with additional material by Doc
In the Tolkein mythology from which most of our fantasy worlds are derived (some more blatantly than others) the Elves are the Firstborn, or "Eldar" race. Longer lived than humans and with greater sensitivity to the world, fantasy elves are often divided into two distinct groups.
The first will be the lofty and imperious "High" Elves, noble beings who seek the enlightened position they enjoyed as the firstborn of their world. The second are those 'grubby cousins' who refused the call of the old gods and choose instead to cherish the wonders of the world created for them- a land as yet unspoilt by the coming of the younger races.
While retaining much mystery, its is these creatures that seem more likely to involve themselves in the earthy matter of battle, particularly if their beloved forests are threatened. In their closeness with nature there is much to please the aesthete and the general alike, as the Wood Elf are usually blessed with superior woodcraft and bowmanship, are often excellent horsemen and almost always clad themselves in very natty green outfits.
The purpose of this document, as with all the Army Showcases, is to offer some exposure to the different ranges that are out there- as we know some people are unwittingly restricted to one or two high profile manufacturers. All comments are of course only opinions, but are based on personal experience with the respective companies. And so, on to the manufacturers- in no particular order of preference...
These excellent miniatures were sculpted by Marc Copplestone and were initially part of Grenadier's "Fantasy Warriors" - later produced by Nemo miniatures from Stratelibri. Latest news is that they went out of business, but Doug Cowie (an old collaborator at Grenadier) has bought the old molds and will produce them from his company em-4 Miniatures.
The sculpting on this range is very good, especially considering their age. They also have a very nice "celtic" feel to them, and a slightly more savage-looking aspect than what you might see on the current Citadel figures (for example). Comparable to early GW figs, and the Wardancers in particular.
The figures are designed for wargaming, so cover all of the bases- champions, command (with harps and carynxes!), spear, swordsmen as well as some excellent wizards (again very celtic looking, and one looking very shamanic with a stag pelt on his head). The figures are slightly smaller than some more recent ranges, but not by so much that they won't mix in well- but be warned, the cavalry do have very small horses.
The best place to see the range (for now) is still the Nemo Miniatures website- listed (naturally) under 'Elfi dei Boschi'.
Downside: The only remark I can make about these models, except maybe for the need to replace their mounts, is that they come with irregularly shaped solid bases. However, rebasing shouldn't pose too many problems.
This dinosaur of miniature manufacturing certainly need no introduction. While most of the older models are quite small (closer to "true" 25mm), more recent ranges use a more familiar 28-30mm scale. There are two main ranges to look at for Wood Elves.
The first is Ral Partha's own line of generic fantasy armies, "All Things Dark and Dangerous". Although this range does not include a Wood Elf army as such, there are several suitable models in the High Elf line. Look in particular for the 'High Elf Irregulars'- basically unarmoured elves, perfect for you to pinch for use as Wood Elves. There are archers, swordsmen, spearmen and cavalry all suitable for use, with a number of female models in there too.
While I haven't seen the Irregular Elves in the flesh, detail is generally quite good on models in this line. Though bases are made of metal, they are of the familiar 20mm square bases, and should only add to the stability of your models on the table.
The second line was produced for the game "Crucible"- look for suitable miniatures in the 'Royal Elves' section. The sculpting and casting on all Crucible models I've seen, including the Wild Elves, is of a very high standard, and they come with round plastic slotted bases. Their Wild Elf Faeries could also have a place in your army.
You may also encounter these miniatures under under their old names of Harlequin or Icon Miniatures. This manufacturer produces quite a lot of Wood Elf figures in their Fantasy armies line, and as they are again aimed at waramers there is a good selection of rank and file troops (as well as a selection of tree spirits). All come with standard plastic slotted bases.
|The falconer (named Felix, for some reason) is worth a look too.|
"The sharp-eyed will have noticed BT's usual trick of providing two identical chariots (down to the crew) in a pack. Now what would it take to do a couple of crew variants to mix it up a little? And look! There aren't even two horse variants per chariot!" -Doc
"One thing bothers me about the archers- they all wear the same clothes. It makes them look like they're wearing a uniform. Overall I've found the Wood Elves to be one of Black Tree's more disappointing ranges. They'll be fine as rank & file, but they're not great....
