Friday, October 21, 2011

Von Carstein Army - Armored Skeletons

After some teaser pics in this post, I finally gotten around to giving some of my favorite units their due.  :-)

Ever since being released along with the Warhammer campaign pack, Circle of Blood, GW's now out of production metal armored skeletons have been a mainstay in my Undead and Vampire Counts army.  I bought a bunch when they first came out and have added more and more over the years until I currently have the 60 minis pictured above and below.

Always some of my favorites, these figs form the "Vanhaldenschlosse Guard" and represent part of the orderly martial core (along with Black Knights and Grave Guard) of my dark but regal von Carstein army.  As you'll see in the future, my army also includes more chaotic shambling hordes of skeletons, zombies, and feral packs of ghouls.

I think there is a place for both.  These armored skeletons easily double for Grave Guard, and I imagine them marching straight out of the ancient castle they garrison, eternally bound to the will of their master.  Driven with a single purpose and menace.

The more typical chaotic hodge-podge units of skeletons and zombies represent the troops raised along the campaign trail by the less powerful Necromancers to bolster the army's numbers.  Their banners (see zombies below) are whatever they picked out of the muck.

To me, this is one of the ways I try to differentiate an aristocratic and militaristic "von Carstein" army from that of one lead by a Necrarch or Strigoi for example.  The other is a lot wolf icons and symbology throughout the army.  I think the hint of uniformity help capture the dark majesty of their bloodline.  At least my version of it.

There's been a number of repaints, touch ups, and updates over the years as well.  The most recent of which are simple helmet and weapon conversions to add variety, re-basing and new movement trays, and updated command figs.

You can sort of get an idea of what they used to look like in these old battle reports:

Legendary Battles:  Vampires vs Vampires

Legendary Battles:  Witch Hunters vs Vampire Counts

The skeleton drummers were updated with bits from the plastic Chaos Marauder sprue, and the army as a whole was re-vamped with new banners.  After years of toying around with wolfish type banners, I finally settled on a simple, unifying, but dynamic look to my new "von Carstein" standards.

The Old English font "C" also forms a nice crescent moon and is easily carried over and incorporated into the standards of my other VC units that I will post later.  The army uniformity thing is definitely a carry over from my historical gaming and military history interests whether its creating my "Army of Reikland" or "Army of Sylvania" in the Warhammer Fantasy World.  :-)

I'm not a fan of bat-winged helmets as I like my undead to look like actual ancient warriors raised from the dead, so I replaced the champion model with two of my old Wights from Marauder Miniatures.  Given some new swords from the Chaos Warrior sprue these rather impressive champs can also double for "Wight King/Lords" hero level characters in the ranks.  These two minis are some of my favs from my very old school Undead army I did in college in the early '90s, so it's nice to see them repainted and back in service with my army.

Although I haven't fielded my VC army in Warhammer 8th Edition, it looks like they have a new army book on the way soon.  Along with getting ready for a little Halloween skirmish battle, I've decided to give my VC and little T.L.C. this month while I'm in the spooky times mood.  :-)

I have around 80 old metal zombies that I've been "freshening up" lately.  Basically I've been touching up or changing some of the original color choices and using the new Citadel washes (black, brown, and green) to make them a little darker.  I'm also getting rid of most of the clumsy shields and larger "club" weapons, as well as adding some fresh gore with Tamiya's clear red.

So here's a sneak peak of the first 40+ zombies I've redone already.  Enjoy!


  1. That is one lovely looking unit..the flags are great!!! I agree about the winged helmets...I´ve never really liked the look of them..wether historically correct or fantasy.

  2. Beautiful army. I love the banners, they're so simple, yet with the great touches like the tassles(?) and such they look wonderful.

    I love the old marauder undead too, they were such characterful sculpts.

  3. Again, brilliant banners and two wonderful looking units!

  4. Excellent figs! Lovin' the gory zombies too.

  5. There's something about an all metal unit that warms the heart. They have a certain... gravitas, I think. Very nice work.


  6. Totally agree Curt! Some of my buddies just don't get the weight thing. :)


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