Reaper Bones II Skeletons

Reaper Bones 77237 Skeleton Guardian Archer, 77238 Skeleton Guardian 2H Sword, 77239 Skeleton Guardian Spearman, 77240 Skeleton Guardian Sword, 77241 Skeleton Guardian Axeman, 77242 Skeleton Warrior Sword, 77243 Skeleton Warrior Axeman, 77244 Skeleton Warrior Spearman, 77245 Skeleton Warrior Archer

I’ve finished some more of my many Reaper Bones figures that fit under the rather broad undead umbrella that I use. No stretch this time, though, as they’re a bunch of skeletons. Originally sculpted by Bob Ridolfi, the Bones versions – somewhat predictably – suffer from mould lines, wobbly weapons and soft details. Still, they’re not the most terrible models and they’re good enough for RPGs or even standard troops on the table.

Reaper Bones 77240 Skeleton Guardian Sword, 77242 Skeleton Warrior Sword, 77243 Skeleton Warrior Axeman

Reaper Bones 77240 Skeleton Guardian Sword, 77242 Skeleton Warrior Sword, 77243 Skeleton Warrior Axeman

As usual, these guys were painted piecemeal over a period of time, mostly at work. They were a bit of an experiment – primed with the spray can and done in the normal manner, they were as sticky as all hell for awhile, but the acrylic paint over the top and the polyurethane spray seems to have settled it down. I skipped the decals on these guys because I didn’t want to “waste” 20-year-old decals on Bones models and instead did the shield designs freehand… and of course they came out far better than decals would have.

Reaper Bones 77239 Skeleton Guardian Spearman, 77240 Skeleton Guardian Sword, 77241 Skeleton Guardian Axeman

Reaper Bones 77239 Skeleton Guardian Spearman, 77240 Skeleton Guardian Sword, 77241 Skeleton Guardian Axeman

They’re a pretty odd number to make a unit out of, with nine models. Bones II backers got one of each, while they’re now being sold in sets of three of each sculpts. I usually make a regiment from a dozen models, since they work out about right when based on 25mm rounds for the correct footprint of a KoW regiment.

Reaper Bones 77244 Skeleton Warrior Spearman, 77237 Skeleton Guardian Archer, 77245 Skeleton Warrior Archer

Reaper Bones 77244 Skeleton Warrior Spearman, 77237 Skeleton Guardian Archer, 77245 Skeleton Warrior Archer

With nine models here, I’ll just shove the archers out of the front rank, and add a couple of random skeletons to make up the numbers. Turned out I could only find two, but good enough. I’m calling it a done regiment, but if (when) I end up with more random skeletons down the line, I can split or remake these guys into 2-hander, sword and board or archer regiments. For the time being, it gives me a second Undead unit for September’s monthly Tale of Gamers challenge that I’m running on Dakka.

 

The unit is filled out with a couple of spare skeletons. One (the archer) is from Bones 1, and the other is from Dark World, which I’ve mentioned previously. It only gives me 11 so I’ll have to sort out a 12th, but I’m still calling the unit functional for now.

Reaper Bones 77237 Skeleton Guardian Archer, 77238 Skeleton Guardian 2H Sword, 77239 Skeleton Guardian Spearman, 77240 Skeleton Guardian Sword, 77241 Skeleton Guardian Axeman, 77242 Skeleton Warrior Sword, 77243 Skeleton Warrior Axeman, 77244 Skeleton Warrior Spearman, 77245 Skeleton Warrior Archer

Reaper Bones 77237 Skeleton Guardian Archer, 77238 Skeleton Guardian 2H Sword, 77239 Skeleton Guardian Spearman, 77240 Skeleton Guardian Sword, 77241 Skeleton Guardian Axeman, 77242 Skeleton Warrior Sword, 77243 Skeleton Warrior Axeman, 77244 Skeleton Warrior Spearman, 77245 Skeleton Warrior Archer

Reaper Bones 77237 Skeleton Guardian Archer, 77238 Skeleton Guardian 2H Sword, 77239 Skeleton Guardian Spearman, 77240 Skeleton Guardian Sword, 77241 Skeleton Guardian Axeman, 77242 Skeleton Warrior Sword, 77243 Skeleton Warrior Axeman, 77244 Skeleton Warrior Spearman, 77245 Skeleton Warrior Archer

And finally, as is the norm – the completed unit shots.

