Monday, 9 December 2013

Early Rogue Trader Eldar (part 1) .

Continuing with the Rogue Trader updates of recent weeks,  I thought I would do a small update on the very early Rogue Trader Eldar.

This update is a bit of an experiment as I am just looking at the miniatures from a range as an example, rather than showing off an entire army. I have also taken photographs of the rear view of the miniatures to show the detail. In previous updates I have realised that people may not be aware of the detailing on the back from my photographs, and this is one of the reasons I want to update on specific ranges, to show the details you don't see from updates or from the catalogues.

 As I haven't painted up the army as of yet, I thought that a mass of similar unpainted miniatures would be boring. In addition, a lot of the infantry need to be glued onto bases, and the Dreadnoughts (not Wraithlords at this time), Walkers, Zoats, and Ghost Warrior/Dreadnoughts need to be paint stripped and glued together. This is why this is a 'part 1' update, part 2 being the Dreadnoughts, Zoats,etc, plus a proper look at the army via the army list. Part 2 of the update will be probably over/after Christmas.

Also, in the run up to Christmas/Yule I am a little busy and unfortunately cannot dedicate a lot of time to a massive updates.

  In the future, my 'to update' list is: 
the finished 3rd EdWood Elf Army; the rest of the Rogue Trader Eldar; 1990's/2000's Dark Eldar; current Edition Eldar; 3rd Edition Skaven; 3rd Ed Empire; 3rd Ed High Elves; a closer look at the Iron Claw Goblins range; a closer look at the Great Goblins/Gnolls; Mithril Miniatures armies; Necrons (well maybe, they are quite boring); current Edition Tomb Kings (I really want to do this update soon); updates on my experiments with basing and chaos shield sculpting; Squats; current Chaos Marine armies; current Edtition WIP Ogres of Ind; Rogue Trader Space Marine Legion; 3rd Edition Chaos Warriors;
and also if people like the updates that focus on a particlar release of miniautres (like  this update) I can do more of those. Added to this there will be various WIP updates.
If people are interested in something particular, please let me know. :)

Anyway, why Early Rogue Trader Eldar?

As some of those who have read my blog before might know, I started gaming/collecting in 1986, and so  was there at the start when Rogue Trader was released in 1987. I have very fond memories of the early feel and background to 40k (no one I knew ever called it 'Rogue Trader' until the late 1990's!). The early game still had a skirmish feel to it, and the background, whilst dark and bleak in that 1980's vibe had not yet morphed into the slicker style or 'so called Grim-dark' high Gothic approach. It was a blend of 2nd Edition Warhammer/sci fi/punk/1980's comic books/roleplaying.
 Personally I define early Rogue Trader to be 1987 and 1988, and ends when the Imperial Guard are released in Jan 1989 and the newer slicker (but still somewhat chaotic) approach to 40k started. Of course this change was staggered for each of the races but there seems to be a marked difference from 1989 to about 1992 ('mid Rogue Trader'), and then 1992 to 1993 when it was becoming more akin to the later 2nd edition.

At this early period of Rogue Trader the Eldar were more of Pirates and Mercenaires, and seemed to me to owe as much to being Sci-fi High Elves/Sea Elves from Warhammer, than later. It was helped by the fact they were designed by Jes Goodwin, responsible for much of the later 1980's Elven ranges. This is not to decry the later Eldar background, first expanded in White #127, but the early Eldar had a more capricious feel then the Doomed tragic feel later.
 This came through in the Eldar entry in the 40k rulebook,  the two army lists in the Book of the Astronimican; Eldritch Raiders, and Cragnor's Buccaneers; and the updates in White Dwarf especially #100 with the new Dreadnought rules and colour schemes. I have organised my early Eldar to the Eldritch Raiders army list, but have not 100% decided on which colour scheme to go for. I am thinking of going for the Alai Mercenary Corps from White Dwarf #100.

Concerning the miniatures themselves, they were designed in a similar way the later Eldar would be, especally the Guardians, but had that 1980's quirkyness and detailing. They are also a little smaller and skinner than the later Eldar, and have a  greater range of basic weapons, althuogh many of them as the same sculpted one used in other ranges. 

