Painting the Unforgiven – Undead Skeleton Warriors

SDT Crude Daubings

I’ve just finished the first unit of an army I’ve wanted to do for aaaaages…the shambling horror that is the Undead!

I started off with some skeletons (of 80s Skeleton Horde fame) that I picked up fairly reasonably on eBay. Here they are in the box on the day they arrived – what a jolly bunch! As you can see they were nicely preassembled, which was a handy time saver, but lacked shields, which I had to source separately.

Skels 1

The first jobs were scraping off a few mould lines, sanding the bases (easily done over the thin flock layer they came with) and then priming the skellies with a bone colour. This was then followed by an all-over wash with a mix of brown and sepia washes.

Skels 3

In the picture above you can see the first 10 painted up to that stage, plus the movement tray (which is made out of plasticard). You can also see two of my favourite basing ingredients in this picture: toadstools and slate! I made the toadstools from cone-shaped bits of green stuff and attached them with lengths of paperclip to represent the stalk.

Skels 5

The models were then drybrushed with bone with white added, and I then went back and tidied up the lines between some of the bones, the eye sockets and the like with dark brown. After this I painted the weapons black, and painted the bases in my usual fashion, which goes from dark green up to very bright greenish-yellow in four stages of drybrushing. In the picture above you can also see the simple conversion I did with some brass rod to create the standard bearer (basically chopping off his sword and drilling through the fist with a large drill bit).

Skel Shields

The next main stage was painting the metal and shields. I used a mid-brightness silver and washed it with black, then brown on most of the metal. This was then edge highlighted with bright silver. For the weapon handles I used bronze, shaded with turquoise to create a verdigris effect. On the shields (which I painted in a batch, blu-tacked to a handy ice cream lid for convenience) I went with a simple purple and cream split scheme, with a little washing, some highlighting and a few scratches painted on. I think shields are one of the most important elements of Warhammer units, and are well worth spending a little longer on than their small size suggests.

The final big job was making and painting the banner. I used tomato puree wrapper foil for this, cut to shape with scissors and a modelling knife. I continued the shield colour scheme onto the banner, and then painted on a skull design to give the Unforgiven a suitably horrific emblem to fight beneath! When painting this sort of design I always draw it on in pencil first, as this is much more forgiving than going straight on with paint, and lets you work out the shape and positioning of the design more easily. I also decided to add a plastic breastplate to one of the troopers as a simple way of identifying him as the unit champion.

skels final

A few dots on the toadstools and…they’re all done! I’m pleased to have the first unit finished, and feel like they capture the image I carry in my head of how the Undead should look on the battlefield pretty well. Next up will be a unit of grim reapers to bulk out my infantry, and a couple of carrion that I picked up on the Facebook Oldhammer Trading group. With a bit of luck they’ll be terrorising Mubo’s Empire before I know it. Until then…don’t have nightmares!