Monday, December 15, 2014

The Army of the Dead

"The way is shut!… It was made by those who are dead…and the Dead keep it!"

My submission for the Cold bonus theme round, for the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge is the Army of the Dead, from the Lord of the Rings, lead by the King of the Dead and his banner bearer.

I felt that you cannot get much colder than the icy chill of death itself so what better than an Army of the Dead!

The Army of the Dead

 There are twenty 28mm miniatures here from GW's Lord of the Rings range, plus the King of the Dead and his Banner bearer., making twenty two in total.

They were also known as the Dead of Dunharrow… men, cursed by Isildur when he called them to his service, at the battle of the Last Alliance, against Sauron in Mordor and on the slopes of Mount Doom. They would not heed his call and fled cowardly into the mountains…

And thus Isildur cursed them, never to rest or find piece until they fulfilled their Oaths.

It is Aragron, last of the bloodline of Isildur, who now stands to command them to his service, and this he must do, to swell the ranks of his forces, to face the might of Sauron once more…

“We Fight!”…


This was my first submission to the Painting Challenge this year, though with it also being an entry for the Bonus theme round "Cold" , it was held, until all themed submission were ready to be displayed together. Consequently, Beorn the Bear, ended up being my first shown entry on the challenge blog. But I'll blog him here once I finish the Man form of Beorn too.

Back to the Dead above, and painting was relatively easy.

Black undercoat was followed by an airbrushing of Vallejo US Flight Lt. Grey . This is a very pale grey, more on "off-white"... and as it dried over the black undercoat, it appeared to take on a greenish hue. Might have just been my eyes or a trick of the light, who knows!

Once dry I picked out the metallic areas in Chainmail silver. Then the Kings golden crown and clasps in Shining Gold. Finally I used some shades of very pale yellows and browns for their hair.

Finally a wash of green, and this was going to make or break the paintjob! I wanted a very translucent shade. I had some left over GW Thraka Green Wash and also got some of their new Coelia Green wash. They are noticeably different colours, the newer shade a much darker tone than the older Thraka colour. 

Having painted Barrow Wights a long time ago I knew how to get the thin wash to work..., although back then it was a blue colour...

I decided to mix the two green colours 1:1, about five drops of each, then added a drop of dish wash liquid, then a drop or two of water... The surfactant property of the soap reduces how much the shade wash 'gathers' producing a more translucent wash effect...

I'm rather pleased how it turned out. Varnish and basing to finish. I kept the basing minimal that reflects there sparse "lodgings"!

For the challenge they should score me 110 points, plus the bonus for the theme round which I think is a further 50pts, making 160 in total :)

In the game the dead are sadly probably not the best troops to go for, and are arguably much less effective than they appear in the movie! They do have high Defence which makes them rather resilient to damage, but have weak strength. The flip side to this is they strike against an enemy's Courage value, not their Defence. This makes them quite useful against low courage foes like Orcs, but less effective against braver troops....

And they still have to move around terrain, when you would imagine it wouldn't affect them ... to my mind they should move freely through all terrain and troops should get no defensive bonuses for defending obstacle etc. against them...

They are also fairly pricey in points costs.

And sadly one aspect of the new warbands rules mean you would struggle to get more than one warband on the table in a regular game as there is only one hero of the Dead - the King, to lead them. There are no 'captains of the dead' to lead other warbands. Real shame. You can lead them with Captains of Dol Amroth, but I think that would look odd!

So in most regular games you would be limited to field the King of the Dead with a warband of 12 models, as an allied Fiefdom to other Gondor troops.

But for all that, they do look cool and no LOTR collection would be complete without them!


  1. A great looking bunch! The green wash mix is spot on

  2. The green is perfect for them and I'll have to keep in mind your formula as I've had troubles with that kind of full model wash before.

  3. Great stuff. The green wash is perfect!

  4. They certainly send a chill down my spine, a fabulous entry Scott.

  5. Lovely job on them Scott. Well done!

  6. Stunning... simply stunning. 'Nuff said!

  7. Nicely done!
    Theoretically, you COULD field a whole army of these, you know, should you decide to use them for GoB ;o)

  8. Lovely stuff mate, it's quite easy for something so monotone to turn out dull, but that's certainly not the case here. They look the business!

  9. They're gorgeous Scott! Thanks for posting your painting and washing method. I was going to ask but you beat me to it.

  10. How cool did these turn out. Top job on this mob of ghost warriors. Really good. I really like them if you couldn't tell by now.

  11. Thanks all guys, so pleased to see I seem to have hit the nail on the head with the paintjob, judging by all your kind comments :)

  12. They look fantastic Scott! Great work!

  13. thanks for posting these Scott, they look great, a real inspiration. now where's my bank card...

  14. Well done ... it isn't easy making such a limited palette work but you certainly pulled it off here. ^_^

  15. This was a great entry Scott and very creative. I really liked the effect you achieved with the spooky paint job. Top notch.
    I also collect LOTR figures and I always wondered how these guys would do in battle. I'm not so keen on them now after reading this post, but they are still pretty to look at.
    Cheers, M

  16. cold.... yes they are cold ....
    Great idea for this Bonus !

    and the realisation is perfect ! impressive army ...

  17. Those are the best painted AotD figures I have seen. Really ethereal!


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