My big project for 2021: Warhammer Age of Orion!

As mentioned in a blog post a few months back when I painted up my classic Warhammer Quest Wardancer, Wood Elves were the army that first got me into Warhammer back in the mid 90s (1996, if you want to be super specific about things, just before the release of 5th Edition WHFB).

My first White Dwarf was issue 201, which just happened to coincide with the release of Orion, King in the Woods. Shortly thereafter I bought my first box of plastic Wood Elf archers, and my first ever army project began!

Orion himself was my first ever “big” metal model. I didn’t know about pinning back then, so needless to say he fell apart quite often…

Sadly in about 1999, my Wood Elf army had to say goodbye for various reasons, and I shed a quiet tear for Orion and his elfin kin as they made their way to places unknown. And so it was that for about a decade beyond that point that I didn’t really look at Warhammer.

Around 2010, my hobby itch was getting too annoying to not scratch, so I popped into the local Games Workshop, in Leicester. The manager there was very helpful and she helped me pick out a Wood Elf Spellweaver (the finecast one) and a box of Glade Guard (which confused me, because they were archers and I remembered Glade Guard being the name for the spearmen!).

The Spellweaver. This was the first Warhammer model I painted after that decade or so of hobby hiatus.

Over the next few years I collected a small force of the “modern” Wood Elves, including the new Glade Riders and Wardancers as well as Treekin and the Finecast version of the 2000s Treeman. When the range updated I added Sisters of the Thorn, Wild Riders and Wildwood Rangers to my collection along with Araloth. And then came Age of Sigmar. A bunch of these models got transferred onto round bases to create a Wanderers force for the new game. But although I did go on to make a Sylvaneth army too, the look of the army never really worked for me. I missed the way my old 90s army looked.

Arrayed for battle in the early days of Age of Sigmar, before they got rebased onto Rounds.

Well, over the next five years I’d had again that itching feeling. The need to go back and grab those models from my youth that I remembered so fondly. So I went onto eBay and picked up the classic Wood Elves army book I remembered from my youth and it was still there, that magic. I stared longingly at the beautiful metal miniatures in the ‘Eavy Metal pages. And then, towards the end of this very year 2020, I made the decision. I was going to rebuild my old army, bigger and better than ever before!

Some of my now-sold Sylvaneth. I did have fun with these but it wasn’t quite hitting the spot.

So we come to today. As at the time of writing I have painted up a few miniatures, and decided roughly how I want to proceed. My goals with this project are thus:

  • To paint the models in a colour scheme close to those of the official paint jobs back in the 90s.
  • To base the models on green, square bases as they would have been at the time.
  • To obtain at least one unit of each type in the army list. Where possible to also have each of the named characters.
  • To have a lovely painted army by the end of 2021.

I know this won’t be the easiest project – classic Warhammer can be hard to come by if you don’t have deep pockets. But thankfully I’ve had a fantastic start thanks to the wonderful help and contributions by my friends on social media. In particular I would love to shout out my appreciate to James who very kindly sent me a heavy parcel containing Orion, Ariel, no less than 3 Treemen (including Durthu) and a whole bunch of archers and glade guard. I am absolutely thrilled to have these models to start my collection off with. And I’m sure I’ll be shouting out more of the community soon!

So, that’s where we’re at. And since you read this far, it’s only fair I show you the models I’ve painted so far for this army!

And that’swhere we’re at! I’m currently putting the final touches on a unit of Wardancers, so I’ll be hopefully posting an update soon with those chaps. Until then please stay tuned and keep up with my posts on Twitter and Instagram!

And if you happen to have any 90s Wood Elves that are just sort of “in the way” and they could do with a loving home, please give me a shout!

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