(A unit of) Mantic Zombies! (6-Month Tale of Gamers Challenge)

In much the same way as I’ve grown sick of painting plastic Gondor dudes over the past few months, I’ve grown equally sick of painting Skeletons. As the time counted down for April, I happened to spot a pair of Zombies sitting randomly amongst the painted undead out in the War room. I’d painted the pair one weekend last year after seeing them randomly sitting on my painting desk, partly-done. So with absolutely no randomness this time, I grabbed out a couple of Mantic’s Zombie (and one Ghoul) sprues, clipped a few off, cleaned up the bits, and then assembled them, attempting to build as many unique figures as possible while bringing the total to 12. Not all that easy, as the Mantic Zombie sprue is pretty limited. The parts from the ghouls aren’t a terribly hard kitbash, but I did find that the kits weren’t designed with inter-compatibility in mind when they were originally tooled and sculpted. Mantic weren’t all that forward-thinking at the time, I guess.

Mantic Zombies, Vampire Counts, Zombicide Black Plague, Deadwalkers

Zombies!

Now, we all know that a mere dozen Zombies isn’t all that many, even when reprsenting “20” on a regmient base. I reckon I’ll slowly build up a tarpit unit of Zombies, a dozen at a time over the course of whenever I feel like painting more zombies. I know I could churn out a ton of decent looking ones very quickly via “the dip”, but somehow I managed to really quite enjoy painting that first pair last year, so I decided to paint them via brush instead.

Mantic Zombies, Vampire Counts, Zombicide Black Plague, Deadwalkers

Zombies hunger for the flesh of the living.

Having said all of that, the Army Painter Washes did most of the heavy lifting. After basecoating the flesh in various mixtures of Vallejo Model Air: Sand, Aged White, Duck Egg Green and AP Camo Green and VGC Off White for flavour. Then AP Purple Wash, Green Wash and some Lahmian Medium. For the rags I continued with the “army palette” of dirty dark grey to stand in for black, rather than a more realistic various shades of brown. Once again, I mixed up some greys, this time adding Sand for the hightlight mix colour, so as to avoid a monochomatic grey. Dark Tone AP wash to finish off.

Mantic Zombies, Vampire Counts, Zombicide Black Plague, Deadwalkers

These three Zombies have already acquired their lunch for today.

Next up was painting in the exposed bone and various bits of exposed muscle and offal, then lightening or blackening the edges of some of the torn flesh as I felt appropriate. Did the “lunch” portions of those who have been dismembered by the zombies in slightly “fresher” skin tones, and then did a little work picking out teeth and eyes and hair. I added a bit of bruised skin via additional brown-purple washes on many of the models, though it’s a bit hard to see in these particular images.

Mantic Zombies, Vampire Counts, Zombicide Black Plague, Deadwalkers

Mantic’s zombies are limited, but being HIPS, offer versatility.

Finally, I matt varnished them, and once dry, went in for a bit of fun with the Blood Effect paint. In this case, Citadel’s Blood for the Blood God.

Mantic Zombies, Vampire Counts, Zombicide Black Plague, Deadwalkers

A dismembered pair…

I think the most surprising thing about these guys was just how easy and more importantly – fun they were to do. So much that I’m tempted to start another unit of 12, which I’ll them be able to combine with these guys into a horde.

Mantic Zombies, Vampire Counts, Zombicide Black Plague, Deadwalkers

Zombie regiment on the warpath!

Here’s the traditional regiment shots. Another use for these models is to use them for Zombicide Black Plague. I’m tempted, but the fingers on them are pretty fine and fragile. When I was clipping and assembling them I’ve already managed to break a few off – so I just painted the stumps bloody – fits zombies, anyway – but with the amount of rough handling the Zombicide models get, it might not be such a good idea to use these guys in the game…

Mantic Zombies, Vampire Counts, Zombicide Black Plague, Deadwalkers

Yep, this unit was very much an enjoyable time.

 

 

Citadel LotR Osgiliath Veterans (6-Month Tale of Gamers Challenge)

Citadel LotR Osgiliath Veterans

Osgiliath Veterans, led by Faramir.

