Project Log: Mordheim anniversary Restless Dead warband


Hive Guilder
Yak Comp 3rd Place
Mar 29, 2016
Halifax, NS, Canada
This year being Mordheim’s twentieth (!) anniversary, I am taking a detour from Necromunda and GorkaMorka work, to pay some attention to the fallen city.

Some here may have noticed my rambling about the challenge my wife set the two of us for this year: a “Christmas Village” for display - but a Mordheim one, through the ruins of which rat-men fight ghosts. A gothic “Nutcracker.”

So I have started putting some things together. Photos are making their way into an album here on Yaktribe. I may not be playing in the physical #Mordheim2019 game, but I can use the chance to revisit the ruined city.

This thread will explain some of that album as it grows, and act as the project log for those interested in following along.

And if anyone else uses the year as a reason to Mordheim up some, feel free to add in some of your own work on it. I’d love to see it.

There. A rambling beginning to what promises to be a rambling thread.
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To start off, here is a look at the Necromancer for the band. The Restless Dead is a Border Town Burning warband featuring a Lich instead of a vampire, his Necromancer minion, and wights and grave guard and so forth - it seems an ample opportunity to shift the theme so very slightly toward the new, beautiful, Nighthaunt sculpts.

But the Necromancer isn’t dead. Yet.

This model is a Reaper sculpt, with a couple of add-ons. The heavily cowled figure seems a good choice for a low profile, the maul in hand (“hammer”) is useful for opening crypts, the shovel over shoulder helps digging up ... research ... and the scrolls and other gewgaws mark his role as the “corporeally advantaged” member of the warband: he gets to carry everything.

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I was wondering if you'd do a thread for that gallery. there's some cool stuff in there, and one in particular I'm curious about, but I'll wait for you to explain in your own time. I don't wanna be a spoiler.
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Feel free to spoiler. It isn’t in any narrative order.

Here’s his boss. The sculpt is from Reaper, called “Charon,” though I don’t remember the sculptor. No modifications to this one, unless you count the base (also from Reaper).

The plan is brown tones for the Necromancer and any other living hangers-on (hired swords) and zombies and skeletons, black tones for the lich, and white for the ghosts (grave Guard and wights). Eventually, there will be touches of snow effect on all the bases, because Christmas Village means winter Mordheim.

Luckily, thanks to Frostgrave, there are plenty of good guides to making snow.
The Cursed Hillman is a hired sword published in Fanatic. When injured, the axe-armed human turns into a werewolf.

I have a “human form” for the hired sword that is themed to fit my Beastmen Raiders warband, but need to make something suitably more ‘gothic’ for this one.

But the “werewolf form” will work well for either. That mini is another Reaper sculpt. We will get to Citadel and GW sculpts, I promise!

And to ensure there is at least SOME Citadel and Games Workshop content in this thread, here is a look at a very simple and very small conversion for the warband.

Made from spare ends - a left-over front facing from the Chainrasps sprue, and a spare left-over part from the Corpse Cart sprues. The assembly is ridiculously easy: trim the shoulder off the corpse cart arm, which then becomes the hunched shoulder behind the head, snip away the pins behind the head and shoulder, clean up the fabric beneath the hand with the sword [thinning it down on the back end, and making it less ruler-straight], mount the former-shoulder-now-cowling, and attach the cleaned-up hand-and-sword to the base directly.

Assembled, front.

Assembled, rear.

First coat of colour begun.

As a "colour test," here is the planned colour for the warband:
Again, browns for the Necromancer and zombies and skeletons and any 'living' hired swords, blacks for the Lich that leads the warband, and whites for the Grave Guard and Wights - the "nighthaunt" of the band. This particular nighthaunt is a 'proof of colour' model, before paint gets put to any ghostly members of the band proper.
Unpainted and unmodified, these three chainrasps will represent the sword-and-club [the weights at the ends of their chains] -armed Grave Guard. The converted one above is in preparation for the hoped-for-and-hopefully-inevitable promotion of one of the Wights to Grave Guard status, at which point it will be given a sword.

They will all have more elaborate basing, but the sculpts are excellent, and I hope to use these ones without conversion.

Unpainted and unmodified, two of these three other chainrasps will represent the club-and-club-armed Wights. One of these three became the test model. A third "rising from the ground" chainrasp will be the third Wight allowed to the warband.

Likewise, more elaborate basing will include more cemetery elements, as well as drifting pages of text across the ground [as can be found on the bases of my Bretonnian/Empire Outlanders warband].
Terrain! The "portable laboratory" serves a few purposes. It is themed terrain, of a gothic bent suitable to Mordheim. It is mobile [on wheels!], so has an excuse to be part of the terrain table over and over again, despite being indentifiably specific, rather than a generic building. It is specifically themed to this warband [or to my 40k SW:A "Kill Team for SCIENCE!!"] under the idea that when traveling to a distant ruined city in search of invaluable treasures, far from home, there is not always a convenient laboratory tower with research library and lightning rod for experiments, ready-to-hand.

So you bring your own.

Moving it is just a matter of manpower, after all. Er. Zombiepower, rather.

Closed up, ready for travel. It would rarely hit the table like this though, since that prevents access, which is of course the point.

