They also get all the coolest sounding stuff, like Cold One riders, massive Hydras and Executioners, so I thought I'd move towards finishing the army with the last large unit I have for them - The Black Guard.
With a name like that, I thought I should probably paint the solid armour black..... so I entered that special circle of painting hell that involves drybrushing grey on black, then deciding that's too heavy and trying to knock it back, then deciding it's knocked back too far and highlighting with grey again, and so on.
Anyway, having made a vow never to paint a black armoured army in the future (and as we wargamers seem incapable of sticking to sensible resolutions, expect to see my Raven Guard army in the challenge next year!) I managed to get them finished to a standard I'm happy enough with. I think the key was getting some other colours on them to give perspective, as I found it really tough to judge the black on it's own.
These chaps are the elite who watch over the Sorceresses of the Dark Elves and hopefully pack a chaos bashing punch with their mighty halberds so they can take out all NickJ's horrible chaotic chaps with aplomb.
Black armour aside, there were a couple of design choices that annoyed me with these figures. The main one was they carry whacking great big halberds, but GW decided to have the top knots all hang to the right... behind the halberds. This means they're far trickier to paint and also then harder to see. Silly design choice as they aren't following history or anything.
Anyway, the best thing about them was the fact that this was a bonus unit in some ways. GW have started putting two options on a lot of their kits, with two sets of arms, weapons and heads to go on one set of bodies so you have a choice of which unit to make. These arms and heads came from the executioner kit I did last year and as I fortunately had at least 30 spare unpainted spear-elves lying around (like we all do, right?) it was a simple matter to clip, stick and convert a load of cheap ebay figures into these Black Guard.
30 28mm figures so 150 points if my maths does me right.
What a terrific looking unit Jamie! I agree, painting black figures can be some hard sledding, especially when you're wanting to achieve a certain effect such as with highlighting gloss black armour contrasted with black cloth (I almost threw my recent Darth Vader in the trash because of this). Anyway, I think you've nailed it with these sado-boyz and I like your use of red as a counterpoint to the swathes of black.
These 30 Dark Elves will give you 151 points including a pip for their blood-red banner. Well done Jamie!