Armies on Parade is an annual competition that Games Workshop has been running since around 2011. In a normal year, each participant brings a display board to her local game store to show off a selection of models from a single faction while visitors marvel at the maniacal attention to detail and overall aesthetic awesomeness. Winners are selected by each store and the best-of-the-best receive a prize and triumphal representation on the Warhammer Community Website.
For obvious reasons, Armies on Parade 2020 could not be an in-person phenomenon. Instead, GW invited entrants to send up to eight images of an army directly to a team of judges, and winners were revealed during a live Twitch stream on December 19th. According to the panel, GW received over 1000 entrants for the Warhammer 40,000 category alone, and the overall quality of those entries was higher than it has ever been before.
All of this year’s winners were extraordinary; some were absolutely jaw-dropping. (If you didn’t catch the twitch stream, you can see a recap with photos here.) That said, we only got to see five out of the over one thousand boards entered for 40k, and the only aeldari to feature was a single severed head on the base of a Space Wolf Dreadnought. As such, I have taken it upon myself to harvest the most impressive entries for Craftworld Eldar from various social media platforms and curate them for you here, each with some notes from the creator. You can find my own entry at the end of this article, although let me be the first to admit that it doesn’t rise to the level of of these others.
1) Luke Foster’s Swordwind
I am personally smitten with Luke’s entry. I think this is possibly the most compelling version of the Biel-tan color-scheme that I have ever seen.
Here is what Luke had to say about his work:
“This project started in November 2019 – but the inspiration for it came from 20 years early in October 1999 in the form of my first White Dwarf (238). When I cleared out my collection of old magazines and rulebooks a few years ago – this was the one magazine I kept. In October last year I found myself flicking once again through the familiar pages. I was reminded how the first army I wanted to collect was the enigmatic Eldar, after reading the article about the Swordwind army in that issue. My friend who also started at the same time as me had the same idea so I switched to Black Templars to match the box art of 3rd edition.
20 years ok I decided it was time to build that army I’d always wanted. I was looking at the Armies on Parade entries from 2019 whilst painting the first model in the army – the Farseer. The army grew and really clicked when I sorted out the green for the vehicles. I used a technique of airbrushing and masking with my primers and then use yellow ink beneath the green to give the colour shifts within the green which have come to be a defining factor.
I have kept close to shrine colours for my aspect warriors and keeping them unified whilst still unique and eclectic was a key challenge. I especially liked the dark reapers – I found the colour scheme of ‘The Jade Scythe’ in the 7th edition codex I mistakenly ordered. I have gone to town with the soul gems and think there are probably well over 1000 painted in the army – I realise this look isn’t for everyone!
My friend Dave insisted I should enter armies on parade. I’d been a little disheartened that I wouldn’t get to display the army in my local store but took his encouragement and made a desert board inspired by the photos in that first White Dwarf (now 21 years ago). I enjoyed it immensely and am how making more desert terrain so when COVID restrictions have passed I can get this army on the table on a brand new battlefield.
Thanks for your interest – If you’d like to see more check our my twitter (@glamage) and instagram (@glamagepaints) accounts.”
I strongly recommend checking out Luke’s Instagram, where you can find pictures of some gorgeous Wraithblades that apparently didn’t quite make the cut for his entry.
2)Casey W.’s Iyaden Warhost
Casey sent me these thoughts on his enviable display board:
“When I started an Eldar army, the lore of Craftworld Iyanden had me hooked. I loved the focus on Wraiths, which I consider some of my favorite bits of lore. By the time Armies on Parade was announced, I’d built up a decent sized mix, including Prince Yriel, his Eldritch Raiders, and a bunch of Wraithblades, and I know I wanted to do something out of Iyanden lore. I was inspired by this line from the wiki about when Hive Fleet Kraken invaded Craftworld: “… Yriel led his Eldritch Raiders to the rescue of the Craftworld. Disembarking from their orbiting spacecraft, the Raiders joined with the battered defenders of Iyanden Craftworld and, yard by yard, step by step, forced the Tyranids back. A final wild charge led by the Tyranid Hive Tyrant was annihilated by the combined efforts of the Avatar of Khaine, Prince Yriel and the Ghost Warriors, and then in a series of vicious one-sided battles the last of the Tyranids were hunted down and destroyed.” Thus, I knew what I wanted to do for my board. I painted up some Tyranids, the Avatar of Khaine and three Warlocks and focused on crafting the board itself.
