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It’s not Tat, it’s Big Bones!

It’s not Tat, it’s Big Bones!

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Project Blog by maledrakh

Recommendations: 117

About the Project

Reaper Miniatures have had great success with their budget line of PVC miniatures known as Bones, with four delivered kickstarters (and a fifth in progress) that all have blown up, with literally hundreds of minis being made and released upon an unsuspecting world. The "Bonesium" PVC material has received no small amount of criticism as being rubbery, bendy and not able to hold very fine details. Alot of this criticism is valid, although the quality of the details has improved substantially with time and newer Bones are generally better than older ones. With the 4th KS delivery they have introduced the so-called "Bones Black" material (it's a darkish grey) that is much harder and holds details significantly better -also on small models- and is much easier to remove mould lines on. No, they will never be as good as resin, but then they are significantly more affordable. However, where the Bonesium material really shines is in the bigger-than-human miniatures like Ogres and Owlbears. The Bones range also encompasses a number of Dragons and some really big behemoths like Cthulhu and Shub Niggurath. This is where I intend to showcase some of the larger ones from my blog

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Skeletal Dragon

Tutoring 1
Skill 1
Idea 2
No Comments

This was an 18 dollar add on to the Bones 4 campaign, the rather massive Skeletal Dragon. I can’t seem to find the KS update and therefore do not know who sculpted it.




I made a 230x110mm base for it on my 3D printer. It needed to be printed in two parts as it was far to large for my 140x140mm print bed. I glued ot together. gave it a once over with some sandpaper and stuck the bones base to it.


How I painted it:

Black undercoat with white ink zenithal sprayed on. After this was thoroughly dried out, I painted Citadel Skeleton Horde contrast (yes! Contrast paint! It works like a thicker ink or stain!) all over.

When this was thoroughly dry, I drybrushed in varying degree with several bone-type colours, both yellowish and whiteish ending with Reaper Splintered Bone at the very tops.

Details such as horns and claws in gloss black.

Base in Vallejo Earth followed by some tufts and my autumnal flock mix, finised with black rims.

A relatively fast method to do skeletons of all kinds.




We can make our camp in this ancient shelter made from the bones of a beast long dead…yes, that will be very safe indeed.



Skeletal Dragon

From the Bones 4 kickstarter

Reaper Miniatures, 2019

Bonesium PVC

230×110 mm base.


Skeletal Monsters!

Tutoring 4
Skill 4
Idea 3
No Comments

I admit to getting a bit more than just the core set in the Bones 4 kickstarter….but I have decided to paint the entire core set before tackling any of the expansion sets. However, there are also a bunch of add-ons to do. Most of those are rather large… but we start with some mid-sized ones:


These are the “Skeletal Monsters” add on subset. A Chimera, an Owlbear and a Manticore, plus a heap of monster bones / spawn pile scatter terrain piece. Also there is a sprue of different heads to you can convert to other monster skeletons if you like.

I am keeping the sprue of monster skulls in the bitsbox for now.

The wings are in a much more rigid (and presumably more brittle) material than the bodies that seem to be in the much better and less-rubbery-than-earlier Bones 3 material.




I made a 3D printed 70x50mm oval base for this one. These were hollowed out from the top so the miniatures own base fit inside, with some putty to fill them out.




I made a 50x30mm base for this one.




This one has a 60×35 base.



The bone pile scatter terrain bit.


I have a bone to pick with you guys…



How I painted these:

Black undercoat with white ink zenithal sprayed on. After this was thoroughly dried out, I painted Citadel Skeleton Horde contrast (yes! Contrast paint! It works like a thicker ink or stain!) all over.

When this was thouroughly dry, I drybrushed in varying degree with several bone-type colours, both yellowish and whiteish ending with Reaper Splintered Bone at the very tops.

Details such as horns, beak, teeth, stingers and claws in various black and grey colours I mixed on my pallette.

Base in Vallejo Earth followed by some tufts and my autumnal flock mix, finised with black rims. All of them done from basecoat in an evening including drying times.