"I do like the Scout command group, although they don't look like most wood elves you'll encounter. "- White Knight
"I don't like these at all, and I won't have 'em in the house. I've got the chariots but replaced the riders with GW Wardancers." - Col. Marbles
The #kof#kof "Legions of the Realm" range also naturally includes some Elves- 5 packs now names 'Elves of the Forest''. However there are only 5 packs of spearmen available, all with helmets and chainmail tunics, and aren't very well sculpted to my mind... a possibility for High Elf militia perhaps.
German manufacturer. One reason to include it here: Female elves. Nothing like a little feminine touch to make your regiment unique. There aren't that many models available yet, but you can still get a few nice characters.
Sculpting and casting is excellent. The models I got had very little flash and mold lines were very limited. The figures come with slotted bases- not your standard size or shape, but easily replaced with the ones that strike your fancy. One word of advice though, some of the models will suffer from different degrees of nudity, so perhaps not for the purists (or impressionable youth).
There are good pictures on the site- in particular look out for:
|Zamina: with magical bow (5051)||Kamia: Fighting with knife. (5056)||(5054) Adonia the Beauty, on giant rat (?!?). Wierd, but very nicelysculpted . Also available on foot. (5052)||Lelia: Standing with sword. Nice model. Terminal case of nudity though. (5057)||Jawind: Charging with sword and shield. (5055)|
|Very expensive, filled with "ramage" and a poor mix of weapon for the wargamer (archers are evenly distributed between packs, for example). Oh, but such tasty figures though... -Doc|
Another company that won't need introducing to any collector of historical miniatures. The Foundry recently released a range of elven nymphs that could serve as female wood elves. To me some of the Nymphs look a little bit chubby for the graceful elves they're supposed to represent, but thats a matter of taste I guess and most look as great as you would expect from Foundry. Be warned that theres lots of nudity again though, but the packs are well divided into "nudies" and "non-nudies".
Do check the site for pictures of the other packs.
Australian manufacturer of female miniatures. This company that also produces minis for fantasy football games, carries a line of female elves. Rather nice, although I like the Excalibur elves better.
|"Casting on the Shadowforge figs I have is very good, and they are certainly a good 'fantasy 28' scale- as tall or slightly taller than my historical blokeys..."- Doc|
There are six archers and six spear, all suitable for a wood elf army, as well as a very nice mage and a 'swordmistress' who could be a rare female champion figure.
Heartbreaker are another line for fantasy wargamers, these are standard 28-30mm figures, well priced for rank and file and come with plastic slotted bases.Unfortunately the miniatures are now OOP, but there are still stores carrying a stock so keep your eyes peeled! Look for the Elves sculpted by Chaz Elliott (there were some by Tim Prow as well)- you should be able to pick up archers, spearmen and magicians (in particular 5002- Elf War Mage- makes a very nice Woodelf wizard).
German manufacturer of miniatures for DSA and Armalion. They have a very limited number of Woodelves, with female variants. Be warned that the paintjobs in the official pictures often don't do justice to the Fanpro miniatures. Most of the time they will look a lot better in person.
DSA: Look for codes: 15022, 15023, 15032, 15033, 15036, 15037, 18031, 18032
Armalion: 19312, 19313, 19314
|Armalion/DSA Wood Elf Archers|
The figures come with solid round bases (these are however quite small and rebasing is not difficult). Also, the Armalion models now come with separate plastic bases that are hollowed out to accept the round bases, and these are also available seperately.
This French manufacturer of resin miniatures have a handy boxed set "Les Elfes" plus a few other useful figures (the faeries look very sweet). The sculpting doesn't appear to be as good as on some of their other models- but then in my experience much of Fenryll's stuff is sculpted to a much higher standard the website pictures would lead you to believe...
The resin, while allowing great detail, can sometimes be delicate to handle- on the bright side though, any mold lines or flash come off easily by scrapng the surface with a hobby knife. They come with square solid bases, which may not always be the same size as your standard plastic base, but then they won't stand out either. If you are very careful, you can try to detach them from the model, as the resin is quite a soft material.