I needed to paint something different to plastic WoMT this month, so I looked through the Gondor figure box, and pulled out something both similar but different to the usual grind. My small collection of Osgiliath Veterans. Originally, when they were released, I didn’t much like the models and got just a few to use as alternative sword captains, but more recently, I managed to pick up a few more so that I could make a small but functional unit.

Citadel LotR Osgiliath Veterans

Osgilliath Veteran Swordsmen

Citadel LotR Osgiliath Veterans

Rear view of the Swordsmen

I know they’re pretty good in SBG when led by Faramir, but I don’t want to purchase more of them, as they’re not cheap in metal from GW or eBay – nor do I especially want to convert a bunch of the plastic WoMT into additional OVs. I figure this single unit will do me for general gaming, and if I ever need more to use in scenario, I can use regular WoMT as proxies.

Citadel LotR Osgiliath Veterans

Osgiliath Veteran Spearmen

Citadel LotR Osgiliath Veterans

Rear view of the Spearman

Since these Veterans have been in the field for some time, I approached painting them in a slightly different way to how I typically paint WoMT, while keeping to a similar palette. Instead of starting with black and highlighting with AP Wolf Grey, which is a blue-grey; I started with VMC Dark Grey and added a small amount of AP uniform grey for the highlights, which is much more of a neutral grey. The leather straps were done in the usual WoMT way, but all of the extra cloth parts, such as cloaks, bedrolls, satchels and shoulder bags and extra belt pouch bags were painted in a mixture of colours taken from the palette that I used for my Rangers of Gondor, since those guys will at times be used for Faramir’s rangers (along with those of Blackroot Vale and of course, the Grey Company!)

Citadel LotR Osgiliath Veterans

Osgiliath Veteran Archers

Citadel LotR Osgiliath Veterans

Rear View of the Archers

The metal of their armour was painted differently as well. I started with VGA 72.754 Gunmetal, highlighted with VMA 71.072 Gun and a very subtle highlight of Citadel Ironbreaker. After I completed my highlighting and shading of the entire model, I gave them a wash of 1:1:2 AP Dark Tone (black), AP Strong Tone (dark brown) and Windex as my thinning medium. This added a touch of grime to the models, to represent them having been out in the field for some time. The final touch (aside from flesh and hair) was a very subtle highlight of the wings embossed on the helm with Ironbreaker, to help reinforce the faces of the models as their focal point.

Archers of Gondor, Minas Tirith, Dol Amroth, Blackroot Vale, Osgiliath Veteran, Faramir's Ranger, Grey Company

Archers of Gondor, showing their different armour finishes.

Citadel LotR Osgiliath Veteran Standard, Faramir

Converted Osgiliath Veteran Standard and Faramir.

It turned out that I only had 10 Osgiliath Veterans, so when I spent some time late last year trying to sort out my unpainted Gondor models, I decided to give them a couple of models to act as command, rather than buy more models. I threw a Gondor standard bearer and a spare Faramir into a baggie, and job done! I’ve got another of the same Faramir model, which I’d painted several years ago, after I’d started this blog but before I started really updating it with any frequency. He was of course painted to fit in as a commander of the Gondor army, and occasionally managed to take the field. It can be seen here. This time, I wanted the Faramir model to be very much part of the Veteran unit, and so he was painted with the same palette of greys, with just a touch of AP Wolf Grey mixed into the top highlights. I also added some gold trim on his armour and the white trim to his skirts to help distinguish him as the unit commander on the tabletop. While the Faramir is a nicely understated model, it’s not really a stand-out model for someone as important as Faramir.

Citadel LotR Osgiliath Veteran Standard, Faramir

Reverse angle of Faramir and the Standard

I found the Standard much more interesting as a model. Once again, greys are the base, and browns the additive colour rather than blue-grey. I added a bread bag from a Warlord German to his hip to help him fit in with the troops, and also took his metal head off and replaced it with a Warlord Roman Veteran head, to which I added a touch of bloodstain on his bandanna. I also painted him with blonde hair and attempted to create a stark, greasy look with a dark wash. (As we know, greasy, dirty blonde hair just ends up looking brown, but this is miniature painting.) And yeah, I know Osgiliath Veterans can’t technically have a standard bearer, but he can easily be used as a Spearman, given the pointy end on that banner pole!

