I recently finished my unit of Hexwraiths, so I thought it only fitting to show off some detail photos and take a look back at the long road to bring this project to its conclusion. It only took Frodo and Sam a year to walk all the way to Mordor and back, but it took me more than two years to paint these 10 models. In my defense, this was a pretty ambitious project...
It all started in January of 2017, when I began assembling the horses. I wanted them to be more visually interesting than the plain horse skirts, so I added the barding from the Black Knight version of the kit.
The barding also matched the armored horses from the Mortis Engine that I used for the unit leaders. The extra ethereal smoke elevating the horses really makes the Hellwraiths stand out over the rank and file cavalry.
There was chain mail on the riders' legs that needed to be covered, so I sculpted robes over top. I also added more ethereal smoke here and there.
Since hellfire is the motif of the "martial" aspect of my undead legion, I wanted to do something different for my "spectral" forces. I covered all the flames on the hexwraiths with sculpted ethereal smoke. (This is a theme that I plan to carry through the rest of my Nighthaunt army, so I'll be removing the candles and flames from all the models and saving them for scenery.)
I used tails from some spare Spirit Hosts to add ethereal wisps trailing from the scythes. the spindly Hexwraith scythe blades themselves were also swapped out for larger blades from the plastic zombie kit. There was a fair amount of resculpting done on the robes and hoods, too.
Working on the modeling bit by bit, here and there, it took me until about September of 2017 to finish everything and get the models primed. I basecoated and washed the bones and put the first layers of color on the ethereal bits. And then the unit languished for... yeesh, almost two years!
I didn't touch them again until August of 2019. I finished up the shading and highlighting of the bones and ethereal smoke.
And then finished off the black robes, weapons, and armor. Going back in to paint the black of the robes over the white primer, around all the bones and ethereal bits was the most tedious part of this project, especially on the horse skirts.
Once the models were completely painted, I cut the horses off their bases, so I could put them on ovals.
The simplest way to do this was to mark where the horses stood, and add the scenic bits like skulls and tombstones, then prime the base and paint those bits.
Next, I glued the sand, leaving space for the horse hooves. Once the sand was painted, I spread super glue in the spaces, put the horse in place, and sprinkled more sand around the hooves to fill in the gaps. Then I carefully touched up the sand around the hooves to match the rest of the base, and finished the rims. The final step was to spray the models with Testors Dull Cote, add static grass, and attach the riders' torsos.
One of the riders was magnetized to swap between a champion horse and a regular horse.
This allows me the option to either field the models as two 5-man units, each with a Hellwraith champion...
...or trade out the second champion's horse for a normal steed and play them as a 10-man unit with a single Hellwraith.
Painting the units only took about 22 days, so without the two-year hiatus in the middle, it probably only took me around 10 months of on-and-off work to finish these guys.
While I was working on the Hexwraiths, I also took a moment to finish up the Prismatic Palisades endless spell. It was painted to resemble shadeglass, with tormented skull-faces trapped within.
With that spell out of the way, I only have the Ravenak's Gnashing Jaws, the Umbral Spellportal, Quicksilver Swords, and Emerald Lifeswarm to finish from the Malign Sorcery box.