Skeletons and Lemures

It’s October, so what better time to paint some more undead. Click to embiggen.

The first set here are figures from the D&D “DragonStrike” board game. The detail on these guys is kind of shallow. Some of the DragonStrike figures are pretty clearly based on Ral Partha designs, but as far as I know these are not. They are pretty unique really — scythes, which are commonly associated with skeletons in the Warhammer world but not so much in D&D, and headgear that sort of recalls the art of Brom that was associated with Dark Sun. I decided that with the partial bandaging they might be at home with mummies and the Eureka skeletons I posted last time, so I made their metal all bronze. Otherwise a very simple color scheme. Their red garments and brown weapon hafts were painted with some Heritage Models paint that is more than 35 years old!

These four skeleton swordsmen painted up really fast. On the left, two Ral Partha models, on the right, two Heritage skeletons — one is from the Cavern of Doom set, and the other from the Crypt of the Sorcerer. Both broke long ago and I’ve replaced the sword on the leftmost with a bit of paper and wire, and the the far right one has the hand and scimitar from another RP skeleton.

Lastly, two Reaper Bones lemures. It was really quick to paint these too, basically just a Caucasian “flesh” base coat followed by a red wash and some pink highlights. These guy are much more bloated than the old Monster Manual illustration and if anything, more gross. Lemures are sort of the bridge between the undead and devils, being confined to the nine hells, but liable to be promoted to wraith or spectre. There was always ambiguity in the Monster Manual about the exact status of certain creatures, and I kind of prefer that to the stricter taxonomy imposed by later editions of D&D, where everything has one or more tags that define them as specific types.

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Published in: on October 11, 2017 at 4:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Eureka!

These are probably the only minis from Eureka that I own. I picked them up quite a while ago, partly because skeletons are among my favorite subjects and partly because they were super cheap affordable. It took me a while to get around to assembling them — the have separately cast arms. While I admire the flexibility of poses, I couldn’t help noticing how incredibly thin the arms and legs are. For the arms, I made sure their weapons or shields had some point in contact with the base or the figure itself, but the for the legs I couldn’t imagine them withstanding even gentle handling so I added a metal post running from the base up their “skirts.” I’ve done this to repair other figures over the years, especially skeletons. It’s not ideal, aesthetically, but it does make for a fairly solid repair.

The equipment is recognizably Egyptian in style, though not necessarily strictly historical. The sickles are certainly fantasy, and the scale armor (which might in fairness also have been leather rather than bronze) would be unusual but not unknown. The spearmen have typical “kilts” with a a heavy fold in the front that at least some sources claim served as groin protection, and the padded head dresses would offer some protection at least from cuts. Their main defense would be the shield of course. Their spears seem reasonable to me, and the shields look right for later periods (earlier Egyptian troops would have larger cowhide shields; these rimmed shields would be later, lie the “New Kingdom” period. All in all, I would have rather seen swords (kopesh or straight) or axes (either the narrow hatchet type or larger mace-axes) instead of the sickles. I do dig the Powerslave vibe their skull faces give though. I tried to freehand an “eye of Horus” on their shields.

About the same time as I painted these, I painted a few other skeleton types that were gathering dust.

Oh, hello Mr. Bones, I dropped by to pick up a reason

“Mr. Bones,” was part of a Reaper Kickstarter. I didn’t contribute to it, but a friend sent me some of the minis from it he wasn’t planning to use. He could be a good addition to the Skeleton Recruiting Party, or just serve as a “crypt thing” out of the Fiend Folio.

This poor soul was also a gifted miniature I got several years back from a guy I don’t even know but who was moved to find a good home for his neglected minis (The Galloway Memorial Home for Wayward and Neglected Miniatures is accepting lodgers BTW). I had one copy of this that broke many years ago (though he is based lying down for use as dungeon dressing). It’s a fun miniature, and oddly enough Ral Partha also released a skeleton “casualty” around the same time. It’s a pretty simple figure but the pose is good and the detail is sufficient. The flash on my phone at this range really washed out the shadows though.

Thirdly, this lich was always one of my favorite minis, probably because my original copy was stolen long, long ago. Another online friend sent me this — I can’t remember if we’d traded something or this was just a gratuitous gift. I was reluctant to paint him, but finally went ahead and he came out a little more colorful than my original plan, but as I painted him and touched up some other liches, I decided that they should be relatively fancy, considering they were once wizards or high priests. I always thought the medallion he’s wearing looks like a nose, and was tempted to paint it flesh tone. But maybe it’s a gilt false nose like Tycho Brahe wore?  I also tried to put a crown on his bag, because there was no way I could write out “Crown Royal” at this scale.