Citadel LotR Osgiliath Veterans

Spear-based Osgiliath Veterans

Citadel LotR Osgiliath Veterans

Sword-based Osgiliath Veterans

Citadel LotR Osgiliath Veterans

Bow-based Osgiliath Veterans

The “Kings of War” style unit photos this time show off the different configurations that these guys can be set up in, in order to bring one type of weapon or another to the fore, should I decide to vary the unit profile.

D&D Monster Manual 12: Castle Ravenloft Howling Hag, Dark World Haunter

Another one of the Dungeons and Dragons Boardgame models today. The “Hag” from the Castle Ravenloft boxed boardgame was probably my least favourite model to paint from the entire set, which is why she’s taken this long to complete. At first she looked an easy model, and I attempted to knock it out quickly, but the soft detail and general …I dunno, unlikability? of the model led it to sit in half-painted limbo for literally years, including one (failed) attempt to try and get it out and just get it done.

Dungeons and Dragons Castle Ravenloft – “Howling Hag”

Ironically, it’s been the “Tale of Gamers Painting Challenge” that led me to fish the model out of one of the tubs it had been banished to in order to complete it. When I saw it, I thought “yeah, that’s undead” and with April being a very difficult month for me to to various personal reasons, I felt that it might be a way to achieve my self-imposed monthly target on the undead side. After all, I painted two units from scratch last month… Initially, my thought was to potentially use her as a character of some kind, as it’s essentially a boss character in the D&D boardgame, but the model just doesn’t deserve to be a character in a wargame. Not with so many other, better models at my disposal.

Dungeons and Dragons Castle Ravenloft - "Howling Hag"

Rear view of the Howling Hag

As you can see, I’ve really just tried to get a “good enough” tabletop level on the model. Looking at it in these photos, I can see how I’ve completely skipped higher level highlights on the edges of the robes and clothing. But meh. I dislike this model with it’s muddy, soft “detail” and so I’m calling it good enough. the reddish and black shawl is an attempt to add a little bit of colour to the model, and is also “good enough” should it ever be used as …something in the KoW army. Perhaps she could be stuck in amongst the Zombies. It’d work well enough with that giant gob. Perhaps as an (extra?) Necromancer in Zombicide: Black Plague.

Dark World – “Haunter”

Next up, a model started back in the early 1990’s, “finished” to a standard I was unhappy with for a long time, buried in a figure case, and recently exhumed and finished to what is again, a “good enough” tabletop standard. I’ve gone for what has become the more or less default “ethereal” paint style ever since the LotR Army of the Dead became a thing back in the early 2000’s.

This guy is the “Haunter” from the 1992 board game, “Dark World“. I managed to either save up my money or get gifted this HeroQuest-alike boardgame in my youth. It had to be awesome, right? Look at the cover art!

Dark World Miniatures

Look at the miniatures! There’s a definite Games Workshop stylistic thing happening there, which was very exciting back in ’92. The Mummies and, well, one of the Skeletons I still have, painted and set up with the undead army. No idea what became of much of the rest of the set, including the large temple that came as scenery in the set, which I started converting way back decades ago but never finished. If I ever do find it, I’ll finish it and show it here. Sadly, I never actually played the game. So, um.. yeah.

Dark World Haunter – Original “Official” paintjob (not mine!)

The Haunter is a relatively simple figure. Even back in the day I didn’t like the goofy face that they gave it, so I promptly threw it away and left what I thought was a much more evil looking ringwraith-style empty hood.

My version of the Dark World “Haunter”

The base made it a little awkward when renovating the old model recently but instead of cutting it off and mounting it on a normal GW style base, I just put the whole thing onto a Warmachine-style “rolled edge” base and built up around the rim with acrylic paste. Like the Howling Hag, I’m seeing this as more of a boardgame model, or perhaps role-playing or skirmish gaming than something that will go into a Kings of War army. In this case mostly because I have no idea what profile to use…

Dark World Haunter, Dungeons and Dragons Castle Ravenloft - "Howling Hag"

Haunter and Howling Hag

So these models might end up being April’s Undead entry into the Tale of Gamers challenge unless I can finish off something else. I guess I still have a couple of weeks, but I need a break from painting skeletons, so we’ll see what transpires. In any case, I’ve got another couple of monsters for D&D/Pathfinder/WFRP/etc.

