Wargaming Tradecraft: Eldar Harlequins - The Storytellers


Eldar Harlequins - The Storytellers

In preparation for my Games Day post that will include a photo of my Harlequin Wraithlord, here's a little about my other Harlequins.

eBay can be a wonderful place, and some time ago I found a whole box of the original Harlequins for dirt cheap. I began by staring at the primed white models trying to decide how to paint them. I'd already done a few in typical Harlequin fashion: bright colours, diamonds, clashing styles, etc. I've seen some people do Batman villains, the Joker being the obvious Troupe Leader. But I wanted something to make them stand out from other styles. While comic heroes look good, they don't exactly mesh within an army... and the typical Harlequin is what everyone else does.

So here is my master plan:

Eldar Harlequins traverse the webways that connect the universe. Hidden paths woven through reality that bridge Eldar craftworlds and planets. They're historians, lore keepers and the storytellers. Harlequins will show up before a battle and use their dances to tell the great stories of the galaxies, before using the same dances on the battlefield to bring a swift and bloody death to their enemies.

My Harlequins are actually going to be these storytellers, and as far as I can tell, nobody else has done it.
I've got a great range of most (if not all) of the old classic Harlies. I've gone through them and sorted who'll get painted like what race. From all the Chaos gods (including Malal) to the imperium of man and the xenos to the Dark Ones and Exodites.

Each figure will have a little of their race or faction painted into them. For example, my Imperial Harlequin has different types of camo on his clothes, is weilding the black red-lined gloves of a commissar and a golden mask for the Emperor himself. The Orc is basically an orc, though he is also wearing the red and yellow of the more famous tribes. Others like the Dark Angels and Ultramarines are representing a specific faction, so the whole model is painted as such. I'll go into more detail on each Harlequin fig in their description as I paint and post them.

The effect on the battlefield will be squads of Harlequins re-enacting famous clashes. A unit could be comprised by a force of the Imperium of Man, another by their Xeno enemies. Alternatively, Chaos Gods could be mixed with Eldar sub races in a single squad.

Another note, as you can't tell from the pics, is how I made the bases:
They're covered in chopped up mirror shards, silver sand and a little fake snow. (The clear stuff, not the white stuff) The effect of all this together is a great display of colour shards, reflected light and mangled visages depending on the angle you're looking at them and where the light in the room is.


  1. Love 'em!! They look awesome Dave and I really dig the thought you put into their paint schemes.

    For myself, I only have a few harlequins - and my plan is to use them as a Spire Brat pack necromunda gang (see here).

    For that reason, I'm actually going to get a different person to paint each harly, so they will all look really different and unique. Let me know if you'd be interested in painting one! ;)

  2. I could possibly be convinced; it's an interesting idea and I'm always looking for unique stuff to create. (email me)
    Your document on them included harlie photos, but I assume you'd want them painted urban rather than zomg colours and diamonds. What I would suggest is either dictating a base theme to bring them together, or do all the basing yourself.

  3. These are fantastic, Dave! Thank you very much for the link, I love seeing such creativity and thought invested into a project. I especially like the Imperial and the Ork, though my favorite is your Solitaire. I love his base, it's great! The other bases look very interesting, too. I'm just disappointed I can't see how they interact with the light as that sounds like an amazing effect. Thank you, Dave, I really appreciate your approach to the hobby.

  4. @PapaJJ
    Thanks for the kind words, I really had tried to capture something different with these guys. Sometimes I look at the Solitaire and think there's not enough shading, but I love how bold he looks. I think the orc is my favorite of them, it was like that's what it was supposed to be. I tried the yellow highlighting on the green as well which I think turned out really good.

  5. That's really a special idea. I've also never seen or heard of anyone doing anything like this. It fits the background like a glove and brings more narrative to the table, and then there's the magic of the models themselves. Many facets of the hobby here.

  6. Yup, I just wanted to do something special for them. I love their style and felt they needed extra attention besides diamonds and bright colours. I wracked my brain for a while, wanting to paint them but not knowing how.. when the light bulb came on, it was perfection.


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