Sometimes They Come Back

Next to my skeletal legions, the rotting cadavers of Zombies are lurching towards the enemy lines, reanimated by the foulest of spells in the grimoires of the masters of necromancy.

Zombies of the Vampire Counts

The recently deceased are marching on

Driven by an insatiable hunger, a horde of Ghouls has also gathered, leaving their dark crypts behind to feast on the fallen of the looming battle.

Ghouls of the Vampire Counts

Ghouls on the hunt for warm flesh

About two thirds my 30 strong Zombie horde consists of the mid-90s Citadel metal models, while the rest including musician and standard bearer were added when the plastic kit was first released. I have another ten assembled and base coated and will complete them eventually for summoning during the fight.

Zombies of the Vampire Counts

The once proud leader of the local militia now craves the brains of his former wards

The Ghouls are also a mix of generations, consisting of Warhammer 4th Edition miniatures and the metal models that preceded the current plastics. They were painted several years apart, the first batch with an orange skin tone that I later highlighted further to blend in with the new arrivals, which were dry brushed heavily over dark brown washes to give a dirty appearance befitting a pack of catacomb dwellers.

Ghouls of the Vampire Counts

Repulsive Ghouls are the most degenerate of the Vampire Counts’ servants

I’m done repainting the bases across the army, so it’s on to the characters next, some of which need finishing off still. Obviously I also have plans to add some new models, like the Corpse Cart, but I’ll try and stay focussed…

Zombies of the Vampire Counts

They are coming to get you

14 thoughts on “Sometimes They Come Back

  1. These guys are looking great! I’ve got a couple of the figures that the ghoul on the far right is part of, and a couple of blisters of the lean, wiry ones, which I like a lot. I never managed to get many metal zombies (always seemed like something more important to buy, and since I never played WFB undead, I guess it makes sense). I always feel that people don’t give the early GW skeletons and the zombies which are compatible with their parts enough credit these days. Your blog just keeps showing how wrong they are!

    If you ever decide to expand these guys (and I hope you do – I love checking out your forces!), I highly recommend Mantic’s Zombies and Ghouls (their skeletons on foot, Skelly cavalry and Revenants are pretty good, too!)

    Hoping to see some “army so far” shots soon as well! Even if you trickle them out in large and larger scale as you show off each new unit.

    • Glad you like them! I wouldn’t want to swap any of the sculpts in this army for newer versions, and I’m with you on the wiry Ghouls. I have yet to see the latest plastic ones done in a way that I really like, and I think they won’t mix well with the older versions. Once I get around to doing a Ghoul King army I might have to consider my options…

      I am unlikely to expand my Zombies anytime soon, as Skeletons will be quicker and I have the raw materials for at least half another regiment.

      I’m curious to look at Kings of War sometime, but I’m unlikely to start another fantasy mass combat system. In terms of Mantic’s miniatures range, I’d hope though that they actually move away from aligning with Warhammer army books and do their own thing instead. Warhammer for me means Citadel, collecting a different range of models would be a new army!

      Before doing a full army shot I’ll need to get more themed terrain and a nice backdrop. So don’t hold your breath! I’ll make sure though to have the horde lined up in the background for all those character model close-ups.

    • I agree with you on the new ghouls – I haven’t really seen any pics of them that makes me interested in picking them up. Still, I’m looking forward to seeing if not an army shot (yet!), some multi-unit shots of the shambling horde! :)

    • Kings of War is in many ways just another ruleset for mass fantasy battles. While I still have a soft spot and a willingness to play WFB3 again (though I haven’t played in years – and despite Orlygg’s protestations, I’d prefer to get hold of a copy of Warhammer Armies) I probably won’t play WFB “proper” again for some time.

      While Mantic did pretty much start off as alternate figures to use in WFB – to be fair, we’re talking about ex-GW staff (Ronnie, Alessio, Jake, et al) making fantasy games cut from the same Tolkien and Moorcock-inspired cloth, and these days they’re moving away from Not-Warhammer with things like their Basiliean (Angelic) army to create their own identity – but the tropes (Elves, Dwarves, Undead, Ogres, Humans, Demons) aren’t exactly GW-created either.

      My personal take on it is – and has always been – that I’ll mix in anything that looks good and appropriate with my GW figures, (which is why my Orcs have a bunch of the old Harlequin figures by Kev Adams, and I’ve got Ral Partha/Grenadier Ogres sculpted by Bob Olley – coming soon to the painting desk, BTW). New GW Ogres with my classic models is a bit of a stretch, but I’ll just consider them a separate tribe, like the Mantic ones. (who are closer to the old-school GW ones then the new GW ones..!)

      I figure if KoW is a good enough ruleset to get me interested in fantasy mass battles again, then so much the better. I’ll still use m Citadel models, and my narratives will still take place in The Old World though – rather than Mantica. :)

      But back to the undead – the Mantic ones were sculpted by Bob Naismith, so again, it’s enough of a link to the old-school of GW for me, and hopefully enough for you to check out – because I’d love to see what you could do with them – in their own, segregated units of course!

    • I guess once Warhammer Fantasy is dropped from the GW portfolio I might switch over to Mantic… Actually, I don’t think that’s going to happen, but I have found myself contemplating it in the past, and I would sort of even welcome it. It’s not a bad thing to have a clearly defined project with a start and end point. I don’t think there is much of a need to expand the current miniatures range, and new rules and army books rarely add anything truly original to the overall narrative and/or art anymore.