Skeletal Monsters

add-on subset from the Bones 4 kickstarter, 2017

Reaper Miniatures

Sculpted by Julie Guthrie

Made in Bonesium PVC

should be available from some time in the future

The Silver Dragon

Tutoring 5
Skill 6
Idea 2
No Comments

A large mini ragepainted sloppyfast in under an hour just to blow off some steam and get it off the tray it has been standing around for ages on.

Well, large mini I say. Compared to most other dragons of the Bones kickstarters, this one is rather smallish.

However, back in the day when heavy metal was king, this mini would be considered a large miniature of a dragon.



I based it some years ago on a 100x50mm wooden oval base from I could not be bothered to rebase it now, especially seeing as its’ integral base is warped, causing the front part of the base to rise up a centimeter or so off the ground. I vaguely remember struggling to flatten it with the hot water trick but failing as it went back to it’s warped shape over time (I have later learned that this means not hot enough water and not long enough in the water to reset it’s plastic memory).

I just stuck it to that larger base and filled in the gap with scraps of sprue, glue and putty. When the base is painted and textured this looks like a rise in the terrain which really does fit the mini nicely, so no worries.


How I painted it:

Black undercoat. Heavy drybrush with Scalecolor Black Metal, followed by successive lighter drybrushings with Army Painter Lead Belcher and Army Painter Shining Silver. Some Scalecolor Cobalt Alchemy gived the wings it’s blue tint, Shining Silver on the back half. Scalecolor Emerald Alchemy down the front for a greenish tint. Scalecolor Amethyst Alchemy here and there to add some interest. Instar Radiant Red metallic on the tongue. Instar Blue Purple Flip metallic on the eyes.

Then I made a mistake and used Amsterdam Oxide Black ink undiluted to do some lining. This turned out far too stark, and also since the ink turned out to be matt, it was not too appealing. I probably should have used a gloss black, and also thinned it significantly to make the lining softer and more blended.

Oh well, live and learn.


Come to think of it, this dragon has that classic Y Ddraig Goch stance…

Dang! Should have painted it red! Oh well.


“Oi! You! Silvara! What ‘ave yer done with me mate Huma?” 

-“Actually, Huma is my mate…”


77329 Silver Dragon

Reaper Miniatures, Bones 2 KS 2013 Expansion 1

Sculpted by Sandra Garrity

Bonesium PVC.

100x50mm oval base

available from


The Angry Dead Treeman

Tutoring 3
Skill 6
Idea 2

Not a Reaper Miniatures’ Bones mini this time, but from WizKids’ line of Nolzur’s Marvellous Miniatures that is going for the same market with cheap plastic minis made with D&D roleplayers in mind.


This is the “Treant”, which is D&D-speak for Ent, or Treeman if you are more familar with Warhammer.

I find this mini looks angry and scary, not like a benevolent living tree shepherd at all. A malevolent one, on the other hand, fits the bill precicely.

And seeing as I have been painting undead halflings and there is a strong historic connection between Halflings and Treemen as allies; so undead treeman.

Hence,  Torchwood the Furious here.


By sheer bloody-mindedness he survived the forest fire which claimed his copse-kin and now, blinded in one eye, disoriented by the violent trip down the river rapids that saved him from the flames and bereft of his erstwhile crowning glory of foliage, he stalks the forest looking for travelers to stamp out some revenge for the firey fate that befell his beloved glen.


Lighting a campfire are we? Baroom Baroom, meet your Doom! 



I started with the basic white undercoat it comes out of the pack with, and painted the entire thing with New Citadel Deepkin Flesh for an offwhite tinged with green. This I drybrushed with several tones of grey before I gave the whole thing a thinned down wash of athonian camoshade (greenbrown) mixed with some Reaper Stone Wash (grey).

When dry, It was more ghoulish green than I had thought, so I again drybrushed here and there with several shades of grey, some brown, green, yellow and other colours I happened to have on my palette. Then I went heavily in with black on the upper right arm, the right side of the face and upwards including all the branches to make him look partially burnt. Some more drybrushing with greys going to pure white on the fingers. Some details here and there like fungus in red and eyes in reds and blues.