And here he is with three other Grenadier liches I touched up. I have a few more that still need some work. The second from the left was painted by someone else a long time ago, and had no shading, so while I kept the color scheme for most part (adding blond hair since the original paint job had his hair and the fur on his cape all one color) I added a lot of shading with a wash. The one to his left had the bones left primer grey, so he’d look more like a dusty, desiccated corpse.

I couldn’t help but re-evaluate some of my older skeleton minis while I was at this and decided to touch several of them up too. Many were painted in my “everything gets a heavy black wash and no highlighting” phase so they mostly needed highlights added, which was also convenient because the same areas were most prone to having had the paint rub off over the years anyway. The guy on the far right just had his face and horns painted white but is otherwise I painted him in the late 1980s. I’d just discovered that the Polly-S “Oily black” paint, if left unmixed, was a great black wash and over-used it on tons of minis. There are a bunch of Grenadiers, and a couple of Denizen (the only Denizen minis in my collection AFAIK — but I just found out they’re still in production!), as well as a couple of Ral Partha. The halberdier and the short guy both have wire reinforcement between their legs, like the Eureka mins above, because they broke off at the ankles long ago. Shorty also has a new arm made of a scrap of lead sprue with an axe made from the axehead from another broken mini and sliver of toothpick. Although he’s been touched up many times over the years, he deserves recognition as the VERY FIRST mini I ever painted, maybe in 1982. His mail still has some blue visible (I painted steel blue and gold yellow because I didn’t have metallic paints — I’d later leave metal bare  of swords and armor for many years as I slowly accumulated paints). Anyway I decided to try painting him because he looked easy (his arm was originally aloft with a short sword) and he turned out well enough for me to decide I wasn’t “ruining” my minis by painting them. Though that’s still debatable. 🙂

Published in: on September 27, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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Sick day painting

I left work a bit early Friday because I need to get over a cold ASAP because I have bunch of things starting Sunday for work. I rested up, woke up in the middle of the night, and decided to paint to kill time. So in a few hours I finished some figures I’d primed a while ago, and also repaired a couple of broken skeletons. I sealed them all this morning and will probably finish their bases with some texture and flocking tonight, but I photographed them with my phone with unfinished bases.

The main group are some Grenadier halberdiers. I had one from BITD, though he broke long ago. I found three more for sale for a buck a piece at a games store in a box with a lot of really old and badly bent or broken figures (the balrog from a few posts back is from the same batch). I hadn’t realized Grenadier made two variants of the halberdier. The Lost Minis Wiki shows the bearded variant as part of the set but my version had the mailed one. (I don’t think the mailed variant is rare, but both DnD Lead and Lost Minis only show the bearded one).

As all were broken, only one has an original halberd head (I just realized the two variants had some differences in the halberd head too; technically mine is on the wrong guy). The rest have plastic halberd or spear heads from a Zvedza “Ring of Rule” set which had lots of extra bits. They spear heads are huge, but might pass as ox-tongue partisans. The plastic halberd is also pretty outrageously large, but this is fantasy. Their leader is a later Grenadier fighter with a poleaxe (really a pole hammer).

It’s kind of interesting to note that the mailed variant has roundels on the polearm haft, like a poleaxe might have (though honestly I’ve never seen two roundels like that, and question how helpful the rearmost one would be).

I went pretty fast through these, just painting to the old “wargame” standard, with very little highlighting and shadows mostly accomplished with one dark wash.

At the same time I worked on a couple of spear men — one Grenadier, one Heritage. The Grenadier guy is another from the fighting men set, and I replaced his repeatedly bent and broken spear with a plastic javelin from another Zvedza set. I think his original spear head ended up on the Heritage model, as he too had broken long ago.

Finally a couple of skeletons. The halberdier is Ral Partha. I bought a small boxed set of skeletons long ago and to my surprise it had two each of the halberdier and the double-armed swordsman, but no axe-man. My experience with Grenadier led me to think all miniatures companies were pretty slipshod about the contents of the boxes and I never bothered to try to correct the omission. I painted both of these many years ago, when my technique was just to paint everything as neatly as possible in solid colors and apply a black wash. I touched up a few spots on these guys but mostly left them alone.

The swordsman is Grenadier. He originally had his arm raised and sword pointing straight up, and was presumably one of several variants made by adding armor and a shield to the basic skeleton model they made. Those upraised arms always bent or broke, and in this case I replaced it with yet another bit from a Zvedza set (in this case the Cursed Legion, a set of skeleton Roman legionaries).

None are my best work at painting but I’m satisfied they’ll finally see some use.

 

Published in: on September 9, 2017 at 6:58 pm  Comments (2)  
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Saturday craft time!

