Ars Moriendi

This being my first, tentative post here, I guess I’ll introduce myself very briefly. The element of the hobby which I most enjoy is the potential to expand on the often overused tropes and modes of fantasy and sci fi. I find shiny ol’ heroes with their big gleaming swords rather boring. For me its about the creatures, the crawlers and the scroungers on the edge of the story, wether its the degenerate little necromancer hunched over a book or the mutant prostrating himself before the boots of a planetary Potentate.

The above Mordheim skeletons are the decrepit entourage for a yet to be built Necromancer and Vampire. Inspired by the John Blanche illustrations of skeletons and zombies in the old vampire counts book, I’ve been working away on these walking embodiments of decay.  I imagine them crawling and creaking down the labyrinthine walkways of  the catacombs, dragging behind them rotten cloth and the withered roots of trees. Wearing the cloth of Empire men from ages new and old, they serve as a sepulchral record to the fate of the bright pennanted and loudly proclaimed knights, who enter the catacombs in search of those great goals, wealth and power, finding within just mud, decay, madness and eventually, death.


12 Comments on “Ars Moriendi

  1. The final pieces are wonderful, but there was something fascinating and sort of iconic about those airbrushed ones – as if they had walked out of the greyscale art of the older armybooks.

    • I agree with you. The only problem was that they didn’t fit in with the rest of my Mordhiem terrain/models and once I started painting one, I couldn’t go back. They’re sitting in the corner of my table at the moment, exiled until I can muster further enthusiasim for them.
      In a way I wish I had stayed true to my original concept- a palette of black white and blood. Film noir- undead style

  2. Excellent skellingtons, exactly how I’d picture them – the bleached bone type never made sense to me, these look freshly dug up. I also loved how they looked just undercoated, really ethereal. The bases are amazing too.

  3. Awesome models, and very restrained, yet powerful conversions. They certainly capture the essence of the Blanche paintings in the army book, very well done.

    I like that the paint job is very gritty and dirty, especially Skeletons often end up painted too tidy for my taste, as if their bones have been polished…

    • I agree. I think bones only get that polished, bleached look when they are out in the sun for a long time and picked clean by carrion – so it makes sense for Tomb King armies. These skeletons look like they are from damp tombs or have scrabbled their way out of the dirt.

    • I certainly wanted them to be grimy, dusty, dirty. I think it was something you said on a forum, an image of the Necromancer careful lining up the corpses with flesh and those without as zombies and skeletons then perhaps flourishing a rag and getting down to polishing.
      Of course he’d put extra work into the skeletons leader(his favourite) to get that lovely cranial gleam. ; )

  4. Welcome Quinn! I love the character of those skellies, especially the organic matter like roots and dirt around their bodies… making them look like part of the base, Only thing it’s missing is the spiderwebs….

    • Thanks Rob. Hopefully If they sit still for long enough they’ll accumulate some webs. I did see a technique for making them with an airbrush somewhere, it would be a pretty cool look. (don’t tempt me)…..

      • If you search under Lester Bursley miniatures on youtube he has a tutorial up. But I don’t know if that’s the best method… never tried it myself. They tend to be fragile, like for display. Yours look like they’ve scrabbled out of the dirt though, like he said!

  5. Aye up Quinn.. great entrance to this wonderful blog.. those pictures are quite brilliant.. really atmospheric and and fully at home here.. i feel like i can almost smell the musty rotten dusty catacombs through my monitor !

    the finished models do like the previous styles you have shown.. but like dapper anarchist .. i think the monotone ones really work very well with that photography.. so glad you showed both versions..

  6. Hey! First of all, these are phenomenal. You have really captured the feel of a creature that has just stood a dormant guard for years, maybe centuries! Amazing! Are these all converted from warhammer miniatures or did you use parts from other places? The details looks great!

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