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

This is what I’d planned for my Spooky Halloween post! Zombies! Yes, I finished these that long ago. Instead, it’s my Christmas Eve post, because… Zombies?

In any case, best wishes for Christmas to all the regular readers of this blog, and people who stumble across this post later on down the line will simply have to accept them as a snapshot in time.

Now that I have some time off work, I’ll be able to take photos more frequently, and so once the small backlog of painted stuff is gotten rid of, I’ll be much more up to date. I’ve got a couple of mat reviews I’m keen to get onto as well, but it won’t be until next week that I get a chance to go out to the War Room and start cleaning it up (which it needs, bigtime!)

So anyway, these guys were started right on the heels of the second dozen zombies I painted for KoW, back around May. While the plan originally called for a fourth set to follow these – making either 4 regiments or 2 hordes in KoW terms, my Zombienthusiasm is pretty much completely sapped now, as opposed to fired up after finishing the first dozen Zombies. The Mantic figures are nice ones, but there are so few interesting combinations, even with Mantic’s Ghoul parts thrown into the mix.

Mantic Games Zombies, WGF Warlord Zombie Vixens

As you can see, I went even further afield for kitbash parts on these guys. The additional parts beyond the Mantic Ghouls this time came from Mantic’s Sci-Fi zombie sprue, the new(ish) Citadel Ghouls, and two crawlers drawn from Wargames Factory’s Zombie Vixen set who can be seen at either extreme of the crawlers above. I wanted a little bit of gender representation, and the closest I could really find were the WGF set, which is, well, a little average. The figures are a little bit too sexualised overall, but more importantly are verrry spindly compared to even the Mantic models, so the only ones that really were able to fit in were a couple of crawlers.

Mantic Games Zombies, WGF Warlord Zombie Vixens

As you can see above, I finally found that errant model that went missing from the very first dozen, and so he got finished as well alongside these guys – next to his twin. I guess the next batch will only need to be 11 zombies, then. My favourite amongst these 5 has to be the one reaching for the sky. I rotated the “base” and added a bloodied femur out front this time to give a different “sitting down” look rather than just going with the usual crawler setup as I did with the wonder twins next to him.

Mantic Games Zombies

The second rank has what are probably two of my favourite zombies of all the ones I’ve painted. The gruesome fellow dragging along half of a well-chewed corpse, and one I call “go home zombie, you’re drunk!”. The stein comes from a plastic GW dwarf kit while the arm-with-meal comes from the current GW zombie kit, as does the ruined face which fits zombies much more than ghouls for me at least.

Mantic Games Zombies

The legs on the two leftmost models both come from Mantic’s sci-fi zombies kit, but they’re generic enough to fit in here. I’ve continued to simply use dark grey/black rags for my zombies rather than a more realistic option of mixed clothing for equal parts “night horror” and “army colours” reasons.

Mantic Games Zombies

Finally, we have the rear rank. An overly-hunched over female sci-fi zombie torso and head, another dismembered pair of legs (because I am nothing if not economical with my model parts!), another sci-fi zombie torso mounted on fantasy legs and super-dynamic zombie. Unfortunately I couldn’t get the camera low enough to really capture the details of all their heads and faces. The sci-fi model chewing on …something is an odd duck, with poorly-defined details, so you’re not quite sure if he has a gigantic mutant mouth or has a normal one and is simply pulling the sinewy muscle up from his hands. I just covered the whole mess in blood in the end and stopped worrying about it.

Mantic Games Zombies

He looks pretty decent from the back, though. Nice bit of spinal detail that once properly gored up makes him a good choice for the rear rank.

Mantic Games Zombies

And now we finish up in the usual manner. Group shot and unit shots. Once I get at least another dozen zombies done, I’ll take another big group shot of the two hordes. After doing a fourth dozen Mantic zombies, I’ll probably do some Citadel zombies and see how a couple dozen of that very different style of model turns out.

Mantic Games Zombies Kings of War Regiment

Mantic Games Zombies Kings of War Regiment

Mantic Games Zombies Kings of War Regiment

 

Stonehaven Dwarves – Berserker, Undead and Unconscious

Some time ago now, I backed the Stonehaven Miniatures Dwarf Kickstarter. The Kickstarter managed to pretty much deliver on time and provided a rather nice assortment of Dwarven RPG tropes for a very reasonable price. They have run several other campaigns, both before and after but none resonated with me in the way that the Dwarves did, so it’s been the only one I’ve backed, since a bunch of random gnomes, halflings, half-orcs or even elves don’t resonate with me in the way that Dwarves do. They’ve got a nice little line of trolls as well, but at US$20 a pop plus international postage, they’re out of my impulse shopping range. Still, they have a nice range if you’re looking for an RPG-themed model from any of the ranges they offer.

Anyway, this post isn’t here to be an advert. It’s to show some models~!

