Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Jain Zar

Of all the Phoenix Lord models, the one that I feel aged the harshest was Jain Zar.  Before I had a large army sell off, about a decade ago now, to help pay for some medical bills, I had all the Phoenix Lords.  As I keep working at tweaking my army since the new dex, I'm very interested in once again interested in fielding Jain Zar.

Even before the new dex dropped she was meaner in 6th.  2+ armor saves over-all are more resilient and her shooting attack was quite nasty.  Unfortunately she wasn't quite meeting her point cost because her weapons were AP3.  I played against her a number of times and even when hitting first, a 2+ save pretty much ruined her day.  Also, my favoritism towards Karandras meant she was, in general, getting stomped out in a single challenge because he could shrug off her attacks and then pummel her to death.

The new book fixed that, her points aren't prohibitive and she's laying out 6 AP2 attacks on the charge.  True she's only at Str 4, but she's got Shred thrown in.  In addition Acrobatic and her warlord trait mean the banshees are adding 4" to their run.  It may not seem like much, but paired with fleet it means they're generally moving faster across the table than Harlequins or Scorpions.  Now if you factor in Bladestorm from the Banshees pistols it's a unit that can use the first turn to get in to position for an early charge, or at the least force your opponent to deal with them, and when bolstered by Jain Zar's Fearlessness and 2+ save they're much more resilient.

With the rules sorted out that means the only real issue I had with her was her model.  I had some ideas for how I would like to update her, but she's a giant block of metal and I don't fancy having to saw into her mane a number of times and she wasn't a model re-released in Finecast.  Having had experience with the original lead model I know how top-heavy the original is and how many problems that led to on the tabletop, not to mention the need to pin her hands on since they have a tendency to come off.

I embarked on a page turning adventure to see if I could find a model that inspired me, but nothing really caught on for me.  Then as I thumbed through the Dark Eldar codex I saw the image of Lilith and recalled that she had an alternate weapon option for an Impaler.  I thought the pose was fluid and threatening enough that it would be a perfect basis to start.

My first step was to shave down all the spikes.  Then I worked to convert her face into a mask, primarily by using GS to add the amplifier to the mouth and cables on the sides.  For a while I considered leaving the top of the mask off and just leaving her with a top knot, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt that it would do a disservice to the original model.  The reason the hair is so tall is because it looks like the hair is extending from the face as if it's a separate head, the banshee's head.  I then added in a strap across the chest like the old model had, and what inspired the look of the 3rd ed Banshees.

Happily enough I noticed Lilith's model had some nods to Jain Zar's model, including the left arm having quite the gladiator appearance, so it didn't need much work, except some additional plating added in on the upper arm, right arm, and thighs.  I also used some Green Stuff to blend the long boots to look like a bodysuit and make the bare belly and back armor.

With the work done and the GS set I finally got to paint the model.  I went for a very traditional armor scheme, but not straight bone color, instead basing with Khaki and highlighting with bone.  The humidity has been high so I haven't had a chance to dullcote her, but otherwise I'm mostly happy with her, though I will probably try my hand at adding on a banshee rune.  

I think this final picture really shows the intended effect of the topknot flowing from the Banshee's head, and still gives the model the swept-back curve that is so common with Eldar models, most especially noticeable on the Farseer's Ghost Helm.

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