Sunday, January 5, 2014

King's minis: a new era. Rise of Morbius.

And so it begins!

 Rising from the ashes of 2013, these undead are the dread harbingers of what is to come in 2014. New bases, new style, new direction.  Huz-fukkin-zah!

Morbius, Longhorn and Skelly.  (Citadel '80s)

So I chose to kick off the year with Morbius, the necromancer behind Citadel's skeletal war machines boxed set.  Joining him is his chariot riding champion from the same set, the bestial headed Long Horn.  This figure, and the Skelly appeared at the start of this blog many moons ago.  He is all sparkly and new again with his paint job refreshed and crispened (with glazes and edging) and sporting a sexy new 30mm base.


Morbius is a classic undead figure from the last of the golden age undead. After this came the disaster that was Morley's undead- ushering in an era of poorly posed, vague weapon waving, stiff undead that culminated in the worst figure of all time... Nagash. Why they replaced Kev Adams and the Perry Brothers undead with the poopy shit that followed is a mystery to me.  Mind you, that was the era of bright, clashing primary colors.  Who knows what they where smoking.

Morbius is a fantastic model to paint. After years of languishing in a plastic bag in storage, it feels great to have him finally pointing my skeletal warband around and poking enemies in the eye.

'He went that way!'

'No... that way!'
To get the skin tones I used thin glazes built up over a light, cool grey.  If you use a warm tone in your glaze it suggests light passing through the skin and making it glow from within.  The deeper shadows should be cool.  I decided to do a similar

'Or maybe...'

The original boxed set promotional art in White Dwarf.  Courtesy of Stuff of Legends.
As you can see, I decided to go with a similar scheme to his origibal promotional paint job back in the 1980s.  I did, however, tweak the colors in my version to lean towards aqua and purple with dead, ghostly flesh.  I also glued mine at an angle to give him a more dynamic, forward stabbing feel.

Skeleton Infantry

This skelly (Skeleton Infantry 132211) also appeared in the early days of my blog- painted with simple tints over grey scale.  I decided it was time for him and his brethren to come alive again with a refresher paint job.  After a thorough dusting with a soft house paint brush, I gave him a glaze of Lahmian medium to flatten any shine and give the newer glazes better purchase.  I then picked out the edges of his clothes in aqua, and blended them in with successive glazes of midtone.  Black ink and flow aid was used to pick out his details.  The new base gives him a more epic, important feel, and the subdued colors let even his pale bone stand out.  To give a shot of color, I added greenstuff mushrooms ala Meistro Blanche.

'Urry up and make up yer mind guv'nor... this pole is well 'eavy when you ain't got any muscles.'

Added to the Lead Pile

A nice little score this Xmas!  Some sexy Miaow miniatures courtesy of my brother in law (cheers ears!).  Some Tom Meier Lizardmen and a couple of FF figs.  Thanks all my lovely ebay sellers for those!  I love the lizardmen- I may have to get some of the troglodytes to go with them!

On the slab

Well thats the first batch done in the new style!  On the slab now is a handful more armored skellys and a couple of night horrors to fill out the warband.  I won't get through all my undead though- because next up is a Broo warband that I am just toooooo excited about.  I love Broo- that should be delightful.  After that is an small orc warband in the new style!


So I hope you like my new look and style- comments, questions and suggestions always welcome!   Oh and free stuff. I like free stuff.

Goodnight leadfreaks.


  1. Beautiful. I love the blending on Morbius' robes and skin tones. I am trying to come up woth a Gary Morley model I like and drawing a blank. I read somewhere that he was paid per sculpt and so banged them out in a rather workman like fashion. You would think he would have produced something neat at some point.

    1. I hate to criticize artists publically, because you never know the story behind the work. I have produced some horrible stuff because of reasons out of my control- horrible art directors, politics, technical issues, short schedules... etc. However, as you said, he simply failed to produce one good model, and kinda poisoned the 90s citical mini ranges for me.
      Nick Lund is often critized for his sloppy work, but underlying it is a sense of weight and character- and even he did produce some classics during his short stay- such as Morpo or Ugezod.
      I would say of that era I would place Olley above Trish, Trish above Lund, Lund above Morley- but these would be my lowest ranked of that era. Olley has risen to godlike status to me now, his Scrunts and Dwarfs do it for me. Whilst Trish occasionally hits, and her detailing is fantastic- to my tastes she mainly misses in the core posing and weight dynamics of her models. I feel bad for saying this, but... you know... kinda nice to get it out. :)

  2. I would like to join in Rob's praise of Morbius' cloak of multiple hues; very artfully realised (as is his translucent skin). Reminds me rather of what Hans is doing over on, which is no bad thing. Can't wait to see more Undead and the forthcoming Broos.

  3. Lovely. They look great, nice work on the metals, and I'm liking the new bases. Morbius has been leading my undead since I were a lad, and still manages to keep that finger pointing. Skeleton war machines was my first box set, and as such has a special place in my affections. The undead ranges of that period as most likely my favourites of all time.

  4. Hey, Dave,

    Loved the work. Your painting has a lovely hue to it, not quite opaque, but very effective and almost ethereal. On your priming tutorial, you mentioned that one of the advantages of your priming system is that it lends itself to painting by tinting. Is that how you normally paint? I'd love to see a step-by-step one day.


  5. Thanks- yes, a step by step guide to tinting is definately on my to-do list!

  6. Amazing work as always Dave, I'm actually a fan of some of Morleys WhFB4 Undead the Mounted/Foot Wights and Zombies were/are a joy to paint. I don't mind that alot of people hate his work it meant i got mine cheaper on Ebay hehehe

  7. Get help Chico. It's never to late to get help!