For this I needed a few ‘naked’ skeletons armed with hand weapons and shields plus some others wearing simple armour and helmets.
The old Citadel Skeleton Horde box set would have been perfect but sadly it’s long OOP and any you see nowadays are pricey. For once I think the high prices the unassembled sprues of these go for on eBay are justified.
The closest modern product to the Horde box appears to be the Wargames Factory Box of 30 Skeletons. Having read mixed reviews about them (Main Pro – great anatomical detail. Main Con – overly fragile) I decided to give them a miss*.
So what to do? I’m still suffering from Manticophobia (I’ve just said it so yes, that’s a thing now) and there’s no metal ranges in production in my price range that I like. My cheap and cheerful go-to, Reaper Bones miniatures, has Skeletons but they don’t look the greatest – way too bendy looking. My options seemed fairly limited.
Back to GW then…
Vampire Counts Skeletons. I thought these would be a bit crap but I was wrong. Yes there’s stupid horned helmets, skulls on some of the shields, a standard with skulls, etc etc but if you’re astute about the assembly you can make some really usable generic fantasy skeletons.
I prefer my skeletons to be a bit grubby looking and straight out of the grave rather than bleached clean anatomical teaching aids from stereotypical Professor’s Studies. I think these show that, and of course it meant a quick drybrush job on the bones saved a bit of time.
I used Army Painter skeleton bone spray primer to undercoat them. It worked a treat and gave a rich instant colour that washes could be directly applied to. I accidentally went a bit heavy with my final pass with the spray though so some of the detail was a little obscured by too heavy a coating. Ho hum, I’ll be more gentle with the rattle can next time!
A quick count will also reveal I’m one skeleton missing from the box of ten. When you fail to realise one has accidentally fallen from your paint table and you then step on it, you’ll be amazed at the fantastic crunch sound a GW Skeleton can make….
* I’ve since learnt from Scent of a Gamer’s Review of Wargames Factory Skeletons they’re actually more robust and not as fiddly to assemble as some people suggest. I’ll give them a go next time I need more skeletons.