Fun things to do with Wargames Atlantic Skeleton Warriors
I’ve been off on a skeleton kick this year and have been putting together quite a few of the Skeleton Warriors from Wargames Atlantic (WA from now on) along the way. I have to say I really like these models and I’ve already written two blog posts about them. One shows how I used the WA kit to make a load of skeletons in the style found in Ray Harryhausen’s iconic stop-motion animation from the film Jason and the Argonauts, the other showcases my Hades Lochos for the game Mortal Gods Mythic from Footsore Miniatures.
In this post I’ll share some of the things I’ve been doing to give me more variety in my forces. Most of these ideas are not mine and have come from other people, mainly through groups on Facebook. I can’t remember exactly who said what or where and the Facebook search function is useless, but thank you all.
Right arm to the left
You can use the right arm that’s thrusting over head as a left arm holding both spear and shield. The shield hides the upside down hand and you can use a different right arm, in the picture above I have a musician with the horn right arm and a leader pointing. When I get some more models in I’m going do one holding a standard in his left arm and a sword in the right.
Use shields from other sources
These models have a shield from Warlord Games’ plastic Skeletons (left) and Footsore Miniature Temple Guard (right)
Mess with their heads
The WA skeletons come with a single helmeted head with a transverse crest on every sprue. It’s nice enough (see previous picture) but just the one gets a bit boring after a while. The picture above has models with the skeleton helmet converted as follows (left to right) crest cut off ; crest cut off and replaced with a crest from a Victrix Republican Roman Centurion; crest cut off and replaced with a crest from a Victrix Hoplite; and WA skeleton head crest cut off carefully, cut down and replaced in a fore and aft position. It all helps add a bit of variety to my units.
Here I’ve used bodies from Victrix Armoured Hoplites with limbs and heads from the WA skeletons. I cut the heads and limbs off the Victrix models at the edges of their clothing, drilled holes and glued in skeleton limbs. Gluing the heads on to the shoulders was slightly problematic, so I had to fashion skeleton necks using plastic rod. I’ve only done two of these conversions, but I’ve got appropriate skeletons limbs and heads stored for when I get some more Victrix Hoplites.
Here’s some more I’ve done since this article was originally published.
I am particularly proud of the guy on the right. That conversion involved cutting a Victrix Unarmoured Hoplite body diagonally along the line of its tunic and matching it with a skeleton cut similarly. I think it worked quite well.
Doing this type of conversion will leave you short of legs for some of the bodies in the WA box but should have enough spare bits left over to make some of these skelly boys burrowing emerging from under the ground.
That skelly with the separate legs!
One repeated theme that comes out wherever the WA skeletons are discussed is that it’s difficult to build the one model on every sprue that has a separate body and legs (the other bodies all come with legs attached). I don’t think it’s that difficult myself, but I did find the first few I made to be slightly tricky. But I’ve now worked out a way of building them that makes it all a bit easier. It’s still not as easy as the others though and never will be.
The trick is to assemble the models one step at a time, allowing the glue to set fully between steps. You xcan make things even easier for yourself by using polystyrene glue and putting it on the surfaces to be glued a couple of minutes before putting them together.
- glue the left hand leg flat on to a piece of plastic-card. I usually use a very small clamp here to hold things together.
- glue the skeleton body on to the leg. It can help to hold the body in place with a bit of blue-tac or plasticene here.
- glue on the right hand leg.
- leave to set and finish off same as the other models on the sprue.
And here he is painted and based.
One thing the separate legs do is make conversions easier. A fine example can be seen below where Dicky Boyd Builds (find him here on Facebook) has taken the skeletons and made them into a fine boat crew all sitting down. I just love the important looking skelly sitting waiting for something to shoot with his Ballista.
Anatomy of a sprue
Here’s a picture of the WA skeleton sprue with some comments on what I use the pieces for.
- A & B – separate legs. Can be used to convert non-skeletons.
- C the thrusting over-arm right arm that works on the left.
- D this right arm works well with the bow and will also work as a left arm if necessary.
- E these little shields work really well if you’re going for the Harryhausen look.
- F helmeted head is easy to convert if you want a different look (see above)
- G separate body – cut at the line for skeletons emerging from the ground (this makes them easier to glue to a base).
- H this arm can be placed so it looks like a skeleton bowman has just loosed an arrow, or you can position it so it looks like they’re reaching for an arrow in a quiver over their right shoulder.
- Not marked on the picture of the sprue, but if you cut the horn off the musician arm it works fine as a left hand shield arm.