I did the Ork army. At the same print resolution it offers a bigger build space. I made good use of that when printing vehicles and war engines.
It is also able to print at a finer resolution. The infantry models are printed at that finer resolution 30µm instead of 50µm. While using the higher resolution allows you to have finer detail, it also tempts you to use finer structures, which are as it is to be expected break more easily.
I use preferably SpotA-HT resin. It cures fast enough and gives crisper results than other resins I tested. The only drawback is that it is susceptible to bleed. Bleed is the effect of accidentally curing resin "behind" the object. That happens, because the light does not "just" stop where you want it to stop. How far the light travels depends on the "density" of the resin. Just like light travels farther through light fog than dense fog. To increase the density you can add pigments to the resin. For this project I added .5% black pigment to the resin and bleeding is reduced immensely.
The common Eldar
All models of your army will be compared and sized vs. the ordinary creature. So it makes sense to start with that.
Anyway I started with the Falcon.
Cinema 4D drives me crazy with a regularity that is frightening. So I look for alternatives with the same regularity. The model I wanted to use to test alternatives should be something organic with all kind of curves and smooth surfaces.
So an Eldar vehicle was a natural choice and what could be more smooth curvy Eldar than the Falcon. Epic knows two Falcon variants the old wedge like one and the newer variant which is similar to the 40k Falcon.
Style wise I wanted to be up to date and decided to create a design oriented on the 40k one. Comparing the 40k and Epic Falcons, I felt that the Epic version is overly flat. Together with the fact that I try to design my models, so that they could fulfill their purpose - in this case carry a 5 Eldar squat - this led to a substantially higher design. Crew members sit in pod like cockpits, which are a design feature reused over and over. Those together with the two part front portion of the hull and engines close to the compartment really define the vehicle design and create a connection between the different vehicles.
Painting the Ulthwe color scheme is a pain. To get those zig zags straight and tight is above me. So I decided to try to put them as raised areas onto the model. These gives a much neater result, but when I looked at it I found that the wavy, hand painted version had it's own charm and decided to stay with it.
As you might know, I usually use transparent acrylic bases for my miniatures. I thought "having a 3D printer you should be able to print those as well". So I set out to find a way to print transparent bases. My adventures are described here. To save you from getting lost following that link, I'll tell you the result. It didn't work. Finally I got the printer to use "water clear" resin, but "water clear" is not like clear water, at least not what I'm use to call clear water.
So I decided to break with tradition and print some opaque bases. One of the advantages of the transparent bases is that they don't need any paint or flock, you just glue the models on. I wanted to keep that advantages and put some structures on the bases, so I only would have to paint them, no flocking and if I can avoid it no glueing. To be able to forgo flock the bases would have to represent some artificial surface, so some regular pattern was a naturak choice. To bind the design to the Eldar, I choose to add some detail in form of Eldar symbols.
At least the common Eldar
Epic uses 1:300 scale, so the ordinary Eldar should be 6mm or slightly larger.
As usual I looked for images of existing designs to get a feel what an Eldar should look like: Tall, slender, slick, pointed helmet. Glossy plastic armor, body contoured.
Once that was settled I translated it into a 3D design. I used basic shapes for body and limbs. The result looked well on screen, but was much too slender when printed. In the end the Eldar got 10% wider and 40% "deeper".
The first models had a six pack contoured armor, but I replaced it with a flatter and slicker variant - the idea being keeping the more ornate armor for Aspect Warriors.
When I showed the prototypes to my friends, they declared the more ornate ones for far superior and so I went back to that version.
The basic shape of the helmet was quickly decided - as usual the biggest problem was what to do about eyes, nose and mouth. I chickened out and decided to hide all under the helmet. Obviously it would not do to keep the helmet smooth, so I inset the portion that would cover eyes, nose and mouth. This would be enough to break up the monotony of the helmet, hint at facial features and be easy to paint.
You shouldn't go to a fight unarmed, so the Troopers would need a weapon. I choose something simple, which would fit the armor. To make the model less bland, I added a backpack with two exhausts or snorkels.
The design of the Eldar infantry and the Falcons was in some way parallel. When I decided to replace the acrylic bases with 3D printed ones, the change would obviously also affect the infantry.
As I usually do multiple poses, it was no big step to use the bases to support those poses. The basic surface would be as for the Falcons, but when I was designing the bases the idea came up to add some "real" terrain features like walls. And from having walls the step to have them run over more than one base was not far. In the end the bases and infantry models were printed as one and the basses were designed in a way that the bases of a single formation could be arranged to form a mini diorama.
The mother of all bikes
Children of the mother of all bikes
Than it was time to look at the bike. I checked some real bikes to get a feeling for the proportions and designed a bike around the driver. The guns would be like the GW warbike guns put just behind the saddle.
Looking at the design, it is easy to see that the guns can only be operated with the hands in the air. If the hands are on the handlebar the driver will shoot them off. So I tried to move the guns lower, but that wasn't just convincing enough. At last measure the handle was raised, which also gives the driver a more relaxed pose.
