Monday, August 20, 2012

The Bone-swords: Skeletal Zendarian for Empire of the Dead

It probably doesn't come as a shock to know I love to start new projects, which is one reason I love skirmish games: it's not too hard to make a new project!

One of the more recent new projects is a new faction team for Empire of the Dead, which we've been playing on Fridays.  I had some skeleton miniatures I liked quite a bit, and was looking for an excuse to field them.  I have Greystoke's Apes (a 'Lycan' faction) and a Nosferatu faction (as yet they haven't had an update here, but they will) so I thought I'd use skeletons for a re-skinning (or de-skinning rather) of a human faction. The obvious choice would be to run them as 'Holy Order' but do an 'un-holy order', but looking at the rules it didn't really fit with how I'd like them -and I have another idea for a Holy Order faction anyway...
the next obvious choice would be Darkfire Club: the evil humans, who use dark magic and can summon zombies. But I dismissed that right away: I want Skeletons, not Zombies.

I love Ray Harryhausen's work, and I saw Jason and the Argonauts when I was a kid-it creeped me out!

Ever since I have loved skeletons, but -this might be as shocking as when I told my rural North Carolina relatives that I am not Christian -of any variety- but Zombies don't really do anything for me.

I know zombies are the new hotness and are likely to remain so- they seem to be everywhere and as popular as orgasmic cell phones might be if they existed (I'm sure they're working on them).  But meh.  I like Walking Dead, and zombie movies are fun, but they don't sing to my soul as it were.

But Skeletons are so cool.  They are like jazz-cool.

When I first started painting minis a lot of what I liked was already taken: one friend had orcs, another had undead, so now I wanted to make an all-skeleton faction.

So I chose Zendarian.  This is the faction that has a military tradition. They get a bonus to combat, weakness to magic and are better at sword fighting: they have a better chance to riposte (get to attack if opponent gets a successful attack on them).  Perfect!  These Harryhausen skeletons are ingrained in my mind fighting in close armed combat, swords clinking.  Vulnerable to magic? OK, they are skeletons afterall, some magic binds their bones and helps animate them, that would be a vulnerability.

And so I went off on writing their background. If you missed it, which turned into a short story, it starts here.

So on to their pictures...

The President. In game terms he starts with two swords (one on the model, but he's just that good & fast with it!) and a 'Pocket Periscope' which lets him see around corners, so can charge from hidden position.. explained as a supernatural sight- which he must have, he has no eyeballs!

The first Vice President, armed as the president. 

The 2nd V.P.  Same kit as the other two.  

Some members. Start with just a sword, but over time will upgrade to count as 2 swords.
I went for a heavy rust,since I like the effect with skeletons.  The color scheme is kept simple.
I really like these Skeletons from Nemesis. The skulls have a 'nightmare before christmas' touch to them, and I like the angled awkward poses. Unfortunately, to get the numbers I needed 3 sets, so some duplicates are unavoidable, I gave the open-jaw ones different angles to how they hold their swords, but the last pose here has the most variety. Stock is the one on the left, where he's swung his sword so wide he's pulled his arm off!   Fun, but not something I wanted three of, so I converted the other two, for a raised sword and a low upper cutting two handed swing. 

Here is the starting faction: Pres, 2x VP & 5 members:

I should also have no problem using these for a variety of fantasy skirmish gaming, since you can always use skeletons! 


M R Lee said...

Nice work on these guys, and a nice collection of Skeletons to boot!

Chris said...

Everything looks great, but I really like the use of pink to tie the two rather dapper looking figures together.

Paul of the Man Cave said...

Such wonderful, characterful figures. They look like they are straight from a Tim Burton movie! You subtle uses of grey and white are just splendid.

Back in the old days of Blood Bowl, Skeletons were their own team. Not so good as I recall but very hard to put down as the bits would refuse back together when you pulled them apart! There was also a special rule whereby if a werewolf attacked a skeleton he went off for a few turns to bury a bone :-)

Brummie said...

They look fantastic mate especially now in colour!

Curt Campbell said...

Lovely work! I agree, Zombies are sooo passe but these Skellies are fabulous!

Michael Awdry said...

Just stunning! Love the colour palette linking through and can I be cheeky and ask how you did the rust effect?

Laughing Ferret said...

Thanks all, I really appreciate the feedback :)

Paul: the Tim Burton influence sold me on them :)

Michael: the rust base is model mates rust effect, then I add lighter portions with vallejo model color orange-brown & reaper master series burnt orange.

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