Smiley Face, The
Happy Legion, Elephant Skeleton

Alec Habig
Lake S.W.A.T.T., Duluth, MN
Empire of Dust based list

Notes below are mostly all still from this army's eons of existance over three editions of Warhammer Fantasy Battles. They'd still apply if used in Ninth Age. However, this takes the field these days as an Empire of Dust army in Mantic's fantastic Kings of War game. Thus, I need to both update the commentary, and put in pictures of stuff that's been painted for KoW.

When the curse of the Ophidians oozed out of the Ahmunite lands into the badlands near the Infant Sea, it disturbed the ancient druidic kings in their barrows. Eviscero Nutrire, a refugee Cursed High Priest, escapes the catastrophe in possession of an ancient yellow icon of great and terrible evil. Thus empowered, he takes advantage of a restless wight and his sacrificed entourage to set up shop in this new culture, making use of local, er, “resources”. Barrow King Bustem Ulcisi is guarded by his mummified retinue: plus the now animated bones of prehistoric beasts from nearby tar pits and and statues from ruined temples. Skeletons, of course, remain fodder the world-round.

See also the apropos Robert E. Howard poem, Ghost Kings

If the reader wishes to correct my dimly-remembered Latin grammer, or if he happens to recognize who made some old figure (the bulk of my army was scavenged from many bits boxes over the years), please let me know!



A group shot of: Barrow King Bustum Ulcisi; his Icon Bearer Vexillarius Ossus; Barrow Prince Sore Gravrost; and Queen Khalida.

Barrow King

In 7th, Bustem Ulcisi as he looks like when kitted out with the Destroyer of Eternities and Collar of Shapesh. In 8th, it was the Wizarding Hat and an ordinary great weapon. With the new book it's back to a plain GW build, probably with the Scary Mask. The figure is from Rackham, and is levitating and mystical looking. Or spacy and Stupid, if it's a wizarding hat.

Barrow King

Bustem Ulcisi as he's usually played, an old 4th ed Wight King. Would love to have access to that VC wight-based Black Axe item, oh well. But now Destroyer of Eternities is a hand weapon - so mine can be Axe shaped.

Queen Khalida

as played by Reaper's Thanis Bonecaller figure. She's double-wide, so the mark on the base is where the Lord is vs. some schmuck rank and file from the unit. Too bad she got nerfed so badly in the new book, I love the figure.

Barrow Prince

Sore Gravrost, when on foot (a 4th ed wight with a chaos marauder shield). Hmm - actually could be the short squat Herald if he's not got a BSB.

Icon Bearer

Vexillarius Ossus, figure maker unknown (but I suspect Heartbreaker). Banner is from the old undead banners blister, paper on lead foil, with the actual Evil Yellow Icon.

High Liche Priest

Eviscero Nutrire, with plenty of gadgets. An older Citadel figure.

Lich Priest

Sacerdos Harenarum. This guy is destined to play a starring role at the altar on the WIP display board, watch this space for updates. Reminds me of a character from Spinal Tap, actually.

Lich Priest

This Liche is perfect for skulking around out of the line of fire. He's carrying some sort of scroll case or jar, which is ideal for most army lists. That's often the Cloak of the Dunes, by the way.


Warpstone powered things made of dead bits worked for Nagash, and the Happy Legion doesn't have a ready supply of old necropoli to raid for material. So, these guys build the constructs in this army, and have done more than a bit of work on themselves too. The figs are Reaper's "Undead Constructs".

Cupressus Animus (The Throne of Souls)

Liche Priest Solium Animus riding Grenadier's old palanquin, with Heartbreaker (I think) guards. This one's cool because you can sight through the skull's eyes to see which hapless enemy units might be able to see those souls coming at them. A True Line of Sight visual aid! Still shorter than the official GW casket, so I'm not gaining any advantage from the alternative model.

Mounted Heros

Liche Priest Locusta Intoqueorum and Icon Bearer Vexillarius Ossus on skeletal steeds. They're a GW necromancer and a Grenadier 1980ish lead figure respectively.

Elephantus Anticus and Elephantus Ossus

Used to be tomb scorpions - until the new book created Warsphinx rules for them!. The models are Grenadier's Imperial War Mammoth and Undead War Mammoth. They have chariot bases for their new role.

Elephantus Ossus

A close up of the simpler mammoth (on a 50mm base). The model is Grenadier's Undead War Mammoth.

Elephantus Anticus

A close up of the more baroque mammoth. The model is Grenadier's Imperial War Mammoth. While the new book didn't completely fulfill my every wish and include a monster-mounted catapult, I'll probably use this guy as to represent the Sphinx with the breath weapon. In this case, not elephant spit, but point-blank rocks to the face.