I wrote the following thoughts along with one of the first batches of Bones Skeletons I posted, and they’re just as relevant now, so hey.

As models go, like many Bones, these do what they say on the tin, in a very basic manner. I’d really only recommend them for roleplayers. If you’re playing D&D and want some cheap and cheerful skellys for your adventures, then these are a perfectly serviceable way to go. They even work okay if you’re the kind of roleplayer who never paints their models, or just gives them a wash to bring out the detail. For wargamers, there are many better options out there, especially for $2 each/$6 for three. Still, I already owned these, they pass the three-foot test, and they’ve now gone from Unpainted to Painted, and we know that every time a miniature gets painted, a Kitten gets their Wings, so it’s all good.

 

 

 

Neferata, Queen of Mysteries and Bastet (2000) – (6-Month Tale of Gamers Challenge)

My final entry for May in the painting challenge. Not to be confused with the “update” – the 2015 End Times/Age of Sigmar model: Neferata, Mortarch of Blood. This is the original model, circa 1999-2000. Sculpted by either Colin Grayson or perhaps Trish Carden (Morrison) or Aly Morrison, it was released to compliment the first edition of Warhammer Armies: Vampire Counts, for 5th Edition Warhammer Fantasy Battle.

Neferata, Queen of Mysteries and Bastet (2000)

Neferata, Queen of Mysteries and Leonard the Cat

I bought this figure sometime around then to paint as a gift for Marouda. The fact that she came with a cat familiar was a significant factor in doing so. As readers of the blog would know – I like cats. Anyway, fast forward more than a decade, and the figure still had nothing but a base coat of a green dress, and so recently I got off my fat arse and decided to paint and actually finish the pair of them.

Neferata, Queen of Mysteries and Bastet (2000)

Neferata’s side view. Leonard is ready to defend his liege.

I didn’t really worry at all about painting Neferata “correctly”. My only concern was painting her as a good looking vampire model. Due to her size, she got transferred to a 32mm base. I went for a deep red dress. I considered adding some fancy swirls or the like with silver as embroidery, but I preferred to concentrate on the transition from deep shadow at her feet to a highlight at the hips and breasts. My challenge was highlighting red into “light red” without going into either orange, yellow or pink. I think it actually worked pretty well, actually. Her pale almost-white skin was shaded very slightly with red and purple, though I’m having some contrast issues with these photos as I get to grips with my new camera.

Neferata, Queen of Mysteries and Bastet (2000)

Neferata and Leonard’s rear view.

The cat, Bastet, originally had a tiny skull on his forehead which got carved off, to make it a little more cat-like and leave space for Leonard’s forehead “star”. Bastet has now been taken over and renamed Leonard. The slight satin sheen of the varnish has had a nice (intended) effect on the fur where I’d only highlighted very subtly. Because it’s black fur, not grey or white.

Neferata, Queen of Mysteries and Bastet (2000)

Have one more photo.

Clearly, Neferata will make a perfectly good Vampire Lord for Kings of War, perhaps even using Lady Ilona’s profile.

Don’t mess with Leonard!

 

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.

Oldhammer Skeleton Command Group

Today we have just a few models. All three were painted recently, though the standard was completed last (week!), since I was a little uninspired by the cloaky nature of the sculpt and struggled to find a way to finish it to my satisfaction. In the end I decided that there wasn’t a lot I could do without getting unnecessarily ornate with the cloak which is really just supposed to be a darkened rag-cloak and that the head(skull!) and banner itself would serve suitably as the focal points

Oldhammer Skeleton Command Group

These Skeletons are from at least 1989, and I believe that all three of these were sculpted by Aly Morrison. I’ve kept to Marouda’s overall Undead army colours of Black, Red, old Brass and Steel (and bone!) Shields can be a bit of a challenge, in that I like to keep to smaller ones that don’t overpower/hide the rest of the model too much, but want to make them interesting in their own rights. I went with an era-appropriate smaller shield and gave it a half-skullface design, with a bit of an attempted depth painted onto it.

