Tag Archives: Undead

Dead Men Walking – Part 2

It’s time for the crypt door to creak ominously open once more to disgorge… yet more dirty zombies!

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As I’ve mentioned a number of times in the past I do enjoy painting zombies, they’re a great tonic for those times when you fancy painting something but you can’t be arsed to be too neat and careful. Plus they look damn good as a mighty horde.

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At the moment of course the horde isn’t that mighty but I’ll keep working on that…


Cursed City: Ulfenwatch Skeletons – Part 1

One of the most powerful and iconic pieces of artwork from Cursed City is this image of the city watch on patrol. As soon as I saw it knew this game was for me.

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We’re used to seeing battle scenes in which the undead rampage against hapless mortals, or two armies are pitted against one another in desperate and pitiless combat. This however is something more subtle, and more sinister. This is life under vampiric rule. The undead have conquered the city and there’s not a lot poor mortals can do about it. Skeletons walk the street brazenly in broad daylight – and there’s something particularly spooky about that I always think. No tricks of the light to confuse the eye, no uncertainty about just what might be lurking in the shadows, no all-to-human fear of the dark to add a spice of dread to something which – once the sun is up – will prove to be quite mundane. Nor is there any hope that if one were to survive the night – barricading oneself inside one of those crumbling buildings, dousing the lights and waiting out the darkness with one’s heart hammering in one’s chest – that daybreak will make the bad things go away. The sun is well up, but the dead still walk.

What about the child? Somehow the threat to them feels more inevitable than immediate. Yes, they might well be cut down any moment – and clearly civilians have been killed here, we can see at least two corpses in the background. My interpretation however is that the skeletons will pass on by, that the child will live – at least for now – scavenging through the rubble for sustenance, their playthings skulls and bones – if they play at all. In the faces of the adults all around them they will see only constant fear. It will be a life, to use a topical phrase, in constant lockdown; a life with little room for love or joy – and someday the dead will come for them.

Probably as a result of the impact this image had on me I’ve been particularly drawn to the skeletons from Cursed City and so even though I’m not yet ready to focus all my attention on the game I couldn’t resist painting a few of them. Here we have the first recruits to the Ulfenwatch; law enforcement Cursed City style.

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The 2021 graduating class of the Ulfenkarn Law Academy pose for a group photo.

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…and with daylight fading Watch Captain Halgrim gathers his troops for another patrol.

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Seeing all the skeletons makes everything feel a bit grim and hopeless doesn’t it? What we need around here is a hero…


The Black Knight Rises

Bit of a rescue job called for here. This poor old Black Knight was started a while ago but, for various reasons, I made a bit of a hash of things and for a while I just stalled. He’s still not as good as he could be but I’ve got him to a stage where he’s good enough that I’m happy to leave him here. I do have several more of them so I think I’m better off taking what I’ve learned here and applying it to them rather than continuing to struggle.

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Long term I have a dream of putting together a large collection of these knights (by which I mean at least ten or fifteen – maybe more). I don’t know why exactly but I find the image very visually appealing – although it’s safe to say I wouldn’t feel that way if they were charging down a remote country road in my direction! Like most hobbyists these kind of projects capture my imagination for half an hour three or four times a day at least but this one has stuck for many years now so it might well actually happen. If it does this guy can lurk at the back behind what will hopefully be a host of better painted comrades in arms.


Dead Men Walking – Part 1

I’ve been painting orcs like a fiend for days now and I need a little break just to keep myself fresh. As it happens October is not only known around these parts as Orctober, it’s also referred to by some people as Zomtober (that being “the month to paint zombies”). With shambling corpses popping up on a few blogs I follow I started to get inspired by the idea of mustering a few myself. 

Zombies are very much the quick and dirty junk food of painting for me, perfect for a low pressure change of pace without getting bogged down in anything fancy that might distract me from the Orks I’m supposed to be concentrating on. The first of these was built straight out of the box, the other two have been tweaked a little. The third has the head of a Blood Bowl player – perfect for Halloween!

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Right – distraction over, time to focus exclusively on all things green and mean until the end of the month! 


Flesh Golem

If only Dr Frankenstein had spent more time thinking about Blood Bowl, rather than his frankly weird and incestuous arranged marriage to his stepsister (seriously – read the book), he might have ended up creating something a bit like this…

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This monstrous Flesh Golem enjoys a game of Blood Bowl as much as the next reanimated corpse.  Someday I might even get around to a team for him to play with… 


Prince Duvalle

Probably my favourite vampire miniature of all time, Prince Duvalle leads the Crimson Court – a band of Soulblight vampires for Warhammer Underworlds. I know there are a lot of strong contenders out there but as a vampire lord this guy just ticks all the right boxes – even if he does, from some angles, appear to be taking a sudden and inexplicable interest in his own hand.