Stonehaven Undead Dwarf, Berserker Dwarf and Unconscious Dwarf

Stonehaven Undead Dwarf, Berserker Dwarf and Unconscious Dwarf

The three that I’ve painted so far. I found another trio part-painted in a figure case the other day, so I might get some more done before the end of the year! The Stonehaven models have something about them that’s a throwback to the late ’80’s-early ’90’s. In some ways it adds to their charm and in others it makes aspects of the models quite meh. Many of them are quite “flat” in the same way that many one-piece models of that era were, and while the details are great in some spots, they’re a bit flat and plain in others – particularly on faces, and especially on the females (and that skull above!) They’re nice models, but their sculptors are no Perrys, Prows or Adams.

Stonehaven Dwarf Berserker

Stonehaven Dwarf Berserker – with a Slayer-themed hair colour.

Stonehaven Dwarf Berserker

Rather subtly holding that second axe for the upswing into some fool’s jaw…

This guy was started quite some time ago – probably not long after I received my KS models. For some reason he lagged out, and was finally picked up and completed a few days ago alongside Aenur from the previous update. I went for a Dwarf Slayer look, as I figure that a bit of spiky armour doesn’t preclude the seeking of an honourable death in combat. I tried to add some tonal qualities to his weapons and armour to make them look well used without going down the road of rust and decrepitude. He’ll be incorporated in with the other slayer models I’ve shown and worked on, and will likely have an additional role in my eventual larger dwarf projects.

Stonehaven Undead Dwarf

Stonehaven Undead Dwarf

Stonehaven Undead Dwarf

Did the sash and twin hammers denote authority before this dwarf met his fate?

Speaking of decrepitude, here’s the Undead Dwarf. The main feature of this model is his arms and armour, to which I’ve tried to make look both uncared-for but still in use. Hence not going to town with the rust effects. The skull sculpt is lacking a little in terms of definition, and I didn’t want to (couldn’t be bothered to) paint in depth in the maxilla, so I painted it “as is”. I do like having some non-human undead, so he’ll probably find a home in the Undead army in some form eventually, as he was started long before I began to raise the undead hordes.

Stonehaven Unconscious Dwarf

Stonehaven Unconscious Dwarf

Stonehaven Unconscious Dwarf

…and still down.

Dead? Knocked out? Drunk? Or just sleeping? That series of questions explains why this unconscious dwarf is painted and simply laid on a round, plain brown base devoid of all “context markers” like blood, grass, weapons, shield or a helm, or even a beer stein. I wanted to keep this fellow as non-specific as possible so that the model can be as flexible as possible. he could lay slain on a battlefield or lying unconscious on the dirt(y) floor of a cell or a dungeon. He could be passed out in the horse stables after way too much boozing. Whether he’s being used to mark the long sleep or just a nap between goblin-slaying, this guy is done!

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.

 

 

 

Brigade Models – Celtos: Fir Bolg Skeletons with Sickles – for Kings of War

I’ve painted up a couple of units of “Fir Bolg” Skeletons from Brigade Models now, and this makes the third. Or the fourth, depending on whether I count those spearmen as one or two units, as they can make for either a Horde or two Regiments. I know I’ve got another 16 archers (two troops of 8) to paint as well, so once I clean up my desk in the next week, I’ll spend some time cleaning the archers up and then hit them with the spray can. This time, we’ve got Skeletons with Sickles.

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton with Sickles

A dozen Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton with Sickles

Staying with the same colour scheme I’ve used on their predecessors and in keeping with the rest of the army – Red and Black, Iron and Brass, Rust and Verdigris, Cadmium-Red wood – and Bone. The tabards and cloth this time have been given a Par Chevron in red and black.

Celtos Fir Bolg Standard Bearer, Skeleton Leader with Axe (Sickle) & two champions

Standard Bearer, Skeleton Leader with Axe (Sickle) & two champions

Celtos Fir Bolg Standard Bearer, Skeleton Leader with Axe (Sickle) & two champions

The standard came from one of the other Fir Bolg skeleton sets, and working out how I’d create the banner took a bit of time. Eventually I settled on a cloth banner, cut from the material taken from an old pair of shorts and fixed with PVA. The Hero is actually their Skeleton Leader with Axe model, with the axe cut and trimmed into a sickle of sorts. I painted the second of the two champions with the same Par Chevron, though reversed. I’d like to move him to a different unit down the line, and perhaps replace with a drummer, but another £3.50 for a drummer feels a little steep when the champion – a mod of the same base figure plus two troopers runs £4.00 by comparison. I dunno. I’ll figure it out later. I’d originally planned on giving the two champions different shields as well, but when it came time to complete the command figures, I realised that the shield I’d initially selected would not have looked good angled at 90 degrees, and by then I had already ended up using the last “horned skull” shield on one of the troopers, and didn’t feel like tearing the superglue-and-greenstuff mod apart.