Small Scenics: Uruk-Hai Siege Ladders and an Old Unknown Grave

One of my small-scale scenic updates today – some things that have been in my “quick and easy to-do” pile for an embarrassingly long time – years in fact.

Citadel Lord of the Rings Uruk-Hai Siege Ladder

One Siege Ladder

First up we have the Siege Ladders that came with Citadel’s Lord of the Rings Uruk-Hai Siege Troops set. I’ve never actually purchased one of these sets off the shelf, but I’ve picked up a fair few random bits of it from eBay and other secondhand sources  over the years in excess of a full box.

Citadel Lord of the Rings Uruk-Hai Siege Ladder

Several Siege Ladders

Simple as they are, they’ve long been in my “yeah, I should knock those out” pile, but as they’re pretty unimportant unless you happen to be playing a siege scenario, they’re pretty easy to forget about as well.

An unknown grave, from an unknown manufacturer.

This grave has been in my collection for more than 20 years now, acquired with some random bunch of things from somewhere, probably from Dave M. Until last year it had the same rough brown basecoat over the “dirt” and black over the headstone and other bits. I’m not who the manufacturer is? Ral Partha or RAFM or Grenadier? Something like that, no doubt, and probably part of a set, long broken up.

A mystery grave from the 1980’s or 1990’s.

Last year I finally glued it down to a Renedra cavalry base and added some PVA around the edges, but it got put away when I cleared the decks for the December Paint Challenge. The other day, while looking for simple undead things to complete I spied it in one of my tubs of half-painted models from the clear-up, and grabbed it out, and then gave it the little bit of work it needed for completion. I chose to paint the bits with a subtle nod to the undead army I’ve been painting. Metal and rust and brass and verdigris and reddish browns.

 

Warriors of Minas Tirith – Spearmen (6-Month Tale of Gamers Challenge)

Another unit completed for the Gondor army as part of the Jan-June painting challenge. I’m finding these guys pretty tedious at this point, so I’ll certainly be doing something to mix it all up a bit for the July-December challenge.

Citadel Miniatures Warriors of Minas Tirith Captain and Standard

Warriors of Minas Tirith Captain and Standard

These guys are another unit that had models shuffled around when KoW went to a second edition. I only noticed the other day when playing SAGA that a unit of spearmen had a couple of holes in their front rank, just waiting for a command pair. So I pulled out an appropriate pair of models and got them painted up pretty quickly.

Citadel Miniatures Warriors of Minas Tirith Captain and Standard

And the rear view. Shading these banners so they look decent is never fun.

I find it amusing that the needs of wargaming result in the Captains of Gondor having armour with more bling than Faramir did in the films. Then again, the other option is either to not have them stand out at all, or have them all standing on big piles of rubble.

Citadel Miniatures Warriors of Minas Tirith Spearmen

The finished unit of Minas Tirith Spearmen

Result: Another completed unit of Minas Tirith/Gondor/Kingdoms of Men Spearmen. I should have something more interesting for the next update!

Painting Skeletons – A Warm Bone Tutorial.

Like great men everywhere*, I’m always happy to share my methods and techniques when asked. In this case, Imperialrebelork asked me if I could share how I paint the bone on my skeletons and other undead, and as I had these guys coming up in the queue, they provided me with a perfect set of models to use as an example. It’s a pretty simple system. Pretty much base coat, two down and three up.

*Note – I’m not calling myself a great man, just saying that like great men, I’m happy to share. 😉 – OR AM I?

Cleaned model & Primed model.

The first thing was the usual. Cleaning the models. In this case, a mob of 22 metal “fir bolg” skeletons from Brigade Models. I’d have taken a photo, but I forgot and it doesn’t really matter. Unpainted bare metal models glued down to plastic slottabases. Not a huge stretch of the imagination, amirite?

Now usually, I prime skeletons white. I know a lot of people prefer to start dark, but I’m the opposite with skellys. In this case, I did something a little different to my normal way. I recently asked Marouda to grab me some spray paints when she went past a local hardware place. I’ve been using Several Shades of Grey on some scenery projects that I haven’t yet shown, and also asked her to pick this one up for me, as a trial for undead.

White Knights Squirts – Gloss Cream – AU$7.45 from Bunnings.