For the base I made a new flock mix using some items that I had ordered from (a specialist store for scatter material I have bought from a few times, excellent stuff at reasonable prices, good quality and service.), several shades of static grass and scatter ranging from autumn mix, brown, muddy, wintery, charcoal grey, plus dark green mix. All this I dumped into a 1.5-liter storage box with lid, added a few spoonfuls of my black flockmix, dark red static grass and some autumn spongeflock, and mixed it all up. Should be enough to last a year or two…

I had glued him to a 95mm lipped base that I printed for the occasion, and painted the ground Vallejo Earth brown. When dry, I stuck a bunch of different tufts all over the base, and then used thinned down PVA all around the base and tufts, and dipped the whole base in the flockmix a couple of times.

It worked a treat, and gave a much darker overall tone to the mini than my earlier and much brighter green flock mix would have. I might go back to the Tribe of Sarrassa and redo the bases with this flock come to think of it.




Nolzur’s Marvelous Miniatures line, Wave 7 2018

Primed PVC

Unknown sculptor

95mm 3D printed base


Old Bones: Fire Giant Bodyguard

Tutoring 0
Skill 2
Idea 1
No Comments

From the first Bones kickstarter, or rather, a purchase I made soon after since I did not add on the “Fire Giant Warriors” subset.

As I have written earlier, I am grinding through getting the older versions of the Giants painted, as the newer versions are both 1) better detailed, and 2) a lot larger. The idea is that if I do not get the older ones done before I start the newer versions, they will never be touched again. Which would be a shame, really.

This is the only old version Fire Giant I have, as the ones from Bones 3 and out are the new size and design.


I went with red skin and firey hair and beard.

The red is new Citadel Screamer Pink, Wazdakka Red and Evil Sunz Scarlet. The steel is Scalecolor Black Metal, Army Painter Plate Mail Metal and Army Painter Shining Silver. The gold is Vallejo Model Color Brass.


…and Char Donaye is only one wicket away from retaining the Ashes…


77179 Fire Giant Bodyguard (old version)

Reaper Miniatures, 2012

Sculpted by Jason Wiebe

Bonesium PVC.

60mm round lipped base

available from

The Bones Black Rock Troll

Tutoring 1
Skill 4
Idea 1
No Comments

Should have lit it better….

And it is BIG! Actually as tall as the Storm Giant, and larger then the new GW Rockgut Troggoths (aka stone trolls)


A quick and sloppy paint job. I started with a black undercoat, and painted the whole piece with a very dark blue. Then I drybrushed the trunk of the body with three different purples, with red on the stomach and chest. I drybrushed the arms and head with Vallejo Nocturna Shadow and ditto Cold Flesh, the belt and loincloth also in Shadow, with Deep Forest Skin for highlights, mixed a bit on my palette for a couple of shades highlighting. The claws and nails were also done in the greens. The leg of cured meat or large pouch (you choose) in browns.

The crystals and eyes I did in Scalecolor Tesla Blue and Carribean Blue with Reaper Aircraft Grey highlight. This was a bit sloppy as seen in the photos.

Teeth in Aircraft Grey.

Base as usual, and it turns out my new Vallejo Black is really glossy.

All in all the mini took less than an hour to paint.


The Bones Black material:

“Bones Black”. a darker grey, much harder, less unbreakable, and heavier material than the regular “Bonesium” Bones material. This new material was a bit of a surprise when announced not too long ago, as there was no mention of it in the Kickstarter. They have gone and produced many of the Bones 4 kickstarter minis in this new material (as in all the expansions, but not the core set). I understand that this material requires a different type of mould which is more expensive to make and maintain, so the Bones Black minis will be slightly more expensive at retail than comparable regular Bones. Reaper is on record stating that they chose the name as it sounded cool. The minis are not actually black, just dark grey.

My first impressions of the material is that it is actually quite similar -but not identical- to both Restic and the newer Boardgame plastic such as used in HATE. It is very hard and diffcult to cut or bend when at room temperature. I suspect there is ABS in the PVC mix here.

