Grenadier Models Dart Thrower and Undead Crew (130), circa 1984

My skeleton army needed a crew-served weapon for War Must Be.  I saw an old 1984 Grenadier Models “Dart Thrower and Undead Crew” on eBay and I bought it.  It originally was in the Fantasy Lords (First Series), and is listed on Lost Minis Wiki as 130, although there are markings of “A47” on the bottom of the figures.  Here is the link:

I thought I would treat this kit as a small ballista.

1 skeleton bolt thrower before cleaning
The set as acquired


2 skeleton bolt thrower before cleaning A47 (Fantasy Lords 130) 1984
Bottom of set


Later on, I came across a stand of bolts and small cannonballs tucked into another miscellaneous lot I got on eBay.  I cut away the cannonballs and saved the bolts as ammunition for this crew-served weapon.

5 skeleton bolt thrower bolts
Bolt stand added


I drilled a small hole in the base of the dart thrower top and bottom, and used a small piece of paper clip wire to secure the two with Scotch super glue.  with my scroll saw, I cut a 3″ beveled hexagonal base from 1/8″ luan.  I put each of the crew on a ¾” steel washer and the weapon on a 1″ steel washer.  I lightly glued each to a popsicle stick for painting.  I primed the set with Krylon “Ultra Flat Black” spray paint.

4 skeleton bolt thrower and crew primed
After priming


I washed all the figures with Secret Weapons Washes “Heavy Body Black”.  I painted the dart thrower with Citadel “Dryad Bark”, followed by a wash with Citadel “Agrax Earthshade”.  I then added P3 “Bootstrap Leather” to the bolts.  This looked too new to me – and I thought the wood should look old and weathered.  Plus, I thought the bolts and metals needed more rust.  So I mixed Craftsmart “Grey” and the “Dryad Bark” in a 5:1 ratio, and redid the wood with dry brushing.  For the crew, I dry brushed with Citadel “Ushabti Bone”.  Then I applied “Agrax Earthshade” to the bolt stand, and washed the crew with Secret Weapons Washes “Sewer Water”.  To get a more gray look on the bolt stand and the weapon, I used Secret Weapons Washes “Stone” as another wash, followed by more dry brushing with the 5:1 ratio mix as before.

Then I went back for more dry brushing on the crew with an even mix of  “Ushabti Bone” and Americana “Ivory”, followed by a second dry brush mix of  Americana “Bleached Sand”.  For the metallic, I used Folk Art “Gunmetal Gray” on all helmets, bolts, and metal parts on the dart thrower.  For any leather straps on the crew, I painted with “Bootstrap Leather”.    I still wanted a more weathered look on the wood, so I mixed P3 “Red Black” ink and Craftsmart “Grey” paint for another wash.  That achieved the look I wanted.

For the jewel on the crewmember’s amulet I used 1996 Armory “Red”.  The choice for the rust on the helmet was my trusty 1983 Polly-S “Rust”.

6 skeleton bolt thrower after base coat and wash
Dart Thrower Painted



7 skeleton bolt thrower crew after base coat and wash
Crew and Bolts, side one


8 skeleton bolt thrower crew after base coat and wash, reverse
Crew and Bolts, side two


Now, my next task was to assemble this set.  I affixed the dart thrower and the bolts to the hexagonal base.  I applied a couple of washers (for the adhesion of the clay), and chiseled out holes for the crew.  I drilled a hole and put a ¼” neodymium magnet in each.  I put multiple 1″ steel washers on the model’s underside to secure the neodymium magnets and to provide for future magnetic storage.

9 skeleton bolt thrower base with magnets before apoxie sculpt
Ready for the sculpting clay


I then varnished the model components with a coat of Krylon “Clear Matte” and a coat of Testors “Dull Coat”, allowing for drying in between applications.

Then I mixed a two-piece sculpting clay (Aves Apoxie Sculpt) and applied it to the base.  I sculpted a few undulations and rocks as well into the base.  I carefully applied a coat of “Agrax Earthshade” to the base, and then flocked it with Army Painter “Brown Battleground”.

This was not “dead” enough, so I used Citadel “Nuln Oil” on the flocking, which darkened it up a lot.

10 skeleton bolt thrower base with magnets after apoxie sculpt
After adding Apoxie Sculpt


13 skeleton bolt thrower base after flocking and wash GOOD FRONT
After darkening the flocking


I then applied Army Painter “Wasteland Tuft” in a random pattern so as to disguise the crew’s placement wells.

14 skeleton bolt thrower base after FINAL flocking and wash GOOD FRONT
The final unit, front



15 skeleton bolt thrower base after FINAL flocking and wash BACK
Back view



17 skeleton bolt thrower base after FINAL flocking and wash TOP
With crew removed, top view


This will make a nice addition to my skeleton army.

Author: Mark A. Morin

This site is where I will discuss stuff that I find interesting and that includes family, friends, golf, gaming, and Boston sports!

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