RT40 Space Elves/RT401 Eldar, the first set of Eldar to be released. 
Unlike some of the other early Rogue trader ranges, the Eldar don't seem to have comical names (a couple of odd names, but nothing like the Squats names).
The Eldar of this era remind me a lot of the 1970's artwork of Rodney Mathews and Rodger Dean, with the flowing curved armour and helmets.
Capt. Aetolia Lightfoot, and Belgae Strongwill.
The Lightfoot is armed with a melta gun and power glove, and Belgae has a missile launcher.
Rear view. 
I like the covering wrist support on Lightfoot and slung helmet. Like the very early heavy weapon troops from other ranges, the missile launcher is shoulder fired and cast on to the model. The extra balancers on the ankles are a nice addition.
Gaedhil Quickshadow armed with Las pistol and Shuriken Catapult. On the right is Sgt. Mael Nightwing with Las pistol and power glove. I think he is the basis for the Lightfoot above.
The design of the las pistol is one that is used on in Imperial army, Pirates/adventurers, and Space Slann ranges.
Rear view of Nightwing has the wrist support as well. I wondered if it is meant to be a power supply as it's link via a cable to the body?
Ceido Sharpeye with a Shuriken Catapult.
 Kern Proudbrow with a Las pistol, Shuriken Catapult and punk hair!
Sharpeye has another stowed helm, and a Las pistol.
The look of the Mesh armour reminds me of the look of the armour Jes Goodwin sculpted for the High Elves and Elven Cavalry. All the helms are of the same style.
Eoan Fireheart, and Aedui Starborn.
 Fireheart seems to be the same basic sculpt as Belgae Strongwill above.
Starborn has a holstered laspistol, and a couple of what maybe grenades.
Caetra Darkflight with a las pistol, famous miniautre used as a trooper miniaturefor a lot of battle scenes in the rulebook . He looks like the basic body sculpt for Aedui Starborn and Ceido Sharpeye.
On the right is Irbic Trueshot with a las-cannon, similar to Eoan Fireheart and Belgae Strongwill.
More greneades at the back.
On the left Alesia Wildfire, with flamer and las pistol.
On the right is  Cmmr. Inghen Keentongue with hand flamer, powersword, and odd name (!).
The Cmmr. has power cables from both weapons reinforcing my thuoght that it's power supply cables.

RT402 Eldar Command Group.
These were released in 1988, and are in the same style as the rest of Jes Goodwins Eldar and Elves. However, they seem to be better sculpted and proportioned, and carrying better looking weapons.
From examing the miniatures, like a lot of 1980's citadel ranges, each of the one type is a variant on the others. For example, all of theMuscians are variant sculpts from one basic musican body type. For this range, there are for basic basic bodies, and then two addtional variants from it.
The musican Kaele Lightprow (female?). Looking at the miniature, I think she is a keyboard player.
Lassitae Starfi, with powerglove and hand flamer. This handflamer is used on a couple of Rogue Trader Space Marine models.
Rear view of Lightprow showing the organ like pipes.
Lassitae Starfi has a bionic left eye.
Cmmr.Avele Swifteye with a Shuriken Catapult. He makes an awesome leader model, and has an excellent facemask on the helm. Themask looks very similar to the helm masks used on the Eternal Champion range Melinboen troops, which I think were also Jes Goodwin sculpts. The spare round ammo pouch is a noce addition.
On the right is Menhe Worldsong, armed with a Shuriken Catapult. He is listed as a standard bearer, and this range came with seperate backpack standards, which I have shwon later on. 
This model was later (1990+) used as a standard Eldar Guardian Trooper in squad boxes and blister packs. For my army I have several of him in that role.
This scult of  Shuriken Catapult is used in the Iron Claw Squat, and the Space Marine range, with the blade.
Rear view of Swifteye showing a couple of holstered pistols. If you look carefully at his pointing finger, he has what looks like a Jokero digital weapon. 
Cmmr. Lessei Moondancer with powersword, and Cmmr. Yaevin Pureheart with Chainsword and Shuriken Pistol. In hindsight, I wonder if Pureheart is the sculping inspiration for the later Scorpion warriors as he looks very close them?
Rear views, Moondancer has the same pistols and Jokero Digital weapon.
Kelos Longfinger, the musican with harp (hence the name probably). 
On the right is Nael Fleetfoot armed with a melta gun. Like his related sculpt Worldsong above, he is a standard bearer, and was also used as a Trooper Guardian. The Melta gun sculpt itself pops up in the Space Marine, Iron Clas Squat,  and Adventurer ranges. A mutated version appears in the Chaos Renegades ranges, and a non mutated one on a Nurgle Palaquin rider.
Rear view of Lonfinger showing pipes again. 
The rear of Fleetfoot is exactly the same as Worldsong's.
Fierme Direstorm, with powerglove, powersword, bionic leg, and facmask. Also with punk haircut! I lik this miniature, very dramatic pose.
Rear view showing small pistol holster, but otherwise a clean look showing off the bionic leg.
Taal Spellsinger, armed with Handflamer.
 Judging by the name and all of the pipes leading from the helmet this musician is a lead singer. This is my favourite model of the early Eldar ranges.
Rear view, showing the extra pipes than the other musicians.
Another punk haired Eldar, this one called Elres Fireflash, armed with Chainsword, Shuriken Pistol and with a bionic eye. The smaller Shuriken Pistol ammo pouch is nice detailing. 
The other Eldar is Velasinn Doomrifter, and is another standard bearer. He is armed with a Plasma gun, one that appears in the Iron Claw Squat, Space Marine, Chaos Renegades, and even Ork Ranges!
Rear views, same as thier releated sculpts.
Standard Bearers.
There were three standard sculpted, one Skull topped, one Angel topped, one Dragon topped. I only have a three, and they are all Dragon ones. I do have a broken Skull one somewhere, which I will repair and use. 
The Angel top banner is exactly the same as banner used in th Elven Command Groups range and which I used for my Wood Elves here:

RT404 Eldar Distortion Cannon (D-Cannon). 
This was the precusor to the Eldar Heavy Weapon sets released a few months later. I have not included  the other Heavy Weapon sets as everything in this update is stuff that could be used for the lists in the Book of the Astronimican. There were rules published in White Dwarf #100 detailing how to add them to the book lists. They did the same for the Dreadnoughts later in that same issue, and Walkers in another issue.

The weapons itself and two crew. 
I think it looks very elegant and suitable for Eldar, and is designed by Jes Goodwin.
The two crew, only released to accompany this heavy weapon (although they could be mail ordered seperately). 
The one on the left has control pad, the one on the right a modified targeting helm.

 Rear view showing similar armour to the other early Eldar.

Not sure what I will be updating on next. I am still hoping to finish off the Wood Elves soon, but will keep my options open for the next update :) .


  1. Great post about a great range !
    I like how Cmmr.Avele Swifteye is totally sculpted over Cmmr. Lessei Moondance and that if you look carefully, you can even see the traces of th elatter below. I believe they must have forgot to make a copy of the main bidy and had to work the variant from the finished model instead.
    I agree the spellsinger is the best model of the range (just got one myself), the facemask and the small katana-like blade are really characterful.
    I'll be showing completed (unpainted) units of the very same models myself so now you've shown them in their individual glory, I have to thank you !

    1. Thank you,
      glad you liked the idea of an update having a closer look at the miniatures individually. I will look forward to seeing how your Eldar army looks too. :)

      You are right, there does seem to be a lot similarites between Cmmr.Avele Swifteye and Cmmr. Lessei Moondance, as there are with a lot of the range. It's interesting to see how they constructed the ranges and sculpted them, especally when they used the same weapons and detailing across different ranges.
      Yes, the little Katana is a nice detail. :)

  2. Exceptional collection sir.
    Couldn't resist snagging a 6 pack of these off eBay after reading this post. Lightfoot and Strongwill are arguably the finest eldar sculpts of all time.
    Of course I had to get some support for them...
    I hope to see yours painted at the usual break neck pace.

    1. Thank you, and glad to know you've been inspired by the post. :)

      Lightfoot and Strongwill are excellent iconic looking Eldar miniatures from the early Rogue Trader days. I won't be painting my Eldar for a while, but I will look forward to seeing how you paint yours.