However, it still responds well to heat (near-boiling water) and goes rubbery soft and reposable just like other PVC minis. When soft, it is comparatively easy to slice with a scalpel hobby knife. Just like Restic, it needs a little time for super glue to grab, and when it does, it grabs firmly. It is easy to drill, and what little mould lines there were came off easily enough with said knife. Not quite as easy as polystyrene, but much easier than original Bones. They could actually be scraped, which does not work at all with regular Bones.

The troll came assembled, and needed gap filling. Reaper has also addressed this issue, stating that the new material has slightly different tolerances and shrinkage than the original Bones. They have been adjusting the connection points to compensate to avoid such gaps going forward.

At any rate, my impressions of the Bones Black material are mostly favorable. The biggest con would be that is seems slightly more brittle than the original Bones (that can be thrown around without taking damage), but I have not had any issues with neither this Troll or the Owlbear, so I can’t really say.  When the KS arrives I will be able to look at many more minis in this material, so we shall see whether this will be any issue.

The quality of the details do seem to be rather better than earlier Bones, and this is the reason Reaper has introduced the material in the first place. Again, the smaller minis from the KS will be the proof of the pudding.


44002 Rock Troll

Reaper Miniatures, Bones 4 KS

Sculpted by Jason Wiebe

Bones Black

60mm base

Will be available from at some point in the future when it goes on general retail release.

All Hail Hydra!

Tutoring 3
Skill 6
Idea 3
No Comments

I have made a conscious choice to try to get some of the earliest Bones miniatures painted before the Bones 4 kickstarter shipment arrives. The reasoning behind this is that the quality increase from the earlier Bones to the newer ones is so dramatic to make many of the older ones unappealing. So to get some of them painted before that happens…


All Hail Hydra!


Many of the miniatures in the first Bones kickstarter were based on metal minis already in production. Might this also be a factor for softer details then newer ones?

This was a paid add on on the KS.

This one I have put off painting since way back when. In it’s unpainted form I thought it had soft details and was a bit crude. As soon as I started painting it now, the drybrushing revealed another side to it, so to speak.

It turned out much better than I expected, mainly as the faces are easier to read than when unpainted, and the details were not as shallow as I had thought.


Again, I use a big brush when painting big bones, this one was mainly painted with a 15mm wide flat and a 5mm flat. It was painted mainly with drybrushing with no washes used at all.

I started over a black undercoat, I painted the entire thing with new Citadel Incubi Darkness, and drybrushed this heavily with new Citadel Kantor Blue. Next was a heavy drybrush with old Gamecraft Olive Green on the top half and Vallejo Game Color Dead Flesh on the bottom half.

The stripes are in an old dark red I think is Leviathan Fire Dragon Red. I am not quite sure, as it was poured over into another pot at some point, and I did not write what it was on the new pot. I drybrushed the stripes with new Citadel Wazzdakka Red.

The back ridges, horns and claws were done with new Citadel XV-88, Bleached Bone and Reaper Splintered Bone. The mouths were painted Kantor Blue followed by Citadel Screamer Pink and Wazdakka Red, and a mix with yellow at the edges. Eyes in bleached bone, Yriel Yellow and Wazdakka Red. Teeth in Reaper Splintered Bone.


I printed out a base for it, and built it a little up on the front end to make the beast stand a little taller. The cracks and edges were hidden with clumps of tufts.



77191 Hydra

Reaper Bones, from the first kickstarter 2013

Sculpted by Sandra Garrity

Made from Bonesium PVC

Bespoke printed 130mmx80mm base

Currently available from

Giants of the Storm Clouds

Tutoring 1
Skill 5
Idea 2
1 Comment

In the first Bones kickstarter Reaper made several pairs of Giants. This pair was labeled as Storm Giants at the time.


For some reason, the female is quite a lot smaller than the male.


Say what you will, they certainly are giant sized when compared with humans!

I chose to paint them as Papa Smurf and Smurfette, just because.