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The rest of the Crimson Court are nice models too of course, and will certainly be making their way across the painting desk sooner or later, but Duvalle jumped straight to the head of the queue.


Shambling Bones

A couple of months ago when the Soulblight Vampires range was released I toyed with the idea of using the new skeleton warriors to kitbash grave guard. For those unfamiliar with the various ranks of undead soldiers in Games Workshop’s ranges the skeleton warriors are the rank and file, the grave guard are the elite wights – yet although the old grave guard models have held up very well to the passage of time, scale creep means they are now a lot shorter and less imposing than the newly released skeletons. Here’s a quick reminder of how the old grave guard look alongside one of the new skeletons (taken from the Cursed City box).

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Hardly the imposing undead champions they claim to be are they, not when the new boys tower over them in every respect. Keep in mind also that the hunched pose of the Grave Guard actually emphasises his size here, bringing his face closer to the lens of the camera and making him look bigger than he is. In the flesh the size difference is even more noticeable. Could I, I found myself wondering, mix parts from the two kits to make bigger grave guard?

Well the answer, it turns out, is yes. I wouldn’t call these an entirely unqualified success, I think on a second attempt I could make improvements, but overall I’m pretty pleased with these. For the first one I went for a straightforward sword and shield arrangement.

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Pleased, and perhaps overconfident, following this success, I went on to try making one with a great weapon. Games Workshop’s two-handed weapons are always a horrible nightmare to assemble even if you’re using the right parts in the right places, going off-piste tends to turn into an exercise in which the entire lexicon of swear words gets worked through at least twice. Still, I persisted, and here’s the result.

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The first thing that struck me here is that his proportions are very odd and his stance somewhat awkward. The same can be said of the first one, and indeed the stock Games Workshop skeletons – indeed the very awkwardness of the new models is one of their great strengths, placing them neatly in the uncanny valley and emphasising their inhuman nature. That said it’s always easier to appreciate these things when someone else does them, and criticise them as failings in your own work – and that’s exactly what I did with him at first. My solution in end was to steer into it and give him a tall, bat-winged helmet to really labour the point, and on the whole I think it works. Standing next to a skeleton warrior they certainly look a lot more businesslike and imposing than their predecessors did.

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Now we’ll have to see how they look with paint on them. In the meantime any comments, suggestions or feedback is very welcome.


Ghost Stories – Part 8

Were you thinking that, upon your untimely demise, you might escape the pitiless and spiteful judgement of Age of Sigmar’s death god Nagash? Well just don’t bother! Callous jailers in life, the Spirit Torment are employed in undeath to imprison souls in the dank oubliettes and dungeons of the underworld. Rogue souls which escape this fate are hunted down without mercy – and pointing out that you are, in fact, still alive and feeling healthier than ever is considered no excuse. The huge padlocks carried by these malevolent wardens do double duty, as a cold iron shackle with which to imprison wayward ghosts and as a bludgeon by which those still enjoying the benefits of their mortal flesh can be “encouraged” to join the undead legions a little earlier than they intended.

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I really like these spooky looking models and now I’ve got into the swing of painting the tattered robes of the Nighthaunt he was fairly quick and easy to paint. There’s no escaping the will of Nagash!


Cursed City: Vyrkos Blood-born 1

Time to delve once more into the dark streets of the Cursed City, and this time it’s the turn of one of the Vyrkos Blood-born. These were once the young nobles of the city who traded society do’s for an unlife of bloodthirsty immortality, throwing in their lot with the city’s new vampire overlord in an effort to save their own skins.

They’re odd-looking creatures these, and I’m not entirely sure I like them as models (or perhaps it’s more accurate to say I’m in two minds about them). I certainly don’t like the studio colour scheme for them so I’ve used this one to try out a slightly different, and more bestial, colour pallet and I think I’m happy enough with it so this will probably be the way I paint the other two when I get around to them.

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Life is still fairly busy at the moment so painting remains firmly on the backburner but I’m still itching to get my teeth into the rest of this box so expect to see more creatures of the night showing up sooner or later…


Ghost Stories – Part 7

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but some of my absolute favourite models in the Nighthaunt range are the Glaivewraith Stalkers, the sinister, animal-headed ghosts that hunt down those who have earned the ire of the death god Nagash. I painted one a while ago for my Nighthaunt Warcry warband but I’ve got a few of them kicking around from the Soul Wars boxset and these two, with the dread inescapability for which they are famed, have drifted slowly across the painting desk until my paint-stained fingers finally succumbed to the inevitable and I got them finished.

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I do find these ghosts very relaxing to paint, especially when things are busy as they are just now, so I imagine there will be a few more showing up here sooner or later.