We did nothing today — nothing ‘productive’ anyway.  My wife did some sewing; my daughter did some painting, math workbooks, knitting, and watched an episode of Scooby Doo; I painted some minis.  We try to have ‘family craft time’ once a week, especially in the winter when we’re stuck inside anyway. Since my wife was a little under the weather we scrapped some major housecleaning plans and took it easy.  Craft time sprawled on and on, with breaks for lunch, laundry, and making pizza for dinner. Nothing recharges the batteries like spending time together making stuff.  Here’s what I painted:

Two Heritage “Knights & Magick” knights.

These two were painted fairly simply back about 1983.  The one with the sword my brother & I thought of as ‘Lancelot’ for reasons I can no longer place.  I was terribly frustrated with how I painted him, and tossed this mini in the brush water (I was about 11 then!) and when I remembered him later and took him out, somehow the ambient paint left him ‘stained’ with a very heavy black/green wash, that actually looked pretty good.  But not good enough that I didn’t strip him, like most of the K&M knights. The mace-man would make a good cleric if you overlook the sword hanging from his belt.

I also took some cheapo plastics and made some monsters.  One is a knight from a ‘Dollar Store’ set (the same one that provided the statues in a prior post).  This guy had a shield on a deformed, short arm, and I cut that off and transplanted a second mace.  As his helm has no eye slits, I thought he might make a good automaton or Iron Golem.  A knight is next to him for scale.  He’s mounted on a big washer for stability.

Lastly, I picked up a bag of skeleton warriors on Amazon to round out a purchase.  They are not great but are a step up from the Dollar Store crap.  There were six poses, and I did not use the ‘archer’.  I just painted one of each of four poses; I made do more some time, or save them to fight those dollar store knights.  A wash of burnt umber is practically all they need, but I went a few steps further and painted them completely.  Here are three of the poses:

The axeman and spearman both look very Egyptian, in terms of their weapons and shield, although all of the figures have a lot of extraneous skulls decorating them.  Here’s the spearman from the back:

The other two poses I used are more medieval:

The only conversion I did was to bend the flailman’s hand so that his flail is in a more natural position.  I did this by heating the arm with a lighter and bending when the plastic looked a little shiny (before it actually melts or bursts into flame!).  You can also submerge plastics in boiling water and then reposition them, but this was easier for just one figure.  For scale, here’s the flailman about to smash a knight:

Lastly here’s a skeleon, before and after:

These skeletons would be undead giants, obviously.  I like that some look kind of Egyptian…they will fit in as guardians of ancient tombs or ruins, and provide an option other than mummies as the big bads in a pyramid.

I also began work on repainting 30 or so Citadel snotlings.  They’ll see action in Telengard soon, I think.

Published in: on February 4, 2012 at 9:52 pm  Comments (3)  
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Skeleton recruiting party, all gussied up

I assembled the wagon and decided the horse really needed to be hooked up a little better to the wagon (the arms of the wagon just sort of sit out next to the horse). I added a set of reigns (and tied a bridle!) out of thread, and added strap sover the horse’s back and neck, so he might really be able to pull the wagon. Here’s a shot of the assembled wagon before painting. Naked lead — hideous!

I added a strap across the horse’s chest too, after taking this pic.

Here are the footmen primed black and dry-brushed ivory and then white:

The detail on these guys is much more shallow than what you see on “modern” figures, but they respond pretty well to the “drybrush technique.”   This probably the oldest figure painting trick, but it makes highlighting a breeze, and is also great for fur.  I also use it extensively for silver and steel effects.

Here are the fully painted footmen:

I’ve decided these are the earthly remains of Jakko, Jonno, and Torchy Flamer, three hirelings our C&C party lost in the first expedition to the thoul-haunted basement of the inn at Eredos. Now re-animated as some necromancer’s porters and lantern bearer (no rest for the wicked, nor for the downtrodden, I guess). Jimmo, the fourth, drives the wagon.

The skeleton recruiting party is neutral, but probably controlled by an evil necromancer or a vampire or some other major undead being who controls them through Jimmo’s ring (see below). They are busy with their task of collecting bones to add to a larger undead force, and are often used to assemble undead armies for war. They work relentlessly to recover and collect bones (sometimes assisted by hunchbacked grave diggers of uncertain species) but if interfered with in any way (touched, stopped, searched, etc.) they will attack. But a stealthy character might hop on the wagon or one of the two porter’s loads and hitch a ride unnoticed.  This is a typical party:

Jonno: Skeleton. HD1. HP3. AC 8. Half damage from piercing and cutting weapons. Undead. Unable to attack unless he drops his barrel; then he gets an unamed attack (d6). The barrel’s contents may be some other undead creature, such as a zombie, or a ghoul, or thoul. Or the gaseous from of an injured vampire, if encountered without a necromancer. Or treasure.

