't ain't no sin to take off your skin, and dance around in your bones.
Deadcember, my favourite Oldhammer portmanteau, and a good an excuse to claw through the lead pile and slap some paint on something. Also, it offers the opportunity to indulge in a some Oldhammer blawging, comparing something old to something new, tutting a lot about the new thing, romanticising the old thing and throwing in some thoroughly unoriginal original thoughts.
Of course Deadcember is all about the dead, or rather the undead and 2nd/3rd Edition undead foot soldiers are a very different breed from their 8th Edition/End Times descendants, leaving aside the standard observation of the miniatures being named or even sculpted with 'individuality', the game lore itself paints them very differently.
Longhorn stood looking over the ruined parapet. The chill wind ruffled his surcoat, whistling eerily between his ribs.
"Still coming?" the voice belonged to Screamer, one of his companions-at-arms.
"See for yourself." A black column stretched from the horizon to a mile away. like an army of ants on the move.
"Here" said Screamer, struck by a sudden thought, "We can talk, right?"
"Yes." sighed Longhorn. He hated it when Screamer had one of his sudden thoughts.
"And we can see them, right?"
"We're Skeletons. right? No eyes, no eardrums, no vocal cords - but we can see, hear and talk. -Makes you think, doesn't it?"
"I try not to think. There's too damn many contradictions to being Undead. Let's see what Morbius is up to." Anything was better than Screamer waxing philosophical.
Skeletons with personalities, talking, even engaging in existential debates. Soldiers as indentured servants, who thanks to poor legal advice (probably) are stuck with employment contracts that lack the ultimate escape clause; death. A state of being that is even more pronounced with Uathach and his storm riders. Once an ally of Sigmar, Uathach betrayed his king somewhere along Sigmar's path to godhood, treacherously warring on Sigmar's Dwarven allies and beheading their commander before throwing it an Sigmar's feet. Sigmar and his warriors surrounded Uathach's chariots, killing his men before Sigmar pierced Uathach's body and cursed him as he died.
"Cursed Uathach, it was war you desired and even in death I damn you to ride the skies in search of war. Through all eternity you shall flee, pursued evermore by the lightning bolts of my wrath!Human no longer, you shall be known as the Storm Riders"
Enter the plastic skeleton chariots of war! Yours to command for only 9 magic points and a chestnut brown ink wash.
Fast forward to modern Warhammer, albeit the End Times just before the Old World got blown up or whatever (I'm not sure, I never finished the books to be honest), and compare the Nagash storyline. Big machinations, bigger egos, gigantic miniatures and no room left for puns or any other little jokes. Skeletons and Zombies simply become matter and consequently they no longer really matter. Gone is the dysfunctional employee/employer relationship of Screamer and Morbius, and even that Oldhammer rock star Henrich Kemler is reimagined as a poo faced manipulator of bones with an extra M. Necromancy makes you a fantasy version of Magneto who move bones rather than metal, so much so that we see the undead foot soldiers in the story arc become building blocks for a giant bridge, constructed with the detached precision of my 7 year old daughter playing Minecraft. All so that other bones can cross a chasm and go stomp some Skaven. There's plenty of room in the bridge for the undead once they are reduced to load bearing parts, but no room in the lore for skeletons or zombies with personalities, these are not Evil Ash's bumbling henchmen sadly.
War makes boring monsters of us all, or something.
Anyway, enough of the words and onto the picture, this is one of my favourite models from the C17 Skeleton range, even though he (or perhaps she, I can't tell how pronounced the cranial ridge is) has a somewhat generic name "Lich". I'd say what the model lacks thanks to an impersonal name it makes up for in personality. Look at her (I've decided it's a girl), she's glorious, with her big hair and the characteristic expressive facial bone structure that Aly Morrison blessed his skeletons with. She even has a tongue! I don't fancy the Skaven's chances much.
I stuck with my standard wine stain red robes that I've used on lots of undead models, which thanks to foundry's triad of the same name and some vallejo glaze medium I can paint to a standard that fools me into believing I know what I'm doing, bones were done with foundry bone triad and gold bits with shining gold triad (are you seeing a lazy pattern here?) Most importantly of all, I enjoyed the painting every bit as much as I liked the outcome.
So that's my first offering of Deadcember 2016, I hope you like her.