Opened for access and use. Really, the GW siege tower model is a lovely one for Mordheim, with its rickety look and open access at a good pair of heights - both ground level and third story [ready to have a plank bridge laid down to some upper story of a ruin nearby]. The wheels themselves are massive enough to offer cover for those lurking around them. Ladders offer obvious... ladders.

The Platform, familiar enough in design to anyone who has watched any number of Frankenstein's Monster movies. And research assistant, carrying a book. I think I will name him 'Google.' Maybe.

The ground floor, showing the research library at the back. I no longer know who or what company sculpted the resin library element [purchased in the late 1980s and early 1990s]. The wheelbarrow is a spare element from the GW Bretonnian Trebuchet, the stack of books and bottles is a spare element from a Rackham model. The bloodstains represent "drip though" from the blood cauldron on the story above.

Second story, showing the cauldron of blood being warmed by a brazier of charcoal and bones, out of focus in the foreground, and anatomical posters in focus in the background. The cauldron comes from the old Citadel dark elf cauldron of blood model, other elements of which appear elsewhere on this model. The anatomical posters are hand-done reproductions of seventeenth and eighteenth century anatomical posters.

Another view of the roof "story." There remains a good bit of standing space, and crenelations give some shelter, from a Mordheim game terrain perspective. The anatomy/resurrection table comes as well from the old cauldron of blood, as do the long poles that make up the lightning rod. Torch is a spare from the Corpse Cart by GW, and so on.

A closer look at the Research Assistant. A Reaper model, came in a pack of "familiars."
Colour palette. As mentioned above, the Lich will be in blacks, the other ghosts [grave guard and wights] will be in whites, and the rest - Necromancer, Skeletons, Zombies, Hired Swords - will be in browns.

First colours laid down on one of the skeletons. Terrible ballistic skill on a skeleton, but bows can plink away while the shamblers advance. More pertinently, the heavily wrapped Reaper skeleton bowmen offer lots of opportunity to paint something other than bone.

This Lantern Goblin hired sword - trying hard to be a werewolf and one of the 'cool kids' - likewise shows off that brown tones colour palette. Also some very, very limited Object Source Lighting.
A tiny update. Table-ready stage of that small conversion. A fair amount of work yet to go - specifically, all of the finished models thus far also need drifting papers added to their bases (much like those beneath the hooves of the Bretonnian/Outriders warband).

And added the “blue glow” inking into the Lich’s face, to tie it into the others visually.
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Basing completed on Lich and Necromancer models. This is the “drifting papers” idea for the bases across the warband, with occasional intact books added.

Lich with pages added to base, made with tracing paper, sharp graphite pencil, and mod-podge; also blue “glow” added to skull and fingers.

Necromancer with parallel treatment on the base, though the mod-podge is not yet dry, leading to some translucency on the papers.

The mod-podge makes the tracing paper both surprisingly resilient as well as able to be shaped, as discovered for the Bretonnian warband.
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A group shot of the three Grave Guard with sword and club, alongside the Lich and the Necromancer. Slowly coming together.

A close-up of the two Grave Guard, showing their cemetery basing accents (taking their names literally). The drifting papers here are slightly muddy.

All the metal on the grave guard and wights is aiming for a beaten iron or wrought iron look (well, cast iron for the keys). Black basecost, iridescent black topcoat, Silver drybrush.

Been asking about for winter snow effects for terrain, and keep being told layers of baking powder.* Any experienced hand at snow effects care to weigh in?

* Specifically, a 1:1:1 mix of water, white paint, and baking powder? Though some seem to use baking powder and baking soda as interchangeable terms, which they are not [at least to any baker]. I might aim to pick up some "snow flock" from the local model train shop, instead, but advice is most welcome.
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I used to have a Bretonnian Mordheim band back in the day. It can't have been twenty years already, can it?
Twenty years. I do still have the roster for my Bretonnian warband of book-hunters, as it turns out, tucked into the rulebook. I'm still finding a way to put together a couple of "scouts" riders in the colours of the [pick a state in the Empire] postal service, to allow my Bretonnian band's models to do double duty as Imperial Outriders too, but will likely continue to field them as Bretonnians, since I already have modeled the squires and so forth, and the only real change would be trading out bows for throwing knives....

Here are the rear views of those two Grave Guard, both to show the "beaten iron" look of the weapons [which look rather newly forged, actually... might need more blackening and other corrosion on those yet], and to show the tall name post on the graveyard. That post is a straight use of a decoratively fancy toothpick.

And a long-ago small side project that definitely relates to this warband. As a scenario NPC, and as a personal favourite ghost story, I built a Headless Horseman out of a Bretonnian general.
The pumpkin on the base - just to solidify the reference - is from a Reaper familiars pack [the same one as supplied the research assistant on the Portable Laboratory, and the tree familiar in my beastmen raiders warband].

The paint job is black on black, with black highlights, which... does not show up well in photos from my iPhone... and accents in silver, steel, and various browns. The "grass" that is modeled as part of the horse's connection to the base was painted as flames instead. And then there is the neck.

Suitable for a Monster Hunt scenario, or any number of other scenarios, including one I no longer have written so need to rebuild, being a race to get across the bridge and escape the oncoming Horseman.
Nice! I've just had a root around and, whilst I can't find the whole warband, I've found it's old leader:

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