Jakko: Skeleton. HD1. HP5. AC 8. Half damage from piercing and cutting weapons. Undead. Unable to attack unless he drops his basket; then he gets an unamed attack (d6). d6 skeletons will assemble themselves from the contents of the basket. 2 full rounds after being dropped, one skeleton will emerge from the basket per round until all of the rolled number appear.

Torchy Flamer: Skeleton. HD1. HP2. AC 8. Half damage from piercing and cutting weapons. Undead. Attacks by bludgeoning with his lantern (d6); 505 chance it breaks on any hit, leaking flaming oil on the target (50%) Torchy (25%) or both (25%) as per a splash of flaming oil. The leaking lantern will explode after one round (as per a direct hit by flaming oil on both Torchy and whoever he is fighting). His lantern, if recovered intact, holds double the normal amount of oil for a lantern and so burns twice as long as normal. It is made of brass and worth 5 gp.

The wagon: The wagon is pulled by an undead horse, Mangey (treat as a zombie but with 12″ move) and driven by a normal skeleton, Jimmo, with a ring that allows his controller to order him and any undead on or near the wagon. The bones on the wagon, much like the ones in the basket, are already partly animated and will assemble themselves so that one complete skeleton will emerge from the wagon per round for 2d6 rounds, beginning on the second round of combat. The wagon itself is enchanted to do this; a Dispel Magic or Remove Curse spell will disable this effect. Otherwise any bones or dead bodies placed on the wagon will be animated after 2 full turns on the wagon, but they will not do anything but await the command of the necromancer (or vampire, etc.) who created the wagon. The ring worn by Jimmo is useful only to it’s creator, but otherwise worth 15 gp. The creator of the ring will be able to scry through it unless Dispel Magic is cast on the ring.

If Turned, the entire party will attempt to flee to the nearest graveyard. If left on their way, they will travel at 6″. The driver hops down to add any bones they find along the way to the cart.

Published in: on May 1, 2010 at 5:33 am  Comments (8)  
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Skeleton recruiting party

I broke down and ordered a bunch of figures from Noble Knight Games a little bit back, around the time I realized how much I’d like to have classic Valley of Four Winds “Skeleton recruiting party” originally released by Minifigs and now available from Games Figures Inc. (GFI). On the one hand this set very nicely mimics a detail from Bruegel’s Triumph of death, and on the other hand it includes a skeleton carrying a big lantern, which dovetails nicely with my current hireling craze.

Here’s the whole set:

One nice surprise was that you actually get a choice of “payloads” for the cart: a pile of bones or a coffin. The coffin has a removable lid and another skeleton that can be placed inside. I’ll go with the bone pile but I can think of some uses for the “spare parts.”   You can never have enough dungeon dressing.

I will post again when I get them put together and painted.

Published in: on April 28, 2010 at 12:41 pm  Comments (3)  
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The triumph of death

Click to embiggen. This pic is pretty big, and swarming with detail. (more…)

Published in: on April 15, 2010 at 10:55 am  Comments (9)  
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The army of darkness

Got a little tripod for my camera — can you tell? All images can be clicked to embiggen.

So here is the Army of Darkness, an undead army for HOTT. Most of the figures were painted long ago, when I used a black wash on everything and some are among my first figures ever (the general on the litter and his bodyguard are about 28 years old). In fact they were originally intended (and based) for Warhammer 2nd ed, but I’m fairly disenchanted with single-figure basing and mechanics. HOTT is quicker, simpler, and a lot more fun IMO. The core is blocks of Hordes:

Mostly Citadel Plastic skeletons (I got two of their original Skeleton Horde sets back in the late 1980s). One stand is some Ral Partha skeletons (rear left). I decided to base my most fragile figures, like the RP skeletons, on wargaming stands to reduce the chance of them being damaged, and because I have more skeletons than I’ll ever need for RPGs (unless we run Death Frost Doom, I guess).

Cavalry support from some Grenadier undead and two Ral Parthas (converted to hold spears from the Citadel set rather than their original scimitars).The guy with the red hood is a liche and could be the Wizard general.

The alternate general is Napoleon Boneyparts, a Blade or Hero (or a Litter if you incorporate DBA rules).

More old Grenadier. All that yellow? I didn’t have gold metallic paint back when I painted the guys on this stand. And I had a tendency to put blood on EVERY weapon in sight.

The gimmicks of the army are two classic Grenadier figures, the chariot (Knight) and war mammoth (Behemoth):

The whole army arrayed (with both general options):

Published in: on March 1, 2010 at 1:41 pm  Comments (7)  
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