    • I agree, that particular rumour is bunk. If I hadn’t had enough of WFB, I’d still be willing to play KoW though – simply as an alternate ruleset to use the same figures with. I personally wish that they had more unit options for armies like Ogres, though they’re pretty cool with “counts-as”.

      I’m especially interested in playing with various warband rules, to get some small-scale to go with the large. I might seek out some additional Mordheim gang rules, and I recently purchased Song of Blades and Heroes that I kept hearing about. Then there’s always a Realm of Chaos Warband Campaign…

    • Mordheim is a great game, I like the artistic direction of it as well. With all the rules now available in PDF and the Empire in Flames expansion there is no reason not to start playing it again. It should be pretty straight forward to develop rules for new warbands by picking appropriate troops types from the army books. I’ve been wanting to get back into it for a while now.

    • I never got into Mordheim back in the day. More due to others’ lack of interest than my own I have to say, though we played the everloving hell out of Necromunda. Maybe I should go back and take a look at it, I did manage to buy a bunch of the Town Cryer stuff at the time at least, though no Empire in Flames. I’ve just googled it, and now it’s time to add some more files to my digital gaming archive. Thanks for the heads-up!

  2. I love your new recruites, especially given they are all old school minis. The militia captain has so much character and I think your paint job really makes his ugly, mean visage stand out. He means business and definitely wants a chop of them brains.

    His zombie lads are all nicely painted up. They look rotten and ill tempered. Do you use a ‘Grass master’ for your bases? It seems your static grass stands up nicely and wonder if you have a secret application method.

    The Ghouls must have been in the Warhammer third edition rulebook, they look very familiar and you painted them close to the color scheme there.

    Finally the last photograph really works with the one guy looking up in the centre. Very atmospheric arrangement and I like his blue tongue and dead, white eyes.

    You mention that you drybrush a lot and paint to an army standard, but I think your miniatures stand up well the unforgiving macro shots.

    I can only recommend the Wargames Factory Skeletons. The retooled the sprues so now they don’t have as much of a breakage issue. In my opinion the best ones I saw so far (apart from the old Confrontation skeletons), however, more fragile than GW, so it is a trade off.

    • Thank you! The militia captain was really just one of the Zombies, but once I started arranging the unit, he found his way naturally into the front rank, and when I looked at the photos, his background story suddenly fell into place.

      I found that by setting miniatures within a scene the glare of the camera is much reduced, both literally and metaphorically, and everything blends together better. The focus is more on the overall effect rather than the individual detail.

      The grass on these bases is 15+ years old, so I don’t recall what manufacturer it was. I haven’t really changed my application technique though. Some solid blobs of undiluted PVA, lightly dab on two fingers full of grass, then shake off and blow away the rest, which I think helps to make the glued grass stand upright. I varnish the whole model after the glue has dried which gives the grass resilience.

      I had a look at the Wargames Factory Skeletons, really like their Jason and the Argonauts style. The shots of them you have in the dungeon terrain look great!

  3. Those are great, much nicer than the job that I did on many of those sculpts! I dont play/paint fantasy stuff, but I do have a fondness for zombies. Its the fault of the Resident Evil video game series mainly.

    I picked up a lot of the old metal GW zombies from Mail Order in the 90s, removed the weapons and very quickly painted them for use as a zombie horde in Necromunda. As the years went on the then new plastics were added and the horde was used in very many games and settings. I am very fond of some of those old sculpts as a result.

    The GW plastic zombies get a lot of stick over their large hands and a couple of other cosmetic issues, but I reckon its a great kit. I chopped up a number of those boxes when making my Sin Eaters Nurgle Marine chapter and got loads of functionality and fun out of it.

    My zeds suffer a bit visually from being painted at different times and with different priorities over almost two decades, but I am fond of the stinking herd all the same. I would love to repaint them at some point, but it would be a poor use of my time when I could simply add even more to the horde instead. I can second Azazels recommendation of the Mantic Zombies and Ghouls, they are great kits. I painted up a lot of them as infected ex-hospital patients a few years ago and I think that they came out rather well:

    • I find that the plastic Zombies kit does a great job for about 20 models, then I’d start to mix it with other kits to add variety. I had to “stretch” my lot a bit to get to the additional 10 I mentioned, so some of these have Skeleton parts in them.

      I definitely intend to use the plastic Zombies as components for some Nurgle Marauders or Nurgle Traitor Guard in the future.

      Just had a look at your Infected in scrubs, very cool! The Mantic Zombies work great in that context. Too many projects, too little time. The world of hobby blogs is a dangerous place, especially yours…

  4. Awesome stuff. The militia captain is a very apt choice for a champion. The whole colour palette for the Zombies works very well with the basing. The ghouls are pale and creepy with a good sense of twisting motion from your model selection.

    • Thanks, you make it sound like I planned for all of this, when in fact it kind of just fell into place. Repainting the bases from grey to brown with a smattering of grey stones made a big difference to the overall look and really changed these models to ‘finished’ in my view. I also discovered how important the correct placing of models in a unit is when it comes to taking photos. There were three takes until I achieved the right look.

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