Last not least I did an even more ordinary looking bike, which has the guns to the front.
The tires with or without cleats just do not offer enough surface for glue to bond securely and keep the bike standing, so all the tires are flat.
The drivers' poses differ by some margin. The second from the left is mainly used for bikes making making a wheelie.
The Skorcha was the quickest model to make. I just knew what it should look like - like a Wartrack with a bin that has some barrel sticking out. As you can see the front assembly is identical to that of the Bike. The turret has a hole so it can be stuck on the peg and pivoted, but for gaming purposes it's more sensible to glue it on.
One of the pack of PAKs
Sometimes a Big Gun is just not enough.
I wanted to have some Big Gunz in my army so these were next. The basic design is rather simple, just what you would expect from an Ork design. By adding different types of shields the gun changes it's characteristic. I like the rightmost design best, it just looks like the Ork version of a WWII PAK.
I wanted to have some Soopa Gunz and as they would be Blast Weapons, I decided to make them more Howitzer like, so the will be easy to reckognize and their looks will hint on their use. Later after I did ZZap Guns for the Gunwagon, I also designed a Big Gun - Zap variant, which uses the ZZap Gun from the Wagon and the carriage from the Big Gun. Nothing complicated.
Oddboy crew and ZZap Guns ready to be printed. 4 sets can be printed at once and will be finished after roughly one and a half hours.
There is need for some supports to get them printed.
More thread to the pilot than the enemy
The Death Kopta was also quickly done. I hadn't any concious plan what it should look like, but when I started, I just added parts and suddenly the thing was finished.
After some fine-tuning I added a ring between the runners. This can take a 3mm magnet, to allow mounting the Death Kopta on a flight stand while playing and dismounting it for transport.
What is red and goes Zzzzzzzzapp ?
In the beginning, there was the tank
but in the end there was the wagon
Gunwagons - I wanted lots of Gunwagons. My first idea was to use tanks. Something like an early WWII tank seemed quite Orky to me.
But my first design (the leftmost) was just looking like an early WWII tank, so I did a second, more compact but higher design, which looks in fact a bit more Orky, but it does not look like a 35cm fast vehicle.
So I decided to take the wagon in Gunwagon literally and designed a Wagon. It should be fast, so it would borough the smaller front wheels from Formula 1. It would have some load on the back axle, so I did twin rear wheels.
I decided on the size (bounding box) first, which with hindsight was a mistake. Next were the wheels, and after that the cabin. I realized early on that adding a gun that shoots over the cabin would sit very high and give some weird proportions - and it would make the wagon fall over when cornering fast. So the gun would sit beside the cabin, giving an asymmetric design. But this made the cabin look too small, as the leftmost wagon shows. So with each variant the cabin got beefed up a little bit more. First extending onto the car wing, than getting a motor compartment and finally adding more depth to it.
The Wagons with turrets or ZZap Gun are of the same design. They just have a tower for mounting the Turret Gun on the cargo floor, and the cargo area is enclosed on all sides.
The wagon have a crew of two or three. The legs/feet position, except for the loader, look a bit weird, but it's fitting as they usually stand with one foot on a board.
The AA gun is just an ordinary Quad gun design, based on the Vierling I designed as part of the airfield defenses. Overtime the barrels grew in size to make them more robust.
It's mounted on a wagon without walls.
There isn't enough red paint to make that thing fast
Usually I try to make my designs recognizable, but different to GW designs. The Stompa is a bit closer than the others, because it is just such a nice design.
I have three slightly different body designs. The differences being more obvious on the screen than in reals life. The bodies are complemented by two types of heads, each available with and without crewman.
The weapon arms designs had to be more robust than I liked to have them, but otherwise, they would just break. The ammunition belts are still very fragile and prone to break if not handled with care.
Ork pilots get ace status not by achieving 5 kills, but by getting a plane into the air 5 times.
I kept the planes to the end as a treat. But whatever I designed it looked like the Forgeworld Fighta Bommers. Which is a fantastic design, but I wanted to have something more unique.
So I did it the Ork way. Take the biggest jet engine you can lay your hands on, add wings, add weapons, sit on top and fly away.
So I took the engine of the Epic Saracen Bomber added wings and weapons and sat an Ork on top. Add it looked good.
The engine looked so fuselage like that I did a variant, where I cut out some space for a cockpit and added struts for a canopy.
To make the model more convincing I added some patch plates and Bowden tubes.
Neo, who's Neo ?
And than I realized I had some additional points to spent. Just enough to get an other activation in, if I'd choose some Stormboyz.
So I did. Stormboyz need goggles, so I designed the two goggle-heads. The backpack, would be a rocket strapped on the back and I wanted the Stormboyz to ride on fire and smoke.
The smoke posed the biggest problem. For one getting it in the right shape and second it proofed to be to weak when only connected to the rockets small exhaust.
So the smoke now covers the exhaust to prevent the miniature from snapping.
Some of the poses are quite nice and the renderings do not really do them justice.