Friday, October 27, 2017

Armies on Parade 2017 - The Sylvaneth Harvest (Complete)

Hey Everyone!  Today I wanted to show you my completed Entry for Armies on Parade 2017.  This weekend Hobbyists from around the world will be heading to their local Warhammer or Games Workshop stores to participate in Age of Sigmar Parade Day.  Last year was my first Armies on Parade as it was also the first year of my local area having an official Warhammer Store outside of Friendly Local Game Stores (FLGS).  I took my Stormcast Eternals on a pretty simple Display Board with a raging river running through and due to fan vote I was able to take Gold and it has driven me to reach outside of my comfort zone and push myself past last years efforts to strive for Gold once again.

As you may have caught above this Saturday is Parade day for Age of Sigmar which is a change from how Armies on Parade used to be run.  In its prior form, all armies across Age of Sigmar (previously Fantasy), 40k, and lord of the Rings were entered and judged and voted on together with a single Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal being offered to the winners.  The new change sees Age of Sigmar and 40k judged separately and on different days.  They have also added multiple categories with the chance of winning a Gold Pin while everyone who participates gets a Silver Pin.  The new categories for this year are Best Painted, Best Theme, Youngbloods, Best Board (and possibly more).

I am curious as to what the "possibly more" could be as it is stated on the official Armies on Parade website, but sadly they haven't been as proactive on the posts there running up to the event.  I imagine it could be along the lines of "First Army", "Most points painted", etc...  I really find the event enjoyable both before and after having a store able to participate, but I outside of Twitter and White Dwarf there wasn't much build up this year.  Granted it has been very frantic and fun in the way of releases so I cannot complain too much, but those without a shop near are missing out on all the hobby goodness across the world I feel.  Hopefully next year we will see a bigger build-up to the event and even more improvements to the overall structure.

My Theme this year was to take the 1000pouints of Sylvaneth I have had laying about for the past year or so and create The Harvest Sylvaneth where I would blend the fun of Autumn harvest festivals with a touch of the dark and wet days of fall before winter begins taking its grasp.  A lot of the project was really just going with my gut and not overthinking anyone aspect.  If something looked off I just reworked it until I felt happy with the result, which in hindsight did not happen as often as I would have expected simply jumping in with both feet.

I really focused on painting up the bulk of the army first to get the color's set that I would need to compliment and contrast on my board, but after I felt finished with the army I found myself returning to them as I worked on the display board itself.  While I was viewing them as separate projects coming together they really became a single project where I could not look at one without seeing the other so the board and army really grew together as I neared completion.  It really became an organic project that took on its own life.  

I plan to take the army to a full 2000pts in the near future despite my earliest intentions to paint it and walk away from it post Armies on Parade.  It was a joy to paint and the quick pace my scheme allowed me to turn out models really keeps the motivation high.  I would be foolish not to include Alarielle as it is a fantastic model and if I am honest I bought these models just for the excuse to buy her new model to paint up.  I think I will also add a few more units of Dryads as well as Drycha and finish up with some more Kurnoth Hunters with Bows and Scythes.  It wouldn't take much to give the army the boost to be competitive on the table.

I also feel that I will revisit the board, although in subtle ways.  I am also considering the large undertaking of buying five more pieces of 2x2 foam and creating an entire game board using this theme with more static terrain built directly on the board such as more fields, hills, and perhaps some ruined cabins.  While I have Terrain as well as an FLG Mat I think a custom made autumn board could be fun to make and use during some fall gaming events for some fun.  The challenge would be keeping ti consistent and as damage free as possible during storage.

This year with the changes to event and inclusion of new categories I plan on competing for a few specifically.  While I am happy with the painting standard of my army there are plenty of fantastic painters in my local area and will be a heavily contested area.  I decided to put my effort into Best Theme and Best Display Board.  These categories play more to my strengths within the hobby and as I continue to work on improving my painting techniques and skill before next year's Armies on Parade.

One of the other goals for this project was to get more comfortable with colors I do not normally use. This was also the goal of my recently finish Khorne Army that used White as its primary color.  Yellow and Orange have always alluded me in ease o fuse in my painting, but using them throughout this force have given me a new level of comfort for future projects.  With more comfort, I have more flexibility in future armies and projects and hopefully improvement of my skills as a hobbyist overall.

There was one aspect of the army that gave me pause for thought.  Basing.  I wanted it to match the dark and wet display board, but the army itself has dark tones throughout and I was worried it would blend too much.  Thankfully after some input, I added some Leaf Litter to the bases to give it a bit of brightness against the muddy basing which helped separate it from the display board but still allowing it to be part of the scene as a whole.

I struggled with this same issue on my Khorne.  Basing is one of my weaknesses as that I hope to correct on future armies.  I always tended to be lazy and do the quickest finish in the way of green turf, but this can get very boring unless you put a lot of extra work into the base.  I still wish to rebase all my older armies as part of "My Great Aelf Rebasing Project".  However, I have found myself waffling on if I should rebase them all or simply create a new Aelf Army in line with my "Generated Free City" using new models and sculpts as well as my improved level of painting skill (opposed from when I painted the armies years ago).  Time will tell if the project involves rebasing or a brand new army.

What has pleased me the most is how well received this army has been amongst friends and different chat groups.  Medals are nice and winning is the goal for Armies on Parade, but the sense of satisfaction and happiness I already have from the compliments and encouragement to continue this army has really motivated me.  I am holding back a tiny bit though as I wish to knock out some small project laying about as well as continue working on my Shadespire armies.  Have no doubt that these won't take long and I will be back into army painting in no time as I just can't seem to stay away from it for too long.

If you are participating in Armies on Parade this weekend I wish you luck in taking Gold.  Regardless you should be proud of completing a project for the event!  If you can post a picture of your project in the comments so we can all check them out.  If you are not participating and I have a Warhammer store nearby I really suggest stopping out to get some inspiration and join in on the fun of Parade Day and consider participating next year.  I will post pictures of my local Parade day on Twitter and I hope to see the feed fill up with everyone's Parade Day pictures as well as pictures from the Realms at War Event that is happening as well over in the UK (#Raw17)!  Until next week, Happy Hobbying!