In making the board, I used pink insulation foam mounted on MDF, cut to look like a crack in the ground from which the Tyranids would be emerging. To match the muddy look of my bases, I used spackle / plaster after sealing the foam with Mod Podge. The cliffs and boulders were cut from foam using a hot wire cutter and treated the same way. Lots of painting, washing and drybrushing later, I added cork pebbles and some loose flocking to the mix. On a whim I decided to stick a large rock on a flight stand to make it a floating platform for the Psykers to ride. A few trees and a Webway Gate completed the look of a Craftworld in danger.”
During the awards ceremony, the judges mentioned how they have a soft-spot for boards that tell a story. One of my favorite things about Chris’s entry is that it is so steeped in narrative and lore. I also LOVE that floating rock effect.
3) James Wood’s Mechanized Mymeara
James sent me some notes on how he painted this striking entry:
“The method I use is a base coat spray, heavy dry brush, wash then a light dry brush to give an oxidised look.
Craftworld Mymeara, Armour & hull Primed with GW “ the Fang ( the old one ) “ Heavy Dry Brushing GW “ Sotek Green” Washed with GW “coelia green shade” Dry brushed with GW “ Hellion Green” Calrdor sky Gems Based with GW “mephiston red” Layered with GW “wild rider red” Washed with GW “ Carroburg Crimson” White highlights GW “ceramite white” Varnish GW “ardcoat” Purple Helmets / Gems Based with GW “ xereus purple” Washed with GW “ Druchii Violet” White highlights GW “ gemstone purple” Cockpit Highlights “ cadian fleshtone” Retributor Armour Weapons scatter lasers is Celestra grey Based with GW “ Averland Sunset” Based with GW: “ Leadbelcher” Washed with GW “null oil” Based with GW: White Scar Celestra Grey Dark reaper Ulthuan grey Base Texture Paints – Agrellan Earth Rhinox hide Zandri dust Averland sunset Jet bikes Base colour is first: Caledor Sky then Kabalite Green, then Sotek Green Wash with: Coilia greenshade Finally drybrush with a mix of Hellion green, and Skink blue.”
I’ve always liked Mymeara color-schemes, and I especially like what James calls the “oxidised look.”
4) Brent’s Iybraesil Wraith Host Invading a Crone World (This one’s mine)
When I decided to put together and Armies on Parade entry I happened to also be working on an update for the page about assembling an effective Wraith host, so I used AoP as an excuse to paint a couple more Wraith Lords and upgrade the weapons and gems on older models in my collection. (It was also a reason to finally finish Jain Zar.) If you are a regular reader, you have already endured my thoughts on my collection and the hobby more than once, so I will leave it here.
So there you have it. Craftworld Eldar might not have won any awards in AoP in 2020, but there were nevertheless some inspired and inspiring pointy-eared participants in this year’s 40k beauty contest. I have no doubt that there were some impressive entries that never found their way onto social media, but the first three of these were the best ones I came across in my scouring of the internet for this year’s prettiest Space Elf contestants in Armies on Parade.
If you want to see more examples of craftworlders whose vanity is justified, all you have to do is search #aeldari on Instagram. There are some absolutely stunning armies out there, most of which never made it into Armies on Parade.
Feel free to send me a picture of your collection using the “Contact” tab at the top of the page. I always love seeing what fellow aeldari players have been working on.