21 May 20

From the Mind of Mengel: Daughters of Khaine

It’s time to delve once more into the Mind of Mengel and discover what the master painter has been working on recently. Take it away, Tyler…

Tyler: The Daughters of Khaine have intrigued me ever since their battletome came out. In fact, I’ve been a fan of the Witch Aelves since they came out many years ago, and all the new additions to the army just blew me away, especially the Melusai. While I really liked their aesthetic and background, I didn’t know if I was ready to jump right into a full-sized force of Khainites, but after painting a test Witch Aelf and a test Blood Sister I knew I wanted to do something with them. Luckily, there is a smaller scale of game available for just this kind of project… 

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Skirmish allows you to play fast-paced games with just a handful of models. You can pick and choose from different units, since each model acts independently. This lets you try out a variety of models instead of painting 30 of the same thing.

With the idea of a Daughters of Khaine Skirmish warband firmly in mind, I started picking out what I wanted to include in it. I knew it needed to have at least one Witch Aelf and one Blood Sister, since I already had those painted. After that, I decided that any true force of Khaine needed some more Witch Aelves. I also took this as an opportunity to paint up a Sister of Slaughter and a Blood Stalker to get some real variety in there. All that was left now was to pick a Hero. 

I was aiming for a warband of around 250 renown* – the recommended size for matched play. My choice ultimately came down to either a Slaughter Queen or a Bloodwrack Medusa (both part of the Cauldron of Blood kit). In the end, the Medusa won out for a variety of reasons. First off, she can cast magic, which is a huge bonus in Skirmish. Secondly, she fits in with the theme of the Melusai, and lastly she’s just a cool model. At the end of the day I had three Witch Aelves, a Sister of Slaughter, a Blood Sister, a Blood Stalker, and a Bloodwrack Medusa, clocking in at a total of 249 renown, including the banner I added to one Witch Aelf.

I built most of the models as they come, since they’re already so dynamic. I gave one of the Witch Aelves a banner just to act as a visual centrepoint for the force. When I built the Medusa I decided to do a little bit of conversion work. I really like the masks that have been carried through a lot of the units in the army, including the Blood Stalkers. I ended up taking one of these and using it on the Medusa to tie her into her followers a bit more. I cut the front off of the standard Medusa head, shaping the negative space to fit the mask. I had to do a little bit of sculpting work, but not much. I filled in some gaps along the side of her head where the snake hair didn’t quite meet the mask, and added a top to the mask where the hair normally goes. I just did a simple point here, which also covered a small gap.

When it came to basing, I wanted them to look like they were fighting in the ruins of Shadespire in the Desert of Bones, which is the setting in the Skirmish book. To do this, I just used the Shattered Dominion bases and painted them to look like a desert environment. 

I painted the Witch Aelves and the Sister of Slaughter using my handy Witch Aelf guide, with two differences. When I painted my Melusai test model, I painted the hair differently and ended up liking that more than the natural hair colour I originally used. My model from the guide, which is now in my warband, had her hair repainted to fit in. It’s a basecoat of Ulthuan Grey, followed by a wash of Carroburg Crimson mixed with Lahmian Medium. This is then drybrushed with Ulthuan Grey again, followed by White Scar near the tips. Lastly, I went back with Carroburg Crimson and darkened down the recesses near where the hair meets the head.

I also brightened the gold by painting it with Retributor Armour, washed it with a 1:1 mix of Reikland Fleshshade and the Gloss version of the same paint. This was then line highlighted with Liberator Gold and a final highlight of Stormhost Silver.

The Melusai and Medusa had a few more techniques added in to paint their snake bodies and crystal weapons. I’ve put together a short tutorial on both of these which, when combined with my Witch Aelf guide, include all the steps you need.

Snake Tail


Step 1.

I painted the tail separate from the rest of the parts of the model on the Melusai and also glued it to a temporary base. This is because I basecoated the tail with Incubi Darkness, while the aelf half of the body and the base were sprayed with Corax White.

Step 2.

I then drybrushed the scales with Kabalite Green.

Step 3.

This was then followed with another drybrush of Sybarite Green.

Step 4.

To darken the folds down a bit, I painted Coelia Greenshade directly into them.

Step 5.

These were finished off with a final line highlight of Gauss Blaster Green. This is the most time-consuming step, since you need to pick out each scale. I just highlighted two of the sides on each scale instead of all four.

Larger Scales and Stinger

Step 1.

The larger scales running down the spine and the stinger at the end of the tail are painted in the same way. First I glazed both of them with two coats of Coelia Greenshade and one coat of Nuln Oil. You’ll want to make sure each coat is completely dry before doing the next one.

Step 2.

These were then edge highlighted with Kabalite Green.

Step 3.

This was then followed by Sybarite Green.

Step 4. 

It was finished off with a highlight of Gauss Blaster Green in the most prominent points.

The Underbelly

Step 1.

The underbelly of the snake tail was basecoated with Celestra Grey.

Step 2.

This was then glazed with a mix of Coelia Greenshade and Lahmian Medium. Once the glaze was dry I went back with pure Coelia Greenshade and picked out any of the recesses that didn’t get dark enough.

Step 3.

I then edge highlighted it with Celestra Grey.

Step 4. 

Finally, it was highlighted with Ulthuan Grey, mostly focusing on the corners of each section.

The Crystal Blades

Step 1.

The blades on my Melusai were painted to look like crystal to make them stand out. These were first basecoated with Celestra Grey.

Step 2.

This was followed by a solid layer of Ulthuan Grey.

Step 3.

The blade was then glazed with a mix of one part Nihilakh Oxide and two parts Lahmian Medium.

Step 4.

I then went back with pure Nihilakh Oxide and started picking out the darker areas. I wanted it to look like it was reflecting light, so I divided the blade into segments and started alternating which parts were dark on each side of the centre divide.

Step 5.

This was followed up by mixing a little Coelia Greenshade into the Nihilakh Oxide and darkening down the centre of each dark area. On both of these steps you want to try to feather the colours out around the edges for a smooth blend. If you get it too dark during this step, just lightly glaze back over that area with some of the mix from step 3 to lighten it up a bit.

Step 6.

I then edge highlighted it with Ulthuan Grey. I also painted this into the centre of the lighter areas in the same manner as the previous step.

Step 7.

I finished it off with an edge highlight of White Scar.

I’m really pleased with how the warband came out, and I’ve already started expanding it into a 1,000 point force for Meeting Engagements. This Skirmish warband was the perfect launching point for my full army, and all I had to do was expand each of these units out to its minimum size, and then start adding in a few other units on top of that. Skirmish provides a quick, easy, and fun way to get some models on the table and also try out a more diverse spread of models for painting purposes. Now that I’ve started expanding it out to a larger army, I have even more models I can use to swap around my warband’s roster, or add models in as they gain experience in a campaign.

I’m eyeing up some Darkoath next. The Warqueen, the Chieftain and the Warhammer Underworlds warband are the perfect size for a Skirmish warband – and a painting project!

We’re sure we’ll see Tyler’s Darkoath Skirmish warband soon enough – in the meantime, if you’ve been inspired to try out a Skirmish warband as a painting project, check out the range of Warhammer Age of Sigmar Start Collecting! sets. Each of these contains a variety of units and heroes, perfect for starting a warband. Remember to share your work with us using #WarhammerCommunity on your social media platform of choice.

* Renown is the points value equivalent for Warhammer Age of Skirmish warbands. Check out January 2019’s White Dwarf to get the full skirmish rules, including how to calculate renown.