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Friday, 2 December 2011

Undead Skeletons: Painting Guide

Painting Guide: Undead Skeletons
Models: Mantic Games
Scale: 28mm

I have had a break from painting for a while, and wanted something easy to start back up on, so decided to paint up a selection of the Undead. These models are very nice and if you check back in my blog you can find a full review of the complete boxset.

The models come 10 to a sprue and require a little assembly. For this guide I am going to concentrate on one model and how the job progresses.

Planning ahead is always best when starting to paint. Select some colours that you like and have a general idea of what you want to achieve. This is as simple as saying 'I want blue uniforms' or 'All the belts will be brown'. Once you have a good mental picture you can begin. For this I chose the following Vallejo paints -

72051 Black – for the undercoat
72060 Tiny Tin
72054 Gunmetal - for the armour
72043 Beasty Brown
72062 Earth
72063 Desert Yellow – for the bones
72022 Ultramarine Blue – for the uniform
72045 Charred Brown – for trappings like boots and belts
72047 Wolf Grey – for the shield detail

I pictured these models as being dirty and grimy, fresh from the ground. Their tattered uniforms, damaged equipment and rag tag armour, all hint towards them not really caring about their appearance (no military drills for the dead). Therefore I also chose to finish them with a dark wash, a varnish/wood stain, similar to the 'dip' but my own method. The white tub is Matt varnish to take off the shine from the first varnish.

Step One – Old Armour

After the undercoat, the first part I started on was the armour. I dry brush most armour so wanted to get this process over before I started on the bones, to avoid any paint splash. I already decided that these models where going to have old damaged equipment and one way I achieve a kind of stain on the metal is to use a colour such as Tiny Tin painted in random areas. If you dry brush the silver lightly over these areas it will look as though the armour is a little rusty or dirty.

Step Two – Old Bones

As this regiment was going to be scruffy in appearance I figured shiny white clean bones wouldn’t work. I wanted to stick with the theme so I decided to build on the bones starting with the Beasty Brown and working through with the Earth colour on top. Individual ribs and vertebrae and the final coat on the more exposed bones was done with the Desert Yellow, the lighter shade of the 3 paints.

Step Three – Uniform and Trappings

I had already decided to dirty these models up at the end with varnish, so only block colours were required here as all the shading would all be done by the varnish later. A good solid coat of Ultramarine Blue was given to the tattered uniform, while Charred Brown did for the belts and boots.

Step Four – Stain and Varnish

I use a very basic, easily available, quick dry varnish form a national chain. Rather than dip the model in completely I prefer to paint on the varnish, pretty much as I would when doing an undercoat. I use a large old brush, but one with which I can be a little more discriminating getting the varnish more or less where I want it, and in the right depth, rather than all over the model. Once dry the Matt varnish is applied to take away the shine.

And that’s pretty much it! A simple job with only a handful of paints. Hope you like the photos below, any feedback is always appreciated. Thanks, Chris


  1. Nice effect with the 'dirty' bones, looks very suitable for the figures.


  2. I think there'll be clones of these fellows on my own blog soon - after all what's the use of a painting guide if one doesn't heed its advice, right?
    An inspiration, thank you for posting!

  3. Really nice paintjob, could easily rattle through an army using this technique. Now if only I could find something similar for the elves.