Friday, May 19, 2017

Diggin' Up Bones Mining for Lead-Undead Part 1

"I'm diggin' up bones, I'm diggin' up bones, exhuming things that's better left alone." While I'm not a country music fan I thought these lines from Randy Travis were an appropriate intro to this post.  After the green fellows my next love is the shambling horrors of the Old World, the Undead.  They are probably my second most complete force with paint.  I'm sure my fascination with skulls, skeletons, and undead probably began with the great Ray Harryhausen’s 1963 stop motion classic Jason and the Argonauts.  This pre-dates me by a couple of years but still holds up as a great movie to this day.

Harryhausen considered it his best stop motion work and I would have to agree!  I must have watched the fight scene where Jason takes on the skeletons dozens of times on Dr. Creep's Saturday morning movie re-run show Shock Theater.
For those uninitiated, Shock Theater was a Dayton Ohio area TV show that played horror, monster, and sci fi movie reruns on Saturday mornings/early afternoons from 1972-1985.

It exposed me to the greats like Jason and the Argonauts, all the Godzilla movies, Boris Karloff's Frankenstein and Mummy, Lon Chaney Jr's Wolf-Man, Bela Lugosi's Dracula and probably my preferred version Christopher Lee's Dracula.

Harryhausen and Lee started it and then D&D came along with incredible illustrations such as Russ Nicholson's great undead illustrations in books like the Fiend Folio which further pushing me to these wonderful animated un-living creations.

Then the supporting miniatures followed and I stumbled upon Citadel’s great Fantasy Tribe series.  Some of my first purchases were the incredible pre-slotta base miniatures of the fantastic Fantasy Tribe Skeletons (FTS) series by Citadel.

Not my best painting, if memory serves me correctly I did these as a wee lad in my pre-teens in the late 70's!  I was without inks so the results are less than stunning.

One very interesting thing after getting this old FTS figures out was the noticeable size/scale difference.  This is one of the plastic skeletons from the Oldhammer era for comparison.

The FTS skeletons are probably more true to a 25 mm scale than the plastics.  They now appear very undersized to me when you get them out with current figures.  One of the restrictive factors of the undead was the sheer numbers of figures that the army required.  This was resolved with the release of the now historic Skeleton Horde boxed set and the Skeleton Army boxed set.  More on that in the next post along with some painted forces.