For Whom the Bell Tolls

When getting back into collecting forces for Warhammer 3rd Edition I divided up my Vampire Counts army into the really old stuff and the not quite so old. That meant all the metal Skeleton Warriors were formed up in two separate regiments as the backbone of my Undead for Oldhammer, while the plastic Skeletons, though consisting mostly of first generation models, continued to serve as the core of my Vampire Counts infantry.

Skeleton Warriors

Skeleton Warriors serving the Vampire Counts of Sylvania beyond death

Those Skeleton Warriors were painted about 15 years ago in a rough and ready fashion. In order to spruce up their look on the battlefield I repainted the bases from grey to brown and placed them on a new set of movement trays. I tend to divide up my units on two equally sized movement trays so I can take one away when they have suffered heavy casualties or to quickly go from a 5 to a 10 wide formation.

Attack of the Skeleton Horde

Vengeful skeletal fighters on the attack

I ended up with a unit of 30 and am still raising a new horde of 30 more (those summoning rituals sometimes take longer than expected). The original regiment however also found itself without a leader and musician. For the leader I quickly promoted one of the warriors swinging a rather large axe dynamically over his head, who looks the part at the front of his troops. For the musician I built a quick conversion, using a plastic Skeleton with a bell taken from the Empire Flagellants kit. The bronze bell also allowed me to try out the new Nihilakh Oxide from Citadel on a small scale.

Skeleton musician with bell

Skeleton musician tolling the final bell for the living

The regiment’s standard is the metal version that came with the second generation plastic kit for a short period of time.  I particularly like the crow perching on the severed head. Looks like crows and severed heads are becoming a theme across my Vampire Counts army.

Skeleton standard bearer

The Skeletons are marching under the banner of a gruesome trophy

6 thoughts on “For Whom the Bell Tolls

  1. As always, it’s the subtlety of your work that is the most impresisve. I really like the really neat and clear job you do and how you make details count.
    I ‘ve also bought a bottle of Nihilakh Oxide and BftBG but still have to try them.
    Good idea with the dual movement tray, might steal that…

    • Thanks mate! I like to keep things simple and let the miniatures speak for themselves. Being an army rather than display painter, I think I can call that a virtue…

      I find myself building a lot of new movement trays lately because I seem to never have the right size at hand.

  2. Lovely stuff Subedai. I like the way the simple black paint scheme works with the dark shaded areas on the bones such as the eye sockets and the joints to give them a nice homogeneous “horde of skeles” feel. As a result the grisly banner and other flesh trophies really pop against them in an appropriately disturbing manner. You should get yourself a couple of more ravens for the army, they look great in this force what with them having the army uniform by default.

    • Thanks! The horde look is definitely what I am going for with this army. I think I’ll raise another 30 Skeletons after this, just not sure if I have enough of the old plastics left. I like their simplicity.

      There’s another crow/raven sitting on the banner of my zombie unit, and I have a few more spares from various sets that I can add in different places. I think I’ll make them the totem birds of my Necromancer.

  3. Great work on this regiment. You really pull off the “white bone” look very well. My skeletons/default way to paint them is the “yellowed bone” look – which I’m happy with – but I really need to try out some white bone models sometime. What’s your technique for them?
    Also – you’re disqualifying these guys from Oldhammer? Surely if anything qualifies, these guys do – I know you’ve mixed a few newer parts in, but the Skeleton Horde screams 3rd Edition WFB just as much as the Warhammer Fantasy Regiments plastics do! :)

    • Thank you! The majority of the models were sprayed white and then washed heavily with a dark brown ink (today’s equivalent would be Agrax Earthshade I’d say although it is less rich) followed with some thinned down black ink. Then the whole thing was drybrushed heavily with Bleached Bone followed by a lighter drybrush with pure white. Actually it’s more of a wet drybrush if that makes sense. These models look pretty rough up close but they work as a regiment. The new models, e.g. the musician, are undercoated Bleached Bone, given a wash of Seraphim Sepia (leaving out larger raised areas) followed by a wash with Agrax Earthshade in the deeper recesses. A bit of black ink into the eye sockets, nose and mouth. Then I drybrush with Bleached Bone, fix with washes where the bone colour gets into recesses, and then give a final drybrush with white, sparingly. Really dry this time.

      I find that the plastics don’t mix very well with the old metal models stylistically, so I decided to make my Oldhammer Undead metal only. Maybe I’ll add some plastic horsemen. I’m much happier with the overall look of my skeletal horde for the Vampire Counts army as well this way. If I add another 30 I’ll mix in the new plastics too, I think they’ll go together nicely if using the least armoured parts and plain shields.

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