In the third kickstarter Reaper started redoing the Giants, replacing them with significantly larger versions of previously released ones. These have not been remade (yet). I would expect them to do that in the expected-to-be-upcoming fifth kickstarter, as they have recently shown off a print of the same female figure in a different pose and at about twice the size.



Being from the first Bones kickstarter, they are in the softer material. That big sword there was a noodle when I received it. I repositioned it with hot water, and again, it is for the most part OK even if it is slightly bent, it is only apparent from certain angles.

Also, it has a mould line indentation groove going down the front shoulder that I probably should have filled, as it became very apparent after painting.

I based it on a 76mm bespoke 3Dprinted round lipped base.


77163: Male Storm Giant

From the first Bones kickstarter, 2013

Storm Giants subset.

Reaper Miniatures

sculpted by Julie Guthrie

Bonesium PVC

76mm 3Dprinted base.

available from



The female changed from being a Storm Giant to being a Cloud Giant between the kickstarter and the retail release of the miniature. Whatever the subtype, she still gets a case of Smurfette syndrome.


The pose of the female is a bit strange, and she does have a certain supermodel-vibe going on. Reaper has explained that the pose was meant to illustrate her bending down to talk to someone human sized, and as such it is not too bad. But taken out of context it just comes off as a bit cheesecake-ish. Reaper has acknowledged that the pose did not work as intended. The swimsuit-like corset really does not help to avoid this impression at all.

Again, a mini with a slight case of bendyweaponitis. (which, in fact, is the proper scientific name for it). Treated with hot water then cold to straighten out the worst of it.


I based her on a 50mm round lipped base.


77162 Yephima, Female Cloud Giant (the male one did not get a proper name, I wonder why not?)

From the first Bones kickstarter, 2013

Storm Giants subset.

Reaper Miniatures

sculpted by Patrick Keith

Bonesium PVC

50mm round lipped base

available from

Grindgear the Corroded, Clockwork Dragon

Tutoring 2
Skill 3
Idea 1
No Comments

Wyrmgear the Clockwork Dragon was a part of the very first Bones kickstarter back in 2012. It has been standing around unpainted and semi-assembled on my Dragon shelf (the top one with extra space for all the wings and such) several years. Some time ago, I pulled it off the shelf and started rusting it up.

And it did not look good. So I put it back on the shelf.

And took it down again after some time, did some more rusting. And still it did not look any good.

And some of this was down to the pristine, straight and flat wings. The wings are made in a much harder / more rigid plastic than the rest of the Bones. They might be polystyrene, but could  just as well be the same Bonesium PVC with less plasticiser. Whatever the case is, the wings are really hard and totally non-flexible.

So I cut them up with scissors and took those wings outside behind the garage and burned them with fire!

My trusty lighter delivered flaming retribution to those wings, letting me bend and scrunch them a bit.

So, with the stiff and pristine wings dealt with, it was time for some more paint.

None of the earlier paint jobs were any good, in the end I dumped a bunch of Citadel Nihilakh Oxide all over it, drybrushed a bunch of different bronzes, golds and greenish steel. The wing “cloth” is based on Citadel Ionrach Skin, Reaper Vampiric Shadow and a whole buch of other paints, shades and inks.




Certainly not perfect, but ok I guess. Probably should have gunked it up with some sand or textured paint before trying to rust it. Might have made it look better and more convincing.

This will work as an undead Dragon of some sort.



77177: Wyrmgear, Clockwork Dragon
Sculpted by Julie Guthrie and Bob Ridolfi

from the Reaper Bones 1 kickstarter

Made in Bonesium PVC

Bespoke 3D printed 120x80mm base

The Colossal Skeleton

Tutoring 4
Skill 8
Idea 5
No Comments

This one has been standing around, based in one form or another since the Bones 1 kickstarter back in 2013 or whenever it actually delivered.  One of the few KS1 Undead Bones I had not painted yet.

I had originally based it on a square movement tray thinking to make it as some sort of skeleton unit for Kings of War, but for some reason that no longer appealed to me when I dusted it off this time. It had actual cobwebs on.