We all know that GW cycles through a bunch of different coloured sprays for basecoats every few years before losing interest and discontinuing them, and Army Painter cans are popular. Both cost around AU$30 on average last time I cared enough to look. This can was less than ten bucks. I’ve had mixed results with Army Painter and Rustoleum on models, but nice cheap White Knight seems to come through every time. It’s good stuff. I’d have been happier with matt, but it’s a base coat and I’m going to seal them when it’s all said and done anyway, so whatever.

After their spray with White Knight

Now usually, I spray prime white, then I paint all of the bone elements of the model with Old-GW “Bleached Bone” or the equivalent. (Ushabti Bone, Vallejo Bonewhite, etc). – for something different, I gave this paint a test, and it looked just fine. No problems with coverage, etc – so I did the whole lot in it. Except for one model who fell down on my desk that I missed – Little bastard! Since it’s a spray it didn’t manage to hit every little bit, so the choice is to tidy up with Bonewhite (as I use the Vallejo) or respray depending on how much is missed.

A choice of bone basecoats

Assuming that you don’t have a local source of cream/bone coloured spray paint, or just prefer not to, these are a few paints that would work just as well. I’ve never used Flayed One Flesh and am unlikely to since I’m quite happy using the last of my old-school bleached bone and the Vallejo Bonewhite – the same paint I use for touchup after the spray.

With and without the first shade layer.

The first shade layer is applied with a very-thinned “Snakebite Leather” or equivalent. Lately I’m using XV-88, which – despite it’s ridiculous name – has a colour and consistency that I like very much. Often when painting over traditional paint I use saliva to thin the paint. I drop a little drop of clean saliva (no bubbles) into the palette and a drop of paint next to it and then draw them together. Saliva has a slightly more “elastic” quality to it than mediums be they water, Lahmian Medium, Windex or commercial acrylic medium. This allows better control with the brush when moving it around on the model. Blame John Blanche and a very old White Dwarf’s “Blanche Itsu” article.

All of these paints are effectively "Snakebite Leather" for the first shade layer.

With these models, I used windex and water. The nature of having used a gloss enamel spray can for the base coat meant a much smoother finish to the models than if I’d painted them with white primer followed by acrylic miniature paint. As you can see above, the flow was smooth, and white there are a few tide marks left in spots like the shoulder blades and near the arm joints, that’s fine – they get fixed later. You can also see that as well as going into the recesses between bones and joints, the wash also stains the bone slightly.

Second layer of shading – almost a lining exercise. After (left), Before (right)

The next step is the second layer of shading. I use a very dark brown paint – and again that can change from batch of skeletons to batch. Once again I thin the paint right down via either saliva or various mediums. This second layer of shading is something I’ve only started doing in the last couple of years. Might have even been last year, but I think it adds nicely to the final result – though I guess it’s optional if you’re wanting to get them done a bit faster. This time, I shade only between specific bones. Between and underneath the ribs, and then I do major joints. So elbows, knees, hips, the jaw, sometimes between the fibula and tibia (lower leg), sometimes between the radius and ulna (forearms). I also line between the fingers and toes but not the metacarpals and metatarsals (the bits of our hands and feet usually covered in skin). Sure, it’s not especially realistic to have the fingers defined but not the metacarpals in a skeleton but it’s a visual look that works since we’re used to looking at fingers and toes.

This Model Air paint: 71.041 Tank Brown – is my current go-to. I had to write the number on the label after it wore off the main part.

The important thing here is to keep the second layer of shading to joints and holes, etc only. We don’t want to be staining the top layer if at all possible. I do go over the mouth and teeth area, as well as the nose, eye sockets and a very subtle-thin bit in the sphenoid – where your temple is behind the eye sockets/orbitals.

Any of these will work. The AP is a bit lighter though, so would be my last choice.

Now our two layers of shading are done – the “two down”. We do our three layers of highlighting – or the “three up”. The first layer is the same bone that we used for our basecoat, as seen up the page. Thin it down nicely (saliva recommended) and then carefully overpaint the bones in spots where they’re raised – leaving the lower and most recessed bones untouched. This is where we start to neaten up the tide marks and other messy bit left by our two layers of shading. The first layer of highlighting is essentially restoring the base coat colour to the model where it’s needed while neatening and leaving the shading that we want to keep.