Rhinoceros Poenas

An old Grenadier Undead Legion "Rhino Captive Carrier". Like the elephants, he's on a 50mm monster base to play as a scorpion - but with the new TK army book, when put on a chariot base he'll be a great War Sphinx. That's a bolt thrower in the howdah.

Rhinoceros Poenas

I almost completely wrecked the thing when clamping the two halves of the ribcage together, as I had pre-painted the captives but some epoxy got on the outside of the ribs and when I unclamped it, the foam I was using to protect the thing was epoxyed right on. After panicked chiselling and scraping and repainting, the side with the scantily clad chick and wounded samurai simply looks worse than the hobbit and merchant side, but not too bad.

Draco Osseo

On a 40mm wide base (80mm deep, sits on a 50x50mm shim for game play), plays as a tomb scorpion. The figure is Grenadier's Skeletal Dragon. The sign on the base reads "Here Be Drago---...." I've built a Necroshpinx sized base, and this flying guy with rending jaws would be a fine Necrosphinx - but on the whole, I think I'd rather have something using the scorpion rules in most army lists.

Praesidii Ulcisi (Tomb Guard)

Mummy and Wraith figures of various provenance. Reaper standard bearer and musician. The the mummies were the Barrow King's loyal guard who died and were honored with a place in the barrow. The wraiths were those POWs who were sacrifices as part of the King's burial ceremonies and bound to his service for eternity.

Essedarii Ossi (Chariots)

4th ed metal and plastic models flanking a Grenadier "Undead Legions" lead one in the center.

Essedarii Ossi (Chariots)

Adding in Prince Sore Gravrost on wheels with the flail of skulls, forming the traditional Tomb King's "Happy Fun Bus". Too bad the rules changes in 8th make this incapable of running over anything tougher than snotlings, and that the Flail of Skulls is no longer available, although the new army book's chariots might not be as useless as all that. Gotta try them again.

Essedarii Ossi (Chariots)

Actual Tomb Kinds (tm) chariot models, with an old 4th ed banner. Can run a big block of seven or two smaller blocks. Haven't figured out which I like better.

Essedarii Ossi (Chariots)

This is the Prince's chariot from Grenadier's Undead War Legion line. Note the horses are a bit fresher than the usual TK steeds - here in the badlands, you animate what you can get. The figures all have magnets built into their feet, so they can stand in the chariot or on bases, depending. In the chariot in this picture are the regular skeleton warrior and driver.

Vulturi (Carrion)

Five old 4th ed figures complete with Spooky Jawa riders, two zombiefied reptillian wraith fliers from Partha, and one zombie wyvern from Grenadier. Fliers which can just barely keep pace with a unit of marching Skaven Slaves, yay 8th! At least they're decent in a fight if they can ever get there.

Machina Quiritari (Screaming Skull Catapults)

4th edition models, far more serviceable and less Baroque than the current one. The crew are on magnetic bases in sockets in the overall base, so can be removed for casualties in the unlikely event of not being wiped out all at once.

Machina Quiritarum (Screaming Skull Catapult)

This one has a Reaper crew. Much shorter than the current GW monstrosity, so it suffers on true line of sight.

Machina Quiritarum (Screaming Skull Catapult)

The actual 4th ed GW crew figures. Still said "Screaming Skull Catapult" on the box! Back when Vampires could bring them to the table.

Gigas Ossus (Bone Giant)

Grenadier's Skeletal Titan figure. He's on a 50mmx100mm chariot base with a crushed dwarvish cannon and gravesite for decoration. Necrolith collossus! I'm torn between calling the ginormous shield bash an extra weapon, or the gigantic axe a great weapon. Unfortunately no exuse to mount the bolt thrower - although the Goblin War Giant I've not yet built has two of the things mounted on his shoulders.

Gigas Ossus (Bone Giant)

Grenadier's Skeletal Titan figure, with a liche priest for scale. He hates the true line of sight rules, but is much closer to the depiction in the army book than the GW shrimpy giants.

Grunniti Equui (Skeletal Heavy Horse)

4th ed plastic figures, with handmade lead foil banner and kitbashed dwarvish horn. The champion is an old Grenadier lead figure. Here's hoping the new book makes it worthwhile to actually put these guys on the table. - they're a tad cheaper and have Vanguard now.

Equui Velitari (Skeletal Light Horse)

The only actual Tomb Kings skeletons in the entire army, although with a chaos marauder standard and random bits stick on. The champion is wearing a chaos marauder cloak, looks cool from above if not this angle.

Grunniti Arquui (Skeletal Archers)

20 of them, mixed 4th ed plastic and reaper metals. I like the violinist for a musician. Another old undead paper plus foil banner, and a Heartbreaker champion with transplanted bow.

Grunniti Spiculi (Skeletal Archers)

25 more of them. Same mix figs, except the standard bearer is of unknown make - I suspect Partha.

