Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Making The Unquiet Dead markers for AoS

With the launch of Legions of Nagash Games Workshop has given Death a new lease on life (har har). It also brings us the best hint of what Slaanesh has been up to so far. Good times (maybe too good) are to be had by all. In Legions of Nagash the rather wonky Age of Sigmar summoning system is replaced with something more workable and fun. An ability called The Unquiet Dead is part of this. Every army that belongs to one of the Legions of Nagash has it. It gives the player four gravesite markers that help reinforce and regenerate certain units in his army. More important than game mechanics (as far as I'm concerned): it gives you an excuse to get creative with hobby materials. In short I made these for use in my games.

As a Legion of Nagash general I get to slam down my own graveyards on every battlefield.

At launch Age of Sigmar had an all powerful summoning system. Basically every wizard could summon troops. It helped idiots make up 'game-breaking' scenario's where a single unit like Nagash would summon an enormous army (quite narrative come to think of it). Back among normal gamers (I said humbly) it forced you to try and get within range of wizards to block them from summoning reinforcements. Difficult, occasionally fun, often frustrating. The biggest downside was that it made it very hard to finish a battle in an evening (as new troops would keep coming into the fray). Death armies, Flesheater Courts and Seraphon (formerly Lizardmen) where the most summoning intensive armies. With the points system in General's Handbook 2016 this ended. Players had to reserve points to pay for the units as they were summoned. I haven't seen much summoning after that. Why reserve points and trust to die rolls and luck if you can just field a unit?

Enemies may moan about the dead returning to life, but they can't complain about the look of the markers (I think).
The new Legions of Nagash Battletome changes this system (unfortunately only for the legions not for the Flesheaters or Seraphon). Some units like Skeletons, Zombies and Black Knights have the Summonable keyword. Summoners like vampires and necromancers have an ability to heal and replenish a number (according to their power) of summonable units every turn. These gravemarkers also help reinforce your summonable units every turn. They also give an ability to return destroyed units to the table and allow you to 'deep strike' from the grave. The last two assume the enemy hasn't succeeded in blocking off a nine inch area around the markers. In short there are plenty of reasons to scratch build four of them.

Step one, cork, sand and bits. Also please ignore the terrible Game Color Black in the background I accidentally took that out of the 'abandoned don't use' paint rack. Vallejo Model Color Black actually dries up black and is a better choice. (I think everything is a better choice than Game Color Black).
I started out with a large round base (60mm). I superglued cork to make the surface uneven (and create the open grave look on one). Gravestones that where part of the (hideous) old skeleton models where used for decoration. After that the bases where sanded with beach sand. After this part I added a grave lid shield to represent a grave lid (how is that for a turnaround!) and added an old Mordheim lantern to the same base. The idea was to give the impression of grave robbers hard at work. One of the bases got a small 'candle altar' (no idea what kit that came from), an old (hideous) skeleton and a book. Skulls from the aptly named 'Citadel Skulls' box where added to all the bases. After that I left the bases to dry.

Airbrushing a few browns helps bases look a bit more realistic.
After the glue was dry I sprayed a German Grey basecoat and followed up by airbrushing Vallejo Tank Brown and Vallejo Dark Earth in patches (model air series). I left this to dry fully.

Drybrushing a bone color helps give the terrain definition. It also gave me a head start on coloring the skulls and bones (these have had a lot more paint added after this drybrush step).
With the basecoats dry, I drybrushed Tyrant Skull all over. I went through the regular wondering about why I buy Citadel 'dry' paints? These paints dry into a gum like putty even with the lids firmly closed. After the drybrush I followed up with an incredibly sloshed on wash of Agrax Earthshade (the more wash the merrier, take your two thin coats and...well you get the picture).

When in doubt, wash it with a lot of Agrax. On top you see a bit of extra sand where I foolishly decided my base needed more sand long after basecoating and painting.
By the time the extreme wash was dry, I overbrushed all skulls with Ushabti Bone followed by (a bit more subtle) Screaming Skull and finally Pallid Wych Flesh. The gravestones where all painted Stormvermin Fur and then (while wet) overbrushed with a Stormvermin Fur/Vallejo Dead White mix. I quickly dried the paint using a blow dryer and added reasonably subtle recess washes of Athonian Camoshade to the gravestones, using a q-tip to remove/spread excesses. To get some color in I added yellowish static grass to all the markers. To finish off I painted the edge of the bases Vallejo German Grey. I'll get to the details on the bases on separate pictures.

Base one, a straightforward collection of gravestones. 
This is the simplest base of the lot. I added small dabs of Seraphim Sepia to the skulls. This looks a bit dabbed on in this picture. In real life it is quite ok (in my humble opinion).

Here some grave robbers where hard at work plying their trade.
This scene depicts a grave recently opened by grave robbers. I intentionally left extra mud free around one edge of the grave. The wood of the lantern and coffin lid where painted Steel Legion Drab, washed with Agrax Earthshade and highlighted with Talarn Sand. The lantern was painted Leadbelcher, washed with Nuln Oil and (after drying) with Agrax Earthshade. Then I added an Ironbreaker highlight. I finished off by painting the lit part Averland Sunset, washing with Seraphim Sepia and Agrax Earthshade and highlighting Flash Gitz Yellow.

The failed necromancer rests beneath his altar. I tried lettering 'Liber Necris' on the book, but ended up repainting it black. Rule #1: Always try new, difficult things. Rule #2: Use creative curses when you fail while executing Rule #1. 
I call this base 'the failed necromancer' it features a corpse holding a black book (Vallejo Model Black with an attempt at blending to The Fang). The silverwork on the book was painted Leadbelcher, Nuln Oil, Stormhost Silver. The candles where painted with Tallarn Sand and highlighted by adding Ushabti bone. I washed it with Seraphim Sepia. After drying I added a recess wash of Seraphim Sepia and after that (to get more extreme) a recess wash of Agrax Earthshade. The wicks where painted black.

I should find interesting new projects to use this rust technique on.
I decided to practice my variant of this tutorial on painting rust on the shields of this base. I started from Leadbelcher and washed it with Agrax Earthshade. After drying, I added slightly watered down dabs of Typhus Corrosion. I then made a wash out of Squig Orange by using Liquitex Matte Medium and water. I added this to bits of the metal. After drying (blow dryer time) I added some Troll Slayer Orange to the mix and dabbed spots with this. After even more time to dry I painted raised areas with a fresh layer of Leadbelcher. In the end I added a subtle last wash of Agrax Earthshade to tie it all together. A lot of work, but hey it looks really rusty. I really need to find something rusty to paint.

Another dot is added to the bingo card, only eighteen more to go.
Building and painting these markers took little time (one evening building, one evening painting, using lunchtime for washing and airbrushing the larger areas). I am quite happy with the result, and with the short break from painting massed ranks of miniatures. Best of all I get to stamp my Wargame Hobby Bingo card. The 'Build & Paint some accessories themed to match your army. (Wound counters, baggage train, objectives, etc.)' is now officially mine. Muhahaha, hmmm wound counters? No, must paint units first!

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