Do It Yourself Wraiths

Every undead army needs a unit of wraiths (doesn't it?). So at first I did what most wargamers do and had a look round at what was available. What became clear was that wraith miniatures tended to be singular. So collecting a uniform unit of at least ten might be a problem.

In fact the only real unit of wraiths are those made for Lord of the Rings. But the Games Workshop offering was £50 for nine miniatures (far too rich for me!). I did look at buying some of the old Games Workshop Night Horror wraiths but that would have meant spending a lot of time on Ebay. So in the end I settled for making my own. I already had a box of plastic Games Workshop skeletons so thought I'd give making my own wraiths a go.

First up I assembled just the legs, torso and head of 10 skeletons and mounted them on 2p coins. The coins are good for plastic miniatures as they add a bit of weight.

I then took a small amount of sculpting putty (in this case ProCreate) and flattened it out. I then stuck part of it to the base of the skeletons spine and using a clay shaper wrapped the putty around the skeletons legs like a skirt.

Pressing the clay shaper into the putty I tried to create some folds to look like cloth. Because these would be undead I didn't need to create neat folds (which is a wonderful get out for poor sculpting). I also used a metal sculpting tool to drag out the hem of the cloth to create a ragged edge.I did this for the whole group before moving onto the next stage. Some came out better than the others, but at this stage I was fairly happy with the results.

Using the same technique I wrapped another piece of putty round the skeleton bodies to disguise the skeleton ribcages. I then used the exact same technique to do the hoods, still no arms at this point because I thought they would just get in the way. I used the clay shaper like a roller for the hoods and actually used the handle to flatten the putty around the skeletons head. I learnt quickly to leave a bigger overlap of putty at the front to create a nice deep hood. Too little overhanging putty at the front just made them look like they were wearing a hoodie.

I then stuck on the arms and continued the process. Flat piece of putty wrapped around the armature. The arms were tricky because I didn't have the space to get sculpting tools into some areas to create folds. This highlighted the limitation of using the GW skeletons. The arm/weapon poses are not great, most of them are held at 45 degrees and close to the body. I could have done with more open arms.

I finished doing the arms and then went back to the miniatures for some tidy up work. The main part of the body had gaps where the wrapped around putty hadn't reached as were the backs of some of the heads. So I filled the gaps and tried to blend the putty in to match the folds I'd already made.

And there we have them. All ten Wraiths done over three evenings. Probably a total of about 4 hours work.

As I previously mentioned some of the wraiths came out better than the others. But as a unit I think I've acheived what I set out to do. I could possibly have added belts to the cloaks as the waist part seems to be lacking something.

The weapons that came with the skeletons are somewhat unusual for wraiths. Not that they cannot be armed with axes but it does look a bit odd.

I will revisit this process again. Quite fancy doing wraiths on horses next time, and I'll see if I can improve on the drapery.

One of the better looking wraiths I made into the leader. I did a quick conversion on the plastic skeleton parts to allow him two swords. Both of which I cut down a bit because they were comical looking scimitars. The last decision over the wraiths was whether to paint them the traditional black or to go for a different colour. In the end I was bold and went for a brown, death shroud colour. Which I think worked quite well.