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton with Sickles

Sculpt #1 of #2

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton with Sickles

Shield view of Sculpt #1

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton with Sickles

Sculpt #2 of #2

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton with Sickles

Shield view of Sculpt #2

Only two sculpts, unfortunately. I like having one-piece metal sculpts for these models, but I do wish there was a little more variety in the number of sculpts, like there typically was in the Old(Hammer) days. The shields also reveal that rather than having given the models that lack sculpted shields freehand shields, I used some of the old-school, 20-year-old Warhammer Undead shield decals that I found recently. Once again, these guys were painted using the “Warm Bone” method, starting with a cheap cream spray can from the local hardware store – with much of the work done bit by bit during lunch breaks at work. The final work was completed last Monday, so these guys also qualify as my September Undead entry for the Tale of Painters challenge over on Dakka.

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton with Sickles

 

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton with Sickles

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton with Sickles

As per usual, the final shots show them off blu-taced down to a regiment base for KoW – which I really need to get around to playing again sometime soon. I’ve not done much tabletop gaming in the last couple of months, as it gets a bit too chilly out in the War Room, and as a result my regular gaming sessions with the group for the past few months have been digital (The Division, Destiny, Dead Island) rather than tabletop-oriented. Hopefully the weather can actually change a little now that Spring is here, and we can get some wargaming and tabletop gaming done again!

 

Bats and Rats

Reaper Bones 77046: Bat Swarm

Reaper’s Bat Swarms

My rather pathetic entry for the Undead army part of the painting challenge in July was a single “swarm” unit that I’ve only photographed this morning – made up of a trio of Reaper Bones’ Bat Swarms (77046: Bat Swarm). (I can’t believe they want US$2.99 for them!) Since I have four of the models from their various Bones KS campaigns, I decided to paint the fourth at the same time in the same manner. The base coat was a mix of Reaper’s Master HD Colours of Rusty Red and Ruddy Brown. I then washed it with GW’s new Nuln Oil Gloss, to hit the recesses hard while staining the upper as little as possible. Then drybrushed with Khorne Red, Mephiston Red and finally Evil Sunz Scarlet. I’m well aware that these are tabletop quality paintjobs at best and that no-one will care how I did them, but the fact is they’re pretty crap models that don’t really deserve any better, and I’m simply recording how I painted them in case I get another pair of them to make a second swarm one day – purely for gaming purposes. I added the tombstones on the unit base from the Renedra Sprue since the bats were mounted on gravestones anyway in order to tie them in a little with their surroundings, even though I usually dislike “diorama bases” on my own models, as they place the models in too specific a location for figures that will be running around various tabletops.

Reaper Bones 77046: Bat Swarm by Werner Klocke

Cheetor at Sho3box did a much nicer job on his Bat Swarms a couple of years ago, which I noticed only recently via Google Image Search, what with highlighting their heads and whatnot, but for me, going reddish so they fit broadly within the Undead Army palette was good enough. I also did their bases and unit base so they’d fit in with the Graveyard themed scenery that I’ve started putting together (very) slowly.

 

77129: Vermin: Rat Swarm

Anyone actually excited by these? I thought not.

The Rats follow almost the exact same ethos and purpose – though the models manage to be much less impressive. This time the models are provided by Reaper’s Rat Swarms (77129: Vermin: Rat Swarm (2)). You get a pair of them this time for your $2.49, though again I’d possibly be willing to argue their value, even for that price. Anyway, once again I had four of the sculpt, and again I mounted them on 30mm round bases from Impact Miniatures, which I’d originally bought to rebase Space Marines but have been using to base various swarm-sized vermin from Reaper Bones so far.  Paint was… various browns outside of my usual basing colours, including Model Air Khaki Brown at some point, again with the Nuln Oil Gloss, and then AP Tanned Flesh for their widdle teeny-tiny tails and feets. One day the rats will no doubt be shifted over to my Skaven Army, but I’ll need to actually have a few units of Skaven painted before that becomes a worry. I figure vermin like Rats fit in well enough with Bats and Bugs (Sol B shoutout!) to go with the Undead in the meantime. As I finished the the Rat Swarm base in early August, it will also be my weaksauce minimum mandatory Undead submission for this month’s paint challenge if I don’t manage to get something more impressive done.

77129: Vermin: Rat Swarm (2) Sandra Garrity

And yes, I’m aware that these Bones models started as metal sculpts in greater detail (and multipart for the bats) and the Bones stuff is cheap & cheerful stuff for gamers of various stripes. That’s why I painted them, though it doesn’t preclude me from pointing out that they’re both a bit rubbish, even if they end up looking passable on the tabletop.

 

Reaper Bones 77046: Bat Swarm

Including the fourth, warped Bat Swarm (and yes, I did the hot water, and yes, it bent back anyway).