L-R: No highlight, Layer 1, Layer 2

The second layer is pretty simple as well. With a lighter shade of the same colour (or add white) we highlight more of the edges of the bones, top and sides of the skull, the parts of the ribs at the forefront of the model, the spinal column, the raised portions.

L-R: Layer 1, Layer 2, Layer 3

Finally, the last layer is done with an almost-white paint, and here we only paint the top of the skull and facial details, the very tips of fingers, and upper and outer edges of bones and joints. The tips of the spine. I use a very fine brush here to pick out individual teeth. You can see it most easily in the pic above on the ribcage and the skull.

A selection of highlight colour options. The Vallejo are 72.101 Off White and 72.098 Elfic Flesh

The two colours I use here are both Vallejo Game Colours: 72.101 Off White and 72.098 Elfic Flesh. At this point it’s a matter of painting (or finishing) any cloth, armour, weapons or other junk being carried around by your Skellies, sorting your bases, and you’re pretty much done.

I are finish! (this image is unfortunately a bit overexposed/washed out)

Now this method isn’t going to win any Golden Demons or Crystal Brushes, but it’s a relatively quick, easy and simple way to get a “warm bone” look, uses a limited palette of 5 colours and I’m happy with the results. It’s even simple enough that I can manage to chip away at it in my lunch breaks at work.

Another batch painted using the same techniques, photographed with different (better!) lighting.

Realm of Chaos: Warrior-Champion of Khorne

Here’s the next of the Mark Copplestone series of Chaos Warrior-Champions from The Lost and the Damned-era.

Realm of Chaos Oldhammer Chaos Warrior Champion of Khorne.

Mark Copplestone’s Chaos Warrior / Champion of Khorne

 

Once again, this guy was painted back in the 1990’s but needed a little bit of touching up. He’d gathered some dust and such over the years, so he needed a cleaning scrub with a toothbrush and soap(!) to get the stuff off. I highlighted the brass of his armour, and also added a tint of green to it. I also touched up the bone on his horns and skull-pommel which were originally painted with the “base coat-and-ink glaze: done!” method.

Realm of Chaos Oldhammer Chaos Warrior Champion of Khorne.

A view of the Skull Rune of Khorne.

All of the finer details around the slightly unknown release dates and such of the figures in this series are in the previous post that showed the Slaanesh Champion. Like the Slaanesh model, I rebased this guy to a 32mm round, which he actually fits on as he had some pretty bad overhang on the 25mm square that he used to reside on. I added the simple freehand Skull Rune of Khorne to his right shoulder. While I do like the newer models and  even like the AoS models, but there’s something to be said for models that leave a nice amount of flat space that allow some freehand work.

Realm of Chaos Oldhammer Chaos Warrior Champion of Khorne.

Rear View. Nothing dodgy here!

While fixing this guy up and handling him, I started to notice just how much his armour reminded me of the “feel” of samurai armour. Not an exact copy by any means, but the pose and overall shape. I’m sure the mask appearance helps as well. It’s a subtler influence, but I think it works well for this figure from the days before Khorne was only about bloodlusting berserkers – the “warrior code” was also a big thing for Khorne back then. As much about blood and marital honour as blood and berserk rage.

Realm of Chaos Oldhammer Chaos Warrior Champion of Khorne.

Axe-side!

Generally speaking, I’m not a huge fan of adding blood and gore to models. Used sparingly, they can be quite effective, but too often a model just ends up spattered with the stuff, or way too many models are covered in it. As can be seen here, I’ve added some to his axe, and also to the pair of skulls at his feet. Hopefully it looks effective without being over the top.

Realm of Chaos Oldhammer Chaos Warrior Champion of Khorne.

A view from a higher angle.

A slightly better view of his offerings to Khorne – a pair of blood-spattered skulls. The BFTBG paint looks a little flat in these photos, but in real life it looks suitably shiny and glistening.

It turns out I never started painting the Tzeentch or Nurgle models in this series of Warrior-Champions, or the other Khorne guy I found while looking through my figure boxes. I’ll hopefully get those painted up as palette cleansers in the next couple of months and then finally be able to show them all off together. Wish me luck!