The unit they will lead does not yet exist, so rather than hold them back I decided to show them off now. The Standard bearer could potentially end up as one of the ASBs in the bigger undead army, but we’ll have to wait and see after the new KoW rules come out in a week or so. Of course, I can always use them in AoS in the meantime. 😀

77001: Skeletal Spearmen (Reaper Bones)

Recently I showed the Bones Skeletal Swordsmen that I finished for Marouda’s Mythical Greek force. These six are the other half of the group. Originally the twelve of them were to make up a single unit of more generic undead troops, whether spear or blade worked out simply by swapping the front rank as appropriate. Since the Mythical Greeks are now becoming a thing with the addition of a big load of stuff from Wargames Foundry, they got split into the Blade regiment and these guys, who I finished last Friday and will be the back half of the Spear regiment.

Bones Skeleton Spearmen

You may well have noticed that the spears appear to be made of rubber. Well, that’s Bones PVC for you! While I could have replaced the spear shafts with wire by cutting them off, drilling out the hands, and reattaching the spearheads, just look at the sculpts! They’re hardly worth that kind of effort. I did what I think is a nice enough job on the actual bones, but that’s because I enjoy painting bone most of the time. I’ve painted the shields with a kind of pseudo-Verginia Sun to give a Greek-Macedonian vibe to go with the preudo-Dipylon style shields. I left the shield bosses bronze rather than painting them the colours of the rays, or carving them off as I did on the swordsmen.

The arse end of the Skellymans!

The unit will be completed soon, hopefully. I’ve got the four Foundry skeletons with spear completed, though I still have to do a shield for one of them and I’m unsure about shields for the other three, due to their poses. I’ve used a Wargames Factory Model for a fifth, but I’m still struggling to find an appropriate sixth to complete the unit. Any ideas? I’m looking for an unarmoured skeleton armed with a spear, sturdy one piece casting, nice enough sculpt, and preferring metal or at least sturdy HIPS. (The Wargames Factory ones seem a little fragile).

 

77017: Skeletal Swordsman (Reaper Bones)

Since Marouda is building an Undead army for KoW, and was interested in practicing/learning how to paint more gooder, I dug out the undead Bones figures from their first Kickstarter. I’d already knocked up the 6 archers for a missile unit, and so suggested these Swordsmen and Spearmen as easy/simple/fast figures to teach my method of doing bone. It’s much easier to paint “naked” skeletons than clothed or armoured ones, that’s for sure! They got up to about half done – the point of starting to highlight the bones after base coat and wash, when Marouda chickened out(!) because she was intimidated by picking out the bones, so they sat on my paint desk taking up space for 6 months or so.

Now that I’m starting to paint again, and starting on her Mythic Greek army, I had an idea while cleaning up the Wargames Foundry Greek Undead (think Jason and the Argonauts) and noticed that the Bones Spearmen have Dipylon-style shields. I decided then to pair these bones figures up with the Foundry Undead Swords to make a full unit of 12 (20) for her Kings of War forces. They can obviously do double duty between Mythic Greeks and Generic Undead. Unless of course the Mythic Greeks are fighting the Generic Undead. Then they’ll have to choose a side!

 

Bones Skeleton Swordsmen.

So anyway, there’s absolutely nothing special about the paintjobs on these. I finished them off over 2 days that were mostly spent playing Far Cry 4, and the final touch was adding some of Warlord Games’ Greek shield transfers and rimming the shields to give them more of a Hoplon look. Since these figures are pretty …shall we say basic. We chose unexciting transfers for them. They’ll be the rear and centre-mid ranks of the unit, and so will mostly be hidden by their nicer Foundry brethren once the unit is set up. They’re being shown here mostly due to wanting to document what I get done this year a bit better than I did last year, and also to share my opinion on these models. Only changes to the models has been mounting them on Proxie Models 25mm round bases so they fit in with the rest of my armies and doing the usual sand & putty combo – and slicing off the shield bosses to make them look a little more like Hoplon-style shields. Obviously helped a great deal by the transfers, and surprisingly, even more so by the simple act of rimming the shields in a simple Hoplite-style.

Bones Skeletons, in roughly the formation they’ll be used (back row and middle centre).

As models go, like many Bones, these do what they say on the tin, in a very basic manner. I’d really only recommend them for roleplayers. If you’re playing D&D and want some cheap and cheerful skellys for your adventures, then these are a perfectly serviceable way to go. They even work okay if you’re the kind of roleplayer who never paints their models, or just gives them a wash to bring out the detail. For wargamers, there are many better options out there. Still, I already owned these, they pass the three-foot test, and they’ve now gone from Unpainted to Painted, and we know that every time a miniature gets painted, a Kitten gets their Wings, so it’s all good.