Tag Archives: Skeleton

Games Workshop Skeletons – 1991

I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned my love for the original Games Workshop plastic Skeletons from 1991 before. I bought the Skeleton Army box (that included cavalry and a chariot) sometime around 1993 and it formed the basis (with Kev Adams metal Zombies and various other metal Wraith/Vampire/Necromancer miniatures) for my Undead Army of that period.

Yes there were only 4 bodies and 2 skull choices which limited options somewhat but it was a triumph for fantasy plastic which up to that point had struggled to be taken seriously. Previous attempts that included Fighting Fantasy 60mm, Drastik Plastik Orcs, Pychostyrene Dwarves and the Warhammer Regiment box designed for padding out WFB 3th Ed units had all been failures but the Skeletons marked a turning point in what could be possible.

I recently managed to pick up a few sprues worth on eBay along with a complete box of later Skeletons copyright 1999 on the box (presumably released in the 5th Ed period just prior to 6th Ed in 2000) which, although slightly chunkier, are fairly similar so I’ve now got plenty of bones to play around with. Expect more of these to show up periodically on the blog in future...

Here’s 3 of the original 1991 Skeletons quickly rustled up as extras for my D&D game. A Cleric PC has gained ‘Animate Dead’ spell and so insists on raising corpses as disposable ‘trap checkers’. I decided not to bother adding shields and just left them ‘as is’.

Frostgrave Random Encounters – Skeletons/Armoured Skeletons

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.