77129: Vermin: Rat Swarm

These have a secondary, theoretical use for me in RPGs. And the Skaven army.

Swarms for Kings of War – models by Reaper Bones.

I decided to take an all-together shot of all my completed little Reaper Swarms. With the unit bases, they’ll do the job on the tabletop. I noticed after taking the photos that I forgot to add tufts to these new ones, so I might have to go back and do that so I can consider them finished. I know I’ve gone on and on about how crappy they are, but I’m just a bit OCD about certain things…

 

Undead Army Showcase – July 2016

Undead Army

This is my second “State of the Army” post, this time showing off all of the completed elements of my (Marouda’s) Undead Army at present. Like the Gondor army, I’ve been working on it on and off over the last two or so years, with a recent push during the last 6 months and the painting challenge. I’ve kept Undead on as one of my main options for the second half of 2016, though I’ve opened up my options quite a bit as painting mostly Gondor and Undead got very old by the end. The Undead aren’t so bad though, as there’s actually quite a lot of variety in there, especially when you combine “Vampire Counts”, “Tomb Kings” and even the spectral elements of Lord of the Rings in general and Mordor specifically.

Undead Army

These photographs were taken during the same session as the Gondor Army and 6-month showcase photos, so there has been a little more movement on these undead since then, specifically the unit base I put together for the trio of Nazgûl. I held off publishing (and writing) this post until now as I could see three sets of army showcase posts in a row getting a little tedious. Besides, I wanted to share my Spehss Mahreens.

Undead Army

The Barrow-Wights in the front row need to have a new unit base built for them as Mantic first Squatted them in KoWII before a protest from players (and with myself as one of the first, if not the first in the departed Beta forums) caused them to be reinstated, though now they’re “Large Infantry” with 40mm bases. I’m not going to rebase my LotR SBG figures, so I’ll be making a – hopefully slightly interesting and imposing – multibase for them. My first failed attempt already sits abandoned on my painting desk. 😛

Undead Army

There are a few variables in here. The various Mordor and Army of the Dead/Oathbreaker models will (theoretically) be split off one day to one or two LotR-themed armies of their own, the two units of skeletons with Greek shields and the odd bit of linothorax armour will go into the Mythical Greek army, along with the pair of Brass/Bronze Bulls, units of SpartansTalos, and more besides. Tomb Kings stuff, of which there is little to none right now will become it’s own force; and I’ve got a tub filled with Confrontation prepaint Wolfen, a miniscule 12 of whom are pictured here. Though there’s enough of those to happily stay in the Undead while also making up a Lycan-themed “The Herd” army of their own. Until those things begin to happen, though – they’re all combined to form a mighty undead army, led by Neferata (version 1).

Undead Army

There’s another couple of dozen troops (skeletons and zombies) on the paint desk right now, as well as a couple of more centrepiece-type models on the go. I’ll likely keep knocking out a few more undead units as I paint a variety of other things in the time between now and the New Year.

Neferata and Bastet

Marouda took a few photographs as well, managing to take a much better photograph of Neferata than I did when I posted her here – certainly in terms of her facial details not being nearly as washed out as in my own photos. I’m still learning my way around the new camera, but hopefully getting better!

Undead Army

There are a few not-quite-finished models in this photo. 6 Nazgûl (including a few named) and The Witch King. The Confrontation Wolfen also don’t have any paint on them aside from the retail pre-paint. You can also see some more candidates for scenic multibases besides the Wights. Hopefully between some of that and the centrepiece models I need to complete, I’ll be able to show this force off again at the end of the year in a more impressive light.

 

Three of Nine – Citadel Miniatures Mounted Nazgûl

Dark Riders, Black Riders, Citadel Nazgul, Nazgûl

These three models were painted some time ago, around 2005 – give or take a few years, and long before blogging was a thing to me. They’ve recently been drafted into Marouda’s Kings of War Undead force as Soul Reaver Cavalry – that is to say Vampiric Cavalry, which seems about as reasonable an approximation of Nazgûl as you can get within the Army list. These three represent a “troop” of Vampire Knights, which would ordinarily be made of 5 models. Works well enough for me!

Dark Riders, Black Riders, Citadel Nazgul, Nazgûl

So while the models are old, and their paint is old, what’s new is that I’ve gotten some custom-cut MDF and been able to make a unit base for them, in much the same way as I did with the Swarms that I painted recently. I think it makes them look quite nice, and certainly looks better than having them blu-taced down to a bare piece of MDF. I don’t believe I’ve shown these models before, so it’s all good.

Dark Riders, Black Riders, Citadel Nazgul, Nazgûl

For now, the Nazgûl will reside in the Undead Army, but at some stage they’ll be split off into their own Mordor force – When I have enough Mordor models painted to field them as a smallish army in their own right.