Patch's Empire of Dust Showcase & Paint Tutorial - Painting Skeletons

The priest stood alone, around him the silent waste of the desert baked under the searing heat of the sun. Behind him were the tombs, hidden inside were the treasures of the empire, piles of gold, silver and jade. His sacred and eternal duty was to maintain the vigil, ensure the treasure was not disturbed.

Dust in the distance drew his sightless gaze, his empty eye sockets betraying no emotion. A carrion bird began circling over the dust cloud, then was joined by another and another until their number was beyond counting. They knew what was about to happen.

The birds, as much as the size of the dust cloud, told the priest everything he needed to know. The living again walked the cursed land and were not welcome. They would be coming to destroy the sanctity of the tombs, to loot and return to their fertile lands carrying the riches of the empire.

In life and now in death his duty was to summon the dead to protect the empire. Arms that had not moved in a decade slowly rose to reach out to either side, sand falling from the battered remains of his sacred robes.

The priest began his incantations and the sand around him began to swirl and the wind quickly increased to a howling gale. A skeleton arm bearing a wicked sword was the first to break the surface, followed quickly by the rest of the fallen warrior. The warrior stumbled at first, looking around in apparent confusion until he spotted the priest. Immediately the skeleton warrior moved to a position and took up a ready stance, shield forward. His battle brothers began to file in and take position around him until the regiment was again complete.

Formations of cavalry began to form up along with rank upon rank of spear-men, their long weapons held steady and braced to receive a charge. Monstrous scorpions, the flesh long since rotted away, scurried between the regiments eager to confront the enemy. Towering over them all a giant, created from the various fallen warriors and equipment all brought together with the magic of the priests spell.

The priest finished his summoning and lowered his arms. At the jingle of wheels and equipment he turned to face his Pharaoh who approached driving the royal chariot. Behind the Pharaoh gathered his bodyguards, each in a chariot of their own. The priest bowed and then looked to the distance where the dust cloud had dissolved to reveal a human army shaking out into a battle line.

The Pharaoh lifted his spear and pointed it towards the hated enemy, the golden blade catching the suns rays as his booming voice carried across the open desert “Kill them all, grind them to dust!”

The Undead army shambled forward.

Later as the Undead army returned to their resting place beneath the sand the priest returned to his vigil. The treasures of the empire remained untouched and the priest knew, that should the tombs be threatened again, he could now call on a much larger force to defend it.

The Painting Part!

This Empire of Dust army for Kings of War is easily one of my favorites, it was easy and fun to paint and has character oozing out of it, well it would have if it had any actual bio mass apart from bone!

Undead are such great armies to paint and are really a blessing for those that are time poor or struggle to finish projects for whatever reason.

For this project I used Games Workshop Tomb Kings miniatures. They are out of production but there are still unpainted collections waiting to be liberated, for a price, from their owners. I mentioned skeletons are easy to paint and I wasn’t joking, basically there are four stages being

prime - wash - dry brush colour 1 - dry brush colour 2.

Paints used:

 Army Painter black and white primer

 Vallejo Wash Sepia shade 73.200

 Vallejo Game Color Elfish Flesh 72.098

 Vallejo Model Color off-white 70.820

Stage 1 - Priming

I use Army Painter primer in a can however any manufacturer is fine. I first put a black coat down and make sure that I cover the entire miniature. After it has dried I lightly spray a coat of white over it leaving the recesses dark.

Stage 2 - Wash

Splash some sepia wash all over Mr skeleton and his mates, no science to this just whack it on with a nice thick brush.

Stage 3 - Dry Brush

I use elfish flesh but you can use any sort of bone variation of white to do the first dry brush. Don’t be shy with this stage as you want to cover most of the draw back the raised ares from the sepia wash.

Stage 4 - Dry Brush

Pick a much whiter white, such as off-white, and dry brush the most prominent bits that you want to stand out.

That’s it, your skeleton is painted and now you can pick some colours to paint the accessories. I would recommend some colour that will really stand out from the white of the skeletons, in my case I use a turquoise and gold.