Today I've got nine more completed models joining my little skirmish band of re-animated warriors. They are the remaining half of a small unit of converted skeletons and zombies that I started back here.
I wanted all these hollow-eyed fighters to appear to have had previous lives in a variety of disparate units and armies, so that their Undead ranks are made up of troops brought back to life from different battlegrounds and burial sites. The way I see it, this has three major benefits over the more common approach of making Undead armies look like they are the skeletal version of a once-living force, all wearing matching colours.
1) The army will be visually more interesting, as most of the colours and markings are different, and each model is unique. Effectively meaning there is more for someone to look at.
2) It also makes it more interesting to build and paint. It means there are fewer rules constraining what can and can't be done. Totally different helmet design? No problem. Bored of painting red? Paint a different colour. I can bring in any Undead model I fancy, and it should just slot right in – especially at the individual warrior level. It also means I can add varying degrees of decay and decomposition to the miniatures, and don't have to constantly reference what I've done before.
3) And finally, because the miniatures' livery isn't matched to their leader, they aren't all tied to a single narrative history. Their ad hoc appearance means their backstory can be changed to suit whatever impromptu background the game design requires. By simply adding a different central character, perhaps a necromancer, a vampire lord or a cabal of Chaos sorcerers, the story behind them can change dramatically. Maybe a crazy, grudge-wracked warlock has been travelling the land, raising the remains of the finest dead warriors to build his unstoppable force. Or an ousted bloodsucker is surreptitiously visiting mausoleums, slowly growing a warband with which to challenge his rivals. Or a barbarian raiding force, cut off from their homelands, has called upon the dead in a last-ditch effort to boost their depleted ranks. The options are many and varied, so trying to keep them open should pay dividends.
You can see the other completed half of this unit here, or take a look at my whole Undead project so far by clicking here.
And the good news for me is that as of this squad, I'm over halfway through my painting challenge. So another couple of these and I'll be free gain.