Reaper is a good source for two types of miniatures. One of those is undead miniatures. The other is characters. Reaper's extensive "Dark Heaven" line contains a lot of elf personalities, some of them clearly woodelves. Reaper's more recent second fantasy range, called Warlord, with slightly bigger models and square bases, also contain figures suitable for wood elf personalities and associates. The Dark Heaven miniatures come with solid metal bases (and I mean solid), which makes rebasing a bit more difficult, but usually worth the additional effort...
Whether you will like their "AD&D" style or not, it cannot be denied that Reaper produces miniatures of a high standard, so they're certainly worth a detour.
Take a look at:
Elven Archer (2585)
Alyscia of the forest (2248) - although clearly not an elf, she could be a good ally figure.
Elven archer (2091)
Female Elven archer (2155)
2091 and one other archer appear in the Dark Heaven Legends Army Packs 6021 (4 figures, 2 duplicates), and there are a good few other elves in the range.
The newer Warlord figures have a quite different style...
Niriodel, Elven Archer
(painted by Liliana Troy)
(painted by Michael Genet)
|"I looked at these at Salute and was distinctly underwhelmed - I would have got them had they been half-way decent. The paint job in the promo pics is very flattering, lets put it like that! They are chunky and lack detail. "- Col. Marbles|
Vendel miniatures is one of the younger companies producing fantasy models. While many miniatures of their range have an incredible amount of detail, the same can not be said about the Wood Elves. A disappointment after the excellent Norse Dwarves, these are still fine models and would make a nice addition to your army as rank & file. Includes, archers, spear and an Elven King with attendants.
Enigma (later known as Atlantis Games) was a Canadian manufacturer with a massive line of fantasy figures, aimed at GW competition. Sadly, they have been out of business since 1999-2000. So, if you should find a place that still stocks some, get what you need rightaway, you probably won't get a second chance!
Not all their miniatures are compatible with other ranges, so its best to take a look at them first. Sculpting and detail is not as good as most present day standards (we have been spoiled lately), but once painted, they'll look fine for rank & file. The figures come with seperate metal bases, in the standard square 20mm, 25mm, ... but with no slots.
Available models (that I know of):
This manufacturer has a range of woodelves. While I really like the character of their Pygmies, the wood elf models are okay, but not great. These have a rather developed musculature, too developed for wood elves in my opinion. Bases are integral to the figure, but easily stuck to your favourite bases (their site even has a page to walk you through it!). Their value packs are good n' cheap though (8 figs, sword or bow, with four doubles for 6 UKP), which might suit you rather well!
They've been promising wood elf cavalry for some time now (watch this space).
Miniatures from WotC's Chainmail range...
Manufacturer of AD&D and Chainmail miniatures. Worth a look but don't expect any great quantities- these are roleplaying and skirmish figures. The Chainmail elves tend to be somewhat to the small side comparing to most current manufacturers, but they 'll still fit in with most ranges. The figures come with plastic slotted bases and some are quite good, although some of the poses are quite static and make the miniature look a bit flat.
Note that WOTC decided to discontinue Chainmail a while back, although the miniatures are still quite widely available.
...and two from their AD&D range
Only one so far, Celistophel the Elf Ranger, also known as "The Big Chin" and "Banana Finger the Great". Not one of Andy's greatest sculpts, but it could have a place in your wood elf force. Square or round slottabase, its up to you!
As creatures of the wood the most likely allies for elves would seem to be other forest denizens, with whom they are likely to have an affinity.
Colonel Marbles has created two separate showcases for the two creatures most often associated with wood elves, Eagles and Bears. These could appear as intelligent creatures allied with the elves (in the Tolkein tradition), or as trained creatures ridden by the elves into battle (as in more recent takes on the wood elf theme).
The other most obvious choice for Wood Elf allies are the trees themselves, in the form of Treemen and Dryads (are we allowed to say "Ent"?). These will be the subject of another upcoming Showcase!
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