Grunniti Ensis (Skellies with HW+ shield)

I like this banner, as it's got a picture of their favorite dragon on it. The dragon is often bailing skeleton blocks out of certain (re-)death.

Grunniti Spadae (Skeleton Warriors, HW+ shield)

Still a wild mix of different companies' figs. The back rank of this unit is guys with scythes, but oh well.

Grunniti Telum (Skeletons, shield+ spear)

A lot of them, and again, who knows who made them all. This unit of 40 is too expensive to use in smaller games, but is a sponge that takes forever to kill and generates enough attacks to actually hurt things sometimes. Might try this 10 wide as a horde sometime.

Examen Ulcisi (Tomb Swarms)

The front two are actual TK swarms. The back two are made from bits plus Reaper scarab swarms consuming those bits.

Caryatid Horribilis (Ushabti)

IMHO, the best models in GW's TK line.

Caryatid Horribilis (Ushabti)

Form of - an Asp! (with troll skull on a stick)

Caryatid Horribilis (Ushabti)

Form of - a Croc!

Caryatid Horribilis (Ushabti)

Shape of - a Hawk!

Caryatid Horribilis (Ushabti)

Shape of - a Jackal!

Caryatid Horribilis (Ushabti)

Ok, so Reaper's Pumpkin Golem is a stretch to fit into this army. But hey, it's a construct, it's the right size, carries the right weapon, and in the badlands, you work with what's available. So he's part of my Caryatid Horribilis unit. It'll make more sense when I get the display board pictures posted, honest.

Caryatid Horribilis (Ushabti)

Pumpkins plus vines plus the Army Painter "Poison Ivy" scenery bits turned out decently.

Statua Nagashensis (Hierotitan)

The old 4th-ed Nagash model, painted as a granite statue of Nagash (can you think of a better shape for a scary magic-buffing construct?). He already had an Icon of Ptra, added some Scales of Usirian.

Scarabeus Brutum (Scarab Ogre)

From Crocodile Games, he's a scorpion in the Happy Legion. That's a 40mm base, he really is ogre sized.


Useful for objectives or It Came From Below. The scarab makes a good regeneration marker when someone's had some success with the Blade of Antarhak.

Khsar's Incantation of the Desert Wind

A spell counter. As an instant effect (and a pretty lame one), this guy doesn't see the table much, but it was a cool model and completed the set. Under the sand he's a Reaper Wind Elemental.

Djaf's Incantation of Cursed Blades

Spell effect markers. Got carried away and made several - turns out it can't be cast as a bubble spell anyway. These are Crocodile Games bits with bonus Reaper skulls.

Neru's Incantation of Protection

Spell effect markers. Just some shields. Need to make more, this one gets bubbled a lot.

Ptra's Incantation of Righteous Smiting

Saw these Reaper guys and got the idea to do spell effect markers.

Usirian's Incantation of Vengeance

Spell effect counter from Crocodile Games. Seemed appropriate for a "if you move, bad things happen" spell.

Usekhp's Incantation of Desiccation

What better way to reduce someone's strength and toughness than turn loose a bunch of carnivorous bugs? Reaper's "beetle swarm and victim" figure.

Sakhmet's Incantation of the Skullstorm

Pop this on a template to make the game's worst vortex spell at least look good. A Reaper Night Stalker.

The Display Board

Sheet metal under there, so all the magnetized bases stick nicely and the army gets transported too. 2'x2', which fits wonderfully next to a 4'x6' game board on my FLGS's 4'x8' tables, but less so on whatever's available at tournaments.

The Cemetary

On the back left of the display board. Disturbed graves as the lich priest gets to work combining necromancy and gardening in ways which would really disturb poor Linus from Peanuts. Fence is from a model railway store, random craft store gravestones along with some from Reaper.

A Workshop

Take the pumpkins grown in non-FDA approved ground nearby, and get to work making more Ushabti. The stonehenge scenery is from Mirliton, the ghosts etc. mostly Reaper. They come out to use as filler or if my opponent needs some spirit hosts.

Pumpkins on the March

Go look for the third Reaper Malicious Pumpkin still at work back in the graveyard in a different picture.

Equii Tumuli (Necroknights)

Actual GW figures, with a better banner and henges to match the display board.

Venatoris Phasmatis (Sepulchral Stalkers)

Built from the same box as the knights, with some extra tails from ebay, and greenstuff and wire frame for the backs.

Miniatures are from the molds of many companies, notably Citadel, Grenadier, Reaper, Ral Partha, Heartbreaker, Rackham, Crocodile Games, and Marauder.

Warhammer Fantasty Battles (the rulesset for which this army is set up) and associated background fluff are copyright of the Games Workshop company, should their notoriously trigger-happy lawyers get upset that someone is mentioning their products on the net.

The Kings of War rules from Mantic. What we all play ever since GW ruined their own game. As a result, we get a much better game, even if we miss a lot of the old fluff.