Slaine Miniatures Game: Skull-Swords

Axe=armed Skull-Swords from Warlord Games, photograohed in front of a Jon Hodgson miniature background

Progress on projects has been slow recently, but today I was able to finish up basing on some of the lovely Skull-Swords from Warlord Games. To date, I’ve only played the Slaine Miniatures Game twice, and quickly realised that having more than the three Skull-Swords supplied in the starter set was a good idea! (One of the Drune feat cards allows you to bring on an extra unit of three models). One quick order from Caliver Books later and I had the Drune Warband set.

Like the other Slaine models, these are cast in flexible plastic resin (Siocast, I believe). The models in the box had virtually no flash and cleaned up very quickly with a sharp scalpel; only one model required assembly to stick on its crossbow with a dot of superglue – all the others are one-piece castings. As a nice touch, they were also supplied with four game cards and 25mm round plastic bases.

Art from Sky Chariots by Mike McMahon

The Drunes were the first baddies I encountered in the Slaine 2000 AD strip ‘Sky Chariots’; the Drune Lords are the evil priests who drain the power from Tir na Nog (The Land of the Young) and the Skull-Swords, their followers. Warlord Games have done a great job with the sculpts on these. Slaine afficionados will recognise the early design work of Mike McMahon (which also features on the front cover of the box), but with the more outlandish helmets, weapons and shields from the pencil of Massimo Belardinelli.

Shield designs from Belardinalli (left) and McMahon (centre and right)
Another Skullsword from Massimo Belardinelli, this time with a more ‘metal’ shield…

The set contains nine different miniatures, six with melee weapons and three with repeating crossbows (although the crossbow has been rotated 90 degrees to a traditional bow position, presumably for production purposes).

Like the last models, these had an undercoat of Halfords Plastic Primer followed by Halford White Primer. Painting was the same as for the Slaine starter set models with a mixture of earthy / yellow/ brown colours chosen for the Drunes. Games Workshop Contrast Paints work a treat on the deeply-incised detail of these models.

Starting off: white undecoat and skin base layer of GW Contrast Guilliman Flesh/ Gore-Grunta Fur
More base layers – GW Snakebite Leather and Gore-Grunta Fur

After the base coats, I added a few highlights using regular acrylic paints and sealed the Contrast paint in with a coat of matt varnish. Metallics were done after varnishing to preserve the shine with a base coat of Army Painter Gunmetal, a wash of thinned GW Contrast Black Templar and a final highlight of AP Shining Silver.

Finished and ready to do battle!

I really enjoyed painting these and will be back for more Slaine in the new year!

Battle with the Earth Tribes. The Celts are from Northstar Military Figures with cauldron by Iron Gate Miniatures
Slough Throt and his bodyguards

10 thoughts on “Slaine Miniatures Game: Skull-Swords

  1. He painted 9 Skull Swords. He did not think it too many!

    Lovely work on these. You’ve definitely captured that early Slaine vibe. Your Slough Throt is absolutely spot on with the different textures of his tunic, cloak and beard. I remember it doesn’t end well for him, though.

    I’ll definitely be digging out the graphic novels later. McMahon’s art on Sky Chariots is wonderful. There’s that amazing full page panel where the Northmen are trying to board the Drunes, with close quarter fighting between the packed sky ships and guys falling overboard. It blew my mind as a young ‘un. I also have a soft spot for Belardinelli’s art. He’s often overlooked as he was commissioned to pump out the bulk of the weekly serial while Glenn Fabry, who was a lot slower, concentrated on the finale. All that said, Fabry’s art for ‘Slaine the King’ is jaw-droppingly stunning and one of my all time favourites. It’s great to see Slaine miniatures back in production.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, many thanks! Yes, Slough Throt is particularly nasty, I always liked the sequence in Sky Chariots where he became angry because he was offered fresh (not rotten) meat!

      I think your memory of Sky Chariots is much the same as mine – those full-page airborne battle scenes were quite incredible. McMahon, Fabry and Belardinelli all brought their own styles to Slaine which is one of things that makes it such a rich visual experience. A pipe dream would be to recreate the Sky Chariots battle in miniature at some point!


  2. Fantastic stuff-literally! Now I really cant wait to get my Kiss My Axe on Christamas Day! I don’t rermember the “vertical” crossbows in the Graphic Novels. How did you find game ? Does it work? Is it fun?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mike! I’m sure you’ll have fun with it.

      Vertical crossbows are definitely a design change from the Sky Chariots artwork, having checked the book!

      I need to play another game and write up my thoughts at some point. I think we only scratched the surface of it so far, just getting our heads around the basic mechanics of movement and fighting (plus I get distracted by the copious use of original 2000 AD art every time I try to read the rules!) It’s pretty simple with activation tokens, but a nice draw bag mechanic where the best heroes have a chance to put their token back in the bag and therefore activate more than once. Ukko seems very good at annoying people and running away. Combat possibly had more dice rolls than we felt were necessary although it’s only a skirmish game so I’m sure we’ll get used to it. Lots of additional material about the cosmic battle which I liked but will need to read in more detail before next time.


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