I finally settled on a bespoke 125mm by 90mm oval 3D printed base, and slapped some paint on it to get it done.



How I painted it:

It was originally sprayed with Army Painter Skeleton Bone Spray several years ago. Then I did a basecoat on all the details that were not bone. The main skeleton was given a wash of Citadel Reikland Fleshshade, and when dry, I drybrushed -while making sure there was less and less paint on the brush, and using progressively lighter strokes as I went- the bone with several shades of bone from the very yellowy army painter one to more whitey reaper ones.

The other details were given light washes of black or dark brown, also dirty greenbrown was used, just to get som shading in. Then some top colour that fit, just brushed lightly to accent the details.

The teeth and the bone haft of the weapon was painted with reaper leather white and the gravestone mallet-head was painted greyish green, sandy yellow and off white which is how I often like to do stone.

The metals were done with a coat of gunmetal that was vigourously rubbed with two shades of brownish orange, and then lightly brushed with scalecolor thrash metal. also a bit of gold was used here and there.

This is the kind of miniature where it gets nessecary to go back and fix all the sloppyness as each colour I put on with my shaky hands tend to go all over the place, especially when drybrushing.

Basing was relatievely simple,. just putting down an assortment of tufts here and there and then getting in there with the thinned PVA and my magic scatter mix.

To quote Chef Ramsay: “Done!”


The size of that thing! It is named “Colossal Skeleton” for a reason. I think it might be a match in size for the recently released Mantic Kings of War Vanguard Giant.



77116: Colossal Skeleton

from the Bones Kickstarter 1

Reaper Miniatures

Sculpted by Jason Wiebe

Made in Bonesium PVC

Base 125x90mm


Mudgullet the Froghemoth

Tutoring 6
Skill 12
Idea 8
No Comments

From the Bones 3 kickstarter: An excellent stand-in for a Great Unclean One or Daemon Prince of Nurgle; a not-Froghemoth, that has now been renamed “77581 Mudgullet” and is slated for release by Reaper this January 2019.



I am sure the froghemoth started out as a joke; an amphibious, elephant-sized betentacled toadlike ambush predator abberation with three eyes on a single stalk that bursts out of boggy waters to attack unwary high-level adventurers that happen to be moving through the swamplands.

Somehow, the froghemoth seems to have resonated with players and has become a fan favorite.


It seems somewhat larger than an elephant though. Here shown with a juicy barbarian adventurer lunch for scale.

Big miniatures are best painted with big brushes. This one I painted mainly with a 2cm wide flat brush.

After undercoating black, I did the top in old citadel dark angels green and the bottom in Leather Brown. Drybrushing with different shades of lighter green and creamy bones. Breaking open a more than twenty year old round flip-top Citadel Terracotta, I used that for more details, patches, stripes and the back ridges. I further used Flames of War Sicily Yellow for the stripes and back ridges. Washed with Citadel Athonian Camoshade to bring it all together.

New Citadel Screamer Pink formed the base for the tongue and mouth internal, mixed with Vallejo Mecha Magenta and white for highlighting in several stages.

The teeth and claws were basecoated with new Citadel Skavenblight Dinge, and mixed with white for highlighting in several stages.

I gave it “innocent blue” human-like eyes, as I think that is much creepier on such a monster than toad or octopus eyes.

The base rocks were painted in my dark greengray/sandy yellow/offwhite style, with round details in screamer pink, Finished off with some Vallejo Earth before applying tufts and my magic flockmix.

Quite a sloppy, rough and ready paint job, but effective nonetheless.


This mini is a good example of how the Bonesium PVC material shines with larger minis, letting them be affordable (or even possible to make). The material holds details on this scale very well, and the rubbery bendyness only serves to make the mini durable as it can take a drop or two. It will not break. (Unless it is dipped in liquid nitrogen first.)




77581: Mudgullet 

Reaper Bones Kickstarter 3

Bonesium PVC

Sculpted by Enos Kline

The included sculpted base is roughly circular, between 10 and 11 cms in diameter.

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