Moving Armies pt 2 : Undead

My oldest son, when he was in high school (suddenly realizing that was 9 years ago now!) was very involved in the band.  He had been playing Warhammer a bit, and thought it might be cool to do a marching band themed undead army - with all the units made up of musician models.  When he told me about the idea of undead musicians, of course the first thing that came into my head was the Grateful Dead.  He wasn't interested at all in them, and he never built his marching band army.

I, of course, even though I wasn't really a fan, couldn't get the idea out of my head.

I first started on The Grateful Undead not long before the 7th edition Vampire Counts army book came out.  This actually really slowed the progress of the army, as my plan to do 10 or so ghouls (who in 6th were skirmishers you could summon from ANY table edge) blew up to needing 40 (because they were now a 'normal' regiment and could be increased like most of the others.  The new ghoul models at first looked really cool - until I found that they were not pose-able AT ALL.  The arms only fit on 1 way - so every model had to be cut and green stuffed to have their arms carrying the equipment over their heads on on their backs.

I took me about two years to finish the army.  When I setup the display I would have my iPod behind the stage playing Grateful Dead tunes to help set the mood.
The Grateful Undead in concert!
While it was in 1st edition, the very first game of Kings of War I played was against this army that I lent to a friend, while I brought my Abyssal Dwarfs.

Switching to KoW is actually pretty easy for this army, as it was almost all based around core infantry - I had none of the big gribblies that came out in 8th edition (and I'm not sure I ever played it in 8th).

Undead - 2000 pts

  • Skeleton warriors - Horde or Skeleton Warriors ( 150 )
    • These are the skeletons with rose garlands - going after the classic image
I used special paper / spray to make decals using an ink jet printer on a lot of the army - starting with this banner
  • Skeleton warriors w/ spears - Horde of Skeleton Spearmen ( 175 )
    • At times I have also fielded this unit as revenants (figuring the tuxedos were heavy armor)
I figured the canes counted as spears, right?
  • Ghouls -> Horde of Ghouls ( 150 )
    • My idea of having 10 or so roadies carrying equipment was easy - but when I had to expand it to be able to have a full unit (20) plus enough to raise (another 20) - well coming up with 40 pieces of equipment was a bit daunting.
and this is only half the roadies - I grew to hate these as I tried to find more and more equipment for them to carry
  • Zombies -> Horde of Zombies ( 140 )
    • Of course you need lots of zombies - I have 80, all in tie-dye shirts and jeans.  Well except for Janet - the drunk chick waving her top at the band.  And Michael there in the corner
They didn't have lighters, so they are all holding up torches (well Michael kind of missed with his)
  • Zombies -> Legion of Zombies ( 190 )
    • if a bunch of zombies are good, then even more are better.  I have 40 more after the first horde, so boost this unit by adding the corpse cart into it, should be enough to count. (OK, I'll be 5 mm to narrow (7 ranks of zombies + 50mm x 100 mm corpse cart) - 190 across (need 200 mm).  So if it occupies the space of 15 zombies, then the legion is 5 models short - so the last rank will be a bit sparse (and I'll new a new movement tray).
It is selling t-shirts and souveniers
  • Dire Wolves - Horde of Werewolves ( 245 )
    • This is the other unit that is a little strange on size. I sculpted dancing teddy bears as dire wolves - so would combine the two units to make a horde of werewolves.  However I need to trim 5mm off the width and 20mm off the back to make the footprint 'perfect'.  I doubt anyone would complain however, as a larger base is more of a disadvantage than anything else.
The first set I made ended up way too big - but I thought they came out better.  Yeah, I suck at sculpting
  • Black Knights (or Blood Knights) -> Troop of Soul Reaver Cavalry ( 195 )
    • I fielded these as both black and blood knights.  The bikes are converted Ork bikes from 40K (as are the bodies, with skulls for heads).  I just had to add in the Hell's Angels, especially when my research showed that they worked security at Altamont (though the GD didn't appear there, they were scheduled to, but the show was stopped and the rest cancelled when the HA beat a guy to death.  Yeah, not a good idea to hire a biker gang for security and pay them with beer).  The guy doing the wheelie in the center was required because it was the only way to get the bikes to fit.
I removed the city from the logo on the flag and their backs.
  • Banshee + Wraiths -> Troop of Wraiths ( 140 )
    • I only have five of these, so they would need to be multi-based - though I do have a proper sized movement tray for them.  These groupies just love Jerry and the gang.
What is with the hippies taking their tops off?

  • Spirit Hosts - Horde of Wights ( 235 )
    • Wights for KoW are now large infantry (which their profile always fit in 1st ed.   I always thought it was a misprint having only 3 in a regular infantry unit).  Since LI is on 40mm bases, and physical size doesn't matter, I figured I could use these guys.  I like to think of them as the 'refreshments'.
Breath deep the gathering gloom - or something like that
  • Jerry Garcia (Lead Guitar) -> Necromancer ( 135 w/ spells) - add Heal(3), Lightning Bolt(3), Bane Chant (2)
    • I was always flexible with the characters -  my goal was to make them the band, not so much match something in the game.  With the army book changing while I was building the army the characters all changed as well.
A converted Reaper metal Buffalo Bill mini
  • Phil Lesh (Bass Guitar) -> Necromancer ( 135 w/ spells) - add Heal(3), Lightning Bolt(3), Bane Chant (2)
    • For this build he is kitted out the same as Jerry.  Another reaper - this was a punk rocker - not much changed except for normal hair replacing the mohawk.

The guitar is from some party toys I found at Michaels
  • Ron "Pigpen" McKernen (Keyboards) -> Necromancer (120 w/ spells) - add Heal(3), Lightning Bolt(3)
    • Pigpen on keyboards.  Another Reaper model - this was a time traveler - replaced his right arm with the raised arm (rotated down onto the scratch built (sprues mainly) keyboard) from a second punk rock guitar. 
I like the way he came out.
And that folks, is a 2000 pt Kings of War version of the Grateful Undead!

The amazing thing is there is only one model not being used - and he used to sit in the corpse cart anyway (as the drum set is in there), so he actually can be played with in that unit of zombies.

Another punk rocker - again just fixed the hair. I figured this was Bill Kreutzmann.
Now, how will this army do in a tournament - I'm not sure.  However I may need to have a 2000 pt ringer for the Legendary Game Faire III coming up October 15th in Springfield, OH,  and I've been told bringing my Abyssal Dwarfs as a ringer army isn't fair because I win too much with them.  So I may have to charge up the old iPod (I think I still have it), get out the speakers and bring them out for a one night reunion gig.

I actually made up t-shirts that I wore with the Grateful Dead logo on the front, and a listing of all the tournaments I played them in on the back.

Coming up part 3 - 3000 points of Ogres!


  1. Fantastic. Amazing. Bordering on the mentally unstable!

  2. Thanks, but you give me way too much credit if you think I'm just on the border :-)


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