Autumn (or Fall, to our North American friends) is very much here. Bare branches slice the cold October air, a stiff wind blows through their gnarled, skeletal fingers … it seems to be wailing out a message, a soft, barely perceptible sound …
That’s right, the spookiest of times is fast approaching! Lockdown restrictions threaten to dampen Halloween spirits but North Star have some models to bring the right kind of scary to the season – new skeletons!
We take a look at their plastic Oathmark Skeletons in another of this week’s articles. Here we cast a critical eye over their six new, single-part, metal cast Undead Champions. Let’s provide some backing music and dig in!
The Undead Champions come in two sets. First let’s peek at the Undead Champions.
Three models are included here, each armed and armoured with variations on the same styles that you’ll find on the plastic models, but with a bit of extra elaboration. These are 28mm models (as are the plastics) but there’s more bulk and grandeur to these metal champions than you find on many undead miniatures.
If you’re worried that they might be too similar to the plastics, fear not. They’re clad in dramatic, wind-blown, tattered robes and layers of armour. We suspect that veteran fantasy gamers will find their minds drifting back to times of old – these sculpts are reminiscent of classic Ral Partha, Grenadier, and Games Workshop skeletons, but with modern day design flourishes all over the place.
Office discussion has shown that the rather flat poses of the models are divisive – some of the Wi team weren’t so keen, but in this reviewer’s eyes the poses only serve to add to the nostalgic appeal. There’s a hint of Harryhausen’s famous skeleton warriors about the design, an element of Army of Darkness’s shambling undead horde too. Undead minis that look like stop motion maquettes are already doing it right, so top marks for this!
Poses are strong and the weapons varied (but similar enough to the plastic options that they will match up) with sharp details on hands and faces … well, on the bone and skull structure that is visible where hands and faces should be.
Necromancers and Musicians
The Necromancer pack contains two different raisers of the dead, each at different degrees of personal decay, along with a skeletal musician.
One Necromancer holds aloft a skull-topped staff and ancient book. He is the only fella here who still possesses his own skin but he’s not exactly looking fresh as a daisy! Everything about his styling gives him the look of a chap up to no good. There’s an expressive, gaunt, goatee beard bearing face (is there a truer sign of evil intent on a mini than a goatee?) tucked away in the gloom of a rather splendid hood (oh yes, a hood, beating the goatee into second place in the ‘features that indicate evil’ challenge!).
There are mixed materials aplenty that will make this a fun miniature to paint. Expensive looking jewelry hangs over tattered robes, there’s a cloak of thick fur, the ancient tome he is grasping even has subtle arcane runes sculpted into its pages.
The other Necromancer is a great sculpt too. This one is fully skeletal and would, in the hands of an experienced painter, be perfect to practice some glow effects on. His staff, topped with a giant gem, and the spell cast from his other hand, would both generate lighting to apply to the model.
The face is great here too – a skull with character thanks to the intensely focused eyes that blaze out from beneath another great hood. He’s got a hint of Discworld’s Death, a hint of He Man’s Skeletor, yet he still has the potential to look like the perfect dark and foreboding baddie with the right grim paint scheme.
Finally, a musician bangs some sort of flat gong, leading the dead to combat.
If you didn’t already guess, from the various complements and superlatives here, we think these models are massively appealing and will find a place in the hearts, warbands, and armies of many undead players.