My plan for Deadcember 2017 had been to complete a Necromancer themed 1,000 point army for Warhammer Fantasy Battle by adding two new character models for a Wight King and the Master Necromancer himself. For the former I had recently picked up the excellent Wight Lord by Heresy Miniatures which was a perfect fit for the style of the army. Due to a painting slump I only just managed to complete this now however.
Commanding the dead
There isn’t any unnecessary detail on the sculpt and I like its slim silhouette which is well suited to fit into the entirely infantry based army of skeletons, zombies and haggard ghouls. I might add some blood splatter onto the blade later courtesy of the decapitated heads, but right now I am not very happy with my painting so I didn’t want to risk spoiling the miniature in case it went wrong. In general, I am using very few splashes of colour across the army anyway, with red mostly being reserved for the vampires.
As the Master Necromancer I am planning to use the 4th Edition sculpt of Heinrich Kemmler, to date one of my favourite miniatures of all time.
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.
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 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.
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.
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…
They are coming to get you
My Vampire Counts can call on packs of beasts to sally out ahead of their shambling main horde and hunt down the enemy’s light troops.
Dire Wolves with Doom Wolf pack leader
First to answer the call is a pack of ten Dire Wolves. These are the early Citadel models, consisting of metal heads with the plastic wolf bodies. Two of them are just plain wolves altogether, and the Dire Wolf is the full metal version. They are all just drybrushed, since the idea was to get my undead army finished quickly. That was back in ’98.
Fell Bats swooping down on their victims
The Fell Bats I had for a long time but never fully painted. I finished them a few years ago after a rare Warhammer battle in which they kept tumbling from their flying stands. Now they have been fitted with pins and small blobs of blue tac to stay in the air.
A monstrous Varghulf on the rampage
The Varghulf is one of the latest additions to my army and the only one in Finecast. It is painted using the same palette as the Fell Bats but with reddish wings to indicate its vampiric origins. It still looks a bit flat overall so I’ll do some more work on its paint job and base once the other tasks for the army are completed.
Centuries ago the Iron Baroness ruled her fiefdom with an icy grip, squeezing every last coin from her subjects in taxes. When rumours about witchcraft and foul rituals at her manor began to spread, the serfs finally rose up against her rule and burned down her estate. Trapped inside the dungeons underneath, the Baroness and her two most loyal retainers perished.
That is, until dark magics began to saturate the land and her lingering spirit was unshackled from its tomb, to once again terrorise her former realm. This time, her traitorous subjects would have to pay their duty in blood.
The call of the Banshee spells doom for the living
This Banshee and two Cairn Wraiths by Citadel have been haunting my Warhammer armies of the dead since the late nineties, varyingly as character models or unit of three.
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 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.
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 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.
The Skeletons are marching under the banner of a gruesome trophy
As a part-time Necromancer, I have always been of the opinion that one can never have too many Skeletons. For aeons the bulk of my legions have remained buried though, slumbering in their cardboard caskets as a jumble of bones.
Alas, the ritual of summoning has finally begun, and two score of new skeletal warriors are being assembled. When I say ‘new’, that might be misleading actually, since they are the first generation Citadel plastic Skeletons, originally released last century.
The Skeleton Champion gathers trophies from the living
I added some slightly newer parts to the command models – the unit standard is from the Chaos Marauders kit, while the drum and mallet of the musician are early metal add-on parts from the second edition Skeleton Warriors plastic box set. I don’t remember where the Champion’s trophy heads stem from, but they were definitely a great fit.
Undead warriors marching under the black banner
Skeleton musician beating the drum